The influence of gaslight or electric light on the growth of paraheliotropic trees

bonebrushing the edges of the res interna (upper transcend)

and the voice of the present

“Hello?” he says, peering into the mouth of a dark hole in the ground, perfectly round and fringed with tufts of wet green grass, slick from this morning’s storm.

He hears the faintness of his voice’s echo reverberating softly on.

“Anyone in there?”

No answer.

The Donkey-Eared One, satisfied that he is alone, that the hole is just a hole, that, while there is no explanation for it, it is, nevertheless, safe, proceeds to sit down next to it and begin to tell his tale and secrets to the lonely field.

“Once, I was afraid. I was petrified.”

He stops. He pauses. He starts again.

“No. That is something else.”

He pauses.

–Once, I was the King. And before I was the King, I was the prince, and I went to a school for princes, where I was taught the Quadrivium and then the Trivium, and I was taught the tongue of Angles, and of Jutes, and I was taught the Holy Bible, and the Holy Charter, and the Virginia Compromise, and the Names of the Days, and the Orders of the Animals, and the Numbers of the Elements, and I was learned in rhetoric, argument, and logic, and between studies, we were given leave to play, outside, on great large green fields, with a playground at the top of a hill, next to an empty field where a house had once stood and where one could make out the remnants of cellar stairs and foundations. And below the playground, a hill wound down, and to the left, a dark, black, brick building, and in its shadow, a great tree, and then, at the foot of a hill, a great ball field, larger than a soccer pitch, larger than a football field, in which children would play great and enormous games of tag.

Further, in the far north corner of the field, stood a grove of pine trees, and a clearing in it, where sometimes, children would gather, and pretend to marry each other.

And I ran with the best of them, and, befitting my Princely status, and my precocious cleverness and wisdom, gathered around me a band of children.

Much is not remembered, of course, the mind sets aside childish things as it works and winds its way through the world, but I remember one boy chasing a girl, the girl I loved in my secret youth, and I remember trying to stop him, and him kicking me between the legs and me bending over in great pain. The girl got away, and I got no thanks.

And I remember another time, ranging with my band of youthful hooligans, and hearing tell of these child-marriages happening in the pine grove, and vowing to disrupt it, for in Heaven there is no Marriage, ranged over there like Pan’s Lost Boys and Indians, and whooping and wailing, beat the bounds and—

The coming to it, the crisis, the great moment of conflict–that I forget–but something occurred. And then, then all ways forgiven.

As years went on, I grew a little taller, and our school, in some cruel twist of arcane real estate law above both head and spirit of my young Princely self, banished us from our child’s fields, and pinned us in across the way, on another field, that was large, but thinner, and with fewer landmarks, and a lesser grove, and was the loss of magic which came with that year a loss of the land or was it simply a loss of my youth —

Here, ten thousand days later, I say, truly, I have never lost my youth, it was the land that was magic, the land, and the children in it, and we were banished, and that banishment, that exile, that reenactment of our Great Exile, was the secret heartbreak of my childhood–

I know not where my gift comes from, no more than I know why, or where, or when I came to wear these Donkey Ears that I cover with a hat and hide in shame and tell to no one except you, sweet grass, sweet field, but I do know that since I was a Princeling, I could change all I touched to gold, nay, not even touch, all I saw, gilded, transmuted, as if I were the master of the Philosopher’s Stone and could turn lump to lamp, as if I were the Long-Named Imp who knew the secret of spinning straw to gold, as if I were the Goose, the Famed Spruce Goose, whose every expression was priceless.

And so as  child, then as boy, then as man, I have steadfastly stood and spun my gold, and have grown rich in my own mind, and have even found way to hide my riches, to cover them back with lead and dross and sackcloth, and only take them out in secret times like these.

Why hide the gold, you say? Well, the Cossacks, for one, the Cossacks are always coming, the Cats, the Great Cats, lurking in shadows, hunting us poor Humes.

Anyway, that is how it went, for many years, growing into my own, and yet, one day, I know not when, I woke, and on that day found myself Donkey-Eared. And I found a cap and put it on, and have worn that cap ever since.

And I have told no one. Until now. No lovers. No doctors. No mothers. No fathers. No brothers, or sisters, or friends. My ears are my secret. And in the dark of night, I worry myself with fright, that maybe, maybe, the Donkey Ears are spreading, coming, eating at me, that maybe, one day, they will spread and spread and spread until all I am are Donkey Ears, and then, what then?

Aye, the world is hard, and full of dark magic, and witches, and curses, and I seem to have fallen under one, though I know not how or why.

And the ears itch, and I can hear everything, every little thing that anyone ever says about me, and they fill up with thick wax which smells of slightly rotten food, and, of course, it goes without saying, my love life has suffered.

But mostly, mostly, mostly, the worst worst worst part is the secret, the secret, the keeping of the secret. Oh it burns me, it is like an itch that can’t be scratched, that beneath this cap, I am this, but no one sees it, no one knows, that they might know, but don’t, and won’t, as long as I keep it that way.

In the beginning, the secret literally drove me mad, like a sharp and painful fire that never ceased. But here’s the way of pain — eventually, one gets used to it. One learns how to inhale deeper. And longer. And the pain comes, and it goes, and goes again, and eventually, it simply becomes a part of you. And that’s that.

That’s how the pain is now. Dull, managed, constant, in the back.

And that’s why I come here, every now and then, to whisper in holes, to speak the truth to empty fields, to scream my secrets to the sky.”

The speaker paused, and looked again down the hole. He thought he had heard something, and that thinking had sharpened every sense, including, most critically, that sense of pain that was always with him, at the edge of his perceptions.

No. It was nothing. Only his own voice, echoing off the walls of the earthen hole, coming back to him once more.


Echoes, on Day 12,348, from Day 8,254

Found this. Apparently, before I was Practical Spactical, I was Sad Traveler. Before I had this blog, I had that blog.

The Exile under House Arrest, speaking:

First Thoughts on Last Thoughts on Elsewhere

It’s 2:57 in the morning, and in six and a half hours I’ll be gone. I’ve been in North Carolina since the end of august, when Phish exploded into an apocalypse of mud and I ran away in the night from unemployment and my parent’s couch. Seems I traded one couch for another. Even so, I’ll be sad to go.

I return to Philadelphia bored and bearded, ready for the next adventure. The Eagles are in the Super Bowl, I’ll be spending nine hours on a train, and its only been a week since I kissed a girl. For a guy and a city whose had decades long dry spells, these things aren’t so bad. (Decades? I’m only 22. What do I know of decades? Still, if life so far has been such an eternity, I may have to reexamine my fear of death. Then again, not really.)

Messages in a bottle. Blogs. Stupid things. You begin hoping someone reads it. One day you’ll worry about someone reading it. I found myself in a blog not too long ago. The girl who kissed me. She said some really nice things. Sort of a haiku, almost. Sort of freaked me out. (But of course, I got a big kick out of it. Who wouldn’t?)

I got mine so I could write on someone elses, elsewhere’s, intentional accidents,, ongoing chronicle of the mad adventures of G Scheer Naval Passage, and Stephanie Allenburger, the artist formerly known as the embarassed blogger, before I showed how much more embarassing it was having a handle (I believe that’s the jargon they use in this crazy business) like that one.

I fucked up the website today. Spent my last day in Greensboro trying to solve a problem of my own making. Classic gumption trap. Darndest thing. It works now. Check it out. I really like the text page the most. Made it myself. Work of art, maybe. In parts.


Nine hour train ride. What will I do? Suggestions? Perhaps sleep if this insomnia continues. Last time I was on a train I felt real weird about getting up and walking around. Up to Vermont. Beautiful little railroads over forests, creeks, mountains. Tomorrow I go through the steelyards of Virginia, the refineries of Baltimore. Back up to the cold. Cold cold Philadelphia, you murderous city. Sometimes you have to go back to move forward. Forwards and backwards are irrelevant orientational conventions in a three dimensional / six directional universe. Though add a dimension to your model, and suddenly forwards and backwards start looking a lot more relevant. Forwards. Only option really.

Except when we sleep. The opening of Swann’s Way talks about how when he sleeps, he remembers. I haven’t gotten past the opening. It puts me to sleep. I’m not looking for Swann’s lost time.

I find it difficult to end these things. The temptation to sign off lazily with swagger is great. You have to catch yourself before you do it, and then it generally works out okay.

It’s 3:19 in the morning.

Charity in these modern times

Everyone falls, now, then, or in a time to come, and everyone must rise, with their own strength, or the aid of another, but it seems to me, that everyone who stretches out one hand has a sales-pitch in the other — selling hope, or redemption, or a better mousetrap.

And I understand those people of the House of R who say — it should not be our masters — our governors — who extend the hand — if we’re brothers, let us be brothers; if we’re friends, let us be friends;

But where are our brothers, in this modern age? Where are our friends? Where are our parents?

To think of all the sad orphans in this world, crying endlessly for a parent who will never answer–

And our churches lie, and say they will answer–
And the elders of the land, sitting in the gates, shield their eyes and stop their ears, oarsmen rowing forward–

And those with ears to hear, they tie themselves to masts, and, also, do nothing.

or drop coins in a cup–

so then, the House of D, and their government relief, the heavy hand– but they too sell something —

it is not easy, charity. What is easy is nothing, is ending, is failing, is sleeping. And finding mountains without rope or ladder or (hope of better), it all falls down—

A way must be shown. Right must be found. A way– a way–

a tone

a tabor, a thomas, a tibble, a pomme, a tumble, a tug, a tone, a tune, a tale, a tome, a turn, a till, a toil, a toll, a tomb, a time

To Moonchild

Enjoy some meaningful fun times

Fill your eyes and ears and heart with joy

And beauty

And peace

Let the joy and the sorrow break your heart, just like the waves break the sand, again, and again, and again

And in the breaking, know that you are alive

And are loved, by me, by your father, by your mother, by my father, by my mother,

and by your friends

and by your patients

and by your teachers

and by everyone you’ve ever met, in some deep secret way

and even by the universe, which

gave you this air to breathe, this world to walk on, these eyes to see, and this self to be

I love you, Moonchild

Evil, Freedom, and its Counterpart

Just watched a video of the news coverage when the second plane hit the World Trade Center. Evil exists, our enemies exist, they want to kill us, they want to make us afraid, but most of all, they want to defeat us.

And given that, it behooves us to ask, on this day, 14 years later, what is it about us that they want to defeat?

Who were we then, who are we now, who will we be tomorrow? And that last one — that’s the real question — what do they fear?

And they fear freedom. They fear loss of control. They fear that they’re own people will leave their systems of control and assimilate themselves to the West’s “godless secularism” which is just another name for radical existential freedom —

And our Radical Existential Freedom brings with it the good with the bad — it allows for #blacklivesmatter and it allows for the Confederate Flag-wavers, it allows for marriage equality and it allows for the murder of Matthew Shepherd —

In the Old World, men understood their essential limitations and accepted other men, older men, as authorities, as restraints, they built up institutions to either plug their ears or tie them to masts, they forged their own chains, fearing the chaos that freedom would bring —

But as the Church did not bring Heaven, and Kings did not bring Justice, Churches failed, and Kings lost their crowns, and Man became free —

What to do with this newfound freedom? Utopia or Holocaust or Both? In the adolescence of our orphanage, with God dead and nothing left but Radical Freedom, we raged and killed and invented new atrocities with every season —

And yet, in the Revolution’s Garden, some flowers took root, bound together, and growing bark and branch, rose up, to become a New Tree, with sheltering leaves and the scent of fruit on the wind that wound its way between wooded passages of ten thousand thousand limbs, and in cracks and crevices of this New Tree, creatures began to crawl and cry and flail and fly and stand and sing new songs, singing of the Tree, and the Storm that lay beyond it, and of themselves, too, trembling angels witnessing all, singing a new “Holy, Holy, Holy, All Thy Works are Holy–”

And one did this, and another that, choosing, taking on the responsibilities of maturity, their only law being that they care for everything, that they live their lives awake, mature, and act always with intention and forethought—

She wishes to be cared for, she says, and he wishes to be cared for, he shows, and he says, let us care for ourselves, and let us care for each other, and let us care for all who come to us, and let us care for all who never come to us, but live beyond the edges of our view, and let us proceed with our eyes open, looking at everything, caring, caring, caring, caring for everything

June 18

Thursday, June 18, 2015. I have been alive for 12,049 days, though, of course, I do not remember all of them.

There are a handful of writings over the past year. But not many. A year of silence. Hmm.

I fell in love with a new woman last year, and today, I love her still. She is strong, and she is beautiful, and she is fierce, and she is sensitive, and she is funny, and she is smart, and she has strong childbearing hips.

I turn 33 on Monday.


For Daisy: 

and what she said, to him, in his bed, when she said she did not want it to be casual, was, really, “do you think you could love me?” and what he said, when he said, “there is nothing casual about it,” was “Yes.”

Thoughts on passing

Went to a funeral yesterday, and three things stand out — one, a Unitarian hymn, that spoke of the great mysteries and wonders that are greater than the hope of resurrection —

and two, of how what the Unitarian speakers spoke to remind us that the love was universal and eternal and persistent —

and three, that I heard the great music played, and thought once more of how music is eternal, that what it is essentially is a tempo-spatial pattern of air disturbances that have been recorded, and through the use of tuned instruments, can be reproduced ad infinitum and always retain its essential identity —

and thinking about how human identity, meaning, purpose, love, could likewise be a psychological pattern of functions imprinted on the biological brain substrate that nevertheless keeps reproducing itself in new forms and new permutations, nevertheless giving rise to universal dramas of the human condition such as love, heartbreak, joy, happiness, and peace.

and thinking, for the first time, as I watched an aged man, an old fraternity brother, stand up to eulogize the man who had passed, GB, that the nature of friendship meant that I would either eulogize my friends or they would eulogize me.

and thinking of words I’ll say over my parents, one day.

And sitting next to M, poor M, and holding onto her as tight as I possibly could.

Time is a Room

Sitting with Margaux at Il Pittore last night, I told her about the novel I think I could write, about Elsewhere, and those people, and all my journeys there — and in so doing, told her that story, again, about all my visits down there, the gaps, the absences, and I said it could end with George’s sickness and recovery, and she said, but then I won’t be in it & I said, sure you will, and told her about the frame story, where I would say something to the effect of:

“And I’m still in Philadelphia, quiet, still, living my life, and downstairs, is the woman who loves me, and in a moment, I will rise, and I will go to her, and I will”

Maybe something like that. Let it end abruptly. And then said — you know — put in some profound thought or another — like that time is not a road, but a room —

And then turned back around, and circled back to my first time in Greece, when I was doing my Grand Tour after work and before law school, the Grand Tour paid for with the changed air ticket that had once been a ticket to Chile —

And telling her, how on one island, I took a bus back from the beach with a girl who looked just like my ex-girlfriend, and she went back to the same hostel I was at, and then got on the same shuttle, and then got on the same ferry to Santorini, and then, in Santorini, was going to the same hostel, and how, unsurprisingly, I never really figured out a thing to say to her, BUT she was reading the French Lieutenant’s Woman, by John Fowles, and told her friend about the great unceasing beauty of that book, and so, when I went to visit Atlantis Books, the only used English bookstore on the island of Santorini, begun by the old compatriots of Jay and George, the initial echo of what would become Elsewhere, I bought that book, and it was amazing, and I read it as I went on from Santorini to Amsterdam and then back to London and a single day in Dublin, my last day in Europe, when I walked by James Joyce’s house and walked by his river and then flew home to the beginning of the rest of my life —

And in that book I remembered a single line about time not being a road, but a room, and then today, reaching into the Internet, since I’m not sure if I ever got my copy of the French Lieutenant’s Woman back from Elizabeth (Zach’s ex-fiance) when I lent it to her my first year of law school, I did eventually find the quote:

Earlier that evening, when he was in Sir Thomas’s brougham, he had had a false sense of living in the present; his rejection then of his past and future had been a mere vicious plunge into irresponsible oblivion. Now he had a far more profound and genuine intuition of the great human illusion about time, which is that its reality is like that of a road–on which one can constantly see where one was and where one probably will be–instead of the truth: that time is a room, a now so close to us that we regularly fail to see it.