Things excite me an old album my desk. My desk is a world of wood and grain and memory a landscape of knobs and drawers coffee stains on index cards photographs passport ranchers in Missouri. Our tidepool is ripped by the boat moving across the river. I smell a loaf of freshly baked pumpernickel there is a glow in my head an horizon of flames against blue sky. The structure of a song is a glorious bloodstream muscles bones vessels lungs.
A tug named Wahkiakum answers the waves with hawsers. There is a song about it for piano, armadillo, and viola pomposa. The viola pomposa produces a sound slightly darker than a viola and should not be confused with a musk-ox or graywacke. Memory, on the other hand, is neither tug nor tentacle but a power of the mind to revive perceptions which it has once had. These perceptions, I say, once awakened and brought back to life, may then be immersed in the waters of the mind where they may be experienced as jelly, bog wood, or interior monologue.
My memories are often astonishingly clear early summer 1967 the number 132 crossing the South Park Bridge the Duwamish gleaming below mesh concrete Boeing factory docks I hear the Beatle’s “A Day in the Life” for the first time coming from somebody’s transistor radio.
I read the news today oh boy about a lucky man who made the grade and though the news was rather sad well I just had to laugh and I continued to work walked down that awful ramp into the factory dark machines pounding whirring buzzing drills saws lathes presses carbide grinder smell of grease acrid chemicals for cleaning freshly molded metal parts there was a huge vat of the stuff I worked with a guy who looked like Keith Richards began his day with Dexedrine I lasted until late summer than up and took off for California and Jim Morrison’s Crystal Ship.
My life is riding a threshold of change everything is a puzzle everything is desire everything is chemistry everything is fight or flight everything is letters written expecting answers.
And it never changes it keeps changing. Organisms in a tidepool materialize as Ginsberg’s Howl assumes life and form stick that book on the shelf above the fireplace it is a shape against the beautiful air it wallows in sounds it is the spark in a car that gets it moving puts those gears into motion. There is moisture on the windows. Moisture always makes sense. This is my poem of the morning out there is a whole eternity and a fire within causes the lion to roar.
The elbow is a marvel of hinge and mobility. The wall is a marvel with a window in it. This is a speaking device. It sneezes stars. I feel these sounds are in love with the savannah. Indigo and red scramble to the deck of an aircraft carrier. I admire your ability to imagine this. I admire your ability to make signs that turn into images. Here is a hat for you: it has a large white plume and a broad black brim. Ride the microphone to glory my friend stir the meaning of meaning into many meanings. For there is meaning in meaninglessness and meaning in an infantry of ants in New Mexico life is indigo my friend life is velvet and howls.
I love the idea of a suitcase as much as the actuality of the suitcase itself. I can say the same of a river any river the Danube the Mississippi the Amazon a river is a brilliant phenomenon. So is a concertina. My sensations are my wealth a glaze of sweat on the skin my favorite shirt drying in the closet the sun gently moving toward the horizon a lost world of shadows and Celtic pterodactyls flash of a camera tray of ice cubes the sound of a stone in the middle of a stone the hushed obscurities at the frontier a man strumming a guitar a group of men raking freshly laid tar on a highway gargantuan bats our enchantment with one another an errant bikini left in the rain the glow of light in the Arctic ice.
I hold an agate the face of the rock is silent as the Buddha. A cave of minerals and smells at play in the senses the eyes the nose the skin the feeling of darkness penetrating everything my advice is to move slowly cautiously assemble a frog wander the sand as a chunk of ice adrift in salt water shake your fist with a handful of pebbles tickle the Buddha’s belly.
The poem cuts the air heavy feet in the middle of the night bring the naked odor of death the poem is a device with legs and a soft white underbelly through which we see the river move and culminate in snow. The world is nascent as jade. Images bleed from this incision. Hold the rope until the animal settles down. Hold it taut. Hold it evenly as patterns on a snake. A leap into the water. The glide of hypnosis in Arctic depths. The bears of the north in their hovercraft of steam.
Perspective is alterable. Mint awakens the palate. Mint mints mint. The mint of words is a dime of subtleties.
The feeling I get in the morning is the smell of crystal in a mountain brook a freight train on the prairie the silent bears in their silent fur. Nothingness is nothing amuse your mind with a story even bacteria have feelings the maturity of wings comes with time.
The poem is a winch creaking with syllables packets of sound like grain silos on the horizon a puff of air lifting a gunny sack natural as the night and its stars or a universe toppling over.
I am amphibian I don’t really know what to call this emotion it’s black and heavy but also an eye opening a pupil dilating as the resistance of currents creates electricity creates warmth the quiet before the storm linen in Kansas freshly folded on a Kansas bed.
Hand me that dream, will you? The one with the dragonflies and roots and translucence. The one where the emotions become realities of freshly poured cement a map crinkling as it unfolds.
The warmth of a skin a river on the mind.
Lips maneuvering words. An old man making a sandwich. A Monte Cristo. On sourdough.