I like the romantic idea of an inner blue fire
communicating with the outer world of reality and worry in words of molten gold
hammered into a shield of poetic reverie. I see a limousine on Willow bend into sense. I see an algebra of clouds plunge into menstruation. I see a testimony of rain fall through itself. Details happen to meaning like
hit songs encapsulating segments of time and space in a jukebox. And look: my
pockets bulge with change. That could mean a lot of songs, or a moment of
reverie alone in a booth. With a martini. An imagined martini. Would an imagined
martini be better than an actual martini? My roots are soaked in alcoholic
Technicolor. I am like an orange peel abandoned to the candy of pure energy.
All things flow. This we know. And yet I stumble occasionally as I roam this
planet. And just when I think I’ve got it all figured out I see a splash of
paint on a canvas and wonder what the fuck. Look at those circles flip and
rise. You know what, I need a new hat. I still haven’t found the right hat.
This is where so many of my problems arise. Not having the right hat. I abhor
nothing so much as the wrong hat for the right head or the right head for the
wrong hat. I envy thunder. I wish I had a voice of thunder. I know when I’m
losing someone’s attention, like say at a poetry reading, just before the reading
begins, and someone new enters the room and that’s it, my interlocutor walks
off and the conversation dies. I live in Bohemia with whispers and lips. I
arise and go look for news in the Paleolithic morning. Later I sit down to
write and apparitions appear on the paper. It is hard to adapt to this world.
There are so many assholes. You’ve got to elbow your way through them. Elbows
are underrated. They’re more than just hyphens. They have the innocence of a
prostitute’s tear. An old house ripples through my memory like a languid breeze
sifts through a forest and I pull my toolbox out of the closet to fix the
toilet seat for the umpteenth time. Our apartment is a ship. Wood cracking in
the sea. But this is not my address. Think of this as a gardenia in the mud, or
just another wad of irresponsible language. Language is inherently weird.
Language finds its source in sky talk. The drift of clouds, the flight of
birds, the clash of winds. I appoint you chief architect of a dangling
espousal. Shakespeare sitting alone in a booth. Muttering an astronomy of
words. Canadian maple. The unspeakable, the untellable, and everything that can
and is and isn’t. For instance, we all know that fire translates mass into
energy. But if we see a suitcase on the floor tangential to a spot of grease
why should that give rise to thoughts of Emily Dickinson writing about death?
Because she did. She wrote a lot about death. Perception is ceaseless
revelation. Toss that load in the washer, brother, and lean and loaf and study
a spear of grass. Take up boxing. Start a blog. Each burst of feeling is a
propeller churning the water and moving our boat forward out into open water.
It is remarkable how much never gets said. Everything’s happening everywhere.
It’s morning at the Rio Tinto Zinc Mines. It’s Jack Nicholson grinning broadly
in his umpteenth movie. Structure is a refuse from chaos. A pair of gloves on a
porch railing. Somewhere somehow there is always a way to answer the hop of a
sparrow with a cry of mute subconscious bullet, even if it’s just a blog entry,
or gravy scribbled on a table.
John Olson is the author of numerous books of poetry and (chiefly) prose poetry,
including Dada Budapest, Larynx Galaxy, and Backscatter: New And Selected Poems. He is also the author of four novels, including In Advance of the Broken Justy, The Seeing Machine, The Nothing That Is, and Souls Of Wind.