Eye of the Story

The Evergreen State College

Author: Mike

Mike Pezzillo- A Glint in the Eye and a Growl in the Belly

A Glint in the Eye and a Growl in the Belly

 

That night the Missouri was friendly. There was a half-moon and he steered the small boat by swimming one-handed on the stern, kicking and steering around the bends of the river and round the sandbars, whenever possible. He was thinking of old friends, some gone, most not yet, some good, others searching. He might have had a tear in his eye but the river washed it away.

The river and the half-moon absorbed him on his way down the Missouri to the landing. ~PV

“So I talked to Peder about that dream,” Julie says, referring to a dream in which her father had sat upon her bed and spoke to her. “I started crying when I talked to him. I said, ‘It was like he was there talking to me.’ And I was crying when I said, ‘but I don’t know how this shit works. I don’t know if it works that way.’
‘Ah, Jule,’ Peder said, ‘that’s exactly how it works.’”

We’ve been sitting in Peder’s apartment for an entire day and now into the night, sitting some kind of secular shiva for him and for ourselves, a setting of face-to-face that came about organically amidst the needs of pragmatic concerns; all the trivialities of death that assail those left behind. The living room, the office, is covered with history, a life, all scrawled on notes ranging in size from post-it to repurposed take-out fliers to whole reams of oddly-cut yet uniform papers. A large number of the post-it sized notes are phone numbers, addresses, and the occasional little reminder to pick up wine or stop at the bank or to listen to a specific NPR segment. A smoke alarm dangles from it’s wiring on the ceiling amid cobwebs of some distant vintage, yellowed a darker shade than the nicotine-coated walls. A cane, Peder’s cane, rests quietly against the desk, directly beneath the silenced smoke detector. Loose cigarettes lay strewn across every horizontal surface, and the ashtrays haphazardly placed between stacks of paper and pill bottles suggest that Peder had started smoking again recently.
Yellow-paged books sit serenely on shelves coated with a fuzzy patina of dust and age. The kitchen, recently cleared of old empties, ancient food stuffs, and forgotten peanuts, is now in the throws of Terry Buetler making Tuna Noodle Helper, his specialty and an old favorite of this crew. A painter and carpenter by trade, like Peder, Terry has a lot of fine skills and has learned to do his job very well in spite having, like Peder, of a crippling issue with math.

(For Peder, math was such an issue that he almost didn’t get his degree. A friend of his, a psychologist at USD, wrote up a recommendation to the school board suggesting that Peder’s college-level mathematical reasoning skills had been burned out by excessive LSD usage, a convenient fiction that Peder came to refer to as “Acid Amnesty International”. As a carpenter, Peder developed his own method of geometry which never failed him.)

Carryl wanders into the kitchen to find Buetler puzzling over how to double a recipe that calls for 2/3 of a cup. Carryl peers wide-eyed at the box, unable to decipher the instructions without her glasses, which were left at the hotel in the rush to get here this morning. After a few minutes of fumbling they manage it together.

A short while later Buetler is wandering around talking about everything that pops into his head to Savvy and I, and Carryl and Julie are talking in the kitchen.
“Yeah,“ Carryl says, “we’re sitting Shiva, South Dakota style: Bring us food, bring us wine, pay your respects.”
“But I don’t want Molly to think that we’re having a bunch of people through here,” replies Julie, “you know, I don’t think she’d be comfortable…”
“Oh no,” Carryl intejects. “No no, like, I wouldn’t want to- I wouldn’t want to- but see, I’m already that way.”
“You’re not posting no…”
“Yeah, fuck that shit,” Carryl laughs.
Julie grabs her glass. “I don’t have anybody to call.”
“T.J.’s coming and that’s enough for me,” she says as she draws a glass of wine from the box on the counter.
“yeah,” Carryl continues, filling her own glass. “And that’s what we’re doing and I think, actually, which- so I’m not saying we have to do anything. I think what we’re doing… I’m just, like, recognizing the there is a minor setting, not that I’m Jewish or ever been that involved, but part of the sitting Shiva goes in layers and stages, like you start with the immediate family, and then it’s not for several days before before it opens up. This one gal, I knew her reasonably well, she came up to me this year at Human Factors, she’s Jewish, she lives in Israel, and she said, ‘hey, just wanted to say…’

Terry lopes in, a joint in his mouth.
“Oh,” interrupts Julie, “we decided to take the lid off and let it cook down a little, ‘cuz it’s kinda soupy. I don’t know, it’s your…”
“You think, Carryl?” Terry asks, “is it too soupy yet?”
“No, I think we’ll go with Julie’s ideas on this one,” Carryl replies.
Julie stammers, “With the- the- the-”
“…the lid off…” Carryl supplies.

“Yeah,” Julie shoots back, “just let it simmer a little, but with the lid off, maybe…”

“It’ll evaporate better, probably…”

“Yeah,” Terry says edgewise, “it’s a good idea.”

“Yeah,” Julie nods. “Absorb the liquid.”

“Maybe it was Peder’s idea,” Carryl says, nodding sagely. “Yep.”

“I think Peder would really want me to-” Terry begins. “He knew why you guys were here to help me with this,” he chuckles.

“Or maybe he wanted soup,” supplies Carryl.

 

I’ll almost always fall in love with people who are often in trouble on account of their own good wits. ~PV

“I’m gonna put this outside for Peder,” Terry says, heading toward the door with a bowl of the much-anticipated Tuna Noodle Helper.
“Yeah,” agrees Julie, then, “wait, why does he have to be outside?”
“Well,” Terry backpedals into the room, “it’s free out there…”
“He can come in here,” Julie says. “He IS here.”
“Where should I put it?”
“Over there.”
“By his big coat,” Carryl says, pointing at the mountainous black parka piled on the corner of the desk, Peder’s smiling face beaming over the top from an 8×11 photograph.
“He was never a big eater, he’ll probably only nibble at it,” Julie sniffs.
“At some point,” Carryl chimes, “he might want to go outside for a cigarette.”
“Yeah, he’s got his Icehouse, and his Tuna Noodle Helper.”

“Let’s make it thematic,” says Terry. “He would have liked that. Where’s that ashtray and one of those fucking cigarettes?”
“Oh shit, we’ve been cleaning a lot…,” mumbles Carryl.
“oh man,” Julie agrees.
“…been cleaning too much if you can’t find a dirty ashtray.”

A person can become so alone that he almost no longer understands friendship. I don’t say this to explain myself or excuse myself, I simply know this from my experience. Now, perhaps because it’s Solstice, I want to reach out to my old friends to say that I have them still in my heart and mind and that I am most grateful for what I learned from them. ~ PV

 

“What’s important?” Terry asks me. “You’ve got to look at the streets. Yeah, it’s cold out, but how many people, if they didn’t have their digital media would not be outside? Hanging out or doing something, there would be events. Picasso and those guys… and back in the NY School, abstract expressionism, they had people they’d talk to, like a constant dialogue and community, and I think it’s so crucial for art to survive, especially in the individual, and not around bouncing shit [off other artists]. I miss that dialogue so much. It’s depressing.”

Carryl sings, “That’ll work for me, lord. That’ll work for me. I’ll have an Icehouse, and that’ll work for me.”

3/3/16 – Mike Pezzillo – Stray Thoughts from a Sunny Day

Bad ideas for stories:

It’s a day for small dogs.

The Swedish Meatball Brigade

Onerous Iona and the Stinking Sea Shit

 

Dumb Thoughts:

“Well, you know what they say…

…they say a lot of things.”

 

To burp or fart is to decant one’s soul.

There are times we live in, and then there are times we live through.

One of these days I will learn how to live in a world I did not choose.

 

A Prayer for a Pekingese

 

What do you do

when the distance between those wild ancestors

and yourself seems to shrink in the depths of middle-night,

when the call of your blood is a roar in your ears,

when the night unfolds to its full expanse

and you shiver involuntarily at the chill whip of the wind,

when mother night comes a callin’

and sings to you the sweet song of the hunt,

do you cower in your cushioned bed, your coddled corner,

trembling in the terror your domesticity demands of you,

or do you call back,

lift your chin and howl for the cold beauty of the moon,

free that restless shudder you can’t contain,

press your paws into the raw, bare earth

and let your blood sing with the song of the wild?

 

2/28/16 – Mike Pezzillo – An Old Fish Story

 

The night shifts tectonically
but is only registered
by dreamers on the edge
of waking and song birds
filling the sycamore
with their sounds of alarm.

Was I ready for writing or was writing ready for me?

Time shifts in on itself,
ties up temporal connection,
in between now and then,
one in a series of self-returning
Gordian knots that keep me anchored
to this life I appear to live.

There was a time I sat in thrall of, this may be a time I am still not done with, this may be the time I most need reason seen through cause I never cared enough to bleed to…

I spent some time in the deep dark south. Not the South you’re thinkin’ of. It’s not that far from the scattered metro lines of New York or Pennsylvania, Maryland or Delaware. Not far from Virginia either, by way of the crow-flies. That being said, it wasn’t truly the South in any sense, being the tourist mecca it was/will be/never was that it always has been. Still, its position, roughly 38.9889° N, 74.8198° W, puts most, if not all of the island of Wildwood, NJ, below the Mason Dixon Line, effectively rendering it a part of the South. One could argue the fact that the Mason Dixon line follows the southerly contour of Delaware in its progress East, but, then one, as a good Northerner, would have to admit it to the Union, or, as a good Southerner, would have to decline the tax-free shopping. Either way it’s a lose-lose scenario. And so it remains, for the sake of simplicity, in the South (Read: I don’t feel like erasing.).

The bastard butt-dialed me back. It was weird, because I had been street-view googling our old house after looking up the Lat/Long of Wildwood, and suddenly, the bastard calls. Now I’m listening to a voice mail of his cab-fare talking about McDonalds, Seattle…

Now I’m back on the pale horizon, grim shuttlings looming on the unforgiving posts, doomed arrivals we swore we wouldn’t speak about until after their fetters were gone, and yet were slipped, letting go the massive missives that whirled their worlds away into fattened droughts of pernicious liquor; age-old, Esteemed Offendee.

Those were times where I dozed, then dialed awake for a strong minute, then fit myself back into seas of depression and inward tides, flowing unceasingly till the next low hit. Then, I’d ebb out again, a world swimming in myself, and the strange fish-creatures, with their dripping carcasses arrayed, layed out for their sunbathing, cooled, and escaped.

 

I came to writing, probably, for the wrong reasons.

Like so many fish stories, it started with a girl. A girl and a notebook and some idea of a path that wasn’t as well-tread as the rest. Maybe that was a mistake. It doesn’t matter.

She was a cutie and I was a kid with a lighter, a pen, and a book stuffed in my pants, ready to prove that I knew how to use each in its turn. We figured it out in our ways and those ways came together, so to speak. (As it turns out I wasn’t a good enough lover to complete that specific double entendre.)

In any case, she dug me, and I dug her, and our digits dug into the sand that first time our lips met beneath the rising sun on the cool sand, that first morning we spent together, forever entombed in walls made of terrycloth wine bottles. Such a long time, eons before I met her bulldog father and rain-washed mother later that morning, whole evolutions behind the swell of time that it took us to rise from that newly dawned beach to walk the block and a half to her hotel to send her off, the morning of her last day in paradise. That day lives in infamy, in subjective fantasy-land, in the hole in my heart where first I bore a startled seed. That day was dead upon breaking, and yet, I knew it was the start of something that I could never really control, something I would only ever own in complete surrender, something I should only ever lap at, like a parched and sleeping dog dreaming of water.

2/20/16 – Mike Pezzillo – An Exercise in Restraint

I seem to be in fuckoff mode today.

So fuck off.

Fuck off and I won’t tell you again.

I mean it, fuck the fuck off.

If I have to get up to make you fuck off you’re not going to fucking like it.

Fuck off.

Seriously, fuck the fuck off.

How many fucking times does a person have to ask you to fuck the fuck off before you’ll fucking fuck the fuck off?

Fuck.

Off.

Fuck off, fuckoff.

If you don’t fuck off right fucking now I’m going to get a court order that will make you fuck off.

You fuckoffs think I’m fucking kidding.

Fuck off with that shit.

Fuckoffs never know when the fuck to fuck off.

F…

2/18/16 – Mike Pezzillo – Mask and Ass

Mike Pezzillo

Eye of the Story

2/18/16

Mask and Ass:

A Close Viewing of Masculin Feminin

Robert’s theoretical capability of executing complete revolution:

“Take a piece of complex machinery, for instance. You’re given raw material and the design showing what it should be like when finished. There’s no time to lose so you must be capable of exceptional precision in thought as well as gesture, visualizing at once not only how to do it, but each stage in the operation. You have each stage clearly in mind, even before you start. You take it up and you know exactly what you have to do. And as you work, your mind can see what must come next. You already have foreseen the necessary tools and Phases. This is known as a revolution; this, too, is the revolutionary spirit.”

The essential problem in Robert’s theory of the Complete Revolution is his notion of “raw materials”. Were human beings as consistent in their behavior as the materials he would build with, there would be no problem. Raw materials rarely show the kind of intention-thwarting capabilities that human variability represents. As Paul says after his little experiment in the cafe, “…to put yourself in his place doesn’t make you understand someone,” and without understanding the material, one can not hope to reliably build with it.

“A philosopher is a man who pits his awareness against opinions.”

Because opinions are essentially just value judgments, the closest approximation to objectivity we can manage is “To be aware,” and, in doing so, “…to be open to the world.”

To be, essentially, unbound in time, to be unbeholden to a specific time and place for meaning, is, to Paul, the only objectivity. And yet, it is only a measure of objectivity, as humans, as value-judging creatures, that we are able to achieve. True objectivity, or as Paul puts it, “…to act as though time didn’t exist,” is beyond our capability, at least within the bounds of society. Perhaps if one were a hermit the “insincerity” of a temporal focus wouldn’t have the same gravity it naturally has in society, would not cause the same rift between observation and judgment. And yet, to return to Paul’s answer to Madeleine’s question, “Do you think one can live alone? Always alone?”…

One may speculate, at the end, that perhaps the riddle of Paul’s death finds some clarification in his response to Madeleine’s question: “No, I don’t think one can, it’s impossible. Without tenderness, you’d shoot yourself.” It may be that, the gulf between he and Madeleine, the gulf between questioner and answerer, between objectivity and value judgment, are represented perfectly in the dialog between Madeleine and Paul in the bathroom at the office of the magazine:

M: What is the centre of the world for you?

P: Love, I suppose.

M: That’s odd. I’d have answered: Me.

When Robert tells Catherine that he loves her, she replies, “Well, if it’s not mutual, it’s egotism on your part.”

So, what really killed Paul? Was it actually, as Catherine says, “just a stupid accident”?

In a poetical sort of way, one can infer a context here that extends the meaning of Catherine’s judgment to include the idea that Paul very well did take his own life, that the “stupid accident” she is referring to is actually Paul’s involvement with Madeleine, the entirety of their life together, and the depths of despair that such a life, together yet apart, engendered in Paul. In some ways, a lack of tenderness killed Paul. In some ways, a lack of objectivity killed Paul. In some ways, society killed Paul.

Paul’s Paranoia Laundromat:

“Guess what happened. I hear running footsteps. What is it? I wonder. I turn around. And a bloke says: ‘Did I frighten you? Do forgive me.’ I wait.

But when I go on, so do the footsteps. The guy say: ‘Did I frighten you? Do forgive me.’ All very courteous, but I realize it’s a different man.

I go on.

This time the footsteps go past. But the guy stops just in front of me. I look at him, and its not the same guy. I mean, it’s a third guy.

‘You’re not the same one,’ I say.

He looks at me and says: ‘Maybe so, but the point is you thought you were being followed. Who by doesn’t matter. If I’d run faster you would have been afraid. But I didn’t and you weren’t.’

‘Listen,’ I say to this guy, ‘if that’s your idea of a joke, I don’t think much of it.’

He looks at me and says: ‘Do you really think it’s a joke? Well!’

‘You just haven’t understood,’ he says.”

Something is chasing Paul, something faceless, or maybe something that wears every face. He is on the cusp of understanding it, but he’s not there yet.

“Poor Paul,” Elizabeth says to him, “We’re not the sort of girls for you.”

The relationship between Paul and Madeleine is explicative of the relationship, expressed by Robert, between skilled laborers and the greater bourgeois society. Madeleine, in a voice-over narration, says, “I’m glad Paul is in love with me; I’ll sleep with him eventually. I hope he doesn’t become a nuisance.” In much the same way, society at large values its skilled workforce as a somewhat fulfilling amusement, one that is enjoyable, but not entirely necessary. Madeleine is bourgeois society, Paul is the proletariat. Madeleine is Coca-cola, Paul is Marx. Madeleine is opinion, Paul is philosophy.

In a one sided love affair, beloved always fares better than lover. Were society, with its bourgeois focus, its Pepsi-generational outlook, to actually lose its skilled workers, as Madeleine herself loses the father of her unborn child, it would realize its dependence on them, and when asked, as Madeleine is asked, what it will do now, would likely answer in kind:

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

F____in.

2/14/16 – Two Days Running – Mike Pezzillo

2/13/16 – 1:42 pm est

Etapa – Stage or phase

Yuengling doesn’t taste the same to me any more. Now it’s too thick, too mealy, too bread-like for my palate. Maybe I’m getting sick. Or maybe I’ve been drinking too much icehouse and I’ve just gotten used to it. Doesn’t really matter. Sitting in Motel 6 in the Banksville burrough of Pittsburgh, my smoking room stinking like an after party, having listened to an intense but brief love-making behind the headboard last night, wanting to fuck, being too fucking tired, she talking about it this way and that, “That was pretty quick,” like you don’t know anything about quick, like at the bar when she used that dessert euphemism that I didn’t pick up on, “Nah, I’m stuffed,” feeling like an idiot, then all this, “I’m glad we both got showered,” and now in bed and blah blah, I love you, I love you too, no sugar tonight, no my friend, none for you, then spending all the live-long morning waiting for Elesha and getting dolled up and on facebook and trying hard to make me smile while not trying hard at all, but wouldn’t I just be the cock of the walk were I to start whining about how we didn’t have sex, about how I feel neglected in this way or that, about how I still wonder why the hell she’s with me, if it’s not secretly just because I fucking pay for things, and round and round we go, and look, the fridge has been turned off the whole time, and look, TSA stole my shaver, and look, I know it’s your friend’s wedding, but I can’t help but feel like some kind of hassle, some chump you’re just gonna shluff off to dance with some hot to trot mother fucker and I’ll go be bitter at the bar, and yes, I know it’s self-pity, yes, I know I’m being over dramatic and stupid, but what more should I feel when lip service is the order of the day, and I wonder again why you would love this diasporadic asshole that shares your bed.

The shame creeps in under the mask of self-pity, turns in on itself, becomes anger, and before I know it she’s crying and I’m berating myself in my head again, caging silence around me like a death’s shroud until she leaves, and then it all comes flooding in in a rush, what a fool, what a goddamned fool.

2/14/16, 11:27 AM EST – Valentine’s Day. What a day for a wedding. Last night, the family Bonhomme and ourselves made good on that age-old tradition of debauchery-before-sanctity (or some such nonsense. The whole marriage thing still strikes me as a bad idea.), and both parties, bachelor and bachelorette, wound up at the same strip club. We raged a private booth with $200 bottles of champagne and tequila, gave our sagest advice to the groom and bride-to-be, and in general spent a shit-ton of money none of us had. Overall, a very satisfactory evening.

I couldn’t even get mad when, sly as a fox in a run, the girl, as she was heading to the bathroom after an auspicious tequila shot, wrapped her arms around me, nuzzled her face into my shoulder. I laughed as I realized the warmth spreading across my chest in gushes was her vomiting. I rubbed her back and told her I loved her. She whispered the same as we embraced, then pulling apart, we both guffawing as our shirts peel away from one another and the cloying stink of bile and lime and agave comes ringing to our noses. I made her give me her sweatshirt and, slick as a boss (if I do say so myself) I manage to remove my puke-shirt in the corner and replace it with the hoodie. No one had noticed, and I tossed the ravaged shirt (via con dios, muchacho!) under a table to the side, a libation offered to the gods of over-priced booze and under-loved dancers.

Smooth sailing the rest of the night, everyone found home safe. Today is the wedding, and by all reports, it should be a doozy. Open bar, fancy digs, good people. And while, again, I wouldn’t advise marriage to anyone, I have high hopes for the couple.

So here’s to them: May your days be long and your nights be pleasant, and may all your love be received in grace and returned in style.

Sante!

2/5/16 – Mike Pezzillo – Close Reading of The Rings of Saturn

Saturn, Circles, and Orbis Tertius

“What manner of theatre is it, in which we are at once playwright, actor, stage manager, scene painter and audience?” Pg 80

My impression is that, for Sebald, an illustration of the present can only be complete when taken in relation to the whole of time and space. His method of utilizing fact and fiction manages to achieve, if not a “true” picture of reality, then an accurate representation of it, something that simple “truth”, with all its temporal trappings, is unable to provide.

“This then, I thought, as I looked round about me, is the representation of history. It requires a falsification of perspective. We, the survivors, see everything from above, see everything at once, and still we do not know how it was. The desolate field extends all around where once fifty thousand soldiers and ten thousand horses met their end within a few hours. The night after the battle, the air must have been filled with death rattles and groans. Now there is nothing but the silent brown soil. Whatever became of the corpses and mortal remains? Are they buried under the memorial? Are we standing on a mountain of death? Is that our ultimate vantage point? Does one really have the much-vaunted historical overview from such a position?” Pg 125

Part of the problem here is, as Sebald says, a problem of perspective. In this case, I believe it is the human perspective which is faulty, more than the historical. In some stranger-than-fiction kind of way, all ground, every hill is indeed a “mountain of death”. All soil is composed of things that died long ago, gave their lifeforce up to be reintegrated. Life and death hold specific space in the human mind, one can only assume, as a result of our individuated perspective on our “selves.” The very reason we use to puzzle these things out is the very thing that causes us to look at our own impending “personal” mortality as something tragic, something inescapable, and at the same time, as something that might in some way be avoided, if one can only think, believe, say, or do the right thing. Our reason may even tell us that this pursuit is logically flawed, that there is no escaping death. And yet, this only serves to motivate mankind to try to approach the problem of death from a different angle. Perhaps, we say, this finite “Me” character can be made infinite through glories achieved, or through one’s children. But these are living legacies in themselves and persist only as long as language, speech, art, and man himself continue to persist.

“No last sigh, no last words were to be heard, nor the last despairing plea: Lend me a looking-glass; if that her breath will mist or stain the stone, why, then she lives. No, nothing. Nothing but dead silence. Then softly, barely audibly, the sound of a funeral march. Now night is almost over and the dawn about to break. The contours of the Sizewell power plant, its Magnox block a glowering mauseoleum, begin to loom upon an island far out in the pallid waters where one believes the Dogger Bank to be, where once the shoals of herring spawned and earlier still, a long, long time ago, the delta of the Rhine flowed out into the sea and where green forests grew from silting sands.” Pg 175

Time unravels everything, undoes the majority of man’s works in this life. The remnants may stand for some time, may hint at the splendor and grandeur of mankind, but in the end, neither his grand works or his greatest acts of destruction will remain for long. Time washes everything clean, and comes back around for another go at it.
One must ask: for what do I continue to toil, for what holiday, to what day of rest is my  work heir? And again, to what end? What “glowering mausoleum” will stand for my tired bones and weary arms, my grand, impossible imaginings that have so consumed my limited life on this earth? What strange games will remember me, whose soft thoughts will swaddle my errant soul once this charade has come undone? If there is nothing lasting in the world, is any of it worth a damn?

The supposed objectivity of man’s reason and the subsequent fallibility of his perspective result in a confused and possibly misinterpreted impression of reality. For Sebald, the things that last are those things which come back around in their orbits, those things that have a sort of resonance which both attenuates to a higher vibration and simultaneously spells their doom. The only real things, he seems to say, are those which are supremely finite, harried by mortality.

”Perhaps there is in this as yet unexplained phenomenon of apparent duplication some kind of anticipation of the end, a venture into the void, a sort of disengagement, which, like a gramophone repeatedly playing the same sequence of notes, has less to do with damage to the machine itself than with an irreparable defect in its programme.” (Pg 187-188)

Circles, spheres, orbits, suggest to us an infinity. And yet, it may just be that idea of the eternal which makes life seem so unbearable, so painfully boring at times. But how to reckon time, if not by progressive circles, iterative orbits? The fact that our circles intimate an end, or at least a change of significant magnitude could be precisely this “defect” in the programme of life itself.

From Borges perspective, this is illusory and meaningless, just as so many terrestrial observations are, owing to the propensity of humanity to attempt to compartmentalize experience and objects through classification.

“They [Tlonians] know that a system is nothing more than the subordination of all the aspects of the universe to some one of them.” (Borges, 25)

This is so much mysticism to us as westerners, who find our perspective on ourselves finitely anchored in individual pockets within a greater universe of objects, and yet it must be even more so when comparing our terrestrial understanding of the universe as a “system” to that of the inhabitants of Tlon, whose temporal/spacial beliefs preclude the idea of linear time as a reality and of a universe of “things”.

“On every new thing there lies already the shadow of annihilation. For the history of every individual, of every social order, indeed of the whole world, does not describe an ever-widening, more and more wonderful arc, but rather follows a course which, once the meridian is reached, leads without fail down into the dark.” Pg 23-24

Sebald, through his revolutions, is divining the nature of the universe, and, in Tlonian style, realizing himself to be an inseparable part of an immutable whole, the boundaries of which can only ever be suggested, but never truly fathomed. The eye cannot see itself.

Circles, infinite circles, speak of the doom of time, the downfall of cities, of cataclysm and the slow burn of an entropic sun. The clutch of time, the fear of time, are what excite our mortal tendencies and our perspectives. And yet, it must be recalled that in the fabled country of Tlon there is no such thing as time, no such thing as other, and the only reason to speak is solely for the renewal of wonder.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

1. The Rings of Saturn

By WG Sebald

1998 The Harvill Press

2. Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

by Jorge Luis Borges

From

Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings

1962

1/30/16 – Mike Pezzillo – Returns and a Piece

Heading back home today. Still not packed. I’m waiting for the coffee to kick in and for the beautiful woman beside me to wake up. It’s been a crazy trip, between the faction-groups all vying for control, the rampant booze-hounding, the Grandmas, the Moms, the Aunts and Uncles, Brothers and Sisters, Friends and Well-wishers…

Who could ask for anything more?

I spent most of yesterday drunkenly retracing steps, tracking down missing articles, filling, emptying, and returning u-haul trucks, acquiring legendary burgers, etc. It was fine. I was pretty much sober when I woke up around 3. The other night had lasted clear into mid-day, and I put myself down before I crashed completely. The only thing that saved me, really. Now, as I write this, as I drink Grandma’s chicory coffee and cough up the proof that I’ve been chain-smoking for days, as the girl beside me stirs, as the grate in the ceiling rattles from the warm air forced through it, as the frost riming the windows turns to perspiration, as my eyes turn toward the sky again…

…time to fly.

 

 

 

 

A piece of Persephone

 

The roar of my ears…

                                                                       …it’s always in my ears,

roaring,

                         giving no quarter

while I try to explain.

 

You were never afforded a childhood,

that which you grasp at and eschew

at the same time. You never knew,

for better or for worse, what

you might live through.

 

So you made it a game,

dear Persephone.

 

You chose to deny the sort of

sweet end ties that otherwise

there would abide.

 

But, anyway, I ain’t tellin’ you

what you should or shouldn’t

do, it’s passing strange that

you still would think it so…

 

and if I still had a place to call my own,

she said…

and if I still had a trace of what I called my own,

she said…

 

Thereupon, the angels fell and died.

 

Because,

For that which was ever trustworthy,

all Hell hangs in the balance,

And all that never mattered hinges

on Heaven’s guaranteed existence.

____________________________________

Mike Pezzillo – Week 3 – Heading out

After a tense ride to the airport and an even more intense parking debacle at an inaccessible airport hotel, we finally settled into our room, drank and ate, and put ourselves to bed. Shortly before this, the girls got to reminiscing about Peder some. Julie told a story about the time that the two of them almost burned down the woodshop of the art department. I was too spaced to get my recording up and running in time to capture their talk and as soon as I got it running they changed the subject to other people more loosely connected. I may need a different device for recording, something smaller, less obtrusive and easier to conceal. It’s been my experience that people who know they’re being recorded tend to pull their punches and generally aren’t as natural in their speech. It’s something to be aware of: conversations start fast. In some situations I’ll need to keep my finger on the trigger, so to speak.

In places like these, cars, asphalt, chewing gum are natural. These stunted, misshapen, wayward trees that have persisted between parking lots are the aliens, intruders, breaking up what would otherwise be unadulterated open space for street combustion and locomotion. The smooth part of locality, ringed on all sides by the comforting presence of chainlink., is broken jarringly by a giant, wizened cedar, its lower trunk curving toward the fence and up, as if in defiance, then rueful acceptance.
The god of rapid travel is served at this concrete altar, the pooling motor oil libations to a god of death whose own existence is as much a mystery to himself as it is to me.

One day, we’ll all fight about what the actual import of this particular moment was, and yet, somehow, we will all necessarily agree…

A conversation between two sides – between passion consuming and love sustaining.

Flying in Circles (Mike Pezzillo, 1/13/16)

Ready to fly, waiting on gate agents to check in. Another whirlwind trip, spur of the moment, but I think I’m properly prepared. This feels normal to me anymore, comfortable. After growing up on two coast more or less simultaneously, tripping across the expanse of the country several times each year, this kind of mobility, this ease I feel for the act of jumping on a jet and being whisked off to a distant locale is now just a part of me, second nature almost. The fluidity with which I navigate security checkpoints, gate assignments, new airport layouts, and all the hassles of rapid transportation is ingrained in me.

Thinking realistically, I’ve gotten on a plane at least four times every year since I was three years old. I’m not going to do the math because I hate math and, at this point, I really kind of hate flying. These days I much prefer to drive myself, or failing that, to take a train. Unfortunately, this time around I don’t have the time. It is roughly 6 p.m. on a Sunday and I have to be back tomorrow by midnight.

When I was a kid, though, I loved to fly, and my favorite parts were the take-off and landing. The rushing feel of G force exerted on the body, the feel of my body moving at speeds for which it was never intended to handle, when I was young, was exhilarating. Now, I find myself cringing, clenching my muscles, as if I could somehow control the action of the plane through my own physicality. Maybe that’s just one of the effects of aging.

In my 34th year, I’m finding myself wondering if each of us individually has some kind of limit, a lifetime aggregate for this kind of experience, a number beyond which we are only pressing our luck. Reason tells me this is ridiculous, and that’s when I begin to wonder if this just the beginning of that fear which persists and turns idealists into conformists, a malady particularly notable in aging hippies-turned-yuppies and, in general, the boomer generation.

The way I grew up left me, I think, with a unique perspective on life in general and ideas of permanence and community in specific. Army brats have a similar experience. But the fundamental difference is in the return. I never stayed in one place or the other for more than two years, but whereas army families might move to a new place with similar frequency, I returned every few years to a place I had left behind, picking up lapsed relationships, attempting to fill the gaps time had pried between. Whereas your typical army brat will constantly have to form new relationships, I had to attempt to resume relationships that had changed, sometimes fundamentally. I was never the same on my returns and neither were my friends, and the only commonality we had was what we had shared in the past. This left rifts which, while not entirely detrimental and very rarely addressed, were palpable and fundamental.

Now, waiting in this deli storefront for boarding to begin, to get on two planes to go through three states to see my daughter for her 7th birthday, I am keenly aware of the perpetuation of a cycle. My parents split when I was 3 years old, moving to opposite sides of the country to live very different lives. My daughter’s mother and I split up shortly after my daughter’s third birthday and have moved in very different directions, both in life and in locality.

We go with what we know, usually. That much seems obvious. Ideally, though, we learn from the mistakes of the past, and yet, resonance always seems to inform our decisions in the present. Maybe it’s not fair to say that we are thralls of the past, but can I claim that observation to be entirely inaccurate? (1/10/16, 5:30 PM, PST)

© 2022 Eye of the Story
The Evergreen State College
Olympia, Washington

Log inUp ↑