Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On Governance (not Politics)

i would like to begin by saying: i am not a historian. i do not have any qualifications in: political science, public policy, human behavior, sociology, activism, psychology, or comparative anthropology. therefore, i am inviting you to believe i really am ignorant, underinformed, misinformed, confused, and usually wrong (about everything). with that out of the way, let's begin.

The invention of Democracy came with a little clause- a prerequisite that was always understood to be its Achilles heel (to use a Hellenistic pun for an Hellenistic invention). And what was that prerequisite? A well-informed, active, and engaged citizenry. It seemed a simple enough assumption for the Greeks (though they got it wrong more often than right, and we'll come to that); as it was for the Founding Fathers, who framed the US Constitution with similar anticipations. Which is fair enough right? Who doesn't care about their life? Well, ok, in Greece you had Zeno the Stoic walking around with some different ideas, passing them on to Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and a few of his mates, but for the most part, people care. People care about their kids' educations. People care about their ability to live (read health-care). People care about their property, their livelihood (read economy). People cared about the state of peace and stability that surrounds them (read defense). In short, why wouldn't people care?, people do care, people totally care, it's the coolest thing ever to care. It's natural. Also, how can you not care?, it's everywhere. You are literally in it, it is happening all around you.

So that's how it works. You care about something(s). You care about the state that it's in. You naturally come into discussions with your fellow farmers, your fellow friends and acquaintances. These people have similar concerns as you do. You select, from those amongst you, one who is notable in their ability to communicate these concerns cogently, to win support for your cause (this the Greeks would call rhetoric), and send him off to a gathering of other such persons, where compromises could be reached that would be of benefit to all. (at very least, the majority).

I don't wear printed tshirts, I've grown off them. I prefer solid colors, or simple geometric designs- but I do love slogans printed on tshirts. The other day I saw one that said: overnewsed, underinformed. And I thought to myself... 'yes, that's about right isn't it?'.

[As an aside, I have this observation: I find it a little disconcerting that watching election campaigns (at least in the two countries I've lived in) I get the feeling that I am watching a sporting event. winners. losers. scores. falling behind. clear lead.]

Early on Democracy came across problems. I will sight just one example that has resonated with me on a personal level: the trial and death of Socrates. Note these appropriate words I quoted recently on this blog by Toni Morrison: What it is to live at the edge of a town that cannot bear your company. Socrates was given 2 minutes (sound familiar? it really is just as a coincidence- but anyone watching the debates?) to counter the claims of the Sophists- that he was leading the youth astray from the Gods, and defiling the minds of the young. In truth, Socrates had, with the most meek and modest demeanor (and the sharpest wit and reasoning capacity) asked those who claimed to know, what it is they knew. Upon scrutiny, those who claimed to know often did not know. Nor did Socrates. He made this clear from the outset. "I am curious sir, might you know what loyalty is?, and if it is a good thing?" "I do" someone would respond, "I am wise, and know the answers to your questions". Socrates would nod, dressed in rags, physically he was not very comely- often referred to as the beggar of Athens (though he never begged, it was his appearance they were noting), and continue "mind if I sit sir, and discuss this matter from you- so that I might learn what it is. I've been thinking on it, and have come up with nothing in my own mind."
"you are welcome" And so a series of questions would begin. The interlocutor would make assertions, and Socrates would begin a process of dissection. Usually, the so-called 'expert' would end up sounding foolish. (and often brash). Enough of these people were humiliated before someone took the matter to the Senate. and there we have it. The Sage of Athens, Baha'u'llah would later say this (to paraphrase): when God was rationing wisdom, that man had one sip more than the rest. And so Socrates spoke, we have three accounts- more or less, of what was said. Did the Senate of Athens make a brutal mistake? He was known amongst many as a harmless old chatterbox. Something to laugh at, even scorn in a way... but to kill? No one believed he really posed any serious sort of threat to anybody. He would walk around and ask his silly questions, if you didn't want to talk to him, you said, no thanks, I have some shopping I need to get done. He'd say no problems, do ya' need a hand carrying the bags home? It is reported that at his hearing, half the Senators were asleep. A number drunk. Most bored. Democracy is the will of the people, so the question then, naturally, is: who the hell are these people?

Democracy is founded on the principle that people have a right to self-governance. To have a say in the matters that are of interest (or necessity) to them, and their kin. And what they say suddenly becomes of grave importance. The reason you might set things up this way, is the proposition we had before, that people care what happens to them, and if they care, then no doubt they will act in a way that is in their best-interest.

But how do you know? Really. We have lawyers because we do not know the structure and formalism of the rules that govern our society. We have doctors because we do not know the functions and illnesses of our own bodies. Interestingly, we invest in doctors the ability to determine if someone is even behaving in their own best interest. A doctor can decide, non-democratically, to have someone removed from 'the system' because they fail to follow what Rousseau called 'the Social Contract'. How do we know what is in our best interest? The answer is: we ask someone who 'knows'. (Unsurprisingly, the same thing Socrates did 2 and a half thousand years ago). This person gives us advice about how to behave. So the next question is whom do we decide 'knows'? Well, we determine that based on various measures. Some like to see academic degrees, proven excellence, past recognition. Others see it as a rapport, a sense of understanding between parties. Some as any point on the spectrum between the two poles (some entirely different factors- family bonds, various prejudices, etc).

Personally, I am of the mind that the persons elected to represent me, should be the best amongst us- not the median. And the reason for it, is the best argument against Democracy: because I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. I go to the Dr. because (s)he knows better than me what medicines I need. I go to the lawyer, because (s)he knows better than me how to structure my will so it is implemented as intended. I go to see an economist because (s)he knows how to manage the analyze the budgets of my province. Economics was invented more or less with the division of labor. By allowing people to specialize their activities, so that those more naturally inclined to hunt should hunt for all, and be more productive at it than those who are better gathers, better carpenters, better farmers, better teachers etc., and that the gains of such a division would be of benefit for all since goods/service could be traded for one another. The philosophers of Athens, determined that the smartest among them should be the ones to govern the people. They believed that running a country was best managed by people trained in the skills of the Trivium (grammar, ie the formulation of thoughts into language; dialectic, ie the construction through language of sound and logical arguments- or thoughts; and rhetoric, ie the ability to educate and persuade others in an eloquent matter) and the Quatrum (more or less what we call 'the sciences'- though mathematics has carried on, the other 'sciences' have obviously evolved over the last 2,500 years). So a goat-herd was most successful at herding goats, a philosopher was the best at analyzing problems, discovering solutions, and communicating them to ordinary citizens.


I see more and more now a political trend towards what is called Populism. The 'Populist candidate' is a phrase you hear repeated more and more frequently these days. Populism is not a new concept either (none of these concepts are... except maybe mass-socialization, mass-media, and related goodies that we haven't gotten to and I hope to avoid because everyone knows about them and everyone knows they suck and no one quite knows what to do about them). the Romans knew all about Populism, and knew that 'the mob' was where the power lay. Huxley calls them 'the proles' in Brave New World, and sadly, ladies and gentlemen, we are a global first-world community of proles. Populism is practiced in the arts (it's the reason pop-singers are more well-known than Johannes Brahms)- what sells the most is awarded the title 'Best (Fe)Male Artist'. artist? As determine essentially by a social demographic made up of over-sexualized, drugged-up, ill-confident, pimply teens who don't know the Emancipation Proclamations from the notes of a major triad. Such is the 'evaluation' and 'critical judgment' of music (as one example). But all arts are effected. As are the sciences: how many people actually know what stem-cell research involves? How it can be done other ways? What alternatives exist? How invasive it is as a procedure? and so on. (I'm not pro stem-cell research, my concern is on being well-informed, and the point is: many people do have a position on this issue). And lastly, matters of pop-culture (which by the way I despise. BUT, here, I will offer a confession: I am old-skool. To me, scholarship means what it meant to the generations before me all the way back to the 12th century: a workable knowledge of Greek and Latin (including Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, Ovid, Catullus etc), theology, mathematics, the 'natural sciences', and what Plato had already determined would be called 'Poetics and Aesthetics' and the rest of us would come to know collectively as 'fine-art'. To most people nowadays, a scholarship is a wad of money someone/an organization gave you cause you're pretty good at something or another. So my point is: I'm not really impressed by people who have a working knowledge of Tom Clancy, celebrity-gossip, current television sitcom affairs, and can translate from MTV to almost-correctly-punctuated-English). Pop-culture is a reflection of the median, and worse- the median with no aspiration to rise above the median. The median has been apotheosized as 'the Common Man', 'Main Street', 'Everyman'. Being stupid, ignorant, uninformed, and worst of all: disinterested has become the signpost for being an included member of this society. Like knowing its culture. The lofty ideals of Greek philosophy, common curiosity, and the Founding Fathers of at least one current Democratic Nation have been branded: esoteric irrelevant mumbo-jumbo. Elitist crap. (not knowing anything about the economy is not your fault, it is the fault of the liberal-media-elite... or was the phrase leftwing-media-elite? whatever is was- you know the reference. And if you don't, then you should) "I am pro the government leaving me alone and not raising taxes. i'll vote for whoever won't raise my taxes" is a common 'political position'. More than half of the US would align themselves with that... and most of them, would consider that a coherent and comprehensive system of political identity. Based (I stereotypically and with-bias imagine) on a typically lax populist approach to due-scrutiny and research. (all the derision I hear when speaking to people about Al-Jazeera, most of whom haven't read Al-Jazeera 'i wouldn't read that Commie Terrorist loving propoganda rubbish'. - hmm)

Personally, I am not concerned with what people determine is their 'stance'. Pro choice. Pro guns. Pro abolition... don't care. My concern is the lack of knowledge; the ill-informed being praised as 'one of us' (the Populist tone of an ambitionless pop-culture), and the simplification of identities to simple Party mentality (which is almost identical to sporting alliances). Eg: I'm going for the Red team... how about you? Aaron Sorkin in his recent NY Times skit (I have a link to it on one of the posts lower down, I can't find it now) put it this way: American exceptionalism doesn't extend to Americans being exceptional. I think it is equally applicable to a great many number of other places I've been (in Australasia, the Orient, and Europe).

A well-informed, active, and engaged citizenry.

I don't know.
These are just some random thoughts.
Am I wrong?

Monday, September 29, 2008

reasons not to stay awake listening to Radiohead because of disablity to sleep at 2am, A List:

  1. when i wake up it will hurt
  2. paranoia , fear , self-loathing , misanthropy ,
  3. the need to get up and eat cereal every 2 hours. (9pm, 11pm, 1am, 3am)
  4. memory is the most alive thing about me , this is her kingdom , i am not welcome
  5. variations in light , gravity , volume of breathable air makes it hard to sustain life on this planet
  6. the discard button in gmail provokes pt 2
  7. i have nothing to write about . i will not think of anything to write about . i shouldn't try soo hard . i try too hard . i should give up . 2:18am is a good time to give up on (every)things . (every)things. (every)things. (why does everything echo like that?)
  8. every 2am i decide to sabotage myself beyond repair . sooner or later i will . i should not lie awake planning self-destruction ; it seems partially unhealthy
  9. there is the tendency to forget that other things also exist at this hour
  10. blanket and sheets form somewhat suffocating combinations when combined with rotational motion
  11. the cats fight outside . every . single . night
  12. one cannot see stars through the ceiling
  13. discovery is not a process i much admire anymore
  14. (self)discovery is a process i loathe
  15. my bed feels larger , and grows . i feel smaller , and shrink . there is a decided emphasis on the unitary mass in this bed - it is a creature that converts pure air to yellow , muffles sweet silence with grunts , hums like a machine (is a refrigerator that buzzes in a foreign house you must sleep in as a guest) , and all the while i'm certain i'm decaying into a mass of shed hair , cut nails , and waste-air
  16. i cannot get full breaths of air . i am practicing for the heart-attack that will eventually kill me some 30-50 years from now
  17. there is no one to say night fu&*ing sucks to
  18. (the best song on this album is Life in a Glasshouse, the last song) there is a strange physiological tendency to make me go to the bathroom every 68 minutes even though i'm not drinking anything
  19. nothing is as depressing as the bored aphrodisiacs of 2am lamps and bedside tables and notebooks and CD cases coming apart like lepers who want nothing more than to see me sink into a black pit i won't emerge from
  20. i will wake up late tomorrow . this will prevent me from getting to Marion in time. this means i could miss the good sessions of Harold and Kumar (i am using that to make tomorrow appealing to me) , tomorrow will not be appealing anymore
  21. there is no good news at 2am (ever)
(the CD is finished. if i stop now i have a chance...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

La Valse D'Amelie : she says to me, "no, don't play that, it makes me too sad"

Datalooknize- Wapping(Cycling) by yesyesnono

it worries me that in dreams eyes that do not look at each other are refracted, urged, guided, lost___and then meet (in each other). After completely ordinary days i discuss my problems with tulips and was sitting on the floor (with my back resting against a couch for support) i was looking ahead where a gentle stream of shadows was moving away from this world into another. objects would descend and drift away; _occasionally, something would rise out. little birds or creatures that next-thing-you-know are flying around the yellow-tinged lightbulbs, fluttering little bundles of life unlocalized into indefinite forms.

there is no way to link it with the times i played for you; or that, for whatever reason, the song made its way into your saddest place. later, a while later, reunited, someone asked me to play, and i acquiesced. sitting on the stool i looked towards you, and you shook your head. no. i just looked at you, i haven't anything else prepared. again, no. your eyes said it too. fine. ok.

later, in the backseat of a car: , you're never allowed to play it again. it's impossible for me to hear it. impossible. ___it makes me too sad. ___that song is everything that is dead about us. about you. ___when you play it you disappear out of this world back into that stream of shadowed memories that ruined me you us forever everything eternity precious history gorgeous sundaymondaytesday (all it took) you kill it so easily with this.

i nod.
for whatever reason i understand.

the song of the dead is a valse.

Strangely, of all the music that has been lost to me, my fingers still remember this one (since music is stored in fingertips and no where else. in that regard, it is like dance, like a special little dance just for everything up-to-elbows). why have i forgotten everything else but your death-waltz? ___(why have i forgotten nothing?

i am playing it now, descending slowly into the shadow version of the Styx, hoping i am not too heavy to flip it over. i am jerky, and my hands tremble slightly. my pinky is stiff, and my hands seem to have lost malleability with age (it probably won't come back). i make tuned pianos sound rusty. the wood creaks. the ivory recoils from my fingers- being dragged into this pit of disnuanced hope-to-be-deadness.

the whole while, i hate the sounds. messy. jagged. i cannot recover this performance. somewhere, i wonder if you are affected. if you are forced to moan. if you are letting me disappear once and for all. if that pest- that bastard string of gravity's can be cut.

perhaps not.
you never heard me play Ravel, it is a dream i wish to be lost in.

but instead i have this. this now. every morning the same.
every 2am the same.

i thought i had outrun the tortoise.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

words not intended to console the sad

When I pronounce the word Future,
____the first syllable already belongs to the past.

____from The Three Oddest Words, Wislawa Szymborska

July 14, 2008, Hollis Brown Thornton

i remind myself about snow, that i've seen it, i remind myself in the third person: he reminds himself he's seen snow. that it's real. that it makes a noise underfoot. he reminds himself of the time he saw snow underfoot, and heard it, and all the other things he remembers about snow, apart from the sound and feel of it crunching. he reminds himself about the mix of hope and despair (it felt like being told, here is a garden, take three deep breaths because the next thing you know the rocket on your back is ignited and your flying farther and farther away (from her now it everything was before now after later hope desire her home country time space all everything her also) into a darker and darker space, your little grubby face turning blue like anemones- leaving behind a streak of blue breathless desperation like the names of blue flowers) that he felt then, at that moment, and for a while afterwards; only slowly waking up from it much much later... and then, even still, drifting back into like a suspicious vortex.

i remind about vertigoes, in the third person is sounds like this: he reminds himself about his vertigo, that it can happen. that is does happen. There was a time, on a train from Hamburg to Prague. He wrote a letter. Six pages. He remembers numbering the pages at the end. He wishes he never had. Everything he said in the letter was wrong. Everything he had every said was wrong. Everything had gone wrong. Perhaps the train had been derailed en route, and since he had been staring out at the silhouettes of black tree-branches and power lines and charcoal streets painted white with heavy snow and crying softly to himself because it was so beautiful, and he soo sad, he had missed the train-accident. Perhaps, the truth of the matter was, he was simply dead. Long since. And people only spoke to him, knowing him a harmless ghost, hoping that sooner or later he'd fall asleep into a phantom-sleep and seep back into the mesh of his pillow and disappear into that dream of God's that he'd first come from. All this he reminds himself.

i remind myself about autumn... but in different words. I remind myself like this: he reminds himself about autumn that had started for him on October 10th 2007... the first time in Shanghai, the second in Kyoto, the third in Haifa, before finally colliding headfirst with winter's white-knuckled fist in Prague. (and he fell. and probably never got up again) (and he probably doesn't know that) and...

and a spring in Los Angeles, and a final (fourth) autumn in Adelaide, and summer's glistening teeth are at last upon him.
(and for her you everything, all the places he'd rather be, the only places he'd rather be, the only voice(s) he wants to hear, hear, here, here, all,) Autumn, with its gentle autumnal fingers (no one's... __no one's...__ it just isn't the same) won't be here for him when he most needs it. and he won't be there for her. and she won't know.

and he's long been dead.
(and only just noticed)

(and promises to never speak again)

Love (an epilogue)

Tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light... Tell us what it is to be a woman so that we may know what it is to be a man. What moves at the margin. What it is to have no home in this place. To be set adrift from the one you knew. What it is to live at the edge of a town that cannot bear your company.

_______Toni Morrison, Nobel Lecture, 1993

after your visits, __after you're long gone
back to your place __light is heaviest.

i awake remembering that you are and is
, then correct myself: _were , and_was ,

behind a curtain maybe you were.
i got halfway through
before you smiled.
(i walked away, __sadness leads always away,__)
but when i sat
(on the floor, with my back against the couch for support)
you were still there__
(now besides me. __facing ahead . both looking away. __eyesight refracting back onto itself,
all i could see were your eyes)

and you still there.

after your visits, __(you cast shadows on dreams)
back to your place, __(and the aftertaste of memory is morning)

i awake remembering somewhere-else you have established a universe.
a time-machine to when you were just you (before us and we)

i awake in quiet cities. __slow cities.
________________(time here is the cloth of dresses,
_________________nighttime is black hair,

when you visit i am so quiet, __(sadness and shame are silent words) __
so can't tell you:
________________in your city,
________________when kicked rocks roll
________________and accidentally sound my name,
________________i wish you'd recognize it.

i awake in quiet cities. __your cities
________________(sound here is your name,
________________memory is an elemental force
________________which navigates my cosmology-
________________which drifts apart, __expanding myself quietly
________________spreading myself across eons
________________thinning out
________________perfect lightlessness
________________so dark there are no dreams
________________(where sleep at last is peaceful)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

nocturne (for Anjie)

Miss Saeki closed her eyes, giving herself over to memories. There was no more pain there, for someone had siphoned it off for ever. The circle was once again complete. She opens the door of a faraway room and finds two beautiful chords, in the shape of lizards, asleep on the wall. She gently touches them and can feel their peaceful sleep. A soft wind is blowing, rustling, like some parable. She's wearing a long blue dress. A dress she wore somewhere a long time ago. Its hem swishes as she walks. The shore is visible beyond the window. And you can hear the sound of waves, and someone's voice. There's a hint of the sea in the breeze. Small white clouds are etched against the azure sky. And it's summer. Always it's summer.

______Kafka on the Shore, Murakami

from Silent World, Michael Kenna

i am Autumn's moon, who watches her sleep,
and kiss her yellowed cheek so she smiles (and will never remember doing so, it was soo late,
____and lasted just a second's second.

the ocean spoke too much, concerned only with herself,
i couldn't get a word in. ____finally, listened to her, (but was somewhere else:

where the nighttime, sat with her head to the glass of my room, crying softly,
____no one else awake to hear her, she spoke to me, who could not speak back,
____though my eyelids (the place to kiss if any), know all language, and drew her close,
and kissed her nose before a leaf fell.

a convergence of silence: ____the shadows, stars, nocturnal trees, wind, parked cars,
____the Mutes, we pronounce litanies such:

and such: ________and such:

____(and march, hands in laps, drifting weeds, peripheral movements:

expanding with inhalation the whole of the universe drifts a little farther,
the leaves hold hands but edge away, toddlers on separate waves, (hearing centipedes giggle is my secret)
Time unwraps herself like a procession. Her fingertips first, then up her arms, her shoulders,
(i am kissing each crest as it comes), her neck, ears, her forehead (she sighs because i love her),
i breathe and kiss her nose, (save lips for last) i dart past them to her chest, my face full in, her skin- stretches past me and beyond:
all eyes, all dreams;
all wonder she is:
breasts, belly, pubis, ____(i kiss) :
thigh, knee, calf,
ankle, dorsal, toes

where else can you find such vast aloneness?
________(i am skinless from being untouched,
________crowd closer friends, (more shadows, darkened weeds, a cat now,
________crowd nearer, things that sigh, and dream silently,

(i am Autumn's lover,
black Time's endless toy
Nighttime's one consolation)

________crowd in friends,
________come nearer to me,
________i can't feel the stars, ________what skin is there
_______________________________for untouched men?

_______________________________what dream is left?
_______________________________(what hour is this?)

(the bird's eyes, ____the flattened cardboard box collects moisture,
things that have words are long since asleep,

________wordless creation, crowd in,
________what stories we are, ____what silence, ____what pause,
________what restraint
________what fury


Wednesday, September 24, 2008


untitled, .littlegirlblue

i find myself a little ill. nothing major- sore throat, runny fever, the typical things. i cannot feign surprise, i haven't been eating much, sleeping regularly, and i walk for far too long in the cold afternoons not wanting to miss the tail-end of Autumn.

early in the morning i found the piano was giving me a headache... and the physicalness of it, the need to move, i found taxing. i spent the afternoon reading the Glass Menagerie, a work which i can summarize as: the saddest thing i've ever read. (ever). Several reasons contribute to this, as an older brother with a disabled sister- and who has played a significantly responsible role- perhaps it struck a chord it may not strike for others. In addition, i found myself internally bruised by these characters... trying, but alas drifting further and further off into an abyss of... i don't know what. (and that's what scares me) what's out there? what's the limit?

i suppose on account of illness or being momentarily dazzled (I am reading David Malouf's autobiography 12 Edmondstone St and can't breathe well because of... it.) i am straining to find poetry, or insight or... anything of value to write about. even the novel has been put on hold. i will tell you a funny thing about novels: i find it takes about 30 pages before i finally have it fixed in my head exactly what i want to write. As a consequence of this, the middle and ends of my texts are often fine, but the starts need to be re-written to suit the endings. Perhaps others can foresee exactly the course of their works, but for me... the style of writing, the various typographical devices i love so much, and the evolution of various symbols can't be totally foretold at the outset. It takes time for me to embody all the versions of myself i want to write about. in any case, i will say, that the chief 'instrument' for this tale is the simultaneous presence of Q, that is, a character in the present tense, and a whole assortment of past and future versions of protagonists, eg Q-at-16. Q-at-51, and so on. It is a device to try and mark the clear trajectories and movement of memory, fantasy, hope, allusion, experience, and the way these all relate to the present-tense (and to each other). I suppose at one point i will make the point of getting all the various time-frames lost amongst one another so a man can't distinguish himself from tomorrow or yesterweek (which, in reality, i often cannot).

there is something i have been meaning to write. it is to be called some words to console the sad. a notapoem i imagine. only... since i have decided it must be the most beautiful thing i've ever written, i am fearful of attempting it. also, i have no idea what it's about... other than some advice to myself... and to someone else, about how to... be us better. and how to blow our breaths on chairs and books and turn life into something worth... value.

my apologies for these recent posts containing no writing, other than writings and musings about writing. (which perhaps too few people are interested to read).

i want to talk also about being human. about being alive... about being something that exists... which confuses me in a way i can't quite word. it's not that i feel like i am not here... it's more, a little shock that i am. i have seen soo often in life dichotomies and schisms in meaning(s) and practice(s), that my experience of something so decidedly one-sided, so unwaveringly true, and obvious... bewildering. it makes me sad. like perhaps there was some sort of shadow-existence that is what non-existence is (like maybe being bodyless and floating) that perhaps i would excel at. like it were something i was missing out on. (of course, this is not true, there is no existence in nonexistence. there is no half-existence. something simply is, or is-not. And if it is-not, it simply ceases to have a voice in its head (which is roughly the best i can do to define my own existence: it has a voice in its head). Anyway. Nonexistence seems to me like it would be a very odd sensation- that of not being. and... that's the problem, it can't be felt. and since i am to last all eternity in one shape or another (being limited to an existence-only existence by my religious beliefs) it is something i'll never know.

which leads to the next existential perplexity: the kind, form, nature of the existence. why can i not be me? Why... can i not be all the other versions of myself i passed through to be here? or, completely novel versions of myself? with completely novel thinking patterns, better aptitude for certain things, greater courage, perhaps a slightly less haughty demeanor? why not? Why am i stifled by my constant temperment and selfness. I hate the way i write, which is so immediately, obviously me. You can tell, three paragraphs in Q is writing. This is because i soo thoroughly embody my own life... also it shows a not-quite-good grasp of language, communication, or expression. Joyce could write as whomever he wanted to be. Camus i think is the most exceptional at it. Every book is a new Camus. (Hemingway sucked. He's always Hemingway) Q is always q. the greater, smaller, equated forms... all the same. when i develop further, i'll still be me. and it takes soo much effort to derail myself from being me (which, btw, is something i've partially made up my mind to do). One midnight or another, a nausea finally convinced me that enough is enough. When i get like this, i try to break cracks into my exterior, and hope that new things rush into me, and hope that i can grasp at new kites and speak in new litanies and dissolve into sweeter puddles. none of this makes sense.

maybe it's the fever or something.

my grandfather told me he was hoping to die soon. i accidentally spoke out loud: lucky you. Morbid bunch my family is. really. not a single one of is particularly enthused, excited, or interested in the remainder of this one. Perhaps that's what happens with experience. Young men made old. haggard at 25. surprised only by books now. people always want to talk about the same things.

i am listening to Pan American, it is hypnotic. slow. strange. eerie. transcendental. i won't sleep much tonight.


i want to end with something that made me (and i imagine will make all West-Wing fans) tremendously happy. it is a short script, written by Aaron Sorkin, depicting a fictional meet between Senator Obama, and the former President of the West-Wing United States, Jed Bartlet. i am not posting this as a starting point for any sort of political discussion, debate, or as demonstrating an affiliation to any of the parties. this, simply put: is not the medium for such a discussion. Now. That clause having been said: this is tonnes of fun, enjoy! (the best read of your life ever ever)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Morning Yearning (Fragments)

____Another day another chance to get it right
____Must I still be learning?

____________Ben Harper

untitled, .:*ghost*:.

i am three pages into the new novel. this is an entirely new way of writing for me: no plans... only some scribbled notes of episodes- other than that, no real outline. a few people may recognize elements of themselves in it... i am at best an autobiographer, and at worst an egocentric bastard, so everyone's been chewed up by me and reformed to suit what I am writing.

i am writing a story about things i am presently concerned with:
____- the passing of time
____- the interaction of the past with the present, the present with the future, and the past with the future
____- restlessness
____- home and homelessness
____- the concept of homecoming- as old as the Odyssey... and still ununderstood.

also, i am writing about things i enjoy writing about:
____- little girls named Abigail (Abby)
____- those tiny buds at the end of prickly branches that tell me autumn's soon to be over
____- the motions of cigarette smoke after people exhale
____- women
____- the great unknown : the fear of : the only redemption-ticket : the future

i used to write in episodes. i am still doing that, but this novel isn't as poetic as the last (mostly because i am not toying around with love), so i don't need clearly defined sequences. There will be no chapters. i am writing one page per night. it seems a silly way to write, but those pages take a very long time because it requires me to imagine, not carry on the plotlines. i am hoping the story meanders a bit, occasionally feels stifled, and causes a few readers to slam their heads against the wall.

Here's the problem, usually i compose to music. the last novel had a clearly defined soundtrack,


____(1) Part, Tabula Rasa II. Silentuim
____(2) Autumn Leaves, Eva Cassidy
____(3) Wild is the Wind, Nina Simone
____(4) Don't Smoke in Bed, Nina Simone
____(5) Bizarre Love Triangle (acoustic), Frente
____(6) How It Ends, Devotchka
____(7) John Wayne Gacy, Jnr., Sufjan Stevens
____(8) Slow Show, the National
____(9) Vicious Traditions, the Veils
____(10) My Weakness, Moby
____(11) All Good Things (Come to an End), Nelly Furtado

and a few others. This present one for now... is somewhat lacking. All i have are an assortment of songs that remind me of LA.


____(1) the Garden, Mirah
____(2) Dancing, Elisa
____(3) Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt2, My Morning Jacket
____(4) These Words, Natasha Bedingfield
____(5) Breathe Me, Sia
____(6) A Sunday Smile, Beirut
____(7) Don't Explain, Nina Simone
____(8) the Rip, Portishead
____(9) Videotape, Radiohead
____(10) What You Wanted, Angus and Julia Stone ____(thanks for killing me Monz)
____(11) Hometown Glory, Adele

and so on.


the waiting game continues. pieces of paper folded and put into envelopes, envelopes into post-boxes, weeks later show up in someone else's hands, opened, read, slid under the paper-clip that holds together other elements of me who i am who i have been who i want to be (that is to say: the future) in neat professional wording on pieces of paper, reads again later, makes phone calls, prints other papers that go into other envelopes that go into other post-boxes that end up in other people's hands that determine who i want to be (that is to say: the future).

my ability to endure (and dare i even suggest: enjoy) such a scenario is variable. Surely, there is nothing unpleasant about reading all day, at first at home in bed, then at the TeaBar (where I try a new tea and muffin combination everyday), then at home again. My hands are always cold (i am less alive than i used to be), so playing the piano hurts a little. That said, i do still sit and play through part 1 of Hanon: the Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises. My hands are growing stronger. I can tell because of the way my fingers 'dip' into the keys now. It's a hard thing to describe, but it's obvious if you watch a novice pianist and a professional play, there's a fluidity to the way the fingers 'dip' into the keys- as though the board were a little stream and they were merely wetting their fingers but causing soo few ripples.


through patience, i have managed to reduce morning to afternoon. Now it is 12:12pm. (it does not alter that i have a mysterious sore-throat, cause unknown).


i love Tori Amos when she whispers and rasps.



____- the Limbo Machine
____- a Course in Purgatory
____- An Antonym for Sublime
____- Homegoing

(ok, so they all suck. it'll come to me)


12:20pm. in 20 seconds it will be 12:21pm. that is a palindrome and i love palindromes and will leave when the clock clicks over to-

(time's up

Saturday, September 20, 2008


night is an open window. 
a two-sided thing. 

footsteps, car-stereos, 
the sound of waves:
open windows. 

dreams, Descartes, orangoutangs:
ways out. 

in the end, 
after the confusion, 
there is no wave left. 
just a little hand that reaches out
ever so slippery
to touch your toes. 

on the other side of open windows, 
after the leap, fall, crash;
there is another world. (maybe)

or this same one, 
upside down. 

or this same one, 
right side up. 

Autumn is slipping from my fingers. 
the prickly needle-tips of branches
have green buds. when i walk in the city, 
those trees have white buds. like little feathers, 
or dandelions pretending they're stars. reborn dreams, 
recounted memories, misplaced chess-pieces come home. 

i'm alone all the time, 
that's why i see them again: 
windows. archways. cave-entrances. 
other places. 
misplaced faces. displaced spaces,

places it's hard to come back from. 

and the other side of night
is not day. 
or granite. 
or the bottom of the Atlantic. 

it's a quietest place,
a darkness)est place;

and dreams, detached from sleep or eyelids,
walk freely, and
discourage exploration;
and that is to say:

the sea does not tire of her own voice. 
i walk for an hour, still the same conversation. 
relieved it's not me that has to make chatter, 
i hug my books and walk on. 

on some rocks i see a beautiful girl
in black jeans, oversized sweatshirt, and barefoot- 
black curly hair, 
whose face stares at the water
____(and never notices me walk past)

a mermaid. 
(or siren)

a doorway.
(or well)

(later, i remind myself to dive into darkness, 
and determine to not crawl back out)

____(viii. EPILOGUE)
- there are no waves left to corroborate any part of this story. 
- the siren was never identified or located. 
- upon examination the sea was mute as a whalebone. 
- we have no evidence to support the existence of any such windows.
- wells have long since been filled in, or blocked off.
- the author of this story has not, to date, been found. 

Friday, September 19, 2008


- Originally uploaded by copyright depuis 1965

first thing's first: i think i have an idea. it's basically the opposite of what i was writing about wanting to write- that wasn't really what i want to write about. i was just grumpy. this idea's sweet. it's about intersections. about that solitary moment, the one that merges past to future. we call it the 'present', and its liquid, and constantly moving with us. And constantly the portion we call the 'past' is growing and urging us forward (and making it hard for us to take steps because it becomes heavy, that bag on our shoulder). and besides, the part called the 'future' never does tell us how much is left in the hourglass.

it's growing, i'm developing the story. one of these 3am's i'll start it.


______?_, A LIST:

____- so you think you can dance makes me cry too often.
____- the song: Dancing (by Elisa), which i first heard on so you think you can dance, will make me cry (often), even if so you think you can dance isn't even on.
____- it is quiet. nothing could be more special
____- i cannot remember the last time i slow danced.
____- being accustomed to taking walks that exceed an hour's duration, my 38 minute stroll today was grossly unsatisfactory. i think perhaps air helps 'order' things in my head. Though, what things, and what order, i do not know. Only that one must exist, and this activity, one foot before the other, for some reason helps all the i don't knows fall into the right places.
____- it occurs to me... i'm actually alive right now. why is that something i always forget?, thinking perhaps it's a thing that starts later, or, more correctly: will recommence later.
____- i miss my sister more than any one (thing) in the world
____- probably i should readjust my sleeping patterns. it appears (based on when people are on gchat, that i am living on LA-time)
____- everyone at my funeral will have to listen to a song. i have not decided what that should be, but the contenders are: the slow movement of Ravel's piano concerto, Silentuim- the second movement of Part's Tabula Rasa, and the first movement of Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem
____- in a few weeks it will be warm enough for me to sit in the park. by the beach. in the street. and read.
____- Kafka on the Shore is what i need it to be: liberating. Reminds me that when i write, anything is possible. i am very tired of traditional story-telling. i find it uninspiring and it... bores me a little to be honest. also, i feel stifled by its Tradition when i come to write. Since my style doesn't by temperament suit expositions and characterizations and recapitulations and resolutions and that typical 'structure' of the story i sort of dry-up if i come to write in that way. it's not that i can't (at least... i don't think it's that), it's more that i don't want to, and i'd rather not write than write like that. enough people do it. some of them very well. all of them bore me. i still read it. it's just not thrilling. When you read Murakami, Neruda, Marquez, Foer... anything can happen. the whole of anything is possible. you never what's going to happen. who's going to disappear into a wall, float off with a balloon, forget how to speak... anything.
____- i'd like to slow dance. in a dark room- perhaps only the light in the hallway is on. you're all ready for bed, you just came back into the living room to grab your book and turn off the stereo. April in Paris is playing. We haven't been there together. yet. (to Paris). We always talk about going. i come out the bathroom at the end of the hallway, with my minty tasting mouth, slightly cold face from the water, still a few wet strands of hair. i like seeing you move in dark spaces. i like the shapes that make up your body. you have a beautiful geometry. as a silhouette i notice it, but in the light i can't. i miss the whole because of your eyes, or your hair, or your lips, or clavicle when you're in a tshirt, your feet when your lying down with them on my lap- on the couch... in light i can't put you together. in light you are a strange carousel to me, and you turn revealing to me new magic with each turn, distracting me from the whole. in the dark, your body seems quieter, like it has already turned off the night-light as is asleep under sheets. in the dark your body is vulnerable. you are moving, but i think you are a cat at rest. you turn quickly and your hair flies all over the place. i see a shooting star, but i'll never tell you that. now facing me you look up and are startled. you smile, but i can't see it. i just know you are because you think i want to kiss you (because it's night and we're going to bed and you think that's what i'm thinking). (i'm not thinking that). i step forward and try to take the novel out your hands. you're hesitant, waiting for me to kiss you so you can give me a groan and say (you're preparing this in your mind in readiness): ahhh, q, we've been sitting in front of the tv watching nothing all night. why did you wait till now?, i'm totally tired! and you know i hate Monday's and i'm so busy at work and- seriously, do you never think about other people? We both have a hand on the book but i notice you're not going to drop it. so i let you hold it. i put my other arm around you, lean into you. the hand that was on the book i use to take your arm and put it around my neck. i put my chin on your shoulder and look at the stereo hoping April in Paris lasts another few minutes. Your hands join around my neck, you're relieved, but you're still holding your book; occasionally it knocks against my head softly. i don't mind. it knocks again. i giggle. you giggle. i feel a tense movement, then hear the book land on the couch. you put your head into my neck, i have to move mine off your shoulder, and rub my ear against your hair. Now now missy: don't try and kiss me, there'll be no funny business tonight. you laugh. damn right Mr. i smile. you smile. April in Paris ends. it's silent, but i don't let go immediately, nor do you. Come on babyface. let's get some sleep hey. I see the darkness move, you're nodding. yeah you say, but you sigh it more than pronounce it, so it comes out sounding like a little pitch of wind. yyyyeeh. You pick up the book and i wait for you. you look at me funny, wondering why i'm still waiting. i take your free hard in mine and start walking down the hall holding your hand. you giggle, it's a silly thing to do. we can't fit down the hall side by side, so now it's awkward. thankfully you don't question it, you just kinda fumble along the hallway with me, half smiling, trying to move our bodies to fit, knowing i'm being silly, but for a reason i don't know, and you know- though haven't ever put your finger on, i just have to touch you. even between the living room and the bed, i can't not touch you. we get to bed. i don't want anything, but i'm relieved to have my arms around you. not reading? you ask. no, not tonight. you settle into your pillow, i like feeling you move against me. mmmkay. goodnight dear.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the Nobel Prize in Literature

le solitaire Originally uploaded by copyright depuis 1965

it has been said that poetry will never die, because there will always be found people who can find no other way to translate the world than through its lens, but that it will never grow- because non-practitioners will never really embrace it. It has been said that poetry is an insider-art... unlike film or music, which still function largely as spectator-amusements rather than art. Even fiction, which exists today largely as entertainment, and thus a commodity rather than a transcendental work of illumination.

in the public-library, i asked a man with a name-tag "do you have a section for poetry?" and he said: "yes. yes... i think we do. i mean, we must? Just wait (turns and starts walking, me following)... now (looking around)... let me (doubles-back, then seeming certain, steps towards a wall)... over here we have some stuff, it's like... plays and stuff about plays... what's that... called?...
"drama" i offer.
"yes!, drama and poetry-stuff and also... like... other stuff... like... uhh..."
"yes. that's it. right. here it is."
Sure enough, nestled between cooking and self-help, were a few shelves, some 200 books of other stuff. Stuff that clearly wasn't paperback: thriller, horror, romance, sci-fi, or Orpah's bookclub shelf, or cooking, or, even, self-help. And so, I began at the first shelf of the Literature section, which was at my feet, and as i approach these things with too much reverence and too much enthusiasm, i sat on the floor to see what we had. Looking through the volumes i... came... it... yes, i wasn't certain of the name, had it... was... it... she i mean, was she


Something i like to do every so often, since my memory is limited, is read about the Nobel Prize in Literature. There is something thrilling about seeing a list of years, starting at 1901, and a name besides each of them. Often I am surprised by the names I find... other times, by the omissions (Vladimir Nabokov for example, is not a winner). I like most to read the citation, and to wonder if (and this is nothing more than a school-girl's fantasy) one day such a thing could be said about me in any of my endeavors. When I am feeling less egocentric, I ponder the merits of the writer, and think how concisely they have managed to condense a life's work...
1969, Samuel Beckett, Ireland: for his writing, which - in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation. (spot-on)
1948, T.S. Eliot, US/UK: for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry (not a flowery citation, but Eliot is not a flowery writer)


and then I remember why the name is familiar: Wisława Szymborska.

In 1996 a shy, modest woman with 9 published books of poetry to her name was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. There was some commotion over the decision, I actually remember being 13 and coming home from school and watching a brief-news report on the matter, I was still in my school-uniform and sitting on the floor with my dinner in my lap. Salman Rushdie, Arthur Miller, any number of better-known writers had been overlooked, and this quiet woman who lived in Krakow, without ever having written a novel, a play, a book of essays... nothing but these 9 books poems had been awarded this prize. The reaction from the English-speaking-world (which seems to dominate such discussions) was: who?

1996, Wisława Szymborska, Poland: for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.


I suppose even people who don't know me, who perhaps have only a casual association with my writing, will soon find that I must perhaps love poetry. If love isn't obvious, then perhaps: be preoccupied with it... or at very least: attempt it rather frequently. The truth is, dear Readers, I do love poetry, but am rarely thrilled by it. It rarely changes my life. It is a thing like any other, I attended many concerts (when life was more stable), and only infrequently was lifted out of my skin. But when it does happen... you... (__). And it makes reading another 500 poems (or attending another 40 concerts) till you find it again, worth it. If we concern ourselves with poets and not poems, then there are very few incidents:

Flinders University has a lake, and the buildings are all positioned around this lake, like a horse-shoe. At the joining point of the two arms are the main administrative buildings, common areas, cafeteria, library and so on. Up one arm are the Social Sciences, moving from arts/drama (the other stuff) to Economics/Commerce/Law, ending at Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. The other arm, of which midway along, by the lake I was sitting, is: Geology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Engineering together. I was sitting under a tree, and not entirely comfortable, on account of having trespassed into the lives of a colony of ants, who now trespassed up my legs, the contour of the trunk of this tree, and the curves of its roots provided no suitable sitting posture, and finally, as it was sunset, the grass had absorbed a great deal of moisture and was wetting my pants. I was cold. It was a beautiful scene, the red sun leaning over to kiss a green hillside, and I amongst it... cold, being bitten, unable to position myself comfortably... but entirely absorbed in Prufrock and Other Observations.

(see point 4)

Having been walking, and finding Amsterdam by day to be much brighter, more colorful, and sanguine than I had expected, I welcomed a diversion down a shadier looking alley. Sadly, there was no mischief to be found here either. An H&M store (not having those in Israel, I welcomed the find), a jeweler, food food food... a bookstore. Having been engrossed in Flaubert (L'Éducation sentimentale) and consequently, reading too fast, I wanted to find something else, so that I'd have some Flaubert left to read for when I arrived in Paris. (and a few mornings later, I sat on the Champs Elysee, in a coffee shop which boasted opening its doors for the first time at a date in the early eighteen-hundreds. I had a croissant (which are a thing i love very very much about this life) and a hot-chocolate (which are another thing i love very much about this life) and read the chapters on the French Revolution... and Flaubert describes walking down this very street, where i am sitting, and the events that transpired then, moved me now). And so I entered the bookshop. At first, it was a picture book, for adults, about a 10 year old who smokes and curses in French, that took my fancy. I giggled as i read it, and hoped secretly that my children would be hellish little brats that would speak like Woody Allen and hate me (and everything) with profound nihilism and treat everything with unwavering contempt. My giggle aside (and the book being too expensive) I walked towards a rotating stand of Penguin Classics. Neruda, SELECTED POEMS: A BILINGUAL EDITION (which Martha would later curse me for when I'd ask her repeatedly to check various translational points and tell me what the phrases really meant in Spanish).

Several hours later, on a bus headed towards Paris, crawling through wet hills, living dreams, sitting by a massive window splashed with rain so I thought perhaps I was staring at an aquarium... this young man from Chile...
1971, Pablo Neruda, Chile: for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams
and really, the only words that I believe can describe Neruda's own are: elemental force

Having fumbled through most of 2007 in one mode of anxiety, desperation, frustration, love-sickness or another related misery, I then found myself fumbling across the continents from October through New Year's (the worst day of them all) and finally through my birthday (where Monz and JBird with a steak, fine company, and first-rate french fries did what they could to assuage my mood). Until at last, by February, with acknowledgment to Martha's (and Courtney's) hospitality, generosity, and air-mattress, managed to pull me violently off the doomsday carousel and land me safely into Seattle's gray, Autumnal, gentle hands. For six-weeks I filled my days with: clam-chowder, daily walks that lasted hours, and a little crumpet-shop across the street from a massive strip club, where they'd serve me a refillable cup of gourmet tea for $1.37, where I'd sit for hours, reading- both my book, and the LCD screen of the strip club.

On the walk home, there were several bookstores to stop by. As Ulysses seemed to grow longer with every chapter I'd finish, heavier with every stroll I'd cling it to my chest, and more laborious with every reference to Socratididion's Epipsychidion, I was not against the idea of some friendly purchases. The last store along the way had a decent poetry section, and step ladders that you could sit on while you read, and a patient salesman who read comics and didn't care in the least about me. Also, it was overrun with cats, who have a most unique quality of sensing that I love them. They twirl around my legs and rub against my shoe and meow at me... and of course, with my allergies... It is a temptation worse than lust (which is not a temptation since i refuse to resist). So. Coughing, sneezing, eyes watering so I can barely see, I manage to make out: David Malouf, Selected Poems 1959-1989. What? What on earth is this doing here? I was familiar with him because I had sat on my mother's leopard skin porno couch (which was opposite my piano- which I'd stare at frequently because the color black of pianos is one of my very very most favorite things in life) and read Neighbors in a Thicket (which is point 2, and an entirely different story... but since it related to the same time/circumstances as point 1, i chose not to tell it). What? What on earth is this doing here? A well-known author in the Antipodes, and once short-listed for the Booker (and Remembering Babylon really is worth a read), but sadly still largely unknown internationally. Heck, I only knew the man because of my 12th grade English teacher's insistence that I continue to read Fly Away Peter because "after chapter 9 when all the war-stuff starts you'll really love it. It's a nightmare"
"i like nightmares."
"i know. so keep reading"
"i hate this nature stuff"
"re-read it in 10 years, I promise you you'll love the nature stuff then too"
"no way dude, i'm totally into cities and urban dehumanization and mechanistic pessimism"
"ha. Ok, so stop with the Schopenhauer for an afternoon and read till chapter 9 ok? After that you'll totally dig this book, I promise."
"i'll tell you what, if you do, then I'll let you in on a secret that will change your life."
"really?, what's the secret?"
"[smiles] his name's Prufrock, but that's all I'm going to tell you about him for now"
"[intrigued] Pru-what?"
"read 9 chapters, then come see me"
"you're a tease you know that?"
"9 chapters Nok-tar! (a sort of phonetic simplification of my last name)"
Not thinking too much about this slim volume of Selected Poems 1959-1989 I payed the man reading a comic $6.00, and he said "dude, you look sick, what's wrong with you?"
"i'm allergic to cats"
"ahh, duudde, that sucks."
"yeah, all good" (give me my change so i can leave)
"boss says we have to keep them"
"a ha"

Staring out of Martha's living room window, an hour's walk, a four minute shower, and a cup of tea (later)...

The shock will come
later, when looking
back we see how struck

we were that things should be
so changed
and still
themselves, when we are not.


I took too many books home from the library. There is something about libraries (which is a thing I love too much about this world), even when I was a child, my father would take me to the library, and after asking several times "are you sure everything's freeeee daddy?", on account of us being poor, I'd run rampaging through the library picking up all sorts of very grown-up books I wouldn't get around to reading for years and years. In the end, dad would say: so what have you got? And I'd take his hand and walk him to the back of the library, where on one of the tables I'd piled into 4 groups roughly 70 books. He'd laugh and say, "10 Q. Pick 10", of which half would inevitably be about dinosaurs, and half Shel Silverstein.

And this day is no different. ___the Glass Menagerie. ___the Best American Poetry 1996. ___JAMES JOYCE: The Poems in Verse and Prose. ___A Short History of Greek Literature. ___Samuel Beckett: The Complete Dramatic Works. ___A Study Guide to the Glass Menagerie. ___My Shining Archipelago (the winner of the 1996 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition), and, at the bottom of my plastic bag, a thin book titled: Monologue of a Dog, by a lady no one had heard of 12 years ago, who was still good enough to win a Nobel Prize.


the days when special things happen never start out special. Have you noticed? Birthdays, deadlines, days you have EXPECT DISASTER written into your diary pass us by, innocuous. Certain Wednesdays you wake up, feeling worse than when you let yourself fall asleep at 2:53am, at 11:34am, disappointed that the earth didn't just forget about you- let you disappear throughout the twilight hours, and defaulted on you by sunrise. And out of sheer boredom, lassitude, and frustration, you take a green-grocery-bag (because you care about the environment) and throw in a few books. Catch the bus. Order a cup of tea and a muffin (which are one of the things you most love about life) and open the brown book to see what it's all about.


They jumped from the burning floors-
one, two, a few more,
higher, lower.

The photograph halted them in life,
and now keeps them
above the earth toward the earth.

Each is still complete,
with a particular face
and blood well hidden.

There's enough time
for hair to come loose,
for keys and coins
to fall from pockets.

They're still within the air's reach,
within the compass of places
they have just now opened.

I can do only two things for them-
describe this flight
and not add a last line.