Thursday, September 30, 2010

a wide open plain, surrounded by mountains, and on every one of them sits a dragon. no one knows they're there.

and down on the plain a guesthouse, round and domed and with wings on either side. inside the rooms are full of pictures and many of them are dragons, smiling out, reading books, drinking cups of tea.

and the dragons come down from the mountains to visit, but no one knows they're there. they tap on the windows but people don't see them. they see and they don't see. it couldn't have been a dragon, i must have imagined it! and no one tells anyone else because who sees dragons at the window?

in the middle of the night one sleeps on the dome. the others fly around and then go back to the mountains. the smaller ones sit in the trees and wait till morning.

inside, people walk and talk and enjoy their meals. they go back to their rooms and look at the pictures, and read the books. some are about dragons. "oh dragon, come to me" one reads out, then smiles at himself: the absurdity. whoever decorated this place?

the window knocks and a dragon looks in. he doesn't see it.

later, they gather to study and discuss important results. the dragons listen from outside.

dinner is served. the dragons are getting impatient! they fly in circles over the roof and sometimes dance on it.

in the evening, a little light music. the dragons don't like it. open up!

someone opens a window.

the dragons look in. they're smiling. they seem to have something to say to us.

we don't remember. somebody thinks he went flying with them, but that isn't possible. someone else remembers talking, or hearing something, or a trip to the mountains and back. someone knows them personally. we see dragon-scales in the morning, on the floor, so maybe it actually happened.

no one wants to talk about it.

later that day they leave and the house is empty.

the dragons fly over, then settle down on the roof. the caretaker returns.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

an earthman's nest is his castle

their nests are heavy and close to the ground, closed up and heavy! how can they lift them at all? a solid mass of earthenry, and hardly any air in it. no doubt they like it that way, and yet in such surroundings how can they feel it at all? nothing of breeze in there, nor water. nothing in or out unless themselves or in boxes, partitioned away. a steady line all day long, a procession of boxes, in and out, in and out.

similarly they shut themselves away for days, rooms inside rooms, further and further from the open air. and masses of material draped all around, lumps and boxes, things to sit on and inside and full of papers and further boxes and more and more! things underneath, things on top, things hanging and draping and lining the walls and more things inside them. shut out the light and bring in your own, in a box! shut out the air, and bring it in, and spray it with artificial flower scent! shut out the water and box it in metered and paid for. and your food, boxed and boxed and hardly real at all, dried up powder that was growing on a stalk years ago and now mixed with artificial color and whatnot and formed into shapes in a bag in a box, and paid for.

and what then? inside this artificial world they sit in ones and twos and dozens and do things, with papers sometimes, or even boxes. or moving the dirt out or moving something in, no doubt in a box. dirt is all right outside the door, unless paved over with crazy concrete and gnomes, but not inside! not one speck of it! unless it be in a pot with one small plant inhabiting it, and then well contained by saucers and windowsills, and water from a jug. alternately plants made of plastic may be found for those not wanting any dirt at all, or the bother of watering them.

similarly on their walls appear pictures, many per side, sometimes of dirt and flowers and even trees. or water, or mountains. or boxes of papers where they may learn of others climbing mountains or walking on dirt, or not. and similarly flowers on their clothing, not with bothersome roots attached, but all on their own and requiring no watering! and no dirt must touch these, whether flower-printed or not.

hours a day they spend on it, this hatred of dirt (unless outside the door and with careful plantings of grass on it, or stones in patterns), washing and washing, water by the ton and many a soap in it. and then on the morrow, all again! every piece of food must be washed and the box it comes in, and every glass that once held water, for their hands (also washed) have touched it and that is enough!

but the animals of the world don't fear it, aren't harmed by it, eat their grasses and fruits with the dirt still on them, they do! one wonders how they manage it. and their fur or feathers may have real dirt or real water on them, and yet they live. and their nests are outside and air coming through. we wish we could visit them, but instead must venture into these boxes in boxes where the people live and attempt to speak to them, carefully wiping our feet at their doors and taking a seat on their boxes.

and having spoken, must we admire the box on the wall where other people appear inside other boxes, looking even brighter and more flowery than our hosts? stylized conversation ensues, about many a safe and limited subject, or questions about our world, where no doubt it is like this but even more so, boxes miles high and with everything inside them, techno-power and artifice that knows no bounds! perhaps we never leave them at all, not even to the dirt outside the back door, with its sad planting of grass and preferred greenery. we have artifice in three dimensions, entertainment all day long, as far from nature as possible, and information at our fingertips or pumped into our heads, though who knows what we use it for? more power! more entertainment! that must be it!

but if we told them the truth they would think us insane, or at best incomprehensible. live outside when you could be in, in a box like this, with every comfort at hand? eat food that requires tending and patience, not available all year round in every flavor or suitably frozen and boxed. and clothing not washed every day and with no pictures of flowers or other people or inspiring slogans on it? and even entertainment we make ourselves, or no entertainment! or no information, as not much needed. this would make no sense to them, and sadly we see it must be so; they climb the techno-ladder and see themselves as very far from the top, though we see them already too high on it and due for a fall. for they will not climb down, no not even one step! and the water dries up and is full of chemicals and the air full of them too and the millions of them starving for any food at all, never mind boxed and specially flavored. can they turn it around? some of them try, but the majority won't listen, or barely hear, and the ones who make the rules won't let go of anything, no not even to save their planet, or grandchildren.

we don't know what to do with animals that won't be animals, that deny their nature at either end, that turn themselves into machines and like it! and deny all other species in their quest for self-glorification, alternately machinehood. and write poems to themselves to commemorate it.

we wait.

Monday, September 20, 2010

knowing what i know, i don't know
seeing what i see, i'm lost

around and all around, confusion
branching to infinity
no way to go, or every way

and even when i know, i don't know
another one behind my hand

a forest silent in the darkness
a stranger in a distant land

another one behind me
and before me only you
laying stones for me to walk on
laying traps beside the path

Sunday, September 12, 2010

what i know
i can't tell
or show
except in silence

the wall returns
and nothing on the other side

or everything?

and something speaks
too fast for me to hear

and speaks in years and centuries
a pattern in the stones

and if i could be slow enough
to read it
or follow it back through

i'd know

Friday, September 10, 2010

social activity

having been informed that friday and saturday evenings must be devoted to social activity, i set forth to comply. firstly, what does this social activity consist of? the answer is vague yet informative. it must involve at least one other person. then i may visit my mother? no, that will not do. that is for sunday. oh. i see.

very well. another person. may i ask this fellow walking by? no, it must be someone you know, or want to know. but i want to know this fellow!

no, i mean, someone you know at work, or a neighbor...

ah, at work. very well, i will ask this fellow at work to engage in social activity.

yes, ask him for a drink. or ask that young lady to dinner.

may i not ask him to dinner? no, i see that is not acceptable. very well. dear fellow, would you like a drink? he agrees, and it proceeds as follows: he consumes several portions of alcoholic substance, and becomes somewhat animated. naturally i am unaffected, and would much prefer plain water or perhaps a pint of corn juice, very good for my inner metabolism. nevertheless i struggle through.

another week arrives. i ask my informant for another suggestion, having lost interest in further mass consumption of psychoactive substances. have you considered a date? says he. a date? well, you take a young lady out to dinner, perhaps to a movie...

and why may i not ask a young man? or an older lady?


i see. it is to do with sexual activity. this i refuse to engage in. it would not be correct to have sexual activity with a native.

oh. right. well, how about a party!

that i could do.

party: a combination of mass consumption of psychoactive substances with preliminaries to sexual activity. not a happy occasion. eventually one found a small group engaged in playing some sort of strategy game involving a board and many small pieces. the social aspect was limited, but it reminded me of treining school. as a bonus i was offered safe corn-based beverages. a partial success.

but have we yet exhausted he possibilities of social activity? for one must be complete.

well, you could take the boss out to dinner...

ah. i could further my ambition by purchasing him a meal! i will do that.

and indeed i made a valiant attempt, but he was not to be purchased so easily. that is a relief.

further combinations are suggested and critiqued, and it does come out that two ladies may attend a meal or event together for non-sexual purposes, as sometimes also two gentlemen, but more rarely. (see item 1.) two gentlemen may also have social activity for purposes of pursuing a common or sporting interest, as may two ladies, but more rarely. a male-female pair may attend or host groupings of such, to further the ambition of one of the pair, or possibly for other reasons. pairs of any sort, sexual and otherwise, may also avoid social activity by staying home, as may single people.