Sunday, July 11, 2010


Really has no idea what is going on with him and all this, does he?

Hard to tell what he knows. Certainly doesn't seem to be much of a hunter.

No? And why not?

Well, what has he hunted?

What has he hunted? Why, he's hunted a... an answer? Hunters follow paths, don't they? And one must admit that he has been following this path, or this series of paths, with a doggedness that is nothing short of admirable!

That's true. But he was so hungry, before. And now he isn't. Not food hunger -- being hunger.

Being hunger? That's just silly.

You know what I mean.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Our man down in the field appears a tad distressed, does he not?

Oh, I should think he would, wouldn't you? I mean, here he is, looking about for a pen, and what-ho, here's a pen, right here on the old pointer! That'd be enough to stress just about anybody out, what?

Decidedly. Has there been any word as to when they'll have him relieved?

Not as such, Old Fellow. Not as such.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


For the want of a pen, the kingdom is lost.
For the want of a pen, the kingdom is lost.
For the want of a pen, the kingdom is lost.

That's "for the want of a nail, the kingdom was lost."

No, it's "the nail is mightier than the sword."

How do you figure?

Well, swords cut things in half, and nails keep things together such that you can build things.

The nail is mightier than the sword.
The nail is mightier than the sword.
The nail is mightier than the sword.

Works for me, mate!
So glad, Old Fellow!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


He is about to leave the library and go on a pen hunting excursion to the pharmacy (and he now remembers that he has been called 'hunter') when he looks down at his hand. It is the same hand that had been severed. He now sees that it has been transformed, slightly. The index finger has become a quill pen. He does what anyone would do with this discovery. He stares at the pen/finger. His mind cracks a little. Or, it should be said, a little more. He backs against the circulation desk and sinks down into a sitting position on the floor. He says to himself:
I have lost it.
And then he has another thought:
I have not lost it, although I wish I had. There is insanity all around me. I have been plunged into insanity, it has enveloped me and saturated me. And yet it has not yet become me.
I wish it would.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Won't even give him a pencil, eh? Off to a great start, here. He looks around the circulation desk and sees nothing that he can use to fill out the form. What kind of library circulation desk has no pencils or pens? He scans the large main room of the library. There are rows of tables with lamps on them and chairs around them. There are maybe half a dozen patrons at the tables, all deep in study, from the looks of things. But not a single one is using a writing instrument.
Damn it all, he says.
Daisy hears him and raises her voice ever so slightly from her conversation with Rowena. You might try down the street. There's a pharmacy. You could buy a pen, there.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


She calls over a stout, middle-aged eastern-European looking woman. "Daisy," says Rowena.
"Hello, Rowena," says Daisy.
"I just paid a visit to your father. He says you may have an opening at the library. My friend Alex, here, needs a job."
Daisy looks at Alex with a severe expression on her face. Then, she turns to Rowena.
"My father. He sent you? About him?"
"Indeed he did, Daisy," says Rowena.
Daisy looks at Alex, again. She reaches under the desk and takes out a folder. She opens the folder and takes out a sheet of paper that says "Employment Application." She hands the sheet to Alex. "Fill this out," she says. Alex takes the sheet. Daisy and Rowena then walk to the other end of the desk and begin to talk to each other. He cannot hear them, fully.
Alex begins to fumble around in his pockets. To no avail. "Do you have a pen?" he calls out to Daisy.
"Sure don't," says Daisy. She and Rowena continue their conversation.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


They get back in the car. She waves at Jimmy who does not wave back. Jimmy continues to watch him.
"Show me whatever it is you have to show me, Rowena. I am beyond sick of this shit."
"I would imagine you've been beyond sick of this shit since you woke up."
"I can't remember having slept."
"You haven't in a very long time."
"Does that explain any of this? You told me I wasn't dreaming, and you told me that I was no where in particular that was different from the life I had been living."
"Yes, I said that. In so many words."
"Your just said 'since I woke up'. When did I wake up?"
"Just shut up for a bit, Alex, honey, will you? And follow Jimmy's advice."
They drive to the library, park the car, and go inside. It isn't the memory library he has placed in an important realm in his mind. It is not The Library. But it is the library he had gone to many times when he was growing up there. The place is over air-conditioned, no matter the season. He grew up associating the memories he had of this library with cold.
They approach the circulation desk.
"You need to find a job," she says.

Friday, June 4, 2010


"Jimmy," she says. "Your daughter works at the library, right?"
"Why, yes ma'am, she does! She's worked in town for, what twenty-some years, now. Started out one of the first full-time folk. Why do you ask?"
"My friend Alex is looking for a job."
Alex gives a start. But he decides to go along with this. Whatever Rowena is doing.
"Well, I don't know right off hand whether they're looking for anyone. I suppose I could put in a word for you. Tell her you came by," says Jimmy. "Better yet, why don't you go to the library and talk to her, yourself? She's there now. Will be until four or so. Meantime, you want to take some of those tomatoes over there, you're welcome to them. I wanted to sell them by today, but it looks like nobody's buying."
She reaches into her pocket, but she has no money. She turns to Alex. Alex takes out a ten and gives it to Jimmy.
Alex is surprized when the old farmer takes the bill. Especially since he has just offered to give them the old tomatoes for free.
They take the tomatoes in a paper bag Jimmy hands them, and they say their goodbyes. As they are leaving, Jimmy gives Alex a piercing look and says: "Pay attention to what this young lady shows you, Alex."

Thursday, June 3, 2010


They come to a vegetable stand along the highway. There is no one tending it.
"Martinek still has his stand," she says.
"Yes," he says.
"You and I never stopped here," she says, "did we?"
"I don't remember, Ro," he says.
She pulls over.
"Is this one of the sites you wanted me to see?"
"One of the whats?"
"One of the sites you wanted me to see. You just said you were taking me around to see the sites."
"Oh," she says. "No. This is not one of the sites."
They get out. They go up to the cart, and Rowena picks up a tomato.
"You ain't gonna find no better tomatoes," says a voice.
"Hey Jimmy," she says. "Startled me, there."
"Brought your boyfriend, didja?"
"Jimmy," she says, "you remember my friend Alex, here, don't you?"
"'Course I do," says Jimmy. Then, turning to Alex, "been gone a while, ain'tcha? Used to see you at the library."
He remembers this. Jimmy used to do groundskeeping down at the college.
"Yessir," he says.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


They drive for a while more. They drive past the naval base and the town that surrounds it. He sees that there has, indeed, been quite a lot of building since he was last there. Many more stores. The place is less country. This is a shame, he thinks. The culture of watermen and farmers is dying out. If not already dead.
After a cluster of the strip malls, they drive a stretch of highway through farmland. Flat fields of brown and green. He doesn't know the cycles of crop rotation enough to know whether it is normal at this time of year, during this season, to have an empty field. Perhaps the fields he sees are resting from having been planted in the immediate past season.
Maryland had been known for its tobacco industry, but not so much any more. This, however, he thinks, is also probably a good thing. Except, of course, for the tobacco farmers. But farmers are industrious people. They will have found another crop.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


These words are followed by a period of silence that cannot be filled by any degree of pain, rage, frustration, confusion, or other emotions born of his exasperated mind.
The silence is, therefore, undefined.
He sits next to her. He wants to ask her what it is, exactly, that she is under obligation to do and who, exactly, has placed her under obligation.
He does not ask this, however.
Nor does she say anything further in explanation.
There is nothing to say.
Because it is impossible for him, and perhaps even for her, to choose something that is proper to say.
He says nothing because he cannot bring himself to say anything because anything that he says will lead her to answer him, and any answer she gives him will checkmate him.
That is the word that comes to his mind. Checkmate.
She has blamed him, in a long ago past, for looking at all social interactions as competitions. As having winners and losers.
He has accused her of saying this to him as a means to check any further reactions on his part.
Much as when one tells you not to be defensive.
There is no response to this.

Monday, May 31, 2010


"I don't want anything from you," she says. "But you need something from me, and I am under an obligation."

Sunday, May 30, 2010


"Do you remember Jimmy Jax?" she asks.
Now there was a name from the past. "Of course," he says. "Jimmy Jax. Introduced me to smoking. And getting drunk."
"He was killed in a motorcycle accident."
This kind of information is always a little jarring. But, in the case of Jimmy jax, he isn't too surprized.
"Was he stoned?"
"I don't know," she says. "Probably."
He looks at her face. She is more upset than she should be.
"Were you dating him?"
"Jesus, Ro! Were you -- " he doesn't finish with the obscenity he has in mind. "With Jax?"
He is a little out of practice with this highschool drama shit, he thinks. It makes sense, though. She has always had a thing for him. Last time he saw Jimmy, Jimmy was getting grey hair and a beer belly any middle-aged low-life would carry around with pride.
"He went into a coma and died three weeks later," she says.
"I always thought something like that would happen to him," he says.
"You are really a shit," she says.
"What do you want from me?" he asks.
And this is an important question. He doesn't know whether she can give him a proper answer.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


They drive up route 235 and he watches the scenery and the various buildings. The forest that used to be on the right is now gone. The middle school is still there, but the tiny shotgun houses that had been across the way are gone. In their place is a two story condominium that looks woefully out of place. He knew a few of the families that used to live in the houses. He used to go to school with their children. They weren't in any of his classes, however.
Up a little further is the back entrance to the military base. He can't imagine anything about the base ever changing, and he is correct. Exactly the same as it ever was. Ten foot high chainlink fence. Little white trucks with black numbers on them driving the road directly inside that marks the periphery of the base. He points one of these trucks out to Rowena.
"They're doing a GCR," he says.
"A GCR?"
"Gulf Coast Run. In order to keep its vehicles, companies have to show that they use them often enough to warrent the government doling our the insurance and gas money. So, every week or so a couple of contractors take the car on a ride around the far edges of the base. Including all through the little curvy inlets of the coast of the Patuxant. It takes a few hours. I went on a number of these things when I worked on the base back in highschool. Temp jobs."
"Our tax dollars at work," she says.
"Nothing like working for the government," he replies.

Friday, May 28, 2010


What was he going to do? He couldn't very well hitch-hike along the side of the highway. He could, of course, but he doesn't want to. He's had entirely too much of this footloose exploring of unknown and unknowable terrain to want to do any more of it any time soon, thank you very much. And it is only because the prospect of hitch-hiking is slightly less likable than riding in Rowena's car -- taking in the sites, pretending that he was fine with everything and not showing his rage, and failing utterly, which would cause her to treat him with even more condescension than she has been -- it is only the thought of being with no one at all that causes him to "jump in," as she put it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


They go back out to the parking lot. To her car.
"What now?" he asks.
"Now, you hop in, and we go sightseeing."
"Sightseeing?" he says.
"Sightseeing. We visit all those places around here that are worth seeing."
"There's nothing around here worth seeing," he says.
"Sure there is, Alex. You've been gone for a while. They've been doing a bunch of building around here. The place is almost civilized. They're finally putting in some shopping."
"Thrillsville," he says.
And this interaction is emblematic of the thing about Rowena's personality that he hates the most. She is gabbing with him. Treating him as a great friend. Worse: she is treating him as women treat their girlfriends. Their down-and-out-girlfriends. Women have no problem with this, he things, bitterly. But every man hates it.
Hate, hate, hate.
He wishes he were back in the place from which he has just come. There, he did not feel hate. He had forgotten what a drain the emotion is. Draining in every possible way.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The usual sort of uncomfortable silence followed Rowena's "Oh, Alex."
His mind, having sung through "Row, Row, Row You Boat," inserting her name, "Ro," for "Row" and "Maryland," for "Merrily," now looked to other things than a rehashing of old relationship problems -- problems that, for him, had never fully been resolved. And, of course, they could never fully be resolved, for him, because she had broken off the relationship and not he.
He had been in other relationships in which he had been the one to break things off, and he always felt that the situation, all of it, had been resolved. Utterly. This is the way things are with relationships.
It is a matter of an unstable economic interaction: Two people in an ongoing relationship exchange feelings, etc. in a fulfilling manner. However, when one of the people breaks the relationship, there is a debt felt by the person who is the recipient of the breaking. The dumping. This debt, recognized or not, is impossible for the person doing the dumping to repay.
A debt that cannot ever be paid can only be forgiven.
But he was not satisfied with this notion of forgiveness. No matter how much he tried to convince himself otherwise, he could not see forgiveness as anything less than telling the other person -- Rowena, in this case -- that what she had done was okay, and that he was perfectly fine with her dumping him.
Hell no. He wanted to hurt her. Still.
And he knew that he would never be able to do so such that her debt to him would be paid in full.
He had paid the bill, and she was standing. She was reaching down to her salad and grabbing a dainty handful of spinach leaves which she popped, birdlike, into her mouth.
How he hated her.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Ro, Ro, Ro, your boat
Gently down the stream!
Maryland, Maryland, Maryland, Maryland,
Life is but a dream...

Monday, May 24, 2010


All of a sudden, he hates being here with her, eating "deluxe" at this cheap restaurant. He hates that he has shown his emotional cards, as it were. He hates that he has revealed that he is still sensitive about their relationship. Or their former relationship. He hates that she has just said, and rather pityingly, at that, Oh, Alex.
He hates it all the more because it still feels as though she is leading him on. As she did before. And she is leading him on. He needs her to guide him through whatever this is. Whatever this is.
He sees the ... irony? No, that's not quite the word for it... he sees the... complementarity of it? The symmetry?
She is leading him on, but she is not leading him on.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


He puts down his pen and eats. He spills ketchup, mustard, and grease, from the cheeseburger, onto the drawing. On the placemat, the condiments and the grease cause the drawing to look as though it is wounded. Bleeding. If he notices, he does nothing to save the drawing. He is far too busy eating.
Jesus, Alex. Eat much?
She means it as a joke. He understands the humor, of course. But he does not laugh.
Ever since the darkness, he says, I have been hungry.
He looks over at her plate. She has hardly touched it.
Aren't you hungry? he asks.
Would you like some, she asks.
No thank you, he says. I just want to know if you are hungry, as well.
Not terribly, no... but don't let that stop you, Sweetie, she says.
Don't call me that, he says.
Oh, Alex... she says.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


His drawing is automatic. The figures he draws are mechanical. They begin from the outside of the placemat and work their way in. She watches him draw.
I know what you are drawing, she says.
He does not answer her.
You are drawing The Magnificence, she says.
He looks up from his drawing.
Of course I am drawing The Magnificence, he says. He pauses for a moment.
How do you know that I call it The Magnificence? he asks.
Because everyone calls it that. And The Magnificence is not an it.
What is it, then? he asks. Which pronoun do you use? And who is everyone?
I don't know, she says. Everyone.
You are not helping, he says.
Eat your food, she says.

Friday, May 21, 2010


He lets his hand draw and does not try to direct it with his thoughts and more than necessary. He draws rapidly. The lines start out looking chaotic, choppy, without design. Soon, however, they begin to fit together, to become something. And when they become something, it is obvious that he knows how to draw. This is the way it is with a skill observed. It begins in chaos -- or something that looks like chaos and lack of skill to those who watch without knowing what the person with the skill is doing. He knows how to draw. He holds the pen firmly and with confidence. His lines are sure. The strange thing about his drawing, and he himself recognizes it if Rowena doesn't, is that he doesn't stay around the same place in the drawing. He draws a line or a figure in one area of the placemat, and then, without pause, he moves his pen to the far opposite side of the placemat, where he draws another line or figure. There is no continuity to the process of his drawing. He does not finish one area before moving to another. He does not connect one area with another. At least not in the usual way. As he moves from place to place, one part of his drawing connects, inevitably, with another part, until at last all the parts are connected and, finally, everything that he has been drawing disjointedly suddenly reveals a sensical, obvious telos. Nothing about his drawing process makes sense until the drawing is complete. And then, his process still defies logic and methodology, but the final drawing is there.
He draws compulsively. His food arrives, and he neither responds nor looks up. The waiter makes a light joke and leaves his cheeseburger delux and the rest of his food and drink on the table, and he continues to draw, oblivious. He is drawing something industrial. A factory, perhaps. His drawing style is ornate. The details are complex and exact. He is directing his own hand with the pen over the page, and he knows that it is he rather than anything else that is responsible for the drawing. Yet, as he draws, he is able to distance himself with his own concentration.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


They go to a small, family-owned restaurant called Oggie's. The walls are panelled with blonde wood, the floor is linoleum, and the tables are round with red-checkered tablecloths.
He orders a soda, a cheeseburger delux with onion rings, and a glass of ice water. She orders a salad and a fried softshelled crab sandwich.
While they wait for their food, they speak of nothing. The silence is a comfortable one, and he is glad of it. He is out of practice in making small talk. Of making any kind of talk, come to think of it.
There are paper placemats on the table. A lake in the woods. Something out of a starving artist exhibition. He turns the placemat over and asks her for a pen. She reaches into her purse, finds a pen, gives it to him, and he begins to draw.
He remembers, now, that he has always enjoyed drawing.
He is surprised to see that he is actually pretty good at it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Are you hungry, she asks.
Yes, he says. But I don't want to go into the house.
You'll have to go in, eventually, she says.
I want to go out to eat, he says. It is bizarre to say this. Bizarre because it is such a commonplace thing to say, yet it comes after an extended period of ... uncommonplace experience.
Sounds good to me, she says.
Her car is in the driveway behind a large outcropping of shrubs. He has not seen it until just now.
This is the same car you had back then.
Yes, she says. It still runs, but barely.
They get in, and after the engine protests more loudly than he supposed it should have, they are off -- out of the driveway and on down the road that he has known.
And everything is just as he remembers it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


So, he was neither in a coma nor otherwise dreaming. He has not died and then come back to life. Nothing catastrophic has happened to him that would explain the darkness into which he awoke. There is nothing obvious that would explain the hallucinatory existence he has just experienced -- the business with The Magnificence, the priests who turned into a monster and hacked his hand off, The Committee that elected him as chair and then charged him to execute someone -- and that whole bit about delving into the individual and collected inner being of the other members of The Committee.
Now, he is here. He has woken up in a boat after deciding to execute himself as a member of The Committee. This was a violent transition of the sort he thinks he should have undergone in order to have gone into that other strange world. He cannot understand, cannot convince himself, that that other world is not to be separated from this world. There has been no transition. This is what Ro is telling him. And yet, two questions persist:
1: What brought him to the darkness?
2: If there is no transition, what happened to him between his shooting himself in the head and his waking in the boat, floating in the Chesapeake Bay?

Monday, May 17, 2010


Did something happen to me? he asks. Was I in an accident? Did I go into a coma?
No, she says.
He looks at her. A wave of bitterness flows over him. He has forgotten the pain she had caused him. Not that she had caused him -- that he felt back when he had... he does not want to go there. Obviously, he thinks, I am not over her. And this is where the bitterness comes from. I don't believe you, he says. I think I was in some horrible accident and I woke up in darkness.
You weren't in an accident, Alexander, she says.
Then what happened to me?
He remembers something.
You were with me, he says. Then, you left.
No, she says. I mean, yes, I left, but I came back and when I came back, it was you -- you weren't there.
I don't believe you, he repeats.
You weren't there, she says.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Hello, Ro, he says.
Her name is actually Rowena -- a ridiculously Victorian name. And it fit her, because she was ridiculously Victorian. But he had liked to call her Ro. And this in itself was indicative of how special she was to him: he never abbreviated names. And, beyond this, he had a particular contempt for anyone who, as a habit, abbreviates names. Or who abbreviated anything that didn't have a practical need to be abbreviated. People who said "fam" for "family," for example.
And yet, after he had met her and had known her for a couple of days, he never called her by her full name. She did that to him. Evidently, she still does.
How was the library? she asks.
Do you remember how we used to go to the library? he asks.
Of course, she says. Did you find the book you were looking for?
I found a book that gave me what I needed.
And then I went into a church.
I know.
She stands. She goes up to him. They stand looking at each other for a moment or two.
I have no idea what is going on, he says.
Hush, she says.
She embraces him, and he, quite out of character, begins to weep.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


For one thing, he doesn't know whether his parents are still alive. He has neither seen them nor spoken with them in a very long time. He wonders whether both are alive. If only one is alive, did his mother outlive his father, or did his father outlive his mother? Of course, he has been in the house a little while ago. If you can count that relatively recent time as actually being in the house. He does not know, for sure. And he probably never will. Before deciding whether he really wants to walk the distance to the convenience store, he walks to the side of the house and then around to the front. It is remarkable how little the place has changed since last he was there. He crosses the driveway and walks into the front yard. He stops short.

She is kneeling in a patch of soil, planting flowers along the front shrubs. She has seen him before he has seen her, evidently. She is looking at him, now -- as though catching him at some sneaky game.

Hello, Alexander, she says.

Friday, May 14, 2010


The boat is small enough so that when he reaches the shore he is able to pull it over the beach sand and then drag it up onto the concrete ramp. There are some blue nylon cables attached to a couple of metal pipes that are sunk into the concrete. He takes a moment or two and ties the boat up by a metal hole at the bow. Then, he walks up the ramp to the grassy lot. When last he was here, must have been more than a decade ago, his parents were deciding whether to buy the lot. No one else wanted to buy it. You couldn't build anything on it because it didn't perc. After a rainstorm, the lot would turn into a lake. He looks at his parents' house. There are no cars in the driveway. He turns his head to the road. If everything is as he has remembered it, the road is about a mile and a half long. Then, if he takes a right at the highway at the end of the road, he has another couple of miles before he reaches a convenient store where he can get something to eat. He does not seriously consider the possibility of going into his parents' house and waiting there for them. This would feel strange.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


About twenty yards in back of him are a series of crab pots. He can see the floating markers put there by a waterman. Crab. Blue Crab. A dozen or so steamed in a huge blue pot with a ton of Bay Seasoning on them.
His hunger has returned, of a sudden. It nearly blinds him with its intensity. He simply must get food. He is wearing jeans. Perhaps he has his wallet with him. He takes it out and finds that there is quite a bit of money in it.
His childhood home is visible on the shore. Perhaps he will visit it, at some point. Not now. He is hesitant, in part, because he is afraid his parents might be home. Of course, he is also afraid that they might not -- that they have moved.
He will go and buy food.
He sets the troll motor, pulls the cord, and heads toward the shore. There is a small concrete place to store the boat.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


He is a pretty good swimmer. He has never been afraid of the water, but he has known people who were terrified of it. When you are in it, you are completely submerged in physicality. Unlike air. And the physicality is potentially deadly. This has never bothered him, however. He has swum in many different types of water, but the only time he has ever been bothered was when he was swimming in a pond and seaweed brushed against the lower part of his leg, just above his foot. He didn't like this, at all. But he was not terrified by this. Instead, he was disgusted. Not that there was much qualitative difference between the two feelings.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


He doesn't know what is underneath the water. Beasties, perhaps. Jellyfish, most definitely. Freudians have made the analogy that the conscious self is above the water where we can see it and be aware of it. Underneath the surface of the water, however, is all sorts of nasty stuff that we cannot see. We can look at the movement of the waves and appreciate any particular disturbances in the water. But we can't be sure of what is causing that movement or those disturbances. And, what's more, we have no way of knowing how deep the water goes. Sure, we can note the darkness of the water, but that only tells us that the water has at least a certain depth. We do not know what that depth is let alone what greater depths there might be. We can only see movement and color. Freud argues that we can know no more than this about the abyss that we carry around within us and that determines, either directly or indirectly, everything we do.

Monday, May 10, 2010


There are no oars in the boat. But there is a trolling motor. He doesn't want to use it. He likes the silence. He can feel the silence. It makes him feel heavy. He likes the feeling. He likes that the silence devours the few sounds there are around him. It devours the sounds of the osprey. It devours the sounds of the glassy water lapping slowly at the sides of his boat. It devours the sounds of his own breathing. It does not devour the two sounds in his head, however. In his head are a high sound and a low sound. The high sound is his nervous system. The low sound is his blood, circulating throughout his body. He does not know how he knows this.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Here's a puzzling thought: if the boat he is currently floating about in is not the same boat in which he and his father went fishing, so long ago, it is nonetheless an exact copy. Where is his father? He attempts a little trick he had learned to do with dreams. When he was a teen-ager, he had realized, in the middle of a dream, that he could make the dream into whatever he wanted it to be. He was, after all, in control. So, when he dreamt of falling, he could decide to land in safely on his feet. When he dreamt that someone was chasing him, he could have them turn into stone. Or simply stop existing. Now, in order to do this, of course, he realized that he would have to become aware that he was dreaming. This was the key. He would also have to believe that he was dreaming, which was tantamount to not believing in the material reality in which one were, apparently, functioning. He attempts to see his father in the boat.
But this doesn't work. He cannot convince himself that he is dreaming.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Whether the events of his recent memory -- the business with The Magnificence, the business of his hand being cut off and re-attached, the business of the committee, the delving into individual neuroses and collective identities of decay, and, at last, the business of him executing himself as the chairman of the committee -- have actually happened is beside the point. The point is that his hand hurts. No. The point is that he feels his hand hurting. Here is an irrefutable point: whether the pain is real or not is immaterial in terms of truth. What cannot be refuted is that he feels the pain.
There is wonderful comfort in this thought. His existence has been bewildering. He has been disoriented. He has not yet been able to figure out whether he has been hallucinating, or dreaming, or actually experiencing a strange physical reality. But it doesn't matter. He feels pain. This is a surety.

Friday, May 7, 2010


He has picked up jellyfish with his bare hands. At first, he had been afraid. But his father had cured him of his fears by having him scoop the creatures out of the water. Remembering his father's cure for fear causes a small surge of adrenaline to course through his body. The body has a strange memory for pain. It tingles at the thought of it. The tingle is pain, but not exactly. It is pain that the body creates at the thought of a painful experience. But, he considers, isn't all pain a creation of the body? Or is it a collaboration between the body and the empirical world? He chuckles at the thought. Pain being the result of collaboration. He considers the pain in his hand and is confused by it. Has his hand truly been severed and re-attached? If so, then his is the pain of collaboration. If, however, the pain is the result of a hallucinated existence, it is also the collaboration between his mind and some manner of abnormality, internal or external.
Regardless, however, his hand hurts.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


There are all sorts of creatures in the Bay. Skates, crabs, different fishes. When it hasn't rained for a while, the water becomes full of sea nettles. Jellyfish. That's because sea nettles are salt water creatures, and when it doesn't rain, the level of salinity in the Bay rises. As he lies in the boat, squinting up at the sun, he wonders a little whether there are lots of jellyfish swimming around and under the boat. He has been stung by them. Anyone who has spent any time around the Bay has been stung by a jellyfish. You brush up against one of the tentacles, and when you do, the contact causes a little packet of poison-stuff to break off and get into your skin. If you are the size of a human, it's okay. But for smaller creatures, it's a different story. Actually, there are lots of reports of larger jellyfish-like creatures -- the infamous Man O' War, for example -- killing or seriously injuring people. Interesting thing about the Man O' War: it's not one creature. It's a colony of individuals all living together as...
He lies there, not finishing his thought. His hand hurts.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


The Bay is only about three feet deep for a very far distance out. You can tell when it starts to get deep because the water gets darker. From the shore, you can see the line where the darkness begins.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


You can tell, early in the morning, that a day is going to be a scorcher. You can feel the heat just underneath the coolness. You know that, in an hour or so, the coolness is going to burn off, and the only coolness you're likely to feel is your own sweat. The blue sky above the boat is painful. He will not open his eyes just yet.

Monday, May 3, 2010


The Bay in the early morning is bathed in a glittering blue light that you don't see at any other time during the day. Out in the middle of the water, there is a silence beyond meaningful description. There are no echoes. All sound dissipates immediately, or nearly so. The water is smooth. The boat, a small, flatbottomed craft made of corrugated metal, is not motionless. Motion is relative, out here. The craft is motionless, but the shore moves. Such is the stillness of the Bay.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


He looks at the table. There is a gun on the table. He looks at the gun and then at the Committee. He knows he has not evaluated all of the members. He does not know how many members of the committee there are. But there are certainly more than he can see, presently, around the table. He senses the presence of others around the table. Back in the shadows behind those seated. These members are breathing, he knows, even though he cannot hear their breath. No one has told him that he has to evaluate every member. No one has told him that he has to evaluate any member. He has evaluated some of them, and he has made his journey into their beings and he has come out of it okay enough. He doesn't doubt that there are other canyons, other realms, to be seen were he to seek out other groups of committee members -- were he, for that matter, to group the first few pathetic individuals he has evaluated into a unity as he has with the stinky group. But he does not want to take the time. And he does not have the inclination. And, furthermore, he now enjoys a conviction of purpose. An epiphany that suggests a sensical action.
He reaches for the gun, picks it up, and examines it, briefly.
Then, he puts the barrel of the gun in his right nostril and fires.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


He stares about for a moment or two as one will who has awoken in the morning and spent a few minutes simply meditating about his surroundings. The members of The Committee have not grown impatient with all of the time he has been spending ... investigating. It is not that the members are patient. Rather, he wonders whether they have a perception of time that is the same as his own. His gut says they do not. Based on the fact that they do not appear to him to change.
As far as his remembering having thought about nothing (Nothing) while a child in Maryland, he has had another thought -- a more philosophical thought than normal, he thinks. Even for him. If there is nothing, anywhere, and he is thinking about it, he must not be a part of anything. He must be beyond it. He must be Divine. For only a god can be outside of Nothing.
But he knows that he is not a god. And he knows that there is not nothing. That nowhere is there nothing.

Friday, April 30, 2010


A disturbing thought he had as a child, growing up somewhere in Maryland:
What if there were nothing?
No planets.
No universe.
No space.
No darkness.
No light.
No abstract philosophy to contemplate space.

No space.
No thought of the universe.
No thought.

No memory.
No concrete.
No abstract.
No past.
No present.
No future.
No reality.
No illusion..


You cannot ask the question: what if nothing existed. Or: what if there were nothing. Nothing doesn't exist. It is not a question of Being. It is not a question of Not Being, because there would be no opposition to Being. There would always never have been being.

The tubers he remembers are now no more. Now, the figures are together, despite his having dis-arranged them, delved into them, previously. The group is not a group -- no longer the canyon he has made of them, no longer the vessel of abjection he approached through the synaesthesia of song. No longer the rot. Now, they are individuals, once again. As they always have been. But what they were doesn't exist. And there is no way to speak of it. And this lack of dialectic is/is not finally expels him from the realm into which he has thrown himself. It is he, perhaps, who has been executed.

And now, as before, the table, The Committee, is before him, and he before it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I was looking at the tubers. I had come from the rot. I had thought I had found the eyes, and I had, after a fashion, but they were no longer eyes. They were tubers, because that is what eyes become in the process of ripe and rot. And now the tubers are gone. There is no space. There are figures. There are figures, yet there is no space. There is the representation of figures, but there is no space. There must be space. There must have been space. There should be space in the future. Space has been executed. Space is executed. Space will be executed. But it is not my mind that creates such a thing. Rather, the execution of space creates my mind. And there are the figures, also created. Here, then.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


He finds that he cannot move them. But The Magnificence can. Here is where the bond shared between him and the machine-organic being that is The Magnificence by way of his chairmanship comes into play, at least in this situation. He does not ask The Magnificence to move the tubors. And yet, they move. Here's the thing: he does ask them to move, and they do move, but he has no memory that they have moved. Nor does he have any memory of having wanted them to move nor of considering how to move them. Thus, he repeats this line of thought, this expression of will and desire, unaware than he has engaged in it previously. He finds himself, anew, at each re-positioning of the tubers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


So here he is. Standing on these huge rhyzomes connected from something he cannot see, far behind, to something else he cannot see, far ahead. Same thing up above. Same thing far below. He has found these, yet he cannot see the point at which he has found them because he is here, now. Cat's Cradle. ? Are the rhyzomes moving? Are they being moved? Can he move them? Is he supposed to execute before he makes the final choice to execute, from the committee-wide membership and not simply from those whose innards comprise this realm of stench and tubers. He could execute the moves of Cat's Cradle upon the rhyzomes. If he could move them. The tubers. The members.

Monday, April 26, 2010


That's an obvious one. People play Cat's Cradle because they enjoy making increasingly complex patterns. But they don't only enjoy making patterns -- the enjoyment is coupled with another enjoyment: the enjoyment of power. People who play Cat's Cradle enjoy learning how to create complex patterns and how to control these patterns. Further: not only do people enjoy the patterns and the control granted by getting good at the making the patterns, people who are true Cat's Cradle enthusiasts enjoy using other people to help in the process of control and mastery of the complex patterns. Move this thread here, loop it around there. Spread both hands apart. And then, when all is finished, or you run out of thread, one loop is loosed, and the whole three-dimensional pattern network falls limp upon the shag rug. She had a shag rug. It was orange and red with some yellow thrown in, here and there. He would play the yarn game with her and wonder why it was called a game. Could you win? But he never wondered about the game further than this. He never tried to learn the patterns for himself. He just liked watching her manipulate the yarn. He enjoyed hearing her voice and listening to what it wanted him to do. And he enjoyed doing what that voice wanted him to do. But he never learned the patterns, even though it occurred to him that he could learn if he liked.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


But not her. Them. This is not about her, and it never was. It was about the committee. It was about becoming a member of the order. It was about being able to ask questions because he had been elected to the order. She has been his guide, but she had not been anything more than his own constructed memory of her -- at least not for a long time. He sees a parallel, but he fights against seeing it. And so he sees it all the more. There was nothing that said she was his guide. She was his guide because he decided to define her in that way by following her. The parallel is that in this foul realm of metaphysical potato-rot blooming from the innards of a handful of committee members, the rhysome has been a guide, as well. And it, too, was not a guide until he decided, moments ago, to see it as one. Or, perhaps, as many. There are many guides around him.
Why do people play Cat's Cradle?

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Again. The same her that he followed down into the town before requesting sanctuary at the church. He cannot deal with this, now. He cannot deal with remembering how she used to play Cat's Cradle and how she would ask him to hold the yarn while she moved the string through and around itself making one string look like a network of strings. He was a young child. Six, maybe. She was a few years older. He doesn't remember. Of course he does. She was nine. But he cannot be thinking of this, now. He has to follow the rhyzomes. He has to pull the caves together and back into people. Because that's how you do it. The eyes make the rhyzomes, the rhyzomes connect the parts of the people, and he can pull on the rhyzomes and collapse the caves, the spaces between rhyzomes, back into people. And then he can go the opposite direction -- not into the people, not into the stench, but back out to the surfaces. The faces. The people on the outside. The person on the outside.

Friday, April 23, 2010


He has come to a point where numerous rhyzomes are seen, everywhere. They of different thicknesses: threads, strings, twines, ropes, cables. They replace his perception of walls and ceilings. They lead him to perceive the place where he is as not a cave but a web. There are no longer reference points such as floor, wall, ceiling. Now, there is this rhyzome in relation to that one, over there. But web is not the right word, he thinks. A child's game he had once seen her play comes to mind. Cat's Cradle.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


He comes to the eyes, through the rot, but the eyes are not eyes, anymore. They have grown into rhyzomes. He remembers from his youth the little black pellets that you'd put on the sidewalk and light a match to. The pellets would hiss and sputter like the fuse of a cartoon bomb, and a great big phallus of carbon would snake its way out of the pellet until the pellet was gone -- gone into the snake it had made and that was made of it. Made of the pellet. Same with the eyes. The eyes are not eyes anymore because they have made something else. Consumption and creation. Suicide -- Transformation -- Birth. [Suic]Eye[d] -- ove[t](r)-[ans]r[f](o)i[rmat]penes[ion]s ... Birth of?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The rot makes the eyes better. The rot makes the eyes purge themselves. He is submerged in the rot and the rot leads him to the eyes. The eyes have grown runners. The eyes have connected. The eyes reach out and connect. All because of the rot. Follow the rot to the eyes. Follow the rot to the eyes. Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the rot to the eyes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


This place is made of people. This place is made of rot. This place is made of eyes. This place is made of yes. He has put the people together, and this place is the result. He has made the place from the people, and now he cannot find the people. He must find them and then execute. He must find them and carry them out.

Monday, April 19, 2010


A rotten potato in the hand is worth two in the ceiling. But it's still a rotten potato. And what can a rotten potato actually worth? It is worth rot. There is rot in his house. It is abject. It is that quality that causes the body to purge. It is the subject and the verb. Purge. The eye looks away from itself and, in doing so, brings the image back to itself. Do dreams do the same? Wish fulfillment. We dream and purge ourselves of our wishes. Imagine, he thinks, what it would be to vomit one's dreams. Can a thing that rejects, that causes rejection, that is itself that rejection, have worth?

Sunday, April 18, 2010



It is a haiku:

Eyes fed with grim rot
O fertile rhyzome say yes
to ongoing life

or something like that. He has added the positive note: "to ongoing life" as opposed to, say, "decay and death." What can he say. He is a cock-eyed optimist.
But, back to the potato. What, probably, did he do with the it? Certainly, he didn't plant it. But he could have. And, actually, he still can. Carry it out.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Why was the potato in his ceiling?
Who put it there?
Why did they put it there?
How long had it been there?
Well, these, apparently, were questions that The Magnificent likes, because as soon as he asks, another warm burst of energy floods through his blood. But The Magnificence does not provide answers. There is no Internet citation to answer this question of personal history. There is, instead, a quite vigorous positive, compulsive response from The Magnificence:
which hunter then begins to hear as a related stream of sounds and letters:


But that's all.

Friday, April 16, 2010


He has smelled rotting potatoes, before. Perhaps when he was a child growing up in Maryland. He dimly remembers. Dimly remembers the circumstance. There is nothing dim about his memory of the smell. Perhaps he had smelled something in his house. Perhaps he had smelled it in the morning, had left the house for a bit, had come home, and the smell had been more insistent. Yet not enough to compel him to find it and do something about it. Perhaps he had gone out, again, toward evening, and come back to an overpowering offense that led him to snoop around a bit, testing the various corners and closets, and behind furniture, and even poke his head into the refrigerator and the oven. He had smelled the odor coming vaguely from the kitchen but, once in the kitchen, he sensed that it was elsewhere -- beyond the kitchen. Possibly in the small ante-room on the far end of the pantry. But no. Actually, there was a guest bedroom beyond the ante-room. He has not thought of this for years. There was a water-stained ceiling panel in the room. Perhaps he remembers the core of the smell coming from above him. And maybe he brought out a step-ladder, climbed up to reach the panel, and found the shrivelled, white-mold covered potato, part-liquid. And perhaps the smell brought him out of himself as only the most powerfully abject artifact can do. Artifact. Remnant of something. Of a history.
Why was a rotting potato in his ceiling?

Thursday, April 15, 2010


But can he manipulate this process? Can he cause The Magnificence to impart power to him by his thoughts, his desires, his emotions, his movements? Probably in a limited way. The Magnificence will not impart him with any knowledge asked for in any old way, whatever. No, either his questions have to be asked about a certain allowable array of subjects, or his questions need to be asked in a certain way.
He decides to experiment with the realm of smells. He decides to abandon the round and to plunge himself as deeply into this fetid area of abjection that the area -- the vision -- the environment -- allows him to go. Man the torpedoes; full speed ahead!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


He asks another question: Which of these seven definitions of "execute" should he use. There is no response. He loathes the idea of putting someone to death. Even interfaced with The Magnificence. The warm feeling has dissipated. Not in an unkind way, necessarily, but, he is realizing, any sort of intoxicating effects of the interface are very quickly assimilated by his own body, normalized by his metabolism -- or whatever the physiological term is -- and thus given a greater tolerence. This does not entirely please him. Yet another thought, a correlary of this one interests him: his growing tolerence of the effects of the interface reflects a growing capacity for whatever information and energy The Magnificence chooses to impart to him. Or, less gently, he is becoming less resistent to whatever garbage The Magnificence wants to pump into him.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


He asks these questions and, immediately, the answers present themselves in his mind, and he knows that they are not his own responses but those of The Magnificence. The answers come with a feeling of warmth and calm. An energy through his vains. Not a drug, but a charge. The charge is enabled by his interface with the Chair of The Magnificence in which he sits and of which he has become a part.
Is stench bad? Yes.
Is decay bad? Yes.
Is disease bad? Yes.
What does it mean to execute?
1. To put into effect; carry out
2. To perform; do
3. To create according to an existing design
4. To make valid
5. To perform a designated task
6. To put to death
7. To run (in the context of computer programming terminology)
(courtesy of
The Magnificence has sent him a definition from the Internet. The Magnificence is connected. Of course it is. There is nothing that is not. But this is a freakish thing because it means that wherever he is, there is Internet service, as well. He wonders whether he has access. He asks, mentally, about The Magnificence. Nothing. He asks about The Committee. Nothing. He asks about The Order. Nothing. He asks about what it means to execute, and is, once again, presented with the seven part definition. The Magnificence is his Net Nanny.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Is stench bad?
Is decay bad?
Is disease bad?
What does it mean to execute? What is he supposed to execute? One can execute good, one can execute evil.
What is he supposed to execute?

Sunday, April 11, 2010


And yet he must do something. He cannot simply wade through this morass of abjection for the sake of wading through it. He must judge; he must execute. He has lumped this group together, as is his ability, for the sake of discernment and/or organization. But now what? The group lumps together extremely easily, and at present, he cannot actually discern one being from another. There are only different aspects of the Foul. The aspects are different and yet they fit together ... harmoniously? A harmonious collectivity of stench? A fugue of odors. A fugue. A more advanced for of round, different from a round in that each voice, though beginning with the same melody nevertheless branches out to become its own melodic line. The same thing here, with odors.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Each of these people is a pit. Together, they are a cavern. A cavern of smells and all the horror the bad smells mean. He keeps the song in his head and joins the smell, plunges himself down into the cavern. The cavern and everything about it, except possibly for the smell, which is the offshoot of it -- everything into which he plunges himself -- is human. And, as he has already discovered, everything about the place is life. It is not for him to judge, he realizes, what is good and what is bad about the place. His gut says it is bad -- and was is this it? Always that question: what is the it? There is something that is his to judge, of course -- this business of execution -- but this is not really his, either, now, is it? Something inside him, something inside that mental voice that can sing the four, the five, the six and more voices of the round and keep track of them all -- something inside him, inside that voice twitches. He has been given something to judge, and he has been given it apart from his own will. Against his will, he has been elected to a position as chair of the committee, and part of that position involves choosing committee members to execute. The sense of right and wrong, he still has. And yet, another sense of right and wrong has been overlaid. Thesis Antithesis ... Yields? And against his will? Any of it? He isn't crippled or hog-tied, as a grandmother, long long ago used to say. None of this has been against his will, he decides. Except maybe for being here, wherever, in the first place. And if this is against his will, for sure, he might not ever know. What is the point, he wonders, of asking whether something is by his will or against his will?

Friday, April 9, 2010


down the stream gently down the stream merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream life is but a dream life is but a dream life is but a dream life is but a dream row row row your boat row row row your boat row row row your boat row row row your boat row row row your boat gently down the stream gently down the stream gently down the stream gently down the stream gently down the stream merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream life is but a dream life is but a dream life is but a dream life is but a dream row row row your boat life is but a dream merrily merrily merrily merrily gently down the stream merrily merrily merrily boat gently but a stream row row row your merrily gently but a dream life is but a dream merrily merrily row your boat gently row row your stream merrily merrily merrily merrily row row your dream life is but a dream merrily merrily merrily merrily gently down the stream row row row your boat gently row your boat gently row your boat gently row your boat gently row your boat gently

Thursday, April 8, 2010


He has learned the song as a small child. He has learned that you can sing the song at the same time that others are singing the song, and that you can sing it starting at different times. He has learned that a song that you can sing in this way is called a round. Any number of people, of groups of people, can join in, and, if they come in in the right places, it always sounds correct. The song grows in power. It swells. It hypnotizes, it makes everyone one voice. Different rhythms -- secondary, tertiary, and on and on -- begin to make themselves known, begin to differentiate themselves. The song begins to sound different than it did at first, and it continues to sound different in different ways. So long as there are new voices, new groups of voices, adding to the song, the song can continue indefinitely. He has thought of the children's song, the round, at first as a defense mechanism against the stench of this group, this group into which he must venture. But, perhaps the round is not a defense mechanism against, but a forward gesture into the group. The round, which he is starting to be able to hear in his head -- much as he has heard the double speak, earlier, with The Great Magnificence and others on his journey -- brings him into the group. It replaces the smell. It replaces it but does not obliterate it. It is his smell, recognized by the group -- and, unlike the other people, individuals, whose minds he has seen, the group is aware of his presence and is able to react to his presence -- the song is his smell. The song is acceptable. And he must be made acceptable to this group. The song, the round, his singing the song, the round, the hearing of the s(s)m(o)e(n)l(g)l, the round teaches him some of what he must know, now.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Row, row, row your boat

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

Life is but a dream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is but a dream

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


This must be what it is like to be a dog. A world of smells. A map unseen, unknown, to the usual human awareness. To be aware of the hidden symphonies of odor, the blind cacophonies of fragrance. This is all too much. Overwhelming. He hadn't smelled it, before. The senses are as much your friend as they are your enemy. He is powerless before such an assault. But it is not the smell that is assaulting him. It is the newness of his own ability to sense the smell. His own abilities are assaulting him. He, that which he has become, that which he is becoming, is assaulting him. It is an assault without any direct physical pain or damage. It is an assault that is harmless to his body. He does not fear for his body. Or if he does, the fear passes quickly. He fears for his mind -- for the depth of anxiety and loathing into which it has entered in the abject awareness of the nose, of his head, of his lungs, of his body. For now, the smell is beyond the physical (if physical it ever were) and into the metaphysical, the mind, the spirit. It is a smell beyond smell. He fears for his mind. Yet, even in the midst of this fear, he can feel that the fear will pass and he will, in all likelihood, become stronger for it. He attempts to embrace the smell. To let himself flow into it, be bullied by his own mind's reaction, to be bullied by his own senses, to lose his fears in his own fearing, to lose his anxieties in his own penchant for anxiety. And he will try, he realizes, to enter into his own sense of the abject with no confidence in ever coming out on another side, no conviction that he will be able to transcend, nor even that transcendence is an available option.

Monday, April 5, 2010


He knows from the way his own mind works that smell is the closest of the senses to memory. If that's true for everybody, then this stinky lot has more memories than the Museum of Natural History. If, to the contrary, it is only true for him, then he can use this connection that is part of his mind to come to whatever conclusion is expected of him. And he can do it on his own. he is strong enough to do it. But what is this bit about being strong enough to do it? This is new, he thinks. It's as though what he is supposed to do is a good thing, a moral thing, the right and upstanding thing. The sacred thing that you are supposed to know, deep down, is correct in of itself without anyone else telling you. The type of thing in which you know it and you know that you know it. This thing that he is supposed to do he knows should not feel right -- it should not feel miles within feeling right -- and yet it does. Is this brainwashing? Probably. He wonders what he would think were he to stand up from this chair in which he is currently being embraced by The Magnificence. Damn but this group smells bad... It is not a funny thing, either, like the intrusive and comic odor of flatulence or of a near empty plastic gallon of milk that some chuckle-head leaves out but hidden behind the couch so that he can step on it and leave the people in the room wondering what the hell the smell is. This is funny stuff. The smell of these visions, of this group of people, however, is far from funny. It is tragic. Or it could be tragic. It could be the smell of an on-coming tragedy. A potential tragedy. Of something on the way to becoming a tragedy. He couldn't smell it before he had come into these visions. He could not smell it simply by looking around at the group -- at the committee -- that he had joined. But by golly he smells it now. And it is not the smell of death. It is the smell of life. This is the understanding that comes of the sense, and this understanding cannot be avoided, as it is brutal and cloying.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Up until now, the visions he has seen -- the histories and tales of personal psyche to which he has been privy -- have been, well, visual. And, for the most part, narrative. Except, perhaps, for the committee member whose existence is defined by fear. He imagines, however, that there is a narrative pretty close to the skin were he of a mind to seek for it. Unless, of course, that member were utterly psychotic, which would not be entirely out of the question. For any of them. Bunch of loons. I mean, he thinks, what the hell kind of committee is this, anyway? He has yet to find a logical, rational one in the bunch. But maybe that is the point. Maybe The Magnificence has put this group together for reasons other than executive, judicial, or legislative. And he is now in a position to understand The Magnificence in a more ...intimate... manner. Obviously, his sitting in the chair that is one and the same as The Magnificence, and being at least in part consumed by that chair, means that, somewhere down the line, he and The Magnificence are the same. Artificially, or cybernetically joined, but by whatever means, the same nonetheless. But he is still able to think as he has, before. But there are extensions. He is no longer himself, but he is also still himself. He is not himself; he is The Magnificence. He is not The Magnificence; he is himself. The Magnificence is himself and no longer the Magnificence. There are t(o)w(n)o(e). Townoe. Nonsense word. Means more in writing, he realizes, than in the actual being. And yet he envisions the collating of two and one and this will have to do. But do for what? Fodder for further philosophizing, in which he has no doubt he will further indulge, and at the first idle moment he gets to do so. But somewhat more urgent... no, somewhat more interesting... things immediately await. Such as this particularly disgusting smelling group of committee members. There is no sense among this lot -- he can see even from here, without delving into their minds -- no sense but smell. And in this realization, he discovers a manner of shorthand: he can lump all of these malodorous folk -- the half-dozen of them -- into one being, one collective identity. He imagines he can do this with the previous five, as well, and knows that he has learned something he can use in his new rule as chair and executioner. But for now, on to the Smelly One, as he now calls the collective unsavory group.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Hmmm. A regular smorgasbord of the wounded human psyche is what we have here, he thinks. And I have to choose one of these poor schmucks or schmuckettes to execute. I wonder whether the word "execute" means "to kill" in this fucked up place as it does in the world that I come from. And, as he ponders this question, his mind, his own dear, pathological mind, itself now a wonder of human psychosis, returns to the dull, tiresome ache of a question that had previously been dogging it: was there a world from which I have come previous to this one? What is the existential puzzle -- am I a man dreaming that I was a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I was a man? Well, I'm sure as hell not a butterfly, am I? He has only managed to get into the minds of about half, maybe a little fewer than half, of the committee members. This is wearing me out. How do psychologists do it? Maybe that's what he is: a virtual world psychologist. But I have no answers, he thinks. I have no therapeutic abilities. I just view it all, just feel it all, as though looking at some huge mental 3-D smell-o-vision. Except for the fact that he doesn't smell anything in the viewings of the minds. But the analogy still fits nicely, he thinks. And, as for the smell-o-vision, well... little does he know how soon he will be wishing that he had no nose, so horrid are the odors he is about to encounter with the next group of committee folk he will be examining.

Friday, April 2, 2010


The fifth. A story.
It is either late at night or very early in the morning. She has gotten off the train and taken a cab to the house. When she gets to the house, she walks up to the door and stands there, motionless, for a moment or two. She does not knock. She does not live here. The lights are off and a car is in the driveway. She breaks into the house, but her memory does not indicate to him how she manages to get the door open. Inside, there are stairs directly in front of the door. Her memory gives him no clue as to whether she has previously been inside the house. But she moves about with a mixture of confidence and ... joy? She climbs the stairs and finds the bedrooms. She opens a bedroom door. A woman sleeps in a large bed. A California King. Gently, the committee member whose memory he is picking, approaches the bed and bends over the woman who is sleeping in the bed. She touches the sleeping woman's shoulder and, with a subtle and yet commanding movement guides the woman to rise from the bed and to walk out of the room. Whether the woman is still asleep he is unable to discern. It is early Summer and, therefore, there is no need to wear a jacket. The committee member continues to guide the sleeping woman out of the house and into the back yard where there is a very large wooden crate. The crate is open and the door (cover? front?) lies against one of the inside walls. The committee member guides the sleeping woman into the crate and then enters the crate, herself. There is a mallot and some nails on the floor of the crate. The committee member repositions the door. It is the type of door that can be nailed into place from the inside which is what the committee member proceeds to do with a deft expertise that suggests to him that this might not be the first time she has done this. She accomplishes the nailing with complete silence. When the crate has been nailed shut, his memory shifts automatically from the committee member's perspective to his own. He watches the crate. Nothing happens. Then, he can see no more. Like a film that has come to the end of its reel, the memory ends abruptly and he is jerked out of the woman's mind.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Moving on to the fourth committee member. Fear. Nothing but fear.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of acceptance.
Fear of failure.
Fear of success.
Fear of alienation.
Fear of intimacy.
Fear of speaking.
Fear of keeping quiet.
Fear of sleeping.
Fear of insomnia.
Fear of eating.
Fear of drinking.
Fear of starving.
Fear of thirst.
Fear of swimming.
Fear of flying.
Fear of walking.
Fear of running.
Fear of sittiing still.
Fear of suffocating.
Fear of hyperventilating.
Fear of forgetting.
Fear of remembering.
Fear of dogs.
Fear of cats.
Fear of horses.
Fear of birds.
Fear of insects.
Fear of spiders.
Fear of germs.
Fear of mollusks.
Fear of spaghetti.
The one thing, apparently, that did not fear, was death.
Perhaps he had not thought of it, yet.
Perhaps he would suggest this fear to him.

...Where did The Magnificence find these people?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Next one. Full of grey space. Shapes move throughout. There is no emotion, there is no particular spirit in any sense that he can recognize. There is no place for it, here, within this person. There is no noise, either. No sound of any kind. This person has some strange shit going on, he thinks. All is numb except for the shapes. It is hard even to say that all is numb because numb is a thing of comparative awareness: numb does not exist on its own -- it is the absence of feeling. He does not know that there has ever been feeling, here. All is shape. All is movement of shape. There is perhaps a language of the movement of shape. A dance. A choreography. A geometric vocabulary. Perhaps there is none of this. He doesn't know. This committee member has not spoken, so far as he can remember, although perhaps she has spoken before he became a member. But he wonders whether it is possible to generate language with an interior self such as the one he is seeing. At first, he thinks that there is nothing to talk about, here, except for the shapes. But then he realizes that there is something fascinating to ponder about these shapes. Do these shapes generate language? Here is the puzzle: is the force that originates language linguistic or a-linguistic? (Or could they be pre-linguistic? And is pre-linguistic linguistic or a-linguistic?) Are these shapes a component of language or are they something else that comes before? Are they an alphabet (and thus a component of language) or are they a non-language system out of which, perhaps, a language awareness might arise?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


This guy's not too interesting. All the clinginess, all the hurt. He hasn't all that much sympathy for him. Grow a pair, he thinks. He turns his attention to the next person. Rage. Blistering colors -- bright blood red, radioactive greens. Blinding whites. Pain and joy combined into one sensation that is as repulsive as it is alluring. Complete self-interest combined with complete lack of self-awareness. Ego without superego. But very little in the way of intellect. And almost nothing in terms of spiritual acuity. The woman has powerful emotions but, at the same time, is overwhelmingly devoid of any deeper sensation. A nerve both raw and numb. Motivation without goal. He looks for pathos and finds none. He cannot understand. Here is a person, perhaps, who knows nothing of introspection. She could be a giant tongue -- a device for tasting yet not for discernment nor aesthetic appreciation. And there is nothing to speak of as desire. Neither love nor lust. Her self-interest has more to do with an ill-defined insecurity than with a will to succeed. Her rage, similarly, arises not from hurt but from a sense of entitlement based on an amorphous condescension that is, so far as he can detect, entirely irrational.

Monday, March 29, 2010


He chooses the person nearest to him. Parental abuse. Drug addiction (his own). A history of self-loathing that reaches back into his early childhood when he is yelled at continuously by his parents and his grandparents and his brothers and his sisters and his cousins and his aunts (and his brothers and sisters and his cousins and his aunts). Jeez, this guy is a pathetic schmuck, he thinks. Not his to judge, he thinks, but then, well, actually, now it is his to judge, isn't it? But hold on -- he watches the man's life unfold. There are a series of personal relationships: familial, professional, romantic. The familial: a submissive father and a domineering mother. The above mentioned verbal abuses. An aunt who loves him in more ways than one (eww...) and then berates him for smashing the mantel urn that contains her late husband's ashes. She says he has done so on purpose, and he agrees with her. Her dead husband is too much on her mind, the man thinks. Three's a crowd (double eww...) He plays for both teams. He has girlfriends and boyfriends. Some of the relationships have been serious, but all have ended at the point when he has become obsessive. He has scared off every one of his relationships by becoming, as they say, clingy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


We must execute. I do not know why. Why must we execute? Because you have been elected chair. I don't want to be chair. It is not your choice. We must execute. I must execute. We must choose. I must choose. They are executed at o(m)u(y)r pleasure. Is this the duty of the chair? It is. It is y(our) duty. Look before you at the members. Look through them at their histories, and make the decision. How many must w(I)e choose? Y(w)o(e)u will know. It will be plainly evident. There will be no doubt. I will not do it. You cannot yet say that you won't do it. I know that I will not do it because it is not my nature to kill people. You are hunter. You called me by that name. It is not a name; it is a designation. Why do you not then say "you are a hunter?" Because you are beyond names. You cannot know what you can or cannot do, what you will or will not do, until you do it. I will not kill people. Your duty is to look over the histories. Why is it my duty? This is not a question that you may ask, at this point. You must first serve on the committee, and then, when you have served an appropriate length of time, you may be assumed into the order. But you may never be assumed into the order if you do not carry out the duties of the chair. There is more to this than you are able to know, at this juncture, and because of this, you are in no position to judge. You are to carry out your duties, or you will no longer serve, as chair, as committee member, or as hunter. Do I serve you? You serve yourself. Am I you? It is not that easy, hunter. Now, look at the members and let their histories come over you that you may pass judgment upon them. Be confident in the propriety of your duty.
He closes his eyes. He opens them and begins the process.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


He looks at the Committee. He can see its make up much more clearly, now, and his mind, though still filled with hallucination and visions of inner histories, is less confused. Running a committee should not be so difficult so long as there is a program, and so long as you don't try to push something through that no one on the committee wants. Better to run with them than against them. And if you do have to push something through, best work things such that they think it is their idea to have the particular item or items passed. Best they push you. He doesn't think this way. He is thinking this way, but he doesn't think this way. This is his first committee, and he doesn't think this way, but now he is thinking this way, and it feels comfortable as he sits in this chair. He is hunter, and hunter doesn't think this way because hunter -- and hunter is who, or what, he is -- is hungry and out for something, though, of course, he has not yet figured out what it is that he is out for -- or, which is correct, that for which he is out. But he will, soon enough. And this committee which h(I)e chair(s) will lead him into it, directly.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I. Approval of Minutes
II. Comments from The Magnificence, Coordinator at Large
III. Election of Chairperson
IV. Execution of Chosen Committee Members (at pleasure of Chairperson)
V. Discussion of Assimilation Program, Recruitment, Events.
VI. Scheduling of Next Meeting (please bring calendars)
VII. Other

Thursday, March 25, 2010


And now, noble hunter, new amongst us and bearer of great perceptions, do rise before the committee and accept your elected role as leader of this committee.
A force lifts him, and he moves toward The Magnificence. Again, as much earlier, he knows he can resist this force, knows it is fully within his power to do so, and yet he does not resist. A calm has come over him -- the calm of a purpose and of a role, although he knows not what that purpose nor that role are. He approaches The Magnificence and notices, for the first time, that The Magnificence is itself the form of a chair. He sits. He is enveloped, his body conforms, his mind quiets. And yet, far in the back of his consciousness, a voice that is his and yet removed from him speaks to him -- and he has heard this voice before, as well. The voice reminds him of the presence of anxiety. He knows there is anxiety, he knows there is something to cause this anxiety and to validate it. Yet this knowledge is now more an intellectual recognition that a visceral feeling.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


And then a further silence cuts the air. His thoughts, the collages that surround him and add to his confusion dissipate with an arid clarity. It is the voice of The Magnificence, no longer internal, no longer non-symbolic, but now verbal, audible, and terrible. We shall have a vote for chair of this committee! it says. I nominate the hunter, for he has a foresight and an insight that the rest of you lack.
Motion to accept!
All in favor?
All opposed?
So passed! Hunter is the new chair!
Shit, says he.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Is it possible that the committee is no longer meeting? He has gotten nothing out of it. He has more or less been unable to keep track of its progress, so busy has he been with his various extended perceptions -- that which lies beneath rather than that which is on the surface. Thoughts and feelings rather than business. He looks at the people around him, and his thoughts are so energetic, so, well, busy, that the people themselves begin to disappear in front of him. Which is to say he sees their thoughts but he does not see -- or rather, he loses track of, the physical presence that houses those thoughts. Does the committee continue to meet? He has contributed nothing. Are people talking?

Monday, March 22, 2010


There is a poetic beauty in the most ludicrous of surroundings and within the deepest levels of chaos and violence. Haiku fly about in the air as he tries, unsuccessfully, to put himself entirely into one frame of mind. He is unable to focus on anything for long. He has never been able to disguise his emotions; he has never been able to wear the mask that he sees those around him wearing. It is a gift newly received that he is able to see the disturbed thoughts behind those masks. Perhaps he has also himself gained the ability to be opaque; perhaps no one around him recognizes that he is experiencing his own parade of anxieties, his own perpetual haze of confusion. But that's what has been happening: haiku have appeared to him in the air -- as haiku would appear if they were not made out of words. Synesthetically. And can he now do this? Can he taste sound? Can he sense words as colors? He does not know. He thinks he can. No immediate matter, although he has a bit of an insight: perhaps his purpose in this place is to feel confusion. Perhaps this is his power. Perhaps his muse is his hunger, and if he satisfies his hunger he will no longer be inspired, and perhaps he will lose what little identity -- what little cohesive identity, anyhow, that he still possesses.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Energy takes form
An alphabet of metal
Great Machinery

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Apply Sappho's words:
"If you are squeamish, do not
prod the beach rubble."

Friday, March 19, 2010


The Magnificence:
Mechanical or Human?
Good? Evil? Other?

Thursday, March 18, 2010


it is what it is
it is what it is it is
what it is it is

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


language of vision
images without symbol

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


power, forever,
must reproduce its sources
or face extinction

Monday, March 15, 2010


collages of pain
(anxious and disordered mind)
the soul's private art

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Gradually, he is able to struggle his way past the clutter of the collages such that he can hear the continuation of the meeting. The members argue back and forth as though engaged in an extremely important battle. The current topic: should a new committee be formed to overlook the process of new committee formation? He is taken aback by the level of internal conflict within each member and how this level of internal conflict is masked by the performance of bickering and petty administrivia.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Whether the others around him share in his ability to see personal history, he cannot tell. What he does come to see is that his outburst apparently has little to no effect upon the meeting. Perhaps his psychic epiphany is itself the response of The Magnificence to his outburst. Although he had first thought that the members of the committee feared for his head after hearing his outburst, he now thinks that the members of the committee share with him no particular empathy but are rather too bound up in their own memories to react to him one way or the other, except as it might affect themselves.

Friday, March 12, 2010


It's truly amazing what he is able to sense about the people -- his recently met fellow committee members -- seated around him at the table. Through some bizarre shit, The Magnificence is able to put into his mind, collages of personal histories, emotions, prayers, and dreams come flooding into his head. And the overwhelming conclusion he gets from all of it is that, despite the differences from person to person, each collage of personal history is somehow disconnected, somehow shorted out... somehow wrong. And the people themselves are aware of it. But they don't know what is wrong with the memories because, although attached to the memories are real feelings, undeneath all of these memories that seem real is a things that says no. And this thing bothers them more than the memories themselves, because they don't know where or what the thing is. But, for himself, he feels no such doubting thing. He is sure of his own memories, completely. And perhaps this freaks him out as much as the doubting thing he senses from the other committee members freaks them out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


There's one guy who was living in a shack
in Pennsylvania, somewhere. He drank
a case of beer a day and on his back
were faded blue tattoos. In dreams he sank
and woke up here with all the rest. He thought
himself a fellow charming, rich and bright
but he mis-reads the stuff his mind has wrought
and knows it, too, somehow. Another's plight
of memory reveals domestic strife
but all that she remembers feels like joy
and hatreds smell of happiness. Her life,
she knows, is full of stories ill-retrieved:
her trust is gone, and pleasures have deceived.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Immediately, looking round, he sees
or, rather, feels, or thinks, or hears (or smells?)
a slew of histories, and none to please
but all are full of fresh and sundry hells.
'Tis true, he only sees the sitting men
and women, only hears the grumbling room,
but in the theatre of his mind a plen-
itude of people's secret lives in bloom
with nightmares. Every one has lost his way
and every one has memories to patch
together of a former life and day.
Yet never do these scattered mem'ries match
completely what had truly been. And this
they know and, therefore, never will see bliss.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


He stops, and all about him fairly gape,
for such an outburst simply is not done
if speaker wants to keep his mortal shape
or any mortal shape, since everyone
around the table has been oft transformed
or mutilated fairly at the limb
and left for dead or just to walk half-warmed
as he has. All have memories gone dim
occasionally flaring who knows when.
Now, as he shuts his mouth and looks about,
He realizes that these other men
are just as he is. There can be no doubt
that his is not the only spirit caged
nor his the only soul to've been enraged.

Monday, March 8, 2010


The tongue that starts to speak with angry force
Gains power in inertia. Words on words
come forth from him in fast then faster course.
And as the words continue, strong, he girds
himself in courage with the sound they make
until that sound, which all are meant to hear
now makes him deaf. The flow of words then take
from him the sight that wisdom would make clear
and make it clear that he has lost his head
-- a phrase which soon may not be figured speech...
The Cold Magnificence moves not. Instead,
It keeps its peace, though peace may not remain
When all his words have passed, and passed in vain.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


And what about my fuckin' hand!!! he screams,
-- a man who generally never swears --
but now, all bets are off, in these extremes
of strange hallucination that impairs
the sense of social consciousness and calm.
It's all been much too much for him -- a fact
that now seems obvious. A bitter balm
is madness. Fantasy is left intact
while reason takes the road less trod upon
and disappears to regions not yet mapped.
In madness is the soul soon woebegone;
in melancholy is the spirit trapped --
between a parody of happiness,
and fury that the self is powerless.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Though first he thinks to wait his turn to speak,
His temper gets the best of him and Rob-
erts Rules of Order temper not his pique
of indignation. He can't keep his gob
from shouting out in rage: "What is this place???
And why am I entrapped and wandering
from void to shapeless landscapes?? Show your face,
Whatever demon force is squandering
my memories, my history, my life,
else send me back to where I was before
the Darkness puked me out. What subtle knife
Has cut both flesh and spirit to the core,
And severed me complete from everything,
That now, there is no sense to anything???

Friday, March 5, 2010


Next, on to matters of the current day!
The welcoming of members newly joined,
And Yon Magnificence claims final say
o'er any wit or witticism coined
when introductions make their way around
the table. Well then, sputter, hem and haw
and verily foresooth the furied sound
of conversation 'scaped the horrid maw
and Yon Magnificence who spoke prentent-
iously though yet with non-symbolic noise
and image, too. (Now, he was sore intent
to ask his questions, get his thoughts well-poised,
and finally, by damn, to get somewhere!
A voice within him said... It's only fair...)

Thursday, March 4, 2010


But first, the minutes are discussed in full,
As is appropriate committee work.
He takes good note of all -- non-sensical
and sensible alike, of who's a jerk
and who seems civil, prone to graciousness.
The contents that comprise the minutes, though...
Are wholly alien to him: a mess
of terms and phrases written more to show
officiousness and pride in finding fault
with everything as though approval meant
a job ill-done. Consensus brings to hault
the bickering, O joy! Do all assent?
A motion's made and seconded, at last
And all say aye. Thus are the minutes passed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


And who should be presiding, after all?
The Great Magnificence! That's who! ... or what...
He recognizes This Great Thing and Tall,
yet no sick nerves now clench him in the gut.
Again, he sees the varied shapes that move
and hears the noises, human and machined
and feels, in non-symbolic speech, the groove
in which his path was set, his hunger keaned.
And when he saw it, Terrible and Grand,
He nonetheless began to feel relieved
(He also noticed, now rejoined, his hand...)
For here could answers start to be retrieved!
His heart began to sing with joy: "Ha-hah!
"Tra-laa, tra-laa, tra-laa, tra-laa, la laa!"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


The music, now subsiding, clears the air
And, thus, once more, his thoughts come back to him
And he becomes a man, again. So, there
he is with other once-more men. And, dim,
the memory of why he's here returns.
Around a table, they are all now sat
as an agenda is now read. By turns
each member -- chewing slowly on the fat
of items -- of his own importance speaks
portentiously. Ahh! Great Committee, Fine
and True! Your voicing, doused with import, reeks
of air whose notes, though recently divine
in harmony are now discordant squeaks
and squawks. But it's unseemly to deride,
So, call to order, You who now preside!

Monday, March 1, 2010


"Now give the unearthed Instrument a hand,"
a shouting voice demanded, half in jest,
and thus the shell of man received his stand
amidst a dozen shells. And of his Quest
the man -- the Instrument -- now barely thought
but full embraced the music as it came.
As into the ensemble he was brought,
he knew how great It was -- how great the Game
of Music: improvising melody
while following the voices that surround,
and losing self to wond'rous rhapsody
while cares of any other things are drowned.
While Music played, all shared in noble fun
But now it's stopped, the Meeting is begun.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


The Instrument, when raised from humble dirt,
Becomes a thing of finery renowned.
The Man whose being suffers great the hurt
Emerges nobly with a newborn sound.
But whether dream or conscious will becomes
Him now, as tool for Music must he rise.
And rise he does with Melody and Drums
The first from Laughter and the next from cries
Of working hands whose shovels clear the air
With powerful percussion. None can see,
However, how the Instrument will fair
And none can, with a certainty, decree
If Future lends a patron or an ear
Or History a legacy's career.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


The dirt and the muck is, at last, cleared. The shovels make air of the dirt -- or so the impression becomes to the Instrument that he has become. The shovels make air of the dirt by removing anything from around the Instrument that is not dirt. A convoluted way of viewing the world. The way to play a beautiful piece of music on an Instrument, a famous musician once said, is to play all the right notes at all the right times and in all the right ways. The laughter is now air-born and sounds different than when it was produced while the Instrument was buried in the earth. The air has a certain quality to it that was not immediately discernible while the world, as it were, was Dirt. The air is loud. The air is music. The material that makes the air is not only a mixture of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other gasses. Air is music made of those gasses. Once, one would have thought -- the Instrument would have thought, before it became (before he became) the Instrument -- the air carries the music. Now, as the Instrument, he sees things inverted: The music is the vessel for the air. The music comes first. The shovels clear the Dirt and Music is the Air that fills everything that is not Dirt. Air - Dirt = Music. Or Music - Air = Dirt. He has been hungry. The hunger has directed him. The hunger would have directed him, that is, were it not for the constant parade of events that has been happening to him -- events that have brought him here. But isn't here okay? He is the Instrument; He is laughing; He is bathed in music; He isn't hungry. There is a constant exchange of pressure, and this produces the sound... There doesn't need to be balance. When there is balance, there is no sound, there is no music, there is no use for the Instrument. For any instrument. There is only the death of sound and of all which depends upon Sound. He is raised out of the Dirt, and as he is raised, he is laughing the laughter of musical instruments.

Friday, February 26, 2010


The digging sound creates a percussive accompaniment for the laughter. The percussive sound gets louder and more insistent the closer it comes. The sound of the digging begins to sound like the word for the tools that do the digging: sho-vels, shuh-vels, shh-vlz, sh-v-lz... The digging will be here, soon. The shovels and their digging. They will dig up the instrument and maybe stop the laughing, or else the laughing will stop because the instrument has been unearthed, regardless of whether by shovel or by clawing hand or by the natural, slow process of erosion. No... The shovels will not stop the laughter. The instrument will continue to laugh. The laughter and the shovelsounds make strange music together. It is not unpleasant. There are those who are listening to it. They are not the ones with the shovels, however. Well, some of them might be. Who can tell? Any sound, any sounds, and noise, any noises, soft, loud, melodic, a-tonal, harmonious, discordant, any sound (and some say any silence) will be music. Screaming will be music. Joyous, ritualistic music. Music of living and dying. Music of sloth or of industry. Music of peacefulness or of bellicosity. Music of power or of impotence. And we all have this music in us. We all laugh and scream at the behest of our own visceral experience, conscious or unconscious, abject or ecstatic.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


He is in a world of dirt. He is buried. Yet, he can breathe. He clutches the hand. He has come to think of it, by this point, not as "his" hand but as "the" hand. It is interesting, he thinks, while suspended in the dirt, how little time it takes to disassociate. He has lost "his" hand, and then he has found "his" hand, but now, it has become "the" hand. He can recognize it, he thinks -- with his own ridiculous brand of humor -- because he sees the back of it, which he knows so very well that he compares how well he knows all other things to how he knows this. But now, he reflects, again, that "his" hand might not actually still be the same as "the" hand. When has "his" hand turned into "the" hand? Perhaps when it has turned into a fish. But it has only turned into a fish when he has begun remembering... and, in particular, when he has remembered catching a trout with his father. He begins to laugh. And it is a laughter born of the abject. It is a laughter not of humor but of purgation. He laughs for a long time, and he laughs more loudly than he is aware. And then another sound begins to accompany the laughter, perhaps to respond to it. But he does not care, at this point, because he is all laughter. His body is an instrument of laughter. He does not hear the other sound, the sound of the digging which is being done to find him and to unbury that instrument. And, perhaps, when the instrument is unearthed, it will turn back into a body. But whether it turns back into "his" body or "a" body, remains to be seen. This is the thought that sits somewhere in that instrument he has become. And, obscured as this thought is by the noise of laughter, it is the only thought of which he is aware.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


At last, a shape becomes evident in the muck. The hand. He pulls on it. It does not come loose. The flesh does not lend itself to a good grip, and he has to reposition himself several times before he gets a good hold on it. When he does, it is a while before there is any give. The hand is... attached to something... He has to dig around the hand... to clear the muck. The hand is gripping something. A handle. He struggles a while and, at last, the hand and what it is gripping comes loose. It is, in fact, a handle. But nothing comes with the handle. Instead, the ground beneath him begins to tremble. He hears a rushing sound, and then there is no ground... only a falling and the threat of being buried alive.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


In there. The finger is quite adamant. There can be no doubt. Of course, he has been assuming that the finger is leading him toward the meeting place. But, he reflects, even if it hasn't been, it would have been rather... awkward... not to follow where it lead. Not that he had tried. So, into the cave. Down, down, and down some more. A world of mud and roots. His feet suck in and out of the mud at each step. Roots almost trip him from below; from the earthen roof they tangle about his head and shoulders as he makes his way. At one point, bothered by the roots, he drops the hand. It is lost in the mud. A shot of panic. He bends down to the floor, kneeling into the mud, digging into it, hand and stump. Sweat itches as it trickles hotly down his grimy forehead. He has to pick his nose, as always happens when he has both... hands... engaged. He wipes at his nose with his forearm, and the grainy grime of the mud smears across his face without really soothing the itch. His clothes cling to his back with sweat. The heat. The sweat. The grime. He begins to dig more urgently... not digging, exactly, but scooping, because the mud is not solid so much as a kind of gooey sandy substance. He is thankful, somewhere in the back of his brain, that he is not sinking into it. But, by and large, he is not thinking. He is fully engaged in digging. Scooping. Shoving the muck with his stump into his hand and then flinging it away. Just away.

Monday, February 22, 2010


So follow the finger. Follow the finger. He follows the finger. As he does, he mumbles, "Follow the finger; follow the finger," to himself. A ludicrous mantra. He is following the directions of a part of himself that has been severed and, at least within his quasi-hallucinatory awareness, been transformed into, of all things, a fish. Oh, the symbolism... This whole place is a great big smelly pit of symbolism. Stinking of fish (or of his hand...) A funny thought comes to him that, perhaps, this handfish has become a red-herring. Ha ha. Misguiding him. Throwing him off some path he is supposed to be pursuing. Throwing him from whatever hunt he is on that makes it proper that others in this realm should call him hunter. ...Or attracting whatever bugaboo it is that he is supposed to be either hunting or hiding from in sanctuary. And he knows, or feels it, as he feels everything he knows of late, that he is no longer in sanctuary. Or maybe that he has not yet reached sanctuary... for the priests who turned into the monster, a monster which cut off his hand in granting his desire to serve on a commitee -- they(it) were(was) hardly (a) character(s) acting as he imagines (a) character(s) acting who (is) are granting sanctuary to a weary and bewildered traveller. His mind is now thinking doubly. He finds it second nature to speak to himself of singular and plural things simultaneously. The finger continues to point, his hunger continues to grow, he continues to wonder about sanctuary. The finger takes him back into a forest, and eventually to a cave -- more of a hole carved out of a hilly slope rising out of the green, muddy tangles of the forest floor.