Pain is sometimes a diversion, like a simple glass of water, or the smell of rain aboard a train. The dreams of the lobster are the property of the lobster, whereas the rivers of China are spectacular with the physiology of the fugue. Nothing is static. Everything moves. Each story has its paths, each washing machine its cycles. Pleasure and pain are one and the same. I know you don’t believe me, but believe me, extend this cognition into something soft and permeable, so that it may be better understood as a tongue. A muscle. The raw volume of a skinny inquiry doing cartwheels on a strawberry.
Or rainfall in North Dakota. There is a power in bread called life. Climb through the tangle of thought in your head and tell me why the sky is leaning against the ground in August. It takes a lot of sweat and wood to build a fire, but sheer bravery to combine pineapple with bacon.
I live in Seattle, as you may already have guessed. Here is a map of the Rio Tinto Zinc Mines, and here is a strand of Pythagorean string dripping words. You will find a pair of fingernail clippers in the drawer to the right under the bathroom mirror beneath a beige comb. The Sumerians scratched their alphabet into clay. But you can do better. You have a pen. You can tease the surface of a sheet of paper into revealing interactions of cause and effect.
The sky is crying. But not because I love hamburgers. Not that, no. But because it is harnessed to a paragraph where it is bullied into performing the function of an image. An image of air. Of heaven. Of clouds and stars. Everything that a sky does, including totems in the fog.
Here, for instance, is Shakespeare dipping a quill into a bottle of ink. The texture of his words have been baked in a philodendron, moistened with a rag, and pushed into unthinkable abstractions, a storm at sea, the redemption of trees, witches on a moor, oak and iron and hope, an old harmonica with the sheen of infinity. Fold it into a sparrow and give it to a sorrowful Elizabethan.
No prison can imprison the mind. The mind is a pigment that is easy to smear into a sweet conflagration of arms and legs in motion around a lotus. Infinity is real. Saturday is an illusion. The pickle is an appliance. Violins and bugs implicit as a web. And yes, these are only words, but they cry out for utterance, stamp and envelope.
Dear Bob Dylan why are you always juggling piles of laundry in the hallway? Can’t you see that the smell of spice has imbued the room with dragons and indigo? That a Wall Street Bankster is playing a fiddle next to a window? That the world is throbbing upside down? That if a balloon of thought excites the globe of the head it must result in a sonnet? How many roads must a man walk down before he becomes a seagull snatching a French fry from the lips of fate?
Life is green and lifts itself into a fist of anger. Coffee dances among the nerves. My thumb is out I am hitchhiking in my sleep. Here is a sentence lathered with the absence of stolen money. Here is the sensation of a cherry bursting in the mouth, and here is a fury of rain pelting the surface of a river. Enhance your behavior with sweat. Put some quarters in a jukebox and toss that old bleeding heart into a song of woe. I am all shook up with no place to go.
Except Texas. Willie Nelson driving a jeep ignites a mockingbird and ruminates on a bag of nails. There is a balloon of thought over his head and he realizes that he is in a cartoon called life.
Life is funny and strange. We all know that. There is no reason for it. For life. For struggle. For birth and death. Pin the cocoon to a human tear and it will one day emerge as a butterfly, eloquent and chronological, a mask of indigo on a face of rust.
Time imitates the movement of stars, but life is forged in the furnace of a wound.
The hole in the wind, said the poet, is where the intoxication of trees find their symbol of grace. It is where the appeal of gauze is in its sympathy. And where folds of cloth flap for no reason. Red buttons on a white shirt. A vague emotion resisting description. A spectral cow. A cripple’s brace.
Money is the engine of war. You can’t wear it. You can only exchange it. Its value is gained in honor, and lost in dishonor. It’s very simple. Simpler than you can imagine. Soap furthers the glide of the hand on the skin, while Joseph Priestly describes the air to a skull on a painter’s table.
The Value of Everything
3 days ago