Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Vision Is The Carpenter's Balm

Vision is the carpenter's balm. Nails are the carpenter’s supreme court. The juicy iron of the sediment gives his shadow a peach beard. The land begins to cross itself and air out the earth sticks. I think to calculate round by mending a hat. The wind scratches a palm as it approaches the border. The laws here are swooning. Everyone has gone to the moon. What is the mind? Our closet needs commas. I know that because the sauce is sweet tonight. It's high time to invent something for the flaming bohemian in all of us. The restlessness is perfectly normal considering how long it takes for the hour to hatch into daylight. Time is the same everywhere except prison which is a puddle of smashed green water. The fourth dimension is waiting. It’s our only hope, a shovel full of almonds in a tincture of lightning. Maybe we can speed it up by tangling away at the chasm. I know a place where the drawers are metal, the offices are whispers & the parabolas rattle with solar winds. The warehouse is to the south. We feel the acute benevolence of angels. I know I’m due to do something, sink into cavernous reflection or go spinning through various careers mixing a savage clarity with the long slow sway of swamp pendulums, which is not going to win me any awards, but it will help with the process of reconciliation, and bring bullets if it fails. Peacocks need plenty of space. I’m getting away if you get interested, and we fly into elements believing in ourselves even when everyone else has left the room. You be zinc. I’ll be brass. And together we’ll shine. This could be a song. But it’s not. It’s a plea for justice. And a field of lavender at the end of a rainbow. The dear coffee of the hardware store will be our fun little elf. They don’t call it the nervous system for nothing. It’s lonely up here in the percussion section. I have to be able to make thunder when thunder is summoned. And this gives me being. Otherwise I’d be another loop in the woodwinds, an inveterate misdemeanor getting by on regret. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

The Twisted Bear Is Having Fun

The twisted bear is having fun. The twisted bear is eating a bowl of conversation. The cool magnet is an admonition. But the twisted bear pays no mind. The twisted bear thinks perforation is an unfulfilled abstraction. We find evidence of this in thundershowers. The shovel is overflowing with horses. The curb is beaded with noodles. I stand here with a can of varnished gelatin wondering if I can handle the cab of hems and their dispositions without a proper work visa. I shall seek the wisdom of doors. I shall seek the wisdom of chairs. I shall seek the wisdom of the twisted bear. The twisted bear is having fun. The twisted bear is a palace of quintessence and claw. The tamarind stands nearby with a scorpion’s temperament and a small area affirming similarities among the rocks. The peach is tangled in loops of eccentric ontology. Clouds have effectively remedied office culture and left us dripping with radar sugar and boomerang gum. If you lean in and listen closely you can hear the fish swimming in my incision. What would you call it? I’d call it a wang dang doodle and pack my bags and head out to the open sea. I don’t want to see you go but if you’re going to go please go now. I have things to do. I must blow. I’m a breeze lugging a crate of monastery knots. My dream has roots in Africa. The fin is a vintage shape but no genital is completely solitary. Every beak and mouth is connected to a stomach by way of an esophagus, and it is there that things happen. Swirls curl into compliments and language is the serum of rostrums and a romance burning with deviations. Aberrations. Like the twisted bear. Like an engorged preposition. Let me roll it to you. The twisted bear is having fun.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Let's Get Spectral

I don’t oppose the ooze of a rawhide collar stud, nor do I spurn the flutter of a proposal if it drops to the floor in a sudden apoplexy of incompatible subjectivity. I see a stirring beam amid the gossip that the algebra of the socially maladroit expands into a canoe. Therefore, it behooves me to redeem the time with a little transcendence. Let’s get spectral. I’ll hymn an itch we can texture. If you play with experience an absence with meat on its bones will grab you and burn you. Afterwards, an eager reflection will climb on your back during your metamorphosis and make you circumspect. I’ll fire up the forge and make a padlock. The fly the dissolve the alpaca. Everything I shape shouts tulip. Tumult is a cartoon your string has caused to thrive. I think you have a beautiful throat. You look good with a wild skull and a clean curl.

Beauty slides its sugar into the unknown excursion some consider worth a few candles and a little money. Too many thorns in the kitchen will spoil the poultry. Distance is such a mournful thing. Few consider it comprehensible. Last night a memory blew through my mind and left a kettle on the ceiling. There’s a reason for everything. Except regret. No enigma is hollow. The very effort to solve it gives it a meaning and an interior celebrity. François Hardy or Charles Bronson. An unresolved problem will swell into a mailbox and fill with letters from all thirteen colonies of my tablecloth. The man with a mended eye is the one to see what’s wrong and so misunderstood about understanding. And I stood there blinking at the brightness of the foundry.

I’m feeling bullish and so hum a yellow song. It was written by a sewer rat in Paris who knew Victor Hugo personally. It’s a beautiful song, and yellow as the advocacy at the core of the sun. Humming helps me understand the parsley family. No foam or agitation of the sea has as much sheer aggression as the carrot. Can you smell it? There’s a bear in the oyster farm. I love ovals. And cubes and cones and cylinders. Cylinders especially. These are some of the shapes I’ve learned while making guitars for the Rolling Stones. I study closely how women apply lipstick with careful loving strokes, and then imitate it when I’m playing hockey. I can’t, for the life of me, understand how anyone could put their trust in a government. Life is an equation served cold. It takes more than calipers to anatomize its features. The laws are created to protect money. I didn’t discover ethics until I discovered flight. I joined the Chippewa of the Turtle Mountains and kneeled in the mud of the Missouri getting a drink. That’s what I mean by fulfillment.

There are songs I can listen to repeatedly without getting tired of them. “The Song of the Muddy Banana in the Dirty Bandana” performed by Steady State Slim and the Merry Variables is one. It helps me achieve the somnolence of stone, and the celestial wisdom of elephants in the forests of Ghana. I remember my nervousness around guns. We pay a heavy price for subtlety. Each word is a nail. Each kitchen drawer a monad. The sound it makes when I open it is a brightness felicitous as a glowworm. I call it “The Song of the Siren Knives.” Though it’s mostly about forks, with an epilogue of spoons. Sometimes I can hear the fruit rotting on the ground and it makes me want to dance a bunch of words into a paragraph where there’s a chance to be reborn as a temperament or a corkscrew. It ends with a mournful cream, and a referendum of intimacy. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Interview With Tristan Tzara

Q: Do you like to make your bed in the morning?

A: Absolutely. I use a sledgehammer. I get insights by reaching for the pillows. I keep a trapeze under a stuffed horse. I use it to swing back and forth like a trombone stuck in a jujube.

Q: What do you think of today’s propaganda?

A: I think it’s terrific. I’ve never seen so many brainwashed people. I mean, what an achievement! We’ve finally reached a point where someone with a different viewpoint is persecuted like Joan of Arc. No society can function like this. Therefore, propaganda should be the national religion. All it requires is a ruthless disregard for truth. Propaganda is a virus that will bring the so-called civilized world down. Our species will be erased. The world will become pristine again. We are a failed species, but we did help bring newspeak and agitprop into being, which proved to be the DNA of our undoing. Propaganda is the wicked genius of fiction. It is to be regarded with great respect, and the flourish of a hand in a white parade glove.

Q: Have you ever worked in a mine?

A: Do you mean mine, or mind? I’ve worked in a number of mines, and minds. I discovered a vein of gold in a bus driver once. He was totally incompetent. He kept driving the bus over the sidewalk. I descended into his mind and discovered his whole secret depended on pessimism.

Q: How do you feel about the American embassy in Morocco?

A: It’s a crumpling temperament, a fragile disaster of soap. I can taste the apricot in the mouth of the traveler at the end of a long day exploring the streets of Tangiers. I see William S. Burroughs seated behind the desk, fanning himself with a multicolored bamboo fan and offering a lump of hashish on a silver platter to his guests and applicants. I offer a salute. And thank him for his service.

Q: What are your feelings about music?

A: They’re mostly red, the kind of red you see at Christmas, or on the nose of an alcoholic butcher with a passion for Bach. When I listen to Karen Carpenter I want to run around the house naked trailing a bright red scarf. Jimi Hendrix makes me foggy, like tomorrow’s pants, red of course, with hundreds of pockets and a parachute. John Cage opens my mind. J.J. Cale blows my mind. Keith Richards conducts mass with a boogie piano and a bell tower of chapped percussion.

Q: How do you feel about Jerry Lee Lewis?

A: I become incandescent and masturbate.  

Q: Do you understand electricity?

A: I don’t, no. I think it’s got something to do with electrons or something. Is it onions? It’s a dramatic medium, isn’t it? It’s not exactly Dada. It’s so purposeful. All those wires leading up to something. Toasters, tortillas, and tacit assumptions. Have you ever been shocked? The muscles ripple with its energy. I don’t know. Maybe the secret of electricity is Dada. Electricity is the mother of Dada.

Q: What do you think Heidegger meant by “Transcendence constitutes selfhood?”

A: I haven’t the faintest idea. Let me ask you something: what are you doing this for?

Q: Doing what?

A: Interviewing a dead man you’ve never met and trying to pass it off as some sort of journalistic  éclat or literary feat. Don’t you think that’s a little pretentious, not to mention dishonest?

Q: Ok, you got me. I’ve been exposed. But isn’t this fun?

A: It’s fun. Yes. I’d like to go back to being dead now if you don’t mind.

Q: Sure thing. Thank you for your patience.

A: hi ho Silver! And away!



Saturday, November 5, 2022

A New Way Of Seeing Things

R reminds me each day how much time before we leave for Kauai. I’ve been trying to get in the mood for travel. Psyched, as they say. I’m not big on travel these days, maybe it’s age, maybe it’s the disintegration of everything, the ravages of pandemic and climate change catastrophe and war and neoliberal economics, the sadness, the despair and graffiti and prostitution. I try turning all that around like a lazy Susan to look at the benefits of travel. There are constants. Travel is stressful, but also stimulating, I mean hugely stimulating, everything is new, dislocated, you’re outside time, outside your anesthetizing habits, the structure of events and people you’ve built around your life, the architecture of the everyday. You’re displaced. Tired. Craving rest. Quiet. There’s excitement as soon as you enter a lobby and go through the usual ritual. Get a key card, open the door, walk in, and the quiet embraces you, pulls you into its comfort zone. Flop on the bed. Ignore the luggage. Wallow in that interval between disarray and hurry and pandemonium. That’s what I love about hotels: the voluptuousness of anonymity.

Take that Edward Hopper painting, for example, Hotel Room, with the woman sitting on the edge of a freshly made bed wearing nothing but a slip and holding a thick paperback on her lap; it’s such a wonderful moment, so relaxed, her luggage still on the floor, unpacked, plenty of time to get to it later, but for now what’s important, is this book, this riveting passage, this loaf of time. The writer said this is a painting of loneliness. No it’s not. Does this woman look lonely to you? Is this an American obsession, loneliness? Like there’s something weird about being alone, or feeling comfortable in whatever solitude one can grab for oneself, and simplicity, the wonderful simplicity that comes with solitude, when the madhouse pandemonium of the social arena has been shoved sweetly aside and the time has come to focus, to let the senses dilate, and discover life.

Hotels are inherently literary. You sense it immediately as soon as you step into the lobby. If it’s a big lobby you’re in a big production. Expect to see Fred Astaire tap dance toward your luggage. Mae West will hold the elevator door for you. If it’s a small hotel there’ll be a little bell on the counter and a woman in a polka dot dress reading Sense and Sensibility on Kindle. Always, Ritz or Ramada, is a desk in the room. It’s inviting in a strange way. It seems to be saying come here and write something. Something full of Weltschmertz and charm. Insights are the flowers of inquiry. Regrets are the currency of the street. The coinage of alienation. And so I made my decision. I’m mailing myself to the Kuiper Asteroid Belt, c/o God, or anyone willing to take me. Dear Universe I’m a refugee stuck at the border between grim acceptance and Edward Hopper can you get me out of here I’ll do anything you ask (within reason).

A change of medium can be psychotropic. I recommend water skiing when it comes to anything boisterous and fun and maintaining balance. Parasailing whenever you feel cherubic like Reubens. And when it comes to the supramundane we have romance, knights with lances in good humor, exchanging jokes and making light of the situation, the dark ages and all of its underlying factors, such as the sheer irrationality of human behavior, and the need for armor. Dragons are a blessing. They bring a vivid energy to our discussions around the fire. So please. Enjoy the conjecture. Electrical current is a circular flow. The electric field that is applied to the wire causes the electrons that are inside the wire to move. This movement involves electrical resistance, which in turn causes heat, and the emission of photons, or Huckleberry Finn. You and a book under a lamp. You and a lamp and Vivaldi riding the canals of Venice with a violin.

I watch a YouTube video about Edward Hopper. I have a poet friend very much interested in Hopper and we exchanged some email concerning Hopper and the knee-jerk assumption of loneliness in his paintings. There’s so much more than mere loneliness going on in his paintings. As for YouTube, it’s become a major feature of my life. I listen to music almost constantly. When I saw the reference to Hopper in the YouTube feed, it was a little disquieting, a sure sign of surveillance. Most of the time, I’m amused by the choices the algorithms cough up, depending on the patterns of my listening history. Lots of classical (Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi) and lots of rock, The Kills, Mark Lanegan, Bob Dylan, Karen Carpenter. Yes, Karen Carpenter. That one surprised me. But her voice is sublime. Likewise Yvonne Elliman, Etta James and Aretha Franklin. And whenever the upstairs neighbors starts banging around in the kitchen I go in search of big sounds, full sounds, a density of music whose volumes and intricacies are oceanic. 

I listen to music a lot, generally on earphones. It’s become an environment, an immersion, like Jonah in the whale. In a real whale you’d be mucking about in krill and hydrochloric acid. But this is an allegorical whale. The immersion is biblical. It’s in the belly of the whale that Jonah finds revelation, a dissolution of the ego that leads to a divine understanding. Immersion is conversion. Consciousness becomes cosmic. Oceanic. And when the whale vomits Jonah on a beach, he becomes a mighty surfer, and people come to listen to his story of immersion at night before a flaming bonfire, which I just now added, because I like bonfires, they remind me of good times, and because I’m a whale. The universe is a perpetual, protean swarming of things, a theatre of ephemeral phenomena. We’re processes. We’re flux. And 180 tons of blubber. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Day Of The Dead

8:14 p.m. Wednesday. R and I went for a run down by Westlake this afternoon. It was much colder, mid-40s. We decided, rather than stop and turn around at Diamond Marina and go back the way we came, as we usually do, to continue along Westlake to the intersection at Dexter and Nicholson, by the Fremont Bridge. We walked down a small road with virtually no traffic (one car went by) where there are rows of houseboats that extend all the way to the Aurora Bridge, which arched above us with its immense network of steel girders, reminding me a little of looking up at the network of steel girders on the Eiffel Tower. R reminded me of a suicide that had recently occurred. A young woman had somehow managed to climb up the protective fencing along the bridge railing, and jump to her death. How strange that must be to live in such close proximity to such tragedy. Imagine, I said, having a suicide suddenly appear on your dining table.

It was the Day of the Dead. All Souls Day. The dark asphalt was constellated with huge yellowish leaves. The lassitude of late afternoon was filled with gleaming correspondences. Is there anything more radical than a shovel full of fungus? If I ever get a tattoo on my back it will be a canary or an armadillo. That’s how I felt about the breeze at that moment. Sad as a banana.

I thought there was a flight of steps on the west side of the Fremont Bridge which would’ve allowed us to skip one of the lights of the intersection, but there wasn’t. We had to wait for two lights. This intersection is insanely huge and complicated. Seattle is a city of intersections. It’s also a city of improvisations, having to accommodate sudden growths in population, first due to gold, then Microsoft and the tsunami of electronics that followed. The lights are long. I could set up a folding chair and read Tolstoy’s War and Peace while waiting for the light to change.

We walked up Fourth, which is astonishingly high and steep. Just walking up Fourth is like flying in an airplane. You go up so fast. It’s fun. You can turn around and look all the way over to Phinney Ridge, where the Woodland Park Zoo resides, and the poet Philip Lamantia once lived, and could hear the lions roar in the morning. I mean Phinney Ridge the neighborhood, not the zoo. Philip did not live in the zoo. But he could hear the zoo. As I do now. In the still of a November night. Not a real zoo, no. A zoo of metaphors. And spider monkeys. And trumpeter swans doing Miles. And giraffes nibbling glissandos in the dampness of funny Phinney Ridge.

We walked down Bigelow and I thought of Kauai. Because I was cold (sweaty than still equals cold) and to imagine a warm tropical climate smeared my mind with glorious sunlight. The gossip of palm fronds in a tropical breeze.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022


It’s 6:37 p.m., October 31st, Halloween. Earlier, we walked around the top of Queen Anne hill and noted all the tombstones and skulls and skeletons adorning people’s lawns, including a Mariachi band and a flock of skeletal flamingos. The crows were numerous. They turn fiendish for peanuts this time of year. I’ll frequently hear the inimitable sound of their wings passing near to my head, almost like the sound of a woman’s silk gown. What kind of world is this where death is mocked and celebrated? Well why not. What else is there to do with death? It won’t bounce like a basketball. Death is only a word. Until I die I won’t know what the fuck it truly is. I do know people disappear, and disappear for good. I’d love to see a ghost. There’d be proof, first of all, that there is, indeed, a further existence after death, though I can’t imagine how strange that would be, to have a numinous existence, a sense of self, but no body to contain it. According to Swedenborg, every person living on earth is already in contact with angels and evil spirits, even if we don’t realize it. This awareness, for lack of a better word, most often comes in the form of a stray thought or impulse disguised as our own inner voice. That’s pretty vague. I’m not sure how to deal with this information, jettison it as worthless (I won’t) or try and ponder it, persist in exploring it until it asserts enough of its own reality to hold our attention and become – in some fashion – real. Swedenborg cautions against speaking with ghosts. I mean, look at Hamlet. That didn’t go well. Swedenborg warns that some of the spirits out there are evil. You really don’t want to engage with those. He also emphasized – and this is welcome news – that the Divine is stronger than any evil influence. He also said that things in heaven are more real than things that are in the real world. Which would include, no doubt, a lawn adorned with skeletal flamingos and a mariachi band whose songs cannot be heard, except by the dead.