Days, 2002





In the beginning the All was in one place, and not a thing of the All did move, nor was there any time across which any thing could trace its line, for the All was in one place, immobile, with neither time nor space.


A desire was conceived in the All for movement, and the desire was already movement, two things commingling and conceiving three, four things colliding and making seven, all things tracing their lines under the force of desire.


The desire was left with the things themselves, and the All retained but memory of itself, seeing all things fly off to the rhythm of desire, knowing and waiting for the things to begin to gather; and the memory cast its shadow over all the things.


The things did begin to gather in their shadow, and their movement became a play of shadow and light.






Every day just one potato

That's the diet for a Plato

Every night I drink my bottle

Soon you'll call me Aristotle





Boca del cano. Two eight-year-old girls talking before class time outside my office door.  I can clearly hear every word they say.

     "Is there anyone in this room?" the one girl asks her friend.

     Their idea is to find a place away from the teachers and the other students in the school lobby.

     "Yes.  There's an American in there," the friend says.

     "You're fooling me," the first girl says.  "Really?"

     "Really.  There's a big American in there!  He's inside there alone."

     "I don't believe you!  It's a classroom."  (My office sometimes doubles as a small classroom for four or five students.)  "No one's here yet."

     "Don't open it!" the friend says, referring to the door.  "I'm telling you, there's a really big American inside.  Really."

     I step up next to the door and watch it open slowly, at first just a crack.  I'm behind the door, out of sight and just above the tuft of black hair and the smooth bit of tanned yellow forehead that begins to protrude into the room.

     "There's no one in here," the intruder finally says to her friend.  "C'mon."

     "What do you want?" I ask, suddenly opening the door all the way.

     The girl leaps back.  "How kong bu! " she shouts to her friend.  (It means something like: "The horror!  The horror!")

      "I told you so," the friend says, laughing.  "I told you there was an American in there."





Babel Ting Xie2











having been

is never

and never was

will be the

history of our race

history itself effaced


No matter the marks we now make

the Erasure which leaves no trace

will leave no trace



we glide down this glass

till the glass itself

has no name


And our slide no longer sensed

not even as a drifting into past

is no longer slide

nor sensed


A "once was"

emended to "never"

won't be emended

never having been


And what has been

will never be

nor was

the names of our days



So the history of our race





Hans and Gunther's Party


by Duncan Class S151


   Hans and Gunther Broch were born on the same day.  They're twins.  They're also  vampires.  The two grew up together in Europe, but they moved to Taiwan a few years ago.  Now the two brothers live together in a castle in the mountains not far from Taipei.


        Hans and Gunther invited all their vampire friends to a party last weekend.  They also invited some foolish Taipei students and one American fool.  The foolish students were named Nick, Darren, and Tina.  The American fool was a teacher, and his name was Eric.  Hans and Gunther wanted to drink these people's blood and share it with their vampire friends.  They told everyone to arrive at the castle around 2:00 Sunday morning. 


        Hans and Gunther stayed home all night and prepared for the party.  Their preparations began after the sun set Saturday night.


         First the two vampires worked outside the castle.  Hans swept the graves and cleaned up the wolf poop.  Gunther cleaned the blood pool and fixed the drawbridge.


        At 10:00 p.m. the vampires started to work inside the castle.  Hans barbecued some people for the meal and made a spider and cockroach salad.  Gunther dusted the skeletons in the living room and woke up the zombie.  "Soon you need to serve the guests," he said.


        Hans and Gunther finished all their work at 1:30 a.m.  Their castle looked scary inside and out.


        The guests arrived on time, about 2:00 a.m.  The vampires came first.  Then the foolish students and the American came.  They all ate mosquito cake and drank Bloody Mary's in the living room.  Then they ate breat with ant butter.  Some people talked about their pet wolves.  Other people talked about English class.  Everybody talked about how bloody and scary the castle looked inside and out.


        The zombie served dinner in the dining room around 3:00.  Everybody enjoyed the meal very much.  They liked the barbecued people and they "loved" the spider and cockroach salad.  In fact, everybody asked for seconds.


        After dinner everybody sat in the living room again.  First, Hans played music on the foolish American's ribs.  Then, Gunther bit the student Nick and drank his blood.  Nick said, "Huhhh?"  Finally, two other vampire guests bit Tina and Darren.  Now they are all vampires.


        As you can see, Hans and Gunther's guests enjoyed the party very much.  In fact, nobody wanted to go home!  Some of the guests slept over in the guest coffins until Sunday night.





     City of God


Aristotle would have it thus:

The seed of each end sprouts anew in each husk;

Each word comes unplagiarized from no City beyond,

This poem drawing fibs from its very own ground.


But where were you, Dear,

When that ancient Rule spanned

This fallen sphere, our universe,

From which philosophers damned

Lost the cause, our first mover--

Where were you, Dear, then?





Autobiography in Three Sentences


I grew up in fits and starts in the American Midwest.  Sixteen years old I fell in love with books, and then with the idea of the Book.  Now I'm in possession of a wisdom that tells me the words I hear and the words I write are words I hardly know. 




Deathday.  March 7th, 2050, 10:10 a.m.  Age 84.




September.  Phone discussion with Cosmo di Madison.  Everything is pretty much as usual.  He tells me he's having trouble getting money because his accounts are being siphoned off by his corrupt relatives and the woman impersonating his mother.  He's also having trouble with the young George Bush.  "We give him the speech to memorize, and when he goes out and gives the speech he changes everything and fucks it all up."  I was happy to learn he was back in the caf and that the staff treats him well.  There were at least a few years when they made themselves part of the conspiracy against him.





Side by Side IV, p. 61


Two Taiwanese women speaking English:


A: Do you think I should marry Norman?

B: No, I don't.  If you marry Norman, you might regret it for the rest of your life.

A: Why do you say that?

B: Norman is very flower-hearted.  And he's a wine ghost.

A: Really?

B: Yes.  And he's got a Mediterranean too.

A: I know.  I think it's kind of cute.

B: He's a color old head!  You shouldn't marry him.

A: Hm.  Maybe you're right.  But how do you know he's so bad?

B: He works in my office.  He's always eating people's tofu.

A: Really?  Maybe I shouldn't marry him then. 

B: You definitely shouldn't.





Boca del cano:

Reasons Why Dogs are Better than Women


1. Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.


2. A dog's parents never visit.


3. Dogs seldom outlive you.


4. Dogs can't talk.


5. Dogs find you amusing when you're drunk.


6. If you bring another dog home, your dog will happily play with both of you.


7. A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, "If I died would you get another dog?"


8. If you pretend to be blind, your dog can stay in your hotel room for free.


9. If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away.


10. Dogs don't let magazine articles guide their lives.


11. Dogs are not allowed in Bloomingdale's or Neiman-Marcus.


12. If a dog smells another dog on you, they don't get mad, just think it's interesting.


13. Dogs are ready and eager to leave the house at any time, they don't make you sit around waiting for them, and they never make you comment on how they look before going out the door.


14. Since a dog doesn't know its own birthday, it can't blame you for forgetting it.


15.  Dogs growl and bark at people they don't know, not at you.


16. If you need a vacation, you don't have to take your dog with you; instead you can find someone to look after it while you're gone.


17. Dogs don't want cats in the house.





The conundrum of language is that it has no history.  There's nothing available in the way of a partially formed language or half-formed language.  We don't know how language arose, or if.


It is misleading to think that some time in the distant past we invented language.  It's better to say that some time in the distant past language invented us, or rather started inventing us: clearly language hasn't finished yet.





Four Defensible Theses on Scripture


1. There are many false "holy" scriptures, but only one true Holy Scripture.

2. There is only one true Holy Scripture, but there are many false interpretations of it.

3. There is only one true Holy Scripture, and all interpretations of it contain falsehood.

4. Any given scripture is a makeshift hodgepodge of more or less deluded illuminations.




12 body parts and their use.  12 maps.  12 histories of origin in the form of drawings.  12 poems.  12 drafts or scraps.  12 adjectives and their opposites.  12 fruits and their colors.  12 tales.





Another example in a well-known genre. . .


Our play of shadow and light is the fruit of nascent gathering.


All things have begun their gathering under the shadow of a memory that reached them even as they flew apart to the rhythm of desire.  This memory was left to the All when desire sent the things into movement.


Their movement was various: seven had arisen from four things colliding, three were conceived from the commingling of two.  The movement had come from the All: a desire conceived in the All for movement, which desire was already movement.


For in the beginning the All had been in one place, immobile, with neither time nor space. Not a thing of the All did move, nor was there any time across which any thing could trace its line.








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