KALI'S DAY excerpt

"Candice hears the sounds of birds. The last traces of light stain the cave’s entrance far from where she sits in full lotus covered only in the ashes of the dead. She drifts in and out, sometimes jolted from a vast emptiness by the grumbling of her stomach. So far she can silence hunger by simply focusing and re-focusing on her breath. But the stomach is a dumb animal and its indifference to “mind over matter” is becoming more apparent in the increasing volume of its complaint. It clenches itself like a fist and it’s all she can do to keep her eye closed, though she hears something scratching along the ground somewhere to her left. She’s conquered fear, never feared the dark until right before she conquered it. In another lifetime, there was a longing that she barely remembers. So it’s not fear or need that distracts her now. It’s the knowledge that, other than herself, something animate, something alive is within reach. Most likely it’s one of those large succulent beetles, thickly armored against what she is now in most danger of becoming—a predator, since she hasn’t really conquered appetite, has only concealed it, and despite having risen above the desire for even the simplest bowl of rice, is about to succumb to defeat for the taste of something that until now has been far from tempting or even remotely relevant to the satisfaction of any desire, let alone hunger—especially hunger.

She doesn’t open her eye. But she imagines it crawling heavily over the various obstacles in its way: pebbles and clumps of damp earth, a random search for whatever nourishment, dirt, dead insects, bits of excrement, it might stumble upon."

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Monday, March 23, 2009


Looking back from some distant future one might write: “They thought existence, or consciousness, could be captured as if it had a place or time, deifying constancy, ignoring the fact that nothing ever finds a corner or enters a moment, that everything is transience and momentum.” Either there is one limitless form or limitless varieties of form. And love, whatever you think it is, requires duality, bi-directionality, or it dissipates, or tries to consume itself. Even self-love is a splitting, fragmentation of the self into objects and subjects, interchanging perspectives in an orgy of interactions, a world inhabited by lovers, ex-lovers and possible lovers.
Wars are fought depending on what tribe you belong to. Both alliance and enmity are presumed to share the same rules of survival and destruction. The body remembers best what history dilutes. Put bareness and scarcity in the center of memory. Eventually ancestors accrue, leaving footprints across the desert as its perimeters recede behind urban landscapes. We implode toward cities. We create and consume technology which usurps the evidence of our bodies. We conglomerate. We shatter in self-love. We rush toward self-conflagration. Eventually the trench’s stink habituates. Stagnation blazes in self-consumption and existence hovers over the prodded corpses. Substance is illusory. It continually expands. The task of investigating the complex nature of things is monumental and potential answers too ambiguous for dabblers. Some of us figured out how to transform sustenance into transcendence. Probably through methods that would disgust the eulogizers and exploiters now trading in consciousness as if the universe were linear and unilaterally determined. Binary models inhibit the future. They centrifuge irregularity, asymmetry and ambiguity. The mandates of empiricism exfoliate belief in God’s right to order the universe. Determinism crucifies inquiry. Each system is seductive: Yes or No; Light or Dark; Being or Non-Being. Either/or agrees to lead us through the labyrinth of our desires, implies a contract between the conflicting bases of our plurality, becomes a greeting across the boundaries of our values. As one Time and Space tycoon might put it: “Feed it or eat it.” But all this spending makes us a target for wandering bad boys. We are only made of fish spines, of hollow twigs, of sand. Knowing others desire you engenders certainty, as does physical power, as does the monstrous bulk of chauvinism covering you from the shadows like a bodyguard. We begin raising questions about the holiness of our ancestors. We ask, “What does it matter if we destroy innocence?” forgetting that existence is a fragile insect hanging on a web of chaos.