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The Clock Strikes Matches March 5, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Poetry, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist.
3 comments

Insomnia keeps its own counsel
leaves me alone with my own thoughts
matches flaring & vanishing
in small puffs of smokes of which

I have none. I’m done with them
my old companions  in solitude
leaving me to brood over
whether it’s too early for coffee.

Sleep is not on the horizon.
I am low and mercurial
befitting the aimless hour
spent dreading sunrise.

Not even a streetlight mockingbird
for company; the damn cat’s asleep
on my cool pillow & P. breathes
gently against my restlessness.

Old enough for aches & pains
that wake, young enough to worry
the small hours like handkerchiefs
into twisted knots of insomnia.

If you were expecting some ringing resolution
you are obviously dreaming August popsicles
of childhood deliciously dripping but you’re

only drooling,  mouth open, on your pillow
not your best look & morning’s bright
mirror horror awaits your yawning hour

while I silently  wait for nothing,
an empty can left out overnight
without so much as a racoon

for company. The moon set last afternoon
leaving me alone in the dark, lighting
matches with no excuse for madness.

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Fire, ashes and garlic soup February 10, 2016

Posted by The Typist in Carnival, Mardi Gras, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Time to twist up a wicker sin man and put him to the torch, and wash the taste of ashes out of my mouth with a big steaming bowl of garlic and leek soup. To rest the aching brain, I can dredge up this now traditional post and return to an intent contemplation of Brownian motion in dust motes.

At the conclusion of Carnival in Nice, France, an effigy of Monsieur Carnaval is burned, the ancient story of the burning man, the sacrifice in fire. As told by Mama Lisa’s World Blog, in that rite Monsieur Carnaval “is responsible for all the wrongdoing people do throughout the year. At Carnival time in France, Monsieur Carnaval is judged for his behavior throughout the preceding year. Usually he’s found guilty and an effigy of him is burned.”

Accompanying the ritual is a song, and I offer the lyrics collected by Mama Lisa below, both in Occitan (the language of the Troubadors) and in English. I suggest you click the link to open in a new tab or window so you can follow along as far as the MP3 goes.

And so, from New Orleans, Adiu Paure Carnaval.

Adiu paure Carnaval
(Occitan)

Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval
Tu te’n vas e ieu demòri
Adiu paure Carnaval
Tu t’en vas e ieu demòri
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Per manjar la sopa a l’òli
Per manjar la sopa a l’alh
Adiu paure, adiu paure,
adiu paure Carnaval

La joinessa fa la fèsta
Per saludar Carnaval
La Maria fa de còcas
Amb la farina de l’ostal

Lo buòu dança, l’ase canta
Lo moton ditz sa leiçon
La galina canta lo Credo
E lo cat ditz lo Pater

Farewell, Poor Carnival
(English)

Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
Farewell, poor Carnival
You are leaving, and I am staying
To eat garlic soup
To eat oil soup
To eat garlic soup
Farewell, farewell,
Farewell, poor Carnival.

The young ones are having a wild time
To greet Carnival
Mary is baking cakes
With flour from her home.

The ox is dancing, the donkey’s singing
The sheep is saying its lesson
The hen is singing the Credo
And the cat is saying the Pater.

Anywhere, anywhere December 31, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, quotes, The Journey, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist.
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Have you sunk into so deep a stupor that only your own torment gives you pleasure?  If that be so, let us flee to those lands constituted in the likeness of Death.  I know just the place for us, poor soul!  We will leave for Torneo.  Or let us go even farther, to the last limits of the Baltic; and if possible, still farther from life.  Let us go to the Pole.  There the sun obliquely grazes the earth, and the slow alternations of light and obscurity make variety impossible, and increase that monotony which is almost death.  There we shall be able to take baths of darkness, and for our diversion, from time to time the Aurora Borealis shall scatter its rosy sheaves before us, like reflections of the fireworks of Hell!

At last my soul bursts into speech, and wisely cries to me:  Anywhere, anywhere, as long as it be out of this world!

— Charles Baudelaire

A Day in the Park December 23, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Dead, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is a pivotal moment that occurs, of all places, in the lunch room at work.  It is the guy across the table eating his daily bacon cheese burger, dipping each French fry delicately into the ketchup, explaining that your quinoa is grown by people who are now suffering from malnutrition because their crop is more valuable than coca. So they chew coca and eat expired U.S. surplus cheese food and white flour which they make into something resembling biscuits and gravy. Cheese burger guy will, through a genetic dispensation, live to be 87 and die quietly in his sleep after a night of wild sex with his fourth wife, followed by a cheeseburger and French fries from the all night fast food joint.  This comes to you as a haunting as you stare at your floppy gluten-free sandwich, which was stiff if not crisp when it came out of the lunchroom toaster oven, but is now floppy again. You stare at it but do not eat until the lunch room is empty: quiet, white, almost serene. You get up and walk out of the office without telling anyone and wander the streets for hours stretching into days during which time you don’t eat. You subsist exclusively on weak diner coffee with three sugars and a non-dairy creamer, because when you walked into Starbucks your remnant college Italian left you incapable of deciphering the sizes on their menu. As you walk your cell phone will ring and the picture of a familiar woman will appear on the screen, but you don’t remember how to answer. Eventually the battery dies and you trade the phone for a patty melt on white with a side of fries and bottomless coffee for the night.

When the plastic card stops working you move into the park and start collecting acorns to eat and find a hollow shrubbery in which to sleep. Over time, the birds and squirrels and insects increasingly find you harmless, although they wish you had some cold popcorn. They speak to you until you begin to learn their languages. They explain that they too are dying like the Andean quinoa farmers because the world has become poisonous because of man. You are unsure what is quinoa or an Andean farmer.  You wonder if you are a man. None of the large animals you see in the park have a beard as long as you do, and they wear ugly boxes on their feet. You try to approach them one by one to discuss this creature man, until you encounter a creature magnificent creature covered in shiny bits who wears a belt much like the things the other bipedal creatures in the park wear on their feet. It is full of interesting looking objects. As you attempt to ask him your question the last stitches holding up your pants give away, and you stand naked trying to ask him your question. He pulls out a box that is at once black and shiny, with two bright shinier bits on the end, and he fills you with their light until everything goes black.

You awake up in a box lying on a soft box with a soft thing under your head. A two-leg in a white wrapping visits you every day and talks to you, doing something with a stick and a board as you walk, and another two-leg who brings you am acorn like thing only larger filled with brightly colored things to eat. You like to watch the light on the wall march across the room, and stand at an opening looking at the animals outside. You eat the brightly colored things until you are declared fit to get up and join everyone else in the lunchroom, where you eat brown things …. chicken …. chicken nuggets, yes, and soft white potatoes covered in …. gravy and and a mix of new colored things which are soft.  One day the man in the white wrapping informs you that as you have no insurance, you are now well enough to be discharged. You are not quite sure what this means, but you are given a set of wrappings …. of, clothing, and out of pity the white wrapped man named Doctor gives you a wad of green paper. You walk out, unsure where to go, until you capture a familiar smell in the air, and another forgotten word. Coffee. You walk into the place with coffee, and notice a green and white figure of a woman with something on her head, and she reminds you of the nice  …. nurse who brought you your …. medication. You stare at the menu, and because you have forgotten almost all human language much less Italian, you see the word Grande and something in your head tells you this means wonderful and large. You are disappointed at its size, but overjoyed by the aroma. The woman who is not green but just white and wears nothing on her head bangs on a metal thing, and speaks until you remember what the green paper is for.  You give her some, and she gives you more back (hurray! you think, you think) along with shiny things. You are afraid of the bright shiny things because something frightening once happened to you when you were touched by bright shiny things so you put those in a …. jar with other shiny things. You keep the brown ones, and wonder if the green paper and brown shiny things are something the animals would like to eat. The colors remind you of …. acorns. You wander into the …. park, but the animals will not eat either the green things or the shiny brown things. They chatter at you. You remember that once you could knew their words, could speak to them, but now it is all noise. Everywhere there is noise …. horns, you think, which go with something called …. cars. There are loud metallic and howling sounds that wake the memory of the shiny black box with the  shinier bits sticking out of it. And rhythmic noise you believe might be …. music, but you do not like this music. You prefer to whistle the sounds you once learned from the birds. You listen and try to remember how to do this.  You walk slowly through the park drinking your coffee. When it is gone, you drop the cup and a woman yells at you but it is all noise. You keep walking until you reach the lake in the middle of the park.  You keep walking until the noise stops and all around you are beautiful dancing lights.

 

Good Morning To You, Too July 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, fuckmook, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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I’ll tell them to you some day none the less, if I think of it, if I can, my strange pains, in detail, distinguishing between the different kinds, for the sake of clarity, those of the mind, those of the heart or emotional conative , those of the soul (none prettier than these) and finally those of the frame proper, first the inner or latent, then those affecting the surface, beginning with the hair and scalp and moving methodically down, without haste, all the way down to the feet beloved of the corn, the cramp, the kibe, the bunion, the hammer toe, the nail ingrown, the fallen arch, the common blain, the club foot, duck foot, goose foot, pigeon foot, flat foot, trench foot and other curiosities. And I’ll tell by the same token, for those kind enough to listen , in accordance with a system whose inventor I forget, of those instants when, neither drugged, nor drunk, nor in ecstasy, one feels nothing.

— Samuel Beckett, from the Complete Short Prose, title unsure, as if it mattered to forget in this kingdom of ignorance, intellectual banality of the Theoryists, USA Today and forever, retakes of reality television, the Fox in the newsroom, the implicit idiocy of us the cisgendered, the dumpster economy of a thoughtless and tasteless gluttony, the disliteracy of Twitter & caveman pictographs of Instagram, & a hundred other reasons to regret not asking for the cocktail coupons off my invalidated Business Select tickets when I was sent canceled and packing from the Southwest gate last night, struggling  to be (is it possible?)  happy to be a Beta. I console myself with the knowledge that the Bloody Marys are no doubt normalized well within six sigma of the national bland with nine nines of certainty…

— The Typist

Crabapple Lane June 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, Poetry, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Happiness is for saps.
You see them paired in
matching polos and shorts,
their fat pink squealing children
on even, green lawns.

Science we find is wrong.
The universe does not rush into
their vacuous block
to fill the gaping void yawning
in formless boredom.

There is this skulking skunk.
He squats inside my chest
sullen, hungry.
I want to yank him out, toss him
butt first in their yard.

Going In Circles June 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Gravity Always Wins June 26, 2015

Posted by The Typist in Moloch, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Fuck you tomatoes, miraculously irregular Renatza’s 4800s, each as soft and meaty as a breast.

Fuck you summery cucumbers. Fuck you broccoli florets.

Fuck you crisp lettuce, blessed with the sweat of the pickers like blood of a Mexican Jesus.

Fuck you, too, lovely artichoke hearts gleaming slick with olive oil.

Fuck you mushrooms, you glorious flowers of cyclical immortality.

Popeyes, that’s it: dark and spicy, the crisp skin all slicked up and sliding off as if god meant you to eat it that way, like pulling apart Oreos.

Hemoglobin diabetic markers equals fuck it, a biscuit.

Fuck it.

The clock ticks. Nothing happens.

Waiting.

The end of the week hasn’t started yet, the little bits still sliding through the wires into place at 2/3C, the Speed of Copper, waiting to be arrayed into fields and screens, checked off one against the other, work for monkeys.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Suck the fingers clean enough for a cigarette.

Fuck you, vape.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

ESTRAGON:
But I can’t go on like this !

VLADIMIR:
Would you like a radish?

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

What is the glycemic index rating of fingernails?

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

If there is not enough nourishment in coffee and cigarettes, I won’t have to worry if they’ll have an iron lung in my size.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting…

VLADIMIR:
This is becoming really insignificant.

THE TYPIST:
That’s what I think.

(It’s Just) Another Day June 17, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Spectrum, The Typist, Toulouse Street, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Hi Gemini,
There’s simply nothing you can’t do if you’re armed with patience and perseverance…

What my horoscope doesn’t tell me is where I can acquire these things. I am the poster child Gemini, flighty, garrulous, of two minds about everything but insistent when my mind is made up.

Patient, not so much. Perseverance? Really?

I think I will arm myself with patience and persistence. Mañana.

For now, there is coffee.

[rewind]

I had a good night’s sleep, by the clock. It started probably around 7:30, perhaps a quarter to eight. I know I woke just before ten with half of the beer I opened for dinner clenched in my first, my vape fallen into the sofa, my old Kindle lying on the floor. I had slid into a position that made the space between my toes hurt, my body gradually slumping while my rubber-bottom sandals remained planted in place, cutting into my feet. I went straight to bed, and plugged in the phone but forgot to turn on Sleepbot. I may have snored like a warped board saw and tossed and turned all night, but have no way of knowing. By five my brain decided it wanted to get up, although my body is exhausted.

I sit down with the microwaved dregs of yesterday’s coffee, and light a cigarette. I was determined last night not to buy cigarettes and did not. As I draw on one of the last ones in what was to be the last pack, I can feel Death’s hand squeezing the tops of my lungs. They are not icy but warm. Still, I can sense the cold bones underneath. Death whispers “emphysema” with each exhale, and gives a little squeeze. I look in the box at the last two smokes, and contemplate running to the sketchy store before works starts at seven.

Does contemplating going out for smokes in this condition constitute suicidal ideation? I will have to ask the expensive but empathetic psychiatrist.

[rewind]

I believe insistently logging into VPN at the current incarnation of Moloch before 6 a.m. constitutes suicidal ideation.

Memo to self: un-hide the resume on Monster, Dice and CareerBuilder. Let my boss’ next check-in call go to voicemail as if it were an accident. Let her hear the greeting that tells why I don’t answer unrecognized calls, that if you are yet another recruiter that I am currently employed and thank you for your interest. Change the arrangement; tip the scales in my favor.

For now I am one hour away from “protected time,” the arrangement by which a multi-national Moloch manages meetings between New York and Singapore. Next week it will be 7 pm until. And then I will start again with a two-hour morning meeting at 7 am, and another at 9 pm.

So it goes.

[rewind]

I need an attitude adjustment, but grow weary of pills. I can’t afford the psychiatrist I sought out to get away from them and a therapist. I missed the first class of Tai Chi yesterda, because work did not give me a moment to call doctors to make sure I got my new medication and made arrangements to not run out of my blood pressure medication. I should be practicing the mindfulness technique my psych and I practiced on Monday, but feel compelled to write, and the compulsion to write calls for the “seer in front” with a cheering section deep behind him, and the lizard brain hiding beneath the stands swilling coffee and contemplating cigarettes.

[rewind]

All along Moss Street they walk, they run, they bike. They walk their dogs, or run with their dogs, and sometimes (but not this morning) let their running dogs pull their bicycles. I drive, entombed in my car, a new pack of cigarettes safely in my pocket. (Emphyyyseeeemaaaa.) A clearly homeless man, wearing a dirty yellow safety vest, is hand-lining for breakfast, his distant but pleasant expression places him more at peace with his world than I am with mine. (Work: T minus 33).

If I had more time, I should have jumped on my recently repaired bicycle and forced myself to ride to the sketchy store for cigarettes. If I had more time. Today’s calendar hangs from my tiny whiteboard by a magnet, a cryptically colored, solid block of no-time, of not enough time even to do what is written.

Coffee. Emphysema. Cigarettes. Work.

[rewind]

Tonight is date night. Hopefully I won’t be exhausted.

My side of the bed at my girlfriend’s house is what I call my “happy place”, the one spot in the universe where I feel truly relaxed and at peace. I don’t dare go there tonight, and risk falling into a restful slumber. I have a meeting tomorrow.

At 7 am.

[rewind]

“I heard another beep. Who joins?”

[rewind … flap … flap … flap … Krapp]

1. The title comes from the irrepressibly cheerful Paul McCartney, the one who should be dead. I fucking hate Paul McCartney. [2]

2. A working class hero is something to be. [3]

3. Listening to George Harrison’s “Wah Wah” on the car stereo while in a hypomaniacal state, I might as well be cranking it while swilling straight from the Speaking Tequila Skull while doing donuts in front of the police station. This is what I believe the mania index quiz calls “risk taking behavior.”

All The Way June 12, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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                I’ve had enough. I’m going to
pull myself up over the side, and get
all the way out of my mind.
From “JUST NORMAL” by Everette Maddox

Another long week at Moloch stuffing screaming debtors into the flames, and it’s time to just get fucking weird again. Just another Friday night at the Fortress of Squalitude…

Smile, my mother whisper-hissed, as I tread up the aisle many years ago..

Where Are the Snowden’s of Yesteryear? June 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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yossarian tree

“You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions. You’re dangerous and depraved, and you ought to be taken outside and shot!”

Fallin’ Ditch May 27, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Odd, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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When I get lonesome the wind begin t’ moan
When I trip fallin’ ditch
Somebody wanna’ throw the dirt right down
When I feel like dyin’ the sun come out
‘n stole m’ fear ‘n gone
Who’s afraid of the spirit with the bluesferbones
Who’s afraid of the fallin’ ditch
Fallin’ ditch ain’t gonna get my bones
How’s that for the spirit
How’s that for the things
Ain’t my fault the thing’s gone wrong
‘n when I’m smilin’ my face wrinkles up real warm
‘n when um frownin’ things just turn t’ stone
Fallin’ ditch ain’t gonna get my bones
‘n when I get lonesome the wind begin t’ moan
Fallin’ ditch ain’t gonna get my bone
— Don Van Vliet

The Faster We Go The Rounder We Get April 3, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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2001 Kubrick wormhole sequence on mute with China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider at 11 1/2 and repeat on my mini-monster Yamaha CRX with the Polks on rockers vibrating the insides of my eyes in the Blue Agave Terror of the Burkian Sublimity of the Precipice. I once worked with a dry drunk who spit cheap chaw into a duct-taped wrapped Diet Pepsi bottle and said when you come to The Edge (the Bottom of The Book) you only have Two Choices. You’re wrong, I said. There is a Third Choice. You can Leap into the Light.

When they get to the end of the North Bound Train verse throw the Hadron Supercollider into the tub.

FYYFF April 2, 2015

Posted by The Typist in fuckmook, FYYFF, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
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WANO

Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd March 21, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Shield of Beauty, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Smiling.

IN-A-GADDA-DE-DOLCE-VITA March 20, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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It is Friday. Innocence is not an option.

dolcevita6 (1)

I hear the singing of the undertow
where the anxious waves come and go.

I watch it greedily leach
away the sand beneath
Fellini’s beached monster.

The tide has drowned the beach.
The cafe angel waves. I cannot reach
her distant innocence from here.

I turn my back on the fantastic
and light another cigarette.

Let Sleeping Camels Lie? March 19, 2015

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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I walk into Canseco’s and It’s Midnight at the Oasis on the ceiling speakers. It’s Day 4 of red beans, day 4 of late night meetings with our colleagues in that huge swath of the earth on China Standard Time. I’m eating a salad, again, to relieve the tedium of just red beans.

The best I can say about this week is last night a line came to me, and I forced myself out of bed in spite of my exhaustion and managed three draft strophes for a long poem I’m working on, a break-through, really, another approach to telling history through poetry without hitting a false note: typing, not writing.

Come Friday night at midnight, I am the camel. Coo coo ka choo. OK, maybe you weren’t born when that song came out or were waiting for Saturday night and the Lawrence Welk Show, but this is not a happy thought. Maria Muldaur was a pop pin up girl in my day, with Cher’s looks locks but a real woman’s body, not a stick figure. And a come hither voice in that song that sent chills up and down the spine.

Now I hear it and I remember the card I saw once in the same store, before the changed the racks. Over what hill? When? Where? I don’t remember any hil1!. (I add here my own: harrumph!) I don’t want to be the Camel. I want to be Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif, both terrified to ride in a camel charge, finishing off a pint of scotch whiskey and milk before they took Aqabah from the land side. To paraphrase another song of long ago, I want to up get on my camel and ride before I’m so old no amount of extras and crew and scotch and milk can get me up in that saddle. I want to stop collapsing on Friday night like Welk’s dead accordion.

I better run. I think my sausage is about done. Wait, can I rephra…oh, never mind.

The Mind of Me is a Terrible Waste of a Thing March 11, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Moloch, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Todd Rundgren, Toulouse Street.
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My EEG while at work today transubstantiated into sound. Primarily the part up to about 1:26 The heavy distortion effect is probably due to the coffee. The giant monkey may be the coffee or just me loosing it.

Damn, that’s a big monkey.

[coffee]

March 5, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, Hell, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist, Toulouse Street.
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Will the circle be unbroken
Bye and bye Lord, bye and bye
— Trad.

The lyric, like it’s quixotic faith, defies logic: an endless loop with no exit. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. That’s probably as close to eternal life as I’ll ever get, given an endless supply of “revitalizing” shampoo. The words of the song are nonsensical. Faith in a Christian Heaven or a Buddhist Western Isle imply we have only one pass around the track before the checkered flag or the crash-and-burn. Only one turn.

Like fractal patterns, nature is partial to circles, the ripple being the simplest example. Still, the most perfect pi-in-the-sky ripple eventually meets the fractal shore, and begins its return, the last of its impulse entangled in countless other infinitesimal returns, ending in nature’s other favorite game: chaos. Chaos is the nature’s greatest trick. The ancients thought the first people, gods if you will, emerged from it bearing the spark of consciousness, the ability to defy the common misunderstanding of the laws of thermodynamics, to impose order out of chaos.

How then do we make order out of the chaos of a life? Life, my dear creationist, is not a closed system, and is capable of self-organization. We dodge the curve balls of a game fixed to nine innings but which, without the deus ex machina of the umpire could go on forever. It is thought a perfect game is when no one reaches base. Perhaps the perfect game is the one in which the trajectory from the mound to the plate and by human intervention to the stands could, in theory, go on forever. Nine innings, three strikes, a perfect game: we manage to make some order out of an uncrunchable number of agate variables. We manage to find the circles in chaos. I have closed my share, 57 orbits of the sun is one. My departure and return to New Orleans, returning to the university after an interruption of 30 years to find as I wrote my last paper a book left to the library by a favorite professor of my ragged start long ago, inscribed to his mother. Terminus, meet Circle. There is a poor payout chance the sun will come up this morning. Other things are not quite as certain: the number of seasons in a life, the clashing possibilities that we will simply decay and return as another circle, a perfect daisy; or the chance that there is an escape velocity to be achieved, either by Calvinist laws as rigid as Newton’s, or by a life of holy mortification. Even that path is not certain. Is it achieved by perfect faith in the road to the distant and distinctly invisible, or in the constant moment of the Tao? Place your bets, spin the wheel, take your chances.

Circles can be our undoing, each the link in a chain we forge to bind ourselves. Spend, work, pay day, spend, around and around and around until we have forged a chain of links we can no longer stand under the weight of. The modern concept of retirement, an escape from the circle, is just an attempt to build a little bit of heaven here on earth, but with each passing day of the current era that dream seems as distant as the throne of clouds. Economy is a closed system, and as the most clever among us–the ones who own the coal and iron and command chains forged by the mile–rely on us to do the digging. As they pile up their own burden of chains, our chances are diminished. The chains we forge are not our own, but we must wear them.

The children of Calvin offer their answer: let go, and let god. Your chains will fall about your feet but so, in perfect devotion void of curiosity, will some measure of your humanity. It doesn’t matter if I Google whether it was Marx or Engels who urged the workers of the world to slough off their chains. What matters is that all attempts along those lines have only forged new chains. The lesson here: even as I swallow the Klonopin of Big Pharma to calm the rage against the machines for the making of chains I serve, is that the only way out is to abandon all dogma: Adam Smith or Karl Marx, Christ or Buddha. (If you meet the latter on the road, you know what to do).

I will take Ikkyu as my model, the most undogmatic spiritual writer you will find. Whether standing in the shadow of a twisted pine contemplating the irregular perfection of a boulder in the distance, bent over the quotidian paperwork of a monastery or reclining, wine in hand, in his favorite brothel, he seems to me the best model for a life without chains. He accepted no rules except the necessary rituals of life: work, pleasure, contemplation. I should have chained myself to the front of the plow half an hour ago, but sit here (thief of time, a title that may be capitalism’s greatest invention), in contemplation. Later, I will meet some friends to drink fine ales. I may perhaps later go out to frolic for a bit with the Dionysians of Bohemia who chose a pub crawl fundraiser as a way to at least rattle their chains a bit, in the name of saving a bit of perfectly contemplative green space from the ravages of the deductible rounds of golf. It is not the wobbly sand pits but the perfect circle, that little cup waiting for the ball, that is the trap, just another link in the chain. Perhaps Ikkyu shows us the only escape, to jump off of the circling carousel, to forgo a chance at the brass ring the lawyers took away long ago, and sneak off for a bit mindful of but outside the rules. This may be as close to heaven as we ever get.

“That’s It For The Other One [Cryptical Envelopment/Quadlibet For Tender Feet/The Faster We Go The Rounder We Get”

Are we here yet?

DEADsiderata March 4, 2015

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, NOLA, The Narrative, The Pointless, The Typist.
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Maybe you’ll find direction around some corner where it’s been waiting to meet you.
What do you want me to do, to watch for you while you’re sleeping?

Robert Hunter (lyrics), “Box of Rain” by the Grateful Dead

Rastaman the Griot: You got to be a spirit! You can’t be no ghost.