Sunday, January 20, 2013

sorry, earl

(originally written and sent 12/4/11)

hi friends-

(from the same hospital room in decatur, IL)

(bacon and eggs walked into a bar and before they could even take off their coats they were immediately told by the bartender- "sorry guys, we don't serve breakfast)  

(compliments of earl, up there on the list, who wanted me to share it with the whole gang) (earl gave me a long lecture last week on the phone regarding some of my mistaken assumptions and after several minutes of awkward and unbroken silence, or rather, awkward silence broken only by intermittent breath noise, he told me to "put that in your pipe and smoke it", after which  he gently returned the phone to its cradle.  like several other people up there on the list, earl occasionally uses mind-altering drugs, and I've since learned that this tagline is apparently quite popular among a certain subset of users.  at the time I took it to mean something like:  "mull over carefully and at long length what I've just said to you and think of all the different ways it might apply to your present circumstances in life."  well, earl, if that is in fact what you meant, I did so, and I intend to get back to you very soon with some follow-up questions.  I almost started to do so right here and now but thought better of it- this is a group e-mail after all and if I wasn't careful I might accidentally divulge some sensitive info regarding you and the sort of advice you like to give.  

it probably goes without saying that earl is an extremely private person and even these few parenthetical comments might be making him, or rather, you, earl, because I know that you're reading this- making you a little uncomfortable and even anxious, and I realize that by doing so I'm just setting myself up for yet another 2 or 3 hour lecture regarding yet more mistaken assumptions, along with yet more material to put into my pipe and smoke.  the contemporary vogue for complete disclosure and 100% transparency regarding all personal communications and dealings with others has really thrown people like earl for a loop.  and I don't use that term casually- no, it has really opened up some loops in his thinking.  "open-mindedness" of course is typically a much sought after quality, but in earl's case it has led to some really foggy and reckless decision making.  earl, I know you're becoming more anxious and maybe even pissed-off the longer I linger on in this vein, talking about your issues in full view of dozens and dozens of people, all of them strangers to you who might even be chuckling or rolling their eyes as they read about your peculiar behaviors in this probably inappropriate forum. the only thing I can say in my defense is that I'm just following the advice that you gave me last week- maybe not in the way you intended, but c'mon- you didn't give me all that advice just so that I would follow it up exactly in the way you intended, did you?  in that case, it wasn't so much as friendly and well-meant advice as a subtle attempt to control me and make me some sort of wacky disciple to you!  I know you've had that effect on several people over the years and for all I know it's been beneficial to all parties involved.  after all, who among us really knows what advice to actually take?  there's so much of it swirling around these days! I canoed down the sangamon river several months ago and I feel that that little tidbit deserves to be entered into the public or historical record.  inconsequential, no doubt, and more than a little ridiculous, but certain people have lately helped me to come to understand and accept the basic fact that I am, in essence, a ridiculous person.) 

things are still very gradually and temporarily improving for my ailing pa and he is scheduled to come home in the next couple of days.  we are going to celebrate with champagne, tomato soup, grilled cheese, and sweet tarts, followed by some board games, the evening news, and then an early bedtime for all.  the simplest and most random things afford us considerable pleasure these days- for example, this mash-up of her favorite poets that our long-time neighbor sue macfarsen dropped off this morning along with a casserole:  

a fun word collage derived from shakespeare, celan, and paz       by sue f. macfarsen

(these are there were wanting supposed 
to be or inside of a wilderness seminar 
down at the pit-head
the gravel bank
the water supply under flintlocks

conversation approaching 
in its two or more tiers
of dissonance

different drafts of the same world
churns and derelict forms)

(to thy great comfort in this mystery
of ill-starred beginning mere numberless
blithely mentioned each of the four parts
formed by two columns, variant:

meandering patterns, nay, doth divide them
dissolved whipping tongues
stars unpinned 
nadador en la mar brava del fuego
betwixt the lungs, the brass bells, the orgasm-

'twas passing sensuous, outlying,
vaulted beyond the dream juggler's desert bread
aus mitgewanderter sprache
wir schopften die finstrernis leer, wir fanden
the curled, yellowing pages and flowers
latido anonimo de todos
the poet ekelof and the unhuried prophecies of 
help to cover/uncover your river-dice, sir-
what?!? where's the cowl-staff?!?
too cold, too bereft, too intemperate-
the night shoots them off, bursting over us,
falls, still burning, thy looks clipped to a moth
several thousand whisked off lumbres divagantes,
neben-erde, homelandly, a halfpenny's worth
of semi-transfigured rhythms.)

la quietud en el centro del movimiento
shiva, parvati, an hourglass,
promises fair, parties sure:
(to fairies) with trial-fire, touch thy time's subjects
afore the great ghetto-rose blossoms-
well-acquainted, chained up fast
between gold-dust, froth, and oblivion-

throw me into the channel?
hold on there, buster!
I beseech thee, prospero- habito una transparencia
only compound thy "an enigma
is the purely originated."


eternities, prithee, slide away under your gaze,
a letter touches your fingers,
embeds itself,
es kam eine stille,
threshold haunting,
chid hither,

[sue did quite a bit of LSD back in the day and tends to see or forge relationships where they may not have been seen or forged previously.  I would describe her as having or cultivating a somewhat fluid or permeable approach to the basic human dilemmas or questions.  several decades ago she gave a group of us neighborhood kids square-dancing lessons, followed the next summer by ecstatic/trance, and the next by the newly emergent form of what was then being called "bump and grind."  several of the parents thought this final course a bit premature for 3rd and 4th graders, but there's no doubt that we all enjoyed it and benefit from those bizarre lessons to this very day.  when I got my driver's license I helped out with sue's summer ice cream truck business and her winter hot-cocoa and spiced-cider truck business.  the casserole that she dropped off, which I'm eating right now as I type this, is more or less a pure meat salad.  just a huge wooden bowl full of many different kinds of finely chopped animal parts.  if this sounds too yummy for words, well, it is.  it's a protein infusion the likes of which I've never experienced before in my life.  enough protein, I'll wager, to last me well into 2012.  until then, simple egg nog will provide more than enough.  it's one of those drinks that's so rich and tasty that one finds oneself actually chewing it sometimes.  if I feed it to the birds and squirrels I forge life-long relationships.  they never do forget that first hit of egg-nog.]

(I realize, yes, that there have been a few drug references recently and some of you have tactfully responded with your hopes that I haven't fallen back into some of my old and precarious chemical habits.  for the record then, I am only ingesting things that have either been a) prescribed by a physician; b)prescribed by a shaman; c)prescribed by mother earth herself; d)prescribed by popular opinion as set forth in the health sections of magazines like newsweek and time.  I have been following the rules, so to speak, and intend to keep doing so for the conceivable future.  I feel as though I can no longer take the same chances, chemically speaking, as I did in the days of my youth.  looking back recently thru some of the nearly incoherent chronicles I kept for myself during that time- well, suffice it to say that I would prefer that they be kept well outside the public or historical record.  I've entered into a much simpler phase of my life, where solitary canoe trips down the sangamon river with a basket lunch of cookies, vegetable juice, and clam chowder are more than enough to underwrite an expansive and enjoyable transaction with everyday life.  I've also resumed my boyhood hobby of carving things out of wood.  I'm not ready yet to disclose what things exactly- besides, it's in the mere process of doing it that the real fulfillment is located.  once again, I have earl to thank for this little psychological insight.)     

as some of you know may know, one of my preferred genres of music is drone.  sometimes these drone artists simply do not know when to stop. they find a single chord or sonic texture that suits them, press record, and then just sit there, looking around the room, comparing the size of their hands, maybe having a snack- and then 30 or 40 minutes later, press stop, and presto- a piece of drone music is born!  this enthusiasm of mine has yielded some unanticipated and undesired personal consequences, not the least of which is my habit of continuing to hold the phone to my ear after a conversation until the dial tone stops, and then often holding the silent plastic object there for another hour or more, which gives the people around me, if there are any, the distinct impression that I'm just a really good listener, a really good non-interrupter.  family, friends and associates sometimes tell me to to juggle things up just a little, to maybe try and give "multi-tasking" a shot.  the drone music hasn't helped, let me tell ya.  the drone music hasn't worked wonders.  the drone music is not necessarily conducive to...contemporary life as we know it.  but that's just me droning on again about, demonstrating or revealing to you my situation not in words but in direct physical actions-     

there's a huge swath of human experience that drone enthusiasts miss.

maybe that's why they seemingly cannot get enough of it.

(reminds me of some of the advice that earl gave me last week- "you can never get enough of what you don't really want."  true, he was talking about egg nog and I was arguing that indeed, I really DID want it but tha