Thursday, March 14, 2013

post date and title

the ship's log became something different.  I don't know if it's fair to even call it a ship's log anymore.  there was no discernible ship, no discernible ocean, no discernible people, no discernible elements.  my god!  at the very least you need elements!  one needs something along the lines of physical matter to point to!  all of that wide open space, be it ether, water, or solid...well, it confuses the issue!  it obscures the central reason why we even embarked on this journey!  if we'd only taken keng's advice and just sat tight in our more or less "home environment"... well, it seems as though a lot of people around here have become rather bored with that entity.  they don't see it as a process, not as a vast field of endless potential, not as the cradle of mystery, but as another mere entity, floating around in the stewpot with a billion other mere entities.  my god!  doesn't even have the good sense to at least try and stay a little anonymous!

the ship's log was left lying open out on the deck overnight, even though, as stated earlier, it's not fair to call it a ship's log anymore.  I consulted a thesaurus but nothing quite fit the adjusted reality.  I didn't want to be in control, and I didn't want to tell lies, either to myself or other people, but these were, are, and always will be very difficult and ambiguous matters.  I thought the ship's log had a role to play but I might have been kidding myself. 

if I was in fact somewhat sheepish in the attempt to state our goals at the outset...the beginning of this so-called or  ostensible "journey to nowhere", a ridiculous phrase picked out from billions, a ridiculous ship cobbled together from garbage and kitchen scraps, the rag-tag crew assembled from some of the seediest employment agencies on the face of the earth... well, the ship's log tried to record all that!  ok?  it didn't intentionally go back on its promises.  come to think of it, it never even made any actual promises.  you as a reader appear to be putting words in my mouth- I may be the one speaking but you are the one making the important decisions.

I wish things had been different.  how many times will I have to echo this same basic sentiment?  how many times will it take to convince you?  I already know the answer to that question so you don't have to say anything.  you don't even have to change the expression on your face as you're reading this.  it's a vast online ocean, a vast field of nothingness, there are way way way too many vessels out there to keep track of so-called "individual" entities.

maybe the life force was curdling.  maybe the cabin pressure was wildly fluctuating.  maybe the crew went on strike at the precise moment we lost sight of land.  they've done crazier things!  why, simply peruse the ship's log!  true, it was left out on deck overnight and a minor squall buffeted it about for awhile- but at least 95 percent of it remains clearly legible- that's more than enough for you to get a picture of the bizarre company I was stranded with out there!

I'm not complaining.  I'm not.  I'm not trying to garner anyone's sympathy.  I signed up for the sea voyage without the slightest bit of coercion.  I wanted to do it.  I enjoyed doing the relevant research.  true, I enjoyed doing the irrelevant research as well, but that's yet another traditional/time-honored aspect of the seafaring life, or at least the sort of seafaring life I was introduced to as a child.  true, certain of my adult experiences may have modified the portrait somewhat, but that again is yet another typical albeit important socio/ histoico/ eco/ psycho/ anthro/ logical element.  you may or may not agree with this sentiment.  it is admittedly a rather questionable sentiment.

I enjoyed the ship's journal.  I enjoyed making entries.  I enjoyed reading the entries made by other crew members and passengers.  even if this delicate process is now going by or under or about another name in this era, that doesn't necessarily have to affect the enjoyment.  the enjoyment remains undiminished.  I state that with 100 percent conviction and clarity.  again, you don't have to believe it and you don't have to adjust the weary look on your face as you're reading this.  you are alone somewhere, in a room, gazing into the dim light of a laptop, and soon you will be putting it aside and gazing thru the casement out into the dim light of even-tide.  it's staying lighter longer these days, you'll have noticed.  people seem to appreciate that.  they tell each other funny stories alternating with sad and serious stories.  it keeps the readers on their toes, apparently.  it keeps them, quote, "begging for more."  that's a strange phrase to use, I admit it, in regards to a simple ship's log which can no longer rightfully be called by that illustrious title.  I've already mentioned the thesaurus and the disappointing results I obtained there.  but disappointing results have as much right to be published as happy and exciting results, do they not?  this is a sensitive issue, I realize, and don't expect to reach anything even resembling consensus.  that's a word that usually makes people jump up and down with delight and good cheer and maybe at some point it will be infused into the time-honored tradition alluded to earlier.  I don't pretend to be in control, as much as it pains me to say that... I pretend other things.  and the madcaps around here are just gonna have to get used to it!   

are you finally ready?

ok, good-

(let's start out with a few images from one of the ancient japanese koan masters.  his/her identity will be revealed in due course.  don't worry)

"...eyes mark the shape of the city..." 

"...through the eyes of a high-flying night bird, 

we take in the scene from midair..." 

" our broad sweep, the city looks like a single gigantic creature- or more like a single collective entity created by many intertwining organisms..." 

"...countless arteries stretch to the ends of its elusive body, circulating a continuous supply of fresh blood cells, sending out new data and collecting the old, sending out new consumables and collecting the old, sending out new contradictions and collecting the old..." 

" the rhythm of its pulsing all parts of the body flicker and flare up and squirm midnight is approaching and while the peak of activity has passed the basal metabolism that maintains life continues undiminished producing the basso continuo of the city’s moan a monotonous sound that neither rises nor falls but is pregnant with foreboding..." 

"...our line of sight chooses an area of concentrated brightness and, focusing there, silently descends to it- a sea of neon colors. they call this place an “amusement district.” the giant digital screens fastened to the sides of buildings fall silent as midnight approaches, but loud-speakers on storefronts keep pumping out exaggerated hip-hop bass lines.  a large game center crammed with young people; wild electronic sounds; a group of college students spilling out from a bar; teenage girls with brilliant bleached hair, healthy legs thrusting out from micro-mini skirts; dark-suited men racing across diagonal crosswalks for the last trains to the suburbs.  even  at    this        hour,                the             karaoke               club                     pitchmen                        keep       shouting      for    customers. aflashyblackstationwagondriftsdownthestreetasiftakingstockofthedistrictthroughitsblacktintedwindowsthecarlookslikeadeepseacreature with specialized   skin     and           organs.       two  young    policemen   p  at    r o     lth  e  s    t reetwi       tht      enseex   pre    s     si      o n    s,bu         t  noo        n    esee    ms to      not        ice the        m.t     he     di  s t r i       ctpl      aysbyitsownrulesat a time like this the season is late autumn no wind is blowing but the air carries a chill the date is just about to change."

"We are inside a Denny’s." 

"Unremarkable but adequate lighting; expressionless decor and dinnerware; floor plan designed to the last detail by management engineers; innocuous background music at low volume; staff meticulously trained to deal with customers by the book: “Welcome to Denny’s.” Everything about the restaurant is anonymous and interchangeable. And almost every seat is filled." 

"After a quick survey of the interior, our eyes come to rest on a girl sitting by the front window. Why her? Why not someone else? Hard to say. But, for some reason, she attracts our attention—very naturally. She sits at a four-person table, reading a book. Hooded gray parka, blue jeans, yellow sneakers faded from repeated washing. On the back of the chair next to her hangs a varsity jacket. This, too, is far from new. She is probably college freshman age, though an air of high school still clings to her. Hair black, short, and straight. Little makeup, no jewelry. Small, slender face. Black-rimmed glasses. Every now and then, an earnest wrinkle forms between her brows." 

"She reads with great concentration. Her eyes rarely move from the pages of her book—a thick hardback. A bookstore wrapper hides the title from us. Judging from her intent expression, the book might contain challenging subject matter. Far from skimming, she seems to be biting off and chewing it one line at a time..."


I wish I knew why that stuff happened.

is that a ridiculous wish?
I pose the question to strangers.
suppose the question is strangers.
the question to strangers: "question strangers."
yeah, well, and what if the strangers don't answer?
wish I knew why they called themselves strangers.
why certain other stuff seemingly failed to happen.
anonymous, underground, vexed, out in the open, 
whatever, whoever, whenever, how, to what extent, why, 
and perhaps even if I pose a legitimate question is 
the blank line convulsively turning back on/of/to itself,
and therein encountering something
very different from what the surveys expected.
but who's to say, finally?
maybe they didn't expect a damned thing!

the dense or rental self 
is, according to "science, a mere network of mis-managed memories"
and un-blindfolded stabs in the work, in the dark:
timid, desolate, feral, buried alive, multilingual-
the self taken out of long term storage and context.
mis-allocated, mis-labeled, memories 
melted down into projections and forecasts, 
frozen again into granite mines, dense, reflective, arterial, 
gesticulating wildly even after nobody is listening
but maybe nobody was listening, ever.

start to quietly gnaw on a few extra calories.
walk thru "fields" and start tucking footprints
away in a small gathering basket.
I offer the portrait to strangers.
is that a ridiculous impulse?

the answer comes back fairly quicky-
"footprints come pretty cheap nowadays-
you're gonna have to do a little bit more
with the conceptual field and grounding."

that is, golly jeepers, pretty much what 
I was expecting to hear,
so I return to my stomping grounds
with other sand awls on this time-

it's a small affair, minor, 
both in key and velocity,
aimed for the most part at so-called 
"primitive" or "timeless" politician/artists.

I was one myself once, ya know,
sending my shit out to strangers,
little statements, lists of media,
indexes, codes to inner meanings, etc-

I wish I knew why that initial stuff failed,
because now that the new stuff is selling,
and I'm not able to discern the slightest difference in quality...

well, it's confusing!
whether or not you're a primitive!
whether or not you seek and/or find good civic representation!

(it's still a very tiny, perhaps even microscopic affair.)

and yet, I keep hearing that


the blank line is a fiction
the broken line is imaginary
the name is leaves in late autumn
the space is breathing noise fading to silence
the eye is a sandpath is a windscreen around us
the shield the secret the water table the music
the blank line is an essay
pulled out from under the hiding place
the slight pause is a fairy tale and fairy tales are comforting
the broken line is a phone call
the name is leaves in late winter
the space is mere echo
the blue eye floats thru the cell block
the chain link the paper grid the cleft lip the river
the _______'s flotsam and jetsam 
the __ __ __ is an inter-state
the nameless leaves in transition
the space station still being renovated
the eye melts, no resistance 
the bickering quarrymen, quarrywomen,
quarrychildren, quarrystars, quarryanimals
picks and stone shovels
hammering blue silence late into the morning
every term is provided
the blank line evasive
the broken light barely flickers
the claimless, the endless, the pointillist  
space becomes fairly distributed
I is an upside down letter
written in the form of a spiral
staircase to no/some/in/any/where


the blanket lie isn't fiction
the time broker's life stillborn, illusory
nails leaf out of late autumn
paces labored breathing noise suddenly fading to nothingness
the blue dye is a swath of wind designed to protect us
the field waters fables for anonymous internet users
the blank wine is a poem
crumpled inside rivets of raw-filtered honesty 
the island clause is just berry jam and berry jam is delicious
the token rhyme merely an operator
blame the leaves in late summer
sticking around like an echo
chinese sage, texan incense  
linked by acid-dropping phosphemical documentarians
the _______ flowing dragon-like inside of the engine 
the __ __ __ by-passes civilization
soft rain, hard to translate
radiohead's wavelength on another mini tour of saturn
the eye meets resistance 
the bricklayers go on strike in blue canyon
pick out stick figures
chiseling solitude til the eleventh hour evaporates
certain terms are illegal
the blank line evasive
broken, phantasmagorical, ill-lit, torn asunder
here ageless, there homeless, points  
seldom conceded by congress or science
life is a reverse image of something
not represented in the face of a diary
still chained to no/some/in/any/all/one


ranking slime like afflictions
roaming blind, desultory
the waif, leaden, blatant
perhaps the sky is in swaddling
the field guides fabled, eponymous
stoked by disembodied voice coaches
echo auto-pages thru thousands
postmodern chinese mythology
no original language
neither _______ nor __ __ __
weathered skin, soft like saturn's eye
tumbling down into baby blue canyon


there is a thing, sir, confusedly formed
born way way before any of this recent stuff even got underway-
silent and void, it stands alone and does not change,
goes round and round and does not weary.

come again?

there was something formless and perfect, sir

before the universe was set into motion-
serene, empty, unchanging, silent, infinite, utterly present.

are you sure?

undifferentiated and yet complete.  I'm not kidding!

but also radically nebulous.
hence, sir, empty yourself of desires in order to observe its profound and inscrutable subtlety. 

ok, maybe I will.

but also allow yourself to have desires so as to observe what it is after.

you've got strange notions, fella.

they're not mine.

whose are they then?

again- empty yourself of questions and you just might understand the thing suddenly.


the way can be spoken of, sir,

but it will not be the constant way.
the unnameable is the eternally real.
naming is the origin of particular entities.

but I like particular entities.

so do I, sir!  so do I.

and yet, free from hard and fast identifications,
you enter into the mystery.
wedded to them, you see only the manifestations.

but I like manifestations!

and again, so do I!

mystery and manifestations arise from the very same source!
I'm not fooling!

and what is this source, may I ask?

I'm sorry, sir.  it would be better for us both if you didn't.

why am I relieved to hear that...



(the grace of time

or may be

yet another race to the end

the gradations of echo

or may be
another rat's nest in the easy chair

the mirror of self

or may be
more tarred images of water frozen and falling

the spacebars below nothingness

the weather patterns remember us
a little something to jolt star mazes
out of their long term complacency-

is that desirable?

or maybe, once again, merely delusional?

the grace of time

ways in light
hidden docks
tapped by avalon
tiny ripples drink in the shore
swish it around
spit it out

a small silence slowly grows up

to become a "legitimate" silence
head half asleep banging against
the lurching greyhound bus window
far from all of that crazy stuff
on the "other" side of the glass,
contained while it is moving,
named and clothed
while it is naked, anonymous... 

did I sleep?

or survive?
naively explore ancient canyons
before I had any idea of what that adjective
would most likely refuse to protect me from?

coming in from the outside,

maybe not,
like the sangamon,
bowing under the new weight
of a hand-lettered sign, reading:

"you see, I find what I am after eventually."



the name inside 
a new stranger's glance  
raids our little bunker of faces
the grades are issued
and the rodents kick off another all night food and dance
mirror slash steel nerves in the mashpit-

is that desirable?

are these questions ridiculous? 

space and light

all of it
time patterns still rooting around in the cellar
car mazes invite us
to a new round of indignant dives toward oblivion

yes, that's the way, ladies, gentlemen,

children, plants, animals, minerals, ethers, etc.

the "other" sides with the canyon,

contained while the "self" is still "moving",
named, fed, clothed, schooled, utilized
by the huddled masses of billionaire-funded rescues. 

how could anyone sleep through that?

or let anyone else even try?
terrible screams coming from deep inside of the mansion,
maybe not,
maybe that's just another hollywood special effect
credits rolling
buried treasure
usually finds its application eventually.)


there was no sense of desolation
no river made up of chemicals
science project finished on time
and ready to present to the others

some of them cohorts,

some of them utterly distant and destitute,
desperate to learn which of our findings
might add a few years to the universe.



what kind of suffering?

not sure.
what kind of research?
same answer.
how do you know this?
take a guess.
ok then- you read it somewhere, I suppose?
what kind of text?
not sure.
what kind of space were you in as a scientist?
same answer.
that's a slow way to make progress, keng.
how do you know this?
not sure exactly- I think I paraphrased it somewhere.
have you ever heard the old adage "you can't believe everything that you read nowadays"?
I wrote that adage.
wow!  when?
in grade school.
yeah, those were simpler times.
I'm not sure I'd go that far.
well, calv, guess what?  you don't have to be sure.
have we been here before, keng?
you mean this precise...
no, I mean... more in general.
no way, keng.  this is new.  this time is gonna be different.
isn't it already different?
it's already unrecognizable.
well what are you waiting for then?
waiting for them?
just kidding.
keng, this is no time to be fooling around.
I thought you said that laughter was the most effective medicine known to the species.
I was joking, keng!
and it helped me!  it temporarily cured me!
but don't you want a more permanent cure, keng?
doesn't matter what I want, calv.
aw come on- that's just the nihilist talking again!
whether it is or it isn't- doesn't matter so much what such and such entity wants
I disagree totally, keng!  don't we partially create our realities?
partially, yes.
is this one of the parts that we don't?
I never said that.
you didn't?
come to think of it, I don't think I ever said anything.
well, at least that much I think I can sorta agree with.
sorta, calv?  what does that mean?
the dense or rental self, so-called, is usually j
I know.
what kind of rental?
not sure.
what kind of research?
same answer.
how do you know this?
take a guess.
that's a super slow way to make progress.
can't help it.
can't or won't?
can't, but even if I could, I might not.
is that maybe, just possibly, the little nihilist talking again?
there is a thing, sir, confusedly formed born way way before any of this recent stuff even got underway- silent and void, it stands alone and does not change, goes round and round and does not weary.
oh great- here we go again.
there was something formless and perfect, sir, before the internet was set into motion- serene, empty, unchanging, silent, infinite, utterly present.
you sure that's just not another hollywood special effect?
I'm gonna give you three different versions to the answer of that ridiculous question.
that's generous of you.
ok then, listen up:

1.  there are things that cannot be described by or understood thru language.  a complete description and understanding of the purpose and operation of non-hollywood harmony is way way way beyond the power of language.  whether you try to reason your way through life or act thru emotion, the words associated with each path can be traps, not bridges, because they hide what is common to each: the presence of mystery.

that seems pretty obvious, keng.

I agree.  number 2: non-hollywood harmony, the subtle reality of the universe, simply cannot be described.  that which can be described in words is merely a conception of mind.  although names and descriptions have been applied to it, the subtle reality is beyond the description.  one may, if one wishes, use the word "nothingness" to describe the origin of the universe, and "beingness" to describe the progenitor of the myriad things, but, again, nothingness and beingness are merely fancy conceptions.

ok, if you say so.

and, finally, 3: the harmony that can be told is not the abiding or ultimate harmony.  temporary names can be given to things, yes, but not permanent labels.

so all that stuff about the blank and broken lines was just metaphor?

no, it was real, calv, but ephemeral.
and the stuff that you laid out just now?
same answer.
those sure were simpler times.
have we been here before, keng?
you mean this precise...
no, I mean... more in general.
no way, keng.  this is new.  this time is gonna be different.
isn't it already different?
it's already unrecognizable.
well what are you waiting for then?
I'm waiting for something ephemeral.
that too.
inaudible?  motionless?  solitary?
all of that, yes.
and how will you know when it comes?
we've already covered this, calv.
we've already uncovered this, keng.
you're right, we're inexhaustible.
it's so we won't think.
we have that excuse.
it's so we won't hear.
we have our reasons.
all the voices.
they make a noise like faint wings.
like leaves.
like sand.
like leaves.
they all speak at once.
each one to itself.
rather they whisper.
they rustle.
they murmur.
they rustle.
what do they say?
they talk about their lives.
to have lived is not enough for them.
they have to talk about it.
to be dead is not enough for them.
it is not sufficient.
they make a faint noise like feathers.
like leaves.
like ashes.
like leaves.
long silence.
say something!
I'm trying.
long silence.
(in anguish) say anything at all!
what do we do now?
wait for readers.
this is awful!
sing something!
no no! (she reflects.) we could start all over again perhaps.
that should be easy.
it's the start that's difficult.
you can start from anything.
yes, but you have to decide.
help me!
I'm trying.
when you seek you hear.
you do.
that prevents you from finding.
it does.
that prevents you from thinking.
you think all the same.
no, no, impossible.
that's the idea, let's contradict each other.
you think so?
we're in no danger of ever thinking any more.
then what are we complaining about?
thinking is not the worst.
perhaps not.  but at least there's that.
that what?
that's the idea, let's ask each other questions.
haven't we already done that?
not sure.
I think we've... already done that.
you think a lot of things, calv.
and you write a lot of stuff down in your notebook, keng.
true enough.
indeed and in word- those were simpler times.