Saturday, September 26, 2020

Francis Ponge's Fruit Crate

I dropped off my failed implant at the orthodontist’s. It was basically a crown attached to a screw. You could screw it into a wall and have a molar emerging from a wall. You could frame it with incisors. Or lips. I wanted to donate the failed implant to a lab that studies them and ostensibly searches for clues as to how they might’ve failed. The orthodontist’s office was closed for lunch so R and I parked and sat in the car and waited. It was a raining a little. Our windows fogged up. When the orthodontist’s office reopened I dropped the implant off with the receptionist and asked to use the bathroom. Sure thing, she said. I grabbed the bathroom key, which is attached to a toothbrush. On the way home we stopped at Safeway to get my medication. Antidepressants. Four of them. My doctor won’t give me a full prescription until I see him for my routine physical. I’ve been reluctant to go because the clinic is within the hospital complex and I worry about Covid. You pass by an emergency room to get to the other clinics, which are accessed by a bank of elevators in the adjacent lobby. It doesn’t feel safe, although clinicians stationed in the lobby are taking everyone’s temperature and asking pertinent questions about their health before they allow them access to the clinics. I phoned earlier in the week to request at least an extension to my current prescription. The receptionist said she would pass the information on. But the pharmacy did not have my medication. The doctor hadn’t called. R called the doctor’s office again and asked the receptionist to relay the message that I needed the medication. Somebody dropped the ball. I still don’t know if it’s there. We came home and had dinner and watched two episodes of Cobra Kai. The I went to the bedroom to read. I heard the banshee scream of a power saw. One of the members of our building is still sawing wood. He’s been sawing wood for three months now. He has a power saw set up on the porch a few feet away from our bedroom window. We don’t know what he’s sawing the wood for. We can’t imagine anything within the space of even a three-bedroom apartment that would require that much wood. Thank God for ear plugs. Could it be he’s building an arc on top of the building? The Greenland ice sheet is melting. It won’t be long before all the world’s seas begin to rise. If I see our neighbor collecting animals – bears, elk, rhinoceroses, elephants, fruit flies, peacock spiders, coatimundi, storks, axolotl, mole rats, pangolin, Tasmanian Devil, cassowaries, alligators, kinkajous, vampire bats – we might lean more confidently toward the ark scenario. The animals will need a shelter. I think he’s gone through several forests. Also in the news today, more than 7 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the U.S. The U.S. is now the hardest-hit country in the world for both cases and deaths. But is “hardest-hit” the right modifier? It’s bad here because so many chose to ignore it. People have lost faith in their institutions. And I think about the fragility of Francis Ponge’s fruit crate: best not to weigh too heavily on its fate.



Sunday, September 20, 2020

Little Movies

Fiscal therewith, I now proclaim this cesspool for all time to be a true example of itself. And so rush to confirm the next lemon with a kiss & an autograph. If I see something I like, I like to put words on it. And if I can’t put words on it, I will put words around it. Some people find this irritating. I find it humid & dark, like a piece of insulated siding. The fop of form comes forth to exhilarate a pioneer with the wonders of modern sciatica. And oh boy, did you ever think such insinuation would get around to bringing us such gorgeous propinquity? Tomorrow we’ll be sharing recipes, so bring your favorite philosophy, & a nice tall glass of bourbon swizzle. 
        Is it possible to have a memory of something that hasn’t happened yet? Is it possible to have a memory of something that never happened? Is it possible to have a memory of something that happened to somebody else? Is it possible to have a memory of something that happened in another lifetime? Is it possible to have a memory of a complication that turned out to be hollow & not worth the time & trouble that went into remembering that problem, but that continued to dangle in your brain like a Gordian knot? I think I once knew the answers to these. But I forget. 
        I search for a memory: when was the last time I went to a drive-in movie? Was it the summer of 1967, A Man and A Woman? And aren’t memories like little movies that get stuck in our brains? A memory of a memory is a reel of irreal reverie. I’ve never acted in anything. That must be strange, assume another identity, give it expression, motion, emotion, caprices, creases, nieces, visas, thesis. I play a woolgatherer playing with a rubber band in a lonely saloon in Missoula. Wyatt Earp comes in sits down & shoves a photograph of Arthur Rimbaud at me. Do you know this man? I take careful aim at the void & then go spinning into the stars, a fist of beginning. 
        I have a covenant I can inaugurate if you’d like. There’s also a little milk in the superfluity floating at the end of this sentence. I don’t know what it’s doing there. I didn’t put it there. I haven’t written anything about it yet. I don’t know what it is. I mean, it’s superfluous, which isn’t saying much, it’s just another intrinsically unquenchable weltschmerz, like a wad of pessimism yodeling in a jar of licorice. Nihilism is like that. It starts out soggy then becomes handsomely chinchilla. We rub ourselves all over with it. I get to feeling infrared & have to express myself as a social construction. Studs for the torment, aviaries for the afterthoughts.         
        Thank God for acetaminophen. I get headaches a lot lately. Stress due to Covid. And obdurate old age. And a general propensity toward acerbity. But who doesn’t? These are dystopic times. Feelings of irreality mingled with disillusionment, buffed to a palatable shine, laced with a pinch of gloom & served ice cold in a tall glass of Irish crystal with Delores O’Riordan’s face engraved on the side. Imagine a vodka gimlet flavored with crushed bits of nihilism dug out of the hard dank walls of Dante’s Inferno. Cirque de Soleil performed by giant spiders dressed in the leotards of a silken monomania. Richard Brautigan shooting holes in a clock.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Zero-G Among The Wampanoag



I grab a chisel and begin carving a harp out of the air I remember the smell of the dry summer air one year in Idaho “Heart of Glass” outside of Boise a small nook with a captain’s table in Big Sur I nudge Stevie Ray Vaughn who plays with total absorption in Tokyo 1985 the year CDs were first introduced

A middle-aged couple bicycling on a city street riding along slowly leisurely not a care in the world while blocking a line of traffic ascension flourishes in my hair take it to the limit one last time when was the last time you woke up in the morning without a worry shit I don’t have a single memory of that I must’ve been in my 20s if that ever happened I do remember waking up with massive hard-ons that lasted so long I had a hard time getting my pants on

I’m trying to achieve a Zero-G experience with language the Wampanoag language isn’t dead it walks among us it’s like having a conversation with the universe the spirit finds its true reality on condition of experiencing heartache

The strong odor of manure hits us at the other end of the McGraw Street Bridge that crosses Wolf Creek Ravine the movers spread jam and butter on their toast and talk of Hollywood the unconscious walks around in my head like a weekend

In Barcelona machine guns barbed wire tanks grenades and muddy trenches created Dada

A sperm whale rises from the deep and shows his head above the water in time to see a ship pass through solitary regions a theocracy dripping diamonds I remember drinking tea with Philip Lamantia and talking about hypnopompic states as described by Poe let’s occupy space like we occupy time one word follows another until a chain creates its own kind of logic the dishwasher rumbles upstairs the vacuum cleaner persists under the impetus of its suction when dogs are in a movie do they know that they’re in a movie

I’ve been darting back and forth between the dentist and the orthodontist like a ping pong ball due to a failed implant and trying to figure out how to salvage it too late it’s gone now I’m looking at a denture there are no moral phenomena there are only moral interpretations of phenomena and the entire drama plays out on the plains of Mars

I believe that the universe is one Being the preference of listening to rain rather than rock on YouTube is a gift from the venerable forests of chance Tor House stands alone on a barren bluff

Christianity is an advertisement for heaven Simply Red played three very special performances at the Ziggo Dome of Amsterdam accompanied by forty musicians all of its parts are expressions of the same energy vaccines are in development at the end of the American Dream

I watch Le Journal de Vingt Heures which is presented by Anne-Sophie Lapix a hint of breast under a blue shirt a reassuring sight amid so much planetary catastrophe plague and wildfire help help I’m in the wrong story and I’m trying to escape

The stairs lead up to a marble floor no one is immune to greed does online babysitting work I would say probably but I’m not a baby I’m a man aging at the beginning of a century which is already twenty years old and not a baby anymore

The president behaves as if he had a penis the size of Great Britain succulents bloom on rock walls but the perversity of even this pleasure doesn’t quite reach the depths of existence I’m attempting to display the image is a pure creation of the mind everything is in chaos there’s nothing symbolic about a slap

Language can alter perception but it can’t make granite more granite or oak less oak or maple apple or apple maple bits of black glass sprinkled on the street by a red Ford Ram 4-by-4 caterpillars are destroying the trees of Siberia where is Superman

The world is a room of silence and shadow and a room of noise and light today I gave birth to a nine pound sentence wind ruffling the pages of a car manual splayed on the ground in the middle of the street the news is bloody water wars famines heat death refugees turned away from closed borders but the presenters are cheerful and pretty a mass of wildfire smoke from Oregon and California is darkening Washington’s skies all the way to Alberta and then one day you discover that you’re an old man or an old woman and all that matters anymore is the relentless ache of the heart

Surrealism is a tattoo on the skin of reality rapacity and ego have led to our demise go impregnate the peony with the patina of patience our planet is dying I try to create a sensation of awakening put me on the highway and show me a sign thank you Randy Meisner snap that song at the ceiling the natural property of a wing is to carry what is heavy upward

Mushroom soup in a bronze tureen have you ever been able to smell anything in a dream this phenomenon is the magical power of converting the negative into being pyromaniacs smuggling Dada pamphlets into the dark recesses of capitalism

Space is space but I can’t write space into existence or cook it on a stove or wear it but I can walk around in it with an ancient key and the heat of the sun on my face in a foreign land

Perspective is often the result of a sudden diversion I remember the night an owl flew in front of me as I crossed the bridge over Wolf Creek Ravine the trombone is unique in that it can slide from note to note without interruption I can’t write anything without a conversation with someone’s guitar how can I die when my piss is warm is consciousness the epiphenomenon of a biological organism or is it something separate with nothing empirical about it tubes and wires running in and out of the veins in poetry language and magic find their power the flight of birds the resolution of these two states dream and reality into a kind of reality a surreality this morning I took the cinnamon rolls out of the freezer which were wrapped in cellophane I pulled the rubber band off the package and the rubber band twisted around the counter like something alive and it occurred to me that the border between the organic and inorganic is a lot thinner than we believe tiny molecules of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus may be the first sign of life outside planet Earth bacteria produce phosphine which has the smell of rotting fish all molecules rotate vibrate interact with light and absorb light and produce light and that’s what makes up consciousness words spinning in speech mermaids flowing from a spigot of the imagination



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Tristan Tzara And The Tiger Snakes Of Perth


These words want to jump into the theater of thought there are entire civilizations in this concertina tell me tell me please where you find the present in the past or in the future I think people like the sound of electric guitars because they make your emotions shine

A language lives through the people who speak it together we can sew little blue dresses for the parade of tarantulas I put the world in a sack and left the neon raspberry impugns the timidity of pretext with a bright red glow in the night of our oblivion

Everyone gets the taste of poetry now and then I helped a spider out of the kitchen sink this morning I like poetry with the big legs of the grasshopper bounding down a dirt road in the old rural America of farms and dolphins cephalopods in fishnet stockings and stiletto heels

We live in a romantic country a lion stands in the middle of the road like the nucleus of a nation did you want to speak to the gravedigger or just wait around sipping this fine Tennessee whisky it’s not even a question it’s a streak of color pink or yellow or the deep rustic brown of a metaphor aglow in a pronoun

Dada pushed nihilism to an extreme I remember the first time I saw Fight Club I thought wow somebody has taken notice of how fucked up this world is eighty-eight percent of Americans think you should get a permit before carrying a concealed handgun nearly three in four workers say they’re in debt more than half say they always will be more than half of minimum wage workers say they have to work more than one job to make ends meet is it any wonder that punching someone or getting punched is a coping mechanism for a lot of deep frustration where is my mind it’s in the cavalcade of words I’m spilling it’s floating light as gauze as a breeze blows in puffing up Fanny Brawne’s skirt

Gravity gets me down but I’ve got seven pearl buttons on my shirt and a ticket to ride there’s a reverence to the description of anything how good it is to feel the warmth under my cat’s chin the two little bones in a V shape

The sky is a patchwork of clouds and gulls the Milne Ice Shelf on Ellesmere Island in the Northwest Territories of Canada is covered with linear blue lakes of melted ice trapped in the folds of the surface William Butler Yeats leaping into space the feeling is mutual said the saxophone to the drum what is the logic of the logic of hand lotion there’s a hole in my pocket coins falling out at the bottom of my pants it feels like I’m shitting money

Fires in Australia fires in Siberia fires in France and Portugal fires in California fires in Oregon and Washington State the entire fucking world is burning down insert AndrĂ© Breton here if I’m not being surreal I’ll be surreal later when the truck arrives loaded with perturbances disturbances oscillations soluble fish ultramarine exhumations and a big fat pyramid teeming with astronauts

The cat sees a squirrel on the laptop and runs behind to look for it nuclear war remains a very great threat I’ve got a lot of sympathy for snobs there’s no point to their behavior

My knuckles are red and swollen from knocking on the neighbor’s door beside myself with rage and frustration I wear an oleomargarine sweater and a jacket buttoned with sonnets the mountains are beautiful so calm in their sleep how frustrating to live during a time when people are so incapable of nuance or openness of mind the snow conceals the testament of rock impulse is my main modus operandi good intentions are nothing willingness is everything I’ve got a parenthesis in my radio and a thud in my clairvoyance I’m starting to see masks bearing the imprint of status and fashion

A third kind of madness comes from the muses I believe I heard Ram Dass say that the turbines of heaven are solitudes awakened by the wind smoke from the wildfires bits of ash floating down like tiny hearts of devastation the rain has no melody but it does have rhythm Hamlet holds a skull the present isn’t present it’s in the past or maybe it was Charlie Chaplin getting chased around a table in The Gold Rush is it possible that a new form of life could develop near a hydrothermal deep-sea vent light bulbs have become increasingly bizarre over the years arousing us to a Bacchic frenzy

Silence ensues the playing of the oboe the shadows of the WiFi router and TV cables intertwining on the wall are musical in their squiggles and loops the plot turns on a dime the dime turns on a nickel the nickel is mostly found in the interiors of large-iron meteorites the voices of the gardeners adrift in the air until they arrive at the door of poetry words are mostly silvery-white lustrous possibilities of semantic currency for Kierkegaard the dialectic machine is destined to liquidate the negative all art aspires to a condition of music the rubble of a broken heart like squeezing the last drop of music from a song I’ve heard a gazillion times

Words wander the air in search of ears there’s a suffering that remains invisible and which makes us quietly desperate and then I saw an orange glimmer climb over the mountain a thread of silver connecting typhoons of thought these little bubbles that appear every time I grab the big bottle of liquid dish soap that pop out at the top I love Abbey Road what a great album imagine a blue fairy tale Tristan Tzara rolling a cigarette and talking about the brutality of WWI my soul worries without knowing why the atmosphere is so heavy the wood of the desk sings its heavy silent song of grain and rain and forest despair is the trombone of a primordial fauna sulfur-crested cockatoos and wolf spiders in the high arctic dancing on the sly the tiger snakes of Perth have heavy metal in their livers everything all the world’s beautiful animals and living things in general exhibit such unceasing activity how is it that various differentiations of reality emerge the distinction between mental and material phenomena in no way signifies that there are two kinds of reality there is in fact only one side to this dialectic and it’s completely transparent and adds very little opposition to the whole idea of straw 



Sunday, September 13, 2020


All of our windows are closed. Smoke from the California and Oregon wildfires has reached Seattle. The Air Quality Index is at 176: unhealthy. Satellite imagery shows an oceanic expanse of smoke covering the land. The scenes in California of raging fire is apocalyptic. Trees are dying everywhere in our neighborhood. The leaves of the chestnut trees in Wolf Creek Ravine are once again moldy with fungus. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cycle up and down reflecting the social behavior of humans who – unable to endure more confinement during the summer – go out and party, gather on porches and beaches and narrow city streets, whooping it up as the planet goes down in flames. It’s a scene of shock, fraud and denial. Was that the mailman I just heard? How is he coping? I hear the faint sound of hammers from the house at the top of the street. The people who moved in began remodeling instantly. It’s what the wealthy do now: as soon as they move in to a new property, they begin to remodel. The planet dies while the wealthy remodel. The poor, meanwhile, live in tents set up in areas of desolation and waste. "We found ourselves precarious and fragile, but nothing was playing out in terms of truth. We lived and loved in the awareness of death, but we refused to let ourselves be defined by it,” remarks French literature professor Philippe Mangeot in an interview. I toss a fork into the drying rack where it hits the cap of a salt shaker, which produces a beautiful tone. I want to play with the cat, who seems restless, but worry that she’ll have another seizure, as she did when the city was first overladen with wildfire smoke in 2017. Later in the day, 6:06 p.m., my eyes are burning. The AQI is at 264. Several hours earlier I went outside briefly to move the car from the street to the parking lot in back of our building. The gardeners were here today – amazingly – doing the work they’d been assigned by the other members of our building. A girl was playing with her dog in the park, tossing a stick, the dog running after and returning the stick as dogs are wont to do. I was unbelieving that someone could be that negligent, that stupid. The stench of smoke was overpowering. You couldn’t see much further than 100 yards. Capitol Hill – less than a mile distant – was completely hidden, enshrouded in pale gray smoke. I normally associate the smell of wood smoke with good things, fun things, camping, roasting marshmallows, drinking beer, telling stories. Now it feels more like a harbinger of death. Does that seem a little too dramatic, a little over the top? Maybe. We still have food & running water. The smoke is anticipated to dissipate by Tuesday. That’s still four days away. In the meantime, I’m going to try to keep my eyes open long enough to read a passage from AndrĂ© Breton’s Anthologie de l’humour noir: Les Chants de Maldoror.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Dark Places

There are authors that are drawn to dark places. Subterranean places. Chambers & labyrinths. Pale blind fish. Stalactites & Stalagmites & Stag Parties & long nights stumbling from bar to bar in places like Milwaukee. Which is Algonquin, & means “pleasant land.” I’ve never been there. But my imagination seems drawn to the place. So if I follow it there, what do I see? Breweries. The Harley-Davidson Museum. Boarded up stores. Hit by Covid. A vampiric Wall Street sucking the country dry. 
        Funny what a little idleness occasionally might reveal during a time of crisis. A taste for Chopin. The Eagles. The reluctant realization that I like the song “Horse With No Name.” And to think of all the David Bowie songs I have a hard time genuinely liking, because I liked David Bowie. And almost embarrassment at realizing what a profoundly tragic & moving song was “Alone Again, Naturally” by Gilbert O’Sullivan, which the Bee Gees brought to fame in 1972. I don’t know how many times I must’ve heard that song on the radio without hearing it at all. It had an easy listening vibe, so I dismissed it, relegated it to wallpaper. It had some remarkable lines in it: “But as if to knock me down / Reality came around / And without so much as a mere touch / Cut me into little pieces / Leaving me to doubt / Talk about God in His mercy / Who if He really does exist / Why did He desert me? / In my hour of need / I truly am indeed / Alone again, naturally 
        Poetry makes nothing happen. Said Auden. But Auden is wrong. Poetry causes texture, or text, which is a form of grapefruit, a sour orb of peculiar ecstasies. This is errant, I know that, but I’ll proceed, I feel things happening, I tighten my belt buckle & can feel the persuasive force of that. The implications are clear. There are no impediments here, only dervishes & sewing. Though really, not much sewing, I’m trying to make things happen, really happen, the way things were meant to happen, which is to say spin, lots of spinning, & dizziness, which can lead sometimes to a strange clarity, an explosive awareness that erupts into a flowering of meat & romance. 
        For example, can I knock on your door? If I knocked on your door, would you open the door? But if I ignored your door, would you be upset if I walked in? Walked into your room. And if there was no room? Because these are words & not actual entities. An entity is a thing with a distinct & independent existence. Is there anything like that here? Not really. Nothing independent here. Nothing here, in fact. Except nothing. Nothing is a not thing. A thing with a distinct & non-existent existence. So that once again in the lunatic realm of language something that is absent becomes present & anything present is in fact absent. And this is how I go about opening & closing doors. 
        It takes a ton of tuns to tunnel a tune. My heritage merges with flutes & faces the indefinability of being. Not that I have any choice. The sounds people make when they entwine themselves in bed are the nutrients of a unanimous disorder. The stream goes by in a limousine & waves like Bette Midler. Here on the rue d’Orsel we spout parables, pillows & metaphysical endeavors, such as posing for centerfolds. These activities are available in Technicolor. Big fat sentences squirting morality & barbecue sauce. I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time. I prefer allegories to alligators. I don’t like things crawling out of swamps & chasing me. I just want to live in a world where all the phenomena drift through me like giants lifting the ocean into rain.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

The Timeless String Of The Yo-Yo

What is the true nature of reality? Liquid understanding stapled to a radish. The poise of structure entangled in the sinew of a kneecap. Even the moon has gardens. Giant ossuaries whose mighty plots are timbered with halitosis. This could be a reason for charm. Here: eat this. It will make you dribble. The best way to resolve a regret is to exasperate death. Just let it bounce down the steps & then pull it back with a string. Include a cherry. Murmur your pain to a needle. Sewing requires a steady capacity for yearning. For pushing doors. For ambling around in circles. Hold still. Do you feel it? Press the button. Now do you see it? This machine is made of words. My belt buckle throws its tzar at a typewriter. Now then: let’s go rescue some fluff. 
        Hammers are already here as pragmata, says Heidegger. I suspected as much. Hammers have always had that look, that air of pragmatism. They just want to pound things. Nails, mostly. And look at the nails: they’re energetic as horses. Just jingle them in a bag. You’ll hear tire chains in Nebraska. Niceties exchanged at the hair salon. A drunk look sourly at a mirror in a bar, & blow his nose. This is what life is like on planet Earth in the 21st century. People enduring their own elaborations. Measuring beams. Pouring concrete. Pounding nails. Turning the radio up. 
        Imagine structures so large that current cosmological theories can’t explain them. How is that accomplished? In the mind, I mean, where there is no boundary, or seems to be no boundary, but it craves pictures. Images. What image can I erect in my mind that no cosmological theory could explain it? A junkyard rhinoceros made of tin & solitaire? They say the universe resembles a cosmic web of matter surrounding empty voids. Who am I to disagree? I’m here primarily for the cheese. Anything larger than a hat confuses me, & makes me want to run away to Switzerland. 
        It's all about transport in the end, isn’t it? Getting from point A to point B. Except in places like this. Places where the words are allowed to go in their own direction. Follow whatever impulse inhabits them. If the essence of the hammer is revealed to us by its use, by pounding nails & flattening wire, then words must be used to reveal what flora & fauna might emerge from their propagation. The flutter of antediluvian ferns. Ancient deities. The timeless string of the yo-yo. 
        That ongoing fascination, trying to imagine the first human being to make a sound come out of their mouth that made reference to something. The first word. What might that have been? Fire? Food? Pain? Or the first word that made reference to something not present. Something abstract. Fairness. Courage. Loyalty. How long ago? 200,000 years? I’ll never know. But it’s amusing to contemplate. Just the idea alone that a sound made with breath & vibrations in the vocal cords can mean something, refer to something. And that first occasion when the sounds referred to things that never existed, would never exist in nature. And that such things can be written down, & presented to other people. What is the value in that? Besides a remarkable perversity. The arc of the yo-yo & its polydispersity. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Enter Ghost

I love that moment in Hamlet when the Ghost first appears. It seems so real, thanks in large measure to Horatio’s sober outlook & initial skepticism. It’s really happening. Their eyes are popping out of their heads. And it makes me wonder, how would I react if I encountered a ghost? It would upturn my entire outlook on existence & death. First: holy shit, there is an afterlife! That’s the first think I’d think of. Then, what’s like, being dead? I thought it would be non-existence, total & absolute. I can’t even imagine non-existence. Though I’ve experienced it already; I was non-existent for billions of years before I got yanked out of my mother’s womb into this dubious realm of fools & tyrants, heartaches & derailments. Gotta say though, the drugs are good. How does anyone get through this existence without a little chemical assistance now & then? Religion, I guess. Zen. Zen seems like a pretty reasonable way to deal with the void that underlies all existence. Zen allows a way to draw from it, draw the sweet lucidity of oblivion into the cloudy regions of the mind. Dispel illusions, one’s imaginary chains. Imagine, then, what a ghost could tell you. The ghost in Hamlet – Hamlet’s murdered father – is not a happy camper, that’s for sure. He’d probably be the wrong guy to ask. He just wants revenge. “Doomed for a certain term to walk the night, / And for the day confined to fast in fires, / Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature / Are burnt and purged away.” That would make anyone grouchy. Sounds like every shit job I ever had. It’s not a good review of the afterlife. Hopefully, if I ever encounter a ghost, it’ll be someone like William Blake, or Michael McClure, or Shakespeare himself. So Bill, my first question to you is this: what did you use to write with? A quill? Because those quills look pretty messy. And they don’t allow for much margin in the way of mistakes & rewrites. And when Gertrude describes Ophelia’s drowning in such detail, how was she able to do that? She must’ve been pretty close to take in all that detail. Then why didn’t she try to save her? Did she just stand there & watch her drown? That’s kind of fucked up. Can you help explain that? It’s been gnawing at me. And why do we always imagine such encounters in darkness? What if a ghost appeared in broad daylight? During a volleyball game at the beach, or sitting in a bar trying to drink whiskey, or beer, while it goes right through them making a puddle on the floor. You can’t drink as a ghost, but you don’t have to shit or piss, either. You don’t need to eat, though I’ve heard the term “hungry ghost,” what does that mean? Ghosts in line at MacDonald’s? It means beings whose intense emotional needs drive them, even after death, to seek fulfilment for an insatiable longing. I don’t think that means cheeseburgers. I think that means one should find fulfillment before you die. Though isn’t death the ultimate fulfillment? I won’t know till I get there.




Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Two Flies Fucking On Jack Kerouac's Forehead

Two flies fucking on Jack Kerouac’s forehead. As he lay sleeping. In a book. In a haiku. Penned by Jack Kerouac. Awakened by the tickle of two flies fucking on his forehead. And I remember the fly buzzing around Jack Elam at the beginning of Once Upon A Time In The West. Fly crawls around his mouth but he chooses not to swat it, just tries blowing it off of his lip, taking in air carefully so as not to take the fly in too, then blow. Doesn’t work. Fly lands elsewhere, window frame. Elam catches it with his gun barrel. Einstein says thought is muscular. He liked to imagine how his body would feel in such & such an imaginary situation, considering that certain physical laws were true. For example, how would it feel to ride a horse on a beam of light? Can’t believe my right heel still hurts when I first put weight on it. It’s been six months now. Achilles tendinopathy, according to Dr. Google. Pain goes away once I begin walking on it. Stopped a while to talk to the man who’s been clearing the brush on the vacant lot off Highland. House used to be there. He helped dismantle it, 35 years ago. He was pouring sweat. Sawed tree limbs by hand. Too risky to use a chainsaw. Finished Hell on Wheels, story about the first transcontinental railroads meeting in Promontory, Utah. Ran five seasons on AMC, now on Netflix. Anson Mount played Cullen Bohannon, a former Confederate soldier out to avenge the murderous deaths of his wife & son by Union soldiers. He’s a grim-faced, hawk-eyed, laconic man who seems driven by deeper energies than revenge, & whose deadly skill with a long-barreled Griswold seems almost preternatural, an engine of predestination. The series begins with Bohannon murdering a man in a confession box & ends with him returning to the same confession box years later after the Central Pacific & Union Pacific have joined & the scoundrel businessman Thomas Durant (Colm Meaney) pounds the golden spike in. The priest enters the confession box & offers comfort & encourages Bohannon to speak, but Bohannon is overwhelmed by emotion & cannot speak; he breaks down crying. In the final scene of the series, he is on a ship headed to China to find Mei Fong, the woman he loves, who he first met working on the railroad, & thought was a boy. But enough TV. I like it that writing is like walking on a country road. The air is so available how can anyone resist not making words out of it. Words in herds. The ox is not a horse the ox is an immodest geometry of living blood & vaudeville of bone. Each excretion is a revelation. There’s no odium at all in the fulcrum of the wave. No ambivalence in horn. Horns are a warning. Bernadette Mayer Proper Name & Other Stories cockeyed on a pillow. There are lumps & lunacies in the manufacture of perfume. Observatories in the rubble of the moon. Let’s go. Let’s go where the silences are general & the utterances are debonair as yo-yos. Sentences decisive as pistons. Phrases glazed with mayonnaise.