I saw an Ouija board at a vintage store, Artifact, on Division Street in Portland Oregon. The board looked guileless and abandoned. Then I found myself thinking about the composer John Cage and the poet James Merrill. Merrill wrote Changing Light at Sandover in homage to an Ouija board; Cage composed Music of Changes sparked by the I Ching. Both strategies seemed jejune to me. I never resonated with Merrill’s poems, they aren’t especially visceral, and though I admired Cage for many reasons, the I Ching, no less than the Ouija Board, seemed like artifice to me. I prefer messy representations drawn from the frieze of memories and associations, coupled with the serendipity of human consciousness.

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