By David Eide


The shape of the soul. It was so much easier in youth. "Ah shape, come and take my words down into you!" The shape you have discovered because the secrets of life permit it.

The whole measure of the time, like a long and wide battlefield where actions and deaths happen every moment and you know that it will all end as life moves onward into its own actions and deaths. But it stands.

It is there!

The thing that has shaped you.

It will shape no more. It will be but one shape in many generations of shapes described by what we have seen and thought about.

An anonymous shape cut away from a million still hearts resting on a plateau it thought it owned

* * * * * * * *

Here. In the trees and owls sweet hooting. Here where simple things matter. Here ran the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime. Here family meant something and therefore, the individual, and so the individual in the society at large.

The city was a fast track to death and the criminal was far better positioned to do well than the mere writer. The politics was a hootenanny of ugly natures vying for something they hardly understood. The city had wonderful books and minds; characters! Here the trees matter and when it rains it is always new. Here the richness is as old as the first beehive.

There would be something just about leaving and never being heard from again.

fifteen varieties of oppression is laughed away by the sullen crowd.

The horrible delight in giving things up. Letting them go. An old man walks out from my bones and it is good and light.

A waiting life is different than a contemplative life. The waiting life disintegrates over time into a heap of ash, even shit, though shit can be transformed a few more times. The contemplative life is a different critter. It is aggressive in a purely human way. It is happiest encompassing the hard things and reading out the data that is accumulated.

How aggressive we will be when we make long treks through the universe in titanium pods? Contemplation will be the art and skill most useful.

* * * * * * * *

We admit we move along a series of spots and there is great influence exerted on us at every moment. It's as though we are Buddha at the moment just preceding his great illumination and all the demons and seductresses are rushing at him to knock him off track. They do not succeed because Buddha knows what he is about and, obviously, if they had won we would never heard or known the name or the system attached to Buddha.

So we are on the west side of things rooted as we are on the east side of things. And rivers roar and carry our common heart to the ocean. And we imagine the tracks left by those who want to dance for us; who throw their head back in a seductive pose, who smile knowingly at us from a distance. And then we are one city among thousands of lit cities, feeding on the dead. And no one has told us yet, the proper way to read the papers or to digest the gorgeous image when the camera is pointed just right. There are no royal courts or passing crowds that circulate through us; only empty space occupied by those who struggle for singularity. And when they give birth their brains fill with the responsibility of the age until the burden is too great and, collapsing by the riverside, they breathe the sun and want no more, the encounters. So an endless series of books is read and yet nothing moves. So the impression of a past and buried century comes to us effortlessly and we sink down in our ignorance. And then the great plane flies onward with all the passengers yelling for us to get out of bed. Ah yes, at first, the division between the man and the woman. Are they roped yet to their specific contingency? We like the way a good woman laughs.

* * * * * * * *

Wild storm of fire and mud. Wild storm that bends the trees and all the living things stay indoors. The little creek runs madly through the old banksides!

* * * * * * * *

Eventually you only need to read two or three decent commentators to understand what's going on.

* * * * * * * *

The saddest fact is that we must live in our own world, our own time. We have many advantages and resources the past did not have but then, the future will certainly have more than our own. We live in relation to the opportunities and to the constant facts. For instance, life is lived longer and therefore a person can plan and enter/exit the phases of development in ways that make for superb human beings. Of course anything can happen. The plane crashes. The car hits the body in the city street. The piece of food goes down the wrong pipe. One sleeps and never wakes. So, to say anything is assured sounds ridiculous.

And sometimes life is so pure and wonderful, so beautiful and lively that to die is a painful fact, a scary fact but a fact nonetheless.

And sometimes life is so wrong, so terrible, so difficult, so impossible that death is a wish chanted on lonely days when all conspires to make it seem that nothing really happened, nothing got done, it was all a short dream.

The world enters the writer as it will. He has no control over this. It changes every generation. If it comes through the camera, ok. If it comes through the clammering talk of people gathered in cities that's ok. If it comes through readings, fine. If it comes through titanic effects that is ok. It comes through the absorption of perceptions and is the base of everything. How the writer deals with all of this is the thing. I perceive the great and infinite space. Is that the end of everything? Should I now quit every other activity? I don't think so.

And while I am aware of much because of the proliferation of news, information, opinion and so on I am more aware that to know one needs to edit. And the best editing comes from wisdom.

There has to be intention and sacrifice. Pure pleasure is very evident and actively pursued but it ends where it always has. A hard reality where the pleasure is mere fleeting memory it is a pain to reach.

Pick the things you actually respond to. And then treat them with the highest form of spirit possible.

Money and its worship produces a house of cards.

Language has become boring because it hasn't tried to do the impossible. The modern poet is stifled and palms it all off as a necessary artful minimalism.

It is always useful to see "societies" as individuals who occupy their own space and time. They have certain resources and use them for a variety of purposes. The poet sets up very stringest rules of "approval" but when one passes he or she is praised into the farthest galaxies

I have lived in the past. It is a glorious thing, a real space. The communicants are fruitful and one learns many things lost in the act of learning. And I have speculated about the deep future. It is a pleasant thing to do. But, ultimately, we live now, we live in the parameters of what is living and doing now. We live with the technology, politics, science, social realities of now. And certainly, in time our now will be someone's glorious past or a hole they fall into not suspecting how much energy still remains among the dead. So it is good to understand the time, experience it fully and dynamically, learn how to absorb it as part of experience and know it as well as your own home. Here are the systems, here are the institutions, here are the people, here are the events, here are the range of emotions, here are the attitudes, here are the disgusts.

* * * * * * * *

But we focus on truth and beauty. There are betters that can describe our world or snap pictures of it.

Revelation is the key word. And yet to make sense. Our sense? His sense? I don't think the writer tries to define what these are. He expresses out of what they are. It is long past the time when the age stuffed you back into yourself.

* * * * * * * *

Reading young poets I can see much of myself. The feeling of loss and alienation; the feeling that poetry has simply put them into the empty mouth of a seething empire and every breath out destroys a bit more of their love of poetry.

But, alienation can not create. Foundations create.

And as I think about it, when I was in the most profound abyss, when all was lost, when the world was a shattering hammer and I was a piece of balsa wood, when books were a meat and not a solace, when I took on problems that were going to kill the fucks so I could say to them, "here, you don't even know what will kill you and yet you live peacefully and happily," in that state of mind I sought foundations because the destruction was so profound and diverse in its insidious powers.

And only late have I rationalized the foundations and will make them my meat to the end of my days.

One problem is that writers, when young, suckle off the dried up teats of Europe and mistake the seethe and bitterness of 20th c writers and thinkers as their own. No. America is not Europe. Europe is an old, doddering woman whose beautiful youth-picture you hang on your wall-board above the writing desk, amazed at what happens to the beautiful face and shape of a beautiful woman.

But then you are hungry for a beautiful woman.

* * * * * * * *

A Few Considerations for Poetic Creation

Every object can be treated as the beginning, middle, or end of itself.

There is nothing which cannot be comprehended by poetic imagination.

The Self must develop a system to discriminate between all things brought to it by the poetic imagination.

The world, as a whole, is a rhythm.

The world is a rhythm which cannot be expressed but through a specific reference to something that is an aspect of the world.

The writer has no personal stake in what he writes.

Mystery exists at either end of the known cosmology.

Occam's razor per the dualities of the existence; i.e.. male/female, intellect/feeling, positive/negative.

The poetic imagination must know its own situation first. It must secure itself in what it knows best first and then extend outward, step by step to secure what is beyond it.

The purpose of poetic imagination is not to express the common emotions but to create worlds to compete with reality.

The way things are, the complexity of their relations, the limitation of all life, the expansion of resources, the desire to build.

The fires of aspiration the temper of wisdom, the humility of beauty.

There is vast laughter throughout the universe.

Discriminate between slag and points of development.

Know the signs of transformation, obey them, celebrate them.


* * * * * * * *

Poetry emerges out of love, out of death, out of wonder of space, out of devotions and mysteries, out of power and justice. Many things emerge out of these intangibles but by the time the group gets them they are already headed for the tar pits.

Poetry is Adam and for a fleeting moment thinks all is paradise; knows paradise like the curve of his clean face. And then life gets a bit hellish and soon enough he's driven out and filled with lamentations the rest of his days. Yet Adam implies Christ.

Perhaps the Adam of poetry remembers that many lives have been lived before paradise. That, in fact, he exists in a succession of paradises, his being the latest model. Perhaps that's why he eats of the tree of knowledge.

Where does the poet go when everything else is recorded?

The instruments of recording and the outcomes of the recording are part of the environment. He's a skeptical son of a bitch.

I don't know what a poem is actually. I know it's changed over time because the culture changes. Things come into being that make old poems obsolete but create new poems out of new imperatives. Who is to say? You must live and try to do the best you are capable of. What poems and poets do you still go to?

Poetry teaches this at least: Look back only to grab the nugget, never to please the self. The present and future must be better than the past.

Liberal democratic values may be an ideal easily absconded by the ferocious will to power among corrupt types, yet it must live in some fashion; it must be enacted

* * * * * * * *

There's something appealing about a cycle of poems that revolves like the year common and yet never to appear this way again.


The winds power and the chill as you struggle awake; the still city before thunder breaks; engorging of the stream. The broken black clouds of a distant storm. The Fire: building the fire and the conversations about the fire. Howl of the pounding rain. Slam of surf along the coast. Bare trees. The withdrawal from winter and seeking of warmth. The science of weather; the relation between ocean, land, sun, earth rotation et al; low ebbing energy- death; the black cape; the wide brimmed hat. Rushing around in the city in the rain. The smell of warm bodies in a train car. The long wait for nature to burst out in reds and oranges.

Winter is when the arguments take place.

* * * * * * * *


Baseball begins again; reawakening of the senses out of dark winter night. Germination of the seed. Warm breezes in the waiting. Spring showers as the bus approaches. Love budding. Boats huffing along the Bay. Light and lively music from the park. The last snows melt into the little streams. Flowers bloom. The planting. The bee in the garden or sucking from the hanging plant on the patio. Kites on the greensward as the bay glides behind.

* * * * * * * *


The heat, lawd de heat; to plunge into the cool lake or pond. Heat that rizzes from the hood of the car. In the bleachers drinking beer, crowds on ocean beaches. Laughter at dusk from the deck. Wandering through the city of loud conversations. Sleeping nude on top of the bed. Valley heat. The opening of the hydrant for the poor kids; raging fires in the forests. The sun. We don't know why it saves us but it often does. Hiking into the mountains where the heat has lodged in the lungs. A hawk flies lazily overhead; school's out and the kid is looking for adventure. The vengenance of the heat of Indian Summer.

* * * * * * * *


Cooling of the breeze. The leaves scattered on the little road while walking toward the stadium. Thanksgiving. The first rains after parched summer. Election season. The air chilled. It withers into winter. Harvest and its moon; the moon replaces the sun.

* * * * * * * *

Poetry, you are a ghost people have stopped believing in. I believe. And I see you moving in the world of heavy bodies/cold blood. I see you racing between the rockets in the barren hillsides. I see you in the timeless element that goes unnamed but imagined in all the private spaces we inhabit.

Nameless silence/salvation! You are the health implied in the cosmos before the cosmos existed.

Object that can not be reduced. Object that grows legs and dances on the graves of all its enemies. Object that is not kind or ameliorating.

* * * * * * * *

Opinions appear to me like old fat flies that have abandoned the meaningless carcass in the attic that gave them birth and now buzz without the hint of tomorrow in them.

"They knew their place and acted like it. They knew their place and were angry at those who contradicted it."

Death carries many down the River of Cynicism to the land of nothingness where the Stiffers live.

I've been there. I've seen them.

They are moloch type creatures who want to control any living thing in their vicinity and convert the innocent into some pale imitation of themselves.

So aren't we shocked by what we discover, this late, beyond recovery, and knowing we knew from the beginning?

The wheels and wheels and wheels will not let us go free.

In their own environment the molochs are always quicker than the poor victims that have fallen into their hands.

* * * * * * * *

A fine place is attained when you understand the difference between waste heat and substance, at least in the writing life.

Between the vapors, one sees others trapped by the same illusions that drove one's own heat!

Certainly human life could be wiped out by a cosmic event. It appears that the human biological clock and cosmic clock operate on different scales. Five minutes with the right woman can mean eternity . Five million years wasted in endless cycles means nothing to the universe. "Let us have five million more and five million after that!" So shouts the universe at us every time we probe into it.

It itself answers nothing. It merely says what every tyrant and god has said from the beginning of time: "You are nothing, I'm everything." "You will have a tiny, measly life and I will shine forever."

The human comes alive when it intercedes into this passive but natural idea.

In a vacuum it will have something innate but mostly it will be animal energy. And while animal energy is equal among the animals, it doesn't seem to produce democracy.

* * * * * * * *

The past is gone. It is strong memory so it lives. But the best of it is carried on up to the living moment. And at the living moment is enactment. So it is. Enactment is the sum of our pasts. Vanished. Yet here, at the center.

At every turning wisdom has taught us. We are what wisdom has wanted us to be.

The past is gone but more will be pushed out by some stubborn resistance. Good. But not as many as before.

It may be just a thin line between ourselves and eternity. So be it. Know how to climb into the clouds and how to get out of the clouds.

We planted seeds in our one-time futures. Up and roused now like hoplites.

It starts on the mountain and works down through the stream where the bears and bees had play. The promises of gold are always empty. The natives are rooted and know.

Life can emerge like thunder or as a squeak from a mouse.

Roads articulated through the red woods.

This is where it starts; driven from some accidental holy spot you never forget but never see again.

And God is a rock that gives rest in the water.

"Well what can I say? I took life personally. It plowed me all up."

I would say, overall, this era exaggerated the power of chaos.

Chaos is a state of knowing outside the boundaries without the knowledge necessary.

"I don't know, it's all a mystery."

The sap and dew embrace in their dance up into the emerging green.

We will wait there for them through the spring fallen evenings.

* * * * * * * *

Boredom sets in. The vast energy of the new gets putrid. The era's we have lived become stark reminders of all our boredoms. The songs, the personalities, the games, at-one-time a blessing and blur, now sink into that caringless state. Even when we unravel every bit of perception we've culled out of space, the boredom remains. So it wasn't for a surfeit of knowing things. The people dull-me away from intense meditations on what is beautiful and what is truthful. "Who is it for then?" "Not them, please not them." No, they exist too. They are human too.

They tell me their boring tales as if I should worship them. But their tales and lives are only useful to me if I can transform bits of them into my truth, my beauty, my language.

The predictable animals have boredom in their dark eyes. Dreams don't haunt them any longer.

The sun will come for a long time and dry things out. The insects will try to move inside to get to running water and heat. Then the rains will arrive from storms off the coast. The region will reek of wet and the drip of patter will animate food in the pot.

The sun, a patient piece of heat, has seen its own demise and is merely protecting its lesser types from this knowledge. "Ah, they already know but then I will pour on them light and life until they are sick of it and take pains to protect themselves from what is coming."

* * * * * * * *

They never want interpretations of the Moon. Not even its implications. Space, as it becomes reality, changes little. The littleness scurries over the surface and doubts its reality. They all lived inside their stoved-in heads. Some perpendicular line controlled their movements. They believed space contained monsters.

"No! It only contains you!"

They lean now one side of the perpendicular line, now the other side. They think they are flying.

Fly demented ones, where time meets its obliterating brother!

"The movies were fair that year; the books well-written but without a hint of wing to them. TV had captured all the lost souls it could and delivered them to deodorants and black cars they could never own."

Life, that noiseless stare.

* * * * * * * *

Oh shift. Do the shifting. Be shifted. See what is seen. There. You saw the unnamable. No, I named it quite well. Too well. There was that cul de sac in Oakland. Old shift healed over by the lurking shadow of trees. A hero figure stretched out beyond his actual size in dried tar. "I know these unseen faces."

Life is that beautiful thing crawling with snakes.

Bury the worries that the dead will conquer us, in the end.

They have come up and spoken in their unrequited voices They have told us much. This beyond all else: "Live in your own time, with your own people."

They are not jealous of our progress and ease.

The empty echoes of sadness. Now real, now filled with horizons of sorrow. Loss. Alone with loss. We know now. We know. Now the shroud of sadness; the inward dwelling gaze of tears. And all our well built structures are mist. And through the mist the silent monster of sadness eating the fallen one.

It doesn't matter what we know.

Truly we must live each day as if it's our last.

* * * * * * * *

There is as much repression as liberation in this age. It thinks it is liberated but it has repressed and buried much of its own good. It has produced a few instructional manuals on how to destroy a liberal democracy.

Our orifices are liberated but our sublime natures have been shut down. We open every pore to the devils but close off every slit to the good. The age has made us reptiles, proud reptiles at that.

This is why when the "age" speaks I laugh. When the "age" speaks I close my eyes and sense the betterment of what it has produced. When the "age" reveals its true self I nearly fall asleep.

An age of senseless rip-offs.

Says the old king in the morning before the day has surprised him, informing him that he has attacked the wrong people and that life should be open enough to correct bad attitudes.

The thing is to use the ranges, not describe them.

Many frequencies beam through the life-protecting Earth.

* * * * * * * *

Choose a word to stop the world and the world will come chugging in at full throttle and doubt you with all its sincere speed and power.

Yet, there are ways.

And we see everywhere we've been and everyone we've seen. And still the bird rises above the clouds.

And beauty radiates from the rotations we have known.

We are pinned by some headlong necessity we identify as common with the wolves and anteaters.

The eyes are hungry for characters. They bleed from the back to the front.

Vast scenes of cities and beaches; the roaring roads of some happy fantasy. Connected to plots we scarcely believe in but there anyway. Brilliant dreams of happy madmen.

All right, let the starlight make bright and straight. Let it pole through right there, right now.

* * * * * * * *

Whittle down the grand mass to a sliver of itself; its better self. Its manageable self.

Every man and woman's freedom is precious. The key is not to get disillusioned by the obnoxious. And, after all, as the Master says, "what if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?" Why conquer when you can be filled with compassion? Why hate when you can make?

The grand mass, left to itself in the mind of a person, festers and rolls uneasily from one end to the other throwing the self off balance, making it do crazy things. It is the beginning of knowledge, at least the modern form of it.

"Come and clank your systems into me and I will ride them out to rid them of the tortured self."

And your peoples.

And your infamous things.

And a thousand seasons of snow.

We fabricate some natural condition but know it is a fabrication and exists so things can get done.

* * * * * * * *

It's a hump. It's a painful hump. We slither and pull our way over it because what we've left is meaningless now. We leave it knowing it is always on the hunt for us and wants us back.

The little hole in the hump is virtually ignored. It is the mass itself we crawl over.

And now voices are shouting, "we've known this guy from the beginning and he's a fraud!"

It comes from one of the irreparable men.

They still fail to understand that we have tasted all the tales available, including their own pedestrian ones.

Tales! More tales exist on the planet than living beings, a ratio distressing to a writer even as he is drunk on the rising tide of them.

Livid tales from every platform.

* * * * * * * *

Things are sad, yes. Life is poignant. We can't get out. We want to get out. No, we want to stay. But we will leave. They will go perhaps and then we will be happy. But if we go first then they will applaud. Does it matter? The sadness decays like everyone else until there is a kind of goofy and clownish joke to be told. Tell it with sadness and relish!

Jupiter doesn't care. It always forces a grotesque consolidation with its gravity. It is brazen.

So sadness flies its own way and wavers at the poles only for a moment. It ceases being itself and is now a kind of primitive flower long extinct but in the memory of a few men who can remember everything.

Sadness takes new shape in the stamen where life allegedly begins.

* * * * * * * *

The nightmare of staying around is the energy sucked downward. The trees abide and are thick with birds.

The hearty fire transforms the feeble thoughts into a gestation of imagination. A bird sits in the chair speaking of finance. And the ideas in the books have been born into characters. The house itself is lit with infinite possibilities for all the wisps of potential marching around it. Deer die with aplomb and settle into the willowy leaves down where the water is. There is a great permanence of play! It never diminishes.

It is war. No, it is a faux war. It is offensive. The dead never die but walk dark hallways smelling a day old.

War emerges from the wilderness of anger and boredom. It shouts and shocks the leisured eating their ham and eggs

* * * * * * * *

"Do the primary thing," he said, to no one in particular.

"Do the primary thing before it fragments into a thousand pieces. Do the primary thing before everything is removed. Do the primary thing against the blast of turbine engines."

So the primary thing was done and then it was nothing but difficulties.

Big dense objects that sang and forced me to pass through. A long passageway that made me stooped for many years like a hunchback so I was self-conscious of being different in the crowds of pretty teeth. The ceaseless talk by losers and crazy people about nothing with a hint that it was all about me. Beautiful books with enormous promises attached that fell apart in my hands. Inventions that turned tamed souls into cruel ones. Huge loveless trees at the edge of an obscure battlefield that had taken many of the effectives. "Zee how we jump de moon so well," a pugnacious doctor said with lilt and humor. Screen after screen after screen filed on top of each other until the world itself vanished. They said illusions were meant to fly. They flew at the exact moment a kind of nobility was draped on the ignorant and their vast wastelands.

"They shoved me to this you know, they shoved me to this."

* * * * * * * *

If it can't teach me, it's dead to me. He said. I've integrated and resolved what went on before. I want more. He said. Your detail into lives remind me of the way Christ whistled out to those who would hear, "Let the dead bury the dead." He said. You carry a hairy legacy like a sack on the weary back but isn't it the sack we enjoy more than your sad and frowning smile? He said. They had packed dead into the weariness that was not the sack while the sack squirmed all around the ground like the ghosts of stolen python snakes.

Take that! Take that! He said. Snakes are infamous for lying or, at least, not telling good stories.

* * * * * * * *

The mind can be as cold as the high seats in a stadium where the wind blows through and the action is far away; a mere example of another day, another game.

The players always want to be someone else; a full manifestation of talent dreamed long ago. And yet life has become cold and his run is conditioned by the wind. The cold is hard to shake free from. It requires a humble, limbered walk through the concrete abyss until the sun is seen, between the blue clouds, hovering as if saying, "I'm always here and I will warm you whether you understand me or not!"

* * * * * * * *

Oh the days are difficult. It's a tired and wordless world. The eyes are loco. The hair is white. The skin is hopping with bugs. The flights of birds and machines are relentless. "We will fly over your grave too," they say with aplomb.

But then the president has his inexperience and intimidations to work through. It makes him look like an idiot.

It is not good for the president to look like an idiot. Freedom will make us idiots as many times as it will make us noble and fully representative of something historic.

We are privileged to wake and live. God's grace gives us this simple attitude. We join with the many through time who have awaken and lived.

What dark caves we crawl through!

There the fears wait for us. There the facts can be unbearable.

* * * * * * * *

Now the long days and nights that seem to fly through the haunting owl's plea. Let us prepare ourselves for the task. The superfluous and diversion are key enemies. Piss poor habits pull us back into the rectangular halter we wear to show we are as blind and stupid as everyone else. There are few heroes. There are makers of bombs and makers of poems. Youth knows the generosity of life and slowly loses it to experience.

We believe technology will save us when all the while technology kills us, devours us and makes us pay for the privilege. Technology turns us all into elves and shadows and guinea pigs. It will take an extraordinary generation to take control of technology and put it to uses that are unerring and profound.

We are the happy elves because the hordes are not rushing down into our peaceful valleys.

* * * * * * * *

You fight the age, at least the part that gets to you the most. Then you flow with it. Then it rolls you off into oblivion laughing all the while.

Such is the adventure of man.

There must be an opening scene.

The artist ardent climbing on one hundred ladders he can not see or feel.

But as he falls he sees it all!

And all that was invisible pierces him through and through until his heart is a thriving meat.

"Be kind to this flying meat and spear it as you would a fine delicacy."

* * * * * * * *

"They were snakes, covered in shadows."

So I quoted the character as he was riding the train in the blue spring afternoon musing from a window of masks.

"And yet they are irresistible in a strange way. They demand you pass through the shadows first to find the gem of themselves."

When things go down I always sit in a quiet and dark chair and rebuild the world. It begins with the proposition that whatever created the universe created nature and the beings that emerged out of nature; created the mind able to perceive the universe and know it.

Clarity is a green infinity.

Life sprouts!

It courses and rests and begins again.

* * * * * * * *

It can be an odd and happy life at times. I have felt utter misery, complete exhaustion of self, total bankruptcy and yet one drives the crepuscular evening and the leaves fall and the air smells blue, dark and a kind of liquid around the car.

So odd is this life. Almost nothing but travail!

Failure is that terrible necessity like marriage or government that we can hardly live without, hating it all the while.

"Wasn't it enough?"

"What is ever enough? No such animal exists except after the fact."

"But then where is the rest?"

"It exists somewhere between heaven and hell."

"Ah, I know that place. But what if I don't believe in heaven or hell?"

"Then rest is a pretty illusion isn't it?"

No one controls anything. That is the frightening opportunity for those who want to do some good.

* * * * * * * *

Roll over the undaunted past. It doesn't belong to anyone but time. Only a few nuggets are, ultimately, useful. The present is a carnival of interesting diversions and meets at the corner of Systems and Freedom Avenues. The happy manifestations of glum and gleeful faces. The fits and starts of troubled humanity. What does one have to read but the cavalcade itself? The future; the mind seeks it now that it has seen some evidence of the real universe.

It knows the firm Earth, its reality, a spot in infinity; a reality, a fact.

All follows the fact.

Empty years, filled with our forgetfulness.

* * * * * * * *

The long dry days where everything is tested. Where we are pounded by silence and made mute while holding the beauty of our words. The unprecedented world. That was the first of a train of shatterings that woke me up to a variety of things in this world. A world that had no guidance and unparalleled experience and desire. A world that will only learn about itself in the aftermath, when it is too late.

To keep in the world as each step leads off of it.

A perilous ride on a new moon.

The long days of development, learning and doing nothing.

* * * * * * * *

Don't be so precious with things. That is a hard lesson, especially when you feel you are doing something, if not forbidden, certainly against the grain. "I will chastise them with perfection!" To unwind gracefully from this myth is a valuable art to learn!

You throw one hand in and start another game, wholly different but with similar odds. Something passes through.

The universe as temptress; we desire to know more but what we already know frightens us. Can we lick it from a distance? God permits some reach. We should have enormous gratitude for the little we are permitted to reach.

After all, what would keep us going through the next hundred thousand years besides finding the wholeness we intuit at times belongs to us, through the universe and all it contains?Many liturgies are sung at that moment!

But then we are on a planet filled with hunger.

All animals share in hunger.

The rocks are hungry.

* * * * * * * *

To see a fine thing roll from end to end. And with discernment comes a flatness so we recognize things that nature and men have built. And signficances, always with us, rarely changing. It must be true we think. So true. God is shedding grace on thee. We see, if not places we have lived, places we have been. There is where it all changed and here is where the change doubled into itself and became another thing, someone's thing not our own. And now the thing starts to implicate us even before we are there and we slow down because what implicates us can end up ruling us and we know it and want nothing to rule us but our own bits of sanity. And now it is upon us rolling us out as we were as we struggled from what they thought we were as we cried out for God on a lonely highway when we were never what we thought we were and we see all the sharp angles of attack and how impossible it is to escape this rolling thing always headed in our direction or hovering over like sky full of crows or leaving us so we are not in the light and not in the dark but in something captured by one unrelenting angle of attack and it is done and we have nothing to throw forward but a word.

* * * * * * * *

So we flip and head in a new direction. Skins and skins have been left on the pathway. Ah, this one saw the past. And that one wrote stories about alienated youth. And another was a dark secret. And here, these were weights carried long distances to toughen the fiber.

And don'ft forget those skins used as disguises borrowed from others on the pathway.

And skins unmercifully burned.

And skins sacrificed for mysterious words.

The new direction is short and squat and we are required to strip to our prime nudity and run through.

It will be over as we know it.

And we know it as a full bodied thing we never want to return to. Half catacomb, half carnival with the crowds and voices and smells pressed in close to us, warning not to think too hard on it.

* * * * * * * *

As the days move forward I have more to do and less to say. It is not good for a writer to have that disposition. But to say things well and infrequently is a privilege. It's not a frivolous thing. It is not merely diarrhea from a bored mind but an imprint of what the man is. Criticize him, kill him even but this is what he is.

Savor each channel. Let it close when the time is right. Enter a new one full of laughter and light.

Now we are this, now that; it is a good thing we are many things even as we have the one integrity. Cut the wood, finish the manuscript, mark up the page, drive to the stores, fix dinner for old men, talk to the redhead, read about the wars, many good books have been written about wars.

Do the deed.

Finish the task.

* * * * * * * *

Nothing present. All accounted for. The cries have died down into the sound of tired rain along avenues we've long forgotten. The people are mad. Keep moving. No, now stop and stoop to pick up the waste. Forget how we got here. Forget the way the sun is made up. Forget the date of our demise but it was sometime before today.

We feel the list. We dare the tree. The owl now believes it is the bear.

If they knew. If they cared. Soon to swirl in light. Big devil faces.

Those old devil faces been messin' with my satisfactions. No more. Or, nothing but. Hell is a place I try to walk the distance now.

Burst out full fury and make things right.

Petty excuses and arch enemies are buried in the onslaught. Loss.

But then we are lifted beyond the Earth and are presented with our own backyard infinity. It fills whatever emptiness we possess as our own.

* * * * * * * *

The space to do things. Often that defines "civilization." When we have a space to do things as we believe they should be done, then we are free. We finally exist as we were meant to exist. The negative emerges when the space has been zapped out for one reason or the other.

"Ah, they want to define the space that is not theirs!"

So darkness as the walls close in.

As the air is riddled with their stink.

A good space is quickly taken. One fights hard for the good space.

* * * * * * * *

Beauty follows the eyes into the universe that never ends; it never crosses a halting zone that it can't perceive. It brings it all in. It is a woman. And down in the darkness of her are damp lights strewn chaotically across an infinite abyss. Measurement takes time. We believe in her integrity, she will get us through.

To the end, the very end where the seed does flow.

It begins with the eyes first seeing the universe.

A mountain rises in the mind that says, "conquer me, fearful one."

And on this mountain are the structures we are bound to know, interstice by interstice like drops from an old half frozen spigot. We don't know them until we know them, unaware that they exist. There, an old battle is fought between huge armies as in the old days before airplanes and howitzers. "Oh pleasant valley, you are given up for this." "We destroy you to renew you, don't you know?"

* * * * * * * *

The Halting has been ravenous for several years. What do they know of the armies of the secret heart now exhalant, now low and dissipated among the rays of the modern world?

"'e had freedom and choices, it's all him no one else to blame it as he does on little tribal groups no more meaningful to him than the ants he spotted departing the car."

They said a little bit won't harm you. They said, don't worry, eat well. They said just show up on time. They said don't feed the dead.

"So this is why Christ died and the battles were fought and won. So this is why Beethoven wrote his music. So this is why the great thoughts were thought. So this is why inventions where wheeled out by anonymous men."

"Excess runneth through my ears. I hear the din of dangerous days."

The thread, the thread, the thread runneth away.

* * * * * * * *

Who obeys the rhythms of the times? It is not long and lesiurely.

The rhythm of the time disappears down into the microprocessor and atom and comes back with big explosions and stupendous storage devices. Broadband creates one rhythm. Even the quickness of an old ganglion city is starting to look ponderous these days. The chugging cars pinned into a clot at the center of cities look desperate, like lost tourists. And no matter how fast a man or woman may walk with square shoulders and briefcase, it is the bike messenger who creates the rhythm.

Rhythm of knowing you are passing through something that will disappear and so the quirky things are held in hand and eye with great irony.

Rhythm of flexibility operating in the stiffness of an old world.

A word can be as long as a vapor trail;

People with no cleverness in them, with no real experience or knowledge that is worth anything can not see actual sacrifice and what it means, what it entails. One does not sacrifice the bad things, one sacrifices the good things; those things that fill the ego with pride.

That's one reason my precious freedom was so important to me; it made justice real. It put salt into my faith.

Those days are gone of course but the memory suffices.

Criticism is the easiest wall to build

* * * * * * * *

No, anywhere else.

Sadness is a free floating thing between the old tired limbs of the oaks and the unkempt yard. Loss. The transformation from freedom to judgment is a subtle one and catches an aging writer by surprise.

No, somewhere else where there isn't such attachment. Where the bricks themselves remind one of discouragement. It is silence. You have done something wrong or bad. If you try to figure it out it will drive you crazy. But it lingers and plays the mind for a fool. So laughter itself is a still mask of death. So the adrenaline is driven through empty space that doesn't care one way or the other until finally it ends.

A kind of creepiness enters again. The old bad magic.

Sometimes it is good to remember the abyss that exists between you and the familiar.

* * * * * * * *

I speak to myself about the path as I experienced it. It's embedded in a lot of the writing that I have. It was the powerful shock of the modern world after my kindly young innocent days that threw me back on this odd path. The necessity of finding "what still worked" from the vast treasure of the past. Connecting with that and learning the art of discrimination so, after a while, learning to protect a precious channel into the spirit and not let anyone or anything interfere. The mind goes deep into space, deep into the past, even deep into the future and then circles widely to connect it together. Yet, it must live and survive in the present. And my present was hard and fast and powerful and had little sympathy for anything but what produced power out of technology. Not to mention the vast mediation by popular culture to control the basic messages of the culture. It did no good to try and escape it. One, finally had to go through it lengthwise in long circular patterns to gain any identity with it. What was it that renewed curiosity? What was it that inspired one to his best self? What was it that filled with resource that could be used by a free man? What was it that made him laugh heartily?

To get to the other side of what was so alienating, so threatening and understand the route one took. That surely was worth arming for. And what did you arm yourself with?

A respect for the minds capacity to know things.

A respect for the soul's capacity to transform.

A respect for what has transpired and for what will follow.

A healthy disrespect for absolutes communicated absolutely.

* * * * * * * *

The artist understands and is often a victim of the shallow heart, the cynical type, the passive/aggressive type. That's why great artists have great faith and allow the cussedness of human nature out into the art but blocked in reality.

It was the All. Can the mind take it ALL in with equal measures of competence? Can a specific attribute such as literary art use the ALL that the poor creature who writes has accumulated? And what is the ALL? The discrete objects of the human universe? The agglomeration of massive effects from an interplay between discreet objects and discreet persons? The nature which sometimes appears to be hostile, sometimes a womb? And then out beyond to the total nature in the universe? Not to mention the human being and all his systems, and all of his relationships? Not to mention with all the ALL the results are so paltry. Is that all?

What I know, there's much more I don't know. Whatever I've seen there's much more to be seen. There is tragic joy in such a thought.

Large vision is important but so is the utter appreciation of the smallest gesture by the humblest human being

* * * * * * * *

There are plenty of humiliations in life, plenty of times when the worst seems to dominate and the best struggles to survive. It is particularly severe when young and poised on the edge of what he assumes will be a wonderful, enlightened life. Something slimy in human nature meets something slimy in the larger culture, driven by the freedom to be anything it wants. Addictions, if nothing else hide the fact that we are being humiliated all the time. A good addiction is a vacation from humiliation. But then the addiction will kill us so we have to wade into the center of the humiliation and resolve it there, in its eye.

Doesn't our first bout with the shadow prove something to us? It usually points to the persons who want control over our lives and that the shadow will show them how to do it.

Young people do things they always regret later on. Isn't that an excellent place to start renewing a sense that life is real, that life has significance and we find the power of choice and decision by making the wrong ones to start with?

I experienced this fairly severely in my mid-20's thinking I was so saint like but creating all kinds of bad situations. It was this awful realization that drove me toward the spiritual, to connect not with mere words but the substance of the spiritual and how vital it is to save the spirit and that every being is filled with good energy and bad energy and learns to discriminate between the two.

* * * * * * * *

When the world itself is all a stage, what then? When we know the happenings in Moldovia but not our next town then what?

I treasure the experiences I had as a young guy in Cities. Cities! With poor and crazed people. Heavy drinkers and sweet dreamers. The relentless poor, fat in busses with stories and truths.

For all the great flights through the midnight air of time and time-lost it is here, now, in the density of this day that life has meaning.

What, after all, is the modern life? It breaks from everything and strives for everything and ends up rather shoddy. Even the great breakthroughs and stupendous wealthy life-styles are doomed to be extinct in a generation or two.

All phases are important and make their impression. The present is always something that has more imperative; something new is always driven through it. And one is delivered to the present only when certain things have been fulfilled. So then the spirit says willingly, "I live now, in the early part of the 21st century. It will contain me and bury me. I will not leave it." And so one is brought to the present time.

But the present is built on what has transpired in the other phases.

Lousy cities intermingled with lovely rural scenes; the green and the blue dominated by birds.

* * * * * * * *

The more experience, knowledge, and contemplation the better. Experience is action. Knowledge is fact-finding and connection, contemplation is healing.

The conflict between the ease of destroying and the immense difficulty in making.

The conflict between finding the same bad everyone else does and discovering the unique good from which you can actually build a life.

The conflict between finding the limits and wanting no-limits.

The conflict between the global view and national sovereignty.

The conflict between progress and assessment.

There were plateaus and peace. There were happy resolutions. There was a divine sort of forgetfulness. The bliss of learned ignorance.

I'm not sure "republican" and "democrat" were deep conflicts. They both emerged out of the same good, bad, and ugly soil and sprouted in one direction because of the fear of loss and the other direction because of anger over the state of reality. The republicans are dry as an old whore. Good by old whore, thy sucking will be of a toothless kind now.

I don't have full confidence in the democrats but the adrenaline will be back for awhile.

The boring build out to nowhere, everywhere vs. apocalypse now.

* * * * * * * *

Here is a state of ambiguity: Effacement of personality, subjecting faith to doubt.

Observation had told me that if the personality surrendered to the social goal it would not achieve depth and substance.

I lost faith in the social goal which appeared to be meaningless. It led to the evisceration of intellect and imagination

Yet, what else was there but the "social goal?" There was intellectual discipline, artistic discipline, spiritual discipline. These didn't begin in opposition to the social goal but because of their nature eventually came into conflict with it.

There are plusses and minuses to having a sympathetic imagination that recognizes species and wholes and similarities rather than differences. And that is eventually you see how others see the world so that eventually you see how they see yourself so when you meet 'types' who you've 'seen through' you feel anxious and uncomfortable. Well, if you ever ran for office.....haha.

I have always self-consciously staggered into circumstances.

If a circumstance requires me and I have no commitment to it then everything becomes grist for the mill.

And that doesn't mean to go and efface yourself to others.

Do that and you will pick up the growling discontent at the bottom of the American people.

* * * * * * * *

The passage and the change; the passage and the change. Nothing will be the same at the end of the passage and the change.

Vision is a powerful and liquid thing and cleans all before it.

How come a poet, a despised man if ever there was one, a man who despises well when the situation calls for it, who despises what so many hold dear, and who is hated the more his despising is known, produces such beauty?

In America one listens to many but knows only a very few.

It is a joy, sometimes, to see the disintegration of political ideas.

On one level there are momentous things being done in the public realm. On another the new communication system is gathering steam. Thousands and millions of discrete stories unfold through the old systems carrying new eyes.

We look out into the deepest spaces and still find God. We understand the deepest spaces with mathematics, experimentation, instrumentation, legacies of knowledge but, in the end, it will lead to God and God will move ever so slightly back at the brink of knowing Him.

Nihilism appears a mighty force and prepares to conquer everything in its path. But in the end the nihilist whimpers before the mystery of life and death and vanishes without a trace.

* * * * * * * *

War and poetry: two ends of the same stick. They transfigure landscapes.

Oh, the stone is at the bottom of the hill and I am here, happy jackass, to put the nose to it and start it up again. I saw something wicked last time, a kind of untamed ugliness snarling from a barren tree. It watched me very carefully as I balanced the stone on the palm of my hand.

I kept looking at the wicked thing with side-long glances saying, with my eyes, "come help me, don't you see how hard this is for me." It stared without a word and kept looking at my feet. And when I was past it I looked up and saw the miles of landscape I had to cross before I was at the end. The end again! We make new beginnings out of ends.

Sometimes life is simply a kind of revenge against "what has been done." It drives most people into the Lord or jail.

When the dream is blocked the next few moves are significant. A good leap over a dead dream can land in surprising places. Sometimes whole new vectors can lead from the end of a good but dead dream.

Those days when the world tried to re-invent itself from its own disgust!

* * * * * * * *

You want to know. You don't want the engines of society to get up and pulverize you from the beginning.

And you learn a very interesting detail in modern American life. It starts off with the infinite possibility, the never-ending horizon and then the individual, through his or her experience, finds the form of their limitation. The limitation is not imposed by anything. One is not instructed on the limits, they must be found, and they must be experienced. That's the painful initiation into the modern world.

Such are things. Few understand the sublime arc of a single life.

Read he said, read much, read over and over again. Reading is good. People see it as an act of the past, along with hoop skirts, smelly trains, and segregated streets. But there is rarely anything better. If it is quaint then it only means the barbarians have won and so that is that. Why worry if the barbarians have won? They will destroy everything and out of the ash will come something else. We don't want that to happen so we urge people to read and read well.

In one era the barbarians burn the books, in the next they simply ignore them, in another the barbarians read but make sure no one else does

* * * * * * * *

Things crash down. The supports all give way. One is swimming on the surface of a brilliant abyss.

And he schlumps to the teller machine and his last piece of value pops out. And people stare at him and know. And a world of humiliations returns like dark masks of demons he thought quenched in the twilight of youth. Shout! Shout! They want blood!

And the realms are buried in laughter not our own.

The House of Woe/where the lonely Men Go.
They Sleep with Cats/Eat off Swollen Mats
Don't remember Nothin'/Of When Life was a Sweet Muffin.

The absurdity of the man so poor among all these riches!

The alchemical process does not stop with the self but takes the products of self and distills them for some untouched legacy.

Account for the dross poured into the transformational goo. Do it with pure objectivity.

Nothin' owes you Anythin'

* * * * * * * *

The truth is that the modern world makes us all ignorant by degrees.

One purpose of writing is to acknowledge that the limitations of the present world are just that, "not real" in the eternal sense of things. Something better, more vital exists in the mind and heart and needs expression.

The personal lays hands on a fragile present and feels around trying to find a stable piece of ground. The personal fights what will destory integrity. The personal grows and develops in ways that are dramatic but lost in time. The impersonal is a battleground for powers.

Wisdom will often permit the mind to grasp the inhuman and impersonal for the uses of the human and personal.

I think the writer battles the impersonal and inhuman, not alone certainly, but in ways that are unique. When this battle takes place there are two dangers: inflation and demoralization.

And ultimately, what does one say about it? You try to bring your best words to the table of truth and beauty. If it stinks then something is off.

* * * * * * * *

The idea of a parallel universe existing a few inches from our own existence is a pleasing one. So is the idea that universes upon universes could be connected, even created, beside this one. The concept of "what" before time or before mass is an imaginative one.

The significant thing is this: whatever and however it was created it is embedded in us in ways that are significant.

And frankly if we "realized" the forces and powers we are implicated in then we could do just about anything. Certainly miracles.

To live in these elements but lovingly embrace the physicality of the body and of the earth.

* * * * * * * *

Cruising through the times. It is quick and yet something so opaque to it one wonders. We poke into the opaque of other times, that's about all we can do.

Science, technology, opening of space, integration of people's, globalization, more and more and yet seemingly insoluble problems. That seems to sum up things. Yet, problems have been solved. Yet, when is life lived at this level? When has it been ever necessary to bring it back to the self, the person, the quality of relation? And that has significant play through the times as I've known them.

* * * * * * * *

The mid-period I suppose. And now this. A time to look back, make good summaries, round things in joy and optimism. The secrets of transformation keep the mind young and supple. We filled with the fat of the world. Good. We rollick in the fat and laugh at things. But then something calls us again. Not in anger or fear but as the song of our truest being. We have learned to walk, we use our legs and put our feet on the ground and meet all with equal surprise and delight.

But still we fly.

Laugh when they try to define you and cut the seriousness.

* * * * * * * *

How can any modern story not involve flying through space? Flying to escape the evils of Earth, flying into the happy unknown that one embraces. Flying without machines as fully liberated spirits.

And we remember the exceptional beauties of earth and life. Our true selves.

Would a man flying through space be obsessed about "what is wrong with space?"

"They didn't know the first thing about it so misunderstanding was fait acompli. It was more comedy than tragedy. He laughed through the tears." "Ok, ok, I can never please the ones I want to please." And truly a man will agonize over why this condition exists and waste too much energy in thinking about it or trying to solve the dilemma. In the end we are caught in our personal dramas and can't escape them.

The fixed stare and sardonic voice leap in the heart and try to lodge there until we have the useful means to remove them.

Oh choice, where is your magic now?

* * * * * * * *

If not here where? Mars? Alpha Centauri? If only one could rest passively under their respective skies.

For the new shades of black I thank the universe! And thoughts hot-wired by subterranean rivers lead me on to the pallid light. And when I flit about with only wonderment I will think of lives on my favorite deceitful Earth. And how they said, "Move that stone for me."

Clusters and chains between the surge of water where the light is a merry whisper, inviting me into the next opening.

"He studied the distillations and thought they were the reality so we had to knock 'em down a few notches and put him with the buggers who are the distillations of nothing."

"All the great ones taught distillations and scales."

"Were they happy?"

"They knew better than to hail the happy ones as their brothers."

"Unhappy and restless band of brothers!"

* * * * * * * *

It's not the 'age.' If you are in the right place it is as fine an age as any with splendid systems, cities filled with delight, a regular orgy of conversations over invisible distances, beautiful women and funny men, sports for the earnest warrior and much more. It's not the age it is how to live or what is the life then?

What is the life in all this splendor? One is very optimistic up until the moment he realizes that the age could easily self-destruct and waste everything and give notice to whatever future succeeds it that, "after all, what we created was better than the creator, ourselves." A man begins to wonder at that point about the nature of life in the age. It is an age that will do what it will do. It will invent more, it will entertain more, it will speed up more, it will fly more, it will accumulate more. If not more, it will endure, it will continue. But what of the life in it? That is the thing.

The best of the heavily drawn dreams are those that tell the dreamer, when he wakes up, the obvious action he is to take given the many options.

The universe is a challenging fascination, not a dread. It claims us so it must know us. If it knows us it is for a reason, if not purpose.

The pessimists failed to embrace the change coming on them. Or, at least, to let go the initial fear and dread and simply look into the puzzle, the Sphinx

* * * * * * * *

Never underestimate the strength of the "counter" to your thoughts and ideas about things. Your "opposite" just might be your best friend in sublime ways.

Dreaming up the utopia is not that difficult---it is quite easy when young especially. It's when the utopia crashes and is destroyed that the real action begins. How does the person or idea survive the destruction of the utopia?

Wisdom occurs when you find out why the most marginal person and marginal activity is utterly meaningful and filled with joy the center can never have

If you see it all as energy then it gets a bit "easier" in a way. The meanings people assign things is mystifying. The temptations are great to do bad things.

Space as fields rather than an empty thing----it makes sense. Space dipped and folded into our very heart and brain. I feel it brother.

* * * * * * * *

It's that odd feeling that we are pressed into the pages of history whether we like it or not and at some point will look like idiots.

The raw and stark universe in its physicality and dimensions. Why?

Extrapolation, projections, vision and the uncreated future.

The roar of what has us pinned down.

The wet and colorful beauty around us.

The mind produces its own splendid music.

If you make it through the wall perhaps something good will be on the otherside of it.

Death does, in the end, test us out.

Do we chicken out or do we try and fulfill our potentials?

A mind, in the modern sense, is wise when it knows that almost all propositions in the world are driven by ego and are very limited. So that the pure thing, the raw datum is always there and what is missed the first time, is caught the second time.

So we spring loose. Away with all these old assumptions!

We spring down among those who view us differently than we view ourselves.

We spring through the stoppage congealed at the bridge like a hungry mouth.

We spring through concentric circles of self and not-self; a spot and an elongation.

* * * * * * * *

He who believes life is easy is being prepared for a trip through Hell.

To the very foundations, to the thud itself, to the bleak house on all fours ready to howl by order of an ant.

The phases are, as well, atmospheres dominated by one strain: the academics, the "family," the technologists and entrepreneurs, the politico's.

Wait through with deep, laughing patience. Things pass. Things obstruct. Every day it is so.

Wisdom and reason are not enough. We need good tales! We need the curving complexity we knew and loved as young people. A diving heart into a mad mind. The tale of a day that starts out so rotten and ends in the birds carrying off every oppression into the dark sky.

The tale of a day we are carried by a bird to the softest landing possible, only to confront the beast we fear so much that we are terrified of sleep.

A tale of long passages through long bridges dangling temptingly on the edge of our horizon.

A tale of a man who climbs into space because he is unafraid of annihilation.

A tale of love that attracts the poisoned bees to swarm.

* * * * * * * *

A writer writes because he is not satisfied with reality. In fact, a crisis begins as soon as reality gains enormous credibility. "Ah, it is the only thing!" A good writer will spend time tracing its lines a bit and getting dirty with it.

Writing changes because perception changes, markets change, education changes, politics changes. What is a city when the whole globe is perception and endless bits of information and fascinations? What else is the perception that something bright and colorful is sharply outlined against the infinite black that surrounds us but a signal to the writing art to start again?

It can be perceived as an ordered, beautiful object but it is not. But then it should be. Thus, the writer.

Psychology and development are one thing but then again there is the iconography of a world not yet discovered.

There is a chaos the writer struggles with from which come the new notes, the new amplifications of sight.

I did accept and take on the world as something unprecedented; as something that could not find colloraries in the past. It was its own history.

How gingerly I walked into the waiting Web!

Past the red plains of vanity where life is sucked slowly out.

Where lost dreams seek victims.

* * * * * * * *

Yes, a turning. Adjustments. Transitions. Rescue the sweet from the long goodbyes. Let go of most of what you carry.

Here is where seeds are laid. Here is where one measures the progress of days forward.

There was little beauty and truth. There was sentimentality and propaganda. The sardonic had sway. Builders and creators had to scramble for high ground. Technology possessed intelligence and its silent partner, science was the magicians chant. Human sensibility receded to very primitive levels, then latched onto some powerful emotion or ideology. The best said very little and simply lived well.

Good laughter could be gotten. Protest protested against everything, even itself. Stark, open, unrequited beings latching onto anything that give them something of what they needed.

There were more Assyrians than Greeks.

Somewhere between the satiated and angry energy, lived a true American spirit.

Somewhere between the paralysis and nihilism lived a poet.

Fall gracefully into a memory, past.

* * * * * * * *

Do what nature intended you to do. Cross the fire. Put the ice behind you. Fight for the best in yourself. Turn laughter into richness and tears into a liquor. Never give up the day. So a wonderful character somewhere would say.

"Yeah, that means something to you but lord knows what."

Oh, put that past behind. Seal it with a kiss. Let it all be memory and notations strewn from one end to the other. It is no more. It moves no more. It makes for a short run to the end but off we go.

Talk talk talk speak spray out the wonderful thoughts and feelings as you sail through in open space. There are layers of density and then an infinite space full of absolute hostility.

The sad densities are fine little fibers putting the head to the ground. It's destined there anyway so why not go up for awhile?

* * * * * * * *

Often I feel I am in a place, a not-place where the twilight is solid and unyielding. I do not make the decision I must make. I refuse to look forward, strain as I do to see.

The unusual process has brought me to this state. I wanted to obey the non-recognizable that is either all truth or all lies, all beauty or all ugliness.

In the face of that...

To put together so that it all meant something, more than, what I had learned or been told. The myth of it. And it was what could be grasped. So, after slow beginnings a clarity emerged.

* * * * * * * *

Bow back as little as possible. I shake my head at times.

"So, this new space? Can you describe it?"

Marginalize the common and fill with richness

* * * * * * * *

What do we do with what we can't know?

We do not give up on what we can't know. We assume we will know at some point in the future because we have a long history of not-knowing transforming into knowing.

* * * * * * * *

Young woman floating arms up, up, where to woman? Out, out to the cloud driven ocean.

When you cut into the dark you come up with more dark. When you cut into the light you must look at the dark but the light saves you.

We're stuck here and only need to know a few things after understanding much.

Truth turned into power is usually a mistake.

Ease and comfort are the bane to doing anything valuable and difficult.

"Well Old Bill is just standing there telling me things about how it was, always was, and how to snatch it. 'Got to live with your own,' he says. 'Stretch but don't break.'

"And the Blind Man just kept laughing as I tried to tell him my stories."

The wise always say, ,"Enjoy the manifestations of what is from each phase of development. It's all outside your framework but there in front of you."

* * * * * * * *

The lost driven from the fount of vision, from the watery source of life, the treasure hoard of golden feelings.

Into the hot asphalt of long days when nothing spreads its rotten feast before us. A king of nothing! He is saluted and runs boldly through the small shrines and temples we make. Empty, anonymous houses line the road to Hell.It is on the surface. It knows no boundary. Paved into it are the faces of the dead their mouths always in preparation to speak. Yelp! Discuss! Make a case!

Men and women move from the houses with fierce determination to fill the streets and make a glum carnival out of nothing.A man who sells Chinese food from his hut is the pretext for wild insults. Mad youth rampages and turns over everything in its path.

It is a day that sweats nightmares below the white day-gleam of the moon. A man carries a moon on his back from morning to night.He crosses the line of sight from horizon to horizon and becomes a puff of smoke.We would explode then in laughter and delight on some final night we knew would come.

Sustained as we are by fine music from behind the trees, just below where the steam flows from the underground venting system.

A man is measuring the long street and declaring that the lines that meet from either end start either the descent into Hell or ascent into Heaven. A crowd gathers and applauds him wildly knowing they have seen something not shown on TV.

Awful silence becomes a virtue just before we think it is going to destroy us for good.

They suddenly smell themselves and realize they are not dogs and they are not alone.

Grand theories are expounded along the forlorn beaches that look out on the vast ocean. Nothing. Nothing but life, more and more life, life never ending, swallowing even the good and spectral thoughts. "Here man are clouds. You must not live in them."

This is about the time good stories should be told. Tales of adventure and the bold sailors against the winds howling for millions of years along the same horizon.

* * * * * * * *

It's a bore to look back but always satisfying. The loss of intensity can only mean that wisdom was intended to be rather cool after all. That intensity is often wrong and we are, in the end, humbled by our fears and hatreds. So much disappears! So much familiarity stays with the living who pass as time passes into the intestines of time.

My familiarity will be completely foreign to a spirit in the future. He will have his own bridges and his own conflicts. His cities will contain my cities but be their own cities. The vast majority will live in the present and hardly give any mind to what has lived before them. They are bemused agents of a sublime passage they hardly understand.

* * * * * * * *

Once you have a good narrative going, one that has heft, one that is tested and has integrity, those who want to change it or those who radically impose on it are up to no good. Know what you know.

Memory is soft ponds and ragged edges dissolved into a wonderful movie that just is.

The sense of place allows the spirit to fly free among all that the place touches.

Is life unfair? It is patently unfair. But if you try to figure it out you'll go crazy. There will always be some with more, some with less. Get as fast as you can to your own true self and its integrity and move forward.

* * * * * * * *

Our heroes look like us: that is, two eyes, a nose, a mouth, a skin over the skeleton, hair, fingers, feet, genitalia among other similarities. They build. They think, not in the stereotypical categories but as free men and women. They want to produce, at the very least, the good that was produced in the past. They want to add value that comes with a comprehensive experience and knowledge of the world they live and die in .

* * * * * * * *

We circle around and around like an unknown particle attracted by a nucleus it never saw.

And so the past and, in effect, all manifestations on Earth looked provincial and constricted as against the new horizon of the infinite universe. Yet the manifestations on Earth were extraordinarily important because of the other polarity.

One polarity detached from the other does not make for productivity.

The mind then searched for the good being produced on Earth.

Where is human nature in this? The human nature? A human nature?

* * * * * * * *

Why write on a society that wipes itself out every generation and is successful at it? So one's portrayal of society is quaint. The only novelist to escape this was Dostoevsky for whatever reason.

The best test for spiritual resource is to turn it back into the fact of its negation, of that which is not moral, scorns, dismisses spiritual resource as a fantasy. In our time it is "materialism" as exemplified by the dominance of capital and technology, who can make people both better and free, strangely enough.

The "enemy" or opposite of spiritual resource is not evil, it is diffidence. It is the casual dismissal of the energy and suffering, wisdom and experience that has gone to build the resource up.

* * * * * * * *

So he contemplates his next run. Perhaps it is to heaven. No, not yet he says. Heaven can wait. God and spiritual resource comes into play when one realizes that human nature is up to no good. And the fantasy of utopia crumples into the good Earth.

* * * * * * * *

The useful word is attached to good mind and good centers of self. It comes from the God within. That's the point of it. That is how things begin again.

In the beginning was the emergence of a man from the Earth with no protection against the sensations of nature. He was beautiful motion and blind until he stumbled on the killing. The killing was a source of fascinating pressure, a thing that is done because it is no other way, it is the way it is done.

From the town and city the faces come one by one, a blur of oneness through the inkling day, dry from some swoosh that passes through.

We double back when things are almost desperate. Fully desperate we'd stop and let nature take its course. But nature insists we double back quickly with a learning mind and extract the good that was there; the few precious drops of insight running out of pain.

Coercion against the heart's desire was not a good.

Unwanted advisories that always carried a guilty bag of crud in the throat was not a good.

Humiliations may be, ultimately, our own fault but that doesn't make them good.

Most of the tales heard were not bad but not good either.

Faking it was not good.

Being where one was not wanted was not a good.

The cries and caws of doomed nature was not a good.

* * * * * * * *

We've turned things inside out in many ways. We are free but then get entangled in a mess. At least we have some decent ways to get free of the mess short of murder or running away. The mess makes us find things we wouldn't have found otherwise.

God bless the mess.

God bless the angles from which we make our way out.

God bless our ability to remain curious. And if it all ends in silence then we can say "before that silence we were what nature wanted to produce."

I don't think it ends in silence because I don't believe the great spirits lie. If the great spirits coax us to a place that undermines the sad silence then viola. We can not know. We have to have faith. Choose your master wisely. It may sound ancient but it is eternally new because we are here to use our creative powers, our ability to love and have compassion and every generation needs to know that their fate is not silence but a great joy in unfolding the potential of life.

If we are tricked into such a feeling then viola. We can choose to be tricked out of it and embrace the silence. And that leads to a certain energy as well, louder perhaps but with less truth and beauty. It's ancient vanity that gains power because so many of the old institutions have lost credibility and so much of today's world is making it up as it goes along.

There are islands in oceans yet.

* * * * * * * *

Oh, those times; they were bigger than you and I. We wiggled from them with a few good seeds. It was how peace was to be conducted. There is only manifestation. And it comes from the unseen God. Stay away from those who claim it is theirs or that they represent the true unseen God.

Do the times give you courage or do they make you a coward? That seems like a perennial question. I think so much was going on it was difficult to act along any particular road. And there are surprising things you reject and shocking things you accept. It is integrating everything along the high road so the substance is heavy as the earth, light as the cloud.

It's always been easy to drop out and wander around. What is difficult is to take on the thing itself, the whole thing, as it is, to take it on and patiently transform it into your own sense of things, your own language. And know it. And deliver it in wonderful ways.

* * * * * * * *

You keep going. You don't know why at times. You wander in the darkness at 4am wondering, "what have I done? Where am I going?"

When you fill up on the wrong things whether it is food or culture the results are plain. There is no umbilical to American popular culture. It is all air-borne fantasy.

Start with spiritual reality or physical reality.

"A way to be in the world." Filled in with the beauty of the rocks.

There are few satisfactions looking into a bottomless pit.

Freedom is proven by a generosity of spirit.

And so a turning is on us. There is a wheel and when it cracks open a bit it never closes until it is fully open and churning up both madness and enlightenment.

Memory of eternal sands we tried to sink our feet into. Tomorrow we will be burned again by the swift packets of all we have known.

We know, at the very least, the rotten smell of certain freeways.

Forgive us if we've seen the moon one too many times.

* * * * * * * *

The great clock shifts; it is on three wheels linked together by sprockets.

We can hardly understand what is in store for us. A good hospital will teach this lesson.

Live and love and don't look back but for the nuggets and jewels.

Be so very happy for every green thing you see, truly see.

The mind compresses to make more room for new content; a new wine skin for new wine. And if this is not an "age of compression" I don't know what is. Even the greatest fears can be compressed and marked meaningfully somewhere as long as the new wine pours forth.

This is why constant replenishment is necessary.

What were you meant to do? That's a question even at this late date.

What then is that open wound?

What needs to be closed?

It is the belief one can do better, one can go beyond, not in a crazy sense but in an honorable sense and wanting to get there fast rather than patiently work each step.

* * * * * * * *

You are idealistic only once in life.

Then comes the curious turning toward power; economic power, personal power, political power.

You begin to see the world in terms of obstruction and opportunity. You head towards opportunity and fight obstruction.

You join with like-minded persons in their similar quest, compete and bond after a period of initiation.

The world moves merrily onward. The degree you scoff at or encourage idealism tells a great deal about the nature of the process you went through.

'Will people ever remember the long sweep? They will know it without knowing what it is!

X marks the spot.

More than one night I remember rolling off and gasping, asking myself, "what in the hell was that?"

The mysterious X

The key is not allowing others to turn the narrative, to bend it to their advantage and against your own nature.

How the 'prophets' of yesterday have vanished without a trace. Yet when complacency sets in they come again!

* * * * * * * *

Each person needs to know their own "inner Lake Manasa," as the epic teaches. The epic that resembles a bloody video game played by teen-agers.

It was to never relinquish the few attributes that matter. And who crushes the attributes were the enemy. And the loyalty to the few that kept the attributes alive., that was the thing.

Oh to go have a let-loose period where nothing matters but the flow of letters, dancing without a care across whatever medium is available. It happened in a long ago land filled with boisterous talk and heavy dreams. Up until the indecisions hit and fractored all intentions into a thousand little vessels.

Did you learn anything there? Were they advocates? Did they take you up a notch? Or was it all one-sided?

"I got awful tired of listening all the time."

I keep asking, "what has filled you up since the end? What nutrient do you still partake of?"

* * * * * * * *

"And what is significant about your precious words?"

"I suppose it is that they are the words of an honest, fallible human being. That they try to enter places that are rare."

"You set yourself up for pain. And when you lived away from it was it good? Did it satisfy?"

"No, that was only an ornery sort of anticipation, fast when I was young but slowed down over the years. I had a nature that did the least enjoyable thing with a kind of relish."

"You cared too much!"

"Guilty. But I'm not alone.

* * * * * * * *

Nature is still the infinite culture.

Finding the culture that develops the self, develops the wild energies of talent, is an adventure. It's never a given. Make all tradition contemporaneous and then walk about finding the treasures.

Sharpen your mind on huge problems that involve dramatic consequences and impossible complexity.

Know when to let go.

Don't be afraid to study your own fears.

Don't let elations inflate the ego.

The sensibility is built over time and applied by layers on a good foundation.

* * * * * * * *

What is more important, the tale or the way it is told?

The tale is the light, the way it is told is the lamp.

And the core of the tale, what is it and what is it about?

It comes to finally, the line between life and death, a line we cross and mysteriously never return. Odd.

But we draw up to that line at any rate and the eternity past that line or over that line is an endless speculation, wisdom, and hope-- fear even.

We could assume that the line is an illusion and, in fact, we are led out to infinite worlds we will discover in our time, in due time.

It's a responsibility to carry what is best in the mind and spirit. In this sense it is moral without preaching.

Why would it want to reproduce what has already been done? It doesn't as long as it retains the element of playfulness, willing to leap into new space displaced by forms we cannot control.

We have learned this one lesson at least: Try to produce what you had admired and you produce shadow. Produce what is revealed by the curious and educated heart and you have something worthwhile.

In this sense one is a product of his time and stands opposed to his time. A time that resists itself!

* * * * * * * *

The useless word is made powerful only by the power crazed in the world. They take useless words and destroy men and women with aplomb. The writer is always in this dilemma.

Most everything else is prettied up nonsense meant to put the mind to sleep.

"I don't believe what they say."

"I don't believe the world order."

"I don't believe how they weigh what is important and what is not important."

The useful word is attached to good mind and good centers of self. It comes from the God within. That's the point of it. That is how things begin again.

In the beginning was the emergence of a man from the Earth with no protection against the sensations of nature. He was beautiful motion and blind until he stumbled on the killing. The killing was a source of fascinating pressure, a thing that is done because it is no other way, it is the way it is done

From the town and city the faces come one by one, a blur of oneness through the inkling day, dry from some swoosh that passes through.

We double back when things are almost desperate. Fully desperate we'd stop and let nature take its course. But nature insists we double back quickly with a learning mind and extract the good that was there; the few precious drops of insight running out of pain.

Coercion against the heart's desire was not a good.

Unwanted advisories that always carried a guilty bag of crud in the throat was not a good.

Humiliations may be, ultimately, our own fault but that doesn't make them good.

Most of the tales heard were not bad but not good either.

Faking it was not good.

Being where one was not wanted was not a good.

The cries and caws of doomed nature was not a good.

Very few things exist as non-fiction. So be it. What would it be like to live in a world of pure reality?

Boldness and sadness battle inwardly for some dominant persona, some gambit in the world that consumes us.

It empties us and then shoo's us out the door. So we are left with either boldness or solace or the need for it at any rate.

Who stands, then, without surrendering?

We go before the old structures and meaning and the bewildering carnival of new perceptions and ways and means of doing things. "Ah, the future will sort it out," but only if they are hip to what is going on in the first place. Only when they take on their own confusions and ambiguities which is rare of individuals much less whole societies or large groups.

The Earth, that lone living thing, is a beautiful center in the imagination. It is the center of what it discovers in our limited but expansive ability to discover. "It's all been discovered before." Well, maybe,

I don't think so.

And lit cities are trails we have taken in our bodies when the sun has set. They do not speak but set up free of our own strange line of force.

Time is the mirror that destroys infinity.

Carry on with the pressure of what is not said always informing what is said. The tale is a sad thing, an action of words

* * * * * * * *

It's a battle between fascination with what is going on in the world and fascination for what is going on in front of the screen or a piece of paper. The world wins out but yet the mind prevails.

People are shockingly manipulative, suspicious, ignorant, without an ounce of understanding and yet want to be pampered at every step along the way.

Things are slow because human culture is adapting to what has been thrown in front of it in the form of stimulus. It's in a state of turmoil.

It feels right and wonderful to imagine those phases as expansive discs that make the mind strong and able to push back inhuman pressures.

People project all the time, thinking they are ridding themselves of something bad. The bad is simply waiting for them down the road swinging down from a tree and smacking them on the ass

* * * * * * * *

We swim in waters rarely encountered because the conditions have been so skewered by technology, capital, science etc. You can only absorb the world if you have already committed yourself to "remaking" the world through your stories and language.

People who try to pull others down are dogs who want the victim to become a cat or, at least, something the dog can destroy.

There was no place to go. America was the center, I knew that. Where was one to go? And nowhere one goes allows the self to escape its problems.

* * * * * * * *

There is a difference between the entertaining life and the entertained life. We are passive to the designs of others who flop around in a state of bizarre inarticulate nonsense.

It is a buzzing, stupid world to punish us as assuredly as any moral teaching says the meaningless life will be punished. The dumbness sets the bar, all else follows. The money is there. It's not in the air with lofty thoughts. The low density that fights for power! A good man laughs but a democratic man cries.

Well, the stupid world is but a media now. In reality a lot of intelligence still prevails.

This age may find itself buried before it knows it. The most important things about it such as the internet will simply mutate beyond our perceptions and leave us as a way station that people are hardly interested in. Space travel is that way. Perhaps the money system. We do not have the privilege in knowing how it will all mutate; in fact, no one will until it all collapses since it will never stop mutating.

Woe to the ones it all collapses on!

* * * * * * * *

There is manna and there is nothing. Choose manna.

If my manna is your poison don't expect me to make it my poison as well.

By all means bring me manna that is not my own. And let me eat and drink thereof.

Sometimes what tastes like manna one year dissolves into thin air the next.

Sometimes what dissolves into thin air one year re-appears as manna.

* * * * * * * *

A very rich, large knowledge base will allow a person to take on any number of problems.

Science, technology, and capital confine, determine, define, capture, sometimes very beautifully and elegantly. That is the raw material for the literary person.

It's never a zero-sum game because we live in a wonderful democracy where liberty is prized. My liberty may not be your liberty but you don't have to reach for that gun just yet.

The scientist, technologist, capitalist all have privileged places and yet they are as contained, as limited, as fragmented as the poor shitters who live in the waste-dump often produced out of those activities.

Science, technology, and capital form the nobility of the modern world and the poet is always in relation to the nobility.

I don't underestimate the huge struggle these questions created in my poor self!

* * * * * * * *

What justified anyone thinking or creating in a world where buttons could get you anything you wanted? What justified anything if money and the market were the bottom-lines? It is not good to stay put afraid of the monstrous powers of the world flying overhead.

There is nothing to fear and worlds to make.

The poet's revenge is time.

* * * * * * * *

We can only operate in the context of the meaningful. This is what the modern world finally teaches. On a global scale we have no right to anything because the suffering is great on a global scale. Yet, we have inpenetrable and justifiable rights because of the struggle in and from history.

We stand in the cold, the cold is connected to our relative relation to the sun, the sun is a mere speck in the infinite cold and infinite night. Is it meaningful? If not then it is predictable that human beings will block out all contexts but that which gives them a sense of power; ie. sex and violence.

But if there is no meaning at the highest level, there is no meaning at the lowest level. And all the sex and violence, emotional and otherwise, will be as empty as the emptiness the people fear.

Facts and figures are not enough. The tempting lures from meaningless gestures and meaningless sources is not enough. No category of identity is enough.

To live a life that evolves in suprisingly fresh and signficant ways might be one. A life of character. A life that experiences futility and yet moves the rock up the mountain. A life trusting the enriched soil it has been built on might be an excellent model.

It wouldn't be a kind of spineless freedom, a freedom without a soul. It would be freedom with purpose, freedom as a meaning.

* * * * * * * *

Freedom is fairly relative in that the colonists or pioneers or natives saw themselves as free, gaining freedom through their work and sacrifice but freedom does not look the same to someone in 2023 as it did to someone in 1623. But both enjoy the nature of what they call freedom. And it appears that their freedom led up to my freedom or my sense of it. So that if I lost what I perceive as freedom now and had to work and sacrifice as they did I wouldn't call it freedom. I would be more apt to call it punishment.

Space- spaciousness, outrageous perceptions, crowds of the anonymous, the fix of implausible dilemmas, motion, stillness yet.

Vast curiosity and the will to meet that vastness through sacrifice, to fill up, out beyond the horizon of family, school, community, out until you can't stand it anymore. Then pushing it through whatever expression you have until you start to eliminate the vastness as you gain more experience and demand more to fill you up. And you eliminate and eliminate until you have the core of what still generates action in the self and imagination. And you carry it as long as you possibly can and don't look back. And don't apologize.

Unhappiness and hate; you meet with these often enough. You experience some of it yourself especially unhappiness. The spiritual will drive hate out of a person because the spiritual separates out "good" energy from "bad" energy and it is quite clear that "hate" is a "bad energy." It corrupts so much of the self! One of the consequences of driving religion from the core of the culture is that hate becomes flexible and never fully dispensed from a person. It becomes a burden without a recourse but a fatal one. Hate is the thing-itself. The object of hate is merely an excuse to exercise the built in capacity to hate. Hate easily converts itself into self-righteousness.

* * * * * * * *

The lengthwise of time, known and speculative. The qualities of the cosmos that are nearly speechless.

The hard, insistent plowing into the mysterious force of empty space.

Gods intention

Words as actions; the delivery of words through the physical self-enacting in imaginative space. The cut through space by the intentions of blood and spirit.

There was a woman covered up, almost hidden, who told me, "contradict everything you've written." She whispered it and then I told someone who I trusted, "I'm going to contradict everything I've written. Or, discover what can be contradicted." He nodded.

Modern wisdom, if there is such a thing, does not need to simply have insight into what makes the age unique but to pass through it completely and get to the other side of it. And then meditate on it and see what comes up.

* * * * * * * *

When what emerges from essence is good it is beautiful. It is true. The good and beautiful and true are their own essence in that they can be experienced rather than known. We know to destroy or to build up. We think we know many things and end up destroying or building up the wrong thing, not the essence but some facsimile that will pamper our selves.

Oh for the things that have gone on. In the cities, on the screens, in the rooms, in the brains, in the cars and stores of it all. It's a ruthless sort of reality but ours at any rate.

In the cycle, out of the cycle. Ho hum. We are here. And we know it runs long and deep without us. It is a privilege to know and we guard it as a valued piece of gold. In the cycle we think of narrative. Out of the cycle we think on different things, sometimes nothing itself. We zim and zoom among the jesting faces. There is a halt to speech. We are peeled open at a precise moment. Songs without words.

"Oh, I read all them prefaces and such, all those clues to make it big, no question." Watch out when the martyr laughs! Beware when the scapegoat gloats!

Oh bury it, bury it and bury it more.

* * * * * * * *

The necessity of narrative: We are individuals. The world acts on us a certain way. There may be a thousand different ways but you have to be honest and report the one that blows through you. The narrative reminds you of what was important to you. It gathers memory sweetly. It accounts for the year, yippeee. Millions of things happen that don't get expressed. And without a doubt it will fade, fade, fade away. Certain things will stick out and be of interest to those who follow. The vast majority of things will leap into the grave with everyone else.

Did the meaning cohere? Yes, to an extent. There's more to go.

They glide, they glide mercilessly, mercifully.

* * * * * * * *

Let the world be and find a rousing angle of attack appropriate to your sense of value. There are many who front for the lies of the world. "They would be shocked by what doesn't come through. Not as shocked as what does come through. They didn't fight noble battles; they lived and died in heaps of money, they drowned in it. The sucking down sound survives them."

You step off into the wonders of a blue midnight shaken out with massive fires.

Their charms have been entertained away from them. Mute savages. Who suddenly burst out in talk. It is amplified and called part of "a tradition of freedom."

But no you are simply a restless, incorrigible guy.

"Let us re-address the whole mess again."

And those who explain everything, in the end, explain nothing.

* * * * * * * *

There is very little control over the actual talented who learn, after great upheavals in youth, that patience is the thing. That a long dry road can suddenly dive into a wonderful clear lake. Controllers always attempt to dismantle talent that is at rest.

* * * * * * * *

It's not a futile gesture: that is the root understanding that we are ignorant even with all the knowledge and experience we've accumulated. At that moment we are open to other angles of attack that contradict, vivify or otherwise stimulate ourselves out of the static feeling that we know it all. At that moment possibility exists, there is hope, we are open to a nearly infinite array of light to take us many places. I call it the grace of God, others would call it something else. Brutal life will chase us back to the narrow mind we have escaped from but it does not do so without resistance.

* * * * * * * *

The writer has to use the fact of a specialized culture to his advantage. Learning everything, an impossible task, is not very meaningful and not very wise. And certainly not possible. One could spend five lifetimes learning everything and yet, somewhere, in a variety of areas would be armies of specialists who knew more. This is the sad fact of the world. It is better to let go of the need to know everything, honor your insatiable appetite for knowledge, and learn to use the experts and specialists as you learn to use history.

Treat it with respect, rather than exploit it. Respect it and it opens into whatever domain of value is possible to attain.

Know how to research. That is the key. Know where things are. Know how to question information.

Know what works and what doesn't work. And focus on your strength rather than weakness.

* * * * * * * *

At the end of the process one settles with the fact that the culture is a resource if one uses it properly. If one uses it as a tool for growth and development that is. Just don't get stuck in one channel! That was the lessons of youth. Know yourself, know that there are resources to make sure that self grows and develops well and richly, open and don't judge, protect the integrity of yourself. Those were the lessons I glean from that period of time.

Another lesson: we often fight what we should embrace and learn; and learn and embrace what we should fight. f

* * * * * * * *

It is a hawk trying to spot a worm on the ground and when it has it in its sight dives straight down, snatches it, and looks for the next one.

What interests me in the present time is my experience of it; pure and without judgement.And now sir, where goes wisdom? And beauty? Have you given up painting? Architecture? Do you even need new beauty?

One can no more manipulate the past as manipulate the present. It is there. The people do what they do. The machine looms up and roars overhead. The freeway buzzes by the window. Napoleon marches to Egypt, a guy is killed on his farm by marauding Huns, a woman has sex with a young man in the fields. It's all there. I can not move it one way or the other. I can do things that connect me to every aspect of it.

* * * * * * * *

Absorption of city, suburb, freeway, stadium, trains and planes, airports, silly people, obnoxious people,saintly people and so on. The color driving through the day is a pure density of green. A moment before the sun comes and heat dances on the leaves with speckled blue between the spaces, a covering for the infinite darkness and its taunting light. Absorption of the past. "You past, are a mighty thing and fight against every tendency to destroy you!" The artist doesn't want the startled, still present but the moving and jagged, the thousand cameras like the eyes of insects making us laugh at the outrageous speed of the mind when it is thoughtless. Pictures of countless counterfeits who successfully negotiate the spirit of the people. Oh damaged people! Closed down for all the splendor around them.

A king of nothing is saluted and runs boldly through the small shrines and temples we make. Empty, anonymous houses line the road to Hell. It is on the surface. It knows no boundary. Paved into it are the faces of the dead, their mouths always in preparation to speak. Yelp! Discuss. Make a case. Men and women move from the houses with fierce determination to fill the streets and make a glum carnival. A man who sells Chinese food from his hut is the pretext for wild insults. Mad youth rampages and turns over everything in its path.

The day is a pounding head with eyes deep into the sense of dread. It is a day that sweats nightmares below the white day- gleam of the moon. A man carries a moon on his back from morning to night. He crosses the line of sight from horizon to horizon and becomes a puff of smoke. We would explode then in laughter and delight on some final night we knew would come.

* * * * * * * *

What is a writer? What is a free, liberal democratic citizen for that matter? He must have large spaces and he needs creative tensions. His oppressions may seem silly next to the grinding oppressions of people under a dictator like the one's being thrown out now. But then, his oppressions are as real and he has to deal with them and push the envelope back on them.

Softness and pity bring on the dictator eventually, because softness and pity can not initiate the positive steps that leads to new creations, new building, new futures. And the dictator arises when the people get concave and the dead world pours into them and they have no defense.

People with no defense can't build anything. Defense is as much as part of freedom as the beautiful excursions and roamings of mind, spirit, and body.

* * * * * * * *

Sustained as we are by fine music from behind the trees, just below where the steam flows from the underground venting system. A man is measuring the long street and declaring that the lines that meet from either end start either the descent into Hell or ascent into Heaven. A crowd gathers and applauds him wildly knowing they have seen something not shown on TV. They are happy something confirms something real outside of the spoon feeds of the innocuous screen. All screens. Big ones and little ones. Screens! Heads. Properties of the indivisible light. Awful silence becomes a virtue just before we think it is going to destroy us for good.

There is only one thing stronger than God and that is a mother's harsh voice. A minor devil has visited this town and scorched it with the only thing it needs to: cynical laughter at everything that tries to crawl from under the rocks. So, at least, we know something of the reality of things.They suddenly smell themselves and realize they are not dogs and they are not alone. He is forced to the surface and remains there waiting for some dark secret to fall down among the trees. "Here man are clouds. You must not live in them." This is about the time good stories should be told. Tales of adventure and the bold sailors against the wind howling for millions of years along the same horizon.

* * * * * * * *

Let the world be and find a rousing angle of attack appropriate to your sense of value. There are many who front for the lies of the world. "They would be shocked by what doesn't come through. Not as shocked as what does come through. They didn't fight noble battles; they lived and died in heaps of money, they drowned in it. The sucking down sound survives them."

You step off into the wonders of a blue midnight shaken out with massive fires.

Their charms have been entertained away from them. Mute savages. Who suddenly burst out in talk. It is amplified and called part of "a tradition of freedom."

But no you are simply a restless, incorrigible guy.

"Let us re-address the whole mess again."

And those who explain everything, in the end, explain nothing.

* * * * * * * *

There is very little control over the actual talented who learn, after great upheavals in youth, that patience is the thing. That a long dry road can suddenly dive into a wonderful clear lake. Controllers always attempt to dismantle talent that is at rest.

* * * * * * * *

The symbolic wishes we have had- all gone, all disintegrated and disintegrating by the hour.

I have done what I can do. I have wrung each drop out of the precious hoard. I have gathered up the significant squares of latitude through which we see the traffic and flame of the daily grind.

The writer eventually discovers that the world is greater than he, yet the writer must believe he can report on the world. Let us see the men and women who lived with us this day!

We hear and see the malevolent cries of madmen and eternal killers. We want the sky. We want the last planet formed by the old cosmos.

We want to see what the camera can't show us. We surrender to the soft complex's; old conflicts resolve and dance happily under the purest moon.

* * * * * * * *

The objects that pass through us, their urgency and staying power. The ineffable sense that we have, at all times, made a monstrous mistake.

The mind of perspective and the uncanny feeling it is only through the grace of God.

Something grand about the passing of large emotional complex's that remind us that life is mystery and love. That life offers up something of extraordinary worth and benefit.

* * * * * * * *

What is dignity without the fullness of the individual self? That seemed to be the first battle to fight. There were tremendous assaults on the self, the dignity of human life during the time I grew up in.

In part it is about the vast inhuman universe and its subsidiary systems in which life is an improbable joke, easily dispensed with a thousand different ways. We want to explore what devours us so tastelessly.

And so what defines what?

Men build and destroy everything between.

We are always loyal to the constructive principles.

* * * * * * * *

I did not believe in the way things were. I felt something urgent moving in me.

Oh we fly, certainly. But respect the dark lines to what we can not see. We live this. We live with these.

This thing goes away; quickly it is gone.

To all the treasure we have tried to push through!

* * * * * * * *

Perhaps the thing the writer tries to do is free imagination and intellect from all the dense material which gives it life to begin with. That way, more freedom, more possibility is introduced into the culture without telling it anything---provoking mind within it to take up the possibility. After all, the culture is dominated by progress, improvement, criticism, intervention and so on that leads to "betterment." It's practically institutionalized and a natural part of the modern world. Just as cameras tell the people's stories or attempt to.

* * * * * * * *

I've been out of sync for so long. Each orbit demands a tightening. It's this contradiction. The spiritual in me says reality is nothing. The democrat in me says that reality is everything. The spiritual says that history is an illusion, the democrat says that history is utterly real.

Each orbit takes its toll. Our face is happily turned to the black uniqueness spread all around. Our feet are on the ground. 10,000 steps to happiness.

* * * * * * * *

It happened that way.That's all we can say about it. So I look back, live forward and try to orientate myself to the present. The present and all its machines and noise, all its rushing perceptions and nonsense, prepares to fill me up. Its events and events to be, prepare the cup for the filling up.

An Earth, then, always turning and migrating to what is vital and good. We must see the Earth's systems and the systems between peoples. No matter how much communication there is and travel, we live in our own sovereignty. Products are emptied out of the old world like eggs from the fecund hen. A million hens. A billion of them. The planes fly through the clouds, over the land and sea, under the space that exists for trillions of light years in all directions, in absolute hostility to human life. The leaders talk and solve little. Cities vibrate every morning with action, with the ceaseless need to stay alive, with intrigue, with dramas of every sort. The long drive passes through us. Then the image we did not expect begins to yammer about nothingness.

And now beautiful trees, sexual from the ground to the sky, speak through the wind that blows between their limbs. Green! It is here and lifts us to that domain that is untouchable. We are free of you ungreen people! You nasty bastards.

* * * * * * * *

There was a woman covered up, almost hidden who told me, "contradict everything you've written." She whispered it and then I told someone else who I trusted, "I'm going to contradict everything I've written. Or, discover what can be contradicted." He nodded.

Modern wisdom, if there is such a thing, does not need to simply have insight into what makes the age unique but to pass through it completely and get to the other side of it. And then meditate on it and see what comes up.

* * * * * * * *

Oh to go have a let-loose period where nothing matters but the flow of letters, dancing without a care across whatever medium is available. It happened in a long ago land filled with boisterous talk and heavy dreams. Up until the indecisions hit and fractored all intentions into a thousand little vessels.

Did you learn anything there? Were they advocates? Did they take you up a notch? Or was it all one-sided?

"I got awful tired of listening all the time."

I keep asking, "what has filled you up since the end?" "What nutrient do you still partake of"?

* * * * * * * *

I see the hill. I see the hill that glistens. I see the hill that glistens and makes the people laugh with joy. We are here! Their laughter seems to say. We are here and it is good to be here!

And when we listen to the water and the water is by us we are amazed at the activity of men. They move like slow rocks in a tough, stiff wind. Shouts. We look at her, a small woman being carried about. Ah, she comes from somewhere and her face looks protected, even in the darkening, so serene with those restless eyes.

* * * * * * * *

When humanity laughs through the poet it is the call for good things.

* * * * * * * *

Water eternal, laughter eternal, fright at the headless body eternal, pangs eternal, pinprick eternal, the march of bodies eternal, the closing eternal; we whiz by in cars and wave them away. We fly over them at 600 mph and listen to games. They laugh because they live by the river and always have lived by the river. Nothing changes they say.

We have a hill, it is ours and it is empty of furious armies.

* * * * * * * *

Poetry is always crushed out of existence always to return stronger and better.

So I suppose the literary life is elite because in the mass marketplace of both ideas and products/ services it is a null and void substance.

Almost all of the mass culture is false and a huge, expensive gas-bag that politicians often suck from. It quickly captures young people and then gives each generation a generous heap of delusion to "live a life."

One finds true expression at the street level as in murals that I saw in SF and Berkeley, even street poetry and musicians although they sound the same note after a while. The street can be an antidote to the bloated mass culture but it is not a solution and has many limitations that the pop culture doesn't have. I had the rare ability to taste this street scene in my 20's and early 30's. I don't regret it but it fails in attaining the level possible, the potential level of any expressive art.

* * * * * * * *

The writer, like the money guy, needs models after he's decided what his path is going to be. If you want to be a money guy there are the models, adapt those for your own purposes and go for it.

There are a lot of creeps, assholes, conmen, criminals, and crazy people in that path and you have to be prudent and kind of cherry pick your way through. And writers need good models for a foundation out of which they can expand any number of ways.

Listen to the great models, not the professors

* * * * * * * *

A writer benefits from two gestures while a member of a society: to be alone with a wonderful library and to mingle happily with the people who teach, after a time, the art of humor and how to be humble. Get out of the classroom and most organizations as soon as possible, as soon as its practicable. There are moments when comfort is deadly and security a prison. I'm not sure the test is any different for "modern" types as it is with primitive tribes: get way out there where the demons and ghosts roam free and do battle, then come back to the tribe a changed human being, ready to protect and add to the largess of the tribe.

Isn't it true though that by attempting to understand the universe or civilization we've expanded our ability to know, our ability to experience and so have improved things a bit?

People have argument with "civilization" until it starts to break down under the duress of human madness or nature. That's why it's necessary to try and comprehend it as much as possible and then find ways to "make it better." Be, therefore, fully imaginative and fully intelligent. And don't apologize.

Civilization meets simple human conscience. Give space to both. What is built and how it is used.

* * * * * * * *

"People want to be free, the people need to be free." An eternal chant from antiquity. They should enact it at the highest level possible and all permutations, all depth of freedom should be sounded. If nothing else the great demonstration of freedom should be in front of the world and its history. And where else would it be?

From the god like "historical perspective" anything can and will happen. Nations will come and go. Ways of life will come and go. But life, if we're allowed an opinion, belongs to the living and the living suffer things that the "historical perspective" knows nothing about. "Ah but you see it really is painless because it all rolls away." It is not painlessly rolled away. At the very least when a shift is going on at least we can do two or three things. Enact that freedom at the highest level, think about the various scenarios waiting in the future, and help as much as we can. After all, catastrophe occurs when life becomes unreal. When it loses its core.

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