Referential Existence

Words are so remarkably frustrating. They never fully encapsulate what I am trying to convey… the swirl of thoughts and logical strands, the elegant images and buzz of emotions tingling in my veins… they never flow out of my mouth, instead they tumble and crash like the waves on a beach trying to reach the dunes but failing because their shoes have been tied together and so they fall on their face and are dragged back to the sea of confused meaninglessness by the moon, which doesn’t even make any sense because the moon is so far away so how can its influence reach us.  These things, these letters and words are so limiting so constraining so endless so infinite so definable so utterly incomprehensible…

I took a poetry class in my final year of college.  I sat in a desk,
watching our professor try to pull the strands
just enough to let the light come through the impressions painted with pens,
just enough to get a glimpse of the supple curves and delicate skin,
without shedding the fullness of the harsh light that would shatter the seduction.
Just enough to convince us that we are not alone in our aloneness,
that others, too, are thwarted in their attempted sharing of the solitary oneness of self,
looking to the tilted mirrors of those around them, disappointed.1
Yes, and2
That others, too, recognize words as an elegy to what they signify,3
wavering between being and loss, awash in an incommunicable sea of existing.
That others, too, have sensed the strangeness of holding an unusable, yet somehow beautiful, broken tile of memory 4 in hand with a gentle wondering of what to do
that others, too, feel themselves at the center of a powerful and baffled will,5
Yes, and that others, too, are desperately avoiding erasure6
Aware of oblivion’s inevitability7
And the feeling or fact that
what has been done will be done again
and that there is nothing new under the sun8
And that originality is a myth
And that why is ultimately unanswerable

And so,

Vladimir:             What do we do now?
Estragon:             Wait.
Vladimir:             Yes, but while waiting.9

 


1 Hass, Robert. “The Apple Trees at Olema.” The Apple Trees at Olema. Harper Collins, 2010.
2 Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric. Graywolf Press, 2014.
3 Hass, Robert. “Meditation at Lagunitas.” The Apple Trees at Olema. Harper Collins, 2010.
4 Hass, Robert. “Novella.” The Apple Trees at Olema. Harper Collins, 2010.
5 Hass, Robert. “Misery and Splendor.” The Apple Trees at Olema. Harper Collins, 2010.
6 See footnote 2.
7 Reference to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars
8 Ecclesiastes 1:9
9 Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. Grove Press, 1954.

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Referential Existence

Systems Thinking // effects of effects

The innumerous nodes of the system shift infinitely, are shifting. In spite of their untangleable entanglement we, perhaps unconsciously, persevere in our belief, our obsession with one directional cause and effect. But the cause of the causes of effects were (a/e)ffected by other causes in the same way infinitely unless there was one first cause, which isn’t that the big mystery, so please no more reductions of the irreducible and solutions to the insolvable. We and me and you.
Let’s revel in the complexity, our understanding complete in its incompleteness.
But I preach

To her
Because she has an undying obsession with answers. Trust me, we know. We tried.
Dying that is. That year. that year is the one that haunts, that demands, that is eternally unentangled. Because him and him and her and them make too many trails to follow; they loop and swerve and intertwine like necklaces thrown in a bag and left for years because that was all an act and the curtain was drawn and the scene changed and now even if she wanted to separate them she couldn’t.
But she does want to separate those chains of days, to complete the autopsy, for what died was her hope and perhaps the black box of her heart could hint at the happenings causing the crash. She may not be able to reconstruct but perhaps she could aid someone else’s avoidance.

But time disperses all nodes which feels more like the continual ripping of stitches rather than the healing of wounds. And she awakes again from the dream of a memory of an idea, who was once flesh. But her reinvigorated desire to detangle is thwarted by the dispersion.
And so platitudes fill her, pumped by the society obsessed with succintness. Forgive and forget to keep calm and carry the dark days tucked away where nobody can see them because they’re over now, over your head, that is. Today is a new day, because we say so even though all the days are the same spinning spherical ballet connected only by the thin strand of memory and the untangleable web of effects of effects of effects of effects of effects…

 

Systems Thinking // effects of effects

He said; He said.

The water of brain
in the pool of her skull
and the endless reverberations of ripples
Ad infinitum
Of a voice she never actually heard
And ever since she put pills as plugs in the drains of her eyes
There’s still two ways in and one way out
But trapped by the tongue
So no way out,
really

“I see no architecture here”

They said that to him too
A variant
(Why the constant connections)

“I see nothing here”

She thought he was dead
And he may be
For the emotions surely are
She killed them
Gagged them
Anything to forget them
Because they were
A constant confusion
Though it was simple,
really

“I see something here”

He seemed to say,
And she had been waiting,
waiting for so long
To be seen.
Not the facade fabricated,
the person of performance,
The Seen Self

No

a gentle thread to a
fragile whisper
of a being
so long protected
it was mistaken for myth

However

Seeming is dangerous,
For to seem is not to be,
And she’s always been
too trusting,
And she’s always been
too hopeful,
Blinded by her belief
in her own doubt and cynicism
and their perfidious proffer of protection
against the hurt of hope
unfulfilled.

Now left with simultaneous aches
from the words said and silent:
An ache to return and remember
and an ache to flee and forget,
She sits
wondering if she would have done anything different
had she known.

 

He said; He said.

Side Effects

The Cure for Curiosity
of the whys of the world is the
disease of distraction
bound by the blindfold of busyness;
and
The Cure for Curiosity
of the whys of the world is
healed by a hope in holiness,
the affliction of arrogance,
bound by the books of beliefs,
and crippled by caring;
and
The Cure for Curiosity
of the whys of the world is the
dispassionate data disorder (DDD),
the sickness of scientific certainty,
and the obsession of the observable;
and
please
don’t perceive these as Placebo,
or the illness as imaginary;
don’t desire the death of difference.
Just be aware
of the odor of obstinance,
the constipation of conversation,
and the
Elixir of Empathy.

Side Effects

/cr\ack/s

(undated journal entry from some time between August and October 2016)

The water of the shower drenches her in sudden insight. The realization of the reason for the sudden and intense need to leave the room trickles through her hair and down her back. The idea percolates through to a place of understanding somewhere deep inside of her – a place the influence of past and unconscious is unearthed beneath the surface of conscious present. This place where the paper is filled with imprints and smudges, the floor covered it eraser shavings and splatters of white out – the remnants of constant battling.

The clay she forms remembers the places it has been touched, mended, and punctured.  Though it does so silently, only revealing these memories later, when tried by fire. Only then do the cracks appear, shedding light on the previously unseen mistakes/damage/mishandling.

She realizes in this moment that she is this clay, cracking in the kiln of marriage. And just now in the kitchen he was not her husband, but her father. And the fear that left her child self hiding in her bedroom some evenings, brought about by his anger, was suddenly cracking her surface.

/cr\ack/s

On Using & Being Used

The feeling of being taken advantage of is one of my biggest triggers

Feeling used and naïve

Whether it is by a friend, a company, a professor

It reminds me of how little control I actually have

Everyone has mixed intentions, I know that

And maybe it is the reminder that I, too, have mixed intentions that bothers me so much

But it almost always comes back to that question I asked my parents all those years ago

That question I have continued to ask again and again over the years:

Are we all just God’s puppets?

Am I just a pawn?

If companies can just change how things run

“I am sorry, but those are the new rules.”

The government can just adjust the hoops that have to be jumped through

“That’s just how it is.”

What power do I really have to fight?

What can I really change or control?

Because controlling my reactions to things hasn’t really seemed to help

Controlling and containing the anger and frustration and helplessness isn’t doing much

Besides making me want to tear down ‘the system’

Break down ‘the rules’

Confront the people hiding behind ‘corporate policy’ and “there is nothing I can do”

And it’s not just those situations…

Because when I really stop to think about it those employees may feel just like I do

Helpless and powerless

Unable to respond any differently because of The Man and The Rules

They’re just doing their jobs

But what about when it is the manipulation of just one person

One boy who just wants you to “come over and go swimming”

With all sorts of ulterior desires and motives hiding under his bathing suit

What about when it is one professor who “really wants you to succeed”

With dreams of tenure and awards floating around in his brain

When it is the one girl who “would love to catch up”

But really just needs money for an upcoming mission trip

 

Am I just a cynic? Seeing through all the motives

Am I being selfish? Using this as an excuse to avoid what I don’t want to do

Am I being hypocritical? Because of course I am no different

Surely I, consciously and subconsciously,

Intentionally and unintentionally,

Jumble my motives

Contaminate my acts of love and friendship

With selfishness and greed

 

So what?

What now?

 

 

 

On Using & Being Used

The Walrus in the Room

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–”

Of who will win tomorrow’s vote
And what the future brings.

And I, for one, am tired of
The choice of evil less
And Neither do I wish to win
For both would be a mess.

And so instead I vote to change
This system from the past,
For these two parties failing us
To come an end at last.

For if they get just five percent
Another could arise
To change the nation’s standards
Right before our eyes

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

The Walrus in the Room