Monthly Archives: June 2009

33 Variations on a Waltz, leaving the self for the second-self

plastic

I took this photo on 5th avenue this past Saturday. I have gotten into a new habit of photographing things that can’t move. Reflections of sky or these plastic things.  Their faces seem more real than someone sitting across from me on the subway sometimes.  It’s as though you can bring your own story into them, wrapped like wooden boxes or bunched up bouquets, listen to them tell your own story back to you.

These two hands almost touch, as though sneaking an intimate moment.  The scene makes the vibrations of phantom hands tingle inside my own side-hand, the side that I haven’t looked at yet today.  I spent 8 hours wandering around the business world, trying to contain my own self in the minutes of commerce and philanthropy. So, when I look at this, I feel a tug somewhere as though I, too, am waiting for their hands to touch. And in waiting my goal is to become more patient. Perhaps hardened with a sort of wait-for-things-ache.  The way an idea of the sunset over red rock hardens the inside of my skull while the hours tick away and I work for someone else.
“Why do I waste time on things I will only leave behind?”

Two 33’s today. And that’s two 6’s or 66 or 3333. I imagine there are two half knots in each. Walking, I saw another set of 3’s at 33rd street and it was then I realized just how seperated I am from the image of what I wanted to be a year ago. Knots know the way things should have been in your heart, but constantly remind you how it is in the moment. And 33 leans toward that centerfold like a cannon on opening night. The loudest shock is your first realization that things are their own paths and not your making, no matter how strong you think your grasp is on the minutes, on when you wake and when you fall asleep.

The 33 on the way to the second office made me realize, there is no telling when I will live in the desert again, when I will see the stars like a thousand numerical bodies in the bedrock of sky. But isn’t once enough? We keep moving forward because perhaps there will be a second time the ineffible will make known what isn’t ours to know.

You sent me a picture of a collection of bird houses. You are walking along the brick of some shore, thinking we’ll never have two seconds, let along a day, to open worlds of words, playthings and jingling thought-dolls, pressed into the other’s hand.

I wonder myself.

So last night, after another You confessed I hurt them, I tried to fall asleep imagining the universe was already my own again, and cosmically, I was made of dust, again.

Let me explain. Inside my room there are memories of other rooms, just as each house pulls back curtains on childhood homes.  Isn’t every thought another memory in bandaged and bundled other-memory-residue? And so I try and explain through the dream of me being the cosmos by the fact that I can take a photo of one girl, and feel the length of roads she may have seen just by her face. And when I look there pulls her kite-thoughts down into my own brain-sky.  A million of her kite-thoughts at once flying into my own brain-space. The field where the common mixes with the individual. And I say to the knots, look here. Look, have we something in common, or only dust?

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Perhaps the wait for the plastic hands of two mannequins to touch is the same as waiting for the words from her mouth. From Your mouth when I’m lying in bed and waiting to feel the cosmos pass through me. See the stars, the bit of them, on her ears? And back I’m back at something static.

Roll in the knots, like kindly things until they inform you their home is lifting. Until their bodies lose track of your location and thoughts refuse to let known their coordinates. When was the last moment the world seemed possible? Untold, stories lift and take their careers with them.

As I type or sit or as the minutes pass, who I would rather be stands staring out the window, arms crossed, remember the faces of You. And it begins to rain. On the backs of things, other things. The memory of something rides in with the rain.

Office has four walls. A desk. My computer. Rain has the smell of gods and childhood memories. So in the smell and sounds and I leave the desk to stare into, and then become, who I would rather be, the one simultaneously standing there already while earlier, I worked. You said, don’t think about time as in a box, but created by you. And so, to escape the desk and the second office, the rain, which carries the ineffable on its back says, SING! So I quietly sing in my mind about the time a pine tree called me beautiful. The time I threw seven stones down the well and the horses lost themselves in the rain, singing. A time when, as a child, the world seemed possible.

And somewhere in New York, a sky reminded me of Utah. And crumbled, the tracks I took to get to Harlem, crumbled. It all flew out quickly in a second when I rest my eyes on this:

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Utah breaks in and sage unfolds her olfactory tails into the air. Where I’m standing is not where I am, perhaps how You feel when I call you name and transcribe the lostness of being-in-the-world. But all is lost in the dread-of-being. Lost in the dread-of-being-able to escape now by taking time by the boots and chucking her out the door, by looking in someones image and finding the self. By realizing the self is something other-than.

This is the self as I saw her last night:

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As the knots reflect the past knots into the image of knots which gather to make each moment-of-being-in-the-self.

So the rain comes through and on its back a memory of another self that time has carved through and dispersed into memory. And so disperesed the past-knots that I find in the photo of another’s eyes, or the patience with which I feel leaning into me in the plastic-wait in the store window. How to attain this stillness in the office-of-every-day.

Sometimes, I cannot stand to wait and so I try and dig for other knots in conversation. 33. On the way to the second office, another pair of 33. What was I feeling at that moment? Despair. Dust-bowls of despair, but in that knowing-there’s-a-sunset-soon, way. And knots refuse to be translated. 33.

Last night, on page 3, I read:

“Dictionaries tell us that “to explain” is “to make things clear, understandable.” The word derives from Latin roots meaning “to flatten, to make plain.” (Gwynn Nettler)

To flatten, make plain–making reality plainer–our realities as characters, stripped of their wooden hats and extremities.The field-flowers un-earthed in order to preene a lawn inside, for society.

How can the rain understand anything other than what it brings to me?  A little version of memory, to distract from the office desk and the despair from the afternoon, driving into a stillness for a second, but forgetting what the knots have always told me. Be what the moment needs of you. Explore the waiting. What are You saying to me, now?

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Entanglement on the www, Knots & I Converse with a Friend

To record. To record a thing. A thing that loses weight when you look at it, when you try and ponder its measurement, it shrinks. Something as elusive as dust on a chapel bell, as scripted as a North wind off a lighthouse that only pours light, not mystery.

To record. I try to speak a language of knots and nothing ends up happening but confusion. Nothing happens but an ache. And this ache keeps me anchored to the cause, keeps me in touch with carpet bugs, on my knees, searching for the equation between two sentences that were spoken before I was born.

I breathe forward into inches. There’s a light in the doorway. To record this light, photons or the electricity between a bulb and its current.

Today, for instance, I had a conversation with a friend of mine. How my brain needs shine! And so we set aside the computer screen’s work for each other’s thoughts. How, I asked, do we represent each other? My friend types answers and his voice, the memory and representation of his voice, gathers into neuronal circuits and fires. I read his text as though in his voice. Can we break through the walls of representation and actually know anyone?

The knots have been on my thoughts lately. I tell him so. Look at these equations, I say. He says, look at these wallabies in Australia, he says—they get high on poppies and make crop circles.

Somehow, this ties into the philosophical conversation. And the knots sit in the back behind me at the desk, waiting for a leap into my thoughts.

But I tell the knots, look! There’s a theory inside us all and I’m trying to uncover the dots, to gather the thought-geraniums so as to understand the grasses between one another, our thoughts, our desires, and our other-worldly-being-ness.

The knots are dragging today. I woke up in a mood. Worries down my back again, and will I have enough money for the autumn season? Plastic as it sounds, the worry of living is constant. But from my desk at work, I see an ocean. And my friend types words to me. We communicate from one desk to another 10,000 miles apart. Isn’t this amazing? My mood lifts when I type. I type of wonders. And wait for the answer.

I’d rather be outside, I think. I’d rather enjoy the sunshine. I’d rather unravel mysteries by walking in Union Square, searching strangers for their knots. But in front of us, a whole wonder waiting to be discovered. And my wonder is my friend, who talks to me of mysteries while we are at work.

Wonder at conversation! And conversation on the internet! The net that casts over all our lives. A net what leaves us connected or so estranged from another that the wandering in the world wide web can leave us hunting touch.

The knots are restless today. The tower today stands 2792 knots tall. Bundles, even. And some sit in the back corner, reflected in the computer screen as I type my longings into streams 10,000 miles away. The best thing about online communication is instant replies.

Me: it hit me the other day
mathematics (which I always hated) is like creativity and philosophy, it’s working with abstractions
to try and explain things

Friend: yeah, when you get high enough in anything, it becomes abstract

Me: and when I look at it that way, I no longer hate math
I like theoretical anything
but I like to pull it back down somehow
like with a magical string
like theories are kites
and I’m trying to pull them closer to my body

Friend: and you have to ground them to dissect them

Me: yes
so they are like butterflies then, and you have to net them to put them behind glass
and when you look close enough at a butterfly, their patterns are way beyond what you expected.
one color leads into another color, but in zigzag
and how to define that line, you can’t
like chaos theory

Friend: you have to break it down into small pieces, and that won’t give you the whole picture

Me: exactly

Friend: crazy
this is awesome

Me: like those high kangaroos or whatever they were
the lines they made

Friend: I know!

Me: crazy

Friend: no one could have predicted that
but the anchor for all this is logic
it’s pretty clear crop circles aren’t created by aliens
therefore, it must be something else
but more complex than that
it’s MANY things
and that’s where chaos comes in

Me: yes

Friend: some are pranks; some might be weird wind patterns
in this case, high wallabies

Me: the weed

Friend: lol
the opium

Friend: poppies

Me: oh
opium
oh yeah
poppies
like in Wizard of Oz

Friend: hehe
yes
man, the book of that is about a billion times better than the movie
I did not expect to have this conversation today
chaos theory!

Me: I know, right?
amazing
chaos theory is insanely interesting
it is overwhelming
I feel like I’m flying just reading about it
did you see the pictures of the knots?
love those

Friend: yes
I love the III kind
that’s such a cool pattern

Me: you know, perhaps we make our very own patterns each day and we don’t even know it
like actual patterns in some sort of air
when you type
maybe
or walk each day

Friend: hmmm

Me: and it affects the things around
around
like we’re always painting something into being and we don’t know it

Friend: well I know we affect air currents when we walk past them, or they have to blow
that’s an idea I’ve long had
the things we do create… something

Me: expand on that
your idea
that you had
creating things
what did you think?

Friend: well
I went beyond just movement
the physical world and the mental world combined
let’s say I say something mean to someone
and it puts them in a bad mood
and they take it out by slamming the front door
which knocks over their vase
which they throw away

Me: interconnectivity

Friend: you create these things
I call them demons for lack of a better term

Me: what physicists (the more metaphysical ones) are calling “The Field”
the idea of locality versus entanglement
Einstein didn’t believe theory of entanglement was true
but we’ve proved it
we’ve been able to view the burning out of electrons, a proton and electron separated and the daughter protons are effected by the “mother,” no matter at what distance
BUT
it’s only after WE observe
that anything comes into being

Friend: before that it’s Schrödinger’s electron

Me: Schrödinger’s Cat.
someone said to me the other day on gchat
“sorry I was invisible”
and I thought about that time you said it
and how I wrote that note about status updates and the new lingo and how we all sound like science fiction novels and we don’t even know it
in our minds, we’re invisible, sometimes
because we “are”
and we say we “are”
even if it’s only on gchat
like your half man-half fish superhero
reflection
if we reflect “nothing”

Friend: no, the lack of reflection
yes!

Me: then where is that “nothing”
is the nothing something only when we “reflect” it?
like Schrödinger’s cat!

Friend: it is
for that moment, you did not know if I existed or not
wow
applied to everyday life

Me: and your voice when you type as it’s represented in my head when I read your font
I hear your font in your voice in my brain. how my brain recollects your voice

Friend: Electronic data and it’s philosophical implications…
I hadn’t given your opinion on AI the consideration it deserved, because instead of basing the amount of consideration on your perceived intelligence (or creativity, or capacity) like I should have done, I based it on your technical knowledge

Me: that’s understandable

Friend: I guess when you spend 7 years telling people how to work a computer, you assume no one knows anything about them.
and that’s just wrong
it’s a scale
it causes problems
drives wedges into conversation
creates demons

Me: creates breakdowns. Our representations of people need to be broken down before we can really communicate
It’s interesting that we create someone before we know them

Friend: yes
it’s a tricky thing
knowing someone
you walk a balance of open-mindedness and … something else.

End conversation. To record. End. And the knots are sparkling. Inside their bodies: the known. The unknown casts things down occasionally, but in dots. Later in the day, the conversation from the afternoon on the computer, the conversation that happened over text, will be imprinted in my mind and replayed via representation when I read Heschel’s words….

“When the ultimate awareness comes, it is like a flash, arriving all at once. To meditative minds the ineffable is cryptic, inarticulate: dots, marks of secret meaning, scattered hints, to be gathered, deciphered and formed into evidence.”

And, earlier that day, on the computer screen, my friend said:

“you have to break it down into small pieces, and that won’t give you the whole picture.”

Which I remember, as I read further into Heschel’s words:

It comes when, drifting in the wilderness, having gone astray, we suddenly behold the immutable polar star. Out of endless anxiety, out of denial and despair, the soul bursts out in speechless crying.”

To record. I read these lines, interconnected with earlier recollections of a conversation on computer screens, and while I read, in my bed, the knots nestled by the lamp, wriggling into a sway, I listen to my iPod. The iPod lands on Laura Marling. The song bleeds into the web. And exactly as I read about speechless crying into the heart of the wilderness to find that God between the breastplate and dreaming, the song sings the words:

“You sat alone under billowing sky. If I feel God….but I fell into the water and now I’m free.”

Pressed into the sides are the knots, now weighing 4920 worth, sat on my chest, which breaks, as I cry. Something about this. About alignment and chaos. To record this. And the known in the belly of knots have a brief communication with the unknown. Three words, and a black out. Joy! Joy! Joy!02041510knottable

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R-matrix theory, n=8, or: what keeps me from sleep

How do I expect to settle into stillness when the vibrations tumble out of my drier each morning? When I stumble over the peaks of things like jetting rocks down the stairs?

When I wake, there’s a melody waiting for me in a hidden place. I haven’t called on her yet. The known is speaking to the unknown in another language in my dreams. Until I smooth the length of worries down my back, I’ll keep buzzing around, disturbing any chance that stillness will nest next to me.

The known are in knots and my body contains many of them. Like a tower, I stand 29740 knots tall, give or take a few. Sometimes, when I hike a hill, one will topple into the soil. And if I crawled against a carpet, a couple might try taking root there, bedding up with the carpet bugs.

The known hangs on inside the belly of the knots, which sometimes circle my head. When one knot passes or beds up in the carpet or hops down the street while I walk in a crowd, another one will wait by the lamp to talk to me. The unknown are like stars and stare down into the belly of the knots, trying to converse with them.

The language is strange. Catch one or two words, sometimes, yes. But this is rare.

Stay in a corner. Listen for a movement inside like a melody.

The drier tumbles the known into the unknown. A melody stills into twists, vibrates then quiets, waits for 29740 knots, give or take, to listen from within me.071002-string-knots-02reid

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2:00 am on 6/23

I wanted to read something to comfort me before sleep. Something about circling around again and finding the self in a tree branch.

How even in a dark room there’s a memory of reaching for a hand.

Searching, it was late. My eyes hurt from reading.

The knots said, come nearer.

I always knew they were vibrating orbs in numerical bodies, but I refused to look so many nights. Come closer, they said.

Look, and I create their lives. Look away, and they pass, almost as though lightning bugs were their other shells.

Entanglement, I thought, weighs more than a spirit, much more. And so I turned out the light.

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baby pigeons

..no such thing as baby pigeons in the city; perhaps they hide in crevices of buildings as chicklings, waiting to birth wings, sing into smog…

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2:52 am on 6/21

The stone is given its existence; it need not fight for being what it is–a stone in the field. Man has to be himself in spite of unfavorable circumstances; that means he has to make his own existence at every single moment. He is given the abstract possibility of existing, but not the reality. This he has to conquer hour after hour. Man must earn his life, not only economically but metaphysically. — Ortega.

I was reading this on the train. Or maybe it was the subway.

Maybe I had already gotten down to 14th street. Maybe I was listening to Brahms, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I felt like I was turning a corner on my eyelid and pulling it out, methodically, like when I was a child. So much to hold onto, in one eyelash.

When I feel like coming to the center of something, almost like jumping in front of god-knows-what, or falling from the last thing hunger made you do.

I could have been reading something else, but I wasn’t. It could have been

raining, raining, raining, raining, raining, raining, raining, raining

in the desert. And I could have had to pitch an A-frame tent. And I could have spent the last 25 hours lying beside a water-trail, waiting for animals to pass before seeing my chest rise up and down. I could have been leaving bruises on my shins.

Burning a cigarette into the arm to see what it felt like.

I could have been learning to make a fire from wood and stone.

But at this time in my life, I was just reading on the train, listening to Brahms.

I don’t have to know why I run from learning stillness. Stillness is learning me.

And circling inside this, what I said I loved before, and forgot.

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1:00 AM on 6/17

Once, I wrote some diary entries in the voice of a divorced man who liked to drink bourbon, so I’d drink bourbon at night at my apartment on my porch, and then write his diary.

I still think about him.

More of this later. Perhaps I’ll even tear out an old entry or two, post it on a wall somewhere or at the Public Announcements board at the courthouse, if I can find a courthouse around here.

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