Sunday, December 28, 2014

Holding Pattern

Hold this poem and rub it with space. Ingest it with your eyes. Enkindle it with needs. Drip abstraction. It just happens. Abstraction happens. You feel alive and blaze in the snow of Iceland, a carnival of thought and emotion with a head like a sack of helium. Piercing sounds of creosote serve the fertility of experience. The map amplifies the disconnect between reality and an implied geography whose mountains and rivers exhibit the gum of time as it occupies a schematized space. Incidents of rubber absorb the shock of monotony. The repetitive rhythm of walking. Headlights shining through words of granite. The human mind is smeared with sexual metaphor, the teased agreements of audacity and steep relation, the incentive to suck and sparkle, the courage to pin a passion to a fold of fingers. The light is swollen. It indulges the walls. A sharp wind hangs from a highway sign. The grease at the center of the world allows everything to turn without squeaking, its axle is wet as veins. And so useful it is to consult consciousness that consciousness strains to find meaning in hockey. Words, thumbs, glances, glass, glans, baptisms and powwows. And sometimes we taste the heat of thought in a balloon of dizzying lucidity, rising into the sky like a cabana with a checkered past. Possession can also mean inglenook. Or mulberry. It takes a friend, naturally, to confirm the thickening thoughts on a piece of paper, each word clear as an ice cube and each sentence a wading pool for the eyes. Symbolism is nothing more than a bag of groceries, items arranged by weight and density. The lettuce goes on top, and symbolizes courage. The jelly is upside down but if the cap is on tight it should remain true to the image of kings. We feel the full impact of reality at the checkstand. Here is where being water gets a little messy and hanging words upside-down doesn’t help the situation. It’s better to stand there being quiet and dream of returning to the sea as an albatross on a long glide of delectation over dinner.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pythagorean Toolbox Teats

Experience is what happens when blood circulates, the heart pumps, and life pops out of the box. Everything goes Technicolor. The room glows. Pronouns assume the private pain of impulse. Various dimensions simmer in space sweetening the nerves with saffron and juxtaposition. Is there anything prettier than a jackknife? Escalators percolate in my skin causing action and growth. I ride up. I ride down. I move sideways to let people pass. I’m polite, a courteous person. This is my attempt to hold the society together. Poetry is my way to blow culture up. Smash capitalism to smithereens. This is misleading. You can’t smash capitalism, but it will certainly smash you. You’ve got to find an antidote. Poetry is that antidote. It’s useless as tits on a hammer. I love that image. A hammer with tits on it. Wrenches and screwdrivers suckling at its underside in the toolbox of life.
Movement deepens my comprehension of soup. Sparrows are brusque but powerfully themselves. I feel incidental and ghostly, but also a little like asphalt, as if I cried on the inside to be a highway joining Nevada to Arizona and poured distance and velocity into the long Nevada night. Here comes Walt Whitman driving a Nissan Stanza. He’s got gravy in his beard and a twinkle in his eye. The stars awaken the thrill of a palpable yearning. It takes some time for the imagination to slide into another form of being, but once that happens, one can excel at adhesion and act like a flap in the flag at the borders of noumenal being. Punches flicker beside the anthology of contemporary poetry. The nightclub bursts into streams of consciousness. Leopold Bloom admires the cutlery. Feeling feels wintery as a paper airport for paper airplanes. Swimming is incongruous and therefore delightful. The mind is but a shadow. Speed bumps are annotations. All of my memories have been cooked in reminiscence. Baby you can drive my car. And maybe I love you. Beep beep yeah.
It’s hard to build a house when the lumber is alive. But you can bungle it like comedy and find something much fuller than a house. You can take all the silence of out of a poem and put it to use as something blonde and geographic. Sprinkle adjectives on it. Jingle it. Put it in the freezer until it turns hard and pragmatic. Cold to the fingers. Like a tool.
Painting is instinctive and reckless. A pile of rags flirt with a harmonica. The plywood conveys vividness. The oak screams in the ban saw. I savor the gumption of construction. Even my nerves bubble their opinions in a slow simmer of being. Sunlight slices through the air like a knife of singing light.
I slide cinnamon into my intestine and digest the world. I accommodate seclusion well. Fingernails rely on time to grow into themselves. The black cord of the hair dryer curls in the humidity.
Sometimes I work late at night juggling giant handshakes. This is what I experience when experience turns experimental. Any language will do, but English is particularly supple. Not enough has been said about that. A mind draws parables out of life. The sound of it is sweet and seditious. Ocher is a friendly color. But yellow, well yellow is yellow. It shouts joy from the bathroom wall. I think of myself as an occurrence of meat. This feeling widens and rivals Wisconsin. A wild energy crashes through the symmetries of science resulting in the experience of birds. Dirt. Obsidian shining out of a mountain.
Is there life on Mars? André Breton arrives in a flying saucer. His eyes murmur oranges. Why is there something rather than nothing? We all wonder that. But André seems especially obsessed. His premonitions seep through the words murdering distance and chattering fictions that are actual whales. Wheels. Weather. Bakeries and postulation. A patisserie filled with maps. Lips. Promontories of frosting. Pythagorean sensations serving the fertility of experience abstractions of invisible empires, the sublime appeal of concertinas and chaos and string theory.
I like words in strings. And when the strings run out there is still a trace of Paris, kitchen lights edged with gold. And down below a kangaroo leaps over a turnstile and catches the M4 to Versaille. Daylight marries the vowels of night and the wedding is twilight and the twilight is a delicate thing. Twilight is what happens when I feel open to everything. Even meaning.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Each and Every Way

Each and every way that I position my regard provides a plurality of relations and samplings from a mass of pure sensation. Each perspective insinuates its own incendiary geometry. Expectation acquires a piquant lucidity. The light penetrates the basement window. A chisel gleams. A ban saw screams like a banshee. Sawdust accumulates on the floor. It smells of pine and oak. A nearby gravel road articulates the convulsions of impeccable clouds. A furious awakening flashes on the horizon. The weight of the sky thrills the bones and unpacks its provisions in a dialogue of thunder. The light is perforated with silver. If I choose to read the world like a book it puzzles me with snow. It dazzles me with pearls. It threads the mind with correlation.
The desk emphasizes its existence in a determination of wood. I sit down and open Ulysses to page 305: “A monkey puzzle rocket burst, spluttering in darting crackles. Zrads and zrads, zrads, zrads, zrads. And Cissy and Tommy and Jacky ran out to see and Edy after with the pushcar and then Gerty beyond the curve of the rocks. Will she? Watch! Watch! See! Looked round. She smelt an onion. Darling, I saw, your. I saw all. Lord!”
Even the rain dripping from the black rungs and curls of the wrought-iron patio furniture in front of Molena’s Taco Shop bear some relation to the rest of the universe. Rain collects in a river which powers the turbines of Grand Coulee Dam which feeds electricity to the arc welder welding the patio furniture. The shell on display in the window was made from proteins and minerals that were created when the planet formed and life first appeared out of a jelly-like glop of lipids and carbohydrates. The rain dripping from the patio furniture was once a wave in the ocean that made the shell that housed the snail that crawled ashore and died on a rock molded by the gusts and pounding surf of a windy shore.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven / Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold. / There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st / But in his motion like an angel sings, / Still choiring to the young-eyed cherubins. / Such harmony is in immortal souls, / But whilst this muddy vesture of decay / Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it. 

Declares Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice. That harmony that is in immortal souls is consciousness of the unity of interrelation that is the juice and savor of pure experience. But this would be an experience without the adornment of words. Words are a filtering membrane through which experience percolates before it dances on the nerves.  

The urge to arrive at a pure experience is a journey of bone and skin, muscle and blood. It comes down to the body. Toes, hands, hair, eyes, knees, everything in this envelope of flesh that connects my being in the world with that world as immediate as possible. Sensation is a product of nerves. It gets to the brain in electrical impulse where it’s translated into lettuce, a woman’s touch, a man’s voice, a slice of bread popping up in the toaster, the electric smell of the air in Kansas before a tornado droops from the clouds and begins spinning debris in a whirl of radical energy.  

William James coined the phrase “radical empiricism” to describe his notion of pure experience:
I give the name of 'radical empiricism' to my Weltanschauung. Empiricism is known as the opposite of rationalism. Rationalism tends to emphasize universals and to make wholes prior to parts in the order of logic as well as in that of being. Empiricism, on the contrary, lays the explanatory stress upon the part, the element, the individual, and treats the whole as a collection and the universal as an abstraction. My description of things, accordingly, starts with the parts and makes of the whole a being of the second order. It is essentially a mosaic philosophy, a philosophy of plural facts, like that of Hume and his descendants, who refer these facts neither to Substances in which they inhere nor to an Absolute Mind that creates them as its objects. But it differs from the Humian type of empiricism in one particular which makes me add the epithet radical.
To be radical, an empiricism must neither admit into its constructions any element that is not directly experienced, nor exclude from them any element that is directly experienced. For such a philosophy, the relations that connect experiences must themselves be experienced relations, and any kind of relation experienced must be accounted as 'real' as any thing else in the system. Elements may indeed be redistributed, the original placing of things getting corrected, but a real place must be found for every kind of thing experienced, whether term or relation, in the final philosophic arrangement.
Now, ordinary empiricism, in spite of the fact that conjunctive and disjunctive relations present themselves as being fully co-ordinate parts of experience, has always shown a tendency to do away with the connections of things, and to insist most on the disjunctions. Berkeley's nominalism, Hume's statement that whatever things we distinguish are as 'loose and separate' as if they had 'no manner of connection.' James Mill's denial that similars have anything 'really' in common, the resolution of the causal tie into habitual sequence, John Mill's account of both physical things and selves as composed of discontinuous possibilities, and the general pulverization of all Experience by association and the mind-dust theory, are examples of what I mean.
-           from A World of Pure Experience, 1904 

The pulverization of experience occurs as soon as we begin to classify, label, identify, analyze and organize our experience according to a model that we cultivate over time to give meaning to our perceptions. What we lose in pure experience we gain in cognition. All the sensations that comprised that experience lose their acuity but it would be wrong to say they’re lost. The process is similar to the refinement of ore. A mass of unrecognizable dirt and rock becomes a dinner set or a bridge, a car or an Eiffel Tower, a surgical instrument or French horn. It’s a process of metamorphosis. Of transformation. A sequence of events that never culminate in a single definitive end but keep metamorphosing in a network of balances and instabilities, attractions and repulsions. 

A simple example will serve: I have a cut on the inside of my right middle finger. I got it from playing with Toby, our cat. He likes to chase a piece of ribbon, particularly that type of narrow ribbon with the little grooves in it so that you can run it over a sharp edge to make it curl. I swing it over his head, run it over the floor, hide it behind my back as he attempts to catch it with his mouth or claw. He leaps, pivots, lunges. He loves to play with this thing. He got me on the inside of my middle finger with a claw. This isn’t unusual. My right hand is generally constellated with little cuts where he has bit me or nabbed me with a set of claws. They usually don’t hurt. I’m often surprised to find myself bleeding. But the one on the inside of my middle finger really hurts. It feels like a paper cut. Maybe it’s because the skin has greater sensitivity in this area. It also seems slower to heal. The pain has a purity that resists artful assassination by analysis. It persists in exquisite particularity. It resists the attentions of intellect. There’s no meaning to it, no lesson in it, no symbolism or parable. It just hurts. 
Meanwhile I use my index finger to tap the surface of the tablet that brings up the rue du Fauborg-Montmartre, no 7, Paris, France, where it is said that Isidore Ducasse, the author of Les Chants du Maldoror, passed away at the age of twenty-four, November 24th, 1870. I get a street view: the buildings appear to date from the nineteenth century and may be the ones in existence when he lived there. There’s a restaurant at street level called La Rose de Tunis serving Pizza, Panini, Crêpes, and Grilades. Next to it, on the corner, is a shop called Minelli which features shoes and women’s accessories. How much has changed since Isidore Ducasse, a.k.a. Le comte de Lautréamont, lived there and labored at his strange, magnificent book?  

I tap Pandora and get an instrumental song by Johann Johannsson titled, in Icelandic, “Ég Átti Erfiða Æsku,” which appears to mean something like “I struggled in my youth.” The music is simple, strings, bells, drum, a sad, wistful, languishing melody punctuated by the rhythms of bells and drums. 

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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Painter

There is something you should know about painting: it’s a declaration of knobs. Yaks. Conviction. The sag of a cemetery willow. The uncanny dialects of a woman’s arm. The insinuation of streets when they’re wet and the cars go by with people in them dreaming, talking, yelling, crying, laughing.
How do you paint that? There is always that question when I sit down to paint. I draw a snake. I paint the snake. The snake coils into a variegated iridescence and flicks a scarlet tongue.
Then I get into density. The volumes of things. Houses, forklifts, cows. Animals with horns. And sometimes something small, a fingernail, a pin in a map, a pickle.
Or a screw. I admire the machinery of the screw. Such a simple thing. I can feel the truth of its existence in the torque of its threads.
Art is a matter of experience not principles. The clarity of any given moment.  There’s so much reality in a moment. But then, as we are all wont to ask, what the fuck is reality?
Reality is the activity of consciousness. It comes into being through interrelationship. Parables and paraffin and abalone and hills. The tea of incident, the brightness of valor. Bubbles rising in a ginger ale on a flight to Oaxaca. Sexual somersaults, injuries of the spur. Alligator gravity flying saucer soup a ghost hoeing a garden in Guadalajara.
I feel seized by a stunning translucence. My mind is a mass of fireworks. The stars journey over the prairie, ripping the sky open until eternity shines through.
My brush moves a flower into a woman’s hand and her eyes light the world on fire.
I include a cherry. A bright red cherry. So juicy it sings. So real that it expects my bite.
I love the thingness of things. Das ding an sich. The thing-in-itself. A knife that is a real knife. A wheel that is a real wheel. An eye that is a true eye. The luster of pain in a swoon of pleasure.
A saguaro sun drawing lemon from a gourd of carnelian and jade.
Alchemist holding a blue liquid in a careful measure.
Scarlet trumpet vine. Maidenhair fern. Night scented jasmine in a forest glade.  


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Skull Flower

Time shapes life, gives it a chronology. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end. One is pushed into the world wet and tiny and howling. Everything is murky. The world, which isn’t a world yet since ‘world’ is a concept that has not yet been processed, is a chaos of sensations, sounds, textures, rattles, trinkets, animals, entertainments, and bowls of gooey food. One grows, ramifies, elongates, elaborates, strengthens. The body fills with hormones. Its chemistry changes. Desires, conflicts, frustrations, preferences, aversions, ambitions fill the mind. But the mind is not a bucket. Fill is the wrong word. The mind does not fill with the needs of the body so much as it is generated by the needs of the body. A philosophy develops in order to cope with the world and to provide something akin to a compass, an astrolabe, a navigational system. Instinct, intuition, ideology. One makes choices. Mistakes. Has a family or doesn’t have a family. Has a career or doesn’t have a career. Goes to war or refrains from war. Ages and dies. Each life is different, each life has its own unique narrative.
Life feels very different outside the chronology of time. Outside the constructions of time, its minutes and hours, months and years, seconds and eons. These are the trappings of time. Time itself is more of a mystery. Newton and Plato believed that time is like an empty container into which things and events may be placed, but that it is a container that exists independently of what is placed in it: ships, wrinkles, blood, contracts, stems, steam, war, history, monuments, truths, progenies, picnics, ants. Aristotle and Leibniz believed that time does not exist independently of the events that occur in time but is itself a system of temporal relations among things and events. Time is synonymous with change. With motion and occurrence. Growth and maturation. Diminishment and erosion. The formation of hills, the actions of a stream. The touch of a finger, the gleam of an eye. The way a vision rides our nerves, the way a shower hits the water when a river swerves.

I do not feel time. I can see time if I look at a clock. I can see that minutes have passed. But I don’t feel the passage of time. Each moment feels whole. There’s a simultaneity of experience, of sensations and perceptions flowing together, amalgamating into a single event that has the appearance and feeling of being free of the dictates of the clock. In reality each passage is a hallmark of time. Is time. The movement of my fingers on a keyboard putting letters together so that they become words and the words become ideas is the very essence of time, although it doesn’t feel like time, it feels phenomenal. It feels quick and erratic like a school of fish making a sudden, unpredictable swerve, or a flight of birds, all in motion, but outside the framework of time. It’s when I begin to worry about the future or obsess about an event in the past that time becomes evident. That I feel severed from the immediacy of the moment and caught up in the network of time. Tangled in abstractions. Tangled up in blue, as Dylan expressed it. Tangled in ticks, tangled in tocks.
Tangled in sticks. Time consists of two sticks: the long stick of hours, the short stick of minute by minute.
Letters are sticks. O is a stick curved into an O. L is two sticks. M is four sticks. Q is a stick curved into a hole with a tiny tail. Letters are evidence of time because time is sticks and sticky and sticks to the mind like peanut butter sticks to the roof of the mouth.
There are times when the past becomes so engulfing that I feel swallowed by it. It keeps me agitated and awake. I cannot sleep. I feel injured by my own rumination. “There is a degree of insomnia,” observed Friedrich Nietzsche, “of rumination, of historical sense which injures every living thing and finally destroys it, be it a man, a people, or a culture.”
To determine this degree, and through it the limit beyond which the past must be forgotten if it is not to become the gravedigger of the present, one would have to know precisely how great the plastic power of a man, a people, or a culture is. I mean the power to grow out of itself, transforming and assimilating everything past and alien, to heal wounds, replace what is lost and reshape broken forms out of itself. There are men who have this power to so small a degree that they will incurably bleed to death over a single experience, a single pain, frequently over a single delicate injustice, as from quite a small bleeding laceration. On the other hand, there are those who are affected so little by the wildest and most gruesome calamities of life and even by their own malicious acts, that in the midst of them or shortly thereafter they achieve a tolerable degree of well-being and a kind of clear conscience. 
It is when I stay focused on the immediacy of the present that I elude the injuries of time. There are motions and change but the motions and change do not feel part of the structure of time they feel uniquely a part of the moment, flavors of a phenomenal chapter in my narrative that is free to feed into a plot or not. Unless I’m being chased by a tiger or defending myself with karate chops or a sword there is no narrative. That’s what I dig about poetry. Poetry is that moment. Poetry is that flash that burns and obscures the walls of the container that is time and frees the imagination, focuses the mind on the present.
My life becomes pointless. In a good way. Poetry is pointless. It is wonderfully, giddily pointless. Emotions are mirrors that distort the images of the present or magnify the events of the past. Emotions are linked to time by grammar. Disrupt grammar and you disrupt time. When Jackson Pollock disrupted the representation of recognizable images and focused on the physicality of his movements above the canvas he remained focused on the immediacy of the moment and recreated that immediacy and physicality in paint. That’s precisely my goal in poetry.
I build things. Boats and explosions. Houses and sounds. I accept the singing of glass and the grandeur of bacteria. The pour of olive oil into a skillet, the insertion of a key into the ignition switch of a car. Or, better yet, a time machine. A machine that removes us from the prison of time and takes us anywhere in time we want to go. But, you say, isn’t there a danger there? Even if we can maneuver in and out of past and future events we lose the present. And yes, that’s correct. It isn’t the time machine that liberates us from time it’s the present moment. Time evaporates and leaves behind it a seed.
It becomes, to quote Philip Whalen, “a howling flower in my skull.”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hollywood Sugar

Is this pain private? No pain is private. How can it be? Pain feels private but it’s not. Emotional pain is surprisingly adhesive but in actuality it’s no different than a pronoun run amok in our personal biographies. Like all assumptions, it’s probably wrong. But sometimes being wrong helps us maneuver our words in ways that appeal to our sense of longhand. For example: here I am holding a word. Can you guess what word it is? That’s right, it’s pork chop. Which is two words. It takes two words to make one word because all connections begin with a plug. When pain is painted it flickers into the eyes like a giant handshake with God. We feel more than slightly Etruscan. We might feel Sicilian, or Nigerian, or echo a noise so emphatically that our granulations resemble the camaraderie of the stars and their perfect silence over the deserts of New Mexico. I can slobber like a cow if you’d like me to but I’d rather go on writing as if the sentences were leading us somewhere. Not enough has been said about cutlery. I think it’s only fair to describe time as a bear rubbing itself against a tree. There’s a story about this in the bungalow but I’m too weighted with matter to go and get it. All it takes is a bumped shin to remind me that the subject of pain is fraught with cramps. Let us engage the composition of pain by the scruff of its neck and take it somewhere abstract. There’s a despair so beautiful in its nihilistic distillations that even Dagwood would crawl through the echoes of his existence trying to find the secret behind all those dots that comprise the panels in which Blondie frets about housework and Beetle Bailey is chased by Sarge on the other page. I find most things painful but lately my moaning has assumed a greater resonance. How else describe pain than as a garden of signals and neuronal impulses that produce huge orchids of understanding, black and white and purple and yellow, their pistils yearning for pollination. We must court consciousness as if its answers were embedded in our minds like shovels exhuming the past in great steaming clods of past association, roots dangling, little bone fragments spilling out. Life is erratic. Revolt does little good, but it’s a start. Our actions swarm with it. Words vomit their meaning all over the page and the ether carries their fumes into the algebra of clouds. Eternal flux. That’s where pain is defeated. That cotton floating up there in corduroy and fat. Diamonds sparkle in the palace. The palace of pain. Whose subtleties of architecture fill volumes with the approximate language of existence. The brain reflects on its own reflections until the syntax creaks open revealing a book of shadows, stories constructing themselves out of tenderness and Hollywood sugar. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Feeling a Feeling

Consciousness is haunted by the prospect of eternal life. Paper swans milked in the heat of a window. Heavenly dots slammed into decoration. The sand sags by an open fire. Name your favorite emotion. Mine is snow falling on a river. I like that feeling. It makes me feel clean and graceful like a hat. What I see in the sidewalk is gum and time. The concentration of a moment falling into big fat words and creating a sentence that clashes with reality. But in a good way. Like dreaming a conversation with a guitar. There is an open dynamic in music that drips with the silk of intuition. Surely the whole thing is more than a brightness crawling out of the neck. I have a great respect for mint. But the cabbage mistakes our digestion for Ohio. This is not Ohio. This is vapor. Rain on an antenna. Symmetry carries other obligations. Even the way a serape is folded bears certain implications. Secrets spun into the yarn like water. Like tears, or warts. Similes are always so eager to be fulfilled. Metaphors are different. They just sit around and moo. Coins slosh around in my pockets like the symbolism we find in anthologies of French symbolism. Which is to say their metal is not of this world. And so I wander around in my head until I fall asleep. I herd wildebeests. I open doors to other worlds. I bring opinions to the wind. The wind doesn’t care. The wind has its own opinions. I can smell them. They smell like headlights and mustard. And when Mick Jagger asked me to join the Rolling Stones I didn’t tell him I couldn’t sing or play a guitar. No siree. I just got up on the stage and wiggled. Everything changed when André Breton arrived. He lost some buttons and was trying to find some sand for a fable he was writing. I helped with his allegory and he helped me find that moment of the day when there’s nothing to do but explode into light. If reality is as real as it thinks it is, well then, all I have to say is get on with it. But does reality think? Reality is an abstraction. Abstractions don’t think. What would happen if I reached up and touched the moon? I’ll tell you: absolutely nothing. It’s gravity that juggles the stars. Perceptions are there to flatter consciousness into believing that England is punctuated by time and that time itself is a paradigm bursting with pickles and incendiary nouns. Crisis carves its horrors out of the air, not the clock. The clock just sits on the shelf ticking and tocking the way a clock is supposed to. The hands move, the hours follow. And at three o’clock in the afternoon the Hunchback of Notre Dame arrives whispering of bells and waterfalls. Feeling, he says, is one way to feel a feeling. Another is to hop from bell to bell in a glorious hysteria of sound. This is how the rain gets nailed to the stationary and words evoke everything there is in the world except how to be silent. And that takes guts. There is nothing in the mind but shadows, and the mind itself is nothing. We swim in the sounds below our life and when we agree to remember the cabbage it jellies into concentration.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Philosophy Toast

Muscles are lush and germinate mind. Then at devotion a needle cures one’s irritations and accumulates sleep. Buckskin Cytherea pushes a glass tack into an early arrival of content. There is sand about and poles and red bottles such as mussels. Warm oats pushed into a sheen of nacreous sagacity is simply chins. Camellias make the stadium wild. The ocean is ever crammed feeling for its sticks. I have thrilled with such hotels as my very sleeves attest. I have banged on foibles and cured apricot with herring, laced roller skates with fog. Or did I mean white blood cells? This is a sudden area of zip code absorption. Bog saddle. Blueprint of gauze for a paper lion amid crocodile birds. The whistle is not a soliloquy so much as a knot of power. The uninhibited knock that comes with monsters. Bikini diaphragm, or corner glazed with boiling tongues. Suddenly Tuesday appears French as cobblestones and this sentence has a plywood heart. The stomach has its drapery and archaeology has its moss. Lagniappe is a sandwich if a philosophy crackles. Distance is as beautiful as Monday. The snowshoes are a form of negotiation. It is the nature of things to spit because morality offers kites. But why morality? Why not just nerves? Geniality and canvas? The bikini suits me although I’m male and have no breasts, other than what nature has given me, which is popcorn to my dreams of Montana. I feel buxom as a zigzag. And sometimes I’m a river. Philosophy requires toast because it’s Gothic and consciousness tugs at the acetylene poetry of silver and gold. Poetry is an event. Language is a phenomenon. Heartbeats come with tarantulas. There is a tarantula in all of us, and a skeleton and a  pain that cannot be described as broth or leather but will require the grammar of realism and the physics of romance. I feel closer to my neck today than I have before and this is partly the result of singing and partly the result of thought. Sometimes standing in the doorway makes me feel like an alley in the rain. And this, too, is a form of philosophy. If I cater to feathers then the tourists will scrawl their names on the wall and buttons cause the morning to dive into pine. That’s where the breezes go and the air smells sharply and dialectical. There’s leather in light and light in leather. This makes the leather light and the raft depends on inflammations of water.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When Words Grow Wanton

Words are words. It’s important to remember that. Words are representations of things, not the actual things. This is a good thing. This is freedom.  Since words are untethered from empirical realities, they may be used to express anything. They can express phenomena with no correlatives to the world of milk and grass. The world of physical laws and abbeys and jodhpurs and jute. Paul Eluard’s surrealist line “The world is blue as an orange” serves an example of the kind of journeys words are capable of creating.

Words like ‘universe,’ ‘soul,’ or ‘thought’ have a profundity and charge that are automatic in expression but in reality are no different than the words ‘pencil,’ ‘bread,’ or ‘worm.’ Their values differ in our imagination but as entities in a system of signs there is no difference in depth, intensity, or heft. This is where thought is liberated from the dry abstractions of ordinary experience and acquire the sorcery of music. Just as there are no factual correlatives to the mood and atmosphere created by melody, harmonic structure and combinations of tone, there are no factual correlatives to lines of poetry such as César Vallejo’s marvelous invocation to time “vigorously dragging its misery” or “the sound of singing testicles” or “flora of style” “cited in swamps of honor by auditory roses.” These are realities of a different nature than those of differential calculus or scientific measurement. Their charge comes from an amperage of human imagination, the flow of electrons from finger to finger in the dance of our writing.
Words are propositions. Each word is a proposition. Not just nouns, but prepositions, adverbs, adjectives and pronouns. “Of” and “above” and “fast” and “slowly” and “them” and “you” are all propositions. Offerings from the treasure hold of language to the wingspread of the mind. Traction, transmission, tone. Matter, time, justice, almond, space, thunder: propositions.
Words reveal a system that appears to be unshakeable and stable but is, in fact, open and volatile. They’re pieces in a game of classification in which the nebulous chaos of sensation assumes the order and identity of horses and headlights. Words vibrate with witness. Ideas flourish in their example. Processions of knife and knuckle flutter through the vapor of generality and take on specificity and purpose. Caught trout sputter in the butter of eternity. Words are amalgams that help mold perception. They create a sense of cohesion and permanence. But in reality the cohesion and permanence are functions of syntax. Products of grammar. Articulations of sequence. The amalgam can fly apart at any moment, explode into confetti, erupt into cockatoos.
I love fireworks. I love anything that explodes and rains down as stars. But there are subtleties that elude our fundamental assumptions about the universe and revel in our perceptions like the teasing gaieties of unguent and wool. Porosities augment our absorption. Coffee sharpens our nerves. Each second we’re inundated with sensation. But the place where conscious awareness and sensation intersect are tangled and derailed by distraction. Receptivity turns to static. The algebra of circumstance diminishes in our attention and reduces to a vulgar denomination, stale categories of class and description.
It’s in the combinatory power of language that these subtleties of sense are best able to be captured. The language of words bears some resemblance to the language of numbers. Differential calculus was designed to describe a universe in flux. The combinatory power of words acts in a similar manner. It brings elements together and mixes them in an ebullition of nerve and word whose infusions sublimate or distill into a new ingredient, or idea.
Remove words from the equation and we’re left with gesture. I touch a knife, then a loaf of bread, and then make a swinging motion with my arm. Hopefully, the idea of slicing a loaf of bread will be communicated, and not the intent to stab anybody. Most experiences are nowhere near this simplistic. There are emotions whose complexities exceed that of convection currents and kinetic energy equations. Were we to limit ourselves to gesture it would take a bizarre form of acrobatics, a kind of Japanese butoh, to express the inner realms of our being.
This is the sorcery of combination. It happens in chemistry all the time. Take two hydrogen atoms and add to them an atom of oxygen and voila! you have water. Compress a mass of hydrogen atoms at great temperature and pressure so that they fuse to form atoms of helium and in the process you will create a big ball of heat and light called a sun.
The instant pen is put to paper or a cursor is set on the screen and the fingers begin to prance on a keyboard and words are formed we’re involved in the sorcery of combination. Of collage. Of comparison and contrast. The products may be nebulous or thin or concrete as a sidewalk, colorful and vibrant as music or loaded with summer like a gleam of sunlight on a blister.

Structural invariants, whether atomic or relational, are essential to linguistics. Language is a shared activity. It is what holds a community together. There are constraints, but they are the kind of constraints that liberate the sorcery of predication. An abstract machine may be built around variables and variations. Language is essentially a heterogeneous reality. If I want to make an appointment with an electrician to come and install an outlet for an electric range I will  not need to know how amperage works but I will need to know how to structure a place and time. I will need to describe the circumstances, state of the wiring, size of the range. The wiring of language will be a shared circumstance requiring alternating currents, harmonic distortion. The freedom to create a reality different than the normative one of daily reality will be based on the same structure, but its capacity to create new elements will be as limitless as music. And once I get the stove plugged in, I can make a pot of coffee and sit down to learn what a watt is, and amperage and texture and sine waves and seclusion. I can do equations. I can drag time into space. I can swing like Tarzan from language to language. For the jungle is full of vines, and the world is blue as an orange. 


Monday, October 6, 2014


Cubism plays flirtation into helium. Baffled clutters of intent fidget through morality. Metamorphosis sips the forehead. Honor sits in a cemetery. A thumb does ham and it’s magically red. An indigo phonograph serious as an airplane landing in an oasis of introversion deepens the stars. Candy is an invention, a pleasure of visceral lucidity in food. My medication resuscitates its own peculiarities. Structure begs for development. The texture of a sleeve tastes of pagan stubble. Wrinkles of rawhide find their foam of a perfect moment. Finger and mouth go resonant in a concentric propinquity. The sky murmurs of a Fauvist train remembered as an engine of sound. The winches and pulleys of consciousness create a linguistic element that occurs as a wisecrack in the ice and seizes chemicals never before aired on TV and so goes about the interior of the head disguised as an arena in a flake of wax. The mathematics of this is where the squirrels come in. They leave behind a skeleton of numbers. And Cubism arrives at last in a sedan chair of nipples figured by thread. In other words, a perfect concertina. Romance galvanized by a fez, a face in the asphalt, Nikola Tesla standing in an alley in the rain squeezing it in, letting it out, so that a wheeze of music cools into a marvelous stew of shrubbery chalk. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Like a Fur-Covered Teacup

If fur is correspondent to the words will the words be fur? The time and place of a writing has little to do with fur, but the parables that emerge on Thursday are full of entrails. This makes our questions yellow. Green is a calamity. It follows then that when time is chickens television equals the radius of prayer divided by aviation. Molecules are a major cause of shirts. Handstands begin as teaspoons. Reality bounces through a herd of drools furious as cheese and twice as cypress. There are discretions that shiver with engagement and times when daydreaming leads to lemonade. Kerosene mimics the mind when it burns in a lantern quibbling with the breath of night. Yet, when it comes to whiskers, nobility is papier-mâché. Antiques are more like napkins. That is to say, if a yardstick appeals to the variegations of a conversation the words will combine with larder to create apples. They will be real apples, but with eight definitions teeming with thought and bicycles. Pepper comes from incentive, not hills. A flickering purpose walks on clumsy fingers. The piano unpacks a conception of Bach. The resulting melee deserves our attention. Let us, then, slap the stars with our mouths and prepare our invisibility. There is a certain providence in grebes that remembers the coordinates of gambling. Nothing is a similarity without a resemblance. Existence must grow from stress, or else it is mere windows and only marginally soaked with nerves. What is a worm if ambivalence calls its dreams into spicy turmoil and dust echoes dust with the toys of ceremony? What is it to be? It is to be, that is all. Being and water fat with examination. Inquiry earns its incandescence from stone. Libraries hooked on oblivion. The abstractions of a pumpkin are still a pumpkin, but the auroras of astronomy pull their oars through the solitudes of a pocket comb. We send our balloons up through space and time. The thrill is Pythogorean. The cream is thick and copious. If we name at least one sensation we will be that much further home.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Dance of the Bamboo Nipples

This morning as I fed the cat I realized that a sense of imbalance can result in a romance with gravity and that nearly all of my opinions are forms of speculations raised into speech. For instance, when a map is milk and smells of dwelling the dynamic is sexual and full of audacity. Intentions begin yelling. The  atmosphere turns silk and grammar propels it into textural immediacy, like a bright envy echoing paragraphs of shocking jelly. I put the emphasis on hills. Fingers crave symmetry. But hills, hills are like white elephants wearing ethereal fedoras. I know I sometimes do. Generally when it’s raining and the orchids are bathed in an amber light. This is how I make most of my discoveries. I drop from the sunlight and burst into conversation like the sidewalks of Paris. Then I ask to join the Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger asks why, why do you continue to ask me such questions? Because, I insist, the world is full of musicians, but what band has a member that can’t play so much as a triangle? If knowledge doesn’t bounce, it floats. But how, I ask you, how is knowledge acquired? That is to say, if you already know something there is no reason to go looking for it, but if you don’t know something, then how would you know to look for it? The human mind is haunted by its own mouth. Because when those lips get going and the tongue gets to flapping anything can open. My existence on paper explodes into light. Once I get the words out they take care of themselves. They go where they want, they say what they want, they create books of brazen chitchat. Time disperses its syllables in ticks and tocks. The empire of space has wings. If I smell like an elevator it’s because the driftwood is unconscious. And I awoke to find my mouth flying around the room like a moth. Other mornings I feel more like a road in a forest. A quiet thing of dust bending occasionally around the side of a mountain or ascending into Switzerland. It is there that I find the referents I was looking for. Until then my words had no meaning. Not really. They appeared to have meaning but when they began a newer journey I could drink them like wine and eat pretzels in winter the way pretzels were made to be eaten. You know? Like when a nail is pounded into a two-by-four of pine. My life hangs from necessity like a waterfall. The hunchback of Notre Dame walks among these words. And the sweet Mediterranean air flows through the tangle of his mind luminous with saints and roses. We chime through the centuries harboring narratives of grace. Philosophies are deepened by torpor. I feel most alive when idleness visits my simmering mind and bamboo nipples frolic on the lips of an accommodating innocence. There’s no irony here, only a badly shaved Pythagorean pain. I feel open to anything. The afternoon lifts itself into the eyes and the world pulses in a Montmartre window. This is how it was meant to be. Existence, fingers, riddles and being. Good, simple being. The kind that struts on a hardwood floor in footwear soft as belief yet thick as the cotton of October’s sad conceptions. The path of the rug is more like a shadow in the mind. A story in which nothing happens but the jingling of mints and the laughter of pronouns clicking their descriptions at a street.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Invisible Hand (again)

Ladies and gentlemen
allow me to present Adam Smith
inventor of the invisible hand
I wouldn’t know an invisible hand
if it was reaching up my ass
there is no supply and demand
in poetry no invisible hands
all the hands are shamelessly visible
on Keith Richards’s guitar strings
if you get my drift
there is no selfishness in the world
as selfish as poetry
which wants everyone’s full attention
and is totally naked
poetry wants you to take your clothes off
and make love to a squeaky toy
if you see an invisible hand
run before it grabs hold of your balls
and takes your social security
away this is what invisible hands
do they rob they steal they pilfer they filch
they take the elevator to the top floor
and look down at all the cars and people
and laugh like Claude Rains
holding a gun
with an invisible hand


Monday, September 22, 2014


money isn’t hard to understand
it’s only paper
it’s less than paper
it’s numbers
rain on a window
makes money silly
nothing of value in this universe
can be quantified
and printed as money
for the acquisition of guns
people kill for money
with meaningless jobs
money isn’t even paper anymore it’s pixels
algorithms dividends derivatives
a poem has far greater value
even a lousy poem
about work
in a meat packing plant
debt is insane
medicine and education should be free
or the limbs grow gangrenous
a giant rises from the shadows
and eats his young


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Whenever I Write

Whenever I write I like to dive into the paper. Kurt Cobain liked to play his guitar in the cupboard of his Lake Washington mansion. Me, I like to sit in a chair and develop an aesthetic that doesn’t involve admonishment, or evasion. I like to confront reality directly, get up real close enough to smell its perfume and laugh at how erratic, how ugly, how completely unreal reality is. I like the word ‘is.’ I like transitive verbs in general, though I also like nipples, greenhouses, and coffee. I like sentences that get sweet and seditious and slither through intricate ideas with the supple grace of an octopus. The whole business of consciousness is a fascinating proposition. But what is it? Who knows. There is a rise and fall to Wisconsin and Tennessee but a stupefying flatness to Kansas and North Dakota. What this says about consciousness sparkles with conversational potential. Am I a fiasco? I certainly feel that way most mornings. This is good for writing because it resembles fly fishing. If I see a totem of headlights I am glad. I feel connected to something spiritual. My existence on paper reaches for your eyes. I’m worried about our planet. It makes me want to grab a tube of Vandyke red and paint a sunset. This is a feeling founded on the idea that art can make a difference. But as soon as I remind myself that one of the attractions of art is its non-utilitarian side, I retrace my steps and tread more lightly on my dreams. The purpose of the chisel is in its shape. The purpose of writing is in its absorption. I’m antagonized by neutrality. Indifference is the real enemy. Conquer indifference and you’ve conquered a major evil. This prompts the question: can one write with passion and still remain open-minded? There is truth in wine. This we know. But why is that? And does one need to drink wine to feel the effects of wine? That is to say, is delirium a state, or a country? I see it as an eight-legged banjo. Or something wet and large like Great Britain. Comprehension is a form of drinking. The mind sips words and discovers that it’s snowing in England and sleigh bells are jingling and the colors of the sky are an alchemy of transcendent glory. This causes one’s writing to assume the murmuring ornamentation that occurs to woods like mahogany in the manufacture of desks. Time thickens into hawks. The heart flutters its raspberries in a seething cauldron of awakened syllables. One’s intentions become circular. Each pronoun is a forceps. The room is aglow with longhand. Nihilism feels rather good. Particularly when one’s thinking grows pinched like a museum. It helps to jump into the light of any language and realize that pain is sometimes sexual. There’s a certain despair that nothing can bungle except comedy. A brand new jackknife can stimulate rapture and if one’s words begin to float so much the better. Prophesy doesn’t come cheap. But who wants to prophesy? It’s a rather awkward verb to begin with. I recommend truffles. Discoveries are rarely made when we expect them. I feel the same way about orchids and birds. You need seclusion. Recklessness and talking and any aesthetic that bubbles out of the shadows groping for print.