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Latin Quarter – Paris 1995

Latin Quarter - Paris 1995

When I was in Paris in 1995, I walked around the city. I shot each day for a week. I came upon this window and inside the store were these elements: Mirror, antique statue, bedpost, etc. and behind me was a building and a bike on the street. It spoke of the medium given my being upside down in the mirror. The black and white spoke of timelessness. The age and articulation of Europe as the origins of my soul, that I could apprehend catharsis itself in an image meant that I could stop. I have never shot a better image than this. It represents me, my eye, and aesthetic capacity. I hope to continue this journey when I eventually get to London, another city with windows in an urban environment.

Ancient Road

I’ve stumbled upon you. You looking out over the water, and I asked you what you were looking at and you said Time. Every ripple, you said, represented a relationship with Time. A series of awarenesses went out across the distance. This was everything, you said. The light patter of knowing, feeling, and being. The sky was blue and the plants were green and everything in between had the mark of man. That interference reminded us of the mark we make, unless of course we are tapped in the emptiness that exists without us. I prefer to look, like you, across the water or “The Ancient Road” and see almost no evidence of our being. We almost never do as well as mother nature.

Does studying analytic philosophy help you form your opinions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Do you think that this field of study …

Answer by Mario Savioni:

I think “analytic philosophy” specifically is not available to most members as a phenomena.  But, the idea of analyzing the conflict, in terms of its origin and our values might reveal a debate, likened to Chomsky’s that would allow for positions on the circumstances. Perhaps, like Chomsky, I believe that the arrival en masse of Israelis ultimately caused the conflict. This is not to say that I am against Israelis. I am not. I understand the horrible events that lead to this reconversion. But, it reminds me of the American Indians and the Colonists. Might should not make right.

In the end, the American Indian will have been vindicated and we will, if we survive as a species, have to integrate ourselves into the biosphere as non-destructive. The other value is that aggression rather than response is the less virtuous. I believe that the Palestinians are fighting for their lives, just as the American Indians and the Israelis are causing their own problems.

I left Hawaii because I felt like I didn’t belong, out of respect for the Hawaiian people. I also understand that just as there is racial strife, there will always be racial strife because one’s natural inclinations or dominant traits lord over those who have to adapt or change their natural behaviors. One’s skin color, for example, is not something one can change readily and they shouldn’t have to, but it has been used as an element of differentiation. So, it is human nature to attack those who are perceived as a threat to our way of doing things.

I do not agree with you that, “Analytic philosophy” would get us on the same page, per se, but when we talk about our positions we may see that there are better arguments than others, that, “Cut to the heart of the issues,” schooling not-with-standing.

Does studying analytic philosophy help you form your opinions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Do you think that this field of study …

Does every question have an answer(s)?

Answer by Mario Savioni:

Yes. I say this because language to communicate questions is dependent upon words, which both in terms of individual words and as phrases have connotations and denotations. Inherent in these elements is meaning. In meaning, we can derive answers because we are brought closer to context. An answer, for example is a conclusion. You never never said the answer had to be correct. You implied that there could be many answers. This reminds me of Oliver Wendell Holmes arguing with his clerk every morning and winning every time. As men/women we are limited by language both to communicate and to understand. Language is the extent of our questions and answers. Our world is limited to our senses. Language communicates what we think and feel. Our imaginations, as Lakoff said, are contingent upon our bodies. Our answers may always be as we, as a species, think.

And if we rely on scientific answers, for example, it was Thomas S. Kuhn, who said in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions that, “Periods of…conceptual continuity in normal science were interrupted by periods of revolutionary science,” thus implying changes in understanding of the world. We may never have a correct answer, we may have an evolving understanding of our lives.

I am often fond of the best answer given our limited understanding. Sometimes things just seem correct in the minute, which is akin to catharsis derived from looking at art.

Does every question have an answer(s)?

“Where Color is Swallowed”

Color is Swallowed1

In a bakery in Berkeley constructing a personal zine, typewriter working, cutting board in front of me, colored pens, and a table with red and white tablecloth. Drawing pads for paper zines. There are reference books for zine making too, but the thoughts of creating are maudlin.

Evidenced further by the phone call from my sister saying the dentist will be coming to my mother’s nursing home within the hour, I tell my sister that I am in Berkeley beginning a zine.

It would be embarrassing for me to leave at this point, not to mention the ride back. The fact too that I doubt even with me there, she’ll allow them to inflict her with pain, although her teeth are abscessed. I know it makes no sense not taking more pain to get rid of the pain at hand. It’s 4:10PM.

I’ve been here for two hours. I felt guilty so I have already called back to say that I would try to make it. They haven’t called back. I realize they are doing me a favor. My sister wished they had known given incident-after-incident that she will not allow anyone to help her even for things that aren’t painful and even explaining that she hears you but then forgets what you said and what the doctor said. It circulates until you give up. The doctors have refused to run tests, etc. It was amazing that they were able to put screws in her hip when she had fallen and broken it. I am worried about her slow demise but I am also willing to abandon her potential need for me to attempt a zine on my day off.

I need to change the subject. There are 11 of us in the room. Some are cutting pictures from books, some are writing with pens, some are talking. One is drinking from a cup. One is drawing. One already constructed a zine, a book about the crazy on Seinfeld getting money. The crafter did it with stamp letters and apparently drew a perfect portrait of Kramer. Turns out it was a stamp. There are stamps too of skateboards, a stamp of Saturn, candies, date stamps for a day months ago. There is a compilation of a woman with a rifle and a line of children. This is Darsh’s first zine of the day.

A man comes into the bakery from the back door. He wants a cranberry bar. He is told the bakery is closed. He says he just wants a cranberry bar. He gets one and someone else wants one. The transactions are completed. The music is still playing. The singer is Waxahachie, a bit like Ani DiFranco, who I listened to while on the road to and from Seattle. Then the music stops. Isabel’s drawn a woman in a long dress with the sun behind her.

I am afraid to ask the others what they are doing in case I might disturb them. They mention someone older than most of them who is outside and it is asked if that person was invited. “No,” Isabel said, “I thought this wouldn’t interest her. This is something kids would do.”

I still have no idea how to construct a zine. I’ve done books, but I have this aversion to borrowing others’ images, photocopying them from books. My books have either been photo books or poetry books.

The woman in front of me constructs a hexaflexagon and gives it to me. I almost break it. There is a method for opening and closing it. She shows me. I still don’t get it. I am in the wrong place at the wrong time. Do you know what that feels like to be in a place where you don’t belong day-after-day? Even my passions are work. Things I love to do are so difficult that I end up becoming distracted with them, moving on to the next, never being very good at anything and always seeming to end on a sour note. Imagine everything ending on a sour note.

I fan through a Flash Art magazine issue. On the cover is a picture of Kai Althoff performing “Frausus.” The issue is May-June 2002, Vol. XXXIV.

I am getting the feeling that a girl, the hexaflexagon, is getting creeped out by me. I am just writing but she’s stopped being productive and looks over at me like I am a spy or that I am not doing what I am supposed to, but I am trapped here feeling that if I left now I would have been found out for not having anything to say. I am an observer. I do not participate. I do not make things. I just circulate in my mind in an unproductive state of maudlin feelings, about being frozen in my own time and no one else’s.

Can you imagine publishing these feelings of loneliness and of absolutely no relevance?

The typewriter keeps typing. Someone is making progress. There is a young girl about twenty with perfect posture, who works magically on a book sewing the pages with twine. She doesn’t think about me except as a favorable spirit. I don’t sense uncertainty from her, perhaps because she has a plan and carries it through. I heard somewhere, by an insane man, that if you judge others you remain suspended in space. You exact a curse against yourself. The young girl and her boyfriend are leaving. I guess because as he said, he doesn’t know how to draw and in the manner I might assert in a manner that implies it is a discipline.

Before me is a woman who slipped in the room and who I barely looked at for fear of intruding. She drops her blank-paged book in front of me and begins writing. She’s handsome and lean. She gets herself a pastry and continues writing. She is wearing a tank top and has hair under her arms. It appears she is taking the same methodological journey that I am. First, doing research that at least, for me, seemed overwhelming in the minute. The music is somber and melancholic, women’s voices like traveling along the highways and byways.

One of the primary coop-erators comes in and says: “Did she leave because she couldn’t handle the zine thing? It’s just writing your thoughts.”

I ask him, “Is that what it is?”

He shrugs like I am being critical, but you see he was validating me; why would I be critical?

I am thinking of continuing.

An older woman, who is what I am in terms of age, gets an explanation for the man, who may have thought I was being critical. She walks around in slow, careful steps trying to find her way in the quagmire of uncertainty, at least it is for me.

Isabel’s sister comes in and fairly quickly begins her typing.

The older woman has gotten a pastry. Don’t we always reward ourselves before we sit down to work?

Isabel says, “They show their boobs and then get a necklace.” I turn my head and look at her. The older woman takes a seat in an effort to learn what seems so foreign. She gives a sweet smile to Isabel, who says the book the older woman has is one of her favorites.

The music in the background is banjo and female singing. It is telling of a time and place. I am not putting anything together but negativity.

“I don’t know what I want to write about,” Isabel’s sister says.

I don’t know what I want to write about either.

One man plans to interview people about what they have in their pockets.

The older woman has since left. I assume because of the commitment. The man who is interested in pockets has returned from a dinner break. He is on his computer, I guess, drafting a document, perhaps for his zine. Then he is gone. I guess the commitment got to him too. He had a big next step, except that I later saw him toward the window talking to a girl on her computer, who didn’t seem to be participating. She was cute and he looked at me like I know why he might be asking her questions. She was attractive. Perhaps this was his way of being able to talk to her.

As I explained to Isabel’s mother and Grandmother about a book I was reading that the fetish is an object one can handle or worship that is enough distanced from the person infatuated. I was talking about Wilhelm Stekel’s book, Sexual Aberrations. Anyway, as I look toward him, his eyes meet mine and we are on opposite sides of the room and it seems to confirm what I was thinking, yet I would be curious to know what he was thinking, his motivations for talking to her. Of late, I have been trying to sit next to women in cafes or public places, who I want to talk to. Otherwise, there is simply no real way to strike up a conversation. When you are closer to them, you can find something to say, when something happens.

I look away from him trying to leave him to his privacy. It would be rude of me, or at least hypocritical since I am basically doing the same thing. I am looking for intimacy and love. I am looking for someone with whom I can go off into the world that I want, which is warm and deeply fulfilling. Instead, as I have indicated, I am lonely here and I feel so many others can see and feel that. It is a weakness that I inhabit.

I comment on the woman across from me, the lean one with hair under her arms. She seems to have prepared for her appearance. I am looking at her book full of ink drawings. It turns out she is re-engaging a project she abandoned. It is about a man she knows who is incorporating acorns in chocolate. I tell her she should use the finished product as a commercial for him and she raises her eyebrows but is silent, like that was the idea she had. She says a few words that confirm this and I contemplate the application as the drawing method of making advertising. I see the associative infomercials that employ a dry erase board and a man who talks while he draws, but of course the event was previously drawn and filmed. His voice is later dubbed because it is now sped up to keep people interested.

I want to tell the truth, but I am afraid of the implications. Maybe others feel this way. What do I want to say on a given day except to say how stressed I am and how I don’t think that I can last another year at my job. My separated shoulder hurts and I continuously wake when I am sleeping and I am never rested. I have canker sores in my mouth from where the dentist poked me when she was cleaning. My lip is sore, where I bit my lip a number of days ago.

The woman across from me says she is writing a comment about her friend who is using acorn flour in chocolate.

I make contact with Isabel, who is certainly running the show. She types while paying attention to her sister, who is talking and also typing, and who earlier said that she didn’t know what she wanted to write about. Isabel meets my eyes even before I have looked. There’s that telekinetic communication that seems especially perked between genders. She doesn’t’ condemn me, but smiles warmly.

The point I want to make is that I feel uncomfortable having barely a purpose, trying to push myself to complete the task at hand, which is about trying to listen to other peoples’ lives.

I don’t have one of my own.

One woman talks about her house being on the fault line to the other’s comment about houses that shimmy, this is the woman, who wonders about me.

Typing makes no statement unless read. By the conversation of Isabel’s sister, she appears to be onto something.

The one who wonders – Flexahexagon – is busy on a greater construct. Perhaps one that will describe her story, where every petal will prove flexible in making sense. I told her it would be like a Sylvia Plath poem, but I don’t think she heard me. She looked at me with glassy eyes.

“Does someone have the triangle stickers?”

Two are talking about a Portland trip, both for weddings, different weddings.

I end up talking to someone whose name I forget, a critical theorist, who thinks about permission in a sexual sense.

Isabel did zines with her mother, her grandmother sitting next to me said. Her grandmother is wearing a long-sleeved red blouse drawing with colored pencils and tape that she removes. Her picture is made of complex lines of orange, red, and green. Once she peeled the tape it took on a magical form.

Isabel’s mother is the daughter of the woman sitting next to me – Judy, who they call ‘Day.’

I talk to Isabel’s grandmother about divorce and children, who I don’t have. The music changes from a live pianist to more female voices. Isabel’s mother talks about having just helped her sister move.

One man eats his pizza, moving back and forth like a harmonica over his open mouth. The wondering woman is behind the bakery case in her glasses and sucking on her loopy pop looking over the scene. I guess, although I am not telekinetic, that she is seeing and feeling.

Isabel’s grandmother, a calligrapher for LA County, is making me feel better about myself.

When I asked if I could publish the picture I took of The Wonderer, she said no.

Meanwhile, it would appear that she’s right about us, we who have thoughts of our own, and maybe like me I need to get out of myself. Still, she represents a type of person, an enemy, someone who quashed my ability to tell the truth, apparently not, no matter how hideous.

What are we all here to say? Are we here to be critical of others, to see and quash the ugly truth in ourselves?

Judy/Day writes:

“Within the soft heart lies
Colorless thorns — blunt in perception:
Dull or pointed thru trees — clouds –
Where the air is thin where color is
swallowed.”

The Hexaflexagon said she never finishes anything, where doing so was problematic. I watch her draw flowers and they seem complete, as you know anything drawn need not have a beginning or an end.

It is merely asking for permission when you assume the answer is no. – Mario Savioni

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Finnegans Wake

It’s like the ticking of a Grandfather clock, these words that make sounds but have no meaning otherwise, except to establish the meter and rhyme of thought: Tick tock…Tick tock… They breathe with glimmers of cognition. All the while the book in your hands is like a vulva and your eyes keep peeling across the lines and you touch it and hold it with endearment and curiosity; for this is the meaning of life, beheld in partial mystery and ever-certain ignorance as the light falls and you can’t recall the liver in your pants nor the ejaculate of solemnity’s voice, now forgotten amid idleness.

 

And then somewhere in the 300s, the voice starts coming through — you picture an Irish Denisov, as you’ve formed some genetic understanding for the sentence structure. You appreciate still the meter and how the words begin to flow as rose petals are soft, like War and Peace. By page 477, you’ve come to realize, with McHugh’s annotations, that so much has gone by and you don’t have the meaning of it. It was hard reading both, as if the one weren’t enough, so you fixate on the daydreams that come as transitions between textual understanding. You solve your problems and weep at the memory of Ena, who thought she was pregnant. She saw Ghost with you — the middleman — sitting in your car in front of Columbia Inn nearly wanting her and she nearly leaning over wanting to be held. You remained cold but ever so longing. Somehow the moment passed and her boyfriend came back from New York in a couple of days. You knew it would have been wrong. Luckily, one of those moments did pass and you kept your problems to yourself. It turned out she wasn’t pregnant anyway and she knew it was wrong, in such a state of an emotional dilemma. It was better you than someone else. Maybe someone will do that for you.

 

By page 541, you’ve come to realize the Denisov image evaporates and there is a husky Irish man in a pub rattling off phrases as they sound and might be spelled in the English language. It’s like listening to someone for a long time and you understand as they articulate what before was foreign.

A Dream

I really love this painting.
There is a man/woman in a trench coat,
Wearing a watch, with his/her hand in his/her pocket behind the door.

She could be a call girl with her pimp in the background,
Or just a beautifully wrought woman contemplating her power or burdens,
Someone separated, perhaps, from her effect on the world co-mingled
With the fact of just being.

This image speaks to me of what a woman must do in a world of men,
Selling her wares, submitting herself to the desire to be lithe and luxuriously at peace.

What is she thinking?

My mother was once this beautiful,
She always seemed to be oblivious.
She thought not of men, but of designs
On paper, oil paint, and how the world worked,
Wanting to change, in her later years, junk
Into things of beauty.

She would contemplate,
Smoke her cigarettes and look out from her balcony
Out and at the hillside, which grew from under her
And then up almost to a point
You could not see the sky unless you bent down
When you were sitting.

She said she was raped by an uncle.
Was forced to live with foster parents
Because in the 30’s with her father dead
When she was two and with two brothers,
Her mother could not afford to take care of her.

When her mother died, my mother said that
She was hours away and her mother died alone.
She never wanted that to happen to her,
So she kept us close.

When she got her first commercial art job,
She walked in with a bandbox look.
They hired her out of all the prospects.
Just out of art school at CAL,
She presented a few pieces.

Then one of her bosses raped her.
My aunt said that she took off a couple of times
And my father, a doctor, had to take care of us.

All, I am sure she did was go to a place where she could think.
How do I know this?
I am like her.

We dream a lot.
We have our drinks, but non-alcoholic,
We don’t like to dull the powers of our minds.

I too have stared into the distance
Traveled through memories
And met loved ones.
Mainly, lovers and their sleek lines,
How they made me feel and
When we will meet again
Is all I think,
In the meantime,
I make beautiful things
Like peacock feathers
To entrance them.

OPINION: The Case of the Speluncean Explorers

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Read: http://www.nullapoena.de/stud/explorers.html before addressing the following, which is an answer to the question the case raises.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!!

 

“Before the dice were cast, however, Whetmore declared that he withdrew from the arrangement, as he had decided on reflection to wait…”

 

The issue as I view the facts relates to whether a man may wage his life in contract?

Thus, my opinion is that a man may not wager his life, nor should a society support the bartering of one’s life to save another. This is a decision remaining with the person and flexible with his whims.

Pro 1. As this case relates to assisted suicide, one of the arguments against it is that a person can no longer make a contribution to society.

Con 1. Similarly, the contribution to society would be that he allowed others to live in place of his life.

Pro 2. The individuals should have waited until one of the men died naturally before eating him.

Con 2. Similarly, had they waited, they might have all died, or at least the chance was great that more than one person would have died had they waited out the natural course of one.

Pro 3. Regardless of the arguments related to “Law of Nature” or jurisdiction as relates to time and place, men are inherently the same and enjoy the capacities of pain and joy. Therefore, sympathies, empathies, or the horrors of dying, whether to save others or not instill a seriousness. That seriousness would explain a general refrain from making another keep their side of a bargain.

Con 3. Similarly, the “seriousness” itself would weigh so heavily under the circumstances of a unified approach to death that those sympathies, empathies, or the horrors of dying itself, would avail the obligation of the losing party to uphold their bargain simply because the need to live would overpower the desire to take that person’s place if they changed their mind.

Lightness of Being

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I want to thank the person responsible for the new washers.
It is not like the old ones were broken
Because I bet they were loaded with a favor to one side
And the redistribution as you know
In rugby is that once the man with the ball
Is captured, a heap is formed.

But, I don’t know,
I have never really had a relationship
With the washers.
I did, however, put the coins in first
And then let the water fill,
Followed with detergent,
Let it churn a bit before
I put the clothes.

My aunt taught me
“To dilute the detergent.”

Now, you start with the detergent,
Then the clothes,
Then the quarters,
Kind of like getting your money’s worth
At the beginning.

I like how it is a bowl
And the holes don’t start until a quarter
Up the inside so it seems like
The water fills and the clothes are
Kept in a container so that
They both soak and get churned.
It is a rich process.

In the beginning
There is silence, then
The lockdown.

I like all the colored buttons and lights.
I like the white porcelain.
It all seems so robotic
And I have grown to like that.

That and dishes,
They are like the last things
We have to do
Before everything becomes
Automatic.

I am not even worried about the rain
Or viruses, or wars
Because we live in a laundry room,
Where we have a sofa,
A bookshelf, and a
Garden outside.

Maybe we should install a shower
And a kitchen.

Like I said, however,
Once we figure out how to do the laundry
Without actually having to do it,
Which is actually like doing the dishes
In a dishwasher,
What’s left? – Mario Savioni

 

The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness

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Inspired by the haiku by  in Poésie, (See: http://hortusclosus.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/righteous/comment-page-1/#comment-6508)

Is it righteousness or regret that we contemplate? Is there a bucket list or a mere acceptance that the quality of life is so diminished over time that we understand the demise of our physicality? I watch my mother capitulate to the last waves that wash over her breaking body, how we can predict the steps to her final resting place, someone who was once our equal and before that the first beauty to have shown her face, and by whom I measure all lovers.

Tonight, I held the head of a woman with my mother’s skull and I massaged her. I breathed her “essential oils” through her thinning hair and followed the lines of her delicate hands as I traveled them. She leaned against me and I felt my own heart and we looked at pictures of my mother when she was 18.

Sadly, I doubt this woman loves me, and so it is. Death is an acceptance of the truth; and like the arms flailing in the sand, it is a kind of suffocation that we felt when we were born: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ‘Āina i ka Pono.

And so perhaps you are correct: Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.