“Everything is only a metaphor. There is only poetry.”
— Norman O. Brown
The coffee water is heating. The air conditioner is a steady hum. The night hums, too. With your dreaming, and mine, and a fat moon above us all. I pinch myself to stay awake. Talk to myself, and you. I make — with eyes and hands that rhyme, rulers and scissors and tools precise enough to chart a course for the moon — a poem, this page. Its symbols are obvious; its lines are straight, or not. I pay attention to the details. I swim, and splash, in them. If they carry me out, my sail is ready. Your hot air won’t fool me. I won’t fool myself. Asked what this magazine “is about,” I’d rather splash than drown you. We’ve been lifted and smashed by too many waves. Our bodies need mending, not labels.
I was “political” before I was “spiritual.” Now, I’m just alone here at night. “We are in training to be nobody special,” writes Ram Dass. “And it is in that nobody-specialness that we can be anybody.” This magazine is nothing special. I’m its editor, and understand its nothingness better than anyone. It is no more these pages, or the people who write for it, than you are your body, or the face you turn upon yourself and the world.
Tell me what that face “is about” and I’ll tell you what this magazine “is about.” I used to struggle to define it, and myself. But at 3 a.m. I’m no one’s editor, just these eyes and hands making it straight. My offering. But it’s no sacrifice. Is giving birth a sacrifice? A labor, yes, and a joy — but what is there to sacrifice? My “free” time? It’s free only if I’m not caught in the illusion that time is mine. Sleep? I’ve been asleep for years. I’m stirring now, waking to feel my own nakedness, smell my own smell. My eyes are open and the dream continues: this magazine was a miracle from the start. It took $50 to get it going and the office was the front seat of a jalopy. The first issue printed so badly we gave it away. When it came time to sell the next one, I stood dumbly on Franklin Street, too embarrassed to say a word. I was ready to go home and forget the whole thing when my friend Henry came by. Sensing my predicament, he grabbed the magazines from my hand and began shouting at passersby. This embarrassed me even more, so I snatched them back and began my own, gentler, pitch.
See how it curves: this issue was printed on our own press, by Scott Craddock, whom I didn’t know until a month ago, when he picked me up hitchhiking. At the time, I was shopping for a used press, with more naivete than money. Now, thanks to Scott, The Sun has a press, and a printer who’s too much of a perfectionist to be satisfied with this issue.
So we proceed, by misstep and miracle, our voice deepening, mellowing, discovering its own hidden resonances. The press sings louder than any of us now, throaty and able: never mind the off-notes, we’ll learn to harmonize. That’s what we’re about.