Had breakfast today.
Dithered and yon.
Slice of greasy pizza.
Walk through mall.
Some phone calls.
Had breakfast today.
Dithered and yon.
Slice of greasy pizza.
Walk through mall.
Some phone calls.
The day I kissed her and didn’t leave at the end of her party not in that order.
A week ago. Yes. Only a week ago. Phone calls before. A funeral. Did not work that day. Sat around in my apartment, waiting. Television. And other images. Then slowly getting dressed. Thinking I am late. Out the door and to my car. Hot. Blisteringly hot. Driving. Up 95. Then on side roads, Knight’s Road, to Neshaminy Mall.
A cemetary. Car parking the road. Pull up around and walk past many graves. To my family. The grandson, he says: the Man did nothing for me, not since my father died — I sit and listen silent —
Then, we go out of the car and we stand there, and the Rabbi — who is the son of his father who was the Rabbi who presided over my ritual ascension to the community when I was thirteen, in a small synagogue in Philadelphia, teeming of the old world, gone, that Rabbi died near the end of the 90s, into his grave, and all the Jews of Philadelphia came down to Broad Street to bury him, like a great sage, like a great one of old, and now that Rabbi is gone, and his son is the new Rabbi, and black beard has begun to turn white as the son becomes the father — the Rabbi begins.
And he says “This man was not from here. But he came here, often for his son, and buried his son, Michael, alav l’shalom, and now the father returns to the child.” At this point, I cry, in the blistering heat.
And then the man’s daughter speaks, of the conflicts between her faith and his science. The man was a genius, a doctor of engineering and fluid dynamics — —
10.25.11 — and the post is unfinished. Appropriately, perhaps. I do know what happened next, however: the woman speaks of gaining some peace with her father, and of some pleasant and supportive things he said about our shared wandering faith — the son speaks, and speaks of his surety that the dead man is in the World to Come — the worst the worst the worst —
later, at the house of the wife of the man’s son who died ten years before we sit around and discuss and grandchildren who did not necessarily know him mingle and some feel betrayed and others loved and the children of the man are heartbroken, abyssal, sitting, following heartbroken, and I speak with one about our mutual field of employment law and throw a basketball around for a second and avoid the man’s ex-wife who is the mother of the man’s son who died who is my uncle who’s death ten years ago broke my heart and my view of the universe beyond healing and see her for a moment and ask her how’s she doing and she says not well with a mirthless or half-mirth smile but her own mortality hanging over her and the infinite loss of the man in the ground who used to be her partner once and gave her those children and brought this world into being and the mortality of her dead son my uncle by marriage hanging over her too the great Jovian grief of that infinite lost compared to my own satellite of satellite grief — though for all us of course, it is Margaret we mourn for — and yet somehow in the greatness of the man the work the doing and the cleareyed secret atheism with which I know this man went into the darkness at that moment on that day when we laid his empty body next to his son’s empty body and we buried the son’s leavings in the heart of winter and the father’s ten years later in the heart of summer, somehow I don’t despair at that moment, I am at some peace, I do not know what it is, the knowledge of dying old, perhaps, but still dying, I cannot imagine it, now, a few months later, as winter returns and fall is still beautiful but winter returns and perhaps it is the repetitions, the repeating, or the standing in one place, the living while dying like a shark failing —
Not now. Do not feel contented now or at peace now, in October.
But then, a death in summer — sure.
There is no greater meaning here. We all go down to darkness. And loneliness and absence and unthinking and unable to love or think or anything or anything at all — and others go one, suffering too, just like us, basically identical to us, except for that one little thing, that they are not us, and never will be, and we are alone in our self and merely pass from here to there to nowhere, a bubble popping into existence and then a bubble popping out —
here is the Church, and here is the steeple, open the doors, and where are all the people —
and the Story of the Book is the Story of the Great Existent Being who walks with us and passes through us and nevertheless is not us but nevertheless comes to love us each to each and loves us even more for the sake of our fathers, for the sake of our mothers, those other fireflies who caught his attention and drew his love before winking out forever and that Great Existent Being said I AM THEN and I AM NOW and I AM WHAT WILL BE and not all things exist, but all things either have existed, exist, or will exist —
Sweet madness. Yesterday, leaving the office, late at night, ensconced in these four walls and then outside for the first time that day thinking this thinking that the outdoors is just another room but then also thinking about how the great vault of the sky is really a great deep dark pit abyssm stretching down endlessly down forever or that we are crawling on the conglomeration of certain dust around certain dust due to this strange property of stuff where it tends to fall towards each other and towards each other and towards each other —
until the fires alight from so much falling, and a strange alchemical burning — the very basic laws of physics burning – bright – triumphant — the sun — the sun — all hail the rising of the — even coupled with the absurdity the old absurdity attributed to Protojew Urfather and Urukfather Av’Racham who said the sun too was created —
and today on 10.25.11, walking in the mall, and thinking of those other infinite gravity wells, those loci consciousness, those seeing feeling computing waking instantiations of the universe —
or high with my cousin with my unhigh brother as verbal amanuensis to our highness speaking of the freezing of time that may or may not occur when you break or reach or break the light barrier and realizing slowly in my heavy high that this freezing of time is identical to the Big D and realizing in my heavy high that the Big End comes for me as well and no man knows the time or place of its coming and when it comes, it comes and there Is No Stopping It —
or perhaps the sad story related by my sister who will no doubt relate other sad stories to me over the course of our remaining wanderings about my friend’s younger brother who hung himself this June, in the heart of summer, even as we others who had long lost track of that particular instance of the universe, a boy, a man, with troubles unknown, who’s depth of feeling and depth of pain and I hope sometimes once depth of joy reached as deep and true as my own, even as we others who had long lost track stood at a grave site we had stood at ten years prior and laid down the father next to the son.
[Leibniz quote on this being the best of all possible worlds.]
(1) Normal childhood in Middle upper class life. Creature comforts, and the strangeness of intergenerational relationships, death of a great grandfather and his mother’s dark unexplainable at that point sadness and the attempt to explain death through a children’s picture book – e.g., I miss you, Mr. Hooper.
And the strange stirrings of cross gender desire, and his initial fixation and attraction to girls with dark hair.
And then growing up, and learning letters. And worrying he’s not smart enough.
How was it that this young and scruffed Jack Kerouac become a beardless barrister?
And even as I say it, I know there is no slowness to my time, no waiting, the true fear is the ever swifter racing of time. Will I find a seed to nourish before my own limbs falter. Swiftly.
Something like Synecdoce (seen in New York when I was all alone but still in love many hundreds of days ago) and something like Our Town at the end where Emily asks the old man if anyone ever appreciates their life, every little minute of it, while they’re living it, and he says no, the artists and poets, maybe, sometimes, and how we always go to books or movies or plays to try to understand just what it is we are just what it is we’re doing here but we can’t, we can’t ever, we can’t ever get purchase on the thing, perspective, because in order to know what it means to live a life, we have to live the life, the whole life, the whole great expanse of time, and then stand at the edge and feel it all going and be filled with regret and love and happiness and sadness and everything all at once because it will be the last chance for that last chance for anything and the whole great expanse of it, all gone, to be remembered? maybe; no, most of it will be forgotten within a span of years, maybe decades if you’r lucky, a century for the very few, and for some, the outlines of our deeds might stretch longer, but so what, so what –
and thus the greatest work of art at all will be like what happened to Cotard in Synecdoce where the artwork was contemporaneous and concurrent to his entire life, and could only end that way, autumn, then the great fullness of his age, then old age, then — then — then —
I sit here on my couch. Read wikip
Time passes. One day much like the last. Mostly empty. Sometimes busy, filled with someone else’s important thing. I don’t mind that. Happy to help, to borrow someone’s important thing. Even that, though – not that important. Just their jobs. Remedying a little the unfairness of the master servant relationship.
I eat. Not enough green. I quit smoking, then backslide. I talk to my ex-girlfriend, and tell her I love her most days. Television is still here.
But still. Just the days. In and out.
I am deleveraging. Paying it down. Waiting to be happy for that day. Soon? Soon.
My youth, I realized was full of internal magic, full of epic signicance, and me, myself, my own strong protagonist. Now, I sit on the banks of my own life, my feet in the water, my fishing pole untaut and waiting.
The lightness of being, Kundera called it. The absence of great joy or great sorrow. Though, sometimes, in the shower, the feel of the water waking me up all over and in every moment, I feel the great vivid livingness of being, and sense the fact that time is still passing, and everything is quietly changing and endeavoring, mindless but unceasing, to take away everything I have and then everything I am.
The writing cannot capture the feeling, because the writing is later.
There is an additional and compelling consideration which recent economic experience has brought into a strong light. The exploitation of a class of workers who are in an unequal position with respect to bargaining power and are thus relatively defenceless against the denial of a living wage is not only detrimental to their health and well being but casts a direct burden for their support upon the community. What these workers lose in wages the taxpayers are called upon to pay. The bare cost of living must be met. We may take judicial notice of the unparalleled demands for relief which arose during the recent period of depression and still continue to an alarming extent despite the degree of economic recovery which has been achieved. It is unnecessary to cite official statistics to establish what is of common knowledge through the length and breadth of the land. While in the instant case no factual brief has been presented, there is no reason to doubt that the State of Washington has encountered the same social problem that is present elsewhere. The community is not bound to provide what is in effect a subsidy for unconscionable employers. The community may direct its law-making power to correct the abuse which springs from their selfish disregard of the public interest.
West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379, 399-400 (U.S. 1937)