Now that Vassal has delivered his invention to the world, people’s fates with it will rest in their hands, no longer in his. As a result, once we have published this account, hours from now, I may be able to dwell less on the issues that have concerned me. Those issues may continue to provoke me, however, and of course new ones will arise. Also, worse than worry, harm may befall either or both of us. As I have speculated, the government may come at us in any of a number of ways, or some other dastardly force may come sneaking or storming in. I expect nothing terribly unpleasant to happen, but I do expect some drama.
A few days ago, Vassal said to me, “Once my invention is out and our new book published, you and I may never do more for the public than we have already done. We may publish our other books, or we may not. We may just keep to ourselves down here, and pass the time amid our usual peaceful seclusion, or something like it. We may just eat, sleep, take walks, go fishing, take boat rides, do the housekeeping, drive to town now and then, and, I would think, meet occasionally with visitors from the government. That may be all. Do you suppose?
“Of course, as my invention spreads, we may get busier than that, with things we’ll want to do as well as things we’ll have to do, whatever they may be. Who knows what will really happen. We’re about to start finding out, aren’t we? So, get ready, Henrietta. Things may get exciting around here.”
Maybe too exciting. People will flock to us in person as well as via his device. They will come seeking guidance and meaning as well as entertainment. News media, as people’s surrogates, will send a crush of reporters and commentators, who will set up camp as near to us as our guards allow. There they will stage their usual overwrought spectacles: “Reporting live from the Maine coast hideaway of . . .”
I dislike how the media dumb things down. That is a pet peeve of mine. For the sake of their customers’ easy understanding, they produce reports that are oversimplified and overdramatized. They invent facile story lines that mislead and misinform, that entertain and provoke rather than educate or question. They weave those reports together using zippy narrative momentum, conventional wisdom, heartwarming anecdotes, glib sound bites, arresting headlines, catchy slogans, contrived conflict, false heroism and villainy, blowhard moralizing, patronizing sympathy, and other such elements. They embellish that fabric with glossy audiovisual artifice, infuse it with enough free-floating anxiety and cheap sentiment to sustain people’s attention, and employ enough imprecise cliché, inaccurate vocabulary, sloppy syntax, and opaque passive voice to obscure any worthwhile message. Then, amid a blare of hollow pageantry, they present the result to the consuming multitudes. Delusional as they are, our news media characterize that work of theirs as important, essential to the public interest, and, of course, proof positive of the quality and desirability of their commercial sponsors’ products.
Faced with the important questions that Vassal’s device will pose, most news media will provide no more than superficial and erroneous answers. I anticipate, however, that as usual when they are following a popular story, they will stay with this one only as long as it sells well for them. When their audiences lose interest, they will break camp, pack up their caravans, and migrate to the next newsy oasis. Occasionally thereafter, a few of them may return to Vassal and me to try to squeeze more profit from the situation. They will pitch their tents near us once again, and reprise their prior reports, do some retrospective significating, and probably try to discover, describe, exaggerate whatever mundane activities he and I have been up to in the interim. Then they will leave again. News stories about us will slip toward back pages, and then cease.
* * *
Oh, dear, what have I just done? Having reported several of Vassal’s diatribes from his younger days, I have succumbed to temptation—or my nerves—and given vent to one of my own. I have lashed out, criticizing our hard-working mass media. I have accused them of befouling the mainstream. Also, by implication, I have criticized their audiences’ conformity, bad taste, anti-intellectualism, and ignorance, somewhat as Vassal used to do when he was a young punk. That has been unfair of me. I am disappointed with myself. I thought that I had become more understanding. I should not be such a snob. Down, girl!
Moreover, now that I reflect, what I said is outdated, in line with what I used to think rather than what I think now. I must take back much of that. For one thing, most news providers are not in the business of truly informing, nor should they be. That would cause their customers to shun them, and would cost them revenue from their sponsors. It would also require more time and staffing than they have. That would waste their time and money, and reduce their profits.
For the most part, they are entertainers, not educators. To preserve their livelihoods, they must engage and hold their audiences’ interest. Toward that end, they must affirm and exploit people’s biases, and produce the usual titillation: gripping drama, info-junk, feeble analysis, and other fodder for our daily small talk. They must avoid complexity and substantive ideas, ignore or misrepresent context, and make a show of shallow, easily understood “expertise.”
There is nothing wrong with that. It’s what most of us want and need. I suspect that if news providers were educators, or more like educators in their skills and missions, their customers and the world would be no better off. Anyway, plenty of education is available elsewhere, for people who want it. I prefer to think of our less instructive news media as Vassal would. Rather than whine and posture about them as I have done, I should say that however they conduct themselves is and will no doubt continue to be fine with me.
Besides, the present-day scenario I just described in my rant may not occur. Once Vassal’s invention is everyone’s, it will enable all of us to acquire for ourselves, firsthand, whatever news interests us most. We may not want or need traditional on- and offline news media. For most of us, snooping around the two of us, as those media will probably do for a while, will be far from the best show available to us. And watching other big shots work, shop, socialize, go on vacations, hang around their homes, get dressed and undressed, bathe, have sex, etc., will enlighten and entertain us very little, especially when we discover how much their lives are like our own. We will choose instead to watch news and entertainment that matters more to us, most of which will arise nearer to us, not in our media. They will arise within our families and workplaces, among our friends and neighbors, and within our communities.
* * *
Now that I have acknowledged my rant for what it is, I feel better. For a few minutes there, whapping at my keyboard, I showed readers the nervous dame, paranoid outsider, and peevish elitist I sometimes am. I will make no excuse except to say that that was a page or so ago, in the past. I will also acknowledge that this reverend professor strayed long ago from her ivory tower, into working with Vassal, and since then has not always felt at home. Which perhaps inclines me more toward such outbursts.
Man thinks and God laughs, says a proverb. Me, I try to do both, and at the same time. Vassal’s example inspires me. But that act of balance and unification comes naturally to him, less so to me. My effort keeps me tightly wound. I manage to hold most of that tension within me, and to release only as much as I can convert into words and images. But my thinking sometimes becomes less inclusive than I wish, and my humor more strained. I slip up sometimes and toss a tangle—such as that rant of mine—onto the page. That may be understandable, considering everything that is happening in my life these days, but I would like to do better.
* * *
As for any tension that may reside in Vassal, I observe only shadows and memories of it. I admire the ease with which he is coping with our situation. At this hour, the shockwave that bears his invention is starting to reach large numbers of people. Both of us are eager to know what will happen as a result, including what will happen to the two of us. He continues to feel relaxed about that, however, while I continue to feel apprehensive.
I am getting better about that, though, as I have mentioned. I am managing to adopt more of his friction-free frame of mind. That is helping me establish a quiet place within myself where I can face any fuss. I am beginning to think that I will be content with whatever responses come our way, be they high hosannas, hysterical hubbub, kidnapping, imprisonment, or murder.
I am ready enough, I think. The worst-case scenarios will probably not happen to us. Unless the government takes us away, which we think unlikely, or unless someone manages to kidnap or kill us, which we also think unlikely, Vassal and I will just cruise around in the fishbowl that our home will become. We may venture forth aboard his device, or we may keep to ourselves. Either way, once the novelty of the situation dies down, we will probably not experience more commotion than we can bear. The government will continue to protect us, and to leave us pretty much alone.
My writing and art-making will probably not cease. Along with the more ordinary pursuits of living, and whatever new pursuits develop—some of which, as he says, may prove exciting—those activities should keep me sane enough. Considering all that is about to erupt elsewhere, I may be being overly optimistic to expect that, but I do not think so. Henry Adams wrote, “Chaos often breeds life . . . .” And Marcus Aurelius: “Nothing will happen to me which is not conformable to the nature of the universe.” I can live with those truths, and gladly, as Vassal does.
* * *
Now that I have calmed down more, I want to further reel in that ill-tempered rant of mine about news and news media. I will apply one of Vassal’s defining—and most counterintuitive—notions.
The news business, and the attention of those of us who patronize it, is predicated on the assumption that there is news. In many ways, Vassal observes, there is not. There never is. There is only life’s ongoing show: everything in motion, the turn of the wheel, the news that (as Ezra Pound said of poetry) stays news.
News and newness are illusions, like the past and future, like time itself. As such, they are necessary, and suit us. The representations they provide give us a sense of where we are in our imagined schemes of things. Thereby, they also suggest to us how to proceed. By enabling us to find and follow the news (as we call it) that matters most to us, Vassal’s invention will help us reap those benefits.
Serving as our own news services may soon seem as essential to us as facing into moving water is essential to the brook trout that Vassal and I sometimes drive upstate to catch. If those supple creatures were to face any other direction for long, they would fail to obtain enough oxygen and food, which come to them in the flow. They would weaken and become more prone to disease, more likely to be displaced by competing fish, and more susceptible to predators. Any of us who do not take up and use Vassal’s device may fear that something analogous will befall us.
We all believe that time passes, things change, difference is substantial, and causation is real. We may also believe that progress is possible, and that truth exists like a jewel that shines eternally, a touchstone for us all. Vassal shares those beliefs, but understands them to be figments of our imaginations. Just because a pendulum swings and a clock ticks, and because we turn the pages of calendars, and because we make schedules and adhere to them, or because anything else we see and do accords with what we call time, does not mean that time exists. Because we think that something has happened, and that now something else is happening, and that something different will happen eventually, probably soon, does not mean that past, present, and future are more than illusions of ours.
We experience things as if two or more things exist, not just a single universal self. We think that we have a self apart from other things, a self that can act upon those things. And we think that those things—people, creatures, objects—inhabit realities different from ours.
To Vassal, those, too, are dreams we believe in. Not that he discredits them. He recognizes how useful and essential to us they are. He just asks What and So What of them, as he does of everything, and he answers as we have seen. Aside from any constancy that our fickle selves imagine, he finds nothing stable underlying those dreams of ours, no unimpeachable What for us to So.
That does not bother him. He sees that we have made it this far in our species’ journey without such stability. It suffices that we imagine that what is not that substantive and certain is that substantive and certain. Among examples he has observed that we create and use: our representations of divinity, including statuary, paintings, signs and symbols, icons, holy books, relics, shrines, altars, sanctuaries, and houses of worship. Also our secular monuments, including historic sites, iconic works of art and literature, governing documents, and similar cultural objects. Also our representations of material value and wealth, including money, precious gems, and other property. Also more immaterial formulations, such as our myths, mysteries, traditions, and convictions.
* * *
He does not think we would be better off if we debunked the fictions we believe to be true. He does not think we should make less of the principles, theories, assumptions, and other articles of faith, law, and habit we have contrived and established. Nor does he think we should necessarily look upon any of those with more aggressive skepticism than we do, or pay more attention to broader issues or underlying states of affairs, as he and I tend to do. He just anticipates that once his invention arrives, people will use it to examine many things, sometimes including those. If that changes how any of us regard those things, so be it. He is curious to see how real and true we find them to be, but he will not mind if our outlook toward them does not change at all. As ever, he has no intent, and does not favor any outcome over any other.
In his experience, everything in our universe is in an endless state of transition. In light of that, people’s craving for firm foundations has attracted his attention. I have listed some examples that interest him. There are more, including certain stories we tell to ourselves. Among them are our highly fictionalized, largely symbolic biographies of religious figures, political leaders, heroes, and other exemplars, alive and dead. Also our trumped up histories of nations, communities, ethnic groups, and other institutions, among them our commercial, political, social, intellectual, artistic, and scientific movements. We contrive those fictions and spread them. When we deem it necessary, or when the spirit moves us, we reinterpret or revise them; dig up or fabricate new material to add to them. And sometimes we abandon or destroy them, to replace them with stories more attuned to our interests.
For years, Vassal has been fascinated to learn how much of our allegedly factual history is fictional. Scientists, scholars, and other researchers, using new tools and fresh perspectives, discover more of that all the time.
“Take the supposedly historical underpinnings of our Judeo-Christian traditions and values. Scholars have determined that Jesus probably spoke few of the words ascribed to him in the New Testament. And many of the other stories that grew up around Christianity—the virgin birth, the miracles, the resurrection, and so on—not only don’t pass muster as history, they can’t pass the straight-face test.
“Much of the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament, too, is probably fictitious: Genesis, Noah’s ark, the parting of the seas, the burning bush, the doings of the prophets, and so on. Archaeologists, historians, linguists, and others consider it likely that Abraham and Moses never lived; that the Jews were never enslaved in Egypt in great numbers; and that a large Exodus and wandering in the desert never happened. Same with Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, the greatness of the kingdom of Solomon, the story of David and Goliath, David’s authoring of psalms and planning the temple in Jerusalem, and more. The Ten Commandments and other divine guidance that underlie some of our laws and codes of conduct were fabrications by later human elites, created to suit their present-day agendas. And the world’s other religions and belief systems are similar, as evidenced by all the larger-than-life fantasy woven into tales of the Buddha, Mohammed, and others. Much religion and tradition is based upon imagined history.”
He has found that what most of us know about other aspects of history is also largely myth—about the American Revolution; the Founding Fathers; the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; slavery; the Civil War; westward expansion; our civil rights, labor, women’s, and other movements; our military adventures past and present; and histories of everything from our races, cultures, and subcultures to our businesses, communities, and family ancestries.
Nor does it stop there.
“Look at the stories we tell about ourselves as individuals,” he says, “and about our loved ones. Our personal histories are often as contrived as any.”
But he does not consider those histories dishonest. He recognizes how essential to us they and their falsehood are. He regards them as what the ancient Greeks called gennaion pseudos—noble lies or high-minded fiction.
“We have no choice but to fictionalize everything, and that’s good. It’s necessary. As I’ve said before, if we didn’t do that, we wouldn’t be who we are and we couldn’t function. The stories we create maintain order. They help us to make sense of what would otherwise be senseless, and to use what would otherwise be useless. Without them, our realities would be too directionless and confusing, not to mention boring and uninspiring. They provide meaning that we need.”
We can’t not fictionalize. Our words and other expression are code that enables that. The stories we make of them suit us. We feel that they represent for us and to us in ways that reference and reflect our nature and our lives. We place faith in them, sometimes to the point of confusing their meaning and dynamics with the realities we pretend they are about; sometimes to the point of fighting and dying for them. Vassal says that is fine, or might as well be, since we cannot do otherwise.
* * *
Like anyone’s lives, Vassal’s and mine can be said to travel an arc, and to do so with momentum. As such, they can be rendered as stories. He and I enjoy trying to capture them in words and images, to place on these pages. But in most respects, like all things, they defy description. We can narrate them only partially and imperfectly. They are more than our words and other art can express. Our coding of them cannot communicate them in full.
We render them as effectively as we can, of course. We all do that, about everything we wish to convey. We do that even though we may understand, as Vassal does (and I, too, usually), that everything we are and do is absurd. He says, “We live amid an absence of fact and truth, in meaningless motion in a universe of meaningless motion.” As he observes, that motion is us and is enough for us. It has to be enough, since for us it is all there is. It is consciousness itself, our one and every perception and reality. To rephrase Marcus Aurelius, and to tiptoe around René Descartes: I think, therefore everything is. In Vassal’s view, such is the universe that we all dream up. It embodies us and we it. Storytellers that we are, that is how we experience our good old spacetime continuum.
ASSIGNMENT FOR MY STUDENTS
(1,000 word maximum)
- Vassal says everything is “in meaningless motion in a universe of meaningless motion.” Do you agree? Disagree? In your experience, what are meaning and meaninglessness? What are they good for?
- Are words code? How so? How not so? When you use words, what are you saying?
In this dream that we call living, alive and in motion as we perceive ourselves to be, we think that action acts upon object. We believe in cause and effect, observe it often, and find our understanding of it reasonable and correct. Similarly, we imagine moral dimensions, such as our beliefs that our virtuous thoughts and deeds can cause good things to occur, and that we may be rewarded for those good thoughts and deeds, in a sweet hereafter if not sooner.
We grant such externality to all phenomena. Our every thought and perception objectifies something. Without our imagined objects and objectives, and our engagement with them, we would be neither self-aware nor other-aware. We would have neither body nor mind, neither substance nor experience. We would have nothing to create, nothing to respond to. We would have no ability to create or respond, and no value to assign. We would have nothing to think, feel, or do, and no need or urge to think, feel, or do.
According to Vassal and others, such objectifying is a function of ours, a product of our perception and understanding rather than something that exists outside us. Our consciousness enables that by telling us stories that we comprehend and that have meaning for us. Our stories, great and small, inform everything we experience. They tell us all we know, and hint at all we do not know. Often, they tell us that we want and need more, and suggest that more is available to us somewhere out there. They give us action that bears upon the immovable, appearance that poses against void, identity that stands amid confusion. They give us our sense of existence, momentum, and purpose. Without our stories we would not be conscious. We could observe no patterns, imagine no objects or objectives. We could devise no compass, find no direction. We would possess no mindfulness, develop no skill, acquire no knowledge and faith. We would be unable to be ourselves either to ourselves or to others. Everything, including us, would be unimagined and unimaginable, neither conceived nor conceivable. We would be unborn, never to be born. We would not exist, and neither would anything else.
Of course, our objectives, however ephemeral, are not frivolous. We hunger in order to live, and seek sustenance as if to end all want. Our storytellers—beginning with ourselves and including our friends, families, teachers, and others, and including all else that we know and imagine—help to feed us. They breathe life into everything we are aware of. Our storytelling is all-embracing and never-ending. In this dream of ours, all things are our fictions. Our fictions are us.
* * *
Once upon a present time, people sung these words:
Like the spring grass
We come only to sleep,
Only to dream.
It is not true, it is not true
That we have come to live on Earth!
— Canti Aztechi or Aztec Songs
edited by Ugo Liberatore and
Those ancient Aztecs understood, as their song describes, that we inhabit a world of transience and illusion. In further expression of that, to feed the wellsprings of their fertility and to encourage their gods to sustain them, they practiced human sacrifice, hacking many a beating human heart from its dreaming mind. Their world, like ours, sprung from a nexus of awareness and mystery—of what they did and did not know, understand, or control. Such, to them, was the living moment, as it is to us all.
Vassal, too, observes that our lives—our bodies and souls, our wealth of experience, our convictions and accomplishments, our trails of remembrance, and all else that we think, feel, say, and do—are dreams of ours. When we are born, we enter a world that is as alive to us as we are to ourselves, a world that is ourselves. Thereafter, we continue to dream, composing more stories that we tell to ourselves, that are ourselves, without which we would neither be nor survive.
It is not true, it is not true . . .
Around we go with
more to come in different
moments with different words
the truth always in question as if
it exists our lives wonderful but also
a struggle a journey in which we fight
and love and endure again and again
We discover beauty and move on
So powerful is our urge so great
our need and so pure
I have seen beauty
in darkness and in dreams
in dimmest light and most brilliant
in candlelight at dinner and
over drinks in the tavern
and on movie screens
computers and TV
and in photos
and on the
I have heard it in
the symphony hall
when the whole place
opens to the heavens
And I have found it
at funeral services
in the pews the
in the final box
where eternal absence
masquerades as human
* * *
To some people, what Vassal and I say in these pages may explain what is happening, perhaps justify it. If so, that will be their perception, not our intent. With this book, as with his invention, we are spreading seeds to furrows, in order to see what grows. We will be content with whatever comes.
His invention will cause all kinds of consequences. At first, as with anything so ubiquitous and powerful, many people will think it (and Vassal, the Bigheads, and me, its perpetrators) responsible. As far as we are concerned, however, what people do with it will be up to them, and fine with us. We see no need, feel no urge, and have no wish, to prescribe how or whether anyone uses it.
People’s perspectives concerning it will evolve. Fond and fearful, in service to their hopes, to influence things that matter to them, most will take it up and put it to work. They will do so though hope is hollow; or as Vassal would put it, they will do so because hope is hollow. By its nature, hope is hopeless, perpetually unfulfilled and unfulfillable. So he observes.
of our discontent
the final sin plague and curse
which Pandora for a time
retained in her jar
where it could
cause us no pain
and encourage in us
no false expectations
Hope is out of the jar now. It has been out for a long time: since the advent of our species, and probably before, known to some of our evolutionary ancestors. Hope is our search for what we need or desire, our wish for good fortune, and our questioning in want of answers. It holds promise that we cannot live without.
Søren Kierkegaard wrote, “A human being is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity.” Hope, which we embody, is that synthesis made flesh, a busy bee on its way to what’s next. The “journey to” is what we do, our every step hopeful. When our journey ends, our hope, hopeless to begin with, also ends. Give us absurdity, then give us death. How bleak that is, how empty. And how funny.
There is humor in our absurdity. There may be none anywhere else. Humor is a balancing force, one that brings us relief and recompense. We all like to laugh. In my case, in fact, as far as I know, I own no higher purpose. It is my good fortune that Vassal delivers laughs, to me anyway. So do the Bigheads. I love that. Glum as I often am, I benefit from that. It offsets my serious side, and helps free me to practice my fitful alchemy.
* * *
Vassal and I were born here in Maine, in towns up the coast. We have spent most of our lives here. From time to time we have left the state, but never for long. We have always returned.
We have returned partly because Maine is home to a certain dry humor. Once, a Maine humorist told some listeners a joke that fell flat. A silence hung in the room. He looked from face to face, in sympathy with each one. Then, without condescension, accusation, or any least tremor of apology, he said, “It’s not that it ain’t funny. It’s just that you don’t get it.”
That is dry humor, not dead. Humor and laughter, like all expression, resonate both inward and outward, helping us get along with ourselves and each other. Vassal and I study what people get and why. Lately, we have done that with his invention in mind, knowing that it was coming soon to everyone. Beginning in the next few hours, as people start to use it, what, in their terms, will they get about it, and what will they not get? Where will they think it comes from within Vassal and within themselves?
Will they think that from Vassal’s standpoint it is some kind of joke? When Vassal says that humanity is a load of nothing and that progress is unattainable, is he kidding? Might he also be suggesting the opposite, challenging us to appreciate how much more than nothing our world and we are? Might he be delivering his joke (as I call it) by conjuring darkness in which to see light, silence in which to hear sound, stillness in which to observe activity, nonsense with which to delineate sense, absence in which to recognize presence, and nullity against which to contrast being? Our jokes, no matter how bad—no matter how incomprehensible, pointless, or vulgar they are to us—help us. They help us to assign meaning and determine value—both personally, to apply to our inner lives, and socially, to facilitate our lives with each other. They help us to recognize our interests, abilities, and opportunities, and to think and act accordingly.
If Vassal’s invention is a joke, then whose joke is it? Or what’s joke, what force’s or deity’s? He would say that to the extent anyone thinks that it is or may be a joke, it is indeed a joke—everyone’s and everything’s. He would also say that it does not matter who plays it on whom, or to what extent anyone gets it or even thinks it is a joke. He loves jokes that do not have beginnings or ends, or reliable boundaries of any kind, no firm indications that they are jokes at all. Such is the humor his experience delivers to him at every moment.
In his view, intentionless as he is, there is nothing about his invention to get. It is just something that everyone will use and live with; just another tool in the toolbox, weapon in the arsenal, ball on the field, toy in the playroom. Like anything, its uses, meaning, and value will be up to its users.
As I have said, he will welcome whatever people make of it. I expect to do the same, though as I have shared I also feel resigned to that prospect. I feel somewhat depressed, awash in my usual concerns but not drowning in them. I have become accustomed to them, and believe that I can tolerate them.
But will I tolerate them? Am I tolerating them now, or already failing? At this moment, sitting here on the boat with my laptop, my mind is at a standstill. I cannot think what to write next. I am looking at the screen, the keyboard, and my hands. What are they? Am I here with them, in them, alive? I try going back a few sentences and reading forward, to get a rolling start and move on. I try several times. Each time, I fail. I retreat more—several paragraphs—and try again. I fail again. I retreat one page, then two, then five. Each time, I begin to read, then stall: “. . . believe that I can tolerate them.”
I never get stuck like this. No writer’s block for me. But this is not one of my normal pauses, when words gather within me before emerging in a stream of more or less literate lines. This time I cannot proceed. I am spent, exhausted, a burnt candle.
I close my laptop and cross my hands on top of it. I lean back and close my eyes. The air is becoming more humid as the August morning develops. I feel sunshine on the left side of my head, faintly warm. My eyes still closed, I turn to face it. Shapes, lines, and cracks quiver, slide, and disperse across my eyelids, at once kaleidoscopic, fluid, and vaporous against the light.
I open my eyes, draw my hands back, and flip open my laptop. My fingers hover over the keyboard, ready to type. Again, nothing comes. My fingers do not move. Cool sweat coats my hands, arms, neck, and head. I have no other perception, no thoughts, no interest in my work, nothing that I wish to say. I close my laptop again, and my eyes. I breathe, relax my shoulders, and curl forward. I feel the weight of my fatigue. I may fall asleep. I need to sleep.
I refuse to sleep. I open my eyes again, and straighten up in my seat. I look out from the boat, into a buffeting wind. Cold. We are a half-mile out from shore, halfway to Seguin. The sun has risen higher, into a haze. Around us, tidal currents are clashing, tossing up blades of water, stabbing the air. Our boat shifts gently, the currents no danger. The sun, wind, and currents are announcing to me that the big day has arrived. Soon, when Vassal and I return home from this boat ride of ours, we will begin to see what is going to happen. I have never felt more awake.
which we have
no other we incline
as beasts to the yoke
to believe that each thing
abides apart that each event
has happened or is happening
now or will and not all three at
once and only here or only there
In our waking sleep our concepts
of object space motion and time
can only begin to describe
What can our next step be
except more dream
yours and mine
I cannot imagine
I fail at the prospect
Why ask as if there
is any question
and within us
as noble as death
life’s natural suicide
We have cracked the sphere
and cut a path from source to destination
This is the path and you and I are together upon it
it is coming
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