Monday, December 18, 2017

The Osmosis Of Jazz

Style meets substance on the road ahead and merges with the traffic. Curaçao is blue in the red house of logarithms. Chintz plus fungus equals llama. And there, I said it. Everybody gets a shot to be deputy. Me, I’m the deputy of whimsicality. The pollen is random but the momentum is real. Cognition is mostly ants going off in all directions.
Is it difficult to change? Yes, it is. Extremely. But it can be done. Cosmetic is a Greek word. So is cosmos. There is a universe in your cologne, revelations in lather.
My life has been an odyssey, erratic turns, novelties, joys, the willingness to experience incongruities, thriftless fugues, slippery latitudes, irritations like small edible fruit that get you drunk and turn you mad with memory.
Rubber Soul, age 18, San José, California. Streams of consciousness nourish the flame at the tip of a candle.
But why say ‘tip’? Where else would a flame be? Fire can be mesmerizing.
Fifty-two years later I go outside to see what asshole is throwing cherry bombs in the parking lot. Kids in the park. Can’t see them. I just shout into the darkness.
Down below, at the south end of the lake, where all the high-tech companies are moving in, I see tall building cranes festooned with blue Christmas lights. There is salvation in stars. But if you don’t have stars, there’s always the lights of the city.
I worry about the lack of birds this winter. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking birds migrate. But not as much as you think. And yes, I, too believe that paradise can sometimes be found in a capsule. But will it last? That’s the question.
For example, there’s a hardware store down on 15th West with a big display of doorknobs in the window. I find that fascinating. I imagine Marcel Duchamp standing there gazing at all those knobs, choosing to mount one as a readymade. He’s dead now, of course, but maybe I could do it for him. So imagine that. Imagine this paragraph full of doorknobs. Now reach out your hand and turn one. Does it turn? Does a door open? Good.
My life has been a shipwreck at times, the rumble of a big barn door, the lowing of cattle, that mournful sound, those smells of shit and straw, and later the whistle of a kettle on a wood-burning stove. I go in and sit down and listen to the furniture. Surrealism sparkles like pearls of irrational beauty.
Things to do in Martinique: breathe the air, smell the many fragrances, ride a horse, watch sunlight pass through a glass full of Chablis, a group of gynecologists peering into a hole in the ground. I see sensuality as a flowering of being. An openness that comes over you and shakes your senses loose as you sit and absorb the atmosphere, no division between you and the external world, voices lifted in hymn, the pullulation of words seeking life and fulfillment in the eyes of an attentive reader.
The ego is propped up by wealth. There’s a certain brilliance in the conception of money. But you can’t trust it. Money cannot be trusted. It’s too ethereal, too volatile. It’s like the slosh of sauce, the piquancy of spice, a man jerked out of a stupor in time to see a train go by where he was standing just a minute ago counting the money in his wallet.
Once, there was a snowman arrested for loitering. His lawyer came for a visit, but the snowman couldn’t be found. There was just a puddle on the floor.
Do snowmen have lawyers? Sure they do. Lawyers made of snow.
Let’s drip.
…sings Irma Thompson: it’s raining so hard, looks like it’s going to rain all night.
Singing is different from thinking. Singing is infused with feeling. Thinking is a hungry mind trying to relieve its own inflammation.
By thinking. Ain’t that a gas?
Thinking transpires in the act by which the thinking subject differentiates itself from its thought. A fiddle is a violin, after all, it’s just played a little differently.
The first time I saw the ocean I couldn’t take it all in at once. Nothing is ever so near to us as the personal, physical feeling of our own being letting the world in. It’s like gazing at an ascension of angels on a cloth of stains. The females have organs on the dorsal webs of their arms. Everything feels like a nebular holiday of junkyard secrets. Birds in dizzying formations. The actuality of twigs. The tortured constancy of lava. The play of light and shadow in a Lisbon bistro. The jubilant brightness of morning in the Valley of the Moon.
Here’s a coupon for ointment, the delicacy of prepositions. We’re all trapped in an illusion of choice, each of us a personality churning in animal tissues. I feel like an ordained fool, an isthmus of unsatisfied consequence condensed into a diving board. Here I go, leaping into space.
Obscurity works best as a meringue of equivocation, a web of abstract commitments. What I want is an augmentation of choice. Not destiny. Who needs that? Destiny is for mythologies. Byzantine monks seeking the ascetic life. Princess Syringe and her system of doors. I want something more geometric, more like the glories of distillation, the colors of the athanor, the feeling that something is about to happen, something real, something exciting, something like photosynthesis or lingerie.
Petroglyphs in the Draa River Valley of Morocco.
The osmosis of jazz.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


We must be careful not to punish the whim or wham the whim with whatnot. The whim within, the whim without, the whim whom folly molds in wobbly wonder. The whim of whims, which is a worldly whim, and is whimful with whimfallity. The inscrutability of the whim is notably willy-nilly. The whim whims to whim itself. The boil of the whim loiters in ham. The whimsical whim has goose whimples. To ogle a whim is to whim oneself into whimsiness. Heideggerian whims hold Being as it moves toward the shore in ripples of time. Whipples of Rhyme that rim the whim in lime. The whim, the great whim, the whim of whims, is whittles and wheels. The wink of the whim is tender. The lion of whims is wholesome and wide. The whale is awash in whim. The whim is full of mirth and mirth is a mirror of life. The whim protects the mileage of the old. The solutions of whims merge on the play of isms. The philosophy of the whim is puzzling but suggests a superstructure of moose antlers. The shortcake whim is a bolt in the door of time. The whim that is wisdom is a wiliness of whims. The guava whim, the jerk whim, the hallelujah hallway haphazard whim. Synthetic whims do not work. They decline into checkers. The true whim is an outcropping in polite society, intrinsically fluid, thermodynamically preposterous. Ladies and gentlemen, we stand at the end of empire, cradling whims in our thoughts, holding to them dearly, as newly ordained codicils to a rip tide of fools.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thermodynamics As A Community Of Nouns

Antiques guarantee the gravity of the blowtorch. The welder lifts his helmet and nods to the apparitions dancing on the walls. The zoom lens moves in on stilts. Our tour begins its journey of unicorns and broccoli. Clouds scudding through the sky inform us of feelings yet to be felt, celebrations yet to be celebrated, funerals prophesied in the guts of frogs, tendrils of sinister cloud hanging down from the heavens like twisting anacondas of hell’s colorful aristocracy.
Is life a simulacrum of somewhere finer and better, or is this it, is this the sleep from which we must awaken? Puddles return the sky to itself after all the water that has fallen out of it. Isn't that what writing is? What words are? A refund, a redemption, items from a lost and found, sad, enigmatic objects with stories to be told?
You can masturbate almost anywhere. But try to be discreet. Sometimes all you need is a sack in the hand and a destination in mind to survive the hazards of impulse. If you manage to keep your pants up, the world will reveal the magic of espionage. Let us tromp through the world like God’s spies, quiet, unassuming blokes boiling with paradigms and saints, temperamental philosophers painting despair on the good soft linen of our redundancies.
My gaze sometimes turns to the mouthwash on the counter and stays there, lost in that beautiful blue of the liquid, cool and divine.
Who was the first human to say ‘water’? And what was their word? Their word for water. In Norwegian vann. German wasser. Zulu amanzi. Welsh dŵr. Vietnamese nước.
Tôi muốn đi bơi.
Or, as Hegel put it, Die Externalisierung des Willens als subjektiver oder moralischer Wille ist Handlung.
This plywood is nascent. That is to say, the spice is in the rack, and the senses are aroused. The revolution snaps into place and everything begins to look seaworthy. The embryo of a novel crawls into its pages and begins to evolve. Characters develop, ideas are floated, a cake is baked, pleasantries are exchanged. The world crackles as it turns in space. Virtues are decided. The novel ends with a symposium on perception: is it true that we all see things differently?
And no.
Night glitters in its empire. The horses jingle in their bells. The concept of property decays in its archaisms. What is it to own something? Is it simply to exclude others from the use or enjoyment of something, or is there an actual bond, a eucalyptus hardened against the vagaries of the sidewalk? I am silver in my reflections, but platinum at my wedding. Audacity talks a good game but in the end it all comes down to pineapple. Yellow winds bronze the face of history. Pharmaceutical concerns are packed in cotton. The cows are built with kettledrums. Fog rolls in. The light turns red. We hear a faint music in the background. I lean forward to kiss you.
Still here? Still reading? Thank you.
All it takes is a puff or two to blow the little hairs off of the computer screen.
Nothing is really empty. Not even nothingness is empty. This is what makes Mallarmé so unpredictable. Lightning riddles the conjurations of his words. Galaxies hurl through the room proposing an end to pain. I find a wilderness in my skull teeming with resurrection when I shave. Why resurrection? What is not brought back when we most think it dead? Gone and buried? Nothing dies. Energy can neither be created or destroyed. It just assumes different forms. It stumbles into a flint and becomes a spark. It merges with traffic and becomes a horn. It flings itself into moonlight and becomes a trout. It is expressed in numbers. It becomes calculus. It becomes chalk on a blackboard. Nipples and ripples and wildly expressed panaceas.
Splendor, glory, magnificence and softball.
Hardball is different. Hardballs are stitched by hand and have a round cushioned cork center. I mention this because embroidery only enters the picture later, when there is time for discussion, and no one needs to be goaded or tilted in order to talk. There is a loud whack and the ball bounces to left field where it is caught by a pterodactyl and carried to the end of this sentence and dropped.
I pick it up and hear a giant monotony walking around inside of it. Cork. Or Corky, if you prefer. Consider the sport healed at last. A line drive to first will simply be a luminous stream of consciousness that might be talked about later, when it’s quiet and the crowds have gone home. There is a cure for the clarinet as well. But it must be taken in abstract form or there is a tendency to smear the air with drums. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Slow Henry

I like the light bulbs in the bathroom. The little bulbs at the top rim of the mirror. Where it begins in the morning. My face. That person standing in the brightness wandering how it all began, where did it all go, why is there something rather than nothing? How much longer before the artic ice disappears? Before we all disappear?
A lot of us hope that doesn’t happen. But you can’t stand on hope.
Hope is nonsense. I don’t like hope. It sets you up for disappointment. It swarms with delusion.
I offer, as an alternative, dispensation. I can’t give it to you. I don’t have that kind of authority. Not even in a place like this, which isn’t a place so much as a process. But I leave it here at your doorstep as a suggestion. A proposal. An invitation.
There are times, I think, when thinking makes things emerge, all that energy in the brain, whatever one chooses to call it, does sometimes produce a helpful image, a furnace, an athanor, a Slow Henry, as the alchemists called it. There are experiences and translations of those experiences. Distillations, sublimations, compounds. One can make of the world a loom of golden parables. A bonfire. A surf. A thunderous pounding of water on a sandy beach in Tabatinga.  
Lumber, at the very least. Planks of pine and oak in a drafty building.
I think I’m a carpenter who builds things with ink, and the next thing you know, I’ve created a birdhouse of words, a wordhouse.
Ok, maybe that’s not just a good example. It’s a nice wordhouse, as wordhouses go. Why abuse it with rumination? The glow of a hinge in the hodge-podge of the ponderous shines forth to inform the senses of phenomena begging description and definition.
Is why.
Am I negligent? I try not to be. I try to be careful. I try to notice things. I try to notice what I’m doing. Even though, much of the time, I don’t know what I’m doing.
Sometimes I see Herculean colors fissioning in the pretext of a sunflower and amalgamate it into a heliotrope.
Drugs can be adjectives. Adjectives can be excursions. Excursions can occur on water. Water can be random. Water loves being random. Though I think it’s a mistake to arbitrarily attribute self-awareness to water. Water is water. Sloppy. Like me. Who is 60% water.
If mistakes were money I’d be a millionaire. This is why I believe singing belongs in an elevator. My singing. Which is strange and full of experience. You can’t boycott experience. Experience just happens. I was born to be a comma.
The lobster has a weird body. But it’s not the fault of the lobster. It is the responsibility of the lobster to be a lobster, to eat what a lobster needs to eat to continue being a lobster, take some time out to reproduce, make more lobsters, bring more lobsters into the world, in whatever manner lobsters have devised for themselves to reproduce. And what makes the body of the lobster weird to me? These are simply my perceptions. I’m sure that my body is weird to the lobster. If (as one might assume) the lobster has any sense of what might be an anomaly, an anatomical eccentricity, then certainly the lobster will perceive the human body as extraordinary. Skin, for example, might seem strange to a lobster, adorned as it is in a carapace equipped with claws and antennae. It’s hard to think what a lobster thinks. Meanwhile, I listen to the Rolling Stones sing “Blue Turns To Gray,” which has little to do with lobsters and everything to do with feeling troubled, feeling uneasy, feeling unsatisfied.
I’m tangled up in gray. I squeeze the morning sun. The Beast hands me a shaker of salt. The horizon splits the day from night. I feel eloquent as a speed bump.
I belong to a strange group of people called poets. Imagine being immersed in an activity with no commercial potential. Abstraction feeds on reverie. I keep feeding abstraction. Abstraction plays comparisons into prospect. The whipped cream articulates the rhythms of our conversation.
Money is always hypothetical. Surround yourself with healthy advantages.
My species has not been successful.
A book is written each time someone reads it. There is redemption in the present. The only cure for summer is more summer. I’m soaked in phenomenology. Who knew that everything in the world was so delicately interrelated? Let’s go searching for mushrooms in Iceland. Interactions heal the poverty of power.
Here are some artifacts of the 17th century: an embroidered shoe, Constance Hopkin’s beaver hat, a lobed Delft dish with a swan.
The frenetic taste of conflict keeps words churning in my brain. I see Buffalo Bill filling an SUV with gas. The pregnant charm of a drugstore. The spectral dots of Dagwood.
As much as I ingest the world, I exhibit the world. I like swimming in swimming pools. Rivers freak me out a little. It’s hard to carry a generation in your voice. The kiss of wealth decomposes rapidly. What you want to do is get reborn. Look what happens when you stay alive this long. A broken escalator is just another set of steps. Use them carefully. Each step is important.
A man gets into a red Mazda and it coughs into action, electricity careening through the wires.

The hammer is immersed in its purpose. All the electrical cords get tangled up here in the eternally humid Northwest. My fingers respect the feeling of aluminum. Don’t panic if the immaterial materializes. Celebrate the fact of your existence. The drapery redeems the view. An embryonic telecast bubbles on my lap. Pathos is a giant sip of universe. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Here I Am

Everyone knows how life happens. It’s over in a flash. Meanwhile, there’s soup and mythology. Light gleaming on the Seine as it roams through Paris. Bombs and machine guns everywhere the U.S. claims empire. A woman in Rome bending over to pick up a beach ball. It’s 7:27 p.m. November 14th and I’m sitting on a bed with a tuxedo cat reading Persian Pony by Michael McClure, “THE SOFT NEW SOUL / with its capsule of masks / tender and quivering / ascends into matter / and here I am.” Fingers, fingernails, laptop, breath. A presence to myself until the absence I try to imagine occurs, and I cease to occur, hopefully before the arctic ice melts, and tens of millions of tons of methane are released into the already stressed and out-of-balance atmosphere. You can’t stop extinction. You can’t stop habitat loss. But you can focus on the present. The slippery, elusive present. Now it’s here, and now it’s gone. Here again, gone again.  
And so some words walk around trying to be a pineapple. Let’s let them. Welcome to smart investing. Welcome to the play of the concertina. Opinions shaved in the rain. Indigo octopi.
Curls, corkscrews, swirls, convolutions. Nothing in life is linear. It’s waves and oscillations, embellishments and sleep. It’s the weight of a dream, the murmur of wind in the trees. Cool water in a Peruvian jungle. A scratched Parisian angel. The mercurial spur of gossip, broken rain crumpled into gold. Theorems in serums. Sandstone arch in August heat.
We live in a world of flux. We are flux. Everything is soaked in phenomenology. Some say it’s the singer not the song. I say it’s elves riding on the backs of swans. Running over tree roots to avoid puddles. The opinions of a lotus. The force of subtlety in a drug taking effect. Truffles in the Dordogne. The thunder of giants punching eternity with improvisations of water.
Neon chrysanthemums. My bare feet resting on the blue sheep of a white blanket.
Eager fingers on a limestone ledge.
Puff on the seeds to be born into myth. The tongue is soaked in redemption. The stones of Iceland aren’t there to glitter in idleness they’re a punctuation of convergences, druid moons and Viking purgatories. Lug the pilgrim to the call of the lake. The singer of the song is unknown, but the song itself is exempt from agriculture, and paddles like a swan across a pond of belief.
Belief is a diversion. Agriculture was a mistake. Let us convene instead with the spirits.
Remember the spirits?
The spirits of water, the spirits of lingering, the spirits of sustenance and fever. Rosie and The Originals. Angel Baby.
I have a silver buckle and a hat of chaotic mahogany. Streams of consciousness percolate through the roots. A musician buys diamonds for his guitar. I talk about the problems of aging and mortality with a friend while a foreign melody gets dressed in a person with leprosy. I don’t feel like ironing today.
I’m the Rembrandt of butter. Regret is a drawer in my skull. If I see the weirdness of wax drooling down the stick of a candle I want to paint it. There’s a momentary pause in time that sometimes reveals itself as a pale morning sun. It’s that moment of stillness right after the waitress has cleared and wiped the table and no one has been asked if they want more coffee yet.
Pains have personalities. Some of them emerge in music and some of them enter into Being like 150 pounds of pressure in a tire designed for 125 pounds of pressure. I like the ones that float in the air like astronauts looking down at Planet Earth weeping. The ones I don’t like churn in the brain unendingly with no resolution. They’re like the entanglement of vines in a blackberry bush, the insane repetitions of traffic around the Arc de Triomphe.
Rumination is a dead end. Time suspended in a cuckoo clock. A stuffed wildcat with its mouth open. Mickey Rourke gazing into a tank of rumble fish.
Think of chiaroscuro as an old man scrounging for change. The soul of white is black. Defining anything is a delicate process.
I’ve always loved the effects of darkness and light in Rembrandt’s paintings. Among my favorites is The Philosopher in Meditation. An old man sits by a window through which a golden light diffuses its warmth. To the immediate right is a spiral staircase. And to the right of the staircase an old woman bends over to tend a fire in an open hearth. The philosopher is very calm, hands folded, head tilted slightly forward, as if with a weight of thought, or immersed in reverie. All around is darkness. It’s the darkness that makes the light so voluminous and alive.
How does one get to the essence of something? We all want to see the interior of things. Interiority is a constant fascination. Everyone feels deceived on some level. Everyone seeks quiddity. The vital truth of a thing. A chair, a table, a person, a cat.
Though perhaps not its essence so much as its whatness. Its presence as a thing in itself.
Time walks around in my head dropping memories. Some of them are long and delicate, and some of them are abrupt and brutal. A few are dopy. A lot of them are thematic. There is one in which I am crowned King of England and introduced to the dining room staff. I take long steps of introversion in a royal chamber of books and ledgers. Liquids bubble in tubes and flasks. I create a new velocity for the indecisions of purple. Malachite and jasper sparkle around my neck. A jet flies over a Fed Ex Office. I keep trying to write my way out of this world. Autonomy is a prompt solution. I use it carefully. But even that is a mistake. The train is a hymn of steel feeding on its own reverie.
Throw another log into the fire. The poem is ample that never loses it clarity. But you’re not going to solve any riddles that way. What you need is a salute to nothingness, the superfluity of leaves blowing around in the wind. I can offer you a place to sprawl and dream. Do you feel the sting of a needle? Don’t worry, it's just a spark from the foundry of apples.