Friday, January 25, 2019

A Frog Crashing Through Silverware

I open the electric cram and say “cure the knee.” And the knee is cured. Or not. I see a package hover the table and then the table issues a pink melody to put in the air. I feel the elephants heating the interior of the helicopter. And then I visit certain regions of a chicken. Echoes move the oil. The clouds mingle with meringue. Sorbet exceeds the build of electrons and issues a direct stump for the combustion of understanding.
And to think it’s only Wednesday.  
Snow fingers chrome the keepsake. My memory of your outskirts. Which is a small organ at the front of the vulva. The fuchsia lung law courses through my realism. And what is realism? The stubbornly held gym franchise, that’s what. The ingots of honey I find at the summit of the mountain. The underworld misunderstood as a mackerel.
I smell turpentine. The sequelae of my theatre clothes is preoccupying. But I like it. I like it. Yes I do. The gerundive shoulder of time strengthens with isometrics. The hum of muslin, the scratch of blackberry vines. I roam to figure a fiend of lust and luster, rattling throughout.
I want to furnish a thoughtful black with a universe of pearls. Sugar is a key to snow. The phenomenal bang of the coconut tree, the soft hand of darkness. The chief cause of maps is tables and chairs. Rivers are more mercurial. They shine like prophesies. They roll over rocks brimming with picnics and whirls. Old wood. Candy in a birch canoe.
I have thorny hummingbird fingers. My favorite beverage is a pendulum foundry. Is pasta a form of exultation? Yes, it is. If spring meets its own abstraction, the result is citrus. A frog crashing through silverware. Moonlight on a suit.
I’ll take your hand, you take my hand. Together we’ll get away.
Sings Neil Young.
A conflagration of waves glories in the sound of clouds scraping over a caribou. The rush of the greenery capsule blossoms in my index finger. I burst, twisting to buy a sad honey bee. I climb onto a black awning and become a minute of mirth.
I need a marshy button to live. The fulminating phenomenon of a notebook. I want to pin a climate to this paragraph so I don’t have to dream alone. My shoulder twinkles with understanding. I understand water. I don’t understand neoclassical economics. I offer it a fat kick to the groin.
You can’t walk away from an experience. They get inside you and become you. Good ones, bad ones, monsoons, moratoriums, dinghies. Wind, sunlight, horticulture.
I paint a cuddly knot. The darkness of my gym toes is strangely vertical. The fox rids himself of aggression and becomes a better fox. I maneuver the detached crust to the side of the plate and muse on the zigzag of ancestry. It all leads to welts and lingerie. I suck the iron teat of contrast. And return home to a rising tide of unrest and skeins of worry. This will be answered by the wasp. Agreement between nations. Legs distressed by their own similarity. Get out. Get out now and stir yourself into circumstance. A red crack aglow in the crawl of the sun will lead you to the other side where the molecules are sewn into musk and the dead are clawed into light.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019


I take a handful of unsalted peanuts and give them a hurl onto the grass and try in my hurl to scatter them as much as possible. The crows are all waiting, perched on telephone wires and roofs and trees. As soon as the peanuts hit the ground they come swooping down from different directions. Their flight is smooth and agile, their movements quick and acrobatic. These are highly intelligent birds. If they get too close to one another they caw loudly and go on the attack. I love the way their feathers fan out and catch the air. The comical hop they do to cross a patch of ground. Their phenomenal alertness and sensitivity.
I add a two-pound bag of unsalted peanuts to our groceries while visiting the produce section at the grocery store. More peanuts for the crows. The man at the cash register is familiar. He’s worked at the store a long time. He always sings. He sings everything, whatever the exchange may be at the checkout stand. He’ll sing “how are you” and “is that all” and “are those cookies your cookies” in a baritone operatic voice. I frequently want to join him in song but I’m afraid he’d think I was making fun of him. I mean to ask if he sings in a choir but I’m often so taken by his singing and wanting to sing along that I forget to ask him if he sings in a group or ensemble.  
Crows are associated with death. It’s their black feathers. And their knowing demeanor. Crows always seem to know something. I find it uncanny how they can hear me leave the apartment building within seconds and come flying from a respectable distance.
I guess that’s why they’re called – in groups – a murder of crows. But I don’t find death in crows. Death is everywhere. Everywhere there’s life, there’s also death. I don’t associate death with crows. I find them lively in the extreme. Their energy is contagious. They feed greedily and bicker but when in the air they’re the very model of grace.
In world mythology, the crow is often represented as an irritant, or a favorite of the gods, or Norse giants. In a Sioux legend, the people are starving because the crows – which are white – keep warning the buffalo of the approach of hunters. The leader of the crows is captured by stealth and tied to a rock with a rawhide string. An angry hunter lunges at the crow and throws him into a fire. The crow escapes, but is singed black, and ever since all crows are black.
English poet and children’s writer Ted Hughes devoted an entire collection of poems to the crow, published in 1971 and titled (aptly) Crow. He describes the crow variously as a being of prophecy and mischief, a hierophant, “humped, impenetrable,” a creature of “delirious joy, with nimble balance,” refrigerating an emptiness, and “with the faintest breath,” “melts cephalopods and sorts raw numbers out of their dregs.” Hughes’s crows are conduits of weird spiritual forces; ageless, inscrutable, unfathomable. “And he realized that God spoke crow – Just existing was His revelation.”
God speaks crow. That’s good.
Crows occasionally make a rattling sound, or clicks. I have no idea what their meaning is, what is intended, what is being remarked. And I like that. The mystery of it, the nonsense of it, the uniqueness and peculiarity of it. It’s primordial. But also a little silly. A goofy sound. Wacky, yet also a little mindful. Savvy, alert, fascinated.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

82 Buttons Unbuttoned In Bliss

A proposition is a statement or an assertion that expresses a judgment or an opinion. It’s a tentative and conjectural relationship with the world. With phenomena. With experience. With cookies and ants and pharmacology.
A proposition can only say how a thing is, not what it is. I can say, this is a spoon. The handle is bent because it’s been used to scoop out some ice cream from a container that’s been in the freezer for a long time and has consequently hardened into a statement such as the one I’m currently making in which a spoon is cornered into a spectacular reality, the reality of a word, which is made of sound, which is a conveyance of feeling, which is a music of raw sensation. The metal feels cold. That’s reality. The sensation of coldness is a reality. But the word ‘reality’ and the reality of reality are sprouts of stereophonic clank. They have a moment of colorful perfume and then a distant galaxy of stars crawls through my right arm and I can feel the generosity of the thermostat twist into greater and greater quiddity.
The name represents the object. Spoon represents spoon. That is to say, a name assumes the place of an object, the alibi of the object, not the actuality of the object, which is obscured by dishwater, sudsy bubbles in a kitchen sink, and awkwardly presented to you as a word: spoon.
I do a lot of this during the course of a typical day. I make proposals. Propositions. Prepositions. I make propositions about prepositions. I use prepositions to make propositions about expositions of compositions that may be sniffed by any dog and arouse the curiosity.
This is why I like propositions. I feel the arrival of a warm darkness, the ecstasy of a fence scratched by the wind. I see the influenza tree drop tears of nebulous milk. I’m proposing a situation. Think of this as a swollen subconscious, a rolling mass of garrulity. A tree. A root. A branch of leaves. An incident of words. A sharply defined dachshund. An occurrence of vertebrae and dots. Eyes. Fur. Paws. Ears. Tongue.
Can I be your friend? Thank you.
Africa has the right idea. It has 54 countries, seven major rivers and a very high linguistic diversity. I think I could lead a good life there. I could get up in the morning and shake the stars out of the sky. I’ve got 206 bones and a war to fight. The war against the imagination. All other wars are subsumed in it. “The ultimate famine is the starvation of the imagination.” Thank you. Thank you Diane di Prima. Thank you for fighting the good fight. And bringing such a delicious rant to the table.
The big crime of the hip is full of words for the unfurling of a drowsy quadruped. I eat the heel of a dragon and ride a finger joint to the taste of a big music caused by a chorus of chameleons. I’m a thin diver of shoals. I’m an empty thought. I’m an insider and an outsider and consider the cider to be pleasantly insidious. No sitar is completely ugly if it’s also a little medical. I must go now and go to Innisfree. I smell something incendiary, something exciting and wonderful in the air. Light. Clouds. Awakening. 82 buttons unbuttoned in bliss. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Spigot Trinket

The lake is shaving its form. The dazzling flu cuisine mirrors the tumble of belts in a drum of adults and this makes the lake both sad and subconscious. It’s clearly a lake. What isn’t clear are the perturbations and wrecks at the bottom. The many writhing figures, the columns of victory, the proportions and stools. What do we make of these things? Is this a moral universe, or just another truck stop along the way?
The heel of the universe drinks an ingot of Sunday’s planet. The old tiger senses a thought in the throat and lets it out in the form of a hotel. What I’m trying to do here is ugly. It has to be. It has to be shaggy and weird and automatic or the arthropods won’t dance and the curves in the eye will fail to transfer the images to the brain. The brain is constantly hungry for stories. It must be appeased by detachment. It’s the only solution there is to the aggressive delicacies of tea.
A new parable emerges from my sleep. Our wall has been expecting it. I’ll admit it. I was drunk. The spins were improved by electing a frontier to be my wife. I won’t mention the secrecies of the garden and its many perversions. Let’s just say that the new arena is good for inflating fingers, and the bar is a mailbox for the letters of the soul. But it’s the infinite that borders our little shell of straw and violins.
This is a poem about Danny Kirwan. We will go right down to the sea. Bathing in light we will be free to wander. And we will find ourselves splattered by the sociability of surf.
I grow fat to start a franchise. The carrot has its molecular wilts and touches us with swallows. The sloth of the lazy ratatouille pulls a pound of kaolin into a dynamic eye that alters us with its visions. The tea strives to arrive. The heat perfumes Wednesday. I have to go and sew now. I have feathers for the cape and powder for my face.
I design the net away. The frail water likes to hike until it becomes an impala. The bickering words buy us some time. I maneuver the beautiful pendulum into horses. I want to go beyond suggesting perfume. I want to destroy time and resurrect it as life itself.
Life as a wide-eyed tug-of-war with existence at one end and fermentation at the other.
Life as an alarming gown of bugs and boats.
Pages upon pages of paradox. Bristling green moss on a concrete banister. A fashion model tripping on a divine hammer.
Bleed the mailboxes. Shake the pain to simmer a dream. The mint does its insects into growling fornication. I drink and think the pyramids are rascals of ancient empire. I generate knives by burning an experience with a fire in the rain.
I rub the vowels until a genie appears. I rub the genie until a vowel appears. I rub appearance until a genie howls vowels. The clumsy myth is screaming a cave into existence. The tickle is powered and accelerates our transactions. It’s raining suns and collar studs. The rolls play a role and are an impenetrable bungle. The swan queen has chiseled a dance out of fire.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Panta Rhei

I feel lucid and sad, like a cold day. It’s good to forget oneself. It’s better to remember that one doesn’t exist. Not in any true sense. That is to say, if non-existence is our ultimate destiny, life is sweeter and much more tolerable when this awareness penetrates consciousness and becomes a reality.
Diversions are visceral and ultramarine. They have my full endorsement.
Every day I feed crows. And wonder. What’s it like to be a crow? Is it to be constantly hungry? To enjoy moments of total transcendence when spiraling in the air? Who’s the man that brings us peanuts?
I always imagine thoughts in other animals that are similar to the thoughts that float through my head periodically. This is, no doubt, a mistake. Most of my thoughts are a brew of words. Ruminations assembled out of words. Narratives assembled out of words. Dramas assembled out of words.
Are there dramas without words? Yes. Of course. Many. Sunrise. Sunset. An owl swooping down on a mouse. The process of inquiry, the intent attention of intention. A man and a woman sitting in a car on a cold winter day, both searching for the right words, the sentence that will make everything right again.
Is calculus a garden? Is it a garden of convergences and infinite sequences? Yes. And much more. There are derivatives and infinitesimals. These are flowers of infinite abstraction. Flashes of insight and elegies and hammers.
There’s not a single atom or molecule of my body that wasn’t formed on this planet. Generated by this planet. Created by this planet. I am the planet. I’m a piece of the planet. An epiphenomenon of this planet. This whirl of feelings and thoughts I experience every minute of every day are the responses to phenomena to an entire universe of which I’m a part. Feelings and thoughts are waves, essentially, disturbances with no associated mass. Oscillations, vibrations, pulsations that transfer energy from one place to another. Or shape it into stems, bubbles, faces.
Or words. Words are waves. Vibrations. Sounds. Meanings. Images. Signals.
Paint, oceans, nipples.
Nipples are signals. Railroads are different. Railroads differ from nipples in interesting ways. One is soft, the other is hard. One is totemic, the other is shovels. Just shovels. Ties and rocks. Steel and language. The shouts of men. Caustic tones of sweat and salt. The lowing of cows. Steers. Boxcars. The smell of shit. Clumsy actions. Frequencies of penumbral butter.
I prefer the spirit of the bohemian to that of the businessman. There are realities with no commercial value. To stick a commercial value on something is to effectively devalue it, to make it a part of exploitation, abuse, and structural violence. A number stapled to a cow’s ear.
I have spent my entire life trying to live life to its fullest. Everyone does. Everyone who has adequate housing and access to water and food. This is a luxury in life, to worry whether one is living it as fully as possible, so that when one dies, there are fewer regrets. Because there’s always that undercurrent. That anxiety. That life is fleeting, ungraspable, and deeply enigmatic. That life goes by fast and you need to hop on that train and experience it as fully as possible. That you may be one of the lucky ones to plummet its meaning and surface with epiphanies and insights and books to enlighten one’s brothers and sisters. Unless, of course, you find yourself in a culture that no longer gives a shit. In which case your efforts will be for you and you alone and (if you’re really lucky) one or two close friends, who are like-minded and react similarly to cemeteries and who chafe against the adjustments necessary to hold down a job and like to think outside the box. The proverbial box. The box that keeps us trapped in ignorance and comfort. A dubious comfort. The kind of comfort that rewards you for your subservience and good attitude. A good attitude is the attitude that you adopt to get along with the boss. That allows you to float gently through a life of comforting routine while beneath the planks and thwarts of your boat an ocean of nothingness festoons the horizon with an ellipsis of stars.
This is the condition into which we are born. The other animals don’t appear to have this problem. This need to avoid feeling cheated. This need to explore one’s interior complexities, one’s moods and inner geography. Some people like to call it a journey. I like to call it a sneeze. There’s a subtle but building irritation that culminates in an eruptive exhalation of air and saliva. That’s life. A sudden involuntary expulsion of slobber and air.
And then wipe one’s face with a Kleenex and stare at the rag draped over the kitchen faucet.
Is that satori? Is that living life to the fullest? Are there degrees of life? Gradations of life? How much of life is measurable and statistical and how much of life is changing bulbs and sweeping the floor and wondering who built the pyramids of Egypt?
Knowing and accepting death is a big one. The Egyptians had a definite idea bout the afterlife. Osiris opened the door to the afterlife for everyone, which was called The Land of Two Fields. According to “Ancient Egypt for Kids,” “You had to earn your way into your afterlife by doing good deeds while you were alive. The more good deeds you did, the lighter your heart became. If your heart was not light, you could not board Ra's board and sail away into your Afterlife. To avoid any chance of trickery, the goddess Maat weighed your heart after you died. If your heart was not light enough, you were stuck in your tomb forever. But once you were in, you were in. You only had to sail away in Ra's boat once. After that, you had a free pass, and your soul could come and go.
I like the come and go part. Well, think I’ll take a spin around Milwaukee today. See what’s up in Wisconsin. I’ll be back later, in time for the all-you-can-eat-prawns night. Binge on a few episodes of Breaking Bad.
If anything like a soul persists after our body gives up the ghost (the ghost being us), what is it? A ball of energy? What would existence be like as a ball of energy? An amorphous, ectoplasmic blob bouncing off the walls. No arms, no hands, no fingers, no toes. No dick. No vagina. No ribs or snot or hair or skin. None of that stuff. Just energy. Energy is eternal delight, said Blake. I hope he’s right.
We are currently facing the most historic event in the history of homo sapiens: extinction. But that’s a whole other kettle of fish. Dead fish.
Let’s focus on the now. The Now, capital ‘t’ capitol ‘n.’ That fictional entity of continuous present tense. Which doesn’t exist. How can it? As soon as it’s now, it’s gone, it’s in the past. It’s history. It’s a word in this sentence. It’s an insight that just got written down. And we’re just in time. Here comes another one. Here comes another now. Oops. It was just here. Where’d it go?
Heraclitus got it right: life is flux. Everything flows. Panta Rhei (πάντα ῥεῖ ) in ancient Greek. Meaning change is the ultimate reality. The current in the stream is the most real thing about the stream. Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily for life is but a dream. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Scratch Of Coincidence

The bickering harness does its machinery into words. It’s splendid to be interested in hanging out. Polynesian nerve circled by agates. A running frog suggests elephants in a manner that is suitable to our bulbs. I want some mountain thunder to go with my gaze.
And then it happens: hammers. Nails. Screws. The assembly of froth. This is what I like about initiation. It starts things. It ends things. It extends things. It floats. It stirs. It begs.
Please lend me your eyes. Your interest. Your attention. Your milk and cookies. Your grip and poise and amiability.
The pearl manure has made its emotion apparent to all the conjunctions. It emboldens the cloud magnets, which hold the garden together, and coordinates the sympathies gurgling our skidoodle. My distress is a moiré of celestial fleece and ribaldry. The effulgent marble is bullish with tumult, and the crows are challenged by the contrast. The wind pillow gets up and leaves.
I’m looking for the new world and a palace in the sun. I’m looking for yardarms and ties and a big red caboose.
I like to eat and rent pebbles. Radar is a topic of taste, a languid radiation tale. Oxygen provides a biography for my finger, which is but a ragged baton of geometry. Nevertheless, my fingers are supple, taken as a whole, and when my arm is outstretched to you and my hand is open, what we have is a murmur of words at the edge of reality, the rumble of alternating currents, the ascension of eyes, the personification of dice.
The pain in my right shoulder continues as a phenomenon of meaning. Grenadine sticks to my emotion. My legs are sage and chickens. I have an orthogonal bullish denial that opens like a gallant Sunday and finally accepts the rotundity of the planet. I like Falstaff. Who doesn’t? Everything turns around when the grain hums with becoming whatever it’s destined to become. There is more to genetics than genetics. There is sometimes a frontier, and a curious little weight, the density of something that can’t quite be defined, certainly not as a seesaw or parade float, and a garden to tend to, and a soul to tend to, and eyes opening to the first light of day.
I didn’t choose to come into existence. I was brought into existence. I was set afloat on a sea of words. I grew oceanic. I evolved a taste for strolling, pointing to the arches of wind-eroded sandstone and filling books with description. This makes inflation far more respectable than the thermometer I once saw on the wall of a garage in Hawaii, screaming its temperatures from a blowtorch. I report from the arena dig. Tomorrow is the moiré of today’s algebra, a quantum amalgamation rippling up and down the vertebral column of an éclair.
If you ask me, life is all about art. But what does that mean? I don’t know what it means. But I like art. Art is to life what life is to patio furniture. Not an excuse to sit down so much as a rejection of gravity, a gospel gleaned from the labor of sharecroppers and used like a blanket to warm the coldness of the heart.
So I’ll just go ahead and say it: ablution. All memories are stories we tell ourselves. The sun sponge has genitals, yes, but so do the poplars trembling in the breeze. I have no memory of my experiments. I just remember the crows, how they landed, how they flew away, how they perched on telephone wires, and spoke among themselves, the great councils of birds tinged with the scratch of coincidence.

Monday, January 7, 2019


Welcome to the world of syntax. Here we will see words as they truly exist, side by side, fomenting discord, reaching into heaven for consolation and mustard. Think of them as feathers that cohere into a wing. Two wings. A seagull. A hummingbird. A murder of crows.
Let’s go digging for freight at the border. The painting of emigration expresses the echoes and scenes of passage that any testimony will tell you is a tooth of torment.  A similar moment of night stirs among my dollars. I love the planetarium grounds. The attic sailing through my gum.
Who doesn’t want to run away from their sadness? Bring a notebook. Hang out in an effulgent can. The grassland is an emissary to our bizarre bazaar of operatic squalor. This is my blissful axle rice. This is a swarm of mouths at play in my straw.
The paint got mixed up in the aftermath. Fortunately, the honey stick is still tenable. The new abyss awaits us in the street. We break the state brighteners and make them into hats. Crisp, dry, articles of faith emanating whispers of concertina yeast.  Ecstasy offers the woman a scuffle of indigo guffaws. She walks away mumbling the smooth bones of a dead song.
These are the aftereffects of digging up lightning and slathering it with butter. A languorous life climbing into violins. The tremble of coffee at the embassy. A lazy whirlwind. A nerve barometer masticating charcoal.
What’s the first thing to come into your mind in the morning? I mean, besides suicide. Me, I can’t help but think of pine, the cypress of Big Sur, the islands off the coast of Ireland, Great Blasket, Clare Island and Knockmore Mountain, Inishmore, Skellig Michael, Rathlin Island, and its colony of seabirds, puffins, gannets, razorbills, guillemots, kittiwakes, fulmars, swooping, diving, swirling, plummeting vertically on shoals of fish.
I hear a border soaking in tables and support the bitter swarm of windows smeared with the burning gaze of a thousand silent muzzles. I hear the shadows calling from a field of streams. I hear the radical tea of prayer, the gentle maneuvering of yesterday’s food. And I throw a peach at the wall.
The ceiling propagates a sense of belonging. The walls create a huge pill fence. The chameleon undertakes kite flying. A vigorous dramatic frost gets my solitary attention. And I search for the moral, the solution to enrichment, the Parisian agates healing the brain of the odor in the corner, the one with the blue trinkets, the bracelet of bones, little bones, bird bones, and the worms outside stirring in the dirt, what do they apprehend, what do their nerves allow into their being, what baptisms, what great sincerities, what biochemistry informs them of rain, of structure, of war and religion?
The triggers become chamomile. I slide under the palm tree stars and dream of water. Evening hammers the ashes of Cairo. Lightning has the substantive weight of an eyelid. I sullenly get dressed in the universe and put on a hat that drips hills and moratoriums. The brim is feathers. The crown is sloppy, but infuriating in a way that makes me glad to be less specific. I will leave you with this bit of advice: height isn’t important. What’s important is speculation, a wild, random trust in thermometers. Syntax is always an experiment, the glazed ovation of incidental strawberries ripened in the spin of abstraction. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Getting To The Bottom Of Getting High

Last night I got the munchies and learned about brining meat. I grabbed a box of Triscuits and left the cupboard door open and noticed a box of Morton salt. I read a brief paragraph on the side of the box: “Brining creates extra tender, juicy and flavorful meat. It does so by locking in meat’s natural juices, which prevents meat from drying out while cooking. To brine, you simply soak the meat in a solution of salt and water prior to cooking.” This is how I spent the last few minutes of 2018. I heard a motorcycle go by at a tremendous speed. I could hear the scream of the engine. This was followed by the excited voices of men and women. This guy was in a hurry to die. Would he even live to see 2019?
At 11:50 p.m. we went out to watch the fireworks on the Space Needle. I noticed a huge crowd of people just a few feet below, on Fifth Avenue North. Where had they all come from? It was as if a number of charter buses had brought them up here. Was the crowd below so huge that this was now a good vantage point? One of them sent a giant bottle-rocket high into the air. It squiggled its way into the sky and then exploded loudly. Ka-boom! Bright red flakes of fire came drifting down.
One o’clock on New Year’s Day R and I went for a run. I put on my shirt and running pants and did 50 quick push-ups. I grabbed my socks and shoes and filled a plastic baggie with peanuts and put them by the hallway door. Then I did another series of 50 push-ups. The push-ups weirdly alleviate the arthritic pain my right shoulder. I put on my jacket and went out in the hallway and was joined by R. As soon as I went out I saw four or five crows waiting for me. R went back in the building for something and I continued to the bottom of our street and tossed some peanuts on a small patch of lawn. More and more crows appeared and swooped to the ground to grab a peanut. It’s become increasingly obvious that they know where I live and convene nearby at the approximate time I leave the building, which is generally around 2:00 p.m. My relationship with these birds is becoming stronger and I like that. I like feeling close to them. They’re highly intelligent birds and fly with great joy and imagination. R appeared and we began going up the switchback trail through Bhy Kracke Park. We emerged at Bigelow and began our run. It was sunny but bitingly cold. Fortunately it never takes much time to warm up.
There are a few other places along this four-mile run where I encounter crows that have grown familiar with me and my bag of unsalted peanuts. I stopped to feed four at McGraw and a few more by the library. After I toss the peanuts the crows continue to follow me. I don’t know who’s who. I haven’t gotten close enough to notice any mannerisms or qualities unique to a particular crow. I do know that they follow me. They’ll go a certain distance and then stop. I think they have territories.
I began feeding the crows last summer. I noticed a dramatic decline in insects and have since learned that the decrease in insect populations is global and calculated to be in the neighborhood of 80 percent. I worry about the crows getting enough to eat.
After dinner we watched a couple of episodes of Breaking Bad. R gets angrier and angrier as the series progresses and Walter White becomes more and more of a conniving, lying, manipulative, murderous drug lord in Albuquerque. She hates the guy. I hate him, too, but I’m also deeply fascinated by him. I don’t know what personal darkness drives the man to do what he does, what private bitterness is driving this bizarre transformation from dedicated high school chemistry teacher to mob boss of a drug syndicate specializing in methamphetamine, or what the writers of the show talk about as they create the situations in which White flounders and bullies and calculates and does his nastiness, but it sure is gripping.
10:00 a.m., January 2nd, 2019. I make scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast and sit down to eat and read an article in my French philosophy magazine about the psychology and philosophy of the feast, the festival, the Dionysian break from routine, titled “Les structures élémentaires de la festivité,” (“The Structural Elements of Festivity”), by Alexandre Lacroix. He quotes a passage from The Sacred and the Profane by the Romanian historian Mircea Eliade:

Religious participation in a festival implies emerging from ordinary temporal duration and reintegration of the mythical time reactualized by the festival itself. Hence sacred time is indefinitely recoverable, infinitely repeatable. From one point of view it could be said that it does not “pass,” that it does not constitute an irreversible duration. It is an ontological, Parmenidean time; it always remains equal to itself, it neither changes nor is exhausted. With each periodical festival, the participants find the same sacred time – the same that had been manifested in the festival of the previous year or in the festival of a century earlier; it is the time that was created and sanctified by the gods at the period of their gesta, of which the festival is precisely a reactualization.

There are two things about this that I find very curious from a personal standpoint: the linkage between the festival as a religious occasion and the festival as how I experienced it, an occasion to get drunk, shitfaced, fucked up. Religion was never involved, alcohol always; there’s no way on earth I ever could have broken free of the profane, mundane time of routine, of jobs, of the everyday, without imbibing a robust amount of alcohol. Alcohol is essential. And, since I haven’t drunk any alcohol in almost 29 years, it’s been at least 29 years since I’ve liberated my being from the shackles of profane temporality.
But it doesn’t feel that way, at least not entirely. There have been occasions in which I felt more than usually exalted, a little transcendent, felt a sense of divine liberation. If I expand the meaning of the festival to include moments when I felt a little more acutely a sense of the sublime, a sense of “sacred time,” then rather than refer to a state of drunkenness I might talk about “getting high.”
I once told a therapist that I was concerned about the length of time that I’d been taking Lorazepam. I’d be taking 1 milligram of Lorazepam daily for over a year. He told me that since I wasn’t using it to get high, there wasn’t anything to worry about.
This puzzled me. Using it to get high? How do you do that?
You don’t. There’s no way on earth anyone can get high on Lorazepam. All it does is relieve you of anxiety and help you into a feeling of calm. That’s not getting high; that’s simply relieving a symptom. My therapist seemed to be giving me credit, trying to reassure me, by suggesting that since I wasn’t abusing – misusing - the drug by trying to get high on it, that I had that much less to worry about. He was trying to do his job as a therapist. But it was apparent that he and I had very different notions about what it is to get high.
Which is what? What is it to get high? Inducing euphoria? None of the benzodiazepines induce euphoria. Valium, maybe just a little. Benzodiazepines will help achieve a sense of well-being. But is a sense of well-being considered a high? Isn’t there more to it than that? Hallucinations, visions, epiphanies, delirium, a state of divine madness, enhanced creativity?
Sounds good to me. Marijuana does a far better job at these things than benzos. Hell, you stand a better chance of getting high on sobriety than getting high on a benzo.
How about enlightenment or satori? Satori is the Japanese term for awakening, comprehension, understanding. Seeing into one’s true nature. Which is what? Which is emptiness. That doesn’t sound like getting high. Not at all.
Altering one’s consciousness is a big part of it, but alter it how? Which way? Up or down? Expanded consciousness or reduced consciousness? Alcohol is great for reducing consciousness. LSD is a powerful way to boost consciousness. The motivating factor behind taking these things is going to have a lot to do with one’s reaction to them. If, as I did a number of times back in the 60s, you drop acid for kicks, chances are good you’ll wind up having the same terrible reaction I had on my last acid trip. I was 18. The incident took place 53 years ago. My mind boggles when I think – as I’m sure a lot of people do – that I’m not dead already. I did a spectacular number of stupid things.
The more I think about getting high the less I think I know about what getting high means. I think I need to get to the bottom of getting high.
I would also rule out cocaine. Everybody’s different. I can’t speak for all people. But I always found cocaine to be a big disappointment. Definitely not worth they hype.
There are a lot of drugs and substances I haven’t taken: peyote, psilocybin, DMT (a.k.a. “the spirit molecule”), ecstasy, heroin, or opium. I’m not an expert. Not a psychonaut. Not like, say, Terence McKenna. That’s the guy you want to go to for information on psychedelic experience. Another is Rupert Sheldrake. I would also highly recommend the essays in Michael McClure’s Meat Science Essays. These are brilliant, poetic, highly imaginative and intensely descriptive reactions to substances such as peyote, heroin, and cocaine.
Drugs aren’t the only way to get high, achieve euphoria, or gain insights into one’s consciousness and the mysteries of the cosmos. There’s also long distance running and the sweat lodge ceremony.
But again: get high? I still don’t know get what that means. Why high? Why not “get low,” “get wide,” “get specific,” “get ambiguous”? Hey man, let’s go get ambiguous!
The English word ‘get’ has always struck me as a rather odd word. It’s so aggressively possessive. I feel the grip of a hand in that tight little fisted word.
I like the term “well-being.” I like that basic Heideggerian ring in the word ‘being.’ So down to earth, so full of blood and fluidity and the pulse of being. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Eating Dressing Talking

I feel the immediate squeeze of circumstance. But what circumstance? There is the circumstance of weather, which is all around me, and time, which is monotonous as a bedspring. These are not the nectarines I had in mind. The sensation is more scattered, more intermittent, more like drawing or cartilage. I believe there are forces at work, few of which involve the concertina, but rub against the bulwark, creating gracefulness and the color green.
That's what happens if you watch proteins build a mussel from scratch.
French buttons roar their annotations into muslin. This is where we begin to drift into leather. The sonorities of maidenhair transmit teakettle reveries in the shadows of the opera we call life.
Feelings pull us in and out of history. A prodigious energy animates the sky. There’s a form of magnet that functions like a library to capture the flow of ideas and stimulate them with a spirit of revolt and contradiction. A murder of crows awaits me outside.
Some people walk poodles. Others walk postulation.
Some people posit sand. Others posit seeds.
There’s a sky stirring in my brain. Fluffy thoughts drift through dropping pirates and pioneers on the softness of a boundless equivocation. A huge flower blooms from my throat. It declares itself a cylinder of being and pounds its way into chiaroscuro. A doorknob in a powdered wig declares the door officially open. And I can’t help but feel a little glad. My favorite hat confesses to counterfeiting the spontaneity of dogs.
Is it possible to think a sky? To think it into being? Why not? What is thinking, anyway? It's some kind of activity in the brain. Thoughts getting shaped, molded, assembled, greased, polished, disassembled, broken, repaired, the mechanism is uncertain, but the formations resemble rock, trees, mesas, ravines, the feeling of mental activity acquires the shape and color of a landscape, the pathos of distance, incalculable reaches, of outer space, moments when the mind focuses, or tries to focus, on space, on nothingness, on the hard cold reality of existence, a million stars bubbling in a cauldron of time.
What the fuck?!?
This is the phrase that pops into my brain the most on a daily basis.
I’m really not an expert on thinking. I do very little of it. I do as little as possible. Thinking isn’t fun. Sometimes it’s fun, but mostly, it’s not fun. Thinking takes my mind to places I would prefer to avoid.
So let’s think about something else.
Let’s think about judgment. What’s that? It’s a form of thinking, but what kind of thinking?
According to Kant, a judgment is a specific type of cognition. It’s a form of structural creativity with respect to its representations. Which means what?
It means that judgments are propositional cognitions. Humans are propositional animals. A judgment is an act of logical predication whereby a concept is applied to a thing, as expressed by the copula ‘is’ or ‘are.’
Ok, sounds simple enough. The mockingbird is a songbird. It’s also a perching bird. The box is a container. The paper towel is absorbent. Most vowels are sounds produced by a vibration of the vocal cords. Vocal cords are sometimes gravelly, sometimes silky. Do you see how it works? Reality is assembled by using the formula ‘is’ and ‘are.’
Kant believed that the human mind has two essential cognitive faculties: an understanding of concepts and thoughts and intuitions about sense perception and mental imagery. Both are served by the faculty of imagination, which is the engine of synthesis. Imagination mediates between understanding and sensibility by virtue of being a third, autonomous cognitive capacity. It doesn’t weigh anything, but it can thunder, and bend, and tumble around in the brain like a load of wash in a Maytag dryer.
Imagination imposes coherence and consistency on all sorts of cognitions, helps carry out pragmatic or moral choices and recognizes categorically normative concepts. It does this by putting the world on exhibition and meditating on mediation with gymnastics and ointment.  
Paradox is convulsive, as are greed and mirrors. When we stand in awe of a hot dog, what we are truly doing is wondering to apply mustard or not, or paddle our canoe further up the river.
Judgment is the central cognitive faculty of the human mind.
One must distinguish between an experiential state (eating, dressing, talking, smelling, listening, pressing, pushing, pulling, etc.) and our judgement or belief underlying this experience: this cookie tastes good, why is that woman talking so loudly, should I wear my red shirt or my green shirt, this new laundry detergent is extremely fragrant and lingers a long time in the wool of my gloves, is there a benign intelligence moving and imbuing everything in existence, how is it possible that something as brilliant as a hand or an eyeball could evolve without some inner force or consciousness guiding the atoms and molecules into this shape and function, I know that it takes billions of years of natural selection and adaptation to form a hand or an eyeball but who or what created the process we call natural selection?
What is consciousness, is my consciousness singularly bound to the neurotransmitters in my brain or is it larger, integrated into something far more vast than I could ever imagine?
Is it possible that what I perceive as a direct awareness of my inner thoughts and judgments is, in fact, a highly inferential process that only gives the impression of immediacy?
I leave a string of words here like a trail of gunpowder. Reading them is a form of ignition. Reading them is tantamount to giving them meaning. The words intend explosivity. We have minutes to run behind a wall. Kaboom!
The knowledge that anyone can use is the only knowledge, the only knowledge that has life and growth in it, and becomes throw rugs and shrugs. The world belongs to cats.