Thursday, April 11, 2019

From Any Point on the Periphery, Advancing Always Toward the Body

Photo from a stool 7:15 yesterday morning, the periphery test, chin on pad, forehead on bar, one eye covered with a pirate's patch, green box dead center, jeopardy clicker, bright lights not seen, worse score each time

  • Aargh, I said when I saw they were going to make me do this and make me wear a pirate patch but before the kid gave me the pirate patch, don't think the kid got it
  • Good news: meds are working, eye pressure under control, no medical reason to at least laser surgery now, your constant loss of sight has slowed significantly says eyedoc
  • Bad news: meds are working, eye pressure under control, but the side-effects of meds working too, weakening the muscles  holding the     eyeball   in place
  • Do you know Odo from Deep Space Nine, eyedoc asked, yes I said
  • eyedoc said, one, two more years of these meds and you're eyes will sink into your head like Odo's and you're getting the surgery in three years one way or the other at the latest and *might* avoid a knife (and certainly as deep a knife if knife necessary) if you laser now so anyway think about it
  • Will it keep my eyes from getting more and more tired faster and faster when I try to read? I asked
  • No, he said
  • Do I get to have shapeshifter sex with Kira Nerys, I asked
  • No, he said


Keith Waldrop

In heaven there is no more sea, and houses no longer need a widow’s
walk. And no more widows, there being neither marriage nor giving
in marriage. How the air hangs lower and lower on this—I hope
—hottest day of summer. A faintly rotten scent the ground gives off
brings to mind lilacs that have budded and blossomed. There are no
more blossoms, perfume and purple gone for a year, as if forever. In
heaven there are no tears, salt water wiped away entirely. One moment
I breathe contentment. And then unreasoning sorrow pulses through
me, an imperfect tension, as if unending. I have time on my hands. In
heaven there is no more dusk, dark, dawn, meridian. And what I know
now and for certain: neither the day nor the hour.
It seems clear enough that there is in the brain a particular pain-center,
where sensations of every variety check in, to emerge as anguish and
hurt. Thus there is not, as we might suppose, a multiplicity of pains,
like an arsenal deployed against us, but one pain which puts on, as in a
ritual theater, different masks.
         It need not, even, be a great number of masks, some few faces
peopling an endless repertory. From one fairy tale to another, is not
the witch the same witch, whether poisoning an apple or fattening the
The doctrine changes, blows here and there, hot, cold. One more
notion sweeps across the state in gusts, fiercely at first, settling then
into a mild rotation. It puts things in motion. It dies down, while
pressure somewhere else is building.
         Called to, across a chasm of thin air, I shape the air to answer. My
moments force themselves apart.
         Breathe out. Breathe in. But as long as you are alive, there is a dead
space in your lungs, never emptied, never needing to be filled. The spirit
there, stale and sustaining, holds open every possibility, urging none. Ghost
money: money to burn.
On the earliest known sundial, the finger of shadow moves through
symbols of the cosmos, but there are no lines drawn to mark off the hours.
It does not, in the modern sense, “keep” time, but celebrates its flight, its
recurrence, its brightness.
Hermaphrodite, sleeping. Predominance, in the visible, of the right hand
—but the eyes now closed. What could there be to dream about, for one
already complete? A perfect asymmetrical stability. No need to see or even
to look.
         To know, without having to ask. From any point on the periphery,
advancing always towards the body. Both sexes. And both asleep.
A scream from outside broke our argument and I ran to the door, rushed
out onto the sidewalk almost, I thought, before the scream had ended. The
night sky, above the street lamp, had a sheen of some dark metal.
         Sirens—which seemed this evening more frequent than usual, and
more strident—state the theme, you have said, of our instant: the howl
of a machine hurrying to disaster. And all day, in the violence of delivery,
ordinary trucks rattle our sashes.
         The street lay empty, mercury lit, silence giving us no indication of
which way to turn.


  1. as you report it, your eye doc seems to be urging you towards being lasered sooner rather than later

    it's up to you


    recently in london, when julian assange was dragged out of the ecuadorian embassy, he reportedly was clutching of copy of a book on the national security state by gore vidal


    waldrop speaks of one pain center in the brain - maybe he read

  2. We are doing DS 9 as our family viewing right now (cultural education for the young). OMFG I forgot how fucking terrible it is. Just wretched. Someone in this house will bust our TV throwing something at it when Bashear is on the screen. It may or may not be me. Even Databoy gets how fucking awful Bashear is.

    You're totally asking the right questions, though.

    1. It's hands-down my favorite Star Trek though Bashir is an ass. To the writers' and producers credit the other characters constantly tell him he's an ass all the time.

      Jake is Wesley-level annoying, and I've mixed feelings about Worf's joining, and I never got Jadziah, and the agonies of O'Brien get old, and it's filled with filler, and the character-development episodes often suck, and jfc, Vic Fontaine?

      But I do like the Bajoran storylines, and do like Kira, and dig Odo v Quark, and love the Grand Negus, and Rom (not Nog), and adore adore adore Weyoun, and think Sisco / Dukat episodes wonderful.

      It's also the darkest, so.....

  3. Kira, Odo, Quark all awesome, and yes, bad Cardassians are fun. The species interplay is largely well done and a good extension of TNG. Avery Brooks deserves credit for growing the Sisco character, the rest of the character development, especially Nana Visitor, who is otherwise wonderful, is excruciating. Still in season 2, the pompousness and randomness is hard to take, I hang in for the family and because I know he'll get better. I breathlessly await the arrival of Mister Woof.

  4. Re: Aargh: I've taken it upon myself to get to the bottom of that linguistic puzzle; a YouTube comment thread was all the reference book I needed:

    "It's interesting to know that southwesterners intentionally savor their "r"s (in 1950's Treasure Island , during the funeral service for a crew member who drowned, Newton memorably inserts an "r" into "Amen, pronouncing it "Arr-men"), and you're right, he's used it to stall for time in other, less strictly directed performances. However, English-language historian Bill Bryson wrote in one of his books that "ar" (without all the extra "r"s) was at least originally the equivalent of saying "yeah" in the West Country. (One can stall for time by saying "yeah" too, but that doesn't mean it's not a word.) If you really pay attention to when he says "ar" all by itself--and he did grow up in Cornwall in real life--it's always in the context of affirmation, as opposed to the way many people have the impression that throwing "arggghhhhh" into a sentence willy-nilly makes you sound like a pirate. I watched a number of pirate movies to confirm my theory but wasn't able to find a single instance of anyone playing a pirate on film using a West Country accent before Robert Newton did it in 1950. In fact, he was the only actor in that particular adaptation of Treasure Island who did, but he dominated the film. As Long John Silver rightfully should; Robert Louis Stevenson's original title for the story, which was originally serialized, was The Sea Cook . Nor was that the first time Newton used a Cornish accent in a movie role. (Busman's Holiday is one of them, but his interpretation of LJS made a much greater impact on international audiences.) In the previous major film adaptation in 1934, Wallace Beery almost sounds like he's from Brooklyn--certainly not anywhere near England and nary an "ar" to be heard in the entire film! And then there was the dashing Errol Flynn speaking in a more posh English accent in Captain Blood and _The Sea Hawk_."