“It’s a good thing you’re not a philosopher,”

said his daughter to him one fine morning in the car as he went on about something philosophical.

And he thought, you know, she’s right.

“You know, you’re right,” he said, even.

And he thought, thank goodness I never speak explicitly about philosophy.

Or write about it explicitly.

He wondered what it would read like if he wrote about philosophy explicitly.

It would sound like this:

The elevator starts moving but existentialism reaches over and hits the STOP button with a big thumb. Before Cartesianism knew it, he’s got both of Cartesianism’s hands in  a viselike grip above her head and he’s pinning Cartesianism to the wall using his anguish… his other hand grabs her doctrine and yanks down, bringing her face up and his facticity is on hers… Her truth tentatively strokes his and joins it in a slow, erotic dance… His despair is hard against her corporeal body, which she reminds herself is the source of all untruth and illusions.

“It’s all pointless, in the end,” whispers existentialism in a gruff, stubbly whisper.

“That’s how it seems to you,” says heterophenomenology.

“Where’d you come from?” gasp existentialism and Cartesianism simultaneously, still whispering.

“Google Daniel Dennet,” says heterophenomenology. “You might want to try me, though, as an alternative to her,” it says, gesturing languidly towards Cartesianism.

“Not that it matters,” says nihilism.

At the touch of zeitgeist, Cartesianism quivers and gasps. Existentialism shakes his head as if to clear it from cobwebs, and walks around her there in the elevator full and increasingly fuller of philosophies and their throbbing elements, trailing his despair around the middle of her doctrine. The second time around, he suddenly flicks the despair, without any warning, and it stings Cartesianism underneath her ineffability … right in the metaphysical mind … The shock runs through her, and it’s the sweetest, strangest, hedonistic feeling …

Come outside

where the woodlice play

Where the worms run deep

And the ghosties sleep

Where the thorns are thick

And the mud is slick

And the wood is stacked so high

Come outside and I’ll tell you what

You whisper in your dreams

When you lie in bed and

I sit real close just inches

from your head

Come outside when the sun goes down

When the wind is cold when

the rain is strong

When it starts to snow

and I’ll tell you what

you want to know.

Careers in science: Helioseismology

She is quiet.


They drive down the road at night, the helioseismologist is tired and his daughter isn’t talking.

She just got off work after a long school day and she is 15, and the helioseismologist understands there are a million reasons why she might not be speaking, and a million more he cannot imagine, never having been a 15 year old girl himself, only fearing them or admiring them from afar.

That’s all you can do with a 15 year old girl, fear or admire her. Or love her, as in this case.

The helioseismologist drives through drizzle and night and freeway traffic, someone always going somewhere and he is thankful like you wouldn’t believe for this girl, and for her sister, and for their mother. He is thankful for his brother and sister, and for his mom and dad, and his uncles and aunts. The helioseismologist is thankful for his grandma, and for his grandpa he never met. And maybe his other grandparents he never met, and all his cousins. And other friends and relatives, past and future.

The helioseismologist is thankful for his painting gear and his music gear, for his writing pads and his yoga mat and his big, big bed. He is thankful writing was invented, and clothing and agriculture, poetry and the Internet.

The helioseismologist is thankful for other people, and the idea of artisinal anything, although he prefers the idea of doing simple things well – making soups or fruit salad, or bread.

The helioseismologist is thankful for meditation and mass production, the scientific method, flowers, sunrises, sunsets, meteorological phenomena in general, and something else he forgot. He is thankful for symbioism, mitosis and meiosis, virii, bacteria and interesting parasites.

He is thankful for singing and crossword puzzles, weight-lifting, and cross-country skis. He is thankful for massage, kissing and cutley.

The helioseismologist is thankful for stars and kangaroos and hedgehogs, normal hogs and olives both black and green, his garden in the back yard and the houses he would build some day if he had the money, the houses that would approximate his beautiful heart.

He is thankful for these and many other things, but he  would still like to talk to this girl, his daughter, the way they used to before they both got so tied and busy and whatever else.

The helioseismologist thinks about patting her on the leg; a love tap, his father called it.

The helioseismologist pats her on the leg.

I dreamed

about a woman with a miniskirt and no underwear.

that my dick was so big it hit me in the forehead.

that my beard was shiny black.

that my red cat was calico and defied gravity, walking on the wall.

that the beggar woman from the supermarket asked me for alms and i said no.

Come out

to the woodpile. The air is sweet and the clay is cold. Let her sleep while you stare at the apple tree and decide which limbs to prune. Plum tree too.

The day is cold but over quick enough.

There’s enough to hear despite the ringing in your ears: a scratching pen, a passing car, the clicking of a working house, a sigh, coffee beans grinding.

The stretching of a cat.

The air is sweet so come outside for a little while and let the young one sleep.

And you may ask yourself

The driver is on his back in a bed in a hotel on the outskirts of Ljubljana, in a room smelling of cold cigarette smoke, trying to find a comfortable position. He moves very gingerly because his lumbar pain has flared up from driving a Mercedes with diplomatic plates for four hours to deliver two dancers, and then from carrying a bunch of heavy stuff.

Unfortunately, there is no comfortable position.

He does not turn the TV on.

He stares at the ceiling and wonders what the engine light meant, the one that looks like an engine and was on for an hour on the way down.

He is glad he is not Jason Statham, because right about now the shooting would start.

He needs a new prescription for his glasses. They are trifocals, and are off just the right amount that they make him see ghosts when he wears them. He sees ghosts at breakfast a lot before his family gets up.

He sees his father’s ghost in the mirror, grinning at him as if to say, In fact the bad back is my ghost, kiddo.

The next day he drops the shampoo bottle in the shower and leaves it there. He has already washed his hair, and if he bends over to get it he will never straighten back out.

Breakfast is not so fine at this particular hotel. Too many eggs, not enough fruit, and the coffee is not so good.

On the drive back, the engine light does not go on. He is thankful for that. The driver, who is not Jason Statham, is somewhat vexed by the circumstance that the steering wheel is in such a position that it blocks his view of the speedometer. He has to bend his head at a strange angle to see how fast he is driving. Normally the GPS device would tell him roughly how fast he was going, but the battery is low and the cigarette lighter in this particular car does not seem to put out a charge.

He eventually figures out the cruise control and uses that for a while, but gets tired of it because vehicles keep pulling out in front of him and requiring him to change his speed and so on.

At the end of his trip, he is parking the car and the transmission goes *CLUNK* right when he’s angling it into a driveway. He sits there for a minute, at a 45-degree angle, blocking a sidewalk but fortunately not the street, making stirring motions with the gear-shift lever and trying to figure out exactly what just happened and as it dawns on him, thanking the powers that be that this happened here and not on some road in Slovenia or elsewhere.

Some henchmen are sent over and they help him push the car into a proper parking position.

He helps push despite his back. The driver has that much Jason Statham in him.

Then he goes home and looks for useful pills, but he’s out of them.

Gang of four noble truths

Four noble truths walk into a bar.

“Everything sucks,” says the first noble truth. “I’m dying for a pint. My job sucks. I am insufficiently kind to those I love.”

“I’m sorry, we don’t serve alcohol,” says the bartender.

“What?” says the first noble truth.

“You are only miserable because you think you should always be happy,” says the second noble truth.

“I’m miserable because I have a splitting headache and you somehow found the only bar in the world that doesn’t serve alcohol,” says the first noble truth.

“You only think you have a headache. But who is the You who has a headache? There is no You. The headache has you, and not the other way around,” says the second noble truth.

“WTF are you talking about,” says the first noble truth and lights a cigarette.

“No smoking,” says the bartender.

“Oh ferfuckssake,” says the first noble truth and puts his cigarettes away.

“What the second noble truth is trying to say is, if you could overcome your craving…” says the third noble truth, but the first noble truth jumps him before he can finish his sentence.

“Bar fight!” someone yells, and everyone else in the bar whips out their smart phones and films the first noble truth fighting the third noble truth while the second noble truth tries to break them up.

The fourth noble truth sits down at the other end of the bar, laughing and laughing.

“What’s so funny?” says a woman on the next stool.

The fourth noble truth shakes his head. “Everything. Nothing. I don’t know. I was so thirsty I drank a liter of ice water and my stomach sloshed for hours. Someone I love needed a compliment and a pat on the back and I didn’t notice until hours later. My dreams have been unusual. The world is mysterious.”

“You from around here?” asks the woman.

“Am I ever,” says the fourth noble truth.