But alas, an original error had been made. There were no sentences, no language, no metalanguage in the mountains and rivers, there were just the naked mountains and rivers. A vagrant crow – intentionally, some suspect – had inveigled itself in the topographical scan – like a keystone – at the only location and time that allowed the whole illusory structure to form. And yet the linguistic and neuroscientific breakthroughs were all valid and astoundingly successful. The mathematicians say a slew of new universes will need to be minted to account for that.

visions of the eye gods
echoes of the sky gods

Sky: “The set of all light-like lines (or directions) passing through a given point in space-time.” / Wiktionary

The ancient sky gods became abstract to us, foreign and remote, until at last they were forgotten and quietly went away. That’s why the sky seemed so ineffably empty for so long, a million silent mirrors deep.

Until the discovery of the metalanguage.

The mathematicians said a slew of new zeroes would need to be minted to account for it, the odds against it happening being so astronomical, referring to the sentences, the many miles of intelligible sentences found embedded in the winding, cursive ridgelines that form the Arctic Cordillera. But there it was, inadvertently detected by topographical mapping software: the skeletal hierarchy of a beautifully structured grammar, a metalanguage, a description of a language so precise that piecing the language together was simply a matter of following the thread.

The entire face of the earth was found to be tattooed with living script continually emerging in response to wind and rain events. Even rivers had been keeping diaries, for who knows how long? Since becoming wet, presumably. Was the earth talking to the sky or vice versa?

Poets stuffed their pockets with images and phrases:

sky-shaped mind
mind-shaped sky
mirror-shaped sky
sky-shaped mirror
mind-shaped mirror
mirror-shaped mind
mind imagines mind
the light blue wind

Computer scientists adopted the structure as a model of all knowledge. Neuroscientific breakthroughs on the relationship between language and reality and on how linguistic reality merges in the larger cosmos were soon pouring from the journals. People forgot to go to war.

This stone bird, once colorfully painted and perfectly perched on the edge of a Roman bird bath, has been rained atonal, pockmarked and shapeless. Sing for this bird, for the idea of this bird, for the particular bird the artist had in mind, feathers warm from the sunny fields of the surrounding olive countryside.

the title

Considering titles for his newly penned fiction-thriller the writer dismissed The Basilisk of the Basilica as too gothic and The Monster of the Oval Office as too nonfiction.



Turkey vultures eating something by the side of the road look surly and guilty as sin but are in fact sharing and celebrating communion.



(Originally posted here in 2012 the following has – for me – taken on an even sharper, more political edge today. The crisis of leadership here in the United States entails more than one immoral man and more than a corrupt Senate populated by many weak, hollow, obsequious men and women. What mystifies and horrifies me the most is the number of American voters willing to align themselves with them, willing to support and follow them.)

voice in the wilderness

you can tell them by who they love
you can see the wind by the work it does

“…the very instant you hear a sound search for this one who hears.” / Bassui Tokusho

Radio telescopes detect signals in the radio frequency coming from the depths of outer space; our echo-shaped ears detect signals in the tree-falling frequency coming from the neighboring woods. When a tree falls a cloud of dust erupts from the forest floor, expanding outward like a jinn released from a bottle, rippling through the silky air in rogue waves and turbulent whorls, molecular echoes drawn in miniature, in silverpoint, echoes of those echoes etched in fading detail. Until even the flux is in flux.

Spinning right, spinning left, opening the ear like a combination safe, the jinn is absorbed by the mind the way a photon is absorbed and transformed by the chlorophyll of a leaf. And a sound is born.

we know the sun the moment
our blind mind tastes our eyes

our thoughts, like curtains, ripple
circling hawks that rise

the silent type

He started not talking immediately upon birth, partly in hostile defiance, partly in dumb dismay as the Intergalactic Esperanto drained from his mind.


in their own words: straight lines in a curved spacetime

“listen: there’s a hell of a good universe next door; let’s go” / e. e. cummings

And so the straight lines packed their things, left their homes in the dust (in the flat, cosmic dust) and struck out for the hills and green pastures of the next world over. “We thought we were entering the promised land,” says Ray Trace, an immigrant line, “but as soon as we crossed the border my spine folded like a napkin and our children’s paths diverged from ours.”



We’re the petri dish this world grows in, it’s our karmic seeds that sprout, we are all responsible.


twice upon a time

unite with light
the cloven mind


statue of the Goddess

Her mind continentally adrift,
Her thoughts an aimless, slow snow
in the winter of Eternity

– for Garima –

“The implicit has, now, to be made explicit. The catch is that in becoming explicit it is no longer the same thing at all.” The Master and His Emissary / Iain McGilchrist

Close up, the luminous river of consciousness is a string of exploding firecrackers, or a string of individual pearls, if you prefer. What, if anything, goes on between the explosions or between the pearls, we’ll never know. It may be that entire worlds arise and vanish, us with them. The lapses and the gaps are filled in by inspired guesswork, work farmed out to behind-the-scenes subcontractors, busy painting tableaus of continuity. Dream consciousness is no different but has relaxed standards as to what constitutes continuity.

It may seem you enter a dream midstream or join it already in progress, but this would conflict with what Buddhists say, that “the object and the knowing of it arise together.” In any case, once in motion, a dream never questions its own premise or its own purpose. A dream is its own reason.

A remembered dream, one reeled to the surface of the mind – a dream out of water, so to speak – will evaporate just by being looked at, so time is of the essence in getting it tagged and cataloged. Dream bones survive longer than the connective tissue, making reconstruction more an art than a science, not unlike the hypothetical reconstructions of the Proto-Indo-European language.

A case in point: Catalog #145678098.GA, the fragments of an irreal world. What sustained its being is unknowable; the entire civilization lies in ruins. Sifting through the rubble I find a shard of painted river and turn it over in my mind, studying it through a magnifying glass, looking for tracks, scratches or traces, for something to spark a memory. Only this I vividly remember: I remember a look from Garima as powerful as a depth charge. We’d followed her upriver to the source of the dream and came to a wooden fence, beyond which was only a brooding, swirling mist. That’s when she looked at me, or through me.

Waking up, left high and dry on Mt. Ararat by a receding story, a story to which I tried to return with all of my might, a story to which the direction had been disconnected.

Lying in bed. Little bigger than a window, the beautifully useless sky.

11th toll of the bell
11th hour of night
11th rung of the ladder
11th roll of the dice

the middle distance phantom

Looking at a photo I’d just taken of an empty path disappearing down an archway of spring-green trees, I noticed a person in the middle distance I hadn’t noticed being there when I took the picture. Enlarging that area of the photo I could see the person was staring back, blankly or intently I couldn’t decide. It was me.


all quiet

Even though he knew the world could read his mind and nothing needed said, he felt a need to say and created a language shaped from memories of mountains and trees and in that language said all he could, which turned out to be mostly about mountains and trees, but he realized he was leaving a lot of things out, he liked a lot of things, all the incidental, in-between things that often go unnoticed but that fill the gaps. The miniature waterfall laughing all the way down, the whole world waiting its turn. Kashyapa’s smile when the Buddha simply held up a flower.