Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Even as I

Even as I,
fallen,
dip the tip
of my head
into the fire;
I pause, and
look up on
the world
now
nwod edispu

Desert Bloom

Just add
water and
pull the string
inflated
democracy
deflated
king

Mysterious division: A look at “Black Walls”

Mysterious division:
A look at “Black Walls”













Adam K. Dorsey















Chinese 503
Autumn Quarter 2008
Professor Kirk A. Denton
December 4, 2008


Liu Xinwu (Chinese: 刘心武, Liú Xīnwǔ) is considered to be one of the earliest proponents of the post-Maoist division of Modern Chinese literature. In his short story written in 1982, “Black Walls”, Liu focuses on an overcrowded court-yard tenement in the old city of Beijing. It is in this setting that Liu is able to display what the social pressures and burdens of years under Maoism did to the average Beijing resident. Liu is interested in the interaction between the individual self and the collective group.
The story of “Black Walls” centers on the actions of a relatively unknown “every man”, the tenement neighbor named Zhou. On the morning of the narrative, Zhou paints the walls of his own tenement black. Drama quickly ensues when Zhou’s neighbors congregate in another tenement to collectively disapprove and criticize Zhou and the black walls. The action of the plot is relatively minimal as Liu focuses more on the social aspects of the morning’s drama. Zhou’s neighbors seek to condemn Zhou’s action, and it becomes clear that there has been a paradigm shift away from the judgmental social structure created under Maoism that ruled their past. Liu uses narrative structure alongside the thoughts and speech of the characters in the group to define and measure this shift. As the story concludes, a young character reveals this measurement as ironic distance in the narrative as he confounds and indicts the old, leaving the socialist courtyard group speechless, but unchanged.
“Black Walls” is strictly organized, and holds to a tight linear chronological interpretation of a single morning’s events. Italicized lines at the opening of each episode read like a timestamp. It is through this structure that Liu plays with the expectations of the “old guard” Maoist Government. This is to say, the rigid censors who viewed Liu’s work in the past. It is true that Liu worked as an editor at a number of prominent government-sponsored publications throughout most of the 1980s. However, in 1987, he was fired as editor of the publication People's Literature after a story he allowed to be printed failed to meet government approval. It is with this in mind that the reader can see irony in the narrative structure.
So we can read the italicized timestamp: “Five, no, four to eight” (p.3) as humor toward the absurd expectations that the Maoist censors had toward the individual artist. The “Five, no, four to eight” timestamp is a statement that stands satirically opposed to the notion that an artist should be expected to report as a strict realist. That is to ask the censor: What time should be recorded if the clock’s minute hand ticks over while I am in mid-sentence? It is through over-emphasis of the details in the narrative structure of “Black Walls” that Liu makes his critical attack on the Maoist expectation of realism in literature. However, realism is not the only Maoist expectation critically attacked in Liu’s narrative structure.
Liu also points criticism toward the Maoist ideal of homogeny with his narrative structure. It seems, “Five, no, four to eight” is just one of many different ways to record a timestamp. Other methods Liu uses to report the time include: “About 7.46”(p.3), “About a quarter past eight”(p.4), “8.25, or thereabouts. Meanwhile –”(p.5) , “It was past 8.36”(p.7) and finally the he settles on, “8.37”(p.7) . It would appear to the reader that Liu is struggling to make his timestamps as diverse as possible. Liu’s heterogeneous time stamping asks of the reader: If these methods of recording time are all acceptable when presented in a homogenous way, why are the same methods agents of discomfort when presented heterogeneously? Through over-emphasis of diversity in the narrative structure of “Black Walls”, Liu critically attacks the structured expectations of the Maoist censors.
As if he were burdened to do so by the self-appointed censorship committee within his own plot, Liu adjusts his narrative structure’s time stamping into a completely homogenous line as the narrative progresses. What the narrative structure is left to resemble is the very theme Liu wishes to discuss. That is the question: What happens when diversity meets homogeny? Or, in other words, Liu reports the individual self’s struggle to remain independent of the collective, “individual-consuming” group. The reader is first introduced to this through the symbolic character for “double happiness” printed on the unmarried individual Zhou’s wash bin. “He wasn’t a day under thirty, and was most probably a bachelor, though he used one of those wash bins with a “double happiness” design in red on it. Strange that - maybe he was divorced.” (p.1) Liu establishes a narrative voice that is sympathetic to the homogenous group. This narrative voice allows Liu to draw the reader into the narrative and firmly establish expectations of the group. Furthermore, it allows Liu to assume the reader is aligned to the absurdly homogenous expectation of say, what a Chinese man should be at the age of “over thirty”. It is this first expectation of the individual self’s coupling or attachment through the age old institution of marriage that provides a gentle gateway into Liu’s thematic discussion of social constructions that seek to limit and consume the individual self.
As seen already with “double happiness” Liu uses symbols to represent larger ideas. “Black Walls” is a story that contains many images as symbols. One main way Liu approaches the theme of diversity vs. homogeny is through use of color imagery. To begin, Liu chooses the title “Black Walls”, perhaps, with interest in that mysterious unknown that divides neighbors. Indeed, the black paint acts mysteriously as a divider of neighbors. Mrs. Li’s thoughts about Zhou’s painting express the homogenous ideal: “Maybe he (her son) could make Zhou stop this silliness. Then they could repaint his place white together. White was such a lovely colour. How could the walls of a house be anything but white?”(p.10, parenthesis mine) The question in Li’s mind, while ironically distant from the author’s own artistic opinion, could be reframed as the question of this short story. It would then be asked as: With neighbors like these, how could an individual paint his walls anything but white?
Again Liu uses color as a dividing agent among the neighbors. Neighbor Qian reports a scandalous scene: “Just last week I saw Zhou airing his quilt outside his place – none of you others probably noticed – a quilt, mind you, with its cover made of red satin. Not all that strange, you may say; but wait for it: the underside was bright red as well! You can’t tell me he isn’t wacky!” (p.6) Liu uses the contrast between the colors black and white to symbolize the struggle between diverse individualism and homogeny. To the homogenous ideal, the walls should remain white. And again, to the absurd homogenous ideal, quilts should not be red on both sides.
Even among the homogenous group, color is used as a critical dividing line. While remaining a part of the homogenous group with his agreement on Zhou, neighbor Qian expresses his individual opinion. Old Zhao and his wife think divisively about neighbor Qian’s new found identity within the homogeny: “You’re nothing but an old tailor – they thought in unison. Back in the days when we had you pegged as a petty exploiter you wouldn’t have dared talk back like that. Now look at you: just because you make a bit of money by taking in work and sit watching your new colour TV, you think you can speak to us like that?”(p.5-6 italics mine) It is evident here that Liu is using the symbol of color television to express Qian’s liberation from the oppressive social pressures of the past.
Liu uses color imagery as a type of self-exodus from the black and white collective homogeny of the past. Colors provide Liu with a vehicle to criticize the past social order under Maoism. This criticism is Liu’s use of color alongside the new found expression of self in Post-Maoist China. Liu does not suggest that the individual self was completely swallowed up by the homogenous collective beast of Maoism. On the contrary, Liu uses neighbor Qian as an example to how the individual self has continued and, indeed, been redeemed from the past. By this “continued” is meant Qian’s individual self was not born after the death of Mao, it was liberated from the oppression that dictated it to be silent. And, by this “redeemed” is meant that Qian does not think differently then he did in the past, only that he is now able to, once again, express his thoughts.
Liu does not just use color imagery to establish social divisions among neighbors, it can also be seen a divider of generations. “A few of the young people living in the courtyard were going out as it was their day off. They were all dressed up One girl who spent her days selling meat had decked herself out in imitation jeweled ear-rings…cream coloured high heels…her automatic nylon umbrella with a floral pattern in blue burst open the moment she stepped into the street…The young fellow who worked in a foundry was sporting a jersey he’d got ahold of somewhere with the legend “Indiana University, USA” printed on it…a pair of corduroys made for a safari suit…tinted sunglasses...Then there was the girl who was studying business management…a pale green skirt that she’d made herself …” (p.3)
The colorful descriptions of these youth burst forth on the narrative like the young lady’s colorful umbrella bursts out onto the drab grey street. . It is with this youthful color that Liu transitions from the past black and white Maoist period into the bright future. Liu carefully places the fashionable individualism of these youth together with descriptions of their faceless servitude. While one is just the “girl who sells meat” during the work week, she becomes a jeweled, cream-colored, nylon-flower toting individual on her day off. This is something fantastic to the grey world around her. She is colorful, in spite of her environment, feeling none of the pressures to conform to the dreary concreted past of Maoism, and its social order. This is Liu saying that the frustrated, isolated, socially pressured individual self of the black and white past is now putting on the colorful future.
At the end of his narrative, Liu chooses to introduce a new character to the morning’s drama. Little Button speaks to the adults: “I know you’re all angry with Uncle Zhou for painting his walls. You don’t know him; he’s really nice, he’s fun to play with.” (p.11) With these simple words, Little Button confounds the “old guard” social order. Liu uses the innocent child to complete the overthrow the hypocritical Maoist social construction. While Little Button only represents a small portion of the narrative, his character and dialog are extremely important as they become Liu’s final verdict to the past.
Little Button’s work is not only to stun the past social order, Liu also uses Little Button to show vision of the future. And, again, Liu uses color in this vision. In particular Liu speaks to what he sees the colorful future holding for the individual self as an artist. Button continues to speak: “Once he (Zhou) called me into his room and showed me a pile of cardboard pieces. They were as big as the evening paper, and all different colours. He showed them to me on after the other, holding them right up close to my eyes so all I could see was that colour. Then he asked me lots of questions: ‘Do you like this one or not? Does it make you feel like going to sleep or going out to play? What does this one make you think of – or doesn’t it make you think of anything? Does this one make you feel scared or not? Does this one make you feel thirsty? Do you want to keep looking at it or not? He wrote down everything I said in a little book. He’s great fun, really.”(p.12)
Liu uses Little Button as the innocent spectator of art for Liu’s own hopeful vision of China’s future. “Black Walls” draws to a conclusion with the author appealing to the beauty of the aesthetic in art, that is to say the sensory contemplation of an object as beautiful. Art, then, finds its values in empathy, not politics. The questions that Zhou asks Little Button are personal and subjective. These questions serve towards the transfer of feeling and experience from one individual to another.
In conclusion, the author Liu XinWu’s “Black Walls” provides insight into an old problem. Lu Xun formed an image of this problem in his introduction to “A Call to Arms” when he described a crowd of onlookers at an execution. The apathy of the observers was startling. Again, Lu Xun wrote of these critical spectral crowds in “Diary of a Madman”, but he did not provide a hopeful transition away from the “cannibalistic” disapproval of “other”. Little Button provides Liu’s answer to the cannibalism. Liu seems to envision the individual transfer of empathy solving the problem of group apathy. And, if such a common “every man” as Zhou, in such a common setting as an urban courtyard can transmit this empathy to the next generation, there is great hope for the reformation of the larger society, through the individual. That is, if we can see past black walls that divide.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Busy Day and the Zoo

Today went great comparing the sleep we got last night. Ava went to bed at 730pm and wokr up about 1230am and didn't go back to sleep I think 330am, not really sure the exact time. After trying to get her back and all the talking about... She finally moved into our bed and it still takes hour maybe to get her to sleep. She was tossing and turning for a long time. Anyway, we got up soon enough to make it to the dance class. And Cousin Luke came over for 2 hours in the afternoon. Then headed to the Zoo to get some free tickets, so NaiNai and YeYe could come over and go see the lights at the zoo with everyone.
We got to the zoo little early to avoid the traffic. Before we got in the front door we heard either tiger or lion was roaring. And tiger is the animal Ava wanted to see, since we are not going to be there too long. The tiger was upa dn walking!!! Very exciting, this is the 2nd time we hvae seen the tiger doing sometime. Most of the time it just lay somewhere. It would chase us when we run in front of the glass. I took many pics and movies, I will try to put them on the blog.
But the diappointing thing was about the tickets, they are only valid Monday through Thursday. So NaiNai and YeYe would hvae to pay when they come and see the lights.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

Up Emei Island

12/17/2000

The day started off with us rolling out of bed at the newest hotel. Cyn's uncle had been in a suit with the crazy driver friend. We went to eat breakfast and met up with the traffic cops. Only one of them dressed in uniform. We ate (I didn't because I wasn't hungry after the meal the night before). We went to the mountain following the police. When we got to a certain point, it was no longer safe to drive. We got out and got into a bus for free (because of the cops) and went up further. It kept getting colder and foggier until there was snow covering the whole road. We put chains on our tires and continued ahead up the mountain. We passed people walking in the snow that covered their lower legs completely.

The zig-zag upward continued for about 40 minutes or the length of a horrible Shanghi comedy which was showing on the bus. When we stopped for the second time it was snowing. Cynthia's mom threw a snowball at her dad. There were ice cicles that were three feet long hanging from a shelter in the pines. The trees looked thicker here, and gave the only relief to the eye from the exausting glare of white snow. This was a foggy winter wonderland.

The cops got us onto a gondola for free and we rode through the clouds. Trees appeared and disappeared covered in snow and fog. There were windows all around me, but I could not see even ten feet into the cloud surrounding our tiny gondola. And then...we were in heaven. The sun reflected off the tops of golden clouds at our feet. The mountain appears to be gold from the reflected light all around it. As far as the eye can see there are clouds underfoot, broken up only by peaks of other mountain tops perhaps hundreds of miles away.

As we reached the top of Emei, the trip has taken four hours from breakfast. Now the temperature is 70 degrees and a light breeze calms the soul. The older generations of people bow before the buddah in the temple, lighting insense and praying. There is a hollow bell behind the temple that draws my attention. An ancient commune of sound not unlike NASA's SETI in inspiration. It is ornately hung beside a wooden log that swings toward its side. As for me, I look out at what seems to be an eternal plane of cloud and light. This is What Genesis 1 calls the ferment. For the first time I am brought to the state of the prodigal son. A breeze blows over my goosebumped skin as I stare out into the mysterious waves and Islands and see creation again.

Emei Island


Mt. Emei (UH-may) at the top of this mountain there is a wonderful temple with a golden buddah. Years ago the temple was gold and it shone down with the reflected sun upon the sea of clouds where only the tallest peaks at 14,000 feet appear as islands. This wonder was so bright that is cast a clean shadow far below in the summer. People who enter this temple seeking answers sometimes can see their own shadows far below. Some jump into that sea of clouds, believing that they are jumping into heaven itself.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Crossroads

12/16/2000

To you America, I can't imagine the look on your face if you were politely seated next to me right now. There are nine Chinese people speaking two different Mandarin dialects. Their words carry the air with enthusiasm. The circle we are sitting in is bordering a large wooden table clothed in white plastic. The plastic protects the furniture below it from the bubbling cauldron in the middle of the table. There are also plastic bags on our finely gold padded chairs. I am made to put my jacket under the plastic to protect it from the fumes of noxious gas that are let off from the fuel source under the cauldron.

And what a cauldron it is. The boiling, spiced water is full of wiggling fish, chicken blood (dried in blocks like jello), chicken feet, tofu, and many assorted veggies I have never seen, as well as animal parts. It seems the Chinese eat everything. Everything. Your FDA would not allow for things to come to this. All parts of all makes and models have equal opportunity to end up in line on the table. When their number is called, they assume position over the popping bubbles before sliding off their porcelain dish into the maelstrom of submerged biology below.

The little interaction I am allotted in English describes the "food" as organs that function unknown to the eyes of men. That is to say they reside inside animals that, while reasonably domesticated are left mostly unexamined for their insides. Even had they been to the extent of a High School Biology class, I could not have been made to recall their functions at this hour. The English breaks up and goes back to Chinese at these crossroads. It seems that the terms and functions of these organs are much more readily available to my Chinese friends at the table.

To introduce you to my new friends would be useless. I don't know their names. They practice saying mine and then give into calling me by a closely sounding Chinese name. A name is just a symbol anyway. China is full of symbols and names that don't always convert into English. The men are dressed as police officers. Their faces turn beat red against their conservative uniforms as they get really drunk on very strong rice liquor. The liquor tastes like fruit at first and then catches your throat on fire. I imagine men in America drinking hard alcohol like this in small shot glasses. These men drink from large cups.

One of the red faced men is very kind. He stood up to toast me. He says I am strong. Cynthia's mom doesn't allow them to fill my cup with their fire wine. They laugh and eat, poking their bamboo chopsticks toward the center of the table to pull out anything and everything from the cauldron. The men eat fish and spit the heads and tails on the floor. One fish wiggles off the plate and hits the floor prematurely. The floor is not refuge as it is washed off and then dropped into the pot. I am now given jokes about the freshness of the fish as they see the horror on my face.

I bring you up, America, and I talk about your food. One of the men said that the taste of pizza makes him sick. I will not mention you again, America, this is truly amazing. I remember Cynthia telling me that the Chinese have a joke about drinking too much, the face turns red like a monkey's butt. They keep toasting over and over and eating food so spicy it makes the lips numb. Their teeth seem to be rotting in front of me.

Snapshots of Time and Space

12/14 and 12/15/2000
The train ride experience: 28 plus hours...snoring men above, sleeping parents below...lots of talking...cute women that clean everything...Food on carts..Fruit (Beijing Pears) being skinned with a knife by Xiangyuan...All one peal curling spiraling down towards her feet...beer...pictures of mountains and fog...lots of countryside...Zeppelin's Kashmir...ears popped...Tunnels in rythm to the steel track...more tunnels under, between, through sharp pointing peaks...snow...farmers... railroad workers dirty faces grin and eat noodles...Joy in new unknown love...learning Chinese... Chinese medicine technique has me fearing combs for the first time in my life.

Chengdu is the transport and communication hub city of southwest of China. Placed carefully in the fog of the high mountain basin, Chengdu is a cultural relic in wet grass. It is surrounded in every direction by mountains that meet the sky like high walls. This must have been one reason that the city was a capital to many dynastys as far back as 2,400 years.
Staying at the Tibet hotel (4 stars). Cyn's uncle set us up on the 11th floor with 2 rooms.
On the train ride here, the subject of fair skin was raised. It is said that the people of Chengdu have fair skin because of the moisture in the air that adds to their skin and protects them from the sun.

I also learned on the train that Bush is the president of the U.S.

Cyn's father's family were all employed in the R.R. business. Now her uncle works for real estate. (note that is incorrect, I was very confused about Chengdu and the family situation there, her uncle is still with the railroad)

Too Tight

Entry for June 20, 2008
we are from the same latitude my love!
four seasons have we lived for this our life
we are from the same platitude my love
123456789strife.


we are of the same attitude my love,
all the symptoms and theories combat us
we are of the same gratitude my love
He speaks and lives redeemed is our trust!

Comfort on the Tracks

12/14/2000
I am on a train, the toilets flush onto the tracks. I just ate a pidgin and washed it down with beer. As I have lost my reserved mentality, Cyn and I found each other. Finally...I am happy and comfortable.

Palace Postcard Catharsis

12/13/2000
She came over early today and we went to the summer palace. In the middle of the winter, the place was empty. There were maybe a thousand people there and of those thousand I was perhaps one out of ten foreigners. Even this figure is high. There were street vendors (this is a nice name for them) who were selling postcards and stamps and hats and maps of the park. They were women of older age, short dark deep set eyes hair long in a ponytail braided or short and to their shoulder gray / jet black hair. The only English they spoke was "hello" and then they described their products in Chinese. Cyn didn't help, she said what she could but she was not enough to stop these people, I filmed two men. One of them was selling a map. The other was a solder who told him to stop. Some of them were selling Chairman Mao books, I told them I had one already. It was all a pretty nice joke until one of the men selling postcards started saying bad words in Chinese at us. He called Cyn a prostitute that was using me. I could not believe he would say that. I wanted to make him understand who I am. I wanted Cynthia to know that we could change his mind. The man came back and Cyn started crying. Her eyes were so big with big tears rolling slowly down her cheeks. She mad a high pitched moan that told the man to back away. She was clearly upset and the other people watching were alarmed. I looked at Cyn, she said that the man had to feed his children, I looked at him, he backed away and looked like a fifty year old man who was a hurt boy. I gave him a hug and he left, I tried to give him money, but he was humiliated by the display. I felt horrible, but I justified myself as much a possible.

9 Unnamed lanes

12/13/2008
The streets are so new, nobody knows their names. I am sitting in a huge traffic jam. 9 lanes one way. The fumes give me a headache.

Tonight we ate at Zhuli's older sisters' house. Cynthia must address her and her husband as uncle and aunt because they rank one generation higher then her. It is a family respect heirarchy thing. I was told that her house would be beautiful because she was older then Zhuli...that was a joke, but the house was beautiful. Modern style...in a new high-rise building. When the grandson came in, they asked Cyn what he should call her..."aunt"? and she said that she would be called by her name because she didn't like that when she was young. A new generation? I think so.

I saw thousands of color photos of this boy and he was only 6. Starting kindergarden and very smart, he took pictures of the family. He called me uncle, I pronounced some words correctly, we ate, I used chopsticks. I am tired now, I will sleep.

The Chinese Flavor of Things

12/11/2000 pt. 2
I climbed "the mountain that is so tall the devil fears he can not climb it" today. What a great name. 2400 steps up 2400 steps down. My legs are on fire! Right now I am sitting with a large group. Cyn's Fathers' family. I am in a military building that I should not be in. No foreigners allowed. There are servants here and the building accomidations are well above par for China. They are deciding what to eat. Scorpion, duck, rabbit, and everything else. I will eat anything now, i am hungry and I have gotten used to the Chinese flavor of things. They are very kind to me. They order somthing that they think I will like. I wish those children could live here. They would love the attention that I am getting.

Commodies Responsibilities

12/11/2000
The first thing I must address today is the poverty of Beijing. Cyn showed me her old house. When she was a girl she lived in a very small shack and shared a pit called a bathroom with too many families. Beijing is changing. The city is employing poor farmers who would normally be outside the city to build the new Beijing. The new Beijing will be a lot like a clean American city with a subway system already in place, 8 lane highways, and a person for every job. As the average citizen gains more liberty with all of the commodities that are given in this city, a paradox is developing. In two days I have seen five children searching for food. Adults don't beg like the children do, they just sit on the ground with their heads buried in shame. Their only possession is a cup for coins. The children attack the apathy of strangers by hugging people's legs and blocking their paths. The children wait at McDonald's for scraps of food. I made two friends today. They could not speak English, but hunger has no language. I saw God in their shame turned to happiness when I gave them a sandwich.

A City Reinvented

12/10/2000

Today Cyn and I went on a walk to go shopping. Beijing is a city that is being reinvented. Down with the old buildings and up with great tall buildings reminiscent of ancient styles of architecture. What a grand place! People tried to sell cd roms and fuji cameras on the street. None of them knew English well enough to convince me. One man called Cyn a prostitute who got lucky by finding me. He misjudged. I don't understand how he felt the freedom or self-righteousness to say those words.

At night we went to a bar where everyone was bored. It was confusing to me because the bar had kareoke and a roller rink. I met a girl who asked: "people tell me that college is supposed to be the most fun part of my life, why am I bored?" All I can do is cry for her. i understand that seh has very little excitement in her daily life and when she is given any free time she dosn't know how to use it. She asked me what I do in America when I have freetime. I told her I listen to music.

New Love

12/9/2000

I have found new love. I am lost in here and there. The faces her can talk but the words don't move me.

We flew in on a huge Chinese airplane. The food on the plane was chicken with rice. They also served another mean of chicken or pork or beef. The taste of the food was strange to me. The people on the plane were almost all Chinese. They seemed relaxed and all around more happy then I have ever seen complete strangers be. Perhaps the Chinese do not feel as if they are strangers.

We arrived in Beijing and came to the Wan's apt. Cyn's aunt had waited with her friend at the airport to pick us up. She was very happy to see me. I could tell by the smile on her face that she is a gentle, caring person. I could tell by her and Cynthia's conversation that they are great friends.

We all went to meet the grandparents of Cyn. Her grandfather gave me a present. A wall hanging (or placemat?) it is a beautiful scean of a bridge and water. Her Grandfather spoke English. He talked to me whild Grandma talked to Cyn and aunt. We talked about China and America with politics and life. We laughed and flowed with English. He is a very big little man whou was given a great opportunity to come to America because he is a wise interpreter. He lived in Pittsburgh and went to Ottowa for 2 weeks and stayed in D.C. He showed me a wall hanging of D.C. that was given to him in America. He said of the Americans: "You like to make friends".

To Understand It

Entry for June 06, 2008

I was reading John and I got to chapter 11 and had to go back to chapter 1 because of the way Jesus talks to his disciples about light.

John 1:3-5

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood[a] it.

John 11:9-10

9Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. 10It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."

The comparison of these two verse sets is critical.

Can a man avoid darkness?

What is day/night?

What is light?

The warm weather's comin', the buds are on the vine

Entry for June 03, 2008

Bob Dylan's "Modern Times" album contains a song that expresses my situation. The only swaping out of symbols is to replace his "woman" with a picture of the modern world system of economy. I don't think this is too much of a stretch since the prophet Zachariah saw a vision of this very symbol swaping.

http://bibleresources.bible.com/passagesearchresults.php?passage1=Zechariah+5...

the woman in the basket is the world economy of: work = gain.

So, this in mind, hearing the Dylan song humbled me.

The entire song, as well as the albulm is full of Biblical symbols and can't be fully understood without a deep knowledge of the Bible.

Dylan song:

Rollin' and Tumblin'
Words and Music by Bob Dylan


First Release

"Modern Times"
2006

I rolled and I tumbled, I cried the whole night long
I rolled and I tumbled, I cried the whole night long
Woke up this mornin', I must have bet my money wrong

I got troubles so hard, I can't stand the strain
I got troubles so hard, I just can't stand the strain
Some young lazy slut has charmed away my brains

The landscape is glowin', gleamin' in the golden light of day
The landscape is glowin', gleamin' in the gold light of day
I ain't holding nothin' back now, I ain't standin' in anybody's way

Well, I did all I know just to keep you off my mind
Well, I did all I know just to keep you off my mind
Well, I paid and I paid and my sufferin' heart is always on the line

Well, I get up in the dawn and I go down and lay in the shade
I get up in the dawn and I go down and lay in the shade
I ain't nobody's house boy, I ain't nobody's well trained maid

I'm flat out spent, this woman been drivin' me to tears
I'm flat out spent, this woman she been drivin' me to tears
This woman so crazy, I swear I ain't gonna touch another one for years

Well, the warm weather is comin' and the buds are on the vine
The warm weather's comin', the buds are on the vine
Ain't nothing so depressing as trying to satisfy this woman of mine

I got up this mornin', saw the rising sun return
Well, I got up this mornin', seen the rising sun return
Sooner or later you too shall burn

The night's filled with shadows, the years are filled with early doom
The night's filled with shadows, the years are filled with early doom
I've been conjuring up all these long dead souls from their crumblin' tombs

Let's forgive each other darlin', let's go down to the greenwood glen
Let's forgive each other darlin', let's go down to the greenwood glen
Let's put our heads together, let's put old matters to an end

Now I rolled and I tumbled and I cried the whole night long
Ah, I rolled and I tumbled, I cried the whole night long
I woke up this morning, I think I must be travelin' wrong



Copyright © 2006 Special Rider Music

One God, One King

Family Crest

I recently found my family crest on a web site. It amazes me how awesome people are. The depth of our personalities over generations is so neat. For instance, our family motto is: One God, One King. I think this is a great motto, it show loyalty to God and to Christ. I don't think I could come up with a better motto for myself today, and this one is hundreds of years old. We really are related in body and mind. I feel closer to the past then ever before.

http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.fc/qx/dorsey-family-crest.htm

Gammorah's Refrain

The statue men

Upon reflection of a fashion designers 50th birthday party I was stunned at how the man elevated himself. I was a bit embarrassed for him, immediately, when I was called to notice a large gold statue that he had placed in the party. The statue was a resemblence of himself. I was embarrassed because I remember getting akward at the age of 12 when my family would come to celebrate my birthday and give me gifts. I wondered how this man was able to press on in the akward reality of adulthood acting like a toddler in celebration of his own birth. It was then I realized the difference. This man had planned his own party. It wasn't his partents who planned the party, but it was his own doing. He could not even exist within the realm of adult reality that I had become aware of at the age of 12.

At this point in my thoughts I decided I could let him off the hook. It became evident that he was underdeveloped in some ways. I was even tempted to pity him. Then a breeze of fresh air blew into my memory. Nebuchadnezzar was a man who had a statue built of himself. He too ran away off the tracks and elevated himself. God found it fit to humble Nebuchadnezzar to the status of an animal outside the walls of the city he had seen built.

Again, "Ozymandias" was a man who had a statue built in his image. Now he too was elevated and brought low by the sands of time. Shelly saw what I saw and sought to put it in its place. He had figured out the laws of God that govern the hearts of men. Shelly did not let Ozymandias off the hook because he could not. It was plain as day that Ozymandias had made a critical error in judgement of what is lasting. I don't pity Ozymandias or Nebuchadnezzar. They had made judgements and those judgments failed, that is all.

It was then that I began to think of these odd men as a group. I imagined them all meeting on an eternal plane with their statues in tow. I wonder what they would talk about? The whole scene seemed comical to me, so I didn't develop it any further. Just now, looking back on that thought, it appears that I stumbled upon the way God views these men in whole. The statue men are comical to Him who knows their makeup and their time. Perhaps I will persue the comical plane in another thought.

Thoughts on Blake’s “To the Evening Star”

"To the Evening Star"

Thoughts on Blake’s “To the Evening Star”

Thou fair-haired angel of the evening,
Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!
Smile on our loves, and while thou drawest the
Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew
On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes
In timely sleep. Let thy west wing sleep on
The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,
And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon,
Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,
And the lion glares through the dun forest.
The fleeces of our flocks are covered with
Thy sacred dew; protect with them with thine influence.

This poem is a prayer. What lies unsaid is the nature of the fallen darkness that Blake is praying to avoid. Blake knows the danger that night can call on any man who falls asleep. He prays that one true light he knows to be the evening star, the star that carries the light of day into the ensuing darkness, watch over him. The humility shown in this prayer is like one of a child praying for protection at night. Blake shows wisdom in knowing the Passover that comes from prayer.

Desert Room

Entry for May 23, 2008

I had a dream. It appeared a black fog sat on the shoulders of a class of students. Their backs lined straght, the rows of chairs in place. I peered in through a doorway standing on the sands of a timeless desert. That moment could have been paused for eternity until I noticed one student shifting ever slightly. As to hold in a cough, the student's head moved forward. In reaction to the motion of one, all seemed to notice and adjust their positons at once.

Just then a woman appeared from the corner of the room with a whip and smacked the student who moved first. I say woman not because I know her identity. I say woman because the clothing the figure wore represented women's clothing. A black headcovering and black full length cloth allowed no shape of humanity to be cut. And, even had her garment allowed for her image to show through it, no color escaped the corner she rested in.

Being in such a place as I was, a doorway with a desert behind me, I felt as if the only direction to head was inside the room. When I entered, immediately the room was full of light. I remember the shocking brightness in that place. The students came alive and moved freely about speaking in a language I couldn't understand. The woman tried in vein to stop them as she suffered to hide away from the light.

That is when I saw you. You were in that room.

What is that end.

5/22/08

death of the apothecary

so the universe is one spoken command. well, we got it wrong. where did we start wrong? we thought it out for years. were we de-evolving all the way? our minds becomming cluttered with math? our tools corrupted in assumtion? if we were to measure fantasy could we convince the general public? did we? so many questions and regrets piled upon memories. even now in this light we focus inward on our own dead theories. isn't that the only way? what is this other way we rejected and thought foolishness? why do rats jump off a sinking boat? some of us would rather go down with the ship then admit those fools were right all along. they were so antagonistic of our work, we could have done more. i for one am a genius, sir. i am a demigod, a god. i turned water into chemistry. isn't that enough? am i not enough? knowledge has an end? what is that end

Joppa , then to bed

Entry for May 21, 2008
Galations then a nap. Well, that was the plan until second Timothy came along and stirred up all kinds of emotion. Paul's last words before death were only concerned about the faith of others. How small have i been to run and hide like Jonah?

Rope Swing


Entry for May 20, 2008

An answer to the pounding (milk that cow)

You want me to move: Let’s go then in mind of that place that stills the time and speeds the heart to think. Lets pause there infinite and on the brink. Pause and pause with justice as our cause. But Chaos Nauseam I am doubled over desire, singing bringing praises with the choir.

Lets go then. You pull tight day is light and night...we shall see and we shall see stars and candle light the way, night is day. You light and flexing Being: the rope is taught and without seeing I know you pull (with no effort of your own.) So excuse me as I groan but do not let me fall to grind and moan among the circus brimmed of fire and that angelic choir trimmed and neat, dead under my feet. Do not let walk that street desolate and far. Burned like a red eye cigar I turned like dead I sway far. Not near to hear the peace within that honey voice of blessings.

And here I swing. Should I say it? "we" swing! Here we swing on a rope that is life - paused beauty over the abyssal depths of never. We exist to each other! That is our kingdom, that is our love.

Interviews

Entry for February 06, 2008

Interviews

A tight blue tie. No, red. Red blood red. No blue, that is power. Hours of hands folded in laps. Voices sweet and mildly proclaiming sweet and mild proclamations. Could you just help me write my resume...somthing is missing here. What do I do? Who am I ? Could you just push me up the hill this time? Purple is out of the question...what was the question? I am Logistically managing this collection of pencils while examining the inside of my eyelids. BP, Chevron, Shampoo, Revlon, HP, Breathmints. Who wants me?

Absence

Entry for February 11, 2008

2 Corinthians is amazing.

We are always confident and well pleased to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. What a revolution of life and death has been sprung on humanity. "I am invincible until my job is done for the Lord" Martin Luther. "heads I win, tails you lose" Paul to his enemies. Immortality is the natural next step for the believer, the Spirit testifies to this fact.

Business as Usual

Entry for February 06, 2008

Quiet solitude opens to floresence as the race resumes. It never really stopped to resume, it just idled in the worried minds as they sought rest to refuel the dream. Dream sounds too right and proper perhaps ambition would fit better in its place. However worded, Golden paths stream in front (never under foot). Wake and run the drills, prepare for more drills. Sisyphus and hills.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26

In Eliot's Crag

Entry for February 05, 2008
A streaming deluge covered the other side of the glass. The preacher on the radio. "It will be as in the days of Noah..." Still heart. In a dark pocket. Hidden from the lightening. Like a coccoon. The clock ticking foward.

Nothing is the Answer

Entry for January 23, 2008
So what is it worth to gain the whole world and lose one's own soul? What would a man give in exchange for his soul? The ultimate in rhetorical questions.

Darth Vader

Entry for February 01, 2008

Patron on a Friday Email?

Her hair was a shape placed on her back. It was one single solitary object. The clicking of her fingers poured marbles down iron staircases. As a casual observer slowed to the realization that a fire was burning. The smell of sweet potatoes roasting became the drapes are on fire, out of control. Her mind was a rage, a frenzy of wild birds pecking at the lone tin can left behind by yesterday's garbage truck. wildly their beaks struck metal and picked dry corn away from her keyboard. What more could it be? These thoughts she wrote were designed in a hailstorm of nickles. Her helmet head stood guard as a silent cat on a rainy day moving only in solid thickness, a motionless bust to contain strained snapping eyes that jerked to the chaotic rythem of the keys in a timed chaos of music

A.I.

Entry for December 27, 2007
What is this that is called "I"? It took me 28 years to learn that my hair parts on the left. That is to say "my" left and not anyone else's.

Joy's Seed

Entry for December 26, 2007

We played in the emptiness of a dream. Tumbling around hearts drumming up joy on the ground. We knew life. We did not take time to think about the time that had taken us so far from one another. We did not sigh back into only memory. So now, I do just that.

Yes it is true I do miss you. This said I don't know how it is possible that you weigh in my heart so heavy having never been born. Yes it is true you are my sunshine. I sing in the days you recall to me. I sing rain.

There was a tree built for you. It was a green elephant rising thirty feet into the summer sky. I saw you riding on its back. The men came and plucked it out. Its leaves didn't turn red. Now they park their cars on pavement above its roots. For now it is winter.

I heard we may meet someday. The thought of knowing you makes tears push out of my eyes. I love you. Simple. All is right. Pain is joy's seed.

Twenty Degrees

Entry for December 06, 2007
I heard a story of a man that slammed his front door and saw the paint fall off in one big sheet. Its not that cold yet...in twenty degrees less then now I will need to be careful closing doors.

A City Built without Hands

Entry for November 06, 2007
There is a hand guiding me through life. My mind races around in the weeds and it bumps me back on the path. Deja vu moments and dreamlike days sift me through its fingers. I am free only to choose which hand is at work. Sometimes I swear and kick to pin it down and expose it to the world. It always alludes my capture as if it knew 10,000 light years ahead of my attempt. I chase the butterfly as in a dream only to find it is perfectly logical that I am chasing my imagination. That is the thing of Faith that I can not control. I wish to expose it to the world so that I don't seem crazy for going after it. But, I am alone in my quest. Not alone, I imagine many others are attempting to run this race. Endurance is embracing the absurd for a lifetime. Allthough, is not life purely absurd?

The Fortress

Entry for October 30, 2007
no way but the way, what simple words can say. A simple man hides as the image of his Maker. Evil carries its flag at dawn only to be humbled.

God's Honeymoon

Entry for November 02, 2007

I read somthing beautiful yesterday. It regarded Jesus' suffering on the cross. A question was raised as to what Jesus ment by saying: "My God my God why hast Thou forsaken me?". There were a few answers that pointed out that Jesus became sin and died our penalty to pay. Then there was an answer that shocked me.

I remember waking up and feeling the glow of life surrounding me. I remember feeling clean on the inside and free of anxiety. Some Christians call this the "honeymoon" period that one enters after recieving the Spirit. I distinctly remember this period of my life as being Golden. I was actually living. I have hope of what is to come from that time. I need to say that I don't feel that way anymore and I had thought that it was my fault for straying away.

The answer that shocked me called attention to the reason that the Spirit was able to enter my sinful condition. Jesus' suffering was both physical and spiritual. His spiritual suffering was an entering into my condition as seperated from God. That is my entering into relationship with God. And, just as he lived in perfect relation with God, suffered temporary seperation before death and then was raised to a perfect relationship again, I live in seperation from God, recieved temporary perfect relationship before death, and will be raised again to perfect relationship.

A Whisper in the Stairwell

Entry for October 23, 2007

I had a dream last night.

Cyn, Ava, and I were living in a beach hotel out in CA. We knew some of the people there from college back in Ohio. We locked ourselves out of the room so we had to climb into the window. It ends up we climbed into the wrong window and I met an old friend who I didn't remember. His face was familiar, and he knew me well. I said goodbye to a crowded room of people and made my way out and back up to our room.

I heard a wisper in the stairwell that I should kneel down to the floor of the landing I had reached. There was railing that was rickety and 5 floors above the street. A body builder type came up the stairs and said hello to me and grabbed my hand. He was trying to throw me over the edge. He asked how I knew to kneel down which made it impossible for him to lift me over. Cyn and I both said God told me at the same time. I threw him over the edge three times before he was dead. He came back twice, but the third time I threw him over and he did three summer saults and hit his head hard on the pavement.

The Pattern in these Cracks

Entry for October 12, 2007
waiting for you to come and pick me up today i stood tall on the raised curb. the red paint on that curb cracked long ago. my feet were too big and my toes hung over the edge. i stood staring at the wind blowing through the street. a bus came and picked up two women who sat across the road on the steps up to the parking lot. i passed those two daily before their bus ever came. you were late, stuck in traffic a mile away. i looked at the cracked paint on the road. i wonder who it is that sees the pattern in these cracks. i am a foolish man of science, fight as i may against that mind it controls my thoughts. i imagined nothing more then the temperatures that must make that paint swell and contract until it can stretch no further. my mind lost creativity until the wind picked up again and i realized that my big feet were aching from standing on that small red curb too long. again i focused on the white paint on the roadway. what ancient chinese king could tell me what it ment? the cracked paint reminded me of the oracle bones of the shang dynasty. what great men of faith could read these lines on the pavement below my feet? Reality has not changed from that time of wonder. God is God is God and how is man to interpret these cracks? A gust of wind and a sense of awe is all i took from my question. What is the language of these thing? How am I to read nature? God is God is God and I am just a man. My feet are throbing and I slipped and almost fell from the curb...why was i standing there anyway? i backed up a few feet and imagined you comming around the bend. then you were there and waiting for me to stop waiting for you. i crossed the street jumping the cracks with every step. had i an eternity i would figure out those jagged lines i would crack their code and know which bend you were comming around and where the traffic slows.

a test of the poetry reflex

Entry for August 2, 2007

8/2/07

Just an exercise

Tumblin in the rough may be so rough that even if it were enough it wouldn’t matter

Stumblin’ on the street pushed out of your seat head hunted nailed down to a platter

Thought you’d recognize, to express it wasn’t wise now you see out through your eyes your lens is shattered

There is no way to express the unseated duress you won’t even confess you’ve grown fatter

Alone behind those eyes your naked self it lies it even denies all else that matters

But the truth it wont be fooled even after you’ve tooled and muted it reputed it disputed it twisted it dismissed it and buried it.

You celebrated on the grave but you forgot you were its slave when you said you married it

Now from your hollow stump a new born green leaf lump unfurls the tender clump that carried it.

So all the tell-tale hearts all pigeon-holed in parts thrown out dead on carts in the ground tarried it.

Started to stop Up from the bottom top dear life again to drop upon your disfunction.

The Role of the Unknown

Entry for July 27, 2007

7/27/07

The men in the corridor clock in and make their daily rounds. Their jobs are repetitive and numbing. Six a.m. darkened sky peels away their dreaming minds as they turn into the parking lots. Theirs is a role of unknown support. They do not see the benefit but it is priceless. “Hello good morning” to bosses “how is you todays” as men filter in an hour later. These are the men in the swivel chairs who take the papers off the shelf and check their computers. An arm and a leg swing to the beat not knowing the body is dancing. Knowing is for a higher power then men.

Sunset with Ava

Entry for July 26, 2007

7/26/07

This is a poem from early June

Sunset with Ava

The tree was countless pins of light

Shaped as one vast organism

Swaying alive in shades of green

The sun’s own hand waving goodbye

Then a dull shadow stood its watch.

Echoeses

Entry for July 12, 2007

7/12/07

Love doesn’t watch its back. Love has faith in justice and waits upon the Truth. Thank God He has reached me and touched my soul. Slow steady conversion is turning me inside out like death over a body. In an instant I was changed but my conversion is eternal. Thank God I have seen His work and felt Loved. Pray the others reach rest.

What news can I speak of that doesn’t seem petty? The strife of our condition echoes again and again. The front pages change dates and names only while the stories progress in their abyssal falling away. I am not shocked by death I am growing comfortable with images of pain on God’s created image…mankind. Pray this end. Hard heart melt. Let faith in Truth protect your love. How else can we survive as souls on this walk through the valley of the shadow of death?

Golden Eyeded Joy

Entry for July 6, 2007

7/6/07

Happy 5 year anniversary, Cyn. Goodbye, see you next week. We woke up early and went downtown to the bus station. Ava played tricks on the sunrise with her shifting eyes and beautiful smile. Peek-a-boo hahaha I am smarter then you old sun.

Beginnings

Entry for July 05, 2007

7/5/07

Tomorrow is our anniversary and Cyn is taking Ava to Cleveland for a week. We have had a good week. We are actively getting out more. We spent time at the Alum creek beach with Ava in the water. Also, I have begun to take to Frisbee golf. We go to Hoover reservoir to Frisbee golf some.

Stone Hearted Madmen

Entry for June 28, 2007

6/28/07

Nietzsche is quoted in stone on the sidewalk outside the building I work in. Something like: “intellect is skeptical”. I enjoy walking on his name, rubbing a bit off the stone daily. I thought he was responsible for the holocaust with his philosophy of amorality. Why would a University post his ideas in stone? Don’t they know that Nietzsche’s philosophies led him to suicide? His ideas breed death. He is the philosopher of evolution which oils its wheel with the dead generations of ions. I step on his name. If I can not stop his philosophy I will plod my own over top of it.

I am reading a book about Kierkegaard’s prediction of Nietzschean thought. Soren was the man, he responded to Fredrick before he was even born.

Camping for Wings

Entry for June 18, 2007

6/18/07

I walked through the hot sun sidewalks from the Business Library to the BW3 on Lane and High. I heard that they would be giving away a year of free wings to the first 250 people through the door. I got there at 10:15am. I saw the sign on the door said they opened at 11:00am. I went back to the Business Library sweaty. I returned to BW3 the second time through the shade, but I got even more sweaty. When I got there it was 11:00am. I asked three women in BW3 uniforms when the building opened and they told me next Monday. I was a week early. They said that people are going to be camping outside the door next Monday. Wow…I don’t want the wings that bad.

Down Zhongnan Mountain to Drink and Rest

Entry for June 15, 2007

6/15/07

My love is 100 miles away, I am reading 李白:下终南山

My rough translation into English.

Down Zhongnan Mountain to drink and rest

The setting sun from the blue mountain fell,

The mountain’s moon guided my return;

looking back, I saw the path that brought me there,

lie in levels of deep shadow.

I spotted the farmhouse of a friend,

His tender children set an opening in the thorns.

I entered a hidden way among the green bamboo

The rows of lush growth brushed against my cloths.

I joyfully arrived at my hard sought rest

Beautiful wine and conversation wiped it all away.

Songs grew that were sung like wind through the pines.

The melody like a river exhausted the night stars

Drunken gentlemen restored to joy

United, we let our cares of the world slip away.

Cool Comfort

Entry for June 8, 2007

6/8/07

My Lunch Break

I went out to the oval on my lunch break. I left the cool comfort of the Library and walked out into the summer heat. The heat made my skin goosebump, it was like a warm wet blanket. It felt good until my body warmed up, then it stung the back of my neck.

I walked past the columns and thought about the thunderstorm that is supposed to be above our city. It isn’t yet, but it made me race to the oval. The heat waved in strong breezes around me. Your hair would have been swirling with the heat, only stopping to be plucked out of your mouth.

I found the oval empty. A construction crew was tearing apart the Library. Just a week ago there had been a brass band of 200 people, soldiers dressed in white hats and gloves with shiny black shoes. I had seen the president of the university walking briskly through the bustle. Now it was silent, calm, waiting for the storm.

I sat on a bench over red bricks. I faced away from the oval, away from that emptiness. Every person that passed me I felt as if they had something to say to me. None said a word. I saw a girl twirling a black cane umbrella in the distance. A couple of old people met and smiled at each other before walking away together. I saw a squirrel yawn for the first time ever. It stretched its arms and yawned while walking down a tree trunk. It reminded me of a cat.

I focused on the ants at my feet. They scavenged the uneven bricks for food. I wondered if they had been there last week when the Christian group was handing out surveys about how to get saved. I don’t remember seeing the ants there when I had sat with the man who wore khaki pants and a blue shirt. I was looking at the ground then, too.

I remembered you told me to bring back the meat bag. I almost threw it away with the tangerine pit. My hands were sticky when I opened the yogurt. The ants avoided my tangerine juice that had dripped onto the red brick. When I dropped a bit of cheese they took it. A man walked up and then turned and ran away.

I walked back to the Library with a lighter bag. I saw a young boy with curly hair playing behind the columns. His brother rolled his eyes as I passed. I thought of ancient Greece. The sun stung the back of my neck as I entered the Library rotunda. I straightened my shirt, wiped off my mouth and smiled as the cool air grabbed me back.

A Dragon in the Stacks

Entry for June 1, 2007

6/1/07

This library is mysterious. Not the place, but the people. Everyone seems to be hiding from everyone else. What are they hiding? Why? It is anyone’s guess as of now. I am new to this environment, but I already feel the urge to close myself up. Joe had a dream that he ran from a dragon and hid in the library. He placed himself inside a file cabinet and hid. He felt ashamed that he wasn’t fighting the dragon. I know that I am a dragon warrior, is this mysterious place a part of my way toward killing the dragon?

I just experience the most outlandish materialism I have ever seen. Dubai is the most materialistic place on the earth today. It has to be the biggest best most of everything. It is sooo aesthetically minded that a sheik who bought a license plate for $6,000,000 said that he would have paid twice that because giving to charity is sublime. Sublime! It isn’t a skip from the ethical world to the spiritual which is normally denoted by the word sublime. Abraham had a sublime experience when he offered Isaac on Mt. Moriah. He was not concerned with the law that said do not murder, he was not held by it because he was sublime to it through the spirit. No, the sublime that Dubai offers is from the aesthetic to the ethical. Wow, what a pathetic transfer, but proper use of the word I suppose. Because of Dubai, it is now sublime to stop thinking of one’s own self and give to others.

There are a lot of student employees that work at this library from Dubai. How does one begin to explain the gospel to a group that thinks they already have the good news?

Watching Faces get Younger

Entry for June 8, 2007

6/6/07

Last Day of Exams before Summer

Today is the last day for a lot of students on campus. Exams are over with and the summer calls them away. Some will never return. Some people I know are leaving for “the real” world. Every year some people I know make this journey. I hope they find it. I hope they find the real world that they have been working towards, I never did. Time passes quickly in this world. Campus life is like watching faces get younger while knowing it is you getting older. Every year is the same, they just keep getting more nostalgic. People and faces of the past flow away from my memory. I remain on campus year after year as new turns into old and fades away. Holding on would be like carving an x into the river to mark where I have been. Now there are huge bins of carpet and chairs and hangars and books. Stuff you would hold on to if it mattered. The dorms are emptied every year. Most years it rains. Soon people who live here will be looking through the bins. I know, I used to. It is a lonely reward at the making of a ghost town. The ghosts leave their stuff. I never knew why. Some of it is trash. There is good stuff there though. Futons, computers…a friend of mine once found a jar of money. Some ghost had been too impatient to carry it with him. Summer tugged on him and he relented, leaving his jar in the bin with all the papers of test scores and dates. These things which occupy us for the whole school year become unneeded. I took notes for hours upon end. I sat under bright florescent bulbs on cold wooden chairs. I listened and thought about and then listened more. Teachers spilled knowledge while I doodled and shook with boredom. I wanted to give up and quit, but I continued to the end. I battled and raged over papers and essays and take home quizzes, blank maps with cities to label and rivers to draw. Now this place is like a blank map. All of the people who made it alive are gone. They left their notes and quizzes and tests in the bin. Searching through them makes me feel lost. What is important? What do they hold to? What will be discarded? Who will find it a gem and polish it up? Will it rain before they come? Every year it seems to rain on cue. This year the rain came early may leave dry the ghost bins. I hold on to my notes much too long. I have notes from classes that are years ago. I keep them at home. I will never read them. I tell myself I will but I won’t. I keep them there because they are marks in the river, and it still might rain. (6/8/07 – it didn’t rain)

Does the library make people meticulous or are meticulous people attracted to the library. Both maybe.

Sexual Harrassment Seminar

Entry for May 31, 2007

Thoughts upon returning from the OSU sexual harassment workshop:

5/30/07 – 5/31/07 written over two days of reflection

My senses are dulled. Let me revive a little before remembering such monotony. Praise God for freedom and love. God set the masculine and feminine, He placed us in bonds. Praise His wisdom apart from our folly.

Okay…Secular morality based on opinions. Although the “Law” of the land is still based on “reasonability” it seems unreasonable. What matters in the case of sexual harassment is if your work suffers, not if you do. This would seem to penalize workers who plod through the pain and do a good job no matter what the circumstance (Christians, see Romans chapter 15). And, reasonability has no definition outside some judge’s opinion. There is no common way for the secular model to appeal to, so it gets lost in vague pleads toward a weakening “common sense” approach.

Further, common sense judgment by the defendant and plaintiff are taken before uncommon standard rulings by the court system. Years of common knowledge can be wiped away by one judge’s decision on what constitutes the word “hostile”. Intention does not matter, the defendant does not get to say “I didn’t mean it like that”. The only truth that matters is the interpretation of the individual. This is very vague and can not be pinned down anywhere. Also, the law is only concerned with Clark Kent. What superman does on his own time is his own concern. However, Clark Kent had better act like a journalist and not be too suave.

The outrageousness continued. If you see someone computing porn, be warned: porn is okay! Complaints are the only moral guide of this system! This is completely without compass, and void of any clear relevance to morality. Homophobia is undecided as a form of sexual harassment. Hahaha. The moral table is completely reversed here. Immorality is good and questioning it is seen as potentially harassing! Bigotry? Look to channel 10 as your pop god. Would you want the slick news crew talking about what you are doing? Please! Is this an appeal to morality or vanity? “Don’t lose face”, is more a threat of shamed ego then any real attempt of moral ethos. Would you do it if your spouse was there? Would you want your loved one to have this done to them?

These questions attempt to carve out a silver rule that states: don’t do what you don’t want done to you or yours. The problem is that the foundation that they are using is unreliable. Trying to carve a moral rule in secular reasoning (apart from true moral authority) is like carving a statue out of water. At best it is an ice sculpture that melts away under the heat of liberal “rights” and “freedoms”. These rights and freedoms are more protected then our kids are from evil.

At one point I believed the speaker to be attempting to rally our common understanding of a “way” to live. This didn’t happen very often, but was unavoidable as questions began to rise. As humbling as this must be, even the sculptor of water must admit to the mocking crowd that her intentions are founded in historical truths. So, this is to say, once there was marble. Statues looked good in marble, it was smooth and workable. We could all agree that porn was bad once, can’t we now? The answer is not lastingly, not strongly, not truly…No, the water does not hold what the marble did. In fact, the marble didn’t hold what God’s granite tablets did. But, aside nostalgic thoughts, I press on in this “liberated” world.

Confidentiality is not allowed. I do not have the luxury of being a trusted ear. I must only be a tool of reform. If I hear evil I must report it. This being in contrast to what I believe, it is hard for me to agree. Am I an accuser? Does this bureaucratic dragon expect my voice of it? Well I am unapologetic and strongly determined to take up any cause only on God’s terms. I am flexible. I am alive. If a situation occurs it will be resolved personally.

After a few contradictions of policy, and more redundancy then I was soberly able to bear, the workshop ended with an anticlimactic dud. It is hard to judge you know….blah. Freedom of speech and other rights must balance out. Personal selfishness and the selfishness of others must find a level plain. There must be some restraint but it is hard to say where. I am not going to tell you or any other person not to do something, just try to be selfish away from work. If you are selfish at work, try to offend only weak people who have no voice. If someone complains, just try to accommodate them.

Can I just shake this off? What a stupor. Can I be done trying to fit into this insanity? No, my work is not finished. Covert operations must resume in the fields of my Lord. Plod on. My yoke is light. What complaint do I have in this world? my home is not in this realm. I don’t cling, I just pass through. So another dead road sign hangs from its hinges behind me: Sexual harassment for next 200 miles. I travel on, I travel on. My destination is not from the signs I see made by men. I have seen true signs along the way that point to the new morning sun. His kingdom come, His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

My head is dizzy from too much use. My heart ached a while back, I thought I would drop dead. Too much study and not enough sleep. I need a deeper connection to my creator. Only He can restore my soul and passion. I took a walk to the river and turned around. I thought about jumping in and getting my clothes wet. That’s what I thought, my clothes will get wet. How should I live that my death will be okay? That question rang in my head as it swirled. The answer of course is well known to me, I just can’t walk it out. I can’t I can’t I can’t. I need your help Jesus. I give up trying on my own.

When the Fossil was Made

Entry for May 30, 2007

5/30/07

They were crushed in the pouring out of awesome raw energy. Instantly, they were buried beneath countless megatons of water. Perhaps he was thinking of how to destroy his brother when it was done for him. Perhaps she was painting her eyes to lust after when the fossil was made. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Sodom and Gomorrah do not compare. The word flood does not illustrate. They were sandwiched in an explosion of furious power. Water from above and below made their bodies turn into coal under the pressure.

Charred Hotdogs

Entry for May 29, 2007

5/29/07

The weekend was filled with Tang dynasty dances, charred hotdogs, and zoo passes. Ava ran and played while the sermon was preached on spiritual warfare. We sat in the shade of the pavilion and watched two Indian men undulate to music laced with bad poetry. “Embrace perfection, eliminate fear. Reach out to your true nature.” I pictured Fitzgerald’s Gatsby reaching toward his green light in East Egg. The top 500 classic rock songs played on the radio this weekend. I tried to hear them all. I fell asleep at the very end, exhausted from the weekend. I wonder what number one was? Like a rolling stone? The Indianapolis 500 was rained out. I saw the winning driver drinking his milk inside a warehouse that held all the cars. Cheapened. I wonder if anyone noticed the rain was on its way before they started? Why not hold it earlier?

Ava dances now. Leah came over and saw her dancing to the music coming out of her basketball play set. She wiggles back and forth while smiling. To join in with her true joy. Leah recognized Ava is her own person, and loved her. She questioned how it is that familiarity breeds familiarity. You know…why people who are together for so long lose sight of the beauty inside each other. I suppose she is correct. The people who live at Niagara falls can’t take pictures every day. I don’t know if I think it’s a shame or not…familiarity. Perhaps it just goes to show the triumph of love. Like all those Thanksgivings and Christmases that went south, but we are still a family.

When Xin was pregnant people asked me if I wanted to know if the baby was a boy or girl. I answered “of course”. I wanted to know everything I could about her. Love seeks familiarity and familiarity grows love…or something like that. The more I know the more there is to love. I don’t hate something I truly know. I can only love it for all of its flaws. When I had a hard time with Joe, I pointed out Joe’s flaws. Brian reminded me “that is what makes Joe Joe.” flaws and all we are in this together. So I fall away to the side that embraces familiarity. Step on my toes, but we will dance.

Brian is a psychologist. Brian analyses character.

This place is like a desert. Business books are its sand. The patrons slowly die of thirst reading the journals about finance and management. Conversation is like a cool breeze that wakes one up from the heat. Life? No, just a passing hope.

My people have become jokes, punching bags. Where did we lose sight of Jesus’ plan? The worldly voices drip with their answers and accusations. “hypocrites, at least we know who we are. We don’t pretend to be Godly.”