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(Tenured Radical)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Night falls in Ubud, and again at the Kokokan there's the rush of riverwater, the flames of the torches along the paths of the hotel, and the cool island air. I can still see palm fronds, but I've lost sight of the ducks that move all day from lily pond to riverside and back. Earlier, they were jabbing their heads hard into the pondwater, cleaning or eating, I'm not sure which.

A couple of hours ago I was at the Kokokan restaurant, leaning over the second floor balcony and looking at the sheety rain lit up by pond lights, the orange fish in the pond scooting about in the rain, the frogs with their wiggling gorges, the stone steps that curve a path across the pond, the fountain spilling lines of water from its basin's edges. Near the basin, a lizard basked in the glow of a thatched light.

A peculiar gamelan piece the restaurant plays and replays every night crept tonally about my head.

I recalled Saul Bellow's comment about death -- "It's when the pictures will stop." -- and I thought: This is a picture; one of the pictures. I like the way it's fading to black. I want to practice the blackness at the end of the pictures.