In the City, Again (miscellaneous remarks)

Adventuring off into the world to write about things. Writing about things never before made legible. Such projects implicitly bring along the legible world, a world of fiat and governance, both state and corporate. Legibility is the bedrock of that form of life. Through legibility the state and corporation expand. Any man that writes has not yet departed from the form of life rooted in legibility. It is a disguised departure at best. Most likely he will return to the legible world to publish his discoveries.

After all the travel I live again in the city. Like all the others, I have taken on commitments and obligations. I look for work. I have done this before. I am again no different than any other city man. Our concerns are the same. Any interest in other forms of life is now a hobby, something to be done while not in the pursuit of fiat. Am I defeated? Perhaps. Will I try again for something outside this form of life? Perhaps. Perhaps I will fade away. Fill an apartment with new things and use alcohol to console my spirit.

Woe to him who would get a peek outside his form of life, and then to return.

Why should ruins not be allowed to disappear without any trace? Why should the dead be disturbed, dug up and sent to museums for infinite preservation? Why do men stricken with legibility fear the prospect of extinction? Being completely forgotten?

Is the destruction of Palmyra by ISIS any different than what the government archaeologists did with the Anasazi artifacts at Range Creek? Is it any different to destroy something with dynamite than to dig it up, tag it, put it in a plastic bag, and send it far away to a museum to be stored in a drawer? Range Creek is perhaps now more empty of ancient forms of life than Palmyra.

His understanding of the ruin is his understanding of himself. It cannot be anything else. The ruin of long ago men and their form of life is a dirt covered mirror.

The inability of archaeologists and their sciences to account for the meaning of prior forms of life and their divinities will be no different than when the men of new gods uncover the books of the scientists. The godless men of legibility and their libraries of books will be as incomprehensible as the cave drawings, as the Chaco Meridian, et al.

Things slow down. A man ages. His youth — suddenly, one day — is gone. He knows it is gone before the others do. Youth has discarded him. The world looks at him differently. He can no longer be regarded as youthful, given a benefit of the doubt for youthful errors. Indeed, it is expected of him that he be like everyone else; that he be a modest success, a contributing member of a fiat based, consumption focused society. Only because of his youth was he able to live in contrast to that society, for it was his youth that charmed other men (not all of them) into giving him a free pass, a gentle, knowing smile, and sometimes their assistance. But once youth is gone the man who lives contrary to a fiat society becomes pathetic, and he is regarded as such.

Legibility leads to silence, if it is properly understood and followed to its extreme. Rimbaud understood this before the age of 20. He lived out the implications of writing and Cartesianism while still in his teens, and saw it all for what it was: mierde. There was only travel then left to him. There was Java and Africa. He went looking for something. But there was only gunrunning and slave trading for fiat. He learned many languages. He amassed a small fortune. It was all for nothing, he said. All for nothing, this traveling all around. There was nothing to do with the fiat but worry about it. As the doctors amputated his leg in Marseille he was being praised in Paris as the greatest of poets. But the praise of the poetry he had written in youth meant nothing to him. He was dead a few months later age 37. The brilliant poetry was as irrelevant as the bank accounts, the explorations, all the learning. It all comes to nothing.

In the absence of the gods, the terminus of legibility is hopelessness.

Gods cannot exist for one man. Gods must exist for many. There can be no lone pioneer who discovers divinity. Rather, a community of men must together be visited by divinities and receive them.

It was my error to believe I could do it all on my own. It is perhaps a profoundly American error, modeled upon the mythic stories of the pioneers who made these United States. But the history of pioneering was never men alone, but men supported by other men through trade. Mountain men such as Jim Bridger would have died without their being accepted among the tribes. Today in the Alaskan wilderness, Heimo Korth and his wife live as much from the fiat earning from their winter trapping as from their hunting. As his native wife Edna says, No one from my people would live alone as Heimo does. You do not survive alone.


The Old Man 2

"Follow the trucks. Get over," said the old man. "Get in the truck lane."

I was driving a load of fine paving sand back north on the freeway through Portland. We had hit heavy traffic in the city center.

"Start moving over or they won't let you in," he said. "Nobody wants to be stuck behind a truck. Nobody let's you in unless they think you're going to run them over."

I was in the third lane of the four lane highway. The semis were moving slowly in the second lane. I put on my right blinker and looked in the mirror for an opportunity to get over.

Some guy in a pickup slowed to let me in. He flashed his lights. I started over, giving clearance for the trailing axle.

"Stay in this lane. The lane the trucks are in is always fastest," said the old man, "Always."

A white hatchback with blackened windows and big silver rims merged onto the freeway and then cut in front of me and I slammed on the brakes. Now the guy wanted to get over into the next lane.

"Motherfucker!" yelled the old man. "Where's that banana?"

I slowed to increase my following distance behind the white hatchback.

"Get back on him! Get on his bumper! Where's those banana peels?"

"I ate the banana," I said. I got back on his bumper.

"Whatd'ya do with the banana peels? Where are the banana peels?"

"In the garbage bag on the floor," I said. We had both had bananas for breakfast. The hatchback was trying to get over and nobody was letting him in.

"Look at this motherfucker." The old man had retrieved a banana peel from the garbage bag and rolled down the window.

"Motherfucker!" The old man was furious. The old man got up on the passenger seat and leaned half out the window with the banana peel in his hand. The old man hurled the banana peel at the white hatchback. The banana peel landed on the back bumper and stayed there.

"What the fuck, Ray!"

"Motherfucker!" yelled the old man. "Motherfucker!"

The hatchback swerved in front of a car in the third lane. Then he shot over into the fast lane. I saw him switch back into the third lane. He didn't use his turn signals.

The old man was digging in the garbage. Now he had the other banana peel.

"We're going to see him again. Look at these idiots switching lanes. They think they're getting ahead. Nobody knows the truck lane is fastest."

I didn't see the hatchback now. He had gotten far ahead.

"On Long Island one time I threw a banana peel on this zip's windshield. Zip stops right in the middle of the intersection just staring at me, stopping traffic. So I throw another banana peel on his windshield," the old man laughed. "Goddam zipperhead just stared at me until I yelled at him to get out of the way."

We continued slowly ahead in the lane of trucks. Then I saw the white hatchback in the fast lane. He wasn't moving. None of the cars were. The banana peel was still on his back bumper.

"There he is, that dope. You see, they think the truck lane is slowest but they're wrong."

The old man had the other banana peel in his hand. But it was impossible to throw the banana peel over the hood of the truck and two lanes of traffic. We moved on past.

"One time I was driving a walking floor full of garbage into Jersey and this guy cuts me off on the bridge so I hit him with a banana peel. This guy drives up beside me. I look down and he's got a pistol on the passenger seat, patting it with his hand. This guy follows me all the way to Trenton. I waited half the night at the garbage plant to make sure he wasn't outside. Scared the shit outta me. I was scared to drive home. Looked in my mirror all the way home."

"But banana peels aren't garbage," said the old man. "You got to drive with a banana peel next to you for when you need it."
Copyright © Moraline Free