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Monday, 12 July 2010




The continuing overtaxing pressure to adjust to the administered world leaves people no time to do anything but bore into the material clay of their lives, as though their destiny had been to evolve into drill bits, boring deeper and deeper, moving vertically downward forever, indexing, storing, scooping out new data, the important questions met along the way drowned out by the roar of the earthworms.


Sedimentary clay mountain, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona: photo by puroticorico, 2008
Quaternary clay in Estonia (400,000 years old): photo by Siim Sepp, 2005


david shapiro said...

Dear Tom,
Because I am so agioraphobic not to say also claustro we haven't seen each other or talked in say 45 years.
I;'m in the upper upper Nepal of the West Side in Riverdale where Archie and Jughead wrote poetry. My son is 25 and trying to be a doctor but wrote thousands of poems with me and a few movies with Rudy., I put together about l0 books and made them the old man's Neue Gedichte.
My sister one of four young and an OBGYN is in SF. Are you near that or LA. I';m just the grasshopper that Keats said was all right. Love to Angelkicam, didn';t I play at your marriage, now 40 years like openguins. Lins works at an Indian Mjhuseum.I weitre and poaint and play violin but not enough. I've been writing little poems omn facebook the last few years. Just to say hello to you both.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

These three small words, "the administered world," how they capture it all ...

"the roar of the earthworms"!

All this on Neruda's birthday. said...

Tom, I wrote a too-long letter and was edited sharply by the machine's eraser fluid. I am as you may not know so agoirapjhoic and claustro that I've done nothing but write poetry paint and collage and bring up my child now 25 treying to be a doctor. (He did a book with Jaspoer, two movies nwith Ruydytm, etc.Howebver 40 yearfs of analysis have made me less pressuring of him., Ha! Just wanted to say hello
like a paassser0by in Baudelaire, but that';s Angelica. Didn't I play at your wedding as well as I could? I even mountainclimbed in China and swunbg oin rope bridges over turbulent TRang times. Anyway,
I;m at 1 718 601 3425 if yoiu ever want to what's the verb spealk chat talk. Ron writes tiny legtters. So I'll shut up now. DJS

John B-R said...

Dear Issa: "These three small words, "the administered world," how they capture it all ..."

From wherever he is, Theodor Adorno salutes you!

TC said...

Theodor Adorno is hiding under the piano. And it is a very small piano. But I can hear little Teddy's high pitched, piping voice loud and clear, John, thanks to you.

Don, the earthworms are under there too, I have just now noticed. But they have been there for 400,000 years. They must be roaring out of impatience.


We are overjoyed to hear from you. Of course we remember your virtuoso performance of "I Love You Truly" at our wedding in the parish hall at St Marks way back in 1968, when the world was young(er). We still have the sheet music -- "I Love You Truly, from Seven Songs: As Unpretentious As The Wild Rose". On that number you were joined by Dick Gallup and Larry Fagin (on guitars). Larry and Dick added vocals, with Mike Goldberg supplying a deep rich bass.(All this is documented by the signatures of the orchestra and chorus on the sheet music, yet.) Then you wowed everybody with some solo Bach. How fortunate we were, it seems. And now we are lucky again to be hearing from you, David. We send our love from Berkeley.

John B-R said...

Tom, I put up an (acknowledged) sort of homage/riff on this at ZS ... at least it reads like a related text to me ...



Yes, "the administered world" surrounds us and, what to do (but adjust). But meanwhile we can look at that sedimentary mountain in Arizona's Petrified Forest (!), see the 'signs' of years piling up. . . speaking of which I've been paddling across the channel these days, over to the tip of the sandspit, where if one looks one can find pieces of petrified sand dollars (yesterday a whole half of one, and twice two whole ones!), between 6 and 80 million years old, a friend tells me . . . .


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
top of ridge, sparrow landing on branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

what is to be shown exchange,
which place means to be

something happening, opposed
to this, second thought

grey-white of fog reflected in channel,
cormorant flapping across toward ridge

Ed Baker said...

earthworms have been "there" for 400,000 years?

t h at is very old...even for a worm.


Girl lives in Stone Forest
... I will ask 'her' about this Old Worm who roars from deep in-side of Rock/Mother

TC said...


Thank you. There is an interesting interconnectedness in these sediments.


There are some really ancient earthworms, one of whom is hunting and pecking these words on this grey morning which has been too full of the deaths of old friends.

The silence of the clay can be deafening.

But when the earthworms shut up, here come the questions.


That is brilliant, paddling across the channel, 'twould be swell to be able to hitch a ride.

Petrified sand dollars could perhaps be employed to bribe the relatively youthful roaring earthworms ("what is to be shown exchange").

manik sharma said...

helloo tom
i've been fist fighting in my head with a question these was dropped on me as a by-product of a conversation i had with a friend

during the conversation he mentioned a quote from someone that was something like
"intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows"

i do not remember who this was by...n neither did i try to find out...for he/she might have been considered an intellectual what would be the point then....

not that it makes a difference i feel...but still my brain has been besieged since...i did not know where to post have seen so much more than i probably ever will...and met so many special people in your life...the kind you have to line up in queues to meet here in my country...
i felt it was befitting someone of your stature and wisdom(not granted but perceived)that you have an opinion on this...and i could learn from it.. if you'd like to ofcourse....just a request...i'll be patient...

thank you..

~otto~ said...

All that going down makes it hard to go up. And those earthworms. Loved that roar.

TC said...


I think you're right, these newly evolved data chomping human drill bits have in common with the old mechanical kind of drill bits a built-in inability to chomp upward into the sky, where perhaps there might at least for a moment come a pause from the chomping.

Turn, turn turn, & c.


Something tells me it's not so much a matter of how many words you use as which ones.

The right ones are usually the best.



Yes of course, dude,
hitch a ride anytime. . . .

manik sharma said...

i completely agree ...but i feel disheartened when some people defy this very notion....and are still put aside or compared to people who actually based their lives on it...but then thats the world we live in guess...

thanku for your wisdom...

Anonymous said...

Todo se marchita cuando lo toca la sucia rutina.

Is there still hope for us?

Great picture. It reminds me of Cerro de los Siete Colores.

TC said...


The patterns of mineral pigments that we see in the bands on these hills, and in the Hills of the Seven Colours, remind us once again that the greatest of all painters is Dame Nature.