you reach out a hand to pull sky down
the stars, yes the heavens themselves
are but bread to you, so break it,
break it all upon the ground, shake this
broken universe until it begs
for release
from the ungodly bass
of your voice; your ego polishes its own
brass to trumpet a truth that none can
fail to recognise, once they are
dead and behind you (the wild wonderings
of a world which did not want
to be owned flash brilliantly, widely
and are gone) for you desired

c. Kate Gough  11/5/19


Marx & Foucault Meditation

I was going to write a piece I could be proud of this week. Something perhaps with a twinge of the intellectual child hiding out in my supremely poetic(transliteration: sappy)soul… I was going to write something that intersected with the reality found in thinking, rational minds, something that touched on the points of the incredible writers and theorists we’ve read this week. But then something happened to me… and I am as lost to that world as an autumn leaf, separated from its tree. I wasn’t intending to cough up another lung this week (After all, how many more do I have to give?). It looks as though life has conspired against me yet again, however, because all that will come out of me right now is what keeps running through my head like a Stock ticker, driving me mad with Shame and Anger and Frustration — what is wrong with me? — what is wrong with me? — what is wrong with me? — what is wrong with me? — what is wrong with me? — what is wrong with me? —

Tonight I went to the emergency room. I spent all afternoon and evening trying to contact my doctors and my parents — actually all week trying to contact my doctors, who are on vacation ’til Monday, I just found out. Finally I got through to my mother and she got through to one of my doctors who wanted me to go get some tests run immediately and…

Let me begin at the beginning.

Among other health concerns, which I have been dealing with all my life and am quite used to, I came to the O.E. with a new one this semester. I have a hole in my heart, and my doctors are concerned that blood clots could be travelling through my bloodstream, from one side of my heart, through the hole, into the other, and out into my major organs. IF a clot enters my brain in this way I could have a stroke. If any number of other organs or muscles are blocked or affected by a clot somehow then other kinds of damage could occur — perhaps permanent damage. To avoid clotting, they put me on blood thinners before I came to school this semester. I’ve been bruising myself pretty badly since I got here though, and it’s really pretty humiliating. I’ve bruised my hands by putting them in my pockets. On top of all my other problems, it felt like adding insult to injury. But then when I mentioned it to my family they were worried that there might be internal bleeding going on as well as the obviously visible hematomas. I went through a lot of drama trying to reach doctors and getting more and more tired and frustrated. _____ took me to Ashland tonight, and my visit in the emergency room went splendidly by all accounts one could call rational. But I am not rational. I look real good on paper; they found no evidence of internal bleeding and have told me to stop taking one of the blood thinners but stay on the other one. But I want something to be wrong; I want something I can put my finger on, for once. I’m tired of being so sick and having people tell me I’m blowing things out of proportion. So tired I could scream, but there’s not much use in that.

The other news I got tonight was not so happy. In fact, it made me raving mad and miserable, about ready to throw things or punch things, even though my hands would have been black for weeks as a result. I am supposed to go home. My doctor wants me to come home and get worked on at Stanford Medical Center for a while, about ten days of testing and examination.

Examination. What an ugly word. Especially after reading Foucault. After all the examinations I’ve been through and all the categories I’ve been placed into and all the names and titles I’ve refused to bear, wishing to remain who I know myself to be deep inside my soul, why is it that I am so thoroughly, intractably, despairingly needful of a Name for my Faithless Body? Why must I dehumanize my body simply because it almost never works to my advantage? Why do I find myself, on nights like tonight, ready to strangle the slender thread of Hope that has borne me through more of hell and high water than I will ever know how to describe?Why must I bear such frightening red-eyed anger for this body in my heart of hearts because it won’t allow me to live like anyone else I’ve ever known?

This clumsy, weighty, pain-stricken body is ugly to me on nights like these, freighted with an illness I don’t understand and will probably never overcome. Would a Name truly comfort me? OR would it be only an excuse to sigh and look back on my many years of struggle with a knowing shake of the head? An excuse. To look back and say, “What a waste.”

How does one escape the emotions of toil and anger and frustration, when any expression of it seems to make it worse? I need to stop focusing on myself for now. I’ll close here.

c. Mary Kathryn Gough, Fall 2005

theMechanics.Of:ceratlone —

(Or Tolerance, in the common tongue)

No one can be commended any longer for instilling values in others – least of all the young and impressionable. We used to think it was right to guide others or to advise them in times of confusion or growth, but we now realize that this was intolerant. No one can really speak to another’s uniqueness. Both individually and culturally we must let everyone decide what matters to them on their own, or they will not genuinely learn to be themselves. Interference, even to save lives or heal (as we once thought “good”), is actually stealing the decisions and experiences that others have a right to make and have. Therefore all attempts at this must stop. We’re too enlightened to limit each other that way.

Teaching our beliefs is in actuality the ultimate tyranny, because freedom requires that there be no willful outer influence from elders. Curbing freedom, especially in delicate years, is never an option. Everyone has a right to develop unhindered, choosing their highest good and pursuing their own desires without input from external, pre-developed systems. We will sanction anything to preserve the freedom of each single human being to do and be what they like. We will discourage speaking out in public about religion, faith, right, or wrong. We will curtail police action and authority in order to respect every person’s right in this respect. We will censor all schoolbooks and materials to prove our dedication in this concern, and to preserve each child’s original personhood, unmolested by non-neutral pressures and cultural assumptions. We will teach everyone that the validity of anyone’s traditional values, opinions, and desires (even ones we’ve never met) is merely personal (and therefore intrinsically void) in order to secure an open, equal footing for all knowledge. We will deaden the meeting of every passion that leads to friction, and even marriage and international relations will have the proper bumpers in place to still their heretofore inevitable conflict.

Agony must be stilled, conflict nullified, and peace made. No one may ‘win’ public ground, as this will encourage confrontation. The devaluation of everything in the public sphere is the answer here. In the case of difference and confrontation, we will no longer allow there to be stands made for the things thought to be ‘right’. A stand-off is the perpetual goal on all sides. In fact, if two differing parties can no longer see one another, our job is done; the pressure never appears, and peace is achieved. Each can go their way without molestation.

The more we instill these things into our children, the less identity- and belief-caused pain will exist in the world; people oughtn’t to experience such abominable friction. A successful world will have no wars because everyone on the planet will know that they have no right to demand anything of another and that every idea and belief ought to be left to flourish. The quelling of violence will not be necessary, simply because the highest ideal of all will be the undiscoverable and inconsequential nature of one’s neighbor, left untrammelled and pure. Our world and our neighbor’s are equally valid in every respect.

We will stop relating.
We will stop sharing.
We will stop loving.
We will live for our own self, each.
We will stop learning from other intelligences.
We will not be reasoned with.
We will grow stale and rigid.
We will stop creating.
We will stop expressing.
We will stop proliferating.
We will stop believing.
We will stop caring.
We will die.


I don’t know where necessity will come into play. Somewhere along about where one person believes that all children should be killed, maybe. . . Or before that? When having children and ‘caring’ for them becomes simply a matter of large-scale production and economics because lonely love has been imprisoned and suppressed? Perhaps when there is no intervention while someone in a deep and legitimate depression decides that blowing up the earth is the only way out of their pain? Is one person’s world really always so equally valid as to be unchallengable?

I hate to be cliché, but look at Hitler, at conflict resolution patterns, arguments between husband and wife, feuds, and general communication between two separate parties on something new anywhere. We would be nowhere without confrontation, conflict, passion, and the guts to stick to our guns! Those are (scale aside) what provide the opportunity for an understanding to be reached (not the weapons, duh, the other things). Burying each side forever is simply authorizing mass madness on a scale we’ve only had glimpses of before. Passionlessness is not wisdom, though it can lack it. When a husband and/or wife stops trying to make themselves understood, the possibility of love is diminished for each. Collaboration may breed stupidity and pain, but it also provides opportunity for exponential newness, creativity and positive learning. We’ve pruned the tree back at the trunk in order to address agony, and while I agree that agony and conflict should be addressed, permanent public silence is not the answer. It’s social suicide. It is an negating influence. It is NOT TOLERANCE.

Perhaps everyone dies alone. I wouldn’t know as I’m still alive.

I’ll tell you one thing I do know though. The more this ‘devaluing’ principle, in each and every aspect, pervades our living, the less free we are.

Is steam more free as steam when the boundaries and conditions of its existence are withdrawn? No. It is no longer steam. The same goes for us, our boundaries and conditions.

We are communal, social creatures, and generations of similar foundations have an awful lot right about the humane gears of society. We cannot live more and more cut off from each other this way. This is not genuine. This is not human.

Perhaps everyone dies alone, but now… ?

Now everyone must live alone.

c. Mary Kathryn Gough, 03/02/12, wales 10.01 pm


my favorite time of year is Autumn — not for the leaves
{undulating flames} but for the Air: electric,
crackling with the negative charge of storms to come
until my lazy lungs open and my body hums.

I love it for the incomparable clarity of breath
~ [empty], and the tingle in my skin that births
Anticipation —

The air changes, and I feel it in my bones as
stiff leaves rustle and
hiss out of the trees.
The wind brushes my face, cleansingly
full of sparks.

Everything speaks danger and ending now,
while life Endures,

c. Mary Kathryn Gough
Autumn 2009, edit1: Nov3,2011 (work in progress)


a dusky-green hilltop at midnight,
on my back in prickly grass, gasping for
air, and wiping the sparkling sea out of my eyes
i feel the evergreens
sparsely gathered here by human hands
are buffeted by the same inexplicable
winds of indecipherable whisperings,
the grass shivers in silvery expectation. there
is a single star in the smoggy city sky.
i think we would all ascend above
if we could.

each stem, each leaf
– struggling–
for its next breath, to pull nutrients
from a parched and
poisoned earth
we must endure here
as we can–

take joy in each moment of green
each splash of cool
water each pixie-sparkle of Io-dust-starlight:
stretch out to touch the blessing of

c. Mary Kathryn Gough, 2002