Sunday, December 10, 2017


We must be careful not to punish the whim or wham the whim with whatnot. The whim within, the whim without, the whim whom folly molds in wobbly wonder. The whim of whims, which is a worldly whim, and is whimful with whimfallity. The inscrutability of the whim is notably willy-nilly. The whim whims to whim itself. The boil of the whim loiters in ham. The whimsical whim has goose whimples. To ogle a whim is to whim oneself into whimsiness. Heideggerian whims hold Being as it moves toward the shore in ripples of time. Whipples of Rhyme that rim the whim in lime. The whim, the great whim, the whim of whims, is whittles and wheels. The wink of the whim is tender. The lion of whims is wholesome and wide. The whale is awash in whim. The whim is full of mirth and mirth is a mirror of life. The whim protects the mileage of the old. The solutions of whims merge on the play of isms. The philosophy of the whim is puzzling but suggests a superstructure of moose antlers. The shortcake whim is a bolt in the door of time. The whim that is wisdom is a wiliness of whims. The guava whim, the jerk whim, the hallelujah hallway haphazard whim. Synthetic whims do not work. They decline into checkers. The true whim is an outcropping in polite society, intrinsically fluid, thermodynamically preposterous. Ladies and gentlemen, we stand at the end of empire, cradling whims in our thoughts, holding to them dearly, as newly ordained codicils to a rip tide of fools.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thermodynamics As A Community Of Nouns

Antiques guarantee the gravity of the blowtorch. The welder lifts his helmet and nods to the apparitions dancing on the walls. The zoom lens moves in on stilts. Our tour begins its journey of unicorns and broccoli. Clouds scudding through the sky inform us of feelings yet to be felt, celebrations yet to be celebrated, funerals prophesied in the guts of frogs, tendrils of sinister cloud hanging down from the heavens like twisting anacondas of hell’s colorful aristocracy.
Is life a simulacrum of somewhere finer and better, or is this it, is this the sleep from which we must awaken? Puddles return the sky to itself after all the water that has fallen out of it. Isn't that what writing is? What words are? A refund, a redemption, items from a lost and found, sad, enigmatic objects with stories to be told?
You can masturbate almost anywhere. But try to be discreet. Sometimes all you need is a sack in the hand and a destination in mind to survive the hazards of impulse. If you manage to keep your pants up, the world will reveal the magic of espionage. Let us tromp through the world like God’s spies, quiet, unassuming blokes boiling with paradigms and saints, temperamental philosophers painting despair on the good soft linen of our redundancies.
My gaze sometimes turns to the mouthwash on the counter and stays there, lost in that beautiful blue of the liquid, cool and divine.
Who was the first human to say ‘water’? And what was their word? Their word for water. In Norwegian vann. German wasser. Zulu amanzi. Welsh dŵr. Vietnamese nước.
Tôi muốn đi bơi.
Or, as Hegel put it, Die Externalisierung des Willens als subjektiver oder moralischer Wille ist Handlung.
This plywood is nascent. That is to say, the spice is in the rack, and the senses are aroused. The revolution snaps into place and everything begins to look seaworthy. The embryo of a novel crawls into its pages and begins to evolve. Characters develop, ideas are floated, a cake is baked, pleasantries are exchanged. The world crackles as it turns in space. Virtues are decided. The novel ends with a symposium on perception: is it true that we all see things differently?
And no.
Night glitters in its empire. The horses jingle in their bells. The concept of property decays in its archaisms. What is it to own something? Is it simply to exclude others from the use or enjoyment of something, or is there an actual bond, a eucalyptus hardened against the vagaries of the sidewalk? I am silver in my reflections, but platinum at my wedding. Audacity talks a good game but in the end it all comes down to pineapple. Yellow winds bronze the face of history. Pharmaceutical concerns are packed in cotton. The cows are built with kettledrums. Fog rolls in. The light turns red. We hear a faint music in the background. I lean forward to kiss you.
Still here? Still reading? Thank you.
All it takes is a puff or two to blow the little hairs off of the computer screen.
Nothing is really empty. Not even nothingness is empty. This is what makes Mallarmé so unpredictable. Lightning riddles the conjurations of his words. Galaxies hurl through the room proposing an end to pain. I find a wilderness in my skull teeming with resurrection when I shave. Why resurrection? What is not brought back when we most think it dead? Gone and buried? Nothing dies. Energy can neither be created or destroyed. It just assumes different forms. It stumbles into a flint and becomes a spark. It merges with traffic and becomes a horn. It flings itself into moonlight and becomes a trout. It is expressed in numbers. It becomes calculus. It becomes chalk on a blackboard. Nipples and ripples and wildly expressed panaceas.
Splendor, glory, magnificence and softball.
Hardball is different. Hardballs are stitched by hand and have a round cushioned cork center. I mention this because embroidery only enters the picture later, when there is time for discussion, and no one needs to be goaded or tilted in order to talk. There is a loud whack and the ball bounces to left field where it is caught by a pterodactyl and carried to the end of this sentence and dropped.
I pick it up and hear a giant monotony walking around inside of it. Cork. Or Corky, if you prefer. Consider the sport healed at last. A line drive to first will simply be a luminous stream of consciousness that might be talked about later, when it’s quiet and the crowds have gone home. There is a cure for the clarinet as well. But it must be taken in abstract form or there is a tendency to smear the air with drums. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Slow Henry

I like the light bulbs in the bathroom. The little bulbs at the top rim of the mirror. Where it begins in the morning. My face. That person standing in the brightness wandering how it all began, where did it all go, why is there something rather than nothing? How much longer before the artic ice disappears? Before we all disappear?
A lot of us hope that doesn’t happen. But you can’t stand on hope.
Hope is nonsense. I don’t like hope. It sets you up for disappointment. It swarms with delusion.
I offer, as an alternative, dispensation. I can’t give it to you. I don’t have that kind of authority. Not even in a place like this, which isn’t a place so much as a process. But I leave it here at your doorstep as a suggestion. A proposal. An invitation.
There are times, I think, when thinking makes things emerge, all that energy in the brain, whatever one chooses to call it, does sometimes produce a helpful image, a furnace, an athanor, a Slow Henry, as the alchemists called it. There are experiences and translations of those experiences. Distillations, sublimations, compounds. One can make of the world a loom of golden parables. A bonfire. A surf. A thunderous pounding of water on a sandy beach in Tabatinga.  
Lumber, at the very least. Planks of pine and oak in a drafty building.
I think I’m a carpenter who builds things with ink, and the next thing you know, I’ve created a birdhouse of words, a wordhouse.
Ok, maybe that’s not just a good example. It’s a nice wordhouse, as wordhouses go. Why abuse it with rumination? The glow of a hinge in the hodge-podge of the ponderous shines forth to inform the senses of phenomena begging description and definition.
Is why.
Am I negligent? I try not to be. I try to be careful. I try to notice things. I try to notice what I’m doing. Even though, much of the time, I don’t know what I’m doing.
Sometimes I see Herculean colors fissioning in the pretext of a sunflower and amalgamate it into a heliotrope.
Drugs can be adjectives. Adjectives can be excursions. Excursions can occur on water. Water can be random. Water loves being random. Though I think it’s a mistake to arbitrarily attribute self-awareness to water. Water is water. Sloppy. Like me. Who is 60% water.
If mistakes were money I’d be a millionaire. This is why I believe singing belongs in an elevator. My singing. Which is strange and full of experience. You can’t boycott experience. Experience just happens. I was born to be a comma.
The lobster has a weird body. But it’s not the fault of the lobster. It is the responsibility of the lobster to be a lobster, to eat what a lobster needs to eat to continue being a lobster, take some time out to reproduce, make more lobsters, bring more lobsters into the world, in whatever manner lobsters have devised for themselves to reproduce. And what makes the body of the lobster weird to me? These are simply my perceptions. I’m sure that my body is weird to the lobster. If (as one might assume) the lobster has any sense of what might be an anomaly, an anatomical eccentricity, then certainly the lobster will perceive the human body as extraordinary. Skin, for example, might seem strange to a lobster, adorned as it is in a carapace equipped with claws and antennae. It’s hard to think what a lobster thinks. Meanwhile, I listen to the Rolling Stones sing “Blue Turns To Gray,” which has little to do with lobsters and everything to do with feeling troubled, feeling uneasy, feeling unsatisfied.
I’m tangled up in gray. I squeeze the morning sun. The Beast hands me a shaker of salt. The horizon splits the day from night. I feel eloquent as a speed bump.
I belong to a strange group of people called poets. Imagine being immersed in an activity with no commercial potential. Abstraction feeds on reverie. I keep feeding abstraction. Abstraction plays comparisons into prospect. The whipped cream articulates the rhythms of our conversation.
Money is always hypothetical. Surround yourself with healthy advantages.
My species has not been successful.
A book is written each time someone reads it. There is redemption in the present. The only cure for summer is more summer. I’m soaked in phenomenology. Who knew that everything in the world was so delicately interrelated? Let’s go searching for mushrooms in Iceland. Interactions heal the poverty of power.
Here are some artifacts of the 17th century: an embroidered shoe, Constance Hopkin’s beaver hat, a lobed Delft dish with a swan.
The frenetic taste of conflict keeps words churning in my brain. I see Buffalo Bill filling an SUV with gas. The pregnant charm of a drugstore. The spectral dots of Dagwood.
As much as I ingest the world, I exhibit the world. I like swimming in swimming pools. Rivers freak me out a little. It’s hard to carry a generation in your voice. The kiss of wealth decomposes rapidly. What you want to do is get reborn. Look what happens when you stay alive this long. A broken escalator is just another set of steps. Use them carefully. Each step is important.
A man gets into a red Mazda and it coughs into action, electricity careening through the wires.

The hammer is immersed in its purpose. All the electrical cords get tangled up here in the eternally humid Northwest. My fingers respect the feeling of aluminum. Don’t panic if the immaterial materializes. Celebrate the fact of your existence. The drapery redeems the view. An embryonic telecast bubbles on my lap. Pathos is a giant sip of universe. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Here I Am

Everyone knows how life happens. It’s over in a flash. Meanwhile, there’s soup and mythology. Light gleaming on the Seine as it roams through Paris. Bombs and machine guns everywhere the U.S. claims empire. A woman in Rome bending over to pick up a beach ball. It’s 7:27 p.m. November 14th and I’m sitting on a bed with a tuxedo cat reading Persian Pony by Michael McClure, “THE SOFT NEW SOUL / with its capsule of masks / tender and quivering / ascends into matter / and here I am.” Fingers, fingernails, laptop, breath. A presence to myself until the absence I try to imagine occurs, and I cease to occur, hopefully before the arctic ice melts, and tens of millions of tons of methane are released into the already stressed and out-of-balance atmosphere. You can’t stop extinction. You can’t stop habitat loss. But you can focus on the present. The slippery, elusive present. Now it’s here, and now it’s gone. Here again, gone again.  
And so some words walk around trying to be a pineapple. Let’s let them. Welcome to smart investing. Welcome to the play of the concertina. Opinions shaved in the rain. Indigo octopi.
Curls, corkscrews, swirls, convolutions. Nothing in life is linear. It’s waves and oscillations, embellishments and sleep. It’s the weight of a dream, the murmur of wind in the trees. Cool water in a Peruvian jungle. A scratched Parisian angel. The mercurial spur of gossip, broken rain crumpled into gold. Theorems in serums. Sandstone arch in August heat.
We live in a world of flux. We are flux. Everything is soaked in phenomenology. Some say it’s the singer not the song. I say it’s elves riding on the backs of swans. Running over tree roots to avoid puddles. The opinions of a lotus. The force of subtlety in a drug taking effect. Truffles in the Dordogne. The thunder of giants punching eternity with improvisations of water.
Neon chrysanthemums. My bare feet resting on the blue sheep of a white blanket.
Eager fingers on a limestone ledge.
Puff on the seeds to be born into myth. The tongue is soaked in redemption. The stones of Iceland aren’t there to glitter in idleness they’re a punctuation of convergences, druid moons and Viking purgatories. Lug the pilgrim to the call of the lake. The singer of the song is unknown, but the song itself is exempt from agriculture, and paddles like a swan across a pond of belief.
Belief is a diversion. Agriculture was a mistake. Let us convene instead with the spirits.
Remember the spirits?
The spirits of water, the spirits of lingering, the spirits of sustenance and fever. Rosie and The Originals. Angel Baby.
I have a silver buckle and a hat of chaotic mahogany. Streams of consciousness percolate through the roots. A musician buys diamonds for his guitar. I talk about the problems of aging and mortality with a friend while a foreign melody gets dressed in a person with leprosy. I don’t feel like ironing today.
I’m the Rembrandt of butter. Regret is a drawer in my skull. If I see the weirdness of wax drooling down the stick of a candle I want to paint it. There’s a momentary pause in time that sometimes reveals itself as a pale morning sun. It’s that moment of stillness right after the waitress has cleared and wiped the table and no one has been asked if they want more coffee yet.
Pains have personalities. Some of them emerge in music and some of them enter into Being like 150 pounds of pressure in a tire designed for 125 pounds of pressure. I like the ones that float in the air like astronauts looking down at Planet Earth weeping. The ones I don’t like churn in the brain unendingly with no resolution. They’re like the entanglement of vines in a blackberry bush, the insane repetitions of traffic around the Arc de Triomphe.
Rumination is a dead end. Time suspended in a cuckoo clock. A stuffed wildcat with its mouth open. Mickey Rourke gazing into a tank of rumble fish.
Think of chiaroscuro as an old man scrounging for change. The soul of white is black. Defining anything is a delicate process.
I’ve always loved the effects of darkness and light in Rembrandt’s paintings. Among my favorites is The Philosopher in Meditation. An old man sits by a window through which a golden light diffuses its warmth. To the immediate right is a spiral staircase. And to the right of the staircase an old woman bends over to tend a fire in an open hearth. The philosopher is very calm, hands folded, head tilted slightly forward, as if with a weight of thought, or immersed in reverie. All around is darkness. It’s the darkness that makes the light so voluminous and alive.
How does one get to the essence of something? We all want to see the interior of things. Interiority is a constant fascination. Everyone feels deceived on some level. Everyone seeks quiddity. The vital truth of a thing. A chair, a table, a person, a cat.
Though perhaps not its essence so much as its whatness. Its presence as a thing in itself.
Time walks around in my head dropping memories. Some of them are long and delicate, and some of them are abrupt and brutal. A few are dopy. A lot of them are thematic. There is one in which I am crowned King of England and introduced to the dining room staff. I take long steps of introversion in a royal chamber of books and ledgers. Liquids bubble in tubes and flasks. I create a new velocity for the indecisions of purple. Malachite and jasper sparkle around my neck. A jet flies over a Fed Ex Office. I keep trying to write my way out of this world. Autonomy is a prompt solution. I use it carefully. But even that is a mistake. The train is a hymn of steel feeding on its own reverie.
Throw another log into the fire. The poem is ample that never loses it clarity. But you’re not going to solve any riddles that way. What you need is a salute to nothingness, the superfluity of leaves blowing around in the wind. I can offer you a place to sprawl and dream. Do you feel the sting of a needle? Don’t worry, it's just a spark from the foundry of apples.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Emperor Of Macaroni

Speed is aromatic when it becomes lightning. Who are you? Ribbon is one solution. Moccasins are another. Density is magnificent with mermaids. Think of this as a phenomenology of reaching and reading and reaching for something to read. Of pianos and cockpits. Syncopation and garlic. Wax and honey, which are lieutenants of bric-a-brac, and dare to matter in a world of geeks and grossly inflated salaries. Even though, when you think about it, the sponge is every bit as brilliant as a whale, and a crisis such as this can loosen our frosting. I think it's wonderful that things exist. That the nose is naturally Zen and that one’s chains are imaginary. Break them. Drop them. It’s wonderful that magnesium can be a waitress and that the color gray can fall into the hands of a dwarf and televise the chlorophyll of a milkweed. That lips have their own brand of chivalry. That success can mean so many different things to so many different people. This hour will dissolve within the limits of another hour and various sensations will hatch out of that and become words in a sentence. Drop everything and run into the sky. Pasta is sensual because the streets are full of wasps, not because hope is cruel, and it takes courage to foster a load of despair. Hope is a delegation from a future that doesn’t exist. Don’t go there. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Nothingness Wins Again

Enigmatic reverie package that comes from sparkling spray. Gotta buy me some fire and a bear, some foliage and a bell, a pair of pants and a nice green pump and a warehouse of suede. Anything that models the cylinders of a pretty nickname. I will be the meaning I want, lavender buttons and bliss. Antenna gum that stretches all the dust of life and a cricket singing from a high edge of facts about brackets, which are delegations of pearl. Wild abstraction with a reason to open a bean.
Oil and turpentine and a shade to undertake the lassitude of ash.
If space is within space, then spatiality must have something to do with recompense. I will call it a dollar. Which expresses the camel hiding among my nerves. The desert, the wind, the dunes, the drift of detachment. And this is happening with a claw and a negligence of rocks. Acute crumbling of a cabbage sorbet. Bienvenue au Palais Idéal.
This is my electric yellow pin. I am in the east licking the power that is nature. I smell sweet from my locomotive stomach but I don’t really care about the friendliness of furniture unless it starts talking like sparrows, which reminds me of Hamlet, and the sweet beginnings of stars, and then I cry the long thin tears of supplication and collapse to the floor and become a chair.
What is causation? Does anyone really know?
I have been talking about what is ready-to-hand. But what about assemblage? The sandwich on the counter at the diner? What about jaws, and brightness, and indigestion?
Equipment, too, has its place, or it just lies around collecting dust. The nosegay doesn’t  appear at random. It is there in accordance with its involvements.
Allegiances are further complicated by disagreements over what events, facts, and these other creatures are. Some seem precise, like the praying mantis, whereas others are whiskered, and whistle like steam. How is it possible for one mind to know another? Is there a phenomenology that cooks like rice but is better than caviar?
I believe that there is gold in the cave and that it doesn’t harm the glory of being a little lost among the shadows when they bring a little reflection to the glitter of its veins. Listen to the bullish scrap woman who does ironing on the sidewalk of a rose. The thorn clock piloting the edge of a wave at the monastery. These are reasonable and sipped. Indications assembled to accommodate the decipherment of cause.
As for causation, let’s explain it with quarks. Binoculars and breakfast. Causation is the cause of cause. The cause of giants lifting the ocean into rain. The cause of hope, which is appalling in its constipation. The cause of the cashew, which is expensive, and the cause of the peach, which is lips. A hammer causes itself by hammering.
Exclaims nothingness, which is now a nail in a two-by-four of an insect cycling around an apple.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Out Of Control

I enjoy the sensations of things, doorknobs, laundry warm from the dryer, spider legs scampering over my palm, water when I’m thirsty, symphony strings, Buddy Guy doing some straight up insane things on his guitar, the weight of a book in my hands.
Did you know that horses are able to identify emotion in human facial expressions? I can’t even do that. What I can do is reveal or conceal an emotion depending on circumstances.
There are landscapes I could never describe. Not with paint, not with words, not with echoes or inclines or swamps. The whole is always going to be greater than the sum of its parts. This is especially true of landscapes, fjords, inlets, lakes, clouds, late afternoon light on a Tuscany hill.  
I like the feeling of the word ‘seethe’ as it seethes through my teeth. As this from Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, “go, suck the subtle blood ‘o the grape till the high fever seethe your blood to froth.” Or this, from Pencillings, by N.P. Willis, “Cold meat, seethed, Italian fashion, in nauseous oil.”
Do you see? Each word is a history, a palimpsest, a landscape. Cold meat seethed in nauseous oil. The workings of wine in the blood, turning it to froth, delirium and groping. Daydreaming. Musing on the grain of the wood of an old dark bar. Big arguments with the hands waving. Voices raised in speech, or singing, or the flutter of syllables on the ear in a foreign country, where the weight of what is being said is hidden among its vowels.
The word ‘landscape’ comes from Old Saxon ‘landscepi.’ Old Norse ‘landscap.’ The word was later introduced as a technical term by painters, a picture representing natural inland scenery. Or as I like to call it: the language of earth as it is spoken by wind and rock.
The loose dirt of the Palouse is called ‘loess.’ It’s soft and fine and nourishes the soft white wheat of the Palouse, which goes into the making of pastries, apple strudel and cinnamon rolls.
Since consciousness seems to be localized within my head, I always have the feeling of being in an airplane, in which case the landscape I’m looking down at is generally a carpet, if I’m barefoot in our apartment, or the sidewalk, one of many sidewalks, here in Seattle or in Paris or Minneapolis, which is a little like Paris, in that it has a river running through the city, about the same size as the Seine, but called the Mississippi, and is legendary, and full of catfish.
I remember standing on the Pont Neuf in the winter of 2015 looking down at the Seine, which looked wild and turbulent, weirdly green in color, heavy with French dirt, French landscape, paysage as they call it.
My eyes fill with the light of a thousand bright yellow leaves stuck to the sidewalk at the top of Highland Drive. The temperature is 45 degrees and is invigorating and moist. The sky is gray. It’s mid-November and Seattle’s skyline gleams below. I feel good, but can’t shake the sadness caused by hearing Guy McPherson’s grim predictions. McPherson was a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona until he left his position to live on an off-grid homestead in southern New Mexico. He has since moved to Belize and put his property in New Mexico up for sale. He is best known for his talks on imminent mass extinction due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in earth’s atmosphere, a situation he deems long out of our control. He states a paradox: if all industrial production stopped this minute and no more pollution entered the atmosphere, the heating of the planet would be accelerated since the pollutants in the atmosphere act as a filter, diffusing the sun’s heat.
McPherson delivers his talks in a calm, measured, eminently rational voice. He supports his claims with compelling facts. He has a warm presence and emphasizes the importance of enjoying life to its fullest, living in the present moment, seeking excellence in a culture of mediocrity and continuing to floss one’s teeth. He tries to put a redemptive spin on our imminent doom by urging us to do what we love, disburden ourselves from the encumbering shackles of false hope and the oppressive tyranny of jobs and money and live to the fullest while we still can. But it doesn’t work. Extinction sounds horrible. The death he describes sounds awful: when heat and humidity rise to a certain level, we behave drunkenly, because our organs are boiling.
Other climate scientists, such as Michael Tobis at the University of Wisconsin, say McPherson’s claims are incompetent and grossly misleading. I don’t know what to think. I tend to think Tobis is correct and McPherson is wrong. I want Tobis to be correct and McPherson to be wrong: way wrong. I’m not a big fan of human beings, they’ve been responsible for a great deal of ruin and savagery and pain, but I don’t want to see humanity go extinct, any more than I want to see other species go instinct. I mean, didn’t the dinosaurs do better? They managed to stick around for 165 million years. Think of it: big old walking Walmarts of bone and flesh. And what about dinosaur farts? I don’t get it. Is it all this cortical activity that’s gotten us humans into so much trouble in such a short amount of time?
It would be so much nicer if I could just reject McPherson’s claims wholesale and get on with my life. But I can’t, not quite. I can’t shake the sadness nor the truthfulness implicit in McPherson’s words that easily. It will take more than Tobis’s rigorous mathematics to do it. The wildfires and hurricanes and droughts this last summer were horrendous. Clearly, something very, very wrong is occurring to our planet. And it’s just the one planet; there aren’t any more available when this one is finally, irreparably lost.
Flash drought destroyed half the wheat crops this year.
But enough of that.
Why is it that the things over which I have the least amount of control are the things hardest to let go of?
I think the answer is right there in the question: no control.
Most of the time, the only thing I truly have control over is how to respond to things. And even there I have to separate instinct from intellect.
I have no control over the maniacs using leaf blowers in the rain when everything is sopping wet and stuck to the ground, or the jerks whose leviathan SUVs and four-by-fours won’t fit in their driveways and stick out over the sidewalk blocking everyone’s way, or the ongoing looting of the American population by their “elected” officials, and their cronies, the banks.
Making money out of thin air. “Don’t think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money,” said Voltaire. Amen to that.