Having my way with Ulysses

Separating forces.

A god limited in his omniscience and of his acts, and creating things that lead to horror. He is a . . . sick god, whose ambitions exceed his powers and who does not realize it at first. A god who has created systems or mechanisms that served specific ends but have now overstepped and betrayed them. And he has created eternity, which was to have measured his power, and which measures his unending defeat.2:09 am

Anagrams of names: Uslessly wishy-washy, smug vanity. Try this one on, as kinetic poetry it will invoke either desire or loathing:

Nova coin tinker,
(Akin to conniver!)
Can’t invoke iron?
Crave ion, not ink:
A rock invention.

See? Feel it? That ain’t desire. Shall we try for something more esthetic? Something static, that we might arrest our minds (put a pin in that!) just enough to feel ourselves freely rising above desire and loathing without fear of floating away. Words that say you are mine, the world is mine.

You are mine. The world is mine.
The world is mined. You are mined.
You are mind. The world is mind.

Too Stanislaw Lem? Perhaps we should stick to mental poetry, otherwise we are not gods but tinkers.

Looking back now in a retrospective kind of arrangement all seemed a kind of dream.

I danced over the water, I danced o'er the sea, and all the birds in the air couldn't catch me.1:43 am

It’s all lit up now, but try explaining to people more invested in my marriage than I was, and there were plenty of them, surprisingly. It was the oddest thing. Don’t get me wrong, he was a nice enough guy, just not up to scratch. A diamond in the rough somebody nice said. Yeah, I could see that. Going to be a diamond.

Looking forward in a prospective kind of arrangement I saw sparkling things, an illuminated life filled with art and philosophy. He was a talented musician despite having never heard of mathematics. Well he had three chords and the truth, so that’s all you need baby, that’s all you need. And if you have more than three chords and fewer truths than the truth? Then you still have >=< so that’s ok: it evens out. Well, to be fair, he did often speak the truth, he’d just leave out the jucy parts. And consider. Just think what he could be, given the proper pressure. But without the only effective kind of pressure (of the self inflicted variety) coal lumps don’t turn into diamonds. Natural forces, not artificial, or you end up with a drunk ass cubic zirconia. A drunk ass cubic zirconia is not as good as a lump of coal. And a fine lump of a coal all the same. I liked the lump of coal.

Now let me tell you about being Peruvian, or half so. I can’t tell you much because I don’t know that much about it, but as a half Peruvian and a half Canadian and half Swedish, via half German, who was caught mingling in there with the half Scottish who was half Ulster, and as it turns out not half French (the half German half Swede, not the half Scottish half Ulster) but half Jewish in disguise. Oh yeah and half Dutch in there somewhere. I thought the Swedes and the Germans would be neck in neck, but for the Dutch to pop up was a twenty to one shot at least. So that’s being half American. But only half, the other half’s Peruvian. And types like us: the passionate abandon of the south, casting every shred of decency to the winds, wouldn’t do things by halves. What is the half life of real love existing between married folk supposing another man? Now, I had loosened many a man’s thighs but never when I was in a relationship. Then I was loyal and loving and after the first I’d say two months of sex it settles into lots of god knows what and no sex. In these situations other men, no matter who, take on a what do you call it gossamer quality. See right through them. But. And it’s a big but. No wait, that was the lump of coal. Ha! Sorry. The hemispheres on him! Haha! Just had to. You know. A big butt! Whooo. Let me catch my breath! Oooh. That felt good. When were we? Oh yeah. Butt. I am so trying not to laugh. Butt. Butt butt butt. Ok. Ok. So funny. Butt.

Sounds are impostures, like names.

This never changes.1:11 am

Well hello darling, what’s your name? What do they call you, honey? I’ve been called plenty, I can tell you. Here’s a list:

  1. Veronica. My first name. After some delay possibly whispered to me with kissing and disappointed relief. Perhaps sung to me by Mamáma or The Maids.
  2. Virginia. My older by two and a half years sister’s name. Mine too when my mother yelled it.
  3. Ronnie. My American grandfather’s name for me. His name for loving me. Don’t call me that. Only Grampa can say my sweetest name. His mouth saying his my name says I was something a bit different for him than anybody else was. So only him, yeah? Nobody gets to call me that call me Veronica. Don’t you come any closer. I never should have said. So now get out please. Go.
  4. Vicki. Great. My bully. My mortal enemy. The only other girl in my grade when we moved to Colorado and we both have V names which people found interchangable, even in an isolated mining town.
  5. Scrawny Ronnie. I was tiny. Don’t call me Ronnie.
  6. Vero — My mother would scream this at games in which if I had not been coerced into joining the team there would not have been enough of us to play. Go Vero!
  7. Bero — The way Vero sounds to American ears whose mouths called me that too.
  8. Bennie — Timed typing. Maybe six of us. Mr. Stroh behind his novel saying on the count of three one click two click click clack. Who’s cheating? It was Veronica. No it wasn’t it was James. Shut up Benedict! Benedict Arnold was a traitor not a cheater and to betray you I’d have to be aligned with you which I’m not. Veronica, load a new piece of paper. Hey let’s call her Bennie. It wasn’t me; it was James.
  9. Victoria — Nobody called me this in my home town. The town had one Vicki and one Veronica one Virginia and one Valerie. No Victoria and never any confusion.  In college the unsure of my name called me Victoria.
  10. Vern — College Friend: Hey Vern, know what I mean? I didn’t like it and then I did like it. This became my name.  Hi, my name is Vern.  Everybody calls me Vern.
  11. Vernie. Close friends, mostly in college, mostly females but for Tod where the hell is he? Who disappears in the information age? But Tod is only one of his what’s in a names and I can’t find him under any of them.
  12. Um. Coined by students finding Veronica too impersonal and Doctor or Professor Robertson or Browning or Tonkin too formal.
  13. Verne — Sounds the same as Vern. But the sound I hear from my inlaws’ mouths is spelled differently in South Africa. Verne is what they say when they say Vern.
  14. Maria — My middle name. Not my middle name.
  15. Robertson Gonzales Reyes — The names I was born with, a portion of which feels foreign and awkward next to my other names, depending on the speaker’s hemisphere of origin.
  16. Robertson — My first last name I used. Much more simple in America to think and not be required to speak the Gonzales Reyes part.
  17. Gonzales Reyes — My silent names.
  18. Browning — The name I never wanted. I stayed Robertson for over a year. Then I found the last thing my husband had been lying about. He was so relieved. I had stepped closer to the meanings behind the sounds of his names. The great burden of being known only partially had lifted from his shoulders and landed on mine like a toad on my shoulder. Whispering names in my ear. So I changed my name. It would help.
  19. Robertson — It did not help. I was Browning for maybe eight months. I was Browning when I finished my degree. Dissertation submission paperwork, should I write Robertson? I sent in Browning. And by the time I got Robertson back I didn’t want it anymore. The Robertsons had shown me their meanings behind their sounds too.
  20. Tonkin —  I love my Tonkins. I am an imposter Tonkin, so I am free to invent Tonkin history. Tonkins are good at hard things, I tell my children. And so they are.
  21. Bitch Cunt Whore Baby Babe Honey Sugar Sweetie Darlin Little Filly. Please feel free to add to this list. I know who I am to me. I want to know who I am to you. We all do.

Who am I and what is this and when?

Putting truth and untruth together a shot may be made at what this hybrid actually was like to look at.14:14 pm

Nostra. Our. We. I think about that word sometimes.  Dante doing Borges and I.  Borges doing Dante and I.  Joyce does Shem the Penman and I in Finnegans Wake (but every honest to goodness man in the land of the space of today knows that his back life will not stand being written about in black and white) and whatever other colors you got.  Veronica Maria Robertson Gonzales de Reyes. Changed it to Veronica Tonkin.  Most people call me Vern.  But Veronica Maria Robertson Gonzales de Reyes was what it was until we moved to the States and people don’t have so many names here.  I didn’t have this name at the start, understand, they didn’t have my name picked out right away.  And as an aside which might be somehow related to the acquisition of my name, my parents referred to the day I was born as the night my dad killed the general.  I’ve asked.  More than once.  I got side stories and whatever else  I could get when they’d switch over to Castellano.  With a little symmetry under the cemetery wall I was born at 14:14 pm, so whatever else went down happened later that night.  There was some catastrophe going on in that I was supposed to be a boy so they never imagined a girl name.  Didn’t think one up.  But worse than having no name, they had no earrings.  There I am a girl and no earrings.  So you can imagine.  It must have been chaos.  There was never any doubt they were getting a boy; the opposite possibility never crossed their minds.  This was before finding out early, you understand.  I was supposed to be a boy because that is how it was supposed to be.  But, besides the complication of no penis so no earrings and no name.  There was, remember, the matter of the possible slaying of some sort of general at the hands of my father.  My uncle was a general.  But he survived my birth.  And I don’t know if he was a general yet.  He commanded the Peruvian army at some point.  War with Ecuador.  Cars with armed escorts.  This was all long before he went to America with his cancer dying in what was that hospital?  East coast somewhere.  My mother didn’t go.  But the night after the afternoon on the day I was born, my father killed the general.  And I didn’t have a name. I don’t know for how long, it was a blank period.  Not a lot of time passed, I’m guessing, but try telling that to a newborn.  Even two hours is everything.  All there is and was and has been and none of those things matter.  What is there of time at the start?  At that moment of the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, what is it like?  I forget.  So I didn’t have a name for I’m now guessing a long time.  They wanted names that were spelled the same in Castellano and in English.  My sister already had one. Virginia Maria. Virgin Mary if you really want to translate; try living up to that one, girls.  She did what she could.  Me?  Why Veronica?  My uncle the general who survived the day of my birth had a thing for Veronica Lake.  You know the one, silver screen blonde hair covering one eye.  Sexy.  Ended up an alcoholic prostitute, and lost it a bit upstairs toward the end.  Imagine a spectrum starting with the Virgin Mary to no end point.  I did what we could.  Me.  Vern and I.  That’s me in the picture writing us.