Tangled feedback loops of the complex systems.

Write something on addicted: he writes.

Rates of consumption.

Knee jerk response to what we have known for ages.

Paracelsus.

sola dosis facit venenum.

I drink a case of you and find myself barely on my feet.

But, still

I am on my feet.

A pH balance. All of us. Welcome to yourself and kindly

say hello.

A near death experience is well documented as being præter-natural.

There is no reason to fear.

Change.

Chemical composition.

There are people addicted:

to remaining married.

to eating sugar.

to hearing the sound of their own name.

to gossiping.

to risking their joys due to lack of control.

to fitting in.

to not making waves.

to positive feedback.

to attention.

There are people addicted to the subtle repression

of the ones they love the most.

There are those addicted to never abiding in the

heart of one for too long.

There are those addicted to the vanity of not

being vain.

A rabbit hole of exploration.

What is your resultant self harm to harm of others ratio?

But, harm is harm.

And harm is subjective.

Sometimes enjoyable to the harmed.

Tangled feedback loops of complex systems.

to Port Townsend

They make parking garages into boats.

The cars below do not feel the apparent-wind like us walk-ons do.

A pair passes by me. I hear: “How did those stickers get put on there?”

Orcas, while rarely seen, do swim here in the Sound.

A family passes by me.

“How did those stickers get put on there?” I hear again.

{~}

On the bench to my right, a fellow in a cowboy hat is photographed by a slight and pixie-like gal.

She has a camera. A proper, right aperature. She does not repurpose her cell phone for the task. Perhaps it speaks to the value she places upon her subject and the tools required to properly achieve her artistic desired ends.

On the other side of the water is a Townsend of a port. It is filled with salty sea dogs of the best kind. One of the last bastions in the world of expertise and experience re: wooden sailboats.

It was built in a decidedly Victorian style during the late 1800’s. Elaborate stone buildings that would seem more at home in the UK.

It maintains four independent bookstores, all on the main [sic. high] street.

Always a positive sign. Yet, one that I seldom see.

The song of a pied piper.

The voice of reluctant troubadour.

An outburst from a seagull sounded like a car alarm.

Investments were made here with the intent to create a massive, international shipping port. This place was supposed to be what Seattle became, but the railroads did not lay track here as anticipated. They routed through Seattle.

A hazy cover of clouds lingers. There are immense mountains so close by, yet abiding unseen.

I pass two places that I recall having seen in dreams. Deja v/u/iew.

And, it smells like the Gulf of Mexico does. Destin, AL, just next to the Florida’s panhandle.

Salt. Seaweed. It reeks of things always being wet and never drying out.

It is a town of artisans, artifacts, and craftsmen. As it was explained to me: It is a sailor’s paradise because there are only 24 days of “good” sailing weather here.

I consider that type of sailor. Yup, they are the same sea dogs that still build their vessel from wood and not fiberglass.

There are rigger shops every other block. Schooners, sloops, cutters, ketches: the number of sails and the number of masts varies, but they all require a great deal of properly positioned and tightened rope. It becomes a specialty, like navigational skill.

It sings of waves falling down. It hints at waters ceaselessly lapping rocky shores like relentless thoughts and worries carving canyons in the contents of your confidence.

Seagull shit stained rocks and buildings made of stone. Barnacle blooms come into view on the hulls and the buoys during this time of low tide.

I feel the demands of a restless mind clicking out thought and notion like an antique stock ticker. I cipher telegrams regarding the health of your economy.

Waveform and flows rising and ebbing. Coming like crimson tides in the waters of words flooding my mind’s. Aye.

A hum escapes and vibrates from my throat. A quirk. A noise I make unconsciously when roaming in my mind.

Have you ever surprised yourself by hearing your own voice?

I speak mostly through unspoken scrawls. My loudest voice comes from silence when speech is expected. Fishermen hooking attention.

The vocal manifestation of the underlying punctuation is realized through the intervals.

Rests between notes.

How many beats per minute in the measures of the sentences comprising your composition? Moving as do canvas and a pallete knife conjure acrylics into patterns.

All boats must be houseboats when afloat. They are the sustainable sanctums stopping you from dropping into the briney depths.

While it may keep you from taking the plunge immediately, it does grant you access to the deeper and deeper waters, where both stillness and churning are ever present.

Path-carving the sloshing surface.

There are seagulls cackling out “ha-ha-ha” from all around. It sounds much like the blahyadablah of the “hi. how are ya’s,” or like all adults to Charlie Brown.

There are no speed boats here.

No yachts.

Fast and flashy find no quarter.

How am I?

The shopkeep asks.

Good question.

I know that I am, but how it is that I am, I do not know.

Do you know how you are?

I make. I do, that much I also know to be true.

I smile and say “Oh you know, I’m covering the spread.”

I stop by the independent record shop.

They sell vinyl with a smattering of cassette tapes and other obsolete formats.

They do not sell CD’s. Great curation.

I got the cassettes below for four dollars U.S.

After asking the owner what the price is, I am informed the MD is a mix made years ago by an employee, to be played in the shop. It was given to me for free. The shopkeeper was highly amused at my interest in it.

I mention that seeing three albums by Mott the Hoople made my day.

The shop owner says: started my day with them.

He reaches under the counter and produces the album sleeve for The Hoople.

A sea of faces in hair.

Evidenced.

A child eyeballs me on the ferry ride home. Sliding closer and closer to me.

I say: I’m Casey.

S/he says: I didn’t ask you.

I say: I just thought I’d tell you.

Macy then tells me many things very quickly.

S/he worries deeply about the dangers of sharks when s/he takes the ferry, for instance.

S/he stops speaking briefly and stares at me and says: I think my eyelashes are like yours. We have the same eyelashes.

68 Coffeecake/86 Crab. tuesday

If you comment: it’s not exactly rocket science, you sound like you think you are a rocket scientist.

The silver couple arrives. She forgets my name but gives me a new one each day. Curly Sue. Dimples.

Today, I am Goldilocks.

She asks the bartender my name when she thinks I cannot hear. She suggests I read the poem Casey at the Bat. Hum, huh.

The village beach preservation busy body society has two tables held for them. One for the men and one for the women. Twelve seats total. Only three women come. They talk the politics of healthcare and about the addicts in their lives.

Our speakers play almost decent, easy listening blues. If you can imagine such a thing. Almost-Stevie Ray Vaughan comes on.

Nearly-Suite: Judy Blue Eyes plays.

We are slow enough that I actually noticemusic is playing.

And, time moves slowly now.

The reservation for six at noon became 4 at fifteen ’til

.All named Pat.

“You are pulling my leg, right?”

“No! It’s Pat’s Day. Okay, now I am kidding you about that. We are all named Pat.”

He and the other Pat (only two have arrived) laugh uproariously.

Mike comes by to make a reservation.

He shows me his Book of Answers.

“My wife found this in 2000. Ask a question and flip to any page.”

He carries a green street sign in a plastic sleeve under his left arm, hugged against his ribs.

He adds:”You don’t have to tell me the question.”

I silently ask the question on my mind.

Tolle Lege.

The page I flip to, it reads:

it is not guaranteed.

That figures: I think.

The thing about which I framed my inquiry is not guaranteable.

He and Tony will return for lunch tomorrow.

A regular left me this.

Monday’s Hostess

It is nearly sunny over Puget sound by eight a.m.

My feet pound pavement. Walking to work.

A simple luxury of the highest order.

A man hugs three people outside the osteria,

one at a time,

ring around the roses style.

Lighting a cigar, he and his bulldog walk away and across the street to

my side of the road.

They precede me by about six feet as we walk.

I inhale deeply the spirals of smoke that follow him.

I feel less sheepish about the plumes of vapor I emit.

He stops to let me pass.

“Don’t want you breathing my fumes.”

“I was enjoying it.”

I was enjoying it, too.

“Showbiz Kids” comes through my cans.

Steely Dan’s Countdown to Ecstasy.

Five minutes later, I arrive at the cozy, little bistro located on Main Street. Two blocks from the water. I see the beach town’s Monday morning is already in full swing. Live and bumping with mostly silverhairs, at this hour.

The exception being a thirty-something couple that I wager is still out from last night.

They drink a lot of water.

(No one likes ice in their water here.)

I hum my hellos to the front of house crew.

I get mumbles back. It is early.

I announce my hellos to the back of house who are singing a song in Spanish that I have never heard. They wave enthusiastically. They have been here three hours longer than front of house.

Their coffee already kicked in.

11:05 a.m.

and, the sun finally asserts itself, breaking free from behind clouds.

This thrills and disappoints.

I am already sweating. The A/C unit has not worked since I started.

I am used to the heat from my former life.

I hear garbled voices rise:

“[Something, something, something] Moroccan immigrants!”

Followed by:

“[Something, something, something] So what?! People look at you funny? Big deal.”

I doubt he knows what that feels like, but

what do I know?

As he leaves, I smile and offer the obligatory: “Thanks for coming in. Have a good day.”
He halts.

“No!” he says, then approaches me.

Stepping in close.

“I had a friend and when people told him to have a good day, he’d say, “Don’t you ever tell me what to do.” “

I laugh and I mean it.

“Well, in that case, I sure hope you have an awful day,” I say with nonchalance.

He looks confused then smiles.

“This one, huh?” he says to no-one, indicating me with a finger.

“Didn’t you learn pointing at people is impolite?”

To Nick a Horse’s Tail? Parçigal writes

I it is,

writing to you as A’ licentious Alice, a chalice, from AL by way of LA origin-ally, with houndstooth donned:

It is the sense of loving the moment. It is remembering the sensation of meta/physical love and then remembering the sensation of how it feels to lose it. That ache. That sense of how many times will they wreck me?. How many times will I play the Fool?

Again and again.

Why lose the Fool of yourself? If I killed the Fool inside to be hip, where did the real me go? With whom do you share your inner fool? Can guarding it be anything authentic?

In this mp3 and streaming world, a mix CD burned,

a cassette tape made,

breaks my heart right open. Is that why we have one?

This is not sadness; it is a necessary devouring of self.

A Happy Death.

My existential orientation continuously regenerates as at the point of origin, and I can be painfully patient; but,

does your silence actually speak: you are only useful until used?

Bemused at the thought. At you. By you.

And, a comma can change the entire meaning of a sentence: I say.

I know your way.

I knew before you showed me.

You play semantics and fancy it is a game?

<>

Splayed pieces parsed in preparation of a preheating oven.

The intimacy of this is but the sense of mind behind it.

I understood that years ago. I learnt it in a dream.

Tonight, I feel my patience hotly boil, as though I must make it into impatience simply to show you my elasticity.

You say: I’ve been here before.

So? I’ve been here forever: I reply,

Curtly but with a curtsey.

Here, where the desire to conduct currents raises meta/physical energy in the nerve endings concealed under my skin.

What a waste to not make use of it.

I would waste that energy on you alone.

Waste it in the face of

your silence.

I will howl until you howl back, to punish you.

Does that spook you,

you ghost of the man of May?

Giggle-snarl.

I espied your inconsistency immediately since taking my flight of departure.

Curious.

It was my mistake. I should not have allowed you to let me leave. I thought I was being kind, but I was only being polite. Stay. That’s what I really meant to say or do this time.

I abide still. I stoke fires. I test the limit.

I care for you. That is all. I can unconditionally hold you(,) dear.

My love is not tethered to needing love.

My devotion is my loyalty to my beloved. You endeared yourself to me.

I desire you. Now you must suffer the cost of your own, odd charms.

It is no matter of ‘should’ you, but rather, ‘could’ you

tell me true?

If you could, I hold you(,) dear.

If you could not, I hold you(,) dear.

<>

There is heavy magic in your air and I am magnetized.

Some integral things reduce to simple vibrations, to sounds, to sounds like bays, being transmitted through our air.

I wrote all these words first

in longhand to show you how inane I can be.

How frighteningly unafraid

you could be,

should you so choose, ewe.

Or, perhaps, your hands are tied.

Perhaps you have no choice but to be so.

I learn the record of your timeframes

still.

Deliciously diabolical it seems: both your pleasure and your desperation.

Does it make you forget which side of the road on which you ought to be driving?

Were you just checking out your mojo?

Taking me for a ride in your fast car?

There. Am I impressed?

Hum.

Good question.

Can you answer this: if I told you that your heart belongs to me now, would you hold your head up high in the air?

Could you even if you wanted?

Could you even say if you didn’t?

The difference between ‘can’ and ‘may.’

Simon says he went birdwatching but only saw his own feet.

Not many birds to be seen in that scene?

Just grounded, flightless birds, you adorable dodo.

<>

I saw a porcupine ripping out its own quills,

one by one by one,

by one at a time.

Onlookers horrified at the sight of so much blood.

The porcupine stabs them while they are stunned into stillness by the reverie-stupor of their surprise.

Slaying ampersand slain.

I see your look of discomfort at this friction.

<>

There was a slight drizzle of rain

as I laid myself

down to sleep early this morning.

I imagined how lovely it would be to

put my hand about your pelvic flair.

The jut of your hipbone.

Cup it like an anchor to

hold me fast

in what dreams may come.

[☆]

The night sky was so poorly lit, that I could see

moths flying away from it.

Fleeing the lack of light is not the same as seeking a light.

I raise my lantern for you tonight.

If it is lit

it is done so through and not by me.

But, for you is for whom I raise it.

A beckoning through a beacon.

Here is your

sea shore.

Fall, like a wave, upon me.

Surrender your summer-self and embrace the autumnal ewe, you.

Across from Howell Way

The song’s tempo shifts and

the outfit slides easily into

a softer sound.

Impeccably nuanced for a bar band.

<>

R. used to own the joint; but he sold it.

Allegedly.

He would neither confirm nor deny this.

He heard him directly asked twice, separately, and all he would give up is:

I work here.

He returns nightly.

He emerges from the back of house with a

fresh bus rag. He flaps it,

like a matador,

before folding it into a small square.

He does not even give up

a smile.

He magically produces a broom and dust pan to

sweep the carpet.

They don’t make ’em like that anymore?

Hardest working man in show business.

<>

The smell of cologne breaks through, suddenly.

I breathe it in deep. Try to see the source.

That was a fun song: the singer says, tuning his guitar.

He and the fellow on keys banter between songs. Long enough to be ready for the next song. Not too long.

The bass and drums do not laugh along or smile.

The funky bassist.

There is a reason he is front and center.

He has no mic. He does not solo.

Nothing is the only part he overplayed.

He is perfectly on point. Tight.

Anchoring.

A self-indulgent guitar solo becomes necessary at his command.

The guitarist announces the set break.

We now pause for this brief station identification: I think.

Guitar and keys wander out the back door

to the smoker haven.

Bass bums around with the crowd.

The perfectly understated drummer (rarest of the rare) escapes my awareness.

I look up at the screen above me and am informed carpet is being liquidated.

I stop looking at the screen.

The bassist is the first to return to his position.

Standing in his spot. Waiting.

The drummer appears moments later. Seated at his station.

Tick, tick.

The bassist sits down on an amp and starts playing along with the song on the jukebox.

/gotta have that funk/

You got it: I think.

He plucks a quick harmonic, wrapping up, as the guitar and keys return to the stage.

Stands back up, he takes his place between the two.

Guitar and the fellow on keys banter. Long enough to be ready for the next song. A bit closer to too long this time.

Tuning strings, the singer says: all right. We are gonna play the same set for you all over again…you guys look like you’re having a good enough time that you won’t even notice.

Hell, half of ’em probably don’t realize that you are a cover band: I think.

Deep cuts selected.

Covers of covers.

An undercover, cover band.

<>

Clearing empties and wiping away the sticky of slightly, sloshed beer spills,

R. stops by my table.

He calls me by first and last name.

When did I tell you that information, sly, observant one?

This is Numberwang?

This is Numberwang?

(Kindly let me know if my math does not tally below. I tried to check and recheck it, but…)

<◇>

Q: When was 120 minutes ago from now?

A: It was two hours ago.

<◇>

When was one hundred and sixty four billion (164,000,000,000) minutes ago?

Hum, huh?

~

My illiteracy with numbers occurs at a certain threshold.

Numerical literacy*? Not my strong suit. So, I play with numbers, with what I can imagine.

For example, I can imagine a triangle, a square, a pentagram, a hexagon, a septagon, an octagon. But, I cannot imagine, or see in my mind’s eye what a 25 sided polygon would look like. I would have to try to draw it.

There is a 10,000 sided polygon, called a myriagon, according to geometry.

I will take their word for it because I cannot imagine being able to imagine what that would actually like.

~

I am not monied. The difference between one million dollars and one billion dollars? Well, sure, ‘orders of magnitude’, but I only understand that in the abstracted sense. The practical difference between such huge numbers is not immediately obvious to me. But, the news, scientific research, and governments, regularly inundate us with such large numbers.

~

Do a thought experiment with me? I wanna know:

Q1. How far could the millions of dollars, comprising a billion dollars, go?

Q2. If I had one hundred and sixty four billion dollars (as I hear someone in America truly does) and I gave away one million dollars per day, how many days before I am broke? Let’s pretend I keep my $164,000,000,000.00 in cash in a safe. That means my money is not making more money via interest, returns, dividends.

If I have one billion dollars in cash, let’s imagine it’s kept in one million dollar bills. I would have one thousand of these million dollar bills.

I could give one of the $1,000,000 bills everyday for 1,000 days before running out of money.

If there are 365 days a year, 1,000 days is about 2.75 years.

The difference between a million and a billion, practically speaking?

A1. You can give away $1,000,000.00 everyday for almost three years before exhausting $1,000,000,000.00

So, how much more than 1 billion dollars is 164 billion dollars, practically speaking?

Well, if it takes 1,000 days, of giving away 1 million dollars each day, to get rid of a billion dollars;

It would take 164 times longer to give away $164,000,000,000.00 than it would take to give away $1,000,000,000.00

1,000 x 164 = 164,000 days

164,000 days = 449 years and a few months.

If I had $164,000,000,000 ($164 billion), I could give away $1,000,000 ($1 million) everyday for 449 years.?

Fuck.

Now that I see it this way it only raises more, honest questions from an ignorant me.

How much money do people need?

And why? To what end and what do they intend?

______________

*My own numerical illiteracy was introduced to me by a slim, charming book called Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos which I found tucked away in the statistician’s, my father, bookcase.

The idea is wittily conveyed in the sixth chapter of the second section of Douglas R. Hofstader’s book Meta Magical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern.

The chapter is called Number Numbness.

Both are written for non-math-savvy folks and both pieces manage to entertain with humor.