Amos stands on a subway platform
littered with stubbed-out cigarettes.
For three sins, even for four,
I will not reverse it! The commuters
skirt his dirty robes, avoid eye contact.
too much august not enough snow:
A passport with stamps, the otolith acquires a new ring for every day and every sojourn in a fish’s life. One for the natal stream, separate rings for spawning and rearing. Cradles and diplomas. Stable isotopes. One for every drift and foray into distant waters. Marriage and divorce. Calcium carbonate and trace minerals. A protein skeleton.
They wheeled me up to the recovery ward. There was a huge tree outside the window whose foliage dipped and bobbed as a squirrel moved round in it. The room was full of a brassy, beeping monitors. I learned quite quickly to identify the tone mine made when I fibrillated or missed a beat, and for a while observed as my thoughts wandered round; every time they touched on work my heart stuttered. Somewhere around dusk a trolley came round with tea, and two digestive biscuits. They crumbled in my mouth like a sacrament.
Marching with the students last Saturday was a high point in my life of protest: it was absolutely astounding, at 11:00 pm, to see not only this great throng of demonstrators, but the people in their homes, in their cars, spilling out of restaurants, bars and cafes, all cheering, making noise, smiling, waving their arms, encouraging their children to join in. It was more like a parade than a protest march.
Manzotti is what they call a radical externalist: for him consciousness is not safely confined within a brain whose neurons select and store information received from a separate world, appropriating, segmenting, and manipulating various forms of input. Instead, he offers a model he calls Spread Mind: consciousness is a process shared between various otherwise distinct processes which, for convenience’s sake we have separated out and stabilized in the words subject and object. Language, or at least our modern language, thus encourages a false account of experience.
too much august not enough snow:
Our worries, we confided around the campfire, are long and keeping. No matter where we are, they stay with us. But when we camp, everything is so much bigger, we don’t think beyond the fire ring. Up here it was easy to fall silent. Sweet, really, to have an empty mind.
What I’ve always loved about the notion of the ten thousand things is that we ourselves are included in their number. Human beings, the Zhuangzi says, ‘are but one item’ amongst the countless things of the world. We are not separated out from the world. We are not a separate creation. I find this restoring of human existence to the thingness of things—this restitution of our status as things in the world, in the same way that cats and telephone poles and supernovae are things—a huge relief after centuries of philosophical labour that sought to demonstrate that we are set apart from other things.
Welcome to the first exhibition at the Artlog. It evolved out of the interest of regular visitors in my practice of making articulated paper maquettes for use as compositional aids. A few of them felt encouraged to produce maquettes of their own, and thereafter everything just blossomed. Some contributors have submitted a single maquette, and others many.
This is simply an amazing online exhibition, now complete with the addition of Part 5. The above link takes you to all five posts in reverse chronological order.
And as far as cruelty goes, I think T.S. Eliot was being a bit overly dramatic when he suggested that these 30 greening days in the fourth month of the year were the cruelest. I can think of many other months that offer far more by way of cruelty.
Perhaps as a Midwesterner transplanted to England, Eliot never had the opportunity to walk deep into a northern forest in the first days of March—snows slowly pulling their tongues back into the earth’s mouth—to see winterkill huddled beneath hemlock boughs: the carcasses of deer withered on January’s barren fruit; the corpses of porcupines who weren’t fast enough to evade the brutal teeth of fisher; or even the rare bear who trudged too soon from slumber and found nothing but the empty taste of ashes in its belly.
By April, at least here in central Pennsylvania, the entire ridge-side is burgundy with the tiny blossoms of sugar and red maples. The coltsfoot has already discarded its yellow-fringed flower, and May apple is unfurling the glossy umbrella that will hide its fruit in June and July.
It’s getting harder to prove you’re not a robot
to the computer. You can robot-proof
your website by warping the text like wrought
iron, twisting it. The troubled youths
of the internet have robot brains. They want
to sell you pills to enhance your desire
or suffocate your appetite.