Because of exigent circumstances I am cleaning up my life. By way of doing so I have found a very old fragment of a long poem I had begun years ago (five to be approximate). It is very interesting to come across your old work. It is, in fact, like coming across an impersonator of yourself, one who doesn’t quite get it right but only because of one’s current belief in his self being somebody less embarassing, or in some fortunate cases, somebody much more in control of his instruments. One day, when the tidings have gone my way for some time, time I know it will take to reach such heights, time as a long time, will I be able to feel in such a way, that today’s writing (hopefully not this right here…) will seem impossibly admirable. Though I have to admit, I have come across some of my previous writing that has inspired awe, if not for technical achievement, then for sheer audacity, perhaps such as what Gaddis felt when he was amazed at his youth’s industriousness when looking back upon the previous self that wrote The Recognitions.

Though this be a cheap segue (in fact, it lacks one completely), I must move on with my self-purging
and commend you to laughter and self-seated-swerving before the aforementioned fragment:

12.31.06-   – My Solitude:
 
            There is no vim higher thanOlympus,
            nor echo encompassed in the conscience,
that does not possess me in my Solitude,
teetering upon my spine like a judge
gaveling over hills that constitute
the tenacity of my progress –
            knots like white elephants
            and clefts like war trenches.
In sync with the Frequency of Epiphany,
that insistent ossification by founts of genius,
the cardiac passion beats the ridges into flattery:
straight back to gainsay every status
            stinting terms of my enterprise,
            like the Catholic ravens to hollow eyes,
witchburning the center and damming
the flood of emotions boosting the climb,
trammeling like a song of misering,
ransoming Cupid for bullions of mind.
            It is not messenger I rise for, but message,
            a calyx blooming an umbel of vivid heritage.
For sacred word from the clasp of Horus,
whose proverbial aim is finer than Cupid’s,
whose logical point is not blind in trust,
but miracle in the fermenting of Intellect,
            serves as glass in the vineyard of facts.
            Of the hegemony of paradisiacs,
none buries more than alcohol of spirit.
The obsessing quiddity of self is a craft
that must be captained and piloted,
not borrowed off another’s back.
            Love of souls is a furnace affair –
            the baker’s dozen is as much as he prepares.
The same measure of the architect
is returned in the beams of her stare;
the fisherman caught and writer directed.
Candid affection is a table being chaired
            with salt and pepper between lovers’ plates,
            zesting life with the simplest of tastes.
You and I are but one of sanguine condition,
calico to the core and rainbow in the face.
Torn from some halo ether, puffy rain blends
so there is love cascading cutting clear the haze,
            reasoning reality from what’s been dreamt.
            I am miraculous and long-stemmed,
a flower among petals, brazen in luster
and glass needle against the sun’s hem,
magnifying its threading to checker
spectators with a flourish of leaven.
            You are pulchritude as sharp as romance,
            pronouncing, to the point, a meaning to chance.
That sultry unbearable lightness of being,
so shoddy and talented in stance,
ensconces all in its spry hopscotching
until countenance knocks it off balance –
            an expression existing of humanity,
            pored by crashing energy, rife with emergency,
gravid in purpose and waiting for determination,
pumping the Accordion of I to the melody
                                                                        heaven
Heavy is the truck of 

            When alone I am undeniable,
like a globule of dew among a billion,
all vague like the speech of a child
save one lily-Greek drop of the tongue,
all being in principle.

 The wild winds are tame in its clutch,
they may blow both obelisk and goose
but naught

 _____________________

 

Also, as to news, I am going to try to write in this blog more often, and to revive my part as a founding member of www.centersofattention.blogspot.com. Also, I hope to start a new professional blog, one I can refer my future prospective employers and students to, perhaps a self-titled one. I will update from the course should I take my turn in its striking out to.

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Arian Cato
Dr. Warren
Philosophy 3 9-10AM
2.8.10

Critique #1, upon entering the third week of class

Positive:
One should keep in mind that the philosophizing that occurs within the classroom is first of all philosophizing-within-the-classroom, and to this point I found it to be most behooving the way the Doctor directed all waylays against his highlighter policy in his immediate response to the malicious pressures of the students demanding his explanation, as to settle what amounts education-wise to attacks for attack’s sake. The answer was in the wings, as stated several times, but the class would not wait for the moment to take off; these were obviously personal attacks to embarrass the Doctor. Though it is important for flexibility of curriculum it is at the least equally important to maintain the positions of power within the class, and in this case, the democratic potential of the students was not endowed in syllabus or in the preliminary portion of the class with the capacity to deviate from the expectation/norm of sticking to classroom material. True, the laying out of expectations and the student’s powers were not explicated, but because of this default the expectations should follow the status quo as determined by the expectations common to other classes, if not those tenets legally binding students in department charters. The significance of the institutionality of the classroom comes to light when we return to my first pointing to it in my introductory sentence: this is philosophizing-within-the-classroom, and the “gist” matters, and “specifics” can be overlooked, that is, overlooked in respect to the fact that on can philosophe-on-one’s-own-time, and not take up the time of the class or subvert the course’s design without offering a better alternative. Mere subversion from a presumptuous student over someone who justifiably can impart knowledge is destructive in all likelihood—who knows what we the student body could be missing out because of this one student’s violence. And this point would not have been missed if the harassing student could see how much more could be taken from his time in class had he been disposed to answering his own questions beyond the classroom. The teacher should not fold for anything less than the standard of directions in the classroom, especially when the attacker can realize the benefits of paid for directions and his/her capacity to answer his/her own question. As an institutionalized class there are rules to be had, and as an institution of education I am sure there is a requirement of competency in the subject in question that would prevent a waste of that institutions resources and consumer base, and so one (the student) needs to ask if he/she can feel safe if he/she is being directed wrong, or that his/her time is being wasted. I feel that, after years of experience within this particular institution (of “life” research), this is a trustworthy institution and so trust should be give to its teachers and benefit of the doubt to that teacher’s performances, since probably he is competent enough to teach us substantially.
It is thus commendable that the Doctor had recommended the primary agitator to conduct his own research in terms of Plato’s absence in the Phaedo and what it means concerning the authenticity of his recounting in the dialogue. A premise of this claim for teacher-oriented order is that the teacher has more to give to the students than the students to each other, and in order for the capacity of teacher to fulfill this role his agency must have the effect, for sake of efficiency, of needing to say things once (as in the case of the Highlighter Question) and having the reasoned capacity to maintain this position (as when the teacher told the harassant to meet him in the office if he wished to discuss the matter further beyond the tolerance for moving on).

Negative:
Reading Question packets should have space or prompts for defining the students’ take on topic in question (if the student “buys” the argument or not, and why). Because class time is limited to an hour each lecture there is inherently not enough time for in-depth philosophical discussion (digression included) and so now time outside of class can now be recognized via writing by the question’s demand for extending those lines of thought (even if it be the supposed self-explanatory positions of the student’s beliefs).

Because this is such a great video, I’m going to repost it here.

 

Bartleby for Donation

            Before publishing “Bartleby, The Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street” Herman Melville’s literary reputation was in decline ever since he published Moby Dick, or The Whale. His next novel, Pierre, or the Ambiguities, hardly sold at all, and was criticized, as when Charles Gordon Greene writes on August 4 1852 in The Boston Post: “it might be supposed to emanate from a lunatic hospital,” though he also admits “it is too bad for Mr. Melville to abuse his really fine talents as he does.” In November and December of the same year (1853), however, Melville publishes nonetheless the wonderful story of Bartleby. Though Melville’s first two novels were instant bestsellers, the author would never again write in their same style lest he should betray his artistic integrity. In a letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Melville writes in June of 1851, “Dollars damn me [ . . . ] What I feel most moved to write, that is banned.—it will not pay. Yet, altogether, write the other way I cannot.” “Bartleby” thus vindicates Melville from the “circumstances” of the economic world demanding him write conventional “potboilers.” More importantly, however, “Bartleby” is the development of “ambiguities,” which in the end of the story is identified as “humanity!” Humanity, or Bartleby, is nothing but ambiguity, and it cannot be anything else, for to limit it in a definition would only kill it in its walls, like what happens to Bartleby. Yet to prove this ambiguity Melville must try to deceive us: he must make the story ambiguous, or have several possible legitimate interpretations, in order for his “humanity” to be fully realized as true ambiguity, which is why the narrator is so disgustingly deceptive.

            Leo Marx concludes in his “Melville’s Parable of the Walls” that the narrator is saved by his realization of Bartleby’s identity being humanity at large: “Such deeply felt and spontaneous sympathy is the nearest equivalent to [the] grass” growing as if by “magic” within the thick revivalist Egyptian prison and that “[charity] is the force which may enable men to meet the challenge of death, whose many manifestations, real and imagined, annihilated the valiant Bartleby.” Yet charity with the narrator is corrupt and Bartleby nevertheless dies on the “terrible account” of the narrator’s irresponsible complicity with everyone’s wishes. I don’t think the narrator is completely saved as Marx believes; I will only believe that he has tried to save himself by testifying to the misunderstood yet saving power of Bartleby. Rather, Todd F. Davis’ position in “The Narrator’s Dilemma in ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’: the Excellently Illustrated Restatement of a Problem” makes more sense to me. Davis’ article takes its subtitle from Pierre, which I find also to be true and helpful: “mere illustrations are almost universally taken for solutions (and perhaps they are the only possible human solutions), therefore it may help to the temporary quiet of some inquiring mind” (Hayford 210). In it,Davis argues that “There is no talismanic secret in Melville’s world, only writing, writing that moves toward insight but never toward final answers.” I am persuaded to followDavis all the way and agree that Melville is “restating the problem of the human condition” and that the “very act of writing this narrative is an indication that the lawyer still deals with chronometrical guilt in horological time,” which for our purposes is basically just two opposing value systems.

            There are three causes why humanity cannot be discovered: the nature of Bartleby himself, the narrator’s motives, and his unreliability. As urbane (he is prudent and methodical) and learned (he is a practicing lawyer who reads theology) as he is, he is suspect because of these very capacities: he can reason himself out of anything, such as throttling, kicking out, jailing, murdering, and helping Bartleby. In this way the narrator mirrors Bartleby. To be specific, Bartleby is passive yet effective and the narrator is frantic yet ineffectual (he never “frightens [Bartleby’s] immobility into compliance” [46]), but to be even more precise, Bartleby and the narrator possess incommensurable ways of life: “[Bartleby] was more a man of preferences than assumptions” (39). Also, the narrator can only comfortably understand Bartleby as a “valuable acquisition,” which on earth is all that matters: “my other clerks being absent [ . . . ] I thought that, having nothing else earthly to do, [he] would surely be less inflexible than usual, and carry these letters” (38). They fundamentally cannot understand one another except by incident as when two people using different languages miraculously come to satisfy the other, which isn’t to say that they understand the other person’s language, but rather that the two have found some way to deal with the other person in their own terms.

In A Handbook to Literature 8th Edition “absurd” is defined as a relationship between people “in a world in which there is no way to establish a significant relationship between themselves and their environment” (2). The most absurd example is when the narrator first thinks of abandoning Bartleby:

something unusual must be done. What! surely you will not have him collared by a constable, and commit his innocent pallor to the common jail? And upon what ground could you procure such a thing to be done?—a vagrant, is he? What! he a vagrant, a wanderer, who refuses to budge? It is because he will not be a vagrant, then, that you seek to count him as a vagrant. That is too absurd. [ . . .] No more then. Since he will not quit me, I must quit him. 44

But legally done is bizarre, only the narrator’s turns of logic are. In the end Bartleby is imprisoned on charge of being a vagrant, which is legitimate at the moment when there is no property to legally protect Bartleby. This is the instance when society through law takes control of the individual if another individual (the narrator) does not. This is one reason for disbelieving the reliability of the narrator: since the narrator is a lawyer he should have known this and prevented it. Abandonment is repeated on page 48 in the Tombs when Bartleby answers, “I know where I am,” and the narrator assuming he “would say nothing more, [ . . . ] left him,” just like that.

            In the definition of absurdity the term “significant” is deliberately used to not only denote “important,” but also “signalling.” When something unusual occurs one instinctively looks for something that would make sense of the aberration. But what if something cannot be made sense of? Then we have the absurd, or in this case, Bartleby. He is of course a human being, but he is hardly thought of as one, which the narrator even admits in the first paragraph: “Bartleby was one of those beings of whom nothing is ascertainable” (italics mine). He even reassures himself, “had there been any thing ordinarily human about him, doubtless I should have violently dismissed him from the premises.” In fact, he even thinks that “as it was, [he] should have as soon thought of turning [his] pale plaster-of-paris bust of Cicero out of doors,” an analogy that equated Bartleby with a bust. Whereas Bartleby as an individual at least necessarily signals to himself as an individual, a bust can signal to anything at all, and it is this absence from any definite signification that accounts for Bartleby’s indecipherability. What is particularly saddening about him is that he actually prefers something definite: when asked if he’d like to entertain travelers with his conversation Bartleby replies, “It does not strike me that there is any thing definite about that.” He is inherently vague, but he also apparently doesn’t want anything with “too much confinement” (46).

            But why does the narrator tell us this story of the “strangest” scrivener? Here is the motive: “This apprehension had not been without efficacy in determining me to summary means,” the summary of which is the short story itself (37). I have read this story is existentialist, but not understanding fully what that means, let me estimate what is implied. The world that man exists in and must face is an indifferent, meaningless place where things “just happen.” Why is there something rather than nothing? Why did Bartleby show up at the narrator’s open door? The apprehension mentioned above is the fear that the narrator’s psyche was being damaged by taking up Bartleby’s speech patterns. Remember, the narrator is a man of method and order (he contrasts with Bartleby “the deranged” [49]), he is, after all, a lawyer. Whenever something is out of order to him, he finds a reason: why not restrict Bartleby from living in his office? Judging from the contents of his desk, because he is homeless, lonely, and poor. The narrator is mastered again by Bartleby’s “ascendancy” when he is kept out of his own office for the sake of Bartleby’s “occupations” (40), the last time of which is followed by the story’s longest non-dialogue section in which the narrator details in-depth his personal undertakings of self-control. For me, this part best reveals the narrator’s flaws: he is gullible and incapable of standing his ground. The next scene is also the point in the story when society intrudes in both Bartleby’s and the narrator’s peace and rushes the story to its end. The narrator’s most florid passage is a single sentence that ends with “as all these dark anticipations crowded upon me more and more, and my friends continually intruded their relentless remarks upon the apparition in my room; a great change was wrought in me” (43). To me this sounds like a form of denial where the denier attempts to exagerate a secondary cause to shift the blame from him/herself.

And why does the narrator bother with all this? Because he wants to tell the story of Wall-street under the pretense of writing about those “set of men” of whom “nothing that I know of has ever been written,” especially Bartleby (20). And because he thinks “It is an irreparable loss to literature” that such a biography has not yet been written, and that he must now write it, he is also a self-centered man whose act of writing this biography is a mere (self-interested) charity. For him, I believe, Bartleby is only the center of attention because it is his presence that causes the main subject, and terror, of his plight (Wall-street) to come down on him. He is under pressure all the time from everybody beside Bartleby, though he may be the cause for such pressures. The narrator writes on the same page where he calls Bartleby a “valuable acquisition” that he could be reconciled to Bartleby and that the “prime thing” of his clerk was that “he was always there,” which isn’t a problem until his always being there would usurp him of his property rights to his office through legal convention brought into recollection at the heckling of the mob wanting Bartleby out. If he could, I don’t think the narrator would mind keeping Bartleby around as a fixture. In short I do not believe the narrator hates Bartleby, but rather only sees Bartleby’s character as an opportunity to criticize Wall-street’s indifference as exercised in the many situations of circumstances, such as in the anecdote that the narrator easily recalls of Adams and Colt where Colt murders Adams because of the “circumstance of being alone in a solitary office” (41). There are also the circumstances under which the landlord finally manages to evict Bartleby that also manages to change the narrator’s mind to believe that “[the landlord’s actions] seemed the only plan” (47).

            It is significant that the narrator is unnamed, for he acts as a representative of humanity. There are several points in the story where the narrator gives away his involvement with Bartleby, which all add up to the death of Bartleby. The text, then, is also an indictment of conservative reactionism that would try to get away with the “anything goes” ethos, since if everything really was left to their own device Bartleby would have ruined the narrator’s business prospects as intimated to persuade the narrator to attempt to remove Bartleby from his old “haunt” one last time. To omit action is nevertheless to choose to not choose a particular action, and if the consequence is a crime then the means is a crime too. The narrator even knows this earlier in the story, as he posits, “If I turn him away, the chances are he will fall in with some less indulgent employer, and then he wil be rudely treated, and perhaps driven forth miserably to starve.” The narrator comes to the conclusion here that to take matters into his own hands is the safest course to undertake. But this is only momentary, self-gratifying, and not to mention self-serving, since he also admits, “He is useful to me” and that by keeping custody over Bartleby he will “cheaply purchase a delicious self-approval [that] will eventually prove a sweet morself for [his] conscience” (30). The narrator here most clearly exposes himself as a false samaritan.

            Bartleby, as well as Melville himself, refuses to compromise their integrity and in their non-compliance to conventions act obversely as agents of change in their respective contexts. When the narrator asks Bartleby why he will not write any further, Bartleby replies, “Do you not see the reason for yourself?” (37). A long time later the narrator assumes he has finally caught unto the reason for his clerk’s refusal: “At last I see it, I feel it” (42). He has, however, only caught on after he is incensed by Bartleby’s refusal to leave after an ultimatum’s six days deadline, and also after the narrator entertains thoughts justifying applying “the doctrine of assumptions” and thoughts justifying murder checked by “mere self-interest,” arguing ultimately that “charity often operates as a vastly wise and prudent principle.” His revelation also is one of phony adherence to whimsically picked up theology books. That self-interest should lead to charity is a bizarre paradox indeed because of the inherent contradiction of terms: charity is precisely a self-less act, and that the narrator should deceive himself reveals his absurd character. In effect it is the paradox that nothingness can kill that holds “[the narrator] to the terrible account” of the unaccountable Bartleby. Only coincidence has brought them together.

            By making Bartleby into a symbol of enigma Melville nevertheless shows that one thing is certain about humanity: it is something that can die. There is something affirmative, however, in the story. I’ve shown how the narrator equates Bartleby with the bust ofCicero. In the later scene when the narrator asks for his history, Bartleby naturally prefers not to answer while staring at the bust. We also know that Bartleby would prefer something definite and stationary. There is no thing more definite and stationary than a wall, and if Bartleby is already staring at things like himself (the bust) and he also prefers to stare at dead-walls, then in those dead-walls there must be some quality in them equal to himself which he detects. Yet he is not confined to them since in the end he is able to turn from them, the walls of law, and die facing the entrance from which the narrator walks through to find him. Originality may still be found posthumously.

 

Works Cited

 

Davis, Todd F.. “The Narrator’s Dilemma in ‘Bartleby the Scrivener’: The Excellently Illustrated Restatement of a Problem.” Studies in Short Fiction. 35.2 (1997): n. pag. EBSCO Host. Web. 29 April 2011.

Harmon, William, C. Hugh Holman, eds. “Absurd.” A Handbook to Literature 8th Edition.Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000. Print.

Hayford, Harrison, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle, eds. Pierre.Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1971. Print.

Marx, Leo. “Melville’s Parable of the Walls.” Sewanee Review. 61.4 (1953): 602-627. Web. 29 April 2011.

______________

First off, Herman Melville is a very complicated and important man. His work after Moby Dick is noted for being abstract, abstruse, and perplexing. Hence why I picked it: because it should give you extra points for ambition and effort. Once you read the story (I recommend at least twice) you should gain confidence about the paper. Granted it could have been written better, but it was taxing even for me, since the subject matter is so difficult. Here’s why: Melville is a very Modernist writer and even a Postmodernist one! He was largely overlooked by the critical audienc in his lifetime so it wasn’t until D.H. Lawrence wrote his Studies in American Literature, Lewis Mumford wrote his biography, and Raymond Weaver’s earlier biography and his 1924 edition of Melville’s unfinished novella Billy Budd, Sailor. Modernism is a trend of thought beginning generally right before World War I and continuing into Postmodernism (some say that Postmodernism is just Modernism in drag). Modernist thought is pretty much the doctrine of “make it new.” In time it is generally seen as the point when civilization seems to have all become self-conscious of itself, many describing Modernism as a “rupture” or “break” from the naïve past when technology and progress were both seen as hands of a benevolent God. What is relevant is that Melville wrote ahead of his time by exploring such themes as the inherent inability in interpretation to grasp absolutes, or the inherent blindspot in our vision of the world that will always thwart us in fully understanding the world, or the inherent impossibility for meaning to be grasped. Bartleby represents this, what Postmodernists call, aporia, or a “perplexing difficulty,” or an impasse. Bartleby is something that cannot be understood or dealt with (nobody knows what to do with him but throw him into jail to die). Of course, the narrator tries but we sense insincerity in his attempt, but his narrative (the story itself, which is his biography of Bartleby) might be sincere, and thus may save the narrator’s soul, but we cannot tell because that, I believe, is not the point of the Melville’s tale. I believe Melville offers us both interpretations equally, that the narrator is equally both sincere and insincere (he is insincere because of his “charitable” self-centeredness yet his showing us his insincereity is sincere because it allows us to grasp his point of Bartleby’s Christ-like divinity, which must die in the corrupt legal world of man), because, he seems to be saying, is just that: ambiguous! Humanity=Bartleby=ambiguities! Humanity cannot be walled into a definition because it will be limited to “copying” (remember Bartleby is a “scrivener,” or a legal documents copier) and not growing and creating and living (which is what Melville the author wishes for, since he is, after all, an artist!)!

 As to your sources cited, don’t worry I still have them and I remember how to find them, in case he asks.

Also as a last resort I don’t think it’s a bad idea to mention that you got help from me, a private tutor. Just make sure you say that it was only for up to two hours and after you completed the first draft.

Cropping Up

May 24, 2011

The Measure of Man

The measure of man
sounded insufferably into the gaping
range of his captivating powers: the mouth
the evolution of the machine when mechanization
is the gossip of paranoia beyond self-recognition,
when power of knowledge is an imaginary number
the start of a problem to be brought down
by further abstraction: the hurrying instinct
manufactured into space so that
nothing is expected, the old wire tha tholds
trial over the heads of optimists

into space.

_____

A Brave Man in Allergy

I was given twenty-five dollars, for what?
Helping. But my labor isn’t worth that much;
maybe ten dollars or twelve total–
bless my soul for that: five dollars on top
of the seven dollars my sold books’ worth;
it was the pain critiqued that won me
my thirteen over my book and body
collection, the sum of all equal to my heart,
a quarter of a hundred, a quarter of a . . .
and therein lade the problem—I was
reminded to pick up my books after deliverance,
the exchange at my doorway where I read on the floor
and rose to meet Mom’s not unreasonable anecdote,
which I confess is questionable,
of why I should sell online: because
nobody wants to buy used, a man
asked if he could buy a book for a dollar.
The price is inside, He said,
that’s too expensive for me . . . or too much,
was it? And there was the problem, in-
flation in the mouth of May, on
that tarp that she couldn’t even pronounce,
where the books yielded gratitude
in kindness with kindness alone was lost
after an nour of primpring for family movie night
before as I cleaned up the mess left by the old
man, and found them departed to Thor.
They invited several times, though, but I was
regretting only not putting arrows in myself,
despite the clinching wind, its memory.
Someone nice once explained
that our noses run and tear up because our body
doesn’t recognize certain things entering,
that sneezing is another way of saying,
Work is kind only in certain areas,
not just time.

_____

Mother’s Day  

It is true that my memory of things is bad,
but of people it is good, strong, a virtue
of both parents that never forgets either,
especially you on this day of a year
so far good insofar as you remind me
daily of your steadfast tour of the house
cleaning I wish you’d forget that
which possesses you, the wrinkles of clothes,
the creaks of the cabinet, and the dust,
that list of to-do that you call,
in your restricted way, “always cleaning”
that doubles as a salutation and triples
as a reference to morning, noon, and evening . . .
But what about the goodmorning,
the afternoon, and the
goodnight? Here’s to you, Mom,
a salute to the only person that’s held me
before I was born,
and will grace me to honor the same
back when you no longer can hold anything,
no broom, pan, cane, or doorway,
to prove my reply to your asking
one day at the table I stayed too plainly over
home, “Will you guys remember me?”
and in returning me back to youth,
in the tears inside, I remember the day
you told me to be strong (you said,
“Be strong”) and replaced the memory
with your thought, silly as it is,
on my own to-do list.

_____

Joie de vivre 4/17/11
 
So much life I can finally breathe
he same air of . . .

 the wharf I heard was the result
of a dog thrown off land
crying
like my own beside my leg,
wagged
out of control.
One isn’t simply told the truth
when one is going to lay there
and the other conferring ap-
probation undigested as an O.K.
before the big hangup. Things
have alwas been this way I know,
as I knew it, but things change
to follow the incorporated tense
of love: its tensity. But
do not be at remove from me
there is so much we can yet to do
where I’m coming from.
Where there is life surrounding, walls
surrender . . .
 
A friend wo saw me reading Kundera
wrote through the photograph: Life is
everywhere, my friend,
which is true, like so much
of life’s tallies beneath the sill
from where two eyes raven
the life below victorious,
twice as much as I have in mind
when I say, Look! life
manifests . . .

_____

Walking the Dog 5/17/11 2:23PM

The singing of dog at approach of kin, and
hunger, is rough to bear for the owner
who has, trying to keep abreast,
his pet jumping ofr joy at the fenced cousin,
no matter how rampant and large,
but must be on his way so must he
keep him down for fear of conflagration
between the two same beasts meting, as if
for the first time again over,
demotic freedom and enchorial decency
that would spark his interest in the same
street where behind a bush was found
a bowl of dog food, left out,

so that he may begin his work,
once he makes it back.

___

Tired 5/13/11 9:25PM

So tired, I am a fount of inspiration,
myself drowning in this work.
Not a signature to give, not another phrase
of vicarious contrition to inspire,
not an air to affect into any.
You would not know death
at this rate if you had seen it
with your own eyes without mine.
Take my word for it and buckle
down to yourself the wells of others
to spout your own Renaissance,
your reflections in others,
as if you were at bottom of theirs.
But how can the hands impale
light between disembowelment?
across withered life lines
mirrored spposedly, drawing water
belated to the chapped lips,
their eyes well versed in a third voice,
only to leave them dry.

Potentially last installment

February 24, 2011

This might be the last of my blog previews. As this is becoming more serious, I feel the need to keep it to myself for actual future publication (though it be years from now). Maybe I will finally post up essays, like I’ve always said I would.

The supremacy of day over night is marked by the amount of crime that can be let away diurnally as opposed to nocturnally. This is one way of assuring a good diagnosis. In fact, it is one of the most common modalities of our civilization to ascertain health by the amount of harm something effects bodily or socially, or mentally and emotionally, as we have become largely a reactionary species. This mass legal reaction to intentional harm is a feature of man’s history. In fact, history can be identical to a registry of harm labeled Harm Annotated. When we look at cave paintings there is often a depiction of some animal chase bordered by its footprints and halves of human bodies aiming spears, pipes, or just hands at the centered animal. Or if the animal is not directly in the center, or the ostensible center of attention, then it will either be to the side of a human, or some anthropomorphism of one, or is just, in a raw way, half of the anthropomorphism itself that is the center of the tableau. And it isn’t always in the night time that these cave paintings depict, for there is the famous Lascaux migratory deer and hunters chase, bull hall, and Chauvet profile of horses paintings, and these occasions, except for some of the foremost, occur primarily in the daylight. These are all expressions of violence, amongst other things, of course. But the violent aspects are all the occasion for their painting in the first place. In visual history, and we are a visual people, violence and harm are the foundations of our historical concerns.

 . . .

There was time enough to compose himself something in the screen which he had to resort to as his tool of choice due to the inadequacy he had become frustrated yet again to learn of how slow the pace of production is in the manual labor of handwriting, despite the overall higher quality of his words and syntax when in manual mode (he thinks sometimes it’d be a good idea to learn shorthand, an actual typographical language he had learned while shelving the ______ and because it’d be a viable proposal to set to his father to allow him more time before confronting any interviewers in a ‘real job,’ or one he is deserving, according first to his girlfriend and even to his mom, in order to produce as much as he can via computer), the order is always too tall, he thinks now, for one man alone to do it, and that recourse to typing is the most practical way to math the likes of Twain or any other author whose surname begins with ‘B’. He couldn’t be a latter day anybody anymore, though, because of certain restrictions racketing around his ordeal, an ordeal that is not quite bodily or abstract, but something inbetween like a fine thin line dividing being and non-being, or more practically, doing and non-being. If only you knew. But for now there was always the eternal recurrence of pain in his forearm and lumber region when prolonged sitting is enforced or so is what he responds to others with when inquired after for reasons as to his non-mull-like work habit that seemingly has regressed ever since a year and a half ago when he officially became an item with another soul, the pain of which is real but there is something else nobody can, not even himself, he’s tried, pin down like a divine gift, unless one had the wherewithal to possess nothing without emotional hindrance, because somewhere deep down in the down of every thing’s soul there is the need to erupt and consume another tender thing hopefully-hard-enough. He had read too much, he thought with that thought, once upon a time.

 . . .

Park in the ‘Three Hours’. Test. Read. Relocate. Today’s itinerary was supposed to be simple and clean, a razor into his future. And it was just that. Beginning with the parking. There was hardly any cars due to the group test taking place before public operating hours. When I stood up from my carseat squat I was surprised at, however, the horde outside the automatic sliding doors, some sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce, mainly male, but most mainly standing with arms crossed hand-to-elbow and vice-versa, women hips beveled, men’s hips stolid archways of strengthening angles of leg repose positively correlated with passing time until reseted when practical concern for their health (and social concern for their sex appeal) to be continued again like windout dolls standing akimbo, mainly female, however, who decided to stand legs closed through the whole ordeal slowly emerging as sweaty and hot as the day casted to the destestment of, I’m sure, several, of which I am sure there are several because I was there and I did not stand still as much like a human-minded cow. I had brought a book just in case I could not find anything after to read for today’s ‘one hundred,’ as well as my library card should there be something of nominal interest. It was Economics In One Lesson by an authority alleged by F.A. Hayek, Henry Hazlitt. It is a very sallow and crunchy-old slim book stained possibly by two different liquids on two separate occasions, as the top-right corner is wrinkled from cover-to-cover with a faded denim blue blotch strongest in the closing pages and shrinking into a mere tinted epicenter, as if merely a water stain, around page fifty where the rest of that corner is likewise merely stained by water only given away by the red bleeding inward from the maroon gilted leaf edges so that the entire water stain, or whatever it is, on every page at least appears like ominous clouds, whereas the other stain, the one on the bottom of the book, begins from the cover page and though having a strong start hardly penetrates a quarter of the way through the book, as if that was a spill by the reader quickly attended to, as opposed to the laying and forgetting of the book in a blue puddle of some sort of the upper half of the book, possibly at an earlier time than the bottom mistake, the reverse order of awareness of the car accidents I should sustain at eternities later, and it is a very interesting book. Ever since School I have apparently, seemingly rhizomatically, grown penchants for laymen books, such as The Fabric of the Cosmos, Mexican cuisine, and walking my dog around the block with attempted leisurely paces. I think it is because of the growing sense of my own mortality, and that is why I was here, at last, with everyone else still standing miraculously before the automatic huge sliding glass doors (it is a personal source of consant astonishment to see the place unvandalized, its protection, I can also say surprisingly without surprise, probably due to the haven it provides for the apparently high surrounding homeless population in days of extreme weather [though I’ve noticed greater kept population takes effect on extra sunny days, the odor of which effects in turn a greater al fresco turnout of the non-homeless population, a mixed relationship truly negative to the DAs on-shift who in the end have to suffer sometimes until the closing ‘Cleanup’ hour the miasma of]) waiting for the ‘hosts’ to arrive when I walked through the crowd and swung my hand in front of the door to test the sensor and opened it and stood in the glassed anteroom that was like a glass menagerie before the final set of wall-sized automatic sliding doors into the library itself. It took a minute for another person to step in too, and another nine after that for everyone else to finally stubbornly herd themselves intside. I, however, had to wait the longest for the hosts to arrive, given my seriousness, the attitude of which was hopefully to give a positive first impression of professionalism, and tight attire. There were only two hosts that were needed to arrive to dutifully conduct them in through the side manual door with one of them holding a clipboarded sign-in sheet and checking each one off and the second writing in Sharpie each called name to the first host on a small sticky peelable label that we would each personally stick unto ourselves lest a scandal or some smaller infection of discomfort spread amongst the test participants and the test ultimately be given but not taken or certain people immediately disqualified due to undesirable reactions of a polemic and spitty or legal and stiff-lipped sort against the out-of-bounds sticking host, who would undoubtledy have her back ‘backed up’ by the other host who would then effectively have at-hand a wooden weapon whose clip may double as a face smasher and pen as an eye gouger, if the ridicule should escalate to such ‘dumb’ heights. The people and their pedestal of formality, or should I say, the people and desire. But rules are rules and in the end I gave my name and we all ushered into the B.B. Meeting room where rows of long two-across-from-two tables were lined in classic lecture hall fashion, or church pew aisled, whichever you prefer, with long tables rowed into three columns with enough space down each axis to allow easy passing access with, in the end, ultimately some five rows and a center long table in the front of, and parallel to, us all where one of the first hosts sat hands webbed together was joined by a third much older lady who must have gained access into the building through a back hatch and who must be the one in charge of this program since it was her who stood reading instructions to the sleepy, yet I’m sure ardent, calico crew pencil-in-hand-ready for some arduous test-taking, or at least I was. I even shaved.

  . . .

 He had never known what a daffodil was, nor did he ever think of knowing one. His ignorance wasn’t the same ignorance as not really knowing the definition of veracity where he had once known it, thought the distortion of the memory of it over time was still the same absolute definition it at first veritably was, its use as this mutant definition being always in every ‘real world’ case applicable so that as the years—years! (he had been a dedicated vocab expansionist in his early high school years in a bid to ‘fit in’)—the definition he had in mind maligned and its ‘truth’ meaning (literally, that was all: a fancy way to signify ‘truth’) metastasized to other parts of his social body and he caught his friend using the word almost prodigiously often, he (not the aforementioned ‘friend’) learned, in the wrong way (if a ‘way’ is appropriate enough to indicate ‘way of knowledge,’ as punned in consideration of the German W/weise, which means both ‘way’ and ‘sage,’ ‘wise,’ or ‘sapient,’ so that it would not be very hard to imagine the practical Germans’ Wissenschaft [‘science’] as a derivation of W/weise, if not Weiss [‘white’]) most memorably when he and his friend and other friends were driving to Davis to splooge at the at-the-time only sushi buffet bar and while revving uphill he had said ‘. . . the veracity of’ and the sun refracted into his eyes as he maintained a most considerate listening posture though inside was full of panic and awe as he was quite blind for the most dangerous part of the off-ramp turn: when the merge into the main road opens up with an intersection stoplighted never too importantly enough to actually hold fresh, hungry highwayers—this memory serving retroactively as a great mneumonic to remember the true definition of ‘veracity,’ which he knew now and thought a useful word indeed, especially in the service of a repartee between a Junior College student and a Berkeleyite, i.e., to any of the inside- and outside-repartee participants. And this was not how he knew the daffodil.

3rd Installment

February 22, 2011

He was on the road again but this time the road was on him too. It was pouring so much, those Mack and box trucks, their sputum hawking into my windshield drummed to by his sporadic leg drumming, sporadic because of lack of skill, a recalcitrant dexterity still persisting in his left wrist despite weeks of training, not because of his inability to track time, this ability being less an ability than an over-growth condition or a capacity to withstand long periods of time without wanting to do anything, and as such is currently developing a tolerant girlfriend, one hopes the P virtue is a transferable skill in these times, and driving to a 24 hour gym between her house and his house in the rampant rain, now disabused of any pretenses of convenience of said gym’s location and hours of operations both staffed and un-staffed (there is a “single”-customer lockable shower room), because history is prudent, or existential, enough to befall every moment with the existential, or prudent, tint of disaster that a few minutes late is a few minutes too late of a waiting partner at home. Like I said. But this time the rain would excuse him.

This time he had not spotted a single hummer, nor thought of the Hummer H2 Edt. spray with odd hints of “foliage,” cardamom, and the wonderful sandalwood. Of course there is the vanilla bean extract tonka bean and the patchouli mint, but at the moment he doesn’t think much further than initial ingredients, or that upturned and trembling bumper in the shoulder that until just now appeared an animal not yet roadkill, or that road sign Timber Talent and the question of its namesake and whether Asia can save the world one less chopstick a meal or if their being is too much theirs to give up, or that inflated mascot waving downwards in one auto-mall lot to the right to us, so that the answer to China is somewhat the same as the answer to the Jews: forget and forgive, but there isn’t much that can be said about it without referring tractatusiously to the world again. And if that wasn’t enough on his mind, then there was also the Gatorade Phase 1 “pre-game fuel” to be drank fifteen minutes before hitting the weights to ensure muscle adaptive and lactic successes for the days to come, hopefully with his honey, and the deltoid and tricep stretching that he can actually do while still in car, and not just sit around wasting time on the way to progressively heavy aesthetic and cardiac betterment, lest he see more than he should in the rearview mirror and perform outrageously poor according to himself fifteen minutes after prep-drinking and beneath certain pectoral weight machines because he spent five minutes between sets rather than the needed four letting go his pulled dorsal muscles between shoulder blades daydreaming of his girl or of sashimi and chopsticks, not even metal ones, he berates himself for even the lazy thoughts.

. . .

There was time enough to compose himself something in the screen which he had to resort to as his tool of choice due to the inadequacy he had become frustrated yet again to learn of how slow the pace of production is in the manual labor of handwriting, despite the overall higher quality of his words and syntax when in manual mode (he thinks sometimes it’d be a good idea to learn shorthand, an actual typographical language he had learned while shelving the ______ and because it’d be a viable proposal to set to his father to allow him more time before confronting any interviewers in a ‘real job,’ or one he is deserving, according first to his girlfriend and even to his mom, in order to produce as much as he can via computer), the order is always too tall, he thinks now, for one man alone to do it, and that recourse to typing is the most practical way to math the likes of Twain or any other author whose surname begins with ‘B’. He couldn’t be a latter day anybody anymore, though, because of certain restrictions racketing around his ordeal, an ordeal that is not quite bodily or abstract, but something inbetween like a fine thin line dividing being and non-being, or more practically, doing and non-being. If only you knew. But for now there was always the eternal recurrence of pain in his forearm and lumber region when prolonged sitting is enforced or so is what he responds to others with when inquired after for reasons as to his non-mull-like work habit that seemingly has regressed ever since a year and a half ago when he officially became an item with another soul, the pain of which is real but there is something else nobody can, not even himself, he’s tried, pin down like a divine gift, unless one had the wherewithal to possess nothing without emotional hindrance, because somewhere deep down in the down of every thing’s soul there is the need to erupt and consume another tender thing hopefully-hard-enough. He had read too much, he thought with that thought, once upon a time.

. . .

I have come into the habit of trying to surprise those who’re attempting to take me by surprise by swinging the door normally out while maintaining the usual pace of my gait’s own egress, but on tiptoes (or “feather-footed” as my friend once commanded one inebriated night in his shared upstairs flats), while breathing normally, but with a bit more bate in its breath, and as I make it past the door’s vertical horizon from behind the door’s swing where it is customary for creeping people to ‘camp’ (in old-fashioned CS jargon) I turn-out only my head to the left (in the usual case of being in Salisem’s house) at the usual rate with the only thing unusual being the turn itself as a measure of instilling within the frightful moment an attitude of normalcy, like nothing was going to creep up on me this time, to prevent any longterm psychic harm that could innoculate wrongly at that particular juncture, the harm of which may manifest itself at later similar scenarios with covert breathing nonetheless heavy and probably embarassing shakes and the open display of nonchalance as a façade against those critical campers doing the creeping at that later terrifying juncture of long time like last time, and with this behavioral measure, which has become somewhat ‘protocol,’ would I then turn the table, or should I say the door, and frighten them back with my anyways nonchalant face, despite the premeditated setup that had been processed in my darkened, because I always turn the light off to save energy before leaving the bathroom—Question: why does turning off the restroom light constitute a cause for fear and invokes a reaction similar to an infarction in those authorial figures in the reptrimandable area?—core.

More novel bits

February 17, 2011

I am currently making notes on the structure of the work. In the meantime, hope you can enjoy some of the following parts of it:

It is quite uncommon, however, to be interrogated at all (one DA introducing a newcoming DA to the work described the job with, “It is very hard to be fired”), as the Librarians and the Librarian Aides tend to keep to themselves excerpt for a few, namely the permanent DA supervisor, Mandy Wright, a large woman with laired dirty blonde hair falling clumpily just to her shoulders. She is so welcoming in demeanor that not a word in her disfavor has ever been heard not has one ever been heard from her mouth, even giving advice as to how to improve one’s memory, a technique she read from somewhere, not from a cab driver as one snarky DA remarked once hopefully not overheard, being to do little quotidian things diffierently everyday, such as counting backwards, 5, 4, 3, 2 . . . instead of, you know, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 so that your memory stays active, her breathing clasping for air as she told him this, the topic of which only occurred to the DA opposite because he had seen her wobbling away with her coworkers to the parking lot outside the back code-card secured employee’s entrance where he usually took his fifteen break (if weather permitting, it will be taken in his car usually parked ACAP to said entrance, as in this particular day) and she had apparently returned to traverse her long hallway for her water bottle that she had to apparently finish like a newborn, and the DA, after signing in late, had felt obliged to say something because his taking notice of her for only the day’s second time (once outside thought to have been leaving for the rest of the day [an odd phrase indeed]) had borne inside him a pang of guilt for his timidity bordering the-temerity-that-every-entryworker-carries-for-his/her-obvious-superior and apparent, but at the same time hopefully-not-once-and-for-all-misinterpreted insincerity for taking him on as her ward (the DA) and never really saying hi to her (Mandy) out of his (DA’s) way save particularly when she is about to turn around from her chair at the moment of signing in (since the sign-in board is right between both DA and LA supervisors cubicle) or is in general in his way, and so to make amends, at least for himself (he tells himself still as he shelves or types), he decided to step out of his way at that exact moment and turn around, just a turn, after exchanging Hi on his squeezing way past her in the strait between sign-in board and cubicle carols after setting up the necessary situation of him pausing in front of the TS to make seem logical and not-too-affected his turning completely around to initiate a conversation out of not-too-pathetic remorse with the kind boss not in case somebody was watching, but just in case she was watching, for her sake, but the first thing his perceptive mind wanted to break the ice with was a comment on dieting, but commonsense is lucky enough to grace the professional world proportionately more often than in the regular personal world, and all he asked was, instead, Welcome back.

. . .

Along the West wall setting-off the Employee’s Only office hall from the public area runs from Southeast to Northwest the Books on CD’s Fiction and Nonfiction (abbreviated call code “CD”; from herein on the remaining sections will be in the Book format), the Adult Paper Backs (“APBK,” or “porn”) the Mystery Books (“M”), Science Fiction (“SF”), Western (“W”; squished between “SF” and “SC,” Story Collection), Story Collection (given), Fiction (it is here that the general Call Code begins in its most basic form, that with a simple “FIC” prefix to signify fictional works, and the author’s name), Nonfiction (Dewey Decimal System), and New Readers (“N” simply). I will die, he thinks in there shuffling through Fic while also looking for a book for display, some sort of it anyways, given that some of the end caps are themed and illustrated with typifying placards, the The Beatles’ end cap for example loaded on their plastic hanging stands with pertinent The Beatles books staggering top-bottom-top alternating each book’s stand’s flush side-by-side so that an empty diamond space forms, ideally, at the corner of each item, and a sideways portrait of them on one of the topmost stands, usually the top-left’s. Another example of perfect concordance is the illustration for the “Curl Up With a Comfy Culinary Mystery,” which employed an illustrated chef lifting a metal dish cover to reveal the above text, though each informing book below contains a conventional story, as if, and here one can conjecture close resemblance between predictable plot with predictable menu item, depending on one’s fine dining experience, utilizing, usually, a knife, poison, and no food served personally by the chef himself, he would hope, one I mean. Sometimes people aren’t so lucky. Sometimes, however, another case may present itself where some people really are lucky while at the same time other people just don’t get lucky, at the same table, on the obverse, because of that. Take the Romance end cap.

. . .

The library and the political caucus should be the bulwarks of civilization. Every sort of people should be addressed in these forums and every agent operating within and behind them should be accounted, or at least accountable. Whatever happened with the latter nobody is really quite sure, though many will try to reassure another, whether within the institution itself or from within to without, viceversa, or from top to bottom, or re vice versa, of that true nature consituting politics as if the chartering documents, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in this country, were stable elements to be put together and separated, as if the Large Hadron Collider, or even the first of its kind, did not just break apart the original thought, our worldview, of our physical constitution, and ever more and more innovations are always being discovered, if not underway. As to the former the librarians of today are upholding promises, yes, but one must question what it is exactly they are holding. There is a common question that isn’t so base, its nobility in fact stemming from the fact that its answer may stem the involubility and general stupidity of tomorrow according to the therapeutic capacities of literacy, and that question is, Why does this library hold so much smut, particularly in APBK, or rephrased in the mouth of one DA, My cousin, she’s kind of ghetto, and she reads those books and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, do you? or replaced in the mouth of one particular superannuated highly esteemed and sincere arrogance, Can millions of readers be wrong? (the answer being his stentorian and rootedly solid Yes in the infamous news article; in another, this debate is carried on quite imaginatively in another post-news article commonly known in the adjectival form “going batshit again”). There is also the Steadily Growing Popular question of whether 1/8th of every tax penny is really saving our literacy or our libraries, the distinction between the two being similar to Mark Twain’s maxim, “Don’t let school get in the way of your education,” a handy bible for those self-conscious youths who have probably read too much, or too little in other ways, depending on which way the apologist wants to cut it.

. . .

By Era-Climate Era 45 world population is estimated to reach ceteris paribus nine (9) billion and this year, ERA 3 we are supposed to hit seven (7) billion, a not so staggering number if you think “micro-ly” of the amount of time it took homo sapiens to burgeon this much before today’s rapture, an indeed silly way of taking the word. That distant state of affairs however won’t have much distance about it once it hits due to the sheer overcrowding of other animals against humanity, the blending across the flesh of species can, as is easily imagined, when so many living things intrude upon the organs of other organisms the tax of so much physical abuse is sure to alloy the very thought of species, and speciesm, itself, as is already apparent between the thought of gender in the urban sixties, or today’s Nintendog.

. . .

I had just placed my cart in the perfect position for Holds right in front of the A-C Audio Books, viz. practically leaning its back sideways alongside the bookcase so that I, a DA, may easily transport Held books respective places, when a man in gray sweats and cirrusly dirty blonde hair inquired if there was a book here for him that wasn’t on the shelf already, which I took to mean,

Could you check if you have a book on hold for me in the back?”(/”I received a call earlier saying that two of my items are available for pickup now, but I can’t find them”)

“I can check in the back,” noticing that his deportment can be summed up as generally light, not ditzy or bright, but almost elegant were the elegant body not too high on the BMI chart nor his arms (with hands) and shoulders not so curvy. “What’s your last name?”

“Eduard.”

“You’re last name?”

“Eduard—” but before he actually restated his whole name entirely I had already found it, Eduard, Duc, and handed it to him, receiving duly a smiling “—thank you” in gratitude, because of which a definite homosexual I concluded of the strange once-upon-a-time gray man.

He slinked away in the usual manner of a married man, flouncing with teeth toity woity, or as “white” as can be according to the black comedian, he being either Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, or Ice Cube, but most likely the foremost given his warbling nasal impersonation voice lending to his capacity most likely of the bunch to sound most french. I didn’t watch him go but there is sufficient experience to abate debate whether he turned left towards the main hull of the library or to the right to check-out at the automatic account and desensitizing machine whereupon a patron library card is required to be swiped in order to operate and leave the premises without setting off The Gates and thereupon inciting the auspices of an elderly security guard often by the name of Winfred, someday to explode into a not so quiet fortunate question, “What do you think you’re doing, sir/ma’am?” which would be the day to celebrate a library truly, concerning casting, smart. Which isn’t to say that The Gates don’t work, because they do, truly, I’ve checked it during Gate Count duty when I’ve had to squat in front of it land-surveyor-style waiting for the ‘A’ that precedes the numbers to change to ‘P’ (which I speculate may mean patron) so that I may record the number of patrons who’ve crossed its path and so that I may add a few numbers to reinforce my institution’s political leverage during budget meets whenever use statistics are conjured, waving my hand through it back and forth adding couples each time and ending my fraud, sometimes, to creating a sole odd number who should but won’t add up to an even number between back “Pond” gate count and “Front” gate count, which should occur since each patron entered has to sometime leave, and return to their night, before tallying on my clipboarded day-by-day month-long Gate Count template, the previously stated, involving a calculator if needed, which always was for me, though sometimes I like to challenge myself and do the two division in my head as fast as I can. Preferably, however, I wouldn’t dare if I believed I couldn’t in the initiation.