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Hey, Siri:

Lie to me at least four times today.

Show me all the places I could be.

Wake me when the weather's gone away.

Tell me when it's time to disagree.

Find the diner where I saw that face.

Let me know if I should change my name.

Order me what no one could replace.

Photograph the nowhere whence you came.
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Richard Wilbur sure liked to bait me while serving bravely in WW2. "First Snow in Alsace," italics mine:


The snow came down last night like moths
Burned on the moon
; it fell till dawn,
Covered the town with simple cloths.

Absolute snow lies rumpled on
What shellbursts scattered and deranged,
Entangled railings, crevassed lawn.

As if it did not know they'd changed,
Snow smoothly clasps the roofs of homes
Fear-gutted, trustless and estranged.

The ration stacks are milky domes;
Across the ammunition pile
The snow has climbed in sparkling combs.

You think: beyond the town a mile
Or two, this snowfall fills the eyes
Of soldiers dead a little while.

Persons and persons in disguise,
Walking the new air white and fine,
Trade glances quick with shared surprise.

At children's windows, heaped, benign,
As always, winter shines the most,
And frost makes marvelous designs.

The night guard coming from his post,
Ten first-snows back in thought, walks slow
And warms him with a boyish boast:

He was the first to see the snow.


...


Dick.

(What are "persons in disguise"? Snow-covered statues? Ghosts of the just-mentioned dead, what with the air-walking? Those snowy-eyed dead, staring up at the living who stare back down (renders the shared "walking" 90 degrees odd, though)? Soldiers in general, seen as human people in killbots' clothing? He lost me there.)
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1. They let the teachers retain their own classrooms there, rather than offices, which are considered common property, more or less two-person versions of the meeting room. Retain and furnish, even remodel them as they choose, taking seriously the role a shaped environment might play in the learning experience. Hers was quite something.

2. Can you call to mind how, looking out between some triangle of branches or pair of columnar trunks, a sort of window is formed? The house that a grove or meadow might constitute, and what more of the outdoors the next field or tree stand over might somehow retain by being peered out into from in, were the matters she was most interested in, to judge by her setup. Legendarily, she had refused to teach a single class until everything had been planted, painted and arranged just so, and had changed nothing since, except by treading about inside it, climbing around and through and up into its contents, gathering fallen sticks, blown leaves, strayed stones. The walls were stone, made to look like the intact outer walls of some otherwise wrecked country courtyard. Since everything else was plants, earth, insects there we'd long surmised the walls were only present because some sort would have to be to preserve full verisimilitude. The ceiling was painted not as leaves or clouds or starscape or pure blue, but left white as could be on a surface betraying as little reflected light or inflicted shadow as could be made possible. One of those white skies that can happen when a mist or a fog is withdrawing or dipping its toe, was I think the idea. Or perhaps it was just assumed that we were readier to find the sky suddenly white, got used to this faster, questioned it less, than with any other artifice. Maybe something in us assumed the sky should have been white. It did feel oddly comfortable, or soon began to. The air was kept at room temperature but just noticeably circulating at all times: another unreal effect that felt like how reality deserved to have been, as though something important was expected to arrive or change or be noticed at any time. Without our feeling precisely underwater, it was subtly like swimming just standing in there.

3. You never got to sit. This was either a rule or a collective hesitancy about that shaped space so thoroughly contagious that no one could now tell it apart from one. You stood and, room being scarce, mostly turned - sometimes took just over a step, like in basketball. No more than this and everything would change.

4. Getting you to identify with a particular tree, say, was a large part of it. You could just be passing through with the afternoon otherwise, since all the rooms were strange, since a class was a class. Stakes and roots - there, all puns were intended - made it more. Glue your foot to the floor and you'll see what I mean. Your room will at once become a matter of distances and relations, not uses and objects. You feel this at second hand once you've chosen a tree. And it really was a choice: in the pitch darkness in which every class by custom starts you'd hear her voice, or likelier her assistant's (they sounded the same), ask you to think of a tree, then ask further questions about the specific tree thought of - was it dusted by moss, and if so did it prick from the bark or withdraw to the seams, was it green as a green sun might be, or more like a green seen when falling asleep? Did the shine of it seem like a swirl? Like an arm reaching down from somewhere behind? Or similar questions on its bark, the sound it made when struck, what style of letters its twig might best make in wet sand. Similar, never the same, ensuring your tree would not be either. Which you'd approach and touch just once then stand nearby when the lights came on, because whatever you'd imagined would somehow be there. Nothing silly - no orange trunks or silver berries - but you'd hardly have been able to picture that. Your mind would take its task seriously. I think the air, so slightly moving, never not, on its schedule of unguessable but constant small disturbances, was part of that too. Leave a church in a storm and you'll see how far from joking we were then.

(...)
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Undead on the Bed: put little nosferatus, Ring Girls, or Grudge thingies on or near the beds of loved ones while they sleep! Move them nightly for fresh shocks or creepy time-lapse effects!

Insomnia! the Board Game: with drawing cards saying things like ... have to pee too bad to sleep but too tired to pee - go back thirty minutes; too tired to remember to sleep - go back an hour fifteen; exhausted existence has you feeling nothing has been fun and despair over failure to sleep has you saying fuck it, let's just find something amusing to do all night because clearly sleep is just impossible - lose all leptin, gain forty micrograms of cortisol; forget to take melatonin - go back three hours and forget to take melatonin the next night etc.

Goal is a pile of those Solla-Sollew pillows but the paths on the board fall apart in delirium swamps halfway there.
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The saddest thing about life is that talking about any of the fifty saddest things about life is offensive.
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The end won't feel like the end. The moments just before may, but they shouldn't, because they aren't. That doesn't mean the end doesn't exist, or that it can't be felt. But it means that we feel it within moments that are middles, that are an entirely different sort of moment-molecule. It, too, is a picture on our mantel. Is a "like." But we'll want that similitude to be really, really plausible, since so much depends on our relationship to it.

To maim Yeats: We're looking for the face we'll have after the world is gone.
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Do you know what's bullshit? The notion that time is an illusion. "Mental construct" may work (may), but only using definitions of mental and construct that are very different from the ones evoked by that phrase. Brains making elevators to where the floors would be if the universe had thought to make any, is the viable sense - and of course by making us it in some sense did think ("think") to do so.

But anyway. It's no illusion. Clocks past the veil of Maya also tick, though the symbols on their faces likely change.

But saying it's illusory, faked, made has use as well as appeal, since it has us thinking about it a second way - as we can hardly have abandoned the first. The universe hasn't ended, but it will, and first we will, our feet will, our shoes, then all shoes, then any feet. So endurance can't be the standard by which things matter: if two nights in Bangkok are great that's because one is, which is because one minute is, or whichever the shortest unit of time is in which one can fit a riveting game of chess - or whatever that guy was talking about.

You can argue that only holds when we're falsely convinced that such nights will somehow endure, but (as we've hardly abandoned the mode of thought valuing them) such false convictions will return, so one thing we can do when contemplating eternity, or long-ternity, or a-ternity is plan for how to love once we love again. Which is to stick to moments, to individuals, to what's here. Even if we have to lie about them, which I doubt we really do. Is a photograph a lie for having edges?

It feels crazy but it's true: next year can't matter and today can't not. If we have to think of next year then that's a problem, an inhabitant, of the present, so in fact a preoccupation with a certain sort of representation of it. We're obsessed with the portrait of the future next to the mantel, not with the future. Might not seem to mean much in practice but the principle does: let go of what will happen and embrace your ideas about what will happen.

Try to make them good, though. Really, really plausible. For everybody's sake. Because what I've really been talking about is ethics, which is a fancy word for avoiding premature suicide (which, since there's only now(s) and never later(s) (though there are likely later nows) is any suicide). You can ignore what I've been saying and be good but you won't know why. And a time will come when you can be even better if you know why, according to the word balloon on the portrait near my mantel.

Almost certainly you know all this. If so, maybe reading this, or realizing how badly I've put it, will help you say it better. Say it such that you never forget it, I would wish. Then maybe you'll tell me so I'll stop forgetting it so often. Because believing in the wrong sort of time is what most of our fuckups reduce to.
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My New Year's resolution is to watch that lengthy stretch of bad episodes in Twin Peaks season 2 in case anything in there's pertinent to the relaunch. No clue when I got through them last - maybe the '90s?
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I heard behind, while going further in,
The voice that all the shocks of life comprise
Reply to me, "You search where I have been,
Forgetting that I never leave your eyes."

The charge was just. Each of us knows it's just.
We dig and prod and angle and digress,
Unearthing spectres born from what's discussed,
But what's so isn't captured by a guess.

And yet we know it. Knowing doesn't seize
And take it into us, but makes us feel
Where we are seized by it; and all judged real
Is real because that tautness self-agrees.

Tension fraught with changes is vibration.
All vibrations die when touching stone.
Something rocklike anchors cerebration,
Otherwise who'd catch the dying tone?

Some say tones that stay become the rock.
What might tones condition but their like?
What appeals to that so-saying flock
Must be that what's struck must also strike.

What it makes of us we make of it,
Neither quite existing till disturbed.
Though I'll grant this saying seems to fit,
Hopes for corollaries should be curbed.

We're not it and it is not an us.
If we're one same something, there's a twist
That matters more than matter. Möbius
Was clever, but the two sides still exist.

What we search for isn't it, but in it,
Something not yet in us that we dream
Might stay knotted through the awful minute
Re-raveling far Is as local Seem.

Lost sparks of self, some phrase it, finding fire
A metaphor that captures our reliance
And violent effect on and entire
Scorn for what enables that defiance:

Earth. From which we flee, to which we go,
Abandoning these solaces of seeming,
Recalling there's a music to what's so
Essential to the song-escape we're scheming.
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Life seems to become more and more about people as it goes. I was always a places guy, but they've lost most of their color. I wonder what I'd have done if you could have convinced me that would happen.
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George Michael, at 53, TODAY? Our simulation's player has gone blackhat.

Last Christmas, Careless Whisper and the jitterbug thing are like the most lovably ridiculous and perfect songs ever. Everyone knows that. I've defended 2016 because statistics but shit just got implausibly personal.

McCartney needs to double his number of bodyguards. And spend New Year's Eve in an ICU just in case. This now feels nuts.
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Ohhhh. Adam Ant is adamant. Just now got that.

Wonder how many times I got and forgot it before, though. Life's gotten pretty long. Not even sure I remember what that guy looks like.
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Hawthorne's comparative lack of linguistic ambition, and his related refusal to distract from the bold metaphor that each story is with bold metaphors at the sentence level, help him hide.

The most interesting thing in the world to readers should be why Melville rates him so highly; we underrate Melville by assuming he could simply be wrong, or lonely for a precursor from his own nation. Think about what Melville was writing, was about to write. Why would the Birthmark guy have any part in that? Why would Melville speak of him in such enigmatic, devilish terms? You could say what "The Birthmark" is apparently about at the time, after all; could even connect past religious excesses to present day varieties. Maybe not too blatantly, but a language existed to handle that. Melville did not use it.
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Ariosto never knew that that little bright world that wanders by above is a lost sock itself. In fact, Earth's Lost and Lost Desk was the first thing it ever misplaced. Imagine the chagrin! Like finding your entire ass had fallen off back on the road somewhere. Unless maybe it was the head. Poor moon, if so: stuck just out of arm's length, alternating between amazement and puzzlement at the adventures of its former body. Or was it voluntary? Maybe, like Wakefield, it went away just to see what would happen, to see if that sort of undoing could even be done, like an introvert Iago. What might become of a moonless Earth? Well, this. But Wakefield came back. It may be that the moon awaits its moment. When thought returns, what will our world think of us - or will we become its thoughts? Maybe it left its thoughts behind, bled out onto its neck and torso. Abandoned to skim about on the alien outside, electric lice rubbing together to release a little light. To feel like we felt when we all glowed one color at once.

A head that's on straight? Two socks? No more spinning around.

Worlds like that are going places.
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What ever happened to [livejournal.com profile] xhasyxhaxha? I've seldom encountered someone so drastically gifted. I hope he publishes.
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I just saw a tiny gray squirrel chasing a big black one up and down in several adjacent trees, knocking snow off everywhere they went.

You're going to need to put in some effort making your day better than mine.
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Marianne Moore, after warmly praising works by a number of contributors in her review of New Directions 4, including Cocteau, Bishop, Kay Boyle, Wheelwright, Stevens, Pound, and Williams: "Miss Stein also is present."
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All but one of my recent Russians have had names starting with A or Ba. Like a first encyclopedia volume. Attempt by someone at Livejournal to drive up internal traffic, I guess? Wonder what for.
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"But was it cognate, scored?"

What is your word?

Can't seem to get around to saying mine.

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