NOBODY

First published in the United States in 1997 by The Overlook Press
Copyright © 1997 by Richard Foreman

CONTENTS

Eddie

The Mind King

The Amateur Genius

The Suburbanite The Hero Cadmus

Samuel

Samuel II

 

Eddie

1

Eddie went to Poetry City and there, on one of the major boulevards, he met Marie.

Marie! Marie! he cried. I didn't expect to find you in Poetry City.

Don't be a fool, Marie frowned. I only come here to get gas.

She opened her small suitcase and some small mental bottles rolled out onto the sidewalk.

Eddie hurriedly bent down and gathered them in his arms.

Here—here's your gas, Marie.

She kissed him on the cheek to say thank you.

Ah, this could only happen in Poetry City, said Eddie.

2

Eddie knew the streets of Poetry City by heart, so when a map appeared in his pocket, he wasn't confused.

He flipped through the streets in his mind, and a door opened across the street.

That's a good fifty yards from me, thought Eddie, but still he jumped out of the way.

But, Eddie, he realized that jump was unnecessary.

And he noticed his map, on fire.

3

Eddie thought ideas got pressed between the pages of a book, like fruit; so the sweet flow of ideas could run down over his fingers like rose water.

That made him think of his own potential beauty, interior and exterior, and so he combed his hair.

Look, poetry making eye funnels when the lifted eyes try to see the top of my head, which shines, said Eddie.

Nobody else paid any attention.

Then he used his tortoiseshell comb like a brain opener, and at first he thought it hurt.

Then it didn't hurt at all, and he felt really well-groomed.

4

Eddie went to Poetry City, and there, on a spring morning, birds sang invisible songs, but Eddie said—I use my ears.

Nobody helped him, and at first he was sad that nothing in the books said—Eddie, we love you.

Then, quite accidentally, he saw himself in a mirror.

Eddie, you could be an important person, but why bother.

Was that the mirror talking?

Eddie had no idea, but when he found a taxicab offering a free ride he said—here, with my hands in my pockets it makes it more difficult for me to enter your taxi, but it'll make things more interesting for you.

When he was finally in, the taxi driver said, this isn't a taxi, Eddie.

But its your birthday after all, so drink up.

Eddie took his hands out of his pockets, and wiped them on a damp towel that had been provided.

Your hands weren't dirty, Eddie, but after all you've been through it would be a logical assumption.

5

Eddie went to Poetry City. Flat against the sky, a second sky made itself known.

Eddie picked up flowers, discarded by a man smoking two cigarettes at once—

Do you really want one of his cigarettes, Eddie?

Eddie slapped himself with the back of his hand, but not hard, and his watch fell into the street.

Marie happened to be walking by with a dog—have a puff, Eddie, she smiles.

Eddie didn't know if Marie was planning to invite him to dinner. He decided to show her how cavalier he was about formalities, and deliberately stepped on his watch.

The dog smiled, Eddie thought, but of course—dogs don't tell time by watches, and Eddie tried to make Marie focus on internal resources Eddie sensed most people half guessed at.

The darkness falls
Left over, the flutter of paper
Bleeds on expectation.
New roses, not yet
Timed. Ingenious victims
Spread thin
On the cut of deep feeling,
Expected night, unflared
Like a weight.

6

Eddie went to Poetry City.

He cracked his head on the sidewalk, trying to express something by taking a sudden, demonstrative plunge.

A stranger stopped and bent over the bleeding Eddie and saidcan I help?

It wasn't like that, said Eddie, trying to smile, hoping the stranger would understand how appropriate a smile truly was under the circumstances.

You're a lucky guy, Eddie—and the stranger helped him to his feet, glancing at his watch almost coincidentally.

Be on your way, Sir, said Eddie. The blood was a miscalculation, but it can be rectified by this handkerchief.

What a beautiful handkerchief, offered the stranger, but it's true Fm behind schedule.

You did all you could, said Eddie, and I'm in good shape—which allowed the stranger to be on his way, and Eddie to make a second try.

This time it was well done

and Eddie felt good on the sunlight.

(Realizing he is going to die soon, he sleeps more. To be more tuned, to what is coming.)

The darkness fails.
Thin
Mouth-effects
Spread,
Brain scrubbed
Into the total bowl
Here-here, on a flat
Boredom, level
Like a house
Nontiltable
Because full.

7

Eddie went to Poetry City.

Knocking on a door, he saw somebody else push through—

Wow, Eddie said to himself. Am I lucky.

Not so true, said a man behind him in a straw hat.

You dropped your wallet.

Because it was true, Eddie, find pictures of beautiful things filling heretofore secret compartments.

As far as missing cash, that seemed to be placed in farflung locations, shrinking like icons that gave Eddie eternal hope.

Shine, matches, shine! said Eddie, beating his chest.

Oh please, said Estelle, one of the other women he knew by name. When you do that I'm reminded of a gorilla and rd rather not.

Eddie smiled, and showed Estelle both hands were clean.

I never questioned that, said Estelle.

Eddie blushed, and wiped his face with a wet paper towel, which had

no effect at all.

Okay, said Eddie, I accept my rosiness as a subjective pleasure.

He gave Estelle a kiss, and she liked it.

8

Eddie went to Poetry City.

His hair stood on end.

So many poets, so many avenues that turned into one. Eddie decided to eat a sandwich, but spent real time counting the directions from which to start chewing.

Don't take too long. Wolf down your sandwich, whispered Marie, and Eddie wondered if a sandwich itself could be raw?

When he saw what happened to trees, he clapped his own hand over his own mouth.

They vaporize, he thought to himself, just by the power of life passing. And he wolfed the sandwich, just like Marie urged, and having eaten his meal he turned to Marie thankfully, but she was already dancing by herself on the other side of the street, and Eddie was too shy to join her but said that's okay, shyness is really my thing.

9

A calm man had a clear experience.

He brushed his hand over his forehead and said, I've found hair, trying to pull hard.

Why hurt yourself, said Estelle.

Just because he twisted with effort, Estelle thought it hurt, when in fact he was having memories of a wonderful island vacation. This is where I want to be, said the calm man. How much better it is that most of the time, Fm quite satisfied to stay just where I am.

When, in whiteness
A whole forehead appears
Wiped,
And the day roots
Grapple
With foam influx,
All hole in the mouth
Nonword,
Poured from a patient shovel.
Don't see.
The vistafools.
Even the rigorous geometer.
Translator too, kaput,
Except error
Which bursts, seed fire
Into the nonlocatable
Glory:
EAR.

10

One day, briefly by accident, in the course of changing trains, Eddie encountered the mind king; and as a foot lifted, sped, his total self empty, was solid.

Train one and train two, cotraveling.

Could either self-destruct? Or was a shadow a lift of the eye toward decorations.

Nothing happens, no destinations substitute.

An arrogance of destination, erased by choice, mirrors all the empty bustle, voided into its great face—such wise eyes, the mind king; sees.

11

The night was outside the window as well as inside where Eddie was.

Nothing turned into a poem, and a great weight lifted from Eddies chest, from his shoulders and forehead. Poems exited from all parts of his body. And in leaving, they turned to nothing.

That nothing was Eddie's medium.

He drank deep and picked up the telephone.

Hello, who is nobody, on the other end of the line.

Many faces flashed from Eddie's mind onto the wallpaper that curled up like burnt leaves.

The vast,
open eye,
self plunge
with a word,
untwist
into the total
mix
of language selves;
singular melange
Refound.

12

Eddie went to Poetry City.

The soft air, gray and granulated, offered itself to his sniff.

Somebody must be burning logs, said Eddie. But in fact, he was wrong.

Global forces were at work, but Eddie was localized.

He opened a local window, and before he could open a local window, something came whirling into his mind's eye like a photograph of the whole planet from a place far in space.

Look, there's Poetry City under a cloud of fog—

Oh, Eddie, from where you sit, it's so atmospheric to be looking at the sun bursting into the city through clouds of soft fog.

Eddie realized that by midday the air would be clear, and Poetry City would be like any place else.

Would it still be Poetry City?

Of course, offered Marie. Maps don't change.

Maps don't change.

13

Everything Eddie could possibly say about language, was required by the inspector at the gates of Poetry City.

Where are those gates? thought Eddie.

And the pastry inspector shot him a look that could kill. (Pie in face)

Eddie thought fast.

Language is like a sweet taste that dissolves my mouth, offered Eddie—language was in his fingers, but he knew enough not to stick them into the stuff that clung to his face.

Language moves, lonely, through a crowd under adverse circumstances, and arrives at the door of the language hospital, where all its blood is returned through giving.

What's in this box of language?

I'll take that, said the language inspector. And he confiscated Eddie's box as Eddie, seized by an urge he could not fathom, put his fingers to his lips and smiled.

14

The man in the bar said—careful Eddie. Poetry City is on the verge of destruction. He put his finger to his lips, and Eddie fought the impulse to seize the man's hand and return it forcefully to the side of his body. The man seemed not to notice what was going on inside Eddie, which made Eddie very suspicious. So he pretended he was looking for something inside his pocket. Here it is, cried Estelle, who had just returned from the country several days earlier, and she handed Eddie a bunch of keys.

Eddie, momentarily baffled, realized the best thing to do was accept the keys and act as if he knew what they were intended for.

15

Eddie explained about something that filled him with pride, though he didn't tell Marie about the pride.

Eddie, what are you thinking? she implied, and Eddie as usual smiled and turned away to recompose his face.

Now he was ready to speak, but there was a long silence as he thought about what he would say.

rye reached a point in my life, where, when I have a sudden image flash into my mind, I can't tell whether it's an image from my memory of someplace Fve really been, or from a dream. Eddie mused and looked toward a window.

I have so many pictures in my head, he thought, and Marie started talking before he'd finished thinking and said, Eddieare you dreaming again?

Eddie almost laughed, and almost gave her a kiss on the cheek. But Marie was off to other things, so he just, relaxed.

16

When I came roaring into the room, said Eddie, I got hot feet, but that wasn't the roar, that was the reason.

All I want is to upside down myself, so I can say look—hot feet on the ceiling and everybody'll think my head's in the clouds—something wrong there, Eddie?

Then he took off his shoes and socks.

Humm, said Angus, temperature down there seems nothing out of the ordinary.

Oh? said Eddie. I read about it once, in a book, and from then on I never felt similar.

Ah, that was the error, said Angus. When you read, did you have a light on over the head but shining on all parts of the body equally?

But Eddie was already out of the doctor's office and looked back as he passed through the doorway to say that wasn't a real doctor, and Angus waved from the window, which was too bad because he had an accident.

Promises, promises, said Eddie. That's not a foundation on which to build a whole life.

The darkness falls.
Sustaining gray light
Opened, key stretched
Under the fog paw
Of damp
Idea—mixed trot
Up steps of streets—
Pulling to be touched,
Not-enfolded but slid
Under the wax-wet finger
Of cold minutes,
Bone into lockalmond,
Creased, into the head
Map gouged
In rock-space
Like a bell-nut.
Hour into the head
Cold cold
Keeping the light shell
Brief
City-flash
Grain of throat communion,
The bark
Of idea, on idea
Steaming, stained
Glowed.

17

His poetry or his life, the man hissed at Eddie, who thought he was being told a story, because the rough hand on his throat was full of interesting sensations.

Then Marie appeared in the door.

Eddie, she cooed, let's have an adventure, and Eddie flashed a trauma turning mountainward.

Is that up or down Eddie, said the man removing his hand while Eddie setnislumped.

Hold it, said Eddie to himself, as he grasped a table that tilted a little, but Marie was there to hold on, too, and she said okay, Fm willing to compromise, and they spent the say sitting and eating sandwiches.

Gotta eat to live, said Eddie—how long have I known that.

18

Eddie made telephone friends. He picked up the telephone. Oh, Eddie, your phone is in your elbow, but—is that true?

Does the bend of Eddies elbow somehow articulate or imply a network of connections, to the extent that direction is redirected?

Take the following condensation—Language, holds it all. As dense as that, and Eddie decided to listen rather than talk, but to initiate the process—Hello, this is Eddie, says Eddie.

And the water is dribbling from the washcloth he holds over his mouth to muffle or disguise his voice, making it anonymous.

I recognize poetry the minute I hear it, says a recognizable Marie on the other end of the line, but Eddie is confused now and cries out, "Marie, Marie, rye damaged the telephone with a wet rag, but Marie has already hung up so an important part of Eddie's message twists in space with no place to go.

Thin language,
Bark climb, to the leaf,
Leaping serious.
World cover,
A glow, window—not
Into the heart
Sits comfortably
Till the room
Tilts, back crack
Of ceremonial verb
de-used
For filler.
Till a stuffed head
Again
Lifts, supported
Into super-chair.

Poetry melts language, doesn't it?
The whip,
Applied on myself by myself,
Debatable pleasure maybe
but as I divide myself
Hacked off parts,
Offered
In the hand.

Once
I made language remarkably agile.
Now, the alphabetic display,
Turned on itself.
Its icon soup, estranged voice
Like a die-cut
Semiperfect apples of speech.
So I self-tumble
Lost restrain of word pack
All trim at last
A language
Pee'd out,
So many old fruits
Nontasted.

Piles and piles of ghost cards
Pounded, remade readable.
The older word
Ordered into a vast
Drum thump
Like good tongue odor
Wind flapped,
Idea but thickened
With hurt
Turned again, word again
Through ironbrace mind
The deed of clout, pure
And
Missed through potency
Alas,
A full,
Space organ.

19

When it was time to put out the light, Eddie looked carefully at the wall beside the bed, which seemed suspended in space to the extent that not even Eddie could reach out and touch the lamp in between.

Wish out the light, offered Marie, and Eddie shifted his weight to see her eyes on the other side of a lens.

Why not hear twice? thought Eddie, trying to repeat her words in his head.

But Marie turned her glasses backward to get through, and Eddie knew that what she was really saying was Oh, Eddie, but then her words turned into a garble that even made it, as a kind of seethrough shadow, onto the already textured wallpaper.

Where did that texture come from? thought Eddie as he reached out to turn off the light, and in the dark it immediately zapped him.

20

Eddie went to Poetry City.

Straight lines—oops, I mean streets, offered Eddie, as a small taxi went haywire, but discreet enough to call interest to the relatively delicate pattern it traced from one side of the street to another like a stitch that connects nothing but the pinpricks of an ongoing adventure that was soft enough to make a whole city.

Thick fog was rolling in off the ocean; let's drive past, looking at the boats as we go, chimed in Marie, as the little halo around her head looked for her or Eddie, or somebody at least to swarm over.

Boats, boats, boats, Eddie ejaculated as he saw imaginary sails flapping in the breeze because these boats had no sails at all, but random halos, sped from head to head, looking for sailors to embody a special kind of grace, and some of them really did.

Secret poets, one foot in the city and one foot on board the seagoing verb, they made friends with Eddie in chosen places like bars, libraries, and a certain kind of public meeting that wasn't no problem at all.

So there was Eddie, counting the empty chairs between him and the nearest poetry sailor. Sit next to me? Ah no, cooed Eddie, shaking a head that gave off not the sparks we liked to imagine, but rather a kind of hum that inclined slowly, whenever he was out of doors, down the straight avenues of Poetry City like an attempt to match straightness to straightness, but it was never exact; or the hum itself would have vanished and Eddie would have lost his bearings and really been in deep shit.

Whew, he said, clearing his head, somehow or other . . .

21

Eddie, like a river, flowed through Poetry City. Reading nothing but signs, and not even reading the signs.

His taxi came to a stop—not, protested Eddie, call it an abrupt halt.

Have you been thinking about dictionaries, Eddie?

He put his face into metaphorical hands and sobbed, though it looked like waving.

Hello, Agatha waved back, but Eddie was shocked his gestures could be so misunderstood.

Bathe in this river, said the taxidriver, pointing to his left, and Eddie, feeling the chill of fear zooming through his thighs had a flashphoto of the taxi plunging over the embankment to be inside.

Inside whatcuddled Agatha as she took his hand to different parts of her anatomy.

Listen, said Eddie, I don't even know the names of these things, which you say isn't important but that's because your feminine intuition rules things for you okay.

Okay, echoed Agatha, and Eddie thought he was hearing double, except his ears and his eyes were never in agreement when he involved himself in intimate behavior with women so he was glad to get back in the taxi in spite of trepidation.

Heart: switched
But no storm comes
Unblessed.
Wound to truth
Fluid in uncover-myth,
The eye mounts
Into bitelong
Trot,
Blood delivered
Hold
Flower pause
Of breath-seed.

22

Eddie went to Poetry City. The light there was the light now. The now. What a vast convergence of memories, one by one selected or stored in the invisible box of the mind, none of this was Eddie's. How many distant streets, tumbled into light echoes for Eddie only, that only, held at the distance of common origins. All memories for one, so many streets, pressed in the flat pressure of light memory, where the same sparkle and crash of eye-fluid, ever extensive, makes peace with his press forward into an adventure that only hides each step of the way as a step.

Look, this way step, brocaded with the slippered foot of somebody rising to the night afternoon of this very light, bone white, as the hidden thing makes the visible thing hasten, to no end that is anything but another door, opening.

And look who both opens the door, and is revealed behind it opening another, Eddie himself, treading softly, picking up flashes and gushes of deeper and deeper afternoon, as if turning on a spindle, but no, Eddie, glides, and his axis is more of an echo than a center. So look not, or the eyes, burn out as if somebody pulled the plug.

That's what happened to Eddie. He looked into the light, but the Outside fluid didn't come to life because the inside fluid had all leaked out, and Eddie merely—scratched things with his eyes, instead of feeding them, like he was supposed to.

23

Eddie deep in Poetry City, saw Marie in a bonnet, and "take off everything that hides your pretty face" his own imagination whispered in a chosen ear.

But Marie was busy tossing her head, and a breeze almost came, down the long streets—

And Eddie, so giddy now, started to run from a streetcar that could go faster than the slow trot he thought everybody else was doing.

Poor Eddie, he had no way of judging speed, and Marie's collection of trinkets was just rustling in drawers that hardly moved, the moment a snoop like Eddie started pulling the sockets occupied—whoosh—and the perfume hit him like an identity mark he could scrub clean but who knew that's why he was always washing his face and his underpants at very appointed intervals.

Cathedral
Depth charge
Crackers
Brain crackers

Cathedral, that's the term
A zone of practice
What?
Practice
What?
Practice.

The word opens as a vast whole
Rings: Like a bell.
And the bomb of reason
Treads
Where the soft light
Spits and spins,
Mandolins and grace
—Thought forms under wraps
Till the carpet piano
Thuds also into idea:
Flesh-filled duet,
From the empty
Double music.

24

Eddie went to Poetry City.

Oh, said Marie. Holding to the truth of experience, count me out, 'cause the bus I ride takes a long way to go a short distance anyway, so experience all seems like the repetition mechanism of a nobody talked to nobody, and what got said, still tumbled out like a cipher.

Your cipher, my cipher, everybody's cipher.

And Eddie bought her another drink.

Think fast, he said, as she threw back her head.

Oh, bartender?

But he went home.

These people don't drink enough to justify my existence, he told his relatives.

Was one of them named Eddie? Just a coincidence. But with nothing more to go on, he went back to his place of business and looked at the looks of faces.

One or two of them shone with a mysterious light, from inside.

25

Eddie went to Poetry City. The eyes, following his movements, crossed and recrossed, and Eddie said hold on: Take a powder, Eddie.

Was that Eddie?

He stretched limbs, and went to the limit.

This was all theoretical of course, but what wasn't theoretical was the party he simply had to attend that evening, in Marie's company, fortunately.

He met so many important people, his head went into a spin like a radiator on a tapped-out wall-to-wall method of communication. Steamed up, Eddie? That was Marie talking, of course, but he was already so upset he'd taken a powder.

Eddie knew that there was something missing from his life and suspected that he would never find it.

Eddie went to Poetry City to find it, but he didn't necessarily believe he would find it, but he believed and discovered that he was right to believe that something was missing from his life and his experiences in Poetry City intensified that belief, which was good, said Eddie, because it changed his relationship to the world he lived in, because he knew there was something missing that he couldn't find in the world but because it was missing didn't mean it wasn't valuable, so Eddie knew he longed for and was devoted to something valuable even if he couldn't find it or imagine it or therefore put his finger on it.

That was Eddie's problem. That was also Eddie's solution to his problem, which was to HAVE THE PROBLEM.

Eddie went to Poetry City and everything that happened to him could be seen in a different light.

Or, as somebody said to Eddie (he forgot who, but he could remember the tone of voice) it's the same light, but don't you see, Eddie, you can imagine the same light covering a different vista and that makes the vista it does cover magic because it's not one, but two places, at once.

Which is a kind of dissolving into the light itself, isn't it, Eddie, which is a happy thought.

And though Eddie wouldn't have chosen the word 'happy'thinking about it like that did make his inside much bigger than it had seemed just a moment before, and taking a deep breath, he went on with his life.

He approached
Waffle—
Under the iron tongue
Sizzle-talk, under the word
A boom
A boom
Full, or up.
Not orientation-fault
But a gold
Vein
Blood tabled,
Dinner sucked,
De-languaged
By rote,
With the teeth whirling
Emphasis-sliced
As it-all

26

Once, Eddie expected to spend his afternoon a certain way, but a phone call changed that, so the afternoon, not yet come, stretched forward in a different way, but that was Eddie's projection. Marie entered the room and said Eddie, I can't find my socks, and Eddie blushed but he didn't.

And Marie registered the 'didn't' of the didn't blink? Could it fill her whole afternoon, or Eddie's?

Why did I choose to look for my socks at exactly that moment, wondered Marie, and Eddie volunteered that her feet must be cold as he offered his own—not feet, and his own socks did stretch as he started pulling them off his feet, that image superimposed, certainly, on the image of toes that were Marie's toes, toenails, and all, like little hoods to the toe, one by one, which representation made a nice counterpoint in Rue's mind to the stretch of the sock, which pulled, as it were, the very weave—

The afternoon is still to come, of course, but Eddie was plunged into a little bit of life now so it didn't matter—but how come Marie lost her socks?

27

No watch made it for Eddie, he drifted like the space cadet Estelle said he was, but why?

Because I say what's on my mind whenever I black out, said Estelle, thinking she was good at jokes.

Eddie bought her another drink, and she told another joke, but everybody else thought she was trying to shut up and remembered about selfcontrol in a way that made Eddie see stars.

Ouch, he said, putting a soft hand to a cheek as if he's just been slapped.

Another lady was on the bar now, stepping carefully between glasses and puddles of alcohol. This is precisely what we come here to see, Eddie mused, but as he was still rubbing his cheek, Estelle started to take him seriously. Oh, Eddie, she blushed. I couldn't behave like that no matter how desperately you were asking me, and the other lady shot a glance in their direction, sitting down hard, which of course hurt a little.

Doesn't do to fall out of control, said Phil, who took control as he remembered one of Estelle's earlier jokes and awarded her a gold star. That was mental, said Estelle, I plunge in whenever Eddie says plunge in, I mean by the way he looks at me, or certain gestures he may toss off in my direction and I know he's encouraging me.

Phil had turned elsewhere, but he was so mental it wasn't noticed, and Eddie and Estelle both wanted to be friends with Phil but somehow, what was elsewhere only stayed interesting if it was.

If I told the truth about all things, guess what.

It wouldn't be MY city you'd be visiting.

Follow this? All things have their own, shall we call ita sense of direction? I wanted to participate in a real world, but then it just got so painful. Here's what I did. I went to lunch, and the tablecloth was white and sparkling and the napkins were, and even a flower was on my table in a little glass jar, and I picked it up. I mean my fork, and imagined what my lunch was going to be like. Waiters, were looking at me—many waiters, as I was there in purposeful, frozen, I mean—that was the state I was in. A very frozen state.

28

That's what made it a different kind of city. It wasn't necessary to move, in the sense of moving on—see what I mean?

You interrupted my train of thought, should we call that polite or think about it. These are all attributes of your city. Not my own—see, the web I spin out of, suddenly—okay. Say suddenly, just lifted me into a sphere of being that nobody else recognized but you, me, and a hundred million Chinese. Why do I say Chinese? Because when rm crying sometimes I accidentally pull the sides of my eyes up and rye seen other people in tears also where rye come from so now, to make everything really different, let me say—this bite is for you. Then an amazing thing happens. He lifts his fork, rye already done that, and here spread on the end of it, was a whole roast, morsel of some sort.

A morsel of some sort.

No psychology anywhere here. No veined tracing of deliberate logical types.

A morsel.

This bite is for you.

Eddie looks out over the city and it speaks to him. But how does an entire city form words? Phrases arise in Eddie's head, no question about it. He turns to Marie as if to speak, then hesitates.

Marie senses his hesitation and says—Eddie, are you trying to put feelings into words?

And Eddie turns the pressure in his throat into a smile, and directs his gaze toward the window, that isn't there, and—look at me is what Marie feels an urge to shout, but that doesn't mean she is in any way arguing with Eddie.

They go for a drive.

Where did the automobile come from? Eddie was about to say—I borrowed it from an ancestor I called Father, but as he was long since dead, that couldn't be possible. Was Eddie dead? No, just because there was a certain problem with certain words coming or not coming out of his mouth, even after they had well started inside his throat, where did they disappear? Maybe Eddie was dead, and his father was alive in him or not in him and look—speeding around a corner a man in a checkered jacket—go slow, said Marie under her breath, and where did those words come from? thought Eddie.

But the man who was not Eddie's father cast his eyes down the street toward the car, which he definitely heard make a noise. And something in that maneuver vanished, or wasn't there to begin with. Certainly it wasn't Eddie, or Marie either, but a part of the city that decided to appear through Eddie, and he tried not to be too preoccupied, but still it vanished as he noticed the man looking in their direction.

I almost, exclaimed Eddie, decided to stop the car and run over to the man to tell him how much he looked like my father. This was later at a cocktail party. Eddie was drinking soda water. He spilled some of it on his jacket, but it was soda water. Eddie wiped at it, rather more 'blotted' it with a napkin. That was that. He closed his eyes (just for a second) and listened to the hum of conversation that was going on around him rather than to here or there a specific word or phrase.

By the time he had opened his eyes, only about three seconds had elapsed and whoever it was he was talking to hadn't moved. It wasn't Marie—she wasn't even at the cocktail party. And Eddie smiled and looked across the room and waved at someone almost imperceptibly, and he wondered if anybody noticed, and then he thoughtof course, whatever I do, people notice. And to verify that for all time, as it were, he heard a voice saying, "You waved, Eddie." And he tried to imagine somebody in the room waving back. The effort made the room shimmer, slightly, under his eyes.

Was it a shimmer? Something sped around his head in a circular motion. And Eddie forgot where he was, but a voice brought him back to reality, saying—Eddie, are you paying attention?

Of course he was. You can't imagine. Fm paying very careful attention. That should . . . suffice.

29

I was on the train to Poetry City. Then I took a particular drug that altered my consciousness. Why did I want to alter my consciousness? I had remembered to ask myself, why did I want to alter my consciousness at a time when altering my consciousness seemed self-evidently a desirable thing to do. I was not interested in thrills, I was interested in selfdevelopment, I told myself. Potential development, development of my potential, was what I called it. I was on this train. I took this drug. It was not that I expected experience—I did expect experience, but experience was not the aspect toward which I looked with pleasure.

I was on the train to Poetry City, and an image came into my mind. I saw visionary fields. I was on the train to Dead City. From the window of that train, I saw amazing transformations of the landscape.

 

30

Keep body and soul together, Eddie.

Why is everybody looking at me? (Pause) Fm not in a play, Fm talking language, but rm in the middle of my own life!

(Poetry City, kid)

If this were a play—

Tell us about it, Eddie—?

(Pause) A curtain would be drawn. And the audience would be in darkness.

If this was a play—a room would be visible into which one would project one's imagination.

A line of dialogue would suddenly emerge from the silence of dimly illuminated space.

(Pause) No. If this were a play—the room would be crowded with men and women in evening dress. Cigar smoke would hover in the air. And a chosen someone would lean forward as if his face were exploding. He wouldn't speak, because he wouldn't have to . . . but he would speak.

31

Oh Eddie, Eddie—you broke my heart with your stories about a brilliant childhood.

I also wanted to track down those elusive vapors.

But when the duck pond froze, opened, and then recoagulated, where could the ducks go?

How could they climb mountains, any of them, without my help? But rm so weak, Eddie, compared to you. The pencil falls from my hand. I drift, slowly, and by the time the telephone ringsI've lost all cause and effect as a way to realize what I signed up for in the name of responsibility.

All of a sudden, slumped over my table, I regained my balance and attributed it to the natural magnetism of whatever it is I'm really leaning on.

Because, you're still here, Eddie, and I resolve to make myself invulnerable . . . just like you.

32

Searching for a word, which was, in a way, the perfect word. (Pause)

As if there were, in a word, a key.

A key to what?

A key to twist the mental space into the exact space of what it represented.

Here, poised on this afternoon balance, Eddie drained his glass. Let's cover it first so the draining of the glass takes longer and the glass isn't drained.

You expected me to be wearing my coat?

No, said Eddie. His smile was semicomplete.

Then a number of people were revealed, in the room and outside, seen through the window with the snow falling.

Eddie had nothing to do with the marginal. His dreams were quite enough, and the round street—funny, was that a direction of the street, or something about the street itself, or something about the inside lent to a street by the inside itself of Eddie?

The nonfinished drink had a distinct taste, called nonfinished. Ah, that's a first, thought Eddie proudly. A name for a taste that really means something I can put my finger on, and then he wondereddid I mean tongue?

33

Everything was normal. Eddie knew that the snow was considerable, and he touched his feet.

A door opened in heaven and Oh, said Eddie with a smile, my smile is semicompact. All sorts of options slipped by and Eddie said, rm not in a dream, it's the normal and vast field of opportunities. That was punctuated by the passing doors and windows and street corners that went by on the click of every one of Eddie's individual steps.

Nothing counted like snow under the crunch of Eddie's individual foot, and what about that heaven through which a word smiled like so many newspapers on guard?

I make a fortune out of all the good things I find in the streets, said Eddie. He was thinking about the newspapers in particular, but because it was early morning and the rest of the city was only beginning to rise—gray, giving the color of pearls, were the phrases, step by step, that mounted in Eddie's mind like a hieroglyph—and he was off to the day's races, but who counts?

34

As Eddie advanced across the Oriental rug, which was as large as any he had ever stepped upon, his steps slowed. Eventually he came to a halt—could one attribute that to the fascination of the pattern itself?

The hieroglyphs (or were they secretly something else?) of the patterned design seemed, not so much to speak to him; rather to beg for a genius (Eddie was no genius) to invent a language within which they could find the appropriate setting, rendering articulate meanings possible, their patterned shapes as the agency.

The other guests—wait a minute, what was the occasion? Nothing was being served. No drinks. No canapés. Uh-oh—he'd made a wrong turn.

35

Were the animals really speaking to Eddie?

That question could be asked one hundred times, multiplied. The answer never changed, but it was beyond Eddie's grasp.

So he went into the fields, just like that. Notice, he said, and grabbed at his own flesh.

After rolling on the earth, he was covered with leaves and twigs. Do the animals speak to me? he self-inquired. Unsealing his own lips, done prematurely, he tried to babble in rhythm to the rhythm he fancied circled him. Enough of that (this was after a half hour) and he went back to the house for lunch.

Let's see what's on the tablea chicken sandwich. No babbling this time, but a similar mouthmovement as the sandwich disappeared (piece by piece) into the appropriate organ.

That's what it was like at lunchtime (new ideas were always launched).

Eddie was bliss itself—but that was some time down the road and for now, he turned on the radio to a space between stations, and picked up on static. Nice, nice, he crooned to himself as his fingers could hardly keep from dancing on the edge of the plate, and a smile surprised not him, but anybody else who might have popped into the room—just to see if he'd finished his lunch.

In Poetry City
Knives cut
When the air is clear
And diamond lemons
Roll from plates
Into the tunneled streets.

The sinking trolley vanishes
Past:
Or round a corner
Or into dust
As the "Oh yes
I've been here"
Pulls shades,
Trembling
Over the meal unfinished.

Run into the streets.
Roll with the round
Yellow fruit
Pouring from brains
That move
Like a slice
Through the neighborhoods
That pass,
Heat fixed
To the skull
That falls.

A plate receives messages.
A window retransparents,
And my eye
Solid
Builds.

 

 

The Mind King

There was no lack of accomplices. The Mind King assembled legions, which one could effectively count, and storming the streets, always on the streets, he, they, decided (but was it really a decision?) to inhabit what were known as streets, turning them all into the guise of what could thereafter be known as living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms.

The paraphernalia, the improvisation, all gently moved under by the imagination; the breeze that slid under all things until that rush, gentle as it wassoftened all enterprise into what memory alone heretofore presented in its agreeable and disembodied form.

Legions? It was because numbers were invoked, that the whole process could be seen as a process rather than a series of events. And generalization became, not just acceptable, but a glorious accomplishment of the human mind, so wellembodied, of course, by the Mind King, though it wasn't a body.

That gray, webbed matter that rolled on itself like coils of some intestinal machinetwo coils, said the Mind King, one for material food and one for mental food, and the two foods, similarly processed, similarly ejected from the body after the corresponding nutrients, extracted, fed.

And the notions that the Mind King dropped from the mind, idea to populate a world that of course was a dead if tumultuous world, here on the streetsbut wait a minutelook at these streets themselves, coiling in directions that echo each other and circle something no longer there. What digestive system herein operates?

The natural body is invisible (to those legions who cry in the darknessus, us, us!).

The natural mind is invisible to the network of useless ideas spewing forth, coagulating into so many gutless concepts as persona, soul, spirit, unconscious (and the Mind King had a name for each of them that turned them properly upside down).

And the invisible streets are the system of streets so-named when the idea of place is transcended by the idea of digestion, and the living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms that have been inside and hidden become spread and hidden within the center of activity that has no real beginning and no real end.

Then, can the Mind King totally spin, as is he wont? Coiling about himself on every level of his being, bleeding back into the fallen world, the everyone of his aspects to be discarded: and the rubble city that results, chewed into nothingness, while the real and empty nothingness of the Mind King rises, like a balloon.

Look, the legions in the streets are running after something they see rising in the sky, but they are easily distracted and finally, at the end of the day, two or three friends stand at the edge of a river and watch things in the sky, giving a name (usually incorrect) to each.

Finally the Mind King shows up, makes a few corrections, and all go off to some other activity, reassured that replacements can always be augmented by new replacements.

The Mind King smiles along with them, sayinglook, see how easy it is to do things just for the mysterious pleasure of doing things? "There was more involved than simple" Angus starts to interrupt, but the Mind King puts his finger to his lips and Angus falls really silent.
There was no lack of accomplices. The Mind King assembled legions, which one could effectively count, and storming the streets, always on the streets, he, they, decided (but was it really a decision?) to inhabit what were known as streets, turning them all into the guise of what could thereafter be known as living rooms, dining rooms,

bedrooms.

The paraphernalia, the improvisation, all gently moved under by the imagination; the breeze that slid under all things until that rush, gentle as it wassoftened all enterprise into what memory alone heretofore presented in its agreeable and disembodied form.

Legions? It was because numbers were invoked, that the whole process could be seen as a process rather than a series of events. And generalization became, not just acceptable, but a glorious accomplishment of the human mind, so wellembodied, of course, by the Mind King, though it wasn't a body.

That gray, webbed matter that rolled on itself like coils of some intestinal machinetwo coils, said the Mind King, one for material food and one for mental food, and the two foods, similarly processed, similarly ejected from the body after the corresponding nutrients, extracted, fed.

And the notions that the Mind King dropped from the mind, idea to populate a world that of course was a dead if tumultuous world, here on the streetsbut wait a minutelook at these streets themselves, coiling in directions that echo each other and circle something no longer there. What digestive system herein operates?

The natural body is invisible (to those legions who cry in the darknessus, us, us!).

The natural mind is invisible to the network of useless ideas spewing forth, coagulating into so many gutless concepts as persona, soul, spirit, unconscious (and the Mind King had a name for each of them that turned them properly upside down).

And the invisible streets are the system of streets sonamed when the idea of place is transcended by the idea of digestion, and the living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms that have been inside and hidden become spread and hidden within the center of activity that has no real beginning and no real end.

Then, can the Mind King totally spin, as is he wont? Coiling about himself on every level of his being, bleeding back into the fallen world, the everyone of his aspects to be discarded: and the rubble city that results, chewed into nothingness, while the real and empty nothingness of the Mind King rises, like a balloon.

Look, the legions in the streets are running after something they see rising in the sky, but they are easily distracted and finally, at the end of the day, two or three friends stand at the edge of a river and watch things in the sky, giving a name (usually incorrect) to each.

Finally the Mind King shows up, makes a few corrections, and all go off to some other activity, reassured that replacements can always be augmented by new replacements.

The Mind King smiles along with them, sayinglook, see how easy it is to do things just for the mysterious pleasure of doing things? "There was more involved than simple" Angus starts to interrupt, but the Mind King puts his finger to his lips and Angus falls really silent.
When the weather changes, the Mind King changes.

He is flexible. The wind blows him. But this is not a trivial flexibility. This is the width of his performance. This is total and vast. So the Mind King settles down to another one of his interminable meals.

Everything passes before him, and a friend, call her Marie, passes by in the street, just slightly tilting her head as if in recognition, unseen, of course, of the Mind King's presence (always present).

But his interminable meal goes on, only it seems not interminable; to the Mind King or even to anyone else and you know why? Because of his famous flexibility. Because of the wind that blows him and blows through him and blows all things through him.

So take this interminable mealof course it isbut at the same time, it's a light meal, a snack, and nobody pays it homage because it's gone before you know it: and it's interminableand if it wasn't interminable there wouldn't be any space in it or any holes in it and other things, like Marie's visit, couldn't blow through (as it were) so that nice things wouldn't have been able to happen.

Did we just say that Marie passed by and only slightly tilted her head? Oh no, she certainly entered the dining room and sat down next to the Mind King and had a nice intense talk. I think that's what happened, but nobody wrote it down of course (the words), so the best we can do is guess about it and our guesses are all going to come true, like the weather that changes and we change with itoops! I mean the Mind King.

The only ceremony he remembered, was the one in back, in the back of his head, he wasn't looking with his eyes.

The only ceremony he remembered, slow, ominous, with a sudden crackle of light right through the center that seemed so spontaneous

how can this be a ceremony, he wondered, with such spontaneity at the core?

Nobody answered all of these questions at one time, so drinks were served rather immediately.

But, why bother because rm already drunk, remembered his inside, and Mr. W could only smile along with everybody else, knowing that all references were to him specifically even though it seemed that other people were, shall we say, inhabiting his private equation.

Go to the blackboard, Mr. W, let's see your mathematical flash.

Mr. W went to the blackboard and wrote his own name. Wasn't that clever of him, to do that, and even the occasion, now, seemed to call for it, in retrospect.

This occasion, and Mr. W was there first, was all alone on the gray streetor rather, not still on the street, but rather entering from the outside to wherever it was he now was, which seemed neither outside nor inside exactly, but the gray fog did seem to roll effortlessly even to the interior where to relax could have been the occasion, but Mr W still feels that somebody or something was stretching his limbs and did he ask for that?

A redfacedwhat was this thing in red sweater, red pants, red lipstick, and hair?oh don't remind me of myself, intoned Mr W, who would have been crying tears if he wasn't able to immerse himself immediately in the book titles that belonged to something lined up on shelves like Dutch soldiersI like the tint of the windowpanebut of course it's hard, interjected the other, to read titles correctly under the influence of a fog like this.
Pulling a formula from his pocket, Mr. W saw it matched. On and on and onmatches and mismatches, but tallying up at the end of so many columns of colorsthe one with all the red, distributed like that all over the body pulled Mr W to a bench and he thought are you going to make me do mathematics?

Whose name is Louise, said Louise, pulling her hair back from her forehead with Mr W's fingers, that felt like it was rolling chalk dust between one or two he couldn't count.

If you see me bolt from the house, rushing to the bookstore, what falls into my hand? What falls into my head?

The connection between the hand and the head becomes, says the mathematician Mr W, not problematic, but something interesting by nature of that connectedness that tissues all experience, says Mr W, only he doesn't just say it, he expects you to perceive it as he does, a special kind of pointing that is like a special kind of pointingdoes one count with the fingers? (Oh, when did those fingers get internalized?)

Does one read, using the finger to trace the depth of a page?

When Mr W bolts to the bookstore, one or two or three that he frequents (using the fingers in a variety of ways) When he bolts to the bookstore, is it to be imagined that the volumes themselves, turn, ever so slightly, in his direction?

Of course they do, because his life is looking for the sweet fulfillment, or balance, or sufficienttotheneedand that is a perceptual thing mostly, and so it is possible (perception as it is) that those slim and shiny volumes do turn, ever so slightly, a face (if one can imagine where is the invisible face of each invisible volume).

Mr. W rushes about, mentally, as he slowly makes his way down the shelf.

So much agitation, so much calm. That's the inner into outer equation that Mr W thrusts into the thick of things. The direction could be reversed also and often is.

Mr W twists and turns with the blows of fate.

That's why a new doorway (volume) is always needed to bolt through. Through which to explode, as it were. Repeatedly, just like life. Its one true feature, those constant explosions of consciousnessyou didn't notice?

That's why Mr W is where you are notthat's why he's comfortable with numbers.

The Mind King checked his watch, and Helen, who had better things to do than tell time, whisked a hand over her forehead rapidly and thoughtwithout me, no new and rigid articles of belief.

Oh, they were so ready to attack her for herher what?

Beauty above all.

Above all else.

And she was beautiful. The Mind King knew that as good as anybody. Even better, because he was the Mind King. The Mind King.

And where beauty was, the Mind King could always psyche it out, which, he believed, was one of the many advantages to being the Mind King.

He went to the mirror. Fm okay to look at, too, he smiledthough not really beautiful like Helen.

And the question was whether the smile was attached to the thought about accepting his own looks, or to the great beauty that was attached to Helen's looks.

Part of his game plan was to slide in place. His mind. Sliding without any movement whatsoever. Sliding inside, uponas it wereitself. Was that, Mind Kingwise, possible?
But of course it was if a smile proved it, and a smile was wandering dangerously close to proof.

Widening his whole face. Sliding one face into another, more beautiful face. But not moving anything at all since, in fact, he had already been smiling; only nowlook! It was a smile. So THAT'S what it was!

Tight nothing. And the Mind King was buttoned down for a night of dream pictures. Everything had a key, or was a key.

And so the Mind King had work for a lifetime, that to other people looked like wasting his time. He pulled open a drawer and took out a pair of socks and indeed, did what everybody else does.

Wellsocked, he walked into the next room and rolled about a bit, that is to say first stretched himself on the carpet of course. What was this a key to, was busy, wondering, Harold. This rolling about, this donning of the socks which in and of itself was quite what you call ordinary?

He got the Mind King's point, but he didn't get the Mind King's point. His arm hurt; from trying to understand. That's the keyhow come the stress and strain in your particular case

My arm, Harold interrupted before he could finish his question. Yes. My arm. And it seemed to throb in reply. And thinking about that, he felt giddy, said Harold, talking about himself. The next thing anybody knew, Harold had thrown himself onto the carpet, and he turned over two or three times in a row in a particular way that one could have called rolling.

Harold is rolling they could have said. But Anna Marie asked him, politely of course, to take off his shoes because it offended her sensibilities to see the bottoms that did all the stepping on thingsand they did become very visible in the course of the rolling.

Oh yes, everybody agreed, Anna Marie is correct; attention is certainly called to the bottoms. And Harold was glad, in complying, that he was wearing nice (and somebody else read for that'clean') you know whatsocks.

To be vibrant, said the Mind King, I try to drive, walk, toasteven when eating my toast, I am vibrant, in my imagination, which is the way into the real, if you want to call it real. Watch me toast, I mean eat toast.

Phil, who was a little under the weather, couldn't have been asked to walk a straight line on this occasion, because he'd be wobbling at this point and he didn't want to reveal that wobble.

I toast you, he thought the Mind King was saying; and he lifted his glass alsobut stopped halfway as he saw or thought he saw the Mind King's eyes glitter in a way that dazzled him.

The Mind King was really crunching toast, turning it into the granular particles its very being was dedicated to becoming in the imagination, if it had such, and in an imaginary way it did, which led, of course, directly into the real, and indeed the Mind King DID crunch his toast. And Phil did NOT walk a straight line, except now he could have, because he was so dazzled into an alert state by the Mind King's vitalitywhich to him took the perceptual form of a vibration of sorts.

Where did it come from? Both the Mind King and Phil would have come up with the same answer and it would have been the only thing they indeed shared.

Vibrant, in their bright colors, they dressed in their respective robes, and Phil offered a toast to the Mind King, even though he had had too much to drink already.

They walked arm in arm. An imaginary kingdom was ready to receive them. No problem, smiled the Mind King as he walked and walked and walked in a way that Phil was unable to do (not, on purpose sort 00, noticing.
Who, not or not noticing? The Mind King. But, Phil also. What a pair! What an adventure. Just like always.

9

The Mind King, listening to the birdbus combination on the street, flipped through another interminable magazine and saidDoctor, Fm cured.

What are the symptoms? said Angus's better self.

But the Mind King was already into something beyond the magazines and he spread them on Angus's desklike a FAN, of magazines?

That image occurred to Angus, but Angus of course was living in the past, which he knew even if he couldn't put it into words. So he began to thumb through the displaced printed matter, and he remembered a story from his childhood aboutwas it a beautiful princess?pricking one of her beautiful fingers?and Angus flashed be careful and pulled his two paws back from the literature, at which point the Mind King after a suitable pause said "be careful."

Angus fearedisn't your warning a little late? Or premature, echoed the Mind King, reminding Angus that not only was he cured, but he no longer had expectations to be either fulfilled or unfulfilled.

So the "be careful" he offered wasn't an offering at all, but rather a plum that fell, as it were, into his hands to be sucked like an upright thumb somebody or other extracted from a thick pie full of things in general.

And sitting there with his thumb in his mouth and a smile on his face, Angus offeredyou look cured to me, though I don't know what Fm talking aboutwhat the hell.

And both closed their eyes and went on a bus trip but never got far from reality after all. (Whatever the birds outside the window were singing)

But here Helen came into the room and said how do you like my new job and uniform? She took off her nurse's cap after everybody laughed in a way that was careful enough to integrate itself into the other noises.

10

asis.

To move nothing, to touch nothing, to let everything remain

Somebody had to have answers.

If I wasn't here, would I be, here as if, dead? Absence, that's all, absence.

Slowly, the giant mountain.. . moved!

Tear collectors. Treat repetitions, like glass on glass doing mutual perception for exercise, only. As transparent as a bug, like"Don't bug me!" Don't bug me!

Here was somebody, going through his life, not controlling anything, not talking well, not with a sense of direction but just coming out, sometimes, with phrases which, because of the way they were placed, seemed to have a very oracular significance. What a perfect life, what a wonderful life.

Let's team up.

Doubt crackersyou know how often I've thoughtdoubt crackers. So perhapsthat's my ideal meal, unsatisfactory as it may seem. Doubt crackers.

It wasn't important to have importance, that was the big mistake.

Haircuts! Haircuts! Free haircuts!

Something, wasted in the collapse.

Solitude for salvation, here it isthe big choice.

My own reason for being here...

Hand me a letter!

It didn't seem possible, but the Mind King was out of books. Oh, the bookshelves were still full, but all of the books themselves were all used up.
Motor idling? said Helen, who picked up on the hum, and the Mind King said, its always this noisy but when one is distracted, that's a whole new chapter.

So the two of them trundled off a bit, and the first audible sign of life was an automobile turning a corner, far away from their path so it could have been called a glimmer rather than a potential conclusion. It did cause the Mind King to change the subject, however (he was always looking for excuses) and he exclaimed"Marie! (that was an excuse he'd later pay for) look what I found in my pocket."

It was a book, making an amazingly large bulge, of course, and Helen couldn't imagine how he hadn't till now noticed, since she certainly noticed.

While he was pulling it out, she smoothed the hair back from her forehead at the same time she was looking into a plate glass window (a mirror?). And on the other side a nice young man pointed(at the emerging volume?).

But she took it as a call to attention to her own forehead, which was wide and beautiful, and the Mind King ran his finger across the taut skin, going "crash" for a sound effect.

She didn't know he was anticipating a good hour or so of a good read and smiled as if they were having a different kind of adventure, which they almost did as he lost his balance (reaching across quite a gap to do the thing with his finger) and bounced both of themselves gently against the big window but fortunately nothing broke.

The young man on the other side didn't seem anxious, but of course now it was all over, and he probably hadn't noticed the same things they had noticed.

12

So strong was the wind that the Mind King was afraid of being blown awayoff his feet at least. He clutched at the bookcase and wondered if closing the window would do the trick.

Tricks? cried Estelle. Get your nose out of the bookcase and get over to the window, fast. But even as she was talking, the breeze had decreased to the point that one could say it was but a gentle flow of air, ruffling the hair slightly and bringing what, in another context, we and others have already called 'refreshment.'

Get your nose out of the bookcase, screamed Estelle, and the Mind King realized in a flash that it was Estelle that was unsettling him rather than a natural disturbance.

Of course he was wrong again, as Estelle left the room and smiled to herself behind a closed door.

At the very same instant, miraculously, the Mind King selected exactly the right volume, opened a page, and was able to either imagine or amplifycall it what you willthat the ruffle of pages turning set up certain atmospheric conditions inside the room that made air (shall we call it that?) circulate in a big way.

At the same time, Estelle's smile was so wide and evidentyet it still managed to be private.

13

Exoticism solves nothing, registered the amateur genius as, at his desk, he made his pencil proceed like a projectile as it scratched truths of different degrees of validity onto the page he imagined unfolding under the pressure.

Mental pressure? That certainly wasn't exotic, at least not compared to the jungle.
And he immediately swings his eyes to the right and lefthow odd to be limited to those two options, he thought, and decided to head for the place food was stored.

If nourishment weren't available, the whole definition of life would have to be different. He chewed on his pencil, briefly, and a thought of rosesrose in his mind.

Could you say it inflated, or deepened, or increased?

He wrote the word, pressing deeply, onto the piece of paper on his deskoh no, error, he was already lifting food out of the refrigerator, and before he tasted itthat is to say the next step was real eatingthe swallowing that happened was preceded by the aroma and he said "the aroma itself," and twisted the pencil in a new way between his fingers that made heatroses from the wood.

I really want to be outdoors, said the amateur genius (this was all to himself).

In the garden he noticed the flowers less than the background of walls and buildings against which they took place in what was a golden haze, and even in the distance things like parts of factories and other atmospheric coincidences that did seem to partake of the general industrialized setting in which all of this washow do you sayplaced?

The Mind King gnawed, one time more, lightly on the pencil he was still carrying but didn't need, except for his fingers.

All mental, he thoughtand wondered if he was trying to think "all

mental" but of course that was no problem.

Then he had a wonderful idea and made a pencil out of a piece of rosebush, the stem, cut properly (for the purpose) with an amount of lead attached at the end of the studdedwiththorns cylinder, and the writing that occurred from that invention had a whole different quality, which for a whole day at least was refreshing.

14

The Mind King did not stutter. No, no, no, shakes the head of Estelle, desiring above all historical accuracy.

Why do you talk about me as if I was out of the room? smiles the Mind King, as he reads Estelle's thrashing head like a typewriter carriage that knows the ropes.

But Estelle dare not tell the truth, because she knows the Mind King's temper, and she knows also her own fallible brain that can't put things together in their proper and absolute connectedness, and so that's why the things the Mind King says and the things the Mind King does don't reveal themselves to her in their normal and appropriate sequence, but rather overlap in her imaginary recollection of days, moments, instants.

One instant or another, fluttering like leaves of a book in a sudden breezethat's what Estelle thinks, her mind aflutter to see the explanations come out of her like a sputter that never gets more than started.

The Mind King frowns as he looks at her trying to speak and thinksI try to look at the world as if trying to look in a mirror. But Estelle wouldn't be interested to hear about that, so for the time being I think Fl! just shut up.

He smiles.

That makes everything better, thinks Estelle.

They don't talk. They just sit there hand in hand.

Solving thingsthe Mind King.

Solving thingshe didn't have to think: it happened.

His hand... cast a shadow onto the page upon which he was writing, he was always writing. And the shadow, was its own specific and dense reality, which did not mean, passing through denseness into the other realm that not even the Mind King could ever... Well... One could only... Only...
Over the certain field.

16

Taking this life for granted, the Mind King let tiredness enter his body. Could he retire into the distance at least? No one knew him from a distance.

Then, a man taking a walk on a normal afternoon, sees a dog and kicks it.

The dog goes home, chews on a bone and finds no human emotion so does not know that it is alone.

The bone, gnawed upon, knows nothing new. It dreams that it, too, might some day, chew.

The dream, taking a human shape, walks down the street and greets other human shapes.

The Mind King did rise to the occasion after all. Though there was no occasion, only a normal day, and that was an occasion he had taken his normal breakfast, taken his normal walk, kicked the normal dog on the sidewalkwrong.

That was only a thought he had while he was waving his arms in the air. That was normal.

A man was waving his hands in the air.

Truly, the flutter of the hands, informed the entire landscape. Nothing was.. . absent, exactly. But someone was.

17

The 11language forms bread: I chew: And the vocablevortstretched Into the furrowed space Collapses: No instant but own instant. Just hearspew forth Pardon glottle, Spit volcano,

Me tooism,

Unall my depths. Planted\transparent Permanent of course, In transit Like a glass that runs out of water.

Source vehicle second to none. Lapsed by lips Powbreaths Vocalizing, Vvvocal solid.

18

Tourist trapslattice

If it could be determined... that the most beautiful dream was the dream of a most beautiful city, the Mind King dreamed it.

He revolvedresolvedliving there was fanciful but true, so long as he could read this page, and he picked up a book, opened to any page, and deeper intricacies that were indeed there, uncoded in the depths of whatever seemed to have no depth.

Mind King, Mind King, Mind Kinghe found it necessary to repeat that to himself many times, and the repetition enlaced itself inside the code of the book.

What are you reading? Helen asked.

But he didn't hear the ask, he rather saw the ask, as if written in space to the sideno, one could say surrounding his forehead. And he entered that envisioned word, which Helen didn't know he was doing.

So when she askedhello, do you hear me? He repliedoh, oh, I should have said "replied not" he replied.

Taking her hand, as they sauntered down the street, the Mind King said are you tripping over something? We could have breakfast if you
like. But she wasn't able to speak of likes and dislikes in a place that revealed none of its features to her whatsoever.

Then, turning a corner, on top of a building that was just about as tall, no more no less, than the other buildingsshe spied an illuminated sign that went on and off saying "the Mind King, the Mind King, the Mind King."

And when she heard it, she said yes, now I can recognize that I am hungry. Lo and behold, it was time for breakfast.

Everybody smiles. That was easy.

19

The Mind King often slept, that was his way of returning to the source.

Sleep was his way of returning to a clear field, which the Mind King did as often as he could but not often enough.

When the void was entertained, the Mind King was entertained. He was empty insidethat's what he understood, finally. So he leaned against the wall and fell through an open window. Fortunately it was on one of the lower floors.

Unfortunately it was on one of the lower floors, and so when the Mind King fell through he wasn't at all hurt but he wasn't at all helped, either.

He didn't do much floating through the air. How did he come to be leaning against the wall? Was it instinct? It was deeper than that.

Once, a long time ago, the Mind King had leaned against a wall covered with wet paint, and some of the wet paint had attached itself to the Mind King's clothing. There was no effort made to remove that wet paint, it was simply allowed to dry. After repeated rewarnings, the clothes that had been stained with the wet paint served their usefulness and also became worn, and the clothes were discarded into the trash and that was that.

After the clothes were disposed of, the Mind King felt neither better nor worse; but when he thought about it, he could think about it like a new beginning if he so chose, he realized.

Feeling light as a feather, he risked leaping down the last three steps of the stairway he was descending. How did he come to be descending the stairs? Because he was trying to get from a high floor to a lower floor and using the stairs seemed more logical than jumping from an open window whichamongst other thingsmight have upset whoever in the street, could have been passing by.

As it happens, no one was passing by, but that was hard to predict for anybody, except the Mind King.

20

The Mind King in the depths of the swamp, the Mind King on the mountain, the Mind King under the bridge and across the forest in the wide field. Who calls?

It was the Mind King who said who calls. In fact he called down a long corridor like thatwho calls?

The Mind King knew he was inviting trouble and a man in a dark overcoat came stridingno, more 'walking' down the corridor in his direction. Fm trying to sell you something, said the man in the overcoat

No, Fm trying to sell YOU something, said the Mind King, only he didn't emphasize the you, and the two of them sat down to dinner. But as it wasn't dinnertime they sat down to tea to discuss things over tea.

When tea was over they still hadn't attained the subject in question. I have my own proclivities and you have yoursthey started talking both at once, but neither one found his or her sentencewhat? Was the other one possibly a her?

The Mind King asked both of them to take off any disguises that either of them might have been hiding behind.
That proved nothing, and the subject at hand proved to be no real subject at all. So the Mind King headed off in his direction and the other person headed off in his or her direction and then, laterensconcedeach of them went through a series of similar experiences, ending up with the departure into a series of different directions, so there was in fact a kind of yoke or link, between the many different locales (I needn't name them) that all the many different people ended up inhabiting.

The Mind King was in his room. He tried, very hard he tried, not to let the image of another place or time pop into his consciousness.

But of course that was very difficult and those pops did occur. So... he slept a bit (his usual solution) and come what mayhe went on in similar directions. CHOOSE ONE!

(Why choose just one?)

After a nocturnal episode, One: one: onethe Mind King continued his meditations. One: one: onea stone rose in his imagination. And from that simple stone, and the multitude that of course followed like an unavoidable echo, what did he construct?

Nothing got built. It was necessary to allow someone else into the room who was knocking. "PHIL." Did you knock?

Phil admitted it was himself. And he emptied the contents of his pockets onto the Mind King's table. Why are you doing this? said, or thought, the Mind King.

Phil had no answers since he was a product of the Mind King's imagination.

Not true at all, said the Mind King, shaking his head vigorously. As he did so (shaking) what fluttered from the ends of his hair were small drops of perspiration that hit the tabletop and hit Phil in the face also and Phil, wiping his face with his hand accidentally dropped a few stones on the table, and what was the Mind King able to construct from those stones?

A small landscape at least, and Phil realized he was being ignored and flewveritably flew from the room.

So the Mind King was alone again, with his thoughts.

He sucked the end of his pencil. He looked in the direction into which Phil had vanished and thoughtdid Phil vanish into a direction?

At that very powerful thought, he, having lifted the whole category of 'direction' onto a new plateau, the Mind King stretchedhis whole body on this occasionand direction was, inside him, even physically, at war with something that seemed to be a totality of directions, which itself tried to be a direction.

The Mind King, stretching, stretching, so that finally space was.

And he thought, here I am, all places at once. Just for a brief moment, transcending my disguises.

The Mind King.

But he was still alone and wished somebody, even Phil, would knock on the door, but again he knew it wouldn't be satisfactoryor would itjust passing through, what more could one ask for and why not?

Just passing through, said the Mind King.

Oh well, he had no place he really wanted to go.

21

The pull in the direction of the sky was... very strong. But he didn't really ascend.

Under his cap was a brain that heat attacked.

It warmed so, that his unbelieving self was... it expanded. And the brain wasn't involved.

Estelle put her arms around his bodyyou're burning up, she noticed.

22

Is everybody enjoying themselves? You don't know how to answer. There is a hole in your plate. I satisfy by what I put on the plate, into the hole. You smile and I smile back.
23

Something in the iron smoke that rose over the Mind King's head, spelled not words, but the swirl of smoke did seem, somehow, articulate.

And Deborah, who was a friend also, rose, and trying to keep a finger tracing the absent letters as they formed and reformed, drifted toward the wall using her feet.

The cabinet against which she ended was not to be opened, and the shining face of the wood held no secrets that couldn't be decoded according to grain, and Deborah anyway was left rubbing her back against the wood, though rubbing wouldn't have been an appropriate word in anybody else's vocabulary, since her body to all intents and purposes stopped moving when that contact was made.

By now the Mind King had put out the remains of his cigar and he inquiredDeborah, didn't it surprise me that you avoided saying you've never seen me smoke?

Deborah didn't answer, she now lay the side of her face against the cabinet also.

Is that addressed to me, inquired the Mind King, am I just trying to make conversation?

Deborah looked out the window and watched the clouds but no pictures came to mind. The smoke inside the room had dispersed to the point of invisibility and Deborah's finger was no longer up in the air pointing to the smoke. It was elsewhere, though still in contact with her body. The Mind King opened the cabinet and took out a blanket covered in silk and lying down on the couch under the silk coverlet... and pretended to be cold.

The Mind King was now interested in cows.

At the end of the forest path, a nonnormal.

Smile repositoriesthe Mind King knew that the empty roomauxiliary siphon machineshe knocked one. But knockednot: what could escape from a book?: sensesemi.

The Mind King wanted to reform his language. He decided to concentrate on letting phrases form, and lead him, as it were, into new strata.

Eloise was expecting him and sat, straddling the table leg, with her scarf around her neck but also behind her and in front of her in a pattern.

Why can't I talk like I write? said the Mind King.

Eloise reformulated it thus. You want to be with me, but you won't break off being with me. The Mind King didn't know what to answer and played with his butter dish.

24

I've reached the point, he offered, where I'm thinking too much, I know this, about the conclusions of the things I'm starting to think about.

He allowed his head to whirl. Then, guess what.

Something alert on the page in front of his eyes, twisted under his fingersis this my pen? But he was holding Eloise's hand. A boat went by the windowwet? It had things spinning, on its sidesare those propellers? Since he was in bed with a bad colddidn't that happen fastEloise agreed to lie down on top of him and warm him up. She was over the covers and he was under the covers. The only color in the room was a very pale bluegreen on the walls, and the Mind King said outloudmusic would jar my nerves. It would give a suggestion of a language but it would be smoother than I want my language to be.

Do I feel like this because the temperature outside is unseasonably cool?

25

In building a house, what do you start with, the foundations? That might seem logical, but I start with the walls, except I'm not building a house.

In cooking an omelet, where do you find the eggs? Guess what, I look in the refrigerator and I'm never disappointed.

Name it! Name it!

There's a right and a wrong way to do everything, except the results are coincidences.
In setting out on a vacation, how many bags do you pack? Nobody asked for a number, but an evaluation was similar to the fingers of a very aberrant hand to the forehead. Don't push! Don't push!

26

In a train, the Mind King remembered taking apart his baggage. What does he mean by that?

The load was heavy, but Marie said, Can I help? She waved in his direction.

In front of a barber shop, the Mind King cried outMarie, Marie, I value my hair, and she waved at the edge of his field of vision. So many memoriesthose belonged to the Mind King.

After the trumpets sounded, the Mind King emerged on the stage, wearing a coat and a golden crown. He carried a flag that was also draped over his body.

The trumpets sounded a second time, and the Mind King began speaking in a loud voice, the tonality of which was so dominant that the words themselves could not be understood. It was like thunder, rolling across the heads of the spectators, amongst whom were some friends.

Marie smiled and closed her eyes, as Angus glanced at her from the corner of his eyethat means, not really turning his head.

And all of them, awash in the Mind King's unclassifiable speaking, were at peace, which isn't to say that occasionally one or two didn't glance toward a wristwatch.

But in general, contact wasn't made with the dial, and nobody wanted even to whisper while the Mind King was speaking so all thoughts were kept carefully to oneself, unless you believe in a kind of mental telepathy which, of course, could also be interpreted as circumstance.

So when Marie rose and the Mind King was still speaking, it was a kind of shock to everyone, and when she left the auditorium, people only

halflooked at what she was doing even though it did register very deep in their consciousness.

The Mind King was not part of this, however. That was his problemhe, who had none.

And in continuing to talk and say nothing understandableeverything, even Marie's departure, was up for mental grabs, and that was even more food for thought. So whoever was there was, unbelievable to each one or not, really getting his money's worth.

27

The Mind King didn't dress, so when Marie came for a visit she said, you're still in your robe, and when the Mind King offered her a cracker from his plate of crackersshe hesitated.

Glancing at the clock she was about to sayit's not working. Then she realized her mistake.

And the Mind King was already on his feet, holding out his hands, palms up.

Marie put her hands in his, but then they had no place to go and stood there for what seemed like an interminable period of time.

Marie inclined her head to the left slightly, or was it rather the weight of her own head that did the pullingand gravity was not personified in that little encounter until the Mind King sort of imitated her tilt to the left, which in his case became a tilt to the right.

her seat.

You take the next step, thought Marie,

and broke away to return to

After she was comfortably (soso) settled in her chair, she had much cause to wonder, of course, where the attraction between objects, in this case her physical body and the chair to which she gravitated... but the Mind King was there first, and when she tried to sit she found herself descending into his lap and immediately jumped up fast into space itselfthat's what was filling most of the room.
The Mind King hadn't changed, and pulling his robe tight around the contours of his body he as much as said, This is my chair and that's your chair, at least she thought he was directing his gaze along those lines, and when she did sit, it was unclear if it was the chair she had been aiming at since the beginning.

The beginning of what? asked the Mind King, as if he could read her thoughts which, of course, he couldn't, so how did he happen to FALL upon those words? demanded Marie.

Before he could answer she knew the answer was gravity, and then went and tapped the clock lightly to see its arms align themselves with a slight jolt into a pattern more in line with accuracy was her interpretation, and the Mind King was content to let the dial express whatever the contingencies of the moment might, logically, be said to express.

28

The Mind King still in his red bathrobe.

He leaned on the edge of the balcony railing overlooking the city and clutched at the bathrobe as a breeze threatened but nothing came unbuttoned unless it was the mind, loosened by the breeze that did flow through so much.

Trains crackled under the electric wires, but that, too, builds into the Mind King's brain, or at least it went through into the eyes and then deeperor was it widerdispersed into the whole brain and, by a logically following network, into the whole body.

I see, the Mind King ventured, I am led by my ideas, but where do these ideas come from?

Marie still hadn't returned from shopping and he found himself led to the bathroom faucet where, as the warm water (it had been cold at first) splashed over his wrists he thoughtwrists, of course. Let me image a tribe of people, or a civilization even, that locates the mind THERE.

It wasn't that he imagined cutting into them with a razor blade, but he did make the connection that since the blood was so close to the surface, he could locate the idea faintly there in the wrist. It took a certain effort of course but he was no stranger to effort.

In order to put this mental experiment into action, the Mind King lifted his two hands in preparation and headed toward the door through which he knew Marie would be eventually returning. Not that he went directly to the door. He found himself in the center of the room, thinking about a good and relatively comfortable place to wait, since it might be a considerable wait, and wondered if it would be psychologically more advantageous to remain uncomfortable and standing with, as it were, hands lifted so that the wrists were exposed to the door.

Indeed... indeed, thought the Mind King, and he became relatively fascinated by that word and he also noticed a clock and wished he could hear it ticking but of course he couldn't.

Having decided on the difficult coursebut was it a course if he remained standing in place?

Of course it was since the clock which didn't, ticked in a very graphic way attached to the time passing, which was a stretch of time that matched nicely to the muscle strain that increased like a stretch, like a course of stretch as the strain became unbearable in his waiting position, though of course it was bearable though it was unpleasant, and the clock helped or hindered.

When Marie did return, he heard the doorknob turning and the heart beat faster a bit, which movement there made the the blood even more available for a moment in his wrists, and he said as she walked through the door Hello.

And Marie of course immediately regarded his strange position with his wrists lifted and pointing toward the door (herself with a picture in her own mind) with a laugh that she interpreted as going back
out through the door in any of several possible ways, and these allpossible, analyzed, which certainly the Mind King had available to him in a flash.

Hello, said the Mind King to himself as he lowered his wrists and Marie said of course, what were you doing? and the Mind King explained, and Marie thought about it a bit and then came and laid her own wrist across his for a while.

They both smiled and the Mind King said, what did you get? (Looking at the paper bag she had placed on an available table.)

Marie started to answer and the Mind King went shhh, and brought his free wrist (the one that Marie wasn't touching with her own) to his right ear and listened.

Could you believe, they stayed like that for fifteen minutes or so? (Marie, after an interval, had performed a similar maneuver with her own available left wrist and ear.)

And after that fifteen minutes or so they both realized it had been a very interesting experience but it probably wouldn't have general validity or widespread influence and so they were content not to speak about it much but sometimes they thought about what it had been like and on rare occasions they referred to it.

For instance, two days later the Mind King saidgive me your wrist, and Marie smiles and does so.

29

The Mind King on the streets, but though alone, not. (As it was only for a moment that other passerbys flickered in his awareness.)

A shop window? One of many, and that enabled it to vanish, but of course as it did so, so did the Mind King.

Who was it then, who put a hand on a doorknob and turned? Was this home? It wasn't the Mind King who entered the apartment, but it was.

First, he collected an armful of books (paid for, which passed like a dream) and then the weight of the books in his arms spun him back into the realm of regret he left with each dawnonly to return at unpredictable moments of the day.

Regret.

He anointed different features of his changing environment with this same, slowly coagulating fluid. And clouds drifting over the buildings spread from windows, or gaps between buildings, flowed slower and slower.

Regret.

It returned like a gun fired from one of those empty windows. Everything stopped moving.

But that was just for a brief moment, and then the day flowed on and the Mind King was back in the stream of life, licking his fingers.

30

The cabinet was open, and the Mind King collected items, and as his hands slid over these items, several flowers tumbled to the ground.

31

The Mind King bought flowersand he carried them home in plastic.

The Mind King bought flowersbut then he forgot to buy them. He was walking along the Avenue du Maine, and it was raining lightly, and the flowers themselves were damp with the traveling rain, and the only thing that wasn't traveling was something about the Mind King that was poised.

The Mind King separated, in his mind, the sights that were mainly the buildings or the spaces between the buildings on the Avenue du Maine.
How strange, he said to himself, that I want to clutch my head concerning the space between these buildings I am registering but not counting, on the Avenue du Maine. How strange I want to make such a positively melodramatic gesture, and he thought of himself sliding into a whole line of positive positions, and the negative space between the buildings on the Avenue du Maine clicked into position also, and that click didn't even make the slightest tremor in the very solid buildings that were built of stone and glass and slate roofs and the Mind King rolled his head in a way that echoed the writing of long flowing and significant words on the slate roofs of the Avenue du Maine from which pigeons arose, some with flowers in their mouths, which were called beaks, and the Mind King dropped his, and a passerby dropped his newspaper in sync but he wasn't reading it.

Look fast, whispered the Mind King, do you see words or roofs?

And the passerby was merely confused about momentarily having been seen as he dropped his newspaper without knowing why, and as the Mind King smiled and recorded it, a spectator on the other side of the street pronouncedyour flowers are more valuable than your newspaper so you see, there, on the other side of the street, confusion was a result of distance and angle of vision.

But with the Mind King there was no confusion, as significant words seemed to pop directly from the damp newspaper page into his consciousness as it rose tracing a trajectory from the damp pavement toward his chest, and arcing in an extension toward the passerby who was at the same time now bending for the flowers that had fallen previously and been so noticed.

Later that day, the Mind King was home (would you call it home?) sipping tea.

He spied his newspaper on the table and found not a single one of the words he had heretofore found so potent. But he didn't hold his head. There was no anguish.

And he had the immediate sensation of being on a platform, comfortable, that was sliding through space at an angle, at a smooth and rapid

rate, and he did not look, or even imagine looking toward his feet to discover the nature of that platform but the truth is it was beautifully carpeted and if asked, he could have decided to know that, and innumerable other things.

32

Marching here and there, treading the steps leading to the higher level of the city, the Mind King broke his arm.

Howyou may well askcould simply treading the wide ascending steps lead to a broken arm? There must be an aspect to that even, that has not been narrated?

The Mind King heard the question, of course, and smiled as he explained that the answer was very simple. In climbing the steps, he was at one moment, made dizzy by the thought of his ascent.

It was, in other words, an emotional experience, and the next stepfrom that emotional experience to the broken armcan be clearly visualized, though a visualization is not of course the real experience leading to the real broken arm.

Imagine a fall, serious and deep, from a position near the height of the steps.

The body could slide down an entire run of the stairs, and there could even be a slight circular accumulation in the trajectory of the descent. And in the course of that trajectory, the Mind King finds beauty and poetry even though other aspects of the experience are negativebut what are they?

What is negative about those other aspects? The pain? There really was no pain at the moment of occurrence, because there was surprise.

And afterward there was pain, but by then the Mind King was someplace else, seated in a cafe with his friend Marie, and telling about some very different adventure concerning the purchase of a grand carpet.
Nobody else could have imagined the Mind King carpeting exactly that section of stairway where the fall was to have taken place; but the Mind King, with the help of three friends whom he also paid a substantial amount of money, spread this excellent and colorful carpet over a length of the steps, even though the carpet did not, of course, conform exactly to the steps and there were sections between each step made ambiguous by the failure of the carpet to bend and fit snugly to the quick transition from step riser to step leveland when walked upon did that ease or interfere with the desired progression in either direction (because one could choose to descend as well as ascend these monumental steps).

At any event, considerations of practicality and safety gave way to the surprise of carpet laid over irregular stone, and when climbing this section of stairs, the Mind King knew that an adjustment of sensibility would be the unavoidable result inside the mind of whoever was not the Mind King, but who came upon this same sector and did or did not fall.

Oh, make no mistake. No marker or plaque was placed to convey any of this relevant information to the casual or not so casual passerby.

But when ideas hovered in the air, whatever their embodiment, the Mind King knew full well that influence was persuasive, though at the same time delicate.

So time would stretch forward, and as it did so, straightening out the folds of its own particular fabric like the sides of an extended accordion, the note that would inevitably sound would lift one (who was that 'one'?)gently.

And the vertical direction evoked was the same vertical direction the Mind King imagined as he worked his legs back and forth like pistons in the midst of his feverish dreaming that left beads of sweat traveling from his forehead into a flung forward arc that decorated the walls of the room or street through which his tumbling body zoomed like a gyroscope, plunged forward without losing at all its spunheld orientation, which centered, no matter how high it climbed, below.

(Oh, the Mind King

Oh, the Mind King

Oh, the Mind King.)

33

Uncovered, city three times Rebirth of straw Brain straw And the iron thump Lightened by drift Whole measured under the Laugh resistance Drugged into its memory mouth. The speaksAlone. Windwords of the peace tunnel That goes, treadsad Under the lamp outside the fist, Clasped in punch.

Each mind Whirled into another. City, heavenself Toward towarding. Bright stutter Wobbled By the taut telling Of itself, done, In the slice of a street That lifts Into the roll of roofs, (walls, threepart doors) That sink where the mind Smacks down the flat Bedtrust Of a sleep.
34

The Mind King found himself again in front of the wallpaper. And studying his fingers, he thought that what floated did not before his eyes, but shut, they echoed the fingers that shut also.

And Marie was already attracted to the flutter of eyelids, and the flutter of fingers. And nobody dared whisper in an alarm of whispering, at the very moment the Mind King passed through the wall into the

next room.

Of course nobody saw that happen. Nobody's eyes, in a significant sense, were open to the moment of the transition.

Now, fluttering the new appearance, himself into a mirror that stood forward like a lamp nobody looked into except, once.

The whole self of the Mind King made the wallpaper transition into the wall transition.

And Marie, who like everybody else had seen nothing, took a canapé from the tray at the party that stopped happeningoh, two, three hours ago. But which location were they deciding upon?

I might be in my own canoe, thought Marie, and she enjoyed the paddling that her little thoughts were performing in front of whoever happened to still be there, staring at the blank wallI mean, wallpaper.

So Marie was to make somebody like you, speak, and she shoved (but so gently) one of the morsels into Angus's open mouth, which had opened before or afternobody could properly guess.

But a guess wasn't appropriate in the face of such explosive, truths.

Later, sitting in a restaurant, the Mind King insisted it wasn't a trick. What then?

Nobody scanned the room, and he glanced, ever so slightly, at a wall

that gave no sign of buckling.

Then he told the story of crashing into a wall once, as part of a demonstration. What was he demonstrating? Solidity; and everyone laughedwhich is to say the people at the original presentation, but the repetition of the whole thing was good, too, only it wasn't the true whole thing.

And swallowing another morsel had nothing to say, and Angus was in a different city by now (many were) and Marie and the Mind King knew they were no longer among believersbut who was to blame?

Nobody.

So repeated gestures, even verbal ones, took on the flavor ofnobody could name it.

Just so.

35

What makes matter desirable.

The Mind King had a question that couldn't be answered. He sat at his wonderful desk, and his mind spun not, but his fingersoh, and he whirled enough to make everyone happyeveryone in the room?

He was alone. No he wasn't; the furious activity brought people running.

What makes matter desirable. That was the question the Mind King asked.

36

If it's his MIND that drives the Mind King, hasn't he gone far enough? Doesn't the blue sky surrender what it has to and then, soon after

1. The prophetic voice of the Mind King, echoed in somebody's memory.

2. Enough books to last a lifetime, that's what his library intoned.

3. The light waffled, which meant a hymn to a variety of sun systems.

4. A day without a thought.

5. When he erased something, it stayed erased.

6. Giants were in the land, and then the sun came out.
What comes from my head? Nothing, nothing at all, the Mind King explains.

He turns his head into a bulldozer. Into a snowplow. It pushes away, his head does, all the garbage, all the snow, all the other things that tend, there, to accumulate.

37

Suddenly, is it because the eyes don't focus?

The Mind King lifts from the bed and thinks. That means, putting a closed fist against his forehead. And everything empty fills with more emptiness.

Don't be afraid of that, of all things, the Mind King whispers to himself and decides to travel toward that hamburger he doesn't really imagine but the street seemed somehow to be leading toward it.

Amazing. The sign said hamburgers, or something like it, and the fact it was lightly raining only added to the poignant nature of the encounter.

Shall we assume that being filled up by a hamburger or two means being filled up in the head also? Who knows. But the Mind King.

38

The Mind King was not available, but in closing the door he left a very distinct impression, so much so that Angus, who'd been turned away, went home with the feeling he hadn't been turned away at all.

When he opened the liquor cabinet, this was several hours later, he looked at the aroma rising from all his various alcohols and thought about decorating his body with dabs of different liquors so that he would smell of different things, mostly of alcohol.

He didn't. Didn't what?

It didn't appeal to anyone else, and he wondered, why of all things, the Mind King had placed such a strong image in his imagination.

Ah well, it meant that the following day he would again have to present himself at the Mind King's door and again suffer a refusal of sorts.

His friend Marieshe was also the Mind King's friend, would have entered the room at this point and saidAngus, pour me a drink, too. Only she was a step ahead, owing to her own experiences, and if she did enter, all she said wasAh Angus, you seem paralyzed.

Angus turned and smiled and placed his left hand gently on his right wrist as if he was taking his own pulse. Then Marie launched into a monologue that seemed to be in a foreign language that Angus couldn't understand, and when she'd finished he said are you finished?

But don't be mistaken, there was no tone of irritation in his voice. Only a sense of knowing that he, Angus, could never again be sure of other people's motives. Be they the Mind King, who he respected greatly, or Marie, who he respected less only because he didn't respect her as much as the Mind King.

His pulse had calmed, he knew that much, but time might have done it alone, or perhaps while Marie was speaking he was thinking, in some way, about the Mind King.

Marie laughed as she crossed to the liquor cabinet and seizing a bottle of brandy she did something.

Then Angus gently took the bottle from her hands and sniffed at the open neck at the top of the bottle.

That took longer than one might have expected. In fact it took a very long time. And Marie relaxed in a chair watching Angus doing what he was doing.

Isn't it wonderful we can spend so much time doing this, without feeling . . . you know, strange.
But I do feel strange, said Angus. But it's a good kind of strange, Marie respondedand that makes all the difference.

39

The Mind King went into the drugstore and waved his nose, or was it his finger in front of his nose.

A cat smiledoh, we've seen that before, the Mind King exhorted, and his waving finger wasn't a threat but cat lovers such as Helen took it for one and collected certain medicines.

Hum, the shelves seem to be empty, mused the Mind King while he leaned against a glass cabinet until the minute man said 'Watch it!"

Why do I call you the minute man? exclaimed the Mind King.

He threw up his hands as if to say "I give up," but Helen of course, took it a step further, grabbed the cat, and got bit.

"Lucky you're surrounded by medicine," both the Mind King and the minute man chimed in together, and one or the other added good advice.

But it was the Mind King who was letting his hands circle randomly in space, and the space umbrella knew as soon as it was being involved, and smiled down words like "Mind King," and Helen could only sayget that name out of my area of operation.

By now, she, of course, was skidding.

40

The Mind King danced his way into the banquet room, but of course the room was empty because the banquet was yesterday.

What DID remain was a certain evocative pattern of shadows on the wallpaper, and the Mind King's 'Louis'that was the name of a friend of hissaid in his highpitched voice, "Louis"but he was really talking to the Mind King"be sure your fingers are clean before you touch the wallpaper to find out if the evocative shadows are evocative after all."

Why was the deserted room so full of ghosts? Oh, those aren't ghosts, the Mind King reminded himself, though his giant brain didn't need the reminder.

His giant brain, ha, that was a laugh, said Marie, who was always capable of defeating him at the most recent parlor gamesbut it wasn't my mind, said the Mind King, that suffered the defeat.

Was he speaking in code? Was he doing his act of recognition in code? Could be: because when Mane said "you didn't recognize me" she had just stepped into the room and Louis, his back turned, was trying to tell from the shadow who the shadow belonged to.

That's what Marie didn't understand, so when she looked at herself in the mirror, there was no mirror, and her face fell, and the expression on her face said something real about her identity to the Mind King who said "Louis will process this"and for one more time he knew that Marie's oneupmanship carried the day, which was fine, fine, and the wallpaper of the banquet roomdid he say wallpaper? No. Nobody noticed (rememberit was empty, thehow in the hell? ...

41

It was snowing when the Mind King decided to leave town. A rush of airoh, the wind, he fluttered sympathetically, and Hannah held out her hand at which moment the fact she was wearing red mittens (of course it was really cold) made him think about crying in the palm of his hand.

Without thinking he wiped his hand on the side of his pants, and Hannah thought he probably wanted to wipe it on the side of his face, but that, too, was cold and she touched her mitten to his cheek.

Why do we have four handsI mean two, that was the question presented on the inimitable billboard that every visitor laughed over as they arrived and departed because the question was changed each week as a public service to keep travelers, perhaps, interested. Shouldn't travelers
find plenty of things to be amused at?wondered the Mind King in a rhetorical mode.

Hannah had taken off at least one mitten by this point and was sticking her fingers into the Mind King's mouth, between his lips in a provocative way, and the Mind King decided the momentary substitution of fourfortwo hands in his flash of that provocative billboard had to do with the flash of topsyturvy when one of Hannah's hands explored the mouth while the other, the space between his legs, butwhat are MY hands doing? thought the Mind King, if one could call it thinking, as they covered the sides of his own headwhy?

Hannah wondered, except she couldn't see much because his face was blocking her vision; and the rest of the city, standing in for everything else, read like a blur.

42

The Mind King and plates. He lifted one to the light,

but the light it reflected in its porcelain surface had no center, that is to say

no source, and the Mind King pondered. He crossed to the piano and pounded.

So he followed his pondering by pounding, and Marie heard that and scooted into the room. Let me clean those piano keys

she knew the Mind King's fingers were covered with something or otherdon't call it dirt exactly,

but Marie was very possessive about her keys. Oh gosh, the Mind King intoned,

I forgot this was your piano. Could be, chimed in Marie, but nobody's supposed to know for sure.

She hid the dust rag she was thinking of, but it was too late and the Mind King pivoted on the spot, so selfconscious about the turn of events he had to end up sayinglook, rm dancing.

But Marie didn't believe him and found other things to do, like agitating the drapes, and flattening out on the couch with a book over her stomach.

By then the Mind King had long since left the room and Marie, he cried, but not too loudly and also he was faced the other way, across the lawn.

43

The Mind King sped toward the morning. Revolutionary level on revolutionary levelnot his idea, not his aroma.

Something in a window over his head opened, and a delicate face semirevolved.

Harold served the Mind King his usual roast beef sandwich, and the Mind King saidI turn this to idea, and as he chewed he did so.

I didn't know

What? What? whispered the Mind King.

Chewing machines, thought Haroldwhy did I never think of that? And he realized the Mind King was far ahead of anybody else in all those empty and intimated categories that flowed before them on the Formica table top. At the same time, he couldn't help thinkingElbows off the table!

And the Mind King smiled at the valued sandwichHarold, he whispered, can't you psyche out that when I chew, all parts of the body eventually change places?

Harold frowned, not from displeasure, but from mental effort.

The Mind King's brow was smooth; it was practically invisible.
44

The Mind King read one hundred books, and used his mind to erase each. What he could not erase, was his infatuation with aspects of a city he could not namedid he dream it?

Perhaps. But its roots certainly lay in vistas, snatched from more total vistas, folded perhaps in the dug depths of certain of the one hundred books, erasedyet being a propensity for imagining certain crossroads and facades.

This obsession crowned the Mind King, but the weighthead highspun him to basement zones, and he pressed his thighs into lifting space, feeling the particular muscles beneath him at a great distance.

It was that ability to project distance, into the very near, that gained and regained for the Mind King, the fluid and empty power that was his during the reading of books that was a double discarding: that blew his whole mind into the whole shape of whatever neighborhoods he visited.

And he opened a door onto one of the familiar vistas, suddenly recognizable inside the granulated space of his gray, veined imagining.

From a door flew a body, and the Mind King let it rise by twisting his head which, of course, never twisted scattering flowershe reached out to the woman before him (was it Marie? was it Estelle?) who was vanishing.

And that totality, incorporated into his wide emptiness, grew larger and larger to be less, finally, than a thing.

And a whole city could, and did, fill it. Exactly that thing.

45

Too small for normal sight But profound in delicacy Profound in the secret shift Of the whole mechanism.

A breeze, So light, so constant, Its twist of the mountain Slows into the massive Gluefact Of the paralyzed corpse. Was his truthtelling noticed? The idea was disguise. The idea was, microbelike To touch where registration Didn't. But voidsucked Live forever: The sickness without cause. Without name Without noticeable effect.

Sliced silence By which I mean Discovering what's inside
This man, I think, pulls me toward the sky. Clear light his extended self. On the Boulevard Rochechouart the window nonteased into the mind of The Amateur Genius.

The Amateur Genius levitated an arm toward the shop window. "I could have written that very book on the subject of the adventurer Jules Verne" (many miraculous adventures) he exclaimed.

The book remained, heavy where it was.

The bookstore was occupied by two people only, a buyer and a seller. Usually a buyer and a seller.

Oh, these bookstores no longer do exist. A certain meal is conceivable, also a fragrant synopsis.

None of this exists.

Space drops into its context, and the meal, the roast meats, the total paraphernalia of memory laced with what never happens, occurs again and again like a fidget.

The Amateur Genius went home. He fluffed a pillow and lay his head against it. Soft now, and thin fine hair, head held, made a medley of idea on white.

Oh, he scoured the apartment.

The Amateur Genius, slept into the bookstore medicine chest. Weight of books. "I could have written the same Jules Verne, the same Victor Hugo, the Boulevard Rochechouart Sunlight History and cracked

open myself a geniusskull with my own daylaborer hands, all the better to savor this very prayer."

Book in prayer? See how they line neatly under The Amateur Genius's long eye, long into the head, twisting like a coil in retreat from the light. Pigment factory. Mere joy, there in the dark.

Sway center.

The bookstore genius opening a door, like opening the leaves of an iron book into the darknessbut what warmth and moisture under the rising aroma of those blank pages; invisible meal.

Alone now, The Amateur Genius whirled into the double being that purged the ideas in his head. What a disappointment when a book disappoints The Amateur Genius, and the gold letters cover nothing, but genuine reflection.

2

In the occult city of Paris, The Amateur Genius rounded a corner to see a bookshop window pouring contents into the street. That was in his imagination.

A truck passed slow, and from it descended a young man with a star

noticeably on his forehead, who began searching through the disgorged

contents.

Remarkable enough generating a happenstance, three wide disks of metal versus twentyfive books with brightly colored dust jackets. A boardedup theater front that was perfect for receiving projectiles that, once embedded, would suggest an interior never to be fully penetrated.

The Amateur Genius himself lifted a book from the pavement. The truck, now turning a corner, the young man rubbing his forehead with the back of his hand and tossing his one selected volume toward the theater front where it penetrated the wooden boards to lodge there in apparent permanence, half into the wood.
The Amateur Genius himself tripped on the pile of book garbage and fell face forward. The young man looked back, but rather than offering help, sped toward the now invisible truck.

The Amateur Genius pulled at the boards covering the theater. Why? He was looking for something.

Somewhat later, The Amateur Genius came into money and retired. But of course, he faced the problem of what to do with his life.

"Keep active," ordered Maurice. Its disgusting to withdraw from life plus you'll get depressed very fast.

"This in itself is a kind of adventure," he thought to himself. All it needs is a slight twist of perspective to make it interesting enough to engage me totally. 'What's in the head now?" he wondered.

The Amateur Genius turned on the radio and poetry radio came through. "Where does this poetry come from?" he queried himself. It interfered with normal reception, or normal radio, and The Amateur Genius went for a drink.

"Me too" said Alfred. "Me too sometimes when I twiddle the dial, here's what I do," and he clapped hands over his two ears.

"Poetry radio is very disruptive" chimed in a neighbor,"and I hardly think it has a right to call itself poetry, though I can see why it calls itself radio."

That made The Amateur Genius think, and as he promenaded down the boulevard afterward he did disruptive things, though they were only disruptive internally so that nobody else would notice.

Everybody else replied, if questioned, "The Amateur Genius? He looks perfectly normal doing his perfectly normal thing."

A glass of water. Water. A breath of air.

Ah, what a web of intentions.

Sitting in the cafe, watching the city, something WANTS to happen here.

I open a door.

If one confronts, this trajectory, this web this world?

I went to the cafe. Crystalized morning: I went to the cafe. That is, I left by the front door. A click released the lock, which reverberated in me, that click.

A world, full of intentions.

A grid of intentions.

A web of intentions decorate, circle back on themselves.

So, have none!

Oh great mirror city, is it this moment that will release me? lift physical into spirit?

The great work, trajectorytantra.

Enter geometry city.

The world is a mirror I sometimes fall into the trap of believing in.

I arrived in a city.

Oh city apostrophic mode, city of turnings is what I call you, because each small street turns geometricized, and reveals reflections of its former self.

The chimera named The Amateur Genius appeared and spoke his own chimera self.

'What city is it, where a corner restaurant, speaks ... ?

Geometry city, mirror city?

Light... like another place. Nectar of light, painting flowers on faces, angels, avengersis it you, The Amateur Genius?"

Yes: I realized the sweetness in me had to be me in me.

Not in the city sketched in front of me.

I was drunk on a molecule of water, a sip of air.
A life spent reading.

The Amateur Genius entered the book. He vanished into the book. He imagined a book into which to vanish. He imagined the others who had vanished into the selfsame book. He imagined that total country. He imagined the many and distant countries that had been formed by each book in his library, each volume linked to the many others of the same title existing in many other libraries read by many others.

So that meant many people, linked in invisible units, controlled by the imaginary countries of the different books that were read.

Many people such as himself belonging to many such secret units, having no idea of the identities of the many others so linked in similar, if not quite exactly similar, imaginary realms.

So close and yet so far, but as if the book at the center were the alive thing, and the readers, such as The Amateur Genius, of course, mere parasites, living off the vividness of the book even if it was not a vivid book.

This was a mystery he realized, and he realized that it was a mystery echoed in many forms; in songs and dramas and other formalized events of the imagination and even language itself, from which all drank and into which all disappeared; so that the link between them all was profound but full of aberrance and absence and ineffability.

Fm trying to reach you where you are, says The Amateur Genius. Fm trying to have the effect on you, the major effect on you.

Fm trying to bleed the major organs in the way you already know is possible. Fm trying to be at the very center of your life, says The Amateur Genius.

Not your dream life, except it's your dream life that I consider your real life and vice versa.

The Amateur Genius, before his departure to the mountainsfeared heights in order to relish his fear. He stood once, on the roof of a sixstory building.

Nothing unusual happened, and that was the material he had to deal with. Had to. "Had to," he repeated to himself, imagining the journey back down the stairs to the ground floor.

The Amateur Genius undressed, in order to pose better, and lifted his arms as if flying.

When he returned, the depth of his adventurous nature asserted itself. Looking at himself in the mirror, something happened, not funny; but he was already cleanshaven and his heart was in his throat, which grew, grew, until his language inhabited a dimension that had one direction only.

The Amateur Genius finally made escape so relevant, nobody could claim to see or not see.

He, in his mode of locomotion, invented only those categories no one else cared about.

Once, on top of a mountain, the fact that I did not have a vast cosmic experience only hit much later.

"Where am I?"

"Recognize this place? Too bad, you didn't break the code."

"Give me another chance," you say? Of course.

The Amateur Genius saw double, and chalked it up to the fact he had not one but two eyes. Like everybody else of course, but not everybody else dove into that fact as deep and profoundly as did The Amateur Genius.
One evening in the presence of other people, he keyed out of the conversation totally and just concentrated on tricks he could play inside his own two eyes.

It made where he was seem evocative of someplace else he had been or had imagined. And it definitely renewed the freshness and spontaneity of the place in which he in fact was.

"Wait a minute," said The Amateur Genius's alter ego. "Does a place have spontaneity, or is that not a quality reserved for a person only?"

"A spontaneous place. I can see what that would imply, but is it not a rather irresponsible mixing of logical possibilities? Hmm, there must be a valuable hint in that improperly phrased idea that occurred to me so spontaneously."

'What place am I?" and he looked about the room, carefully noting how fragments of his own body, glimpsed, framed that view.

Suddenly he felt a rush of genuine energy as the phrase recurred in his imagination, almost this time taking the form of palpable red letters.

"This (and the word 'this' was not part of the nascent physicalization, important to keep in mind in order to make the phrase itself more universally applicable) thisspontaneous place."

It was just an ordinary room, of course. In which anything could

happen.

10

"The way the brain works? I can't be expected to be expected. Three times, which has to be very significant, I was corralled (collared) by my own lurch into the realm of the dark youguessedit."

The Amateur Genius talked a lot like that on his travels. This time he was off to a better than ever place. Whiskey in one hand, nothing in the other, he resolved to be better and better at the game of life, "to the point," you might say, "and, more to the point."

The Amateur Genius, some trinkets assembled multiple, descended down the wide imaginative steps that spilled bright into the morning sun, washed and washed doubly, through a projected and swallowed gleam. "Oh?"in the head.

He, The Amateur Genius, was descending to the river, current or not, may run at the foot, so very, very, very.

12

Asked to comment on XYZ's book, The Amateur Genius surprised himself in his own mirror.

Usually his mind was or had been ferocious. Now a certain elegance of the hand, lifting slowly to the forehead, was all that remained.

The comment requested, be it understood, was to be written in his own hand but when he turned sideways the hand vanished. And then it was back. In full dimensionality.

Hmm; how include that in one's consideration? No one would understand.

Zap. And he did it.

13

The Amateur Genius went into a bar that said BAR in red letters, and the gray wind wasn't a problem on that particular day at least, when the man behind the counter said"your choice."

The Amateur Genius decided to stretch his reply (his language) so thin that the man behind the bar wouldn't even notice what he said or that he did say anything. The Amateur Genius sat; to the brightly dressed lady at one side he said "my strong point is my ability to stretch my language so thin, it stretches space itself."

"My strong point is to use or write a language that possesses the inability to 'do' anything."
The lady in the brightly colored dress flounced a reply of sorts, and The Amateur Genius retreated from a caress even though a beer was brought to his table.

"Hmm, I thought... I was still leaning on the bar,"he thought. He retreated, understandably, into his wonderful language that didn't touch or affect or move even a speck of dirt.

"You see, this is a 'weak force' phenomenon," he whispered to the crowd that was just, as it were, dissolving under the laser beam of his visionand as the light grew, The Amateur Genius smiled ruefully to himself and thought"oh, not again."

So nobody moved a muscle.

"You see," said The Amateur Genius"to move things with language is to stray, fallen into the material world."

He drank his beer. No. That's not true. He didn't.

14

The Amateur Genius had nothing to say, and the moment he knew this with a certainty his mind cleared amazingly. He could go anywhere now; his speed was unequaled.

Mind stuff: empty of everything but a laughter that had no source, no object, no dimension in and of itself either, just the perpetual shaking and cracking and fissureadventure that existed independently of all substance: mind stuff.

When The Amateur Genius returned to the bowl of creation, that is to say when he reencountered it in the absence that was 'him inside his knowledge tunnel'Look: you should know about what The Amateur Genius had printed backward on the inside (visible to nobody) of the thin white band of ribbon he affected to stretch around his forehead and back over the ears completing the circle of his head.

"I KNOW NOTHING WHATSOEVER" was written, and it was the 'whatsoever' that made it effective on his brain, concluded The Amateur

Genius, whenever the pressure on his skull reminded him of the words embossed (backward) thereon.

The Amateur Genius did everything as usual. But of course, it was more like an adventure, and the habitual tasks like going to the market archetypically filled his days in a way that made choice a nothing; and knockout blows to the imagination ramroded themselves in through the fingers that seemed to press again, lovingly against his bulging temples.

"Ah, everybody is looking at me now," thought The Amateur Genius. He smiled, hoping it would light up everyday life and it did. Because even the snickers seemed to bounce into the life of the people who snickered in a different way and they found themselves, a bit later to be sure, catching something out of the corner of an eye.

"But where else I ask you, the corner of an eyewhere else?" and one realized that it was The Amateur Genius who somehow put such thoughts and such words into one's head.

15

'Speeding, speeding,' The Amateur Genius said. "Now that I am in speed citybut look, nothing in fact seems to be moving that fast."

Ah, somebody else knew better.

"Speed," he intoned, and the belllike sounds of his 'speed'word cut off a brain or two at the roots at least.

What gushed forth was so pure, so uncontaminated, that the only available response was a kind of acquiescence; what a remarkable cushion upon which to set that single and brilliant word.

So the dwarfs of speed city (they all looked like dwarfs in their speed, said The Amateur Genius)party going or not, all coagulated into a flux that indeed seemed slower and slower as it got faster and faster. And it was only that DOUBLE movement (both a matter of reference frames) that allowed the musical fact to take over other kinds of notational facts totally.
"Ah, that's what I meant by totality when I said speed," cried (for a second time) The Amateur Genius. "To mix up my words, Fm into that big."

And everybody else, distracted by some different revealingitselfforamoment phenomenon, applauded with energy.

16

The Amateur Genius was on a street where the brick surface of the wall confronting him did sparkle, deserted as the street was on the Sunday that it was; and The Amateur Genius tried to think about the brain roots that twisted into a very real antispace, spaced into the careful click that widened as idea on idea performed mutual erasure so that the writing The Amateur Genius did (and upon his very brain The Amateur Genius did write).

"Write not the ideas," spoke The Amateur Genius. "The ideas perform in mutual erasure."

'Write rather the brainstem rush. So when that is written nothing is written. Or rather, the writing speaks so the weakened eye speaks a kind of internal stress and strain out of which pop the grapefruits of, dare I say it, a second world, a third world (there are grapefruits that do thinking as well as other sweetness)."

And the orchards waving, found not a wind in which to comply, but popping through and into space, a carriedout emptiness was a container and so slowwith the fire it did not have.

17

The Amateur Genius abandoned effort.

In the room, with large windows open to the garden that was not visible, dominated by the light, effortlessness was possible. It expanded, not sought.

The goal was behind him, passing through him (it flowed through him) and they said, "How can a goal be inescapable?"

"Turning, twisting, one never hides from it? Nonachievement as a contradiction in terms, an impossibility?"

And one of them grasped it.

18

The Amateur Genius and the dogs. He killed some. Others he held in abeyance. But 'Whose dogs are these?" was the real question The Amateur Genius was supposed to answer.

Why not? Why not answer if he is The Amateur Genius after all?

Because his answer would mark him The Amateur Genius, and once marked he would be in the street as a tall kind of king that nobody else could see or touch or relate to in any way whatsoever.

"Isn't that what I'm after?" asked The Amateur Genius.

And he answered himself not quite. "You have corralled your own idea about yourself quite effectively; but after it's all signed, sealed and delivered, what you really want is a cool time at the end of a leash, so change places, which even you can't do, and just wait, wait, till every dog has his day."

Oh, The Amateur Genius strained at the end of that particular leash, and as the shadows on the street deepened everybody on the street sent him a friendly smile, which he alone knew (on each of its separate occasions) had no reason to be thought of as real even though it smelled nice.

The Amateur Genius confronted the ocean, but from the safety of his hotel window he saw nothing but waves and a horizon. Oh? Turning to the tea, which had been deposited in his hotel room, The Amateur Genius said aloud, "who shall share this tea?"
As it happens, he was alone. Everybody called him The Amateur Genius. Then the telephone rang, but just once, and nobody was on the other end of the line. A metallic voice said, "Hello, watch for me to arrive in a helicopter."

And when The Amateur Genius directed his gaze toward the window his angle of vision was such, he being deep within the room now, that he could no longer see the ocean. The telephone was the other big feature. He held it in his hand and studied it.

Soon, his gaze relaxed, and the object seemed to vanish along with the voice.

20

The Amateur Genius entered a room with no back door, when someone entered to drink coffee and his head(who? The Amateur Genius?) went into some kind of terrible spin.

"I can't open the door to my own mind, so how can I find the way out?"

Oh well, that wasn't The Amateur Genius. Not yet. He only featured the unrecognizable tone of voice that somebody else was as good at using as he was good at using.

"All of us decided to party in some of the best places," said the man who came in with the funny crossed eyes. And once he'd really drunkedup his cup of coffee, he went into all other areasfast? The Amateur Genius wished it were so but he was thinking about himself, not the excrosseyed coffee drinker.

"You haven't asked for much in the way of explanation," he was challenged.

Oh well, The Amateur Genius didn't really know from tailspins or anything else worth half talking about or not, so he dropped in and everybody else had a good laugh but as of yet, they hadn't shown up.

"Then who laughed?" wondered The Amateur Genius?

Ah, the back doorthere it was!

21

What does(did, did not) The Amateur Genius receive in the way of communications? Oh, he wasn't only thinking about wordsnot the point in fact.

"Can you point at things," said Marie, "and believe they come from the real source?"

"Oh, Marie, who knows from sources; the very words themselves have a physicality when I write themshould we call that a source? Writing something and saying something, that's an interesting distinction, Maurice, don't you feelT'

"Yes I do. I feel that words arising from the hand movements have, A) a kind of materiality and, B) there's a little delay in the writing, isn't there? That delay lets something come into the writing that lets, say, just let's say I will call it the source; or write, if you please'The Source,' and you have to know that saying it isn't the same thing because there isn't that kind of slight delay that lets some things get through, through the web of the writing and keeps other things out."

"So maybe that's why I'm not very much into talking to you or to other people."

"But if the communication could be written, which means through the hand, then the necessary gap and the necessary flicker of possibility between imagination and writing could make the facetoface relationship less face to face and more hearttoheart in a desirably bonded way that is not possible, unless a certain hesitancy is ever present as the rhythm of respiration, and that third part (the mutual hesitancy and respiration) is the important member of the triad. Between two, but it's a triad; between a hypothetical me a hypothetical you and a never varying third item that is consistent and the natural sourcethat gap that is always the source."

22

The Amateur Genius hoped, and a mountain rose in the distance; "was that there before?" he asked.
And before he could answer, who rollerskated by? Nothing but pavement. Lovely wide pavement was revealedOh my God, under those roller skates!

"But how many mountains do I have to manifest, or discuss, or put my fingers on in order to say 'these are real or these are not real' then I lose my balance," said The Amateur Genius, "but I never lose my balance because SPEED comes into the picture and turns a tumble (thank God for my roller skates!) into a triumph.

23

The Amateur Genius tossed and turned over a leaf, the folio falling from his handswow! A traffic light in an unexpected place was enough to stop him cold.

Marie, in the back seat, said loudly"Fm convinced that your combochanges, reaching a carI mean recombined."

"Ha," he said, "I avoided all the collisions you could think of fast."

"Fast," hissed Marie, as another corner was turned and a car with indistinguishable letters pealed to the left.

"Why am I asleep left dreaming about. .

"Don't finish your sentence," said Marie, calm now.

But The Amateur Genius was far from calm, though his hand didn't shake. On the steering wheel it was as if radiant, and the 'spin' though only in his imagination, didn't expect memorizable text in the other to keep piling up new and ever new nuggets he packed so tightly into his memory bank.

Marie was forced to hallucinate "don't go to page one hundred before I've had time to digest what just whizzed past."

The trolley beside them couldn't turn, of course, unless the track it was on turned for it. "Is that absent?" The Amateur Genius grumbled to himself. "No, that's my kind of freedom, the kind I like best," but Marie kept on thinking he was deep into his own turn of thought so she heard nothing.

24

The universe turned on itself and what resulted was more of itself. A new street, the sudden coagulation of a window, multipaned, and energy from a doora part of the universe holding its head, even bandages that seemed to extend to a bridge crossing the universe of a river that turned on itself.

And voicethe pain voice that wasn't a paindid cry now, "Beautiful sunlight that I am, I shall riverinhabit; turning against multiple feet, bathed into the desirable universe water."

The universe entered its own brightly lit room.

The universe ate, and a thousand mouths, miles, smiling into the blank hole where The Amateur Genius sat.

25

The Amateur Genius knew that time stopped. He lurched through a window and the cold air blew and blew and The Amateur Genius grabbed his hat.

"Seated in an apartment?" questioned Marie. "You should be out on the streets holding your hat maybe, since that's how I like to see a man, looking like himself."

The Amateur Genius smiled and touched his watch, though Marie only said "Why are you touching your wrist?"

The Amateur Genius went into the next room and turned on the water tap and lo and behold, water poured into his life.

"I don't want to come in there and see you with your hand under the tap" pouted Mane. But The Amateur Genius heard nothing but the roar of the water and he mused how a thing traveling past at a certain number of definite miles per hour was at the same time as constant in motionlessness as his own fixed, steel, iron, ice, eye.
26

The Amateur Genius, spinning to a direction he thought to be west really discovered it was east, and the various sidewalk vectors said, "Look, we are people really."

And the individuals who spoke this were headed in so many directions that The Amateur Genius knew a town with so many tasks under way was strong enough to surface and resume in his dreams even.

Laying his head on a pillow that night, Marie interrupted his reverie. "Guess who I ran into today"

But before she could finish, The Amateur Genius caught a gleam of light in her eye ("It was me").

"Did you say that or did I imagine that?"was it Marie or The Amateur Genius who DID go on talking when it should have been lights out.

"How do you notice enough to turn everybody you meet into real people?" but The Amateur Genius had that problem solved. He just let vectors stay vectors; in other words the flow continued and he stirred"Ah," said The Amateur Genius, "a pot boils even if you stir to make it calm. That goes for people, toowhy my relationships if not calm exactly, do get on with it"and Marie had by now turned her back only The Amateur Genius knew it was an invitation though Marie didn't.

When the nightmare was over and breakfast was being served, The Amateur Genius picked up a very sparkling white napkin from the tableclothbut look, it was attached. Was that a trick of Marie's?

But she seemed surprised also as some of the more precarious of the leftover items tumbled to the carpet.

Down on all fours, the morning sunlight streaming through thrownopen windowsdoes the sunlight come easier than ever?

Well, it was true that the circular in The Amateur Genius's system was even MORE fluid whenever he was under a table as he now was, searching even for a piece of buttered toast that had of course picked up whatever it was going to pick up from the carpet.

"Look, Fm wearing the jam pot as a crown." Marie said that but nobody registered it, and just as when she turned her back The Amateur

Genius knew it was only one of a hundred ideas that went through her head so fast it was up to him or anybody else to choose.

That was why he liked being on the street and he felt sure that today also he'd be taking a walk.

27

The Amateur Genius couldn't close the window, but the time he'd spent (lots of time) was covered with a purple cloth hanging down in front of his eyes that said 'silence' in its foldsand The Amateur Genius, too, folded.

How strange to be so soft on a street, he communicated to his friendsbut where were they?

The Amateur Genius felt himself to be inhabiting an interior, but though still on the street he shifted the position of his body so many times nobody would have known if he were walking or twitching in place.

Thank goodness he was alone but much later he noticed he wasn't. It was at a party where everybody he met said, "Surprise, I saw you hesitating at the shop window, hiding your face in your hands."

Caught like that, what could he do but smile and assume the purple mantle of sovereignty he always assumed at believing himself to be the center of attention .

Marie was peeking through her fingers, when a rush of air made her shiver just a little.

"Here's half of my candy bar" offered The Amateur Genius, and it was her delicate fingers uppermost in his mind that was certainly collecting images that made him say, "Wait a minute: do I want to lead her down that particular path?"

But gobbling her portion of the candy bar, Marie was in no mood to argue and The Amateur Genius just folded one more of his royal ideas
into the very brain that didn't have to choose, so vast was its ever growing collection though nobody ever looked inside to see what was going on.

"Can I look?" No, Marie, you made your choice.

"How could I resist?" she opinionated, licking her fingersBut The Amateur Genius was halfway down the boulevard even though there was nobody there to see him move and it didn't look like he did.

28

The Amateur Genius; the body tilted; the sun through the available windowbut what? who? how?

By the whoosh that The Amateur Genius had not surfaced inside of yet, but those were his methods of rising.

So it was, and the piano played by Marie surfaced also into the relevant experience tableau, bright elements overlapping the expectation of a sweet taste in the mouth and Marie said"Music distracts me, isn't that a surprise?"

And Maurice replied, "Oh, Marie, give me your hand so I can be hand in hand with you only." But the piano playing was a real distraction, and Maurice found himself tripping across the terrace screaming out, "Hello, hello! My circular movement is an idea but has it really taken off?"

People went to the window, but they didn't see Maurice who had already thought better of his way of behaving and disappeared leaving only a piece of paper with his name on it"I am Maurice maybe, and I'll be going home."

Marie knew where home was so she had more tea and listened to a little more music with confidence but what did that listening amount to on this occasion? Oh well, she didn't recognize tunes exactly, but the multiplicity of notes. Something Maurice had once named real excitement but now he, too, was off center and Marie cocked her head

to the side without realizing the different things she seemed to be imitating.

The Amateur Genius again at the window. Opening outward, he knocked on himself and the window remembered breaking.

As soft as was the experience, The Amateur Genius always conceptualized it as a very tough thing.

Turn. He even did so (turned it) and was surprised at the way it eluded him, but of course being The Amateur Genius could also be thought of as a disguise. One of many. So The Amateur Genius returned to the party that was in progress.

29

The Amateur Genius placed no bets. His own number arose like a flag in the sky and who waved it but The Amateur Genius himself, in a way that called no attention to either number or flag.

Then, when the boulevard was terribly crowded (with people, we assume) other flags started appearing.

"Oh no," The Amateur Genius thought to himself, "I'll just disappear into the crowd and the best time to do that is breakfast, since it should put a 'certain tone' to the whole day."

Marie wasn't sure about the differentiation between breakfast or dinner or even other meals for that matter, and did she say so?

No, because the person she was facing (who was The Amateur Genius, of course) was turned in another direction sipping from a cup of coffee.

Words were still possible, of course, but Marie didn't like speaking to someone unless she was relatively speaking, looking straight into their eyes.

"Or deep, I should have thought to myself," thought Marie, but she realized The Amateur Genius didn't think deep thoughts and The Amateur Genius himself said it out loud.

"Stop thinking, Marie." His words hit her like a slap in the face, not that it hurt, of course, just that it made her alert whereas similar insistence from others of her acquaintance had no such effect.
"Oh well," she thought (prompted by The Amateur Genius himself), "some situations just give everything that happens a different color?"

Was color the right word? Yes, it seemed right. Especially since everything in the street seemed to sparkle.

30

Many of The Amateur Genius's ideas were tossed off. He was always running fast to reassimilate and his head itself twirled into space"Let's not hope physically," gasped Marie.

But where was she? On a balcony overlooking an especially wide boulevard, so she had her own problems holding on to the stone parapet to prevent a selftumble into the trafficladen street below.

But at the same time Marie knew she was secretly placed on her own two feet and the distant boulevard sent up rumors, that's all, of The Amateur Genius's dizzy behavior, but could one properly call a rumor what was only an evoked memory?

Marie didn't trouble her head, which was screwed on tight as she always protested when The Amateur Genius made one of his more dizzy proposals.

There she spied him down in the street below shouting up through cupped hands"How did you get way up there, Marie?"

But she heard nothing, then she thought she heard the sound of running water and turned just in time to catch a faucet turning off behind her.

"Turn again," that was her selfinduced message, and gazing again (it was a semicircle) back into the street (which was looking down, remember) she saw nothing that made her think of running water. How strange, since... ?

But a sudden collision at a far corner started her on a whole new train of thought.

Later on arm and arm with The Amateur Genius, they passed the very corner where the very collision had taken place and nobody was there anymore and soon they, too, had turned a corner.

'Who am I now?" said The Amateur Genius.

Marie glanced into his face and didn't answer, realizing it could have been her own provocative question, but she just missed by one or two tiny steps

POW! That was the direction of the plunge her mind took whenever she allowed these sudden twists and turns of thought to do their thing on her.

31

The Amateur Genius was interested in God. Who was he? (Not The Amateur Genius.)

Having decided on a trip, he went (The Amateur Genius) out onto the sidewalk.

Realizing suddenly he had no place to go.

God joined him if he realized that. If he didn't realize that and continued on his journey, then he would not be joined by God. He knew that, but the question was how to realize that.

The Amateur Genius went public. But he had no very real way to do that. After all, he couldn't sit on the edge of the sidewalk. "I decided!"

He could, but he didn't.

Instead, he stayed home and went to bed. Not exactly. He lay in the darkened room not one hundred percent dark, but the blinds were drawn even though light did come through. And it was on TOP of the bed that he extended himself. Where did God come into all of this?

The minute he said extend (or wrote extend)it was in that word: 'extend.' And The Amateur Genius knew that if he kept thinking to himself "extension, extension, extension," something would happen?Nothing would happen.

That suddenly hit him, though he wanted to be hit no longer by the things of human life, but the word 'extension' has nothing to do with God and the word 'extend' had something to do with that thing he could not namenot everything, but a bit.
So The Amateur Genius on the bed extended in the thing that resembled twilight, and he remembered being on the pavement with no place to go and suddenly it happened.

The pavement was over his head and his body was, okaylet's not say flying, and what supported that idea must have been hundreds of small space dots.

This was too much for The Amateur Genius to think about except as a kind of extension, a kind of extension of all those space dots filling the space that was under the pavement that was reversed over his head like a ceiling. It was a flash in the mind of The Amateur Genius, of course, but even sohow did he walk on that upsidedown pavement or even sit on the edgedid he?

But all these ins and outs took something away from The Amateur Genius. Did he decide to tell the world he was interested in God? That wasn't the decision exactly.

He settled: on the edge of an idea. Was it spinning him? Could he

still walk?

32

The Amateur Genius was to direct an opera by the great composer

Margoles. But on the day of the first rehearsal the music had not been written.

The Amateur Genius thinks "opera?" His head opened like a chest cavity. "Music is no longer necessary," he told the performers assembled under his batonwhat are you talking about? No baton. The Amateur Genius went racing into the fieldWhat field?

And the baton he didn't carry was in front of him in this racing, not that he was racing after 'it.' Just trying to keep from falling into that hole (that chest cavity), meant spinning the legs one after the other in a way that seemed circular to observers specially placedwhere?

The Amateur Genius made music like thischoosing special places from which to observe the hyperactivity that was an optional illusion resulting from the position of the spectator, but took nothing physically from The Amateur Genius himself who did make effortbut not in that arena where visibility reigned.

Someone else, seized the baton. But the mind of The Amateur Geniusrunning ondidn't register that on purpose.

He couldn't be said to be participating in any particular rhythm because he was going so fast (no effort, remember) that the great unaccented beats of people looking and notlooking meant nothing to him.

That was his opera. That nothing.

33

A man with considerable talent. Could it be what he had always imagined?

The Amateur Genius had no hold on reality, that was his hold on reality. He decided to be victimized in the streets and trundling along block after block, nobody seemed to be taking advantage of his multiple offers.

Whose dog was following him? Could it have been, possibly, Marie's?

Or was the collarwith those metal studs that did exist, so many

broadcasting nodules that only partially connected with the outer limits of his available dog love.

Anyway, he did take the dog home or rather he fantasizes that, leading it on a leash of intensive leather as in fact it was deposited with a typical "owner reply" card in the local animal store, which seemed to be an animal store because of the animals in the window.

The man behind the counter explained something interesting to The Amateur Genius. The animals in the window were in display only to
further display (this could go on forever) the jeweled watches and other baubles thatlook carefully (though it didn't have to be so careful) were displayed upon those animals' bodies in order to make people look even more than they would look at the beautiful jewels: they would look at the animals.

The Amateur Genius should have been able to psyche that out, especially when he was given some of his own, gratis.

Then he realized he had to pay for them and he was fortunate in that he had lots of money on his person because remember, his very purpose in going into the streets was to be taken advantage of.

So he still had the dog, which means he did take it home along with the watchor was it a bracelet?

He couldn't find the dial so he certainly couldn't tell the time but at home that was less important than when he was out in public. Then again, why is it even important in public?

He undid the leash that connected himself and the dog he had named tentatively 'Himself,' and waited to see if the animal would wander away from him into the crowd (though it was hardly a crowd on that particular street, though a few people did pass by at regular rates).

In order to make the test more orthodox The Amateur Genius began counting from one to fifty, that is to say he began at one and by the time he reached fifty (which he thought of as the end of the particular test) the dog still hovered in the vicinity.

Then The Amateur Genius leaned against a storefront and waited longer. Eventually the dog left following a man who walked by and seemed to have nothing distinctive about his person, certainly nothing distinctive when compared to everything that was very distinctive about The Amateur Genius.

A month or so later The Amateur Genius was robbed of his bracelet. As the thief (who claimed he was holding a knife in the small of The Amateur Genius's back) was collecting his booty, The Amateur Genius explained"There's an interesting story connected with this bracelet you are stealing from me."

Much to his surprise the thief remained to listen to the story of the descent into the street and the dog and the store with animals in the window and the disappearance of the dog. Then the thief left, and The Amateur Genius had interesting times imagining what the thief might have been thinking about the story and why he was the recipient of not only the bracelet but the story besides and how they might possibly go together.

But he realized (The Amateur Genius) that the stolen bracelet was probably exchanged for money very quickly, while the story remained with the thief much longer. So it was detachedthe story from the bracelet.

But it was still in the mind of two people, the thief and The Amateur Genius. But The Amateur Genius knew it was just a matter of time until the story that was his spread to others, and he resolved to lend his efforts in that direction.

34

Nobody told The Amateur Genius secrets.

He was alone on the boulevard and a stone widened as he looked at it, which formed just a small part of the facade of the particular building he stood in front of.

The widening could of course absorb his whole consciousness and he vowed not to let that happen, and then reversed himself to wonder why notbut it wasn't a full reversal, so there he was poised deliberately; between total absorption and partial absorption.

When Marie called his attention to the very same stonewas it the next day? And why did she do that?

What attracted her attention?particularly if it wasn't for the fact that The Amateur Genius himself had made it happen. Were such things (such transfers of consciousness) possible? The Amateur Genius called it
coincidence, but that was in order to continue the conversation even if it hadn't started, and Marie said "This one stonelet's see if we can find anything amazing about it."

She was trying hard and for that The Amateur Genius gave her credit and a kiss on the cheek and she almost slapped him, but then she wondered, "Why did I want to do that?"

The urge she meant but of course she didn't know what she meant exactly and The Amateur Genius just said, "Let's go on making these interesting choices."

35

The Amateur Genius found himself again in front of (this time) the wallpaper and studying his fingers he thought that what floated did not before his eyes, but shut they echoed the fingers that shut also.

And Marie was already attracted to the flutter of eyelids and the flutter of fingers. And nobody dared whisper in an alarm of whispering at the very moment The Amateur Genius passed through the wall into the next room.

Of course nobody saw that happen, nobody's eyes in a significant sense were open to that moment of transition.

36

The Amateur Genius found himself unable to advance. He was facing the cafe door (the entrance) and his legs found themselves as if paralyzed.

"How foolish," thought The Amateur Genius, "it's the mind, my own mind, which stops me from moving in the direction I wish to move. Only the word wishoh well, of course. . ."

Marie entered the street, that is to say exited from the cafe, and observed The Amateur Genius notmoving. She extended a paw. "Take

my hand," and The Amateur Genius did and was able to feel feeling flow back into his legs.

'Td be glad to help," Marie continued, "but you're going in."

37

The Amateur Genius.

Deliberate debates did not interest him.

On the boat of his dreams he floated and the icy water sent chills into the larger of two glasses he held, one in each hand.

He had dipped each of them into the ocean as the boat plowed gently through the waves that hardly moved under the ongoing prow. Now that a bit of the ocean was in these two glasses, "Look" thought The Amateur Genius.

He said no words in his mind after that. He returned the water to the ocean.

He shivered at his power.

38

The Amateur Genius discovered waiting at the end of the street the woman selling strawberries.

He regarded her sign and smiled at the way it said 'strawberries' when in fact the strawberries were evident not on the sign or in the sign; but considerable space intervened between the strawberries so named, displayed on a wooden table to the left of the sign, and the sign itself that flashed in his mind as the solid object it was and was not.

Strawberries certainly, and the wood invadedwhat? The strawberries themselves.

Because later on driving his car fast down the boulevard, The Amateur Genius reached blindly for a strawberry and Marie guided his hand. The taste suffered the taste of the wood, that is to say biting into the experience was no longer extraordinary.
"Why is there a woody taste to these strawberries?" chimed in Marie, and the memory of that sign flooded again into The Amateur Genius's mind.

And.

And.

And the connective links extended in his mind in a way that seemed playful articulation of the hundreds of strawberries that had lined the distant fields unpicked or picked from bushes that nevertheless gave forth among others the particular strawberries that had finished in The Amateur Genius's automobile and then into his and Marie's mouths.

Strawberries went in, thoughts came out. But the thoughts tasted like woodhe meant to say 'words,' and as the car sped through what was now woods and bright things flashed occasionally from the dark alleys between trees, The Amateur Genius tried it on for sizethat taste on the tongue that tripped it; and he and Marie found themselves singing a whole coda, or andandand

'What followed the 'and' word?" said Marie very definitively.

And The Amateur Genius said, "Hold onto your hats" as he stepped on the gas, though it should have been 'hold onto your heads' as so fast it all went, that in a cloud of mixedup dust behind them on the road something got left behind and something else stuck to the tail pipe and The Amateur Genius said, "Look, this is my nose," which he pointed to with a free hand as Marie said, "Steer carefully," by which she meant keep your two hands on the steering wheel but he, of course, decided to interpret differently and he licked his lips and Marie thought about giving him a kiss and tried another strawberry and said nothing.

39

Morning and madness. The Amateur Genius was over his shoelacesa quiet job of industry. So that attitude was forthcoming.

Marie was staring at the sky and in that moment she experienced the vertigo of displaced emotion. "Ohup to the sky," she thought. Then her adventure in a cafe was over.

Nobody but The Amateur Genius could satisfy her, that was why she had indeed dawdled over the one pastry and the one cup of coffee. But

when he entered so well dressed, nevertheless The Amateur Genius's shoelaces were too long for the particular shoes chosen and so they dangled in a way that almost promised to threaten Marie's cup of coffee in which, admittedly, she had already lost interest; but there it was, that danger that could easily transfer itself going through the charade of a hundred false faces.

If the sun had been bright enoughbut that was half an hour agodanger was probably on the route to being bleached out of any conceivable physical objects. (Another one of the talents that folded up softly in the wake of The Amateur Genius's trajectory through the day.)

You seeMarie knew that, so she often latched herself onto his activities. But hovering in the background wasn't her style either, so as they sauntered forth from the food place into the directional street place, she chose a stride that was rather vigorous but then had to admit it was The Amateur Genius who initiated the rhythm.

"How happy an accident we rendezvoused," he smiled to Marie; but she knew there was acid in his smileonly that was her own worldview that so crystallized it.

But on a day that had begun with intense sunlight to be soon squashed by relatively soft cloudcover, a crystallization of sorts (acidlike or not) was so clearly a compensating factor that Marie felt confident a little sympathy would be forthcoming from a partner as wide in feeling as was The Amateur Genius; and indeed reflected in the glass storefronts that whipped by (they were indeed in rapid lockstep now) his smile seemed to soften.

40

The apron is unavailable.

The philosopher shuts a mouth of teeth and what climbs in after the tongue is zipped is called notown in some cities, but in the city where The Amateur Genius searches, a lack of articulate speech is an unanswerable demand that the vacant city uses to repopulate itself, thank God.
And when that last word was, wellnot exactly 'spoken'(here he fell off his chair, but grabbing the edges he was all the while seated of course).

Marie didn't want to be sucked into that particular vortex so she, too, changed into something more comfortable and by the time it got to be gloves, she regloved herself in a way that let the whole world say, "I'm glad you came to a decision"and this was visàvis The Amateur Genius and nobody else because nobody else counted.

The mouthing of names had no end and personality seemed to succeed personality, which made everybody just surrender to the swim of things.

But when The Amateur Genius finally surfaced alone, he had nothing to make excuses for because holding tight to Marie's hand (she gloved, remember) she, too, was lifted out of everyone's more specific memory.

There, where she hovered (on the lips?) she and The Amateur Genius could hardly be differentiated.

That was called 'The love that surpasseth all love' though they never spent much time together. "Oh, hi," Marie would say, trying to act casual.

But internally The Amateur Genius was ablaze, so nobody ever knew if he was responding to a greeting or just continuing along a path that was to him totally natural.

41

Nobody talks, but The Amateur Genius can handle that. Where did everybody go? The room absent the others (including Helene, Anna, Simone, and Marie) seems heavier on one sidebut of course that's where The Amateur Genius sits in his easy chair, legs thrown up over one of the soft, padded arms.

His only desire, to scratch his extended neck for instance, then leads to a rather insatiable desire for a chocolate, and none being

immediately available he opts for lethargy to see what can be squeezed out of that ploy.

When little white lambs start frolicking in the imaginary field behind the window that seems opening in the top of his head, "Whoa!" exclaims The Amateur Genius and turns, sitting, to the river.

"Come on now," offered Helen, "is this a real or posited river?"

But only "We've been here before" was what The Amateur Genius could remind his tawnyhaired partner.

Only Helene, who flickered back and forth immediately with Marie's face, could only remember hordes of people in attendance so that she wasn't sure if the hordes were an attendant phenomenon to the river, or some kind of lowergrade manifestation of the river itself.

And The Amateur Genius snuffed out that trajectory of thought and there they were, himself and Helene on the banks of something that seemed relatively empty, so when they decided to plunge in suddenly it was no longer empty even though it was, of course, more than ever invisible.

Marching here and there treading the steps leading to the higher level of the city, The Amateur Genius broke his arm.

Howyou may well askcould simply treading the wide ascending steps lead to a broken arm? There must be an aspect to that event that has not been narrated?

The Amateur Genius beard the question, of course, and smiled as he explained that the answer was very simple. In climbing the steps, he was at one moment made dizzy by the thought of his ascent.

It was, in other words, an emotional experience, and the next stepfrom that emotional experience to the broken armcan be clearly visualized (though a visualization is not of course the real experience leading to the real broken arm).

Imagine a fall, serious and deep, from a position near the height of the steps. The body could slide down an entire run of the stairs and there
could even be a slight circular accumulation in the trajectory of the descent. And in the course of that trajectory The Amateur Genius finds beauty and poetry even though other aspects of the experience are negativebut what are they?

What is negative about those other aspects? The pain? There really was no pain at the moment of occurrence because there was surprise.

And afterward there was pain but by then The Amateur Genius was someplace else, seated in a cafe with his friend Marie and telling about some very different adventure concerning the purchase of a wonderful carpet.

Nobody else could have imagined The Amateur Genius carpeting exactly that section of stairway where the fall was to have taken place; but The Amateur Genius, with the help of three friends whom he also paid a substantial amount of money, spread this excellent and colorful carpet over a length of the steps; even though the carpet did not of course conform exactly to the steps and there were sections between each step made ambiguous by the failure of the carpet to bend and fit snugly to the quick transition from step riser to step level. And when walked upon did that ease or interfere with the desired progression in either direction? (because one could choose to descend as well as ascend these monumental steps).

At any event, considerations of practicality and safety gave way to the surprise of carpet laid over irregular stone, and when climbing this section of stairs The Amateur Genius knew that an adjustment of sensibility would be the unavoidable result inside the mind of whoever was not The Amateur Genius, but who did come upon this same sector and did or did not fall.

Oh, make no mistake. No marker or plaque was placed to convey any of this relevent information to the casual or notsocasual passerby.

But when ideas hover in the air whatever their embodiment, The Amateur Genius knew full well their influence was persuasive though at the same time delicate.

So time would stretch forward and as it did so, straightening out the folds of its own particular fabric like the sides of an extended accordion, the note that would inevitably sound would lift one (who was that 'one'?) gently.

And the vertical direction evoked was the same vertical direction The Amateur Genius imagined as he worked his legs back and forth like pistons in the midst of his feverish dreaming that left beads of sweat traveling from his forehead into a flungforward arc that decorated the walls of the room or street through which his tumbling body zoomed like a gyroscope, plunged forward without losing at all its spunheld orientation, which centered no matter how high it climbed, below.

(Oh, The Amateur Genius!)

42

The Amateur Genius on the streets but though alone, not. (As it was only for a moment that other passersby flickered in his awareness.)

A shop window? One of many. And that enabled it to vanish but of course as it did so, so did The Amateur Genius.

Who was it then who put a hand on a doorknob and turned? Was this home? It wasn't The Amateur Genius who entered the apartment but it was.

First, he collected an armful of books, (paid forwhich passed like a dream). Then the weight of the books in his arms spun him back into the realm of regret he left with each dawn, only to return at unpredictable moments of the day.

Regret.

He anointed different features of his changing environment with this same slowly coagulating fluid. And clouds drifting over the buildings spread from windows, or gaps between buildings flowed slower and slower.

Regret.

It returned like a gun fired from one of those empty windows.

Everything stopped moving.
But that was just for a brief moment and then the day flowed on and The Amateur Genius was back in the stream of life, licking his fingers.

43

The Amateur Genius bought flowers and he carried them home in plastic.

The Amateur Genius bought flowers but then he forgot to buy them. He was walking along the Avenue du Maine and it was raining lightly, and the flowers themselves were damp with the traveling rain and the only thing that wasn't traveling was something about The Amateur Genius that was poised.

The Amateur Genius separated in his mind the sights that were mainly the buildings or the spaces between the buildings on the Avenue du Maine.

"How strange," he said to himself, "that I want to clutch my head concerning the space between these buildings I am registering but not counting, on the Avenue du Maine."

"How strange I want to make such a positively melodramatic gesture," and he thought of himself sliding into a whole line of positive positions and the negative space between the buildings on the Avenue du Maine clicked into position also, and that click didn't make even the slightest tremor in the very solid buildings that were built of stone and glass and slate roofs, and The Amateur Genius rolled his head in a way that echoed the writing of long flowing and significant words on the slate roofs of the Avenue du Maine from which pigeons arose, some with flowers in their mouths that were called beaks and The Amateur Genius dropped his and a passerby dropped his newspaper in sync but he wasn't reading it.

"Look fast," whispered The Amateur Genius, "do you see words or roofs?"

And the passerby was merely confused about momentarily having been seen as he dropped his newspaper without knowing why, and as The Amateur Genius smiled and recorded it a spectator on the other side of

the street pronounced, "Your flowers are more valuable than your newspaper."

So you see, there on the other side of the street confusion was a result of distance and angle of vision.

But with The Amateur Genius there was no confusion, as significant words seemed to pop directly from the damp newspaper page into his consciousness as it rose, tracing a trajectory from the damp pavement toward his chest, and arcing in an extension toward the passerby who was at the same time now bending for the flowers that had fallen previously and been so noticed.

Later that day The Amateur Genius was home (would you call it home?) sipping tea. He spied his newspaper on the table and found not a single one of the words he had heretofore found so potent.

But he didn't hold his head. There was no anguish.

And he had the immediate sensation of being on a platform, (comfortable) that was sliding through space at an angle, at a smooth and rapid rate; and he did not look or even imagine looking toward his feet to discover the nature of that platform.

But the truth is it was beautifully carpeted and if asked he could have decided to know that and innumerable other things.

44

Two things were available to The Amateur Genius.

The city, through which he walked. The language that was not walked through but did manipulate his steps, his direction, his speed.

Flinging steps? No. The lower part of the body to fling would be a dance. That wasn't the issue. It was rather from the torso at leastthe flung moment, feeling, intensity.

Whatever its trajectorywas that language? Was that a bodily carved word or two?

To say it was was to fold back into the dance, flinging it, the word
on word, citycoiled language, tongue of intention flapped against itself double.

45

Along the city pavements, The Amateur Genius shrieked out syllables, and the animals swerved, and The Amateur Genius cast crumbs, but they returned, amazingly, to his own hand, as crumbs to be sure, but they returned. He validated them. He showed them to Marie and she went through his pockets. Here's evidenceshe said, fingering the small grains, the residue therein accumulated.

But The Amateur Genius just smiledshall we say he tossed her a smile, and when she turned away irritated his reward was in the lesson learned.

46

The Amateur Genius chose to resurface as soon as it was raining, as soon as the newspapers hit the standsbut we should properly say flew into The Amateur Genius's face, as the stars in his eyes hit home.

But how was traveling imagined or encountered?

Traveling as a solidthere in three dimensional space. The Amateur Genius compared that to his own solidity and as he made another fold in the newspaper with bad news, he realized "Rain is my element because I can refresh the so many different body partshere, let me wrap these papers in flowers."

The lead article wasn't about The Amateur Genius. He had to throw his gold coins at a hole in the street until somebody came to the rescue with a lookit's about The Amateur Genius on page seventeen!

But the type hissed up into nothing. It wasn't touchablethat's what gnawed at The Amateur Genius's heart, orso much more than

the gold pieces rolling down the street as if they were chasing nobody, The Amateur Genius was being ignored.

That's why the soft rain depressed him but he decided to jump in headfirst, and he wrecked everything in sight, first smearing his own face with mud picked up from the newspapers, which of course had been saturated all night, except now they flew, a white flutter in the downdraft that only the rain made (when it poured) and The Amateur Genius could calculate carefully and levitate and his real name surfaced, which was again a disappearing act, and internally the projection in rosy letters "The Amateur Genius" glowed over the boulevard, the entire length.

What smiles that shone across The Amateur Genius's lips, what songs rose in his heart?

You or I might recognize some of those popular tunes but the majority? The Amateur Genius turned them into something so complex that even the traffic cop expert (that was his specialty) rounded the corner scraping a heel on the cobblestones and whispering to himself"What the hell, that's music that eludes even me." So The Amateur Genius felt justified in his sense of superiority.

47

Wishful thinking? Probably not. The horizon widened (or narrowed down significantly) and The Amateur Genius found himself in front of a large monument dedicated to the memory of a popular singer who had thrilled mostly young girlsnot so much The Amateur Genius directly.

(The electricity in her body was not yet controllable or knowable. It was that which made Marie a specific creature.)

Later on she would become fulfilled. The contours, gesture molded of her own self, would match the contours of the erotic electrified fluid
that coursed through (borrowing) her; and the resultant match between body, self, field, energy, would make the mature Marie (the defined personality Marie) cohere to a typology that earth had spewed forth for hundreds of years on all parts of the globe, which was, after all, spherelike.

But at this moment in her life, she was drawn, she was traced (touched) by forces not yet able to make their home in any articulable selfand that other self bounced gently in the currents of the world, being (rather than integrated) an element of distinct noticeableness.

The very aroma of her being fitted not like the proverbial glove (on whatever hand was available to be fitted) but rather gentle slaps on the cheek of who might notice: "WAKE UP!"

And what they woke up to was something yet to find its place in the scheme of thingsMarie's being: still under the rule of alert curiosity hence stained into noticeableness. That tincture of life that was still foreign to Marie though it rose from her very source, so rendering that childlike divided being divinely "noticeable."

That was The Amateur Genius's particular identification with the large "monument" that had been decorated with flowers he dared not touch.

The same name that made him also "noticeable" inhibited his movements in certain directions.

He remained, therefore, the "Amateur" of his most dangerous passions, which meant vast stores of poignancy to savor. At the same time movement through the 'real' world became somewhat inhibited.

48

Nothing in The Amateur Genius's repertoire prepared him for the morning like others that was unique.

All were unique (mornings) but here a broken plate and a baby's cry crumbled from the past, grainpocked like old film. And the baby

with the wrinkled face was of course himself, but it also bespoke alien: other:how to get a handle on it?

Marie was standing in front with porridge never tasted, and the soft food hurled across space into the wall near the clockthat's what set it off (this unique explosion). The clock that did not tick but just said, "My face is your face."

And The Amateur Genius relinquished his toys.

Toys? Of course. He had surrounded himself with toys like anyone else. And now he released them (that was the unique part) with a rush that was a physical sound like somebody doing a bad imitation over the radiostill it 'worked' as they say: that rush.

And the past fell away like ice cream into soupstill cool to the tongue. And The Amateur Genius was filled with the past now falling away to a present place in the dome of his head embossed, one might even say picturelaced, totally controllable. Now he could begin to drive his own life in the direction chosenbut wait!

Who chose?

It was a done deal and The Amateur Genius was a little late, a little after the fact.

So all he could do was steer, grimace (and hope he took it internally for a smile) and say, "Morningyou are the first. I glide through you and into you. That's what makes you unique!"

This had happened before but The Amateur Genius always lost it as a memory. That was his strength.

49

The Amateur Genius comes to think he is or is not in heaven.

If he is in heaven he is receiving messages of value that need not be communicated, because being in heaven, the value of the message is to
engender growth and extension within the message itself only. Selfperfection ripening like a fruit that never falls to decay.

If he is not in heaven communication of messages counts, because the definition of nonheaven he thinks is particularnessness. Which means a contrary longing for unity exists and must be fulfilled, communication being the primary means to attempt such a thing.

What IS the message to be or be not communicated?

At first, The Amateur Genius thinks he might have been chosen as one of God's messengers, but he does not know if he should deliver the message or protect the message from those who (he imagines) would rip it from inside his consciousness before full ripeness. Which would hurt.

Traveling toward memory, the rain that fell erased memories. In their place, cities reconstructed themselves, testifying at all times to what was evanescent.

How could it be, the beauty touched only what was postulatednever by what existed.

It was so, and The Amateur Genius threw external hands skyward. The city, not in flames, but shifting in the breeze of his mind like a curtain lifted by silent willpower, only the willpower was the rain, and the earth so nourished came forth with flowers that also said, "Brief, brief, we are here as visitors."

TB AN IT

i
The suburbanite stood on the sidewalk, which cracked with light. Across the street Helen emerged with a suitcase.

The suburbanite rose over the cracked sidewalk.

The suburbanite sat down hard on the pavement. Cracks like the sky rose between his legs but it was a visual effect. The three buds on the ends of the trembling branches brought food, sandwiches, into his stretchedout hands, and the suburbanite tossed luggage from one part of the mind to another.

"Who hits when I hit?"

Nothing is here at the center of the suburbanite. That freedom returned him to the forests, signlike presences in the suburban town. Tree avenues like a taste, bitter that awakes, and the suburbanite located his house through memory, through precognition, all things that played through his fingers like the piano that disappeared because who could see through walls?

The suburbanite never questioned himself.

Helen could be playing, as well as recovering her spilled suitcasespilling notes, her fingers on the piano keys stumbling, of course, but tiny losses of balance here and there that nobody but Helen herself noticed.

All dissolved in the circle of the sky; split fork of the lightning arriving at 6 P.M., no clock anticipating that hour. But it would come

(surprise) on the surface of so many dials.

And the suburbanite jumped, he, too, surprised. Spread. Covering the pavement like history itselfso empty.

The suburbanite lifted his head in order to listen to the radio. In a sense, such a lifting was not necessary, the sound waves penetrated the ear no matter what the position of the head. But blackedout houses, window shades drawn like anonymous programs was not his program and so the head was not to remain on its specific incline.

Instead, a cupped handno, nothing that vulgar. The ear remained denuded of gestural accompaniment. The musicif not flowed, then saturated like a blotter might; ear into head, funnelblotter, and the suburbanite dreamt of the shine on the radio's surface and applied it to flowers outside the windows that were living things.

"But music ... lives," said Estelle. "Pulsates like the heart itself'and she tripped.

Part of her stocking pulled into a leghole and her warmth wasn't music, the suburbanite then and there lifting a hand slowly to his ears (in fact both) on both sides of his head.

But they reached out toward Estelle (continuing past the ear, of course) to accompany an "Estelle be careful!" that was prompted by her physical accident, and less by the music that still went on.

The suburbanite went on the lawn that said "no lawn." But "walk on the grass" would have been an appropriate internal sign, and of course the external ones did the opposite.
He was looking for Marie's watch, which must have fallen off when they were there during the day previous. That was the day of the garden party but who kept track of dates.

So perfect, all weather, and the mingling that happened was okay, too; and the suburbanite had to tear himself away to plunge back into the route he'd traced so many times, a small store that sold practically everything important, with the glowdoor opened to shadow and the stuff of life waiting in the dust, more dust, that he sprinkled by the dailiness of his living. Then it got elusive again.

So reaching for the watch he got down on his hands and knees in the grass (Marie was watching this and Helen was also watching from behind a window) and his fingers were spread (no way of knowing how far 'cause his mind tried to direct them) "SearchSearch"you get the hint?

Helen did. Glass protected her. That's how she got ideas.

But Marie just planted her feet firmly on the pavement (which bordered the glass) and said, "Find anything?"

That was enough for the suburbanite. He knew things were going as they were supposed to.

He asked for spiritual direction. He also asked for happiness. They were incompatible.

He looked from a window above the street. Three women walked into the speckled shadow of a tree while clouds above moved.

The choice of words amplified.

Dials were turnedOh, it was just a radio broadcasting his thoughts. Riding the current, he dreamed of maneuvers. Identifying with what he was riding upon, twisting it into his own weight, a connection with weightwas that cheating?

Marie tumbled into the room"You cheat," she offered.

"Oh, Marie, you also glide under the speckled light of the outstretched brancheshit by light, laced by darkness, your tree is assigned,

tagged, numberedcarry it with you!"

"What cheating," whispered Marie. "Nobody walks the streets carrying their own shade."

Having spoken she felt foolish and her face reddened.

She was looking in a mirrorthat's how she knew.

So vast. Soft clouds of the cloudless sky over the roof of gas stations on the road into (out of) the city.

So traveled, so traveling so much, the held he held to.

His idea of traveling, which was like life was, was held. And the suburbanite was located in that passage to the center of the city that remained elusive in a way that the part that circulated like an echo ("Center, center," almost displaced into itself) did not.

So here we are, suburbanite! headed central.

And the tiny bits and pieces are roadhitched, and the traveling eye is almost lost in its own seeing with ice, and the gasoline station and the restaurant and the motel (vacant) are but leaves torn from the book of the center you balance under your nose as the steering wheel spins in space, too late to travel, oscillating only there under your reptilian hands because YOU have no hot and cold running through an entire system.

No, you have nothing but an apex of "Look, turn me in this direction, turn me in that direction"isn't that what we call 'AIMING'?

And the suburbanite found himself out of town before he was in town. It passedeven if off to the side somewhere; but the experience would never wear off because everything that was glued in was still glued no matter how much it faded.
Yes it was time that did the fading only the fading was backward, not INTO time, but OUT OF time.

And the road, strait was its earnestness of miles, hitched to that cause like muscle. And here was one motel still open, and the sleep it offeredAh, find THERE the elusive center.

So the suburbanite bedded down for the night after coffee and rolls had been servedbackward? That's what we already started rolling throughthe suburbanite on wheels. Backward.

And no night took over a whole life, just bits and pieces far as always from the center (of town): the suburbanite.

Motel ensconced. Drifting.

Slipping by rote under the sleep that knew no doubt. Ultimate affirmations between ticks of the alarm that never went off.

Nothing was really happening.

The suburbanite was in the sunlight (this was during walking). Where was he walking?

He was heading toward the significant drugstore, out of which flashed so many the mind didn't spin but the track it was onnothing to say about that; bumps were to be expected.

Ending in a splash? Splash into the drugstore?

Nothing had to be bought, and shelves that were stocked or not stockedbut let's return to the suburbanite and his nontroubles and the sunlight that was so powerful it almost erased the trajectory. (A pattern cut in cloth, a dotted line marking the route worn like a costume.)

Ah, dressed like this inside his own life, did it take INTENSE sunlight to bring it out, color and all? Did it take hesitation or determination? Those were two of the swings possible on this socalled trajectory of a route.

The suburbanite paused, not to consider this, not to dedress (that wasn't appropriate in a public street, generally untraveledmuch though it was) and as the drugstore regleamed in the offering, the trees bent toward it ensemble, pointing where no point was needed, so obvious the end

point became; and when a hand (the suburbanite) reached forward on the end of an arm to push the door forward, the bellnothing pushable could echo to that never to be forgotten manifestation and that was perhaps the deep sadness of all lures purchasable.

So the several shelves collapsed, so the journey collapsed without having started.

He was on the street.

Leaves shining.

He followed them; but as that was impossible (following the direction of the multitude of shining leaves, mutually contradictory but not really) ... not possible!

So it was indeed the drugstore. He bumped toward it. He performed functions. That was his life, and the voice behind the counter said, "Who are you?" (That meant what can I do for you?)

And the suburbanite said, "Chart by my costume. It's one I always wear."

That was smileworthy, so smile it was that all through the ringing store was somehow produced.

Out of indifference the suburbanite rose. Which meant a willful decision on his part to partake of different aspects of life.

The sound of the elevator in the apartment complex left no trace. Oh, he remembered it, yes, but more important, he let it define a whole moment of vulnerable (of course) experience.

The gears did whirl in the appropriate 'forgetmenot' place, and when Marie emerged (the door opened in front of him) he acted surprised. (Oh boy, was he!)

And Marie tacked a lateral maneuver on to what we have to suppose had been vertical.

It's as if a piano was being played, because the jumps from key to key (fingers doing it) (this later to Helen with whom he tended to 'discuss' things) certainly marched forward in time, while the hand and finger
movement itself was a backandforth pattern that fulfilled a 'there it is for all time' continuum of keys.

So an elevator trip did things in reverse (remember: you get in and out of an elevator and that can't be separated from the other activity that pops into the head when the word is mentioned (or should we say, the image is evoked?).

So dreams, which the suburbanite did have, of lateral elevator movement along tracks that left the city and penetrated the youknowwhere suddenly (for the first time) linked up to something.

He straightened his tie but Marie was already behind him in the corridor.

Which direction should he choose?

But it was too late, and the automatic mechanism had superseded his own indecision, which was exciting in its way (that oscillation gave off sparks) but certain things went on while certain other things dreamt, at least, of a direction that was directionless.

For instance, if you arrive in the real suburbs (isn't that where we started?), aren't you more 'centered'?

'Downtown' was a holdout. The range of things was a significance measurement and as suchsure, there was a center but it had to be thought of more like an enveloping mist of feelingand we know how insidious those things are.

As a matter of fact the suburbanite was wearing a raincoat; it made it hard to breathe (the body, not the mouth) and as he got more and more uncomfortablewell, it certainly meant there was more to notice.

Not more (you couldn't add such things together like arithmetic) but the direction of travel waswell, it didn't have to be named either up and down or sideways(you can see he was trying to catch hold of something mentally elusive).

And when the elevator door opened again (it had completed an additional circuit) nobody was inside, and the suburbanite got it!

It was as if nothing had happened.

When the suburbanite crossed into the next room, at the very same moment a cloth (it was covering the tabletop) slid from table to floor.

Which roomthe one left or the one entered? The suburbanite in either case missed what happened, and later noticed the effect.

He bent down and lifted the embroidered cloth (when did that happen?) back onto the table from which it had happened.

He remembered walking in and out of these several rooms on innumerable occasions. He remembered the wind (the breeze) moving his hair and a hand smoothed over his forehead.

He didn't noticeyet these things went on happening.
each of the individual moments and they, too, were individuals, and with so many individuals flowing streamlike through the Hero Cadmus, is it any wonder that his first not completely thoughtout gesture on rising was to shut the window?

Cold he was not, the Hero Cadmus, who revolved in his private sphere at the very moment he closed the window through which the noise of people traveled. It was morning. He had just risen from bed and yet it was noise, not temperature or wind, that evoked that response.

And the noise itself was no great noise, simply the muffled voices of the street, and the Hero Cadinus strapped no sword (the sword) to his thigh and strode into the day of his life.

"How strange I shall look," he might have thought, "accompanied onto the streets of this contemporary town, weaponladen"but his thoughts rise into a different ether and again he remembered that he wanted his head spinning, that was his commitment.

So the imaginary laurel wreath would have to spin also, and he turned on the radio. How strange to turn on the radio for it was voices he was after, not music, when the opposite motive, the elimination of voices, brought about the closing of the window so recently.

And yet it was another moment.

And just as moments succeeded moments (nothing even the Hero Cadmus could do about that succession)so ideas and attitudes were thrust up from some vast root substrate in totally different form from

Somewhere, in the depths of his heart, the Hero Cadmus knew that the sounds of the street did not penetrate through a 'window,' and he shifted his position on the couch in order to prove to himself that his powers had not lessened.

Nothing cut into his life. He well managed to look down the road and the iron truck that sliced across his life like a lifeender did bounce on its rubber wheels but this, too, he saw, and so looking out his eyes that was within his capabilities one way or another could also be imagined; and just knowing that made it less necessary, except he didn't have recourse to knowing it or anything at the moment.

He devisualized, therefore, the traffic, and when Helen who was an old girlfriend stood at the window, he (hero that he was) remembered another occasion when he went to the window himself in response to a 'special' noise and was selfsurprised to see no accident of vehicles in the street below. He turned to Helen and kissed her lightly. That was a memory.

He stood on the curb and watched, or rather expected, the vehicles and especially large trucks racing past close to his body and so felt the wind they made and thought himself in a minor sense, a hero. So close to the imagination of one of those trucks swerving to cut his life in two then and there on the spot, and a particular truck face looked like that (a face) to the Hero Cadmus, but it had no desirable quality.

Ah that was it, he thought to himself. It was up to himself to assign through mental effort a particular 'quality' to what he would call 'face,' and he did not, heroically, choose to do so.
So Helen was unaware of the significance of his twist of position on the couch next to the window because Helen, as we have said, was an old girlfriend; and at the moment the Hero Cadmus was experiencing his power of self Helen was far away having no selfconsciousness at all except she was busy crossing a street and looking out for trucks, as her mother had warned her to do many years earlier, and this, too, was in Helen's power to remember in a way that was not really visualized but was rather in her muscles as it were; and Helen was a girl with muscles that remembered and the Hero Cadmus remembered in his muscles also as he twisted once on the couch but in a different way.

What could happen in the bookstore that was next to the coffee shop? The Hero Cadmus knew that he had to prevent an interpenetration of the two realms.

"But why?" said Helen. And her eyes widened to prove to the Hero Cadmus her sincerity, but that wasn't in question.

Rivers of coffee, books of rivers, which means floating books, at least in the mix up the Hero Cadmus was trying to prevent whatever the chances, even though everything one could read about it predicted such chances as nilor was that null and void?

Anyway, anything was possible when mind met biological system and certainly all the effects of the coffee shop had SOMETHING to do with biological reality.

Who could ever put their finger once and forever directly on what one realm could beg from another?

Those were Helen's thoughts as she saw peoplewere they of indiscriminate sex?outside the two highlighted locations with hands out in what the Hero Cadmus called (for her) a very classic pose, then reconsidering"Wouldn't it be an encouragement to human expectation if they themselves (himself and Helen) were outside the bookstore, hands out in supplication as a request for significant reading matter?"

How horrible to think of such things when human beings are hungry, pondered Helen. And the Hero Cadmus put his arm around her, which made her feel warm even though something ticked inside the two of them that was like a trickle of discontent they would certainly find very creative ways to plug up, which would benefit more than themselves in the long run, which was always long.

"One for the road" smiled Ellen behind the counter as she filled up the two coffee cups and guess what, one of the two overflowed. Silly Ellen.

The Hero Cadmus went for a walk in the garden which, not being large, meant he did a lot of circular motion.

When there was a slight breeze it was a more expansive experience and the Hero Cadmus could see the tops of the heads of people outside the garden on the other side of the wallthe place where their brains circulated walking by, but of course he could not recognize any individuals.

So it was a strange and interesting experience for the Hero Cadmus to be circulating as he was, inside the route the garden seemed to prescribe, and still register even if slightly the various tips of the icebergs of consciousness exterior to that garden so loaded with beautiful flowers.

Then it suddenly occurred to himwhere did the refreshing breeze come from?

The leaves stirred faintly and he felt something touch his cheek. He didn't, however, even softly, say "Hello"because he didn't want to become involved in any distracting conversations.
Alone for once, the Hero Cadmus stretched out on the bed disoriented. He tried imagining a second series of lives taking place on the floor over his head, and suddenly as a car turned a corner in the street outside his window (it was raining, remember)it all came true!

Not that he made contact, but the evening gettogether many years earlier paid off.

Again, guests were being greeted at the front door as private trees bent in the dark wind and smoke hinted at logs and leaves burning domestically in an earlier part of the day.

That was enough to compress a whole life of experience, and the Hero Cadmus swung his legs off the bed, which would have been into action, except what he smelled ever so faintly was someone else's dinner; and the muffled voices that quietly accompanied the faint whiff were in the same register as soft light from the three scattered lamps that made shadows (of himself) counteract each other so what he experienced was balance, rather than exciting sense of direction that light can give when its source is singular.

Nothing but a blowtorch could have cleared a path through the volumes of the particular library where the Hero Cadmus found himself ensconcedwhich is to speak mentally on every level, of course.

So when he descended from his high perch it was quite a surprise to see the amount of information that lay scorched at his feet and he bent low relatively, doubling over his body of course in order to affect that bringing the wide forehead that was certainly his own into direct or near rapprochement with the shreds of information that constituted, as he saw it, a kind of atmosphere for rebirth.

Oh, the Hero Cadmus didn't really 'believe' in his own fantasies, but then such a level of belief neither supported nor negated his highest

moments (read for that 'flights of fancy') that provided the necessary ground (upside down) for his plunge to earth.

Now that he was back on terra firma as it were, he inherited the help of friendsmostly female it had to be admittedto help in the task of shoveling back into clear ground, which happened in this case to be a patterned carpet whose very complexity of design spoke to him in a way that seemed to supersede the information shreds that the volumes in the shelves (shelves? what had happened to them exactly?) that had rained down so recently upon his head.

Fire? There was none now. He tried breathing hard on what might conceivably have been embers, but no redness rose in answer. And did the Hero Cadmus imagine pounding the fire in his chest?

No, that would have seemed silly.

Instead, he linked arms with Anna (she was one of the female assistants) and they strode across the carpet kicking up the ashes that were mostly already dead so that to the others it looked more like a dance and less utilitarian, and his (hero that he was) wide brow seemed like a scream on which the flickeringnolonger shadows could be reflected, and trying to ponder straight into that display was a missed opportunity.

Because one, you, himself... straight into the brain of the Hero Cadmus.

That could have been the entry. No forcing of doors, no blowtorch to blast through iron gates that could also have caused pain and stress; so simply relax, arm in arm (which Anna did) while the others looked on and tried to kick up their heels also.

But whereas the others stumbled (slightly) they glided and paid no attention to whatever it was that might have been chronicled.

"See? We're between scraps of information now."

The Hero Cadmus didn't say that. I did.
Now that the seven lamps scattered throughout the room were illuminated, the Hero Cadmus removed the bandage that covered his eyes.

Nobody else had realized that that had been the problem (that the bandage had been covering his eyes) since till then the room was dark enough to obscure the fact of bandaging.

But now, the combination of light and bandage removal gave perfect vision to the Hero Cadmusor if not perfect, on a par with the others assembled in the living room.

The strange thing was, nobody knew what to do next, what move to make.

It was in fact, strange.

Helen suggested that somebody had removed one or two of the lamps (or three) even though there werecountable seven. (And plenty of light.)

Anyway, after a while the guests departed. The Hero Cadmus was perplexedonly he never allowed himself to be perplexed and he turned it into a differently constituted emotional experience that as yet had no name.

Had something similar happened in all the experiences in the dark, when he was blindfolded? There was nobody present to testify to that, of course. So as far as the Hero Cadmus was concerned, nothing changed, and that was all to the good. He turned off seven lamps, one by oneNo, he decided to leave one burning. All night. (What does that mean, all night?)

He hoped that by going into the street, his energy would resurface, and it happened.

(Sleep: Shall we worship that God?)

The Hero Cadmus decided to pick up his feet and carefully lay them down as he trod each step over the frozen landscapewhich led directly into a"Funny," says his companion "this landscape seems less frozen

than other places rye been when the temperature zoomed down to thirty, twenty degrees Fahrenheit, which is my way of measuring things."

And Helen took her finger out of her mouth to replace it with another bite of the frankfurter they'd purchased from the allnight (even if it was morning) frankfurter stand that reflected flickering lights coming from the so many shops still or already open on the very main street that the Hero Cadmus, discovering himself under his brown overcoat, decided to throw caution to the wind and took one bite of his own.

"Careful, your teeth'll fall out." Helen laughed and disappeared into a taxi.

"Now Fm alone." The Hero Cadmus could have said that to himself but it would have changed nothing.

Except something clicked in, and the street vanishedand the multiple hotdogs and the taxis and bright lights under the fingernailsso that when the Hero Cadmus raised his fingers toward his mouth his teeth seemed yearning for the outside world, which was cold and deserted of course, so that when a bite closed down on itself the hero realized in a flash, "It's up to me."

And for that reason only he invoked sleep rather than one more "Okay" of interpersonal engagement.

"Oh, wake up, wake up." Somebody was shaking him to life, but it didn't even seem to be Helen and he suddenly knew it was his own hands circling his own body to do the suitable imitations.

Those streets so long, so framed by the tall buildings on either side, so frozen into the sleep that alone proved nourishing.

And the Hero Cadmus saw his own giant face looming over the horizon like a planet rising over the nothing of architecture to proclaim "Now this world enters the previous world."

And the mouth opened.

And the interchange took place, and it was hard to tell if darkness was on top or light was on top, such was the intensity of his body rolling over and over in the street, which he'd never have dared if there were
onlookers of course, though that reticence was misplaced for someone who calls himself (does he?) a hero.

Maybe that was the whole hidden scheme of things. Maybe a new name was required, if one could call an interpretive groping through things close to the body a requirement.

And now, redressed (the brown overcoat was replaced by something, wellRADIANT!) the Hero Cadmus did his own brief reshining, and before the lights went out Helen popped through the door for just a brief instant and said, "See? Fm all dolled up and we can have fun."

"A night on the town, Helen? Not likely. That was last week, and conditions are always changing, so let's just get... dazzled; and then clocks walk, and we sit tight. So here it isDOWNTOWN!"

(And something else rolled over; and the two of them said it in unison) "Thank goodness it's not the two of us that got smacked!"

The Hero Cadmus confronted something. Was it a 'door' that whispered? Was it his own name that was whispered? "Hero, be a hero."

And the shadow (the grain of the shadow) door hinged like a hug of light. The Hero Cadmus knew who he was and who he wasn't. Rapid succession of identities as the partners became structures of a whole physical world externalized.

Ah, what adventures. Bacon and eggs in the Rose Room, no longer isolated from the ebb and flow of Helen by nameHenrietta, Samuel, occasional Maurice, and the chatter that accompanied the new arrival and departure of the 'in' crowdhow many heights did it subtly allude to?

The Hero Cadmus said, "In my element now!"riding the wave of social discernment, recognizing friends from enemies of course, that ball game being replaced with replacements and substitutes after the rain game, and the many trips to alternate locations, wellTHAT popped

him suddenly back through the crestfallen door and nobody but the chorus of practically notnow strangers hissed, "Hero, hero, you showed us where to exit and when to enter, you taught us to BREAKFAST only, which is another name for...
(Help is on the way)

(Samuel entered the arena God lifted a hand)

At the end of the corridor, Samuel waited. The door opened and Samuel emerged. At the beginning of the revelation chamber, a darker figure revolved and in rising, bestowed the gifts Samuel had been attending (waiting for).

But in that attending, no hands were outstretched, and the beam from eye to object, imaginary and in retrospect, made a flowering that was a mind flowing throughout the landscape so that "Oh, we are outdoors, in fact?" Samuel was about to exclaim.

Yes, yes, what had been the narrow (tunnel) invocation of one hundred steps had widened into the available landscape, and when Samuel had muttered "sleep," a vast army of angelsno, that was a mistake or at least an exaggeration. Angels descended not. And Samuel, outdoorseyes lighting on first this detail and then that detailhe made tours of the city that traveled through the deepest of forests.

And at the end of the forest, it, too, so saturated with vision, it decided to be anything Samuel momentarily desired so you see (see?) his outstretched hands, which were never outstretched, held onto the invisible, or at least not touchable, light that drifted, deep into his palms.

Lifting those hands over his two eyesFd rather not say. Samuel is reticent. It strengthens him to be reticent.

Samuel at the edge of the milky abyss. Something stringlikeextends toward his wrist. Why his wrist? Because Samuel wore no watch, but made a great effort to tell time internallyand Marie objected "That's trying to guess time."

Samuel put his sandwich carefully back onto the plate, and his next guess requirement surfaced. The blue design that rimmed the plate rose in his consciousness like a purposeful mirage and Samuel cried Eureka, which made Marie fall off her chair whereupon she immediately called Helen to tell her what happened.

"But what did happen" was Helen's perplexing response (this was on the telephone) because 'eureka' seemed to refer to something that was invisible to Marie and on down the line (stringlike) while to Helen doubly so.

Therein lay the solution though neither of them, nor even Samuel perhaps, was aware of that particular solution. The 'down the line' meant what it meantwho was doing this figuring? This thinking things out?

In fact it was Samuel, even though we could say he didn't know about it, because when he fell off his chairoops, it was Marie who fell.

But wasn't Samuel in a sense "guessing" that would happen? The blue design around the white plate, could that make anybody dizzy enough (the brain circling, remember) to turn into a physical pratfall?
Oh well, even if it didn't happen (quite like that) Samuel had a different internal experience, different from the external experience that was his and not his also, but who belonged to what in this considerable tangle of thoughts? By now Samuel had glanced at his watch, realized he had none, and knew it was late enough to move on to other things, so helping Marie to her feet (she hadn't yet telephoned Helen) just helping Mane to her feet, that's where his participation in the moment ended, because while she was telephoning Helen (the next moment) he was retiring to the edge of the abyss (milky, mental) and so a part of his train of thought was out of his hands now (into Marie's, into Helen's) and his own extension into the time that was to come, well, it deliberately went into the dangerous territory of the NEXT ten minutes and the tea he hadn't drunk was forgotten and he held both sides of his headwhy?

Because he anticipated pressure, or if it didn't come, that saved him from a certain pain but it was also a disappointment.

Let's plunge in, said Samuel to himself, but nothing happened.

Oh well, maybe it was because he was distracted by Marie's presence (in the next room, in the recent past) or something about the hum in the telephone line and he liked imagining the hum of the blood coursing through his wrist (well, that wasn't so violent either) and then he had a flash memory of the word 'eureka'one he didn't use often, but was more real in his life than just something he read in a book once, though there HAD been occasions when he read itwait a minute, ejaculated Samuelwhen did I read that once?

He had to hold onto the edge of his chair to keep from falling offat least that was the momentary fantasy.

Dipping into his own mind like that, he didn't even notice the vertigo but the distance he did go in the desire to be marked out on the mental carpet, only nothing, like a tool for such marking, was available.

Remember, remembersaid Samuel, knowing he didn't know what it was he might or might not remember but that was okay, he'd call Marie for help and she came running and when he explained she asked, "Help what?" And Samuel laughed because the picture of her mouth moving was more than enough.

Samuel collapsed at the foot of a wall. A woman wearing a red dress tried to help, by carrying a lamp with a bright bulb near to his body, and when he looked up (and into the light) she smiled at him and said Samuel, it's me.

This did not help. Samuel's mind raced as if through a filing cabinet of photographs. What is my intelligence proving, he thought to himself, and wondered what the lady looking at him was thinking about that same intelligence.

The very next thing that popped into his headhe couldn't help itwas a question or two concerning the intelligence of the lady in the red dress, but how could such questions be phrased, even to oneselfso was one justified in calling them questions or in simply paying homage to them as unarticulated trains of thought?

Samuel had many of thosecall them trends or drifts or slopes down

which thought waves could tumble, one over the other, filling the bowl

inside his head like hot porridge and lookthe lady was taking a lick and she held up a moist finger and invited Samuel forward, but as he roseit wasn't that she vanished, but she looked different.

Now Samuel recognized her, but he chose not to speak her name, or rather to nonpronounce certain of the syllables that constituted, to the ear anyway, her name; so he simply enunciated "Hello, Marie."

That made her smile, much as would any of us in similar situations (where our own name was not fully pronounced?).

Samuel smiled, and that opened a can of worms. Because his unconscious state should have precluded something as causedriven as a smile.
But Angelina didn't, of course, know that he was unconscious, and what's more, never would have guessed that it was by choice.

As a matter of fact, he didn't smile, that was rather her reading of the situation, since the main reason Samuel chose, now and again to be unconscious, was so that he could be a mirror for other people to look atwhat?

Into themselves. And Angelina was always hoping for a smile, which was her weak pointso when she said to Marie, Look, he's smiling, Marie responded very quickly, so quickly it seemed unnaturalthat if he was on the floor in a stretchedout position with his eyes closed they should, the two of them (but were there three, including Samuel?) be immediately wcnTied about the state of things visàvis Samuel's wellbeing and that would preclude such things as projecting a smile or not smile on a probably dead person's face.

Then Angelina thought she had proof, proof that Samuel, much less dead, probably wasn't unconscious after all but playing some kind of trick that was demonstratedyou could say 'reflected'by the smile that formed on his face during the time that she, if not Marie, was looking into it.

By the time Samuel sat up, brushing himself off, Angelina was convinced of the accuracy of her interpretation, but that meant she hadn't really penetrated into the situation, and Marie hadn't either but at least her notthinking about it kept her in orbit a little longer than Angelina, but Samuel didn't believe in handing out praise.

So when Angelina thought it was all over and they were going out to have a drink downstairs, Samuel said wait a minute, and they did stop, but he didn't explain for what, and a whole new series of questions exploded but these weren't too deep because everybody was highly conscious ofsomething or otherwhat was it?

There was a stymied situation; Angelina felt stuck in place and that was Samuel's fault and trying to get out, she certainly didn't slip and she

certainly stayed upright (her body) but that was no contribution at all and the afternoon passed totally inconclusive again and Samuel said okayanother missed opportunity, while Angelina was looking in a mirror and for some obscure reason took out a tissue to wipe the lipstick from her lips.

Ah, said Samuel, Ah! Ah! I wouldn't do that if I were you. Which made Angelina so confused she cried, but she couldn't explain it.

Then that, too, passed and they went for the long postponed drink. "Does it taste good?" said Samuel as the glasses gave off their first quaff.What?

The glasses were not operative. Marie knew that (without putting it into words). Angelina wanted more discussion and licked her lips, and Samuel who noticed everything turned a dead eye and a deaf ear toward

both partners so moments slid along like one more afternoon.

Prophetic Samuel suddenly reached out to touch the earlymorning light, that streak of pink (but don't locate it physically) that so mixed with the still dominance of night's artificial lightsheadlights, lamplights, streetlights that still dominated so early in the approaching day it still was.

Samuel had an appointment at the airport in the early morning, and the light seemed to be there and then not be there, whirled on and against itself so that waking up (he had been awake all night, packing) was hardly memorized but seemed a habit, learned ages ago, at the same time that Samuel was first reading the message to be read on the inside (invisible) of his wide forehead"Let me out of here!"

(That was speaking for the mute voice of othersbe that understoodSamuel never spoke for himself and so what he said was (unheard), "Change things!"but the single departing airplane whirled like a fly that went no
place, and Samuel returned to the hotel and ate toast and tried to crunch his way back or rather deeper into the city so his effect could be digested.

Two things were available to Samuel. The city, through which he walked. The languagethat was not walked through but did manipulate his steps, his direction, his speed.

Flinging steps! Nothe lower part of the bodyto fling would be a dance. That wasn't the issueit was rather from the torso at leastthe flung moment, feeling, intensity.

Whatever its trajectorywas that language? Was that a bodily carved word or two?

To say it was was to fold back into the dance, flinging it, the word on word, citycoiled, language, tongue of intention, flapped against itself, double.

A door which, opened, offered Samuel an entry into the room of refreshmentsat least he posited that to himself as an opportunity rejected.

His personal imperative? Nobody knew the exact correlation of that to his fleshly body that seemed of surprisingly different bulk upon different, adjacent, moments of encounter.

Samuel knew enough to know well enough, enough was enough, and Samuel whirled about the available room (thinking about it at least) before the imaginative venture into the room with the hypothetically laden banquet table.

So doingit was easy to free himself from the mind image he knew wasn't realyet on the other hand, to what could he attribute those images of a table piled high with cakes, fruits, baked meats, and other goodies?

It was snowing, the Venetian blinds were half closed, and Samuel realized that the snow was eternal, melting always, half and half de

scended (did he have a white flickering attention span, granulated to echo that soft drift?) and was the nourishment in search, always, of more stable form?

It could be so solid, so colorful (those decorated cakes, those glowing meats, under the electric light that seemed equal to the glitter of a hundred candles). But was it there (if it was there) to be admired or eaten?

Figures from the past put in an appearance. Helen said "don't eat so

much"was she talking to herself? Of course she was addressing Samuel, but since he hadn't yet partaken of so much as a mouthful, he wondered.

Later, an hour later, as the heat rose again in the radiators, Samuel spread a newspaper over his stomach, and as the snow now more thoroughly blanketed the rooftops visible through the slats of the not yet buried Venetian blinds, he let his eyes dissolve the black type into granules of eyedmatter, and felt that needle penetration into the brain (through the eyes, as it happened) as a massage.

So all the doorshad they been but hypothetical propositions to be conquered by counter propositions? It was so easy to float, and Samuel at first thought ballast was the requirement. And then he realized that in his circumstances, ballast floated also, so what was he to do?

ALLOW the limbs to extend.

ALLOW swollen parts of the body (the brain, he supposed) to double swell into folds that covered over what was there, testified to as only memory could testifyand behind the new obscurity things could take their own surprising course while Samuel, dancing in white, performed what?

That's just itwhatever he touched, with his nongreasy fingers, treading the edges of the banquet table like an old lady knitting her way into the loose, tight, iron fabric of her own wouldn't it be nice to dream somebody else's dream, so undone.
8

Samuel tossed on a bed not in pain, but if a fire alarm bell was ringing in the distance, he didn't hear it because of the fists stuffed in his earsthey can't be described. Samuel looked at them and anticipated somebody to punchoh, remove all mirrors!

That was it, the secret, the strategy, and he raced through the apartment.

He, Samuel, dematerialized the city very well, but it didn't vanish. The city was still therewhich was in a sense what Samuel wanted even though he did "want" it.

He wanted life to continue, mundane, everyday but he wanted transformation of some subtle area between his own brain and itoutthere, life.

(He went to the city, searching for truth, searching for revelation)

Swimming in the ocean, that wasn't a possibility since Samuel was in his apartment wishing, only wishing, he were someplace else like yesterday's Samuelno, make it the Samuel of a week ago Sunday.

That was a date, far enough in the precedent, so Samuel could feel the survivors of connections to many different, very different, situations and involvements. His ideal. Connectionyet at a sufficient

remove.

10

(Samuel and Marie)

Samuel rising. Samuel putting on shoes and socks. Samuel opening a window, and letting the fresh air circulate.

That woke me up.

Drink this.

What's in it?

Drink this.

I like to know what Fm drinking.

Trust me. (Drinks) Let's start having fun. The definition is coming? What? The definition of having fun. Yes. Fll find out about it. And so? It's pushing through. You want to talk about it? Not particularly. (Pause) It only weighsthat much. That's something. Well, maybe its still a little, but it has no weight. Reweigh it, Samuel. Don't know how. Come on. Be a hero. Reweigh it. (Pause) Suddenly I want to lie down. Why? My body feels heavy. Samuel? (Pause) Samuel? (Pause) Well, maybe I can have some peace and quiet. You started this. Oh no, Samuel, you started this. How? You wanted it to happen, Samuel. What? Your life, as it is, and as it will be. I can't think about it. All I want to do is close my eyes. And he did. And he reopened them, but late. You're a hero, Samuel. (Pause) You plant ideas wherever you go. But Fm here to harvest a few. You plantI harvest. Sleep, Samuel. I know you like it, so do it. Have a very good sleep. (She goes to a window) (Samuel speaks) You know what rm doing? Fm standing in front of an open window, and the curtains blow, and Fm not movingjust like that, and I wish I could stop talking and I do. (Pause) I get off the bedno, that's not quite it, since Fm already standing at the window. Hey. In a certain way, I don't
get thisbut I do. That means, there's a way I get it and a way I don't get it. That makes two ways. I wonder if that's two ways out of a multitude, which is probably the case. Okay.

It's certainly the case that it's probably true. I have the deep certainty, I have it right for a minute.

A minute's all you get.

Did you say "Samuel" when you said a minute's all you get?

Yes. I said Samuel.

I thought so.

Samuel turned his head, and the neck broke not, and the turning spun in turn the whole room, and the drug in Samuel's system (there was no drug) announced itself as nodrug.

Look, Samuel, and a little man danced out of the palms of his hand, which was pressed alternately against the floor, the upstanding wall, and his own forehead. Then the hand returned to his lapcomfortably.

Look, Samuel. A little man opened the window and it was Samuel opening the window. Are you, Samuel, part of your own self at last?

Nothing sped with the speed of ice in the rapidly oscillating prism of sound that said I do nothing, I see nothing, I think nothing. His lips alone spoke but they must have been attached to something, whatever the location of the speaking. The room known, in New York. The room unknown, remembered, in Paris or was it another city, in which the gates swing open and a little man jumped back into Samuel's very beingwhere was that? and Samuel turned revolving to find that center because a circle, he knew, always had a center.

He expected a knock on the door to unspin him out of such reverie, but nobody climbed the necessary steps, and Samuel finally collapsed (but it looked more calculated than that) onto the bed, amidst his paperswhat luxury, to smash the body amidst those valuable papers,

brain on white, fluttered, into a kind of action that mixed realms deliberately.

The sun must have come out, at least partially.

He whistled into his palms made heat, and slept into it.

12

The sun opened (rose) on Samuel, who did a mental turn, reflecting the sun, breaking through clouds.

Oh, Samuel, your feet shine! You have things upside down.

Yes, Samuel smiled (or something smiled for him)! wipe the expression off my face in order to show the truth of things.

His face gone, his feet dancing, Samuel didn't need applause, he needed the great void that now, as if irresistible, he seemed able to produce in Helen's heart.

So Helen, too, vanished, and she, and Samuel, entered the sun.

13

Out of his imagination, flew Samuel to what, in the store he entered, rose and arose, white, covered like with a sheet, and the end was not visible, of such surprise manifestation.

Who entered but another less relevant doctor of the soul and saidSamuel, you do open amongst these assembled masses of objects "5," "S," the letter "S," massed, objects, the "S" of the letter "S," selfencrustation, toward which Samuel's forehead seemed to participate, beads of sweat, wiped like a straitjacket removed from a specific mental apparatus interior.

I AM in this store, said Samuel. This store is an enclosure, said Samuel, and look, I escape not.

But that didn't prevent his disappearance. "5" was the letter that left its trace in the demarcation between, ohrandomlymany of the objects (what they were) that stocked the sowellstocked shelves.
Now, here's Samuel's souvenir. His whole adventure in one small item, and he pockets something wrapped carefully in white tissue paper. He exits the shop (from which he had already, remember, disappeared). He expands (outside) and as the shop floats, as it does float normally whenever Samuel is not there to ground it, solid into the rock that waves so heavily against the surge of a recent experience, Oh, Samuel, rising and not risingyou brought your own alphabet of course into the environment of your choice, but when you entered and the door flashedit was like exiting and the same door flashed and the very multipleness of that"S" into the letter "S," like water running from open windows, down, down into the street where the mix was complete, no longer crystallized, look, street outside shop.

One so dependent upon the other yet "puff," that was smoke from Samuel's twistofeye that disappeared both, because he was on to something else, regrouped, inside again.

(Headfirst, that was the only plungeable direction.)

14

Samuel had no eating time, that is, the selfnourishment occurred outside the structure he tried to create; it just occurred.

Samuel lifted knives and forks from the plate, emptyoh, that was only occasional as was the opposite.

Trips. Food trips. That wasn't necessary, so he thought (or avoided thinking) on the road to the hotdog stand, the car stalled and Samuel pumped the acceleratoror was it the brake? It could have been a mistake (of the foot).

But even the famous stalled motor was something he feared (anticipation) rather than something that really happened. Even the quake (hunger?) in the stomachwas that something that really happened?

Don't be at a loss for explanations, Samuel. The road signsthis was that typical strip outside town in which the motel, multiple, or something

like it could so dazzle with the imitation that the imitation itselfof well, change the subject, reglitz, go one better.

Samuel pushed on the pedal. The car sped, not his doing really. He was in control again, controlled.

15

Samuel wiped his hand on the edge of the bedspread and Samuel, no he didn't say anything, he was rolling on his back and something struck the edge of his body, a book he'd been reading last week and hadn't reopened.

Just at that moment Helen entered and said, "Oh, I should have knocked." but he was already overreacting to the edge of the hard surface that was book, book, nothing but book and all it contained, which was of course a whole world, of an internal sort.

How do you get in? Do you knock? He pulled up his knees. Somebody bit his hand. No wonder he had to wipe itlike a misplaced kiss.

16

Samuel sat across from the wall (it was visible outside his window) and thought about counting the bricks in the wall opposite, but what did thinking about it mean, since it was clear to Samuel he had no intention of doing that doing of counting.

He was good at counting. It was irrelevant: counting.

It didn't count for Samuel. Something else seized him, something going on in his body that had nothing to do with counting. Therefore he couldn't talk about it, or externalize it, so it was as if it didn't exist (totally) and Samuel went on to other thingssuch as his life.

What did that consist of? Oh, nonordinary, ordinary. But summing it up in such a waywho else could help?
The particular spiritual doctor of Samuel's lifehe wasn't helpful. He was somebody who disrupted mass things (many). So Samuel turned his back, and the wall (multifaceted as usual) offered possibilities he couldn't even touch with his finger (it was much too "outside the window").

Don't hurt, said Samuel, but it wouldn'tonly numbers could hurt.

17

Samuel did not believe in racing around corners. He took it slow and easy, but to fall off the ice skates of his real mind was only a first effort, that falling, that spin into the real like that was elsewhere inside him

Oh, if that could be flower bedecked, but look, it was. So Samuel accepted the part was his (that was the good thing about rounding corners, said Marie).

She also had flowers in her hair. The banquet table was half eaten into by the time Samuel arrivedDid that mean "Samuel! Late for your own party?" Now let's see. What are we celebrating? His birthday? His graduation from some sort ofor a very specific achievement of a different sort?

That was it. Samuel had a premonition. It was kept secret, so how could there be a party? (That wasn't publicity, was it?)

Samuel had never been interested in publicityOh come on now, said Angus (who had played many different roles in the course of a lifetime). You know that isn't true! Samuel could only smileeating a piece of cake.

He hoped his smile was ambiguous. The ocean was visible from one part of the lawnlink that to the banquet table in a particular and peculiar way. So in making that circulation, Samuel, too, was was exposed to its slow rhythmswhich from that distance didn't really exist in a conscious sense. Just tears, tears in the chest, welling upthat was a kind of "Samuel's internal ocean."

Why should he feel like crying on the occasion of his wonderful promotion? Oh, but that was being kept a secret. So let's just say it was Samuel's birthday. For all he knew (Samuel) that was truly the case. He was happy enough with that (in spite of the tears) (in spite of the ocean and the space it plunged him into).

Samuel had turned a corner, but it was so slow that equilibrium was maintained and if there was sadness, it wasn't enough to make him giddy. The party wound down. The flowersflew into space like rain going up, out, and in multiple directions, and each of those flowers had a message on itof course, with messages how could they have flownsuch an unnatural thing for flowers to doand Samuel could identify with that (if he'd been helped to it just a little by somebody like, say Angus, or even Marie).

But nobody was smart enough to help. So Samuel just stood there at his own party. I mean, at the end of his party. No tilt. No going up vertically. No falling, either, in a motion that was like a slip losing its balance.

Oh no. Samuel played his part very well. And the party finished on a high note he didn't really pick up on.

18

The door opens. Samuel enters the room of the substitute teacher but immediately recognizes Marie.

The figures on the blackboard behind her are being erased, but Samuel catches the suggestion of his own name before it disappears behind a cloud of dust; and he feels like he wants to cry out "Samuel," as if saying "That's me," but it seems beside the point since it could so recently have been read.

No doubt about it queries Marieas if she were able to read his mind but of course her inquiry could have been otherwise directed and probably was, and Samuel just looks at the window and does some fairly
good imitations of choking (chalk dust you know) so the name, erased, could be called floating in particle formbut isn't that the way it always floatsnames?

For that reason, Marie being a substitute only seemed okay. Which must have been the reason she cast herself in such a role and Samuel did or did not have an obligation to act out the surprise that he felteven though it was over quick because the returned reality of Marie soon took precedence over the sudden but momentary surprise of seeing her in a place she wasn't expected.

He reexamined the blackboard. No hint left of what had been hinted as he opened the door. Perhapsno, that was too much a fantasy the idea that pushing open the door on his part had done the major ERASING that seemed to take place almost coincidentally but just a moment before.

That was too much to be believed, but Marie believed not, also, that the "choking fit" was more than for effect and snapped out "stop your playacting" to Samuel.

She had eraser still in hand. Class must have been adjourned (or abandoned?) because no pupils were in sight, and Samuel found what he was "picking up on" were the red rosebushes outside the window in the sun (which also kept sparkling the dust) and all he could think washow often here, how often not here.

So he whizzed, imaginatively, through a couple of the MarieSamuel routines he knew by rote (they'd all really happened) and decided to do what he'd thought about for a moment, then dropped, now he picked it up againjust like thatand exclaimed, "Gee, Marie, I didn't know you were playing substitute teacher."

She whizzed the eraser toward his head, ostensibly objecting to the word "playing" applied to her serious commitments, and then realized the absence of students gave, on the surface, the lie to things that were of course much deeper and elusive.

The eraser missed.

Trains as part of the paraphernalia. Samuel looked into the mind, Samuel looked into the train that carried the mind.

Samuel, who could drive, and the trajectory slipped the treesthinking, toointo an arc under his attention.

Oh, said Marie, your gesture to that bridge between my imagination and realitywhich somebody or other wiped out.

Let's proceed to the remnants of that bridge, the approach, the ramp that crumbles in space.

(Unhoped fora reason to continue.) A reason to continue.

20

Suns of course. The sky's full of them, really.

Explosion, but on such a scale, not to say so far away, that to our puny consciousness, the time and violence of the explosion appears slowed up. So we think of itsunas nourishingwhen it reallyall that's happening is that we, too, catch fire, only the terms used are different. Conception, birth, death, an explosion, a spark igniting into ashbut our illusion is that it happens slow enough to call "life" but that's an optical misapprehension.

Does it frighten you?

Of course not. You take a deep breath and think you're participating in the real thing.

Why so negative, Professor?

Not me.

21

When nothing happens, rm in my element. I twist like you twist. Clockstick me into the unavoidable river.
22

Samuel looked in a mirror and smiled.

The vase broke in space, scattering flowers.

Piano music spoke, saying, "I offer my private agenda."

The doveswan animal, on wheels, roared from the back roads of the skull.

The meat lessons, dropped rocks into a clock that parttimed into the lostlost.

And knives, desharpened, cut heretofore impenetrable niceknots. So freed, so in space, Samuel rose into invitation and hence, repeating gestures

Floundered like selfenclosed secrets.

He smiled.

It was unnoticed, hence its power.

In the provocative city Sheets wind into their imitations Till laundry alone

Seems reason to cry.

Is it my intense demeanor that should convince you to take each of my ideas seriously? No. You see there's nothing intense about me.

The provocative city transformed me. Its suburbs changed me. The city altered perceptively as Samuel entered.

The city was like a map no one read. And yet its trajectory (the trajectory of paths traveled by its recognizable features) carved something that, untellable, traced twists of a certain sort in Samuel's, well'being.'

Samuel owed nothing to his conscious effort and all to the drift of his circumstances.

23

On the way to the nonTrocadaro, the gold that in expectation, statuelayered, awaited, through rain did antiquify.

The street heaved.

A car's direction, lifted into itself its multiplicity, and inside the museum now, the windows said "Rain," and the internal statues said, 'Walt for us, cry real tears."

Marie wiped her eyes. And the paraphernalia of her grief, not yet arrived, did seem as immediate as the figures that surrounded herwas Samuel one? He, too, so melted into the background of straw, wood and iron, with a belligerent shove of self he turned into Marie (turned into her field of vision) and opinionated about all the images whirling through his head.

Go primitive, she said, chewing her contented cud, and Samuel kissed her in his imagination, but the windowsremember those things that shone? Only the glass had power now, only the transparent language.

All else was cried out.

That was a Marie "uncle." That was a Marie and Samuel "Let us look at you and decide."

What was to be seen? (using the eyes, of course, as a halfassed way of doing the obvious). So Samuel chose his favorite to stand in front of, and Marie wandered, and the statues did imitations very well thank you and the general sadness, like rain, was a mere series of centuries passing; they knew that. They were invisible now and then, but going home on the train (still raining), Marie said to Samuelno, don't talk. She put her fingers to her lips, and it was as if nothing had been spoken.

24

The furniture that allowed Samuel to sit had other functions, certainly. That is to say, perceived was not the same as used, and Samuel was into distinctions as usual. It was Helen who tried to calm things down with internal directives.

It was Helen who said, I can see you're ready for the march of the furniture and Samuel, surprised, said how did you penetrate my imagination?Oh, strike it outthat was my own machinations at work.
But Helen had the cutest way of turning an objection into an opportunity and said Samuel, it's ME talkingand he realized she'd been doing it for a half hour at least, even if it was in another room with guests Samuel had no desire to participate.

It was of course only the drift of conversation, not the words. In other words (ahthere they go again knocking at something as if it was a door) but it was nothing to listen to, it was the granular "take" on things that a mind like Samuel's could do without having recourse to ears (or eyes, for that matter).

Anyway, when he opened his eyes again, Helen had left the room and Samuel thumped on the table a bit, but there was no response, which therefore turned all of that thumping into nothing as much as a machinelike use of my own body said Samuel with a hmmthat's musing.

And missing the arena of his normal interaction with somebody like Helen (it could have been one of innumerables) he left the table, as he rose, flashing a pipe he could have extracted from his mouth to, as it were "knock against something" a mantelpiece? Ah, that was furniture, seen from a slightly different point of view that hardly included the fire.

Indeed, fire like that could make all the furniture in the room (in the whole house for that matter) scurry into a safer category. Would it have been safer? What he meant was (to himself) if furniture leaves its current category then, who could sit on it? And all those other usesare they important enough so that it continues? Do WE help? Do WE find it "useful?"

The imagined pipe, that he emptied against the imagined semicategories fireplacethe glow at the end (that's where the smoke came from) explanations weren't to be expected, after all, it was just a few granular embers at the end of the tube, and Samuel felt equally small and tubelike all through himHelen was glowing at the end of THIS little tunnel.

Was a tunnel furniture? Of course it was. You sat down at a table (this was himself in the visualization). You lay down on a bed. You opened a drawer, you walked down the length of a tunnelall this seemed similar, didn't it?

So Samuel reknocked on the door (not necessary to document the origin that allowed the use of "re"that can be taken for granted). And from the other end of the tunnel, Helen peeked.

But the activity in the room behind her wiped it all out. Quite an explosion. Samuel got "derailed" and sat down hard, fortunately on a soft chair, which made reality less hard to take.

25

Samuel, no rope around his neck, and Marie saidcool it. The chance to "chase the chicken" passed. Oh, all these private references, arcane or not, turned Samuel into the veritable hermit he thought about being, but then skipped.

Sowiping the table clean with a sweep of his paw, one or two acquaintances said, Samuel, you don't know us(identifying the self through the usual convoluted methods?). And Samuel replied with the usualwho am I? with its selfconscious philosophical twist.

Back to basics. A cookout in the backyard was the very last thing in his agenda of competence.

Sojuggling the elements (ah, nature!) Samuel decided to be a beacon whereby the other participants could shine a little light on things, and Angus for one, turned to Marie with aHello, let's pretend we've met for the first time.

That screwed it up at the initiation moment, Marie replied (she'd been through this before) and Helen plucked the hamburger from Samuel's plateas an example, somehow, that neither Marie nor Angus could pick up on.
That was the fun of such gettogethers (cookout, for a change) and when it started to sprinkle, the tease showed how nervy it was, because only that kind of major pressure gave the necessary opportunity to step in out of it all (no, not just the rain), and Samuel himself, always forgetting the moment ofstill at seaat least floatwhich he was good at, worse luck.

(These exchanges, these "catch me if you can?" Samuel chose no theme song, and what he whistled, nobody else could "hold on to.")

S AMUEL

L
Samuel was a writer who knew he had nothing to say. And knew also (did an angel whisper it over his shoulder?) that only by plunging directly into that fact would he discover his strength.

Nothing to sayThe air hovered in front of (outside) his window and vanished, like air does. His feeling for other people was like glass, like Marie was glass and could be touched, but the invisibility of what he was touching barked back.

Marie had nothing to say to him, and so it was like an echo, though it was like a noise, and Samuel accepted totally (that was his effort or his adventure) everything momentarily visible on the other side of that dumbness (a sheet of glass) that seemed to separate him from everything he could see the minute he touched it (like glass).

2

Samuel had nothing to say, nothing to give to the world.

The left side of things entered him and passed through like butter, pulling the lips after it like waves of the ocean, and Samuel felt himself licking the ideas that went too fast to catch.

So the tonguedethroned. So the language, demounted and secret, speeding through the streets, convertible style, and Samuel's weary arms ached, holding out into space, hands that wanted to seize something.

And those same muscles, gripping the pencil that fell from his fingers onto the page, left nothing but the tiniest evidence.

Samuel smiled to himself in the mirror. Where was that? Quick, it flashed by as the ocean flashed by, shaped like a wave, no shape, just something that undulated, stealing from Samuel, theft as reward.

Samuel, floating on the stream of events, had nothing to say about the events. His head exploded (oh, that was his wish) but no head exploded, indeed, events wrapped seemingly tighter and tighter around his cranium.

He lifted himself from sloth and depression one way only. He disappeared into the "before I was born and after I have been dead," but he was not very good about such lifting, it was only a dream.

Oh, the escape into a dream. But, he explained to Estelle, not an escape, a slow and meticulous pushing back of a heavy door. That took effort (great effort) and the results were small (so small) and the twoefforts and resultsfactored together, made Samuel feel himself a hero of sorts, but he was aware of the dangers of vanity and for that reason called, internally even, no attention to himself.

Samuel had nothing to say, his heroism, selfjudgment from a position of rigor.

4

Samuel is asked to come into the midnight arena of selfregulation. The double clocks doubt, that is their best, beloved, function.

Arenas of stairs, starting in direction, Choose self for a narrative fiction. Oh, none of this possible.
Therefore Into the flesh: Where the word leads the adventurous choice, Who is without honor. Down valleys Down through open windows Homelet Where problems lie.

The grain most alert selffocal dissolve

sea on sea

Weweave of the aberrant, toomuch Almost: the final construct Almost: The name itself: Almost.

Samuel had nothing to say to the telephone, but it rang, and he spoke through it.

A voice rang like an echo. Samuel chewed on it, and somebody else said "speech."

The internal dictionary was pulled forward, up through the bone itself, confusing mouth, nostrilswas this speech (?) or merely breath and its discomforts. Breath, with its promise of easiness confounded.

Samuel replunged into the replayed aria of suggestible selves and, lost finally, in that network, might as well stop talking, which goes

on, anyway.

Samuel was a writer who had nothing to say. That was his strength.

A heavy stone was rolling down from a hill, near, and soon would be on top of him totally. That total, that thing, rolling over him, that was both his opportunity and his bad accident.

Ly, Samuel, fly to your destiny. Escape not, except that the escape

not is an escape from escapeup to nowhaving things to say in a pretend way, even under a pretend name, which is Samuel, even if it is the real name, Samuel.

Samuel had nothing to say, his strength, which returned him to his own name as being a beginning and ending of something he could be involved in completely.

Samuel, Samuel, he selfsaid. There were many places and ways he could inscribe that name that was his.

Samuel sinking into Samuel, which was the case of a name that was entered, was a creating of space.

The wood didn't inform the room, though the wood was behind and under the room, structuring it. Articulating it. And Samuel turned toward a blank wall, and experienced the light, white but transparent, hitting the wail and returning like a flush that over his face, wiped itself in a circle without center.

Nobody spoke. Marie was there, stirring under her conversation. And everything that arose, did arise with a drift that changed, slight (which meant massive) everyone in participating proximity.

Samuel himself renamed himself.

Outside in the streets, soft trees swayed and changed color. Nobody was capable of speaking, but was not bland.
What sped forward was a kind of halt to the right and halt to the left.

The dark color of interior fantasy was also subsumed in that drift which, in its usual drift oceanward, developed itself like a film out of sync with reality and therefore careful in its own internal coherence, and Samuel smiled at his own memory of who he himself was.

Marie broke the silence just as she broke other objects (chairs, tables, dishes laid out on the table for a meal that imitated a funeral because after all, even Samuel, when he ate, destroyed something that had considered itself whole, coherent, and with an official and beneficent identity called "dinner").

All this hidden wood, all these selfevident presences of light, did they speak of the same realm of being or were they separated by some

stickiness in Samuel's mind?

"Ask Samuel" I was about to saythen realized my mistake.

The doubt machine worked at certain hours, but did clocks lie?

Samuel twisted under the impact of certain hours more than othersbut was the classical '3 A.M.' only a way of getting off the repressive trolley?

Tracks were invisible, but like a magnetic field, when a clock face forced the light that wasn't (we're referring to what went on behind the scenes) Samuel sort of masked himself and spun into a whole series of disappearances, (certain arms, certain legs, certain parts of the brain) and reappearances.

So Marie, who was already alone in the corridor, checked out her

own meal ticket (and after all, breathing and eating were the only

necessities so who cared if sometimes questions surfaced in different areaslet's try this), and she passed into the same room where Samuel sat in a quandary.

Onlyhow was she to know for sure?

He didn't wrinkle up his brow (that would have been doing somebody a favor"Mirrors please?").

But Samuel greeted her with the usual "Hello" and the clock struck three P.M. that was a coincidence, and Marie said, "I didn't know it was so late" visàvis an appointment she had later. But Samuel, not knowing all the details of her busy life chimed in "I didn't know it was so early."

Had he heard her clearly and was he being contradictory? Or had she

talked in a selfmuffling way because she was talking to herself?

True, her left hand was sort of hovering around the facewhich could have been irrelevant because it didn't turn into something like "scratching at the cheek," but instead it looked for a place on her hip (much lower) and landed.

Samuel watched this. He didn't know what she wanted. They had no prescheduled appointmentthough her appearance was in no way "out of line" and he asked her to sit.

They had nothing much to say to each other, made small talk (you can imagine) and somehowit was another one of those slightly unsatisfactory gettogethers that, of course, couldn't be expected to change the worldso how come they were always happening?

An entire afternoon was spent waiting. Time would pass, but Samuel couldn't count on the time passing. He could only be... treeward...?

Somebody who held out for a real idea.

Oh oh a tray of good things was placed over the two or three books he was reading (always more than one at a time) because Samuel himself owed nothing to forgotten moments and everything to what was here on the table.
Marie liked to strip it clean, obsessively. She had also a camera, for proof.That is, whatever the state of Samuel's table, relatively chockfull of objects or relatively naked, she imagined choosing an unexpected moment to photograph the table, the room, sometimes even Samuel's face itself in repose. For Samuel tried to keep his face deanimated; it served his purposes.

If a face could be read, what need was there to plunge deeper; and it was only by that stressful plunge that the stress itself threw up shadowy

patterns that suggested a whole other way of being that Samuel first,

liked, and others like Mariethis came in a close secondfound at the very least, food for thought.

10

Why enter? He opened his eyes.

On the edge of experience, he found more of the same. It was the edge, always the edge.

Leaping finally, he did not find himself falling into experience, but into the void where no experience was.

When the edge of experience was being passed, it could be seen that the experience was something to live inside of, and the living inside it had as many options as seemed available before, when he was just choosing when and where to leap, before the experience was entered into to be lived in.

So nothing of the experience was left in the experience, only

an envelope for living, which from the outside had seemed to hold experience, and now once one was inside it, was a space in which to live, to imagine one was making choices, to watch as one did perform this or that action, which had only the effect of so widening the envelope that the space was a space in which compartment was added to

compartment.

That proliferation; which was not experience, but the multiplication of the edges between one compartment and another; but each compartment once entered, proved equally empty and only the edges seemed to offer the possibility of what heretofore could be called experience but was now seen as empty.

So without experience to reflexively as it were give him something in the name of selfdefinition, who was he?

He was nothing: or ratherhe forgot who he was. That meant every moment was a new beginning. That meant his development could be tracked from outside himself, but not from inside himself.

It didn't matter.

He was doing things and they were fine, only he couldn't track them himself.

It was frightening at first, but, trust me, it was ultimately okay. More than okay.

Take that on faith. (It's all you have, anyway.)

A story is being told. A window is being opened. A door is being closed.

A man in the street hears about adventures inside a house he stands facing.

Roses are thrown from a window.

The man in the street starts to move toward the rose, to catch it as it falls through space. Then he thinks better of his maneuver, and turns away quickly.

He goes into a restaurant.

A glass sits on the table in front of him. And as he waits for his meal, he allows one finger to enter, slightly, into the water that fills the glass.

He wipes his finger dry before the waiter arrives with his meal. He doesn't enjoy his meal, but he says nothing to the waiter, nor to the other patrons of the restaurant. He pays his bill and leaves.
12

A story is being told. A curtain shifts in the window, and light is alternately there and not there.

Someone leaves the room, just in time. And a second person answers questions.

But a mirror is suddenly in the light and a face reflected in the mirror is the face that is answering the questions but there is no sign of the other, the one who asks them. That would seem to predict the cessation of the series of questions and answers, but it doesn't, if answers are taken as evidence, because answers continue.

A series of dates is given. And they situate the passage of time.

A calendar flashes into the mind, but its pages burn and are termed by someone "invisible."

Oh? Shouldn't it be possible to read by the very light that consumes them, in the form of fire? Is the fire also a light?

Someone runs from the room, carrying the mirror, which no longer reflects a face.

The answers are still pouring forth from the invisible mouth, but interpreted differently now, they wander as parts of a language that twists, slightly, into another one of innumerable stories.

13

Though it was half visible, the rest of the room was okay. Samuel put that into his mindwringer and wrung out something he called "my idea."

What happened to the rest of the room? It was behind his head, so a solution was turning the head, but when that happened it meant another part of the room vanished.

"You're playing games with yourself," said Helen. And Samuel smiles and thought she said, "Samuel, you're playing games with me," and that was okay, too.

He blinked, and the whole room vanished for a brief momenteven Helen.

But then (it was an accident almost) the eye trajectory hit the window and Samuel saw that outside the window the atmospheric conditions were, well, foggy. And he realized that even though he hadn't seen it before, the fog that was outside over the city streets was the same fog that inside, made parts of the room invisible, even though the window was closed and there was no question of the fog being inside the room like an interior phenomenon.

But there you are.

Helen switched on a floor lamp and Samuel said, "Put that out please!" and Helen, without thinking just shrugged and did it.

But it spoiled things.

Now it was as if what Samuel experienced was just a subjective phenomenon. Nobody had much to say; he blinked his eyes. And Helen disappeared into the next room and Samuel thought, 'Wow, it wasn't subjective after all."

These reasons (he was wringing them out all the time) had their own bright light in the middle of things.

Guess what. If you have a bright light, you have a shadow. If you have ten, twenty bright lights scattered in a certain area, shadows start disappearingbut another way of saying that is you have more shadows, since every one of the separate lights castsyou know what.

So what was Samuel really seeing? He called into the next room saying, "Helen, I hope you didn't take offense when I asked you to turn off the light."

"No," she called back, and her voice was neutral.

Samuel sat, that was all. He got comfortable. He closed his eyes, then opened them. Thata few times in a row. Everything seemed so... elusive.

"What am I going to do with myself?" he queried.

(What am I going to do with myself?)

Within an hour, life took care of that, answered his question, as he might have known: but of course he did know that all along, and he didn't even have to think about it.
His body, his mind, all went into action without a moment's hesitation as telephones rang, doors opened, new people came and went (including Samuel) and the weather changed.

The fog lifted. But that just meant it went someplace else.

14

Lowering the head, Samuel was alone, adrift, remembering past experiences, when a light went on in the next room and Marie said, "Pancakes."

Why did she speak? Why did she speak as she did?

She was in a room called the kitchen, but through the window one could look at the sky; however, the sky was not where either Samuel or Marie were looking. Their eyes, two sets, were darting amongst objects of the internal environment, and the walls themselves were stuffed with what might be called "suitables."

Then Samuel left, this was going backward in time, and stood at the edge of the lake.

If the surface of the lake rose, say twenty feet into the air, then one could say "pancake" and it was true. Then and there.

Marie was still cooking up something.

She served.

It hit the plate with a light "slap" and Samuel collected a few more impressions, but had to close his eyes for a few seconds. (Yes, it was longer than a blink.)

And that in itselfthat slice out of what heretofore they agreed to

call "real time"that was so "light" it was riseable after all.

The split in consciousness happened before Samuel could register what was happening.

He rolled into the room. The outside noise stoppedno it didn't, but the granular form it took made it less like noise. How could it be defined?

Samuel crosses his fingers. That was his version of a definition.

Marie smiled, because when fingers were crossed everything was forgiven. There was nothing to forgive.

An airplane opened its doors and the things that fell to earth were collectible. This made Samuel smile and realize new definitions were available. Scouring the landscape, he had occasion to resync what he heard with what he was, wellcollecting.

He didn't expect anyone to like him. It was his birthdaybut that was that same dayhe was leaping to another occasion.

The airplane overhead opened its doors. Good things fell from the sky. Samuel made connections and crossed his fingershoping it would never come to an end.

When things hit the ground, they made little marks where they hit, but then bounced to other places.

Marie said, "That's the reason for my smile," and Samuel said, "I was smiling, and now Fm not, but Fm no longer tense."

He crossed his fingers and said, 'What comes true, was bound to come true, so why keep my fingers crossed?"

Marie grabbed for his hand and checked it out. But as she turned it overusing her own hands, of course, it was her ownher handsthat started to preoccupy her. There was a ringing in her ears. She smiled, as she pretended not to notice, but "Careful, Fm good at reading smiles" was what Samuel said.

16

Samuel could only float. How many times he had said this, hoped this, disappeared into this?

By the time the "parade passed" he was on another tack, avenging other imagined slightsand this was the pointSamuel KNEW they were imagined. Those slights, so slight they amounted to ... nothing. Yet how they filled a life, or built a life, and what a beauty it was.

Beyond, with effort (effortless for all that) Samuel rose, like one of the drops of dew on himself (ha! the flower) up, up, and away.
Still. That was a repetitive process, so next day, another try. Rounding the corner that never emptied.

Hello, Samuel. Truckers at the truckstop cafe. Boots ready to boot him out of where he didn't belong.

So long, Samuel.

Another day.

17

After alldates were decided upon before anything specific happened. ErasedAnother part of the repertory of gestures. The entire file cabinet, availableand a gesture linked it to one of the drawers opening.

Samuel could but question his own depth in the procedure. His fingers flew, norather plunged, into the papers that were arranged vertically in the open drawer and as that happened his knee hit metal and he registered the possibility of a groan that could easily place Marie in the position of exclaiming (checkmate!) Oh, Samuel, did you get hurt?

But the circular thing was but one momentokay, the nextso which got to be most real? Look it up.

He did. He hurled papers right and left (well, he didn't really, neat person he still was, at least in THIS millisecond of reality).

The files were really not the point so turning into the next room ah, that was better and he opened a windownope, it already was, because that was WIND gesturing through the curtains and Samuel sat down with a WHOOSH! and a whole part of the experience collapsed with him.

Resettling (straightening up) in the chair, he said, "Look at me now." Remembering a photo taken, on the sly, many years agoa

younger version of Samuel upright in a chair on a social occasion, he didthen and nowlook neat from the outside (composed, was it?)while he looked so much more disorganized seen from inside.

That's what he trustedthe inside. But can he put his fingers on it?

No.

Who's this speakingright now for Samuel? In Samuel's name? I thought it was Samuel. It wasn't. Look at that. Words keep coming. (You could have fooled me.)

18

Samuel wokeno he was still asleep, and the dirigible called "no more thinking" was hovering in the air.

But over the horizon, a second dirigiblethis one, not so precisely named, and then a fourth, and fifth, and so on.

And a twist on the cord that attached such objects together, and immediately it was Samuel himself spinning in airsome called it a sky, some called it field of dreams, but Samuel himself... woke.

19

When Samuel's eyes hurt, he knew it was time to clean his glasses.

Not that it helped, and the door swung open but nothing much, seeable, but another blank wall.

When the wall, that, after it had been passed beyondOh, he thought to himself (Samuel, are you running headfirst into another blank wall?)

Look what's written all over its surface.

I won't look!

Samuel himself, cleareyed (glassyeyed) managed to look in the opposite direction, not to avoid trouble but take infinite pains.

That was his way of transcending difficulty with people who tried to be polite but were really out of line if you consider that all Samuel needed was encouragementwhich could only come from one of the

people he hadn't yet met, because such people still wore theirwell, aura, perched at the right angle bisecting their physical body, and always seemed to be saying (they lived in a blur) "Samuel! Congratulations! This is a test!"
20

Samuel began notating his own life because he realized something was trying to communicate with him.

These messages, call them not messages but they were something like messages without a message.

Don't laugh at this.

No one was going to laugh.

Even this. Is this something like a message, without a message?

21

Who would have thought it could be as elaborate as he composed it (in his head, selfcomposed) which was an answer to what, demonically (that's what Carol proposed) did all the selfresiding that nobody wanted to face up to.

Agitated, on no sea of trouble, but in the clear, dark surface beneath which as always, depth itself implied trouble.

Depth that, mirrorlike, wasn't something run intoas one was always running into a blank wall, but the door that was there (oh, yes, it was there) unopenable.

That's how things got through. Unopenable.

What things? Oh, you knowthe kind of things that do get through unopenable doors.

22

He was very influenced by the light that hovered, just over his eyesbut how can we possibly define that influence?

After experience, there was the lack of experience. So many layered, developed, open spaces. His watch opened itself, and time, tasted itself, which had no effect on him that he noticed.

This is about Samuel who agitated toward the window and discovered nothing unusual in his usual flutter.

But when seven of his friends signed a pact, they said in concertSamuel has a commitment to the unavailablefor that reason we set him on the right path (close the window).

And Samuel says, I can't breathe good.

Marie shows him certain exercises that involve placing the hands in position on the chest, and Samuel (notice the "M" sitting there in the middle of his name) remembers a trip to the country where even the dogs barked in rhythm to his expectation.

Oh, the library of my adventure, he thought. He, who had so little in the way of adventures.

And his seven friends, not seven friends sought, but seven friends come upon by the happenstance of those adventures he didn't have (what was wrong with that picture? Shut your eyes and find out.)

He was

Good.

It was done.

Friends or no friends. Noin which direction did that window disappear? A contradiction in termsbut he chose to ignorewhat?and breathed deep again, thanks to the open window.

23

Samuel wanted to live his life in such a way that each moment expressed connection to the source.

He didn't know how.

He didn't know "express"the word came to him, twitching through his hand onto the page as he was writing to try and express himself.

As he was writing, he did notice that the word itself evoked the idea (recognition) of effort in his mind, though the effort itself seemed to be in the hand, rather than his mind, so he thought for a moment his mind was inventing it.
Oh mind, great inventor! He wanted to posterize himself, and then kneeled down, perhaps before the great image he would have then and there invented (silly Samuel, it had been preinvented).

24

It was not necessary to name them.

The food, swallowed, preemptied names, and the God watching, from his location outside and inside what preoccupied all, offered a hand, and all assembled took from that hand, eyes turned in the direction of the shadow on the wall because the shadow moved, whereas the hand

did not move.

And amongst them, Mariewho had a name though it was never named, Marie said something unimportant like "I love you" though it was hardly a whisper.

And nobody knew they heard anything at that whispered moment, and in fact it wasn't called "hearing," but as they enjoyed the nourishment (the dream of nourishment) they were nourished as only they could be nourished.

And the God of death, waiting not in the shadow, but in the brightest of sunlight that simply happened, for the moment, to be on the other side of the planet, smiled, because that was the only mode available to him, that smile, and that smile was everything.

25

Because he had no coherent policy for life, he suffered. But life didn't suffer. Life's purposes were served, exactly.

That should have made him feel better, but it didn't, yet, make him feel better, and life's purposes were served by that also.

Then his language began to deteriorate and it wasn't life that was worried, but language started to be worried.

The next thing that should have been said, wasn't said.

And several independent observers thought to themselves, "no's talking?" but there was no answer, of course, because the persons asking the question were interfering, by their very asking, with the possibility of an answer.

So in that silence, things started being noticed, that became noticed, as the silence directed its spotlight of silence

into the space

that no longer had to be filled.

26

Silence controlled the situation.

Samuel sat not.

The relative strength of impulse, went wet.

And the heave of ocean that followed, upended everything he could fathom.

Oh, Samuel, plunging into who knows what to say about it. Can you abide by the attentive tradition?

Here was Samuel. Polishing knives and forks, ready to close in for a kill even he couldn't countenance.

Silence controlled it, that's why Samuel was able to pick up on heretofore unavailable stuff, loading his plate, watchful. Always on the go in a way that nobody else noticed.

At the end of the corridor, Marie waited with her usual smile, and Samuel ticked off the seconds on some internal clock that bent not, waiting for everything to happen in pure equilibrium.

She let her dress align itself with her deepest intention (her own body) and Samuel touched that, and as he did so, she floated carefully over several heretofore measured depths, which meant "This is known by me."

They both could have said that, but Samuel controlled things, so they continued the usual drift and the lights flashed on and off and in the on phase they said, "Silence" and in the off phase they said, "Go deeper."
There was no relationship between Samuel and Marie.

They talked, they touched each other. But nobody's hand disappeared into nobody's hallucinating eyeball, and so all gestures were like a quiver in nonexistent ether, and the heavenly bodiesall they could do was whirl. That kind of silence.

27

All Samuel's sentences got used up.

So he began again. From the beginning.

Locating himself in the available mirror

But remember

Looking into a mirror is really, like opening a window.

He imagines a room hung with red curtains, where a certain kind of light pours in when a window is opened.

But the quality of the light implies a quality of light in the city beyond the room. Full of mirrors. A faceted city. So activity multiplies, and light multiplies.

And facial expressions, smiles and gestures, all multiply.

And Samuel sits at a desk in front of a blackboard. And something is written rapidly on the blackboard and Samuel copies, mirrors, what is written: but copies slowly.

The streets curl under the multiple reflections, and somehow the blackboard in front of the child speaks of these streets.

And the Samuel copies something, but not thatnot that of which the blackboard itself speaks as it is written uponthat is not something

Samuel is taught to copy.

And so years later, when Samuel is much older, there is something lost to him. And a window is opened, and the light pours through, but Samueladult nowis shaken in memory, without being able to know what it is that produces that profound yet elusive impression.

And Samuel's life, his adult life, is a longing that is never answerable. And the beauty of life seems, accidental and unstable.

lostlost.

And the life to be lived, is lived, like a task. And the task is done, and a window is closed, a mirror, turned to the wall, and the room itself wobbles, and forever, is lost.

28

Samuel looked in a mirror and smiled.

The vase broke in space, scattering flowers.

Piano music spoke, saying, "I offer my private agenda."

The doveswan animal, on wheels, roared from the back roads of the skull.

The meat lessons, dropped rocks into a clock that parttimed into the

And knives, desharpened, cut heretofore impenetrable niceknots. So freed, so in space, Samuel rose into invitation and hence, repeating gestures

Floundered like selfenclosed secrets.

He smiled.

It was unnoticed, hence its power.

29

At the edge of the city, Samuel, about to enter, tried to isolate that special moment of transition, noncity to city, and his head bled several ideas.

They went into the sky, they cried like children, and the rain that redescended seemed to speak the words of an especially difficult book.

These books, these in the window, these are eye books, hooking the

eye, that organ giving, as it were, birth to the several others in the body. And the river of distinction, to which we all refer as it courses its way

through the city, that river now rose mostly as aroma, tiny droplets, and the fine thin mist of idea was not "IDEA," always a coagulant, but something more malleableless efficaciousand more. . . words fail, fortunately.
Samuel had discovered the point of entry. But his first stephe stumblednever to be the hero of the wide boulevards. To be instead unseparated from his particular trace of the truth, untouched by knowledge, in spite of, or because of, his effort to know.

A dream in which overdoing yawns open to the wide plain, depopulated of the undone forever.

So, Samuel, now in the train toward X Y Z. Those letters alone could flash the correct color, depth, and taste he will never rise against. He flutters, that is his notchosen but certainly arrived, mode of (dare we call it urban?) stability. There he stands.

Samuel had no hope that the rain would stop, and when it did, he turned circles of happy expectation. All this, a lie? Not at all.

When a rose in the garden lifted, the other flowers also, in concertwas it just a word? Was it an angle of vision? But the garden was deserted so Samuel must have been imagining the scene.

Indeed, his feet being on the chair opposite, lifted, and Samuel's smile, hardly visible, could have been interpreted by his partner as a lift of the mouth at the edges. The rose of the garden, buzzes itself into a new and better level of being.

The selfsame rose, plucked and entered. The jar in which it was placed, not at all suitable, and what did this mean? What did this adventurize into the quite holy sanctum, well paneled, welldraped, wellcarpeted, in the center now red punctuated the bare glass jar receptacle that offended itself by its very lack of disguises. Wait a minute, cried the word "disguise"rising on its welldecorated paws. But a shot rang out. A brain fired once again. All was peaceful.

Roses were well placed, and the breeze stirred like a memory or a forgotten story, as the efforts of a previous day coalesced into what was now present and still. An image only, that if it moved at all, rose like an airfilled balloon, which meansno place to go but up.

30

Once upon a time, a man lost out on an opportunity, vowed never to trust luck, and was rewarded with wisdom.

A man turned to enter a bar, and was responded to with inner hostility. His head spun, and drinks were refused, so the hostility proved real.

A man took his raincoat and wore it, even though the threatening sky never delivered. When he rode in a taxi, the driver said, "You're dressed inappropriately." The man ignored this. Later it rained.

Three times in a row, a man went to the store for a carton of milk. The third time, the person behind the counter recognized the man and smiled faintly. The man took out change, and then decided to hand a dollar bill over, sorepocketing the change, he noticed the smile didn't vary.

A girl wore a new dress, even though nothing was special about the day in which she wore the new dress. Catching a glimpse of herself in a plate glass window, her attention was immediately distracted by the bright sky, also reflectable.

A man drove a car down a street he had not, heretofore, visited. When he stopped at a red light, he realized the street intersected another, with which he was indeed familiar. He turned into the similar street and lost his grip on reality.

The number of pencils that lay on his worktable changed, from one day to another. When counted, the pencils altered not, and he should have realized this. But he would count them, and do similar things.
31

After the rain, the sun came out, and Samuel smiled, of course, and the books on the table looked better in the sun, which angled into the room the way light does. And Samuel was resold on the idea of being alive, but that was so satisfying in and of itself that he had nothing to say to add to that satisfaction.

But he began to write, and when the writing started, it stopped by starting. He wrote a word, which was "Samuel," and it seemed so complete and total in and of itself

Marie came into the room carrying a suitcase and smiled, sayingFm going to a hotel.

Samuel understood that Marie was entering about something he could do also, and he thought or saidFm going to a hotel.

32

(Death traveled through the city, claiming victory, which confounded many, since at the very moment of such proclamation, the city seemed vibrant with life. But that was the sweet, pungent factthat the most life meant the most death.

Death claimed it was potent in the geometry of things. Where the mind could scan for geometry, the mind could sniff death.)

33

Children followed a bright light in the sky. When the sun was obscured by clouds, the children sustained activity. On the small river, pieces of paper floated, arid the writing on these pieces of paper was unread.

Trees inclined. A taxi rounded a corner in the city, and a hat blew, wind at work, into the air. Samuel covered the table on which he had been working with his two hands. His two hands did not cover the table completely. What was still visible was a brocade cloth. Was he in prayer?

In another city, trains traveled the tracks of a certain perfume that invoke geometry. And the radical lines cut deep, but this was mental. So, who was holding his head?

Samuel slept, this was the previous night. Now only, he relived a dream of a railway, and the engine that sped along these geometric lines, lied. Samuel plunged into the lie, findable, that he turned into energy particles.

On a lake, boats slid forth, and the foam of the waves was so white

that one thought of a category of things. Lace, snow, deliberate feet tracing a vein of rich ore, mountains echoing the footsteps very much as the white sail evoked the travel such floating traced in the blue that turned to black.

A flat ocean reflected the sky. Attention was called to both surfaces,

which made what was beneath both, potent. A ship reflected below seemed, above, where it was in fact a reflection also. The dizziness hurt.

Samuel collected the books scattered on his table. His arms hurt

from the weight of books, which one by one he deposited on the proper shelves.

In another city, the windows of a library filled with wind, and an

automobile approaching the city made it possible to glimpse the city below, as the car rounded a curve and the occupants glanced left. In that library, hidden from view but not hidden from one who occupied it, odors of food filledin through the wind that opened windows.

Beyonda whole world. Withina second world, immobile, waiting to be unlocked. But the windows suffered the closing of themselves as a protective measure, but as in the case of all protective measures, there were losses to be measured against achievement.

Samuel read books, then stopped. Again, he lifted many and re

turned, one by one, book to gap. The shelves filled in regular pattern. In the same way, something in Samuel's mind bounced back and forth between absence and solidity. Absence as a randomly occurring open, as
in window and wind thought of as something that stayed, but began what was never finished.

A river looked up at the underside of a bridge, and cars piled up to make colors. Leaning on the edge of a stone parapet, somebody who was a friend cast glances that buildings used windows to receive, only they were so occasional in the facade that one half of the equation was noticed while another half was not.

Returning to a hotel made little sense. The room was still whirlingparticipating in many different lives, and the friend felt lost, amidst so much humanity.

Can you taste this? said Marie. She held somethingpoised, on the end of her finger. Samuel only smiled. Marie meant nothing to him in the moment. On the other hand, he had trained himself into caringbut the stretch of time this related to was longer than the moment. He licked something off the tip of her finger.

His life, cracked. A wind closed the crack by passing through swiftly.

At the edge of a stream, a woman knelt down and a church caught her eye. The water was splashed by her hands into her face. Her eyes closed to do this. Because the image of the church stayed placed, somewhere inside her head, and because she knew, sciencewise, that it was behind her closed eyes that the interior head layshe thought of herself as a person in prayer, but this mental image vanished. When she opened her eyes, she felt as if some of the splashed water had entered. And indeed it had, not through the closed eyelids but later, after the eyes opened and wet residue shifted.

Samuel had such an image, for a moment. He went to write such a thing on a piece of available paper. Marie thought about kissing him.

He didn't care and brushed away that idea but found it sticking to the end of his fingers. He kissed the tips of those fingers, his pencil fell loose, not leaving the hand, but unfixed from the rigor necessary to form words on the page. He waits for a spark. Instead, there was lightning outside the librarythis he could remember.

Death collected from everywherewindows slammed shut in the windbut the collection continued. It made inanimate things billow with the agitation of life. Animate things whirled, and the smooth surface on which they skated wasn't smooth, only the binocular eyes available were defocused, of course, because that was the only way to make things take shape. Trying to read books through these same binocularsback off. Books vanish. Then they are read. Evenings get occupied and one says to oneselfwell done. The domestic animals do this in secret, so that masters will not have to readjust. No one chooses to cause pain, but it ladles itself like gravy. Tables smearand domestics sayit was an accident of nature. How do they know this? Did they read it?

Samuel saysenough said. To no one in particular, who sees him dropping his head into his handshow excellent for his head to have found hands. Cradled, he has no tools leftsticking a pencil in his nose is out of the question; but he does imagine, effectively what the nose might write. The paper receives this. It is invisible ink. But tomorrow is a heat that develops thisdepending on tomorrow's temperature.

34

In a distant city, clouds traveled like icons, from the eye into the brain. The shapes evoked were letter writers.

Stores closed. Roadside stands made overtures to foreign belief systems. A lost number was picked up from the mud at the side of the road, written on a postcard. The child who received, recovered, that number, plastered it on his or her forehead like an eye, and that gave ideas to the other members of the party. An idea in the middle of the forehead. One elderly woman loved children. Her face shown from internal pressure. Her fingers tapped the edge of the automobile from the inside, and when food was collected to be eaten en route, she alone said no. Was hunger a factor in lives? Certainlybut this was anticipation. As the automobile picked up speed, certain anticipations fell to pieces.
There was always discarded material at the side of the road, but that, too, traveled; it was a question of changing the frame of reference.

At the edge of a new citythe smoke chased ideas not yet come to fruition. Eight o'clock said the neon clock, and it rattled into the future under Marie's eye. Her hands crossed, planning a notyetcome actuality. Shall I comb my hair?that was Marie, participating in eternity. She did. Her grooming improved for the moment, but the next, air reblew a certain tanglement, and Marie did two things at once. The steering wheel edged toward its goal, unmediated pivot, but things were controlled enough so that routes cut deep without altering the landscape, which persevered in its blend. The sky backdrops behind stores took on flesh, and reflected light also chimed, hearable through organs not yet named in the book Samuel squeezed like a lemon. This tastes like no taste, he whispered over traffic.

Where are we headed? Marie didn't say this. Therefore the word 'home' was heard, ringing like a bell.

Samuel turned the pages of his memory book. What slid to the floor out of the pages was a map in sugar. I wish I'd had this on my trip, his tongue licked. Then he made a mental itinerary, backward, and his chair collapsed. Why would such a thing happen? Glue no longer held. But fortunatelyhabit was stronger than glue.

It was morning someplace, and they got out of the car to breathe. An envelope lay in the grass. When two hands reached toward it, the body followed with a bend from the waist. That fold wasn't paperechoed inside the envelope. Who else could have thought of such things? The empty envelope clued not, and the question, unformed, seemed whether or not to return it, emptiness and all, to its grass (mostly dirt) setting, or to transport it back into the car, which would shortly be moving.

When it moved, the people inside moved. They filled (the car) but sometimes they were inside it and sometimes not.

A store opened. Business began for the day as people went in and out purchasing newspapers and toothpaste and cigarettes among other items. Outside the store, the window reflected as well as transmitted information. But nowhere in that information was the morning itself. In order to contact that, tools had to be set in motion, and they were ungraspable, they worked without thought, greased like ice greases something cold and hard, which doesn't want to be touched. So these fingers did their thing, though no one recognized them as fingers. But the body had its way, and packages adhered to certain definable human beings who came and went. A ribbon was tied to somebody's hair. It read "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I will be here tomorrow." Then the store closed. People still entered and exited and made purchases, but it was closed. It turned to ice, so it was slippery enough to keep being "store" even if it wasn't "store." Cars drove past. Nobody noticed anything but "store," but that was a reflection, seen through the window of the passing automobile.

In another citymiles closed and became inches. Death had flowers lined up like collapsible bottles that held milk. So when the bottles collapsed, the milk collapsed. That was logic, and death was into logic like roofs were into sky. There was no contact, but there was a relationship. Samuel smiled and looked up. Just under the angle of his gazehe missed things.

Children traveled to the end of the pier, viewed boats in the distance, drifting. Smoke also passed, and the children stood for amazing periods of time, transfixed. A small boy thrust his hands deep in his pockets, and when the pebbles underfoot were kicked, he passed time. Nobody spoke, yet there were children, so their speaking was not something well identified. But they did manage to glue onto some other level that understood the boats passing and the smoke risingwhen it did rise though sometimes it took other directions.

The plate of water tilted; this would calm down when the speaking was more available as a tool the children were only beginning to handle.
One child, in later years, would say or thinkwhere does it begin and where does it end?

No effective answers would be forthcoming to such a silly question deemed "childish," so it was not, thank God, articulated. It was only daubedas a painting is daubedyet think about thisit is not the painting that is daubed but it is the surface of the painting that is daubed or daubed at where the individual colors are found resting.

The child doesn't have to let years pass to do thisto apply these daubs to the painting that finished itself and was finished by some other meansnot tools, but tools coming from the outside that never touched the painting. And the child was too busy to cry. Nothing that childish was allowed to touch his or her features, which were controlled like sometimes one can imagine controlling smoke. Who imagines that? Does it work? Probably it's not even imagined, it seems so far from the ordinary possibility and the ordinary thing about smoke.

Imagine a tall smokestack.

Imagine controlling that smoke.

This is something for a mature person to do.

This is a way to create a picture.

When the golden light lifted, Samuel found his eyes were open; but they were not open. Then he closed them, and that experience was just as shallow. He tried to remember the golden light, but 't had gone. He sat at a table. Sculpted in time, he touched something gold, the table, in the hope it would speak to him. Half and half.

A hole opened in the sky, but nothing filled it, and it occupied time past as well as time future. Men climbed a specific mountain in order to see into the holethis hole they had no idea ofits existence like the hole in front of the eye that moves when the eye moves.

So these menbetter than blind, shuffled in their shoes over the rocks, and balanced on the final uppermost rock, and fell at last onto the whole of which they knew nothing, and nothing changed.

A newspaper flapping on the front of the newsstand, flapping because it had been clipped to the wall and now the wind was blowing, a newspaper reported some things and forgot many others. But that is to

say it was the newspaper that was doing these things. The newspaper was printed by people who were under the command of other people who assigned other people to write things up. One of the things that was

written up was what was happening now to the newspaper, fluttering in the wind. That is, a tiny edge of it, loose from the things that clipped it to the wall, only that tiny edge was fluttering. But when there was no wind, it lay there totally flat.

The clocks were climbing the stairs. What stairs? The ones at the end of the hallbut isn't that all stairs, don't all starts come at the end of a

hall. Isn't that where all stairs are located? There are just a certain number of exceptions, but these exceptions don't prevent us from stating the obvious, because what is obvious is generally the case, about stairs particularly.

This knowledge empowered Samuel. He stood with confidence,

ascended with confidence. Time, which stretched out in front of him like it stretched out in front of everybody else, held a certain number of surprises for him, but he was prepared for these surprises, because he knew they were coming. Yes, he was upset when they happened, some of them, but he expected to be upset. So his expectations were fulfilled and there were no surprises. Sometimes, he had to check his watch and

usually, often, he was never extremely surprised or upset, because it was approximately the time he imagined it to be before checking his watch. But he checked his watch just to make sure.

In a small room, a cabinet held things inside. People who passed through that room, or did things in that room, occasionally saw it open. People who entered the room very infrequently, or just once in their whole livesmany of those people never saw it open, never saw its

insides. But they did not doubt that it held things. It was, therefore, acceptable as a cabinet.
35

Memories don't break. Their taste is gluelike.

The wise man holds his head, are those hands or antennae?

He was driven forward by a word. Was it ahead of him or behind him?

Truth. No such thing. Word as camouflage, but for what? For the dissolving of the self; the great fear.

A table versus a tripod. One rests firm, but ends in a point. The other is always open to the wobble of an uneven surface beneath, but ends above in a surface upon which thoughts, written, can be elaborated. Do we conclude that the possibility of that wobble is the possibility of a world that elaborates itself, while absolute stability, leading to the still point, ends in zero, which is the disappearance act of all that is? And is this hunger for truth, the hunger for stability, the hunger for the still point of disappearance?

Hypnotism versus dream. But these are the only two alternatives. In one, you surge, you make your own wave. In the other you "wake" into following orders. The third alternativewake and be freeis death. As appealing as a sin.

Could the world be experienced as the granular thing it really is, we would each possess it at last.

Eyeglasses. Take them off, lay them on the table. The visible still performs transaction from one side of the lens to the other, the only difference being the exchanged signals continue falling through space. Rather than ending in your nervous system, the mix fully in a "you" differently defined.

The light is on. That means an object has been momentarily lifted.

The table, a circle. Its name, at a certain distance, around which it pivots.

He knew that later in the day, he would have to go shopping for food. In imagining it, momentarily, he quakes. Does this mean he curses hunger? No. It drives him like nothing else.

The couch; a lift, not for the body, but for its weight. If he lies down on it, he is weightless, thanks to the couch's suffering. All life is like this, and aims for weightlessness.

A story is being told. Rain folds, and a sky debates with itself. Straight roads are defined by the wordidolatry. A masked face, breaks into a smile because the contaminated breath is like heat.

A story is being told. Nothing folds into the arms of a listener, but the arms are wide and glow into the whole chest. Oh my, and the opening is reversed. Three small attitudes catch and rebutton under the gaze of one who longs.

It was, alas, the end of the morning. Another morning in which the sun burned into the sidewalks and building fronts like benevolent truth.

Truth, so often wearing the cloak of one who named himself avengerand the smile played over the lips in a way that made the eyes distort (did the seeing also shift?). The sun was, in these earlymorning

hours, impervious to such shifts. But now, noon upon us, the "alas" found depths to sink into, never again extractable.

The light, which in its oblique angle, had as it were, kissed, now

was weight, descending as it were from above.

What before, through obliqueness, had urged into action and invention (at least for the mind, that true light receptor) now as the weight of weights

(too light for measurement) pressed the expanding brainmindeye axis into

the lower parts of the body (and recall, location here is a fiction untraceable) and that bodythe world nowhad, in the dream of home, no home.

Noon, and what could be imagined as flight onlyleft behind its true connection to the true life and so life and breath separated, and the body did its thingsand the mind did its separate things, and that unconnectedness was the fault, and where the crack in the noon universe widenedthere, entered the face, contorted, of the self

dream that covered with the blanket of who I am, the true king, who I am not.

The trees bent, not visible this bend, but the street, sidewalk, steps, reflecting the slight undulation, over and over was captured, when Marie said, "Hold me. Not an embrace, you understand (he understood) but a hold onto the center that does not pivot."
At that command, he let go, laughing, and rejoined the life of the street, thinking a life was wasted while, in fact, it served the purpose of things.

36

Along the banks of a river. A man walks. He throws his papers into that river. He crosses his eyes. He crosses his arms over his chest, and watches the papers that lie on the surface of that river float, on the water, on the surface of the water, and he says to himselfI, too, have been tossed onto a surface through which I do not sink, but float, elsewhere to the place where I do sink.

Then he jumps into the river and sinks to its depths, which means disappearsand the arms and eyes uncross, because they disappear also.

And the rock says knock, knock, I've just arrived at the important city and I have much to do.

Sometimes, it comes upon a piece of paper blowing through the streets, glances at the piece of paper, and then moves on to other things in its thoughts, not knowing from whence it came, or to where it goes.

But on a particular day, a piece of paper lying on the street catches the eye of a young man who picks it up to read what is written on it. He reads this story, this very story. And it changes his life, just a little, of course, as many things do.

And he goes in search of the next thing that will change his life, just a little, and he succeeds, because everything does, and somebody sayswell, that's what life is. And rests his or her arm on the stone balustrade and looks, for a while, into the river that dreams of someplace else.

What he wanted to do was to say something about life that would really be about life. But WHY?

WHY did he want to do this?

Why not let life be as it was, lifelike in and of itself, or was it?

Was life lifelike without something being said about it that was lifelike but different in that it included the now saying about it, which was something in addition to life

but was it

or was it a very real part of life both before and after it happened?

37

After a night of drinking, Samuel had difficulty starting his day. It seemed like a day already worn out.

The street corner was whirled against, was it caught? A hand put

fingers in front of a face, blocking the eyes, but this was not to protect anything, only the head wanted the decoration of some gestures.

Four hands lay on the table and the table felt inclined to tilt.

Samuel imagined that the buildings had all collapsed. What Samuel

had was a certain granular radiation from one or two lightbulbs in his line of vision. How was this possibleit was morning and no lights were illuminated. Or, if they were, the sun obliterated all knowledge of that. A sandy stretch of soil beneath his feet may have given him ideas. He kicked his toes once or twice in the earth.

The terrible dog was on the verge of appearing from behind the mirror. Water always fell from the glass, or it wasn't water but something

pourablewhich was why the face of the dog, shining with a terrible light, seemed to float in front of Samuel's eyes. He reached out no hand, but the effort of the total arm seemed to release a certain brain fluid. On

this rush, he could embark in the name of adventure. And so, stranger to himself, he was able to plant the stalk of his expectation in the most fabulous territory of all.

A game of tennis ended. The courts turned to clay, and white lines seemed to bisect what nobody was there to notice a planet of meaning. Soon, one of the young women was on her knees, tracing the lines with a
device of her own invention. Did it measure inches, or degrees of variation from some absolute direction? But the indications of direction were contradictory, which was perhaps the reason the game of tennis had been abandoned. An empty glass of what once was water stood on a small metal table. This, too, echoed like a thunderstorm in those random tables to which her measurements alluded. Called to task, she folded her device, and the young men, dressed in white, lifted her on their broad shoulders in imitation of somethingwas it a bird they had seen flying north?

The lawn in front of the large house widened. It must have been the devil.

Soon after different experiences, the woman let her hands fall inert to the sides of the chair.

On the other side of the ocean, a child put his ear to the door. Nothing changed. The ultimate sky stayed ultimate, and when the birds wheeled in circles, no circle was established. Yet the sky continued to spread. The night came and went. And the things that fell down, ultimately out of the sky, decided to name themselves in the midst of such falling, which meant, categories of thought, accompanying nothing, floating light weight in the air that did not fill thembut they were filled, in the brief experience of that fall to earth.

In a small room, a lamp gave the only illumination. The one with his hands in his pockets turned to the wall. He had something to say. He tried to remain silent but, unfortunately, soon found himself speaking. This was the uncontrollable part of himselfthe part of himself that dressed well to go into the streets. The part of himself that took long walks to the edge of the city unselfdiscovered, like a branch broken from some tree that tries to bend in the wind when there is no wind.

Children ran through the garden, and a bird howled. Sticks were dropped, then retrieved, and perhaps they had dreamt of avoiding the fire but it was not to be.

A trip was proposed and then abandoned. After regret had time to acclimate itself, the house seemed smaller. Inside the regret, tiny rooms

slowly established themselves, copies of other rooms. This doubling had a name, long forgotten. And so the film over the brain, full of holes, had no holes. That was the official belief. It was sad, but only in the moment of transition, from the something before sad to the sad, only then was there a brief, momentary shine of the delight that had long since left his life. And Samuel saidit is very important to know that

before the sadness was something else that was not interesting. A kind of sleepBut you woke from that sleep, protested Marie. And Samuel nodded his head in irrelevant compliance. But he was glad to nod,

knowing that sometime later, that tiny act would lead him to new adventures.

Samuel lost his shoes, and lifted his hands to see them. This was necessary because the hands in their lower position sometimes obscured the feet. But Marie said, put your hands down, and Samuel did so,

believing that one error of judgment was enough for a single day. Then she cocked her head at an angle, this was Marie, and cried at something. It was a secret. But so many things were secrets, that one could just categorize them as such and feel okay.

In another part of the city, a bar opened for the night. It had been closed temporarily, and at the moment of opening, no patrons were in sight. Later on that evening, there was a reasonable crowd.

At a food market near the river, vegetables were being sold. These were exchanged for moneybut the amount that exited from pockets and handbags was not replaced directly by the item purchased. Said item filled other containers, bags of paper or plastic. So a gap there had to be jumped by the mind that did the purchasing. That was exercise of a sort, but the question was what part of the mind achieved, here, benefit. But a deeper question waswas there a part to the mind, or was it a whole and

nondividable thing, and was that why it was so easy to make the connection between the produce purchased and the cash paid out to insure that?

Pockets and handbags emptied fastespecially taking the perspective of longer periods of time. Brains matured. Bags of paper and plastic were eventually discarded.
Something on the surface of the lake, floating, as was expected, and Samuel fished it out of the water sayingthis thing was floating. What was it? No one knew.

To turn these impulses of the hand into words rather than into images. The hand did continue when the brain did notor was it rather that the brain did not report upon its continuing.

So words, they made things in spite of the effort being denied to the making. Why should the word want to continue. It did, after all, have a life of its own, just as did the hand have a life of its own. And what conditioned that drift of those separate lives if not something outside of and more powerful than Samuel himself.

Should Samuel have been more powerful; tried to make himself more powerful? Or was power available to Samuel in the form of a wave he could ride, and was that ride a ride to allow or a ride to end? And if Samuel left the ride of this wave, could his physical body be controlled in a way some idea of things might call desirable?

The moving hand and the moving word were controlled by life but they did not create a picture of life. What they produced was therefore evidence rather than relief. And if there was no relief, then the mental process built, and who knew what would be the end of that mental processselfdestruction from the insideor transformation? Nobody knew.

They entered the cathedral and somebody said kneel here. But Marie looked toward the ceiling, and felt ready to cry.

A child held a bag of roasted nuts. Shaking the bag produced noise.

Wind was like an echo. If there was nothing to saycould there be an echo that echoed that? What kind of ringing in the ears was forthcoming?

Everybody felt, or heard, that ringing in the ears. Everybody. That was something, at least, to celebrate.

38

How much Samuel understood was questionable.

He went to a distant city (this was in his imagination) and as he opened a door, snow falling, he clapped a hand over an open mouthhis.

All this memory. All this entry into rough approximation of a life, lived or not.

Samuel opened the book and thought, this is weighty stuff.

Oh no, Samuel, that isn't a true fact. It couldn't be selfcaught (did he say selftaught?). Roped, he was ropedworlds spun like an aroundathon andwait a minute, said Phil, the time's come for a roundup of ideas, not just of words.

So Phil got out fast, the language was, welllaid to the side for one or two pregnant moments.

Then it happened.

They lapsed (who?).

39

Samuel came to the riverdon't think he jumpedthe bath promised was cold but efficient and it meant turning away from the riveroh, dogs howled.

He patted his forehead with a handkerchiefdid he throw that handkerchief to the dogs?

Oh yesand the river itself answered where dogs could not answerbut a woof, a second woofthat was all he needed to warp the head in more desirable directions.

40

A story is being told.

A man brings his face close to the one speaking. And the words, dissolve into the face that speaks, and so one asksis a story being told, or is it rather that the story is just an effect of distance from the face that speaks, equivalence between face and language?

A story is being told.
The city of language closes like a fist on the lost traveler, and lost, closed in that fist, lostness itself becomes a story Selfreference, but therefore untrue as a means of establishing the rules of the city within which one is lost.

A story is bring told.

Bread is being eaten.

Nights follow days, which in turn, fall between nights, and neither outdistances the other, so neither becomes utterly believable.

Men and women oscillate as always.

A stone falls to the bottom of a pond. A water echo crieshelp me, help meand children remake a place marked "X" shining on the grass.

A story is being told.

Little children sit in a circle around the storyteller and the circle rises, though the children don't.

Teeth evade answers, as the tongue spins, and the story dematerializes as usual.

Useful elders climb into the circle and make points by pointing at things, and they do materialize as clocks, cars, washing machines, and random dirt. Then a bird enters the circle.

Now the story has real characters, and real adventures, and the sun rises over all that desperate activity, gone to waste.

A class of children sit, waiting to be taught lessons concerning things about life.

The man and/or woman teaching these lessons, hesitates.

There is no sudden plunge into available truth and this causes the children unease.

41

Curtains blow in the faint breeze and nothing else happens.

The curtains move, just slightly.

A name is floating in colored letters outside the window.

The name seemed unrelated to anything thought or imagined or recognized. A word, perhaps, more than a name, but it hovers, visible

outside the window, seen faintly through the moving curtains, though no one is in the room doing the seeing.

42

So the word, which did exist, seems to exist not.

It fades.

By the end of the day, it is gone. But it has existed.

People are in the streets, but the people in rooms only imagine the kinds of things that might be happening.

Storefronts shine with goods that penetrate, imagelike, through store windows.

Pedestrians smile, contemplating things.

Things glow under smiles. Traffic flows, and the hours pass in predetermined order.

Samuel knew about this. By the time he had learned to tell time, it had permanent hold on him.

He bought a watch and strapped it to his wrist. Thereafter, when he elevated his wrist, he read the time into which he had fallen, and so led by his wrist, Samuel used that part of his body, the hand, to explore the world.

Newspapers continued to arrive, daily, and some of the pages were filled with reports of things that had happened, and other pages were filled with ideas about things. Later in the day, much of this was forgotten, and the newspapers themselves were discarded, or used elsewhere.

Doors opened and closed, but mostly stayed closed, which was a feature of their recognizability.

A door was functioning like a part of the wall.

Nevertheless, it was a door. It might have been opened.

A child stood, confronting the door that never opened.

Then his or her attention was called to a door somewhat distant from the first. This door was also closed, but it was easy to open this door. The child watched as someone did so.
Everything that chose to pass from one particular room to another particular room, passed through a certain door. The things that passed through this certain door did not remain in the doorway itself, but passed through to be in one room or another. Nothing else happened in the doorway itself, and the doorway itself was, during the majority of time, empty.

The child, thinking about this, might have been trying to decide whether its principal function was to function as a door, through which things from both rooms passed when they were moving to the other room, or to be one of the rooms that held thingsuntil they passed into the other room.

There was a third possibility, which was that the child was to function as the complex of two rooms and the door between them, and there was a third possibility, which was that the child was to function as an infinite number of such rooms and doorscontaining things, and letting them pass from room to room, through a multitude of doors that made this exchange possible but held nothing within themselves except the moment of passage that happened and was over in the moment of happening.

Then the child reoriented his or her attention back to the door that never opened.

It was hypnotized by that door that never opened, as if illuminated

by bright light.

43

People alternated between happiness and unhappiness, which was normal.

Restaurants remained open for evening meals, and some were busier than others, inquiry often revealing that restaurants especially popular served good food.

Someone wrote a list of favorite dishes on a piece of cardboard.

All bets are off. People become predictable in their unpredictability. Snow produces itself, and the seasons change, preserving a certain stability in time.

Samuel measures the present as it passes. That's something he can't hold onto, and he worries, is he doing a bad job?

44

The walls stood solidly in place, while foundations deepened through time alone.

The dust, which moved quietly in the air, sometimes passed into brighter light, and sometimes circulated in relative shadow. Cleaning the room was a selfdefeating task, but one had regular recourse to this task, and the walls deepened into a color that had faded away from a previous color. More vibrant, but not, therefore, more inviting to the dust, which circulated in slow patterns that seemed to suggestpatience.

But the walls of the room had no such vocabulary, and they made no gestures to respond to things in nonverbal form.

Their behavior was elsewhere, in some other realm that language could handle but clumsily only, from an outside so far from the surface they represented, it could be thought of as music, rather than information.

45

Connections were established and reestablished.

Wisdom arrived in packages, but when those packages were ripped open, wisdom, somehow, fled. Spreading itself through fields so dispersed, it affected nothing.

Repackaging was not possible.

Wisdom, therefore, suffered from exposure and distribution. No next time was anticipated.

He knew that the babble of words babbled something quite beyond itself. And yet. And yet.
Silence also pushed through him and searched for the light. Silence plowed through his tongue, his eyes and nostrils, looking to lie exposed to external light, as if an inner light desired full union with that other light.

So babble rose, from a certain source, sped into space but a true bubbling that bubblelike, babbled into the shape that was explosion after explosion releasing, centering the call to silence with each sphere of punctuated, somethingtobesaid, was said. And those pinpricks of a million calls to silence did call forth the silence from a depth that either was or was not the same depth.

So silence and babble, so both, so linked, so opposed and coordinated, in that new, next attached level of babble, laid forth blanketlike under the light, always the light reshowing itself outside which was only a way, finally, of being inside.