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MUDHUT DIALOGS

No doubt the Mud Hut saw its eccentricities and necessities in the century where all were happy, prosperous, well-rounded, educated, playfully executing desires with the new instruments.

Cold days passed quickly. The trees were a bestiary of delight. "Let us flock to the Mud Hut where the poet lives," the beasts seem to say.

He welcomed them all, family, friends, acquaintances, workers, agents and so forth. The Mud Hut was peaceful and only hinted from time to time discordance, even malefaction. They would come, they would go with hardly a trace of them marking the poet who watched everything in a fascinated gaze as though it weren't real, as though it all popped out of a storybook; the kind his uncle had gotten him as a kid where the story popped up out of the page and talked to him. Misguided ones would pull him aside and say, "But don't you see how punished you are!" Well, he thought, if this is punishment then I have been treated well by the punishing gods. They did not have faith, that was the problem. They had been granulated into a kind of bitter charcoal that neither comprehended the world or admitted the limitation of knowing it. Odd, he thought, what bitterness passes through these people!

And when it was apparent they didn't really care for the things he did or believed in he began to shut them out; he no longer trusted their happy natures. "They only want a stupid reflection of themselves. So much for all the education and travel they've done!"

A few of the treacherous women had tried to make his life miserable and he made it more miserable by trying to understand the depths of their own misery and why they would be treacherous.

Men, stamped by the rigors of corporate life, did not like what they saw. He laughed. "Much is cut off from this type of person no matter how many things they end up owning."

The truth was that the Mud Hut made no sense without the poet residing in it. Without the poet the Mud Hut was mere darkness lit up occasionally with drunken revels. The poet had come and marked the center of the Earth's axis through the patio where the squirrels played. This is where he stood to watch Venus and the Moon eye each other. This is where he demanded the music of masters. That itself had driven most of the riff raff away.

A hollow and shallow bunch made a lot of noise that disappeared fast enough.

"I didn't come here to work in your labs or colleges. I came here to contemplate and to be with my God. I came here to answer the riddles I was given in my mid-20's. I came here to study and think."

He became increasingly intolerant of those who didn't do any of those things but who demanded the poet do the same things as they did.

"Well," they said huffy and bemused at the same moment, "we live and are in the middle of lives."

* * * * * * * *

The silence of the Hut could be a beautiful thing. "I am here for the silence, for the largess of time packed in coils through the wonderful trees. I'm here so that nothing is wasted." And it was a nemesis. "It is a vast waste of time because you have no objects to show for it."

"Oh idiots, don't you see I'm where I'm supposed to be, for this period of time?"

He was a curiosity and accepted it; laughed and enjoyed roaring fires when the people came to drink the wine and converse in the mundane, yet satisfying ways that they did.

Wonderful travel tales at the drop of the hat! They had been in harbors, deep inland, in the mountains, and the oddly built cities. He always patiently waited, hand on knee, for the moment he heard something he hadn't heard before. It was rare but certainly a resource the moment he heard it.

It took him back to vast fantasies of roaming the Earth as a young man. "Let me stow away on a merchant ship to Mermansk. Let me float down the Niger and run with the killer pygmies. Let me hunt sharks in the stupendous Australian sun!" He so fantasized. It was only natural. One fantasy moved as a chain, down to the bottom of dark where they disappeared. "I will be President. I will write a novel and win the Nobel prize. I will be famed for discoveries. I will float down the Niger and run with a killer pygmy tribe."

* * * * * * * *

The Mud Hut stood beneath stars worth gazing at in the hours after midnight. "This expanse, is it not our expanse?" "And if this expanse is our expanse why is so much of what we do cluttered with the infinitesimal of trivia and reduced down to the iterative function?"

"One day the Earth will be knocked out of its orbit and fly free into the dark center to be captured by another Sun. Only a few will survive the ordeal. They will know what to do when they see, for the first time, the new sun rise onto the new earth turning."

"It's not that the stars fall but that the earth rushes past its new environment with incredible speed."

* * * * * * * *

"Our freedom often makes us intruders at the edge of the unprecedented." "We are existents without the true experience the future demands from us." "Oh, those people simply did what they were required to do. Why should we worry about them?"

"Well, it's a long way from there to here. And from here to there will be even longer and unimaginable. The clutter of objects and slow turning from bad habits to better ones. Time available. Time lost. Go to the proving grounds of imagination. Go to the few tellers of truth. Go to those who add value and richness."

So the conversations were constant in the hut with the raccoons, bats, and owls who visited night with a kind of pride of ownership so that their speech was sharp and joyful and fully conscious.

We heard them while emptying our daily waste like an old smelter on a dying river.

* * * * * * * *

Frivolous days with their frivolous acts and frivolous words breeze like weighted charms across the eyes. "It's all a play of mediocrity and mendacity," so they say. "Belief in God or an afterlife was too difficult for them so they spent their lives trying to figure it all out and came up short."

The Mud Hut had its disturbing moments that crept up from the root of some unknown presence but which, when it was revealed, had always been there in the light.

It was not Edenic or, if it was, it was a cold Eden where all good was forbidden when the overseer was around.

"Something torn always remains torn no matter what you use to patch it up with."

* * * * * * * *

"In America you either take freedom seriously, if not at its word, or it devours you. It is not a passive animal."

"In the Hut it took time to learn to let go.

As they often said in the Hut, "Someone, somewhere is taking things very seriously." Most felt that life was a poor joke and if everyone were in on the poor joke life would roll easily through and not stop until the required stoppage occurred. "Don't even take the required stoppage seriously because we obviously go into another state, perhaps a better one. Or, nothing happens and we are simply the non-plussed supine ones that they count backwards toward to find out how things have changed. So even the shined up world full of motion and objects is reduced to a few words in the future. Who could take that seriously?"

"Don't divide the world between the serious ones who do things, many of them bad, and those who laugh their way through, doing little or nothing but keeping the atmosphere clean and light."

In the Hut there was laughter. Some of it was, no doubt, created by the huge amounts of wine that was consumed but some of it was sincere and a good lesson to the poet.

"Isn't it true though that for every person who takes the world seriously there must be ten who don't? And for every ten people who take the world seriously five, at least, are bad and must be countered by fifty who take the world seriously but are good. Such are the ratios that keep the world spinning onward."

* * * * * * * *

"Distill into this phase all that you have learned and experienced." That's what the wise tree has said, with its thick black trunk and rasping limbs trying to swim out of an impossible situation.

"Make real what has happened, what has been thought and felt by this distillation. But it will be different than you think."

So now the picture of a small, discrete unit rushing around with purpose began to emerge.

It was an object not yet identifiable by the scientists.

"There is an art in packing lifetimes into a few, authentic moments."

"You have merely constructed a few tents and way stations when you were clobbered. It is nothing yet. It is prelude. It rises up on a dramatic chord to show all that has happened. Then down into the new, into the open new."

* * * * * * * *

He was declaiming, "most of life is uncontrollable, even here. The fight is always over relations and whether they are healthy or not. Good minds know this early on and try to establish relations with things that count. Bad minds try to control the uncontrollable and end up hurting others and, eventually, themselves."

"Well, I have relations to all those things and it still feels uncontrollable. Take women. I thought they were one thing and they turn out to be quite a different thing. Then I adjust to that and they turn again. Aren't there any fashionable women today? Are they all witches?"

Generous laughter rose up for a moment.

"The women who think they are fashionable today are the same ones who thought they were fashionable 1800 years ago during the reign of Hadrian. They showed their tits much more readily in those days. Women who appear to be breaking out of some straightjacket remind me of the crude dreams the Romans must have had in the middle of their tempestuous females."

"You're saying our decadence lacks elegance and a certain historical cred?"

"We should laugh at our voracious women and keep demanding better service. It's like our witches. We would never think of burning them when we could give them good brooms and ask them to entertain us."

"Oh certainly, entertain us."

* * * * * * * *

They didn't tell tales too well at the MudHut. He noticed that right off. The stories were either cliches or had been repeated ad infinitum, to the verge of nausea. And even equipped with the latest in technology the stories that came over screens or between covers were lackluster. "A sign of the times, " the poet told himself. "They are overwhelmed and are hoping thousands of miniscule tales will save them." "Or," he corrected, "to divert them until they think no more."

The poet had taken tales to the Hut and they withered yellow in neglect. Then he would get on a story jag as if his survival was dependent on it and end up with masses of confused stories no one was interested in.

Markets did not clamor for him. Relations spurned him. The odd and eccentric tried to ridicule or use him. His heart eventually belonged to a few dead masters who wanted to be left alone.

The people had transformed into a huge mass of uneducated believers in their own rightness. He had nothing to say to them.

"Well at least say something to their grandkids, if that is, they are still procreating."

* * * * * * * *

"Direness is an excellent signifier to change a few things."

"The dirge bell rings and everyone runs from the center. Some of the yells and screams are appalling. If we hadn't heard it before perhaps we would be yelling and screaming in appalling ways ourselves."

So they are sitting around the Mudhut feeling dire and dark. Something appalling has fallen from the trees. The Mudhut is filled with a few more anonymous refugees and it takes the poet days to know who they are or where they've come from.

"I will become dire," he says to them, "when the center can not even hold its own empty promises and armies are raised to protect the regions. When, that is, resources are fought over because they are up for grabs and the people rather than learning about football and how to repair their cars must learn how to shoot and kill the enemy. When, that is, different flags are raised throughout the whole land and the direction is set for a dark reckoning. Then I will join in the wailing and lamentations of the dire voice."

"Up to that time it is all the howling of the naive forced to wear the skin of the political animal they dread."

There was some tittering in the small crowd that had gathered around him. Then excellent foods and wine were brought in and the people, as night fell, turned their thoughts to love making.

* * * * * * * *

A dry day at the beginning of winter's wet habitat. When all the living run for cover and hate the outside even as nature forces them into it.

So quietude rather than silence. Silence implies eternity. Quietude is already thinking of what to say next. It is prelude to vast rationalizations of why things are the way they are and when, finally, the stricken realize how wrong they are they return to quietude.

"An asshole will never turn to its own face."

"Quietude precedes plot."

* * * * * * * *

At the Mud Hut the discouragers and no-nothings had sway for a time. Sometimes it was because a reputation had preceded them or, even, family structure. Whatever it was the poet found himself listening with a bare smile on his face, to all the words of discouragement and ignorance that poured self-assuredly from many who saw too much potential in him.

It was an ironic gift of sorts: "Everything I feared and interiorized as a barrier has come alive and fleshed itself in front of me. I am free."

So it was all projection!

"You are your own worst enemy!" Someone had shouted to him from across the patio with a finger-point to make sure he knew he was being singled out. "Yes," the poet replied, "but don't you see I've tried to make every enemy into an ally."

* * * * * * * *

"And when you can support all the activity you support isn't it reasonable to think you can support thinking and generous tales?"

"And when the largess is without boundaries doesn't it make sense that some will take a difficult path of freedom and meaning?"

"And doesn't jealousy and resentment signal a failure in the jealous and resentful rather than the object of scorn?"

* * * * * * * *

It had become obvious to him, after some time at the Hut, that the old men had much more substance and experience then his own peers, many of whom looked like addicted dogs still howling at the teen-age lyrics of songs that kept reappearing in a culture that wouldn't let anything die. The old men provided models of how to live as free citizens in a democracy. And just this act burnt away the natural cynicism the poet had gathered in himself as a young and open heart, especially when he heard the word, "democracy."

Democracy was relationship if nothing else. If relations were impossible and entangled, even inhuman then democracy was impossible. If relations were good and honest then democracy had a chance despite all the minefields it created in itself. It was a simple but profound observation and began the poet on a long meditation on human nature and human relationship.

He noted that if men wanted power then relationship was the business of women. If women wanted power then relationship was the business of men. And if both men and women wanted power and sought every inhuman means to get it, then relationship was chaos and doomed and things would be sucked down into a black hole.

The first law of relationship was, "connect with as little judgment as possible." '

* * * * * * * *

"See here, if a thing could be written once, it could be written countless times. That is, if the person responsible was an artist and approached things with that attitude."

It was very easy to find people in the Hut who would gleefully deface the art of another to show he or she was just as inventive as the originator.

"The people have been taught the skill to destroy but not the art to build." It was a fatal flaw but he soon learned to protect his most prized assets from the people. "They growl and howl with savage unrequitedness," the lady told him. "Other than that they're ok."

"The writer transforms himself from a wide beam of generous light to a filter for all the light and dark streaming into him." "Oh I understand what you're saying, yes, of course." And she was very pleased with herself that she had figured out the little metaphor.

* * * * * * * *

"Time went from glacial to a flash of light. A year could be something to bounce around in with meaning and frivolous conversation. The seasons go."

"I remember that first entry. I had a dozen civil war books that I read one after the other plus I went to a civil war exhibit at the local college. It wasn't an escape from the present but a filling up of fractured pieces; an enriching game in other words."

"They understood suffering a great deal more poignantly than we do."

"I'm always reminded that when I go from the Revolutionary battlefield to the Civil War battlefield, to the WWII battlefield the carnage is ratcheted upward in ways the previous war could hardly comprehend. I don't want to see the next one."

"The rage is in this year. The center does not hold because the center is rotten. How you repair it is beyond me. The quality of trust is nowhere seen, nowhere shared. People forget how easy it is to buy off groups."

"Powerful modules interact with powerful modules and the individual is hardly a factor. Don't expect roses to pop up."

* * * * * * * *

"I don't find a great kinship with the majority of people and their society. Maybe I feel some kinship but have to strive to extend out beyond what is there to find something ample and good."

"I'm glad the society doesn't sit around and wait for a novelist to capture and depict it. The anonymous motion is a source of things without a doubt."

"In America you either take freedom seriously, if not at its word, or it devours you. It is not a passive animal."

"In the Hut it took time to learn to let go.

"Thankfully I live in a culture of many paths, of many ways. And that the way and path can be supported by a few or many (and depending on your devotion it doesn't matter). I don't trust those who believe in one path, one way. Their inexperience is a barrier to those who would go seek a new path or way. Their conformism speaks to a lack of confidence in the human spirit, even a lack of confidence in what they have conformed to. "Listen, we have not conformed because we wanted to, we have conformed because we've been pounded into this position. And we will pound you until you, too, conform." In a great society all of this is transparent and part of the grand game. In a terrible society it is nearly law, if not written then custom. And custom is transmitted like a virus from one to many and many to one."

"Freedom proves itself when it grows tolerance of all other paths and ways."

"The joy in leaving the intolerance behind!"

"The joy of it limned as it is with a trace of bitterness."

* * * * * * * *

"Resentment has taught him the fine art of discrimination based on shared values, without which there is nothing but angry tribes."

"And angry tribes can destroy values as easily as they can set fire to police cars."

"Torch the poet, he describes police cars!"

"Cut it all down, it is a small branch growing on the corrupt tree."

"They need to know that the discovery of the shadow is the first step in a long journey."

"The first step."

"Warning! Understand the shadow, don't become the shadow!"

* * * * * * * *

From the vistas he knew that the world was large and contained multitudes. And the multitudes, with their multiple lives interact a multiplicity of ways. "My goddamn brain hurts." "Live," the old woman told him in the kitchen, "in front of you, not in wide circumferences. The circumferences are merely for added information so you may live well in front of you."

He couldn't answer her. She had a point. But he had reduced the scope of his knowing to a certain area of longitude and latitude. And yes, every year there was a sulpheric pile of things and odd people. "My things, my people, no?" Maybe not. But yes, he had family ties with them all and had studied local predictability and knew that patterns were iterative, in fact, he happened to live in a much more spontaneous place than the vast regions of the world so it was far easier to grasp the predictable nature of those over and beyond the deep mountains."

He could not identify with the natural systems of the planet but he saluted their superiority and hoped they would not give out before he did. Where would it stop? If one identified with the natural systems they would have to venture far out into the natural processes of the universe and eventually would become nothing but string or mass. Their sense of time and space would put them at odds with everyone they came into contact with; would perhaps create way too much trouble than it was worth. No, identity along those lines had consequence.

"But you live here, in the Hut," she told him. "What else do you need?"

* * * * * * * *

"And now you realize what sacrifice is don't you?" He had been down for several days after finding out an old friend had finished a generous tour of the world. He looked up sadly, "I don't want to sacrifice, I want to engage." "But first you must understand the difference!"

The sacrifices had been merely personal; experienced personally and suffered personally with the larger world not caring one way or the other.

The sacrifices were like objects completely invisible to all but the one who sacrifices. "And they are always in the room, still and large without expression."

"It becomes obvious to us that we want to be anyone but ourselves."

"But you see, sacrifice is painful. However, it always has a tiny hole of redemption in it. Look for that tiny hole."

"I find the easy way we are manipulated into our worst nature to be disturbing. Perhaps that's why I put the big shield up."

"Well, that should clue you into something." '

* * * * * * * *

"So," he said to no one in particular, "what is our role here at the Hut? Do we simply spy on consumers and make gnarly comments?"

He was a lousy consumer although he had consumed vast amounts of perception from outside himself. Perhaps consumers were a cut above colonists or conquistadors or mountain men. If the people were not busy consuming they would be busy doing something and most of it would be bad."

"But they see themselves not as they are but as they want to be thought of and so open to the literary imagination. After all, if I'm a lousy consumer but am always being judged by my prowess as a consumer then I have to defend my inefficiency or, better yet, supplant it with something superior or, at least, superior in my own scale of things."

And his experience had taken him into poor neighborhoods and rich ones and in all places he found the vast majority of people to be consumers. "Count the bodies and broken laws buried in the happy consumption of the wealthy," someone had remarked. He later found out what that meant and agreed in a general sense. "But, after all, aren't wealth creators above and beyond the mere consumers?" When the successful warrior-king had plundered a declining Roman town and taken its gold and silver didn't his prowess and violation of human decency allow him to distribute more goods to himself and his cronies?"

Idle questions were always sport at the Mud Hut.

He was only interested in those who consumed the world and turned it into wisdom.

Those few, in other words, who were unafraid.

* * * * * * * *

"Memory nested in a variety of platforms. That's what the time will be remembered for," so the old sage was saying, shaking his head but speaking with confidence, as though he had learned to use a few of the new platforms. Each life had rich carvings in it and he was proud of his knack for listening.

"Lost, gained. Lost, gained. Transformed. Lost. Recovered. Squandered. Arisen."

"Bits of stuff operating under the same laws as Supernovas."

"They did not understand the implication of their own worst invention."

"The maps be marked by 'em."

* * * * * * * *

"Right before they went crazy and their good minds failed them, they told me what their favorite novels were. One said Magic Mountain, another the Sun Also Rises, still another V, and an old teacher had chimed in, "Huckleberry Finn."

They had read them but now were babbling away utter nonsense in homes, not even their own homes but homes they had been put so that the mind could disintegrate with some safety and grace. And all memory would be wiped clean. And all opinion flown away on bats wings. Disparate tapes still ran from things said 45 years before, at a luncheon for a famed educator.

* * * * * * * *

The MudHut had provided the poet an escape from all those who would empty him of meaning and say, "you are merely..." He found it to be part of the ethos of the age he lived in. "If we empty this fool of his substance we will be able to control him and so the world will become that much closer to us".

But naturally it was more complicated that that. The they that had been emptied first, filled their judgments with emptiness.

"The swarm is thickest when you are weakened by physical or emotional problems." The swarm would descend to pry loose whatever quality he had possessed and make him be as empty as they were. An emptiness that all the travel, sex, money, knowledge could not fill up.

"Ah," said a man of true emptiness, "you simply want them all to get religion. Ha!"

"No," the poet said, "only more meaning and substance."

"If your sacrifices have no meaning then you are kaput. That simple. However, if you were attempting to express value through the sacrifices then the meaning rises wonderfully from the mysterious place everyone wants to possess but no one can."

"Well, I spent a long time in study and thinking, acts that are despised in this world."

"But what were the values you were fighting for?"

"Overcoming that blood sucker known as alienation."

"So there was some meaning there."

"I was miserable except for a few moments of ecstatic understanding. I did deepen my relation to God. I just never found anyone who cared."

"And did you emerge non-alienated?"

"Sort of. Yes. Well who knows? I knew I could go on. And I knew I could handle a few problems. And I knew bullshit when I heard or read it."

"That's a start, that's good start my friend."

* * * * * * * *

"A man follows his addictions rather than his passions. This is why you find the very odd phenomena of the fabulously wealthy and powerful being the weakest and most miserable of types. Once they have attained wealth and power they have to have more of it. It's no different than dope or booze or sex for that matter. We are driven into our addictions until we find ourselves crawling along a street crowded with others who we hate but who are just like us."

"And fame could be thrown in there. That's the most desperate addiction in a time like this. I pity those who get it, they can't get close to what they want and then the distracted masses move on to another famous head and the tumble downwards is a quiet roar. They fish the head from the sea and look on its closed eyes and say, "this man had it all."

"Life is such a sad lesson."

"Well worth the learning I remind you."

"So we take our quiet lessons into the silent room and wait for stillness to arrive."

"And these young writers and artists, so full of it, they depict their addictions as the truth."

"They crap on themselves."

"The professors and critics love it so. It keeps the crap off themselves."

* * * * * * * *

"And what was happening the rest of the time?"

Laughter.

"So it is kind of like a battle that lasts three hours but has three months of preparation.

"Something like that."

"But why so secret about the preparation?"

"Oh it’s all there if you pay attention. Those who want it spoon-fed always get the dregs and then they wonder why they feel so rotten. So it comes down to personal responsibility."

"I see."

"It's obvious that those who are in battle all three months lose every bit of vitality and by the end are easily defeated."

"But then, there is that rest of the time and you can either spend it wandering around or settling down."

"And don't forget money."

"The poet's nightmare!"

Laughter.

"They always hoodwink you in doing it for them or for their ideas or their world."

"Write silently in a good and dark morning."

"Keep all your records straight."

"Suffer and keep the faith."

"Wisdom is not about power. Wisdom is only an end to itself among the wise. For everyone else it's a working tool to carry into the brunt of life, into its contingencies and mistakes and tar. Wisdom either works or it doesn't."

"Thanks for that boss."

* * * * * * * *

"There is no place for old conflicts." So all agreed about the MudHut. "Let it all go. This is a new place. This is the face of old resolutions."

There were the classic conflicts between gender, race, class, religious belief and so on. There were modern ones such as the conflict between American democratic conscience and the requirements of being a "world power." There were the odious and fabricated political conflicts generated by people who were led by the nose and shaken like rag dolls at various times.

"Well then, it doesn't settle anything because the world is the way it is. But isn't it time to view the world as brand new, without conflict and what it might want to become?"

Laughter was conditioned by the nature of the spirit at any given time. And when the spirit soared the laughter was good and got caught up in the limbs of the oak trees until even the creek owls started to hoot. And then one would say, "This is a wonderful night for the grand idiots of the world!" Silence would follow and then the thing would break up. Before he went in the poet always looked to the night sky and saw himself as coming to the Earth for the first time and not knowing what he was getting into. From one hundred thousand miles away it looked pleasant, colorful but inert and no one could have prepared the happy traveler for what he would find on landing.

* * * * * * * *

"The last thing he said was, "Put it all together." And I thought, well that could mean anything or nothing. But then the way he said it, the angle of attack of his words reminded me that my own mind operated in a confusing duality. One was operated by nature and the other was operated by what someone, presumably myself, wanted to record as the highest or best and so on. Who knows? Why does it work that way?"

"It was a trail of masterful droppings that I had to go back and search through. And then when the brain went a bit nuts and there was a kind of seizure one thing would connect with another and suddenly things started to add up."

"They were dropped there because the brain rushed through trying to get something. It was an enemy of sorts, more like a dysfunctional brother who wanted all answers right now and didn't have the patience to lay the groundwork. And forget the signs of the market, none of them work and they always flash at the wrong places.

"So my own droppings lay there for years undiscovered and uncared for; saved up would be an optimist's way of putting it, one who felt anything could be salvaged, and for a brief moment I felt ecstasy. But then it quickly muted of its own accord, remembering no doubt how many times the feeling of ecstasy had gotten me into trouble and knowing, in a sublime way, that various types of energy can be shaped if the mind was put to it."

"But the context, the context? Something expressively belonging to the act of dropping, at that precise moment could not be reproduced or called back into an authentic state."

* * * * * * * *

There was always one that, when the MudHut started to feel like a grind, began to plan his exit. But he discovered that would be much more difficult than he imagined. For one thing funding would be cut off. He would be thrown into the horrific contingency that had driven him out in the first place. "Those never change,: he thought to himself. "What good would it do me or anyone else to become another confused and dilapidated stick in the world completely alienated from my own true self?" It didn't make any sense in any tradition of freedom he was familiar with.

He discovered that the person can get tired of even the best of things after a while, surrounded by the best of things and toying with them all the time. It was the possibility of losing everything and being thrown into a new and dangerous situation that appealed to him as he worked himself out of the grind.

So many words had been broken over the backs of nothing. Their beauty and meaning had spilled out into the muddy air that reminded him of a road in the southern hemisphere. "They want words that will load them up with goods."

"Oh well," he thought. "hope they get what they wish for."

So much hatred in a well-meaning face. So much frustration because the powers he thought he owned had long gone away and so the world was a menacing detail of embodiment. It was an invisible army of powers he had lost or so he thought.

* * * * * * * *

"Given everything I feel a new militancy in myself. After all, I've done the work and I've suffered for it and I tried to understand everything which denied the work. What have they done? They looked at my generosity and their eyes got red and big."

"They threw everything at me. I felt sometimes, like the Buddha who sits under the tree while his enemies do everything they can to knock him off course. Oh, they hated! Oh, they were filled with jealous rage!"

"They reminded me of the barbarian kings I had read about as a kid. It was all about them and they tried to destroy everything not-them and then they destroyed everything that could construct not-them until finally they met their own end. They would be the moon and the sun, the alph and omega so anything that went before was destroyed. And what was destroyed had no voice and couldn't fight back, not against the powers of the barbarian. So it was all laid low and the barbaric noises covered the ground and the ghosts did not rise up in pathetic disgust. So it was."

"Barbarians now, under the protection of a so-called civilized order which they failed to understand. So it was ludicrous after a while. And the people fell in love with the ludicrous and absurd."

* * * * * * * *

"Oh you and your stupid disillusionments. Get with the program."

"Ah, the stupes don't know up from down, their ass from a hole in the ground."

"Well, they try."

"I've tried too much for them. I'm tired of them. I want to be free. Frankly if my writing introduced a new order or required some elite class then so what, that's not my concern. I do an honest days work in front of the project what else matters?"

"It's perplexing to me that someone who watched Howdy Doody, Jet Jackson, Davy Crocket, The Hardy Boys, Sky King, My Friend Flicka, Leave it to Beaver, Our Miss Brooks, The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Combat!, Daniel Boone, Swamp Fox, McHale's Navy, Maverick, Sugarfoot, Have Gun Will Travel, Flipper, Sea Hunt, Route 66, Hawaiian Eye, Sunset Strip, Twilight Zone, Whirlybirds, Checkmate, Amos and Andy, Roy Rodgers, along with all the sports and news while growing up could have such European ideas."

"It always impressed me that something written, made, or thought two thousand or more years ago could be vastly superior to what is written, made, or thought today. I suppose that hooked me into something."

"Well, live in the past, get buried by the past."

"Oh, those old shows still float in there with magic to them. Was it a gift or a burden?"

* * * * * * * *

"A lot of good it did you."

"Still, it did good."

"You were still in the good."

"I stood in the good rather still."

"Yet you complain you have no will."

"I have enough to swallow a pill. Not enough to curse a hill."

"I hope they come in the night to take us away. I know they will take us away. Hope it's painless."

"It's never painless when you know how much you've left on the cutting room floor. And how much more there is to shoot."

"Been around damn moralists all my life. Never taught me anything but self-hatred. But one. And he can hardly be talked about without embarrassment, apparently."

"We will ice skate backwards in his honor."

"Well look it, it was all bundled together at the beginning so he was in there and his father was in there and then it all exploded outward and made gas and creature. Since they were in there and we were in there it stands to reason we love the way we do."

"And now we bloody have to put it back together not with our brains but with our bodies. That's the challenge now. That's why we put it all behind us. Happy, happy days."

* * * * * * * *

A man, long-standing resident of the MudHut, came pouncing from his room one time and confronted the poet who was half-asleep under a great oak tree.

"I've read some of your writings and you refer to the people as "masses" and "barbarians." They are neither masses nor barbarians. They are only potential."

The poet was startled and knew immediately he was being attacked but it took him some time to figure out who the attacker was.

"Oh well, when I was young anyone who didn't appreciate my writing I called part of the masses or a barbarian. You are right. All the disparate peoples are but potentials abutting against pitfalls and pigs of one sort or another."

He tried to go back asleep but the man was persistent. "My father couldn't read any fine writing because he had to work two jobs to support his family, including myself who escaped early on. Would you treat him as part of the slagheap?"

"No because that's where I come from and all good free democratic people come from. But then, why don't the people improve themselves? Why do they constantly poison themselves as is evident in pop culture and their personal lives?"

"Who cares about these things? That's just the price of freedom. It creates a lot of guinea pigs don't you know?"

"Shouldn't the imagination free the people of their guinea-pigness? Isn't that one of its roles? To show a better way? To show a better self?"

"But then when you call them the masses or barbarians what chance do they have? Why should they even care?"

"If a job, house, wife, car, and a few good vacations do it then I don't criticize anything. But there are some who assume the whole and out of the whole make things, so that type is always dealing with floors and ceilings. Free men and women know they are free and don't worry about it too much. But imagination wants more. And if a free man or woman puts a limit on that imagination then they are certainly less than free, at least in my humble opinion."

* * * * * * * *

"Oh the delicate balances over bridges we have crossed. And conflicts between the fishes and the rocks below. So we love to see them in their native habitat and let them resolve it as best they can. The smell of the one becomes the hardness of the other and on they go. We comment on the enjoyment we get from the way the fishes slip and slide through their obstacles in some sort of desperate dance no one prepared them for. I don't imagine anyone told them about the struggle. Nature demands it."

"And do you learn anything from all this observation? Or do you observe simply because you lack all other means of power?"

"Oh well, you never know what observation will catch the eye of power or of a powerful person."

"Think hard my friend on what power has done to even well-meaning observation."

"Well, in a democracy they're supposed to be vetted, drawn and quartered, squashed and squeezed by the ignorant people until their truth spills out somewhere in an old rundown restaurant in Kansas City. They are, individually, harmless, toothless burglars of the national integrity. However, stick them all together and they make a fabricated beast of some sort, each finger and toe vastly different than the other."

"You forget that they read books in Brazil and Venezuela; probably more so than in the U.S. Those, at any rate, who want power."

"Do with whatever I give what you will."

* * * * * * * *

"Oh it was different then from now, good God, so different it goes beyond saying."

"I knew that. I knew it was more intense because death was more a reality and death does quicken the pace don't you think?"

"Right. Death does quicken the pace. And frankly everything smelled bad and it was violent and heads rolled much more frequently. Now they only roll in accidents."

"That's why this trite but comfortable time was an ugly seductress. And she taught me to do everything that was done, at least one time, and to use the machines and mix in neighborhoods and know cities and suburbs and rural areas. And I admit that my youth was a short stay in Hell that felt eternal until I looked out at the happy middle-aged people without a frown or wrinkle among them. It got me thinking. An age of fabrication needs its own spaces so that the quick in life is conserved and passed to the next space. And that new space is its own quickened theme but dies in common with everything else. And I listened to the tales and sped around like a nut, like the rest of the nuts, and thought about the universe and the fate of the earth. If the bulkheads held everything was fine but if they burst look out."

"Well people lived long sometimes but rarely did they live well, long. But it was ok for the hapless many who fished around in those digs."

* * * * * * * *

"A good-hearted man makes for a better thinker and writer because he is magnanimous and allows all into himself. And then the bitterness as he sees human nature work against him fires up the need to express. And then loss after loss because the good-hearted are the easiest to abuse so he finds himself, after a while, with nothing else but his thoughts and words; his ideas and stories. Nothing is left of the good-hearted man but that."

"Well put! All you need are a dozen good-hearted men and women with the freedom to enact themselves."

"I yawn now at old arguments that come out of the 19th or 20th centuries. The earth has rolled them over. All that is left are stinking legs and arms sticking from the ground like a fresh battlefield dominated by artillery. I have developed a new chant for when I hear one. "Ho-hum, ho-hum, ho-hum, ho-hum." If you can build from the corpse's a new vector bravo and let us see where the road takes us."

"Hell, I'd rather just wander around and talk to people."

* * * * * * * *

"Ah, many streams experienced and perceived and finally made sensible by one!"

"If the sublime re-entered the democratic soul it would be so much better. The word now is only used to sell bad ideas and convince people of the worst things imaginable.

"Well, gabble on."

"The competitive spirit has given way to the sameness spirit and god help those who stray outside the boundary of sameness. They will find a classification for you and that will be that."

"It will revive when all the free attributes have been played out in the open beyond what you see now because democracy has no confidence in itself and merely wants to do more than what was done in the past."

"Will it ever learn again how hard it is to get anything done?"

* * * * * * * *

"Plenty of acts of freedom and few acts of power. Doesn't that describe something we want to be part of?"

"Sentimentalists say it is that way every day but I'm not sure. If all of freedom is being lived today then what will be lived tomorrow?"

"Have things run down that much for you? Things aren't what they what they used to be and yet claim they are better than all that came before it?"

"Always the red flag with you!"

"This terrible life will continue onward for millions of years. Doesn't that give us a clue as to what is in store? It's a fragile beginning."

* * * * * * * *

"Did you get along, go ahead, achieve the goals after your weird youth?"

"I lived in cities and read books, what was weird about that?"

"Cities and books can make even the sanest man quite weird."

"Well laugh, I was sincere and onto something. If you could only have seen my brain at that time! It was a fierce and righteous animal at the edge of some magnificent horizon."

"But you must have had some goals at that time? Some sense of where you'd be in middle age."

"Oh it changed and flowed in and out, strong and weak. I knew I was up to something that most people weren't. I knew it but they didn't. That makes a difference."

"Well, that's why they say 'know thyself.'

So the time that seemed the longest was really the shortest. There was something pathetic in the way we had tried to capture the uncapturable; no one taught us style. We had to learn from well-defined dreams and then pretend we had no shame when we appeared in public. "Oh, there goes one of them!" I heard that voice on more than one occasion. After a time I laughed. It could have been my own voice. I was so conscious of how I looked in and among strangers.

* * * * * * * *

"You were moved so much by men who do not write and thought that writing was an almost desperate act and inferior to simply acting wisely in the world. Socrates and Christ didn't sit down and write much, although I hear Socrates wrote some poems before he was going to die. They did not write but enacted the spirit at a level that moves the self even thousands of years after the fact."

"And if they can kill those two they can kill anyone."

"A point. But the thing is you feel less than those two because you can not enact as they could but have to write." '

"I haven't thought about it. But I admired so many writers from the dawn of time!"

"Ah but you had to face yourself and not worry about all the writers from the dawn of time. All the writers from the dawn can't help you face yourself as you need to make it over the final threshold."

"Those two had the common touch; they were so absolutely confident in what they were doing. How can a writer have this common touch when he is using language as it isn't used in the common sense of the word? Besides, all the sights and sounds today drown out the beautiful words."

"It lays back there without fanfare but there it is."

"And who knows what Socrates or Christ you may run into, even at this late date? Life is irony."

"So we start with acts and words and let vanity die into the summer trees."

* * * * * * * *

"Space first; that's the first experience. Space that you can stand on, space where you can float forever. Space defined all over again."

"Space brings on the first competitor, the necessary agon and the form it takes is important."

"The way it fills up then is something to note; it may be sparse, it may be crowded, you have no control over it. It is. You have to be brave and objective."

* * * * * * * *

"The particulars of empty space, have you ever thought about that one? A future may be contained there."

"But I want to embody the real and tell the real. I can be anything."

"Well then, the real. You have to discipline yourself to one thing not anything."

"Anything will belong to your imagination which is real enough."

"The bridges and turbines and howling trains and endless screens. That is a symptom of the real isn't it?"

"So are the pool of obnoxious thoughts by fellow travelers. And the variations spun on a few acts. And the rare beautiful act or thought."

"The battles are too real and rarely celebrated since the most money and best machines win out. And the celebration of Sodom and Gomorrah is too modern for my taste. Life is too easy for them I guess."

"Ah, the particulars of pure non-human nature even with the dogs and cats sniffin' around."

* * * * * * * *

"Well, he was one the city devoured and they were lost together in the humped up row of buildings where the old cars sat."

"He was not alone at least. Many are sucked down into her and never return. It can be spooky if you see it two or three times."

"But then they have such interesting tales when the time comes for them to emerge!"

"They know the secret; every animal is filled with thousands of tales. It's just a matter of getting their trust. That's the tricky part."

"The interesting ones only trust the few. And the few find the interesting ones. So sometimes the Earth produces a happy medium."

"Oh go wander a year, you. Quit playing that ukulele and get invisible."

* * * * * * * *

"After the lives of the exemplary types in the past have either failed or been lodged out of one, what then? Do you go make as much money as you can?"

"They never really fail but there is something about living fully in your own time."

"I wanted perfect representations of free, liberal, democratic creative expansive souls and now I am here shaken loose of everything but a few memories."

"I have yet to see an exemplary-life-contemporary among us. The people get bought off very quickly and then taught some necessary things to say."

"Right and the docile people believe every word if it is said with a bit of conviction."

"They get the money and power. Everything else is seen as superfluous."

* * * * * * * *

"I have no pride in Big. I know the facts behind Big. Big is what we make to devour ourselves in one fell swoop."

"We are in many wombs and escape them once and never want to try again."

"And the more corrupt the larger womb is the more apt it is to produce monsters. I've seen them in the incubation stage. Their eyes are wild and hungry."

"There's a humiliating turn at every corner of paradise."

"But we are here, under the thick oak before the storm sweeps the birds away. Even here we can smell the rot."

"Especially here since this womb functions as they all should."

"Ha. You haven't seen the treachery here as yet. Just wait."

* * * * * * * *

"There's something to be said about an internal saga. It requires a different mind set and admits that at some point the mind or spirit has been harmed and is driven back to its essence."

"And often that essence is boarded up with spit and wattle until that is all there is. A vast saga that happens within without a peek or peep to the outside."

"So that can only be one facet to the thing. And if you do it diligently and know what to look for, what to articulate something is produced. But, to put all your eggs there? God no, its too much a risk. It's not permitted."

"Wars and voyages are forced at that level and never come off. The saga is about making decisions and having a life of meaning, applied meaning whether anyone sees it or not."

"Make the contents accountable to something valuable."

"A man flies off to the moon. Is that all in the brain or does the brain take it in and make the spaces its own? A man flies off to the moon whether the brain captures it or not. And hundreds of years from now the man will fly off to the moon and the brains at this time will have expired."

* * * * * * * *

"In a large nation it is easy to have large generalizations. They don't contribute to anything but advertising and political propaganda."

"The mind gets lost in the world then?"

"It's easy, depending on the spaces it takes on."

"It's not the generalizations that should draw your attention but the acts created out of them."

"Most empty space shocks people into ignorance where they leap like brave panthers into one nonsense or the other."

"And what would create empty space in the satiated brains of modern Americans?"

"A nation at war with each others stereotypes will be easily devoured by the clever types. See in the region all of life flourishing no matter how rotten the politics is. See in the region differentiated good with many bases, many purposes."

* * * * * * * *

There is an acute difference between people who are captured by experience and those who are liberated by it. Among the captives experience is used by the venal brain to get something that experience, itself, can not provide. They live for experience and it bounds them on all sides until they see, too late, what vanity they held onto.

Experience as a component of a man's ability to communicate, in fact, his desire to communicate is a good base. From this base experience can be a magic elixir that frees the self from vanity among other dreaded objects of self."

It matters too whether experience is cheap or difficult during the period you live in. For instance, flying from here to Los Angeles is cheap and easy now but at some point, as the Spanish made their way up the coast for instance, each inch of land was very difficult to come by. Never forget the context. Ha. Never forget the context."

"To make up your mind is to admit you die in the end. Admit this, face it and make a decision my good man."

"I do believe we survive but I can't prove it."

"Our activity on Earth ceases at some point and the rest can take care of itself. I suppose that's the attitude to have."

"It always comes back to the individual self."

"So, what's it going to be. You can't go on this way, it's impossible. You need to dedicate yourself to a way that will be sufficient and productive. Endless notes and conversations will drive you nuts in the end."

"I simply wanted to experience reality and then tell tales. Later it was to understand that reality, tales or no."

"You had the mystical belief that the content of mind is the obstacle and so let it all dance across the brain without stopping. But, is that wise?"

"It's asian no doubt. I've heard thousands of explanations on the content of mind and it resolves nothing, it produces nothing of truth or beauty."

"But in the world that must work with what it has there can be no other way, I hope you see that."

"I do see it. It cost me a few years in seeing it but it is worth seeing, necessary seeing."

"The only way to intrude into the world is through the love and compassion of language."

"Love and compassion of language or love and compassion drive through the language at hand?"

"If you love language you will love God and nature and life. Your biggest obstacle will be the despair you feel when you see and hear the way language is being used today. Love and compassion are great powers and great powers can see through even the smallest conversation between strangers in a plane at 32000 feet."

* * * * * * * *

"Sometimes the more I understand the history of this society the more obnoxious it appears to be. It can certainly be spun that way."

"But then it must be progress if we are aghast at our own acts, not to mention the collective acts of society."

"Progress and relations do improve no question...to a degree. It's always threatened by massive indifference, ignorance, and new forms of ugliness. "

"So in the end it will only be a few seeds that will prevail and be taken up?"

"That is the responsibility of those who care. Nothing more, nothing less. That's what the work was about."

"So the society can take care of itself."

"It will and it won't. It's beyond a few words about it."

"A whole lifetime to produce a few seeds. It seems so un-American."

* * * * * * * *

"The struggle for money produces a variety of odd fish in the sea. You will never not-meet them. Their ubiquity will scare you at some point. But then they swim in the element that has them. What other element are they permitted?"

"I could tell you long, rotten tales of my own struggles, especially as a young man."

"There's no escaping it. You must become the fish you were destined to become and have tolerance for all the sea life swimming around you."

"Laugh at the brave tales of these fish and ignore the flashings they've acquired through time."

* * * * * * * *

"We live in some blessed openness now; the crawl from there to here can be rather frightening."

"That would be excellent to explore."

"Before there is blessed openness there is conditional darkness supported by every thing and thought. But then, each thought and thing loses its hold and with a magnificent push we find that blessed openness and then, certainly, support for it."

"Does the support ever become a conditional darkness in its turn?"

"Every support must prove itself in ways that prevent fakery to get in."

"And does the proof go through the same blessed openness?"

"That is part of the process of proof."

"It must be good and real then."

"Oh, it is good and real."

"And how is this blessed openness going to be kept open? After all, most valuable things are in the process of being closed."

* * * * * * * *

"Oh leap when you are tired of pulling across an abyss rung by rung."

"And let the connections be sweet and true."

"Our enemies are many, allies are few."

"We are a hapless bunch hanging to be hung."

* * * * * * * *

"If this present, this Now, is all then we are finished. Pleasantly finished perhaps but the deal is done."

"Armies of a further now will come and sweep it all away. Hopefully we won't be here because I love the pleasant Now."

"And if it were all swept clean would you like anything to remain? Any object? Any emotion? Any thought?"

"A good pair of shoes and reading glasses."

"You are in the middle of a common fear that what you've done has no meaning; that the work and energy is met with by silence. That the depths move nothing. Yet, something worthless is valued at five billion dollars. It is merely a fear, throw it off and move on."

* * * * * * * *

"I've seen strange things. I've met strange people. I have seen strangeness itself become reality. And for a while it is appealing but then bends everything one way and doesn't permit any other way. What should one call that?"

"Media?"

"No, it goes beyond that. It builds from the people into and through media. It is some kind of evil eye."

"If not evil at least hypnotizing and paralyzing as we try to make our way."

"Youth."

"And it always goes through its balancing act from that to this."

"And don't think there isn't nostalgia for the strangeness youth has escaped!"

"Oh, that's an industry in itself. That carries the many-sided addiction."

* * * * * * * *

"In the Hut go the women, the mad, chattering ones and the weird contemplative ones, and the good ones. The good ones always look for the good life and so poets end up with crazy chattering types or weird contemplative types who appear and disappear as in a dream. Pop, Poof. Zap."

"The mad ones have the ambition though of becoming muses or vital to the interests of the poet and so perform magically on a poets spirit for a while. And the weird ones weave a spell over them that's hard to pin down. "I am Her!" the poet thinks, alarmed and attracted at the same time. "She is Me." And so the poet is hooked by some mysterious mixture nature has concocted to see who will win the vast contest; the priest or the poet. Or, the warrior. Or, the King. Who knows. In this world everything is mixed up. One day these crazy chattering types might be presidents whose craziness is marked down as oracular and worth studying."

"But what's she got? That's the acid test."

"Go ask the old men who have been through these mazes. They will tell you that a woman who can give pleasure is desirable only from a distance. Strive for the good ones. Make the wampum to keep the good ones."

"No, for the old men the pleasure is only memory rather than in the pores on the instant as it is with the young men. There are pleasures that cavort with a young man's brain and he carries it day and night until he is dried out on the table of the insatiable."

"Do they become the monks on their next journey?"

"Some become the monks because they know now that pleasure is unimportant. A man must go through a whole channel of tests to find this out but when he does he rarely returns. So perhaps some do become monks. A few are the crazed killer types. More monks than that type."

"And so is it true that the world becomes divided between the monks and the crazed killers?"

"Oh it happens, no question but we have more resource and diversity. When that is bankrupted look out."

* * * * * * * *

"The women who think they are fashionable today are the same ones who thought they were fashionable 1800 years ago during the reign of Hadrian. They showed their tits much more readily in those days. Women who appear to be breaking out of some straightjacket remind me of the crude dreams the Romans must have had in the middle of their tempestuous females."

"You're saying our decadence lacks elegance and a certain historical cred?"

"We should laugh at our voracious women and keep demanding better service. It's like our witches. We would never think of burning them when we could give them good brooms and ask them to entertain us."

"Oh certainly, entertain us!"

* * * * * * * *

"What does history teach but that when empires are produced it is a race between fraud and innovation. The empire produces far and beyond what it did in the past and so arms and fingers of vanity grow rapidly and assume a prominent role while the necessary seeds for further development are done quietly, in back rooms and are easily snuffed out by the sheer power and energy of the frauds of empire."

"Yes and the good, common people get a bit nutty and try to become something other than good and common."

"Oh so true!"

"If only it produced more interesting novels. The fact it doesn't proves that the novel is a withered form."

"But it does make an impression this empire, does it not?"

"Resistance to it is very predictable. That sums up a good deal right there. A few know how to use the empire well, as a genuine resource, as a generous supply of heart and mind to the future. They know it has little purpose but that."

* * * * * * * *

"You did investigate yourself very well, no doubt about it."

"You were excellent in keeping tabs on the little things of human nature that, in an earlier life, you laughed at."

"Wasn't life large and heroic at one time? Weren't we on the ready to slay any dragon that came along? Didn't we ride high on the horse toward the castle walls?"

"Maybe it was preparation for something you never thought about."

"Maybe you saw it all one way for a reason, to keep dragging your ass up and up despite all the catcalls and boulders rolled down on you."

"If that were the case then why would I care about all the inner stuff? The little things as you put it; the way one consciousness noted the world as it passed along?"

"You had to learn to articulate the difficult. You had to force your attention on thoughts and words."

"Then it is all mind?"

"No. But your mind counts."

"And so...those anticipations? They weren't meaningless?"

"Oh no, you were spot on but you underestimated how offensive it would be to others."

"I have suffered for that but hold no grudges."

"Good, that is excellent to hear. You can still wring out stuff, even at this late date."

"It is a rather late date isn't it? I feel I'm at the door of forever-waiting."

* * * * * * * *

"And isn't politics a tragic absurdity that the living must take seriously but the future howls with derision. All the values invested in politics is eventually lost and yet if it is missing something inevitable takes over."

"It's the waste with purpose."

"Yes. And much of the waste is shaped like a man or woman who learn to talk to crowds. The crowds do so love the stink of it. And they laugh and spread the stink around so shortly everyone is intoxicated by the stink."

"The greatest waste is expended by the good-hearted among us who believe that their earnest thinking and constant reading of policy papers will do any good. They are the perfect liberal democratic citizen but are superfluous without a near-perfect liberal democratic society. So those underrated markers, words, are wasted. And good feelings that could have gone into local projects is wasted. And it is this citizen who is the canary in the mineshaft and when they give up the ghost, when they finally give in and say, "yes, this is no longer mine," a historic turning takes place."

"They don't stand a chance because for every very good liberal democratic citizen there are ten thousand crazy types and several million entities with a million times more in cash to feed the machine."

"So the good sits on the edge of a far horizon reading old books."

"And yet..."

"Ah, you want to wash your hands of the whole dirty deal."

"I want to do what I do best and be effective. Throwing precious energy into a losing battle is for historic romance novels."

* * * * * * * *

"It was the poet himself who allowed the business of publishing to turn him to stone. He has no one to blame but himself. So afraid of rejection! So afraid he wouldn't measure up to his models! So afraid he would be misunderstood!"

"He told me once he defined himself as a writer, not a professional writer but an imaginative one."

"That's no excuse."

"Well, he wanted to re-invent everything not simply his pathetic life into stories and such. He wanted to reinvent the world that appeared, at times, ready to implode taking everything with it."

"He was a spirited and arrogant man in youth."

"He told me that he felt everything and everyone who touched on the unconscious motion of life forward was complicit in the doom and he wanted no part of it."

"Oh, a sad illusionist! Ha, I bet he learned his lesson."

"It was an adventure few experience or appreciate he told me."

"Poets are crazy, especially in a crazy world that adds several forms of craziness together to make what it calls normal reality."

"Do you blame them then?"

"They are blameless as long as they come through with the master work. There is no other purpose for that type but to create master work."

"Even though this is not a receptive world and seems to be a crushing machine to the end of time?"

"Things change much more dramatically than you think. Ask any rock laying around the ground."

* * * * * * * *

"So said the old grouse, "Nothing more dangerous than banality sung with sincerity."

"Oh don't listen to that guy. He's jealous that's all."

"When the heart is moved, angels smile."

"Yes, angels smile don't you know. Even if whole populations no longer believe in angels they smile nonetheless."

"It's true though that so much flows toward the sentimental. It makes you wonder."

"Oh, for gods sake, let it be. Enjoy and let pass and hear some lingering tone rest on the horizon."

* * * * * * * *

"As long as the mind is receptive, little is lost. It takes some preparation."

"Memory bulges from the inside, out. Glance and note it before it surceeds into the infinite bottom."

"What we know, what we do, what we see, what others put on us and how that is sifted, at first erotically and then with self-interested purpose and then, finally, wisdom and meaning."

"Up the periscope and head on the swivel!"

"Our dopey sailor pal finally makes a comment."

"Remember that there is a brain but then there are many forces that want to be your brain and they are jostling for position and credibility. Don't let them in! Trace them to their origins and shame them. Laugh at what they pose as so serious and dreadful in life."

"Sit by the noisy tree with the wonderful scent and remember that all things connect."

"Composed along a latitude few have traveled. There are dangers but few guns."

"The sun is full of murk at that line of ascent. It's dirty and cold but gives life just the same. It's all part of the dexterity of mind. Oh, and here are a list of places I have lived in, next to criminals and drug addicts if that helps."

"They can be a wicked lot in that village"

"Yes sir. You never know. Life is unexpected. We thought we'd come out someplace else."

* * * * * * * *

"I would go on a voyage no one knows about and places that are silent. Where money and its corrupted constituents have not yet ventured nor care to because things must be soft and easy for them."

"One of the moons of Neptune?"

"Well, it would be, no doubt, like all the other moons we know of but that would be better than an ancient city."

"The undiscovered places are usually close by."

"I have been to ancient cities and breathed in their oppression. They would turn their armies loose and slaughter every free man and woman living today. They would not tolerate the fact that the furthest extension of their intelligent power was merely a careless marking in time easily smudged out taking everything, including their pride with it."

* * * * * * * *

"The personal...so difficult to attain, so difficult to lose."

"And for what, for whom?"

"Isn't it interesting that the generous person, with the open spirit ends up dumping the crap out that people have piled up inside, item by item until they are victims of a diarrhea like release? It doesn't matter what form it enters, its exits the same way, with a blast of heat and bad smells."

"So man you give me a vision of a dude standing with a smile on his face wanting to love everybody because that's what he's told he has to do and the people come and want things, want him to do things, want him to be things until he runs away or gets pissed and gets rid of this lovey dovey stuff."

"Desperate souls will crash any boundary given the chance to do so."

"They are always looking for their lost tribe. They never find it and are finally adopted by a tribe that can use him or her."

"Oh, I hate these human beings already, how can they be trusted? Animals they are like a pack of wolves."

"A pack of wolves will not turn a million souls into shadows."

"So it's worse than we think?"

"It's bad but I doubt worse. Someday it will be very bad. It will be a very bad day."

"Just so it's not an hour from now or, even, tomorrow."

* * * * * * * *

"Let me tell you the most valuable thing about a person. It's the narrative he or she develops about themselves over many tests until a good, firm one is in place. So firm that now he can allow others to express their narratives and not intrude or try to change them. Anything less than this results in conflict and dysfunction."

"I don't disagree professor but still it's asking quite a bit considering all the nonsense that flows into a modern person. He or she is more likely to come out the other end with wreckage rather than narrative."

* * * * * * * *

"Theres 'a good fire burning, therefore the time is for thinking rather than doodling. The fire burns softly and is hot. So let us think and remember now rather than try to figure out the ways and means of doodling. And the thing is to think about the original intention and what is still compelling. That is the signal flare in the dark night. That will tell you all. And then the real effort will be made. And then the fire will be a memory. Then the walls will open and daylight will appear."

"So we will follow the aging man?"

"At this point I do not trust the all-too-young or the very-old-bitter ones. So I suppose that is the thing to do."

* * * * * * * *

"We were created elsewhere by somebody's and yet here we are in the present, in this body with this brain."

"And if they did all the dirty work what is left? What do we do exactly?"

"Live high as though living has never happened before!"

"Transform every desire into an industry, every disease into an opportunity."

"Does awareness itself, large and deep, have a conscience?"

"Well, let's not repeat the mistakes for gods sake. Let's hang out our own words and let them fly in the empty wind for a while."

"And make sure they don't drop heavy on people you want to impress; that is a social faux paux. You will be taken down for it."

"Yes, let them dance in the air for a while before they are swept away into all the word-graves time has made."

* * * * * * * *

"Aren't you yet tired of all these supposed innovations? They trick consciousness in believing that great things are being done when really nothing is being done. It is old-time magic, wonderful in that way."

"I do find myself yawning more when the next new thing is brought out."

"But you get the game don't you? Money must flow, never stop, it must flow through what the people want and they want these things and open the flood gates so the money flows well. That's all it is. Why is that bad?"

"Yet if we aren't part of the magic show? If we want something more substantial? Then we are swept off the stage and land in a comical heap out in the alley with the garbage and wild cats."

"Laugh and use the situation to your best advantage. Oh, you must find that advantage, it is not a given. And if and when you do you'll never look back or think twice about it."

"The innovations have diverted attention from a historic fact that democracy, in the modern sense, is looking more and more like ancient societies with the education, experience, access, freedom going to one circle of democratic people and the rest of the democratic people cut away, made ignorant and superstitious, turned into addicts and criminals and so the eventual killers of what passes as the democracy. And yes, the circle of rule will have more color in it and more women but it will act exactly the same as the old ancient orders."

"It will cut away from the deadliness it senses all around it."

"The reality of that is too much so I will take myself to the tree and sit under the tree and look out into the splendid dark where I hear the owls hoot and the coyotes howl."

* * * * * * * *

"What he doesn't know (and let's not tell him) is that money is one of the easier problems to solve. It's much more difficult maintaining a certain level of value or integrity or focus energy on non-productive activities."

"Let him find out in his own way."

"Yeah, that'll put him down a path he hasn't figured out yet."

"The poor boy needs the challenge. What is a man without a challenge?"

"So who is going to nudge him in the right direction?"

"Oh, we won't have to do anything. Ha!"

"Let his humiliations be his lessons."

"Make sure you keep weapons away from him."

* * * * * * * *

"So I heard he visited Hell for a while. What did he find there?"

"People he knew and people who he had heard of. It was shocking he said."

"They suffered, he said, the fate of the self-contained and even though they didn't wear strait jackets they moved as though they had two of them on."

"God was a forbidden, taboo word."

"Rivers ran with someone else's blood."

"He wished he could sharpen the boundaries but it was impossible to separate the surface life on Earth and Hell too much. Hell was a noisy, smelly place. But he needs heaven, he says, to juxtapose and mark one from the other."

"There are guides to heaven but please don't tell him. Let him find out in his own way."

* * * * * * * *

"Has he matured? Has he moved on from his youthful restlessness? After all he thought the world was going to end. Haha, what a test, what a burden. How should we grade him on that score?"

"Well, both he and the world are still around but they have both grown crazier through the years."

"And yet, the idea doesn't floor him like it used to. He can actually walk through crowds of people while imagining the vast destruction, the end, and get to his destination with a smile."

"But it doesn't mean he wants it to happen.

"Oh god no. And now that he's through with this odd anger toward the human species he is ready for compassion, don't you think? After all, the anger permitted him to move forward without stopping for any sentimental reason."

"He's certainly matured then. He's certainly ready to be efflorescent."

"I doubt if he'll be entertaining but he will be more conscious of a few things he despised as a young man."

"It is young men turning into old men that is fascinating. After all, a young man by himself is predictable in a crazy way and an old man by himself is bitter in a predictable way but a young man on his way to becoming an old man, there is the tale to be told."

* * * * * * * *

"Only he who can see the end can have hope for the future. The illusionists may believe they can give people hope but their foundations are wet and loose. When a man sees the end and comes back full of hope and vigor then it means something."

"And the end eliminates so much that is superfluous!"

"It simplifies the arduous task of separating and editing life."

"And those who parade around as hope itself?"

"Phony bastards who only hope a targeted audience will keep them rich in coin."

"So has he described this end? Does he talk about it?"

"No but I know he's seen it."

"The end comes when the women get pissed at you."

"Why were they angry at him?"

"He thanked them for liberating him from old expectations so that he could pursue his creative aspirations without guilt just as a good woman will now pursue a career in finance. In doing so, the women made his life easier and better. They put substance back into his poetic soul."

"But?"

"Underneath it all they were jealous and resented the hell out of him."

"And don't tell me...he laughed."

"Yes, he laughed so now they pursue him like harpies and want nothing but misery for him."

* * * * * * * *

"It's an odd people, odd life."

"The free fall magnificently. Even in the grovel pit they snort and rut like noble beasts."

"Forgive them the brain they inherit, that's what I always say."

"Brain, right."

* * * * * * * *

"So the talking continued. And why not? Why should the conversation stop? For the sake of art? Ha. The art is to keep it going as long as it can."

"Will there be beauty this time in the saying of things?"

"Ah, a difficult task. A real challenge! What is beauty?"

"I figure the mind that makes beauty must learn, not beauty but the transmission of what he sees as beautiful. It's the transmission, the communication that is all."

"A beautiful woman, a beautiful bridge, a beautiful tree are self-evident. But our expression and transmission of the simplicity of that beauty, that is something else."

"Isn't the self-evident enough? Why complicate it with transmission and expression?"

"Because we aren't all Buddha's. We can't leave well enough alone. We must always be in there digging away, changing, probing, not allowing anything to stand still."

"It sounds more like a disease or dysfunction than a necessity."

* * * * * * * *

"He said certain things made him realize that all life had to begin again. There was no other choice. It was not a joyful thing but a prospect for survival. He made it clear to himself that he would only take up what vivified, all else was a blank horizon with the screaming sun beating down cold and adamant."

"Well it didn't have to be all sorrow."

"No! It was a happy challenge but sorrow made its way to the center without question."

"It must have been strange for him to have all the content blow past with such vehemence."

"And sincerity, don't forget how sincere they were."

"Every one of them thinking they were going to go on forever. That'll put lead in the pencil."

"Right, they are led to the very wrong places where their pencil is meaningless."

* * * * * * * *

"When I drive I don't think about progress but I think of how we'll look centuries down the road. When it is all absorbed and played out what is left?"

"Just as you have to let go of the past, you have to let go of the future and simply put your best in play in the present. If it gets gobbled up without shifting a grain of sand someone will know in the future.

"I have no confidence that anyone in the future gives a rat's ass about me or you."

"Oh sure, when they are young and the gestures of the present make them sick they turn to the past and absorb the gestures large and small. What a wonderful thing youth is!

"I would have loved to been in a tree during Gettysburg. Or a rat on Drake's ship during the Armada invasion. Or even a voyeur to watch the Queen of any age enjoy her sex with the man of her choice."

"Mind makes it so. But then you are dragged back to the sickness that drove you away in the first place. The past closes up like an aging woman and where else is the potent mind going to but the present?"

"Well, if the killing at Gettysburg and the driving of the Armada from England's shore and the sexual proclivities of Queens all vanish in time and become irrelevant to the life we live I suppose there is a perverse kind of comfort in it. If they go, we go. And if we go then we are at the precipice at all moments. And there all the good and bad is created."

"And there we are tested and leave a mark."

"So even the waste has something to teach?"

"It must, there's so much of it."

* * * * * * * *

"He said his life would have been perfect had he not been related to so many different people. 'Relations bring down the unfortunate man and I'm afraid I'm one of them,' so he said on more than one occasion."

"But I saw him plenty of times with assorted relations and he seemed perfectly normal, if not happy."

"He learned that the slightest untoward expression brought on questions or talk of some kind so he practiced skills that would forever say he was normal, if not happy."

"Well no one has a right to perfection so he shouldn't have worried about it."

"Oh you know, it was the philosophical bent in him always looking for perfection and seeing it at times and then dropping the question as an impossible task and then driven upward towards it for some reason and then back down into the moil of human relations."

"Any man who has claimed perfection had critics from the very start. What? His perfection against their criticisms? And if others don't view you as perfect aren't you in a tight spot?"

"He should start with a stick first."

"I would choose a rock but different strokes..."

"Then he has to get it into a perfect vacuum."

"That would take technical skills he doesn't have."

"Well, you see our dreams are always defeated by reality."

* * * * * * * *

"To buy things is not a joy. It is a task complicated enough to prevent any sort of recovery."

"No one recovers from the necessity to buy things. It's your obligation to buy things. To buy things proves you are a man and a patriot."

"I have gotten sick buying things or trying to figure out what to buy. They destroy every defense of mind and spirit and force a choice at the end. What is the free citizen in a land of salesmen but an empty pod filled up with the designs of others?"

"I have gone from a tightly focused man to one floundering and lost, sleepless and with a lot of doubts simply trying to choose one thing over the other."

* * * * * * * *

"Why he wanted to be an island when all this rich resource lay around him is beyond me. It makes you think."

"He was afraid of the sea and its creatures."

"He was afraid of the element he couldn't escape."

"He did poke his head above it a few times but then went splashing down into it and headed for his favorite island."

"Should we be sad for him?"

"He has done that to himself already. He knows he put up the untenable barriers and has hurt no one but himself."

* * * * * * * *

"When they show a close up of a face does it remind you of Victorian prose?"

"No, it reminds me that the camera displaces as it trips along. How the face used to be so stable!"

"You could read it all through a face."

"A race of master disguises."

"Well then perhaps the face has been replaced by an invisible part."

"Yes let us start with something that is as ragged and joyful as the face must have been before science got to it."

"Faces shaped by the tides of being rather than curious interventions."

"When a beautiful face was trustworthy."

"So eyes and lips of the soul?"

"The unnamable."

"The whateverable."

"You American boy!"

* * * * * * * *

"So, the last raspy, gasp of death. Is it the end?"

"Oh no. It is the end inasmuch as we believe are the only planet that has life. Our minds demand more. And as it drags us beyond our doubts good freight comes up after. And we open the boxes and riches flow out. And where the riches flow our beliefs do go."

* * * * * * * *

"The far side of a cosmos."

"What about all the grains of sand that have to be accounted for."

"Rid yourself of insulting people as soon as possible."

"And what is it that you do exactly?"

"Defy, defy, and defy."

"They studied meaningless things and tried to assign them meaning. So they fell apart and were easily subdued."

* * * * * * * *

"Time gets the cramps."

"And forms are twisted into painful shapes."

"And come the stinks."

"We run to escape the vast crapper above us."

"It makes us comedians in a world of perpetual frowns."

"But I ask you idiot-boy, how can you write prose narrative without the conversations and depictions of characters?"

"I only wanted to write prose narrative to express ideas or to express the need of an idea where none existed. I didn't care about descriptions. I didn't care about stick characters. If a character emerged who was the real deal and demanded some expression then characters would appear."

"Think of all the moolah you're giving up by not writing novels for those intelligent women!"

"Oh I have known them, those women you refer to. They have professions, a few kids, and some travel under their belt. They try, beyond all other characters in the culture, to differentiate themselves from the trashy mobs."

"And they read any novel given its stamp by a half-decent reviewer."

"But what do these intelligent women gain from reading a novel? What's in it for them?"

"It certainly augments their appearance of intelligence when they lay a copy of a thick novel dressed out with a minimalist cover on their lap during some business flight. And, of course, in women the imagination is real and so the writer's ability to shape that imagination is a value...for the smart ladies who like to play at any rate. You have a few who are simply arrogant."

"But of course an intelligent woman who has a profession has been to college, perhaps has an advanced degree. And at some point they have been exposed to a professor or a class giving the novel some signifiers she will use to the end of her days. For instance, a novel is always in the context of the author's prejudices. And more than a few of these smart ladies love to ferret out the author's prejudices, therefore undermining his or her credibility and allowing her, the reader, to feel superior to the mere novel she has in her hands."

"But then, isn't there significance in the motives of the characters in the novel? Aren't there lessons necessary to discuss with, if not their husbands and children, with each other as smart ladies of the 21st century?"

"I'm glad culture is something I carry around wherever I go. It's not a load. Layers of sweet and rich veins liable to break at any moment and fill the empty heart."

"But then, there is the All Now and what needs addressing in the All Now."

"It will slip inch by inch into the past that only a few know about."

"Generations will come and go without knowing."

"A kind of grinding synthesis happens. A mad scramble for a message or two that we can interpret. Elation followed quickly by disappointment as great plans crash to Earth. Oh Lord, those human beings and their nutty brains."

* * * * * * * *

"The thing is, the people are not the beginning or the end.

"They have learned not to be victims to either but still..."

"Still...that means there is space to investigate, even yet."

"Ha, even now thousands of years of experience and hundreds of thousands, millions of years to go. Why say, 'millions of years' to go and what will be learned and done?"

"They will fly away from our sorry root"

"So much of the root is good."

"Ah well, we only have a few decades not million of years."

"Let us build something good solid and rich."

"A totem filled to the brim with tasty dreams."

"Listen if I go to the moon, you go to the moon as well isn't that true? If I plant my feet on the moon and am there physically you are there as well, however virtual it may be'.

"Odd you should raise that question now. You're right in a way, no question. In the beginning the man on the moon is a leader and then the crowds take over because they believe, they too, have been on the surface making prints".

"I only know it is a good time to forget everything you've been taught or think you know."

* * * * * * * *

"You must have run into this though. A person who is so weak inside they use you to chop you down in order for them to feel better. I'm sure you've run into that a few times."

"It's almost as if a person is born into the condition."

"They are the harmless eroders of morale."

"They can be if you fall into their lonely pit. Avoid those pits."

"Eventually pity swells up for the shrunken universe they must live in. To exist in such a place!"

* * * * * * * *

"Isn't it odd that when he wants to take on new and provocative projects he studies war? And yet he says he hates war."

"Good men hate war but never shy away from its necessity."

"It's a contrived necessity but regardless."

"Perhaps but that is an academic question. And the poor man is harmless. It is not war, it is the necessity it bleeds out of a man for a simple reason that other men are trying to kill him and somewhere in the world it is considered legitimate to kill him."

"It is a necessity shaped one sunny day on a ridge or hill when you least expect it and the world becomes a fast and dark place."

"So each word is a zinging bullet headed for the most vital of organs. And a good sentence is a canister that divvies up a charging host of anonymous killers."

"He so wanted the whole in a world of precise cuttings."

"Oh, those cuts get a life of their own and then one is dumped out on the margins of some misbegotten moon."

"I've heard him talk about that moon. He says a man can get comfortable there and make it his own."

"Only if he's lucky, only if his luck holds out."

* * * * * * * *

"It's a dark place."

"It wasn't always dark. Sometimes good shadows said wonderful things and the light came through the windows as if it were an old cathedral."

"A place by the sea perhaps."

"It's a dark place. And sad. And often cold."

"Where did the stones go too that reminded me of exotic birds?"

"And the purple bursting plant, remember that."

"It seeded the air and ground."

"But all dark now. I can sense the dark as something real, a kind of embarrassment or shame that wafts into every crevice there is."

"Dark and sad."

"But sad only because it was one time a light."

"But you saw the dimming of the light didn't you? You were forewarned. It hit me like a pensive moon it did, a yellow thing swallowed up by the regular dark."

"Well that dark can be explained. That dark is fact."

"True. But perhaps we are being called on to make this dark a fact or make it palpable at least so it doesn't extinguish whatever we have left."

"It will bury us and make us dark too, no question."

"No doubt and we will be alive and know it and see it come down on us to take us away."

"Oh don't say sinister things. It is merely dark and a bit cold. Can't you get used to it?"

"He gets used to it. It doesn't seem to bother him any."

"Oh well you know the reason for that."

"He must be very healthy."

"He's drunk all the time. It makes a difference. The dark will do that, sneak up on you and suddenly you are drunk all the time. Who can judge? It happens. It's a rich sort of darkness I suppose. I don't know."

* * * * * * * *

"And he said he lost interest in the novel the moment he lost interest in telling people how they should live. And he went out and lived with them and watched them live and accepted all ways of living."

"He said they needed the novel when they didn't know how to live. They certainly needed the artist to show them how to live with the kind of spark they so often lacked."

"Oh that's so true."

"It depressed him and liberated him he said. He was always dangling between the two affects."

"Well we all want to tell people how to live. How often are we ourselves told? And we expect to tell others to live whether they care to listen or not."

"Live well he said. Know what is good. Continually rake over the few things that matter. Laugh at vanity, avoid ignorance. Let people be whomever fate has decided they should be."

"So easy to say, hard to practice!" '

A beautiful thing can usually sweep the field of all the living and their obstructions. And yet the living return."

"Ah, the beautiful thing. That says something. That is expression. That's the thing."

* * * * * * * *

"I have finally figured out the secret to this man. He had to find a way to impose self-discipline to his own life and fondness for austerity was the path. That's it gentlemen, you can write that down as fact."

"Ah but for all those years? He had a touch of the madman about him as well, don't forget that."

"I like to look at the good sides of people. He was brazen in his self-discipline in the face of tremendous indulgences as money flowed freely everywhere there was a will to get it."

"He was not treated right because of it but I can see that would be a test for this self-discipline."

"But, then, what was the goal?"

"They did pity the poor bastard."

"He must have had a heart of solid rock."

"Or it fueled something in him."

"The good, the women, even children turned against him at some point or another."

"They didn't like the path and were suspicious of it."

"A lesser guy would have thrown himself off the bridge."

* * * * * * * *

"How can a man say he was around the wrong people for the right reasons?"

"It's all a crap shoot, a maze and the corner you thought was your own belongs to a stranger."

"But he seemed to adapt well, I'll give him that much credit."

"It took so long! He was always trying to figure it out."

"He never did."

"But it settled in somewhere and was no longer the nasty thing it could be."

"He didn't necessarily love his brothers and sisters. Not in a big embrace."

"But he didn't like the carving up that took place either."

"He was always a hard man to figure."

* * * * * * * *

"At least he finally figured out it's not who you become but what you learn in the process of trying to become. All those beautiful dreams!"

"It's a sad but truthful moment."

"He wanted to be everyone and no one. He didn't want to compromise."

"Yet he flowed from one to another to another to yet that one and tried on a variety of skin."

"And what is left but a few mementos from the brain?"

"Oh it's more than that. Something full and impossible comes into being."

"It begins with such rich promise!"

"Throw most of it away but keep the nuggets."

"Right, don't piss on the nuggets."

"His one great leverage was that he knew the value of contemplation and that time spent in that realm was real and meaningful. It didn't matter what people said or how they construed the state of being."

* * * * * * * *

"He certainly learned from every density, I'll give him that much."

"Oh yes, he used to explain the urban measurements he took and how he turned fright into delight."

"And into the pastures and trees where owls roamed."

"That too."

"Then the new contraption where everyone made billions but he."

"Ha. Incapable of making billions! He was way behind the curve."

"Well, he knew he was going to be doing something else. Money couldn't help him at the time. He was learning and conversing with the beautiful women if you remember right."

"Oh the beautiful women, they thought he was full of it."

"But don't these densities define life and give it, if not meaning, heft?"

"Yeah, sometimes it's like lugging around an old broken down car by rope."

"But then something always opened. He had a feeling for it."

"He pushed to open, then fell like a drunkard, then slid like a new babe from the exit."

"Odd how it works out."

"There was always a derangement of the molecules."

"It took him a bit to get used to that."

"The experience was his after all; he owned them in a manner of speaking."

"He owned to give away."

"That was his mien."

"What an idealistic dog he was."

* * * * * * * *

"God bless the enlargements we feel today!"

"And protect us against the diminishments."

"So that we know."

"And by knowing, act."

"And by acting, improve."

"And by improving, enlarge."

"The shadow is powerful."

"But it is inert and waits for victims."

"Live at its core and there is no progress."

"Fight, then, for the not-shadow."

"Ha, not-shadow, you have a way with words."

"But, let us not forget that the optimum, unreal as it is and as far away from us as a floating gas in the Crab Nebula, is to have everything in front of us. What have we learned? What have we experienced? What are we still hungry for? What do we wish to do? What do we wish to say?"

"But aren't those acts swallowed whole and easy in this place we have discovered?"

* * * * * * * *

"And what's the name of this condition? A person is fully satisfied with the way life has been but completely dissatisfied with the way it will be or, at least, what it is in the interim."

"While it waits for what?"

"A key memo I suppose."

"A sign on the side of an island barn."

"A non-wicked foundation."

* * * * * * * *

"Did you ever hear a man at the end of his rope?"

"To certain minds it is a form of entertainment."

"Another guy's horror, another's entertainment! That says it all in a nutshell."

"He always lamented the feeling of loss in figuring out his literary life. What was it?"

"Well, what is life?"

"No, he wanted to write novels to confound the professors or gain some notoriety but time passed all of that long ago."

"The vulgarity and vanity of the time has forced his hand and made him better for some odd reason."

"He has nothing to lose by doing his best. He knows the odds."

* * * * * * * *

"They can't think through a barn door yet they call themselves self-ruling citizens."

"They can't draw down an iota of their personal pleasure on behalf of knowing what exits and yet they call themselves free."

"They are controlled by surrogates at every level and yet call themselves resourceful."

"So he was sad."

"So he was mad."

"And it showed in all he did."

"But did he really know anything?"

"Hard to say. He felt the thing good though. It drew down into his gut yet his brain still had light to it."

"And he was not one who thought the shadow was the light and the light shadow. He was a bit simpler and fundamental than that."

* * * * * * * *

"The poor boy needed to find his exact mark in what was important to him. Life always lead him away from the mark and into someone else's mark. He was a marked man. Ha. He can inspire jokes even at this late date."

"Well he needed to treat it all as real despite the world."

"The world can be an intimate face with a kind of power."

"So was he going to make the leap? That to me was the primary question. Does he make the leap and get into the real mark?"

* * * * * * * *

"And wouldn't you say that he had many resources to be in so many situations and among so many people that he didn't like?"

"He was probed about it, unsuccessfully but the senses of many who were around him were on target."

* * * * * * * *

"I know when he slept well and chased off all the distractions he thought clearly. For instance it finally dawned on him that there is a reason for the involvement in family. He had to confront the alienated other, the dwarf, the impish stupe who wanted to defy all of known existence for something he had no understanding of. And family was like a scar running up the naked chest like an open heart wound."

"He also had no interest in a public life. He derided the public life whether in politics, literature, entertainment or sports and saw no growth or development. And the smoothness of raw edges was not useful. And yet what was more real than the public life? Where else were those real phantoms, fame and fortune?"

"So he was a wonderful derisionist. fSo he got out from under a few things. Whooppee. He must have been pleased with himself."

"The growth was so gradual, so unapparent but then one day he was there, as he was and moved on."

"It's not predictable."

"A final, painful integration had to take place then he was free and unto himself as a free guy should be."

"He knew the moment the source of pain became a painless idiot and all the foundations fell away."

"It made him grateful that's true enough."

"He was always grateful."

"No greater gratefulness was meted out by one such as he."

"Oh, he was a lying, stealing, conniving thief like the rest of us, don't worry about that."

"He may have been but he learned to hide all his infirmities from those who would try and cure him."

"Oh, a man without a battlefield."

"Can we say this? Genius can't be shamed into anything. It finds the motive that will divulge the whole and does it whatever niceties stand in the way."

"Old trolls are sometimes in the way."

"He gets the old trolls to read useless literatures."

* * * * * * * *

"If he didn't fear the citizen transformed into a consumer then he had given up a prime value. If he didn't fear the slide into the easy glide of nihilism then he had given up a prime value. If he gave up because the world crushed all the singularity out of him, all his aspiration, laughed and pissed on it then he would be giving up a primary value. And if he gave up on his primary values then what was he but a dead conscience?"

"Well put. I think he would enjoy that statement."

"But sometimes the conscience is quelled by facts. Isn't that the modern way of wrangling with these things?"

"He didn't want judgments from the prime values, he wanted good work. He wanted acts that proved something of the prime values."

"It was an interesting struggle I will admit that, especially when he was young."

"Yes, once the prime values were secure life became a kind of boredom."

"A sad, flagging thing."

"No. No you are wrong. Don't mistake confidence for boredom. Or stillness with non-action. No. He felt he had won a unique platform and was trying his best to bring in something unprecedented."

* * * * * * * *

"There are only a few things worth cultivating. Find them and surround them with devotion. Protect them with your life. It's a mystery why we are devoted to one thing and not another. But your devotion will bring you much closer to the freedom you want. Your willingness to sacrifice on behalf of what you are devoted to will outspeak the dead."

"So he thought."

"Oh it was a good thought and kept him going many times."

"He often said, "I have 77,000 years to go in my voyage. How then will I fill the time?"

"A riot that guy, a regular riot."

"He stuck his head in the rear of the city, he stuck his head up the ass of the universe what more need be said?"

"I would guess along the year 4,565 of his voyage he would leap from the vehicle in the mistaken belief he could fly in a vacuum."

"And he'd never visit the dead."

"Or be loved by a goddess."

"Or see death."

"Or see light."

"But he said he wanted to go anyway."

"There's a state of mind if ever there was one!"

* * * * * * * *

"When the play of youth becomes the orthodoxy of adulthood smell a few rats."

"Every interest has its depth. But it also has a vector leading away from it into the unknown future."

* * * * * * * *

"He defined himself early on and that helped things believe it or not. He wanted to be a free, liberal, democratic citizen and to define those terms through what he experienced and learned."

"A useless holdover from a time that is no more."

"Perhaps. Yes, he saw the breakdowns and it made him skittish. He saw the abandonment and it alarmed him. He knew the alternatives and it frightened him."

"I know for a fact that a part of him wanted nothing to do with the question. It was imposed on him. As far as he was concerned he stood under the same naked moon as Homer did. They simply were surrounded by different gadgets and prejudices."

"Moderns don't like hearing that. They want it all. They deserve nothing but want it all. I'm glad he only shrugged and left it at that."

"Oh yeah, he could have run into a lot of problems had he gone after his fellow creatures."

"At times he had universal compassion for everyone."

"And at others he saw them all as snakes of a different color and shape." "He viewed the contradictions as tasty and good to a liberal democracy."

* * * * * * * *

"Is the perception symmetrical? A lot of hard experience goes into perceiving something rightly. And then come the flow of information, the ill-wind that he always said to tame. 'Tame it through study.' That's what he said, I remember very distinctly."

"What was a year in the mind but a series of best impressions out of a mudhole of impressions? What was a year but our attentions on what was important?"

"Oh you and the year. And then ten years. And then twenty five years. And then 50 and finally 100. What did it prove but the mind flies when it is ready to."

"It flies when it is properly trained."

"Vast skies of impressions but a hearty weight in the soul that contains the substance."

"After the turbulence there is a new angle of attack."

"And comes parenthesis filled with adventurous men and women."

* * * * * * * *

"So how did he do it through those decades. Just a small nest of people interested yet at it when he could with all eyes and heart!"

"He was crazy."

"No doubt, no doubt. He even said it on more than one occasion. They wanted to hear it from him but were dumb-struck when he said it or laughed nervously."

"He was patient and learned and let things pass."

"He wasn't into the reward and punishment system."

"It smacked him with a variety of representatives."

"He laughed and cried all the same. After all what is life but our own death as we see fit?"

"Well come on now, no, it is life as we see fit."

"One day I came on him and he was packing up all the decades, all the misery, all the denial. He packed it all up and tied it with worms and tossed it into a short but furious river."

"He wanted memory to speak and trained it to tell the truth. What a rigorous path!"

"No one paid attention to him and yet he was fortified and filled with meaning. Was that comedic or tragic?"

* * * * * * * *

He said, "When you hear the disgust in the voice of the departed know that things have gotten too easy. It's time to make new challenges, meaningful challenges even if no one pays attention. It's necessary to submit to the difficult."

"Yes he said that but did he do it? He liked ease."

"The freedom of gliding down any slippery slope one chooses!"

* * * * * * * *

"Ah that was a point, that was a point. A full, free man or woman had to take on the obligations of a free, self-ruling citizen even if the whole structure of government seemed rotten to the core. And then that same man or woman had to engage a path as a free person rather than a member of a society. That was the challenge."

* * * * * * * *

"He told me once that absolutes didn't move him but that if a person was not willing to risk his or her life for an absolute idea then it wasn't worth spit. And he classified almost all the effluvia that came from academia in that way. "The cubicle is more deceptive than the pew," he told me. "There's not an ounce of solace in them and yet they want me to carry their ideas for them?"

* * * * * * * *

"Perhaps what we thought was what was not that. Perhaps it was still a mystery with many more bits of chaotic information thrown in for good measure."

"Yet we heard it come in and rush out and leave its little dribbles of light here and there suddenly flashed against a sullen wall with nice pictures."

"Made then by the bending wind rather than bending the wind against them."

"Oh, a world of addicts, abusers, killers and cheats!"

* * * * * * * *

"No doubt the man loved his leisure and contemplation. He reveled in it and it made him look bad to both people he knew and those he didn't know. Yet, he loved his days of leisure and contemplation."

"He loved them better than he could love a woman although he loved women."

"He loved when they walked in the corridors of power. It justified everything he had known from the beginning."

"His days of leisure and contemplation could turn rancid from time to time. And yet he always returned to them when he could. God was just. Those who didn't believe in God worked for the devils and hated all leisure and contemplation but their own."'

"Yes, we saw a good deal of it didn't we."

"From the beginning I would say he saw uncommon dilemmas and tried to work them out in real time. His environment was always a kind of prison and he had to learn to negotiate with it so the walls didn't collapse too quickly. And the most bitter of the guards! He knew them. He knew them well."

"This leisure and contemplation was not the goal. Or, it was only the goal inasmuch as it was seen as impossible and he loved impossibility."

"Did he ever rediscover the goal or uncover it in his leisure or contemplation?"

"He expressed with joy a few simple things that emerged in this process. He studied government and yet didn't see government as the end or goal of anything. It was the people and their freedom to build and create things that was the goal. And any diminishing of the resource to prevent that path was, if not evil in the old sense, a challenge to the good vital instincts of the American person."

"He studied hard and then let it go. There was a filling up and a pouring out."

"I know he came to the realization that conflict both within the self and out in the larger culture were the unavoidable evils that took the spirit of democracy away and replaced it with cold, hard cash. And yet, he saw the remarkable whole."

"Oh he was a good guy."

"A lovely person without a doubt."

"He made the horrid reality of the present day a strength and ally. Anonymity, huge, senseless objects, hierarchies of cash, false abandonment of what is good and honest in life, the ease of addiction and many others."

* * * * * * * *

"What sublime arguments told with the logic of whine!"

"We have come far as a civilization."

"Fears created out of ease have spooked them."

"They worship power and want whatever power they gain to be worshipped."

"Such is the sad state of things today."

"They won't carry us far."

* * * * * * * *

"Boys, if you want to know a thing or two about the way things have shaped up go back and understand the crisis. The crisis destroyed everything and then new foundations had to be built. People who overlook the crisis or don't pay it any mind can understand little of the situation."

"And what was the nature of the crisis?"

"Call it the disintegration of the core, the end of credibility and the rise of the demonic irrational which had more complete answers for certain."

"Things were crazy for awhile."

"And how was this tested?"

"Raw and in the hot avenues of either/or."

"And?"

"And a certain clarity fell on the living and the dead."

* * * * * * * *

"Ah but the arc was long and happily broken on singular points of meaning."

"It was a course at any rate."

"It demanded to be seen and comprehended. That was the whole trick you know. To make it real in the face of other plots too quick to be of use. The useful one loops back to the beginning and then on to the new, enriched with the beginning even as problems mount in the new."

"It went high and dove low, it's a wonder he survived at all."

"He always kept a mental note on clearings he had seen."

* * * * * * * *

"So what was it truly back then? Is there any remembering ever?"

"It was chaos and fright from one end to the other."

"Every object and word was weighted to the ground."

* * * * * * * *

"They beat themselves up better than they beat up others. And so a fatal diminishment fell into the rich earth. And there was crawling and hiding behind stones and barren trees."

"And don't forget the obscure screams that were like an inhuman birth pain."

"Armies of the wounded wound through the mountain passes with a certainty that was frightening."

"And don't forget who goaded them on!"

"Well, one day it will be ancient history and the history men will take a look at it. They won't be impressed and will be glad they live in their own present world."

"They learned through trial and error how to laugh."

"And he, laughing through his tears, rescued what he could out of good sense; because the present was a predator and not a nurse."

"Oh he laughed through his tears and thought about the future."

"And he said once that anyone or any thought or any object that pulled him out of an abyss whose angle of attack was severe was made into him."

"He carried it light as a feather and didn't say a word."

"Well, it would have shocked them to hear what he had seen or been through."

"They always ignore the reality of the person and fix on their shadow."

"Why is that?"

"They dare their own shadow to live and speak to them."

"Well, that will put one in one of several abysses."

"Morale means nothing to the bastards. They want sex and intoxication."

"Ah they get a good fill of it. Can't you see their happiness?"

* * * * * * * *

"Where he came from, he scoffed at first, a place of no consequence with a slight history and minor characters dazed by bad news and televised sports. But then its density weighted on him and he had to think about it. "This place is good and the people are good."

"So he made up with where he came from?"

"So much so he had to fight out of it with a renewed earnestness."

"The trees were hard, he said, to dislodge from the impermanent imagination that wanted to suck in nothing but the crazy city."

"Iron bridges and iron cars carrying the iron people to iron places where they flew in iron crates hoping to escape the smell and taste of iron."

"That and the nauseating odor of tar and asphalt."

"The crowds of people nailed by the times they lived in. Enter. Exit. Play. Frown. Work. Eliminate. Procreate. Eat."

"Oh invisibility of greatness!"

"It is a stealthy bat in the middle of shadows and breaks out when it sees the opportunity."

"And where is the opportunity in the middle of money, machines, and mediocrity?"

"It is on the margins of these things in the far cave of simpering aspirations."

"And the shadows hung loom-like around the slow hulking figures of deep aspiration."

"They were headed for the caves."

"One always knew when the opportunity opened itself up."

"He was the laggard one."

"He looked defeated along the raging river of dust."

"When he was light-headed and playful the old crowds came back to tell them the bad things he had done and had been done to him."

"It alternated didn't it?"

* * * * * * * *

"It was good to be around people you didn't want to be around and doing things you didn't want to do. Was there ever a greater outline of what one was but how he dealt with what he was not?"

"Resolve the dissolve."

* * * * * * * *

"Once the baffles come down look out. The wind is fast and furious. Things are not cooled but swept away."

"And the judgments flow in and out without reason until the heart is sick of them. Go! Why this punishment, now?"

"And so they took him as far away from himself as was possible without something breaking. And he laughed at first until panic set in. They were washing him in their own misbegotten selves."

"Ah he learned precious techniques in the ordeal."

"Yes, and even started to invite enmity to test out ideas."

"They were, after all, only full of words."

"But, he said, words that pressed up against the very spirit; that is, what he thought he had won from the strife in things."

"Words that matter yes, words that matter; good or evil, words that matter."

* * * * * * * *

"The difference between great and run-of-the-mill is that the great pay attention to what has not yet manifested. The run-of-the-mill is always hypnotized by what is manifested."

"Their bafflement at what has not yet manifested is interesting and telling. And yet the world rolls on doesn't it?"

"The power to neuter the persuasions of the run-of-the-mill! Hope it is through the spiritual."

"They have no other choice since they are here to work and have pleasures. They are not here to manifest the not-yet-manifested."

* * * * * * * *

"Fabulous outcroppings of popular mind here, there, on that, dangling over a cliff, swiftly gone, a faint visage in the powerful brain."

"Ah memory eviscerated by beautiful song!"

"But did they ever teach anything?"

"They taught that I wanted more."

"More to be not-popular."

"Perhaps. Life is an exhilarating sadness once you grasp a thing or two."

"And there are the counts a man makes when he is a man, a man made by being the man and not working for the man. He is free for the counts and they stretch through him like fine fishing line and oh so many symbols and meanings!"

* * * * * * * *

"A free man is an unafraid man. He has accepted the gargoyles within and without because he knows that truth wins out."

"Make sure the truth tellers pass the acid tests."

"An unafraid man wants abundant life and the simple, noble flourishing that occurs as he swings his ax with a friendly smile. He accepts every pair of eyes."

* * * * * * * *

"Oh past, you dungeon filled with great spirit and talents!"

"Spirit and talents are all your going to dredge from it. Everything else has been obliterated.

"Collective leverages taken up soundlessly in the present."

"What a beautiful kingdom of the dead."

"They rise up but don't possess. That's a sign."

"And so random walks into the new configurations, a kind of deadly delight. And too powerful for the poor novel. But something a man could take on if he didn't have to express anything in particular."

"If he could only be himself and let everything else be."

"A man like that would need all the support of the past; its spirits and talents."

"Indeed."

* * * * * * * *

"The Age of All. All in, all together, all in a ball of memory."

"Oh, you have simply seen and heard some exact moment fifty-two years ago. Don't get hypnotised by it."

"All power is nihilist and corrupting. All is organized through power. Therefore all is nihilistic and corrupt."

"Ha. Did you think that one up the shower?"

"I thought on what I read."

"All symptoms that trend toward Allness."

"The stink is high and stretches the horizon."

"Oh, from there, east and old, why bother?"

"Crowded with old expectations inside elegant cages."

"But hey, humans adapt to anything."

"Not the emergent but the emerging."

"Right. Don't work for the man, be the man."

"Let the Romans be; their sportive antics have an end."

"Nature rules. Humans are beasts."

"But then the richness can be a wonderful scent so that we forget what crumbles around us."

"Oh for the richness that makes us forget; that scintillating lotus!"

* * * * * * * *

"Fabulous outcroppings of popular mind here, there, on that, dangling over a cliff, swiftly gone, a faint visage in the powerful brain."

"Ah memory eviscerated by beautiful song!"

"But did they ever teach anything?"

"They taught that I wanted more."

"More to be not-popular."

"Perhaps. Life is an exhilarating sadness once you grasp a thing or two."

"And there are the counts a man makes when he is a man, a man made by being the man and not working for the man. He is free for the counts and they stretch through him like fine fishing line and oh so many symbols and meanings!"

* * * * * * * *

"Don't forget the story."

"What story?"

"It was to be a story. It was to live as the movement of something wonderful and meaningful. It was to move between the eyes."

"Well now, you talk about story. What is it?"

"It's not the thing presented today. It emerges from the living force of being in the world. It ain't for the professors. It's only for those who recognize the writer."

"Oh ho, what do you have here!"

"It's the tale of a man pitched head first trying to get himself out of a stall."

* * * * * * * *

"'And so', he says, "being in conversations that didn't hold interest for me or in fact had nothing to do with me or my interests and were repeats of what I'd heard time and again nearly drove me, not nuts but darkly in the dust of it if you know what I mean; the bleakness you understand, the crude unresolved agonal spirit that is like a big burn in the heart of people who lack not only wisdom but the desire for wisdom."

"The boredom they produced was nearly insurmountable, a mossy hump of a mountain that had me trapped on more than one occasion."

"So he says, 'they knew few boundaries that allowed the killer of spirit to come in and do its job. Oh what a weary course that was!"

"Well he had to adapt like we all have to. He stands out there alone and aloof it's no wonder the harpies don't descend with fury."

"They will strike you like an ugly nail out of a board they want to obliterate."

* * * * * * * *

"It's true you end up loving those who you have least in common and who create dread from time to time. Odd."

"The universal rule must be irony then."

"An iron law if ever there was one."

* * * * * * * *

"You must know that he lived in two worlds; the world of his father and the world of his masters. One meets the other at great peril sometimes."

"And sometimes the father prevailed and at other time the masters prevailed."

"The fathers world told him to hurry up; the masters world told him to cultivate unreasonable patience. The father's world told him that paths were straight and narrow. The masters world told him that paths were things cows occupied and he had to jump from them as often as possible. The fathers world told him that lifestyle and experience were the end; the masters world told him that wisdom and creativity were the end. In the fathers world a new car was a value; in the masters world an old book was a value."

"Yes, the father and the masters would have fought in center ring."

"The father understood the masters quite frankly. His world did not."

"The masters were not flawless."

"They were flaw-filled but settled early on with that and concentrated on the rare metals of wisdom."

* * * * * * * *

"To destroy examples of how human beings achieve is a great sin."

"To see great models and ignore them is simple ignorance."

"Not to take in and embody the great models is cowardice."

"To believe that you will create new models out of nothing is barbarism."

"To cut and sheer off the potentials of democratic people is evil."

"And they will be rolled as they have rolled."

"So it was said but then doesn't one need to choose?"

"And isn't the choice made from what is earnest about the living being?"

"And isn't there a distinction between destruction and play?"

"Ah yes, the good of play."

"Play well and the gods let you be."

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