Archive for September, 2008

The internal organs’ temperance movement

When it comes to alcohol I notice myself sadly slipping into a state of weaklinghood; these days I put up about as much resistance to it as Gerhard Schröder’s mouth does to anything emerging from an open zipper if there’s cash to be had. Last night, several hours after a couple bottles of Belgian Tripel ale and three or four glasses of pinot noir (it was a housewarming party, hence wine) I was laying on my bed with the sensation of some terrible straight-sided, sharp-cornered object crystallizing in my brain. I suppose drinking for me is probably going the same way as any other hobby that has become routine and tiresome, like marriage or Wiffle bat beatings. And if I don’t feel that way about drinking, my body is bypassing debate in the upper legislative chamber of my brain and revolting directly.

Maybe it has a point, since I’m starting to doubt my mind in general. A few years ago I started remembering my dreams much more vividly than before, if not always the complex prowlings of my mind within them at least the general atmosphere. I often find them disturbing, not generally for what transpires as much as, for example, the fact that the dominant impression is almost always of the light, an eerie subterranean glow that has never mixed with light of day, the light I imagine illuminating No Exit. But what right have I to feel more at home awake than in my dreams, when dreams are the mind’s own fire, while it is the waking world which is the outside Other? But so it is, and I feel that dreams mark the progress and continual failure of the mind to replicate the beauty of the outside world. I’m like an insecure immigrant, continually convinced of and embarrassed by the superiority of my surroundings to the homeland in my mind.

Fences green the neighbor’s grass

I don’t know whether there are more pictures of cats or porn on the Internet today, but take them together and the pussy shot is the most unstoppable force in the global flood. Myself, I don’t get the draw of porn. Some artistic representation creates a surrogate or even replacement world; porn creates a void through constant reminder of the missing reality. I find it about as satisfying as pictures of food. And not much prettier. They say that beauty is only skin-deep, and when you’re staring down a girl’s orifices, that’s a problem.

On the other hand, a person will labor months or years to bring forth a book, a set of dead words on paper, but to conceive a living person, and violate the metaphysical law imposed on God himself, that a creator is unable to create something equal or greater than himself, can be done in a moment, without thought or skill, between plugs on the soured nipple of a tequila bottle. So maybe all the manufactured echoes and depictions, as well as the laws, limitations and restrictions surrounding sex are necessary to give it a magnitude and scope in the field of human invention commensurate with its worth, a cathedral built to hold that tiny reliquary, those few sorry minutes at the heart of it all. For instance, I’m pretty sure my Puerto Rican friend in the department here was conceived during one of the brief treaties between rum and the Catholic Church. Not his creation itself but the obstacles in its way, as well as the means of sliding past them, are the true works of art and finesse.

A quick note

Lately I’ve been posting semi-regular links and things over at a little side project called Flotsam & Jetsam. If (and it’s a big if, given that I haven’t produced such a thing in over two years) I have anything substantial to post, I’ll probably still do it here, but otherwise that’s probably the best place to look if you’re intent on reading something written by me.

The savior of the easily satisfied

Journalists constantly complain that because of the racism of America Obama’s skin color may cost him up to 10% in the general election, but they neglect to mention that it probably earned him 20% in the Democratic primary as well as sparing him the trouble of actually having a platform, his past and outlook apparently being, like Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man, written in his skin. And while, if not touched by divine eloquence, he is at least capable of speaking fairly coherently, a skill not common, at least according to popular perception, in either the most famous public figures of his race or recent presidents, a lot of people are quite unduly, condescendingly, impressed by this, even if what he says generally reveals about as much as the misty veil of Utopia. For some clue as to what our future holds, then, maybe we should look to San Francisco, where the authorities are far too respectably economically liberal (in the European sense) to advocate anything so vulgar as the naked expropriation of private property–instead, by their mostly unconditional sanctioning of pandhandling, they just make it de facto illegal to prevent anyone on the streets from taking from the propertied what they like.

The true literary Darwinism

Just as a tree doesn’t only grow up from its roots, but the roots also extend outward far from its bulk, the roots of a person’s character probe out sniffingly to everyone they have ever known. But the annihilating substantiality of another life, so crushingly equal to their own, is far too much to digest, so for their social sustenance the other person’s existence has to be broken down into more basic nutrients. So the simple vibrating of cords in the throat, the contraction or a release of a muscle is what generally passes for knowing someone, and even that often proves too intoxicating. And thus any acquaintance that isn’t neglectful and indifferent, made up of things like pretending to listen while composing your own words in your head, is likely to be to some extent an attempt to disenchant yourself, to get out from beneath the spell that another person casts.

At the same time in any human relationship the two people become parents in which one impregnates the other with the phantom child, the image of themselves that the other bears and carries in their mind. These attenuated offspring multiply vastly and promiscuously in almost any life, and give birth to their own spawn, which at every remove become thinner and shallow, more and more a matter of word and rumor, and finally, and this only for the lucky at that, the final descendants will linger only as print, whose characters slightly resemble blackened twisted bones mummified in the preservative white desert of the page. And at this point they will finally fulfill Kafka’s necessarily premature statement that “I am literature.”