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Do not add up
If you didn't let the pages of a philosophy book add up into a philosophy there would be no philosophic outcome, only a process, only a person's own subtle process.
(Do we read the trees? Do we read the leaves on those trees?
Do we go so far as to read the veins on those leaves?)
And then, how do we read them?
Do we read a novel as a novel
or as a library that the author has compiled for herself
or as a collection of great paragraphs
or of great sentences
or of great choices?
Or do we, and can we, read a novel as a sculpture made of paper,
or as a building block which is a piece of a larger sculpture?
Understanding is an act of transforming that which is meant to be understood into something else, into a new thing which has been invented, at least in part, by the person who is understanding.
The exact number of words to mean that this takes this exact number of words to express this.
Before we can approach the problem of how we bind reality into a unified coherent whole we must address another amplifying question: how do we bind our experiences, actions, perceptions, thought, relations, etc., into a unified coherent sense of self. The binding together of reality presupposes that we have bound ourselves together into unified selves which can perceive, interpret, act, etc.
Do not add these poor fragments up in order to make a whole. But, of course, you could not help it, you could not help making a man out of instances from his life.
Do not add up, add down.
Not subtraction, but condensation --
Crystallization of a hundred ideas
Into a residue of one dense, dry idea.
Take the smallest portion of one idea
And the smallest portion of another
And another and another
And add them down
So that the summation
Is smaller and denser
Than any of its parts.
Wetness is for fictions --
Whether the fiction of our lives, or of novels, or of paintings.
Dryness is for equations, for logic.
Somewhere in the anxious balancing act,
Between wetness and dryness,
Lies a true thought.
Some rain signifies some other rain. Other rain, sometimes, but not always, signifies some people's ideas about rain, and then some other rain signifies destruction immediately followed by creation. The problem, however, arises when it stops raining and we are left with a puddle; indivisible.
What words feel the best to say aloud?
This discovery would lead to some understanding of the physical side of spirituality. Possibly these words are religious words.
singing, created the forest of subtle
shades of green. The sky is gray.
I invite you to dance the sculpture of clouds.
Dumb rain on feet. Rain is a symbol
or a cold object. Do we live the way we live
because of the taste of apples or
because of the metaphor that they leave in us?
My love, we are both the tangled sweat
and the poetic god between our words.
We could create trees -- the small infinity of leaf.
In between you and I there is a proposal
for music, sometimes the awful frustrated pain
creates a storm, sometimes we live to create
the easy shapes of clouds as we sit on hills dancing,
and the more difficult shapes of abstract thought in stone pen.
In an artwork there are always portions which the artist intends, but there are also always spaces between these intentions which are left for talented receivers to fill in with their own messy crayons.
The circles have been set in the pantry. I have never seen such as that in the pantry that has been arranged with circles. (Do you see? I tried to make a circle with the above words, but grammar makes it difficult.)
I want to write a book called "Imaginary Book". I guess naming something does not take away its essential properties.
Emerge dear sentence from these small letters, I do encourage you. I do dare you to make meaning out of these named bricks.
I should say
that there are things
which cannot be expressed,
but we should try.
If I continue throughout my life to be an intelligent person I will be embarrassed of all I have written here. I will want to say that I never had any of these thoughts. Perhaps I will even say, "How absurd it is that anyone could have such stupid thoughts." This is part of what it means to be a self.
The Castle The red and orange streaks of sunset pale and the stars try to poke through the black veil of night, try to illuminate towers and turrets, rough stone bricks, dark corners. Try and fail as the night drops and darkness wins its reign again. Inside the light prevails. The light of a thousand incandescent bulbs keeps the black at bay, keeps the dark in hidden recesses. The occupants and visitors dance to gilded tunes: dresses spin with each graceful turn, tux tails sway with each easy glide, glasses clink between the sounds of laughter. Unaware of the dark cells beneath their feet. Where the music and laughter still reach, the darkness has found a home. With cloaks of fear and shrouds of terror it covers the occupants of the caves. They hear the music, see the black, taste the wine, feel the terror, long for the dance, get the torment, inhale the staleness, exhale the nightmares -- Nightmares they unleash on the castle to roam free and invade where they cannot go. Nightmare arrows which pierce my thoughts. Nightmare daggers which cut my heart. Nightmare guns which murder my dreams, awaken me to cold sweats and the torment of hollow darkness. In the dark cells beneath the castle, where it is always night, old words and deeds will forever haunt and lobotomize my mind.
JESUS D. MONTEZ-MORALES
Shepherdess of Stone Once she knew only stones. Stretched out before her, these stones created symbols that only she could understand. In this place, grey stones, laced with green-black lichens, spoke into her sleep. Spoke the silence of dark oceans. Spoke the mystery of alien suns. She awoke as she is now. And she remembered nothing. Nothing but stones. All that remained were disillusioned stones. They slowly rose and dragged their poisoned selves into the dark waters of the unrelenting tide of convention. Their dignified sadness, the stones' immense sorrows terrified her. That memory survived was beyond question. I too found my way along the dark shore into the immanent ocean. Quietly sent all strength away. Yielded to weakness, to infinity. It was her eyes. Her dark, dangerous eyes. Eyes that held luminous stars that only I could see. It was her eyes that removed the sky. False images were placed in beds of sea oats. These images professed the knowledge of thought, of Hamlet. Claimed to love a dead Earth. Her eyes became birds of prey. Soared in deepest auburn obscurity. A red birthed from Mondrian orange and resins of dark pines. Disoriented tears desired faded storms. Left shadows as memories. Reflected day break, daydreams. Tenderness remained that only these separated emotions could explore. Each moment became a wheel of mud. Each distance measured by time, false shadow. Failed windows never understood weary magpies. Their shadows' disappearance saddened the color Green. Nothing else could ever have been known save the true shadows that formed around her breath and the tin snips that others had placed in her ears. Most times there were only thoughts of her. Imagined curved knees, their soft undersides. Thoughts lived in the softness of her touch. Invisible all those days, Night ventured out, touched the ends of her magpie hair with warm breath. Gazed at the sweet darkness of sleeping eyes. Whispered, "I adore you." I gathered the dust of my many lives into small concentric mounds. Resigned myself to endless grief. Waited patiently for a new ending, then I saw her brown eyes, the delicate curve of her hands as they reached to touch my invisible body. A sinoon wind scattered these piles of dust into the midnight of forever. I awoke to the sadness of another day without her. I emerged from this terrible ebony night carrying the darkness of a drowned man across my eyes. Eyes that held the memory of stars gathered across her pale forehead. Stars that parted her magpie hair with their companions, the comets. Desire had been heaped to overflowing. Steeped in abstract numerology and hypocrisy. A murderer's hands, that beg to avenge could not find the blood of the guiltless anywhere. From nowhere, shadows shouted. I longed for a time when questions were not asked. Twin fires once had names. Scrolled in the images of the Old People at the base of pillars of smoke curved in the shape of her thighs, swayed as a cat's tail, upward into darkened sky. The laws of mercy abandoned us, left meaningless numbers scattered and broken across a landscape of an untouchable tomorrow. Numbers that form an invisible, impenetrable convention of stones. These stones could never be the stones of love. I became immersed in a blood that stained the marrow of fools, riddlers and prophets. I am a fool who desired to dance again and again and again. Too unwise for riddles. Too blinded for prophecy. I had seen her as Vermeer had once seen her, sitting in a high-backed chair writing poems of her great love of life. The pure white of the moon that lived on her cheek, now dark, hidden. Wax melted from a candelabrum became tiny, dying crows. Death throes fluttered in the risen smoke. A moth circled a great, empty hall built in her honor. The moth reflected phosphorescent beetles in a gilded mirror, mocked footsteps that proclaimed utter loneliness. Impossible loneliness of her absence on a night with no moon. I lost the will to close the solitary, darkened window. My only companion, the moth, disappeared. I discovered silver coins carved with her image, a pennant that bore the sign of the Phoenix. Angered, I tossed them into the fire of convulsive masquerade. The roaring engine of unknown dance. All that I could conjure of her delicate image is the hazy, blue softness of her hips as they rose with each intoxicated breath, each slow departure from the world. Could faintly hear the tiny bones she wore as ornaments rattle rhythmically against her nude body. Her dark, dark eyes, eyes that destroyed forever, floated against a blurred backwash of black and grey-white. Nothing had been spoken. Everything had been said by our demented ancestors. The woodsman's axe had been polished and put away. The orange brilliance of morning was still very, very far away. I touched a shadow between two leaves left on a paralyzed cypress as I once touched the moon that guarded her tender breasts. Like then, my fingers come away wet with tears of an aged tree that had endured too many winters alone. These tears shimmered with golden amber and tiny stars. The intangible bars that were her prison had been spoken into her. Spoken into her by the evil of tradition. I used all my sorcerer's power, transformed her into a swarm of orange butterflies, pleaded for her to fly, fly, fly. The distance was so short. Yet, imagined fear caused her to circle the false lights of others. Others who wanted her for the pollen of her beautiful wings. Others who turned her into dullness, placed giant pins in her soft, blue thighs. They could not see golden dust that trailed behind her, could not see stars in her dark panther's eyes. They could never know the beauty of her touch as I did. Only love could create Beauty. She became smaller, more distant. Vainly I pleaded, fly, Shepherdess, fly. Fly back to me. Return as you were the night of that first touch. Return with soft hands. Return with brown eyes. Return with coal-blue, shimmering magpie hair. Return with that invincible young body of soft stone furrowed by memory and desire. Return, Shepherdess, Return! It was impossible to live with silence. Since true silence is death. I slept among smoke and stone along the shore of a dark, mysterious ocean in search of who I am. Had discovered only voices and conterminous scorpions. Had been quartered by a dull sword of delusion. Even love had been forgotten. Mutilated by ancient light of luminous stars that I realized are already dead. Shepherdess of stone, grant the formula that will heal this wound. Your soft voice could make the world whole. The sweet nectar of your lips would destroy loneliness, bring back the glory of fin' amors. Come unto the untamed grasses that grow by a lake of mirrors. Come walk under an ancient arbor of wood rose that leads to joy, free of fear and convention. Suckle, once again, petals of strange, wild flowers that grow in mountain meadows that only you inhabit. Return, Shepherdess, Return!
Copyright © 1995-2001 Ted Warnell. All Rights Reserved