From the Harp

A prayer to the wind.

I am, in the end––and each beginning––no more or less than a hollow vessel strung with sympathetic strings. If awareness is a matter of tuning, subject to interference, all that happens is a matter of sound, sounding. Each new life, each cataclysm is what vibrates through a given string, to wind through the echoic box and out again. Now I am symphony, now grass, now a spool of thread; now current, now whale, now cresting foam over wave. No part may translate itself.

Withdrawing even from myself, I am none of these parts, but all of them, and the handler breathing somewhere in the rupture between what is and what appears. In this state like dormancy, pregnant with possibility, I have never been an adequate expression, beyond this whispered invocation into wind, water, and this lover’s touch–– 

––calling, sound me, that I may remember. Heal my unbelief.


Adapted from An Object-Oriented Defense of Poetry in which philosopher Timothy Morton expands upon Percy Bysshe Shelley’s idea that all humans are like aeolian harps. 

Becoming Unbecoming

Undoing: an anti-manifesto.

In the spirit of helping, we began to work together, and in the process, unmade ourselves. Now we live in a hall of mirrors of our own creation, accompanied by nightmares and jokes. Some of these are our creation, others not, but there are no guards at the door. There are no doors either, so you get all kinds.

Don’t walk through here barefoot. There are shards of utopias all over the floor. If you look at certain times of day, the light playing in these is a wonder to behold. 

If there are any unbroken ones out there, you can keep them. Heroes, too. We are done with all of that. Keep your mastery, your individual agency, your sense of your own significance. In our madness, we think human beings would be a good idea.

Let us play. The game is you are not yet and neither here nor there. The game is care. The game is adapt. The game is laugh. Let us begin. Begin by stopping right here.


Inspired by, and with borrowed phrases from, the opening of Hyposubjects: Becoming Human, by Timothy Morton and Dominic Boyer.


Death and the high notes.

A matter if tuning: the singer to the frequency of glass, the virus to its host, death as the explosion of a vase. Contents of the vase move inside out, and no distinction remains. 

Before the glass shatters, it shudders. If you watch in slow motion, you’ll see it. To be moved deeply by what is well-tuned is to be on the verge of breaking into pieces until there is no longer a body to break.


Notes while reading Timothy Morton’s Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality


Considering a voyage to cat island.

What are you doing?

Studying up. I’ll be traveling soon.


Cat Island. 


They have one, I think. But this is Japan, which has a few. 

How’d that happen? Have you been reading Murakami again?

Burroughs, actually. But the island, it used to be a hub for the sardine trade. There was a rodent problem on the boats, so the fishermen started taking in strays. The cats were treated well by the villagers. After all, they were essential workers. 

Are they still? 

Well-treated, yes. They outnumber villagers ten to one. But the sardine trade dried up. People left, except for the old timers. Cats stayed. Someone thought it would be a good idea to spay and neuter them awhile back, but a significant group escaped the knife. They’re somewhat of a sensation now. 

Ever read Timothy Morton, the philosopher?

Oh, right. Who loves how cats blur the false boundary between Nature and Us.

Did you know that next to birds, cats have the widest range of vocalizations of any domestic pet?

The meowing would be just for kittens, but it persists into adulthood among domesticated species, as a cry for something from a caretaker.

Loneliness can do it, too. And hunger. By the longer, throatier Meeeoooooow can mean concern, or existential annoyance.

Oh, C’mon.

Yes, I think that’s actually what it means.

Well. Then, purring is contentment, obviously.

Sure, but it can mean worry, too. Like how humans will whistle when nervous, as distraction.

Chirping is my favorite.

Mothers will do that to tell the kittens to pay attention and follow along.

What about those little chirrups at the window? 

Means they are excited, sometimes about a bird. 


That’s for longing. It can be for a mate, or they could miss their old home.

They’re nostalgic, then?

We are the cats inside, Burroughs wrote. Talk about a man who loved cats.

Who cannot walk alone, and for us there is only one place.


Notes: For a beautiful photo essay of Japan’s largest cat island, Aoshima, you can click here.

An excellent article about philosopher Timothy Morton can be found here.

The Burroughs quote is from his novella, The Cat Inside.