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selections from Of Walking in Ice by Werner Herzog

Our Eisner mustn’t die, she will not die, I won’t permit it. She is not dying now because she isn’t dying. Not now, no, she is not allowed to. My steps are firm. And now the earth trembles. When I move, a buffalo moves. When I rest, a mountain reposes. She wouldn’t dare! She mustn’t. She won’t. When I’m in Paris she will be alive. She must not die. Later, perhaps, when we allow it. Continue reading

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selections from The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

[…] that luxurious after-dinner atmosphere when thought runs gracefully free of the trammels of precision. (3)

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“Clearly,” the Time Traveller proceeded, “any real body must have extension in four directions: it must have Length, Breadth, Thickness, and—Duration.” (4)

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“Time is only a kind of Space.” (5)

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“You can show black is white by argument,” said Filby, “but you will never convince me.” (7)

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“Our ancestors had no great tolerance for anachronisms.” (7)

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“Then there is the future,” said the Very Young Man. “Just think! One might invest all one’s money, leave it to accumulate at interest, and hurry on ahead!”

“To discover a society,” said I, “erected on a strictly communistic basis.” (7)

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“Presently, as I went on, still gaining velocity, the palpitation of day and night merged into one continuous greyness; the sky took on a wonderful deepness of blue, a splendidi luminous color like that of early twilight; the jerking sun became a streak of fire, a brilliant arch, in space; the moon a fainter fluctuating band; and I could see nothing of the stars, save now and then a brighter circle flickering in the blue.” (20)

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“It seemed to me that I had happened upon humanity upon the wane. The ruddy sunset set me thinking of the sunset of mankind. For the first time I began to realize an odd consequence of the social effort in which we are at present engaged. And yet, come to think, it is a logical consequence enough. Strength is the outcome of need; security sets a premium on feebleness. The work of ameliorating the conditions of life—the true civilizing process that makes life—humanity over Nature had followed another. Things that are now mere dreams had become projects deliberately put in hand and carried forward. And the harvest was what I saw!

“After all, the sanitation and the agriculture of to-day are still in the rudimentary stage. The science of our time has attacked but a little department of the field of human disease, but even so, it spreads its operations very steadily and persistently. Our agriculture and horticulture destroy a weed just here and there and cultivate perhaps a score or so of wholesome plants, leaving the greater number to fight out a balance as they can. We improve our favourite plants and animals—and how few they are—gradually by selective breeding; now a new and better peach, now a seedless grape, now a sweeter and larger flower, now a more convenient breed of cattle. We improve them gradually, because our ideals are vague and tentative, and our knowledge is very limited; because Nature, too, is shy and slow in our clumsy hands. Some day all this will be better organized, and still better. That is the drift of the current in spite of the eddies. The whole world will be intelligent, educated, and co-operating; things will move faster and faster towards the subjugation of Nature. In the end, wisely and carefully we shall readjust the balance of animal and vegetable me to suit our human needs.

“This adjustment, I say, must have been done, and done well; done indeed for all Time, in the space of Time across which my machine had leaped. The air was free from gnats, the earth from weeds or fungi; everywhere were fruits and sweet and delightful flowers; brilliant butterflies flew hither and thither. The ideal of preventive medicine was attained. Diseases had been stamped out. I saw no evidence of any contagious diseases during all my stay. And I shall have to tell you later that even the processes of putrefaction and decay had been profoundly affected by these changes.

“Social triumphs, too, had been effected. I saw mankind housed in splendid shelters, gloriously clothed, and as yet I had found them engaged in no toil. There were no signs of struggle, neither social nor economical struggle. The shop, the advertisement, traffic, all that commerce which constitutes the body of our world, was gone. It was natural on that golden evening that I should jump at the idea of a social paradise. The difficulty of increasing population had been met, I guessed, and population had ceased to increase.

“But with this change in condition comes inevitably adaptations to the change. What, unless biological science is a mass of errors, is the cause of human intelligence and vigour? Hardship and freedom: conditions under which the active, strong, and subtle survive and the weaker go to the wall; conditions that put a premium upon the loyal alliance of capable men, upon self-restraint, patience, and decision. And the institution of the family, and the emotions that arise therein, the fierce jealousy, the tenderness for offspring, parental self-devotion, all found their justification and support in the imminent dangers of the young. Now, where are these imminent dangers? There is a sentiment arising, and it will grow, against connubial jealousy, against fierce maternity, against passion of all sorts; unnecessary things now, and things that make us uncomfortable, savage survivals, discords in a refined and pleasant life.

“I thought of the physical slightness of the people, their lack of intelligence, and those big abundant ruins, and it strengthened my belief in a perfect conquest of Nature. For after the battle comes Quiet. Humanity had been strong, energetic, and intelligent, and had used all its abundant vitality to alter the conditions under which it lived. And now came the reaction of the altered conditions.

“Under the new conditions of perfect comfort and security, that restless energy, that with us is strength, would become weakness. Even in our own time certain tendencies and desires, once necessary to survival, are a constant source of failure. Physical courage and the love of battle, for instance, are no great help—may even be hindrances—to a civilized man. And in a state of physical balance and security, power, intellectual as well as physical, would be out of place. For countless years I judged there had been no danger of war or solitary violence, no danger from wild beasts, no wasting disease to require strength of constitution, no need of toil. For such a life, what we should call the weak are as well equipped as the strong, are indeed no longer weak. Better equipped indeed they are, for the strong would be fretted by an energy for which there was no outlet. No doubt the exquisite beauty of the buildings I saw was the outcome of the last surgings of the now purposeless energy of mankind before it settled down into perfect harmony with the conditions under which it lived—the flourish of that triumph which began the last great peace. This has ever been the fate of energy in security; it takes to art and to eroticism, and then come languor and decay.

“Even this artistic impetus would at last die away—had almost died in the Time I saw. To adorn themselves with flowers, to dance, to sing in the sunlight: so much was left of the artistic spirit, and no more. Even that would fade in the end into a contented inactivity. We are kept keen on the grindstone of pain and necessity, and, it seemed to me, that here was that hateful grindstone broken at last! (32-35)

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“I am too Occidental for a long vigil.” (40)

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“Then suddenly the humour of the situation came into my mind: the thought of the years I had spent in study and toil to get into the future age, and now my passion of anxiety to get out of it.” (40) Continue reading

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dipped my tongue in mint–
entwined in rope of light–
and promised to myself
i’d swing w the moon tonight. Continue reading

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winter solstice party

in the evening, we stood amidst the bright kitchen and living room lights, sipping on brandy-spiked punch and catching up on all the mediocre unchanged past and infinite, unpredictable future. experiencing slight hunger pangs, many of us slathered fancy spreads on crackers, wrapped up cheeses in smoked salmon, and scarfed down open-face salami sandwiches smeared w dijon mustard. ’twas a veritable banquet!

the middle-aged and beyond were out in full force, making polite conversation and liking each others’ pages on facebook and roping me in to make sure they’d done so correctly. yeah yeah looks fine, i said, not very politely.

as midnight approached, the old people got sleepy and began to slip out.

midnight past, Adam, Cameron, and i stripped down to nothing and hopped in the hot tub. suddenly everything felt more real. Cameron let flee a shriek, and then immediately apologized to Adam for disrupting the suburban peace. it was okay.

over the next hour or two, the three of us bobbed like choice cutlets in the soup, sipping on our brandy punch, puffing on Cameron’s gift of a spliff, and waxing poetic about life, the evolution of humanity, and the universe. past and future worlds swirled through our minds, whirled and twirled through our half-articulate gesticulations. Cameron’s clouds of Venus encapsulated my interstellar agriculture to the point where Adam’s hands grew thick with the soil of the probability of intelligent life forming out of the nothingness that Cameron considered himself when he thought about how he’d lost his job even though i was going to do the exact same thing except intentionally and maybe we should shut up and learn or thing or two about intention from Adam who had unknowingly convinced Morgan to return to school to learn graphic design at the ripe old age of, what are we, 26? golden.

with the night getting late, Cameron and i cruised down the freeway without a care in the world. the only thing he cared about was making his 0600 flight and, quite frankly, it didn’t look like sleep was part of that plan. so at the last minute i veered toward 280 instead of 101, opting for the slower, scenic route. little did i know about the fog’s return. the fog, my old and familiar friend, slunk its heavy wet body across the entire width and length of 280, putting a quiet damper on my desire to be a speed demon. but that was fine; as i said, we were in no rush.

thinking along those same lines, i turned and asked Cameron if he’d like to go to the beach. affirmative.

so once again, at the last moment, i veered toward Skyline Blvd. the speed limit dropped 15 MPH, but the fog grew thicker. thick, thick, thicker still. every mile we advanced, the blank white sheet pulled closer to the windshield… until i couldn’t see more than a few feet of line dividers in front of the car. rain had threatened and teased and attempted, until finally it teamed up with the fog to make the worst possible driving conditions. it was definitely one of those moments where you’re too scared to keep driving but too scared to stop so you just slow down a bit because that feels like a happy medium.

eventually, we arrived at Fort Funston. i quickly confessed to Cameron that it had been my makeout spot since high school. just needed to get that out of the way. also, i needed an excuse to make homoerotic jokes. obviously.

the rain had stopped for the time being, so we only strolled through heavy fog as we mounted the Fort. at the top, unfortunately, we discovered Battery Davis completely flooded. damn shame, because right behind the flood was the entry to my favorite spot in the universe, a precarious little shelf of sand right on the precipitous of the cliff, overlooking the vast and beautiful Pacific Ocean. no matter. we ventured south, briefly encountering some “mizzle,” or what Cameron was calling mist and drizzle and orgasming all over about. the crashes of the sea grew louder and louder until, at last, we gazed at its infinite body. in the mizzle, it truly looked infinite: its waves whitening into sandy banks while its southern, western, and northern extremities faded into black fog, grey night. and yet, we perceived through our peripheral vision tiny dots of light poking through the hazy sheet. as the fog gradually lightened, we became increasingly aware that the bright light to the south was a lighthouse, while the line of lights to the west and north were a highway of shipping vessels separated by inconceivable distances on the vast sea’s surface. it was truly sublime.

we breathed in deep many, many times in silence, staring.

when it was time to go, we went. back the way we came, back to the car, the short ride back to my place, up the stairs, kettle on. i cooked up some buttery popcorn and served us a couple honey-dipped black teas. cozy. before the sun could threaten to rise, i drove Cameron to the airport, tried (and failed) to wake up Natalie for early morning snuggles, and returned to my own bed to pass… the fuck… out.

bless the solstice. Continue reading

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morning BART poetry

Natalie was seated to my right. inspired, i whipped out my phone and penned this in one or two stops. when i handed it to Natalie, she read it, smiled wide, and asked, “did you just write that?” “yup.” Continue reading

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an Elizabethan sonnet celebrating two years of Natalie

THE ORIGINAL, WRITTEN AT THE LIVING GALLERY IN BROOKLYN WITH A NOISE ROCK BAND WAILING

deserts, beaches, sunsets rise–
in beauty–paralleled by only you–
for whom my love burns even brighter
in celebration of our year two.

THE HANDWRITTEN VERSION, 120 CHARACTERS AS REQUIRED BY BLOOMTHAT

seaside sun & desert stars — in beauty paralleled by only you, for whom my love burns deeper in celebration of year two Continue reading

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it is

it was a beautiful, lovely, deep day. Continue reading

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selections from Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

If a pistol appears in a story, eventually it’s got to be fired. Continue reading

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ramblin’ ron

tonight? tonight i’m going to a cave party. Continue reading

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Metro Area

i love when the time is 01:23. i love dancing to “Dancing Queen.” i love when people don’t steal your shit. i love how a couple robots could tell a band of perfect professionals to just keep walking along the … Continue reading

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