± H13.com - Archives - August 2003
august 2003

Sadness12:03am saturday, 30th august
Yesterday, on the train ride home, I felt a deep sadness within me. I wondered if it was merely the depressive side of the manic depressive part of my condition, but I also wondered if it was something more. I considered if there was some unconscious need that was going unfulfilled, and therefore causing within me that heavy heart. Is it that I am alone, was alone on the train, and generally lead something of a solitary life? For even when I am home, though I have roommates, I mostly stay in my own room in front of my computer and my TV. Is it that my work (topology as it relates to artificial intelligence) has been stalled, as I search instead for a job in Korea? For even if I am alone, if I have work that inspires me, I am for the most part a happy person. I don't know. What was it?

Maybe it was just the depressive side of me, after all. The feeling passed, when I arrived home, and I spent a leisurely evening watching the MTV Video Music Awards. But though dormant, I have a feeling that it still lives, that feeling, just below the surface of my waking mind. Perhaps I will feel it again on my ride home tonight, perhaps it will not overtake me for weeks or longer, but somehow, I know it is still present in my soul. My little pinky tells me that this is part of the condition of my being, and something needs to change for this sadness to lift from me. Or maybe it will never lift, that it is some existential condition ingrained into my deepest fibers. I hope not. I hope all it is may be that I need to fall in love, with some one, or even with some thing. I will keep on, wondering.

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Firelight12:02am friday, 29th august
In the firelight flicker the fluid images
of all my old imaginary friends,
the shadows are cast upon the wall
of monsters that never were. Troubles
I remember, though I stare into the flames
as if all the memories are merely
tricks of the light, and I wonder what
has ever been true in the breathings
that I am. Have I learned anything at all?
It is easy to repent of crimes you
never committed, and I have understood
less the crimes I am guilty of:
in the firelight dance the visions of
myself that excused me for a moment,
shielded me from the fire until
the notion cracked, the armor proved
illusory, and I burned. This firelight,
though, this window into the dreaming —
the wood that I have spent this night
tomorrow will be ashes, but this
minute now, as the fire burns, as
I conjecture that I exist, it is as if this
minute had been written before time,
to behold like destiny his grandchildren.

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Is This You?12:02am thursday, 28th august
Is this you? Is this the way you are? I remember back when, when I said to myself, no, this me is not me — this is not the way I am. And it was not just that it was not me at my best (though that had some part in it too) but the feeling of this is not how I think, this is not how I feel, this is not how I behave. It was the feeling that this is not me at all, this is a stranger who fills my shoes and my every iota of action and reaction, this is a shadow and a poor cast of a shadow at that — this misshapen soul I do now know from where he comes. I never got used to that person, not completely, though there was a certain acceptance of that state of being that came with time.... I'm better, these days; I definitely feel more myself, and not that I am a bad imitation of some truer me. That other person: he left as mysteriously as he came, and he never even introduced himself.
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Sleepless (Mostly)12:27am tuesday, 26th august
I didn't get very much sleep last night, so this might ramble. When I did sleep, I dreamed that I was swallowed by a whale. I was in some sort of pod or vehicle with some people which went into the water, and when it came back up, we were not on the surface of the water, but was surrounded by baleen, sunlight coming through the crevices. (Baleen, in case you didn't know, is what most larger whales have instead of teeth, to strain out the krill — like shrimp — that they feed on. A lot of krill.) Freakin' strange. I woke up just then, or else I probably would not have remembered it. It's all hazy about why I even went into the water in the first place. Plane crash? I don't know. Like most dreams, they're only part of the spell of sleep, that which is broken by the first crack of dawn's light shining into your eyes. Less than ashes.

On a completely different topic altogether, I'm at work and I don't feel like working. I guess that's part of the human condition. I haven't felt motivated since the time I told them I was leaving. Now all that remains is that I find some type of lead in Korea, give me an excuse to go there. Funny, too, two other people have quit since the time I told them I was on the way out (one we all found out about today). That last project we were all on is knocking everyone off. "Dropping like flies" seems to be the catchphrase of the day. Yeah. I'm so glad to be going, like a bird crouched, poised before takeoff. Sorry if I've bored you today. I told you I might ramble. I'll get some sleep tonight.

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Works12:07am monday, 25th august
The rustling of trees speaks more than any poetry would.
Any these works of God: unable, I, to match the merest one.
The most intricate of words cannot know one second of life.

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Am Not, Am12:03am saturday, 23rd august
I am not the Darkness, I am not the Light. I am not a heavenly messenger, I am not a hellspawn destroyer. I am not a prophet come to you upon the end of all days, I am not a quivering coward afraid of the cast of a new eve. I am not the creation of a eutopian dream who will shine upon all the world, I am not a blot upon the face of humanity deserving only to be snuffed. Who am I? What am I? It is easier to say what I am not, for I am not many things, and what I am amounts to little, who I am amounts perhaps to less. I am merely some arbitrary DNA that wonders why, sometimes trying to answer its own questions. I am me, and that is the best I have to say for myself: I pretend not to be anyone else, I am content in my smallness... and nothing can stop me from dreaming big dreams.
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The Vial2:03am friday, 22nd august
I wrote something else today, rather than what you're reading now, but we had a power outage where I work (where it's stored on my computer there), so, here's this, instead:

In a cave somewhere it was told that an old master had stored his vital essence in a vial and put it deep within the earth. To guard it, it was said that he enslaved two demon spirits and chained them within the chamber where the vial was stored. When some dozens of years later, when this myth was well known even to the school children of the land, some boys found they had discovered that certain cave. I will not go into how they knew, but they had good reason to believe that this certain cave was the one. One of them, the bravest, volunteered to go alone into the depths of the earth, to face the demon spirits chained there, and to retrieve the vial of the old master's vital essence. He went in, and for two days there was no sign of him. The boys, afraid that they had sent their companion to his death, told no one. But after the second day, he was seen by one of the other boys, walking into the village where they lived.

"What happened?" the friend said.

"I found the chamber where the demon spirits were chained, where the vial was kept, and I was afraid, for the demons breathed fire and had long claws and teeth. I kept far enough away so I was out of their reach, but I saw the vial. I thought they might sleep when night came, so I waited, but demons do not sleep, I found. By the next day, I myself was tired, so I slept. In a dream, the old master appeared to me and said, 'I have waited for you. I will now set the demon spirits free, for it is to you I give my vital essence. Take the vial, and walk to the river. There is a beggar there who is dying. Give him to drink, and he will live.'

"When I woke, the demon spirits were gone. I took the vial, and I walked to the river. I saw a man who was filthy lying beside it, and I gave him the vial to drink. Then I came home, and you see me now."

"Why did you not drink of it yourself? Why waste the old master's vital essence on a beggar?" the friend prodded.

"I thought of drinking it, but I realized I have never understood dreams. Maybe the beggar will be a great man some day, but it was what the old master wanted, in any event. He told me that I was meant to do this. Who am I to question destiny? And if I had not given him to drink, this man would have died. I think it is not up to me to take away life, but it was given to me to save it. I could not drink it."

The friend asked no more questions.

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Ecstatic Visions12:01am thursday, 21st august
What happens when you wake from the ecstatic vision? How are you supposed to go back to an ordinary life? When the apocalypse drifts out of sight, when the doors of your perception shut themselves from the intrusion of the heavenly lights, how do you tear yourself away from the prophecy, come down from the transcendent heights? Experience has taught me a little about glimpsing infinity and never having that encounter again. You question what you saw, wonder if it was all that you thought it was, wonder from what source it was from, and then there is that deep desire to go there again: to fly once more with the angels. But more often than not, the convergence of all the forces necessary — the correct alignment of all the stars and planets — occurs at best once in a life's course. To wait for it to happen once again is most likely in vain.

And memories fade. Even the most intense of experiences, time, as it goes on, dilutes the sensations that were once felt. The ecstatic vision — no, it never does completely vanish — but (perhaps worse) it gets relegated to the status of an anecdote, an unusual little blurb in the paragraphs of one's life: the time you thought you saw God, or some little ditty like that. Whatever the fury of the perception, the main effects subside into unconscious reflex only — though deeply planted, a subterranean fruit only, never again tasted as such on the surface of one's soul. What happens when you wake from the ecstatic vision? You rise forever changed, but never in the way that you think you are, or perhaps even hope to be. And this fantastic thing may become just another page of your life, perhaps dog-eared, forgotten why it seemed so important....

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Ashes12:05am tuesday, 19th august
Ashes where the day once burned: did I imagine it so?
What is true need not last forever — it need not even be known:
there is a memory, deeper than time, that sees the unseen.

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Tragic Lives1:02am monday, 18th august
These tragic lives that we lead: sometimes we question what they lead to. Sometimes we wonder that mundane and eternal why, of why we press on when the tide is never in our direction, when the wind blows constantly upon our faces, when all we see ahead is the gloomy sky that never brightens. But when I wonder these things, I imagine that an eternity of not being at all cannot sum up to one moment of the most random, boring life, that just to be is a gift without measure. Life, the most tragic of lives — even these have some day in the sun, even these have experienced a sunset sky when for a few fleeting minutes, all was right with the world. Let us not forget the good, when all seems dark; to have a life at all... it is easy to forget that that is a miracle in the truest sense.
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Leaving It12:04am saturday, 16th august
I will leave it all behind. I say that, and then I realize that there is not much, really, not much I am actually leaving. Much of my things — my important things — I will take with me, and there is the web, which follows me wherever in the world I go. I have right now not that many friends, and my family lives apart from me anyhow. Mostly, I will be leaving this country behind — America: you have done for me some good, some ill, but I think I will not miss you as I would have some years ago. I will leave it all behind; I will leave this place and set up a home in a new place in the world. It was the last time I was there, in Korea, walking around in the streets of Seoul, when some ancient hereditary memory stored in my DNA surfaced (something like that), something that told me without saying why that this was the place where I belonged.

I have given indeterminate notice at the company where I work, where I may stay pretty much as long as I want, if I finish some certain important project before I go. I am trying to make preparations, but it is not a rush, yet — I think I will have as much as three months' grace period where I am currently situated. But this is it: this is the change I have been waiting for, not realizing that what was to happen was something I myself would set in motion. This is huge, a life altering event, and perhaps the first of this magnitude that I myself am responsible for. My life is mine, right now, not blown like a leaf in the wind — but more like a paper airplane I have folded with my two hands and thrown with my own strength... still liable to be tossed by the winds, at least I have (if roughly) picked the direction of the flight. I am leaving it all behind. Wish me luck.

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Thought, It Creeps12:01am friday, 15th august
Thought, it creeps upon me
like a thirsty spider, creeps
like it can feel something wriggling
in its web. Strange experiences
recall themselves through me,
unfamiliar voices I hear like a memory
of what could have been, but
never was. Words rhyme together
that do not sound anything alike,
somehow coupled into one in
an impossible knot. Imagination
has been the home for fleeting denizens,
caricatures of fleshy existence,
whose names I never catch, who
sometimes return changed from
unknown forces. I never dream
any more: it is one vision after another,
spaces I have seen outside dreaming's
perimeter, grand and sometimes
cold, colors not meant to be
spoken of. I think, therefore I am
not: it is only the thought that is here,
and I am merely like a shadow
vanishing when the full light shines.

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Dreaming, I12:11am thursday, 14th august
Dreaming, I, wandering through the rhythms of deep unconscious knowing, I strayed far from all familiar paths. Even in the stretched out lands of darkness, there I could spy in the distance three candles lit. One, the hope, which is the most fragile of flames, most easily forgot that it ever shone should it go out. Two, the faith, the belief in those larger voices that guide the way, and the will that one could go the whole course on and not surrender. Three, the love, which is the most mysterious of the candlelights: sometimes extinguished with the barest of breaths, I have seen it survive the onslaught of gale winds. And dreaming, I, in even the lands of outer dark, three candles drift past my dreaming eye, which I have forgotten who has lit them that they should call me so.
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Comic Book Philosophy12:10am tuesday, 12th august
This one is from the Watchmen:
"Heard joke once:

Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain.

Doctor says, 'Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.'

Man bursts into tears. Says, 'But, doctor... I am Pagliacci.'"

 - Alan Moore
I always found this passage to be a profound expression of the human condition. But that might just be me. "I am Pagliacci": it goes into the question, also quoted from the same comic book series, "Who watches the watchmen?" Who is the authority to answer to, and where is the authority to go when he doesn't know what to do? Where is Pagliacci to go to get cured of his depression, when he himself is the cure? We are none of us strong enough to be Atlas, with the world on our backs.... Pagliacci, I say take the night off. Go watch the show and watch how much the less it is with the understudy in your role as the great clown. One can only hope that that will pick you up, if only for a little, if only for a night.

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Fear1:00am monday, 11th august
I have discovered that fear is sometimes a useful guide.
One must learn, however, when to break past the fear, to overcome:
the sweetest fruit is often dangling on the edge of a cliff.

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Ghost1:02am saturday, 9th august
In rhythms slow, I feel as if sometimes I am passing through this world like a ghost. Like I do not touch anything or anyone, that when I leave this world, not a trace of me shall remain. I haunt the usual places of my home and family, and my friends, all those I know of; yet I am only a shifting shadow, whose cast is not as any of the solid things of existence, who is carried off in the breezes. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, from dust I was made, and to dust I shall return. And in between, I was merely the figment of a few's imaginations, a strange fantasy concocted to fill some space for a short while. When I am gone, it will be as if I never was.
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Recollection 1312:01am friday, 8th august
What is it about messiah complexes? What within those of us who have suffered from it makes us think we are somehow God incarnate? I remember it all too well: tripping on LSD, I heard little voices telling me that I had led a special life, that I was a special person — and it was a short drug-induced mental leap from those voices to thinking I was Jesus Himself, come back to judge the world. Other people have done as I did, take acid in large quantities, and as often, but something about my internal character made me think that: that I was the Savior of all mankind, that I was the Blessèd One. Was I particularly skilled in any area of my trying? Not really. I was, up to that point, a dabbler, a dilettante, dipping my pen where I thought was most interesting at the time, and move on. I was always thought of as intelligent, so perhaps it was Lucifer's sin, pride; pride blinded me to the small truth that I was no one but me, little accomplished, not meant to save the world.

I would not be moved. No matter how reasoned the arguments that I was not, in fact, Jesus Christ, I argued them away to my own satisfaction (if not the person who was trying to convince me otherwise). I was It, as far as I was concerned. No one existed who could do anything better than me, if I only were to desire to do it, no one existed who was holier, and nothing could stop me if I did not want to be stopped.... I remember that many of my friends thought I was kidding around, but no, I was deadly serious. And this would be the foundation of the debilitating madness that would follow. It took so long to recover from this fully; I had to step down rung by rung from this lofty height: from God to archangel, from archangel to prophet, and from prophet back to me — though even becoming again "the old me" was not to be quite the same "the old me" who had entered that cave of psychosis. I am sane, for the most part (light little delusions pass back and forth through me, still), and thank God for it. I was not meant for such higher things. I'm just me.

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Creeps12:01am thursday, 7th august
There creeps a feeling,
some sense of queasy uncertainty:
what is to be? I am not
one to know, and I think I am
not alone in seeing that
tomorrow and the next is
too vague a phrase to be read.
We must bide our time.
For better or for worse, we are
married to the moment. No
prophets exist anymore that tell us
when next the sky is to rain fire,
no soothsayer of any repute
warns us of the ides of any month.
We leap backwards into the
times that come, our vision only
functions to what lies in the past;
we only leave markers for where
we have been, and no trail ever was
that demarcated the true course
of what is ahead. There is
much to fear, and there is, too,
much of joys to be — let us
not dwell too long on the
feeling that creeps, the uneasy
seat where our souls may sit —
the day to come needs us,
whether it admits to that or not.

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What I Know12:02am tuesday, 5th august
I have not searched the ends of the Earth, I know not the extremities of man or nature. I know what I know. I know that the fool and the wise man both let time decide their fate, and I wonder in my waiting which of the two I resemble more. I know that I would not be happy as an eagle or an ant, but I imagine that the eagle and the ant would not be happy as me, either. I know more than I let on, and less, I think, than would be prudent to reveal. I know what it is like to run screaming from the world, and what it is like to return to that world. And then, there is the one more thing that I know: what it is like for a nightmare to knock at my door — and when I (hesitatingly) open that door, to see there before me only my own reflection in a mirror... cracked.
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A Little Lost1:32am monday, 4th august
I sometimes think there is nothing for me here, in this waking world, that I was meant only for the dreaming. I have been feeling a little burned out, recently. There is too much that needs to be done, too much that needs my attention. I have many ideas for what I want to accomplish, and right now, I am accomplishing none of them. Right now, I want to do absolutely nothing. All the lessons I have learned mean very little to me in this state, though I may hope that they still color my outlook on the world (and that they help me without that I am aware of it), but I want nothing to do with any wisdom in this state where I am. I just want to sleep.

There is, too, such longing in me. I have not felt the love of a good woman in such a long spell. I am sure I am not alone in this feeling, that many exist in this busy world who are alone, and lonely. When I had my work, my ambitions, I was content with that — with working towards a noble goal — but now that such a goal has been taken from me, I feel it keenly: I was not meant to go this life solo.... There is little consolation for any of these feelings in anything I do, in the place where I live, in the place where I work. I feel perhaps that I should leave everything behind, start afresh somewhere else. Make a new life for me. Maybe that's it....

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Bottomless12:32am saturday, 2nd august
In a dream within a dream, the bottomless void called me,
such a music: like the echo of a thousand wings fluttering.
I heard the message, spoken without words: even death shall die.

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Meandering12:31am friday, 1st august
In the meandering of my mind I have touched beauty and death, truth and evil, time and annihilation. Once I wandered to where the dark things creep, in the deep, murky valleys of walking shadow: even there, a candle held in the heart might still light what is within. My dreams once lived alongside me, guiding me along paths that weren't there, impossible creatures that flew off one strange night to return forever diminished. In the meandering of my mind I have heard rumors and poetry, lies and praise, wailing and melody. I do not know just where I have been, and I know not where I go from here, but there are in me certain memories of loss and of joy that speak to this me that I have lived this life, even if no one else saw me do it.
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