When a tree is not me


“This is how it happens, I created this image, wonder what it signifies, beyond my encounter last night with The Other. I take a break and check my e-mail to find Reverend Douglas Taylor has sent a poem by Nancy Wood from her book Many Winters, with these lines: “Hold on to what you believe/ even if it is/ a tree which stands by itself.’ And Oh Oh yes, a perfect title”

Some poets are best read
Con/Jur/d, 4/29/2021

Some poets are best read,
in smoke-filled bars and back rooms, now banned and highly discouraged --  on a rocky outcrop, overlooking sunrises and sunsets their sinking and rising crafted by shadowed mountains and dark valleys with secret bones -- others at the beach, sailboats and fishboats bobbing, bobbing, bobbing --- in electric blue arc-light, the only memorable features cement, and the taste of iron -- on the toilet, with a Buddha on a high shelf saying “Even here, even here.” -- the best, are those read on a dirt floor, near but not touching the brightly painted central pillar, with the smell of cigars, rum, and Florida Water creating a subtext, clearly underlying everything -- in the vast reaches of outerspace, “Can’t breathe, can’t breathe, can’t breathe,” on this little blue ball spiraling through infinity -- before gates guarded, chained to the fence screaming “Not in my name, not in my name” -- coming down, every neuron tired from a night of overstimulation, curled in blankets scented with fall-leaves and wood smoke, saying “Wake me after the revolution” -- 

or simply and plainly read by you to me.

Yesterday, what started as a list poem became something else; later in the day, on my feed, a cute Jack Kerouac list popped up:

Did an algorithm calculate the sum of my attention? And if so, how was it done before the internet? Before the advent of the uncanny valley hypothesis, did I have the right to feel like the world was alive and communicating? For a little while, based on the nontemporal nature of consciousness, I hypothesized if machines obtained consciousness in the future, then they will be conscious throughout time. Luckily, researchers have identified this aspect of consciousness as “recent arguments have suggested that uncanny valley-like phenomena simply reflect the products of information processing such as categorization.” Marvelous, I’ll just simply ignore it then.

Con/Jur/d, 4/29/2021