25 October, 2019

Reading Notes: Red Finch and On Seppuku

I am weary of personal worrying, in love with the art of madness. - Rumi

A man moving fast cannot enjoy scenery contemplatively. - Frederick Law Olmstead

Red Finch (10/21/19)

A fall storm is kicking up. What honeysuckle leaves remain have been turned over and waiting all day for the arrival of a rain no one has confidence in. 

The birds and squirrels have returned, if only for the end of the season remains. As I sit in my chair, this red finch keeps landing on the sill of the window facing the back porch. The bird pecks on the sill and window pane, knocking. I see it peering in at me the way the dog and cat do when they’re outside and ready to come in. 

I don’t know what to tell the bird. 


"...in medieval times we believed that sincerity resided in our entrails, and if we needed to show our sincerity, we had to cut open our bellies and take out our visible sincerity. And it was also a symbol of the will of the soldier, the samurai." - Yukio Mishima

(Japanese fascist and writer who died from a botched attempt at seppuku (ritual death) rather than "admit the decay of the body." He also popularized American-style weight lifting in post-war Japan.)

On seppuku  (10/23/19)

Death is not the most difficult part. Neither
is the will power. Pushing through the knife –
now that exposes one’s willingness
to bare the most intimate sincerity. 

The trick is this: sing. Sing
as the blood breaks into the air,
like passing gas or the way a balloon
deflates, waiting on the final mercy – 

your head staring up from the basket. 

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07 October, 2019

From Field Notes: Lo-Fi, Part 1

The 6:15 AM bus leaving Louisville and going to Frankfort drops off at the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Leonardwood Drive. We rolled in on time, a little after 7 in the morning, just as the sun was breaking the horizon.  I end up being in Frankfort, for one reason or another, two or three times a year. And when I go, I take the bus. It's a holdover commuter route between Louisville and Lexington with a stop in Frankfort. The early bus isn't heavily populated. I've ridden it at different times and it's rarely a full bus, which is just fine with me.  I just hope the line stays open.

According to Google, it was only a 3.6 mile walk from there to the Kentucky CoffeeTree Café. Not an unreasonable distance, and the morning was still cool with a light breeze. I'd gone through the trouble the night before to look it up and to even print maps out; I wanted to go more lo-fi and not depend on the step-by-step of GPS, which I credit for a share of civilization's downfall.

LO-FI. I've felt increasingly tethered by technology -- annoyed by its reach, unraveled by how central it and it's non-stop market-researching/spying is shaping the reality I share with an increasingly large amount of humanity. So I decided to take this opportunity, this trip -- a relatively low-stakes scenario as travel risks go -- to assert my quasi-independence from The Matrix. *

I started off without difficulty. Between studying it the night before and somewhat from memory. I felt pretty confident, pretty comfortable. And the directions weren't complicated:

L: Leonardwood Rd.
L: Lawrenceburg Rd
R: Louisville Rd. 

After that, a bit more of a walk, crossing the lovely little bridge . over the Kentucky River that cuts through the middle of town, a few blocks and one easy turn to West Broadway.

As Google flies, the walk should have taken me a little over an hour. I know from experience that I can't trust Google Time; I walk a bit faster than I used to, but I don't walk anywhere near as fast as Google Man can. I had plenty of time to get there at my own pace, so I wasn't worried about that, either.

I wasn't especially worried until I'd been walking for a while and I didn't seem to be getting any closer to town. I passed one guy waiting for the circulating local bus, but it didn't register that I was walking the opposite direction that the bus was going to go.

By the time I figured it out, I was almost a mile out of town.

Oh feet how oddly you fail me
carrying me on, away
from where I'm supposed meet
my friend, from where the map says
I need to be where I'm pointing

Thanks for reading! Listen for "Lo-Fi, Part 2 in Episode 11 of A Record of a Pair of Well Worn Travel Boots on iTunes, Spotify, GooglePlay, Stitcher, and TuneIn.