ARCHIVES:
Events in August/September 2006
THE WRITING LIFE

By David Eide

COasis

A PAST IS A FEW WINKS AWAY

Nothing said/excellent thoughts. It is good, sometimes, for a writer to think about all the words that have deceived him.

Deception tows us to Hell.

So many plans are concocted along the way!

Deceptive words come out of a general calculation that one's self-interest will be served by the world or, more importantly, by the way the words effect the actions of another.

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Adventures into the humility of the shadow evolves from earnest transformation to comedy. Yet, the shadow and the agent of transformation remains strong and eternal.

The flagging ego left standing in the shadow is forever a figure of contempt and comedic treatment.

Let us be the magnetic stick that runs through the polarities!

I was not anti anything but I was a contrarian. I saw the three greatest fears in the people and tested them out: mainly, poverty, sickness, and insanity. There was a kind of creative energy in doing so. If a man or society is dominated by fear then what can he really contribute?

"And they give you back exactly what they saw and believed." So the startled laughter.

The fear is real enough. The cause of the fear is real but it is also magnified by a reality that needs sellers and buyers in a huge way.

The days pass. The furious drumbeats lull behind the eucalyptus trees. A man whose head is filled with fire soon smells like ash and is scooted along by the slightest wind.

So there was conflict. And antics. Pedantics for certain.

But youth transforms and then hardens when it sees it all unfold again without stoppage.

"I remember those gum-weary streets as if it were yesterday. It made thought a living being cast cold into the little entryways to bookstores and restaurants."

A fading film clip of turning twisting smiling people.

Sounds of Long John Baldry from the incense and gift store at midnight.

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Not failure but transformation from a disappointment to a new form. Let failure teach what it can teach and then leap into a happier situation.

After all, innovation doesn't come cheap. It is not something penciled in by number. It is not a predictable path at all.

The politicians always say the right things. But then, where is the proof of what they say? Without proof of what he says the politician is simply allowing that anyone who can read a page and say the right things should be a politician or, in fact, is a politician. The politician can get away with it because everyone knows that the decisions are not made by speeches but by horse trading. And the speech of that activity is not exactly high or enlightened.

Through the respect one has of the generations comes the ability to correct their mistakes and leave a few of your own, as a generation. I look at the pictures of the soldiers and know them. I know these boys. I have been one of them. Yet I am not one of them because their mistakes were obvious and so we, the living, had to take on the problems. We had to clean up the ugly acts of the past.

But I love them. And know their hardship even from the distance of a grainy photograph. Real-time. A boat is frozen in a kind of fear there in the non-descript river. No one smiles. Not even the women. Life is hard and murderous and yet what sweetness flows from their thoughts. And when we let them go they remain in some secret pocket we lug around, always there, always present.

A MAN OF MISERIES

Three or four roars of thunder hit me in my 20's. I've talked about them. One was what I perceived as the decay of the liberal democracy, another was the presence of nuclear weapons, a third was the apparent destruction of the natural environment, and a fourth was the continual transformation of raw material into goods and services that could provide a larger carrying capacity, needing more and more transformations until the resources were depleted. "Society" interested me to the extent that one lives in different neighborhoods, has conflicts, is exposed to hatred and mutual aid.

These bent me backward for a long time. Then the cold war ended and I saw a genuine desire to clear these other problems. Things seemed to lift up and away for a while. Now it is terrorism and global economy.

And I don't think the liberal democracy is out of the woods quite yet. Or the environment, or the resource base.

There are generous sources of enjoyment all around the problematical aspects.

The creative and spiritual guide that was the past couldn't speak to the present after a time. It was a matter of experiencing things and then wrangling with them in the spirit and seeing what one came up with.

I think a lot of revered human sensibility from the past would be shocked at how things have turned out. How things are run by machines and dominated by easy money, noise, fractured, haptic images. Some would have been shocked. I'm sure that some of those past luminaries would be quite delighted and say, "ah, of course! The exact path we imagined."

The sense of the physical universe, the centrality of brain/mind, the vast storehouse of information/knowledge, the construction of and use of technology becomes central. Yet we die and know not what or why but the evidence sharply points to the fact that we never return. That fact alone makes the past very relevant.

And since we live in the present for a wink of time, why not invent, progress, engage, gain pleasures and ameliorate pains?

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One hasn't lived until he falls in love and has a constant relation, however distant, with a fully absorbed woman. She is beautiful and aging. She is fragile and haughty. She is guiltless, privileged and yet caring. Life, for her, has become a frightening game.

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"Return to the root." This is what is being called on now.

"The root of your true endeavors."

It was during the Berkeley years and was very expansive.

The modern way of Death proved to me that we had gone backward. We had re-entered, not ancient, but primitive and preliterate myth.

Completing the circle opened by a man thrown out of nature and wayward thoughts of annihilation.

Every man has his own miseries. No amount of analysis or cynicism helps in the matter. But a man of miseries must find the grace and solace in life that does, in fact, exist. It must be found through the density of misery.

If I could peel back the cold hands of civilization to unmask unheard of freedoms I would do so.

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I did study the time I was thrown into. It was a kind of academic game of orientation but could sharpen things. America was the best the world produced and the very worst. One was staggered by the amount of things in the world and the systems that permitted things to flow. And I was always amazed by the steady integrity of people despite the huge, fast and powerful world they tried to negotiate. Every era gets old. Things pass and pass and for brief moments one senses a stillness, a ripeness; "ah, it has all led to here then!" And more passing and passing and passing. Until one can see this little time surrounded on all sides by things it doesn't know or understand. Flying pieces of metal and weird sounds and massive crowds collected for no particular reason. The people levitated by the processes and technologies they scarcely gave attention to like the beautiful women that magicians used to saw in half or make disappear in a box. In many ways one can say that there is little about it one would want to remain as is, intact, perpetual. Take all things and make them new. Without that spirit all the things collapse on the people and what they've built.

But until things are better and new we have this complexity and senselessness. Good. The chaos is a challenge to individual effort to struggle hard or not at all.

A HISTORY OF THE UNSEEN

The Unseen has its day in the sun.

It is entertaining or instructive; maybe both.

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Driving the empty grey streets, the mizzling avenues, I thought how I missed the days when I drank at the fount of knowledge.

It was knowledge that pushed against the heavy pressures of those times in my 20's. It was the collapse of gravity of the late 70's against the chain reactions inside the mind that helped shape the writer.

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The purpose now is to resolve the limitless tundra we have crossed. To see it all, see everything, see and even feel what we felt and saw on our wanderings along the harsh eyes of the tundra.

We reserve one thin and energetic frequency band for the new statements.

A tale or two. Something our old masters would be proud of yet in the modern way, sucking up all this modernism into us as though we were feral giants of a long lost age. And out the other end the modulations of eloquence. The grunts of free men. The cries of hysterical women. The sighs of old and sterile beauties.

No, we are not tricked by our arrogance. That is the one privilege of getting older. It is what it is. We are free of the compulsions of youth and its jabber wocky.

The tragedy is that beauty never rests. It is always tearing down what's in the way. But then it either finds the redemptive seed or tears into itself.

"Don't fake anything. Fabricate. And at the end there will be laughter."

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I can't tell whether killing the novel in myself was an act of tremendous ambition or a complete lack of it. You come to realize that the will isn't shaped exactly the way you thought it was. Perhaps there are designs that one can't dream about, only discover and half-assed at that.

It was hard for me to manipulate characters. You never want to begin a piece of art by back engineering its analysis for gods sake.

Of course the novel, like movies, are great when young and you have little experience. The acts in a novel or movie are amplified. "Ah, I must have that act as my own!" It has ruined more than a few but better novel or movies than state or religion. I never felt the novel and movie could co-exist peacefully since the dynamics are quite different; reading and passively viewing are quite different. The ease at which film enters the brain is quite different than the struggle with a novelists' language. In some ways these differences destroyed both forms. Movies could never find their abundant self because they were required to make lots of money. That was from the beginning. In five hundred years they will say, "movies started in the vaunted free market age where there were nothing but products and markets. The consumers were the nobility and conferred value on the products."

After awhile I didn't care about any of it.

Life gained more significance as I shucked off the boundaries of youth. I stretched out quite a bit. I drew in all that I had seen or been exposed to. I felt the number one priority was to heal the divided self.

The mysteries begin to show up. And they run deep and are as dense as reality. At the end nothing is certain but all is changed.

Why does the predominance of what is "good" in life leave one an odd misfit of a human being? A man goes after the good in himself and the good in life, the real foundations, and he ends up in a sad corner of a run down building with the compromised people riding and flying above him as in a world of witches and warlocks. "Hahah," they taunt flying high above on their brooms.

FEAR AND OBLIGATION

The first fear was anonymity; death in the crowds of life. This is overcome by integrating virtues and by rootedness.

To be utterly absorbed by the self is a sign that the fear has the upper hand.

By taking off the masks a writer is able to find stories in the most impervious places.

The first obligation of the writer is to break the limits, to break the prejudices, to break the barriers so that no aspect of the society is obscure, no aspect unknown. That can hardly happen if a writer goes off pursuing his or her own self-interest. They tend to clan with those sharing their own self-interest and look at those outside the clan with high suspicion.

Then comes the obligation to pursue the boundaries of one's art; experiment with it, test it, expand it so that all one's spirit can get into it. To pursue self-interest in this area is disastrous if it gets caught up in the foolish wheel of the society.

Ask this question: "What then does this strange word freedom really mean?"

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I had the archaic American trait of "doing it all oneself." It's a pitiful, nearly pathetic trait in this day and age and will land you at the rear sucking bitter hind tit.

Before meaning comes the ferocity of nihilism; the chaos of devils and crazy people.

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Thinking about the internet years.

What does one come away with? The skill to construct things in the amniotic fluid that is the internet.

Communication is learned not by communication to likeminded people but communicating with people who you either fear or despise.

Information is useless, a great waste of time without a structure of knowledge and experience in place.

Resource is as good as its credibility.

To construct things you need to be fearless.

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Fearful people hide behind and are eventually controlled by the inhuman. They project it out whenever they can. And in my humble estimation a liberal democracy was impossible, freedom was impossible without "growth and development." That was a main structure through that period of time.

It levels off. You protect the path you've been on but look out into the larger world and have larger concerns.

The world rides on a delicate balance now. On the one hand the nation-state system isn't going away and when it does the present will become a moot question. On the other the peoples of the Earth can collaborate in ways never before seen and collaborate for mutual aid and increase as they used to say.

When growth and development levels off there is a need to see what is carried up to maintain the vitality of that growth and development. Strengthening the integrity of the intellect, growth and enrichment of the imagination, re-moralizing the senses, increasing the support of faith among other items. "Knowing how it works."

I doubt if our flow is that much different than theirs. We have more content sticking up from the mess as it goes past us. The mind is a beautiful song. We rarely, though, go past the outlines of power.


IT IS NATURE

I am at the powerful ocean and the powerful ocean draws me into wonderful thoughts and feelings about the life of the human species and time and darkness. Then I am (within an hour) on a mist-filled mountain and the beginning of raging rivers bounding through the granite of our own hidden sea cliffs. A slender valley of lonely farmhouses and their implements; green, the extraordinaire, is a sun. And when I hear the ignorant say the desert is empty I know it is fuller than their own brains.

We are so rich in it that we hardly notice the sky.

The sky opens and closes to reveal our truest state of mind. When it closes the mind is drawn down into what nature demands we do. When it is open the mind arches to the trails of ancient probes. We see old friends now exist in the void.

Isn't the city a thing built for this nature that comprehends us?

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So it says, "We are in this thing: The epoch of striking colors and babbling nonsense. Of ugly, harsh women and their professors. Of soiled relations and window dressing; ornamentations and bubbles of froth. A nightmare to truth and beauty; a challenge to any half-sentient being.

An epoch of drowning hopes and aspirations, an era cracked against itself."

Or is it that simple? Perhaps it is the opposite of what we think and feel at any given moment. Our disgust lasts a moment. It's been forced on us so we conspire with a lingering swarm where we pluck out a seed or two and wait for the growling light.

Our city!

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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.

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.

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HARDLY A THING

When I don't write I feel guilty or at a loss but then when I go back to it I find whatever is pent up comes out. Writing is a win/win, never a zero/sum.

When the individual matures, this is what is happening. "Ah, I am this individual, the only one I will be. Many struggles have ended. Do I have a drop or two of wisdom? Perhaps. Am I concerned about things even though I believe we can do very little with this life? Yes but I have to choose and it usually comes down to the values that I think are supreme."

We know we have arrived when we suffer massive disappointments and yet go on. We know our powers are not our own. That even that supreme power, disillusionment, can be transformed with enough faith and patience. And the reward then! Rewards we never could have foretold.

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The trick is to live inside one's own world with all its differences and yet objectify it as well. And leave a space of mind for the past and future.

Find what will humble you from the high and mighty brain.

The problem with "objectifying" is that it tends to stick in one place. In the modern world there must be flexibility. The object is never fully known. There are no absolutes, not for human beings at any rate. So, "how to know" is a premium in value, so is the ability to "orientate" where one is and allow for progress in order to go further.

To the writer's imagination myth seemed to have dried up because the emotional life of people is different today; more education, more experience, more perception, more of everything results in a people of almost pure manipulation and calculation. Those who have any motion to them at any rate..

A writer interested in myth should forget about old myths and focus his raw mythmaking capability on technology, time, space, the effects of money and democracy.

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PAEAN

Oh stimulated world, free yourself! For putting gadgets on you, in you, by you without thinking about you, yourself, you have imprisoned yourself and will impose that imprisonment everywhere you go for a century or two.

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I couldn't do anything unless I was compelled to do it. To find the compelling spot is an art in itself. The novel was great when it sliced open society and revealed it and so objectified it for the readers. In our time what is society? Whose society? The highly specialized and complex society can't be captured so easily. All kinds of new things have appeared on the scene to show people "the society" or the many societies whatever the case may be. It's more important that the novelist know "the society" study it, know who studies it and why, puts that in a vast resource base but then writes about whatever is compelling to him or her.

"Society, I have run well through you! I have the taste of you all in my bones.

A thousand heads and hearts stick out of my skin.

Your words are delightful confusions. Your ignorance turns on every lust imaginable."

THE ROAD TO HELL

There is a hole in the surface of the planet that leads to hell.

There were the curvatures of a thousand suspended dreams high above the tower of the bridge.

There was a kind of mindless absorption into a pustule; a heap of voices growling from the pit of an empty belly.

There was a colorful pageant in youth down a street whose name we have forgotten. Splendid houses and happiness were in the air!

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Things are easily lost without structure and form.

It is not only the books, though they are always close by. Everything not-the-book comes through the modern banshee, under our delicate thoughts and to the bone where death is.

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Language

The language to startle the soul is created in the act of being startled.

The language that solves problems is created with the soul that has been pulverized for brief moments of time.

The language of love is carried through the invisibilities where the spirits reign.

The well-rounded language wheels through the various domains and learns, through mute symbols, the truth of things.

A buoyant atmosphere prevails when the democratic citizen understands to the depths of his being, the reality of freedom.

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Random Considerations

"We underestimate how oppressive gravity is," the captain said.

Sometimes when the Earth is spotted in the distance, from the moon or from some point in the coordinates of black space, a terrible face is seen pressed against the surface like the eternal prisoner.

"We have no doubt the future will see ourselves as a series of lessons:"

  • "Mass movements of little meaning clashed like ancient armies in the deserts of Assyria."
  • "Women were engorged on a power that destroyed them."
  • "Men were feeble puppets who went nuts when they identified the first string."
  • "What seemed such a powerful form when young was not love but addiction."

So they perhaps say in trying to escape their own lessons.

No, the ego saves nothing and simply replicates itself generation after generation. It is a giant mask for the wounds and weaknesses of self. It is a blowhard. It is a chief weapon of passive/aggressive types. Ah, but full of good stories at times! And always shaped in the form of the experience of youth.

I learned long ago that ego was both friend and foe.

LINES AND SHAPES

Silence from the past, animated by swift and brave shadows. The jubilation moves forward into an uncreated moment. Ah, so that was the test! After these sullen years, that was the test!

The storehouse is not the object, it is the storehouse.

Return, return, return to me.

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"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. And that is what I call God. The mind cannot know it absolutely but by degrees, by pushing the envelope back. A simple belief in science is not enough. Science, now, is a collective affair and so it is the people who must help the scientists push that envelope.

Clarity is a green infinity.

Life sprouts!

It courses and rests and begins again.

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A writer learns that trust is a stubborn acorn that refuses to grow until it is certain it will build a fine tree. Human beings, certainly, are better destroyers than creators. Destruction is fairly easy and it seems to find a variety of talents in people. Creating is difficult. The creator is rare. So the creator has to take responsibility to make sure his efforts will not be hampered by the destructive demiurge in other human beings.

The key is to trust only that which builds with integrity.

Begin with the few masters. Then get the circle as wide as trust will permit.

We are certainly in a "destructive" period of time. It does remind me of the era I grew up in. An astounding era to live through but a monstrous hell to get clear of.

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We have our own lines and shapes. I grew up with the geometrics of things. We effaced the past with laughter and ease. Then got caught in our own conformities. And the future looked, often, bleak as an ancient catacomb.

We are free only by the knowledge base we have and by the vision of the future we acquire as an act of grace.

When the break occurs, the lines and shapes are overwhelming. So then the writer kicks in to discriminate which lines and shapes are useful. He cuts away from more than a few but wishes them no harm.

What the writer always looks for is courage. When doubt enters the frame courage is about the only thing that will save you.

A fairly benign period of time will seed great upheaval to follow. And upheaval is usually followed by inventiveness and adventure among peace loving people.

It's a lovely undulating time.

The phases were lessons; good, bad, and ugly.

APPROACHES TO WRITING

There are three approaches to writing after one has met the real world on its own terms:

One is to take the spiritual view and lift above it and let it slide beneath you, calmly observing it all but connect, not to it, but to eternity. In that sense you will write about your disillusionment and disgust of the world, your observations, and your connection to the ultimate reality in eternity.

The second approach is to remain on the Earth, feet on the ground, and then when something huge and unforgivable comes rushing at you such as instant annihilation by nukes, you twist and turn ala jujitsu until the force of it is behind you. Then the next one appears, "no audience for your material" and you do the same thing. Then massification or global poverty. They will twist you from where you began but because you've met them full on something on their quintessence lodges in you and you write it out until the air clears and you begin aggressively going after things that are desirable such as truth and beauty.

Or, thirdly, you develop a hybrid from those two approaches because you develop the knowledge and experience to do so.

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To "find God" step outside your comfort zone and experience the world as it really is.

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Pride and our useless thoughts---there they are, on the street, staring back at us with disdain knowing how they tripped us up, their victory.

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The ugly spirits are flying like mad through every dense object available.

There are only a few abstractions worth having. Protect them with your life but get rid of all the rest of them.

Know how things work. When you reach your limit you will find out who knows how to make things that are over your limit.

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Thinking is a great equilibrium to the pressures of the world. It's also a great way to correct and balance the pressures inside the mind.

If things from the world lodge in the mind thought can deconstruct them and prevent the lodged item to sink down into the spirit of things.

It's not a pre-mental condition but a learned one.

There's very little salvation in going crazy.

One of the bigger objects to be met with is the ego of others. The thinking apparatus is pretty good at obliterating the nasty effects of egotism without doing damage to the person him or herself. After all if we can comprehend a star why fear an ego?

A lover of knowledge rather than an owner of it.

Enough knowledge to allow the mind to play.

Thinking is one of the most democratic things people can do.

Formless Intimidation of the General Conditions

There is a great amount of material just waiting raw out there. Any square of longitude and latitude presents its odd and beautiful ways. Life flows through. Things move. They roar. Sometimes it is good, sometimes bad. The wounded are there. We are surrounded by the wounded. Our skylines speak. Confusion is silent.

The dart of a man who had already seen too much said, "When obstruction comes from the mouth of another remain silent. Don't involve yourself in the stupidity of others. What are the forms of this stupidity? Listen here: Disillusionment without a redeeming attempt to find the root of it. Aggravating desires flowing off the top of the head. Easy opinions about conditions prevailing in the general world. Ambition that shows no beating heart. Ridicule and contempt of general conditions. Distrust of intelligence. Formless intimidation of the general conditions. Selfishness. Uneasiness with children. Inauthentic authority. The acceptance of experience as the only criterion for reality. Wistful doom purveyors. Distrust of memory. Masks of professions. Crude, inauthentic, cultic new thought that doesn't admit its true roots. A showy kind of expression. Imitation. Lack of imagination. Confusing imagination with fantasy. Vanity that doesn't admit itself. Those at war with their families. Those who scoff at the valuable and sacred trusts of life."

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History is infinite in complexity and in a kind of mundane sorrow. At first it is so simple and stark like playing with stick figures in an old sand box. But soon one is in the sand box and the stick figures are playing on top of you.

Things play out. Things manifest. All wisdom points to the ability to simply let be.

The key is to draw out the core of value and make it one's own and then block or spit out the poison that naturally comes with it.

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I am, like most, a divided self. On the one hand I am more simpatico with a dead Chinese poet who flourished in 100B.C. or a French novelist of two hundred years ago then I am with most of my fellow creatures. On the other hand I am here, not in China, not in France and I have a brain that has absorbed as much of the time and nation as is required or good for one's health. And it's necessary to straighten out, understand some of the stuff I have experienced as a citizen in real-time as it is necessary to connect with my brothers and sisters of past ages.

The writer uses 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. A writer 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.

Respect it and it opens into whatever domain of value is possible to attain.

Know where things are. Know how to question information.

SADNESS

"A piece of writing is meant to liven the mind, perform little dances, speak to spirits, know the stars and then fade down into the eternal heart of the reader."

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.

"You have to fight from behind." Ok. I will fight from behind. I will fight out of whatever hole I am in. I will not take anything for granted. I will fight for the good of the myth. I will fight for what no one else, apparently, sees. I will fight up. I will fight down. Splendid words and concepts will emerge from the fight sprayed out and away from the physicality of the contestants.

Unrelenting days of sameness paint down on the imagination and make it a grey thing. Where are the joyous festivals with its colorful streamers, toothless brown women, and music high above the rooms where the powerful meet? Where is the release that forgives? Things shut down early in the grey town. Unrelenting traffic of anonymous cars blur with its familiar pitch. The sky bends and robs the eye of information it dearly wants.

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They would watch me from a sealed room observing me as if I were on death row and waiting for last words and then the simple exhalation that tells them they have no further use of me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Stare into the future to help create it." Yes. It's happened before. I was a young man thinking as though I were a young bushman taken out of the comforts of the tribe to endure pain and see visions. It's true enough. It all came to pass. Wisdom swung down from the trees and swooped me up. It was more powerful than the reality that was in front of me, subject to vision and wisdom as well as other qualities.

Remarkable was the prescience of those days!

Sad for the things destined to disappear.

Then I understood some of the gestures of time.

MORTAL LIFE

The novelists taught me to look at the hard shapes and the thing that exists. Poetry taught me to look inside the hard and real things, at the actual real, at the life and seed of things and to let the large emotions run freely. Philosophy taught me skepticism and how to break things apart in order to understand attainable wisdom. The spiritual taught me the reality of the eternal, the arts of transformation, that life moves out past death but that death is a formidable task.

The people taught me humor, fun, desire, guilt, shame and many things besides.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The past interrupts the soft dreams of the imagination fat in a present it did not create and puts substance there. It is not an absolute area. When we imagine Christ or Buddha walking about teaching, then going to their secret lodgings to think about the next day and the next stage of the revelation we see specific men. Men who move through time and space no differently than billions of people before and since.

But when one comes to the teachings they say, "I come across something remarkable."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There is a mortal life lived in a specific time-frame. And this mortal life shows the individual many things both internal and external. And there is a certain feel to the temporal life, let us say, forty years of it. And so when one plunks himself down on the stream of history he can imagine it in chunks of forty years, about half-a-century. And soon has the privilege of living nearly a whole century and so would know, mind and body-wise, what they would feel like any century. What it would be like to take on the problems of a quarter, a half and a full century.

So thinking through twenty centuries is not all that difficult. To know the intimacy of life in any number of places, to know the conflicts that animated a community---these are the things to know. Each generation and each self-defined age figures it is the first to be self-conscious and so dresses for the part. It's no different now than it was ten centuries ago in that regard.

Ten centuries from now people will be able to see the changes that took place at this time, in the early part of the 21st century. The change took place for a variety of reasons; the technological advances, the dire threats that were felt collectively, the space adventure and expansion of the universe in human perception.

They will perceive, without question, the terrible tension that existed between potential and limitation. There will be great disgust at some of the manifestations.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Life before machines is appearing as a great mystery. In this period of time human action exists before thought and thought must meditate on what has occurred.

Rather than getting bogged down in the messy material of the day you must contemplate on those categories and subjects of interest as if they are new, as if you are responsible for the creation of a new world.

In writing you commit to some aggression in yourself and write like you mean it or, else, you are trying to put something over on people. You have to have that sort of aggression which purifies the soft side of perception and empties out the dancing figures within.

ADRENALINE AND ITS ENVELOPE

Even during a feast of wonderment, the festival of light and beauty, something always seems missing. Perhaps it is a bit too conformist, a bit too pat and easy. Something of substance and depth has been ripped from it and people settle. A writer will often attempt to embody what is missing but in order to do that he must know the difference and to know that he becomes different. This is unavoidable.

Saying that, the task of the writer is to keep pushing the envelope.

"Experience dear people and tell me your tales. And if you have ambition embody those experiences in something outside the self, outside the ego into an object of truth and beauty. Do that, do that often."

In the beginning is the wonderful but vain presumption that the envelope will be pushed to the very end.

The envelope, so-called, must be pushed and pushed each stage of life. Push it back to let in a little bit more light. It can't be fabricated. Any fabrication will bring in force to support its vanity!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Slipped into the winter cold with hardly a warning song from the birds and bats.

Understanding the world is no solace. But not understanding it would be sheer hell.

We are most happy when we understand our ignorance and open up a window to let new things fly in.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

That adrenaline known as the Internet began to simmer down around 2001 or so and by 2003 I was sick of the whole thing. I was like the beggar who hated to go out into the street and yet the street delivered a few dollars a day and what else was the beggar going to do? He was doing about the only thing he could do. I worked ceaselessly and hard through 2006 and then hit a wall.

I had to ask whether I was doing what I really could commit myself to do. I had to look at some cold hard facts. I had to try and figure out whether the internet was going to be a platform for a career or not. I had to try and calculate or think of it as a legitimate publishing platform. So many people, so many communities, so many things zig zagging around it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.

ABSORPTION AND A WRITER'S DREAM

Absorption of city, suburb, freeway, stadium, trains and planes, airports, silly people, obnoxious people, and saintly people. The color driving through the day. 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.

"Past, you are a mighty thing and fight against every tendency to destroy you."

The thousand cameras are like the eyes of insects making us laugh at the outrageous speed of the mind when it is thoughtless.

Pictures of countless conmen who successfully negotiate the spirit of the people. Oh damaged people! Closed down for all the splendor around them.

"You stick with the materials that make you effective. You develop higher synthesis of the materials. And add in only to be more effective."

It is important to order things through the phases of development but it is also important to destroy the phases of development or laugh at them.

Art and wisdom; the playful synthesis at the high levels. Devil take the hindmost. Let the buggers figure it out themselves.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We begin as lost men in the mountains with ca-ca spewing from our mouths against our will. It flows down our mouths like a putrid gravy into the dead Earth. We know, then, we are not the angels we took ourselves for and try to make our way back up into the meadow of splendid visions.

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 prepared 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.

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.

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 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 a reality outside 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: 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.

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. Everywhere men go there is danger; there is resistance to his life. 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.

ACTION

Writing, like wine or sex, never protects you against the pricks of life; whether those pricks are human or inhuman. If you don't pay the bills things are taken away from you. If you don't have enough money you suffer. You suffer whether you write the greatest story or drink the fantastic wine or make love to the most beautiful woman. Dreams will tell you this. They will flood the mind with inexplicable pleasure and then make you watch as it all turns into poison for lack of funds.

When younger one prefers wine and sex. As one matures writing is a strong competitor and then overhauls the youthful pleasures altogether.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Any and all conflict is raw material. The more complex the conflict the more difficult it is to know how to deal with. The long standing conflict must be done with great thoughtfulness.

In decline hatred is a lively beast.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Language is action. If the world is full of action then language, too, should be varietal and sweet to the experienced mind. Driving the freeway is an action. Flying a plane is an action. Making a business deal is an action. Deciding to work here and not there is an action. Voting for a candidate is an action. As many actions that the world possesses determines the sort of actions language will have.

Language strives to be its own action.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mellow day, soft breeze. Sat in sun. If all one did was sit in the sun life would be good in a sense. The ferocious will of free people has run into a ghastly trap. Now they want to save the world! Better that they save their energy for life's demands.

Sat in sun without a hat in sight, so sunned without sinning with the pretty birds all a singing.

Then silence.

The tongue is a fret run up through the limbs of tangling trees and in a breeze new songs appear, it is so dear and precious a thing.

On the far end of the morose rainbow sits five ugly wild turkeys thinking they are beautiful.

A space is as good as the thought it keeps.

Life certainly slices through things to the bitter ringing end.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

SYSTEMS

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 or nothing. 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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Our imaginations are filled with doom and endings. The aliens are always here to take us over as we, the creators of the imaginative beings, have often taken over what existed in some place in the world. And even forward looking types are consumed by the future they had predicted as it becomes the present.

Yet it is always wrong. Spring will appear a thousand years from now and delight whatever beings exist. They will play games and live in some structure that they believe in. They will doubt and fret and worry over things that we would either laugh at or be frightened of.

They will sleep, crap, sex, fight, laugh, dream, and die.

What is designed and created by human beings, in the spaces between now and then, is not predictable.

Tomorrow evening is hardly predictable.

True freedom produces honest debate, good laughter, good will between people, a magnanimous spirit, optimism, openness to learn new things, welcome new experiences, healthy experimentation and a great many other things that I've seen slammed by putative free people. They are not "free" but more like displaced persons from totalitarian and scary regimes who have snuck in by the back door to declare themselves, "Americans." And if they pull down the concept freedom, which is a living concept, to their level then the very idea suffers.

Ah then, perhaps they are not as free as they think. Or it is an empty slogan that has led them into misery.

I studied myself out of a frantic state of mind.

GO

When they taught me I went to them with an open and natural heart. When they no longer taught me I moved on. The rest is a kind of dull, dutiful entertainment.

And yet the cruelty of feeling pinned in and useless among them. The cruelty of it. Yet, are we defined by what pins us?

And aren't those definitions potential allies? So.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The cursed man runs abundantly wild because everything has gone up in smoke. The sky is not the limit. We leap like little rascals from point to point and count ourselves one of the few lucky ones.

And he who gains the world must decide if the goal is worth it. That is the crucial moment in the life of a writer. And he is divided between the thought and the spirit. Too much thought leads to sterility and control, too much spirit leads to craziness of its own dark. A dance then between the powers of life.

The long advancement down the dangerous road where deception comes from every naked branch, every cry of the jay, every brittle streak of the sun.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So another year. A year of scandal and self-analysis. Remembering what we wanted to process and forget. Our time moves in us this way for good or ill. We own it finally and are captured and the large contradiction of knowing eternity has been absorbed in the present time. A succession of sincere moments reduced to a few flying thoughts and memories. What is built through time? What hobbles us yet? Have we become what we hated in youth? Those, in other words, who give up the idea of perfectibility to settle with what one has?

Even cats lose their desire to chase rats.

I could be very defensive. I was never rude.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And the old man was dying and said, in a steady and ironic voice, "Go, go quickly from your past and make yourself run. Do it in waves every time there is need to vitalize what is old and settled. Go west, go north, go inward, go to Mars but go. Leave everything behind but a few seeds of meaning that linger and then bloom when all is bleak. Go until you can't go anymore."

He said this before his passing, in the room with the pictures, "You will be stopped when you must defend what history says you must defend. Defend it well. Note the slow rotting loss in the wide smile. Then you will know where you are. It is not Mars. It is not a fresh colony we claim as our own. But it is not this."

ANOTHER YEAR SPEEDS BY

Another year speeds by with hardly a holler or a whimper. A perfect life would consist in a series of years in which one did what nature intended him to do most of the year. There wouldn't be contentment but there would be the solace of productivity. And the knowledge that one did well regardless if anyone was watching or cared.

Most of the year is spent in trivial matters or bodily functions. What did the Cro-Magnons do, after all, when the game was safely stored away? They slept, eliminated, sexed, dreamt, fought, laughed, and died. A writer always looks to see when and why they started to build cities and tell elaborate tales.

Every age cons itself in believing that pursuing its goals is the only human way. It's true in that the inducements and punishments are very real. Woe to the one who penetrates the mask!

What a writer needs to ask of his or her age is, "what is your perfect shape?" "What is the logic that arcs from then to now?" "Given the amount of stuffing that goes into the brain what stands out as wisdom?"

The writer assumes that progress is real and that the totality of effect of any era is the tension between progress and its resistance. He learns the value of each over time. He learns the shadow of each over time.

Personally I prefer the ascension over the decline. But a writer can be equally fascinated by each.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The very success of the culture is its oppression. That is, it hides in its complexity and pretends that all is well.

The writer takes on burdens. So much has to do with the relief of the burden.

It is the gap between aspiration and reality; the space between what claws at our freedom from on top and below.

Common reality presumes that it is the final point of development; that nothing can "go beyond" and, obviously, reality has its representatives that require that no one "go beyond" some arbitrary point. That is all part of the game and freedom allows one to escape for moments of time this game and see the splendor which could exist if the limitation were banished.

Yet, it exists and it exists from all directions and the moment of splendor closes swiftly on the need to fly back through the window before nightfall.

So much sorrow and weeping brings us back!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Since self-interest draws to itself enormous puffs of thought and imagination, it discredits thought and imagination and presents the possibility that, perhaps, these things will vanish as human attributes.

This is experienced as a dilemma, one that you wrangle with for as long as possible before giving up in exasperation. "They do not want the highest development of thought and imagination." That is the thought that finishes off a stage of life.

They want to humiliate and belittle the whole proposition so you go elsewhere and chalk it up to bad experience.

You can't simply "give it away"- they will take it.

Don't go where you are not wanted.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

RAGE

He had nothing, they had nothing and so it all evened out. He desired nothing but they desired everything so the things got skewered. But then the desires themselves wanted nothing really and the ones that understood it got healthy and the ones that didn't smashed deep into the ground.

No one called it a law or principle yet it seemed to work this way every time among all people.

The nearly regal rush to death without sound or fury; unrelenting with no hands of protest.

And convinced that no one lived as well as they had, they took a backseat to no one. Pride filled them.

So the waves and waves come and go. Sometimes I wish I never saw it so. But it is there.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Rage in people never explains itself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Yet we write. And all has been written. More will write and be written. The brain winces at the thought. "Your words will be pissed out of you in long sequences as you age."

We observe into the dark spot of some permanent annihilation. Even the common man is a scientist. If not that a raging fatman. They study to possess.

When you stare into this society don't expect angels to look back at you.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Reflection.

I was far more into a meaningful path, a life in meaning rather than form.

Form is what?

The tree is many forms. It forms as "tree" when it has struggled through all the life cycles. Even then it is transformed into fire and ash at the end.

The universe itself is a great resistance and challenge. It throws the gauntlet at the feet of anyone who looks up into it.

And it always says, "you are only beginnings, only beginnings, only beginnings!"

The human world is cold and diffident and yet, in ones creations the writer must show enormous compassion. The world fears love, trivializes it, mocks it and yet, in one's creations the writer must show the penultimate patience and depth of love. Love must be the reality in whatever the writer strives to do. The world crushes with violence and threat; noise and nonsense of every type. And yet, in ones creations the writer must be delicate and full of peace and good humor.

Then we mount the great and free imagination that carries far into the universe, far into the light of life. Ah, it teems with life!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

LESSONS

How easy and simple it appears in the beginning!

The writer writes because he wants to transform the pathological into the beautiful and truthful.

Yet, there is great beauty, sweetness, and light in the world itself, as it is.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I did not want to go over old roads traveled; the times demanded much more.

Long and sonorous was to be broken up into short and intense.

The city was to be broken up into many discrete sections.

Yet it had to carry the same substance, it had to stand on its own. It had to satisfy.

A form is subject to the wiles of time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Human nature is a giant meddler into things it is not prepared to meddle into.

Memories and lessons and old failed projects litter the past. It is part of you but it is not you. You are in the present dreaming up something new while peering out into the blank universe of the future, a place to spread some righteous wings and play out into the infinite kingdoms. I know they exist. But then I never feel the need to prove it.

The givers and takers of nothing are plentiful.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It makes no sense to congratulate yourself on what you've written and then call it a day. That is when the emptiness of purpose reveals itself.

Intensity brought to bear at the exact moment it is needed.

But then a soft meditation brings it all into focus.

And pure skill shapes it.

The mind filled with cities not yet born.

The shapes of a passing world. Splendid!

And when in the big beast what comes to mind?

The ghosts are rare now but are still an influence.

But the living are a series of predictions.

Marvelous boundaries finally fill us.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nothing said/excellent thoughts. It is good, sometimes, for a writer to think about all the words that have deceived him.

Deception tows us to Hell.

So many plans are concocted along the way!

Deceptive words come out of a general calculation that one's self-interest will be served by the world or, more importantly, by the way the words effect the actions of another.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nature has plentitude, a building does not. But the building comes from the same source as nature with one simple intermediation.

Conscious culture is always a protest against civilization. Civilization prevails because the buggers want to survive. But then it is that. Culture is the disentanglement of this from that.

The spiritual trick is to turn a kind of hatred for civilization into compassion for those who live in it.

CROWDS

When I drew on large pieces of paper in my young schooldays, it was of vast battle scenes or nifty stadiums filled with round faces or the poor Titanic leaning at an oblique angle with anguished faces in yellow portholes.

Stadiums!

Stadiums filled with the scent of people, with their rough integrity and joy in freedom.

Freedom! And the young smokers drinking, dressed up for a ball along the long promenade in open cafes watching, laughing, sparkling, daring. With the crowds clomping up the street, fat with anticipations, silly and judging all around them. Solid under the shadows of the square buildings and long, looping bridges. So much an invitation to make it what you want it to be; it is what you make it to be. Make it well with all this freedom. Make it solid with all this knowledge.

The pink and the dark, the dark and the rich.

Crowds that will never know I had an existence, ah I know of your existence. Isn't that ironic?

You pass an old man and know he is proud and not to get too close to him. Pride has a way of chasing away camaraderie. You are glad he isn't maimed, not like one of those old vets who scoots along on the board with wheels so determined you are frightened of your own lack of passion. We were made to suffer and pull ourselves up from suffering. The non-sufferers are pitched down to hell before they know it.

The yellow eyes speak to it. The yellow eyes have emerged from some Hell to come onto the surface and proclaim something that the young need to know.

To be part of the crowds is to lose your fear of them. They are the eternal crowds and rarely change. They do not create or destroy anything. They crowd into a space well prepared for them and settle in and call it home, call it the place. There is, in the universe, no other place! They are only moved so much every generation. It never changes. It is a beautiful thing it never changes. When one finds the beauty in the unchanging they will have found a great deal.

Crowds are the sacrifices that never know. They are like an edict of nature.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Last days are usually meaningful days. Gone are the languid meaningless days. Gone are the senseless days marked by everything we forget. Gone are the days where we refuse to help anyone or anything. Gone are days filled with fear and loathing.

We are not who we were. But perhaps we are exactly who we were destined to become.

Parables of our adventures among 'em.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Space is simply a fact and an imaginative place for the boy and the man. The immensity of space meant something, was a profound reality brought down to earth to alter the concept of space forever.

Space is either an empty thing or filled with wonders we haven't discovered yet. At this point you could flip a coin but I prefer it is peopled from one end to the other. Why wouldn't it be? Logic says that it should be since nature proliferates; that's it's own basic law.

Whether the physical universe is the God I don't know. God frees us from the constraints of time and space, from the judgement of our fellow animals. But the universe is also totally destructive to life as we know it. Perhaps that is a monstrous paradox thrown our way to alter our life. I don't know.

I think to sustain a view of the universe juxtaposed to the Earth or vice versa requires a spiritual space. Sustainable is the key word.

STRATEGIC MADNESS

A good strategy should lead a man to the brink. Go where the cowards yelp and squirm at the possibility that they must risk everything, even sanity, to win what is best in life. The cowards usually become critics of one sort or the other, depending on the sophistication of the market they are trying to reach.

In our day it is all mind. The body has been tested.

The body will, in the long run, prepare itself for long journeys into space. But the mind is hardly at the beginning of its journey. The writer is far more adept at this challenge simply because the writer needs boundary to create any meaningful space.

Boundless space is a kind of adolescent�s dream. And it folds into a black hole so quickly!

And if the writer wanders obscurely through the mountain passes? He joins his brothers!

Obscurity is cause for joy not lamentation.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It's a given we are divided selves. The thing is to identify them and bring them reluctantly together like two old lovers who have grown to hate the other. The two selves are not "light and dark," they are two separate entities, each one having light and a shadow.

The shadow shows us the things we should not see, the things we regret seeing but the things we see for as long as we permit ourselves to see.

A guy can only haul a long ship of tales for half his life. The next half is figuring out what to do with them when the ship has arrived.

"Ah, he was the clever one who was going to make a trip around the common obstacles. And look! He ended up creating his own!"

We are laborious sons of bitches.

Something just naturally breaks and you let it go.

It's either that or go stark raving mad.

Madness has its advantages. There is great leverage in craziness. The modern world is fearful of it.

One's own dilemma. It shows up after 35 years or so.

You can't do anything without money. Yet, the things you do are valuable.

A kind of humiliation follows you everywhere you go.

There was the need to get rid of the significant drivers and see without strings. It was to shame in the face of absurdity and very few flinched. And those who flinched were not ashamed.

It is apparent to me that I cleaned out and shaped my self more fully than anything else.

The interior self was the only place roomy enough for truth and beauty. Everything else was a slab of one sort or another.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I had a moral self inasmuch as I could tell the difference between good and bad energy. And I possessed plenty of both. The good leads to enrichment and the minds treasure hoard. The bad leads to a stasis of meaningless excitement that must be repeated over and over again.

The bad energy leads down the Hell where we stay for awhile. "Ah, now it all makes sense to me!"

The world? How could I care about it if I can't understand it. And I tried mightily to understand it. How can I care about anything not within my grasp of knowing it? What a person doesn't understand usually is the thing that carries him or her off into slavery.

And what does the understanding do? Perhaps it makes us more patient, yes, that must be it. We are patiently then waiting for the sun to disintegrate. Yes, we want to be proud animals and stand at attention when that happens.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Well then we put a circle around our allotted time on Earth and say, this is it, nothing more, in this parenthesis I will have my life.

If, that is, your place on Earth is a good one, perhaps even decent but improving. If your place on Earth is a bad one why not the boundlessness of physical space? Why not the endless hours it takes to produce a star? It's much more likely that a man sitting in a mud hut has thought about the nature of space and time more thoroughly than the guy with the expensive home. Perhaps not.

THE GRACE OF GOD

The long dark cold day huffs and puffs along with dandy thoughts dancing in the lit mind.

Good bye to the light for awhile, to the warmth and summer playlands.

Good bye to the visions running along the hot canals of hope and charity.

Good bye to the consoling voices.

Good bye to all but the wet chill pasting everything from tree to toe.

The packing of structure and the delight in knowing them so that, finally, the poetic imagination is liberated from its constant battles.

And when the world becomes a murderous place with murdering people then the grace of God is all the good have got.

Yet, for the splendid places where the murderers don't reach! Oh, happy places!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Find masters. Then obey them until they let you go. Stand on your own feet. Produce. It's not that complicated.

The eternal bodily iterations
The systems that run through the innocent
The components of systems running through the now-not-so-innocent
The shape intuitive
The natural systems
A poke to the core, a peek into the grand emptiness herself.
Naked man running between the axial points.
A puff of magic
Free flying nothing
Pull from our own dear deathly Earth

You take it all in, then rest for awhile.

"But you see, a design is an outline. The tasty meat is inside: The real, however fictional it may be."

The grace of God permits a man to harmlessly play many roles before life gets serious and it is revealed the only and true role he will play.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Razor-thin is the present as it passes from past to future.

Razor-thin is the glass infinitude.

Scattering marks like smoke outline what we know.

The past, what's good in it, doesn't come through our privileges, our advantages, our consumption of life and things but through what those forms neglect, don't express, and can't duplicate despite the fantastic array of resources it has.

In the distant colonies in the vacuum of space our privileges, advantages, consumption of life and things will look idiotic and hardly be noticed. But the few things we get right will be in their grain.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A writer has a brain but no power. He decides it's better to have mind since the brain has a kind of wantonness in the world. But mind is rare. He must blunt the demoralization that comes without having power. He must cauterize the wound when he let goes of wealth and fame. He must discipline his desire for power and his shaping mind into the work. He must be like the warrior who does this, the sword maker, the alchemist who, through skill keeps the mind alive. "Eternity in a grain of sand." That is the greatest call for discipline in the arts.

SIMPLY DEATH AND DUTY

The world-as-it-is, simply death and duty. Duty is a kind of ancient word. Death and the grind, then. The grind toward death, with noise to keep the spirit prodded forward. Noise and cackling people of every description. Movement toward the grave. And people happily jump into it and don't care what happens. It's what the spirit experiences before an execution. Embarrassed by the terror of knowing all one knows will cease, the mind calms itself and reasons that if not for the best, at least no man or woman escapes the fate. "And," after all, "I did pretty much what I wanted. Why would I want to stick around? If not now, then ten years from now, or twenty.....so what?" So, the spirit is calm at the injection or gas.

The spirit wants more and demands more. It builds. If a culture is dead it will threaten the builder and try to knock whatever he builds down. "Ah the builder destroys our comfortable working out of this dilemma! He too must go through our terrible initiation into what life is like. He must be prevented from building!" But, if a culture is alive, then the artist is alive and takes in everything and expresses it well and, however bitter things gets, knows that the calling was right. There was no mistake. By this act, something right went on in the world.

The artist at his strongest says, "give me your energy because I know what to do with it." At his weakest he says, "stay away, die, bury yourselves, be gone!"

So there is the raw energy of the world but then a man is in relation to many things. And he has demands and opportunities; troubles and bad emotions. So what does he shape? What can he say about it? What is his real expression of the mess?

Here in the land of big money, big bodies, big dreams, big foul-ups, big houses, big tits one finds a path. What has been imposed, what has fought him, what has taunted him, what has haunted him is all part of it. "Perhaps they dislike freedom, perhaps they think everything should be their way or no way...."

It is a curious life.

What runs through the writer with such velocity and ferocity that he notes it down?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I know if a man were to read these words two hundred years into the future he'd say, "you idiot! things don't turn out the way you think. And you let yourself get confined by idiocy. You took idiocy as some sort of reality and never recovered!"

Ultimately you have the humans, the machines, the animals and plant life, and the invisible, sublime world. The artist gets his fill of each and then makes something.

One moves through many voices to reach the one or two that really count. One ignores many judgements and many pieces of advice to get to the few that count. Art and life teach this very thing.

THE PAST IS GONE MAN!

Ah future, you have arrived just in time! I was afraid you would never show up but now you are here stretching in that intelligent way that makes me believe all over again that life is more than it seems.

There are the startling mixture of things, that which can't be imagined, that which failed and can't be counted on, that which signals and signs litanies of the modern world.

Can't you see yourself in the jumble?

As a good ghost would ask, "what the hell are you waiting for?"

"You good with that stretch of things?"

"Then what in d'hell you waitin' for?"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The greatest challenge of that time was the "survival of the soul."

Lodged in that was the "survival of what the soul had produced."

"It's defiance up to and not including the way you laugh at yourself."

Looking back I can see there was a great problem in facing a world of indifference.

Of course, in Berkeley at that time was the nascent computer revolution with the communications revolution tailing behind, implied in it at every step.

A city is experienced as something different for a penniless young man. Books and pieces of paper I wrote on saved me. Utterly saved me.

I was in a terrible funk about whether time and technology had passed the literary art by and left it forever. It could seem that way from time to time.

I was shocked by the decay and unraveled threads I saw around me at that time, from the mid-70s to end of decade.

There was no protection. There was no safety. There was no solace.

I remembered the riots I had been in there and I was interested in the computer stuff. I was very confident the communications revolution would take place and shake things up. I knew a new publishing system would arise out of it and so it was imperative to write as the writing spirit required and ignore the writing marketplace.

I lost a lot of idealism and romanticism yet it was too difficult to accept the practical reality.

Yet, vision remained.

And the vision developed between the parameters of finding life in the universe and destroying everything through modern weapons. The tension, at any rate, for some kind of secular meaning, some ahistorical view since it seemed absurdly not-history, it's own thing and the living humans had to deal with it.

The mind is built internally against pressures and odds.

For all that there is something thrilling about being in sync with a decent city, its bridges, its trains, and freeways.

And for all the connection I felt with ancient traditions, cutting ties with them created a certain adrenaline or, at least, the knowledge that one lived in a cut-away place that had a minuscule past compared to its future.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 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.

"They can put a simple lump of gold on a simpler scale and know exactly its value. They can not do the same with the more valuable attributes of truth and beauty. Their value and power exist precisely because they have no value on the scales but are done with happy sacrifice."

MEDITATIONS ON VANISHED TIME

Every year had its peculiar hostilities.

I read books and listened to games. I drove cars and drank wine.

I wrote.

In the absence of dreams in the great liberal republic, I dreamt.

In the loveless world, I loved.

In the world of silence, I spoke.

In the world of cold refusal, I listened.

In the world of excess, I had self-discipline.

So the days go, they go.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"He knew too much for his own good. Couldn't cut through the stone. Scared by masks!"

Who comes to piss on the writers aspirations is revealed as an eternal devil.

Who let the shadows he knows so well, dance around him without restraint?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.

You write precisely because no one cares.

"Care enough to compensate for the lack of care in the world."

"Yes'um it be a hard ting to see the actual sacrifice our devotions have cost."

"It's one of many tests. And if more were to come would you go on?"

"I have to go on, no choice in the matter; the Rubicon was crossed long ago. It is a distant memory. I am deep in the heart of the beast and have seen his red-glad eyes."

I don't know what it is. Devotion. Amazed confusion of what different runs are available. The utter reality of the thing. Stand up.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Life can be good. Yet, what does it inspire? What does it hold out as something better than itself?

It is reduced to scavenging in pretty offices.

Yet the sea is good this time of year.

And the wilds fill us with wanton imagination.

And we know our region is all regions.

Words spurt up out of the intercourse with the world as-it-is.

We ride on the systems and they lift us for fleeting glances at the fleeting world. It will never know itself. Its fabrications will fall before another wild generation. Songs will be sung differently.

A CERTAIN TIME

A certain time ends. The jets of anger flew deep into the self. All the arrows whizzed by to the walls and floors giving direction to the bowman. "Light that is taken is done so for a purpose, to teach the spirit the need to fight."

Things close in to show how narrow is the pinlight to freedom.

Shown the impossibility of things, at least his aspirations, he cultivated patience and went to wisdom and wore the penitent burden of deferral of gratification. He protected his despised objects with what passed for his life.

"There are circles and circles laid on circles where I will never be invited. And if the world becomes the complex castle system they wish it to become, good luck."

Every function of human endeavor will have layers of persons and it will break down in corruption and inefficiency. Any global system is doomed in this way. It would only be erected to subdue populations under the guise of bringing order and, therefore, health and prosperity to the worlds people. But we know that there are cycles. And any particular cycle can break the magic chain that holds everything together. And then what?

A world of that nature is not for writers. They have to run as far away as possible and dream the next venture in human affairs.

"Free me from the labyrinth; free me from the eyes of these predators."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Form out of motion; form out of stillness. Surrounded by stillness/abandonment to motion. Surrounded by motion/a hand on stillness.

Work the simple cycles until they are complex. When they are complex do the arduous task to make them simple again.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 long range cannon. "Oh pleasant valley, you are given up for this." "We destroy you to renew you, don't you know?"

A DANCE OF DELIGHT AND FLAME

From the literary, mythic and poetic imagination; the irrational muse, the dance of delight and flame, what? Love---death---God---universe----nature----creativity---individuality---they are all there. When you meditate on these in relation to the world that pours through you, what comes up?

Love: Something of a joke in this day and age. It is seen as an animal attraction and people are instructed to be good, ravenous animals so love is furious and weird at times. Love then, that cannot be accounted for. Love that is beyond redemption and of no interest to the writer. Here and there; yes, here and there. And that is important.

Death: The body dies. We mourn and fear. And the loss is great. And the strange hole is left by the one who disappears. And the strange silence of the world when, inside, one is wanting the world to weep and grieve with us. Pure speculation after that. The good people give in where there is solace. And we say we need this solace. Where there is no proof, there is faith.

God: God is energy and faith guides it and makes it good.

Universe: Science has returned awe back into the picture since the depth and speed of it is quantified and made real by our little adventures into it.

Nature: Impersonal beauty and form, as mysterious and yet close to us as the universe. We are of nature. The Earth is a good home. It is treacherous, a casual killer. It is inexhaustible and yet fragile. It speaks in signs like animals and primitive people. We should listen.

Creativity: Humans make things and think things. Some things have consequence and meaning, some don't. We want to live as though the will to beauty is as strong as the will to power.

Individuality: Well democracy, the attempt to fight that which prevents us from getting to the core of what we are or what democracy strives in us to become.

These guide the irrational in self and should be developed just as the rational should be developed. No question. Don't try to answer every question. Leave off what can't be addressed or that has been addressed in the past.

I laugh when people try to define "the age." It depends purely on trust and distrust; loyalty and non-loyalty.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It exhausts me thinking about it. And there it is in all its bankrupt energy, gone now into anonymous letters piled in notebooks.

Mind has been many places. Mind is a powerful connection to powerful things. But to be effective it must be authentically humbled, start at a beginning that makes sense and disguises the hardship to follow.

Whomever created the creature made it very hard for him.

There was time, now all gone, where I felt a fullness I havent felt before or since. Yet it is memory. It did happen. It passed because all things pass so we learn a lesson. Fullness and its laughter's! "Go away evil world and ply your trade elsewhere."

One never forgets the kindness of families.

A glowing aura around a clump of trees and some mud.

And birds on birds on birds!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Once space became tactile the orientation changed. After all, it's not the fact that the big thing can swallow us whole without a blink of an eye. That's not the thing. The fact is that we can and must have a relationship to it, big thing as it is.

A man stretches high into the black in order to escape the velocity of the weapons.

And we run and run along the circumference, now clock-wise, now counter clock-wise, lit up, buzzing with electrolytes, fierce in our independence under the forgiving stars.

Earth: newly discovered sensory organ so that the cat may sleep well with the boy.

DAILY LIFE

I have slept well from time to time. And dreams locked into dreams like wild machines slicing through pulpy innocence. And food to devour like hungry monkey's. Eggs, toast, cereal, pancakes, waffles of all types. Orange juice and coffee and milk in the cereal. Looking at the lush rain come down, watching the trees sag in winter. And then the shout out to fellow workers among the glum commuters on the train, the bright frozen light tracking the body through the day, quite filled with anguish and boredom, listening to the schemes of others.. The reading of things in Spring when the mind is singing alertly. A lazy eye watching countless images and purely defiled messages to convince the unwilling spirit it should be this, it should be that, it should do this, now that. The oasis of intimacy. Tiredness as an old man creeping into the skin and laying one down into lala land. The elaboration of the eternal profane.

We are sauced up with information and perception that dances crazily around and through us making us passive clowns to the dreams of others.

And all the flights over the pasture lands convince us that we should be another place. But we are in this time. So be it. Let us move over the crystal city and imagine all the doings inside the light and the dark!

Now with the street sound of cars and busses and unusual conversations, now with the sound of birds fighting over the nest in the ancient oak trees, now with the sound of crazy people out in the sticks fighting over money.

In any era the writer is merely the one swarmed over by objects he tries to transform into words. How they fly from his grasp!

The whores appear now in technocolor.

Life can be vast enjoyment because we inherit several generations worth of learning curves on how to do it. And yet, the problem of human happiness is never solved.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE SHAPE OF THE SOUL

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 life.

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."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Writing is more like battle than working in an office. There is incredible tedium. There is waiting. There are chores. There is a good deal of practice in the mind. But then for a few hours it is life or death, it is pure adrenaline and life is never quite the same after. That's how it was when younger at any rate. That's when I was a private. Now I feel more like an officer and get the poor dudes out on the field and manage them. The office is pure tedium and by the fourth check you are inured to it and it isn't enough.

If it were up to me I would live in a world of love-making. I would live in a world of building and creating of wonderful things, beautiful things and useful things. I would live with laughter and good cheer and learn from every passing son of a gun. And the passing of life would be an honorable thing. "We have not lost a physical person, we have gained a spirit!"

Such would be my life. I doubt if I'll see it anytime soon. Until that time war and battle will be the ultimate decider since economy goes up and down, up and down. War and battle are decisive when the issues need decisiveness. I don't want to see the next large scale thing. It will be science fiction and we have, to some extent, already coarsened ourselves to the fact.

No, I would rather find two or three new civilizations in space then see the next war.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.

YOUTH

When youth is confident in itself the city brightens; gangling bells of happy people float through the heart of the city.

The heart doesn't stop when it is coldly observed by the paralytic mind.

Wild music, wild poets, wild women- the moment human existence cries out, "you have no power over my destiny!"

Youth the happy destroyers who, in maturity, become the very things they despised.

Youth that expands to fit the world in, until the skin is lit with the cities of ancient memories.

Youth at the edge of the ocean thinking it is walking on water.

Youth: the last time one believes that human beings can live in peace.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The two dominant forms of youth were the radical critique and the "confession". Confession meaning "I, the author, am the subject of my concerns rather than the community."

This came out of the fact that human nature was pegged as the enemy in a manner of speaking. That human nature had produced a monstrosity in the form of modern society and was now in flight from it.

Isn't it necessary to reject the authority in things for a moment in time?

Ruthless competition was seen as leading to ultimate conflict. That was a significant notion at that time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A good deal of it had to do with "California." California is driven and/or split between dual drives of material success and human perfection. How can there be perfection if there is no emptying out of one's imperfections? Ah, so it is.

And we wake one day to try and capture a moment of exquisite knowledge or consciousness that signalled, long ago, that we were meant to witness things on planet Earth.

So then we retreat, backing away from our deep intention as though we have met a wild animal along the woodsy trail.

Perhaps it is merely a shadow we left at some indescribable time, accompanied by a laughing woman.

Something is encouraging about the fact that when we are poised to say something great we fall silent, dumbfounded by our lack of energy, suddenly recounting the connections we have put together over the year to help us in times of trouble.

BEAUTY IS EVIDENCE OF A STRUGGLE FEW KNOW ABOUT

Beauty is evidence of a struggle few know about.

We don't live in an ancient or medieval society but it lives in us; another reason why history is an excellent resource. And so we are here in the so-called modern world even with other worlds furiously working in many other peoples, even those we know the best! A world of raw richness barely transformed yet leaving a trail of very troubled, frustrated people.

We know other worlds. One voice is many, many one. The Earth is a glorious ball of light, connected to light with mysterious darkness all between. We vanish too soon and our memory in others dimmed by the speed at which they vanish.

The conversations are heard while hovering above the giant city; it never changes but is amplified and fed by new currents.

Our ears have thin fiber lines to all the representative talk and story.

From old dead gods you have done nothing but create more gods and they will kill you and you will kill for them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You don't write for the future even though you know one will exist. You don't write for the pleasure of the past though the ghosts rollick through your soul.

You are limited by the contingency of the time but you have to go through that contingency to raise the level of that time.

If your conscience is taken over by the contingency of the time than all is lost. This is perhaps the greatest danger of "mass media." It has the effect of replacing conscience with the urge toward power.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Put her out of your mind before she destroys it," so the dreams say. "But dreams," I answered, "who put her in the mind and what wants to keep her there?"

"Desire."

"But I like desire."

"Desire to do many things you can do without her."

"Ha, that is not good enough."

"The desire, for instance, to get a new life away from the crappy thing you have now. The desire to have companionship and someone who listens to anything you say."

"Well, at this stage of things I would think I'd have enough will to make a better life."

"You have fallen into the pit of accepting the expectations of others; a pit that is very difficult to get out of."

"And isn't she part of the expectations? And hasn't the rebellion against the father made for a ferocious desire to make amends? Or, is it all finally kicking in?"

"Something kicks hard in all significant areas of the mind and spirit.

"It all depends on whom you are dealing with. Is she a girl? Or is she a woman? And age has nothing to do with it. A girl can be a hearty drinker of black russians."

The clowns leap friskily to the tune of hate and disillusionments.

How come the dumbest and most irresponsible of them lead the political dialogue?

Politics is for madmen who have miraculously escaped two institutions: the penal and the mental.

A LIFE OF TOUGH IRONIES

A life of tough ironies.

So laughter and the happy belief that we know less than we think.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We are tricked on our way to enlightenment. We are tricked on our way to enslavement.

Expand. Expand to the unforetold circumference. Expand beyond this and this, out into the makeshift motes and eyes, out into zones of danger. Expand to the infinitesimal. Expand to let nothing out. Expand to the dancing marvelous.

Or, the singular point that carries in it all energy. It. Discernable through the waves of disgust.

Our enemies snug with us where we can not see or be seen.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

One is free when everything one has done, heard, read, thought, felt becomes accessible.

Richness is proven by tolerance. And when the hard and sharp-edge passes through without a hint of movement the power of the spirit is revealed. Then one is confident that it is all true.

What proves out is true! The truth is a risk. Praise when the risk is rewarded!

What is the last 30 years? To a writer it is a vast, deep soiled tape of things that happen once, in its own style and then forever gone, kicked aside by an unsentimental humanity.

Extraction, refinement, delivery.

It is impressive but very sad too; inescapable, fated, even fatal with all these seeds of wonderful potential pissed on by the foulness of it all.

There was a marvelous sort of freedom and humor to it but, at the same time, it forgot to learn how to build things, real things, even ideas. It became a very unlearned society, one that is easy pickings for the con, for the rabid, for the destructive energies of "leaders."

It was the most distracted period in the history of human beings.

Every boundary was shattered; there was no holding back the surging masses.

They put a stamp on everything but it was far from indelible.

Computers/internet and pills were the main technological advances.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

With the backdrop of infinity in our eyes isn't our finiteness so sweet? So bittersweet!

We have crossed a small lagoon escaping from the weapons and men that chase us.

And when we fly into a great city at night our hearts leap up and out to meet the lights.

On the thin skin of the Earth's doubts.

In this most fortunate latitude and longitude. A spot. The infinite pole of smiles. The sailing breasts of gratitude.

FREEDOM IS A TEST

You inherit a language but you also inherit the need of every generation to efface all that has gone before. Not only that, the world is an open space and so many new types of information come in to inform the one who uses language. You learn from riding city busses. You learn from crowds in stadiums. You learn from discussions by managers who don't think you are listening. You learn from that number one creamer of language and personality, TV, you learn from eccentric relatives, you learn from books and magazines, you learn from dreams, you learn, eventually, not to lie to yourself.

Fabrications come and go. Most of reality is something imposed by our fears and ignorance. Political culture usually comes from the events and personalities we encounter as young dudes convinced we need to change everything. Eventually it is washed into the fabrication and fought over in good old American agonal processes

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Every stage is a test; every test has its drama.

So there are props. And they jump around us and demand we get out of their way. And our erased being sits dumb and cross-legged hoping that it is not yet in Hell.

The props have arms, legs, and other appendages but rarely a head. A head is seen on the squirmish line of some heated, trivial battle.

Now they are rampaging, now they are in that silent paralysis known as fear. Now the forces opposed to freedom fly down like perfect web-spinners just out of the practice stage. They wrap and wrap with happy faces.

They are now telling their tales so we stop all our useless activity to listen.

The lines are now cornered toward the fragile passing so we see things.

Oh, everything is so new.

Pow, it'll knock you down!

New, yet connected.

A star is difficult to explain.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Freedom starts with mind and works its way out in multitudinous forms.

"Open the floodgates and pour through the desiccation of this burning present!"

Most of it is dead ends; a series of useless cul de sacs. "We are here again, shit o mighty, we are here again. Who would have guessed it?"

But the one that breaks! A long road down a joyful infinitude halted up by the knowledge of finiteness and the briefest of ripples through the languorous universe. But there. A real thing.

After that everything is simple politeness.

The thing is not to run but stay in there punching away.

All up and down the line are halting fragments of a freedom wanting to be born; as other freedoms collapse from the impossibility of it all.

HARDNESS

The writer wanted to write novels. The culture did not want novels.

The culture despised poetry and philosophy. The writer embraced poetry and philosophy.

That sounds true to me.

The difference was that, after a few despising sessions with the culture, the writer embraced even that which rejected his efforts. He opened his heart to all. He had to recover from that act but then what is left but the hot mixture of raw materials?

And if one has disciplined himself through hardships what can those ingredients be but volatile fuels channeled into productive work?

A writer is always tempted away from the compelling nature that wants to write and think about what has been written. It appeared that the culture was devoted to do that very thing.

And in the unabashed vortex many things get swirled into the mix of the compelling nature.

Editing and revising the self is one honorable way of dealing with this.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A man gets hard in youth for one reason but as he gets older he gets hard because he realizes no one understands either the sacrifices or hard work he has put into his own life. And so that life is not respected or understood. Only when the spirit of a man, his true self, can communicate on a level that makes sense is there healing. And the healing can be bitter, more bitter than loving the wrong person.

He can only justify himself through work he believes in.

The cycles of growth are longer in the modern experience. The intensity of life is embarrassed by the long, looping patience life demands today. It is the effect of many things. In Toffler I read both about the computer/internet revolution around the corner and the fact that people would be able to live three or four different lives in one life.

Depending on our natures the profane world is something we try to leap out of or try to wiggle into. We are taught to get along in it. We can hardly escape it. A writer will rebel for a long time against it since he early on incubates his creations and they compete with what is going on in the big world outside of him. He makes a kind of peace with it. He finds the best philosophy and practice to give in to the beast.

On the one hand it is here. Nothing else is here. On the other it was there before it was here and we can measure that gap between here and there and now a similar gap will occur between now and tomorrow. And there are points of pride and richness in the now. And, after all, what happens tomorrow is moot as long as our values reflect the need to improve, progress and make note of the disturbing things we live with.

Systems within systems; nooks and crannies stuffed with human beings. The saving grace is the dispersion of power that competes openly for the hearts and minds of the people. The people live locally and well and can judge fairly what goes on. Whether the right things go on is another matter. If the people connect with the structure of power in powerful ways and yet choose the good as free people then one can say there is health in the culture.

THE OLD HOME TOWN

The Great Pause, perhaps that's what it was. A long period of thinking without decision. The flow is strong and little survives. But the man has to recover. That is the day he begins; when he has fully recovered from the deep adventures of youth and the frightening prospects that were revealed.

The sun is a primitive face.

Tired, finally, of himself and his laborious words he gets up off the bank side and heads for town.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I learned lessons, hard.

I felt bold when young because the mission seemed so daunting, given the state of things.

I learned my lessons very hard.

Pay attention! One lesson.

Those in Hell always walk around thinking they are perfect and invulnerable. Lesson Two.

Feed the mind well and it will provide excellent riches! Lesson Three.

Everything not connected to your mature state is raw material. Lesson Four.

Treat raw material lightly and with compassion. Lesson Five

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Our clarity vanishes at the sight of a baby at the mother's breast in the open restaurant where the sun slants through.

The local is a mass of trucks.

And the hairy tattooed guy who is imitating Buddha along the shoreline has two followers now.

Forgetfulness is a mist that stays long into the evening along the streets and roofs of the city.

We are, as always, encased in heavy locks. Strange families surround us. We are permitted one dart of freedom into the rising sun.

Oh trees of beautiful nests!

It all goes. Every stick, every eyelash, every growl and fart.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In Berkeley, everything was said.

I heard all that was said. Sometimes the heart went up, sometimes it went down at what was said.

Saying things in Berkeley was a wild sport.

The books close, the mouths open.

Sex and politics raged over the old rooftops. Nakedness appeared in the doorway while dogs ran wild.

It was a wild, well-said place.

It taught me much about saying things.

ENDINGS/BEGINNINGS

A new beginning is a renewal right? And renewal is festive with laughter and good feeling. You can't ponder your way out of an old ending, into a new beginning.

You can't hover in sorrow above the start of the new.

Build well and think well. Morality.

Oh novels, you adolescent memory!

A form so mangled and punished will not regain its stature.

And what, wonderful narratives, do you free in me when I abandon all thoughts of you?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The "times" are inhuman, especially when young. The human comes to unravel what has captured youth in the inhuman. If the times have made a man cynical then he should rebel with every fiber in his being to find his way back to some happy curiosity and fundement that allows all things to have their place.

The release from being "right" all the time or proving others wrong: I thought I had that licked when I went through the interesting fires of my 20's. But it always returns on the back of pressure; a dark bird of prey if ever there was one, the sardonic harpy with the legs and eyes of-all dangling from its beak.

All a writer can do is walk around, open to the world as it is, process, think, reference, stay together, build substance and pour it out and once it is poured out shape, learn, and finally try to master what is poured out.

Keeping the nutrient close by helps.

Free is the most ironic word in the language.

The most beautiful freedom questions the reason "why" in your own life.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The year speeds by quickly for one who thinks on eternity.

The writer waits patiently for the important things to emerge.

He doesn't compete with machines so much as allows the machine to work its transformations and then observes what comes out. It's all raw material. It doesn't matter whether it is sauages, cars, or TV shows. It's raw material. The machine has interceded and made life different than it was in the past. Good!

Of course technology transforms markets as well.

Technology now transforms the past, sucking it up without conscience, and in some ways I am happy about it. "Take away the burden!" Ironically, a writer can only make that statement when he is firmly attached to the past. The burden is the present and its variety of transformations which one can hardly make heads or tails of.

Specialism and expertise were painful to meet up with. I would dash down one area of interest and hit the wall of expertism which says, "either dedicate yourself to become a professional or move along." And I moved along to another area. And on and on. It seemed senseless until I began to develop healthy views of world, self, and universe.

But it has a natural ending and yet it stays in some intangible form. It is like the first touch of the spiritual. So strong! And then it is simply a quiet, effective, powerful resource. These are the foundations.

LAUGHTER and WISDOM

Better to take on the world with laughter and wisdom. Ideas get people killed rather easily. And every bugger has an idea.

Curiosity is not a "virtue" but a necessity. Be the happy hunter that finds the backbone necessary to be curious about many things. Eventually you only truly know a few things.

Every fulfillment and every manifestation is, too, a limitation.

Infinite possibility dies at the feet of the fear of death.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Put the past away but remember well. What you remember about the past is more important now than what you can find out about it. Put the past away. The present is a kind of eternal liveness. We are alive to what will disappear and yet are glad for it all.

If any open space appears it is for the future.

And what is the present but a great horizon dotted with dark silhouettes? Then all the close ups and artless amplifications. Intelligent tom-foolery when there is nothing to do but make money. Steam vents. Every activity is a tribe to make its members brave. The Hustlers Paradise. People learn quickly what the mission is, embrace it, and then use cynicism as a cloaking device against the truth. Every incentive is built into it to continue its ways; it has nothing to do with tradition or old folkways. It doesn't understand how easily time knocks it over. Thousands of beliefs to save the world pulls the world worlds apart. A lot of excellent singing.

It thinks it knows itself but only knows what people have said about it.

Venus is as hard tonight as it was ten thousand years ago.

"So are we trapped by all this awareness or made better?"
"In the beginning perhaps the latter; near the end the former."
"Said with so much confidence!"

It will roll us over but it will also roll through us so there must be a point.

"There's a point isn't there?"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

No, not to live in the past but to make sure that the best of the past lives in the present. To make the past a living unmade thing waiting for its completion. Resources re-discovered! Characters forgotten appearing instantly as they were when one conceived them. The structure that holds things together. Things are put together thusly because we are a world of many dimensions. We tell tales through a marvelous wormhole.

Our audience is bits of matter.

The busybodies flow in and out as much now as then. They are unrequited and need a clean pond to piss into.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Writing competes with all and resolves all. It senses what would kill it and goes after it or looks for some good shelter. It is the victim scurrying along the dusty road with every possession laid across its back. But it can become the dive-bomber in an instant.

It travels, not to the moon, but to the star at the farthest edge of the universe, near the fault line created by the original bang.

The dry forest was not bad, it was not good. But it was dry. And it was a forest.

And the people were dry or they were on fire walking in the dryness until not a thing was left of them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It's sadness and ending, near the end when sadness is still a sweet sense.

We talk to the dead. And our compassion is greater for the dead than the living. But then they go. They fly off and we reach them no more. They are gone. They are bulk in the heart and we carry them a long way.

Torn from the clear fluid of a floating dream.

They knew nothing, in the end, but how to feed the heart of the writer. It was good.

And if you detonate the core of what you thought so weighty perhaps some happy entertainment will spring out.

That fortunate song always hidden under the bright fingernails.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

RELATIONS

  • A relation to the political structure you are born into
  • A relation to the universe you are embedded in
  • A relation to the objects that surround you.
  • A relation to the systems that flow through you.
  • A relation to the generations that have preceded you.
  • A relation to that which makes you most productive.

No matter how comprehensive one tries to become it's rather futile. There is always more reality, more things to discover, more and more and more of everything.

Yet, the attempt is necessary and worth it.

So is the ability to leap out of the pride of knowing things and leaping into the center of the unknown you might be curious about.

THE RAW

The thing is to take the raw and cook it up nice and round and tasty.

Anything not formally embedded is raw. Journals, daybooks, notes, scribbles and so on. The raw, as this writing is, serves a purpose, is an investment, a block of stone to be carefully and artfully placed.

If nothing is said, then it is part of the anonymous unsaid and lies quietly in a valley of the heart. It is deep but has little pity and weeps for no one. Little deaths fly by as hummingbirds and feed on the tiny hands of life.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am bored of the dead eras. I am bored of the predictable slants. I am bored of the insincerity. I am bored of the stale jokes. I am bored of the spokesperson and the "commentator." I am bored of their inability to express the silence and pause in things. I am bored of the willfulness of mediocrity. I am bored of what they have done with language, poetry, freedom, imagination, tolerance and a few more good things.

You have to ignore 99% of stuff in today's world. It is retread, it is recycled, it is plain stupid, it is vain and riddled with agenda, it is con, it is spurious, the alpha is vomit and the omega is shit.

Americans are dead the moment they get bored of freedom.

Rather than getting bored of freedom they need to honor it by stripping to nothing and pushing the hard envelope of it forward. Tolerance of nothing, tolerance of all.

New pathways to all the human attributes!

Focus only on that which helps you. Politics doesn't help you. The official culture doesn't help you.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We are thrown into something. We act and think. We know, after awhile, that what we pass through is both eternal and very transitory. Yet the good always requires patience in the transitory. Can we know more and do more and be more productive with patience? What hurries us along is very telling.

Stand upright. Be bold and honest. Speak from experience and knowledge but don't speak too much. What you experience and know is a fraction of the whole of what can be experienced and known.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Endings, yes, they come and are signaled by dissipation. Life as it has been lived no longer has its energy and meaning. The challenge is to burn out dread with new hopes, new aspirations, new plans.

It's not important for how long these endings crack things up but how long it takes to renew the spirit in things when those endings are finally admitted.

So we admit that an ending has come.

Where does the ending stretch back to connect with its beginning?

The beginning was a kind of apocalypse from which new life would begin; life sprung whole between the rocks in pure nature. The Myths of the Modern World. And the wonderful depths with the masters who took us there. To the core where there is either Nothing or God. Nothing leads to freedom that is soon bound up in the undiscovered evil of human nature. God is treasure and fundament. And soon enough the pellet rifles come out, all in a row, sometimes like guerilla fighters behind walls and they shoot non-lethal but irritating shot at us. We don't feel the first one but by the thousandth we know we are in for it.

Nothingness would turn us into riflemen Plus. God protects us and shows us that the wounding makes us stronger.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Perhaps every generation will ask the question of its predecessor, "why didn't you try to save us from our tragic fate? Why didn't you do even a fraction of what will be necessary to get from under this terrible cloud?"

That is when the encapsulations will drop off and they will be, momentarily, free and face the tragic facts on their own.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"I would ride on the White Dwarf when evening come."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There are many more nooses today than at any time in history.

We are more agile than those in the past to slip them.

But then we are always running from the noose we have slipped.

And are only satisfied when we have our own noose in hand looking for the fool who will slip into it.

SPACE

In the heat, space is King. Space is the everlasting manna for the soul. The ocean, the valleys, and the mountain contain the riches of space that returns to the fortunate who fall into the humble fold. The city requires agility of every sort and requires that every human being pretend they are happy.

There is emptiness, there is filled space, there is space that is being prepared to be filled. We know all of them with joy.

The space that as yet to be filled is the most intriguing since it means that, at long last, a sort of perfection can appear or a form of greatness; the empty space is potentially that.

In mass media like TV or, even, the Net, space is akin to a city. Everything is connected and disjointed. We are always alert and wary. Perhaps that is one of the secrets of their success.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The key to life or, at least, a key is renewal. Life runs down. It expires. It evaporates unless there is a transformer to step it back up to previous levels. There are secular forms and spiritual forms for this miracle; necessity to be frank about it.

The phases of development have been measurements of sorts to prepare for these states but the means of transforming have been relatively different.

Transform them as you let them go.

Always look outside.

Writing through old storms produces new work.

Ah, a world that is good and senseless!

What good is a liberal democracy if you can't leap out of it from time to time?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

To the pathetic square of daily latitude in the dream space of longitude. There are days when I understand why writers throw themselves off bridges.

Or, even novelists, even nobody's for that matter.

All strings are worth the tether if for no other reason than to see an end.

End the belief in predictability!

It is mostly mind game, this life is. However, the consequences are very real. The mind, in the end, loses.

Perhaps mind resuscitates itself on what defeats it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Know yourself. And then build from what you know. And understand what you build. Live in the world. Study other worlds. If it's fast go slow. If slow run like the wind. If cynical and dirty be clean and innocent as a lamb. Fear things and then track them down and identify them. Make the process of understanding limitation long and sweet. It is easy to descend back into the animal; make life hard by rising up into the human.

Believe only a few words the world says about itself. It lies. The truth is elsewhere. All is vanity.

THE SUBLIME

To move forward, go on, move on, let go and so forth. It makes sense now. The heavy head moving through the density of what-does-not-go-away. Ah, be brave and leap a bit and throw off some and jettison a lot.

I would hate to be the one to explain how the world lives, now.

"Fast, furious, with technical cohorts." The great fear and pressure is to "be left behind." I am one who would rather study it then live in it. I have lived in and out of it. I know it. It is pure skill to learn just how much to take before you break with it and use the resources it offers.

It knows more than it lets on but it must live in its own present. It's odd to see it from afar, above the clouds and against the interface with the universe, its womb. It's an endless shuffle over the landscape.

They pour objects from their mouths; there is an endless sort of energy that drags on and over the structures.

They think they are the most liberated of people but they have yet to discover their particular slaveries.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You need to learn from what you've done; not what others have done.

I had the literary prejudice that "form is an extension of content." But that you can learn from the form that extends and even abstract it from the source.

"I would rather discover one law that contributes to the production of truth and/or beauty than have all the riches in the world," said the young, foolish man.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The stark, physical description of the universe and the Earth is a necessary first gesture in the modern world, even a cleansing one; sometimes a frightening one. It puts us on a plane that is practically infinite but with all our transience fully intact.

The universe is a sublime old bugger

No doubt the universe is teeming with life just like a small hidden pond. The imaginative unfolding of the evolving earth is a startling one full of mischief.

Why did nature give us the ability to think long and discover the ways to communicate long?

So many rich densities for us to discover!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Oh funny animal to make things to make more things!

They make things to make distractions that destroy things.

The surface is disfigured by the antics of grown boys and their sycophants.

Ah, the beautiful languages they have raped!

The good always notice the types of weapons an epoch carries.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Make the work from the same intense curiosity that started the path to begin with.

Surrounded by the delightful videos, the sounds that cannot be captured, the speeches that sound like drowning rain after a while; surrounded by everything one is not.

I will not account for a trillion things tomorrow.

This is why there is discrimination and thoughtfulness!

The humble air tumbles effortlessly down on our nonplussed heads.

An ant-farm is impressive but does it create beauty?

Yes, at the beginning was what? Sour anger and confusion. Boundless energy fighting out of inherited constriction. Receptivity to the new, the innovative, the idea, the grand plan. Extinction. The Monkey-Wrench. A crash of expectations.

A spirit goes where the light springs flow.

Ghosts and dogs test him.

And then, after a moment of ecstasy or exaltation, guilt and terrible sadness. The longing for the lost. The scorn of eyes that know.

They would beat me for a couple of words.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

DENSITY

I've always done the purely American thing. I've always got myself deeper into things than I wanted to. I don't listen to people. I laugh off their threats or admonitions. I don't care if everyone else hates what I do, I do it anyway. But then there is always the question of money. That was and is the demon. And I feel it at my ass knawing on the fleshy part quite frequently of late. While I love the stability the middle-class creates I can't relate to it beyond that. It is a class. It is offended by the extraordinary or the mere sacrifice for art. It stays away from writers and artists and sometimes for good reason.

It took me years to even approach the question. "Ah, we are merely waiting for you to come to your senses and then we will destroy you!" It often feels like that. But wouldn't people dominated and buried by money and things appreciate the ability to see life without money and things? Wouldn't they then go back to their money and things refreshed? No. They want sacrifices for their hard won identities money and things have given them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I was very happy to leave the city. It had ground its screws into me. It said, "yes, I am a prison," and so I fled it. What a beautiful time followed! How it has all gone, taken away by the wind. I always embraced what the culture-at-large despised be it poetry, family, knowledge, citizenship, truth, beauty, child-rearing and a host of things the culture sacrifices on behalf of its desires. Ah, it wants to be like the nobles they see depicted in movies! I really don't care since the premise of the whole is set up to do exactly what I have done.

That is, live a life of meaning taking nothing for granted and seeing the destruction of all you know and all you love.

And then start with the simplest love possible.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Much density passed through. The key is sensibility knocked out piece by piece in the middle of life or during it. It grows and develops through time, never the same piece with a whole its own but related to all other pieces.

The House was divided, most especially between a personal life and personal obligations such as making a living and the Writing. That was both separate and conflated at different times. Sunoasis.com belonged to House, davideide.com belonged to Writing. The House, its layers of history, its conflicts and so on absorbed a good deal of the cultural history of those decades. The Writing often tried to fight them off. It was a House of Men in some ways. The women were driven out either against their will or quite willingly. The House encouraged the rambunctious nature of boys.

The Writing could take place in the open, under a tree, in a sparsely populated park as well as in front of the damnable screen.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A writer writes. He may think, do, say and many of the other functions of life. But he primarily writes. The freer he writes the better off he is although there is an ideal, unapproachable sort of freedom and one struggled for between a dangling leg and outstretched arm.

Oh enough he says. Have at it. Do the deeds.

Cut a path into it.

Even a nightmare has one redeemable seed in it. It is in the hand the moment the floating ghoul is about to pounce.

In one nightmare, certainly, the ghoul is a man with his wives and consorts observing the victim and making comments about who he really is.

In another nightmare, the ghoul is the mask for thugs ready to beat the victim up because he has chosen silence and prayer.

In another nightmare the ghoul is a kind of pure hatred only realizable in families.

In another nightmare the ghoul is filled with the used masks of those the victim has known.

And certainly in one nightmare the ghoul is the thing left unsaid after all the circles have been completed.

The shock on discovering that where one thought was substance is a big empty place.

WOUNDS

The wounded writer can turn anything into a hated object.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Youth is all about credibility. Who is seeking truth and who is seeking power? Who is loyal to whom? This is why the first wound of a writer is expressed with criticism.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Gratitude is a great virtue.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When a society loses its organic base it is subject to a new kind of pressure.

When a writer tries to find the essential qualities of thinking he will invariably challenge authority. When one struggles to discover what he does best he will come up against authority of one sort or another.

I would rather be an arrogant writer than a demoralized one.

The problem for "thought" in this society is that it does utterly no good, serves no purpose to rationalize the self-apparent; to rationalize and give a little bit of intellectual support to that which runs its way regardless of what one thinks about it. The only two options when thought reaches that point is to develop ideals out of the "stuff" presented as raw material in front of one or to develop the critical spirit which makes it accountable to the good and enduring qualities of human life.

Thought can go into specific areas of interest which makes the spirit and mind fuller and richer.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Of course, demoralization, disillusionment, mediocrity are all in relation to something after all. It is that "something" that you want to bring along not the spite of demoralization, disillusionment or mediocrity.

Perhaps it is stupid to "hate" society, hatred of any kind burns itself out fairly quickly. What you "hated" about the society is its self-complacency about its own demise, its usurpations, its rejection of thought and imagination, its inability to bring out the best in one.

There are aspects of society which I cherish.

This is all personal and dealt with personally. Eventually you do what you were going to do all along despite the scattering roads.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Anyone with a historical consciousness is disgusted by the present; that is as natural as breathing since it appears that nothing changes and when it does it changes for the worse. That human beings have learned nothing for hundreds of thousands of years except how to kill one another more fastidiously and how to calculate and rationalize what used to be considered sin. Sin in that the mind, spirit, and character of people becomes corrupt and so re-made in the image of what defeated it.

After a while you realize that that is a distortion. Nonetheless. The present becomes supreme. This attitude enters the mind as, "everything is good and just- its objects, its processes, its variety are all good- its forms of politics, economy, society are good because I must submit to it and I would never submit to the bad." This attitude gains momentum and destroys relations and distorts truth.

The future becomes a bit of a refuge. "Well, perhaps the next million years won't be so bad. Maybe something fundamental will change that will allow the future to exist. Perhaps all one's pessimism is simply neurological without any link to the truth."

I don't really believe past, present, future so much as I believe in thought, imagination, and conscience.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Perhaps I had an exaggerated view of things. I was tested between the exaggeration and those qualities I criticized before.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I never wanted to get grim and heavy-handed. Grimness and heavy-handedness destroy thought and imagination, which is why religions lose their appeal and why political revolutions lose their appeal; why business loses its appeal, why political absolutism loses its appeal.

To simply perform like a clever clown before the masses is not the answer.

Don't interfere with the grimness and heavy-handedness of other people.

The writer, listening to all the available music, listens to the music not yet made. And watching all the available movies, watches the movies not yet made. And absorbing all the politics, sees the new political language and the new political acts.

The writer understands the tragedy of the commons.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The writer takes the unwanted energy and makes gold from it. He is driven by the need to make something that has never been made before. He comes from a stock of constructive types. The world rushes in to destroy but later the writer understands it was only the seed for a new type of life. In the process of carrying six or seven heavy stones up the mountain few human beings understand the necessity to listen to the gasps and grunts in order to transform them. And the very worst response is silent indifference, worse than the body slam human beings are capable of. And the praise comes freighted with hidden arrows. And what reward is there? Perhaps later on when one is gone and everything he knows and loves is gone there is a young man who finds what you did and connects to its necessity, its freedom and expands and will tolerate nothing less than what he finds in you. And it changes him forever, for the better although the path is filled with bitterness and hardship. Perhaps. He finds more, he finds many.

The many few.

The writer does, indeed, stand up to be shot as someone said. Perhaps it was Hardy, I don't know. You can neither escape the flames or the bullets which has one mollifying effect; the loss of sentimentality and the necessity to square with life as it is and as it resolves in wisdom. They shoot and rip apart because they don't know how to build anything. Vanity has locked them in a world that they come to resent and so sharpen the axes at anything with resistance. A writer has to resolve with life itself not the life-stealing critics or the reputation builders/destroyers. They are always out for blood.

The writer is in the same dilemma as everyone else. He must be true to himself because no one else will do it for him.

BOOKS

Without books how would we return to the original spot? There is always something for us, back at the moment we discovered books. They save us from the vanity of the world and its egregious display of goods and money. They take the mind to the upper chambers where there is a kind of noble quiet in between vast dreams. There is a place undisturbed by the noise of merely living. A place that wants to live where living has never been.

Books save the spirit especially in an age dominated by image and the visual signs that are easily manipulated so that the person never reaches rich, full maturity. A world, then, that is virtually senseless.

Books save us from those who try to pin us down and make us less than we are capable of being. They save us from the politics within the mind out to the global politics played on the global stage.

Books make the naked voyage into the universe real and guided by purely human needs.

A man or woman who will not wrestle with a book will not wrestle with oppression or tyranny. He or she will not wrestle with public lies.

ADVESARIES

It was the struggle with the novel that set everything up. The novel needs good audiences and a market so that the novelist can develop artistically. I didn't see that happening and lost interest in trying to depict a world I didn't understand. Novels, as Orwell said, are written by writers who do not fear.

On the other hand poetry was far more flexible and, in the spirit of democracy, at the constituent level. If the constituents are bad won't the larger whole be bad? That was the morality as I saw it. And I kept having to remind myself that the Pope, the Emperor, the Prince, the Wealthy Dowager were not coming to my rescue, were not going to send someone to ask for a play or a poem or a painting. It was just the market. And the market was as good as the people and the people appeared bad. It wasn't rocket science.

And the people kept convincing themselves they weren't bad but they were bad. And so the arts sustained by the people went down rather than up, the quality, the artfulness and so on. The decline of democracy is one thing; the decline of art is quite another.

Yet, the people aren't that bad. And sometimes they rise to the occasion. It is what it is. It is what you make it to be. It can be very very good. It can be very very bad. One must know. And know when to be silent. And be restless for the best in himself. And ignore many of the signals.

It forced me to develop goals other than market goals. For instance, the goal of mastery. What does it mean and to whom? It is a restless goal.

Still, I would choose the market and democracy over everything else, especially if everything else is imposed by politics and/or religion.

In deciding that I realized that now was the beginning and not the eternal ending. Now was the barbaric lapped up in its own fat. But there were always the endless tomorrows and for that one lives and writes.

Therefore, the belief that one had to know the seed of things, knowledge, and be patient in development.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I hope I studied the right things. I didn't become an expert. There were always others who knew more than I did. My loyalty was always with the literary imagination.

Experience was through the gut, the vulnerable place wherein slips the devils and angels. It is one thing for a rabid tv preacher to want your money and loyalty quite another for a street punk who wants the same thing.

Into that vulnerability seeps the outline of houses and the emotional mess inside them. Conflict! As old as Adam, even older, more ancient than Adam. And from the gut to all the planes of activity that showed conflict and more conflict and irreconcilable conflict. And that met with the primitive energies of the human being. And the primitive energies becoming an iron form as it cooled.

The gut ravenous for outlines sucks in more than it can deal with.

Beauty and the ugliness of human nature come through the same hole.

A writer scrambles no matter what the world is like. If the pyramid is peaked at the top and particular about who occupies it then the writer accommodates. If the pyramid is long and flat at the top because 14 year old girls have spent a lot of money on singers and actors so be it. The "good" is squeezed down to the peak at the bottom. In either case the writer has to adjust. In either case the writer looks at the situation as realistically as possible and makes his gambit. "Ah, no fame or fortune this time around, I will focus on wisdom and living a meaningful life." For such a wretch as that his only goal can be mastery of the art. He will never equal the big-time wrestler in terms of fame or fortune so he cuts away at an early age and simply observes the damn thing, the squishy pyramid. And no matter the shape of the pyramid they always share two traits: you try to reverse the pyramid at your peril and it will invariably stink in its own corruption. So the writer takes his pose and goes forth. That why he studies the constitution and the philosophical underpinnings for freedom.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

One can lose sight of the sun for a very long time and live on hope. And one day the glint of sunlight appears and the hope is justified. The years of nothing but hope has toughened one for the biggest battle. The nothingness of either side of hope have transformed into some other mixture. The artist is an alchemist!

What shadows have feasted on the artist!

As I said before, what intrudes into my order becomes my adversary that I must fight and fight to subdue. Then we are pals of a sort.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The growth is a long and torturous path. Think you are there in an instant and the laughter starts. Even after a decade one wonders. Perhaps we live much more "bliblically" then we care to let on as we live deep lives, way beyond what was lived in the short past. If that is the case then it is imperative to find the right response to this long and semi-lovely path. A path that one wants to end but is glad it did not end, even during the worst moments.

Thirty years of piddling and yet so much more to go!

One shot to stop the piddling and make an ocean.

ME WORK IN AMERICAN TALK

There are a variety of self-tortures depending on the cause of the wounds. It could be women, it could be money, it could be reputation, it could be a feeling that whatever one does he is condemned to a state of failure.

"Their expectations were way off-base and yet their eyes do not lie and they burn into me and make me feel less than what I am."

"My title, sir, is manager of old projects, creator of new."

The self that tortures is the same one that objectifies the whole universe. Ha.

The laughter that emerges when the easy gets real hard.

Don't wander through territory where the bones are brittle to break.

In your writing you make the mistake of believing that you can write everything out in one "block." As though you are commanded from above to do so. It's one of the myths Americans pick up because they have a feeble, tenuous relation to "what it takes."

An American is most "dangerous" when he wants to be left alone. And this is among the great desires of an American; to be left alone. And it often is the driving force behind the whole life of Americans. To be left alone, left alone; that is the dream and that is the meanness of the people; the fact they will never be left alone.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Autobiographical notes often reveal the residual fibers of adolescent dream.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In America it's not permissible to hover over the "mass" in dream.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Me work in American talk. Me no desire to influence people.

Me no be big heap leader-man.

Me no free tall tale fellow

I listen, I see, not too interesting.

Bring me two fat dinosaurs with human spirit down their flanks.

Bring me atom bomb, I eat.

Bring me evil man, I eat.

People now forget how to sing like bird. I teach. I sing like bird. All the little children sing like the whiper-will and after big sing they think like lucid muons.

You have fear of deep empty space? Ah, it is all a fine, nicens nature out there. You see.

You see how spirit comments with grunts after a while. Trees, rivers, lakes they small stuff compared to world not them.

But sincere feeling, sincere tiny meditation in heart make spine thump. You see. Haha. You see.

People suffer, people feel bad. This interesting. It mean some men can't free their intensity. It mean some men conspire slave army. You no see through how it is? You shrink in the tree of how it is? Go away bad man and eat your wheat. You mad, fearful men full of sleep.

A praise of the spirit free of the sick dreams.

Me find no community proper speaking. Me find no desire for like virginal creatures to fly together. Me find ragged, healthy emotions on surface of all skin. Me no desire to stir things up for half the time its the wrong thing. Sorry. Me big tale teller."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The arc that enlivens.

The great patience that the wise always refer to.

Both men and women wish to be gods in their own peculiar way. They bypass the connection and go straight for a full identification with that energy. In so doing they are made fools instead of gods.

It's more a case of what draws our attention at any given time.

A complete world, even in it artifacts. Ha.

And beyond the good Earth, what?

In that good Earth are the physical and mental aspects. I see the stars at night. Who among us articulates the intuition of dark stars? He would be the most responsible of souls. He or she would have to pass severe tests.

And when insignificance sweeps through what happens but the production of new superstitions? And a superstition is like the hit of a drug and feels, at the beginning of its journey, like liberation rather than enslavement. "Tear it down!" they say, "and free us from your stupid restraints, we need nothing of your meaningful universe." This is the cry of one who wants to start his own universe and his own tradition. But then what excuses will he make for the natural limits built into him? And everywhere the common man has come to power there are the same common troubles, even oppression if you look at the common dictators of the third world. Then, not simply the universe, but the world has a face that is unintelligent, hateful, and sinister.

The machinations of the unconscious are a regular Panther on Olympus which rules day or night and is always shrouded in mist.

Don't mistake the criticism you make with the thing itself.

All tension is essentially creative.

Ignore the talk that the world is complete and at an end. It's merely the ego of the world sick of itself.

DAYS

A day filled with nothing to say. A blessed day with the renovation of old barns and smiles and fresh vegetables.

A day of sad men saying farewell too late.

A day of merciless killings in every square of longitude and latitude.

A day of folded arms and thoughts of a world too great for us to deal with.

Ideas and manifestations are not necessarily the same things.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Inexplicable days. Here, here, and gone, lost and misplaced but then here, now, where it can't be missed. The seasons of lonely folly drifting alone in a mist and claw-like words ready to pounce on the first snake and take it far away. Oh snake kiss me again!

Days and fallen days fenced off by the outline of beautiful women, full of honey and nectar!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

All sense down the shithole.

A man built up on books and brick, broad oaks, the smell of exhaust, built not gracefully totters in empty fields and chases the crows away.

He is dizzy on the eyes half-way up the anonymous building where stories are told, endless stories from one end of the place to the other. Stories are Kings.

Let us tell tales until the egg cracks open.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A writer learns, eventually, that his words are his deadliest enemies. And that his real job is to convert those enemies into loving allies. The pains in such a transformation!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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

And he schleps 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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A lot of things went on in the writing life, besides writing. Writing emerged out of things, especially the confrontation between consciousness and reality. But there were many interactions as well as one lives, first, in a kind of mythical drama learned from one of many levels of modern sources, then renunciation, which has its drama as well, and then a more clear-eyed vision of what is and what is not.

People, invited in and not, make a scene. A thunder of beauty appears. Awareness of time and death and mass. Humorous conversations on the beach and in the stadium where games upon games are played.

Dreams vaporize along the crowded streets filled with the grunge and the dapper.

Much density passed through. The key is sensibility knocked out piece by piece in the middle of life or during it. It grows and develops through time, never the same piece with a whole its own but related to all other pieces.

IMAGINATION

The poetic imagination goes where it's told not to go. It goes where the human spirit is lively and daring. It goes to the selfless act that prepares for the future. It peels off so much in time and becomes, often, a heat-seeking missile through cities of the mind.

The poetic consciousness seeks all time for its complemtary self. And below that rages the world he knows too well.

Below that is the traffic. Below that are the people and their minor sins they will gloat about to whomever will listen. Below that are rods of the living with glass and endless rooms, rooms into hallways and more rooms. Below are the made things blue and black. Below are the clean and efficient machines. Below are the old fountains dying in the sulphuric days. Below are the fields of wheat and old men in the sun pissing slowly into the old Earth. Below are the crazy beliefs driving people through the crazy streets. Below it rolls on a lit up planet, now dark, now a scintilla waiting some long death, the profound enfolding. It happens at least once.

So an outline, a list of things. And then "what conditions it as it is executed."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When has it ever been easy to be a writer? Every age and epoch tries to destroy the writer one way or the other. If the writer shits out some nice things there is a comment or two and then total silence. Absolute silence. Absolute silence in the middle of tumult. Total silence in the middle of the grinding blades of a turbine at 32,000 feet.

Just at a time when the novel and novelist were considered minor gods, the novel is ambuscaded by the modern entertainment milieu and declines rapidly from the peaks it had climbed. A poem without electrical amplification is for hermits or monks in their cells. Images are thrown like excrement from a nut-case from one end to the other. There is no "rationality," it is all a pose behind some sinister agenda that a crazed nut discerns and pounces on. Every age pins itself in with wicked ease.

The writer then pulls back as he would if he were composing a fantastic novel, a novel about the society he lives in! He sees it all below him acting with earnest meaning and carefully contrived gestures. The salvation for the writer, then, is to find the very center of things and protect them, celebrate them, project them and make from them his fictions.

After all, a culture like this must believe in progress, it must live as though the future will be better. Anything less condemns the culture to a morass of simpering "nowness" and idiotic materialism that becomes another form of addiction.

Wonderful structures are always threatened by human nature.

Play on soft bending highways!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.

A fabulous run and then the casting off. That is in the future.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The only guidance I have is "what compels the mind to know." When a young man I was scared witless by the nuclear weapon and compelled to think about it whereas all the crime happening around me compelled me not a jot.

I was compelled to overcome a list of alienations but not at all interested in the daily life of people.

I was compelled to "go back" through history and lift out the best I could find but not compelled by the popular culture.

I was compelled by the idea of "mindfulness" but not of money.

I was compelled by the spiritual narratives but not of the endless variations of power.

I was compelled by the idea of liberal democracy but not of either the Republicans or Democrats.

I was compelled by taking control of my own writing and publishing career but not compelled by fame and money in the establishment.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We are splendid animals who know more than we should. But there we are, out on the open plains with little in hand but a bit of mindfulness.

Bow wow wow wow!

The world is difficult because we know its complexity is real, our perceptions are facsimiles of reality and yet our minds can only deal with so much. So all our days we are knowingly ignorant without the real God in us to give us solace. That is the fate of modern men and women.

In that the free people are reduced to materialism and it rots them from the inside, out. And so the only courage in life is to avoid poverty. This is the reduction of life, the reduction of a democratic life that is many-sided and self-reliant.

We wander along well-paved freeways, at 35,000 feet in the air and pretend we are in a great adventure.

To say, though, that all is unreal puts us at the doorstep of the nearest insane asylum. Ah, no more of those! The insane have been let loose so they can build businesses and become rich.

To move on and put the vector into the man. To break the silly fears of the present day. To lay low the ignorance of the tribes. To piss on the vain.

Whatever is given is given and always taken away.

EXPERIENCE

A writer's personal life is best lived with common sense; follow the different ways. The writer's creative life leans on inspiration; what form effectively frees the spirit and picks out the gross content that can be transformed?

Experience is always gross form; accept this and, eventually, you'll find an individual who is living out of the spirit.

Ignore just about everyting else. It's a temptation not to ignore but it has to be done.

Don't waste your time in trying to understand people. You'll just get buried in complexity. Respect and honor the integrity of every person.

Kingdoms of glory are for the madmen and the saints. Know the difference.

Don't try to fastidiously read a time that can't be read. All you'll do is find discouragmeent and pale interpretation piled on pale interpretation.

Most problems the writer face are problems of how to handle an abstracted enviroment when his heart and spirit are so big and generous.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Trust your teachers:

The "society" is not your teacher.

The evolution of other men and women are not your teachers.

Your own confusions are not your teachers.

The strictness of time is not your teacher.

Release from yourself the desire to gain power over others.

Have contempt for self-pity, in yourself and others.

Realize that the human feelings that are felt eternally are, in this age, loaded down with new exigencies.

The American

The sadness of the American beats through everything. Not sure of his voice, of his desires, of his faith, of his nature, of just about anything but what impinges on his imagination from a thousand weak and strong signals in the air.

SEEING

Seeing is the gambit for either curiosity or ignorance and prejudice.

It's not a matter of "seeing," but a matter of handling what you do see. We see men walk on the moon. Do we understand how they got there? Could we, given the time, get a man or woman on the moon? Do we have that sort of mastery?

Seeing a mushroom cloud frightens us but then, do we understand the dynamics of the wrathful bomb? Do we understand the way in which they would be used? Do we have enough mastery of our curious fears that we see, not the bomb, but a clarity through the bomb, to a path to master it?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The question of "private" and "public" loomed large when I look back at it. I did go private because I wanted challenges and I wanted to create out of the compelling nature and reach the levels of truth and beauty I had seen in both myself and others. I did not see any single public that would support such a thing. Public culture was rock music, movies, TV, athletes, entertainers, comedians and the like. That made up the public culture and it didn't inspire me. It made me laugh occasionally but that was about it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

From a creative point of view you have to keep it simple. Rummage all you want but keep it simple.

Search for the compelling thing and surrender to it.

Write so nothing is lost but everything has to be discovered.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The writer has no status. Therefore he assumes the role of both clown and king.

Clowns and Kings are produced when the mind perceives that human beings have been forever trapped in the roles they have created for themselves. It is unrelenting, these hierarchies and rules for what is valuable and what is not. Nothing changes but for the clothes and machines. The clown scorns it wisely, the king authenticates it against his better judgment. He upholds the truest values of the kingdom.

This attitude ensures the writer of having less status then he would as a so-called professional writer.

For this reason the writer must always seek shelter.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There is a certain fitness to all the clich's about fleeting this and vanishing that when one considers the nature of eternity. This mystery, beyond others, conditions and pulls at the human spirit and yet nothing is ever settled. A few kindnesses and achievements are left behind. The rest is a dark howling whisper.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

POWER

At the base bottom of secular or religious intolerance, especially from those who say, "we know," is a gigantic lie which discredits most of their outlook.

Who truly knows understands how complex and contradictory life and history are. What one looks for is the experience of the whole, first, and then happy curiosity that keeps opening windows and doors from every imaginable angle. Isn't there a pride in freedom that demands this?

"Define your little piece of territory but let me pass to the whole."

Freedom permits us to discover on our own what is and what is not.

When a person believes they are perfect or that they have no need of humble wisdom or that they can think their way out of any situation and they fear nothing, they are one foot away from an abyss that happily swallows them.

It is the shadow that says, "no shadow exists, it's all made up by psychiatrists."

It is other shadows who come leaping around the fallen one to keep him pinned down. They howl most vociferously when the sun begins to emerge from the shadow.

But then it seems to happen on an ancient island a thousand dreams ago. And the dim figures no longer disturb the shadow so it flits around like a cape in the light.

"Oh unhappy nightmare, vanish into the eye of God."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Life in all its barren rage; we see it. It chills us from the fruits of a good life, a healthy life.

It's when the hooks and chains of others has hauled you from the center of the treasure; its heart.

How deeply-dumb, how deeply-down it all goes.

We climb nonetheless; yes, we climb and the air gives us that beautiful forgetfulness necessary in any splendid life.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And so yes it was less complicated but the focus made the wide pictures sing, dreadful as everything was. And you loved it all but then it passed quickly and before long you were thinkin' one hour at a time and staring out into traffic or farmland. I loved it all. But it is sad not to have power and to see the world mangled by human stupidity. We did the best we could with what we had.

Intrigues in the beginning set everything off!

There are structures not-us but closer than our own heart beat.

"Yes, you saw the right opportunities and went for them. You were punished but in the end it works out. Put it all in."

"You had to be one among 'em and then all among all without telling a soul."

Trying to track everything flying away from the dead center. Laughter!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

CREDIBILITY

Recognize when a "time" has lost its credibility and split from it as soon as possible. There's always a new one waiting.

A moment comes when an ugly masked man pulls off the bear skin you've been wearing since childhood and the world is revealed as the evil beast it is. And it is staring at you. It laughs when you piss your pants. At that moment you either find God or transcendence or you descend year by year into the guts of the scary thing.

At that moment you are in a death struggle with your own shadow. And you never fully eliminate the shadow, only reduce its hold over you. And then one day you awaken to find it sleeping comfortably at your side and then you awake again.

Resentment deep in the self is usually the root cause.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

When you try to quietly end a cycle and pull the door ever so carefully it ends up a huge bang. Much tumbles out the unseen closets.

Ah, the full and objective thing in front of you, the dalliance with language through the measurements you have won from the strife in things.

In America the literary is hardly a public art or public event. Doesn't that free the literary in many ways? Isn't there a splendid sort of sadness in thinking on that?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The arrogance of the modern world always demands a correction in the hearts of the people. It requires the most resourceful state imaginable. It means all is on the table.

The ground rules are fairly simple: Everything from the past is fair game. You must commit to some path, be good with it, take it to the end. Prepare. It won't be easy. Reflect, notate as in the old days. But build on the new path.

But then, what was the first part about? Perhaps it was one long contemplation to prepare for inevitability. It was definitely a search for richness. A search for orientation. It was to break the hypnotic hold of the apparent world.

It was not inconsequential that the first tale was about the guy born ab novo from the rocks, who then learns a type of sensibility among the towns people. New life arising from nature. And then more outsider type of characters. Then myself as the main character in the journals. Surrounded by notes from every angle trying to ward off the ghosts and demons of the modern world. A collapse, then, of the received. And a struggle with the new. That was into the 80's.

A lot of physical motion is never recorded.

Standing in lines or waiting in traffic is never recorded.

The ceaseless images of games and men and women acting is never recorded.

The fatigue of mornings is never recorded.

Hardly any mention is made of the boxes I worked in.

Or times spent in dim lit corridors of second level libraries murmurs all a quiet.

Or, even, bicycling along the cow paths of the countryside.

Or in front of my favorite object, the ocean when the beaches are empty.

"Out of the day, this?"

TREES

A debt is owed to the great environmental writers I read as a young man. I think of Thoreau, Leopold, Muir, Lopez, Synder and many others.

Who speaks for nature speaks for the poet. Who protects wildness is heroic and a friend to the free man.

A few years in the city has a good man thinking of pure space after awhile.

A clean space because all around a man in a city is a dark, dank, smelly, loud and dirty space. Or, a space sealed up in steel and glass.

And a tree has more classic lines than a person in the street of a city.

Idiots can live in the middle of nature who defy its purifying beauty. It makes us aware and grateful that so much varietal nature sprouts from the fecund earth.

Will we find textures of nature throughout space, fully and unimaginatively unlike our own? Yes, I believe so.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We must live with ourselves. We must know and understand. The few who escape intelligently into the healthy tits of nature help with that endeavor.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Youth, seeded in the concept of wildness, unencumbered imagination, infinite possibility, and a feeling that one of their roots can dig deep into the source itself, not to bound youth but to liberate it or help it on its way is youth free for a brief moment before the ax falls.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

To live among trees who have a memory of you. That is a kind of blissful state.

Space and time that is the thing! And how much anger is created by new space and new time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The people shriek at the dawn of new things.

The Universe of Choice

We are all those things that conspire to save us.

Not that we don't fight like madmen to be unsaved.

We look back. It was all there. This, this, and this were there.

Ok, beautiful and arduous adventure, you may continue.

* * * * * * * *

It is the quest for freedom on the secular side and the quest for love on the spiritual side that makes for the writing life. When they are "given" they become a bit slippery. We admit our difficulties with both.

Slavery and war are the black holes of each of these goals.

* * * * * * * *

"Quit looking at the wrong things."

* * * * * * * *

Something had to connect. Something had to bind up. Something had to push through. That is done with in a way. We are unmoved by the movers of life. We are at some still point, no longer confessing. We study and dream fiercely as if to connect with the primal life itself buried deep in the black body radiation.

We look to see some wonderful passage; a stately formation of vision to remind us that, in the end, all is well. In the end all is together.

And on the peaks we were absolutely true. And in the troughs we were slopping it up with the pigs. And between was a solar system of heavy thoughts and emotions. No sun was seen. Planets danced prettily at the site of an empty sun; they wanted to be the sun. The sun was dark and shy.

* * * * * * * *

There are resolutions still. Life is jagged. New desires appear like little temptresses. "Look, up ahead I smell something strange and delightful!"

The universe of choice! The one I wanted to be born in. The one where all is light and life and it flows smooth and full around the stars and moons and death is an infinitesimal exception inhabited on a green surface that few notice. There are some booms and shudders and that is about it.

* * * * * * * *

The happy walk through the density in things. (said w/extreme irony)

It only works if you believe it will.

DEVILS and YOUNG WRITERS

A man who tells me, "When in Hell do as the Devils do" is no doubt a chief agent of Hell itself.

The spirit that is afraid of its own land will become a vicious parody of that land often enough.

Learn from and then get away from the dust-eaters; the ones who have chosen death for whatever reason. Those whose outlook on life is so poor, so decimated by experience that they are ready to die before death is ready for them. They are soul parasites; puke of the spirit dead.

Don't get tricked by people who think that the past was some glorious temple of enlightenment; the past is a contemporaneous form. (He sd)

The writer is simply a point outside a vast circle and merely comments on the revolving activity. While this builds good perspective it has its opposite effect in that it builds resentments and personal animosities. A leap into the great circle transforms the writer into numerous roles.

* * * * * * * *

Leave your books on the banksides and return to the open fields.(He sez again/after contemplating on the magic of color.)

* * * * * * * *

The idealist always looks for a population greater than their tools.(sometimes)

* * * * * * * *

Young writers naturally have "subversive" notions when they see the whole of the killing world and want to assign blame. And blame, by nature, goes to the dominant form. If pumpkins were the dominant form, then they would be blamed for everything. Left to itself and the feeling can break out in a virulent form of hate and destruction. "Well the world and history, these things are above my ability to totally comprehend. Therefore, I will attempt to discover the world and history without encumbrances of any kind." So thinks the writer as he leaves his youth.

Left to itself and that "subversive" nature becomes perverted and destructive for its own sake.

One should always be open to the alternative, to the emerging plan, to the propelling idea.

The personality holds no charge unless its leaping out of the speed of the spirit. Otherwise it is a dead, sick thing spoiling the mind like an old cold snake.

SOCIETY and the BEAST

Let's put this plainly: In the beginning the society is a beast that demands some kind of satisfaction. It is a series of materializations that speak out into the domain of the individual soul.

And all along the way there are persons who will take over and possess the beast aspect of the society and live it out to the disadvantage of himself and everyone else around him. Society is the reflection of the low brain. The sense life is the reflection of the reflection and if it can't free itself from the reflection then the future of the society and the fate of the person are one. With the provision that the society has all the advantages; it even has a conscience. Most especially it has a conscience! It does no good to extol and lift the individual into the perfect image of the beast. What has to be learned is what the old primitives had to learn in relation to nature: give it its due but seek to overcome it.

Perhaps the object of art intercedes between the individual and what the individual is trying to overcome so that both possess the other and are changed.

* * * * * * * *

The person struggles to get out of all the entrapments that are modern society until he begins to see the truth. At the same time, one can't live in generalities.

You take on society and learn about it without complaint. It's a slow process, even graceless and absurd at times. But there is no reason to be shamed or discouraged. First, you read it through the unconscious forms of family, school, community. Then when you begin to get conscious you read its overt personality. How it manifests itself along its face so to speak, through various media, through its speech, through its conflicts. Then you read it through its original intention.

To do this isn't simply an act of curiosity, it's a political act since you want to reverse the sensibility which has the state over the nation. That kind of relation won't abide in the future. That relation determines so much of its crude personality; it demoralizes the atmosphere so to say.

* * * * * * * *

The in-taking of various "speech-forces" how it insinuates in and out of the mind; various images, various abstractions and how this operates at all times.

* * * * * * * *

Every step one takes issues up a choice between mediocrity and vitality. Society serves the purposes of mediocrity; that dwarf self that one tries to fight all the time, driven now by hope, now by pain, now by a glimpse of a truth or, even, of a paradise. Human pride and human power are masters of this mediocrity because in human societies everything is regulated along the lines of a heating unit governing itself by a thermostat.

When the object of reverence is defined, named, criticized, brought into contact with the unessential, the base, all one's hopes go out the window and the heart and imagination fill with the desire to make the object human.

* * * * * * * *

    Horrors and Delights:
  • Horrors of the blinding abstractions culled off the operation of machines, making people generally passive.
  • The political situation; the elevation into power of "bad elements."
  • The tension created by huge organizations and the simple human soul which rip away the foundations for its heroic life. The loss then of possibility replaced by a crude secularization of hope.
  • People trapped in history.
  • Unseen power creating destinies.

The delights are elsewhere.

COMMUNITY and SOUL

The ideal community is ideal but the real community is hell.

The eyes of inquisition; eyes and faces that do not inspire.

The strange looks- the condescending looks- the ungodly unconscious of people, friend and foe.

The put downs, slanders, back biting, knife throwing. Sorrow is what people fear. The vulgar stupidity.

Never reverse a particular delight!

* * * * * * * *

She has the power to pronounce "fake" on whatever dances in front of her and it drives to the center of a man's heart, clobbers him, and sends him back into the dark collective womb. Ah, so this is the power then! The female soul cries fake fake! And the male shrivels back to the maternal womb.

An artist must trust what few others will dare to trust; must trust his own spirit to determine what sea is worth crossing and what waters are shimmering blue dust.

You must use all hours of the day and night. You must travel to the illimitable land, the one filled with danger and beauty. Every memory, every act, every thought, every sense experience, every dream in constant use, abstracted only for the purpose of culling up memory.

* * * * * * * *

There is an "immortal" part if it is protected, if one is humble to it, if one has faith it is always there; never destroyed, constant, untarnished, forever in its beauty and strength because it is beyond the weight that carries it.

"All manifested life is centered in one life; all variety is known within the man's soul."

"Oh really, then I must be all life."

This is the argument the soul and personality carry on with each other during the long days and nights.

There will always be the illusion that men have out-distanced their former selves or more preciously, their former dreams. Interesting entertainments spring from there.

KINGS

That period in which all experience, love, friendship, travels here and there, angers, fight are King. And then the intellect is King, the ruler and all things, experiences, faces, sounds come under its rule and ordered with the great hand. And the King went out into the mysterious outer land to find the laws of his own misrule. And from his own misrule into the alien lands where his rule meant nothing. The confusions he had to move through! This is where he met the world. And the King saw the world as a wicked placed to conjure so all situations simply to be overrun with the beauty of his brain.

* * * * * * * *

Early on I ran into two predominant types of people. One was a social person surrendering to convention and opinion. And the other was a psychological person who abstracted everything within himself to protest against convention and gain a kind of supercilious personal identity. The drive of these two conventions is the desire for power and again, the desire for immortality.

The conventional person surrendered to objects of convention and believed them to extend into the future where his or her personality could re-enact itself through the convention.

The psychological person surrendered to advance thought believing the same thing. And this one further believed that a kind of equilibrium in the present confers immortality.

* * * * * * * *

The frustrations of being a human being at this stage, with all its expansive techniques and all its variety unable to consummate even one desire to bring life to its ripe and profound richness.

ON THE VERGE OF CONFLICT

What this pressure does is force unnatural gestures out of the imagination and anything unnatural is incomplete. So the world in that sense is incomplete.

Here is the King languishing on his divan watching self-absorbed the troop of comedians, magicians, and gossip passing through the shrunken kingdom.

* * * * * * * *

Persistence of vision.

There is a great hold in the creative spirit when one is younger which comes from every conceivable corner. That tries to keep things "inbounds" so that nothing new can emerge. That's what one is fighting all the time.

Why does the "guilt of creation" always appear in the guise of the dispossessed? That tension is created between the desire and the solemn mask.

Use the language the way it's found, in the best use that's been made of it. In America language is the silent white between thoughts. Things are the syntax.

Foolishly you think you're going to write everything out in a straight line; very foolish. You start at the seed and move outward with it.

* * * * * * * *

And what is the vital element in literature? Emotion, sharply felt, sharply experienced. Speech is mana. Words as magical elements. Redemptive quality of emotion etc. etc. Beauty as the sculptured speech in motion.

PLEASURE

There are only a few pleasures: To express as one wishes is one. As with other pleasures there is an association of guilt that attacks the very fiber. Nonetheless, the writer and artist accept the forms of self-torture and go on to do the best they can.

Those who are in deep conflict in America need to understand the fuller and deeper well-springs. They need to appreciate the necessity of duality and the minds cognizance of this necessity.

The most hostile are, ultimately, the most pious and self-righteous.

Let us laugh, then, at the urgency of our dutiful silence and sit by the river of youth and look deep into the earth where beautiful and healthy women are.

* * * * * * * *

For the poetic type the erotic is quite natural as a pleasure. Anything with a strong force to it is employed by the poetic imagination. Isn't power another one of those emotions?

The will to power and the erotic without a doubt.

Meaning and truth, without question.

Happiness and well-being present another pair of powerful components.

I would say these are eternal aspects of a nature.

Observing the way they are today, not yesterday, not tomorrow.

Observing, not necessarily coming to any conclusion.

AN AMERICAN WRITER

An American writer hangs onto certain expectations that lays at the bottom of the American soul, such as it is

He goes through his European mode and her outsider mode but always returns to the core of the actual thing, in the words of the American mind, in the spirit of the intrepid.

* * * * * * * *

You have to treat yourself like a writer even if the odds are against it.

The basics of America is this: a society where what is old is new, where what is true is false, where what is ruled is ruler.

* * * * * * * *

Enrichment is the great prize of patience and good will.

* * * * * * * *

In the final analysis you write the way you were meant to and no one who is living at the same time can destroy that. They can laugh, they can criticize, they can ignore but they can't kill it out of you; you must do it this way and no other.

Much in an American writer is defiance. He assumes all is new and the search is not for a past but for an undiscovered horizon. The past? A murky and often poisonous evil we have banished to the thick margins of the collective memory. "Make it new" that is the clarion call of the true American spirit. Fear not a jot of authority- respect it but don't fear it.

However, he who possesses knowledge of the old, has the greatest advantage since he knows what already has passed through the willfulness of individuals and collectives.

* * * * * * * *

One of the most surprising and joyful moments in life is the emergence of the mind from its superstitious past.

* * * * * * * *

The cruelest thing nature can do is cut a person off from the deep well -springs of his productivity.

* * * * * * * *

DIALOG WITH OLD SHADOWS

"The difference you are describing is between the naked perception of things. For instance, standing on a stairway looking over the gradual descent of houses, with the next house looming large in the foreground solid, obdurate with a life in and around it, that's what I'm talking about, the trees (from which one leaf falls quickly), the wind brushing the under branches, the specific shape of the tree that intrudes into the space around it. No other tree does that. It stares into the silence of the empty house. The amplitude of naked perceptions...you hear what I'm saying?"

"And the other perception that fixes you here in this particular place and yet thoughts jet to things hundreds even thousands of miles away. And these things known to be occurring don't occur exactly in the same way you imagine them to be."

"Confronted with, say, a large city you are struck by its obdurate there-ness, its invincible armor of buildings and bridges and freeways, its familiar shadows and greyness, its signs and network of shapes. And yet, you know or understand a great deal of what goes into making a city. Every object can be accounted for, has an origin, has a particular growth, fixes itself in space . You can go even further and suck up to understand all the complex relations that travel inside of the womb of the city; all the million bits of information making these relations constant and eventually the foundation for assumptions and beliefs."

"All these essentials have a source that flow like streams in the mountains toward the great meandering river of organization and through and out into empty space."

* * * * * * * *

RELEASE

A release from the cloister or, at least, permission to wander the woods again.

A release from the nature that has permitted such a profound collapse.

A release from those who tried to do us harm; who did not want us to go forward.

A release from some expectations even as we put more on ourselves.

A release from the foolishness of youth.

A release from all the empty days.

A release from all the ways that conspire to make us less than what we are capable of.

A release from the stupidities of others (one of the strong forces of the universe.)

A release from the frightened and frightening.

A release from the revenge-filled who see what denies them power.

A release from being stymied by the simple facts of nature.

And at the moment of release we see our next set of arduous tasks that will pin us down without doubt.

* * * * * * * *

STUCK

Poets love women because they create and destroy emotions. One with such power is to be admired and feared.

* * * * * * * *

I often feel stuck. I question why I am not breaking out and writing the exact things I want to write.

"It's not a European classical culture," the professor told me. "You will have huge disappointments." No, not really. More like a patchwork of unintended consequences.

The English and Literature departments of universities may constitute themselves as an aristocracy but it is the most faux nobility in the history of man and womankind. They have no power and no money. And when they act as cults lose their ability to speak to a liberal democracy as free men and women. And harm writers by stunting their growth by making literature adhere to the channeling walls of politics. And politics stunts growth much more than cigarettes which, at least, have warning labels on them.

So it is up to the writer. And bless the writer who becomes a true individual and rides the implication of full individuality out into the horizons.

* * * * * * * *

Everyman and everywoman has a piece of the writer as long as he is free.

Of course doesn't the implication of time everlasting have an effect on the stability of the novel? Or, any other form for that matter? If life, now, is constant transformation doesn't the novel get rolled up and away with everything else?

REWARDS

And when what you love has no reward, then what? It either makes you crazy or a strategist at the highest level possible. You wait and wait and wait for the opening that will no longer wait for you.

You transform the reward you wanted into a nasty joke and come up with new rewards because, after all, you are a free and living person. If you are going to connect and relate to something beyond the intimacies of your own life and, even, family, make it the universe, make it the stars that we can't see.

The worst thing to do is give up your principles simply because you think no one will like you otherwise. One who does this is usually susceptible to gossip.

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.

* * * * * * * *

A whole self implies many selves.

They run like invisible life on the surface of the water.

Wonderful contradictions turn the wheels of woe and joy.

The contraries of experience fly effortlessly through the solid mountain.

At Night Now

At night now, I think on things. The day belongs to the monkey trying to find a bunch of banana's from some low, obscure limb. The night belongs to the man, fully himself, wanting to execute his deeds.

At night now, form appears, the elusive ghost of one's private dreams. It should be wide and contain multitudes. It should be sharp contrasts and accessible from different points. It should be adventuresome; intoxicated and sincere. It should grasp at the few things that count.

Everything and its depth. And then the painful elimination.

It takes longer and in a sense it's all worth it. But then again, there is regret. We make things as clear as we can and shoot on forward.

* * * * * * * *

WORLDS

For the writer all the worlds collide. This is axiomatic. It's how he separates them that makes the difference.

Even better than discovering something for the first time is the joy in discovering it the second time after beguiling years have intervened.

The writer makes his writing his essence. In youth he believes it is his seed. But no, his word is his seed.

Courage is needed so that the world that builds in him doesn't collapse. Wisdom is needed so that his courage prevents him from doing bad or stupid things.

The writer can be the biggest prima donna in the whole cage. The faster he escapes this pose the better. It may be Hell on the otherside but at least Hell is an interesting description of something, if not real in a physical sense, certainly real in a psychological sense. It is far better to walk with pen in hand through Hell than it is to manufacture entertaining notions of the self that are like chiffon.

The Glistening Surface

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. Nothing changes they say. We have a hill, it is ours and it is empty of furious armies.

A spectacular and beautiful day, Spring!

* * * * * * * *

Every stage or phase I've been in I've gotten way over my head and have tried to hack my way to the surface.

Sometimes I simply let go and float to the top but one way or the other I'm changed after the experience. It's a good existential-American process.

The writer never believes he's "better than anyone else," whatever that may mean. In fact, the writer gladly points to a crowd of people and says, "many of those are better than myself and all of them know something that I don't know that could be valuable to me." Nonetheless the writer does everything in his power to reach levels of expression he has deemed as worthy targets, whether they are accepted in the popular culture or not. He aims, he fires, and he hits or misses. Sometimes he's satisfied, sometimes not. The created object then leaves him and that is that. It belongs to all or to no one. As long as he is satisfied he has done everything possible to achieve the level he set out to then, in the long run it doesn't matter.

I wrote prose to develop a relation to that which wanted power over me. Prose was a way to deflect or keep away or understand that which could kill me, arrest me, rob me, harm me, define me, etc etc. It was a way to rid the self of coercion so that a purer form of creativity could emerge, one whose basic thrust was positive.

Out, out, further and further with more and more substance! There's an art to it You can go so far out substance is a thin and useless line. You can drive substance down into a deep black hole. Form and sensibility are cuts into the raw stone-face of reality. It is often times necessary to objectify "that which one is leaving" in terms of value or substance.

TALKING TO THE BLACKNESS

I went outside in the warm evening and I began talking to the blackness. I experienced, once again, the sensuous pleasure of the rotation of the earth and remembered that the earth orbits; it tilts. This is a liberating feeling from the pressure of our common skies. Now, in my mind, there can be no question that life has emerged on other star systems in the universe. Nonetheless until we find that life or it finds us we are here with ourselves, our families, our communities, our "others", that is to say, our relations.

Our relations. Ourselves as naked beings and our relations; that is all. There is nothing else. All else is the struggle between the animal and the reaching, aspiring, dreaming, creating, building, thirsting creature.

* * * * * * * *

To see life as energy and the transformation of energy and to see the subtleties of energy is to see truth. And to see truth is a privilege, perhaps even a dangerous privilege.

And the question every consciousness asks at some point or another, "What are the energies of life up to? What are they doing? What are they constructing and what are they destroying?" All questions of good and evil, questions of politics and economy, social questions can and should be put on that level.

* * * * * * * *

MARTYRS and SCAPEGOATS

Oh mighty scapegoat, bring yourself in from the wolves.

Good laughter is sometimes better than fire to drive animals away from your lonely camp.

If anyone asks just say that you were very slow, a ponderous beast in the middle of stinging flies and wild panthers.

Somewhere between the End of the World and the Beginning of Life is a truth.

* * * * * * * *

Every living being goes through a period of decrepit pessimism. Understanding it is evidence of character. Just don't make it into a mirror.

* * * * * * * *

The true American, one of them at any rate, is that person who can experience the society fully, in all its dimensions and out of that experience create something new, profound, and enriched beyond anyone's imagination.

That doesn't mean any and all expressions. The test is whether it has fully embraced the complete society which includes religions, histories, ethnicities, regions, documents, examples of a variety of action and many other contradictions.

* * * * * * * *

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 the 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.

"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!"

Old Writers Are Thought About and Celebrated:

Reputations in the present are relatively meaningless. Give me manna and enrichment that only comes when the mind is fired hot across the bow of the lazy spirit.

So there are great contributions to the word hoard. And imagination becomes dignified and individual and each word, like each man or woman, is significant.

Everything good encounters its own special hatred. It doesn't matter. It comes through.

The American writer wrestles with what hand it's been dealt. He watches the appalling and the gracious with the same eye. After all, the American writer doesn't want to record reality but create a new one or, at least, add to the one that is here with his own makings.

The American writer is not the holy man.

He tries to find the laws of consciousness.

He tries to install in his work complexity and enrichment.

He abandons all influence that threatens his integrity.

Literary Work/Thinking Work

I felt a lot of tension between this: the purely literary work and the so-called thinking work; the comments, the observations and so forth. One implies the other I suppose. The mind was shaped this way so why not record it; why not be conscious of what has shaped or influenced the spirit? But they call on different qualities. Literature does want to embody a sort of irrational meaning, much like the spiritual. It can't be contrived. The "thinking work" is there to try and keep above board, to try and find some sort of peaceful negotiation with the world as it is.

And thinking back to my youth I was anything but at peace with the world. So, a kind of obligation, then, without which what is there? We have obligations. We set ourselves for our own problems but there it is, trudge through we must. Story telling, when it is right or poetry when it is right can not be surpassed for satisfaction. But, there is a kind of satisfaction in resolving a huge dilemma, at least for oneself.

* * * * * * * *

Thinking comes from reading books and getting jarred and ripped by reality. If you recover from it you can think a bit. Experience is necessary and so is that empathetic personality that can insinuate itself into many roles and activities that otherwise would be barred.

* * * * * * * *

Freedom and the nature of the mind, if you wish to call it that, has taught me that there must be stimulation, there must be active interplay with the world on many levels, not simply thoughts but then there must be contemplation, there must be resolution before one goes to the next step, whatever that step may be. In that youth came many problems streaming down into the core of the self. In that youth came many impressions and perceptions from every direction.

The internet is a kind of third way since it is primarily a communications medium and my industry group is communications. And there is much interplay on the beast since many people tromp through the screen here. And transactions do take place. And like reality it forces one to do things he'd rather not do.

REFLECTIONS

We reflect, it is a natural condition of the writer's mind. We reflect on the stages of development that are of interest only to ourselves. What are we going to say to others? What are we going to announce to the looming faces of those we hardly know?

We admit defeats along many fronts. The world wins and yet we flail away as the most unsuspecting, improbable idiot.

Our life and our being are lost through the structures we make. After is what we have no knowledge of.

* * * * * * * *

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 complexes; old conflicts resolve and dance happily under the purest moon.

Pictures

As much variety as the coherent mind can produce.

The world- stunned by its own senescence- bows to the dreams of young men.

Anything produced for the mind is either nourishment or poison.

The taste of the woman's sweat less body in the afterglow of night.

The hum-drum world broken apart by the cries of pain and lovers afraid to reject the world.

The empty sky absorbs the fat cities and smoky road; brings the mind out to intimations of eternity.

Ghostly, elliptical pictures of speaking dead Presidents, laughing.

Home clustered and packed by receding fields, heavy with the brooding children.

A graceful bird carrying the story of youth on its mighty wings.

DEVOTION and ITS ENEMIES

A life devoted to invention, dedicated to the imagination, devoted to the wisdom of the intellect, dedicated to the burnishing of the language. What one doesn't prepare for is the drudgery involved. The unalterable boredom that creeps in from day to day. The mundane tasks that must get done before and if anything else is going to get done. The wrenching of having to admit oneself to the judgments of others. The voracious market that is waiting and waiting to gobble up all of your precious thought and stories.

The lines of the profession get very blurred. The writer rebels at everything, if not outwardly then inwardly where most things take place. One is thrown into worlds he is not prepared for or knowledgeable of. In some dim image that he carries of that general reference called reality he senses that such a world exists. And then, as suddenly, he is in the middle of this world, it surrounds him, it is judging him, it is taunting him at times. And then, he is out of it and in some other existence whose limits he barely discerns. And all the while this is occurring he is attempting to learn how to transfer his thoughts into words, into sentences, into more complex thoughts. And feelings as well as relations become more and more complex and his experience richer.

Devoted to musing on things; devoted to the confrontation with things.

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RAW INSIGHT

Raw insight means little or nothing. Kept at the level of the raw insight and the mind grows around it like a fester. Ejaculate it out into the world without care or thought and it is laughed at or seized on by more clever and ruthless individuals for their own use. If the raw insight has immeasurable emotional weight then it is usually thrown against the vast complexity of the world where it becomes lost, devoured by the world, robbing the self of the pride of discovery.

What then is to be done about the raw insight? Always but always write them down. And then leave them, perhaps leave them for years.

ADVICE

When reading becomes senseless step back and look at the world of objects around you; the processes and technology flying around your poor head.

Don't fight superfluous fights.

Ask the question: What draws one away from the largest dreams?

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People always try to shame the writer into action.

Sometimes a writer will see himself as a quiet man in a straw hut sitting under the sun and grabbing for various rays hitting around him. Or a scarecrow come alive but who yet doesn't know how to move out of the cornfield.

TABOO

When I was young I saw just about every taboo broken, every just proportion made grotesque, everything sacred debased, all value reduced to a kind of private joke Every taboo but one and that was the taboo of 'knowing yourself'. If a man, say, hypothetically was to quit everything to learn to "know himself" what tremendous guilt's and problems and anger come flooding from the liberated age!

The taboos, proportion, values were either honestly broken by the icon-breaking mind, usually under the impetus of the ego or they were foolishly turned into rationalization and masks which those in authority used to cover their own deeds, misdeeds for the most part.

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.

STRUCTURE and DESIGN

Anything of worth desires its own structure and design. The universe itself offers the perfect structure. It offers up a creature designed to understand the complexity of that structure and to create its own structure and to create its own structure through a multiplicity of worlds. That creature meditates, it creates, it destroys, it builds up.

There is a structure of character as well as a structure of objects.

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What is evil but the denial of the possibility to structure the rapid chaos that overwhelms us from time to time? As evil denies us that possibility it offers its own poor substitutes. And if the world is so attuned to its own weakness at the time, the denial will become the structure and so deny the possibility that the positive of life will have its structure. That has its imprints on generations.

The world, then, goes to rack and ruin. Nature, Science, Political constitutions or Law, Art; these are some of the categories that offer positive structures to flourish. On the brink of the abyss we are saved by one of the categories from time to time.

Death, dissolution, and chaos are threatening to punish and destroy our illusions. And, in fact, a stage in life is spent in a struggle between burgeoning aspirations, dreams and the chaos and evil that would deny that anything is real but itself.

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And, how often it is that the man or woman raised in the belief that no evil exists ends up a pawn of it and the man or woman who struggles against it from an early stage becomes a saint.

PATHWAYS

On this- an excitable day- a day when we weight things in the balance. A day that reveals where we have been and what we are to do. A day filled with the portentous laughter of poetry, a day filled with predictions.

On this day we observe the empting and replenishing that has taken place over the years. It is always emptying and replenishing, order and chaos. In my 20's was certainly a replenishing, a filling up to an extent I hardly knew was possible.

Ah-all burning wires repeat the message!

Then came a gradual emptying through my 30's. Emptying is the most disappointing process.

We contemplate the moon.

We bring the cosmos down to our humbled shed where sounds and light play in the trees.

We think of the vast convulsions that could take us away in a flash.

We think of our pathways filled with old and ruined memories.

Pathway that leads though the solid rooms of youth.

Pathway that moves through the eerie city when the mist falls, the people fall, arms outstretched for that which never falls.

Pathway where we rest to celebrate the few items that has passed with us. Happy items that survives the emptying!

They spin in delight before the sun touches them!

Do we smell the rot of those who have not yet conquered themselves?

CAMERA

The Queen is a camera and she wears no pearls. Her omniscient eye rarely looks at herself but then, from the panopticon all her subjects are observed. There are crevices and alleys that even the gods can't get to. Her worries are a substantial upgrade from the old dad but still it is for her conscience primarily. "Death takes them so fast and early, what can I do about it?"

A long line of portraits cross her brain. She lets it flow. She was taught to let them flow through, every last one, then you will know; you will know from the flow a thing or two.

"And the shabbiness is something you can manipulate when the need comes."

The Inspection of Goods is complete when the stately horses cross the Bridge.

Growth is slow. Decades slide like chunks of ice from the glaciers. Captured in the ice are spots of human pride and amusement. "Ah, they are diverted for a precious moment before they slide into the Sea."

Everywhere she ushers in the Carnival of Silliness with arms and hands pointing straight up into the grey and poisonous day.

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