I want to have this conversation with you, but I can't.

I want to have this conversation with you, but I can't.

When I say you, I mean each & every one of you who might read this,
save a few with whom I can
(have this conversation with you)

When I was a child, I wanted to have this conversation with the world.

I wanted to know intimately the hearts & minds of every
stranger I passed on the street,
male and female,
young and old, & this wanting was a kind of pain
at the beauty I could see inherent in every person,
so often locked up & hidden even from themselves,
an ache like intensely missing someone I'd yet to meet.

There is always what one means to communicate, & what one actually communicates.
It seems to me that communication in virtual reality tends to be abstracted:
ideas of ideas, thoughts of thoughts, mirrors facing mirrors unto infinity,
shadows casting shadows.

You can read between the lines in my turns of phrase,
my choices of words, what I do not say,
the patterns, the timing,
but all you'll find are more shadows.

Face-to-face, vis-a-vis, though,
what's given away in the weight of the voice, a gesture of the hand,
a tightening of the throat, the subtle changes in body chemistry,
where your eyes look as you are talking, what makes you laugh suddenly
or fall silent, all this enhances
(& sometimes directly contradicts)
what is spoken, adds complexity and depth,
more & more so with history & familiarity.

I want to have this conversation with you, but I can't.

Most of my generation is only just recently getting used to a medium
I've been swimming in since I was a child, getting to 'know' each other
through exchanging parcels of words. I don't mean to minimize, but I have
more of a perspective on this than most; I've been through it & through it & through it.
Seems like everybody is texting now & I have to wonder
how long it will be until it won't seem at all crass to send
the most emotional of messages via text...

..."Yr mother just passed away"...

... "I love you" (said for the very first time) ...

Love is a word we could talk about.

We could run a concordancer on it. That's a linguist's tool,
(& a word I love, simply for itself: concordancer)
a program to sift through corpora (that means bodies, but
in this context: bodies of collected text) & it would tell us

the words the word love most frequently occur hand in hand with:


I want to have this conversation (and others) with you, but I can't.

No, I--

I want to walk down a wooded, late-autumn path with you, swaddled
in scarves with the exposed parts of our faces flushed,
talking with you, our voices raised over the the crackling of leaves underfoot,
pausing to catch our breaths as without meaning to
we've started walking faster to warm ourselves.

I want to sit in the tall back booth of a dimly lit bar with you, voices
low & intent in whiskey honesty while the bartender cries "last call",
passing our only remaining cigarette back & forth between us.

I want to drive down a lazy Sunday road with you, sharing
half-thoughts as they spring to mind & sharing the silences too.

I want to know you & not only the words you formulate for me to unpack,
& not to deceive myself that one is equal to the other;
I want not to hide from you, nor for you to hide from me.

I want to have this conversation with you, but I can't.

There's no time in the world for me to have this conversation face-to-face with all of you,
(that is, even if you wanted to have this conversation with me)
not without spreading myself too thin for any one to be worthwhile,
& we can't have this conversation in email or instant messenger
or internet relay chat or social network status updates or blog comments
or vlogs or video chat. We can have other conversations there but
not this one.

& since I can't have this conversation with you, I'll wish for this instead:

I wish for you to have
(or continue to have)
this conversation with somebody who will have this conversation with you,
& i wish that you will not hide from him or her
& i wish that that somebody will not hide from you.


Sunning, swimming, sneaking people-watching behind sunglasses. Fake white-sand beach and fake waves, but the Nevada sun is blazing and real and reminds me of childhood.

Two blond siblings in the water; the elder possesses a strikingly aquiline profile, the profile of a marble statue on the face of a teenage girl, lovely and conscious of it, striving to remain poised and adult while her younger brother, full of mischief, splashes and nimbly tumbles through the water around her. Young Hispanic girl swims past, all huge brown eyes and dimples and rounded sweetness, into the arms of her waiting father. A couple in the distance, neck-deep: a woman and a man, cocooned into each other's arms. She's smiling up at him with genuine tenderness. Tall black woman wades in, elegant and model-thin with her hair up, a tension to her slender limbs. Two lifeguards in red trunks drape themselves across surfboards at the deep end, tanned and muscular like lounging lions.

Dozing on a reclining beach chair, I watch a Japanese family of four arrive and settle themselves in front of me. The centerpiece of the family is clearly the mother: a slight, petite woman in a long sundress and a wide-brimmed sun hat, her hair cut fashionably short. Her eyes are large, moon-shaped and limpid. Her other features are tiny and doll-like.

She's pale pale pale like the moon. Her face is pristine and weary. Small tired lines around her mouth which never smiles. When I was seventeen, I went back to Korea, and found the shops full of lotions meant to lighten your skin. Dark skin means that you're a peasant who works in the rice paddies.

She sheds her sundress to reveal a tasteful designer swimsuit beneath. The colors match her hat. Of course they do.

The father is bespectacled and amiable. He busies himself applying sunscreen to his wife and their two small girl children. His wife pays no attention to him as he meticulously rubs sunscreen into her back; he may as well not be there. She's looking around, frowning slightly, as if something's out of place and she doesn't quite know what.

The two children look like me at that age - long wild black hair, black button eyes, button noses, limbs burnt deep brown from the southwestern sun. Tiny brown bear cubs posing as children. One of them coaxes her mother into a game of patty-cake. The woman sits and plays patiently, albeit without enthusiasm. At the end of the game, the corners of her mouth lift slightly -- a hint of white teeth.

(no subject)

"if i am i because you are you
and you are you because i am i
then i am not i
and you are not you.
but if i am i because i am i
and you are you because you are you
then i am i
and you are you
and we can talk."

(no subject)

thinking that: an addiction-prone personality is one that is very good at creating narrow justifications & avoiding personal responsibility.

what I find attractive:

- measured self-control. but also: the ability to release that control.

- long-term planning & discipline. the capacity to delay instant gratification, even suffer, in the short-term, to reap richer & deeper rewards in the future. but also: the capacity to experience & immerse oneself within the living breathing moment.

- a sense of self that extends beyond the self. we may all be 'selfish', but for some, the boundaries of what is the 'self' has a broader circumference. i want to blur the lines between me & you & him & her & us & them & the dirt & the stars & the sea, and yet still retain my own sense of identity.

and they said:
the center is everywhere and circumference nowhere
the center is everywhere and circumference nowhere
your center is everywhere and circumference nowhere

That's how the light gets in.

The birds they sang at the break of day.
Start again, I heard them say.
Don't dwell on what has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars, they will be fought again.
The holy dove, she will be caught again,
bought and sold and bought again.
The dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything;
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs; the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed, the marriage spent,
Yeah the widowhood of every government -
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up a thundercloud,
and they're going to hear from me.

You can add up the parts, but you won't have the sum.
You can strike up the march, there is no drum.
Every heart, every heart
to love will come,
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything -
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything -
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

-leonard cohen, "anthem"
  • Current Mood
    peaceful peaceful

(no subject)

There's a Buddhist story I read as a teen that resonates with me on many an occasion. I can't recall where I read it, but reconstructed in at least approximate form from memory, it goes something like this. (And there may be other versions.)

A student monk is bid by his master to sit and meditate. After a long while, he gets up and runs to his master in sheer terror. "Master!" he cries out, "While I was meditating, demons descended upon me and visited me with the most terrible temptations and frights! It was awful, what should I do?"

The master hits him upside the head and says, "Go back and meditate."

The student monk returns to his meditation. After a long while, he gets up and runs to his master once more, beaming with happiness. "Master!" he cries out, "While I was meditating, angels descended upon me, I felt the light of the world, all was full of wonder and joy!"

The master hits him upside the head and says, "Go back and meditate."

(no subject)

Sometimes I wonder if people in other countries are learning English grammar from internet memes like lolcats.

I just got a piece of spam trying to get me to click on a link with this subject line: "Barack Obama can lost President's Chair".