Wednesday, January 30, 2013


the stranger song (by leonard cohen)

it's true that all the men you knew were dealers

who said they were through with dealing
every time you gave them shelter-
I know that kind of man;
it's hard to hold the hand of anyone
who is reaching for the sky just to surrender;
who is reaching for the sky just to surrender.

and then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind
you find he did not leave you very much, not even laughter-
like any dealer he was watching for the card
that is so high and wild
he'll never need to deal another.
he was just some joseph looking for a manger;
he was just some joseph looking for a manger.

and then leaning on your window sill
he'll say one day you caused his will
to weaken with your love and warmth and shelter-
and then taking from his wallet
an old schedule of trains, he'll say
I told you when I came I was a stranger;
I told you when I came I was a stranger.

but now another stranger seems
to want you to ignore his dreams
as though they were the burden of some other-
oh, you've seen that man before
his golden arm dispatching cards
but now it's rusted from the elbows to the finger;
and he wants to trade the game he plays for shelter;
yes, he wants to trade the game he knows for shelter.

ah, you hate to see another tired man
lay down his hand
like he was giving up the holy game of poker;
and while he talks his dreams to sleep
you notice there's a highway
that is curling up like smoke above his shoulder;
it is curling just like smoke above his shoulder.

you tell him to come in, sit down,
but something makes you turn around-
the door is open, you can't close your shelter;
you try the handle of the road,
it opens, do not be afraid-
it's you, my love, you, who are the stranger
it's you, my love, you, who are the stranger.

well, I've been waiting, I was sure
we'd meet between the trains we're waiting for-
I think it's time to board another;
please understand, I never had a secret chart
to get me to the heart of this
or any other matter;
when he talks like this
you don't know what he's after-
when he speaks like this,
you don't know what he's after.

let's meet tomorrow if you choose
upon the shore, beneath the bridge
that they are building on some endless river-
then he leaves the platform
for the sleeping car that's warm
you realize, he's only advertising one more shelter-
and it comes to you: he never was a stranger-
and you say ok, the bridge, or someplace later.

and then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind
you find he did not leave you very much, not even laughter-
like any dealer, he was watching for the card
that is so high and wild
he'll never need to deal another.
he was just some joseph looking for a manger;
he was just some joseph looking for a manger.

and then leaning on your window sill
he'll say one day you caused his will
to weaken with your love and warmth and shelter-
and then taking from his wallet
an old schedule of trains, he'll say
I told you when I came I was a stranger;
I told you when I came I was a stranger.


lullaby   (by the cure)

on candy stripe legs the spiderman comes
softly through the shadow of the evening sun
stealing past the windows of the blissfully dead
looking for the victim shivering in bed
searching out fear in the gathering gloom
and suddenly a movement in the corner of the room
and there is nothing I can do when I realize with fright
that the spiderman is having me for dinner tonight

quietly he laughs and shaking his head
creeps closer now, closer to the foot of the bed
and softer than shadow and quicker than flies
his arms are around me and his tongue in my eyes
be still be calm be quiet now my precious boy
don't struggle like that or I will only love you more
for it's much too late to get away or turn on the light
the spiderman is having you for dinner tonight

and I feel like I'm being eaten
by a thousand million shivering furry holes
and I know that in the morning
I will wake up in the shivering cold
the spiderman is always hungry

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

a system of inter-states (part 2)

the deep night, the interstate.

several hours pass by in silence.

suddenly the driver clears his throat and puts to me my own question:

“so then...are you enjoying your travels, son?”

for a moment I think this comment is merely a part of a dream.  a day dream, a night dream, a fake dream, a real dream, doesn’t matter.  just a dream.  almost a joke.  I don’t feel the need to respond right away. nonetheless, I turn the question over in my mind, several times, very slowly and carefully.

because there’s no clear answer forthcoming, and yet I don’t want to just leave the driver hanging in silence, wondering if I heard him, wondering if I’m even alive, I repeat the question aloud, to myself, in a faint, faraway tone of voice:

“so I enjoying my travels?”

“precisely, young fellow- that is precisely what I have been wondering.”

“well, I can say right off the bat that I’m not going to answer as you did.”

“remind me how I answered again?”

“your answer was ‘indeed I have not.’”

“oh sure- that does sound vaguely familiar.”

“it was a few hours back, somewhere just past cape girardeau.”

“yeah, that sounds vaguely familiar as well.”

(a very long pause)

“well, sir, I suppose my answer is typical of what you probably hear a lot in your line of work-”

“don’t be too sure about stuff like that, son.  this is a line of work like no other.”

“yeah, I’m beginning to see that...well, in any case, I would say that these travels have had their distinct ups and downs.”

“well of course they have, son- but that isn’t quite what I was asking...let me rephrase a little- have you been able to enjoy the distinct pattern of ups and downs you refer to?”

again, a significant silence.
again, this driver confounded me.
the deep night, the interway.
a strange and unsettling question.
my first impulse was to say, simply, no.

but I checked that first impulse,
and turned this new question over slowly and carefully also.

was there a pattern?

I have to admit, I had never really thought about that!

was there some kind of relationship?

what does that word mean- “relationship”?

think about two people in a small town somewhere.  say that they had a brief love affair or a business partnership of some kind. say that it ended a little abruptly and angrily.  you overhear one of them saying to a friend in the grocery store- “we’re no longer in a relationship” or “the relationship’s over” or ‘it was a fucked up relationship” as opposed to “it is a fucked up relationship” or "gosh, we still have to live together in this god-forsaken town for the foreseeable future so we might as well try to come to sort of...truce...I mean, let's face it- whether we like it or not, we're still, quote, in a relationship- it's completely unavoidable in a small place like this. until one of us moves away...but geez loueez, even then...wouldn't we still be in, quote, some kind of relationship? using the term in its broadest sense, of course."

"but why use a loaded term like that in its broadest sense? aren't you just inviting more drama?"

(short pause)

"no, not this case, more the opposite- there's already a shitload of drama! a proper understanding of our relationship could really simplify things, I think."


"well, doesn't that sorta depend on what the other person thinks, also?"


“son, have you come up with an answer yet?  I thought it was a pretty straightforward question.”

“maybe for you, sir.”

“struggling a little bit, fellow?”

“no, I can’t say I’m struggling.”

“well, what can you say, then?”


“ok then...I guess I can say that...sir, please don’t criticize this answer right away...even if it’s not perfectly clear or consistent with the world or with language as you know it, could you possibly just let it go for a second and let me gradually grope my way blindly towards something resembling a halfway coherent response?”

“by all means, young fellow- you take all the time that you need.  I won’t say a word until you’ve gotten it all off of your chest...”

“thank you, sir.”

“no problem.”


“are you by chance gonna convert this experience into some sort of haiku?”

“there’s an outside chance, yes, son- does that disturb you at all?”

“no, not really.”

“glad to hear it.”

“glad to say it.”

“we’re golden, then, it would seem.”

“we do seem to be on the same page about certain things, sir.”

“son, does it ever seem to you that we’re just characters in somebody’s novel or story?  you know, completely made up?  completely created from scratch?  totally arbitrary, the merest whim of an author somewhere?  who could just as easily have created entirely different characters?  who has in fact created entirely different characters?  who, in the service of some bizarre plot twist, will probably alter us at some point in such a way that we become unrecognizable to the reader and perhaps even ourselves?”


“no, sir, I can’t say that I’ve ever thought about it in quite those’ll maybe remember me telling you that I haven’t known too many writers...”

“I remember that very clearly, the way, I may be old, but my memory just so happens to have remained incredibly sharp...might even venture to say that my memory is actually improving with time...”

“wow, sir...”

“wow indeed.”

(to be continued)

Monday, January 28, 2013

a system of inter-states (part 1)

(it was a strange experience, no question.)

no solid answer either, of course, but even before that,

no question

an undoubtedly strange

but probably not unprecedented experience.

who knows?

maybe it was an everyday type experience-

you know, just another example 

of everyday style strangeness.

check it out-

I was the only one on the bus,

besides the driver of course.

a 15 hour red-eye between two

insignificant american cities-

the deep night, the interstate-

most definitely a strange

and somewhat unsettling/unsettled experience.

"have you been enjoying your travels, sir?"

I finally got up the courage to ask him.

"indeed I have not."

(fairly strange and somewhat unsettling answer.)

"but since you're the only other human being on this bus, I feel as though I may as well speak my mind for a change."

"please, by all means,"  I urged him.  (I was beginning to warm to this fellow.)

"how long have you been driving a bus?"

"on and off for about 45 years."

"wow...I suppose that could almost constitute something along the lines of a career."


"I'm not sure what that word means anymore, son."

"what word?"


(short pause)

"yeah, I suppose it has become a little ambiguous recently."

"more than a little ambiguous."


"do you not enjoy it anymore, sir?"

"not enjoy what?"

"driving a bus."

"who says I ever enjoyed it?"


"you're right, sir- I apologize.  that was a highly presumptuous question."

"no need to apologize- it's a common mistake."

(short pause)

"yeah, I suppose it probably is."

"no supposin' about it."

(the deep night)

(the interstate)

he was a fairly rickety fellow.  probably mid, upper seventies.  seemed like he hadn't moved out of that driver's seat for a couple of decades, and had gradually put down a vast system of roots there.  he and the bus seemed to have come to some sort of agreement.

"what else do you do besides driving a bus on and off?"

a pause.

a deep sigh.
a longer pause.
a deep sigh.

"this isn't something I normally talk about with passengers...but seeing as though you're the only one on's a somewhat delicate subject..."


"you write haiku, don't you?"


"is it that obvious, lad?"

"pretty obvious, sir."

a very deep sigh.

a very long pause.

"what do you tend to write about, sir?"

"mostly this bus driving business."


"huh...I wasn't expecting that answer."

(short pause)

"well, what were you expecting?"

"I don't know...anything but that, I guess."

"and yet, that's the one thing you know about me- am I right about that?"

"well, I know you don't really enjoy it."

"did I actually say that, young man?"

"pretty much."

(short pause)

"huh...I'll have to choose my words more carefully next time."


he continued:

"but even so- do you think that people tend to write about the things they enjoy?"

"I don't really have a well-informed opinion about that...I haven't known too many writers."

"have you known any?"

"a few."

"and what did they tend to write about?"

(short pause)

"hold on... let me think for a second... ok... yes, if I'm recalling correctly... they wrote quite a bit about the things they enjoyed."

"such as?"

"well...inter-courses, for one."

"as in sexual inter-courses?"

"as in sexual inter-courses, yes- 'tab a in slot b', etc."

"what else?"

"world affairs...globalization...the race to the top...building bridges..."

"what else?"

"family from the workplace...the animals..."

"what else?"

"raw technology."

"what in god's name do you mean by 'raw technology', son?"

"crouching down to drink from the so-called primordial source?"

"ah...I see...sure...what else?"


"what else?"

(this guy was relentless!)

"uh...that's about all I can think of right now."

"all the usual subjects, more or less?"

"I don't know, driver- are all those regarded as the usual subjects?"

"indeed they are, young man- the perennial subjects, in fact."

"have you touched on any of those in your haiku?"

"indeed I have not."

(very long pause)

(another very long pause)

(it was around this point that we both gradually slipped back into the general silence.)

(there was of course the sound of rushing air and the sound of tires on pavement.)

it was a strange conversation, no question.

a bizarre mix of very strange 

and very straightforward questions...

I guess you could say the same thing about most of the answers.

I was the only one on the bus!

(besides the driver, of course.)

just he and I,

the deep night,

the interstate.

a strange and somewhat unsettling/unsettled experience.

(to be continued)

electrical problems (from the barn; 2007)


several hours later karl returned home from his walk.  there were still machine noises in his head and cockleburs clinging to his socks, shoes, belt, and pants.  he decided he would remove them one by one and cook them up into some sort of fun urban porridge or salsa.  imagine the disappointment when he discovers that the electricity has gone out again!  all these other important things will just have to wait.

he slumped down into his "easy" chair and started to study his hands again.  gnarled.  bitten on.  angry and soft simultaneously.  he didn't want to "dialogue" with the landlord but there was probably no getting around it this time.  sometimes the handyman, gary, was lurking about in the corridor, not doing anything visibly handy, but reassuring nonetheless: the presence of a person who is at least supposed to be in semi-control.  

reflecting there, in the darkness, karl wasn't sure which of these two men to approach.  the landlord was a shadowy figure, to put it mildly.  he often narrowed his bead-like eyes when another human approached him.  karl had been living in his building for a solid 17 years and he still seemed to be hovering, perpetually, in something like the "near-stranger" category-  it was clear sometimes that the landlord truly did not know who karl, an alleged human being, even was.  (?)  just your average person wearing average clothes and formulating average questions or inquiries.  eating average stews, salads, and porridges.  maintaining average grades and assessments.  the handyman, on the other hand, seemed to keep a "little closer track" of individual entities.  

the landlord's perpetually puzzled, quizzical, and skeptical look almost invited debate.  foolishly, karl had taken him up on this once.  it resulted, sad to say, in what might be called "an old fashioned ass-whuppin", but they eventually drilled down to the very core of the matter and simply agreed to disagree.  for awhile.  It had something to do with semi-important "in-formations" or "know-ledges".  essentially, he implied that poor karl was lacking basic intelligence in several of the critical areas, and that he, as landlord, was not only entitled to make a joke about the deficiency, but to go about correcting it in whatever manner he chose, and moreover, karl should should regard all of this as a favor, that a busy man would take time out of his insanely stacked schedule to tend to the intelligence deficiencies of a near-perfect stranger.   

these "in-formations" which seemed to be so critical could have easily been exchanged in the traditional verbal or even handwritten style or format, but the landlord was insisting that everything be done in the more modern electronic fashion!  to help him get his point across, he used his sneakers and open hand to made contact with karl's physical body, as a way of helping him understand and appreciate the distance/distinction between them.  

things were patched together eventually, and they agreed to resume the core dialogue,  (?)  but a certain "awkward tension" was still sometimes apparent.  they exchanged "gifts" on occasion as a way of gradually trying to pare down the so-called psychic debt.  the "lord of the land" was always jetting off to go to these "wilderness immersion experiences" and offering to take karl (?) along with him.  "just like an old fashioned father-son bonding experience", he would mutter under his breath.  karl was sort of open to the idea.  he kept asking to see the brochures.  the landlord would chuckle and just hand him an old tattered oak leaf.  "this is all you need to know, ok?  all the information you need is contained right here in this oak leaf."

when the electricity failed there was often a waiting period between the so-called detection/notification and the so-called restoration.  our lives are "carved up" into these intervals (?) and we're probably more solid and durable people because of it.  for the moment, however, simple karl had no other choice but to continue sitting there in the relative darkness.  his hands were clammy this evening.  he noted that down in his medical diary.  

there was a 24 hour "chili parlor" down the street, Ron's, that was always encouraging people to come in out of the cold and enjoy a nice big bowl of warm grub.  open up and raise the package and pour the crackers and cracker dust directly down into the system of calories.  open your mouth and throat in such a way that you don't even have to make the effort of swallowing!  the packages are so lightweight you could probably lift 40 or 50 at once- bury yourself alive in saltines and oysters!  give the folks at the parlor something to chuckle about over their juke box and root beer. 

karl was still motionless inside the relatively darkened room.  he gazed out the window at the circles of colored lights moving, blinking, blending, bleeding thru the cracks and slithering over his ceiling and walls.  the studded texture of engine noise, the grainy hum of tires on pavement, the sound of voices and footsteps, the occasional animal or wildlife noises- they must be out hunting for food just like everyone else, karl thought.  good old food.  he thought about his cocklebur porridge.  food directly from nature, no intermediary except the loose fuzz on his clothing.  the lures that keep everything in a state of constant tension/release.  

he tapped his forehead and lips for several minutes and finally got up to go find the handyman.  there was no guarantee that he would be lurking about in the corridor, but it was a pretty good bet!

he put back on his suit and tie, his cap, his coat, his galoshes, and stepped out from the darkness into an only slightly less severe state of darkness.  and what do you know?  there's the handyman, scrawling something down in his ledger with a carpenter's pencil.

"gary- hey, sorry to bother you again, but, electricity's out again..."

gary the handyman holds up his index finger in the universal signal for "just a moment of quiet, please."

karl waited.  he leaned up against the wall and thought about some of his favorite national parks or wildlife areas.  he'd never been to any of them but thanks to photographs and encyclopedia articles he felt as if he knew several of them very intimately indeed.  and now, with the wonders of the internet, he had gone on several "virtual tours."  at the end, when people are asked and even encouraged to give some kind of verbal or written feedback, karl, a skilled internet user, typed "I am an animal, nothing more, nothing less.  I learned to type in a sort of community college that they set up for animals just so I could log onto the internet and tell you that your wilderness tours are as close to the real thing as human beings could possibly get.  congratulations on your success.  may it continue forever.  one of these days when I save up enough of the animal equivalent to human money, I am going to slip away undetected and live a more animal-based existence of complete anonymity.  we, the animals, even though we no longer have names, will all be intimate friends and companions like we were many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many generations ago.  we will literally feed off each other.  when I die, may my body serve as a tasty chili equivalent for other animals.  in the meantime, however,  I'm lying down on the pine needles not particularly concerned about anything.  sorry, but that just happens to be one of the ways we animals cope with difficult matters. we many nev/////

//////ok karl- sorry about that- what did you say was the problem?

---the electricity in my room has gone out.
---are you sure?
---pretty sure
---how sure, exactly?
---I would say something coming up on 100%
---so you're saying you have a situation approaching total darkness, total stillness, total silence and emptiness?
---yes, that's pretty much what I'm dealing with.
---well hey, then I guess that's what I'm dealing with too!
---uh....yeah, I suppose so...maybe from a slightly different perspective....
---but the objective conditions are the same-
---seem to be pretty similar
---mind if I have a look for myself?
---be my guest

karl and gary stepped into karl's so-called apartment.  "meant to be apart" was one of his friend steve's clever etymological insights.  gary pulled out a flashlight and started pointing the beam in random directions.

---yeah, you seem to be right....I hit the nail right on the darkness and emptiness....say, maybe you should head down to Ron's "chili parlor" while I work this thing out....might take a few minutes, you know....the system isn't quite as organized and clear as it used to be.  people lose their power today, well, they just head down to the fuse room themselves, not one iota of knowledge, and just start poking around for themselves, start disconnecting random wires, cutting wires with the tool that is conveniently left right there for that purpose, twining different wires together, tying things together with shoelaces, lumping things together with the gum that they have been chewing for several days in a row, poking their fingers into unlabeled sockets...switching everything around, I tell you, fucking everything entirely up, trying to talk with me on my cell phone when I'm away on vacation in Iowa....I make it perfectly clear to them that they're probably going to get themselves killed, that they're gonna toast the whole building....just wait til the morning when the landlord comes in, why can'tcha?  it's dark outside, ain't it?  it's time to sleep anyways, ain't it?  but oh no, they have to have their electricity back right away, right this instant, so they wake me up and interrupt my vacation and instead of trying to follow my directions carefully over the phone, I can tell by all the background noise that they're just barging ahead in whichever way seems to make sense to them in that moment.  total stillness, I warn them.  total coldness and stiffness.  when they find your body there in the morning, still with that stupid grin on on your face and that stupid gum clenched in your fingers...and all I hear is laughter on their end, telling me to chill for a second, that I'm making them laugh too much for this kind of precision endeavor..."

the beam of light continues playing about the walls and floor of the room.  it seems to be yet another exercise in total randomness.  one direction seems to be about as good as another.    one illuminated object seems to be as uninteresting to gary as any other.  he pauses for a moment at the bookshelf and starts murmuring aloud random titles-

---the severed head: a study in th/////the severed hand: how are we to//////the severed eye, the severed job, the severed city: new perspectives on the upgra///////the severed god, the severed sand, the severed frost: snow and icicles in the age of obama, severed bed, severed schoo//////say---what's with all this severing business, my man?  are these all by the same person?

---no, all different people.
---this is some kind of popular theme?
---supposed to be some sort of relevant or underlying theme, so I've heard.
---all these things have really been severed?
---well, that's the point being contested.
---some make it better than others?
---no, they're all pretty much in agreement.

gary took down a title from the series and started reading at random:

"no clear clear message......people were very confused or uncertain....say, doesn't "confused" and "uncertain" basically mean the same thing?  yeah?  so what does it mean to be confused AND uncertain?  just that you're super confused?  ok, well, I can see how that might be important to clarify....they looked around, wild-eyed, in many different directions, starting sentences, stopping them, no sense of what was actually happening, so great was the mass confusion, hysteria....thought we had been here before, thought the place looked familiar.....but it was a trick, a delusion....our imaginations seemed to be stuck on overdrive.....we were recombining elements of reality with elements of the most grotesque fantasy....we claimed this as one of our natural rights....what about campfire stories and fairy tales?  haven't we been doing this for as long as we've had.....always seemed to be in a rush.... ok.... whatever.... always seemed to be tripping or stumbling...... say, karl, this dosen't really get to the point very quick, does it?..... people and animals determined to carry the confusion around inside their own much a part of being alive as the heartbeat.....a most intimate friend or companion....karl, this just doesn't sound right.......abides in trees and buildings and and clams and great blue whales might lead us out from under the wreckage....ok, sir.......if you say so....tried to give us the impression that we were somehow "further along".....that we needed a different sort of education....a different sort of food and medicine.....nobody knew how long it would hold together like this.......similar words, similar versions.....diverging words, diverging versions....a lack of words, a lack of versions....a quick replacement thrown together with whatever materials happen to be lying around....whichev//////ok fella, let's try and get you fixed up....I still think you're better off heading down to Ron's for several, take a couple of coins for the, no, I some Floyd in my honor......nobody there's gonna mind if you bob your head in time with the fact, they'd probably encourage gets a little musty in there after hours.  somebody passing by on the sidewalk, they see you bobbing your head up down rhythmically- well, it sort of invites them to come in and join in on the fun....

---chili is certainly the sort of food to get the wacky juices flowing inside of you
----"Chicago's Most Interesting Chilli- since 1971"
---no queston about it.  none whatever.
---ok, I'll get this thing back up and running-you run along now---
--ok, see ya later
--yeah, see ya
---sure, see ya
---ok, you take care now
----yeah, you too
---you take care now
---I will, thanks for sayin' it
---hey, no problem, thank's for respondin'
---well, good luck with the repairs
----hey, don't you worry about nuffin
----ok, I won't
-----no need at all
----no need whatsoever, you betcha
---take it easy
---yeah, take it easy

karl was out on the sidewalk.  he started walking towards Ron's.  would he play Floyd or wouldn't he?  it was a fairly serious question.

the discourse on language

(by michel foucault)



into this lecture, 
as into all the others 
I shall be delivering, 
perhaps over 

the years ahead. 

I would have preferred 

borne way beyond 

all possible beginnings. 

At the moment of speaking, 
I would like to have perceived a 
nameless voice, 
long preceding me, 
leaving me merely 
to enmesh myself in it, 
taking up its cadence, 
and to lodge myself, 
when no one was looking, 
in its interstices 
as if it had paused 
an instant, 

in suspense, 





There would have been no beginnings: 
instead, speech would proceed from me, 
while I stood in its path 

– a slender gap – 

the point of its possible disappearance. 

Behind me, I should like to have heard (having been at it long enough already, repeating in advance what I am about to tell you) the voice of Molloy, beginning to speak thus: ‘I must go on; I can’t go on; I must go on; I must say words as long as there are words, I must say them until they find me, until they say me – heavy burden, heavy sin; I must go on; maybe it’s been done already; maybe they’ve already said me; maybe they’ve already borne me to the threshold of my story, right to the door opening onto my story; I’d be surprised if it opened’. 

A good many people, I imagine, harbour a similar desire to be freed from the obligation to begin, a similar desire to find themselves, right from the outside, on the other side of discourse, without having to stand outside it, pondering its particular, fearsome, and even devilish features. To this all too common feeling, institutions have an ironic reply, for they solemnise beginnings, surrounding them with a circle of silent attention; in order that they can be distinguished from far off, they impose ritual forms upon them. Inclination speaks out: ‘I don’t want to have to enter this risky world of discourse; I want nothing to do with it insofar as it is decisive and final; I would like to feel it all around me, calm and transparent, profound, infinitely open, with others responding to my expectations, and truth emerging, one by one. All I want is to allow myself to be borne along, within it, and by it, a happy wreck’. Institutions reply: ‘But you have nothing to fear from launching out; we’re here to show you discourse is within the established order of things, that we’ve waited a long time for its arrival, that a place has been set aside for it – a place which both honours and disarms; it; and if it should happen to have a certain power, then it is we, and we alone, who give it that power’. Yet, maybe this institution and this inclination are but two converse responses to the same anxiety: anxiety as to just what discourse is, when it is manifested materially, as a written or spoken object; but also, uncertainty faced with a transitory existence, destined for oblivion – at any rate, not belonging to us; uncertainty at the suggestion of barely imaginable powers and dangers behind this activity, however humdrum and grey it may seem; uncertainty when we suspect the conflicts, triumphs, injuries, dominations and enslavements that lie behind these words, even when long use has chipped away their rough edges. What is so perilous, then, in the fact that people speak, and that their speech proliferates? Where is the danger in that?