Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Portrait of the Artist Right Now

portrait of the ghost as a young man, monacapone

(heights I have fallen from:
__useless without lips,
__Time measures its own quantities
__(once, the two steps to our front door, broke my teeth)
__(twice love, ssshhh, enough of that)
__sometimes slows enough to give you a good look
__(december 12th, 2006)
__the smell of paint is fresh inside me
__(my birthday presents from the second story window, tears fall in parabolas too)
__summer edges upon us anyway, listen:
____here come the waves.

i know precisely this: _._
i am lucky to have gathered soo much.

i stumble upon a mountain-range, purely by accident.
i had not known my drops soo steep.
three steps from the white-fence, two steps from the last tree i climbed,
i lie there, fall asleep in the perpendicular sun.
mumble to myself, humming scores to midafternoon dreams.

an ocean too, besides the old tire-swing.
swells and falls with the tide, my heart,
governed by ticks and tocks.
i smile, the pure necessity of being,

the sand edges off around me.
somewhere a child yelps at the cold water.
my tilted hat falls off my head,
my forehead drips the sweat of anxious futures dying to get out.
the heart's ocean expands like lungs,
a dark bird floats on a dark surface.

by a doorway i sit.
landscape after landscape,
measuring angles with my sextant.

my hands sit in my lap.
having no piano keys,
no female fingers,
they keep an eye on clouds.
ah! when impressed.

a third prayer ceases in silence;
the abrupt language of finality.
someone looks around...
__- see the miracle?
__- perhaps... no, not yet.

__- it's here. i see it.
__(all look across)
__being! (he smiles)

__VI. (part 1)
night is a creature.
inchoate at sunset, uncertain of her powers.
____more and more silent (diminuendo)
____(she speaks loudest in whispers)

sshhh, i am cats, and grass grown grey, and stars are the pearls that were my eyes,


and i am fingers, and i am sheets, and i am moans, and i am the sand behind your ears

__[turn, moan in sleep]

__VI. (part 2)
to leave and be left simultaneously
(if there were more words, we still wouldn't be able to say what we mean)
(please remind me who I am)

In other news:
the world continues to spin on its axis;
most, but not all people, wake the next morning,
clouds don't care what we think.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

the Biography of April 26th, 2008. Vol II: Oct 2007-Present

__prayer scribbled into a notebook:

__almighty God! I thank thee for my soul;
__& may I never die spiritually into a mere
__mind through disease of loneliness.

________ee cummings

San Diego Snow Story, -Antoine-


There was a haircut, perhaps the best ever, this began it. A few minutes later, amidst a flurry of phonecalls, most of them reproaching the protagonist of this tale, an immediate trip to a pathology lab, some flirting with an elderly woman, and eventually, a plastic vile filled with a dark, viscous sample of his blood (which after much trouble, would eventually go on to prove immunity to two variants of hepatitis).

Two homes were packed and cleaned in two days. Our hero lay languishing on a bed by the afternoon of day 1. Approximately 8 weeks of assiduous study, rote-memorization, and lugubrious, melancholic yearnings for a more meaningful life had sapped him of all earthly will and left him in a crestfallen lassitude which not even the promise of smashing wooden structures could dissipate. (as an aside, it did turn out that in an anomalous moment he did find the strength to stand, fetch a mallet and ravage his little sister's no-longer-needed desk into approximately 8 medium-sized parts. She has yet to completely forgive him for the obduracy he demonstrated in doing so). It is in between these fits of compensatory anger (redirected from the insipid, monotonous life of flash-cards he had led for nearly three months consecutive) and bouts of tres fatigue that the necessity of haircut was mentioned by his mother, the necessity of evidence of hepatitis immunity was mentioned by his nefarious institution of education, and the necessity of rest was curtly ignored by all.

In conclusion of these preliminary days, he stumbled, mumbled and dreamt his way from sitting in the school tavern after his final exam drinking bubbly grapefruit juice (in contrast to the smell of beer having spilled liberally over floor, chair and table alike, and which acquires a certain novel smell after making contact with the sole-surface of too many inebriated patron's footwear) through the mayhem of the packing travesties to the gate of some international airport or another.

He awoke momentarily twice during the flight, once to drink a plastic-cup of water- some portion of which dribbled down his numb lips (a categorical lack of kissing perhaps the cause), a second time to wonder where on earth it is he was. Finally some 10 hours later, the plane landed in a humid, dank and miserably smoke infested Hong Kong. Some noodles, windowshopping, and exhausted boredom later, the plane took off again- our hero having barely made the flight after having fallen into deep slumber and dreaming dreams made up of the possible variants of these words: THE FLIGHT TO ______ WILL BE BOARDING FROM GATE (any combination of whole-number, double or triple digit, positive integers) FINAL LAST CALL PROCEED IMMEDIATELY MR MRS TRAVELING TO crap Jo, that's us!). On a coldish, grey morning, he arrived in Beijing. Sat in a cab. Arrived in an apartment building, put down his large bag (which in Prague would crack, in Hamburg would be dragged, in Prague (revisited) would resolutely break, and would be cursed and sworn at until the second day of death-by-Vienna (a.lonely) would be replaced by a doubly-priced (but) inferior model) and collapsed into a nearly 20 hour stupor.

The rest of the China-Diaries would pass by in a mixture of dirt, smog, elated carelessness, soul-crushing indigents, walking aimlessly around in Shanghai dressed like a mendicant (and treated as a rock-star), solicited regularly for paid and unpaid sexual intercourse- of which two instances went considered and two instances were humbly and politely declined by our heart-broken, love-martyred, self-pitying protagonist; instances of running across long tortuous walls smiling ear to ear with more teeth than the moon, kicking the thinnest fall-seasoned, tree-fallen starfish (translation = autumn leaves) ever seen and the constant packing and hiding of the thoughts of exam-results into the darker closets of ones mind. China passed in a mixture of illness, suffocation, animated bargaining, strolling, staring.looking.seeing, praying and the first-ever intimations of an understanding of how diverse and how multifarious humanity is. All in all a mixture of death-by-drowning, heart-swollen by the probity and candor of the people encountered (and at very least the taxi-drivers).

It was not until arriving in Haifa that the world begin to spin at least 14 times faster on its axis, the particles of moisture in the air began to take on new properties so that atmospheric pressure began to exert unbeforeknown amounts of pressure (our hero grew sniff-necked. His inability to suck-in enough air, it having grown more particulate than gaseous left him blue-faced). In between minutes his beard would regrow, time having begun to sprint from morning to noon, and hurdle from noon to evening, and then stop altogether between evening and twilight again. Broken, dispirited and unable to manage timepieces anymore, he grew his beard; considered an ascetic life, death-by-drowning, arsenic (kick-it-old-skool); growing a beak and wings and flying away to the island of the Lotus Eaters; never speaking again, and... finally, after 5 days of being voodoo-dolled by Fate's forceful fingers- crushed by having rekindled (only temporary) that long since missing panacea for all his ills (including his now brittle, plasticated heart)_ l_o_v_e_! _the bravery to abscond from medical school and begin clearing a new part of the field to call: life.

Easter-Europe can be summed up in the story of the luggage-bag: strained, almost-broken, broke, crushed. To this we need only add: paranoia. fever. a sort of noisiness that causes one to wake in the morning trembling and continue the day being vibrated (as though he were a tuning fork being continuously slammed slammed slammed slammed against some hard counter-top). The author summarized it himself like this: I unraveled as a man.

Our history can pick up again in the quiet of Seattle's mountainous ports and docks and fingers of water constantly picking their way more and more inland. There he slept. Maintained a fairly austere diet of clam-chowder one day a week, and tomato soup and a grilled-cheese please the second. A inchoate ability to function again in social circumstances was slowly encouraged by Martha's incredible ability to say tomes with eyes and gestures and a perfect mastery of how to share a cup of tea on a balcony (and indeed a gift for selecting a felicitous time to do so). Having been propped up on stilts and wearing a scare-crow's 4th-dead-hand overalls and a straw hat, he boarded the plane once again (this time with crosses as eyes and a dread that turned his blood nearly black- which was probably overdoing the look somewhat though in accordance with) the intention of attending his grandfather's (now-dead) funeral. (cue-the dirge now). He was well prepared for this since having taken full advantage of (telecommunications) h(im)e had written already two eulogies and a fairly courteous draft of introductory remarks to be recited at the commencement of the program.

From here we pass through strange landscapes made up of prayer, agitation, despair, complete annihilation and a sort of rebirth that is the skeleton of platitudes everywhere from Phoenix myths to retellings of Passions to several billion Bildungsromans.

And what of this arduous tale other than it ends at 11:42pm on Saturday, the 26th of April, 2008?


Dear future. Dear infinitum. Dear: new friends, eventual-lovers, perhaps pet-cats-or-dogs, pizza pieces eaten, walks taken, bones broken, hearts broken, hearts mended, people spoken to, children laughed with as held close to my chest so thee can hearest the only pure sound I have left that I can make (bu-boom, bu-boom, bu-boom, bu-boom), love made and enoyed/perhaps love made and left-feeling guilty.alone.poor.smiling, Bach inventions heard by good.bad.mediocre pianists, pianos left to be touched, pianos I must walk past and ignore, vacuum cleaners fixed, spoons held, hands shook, hands held, hands kissed, hands worked besides, hands communicated to, hands put rings on (hand), prayers read while sobbing and groaning in complete humiliation (I am not too-man to admit), prayers said while semi-nude laying in the sun in Santa Monica by the pool while listening to Mozart and smiling, carrying my sister into the bathtub, carrying my own babies into the bathtub, learning again how to be happy enough to dance, learning how to manage faith, blueberry muffins, tests, pieces of paper, near-perfect-pens, terrible can't-touch-this-lest-it-adulterates-my-soul pens, ALL-that,

Dear ALL-that:
you now exist. You now exist because I had my heart broken twice, and failed at a bunch of stuff, and spent a few months ceasing to exist, and spent a few months translucent (somewhat), and spent a few months certain I was going to move to Nowherville, Nowhere and get a job in a gas-station and renounce the having of dreams, life or fun, box the future (everything) into a shoebox (need her to suffer) and put her in that closet (next to my test-results) and spend the rest of my days "cash or credit" "it does work, just press harder" "we're outta twinkies" "isle 4" "we don't have that here" "I don't know" "the maps are kinda outta date", and then, woke up one morning. This morning perhaps, and decided against that.

Dear ALL-that:
I fixed the vacuum last week. I can fix it again. I still like blueberry muffins. And all else... well, I did find a new suitcase. __eventually.
Dear future-wife, thanks for now existing a little more. Dear future-babies, you won't have a TV unless you're watching the news and you have to play at least one musical instrument, and read Macbeth by 13. Other than that, I promise to wrestle with you lots and tickle your baby feet and listen to you and be your friend so we can talk about why God is more important than anything. Dear future pancakes, you will taste sweeter. Dear future cities, my feet look forward to your acquaintance.

Dear ALL-me:
please come soon. I have worked hard for you to be born. I sense you are worth the effort, I just hope there's enough of me left to host you when you get here.


dear readers,
my apologies, I kinda got bored through this thing and so it lost some punch. I'll probably not write anything so long again, cause... I'm as easily deterred from prolix manuscripts as you are.


__we walked across crushed
__white stones
__(though now i know
__they were stars)
_____a novel.

illusions, tommyoshima

(Unconfessing the Confession Email)

[when I was a child... in Africa this is, someone bought me a little electric car, a blue jeep. I drove it around the house. I ran over a rock, the car had a fit. I stopped, scared. I looked. There were two rocks, not one. I had snapped a rock the size of my head in two... I was invincible]

When I close my eyes... I see this dream I had in my teens. A savannah, an open field... maybe wheat, but probably long dried grass nearly waist high. The wind forming gentle moving patterns across the strands. I had been stabbed, I fell to the ground, but never hit the soil. An inch above the ground i floated, rocked back and forth by the wind... like a flip-flop being taken out to sea by the sunset-tide. It was silent. Slow... like slow lip kisses. It is the calmest I've ever felt. Life rocking me gently back and forth. At 25, I want to crawl into a mother-sunday's lap and put my arms around her waist, and have her rock me gently side to side.

[parts of the ground were illuminated, others dark. Secrets everywhere. I stopped, listened to my breaths... tried to hear which direction to move in next. Somewhere water moved. I walked that way, staring at the trees and their many arms. I thought I had stumbled inside an emerald. Somewhere some stones, I sat. Opened my prayer book. I know God's behind one of these trees. Shy. I looked up from my book, my fingers shaking, a little cold. I looked around hoping to catch a glimpse. Not this time. I prayed some more. These trees can teach me patience. If I know that I'll know everything.]

You still have bright eyes. When I first saw you you had them then too. It was January 19th, did you know that? We met on January 19th, 2000. I had enrolled for university that morning. I felt all man and no boy (though I was all boy still and no man). We first met in Lara's room. I hadn't thought anything of you yet, I was too busy fingering my university identification card in my pocket. Imagining futures. Later, in the main lobby, it went something like this:

"What did you study?"
"Film and drama... and english."
(you were surprised by the enthusiasm. I was relieved you weren't a clone of everyone else I'd ever met)
"... yeah!"
"I have this theory on 2001: A Space Odyssey do you have a theory on it?, I have a theory on it, wanna hear it?"
(a new(er) smile on your face)

[I said my theory]

"well what?"
"is my theory correct?"
"I don't know. Makes sense."
"There isn't a right answer?"

Later we went to Magic Mountain at Glenelg. I remember you grabbing my hand and pulling me behind you. I'm not sure I'd touched a woman before that. Also that was the first time for every invisible thing that can happen. The rest is all about the rest.
____Later still, I sat at my desk. It was white. Alex had built it for my room- it had lots of shelves. I sat there and you cried on the phone. You were worried the marijuana you had smoked a few weeks prior would ruin your chances of getting hired overseas. I assured you it'd be ok (I hoped to God I was right). Later all the rest happened.

The picture of me that _ _ _ _ _ sent back (it made her cry)... a littler me, in a yellow plastic tub. I'm in the backyard, blonde and white and nude, smiling in the sun. I looked at it recently, realized it's a photo of my soul before my body surrounded it.

I am a superstitious man, for all my scientificisms. My late night terror logiloquy sessions. I believe life speaks to me. Murmurs. I hear them. Invisible hands out of every shadow patting my back when I walk. When I pray the carpet rises just a little to stroke my leg. The universe loves me. I once wrote a poem that began:

The toys in this store were broken, battered and bruised.

I'd like to change the rest of it now to:

Gentle hands held them just together. Stitched them up partially,
brushed their hair. Kissed their faces, and put them proudly
On a higher shelf.

You once bit my ear. It will always remain the mystery of my life. A frustrated crossroad my youth was too early to navigate. Youth is its own excuse... its own grace... its own let-down.

In the back of the Bahai Center... Edward St. (once I walked alone from the train station there after school- nearly cried of fear, I memorized the address) I stood in my hypercolor shorts. I had little brown hairs on my legs. 12 years old. I stood guilty because of these legs of mine. I was forced to wear shorts... this damned country, too warm to hide in pants. I was a pre-teen Sasquatch. My first time meeting my new contemporaries. In hindsight, it must have been harder for mom inside the building introducing herself all alone. Hi, I'm Sepi. We just moved here from LA (please don't ask me why). I stood in a corner. The children were at the back of the yard, staring at me. I stood by the faucet. Stared at it like it was the most interesting thing ever. A short boy walked towards me. I fixed my stare on the drops. Counting each one. Pretending I was Newton verging on some miraculous reconstruction of gravity, Q's Feather Test to Prove Variations in Gravity, an Inverse Proportional Relationship Between Heartbeat and Feet's Attraction to Common Ground. I saw an arm extend towards me, a youthful hand at its tip:

"Hi I'm Eman. You're Quddus, Farnosh's cousin right?"
"...y e ss." [thankyou for talking to me brave boy]

A new life was given to me in that moment. It's funny that one person can change a person's whole life. Isn't that funny?

_ _ _ _ _ wore grey tracksuit pants. A yellow long-sleeved shirt. When she wants to flirt she grabs her hair and holds it above her head- as though about to tie it in a pony tail. I saved this moment from the dustbin of faded memory by embedding it forever in these words: and ten thousand stars of the stardust of your hair. She stared at me. I didn't want to kiss her. It was the Monday night. We'd had our first date Friday, 3 night prior. She'd come over to watch Amelie. We were paying no attention to the television because we were talking. My yellow couch- the safest space in the universe. I was on the right, she on the left. She looked at me. I know that look.

"Don't look at me like that."
"What look?"
"The please-kiss-me look"
"Whatever! You wish"
"I'm going to kiss you."
"As if I'd ever let you"

Between lips and lips there are cities of ash, to Neruda I want to add:
and kingdoms made of blue sky, and honey colored eyes and moments passed lying still atop one another listening to heartbeats and the incessant beauty of mind's memory. Between lips and lips there's eternity. I hadn't known it before but,... the earth shook. I saw the lights dim and I'm sure somewhere I heard an explosion. (Gradations in the Field of Gravity). It's funny how moment's can change a person's life. Just... single moments.

When you came to visit me, in Adelaide, you had on these sunnies. You sat in my blue car (which would later drive me half to death) and stared at me: I look good in your car. That's what you said. I laughed. I felt proud (all man and no boy). I had just washed my car for you.

And of course there are stories about all these moments.
About all the smiles...
__about the moments you look at someone's face and feel the tenderness of them.
__about the times you hold out a hand to be certain of it.

There are stories about quiet trees whispering to us the answers we seek.
quiet stars shouting at us from all those years away: turn left! Wake up! Kiss her now you fool! NO! If you leave now you can make the late screening. Just keep reading! It's your stop. STOP. I'm so beautiful, look at me! and... their voices are soo quiet by the time they get to us. I look up at them whenever I can, cup my hand around my ear. no. nothing tonight either.

There are stories about yellow couches. About kissing on that couch. About falling asleep on it on Sabot Saturdays reading L'Éducation sentimentale. About the 20 years or so it sat in Mr. D's house, and all the people who sat on it and prayed and held hands and listened and were listened to. Later I woke up and bookmarked my book and went to Paris and sat on the Champs Elysee and read some more of it.

And even later still, at 2:16 in the morning of Friday the 4th of April, 2008... me and the echoes of smiles... the memories I've seen, the lips I've touched with my fingertips, or stared at and wished to touch, and the couches, the cars with windows down driving to Semaphore beach with Nava screaming at us... all these organs that I need to keep my heart beating... all these moments that life has given to me so that I might be all man and no boy (or partially)... I sit here and show them to you. to make you happy. To show you my happiest moments... to make you happy.

much love

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fragments. Pieces.

_A_ so, where are you going?
_Q_ I have no idea.
_A_ sometimes that's the only way to get there.

untitled, selma

Some air stops,
____for a moment it is my lung.
(some stays to hug my heart closed/Open;
________leaves too).
____(start again)


Limb by limb it packed itself up. Lay down. It's a strange sound when the soul of a star finds its way out.
What's the light of light? And death, premature as always...
____And of course there are stories about prayers, that and other first lines, that and other things people say at the end. Or at least hope to say, that and other things people hope to say before the end.


____When I forget the hands in my lap, close my eyes: there are black stars and black clouds. Black ideas that float on black rivers (the color of infinity)... -Yes, and futures compressed into seconds. (Rocks are decisions, too hard to make, distilled).
____[-kick one, it'll tell you a story]
____And I smile- which no one can see (a smile in the darkness), and wonder if the black can smile back. Here we sit, miracle and miracle; face-to-face. The black cow of infinity drudging along with her sack of tomorrows, and I (with my yesterdays). Black birds. Black breaths. I in it and it in I. Landscape within landscape. Spiegelim speigel. The stars shake with each thud of a heartbeat, with each sigh sway, the remnant baby's hats and pink flip-flops drifting centimeter by centimeter out to sea at dusk. The sounds have settled like dust- they're there, but motionless... only the stars. Only the stars. only the stars. only the stars. only the stars. Black wind carries hopes and dreams and fears, black leaves are too light. Black ticks and never and never again


Black pianos; with only black keys. Playing only the rests (Don't touch it you'll stir up the dust). A bus floats through the south of Italy. A kaleidoscope of black-only colors. Of black stars twinkling like black diamonds... the ocean, the stars, veins... a kaleidoscope of

____-What? (again)

____-yeah. ____ok.

____-no, it's ok. NO!, i'm coming, it's fine.


____-I was praying. what do you mean why?


Possible Titles for Today's Post

this floor, this shadowed ceiling
this happiness that i can't explain (or won't try)
and all the fear that binds men
(that dissolves and I can't explain (and won't try)
this hunger, this insatiable curiosity,
the future and its drama and full of nothings (which means everything)
and of course:
which I have and lost and have again and never (can) los(e)t and fear and want back
and hate and hope to die holding tight to my chest gripped
(and i am late for midnight)
(and i am late for my own name,
which carries on without me and which is me and my future self
and i am me not i
and i am i not me
and i am nothing if not either of those
and nothing is better than either of those
and i can't understand myself what i mean (nor will i try)
because tonight is perfect (and too perfect for words
(nor will i try)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


milk, cinemacowgirl

how strange,
of all eternity,
this tulip's the future we picked.

it's quiet. rare that.
you're entombed in my memory
I won't wake you up
____(sleep easy my dear)

the room stares back at me.
_- Are you another ghost?
_-[nod] the socks you're looking for
__are in the other drawer.

I'll close my eyes;
you do it too. on 3.
we're not talking
(but you're this air)
Don't say anything,
I'll show you:
1, 2, __3

No one's hurt me more.
I've never damaged anyone worse.
That makes it love.

Tomorrow: the sum of all
my yesterdays. Add this present
eye-blink. Lick it with infinity's
infinitely hopeful lips. now wait.
not far to go now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

6 Definitions for Love

a premonition by color; a signal in the haze. kagogo

if i love You
(thickness means
worlds inhabited by roamingly
stern bright faeries

if you love
me) distance is mind carefully
luminous with innumerable gnomes
Of complete dream

if we love each (shyly)
other, what clouds do or Silently
Flowers resembles beauty
less than our breathing

ee cummings


The problem with love is in the definition... which in this rare case, happens to match almost precisely the reality. I choose: you. this. that-one. today.tomorrow.never. I choose it knowingly (we are here concerned with a sort of conscious, knowing love... not the madness that often precedes). I choose this., this door here: (__), this is the one I want. I can see that it is a little rusty around the hinges (she's moody in the morning). I can see that it creaks more in the summer (she's useless without her coffee). I can see the paint is chipped off a little here and here (she hates that I love southpark). I can see that there's been some bloating from water-damage (she thinks those ugly shoes are not-ugly)... but, that's what I love about it. T_H_A_T_ is what I love about it. I love those precise qualities (the rust. the hinge. the bloating. the scratched paint). A sort of content understanding of fault.

____(1) Love = content appreciation of fault(s)

and.... that's what makes breakups so hard. She always was too concerned with what people thought. (i know.) see? Isn't it good you don't have to put up with that? (in the late-evening, when i'd get up for water, i had to open the door slowly, but it was ok, it was such a nice sound i liked to let it play lento). Also, her parents hated you! she never even really told them about you, I mean, the whole time, they didn't approve... she didn't even tell you! (in the summer months, the door wouldn't shut. usually i'd step into the room first, then bump it with my left shoulder- couldn't be the right, my CD shelf was on the right. it got to be a habit, after the first rains came, for weeks i'd close the door easily and still tap at it with my left shoulder. my lips to her lips). See? q... not all women will require soo much from you. (you're right. but she was my door. and i like(d) the shape. and the sounds. and the bumps and bruises. and it's true, sometimes, when i'd rub my hand down her face, i'd get little splinters in my palm. i'm still trying to get a few of the last ones out... but... whenever i pull one out i cry to have lost the pain)

Love is that by definition.

____(2) Love = the parts of you in me

and... I'm scared. It sounds alot like I'm saying: Love = picking your favorite natural disaster., which by the way, is exactly what I'm saying:

____(3) Love = picking your favorite natural disaster

which for me is earthquakes. They come to me in kisses. Between lips and lips are cities of r_u_b_b_l_e_ (we'll come back to Neruda in a moment). I feel them in certain kisses. I feel it when certain people look at me a certain way. Sometimes, sometimes it just happens when you're laying holding together... (for example on a certain yellow-couch, sunk deep into its cushions so the television- nothing is visible anymore. Maybe the ceiling. A moment later that goes too. Now just your eyes. It's all I see. what is this shaking? do you feel it?) I can tell you what it is, it is the forces of the earth shaking hands with the fingers of an outstretched heart. Simple. I learnt that in a physics book. It is a geologic reality. ancient as mountains the seas spit out. The atoms of the universe are held together by love. The mountains, the particles that stop the moon from looking like a dust-bowel. Light, even light, which alters when I'm looking at certain children's eyes.... certain old men's. certain friends. certain book-covers. certain sea-scapes. certain pointed ballerina-toes. certain photographs (time has no dominion. I'm sorry to correct you Dylan, but if time has no dominion, then death certainly has no dominion, time time time! T_I_M_E_ has no dominion. It should read like this:

____Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
____And time shall have no dominion.

____(4) Love is timeless.

I know to a certainty, that certain love-full eyes will be clear to me when I am bodyless and mindless and too full of soul to know what to do with daisy's. One day, perhaps distant, perhaps near, I'll have that final epitaph chiseled into the cheapest stone my loved ones could find:

here lies blah blah,
he was ok.
he did what he could.
at very least...
never mind.

I'll urinate, my soul will, by the plot (I want to encourage the roots of the tulips to sprout through me as soon as possible), I'll wave a last goodbye to a few darkly dressed, sticky eyed people, and lift off. It'll be interesting for once being the cloud looking into the window-seat. Hi little girl. Do you see me?
you're not scared?
why not?
you have funny hair. it makes me smile.

And so it'll be that I'll take with me, up into the cloud-village, a knapsack full of (at present about) 4 pairs of eyes. a few heads of hair (sometimes, i can feel them between my fingers). I'll take a few miniature hands. I'll take my sister's wit:

- You have a big zit on your cheek.
- yeah? you have a big mouth on your face.

I almost can't wait. This is the other thing:

____(5) Love = something that exceeds.perfects the body

I mean both phrases. I could have broken it up into (5a) and (5b). Love exceeds the body. I love your eyes, but... somehow, they cleave my skin and cartilage aside. somehow they communicate to me in the language of tornadoes and earthquakes and babies laughs (the most powerful force in the known-universe). Love perfects the body. make-love. If you have, you know what i mean. If you haven't... then go find out. It's well-worth the eternal-damnation I might receive for my perfidy (mar I owe you $5 for using that word, in the meantime, look it up). I can't wait. I can't wait to ditch the body and love purely. To be divested of this heavy skin, these gigantic hands... these weary feet that hurt most mornings (there are speckles of mud and dirt on my feet, the grime of stardust still under my toenails). I'll love you like a cloud. inside and outsides will mean less. rain makes me feel like that sometimes. the ocean. mountain ranges. small-enough to know it.

enough. let's end with Neruda, he wrote the textbook on love. No one knows more about love:

____Between lips and lips there are cities
____of great ash and moist summit,
____drops of when and how, vague
____comings and goings:
____between lips and lips as along a shore
____of sand and glass the wind passes.

____Therefore you are endless; gather me as though you were
____all solemnity, all made of night
____like a zone, until you are indistinguishable
____from the lines of time.

____Advance into sweetness,
____come to my side until the fingery
____leaves of the violins
____heave gone silent, until the mosses
____take root in the thunder, until from the pulse
____of hand and hand the roots descend.

____from Pact (Sonata) by Pablo Neruda

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Interpretation of Maestro Barenboim’s Idea of Silence


I wrote this some time ago for McSweeny's Convergences competition... which I did not win. I know precisely 3 of you have read it; to the others, the instructions are simple: find two or so images that you find connected in some way. Discuss their relationship. Most people take a fairly straightforward approach to this task. I took a slightly more experimental-literary approach. I think it was a successful piece despite the loss.

I often sit and listen to music while turning the pages of the score in my hands. Sometimes I lose myself in the music- other times in the silence of the score. The music ends and I continue to hold it, turn the pages, and listen to the delicate sounds of hand and paper kissing. That silence (of birds above, of paper’s loneliness) is to sound as shadow is to color is indisputable.

Next comes the matter of black dots and white skins. Pupils to pupils- a girl I love(d) had skin like snow, like paper, and eyes like ink. I stared at her in silence and she was music to me. A paper silhouette of a person. Sometimes she spoke in words (notated above)… sometimes we were quiet and we spoke in inaudible heartbeats and blood motions throughout our silent bodies. I have notated the inaudible parts of love on the margins of this page. Another more complex sample is contained in the next three lines:

Then there is the universal application of sound to life (symbolised by the birds) and life to sound. The footsteps of men that we hear but fail to notice. The sounds of children scared from riding the train to school for the first time alone. There are the gasps the moon makes for attention at night (white on black- a music score in reverse), the murmurs of stars as they gossip to one another about us. There is Messiaen with his bird calls, Bach notating prayer after prayer, and Beethoven’s: I am not thinking of your fiddle when the sounds of God occur to me!


_____- I am hearing the sound of your voice crying but have not spoken to you since, how is it that it’s somehow in me?
_____- I walked home tonight and my footsteps disappeared behind the black night (white/black/sound/silence)
_____- After you cried it was a loud silence
_____- In between my footsteps tonight was a soft silence (loud/soft/dark/light)

And finally there are the complexities that emerge from the mere idea of mixing sound, silence, life as animate, life as inanimate, translation of sound to life/life to sound:

Parallels, crosslinks, questions of dynamics (bravery, focus, the concept of interpretation applied to listening, believing, understanding, constructing), rests- which happen sometimes for short periods but end inevitably in a definitive ending even after the final swan-song echoes away to leave just the humming of electric lines passing electrons that always were there and always will be there after… life.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Personal Statement

This piece has been submitted somewhere. So... until I hear back... you missed out. It really was awesome.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

a sleep with no dreams


__put pen to paper,
__drag the ink of my soul across lines

____M. Tansik

b2, Kenshi Daito

You are my perfect title. I have tried a few times to work with you. to somehow fold up all my meanings, abbreviate all my words and fit them into you: a sleep with no dreams. The first time I wrote you over and over in my notebook, 15 pages of just 4 repeated words and a vowel.

a sleep with no dreams. A sleep with no dreams. a SLEEP with no DREAMS. a sleep with no dreams. aa sslleeeepp wwiitthh nnoo ddrreeaammss.. a sleep with no dreams. A SLEEP WITH NO DREAMS. a sleep. (with) no dreams. dreams. sleep no with.

(like that). Then I took to drawing odes to you. Pages of it my notebook. I drew in silhouettes, black shapes and white shapes only. A lighthouse. Clouds. Another page is just colored in black. Then, before I slept, I would lie and hum you to myself. I would imagine if it could be possible, an evening of formless black shapes growing and dispersing and dissolving and growing again without interruption. No images, no names, no stories. Just black, and all the different colors that that black can be. (Your hair). my eyes. my new perfectly black somewhat shiny undies. Walking into the ITC auditorium first thing in the morning with all the lights off. That miserable plane-ride from Vienna to Chicago... ten hours stuck in that dark. Can I find a way to do it? To reduce it all to silence? To what it really is?


Crouched on four legs it sits. I don't know whose job it is to polish the wood, but I have taken to doing it myself. I have a rag (it's my heart). Some mornings I'd walk down the stairs to do it... in silence of course. It's funny how you grow slowly reverent of these objects. I made a ritual of it, rubbing it in sensual motions, slowly, never too hard. Its black grew darker and darker. imagine, before my very eyes, the making of a black-hole. The lights in the room would be attracted to it- it'd grow dark, and the floor and ceiling would creep towards it. I'd be its closest satellite. I'd get down on one knee to rub up the legs, towards the parts of the piano no one touches. It's an erotic position- I should know, I've been there with women before. I can't handle it for too long, I stand, unable to move.____I lift the lid, scared of her white teeth. Scared of the numbers I see written on them. Possibilities. Statistics. Scared of the history of the men and women whose fingers have touched these keys. The Tutakhamon curses that may have followed them... the Petit Prince's stardust miracles they may have glimpsed between the cracks of the keys. My perfect beauty. My most favorite object.


After an extended period of gestation, one afternoon, having realized I lost the postcard you had given me for my birthday- the last physical piece of you I had left, I began a short story.

a sleep with no dreams.
(a short story) by a penny for the old guy.

I thought it would be... my greatest achievement. Anthropomorphism, monologues, extended metaphors, brutal realism. A fragmented piece written about red-wood trees and lost birds and a frost-bit morning and a lone-driver with tea-stains on his teeth. ____It turned out to be... opaque. obtuse. No one followed it. No one got it. It was my Titanic. My lost postcard sank with the story... I've forgiven one of those things, but cannot forgive gravity for the second.



  1. Anna Jane Resnick, and her bassoon, sitting besides the piano she played her bassoon. I think the instruments had requested to be near each other.

  2. Justin had moved his gym-set into the projection room- no one knew about this of course but I. At 4pm he would go and work out, I would keep watch, make sure no one heard the weights vacillate. I played mostly Bach at first... just to acquaint myself with her. When people came, something loud- Brahms, Khatchaturian. It seemed to embarrass people, the noises she made. They would walk away. Of course it was to cover-up the sound of the weights and the groans of the man lifting them. (when no one was looking Kabalevsky. when I was sad the Poet Dreams by Schuman. when I was feeling unoriginal Chopin.)

  3. You fell in love with the sounds my fingers made I think, before you fell in love with me. But it happened, there. In the back of that stage. I hear your heels click as you walked in. You almost never speak above a whisper anyway, pianissimo-you, you seemed to understand the reverence. I improvised for you. it was in a-minor. A Gregorian plain-chant sort of theme I had in mind, and some technical variations on it. Later, much later, you would video-tape me improvising those same themes. Thankfully that tape is buried somewhere in Brisbane, where the brutal sun is eating at plastic and history and my fingers and the love in dark air, and the romance of it, and the erotic piano swooning as it carved fantasy-histories out of ivory keys, and implicit-curses out of ebony ones.

  4. My three favorite goof-ball friends, one aged 71, the other two 30-somethings:

    - what! you?
    - yes.
    - NO! _Y_O_U_play the piano?
    - you're kidding.
    - what the hell dude! I play! why's that so hard to believe?
    - cause... you're you!
    - he's kidding.
    - no!, I don't think he is. Let's settle this right now.
    - now?
    - yes.
    - you game?
    - get up chump.

  5. When you were sad, it only happened once or twice, when you were sad you'd call me. "I'm sad."
    "oh no."
    "will you?"
    "um... when?"
    "sure. why not."
    and you'd walk up. and then you did the most amazing thing, you would crawl under the piano, lying on the floor, staring at her undies. I stared at you... wanted to tell you I understood... Beethoven had done the same thing. That the floor does actually move when the piano sings... that... the body feels music physically (and spiritually... and in every other lly)... I think I may have just smiled at you. I was unshaven this last time. Tired, not having slept for days. I was editing the novel at nights, dreaming of Love, and all the places Love had led me (and back to square one at that!). So there I was, dark green trousers, a shirt and tie... black Converse shoes... hair a mess, a terrible haircut I had gotten in China, you lying on your back staring at the black stars of the piano's ass-crack, and me and my fingers weeping.

    Just so you know: it was a pleasure to play for you. Each time. Every time. All the time(s). Any time.

The second time it was a poem. It was a myriad of poems, with different names, different concepts, but the color of their eyes (all of them), was you, was a sleep with no dreams. Sometimes I would annotated it:

a Sleep With No Dreams
a story. (about trees)
by A.P. Oldguy

a sleep with no dreams.
a story about trees,
______and wind
______and stars that we bump out heads against at night
A.P. Oldguy

I'm not kidding. Check my notebook. I would annotate it to try and approximate the meanings... to attempt in a rudimentary way to express the idea of it. The idea of me (me!) lying down to sleep... at peace. sound. safe. silent. in a bed that was my home. in a stable, dark, beautiful place... where I could close my eyes and not see.

And I failed. (like all those other things too).

And then the notebook for that year ended. and this thing... never got finished.

Dear: sleep with no dreams, I am sorry to have failed you. I am sorry I never quite managed to get you right... to delineate you beautifully enough. I am sorry to have fingered at your dress and hair and bra-strap for soo long without ever just holding your hand in mine, and lifting it, and kissing it, and then putting it down and staring at you, and being man enough to do it- to repeat the process with your lips. I am sorry I never quite understood what you meant to me in order to explain it to other people. I am sorry you mean soo many things to me.

Most of all,
I am sorry to still not have had you, just one sleep with no dreams.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Where Moss Redeems the Stone


On Christmas day of 2007, I left Israel, intending to write on my departing flight a lengthy and pithy essay entitled Where Moss Redeems the Stone. It was meant to serve me as a summary of my preceding year, an analysis of that year... and a chronicle of the infinite lessons I learnt in having lived it. __ As I recall, on the flight I wrote a fairly mediocre love-poem made up of a great idea and a few excellent lines... that just didn't hold together very well. I am going to attempt now to improvise a draft of this exercise.

lindt christmas tree chocolate packaging 2, .leila

You & Art
William Stafford

You exact errors make a music
that nobody hears.
Your straying feet find the great dance,
walking alone.
And you live in a world where stumbling
always leads home.

Year after year fits over your face-
When there was youth, your talent
was youth;
later, you find your way by touch
where moss redeems the stone;

and you discover where music begins
before it makes any sound,
far in the mountains where canyons go
still as the always-falling, ever-new flakes of snow.

* * *

  1. The secrets of the universe have been purified, that implicit truth distilled further into a flask. The liquid in the flask is crystallized into a powder. The powder is spread out and stamped thin into sheets of paper. On it are printed the words of prayers. When you blow on the sheet you can still see the stardust of distant galaxies rise off.

  2. Love is... massive. Magnificent. I have never encountered anything larger. Anything more powerful. I had not known my heart could dilate so much. I had not known I was soo human. It is a force to be chary of. To be reverent towards. But there is no reason to fear it. It is not our enemy, merely our pinnacle.

  3. Once you have failed at everything, the future seems less heavy. The plates have fallen and smashed. There is no need to continue to hold up heavy weights. Atlas has shrugged and gone home. The world is free to follow its own orbit. There is no need to push against gravity. I walk and kick some ceramics with my steps. I like the crunching of them. Like snow. I smile, seeing my dreams grow smaller and smaller beneath me. Once I was too high, it was stardust I kicked when I walked; now, this powdered glass. These little jagged shards. I am happy to be on earth again.

  4. None can withstand the operation of Thy decree; none can divert the course of Thine appointment.

  5. The rock is inert. It relies on the kicks of men for movement and the urine of animals for heat. And yet, even there, on that insipid fossil... (the petrified fishbones of a creature that had jumped too far. too high, and had suffered the bank's muddy consequence), there is life waiting to redeem it. A thin, green film of it. Almost imperceptible at first, the layer breathes itself into existence. Feeds on the cold and crestfallen rock. Grows its emerald-jeweled fingers around the nugget of nonentity. And then, there, even there! in that pit of nothing, that dejected, dispirited, humbled, humiliated cave of earthen existence, you can hear the minute lungs of life breathing. Hope is eternal.

  6. I am not blameless. I am not to be blamed. Nor am I cause, nor am I effect. I am not stimulus, nor am I stimulated. I am not the moon, nor the night-waves. It is impossible to divide life up into: Me's and God's. into Fate's and Freewill's. It is simply never to be distinguished precisely which were my errors, and which were my most earnest attempts. This is actually the most disturbing realization for me. If I cannot distinguish, if I cannot find the cracks in the structure... then, how'll I know it won't come down again? Here is the truth that resolved this conundrum:

  7. Our entire existence is made out of sand. Our homes are constructed on shifting sands. Futures fold and fall and sink and dissolve never to be known again. Simultaneously, out of nowhere arise dreams and hopes- and when I put my ear to the ground I hear the voice of soo many sirens singing to me.
    ____I awoke one morning, a few weeks ago. I shook the sand from out my hair, washed my face in the salt-water. Stood with my feet in the water and listened to pure nothingness (somewhere a bird whistled). I sighed, turned, and walked back towards one spot or another. I began shoveling a new doorway. a new mantle place. In memory of old books I shaped new ones. In memory of old loves... I left vacant spaces to be filled.
    ____and when the sea comes in again and licks my home from out my hands? I'll build again.

  8. Faith is not something that you believe in when you're happy and blame when you're not. Someone wonderful once taught me: the lens! the lens Q! It's the lens through which you see _e v e r y t h i n g!

  9. Humility is not to be worse than anybody else. Nor is it to be better. Nor is it to pretend you do not have the qualities you do. Nor is it to deny your talents. Nor is it to droop at the neck when complimented. It means, simply: to stand besides, not up, not down, just besides. Comrades. Contemporaries. Friends. Lovers. Always equal. Always hands-held. Always battling. All losses are mine. All victories are mine. I have no need to demonstrate myself. I have no need to prove. I have no need to dominate. I have no need to be right. I have need only to be: a friend and solace to the hearts and souls of men, everywhere.

  10. When things get bad, not 'hard', not 'difficult', bad... pull the plug Q. It's ok. You're not perfect. It's ok to make mistakes. It's ok to walk away, and breathe, and reconsider. It is priceless to know this.

* * *

I could go on forever. Actually, it was meant to be an essay... but I couldn't decide how to start. Maybe I'll keep adding to the list in time. We'll see. I wanted to end on this note:

  1. I drowse between pencil pines, the stars
    rise through me as in sleep I climb
    in the warmth of other arms to meet
    __myself. Horizons stream
    away, all fences down, all frontiers
    open. I am free to cross
    five oceans even. At dust these broken
    __hills break free of time

    and place, four generations pass
    where wheel-tracks dent a slope. We share
    our lives with ghosts, the future strikes
    __clear through us, we are here
    and gone where crumbling paddocks dream
    their first green world ploughed under: feather,
    fur, beaked skull, old bush ways opening
    __upwards into air.

    (from: The Gift, Another Life, by David Malouf)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

2 Short Messages

dementia 3, TommyOshima


Letter to Mom (1993)

I first met you when you covered my eyes on Sunday mornings.
The TV played on, rudely, and I laughed in your palms' darkness.
You cried a lot then, I remember that...
Probably morphing into a lion is painful.

On weekends I dug holes in our backyard. On Monday
You'd insist I stay home with you...
____only now it occurs to me, your loneliness, that I made you happy.
I'd run home from the bus-stop afterschool to check up on you.
You had red-eyes, but I only noticed the smile.

We ate, you I and Sahar, sitting on the floor,
Probably it was easier without the empty fourth chair
____at the kitchen table.

At night I slept in the big room
On the opposite side of the house,
What you experienced I can't imagine- I can't even remember your bedroom,
Were there voices that spoke to you in the dark?, demons or guiding angels?

I don't know how we made it this far,
How we swam back up to air...

Were we ever children mom?
Were we ever anything but happy?


For Sahar (a prayer)

After your lesson, you fell asleep on the piano stool,
The next morning you woke me with a Happy Song-
You set a record, I've never smiled more.

Before your operation we'd koshtee
I'd steal kisses and run, you'd roll and scream and laugh.
We'd dream it'd always be that way:
____a childhood; so heavy
____the stars would edge towards us at night.

I came to pray for you today... I saw your eyes: two.
____There's one that looks at me,
____the other that bends away, always perfecting
____some dream no-one deserves but you.
____At night you fly. Unicorns exist. You have friends.
____You walk upright.
____Sometimes you wake angry:
________You've been busy demanding an apology
________from heaven.

You wore white on your fifteenth birthday,
____(finally the princess dad assured you you were)
____That night you became my hero,
____It was your speech that did it...
And cards! You have aces in your blood,
____(and the black ones in your eyes)
____how do you always win?

I came to pray for you today,
____To help you picket for that apology,
____You and I with our signs, and our two
____notebooks full of hopes we'll never outlive...

I wanted paper between us.
Whatever butterflies and laughs and the day we painted your
____room pink binds us... I wanted to add words too.

____No one will ever get it.
____You and I are alone but for each other...
____In words, silence, and dream.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We exist in places
otherwise strange and probably
_______Jean Day

Original Manuscript in Bach's hand of a Klavier Invention

there are too many
____to feel (fall or otherwise
____(down or also
____up.around and away

* * *

Of the prejudices I no doubt have, there is one that I am intimately aware of, and it is: my unfaltering commitment to J.S. Bach. I simply cannot comprehend that there is a person to be found anywhere on this planet, that left alone- with no external influences- in a room with the sound of Bach, would not feel their soul delight. Would not notice their soul feeling depths of love, gratitude, melancholy, faith, humility, pride, hopelessness (in short: humanity. (in short: human. (in short: whole. (in short: understanding (in short: understood (in short:

when I listen to this... I am all I might be.

Things I Might Be When I Listen to Bach
(some highlights to give you an idea of the possibilities)

- made of vibrating air and nothing else... to be sound and no body (the meanings of words without letters)
- a string of hearts attached with thread, hung up on a patio somewhere remote, so that they might feel the wind nudge them gently side to side, each giving a gentle sigh that sounds like pure frequencies. whole tones. semitones. St. Mathew's Passion. those exact notes. Think of the coincidence!
- I might be a star, looking lovingly, from very far away, at a young man typing on his computer screen at 11:49pm on Tuesday night. I could only see him through the blinds not being properly shut.

and all the fear that binds men

* * *

I hear him, Glen Gould, singing in the background, oblivious of his fingers playing. He is two beasts independent. There is the soul of the piano, and the body that supports his elbows, forearms, fingertips... that creates perfect trills, incredibly felicitous staccatos; and there is the human being in him. Who is as awestruck with the sounds coming from the shiny black wooden box as the rest of us. (who'd have thought a casket could sound like that).

I can't tell sometimes which soul of his I'm more transfixed by.

* * *

Why am I talking about Bach? Glen Gould? those odd quotes?

A: I feel like myself (finally).
it is a strange realization to make. I'm not sure how to greet me. It has been too long since I have felt this thoroughly myself. (in fact, I can tell you the date almost precisely: I came home from work at about 3am in 2003. I brushed my teeth. Put on my PJs. Got into bed, put on Mahler's 5th, and read the Trial and Death of Socrates till breakfast. Had a bowel of cereal, alone, with the rest of the house asleep. Then went back to bed, closed my eyes, and rejoined the stars that having had no where to go, had hidden behind my eyelids.

At times like tonight, I wonder if sometimes they don't dislodge and travel along vessels and arteries. I like the idea: it means I can have stars in my heart to greet you. All the you's of you's that have a place there.

... strange and probably

It is true. I am a strange man. I exist in a strange place. A place inhabited by strange ideas. And probably... I will not manage to rejoin the pearls that were my eyes until I manage to ditch this body once and for all.

* * *

I am in a strange place. I have learnt too many things too quickly, I am suddenly a new person without too much experience in navigating this ship. I write on almost all the pages of my notebook:


I like to write it. read it. think it. It makes me smile. That somewhere, hidden in one of these seconds... is the future (read it in a hushed voice, like some beautiful grand secret, like a dream (I once described You as: some dream that found its way out of my head... remember?), that kind of dream, the future!). For once... I'm not soo scared. It's easy now. I've failed at all a man can possibly fail at. Every category is decidedly ticked. You see? I am invincible. Superman. Free of just about every worry.

In the corner of a Saturday. of May. or April. of the number 12 or 25. or the ratio 12:43... somewhere in the crack of an afternoon, the sound of a car passing. a phone ringing. the sound of a woman laughing... in one of those cracks, lies the future! The whole massive, heavy, scary, chest-crunching future. Sitting. Nascent. Living for itself. And I? What am I doing? ignoring it entirely. I am listening to Bach. wayy past my bedtime. In the dark. My asiatic eyes half-closed. Half in love (because Bach makes me feel amorous). Half Divine (because Bach is the sound God would use to address mankind- this I know for sure). Half invisible (because no one needs a body to hear this. ears are useless). A revolution, for me to ignore the future entirely. To concentrate on 12:14am. on F# major (a strange key by anyone's account).

A strange key by anyone's account.
To a strange lock.
To a strange uncertain appointment
That is ticking its way from
Infinity towards today.

We will meet dear future, you and I. You bring your stardust with you, you have come a long way. I will meet you not quite half-way... perhaps you have come from Olympus, bravo. I have come from Adelaide. from Santa Monica. from 19 Hegafen.
- no. certainly no where near halfway.
but we'll meet in any case. Straw hat to straw hat. Dice to dice.

* * *

The night wears on.
I sit in the dark by the dark river Styx.
The stars give us some light.
I watch the bodies float past,
some catch the light.
They stare at me
- nosey bastard
they say.

I haven't touched the popcorn in a while.
I've been sucking on the same kernel,
teasing it between my teeth.
- what are you looking at?
what does one respond to that?
- the future
- and what of it?
(what does one respond to that?

it's beautiful.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Compendium To Silence

.breanna., flickr

Chapter 1: Anacrusis to Bar 1 Beat 1

The genealogy of sound can presumably be traced back all the way to the rumblings that accompanied the initial heating of gas that caused the Big Bang. But as this theoretical work is very speculative, this account picks things up not quite so long ago. We open this chornicle to a bookmarked page at a time when voyage sounded like the pat of your feet along dirt tracks and grass mounds. The world being inhabited by bearded men wearing loincloths and speaking in articulate grunts and hand-gestures. Women who bewitched with intense eyes and meaty thighs. Colors were more noticeable since there were less of them. Sound was an entirely different construct then. Close your eyes: traffic, and all that comes with it. Honking. Motorbikes. Populace. People laughing from across the street. Footsteps from the neighbors above. Telecommunications. Radios, televisions. Car stereos. The incessant numbingness of ipods in peoples ears.

There was a time when the world had a fundamentally different soundscape. A different voice; one that still exists, trapped in fossils... but also having been delegated to a dark room in someone else's house as old people often are. Once upon a time, man awoke to his own panting. The sound of his hands moving was readily audible. Nature surrounding him; a subtle, delicate language had room to speak. On his walk into the woods, this man would listen to his body hum. The sounds of his muscles flexing and contracting with each step would tell him things. Communicate secret messages from bones and Golgi apparatuses. The dust between his toes would squirm at first, but eventually, once the feet had understood the patterns, unlocked the codes, would speak a Morse code of sorts. The world was no less silent... only that it was filled with stranger, odder noises.

Rustling of leaves was massive. You could hear individual leaves detach. As it neared Autumn, people would be kept awake at night listening to it. A green rain. You could hear trees take their considered steps, see their muscular roots creep out from the ground in infinitely patient attempts to hold hands. Children would sometimes be seen to look with extreme concentration into the yard, where perhaps the gentle tremor of a butterfly had caught their attention. Alterations in the directions of wind could cause reeds to tap against the soil, a rainless rain. A dry emulation.

In those times, music was confined to the hands and arms and feet and chests of men and women. To hear such a thing, someone would have to literally create it from scratch. At first from stamping and moving and howling. For funeral dirges the women would line up and maintain perfect soundlessness. They could will their heartbeats to stop for a few hours while the men sat and mourned. Their beards could be heart slowly grating against their skin as they grew out. Other than that, music was the sound of the body. Fundamentally, music and dance were manufactured together. When mom and dad made love in the next room, the children would look to one another and think: oh, mom and daddy are dancing and singing without us again!

An experimental musician named Byot once undertook an arduous journey where she travelled to the farthest corners of her little world and collected the sounds of things into little clay vases. She would later open the lids in a performance for family and friends one at a time and the room would be able to hear the echoes of faraway streams lamenting lost hands and fingertips they passed along the way (first movement- first urn); the bitter sands that cut Byot's face as they swarmed around her, howling of their lost civilization (second movement- second urn); a gentle bark sitting cross-legged and recounting the color transitions from hour to hour of the grass that grew from beneath her lungs to out besides her roots (third movement- third urn). It continued like this. The Jasmine petals sang a song and the room was overcome by the scent of it. One urn told the mellifluous tale of a white rock grown smooth and luminary because of the waves of the sea. The rock told its tale set to the beat of the waves:
(he spoke.
in comings
and goings,
of days
and black,
of seeing
far stars,
blue clouds)
The ocean itself was represented by urn 20. It told a hushed tale of reaching out nightly to grasp the moon. Of missing. Of growing, fingernail by fingernail closer. Of touching its own black face where the moon would leave kissmarks. The aria was long, but sweet. Most of the audience wept gently.

For a while in our history... the line between sound and music, and nature and man was wind. Much of what we knew of as music, was the sound of our breathing... of our scratching foreheads. Of our making love. Much of what we knew of as silence, were grasshoppers in the dusk. An ascetic named Hulle spent decades studying clouds. In the years before his death he could, from merely analyzing the sound of the wind, predict the vector movement of, and shapes of clouds. He could delineate the precise color of the sky, and how hospitable it was about the clouds it held up by its invisible strings. Such was that race's mastery of silence. Their empathy of it.

Three days before her death, the old lady Geilou, sat her grandchildren by her feet and had them all hold hands in a circle. Her eyesight had failed, and she had never learned to speak, but through the joined fingertips was able to convince all nine of her grandchildren's hearts to beat in time with hers. She used this method as a symbol of her love for them. Needless to say, the gesture was perfectly understood. The practice was carried on by her whole lineage for generations to come. Moments before her death, Geilou took her husband's ear and placed it on her chest as she lay. To her husband's ear she told, in beats and rests, slowly slowing (ritardando), the entire history of her love for him. How she had first noticed him when he had sat as a child besides a haystack and listened to the diffraction of sound inside the spiny ball. She spoke of how she had memorized every sound they had made together when they made love the 1, 546 times they had made love, and she told him three jokes she remembered a seagull had once croaked to her. The story was said in slower and slower beats, and finally, ended. Only that, her husband, having now learned incredible patience through his earnest love of her, and his commitment to her story, continued to rest by her chest, listening to the silences after the last beat, smiling in memory of all the things that came next. Living in two worlds at once. Some years later, he fell asleep there. He closed his eyes, and saw a young woman sitting by a haystack listening to pink wind. And as ghosts they started again.