Solipsist Interview-Zeb Blackwell

Q: Why do you not believe that other people’s minds exist?
A: It’s quite simple, really. I can be quite certain of my own existence – it’s the whole “I think, therefore I am” thing. But as for the existence of other minds, well, that’s a much trickier thing to prove. I can see that there are these funny-looking things that walk around and talk to me and generally do things that would indicate that they have minds like me, but I can’t really be sure. There’s nothing to distinguish my econ professor, for instance, from a robot that could pass the Turing test. Just because people act like they have minds doesn’t mean that they aren’t basically just machines responding to stimuli.

Q: But can’t you look in someone’s eyes when they’re hurting and see that they really feel that pain?
A: Furbies could make some pretty convincing displays of pain. People are just really complex Furbies.

Being half of more complete, single entities, humans suffer inherent and deep complications. On one hand, we strive for progress, perfection, knowledge, enlightenment, salvation, isolation and self-perpetuation, even immortality. We seek to be whole beings, safe from the vagaries of the constant search for another to complete ourselves. On the other hand, we seek to join with our opposite, procreate, exclude, claim, destroy and amass. At times, we may seek only one or the other of these states, but for the most part, we feel and act upon both at all times, dividing our energies between inherently inconsistent goals.
today.

today.

Denver Butson

A man standing at the bus stop
reading the newspaper is on fire
Flames are peeking out
from beneath his collar and cuffs
His shoes have begun to melt

The woman next to him 
wants to mention it to him
that he is burning
but she is drowning
Water is everywhere
in her mouth and ears
in her eyes
A stream of water runs
steadily from her blouse

Another woman stands at the bus stop
freezing to death
She tries to stand near the man
who is on fire
to try to melt the icicles
that have formed on her eyelashes
and on her nostrils
to stop her teeth long enough
from chattering to say something
to the woman who is drowning
but the woman who is freezing to death
has trouble moving
with blocks of ice on her feet

It takes the three some time
to board the bus
what with the flames
and water and ice
But when they finally climb the stairs 
and take their seats
the driver doesn’t even notice
that none of them has paid
because he is tortured
by visions and is wondering
if the man who got off at the last stop
was really being mauled to death
by wild dogs.

I Always Hoped You’d Stay - Ryan Avery

You were standing beside the road just like yesterday or maybe a week ago. Hands at your side and not looking my way. With a sigh I pulled over slow. Your head just as quick, eyes glazing over me in that “gray or blue” I can’t tell which, kind of way. Opening the door you climbed in and I devoured every detail. Your hair tied up, fingernails unpainted, lips pulled tight in a grim line. It wasn’t the first time that I wondered what type of kiss it would take. To soften them, not seduce. I noticed a new wound in your jeans and wondered who you were escaping the night it appeared.

We drove in silence, as ever before. Unlike our first trip when I flooded you with questions and comments, I had slowly subsided into silent altruism. Though I’m not sure which you preferred. The truck bounced with every change in the road. You held on tightly, staring straight ahead. Nothing was different, this trip was the same as everyone before. But I felt it, the tension. Even in your silence I could tell that this would be the last time I stopped for you. We pulled into the gas station. The abandoned one across from the grain elevator in town. You opened the door, grabbed your bag (which I had always admired for its colourful needlework) and stepped down out of the truck. You hesitated then, and I braced myself. “This will be the last time”, you mumbled, looking down at your feet.

You probably knew me by then. That I would do anything in a heartbeat. That I was ready for the late nights and the tears and the failed attempts only to try and try again until everything was finally ok. You only had to climb back in. I wanted to scream, to shout, to ask you why and where and who and when, but most of all hold you tight, a shield from all the heartache. Giving peace and destroying pain in one single surge of emotion completely dedicated to you.

But instead I just nodded, my lips tightened, imitating yours. A strange thing happened then. I half expected you to look up at me and explain it all. Indecision, maybe, flashed through your mind. However fate prevailed and you walked off. Turning the corner of the building without another word. I knew that I would never see you again. And it was awhile before I would be ok with that. 

Milos - Anis Mojgani

Let us take a sack of spray paint and spray paint over the paintings.
Lets dance through Paris;
kiss in the shadow of the louve,
crawl inside its windows,
scroll manifesto’s over its canvas’,
write morris’ code on the sculputers,
roll a sleeping bag on the floors to sleep inside of, tell one another a story by flashlight,
unearth everything from before,
burry each other inside the other,
feed grapes to the ants,
light fireworks in the fists of sleeping kings; kill a monarch.
Break back outside and find a world to do all these same things to;
up and upon against break the bricks, climb over them,
and when the sirens scream,
laugh aloud,hold my hand and run fast.
Run through the streets with me with a bunch of bottles,
a bucket of gasoline,
a mouthful of matches,
a pocket full of paintings and fresh faced batch of policemen to chase the fires we are lighting,
laugh on a shoulder of gold.
And I thought that the museums were cemetaries where the dead paid the wall to hold what we had so that we could walk through what we once were,
And children take their sculls to turn into gardens,
to pluck for forefathers and farther stars,
that on some nights resemble an armless mother praying for her arms to return.
Every tooth that we tear from our jaw to fling at the black gloved riot soldiers as another shadow that we are trying to lose.
Let every giggle be filled with lust; let us laugh this night away and I will fuck you like you were a prayer.
I could save me by having my mouth around you,
and I will hold you afterwards like you were the pullpit and I was the sky,
and this love that danced between that hardness was a telephone line of holiness that those two things spoke through.
Take me into your heart like I was a saint,
and you were a face of forgivenss blooming in a valley destined to sink further.
Be a river with me;
Be the storm;
the bend in the path;
the front porch; the heat in the south;
be a boot full of banjo strings;
a fist full of written songs;
a mouthfull of chocolate dust.
When they come to take us,
stab them between the eyes.
Do not take your hand from around mine.
Make a fist with the other, and punch spines like guilds, spit, sweat, kiss them like a grandmother. How will open mouthed terror love filled?
And when they come to cut out hair and ask to hear pennince come from inside us,
say with me loud and trembling,
but loud and clear that:
"I have already emptied myself. I kissed regret goodbye, took the hands of another backwards angel, and rode backwards into the rain"
When the hangman of morrow comes to hang the sun in its daily execution say this with me: “Sarah we are apples, our love is an apple; I’m unbuttoning my shirt; painting a circle over my heart, please… Just shoot straight.”

Epiphanies - Eric Allen Bell

All people operate from the same two motivations: to fulfill their desires and to escape their suffering.

Learning this allowed me to finally make sense of how people can hurt each other so badly. The best explanation I had before this was that some people are just bad. What a cop-out. No matter what kind of behavior other people exhibit, they are acting in the most effective way they are capable of (at that moment) to fulfill a desire or to relieve their suffering. These are motives we can all understand; we only vary in method, and the methods each of us has at our disposal depend on our upbringing and our experiences in life, as well as our state of consciousness. Some methods are skillful and helpful to others, others are unskillful and destructive, and almost all destructive behavior is unconscious. So there is no good and evil, only smart and dumb (or wise and foolish.)

Parade Day - Anis Mojgani

sign your name across my back
it is not the concrete poured into the foundation
that makes the buildings able to stand up everyday
but rather the words burned across their faces and feet
that some stranger loved them or loved themselves enough to do that
sign your name across my back
it aint the cinder in the timber
but the initials carved that break the trunk open
the tree flaunting its body
saying
look at me
look at what I got
somebody loved something hard enough to use a knife
look at what I got


I do not love you as if you were the salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.