I go in search of a refill for my pen. I write with a pen that is no longer being manufactured and so feel lucky when I can find a refill for it. I have to negotiate some really heavy Pearl Jam traffic to get to the drugstore that carries refills for my pen, but it’s worth it. It’s a very special pen. What pen isn’t special? How many people get attached to a pen? Whenever I nail its liquid blue songs to a sheet of paper I know it is no ordinary pen. When I put words down on a sheet of paper and the words open their mouths to sing Magnificat I know it is no ordinary pen. Clocks and almonds float in a chamber of mirrors. Text becomes quantum in a beautiful amiability of hills and snow. The sauerkraut of an acrid emotion adds a practical advantage to the calories of a marriage actualized by pulley and glitter. The empire confronts its own image in a bottle of formaldehyde. I glean specimens of elevation from a hysterical temperature and open the doors of perception to a public unraveling in strands of lethal sentimentality.
I get this way every year. Sad, immoderate, clairvoyant, worn, angry, coconut, hairy, gnarled, haywire, cheeky, incorrigible, null and void, seriously hilarious and hilariously serious, transparent, obscure, sticky, haggard, illegal, radical, numb, dumb, unconformable and hazy. That about covers it, except for the reindeer, which are myriad and supernatural, the way reindeer were meant to be. Why else occupy the forests of Finland?
When it gets really cold, the windows awaken to the abyss of levers in the heart of a lizard.
Permit me to offer you an agate. It’s an agitated agate because the agency of its aggregation is purely geological and a friend to the community of ooze on the skin of a river.
Gypsies have set up a camp on the frontier of a country whose incandescent moods are continuing to evolve into a culture of drills and terrible examples.
When the winter solstice arrives, we will enter our beds and disembark on a long round color of clay.
Winter solstice is close. The nights linger long into the day, and the day itself collapses as soon as it mounts the sky and twinkles down at us with commercial zeal. An elderly man in a Santa costume rings a bell by a Salvation Army kettle. A fountain is frozen into the shape of a dragon. Snowflakes are painted on a storefront. Hunting knives are on sale for $65 dollars and a bolt action Remington with a walnut stock is going for $148.50.
Silver bells, silver bells, it's Christmas time in the city. Ring-a-ling, hear them sing, soon it will be Christmas day.
I don’t know where I got it. Twisting a stubborn cap from a root beer bottle? But it’s a tiny cut, barely a cut at all. There was no blood. Just a tiny tear in the skin on the underside of my thumb that now looks like a tiny eye with a tiny eyelid winking at me.
This is what happens when you read Philip Lamantia. You see eyes everywhere. Even your eyes become eyes. And your I’s become I’s. I is an other. I is an electron in a phosphatase enzyme. I is an owl flying by at twilight.
Every moment is light the light that is in darkness the light in the Alaskan town where the Haida rock band plays the light astir in the water in the lower basin of the fountain of four bishops in the parvis of Saint Sulpice of Paris the light illuminating the digits on the front of the stove the sound of light is the rustle of a newspaper the sound of light is a spiral nebulae in cosmic expansion the sound of light is the truth of Being embracing existence in its ecstatic essence.
We are ourselves both the instrument of discovery and the instrument of definition said Charles Olson which is of course why language is a prime of the matter and why it is necessary to fly lions and dolly the vibrational energy of phonemes across the entrance to the hotel and always take the direction that is best understood as a dew point everywhere that a fog fosters the growth of the immaterial and each moment is explored for its intricacy and coins.
We must learn to incise the gleam of nothingness in our shirt sleeves and gleefully imitate the transparency of air in a tire whose tread is patterned like Spinoza’s studio and somewhere in Italy there is a road that disappears over a hill of poplars and birds whose music disappears into the afternoon whose breath is forever filling the sentences created by a thousand lost sensations.
City sidewalks busy sidewalks it’s the solstice silly let’s get dark and unreal let’s adorn ourselves with blackberries let’s finalize the deal and diffuse flat needles and erect cones in celebration of ghost dances and Gestalt psychology let’s turn into paragraphs and leaven like the bread of heaven like ball peen hammers like El Salvador like gymnosperms like pawn tickets like the crisis of poetry when it suddenly discovers itself in the physiology of a crumb.
I feel the need to build a poem of tiny crystals that make a certain vibration when it is lightly touched and the thermonuclear fusion that powers the sun illumine new tools of thought. I need to do this soon. Because it is happening. Atoms and planets and passions are happening. Opinions and chemicals and movements are occurring. It is all completely absurd and outdoors and spurting. And this is what happens. This is what happens when you read Philip Lamantia. And the planet spins toward a new season of bones and roads and overly explicit jugs and the puzzles find new descriptions and the oceans continue their gamble on infinity and a concentration of words glides into the hysterical sublime of this moment.