The meaning of existence can’t be supplied by religion or ideology

Where did all the goldfish come from? They came from a bag seasoned with cheese. After some beer I set into them with vigor and watch the lilies waggle in the breeze. I get a letter from my mom, handwritten! I read it twice, admiring the familiar loops and touches, imagining her voice. She’s included an article from the newspaper on the lost art of letters. I’ll keep it. The wind comes through the trees like hands clapping, the leaves make the sound of applause. The daisies are at their peak, some toppling over, all smell like urine. I spilled coffee on my shirt walking to the lake, just missed my mouth. I felt terribly old at times but couldn’t say why. The full moon’s arc is like the winter sun, low and discreet. Muddled-looking through broken clouds, though we stayed up late trying to see it. Some dragon’s snout pushed the clouds along…

The cat’s silhouette cuts smooth like a snowdrift. A hummingbird’s nest in a hollow wooden bowl covered by lichen, the mother feeding her young. The din of insects at dusk, of bickering crows. Last night’s wood fire still broods, it hangs in the air. I am made older by it, my inability to relate. And the desire to retreat inwards, down a path with no exit and no room to turn around.

We have come to the last part of the book and crave the reconciliation we know isn’t real but still hope it releases us, art imitating life. So much I must have missed and will never understand.



Categories: musings, prose, writing

Tags: , , , , ,

22 replies

  1. your first two sentences! )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A scene of inevitability…?

    “The full moon’s arc is like the winter sun”

    And coming round again

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this one, my friend!

    best, gregg

    gregg s johnson 206 399 3066

    Pardon my brevity, I’m sending this message from a mobile device.

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Like the letter, this one’s a keeper.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That question always bothered me, the “meaning” of life. Such a tasteless, pretentious inquiry, as if life is under the opprobrium of our symbols, or in any way responsible by how we see it. As if life owes *us* an understanding of itself. I find that funny.
    I absolutely love your writing and this specific excerpt, but Bill, you ought to explain to me how can the winter sun be discreet; here in Portugal, though much lesser hot than a summery sun, it’s remarkably brighter and bleaching, and because of it’s lower degree of incidence, it nearly always feels like a freaking blinding globe. I hate driving through any dawn of winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are lucky to witness the sun in the winter! But I see that, the low arc cutting through more so…I’m just lifting a comparison my uncle gave me about the sun and moon and why the moon seems so “out of sight” late. If I’m wrong about that, I blame my uncle—ha! I borrowed the title here from a line in a Stereolab song I like a lot, about creativity called “Three-Dee Melodie.” I was stuck for a title. I’m glad that line resonated with you though, or at least the concept. I sometimes can’t see the thread in what I want to share but share it despite, and trust there is value or “meaning” albeit buried in places. Happy you enjoyed it and grateful for the dense comment, the rich vocabulary! Thanks for this and be well Joao-Maria. I have to learn how to strike the symbol in your name on my phone…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t worry about the tilde, it’s absolutely fine.
        That’s precisely why I like the way in which you write: it does not devalue my ability to sensualise a text (not sensual as in sexual, sensual as in sensorial). I abhor texts thronged with truisms and adages and “meanings”, because we know of meanings, we live through meanings all day. Our entire lives are hyperobjects of association. If I want to sit down with a creative text, I want it to be sincere, to dispense those puny meanings, the “ideas”, the “morals”. I want to feel another-world, and add something novel to my already extenuated catalogue of associations. To make ones life less bland.
        You’re a marvelous writer, I find. From what I’ve read, I’m a full fan.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Wow! What a lovely observation and compliment here…I needed that (don’t we all at some point, or live EVERY DAY). Thank you, made my morning…will come back to this note from you when I need a recharge. Nice to be transparent with people through “texts,” thanks for being real.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. My mom is old enough to have been taught penmanship in school. It was a whole course! She was a secretary after high school, then got TB, spent two years recovering, got married, had kids, and didn’t go back to work for 25 years. She still has beautiful handwriting. My kids, though, can’t decipher it. Cursive is dead. Mom, though, is still kicking. Just turned 90 last week.
    Great to catch up. Hope you’re well.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I stumbled at the first (two) fences and never recovered. Cheese goldfish? I hate that feeling of not understanding; get all tense and irritable. Then, in João-Maria’s comment, this gem: ‘puny meaning’. That’s me. A sack crammed with puny meanings. I agree with his endorsements, though.
    Love from downunder.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey sorry for the bad goldfish reference (foul!). It’s a cracker thing here in the States. I’ve gone “loose”..:love from PNW Bruce, nice to connect with you here, thanks…!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. If “one hand clapping” is a zen koan, what would they make of the applause from a tree? Could that be the meaning of life?

    Liked by 1 person

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