Who Knows Where The Time Goes

I have a recurring fantasy that if one were to dial the telephone number of someone in the past, one would hear again a familiar voice, and time would instantly rewind from now to then. I still have Orson Welles’ telephone number in my book (213-851-8458). Do I dare ring him and talkstill here to him back in 1982, where he is busy trying to convince Jack Nicholson to play Pellarin for two not four million dollars? Should I tell him that he’ll not get the picture made? No. That would be too harsh. I’ll pretend that I have somehow got a copy of it, and that I think it marvellous though perhaps the handkerchief was, from so prudish a master, a bit much? Even incredible.

“Incredible?” The voice booms in my ear.”How could it be incredible when I stole it from Othello? But now I have a real treat for you. Standing here is your neighbour . . . Rudy Vallee! Overcome that ‘quiet reserve of shyness.’ Sing!

From out of the past, I hear, “My time is your time,” in that reedy highly imitable voice. The after-life’s only a dial tone away. “What makes you think that this is the after-life?” Orson chuckles. “This is a recording.” Stop story here.

—Gore Vidal, “Remembering Orson Welles”

Tubes: Done

I’ll tell you what I’d like to see happen.

The kinds of super-bright, hardworking geeky people who, 50 years ago, would have been building moon rockets or hydrogen bombs or donewhat have you have ended up working in the computer industry, doing jobs that in many cases seem kind of ignominious by comparison.

What I’m kind of hoping is that this is just kind of a pause, while we assimilate this gigantic new thing, ubiquitous computing and the Internet. And that at some point we’ll turn around and say, “Well, that was interesting—we have a whole set of new tools and capabilities that we didn’t have before the whole computer/Internet thing came along.

“Now, let’s get back to work doing interesting and useful things.”

Neal Stephenson

Sleepers Awake

As someone said to me—I can’t remember now who it was—it is really remarkable that when you wake up in the morning you nearly always find awakeeverything in exactly the same place as the evening before. For when asleep and dreaming you are, apparently at least, in an essentially different state from that of wakefulness; and therefore, as that man truly said, it requires enormous presence of mind or rather quickness of wit, when opening your eyes to seize hold as it were of everything in the room at exactly the same place where you had let it go on the previous evening. That was why, he said, the moment of waking up was the riskiest moment of the day. Once that was well over without deflecting you from your orbit, you could take heart of grace for the rest of the day.

—Franz Kafka

America The Beautiful

A peculiarity of American sexual mores is that those men who like to think of themselves as exclusively and triumphantly get it onheterosexual are convinced that the most masculine of all activities is not tending to the sexual needs of women but watching other men play games. I have never understood this aspect of my countrymen but I suppose there is a need for it, just as the Romans had a need to see people being murdered. Perhaps there is a connection between the American male’s need to watch athletes and his fatness: according to a WHO report the American male is the world’s fattest and softest; this might explain why he also loves guns—you can always get your revolver up.

—Gore Vidal

Lord Of All

plute

Just Another Standin’ In My Light

So, Rip Van Winkle: he, am I: awake: again: to find you people, still, all about the same ol’ same ol': the riven children: raining down from the sky in Ukraine, buried bloody in the sands of Gaza, unseen and unknown and flung into the jungles of Uganda; and still you say, still you say, still you say, you are more than a murderous ape; and in this you lie, and you lie, and you lie, for what you are, is:

just another night
just another night
on the other side of life

oh bloodless clueless white boys
think it’s all camp
don’t, do you
death—pain—cruelty—end

no

I write along a single line: I never get off it. I said that you were never to kill anyone, and I meant it.

I said that you were never to kill anyone, and I meant it.

And I meant it.

I meant it.

And you kill and you kill and you kill and you lose and you lose and lose and you lose. You have all so lost. You are so already over. Eros uber Thanatos. Alpha unto Omega.

you froze my feelings
but that’s alright
and you’re standing in my light

Don’t you understand? I have arisen not from the dead but from the living. I am not a voice crying in the wilderness. There is no winter here. No dark. No despair. The lights are going on in my house. I shall not allow the President of the United States to enter here. There is no darkness anywhere. There are only sick little men who have turned away from the light. I have all my lights on. And it is my own face I see in the blazing windows of all the houses on earth.

—Kenneth Patchen

it’s just a kiss away
kiss away
kiss away

You’ll just kill, you ur-people, till your sick sad dick is exhausted, and will never rise again.

And then we’ll be there.

We who have already won.

We of love is lord of all.

I Am A Peanut Farmer

A fun thing, when you’re trying to grow things, is seeing what might decide to grow, that pretty much has nothing to do with you, and your sweet amusing gentle intentions.

Here, I have to, daily, feed the squirrels and the jays. The favorite let there befood of each, both, is peanuts. So, every day, I slather the brick rail, with said nuts.

Many things, here, I would like to grow, but they die on the vine; never come up; are chewed back to nothingness by invisible insects; are thrown out of their holes by raccoons; are slob-hooved trampled by deer; are just too frightened and depressed to even much try to grow.

But then, there are peanuts. I have not planted even one of these. They are not supposed to even grow here. But the jays and the squirrels—in their world, some of the peanuts you eat; some you bury.

The bury peanuts. Are now busting out all over. They are boldly, bravely, sprouting, in every nook and cranny, here on the grounds of the Manor. More, I find, every day. And I am bringing them along. I did not plant them. But I am, now, a peanut farmer.


When I Worked

July 2014
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