Levertov / Dust

A Gift

Just when you seem to yourself
nothing but a flimsy web
of questions, you are given
the questions of others to hold
in the emptiness of your hands,
songbird eggs that can still hatch
if you keep them warm,
butterflies opening and closing themselves
in your cupped palms, trusting you not to injure
their scintillant fur, their dust.
You are given the questions of others
as if they were answers
to all you ask. Yes, perhaps
the gift is your answer.

–Denise Levertov

The Ever-Processing Machine

I can’t find my incense. I don’t want to write. I desperately want nothing more than to write. For ever. So then, perhaps I’m just a stymied masochist at heart(less), doomed to miserable inaction for the rest of my days.

I do not dedicate myself as I should, as I need. . .

There’s a llama on my printer. A small one. A wedding gift, eight years and counting, staring me blackly in the eye. It knows. Trying to escape, my eye rests upon a small picture sat beneath my computer. It is my own babyface peering out with merrily blank baby eyes. The photo is overlaid with the thick shadow of a chain-link fence. This is me. Trapped by a shadow. Waiting for the world to do something. Trying to grasp the significance of the strange, cold eye that trains itself on me so often and aloofly clicks.


There’s so much crammed into this tiny office I could cry. I used to think I would write always and anywhere — give me a closet and a cardboard box, set me free with charcoal under a bridge and I would be unable to refrain from wordplay, perpetual swordplay with man and nature alike, taking the measure of everything by means of soul, squished then through a kind of linguistic strainer until all I had left was the juice, the essence, the concentrated taste of experience in this undeniably awkward universe.

Now that belief has shattered. It may have been true once, but I have lived into a future where I hide from myself — and everyone else — quite effectively. So here is a journal that is lacking all pretence, simply my words, simply me, all my flaws on my sleeve.


Can you see the chainlink fence?

I can. It’s all the mouldering critique in my soul. Surely if I put organic stuff in there it would become mulch instead of poison. Perhaps I am now more than part machine, and the organic materials cannot breathe. If I lived for aeons, my mouldering mulch would become the solid stuff of the planet, sandstone, limestone, volcanic rock jutting out of soft soil at awkward angles, baring its bones to escape unfathomable pressure. But I don’t want to be the solid stuff of earth, I want to grow. Become green in the sunlight, swing in gusts of wind, evaporate through expanding skin and rise to join the clouds, journeying towards a body of water and aching for the ocean deeps. Even the rocky shore submits to the tireless ministrations of moisture.


The cold, cyclopian eye is back. I think it wants to eat me. It’s everywhere, and I fear if I pay too much attention to it it might just absorb my essence. Like native people distrust photos, I distrust the all-seeing Eye with a maggoty, crawling kind of fear. I am sure it can erase my life, my futures, my Being in a moment’s time. How does one go about retrieving one’s essence from the maw of the beast? Can it ever regain its form? Its motivation? Its mind? I am not sure, but I will fight.


Bread Crumbs

Bread Crumbs, by Kate Gough

(previously published here )

Wrinkles sagging with weariness, Gretel June seated her crooked torso on the last clear surface in the house: a padded footstool. The world swam in complete and terrifying circles around her, and closing her eyes only made it worse. She felt a lump in her throat that had nothing whatsoever to do with her heart, and much more to do with her stomach. Everything swirled so fast! Continue reading

A New Proposition

“Faith is not being sure. It is not being sure, but betting with your last cent… Faith is not a series of gilt-edged propositions that you sit down to figure out, and if you follow all the logic and accept all the conclusions, then you have it. It is crumpling and throwing away everything, proposition by proposition, until nothing is left, and then writing a new proposition, your very own, to throw in the teeth of despair…

Faith is not making religious-sounding noises in the daytime. It is asking your inmost self questions at night and then getting up and going to work…

Faith is thinking thoughts and singing songs and making poems in the lap of death.”

–Mary Jean Irion, 1970

Everything Unresolved

“…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903 [Letters to a Young Poet]

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