Friday, February 15, 2008

The Game is Balance

It was a game of pool.

The discussion was about pool and will. Pool as a metaphor for the universe, you apply your will and then chaos results from which you must make some sense and continue forth to apply your will again.

The pool table is small.

“I always played better on the one in the basement.”

“That’s because you learn all the tricks on that table, the pocket that is on a slant, the dip before the side pocket, where the curves are. It’s bad for playing pool.”

“But good in other ways.”

There was once a pool table that sat in a place that we had made into a coffee shop. I would sit and serve coffee to the various people who came in, we would talk, we would drink coffee into the wee hours of the morning, and we would sometimes play pool. There would be live music, there would be friends. On a busy night we might even have ping pong going as well.

Sometimes the pool table became the center of attention for other reasons. There were parties of varying colors or flavors. There was the lanky tall black haired girl who I thought of as the Spider, whose lips were lovely when full and round and whose back arched prettily against the green felt of the table.

I still think of her when I play pool.

The game continued long after the first few shots. As the game progressed so did the selection of sticks. Connoisseurs don’t play the game with what is provided. Connoisseurs amass baggage, a collection of pieces that will make for the perfect game. You may have something in your particular bag of tricks that other players find loathsome and few appreciate. It’s part of the game.

Part of applying will.

Will is the stick, the rod, the shaft, the tempered injection of substantial control. Logic, practice, experience guide the use of will, chaos is what happens later. This was a night of will. The game continues.

The strikes are well placed and leave an impression on the table. One has to admire and think about the next move. Balance each hit to move towards the inevitable conclusion. Look carefully at what is made, the patterns, the shapes, the design that happens even in the chaos. It makes me think of math teachers from my youth who tried to convince me that there is math in everything; the fluid geometry of moving things.

There is math in motion here. The fluid motion of finding the connection among a work of movable patterns and making it take shape. Looking at that table after the first crack has broken up the particles on the surface and moved everything about. Where will it go. If I hit it here will it sink? Will it swim? Will it stop too soon?

How hard can I hit it before I break my stick? How long can I hit it before I lose my will?

The game is balanced after the first two rounds. Neither of us winning or losing, I choose to press on because I hate losing. Or maybe I just wanted to see what else could happen when the game is played to a conclusion.

But like any good game of pool there is no ending, just more shifting about of the chaos.

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