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CROSS TALK

Edward Williams

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Charter

——-“The longer a straining and struggling set of truths, in their most exquisite, perilous expression, are kept from the consideration, the view, of a gluttonous, decadent public, the more they will, he is sure, come to utterly define the age. What he means is, the longer his voice is unheard, and his words ignored, the  more their future is secured.  What once had, in the competition between his contemporaries, only an outside chance of permanence, now earns the ultimate guarantee, because it has outlasted all their antics, and their sneers.  History, he says to himself, will serve his texts up as the exemplar case itself, the vital reference to the times when they were written, though he felt an incomprehensible shadow of doom the whole while he was stubbornly at work.  But his stockpiled descriptions, even the loose opinions of his fictional characters, his fallible scenery, even though fawned over as utterly obscure by a few, and never pictured by the rest, as it  gushed and spilled from his pen, shall go down as the best available report, carefully composed with fidelity and sensitivity.  Amazing! As if he knew intimately the habits and thoughts of the very same people who, at the time, declared him incomprehensible. Though of course the question of there being a future time, in the consciousness of any indolent reader, swinging in a hammock on a summer day, so to speak, is rendered problematic right within his suspenseful narrations, which seem almost in every sentence to pose an existential question, or internalize an eternal quandary–only to dramatically withdraw it. out of concern for this same, maybe happy reader. As if it were too much to speak, really, about life right as it is happening, but one must always be removed, be comfortable, in order to consider what he is about to say. He is the equivocal author who is on a par with the reader, who is the profound target. As if the book, his book now, but any book really, was an invitation to revelation, and could only fall from your hands, as it suddenly struck you what it was saying.”

Sky Over Lost Terrain

MANUSCRIPTS IN QUESTION

Scheme of the Monks, The Rochester Duoptagen, The Afterlife Hotel, Storming the Academy, Reality (the poem), Various Trainrides He Took or Didn't Take, The History of the World, The Modern Epoch, The Tyranny of the Transcendental, Nightfall (or A Visit to the Bank)

The Happiest Aim in Life

——It was the promise and happiest aim in life–to get to the middle of inexplicable mystery. Surrounded by achievements that are unresolved, as if stretching the boundaries of what is known.  I would arrive at the point where I saw kaleidoscopic confusion, and back myself up by reference to what is and has been loved. It shall be in the surroundings, for I lived in the right places, I have detoured into the settings and now the sequence of familiar days marked by unbelievable, poignant weather, so I stand there, against a curtain of rain, or a deep night, and I always am in the middle of a long daylight– dotted, shot through with experiences, coming back right now!  We’re scrambling all cozy, employable memory, ringing around the corner from life–though it’s suggesting a deep refuge in a never-known history of the very sight before our eyes. I speak in the plural, when I know it is too much . . . to derive the idea of the world from being in it, the past from the present. Where you place your feet, instantly you look up–beyond everything into possibility. Might be in the sky; but it isn’t; the sky is a radical void, and it is still in thought, this promise.
——I know there can be no pretense anymore, in my case. No stalling, like to imagine that mystery is simply one unswept corner, not solved yet of potential knowledge, as if life were just fine in itself, like explainable except for a few questions that haven’t been, mind whirling, cleared up, like during a lifetime already, and so many things just partially grasped.  We do not live smoothly, in a downward state with intermittent woes. We live chaotically, in upwardly moving triumph, always being challenged . . .  I have the picture. How hidebound and cowardly is it to listen to anything less than the happily aspiring, the wanting inward voice?  I am talking, who’s always walking out into the unformed morning, and drifting in at night for no reason. I am exhilarated to deliver flat truth, the unresolved, to take to heart, for it’s like I speak not to others but to myself, in urgent messages.
——Is moribund failure, and broadscale death your silent remedy, all the time? You assign it too freely, nature’s show, place a virtual placard in the yard, telling against circumstance alike, saying “this way” for all lost opportunity, and all that is repugnant.  Do you relate to what is really happening?  Or wait out a thematic, duplicitous marching in clock time?
——This is religion. I hear correctly these cracked chimes. Have we not interposed a personal note in the proceedings? Am I not interpreting correctly all the chatter of my friends, and the wonderful, sidereal, wheeling street-talk, the by now historical television, plastering the view, and the correspondence I thumb through, the rapid assault of mocked up issues and rejection of talk, thrown at me–created thus? I must be in the center of this confusion, and that’s what I said I thought I would achieve. With clarity, I judge now in an idle mood, that I have not invented the set of fantastical, strident theories I face, which tend towards sharing the dumbest idea of all time.  Which is that thought, my thought, is a product of the world, like . . .  the brain. Brain like an add-on that creates a reflective self? Stuttering. That in a wallpapered apartment, fashioned out of fumbling good luck, if not decisions, when it was many decisions of a heroic self, creates a merely random identity? Regarding itself grimly, like the residue embryo swimming in yet another piled-on universe, absurdly beginning, or, I want to say, excrescence of sweat, virtual . . . crud of life.
——Rampaging, purposeless life! Do you think? Are you totally irresponsible, for every little fumbling action on your own part? Or do you just wait to let it happen? I speak in a circle. This so thoroughly wrong and rampant, conglomerate image, I want to say, is essentially personal cop-out fear, that I pick up everywhere, nothing more than that, but which then occurs to me as my own enemy, like my other self–I say, when the fever breaks, still is functioning rather freely, the bleeding wings of a soaring eagle, plummeting–
——Well, I repeatedly think that the refuge faith that mystery is only a corner to be swept up, and not the whole story, not the issue with which we were born–but the continuing issue since, enveloping all your family, the opening idea of life which you have been encouraging with all your heart right along, still and always bluntly to be faced–well, this must somehow be a happily functioning delusion, common to a neighborhood of people undergoing a shared historical trauma. Of some type, that might only need remedy.  A little salt, like language applied to every occasion. .
——This is why I say to people, “It is all still here, you just have put the wrong labels on everything.”

Audio Corner (Blessed)

Blessed Kateri Tekakwithi, “Lily of the Mohawks”, stands watch over collection of ancient audio tapes, made during the last century for Stage Poetry Company (link to Recorded Live Shows)

Fudging the Story

——There is a generic other person who is  simply a straw man I have constructed for purposes of comparison with myself, and the outfits I dress this straw man in show how variously he serves my main purpose. It is to verify that I am different, radically different from everyone else.  I distinguish myself from others in a continuous process of comparison with the appearances and encounters of this other person. This representative generic person, who may be referred to often in the plural as “other people”–sloppy as that is, sometimes loftily meaning all of humanity, or more often just lassoing a subgroup, consisting of those whom I have shunted into that group, because of their repeated actions that infuriated me, or even I may be aiming the full force of my categorisation on only one other person, who has managed to represent an uncommonly versatile devil. In any case, throughout this process,  I strive to exist with that unique sense of myself, that I have always lived with, intact. For you see, the sense of self is not derived, but there from the start; and we start in a fog, out at sea, and one needs to be able to identify the . . . foghorn. To create a semblance of a storyline . . . Oh, I know someone understands me perfectly in this kind of speaking, and therewith,  for them I speak at all.  I know that not all people strive to disassociate themselves from humanity. When I can ask this, will I get anything but blank stares?  Can it be intrepid shyness, or a weird process of learning of any type?  Oh, of course it is imaginable, everyone is in the position, walking on solid ground, to do the incredible, to have the constant idea that they only are one person, backed up in the very first second,  verifiable by so many and various means, say seeing their shadow on the sidewalk, facing the fact of their habitation in a body long experienced, lived in, jettisoned to far shores of sadness and ecstacy, etc.  It might frequently occur to each of us, and presto, what is amazing is how available and various are the techniques we can come up with–to convince ourselves, each of us, how different we are. So to classify the rest of humanity, each of us, having attained a rare immortal awareness, must provide them, the  others, with generic traits and supply them with common assumptions which they use to move about in the world–already claimed by us! That is what I say to myself, in my suit of amour, buttressed against false humanity.  I have claimed the world, that I myself, quite repeatedly, am so stunningly aware of, the mystery that enwraps me, and brightly appears to me in all successive, puzzling daylights, so I do not need stilts and beliefs and savage appetites, but I am a rarity unknown to the others. It seems almost by definition do I move in an exclusive setting that only I understand, or only I see that I can’t understand because . . . who can understand existence? You would think they all drank, on separate occasions, from the same lethal fountain–those who pretend to understand this world. Well, let’s say individually people operate by maintaining a temporary balance, righting their own ship, with cover-ups and lots of excuses, making time at the last minute, fudging the story just as they were about to be turned in, discovered for their secret self, and noticed as being . . . scared to death, unfit to live in the community they have ascribed for all the others. It is too difficult! The very idea of life is implausible, perhaps, for most people. To pivot on a screen, like a bug. See here I am again, trying to pull you towards me, as if I need a pillow to rest my stranded self. What is funny is that it can very well appear to many that it is a crime against the rest, somehow, to act confessedly like a odd, sorry individual. With all your ideas. Motives are in disarray. It appears to me that others are operating on the strength of delusional principles that they somehow incorporated into such depth in their being that . . .in order for them, these people and their principles, to emerge in the daylight, with the shadows (to keep the semblance going) reality must change, once again. Not so bad a conclusion for this parenthesis, I guess–I have seen it happen before.

Storm Clouds, He Said

——He always responds to the question that threatens to render his occupation not just useless in general, but absurd in his own case especially..  Heroically, he claims that it is important to have an audience, and to engage this audience, to have fervent readers, for, he roundly asserts, his books are addressed to these readers, and their very lives at are stake. Well!  Not their lives, but the content of their lives, that he intends to and will influence. Their future, etc.– that is just obvious. I feel, he says, if they don’t know about me, I mean have access to my flexible language, and my storied opinions, my images!, they are sorely deprived, and will lead different lives, etc., etc.. Well, yes!  Somebody is always asking–so, he says, I have this stock response, like to defend the whole enterprise.
——But let’s be honest, really what he thinks is, I just want to keep at bay any negative energy, stand bravely, parry any doubts circulating among others, nip in the bud and fend off any accusations, like that the enterprise is impractical or worthless, etc.–because really, what I am always working to achieve is a position where no one is watching me at all. I am trying to get free, he says, free of your attention. That would be a way to put it.  Always trying to get free of clinging life itself in order to describe it, objectify it, study it and render it for nobody at all, but because it is there, the task. When no one is watching I and can then and therefore sneak away, back to the work of adding to my monumentally obscure and fundamentally unseen, comprehensive testament which, for all I know, is addressed to no human reader at all, and never was. From the authors royal point of view, this whole discussion of the value and purpose of his work, well, it starts on a defensive note–and who knows what the aim of the person who asked the question was! As much as there are any honest issues involved, and despite the fact that I always know where exactly to stand and can form opinions, seemingly on the spot, or halfway into a battle of phrases, ultimately I only want to keep focus on writing from that source I have which, no matter what I do, keeps gathering more material for me to sort out, like storm clouds, he said.

Invisible Chessboard

——The pressure of self-consciousness is such that it shatters any attempt to organize what one is even seeing, much less remembering–from life, which seems when I face it like some opportunity, standing there untried. I think, I am guiltless, empty, I am quietly searching for the language where there is no hint of recrimination. I want to get through this emotion, unscathed, so I can start. Start what! Start to enact my real personality . . . Everybody is like this, at the high school graduation picnic, and throughout the years on the invisible chessboard beyond.

Cardboard Poet

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