It was a dream that started it. That I can tell you. Hoverings of something unfathomable, spatial. As if a globe of unknown authenticity had squatted on top of me, of the situation. No doubt, one could speak about it, or around it, in thick Augustan disparagement, but this didn’t trouble it. It remained, eyeless, jellyish. We were, the three of us, talking about plutocracies, embracing a plutocracy, over tea or as civilized as tea, when the person who was Moller or who played Moller suddenly began laughing. I turned to the third person, a woman who I did not know, couldn’t recognize, and she paused in speaking—I don’t remember what of—and stared blankly at me, and him, Moller, and she began laughing as well. I alone remained unlaughing, and I waited for them to finish their laughs, but it never happened. They continued laughing. It went on far longer than what anyone would deem responsible, possible. Hours. Was it hours? Possibly. There was the sense of permanence to the entire thing. That it would go on, beyond anything else. It would disperse itself, this laughter, over my collecting of the information, because that was still my job in this dream. To collect the information. I had had many such dreams as this one. Sometimes about my hair, holding my hair, where the boy pulled it out, and thinking that that there was no treasure beneath it, not to worry. They would not find the treasure under my hair. There where no hair was, either, under the scalp. Certainly no treasure under my skull. Or, still further back, many months prior, the dream that the institutions were full to bursting with psychiatrists, psychologists, and everyone else attached to this field. The method is the madness, or the madness is the method. I once had one who talked about college football while in session, while under analysis. Never could quite figure out who was the patient in this case. Though this is neither here nor there. An expression of interesting unplacedness. Because we must always start from a place, and the place is where we can speak from. Sometimes. The place speaks us. All that time in Virginia before here now, separated by clouds and orders from afar. Beyond all that, it was the frequent mention of being a woman. Turn-offs. You wouldn’t be a woman if you didn’t bitch about something. Words to that effect. In the long night, wondering of the camaraderie of men and their useless tangible minds. Their fear of uncertainty. Did you ever witness a thing more afraid of not knowing? I put that out there. I would even sometimes pull pranks of low value, to arouse suspicion, to indicate that we are not alone. Ghosts in helicopters, malignant children in supplication. They continue to tell me to come round to it. But there’s nothing to come round to. We are missing a language, or the language we have is just impoverished. You can sense that when talking to people. Like it’s not quite it. Like we’re fumbling around some larger artifice, and under the artifice is the thing we hope to speak to: that firing of heat and sensation and improbable outcomes, fantasies, diseases, mineshafts inside the invisible but certain discomfort. Discomfort is a troubling serial thing. You can almost say it’s the state of things. Not low moods, but discomfort. Why here? Why this person, here? Now. In the way of what I want to see. Him, him, her, her, him, her, her, him, this one. That. Oh, it’s all for the shock of moving through these phases we’re in. The phases move too, with us in them, around them. Hardly new to say. You can tell no one’s listening to you, that ghosts appear in their eyes. Little sheets drifting. Well, we all have the sheets. Sheets to sheets. The oranges on the table are appealing. Just now saw them. Though I put them there the other day. Not to eat, but to see the orange. They are quite fantastic, but we pass by them, because we have seen them. But look again, I say. It’s orange. This fruit is orange. How is that possible? It is really remarkable, and to live in this age of unremarkable people shunning remarkable things is a further suffering. Did not the Buddha say all is suffering? He did. Something to that effect. But on top of the dreams of late, these seedy realities, of the boredom seeping in under the door. The neighbor on her pills. Have to turn to get out of the yard. Talking so much, she. Former nurse. I’ve come back out a few minutes later, thinking she was gone, but she was still talking. Sad, okay. Sad, sure. Always. All of this woe. Woe is me. Woe is we. You do need to figure out some things, though. Now and then. But only if you care to. No harm in not caring, really. Go to the end that way. Talking about college football games, seasons, scores. A brain of that. Scores of games. Well, it can get all very interesting. That it can. Can’t it. The Hindus believe that’s just where the person’s at now. And that this is fine. They are in that dimension. The sex freaks: it’s okay. The holy: they are doing what they need to do. All is as it should be. The brutality and the victimhood. How can anyone cry that they are a victim in this world, to set themselves apart that way, when everyone’s a victim? And if everyone’s a victim, no one is. The world is. It is a buzzing saw. A gigantic buzzing saw, on the back of a crow, and that bird’s coming for you. Some Indian tale, Brother Crow was it? Crow Night. In any case, the uproars and attachments, the mysterious looks, the weather systems we wait for, wish for. There’s joy that comes. Humor, too. Oh, we must make room for humor. Everyone says that. Make room for humor. It’s all we can do. People need humor because they can’t bear the saw. It makes us forget. Course, things are funny. I mean to say, you can’t look out your window at a tahr on a rock, in a fearsome landscape, and not laugh. It’s prehistoric, this thing. Dropped from the heavens. Hardy. No sense in talking more of it. Little one can do about absurdity. But to get around to it, eventually. A porous undernothing. That’s the proper term for it, truly: an undernothing. But we feel it pulling us to it, the chaos, the randomness, the freefall. I mention this only in passing, as I do most things. A person just needs to leave well enough alone, and trust to the passing people, the passing thoughts. Of course, no one knows where anyone is going. That’s for certain. The older one gets, it’s a battle of forgetting one will die just like the others. One can never fully understand this, that all that, this here, will vanish. Our little lives. In a space of years. I remember my girlhood in California, among the mountains, and the breezes from out of nowhere up there in them. I do not remember much else from that time, but those breezes I do remember. Why so? It’s an impression fixed firmly—is that it? Firmly? No, nothing’s firm. And yet this insistence on it. I was just remarking on this to one of the dozens who come through: we are just ghosts going by. Wind in the mind. Wind on the mind. They stare back at me, these agency men, mostly men, and have no idea of what I speak. Young, bristling with determination, purpose, points-of-view. Their glinty eyes, like my father’s when we’d be on the boat. Agency eyes. Speaking from beyond the grave, I am. Ha. Well, one pours more tea, eventually, and so one accomplishes a bit. Thin world. The thinness of it apparent in shrugs one sees in groceries. What does a shrug determine? A nonchalance of not knowing. Or simply not knowing. Or not caring. Or not wanting to respond, wanting to get caught up in it all. All the business of something from some other. Even here, listen, one cannot even determine the meaning of a shrug. You do see what I mean, then, yes? If we cannot even determine what one means when nothing is said, where can we be but scrambling along the infinite bridges over the undernothing? I may go out later and get an umbrella, terrible without, and the mud at times too. How it rains here. Washing the earth. That’s what’s needed. A thorough going-over. Like I like to do to the men who come in. Eager beavers. Thinking they are on a trek, with their Gu and chewy bars, their crampons and helmets. They have no idea what they’re getting into. Not just the air so thin, some of them sick soon. I mean, this faith they have in me, my sayings. My company. They believe in me; my thoughts. I have an audience, a sudden one. So, if things develop enough, they return, and I can explain some more. No harm in them believing. A person has to believe in something. I think that’s been mentioned by others. Religions, sure. But just in daily stasis, too. It’s in the air. The air is certainly full of things, is it not? Does it matter if the belief is bogus, is a matter of illogic, imagination, ruin? It will become true soon enough. The falsity becomes truth. We see this every day. Every hour. Words which meant one thing mean literally the opposite in due time. Or both. There you go. Both. That’s the truth there, staring at you. The eyes of these men. Widening and closing. At all of this and the Himalayas. Out there. For them. They think this. It’s for them. This world. To take from. To take experience from. And assemble a life by. Based on these strange conglomerations, this brew of what? Confusion, stress, happiness. Maybe so. Yes, so what of it then to lead the news, to create it? It gives them purpose, a story to build their purpose by, to puzzle themselves with. I remember one of them asked me about stamps. Yes, I think that was it. Stamps. American stamps. You know, the ones on envelopes. People still use them. Seems prehistoric. The entire thing, really. Mailing paper places. In any case, I do not know what got over me, but it seemed important that morning to usher in the thought that there is something nefarious about the entire history of postage, and the glues that go on the backside. It was just a squib of a thing. But this one, I forget his name—Ackmann?—he got so curious about this. So of course I gave him what he wanted. A story. That’s all anyone wants: stories. Stories are never true anyway. They’re versions. Things emphasized, things that matter to the teller are told, but things that don’t matter are not. But did not those unspeakable things also happen? We must assume they did. That there are whole stories beyond anyone’s witnessing, and that these are there too. Again, ghosts come to me. I seem to be fixated on them. Ghost stories. Ha. Yes, this is what they are, what all stories are: ghost stories. So they go away with ghosts in their heads. Dreams from the ether. It is not careless to do so. It is what they want. I’ve always enjoyed the word “make” in “make sense,” for instance. I like that fiction within it. That sense is not out “there”—that it is made. I think this has made me averse to any preaching: philosophical, religious. I go on, though. Too much. I see that. It is a fault of mine. The going on. No one likes to hear others too much. The other is cancelled out, and we all want the celebrity of being the speaker. Oh, there are the quiet ones, but the quiet is a kind of celebrity too, no? Why does he not speak? Poke him. Is he there? Hello? Yes, well, we can see it is where one lays one’s head, figuratively and literally speaking. To where it rests. Where we decide on what something is. It’s that. It’s not this. We form an opinion of flowers over leftovers on trains. How long will the opinion last? There are certainly statistical templates where one could show the arc of an opinion over time: its start and continuity, and then its fall, perhaps. Its death. The life and death of an opinion. Or is something added on? I ask these questions as if I have answers, as if anyone does. So why even ask the questions? Which is another question, as it is. Common ground. That’s what they all want: a common ground. Where the answer meets with the question and there is a rest afterward. A cessation of the stress of searching. Life, though, equals many questions with no answers or any answer will do. We know this. Which is why I had my ears changed after years of being photographed. It seemed the thing to do. I had read about the science of aurical recognition, that this was the new field by which people were being found out, little did they know. So I have had six or seven surgeries now on them, to change their shapes. They added a slit in the back even where I can put a gel insert to change the size of the lobe. If I am traveling. You see this in the teens in Japan, this body modification. Where they are injecting some kind of disappearing fluid into their temples. Same thing. To not be recognized. Or maybe it’s to get into conjunction with their animal selves, their roiling ids. These kids now have lumps on their foreheads. Raised skin. Who’s to say why? They ask them, and they say they don’t know why. Seemed like something to do. That’s all it takes to scare adults, that lack of reason. As long as you have a reason, any reason at all, no matter how absurd, the adults will listen to you and nod, and say that they understand. If, however, you say that you don’t know, or don’t even care why, this is taken as a flaw of character, or that you are to be watched perhaps more closely. People like watching things more closely. It makes them feel like they are doing something doubly important. And who can argue with that, them? There’s no point. And when nothing happens? When the back door stays closed, and the intruder never shows up, they feel intuitively it was because of the measures they took in seeing that it didn’t happen. But who’s to say the intruder didn’t decide on a different door, a door where there was no door. Not one to see at least.