“The link between mythology and science is exactly what we need.” B. Latour, “On Not Joining the Dots.” Nov 22, 2016.



Near a mound of bearshit laced with berries tiny insects have bored
deep into the Ground of Being. Dogs raised to pull sleds over snow
are paddling through lukewarm melt. Signs at borders hunker under
the sun’s leveling glare, “passing abruptly from manifestness, overt-
ness, shining to concealing and sheltering.”


Stepping over, or sliding under a barbed wire fence and continuing
along the path, the old stories “no longer provide reassurance.”
The universe is more complex, beautiful, more conscious than the
world humans began to domesticate some 11,000 years ago when
“the very first cities (were) the very first forms of social media,”


“The descent beckons / as the ascent beckoned.” -W.C. Williams.

In an era of diurnal discoveries, algorithms, paradigm shifts,
by the time an aspiring poet acquires the requisite skills, a
tenured professor is living on a feted past. No late style. No
“return to oneself in a revivied form,”
(4) when “the first time
they flew, two in the morning, raining.”


Climate’s a nightmare of disasters, a ruse of variables hidden
in a wilderness riddled with Kant’s philosophy of a world that
is not the world in which, struggling uphill, sweat flows to the
telos of “when the phantoms are gone and the shaken realist
first sees reality.”
(6) Is there is nowhere shady to go from here?


Who do we become when we don’t become ourselves?
The my of “my child” is woven tight as a spider’s web.
A philosopher rolls up his sleeves as if raising blinds
to shed light on questions Anaximander, Anaximenes,
and Thales raised 26 centuries ago:

What is consciousness? What am I? What was there
before the universe began?

Nothing is intimately understood, only principles are
enacted. Lecturing on anthropocentrism, the scholar
folds in and links out. Philosophy is fantasy too.


Clambered up the mountain path to visit a mineral friend.
Hands splayed on her dense gray bulk: “Old Stony Face,
do you remember Scylla and Charybdis?”
There’s no safe passage through. Her dry reply. My mind
moved on.


Two horses stand parallel to each other, old friends asleep
in the coy morning light. Further down the road a tin horse,
Rocinante, “ranked above all others,”
(8) is heroically rusting,
a splintered wooden cross planted on a mound behind her.
Close the texts that say we’re set apart from other earthly
creatures. Dasein = alles ist Welt. DNA, molecules, genes,
nature, divine Nature, what is more essential to our being?


Crystalline poems sink into moist ground of a rare shower.
Hillsides planted for avocados, each tree draining several
inches of water from drought dry soil, suck up their anger.

Far above the trees’ green leaves, a robot is driving itself
over a sere airless planet, scooping up and sending back
data on Mars’ failure to evolve into what we have become.


What then is the truth of art? Is it a myth of the artist’s
life that cannot be unwound from the work that’s been
created? But what if the myth outweighs the quality of
the work? Or the artist’s life is lackluster, compared to
the quality of the work?

On the ridge’s path, I walk toward a shadow pressed
against a thicket of bushes: brown in its forgiveness,
green in its struggle to survive.


Many years ago, at a birthday party in San Francisco the poet Jack
Gilbert was passing around snapshots from a recent trip to Europe.
In one was a dense stand of spruce trees. “That’s the Black Forest.”

What was the philosopher pondering, as he rambled ancient routes
of the Hochschwarzwald? From its slopes, one could hear the bells
of the Baptist Kirche, while glaciers melting below were whispering.


Hotfooting up a mountain pass, there’s no distance between
sweating body and fulminating mind. Knees and words bend
together, lungs puff out visions, and the “hard problem” of
consciousness disappears. Only twisted cairns of horseshit
guide us through a long day’s afternoon.


“The deeper I go / the deeper I go / green mountains.” –Taneda Santoka

Having “learned to exist in the nameless,”(9) we may approach
the limits of a consciousness, the breadth of which, only the
uncelebrated know how to pursue.


Eighteen centuries after Ch’an Master Mu-Chou’s free sandals,
investors ground-truth technology’s latest fantasy-generating
machines. Henceforth, declarations of love scribbled in chalk
on a rock’s mottled face will never appear again.


Sculpture begins with fingers in-love with what doesn’t yet exist.
A golem thing; an image promoting an object in a space not yet
displaced. Clay, wood, or globs of plaster slapped onto a frame,
art that loops in and out of time, reprising the sublime.


More than 300 million years after leaving the sea to waddle
on what was already ancient land, I was working in an oil
tanker’s engine room riding high on the ocean's gray matter.
On shore
dogs pulled against Beckettian leashes. Two boys
played catch. A pelican skimmed sun-drenched water. Birds
pecked at sand, others circled like holy ghosts. A man surfed,
rising on a wave's crest...then rolling under.


To be born is to be vulnerable. What had been an intuitive struggle
to survive inches forward like trees walking toward a North that no
longer exists. A world can't strive with monsters pulling it down.


The path is steep. Its rocks have a mind of their own, sitting at every
possible angle: chipped and sharp, flat or bulbous, a geography of a
throw of the dice. With both sides lined with Poison Oak, all summer
I stayed away. No one knows exactly what this means.


From grass and stick huts round or squared, to ziggurats, pyramids
to modern skyscrapers, there remains awe and jealousy of orogeny,
of the earth’s ability to lift, reshape, pour boiling lava down volcanic
slopes, or shaking and opening the earth---and the weather flooding,
freezing, overheating, upending humanity’s ingenious constructions.
Perhaps someday we’ll return to live in caves. “That takes us all the
way back to the dawn of humanity,”
(10) this time on Mars, even before
repairing our terrestrial-riven faults.


On a chilly autumn morning, two sweaters are paired as one.
When the mountain’s brow was reached, I continued on then
stopped and turned around.
Death and enlightenment had reached the same conclusion.
Walking down stepping on or around rocks shaky, or solidly
placed, I may have slipped, but I did not fall.


Because Paul Celan leaped into the Seine, I'll write poems
whose “roots still hover, there, in the air.”
(11) Demonic roots,
who vowed to trip me up, I’ve left you a few drops of my blood.

Goodbye Old Stony Face, three bows to your gray wisdom.
Goodbye to plants who died then blossomed green again.
Goodbye to those gods who said they would return.
Goodbye. I won’t return.


1. J. Sallis, Stone. Bloomington IN, 1994. p. 90.
2. G. Steiner, “The Humanities Don’t Humanize.” The Nexus Institute, Feb. 22, 2013.
3. M. Wigley, “Are We Human? Interview with Mark Wigley.” Nov 13, 2017.
4. J. Clemens, Review of Alain Badiou, The Age of the Poets: And other Writings on Twentieth-Century Poetry and Prose. Sydney Review of Books. Feb 19, 2015.
5. J. Weishaus. From, “Leaving.”
6. W. Stevens. From, "Esthétique du Mal"
7. “To our knowledge, the first documented hypothesis about the origin of the violent currents in the Strait of Messina was from Homer around 800 B.C.), who thought that they are caused by two monsters, Scylla and Charybdis.” W. Alpers, “Scylla and Charybdis Observed From Space.” Journal of Geophysical Research. Feb. 28, 1983. p. 800.
everything do.; even when he no longer gathered his thinking under the name phenomenology.”
8. M. de Cervantes, Don Quixote. New York, 2005. p.15.
9. M. Heidegger, “Letter in Humanities.” Basic Writings. New York, 1977. p.223.|
10. G. Chushing. In, K. Kormei, “House-Hunting on Mars Has Already Started/” The Guardian, Oct 29, 2022.
11. P. Celan From, No One’s Rose. Grosse Point Park MI, 2014. p.159.