Hera’s Tit

I stand at the shore in Montauk looking up at the swath of white in the night sky, looking dead center into the galactic plane, a squirt from Hera’s tit, my father had told me when I was a boy. In all of the North eastern United States, Montauk Point is one of the darkest at night, great star-gazing; surrounded by water and state parks. My to be or to become arises like a particle in the vacuum of space-time . . . all is created there as most of the heavier elements are created in super novae explosions, hydrogen fusing into helium, helium into carbon, carbon into argon and so on and so on . . . the fusion/fission dynamism of stars is like the being and becoming dynamism of humans . . .  a question crosses my mind from time to time, has crossed my mind, has crossed everyone’s mind . . . when I look to the stars as I had when I was a boy . . . as every time I look in the mirror with this question, a question of my being and my becoming, which, when how . . . I get many different answers. The I I am depends on coordinates of time and space drawn by another hand. Eternity lurks in me, I have assumed, like a trace of the background radiation on spectral analysis of the cosmos. To be or to become is present in my choice now, and we always choose to be or to become, we cannot avoid choosing. Choice is always for the taking; each choice a chance we encounter; every chance results in our fortune or misfortune . . . this present trip is another fortune sought.
Who I am trips me up. I’m not especially clumsy, but all this wondering about who I am what I have been when I will be what and where, or how or why . . . I never watch my feet as I walk down a flight of stairs. You know why the lisper lisps.  I determine who I am, or what I become, I assume; I am as much Everyman as I am unique in the entire history of the cosmos. I am not unique in this way. Everyone is Everyman. Yet, no one who has ever lived, who lives now, or will ever live is me. No one in any of these times or places–no one–occupies the coordinates of space and time as I do in this spot at this moment. All is ephemeral, though.  Who I am, when I am, where I am, with whom I am, how I am before I become what I am–yes, I am and I am not simultaneously. I will be, but I will not be as well.This question of identity; you know Identity spells ID Entity. The it within; monsters again arising from inside of me. I have said this before . . . I will say it again. I repeat myself often.
Round and round I go, the Italians say, gira, gira . . .  each pose I take posits somewhere outside of me something imposed inside of me. Imposing, posing, positing, depositing, a repository of a kind,  this Self of selves within. Some of us imagine other selves as we do suppositories. What do I gain by the poses I take? Each intake, each out-take, put as it might be. Again, who am I? is the question who are we? I am once again . . . wondering who I am within who we are, this who we are by who I am all about when I am or where I am, and when and where I am going; to come and go. I become when I be-go. I am a cosmogony that does not get repeated; yet I am also all of humanity at any moment. The fact that I am cosmogonic allows me to stand in for all human beings, a posture I take, and I do take postures as well as pose them, put them on as I put on everyone else–all the world’s a stage . . . I do become anyone I need to be.  I am many; thus I am we.  But what I need to be is often a mystery to me.  To philosophize is to learn how to die we know from Montaigne, but imagination is necessary to philosophize I learned from Doc Green as I called him, Doc. Imagination most people do not associate with philosophy, nor do they with eternity, as Blake reminds us time and again that imagination is the doorway to the eternal. Imagination was a faculty of mind most highly prized by the Romantics, suspicious of rationality as they were, or how the rational was used as a tool against humanity, the great human humane when human is only human when humane, as the French distinguish duality between the two in one word, humaine, and we Anglo saxon speakers create dichotomy with our tongue. But then I suspect this is why in a country so seemingly committed to democracy and freedom we can speak out of the mouths of our leaders with forked tongues. The Nazis and the Bolsheviks were both hyper-rational, not imaginative, unless it was in the expenditures on torture, oppression, and murder.  I am who I am that I am when I am how I am where I am even why I am, I say, I think, therefore I believe; belief displaces dialectic in me.What then do I say about all the interrogatives that can be extended from each relative pronominal relationship to my I. We live by suppositions.
Everyone thinks that who what when where and why are important, very important, but then I am who I am, as I am what am I, where I am,  and so on.  I have not answered these questions in any way that proves overarching to my becoming; to my being is another thing, another essay, perhaps. You probably haven’t asked yet these questions ontologically. What are our theories of being? Do we have them, or do we only have theories of becoming, perpetual, endless becoming.  You have decided you do not need to ask yourself the once pressing questions of being, whether existence precedes essence or vice-versa, and all the essences, the prefab essentials of our being precede the existence I have, and determine who I am, certainly what I am. You probably haven’t realized that you decided this, or why you might have, if that is in fact what has been done. The only determinism of your being, though, is the fact that you believe your life has been horribly determined, which coincides with a culture that gorges itself on victimhood and philosophies of victimization. These determinisms you believe you uncover, are in fact created by a system of belief you have firmly placed yourself inside of, and this self enclosure masquerades in your diction as inescapable determinism.Do you need an answer to each of these questions now that I am herein mentioning them as  not having the relevance you insist they have. Now that it has come to the fore that I have not before answered or even attempted to answer any of these questions you think are useful–unless what I have thus far said could be said to have some say in the matter of my who and my what, at least in the ways you prefer to frame discussions of being, because you do discuss being even when you argue that being is impossible, or improbable, and the only thing we have is perpetual becoming into becoming into becoming yet again, all of it without gain.  The where and the when are  here and now as all writing has immediacy, an unavoidable presentness about it, and what I say here is in words on a page, printed for easy reading because my handwriting is shit.  I am who I am even when I am not being the me I have been before, a me, an I, others I know might not recognize. I am me with every stranger I meet even if with that stranger I lie through my teeth and tell no truth in the factual sense of truth we sometimes hold too pedantically dear, close without feeling.Who am I? I do not ask this question because as I have said above, I am that I am when I am who and what I am wherever I am however it is that I am me. I am subject and object and subject complement and every other way of stating my being in words, which means language, which means in grammar, which exists independent of politics, if you will, before it, although rhetoric is not.  I am. This is simple enough because all lists of attributes are modes of subtraction, really. I am unable to be sum-totaled; I am macrocosm to all microcosms, the microcosm of history, the one of state, of government, of gender, of sexual orientation, of religion, of politics, of political affiliation, of job, of class, et cetera.


SAM_0959What can I say about any time of mine in Montauk, the times we’d spend at Land’s End, on the beach, on and in the sands, viewing the sky, entering the waves, watching the waves, closing my eyes and listening to the waves, hearing the muted rhythmic pounding of them against the shore as if enveloped in cotton when at night I awaken in the middle of the night, quiet, still, the door partly opened; feeling the salt spray, I recall, in the wind off the ocean . . . more, of course there is more, I could say more, tell you so much more than I have–what can I say? I have before said something about the horizon here at Land’s End, the one-hundred and eighty degrees of horizon–more I could say–yes, there are angles greater than 180 degrees; a line is in effect an angle. I love standing on the sands on the beach, sometimes with my feet in the surf, sucked down into the soft and quick wet sands of the surf, my feet moving as I stand looking out to the horizon south or east, sometimes west . . . the horizon of the ocean meeting the sky, a tilting line, one that wobbles with the rotation of the earth, as perhaps we do. I have tried to imagine being on the world or in the world the way a pendulum exists in the world, its in perpetuity a condition of being without the effects of gravity. But what is grave is not only a matter of gravity, not only a matter of the grave itself when the latter term is used in reference to our final fall, the tomb, as I have said, is our last tumble–no, grave matters are matters with the weight of gravity, a particular seriousness that cannot help but have great weight, density for sure if not with a corresponding great size. The grave is a fall; of course it is a fall; I recall the lowering coffin of my Great Aunt Anna into her grave in Pittsfield. Is this fall of ours, of hers, of mine to come–is any fall heroic and therefore tragic, or is it merely as it is–or as I have assumed it is–for all of us, absurd. A new meaning for reductio ad absurdum?


But the east end beaches, the beaches of the South Fork, the extreme eastern end of Long Island–beautiful beaches, gorgeous–there is, as I had begun to say at this entry’s inception, no word, no single word that could possibly capture what I feel, what I experience when out at Land’s End. Word, no; words, perhaps, yes, this explication of an explanation of why I like it in Montauk. I have mostly avoided such expression before. There is more in revealing than in telling; show them, I remember, was a mantra taken from–where was it taken from? Nothing but the word in itself–no thing, no place, no feeling, expression, idea is ever the word in itself. I have begun to question the Imagists, but then I recognize what it was they were trying to do, and therefore, what they meant by saying what they repeated one and all, Nothing but the word in itself.

Dinosaurs live.
Dinosaurs live.

What I need to say, want to say, will say often–the three of them never meet one with the other and the other, round robin speaking, as we say when we write, ah! to write or not to write, this would have to be every writers question. What does the writer say? I have asked this before, answered this before, responded one way or another with words on the page, herein this review and elsewhere, in story or poem or essay. What does the writer tell you? There–to say or to tell; transitive and intransitive expression, actions that need an object and actions that do not. Be is not an action; be never takes an object. Be, though, is not intransitive. I read; I read poetry–some verbs are either intransitive or transitive, depending on their context, that is, syntax.cropped-sam_0545.jpg

I do not like Montauk or love it or adore it–I am it when I am there; yes, I am Montauk; Montuak is me–I. There is a misconception about this idea that we should say, It is I instead of It is me. The French do say C’est moi, which is not, C’est je. No one ever says, c’est je; they say, c’est moi. C’est moi is “It is me,” It’s me, what we say when someone asks, Who is it? Moi is the substantive pronoun,as is me, the latter also an object pronoun, both the indirect and the direct. Montauk is me; it is I, if you prefer, but I do not. This is all that I can say–should say, if we do have should for things like this . . . I to be Montuak or Montauk to be me; each one is valid, mutual and reciprocal. There is more in the spheres of human being than can be contained by the narrowness of our received ideas. The fires and the motions of my being; I am as I have been for many years, subsumed by an overriding, overarching Romantism . . . the holiness of the heart, the eternal that is the imagination, the imaginative . . . I do recall Flaubert’s outburst at the trial of Madame Bovary–yes, the great French author, novelist, said, Madame Bovary . . . c’est moi.



Sun rise from the beach in Montauk. Getting up before dawn to wait for the sun. Waiting for the Sun was an album by the Doors–my favorite group when I was . . . how old was I then the first time I listened to the Doors, still played by the crew at WNEW when I was . . . how old was I listening to Alison Steele, the Night Bird–I’d stay up to listen to her . . . They are now, the Doors, from then, what remains–the most enduring group from my youth? What does that mean? What could it mean? What does it mean–not just the truth of it, if it is in fact true–but to say it, to think that I need to say it, or that it might say something of me to say it?

Morrison died before I was fourteen or ever a fan of their music. Fan from fanatic–was I a Doors fan the way I am and was a New York Rangers’s fan? Probably not–maybe, though, I was. What means this–could mean anything remotely akin to having a favorite band, or how a band could express something about my being, my personality–yes, to say I liked the Doors did say something about me. We wore our fandom as badges of personality. We allowed their cult of personality to transfer onto us at a time in our lives when we could’t have been less sure who we were, what we were, when we were what, whom, the where was everywhere; the when was actually twofold. It was all the time and it was whenever . . .

The list of conditions we underwent to undergo personality selection is too long. I had no idea and yet I was sure I was the only one who could ever know what I was or what I was going to come to be . . . the sun up over the line of horizon, the squid ink sea growing lighter and lighter with each inching of the sun over the horizon. How many poems has this figured in? I could go back and count, having all my MSS at hand, along with many of the earlier drafts of the poetry manuscripts with their previous titles when different?

A page in caption. Every page I write is a caption for an image of me I have hold keep . . . words and pictures, every picture worth a thousand words, we used to say. I do not understand that. I think it is more accurate to say every right word is a thousand pictures, no. To write or not to write for me has ben my to be or not. There is no getting around that, escaping the import of this fact–facts are not knowledge, though. What knowledge is in this will determine what or how much wisdom can be extracted? Wisdom does not come by extraction, though. Wisdom is revealed; it is an epiphany moment. It is sudden as in Satori, no? What could I know of this, you might ask–I know some of you do, so maybe ye, maybe no, how much of my life has been lived in perhaps.

I recall a satori in Montauk . . . there is a deafness at the beach enveloped in the sound of the surf as I am, yes, enveloped as I am by sight and sound and spray from the wind off the waves. I read Kerouac’s Big Sur on the beach in Montauk. I know he would have liked that.

I look to the horizon, I look to the waves, at them, looking in a way that watches closely what is happening, how the water breaks off from the surf, what shaols are there under the water that I cannot see, what formations of the shore I cannot see that cause the water coming in to break in white water waves . . . I look back to the horizon and imagine that I see it wobble . . .


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