Orignal Tape Journal 1981 (or so)
Re-creation of original journal, with edits 2001
Today I think of our world sprayed out in a dandelion fog. Each object is radiating out in a kind of 3-D bristle .. Dear, the world in porcupine!
(Pause, Take 2)
Today I think of our world as a kind of speeding mist … points all speeding out. Something like a Star Trek whoosh, but not from one point going out but every point in every way. Oh why can’t I put into words this picture now flowing through my brain?
(Pause, Take 3)
Maybe this is it. I’m trying to think of a name?
Who is that guy? The guy who painted everything with point. The Pointillist. Like everything in swollen molecule … That painting with the lake and the guy in stovetop, and the woman with the humped up rump … umbrella .. dog, maybe beach balls and kites … something like (now singing) Saturday in the park, I think it was the fourth of July … but the year was 1850, probably in France .. Oh, who?
Dot! Dot Surat ! Now I remember that rhyme. Dot Surat paints in poca Dot.
I’m trying to think of his name because it might make a point. Did Surat paint in dot because and he just liked the look, or was he really on to something. Did he see in so much molecule or buzz … was he thinking of each part of the whole as a kind of lighthouse. A point of light leaping out … Dear I dunno, I think in trying to describe this idea I make muddle of it.
Any way, Today I thinking or the world in a box. A square box of space. Now I lift the box. I place the box upon my head. Now I try to think of all that is within" the box.
I don’t mean my hair, or my brain or the blood and the mess, I mean … all that would be there, even if my head were not …. But is especially there -- because my head was there to perceive it.
I take a quick whirl on my heels, a 360 spin. I consider all I see. And it strikes me. Everything that I just saw, heard, or felt is somehow in this cube about my head!
I am a vacuum; my eyes – black holes feeding on the motion of that place. This box before, or containing my eyes, is a mass of zoom, a room of intersection … speeding powder like 3-D Surat, all moving, colliding passing through ….
This is a strange notion. I think I’ve said it before … Well, I know I have, but this is a different take. I think of our sun as having two kinds of measure. The one local, and visible as a distant disk, the other expansive to short of forever. The sun exists in a place larger than itself by virtue of the fact that we ride through it and glow. We are dust in the Lumen Sea , and the sun--an ever-growing ball … a humongous Lollipop, with fire for the chew.
What is it that makes the border between the visible flame and the photon soup is more that I know. What I do know is that something has gone out from our sun that is, in its thinness, still something of the sun.
In as much as our sun should be seen as a star from some other section of the Milky Way, it seems that our sun is at least as big as the farthest point from which it can be observed. Something of the sun has gone to that point. In fact, we might calculate the volume of the sun to be the size of its visible ball, plus the speed of light (in all directions) times the age of the sun!
So. this sun … The seeable sun-plus, is big beyond measure.
Now, Where was I going? …
Today I think of things, the world about, as having as it were, two measures.
For every thing there is the thing, and then there is that thing as it radiates out so that it might fall into us.
Before I chase that thought, I think another thought that helps me get a handle on the play before my eyes.
What if we could see smell? What if the particles that hang like mist or eddy up a nose, grew a hundred times to the point of looking like dots. Different smells might come with different colors. Hmm, now that I think of this, I want most smells to be something of the color of the thing that produces them. Rose smells should look rose. Lilac, lilac. Is this the power of association? … That I see humus as a brown smell and orange as Orange ? Well, why not let orange be a blue smell? And what would be the look of skunk? Florescent pink swirled with the gunk of burnt pea and red?
Dear, I digress. I think now of the smell of things as seen. We have these trees in the spring that put off a most sick sweet smell. I smell’em as I ride at night. Once I followed the smell to find the source. Some kind of flowered tree with white mush flowers. Perhaps this is the smell of the tree in heat … begging on the bees.
Anyway, I visualize this tree by virtue of its smell. Should it be seen, we wouldn’t see a tube of intermittent brown with green and tumble of flower, but something more like a cloud. Color it pink. The color of Pepto-Bismol -- thick globs about the branches of those odiferous(sp) blooms. The smell would hover and droop. Something like a falling cloud or a waterfall, a loose knit jelly fish or a fog to spread out on the ground and ripple with the wind. Give a strong blow and the thing should look like Old Faithful.
So how large is the "smell tree." For me, some hundred yards in diameter. For a dog or a bee… who knows? But I see it now: This mush of pink mist on a stick, thick at the center and growing thinner, with parts maybe miles away.
The odd thing about the Smell Tree is that more than one smell tree might occupy the same space. Smell-bells or smell-flowers …or smell-fellows might all throw dots into the same space. So, here before my eyes is a cube of smell dot. A 3-D pointless(sp) painting stuffed with the overlapping smell things.
I guess we could build a model for Noise-Trees. Given that trees aren’t in themselves the noisiest things, the print in sight might be small, but even the rustling, carried on wind should make for a fog or a stream going out like so much gray blue or burnt gold. Spray paint for the ear.
Again, there is before my eyes a cube. A cube of intersecting wave and sound and the stuff of siren and dog and chirp and tree, all somehow in this space. A collision of outspreading wave.
And then, these waves.. If I should have a TV or a radio and stick their sticks into this place I should discover hidden noise.. Radio waves, some hundred stations, and TV … who knows now, also dozens of different parts of people and football and arguing couples and commercials and rock and rap and country, preachers and pornography … all somehow in the space before me so that they might be sifted with the proper tool. Dear! I’m thinking of the air as an assorted box of grain and wave and we have only to find the filter to unleash or capture all that is in it.
And now the finale. I think again of this cube before my eyes. If we filled it with lens and eye or even some hundred water drops, we should discover some unknowable number of things has echoed into this place. Everything I see, or might see – given the right tool -- or maybe even stray bits of things that arrive in such disarray that we could never trace them, are somehow streaming through this cube.. Again, I go to the moon. That is, I think about it for my model. I know that my eye has never been to the moon, but something of the moon, cast off or modified by its presence, has entered me. So too, this world of visible things.
October xxx Tall Grass Prairie, north of Prue. Oklahoma .
Dear--what a wonderful place to complete this thought. But (pant) let me catch my breath. I thought I would complete it in a place that gives me more than just one truncated view a tree behind glass.
As it is, I did something of a slalom to get here … the tall grass, the kind that sweeps and coats in wheat like fashion is not that tall, but there are these others, scattered clumps of grass or weed that tower even above my head. I just finished "encoding" one; I held my flash on a cord and tried to do that thing where you flash and drag the shutter to give a sense of motion. So, we’ll see.
Now I sit, between the blades. Actually, above the blades. I am on a on a rock outcrop overlooking the valley, above the valley of burnt tree, near the huge sycamore that thought it should be a Redwood. To the north is grasshill with clear air and marmalade. (The sun rinses this south-facing hill with late day wash.)
Behind me is shade and the steeper side peppered with dead tree char, those trees that look like black cracks or rips in the canvas of the world. I am sitting just above the middle of the fold, yet even so the view apart from a few trees and a trillion blades of grass is sweep. I see above me a few dangled leaves … Sycamore hung like bats against blue, and the thin trail of a glimmering jet. Beyond that there is a log, a bank, and some of those Lace flowers that look like coasters on stems.
And so. Now I sit and turn. I take in the sweep of hill and rye and char and white pillared sycamore and jet and now faint glimmer of maybe star … or planet, and leaf and bird, Distant bird …. And shh, oh my…
(pause) Oh wow … (tape off)
Shh …There are deer in the valley.
Dear! I hope it is not hunting season. Do I look like a deer standing here with my black box and brown?
So I see before myself this sweep. 98 percent nature, with just a hint of road and headlight and even Keystone dam in the far distance.
So I consider the dam. How far … 10 miles away? It is from here a faint strip of white, a bridge above water. But how is the thing seen? That dam stands in the light. The light collides with its surface. The light bends and breaks. Some is absorbed; some flies back. But how does it bend or fly? What course or shape does it take? Did a series of photons that were just at the dam trace a path to me? How many photons hit the dam?
I will presume for the moment, a man fishing near the dam. Did he catch some jillion specks of light per square inch, while I took in some mere thousand? …. If I were a satellite I might map the dam from some hundred miles overhead. How much dambounced back and high, headed into space? Does the light bounce out in something like a ball … That is, in an omni-direction from itself? Here, I’ll start with something closer. The sycamore. From here I can see detail. Swampy big green leaf, a mix of pale and olive. Trunk a mass of white and brown…and copper-colored flake.
I could walk around the tree. The tree would, with this walk, change the thing it cast at my eye. But first I must back up. What is the thing seen? If I get it right, the tree is a "minus" thing. That is, it manifests the naked sun but takes up something in return. It deletes some portion of the spectrum, even as it makes it known. While the white of the bark throws back much of that it encounters, the leaves drink heavy of red light and shout out the green. The tree is a blood-sucking weed!
I think of the tree as a net, or a trampoline. It catches so much of the light, then throws it back. But how does the throw work. I put my eye to a single leaf. I walk fifty feet. The leaf still hurls into my eye. Does the leaf cast an ever-expanding print? At this distance, something like a vertical acre of leaf-shaped plane. Inasmuch as I might see a leaf – there, I’ve singled one – near the top, does it throw an ever-expanding shape of itself in all directions? Is the throw fairly flat, given the flatness of the leaf, so that from the side, little light is hurled, while on the broad side of the leaf, some particles may hurl or fan or spray out for hundreds of miles. Again, It seems, if something can be seen, be it by eye or telescopic lens … something of that thing has echoed from the concrete object to that place.
So now I consider the tree. A tree with layer and layer of shouting light. Concentric layers of tree form ever zooming out. I have done a trick where I zoom a lens during exposure. The effect is a 2-d whoosh. But this whoosh…the whoosh of tree, bark, and leaf is not 2-D. It is out up, down, even in. If I were to sit in the tree, something of each visible plain or leaf would be headed back at me.
Now the ground is a different matter. The tree zooming at the ground is absorbed. We might see it if we lay on our backs, or even if we could dig a hole below, but apart from that, the tree as a volume of scattered light is halved at the ground. The ground is a killer of the "down tree."
So I think of my presence. The light may be fanning, foaming fogging in all directions .. But meaning and perspective arrive the moment I, or another take it in.
So how big is this tree? As a smell tree, not too big. A "see-tree" – as big as the Mount Everest ? Maybe the tree keeps expanding forever, but gets so thin as the particles spread advancing out that the tree disappears for all the distance between the dots. Does a photon once bounced and green, keep going out until bounced again off of some other surface. Will the see-tree expand to the point that molecules of the see-sky collide and deflect or fracture it to bits?
And now I turn and look about. Each object … each blade of grass is both "itself," and its sighted ghost. A growing scattered volume. I think of these at a hundred yards. Each blade of grass is the William’s Tower (a fifty-story tall building in Tulsa ). Each bird at twenty feet, the size of a dino!
So why do far things look small? There is a kind of logic that says that far things should get bigger as the size of their light spread increases. Now here is a thought: An eye for which far things get big but somewhat thinner. A kind of eye for which multiple things live or exist in the same space. No, forget it. The air would look like so much ground. With an eye like that you would eat an apple and think it a beach ball lifted from you arm, and the thing would never really recede, just grow to fill the distance. And If I looked to see the tree, would I just feel like a flea on the edge of a green cliff … something like trying to look at the tree from one inch away? (Actually, not only the tree, but every other thing in the world would zoom and grow to the very surface of the eye … there would be no sense of distance for anything … and all those thing combined would make black. So this is what it is to be blind … all things radiate up to your eye all at once!)
So now… where was I going? Ahhh, the cube. I have before my eye a cube of somewhat invisible space. But it is not empty; See-trees and see-weeds and see-dams and see-birds and see-deer and see-saws … HA! All climbing and radiating through this space? Everything is pulsing, circling out … And,
Everything is converging. Right here. I turn a circle on my heel. Everything that I just saw met right here. Some thousands of visual things all converging into the square inch just before my eye. (I close one.) And now, the first star. Was it here in this space all along, too week to show but present in the space? Can it be? Does each star really bounce a bath of concentric light, millennia of light year across? If so, some million stars maybe in this square right now but too week to show. In some minutes the whole Milky Way will glow right here. Perhaps something of everything is in this cube and even now. Some photon bounced, and ever bouncing from Lincoln ’s nose on downward and through time is here? I don’t know. Do photons die out … keep on going, … or just shred to milli-mist?
Ugh … the final last. God is in this place. Not that I think I should hold Him in my cube. But if, as it is known … All things exist by him, for him, and In him … even this cube so thick in speeding dot is fuller yet in the activity of God. He is here … and I dwell in Him.
"Like an open bottle in the sea … I am in God, and He in me."