There is a core life skill
That people who have had a few lifetimes,
And perhaps remember some of them,
It’s a whiteteethgleaming
You can’t just come here from somewhere else and know it
We made it here
Maybe it’s what we come here to learn...
You have to die screaming on a bloody battlefield
Twist in a ships spars as you are dragged to the depths
Perhaps get really jealous and kill yourself, or someone else.
Generally cause some mayhem, one lifetime or another
And you learn something about yourself and others
You learn that at a certain breathless point
It doesn’t matter anymore
You can just let go
And you don’t have to give a fuck
You grin and bite and scream and you tip over
Into lashing hair and burning eyes
And a whole-body joy at life and living in all its
Heartfull heartfelt heartless glory
You fly through the air, off a powder-covered rock
Over the handlebars of a dirtbike onto the gravel
Spinning with a surfboard, churning under a frothwave
Backwards on a slender rope into 200 feet of swooping air
And as you fall you scream with joy
You let go, because holding on is pointless and you
Let it take you, this spinning beauty that is the unknown
It’s hard to describe how much joy
You can feel
When you are tipping over
Into don’t give a fuck
You can use it every day
For crying children
And bad traffic
And anything that’s pointless
You can just let go
Tipping over into a fierce joy
Because it’s silly, and everything can be healed and everything can be fixed
On the Dastardly Nature of Human Mating Practices
Humans are peerlessly ridiculous creatures when it comes to matters of the heart.
Oh, don’t get me wrong; other animals have rather silly mating rituals as well. If you’ve ever seen a bird of paradise hopping up and down displaying extravagantly radiant plumage and flipping himself backwards in an attempt to impress his picky courtesan, (only to be quite literally crestfallen upon her disapproval) you might understandably get the impression that human love is somehow sensible, demure, or rational by comparison...
It is not.
The clues are in the language: We don’t ever decide to love. We fall, we are swept, we are struck.
Einstein once said “When you trip over love it is easy to get up, but when you fall in love it is impossible to stand again.”
So, even at the highest levels of cognizance humans can muster, there still appears to be very little choice involved in a physioligical reaction to attraction. I mean just look at us; we’re a bunch of hopeless, drooling, swooning lunatics. Anything is liable to set us off.
And having a passing aquaintence with the biological fact that these high flung feelings of enamoration are due mostly to procreation instincts won’t stop your heart fluttering or your stomach flipping or your cheeks blushing or your loins aching for whoever happens to strike your perilous fancy.
Oh yes, you’ll fall. It’s only a matter of time.
And to many of the most drooly, swoony, rabidly romantic members of the human race (myself included) nothing is so worth the tumble. For it is through this embarrassing display of honest emotion that you develop an attachment to people; start caring about them, as more than pleasantly amusing fellow dilly-dalliers.
Then finally, after many years of primarily-senseless floundering in the shallows of adoration you’ll settle down and start a family. At which point, if you’re lucky, you get to dive to the bottom and discover what love actually is:
A gigantically mesmerizing, frightfully fretful, deliciously demanding, stinkingly ecstatic, tumultuously tearful, hulkingly hellish, simperingly stupifying, bountifully beautiful great big bloody brilliant mess.
Or, to put it in less painfully cacographic terms:
Love is what makes life worth living.
The Death of Poetry: and the rise of the Instapoets
THIS POST WILL UPSET A LOT OF YOU. I expect nothing but your most vituperative dissent in the comment sections. Enjoy.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who takes even a perfunctory glance that their first notice in the artistic discipline, before any else coming from the wide total of its offerings, will be of Poetry, the once solemn figurina of romantic virtue, now molted of her flowers and collapsed, clenching her pale soul between tired gritty teeth. This is not an attention inviting any real doubt; instead, a conclusion which I trust my peers, studied and brimming with the keen intuition of their professed craft, have observed themselves. Indeed, She is a subject over which the sepulcher-lid has slid long before any of us here can be said to have been born—an affair whose example recounted (by Orwell) imparts the same uncontroversy as when it was originally written:
‘There can be no doubt that in our civilization poetry is by far the most discredited of the arts, the only art, indeed, in which the average man refuses to discern any value’
Surely, poetry has come far to fall since the Muses inspired the first blind-man’s tongue to sing splendid verse, ushering his music, from there, along its way on careful course to those heights of the English-speaking Tutored countryside. Reading poetry today, in its pitiful decrepitude, picked and plundered to an unrecognizable incompleteness, one sees a disgraceful mimicry that does not yet approach even parody in its utter lack. She is a fragile heritage now preyed on in imitation by casual passers-by and the ungracious laity so wholly ignorant of any poetic sense; their paltry imitations only good for the recognition that to modern man all art is low art, no more to him than what at bottom is his panem et circenses, unaware and indifferent of Her succumbing to the full drop of dust-bitten disrepute.
If civilization discredits poetry, it is right to do so, for it has waned to a meaningless mockery of the name, bearing none of the likeness to a history so proud and statuesque—and I do not mean a remote history either. But if I were to take this line, I recognize that I would be getting on the wrong side of the problem: civilization does not discredit poetry because the art—as a form and method of composition—is unworthy; rather, poetry has become unworthy because civilization has forgotten how to discern any value from it, and by those means, hold it to the account of its artistic richness.
I am referring to the populist Instapoetry movement that passes as art in a society which cannot be said to have even a cursory familiarity with verse, let alone have been taught its significance in the English classroom. The written is unlike any other art, the more because most uncivilized people do happen to stumble into a gallery then and again or stop to photograph some “beautiful building” on vacation. This is the distinct disadvantage of literature: it cannot be passively observed, and none of its value is accessible on the face of it, as is so with the visual works—it must be read, and painfully at that, to get at what is therein ‘embalmed and treasured up’ (Milton, for the curious). How convenient then that Instapoetry comes in a prewritten masturbational package, neatened of any deeper intelligence and openly glutting the illiterate tastes, made digestible by an absurd reductionism from literary to depictive. By this I do not just mean the ridiculous visual accompaniments underneath every post and printed page—a recriminating fact in itself, for which picture can be more forcefully drawn or excised in evocative shape than the one composed in poesy?!—but I am also inciting the very method of the forgery, which takes reading to the closest shores of seeing, whereby one has less so to read and study the words than he has to simply look and see them—and this last part can be done with a thumb in your mouth for additional comfort.
Punctuation without any conscious sense, scarcely used effectively, if ever properly; too often invoked against itself to abortive or gaudy hyperbolic ends. A dissolution of the capital letter for the sake of it, because it is novel and naughty: this is not a reinvention of the rules for a definite poetic purpose that uplifts and elevates the technique, unassimilable from the nature of the lines themselves—rather, it is titillation and amateurish posturing. Meter? Never counted or considered, unless it be that one in the remembrance of a popular nursery rhyme—maybe the only proper pasteurization left for our diet of Milk and Honey. Metrical feet trampled about the page unawares, for no discernable reason, strewn together in incognisance;
sometimes at the beginning, other times at the end,
or perhaps starting new lines arbitrarily. In the unmeaning amusement of being rid of any endowed structure, (remember that ‘modern’ in today’s terms is a blank refusal of any formal institution whatsoever) do the Instapoets unwittingly forge the trammels to their own poetic freedom. Not to mention the pathological addiction to the swear word (Fuck, shit, crap etc.) as the favorite of all their flash; more so (and this is impressive) than their repetitive vomiting of depressive sexual encounters and self-motivational gall. Swearing to provoke interest or depth, which compacts a majority of the cases, is a cheap recommendation for actual poetic accent, forgoing hard-won sophistication for the lowest pandering to an audience who, if they are so impressed, is not worth the loss in integrity to relate to. These are the primary characteristics, according to my own abilities to see into the matter, that give the essential quality to Instapoetry, an anti-poetic force of the kind severe in its unconsciousness and monomanic in the aesthetic reproduction of the cultural masses.
“Art is subjective! There is no way to measure good from bad.” I hate to have to say that whoever avows this short-sightedness immediately betrays there having no acquired sense of what art actually consists of. The more one is steeped in the voluminous manuscripts of the classical oeuvre, to take from it according to his particular wont, yet absorbed by the effort in translating its consummate lesson, the more he cultivates a sensibility about art itself, attaining quickly the sensitivity to a high and low manner, to a great and poor style. And if by a lengthy effort to that end, does he come into his long-awaited expertise, calling on for confidence in his chosen artistic field the many labours and hours of investigation that compelled him, for his prize and due reward he will have the distinct pleasure of walking into any bookstore in America to see before him under Arts and Letters a miserable corner of Shakespeare (the only sole survivor) crowded out by the protruding belly of those shelves, in endless supply, of a “poetry” no better than the vining paroxysms of a pubescent diary.
What does this all have to do with the English classroom? The English classroom is perhaps the last bastion against the increasingly absorbing program of ‘democratic education’ whose focus is both industrialization and specialization, aspects particularly designed to cull the scientific intellect. Instapoetry is but a taste of what will happen to the arts if we continue in this way, where there is increasingly no societal value left for things other than the technologic. In many ways, the English classroom is lashed into submission by this mechanisation of culture, but too does it enable it by failing a proud protectionism over its singular monopoly of training and teaching the mind to think: no other subject, especially at the highschool level, can make this claim for itself. It should not be embarrassed of its esoteric achievements, and the seeming irrelevance of which it is accused of from a world whose majority will always be ignorant of its utmost importance. The living tradition begins in the English classroom, but it is a fragile teaching that requires an even stricter discipline in a time when any thought worth holding must be shown to be able to be turned to some economic account.
On this platform I’ve heard the criticisms of the modernised mind: picking through the lines; analyzing every word; scrutinizing the meaning of a passage and dissecting it for tone and timbre—that these activities in some degree tire out the study of English. But these are the happiest instruments of literature and critical analysis, the ones which transform a poem to the immortal embers deposited deep at the bottom of the soul; these are the very tools of one’s enlightenment, whose applications are endless and need have no sense of shame about themselves. There is a limitless joy in wrapping both hands around a poem and forming such an intimacy with each and ever word, to touch its essential texture and fabric—for what you are actually feeling is in fact the very allusive substance of life.
This is not a comment on English teachers, to be sure, nor any specific English classrooms across the millions in this country. If anything, it is an invocation to the teachers and classrooms that know the fundamental value of their subject, and who are right in their fear of its dying in our culture so hideously against its own illumination, to cloister the dim flame of life in their delicate custody, and with their gentle care, alight the wick in the minds of precious youth, so that they may carry it forward into the darkness of all their working days.
Dreaming of moonbeam nights
Light hypnotic breezes
Trees gently swaying
Wind chimes playing
Scents of lilac in the air
Dreaming of moonbeam nights
Walks along the beach
Sounds of waves hitting the shore
Gulls flying by
Dreaming of moonbeam nights
Dinner by candlelight
Romantic music playing
Dreaming of moonbeam nights
Dreaming of moonbeam nights
Dreaming of moonbeam nights
Summer Evening Blues
Smooth jazz, iced decaf
warm, humid, windless hour before dusk
I am perched beneath a sheltering canopy
and a thousand grey clouds ready to burst
Ash trays on empty tables
vacant chairs for no company
A tall girl with an orange barrette
her short, white, cotton dress ruffling out
just above the top of her pale, thin thighs
walks silently through double doors
Nothing else moves but prairie grass
planted for atmosphere
two feet from yellow-covered power lines
and an endless parade of cars driven by the faceless
For one moment I don’t care
I am a sullen child craving succor from external saviors
I ache for autumn
The Curious Case of Zigmund Adamski
Zigmund Adamski was a Yorkshire miner who went missing on or around June 6, 1980. Five days later his body was discovered atop a ten-foot pile of coal, tidily lain there, as if someone or something had lowered him down from the sky. His clothing looked as if someone had undressed and redressed him, but stranger still, it appeared as if whoever redressed him had no idea how human clothing worked. He was allegedly found in a three-piece suit, the buttons of his jacket “improperly” fastened (according to The Daily Star UK), and his shirt was off. His watch and wallet were gone. On top of that, his shoes were tied strangely, his hair had been cut short and unusually, and he appeared to have shaved the day before his death.
Trevor Parker, the man who discovered Adamski’s body, claimed he hadn’t seen Adamski enter the coal yard that day, and was certain the body hadn’t been there a few hours prior.
Constable Allen Godfrey observed that Adamski “was on top of the coal pile on his back with not a bit of coal on him. His eyes were wide open and he had burn marks”.
Those aforementioned marks were said to resemble acid burns. Coroner James Turnbull described the situation as “the biggest mystery of his career”. The marks appeared to have an ointment-like substance applied to or around them. Popular Youtuber Wendigoon, in his True Crime iceberg video, described this substance as a “green goo”. The substance couldn’t be identified by forensic scientists. Which is...unnerving.
He was last seen leaving his home in Tingley (near Wakefield), West Yorkshire, for a grocery run. He stopped to talk with a neighbor, left, and was later found some twenty miles away at the coal yard.
The exact cause of death was indeterminate. It was shown, however, that Adamski had likely died a few hours before the discovery of his body.
Locals were quick to form a hypothesis. Many believed Adamski’s death to be the result of alien abduction. It stands to mention there have been many allegations of UFO sightings around the area Adamski’s body was left.
In fact, less than six months after the Adamski incident, Constable Godfrey alleged his own encounter with a UFO, less than a mile from the place Adamski had been found. When responding to a herd of cows going “astray” (according to The Daily Star UK), he experienced a “‘missing time’ incident”. Strange lights were reported in the sky around that time, by other officers, no less. Godfrey reluctantly informed his superiors, after much deliberation. He was forced into retirement soon after.
He sketched the UFO, and later underwent hypnosis, telling of being taken aboard the UFO and being given physical examinations by two inhuman creatures. The story made worldwide headlines, but despite this, Godfrey later recanted. He chalked the ‘physical examination’ thing up to likely being a dream, adding “I was never abducted by aliens”. He also reportedly said “I wish I had never seen the UFO, particularly because of the effects on my children. It’s not easy having a policeman as a father, but when he’s a policeman who saw a UFO it’s even worse.”
When questioned on his opinion of Adamski being abducted by aliens, he answered “I am open-minded. I can’t rule it out.”
The Adamski case has drawn parallels to the Travis Walton case, in which an American forestry worker was allegedly abducted by aliens near Snowflake, Arizona, being gone for five days and six hours, before reappearing on the side of a road near Heber. (A polygraph later said this guy was lying, though, so take that as you will.)
So, what are y’all’s thoughts on this? It’s a pretty interesting case. This and the “Guest in Room 1046” case stood out to me (on Wendigoon’s video), so I decided to press further into them and see what I could find. With Halloween in sight, I figured I’d bring the spooky a bit early.
Crando & Tamalia: The Time Date!
It was another quiet day in the small town of Citiburbia. Well, for most of the inhabitants of the suburbs in town anyway. Young Crando was heading to his best friend Tamalia’s house. Tamalia was beautiful and highly intelligent, always inventing amazing things. The other day she created a rubber band that could fuse back together once broken. Crando had a secret crush on Tamalia, but was too shy to admit it to her.
“If only she could invent something to help me overcome my fears.” Crando thought.
Crando reached Tamalia’s house and knocked on the door. Tamalia’s mom answered the door and smiled at Crando, inviting him in. Crando went to Tamalia’s room and found her sitting at her desk, reading a magazine.
“Hi Crando, thanks for getting here so quickly. I really needed to see you!”
“You did?” Crando asked, his heart fluttering in his stomach.
“Yes, I need your help with my creation.” Tamalia said excitedly. “And I want you to join me on the journey.”
“Creation? Journey? What have you invented this time?”
“I’ll show you now.” Tamalia beamed, dropping her open magazine onto the floor. The magazine was open on a page with an advertisement for a science camp.
“Secret lab, take us there!” Tamalia exclaimed.
Tamalia and Crando were pulled into the magazine, and within a moment they found themselves in a huge laboratory. Tamalia gestured for Crando to follow her, leading him to a giant bowl full of Rice Krispies.
“That’s a huge bowl of cereal!” Crando said in amazement, thinking about how there was enough in it to feed their whole town. “All the snap, crackling and popping would be pretty incredible with this one!”
“It would, but this isn’t for eating or sound effects.” Tamalia laughed, giving Crando a playful shove. “This is my newest work, a time machine!”
“A cereal time machine?” Crando asked, amazed and shocked at the same time.
“Yeah!” Tamalia said proudly. “Originally I thought about using a car or a phone booth, but there were already patents on them. So cereal it was. Climb in and take a journey into the past with me.”
“I would go anywhere with you my lov... erm, my buddy!” Crando said as his face turned red. “Yeah, sounds like fun!”
Once Crando and Tamalia were sitting in the giant bowl of cereal, Tamalia pushed a button that was buried under some of the Rice Krispies. Two faucets rose above them, and out of the faucets poured milk.
“Shouldn’t we have worn swimsuits for this?” Crando asked, secretly wishing to see Tamalia wear her bikini again.
“Oh, don’t worry about it buddy, this milk won’t soak us!” Tamalia reassured him.
“Oh, that’s cool.” Crando said, trying to hide his disappointment.
“This milk is like a fuel for my machine, which will allow it to send us back in time! Hey Crando, if you can guess where we’re going, I will go on a date with you wherever you choose!”
“Really?” Crando exclaimed, turning red again. He should have known that the smartest person he ever met would catch on that he was in love with her.
“Absolutely!” Tamalia replied, winking at Crando. “You have three guesses. And go!”
“Are we going to meet Jesus, while he was here on Earth?” Crando asked.
“On the way back, but we’re going somewhere, or somewhen else first. Two more guesses!”
“Are we going to see dinosaurs?”
“Nope, you know I disagree with the science from those theme park dino movies. One more try buddy!”
“Go see sliced bread get invented for the first time?”
“Nope, sorry! Ready to find out?”
“Yeah....” Crando said dejectedly. He was really hoping to guess correctly and score a date with Tamalia.
“We are going back to August 11, 1919. Back on that date, the president of the German Reichstag, Friedrich Ebert, signed a constitution that began the Weimar Republic. Besides being a point in time I have wanted to visit since hearing bedtime stories about it since I was a little girl, I am also looking to get some real life experience with it. There is a Prose writing challenge asking for details on where we were when it happened, what we were wearing, and what the event meant to us while it unfolded. The only way to get those details is to visit that event in the past, so that is what we are doing!”
“Well, if you’re going to be there, then there’s no republic formation I would rather oversee!” Crando said boldly, no longer blushing. “I love you Tamalia, and I will go anywhere, or anytime, with you!”
“I love you too Crando, and that’s why I asked you to join me.” Tamalia said passionately, resting her head on Crando’s shoulder. “You didn’t guess the event correctly, but the condition was for going on a date that you picked. So I will pick the date. Let’s go back in time, together!”
Crando smiled widely as the cereal bowl floated into the timestream. He couldn’t wait to watch history unfold with his favorite person of all time.
Words Bleed Through Napkins
Fresh out of college, jobless, and five months into living with my parents again, I questioned if my photography degree would get me off their couch. A newspaper ad, of all things, is what led me to the next open door. It advertised a product photographer position at a men’s clothing company twenty minutes up the road in a small town. It seemed out of my league, but I applied anyway. Art school touched briefly on commercial photography and focused more on the starving artist’s life path. I found myself equipped in the middle, on the more confusing ground between the two.
With naive and unsteady confidence, I gave the interview my all. And I got it.
I became the new in-house photographer for a men’s clothing company.
I had an oversized desk in an empty studio that my employer entrusted me to fill. Tasked with making a list of everything I’d need to get the studio up and running, they assured me that I would be in touch with the right people to help me do so. The company purchased a twenty-five thousand dollar camera and told me to use it well. My twenty-something brain could not even comprehend that amount of money. Next, they introduced me to the young woman, the studio intern, a photography student at a nearby college. She would fulfill the Digi-tech duties and help in whatever way she could. What the hell would I teach her?! We were peers. I didn’t know it at the time, but she would become a life-long friend and a gift to my life in many ways.
It seemed I had “arrived” at adulthood, yet I didn’t feel so adult.
Behind the company’s namesake stood an endearing CEO. I liked to say he took flying lessons - literally and figuratively. He showed up for work with a goofy grin and an equally goofy golden retriever in tow. At the Holiday party, he danced with a chair, all while rapping homemade rhymes about the company’s performance and people. A page straight from Michael Scott’s playbook, and I loved every minute of it.
When the CEO went through a divorce, he tearfully announced the news at a companywide quarterly meeting and gave an awkward yet sweet speech about family. He eventually became well enough to date again and asked for my help setting up his dating profile on JDate, a dating site for Jewish singles. He asked me to keep that last part between us. Sometimes, if he saw me in the hallway, he would run out of a meeting to tell me his progress on the site. I adored him and his humanness that he let spill so freely. He owned a successful company, yet he made me feel like an equal.
My three years with that company made me realize one of the biggest secrets of adulthood - that no one has it figured out, and life is complicated, especially as a grown-up. Big salaries and fancy titles don’t obliterate the clicks and pettiness; they don’t inspire the slackers or alleviate the ass kissers; they don’t tame the cheaters; they don’t disarm the bullies. I kind of thought it would be different, but I started to see that adulthood could be even messier than high school.
I digress; let’s get back to the words bleeding through the napkin part.
Less than a month into this grown-up job of mine, I found myself in New York City, studying with a studio of freelancers that had been shooting this company’s products for years. I felt alive, like a big girl, navigating the city alone. I became an observant student for three days, soaking up as much as possible from these big leaguers. I enjoyed the fancy catered lunches, the lessons on styling, and the veteran photographer’s lighting tips.
Everything I witnessed seemed enchanted - painted in gritty elegance.
Fall of 2007, I didn’t have a Facebook account yet, Instagram didn’t exist, and the iPhone debuted months before. I had a flip phone that functioned in the simplest of ways; it required three minutes of my time to text a friend, and it never tried to sell me anything. Life seemed a little simpler; back when I still had stashes of MapQuest directions stuffed into the nooks and crannies of my car, when I didn’t capture a photo of every shiny thing that thrilled me. Back when I took in my surroundings. Back when I interacted with strangers often.
After my first day at the NYC studio, I drove to the neighborhood where I stayed with a friend. Needing to kill some time before he got off work, I walked around the block and stopped at a small restaurant, claiming a barstool near the windows. The bustling sidewalk behind me contrasted the sleepy vibe of the dank and narrow establishment. I noticed my closest bar neighbor, a man of few spoken words. So few, he talked to the bartender via napkin. He grabbed one of the many bar napkins within reach and wrote messages to her. Intrigued and thrilled by this peculiar communication vehicle, I sat and waited, periodically gazed at my not-smart phone, and did my best not to stare at him.
All the while, hoping one of those napkins made their way to me.
Hunched over the bar, he glanced about. After a pause, he’d turn back to the napkin and continue to compose a message thoughtfully. When complete, he’d slide the napkin-gram down or up the bar, carefully delivering his messages while bypassing puddles from clumsy drinkers.
A couple of sips into my second beer, the first napkin arrived.
In my mind, I called him Napkin Man. He seemed to have walked right off a page in a book. Was he a method actor preparing for a role? His slightly bizarre movements and way of communicating fascinated me. I could almost see the pixy dust swirling around him.
We conversed via napkin for a while; each exchange required more napkins than the last. Napkin Man asked poetic and slightly defensive questions, ones that beckoned me to look past the status quo and to see the absurdity in it all. I didn’t always know how to answer him. His messages were saturated and heady; they cut through the fluff with shade. Even so, I couldn’t help but find joy in our conversation.
I could feel the evening creeping in and my time to move on near. I closed out my tab and put a halt to our napkin convo. I asked Napkin Man one last question, “can I bum a cigarette?” He hopped off his barstool and gestured for me to follow. I stuffed all the napkins in my purse as I made my way to the door.
On the stoop, my hunch affirmed, he talked. His soft mumbles kept my ears bent to hear the fragmented wisdom he spewed. He paced from the curb to the stoop while we smoked our cigarettes together. I watched him dance between his fellow New Yorkers as they passed. I don’t remember much of what we shared when our conversation turned from napkin to audio. I do remember the magic in his peculiarity and the rawness of his spirit.
A few drags left on my cigarette, and my phone rang. I said goodbye to Napkin Man and left him weaving his hypnotic dance amidst the busy walkers. He left me with a purse full of napkins and an excellent story that would sit with me for the rest of my days.
I later got rid of most of the napkins except for one. I glued it to a notebook and carefully preserved it. Nowadays, the sentiment on that particular napkin has more weight - much more than it had back then. I’m often left wondering what I did before my smartphone helped me do everything I could ever imagine.
And every day, I dance between letting go and reigning myself in on the busy sidewalk of adulthood.
© Katie Pendergast 2021
#NewYorkCity #NapkinMan #Job #Work #Adulthood #MagicHuman #OnBeing #Adulting #Blog #KatiesaurusBlog #InRealLife
As I waded through my own meandering accumulation of knowings (and the words to describe them) playing with possibilities on where to start, I found myself hyper aware of the power of the ever existing and actual, is.
“Beingness” is close to “isness” but I recognized there are ample who’d argue with me over the believability of rock beingness, yet those same people wouldn’t/couldn’t argue any given rock’s isness, for it is a rock, is it not?
Even in my asking there’s that present tense actuality of is.
Is it, or is it not? Is the rock, or is the rock not?
“Is, or is not the rock what?” I inquire back to myself, and yet by then it’s already dawned on me that the answer to that “what” question will be another is.
Tis the same way my typing is on a keyboard-- and in that, there is the isness of my typing (I am typing, it is happening,... and this may get maddening) isness of my fingers (each fingers is a finger,) isness of the keyboard, even the isness of the thoughts as I write them; gems of genius from brain to fingertips on the (isnesses that are) buttons we commonly call keys, and as I please, the isness of the time and space I’m doing it in.
I begin again, the ponderous path making of my contemplating. Stating the rock is a rock like the other rocks made of the same minerals, is true, yet incomplete from the seat of that rock, for it is the only rock that is that rock, in its current placement on the planet, in this time of me (the right now of my existing.)
When I stop resisting that isness includes rockness in the makeup (minerals) of being a rock, and also the isness of the time and space that rockness occupies, I dogmatize (settle my opinion that) “isness” is the distinction of specific existence.
Which means to me, the isness of the rock today isn’t the same as it was a million years ago. Even though our technology may be able to tell us that the rock existed a million years in the past, alas, what that technology is really telling us, is that the rock is a million years of isnesses; existences, the oldest of which may be unrecognizable if pictured next to the youngest.
Among us, the isness of the planet (Earth) similarly includes the isness of that rock I reference in my pondering. And like the rock, the isness of Earth today isn’t the same as the isness of when it first became what we call a planet.
So, I ran it in my mind again and came to realize that isness can be called the expression of existence.
The expression of existence is.
Such a whiz of wonder weighted and baited me into the next onset.
Concepts and ideas are existing things, and as things of what they are, they have and are the isness of those things in sum. From the thinking blip of their (concept and idea) existence, to the vocalized, and or printed sharing of them; each version is its own isness of the thing. Isn’t it?
Just like that, I feel and see (in my mind) all the is in all the isnesses from the subatomic particles (neutrons, protons, and electrons; pieces that harmonize together as an atomic-element; the globally culturally accepted scientific reference to the “smallest” physical building blocks of everything in our reality,) individually and in totality (complexly making me,) to the thoughts of all whom are capable of thinking; each thought its own is.
It’s almost just like staring at the grains of sand on a beach, down the coastline where the sand-made shores keep going, beyond knowing… each granule of sand that is land in air and sea, is the isness that it be.
Every particle of smoke churning from the burning end of a dried sage leaf, an isness all its own. I feel it known, the isness of the first birthed particle of smoke nearest the cherry blaze of the embered sage (leaf,) experiences its own evolution of isnesses in the rise of its hot spawning, every new height, position, and temperature a new isness; a new version of the same smoke particle, in a new time and space in its thermodynamic (flowing) race skyward.
In that envisioning, I think, isness is an example of infinity (endlessness,) for as long as there is existence there will be a continuation or evolution of the is that exists into new isnesses, new existences; like the grain of sand washed onto the shore of land to live a new life than it had in the sea.
Too, the bumble bee explorer isness that becomes new knowing versions of itself with every discovery of new territory.
In this way, I find isness is a path to understanding the natural everlastingness and truth of the stream of infinity; though not the only one...
* excerpt from my work-in-progress pocket book, "WISE I'S HAVE IT"
Everything was black. Which in a way is funny because that is my favorite color. The sea was black as if all the oil thrown into the sea had finally swallowed it up. The sun bathed the earth in black and yet everything was visible and strange. Not like the night that brushed the dusk with dark colors, but as if the whole world was dead and yet it kept going.
There was also the food. Black, as if someone had let it burn. I chewed each piece of hamburger reminding myself how fashionable it had once been. Even the lettuce, everything was black. And yet, so tasty. I felt every taste even though everything looked the same.
It was all so crazy and strange but I was still curious, as if I needed to test how far it would go. Taking a dark knife, I lifted it over my skin of the same color and made a cut, deep and painful. Laughing above my teeth that may or may not been rotten, I laughed about the dark liquid that oozed out. It was so real, so beautiful and thick. I ran a finger over it and put the liquid in my mouth, still tasting metallic.
It felt like a perfect, almost unreal world. Maybe it was me waiting for the end of the world, maybe it was my conscience fading away. When a cloud of black smoke dissolved into gray, the smell of cigarettes escaped through the window. All the colors came back and yet nothing looked so beautiful. Not even the golden sun. So raising the cigarette to my mouth, I drew in the air until everything went black again.