The time-music of the quasars. A huge volume of radio signals reaches this planet from space, crossing gigantic distances from the far side of the universe. It’s hard to accept that these messages are meaningless, as they presumably are, no more than the outward sign of nuclear processes within the stars. Yet the hope remains that one day we will decode them, and find, not some intergalactic fax service, but a spontaneously generated choral music, a naive electromagnetic architecture, the primitive syntax of a philosophical system, as meaningless but as reassuring as the pattern of waves on a beach.
Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers’ hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say, -Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! Come; let us squeeze hands all ‘round; nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness. Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever!
Espinoza dreamed about the painting of the desert. In the dream Espinoza sat up in bed, and from there, as if watching TV on a screen more than five feet square, he could see the still, bright desert, such a solar yellow it hurt his eyes, and the figures on horseback, whose movements—the movements of horses and riders—were barely perceptible, as if they were living in a world different from ours, where speed was different, a kind of speed that looked to Espinoza like slowness, although he knew it was only the slowness that kept whoever watched the painting from losing his mind. And then there were the voices. Espinoza listened to them. Barely audible voices, at first only syllables, brief moans shooting like meteorites over the desert and the framed space of the hotel room and the dream. He recognized a few stray words. Quickness, urgency, speed, agility. The words tunneled through the rarefied air of the room like virulent roots through dead flesh. Our culture, said a voice. Our freedom. The word freedom sounded to Espinoza like the crack of a whip in an empty classroom. He woke up in a sweat.
When I was a connoisseuse of slugs
I would part the ivy leaves, and look for the
naked jelly of those gold bodies,
translucent strangers glistening along the
stones, slowly, their gelatinous bodies
at my mercy. Made mostly of water, they would shrivel
to nothing if they were sprinkled with salt,
but I was not interested in that. What I liked
was to draw aside the ivy, breathe the
odor of the wall, and stand there in silence
until the slug forgot I was there
and sent its antennae up out of its
head, the glimmering umber horns
rising like telescopes, until finally the
sensitive knobs would pop out the ends,
delicate and intimate. Years later,
when I first saw a naked man,
I gasped with pleasure to see that quiet
mystery reenacted, the slow
elegant being coming out of hiding and
gleaming in the dark air, eager and so
trusting you could weep.