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Alone, Living in a Door

I thought her name was “Alana” but actually she spelled it “Alone” and she was alone, because she had carved out an intricate house from the wooden doors that opened into our courtyard during the day and were closed by the Two Guardians at night.  I don’t think she carved it with her teeth or ate wood because I don’t think she was that kind of thing, but what kind of tool she used to create the chambers and hallways and indeed doors! — inside the door, I never found out.  She had no companions — she was alone — but also she was in a sense aloneness itself, because later in my life when I had to leave and I was deserted by everyone (I don’t blame them) I felt when I was alone that I was Alone, and therefore Together with her.  Together?  Because to gather something together it must first be alone?  First?  Maybe last, or at least it would last long enough for us to wonder if it was first.

And at those times when I felt truly alone and deserted and aband-oned,  I would ask her whether she felt that way too, that when she was most truly Alone she was actually the companion of everyone else who was alone?  And for a moment there were three of us — me, Alone, and the Asking — but that moment was a thin and thick as a door, swinging between now and what was yet to be, opening and shutting, separating us and joining us at the same time.

Her name Alone?  Was she her name alone?  I think so.  Just as a door is not inside or outside but is just the way, alone, just that, so the name was all there was to her, all that was left when she tried to tell herself what she was — “alone” — or when I tried to tell her what she was when I felt her, meaning, I felt “alone” and named how I felt “alone”.  Nothing I could really hold on to, but something I could name I think.

I never learned for sure if it was something or someone who I could name.

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Watch Out! Legato!

Why so smooth?  Why these flowing periods of speech?  Aren’t you trying to get me to synch up to your flow and follow where you lead?

Be staccato.

Snap your fingers & get my attention.

Tell me your piece.

Go.

Never,never,never,never impose your rhythm on me.  Not that rhythm’s bad.   But I’ve got one: from my breath, from my pulse, from the Earth and his twirl.

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Masters of Unknowing

My old friend Huang used to say to me “When I was a kid I wanted to know stuff but as I’ve become older it has started to seem to me both more important, and more difficult, and more fun to learn how to not know stuff.”  And I said, as I usually did by that point in the evening, cause I was tired and drunk from Mekong whiskey and my feet had finally stopped being numb and settled in to really hurting “What are you talking about?”  “I honestly don’t even know.” he said ‘Why would I think that you would understand?  You’re from Brooklyn, I’m from Mae Sariang, you’re a Jewish American, I’m a Chinese Thai.  Why would I think you would even understand?  Let’s talk about something else.”  But I said “Okay are you talking about local minimums?”  “What are you talking about?”asked Huang.

“Local minimums mean you have climbed to the top of a mountain and the only way to get higher is to go down.”

“Because the mountain is not the tallest mountain?” asked Huang.  We had left the room and were now in the convenience store across the soi and he was buying us another bottle.  I was being bitten by so many mosquitos.  The next morning when I counted the bites on my legs I lost count at three hundred.  The woman selling us the whiskey was slender and amused by us.

“Yes.  There are taller mountains.  So knowing is climbing a mountain.  Unknowing is going down a mountain.”

“Yes, okay.  Something like that.” he said  “That’s right and also very, very wrong.  Because you know you want to climb a mountain and I don’t even know that.  To me the idea that I need to climb mountains is itself one of your little hills pretending to be a mountain.”

“Okay maybe it is like backing up out of a blind alley.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.  We were staggering down the street, helping each other from falling down.  We had tried to sing “I am a Young Woman from Kon Khaen” but I could not carry a tune and he didn’t know the words.  Even so I think we were pretty good.

“If you go forward in life sometimes you get trapped. ”

“And the only way out of the trap is to back up?”

“Yes.”

“That’s even worse than your hill thing.  The biggest trap is to think you are in a trap.”  He laughed.  We sat down on the steps in front of the mobile phone store.  A few tuk tuks full of drunk people in search of commercial sex were still plying the streets, but the night was huge, moist, quiet.  The noises actually made the quiet noisier, if that makes sense.

“Why is it do you think that when people wake up from a deep sleep their first question is “Where am I?” and only a few moments later to they ask “Who am I?”

“I don’t know.” I said.

“Exactly!”

 

 

 

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Special Skills

The power of clarity is okay as far as it goes, but sometimes when something is too clear I ignore everything else which although it is confusing to me, is nevertheless real.
There’s no question if I knew how to answer some important questions or at least stop asking them I could move forward. What kind of questions?  Well: “Am I compromising or surrendering?” “Is this maturity or is it death?” “Who am I?” “Where do I come from?” “Where am I going?”
Actually I’m lying. I do know how to answer all these questions. They are easy to answer! Too easy. My problem is that they are so easy to answer that I can answer them in so many different ways.
“Where am I going?” Nowhere./My destiny.
Is this maturity or death? Maturity./Death.
Who am I? It doesn’t matter/Who Knows?
To summarize, all these questions just mean that none of these things — maturity, death, I, and where I come from to name just a few — are clear to me. To some other people I’m sure, or I’ve heard, or I imagine, handling these tokens properly and turning them in for what they redeem works fine. But to me they are like smudgy pictures that I have drawn and erased so many times. Some times I have even torn through the paper. The paper in this metaphor I think is either me or maybe where I am.
But like I was saying before I started lying, if I could just stop asking these questions I could finally move forward!
But what if I moved forward in the wrong direction? That’s another question.
It might well be nothing but dithering this “maybe my dog loves me” “maybe my dog is just an eating machine” stuff — I mean it’s a dog isn’t it?
But what do I mean “It’s a dog isn’t it?” And don’t I know what I mean by saying “It’s a dog isn’t it?” If I don’t know what I mean, then who does?
Who does. I have been listening to my tapes about how one of the names of God is Who. And needless to say I don’t know why I’m listening to them, or if I believe them, or what it would mean to believe that one of the names is Who, or that it isn’t.
More and more these days I think my only marketable skill — by which I mean my only survival skill, because I survive by selling myself, like so many who neither farm nor hunt do — I say my only marketable skill is being confused.
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