That we were married

That everyone came to the wedding

That the white was the white of imagination

That they all had such gifts to give

That there were wishes for us

That we would have a family

That the family’s curses will not be

That type of curse that eliminates blessings

That the guess we made of love will be right

That the night will be the night of consummation

That it made sense that we be joined

That our children grew to adults

That are not afraid to be a bit childish

That their own dreams will be something like mine

That they will dream of ultimate things too

That they will dream of love, marriage, and the funeral

That before we join them in the graves

That have been saved for us

That a bed will be made for us

That we will lie down together

That the moon will have an early rise

That we will lie down together

That we will die together like everything dies

That has known this earth for a time:

That was my morning dream, all this.

A friend wouldn’t hold my hand

A friend wouldn’t hold my hand

As I was approaching death.

She remained a friend, though,

As good a friend as any.

She said if she touched me

She would get it too.

That friends wouldn’t do

Something like that to a friend.

Would you, would you, she asked

Until her voice disappeared.

Disappeared behind the vents

Whispering their coolness to us.

I didn’t answer her, I couldn’t;

I was just glad that she was there.

I reached out to touch her, she wouldn’t.

I was just glad that she was there.

The most far-reaching community.

The most far-reaching community.  Every nonhuman being, as much as, perhaps more than, every human being, has something to teach us, if only that our attempts to humanize everything are more than ill-founded, they are pernicious: nonhuman beings don’t say it to our faces as we beg them to, but still face us, and thereby say more than all our chattering and tomes throughout all history combined, something that puts us on the same playing field and makes us play by the same rules.  Even if their numbers are dwindling–dwindling at past-alarming rates, dwindling so fast we can’t keep up, we can’t even learn of our fellow earthly ones before the last of them falls and is lost to sand and time and rock and mud and water–they are everywhere, and that says enough: it says Enough, human, you terrorizer!  Don’t forget about the microbe, don’t forget about the smallest of us!  With a cough, or with a dull ache found inside the head of the first patient, patient zero, the human face you projected, not only all over the earth and not only to the moon, so that that rock too has a face, but everywhere, that face of yours, grinning for such a long time so short to anyone but you, could be made to gasp, could be made to gasp and disappear.  That is, we look all around and inspect, whether through the windowpane or the microscope, whether behind the bars of the cage forlorn after protracted rage, and we see them, we see them all and they say to us something like a mood, something of a tone, that strikes once before we get back to human business, teach of something about the most far-reaching community.

Life in the Yellow

More than one I saw that day,

I saw many rivulets of a sulfur-yellow sludge,

Even small sprigs of an unknown plant

Springing from the turf on either side,

Thought I hadn’t been sent here in vain,

The enterprises of the human are not all lost,

We may be reborn on some moon of Saturn

In some form, even if it’s this: life in the yellow,

An unknown life on an only recently discovered terrain.

Grain after grain of samples of the mud I collected,

But when I returned to the ship, entered the coordinates,

It wouldn’t start so I was stuck there, poor dreamer

   that I was,

I went back out to hike along the yellow streams

Until my oxygen ran out. Now I lay there,

Yellow-brown mud with alien twigs coming out of it,

Capable still of saying, if all other words had been cut short,

That there is life even here, that there is future in the dirt.

You laughed once

You laughed once

But for the rest of your life were quite done with laughing.

Not even

The roars around you, contagious cackles, got you there.

You stayed where

You thought it best to stay, mild, sometimes remembering.


There was a time you laughed once, there was this gift one time.

Not as though

The world became dreary and unbearable, not that.

The world kept

Its dear quality, but laughter was gone like a fate.


Just looking ahead and past there, was written on you.

Your faced turned

As though scanning everything, seeing jokes but truth too.

It’s not that

Truth is something unlaughable, it’s not that at all.

You still laughed

Once and, as truth is the shining eruption of things;

As all things

Are held by truth tending to weeds like a gardener;

As truth has

All measure of forbearance and of expansiveness;

Your laughter

That one time beneath the tree with the man you adore;

The way he

Took your body as a mass in his and hugged the floor;

It was there

Still and silent as a memory, your laughing once.

Besides all

There is to see and be moved by in this colored world;

Besides all

The festivals at others’ expense, lush festivals;


By the din things make when you put them all together;

Eyes ahead,

Looking past ahead, scanning all things, you still laughed once.


What day is it, he asked

and looked shaken, dis-

eased, close to dis-

aster, the stars were

showing themselves,

with there minute

twinkle, more than

his eyes, which were

receding, receding.

This was Monday.

What day is it, he asked

and this was a good day

for him, he was shining

with welcome to all of his

visitors, flowers in arm.

This day will be a

memory without shame,

a streak of energy,

enough to pose.

This was Tuesday.

What day is it, he asked,

his cheeks were sunken in

but at least he was eating

the trayed meal, twenty-

one a week, he joked,

I might finish a dozen

if my stomach’s not meek.

He began to show a deep

calm, an earned candor.

This was Wednesday.

What day is it, he asked,

today he wanted the window

open to let in a wind

but the window would not

open so he sighed and

eyed the outside, the trees

in the yard dancing, for

a long time. He recalled

some saying about storms.

This was Thursday.

What day is it, he asked

and asked as well that day

to be taken out, nowhere

special, down the hall.

His steps would have made

an imprint if he weighed

another ounce; as it was

he, waiflike, wandered

the halls in his white robe.

This was Friday.

What day is it, he asked

but he didn’t have anything

to say to another, I have

expressed my truth, he said

with a certain defiance, there

is no more. He would sit

with anyone who would still

come in a silence too thin

to be dreaded; sole silence.

This was Sunday’s eve.

What day is it, he asked.

He wanted his visiting son

to find the passage with

the numbers, the numbers

of times to forgive.

The son fumbled with

the foreign text. Seventy

times seven, the son said.

Oh, he laughed, and slept.

Open Invitation

We were all disappointed with how things turned out in our lives, each for his own reason.  Some thought the choices they made in life made all the difference, that they had made the wrong ones, made wrong turns, and spoiled life thereby.  It made sense, because decisions accumulate like a residue or like a tar, like a thick paste, over the agent and leaves him stuck in a certain groove from those decisions on out.  It’s hard to transform when the very fibers of your body have been trained and habituated to just this route of accomplishment, just this way of managing things.  Some thought differently about their lives and about what went into composing them, feeling, instead of decisions and spells of willfulness, that fate and its sweeping of them to and fro had decided their course.  Mistakes take on a different color and texture in this case, as they turn out to be mistakes of life, as it were, and not simply mistakes of an agent.  Life itself has made a wrong turn, has grown askew or has wilted into an insignificant fragment of itself.  Disappointment takes on a different character in this case, too: it is disappointment not with a portion of the scheme of things but with the scheme of things itself; disappointment takes on a cast of the irrecoverable, unmitigable, and cannot be transformed, by whatever amount of heavy lifting, into its opposite, satisfaction and affirmation.  Some could not decide for themselves which types of injustices they suffered, and simply complained that they were too many and too harsh, too many and too severe to bear.  These fared best of all in their way, as they could change their response to their troubles depending on their mood, so that when they were not feeling up to transforming their lives, they could blame life’s indifference, and when they felt more empowered and surer of their forces, they could bring in the reigns and try as hard as they might to take a different route to their glory.  But, at bottom, it was all the same, whatever conception of it we were moved into taking: disappointment, a growing, in fact sedimented, long-sedimented sense that life had not turned out the best for us. 

            The wisest among us, however, those for whom the things of life could never really be so simple and straightforward, what did we do?  We could not complain with the same excuses as our comrades, not even when moods of powerlessness struck us, because we were privy to how our powers could be harnessed, could be employed in the direction of our growth and proper development.  But neither could we give these powers full dominion over our lives, and feel that no matter how bad things have become, we may always pick ourselves up and start anew.  Both horns of the conception of what had caused our disappointment with our lives dismantled, we took a new course altogether, a course altogether removed from the war within ourselves between either assenting to our (total) vulnerability or to our (again, total) invulnerability.  It was a course rooted in a primal gratitude, rather than a course expressing any dissatisfaction with life for whatever reason, whether for our own lack of trying or for life’s curses, a gratitude for life in its givenness, in its simple being or manisfestness, a gratitude for there being anything, anything at all, rather than nothing and darkness and oblivion.  How did we reform this bedrock comportment towards life, our dissatisfaction into gratitude, when the dissatisfaction is equiprimordial with the gratitude?  What miracle had to erupt into our lives in order for us to leave behind this our endowment of being buffeted by life as we must?  Was it a miracle, or was it simply this, that we were transformed, perhaps by life itself, because of some wish or intention of life itself?  We–converted, in the most significant sense of that word?  We sort of fell or stumbled into it, as we had before, supposedly, stumbled away or fallen from grace.  We were suddenly–or after a long time, it only seemed to occur suddenly–afflicted by a grace of the opposite sort than we were accustomed to, and recognized the benefits of living, despite its failures and disappointments, living at all and taking a certain pride in life.  Life itself has given us access to seeing life differently, to living life differently.  WE, the wise among us, at least, are doorways to those still living here on earth to enter into the promise of life, to enter into the possibility of life’s having any promise.

            The wisest among us.  For us the road is easy, even this road less traveled, it comes to us as naturally as our next step or our next breath.  We are at home in this newfound world of ours, as though we were born there and it is our motherland, we breathe it as our most hospitable atmosphere, the pleasure of simply living.  The rest of us–the many-too-many, the great and heavy majority–they–are disappointed, continue to be fraught with a sense that life could be more, could be better, could be more fulfilling or significant.  What do we wise ones do, what could we do, for them, for these our friends and neighbors, for the throngs surrounding us on all sides asking us for a taste, if not a share or a portion, of our joy, of this joy we enjoy so thoroughly?  We remain doorways…open or shut–we remain doorways, and invite these others, at any time of their hard lives, to join us and feel the breath of lightness and gaiety come over them.  We see how hungry they are, how they are starving after this joy more than for any food, how in need they are of this nourishment–which is plentiful, by the way.  Whether they take this passageway, whether they turn the knob of our doors, whether they even knock at them…that is an altogether different story.  Whatever they do, slam it shut, run away from its winds when it opens, we–we–are satisfied with life, even with these lives joining us on this earth, a hemisphere abutting our hemisphere, a clime among climes, a door among doors.

I didn’t think that after my death

I didn't think that after my death

I would get to see anything like this,

that I would get to see anything at all,

but especially like this, especially you

washing the mismatched, average plates

of the dinner you tried to enjoy

with the whole family on that side of things,

wearing an expression of defeat on one side,

your right, while on the other where I hovered,

I saw glimmer an expression of satisfaction,

not one grim or morbid, but actual and sound.

You were looking out the window at the tree

from which Grandpa, your husband, might see

you with your equivocal face through the pane,

but you whispered with the hissing of the faucet

my name, and whispered it again and again

as though addressing me in constant refrain,

you whispered my name and then asked

How is it you haunt me, as if you knew

I was there, hovering, casting a shadow about you,

I know you are there, you said to confirm,

as if reading the thoughts of the dead.

Then your face became a whole face,

one wholly satisfied, and I came to realize

that it was because of me you were satisfied,

then I became satisfied with you

in that moment by the sink,

as much as a fleshless being is capable.


Its eyes followed me through the shadowy brush like two hidden orbs behind the black clouds, but I was nevertheless determined and, afraid as I was, walked on through where I would surely be pursued and not back to the clearing and the open field where the beast would no longer prowl after me, where, if anything, he would stop in midstep at the border of his realm before entering and there exposing himself to light.  What I was looking for was the same as what any human being looks for in a dark place: not light, an opening for the moon or for the sun through the thick canopy, not exactly light at least, unless light it is when you, groping along in some hellish place, your hands as lost as your eyes, chance upon some undeserved security that you are still properly wedded to the road, although road there is no more, only the trackless dense meanderings of growths you’ve never seen before.

            What I was looking for was not a voice, nor was it a light, but inner confidence like being struck in the head that there happened to be, if I just kept on in the manner I had been for some blind weeks now, an abandoned cottage, or a cabin or whatever, some shelter in store for me and me alone, where any predator, not to mention some unblinking eyes staring through every flower, every shrub and every long branch, could no longer reach me, or at least have to struggle and scramble in order to get a taste of me.  Without a pinch of effort on my part, and with no obsession either, I imagined being caught by my shirt sleeve or the hem of my ill-fitted pant legs by ancient-like teeth then feeling the teeth on the surface of my skin, after they pierced through my garb, then feeling the stained ivory beneath the surface, burning the inside of the flesh like the outside, turning the whole body to boil until, unbearable heat everywhere, the grace of numbness sets in and there is no more pain, no more pain of being prey to predator nor of anything else.

            Still one set of terrible eyes saw everything I did and every direction I moved, even though I could not for the life of me see myself and the world was like a mirror showing and reflecting me but a mirror in the dark.  What else could it be, I whispered to myself, the dark returning nothing of my voice, the horizon like no horizon, the woods like a dark enclosed room of arms reaching out from the dark into the dark, but Pijo, whose only streak of brilliance comes from his eyes as he charges towards you, those eyes that are always the last flint from the brush the unaware, because you are always caves and a whole nightlong trek behind Pijo, cannot see, in fact prays not to see, before he closes his eyes to the dark and to the magnetic lights and for good?  Pijo, the locals would say, with nothing short of gossip, all of them like old women and men, or children, going on about some forbidden magic or legend the children now have heard a million times and grew close to boredom in hearing yet again, he’s not after you to make of your flesh a meal.  I would have done anything to believe these elderly and childish people; thrusting myself ahead as I was, I was still scared, and lost because of how many times I had to turn around, in my fright, hoping not to see Pijo’s eyes through some tree’s broken limb or through the vines of the berries sprouting here and there throughout the darkness, it was as though I was turning but in one direction, but so often and with such slippage of my heart that I grew dizzy, so that the darkness spun round and round around me when I finally came to a halt.  What a stupid man I’ve become, I thought while the shades and shadows danced, these last weeks in the woods, in effect calling the beast over to me to have his way with me; he would find the dizzy one gawking at him like after some vague wish, then tumble into his mouth and stop the gaping mouth from laughing in the dizzy man’s dark-spinning face.  Pijo would say, if he ever talked, My, you want to join the others, and make a home for yourself here?  Here with me, and become the first thing on people’s tongues but the last thing from their thoughts and careful consideration?  He would question me like so if he came upon me, I thought, and if he could speak, if he cared to speak.

            Then there wasn’t a clearing, it was still purple like a cloth dyed and re-dyed for days on end, but there was a house, a house so small it fit between the shadows, a house like the mere dream of a house, and on the other side of the thickness, and though my eyes were as though covered in mud, there was Pijo, his yellow unflickering eyes making it seem, in their darting course above me, then at my level, then somehow below me, that he was tracking me like a good hunter from this, then that vantage point until, two points on the same plane as my eyes were then, they stop, as I stop and somehow see the spectral house, though there were no lights to speak of, no lights on through the slit curtainless windows or through the four places where the door cannot bear to meet the frame.  And then they rushed and I rushed too, they making a stunningly accurate line for an object in movement, I almost reaching the first cramped room leading to the narrow hallway to the miniature stairs, all dark and painted in dark but somehow there, but I was like an outsized and angered doll when I reached the door, I couldn’t fit, not the least of myself through it, I took one last breath, as though a little girl had squeezed me and wanted to hear me sigh, as the lights approached me without delay, until I felt the beast on my thrashing leg, not biting and piercing and eating, but licking and lapping and as though nursing.  It was funny, really, the sight of us two tangled up with one another in the thick and wrangling dark on all sides; anyone who came upon us then would think that I, a darksome thing myself, were fondling two floating, glowing, menacing, while tender, eyes, that the dark and the light were in love this way.

Something Plain Monstrous

How does everyone bear it

This seeing only to see no more

This touching only to touch the blank

This hearing only to hear the impossible

This tasting only to taste

the taste of indifference

This sniffing only to smell

the odor that transcends decay

This tireless intending only to intend

a fate

Why there must be something to this life

Something senseless or full of sense

Something terrifying or securing

Something improbable or definitely certain

Something plain monstrous

For everyone to endure it

With their faces showing the endurance.

Pathei mathos

Pathei mathos.  Great questioning brings with it great peril, great disaster.  But it is not to be avoided for all that; even more, it need not fail to give the questioner a certain confidence, no matter how shaky his knees and how fumbling his resoluteness.  The questionability of all things, quicksand that it is and no place to stand, no sure place at least, gives us the confidence that grows out of liberation; for it is liberating, to see everything, even the clearest, bluntest and hardest things in our lives, as marked by a question, as ever leading out into the open-endedness of a question….  All the answers we could possibly give in relation to ourselves, all the definitions and charges of this or that, are all so many blocks along this road, this open road we are, along with all things.  Despite the horrors of certain of these answers, the shame, the prison of shame they might give the one labeled by them, the overall stagnation with which they infect the judged life, or the sense of being utterly lost, without the slightest signs to lead you back to anything recognizable, anything like a home or worth calling home; despite these and other horrors there is a comfort in having some answer, or some amount of answers, to the question of who and what we are and what, or who, all things are around us.  Rafts for the frothy waters, blankets for the frozen temperatures of analysis, shields for the winds and blows of doubt, an answer now and then has saved not just a good many of us, not just most of us, but all of us from the agony, the agonizing, the unacknowledged suffering that goes with asking a question, asking questions, and continuing to ask, despite answers.

            Not only peril and agony mark the road of questioning, however.  We have already said that a confidence, confidence rooted in liberation, rooted in the very movement away from a firmness of ground–so no confidence in something forthright as in an object, say a pole, a person or a god–this confidence of liberation is the gift given the questioner.  Not for his efforts, but by his efforts; for the only way of liberating, of truly liberating, is to soar with questions, to dig with questions, to demolish with questions and, if possible, create with questions too.  Questioning creates, we may say, insofar as it creates, is the condition and proper source of, this confidence; questioning is this confidence.  It is no small gift to the human who chances upon it or to whom it is bestowed, this confidence, this great questioning–whether accepted or not, no small gift.  But accepting it is one thing, refusing it another, and to accept to be confident questioningly seems the hardest of all maneuvers of the heart, hard because impossible, impossible precisely because questioning seems ever to poke holes and ram and batter and belittle confidence; for any structure of confidence it has ready its dismantling tentacles.  Impossible–so, despite the magnificence of the gift, magnificence verging into, becoming paradox, it remains a kind of agony, perhaps a deeper agony, to go through the world questioningly.  The joy of the confidence that is questioning, that is born and becomes of questioning, is also the agony of vulnerability, of being just as much one as none, of having nothing, no answers, no solace, no rest.  Questioning as joy must be equivocal in this way, ambiguous, since otherwise it would cease to be itself, questioning would be an answer as well as joy, like a rule to follow.  But questioning is questioning, questioning is the questioning of questioning, so it goes in and out of answers like garments or skins for a being with layers of skin, staying awhile–perhaps longer than ever imagined..!–on the raft of sorrow and complaining and drudgery, then moving on–for a quick or a long visit, no matter–to the bank of joy and cheerfulness, getting along with others and affirming things.  Questioning moves snakelike through all avenues, but at some points we rest our slithering and dart in a sharp line for the nearest prey to our desire to be satisfied, dart hastily, eagerly and hastily at some nearby tasty morsel.  Part of questioning’s–questionableness, its questionability, its twisting and making all sorts of self-devouring loops in this way!  Turning its back on itself in this way!  Questionable–indeed!  During some ages of its sinuous course, questioning makes us believe that it has all the answers….

Inescapable, endless, interpretations

Inescapable, endless, interpretationsThat we interpret the world does not entail that we must interpret it in one fashion rather than or over against another, even if it means that we must continue interpreting, in some fashion or other.  At least Nietzsche realized that his position was wide open to the attack of being his own, or a single, interpretation among many, his interpretation of the world as will to power and nothing besides, his interpretation that all life, all living, is interpreting and being interpreted, instead of holding that the flux and ocean of interpretations was reality itself, the ding an sich or the–paradoxically–uninterpreted essence of things.  The flux, the stream, is as much interpretation as the static and the coherent, the well-formed and the ordered.  Will to power, or the most thoroughgoing hermeneutic standpoint yet, is a leveling of all appearances to appearances of appearances, it is the leveling of all things to a common or shared field, what Deleuze so provocatively and as if hitting the fist in the eye, dubbed the field of immanence.  We cannot escape interpretation and the wheel of interpretations, that much is certain; this does not mean, however, that we may not be quite episodic, quite haphazard, even chaotic, in our interpretations, in how we come to meet the world and share with all the things of the world, all interpreting and interpreted things, an encounter that makes a jumble out of everything, and is the last thing from linear or teleological or being in any manner constructed with an end in view.  We might never escape interpretation, but life may nevertheless turn up quite the mess, and this does not mean that we have gone astray in our duty, our responsibility, to interpret the world and make it all of a piece.  Chaos, the necessity of chaos, has as much worth, even when it is the height of worthlessness or of the inestimable, even when it juts out from the order of our lives, as it were, and surprises us not so much with possibility but with impossibility, the impossibility of grasping, the impossibility of moving on and giving shape, as much worth or even more than the most well-planned and well-ordered, manageable living space or system of values.  Because they are both alike appearances, and only that, appearances that collide into or turn round and round about one another.  Or sometimes they turn aside from one another and, as Heraclitus warned, turn each into a world of its own.  But far be it from us to say that such weakness, such failure in dealing with the world, with the endless interpretations of the world and the flux of these, is strength, or is anything close to strength!


We are in the center of the city.

To the east there are men and women crying,

giving full voice to what almost eats them whole.

It’s so loud there, some of them are proud,

while others are crying more desperate than proud.

To the west there are the nonhuman animals

braying and neighing and saying all sorts of things.

In their own way and with their own diverse singing

they make the west more noble than any barnyard.

To the north is the dead zone, where only the things

live out their half-lives of uncomplaining decay.

Some human beings freeze up there, trying hard

to become a thing among things, poor things.

To the south lies the wilderness, lush with who knows what.

Its green is staggering, it reminds us with its dark glow

of unpossessable riches. It reminds us of soil, dark and dank,

of how it allows such abundance, such wonders to grow.

Pulled here and there,

a new model for the human

with arms and legs stretched out

like the dial of a compass to the four corners,

we are eccentric here in the center of the city.

Grieving philosopher, ambiguous being!

Grieving philosopher, ambiguous being!  A philosopher must be wary and untrusting, must find suspect and questionable even something as basic that comes from him as his grief.  Tears, those unarguable and undeniable flows and streaks from our eyes and soaking our clothes or the pages of a letter we are writing, must, even if they do not stop their streaming, be considered as just another phenomenon, and possibly just another mistake.  What could be the mistake in crying, when grief sets in?  What could be the mistake in grief itself?  Anyone else may continue crying as long as he feels sad, and need not ask himself these or any such questions.  But for the philosopher, for whom everything comes as a question, even the most unquestioned, the most brutal and obvious, the tears just might be the most effective way to ask the most far-reaching, far-digging questions, questions that get to the heart of things, if only he has heart for them.  Might not the world be joyous after all, and not fit for tears and grief of any kind?  Or is it that tears, grief, the height of lamentation, gnashing of teeth and cursing and those other weighty things that weigh us down and low, are somehow mixed with this joy that the philosopher finds, through his unceasing investigations, at the heart of things?  Also, the philosopher needs to inquire into himself as to his place within the scheme of social encounters, ask himself whether and how he is a teacher to those around him, or what and whether he learns from them; he needs to be sure if maybe those around him are getting the wrong idea when he cries, maybe it wouldn’t be better to approach even the most calamitous and heart-wrenching, the sudden loss of a friend or a child or a relative, the actual sight of another dying or missing out on this sight and the possibility, one last time, of giving the friend his company, although he is dying in the building beside the building where he works, it is a stupid thing to shirk taking the forty steps to the deathbed, the slow or sudden death of a companion species, his dog hit by a car or drowned in the ocean, trying to swim and find his human partner on the island two miles off the shore, the insanity and as it were inhuman discouragement of things all around, the milieu and the age, the lack of discourse of the constant talking at cross-purposes, the bearing of crosses for whatever insane reason or the burning of churches, monasteries and mosques and temples through whatever mad bitterness and bias, approach whatever might move him to feel the sting in the ducts of his eyes, to cast himself down awhile, to join the lowest things and lives for a while, tossing dirt over the head, with the serenity, stillness and confidence of a Stoic, to approach it stoically, seemingly indifferently or actually so and as though from another planet, another galaxy where beings shaped much like the human being do not have human concerns or experience human travesties.  Or would the stronger, better lesson be to laugh, and laugh always, in their faces, the mourners all around, and in his heart, however cold, approaching dumbness, the laughter may seem?  Laugh on and on and on, even when the world itself is brought to tears and becomes itself one large, hurdling tear through space?  And there’s always the question, ever on his person, he can’t let go and dispose of it, of being itself, that maximum question trying to face That there is Being or That Being gives.  It is a question not about how much happiness or sadness there is in the world, how much joy and dread, how much bitterness and gratitude, but about none of these, no thing in particular but Being and to be smacked in the face, or punched in the gut or somewhere soft and vulnerable, or even in the hard head so long as it cracks a little, hit by Being or that there is anything.  Sometimes, when by all accounts we should be crying–our friends look to us with the dismay of propriety, ridicule us and are in the depths frightened of us, and whatever it is we see–we are smacked in the face by the thought that there is anything, and we sit there, and we stare, we stare at you or the corpse or the sky, or into ourselves, and there is nothing to say.  If we come to care again, it will necessarily be after this, not carelessness as though from stoic indifference, shock, when the mouth is closed and remains closed, or the mouth is open an inch and remains open.