Two Helpmeets Today (extended quotations for the journeying)

1.  From Georgi Gospodinov’s And Other Stories:

“And our personal stories are the only moves, the only moves that help us postpone, at least for a while, the predetermined ending to our game.  And even though we are going to lose the game from the strategic point of view, the idle moves of our stories always postpone the end.  Even if they are stories about failure.”

2.  From Li-Young Lee’s Book of My Nights

The Hammock

When I lay my head in my mother’s lap

I think how day hides the stars,

the way I lay hidden once, waiting

inside my mother’s singing to herself.  And I remember

how she carried me on her back

between home and kindergarten

once each morning and once each afternoon


I don’t know what my mother’s thinking.


When my son lays his head in my lap, I wonder:

Do his father’s kisses keep his father’s worries

from becoming his?  I think, Dear God, and remember

there are stars we haven’t heard from yet:

They have so far to arrive.  Amen,

I think, and I feel almost comforted.


I’ve no idea what my child is thinking.


Between two unknowns, I live my life.

Between my mother’s hopes, older than I am

by coming before me, and my child’s wishes, older than I am

by outliving me.  And what’s it like?

Is it a door, and good-bye on either side?

A window, and eternity on either side?

Yes, and a little singing between two great rests.

What is there to say?



A book I am reading asks, in its title, What is there to say?  Another, next to it on its anticipating shelf, states “very little…almost nothing.”  Are they in conversation?

In completing Dust by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko for perhaps the ninth time, I come across a phrase I’ve starred and underlined in three colors: “We talk only because of a persistent desire to understand what is it that we are saying.”

            If someone took the time to calculate how many times the word “other,” used to refer to a subjective entity, occurs in philosophical texts post-Heidegger.

What is being?


I often experience the anomalous reality of hoping wildly in the midst of despair, a fervent belief in oxymorons – things like “Poetic Influence” and “Romantic Love.”

How music crafts melancholy and joy.

Perhaps someday we will concoct a system of chaos.

The weather is large enough.


I say “I love you” because I’d like to understand it.


Edmond Jabes has it that “the words of the book were trying, in vain, to say Nothing” (writing of sacred texts) or, in other words, some persistent and extravagant Babeling into Derrida’s vast abysme of origins and effects.  What is impossible.  “Our persistent desire.”  So Jabes asks “Is our relation to the world first of all a relation…to an expectation, a hope of world pregnant with all possible beginnings?”

            I ask myself, then, what is it I have to say?  The echoing answer “very little…almost nothing.”  Persistent desire.