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Saturday, 4 July 2009

Bliss


.



File:Bliss.png



Hello, where are you, and who?
Will we find bliss together?
Will we reach out in the night and touch hands across the inky gulf of eternity?
Or will it merely be tangled wires and short circuits?
A configuration of transmission cables and silicon chips?
A string of zeros and ones comprising a locale? A line of text simulating a human being?

Will the wisp of hair that clings to your temple and which you brush away distractedly with one hand
While you gaze into the lighted box before you, become a silent chord in the song we make together?
Will your mountains and islands and deserts be forever hidden in endless clouds and fogs?
Will the clarity of retouched screen-saver bliss never envelop us?
Will we dwell forever in the sock puppet artifice of identities we believe we have chosen in order to make contact?
Will the sleeping husband in the next room rise and walk across the universe to speak to the sleeping wife?



File:Divers - Illustrated London News Feb 6 1873-2.PNG


Will the lover of a thousand dreams find a voice on another continent?
Will the isolated universes of our separate beings remain on parallel tracks to infinity?
Will we die before we have learned each other's real names?

Are our names so important after all?
Is there a "you" that is more than an assemblage of
reconfigurable selves bundled together by accident?
An offscreen individual who is not simply a phantom or a ghost?

Will our dreams propel us into a future
We have before now only projected or vaguely imagined but never thought we'd actually see
In which the limitations of gravity which once pinned our bodies to the earth
Are left behind like vessels in a suddenly landlocked harbour
And the knowledge of certain death which heretofore obsessed us
Is forgotten in the flowing forward motion of a new and not yet explicable Spirit of Ecstasy?



File:Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy.jpg



Hello my friend I'm just one more window in you
Wherever you are
Whatever you are
Said the one billionth self as always infinitely fluid
To the no one
In the flickering lights in the modem

In the ethernet where you are what you pretend to be
It's surface surface everywhere
And no one is there
But you
And you
And you




File:Bliss (location).jpg






Bliss
: screenshot of Windows XP Default Luna theme: photo by Charles O'Rear, late 1990s
Divers: Illustrated London News, Feb. 6, 1873
"Spirit of Ecstasy" hood ornament, 1971 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow: photo by Dan Smith, 2005

After Microsoft: Sonoma Valley, California hillside (same location as top photo): photo by Simon Goldin, 2006

16 comments:

Alva Svoboda said...

Summary of the case to date
authenticity the plaintiff
mediation the defendant
the crime something worse than I
can put into words

The case meanders over time
because the plaintiff
has never shown up in the courtroom
and the defendant all too often
chooses to sit at the plaintiff's
table

I love this continuing argument
in your poetry, Tom --
the lineation and colliding
metaphors remind me of poems you
wrote long ago --
and the relentlessness, of poems by you
about the end of civilization
from the Reagan years on --
"sock puppet artifice of identity"
is brilliantly memorable,
I'm putting it in the treasure box.

TC said...

Thank you Alva, an honour.

Lucy in the Sky said...

One's spirit is alive as long as questions continue to be made. And this kind of questions are just the ones that make the butterflies in your stomach come to life. The unknown, the mystery. How attractive it is to us!
The poem is a combination of the romantic, idealistic figures triggered out by our feelings, as old as the history of man, on the one side and technological, realistic concepts present in our lives for just a few decades, on the other.
Another soul we would never have met the same way only 15 years ago, when the Internet was accessible only to a few. And today, we are so many souls wandering in the cyberspace, getting to know each other's thoughts and feelings with our masks on.

George Mattingly said...

Terrific. I'm in awe of the consistently high level of this work day after day. In a decent world the volume of traffic on this site would overwhelm the servers. But then we live in Sarah Palin's world. . . .

poetowen said...

What a gem! Deeply soulful--

TC said...

Owen,

Many thanks, Soul Man.

Lucy,

All too true and very well said. There is a good deal of falsity and facade in Instant Blissworld, to be sure. But here and there on the trail of the real I will find a blog where the mask slips a bit and the interior beauty slips through, the mask dissolves and the thoughts and feelings come across pure and unmediated. This is the blessing of Locos Por Naufragar. I don't get around much any more and but for you I'd never have been to Patagonia. Another part of the depth and loveliness of the world has been made known to me. And the ticket was within my limited price range. What's not to like?

George,

The nod from you is sweet acknowledgment as you are light years ahead of me in this crazy bloggo game (as yet I merely aspire) as well as an original head of the town, po-town that is, in fact we may elect you poetry governor and our first interrogative will be: What's the story on this total bankruptcy situation?

Sarah Palin's world, sheesh. Where can I sign out?

Elmo St. Rose said...

spring and fall the photos top
and bottom
blue skies smiling at me
it is the 4th that all
are created equal and born
with certain inalienable rights
of life liberty and the pursuit
of happiness so say also the
American poets....I ask you this:
Would there have been a Hawthorne
Thoreau, Whitman, Dickinson without
a Washington, Jefferson, Jackson...?
when Whitman read at Carnegie all
Captain My Captain it was of bloody
Lincoln....so in the American grain there is a huntress or two,
Diana for Jackson or Washington, or
Grant or Lincoln.....so the coasts
need also to love the hinterlands
and the poets need not the slavish
unconscious ideological slurs of
TV media types....see the poetry in
it, an athlete, a huntress, a mother, a beauty, courageous in her
own way or do the poets think they
have a monopoly on this...give the
others their due.....they may be
your friends....they may have helped make you a poet and you don't even know it.
\

phaneronoemikon said...

Gorgeous Tom!!!

timmy said...

"what oft was said, but ne'er so well expressed."

TC said...

Lanny, Timmy,

Many thanks, the words of poets fall upon one's daft head much as a generative shower. One day perhaps something good will grow.


Elmo,

Ditto the above. But...

"spring and fall the photos top
and bottom
blue skies smiling at me"

Well, actually the top image (blue skies smiling) is a retouched enhanced photoshopped piece of mendacity created by an adman (from "the coast", by the way) paid by Bill Gates to instill an illusion of tranquility into the brains of the users of his computer products. In short, Fake Bliss.

Let's call it a "false spring".

The bottom image merely shows the same slice of landscape as it is, without the "creativity".

And I'm afraid that when I hear the names Jackson, Jefferson, Lincoln et al. and then I come to a reference to Sara Palin in the same thought/breath, I feel I am again being asked to walk the frail bridge between what is real and what is another media creation.

I don't think this has anything to do with what coast you're on. I grew up in the heartland, you grew up on the coast, now you're in the heartland and I'm on the coast, things balance out.

If you wish to posit the heartland as the place of openness and honesty and trust, I'm with you, and if possible would spend every moment left to me right there, in the company of my friend you. But I'm afraid it might be another dream.

America is in enough trouble right now without dreams of a Nimrod in spike heels and a tight skirt bagging stray elk from a helicopter (and you know when that French comedy show called her up and the Faux Sarkozy proposed such an arrangement, she jumped right on it... this to me is not what would ever make the lilacs in my dooryard bloom, were I fortunate enough to have any).

So perhaps we disagree a bit here; but, dear Elmo, I never for a moment forget you are a poet, and your words are poetically projected and resonant, and always stay in my head a long, long time...

Mariana Soffer said...

Great art work all of it. Great my new friend TC.

I loved the first 4 sentences they are excellent. The other ones remind me of Laurie Anderson with in her big science verses.

Let me answer/comment some parts you wrote, let me write my crazy thoughts.

The silent chord is the most perfect one, specially when made with someone.

Maybe it already enveloped us and we are never going to notice the difference of life with or without
screen saver.

--Will we dwell forever in the sock puppet artifice of identities we believe we have chosen in order to make contact?
I me mine is a big fraud, a sad lack of human touch emerges from it.
--Will the sleeping husband in the next room rise and walk across the universe to speak to the sleeping wife?
It will walk only if the universe is in love.

--Will the isolated universes of our separate beings remain on parallel tracks to infinity?
I don't understand this kind of things, so I can't answer it.
--Will we die before we have learned each others real names?
Yes

--Is there a "you" that is more than an assemblage of reconfigurable selves bundled together by accident?
Yes, no and every option in between.

Who knows the truth about the future, probably is an unknown unknown concepts yet.

Which window are you looking trough? The left eye one or the right?
Take care and check this guy warnell that is now in my last post of the web.

TC said...

Mariana,

Thank you for turning my little survey over on its ear and shaking it about a bit. At least the results analysis will not tell you you are programmed to like reggaeton.

"Which window are you looking through? The left eye one or the right?"

It's hard to know for sure. Things change. I am a bit like Lavender with her "bad" oculus sinister and her "good" oculus dexter.

"'Is there a "you" that is more than an assemblage of reconfigurable selves bundled together by accident?'
Yes, no and every option in between."

We hop around between selves with a sinister dexterity, but when I am unlucky enough to catch a glimpse of a reflection in a shopwindow, I say to myself, "There is no escaping the DNA."

"'Will we die before we have learned each others real names?' Yes."

And maybe this is OK. But "only if the universe is in love..."

Is that what they call A Big If? A Pascalian wager with an open heart?

To share with readers here Ted Warnell's brilliant rebus-like word-grid homage to you:

breakfast with borges

Muchas gracias for your response, which has mingled with many wandering crazy thoughts of my own in the night...

"The always wandering meaning of all literary representation
according to which meaning wanders,
like human tribulations, like error, from text to text,
and within the text, from figure to figure."

Mariana Soffer said...

Thank you very much tom for clearing my doubts and for sharing the great art work warnell does.

phaneronoemikon said...

Now why couldn't Jacques Ellul have been so honest?

Or is it book-nest?

Ghost Knesset?

Gnostic?

Noise Tick?

Nice Trick!

Roethke?

Is that dance slowing in the mind
of man > That made him think the universe could hum? > The great wheel turns its axle when it can..

The hack, what.. did he read Wittgenstein, or the history of the Om sign?

We know how to say many false things that seem like true sayings, but we also know how to speak the truth when we wish to.


Theoddity, or Theogony

the otium and the agon
the hogon and the flagon

"commotium"

Annie said...

As one of my favorites from my awkward adolescence (which I seem to be re-entering, albeit in reverse)wrote:
Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question. (e.e. cummings)

Before I recognized the Windows screen saver, I thought it was time for Teletubbies...

As one who necessarily became a connoisseur of forsaken vistas, it had never occurred to me that finding bliss just required a golf course designer.

Maybe we become more aware of an adaptation, an artifice when it is not as familiar as others we have grown up with and accept more readily as being part of our "reality." But even just going between work, home, other places, there can be a feeling of traveling between disparate worlds with a self in flux, with different aspects coming to the fore while others recede or disappear. It is so rare to find a place or time where it is possible to be in one's entirety. And just when you catch up to yourself, find your stride, you're somewhere else again.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you that those same questions can silently throb even as we lie near that sleeping spouse.

Somehow this dim bulb finally got a glimmer that you can focus on points of connection just as readily as on the space between. And while our isolation/death is no less certain for that, the subtle shift of attention can open up what seems locked down. I guess it's akin to mindfulness meditation.

All these comments from yous near and far seem to indicate some pretty intricate harmonics in that silent chord, Tom.

TC said...

Lanny and Annie,

So is Bliss where one finds it?

Me too with the Teletubbies double take. Big Hug! (Uh-oh.)

"As one who necessarily became a connoisseur of forsaken vistas, it had never occurred to me that finding bliss just required a golf course designer."

Why is it we always come late to these (in)essential knowledges? The 19th hole, my drive went in the water, I chipped into the sand, God refused a mulligan.

The intricate harmonics of the silent chord, ah.

"But even just going between work, home, other places, there can be a feeling of traveling between disparate worlds with a self in flux, with different aspects coming to the fore while others recede or disappear. It is so rare to find a place or time where it is possible to be in one's entirety. And just when you catch up to yourself, find your stride, you're somewhere else again."

Interesting echo here of the thinker Lanny cites, Jacques Ellul.

"I do not limit myself to describing my feelings with cold objectivity in the manner of a research worker reporting what he sees under a microscope. I am keenly aware that I am myself involved in technological civilization, and that its history is also my own. I may be compared rather with a physician or physicist who is describing a group situation in which he is himself involved. The physician in an epidemic, the physicist exposed to radioactivity: in such situations the mind may remain cold and lucid, and the method objective, but there is inevitably a profound tension of the whole being." (The Technological Society, revised U.S. edition, author's foreward)

Ivan Illich comments (in "An Address to 'Master Jacques'"): "He [JE] reminds the philosopher of technology, who studies patent, observable phenomena, to be aware of the possibility that his subject may be too terrible to be grasped by reason alone."


The disparate worlds... tonight wobbling like a listing ship past the very fanciest of eateries, watching the forever young middle aged rich people file in for the $95-a-plate Monday night bargain special...

Sitting exhausted later on a stone bank edifice with a couple of street folk, well, beer-in-a-bag bums, my people--and up walks one of my ex students. Sweet to see her and naturally street colleagues were impressed, street Irishman immediately starts riffling through my bags, figuring if I was once a teacher, maybe I'd be worth ripping off. Saved him the trouble by offering him the raisin cake in the bag.

Whence back home, and happy to have one...to a(nother) message: video of my friend Mo in his blue Somalian formalwear pyjamas, sitting outside the Fertile Grounds Cafe. Mo sent the video because, he later said on phone, he'd seen me in the street, I had appeared sad (he had that part right), he wanted to cheer me up. He then explained, out of the blue yet wisely relevant, that in Africa death is seen as merely a transition--to The Second Phase, he said. "This First Phase is just a test. In Africa death is faced without fear, it's just a passage."

"In America everybody expects happiness right now in this life, but that's not how it works, this is just the First Phase."

That seemed to put the false Bliss in a momentarily correct perspective. That, along with this:

"We know how to say many false things that seem like true sayings, but we also know how to speak the truth when we wish to."

(I think here of a line in Endymion for which contemporary reviewers gave Keats particular grief, in which kisses are euphemistically referred to as "slippery blisses." The later critic Christopher Ricks contrarily proclaimed that line wonderful on grounds of its truthfulness-to-life, you could feel the slobber, thus naturalistic accuracy. But something tells me Teletubbies lack mucus membranes.)