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Neruda's seabirds

Neruda's seabirds

A lyrical cut & paste of physiological doubts, aesthetic vocations, existential meditation and deep breathing.

peculiar intimate doubts (from a Jonathan Alex Gold essay)

Here all along I thought I was a scientist. I thought I was a philosopher. I thought I was a mathematician, studying algorithms and their proofs in the grand tradition of Euclid and Gauss and, of course, al Khwarizimi. I could have sworn that this is what I do. And yet, from what I can gather from the reports, and from what people tell me about myself, that's not it at all.

It turns out that I'm a dot-com engineer. I was dumbfounded to learn this. Contrary to what I thought I was doing, I've actually been busy at work building something like "the new e-cyber-inter-web-world of tomorrow's technology of the present of the future." If you're unnerved by the fact that this phrase makes no sense to you, I can sympathize. After all, I'm apparently the one building it, and I don't even know what it is.

In addition to this, it seems that, when I'm not busy working on "tomorrow's technology today", I'm hard at work all through the night in a small windowless room drinking tons of coffee and pursuing my dream of becoming the next Bill Gates, the next boy genius Napster start up internet toting computer whiz from next door, set to jump with software I wrote in my garage and rise to the head of a new empire, where I singlehandedly and in bona fide multithreaded fashion strike the ladies dead with my client-server savvy while wooing banks and various monied interests into my den of Dungeons and Dragons posters and subculture chat rooms where I tech-talk them into forking over their green with the promise of the next great i.p.o.-Nasdaq corn-fed sensation while simultaneously plotting to break in to their mainframes so I can get from there to the State Department in a zany madcap wily hacker plan to appoint Mickey Mouse as the national security envoy to Pakistan. I had no idea I was so busy and industrious.

I'm tired just from reading about myself.

I have lost a hold of my identity. It seems that it is now owned by Microsoft and Ebay, by Time and Newsweek, by Dateline and Intel. I try to think back, wondering if maybe I sold it to them and subsequently forgot about it. I've searched my soul for some record of the transaction, of some outright bill of sale, and I can't seem to find one. I've been trying to recall any particular times when maybe some misunderstanding could have occurred and these kinds of companies became under the impression that they were the owners of my identity.

Chant: the General Song Of Humanity

On the coast of Chile where Neruda lived
    it's well known that
       seabirds often steal
                     letters out of mailboxes
                       which they would like to scan
                                for various reasons
Shall I enumerate the reasons?
        they are quite clear
                even given the silence of birds on the subject
    (except when they speak of it
         among themselves
   between cries)

First of all
        they steal the letters because
               they sense that the General Song
                              of the words of everyone
                     hidden in these letters
      must certainly bear the keys
             to the heart itself of humanity
                              which the birds themselves
                                   have never been able to fathom
               (in fact entertaining much doubt
               that there actually are
                                hearts in humans)
And then these birds have a further feeling
                 that their own general song
                might somehow be enriched
                           by these strange cries of humans
       (What a weird bird-brain idea
             that our twitterings might enlighten them)

But when they stole away
                       with neruda's own letters
               out of his mailbox at Isla Negra
          they were in fact stealing back their own Canto General
    which he had originally gathered
                                 from them
           with their omnivorous  & ecstatic
                                                    sweeping vision

But now that Neruda is dead
      no more such letters are written
          and they must play it by ear again -
                the high great song
                                in the heart of our blood & silence

Lawrence Ferlinghetti - Cuernavaca, 26 october 1975

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