I live in a wilderness of pain. These very words exemplify the calypso. Sounds emerging from a spinning record. A 45. From a dusty garage. The air is folded into thunder. Four rocks by the window, like four bald heads. George Orwell swatting mosquitoes in the Irawaddy Delta. Poetry. Emeralds. Claws.
I am frequently amazed at the ingenuity with which cloth restaurant napkins are folded. Once I saw an albatross far out at sea. Then it was just cloth. And my soup arrived.
Where there is pain there is pleasure. The two are intertwined. Though it may not always seem that way.
Opacity engenders ice. It’s a good distraction. T.S. Eliot is sculpting an opinion from a slab of granite. I play the accordion with a Technicolor hope. I strain to put the wind in a jar. The idea of paradise makes life infinitely more palatable. Though it helps to believe it’s true.
Poetry broods in description. Excuse me. I have to sneeze.
What was I saying? The other day, just as I was curling my fingers under the handle of the car door, I saw a handful of poetry mutate into a war. The outcome was marvelous. It rained in Paris. The tanks rolled north. A woman gave birth to a metaphor. A metaphor gave birth to a woman. And a man named Funk sermonized on the terrors of liberty.
The fork multiplies the punctuation of eating. The spoon reflects an overhead fan as it spins and spins. The knife imitates consciousness, soliciting scale. The poem doesn’t know what to do. It idles in reverie. And resembles an ear.
I fold my day at the ocean and pack it in a suitcase. The head benefits from its position on the body. The cemetery murmurs of earth. The pumpkins glow. The hollows howl.
Hatred is more easily understood than love. The highest accomplishment in life is acceptance. Most people live in a zone of denial. Illusions offer refuge. Revelations are cruel.
I float around on a planet writing everything down. The moon twists the sky into a spoon. A stand of birch informs the air with correlations of black and white. I would like to buy a nice cool monotone to go with my shirt. What is the best way to present reality? Words ooze from the pen. Sentences form. Paragraphs grow into legs. They get up and walk away.
When I write about experiences I feel so many myriad sensations all competing for attention that it’s hard to focus on any one thing. I’m open to anything, even hay. Cinnamon and denim. Stepladders and constancy.
Robert Creeley rides a camel across Egypt. It is a story of thirst and cohesion. And under and over. And in back and in front of. Or up or down. Or in or in place of. Of this and this. Of all that is. And of all that isn’t.
I have the face of an old man. I stand amazed before the dawn. I never expected to be this old. I want to bake a tattoo into a loaf of narrative. I want to conjure a winter of dazzling crystal. I want to surge forward like a wave and crash on the shore of another world.
The cord fell behind the computer while I was on the phone with a woman in New Brunswick helping me to solve the problem with our modem. I couldn’t find it. It was hidden among the tangle of cords on the floor. She suggested I follow the cord from where it comes out of the wall. It worked. I found it. Such is life. A proverb behind every corner.
Sometimes I yearn for a taste of Mexico. Especially when it snows and truth dribbles from a spark of temerity. Jukebox songs make an astronomy of time. The past and present fuse. The future appears slippery. My desires are more luxurious than I can afford. I feel bronze. I feel red. I feel blue. The colors of my drugs match the colors of my life. Someone coughs in the next room. Fireworks squirt from my pen. The old brown road is constellated with puddles. The hills are alive with the sound of frogs. I get up and go to the bank and deposit a bicycle wheel and a handful of rain.
Do people like me? My Maori buckle, my calliope pants? My magpie hat, my pullulating shoes?
The medicine initiates a vague comprehension. The propeller is a miracle. The colors are so rich they startle you into attention. All you need is mouthwash.
The largest snowflake in the world fell from the sky of Montana on January 28th, 1887. It landed near Fort Keogh, and was 15 miles in diameter, and was shaped like a muscle cramp.
When I awoke this morning there was an angel sitting at the end of the bed who said “the skin is an organ.” I had no reason to disagree. I got up and made some coffee. I went to the bathroom to brush my hair. I could see the ghost of my youth swimming in the mirror. They say the geography of truth glimmers with craters of volcanic gold. I say the bomb of poetry explodes into paradise. I say codeine feels like God whispering soothing thoughts to your bones. I say the larynx corresponds to the stamen of a flower. And that syllables hang like petals from the stem of a thought.
Some days later Robert Creeley is sitting at the Gare du Nord, waiting for a train to Brussels. How far in the universe to get home, he wonders. What do you do when you’re still alone. What do you say when no one asks. What do you want you don’t take. When the train finally comes in, there’s nothing you’re leaving, nothing you can.
Drums Along the Potomac
2 days ago