There is no such thing as wisdom. There is only direct experience. Wisdom that does not manifest in the form of physical sensation is smoke, filling the brain.
Did god choose to be god?
…Or was god made god?
And if god was made god, and agreed willingly, is god then not a figure of ego?
Even if god was not made, but always was, is god then not aware of his identity?
Is god then not aware of his faculties…his omniscience and infinity?
Does god not enjoy his power?
And if god-made-god does not enjoy power, and agreed to be god only grudgingly, with hesitation, how can we trust that he will do well at executing a thing which he does not enjoy?
If god went along in happy agreement, on the other hand, is it then not logical to be suspicious of god, just as it is logical to be suspicious of one who enjoys his power?
And if god agreed to be god grudgingly…what are we to think of him who does not enjoy his power? What are we to think of god who experiences distaste, and winces at the execution of power?
Woah, that we should feel sympathy for god, that we should imagine the pain of despicable work. Woah, that we should forgive god for his mistakes.
…and if god has made no mistakes, must god then not be inhuman…must god then not be robotic, and cold?
Do we then not worship an impassive, errorless thing?
If, on the other hand, god commits and understands error, is this human god then not evidence of our self-aggrandizing megalomania?
…because of course we are like our god and our god is like us…of course!
And if god did not choose to be god, if he did not agree to be god, doesn’t this mean that god is unconscious of himself? Doesn’t this mean that god does not know himself?
And if god is unconscious entirely…
…is god not like things which have no consciousness?
…is god not like the dark night, like the space around us, like the rock under our feet?
And if if god is like the rock under our feet, like the core of the earth, like its mantle, like its crust, like the planet itself and the air around it, like all the planets, and the space between them, like the stars, like the universe itself, what is the difference between that which is god and that which is not god?
If the rock is like god, and you are like god, is god not like everything which exists along this continuum?
And what if there is no difference between that which is god and that which is like god?
Is god then not everything?
Is god then not nothing?
Is god then not simultaneously everything and nothing?
And if god is simultaneously everything and nothing, what does it matter to speak of god?
For with god, nothing can be articulated; nothing is distinct…
…and where nothing is distinct, all languages become a useless babble.
Where there is language, there is a place where god cannot be explained.
Now…if god is conscious, and you and I are conscious, do you and I not share properties with god?
…And if consciousness is an essential property of god, are we then not great egoists to think we, too, must necessarily possess this essential property?
And yet, and yet…what if you and I have nothing to do with god, with the qualities of god?
What if we are distant from god…like a light year…or a star?
What if knowing god is in fact nothing more than perception itself?
…if god neither chose, nor agreed to, his identity and role, then what is it to be something which was neither agreed upon nor chosen?
Is this not a matter of one’s essential nature? ….a matter of features which one did not choose?
And what of this not choosing? What is this not choosing by which we are what we are? Are we not defined by things which we did not choose, and cannot change? Is not choosing (in the sense of not choosing where one has no power to choose) the same as god?
Is it then not in god’s nature to be god without knowing beforehand, without accepting or choosing to be god?
And if it is in god’s nature to be a god, does this not imply that god is not entirely the master of himself; does this not imply that there are aspects of god over which god has no control, aspects whose nature god must learn and ascertain…aspects which he must discover and understand?
And if there are aspects of god over which god has no control, what is the origin of these aspects? Is the origin of these aspects not the true locus of god?
Is not the true locus of god not the locus of control, but the locus of things which cannot be controlled?
If the true locus of god is not the locus of control, and if all things are controlled or not controlled…
…is not the true locus of god the locus of everything which cannot be controlled?
And if that which is essential is the same as that which is not controlled (as is the case with our nature, our essential features), is it not therefore inessential to control things…and is it not therefore inessential to act like god…is it not therefore ungodly to act like god?
Is god, therefore not like himself?
And if god is not godly when he is like himself, is it not logical to look for god in ungodly things?
Is it then not logical to look for god where humans scrabble desperately for control, where violence rules, where the most awful things occur, where blood saturates the earth, where decay fills the air?
If god did not choose his role, and does not know, or is not able to act upon his nature, is he then not a slave…is he then not one who is mastered?
And if we believe god must be enslaved by his duty, is it not our duty to enslave him?
Are you and I not the slavemasters of god?
And if this is not the case, if god fights to be free, or stays quiet that he may survive, is it then not our duty to emancipate him, so that the battle may be won, so that god may speak?
Who are we to give voice to god?
No, god is our master!
God is a benevolent dictator!
Luck, only luck, that he is benevolent!
Woah, that we experience the luck, sheer luck, of god’s benevolence!
God is elected.
…and all the world is political, and religion is politics, and politics religion, so that all is delusion, and emotion, entangled in relations of power…so that all is a labyrinth, so that all is intertwined, so that nothing is true!
And if god does fight his master, if he does struggle against his enlavement, and try to break free, is it not true, then, that we worship a god who is fighting against the way of the world, who is trying to break away from what we have made him?
And if god does not fight, do we then not worship a god who does not stand up for himself, who does not speak?
And if we worship a god who sings, do we not worship one who sings so that he may survive the identity we have given him?
And if god enslaves us instead, does this not mean that we worship a master?
Is obedience not frightening enough…let alone worship? Is it not foolish servitude to worship a master? Is the worship of a master not oblivion, and ignorance? Is belief in god then not oblivion, and ignorance?
Is denial of the masterful god not the beginning of questioning, of a setting out on the path to truth?
Does god not disguise himself, in the end, as this thing we call “nothing”?
Did god make himself god, or was he made god?
If he made himself god, why did he do it?
If he was made god (or if he always was, and always will be), does he know his own true nature?
If he does know, where does he stand in relation to it?
And what if he does not know?
…What is it to be ruled by an unconscious god?
Sailor lit a cigarette.
We were sitting on the stained concrete back step of The Palisades, a cheap motel in Calvert, Oregon, which is actually a cluster of trailers and a couple convenience stores way out on a state road that cuts northeast across the desert toward the turn in the Columbia River, just north of the Oregon-Washington border. The first few hours of hitching and hooking our way up to Washington were long for me because I didn’t know the landscape… Miles of power conversion stations and convenience store litter mixed with yellow-gray tumbleweeds. I’ve never seen so much beige in my life, stretching from the roadside to the rim of the sky. I kept waiting to see the blue-green color of fir trees, the dark color of a deep river, lush grass, a change of scenery.
“It’s going to be desert all the way up,” Sailor said to me between drags. “Washington’s desert on the east side, too, part of it. We’re gonna turn hard for the east, though, at a certain point…get us up into the mountains. Harlin won’t follow us up there…and then we’ll be free.”
I picked a cigarette from the pack Sailor waved in my direction. She lit it for me. As she leaned over toward me her jean shorts pulled away from the underneath of her thigh and I saw candy-stripe underwear hugging to her crotch. A strand of hair fell out from where she had it pulled back into a loose bun. She moved it back behind her ear with her fingers.
“Try to get your cigarette where the fire is, honey-bear,” she said, almost smiling.
A wave of embarrassment passed over me. I pulled hard, exhaled, made a big deal of getting lit up.
I tried to flip things.
“Sailor,” I started, exhaling, “Is that your real name?”
“It’s real if that’s what I answer to, right? Why, are we on television?”
I cut to the chase. “What’s the name printed on your birth certificate?”
Sailor nodded ever so slightly, then rubbed her lips together as if spreading chapstick. “Haley. Haley Minwood.”
“Hm. That’s kinda good. Why did you change it?”
“My parents had money. A piss-ton. A fucking pipeline. Dividend income. Trust funds, nine digit shit everywhere. That means you have two real options…anything else would be half-assing it. You can either have a pert, square-cut little girl-scout pussy, nod yes and be good and go to law school on daddy’s dime…or be a Lindsay Lohan snatch, a spoiled, take-the money-and-run little trust fund druggie pretender bitch. Both bad. Doesn’t matter how fine your relationship with your parents is. If you come from wealth, and you’re interested in personal integrity, annihilation of the entire construct is the only option… The only way to author a biography that has any stock or guts. Cut yourself loose. No insurance, no phone calls to mommy, nothing.”
She French-inhaled, looked at me with narrowing eyes.
I leaned forward a little, tapped some ash out onto the ground, took another drag. Sailor let one knee sort of loll out to the side, so now the gap between her jean shorts and candy-stripe underwear was in plain view. She was wearing one of Harlin’s old dress shirts, and some of her hair had slipped inside the collar. She’d left the first three buttons undone, so I could see where the silky piece of hair touched down on her collar bone, where the big tendon stood up when she dragged on her cigarette. When she leaned forward to ash her cigarette I could see her breasts, the way they were cupped by her bra, which was just a little big for her.
I pulled my head up, and looked into her eyes.
She was waiting for me to do just that.
I said, “And this all adds up to your choice of name in some way?”
“Yeah. Because I can’t stake myself on anything. I’m a lost soul. Out to sea. And Sailor sounds like a good name for a girl who’s all about her own skin, which is what you’re thinking about anyway…not listening to a word I’m saying…”
(Back Door: Enter “Skinny Haley” into the search bar.)
I woke up, in a bed high above the floor. A ladder led down from the bed, into deeper darkness. The sound of a passing car came to me from across the room. A grid of golden line segments moved at a diagonal path across the narrow band of wall before me. I looked across the room. I could smell dust. There was a large window, shuttered. The shutter’s ventilation holes let through hundreds of tiny ovals of golden light.
Where was I?
Was it morning? Afternoon?
Rooms I had slept in flashed through my mind. A foam mattress on a damp wood floor in a tenement in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A cheap hotel in the red light district of Frankfurt. A motel room rented as an apartment in Sacramento, California.
No. No. No.
None of them.
Then I heard a woman’s voice. Calm. Sensual.
It was my lover’s voice.
And this part is important: It was sound which oriented me. Not sight. But a human voice. I heard two words from her and I was home. In an instant. In the current year.
How long had I slept, I wondered.
“It’s the morning,” she said. “I went down to start some water but I got worried and came back up. You were starting to sit up, but it was weird. You looked like something was wrong.”
I laid my head down again. I looked at her. She saw something in my eyes.
“I feel crazy.”
“Go back to sleep,” she said.
I closed my eyes, listened to her voice…
She told me about how it can happen, sometimes, during a time of change…
…A person’s short and long term memory will come to stand at equal distance. A single thought of here and now will have even odds with thoughts of all other places, all other moments. In this state, a person will dream his way through his own biography, sorting everything… Whatever his dream, it will correspond to a moment in his life, to the smell of a room, the warmth of a sunbeam, the glow of dust in the air. His imagination will prepare him to waken in that room. The feeling of that room will occupy his mind at dawn, at the instant he opens his eyes. But the preparation will be false. He will feel one thing, and see another. And he will not know where he is.
This was how she explained it to me.
I wanted to right myself. “Can I just go back to sleep?” I asked, “Are you gonna be here?”
“Yes,” she said, “You need rest.”
“I know… I had a dream,” I said, my eyes still closed, “that I asked you something…You didn’t answer, and I asked again.”
“…and there was this bird, a sparrow, I think…”
I didn’t finish.
Sailor brushed the backs of her fingers across the side of my cheek. Then she disappeared down the ladder, into deeper darkness. I heard the roil of water on the stove. I was not confused by this. It is a sound I love.
By the time she was gone, I was asleep.
(Back Door: Go to the tab above marked “Entrances” and choose your door. All chronology is arbitrary; all memories stand equidistant in a time of change.)
9.1 How filled am I with ignorance, and with desire!
9.2 So long as I am filled with ignorance, and with desire, there shall likewise be no end to your interest in the tales which attend these verses…
9.21 He sits with you, by the nighttime river, and sings these tales over the babble of the rushing waters.
9.3 If, when you read these tales, you become curious, or secret your feelings, it means you feel desire. And if you deny yourself, you have handed down a hard line of austerity unto your mind, and, therefore, have suffered.
9.31 If, however, the river flows in you, perhaps you have forgotten everything already…
9.312 But the river is a riddle, and a paradox…for the defiled and damned have no greater desire than to ride its current, to rise and fall on the curve of a wave, to dissolve into its speeding waters…just as the enlightened are dissolved, and sparkle like the daylight which dances on the turbulence of rapids…
9.32 Here, on the river, now, the dancing of the lights is beautiful, and yet, on this instant, it is nothing.
9.321 It is this nothing which requires the water to be turbulent, manic, and fierce…which requires the sun to burn off the blue of the bordering sky, so bright is it with the fire of day, so bright that the sky is bleached, and blown out, and white. Only with this fire, and this bleached, ferocious turbulence, is there this nothing, is there this sparkling dance.
9.33 This dancing of the lights: it is not the sun; it is not the river. No! It is not a thing. It is no thing. It is nothing. And yet, and yet…it is not nothing, for you sense it on the surface of your eye. Oh what pleasure! What joy!
9.4 But feel no guilt for this pleasure of the eyes! When words dance on irises like the glittering of the lights! Let there be no shame in it!
9.41 Yes, fill yourself with ignorance, and with desire…then, when the sun sinks below the touch of skin, converse in the languages you know. Sing, dance, and rejoice your heartbeat and your breath beneath the stars, when your skin retains the warmth of the day you set to pass, when you watch the sky go slowly out…
9.5 And know, that if you have danced, you have transmuted the contents of your feelings; you have spoken the language of desire.
9.51 And know, that if you have sung, you have transmuted the contents of your feelings; you have spoken the language of desire.
9.52 Sing, and dance, and let sing your heart…and know that we are conversant in these tongues, that these tongues are rooted in the darkest, deepest well.
9.521 We drink the waters of the well, and watch the waters of the river, and feel them flow free within us.
9.53 We know we want to ride the river…to feel ourselves drunken on the high of our ignoble experience.
(Back Door: Enter “Chapbook” into the search bar.)
So this is me, Narc, talking to you straight up…
That cracker who jacked that Buick and porked Sailor those times in Portland…his name’s Harlin Coke.
Harlin-Coke-the-CrackerDrugdealerFistfighterStonerArtistShizophrenicPimp… That’s his full title. Alpha cracker mother fucker with a bad respiration problem. Said he’d been in some kind of accident when he was working in Northern Cali. He used to hock up plugs right in the middle of conversation; you could here ‘em shoot through the tight “O” of his lips, Thpt!, little shuttles of mucus.
Harlin’s the one that pimped out Sailor and me after we left the city and landed back on the west coast.
Out of some sense of parity, I went in for it, too.
Parity… That means taking it in the ass for cartons of cigarettes. Once you get all lubed up and stretched out in the shower with a big dildo, it’s not so bad. I used to do pushups when I got up in the morning…that shifted to the dildo and steam workout once I punched in for the career change. And I’ll tell you this: it’s the people who fuck you; that’s what makes you sick in the cabesa…
Overweight white guys in their sixties with a bad diet and skin that smells like two-day-old Mitchum and Miller High Life…like fried onions and Chesterfields. Just take out their penis, semi-hard, and make you work to get it in there, just oil it in, them sweating it out, their double chins all red and folded up, huffing and panting, their eyes all yellow and puffy with their glasses off, like they’re some ghost of The Man that got shucked off by the wayside, still operating with a mandate to fuck everyone…’til the mandate goes sour…starts to rot. Embezzlement and kiddie porn. You know what I’m talking about. Old flabby white guys. Leftovers from the system.
I used to joke with Sailor about how I would crack up if I ever saw one of those guys show up with a hard, curved bone. I used to joke with her about how that would actually get me hot…about how I would draw a little face on it with a sharpie and do a puppet play where my hand was the dog catcher and I had to collar a rabid bulldog… …just before watching the old man bust a milk-rope onto my shoulder. Then there would be the cigarette afterwards, a Chesterfield; we would share it like two girls at a sleepover…and the old man would do a secret dance with his junk pushed back between his ass cheeks and then tell me he was Dick Cheney or The Reverend Dr. Schueller or something.
It was a weird triangle. We were always pretending we were friends, like Three’s Company on some bunny-ears T.V. set in a cockroach motel by the side of a desert road in Nevada. …and Harlin Coke, pimping both of us. And us, the two hookers, fucking Harlin and each other hard and wet every moment we weren’t doing it for money…trying to burn off the bad memory, change the channel in our heads…
It’s like when you’re so sick you pray for vomit. Not because you like vomiting, it’ just a needful thing…you’re just sitting there in a panic, waiting for the relief of cutting loose into the toilet with a good load.
(Back Door: Enter “Motionless” into the search bar. “Motionless” is the first post made to this page.)
He likes to take the emotional ride.
Yeah, you know what I mean…
When you stand close, take in each other’s scent…
…when on the instant of the first touch of fingertips, your sex grows full and warm under the crotch of your clothes…when you slide together, grapple, and your bodies lock…pelvis to pelvis, belly to belly, chest to chest…when he holds the back of your neck in the roughness of his hand and the two of you feel the pressing of your warm, clothed bodies, the pressing of your cheeks, arms, hands…even the bones of your noses, pressing, almost to the point of pain…softened only by the heart of your kiss…when your hair mingles, when he loses his breath; when you inhale sharply and touch his back with your hands; when your tongue grows wet, and alive…and you grasp for him as if grasping for food…when your hands work quickly as the two of you speak in stuttering whispers about logistics, fumble with buttons and zippers…when you look into his eyes and feel the magnet pull of two dark whirlpools…when the clothes slip quietly to the floor, almost noiselessly, and you tread them, a gentle marching with your naked feet, forgetting what you wore, like so much strewn-out evidence…when the sensation pulses in his body and you cup the root of his verge in your low-slung hand; when the two of you linger there, for the sheer pleasure of kissing, of making out, your bodies naked…until your own warm inertia turns you into bed, and the hour rolls by with your palms resting on the crown of his head as he kisses you, covers your whole sex with his mouth, his tongue darting and sliding under your nap, making you slippery, contracting you…until you say you want him inside you…and he slides his verge balls-deep into your yearning, opening yoni…and your skins meld, so that your fuck is one body, one breath…with your foreheads touching, your spines bent into a heart, your bodies sealed seamlessly together in a driving, railing fuck…so slippery you don’t know whether your yoni is hard or his verge is soft, so you are just coming, sighing, in and out of your skins…dissolving into the air at the first lightening of the sky…so that with the blue that passes across the room, when the clock spins like a wheel in the sea, there is a fist that wraps his root and yours…until the hump and thrum bends your two spines like willows, your yoni and verge, your two pubic bones, melting together so pleasurably as one, the sheets wrinkled and warm beneath you, while the room, small and tight, hot and damp, closes and expands…so that later when he pounds you from behind, his hipbones thudding and slumping against your supple body, your limbs turn to rubber, you weep and cry as his verge turns to steel…then to bone, to flesh, to surging blood…to pure, rocketing energy, a shooting, striving, lightning channel upward…that touches and tingles you at the back of your head; so that something breaks apart…and your sex becomes an excruciating, throbbing orb…and there is a melting, a losing control…so that in the flood of sensation you cannot tell what is happening, if you are peeing or coming or crying…as your mind dissolves into oblivion, as if your eyeballs would roll back and turn to liquid…
…as if your moan might melt into a song for what’s been lost…
…a moment when I am with you…and we lose track of time and space; we rotate and tumble; we become each other; we are sweat and skin; we are liquid; we are ether…until we materialize again and propel ourselves deep into the dark, whirling corridors of eyes…
…so that when we sit on the cement grit of my stoop later and drink coffee, me in my jeans and you in fresh cotton…(when the morning is cold, and bright, like we need it…)
…so that when we look up into the sky and watch a skiff of gray cloud…and shiver in the air that comes before light rain, we know we’ve been somewhere.
There is a feeling that chews through my ribs and tunnels away my guts, my lungs, my heart; it devours my insides; it eats everything; the only way to fill that hollow is to make sweet hot love to you, or to take this box of cigarettes and smoke it down to empty, or to drain this bottle of liquor…to take my life in small, hard increments of assured damage, like knocking the points off ’til I’m a dead man, so much different than the feeling I have now…
…walking the narrow sidewalk on the overpass across the highway, away from my tenement, dropping the smoking cherry-stumps over the side, afternoon-after, picking up nickels from out of the crud and the stepped-on, dried-up chewing gum…so that when I come up a little dizzy from the heat and think a swan dive from 90 feet might match the splayed-out rawness of my heart…when I understand suicide to be nothing more than profoundest yearning. The only thing that could satisfy the pain of waking life that comes after the knowledge of your body.
For no good reason I put my dirty sneakers one in front of the other. I look at the way the light glints hot off the rearview mirror of that rusted out corpse of a Buick I see parked slantwise in a gravel lot at the downside of the overpass. I want to be charmed. I want to jump into that hot vinyl cab and hotwire that shit, bust the casing off the steering column and jimmy the screwdriver I carry in my back pocket right into the heart of that thing and drag race it across this sun-drenched, burnt out city, all the way back to her, waiting there at the bus shelter outside work, so she can climb in beside me, and then we can do it, the Bonnie and Clyde of Fucking, so that after our night out we take it and park it in some back alley so I can push her skirt up and gorge my hideous, blunted face on her perfect, Modiglianian snatch while she stares up at the Big Dipper, amazed that so many lights have been knocked out in this dirty little quarter, that you can see the sky the same way you would from the wilderness, where a neon sign blinks “Saves” from across the alley, where a bail bondsmen is up all night, shirt sleeves rolled to show thick, curly-haired forearms covered in blurred green point-prick tattoos, watching what looks like the profile shadow of an arch-necked, french-twisted lady, coo-ing…a light year away from him. But we are wasted; we don’t care…
When she cums her back hunches up and her foot punches down on an empty beer can behind the passenger seat. Her head snaps up, she’s scared of her own shadow. Our wild eyes connect, and we kiss; that’s when it all begins. And when I drive off I’ll kick her out before I ditch the car. I’ll say, “Fucking go you bitch; you already took what you wanted…”
…because all I wanted was the feeling I get when I’m on the verge…when the mystery of who you are still hangs as thick as the mix of your sex and your perfume…when it could be a fantastical story yet…when there still exists the possibility that the grit and slop of my cock and your snatch could annihilate any reality the imagination could conjur from the galaxy. When the He and I and She and You all wander into a labyrinth, chasing the sunset.
That’s when I quit.
Cause I’m the bitch.
Your pussy is as sweet as gold, our fuck is as good as candy… My heart yearns to dive off the bridge, into the steely pelt of highway traffic. For this reason I know it’s done. We cannot exceed this moment. We made the instant, and now, at the ecstatic pinnacle, I quit. We have flashed and vanished. All else is a petty run-down into evaporating illusion. I fly free from the ferris wheel.
‘Cause I just want a ride.
‘Cause I don’t give a fuck.