Kendal Q. Binmore: Quetzalcoatl: journeyman in story, entries 7-12

Quetzalcoatl: journeyman in story

Kendal Quetzalcoatl Binmore


Department of Literature and Literary Criticism, Yale University, emeritus


William Blake Chair in Fine Arts, California Institute of Technology, Traditional Campus, emeritus



7. Apocalypse, Always


8. Thunderbird


9. Problems with Suzuki’s satori


10. The Nazi Hunter


11. On the wind of a flute


12. The Game Theorist


7. Apocalypse, always


          In anonymity the Spirit wanders the wicked differential of city, where scarcity and surfeit pass one another unawares. Wanders without cause, save the push-pull entreaty of various covens asking that it alight uniquely on each. Each alone righteous, alone of final knowledge; each imprisoning the world away from themselves with talk of salvation, salvation measured in the destruction of others, offering a hand, knowing it will not be taken. Around us God prepares His End of Days, each coven an AntiChrist for the others, covens both sole salvation and abundance of false prophets, the lies propelling the righteous to worship, God making false prophets through the singular act of salvation. So stands God, a universe without perspective, a Newton who need not be. The Absolute cannot die for it cannot see, cannot lose a view, so has nothing to grasp against loss; but salvation, coward in its coven, looks terrified outward, looks to see salvation crouching in its covens, looking back.


           This reciprocity of gaze is God beyond perspective, Satan revealed only when choosing a place to crouch, so is never God. Or, identically, Satan is everywhere, God nowhere. We make Satan, he makes us, his power lies in his plurality, we humble in our singularity. So we boot-strap our salvation into Apocalypse, leap into the nonperspective which is God by making our battle the only battle. The End of Days is perforce the only thing we know–battle, battle which will vanish us as we win. Hear the roar of evolution, roar laughter of nonperspective, employing the conceit of individual to make a mass: so too our End of Days. God, being no thing, knows nothing else.


           I wandered too–and found a coven. I twenty, wandering Chicago’s south side, looking for a cheap flat, my mother’s money pumped into the University of Chicago for an exemplary naming. Yet attracted to the poor side for another reason as well. There money cannot hide the desperation of belief. My mother’s godly search stayed with me, my summers still pulled to MesoAmerica and, more recently, the American Southwest. I was placed in America to have no home, to become cosmopolitan, to be foreign, to ever search for what I thought, thought, others had. To search, to wander, to ever marvel at creation, wondering where its home is and was. My mother feared the regularity of existence. Godhead made trouble when worshiped too well. The great pyramids did not impress; she would know by what magic they came.


           Walking the poorer side, I looked for sparks, sparks dying out in their absurdity. Certainly I must have passed many unnoticed. What I did find was a desperate little fire, made of some spark undocumented, fueled by lives riddled to oblivion under the weight of city. A small coven of the End of Days, meeting for prayer in the basement of my apartment building, hosted by the tall old man who shows and maintains the flats.


           Trudging home one evening become dark night, pondering tomes that would change the world if only someone would open them, I heard murmurs along with the jingle of keys. The basement was undoored; I slid down the brief stairs to find eight praying souls. No horror movie here; there rarely is, horror reserved for those only known in tale. Just a few souls worshiping their desperate prayers. The old man, facing the door from the far end, noticed me, more satisfied than startled, long skilled in discerning acts of God. I was invited in; pushed more by my mother than pulled by him, I entered, and so began sojourn with an End.


           Apocalypse had always been with this old man. Perhaps he had always been old, surpassing the lives of others, listening to gossip, then radio, later television, now the internet, discerning in daily reports our immanent End, snuffing out false progress which is the Lie, escaping the shackles of knowledge through the end of time. If he lives just a little longer he need not die at all–just cease, cease in personality, freed of the bonds of finitude which time bestows, finitude which is time itself. Sin is finitude, finitude is loss, absence, inadequacy, sin the grasping exclusion which the finitude of time precipitates. Exiting time, there are no distinctions, all is engulfed because no thing is, a totality presently incantated in the Word.


           This small group of struggled life wanted me to stop trying to understand. Understanding is an exclusive owning, a finitude regulating some to back allies, dividing all Houses through rancor and privilege, they the underside upon which privilege stands. The Word liberates from the outer world, is eternity incarnate, unendingly again, in each moment, a seal against differentiation which ever leaves some outside. The Word is that place success cannot reach, where, as our heart weakens, as going and coming become irrelevant, the limit sequence of death brings eternity. An act of mind transcending death before it is experienced, because it cannot be experienced. We leap across the deaths of others, saying eternity is the leap itself.


           My youth made my danger, for them as well as I. Young in change, I was false promise. Gone the promise to Jacob, gone the seed numerous as stars; now the goal to douse these, to bring blackness where no thing can be discerned, to erase memory which is the trace of unwanted evolution. I was to be saved from university, from myself, from life distancing the End.


           I went to coven, when I had the strength of night. I came to respect this place of world, to imagine people unlike me, unlike them, people gone, their words somehow locked in material our minds make artifact, our naming incantation to break the seals. I made those before me representatives of belief, not Truth, as though the End is but interesting television which, if not turned off, will end in any case. But there is no end to the End; that is the character of a limit sequence. While I made commentary, they lived. Pluralism fails because belief is singular.


           They waited, expecting the Holy Spirit to fulfill the promise announced though my first appearance; to alight for me to welcome or reject, and so be marked. Marked I was, by a question yet awaiting answer: why the torture of immortality?


           “There is only salvation or hell. Is this choice? Is this freedom?”


           The tall old man looked upon me expressionless, his body emblem of endurance unfathomable to an age of mine.


           “God’s love recovers us.”


           “To evade torment is no choice. Would not our devotion be greater if given a third choice–oblivion?”


           “God loves us too much to let us die.”


           Even the End of Days cannot avoid talk of death.


           “That is for Him, not us. Freely taken life, yes. But freely rejected makes the taking stronger. God does not do this for us, but to insure a ‘yes,’ to make ‘yes’ the only reasonable answer. Where is the love in eternal torment?”


           Expressionless face knowing battle the only reply. Unanswered, I go off to class, to the immortality of youth, false eternity which fuels academics and enrages such as he.


           A few days later, by my door, in the hall, I opened my morning to find a coin, silver encircled by gold, an old restaurant bathroom token, certainly of the 1970’s or before: Keep our restrooms clean. On the obverse: Jack’s Diner, Iowa City. In days of witness the old man told me he once was a traveling salesman. From his collected life. I had become, always had been, unclean. He would say nothing in the hall thereafter, save for disdain of eye. The basement worship ceased; they must have gone elsewhere. I soon found magic marker graffiti on my mail box, others untouched, there, then gone, to recur again. Nothing of clear sense, save for me in private knowledge of the coin. That this man could enter my apartment at any time as manager unsettled. I moved.


           Did he place that coin into my mind? Was his hand the cause, or some trace of memory silent, plucking it from some past? Causation comes neatly bundled in people; God comes transcendent to make the bundle. His God infected me through that coin. His God unknown to him, he ever separating himself from world to bound his creator for a knowing. God is everywhere, so everywhere that He is many. God is eternal, that which links past and present, present and present, the disjoint of overlapping lives; that which struggles to escape solipsism by declaring transcendence everywhere.


           By opening myself to his faith, his God moved through me. Causation links without commentary, unarticulated, our commentaries just more unarticulation. Each time we listen, a terror lurks, hoping to unfold, to jump somewhere new. That coin transmitted his God to save himself from me. But my damage was also done: the third choice, oblivion, abomination to be forgotten, if one can. I fleeing in the repulsion which is transmission, God extending Himself directionless. To contour atrocity one must be touched by it. God’s use of Satan, Satan’s use of God. Coin and oblivion: two minor atrocities to built greater.


With each hello

I encounter incalculable demons:

this the Sutra of Humanity

Benjamin Suzuki

           Leaving the apartment complex for the last time, I turned back–to see him standing expressionless, tall body enduring, another victory his. A little closer to heaven, a little more finite, a little more holy. Holy–separate: a struggle ending only as a limit sequence. Oblivion too is a limit sequence, seen only by the transcendent. Holy, eternity, oblivion: limit sequences all, known and labeled only by the surviving, survival the only direct experience, labeled of those presently gone.


           Decades later I would foil my mother’s homelessness, find a home among those who would let others make a home, among minds known only in the artifact of words, an archaeology beginning before pen leaves page. A home of many doors, door itself a mansion, no narrow entrances there, doors which open and close but never all as one, a reverse musical chairs where places to be arrive, not depart.


My God? It’s no one’s God. That is the terror.

(Associate Justice Anthony Pau Cabrales to Justice Rachael Colleen Whitehead)


[cf Binmore, K. Q., Cacophony, Triumvirate, Section 5, Cabrales’ God–Archivist]. My mother’s search was a flight from this God, leading only to It’s ossified remains. Leading to a world replete with fossils encountered in every glance and turn. To escape into homelessness, see homes innumerable.


           Tezcatlipoca who mocks our careers, shattering our vessels with laughter to let power flow unencumbered–destroy us. Go beyond the petty change of fame. Destroy our God, release us from His creation. Neuter God to an It without finite home, make us Fatherless. Release us from Apocalypse, stand us in the uncertainty called oblivion. I, Quetzalcoatl, will recur to collect the tears of your wake, your gift of freedom yet another Apocalypse.



8. Thunderbird


           Orgasm quakes, shatters worlds, making world anew through truncation, climax unavailing focus of a universe which never quite is. Worlds fragment, group anew, the metric of life expanding and contracting across space. Worlds shatter, but the one world, known only in tale, transported by breath from one to one, unaware of its own transmission, ignorant of the world it portends, precocious pre-arrival of outside, arrival to come the font of all miracle and damnation; the one world knows nothing of shatters, is but the collection of shatter, is indifferent to the sole purpose of being which histories make. The one world absorbs our focus into infinitesimal, and for this we damn our stage. Singularity we would make, and the one world fails us by allowing multiple, concurrent, overlapping singularity. From this cacophony unheard birth can come, a world budding from the desperate truncation to make false singularity. Failure is creation, failure to extend moment to eternity births the future, each of us the product of what cannot be sustained.


           The world endures through common, uncoordinated grope for singularity, each focus becoming a point other for another focus, an outside reference, outside tearing space from that which would be unique unto itself. Space is merely the outside, final jeopardy which also beckons for singularity anew. Pluralism, multiple focus towards singularity, endures by ignoring itself. Orgasm becomes potently harmless, used by the unfeeling one world, a world spared singularity because only partially connected in jumps; used by the one world for purposes perforce other than singularity. We know only in tale that we are but bits of some other use, and strive to annul this rumor through the protective truncation of orgasm–which is our use.


           We apply the orgasm of our limbs elsewhere, in our games, our goals, or walking pleasures of sustenance, truncating the one world into comprehensibility, comprehensibility the truncation, lesser singularities which contend with one another for sole existence. Strangely, the pure grope toward singularity of biology is indifferent to elsewheres, but not so our diluted forms. These latter only grasp uniqueness by quashing others, politics its greatest form.


           Politics–the coordination of foci, mutual ecstacy, abomination to true singularity, through the simultaneous destruction of alternative. The outside made like us, into us, you like me as we make the other of tale like us. Politics would recover singularity, collapse the one world into world, by removing the difference which space creates. This is Apocalypse, its tool Armageddon, the extension of identity until there is no other to destroy. The Second Comings of Christianity and Islam; in sometimes humbler key, the manifest destiny of nation.


           Some resist this uniquely human form of orgasm all their lives. I like to think I was such a one. Ah, but orgasm never came to me. Only by my own hand, never with a woman. Somehow, even quite young, I sensed the truncation it can cause in social relationships; I always pulled back. More accurately, a barrier arose which was never present with my own hand, as though I sensed a shattering to be in the greater outside, among those unknown to me, perhaps others paying for my moment unawares, and I did not want to be their intervening outside. Mine an absurd stance which would emaciate that supposed saved world if applied uniformly, everywhere. The fault was mine. I tried not to condemn, just envy. I would pronounce the world should not be as me. I stood among people I dearly wished ascended to where I could not go, somehow certain I never could. Having failed the easy orgasms, I saw the profound escape.


           Orgasm cascades the biochemistry of trust, lover held potential recipient, upon calculus of the pair’s social worlds–so the shattering of worlds often consequent of voyeured private act. I had only my hand; where should the trust so made bestow? Crass joke–but real. Never ending the solitary necessity through another, my trust generalized, and I failed to see that the truncation of world is a necessity. Closer to singularity than the nightly pairings of others, truncation became generalization, my wished singularity flowing into the one world of tale, no world budded, just I lost. That loss is constant tear, loss taken by others certain of their being, not even knowing the taking, the severance of truncation their private naming. But the I that remained ever flowed, trust still hoping for a place, finding the only place flow itself, finding flow naught but temporary alighting.


           Such failure of necessity if undoubtedly consequent of my mother; she’s always there. Her search for godhead was unending, godhead the search itself, her reverence without a referent. Salvation was not something to be found but noted in others. She could not rest in any salvation for fear of condemning some other to unnotice. Sex was no obstacle for her; she indulged as if taking a recreational drug, a sampling procedure, momentary hold of something of world, assay pulled from biology to new purpose. But marriage was foreign and feared, a certainty allowing no place for others. I was either a negotiated child or miracle of Being, some many one night stand where contraception lapses intentionally. She never clarified my origin, nor hid her sexual life at any age of mine.


           I negotiated in fantasy for a father, and there perhaps my ever flow began, seeing in colleague hers some part to emulate; or in a cultural informant; or in teacher or television drama. I attached and was severed, tearing off a bit of what chopped me off to float on down the flow. She flowed to gods with me in tow. Sometimes I was not severed by my imagined father of now, but pulled away by mother’s search. In consequence I became a free point, never knowing the comfort of truncated world, neither would be singularity nor one world, knowing only unending greeting and departure, this preparing my hand for exclusive trust to come. I became not the one world but tale of that world, my unattached trust breath of word unending. I became conduit of one world, the only making we have.


           Such a hand afull of trust must go somewhere. I took to most minor sacrifices. In my senior Chicago year I purchased an imitation of car and began to deliver lunches to the homebound. Before some class defining proficiency in arcane gymnastics of word, I penetrated briefly into one world, eyes shocked at my youth, sometimes suspicious of my little delivered box of meal, wondering at this invasion bursting their horizon of closed door. I smile, often sleepless smile, they wondering who would do this without shackle. One asked if I were under court order. Another, after several months, lamented that I still had not found a job. Many wished me good grade on my school project. These the speakers, others numb, so bound to their own truncation that they could not police the truncation of others. Yet some rebels of their world as well: You have the light of God in you, one impoverished, deranged, aging woman said.


           The light of God from afar, moving on, through, perhaps the transport of tale which is the only one world. To find portals beyond my being kept me there, faces at the door the only history there is, I unable to linger, if that would matter, on to the next delivery before the rather bad sandwiches went stale and I missed my afternoon class. A most minor sacrifice made I.


           I met others, some under court order, traveling this loop of lives unknown. One stands out: a woman in her late sixties, already a great-grandmother, a born again saved from medicine, former Catholic who went with God when the doctors were dumbfounded. A woman who would stay nights at a park to capture stay cats to deliver them to a heaven their minds understood only upon its presentation. She performed death vigils for friends, for friends of friends, lying in bed to hold the dying to a heaven few others will attend. She told me, once when waiting in the hospital kitchen for boxes less of caring than grudged moral necessity; she told me there that in Africa the dead were raised through faith. In that crucible of child rape, famine, war and cleansing faith became so strong that the words of Jesus became real. An African minister came to her church to witness the deeds. Here in America we know not faith. She tries to grasp the dying, to struggle to that harder place whence miracles sprout, but our sanitized deaths leave us impotent.


           In the unexplored terrain of distress miracles await. We have lost God in our excesses of survival, our surfeits of success. In such a plague she walks and ministers. Once, seeing me reading an academic paper for class, she cringed; false knowledge keeping the struggled faith which molds biology itself distant. We could joyfully die and see resurrection if we would place ourselves in the trauma. This the purpose of Apocalypse, not wrath of God, but grace to learn the power of faith, to depart the comfort which raises children, faith sufficient to exit history and all need of growth. We love only in prelude to this final Exit. Each act of worship is a declaration of the coming irrelevance of such acts.


           It’s the law of blood. Life consumes life to live. God consumed us, then made a Son to consume Him, releasing us, God consuming Himself until final Singularity. And we are given grace for consumption in Apocalypse, towards the one point, no thing, beyond distinction, Heaven found.


           Curious, then, that she should strive to keep contention distant. Rather than encourage trauma, work toward Apocalypse, she would make us all alike in love, weak imitation of singularity delayed. Knowing I was not a Christian, she gave me Christmas around the world to advocate the coordinated joy in hidden common End. Heaven comes early in uniformity, hint of the absorption beyond personality to come.


           We waited in hospital while elections came. The California electorate turned back its Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage through a nullifying populist constitutional amendment. Outside, we hesitantly spoke of it. Only following God’s will can we exit these Days. Gay marriage keeps others from that will, confuses bystanders, obscures the struggle for faith to come, is that struggle incarnate. These are blessed in struggle yet would refuse the gift.


           On iron sky distant thunder rumbles. I look up, wondering of other gods.


           We are destined to raise the dead. Our faith is solitary, yet grows through the belief of others. We raise the dead together, becoming undifferentiated children of God, Apocalypse our struggle to leave all history, the dead recurring unfettered by past. Mine becomes our: so goes salvation, forgiveness perfect stasis beyond all cause.


           Sharper crackle, rumbling lightly the windows. Something passes nearby, never seen, only evidence of one world, quaking this present.


           She stops, joyfully looks up, lover of the dying, lover of great-grandchildren, lover of cats otherwise emaciated. She looks up, certain her God is gifting the wait.


           Single, large, cold drops fall. I supplicate my palm; causation beyond my world alights. My world is quaked and this drop comes, far touching me where I cannot touch it. Cold, neither loving nor hating, its gift that it was not here before. Something passes beyond the veiled horizon, leaving me a sign without story. Rumble is my portal, the travel of something distant, small entries of distant for me to follow to make an elsewhere.


           The clarity of world is always our world. I want the distant other which nonetheless asserts its presence. I want escape, for me or some other if not me. This is why I, young man made boy by culture, trust in hand; this is why I favor gay marriage. Come distant rumble, quake the world, perchance cracking a portal to an elsewhere beyond us all.


We stand

on ground

ever fleeing itself

Benjamin Suzuki


           Years hence I will fame this sentiment in worded trace of a man, his refuse apology for being here, a man who brought non-Apocalypse, contention unending, final victory ever damnation of humanity, humanity no human being:


I want to be your Justice. But a judge, in each act, each decision, is a failure of potential, a failure hoping to keep the potential of others afloat. It is the contending world which comes to court which is the hope and envy of the judge. I want to be your Justice. Somewhere out there, ever beyond my sight, is the reason why. (Benjamin Suzuki, concluding statement, Senate Confirmation Hearing, 5th Session)

           Ah, Tezcatlipoca, we are not the only gods in this pantheon, nor ours the only pantheon. Gods before have severed their tongues to make peoples who would speak of them, we their residue, mutually incomprehensible in our worships. So you and I travel the peoples that were, are, will be, we children of others’ breath, breath of tongues long lost, we traveling to destroy and remake, knowing the only commonality is the in between.



9. Problems with suzuki’s satori


           Bark laugh almost heard, almost here, Suzuki the morning light, present but intangible, medium for sight, known only when absent. My hand trembles in age, not quite able to align with the present, still jostling among currents of contention long gone, or apparently so, my present moneyed garden stasis awaiting the decline of reason. On morning table the latest New York Review of Books, lead piece making its forgotten moment, Problems with Suzuki’s satori, one more name making by shattering some past.


           Bread and circuses we are, commentating to secure a place, offering coin of word for others unseen to jostle their own place, contention for literacy banal, comfortable becomes unremarkable. We pens are remembered because there are so many rememberers, little enclaves of being which, contending among themselves, insure the survival of all. Perhaps civilization is little more than the perpetual mourning of incompatible pasts, incompatible because we trump content over process, yet content is just currency of process.


           I younger would trumpet as this author, make my name by force of sound, stand firm hoping no one notices it too dissipates. Notice is all we are, not notice of word, but notice to the exclusion of another. Finite creatures are forced to supremacy; the unbounded has no worry of loss. The trick of civilization is to make the finite into the unbounded, our petty supremacies grand when used to this end. Which is why I think Suzuki will survive this piece.


           Problems with Suzuki’s satori: satori nothing but problem, satori solution of no solution, leaving contention in its place, using contention to twirl away, catch me but you can’t, stasis in the twirl, contention engine of justice, no where overlong:


Pivot–I make a life of a word, whirling in the air like some mechanical art work, dizzy in the non-world I thereby inhabit. (From the zen journal of Benjamin Suzuki)


Cabrales, the Cabrales before Suzuki, turns Suzuki’s near necessary despair to a heaven, which is why I like them both so:


           [T]urn, turn in place, turn without hope. Let no one keep you from spinning, let them marvel as you perform your role while escaping yet trapped. Turn, turn, watching the unease to fear as you fail to wander away.


This the kingdom of heaven on earth, available to all at identical price … kingdom of heaven where God dwells through our turning absence. (From the journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales, before Suzuki’s appointment to the Court)


Kingdom of heaven where God dwells through our turning absence: twirl always a different face, reality’s punch fuel for potential in the turn.


           My trumpeting well placed author is but more twirl, resolve of a man who knows how all worlds should be.


Say, say, say until no other voice is heard. This the repression of centuries. (From the journal of Henry Mitland)


Curious that we are so infuriated by absence. Nothing to hit, nothing to harm. Yet we will talk ourselves a harm if we can.


           Absence satori certainly is. We want caves of carefully watched single entrance, with the terror which grew us distant to our origin. Absence is the great outside, whence rumor says we came, which is why we fear another coming. Stasis of our now is earned right; but rights are not earned.


           No, not earned. Rights are common in the disparaging sense. As common as feces, and as unpleasant. And as inevitable. As common as the world imperative each child brings, and as oblivious to the mess thereby wrought. Receptacle of gene, receptacle of right–in neither case the person important in itself. We the presence of universals, the person valuable only as a concatenation of these.


           Justice rides the ancient philosophical battle of universal and particular, each important only because the other is. The unique concatenation called person is preserved so rights may live another day, a person no more intrinsically valuable than a gene with no reproductive trajectory.


Rights are potential. It is not just in the realization of a right that power comes. Each realization fuels potential–elsewhere. Those in Guantanamo are not in themselves important. Their grievances flicker briefly with less light that a firefly. It is the Court which gives them light beyond their lives. We do not value individuals for themselves; we rescue them for the burning glow they give, a glow ignited by the act of rescue, a light which travels beyond petitioner and Court, beyond memory capable of any man. Rights are always elsewhere. We struggle to implement them hoping next time we’ll do it complete. That’s their power: next time. We want that next time to fill the heads of people unseen. (Benjamin Suzuki, Senate Confirmation Hearing, Fifth Session)

The particular is important because it vanishes–and vanish Suzuki did, disappearing trick where the audience isn’t even shown what will later disappear. Not there, he made space, space for place, place now contended by my good Review author.


I am the space amidst you all, shifting so you move, ever dying, ever born, ever unseen. (Benjamin Suzuki, Senate Confirmation Hearing, Fifth Session)


           Hard to destroy the space in which you lie, wonderful English with words alike yet different of origin and say–lie. Not impossible; there are black holes. Yet these speak to us not in themselves but through their effect on the visible, that beyond their margin, places which are place precisely because inclusive all fails. Language is failure of inclusion, yet also failure of place, failure of the only vessel which is, the particular. We are here because greatness has always failed.  Justice, says Suzuki, is happy, recurrent failure, in spite of the pain failed. Justice is space consequent of failure, margin which makes distance beyond the voracious certainty of black hole:


Without that space we would collapse upon one another, contending for dominant single identity. This happens among us quite often, locally–more or less. Sometimes we call it repression; sometimes atrocity; sometimes genocide; sometimes victory; sometimes destiny. But distance insulates from collapse. The greatest atrocities fail of perfect consumption. So Justice always recovers. Consumption produces greater distance, greater space. So Justice is continually born of the ever minor collapses in the world. (Benjamin Suzuki, Senate Confirmation Hearing, Fifth Session)


           Suzuki twirled in planned failure. The last act of the ephemeral is its going, useful as any other. Twirling, he leaves, entering an elsewhere into which he leaves. Immortality of the individual in the act of leaving, Jesus done one better, not returning and then once more, but always leaving, always somewhere because always leaving, the first ending of the Gospel of Mark repeated endlessly: he is going ahead of you…that is where you will see him (from 16:7). So too Cabrales:


A Dios. To God. To God, away from us. Not away from sin. Away from our control, into an unknown. Not to force others to our view. Not to believe others will come to our view. But to expect–expect–that the releasing act, A Dios, will create something foreign. Something different. Resolution through displacement; victory obscured, not removed, by difference. (From the Journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales)


           Watch Suzuki twirl on our talk, breath upon which he tacks. Our certitude is his energy, deflected to new purpose; he would not take it from us, just use its surplus.


worlds scurry about me

glancing off my actions

as they vanish

to their elsewhere

Benjamin Suzuki


In that glance a turn, a twirl, each encounter making momentum for two elsewheres.


           Problems with Suzuki’s satori. My hand trembles lightly over the Review. Likely I will be mentioned in this talk of Suzuki. I hover over the piece, hand lit by garden window, descending to rest on journal’s surface. I shall not open it, but warm my hand in this mourning light.


audience stomps its feet

my words fraying in their gauntlet

some emerge, regroup

hoping for sense


better to speak in loneliness

watching the flock ascend

Benjamin Suzuki


           Ah, Tezcatlipoca, pity me. I who was chosen to sacrifice my brethren to make a moving world, later to bloodlet myself to flow the world still in pattern, my continence ugly in emaciation, I ashamed to show my face to what I sustain. My brethren chose me to make me an island, to not be me, to vanish while I stayed, to vanish in others’ movement whole; I, self-deluded, thinking I move when walking from destruction to create anew. No, my gone brethren move; I circle, circle humanity’s immortality, foolish never escape of movement am I, owned of none, only held in speech of what was and will be so is. My brethren move, unconstrained, used to freely be, I merely a vector once to awhile encountered. I make the cycle of civilization so forces may play; so my brethren, once trapped in godhood, may play unfettered, unseen, they beyond all caring. Only you, Tezcatlipoca, give mercy, the illusion of movement in the decay of what I wrought. Are you trapped as well, mirrored twin? What illusion I for you?



10. The Nazi Hunter


           “They are not all gone. It cannot be so.”


           Desolate land, life imported to live. Vast desert plain, pounding heat, nothing stands, no measure of distance, just far rise so grand that world there ends. Foot of God distant, it should go higher, it does, we just cannot fathom. Here God of Torah strides the world: Dead Sea basin.


           Not too far from here the Scrolls were found, placed under God’s shattering stride, He passing, us unnoticed, always unnoticed, His passing our desert. In Qumran jars contained the universe unknown to God. Where there is nothing, make a jar everything. Hold the world to stay its crush, hide the world from what it is. That the message in those jars–meaning hides within its desert surround.


           All gone? What was ever here?


           That’s not what he means. White hair, Austrian accent never lost, childhood become adolescence in camps of death, a desolation well peopled, all the emptiness imaginable in each. Where we stand is Eden, no one to harm, no harm to be done, no betrayals, no descent to the Maker’s first prototype; no one watching, wondering what they will do when their turn comes, not knowing that by just watching they have already decided. Here where God still strides midstep there is freedom from humanity, that grace which God is.


           Desert dwellers are no brutes. They retreat from the abundance of humanity through which atrocity grand has always come. God strides alone, making his desert by Being; some pray follow, His inhumanity their refuge. Such a one my guide that day.


           Called socially astute, he rode the world, walked into anonymity, as alone as those he sought. Memory chasing memory, atrocity wondering why it has been left out, game gone barreling ahead without it. Fights to win but no one to cheer. Touched by God’s desert, he knows Justice has no audience. Guilty of memory, he brings them in, some self exiting. There are always more, there have to be, so many deaths and shattered minds, a body for each lost, abacus of remembrance which is grief itself.


           A life of search pinpointing not cause but its residue. Octogenarian arrested, later declared incompetent for trial. Press on, collect them all, in the collecting comes the process which killed. His a Platonic metaphysic with no participating objects striving for atrocity perfect. He chases memory on the premise that every shadow must have an object. A contingent truth even in physics; light will dutifully travel after its source is gone, telling us of what was with no there now to go. But he will go; he will condense memory into substance to stop the hand mid-slaughter, for someone to be where everyone failed everyone else.


           He conjures a topography of absence on rises of responsibility, we directed into canyons of loss thereby clear, responsibility far distant high, not ours, ours to travel the vanquished, to give them form as he faces the high not God to account. We travel behind the Justice he makes, absence our route, nothing can block us, memory of loss existence justified. This old man of redoubled memory never had endures so we may make our never again.


           They are not all gone. It cannot be so. Land collapsing about us, only the vast height unfathomable in distance left, no local rise to make a path distinct, to create a direction; only commonality of plain, no barrier which makes an infinity of reason between you and I; no, any one of you can wander into anyone of I. Under the stride of God all endure slaughter and its consequence; a place only Torah should be. Rather make a small rise to block sight of that greater thing.


           So climb vista to vanquish those not there, finding inhabitants much as you. A Masada awaits, born to kings to which you rebel, now occupied righteous, desert once your release now your trap surround. We make desserts of people foreign, our rise their power of presence. Old man, if you fail to come down the hill we are all doomed.


           Tezcatlipoca, count the skulls–not so many. Those failing the game, distinguished sacrifice of their heads so others may live awhile, their skulls racked count the number of times we had to be human. Deprivation a game anyone may lose, civilization a fair contest of loss. No God single to ratchet victory, civilization expanding to no label’s loss.


           I bleed myself, Tezcatlipoca. I ration loss, direct remain: this is civilization. I weaken myself to conduit power to others. Thereby we expand our domain despite plagues of dearth to come. That man of loss killed on ballcourt is hero for us. We of game want victory for children lived, yet envy loss which sacrifices power so others may endure. Loss of head is investment in civilization that winning will come other days. Victory that day will do well. But loss is not slaughter; one head roles so losers may starve–or not. No stink of others to exterminate en masse. Our stink we revere as one of us, let circulate among us to power troubled time.


           Our forgotten descendants call us barbaric, Tezcatlipoca. They who kill to hide, claiming children’s idyll has no expense. You made me honest, Tezcatlipoca, revealed my face emaciated from too much letted blood, forced me to walk from game played too often. Civilization too grand becomes barbaric.


           Where now history’s mirror? Who among our declaiming children will ravage victory so escape can come?


11. On the wind of a flute


           She blew a tune, possibly illegal, certainly sacrilege, remnant of British chortle in the after. Human humerus, forelimb of arm, hollowed and holed into instrument of Man, now resident in museum, my mother’s mostly useless credentials providing touch of hand. She no reverent of ancient would tap that power, not cordon with worship, our usual escape from divinity.


           Entombed with bones still attached in lifeless package, arm used by arm for purposes unplanned, tomb itself a vessel of vessels, each containing to different end. Vessel which is trap of world flow later shattered, shard polished into independent existence, waiting to channel forced world into creation anew. Even a tomb awaits use, temporal explosion primed for detonation.


           She searched desperate for the trip wires of tombs to explode understanding beyond the academic vessels of our day. Unavailed she would flounder about, hoping blind stumble would overreach knowledge inadequate to incantation. Blow a tune, make a jig, pantomime thoughts long gone.


           She did not want arms torn afresh to make music marvel. Yet she celebrated that past brutality–because it was past. She would explode past into now to stop that now, brutality remembered hoped trump over brutality real. So do a jig with bones unknown.


           Decades later I astonished would encounter this theory of vessels on the High Court. Associate Justice Henry Mitland also heard flow pressed through confine too small:


From the Journal of Henry Mitland

Notes after an Archeology Society meeting


Vessels may be broken yet revered. In the Southwest beautiful bottomed-out pots may be found in precarious places, one as large as a man’s torso, somehow pulled up a steep cliff to reside in an otherwise inaccessible cave. The pot may be unblemished save for its bottomed hole, somehow padded to survive whatever roping system placed it into miracle so much later found, an autistic communication unawares.


There high, inaccessible, forgotten, a shape abides. Imagine flow into that shape, effort of hands past still at work, contouring a metaphysic, something compelled to enter shape man defined, then exiting in bottomed hole, a piece of beyond perpetually formed as man would have it. Placed high hidden, but out there, still part of human purpose. A metaphysic diverted, swelled, released, something lives remaining need not do, the art of some man dead kept going, he did it, we need not, thank that, his bequest far distant yet with us in the currents of the world.

We grow awhile then contour until we break, broken purposefully or not. Our landscape is all contoured flow, death and shard maze making whistled pitches, we all awe in the sound arising, wondering where the music goes, for there culture must be, civilization, redemption from that which makes the shattered forms awaiting whistle.


           So my mother jigged, bone to lips, laughing to add a counterpoint, jigging to dance atop the notes we make in symbol, symbol a purchase to feet imagined. She cry laughed our past to climb the air in sound, to fly away from what we are, to find in commune all the prior crazed crying dancers hoping to bound over their too clear peers.


           British she was, so proper she could be absurd. Proper refined a maze of Being, she would rush quick-time to sound a flute, moving bodies vibrating to a symphony unknown. Imagine her escape from the bones of civilization, flashing through all proper and important in hope of sound heard far off, super speed to place her in that far before sound arrives, so she may hear it too. In that place the mind truly is, unfettered of civilization yet nothing without it, explosion seeing itself in distant marvel. All the people encountered, all the books read or thumbed, all the books so done by those encountered, all maze for whistle, moan and note to come a nova without destruction, conflagration of past which remains thereafter, miracle called sound.


           My mother jigs, humerus to mouth, I, ten years of age, agape, sitting on the floor.


           I, Quetzalcoatl, walk towards start of day, into rise of sun, wonder of common necessity easily overlooked. East I walk until water unbound approaches, then faster I go, rising above my steps, arms outstretched, cross of no sorrow, bounding high until fracture fragment into the cries of birds, apotheosis of sound drifting down to provide renewal apart from day.


12. The game theorist


           The prizes wouldn’t stop, kept coming, as though awarding the concept of award, I merely their carrier. A Luxembourg Fellow at 34, my fellow fellows thought blessed if but fifty, I touted prophet incarnate for Mesoamerican deconstructions, a work of impractical utility, as is my want, to escape the social trap through contradiction, they bought the absurdity, that ruined words could solace though nothing changes, pretend in your mind while yes-maming the world. Perhaps that is why the market for books never dies.


           Luxembourg, remnant of crown, of no importance, so somewhat capital of Europe. Having no power, it praises to make a power: the Luxembourg Fellowships, buying recipients out of all institutional responsibilities for five years. Sometimes recipients are isolate writers, somehow failing to die requisite of natural law, these given an average buyout sum as annual income for their five years, well that the powers do not use book royalties for base pay. Institutions nurture us beyond our acts.


           I was label based, Yale having anointed me as wunderkind. Now Luxembourg made me wonder to make the crowd, I token quasi-American as well, saved for Europe by my mother’s practiced British accent. Well she knew the importance of arbitrary credential. Through me Luxembourg could be broad-minded without a bridge, most cost effective.


           Each year we fellows gathered, the seasoned midstream confronting the newly minted, it’s not so hard, being blessed. Oh, but those in their fifth year, hollow-eyed, wondering what they must do next, if all the awards are gone, if they are doomed to audience, as those spied while on platform high, those so passed by as to no longer be roadmarks to others’ fame. These fifth years we gave practice, distancing them in seniority, politic of their coming self bereavement. The trick of award is that there is always a next year; award thrives, no matter recipient.


           In Luxembourg fellowship Mind was to be made. Mind beyond any mind must be diversely nourished. Luxembourg threw its fellows together hodgepodge, hoping Mind would thereby manifest. How we might notice is another problem. We fellows were an eclectic lot, often uncertain what language we spoke. Our annual meetings pitted us against ourselves at table, opportunity for thought transcending all boundary. To show we are still just one species, at least in hope.


           A hollow-eyed sat my table, one who knew what humans should do to make a humanity. A predictor of men, who would reveal what we do so should do, convincing an atom it is futile to pretend otherwise than being an atom. A game theorist, who would assume the burden of thought so we can just be outcome, which is all we have ever been. A cortex, evolved to withdraw from making to remake its maker, the who of maker impetus for withdrawal.


           Thus I sat opposite, appelling appellations, wondering what prank the assigner of seats has planned. The hollow-eyed raised his eyes from table, a statue defying physic so we may recognize what we have done, his caste his trap, yet he finds a way to move. We are, he says, nothing but our averages. Regress is no foul verb but human essential–to regress to the mean is to be humanity. Those who are their average are humanity incarnate; the rest of us grope for what summation provides. Yet, he chuckles, there are cases where the average is never instanced. There is no average sex, except in lore of other species. Here existence is Platonic, ever distant, our resolution dependent on others, a resolution mostly unseen, unfelt, beyond life lived. A pause. Perhaps orgasm is what Plato strove towards, an act of union which consumes! I stare. Then, fire in the hollow depth of eyes, I think I’ve just defined humanity! Where’s yours?


           So bridged literary critic and game theorist. Our commonality through consumption by arithmetic, Plato’s Demiurge making form through particulars. This man who told billion dollar auctions how to behave had reached an impasse. The phenotype, the individual as manifest, is but thinly tied to existence, his being extracted into a few numbers; but what he is remains, much irrelevant to that extraction. The individual free floats above what made him be, this genesis for our incessant questing of God, we discarded upon the esoteric consumption of simple arithmetic.


           My hollow-eyed opposite had begun to wonder how far our float could go. Arithmetic is a closing, comparison a closing, whatever is spoken of beyond that closing becoming a closing in turn. The pure individual, he said, is something apart from closings; but discourse itself closes. How do we have the concept of individual at all?


           On its head, hollow-eyed, on its head. So powerful an apparatus is your game that the building block has become conundrum. But questions are asked for their answer, and you have one. Obviously, you say, there is no single arena of comparison, of evaluation, of competition. The secret of games is not that they are there, but that–sometimes–you can get out of them. Not out into another game, but out into an unevaluated out there, Valhalla of undead failure and success. Undead success because I have found that after awhile the successful vanish too.


           An appropriate mulling for a hollow-eyed. Yes, midstreamer, I was as you once; I remember how I talked. Here I am, about to exit all fame, all these Sport Bowls that define progress, and I find myself wondering what the individual is!


           Once auction was all there was. Innumerable others, purposefully uncounted, bidding their hopes. Only one instantiation mattered: the closing price. All else were ghosts in the machine, necessary, but not to be greeted. That one person of realized price–person! Who? A committee? A computer program? Where do our decisions originate? Are we our choices? Ah–that one person of realized price–that check, that money transfer, was my bridge to people. I auctioned for the State; proceeds went to the general fund so, in innumerable unseen hows, again uncounted of necessity, I touched people unawares.


           Money–a property of God, a force divine; well, simply, a force. And forces care not how they are used, so long as these illiterates know their laws are being obeyed. I found a way to take the curse of men summed and turn it into an unnamed boon. I found a way to make my alienating mathematics comfort for lived lives. My mathematics will endure, but not those lives. Yet I would not touch that tool save in service to the ephemeral.


           What can a critic reply? I a Disney to less than mass audience, storying truths which would probably haved shocked those who lived the ruins I inhabit. Is an anthropologist profound, or just another idiot to be used when he chances along? I stumbled among ruins who could not use; no, only my colleagues could offer that jeopardy to me. This hollow-eyed transcended his field, escaped his colleagues, made them a force through symbols to affect the greater world.


           Greater world: this where his thought now goes.


           I jumped off my world, midstreamer. I free floated, and could be seen so far. High I went to cover worlds beyond my embrace, so high that soon I could not be seen even in tale. I became an infinitesimal, a piece of calculation, my own tool, I weaved myself into worlds, vanishing of person, ultimate sacrifice nobody notices. That, midstreamer, is one of the places beyond the hollow-eyed. Choose your death now, for it will come in its anyways.


           I floated, and in my assent to the immeasurable I became a person. I survived all calculus; used by worlds, I could not be averaged entire by any. I found a way to cheat winning. Hell, winners vanish too.


           I’ve discovered the individual! My kind say the social world is but a game. True enough. But so many games, so so many worlds! The individual is the door between games. His–I am old, let me say “his”–his sustenance is in the game, game of present, but he uses the sustenance to jump elsewhere. I am at equilibrium, in a single game, only if I refuse to leave. We say those who leave have lost. Sometimes. But othertimes they are the ones that keep the story of individual alive. Your forte, I of ending science, enter!


           Which yields a strange conclusion. Humanity is not composed of individuals entire. Those unable to escape the game are something other, a competitive regress to the mean which the profound call equilibrium. They are success and failure, one the other’s necessity. Combined, always combined, for that’s where meaning makes; combined they are the necessity which is evolution, lubricant of life which is life. But they make no door to an elsewhere. A tale worthy of a Nietzsche mad, and I will believe it.


           I had far to go before hollowed eyes. Yet already I had gamed into gamelessness several times by then. Perhaps Luxembourg had whiffed this death which is not defeat, so granted me an early fellow. I would later from that then use the game theorist to approach Islam. Not to explain away the faith of millions in social physic mouthed by comprehending few. Not that, but something equally esoteric: to pin the travail of Islam in the game theorist’s discovered individual. So I penned


Humanity is present in social structure ever lived elsewhere. We as I’s are its beneficiaries:


Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination. (Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, section 6)


Imagination housed in no mind. And, for the greater outside, we are Humanity, part of that elsewhere. Hence the Qur’anic We. God has lived among, through us a good long while. Entification, Quine incantates (Word and object, p. 1), begins at arms length. So too faith, found naturally in the social ties we would make, or encounter as outsider. Not encountered first in the emotional states and genetic necessities which are engine unawares; but God is not there, in that engine. Nor is He faith resolved. God is above our faiths, beyond what we may pick and hold:


We have set constellations up in the sky and made it beautiful for all to see, and guarded it from every stoned satan. (Qur’an, 15:16-17, Abdel Haleem)


God is the constellation(s) of faiths which some, the crazy ones living faith unfully, seek purchase for view.


There is no Gödelian completeness for the human. There may be for Humanity, but that is ever unknown to the human. At best, the human truncates itself with consistency, with reason, with discourse. But consistency abstract–as capable of Final Solution as of Martin Luther King, Jr. Or so my spectrum goes. Humanity may be complete, but rife with terrible inconsistency, Rwanda greeting Gandhi as good fellow, Henry Mitland’s African god of all perspectives, unendingly desperate to shed its insanity into harbors of comforting human worlds (see Cacophony of silence, ground of the Triumvirate, Section 2, Henry Mitland’s absence of god). We, the we of I’s, the we of known us, we are not Humanity. We take from that terrible, divine, earthly beauty, knowing that escape from, or loss of, it is inevitable–this the being and mercy of finitude. In faith we accept that mercy, yet still would strive to encompass all. In faith we make a place, yet long to know elsewhere. Faith is our dawn awaiting night to see afar.


(Cacophony of silence, ground of the Triumvirate, Section 10, Trespass into Islam)


The crazy ones living faith unfully, unable to accept a single world, these, seek purchase for view beyond what others would have, let, them be, beyond the consuming social arithmetic, beyond the endured game of life. These become the game theorist’s door called unconsumed individual. Islamic Recital can be that door which is individual; but, when so, Recital is no longer Islamic. You reinvented the ancient, game theorist. Which is what the great do. Unless they’re astrophysicists or quantum theorists. Perhaps there there is no game at all.


           Old Coyote Adam called Huehuecoyotl, made avatar of Tezcatlipoca; informer, seducer, victor; born 1 Death, child of great promise, sorcerer of others’ destruction: you who shatter the accrued perfection of a lifetime to unleash the creativity of war; you who fertilize the vessel never to be touched, who banish protection for novelty’s sake. Feast of discord, there is no arena you will not shatter, no ball game that can contain you. We kick skulls down our courts in hope of diverting you, leaching life to extend our stay. Life is but the creation of world through the destruction of vessels, game a hubris of vessel claiming there is no outside.


           But there always is, Old Coyote, and from there you will come. From the dessert surround you will come, from that land spread thin which we concentrate into vessels. You come to feast where there should be dearth: that is life. You break what is and space itself makes another vessel, gathering enduring beyond any purpose. Satiated, you leave, and space recovers what always shall be.


           My people would tame your destruction and call this civilization. I sojourn with them until the futility cannot be borne; then I, Quetzalcoatl, coward of humanity, enter your wasteland as you enter mine. I flee greatness as it collapses upon itself; I wait you out until you, bloated beyond howl, stagger outward toward the bliss of void to escape the fat of space.


           Then I return, asking my remnant what game we shall make this day.

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