Augustine insisted that Jews were not a challenge to Christianity but a witness to it.
Augustine insisted that Jews were not a challenge to Christianity but a witness to it.
I am a reading Narcissus, entranced by my own words, pulled deeper and deeper into dark pools of my own past thoughts — who was that man of much wandering? Who was the writer? I stare deeply, holding on deeply, self-seduced.
Movements in art. The way things go. Secret clubs.
Everything sings to those who listen. Man-made artifacts sing more, having caught a bit of their maker’s voice in their own throats. Natural objects likewise sing, but in a different language, they too having caught the voice of their maker. Put two objects next to each other, and their singing becomes exponentially more interesting, including two voices and the counterpoints and pulling between the voices. Each added object juxtaposed makes the sound denser and more complex. Louder. Stronger. More interesting.
Real people sing best, but also lie and mitigate and, worst of all, listen — this can muddle and confuse the song. They are both singers and listeners. They have preferences about the songs they’ll hear. They will fight with others to quiet some voices to hear others better. Abraham smashing idols. Jews lined up in concentration camps.
The song pushes and the song pulls. We exalt in being the audience, but find it difficult to isolate and separate our own voices. Singers and listeners. Euphony. We seek harmonies, but get head-splitting dissonance. Who will teach them to sing? Who will call the tune? Who will set the tempo? (A jar on a hill in Tennessee).
Who benefits? Who is trustworthy? How will the commonwealth be divided? When and how and where will the song end? To what extent should we be singers and not just listeners? Is the world perfect already? The world + art = the world. Saw that in bright neon letters in the Philadelphia Art Museum. Was it with Eve in 2001? Or was it a different museum all together? Washington DC? I don’t think so. But could have been. Cities, Great Songs, blend in to each other. To which song shall I sing. Who shall I be. Do I have the courage of my convictions? Sometimes? Can I type without looking. Of course. Possible there will be mroe typos, but this is a better record of my thoguuhts as they happen, lookin at envelopes, colored pencil cards, the clock, the photo of my father and grandfather, both wearing yellow shirts. They are standing on some old ship. It sings it sings. My mother’s blackberry. A stapler, with the number 767 embossed on its striking head. Half of a Sierra Club calendar peeking out from other papers, with a Western sunset and a Joshua Tree in shadows. My name is Joshua Tree by the way. I was named after the U2 album. Piles of papers. Leavings of thoughts. Tree + Thought = Paper. Food is the opposite of shit. Looking at rorsach diagrams on toilet paper. Everything sings. Even that. Old Diviners. Oracles at Delphi. In the long distance future, this city will be called Delphi, and I will sit as its postapocalpytic king in the ruined halls of the Art Museum. Behind me will stand a bow-drawn Diana, and the neon words the World + Art = The World. I will arm my knights with the armor from the Arms and Armor Room, and we will all wear swords, to keep out the Morlocks. From the hights of the Art Museum, we will be able to see them coming. The Watchmen.
Idea for a Theater Piece. The Oresteia in the court-yard of the Art Museum. Wearing Masks and wireless Microphones, so that their voices will bellow out above the Parkway. Oh, what a beautiful city. Oh what a beautiful town.
Enough memory of phrases in this hollow head to keep the rhythm, to call the song. Books, books, books, the opposite of people. Food goes in, Shit goes out. But let’s not get all moralistic and conservative about it. Archaeologists are as interested in shit as they are in food — more so, perhaps, for the artifacts sing louder.
When walking through Art Museum, we forget the Artifact and stare at the Art. We ignore the Singer and focus on the Song. Mind the Singer! The Medium is the Message. Not really. But the Medium + the Message = The Message. And the Message + the Medium = The Medium. What is a river?
What is a metaphor? The ability to put new wine into old bottles? At some point the old bottles break?
What is clarity? Simplicity? A communication that values transferability over precision of thought? Why the metaphors? Why the obfuscation? Or the esoteric? Does it protect myself? The Simple might be well-protected if when encountering the esoteric merely killed the speaker, reasoning that anything they did not understand was obviously dangerous, because some might —
Secret religions and cults and philosophies. Preaching something. And yet we live in the Exoteric, Preterite World. No longer we are fallen. Is the Rebbe as Messiah inconsistent with Hasidic Judaism — maybe not, maybe not, they are Panentheists, aren’t they. God in Everything? This is my legacy, this is my writ, this is my word, this is my song, God, Walking in the Garden, Singing the World into Existence. The doorbell rings, two tones, high, low. The twisting of tumblers. My brother’s girlfriend. Love. It blossoms there, you can hear it in her voice, can you hear it in his, yes, a twist, girlish delight in a manboy’s voice.
Let it be enough. Two whistles. What’s that mean? The bread transubstantiates into the body? Shit later. Is it? Is the Host shitted out? Is it still God’s body then? Perhaps they should make it in pill form? Or better yet, an injection? No waste. This is my blood. This is my body — whitepoppyseed blooming, a joy I know not, but will, as I sit on the edge of the world and prepare to fall off.
This blog — blog sounds like shit, like bog, like a swamp, doesn’t, the long slog — would not work for one with a quiet and orderly mind, a Zen mind contemplating oneness — staring unblinkingly at the secret central hear t of everything — that’s what minimalism is all about, isn’t, rejecting the various veils of illusions, replacing artifice with art — allowing more crystalline and more crystalline mediums until there is no medium, only message — a final message — peace which means completeness which means quiet. The Song of Silence. The UnSong. The Peaceful Rest.
Instead, I sing the Chaos, singing Order into Chaos, but Chaos all the same. Scylla and Charabydis. In Joyce, I’ve founder on the Wandering Rocks, as the Principals get their Act IV break to make water and clay. (Not really, those things happen onstage in Joyce. Perhaps it is only to provide some parallax, of Others and of Writers).
There is no Parallax here. I am the Absolute Subjective, accepting all in the World as happening in My World, Which is not the Age of Men but the Age of Me. Lost an ‘N’ there, an ‘En’, a diminutive Em, gone and broken, but very important. Spell out the letters, is there wisdom in that. Ae? Bee? See? Dee? Ee? Ef? Jee? H. Is it spelled Aech? Yes. Think so. Eye? Jay? Kay? El. Em. En. Oe. Pee. Quew. Ar. Es. Tee. No idea about U. Anyway. Anyway. Bye. Bye. Bye.
Is it fair that school, through testing, is reduced to a game? That the purpose of education has reduced itself to credentialing for the employers instead of learning and skill-building for individuals? Obama, with heart in the right face, is not able or willing to question the fundamentals of the system.
Are our children learning? (sic) Children learn in different ways and different paces — we teach them things they ought to know — about themselves, about their common race, about the world they find themselves in — and yet, all that becomes irrelevant, and very quickly the love of learning is replaced with the game of testing, where everything serves something else, and so on and so on —
Why should we punish the slow? Because time is money? I’ll throw you back your thirty pieces of silver. What happens to the self-esteem of someone who does not do well? They’ll stop caring about something, either themselves or school, that I’ll wager.
Something must change. The trouble is not in our stars but in ourselves.
the many different ways our hyperreal modern media allows our personalities to bleed into those of others — all this watching, reading, listening, the drumbeat of the mirror neurons calling us to dance, overwhelming our emerged individuality — it bleeds away. Hygiene, Foster Wallace called it, Good Man Foster Wallace. Oh, don’t bleed, sailor, hold yourself together —
Why do they call it disassociated personality disorder? Who are the Hosts that dwell within us Legion, shackled and silenced until the Mediator fails? Trauma destroys the integration of personalities — the Noble Lie that makes us think we are one person?
I am legion, says the Possessed One. Jesus quiets their ragings.
The King must be crowned. The Mind and its minions must submit. The edge, the Long Walls, must be maintained. Zen Meditation encourages the bleeding — the smoke of a cigarette delineates the boundary. We are human — we possess our bodies and the world, with Others as negative cut-out holes through which we cannot see beyond — there is something hidden there beneath behind the other’s Eyes. Call this madness — it is — even probing-twisting the world in this way pulls me towards madness — that cigarette, delineator, sounds good right now (whatever the consequences.) I must know who I am. I must know where I end. What is me and what is not me. What is me? Aren’t I just a leaf on a tree, though, a wave on the ocean? A part of the whole? Yes, of course, and can climb back up the beanstalk to sport with Giants — sure, surely, of course I can.
But I have apples to deliver, and puzzles to break open, and riddles to ponder — best riddle, what do I have in my pocket (answer, the yet unknown heart of darkness, POWER) — cigarettes and deaths and lines in the sand, and the Conductor to yoke the orchestra towards euphony instead of dissonance — dissonance is lovely too, striking in its statement of autonomy and fallibility–
One thing leads to another. The road goes ever ever on. The words are shining settings that make more beautiful the thoughts contained within. To those who listen, everything sings. Each to each, says Eliot. I will not forget that, not ever. Three coins in the fountain. I asked for love. Another time, I’ll tell you that story.
with apologies, as always, to Bob Dylan
Every now and again, when warm May evenings sneak in like a beneficient thief, those long bright twilights, I sit and I think about that fictional child Huckleberry Finn, and what might have happened to him, years later, after he left Hannibal and headed West, carrying with him the secret scars of his adventure, memories of the river, laughing with Jim, and the slave’s final confession about what he had seen but Huck had not in a floating half-drowned house that had drifted by their raft. Jim — closest to a father he had ever had, a true friend, and the slow birth of responsibility and tragedy.
Clemens never knew how to end it, and I don’t either, and Huck didn’t either — but he knew, in the virgin lawless west, uncivilized, unconstrained, he might find the river again. The river was freedom — the anonymity of the river, the hidden identities of the road, everyone a Dauphin, everyone a Duke, donning and doffing their various histories like mummers’ costumes, the blessed lie that free’s, that forgives — the delayed limbo of youth that postpones the reckoning of adulthood — before the hard edge of Sawyer’s jokes sets in –
The object of this book is to present a general view of the
Common Law. To accomplish the task, other tools are needed
besides logic. It is something to show that the consistency of a
system requires a particular result, but it is not all. The life
of the law has not been logic: it has been experience. The felt
necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political
theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious,
even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow-men,
have had a good deal more to do than the syllogism in determining
the rules by which men should be governed. The law embodies the
story of a nation’s development through many centuries, and it
cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and
corollaries of a book of mathematics. In order to know what it
is, we must know what it has been, and what it tends to become.
We must alternately consult history and existing theories of
legislation. But the most difficult labor will be to understand
the combination of the two into new products at every stage. The
substance of the law at any given time pretty nearly 
corresponds, so far as it goes, with what is then understood to
be convenient; but its form and machinery, and the degree to
which it is able to work out desired results, depend very much
upon its past.
another name for this blog — what strange tongues blow across my throat-harp, that strange instrument. Do you talk with your mouth, or your brain, or your stomach? whistle whistle twist and thwistle — language is a great an unknown rube-goldberg machine, too complicated to read the skein of connections (“world means man-old, answer right there”) this journal could be called the Glosso, the Glossoalia, the tongues