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[07 Jun 2010|12:51pm]
before the lists ...
january 2008

1 sofa, achingly

it is midnight and there is no one in this house but me.
it is forty-four degrees.
i lost a matchbook in the washing machine;
it advertised winston cigarettes.
i have a cropped denim jacket, no hair, red scalp.
i keep blinking.

i sat earlier at the piano in an empty house.
two cats tugged at a vacuum cleaner,
sleepy lions. to lay with her there.
i am alone in this house,
may light the match of this lamp
and breathe.

2 troy and food

troy is a man who lives across the street from a ditch.
behind his house there are chickens.
i rode a school bus next to this ditch,
troy says under the road there is a culvert
that served as a fine club house.

there is a plate where bananas lie.
also apples both green and red with little stickers.
all of the satsumas, this time, are ripe and seedy
though some of the slices are dull and juiceless.
there is oatmeal, wheat bread and gravy.

troy told me stories about the woods behind his house.
many men attempted homesteading, many failed.
but hidden back there somewhere,
before you get to the cows
and after a few four-wheeling black widows,
he says there are orange trees.

peas, raisins, my grandmother prepares
dark and white turkey, rice dishes, pickles, cranberry.
when it snows you heat the milk in glass in the microwave
and mix it with the cocoa near the toaster.
there is butter and potatoes, baked chicken.

troy wears a mohawk and flirts, fucks.
he rolls a joint in the car and tells his friend,
'i am in love with a woman.'
he breaks the sixers of tallboys at the gas station
leaving four with one hanging from the shelf.
the cashier says a second time
that she is two days older than me.

or doritos, dominos. sometimes the flat end
of the paper towels is soiled.
plenty times the kitchen smells of cat shit.
bugs follow the opened ham, popcorn drowns in olive oil.
there is sausage, pasta, soda and ice.

troy's television drinks beer with nascar.
he is scared when i ask about the roosters
i notice along the walls; says, 'oh shit!'
then says he forgot to close the chicken coupe,
i ask if its alright. it is.
troy will meet us later for the party,
after he picks up his girlfriend from work
and catches a few more juiced, swirling laps.

3 lights now, then

the sky is purple near the city.
i bite into the avant-garde apple in love.
there go two million years,
polarity shifts.
steam rises, renewable, in song
and the moon floats down the flooded streets
in swim trunks holding an umbrella.
four pigeons organize in time
on the powerline. jets streak an early night.
i smell the citrus in the soap, then descend.

4 dubai, destiny, kismet

tonight we are rocking for
bhutto, money launderers, jelly, salads,
lafreniere park, kites and small-headed birds.
tonight i am in love and know so,
'specially cause i get sometimes so sorry.
tonight my jeans are blue,
norwegians mourn and victoria sings
with the warble of ripples on the pond.

5 underwear dancers

robert unwraps
the butterscotch candy
and adds it to the salad
with ham, vinegar and eggs.
rain draws a line in the mud
around the house.
they lie as pressed leaves
beneath pulsating air.

6 wet-eared january

a cigarette, a leaf,
pine, moss, guitars, her mother.
i have bitten bruised arms.
the sky: a slate-grey ceiling
for wintered, seafoam cypress.

7 et mon bureau?

i cannot breathe, i cannot fly a kite.
i cannot smoke and see the road. julius,
i ask julius, 'how are things?' he
talks of funerals and cows eating wild onions.
i burp i cannot kiss, i cannot fly a kite.
julius walked four miles with a stone,
hitchhiked from thibodeaux, did not have a car.
his wife has a stroke it is his daughters birthday,
the floor has been waxed, the trafficed areas.

i cannot carry the pipe, it is about to rain.
robert cannot sing and cannot start a fire.
my knife is unsharpened, i have no money,
robert is poisoned by whiskey, julius says,
'things get worse and worse,' and the white cat
walks fat out from the lumberyard.

sheetmetal sounds, hear the wind howl,
i am worried about the water table rising,
robert cannot sing, cannot fly a kite.
julius holds his nose and milks the cows on the levee.
i will not work a day of my life, et mon bureau?
i cannot sell my work, my back is burned by grits
seasoned from above birmingham treetops.
i cannot see this place, i cannot see fifty feet
i am worried about the things buried in the ground.

julius will bury his wife, i cannot walk,
robert cannot walk, has stones in his passway.
what of my work? i cannot sell it, i cannot see.
i cannot fly a kite. the kitten was left outside
and starved beneath the big, old christmas lights.
'do not sit on this sidewalk!' --oh! new orleans.
i cannot see, i cannot fly a kite.

i smell the petroleum, smoke three cigarettes,
put up two dollars for gasoline.
the bugs swarm the lights, i cannot breathe,
and a lady rasps and whispers in my ears (i want to fuck)
selling icees, lighters, 32 ounces.
i cannot fly a kite, i want to fuck the oak tree,
the sturdy one and want it to fuck me.
but what of my work? i cannot sell it,
not the pulsating air around the dusk bridge.

robert cannot breathe, cannot see,
flips the light switches in a little prayer.
buck tells me, 'the school life is over,
now is the real life.' i cannot fly a kite,
it dips down to the left, i try to compensate,
my shoes are filled with water, i want to fuck.
but what of my work? watch the powerlines
over the lake, i understand this light, i cannot breathe.
robert cannot fly a kite.

8 dog, oak

grapefruit unlined, sour pillows,
i am younger to-morrow.
she lies, paradise, in redblush
and the clouds undulate, altostratus.
the moon peels scented between pink folds.
dogs bark distance, oaks sponged the sun,
sediment settles at point-aux-chenes.
9, satellite

[07 Jun 2010|12:49pm]
haiku and other short things
november 2007 - january 2008

1 at six six thirty

you, me, in this place,
where the grass is not yet cold,
pad the coloured leaves.

2 squirrel

they just cut the grass:
smells of fruit to forage a
cross the powerline.

3 blake and i

lis'nin to the owl,
warm; down sinks the thick old oak.
coarse scarf-skin, autumn.

4 just wait

i waft northern lights
then i drop two blue footballs,
still praying mantis.

5 snow near rapid city

dakota black hills,
vanilla tapioca:
shortened days of white.

6 citrus

a curt cricket chirps.
she bites into the orange,
many pillows burst.

7 caravan, patrin

torn cloth egyptians
rather be lucky than good,
root near the birch-tree.

8 calm monday

on mister rogers
they polished a bell today.
still sat the bird house.

9 some summertime

moss rafters, gold hair,
mississippi bullfrog croaks.
a banana split.

10 peyote, heat lightning

rattled tambourine.
thunderstorms paint wyoming's
raspberry half-moon.

11 baobabs

i am banana'd.
love me and lets cook dinner
while aretha lies.

12 how she looks at me

over bare shoulders:
raindrops, teardrops, lemon drops.
soon retiring sun.

13 fifty-one degrees

christmas approaches,
we just need to find our friends.
the brass wind-chime sounds.

14 cardinals

in the green, a nest.
the baby was just crying.
-- poor little thing.

15 i want to

take jelly-roll shots,
atop juicy mt. nebo,
from her pulpy breast.

16 bathroom fireplace

blue-flowering walls,
bristled dim-nude christmas light.
fog on the mirror.

17 with faron young

i wear a derby,
overalls or suspenders
smoking cigarettes.

18 dream snare

taut stretched-leather drum.
she rests beneath the willow,
stomps of night are caught.

19 chanteuse road trip

turrell horizon.
'57 chevrolet.
julie london sings.

20 where it is

you out there amongst
(maybe the bench is the art)
the pigs and chickens.

21 briefly los angeles

kiwi-green palm trees
wheat bread mustard sandwiches,
out picking flowers.

22 houmas dupre

oreos, pine trees,
peel a ripened clementine.
red-leaf old raised house.

23 come here

heating, cooling.
i stole the knife.
she has cherry tomatoes
for cheeks.
leaves, pages collect.
i sharpen the pencil
or a stick. i
miss you. parsley, basil.
fur, fir, cat-sour --

24 thumb sex

upright mulberry.
corvette parfum.
zig-zag drum circle.
staff and skirt,
intone insane
throttle bushes.


wigwam grandma dirty rice
blueberries blue bathroom
space heater okra
salinas brown-eyed fog
garrulous sweet pickles
chamber music galavants
glamour cardio washing machine
pakistan cunnilingus
potpourri bleachers gasoline
los angeles paperback
rose quilt grandma wigwam

[07 Jun 2010|12:39pm]
into a new minimalism ?
september 2007 - october 2007


all my
whole life
i love
to see
you strut


nostalgia yawns
on the
free-fall fucking
nothing cloud
and skids
the corner
on two wheels
of rollerskates--
like frogs
from the road

3 dusk, not in california

randy says, 'shit'
cat on the driveway nextdoor
bored boy pushes himself on a skateboard
before a black pickup backs in
i want to cry; the tools are greasy
and the air is heavy like black holes
the garage inhales-- 'emission standards
are,' he clanks, 'a little different
over there'


, 'girl
i drive to work
and my feet turn purple
cause of the shoes,'
barks a voice
up to the cellular universe

'what?' she asks
then, 'oh my god
oh my god oh my god
ive never -- oh --
thats the --
-- sixties --,' the voices
dip onto her porch
like the cracking treebranch
feeling the weight
of purple-grey moisture

i again, 'and baby
i am so sick i am
so tired i put
forty-five dollars of gasoline
in the car so i can drive
to work -- to the meeting tomorrow --
and i work to pay
the insurance
and my feet are turning
purple cause of the shoes
and im so tired --
im so tired'

and she bounced
back via mirrors
and from what is my past,
what with timezones, internet,
(what is the future?), 'just
come here theres salads
i am so sick of telephones,
baby --'

a drunk car
plows into my eardrums
as a woman on the pa system,
'-- and inside the quick stop --'
my feet are so purple and
contemptibly clean, '32 ounce --'
i am so tired, i ask
again, 'baby -- baby?'
then the dull buzz
of a wireless disconnect


had/has auburn hair every time
or baby sweet like butterscotch,
my favorite candy as a straight haired boy
and was i blond too, sure
works in the art museum and
sticks the burger king straw in my mouth
when im trying to chew my burger
and not mix them, always scheme-en
wears bluejeans and wifebeaters
and always worries and wants to hitchhike
and should be an editor and always understands
especially childrens fiction and hidden aphorisms
still that auburn hair too
dancing through some kinda book
at five years old and figured out, 'i can
look it up! its what my fingers can do.'
planted trees and buried treasure
dyed her hair like strawberries and i joked
giggles like a carbonated beverage
and tickles my nose the same, just the voice
of course i could sing songs in her earlobes
and have before, soft and sweet ones
from here you know louisianne and
wants a boy that plays in that art museum
and is i dont know three years old and hers
that shakes his head at the op art
when told of its secrets
and sure as hell doesnt forget
to keep on shaken when hes lookin somewhere else
also a dancer, ballerina, im excited
with big sugar cane lips and a holographic hula skirt
and hair smellen like maine and beachless coastline
and i swear i watched her once
from up in the football stands
with my shirt buttoned crooked
and sitting on the wrong side of the field
and wanted to shuffle her legs, stems
and set them in water


were the green door bar
her low bungalow apartment,
outside would be as it is
which is to say
her on a tincan telephone
stretching her voice as a cat, lean
and clawing my fingertips
the wire, before taut, was
a duckling to her shoed feet,
distracted before scurrying
back to mother
chewing bubblegum she talks about
the praying mantis, '-- oh my god !'
and how much it looks like an alien
no how it is an alien
no how it is a martian spy
and then she spies the sleeping bag

were the shuffles of card playing
cheaper wine and cigarette shouts
around the corner staircase
then again there she is
gum snapping and popping,
crunching red fall leaves as it cools
in inner dialogue, 'should i take it ?
its a camouflage sleeping bag !'
and looking and thinking and
finding then an orange peel
then lists her favorite foods into my pockets:
grapefruit, ravioli and my applejuice salads
her feet turn and leave it for tomorrow
then it might fit two indians
but forgetting she tramps
past the praying mantis and panics,
rummages in the dark, '-- oh no !'
wondering if shed smashed him
and so the parties roll on
she leans and begins searching
finally, achingly finding him in
the carved out center
of a trees chalky, flowering heart


when my shirt is unbuttoned
and my girl is across the country
i am pushing the plastic cow with wings
hung from the ceiling in circles
its batteries are dying
and so are people

i am sad and cuddled just like jesus
at least according to the priest
and when my mother cries for her mother
and her mother cries for her husband
and his sister cries for her brother
i am staring at the stigmata
on the hands of the statue above the altar
and humming in the ears
of my switch flipping autistic cousin

when i push they all have questions
steve says, 'is it a cow or a bull?'
shirley says, 'what kind of batteries does it take?'
my living brother is the voice of reason
and says of my spinning that i must be patient
and wait for the cow to straighten itself

so later when im outside
standing on the concrete picnic table
beside the silent banana spider
and sprinkled by the bustle
of a fifteen mile an hour southeast wind
through the bust of the trees
i listen, as to not die,
and step down and sit
when my mother says theyre worried
that the thing might tip and collapse


i would be fucked
and stranded unemployed

i would be fucked
vehicleless and poor

i would be fucked
by the most beautiful girl

i would be fucked
and drowsy on the roadside

i would be fucked
sneezing, late for my flight

i would be fucked
slowly and deliberately

i would be fucked
and then sleep, you know, so well


o, lo, audience
i see i be i is
this world is full of cheerleaders and books
books about cheerleaders and
cheerleaders about books

the moon goes up and down at night
and mountains used to not be

the cheerleaders stack on shelves their thighs
and lift down (or up) gauzy-eyed jellyfish
assuming formation
from here yes our perspective
beside to-nights winking lucille

the moon goes up and down at night
i am i rest with her we be


there was
a rabbit
we were chasing
but only cause
we were out
picking blackberries
and she darted clean,
like light,
past three of us

and what if
her closet
with the steamtrunk
and violet curtains,
where in her grey dress
time froze,
were our nest
of berry brush?


when im depended upon
when im sad when im not
hes got the bag and the grass
there is also
a book of beatles songs glaring eyeless,
singing and singingly, from atop the piano
which is trudys piano
that we have yet to steal
and we have yet to heal

wear your eye makeup
lose your hair, shop
call me or her on the telephone
and yell, sing songs, oh sugar sugar
pump gasoline and kegs, save plastic cups

put some butter, bubbles, on the bread
and toast it
my grandfather owned these things
and did not own other things
owned bars and toasters, not lovers nor roosters
wrote poems he didnt know
in his boat and on his trees
wrote them with a shovel, with twine
before or during, turning, twain and the civil war
which is where his name traveled from
and on trains with modern beers
cooled by throws (boughs) of blowing language

i smoke a cigarette, you dress as an indian
and steal into the pool naked and clean,
bursting buttons that look out as eyes: alive


are, pirates are good,
she has nice tits;
there is the balloonMan!

things were dirty
when i woke up,
i am drawing lines through
pound's 'and's.

i am a wash, not awash.
my bardot bandit is
in the sky, winking;
words are inside words
are inside infomercials.

her dark-theory makeup
informs, transfigures.
the gypsy book is marked
by a picture of troy and jenny;
lucy, lucille, said moon,
and we are (things) as one.


i have written
a song for you,
it harmonizes with
the cucumber green

the crimson of
hushed sun descent
fills a wineglass sky

i dance and sing
the lucid pulp,
the porous ease,
of your flight


why this is
what is, why is
is why no yes
is everything is nothing
why is thing, are things
people things form, cats
is it seeing?
not just seeing, why see
what why how
how seeing, how is
is everything nothing, nothing everything
people things, is is are
is why how is why not
is what not, how?
what a wink, a moon, why?
how when, when -- not?
what not is, is not

am what is, am i
what i am, is
is what i see, i be
am i seeing? not be
do i, how i be -- is
i are, we speak and is
you do, do is, do nothing everything
speak walk, watch see
sea eat, eat is, eat see -- speak
i walk and is
walk be, to
where how, to
i you we seen once
twice, three twine twain time
be, we, were is will -- see
is not stop, is
not one six any
is any and not any not
not all, all

be is, is fun -- not?
bore moral oblique
is why didactic is
empty full is
full is empty out in
we is empty full
out in not nothing all any
is why, what lyric
musical arhythmic be form,
before -- now -- never
then was is wont when why
we are, will, all were are
wait go stop teach
is love love not why
noise rain, moon, why stuff
stuff why is, is why? thing
why is thing, thing thought,
thought god, god me, me us,
us then, them now, them then,
we will, i are, be not, it is
cool warm
why why --
why not?

sea, see saw seen
why seem why see be we is
seed seam to be to is are up
down grow, time, i seed
see every seem saw did
i my our, state and states
i we teach why -- to learn!


love, be my glove
be your dress, be mine dove
warm, take my arm
fill your chest, tend to farm
be my rest, be mine love
yes, timeless -- above enough

16 to la playa, west

three bottles of mustard
two bottles of wine and one a plan
italian class, accordions, birdcalls
turrell's white beard mouthless skyspace

golden gate dominos, polaroid
sea lions smell like blubbery sex
things are immediately familiar, unfamiliar
the quiet lady selling the bottle of chilean wine
asks if she is french; jenny says, 'no --'

strawberries, ducks, brie
cherries in chinatown or berkeley
oakland by train, under the bay
filthy toilets lose numbers and receipts

the quiet lady selling the bottle of chilean wine
says, 'i ask because you are beautiful'
i agree; french and beautiful
'-- i think i am dutch,' beautiful and french

in the twin peaks hotel
i smoked one cigarette, she brushed her teeth
a man drank gatorade at the foot of his bed
r&b purred out of the radio built into the television
we danced naked and dropped pink petals
on the sheets, then checked out


halloween halloween i am tall she tastes like raspberries
tonight jenny is the shaman in rags i a tree and poisonous
party here in the low bungalow and elsewhere, ted leo,
beer league, washed clothes, two in the shower,
how she smells ! descartes -- grateful dead, 'alligator'

this all i am documenting, she says 'pictures in your head'
or so her mother told her, mother hott, like to marry.
late for the art museum, granny smith apples, gimmie a kiss
ill buy the bottles of rum, green apple, sunburned hand,
smoke on venice beach, canals, jazz, fuck you l.a.

one hundred i am smitten, bought cigarettes, always picking flowers
for her hair and rags, tying things, smelling like elephants,
sneaking, pilfering, debasing, rousing then we get
sloshed, sauced, zoot, blitzed, banged, fucked -- spun !
i am tall. she drips down the side of the apple, how i love, i love.

[04 Jun 2010|05:29pm]
told u id do this

41-81Collapse )
2, satellite

[04 Jun 2010|05:28pm]
ok so i told you id do this. heres a bunch of old poems, the first section. i figured id break them into different sections but this one is pretty big, about 80 poems. theres a few more years of stuff i still need to go through after this, but here is a start. some (if not most) of these are kind of embarrassing but that hasnt stopped me in the past. some of them (surprisingly enough) i still find a bit charming. they run chronologically. im also going to queue them up on tumblr so they go up one at a time every six or so hours, so its not as daunting. but then itll just get monotonous cause u get four a day. but oh well, as i said before (maybe not here), i dont really care. for my own archival sake im going to post the whole thing in one fell swoop on here right now (if it doesnt exceed maximum length, which i totally have had this beast tell me before during some experiment). perhaps itll spark a bit more writing, but that FYAH OF YOUTH, i dont know if i have it anymore? i do have a fire still though. hmmf. <3

ps 'Error updating journal: Client error: Post too large.' so this is part 1 of 2. poems 1-40, next is 41-81.

pps follow the tumbles HERE

5, satellite

plotinus on ecstasy [03 Jun 2010|12:18am]
Many times it has happened: Lifted out of the body into myself; becoming external to all other things and self-encentered; beholding a marvellous beauty; then, more than ever, assured of community with the loftiest order; enacting the noblest life, acquiring identity with the divine; stationing within It by having attained that activity; poised above whatsoever in the Intellectual is less than the Supreme: yet, there comes the moment of descent from intellection to reasoning, and after that sojourn in the divine, I ask myself how it happens that I can now be descending, and how did the Soul ever enter into my body, the Soul which even within the body, is the high thing it has shown itself to be.

Enneads, V, 3, 17

Who that truly perceives the harmony of the Intellectual Realm could fail, if he has any bent towards music, to answer to the harmony in sensible sounds? Why geometrician or arithmetician could fail to take pleasure in the symmetries, correspondences and principles of order observed in visible things? Consider, even, the case of picture: Those seeing by the bodily sense the productions of the art of painting do not see the one thing in the one only way; they are deeply stirred by recognizing in the objects depicted to the eyes the presentation of what lies in the idea, and so are called to recollection of the truth--the very experience out of which Love rises. Now, if the sight of Beauty excellently reproduced upon a face hurries the mind to that other Sphere, surely no one seeing the loveliness lavish in the world of sense--this vast orderliness, the form which the stars even in their remoteness display--no one could be so dull-witted, so immoveable, as not to be carried by all this to recollection, and gripped by reverent awe in the thought of all this, so great, sprung from that greatness. Not to answer thus could only be to have neither fathomed this world nor had any vision of that other.

Enneads, II, 9, 16

[11 May 2010|01:56am]
how u know my in-knowing
or by what standard you measure
again is there 'standard'
or recede into subjectivity, sorry solipsism
this is my way-ism
infused, perhaps inspired
no indicative of my ego-ism, my my-ism
not mysticism
the confusion of elucidating mystery
the way of not-way, self of not-self
indetermined fatalism
lust and thrust for freedom, yet we only
know freedom through submission ?
i sense the inanity, insanity

this way that way my way your way her way his way the north south east west way every no which way

[07 May 2010|04:07pm]
pastelplaid:  brb checking your twitter
 me:  hahah
i was thinking
if im gonna doa  philosophy
i have to start with an assumption
if i start with the hindu assumption or what4eve,r or like
the sufi idea
that i haev
that god is everything
then i have to start with that as my assumption
'god is everything'
if thats my assumption, what follows ?
it follows that god is EVERYTHING
what does it mean if its everything
it means that it is confusing
it means that it is CONFUSION
it means that it is terrible, horrible things
it means that it is manipulation, disease
dis ease
dis aster
disaster means bad stars
i means that its doubt
it means that it is atheism !
it means that it is science and inquiry, materialism
it means that it is solipsism
it means that it is every idea and every thing
and every person and every possibility
and even every non possibility
 pastelplaid:  yes
 me:  cause since its a possibility, we can think of it
so we can think of its opposite
i just been thinking about all of that
i just been thinking that
the yin yang is a really good symbol for an idea like that
where everything has a complimentary opposite
and inside the opposite
there is a tiny seed of the other side
a seed of white in the black
that theyre interdependent
i was thinking about that a lot when the saints won the sueprbowl
i was thinking that
 pastelplaid:  i was just trying to find a picture i saw earlier
 me:  since the people here
knew the extreme and terrible sorrow
of katrina
 pastelplaid:  it was an over shot of the oil spill but it looked like a ying yang
 me:  and losing their homes and their properties asnd their friends and family
that thye knew that loss
that terror, that sorrow that anguish
that it made the opposite of it, the joy in the  community
when it came together as a team
and wed cheer for a football game
and say afterward that 'WE' won
it was like the opposite degree of it
it was like, cause we knew the tragedy
it made the good that much better
i been thinking aobut that a lot lately .
i been thinking about how
when youd oubt something
when you are skeptical of it
how much of a BENEFIT that ends up being
how it helps you know whatever youre scoping out even better
that, if i criticize religion
it helps me underestand religion better
that if i doubt god
it helps me see god better
to me
it all seems kind of
bound up with that 'neti neti' idea
'thats not it !'
 pastelplaid:  i like a little doubt
 me:  i was like
riding around with amanda
kinda stoned
thinking 'oh shit !!!! ...
'its already been all figured otu ! !! ! 1....
then id just laugh
 pastelplaid:  were you driving
 me:  then i was like
then i was like
'oh shit its already figured out ....
and at the same tiem
its not figured out at all !!!!!!'
then id just laugh and feel crazy
and say 'thats the best part  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!'
its a coincidence of opposites
its knowing and not knowing
at the same time
 Sent at 3:59 PM on Friday
 me:  hehehe
its weird
that assumption though
'god is everything'
is just what those jews and shit always said was a scary idea, that might be dangerous for some people
i can SEE why its dangerous
 pastelplaid:  wait why
 me:  its terrifying and envigorating at the same time
its genius and insanity mixed together
 pastelplaid:  oh shit its happening

note: putting together my new poetic/ philosophical/ political/ ethical vision

[29 Apr 2010|01:07pm]
i want the biggest picture
in my head
that i can build
then what
then what ?
make it bigger and bigger
until i die
and try to help other people
make their own bigger and bigger
until it becomes
at last
so useless
that all we can do is laugh
there, thats my 'utopia' sketch

voltaire [29 Apr 2010|12:21pm]
'The Good Brahmin'

'I wish I had never been born!'

'Why so?' said I.

'Because,' he replied, 'I have been studying these forty years, and I find that it has been so much time lost. ... I believe that I am composed of matter, but I have never been able to satisfy myself what it is that produces thought. I am ever ignorant whether my understanding is a simple faculty like that of walking or digesting, or if I think with my head in the same manner as I take hold of a thing with my hands. ... I talk a great deal, and when I have done speaking I remain confounded and ashamed of what I have said.'

The same day I had a conversation with an old woman, his neighbor. I asked her if she had ever been unhappy for not understanding how her soul was made? She did not even comprehend my question. She had not, for the briefest moment in her life, had a thought about these subjects with which the good Brahmin had so tormented himself. She believed in the bottom of her heart in the metamorphoses of Vishnu, and provided she could get some of the sacred water of the Ganges in which to make her ablutions, she thought herself the happiest of women. Struck with the happiness of this poor creature, I returned to my philosopher, whom I thus addressed:

'Are you not ashamed to be thus miserable when, not fifty yards from you, there is an old automaton who thinks nothing and lives contented?'

'You are right,' he replied. 'I have said to myself a thousand times that I should be happy if I were but as ignorant as my old neighbor; and yet it is a happiness which I do not desire.'

This reply of the Brahmin made a greater impression on me than anything that had passed.

'I have taken as my patron saint St. Thomas of Didymus, who always insisted on an examination with his own hands.'

'every chief of a sect in philosophy has been a little of a quack.'

'The further I go, the more I am confirmed in the idea that systems of metaphysics are for philosophers what novels are for women.'

'It is only charlatans who are certain. We know nothing of first principles. It is truly extravagant to define God, angels, and minds, and to know precisely why God formed the world, when we do not know why we move our arms at will. Doubt is not a very agreeable state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.'

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