Silent road, cloudless mind


Saturday, I went to visit my mother at the nursing home in Abilene, TX. Almost 91, she has become much less active, sometimes sleeping most of the day. I brought with me Bashō-Sensei’s beautiful haibun, The Narrow road to the deep north and other travel sketches, given me on my 52nd birthday by comrade-sibling Dušan. If momma was sleeping, I would read Sensei until she woke. If she did not wake up, I would write poetry and aphorisms to recall my time sitting next to her in the dignity of shared solitude. Since she did not wake while I was there for those few hours, I read, wrote, and conversed with folx every half-hour on my iPhone.

As I sometimes do, I shared my lines via text or WhatsApp with my friends scattered around the world. I hope not out of a sense of prideful pleasure in my own thinkering, but as a means to generate Loving Struggle with whomever might be free for discussion. In this case, comrade-sibling Ben was ready for me. After a short back and forth via text, as my mother gently snored, Ben reminded me of Baudrillard’s notion of ‘impossible exchange’–how the “represented always exceeds its representation.” This was in confab over “Wonder of Dawn” as an attempt to distinguish between REASONS that we hold (closed ideas) and REASONING as critical process (open thinkering). The former might be best considered as the PRETENSIONS that move folx toward established understandings; the latter, as PROTENSIONS moving us froward* a creative comprehension.††

I had just read in Bashō-Sensei’s “The Records of a travel worn satchel” that a poet must be in sync with the Way of Nature, mindful to experience their circumstances with freshness to avoid sinking to barbarism or converting to animality: “Whatever such a mind sees is a flower, and whatever such a mind dreams of is the moon.”* After meditating for a while, I wrote this:

A profound contemplation that becomes afterward a ‘successful exposition’ hides the authentic frustration of ‘impossible exchange’ behind the mask of consistent doctrines.

Like the masterless youth who on a cloudy night proclaims a shrine’s flickering lantern to be the Moon, thus is laboring to share complete insight.

Elucidation foregoes such false authenticity by traveling the silent road of the cloudless mind. — Aphorism, 10 Aug 2019

B. Ross. 2019. Text conversation between Ben Ross and Maggie Brown via iMessage. 10 August, approx. 1:45pm.
*In a previous blog, I hinted at this to-and-fro of Wyrding as weaving the fabric of reality. In this sense of Wyrdness, moving-toward has a straight-line character that pretends to more certainty than might be actually obtainable while moving-froward generates a queer-path that protends (imagines) from uncertainty alternate ways of circumscribing an experience.
††M. Brown. 2019. Text conversation between Ross and Brown via iMessage. 10 August, approx. 1:55pm.
**M. Bashō. 1966, The Narrow road to the deep north and other travel sketches. Trans. N. Yuasa. New York: Penguin, 72.

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