So there was this book of "Zen Short Stories" that i really dug when i was in jr. high, or maybe before - slightly bizarre science fiction, really. One that really stuck in my mind concerned a "show cause" issued by God - basically, the human race had a certain amount of time to justify its existence or it would be obliterated. The superpowers and their supercomputers and supergeniuses crunched data until they finally spit out an answer - some guy's name. They tracked him down; he was a spaced-out hippie guy, totally out of touch with any of the world's goings-on, and they asked him. But i can't remember his answer. Dang it all. Maybe it was a play on IAMWHATIAM, duuuuude. Maybe it was, WHY NOT?

Anyhow, i couldn't answer my own "show cause" at the moment. I'm running on momentum, fuelled by new sights and contact (Peter Gabriel-style!) - but i'm jobless. I feel like i'm running down a pier with my eyes closed, just to feel the wind. More than jobless, i'm planless, which is freeing. In an existential way, as in "damned to be free," as much as in a liberating way. I mean, if someone says "wanna go here?" or "what're you doing tomorrow?" i can base my answer on whether i want to do thing X rather than whether i can. But all things seem strangely equal these days.

I want to do everything, anything, i don't know what. I envy people who have a passion - pool, computers, film, sex. They know their hurdles. I want nothing enough to give up anything else. Except - the freedom to choose, and by not choosing, you lose everything. I think. Tell me i'm wrong. The only talent i really think i have is one i can't quite share - endless fascination with things - bodies, voices, alleys, bridges and bark and neon and the smell of dirt. The caprices of conversation (here and there, jumping o'er times, turning the accomplishments of many years into an hourglass) the shows people put on for strangers, the heavy feel of sleep, scars, the sticky-slippery feel of garlic oil and its gradual burning. Garam masala - the smell, the color, crumbling photos, wood grain, cars moving on overpasses (pods of people flying) and music. Listening on a Walkman and not being able to tell if my feet are controlling the beats or the other way 'round. Eye contact. Rain. Enough. You know.

That's what i like. Everything. But what for? Am i going to keep running up against the Why forever or just until i can look at the vista of my then-current life and say - this. Because this. Or will i get into a rhythm, a numbing pattern, and stop asking? Or will i always feel like i'm passing through a beautiful purposeless fascinating terrifying succession of things that i just - can't - share?

And what about responsibility? Can i say a life lived in sensual engagement with the world is enough? I may be a relativist, there may be no Right out there, but it's painfully obvious that there's plenty of wrong. Out there. Right here. Crawling. Crushing. Taxing and killing and wining'n'dining. Infecting and sapping. The answer can't be to tend our own gardens, but what? What can/should/may i do? Trim the unsightly parts or go for the roots or plant something new to cover the ugly parts? What was Rilke's poem, on the tombstone - the figures' fingertips resting lightly on each others' shoulders; that is enough. Let the gods push down harder. How dare we intervene, judge, how dare we not?

I feel like a tourist in every part of my life. The constant outsider. Everyone does, right? No one, in this day, belongs, do they? I take refuge in knowing my disorder is only a product of era and education. It's meager refuge, but at least it helps me put on the happy face and comfort others.

I suppose that is my other - is it a talent or a passion or just a tendency or knack? To want to, for lack of a better word, "mother" people - shore them up for their struggles, protect, indulge their eccentricites, hold them, cook for them, watch them grow. That's such a stupid gendered word but it encompasses a lot of space that i really can't deny occupying.

Ay ay ay ay

canto y no llores!
I'm sorry, i've turned this into a complaint. Willa, this is wonderful. I love living in this town. I love having friends again. I'm much less lonely. I still miss you - dozens of things happen every day that i want to point out to someone, in particular one Willa A-- B----- R------. I don't think taking pictures will work - that's my current project, and i get more building/scenery shots than people because i am so shy - but if i can remember what i saw once the photo is developed, i'll try painting it. Maybe that will work.

Today i was walking over the Hawthorne Bridge and i passed a man on a bike - there was a woman balanced spread-kneed behind him with bags on either side, grinning gaptoothed wide as the Willamette. The camera was in my right hand, by my side - instead i flashed them a smile. Why disturb them? He looked like a conspirator. Lovely.

I'm looking at faces on the bus and wondering if there's any way they could really be described in words. Mine fail - cataloguing traits loses the whole. Listing effects is too abstract. This is why the written word is a playground. This is why it can never tell the whole story. Nothing can, not even being there. Still i want to show.

Fah. Writing by hand is something i haven't done much in a while. I'm desperately trying to keep up with the words and thus editing much less than i would or ought. I keep getting all list-y on you, oops, and dash-y and adjective-y. But i'm almost talking to you except without your clear, warm replies. Remember the first letter i sent you - i, wondering, what is a "Willa" like? Is she like a Rose or a Tracy? How can i ask questions that will prepare me for her and her for me? What is a roommate like? (Before that, i'd only shared a room with Josh.) Will she be girly? Will she hate me? Will she change me?


To the last count. Yes. Set aside music and films, and you still taught me a lot - about crying and loving and well there was a whole language in there too, i guess, and STUFF. So i just wanna say thanks.

Thanks for all the presents
thanks for introducing me to the chief
thanks for showing me your swiss army knife
and oh yeah thanks for letting me
autograph your cast
        love and kisses
                X X X
                        0 0 0

Come visit soon. I have bridges and bodies and rain to show you.
There are streets with my name.
I need to give you a hug.
I haven't found Pauline yet
but i will.


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