Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lobster in the Rain

Space drools obsidian
On the mountains while I interact
With milk. I don’t really care for milk
But I do like sunlight
Served at room temperature
And this is how I became president
Of a fingernail. I think of orchids
And orchids appear in my mind
Somewhat crudely, like the drawers
In the bedroom filled with stratospheric
Underwear & the truth of crochet
Bursts like a balloon, shreds
Of plastic falling to the floor
Where they bounce into analgesics
Harvested from spider venom
Is there life on Mars? No doubt
There is a ghost hoeing the earth
Of a field near Walla Walla, Washington
Who smells of ceremonial resins
Smoked spices, burnt citrus, dry ice, quarry stone
Seaports, old flower petals, overripe fruit, spent fuel
And yesterday’s coffee. This is the ghost
Who was the first kid out of the house
To build a snowman. Sometimes fate
Feels like a turnstile
In apprehension of itself. Once I dropped a nail
And it sounded like an epitome
Edged with sawdust
Beside the white chickens. I need a haircut
Obviously, though the next time I decide
To construct a strawberry I won’t stir my brain
With a banjo but watch the dark genius of space
Arrive on a flatbed truck
Like a 2-ton stone of Chinese jade
And fall into consciousness slowly, like a gray sky
Flirting with the description
Of a lobster in the rain


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Liftoff at the Court of Versailles

The balloon was a 37,500 cubic feet sphere of sky-blue taffeta held together by 18,000 buttons, coated with a varnish of alum and decorated with flourishes of gold and the signs of the zodiac. The crew consisted of a sheep, a rooster, and a duck. They were placed in a small wicker basket attached to the balloon by cords of hemp. Each time one of them was placed in the basket, they promptly jumped back out, barely missing the open pit in which the fire crackled. Some grass, seeds, and worms were deposited in the basket which ultimately persuaded the crew to remain put.
King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette pinched their noses to block the stench of smoke, a mephitic blend of burning wool, fetid hay, and old shoes. It was assumed that the smellier the smoke, the more buoyant the craft.
It was a warm September day. Hundreds of people gathered about the great lawn of Versailles.
The fire crackled, the duck quacked, the rooster pecked at a worm. The sheep let out a long vibrant bah as the balloon rose higher and began to drift over the palace.
Heads tilted back. Voices murmured.
Sacre bleu! exclaimed Marie Antoinette.
The flight lasted approximately eight minutes, covered two miles, and obtained an altitude of about 1,500 feet.
The basket hung still as the balloon floated weirdly and majestically over the topiary of Versailles and thence into the rougher countryside, diminishing in size as it began a slow descent and landed at the carrefour Maréchal in the bois de Vaucresson. The sphere drooped like a wounded celestial body as the wicker basket glided over tremors of green grass and came to a stop.
It was to be expected that the duck, rooster and sheep would be transformed for better or worse after attaining such height, but they appeared quite normal when the first people gazed into the wicker basket. The duck quacked, the rooster crowed, the sheep baaad. The animals were fine.
What were the thoughts that the crowd took home with them that day? The mind has a light that delights to dance on its own suppositions. For this is the day that flight became possible, and free will shined louder in the vineyards, whose bounty, it was said, exceeded all records that year. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Incidents of Rubber

I lived in a garage in 1967
And then I moved to a bus
This is what poets do
They build parenthetical habitations
For their beads & spatulas
Their wonderful antagonisms
Their meaningful babble
Their velvet & lingerie
What is the harm in writing a poem
What is the harm in pursuing a life
Of writing poetry? It is simply this:
When we feel a rapier
Of purposeful
Purposelessness run through our guts
We know we’re on to something
Lethal. If you’re a poet who knows plumbing
Or law you will find acceptance
And the resistance of a metal
To denting. The dime shines
That is romantically awkward
Like a profession
When the abstractions become personal
And form is more than its content
It’s a consistency that cuts across the continent
Without leaving a trail of tears to secure
The idea of rope which is partially frayed  
Nor is it consummate like a stepladder
But acoustical like a railroad
Moving toward the sun
Of a particular feeling
Concerning Argentina. Vividness
Has a price. If the friction of life
Propels enough feeling that the water
Churns and the blood summons a purge
Then please join me in swallowing reality
And we will hum our favorite song of thread
Sewing our voices together in rhapsodies
Of something instead of nothing
I need a good camel
To the get to the end of the next sentence
And murder distance with a little velocity
Here is where the proverbs grow
In poverty & hardship & structures like oars
Bring us to the shore for a quick meal
And because the narrative necessitates a sag
In the bulk of time I will open a box
In the air & let the sounds find mouths
To say them, sing them, and otherwise snap
Into incidents of rubber 



Monday, February 23, 2015

Elevator to the Angels

I opened the closet door and there stood Eugène Ionesco lost among our clothes. I removed my coat and gave it to him and he kindly hung it up. Thank you, I said. Don’t mention it, he said. He exited the closet and sneezed and remarked on the art of hanging clothes, how it is haunted by so many prospects, so many hooks, and lends a certain tartness to life, à la the humble martini olive. Precisely, I said. This is the daily ceremony I look forward to every day, that and the glory of continuing my life as a Buffalo Bill impersonator, while I employ the arabesques of words to incarnate the tangle of the mind, and set forth on the prairie in search of stethoscopes and quail. So you write then as well, he asked. I answered humbly that I did. When water is vertical it becomes a waterfall, he said. Yes, I’ve noticed the same phenomenon, I answered. But what happens when we fall through ourselves into sleep? We fall into other worlds, he said. And these worlds are sometimes our salvation. How so, I asked. It is in dreaming that our narratives turn brisk and ultramarine and that our authentic selves leap into postulations of light and buy tickets to Paris. I’m frequently impelled by shoes, I said. But in my dreams, my shoes behave badly. They become prepositions and I can feel their leather creak with strange, metaphysical maps, notions of up and down that lose their meaning entirely, and I can go anywhere I want, which frequently entails flying. The interior of my skull is seized by a shiny, Pythagorean lust, and I need a camel to get across the desert, away from the chains of my brain, which smell of algorithms and creosote. When this happens I awake feeling clever and unconstrained, and this might last for a full twenty minutes, or until I get dressed. Once I am encompassed in my clothes again, the dream dissolves in a pink cloud of divinity. I make breakfast and prepare for the frictions of the world, which require structure and concentration. The table causes itself to press up to my hands and the infinite camaraderie of furniture become fugues of prophecy. I hurry to write descriptions of the greenhouse and experiences of hope and percolation that thicken into invention and understanding. I looked to see what my interlocutor would have to say of this, but he had gone. I checked in the closet. He wasn’t there. But sometime later as I prepared to go pick my wife up at work, an arm emerged from somewhere in the depths of the closet and handed me a soft, heavy coagulation of wool whose buttons of pearl and ivory smelled of accommodation, and whose sleeves accepted my arms like a meditation in silk. Thank you, I said. You’re welcome, came a voice from within the dark. Remember: you’re more than a coat, better than a shirt. Inside your clothes you’re naked. And that, my friend, is an elevator to the angels.


Friday, February 20, 2015

These Words

These words are dripping Delaware and these words are eating your eyes. These words are unpredictable and these words are clouds on Mars. These words are vomiting one another and these words are bouncing around in a palace of salt. These words have been harvested from the edge of night and these words smell of rum. These words are sticky and these words are cradled in philosophy. These words have one large blood red eye and these words have rails for the locomotive that is your blood. Blood is a word and so is locomotive. I’m looking for a good radio in which to put these words and golf my way through Switzerland drooling language like a locomotive full of blood. These words are grease marks and these words are looking for something to do. These words are vertical and these words are plunged in thought like a brass bell in a courtroom. These words are delicate as calculus and these words are twinkling in savory misunderstanding. I have harnessed some goldfish to these words as the Notre Dame walks through this paragraph plunged in verbal apprehension of itself. There is a headlight on these words and an ecstasy on Jim Morrison’s blue bus, which is eternal and photogenic, like a secretion. When I think about words I use words to think about words. These are those words. And when the words go their own way I tend to follow. I’m happy and lavender and follow them to the end of the world where proximity is an approximation and the planet rolls through its diversions, purposeless and prodigal as a dragon of dreadful lucidity spreads her gorgeous banjo wings and the empire of space carries a large red mouth in a small green jar.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Three-Way Bulb

I like math even though I suck at it
My arms promote the use of hands
As a warm climate climbs into me
And makes itself at home
I’m haunted by electricity
I don’t understand volts
Or amps but I do understand
Plugs and outlets
I speak with the pungency of fire
Don’t let me burn you
With the soft murmur of fruit
I’m only forming ideas
And ideas of form
A whisper of silver sewn into black
Like an insect crawling to the end
Of a branch and slamming the door
On my face. There are cinnamon twists
In the closet help yourself
No one else will
After the fog lifts it begins to snow
Quarks gurgle the density of experience
Can you hear it
It sounds like popcorn
In the fourth dimension
I wear the headdress of my nation
Which is an exaltation of larks
Coffee enlarges my consciousness
So that it no longer fits my head
I have to write it down
The luxury of pronouns allows this to happen
In the same way that delicate brushwork
Will tickle a jellyfish
How can I explain this paradigm
While I walk backward
With my eyes on stalks
Singing of ancient kings
If only to arrive at some form of conclusion
A sweeping generalization
So convincing that it may be mistaken
For a shirt. I withdraw into olives
And write a book of diamonds
Do not tease the tiger
Or you will be eaten
By remorse and these words
Are hungry for your full attention
I live in a country of endless war
Until we arrive at the border of death
And shavings of Parmesan cheese
Remind us of the good things in life
And the not so good things
Such as weeding & doing the dishes
I work in an olfactory
Membrane making smells
Appropriate to the human condition
I bring a cactus close to my face
And get to know it
Let this moment
Wrap around you like a stranger
Peaked roofs & a timbered façade
A singing nipple
And a white gazebo
Be careful I bruise easily
And this is my backyard
Gardens that flex their muscle
With artificial eczema
It is the turf of a northern climate
And these are the jottings of an old man
Examining his youth
Of lust & corruption
Like that of France
At the beginning of the Revolution
That are now just bits of truth
Contorted like pretzels
In the open light
Of a three-way bulb



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Banging on a Drum

How do you do I’m a poem
I jingle when I walk
And sweat calliopes of salt
As the metaphors begin to boil
And the words crash into one another
Describing sand. There is a club for this
And a punch to the belly
We live in an age of nincompoops
The mouth pleads for an amiable nose
And gets a sunrise instead
But that’s ok I like the feeling of light
Falling on a punctuation of hills
As the great engine of Bach
Makes the gears and wheels move
The peremptory provocations of age
Permit me to say things
Behind the garage
They say time is money
I say time is a sequined dragon
In a milieu of hallucination
Called language
An apparition washes over me
Like a spot of grease
Redolent of beautiful gloom
Sir John Falstaff arrives in a Cadillac
And takes us the rest of the way
To the frontier of the mind
Which is a mecca for nonsense
What else can you do
But plunge into life
And when death comes
Crawl into a cocoon
It’s fun and intensely athletic
To let yourself go
If this were a song it would sound like water
But it’s not it’s a pool of blood
Banging on a drum