Monday, May 16, 2016

Off the Beaten Track

Off the beaten track?

I do not consider it some sort of indication that I am growing old. Or rather, I should ask; what does that mean?

I do not need to be sandwiched between death and a glacier on Denali. I do not wish to be in a room of little black dresses and presumptive hands. In such places, the conversations of being roll and crash like waves: to be understood, a woman must yell upon the beach.

I did once. I approached the outlands because my soul was a void and wanted as much from life as it could consume. The irony now is that my soul wants as much void as possible.

Perhaps you may find it here, this place says. Or not as the case may be. We are alike, you know...

We were never very popular. Off the resort loop. Roads not traveled at all. And it is quiet here. I do not want to be where it is at. I am somewhere small insights grow into contented epilogues and tangential anecdotes of a life better lived than previously thought. Adventure lives in your mind, where it always was.

A cricket is my only company. A metronome counting moments. And yet not. If I listen, I can tell that the melody is but two notes, but they change in tempo with the night. The air may feel melancholy with desertion, but it is densely pensive with lemon blossoms and fennel while the moonlight shifts across the roofs. I am glad the people are sleeping, bereft of the daylight clothes they use to understand one another. In sleep they must now face themselves.

But I am awake, and I require only moonlight.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Today it just seemed that way. And what exactly did that mean? There is always the conception that somehow, somewhere there is a power, a collective intelligence a demiurge that is making the world appear to be what it is. In other words the phenomenology of the world is generated outside, and is, unreal.

I sometimes like to believe that, especially on a sunny day. After all, the sunny day means that whatever power is creating this illusion of life, wants me to enjoy it a little. As if to say "hey, I know my work isn't all shits-and-giggles but here's something for the ladies."

It being a sunny day, I walked over to meet my illustrator for lunch. Since he was busy in a meeting I waited and occupied myself with window gazing. In looking out the view of his window, I quickly understood why David acts the way he does.

I was gazing out on it when he came up mumbling something about defeasance.

Defeasance itself is a legal term which simply means undo, via French and of course Latin. I was more interested in how this concept could be applied elsewhere. Can I defease the phenomenal world? David has his visually oriented side, so I asked him:

"Look on this vista. Here you have a perfect quaternity of existence in this world, all within a view. Up the hill there in the middle is what appears to be a Soviet Era housing project. To the left is the King County Gaol. The precarious parking garage for your building has a Matissean rip-off of a man committing suicide. Pity he wasn't caught in time so they could haul him up the hill to Harborview for a 72 hour observational vacation and concurrent medication.

"Can you simply defease this scene into planes of grey, sandstone and blue? Does the green of the trees suggest life or putrefaction? Could the abstraction, the decreation, actually liberate your soul from whatever is beyond? Of course you have a jailed and contained soul. Look outside your window. But that is only through context. How can I possibly assume that the noumenal world beneath this unthrilling architecture has the same effect on you? Are you even aware? Could this be a paradise if it's defeased and resurrected?

At this point he asked me if I was going to keep going on like this or if I was still hungry. Knowing my weakness for shrimp balls, and sesame cakes, David suggested dim sum in the International District. Lunch certainly defeased my hunger.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Best Practices

Babel took a lot longer to build than was previously considered, and in fact it is still under construction. The Biblical story of conflicting tongues should not be considered literally.
Breugel's Tower of Babel.* 
Rather, the builders, architects, project managers, branding consultants and visioning conveners were actually using the same language, but they found the work could be prolonged indefinitely if one could only apply modern language management techniques and remove semantic precision altogether.

The next great leap forward (or backward, but by now direction had become irrelevant) occurred when the graphic progress analysts and professional metricians began to make a scale visual management system model. Most of this consisted of pretty colors, with lots of numbers indicating quantifications of some kind. It is also a masterpiece under constant revision.

Breugel's painting of the "Little" Tower of Babel scale visual management model.**

*Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
**Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Saturday, April 30, 2016


April is the cruelest month, breeding
Maples out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain
To clog the sewer line.

(all apologies to Mr. Eliot,but honestly, it really puts the waste into The Waste Land, so this is my lone contribution to NaPoWriMo)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Roots in the Sun

In this place I often lose myself in the view and sandstone: a metaphorical construction that echoes the perspective and architecture and removes the subjective walls that block aesthetic dissociation.

At night I grow into the rhythm of this place—the surf upon the rocks far below. I partake of the conversation between the wind and bamboo. I am the silent sister among the thousands discussing the course of night as they brush their hair and punctuate emphatic moments with clicking knitting needles—the times when things matter in strong gusts of wind from the sea.

But in the late morning I stand here and see the horizon. The bamboo chatters in the breeze as it grows. Much of what it says may be as irrelevant as human conversations, but the sibilance of the bamboo’s language is beautiful even though the syntax, diction and grammar are impenetrable to me.

I am not myself. My thoughts become enclosed in the expanding roots of the bamboo and I observe that the observer’s subterranean prejudices determine the words growing above. This observation is nothing new, even to me.

The structure of my own thought and language is hollow and the words disperse in a typical dialectic: up and down; sunward and shade-bound; the I and the thing-in-itself. But then I wonder, does the bamboo make any distinction between the singular and manifold? I think of a forest of poplars I saw in the mountains once. Does that forest ever make the mistake of inflicting the singular upon itself? Does it rely on that mistake when the snow is deep?

Diageotropic expansion and potential reproduction—these are the bamboo’s words for growth. I hesitate to say “run:” a form of locomotion more befitting a centipede, whose segmented nature mirrors a stalk of bamboo. Are not the centipede and bamboo stalk bilaterally symmetric?

I step further into the Platonic sun and realize that is a mistake as well. The Sun was once a God, but nowadays I understand that symmetry is also a God—worshipped in a Trinity alongside Inductive Reason and Simplicity. The words of that faith do not speak to me. The rhizome suggests a different answer. I remember my breasts are not the same size. One leg is longer than the other.

Do our fractal lives somehow wind our matter in alternations, leaving interstitial spaces in the masonry? In these cracks, we occasionally leave meaning in the form of votives. Votive comes from vow, like the ground turmeric that disperses hopes of longevity and happiness upon the arms of a pilgrim.

This place is neither this nor that, but only more. More cannot be embraced, nor entered into. More only is, as are the roots of hair and words, the skin and memories, the blood and thoughts that gather to write these words.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I often lie in keystrokes. It's how I learned.

When I started typing, there was a Platonic Form of typewriter. It was a Corona No. 3: the kind Isak Dinesen used. I was too clumsy, too unmusical for the higher form of keyboard. But I could type faster than anyone in my class. Typewriters reminded me of sewing machines. Stolid, metal devices that women used when they worked. They went out of general use. Out of fashion. Times and keyboards change. I still prefer an IBM clickety-clacker: the Model M.

But one day, I paused in my typing when I wrote out my boss's program update declaring that the "unit would engage consumers in dialogue about product suitability and deliverable quality." That these customers were women seeking domestic violence relief made the sentence all the worse. We did not even provide the services but contracted out the work.

How many other secretaries, clerks or whatever we are called, have written a similar sentence on clay, skin, paper or ones-and-zeroes? Does the AI slave wince at such dissimulation through dictation? 

Some words I hated, some loved. I cannot remember when I last typed proactive save in this elegy. I admit that I still grieve for hegemony. Perhaps like all fashionable lies, they are awaiting recycling from their crumpled deaths.

The cursor bears the message: the words may change, but the ribbon and ink remains the same.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

In the Lenten Temple

This season and this life take me back to a when that never was.

I leave the rules and policies, the outrages and hypocritical theology for this wilderness. Words and thoughts cannot find expression save for arches made of stone, a wooden bench. The planes of light offer a far more convincing argument for the existence of divinity.

Here is an ontological argument.

For a moment, the questions of sin remain in the realm of the world. I have no business with that Church.

Here, for a moment, I can reacquaint myself with the sacred desert of grace.

-for Troy