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Frozen Puddles Like Sheets of Cloudy Glass

D. had a little pug-nose and her Mom, T. said — it is really your best feature! — but D. did not believe her, and would look at the mirror and feel self-conscious about her nose until once when she was out drinking with her friends a really good friend said — look! look at her! — and there was a woman getting a lot of attention – and her friend said “her nose is like yours…you have a cute nose, D.” and D. was able to accept it, when she had not been able to accept it from her mother. Things turned around for her. When she felt she was beautiful, she felt she lived in a beneficent world. She woke up in the morning and stretched her arms and legs in the winter sun. She felt glad to be alive.

One morning D. was driving to work and she was glancing at her phone where she was texting a friend who had asked her a question about an issue she was having at work. D. put her eyes on the road, but then she wondered if her friend had responded to her previous point, she glanced down at the phone, and she hit a seventeen year old killing him. She kept driving, she called her mother and her mother said — just don’t tell anybody. It was terrible but why ruin two lives. So when the police spoke to her — an officer named Mike — she said she had not been there. Of course her car was on a camera. They had her dead to rights. She was convicted in court of vehicular homicide and publicly shamed.

In prison D. had dreams that she was a cow in a humane slaughter house, being driven by sloping passageways forward forward, never seeing the room with the bolt gun until the very last moment of her life.

When she woke up she would try to imagine the very last moment of her life. She found she couldn’t. She would ponder whether this meant her life would have no last moment, or there were things she could not imagine.

When she got out she took care of her mother T. who had lung cancer, and when T. died, sold the house where she grew up in and got the money that was left over after they paid the taxes and split it up: T and her brother J. and his wife Terry.

She decided to take Amtrak to Florida and look for work that would help her not think.

Eating a cheese sandwich from the dining car and watching the suburban landscape outside go gradually from winter to spring she saw her face reflected in the train’s window. Next to her, a Hmong woman held two large paper bags between her legs full of glass containers of baby food, milk cartons, and ten pound bags of beans and lentils and mushrooms. D.’s heart felt elated; it drummed its feet, and for a moment she felt nothing but eye.

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Against

We think of against as meaning in opposition to — this boxer is fighting against his opponent.

But there are so many meanings of against. For example, the boxer is standing out against the dawn’s pink sky.

We don’t even get to see the boxer if he is not against the sky.

And in fact — if you think about the word “opposition” to — it means positioned against.

And in fact, you do not even get to be a boxer if there is nobody to box against. So, to be against someone is actually to be together with them.

A boxer is not boxing against Tuesday — they are not close enough to be in opposition.

You could say the two boxers have to be pretty similar to be different.

But similarity and difference are also stretching and unstretching of the immense taffy that we are both involved in and made of.

Sometimes it stretches and sometimes it bunches.

We sometimes say, in philosophy, that you sholdn’t contradict yourself.

But to “contra” dict means to “speak” “against”.

Against is from the word “gain” — if we are against something we are gaining on it or it is gaining on us, again and again?

Maybe!

After all time is when things become different. But you don’t need me to tell you whenever two things are different they’re also the same — after all they’re things, and whenever two things are the same, they’re also different, after all there are two of them.

Difference literally means — carrying something across.

Boats against the current as Fitzgerald says!

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I Love to Run on the Wheel

I love to run on the wheel, said the gerbil. People say I am foolish, because they think I think that I am going somewhere — perhaps escaping — and in fact I am not going anywhere. And, the fact that I run run run and then pause as if collecting myself from a dream, look around, seem to notice that I am in the same place as I was before my mad running and then sprint forward again until I exhaust myself, does seem to lend some credence to their claim. And maybe in some sense one might if one were in my corner, so to speak, say that I am two gerbils — the gerbil in flight and the gerbil at rest — and neither is truly an authority on whether the answer to the question “Does he think he is going somewhere?” is yes or no, because the one, the gerbil in flight is too much in a rush to answer the question, and the other, the gerbil sipping momentary rest from the moment, as bee from a flower, is confused. But I, I who am neither one of them? I love to run on the wheel.

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drawer full of doors

in the waning day of the amnesia

we encountered the one who wanted to be stopped

and his voice was deep and his voice reminded us of something

that tickled the mind that tickled the throat

to a wanting to speak, near sobbing near laughing

as if our whole chest were a bottle of tears.

Will you come there with me to the home furnishing store

of the mind, will you join me, letting me brush a hand

against your lips as if by mistake though we know

if the phrase on purpose ever meant anything it meant that

where doors are piled on doors on top of each other

would you like to buy a door? and walk through it

to find me standing there waiting for the next word?

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What Remains

Alexander indeed overran, with men and horses, some countries of the planet. But countries, and things of which countries are made, elements, planet itself, laws of planet and of men, have passed through this man as bread into his body, and become no longer bread, but body. So all this mammoth morsel has become Plato. He has clapped copyright on the world. But the mouthful proves too large. Boa constrictor has good will to eat it. But he is foiled. He fails abroad in the attempt and biting gets strangled. The bitten world holds the biter fast by his own teeth. There he perishes. Unconquered nature live on and forgets him. So it fares with all. So must it fare with Plato. No power of genius has ever yet had the smallest success in explaining existence. The perfect enigma remains.

– RW Emerson “Plato, or the Philosopher”

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As of an Industrial Strength Adhesive, Just Now Available in Stores

Richie says: I want to have an idea of a spool of thread

That has different faces of all my friends on it.

Lost, lost, Richie, I’m lost in the present. All I have are vague memories of the past, very few and inaccurate.

Jeannie said you made me your mystery girl, but I wasn’t mysterious to me.

I wish I was mysterious to me.

Lost, lost, Jeannie, I lost you, I lost the mystery, I lost the past. What are you gonna do?

Richie I’ve got to tell you, we lost touch, but if we hadn’t, I would have to tell you

If you you want to have that idea I think you’ve had it.

Jeannie, I should have said, if you want to be mysterious to yourself let me be mysterious to you, that’s how it works. But of course I didn’t know that then. I couldn’t.

Richie says: What if you imagine at the bottom of a closet, a diagonal cut of a rubber gorilla?

Made, like Jeannie, in Hong Kong? What about that? I have added a very personal element.

But he hadn’t. It was like ocean. It was like star. It was like a logical connective: and or or.

Maybe a bloody one or one that gets blood on the sentences it connects: XOR.

I say: I don’t want to call attention to things but

If attention comes to the things on its own, good.

Whee-whee-whee not squealing but groaning. The bus breaks on Lexington Avenue.

Me, Richie, Jeannie and the strangers. Each of the strangers looks at us and thinks

From the point of view of those three teenagers WE are the strangers.

And to our dead selves in the year a million billion we are we will be alive.

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Philosophical Methods

  1. Do your best to be open to what life has to teach you.
  2. Be aware that you will make mistakes.
  3. Resist urge to over-generalize because this can be a form of self-deception. EG it is not true that everybody who does their best to be open to what life has to teach them will go right — some will make terrible mistakes.
  4. Be aware of self-deception, but as far as possible try to understand this as a matter of internal partial perceptions or unintegrated parts of self grabbing the mic too much. IE self-deception is not “from the devil” or an error to feel guilty about, although it’s not perfect and not ideal.
  5. Be open to other people both in books and more importantly in real life. Make a real effort to take them as seriously as yourself. IOW resist us vs. them and team thinking in favor of a genuine effort to understand — both cognitively and emotionally imaginatively and practically.
  6. Have a lively awareness of paradox and gaps — try to lean into and understand the un-understandable.
  7. Be alert to a polyphony of modes of knowing. It’s not just books, it’s also practical skills, tradition, the arts of love and peace, imagination, story etc. etc. etc.
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A Sweetheart: Boustrophedon Jones

There was a tiny ant larva like a grain of rice that hatched in one of the larva chambers in an ant colony under the outfield of a baseball field in Fort Lee, New Jersey and it had Divine God Consciousness, but it did not know it, cause it was just an ant larva, so Boustrophedon Jones as he was combing through that region of spacetime bought the field, excavated the whole ant colony with a WARN 85133 ProVantage 60″ Bucket Conversion, took it back to the field office, gave the ant larva the whole Avalokitesvara 11-head package, taught each of the heads 11 esoteric wisdoms and means of effective compassion (that means 11 EWs and 11 MECs per head, making a total of 242 skills) and it effloresced and effloresced some more, manifesting universes and Bhumi Fields some of which, due to recursion Boustrophedon Jones himself was born within and achieved the desire to help, which he expressed then and there that very day in sweetheart fashion with the divine god conscious ant larva.

This is just one of the stories about Boustrophedon Jones.

But if you caught him on a bad day he could be a real jerk.

But he seldom had a bad day, maybe one day in a century.

All the other days he was sweet as pistachio pie.

Why you gotta focus on the one bad day, friends?

That ant larva still is going strong!

And he hasn’t even yet had his metamorphosis!

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Roob-A-Doob-Doob, Three Men in a Tube

-Who do you think they be?

-The Butch, uh

-Yup

-The Bach, uh

-Ya

-The Botch-a-ka-baka, All In A Tube Squeezed On ME!

-I think you got Mixed Up

-I know I got Mixed Up

-With What?

-Yes.

-With you?

-Yes.

-I don’t think that Botch-a-ka-baka is in the real thing.

-I don’t think it is Either!

-What do you think is the real thing?

-It is like that poem about “Scooby Dooby Doo”, but it is different.

-It is about that dog with the scabs?

-Ya. Scabba-Dabba-Da.

-I love that dog.

-But he has too many scabs.

-He has so many scabs if you want to count them you need…

(TOGETHER)

A SCABACUS!

THE END

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