I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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Long ago, but not too long ago, when I was a young and brazen Memphis fox (or so I thought) an unusually, common and decisive event crept on the sly into my life, set up a chain o f inner explosions, and left me riding a wave of progressively intense change that has, by now, deposited me on the hot shores of perpetual indecision. In the space of the four years following this small event, my consciousness has been assaulting itself with pointed questions who’ve led me into vast, unknown, and sometimes positively obliterating stretches of mind. If it’s true what they say re. ‘God’ who reportedly moves in strange ways, then I’ll indulge my ongoing melodrama of mind as part of the show. For the sake of art, Sy, and the pressure of passing phenomena, I’ll venture on into a few more words about this bizarre safari to the insides of life I find myself taking.
The poet is traditionally a teller of tales, a subtle preacher of the prevailing moral code, a cultivator of the precious verbal medium of communication, the dearest jewel of the community, the bearer of beauty all can share. What does it mean when such a person eschews the vast machinery of publicity in the publishing establishment, and strikes out on his own? One or more of three things: he is not allowed into the establishment, he wants no part of it, or, he has extra-literary purposes in mind. If he wants no part of it, it may be because the literary quality is so poor in the establishment, or it may be because he has something against our medium of exchange, money, or it may be that he wants to reach people in a profounder manner than is possible in the circus, and wants to reach people who may not even know that they would love to curl up with a good book.
The Big Secret. People had begun to suspect that my brother and I were adepts. Our magics were becoming difficult to conceal.
Surely among the most overlooked little tidbits to appear in the news last year was the revelation that the window glass in the Oval Office is three inches thick. Just a one-line filler stuck on the bottom of page 27 of the Daily Rag. Straightforward , investigative journalism at its best. Three inches. Standing between the man of the people and . . . what else? . . . the people.
From Ken Kern to Popular Science there’s been a lot of talk about the importance of proper siting of your home in relation to the sun (so-called passive design). I agree with them completely. The first half of this article explains the movement of the earth around the sun and on its own axis and how that affects you and your home. (It will also help you to tell time and direction by the sun.) The second half gives some specifics on how to design to best use the sun. Most of these ideas are useful only in new construction but should be of some value to owners of existing homes, especially if they’re considering solar heating.
I can’t remember the first time I heard someone say that the conglomerates (giant U.S. corporations like Xerox) were buying out the big New York publishing houses, the ones that 20 or so years ago were a fairly reliable place to publish a first novel, a well-written book, something that might someday be known as a great book, as “literature.”
The word was in my mind all day. Pivotal. Not my favorite word, or one I often use. Everything seemed pivotal. The hour, the fuel gauge, an oldie on the radio, a yawn, the confusing streets of High Point. The word ran along like a cork on my babbling subconscious stream, unexpectedly bobbing up in sentences, intruding in my mental flow like a bothersome note from a half-remembered tune.
New Year’s Day. No television, or newspaper, to remind me of the world outside. No news-of-the year in review. I can tell myself better lies than that. Nineteen seventy-seven. Seven years to 1984. Time enough for our bodies to regenerate themselves, for all our cells to die and be reborn. Thirty-three years to the year 2000. Christ’s age when he was crucified. Time, and its mysterious parallels. Its fist upon the door.
The wood stove generates waves of warmth as early winter winds furiously squirm under doors, and wiggle through cracks in windows and walls. Gentle music plays on the late night radio. The blue fire of intensity burns within me. My mind is busy thinking, feeling, creating. My being reverberates with awareness. I take an idea, mold it into the shape that fits the keyhole of my consciousness, and I am changed in the transition of a new opening.
Henry Huggins was one of the best liars in the county. He was a short, stocky, red-faced man with squinty eyes and a waxed handle-bar mustache. He wore bib overalls and a dirty broadbrim hat pulled down so far it bent the tops of his ears over. He read nickel Westerns and sat around the general store telling elaborate lies.
Every time Arthur Wazu got sexually excited his ear lobes turned lavender. This had just happened in the central power station, so he roller-skated back to his captain’s quarters to rest. Wazu, breathless, lay back on the floating seat affixed to a plastic chain next to a large window. A brilliant red star shone through the window. Wazu began a meditation. Visualizing a cantelope, he let all the air out of his upper body. The ship’s mental hygienist, Dr. Dick, interrupted Wazu. Wazu liked Dr. Dick. But he feared him somewhat. Under fleet rules in that century, mental hygienists were given veto rights over what the Book of Instructions described as “critical and less than critical” decisions of spaceship commanders. (The following century it was back to Tarot Card readers to provide the check.) Wazu was a man of firm, independent action. Indeed, he often compared himself to Montezuma. He considered Montezuma the best emperor ever.
. . . Men for whom an entire life was like one Sunday afternoon, an afternoon which was not altogether miserable, but rather hot and dull and uncomfortable.