A Fisherman’s Catch

Once there was a fisherman who spent all his time fishing for the village. And he missed his wife as much as she missed him. But she could not bear to be in a boat so he had to fish without her. One day his wife decided that she would try and overcome her fear and visit him as a surprise in a separate boat. And she did a really courageous job even though the seas were calm for a sailor, and when the other fisherman directed her to the cove where her husband was she found him singing a song with a woman. Her long hair was as curly as the waves. And when they saw his wife, she jumped from behind a rock and into the sea. His wife saw that she had a tail!

Her husband rowed after her. Back home, he pleaded for his wife to understand the arrangement. For a duet, the mermaid would give him a bountiful catch to take home. And he had gotten used to it and stopped fishing altogether. But his wife didn’t want to hear it and told him never to see her again and to start fishing again no matter how poor the catch because she could sauce and add other ingredients to make a meal fit for a king let alone a peasant such as he. He knew that was true and agreed. Strangely enough, when she humbled him like that, it made his stomach glow warm for she grounded him in a way that made him feel wanted and needed.

But as the fisherman fished he yearned to sing the duet.  He had really enjoyed singing.  It was a better way to pass the time than staring at the sea.  So he began to sing on his own.  To his surprise he remembered the songs the mermaid taught him.  And he sang them at the top of his lungs.  Miraculously, a bountiful catch found its way on his boat.  And before he began rowing home, a vision of his wife came to him.  He saw her yelling at him.  Would she not think that he had sang a duet with the mermaid again?  He took out a few fish that would suit a meager catch commensurate with his passionless fishing and threw the rest of the catch back in the sea. 

A piercing shriek caused the sea to capsize the fisherman’s boat.  He felt his legs being pulled under.  The mermaid took him down to the bottom of the sea where she had a cave she filled with air for the fisherman to breathe.  He pleaded for her to understand the arrangement.  The mermaid was insulted that his wife would not accept the bountiful catch she provided in exchange for song. 

She took the fisherman deeper to a chamber behind the cave’s walls. Therein glowed a treasure beyond anything the fisherman could imagine. As she told him that the entire treasure could be his as long as he left his wife and spent the rest of his life with her, he noticed a skeleton encrusted in diamonds, emeralds, and rubies and it had a grin of pearls that made him feel cold inside. He also saw that the chamber was buttressed by beams of gold and knew this was no chamber at all but a cage that he had unwittingly walked into. Feeling trapped, the fisherman felt sick to his stomach and yearned for that warm humbling love that only his wife could fill to the brim of his modest cup and knew that these chalises would always be empty of the only ambrosia he could ever handle.

To his surprise, she returned him to his boat when he politely declined but she left one strand of her curly hair on his jacket as a parting gift.  And his wife took the strand of hair and he explained what had happened.  She forbade him from singing ever again out at sea.  And the fisherman quietly fished thereafter but his wife soothed him by singing after supper in a voice he had never heard before that sounded so delicate and heartfelt that it brought him to his knees and made him forget about his duets at sea.

hypnagogic uplift

The geometrical apparatus holds the sleepers who warp its architecture with an uplift so tremendous that it breaks into a distant shoreline. And this occurs in only a brief moment of the half-sleep allowed. The microquake of a nap ceases as soon as it begins by the pitter-patter of birds (varies from sleeper to sleeper – plovers, seagulls, sandpipers, egrets, herons, and so on) across their sandy brows. One sleeper reports a cassowary darting over her dune-laden forehead before she can fear for her life! When the sleepers abruptly awake from their slumber, it is imperative that they ignore their tectonic activity simulations or else the tasks at hand might wash away the added benefits of transitional states contributing to enhanced productivity desires.

fractured road

As I head off down the road, my head splits in two. Nothing but fibers stretching and breaking apart. As I wonder which hemisphere of my squash I might be more comfortable in, seeds spill out and spawn pathways that fork off into other pathways. The rhizomes tempt me to question whether comfort is worth anything at all. Constant wandering mimics the framework better than any static container. But if I am everywhere at once like a bust open squash spiraling its flesh in every direction possible, then how can it be that I also feel like a singular purposed machine racing toward a vanishing point (as if it wasn’t of its own making but some actual physical vertex that the machine will eventually shrink into)?

The Plain Faced Villagers

Once there was a village of plain faced people. Not only were they plain in face but everything about them seemed plain. In the plainness of their appearance, their work, and their art, they found great comfort. They found everyone alluring in their attractive plainness and valued what they called normal above everything else. They preached the golden rule to do onto other plain faced people as they would do onto themselves. They would often say that nothing beat such a plain face as theirs because no other face measured emotions as well. Seeing excitement overcome a plain face was like watching the wind blow over a field of wild grass. Gratifying indeed.

Then the One was born. The One was anything but plain. The One had the most captivating face. The One’s body seemed made from a divine hand. The One radiated in words and behavior. The whole plain village was dumbfounded until they felt their plainness in a different way. It was uncomfortable. This discomfort spread ideas until it seemed that the only way to preserve their old pride about being plain was to banish the One. And that is what they did. So the One went on to be celebrated by other villages and the One reached the throne and received knighthood.

Back in his home village, the plain folk hated hearing about the One’s success. And they had spent probably more time ranting about the One than when he was one of them. And when the One returned to visit his home – to rub their noses in it as they put it – they ambushed him and took away his good looks by cutting up his face and disfiguring his body. They poisoned him with a foul tea and it only gave him a few more moons to live.

The One begged them for forgiveness but they refused to accept it. He stayed in the village and begged all of them for any help he could perform in his crippled state. The One showed such exceptional humility that it made them sick to their rotting tummies. And they used him until he died.

When the rest of the kingdom came to the village to pay their respects, they were convinced that these ugly people were impostors who must’ve killed the plain faced people who used to populate the village. Who else could have disfigured and poisoned the One? The once plain faced villagers, however, could not see how their faces had changed over the years from their rancid hatred centered on the One nor could fathom why the others from the kingdom were giving them such strange looks.

Under the king’s swift orders for the brutal murder of the One and for the assumed massacre of the plain faced people (whose bodies were never found), the village of brutal impostors was removed from the face of the earth.

a gist in the mist

I do not remember the exact moment or place of this photograph. I vaguely remember and assume that I waited for the wave to crash. Or was it a boulder that fell into the sea? Either way it looks like fate now. After the fact. Every particle suspended in a moment. But it never was suspended in actual experience. In that sense, fate seems baked into memory. An inseparable part of it that fails to grasp the immense complexity of randomness. Generalized fate simulations of memory gloss over the myriad of differences under its cover in order to produce some cohesive sense of order. A gist in the mist. A referent to nature sold as an epic experience or a reflection of an aspect of consciousness that never quite happened in the actual way the photographer experienced it nor the viewer. A simulation of a hyperreal moment. A fated memory smashed by particles flying in all directions. Through the reproduction of the image, let us fold this back in on itself. Let us rework this “moment” randomly. Let us bring the mist back into the gist.

Now we are no longer in nature or under its referential control. It is released from any semblance to a fated memory or reality. It feels light and free. Nowhere in particular. More mist than gist. The random process mirrors the random moment. The iterations reveal that there wasn’t really any reference in the first place. No actual moment experienced and relived. Rather, hovering in a space without an atmosphere that Baudrillard called the hyperreal in his book, Simulations (1983): “Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance.  It is the generalization by models of real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.” In this sense, an angle on the illusion of Being can be held through what some people call manipulation of a photograph (or when they scoff at an image being “photoshopped”) when in fact every photograph is a manipulation to begin with (though the very word is too heavy with negative connotations as if it had some evil purpose, so “construction” perhaps fits better to a neutral sense of the process).