Writing poetry is like doing surgery on a balloon. It isn’t long before it pops and shreds of rubber litter the floor. The ghost of a pronoun arrives in a colorful personality and shapes the shreds into a beating heart. I take a bath. I feel mortal. My heart is a chronicle of blood. The towel feels sympathetic. Warm and parenthetical.
I like to tell stories about bubbles and dogs. Turpitude and turpentine. I hold the reins to some very powerful horses. The twang of a guitar seasons the air with passion. I try, as always, to live in the present. But anger erupts in molten words. And the next thing I know the door has slammed and I am standing in the middle of a Bob Dylan song.
I am a black tug with a plume of red smoke on the bright yellow water of André Derain’s Thames. Think of this as an extroverted malleable calculus. But if you’d prefer, think of religion. Think of travel. Think of long wedding engagements and embroidery and unpredictable dogs.
Or don’t think at all. Think of Wisconsin.
I like Wisconsin because it has been assembled by propellers and cheese. I remember listening to the blues in Milwaukee. Albert Einstein rolling dice at the Hi Hat. Buffalo Bill in line at the Holy Land Grocery and Bakery. The smell of freshly baked doughnuts. Sitting Bull nibbling a cinnamon roll and reading Le Monde.
Propane advances the sagacity of iron. I crave the strength of the moccasin. Snakes in needles of pine. Dead leaves, wrinkled, dry, fragile, like the parchment of death.
It is inconceivable that John Lennon is still dead. We’re all drinking in the big dreamy dharma. The sky over Denver. An alligator sleeping in the sawdust. Men in wigs discussing ceiling fans.
If life is a game of chess, few people still have their queen at age 60. Which is why I love the luxury of seclusion. Places where the illusion of time may be imagined as an escalator, or cow.
A mohair balloon unbosoming a velvet sky. An empty head in an empty bed. Ruby Tuesday running a postal meter in Cincinnati.
I listen to the Rolling Stones. A lot. I mean every day. There’s no time to lose. Catch your dreams before they slip away. Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind.
Which is why I love going to the library. I seek André Breton’s electrical magic. The machinery of heaven. Those lonely dirt roads in North Dakota. Each word must have a presence. Each word must slide in and out of time. Ripen among apparitions. Power an antique emotion with all the wattage of a Dickinson poem. Congeal into lumps. An airplane engine encrusted with coral.
What is an image? Consonants incarnate an orchid. Glitter in the diamonds of Denmark. Vowels drowse among red roses in a cream colored pitcher. Syllables get silly in stew. Phonemes echo Chicago. Attract ants. Bees. Slices of orange. Frond and ink. And the Emperor’s white page.
We must cut through conceptions of space to arrive at a pretzel in the Paleolithic morning. Wood creaking in the sea. Forms and costumes and sidewalks. Swallows and stairs and exciting blue stones.
Mud on a bottle of burgundy. A magpie on a fence rail. The government is broken. We make babies against fences.
The fences of San Francisco are wet and cold. Rubber gardens on a wet cold hill. An old man on the corner of Kearney and Clay bowing a two-stringed erhu.
The world is asleep. People walk by in a gas full of chins and scripture. My inner self blooms during a burglary.
There is no punctuation in life. Only rain on a highway. Sampans and river thieves. The whatness of an old pine room and its floor boards. Slacks with peculiarities. Warm female skin on a long lazy Sunday.
Light holds the hem of heaven. I see all the birds of South America. Space and time mingled in a delicate pastel. The moon goes up and it’s drunk. I tuck my shirt in and thumb a ride to Redding.
American Buffoons on Parade
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