“Ask Hucksers”

“Ask Hucksters”

Ask hucksters what they want and wander
Through oblivion to the source of specious theories,
Forecasts, and teapot tempests; reliquaries
That confuse Gertrude and her latest husband are set to thunder
In the index of both their worlds. The times are now aligned
To spend, to risk the whole at will. In the end, what binds
All capital are not the markets but the printing press–refined,
Its produce consigned as wallpaper in the study, and echoes of 1939
Followed closely on the air, subterfuge and incidentals
In the immanent reign of night–note the accent from the fireflies
That given space and stage enough are harmless as butterflies
And the common moth, winged creatures, given credentials
In an incremental vacuum. “Where’s the luminary of the age,”
They say, to feast his pen on renewable rites of slavery and sages?

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3 responses to ““Ask Hucksers”

  1. So, take your best shot at explaining how I can read your work and come away with part of me full of meaning and another part of me wondering what I’ve just read means…

    I suspect I know–nay, I do know–yet would like to hear your explanation.

  2. You have a knack for asking questions the answers to which could fill volumes and so you’ll excuse me if I say that I am happy to answer to the best of my ability whatever the question, but having said that, it would take some time and space (in words) to answer. I know that you know that there are always the short and long answers to anything anyone can ask of anyone else. I would hope, at least, that you would receive anything I have to say about anything in that spirit. While there is a definite thrill and exhilaration, mentally, to the opportunity to exchanging ideas of such magnitude, still, at the same time, there are dangers to it that I am sure you know.

    I tend to use the phrase, “only a fool or a Prophet would attempt to answer such a question,” and of course, if this is true, then it does not bode well if I attempt any answer at all concerning my own writing since of course we both know that I am not a Prophet and neither are you. It does not mean that no answer can be forthcoming, but it does mean that both of us are possibly dealing with fire when in fact both of us are in the process of attaining to the light. It is the light that matters; fires of all kinds pale in the light of the sun. Even after sunrise, the smoke of a fire may for a time seem to choke out the light, but it only seems that this is possible; ultimately, no fire rivals the light of the sun in brilliance or longevity for long. By the same token, no answer even about my own thoughts on any subject imaginable can last for long without suffering the same fate as fire next to the light of the sun, itself; our protection from each other is that we both know Who the Sun of Reality is in this day.

    If in fact I, myself, find myself in awe [risking the odour of arrogance] of whatever I have managed to say or write about the reality of life in this world, then it follows that anyone else’s reaction to it would be somewhat the same. In one way or another, everything I have written makes sense and provides a certain joy to my own soul in reading or rereading whatever and whenever that may be; at the same time, I have a certain wonder, myself, when I am reading what I have written, at just how the hell I arrived at what I have written and where I get off in expressing myself in this or that way; I have the same caution within myself concerning my own vanity that you must have when writing and so I suspect you already know the answer to any question you may have as to how the “truth” of whatever it is that is the result of my own experience in life possibly appears to match your own, and, at the same time what, exactly, does one do with whatever the mutual observation of experience whether I am the one who wrote about it and you happened to have read it or, conversely, the other way around. There is an obvious joy in sharing experiences of the light in this world, and, at the same time, no one can deny that there is a certain warmth, even an especial thrill in sharing the warmth of a fire or the proceeds of fireworks. Notwithstanding the brilliance of the sun, candles, bonfires, and fireworks can be beautiful.

    The short answer to your last question is that I amaze myself continually with what has at last, after all these years, either been allowed to ferment to produce a somewhat intoxicating brew or gathered from careful distillation from either knowledge gained or experience gleaned from the banality of my own undistinguished life. At the same time, as must by definition or default be true, whatever it is that makes for value in all I’ve learned or experienced is equally mysterious and obvious, both, at the same time to my own mind and heart as it would be to anyone exposed to the same. I suspect this is true of any spiritually or mentally healthy soul living, and without the “mysterious” portion of the equation, again, there is the danger of some sort of separation between the virtues and attitudes, attributes and blessings received in living and their Source, a separation that inevitably leads to the decay of the same and ultimately forms the foundation of every vice known to mankind.

    Because we are both Bahá’ís, and both about the same age, it follows that to some extent, one of the hidden values of having turned to the Manifestation of God for the Day in which we live is this very sane and solid security that no matter how brilliant either of us may be, we are nothing, if not servants to His Manifestation, and that “holding on to the cord” is in fact a matter of life and death at all times while still breathing on this planet. Yes, you understand what I have written, and, at the same time, yes, it is true that I am no more enlightened about what the hell it means than you are. No matter whom the writer or whom the reader, so long as we are protected from one another by a Force or Reality greater than either of us put together and the combined forces of both our intellects, we need not fear going down the drain, individually, on the one hand, or harming one another, collectively, on the other. We simply are what we are.

    Of course, I would hope that what I have written suffices to some extent, but then, at the same time, you must know that given the depth of questions either of us would ask of this world or of each other, we should know, after over six decades breathing with not that much time left to either of us until the finish line that nothing we could say or do about what either of us has written really matters except insofar as it pleases God; His acceptance in and of itself is mysterious and thank God none of us ever arrives at absolute truth and lives to tell the tale. Treatment of all the Messengers, Prophets, and Manifestations of God attest the truth of this and most of them definitely told the tale but were terminated by humanity for doing so. There are many in this world who simply cannot accept this possible indictment, but I doubt that either of us are of that ilk. “Servitude,” not “command,” is the perfection of the Kingdom of Creation and both of us have been privy to exposure to this most wonderful teaching in none less than the Person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Himself.
    The only thing I might add in anything like a brief answer to your question is that I have the distinct impression that in all the arts, just as in the sciences, there is a kind of Janus Effect, a piece of whatever it is that is produced that looks backward, beginning with a perception of the present through to what is anyone’s notion of the past, clearly, and, at the same time, a sometime source of vision or inspiration distilled in one way or another from a given impression of the present, again, but in the other direction, toward the future. The mere stating of the possible existence of such a view is in itself, as you say, a “best shot at explaining how,” anyone, “can read your work and come away with part of me full of meaning and another part of me wondering what I’ve just read means….” It can be no more than this because of course the raw materials for truth are always interpreted by any of us and in this interpretation there is the maxim that it is just that, an interpretation of something outside the bailiwick of one’s own self whether that interpretation is of something produced or induced by a fellow soul or the Manifestation of God, Himself. We are all in the same boat here. Dickenson as clear to me as she is mysterious; Frost is just as definite as he is vague; truth is just as relative as it is absolute, and the best that any of us can do while in interaction with one another is to refresh and reinforce the memory of this sort of acceptable paradox. Individually, we exist “to know Thee and to worship Thee,” and apparently we need to repeat this principle as all Bahá’ís do with the Obligatory Prayers; collectively, on the other hand, we have all been created “to carry forth an ever-advancing civilisation.” These twin raisons d’être obviously are not mutually exclusive, but at the same time, neither are they all that easy to understand when viewed simultaneously. At least, from where I sit, I have found the bringing of the two together to be a very tight squeeze at all times since the day I was born.

  3. Whoot!! “…our protection from each other is that we both know Who the Sun of Reality is in this day. ”

    You’ve supplied me with the perfect images for my own contemplation of my writing: “Notwithstanding the brilliance of the sun, candles, bonfires, and fireworks can be beautiful.”

    Amen to this: “…there is the danger of some sort of separation between the virtues and attitudes, attributes and blessings received in living and their Source, a separation that inevitably leads to the decay of the same and ultimately forms the foundation of every vice known to mankind. ”

    Blazing Wisdom!!! : “No matter whom the writer or whom the reader, so long as we are protected from one another by a Force or Reality greater than either of us put together and the combined forces of both our intellects, we need not fear going down the drain, individually, on the one hand, or harming one another, collectively, on the other. We simply are what we are.”

    All I can add to your fulfilling response to my impossible question is that the “worship Thee” half of our individual Obligation can be realized in our attempts to help “carry forward an ever-advancing civilization.”

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