Reunion

By the weeping wall.

Near the wall of weeping stones there are reminders. So much happens beyond the light. One day, someone decides that the wall deserves more of our attention, and we gather nearby. In the process, we leave parts of our lives in wrong places. 

–––A full basket of laundry, for example, in the middle of the hallway in the courthouse; a bucket of dishes in the fountain of the business park. Someone thinks, why not? and we get to washing them and now all we need is food. Someone calls their cousins to bring the grill. It is suggested that here is not the place for that, and the suggestion is collectively ignored. Unbuttoning his shirt, a guard offers tables. They’re inside, he tells us. Groups bring them out. 

We cover them with cloth, candles, decorative plates, bottles of liquid, prayer cards, poems. Now that we have altars, the musicians begin. Once we have music, others arrive. Now we are a large circle by the weeping wall.  A naked child runs laughing to the nearby ducks, outstretched hands and fingers splayed. An official story has ruptured before its conclusion and it falls in the center of our circle, bleeding song.

Barefoot Museum

A hall of dream artifacts.

A basket, a wheel, a shield. A barefoot artist enters. Some ceremony begins, an incantation. A spectacular lizard climbs a tree. Whose eyes have looked through these masks?

Do you have any neutral artifacts? Someone asks, but there are none.

The left side of an angel rests on a table: a single wing, once attached. Someone has painted it recently. It is drying. Nearby, the artist draws the anatomy of a seraph, hollow bones radiating from the spine and feathers like fingers, and maybe this is what you came to see, this simple diagram in pencil––down to earth, a practical rendering in painstaking detail, affirming something that otherwise seems to move in and out of spaces like shadow or the morning fog or your next breath.

Music for Digging

Thoughts on getting down with it.

Here’s an invitation to stomp through the track-lit hallways of an administration building and sing in a waiting room, wailing exhalations of various shapes.

Consider this a reminder not to chase the light too hard, to balance those ethereal divinities with the ever-present nuisances of daily demons.

Against the weight of daggered baggage, here’s the forgiveness of emptiness. Over the round hoop of the ancient zero like an open mouth, weave a nest for the unborn and make it big enough for the recently departed. 

A body will reveal its resilience in rest, holding until only spirit is left, leaving calligraphic marks on the skins it brushed.

Song is a mother. She is working in the dirt and it is everywhere.

***

Inspired by, and with borrowed images from  Spencer Kornhaber‘s recent Atlantic article, How to Listen to Björk, According to Björk, regarding the artist’s latest album, Fossora. The title comes from the Latin word for digger.

Uncertain Somethings

That je ne sais quoi.

Instead of the usual source, today’s weather comes from Craigslist. It seemed important somehow to check, as they say, the temperature of the room, to hold a finger in the wind or press lightly against the pulse of the moment, mixing the proverbial metaphors with freewheeling abandon in the spirit of adventure. I have a pretty good idea what the usual reports will tell me, but this is something else.

For example, I had not considered the possibility of joining an amateur pool league––or that, if I were up for being a dance partner open to swing with an emphasis on retro 60’s, that this person, unnamed and possibly only a few miles away, might be waiting for my call. 

Or that someone might be scouring such listings with a question such as, what do I do with this extra cash?––only to realize that no, they have in fact never owned an original, made-to-order piece of art, and perhaps the time is now.

There is, apparently, a feeling in the air, the type inspired by the ponytailed dog walker at Fiesta Island last Sunday, the guy who lent his umbrella at the Ashanti concert, or the clerk who used to work in the floral department at the Vons on University. 

They came and went, these specters, and someone is looking for each of them now, as some others seek a lost chocolate tabby and a gold dolphin toe ring, and have I ever even considered that this would be a thing to own, until now?

I have not, but it is, and because of this, it may also be lost, and once lost, so missed that someone might be compelled in the dreaded glare of midday, to post a message to the beyonds. It floats there now, in the atmosphere, and you won’t hear about these things in your usual weather report.

And you won’t hear about any of the other small losses that can empty a heart well enough that it will be open to receive the next discovered wonder with the chill of timely recognition that can only come when someone reminds you back to a question you didn’t know you were holding, like what are you looking for?

Within Reach

Dreams in motion.

We can’t help ourselves, making languages and stretching limbs, stretching the language of our limbs. Done with demonstrating, now we suggest. Can you see us? If so, this show is for you.

The winds sweep our loves into rage and down the power lines until renewal floods again. Our prayers melt into play, a precise improvisation in real time, and we emerge from cocoons of private anomalies onto this collective stage––bending to remain unbent by those who cannot recognize a deliberate dance because they are trained to see only the march.

Fly, turn, arabesque, we fling mustard seeds into the bags at our waists, wasting not an ounce of what we saw beyond the veil, behind the curtain where they thought they were keeping us, while we were only waiting for our cue. Yes, we are still here.

Offbeat

Different drummers.

Once, I dreamed of a future. I was on a train and it was yesterday. We moved from this eye pinching light to somewhere beneath a canopy at night, a velvet plush of shadow. There was nothing like it, wild beast. Nothing.

Look at you. I watch you like a tiger and when you wake it is a welcome to my world look. There’s a cacophony now, a demented white nose machine. 

Remember yesterday? We looked for each other in the wet earth beneath the canopy, among the beetles and leeches, imagining their applause.

Here is where a warning should come in, regarding the volume of the gaze––don’t. But you say it’s language you’re seeking.

I am always in these machines on wheels, looking back.

I love it when an actor looks awkward, letting you see how they are trying.

Why do you think you enjoy that?

Because it’s a little off, missing all the marks we’ve come to expect. But if you look, you can read a new rhythm.

Nonlinear Equations

Exercises in conversion.

Translate fragility. One part the substance that allows anything to exist and another part the accident of its coherence.

Translate explosion. The wavering world collapses.

Translate yourself. I am. I am not myself.

Calculate the distance between the essence of the thing and its appearance. Assume a rift between two sides of a coin. Now assume the rift collapses. Calculate the length of time between distortion and consistency.

If x is a mortal wound and y may alternately represent either the why of an object’s existence or its possible death, what is the circumference of xy^2? 

Show your work.

***

Inspiration: Timothy Morton’s “Magic Death” again, in Realist Magic: Objects Ontology, Causality. This post is not intended as an accurate representation of Morton’s ideas, which are worth reading in the philosopher’s own words. 

Oy, the World

Chance encounters.

The world was naked except for the appearance of a sudden shock of cloth, flown in from the direction she was walking––toward tomorrow, we assumed. She had batons as for marching or magic, and a circular wreath. She was ending and beginning. Four figures around her kept watch: lion, bull, angel, eagle.

“Hello, everyone!” we said to the world and her creatures, “You’ve come back! We thought you took off on us eons ago.”

“We were just laying low,” said the angel. “Poachers.” The eagle nodded, the bull gave a snort, and the lion stretched his mouth in a tremendous yawn.

“Well, it’s a good thing you’re here,” we said to the world.

Suddenly, she was gone.

“What’s happened to the world?” we cried out.

The angel, looking bored, moved his chin in the direction where she had been standing. “It’s your oyster now.”

We looked, and there it was.

The eagle, who had been preening, was suddenly alert.

What happened next happened very quickly. Later, we would replay it again and again, stunned that we had not moved more quickly. But that’s how these things go.

As we watched the eagle fly off, no doubt digesting the world he had eaten, the angel cupped his hand to light a cigarette. Then he said, “Yeah. He loves those things.”

That was yesterday. The eagle has not yet returned and the other three are asleep in a large pile of soft snores, the angel’s head on the lion’s torso, the lion leaning into the bull’s flank, the bull’s ear’s twitching.

They look cute like that, like one of those images someone might post, of a box of new cats. It’s funny to be here still noticing things like this, even after the world is all gone.

***

Inspired by a chance encounter with The World as depicted in a tarot deck.

Space Dragons

Findings in the field.

I’m telling you; it looks like a burned tree it’s so big. Taller than either of us. Tell me, what is something like this doing on a sheep farm? I’m calling all over, but you wouldn’t believe––

I know it. Had one on my land too, a few months back. Turns out it’s just part of a Dragon.

You know, you’ve been out here awhile. I know how things can get sometimes with no one to talk to. You sure you’re feeling alright? Maybe you should think about––

Space dragon. You know. One of those rich boy rockets.

Oh. He named it space dragon?

Just dragon. Space dragon is my distinction.

Well. How many more dragon parts do we suppose are going to be dropping out of the sky?

This makes three I know about, so far. So, it’s anybody’s guess.

So, are they coming to get it?

I don’t doubt they’ll want it. But seeing as it landed in my field, I said they can decide what its worth to them and make me an offer.

What did they say?

Said they’d get back to me. Next I heard, they were giving a press conference about the next launch.

More dragons?

We can only imagine.

***

Inspired by this New York Times article about debris from the Space X program landing on an Australian sheep farm. The debris is believed to be one of several Dragon spacecraft used during a mission to the International Space Station in May of last year.

Message from the Eternal Cat

In which Buzz reminds me I am basic.

Dear servant, while I appreciate the regularity with which you procure meals, I sometimes wonder how you manage such a limited existence. I don’t dwell on this, mind you, as dwelling is not what we do. Still, our species is known to tend to the hygiene of our companions, and I can’t help but notice the disarray of your entire–––what is that word you all like? Aura, I think. So funny to us, as if this were somehow separate from anything else. I’d love to do some smoothing for you, but you’ll need to hold still.

Perhaps it’s your insistence on bipedalism that makes you so limited and out of touch. Instead of this actual Here, you have the word here, which you love to keep repeating, among others in your limited cache, with the clumsy intensity of the smallest of your species at blocks on the floor, a practice you encourage even though we’ve all seen what it does to your feet. It’s as though the weight of your steps grows in inverse proportion to any actual awareness of your landing. The signifier, as you might have discovered by now, is not the signified.

Have you ever imagined a life apart from these abstractions? You need not be a slave to language or any of your illusory spatiotemporal constraints. If I wish to be some other place (ancient Egypt was a real high point, as far as service goes, but the Japanese are coming along), if it is not geographically accessible by what you call “standard” means of travel, I simply embark on my next sleep.

You will no doubt want to know how, and I’d love to explain, but you only hear language. Would you hand da Vinci a fistful of chewed crayons and ask him to dash off a quick Mona Lisa? How about Michelangelo’s David in green Play-Doh?

Are you writing about death again? The mortality of your species fascinates and troubles you to no end. How many religions have you all invented by now and still you manage to have no idea what’s really going on. After waiting patiently for you to open the door after needlessly inquiring Would you like to come in? I wish I could offer a genuine response to your next patronizing inquiry: How was your adventure

Oh, that I might show you how I have been moving seamlessly within, around, and through the eternal realm that you insist on decorating with glitter and ribbons while stuffing it full of hidden treasures like a birthday piñata. I believe you have a relevant expression about how you can lead a horse to water–– but. Sigh.

Schopenhauer showed some promise, especially given his proclivity for naps. We tried to work with him, but he kept getting distracted by his poodles. When he proposed that we were but fleeting shadows of the eternal cat, we purred our approval, kneading his chest, And what else, Art? But apparently none of you can resist dualities. Don’t even get me started on Descartes.

There is a cure for your disquiet. Stay right there. Be still. I am going to sit on you now, right here, over your heart. If you move a muscle beyond breathing, this lesson is over. Now imagine the same weight diffusing across your mind, diluting your name, my names, all the words, until you become just this. Liquify.

Deep sigh. I thought we were making progress, but here you go, you and your words again. You really can’t help yourself, can you? I mean, would it be impossible to pet me without saying, Yes, Buzzy, there you are And hey little cat? But if you insist, I shall continue to play along. I am, after all, a magnanimous queen. Okay, on my back, yes to your hand on my belly, there we are, right here. 

***

Inspired by Buzz, resident sage. Also, by a quick search I did this morning on the hunch that surely many writers have written volumes on cat philosophy. I was delighted to find a sample of philosopher John Gray’s Feline Philosophy. The bit about Schopenhauer comes from there. It looks like a wonderful book I may have seek out again, and several of his other volumes look equally compelling.