Intolerance and the Logical Mind

The logical mind without humility will inevitably become intolerant. It will be confronted with apparent contradictions everywhere, and especially in people. In disbelief, it will feel the need to prune the bushes and pull out the weeds of these contradictions. The forest will be reduced to neat rows of hedges and the logical mind will call this nature.

The logical mind with humility, on the other hand, will not be so quick to judge. It will understand that individuals are capable of both good and bad. It will walk about the world as if through a thick forest of tangled paradoxes.

Don’t Wait for the Train

The platform rang
with insoluble regret.

There were many places
crawling up the side
of each inching train
slowly retreating
back to that lonely midnight
from where 
we all
seemed to have set out. 

Like angry mould,
the tiny memories
of strangers
passing briefly.

We wished we’d smiled,
but we were all
so busy. 

That train
has a thorny schedule to keep
growing downwards
drilling into your heart. 

Didn’t you know? 

Love’s the new oil.
And the lovers
don’t get a say. 

See in the corner
the man waiting
no different from the wall. 

Oh here it comes…
the beastly process
of living forward. 

It comes to a halt. 

You step on. 

You are on now. 

You are gone now. 

There’s another man. 

He blinks at you. 

He’s secretly hoping
his eyes will disappear
in between the tears. 

He’s not crying.

He’s not dying. 

He does this
for fun.  

And You want to run. 

 They knew you would,
so they left room–
the space in between
each and every story
sitting on each and every car
is filled
with infinite halves
you can’t cross 
quite enough
to get anywhere. 

Leave it to the experts. 

your breaths are filled with song. 

You collapse. 

The train is pleased. 

You understand
there is no motion
without the–  

But there is a problem.
A bump,
a tiny rock,
a question well placed,
a point well made,
and the system is mortal. 

You feel a true sympathy
for this world
and you recall your profession.

You’re an engineer.
The train is yours.

A Hole in the Floor

You wake up suddenly and look closely at the centre of the room in which you are planted, there is a small hole in the floor. It is a kind of drain and forms a kind of funnel. If you focus, you’ll notice that the world is slowly but forcefully swirling into this ever so slight gap. There’s no need to feel an immediate panic about it. The world moves like molasses and you can be sufficiently certain that it will take a great many millennia for the draining process to make any real dent in reality. By that point, you’ll probably be dead and you’d be happy to offer up your corpse as a noble stopper for the hole.  

Still, you can’t help but be worried as, for a split second, the thick liquid materiality of the room seems to accelerate into that tiny opening. You might wonder where it all goes, but this is not the time for idle speculation. You must tell the authorities quickly and they will know what to do.  

You slowly and with uncomfortable care move alongside the walls towards the door. In you is the dread that the little hole is just a taunt masking the fact that there wasn’t any ground at all. Luckily for you, for the time it takes you to get out of the room, most of the floor stays in place while it continues its slow viscous march to nowhere.  

Once you’ve crossed the door’s threshold, you are a little more at ease. Just then you hear on a nearby radio that a similar hole had been discovered in some European university and specialists are now working around the clock to plug it. You are not reassured. You move towards the phone and call the first number you can think of, a friend well placed in the structure of things. Not only will he know what to do, but he’ll be able to do something about it. The phone rings, once, twice and you consider how little you two have spoken in the past many years. He is not unique in this regard. You have many friends with whom you share slowly fading memories, who are simply too busy to talk. You have been displaced from their lives. As the phone rings a third time, you wonder if, supposing you slipped into the hole, would they notice? 

He picks up.  

You speak briefly and exchange pleasantries. You’re not sure if he remembers who you are. You continue the conversation anyway. You explain your situation. He seems tired. He responds that there are many such pores in every room and it’s merely a matter of physics… a sort of pressure valve for the weight of the world. He seems bored but the analogy is helpful. Yours is different though, you assure him. You explain how it’s speeding up, how you’re scared. He quickly explains that visual tricks are common and you’re probably under a lot of stress lately. Are you? Yes, you are. He’s sorry to hear that in a kind of distracted but probably sincere way. He says it was nice talking and you should call back some time, but he has to run. You hang up. 

You could run out of the building and seek help, seek counsel. Instead you just return to your room with less care than you left it. There’s still a small hole. You have learnt there are many more, too small for you to see. You don’t stare as hard at it and eventually fall back asleep. You will be ready to wake up again tomorrow. The hole grows a little wider and the dripping goes on.

Hanging by a Thread

There is a string of words in me. It is curled up like a spool of yarn. It has slowly been unraveling since I first understood. The colours and sounds have shifted, changed as I have carried on, but always carefully avoiding silence. As I write this, I am tugging at that seemingly endless rope. I am not afraid to pull hard. Rather, I am afraid to stop pulling, because I feel that if not unraveled it will rot. One great big mess of things unsaid. 

I wonder what’s at the end. I can hardly tell if there’s anything at all. I know it is then, but that end exists now so that does not mean much. I have confused place and time and wonder and Truth. How colourful the rope can be. It is glistening as if it knows it’s important, but it is nothing. Nothing, that is, but woven expectation and a need to understand. There might not only be me and the rope is just a way to avoid that fact. Perhaps it is a stepping stone to that fact. Perhaps I am at the end of the rope.   

How odd it is to think of such things. I feel as if I am suspended by it. As if its knots pull at my hand to be set free and not the other way around. The rope whispers, “We need each other.” If I were to let go of these pretty sensical and nonsensical things (for our purposes, it’s all the same) then there would only be a vast silence through which to fall. The rope whispers, “There is no way to let go.”  I do not know if the rope could be cut…. Thinking back, the rope extends beyond my vision. Thinking forward, the rope extends indefinitely. At least, as far as I am willing to see.  

I try to imagine silence. I fear it. I cannot know what remains after I’ve fallen away. How can something seem so foreign and yet be all there is?  I may be  nothing more than a hole in that holy wall of silence through which these words drip. Tempting. But human beings were not made for silence.

Perhaps I ought to laugh to ease the pain. No, no, do not confuse pain and struggle. You see, laughter echoes off the lack of walls and I don’t know what the sounds mean by the time they bounce back. They come drifting down to me in ancient disjointed verses, like loose threads of a golden rope, making no sense away from their braiding. Nevertheless, I clutch to these, hanging by them. After all, a man cannot pull himself up by his own hair.

Note to reader: I wrote this as an automatic writing exercise many years ago. I have made a few changes to it and thought I’d share.