Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Anything that Clicks

What happens when a thought becomes words? Optometry and billiards, obviously, but also Heidegger, Derrida, and anything that clicks. This would include four-dimensional rhythms, huge drawings, the hysteria of mirrors, and operatic consonants. You know? Like pulchitrude. Like a camera giving birth to a snowdrift. This happens more frequently than you might think. Meanwhile the gears pause to charm the honesty of skin among the flutes of the orchestra. It is so easy to be scintillating among words that when it comes time to nail a spoonful of jam to a slice of toast we must first taste the gyroscopic butter as it spins into observation. Cotton is a masterpiece of atonement, wouldn’t you say? And here come some more words, each one tugging at a piece of October, as if to say “isn’t the fall beautiful this year?” Well, yes, of course it is. When has fall not been beautiful? The leaves turn various hues of orange and scarlet as death arrives on the scene imbuing everything with religious sentiments and the gold of pain. There is even gold in a drop of coffee, if you think of gold as a metaphor of metal, a rare ore, a kind of music in the dirt. I also like warmth. A lot of warmth. I like it when women surround me with their arms and tell me I’m more exciting than Mick Jagger. But tell me. Really. How important is art to you? Is it a necessity? Or more like a gallon of gasoline? I think of art as a tornado. A miracle of air, destructive and sublime simultaneously. A giant contradiction. The human mind craves superfluity. Superfluity is a need, and is therefore not superfluous. Superfluity must be superfluous in order to satisfy the condition of being superfluous, and so appease the craving of the soul for something in life that isn’t required but free-floating and dangerous. By that I mean French fries and theatre. The hypoteneuse of Nebraska which is a time in the morning that is always moving and forming shadows in the garden. Anybody’s garden. Because if a hypoteneuse is the longest side of a right-sided triangle everything else makes sense as the detached glaze of a metaphor on top of a thought using a bagatelle of understanding to create the vibrations of a personality. Gold, for instance, or a gallon of paragraph sprawling across a sheet of paper shouting delicacies of morning into the sugar of some newly born words.


Monday, June 23, 2014

The Birth of Meaning

I can’t get it out of my head, the funny blip blip blip of bubbles as words, and the way they create the opium of opinion. Is language a shadow of royalty? The stream made the drawing helpful and trumpets. The iron ovulates a bridge. But the rules are theoretical. Hence, the jungle perturbs. Does that mean that the women are bearing children, or have the prospects been pink and hovering over these words now for a beach? The scene is robust when it roars of time. This is an illusion among us, but an important one. The words which import meaning without flying continue to concentrate on dreams. What we get is forms of hyperbola. Miles Davis on a vocal cord. What be you to mutter mother-of-pearl? I am folded and loud by a cloud. A peak experience for the balustrade. May that fortitude couch this articulation in skin. It might need more vacuum. Follow the pink non-Euclidean marble, and live. How robust the first important kinds of instinct are! Such as were habits are now napkins. The geisha is audience enough at a hypothetical planet recompensed by solidity. Itches are to be derived from opening in water. To raise, to thump on a bayou, to jerk off in a lumberyard, to bandage the wound of melodies is meditational, isometric and planktonic, a sharp equivalence of dirt. Ivory when the day opens and the water chops. If the brain is shifted sideways can it find ablution? Yes, it can. But what can a pudding have for pine? For maple and space and maples in space? Algebra mimics the way space folds into billiards and penetrates phenomena. There are, in the illustrations of fauna, certain ordeals that the mouth follows with words. With pigments. With scripture and punctuation. Denim is a theory cut out of the bottom of a resource. But what is the bottom of anything? A red creature that frets over cocoons. A dime of rapids, a story beginning itself in convolutions of silk and gauze. I started elaborating the plot then obliterated the directions. I did this because lovers gossip about isotopes and sawdust and the general complexion of spit and its thin tiny holes which are (quite honestly) chipped when they pervade the isthmus of time that is the eighteenth century. It’s a little disaggregated, so I begin restoring it with a preface and a few wigs. Let me tell you, pulling a century into khaki is a lot of truffle. And yet it honors rhythms, which are basically swans, open and steel. Intention shapes purpose and materializes vowels, the  billow of the pillow notwithstanding. Canvases of texture are preliminary groups. There is also steam, yes, but the hypothesis of steam, which is slightly less than steam, but more than cashmere, happened to find China increasingly crisp and was dismantled in a wave of slaps. There is a paragraph that breathes in waves loosely organized by pumpkin, and what we call an appliance, or tuba meat, is actually a form of conjugation. Contributions of money stamp the cities in too much of a hurry to paint. Although much of it inhabits tinfoil, which the banks all like, and plump themselves into palpability to show their approval. The throat is subterranean when its meaning emerges from whatever the lungs may pump up. Paris is a place that gives me a feeling. Berlin is more elegiac. You must excuse me now. I have a testicle to build. There is an eye that is happy to see the new crosswalk, and it is for that reason that I include strength in my wish list, and a grand piano. The pudding’s agreeable textures are preposterous biologies, and it becomes too cumbersome to bring into conversation. Albeit, I do have some time on my hands, and can’t get it off. If we think of language as a contrivance, the surface of anything is not so much a spectral beach as a figuration, an expanding invocation, and asks how many words are necessary to describe a convolution of sand. Think of dusk on a desk and the many emotions that result in temperature. Not even Romania can sew the varnish of these struggles with a needle of hills. I have observed the many minutes freshly brought from the store and noticed that there was a forward in the future of them rattling like a personality, a sweater more piquant than scenery. There was quince in the explosion, and hygiene in the mirror. Which is why I comb my hair with a polar bear and brush my teeth with conviction. The pleasure of it soon begins turning up in the sink, and I can see what it means to build an insect with the ten actions of a sinew and the click of being in the fat of function when metabolizing a Thursday. I want it that a hammer is velvet, and dance the blues away which is grapes. And this is how the heft becomes a haft, and the depth of things clatter into their holes, and incubate into meaning, which is admirable, and red. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Solipsism for Dummies

There is red behind the vertebrae, sweat at the mountain at dawn. Let us languor, then, in ambiguity a while and grow a paragraph over its peculiarities. Occurrences of incense hiccup personality while the weight of perspective spoons the imagery of noise. We shall call this bone, and form a camaraderie around the slither of sleeves, a conference on kitchen drawers. The jangle of forks the honesty of knives. The despair of wives the steadiness of grain. A spoon testifies to the noise of the kitchen in its whisper of steel. Nothingness in the stink of eyes. The seamless willingness of things to maneuver daylight into positions of friction and preposition. Prepositions are implications of area, ghosts of string and volume. Winter murmurs its cream in exultations of snow while summer swells into memorials on another part of the planet. Name me one thing that isn’t ambiguous and I will send you a cactus wrapped in experience. Butter is just an excuse for orange. But orange is orange: it doesn’t need green to telegraph a potato. Oddity is a surge in the spaghetti of time. Noodles teach the air. Silk arouses the symmetry of milk. Roses in a wet garden dripping the rope of sculpture. It is enough to cough up a wave in bas-relief, but superfluity calls for the embroidery of romance, garlands of words shouting out of the neck. An umber burns to simulate a desert. The debris of thinking creates a story of rubber. A light bulb can joke about itself because the ambiguity of canoes points to the clarity of water. Nevertheless, it is the paddle that wins the waves. The shine of acceleration that honors Euclid’s banana. Think of a timeless Parisian street as a plot for a narrative whose balconies are abstractions and whose parables of morning ecstasy patch our other emotions with bones. The truth wears out eventually and becomes another form of upholstery. This is why fiction is so vital: it offers us the spectral molasses of language in the form of a tin mosquito. I have only just hired Georges Braque to come and paint the rest of this sentence. Meanwhile, I will continue with this sentence, which is bursting with hallucination as it rolls toward completion, attempting, simultaneously, to escape itself, and earn the sheen of mutation, because butter is gradual and rivers divide space into arms and stars. If a cake isn’t arthropodal, then my name isn’t Percy Bysshe Shelley. But there is a coolness in the absence of proportion when consciousness is washed with ideas and the conifers appeal to our sense of atmosphere, the big wet bug outside the puddle, there at its edge, just where the chrome bumper of a BMW is reflected, and wobbles each time a pebble is dropped in it. This is what I call gravel, or the photogenesis of feeling as it exudes various kisses of sunlight and nourishes the silent bells of a gregarious bacteria. I am prodigal as the stars, shouts a little man on television. I rattle my Etruscan nerves and move into the parlor where a conversation is happening between a chair and a table. I can barely hear what is being said, but it has something to do with wood and glue and the thousand nails of destiny holding the world together. Personally, I don’t understand destiny, though I do like the word. There are times when I infringe on myself and a certain weird enthusiasm for studs dilates into a junkyard of implausible doors. And then it happens: diversion squirts its pronouns at the echo of a dead reality, and the birds take wing, and another reality takes its place, mounting the treetops and shouting caboose! caboose! caboose! And I know it. It’s true. Infinity is blue. Blue and white as an eyeball dragging a forehead to a cognition squeezed for its proverbs. Some Hinduism floats by cute as a wire. The hills drift into hirsute violins of anarchic escrow. Azaleas authorize azure. I like you, dear reader. I like you very much. But it’s time now to open the door and enter the world. The brave new world, the one that Shakespeare created, or was it Prospero? It was Prospero inventing himself by way of Shakespeare. Or Shakespeare inventing a Prospero to reinvent Shakespeare. Or I don’t know. It’s all so curious, these many folds and wrinkles, this elevation, this deformation, this life lived alone, and with other people, alone among others, each alone, but not alone, each that is alone in a world their own, until their being finds its straw, and delivers themselves to a formula they can understand, one that involves salt, knots of tricky calculus, and at least one adjective to slip between some nouns, and call it a day, or a potato, or an airport stuck to the edge of a hoe.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rimbaud's Later Writing

In his essay “The Sleep of Rimbaud,” Maurice Blanchot refers to Rimbaud’s decision to stop writing poetry as a “bewitching enigma,” and a scandal.
To renounce writing, when one has proven to be a great writer, certainly does not occur without mystery. This mystery increases when one discovers what Rimbaud asks of poetry: not to produce beautiful works, or to answer to an aesthetic ideal, but to help man go somewhere, to be more than himself, to see more than he can see, to know what he cannot know  -  in a word, to make of literature an experience that concerns the whole of life and the whole of being. From this point of view, the abandonment becomes a greater scandal. The poet does not renounce just any activity, but the very possibility that, glimpsed and pursued, cannot be destroyed without a diminution in comparison with which suicide and madness seem nothing.
A larger question is suggested here. Can one destroy the drive to write poetry if that drive is so integral to one’s very being? If one’s entire being is consumed with the fire of poetry, powered by a quest for the unknown, for the frontiers in the realm of the visionary and metaphysical, is that spirit an energy that can be destroyed, or simply suppressed? Because if it is suppressed but not destroyed, indications of its presence will be manifest one way or another.
It is no accident that Rimbaud emerged in his later life not just as a trader in ivory in coffee but exploration in its most earnest form. In 1883 he set out from his base in Harar to explore the barren Ogaden desert in search of fresh sources of gum, ivory and musk and was the first European to penetrate that far south. He bristles with plans and projects. He writes home to his mother requesting a book on exploration, Guide du Voyageur: Un manuel théorique et pratique pour l'explorateur, and to Monsier Bautin, a manufacturer of precision instruments in Paris, he writes a request for a full report on the best manufacturers, in France or elsewhere, “of mathematical, optical, astronomical, electrical, meterological, pneumatic, mechanical, hydraulic and mineralogical instruments.”
Is the drive to write poetry of a visionary and groundbreaking character so different than the zeal to explore uncharted terrain on a more literal level? It is a rage for a purity of experience that can only be had in extreme conditions, circumstances of an intellectual or spiritual character such as the inner journeys of the shaman or the symbolic transmutations of medieval alchemy. The more literal situations involving camels, tripods, and guns offer extremities of experience that inspire philosophies of risk and adrenalin. Well-being is a state that makes people ridiculous and contemptible, and yet we crave and envy it. If we dance in our chains it is because some divine madness has seized our inner being and awakened new life within our bones. Torment is beautiful. It is largely what fuels a life toward its fulfillment. There is life, and the enemies of life: limitation, regulation, boredom. It is this need to triumph over limitation that creates manias of speed and endurance and fills volumes with seering intellectual insight. It is the hatred of constraint that becomes an unappeasable incentive to walk monstrous distances in terrible cold or parching heat. Which makes rockets blast from the ground. Which puts people high in the mountains at elevations so extreme their breathing becomes a labor and the very rocks seem to scream out of the cold indifference of the universe in sharp penetrating silences.
Rimbaud did not, in fact, stop writing. He stopped writing poetry; he stopped writing anything remotely literary. But he did not stop writing.
His writing takes three major forms in his later years: letters home to his mother, sister and brother who he quaintly addresses as “dear friends,” several articles concerning the culture, geography and political conflicts of Abyssinia, and correspondence of a professional nature with other traders, explorers, and entrepreneurs. 
“The world is very large and full of magnificent lands that could not be visited in a thousand lifetimes,” Arthur writes to his family from Aden on January 15th, 1885. “But, on the other hand, I do not want to wander in misery, I would like to have some thousand francs a year and be able to pass the year in two or three different countries, in living modestly and in doing a little occasional business to pay for my expenses. But to live forever in the same place, I would always find that extremely unfortunate.” Did he add this later qualification to appeal to his mother’s practical side, or did he feel in his older, later years a certain yearning for creature comforts that he could not quite balance with his zeal for exploration and vagabondage? By 1885, he had endured considerable privations and was understandably weary.
He adds, in a very beautiful French phrase, “Enfin, le plus probable, c’est que l’on va plutôt où l’on veut pas,” “After all, what is most likely, is that one rather goes where one doesn’t want to go.” Rimbaud is always lamenting his circumstances: complaint is a form of singing. He wants freedom, but the very act of breaking with society and its norms has put him at risk for poverty and bondage to whatever employment he can find to put food in his belly and a roof over his head. What is truly remarkable about the previous phrase is the way in which he rhymes ‘va’ with ‘veut.’ It is little linguistic glimmers like this, places where he forgets his hostility toward literature and a tiny bit of his love of language seeps through that reveal a spirit that isn’t really dead at all, but continually dodged, avoided, repressed. He has shoved his more authentic being, his true artistic self, down into some dark recess of his soul where it occasionally manifests during periods of exhilaration or sickness or anger. Times when his emotion gets the better of him and the poet suddenly reemerges. Times of great fatigue and despair when he comes close to realizing that these repeated attempts to attain respectability are a poisonous masquerade.
There is, for instance, a highly revealing letter written to Vice Consul Gaspary from Aden on November 9th, 1887, in which Arthur recounts the whole fiasco of attempting to trade in arms with King Menelik II, an enterprise which had so many things go wrong with it and was so arduous in its undertaking that it seemed cursed from the very beginning. Rimbaud goes into every detail of this debacle, writing with such vigor and colorful phrasing that it becomes all the more evident that the artistry he denied himself and the world was still very much a living entity. It wasn’t dead. It wasn’t sleeping. It was caged, fierce and restless as Rilke’s panther, pacing “in cramped circles, over and over, the movement of his powerful soft strides…like a ritual dance around a center /  in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.”
Rimbaud relates how the caravan leader intruded on him just before departing from King Menelik’s court, demanding 400 thalers and using, for his lawyer, “the dreadful bandit Mohammed Abou Béker, enemy of European travelers and traders in Shoa.”
And which proved to be a lie:

But the King, without considering the signature of the Bedouin (for paperwork is nothing at all in Shoa), and knowing that he lied, happened to insult Mohammed, who furiously struggled against me, then sentenced me to only pay a sum of 30 thalers and a Remington rifle: but I paid nothing at all. I later learned that the caravan leader had withdrawn 400 thalers from the Azzaze’s own pocket, which was set aside for payments to the Bedouins, and that he had employed this money in the buying of slaves that he sent with the caravan of M. Savouré, M. Dimitri and M. Brémond, and they all died on the way. So Mohammed ran off to hid in Abba-Djifar, Djimma, where they say he died from dysentery. Thus, a month after my departure, the Azzaze had to reimburse those 400 thalers to the Bedouins  -  but if I would’ve been there he would’ve told him to pay me.
The confusion of people, arguments, and locations is dizzying, but Rimbaud does a credible job bringing a sense of coherence to it, which reveals a sharp intellect and determined temperament, and the strong emotion driving these words forceful enough to make Rimbaud forget his normal inclinations to write as objectively, factually, and sparingly as possible and allow some panache to enter into his narrative.  
This letter, which hadn’t been included in either of three collections of Rimbaud’s writing from this period in my possession but can be found in Rimbaud’s Oeuvres Completes, has been translated by Mark Spitzer and included in his collection From Absinthe To Abyssinia: Selected Miscellaneous, Obscure and Previously Untranslated Works of Jean-Nicolas-Arthur Rimbaud.
Rimbaud’s article about Abyssinia’s complex political and cultural life and highly varied geography which was published in the August, 1887 edition of the Bosphore égyptien, and written while Rimbaud was visiting Cairo, is more characteristic of Rimbaud’s strange approach to writing in his later years. It is written with surgical precision. It is severely dispassionate and exquisite in its lucidity and factual detail. Rimbaud seems to have assumed that in order to be published in mainstream society one must be as formal as a starched tuxedo, detached as a banker, and literal as a butcher’s block. It’s a good read, informative and clean, but it’s unlikely to stir any creative juices.
That is, unless one’s tastes lean toward the unvarnished, the scrupulous, and the starkly objective.
My response to Rimbaud’s later writing is filled with ambivalence. I’m fascinated by his life in these exotic regions (exotic to me, that is, never having been to the African continent, though having conversed with many a Seattle taxi driver from Ethiopia or Somalia who happened to be quite familiar with Rimbaud’s name), and fascinated also by his ability to write so well while writing not at all. How does one do that? How did he do that? I end up as always frustrated and feeling empty when I come across a brief passage in which there is an image or a play of words faintly similar to what Rimbaud accomplished in the magnificent Illuminations. My expectations rise and I hope there may be more. But there isn’t. What follows is generally a tiring, tedious inventory of coffee, hairbrushes, gum, silk and wool, cretonne and crepe, kitchenware, sugar, rice, sandals, shoes, musk, ornamental oyster shells and ivory. Scissors, fancy buttons, religious artifacts. There is, in its scrupulous detail, an acute sense of thingness, particularly when Rimbaud briefly describes a material, the color of silk, the quality of fabric, the degree of its usefulness and hence market value. As Charles Nichols remarks in Somebody Else, “the urge to specificity is almost obsessive.” Rimbaud’s lists, while basically sober business accounting, do seem to have a funny mania, the fever of the bazaar. This is promising. But the promise falls flat.
One apprehends a mélange of conflicting attitudes in these inventories and letters concerning Rimbaud’s caravans, anxiety about the condition of the goods, their potential to sell, the rates of currency, but also just beneath the surface a caressing voice, a real feeling for the poetry of these things that craves expression at the same time it is being denied expression. For to let any artistry slip into his language is to risk slippage into a Bohemian past that fills him with disgust and shame. He can permit himself specificity, as that pertains to the strict communicability required of the business world, a strictly utilitarian exercise of language, but he cannot go beyond that into a more transcendent domain where the natural metonymy of inventory fuses with a higher, more transcendent tendency toward metaphor, or surrender to a more musical, sensual employment of language than what is called for. There is no superfluity, no fat. His language is all bone and metal. His shirts are shirts, his shoes are shoes. There are no diamonds “sans contrôle,” no “leaps of eccentric harmony,” no “anarchy for the masses” as in the prose poem “Solde.” The ivory, at 374 kilos, is 494 thalers. The civet, at 550 ounces, goes for 93 thalers. That’s it. Take it or leave it.
One passage in particular gave me a thrill: here it is, I thought, at last. Real evidence of the persistence of the Illuminations in Rimbaud’s later writing, accidental thought it may be. This occurs at the beginning of a correspondence with the Swiss engineer Alfred Ilg, an exchange that occurred during Rimbaud’s last years, 1888 – 1891, before dying of cancer in Marseilles, and has to do with the conflict between Italy’s attempt to colonize Abyssinia and the newly emerging empire spearheaded by King Menelik II. Rimbaud describes an early skirmish at Massaouah (now known as Eritrea), in the following fascinating excerpt from Charles Nichol’s Somebody Else:
Your predictions about the Massaouah saga are shared by everyone here. They [the Italians] are going to make a conquest [underlined] of a few volcanic hillocks, scattered as far as 30 kilometres from Massaouah, and join them up with a scrap-metal railway line. Having planted themselves in these hinterlands, they will let loose a few volleys of mortar-fire to scare the vultures, and launch a light aircraft [aèrostat] garlanded with heroic devices. This will soon be over. It will then be time to sell off the last few hundred of the several thousand donkeys and camels they bought, and the timber of the camp-huts, etc., all that shoddy stuff which the military factories toil so proudly to produce.
And then, after this moment of legitimate delirium, what will happen? The charming plain of Massaouah is going to need a lot of people to guard it. This conquest will prove expensive, and will be dangerous to maintain…
Rimbaud’s later writing seems in many ways similar to the arid expanses he covered by camel and mule and the deliberate strides of his manic persistence. A land dotted by date palm, wild olive, mimosa, giant sycamores, junipers and laurels, myrrh and fig, strong growths surviving tremendously harsh conditions, which is one of the great beauties of the desert and rugged mountains, the intensity of things in their persistence to survive  - to thrive  -  amid hostile conditions. What doesn’t enter into Rimbaud’s writings, what he refuses, what he denies, exists almost more powerfully in its very absence. It’s as if the very aridity became poetic, as if the anti-poetic became poetic. The clenched teeth and determined walk in his gold filled money belt. The rhythm of camels on hard salty ground. The jabber of tradesmen smelling samples of musk and chewing khat. The loud clamor of desire in the silence of denial. 


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ideas Can Gurgle the Mind

Is an idea different than a thought? This is serious. A shoal in the river. The proverbial river: the one that flows in the mind. In circles. That meanders. That creates oxbows. That overflows its banks and floods the city bank. That gets the whole town wet. And muddy. And engages walls and basements in its dimples and whirls. That goes everywhere. And anywhere. That is visceral in its components. That chatters over rocks. That feels cool in the summer and deadly in the winter. That talks in reflection. That paints the earth with blades of undulation.
Thought is water, an idea is ice. That is to say an idea has solidity and shape. It’s translucent. It can be shoved, or shelved. It can be discussed. It has volume and ornamentation. It can melt. It can diffuse. It can be measured in cubes. It can be incidental. It can be raw sienna.
Thought is fluid. It flows and never assumes a single shape. It has the makeup of clouds. It shifts with the wind and thunders when a sudden increase in pressure and temperature caused by the lightning of insight produces rapid expansion which in turn creates a sonic boom, clap, crack, or poem.
Thoughts scatter. Rags, flags, crumpled sacks. They move with the wind, with the air as it rummages among feathers, bends over a mountain, glides over a hill, goes this way, goes that way, shifts in random digression, makes the cypress lean into the land.
What happens when a thought becomes words? Does it then become an idea? And isn't a thought made of words to begin with? Isn't thought synonymous with its words?
Not necessarily. A thought can be numbers. A thought can be x minus y equals z.
A thought can be an image. A barn. A bubble. A flake.
A thought can be a sensation. A flavor. A desire. A slipperiness in the mud.
Ideas are more like sacks. You can put things in them. Comparisons, escargot, slide rules, dog collars, bosoms, bosons, baksheesh.
Ideas are tall, widely cultivated fervencies of brain wave activity. Thoughts grip your feelings and glue them to enzymes. The words come later, representing rivers and mirrors in sharp conception, floating bicycles, urging the construction of houses, showing examples of the world in tokens and grain. This is why swamps are so scrupulously intellectual. They obscure cognition in myriad proverbs, all of them snakes or orchids, necessities like boats, the clumsy velvet of fog dampening the skin. And then they become ideas, hammers and fireworks and funny abstractions like willow. Willow is where thought and idea fuse to become a lingering string of rain.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Little Pink Sounds

It is natural to push blue into wonder, clapboard the infinite with tea. What any apparition does to tea is more tumbled than lime. More palette with oars, more gaudy with straw. Just a blade whose prominence is an embryonic feather. Disturbance begins pushing itself toward Las Vegas for fulfillment and pardon. The heart agrees to create a tide pool in its subtleties. It is as if, in tea, the eyes were turning toward something cut out of the air. Dabs of blood or the soft mimicry of glue. Wisdom’s the first element to arrive in stars. It flavors push-ups when holes are present and each has the presence to escape into garments of silk and burlap. Envy is as expansive as the paraphernalia it envies. There is a certain jackknife to turn this seminal and circular in the elfin studio. It was bistros to station in naked confession. Caress a chew for orange. This is why I have flickered Bach at times, and devoted an anthology to the bones of any umbrella sanctioned by Lord Alfred Tennyson. Here is a tonic accentuated by veins of silver. Love me. Hold me. I am feeling like a sorcerer. I anticipate the kind of emotions that go with Hinduism and punctuation. This very paper imitates the crying of string. I have certain rascally expectations concerning this embarkment. France unfolds in ermine. There is, as you know, salvation in crows. You go ahead. I’ll stay here and figure the sky out. I don’t know what it’s doing here on the bottom shelf. Caravaggio is shrewdly churning among the propellers, as the paint has intended, and the beads have solicited reverie in their willingness to hang in the kitchen door like that. It opens me. It truly does. I feel open to just about anything, except austerity. I just don’t like it. It’s too, well, you know, austere. It’s not like sugar at all. I like the consonants in between, and the vowels that expand the mouth. Pleasure is a treasure. Emotion pours itself into the bloodstream expecting rain. And guess what happens? That’s right. It rains. And the vowels roll into consonants to allegorize the widening shadow of Sam and Dave sweating heavily in black pants and white shirts. The aim of any language is to alert the soul to music. Articulation burns with audacity when we touch the stars. History is kinetic because it happens that England is navigable and not at all the logical bear that we thought it was. Those men in red jackets with all that fur on their heads is purely for the tourists. The real poetry occurs elsewhere, in the little pink sounds that our napkins make when we hammer them with our alibis and fold them into folklore. The more adult smells tend to live on water. It is there one may expect to find daylight palpable as a bank caged in a world of adjectives, and the experience of bones stiffened by the grace of lobsters.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Alien Melodies

Butterflies in a parable do a loop around the word ‘spirit’ to demonstrate the swans of France. My lungs raise this image to sound in order to give it some semblance of substance. The facts that we experience appear varied, but they’re the same reality and everything is established by means of dust. As for me, I like to ponder strawberries. The air walks into my lungs and comes back out as words. Each probe excites a representation of pumice. Even the sky supports a certain amount of pandemonium. A little paint helps create a sense of Spanish lingerie.
And in the case of qualities, when a quality is established, it is established in opposition to another. For example, a dance is different than an onion, although a church is identical to a football. And sometimes an onion is easily comparable to a ziganka. One time I slept in the seed of an Angel Trumpet for edification. I awoke feeling engorged and visible, though more like a trombone than a bassoon. Sleep is like that. It awakens us to foreign rhythms, alien melodies. I like to think of it as a way to adjust to the vagaries of pewter.
A tree exists, therefore, upon the opposition and unity of its parts. A gardenia is more like an archive. I feel it do handsprings among my buttons. I lift myself into resilience and construct an analogue to equilibrium. A fish scurries by dynastic as a knee. History widens to include a valley. A reality is that which creates a single system. The swan appears to ruminate within itself and the sign of the swan appears to grow from this conjunction of intellect and squeegee. This is because the feathers communicate a plausible calm. The music twists it into perfect justification.
There is a cure for remorse developed beneath the berries. I can’t say which berries, which is unfortunate, but since we’re talking remorse, the berries must be very red and exquisitely delicious. The tangle of thorns is to be expected. Such is life. The imponderable drills its way into a cafeteria and walks in supposition among the pies. Thus, we have modified the violin to inflate with hawthorn. There is a pocket whose meanings shine like the clouds on a sunny day, and it is in this pocket that I find sufficient change to buy anything I want in the metropolis of a toad. Whatever I swallow shatters like succotash in my stomach and turns to protein and carbohydrate. I emerge from this meal a new man. New in my jeans, new in my shirt, new in everything sans buttons, which are continuous and tutelary, and buttoned in sequence, which is beneficial and holy, and performed in secret by finger and thumb.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

You Don't Have to Read This

I get it. Poetry is an effort. Language is an effort. Words are an effort. Reading words is an effort. A big effort. It takes energy. Attention. Focus. Who has that? Nobody. So truly. I mean it. You don’t have to read this. If you’re already reading this you can stop. You don’t have to continue. Go do something else. These words excuse you. I excuse you. This isn’t important. It’s not going anywhere important. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to convey. Go make jello. Go fishing. Build a kite. Raise a kid. Have sex. Take a shower. Brew a beer. Bake cookies. Get drunk. Go to college. Learn how a differential equation can be represented as a linear operator acting on y(x) where x is usually the independent variable and y is the dependent variable. In this instance y is a finishing school, x is a perturbation, and the result is a Mexican hairless. But if you’re still reading, if you’ve come this far, I’m impressed. You are among the truly committed. And by that I don’t mean to imply that you need to be committed ha ha, but that your attention is quite amazing. I wish I had more to offer you. An image, for example. Picture Wyoming. There. I did it. I created an image. Wyoming. Do you see it? The hills? The buttes? The rocky outcrops? The ponies racing toward the horizon? The trucks barreling down I-80 toward Rock Springs? And to think. All I said is Wyoming. And there’s Wyoming. Do you see how easy it is? To create things with words? But unless you can get someone to come and read the words you put down they just sit there. They don’t go anywhere. There is no Wyoming without someone to read Wyoming. To imagine Wyoming. To see Wyoming in your mind. To feel Wyoming in your soul. Thank you. Thank you for reading this far and sharing Wyoming with me. Thank you Wyoming. Thank you language. Thank you words. Thank you syntax. Thank you logic. Thank you illogic. This has been rewarding. And now it’s time to get up and do something else. Play a guitar. Get famous. Stand on a stage. Scream into a microphone. Hop up and down.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Squirrel that Ate Cincinnati

If tuna is immediate and scratched, is salt rational? Honesty heaves itself at my energy and makes me feel bald and useful. But why tuna? Why salt?
Tuna is specific and salt is stunning. Each time I construct a moment of sand all the words in the sentence bristle in agreement with art and produce a sensation not unlike initiation. Words, pushed out of the mouth and into somebody’s ears, will reassemble themselves in a strain of thought, straining to become more meaningful, more like butter, or semen.
Mosquitos, meanwhile, give their blood to a napkin. I collapse from too many scruples and crawl into a convulsion somewhere near the Rio Tinto Zinc Mine to get rid of them. If that seems subversive, so be it. The drug that brought me here is orange and opposable as a thumb. Therefore, send me a dollar and I will swim in your beautiful gaze like a new experience. We can be caviar together and create metaphors for the stars. God knows they need them.
Yeah, like a hole in the head.
Please forgive me. My tongue is an animal.
This afternoon I saw a woman pass the library with the skinniest two legs I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why I mention this, it has no importance outside of writing, where language occurs, trembling with truths so intractable they have to be tilted.
This proves my theory about ecstasy. That it goes through a series of complex maneuvers to attain enlightenment, and shrubbery. Sometimes the table squirts itself against a bowl, and sometimes it is the bowl that vomits a table and impersonates Chicago.
A face is more like a moon. It is a noun with nowhere to go except the fact of its own existence.
A cloud flaps out of a cocoon of words and fills the air with thought. In fact, it is a thought. Soft and misty and tingly on the skin. You know? Just like an airport that follows you home and you have to take care of it and feed it airplanes every day.
Metamorphosis concludes the day by dancing on the valve of a trumpet. Which changes into a crease. Which changes into a golf club. Which changes into an abalone. Which changes into a mustache. Which changes into a squirrel. And eats Cincinnati. All of it, including the Harriet Beecher Stowe House, and most of William Howard Taft Road.
I’m sorry this happened. Sometimes these poems get out of control. Nothing remains the same. They have to rub themselves up against everything, bridges, hotels, cafeterias, distilleries. It all occurs with or without our complete attention and we are free to shovel coal or saw the sky in half and watch as heaven and all its angels come tumbling out. Some of us inhabit bodies for the sole purpose of reproduction and good jobs and cable TV, and others surrender themselves to the glimmer of alternate realities and translate the hollowness of existence into an interesting alternative to moss.
As for me, I rely on tactility. It is tactility that pilots my fingers. Solitude does the rest.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Insights Unlock

Time is ornithological. It flies. It honors nightclubs and noise. To explain this it’s necessary to say something about infinity. Infinity has no napkins not even hair. It is the reason that bruises are crabby and haggard and that there is one bean. That the alchemist’s height reflects plumbing from chains is providence. It is a sublimate of the new walk the alchemy teaches. Further volumes are bottled in red until they exceed cinnamon. But if the whale turns wife than an idea of ownership extends the warranty to gut. That which the flood renders is rather immediate to the French we abandon. Fat examinations are was to the is of a skull. Paradigm this red. The fugues teeming between intonations of Apollinaire are riveted in gravity, like pickles. Gluttony is more like glasses. A crab contrasting that hammer with the world is swollen to indeterminacy. The morning bends into fish. In comes employment squirting grout like a rubbed tube. We put the olives in absence so effervescently that a mouth speaks of ambiguity upside-down in a room of kerosene thrilling and slow. Personality occasions a more residual evergreen of the animal chair. The bulb is washed for loops. Nothingness stinks of eyes. Duty begs for grandeur but pathos thrills with spoons. Fiber and cloth and destiny. Spectral apples based on the strength of being hugged by existence until the morality of bone heaves with winter and the abstraction machine carries its jellyfish into the sanctity of metaphor. I am imposed at declension. Space itself is ugly until it serves to excite gravity to inseminate our abstractions with granite. And this is triangles. Just pure and simple cotton. Never mind the oars. Or the wars. Successions of protoplasm tickle the biology of cause until it opens within a sack of pretzels. And then it becomes more like syntax and is accentuated by veins. I am feeling like a sorcerer does who labors to produce a formula for Portugal. Many of my emotions are another slow story on its way to allegory. And this causes birds in the neck to come out of the mouth as birds. Or words. Or fingers smeared with starlight. An emotion flooded with eyeballs scratches this chiaroscuro and makes it pavement. This is why paradigms don’t invoke stoves. They’re more like gluing the rain together. And the blast behind this is pharmaceuticals. The heart of the café is excused by steam. This is so that the mirrors reflect the ooze within and the insights unlock.


Monday, June 2, 2014

As Your Azure

As the sun rises, so does my consciousness emerge from the depths of sleep.

As I read Le phénomène érotique exige la venue du Jugement dernier by Jean-Luc Marion online, I hear the rustle of newspaper pages as Roberta reads today’s news on the couch behind me. The headline reads: A humble salute: 2 historic anniversaries noted this year along with Memorial Day: Next month marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, and July is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. World War II veterans are dwindling fast, and the U.S. has no living World War I vets.

As I sip the last of my coffee, I wonder what time I will go for a run.

As I am little persuaded to believe that a large yet largely invisible omniscient and omnipotent deity resides in the sky and whose image resembles that of a muscular, athletic man in late middle-age with shaggy long white hair and beard and a stern countenance, and who can be invoked during times of hardship, towns devastated by tornado, famine brought on by drought, cities blackened by cholera and other devastating epidemics, even though these occurrences have to be attributed to the same deity since said deity is omnipotent and responsible for creating all things in the universe, I am nevertheless inclined to believe that everything in the universe is imbued with divine energy.

As You Like It is one of my favorite plays by William Shakespeare.

As the unprecedented influx of people into Seattle continues unabated, it becomes exponentially harder to drive. One must frequently wait for a car to travel down a narrow residential street, factor in an extra hour for traveling during rush hour, as making a trip to the airport or dentist.

“As Time Goes By” is a song written by Herman Hupfeld for the 1931 Broadway musical Everybody’s Welcome. The song was re-introduced in 1942 in the film Casablanca. It was sung by Dooley Wilson and heard throughout the film as a leitmotif. Alto saxophonist Dexter Gordon recorded a version of it in 1985 for his album The Other Side of Round Midnight. Bob Dylan, then known as Bob Zimmerman, performed the song on January 9th, 1959, at the Jacket Jamboree in Hibbing, Minnesota.

As the World Turns was an American television soap opera that aired on CBS from April 2nd, 1956, to September 17th, 2010.

As the world turns at approximately 18 miles per second, the day shifts from the long crisp shadows of morning to the stark energies of noon to the quieter lingering shadows of late afternoon, shadows which lengthen into night, and which reappear the next day as the cycle of the planet’s spin goes on and on, day and night shifting their scenes as humans shift from moment to moment of their lives creating a continuous, never-ending drama.

As I put on my running clothes, I hear someone in the laundry room shift their laundry to the dryer, followed by the hum of the dryer and the click of zippers and buttons against the metal surface of the drum, followed by the click of the door latch as the laundry room door is closed.

A sad size a size that is not sad is blue as every bit of blue is precocious, wrote Gertrude Stein one hundred years ago in Tender Buttons.

Breath, which was ever the original of ‘spirit,’ breath moving outwards, between the glottis and the nostrils, is, I am persuaded, the essence out of which philosophers have constructed the entity known to them as consciousness, wrote William James in Essays in Radical Empiricism. That entity is fictitious, while thoughts in the concrete are fully real. But thoughts in the concrete are made of the same stuff as things are.

As dye molecules diffuse slowly into the region where they are less concentrated, regardless of the presence of other solutes, so does a perception diffuse into our nerves, stimulating a response or thought or provoking a higher level of awareness.

Awareness resembles awakening in its dilation, its expanding horizon of information, much of which can be overwhelming, as the waves at sea can be overwhelming for a small boat, or the progress of Arthur Rimbaud’s Drunken Boat, immersed in delirium the same way the mind can be agitated to states of ecstasy by an hallucinogenic drug, suggesting that as a poem dilates the mind with its metaphors and analogies, creating a fresh perspective of the world, making the ordinary suddenly extraordinary, the mind is both made unsteady and enriched by the destabilizing forces of the poem, or drug.

As I put on my socks, I hear François Hollande address France during the 3:00 p.m. news on France 2: “ce vote est un defiance à l’égard de l’Europe, à l’égard du government, aussi bien de la majorité que de l’opposition,” he proclaims, with reference to the election results yesterday in which France’s National Front Party, their extreme right wing, triumphed over the other parties, garnering a whopping 26% of the vote, and indicating a clear movement toward fascistic policies. The sense of shock and dismay is in the tone of his voice. He sits at a desk. Behind him is the French flag and shelves of books. The shelving consists of a dark hardwood, oak or cherry, with modest decorations rendered in boiserie. All the books have shiny golden spines. Hollande’s hands rest on a golden mat and go into movement as he pleads for sanity.
I like the expression “as is.” As in, here, this is available now at a cheap price, as is, in its full reality, nothing altered, all of its imperfections in full view, the very embodiment of truth, reality, and the raw immediacy of the tuneless world. As is is as as as an as can be. As your azure. As your razor. As has an as in assonant jazz.   

Sunday, June 1, 2014


The glow of old age drops from a black lamp of regret. Light and regret mingle to create this glow. Odd glow. Odd odd glow of regret. Which is a feeling. Which is an image. Which is a frustration. As if one walked around with a museum inside. And that museum had glass cases and dioramas the way museums do. And shells and skeletons from previous ages. Imprints of plants, ferns and tiny sea creatures in limestone. Sandstone. And so I see dioramas of regret. Like little dramas occurring ages and ages ago. And still going on. This theater. This life. 

Language rolls through my brain in apples and stars. Consonants big as wheels. Rubber wheels whose tread is consonant with the vowels of movement. And all this occurring among the waves of consciousness. What is called consciousness and is described as waves. Which are consonants and vowels in an image of emerald water with energy moving through it. So that a wave is created. So that consonants and vowels mingle in an emerald shape of movement. Below which are the creatures living in a medium of language. Creatures of sound and meaning that develop out of language. And crawl into the world. Crawl across a sheet of paper. Shells and antennae in the movement called curiosity. 

And when they die they become fossils of regret in a museum of regret. Because regret is an emotion whose monumentality requires the stolidity of glass and marble. And will not go away. But whose dramas go on and on and are never resolved.  

Because we create ourselves at each moment. The simple act of perception is a moment of creation. Moments of creation. That are inherently imperfect. As if there were but one correct way of seeing. Which would be ridiculous. Ridiculous considering the size of the universe. Ridiculous. 

My skin was forged in a plywood cocoon. And is therefore ridiculous.
The tug rattles chewing the waves. Ridiculous. 

Volition within the involuntary is the paradoxical formula for the possible dissolution of the antinomy of aesthetic domination. This is how I escape the banality of form and develop a thesis of radical effusion. That seeks its own form. A new form. A form like fornication, or rapids, or petty bourgeoisie, or rutabaga. Like these, but none of these. Itself, unique and gabled and soft as a hunting jacket. 
Or sanctuary.  

My eyes open and monstrosities of form and scintillation jump inside and go to my brain for interpretation. Visceral shadows push them into language. Where they become a romance novel with Fabio on the cover.  

Here is a flavor freighted with faith. Faith tastes of monasticism. Cold mornings and wine at twilight. Hypnosis and cactus and French ocher and gamma globulin. All ridiculous. 

Life? Ridiculous. Mustaches? Ridiculous. Mezzotints? Ridiculous. Sarcophagi? Not so ridiculous. But ridiculous all the same.