original introduction

original introduction


This is what we’re up to now. I can’t say much more at the moment. It isn’t how I envisioned it. I spend a little time each day in a wind tunnel, talking into the fat swirling air. I’d thought being an author would be different. I’d thought it would connect me to myself and to others and the back and forth echoing would grow my wise strength and theirs. But so far I just look over the smooth black basalt cliffs, sometimes accidentally knocking loose a handful of pebbles. They fall down and jar against loose rectangle-cut chunks. I hear them bumping and clamoring down the soft, tender, delicate,–why, almost chalky!–,uneven sides. But apparently the down-below’s so far down below that I can’t hear what becomes of the stones I loose. I hope no one is down there. The whole thing is terrible. Very discouraging. Prometheus in chains for I know not why. No one to talk to. Nothing to do.

I thought I’d do this project to stand up straight inside myself before it is too late and the armadillo inside me succeeded in curling me up into a tight little ball. That balling-up instinct is often the salvation of these strange, hairy, leather-plated, rodent-faced little marsupials (scientifically speaking these animals are mammals, but the feel more like marsupials, so their poetic classification is “marsupial”), but for a human soul it is purgatory–at best, purgatory at best. Walled around yourself, shielding yourself like you tried to do when:

I remember that now. Suddenly the fear would grip you and you had to get a blanket and put it around your back and lie on the floor–somehow there’d be a blanket within reach (no wonder! the room lacked rigor, it was–quite frankly–strewn all over itself), so you grabbed the mutli-blue patch-cotton blanket and lay paralyzed with fear and dread, hopelessly defending yourself with a few square yards of cloth. Of course, as there was no threat, a blanket was more than sufficient and the act a display of the most shameful cowardice. How glad I am to not be the wimp in this tale, but merely the distant chronicler, who–thoughtful eyed (rolling up and over the wide-opened eyelids and accompanied by a slight cocking of the head and a wide, squished “let’s carry on as best we can, shall we?” grimace)–can only wish the pathetic hero and his loser readership all the best–all the best in the world to all of you! God help ye!, all the best to ye!

But so anyway, as you may or may not know, I’m selling Pure Love. I buy it in cheap bundles from pleasant peasantries who work long cheery hours in mud, dirt, sand, or dried mud–depending on the climate and season. Barefoot and straight-teethed, they laugh and chat in sporty bright-colored T-shirts fabricated in slightly richer economic regions by sadder sorrier more bone-tired poor folk, bounced through a first world lust-buy-use-discard cycle, and finally landing on their innocent, hard-working, sundrenched backs (obviously, “sundrenched” is climate specific and doesn’t describe all my suppliers; but then again T-shirts as terminal-shirts already suggests warm weather, so clearly the author–right or wrong, right or wrong, nothing to see, move along–chose to here leave the general case for the particular, to swap intellectual clarity for experiential nearness). For these computer-free folk life is a joy. Considering a heart swelling with happy love normal, they seriously underestimate the value of their love; so I–conscientious capitalist that I am–swoop in from the big, polluted, fire-breathing city to buy Pure Love at rock bottom prices.

Just kidding. And please forgive my enlistment of the Noble Savage mythology. Although, there does sometimes seem to be something to certain types of simpler lifestyles–unless I completely mistake the evidence, which I’ve scarcely perused.

No, what I actually do is make Pure Love atom by atom in great Pure Love fusion towers. Of course, an atom of Pure Love is itself Pure Love, and pushing one atom of Pure Love into another may or may not make an infinite explosion of Pure Love, but even if it does, Pure Love is already an infinite radiation, so really nothing’s gained. Unless!: the explosion allows Pure Love to be better felt by human observers just as a nuclear bomb allows humans to better feel how much energy is stored inside of a few atoms.

But that science is all weird and distorted. I must be joking! I must be kidding.

So how do I procure the Pure Love that I sell?

People, let’s admit it: Pure Love is already there everywhere, or we’re all so lost we can’t even coherently say “Pure Love is not already there everywhere” (for without Pure Love already there everywhere, what meaning is left to our longing for clarity, happiness, and goodness?; and without a meaning to that longing, what do any of our feelings or ideas really mean–I mean to us, to us humanfolk). Some say that we humans are but stardust. Some say we’re the playthings of the gods and/or the fodder of the mindless earthen munch-munch. Some say we’re the special allies of the one God–or at least we ought to be. Some say we’re neither being nor nonbeing. All those talkers’ talk poetic; but some poems are truer than others: some poems estimate what is prior to ideas and feelings (a deep, wide “sense of things”) into words better than others. For me, I like and believe in the poem that says Pure Love is all there is and Pure Love is bleeding through everything, claiming everything for Itself. Do I know it’s true? Mmm. I know it more fundamentally than any emotional or intellectual reason to doubt it (what is the point of bothering with either skeptical or dogmatic thoughts if truth and goodness don’t for sure matter?).

Enough–you know who I am: Bartleby Willard, the lonely fool who refuses to leave Wandering Albatross Press, and who, together with Andy Watson, writes labyrinthine odes to the great Something Deeper, the Great God that creates, sustains, and shines through everything–the Formlessness within which all forms inhere. I am also the author of two books currently evolving on From-Bartleby.com: “Love at a Reasonable Price” and “Diary of an Adamant Seducer”. The former is tales mostly about fictional characters buying and selling Pure Love. The latter is this book that I am here introducing: a history in real time of Wandering Albatross Press.

I am selling you Pure Love as best I can. Forgive me where my poetry slips and betrays my stated purpose. Help me to push against such evils; pray all day long for me and you and the rest of us; and for the wisdom to create and understand poetry in a way that brings us closer and closer to the True Good, the Godlight, the Way. Our time is short, but our reach is long; we are human beings, the ones who keep on coming.

Bartleby Willard,
Somewhere across the Seven Seas
Cooling Down and Nigh to Closing Out 2015

Witnessed by his editor, Andy Watson

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