Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Luminous Numina of the Ordinary

We wonder, what to write about?

Whatever is at hand.

John Updike's story, "The Full Glass," in the current New Yorker is a meditation inspired by a full glass of water.

There is a luminousness to numinous reality.

They say, count the stars.

This evening, I couldn't even begin to count the countless dandelions, their white orbs of seeds bobbing like the poppies on World War I Flanders fields, their yellowness shriveled or sleeping.



Monday, May 26, 2008

The Sounds of Eve

It is nearly 9 p.m. A summery evening. Robins trading solitary, twirling chants. A cat yearning hungrily -- for what? Another cat. The voices of neighbor's children. Broken phrases. Competition medals hung near a bed clanging like wind chimes. A window fan, on the floor. The robins' songs diminish, slow, and then start up again, full-throated. The chair creaks. The tapping of keys. Tires distant on pavement. A slight rumbling in the stomach. A cleansing breath. The slam of a neighbor's falling screen.

Never, anywhere, in any form, will this moment be precisely echoed.

The ephemera of an evening turning into night. In May, a Monday.

It is now. It is here.

And as you read this, it is gone.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Zelig-Kokonuts Effect

In 1983, Woody Allen came out with
Zelig, a mockumentary (a term used now but not then, I don't think) movie that cleverly features the character Leonard Zelig showing up in authentic-looking footage with the likes of Hitler, Stalin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Lindbergh, Al Capone, Babe Ruth, et cetera et cetera almost ad nauseam. Somehow Zelig, the human chameleon, seems to show up effortlessly throughout history's panorama of personalities, both good and bad.

This was way before the tedious and more contrived Forrest Gump.

Yesterday, there was a rare convergence of this phenomenon: the Zelig-Kokonuts Effect.

The fictional Pawlie Kokonuts was walking in the non-fictional downtown, in the environs of his former place of employment, when, lo and behold, one of the prickly principals (with who knows what principles) in that former drama, is standing on the public sidewalk being interviewed, stagily, by who knows whom, boom microphone and professional-looking camera equipment on hand, all that; or perhaps it was a commercial or a political campaign kickoff or a videotaped deposition or a mockumentary that would entice someone like me to blog about it, citing the mockumentary Zelig.

The fictional Pawlie Kokonuts, Zelig-like, was tempted to walk poker-faced between the camera's angle of vision and the two subjects (subject and object? actors? participants? quasi-principled principals? interviewer-interviewee? game show host and contestant?) of the celluloid drama unfolding. An uninvited player in an playa's play.

Instead, the fictional Mr. Kokonuts calmly kept to the opposite side of the street, no juvenile V signs, no obscene gestures, no smirks, no waves, no picking of his nose, no gawking, no shouts, no coughs, no pregnant pauses, no poses. A pedestrian in the most pedestrian of backgrounds. Nevertheless, a ghost in the footage, for sure. An uninvited guest in the public realm. A blurred memory in the Zapruder archive of the Modern Workplace. The quintessential presence of absence.

(Mr. Kokonuts, we're so proud of you for behaving. Or are we?)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sportsmanlike Conduct

I watch the scores. I follow games online. I listen to play-by-play on XM satellite radio. I consult the transactions column in the dead of winter. Hats. Outerwear. Paraphernalia with the San Francisco Giants team logo on it. You tell yourself not to get too disappointed if they lose, or too excited if they win (increasingly rare). They last won the World Series in 1954. I was alive but have no memory of it. too young. My team lives and plays home games three time zones away. They left New York after the 1957 season. They abandoned me; I stayed. I flirted with others. This is insane. It is the opposite of Zen detachment. It is attachment at its worst. What's the sense in it? Imagine if you had to explain this infatuation (most frequently indulged in by males) to an alien from another galaxy. You're disappointed why? Because someone lost playing a baseball game 3,000 miles away? Someone you never met and who does not know you exist? Explain that part again, please. Don't click on ESPN, skip the sports pages in the morning paper, ignore it all, be true to your own well-being and sense of happiness. Right. It's not just me. Extend it worldwide, to all sports, to any sport. The yelling in the stands, the barroom fights, the hooliganism, the fierce loyalties, the yelling at the television screen, the roller coaster of hope and despair. Completely and entirely manufactured and contrived by accidents of time and place or legacy or kinship. The same as the stuff of war. Oh, sure, if they were winning all the time it'd be easier, right? Hardly. Hardly. When is enough? Is abundance enough? Or is enough abundance? It does not matter. It is psychosis. It is fantasy. Astral projection makes more sense than following sports as a fan (the word
fan comes from fanatic). Imagine the untold waste, the pitiful regret people express, even on their deathbeds. Oh, if only Chelsea had won. I wish I had seen the Cubs win the Series. But only if Wolverhampton had won it all. My life would've been complete if the Yankees had won just once more. Or the Sox. Or the Indians. Or Royals. But only if Team U-Name-It had won it all just for me. Just once. Then I would have been happy, my life would've been complete. Except for more. Just once more. What a displaced outlook. What a conditional way to live. Libera me. Deliver me. I pray that I wear this allegiance like a loose garment, a cloak as easily shed as a snake his skin.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Last Train to Nowhere

The alchemy of longing, melancholy, romance, sadness, and hope (knowing what we know now). Berlin. Late 1980s.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Haiku Melange a Trois

When in doubt, haiku. In the most strict sense, use haiku as a spiritual tool, to zero in on one moment in time and place, swathed in true nature.

fire pit in daylight
flames flicker against cloud, sky
tossed twig gone in smoke

dogwood branches pose
saffron and pink lace portraits
we drive, exclaiming

ribboned riverwalk
crabapple blossom petals
Sunday morn strollers

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


He had such elan, joie de vivre, zest, abandon. Fun.

Playing a game, baseball.

His name was Willie Mays. Number 24, of the New York Giants, then the San Francisco Giants, and finally the New York Mets.

He was my boyhood hero.

Why? It's not too complicated. I asked my older brother, Richard, which team he liked. The Giants, he said. I watched. I discovered Mays was a star when the word meant something.

A daring performer, a zen master, a thrill to watch.

Born May 6, 1931, in Westfield, Alabama.

I have written a barely fictional short story about all this. I like the way it turned out. Maybe, like blogger JR, I will surrender my pretenses to propriety and abandon my quest for ill-sought fame and validation, and publish it here, or elsewhere, online.

Not today, though.

What would Willie do?

He'd swing away, dive for the ball, leap against the fence, steal a base, try for third.

Happy birthday [insert the typically forgotten vocative comma here] Willie.

And thanks.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Who Knew?

Today is both the birthday of Soren Kierkegaard and the feast of Cinco de Mayo.

Life is filled with the most serendipitous connections.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

SEO Alert

SEO. Search engine optimization. SEO. I recently did some contract work involving SEO, the Internet's nimble attmpt at subliminal brainwashing, I mean, keyword searching.

I could be wrong, but that's probably why and how typing the words "pussy willow" on a search engine will likely yield a cornucopia of porn sites (would that be corn-u-porn?). Resist as I might, I can't not try that, to see if that's true. Curiosity is killing this cat.

So let me minimize this window on Firefox and try it on Safari.

Be right back.

The results on Google did surprise me. No, I did not get the names of strippers or budding (get it? buds?) pornstars. At least not at first. In fact, the first hit, from Wikipedia, tells how Russian Orthodox and Polish and Bavarian Roman Catholics use pussy willows on Palm Sunday. Figures. It's cold in them there parts.

This is not surprising because I've seen people walking out of Tipperary Hill's St. John's Ukrainian Catholic Church with pussy willows on Palm Sunday. And I was not hung over.

Speaking of SEO alerts, the following is a test, an SEO test. In the event of a real nuclear apocalyptic event, kiss your ass goodbye.

Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kerkegaard Kokonuts Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Laughorist Laughorism Laughorism Kokonuts Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kokonuts Pawlie Pawlie Pawlie Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Pawlie Kokonuts Kierkegaard Pawlie Kokonuts solipsism solipsism solipsistic solipsistic solipsistically solipsist
solipsism Kocak Kierkegaard Soren Kierkegaard Soren Kierkegaard Laughorist Laughorist Laughorism Paul Kocak Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kierkegaard
Soren Kierkegaard Soren Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Soren Kierkegaard Kierkegaard birthday May 5 Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Soren Kierkegaard Laughorist Laughorism Laughorism Laughorism Soren Kierkegaard Soren Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Kierkegaard Soren Kierkegaard Soren Kierkegaard Kierkegaard

Now back to our abnormal normal bla-ha-ha-hogging.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Sounds of Spring

No, not the sounds of springs (plural). That's what you hear when the neighbors are doing the nasty on an old bed. And our house is so close, about two yards, let me tell you. It may be a long summer.

We bloggers tend to post photos as well as pictures via words. Images.

Sounds seem to take a back seat, if sounds can sit anywhere.

But I've heard the purple finches, the robins at morning and evening, was that a mockingbird, a mourning dove, the clarion chirp of Mr. Cardinal, a distant train, rain on the roof and on the new sidewalk (the jigsaw crack is fixed).

The sound of fingers on a MacBook keyboard.