Sunday, September 25, 2016


I love nostalgia. I’m a nostalgia junky. Nostalgia becomes a refuge in old age, a place to go for resource and renewal in order to meet the challenges of a time that no longer make sense.
But then I have to remind myself that nostalgia isn’t a place or a time it’s a mood. It’s a feeling. With images attached.
Many of the images have faded over time. One of the strongest is completely inconsequential: I’m listening to a Donovan album and gazing at a ridge of the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. I’m living in Los Gatos, California, and attending San José State. I’ve been married for about a year though during this particular interlude of window-gazing, I’m alone. I’m alone with a window and the Santa Cruz Mountains and Donovan’s angelic voice singing “Wear Your Love Like Heaven” and feeling wonderful, one of the few times in my life I remember feeling that good.
Probably because I was also drinking wine. I loved drinking alone. I was my favorite bar and bartender. Drinking alone was wonderful. I got a lot out of it. It’s how I became an alcoholic. Alcoholism became a vocation from which I eventually retired.
I had to. The hangovers were excruciating. William Blake said that the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. He was right. Sobriety became my palace of wisdom. Though much of the time it feels drafty and weird.
I miss wine. It’s one of the things I’m waxing nostalgic over.
I miss my youth. That is quintessentially what I’m feeling nostalgic about. Who doesn’t? I mean, come on! Your body is supple and strong, the skin smooth, the eyes clear, the ears alert, the future ahead of you limitless.
Or so it seemed. When you reach 69, you realize down to the marrow of your bone that time is fleeting and cruel.
In the future I’d imagined for myself I was another Richard Brautigan. I was writing imaginative, playful, eccentric prose and selling millions of books from which I derived a comfortable income.
That didn’t happen. I didn’t begin to earnestly submit work for publication until I was in my mid-40s. I don’t like rejection. But if I didn’t start handling rejection, I’d never achieve anything. I got a lot of rejection. It got to a point that I dreaded hating opening the mailbox. Finding a response from a publisher, feeling that combination of anxiousness and excitement that comes with opening an important letter, then reading the rejection, however courteously framed, was like getting punched in the face.
I did, however, manage to publish a lot. None of it sold enough to make a living. Not nearly.
Nostalgia slices through me exquisitely when I hear a song that was released when I was in my late teens and early twenties.  “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by the 13th Floor Elevators. “Paperback Writer” by the Beatles. “Get Off Of My Cloud” by the Rolling Stones. “Pscyhotic Reaction” by the Count Five. “Hey Tambourine Man” by the Byrds.
It was a colorful time. Feelings were intense. Intensity itself became a value. Exultation, delirium and a carnivalesque atmosphere of jubilant freakiness à la Arthur Rimbaud were celebrated. It was often drug-induced. I remember buying some Dexedrine from the drummer of the Count Five and falling in love with the Unseen Power of Shelley’s “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty.” I had a relative, my mother’s cousin, a big man with a walrus mustache who lived in Cupertino and at whose house I stayed for several weeks in the summer of 1966 who worked as an engineer at Lockheed and to relieve stress worked in the garage on building a sports car from the chassis on up to the windshields and steering wheel. I sat in the living room reading about Buddhism and immersions in the transcendent glories of the mind. It was all about consciousness. Raising consciousness. Expanding consciousness. Liberating consciousness. Squeezing alchemies of golden luminosity out of the brain.
Always  -  ominously, sinisterly  -  the war in Vietnam and the prospect of getting drafted permeated everything with a poisoning anxiety. It was obvious the war had nothing whatever to do with defending the United States from the threat of communism and everything to do with war profiteering.
And here we are again. Endless War. The more things change the more they remain the same.
How can an ideology be a threat?
It can’t. Ideologies are to be argued and weighed and evaluated and debated. I think of Hugo’s hunchback embodied by Charles Laughton laughing maniacally as he swings back and forth on those giant bells in Notre Dame because he’s discovered romance. Ideas can be more intoxicating than any drug. They’re powerful motivators. But they can also imprison.
Walk anywhere in the city these days and all you see are people in zombie trances staring at smartphone screens. There’s no courtesy. No sense of shared experience. Only in the rock stadiums or political rallies where spectacle arouses the masses.
What happened?
Shit I don’t know. A paradigm shift. Commerce triumphed over spirit. Commodification triumphed over intellect. But I’m still fighting. Still resisting. Here in my own personal underground.
Her name is G, L, O, R, I A. I’m going to shout it every day. Gloria. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tawny Again

Limestone  provokes an interest in swans. Prodigies of concrete cram my brain. My head itches. The piccolos feed agonies of form. Grapefruit is proof that the moccasins on the hearth are universal. I feel cloudy. I feel kicked and gynecologic. I feel expectant and louche. Life contains ingredients that I can pronounce, although they’re a little gray and mute. They need a spokesperson. Is this why life was created? To provide speech for the speechless? Who was the creator? Who did this? The potato merits attention, as well as bikinis, dimples, shadows and yachts. Coroners are often svelte, but the spirit is vast and soft. The spirit contains nothing garish, nothing exclusive. The spirit contains nothing. Nothing.
At all.
What can be shown cannot be said. It requires two hundred harmonicas to demonstrate the square root of a cricket. The paragraph crushes its own cognition and becomes a machine for thawing emotion. Picture a mime robbing a bank. Enamel does a flamingo. The escalator insinuates a delicatessen. The whole world crackles with hypothesis. The stars push the night into wool. Marie Laurencin does the dishes. Colors surge from solitude. Fantasies engage the towels. Migrations season the kerosene of emotion and caress pounds of murmuring Picasso. The earth is a sensation of calm and consecration.
I feel immediate and pink. We produce our odors with honesty and science. I’m eager to explore what’s behind the canvas. An antique staircase obtains its charm by mutating into a wildcat and flopping on a wrinkled cherry. My nipples fountain igloos. I slide through each sentence feeling connected and step slowly across the flagstones as I approach the Palace of Tears. Cubism is within my reach. I can feel it. Shapes of air tumble into the sails of nearby ships and humor the sky. The Palace of Tears echoes with freshly revealed secrets. Cubism confesses to the evolution of the boardwalk and finds salvation in incongruity. This is a mean old ugly world. But where else can you find Hostess Cupcakes, horses, and introversion?
Snow sometimes enriches our spirits with its calm and beauty, but our dreams are often unsettled by the presence of gray as the fog wanders the streets searching for form and identity. Is that what it whats? Identity? Or am I making this up?
I think I’m making this up.
But maybe not. Maybe it’s making me up.
All that we know for sure is that when night comes, the temperature lowers, the wind chimes grow still, and the stars disappear as the first flake drifts to the ground.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sweet Trouble

Words thrive. As berries they sweeten trouble. As vines they tangle into supposition. I wish I was a catfish. I wish I was a vibraculum enucleating sitars, which is pure Sanskrit in some circles, pedipalp in others, occurring in isomeric crystals as evidence of the pleasure principle and inclined to umbrella, warranting wash-and-wear for the young, pawpaw for the elderly, and in some instances nodding pogonia, particularly for those whose violins remain to finish the symphony in near or total darkness. The patina everywhere is chestnut to burnt umber on a y-axis, and effective and catchy, like a bug. You know bugs. They thrive like words.
I fulminate behind the neck and absorb Braque. A taxi imitates a noun. I feel my problem with the sideboard grow into syntax. I sway and sparkle. My heart throbs. My shouts engorge. Even the folds of skin spitting in rage on the bullhead dogma are like puddles of copper.
The whisper glitters and shatters. I can’t remember what it said. Its details shivered in the ring. Raw sienna churned in scales. I was riveted to a dream of tinsel. I dissolved into Christmas. The streets were dazzling.
When I’m empty of things to say I grumble beside the graves. The oboe murders a sonatina in a deep gathering of pulse. For example, worms swarm below a surgical incision and create an armchair. This can only happen in language. I will comb your hair I will do anything to prove it. I will open your chest to a mongrel abstraction and feel wonderful like a cracker. Have some confidence in your singing.
Autumn was physical that year, and mulberry and ape. I pinned a vowel to your favorite metaphor. We endured the sand by hanging in space. Waves rolled in. Waves rolled out. Silence ensued. Blue orchids held the world in ageless gravity, and seemed firmly rooted in zip codes nobody understood, even though everything dilated, and agitated like tongues at night, wagging in testimony to the thermometer’s fugues.
Pablo led a nebula of horses out of the barn. I cried for my pummels to vanish from this plump introversion. I rushed to relate to your touch. I backed away and wired Chicago for more money. Certain feelings emerged, coins and hedges and heavily enameled Spanish airports. I left the perforated hammerhead stuff behind. The words slept on the page until they were awakened by your eyes.
The fantasy produced a new reality. We wrote it down and sang it in plugs of circumference. I felt like a cabbage. I writhed in the linen at night. I felt the mutability of the oval and tugged at a breastbone. The afternoon teemed with your signals. I prowled around and waited until the cathedral was outlined against the night. Words hung like apples from the branches of my calamity, which was too sensitive for technical details, but swiveled lightly under a bombardment of neutrons and bark.
And what was it, this large thing thrashing around in the sentence? That’s the feeling I like. An existence that is is partly vibrational, partly neurochemical, and partly a manifestation of language. That is to say, T-shirts and planets. Language disintegrates when it eats itself. But the words come back. They always do.
The truth is full of hallucination. Paradigms, spurs and rubber. Mass is energy. Can you see it? None of these words actually belong to me. They don’t belong to anyone. They’re the property of ghosts.
Words are packed in images because science is talking. Grab a vapor and crack some syntax over mohair. Put a zipper on the drizzle. Mortgage your confusion. This sentence has 400 legs and is crawling into your eyes. That’s how serious I am. I’m surrounded by steam, and feel pink and happy with the ambiguity of it all.   


Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Eyes of Baudelaire

A pulse is good for the health. So they say. I have a pulse. I often dream of the prairie. It must mean something. The stars help me evolve. They’re humbling. Or so they say. Personally, I find them disconcerting.
          We shiver in the cold. The fire is hard to get going. Commas cry for a pause in the sentence but it never comes it just keeps going as the words continue to reproduce. The radio cooks them in a sauce of feverweed and mariposa lilies. It’s a new kind of radio. It operates on apparitions. Galactic noise, ponderosa pine, tragic flaws and scrollwork.
This is how we incite our whispers to rub puddles into glittery decoys.
Water walks through itself. The capillaries in my eyes burst from screaming. The apparitions describe the beginning of a solar eclipse with an arc and a mutinous slave valve.
I don’t know what to say about the guitar in the corner. It belonged to a gypsy. It’s emblazoned with emblems of fire and empire.
There’s a door in my mind that keeps opening and closing. I wish my thinking would make up its mind. I wish my mind would make up its mind.
One day I got old and started popping bubbles. One day sooner or later it happens to everybody. The forehead folds into a toaster and when the bread pops up the eyes tend to close. I would love to be able to resolve into a dew but that just doesn’t happen unless there’s some literature lying around. Fortunately, there’s always some literature lying around.
Here comes some now. A feeling of frosted glass eats the motel stationary and spits a novel out. I’m calling it Seeds in the Dirt.
Or Flowers of Depreciation.
I have a copy of Baudelaire and a keen sensation of being alive. There’s treasure somewhere in the streets of Budapest. Don’t knock the obstacles. They’re important. Just walk around them if need be. They’re not going anywhere. When I hold them close to my body I can feel their pulse. Most of them are covered in hand cream but a few like to display their plumage.
I must remind you that the estuary is boiling and tonight’s bingo game has been cancelled.
Sometimes the future arrives yesterday and yesterday hatches out of a tired eyelid. The clouds pulse with lightning and rain glistens on the prairie grass. A residual emotion stumbles through my blood searching for resolution. I pull on a sweater and assemble a piece of water.  Whatever you happen to see swaying and rotating is my interior. It does that whenever the wind is from the north.
Syllables unravel during the meeting. A cloud folds the sky into a molecule and rolls it through an air conditioner. Later we watch it slowly congeal and drip from the bottom. Ovals imply benediction. My shoes are old but the road is older. When your hope is larger than the map the destination must come into question. There are commas for that, and rainbows and aspirin. Things will come clear eventually. They always do. I stand beside my hunger and saddle my tongue. It’s time to get going. I’m going to hang some sensations in the greenhouse and see if they turn saffron. The apples are a mystery. I don’t know what they’re doing here. Is that a good thing? Let’s say yes and light the lamp.
Depth is implicit. Surface is cold and agitated by gossip. I stir a pot of chowder. My shivers make the granite seem singularly old. My clarinet is broken but my cries claw the clouds out of the sky. I polish the oarlocks until they shine. I live in a milieu of bevels and berries. We love the new pavement. There’s a moose in the middle of the street and a pair of green oars in the garage. I like to imitate squeegees. It’s chiefly why I’ve chosen to congeal around this melon and go mingle with the crowd.
Or not.
Sometimes I just sit and think. And sometimes I scour the world for a pair of glowing wings. People ask if I find these metaphors satisfying and I tell them no, of course not. They’re metaphors. Why else would I move downstage retouching my soliloquy with a revived consonantal emphasis?
It’s ultimately the icicles that capture my attention.
The way they drip.
And drip.
Welcome to the north. Welcome to the stepladders and engravings. To the doors opening and closing. The cat on the hearth. Which is gold. And whose eyes shine like the eyes of Baudelaire.  


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hope is a Painter

Hope is a painter loading phenomena into a boat for a voyage across the River Styx. We see a passport dripping mosquitos. We see a grasshopper fart.
This is my mask. I’ve named it after Lake Purdy, Alabama. It’s my Purdy mask.
This is what it looks like: a dustpan with a vestigial tail and a persuasive idiosyncrasy.
If that doesn’t work, try the winch by the innocent yawn. Call it a house puff. A pocket. A mountain. It will move steadily and search for gold.
And entire mountain searching for gold. As if it didn’t have enough veins already.
I will let this idea fall like an anchor and grab the bottom and allow sufficient stability to incise a participle with an agrarian belief.
I have pulled the altitude of an Assyrian beard from an implication of words and plunged it in silence. I have embraced the raw highway of God’s longest shout. I have become a waterfall. I have become a reflection on a downtown window.
One must adapt to the world in the best way possible. Romance swallows everything. I rode an indicative across a dimension of lamentations until I came to a sea and listened to its waves mouth gnarls of wood.
I will oblige these insinuations until they become swans.
A greasy hostility matures into heartwood and becomes beautiful in its admonishments. We kiss behind the stepladder. The world continues to turn.
We hold the nipple of a wet feeling. We push it to the end of a sentence. It drops on the floor and clouds up into strange predictions.
A day will come when there is more to a chair than a chair.
Perhaps that day has come. My chair is a grammar of wood and finger joints.
Everything drips opinion. I encourage the planting of hyacinth.
Crabs refine our sense of space. I will verify my coordinates when I reach the summit of the next mountain. Meanwhile, let’s just sit in the park and watch the evening sky grow dark.
I like to feel water by swimming in it and drinking it and washing things with it. I do the same thing with my tongue. I toss it into sentences where it learns to ponder the imponderable.
People get irritated and walk away. That’s ok. I have your attention, at least for now.
I like feeling anonymous and moody, like a rhythm, or an escalator. How about you? What lights up your gaze?
The intensity of the dawn breaks my eyes. My pain flutters in the breeze like the ghost of a clarinet. I’m undone by even the mention of braids. I left the oars in the boathouse. We’ll just have to spend the rest of this sentence drifting. It was originally intended to go somewhere.
Let’s just say not all ambitions feed on bugs and puzzles. I don’t go to the opera. I am an opera.
Can we leave it at that? How will it sound when the sounds flow through this sentence expecting conquest at the end? I see the insects scatter. A thousand themes enliven the frogs of Texas, but I don’t know what any of them mean, and that makes the world beautiful.   

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Take a Little Ride

Slop the halibut slash squat. It veers into atmospheric damask. Before I was a laccolith knee-deep in granite and now I’m a sponger chewing the haze of a Christmas rose. The glockenspiel is a mythology of bells arguing the glaze of a birch afternoon. Cab finger sparks abstractions and the spirit dances.
Denim punctuation coughs snow after the ultramarine romance peremptorily favors lake trout. The saga is equally mist. Instinctively, I drawer your whatness in gallop glue. The noise of my skin broods performance. A tattooed slide accelerates shape. Motion’s twigs curve into participles. The shade initiates shirts. I strain to please a tendency. It fits the distortions. The hoe chain hugs your puddle. It is there that we find glass. The jars contain morals. A trickle of words descends into the summer of 1966. Consciousness is powder blue for a day. Explicit as a birth. The details are passionate about ears.
The almond gives itself to the tongue of a moment. Medication enhances a corner of the granite door. What flutter at jabber urges lips. This solace is a cool jerk I can mean to say as much as glue.
I have tailored my farm to sympathize with cauliflowers. The nerves are birds bubbly and gyromagnetic. Depth and volume murmur our intuitive spinning. I experience require. By that I man I require a point above contact that is both cool to the skin and slippery. If we apply algebra to the ovulation of hills the murder opens and no gold can sit down and parrot the softness of sewing.
I will be ferocious and growl.
Sound is equally alluring coming from a guitar.
The incendiary life is there if you want it. Shake it long. Shake it hard. Turn it around. Testify. Talk a whisper into abandoning the bazaar. We unite by bone. Autonomy hands its imagery down. None of it is dreamy and soft. You just feel like sitting down and grinning. Some arabesques break off from heaven and glide into the ears as music.
A cotton pocket gurgles parallels.
Try twanging a wilderness.
It feels good to be vague and malleable for a while. You should try it. Crumple something. Then blow into it. It will expand into ideas.
I word sink the unearthed crawl. A blaze happens by vague interaction with a ripened honor.
Honor. What is honor. Honor is stirring and heroic. It is nothing like cactus. It displays a long solace in translations of the moon by black conviction and throwing knives at a pizza.
This darkness is shattering the place. What are we going to do with the river? Let’s take it with us. Give it bananas. I can already spot Thursday appearing above the horizon.
And finally, I have gulped Boston. My hinges make it greasy. I grant that I have pain. Yes. But what a beautiful havoc wears my abstractions at night when the gypsies arrive and rattle their castanets.


Friday, August 5, 2016


Burst. What did? Collar stud dusty personality muscle grapefruit I myriadly decipher.
Motion stretch. Honesty’s rattle is a heavy throw. Call for an exterior angle. Something veering. See how a sensation is an acceptance study, a batch we expand into ears.
The swell thickens. The operation is on a roll.
Here I am pasting infinity’s leather mutations to a trembling flavor of pathos. The rounded basket with the basset hounds medicates the combustion of preteens. Induces kindness. Welcomes birds. Pulverizes court plaster. The ladies at court all smile.
The abstract is this jingle I bells on a blue orchid. You know? It’s a bit like a badge but more transcendent in its own diversions than a tangle of the mind or a grebe diving into the waters near Iceland.
This red light thing is only a mustache. I said it to build a monotonous tin chatter for a brown probability we can plunge into. Brown is an intellectual color and makes me reflect on boiling.
My act cures ten nobles of wishy washy Latin.
Fathom restoration then fight the barriers to partial differentiation. Trickle hinge subtleties. Your ceremony is a shade of language that I can engage in tailoring. Plough a slow theatre. Meditate paths. An ugly density converses with the ocean. My admonition is my door.
Sift structure.
The world pineapple spoon is its own abstraction.
I stir a burst grape to agree to impart a stimulation to the action behind the barn.
Tidepool spout.
Yell at your hair. A genie will appear and murder the mirror.
Ignite wealth. You do that by pushing money at a congress.
Go ahead. Bloom. The maple has a beard. The smooth it presses reaches geometry and folds. I cod swim there. I remembered to indulge. I’ve had time to think about it for a while. I touched the bump I mentally exceeded. Don’t start the hermitage without me. The crack is a drug eating into the purity of goldfish.
Walk and eat. It’s a solution. The split pea is our threshold. But the world is our halibut. This isn’t a matter of hit songs so much as a plea for arabesques. I compliment the sparkle of your river. The sweet words that are never said but empower descriptions manipulated by hose.
The burst is a forehead drooling cement. It’s all about prolonging the muffins. Forbearance is prayer. The paradigm vibrates its definitions but nobody gets the banishment. The weather at the end of this sentence has been seized by a shiny pain and carried to a woman on the dance floor. That’s why we have maps. Perception is irritating. Proverbs induce grace. Go there. Go amplify a sound of feeling time consenting to change into mind on paper.