I like walking on streets as black and wet as this one now, at two in the solemnly musical morning, when everyone else in this town emptied of Lestrygonians and Lotus-eaters is asleep or trying or worrying why they aren't asleep, while unknown to them Ulysses walks into the shabby apartment I live in, humming and feeling happy with the avant-garde weather we're having, the winds (a fugue for flute and oboe) pouring into the windows which I left open although I live on the ground floor and there have been two burglaries on my block already this week, do I quickly take a look to see if the valuables are missing? No, that is I can't, it's an epistemological quandary: what I consider valuable, would they? Who are they, anyway? I'd answer that with speculations based on newspaper accounts if I were Donald E. Westlake, whose novels I'm hooked on, but this first cigarette after twenty-four hours of abstinence tastes so good it makes me want to include it in my catalogue of pleasures designed to hide the ugliness or sweep it away the way the violent overflow of rain over cliffs cleans the sewers and drains of Ithaca whose waterfalls head my list, followed by crudites of carrots and beets, roots and all, with rained-on radishes, too beautiful to eat, and the pure pleasure of talking, talking and not knowing where the talk will lead, but willing to take my chances. Furthermore I shall enumerate some varieties of tulips (Bacchus, Tantalus, Dardanelles) and other flowers with names that have a life of their own (Love Lies Bleeding, Dwarf Blue Bedding, Burning Bush, Torch Lily, Narcissus). Mostly, as I've implied, it's the names of things that count; still, sometimes I wonder and, wondering, find the path of least resistance, the earth's orbit around the sun's delirious clarity. Once you sniff the aphrodisiac of disaster, you know: there's no reason for the anxiety--or for expecting to be free of it; try telling Franz Kafka he has no reason to feel guilty; or so I say to well-meaning mongers of common sense. They way I figure, you start with the names which are keys and then you throw them away and learn to love the locked rooms, with or without corpses inside, riddles to unravel, emptiness to possess, a woman to wake up with a kiss (who is she? no one knows) who begs your forgiveness (for what? you cannot know) and then, in the authoritative tone of one who has weathered the storm of his exile, orders you to put up your hands and beg the rain to continue as if it were in your power. And it is, I feel it with each drop. I am standing outside at the window, looking in on myself writing these words, feeling what wretches feel, just as the doctor ordered. And that's what I plan to do, what the storm I was caught in reminded me to do, to shake the superflux, distribute my appetite, fast without so much as a glass of water, and love each bite I haven't taken. I shall become the romantic poet whose coat of many colors smeared with blood, like a butcher's apron, left in the sacred pit or brought back to my father to confirm my death, confirms my new life instead, an alien prince of dungeons and dreams who sheds the disguise people recognize him by to reveal himself to his true brothers at last in the silence that stuns before joy descends, like rain.