Thursday, June 27, 2013

Letter to Myself at Age Twenty-One

First off, don’t worry about the marriage. It ain’t gonna last. But don’t worry. People will drive you nuts with that tiresome old chestnut, “there’s more than one fish in the sea.” Thing is, they’re right. Listen. I’m not talking salmon and sea bream either, I’m talking hot tuna. These people are right. But really, it’s not that important. Fucking is great fun and romance is intense and rejection is painful. Make no mistake. Abandonment hurts. And every time you fall for someone there is that specter of rejection hovering close, always. Knife at your romantic throat. Until you get into your 40s romance and its close cousin lust will be the driving forces of your life on what will be a very rocky and heavily abused road. But here’s the important part, so listen up: learn to be cool on your own. Learn to enjoy your own company. Do that, and you’ve got everything.
Same with poverty, my friend. Get used to it. Thanks to your glorious ambitions to become the next Richard Brautigan, it ain’t gonna happen. Didn’t happen for Richard. By the 80s, he’s pretty much forgotten. Outdated. This will be the Reagan years. People aren’t into eccentricity and psychedelic drugs anymore. They’re into cocaine and exclusion. Big boats and bigger personalities. Richard Brautigan will be found dead of a self-inflicted .44 Magnum gunshot wound to the head in his house in Bolinas, California. It will take approximately a month before his body is discovered. “All of us have a place in history,” Richard once wrote, “mine is clouds.”
Writing is a passion, just like romance, but she is a tough and exacting mistress. If you want fame to go with the writing life, if you want financial compensation and invitations to give commencement addresses to prestigious universities, you will be making yourself much more vulnerable to the slings and arrows of a highly volatile and capricious career. A career, I must remind you, based on nothing but subjectivity. Here is another truism: writing is its own reward. You will hear this repeated by friends and colleagues and you will want to bash them over the head with a garbage can lid each time you hear those syllables. But it’s true. Writing is its own reward. I can’t explain why it’s so fulfilling, or dilating, or exciting, or deeply pleasurable, but it is. Especially when you write for no one but yourself. That’s the writing career at its best. The best judge of your writing is yourself. When you write something great, you will know it. It won’t matter what anyone else says or how anyone else responds or what editor takes your work and what editor sends it back. When you know you’ve written something truly wonderful, there is nothing like it. The feeling will lead you to riskier and riskier experiments. It will lead you to spectacular failures. Because although language is fundamentally a social medium, the truest writing occurs outside of the social arena. It’s a fantastic paradox. As soon as you enter language as the true wilderness that it is, and enter it alone, with a keen eye and a will for adventure, you will discover miracles of words, whole Yellowstones of myriad color and steaming predication.
Money will always be a problem. Here I would advise you to learn how to rob banks. Seriously, dude, you’re going to need money. If you’re dreaming of living a life like a Shoshone out in the Nevada desert in some kind of makeshift yurt with all kinds of survival gear and deerskins and colorful Burning Man attire, or just waddle around nude all the time with your dick swinging in those hot Nevada breezes, forget it. It ain’t a good choice. You will long for books and running water and electricity and especially (it bears repeating) books. You are a book hound. You will need shelter for all the books you will gather during your life. You will need plenty of shelves. You will enter the new millennium fantasizing a life with a little handheld electronic device in which to house all your literary needs, but don’t kid yourself. Reading words on an electronic screen is not the same as reading words on paper, bound between two covers, with possibly an appendix and an index. Words in print, words made of ink instead of ephemeral little algorithmic pixels, carry far more authority and are much more easily absorbed. So ditch the yurt, the Nevada Shoshone Burning Man fantasies, and try to find a job that pays reasonably well and that you can stomach for a minimum of four hours a day. Ok, eight, if need be. Just make sure the job doesn’t kill your soul. It can deaden your brain. You can always resuscitate a brain, given enough time and rest and possibly martinis, but it’s hard to redeem a lost soul. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t get a job in finance, advertising, or politics.
What will become of you? Am I famous? Do I become famous? Still harping on that are you. You weren’t listening. Seriously, I’m not kidding, just write. Write your pants off. I know you’ve picked up a guitar a couple of times and wondered if there might be some opportunity there. I know you don’t believe in talent, and I agree. I mean, any endeavor is possible provided you do the work. But I do believe in aptitude. Some people have an aptitude for music, some for math, some for language. You, you got stuck with the language genes, my friend. Music is not for you. And really, it’s a harder life than you can imagine. Playing music night after night with people you come to hate because you’ve been with them day and night for months at a time.
And no, I can’t give you winning lottery numbers or the results of sports games or tell you what companies to invest in. That would be fundamentally unethical and upset the balance of the universe. Did I just say “balance of the universe?” Shit, I don’t know if this universe is balanced at all. Who does? I do know this: predestination sucks. Life is far richer not knowing the outcome. Trust me.



Friday, June 21, 2013

Black Heat

My residual birds residual words horses dangle from a dream of hills.
Maturity is a problem. Our descriptions are engorged with magic. I get crazy over sewing. If I see a needle I grab it and modify it and crawl toward a scent and twinkle. I like images. I do. Especially those that are dry as wool, or ooze from a line of poetry in which perspective is sticky and the bones concern themselves with bones and the gray thread mingles nicely with the debris toppling from the shelves.
Morality is congenial. It has to be. If morality were anything else it wouldn’t be morality it would be a thesis of butterflies provoking a sparkling nebula of belief.
But belief in what?
Fasten a spoon to your lip. The churchyard is sweet as a drug. Circles amble. Graves talk of malodorous shovels. This firmament this can of beans this biography feeding Braque.
We like to hoe gardens change our clothes and plunge into ourselves being personalities and such. The clarinet is physical. Then it becomes music, and awakens the grease of rumination. Picasso complains and paints, complains and paints. He answers the house with Euclid and ukulele. The ukulele twitches and convulses. Go. Rub a plasma TV.
Mohair happens. It just does. There is nothing else to add. Except concrete, after folding the world into a wilderness. There is grace in knowing nothing. The vagueness of clouds drifting, nouns of sand and water. A feeling awakens during sleep and the lake loses its footing. Clap it on and squeeze it. Sparkle like a suitcase. Slam the mailbox. Gravity is vertical as a wheel is round or an awning is yawning and space begs for objects to turn and ruffle in the wind.
My ghost clenches a shirt. Our thumbs are busy. I rise and bring you a napkin. Here. I need to hit this emotion with a roaring crowd. I can feel my symbols rattle and bend on the highway. The swans are hemmed in dark water. Raw sienna illusionism in a doctrine of snow. The snow falls on the hood of our car and we are imbued with the grace of dreaming it is the drapery of heaven.
I want to pull a large sentiment out of my throat and translate morning into an udder of milk. I grip my cells. My cells grip me. I don’t know the difference between a cell and a whisper mulled in wine. I squirm I wince I scream. There are planets in boxes. But we don’t know what a personality is. We just pepper our soup and hope for the best. The heart emphasizes its blood, and the root of being goes deep into hypothesis. The medicine is working. I wander reality in my Christmas opium.
I bewilder my food. The bulbs wiggle during an earthquake. The radio emanates weird sounds of anguish and concertina Paris. As there is harm done to one’s sense of propriety, there will be experiments in smell. Liniment pressed to the skin. The piano flares with music, an autonomy of sound indulged in red. The steak sizzles in the pan. The knife is sharp and the day is incendiary.
I stare at the stars and lift a sentence out of my brain. Its colors are strawberry and pink. I can feel the sugar of a running woman, a wound heal and grow into luxuries of thought. My plumes are diversions. There are oceans in our veins. Our ears are weird and explicit. We farm a convocation of eyes among the slithering snakes of an ancient philosophy. If a paragraph floats,  allow a simple word to tug at a sentence and bring it aboard. The pulley squeaks. The engine is pure jello and spectral as a horse galloping in a corner of leaves. There are waves in our fingernails. We stand on deck and watch the grebes spin out from the cliffs. We glide along a deformed syntax of rock and the coal is dreaming in a hidden black heat. If this is considered thought, the examples of it are wrinkled. The signs crave attention. The wound of existence brings us instinct. We cram it with gasoline and rub the day into velvet. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

City of Dreams

I’d forgotten how rural and old and dreamlike Port Townsend is, how the old brick and stone buildings that line Water Street at the base of a high cliff seem to permanently gaze into the dreams and aspirations of the late 19th century, when high-masted ships like the Glory of the Seas or the Susie T. Plummer lay at anchor in the waters by Union Wharf and bars and bordellos provided entertainment for the sailors and bolstered the booming economy. Port Townsend is quintessentially western, but salt air and fresh breezes blowing in from the Strait of Juan de Fuca ruffle the puddles and invigorate the nerves, imbuing everything with a distinctly marine character. Even if you don’t sail or dive or do much in the water except drink it and look at it occasionally the vastness that is the ocean reddens the brick and makes the glass shine harder.
Roberta and I rolled into town about 2:30 last Friday afternoon and looked for a place to get a snack. We’d gone to Port Townsend to visit a friend and just relax, just be somewhere different than Seattle for a day or two and spend the night in a hotel. We love hotels. Motels, too, but mostly hotels. There is just something inherently fun about spending a night in a hotel. We parked in a lot outside a promising series of shops, the largest of which was quaintly named Quimper Mercantile, on Water Street, which is a community-owned company. People of the Quimper Peninsula own shares in it. Quimper Mercantile didn’t have the kind of snacks we were looking for, but they seemed to have a colossal miscellany of everything else: shoes, bed linens, towels, fishing gear, jack knives, fat woolly socks, climbing carabiners, boots, raincoats, frying pans and gardening supplies. It served the purpose of an old-timey general store.
Outside, while we standing on the curb wondering where to go next in our search for snacks, a friendly woman who had overheard our request for beverages and snacks gave us directions to a small deli called Getables, a few doors down past Taylor, offering cheese and pickles and baked goods and a variety of beverages. I fished out a concoction of mandarin orange from a barrel-shaped container full of ice while Roberta nabbed some water and two sandwich halves stuffed with lettuce and turkey. We paid for our "getables" at a beautiful counter of wooden laminate. I remarked on the counter to the owner who told me he’d bought it at IKEA and then added that he’d coated it heavily with polyurethane, which gave it a high gloss. It looked new, but was over a year old.
We’d made reservations online at the Washington Hotel, which we located between a dealer in rare books on the north side  -  Rare And Antique And Collectible Books  -  and a boutique of vintage clothing to the south which wrapped around the corner. The boutique was aptly named the Wandering Wardrobe. We found the address and sign for the Washington Hotel, inscribed in modest black letters on a white background, but no grand entryway, not even a lobby. Roberta punched in a code and the door opened. We walked up a long flight of beige carpeted steps at the top of which a giant fleur-de-lis reposed on a small table. Our room was toward to the back. Classical music played on the radio and CD player adjacent upturned wine glasses and coffee mugs. An abstract painting of white and black hung above the commode. From a distance it looked like zebra skin, but upon closer examination it looked more like black water moving sinuously among chunks of pure white ice. A blue vase with a bouquet of cattails reposed on an end-table to the north of the bed. I looked out onto the graveled parking lot, where our rental car was parked in front of an old wooden door upon which was written “Overweight Mermaids,” underneath which a large white arrow pointed to the south, ostensibly to another cellar door that was hidden from view. It was odd not seeing anyone as we got situated in our room. It felt as if the hotel were run by fairies who chose to remain invisible.
It was, as advertised, a quiet room. I wasn’t sure whether the adjacent building of antique cars was intended as a warehouse, a garage, or a parts shop dealing mainly in retail in which old men with crinkly faces and white hair sprinkled astute queries with colloquies of helpful advice. However, I could not see any human activity, just murky silhouettes of what appeared to be machinery, oil cans or transmissions. I tried closing the blinds, but the cord wouldn’t budge. I fussed with it a little, pulled the valence out a little and tried to peer through the little hole through which the cords ran, but couldn’t see any switch or gear or toggle I could try to loosen. The cords remained as frozen in place as if they’d been nailed to the window sill. Well, I thought, why worry if there’s no one in the antique car building. It was a continuing frustration, however, to look at those cords and not believe that there was probably something very simple I was overlooking, some little switch or button, and so bring the slats down with a mild clutter and bring shade and privacy into our room. Roberta speculated it might even work by remote, like the radio and TV, but there were only the two remotes for the radio and TV. No wand or doodad that might be connected with window blinds.
I have trouble with gadgets. I have trouble with icons. I don’t understand what they’re intended to mean. The windows on our rented Camry were electronic, and all but the windows on the driver’s side refused to go down. I thought the wiring had gone awry, but discovered later, while we were waiting for the Seattle ferry that the two little icons representing padlocks that were indented in white on the two little buttons above the small levers that maneuvered the windows up and down, locked and unlocked the windows. Locking car doors made obvious sense, but windows? What was the purpose of locking windows? Roberta surmised that it had to do with keeping little kids from playing with the windows and falling out of the car. I found the lack of a manually operated window and all this electronic gadgetry maddening. I was used to muscling the windows up and down on our old Subaru, not to mention every car I'd owned in the past. This dependency on electronics unsettles me. I like levers and buttons. I like things you can push and pull. I like dexterity. I like engagement. I like the joy and sensuality of a well-designed object. I am especially perturbed, as in the case with our new dishwasher, when even the buttonness of buttons go missing and there is only the mere implication of a button on an otherwise smooth surface of shiny plastic. Pressing a sign or an abstract image instead of a tangible device is disquieting. I need physicality. I need solidity. A world of pure signage makes me nervous. I know how slippery signs and symbols can be. Here, at least, was something tangible to press. I clicked the “off” icon and Roberta’s window rolled down with a gentle hum. Sea breezes wafted through the car. I could hear the ruffle of paper as the whitehaired woman in sunglasses read the Sunday paper in the white Lexus parked in the lane to our left.  
It felt good to walk around Port Townsend. The pace was decidedly slower than Seattle, and the people appeared to be normal people, not the zombie-android-smartphone addicts I see on Seattle’s sidewalks and streets staring fixedly in hypnotic trances at a smartphone or iPad. And they were friendly. People offered information with gladness and zest. There were no homeless people, no one cadging money. Everyone seemed to feel very much at home. I counted at least five bookstores, high glass windows in Victorian buildings of brick and stone revealing the spines and tantalizing covers of hundreds of books, including stacks of Priscilla Long’s The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life. I felt simultaneous ascensions of joy, nostalgia, and loss in seeing all these bookstores and living testaments to the enduring invention of the book, colophons and vellum and luscious Moroccan binding inviting the eyes and fingers for communion with the word, the beautiful printed word. Not the word behind the cold corporate plastic of a computer screen, but words embedded in paper. Fully committed words. Printed words. Words in frigate cohesion creaking with yardarm ideas. Words between visions and propositions. Between funny feelings, heady sensations and radical speculations. Between firm, tangible covers. Between tender buttons. Between fables and caves.
Port Townsend appears to be a remarkably literary town, which may be either a cause of, or side effect of, Copper Canyon Press and the annual arts festival called Centrum. Centrum, unlike Seattle’s Bumbershoot, where the literary arts have all but disappeared and have always been treated like the poor bedraggled cousin to the pop music acts which now dominate the fair, continues to showcase the literary arts.
Roberta got up early on Saturday morning. She made coffee and read Colin Jone's Paris: The Biography of a City, making herself comfortable on the gigantic leather covered daybed in the spacious sitting room. The bedroom was filled with sunlight. As soon as we got dressed we went out to have breakfast at Sweet Laurette’s. Roberta looked it up on her smartphone, which gave her a google map in diminished size. Only one of the streets were named. The restaurant looked further away than I’d imagined. We walked south on Washington street to the Haller Fountain, a half-naked young woman in dark bronze strides gracefully forward above two cherubs riding monstrous fish, an apparent hybrid between dolphins and demonic goldfish, water arching from their snouts, the cherubs blowing into conch shells from which water also jets in spritely arcs of fountain classicism. The woman holds a swatch of thin drapery above her head, her right arm in a graceful upward curve, her left arm descending gracefully to her hand, whose fingers extend delicately in feminine charm. The fountain was the donation, in 1906, of Theodore N. Haller, intended to honor his deceased father and brother. Haller’s dedication speech included a poem about the Greek sea nymph Galatea. The statue first appeared in 1893 at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It is said that a local bar owner in Port Townsend named Charlie Lang placed trout in the pool at the bottom of the statue and trained them to jump through hoops. The Taylor Street stairs behind the fountain lead to the uptown business district, where Sweet Laurette’s is located.
We found Sweet Laurette’s easily enough, but it was about 7:15 a.m. and restaurant didn’t open for breakfast until 8:00 a.m. We sat on a bench in front of the restaurant but it was too shaded and chilly so we got up and walked around. Roberta noticed a crow pecking at a freshly killed mouse. The crow picked up the mouse and flew to the corner of the building across the street.
We visited an old yellowish clapboarded building that looked like a grange hall but was in fact a movie theater. Today’s feature was Man of Steel. The agitations of the crow we’d seen earlier caught our attention and we saw a young gray cat playing with the dead mouse which the crow must have dropped from his perch on the corner of the building. We wondered if it was sheer carelessness on the part of the crow, or if the crow had seen the cat and dropped the mouse in order to get her teased and agitated. The crow hunched down and let loose a barrage of squawks on the cat while the cat pranced around the mouse not quite sure what to do with it. She eventually surrendered the mouse and the crow flew it to the top of another building.
Port Townsend’s Rose movie theater, which first opened in 1907, was close to our hotel, but we hadn’t time to go see a movie there this time around, which didn’t matter, as we’d already seen the feature film, Mud, with Mathew McConaughey, which is a damn good movie. The main character is none other than the Mississippi River. Mud is an appropriate title for this movie. The imagery is so visually intense you can smell the water and catfish, you can feel the current and the pain and bewilderment and joy in the voices of the people. You can feel what it’s like to start an outboard motor and the complex emotions of being betrayed and loved by a woman simultaneously, in very much the same way a river brings sweetness and bounty but can also kill you.
Sweet Laurette opened its doors where a small group of hungry people had gathered. A young woman led Roberta and I to a table in the center of the small restaurant and gave us some menus. I was leaning toward pancakes when we first entered, but started worried about calories and being stuck in a car all day and gaining weight, and written in small letters beneath the three offerings of pancake (Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Lemon and Blueberry Dutch Baby, Apple and Pear Dutch Baby) was the warning that it may take a little extra time to get these dishes made. I decided to go high protein and ordered a Croque Madam, “all natural honey baked ham, gruyere cheese, two fried eggs and mayo-Dijon spread on griddled sourdough, served with griddled potatoes.” Roberta ordered the Farmer’s Market Scramble which consisted of griddled potatoes and toast and whatever the “season dictates” in the way of fruit and vegetables. June was dictating cantaloupe and honeydew melon. Roberta said the potatoes weren't quite crispy enough for her taste, and the coffee could have been a little stronger, but everything else was fabulous.
The wait staff at Sweet Laurette’s were all women and were liberal with the coffee, which I thought was strong and tasty. I noticed some odd scripture tattooed on the wrist of a young woman refreshing my mug of coffee and asked her what language that was. I thought it might be Hebrew. She said it was Sanskrit, and was a prayer from the Bhagavad Gita meaning, roughly, oh lord please remove all illusion so that I may see the truth. I told the waitress that we may be illusions and she cracked up laughing. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Ghost of Jackson Pollock

I find truth in my fingers and fidget until the meanings get tangled. I make stupid decisions. The decisions converge and gurgle the light which has splashed on an accordion. It isn’t a matter of properties so much as unities that divide and come together, divide and come together, until at last the volume in the room blossoms into Cossacks. Once sand always sand. I bombard the paper with words along the side of a mug of coffee with the Beatles on it. I am in a state of drifting, which is achieved by swinging on a trapeze of the imagination. Meaning has paths. Let the decisions be made by goldfish in England. I am plunging into pepper and salt I am prickly and heavily fleshed I am terrestrial and truant I am becoming a hairy pulsing example of the way a wheel turns.

It is wonderful that water has swimming in it. Swimming which is round, the way swimming was meant to be, aesthetic as a crawl. It is difficult to adapt to paint after summoning genies in words. The insistence is only natural in a pasture of buffalo. The spiritual unfolding of a moment is imposed by the stars and a singing goddess with fierce eyes. The simulation of fog is like throwing a yardstick at a guitar. French fries have already been a symptom. A spirit of tin is tumbling around in a limousine. I have a parrot on my head, astonishing and hypothetical. My intentions get lost along the way. Redemption is a jewel hanging from the throat. I think it was made to agree with the skin. I can wipe my lips with a napkin, but his does not solve the bend in the river, or the strength required to be honest. Honesty is a harrowing employment of nails and the eradication of control. Its attainment disturbs the hierarchy.
We are on a hunt for meaning. Generosity makes sense. So do chains and pulleys. Sometimes it is simple, like pouring water from a bottle, and sometimes the words represent themselves as words only, and the purpose of directing them toward meaning reeks of vanity and composition.
I am in a state of feathers and hear a waterfall. It is unpremeditated day, polished and cherry like a sideboard whose secrets are hidden in the top left drawer. I maintain consonants in the expansiveness of ghosts whose beliefs are scorched by reality. There is no burning but ice and dust and cans of paint in a reverie of feathers and fire. The artist at the edge of existence rips the knowledge of asphalt in half and floats into a state of light that isn’t electricity but muscle and feels the churning of testimony. The sky, full of bright blue air, is crushed like an insect and weighs four hundred pounds. It is all penetralia. Autumn cavorts in the street. It is immediately stabbed by a strong wind and the sky grows into itself and hoists itself up and blasts out a big dwelling of sticks and leaves called earth.
The ugly feelings are the fertile ones and in grammar the nerves attract words that lead to lyrical disasters that must be soaked in creosote and boiled down to a pulp. Qualifications gnaw on the bones of the poem. The air flirts with the nose. Poetry must be a maximum usurpation until wisdom arrives and blooms into a monumental curl of frostbite. The easel is arranged by the window and accumulates itself into a joke. The city stirs into life and the ghost of Jackson Pollock scours a pan with the ugly feelings he has earned by crying an agonizing gravy on a surface of limitless grace.  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bubbles of Soapy Dream

Bubbles of soapy dream float out of my mouth and drift around the room. I’m going to resurrect an irresponsibility, rub it shiny and bright with paradigms of elephant piss, and then restore the biology of the harpsichord. They say the earliest harpsichords came from Italy and were made of cypress and had a robust tone. The Italian builders were phenomenal, but it was the French who developed the performance practices of the 16th century lutenists into ingenious quasi-polyphonic textures and a subtle use of arpeggiation, and made that cypress travel the light of heaven.
The trombone is an entirely different animal. It has a telescopic slide, an orotund tone, and a gleaming pulchritude. The muscle of embouchure rides its reach of perfect metal to the birth of rapture. It is to the harpsichord and piano what the heron is to the estuary.
There is an ocean in me screaming to get out, a black dish on a white table, and a shore of black sand where a knot ripens in convolution. Persia is the dream I’m having now. Yesterday it was foolish lace and old barbed wire fences, a memory of snow blowing in a deviation across the highway in North Dakota. It was 1972 and pronunciation was slow as a sockeye salmon lazing under a winter sun. Later I thought of eels in an East Anglian slough. I am slender and uncontrolled. I hear a fluttering beyond the pigment, raw umber on a background of hope. I wear an empty hat and an empty sweater. They remain empty even when I am wearing them. This is their circumference. This is their delineation. Here is a feeling rendered in syllables: a coat on a hook in a barber shop. Feathers of a hawk. An alphabet of trees murmuring haiku into the night. An alphabet of broken violins below the skin gratifies the water word by word healing the wounds of these things with thunder and ice and a bird of infrared feathers defining reality with a penumbral grace on a snowy street. I choose a brush and go to work on my hair.
I have conflicts around the creation of reality. I never deny a bud its blossom, but the language hints of an invisible structure like the hole in Noguchi’s Black Sun. I hear it whirring round itself. The mind corrects the dark like a yo-yo. An adjective rips the air and yawns in a glass of water like a suitcase full of scarves and craters. There is a hurricane caught in my nerves. My other car is a toadstool. I’m a cemetery cat. I’m a tattoo nobody can decipher. I’m a finger pressing a button on a jukebox. I’m an immodest raw umber and soft as a ghost of hydrogen. I feel the creak of a staircase in a house that has ceased to exist.
I’m obsessing over personal injuries that I drag from place to place. The life we are in is invisible. My thinking is gray. It fulminates and whistles. I can feel a splinter beneath an old wooden bench in Montmartre. Audacity is its own reward. Metal is never introverted. It doesn’t need to be. It twiddles an autumn leaf behind an arras in a Rocky Mountain dream. What amazement there is in typing. I see young girls busy with their thumbs making small messages and wonder what theaters we are when cartilage is so willing and supple and the presence of fish is so ruminative and driven. I can do marvelous things when the drums are pounding and the coupons have been well perforated and the avocados are fresh and have the sound of drums.
I can move my finger along the rim of a bowl. I can create a subjunctive mood, if I so wish. I can shape reality so that it looks like a bank teller or a hole in the ground. Europe weeps in its gloomy rain. I walk along the highway. I feel like a glass of milk shattered on the floor. There is milk and glass everywhere. The floor is light beige tile. I have made a hat of carefully chosen twigs and a ruffled collar circa 16th century Holland. My mind plays with the dark like a big potato. Like Noguchi’s Great Rock of Inner Seeking. My elbows are on the table. I’m eating the sound of a harmonica. I’m authorized to do this. It’s my poem and I’ll cry if I want to. Cry if I want to. You’d cry to if it happened to you.
What? Life, the imagination, poetry, chiaroscuro boxing, convocation, fabric softener, stirring anthems, rain and umbrellas, the umbrellas of Cherbourg, the umbrellas of Pocatello, Idaho, sensation and trembling and sexual Tuesday. The caresses of people of buying things in thrift stores. If my palomino weighs two pounds I can describe it better. But it will be a very small palomino. It will be about the size of a word. The word palomino.
Here is a real palomino. It is real because your mind is at work picturing a palomino. I write palomino and you see a palomino but who gets credit for the palomino?
What is a brown and ravenous muscle doing in my wallet wallowing around as if there were no tomorrow? Euclid gives it motion and presents me with a phantom key. He defines the line as a breadthless length. But why should a line have bread? I take his point as the end of a line. The edges of a surface are lines. These are lines. This line has an inclination to cry. This line has an angle and is called rectilinear. This line is waiting for a hotel clerk. This line is perpendicular and standing on its head. This line is running parallel to a phantom area code hugged by a feeling of fat and one day they will meet in Colorado and equal the same thing as a bath towel.
The whole is greater than the part. Things which coincide with one another equal one another. To construct an exhortation use three sheets of plywood and a stick of gum. Accelerate it into the stratosphere and explode it. If in a triangle the square of one of the sides equals the sum of the squares on the remaining two sides of the triangle, then the angle contained by the remaining two sides of the triangle is right. If not, it isn’t wrong, but it will not resemble Kentucky. It will go naked and cut itself on an oyster shell. It will be Tuesday. It will not be Wednesday. It will break apart and fall across the surface of the sun’s core.
This is just a rumor, but I heard that there is a trombone so extreme it can create a powerful insights and relationships. It can create veins through solid metal, and a wide range of molecules including France and mulberry. Beef gravy. Insoluble rickshaws. Unicorns. Unlawful sex. Flickering chins. Enormous pharmacies. Hypnotic real estate. Bubbles of soapy dream.
If such a trombone exists, may it extend the bistros of faith. May it varnish the zygotes of Neptune. May it ripple through my being sweetening everything with the stir of its vibrations and the trembling of its tone.   


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Going on Account

It’s true. I’m a pirate now, sailing my own private Caribbean, sails flapping, halyards straining, desperation feasting on the pearls of obdurate hope. I am scudding the seas to redeem the dream of romance. The moon shines like a glass of milk breaking on the floor. How do I shape reality? I twist it into a flower of iron. I am bursting with confusion. Rain walks on my head. I hear the fabulous echoes of a thousand sirens singing a thousand songs. My beliefs are long and wide like the flight of swallows. Well then, let’s have a toast! There is a whisper of blue on my suitcase and a memory caught in my nerves whose suppleness of perspective has become spatial as a drop of rain and unravels the ghosts of murdered desires. My fingers burn. I work the yardarms. I cram each sentence with an ocean and a catastrophe. I ignite the gaze of midnight speculation. I wonder if I can write as great as Kerouac. How far does the sky go? It spits images against the eyes. The dead walk the waves with apples and balloons. Technicolor angels brush the clouds. Coral snakes and alligators swarm in my sperm. I live the studio life of the Bateau Lavoir when Picasso painted his harlequins and sad blue women. I study the architecture of hunger. I listen to intuitions. I have a map of heaven and a map of hell and they are the same map. I’ve seen great wonders. I’ve seen colossal beasts emerge from the depths and skeletons dance on the waves. I’ve seen Paris and London and the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I wear a hat built of carefully chosen twigs. It moves me to build a worm. The feeling is rendered in syllables. The feeling twitches into life and squirms. What is despair? It is Europe weeping in the gloomy rain. It is a subjunctive mood broken into fjords. It is being alone in Mexico City. The life we lead is invisible. Reach into yourself and pull out a blazing evocation. The horizon lures us into travel along the rim of a bowl. Wounds are healed by the sound of the harmonica. Word by word I feel a poem aching in the bone of the arm making its marks on paper. I feel the rupture of a wave with a thousand wild arms. The mind plays with the dark. Jokes about the cemetery have the smell and chill of the ocean at night. I feel the creak of shifting planks, the hungry egos of poets. The brain is a pudding. Audacity is its own reward. Iron is widely literal, and that is a good sweet sound when it is uttered by a harmonica whirring round itself in a delirium of music. I like my coffee black. I like the woman who sells combs at the public market in Havana. I like Noguchi’s Great Rock of Inner Seeking. The water is yawning above this structure of sculptured thought. What amazement in trying to scrape the cartilage of need from the bones of disdain. I sense the presence of fish. It is the sound of drums. I’m cold as a wet boulder. I move against the current. I smell the breath of old wood conversing with its element the sea. I feel the agitation of an invisible placenta in the ancient womb of night. The worse pains are the ones that sit on your heart like egrets of regret. The greatest treasures have nothing to do with gold, or jewelry, or coins. They are the things we find in corners. In dreams. Goats on an emerald hill soft as the break of day.