Stumbling Man

“This is how we originate and how we are formed: a slapdash piece of work, subject to the vagaries of time and the blunders of brief opportunities”

-Michel Serres-

            What I really want to ask, is where I am?  Implying already the question of an “I” to locate, whether or not there’s a who that could be.  I really DO wake into questions.

Pop over to my “currently reading” page/list.  It hasn’t changed a lot, perhaps gained a few pounds.  I set in this tribal circle, stacks of books like temple pillars, and feel like I’m made of shavings and fragments.  Some strange conglomeration of paper-thin shreds, filled with phrases and songs, floating in air.  Like using dust as a puzzle.

What sits in that center, bathed in blaring desk-light, really?

a slapdash piece of [sometimes very hard] work, subject to the vagaries of time [its growth and its wear] and the [sometimes brilliant] blunders of brief opportunities

That feels pretty accurate.  My parents, my sister, my Kansas.  My musical training.  Education, educators, friends.  Marriages and children, travel and work.  These words, this blogsite.  How “I” originates and am formed.  And thousands upon thousands of books, hours and hours of movies and song.

Then the dust and the shavings keep collecting: mountain climbs and ocean views, orchestras and art museums, foreign countries and people.  Slapdash, subject to vagaries, blunders of opportunities.

I’ve an urge to look closer (a terminal “illness” of mine).  For “slapdash” I find ‘things done hastily, carelessly,’ but I’ve often taken great pains over  much time with fervent investment – yet, yes, the results have definitely been ‘roughcast’ and ‘haphazard.’

And “vagaries” – ‘erratic, extravagant, or outlandish’ occurrences, ‘unexpected and inexplicable change.’  Admitted, time works this way, as (the dictionary suggests) the ‘variations of weather’ – a ‘wandering’ ‘fluctuation.’  I accept.

And what of ‘blunders,’ of blundering?  ‘Mistakes, usually serious, caused by ignorance and confusion.’  ‘Clumsily or blindly’ mannering forth.  However else could I proceed with this limited mind and body, space and shape, this miniscule duration (recalling ‘hastily’ – how much time, relatively, do we really have in a larger scheme?).  Yes, I am always walking into an unknown next, ‘blindly’ as it were, piecing together a ‘haphazard’ and ‘erratic’ assemblage of imagined/remembered experiences, ‘clumsily’ hauling them forward breath-by-breath.  Fair enough, ‘extravagant’ or ‘serious mistakes,’ I blunder.

Remains the “opportunities” to set it all aright.  These are described as ‘favorable or advantageous circumstances, or combinations of circumstances.’  ‘Suitable chances for progress or advancement.’  Possibles.  And this scattered smattered hollow or vortex, opens out again.


So – I’m here, and this – a clumsy blind wanderer stumbling through unexpected and inexplicable changes to haphazard and outlandish results; a con-fused combination of circumstances ever entering favorable and advantageous, suitable chances to progress and keep going…into the ever-possibles…


I breathe and gaze.

I stumble on.

N Filbert 2012

Choose. Why choose?

“What to write on the blank sheet of paper, already blackened with every conceivable handwriting?  Choose, why choose?”

-J.M.G. LeClezio-

a blank page

“I speak now and shelter in the tent of language or writing”

-Michel Serres-

Choose.  Why choose?

Deep in love

the sight, the thought, the feel.

Look around.


Over here a line comes singing, her misting whispers, behind the ear.

Bold graffiti in the midst: the faces, the lettering.

Trilling of a baby’s babble.


Choose.  Why choose?

I build my shelter, I fashion my tent of language.

I might hide here.  I might scribble the wall.

Curving words, like celanic, like ocean.


I choose.

Why choose?

To shelter, to bloom.

I build a barn of story, the structure to hold it in.


This body, its experiences.

This wife, and hers.

Seven starling children, darting out and in.

And things: stuff, books, ideas, smells.

Dreams and hopes; fears and memory.

Do words burn?


I make a sprinkler, and a hose.  I fill them with water.

There is a fire there.  For warmth.


To build a well.

I am speaking tools.

Choose.  Why choose?


To erase disease-words, and plight.

She says color and I leave it on the walls.

Call and response, they’re in, through the windows.


I sing a night with rain.

I sculpt a bed of vowels.

We cry out in the form of wings:


Take shelter.

And choose.

Why choose?


“There seem endlessly those situations of particular experience wherein one knows and doesn’t know, all at the same instant, which is to say, the information is inherent, actual, in the given system, but (itself a word of this qualification) we cannot step out of its context to see ‘what it is’ we thus ‘know.’”

-Robert Creeley-