Friday, November 21, 2014

Word Surf

Let’s say that description is created by a bas relief climbing into itself on paper. This is a sample of thought but because its behavior is somewhat larger than a harmonica it might also serve as a version of exploration. We swim in the sounds below our life. Some of these sounds emerge to the surface and get written down as the wet sheen of an octopus crawling from one tank to another in an aquarium of the mind. For the mind is a house of water and consciousness spills on the table where it breaks into the foam of stupefaction. Life is erratic and conversational. A place like New Orleans occurs when space is concentrated near a river and brocades of smooth brown water indicate the contours of the bottom. The streets and sidewalks of Paris are in better condition. But if we ask ourselves, à la the Pixies, where the mind is the answer may appear at the edge of the night shining like the rails of the Kansas City Southern as they cross the border into Mexico. My existence on paper reaches for your eyes. I salute your blood. I’m familiar with the great gift of milk. But how can anyone know if they’re being ironic? Language is hallucinatory. It’s hard to be sincere with one large blood red eye and a white T-shirt that says “if you’ve been waiting longer than 15 minutes inform the receptionist.” Poetry is a form of resistance. I can smell its geography. We spin books into its shadows. Luminous emotions bathed in camaraderie inspire me to be a better addict. I’m addicted to words. I’ve attempted withdrawal on occasion but even my skin insists on participation, telling a story of labor and pain in a scripture of epidermal honesty. Sometimes you can’t escape the traffic. You can attack the duplicity of politicians or drink their elixirs while the rest of the world performs its fusions and expands in our eyes tart as the present tense of a martini olive. It’s your call. Me, I want to exercise my rights as a citizen of the sun. The sky leans over the horizon leaking light and water. Our only real duty is that of a moonlit puddle singing its silent lucidity to the indifferent stars. Wrap your pickles in incendiary nouns. Let your inner anarchy out of the proverbial bag. Whenever I feel my life hanging like a rag from the faucet of the kitchen sink I strain to excite a crisis of words plunged in their own diversions, teasing a thought or two like a single blue orchid asleep on the escritoire. Words incarnate the tangle of the mind. But once they get going even the parrots turn capricious and say things no one could’ve predicted. My sad green desires turn Pythagorean and yesterday’s muffins languish in Euclid. I hum algebra. I crackle. I cackle. I postulate mosses and dips and eat potato chips. Shadows gather in accommodations of mood and weather. The world turns. I ride a comet like a washing machine. Churning feels romantic and pleasantly awkward, but the rinse cycle is fully discursive. And then it happens. Language simmers in its unfolding like a fist unfolds in fingers or a seashore gushes onto the land.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blatant Taffeta

You could say that a word is empty but if it cuts the air and rides on a tongue there is an incentive to say something abstract, something wet and automatic, like rain. Blood is awkward. But desire is French. Therefore, say something consummately sincere. Say it is snowing in Asia. Say the door is pushed open and the insects are scattering into the cracks and corners. Form is the beginning of structure. It is there that the shadow pinches the light and pharmacy hugs its drugs. Push forward despite the evident virtuosity of leather. You won’t regret it. Life is better than television but not as bathetic. One must learn to accept the heaviness of the traffic. Forget about the woman honking her horn behind you making you feel embarrassed because you were daydreaming when the light turned green. Engage the clutch slowly as you step on the gas. Language isn’t entirely a matter of traffic lights. The heart is a dark genius. Its accessories twinkle under the weight of a transcendent sympathy. I begin with the charm of flowers and end by sitting in an attic leafing through old National Geographics. By the end of the Cretaceous the continents had roughly taken their current position. But why dinosaurs? Well, why not dinosaurs? There’s a drug that offers miracles and if you pull it along a fire escape it will activate and talk about seeing things before you even swallow it. Next time you see me I may be wearing a necklace of little bronze hats. Before I became the philosopher king of my living room I pondered taking up plumbing. Some oil had formed on my chin and so I removed it and pasted it to the desk where it steamed and smoldered like a kerosene lamp on a humid night in Anchorage. What was it, I wondered. I figured it out later: an amalgam of words I’d forgotten about had assumed meaning and image and turned itself into a paragraph when I wasn’t looking. This happens a lot. Let a dime shine and a nickel will entrance you with a parable of value. It’s rather astounding. You should see the bulge in my pocket. I’m lazy about spending change. I just shove dollars at people, clerks and automobile salesmen, just to see what will happen. I now own twelve cars and a mountain in China. I feel foolish, but I’m also an authority on the symbolism of groceries, and that education wasn’t cheap, brother. My advice: tailor your success according to the ancient saws. A penny earned is a penny saved, that sort of thing. Explain swimming to an extraterrestrial. Grammar is a muscle. Meaning arrives later dragging its attitudes behind it. Some things beg to be expressed as imagery and straw. This is why we name our emotions Larry, Moe, and Gravy. But if a fly could talk we wouldn’t be able to understand its language. Until then I’m just energy, a pair of ears waiting to hear something from Mars, a sad sweet song about the winds blowing over the deserts, or a powwow in my pillow, scents and refinements expressing themselves in the streets of Paris. This happens every time I read Proust. I sit down and put words in a sentence in the next thing you know I’m lifting thoughts into blatant taffeta.

Friday, November 14, 2014


There’s  a pretty density which grips a sock, makes it a sock, socks it into sockness, soaks it in the energy of sensation and parachutes it through oblivion. This is the reality of the sock. The quiet weave of the sock is its unity, a continuous union as in association and thinking. If the phenomenon of the sock is established through the form of time, then the phenomenon that is consciousness is a unifying activity. We see that the relationship between consciousness and the sock represents a transcendent, unchanging reality apart from time. The life of an individual is the development of consciousness that constitutes a sock. But which sock? For there is a left sock and a right sock. The right sock is independent of the left sock and the left sock is independent of the right sock. For when one sock is lost in the laundry the other sock loses the penetrating force of its utility and becomes a rag-like thing whose only saving feature is that it may join forces with another sock, a sock that it may or may not match imperfectly, or with enough conviction that it may pass as the other sock’s true mate. There is always a certain unchanging reality at the base of the sock. This reality enlarges from day to day until it develops a hole and a toe pokes through. This is the reality of the toe in conjunction with the reality of the sock. One might wonder about its form and how it maintains itself. The form of the toe and the form of the sock form a conjunction by which the hole itself becomes an entity, a hollowness whose integrity comes from an absence of material, acrylic or cotton worn down until it is nothing, and a toe appears, that is the fundamental fact emerging from another reality. All people believe that there is a fixed, unchanging principle in the universe and that all things are established according to it. This principle is the sock that unifies consciousness. It is not possessed by mind or matter but establishes them. There, in the laundry basket, or upon one’s foot, tugged into place, toe poking through, where it is an object of consciousness, a cotton or acrylic form occupying a certain time in a certain place, and may be regarded as singular, however imperfectly it matches the other sock, the other lost sock, given a place at the extremity of one’s leg, joined together by linguistic signs, by words, these words, which I have offered to fill the sock, and make the sock a sock, and not just the word of the sock, but the sock itself, as I sock it to you.




Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Talk had thermometers to mirror. The water to twist. Labor its jackknife by wafer. I understand the handstand by cleavage, triumph which infinity melts. Fruit and zippers in jigsaw antifreeze shows the incidental sugar of the tangerine in summary of a day’s orchids. There is a fire that anneals in scope and pine to become the umbrella that minarets dirt by the plywood molecules of a ghostly dog. Infinity hangs from the lip of the jackhammer glittering with enough stars to intone an omelet into lassitude. The oboe sparkles in the delivery of its music. The lacuna that dreams it is a bench at a bus stop detours to tongue the veil of a moment and make it wax like a vegetable, tactical, Thursday, and romantic. A ripple in the broth. A twilight coughed up by a sun as it hums on the horizon like a comb in the garbage. A red comb. The squid gets carried away in its own rhythms and the kayaks are laminated by analysis. An intrepid zero bristles like a sore on the chicken. The mathematics of warmth gets crabby and the scarred photographer takes her picture with a piece of language called a forehead. The obelisk is lambent with doorknobs. The closet bounces through its clothes on the border of a new reality where the hangers shine in distinction of themselves and a winter coat dawdles in nirvana. You can engender a storm quite easily by getting angry and shouting. But meaning something is different. For that you have to chew particles into calculus until an apocryphal clam comes whittling its way along the beach and confuses you with its goofy handshakes. An X-ray pauses long enough to show you its bones in veneration of the flesh it has chosen to ignore in celebration of the skin of the tongue. The tongue which is near to itself in asphalt and by gargling civilization embarrasses the apocalypse by naming experiences and waffling around in daylight wherein the bleachers are calm and Norway is unnatural for a day. If any of this makes sense you must call your doctor and tell her that Mick Jagger is dancing in your bathroom. By that I mean glistening, which most of us have some familiarity with, our laws and our roads being made of energy and bricks so that horsepower will have some place to perform its paroxysms and the jet may undertake its takeoff.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Heraclitus in an Inner Tube

You have to feel what you write. What a strange thing to stay. I have an odd feeling about that statement because I write to escape feeling. What I desire most is to transcend my emotions. I don’t like my emotions. Not all of them. I like feeling happy. Who doesn’t like feeling happy? But happiness, which runs the gamut from intense euphoria to a mild sense of well-being, is difficult to maintain, much less invoke. A lot of books have been written on the subject but no one has yet discovered a sure fire method for inducing a state of happiness at will. There are certain drugs that might lead to a brief state of ecstasy or euphoria but when they wear off they leave one feeling much worse than before one swallowed or injected the drug. Drugs are not really a good solution.
If the rent is paid, the mortgage is amortized, there’s food in the refrigerator, the water and electric bills are paid, one’s work is agreeable, there is plenty of positive feedback from friends and family, one’s health is good, and there’s freedom to do what one wants to do whenever and however one chooses to do it, there’s a strong possibility that something like happiness might be perpetuated for a respectable period of time. Days, weeks, maybe even years. But these things are no guarantee of happiness. A lot of people have such things in abundance and still feel unhappy much of the time.
Happiness is an odd and elusive animal. But it is only one among thousands of emotions, species unnamed, unrecognized that have yet to prowl one’s nervous system and embed themselves in the heart. And really there is no one single emotion. All emotions are blends. I have yet to meet anyone who has felt a singularity of love without also feeling frustration, confusion, bewilderment, betrayal, perplexity, urgency, adoration, turbulence, intimidation, dread, triumph, mystery, discord, ambivalence, ambiguity, temerity, endurance, effulgence, effrontery, excitement, derangement, and lust.
What I feel most of the time is anguish. Dread, anxiety, worry, disillusion, remorse. These are not pleasant things to feel. If these were the emotions that inspired me to write I’d be in real trouble.
But the fact is they are my main inspiration to write. Because I write to get away from these feelings.
How does that work? I’m not sure. But I have some theories.
First, language is a medium without limit. As soon as I enter into the field of composition I feel an expansion, a dilation of being. I feel the joy of limitless expansion.
There is also a very satisfying feeling in seeing one’s nebulous inner turmoil crystallize in the regenerative pharmacology of language. Words have a wonderful way of making one feel a little more distanced from inner discomfort. And if one is writing out of a sudden ecstasy, words make it shine back in the pellucid jewelry of linguistic abstractions. The very word ‘ecstasy’ is pertinent to the business of writing. Ecstasy comes from Greek ekstasis, “standing outside oneself.”
This is precisely what writing does: it leads us outside of ourselves.
Writing is a form of pharmacology. It has healing properties. And these properties are based on a principle of combinatorial process. Diverse elements are mingled together to create a symbol, an idea, an image. Language is inherently, strongly associative. Its actions are primarily chemical in nature, drawing on a dynamic of dissolution, distillation, and sublimation. Writing is synergistic. Emotion ceases to be a static condition. Feelings flow. Vary, fluctuate, metamorphose. Heraclitus goes floating by in an inner tube.
Ultimately, what is felt in the pursuit of escaping one’s feeling is another feeling. A bigger feeling. The feeling of sublimation. As one moves from a feeling of stubborn solidity to a state of vapory abstraction one feels the euphoria of displacement. Of buoyant reflection. One can feel the grip of an emotion loosen as soon as one begins to reflect on the feeling. Or out of that feeling. It’s not a position of ‘on’ so much as a position of disposition, the consciousness of being in relation to other things.
No emotion feels the same after a deepened analysis. It becomes less substantial, less imprisoning. It becomes a pale mist of tingling sensation. It drifts in reverie. It becomes an energy, a buoyancy that leads to music. A warm immersion in water, a narcotic camaraderie in a copper California night. Equations of sugar. Quakes of anarchical joy. An ecstasy of arroyos and turquoise auroras. The glide through an ocean of words variable as waves on a sweet Pacific tongue.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Exploration is for Feathers

Exploration is for feathers. A mouth full of words and a damaged journey that sells for a dollar at the local emotion. Murdered syntax and a pound of sound. A blast of fingers and a color walking in bones. The muscle bulb is an open process. Description is held by a bas relief climbing into itself on paper. A lobster is thinking because its behavior stumbles on a turmoil and the sound of it hammers a sheen with agates. The head pounds into consciousness gulping propositions. My meanings spill into the foam of stupefaction. A sparkling crown of erratic life occurs when space is concentrated in language and thoughts have no substance other than the beatific tinkling of lassitude. The brocade churns like a river. And there’s a street in Seattle called Aurora which is often misunderstood and discharges a strange gas full of auras and keys. The cat likes to sit in the window humming George Gershwin tunes. My existence on paper reaches for your eyes. It’s always a little strange to sit in an exam room waiting for the doctor. The human anatomy is glued together with a kiss. Daylight is not allowed to enter. A burlap sack holds potatoes like a placenta of jute. Objects may appear larger in the mirror. I have three eyes, four thumbs, eight legs and a banjo. Great Britain has taken umbrage with Amazon. There’s an animal in me that strains to complement England with snow. Pathos vibrates like a cocktail lounge. The snow groans under the weight of the sky exciting thoughts of tenderness and convolution. Parrots recite Shakespeare in all the popular clubs. We admire the endeavor and touch on Wisconsin in a quiet corner where there are no agitprops. We have tickets for Paris and the piercing sounds of an orange cloud are utterly silent. The sensation serves the fertility of experience and we find that our feathers have grown longer and now resemble kelp and balloons. My perceptions, too, have altered a bit and include shadows and blood. I feel the cement beneath my feet as I walk in exhibition of myself. I enter the house of language and find that I’ve been there all along oozing adjectives and simmering with nouns. An embryonic argument expands into a vascular novel. I flail at the perspectives on a canvas of hammerhead gold. I dangle from the ceiling eating a pupa cooked in a pluperfect sauce sprinkled with commas. I rip the rain in half and discover a pronoun reflected in a pound of legend. All my feathers rupture into a suitcase and I leave immediately for Bohemia thrilling with participles and hop on a Corot pulling a long blue dream.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


It happened. I got old. I knew this would happen. Not with entire certainty. There were nights of heavy drinking in which I cavalierly declared that I would not make it to thirty. I grew to love that theatrical stance of rock star bravado, whistling past the cemetery at night. And now it’s Halloween and I’m sixty-seven. But what’s in a number, or set of numbers? I mean really, isn’t chronological time just a bit abstract, not to mention a little silly? No one lives their life in such a narrowly linear fashion. There have been days that I felt like I was eighteen again, and days when I was eighteen that I felt like was eighty. Michel Deguy in Paris rode into Saint Sulpice on a bicycle at age eighty-three, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. What may have been thought of once as a reliable science of deduction and analysis is a now a tinfoil eyeball gazing up at its own X-ray. Life gets weirder the older you get. What used to pass for scorn is now just a glazed calamity, frosting on a percolated organ, something akin to a heart or liver, a brain overheated from its own mismanagement, a handshake intermingling its fingers with the river blessing this moment with its autonomous water. The rest is silence. I can smell it in a book. That glitter of meaning behind the words, that amphibious slide of ambiguity through the blood of a scorpion. I hum the amplitude of human life old Walt, you son-of-a-bitch, supporting the Mexican war like that. What were you thinking my friend? Your poetry is so great. You and Pound. What’s up with you guys? Could it be me that’s wrong? Have my assumptions been askew? Judgment gets its ropes tangled later in life. Right when you think you’ve got the wind where you want it billowing and pillowing in your sails it shifts and the canvas goes flapping empty of wind and hope and direction. Clearly, the kind of life you’ve led, one’s philosophy and opinions have so little to do with the reality of what gets written. What’s up with that? Socrates was right it’s all delirium. A mad crazy zephyr blowing through the brain, no real harm in its intrusions, how could there be? What we’re talking about here is eternity. The stars. That forever expanding universe. Too huge to be comprehensible. It’s abundantly more servicable to go grocery shopping and not think about it too much. There’s nobility, qualities like that that one may aspire to inhabit, but who thinks about nobility anymore? Nobility was a product of the Renaissance. It has no place in a Walmart aisle. People worry about retirement, shelter, running water, nothing so quixotic as honor or virtue. Emotions are energies exploring our vertebrae for nerve endings, places to feed, places to inhabit, places to find being. One can melt into one’s self and find the universe there, there where what you thought was mere skin is skin indeed, but what’s skin if not a medium connecting us to the world, not separating us from the world. Touch something warm and tell me that doesn’t feel good. Everything oozes sex, but what’s sex? Sex is reproduction. And what’s language? Reproduction. That’s the melody behind the rhythm, the ecstasies behind the door, the fog drifting over the watermelon patch early in the morning, dropping its apparitions between our thoughts. The sugar of those crazy metaphors breathing new life into the dirt. Hummingbirds in the sugar of our blood, nothing equal to the measure beyond all measure, the shovel bringing up that first steaming clod, roots dangling like tentacles in a dream of death.