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Posts from the ‘who knowest not the language of the dead?’ Category



What question wants to escape
from this screen– past iris
and pupil and lens &– into something assumed
to be meaning?

The common denominator of all words is that they lack a voice,
and– mute– can only be spoken.

What is it that you
and words have
in common?

To construct the architecture of the body such that it is made into
a vehicle capable of the syllabic is part of the art
of being human.

Pronunciation is the opposite
of renunciation. Speak! 
But I cannot.

la la la lalalalal


Synonymy is an allusion;

Everything can be read into
the point where language fails.

Blink once for yes.
Blink twice for no.

With every blink the eyes realign. It is this staccato that maintains
an illusion of focus; without the constant stutter the world would appear
to leap

Involuntary. Volatile. Inviolate. It is all in the eyes, this beheading.
Untie the green ribbon and locate the jugular vein. Vanity is a pale
imitation of bloodletting.

Is there blood in your eyes?
Blink once for yes.
The rose-colored glasses, they suit you.

Everything can be read up to a point.

Everything except this. This
is pointless.


1. Today I found one of my journals from years and years ago.

The first thing I’d written in it was “By love I am guided toward beauty.”

2. I am reminded that the only thing more ecstatic than Oneness is the ongoing pulse of the binary.

Somehow I want only to keep touching things, tenderly, until they burst.


I hold awe and wonder in too high esteem. Or no–that’s not it. It’s more that I tend to helplessly collapse into such perspectives as a default: when I don’t know or don’t understand something, I naively assume a mysterious and wonderful depth; when I encounter the new, or the old, or am asked to consider, I end up helplessly stumbling into the marvelous. For me the proverbial grass-elsewhere is not so much greener, but imbued with some sort of transcendent mystical promise.

In relationships, be they platonic or romantic or professional, this tends to be a gift: I’m rarely disabused of the assumption, and many people–for the most part, it seems–not only prove to be strangely and marvelously enigmatic, but appreciate being acknowledged as such. In other arenas, though, this tendency toward romanticism quivers between heartbreak and an embarrassing foolishness. I keep thinking I’ll grow out of it, but if anything it keeps getting worse. (Is there a career or profession that is the opposite of a critic? I wish I could spend my life pointing out what is frighteningly beautiful in things.)

Ah well. There are worse problems to have, certainly, and certainly there are worse attitudes with which to feel flooded.

I have been having the most hideous dreams.


I have a hard time trusting people who don’t evidence some sort of tendency toward self-destruction, if only because it is a flaw so deeply knitted in my own being that I have a hard time understanding what it would mean to exist without the drive. And this is a problem, because I know full-well that self-destructive sorts are impossible to fully trust; if anyone would–either willfully or helplessly–commit injury after unnecessary injury upon themselves, it seems foolish to expect they could be trusted to care and protect another. And yet.

It’s been nearly a year since the last time I was CPRed out of an unwitting suicide (only a year, and already) and that episode was certainly not the first. I do not know whether the number of times I’ve slipped into the welcoming purgatory between my life and something else, and then returned, is evidence of a snarling attachment to this world, or a carelessness about it; I seem prone to a clumsy and sweet unwariness toward fatality, and yet… I am still here.

In any case, I find more comfortable the presence of others who hold themselves warily, and those who know what it’s like to carry inside oneself an easily-triggered grenade–be it one of depression or starvation or addiction or abuse–and who are used to the inner extremes of kid-glove and cruelty. Sometimes I think this is everybody, though. I find it easy, inevitably, to trust.

. . .

Tonight it rained here, sleeting and thick. Tonight, on the way home from a distressed post-midnight walk, I had to traverse the tarp-covered bodies of dozens of sleeping homeless; on the sidewalks outside a nearby foundation, hundreds of people had huddled to protest, with the warmth and weight of their breathing selves, the closure of a dozen local shelters. The night was cold but the heat from their staggered stillness warmed the air, and I breathed it with an open mouth as the rain fell hard and I picked my way around them. Tonight I am warm, and I cannot sleep; tonight on the sidewalk others dream. Is suffering so comfortable? Is comfort not? I will never understand the world.




I do not remember not knowing that pork came from the muscles of once-squealing pigs, nor milk from the finger-nippled white-flocked udders of certain patient cows, nor berries from thorned plants nor cabbages from wormy soil nor apples from gnarled and giving trees, nor eggs from the mysterious insides of startled broody chickens. Food, for me, has always and first been alive.

When I was a little girl we lived in what today would be called a rural environment; then, though, it was just the country, or, perhaps more accurately, the woods. Pigs were things to be slaughtered; deer hunted; cows milked; geese–I learned, after one or two terrifying and vicious attacks–avoided at all costs. This was life, and this was death, and they, together, were the world.

We did not stay there, though, and the comfortable logic of that existence shattered against the diamond-hard and diamond-pretty surfaces of ever-growing and ever-new cities.

(I remember, as a teenager–gawky and quiet and watchful and trying valiantly to adapt to a more civilized view of things–meeting a woman who told me, upon learning of my childhood, that her husband was a hunter. “I won’t eat the deer he shoots, though,” she told me, aloof and proud. “I refuse to. He brings them back whole, with their dark eyes and little hooves and soft fur… It breaks my heart. I could never eat them.” Chagrined, I remember asking her whether she’d been a vegetarian before they married. Her forehead rebuked my inquiry. “Vegetarian? I’m not one of those. I eat meat. I just don’t like thinking about it as an animal.” I do not remember what I said in response. I remember struggling to understand.)

These days, however and at last, the city is home. I love its muted and crueler wildness, and I love its harsh and blunted nature, and I love perhaps most of all the feeling of being both anonymous and enthronged. Still, although humanity is immediate–it is impossible to escape here the rush and pull of the pace and needs and hungers of other human beings–nourishment is abstract. Food is bought, not killed; food is ordered, not slaughtered; food is separate from whatever uncanny force once animated it and made it grow. I love the crush of humanity, and yet I miss this othered immediacy.

I have been using rabbit to comfort me. I bring home at least one every week, and sometimes more. Rabbit! We’re having rabbit tonight!

Is this strange? I love the taste of rabbit meat, which is unlike anything I know, but I love, as much, that rabbits must be bought whole, and need to be dissected before cooking. Rabbit, for me, is a reminder of the real. (Or this, at least, is how I excuse my increasing compulsivity.)

Preparing rabbit is a lesson in the beauty of biology: it demands awareness of bone and tendon and limb; it demands setting aside the soft and delicious chestnut of its little dark red rabbit heart; it demands positioning a small and undeniable body one final time before dinner. Preparing the animal–at least for me–settles a certain unease. I have held it in my hands, I tell myself. I can eat it now.

Ah, me. Perhaps I just long to be close to things. Perhaps this is the burden of all those stuck in between.


Some things spiral outward. I imagine the petaled flourish of a flower, or an ever-unfolding Nautilus shell. I imagine widening black-lashed sky-blue eyes, or an opening hand. I imagine women. I imagine time.

I, though, am destined to be not among them. My mind turns counterclockwise, circling inward, always, in a dizzyingly endless fall. My heart is hopelessly knuckled. For as long as I can remember, I’ve curled inward instead.

Often I’ve wished I were otherwise. The world outside is a beautiful one, after all, and the richness and insanity of it too sweetly glorious not to explore. The world outside, surely, is more strange and amazing than the one scurried safely within. Still, no matter how frequently I whisper this, and no matter how desperately, little in my stubborn psyche changes. I prefer, it seems, the particular. I prefer that which only I can see.

I am not sure why.

Are not we all observers? Tonight I ate octopus and talked to a strange photographer about glass sculptures and discovery and light. The hour was ringed with poetry, and yet there were no poets present to transcribe it. With the eye of a Cyclops I watched the evening pass, and with a Cheshire smile I sat, and when at last the rain saved me I gratefully and gracelessly escaped. I observed this, but hesitate to explain it. I wanted only to circle inside.

Some things spiral outward. I am not one.