Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Snow

I got notice via email that UPS was unable to deliver Kerouac’s Lonesome Traveler, I presume because of snow. Seattle got five or so inches. Brilliant white powder & ice. Amazing to see people trying to drive. Awful risk. I see cars sliding down hills sideways. One wonders what would make someone crazy enough to get in a car and try to negotiate this enchanting but treacherous substance. I stuck my head out on the porch in the hope the message was wrong and the delivery was actually made, Kerouac’s Lonesome Traveler reposing on the milk box. Nothing there. No Lonesome Traveler. A crow across the street caught my attention, rummaging through the snow to get something on the ground that might be edible, flipping it away with his beak and wings. Several hours later I put on my running clothes and wait for R to get home. She arrives with a heavy bag full of suet for the songbirds which she hangs in a little cage from the limb of a nearby tree. I get my Yaktrax and pull them on under my shoe, a rubber framework that stretches over the shoe with little cleats on the bottom. They make all the difference in the world. Give me traction. Without them I’d be slipping and sliding all over the place. I get outside and the air is so cold it stings. I feel like I’m on another planet. But once I get going it isn’t bad. And by the time I finish a mile it feels warm as a balmy day in spring. I stop occasionally to toss some peanuts to the crows. They’re famished and extremely excited to see me. I toss the peanuts where the snow has gotten a little packed due to the feet of people out walking and sliding or in the streets where it has hardened under the cars that have foolishly dared to travel in this stuff.  The cars with four-wheel drive do ok. Power is delivered to all four wheels simultaneously thereby enhancing traction. Traction is gold. It’s a genuine treasure when you’re driving or running. Fingers on my left hand stung like crazy. Think it’s because I wear two different woolen gloves, one with a closer knit, which I wore on my right hand. I put my left hand in my left pants pocket and let the warmth from my thigh warm it until the pain went away. Surprised to see so many people out walking, kids sledding, having the time of their lives. Wonder how many appointments got canceled. Seattle is paralyzed on heavy snow days. It’s because of the hills and fluctuations in temperature, snow melts and turns to ice. Black ice. You don’t see it. You just go sliding. Or take a spill. I hoped to get more peanuts to Louise, the crow with the bad leg, but she didn’t come out. I tried whistling, to no avail. Too cold. I just puffed out air accompanied by a tiny whistle-like sound that hardly qualified as a whistle. And went home and had dinner. Greek pasta. And a movie in which a young Englishman travels in time by getting into a dark room and clenching his fists. His dad, Bill Nighy, charming as ever, playing ping pong & reading Dickens. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Whump Butter

This is it: whump butter. Sparks. We jar a clank. Then canvas savor. The cloth lingering happens there. Fills thinking. We are sheer language. Infinite abstraction goes into Picasso. Moss at the easel bulbs. They form the blobs. Light comes to mindful marks through singing. Riotous shouts. We turn the parody technicolor. I drive behind constancy. Heat feeling. The muscles punish the table. Fly unofficially. Our oysters sneer. The octagonal hill gristle gets incandescent. A studio there is that tangles its bumps. And this causes sense. We smear harmonies on the circle. Pickles. Pockets the water. Then strikes medication. Hands. Do this: paint the absorption. We saw it universe Max Jacob. A milk wrinkles. Sweet indigo amazes us. Words do too. Spice and pepper prophesy slaps. It’s simple to endure a blaze. The punch twinkles diffusion. So this makes the steel travel through itself eluding cabbage. Cincinnati smokes below us. Our earth bursts. Morals toward air. I like a yellow riddle. Snow peculiarities. Follow the spirits to water. Don’t choke the bicycle. It represents us by wheel and puzzle. Gears beyond red. Effective buckles for belts that glow. Whatever explores itself on TV. Blow it into motion to make it hypothetical. Then come back and tell me what a poem is. Totems in the blood. Pointing at pepper inside the gnaw. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Marvels And Wonders

9:37 p.m. Wednesday. December. Dark. Rained the entire day. I took a day off from running. R and I went for a short walk instead. I’ve always enjoyed walking with an umbrella. Like a portable home. Roof over one’s head, clickety clackety of drops on the fabric, in this case black, with silver ribs. We went to check on the crows, Louise in particular, who remained perched on a phone wire, the only crow there. She’s usually accompanied by two other crows, her family. We tossed some peanuts on the ground and walked a few feet away and I turned back expecting to see her come down but she remained, still as a statue, high on the wire. Why? I wondered. Why was she sitting like that getting soaked in cold December rain? She’s an enigma wrapped in a riddle, as they say. Later, after dinner and a movie (Fourteen Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible, not nearly as good or transcendent as the other one we saw yesterday, The Alpinist, whose central character is a young Canadian mountaineer with a real love for the rock walls and ice he negotiates with sublime concentration, the beatific focus of a Zen priest), I read about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt in the Old Testament story of the Exodus and – curious about where God split the Red Sea so they could all get across safely with the angry Pharoah in pursuit, Yul Brynner resplendent in embossed gold & knitted brow, a scene I vividly remember seeing as a kid in the movie theater in 1956, Charlton Heston with his stern countenance as Moses holding out his staff, the salty wind catching in his beard, the sea splitting into two huge turbulent walls of water, which is supposed to have occurred “in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon” – I look it up via Google and discover that there is no archaeological evidence of where, or whether, such an event took place, but a possible location may have been somewhere along the banks of the Gulf of Suez. That seems feasible because it’s much narrower. I don’t care if it’s real or not. I doubt it happened. But it’s a great story. Perfect for the movies. Imagine some other 50s actor in that role, John Wayne or Clark Gable, had to be Charlton Heston, he’s the only one with the completely unironic imperious one-dimensionality to pull it off, though nothing remotely Jewish about him, could’ve been Paul Newman, who was 31 at the time. Five years later he’d be holding a cue stick and splitting balls on a pool table. I get up from the bed and plop some cubed bits of salmon in Athena’s dish and pop a cherry cordial into my mouth, sweet chocolate diffusing in my mouth with a filling of cherry juice and sugary corn syrup. Feel like a real hedonist. Takes the edge off things. We need a new sink. Can’t get sealant in the back without removing the thing. Garbage disposal went dead. We never used it. Gears must’ve somehow frozen. Hate the sound it makes. Easier just to toss food scraps into the compost pail. Let the molds & yeasts do their thing. Release nutrients. Convert it to rich black dirt. Grow more food. Such is the cyclical nature of things. Everything in balance. And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe, and then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot; and thereby hangs a tale.

 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Winter Of Our Discontent

It’s 9:20 a.m., December 21, 2021. It’s the winter solstice. I will be glad to see the darkness recede and sunlight dilate and expand broadly on the summits of the Cascades. This winter has seemed unusually dark. I attribute this to increased levels of CO2 in the air and the thickening of clouds, the kind of clouds that bring rain bombs, lightning and power outages. The effects of abrupt climate change. But enough about that. I listened this morning to three English vicars talk about Christmas on BBC 4, followed by an engaging monograph on desire. It was mentioned, as it often is, that we rarely understand the full meaning of our desires, and that often, when we achieve our desires, we’re still not happy. This always confuses me because each and every time I’ve achieved the object of my desire I’ve been extremely satisfied and happy. I can’t remember a time in which I desired something – a new coat, a place to live full of quiet and privacy, a comfortable bed, good food, the opportunity to get high, a book or a CD – that I haven’t felt glad, extremely happy to be in possession of that thing. What confuses me the most is hearing from actors and rock stars who’ve achieved immense success that they found themselves disappointed and depressed. WTF??!! I have never understood this. If I get a book published and it actually gets reviewed – an almost unheard of event in today’s illiterate world – I’m both ecstatic, and grateful. I carry a deep sense of satisfaction with me for days while it gradually dissipates and leaves me, once again, on the bleak rocky shores of frustration. And if – unimaginably – unbelievably – a book sold enough copies to bring in a life-altering amount of money – an adequate amount of money to allow R and I to live in a larger domicile with more privacy and quiet than what we now have, and access to healthcare and food security and a community from which we have not yet been excluded because of our low financial status – I’d feel nothing less than a deep abiding sense of pleasure and satisfaction. Desire is the chief motivating engine of existence. It is the reason we say and do things we might otherwise not do and say. But when the things one desires remain out of touch or unobtainable, the result is a slushy, amorphous sense of despondency called anomie, a word coined by French sociologist Emile Durkheim in his study on suicide and for which the Merriam Webster dictionary provides two meanings: “social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values” and “personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals.” I believe we have two pandemics going right now, Covid-19 and its many ongoing mutations, and anomie, the dazed, listless movements of a public negotiating streets of boarded up cafés and bars and retail stores. That cluster of tents we see every day behind the Gates Foundation. The homeless, as they are called. Exiles in their own country. Which has unraveled. Come undone. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

For Fur

I’m not against generating peculiarities. I do it all the time. Here’s the deal: a green light walks into a mind and sits down and knits a reason to go forward with one’s life. I intuit the club I use to inherit urination. And do so in the blue night of jute and potato. I’m wild about fur. Oblivion handsprings through my bones causing shadows and inevitability. We take our time by banging the airplane against the air until the apparitions settle at last on the totem. Our lingering sequesters the haste of plywood in the quiet of evening. Our wandering burns under the summons of the elect. We resist the authority of lace and convulse by pronoun. Our ties mark the presence of upheaval and widen to marquee our kicks. We find the appropriate amount of deformation below among the protoplasm and whippoorwills. It takes eighteen pounds of air to say blood. And forty-two pounds of propulsion to trudge toward the tower. My Picasso is framed in linen, and this makes for an art to be rubbed on the ribs until the burden of existence reveals its inner charms. There’s a lot of noise right now in the engine room. Can I say anything harshly revealing if I plug it into the wall? Of course. But it will gulp the play and leave Hamlet standing there like a frying pan weeping hot tears of bacon grease. I dream of a space floating toward the phantoms of the past and find all the ribbon I need in the drawer of a desk shoved far to the back where the shadows cluster and thicken into articulation. These are the contusions we must glue to the renegades of the northern prairie. We’re never ourselves until we open up to what isn’t us. We all had to endure the ordeal of birth. Some still carry the marks of a preternatural agility. Others sit in a corner stringing words together. Adaptability is one thing, improvisation another. Those who choose not to adapt choose to improvise. And here is where we find the steam to continue. Go. Shake hands with a demon. The plane doesn’t have a pilot. But it does have fur. 

 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Opal

Here’s the armchair I crammed with indolence. I did this in a moment of scratching. I can feel the pull of gravy whenever I’m feeling crustacean. I’m anchored, as always, in the empire of string. There are folds of memory I collect by acting resonant, and drop it all in a bucket I remember from a long time ago in a dream. This is a cause of Thursday. It’s moody to obtrude but I need to do this to overcome the dots that make me yodel when I’m feeling the fingers of interrelation in my pants. This is that very elemental grid that I need to rivet to words and make my work light up. Language happens when the lilacs bloom in the doorway and the speed of it thuds into neon. Logic is caustic. Avoid filibusters. The sensations we feel are often the very sensations we use to stimulate ourselves into miscellany. For it is there that the words become omnivorous and eat their way into meaning, which is full of protein, and process and daydream. I want this energy to turn into feathers. I will flutter all I know until it gets to be pleasing. I’ve got an atmosphere in my head. Do you? I think it’s normal to racket around like a quart of incantation. I can just about grasp the meaning of life as I merge into the next lane when I’m voyaging around on paper. Here’s what I do: I grease parables. I want them to move into viscera smoothly and break apart our assumptions of reality. My hand is trying hard to get these words to come out of hiding and do what words do best when they’re thistles or terse. They say water does it by acorns. It bends around our walking by the stream and culminates in banks overhung by willow. This is now new as nails. The trudge of my injuries slosh around in kerosene, lighting the night until it leans into us like a trapeze. I thought of cloth and flowed through my body, minding it like a hunch, and discovering transfiguration. The Corot is what bone murmurs. The immediate properties of consciousness are combed by yelling, and this makes everything opal.

 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Shock

I got a shock plugging the hair dryer in this afternoon. It’s such an odd feeling, that sudden weird oscillation of current in my fingers, charged particles mistaking me for a utility. I’d just showered and wanted to dry my hair before putting on my hat and filling a bag with peanuts and walking up the street to feed Louise, the crippled crow I’ve been feeding on and off for nearly three years. She knows both me and R but never comes too close. Things would work out much better if she came close, as she has a tough time competing with all the other crows. She would learn that if she got a peanut or two by coming close when the others were still wary she wouldn’t have to compete. She could grab the peanuts and fly off to enjoy them in peace. When she’s on the ground she has to hop around on one good leg while the other dangles uselessly. Crows get very aggressive and nasty around a handful of tossed peanuts. They have bad tempers. A big crow once lost his temper right in front of us, wings outstretched, beak wide open, giving us a staccato stream of coarse well understood caws. I suspect animals have languages far richer than imagined. Whales and dolphins absolutely, but I’d like to hear what a cat is thinking, their behavior being far more complex and irrational than dogs. I’d be happy to know what our cat is thinking when she begs for food already in her dish. I remember getting shocked once before, when I was perched high on a stepladder in a building in downtown San José, California. I was installing office lights for a company that bought aged property, fixed it up, and opened its doors for commerce. It was August, 1972. And since it was summer I was on break from classes at San José State where I was enrolled as an English major. I was taking the opportunity to make some much needed money. My first ex-wife and I had recently returned from traveling in Europe, chiefly France. I was surrounded by a lot of workmen, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, painters, carpet layers and welders all busily employed at one of the many offices undergoing an intensive remodel. It was common to hear them joking about what a loser George McGovern was. They hated him. I tried to keep as invisible as I could and felt – as I have my entire life – completely alien. The number one song was “Alone Again, Naturally,” by Gilbert O’Sullivan. The Beatles had broken up and already felt long gone and a part of history. I’d seen the Beatles dressed up as mannikins in a London department store window display dressed in their early slim fit suits and Chelsea boots. It gave me a feeling of nostalgia. How funny it is to think of feeling nostalgic in 1972. Now I get nostalgic over the year 1992. Seattle still had most of its movie theatres, bookstores still sold books, there were numerous small restaurants to choose from, and nowhere did you have to wear a mask or show documented proof that you’ve been vaccinated. Most of the homeless were located in a small park downtown. The destitute wandering the streets had grown dramatically since about 1980, but it would’ve been unusual to see a tent set up indefinitely in a city park or city sidewalk. Now the encampments everywhere, and huge, bearing a scary resemblance to the encampment in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 911. One of the larger encampments, near Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, has taken over the area where we used to enjoy Wooden O’s Shakespeare in the Park series. I wonder if they’re still performing there. It would be interesting, indeed, to watch As You Like It among a bedraggled group of economic exiles. 

 

 

Friday, December 3, 2021

It's Horrendous To Be A Novice

It’s horrendous to be a novice, to be new at anything, particularly if there are people around, I was once put in a position of making change for a customer in a health food store and thought it would come to me, I’d seen thousands of people give change, it’s as natural as breathing, but no, not for me, I froze. But there’s another side to the coin and that would be novelty. Novelty is fun. Anything new is exciting. Maybe not a new moon, any new moon is just the old moon repackaged in its drift through sky, the palms of Tunisia swaying in a Mediterranean breeze. No I mean something shockingly new. When was the last time that happened? Was Covid the last new thing to emerge? It sure has disrupted a lot of lives. That’s not what I meant by new. Not what I think I meant. And now I wonder what do I mean by new. This sentence, for instance, is new. It’s never been written before. Maybe it has. It probably has. I’d better think of another sentence to use as an example. Let’s say this sentence has the icing of significance on it, it’s a completely new sentence, so new it shines, it cries out, it stumbles, it floats, it ascends from the ocean with a great reptilian head shooting flames as it’s two huge reptilian feet make imprints on the sand and its eyes (for we do not know its gender) shift back and forth looking for something to eat, to lift into its gaping mouth and chew, and now this sentence is totally out of control, it’s easy to see how its evolution flirts with the insularity of its reverie and the utter superfluity of its creation. So hey, cousin, let’s do something dangerous together. Go flying in a pterodactyl costume across the great fortitudes of kohlrabi in the gardens of screwdriver and succotash. For this is New Jersey. For this is happening for the first time. For this is a demonstrative adjective. And this is a Chablis in the hand of a derelict. And this is a woman at a bus stop saying nothing. And this is a shadow lengthening across the sand of Arizona. And this is Walt Whitman sitting down at a big mahogany table to sip wine and read a poem to a few people. And this is Mick Jagger practicing ballet at age 79. And this is a man in faded overalls pressing a seedling into a patch of dirt. Eternity convulses in your eyes. If depression were the clitoris of the brain I’d smile all day. And now my arm hurts. Those windows in the skin aren’t entirely natural, but the view is pretty, and the pulsations can make a sarong blaze with the murmur of embalming fluid. I believe that feeling can be expanded by a nice warm brain and if expressed in words a pretty world of  Iceland Poppy Persian buttercup & black-eyed Susan blossoms on the grave of Jackson Pollock. 

 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Westlake

I went for a run on Westlake Avenue North yesterday afternoon. It was gray and misty with a light rain that eventually modulated into a soft, skin-tingling drizzle. I like to run on Westlake. I find it very calming to run along a lake. There are plenty of businesses along the sidewalk, most of which are devoted to boats and yachts, but there are also dental offices, insurance companies, psychotherapists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, chiropodists, beauty salons, architects, an injury law office, a Chinese restaurant housed in a colossal windowless cube covered in black tile called China Harbor, Seattle Scuba dive training, the Cone and Compass Ice Cream Shop, houseboat communities, a small business selling hot tubs, and – my personal favorite – Kenmore Air, providing seaplane flights & scenic tours. There’s even a dance school. A kayak and stand up paddleboard rental business caught my eye and I stepped into a puddle and felt cold water seep through to my sock. A little further down I came to a short stretch of train track between Boatworld Marinas and Signature Yachts with tree branches arching overhead giving it a tunnel-like appearance and had to quickly navigate an archipelago of puddles between the rails.  Anytime you go for a run in Seattle you’re liable to get your feet wet, especially in the winter. No matter. One’s feet never stay cold for long since you’re carrying your own source of heat. You become your own furnace. And the nice thing about not belonging to a gym is you can run nearly anywhere; all you need is a little open space, some quiet streets or a well-kept trail. It's nice to get away from the upper Queen Anne neighborhoods. There’s been a lot of tension recently over the issue of feeding crows, a practice I began several years ago that escalated into a huge congeries of crows following me everywhere. Locals began to complain. They discovered peanut shells on their roofs and rain gutters. Some complained of peanut shells in their garden. When I engage with these people, however maniacal they may be and gnashing their teeth, I try to be polite and feign a degree of sympathy. I don’t want conflict, and choose not to argue, however flimsy their complaints may be. What roof doesn’t fill with fallen leaves & twigs? What yard doesn't become littered with windblown detritus? I think what really bothered them was the number of crows interacting with a human being. It disturbs them. It’s outside the norm, the vectors of control. So they make stupid excuses for not feeding crows. I can't stop feeding crows while they’re everywhere around me begging for a peanut. It’s too sad. So I decided to go down to Westlake where there are more ducks and geese than crows. It’s rather nice to be able to run like I used to and not stop to feed a murder of crows, or worry, as I go running down the street trailed by a swarming murder of noisy crows about getting the stink-eye from a property owner. 

 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Hot Air

Old walls fascinate me. Especially if they're covered with moss and lichen. Or cracked. It makes me want to sing. But the song must be cracked. And covered with moss and lichen. And the voice must be cracked and burdened with regret. Or creamy and resigned like Billie Holiday. Or ripped apart like Janis Joplin. Or warm and silky like Etta James.

When was the last time I trembled with emotion? Was it in Ecuador? Have I ever been to Ecuador? Given the right context, trembling can be quite romantic. It can also be awful. Trench warfare. Bombs. Shrapnel. Barbed wire. Tanks. The world Jacques Vaché occupied for four years. And helped give birth to surrealism. Interesting response to a world gone mad.

I smell pineapple-upside-down cake in the kitchen. Sweet, like a harmonica answering nocturnes during a sibilant horizontal anticipatory knickknack exhilaration.

The hibiscus is a member of the mallow family. Ponderation opens by writing. Apricot cargo in a state of fog. Where do we go from here? I scratch the air. Objects fall out. Things I never thought were there. Things I never expected to see fall out of the air. Like passports. Stamped with heaven. Sounds like a nice place. Maybe I’ll get to go there one day. Fantasy is easier. Though not quite as satisfying. Things need weight to make them real. Substantial. Thought is weightless. But not the brain. The brain is eight pounds of daylight. And chrome is everywhere.

The jungle is thick with moisture and vines. Chili flaunts its beans. Peru goes by in a bamboo airscrew. Words get dressed in a salad fork. The outcome is hazy, but briefly gustatory. A leopard prowls the long eelgrass proud as a regal duke. We dive in the water. The clarity is so strong we mutate. We become more vivid versions of ourselves. And fly to the forest canopy.

Campo Viejo: pine box under the coffee table. Two different tones of wood. I see it peripherally. Sitting on a couch. Watching a movie: I’m Thinking Of Ending Things, with Jessie Buckley and Jesse Plemons. Kaufman’s movies are strangely absorbing. Not much happens, but when it does, it doesn’t proceed from anything logical, it makes unexpected turns. Time is folded. Space is expanded. People appear haunted by their own desperate need to feel real. Which eventually entails a trip to the basement. Or orchids. Or crawling through the mind of John Malkovich.

I needed to shut the water off to the toilet a minute. I turned the valve clockwise as far as I could and the water still wouldn’t shut off. Plumbing is maddening but not as maddening as computers. Plumbing, if you work hard enough at it, will eventually begin to make sense. Computers, on the other hand, lure you down rabbit holes so deep and convoluted they collapse into metaphysical slinkies and slink away into darkness as your wallet empties of money and your patience empties of sanity.

It’s only natural to become domestic in one’s later years. The world outside is moving too fast. The world inside keeps retreating to the past. But it can only go so far. The visions are vivid, but nobody’s skin is real, nobody’s voice is audible, nobody’s eyes are looking at you again, the way they used to, alert, bright, and full of glee and imagination.

Every symbol of love deserves protection. But keep in mind, it’s only a symbol. Symbols get lost in symbolism. The junkyard is full of them. The junkyard is a symbol. The seagulls are talkative. They make very poor symbols. Toss one a French fry and it’ll drop on it immediately. This is unbecoming of symbols. Symbols don’t do well in reality. Too many ambiguities. Too much mud and junk. This is the province of the seagull. The unsymbolic gull. Gourmand of refuse.

I can’t in all honesty say that I know what it is I’m doing. Shall I assume that a lifelong investiture in books makes me a proponent of language? I shall assume that I’m a clangor of symbols. And signs. How do you jingle a symbol? How do you pickle a sign? A symbol is an idea packed in the Styrofoam of the unconscious. A sign is a sign that signals are significant. Me, I’m looking for a metaphor. I’ve heard the air is full of metaphors. Air itself is a metaphor. It’s invisible but it’s there. It’s a function of breathing. It’s a function of life. It takes air to say air. If I hold a balloon & blow, the form of the balloon is fulfilled by breath. It is the same with words: they need breath to be heard, to become unfurled, to go sailing into someone’s consciousness.

I have reevaluated the evidence of Plato and Aristotle for ecpyrosis, periodical conflagration, in Heraclitus. Right around the time Mobil began to sponsor Masterpiece Theater on PBS. And what I’ve discovered since then is simply astonishing. The conflagration was required to cleanse the universe. What an idea. But really, not entirely surprising when one learns early on that a big part of creativity is destruction. One must destroy to create. Is that what we – humankind – is doing? Doing unconsciously? Every time I hear a siren I think: ecpyrosis. And sometimes – oftentimes – the sirens are silent. Or tiny. The tiny sound of a fire crackling through a sequoia. But is there? Is there a moral force to this? Or are we just supremely talented at telling stories? Baptiste. Miss Scarlet. Unforgotten. All Creatures Great and Small. Brought to you by ExxonMobil.

Just imagine how people felt about mosquito noises in the heyday of yellow fever.

There’s a parallel between anatomy and music: Sticky Fingers, Lord of the Thighs, Balls to the Wall.

There are no credibility gaps in poetry, but there are incredible expressible tentacles.

Rousseau perceived that technological progress was not taking us in a good direction and if the brakes weren’t applied to slow it down it would cause humankind to forget what it is essential. Rousseau is one of the first to point out a malaise in civilization. It's paradoxical: you might think that the faster things go, the more movement there is, the more dynamics there are, and the more one is on the side of the living. But this hyperactivity is rather the order of a panic which turns against the living. The proof: carried away in the panic of an obligation to accelerate, we lose the feeling of life.

Warm meaty air blowing from the ventilation duct at Molena’s Taco Shop on West McGraw.

 Cold, wet, rainy day today. Only one zombie. Long fronds of a fern sticking out from a rockery, wiggling in the wind. Sound of a foghorn, wet sand beneath my feet, tingle of moisture on the skin.

I thought I understood life but maybe I don't. When I think of all the people I've known during my life, each one taught me something, each one opened a new dimension in me that I didn't know I had. In some I discovered a poet. In others I discovered a grump. In some I discovered compassion. In some I discovered rage. One person is many people wrapped in a single body. And it takes one person to unwrap it, and people the air with words. 

 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Travel Bug

It’s got a word, dromomania, a compulsion to travel, which Rimbaud certainly had, and Kerouac, whose adventures on the road became famous, more than famous, became a way of life. I’ve had it briefly. It occurred when I was lost. It was a form of escape, but that’s just the surface, the enamel that gives it easy definition, a shiny explanation, the nacreous hues of lenience, the graciousness of distance. Going somewhere gives you a purpose, but a very vague one, the vague promise of renewal, of finding elsewhere what you’ve been able to find in your current location. But the real kick for me was the hypnosis induced by driving a car long distances at a time. Getting so inured to the rhythms of the highway that it gets into your viscera, your cells, and when it stops, when the car brakes and the engine is turned off and you get out of the car, the world for a few minutes truly seems wondrous. Things come into focus. The sound of the lid on an ice machine, a door slamming, wind in a row of poplars, creak of a postcard rack, even the sunlight hitting the granite of a bank or courthouse seems pronounced, beatific, full of grace. 

Now it’s just the opposite. I don’t like to go anywhere. I like to go for a run, the longer the distance the better, but I don’t like getting into a car. I don’t like being anywhere but home. Close to the kitchen. Close to the bathroom. Close to furniture. Places to lie down. Be it a carpeted floor or an old couch. I like inertia. I like quiescence. Stillness. Rest. Idleness. Repose. Because I’m old. I’m done with goals. Done with destinations. I’m ready to surrender. Ready to go. Ready for the big journey. The one that brought me here in the first place. And will take me away when the time has come. And all behind me like the froth at the stern of a boat. A wake.

There are the travels one does in the mind. Coleridge’s “Kubla Kahn.” Baudelaire’s L’invitation au voyage. Just about any book you can grab from a shelf and dive into headfirst will take you somewhere. These voyages become more fulfilling than actual voyages. Though this is not to dismiss actual voyages. Being elsewhere is always stimulating. But discovering countries and landscapes inside you is a potent and remarkable discovery. It might not be up there with weightlessness, but it’s a close second. The brain becomes a fuselage. A forsythia in the window sill becomes a universe. Is a universe. There’s a universe in everything. There’s even a universe in the universe. How far out you go is entirely up to you. You’re the astronaut. And the alien.

Williams talks about a classmate in anatomy class dropping a human brain from a third floor window onto an organ grinder. He doesn’t describe the grinder’s reaction, which I would have to assume would be one of surprise. We all look for cause and effect when confronted with a mystery. What is it about my playing that induced the heavens to drop a brain on me? Is there a message for me in this? Or were there medical students laughing from above? Like I say: open a book and you don’t know where you’ll be traveling to. The body likes being still, but the brain can’t wait to get going. Grind some music out of an organ. Squeeze the sky until it rains. Rains brains. Sweeps across ocean waves in a fury of spindrift & wind. And opens a door to Xanadu. 

 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Oak

Oak: the very word alone conjures ideas of hardness, integrity, durability. It’s all over Shakespeare: “under an oak whose antique root peeps out / upon the brook that brawls along this wood,” “under an oak, whose boughs were moss’d with age,” “the worthy fellow is our general: he’s the rock, the oak not to be wind-shaken,” “If thou more mumur’st, I will rend an oak / And peg thee in his knotty entrails till / Thou has howl’d away twelve winters.”

I smell whiskey in its barrels. Oak is the ideal choice to store whiskey for several signature traits. Thanks to a large volume of medullary rays in the wood structure, oak is remarkably strong. Also, the cells of white oak contain tyloses, outgrowths on parenchyma cells of the tree’s xylem, the vascular tissue in plants that conducts water and dissolved nutrients upward from the root and helps bring density to the wood; that, in addition to water-conducting cells called tracheary elements, makes oak impervious to leaking. Whiskey steeped in casks of oak will evoke caramel. Vanilla, toasted almond, coconut, maple syrup and joviality. Is joviality a flavor? Always.

Everything about oak speaks to the things of this world that are strong and dependable, and invite trust and goodwill. Robin Hood and his merry band camped under the broad leafage of a giant oak in Edinstowe, England, that is said to be anywhere from 800 to 1100 years old. Fondly known as Major Oak, the tree has a trunk circumference of 36 feet and has an estimated weight of 23 tons. This tree is regal. There is wisdom in its branches. It invites camaraderie. It provokes a quest for justice. It stimulates the imagination. It arouses scenes of merriment and carousal. Errol Flynn swaggering into a castle banquet with a dead deer on his shoulders and a glint in his eyes. Wealth redistribution comes from a place of ancient wood. The deep dense grain of a Druidic oak, its branches extending in all directions.

More than 2,000 oak trees in more than 200 French forests are to be felled to replace Le forêt of Notre-Dame de Paris which was destroyed in the fire of April, 2019. Le forêt – in English, The Forest – is the lattice of beams and supports that supported the 315 ft-high spire designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc to replace the earlier and shorter spire completed in 1230, which - due to the ravages of time - had begun to show signs of decay in the 18th century, and was taken down in 1792. Viollet-le-Duc’s spire was unveiled on August 18th, 1859. The spire, covered in lead, weighed 250 tons, and was supported by the four pillars of the transept. The oak trees felled to replace their medieval counterparts have been carefully measured. The trunk must measure a minimum of three feet in width and sixty feet high. After each oak has been cut down, it will be left to dry for eighteen months; humidity will need to be less than 30%, for the wood to be workable. Too dry, it will crack. Too wet, it will warp. And this is how oak teaches wisdom.

When time is done ticking, oak will remain. When the cathedral of the universe is done expanding, and space trembles with the explosive energy of stars, it will be supported by oak. 

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The Dialectics Of Hay

My thesaurus horseshoe wants the savor of bronze. It is this mat that puts dimes to fantastic homogenization.  It’s not rocket science, no, but it is gobbled as dairy. The dampened mocha poses on the ledge. Love results from electrolytes. Though it has often been said that the thermometer of the iconoclast registers twelve different forms of heat and cold, depending on the vagaries of the chin, the lines of the hills, and the inquiries at the church. There’s a werewolf standing on my shoe. It’s a lucky thing I’m not wearing it. When light travels through a prism, it splits into seven wavelengths of color, one of which is hydrogen, one of which is pencils, one of which is jeers from a jeep, another of which is socialism, another of which is misrule, another of which is guano, and the seventh is a werewolf standing on a shoe. These are the very colors of crates, the pharynx of a grocery store manager yielding flares of noontime pine. And I thought I was menstruating! I know what it’s like in the cattails. The nexus of meanings turns magenta in the light of the crucible moon. The ovulation does its hydroplaning across the dish of our prayers. The disbursement has its fanlights, but the bank has its ledgers, and the heartbeat of the sentence causes the musk ox to turn north toward the northern lights and the opals of permafrost coming undone beneath the mosses & lichens. There’s nothing occult about a pickerel. I will further this patronage by the profusion of salsa amid the ticking of exemption. There are bowls in the cupboard. Think of them as words to put things in. Goggles & dice. Epicures and the politics of the shrug. The mermaid speaks Russian, which makes it all semantic, highlighting the luster of the chandeliers and the tinkling of bells in the distance. The dialectics of hay maintain the looms of the mesmerized. Let me confide my knob to your estuary. I think it’s time to come clean. The quiet is plush as a ransom slipped under a door at midnight. I admit the gulls are outcasts. But the dextrose glows like digits in a clock radio. And it’s beautiful. More beautiful than the door to fairyland, or that onion in your hand, which is gesturing to the gloom with its many layers of crinkly femininity. I didn’t see you come in. Or maybe you’ve been there the entire time, a pair of eyes creating these words as you read them, like we all do when we’re alone with a book. I hope the truck starts in the morning. It’s so cold here. The dials are infrared and a soft blue gargoyle rides a peacock across the octave of a savage allegory. No matter. We can connect the gerunds later, when the ideas pirouette on the ceiling. Physique is invaluable, is it not, especially when you need it to get something across, a new haircut, tie clasp or religious feeling.

 

 

Friday, November 5, 2021

Between The Notes

Music is patterned sound. Though it may not always seem that way, especially when I see Mick Jagger strutting and thrusting on a stage in a gigantic stadium, the recognizable sounds of their better-known songs diluted by terrible acoustics, vitiated by the inherent vulgarity in a structure built for sports, the collisions of men, the mock battles of competitive sports. But it’s there. The lifeblood of music is there. Rhythm, metallic whine of guitars, Jagger’s sparkly shirts and uncanny athleticism, reinforce the sense of music as a transcendent force, a dynamic of perverse power, rendered in the swagger of aging men. Keith Richards bald. A wrinkly but thin and supple Jagger dancing in front of a beautiful young woman. Sound is a negotiable medium. You do this, I do that, you say this, I say that, until things get so weird a membrane snaps and we find ourselves in chaos once again, throwing balls of light at one another.

“Like bodies, language produces and reproduces itself; in each syllable lies a seed (Bīja) that, on being actualized in sound, is a vibration emitting a form and a meaning.” Octavio Paz, Blank Thought.

I mean, who wants to read Faulknerian sentences on Kindle?

Postcard of Keats sitting in a chair Hampstead Heath, retained, for 50 years, under the cover of a book: English Romantic Writers. And written on the back: “In this room two chairs are kept in the same position as in the picture [painting by Joseph Severn, 1821], but fussy tourists keep tidying up the room and put them next to the wall, which amuses and distresses the curator who lives in ‘Keats’ House.’ The picture pf Shakespeare is still on the wall. Preserved is a notebook Keats took notes in when taking a medical course. He drew pretty pictures of flowers in the left-hand margin. The bookcases are gone, but many of the books are still here where he lived.”

Keats rests on hand on his head, the other on an open book positioned on his lap, his elbow resting on the back of another chair, turned toward a large window, a plush red curtain drawn back revealing a tree and lush shrubbery. He looks pensive, resigned, and sad. The painting was done the day Keats wrote “Ode To A Nightingale,” at Wentworth Place in Hampstead.

And here at home, 21st century, top of my desk: a lamp with a white shade, clock, pheasant feather quill I bought at a Renaissance Pleasure Faire 49 years ago, and a paperweight, a glass sphere with a big yellow flower inside, a gift from a friend who I last saw driving a Metro bus across University Bridge when I was out running.

Interiors are funny. This is because consciousness is by essence unstable. Anything that exists between a retina and a source of light can expand or increase abnormally from simple perception to reverie. One sensation can serve as the correspondent grammar of another sensation. The world speaks to us in the syntax of coincidence, the fluidity of concurrence. As soon as I get my pants on, I feel the dribble of cold metal down my legs: coins drop through a hole in my pocket. Another time, the smell of freshly cut grass, roasted chicken and cocoa beans in Honduras. And sometimes, as the moments pass, an inseam can seem seamless, or apparent as a reassurance. 

  

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The News Gives Me Nausea

The news gives me nausea. I escape into music. “Don’t Worry Baby.” “It’s All Over Now.” “And Your Bird Can Sing.” YouTube is my time machine.

My God this world has gotten to be a scary place.

They never did find Lew Welch’s body.

I woke up this morning listening to a report on BBC 4 about St. Kilda Island, home to millions of sea birds. Puffin, fulmar, gannet, shearwater, petrel, kittiwake and shags. When the island was populated by people, no man was allowed to marry until he had woven a horsehair rope, thereby proving that he could maintain his wife by being able to hunt for the sea-birds living on the great cliffs. Mail was sent to the mainland by ocean current. The mailbag was thrown into the sea to be washed up eventually on the shores of Norway or Scotland. Which means it had a better chance of reaching its destination than anything mailed now in the post-Covid world.

Warm fur of cat back of my legs as I splash my face with warm water.

Each of us is a universe of cells connecting us to one another.

Last night I fell into a pool of time. I climbed back out dripping with minutes. It took a long while to regain my footing. Normally, I walk around in a bubble of exquisite negligence. I pay little attention to physical laws. I prefer the laws of art and poetry. It’s a special kind of arrogance. It is, in fact, a defiance. And it is out of such defiance that art is born. Time and gravity are suspended like people on a crowded bus holding on to the stanchions and swaying back and forth as the bus negotiates heavy downtown traffic. Which is to say, everything in the universe is reproducible as a comparison, or untucked shirt.

I would be nothing if I didn’t write, yet when I write, I fade away. And this is what I most desire: to thaw, to resolve into a dew. The rustle of wind in the trees as I turn the thermostat up for heat.

I ate too much. Greek pasta. Love that stuff. Now my stomach hurts. Burns. Aches. I think of that lava flowing down the slope of Cumbre Vieja, old mountain of La Palma, which became active September 19th, 2021. The beauty of it, and the tragic consequences it’s had for the people who’ve lived there many years, made a life, spent mornings with a cup of coffee in the hand gazing out at the Atlantic, warm breezes blowing over the skin.

Can’t grasp it, this tenuity, this flash, this poem that might’ve been. My whole life has been a hunt for chimeras, elusive insights, thoughts, images that never quite congeal, or flit through the mind when I’m hardly thinking of anything at all, and as soon as I try throwing a net of words on it, it’s gone, vanished completely. And if words do catch a bit of it, it’s not the same. Steam becomes tea. Tea becomes dregs. The dregs go into the compost. The empirical world clings to everything. All but those random abstract patterns on sidewalk and street. What are they? Equations for a mind more agile than mine, perhaps. Paul Dirac watching Cher on a Florida TV.

Sometimes I’ll read something, a poem or sentence or paragraph in an essay, and I’ll understand it without understanding it. I’ll know what it means, I can feel it, intuit its meaning, but I can’t articulate it. There’s something in it that resists daylight, rational analysis, but not completely, there will be just enough coherence to make it chewable, an object of contemplation, but the essence will exceed a fully fleshed statement. It won’t have gears, but it will have momentum. And I like that. It opens up a space in your mind. It’s an energy that can’t be caged. It sparks a certain wildness in you, the turbulence of air in a cloud animating it with a luminous ambiguity.

Because of the outage tonight, scented candles burn serenely in the bathroom, and the peace brought about by the lack of access to the internet is sweet and uncomplicated. It just is. How wonderful is is. The question is, the quotient is, the emerald is, the fizz and fuzz and thistle is. 

This thistle this thorn. This thrift. I like this. This this. This morsel of grammar. This demonstrative adjective. This implicative this. This fist of this. This bucket of this. Those sounds buckets make when they’re full of impertinence. This reliquary of irrelevance. This butte. This mine of crystal. This Bristol epistle. This bristle. This whistle. This vision on the verge of epiphany. This moment in time. This germination of manners in a meat locker of the mind. But no. This isn’t it. Not it at all. This is.

I love it when time is perforated, and a piece of time can be ripped from the daily routine, and a creative impulse brings words into being, the energies that were formerly trapped and buried flitter out like moths from a closet in an abandoned house. And I’m the house. And I’m the closet. And the moths fly out of my mouth. And my mouth flies out of my mouth. And I lose my head. And a nebula of interstellar clouds flowers out of my neck & begins feeding on the void.

Think of the books, the mighty thoughts, thunderous words, had Shelley learned to swim.

I’ve got a tendency to put a little too much drama into things. Even the trivial gets flamboyant treatment. A bottle of water becomes a mythology of optics, a facet of infinite life. Even as it lies on the bed, sloshing side to side in a cylinder of transparent plastic, a reminder I paid for the stuff, and shouldn’t, the merchandising of water is an affront, but so, so good. It goes down like nothing else I can say. 

 

Monday, November 1, 2021

AWOL

I relish the hectic jabber of bubbles. They nourish my dereliction. We used to eat oysters until the shadow of an infant cubism absorbed our attention. We all felt deeply rooted. We were open to all sorts of manifestation, infestation, protestation. There was snow behind the whisper and an epilogue in the wings awaiting the Baudelaire of a meandering mouth. Destiny meanders, doesn’t it? Right when you expect to assume some power along comes a pretext and spoils everything. My personality wears me out. The circumference of a dream depends on the diameter of the filter. The concertina is botched, but the orchestra may be saved by your locomotive Bach. I’ve tried being more modern but I get fouled up in maroon. The parabola of the spoon is enhanced by a rattan chair in the rain. Can you smell it? Rattan in the rain. It’s the energy of dolphins. Exhilarating. Push audacity. Monotony triggers my elderberry. My breakfast pin is this moose I see in potential, like a charming tomboy or madrigal. Everything has a corresponding sister in the embodiment of our calling. Our own personal song. Which is the song of everything. Don’t mind my nose. My nose is upset with the truffles. My ravenous fuel hungers for velocity. I feed on distance. I feed on nearness. I’m serious as a mortgage. There are curves in space that would nullify all bombs, all weaponry, all war. It’s called void. It’s called AWOL. We have plucked a nail from the heart and called it fiction. I found it wedged in a tree and freed it with a tongue and a story. If the leaves initiate the asphalt they must be answerable to crinkling. The cubes are yawning. We are but the naked undercurrents of ourselves. And rapture in waterfalls. 

 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

River Of Bells

My excitement stipples the Atacama desert. But this isn’t Chile. Nor are we in Paraguay. I’m using a spatial allegory to sigh your anger. We shall be in unison. Singing. Gushing our emotion. Finding salvation over the conquest of the merely clever. Cement this by triangle. Then hang it from your chin. We shall assemble this experiment together. Sew. Run. The knives will fit our delectation. Our aim and roundup. The moon is lactating. It remedies our burns. I see leaves everywhere now. I feel like being close to my heart. Tumbling in my room. The resilience is ravenous to pound along the maiden grass until the morning. I grip the sky. I grope for measurement with an equanimity. The air is 20 gallons thick with gospel. I’m this serious. So swollen I drag a pullulating orange through the emergency room. I packed a few flashing lines in a paragraph of rural indemnity. It’s raining in the next sentence but you can stay here until the orchards boil. I feel photogenic across a daub of interpretation. Toss that can. The altitude has shattered my dancing. We’ll need both of our hands to feed the River of Bells. Who are you recruiting to represent this ginger? I’ll be looking everywhere. I shall muse on the mystery of hallucination. My favorite odor is whirling around my mind like an implication. Polish this ooze. Flip your body over a curve. Let’s catch this edge together. Spur the despair. We’ve got a long ride to Tucson. See that book in the backseat? It’s flowering. The words are blossoming into abstractions. Independence did this to the panic soap. We exaggerate our income. We do this for very obvious reasons. One of which is hotels. Another is laid with iron nails and wooden ties. The locomotive invites science. I toss a few emotions into the sentence to make it curve upward. My grip adjusts to the resistance. Your metal is erect. Your scorching assurance entwined around a pumpkin. I spout a weight for the guitar. Everything is a cause of music. But music itself stirs far beyond the potato field. It hangs in the sky, cool and euphoric, like a rainbow in the Rodna Mountains of Romania. We were born before the wind. You know? The bass has a jaunty rhythm, although the melody is wistful. And when that foghorn blows, I’ll be coming home. But no. I don’t live in Romania. I live in a hummingbird. I cut the funnies into little placentas where the word balloons repeat the morphogenesis of propane. Little blue flames lick the grandeur of purpose. I do believe we can find some redemption sooner or later. Hug Paris. It’s beautiful, but sad, like the gargoyle on the top of the Saint-Jacques Tower. The red development leads to a blue envelopment. There’s a bulge in my sack that does this by giving a new heft to the morning. I see it in the mirror: a mask with an animus. Just like reality when it mimics a haircut with shag.

 

 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

For Its Own Sake

When the external turns internal the internal turns nocturnal. The crickets get thickets and the classical gets radical. Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! Is the sound the spoon makes when I knock it against the rim of the cat food container while trying to get the gooey little cubes of salmon off of it. Then I rinse it and put it back on the breadboard for future use. It’s a continuum. Of action. And satisfies hunger. Thus it came to happen that I watched Peter Jackson’s Get Back movie on YouTube and wondered what theatre it will be in there’s only two in Seattle now. Jesus the Beatles sure had energy. And what appears to be an infinite ability to put out great innovative songs. It would’ve been terrific to see the movie at the Seven Gables, which was a tiny theatre with a huge lobby. There was a backdrop where the curtain came down a painting of two lovers on a stone bridge between two mountains and a deep ravine below and a huge castle in the distance. It was fun to stare at and imagine a story that might fit that scene and give it momentum and flesh. Or marvel that there was a time when romance still had some currency. If, for example, you allow that external reality is more than matter, and put the threshold of inner and outer in imaginary space, which is a different reality, and irresistible, considering its boundless dimension, you imply that skin is the connective tissue between being and reality, and so incur the euphoria of mass, when it has no density, and is a field of electrons in drift velocity, amorphous as a rag, specific as a flag. The T-shirts I folded last Sunday are still on the bureau. A torrent of documents and bills reside by a straw duck repurposed as a basket. One has to believe that this world has a rear admiral at the stern guiding us through dark times and melting glaciers into a future of calm lagoons and tropical flowers. The reality is, of course, something entirely different. It’s not a rear admiral it’s a nihilistic priest in a black robe and the boat isn’t a boat it’s a raft and everyone still clinging to it are desperate. And yet the voyage is magnificent and full of marvels. Go figure. All pain is exquisite. It is a hallmark of existence. The sensations on the outer surface of the skin are different than the feelings within, the proprioceptive third dimension and the rumblings of indigestion and the hum of circulation and the giving suppleness of the body to the pressures of gravity and the support of the floor, or a chair, or a bed, and the more chimerical moods and reveries that shift and churn in the chambers of the mind and heart. It’s that magnificent difference that generates all the energy, the desire to meet those charms with one’s entire being and attention. And this is known as weight. Which is a product of light.

 

 

 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Life And The World

Life and the world, said Shelley, or whatever we call that which we are and feel, is an astonishing thing. I agree. It astonishes me every day. As soon as I awaken from a deep sleep and begin to feel the first sensations that peel back the chloroform of unconcern and bring me into an awareness of that powerful thing called life, I scribble my way to the surface and allow the phenomenon to take hold. I begin to focus and assume its burden of worry and how to get on in the world and meet its demands while fulfilling the needs of the body and the needs of the spirit. I marvel that I understand so little of it. But there it is. The onus. The bonus. The semiosis of life implementing its array of words and grammar in a carillon of appeals and prayers and sanguine propositions in order to make it seem a little more manageable, a little more endurable. In this latter sense, almost all objects are signs, standing, not for themselves, but for others, in their capacity of suggesting one thought which shall lead to a train of thoughts. And where does that get you? Nowhere. The universe is much larger than a dictionary. And its grammar is one of gravity and space and time, fusions of atomic nuclei whose differences in mass generate heat and light. It’s a very funny thing to realize that the life inside you is a piece of the universe itself speaking and breathing and creating itself through you. And this reverie, which is the abode of poets, arouses a thaw, a dynamic liquefaction, a feeling of dissolving into the universe while simultaneously absorbing, imbibing and harmonizing with it. Indeed, what a strange state of affairs. Because it doesn’t get you off the hook. You’ve still got to get up and get dressed and brush your teeth and brush your hair and go out into the world to learn a trade and make money and submit oneself to the dictates of others. Shelley, I believe, was an aristocrat. He didn’t have to suffer the indignities of a shit job, though he was subjected to a lot of bullying at Eton College, which led to his aloofness, and rebellion. His violent rages earned him the nickname Mad Shelley. I can dig it. I’m in my elder years now, but the water still boils, if you get my drift. I got licked on the face by a dog today, and that helped bring my feet to the ground, and still the waters of my inner being. So yes: there are things, remarkable things, that can feed one’s being with sensations that lift us out of ourselves, that existential separateness that ferments in us like a wine and gets us drunk with ego. You want to avoid that. Try psilocybin instead. Or raise horses. Be a cowboy. Ride the range. Everything gets wide and borderless under the stars. And when the wolves come out to howl the universe quivers like a contralto in a convenience store.

 

 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Where Are We Going You Are Already There

I’m the biggest shadow of myself I can find to simmer in total sleeves. My blossoming happens in states. Some of them are Florida, others drill homeward in daintiness and pith. Meanwhile, the disease of life is sifted syllable by syllable until the vowels rattle and the consonants dribble birds.

When the play begins, a man is swallowed by a whale and the sugar inside the crab makes a good breakfast. Hamlet wears bombs of language and the sky sits down on a population of twigs. A brown eye sweats to see a sternum in the hand of a surgeon. Nothing is mirrored. Everything is mud. My reflections twist the knots undone and I can go home humming pieces of air.

Don’t shoot the watermelon. Shoot the debit engine. I need to write the statements into pins I can poke with balloons. Let me be clear. But only when it serves a rose.

The winch must be protected at all times otherwise the bacteria bounce. There’s simply no other way to lift the meaning of this sentence out of the sink and get it oiled. No distraction ever did anyone any good what wasn’t already embedded in themselves like a redwood. The impact can detonate you. The rest of the problem is solved by committing longevity. The beauty of the hand is its cardboard subconscious. The brain hangs freely from a predicate dripping opinion.

Metaphors taste like shaking. And I hear everything as it curves. Or dangles. I’m waiting for an extension to be more pailful. The sheen is gained by appointment. Gravity likes it when contact is thrown apart in celebration. There’s a bottle after it sparkles. And one that pours shorthand.

Eat this. It tastes like words.

Fighting is explicit. It gets over a bomb and explodes into meaning like a cocoon of fire. The excerpts prove the reflections are this tall and no murmur can surround them without light or torsion, which is voluntary, like incompetence or wool. A bulb there is that likes a pickle. You can put this sentence by the flower and it will dilate into magnetism. Or, if the night is haikus, you can climb into one another and create a convocation of squirrels operated by needle. Everything that is daily will one day turn nevermore and bubble in retrospection.

There’s a tease in the furniture that causes violence with the hands. Subjectivity mimics itself in sleep. These are called dreams that get you out of yourself to rule an empire of wood. And then a secret breaks its feathers on a brain.

I think I like a sandstone piano that makes me mink. A push-up lies in wait on the floor. I pick it up and push it hard out west to California. Our abandonment is heaving forward on its knobs. The prairie gives this indigo. It lapses my tryout. It makes my implications leap into eggs. They get hatched as turntables.

The formula was puzzling until we discovered its echoes. Death is spicy because sidewalks. The brushwork gets fatter when it loads up on viability. Instincts walk among us like stiff cloth. A cram scrams. And a camera equals opium.

Time is a mask that space projects in flickers of gulp.

My jacket has a glaze. I think it’s morning walking on a shovel. The nouns all gather in brick. It stirs me to the bone. My eyelids grow tops. Yesterday I had a brush with reality. It left me feeling spontaneous. Every word is here to perform its bubbles. My knees just had to churn to the music of it, the juice of it, the bells and ladders of it. And so I accepted the elevation as an example of nature. The rocks held on to their silence. The sky meandered among its clouds. I could smell the tinsel of their noise. Nothing exists that doesn’t inflate with color. Even the knife has a voice. 

 

 

 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Welcome Mat

Just noticed that the welcome mat in front of the door upstairs has three arrows, two pointing west and one pointing east. Why arrows? Is this a sign of welcome among some tribe of people, the bow and arrow people, the people who go in all directions at once people, or the befuddled and troubled and bubbled up from nowhere people? Our mat just says welcome. And you are. Whoever you are. Look at my saddle it has a pommel. Look at my horse it has a rich white mane. And I ask myself what if the role of consciousness isn’t so much to enable you to do things but to encourage you to do things. Or to mind about things you otherwise wouldn’t mind about. At the Gombe Stream Research Centre in Tanzania, a chimpanzee was noticed emerging into the open in a thunderstorm and dancing and screaming and stamping on the muddy ground as torrents of water streamed down his back and lightning flashed. Is that not a form of ecstatic consciousness, a deeply rooted bond with the external world exploding in a rapture of fevered relation? Rapport. Concord. Reconciliation. Or is it more like King Lear, feeling the sharp tooth of ingratitude and wanting the blasts of a hostile universe to cleanse and awaken us to stronger, higher, more powerful forces? To feel yourself exist, even in pain, isn’t that the goal? Well then, welcome. Welcome to life. Welcome to string. Welcome to snow. Welcome to fire. Welcome to uncertainty and long trains clanking across Kansas. Welcome to Kansas. Welcome to Wyoming.  Welcome to sludge and tiptoe and twinkling. Have you noticed? Friends tend to disappear. Death claims them. Ambition claims them. Children claim them. Duty and impulse and betrayal claim them. And have you noticed the excitement when the device on your lap buzzes? What’s that? That’s called expectation, and comes wrapped in a placenta of hope, like anything with a pulse, and a history, and a song to sing. And have you noticed how irritating and comforting folding clothes can be? How filling a room with heat in early October can lead to writing and wine? Or the awkwardness at being at a loss of words in the midst of a conversation that developed out of a casual encounter in a crowded room? Or the baptism of hot water on your face in the morning followed by the routine of brushing your teeth? Or the exquisite terror of a roller coaster making its first steep plunge? Or the imperceptible drop into sleep, which I’ve never been able to catch.  That beautiful dissolution. That wonderful unraveling. And welcome mat at the gate of heaven. 

 

 

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Terra Incognita

 We have echoes and jokes. Our very arrival has wiggled the flow of conversation. Language extends the life of the armadillo by giving it powerful legends and blood. And if I abandon the plot, I find my wallet helps explain the curvature of space. Congeniality streams with deliverance and the reflections roar with mass. 

Correspondence spouts from a building of dirt. A watch on the sidewalk infringes on perspective. We cut time out of gravity and hang it from a nearby turret. Toys the parlor whispers squeal with writing. A naked emotion talks its way out of a catalogue of horns.  

This is real timber. The timbre is enhanced by obbligato bassoons but the timpani is plunged in bows. Monotony makes everything sway. I pull a sandstone mongrel out of a jabber of wind. Arizona is a version of this which then becomes tactile, a twisted trunk on an anonymous hill. 

I meditate my hunch until it embodies animals. The garish we soap by conquest. We are the altitude we fall from until it’s so big the wash becomes a thesis. Each little excerpt pleads for composition. I float beneath myself holding a shield until the air begins to supply us with words. 

I gut the opposites which probably leads to baking. Or banking. Only destiny matters. It’s a real power, the biggest dissonance I ever carried, and it strained my back into coils I can now call pearls. Go ahead, fondle the anarchy, we are its veins. 

It’s the junkyard so I snap myself at bumpers. It makes the kind of sounds I like to scratch when I’m ruminating on explanation. If the circumference is dry the pi is juicy. I learned this by constraining the most beautiful things to escape with the next train of thought. We thwacked our doctrines as we stumbled through Sedona soaked in aroma and were shattered by its solace. 

The eyeball spoon expressed its seamlessness by winking and circulating its plasms. I thought I saw a drug there but it was only a reckoning. Death auditioned for its own autobiography but the role was given to a crackling red feather plucked from a body of prose. We cried to vanish so that we could contact it. Electricity sat alone with a stethoscope awaiting outlets and plugs. 

Pour the fidgeting where we can push it into further description. How else can a clarinet get a hold on a tube of music if not by buttering space with the gristle of an oboe. It’s time now to pack my intention and come clean about the postage. You’ll need a stamp for the postmortem. I don’t know what the truth is I think it has something to do with the ash awakening in a hibachi. 

It’s a strain to talk, a bit like wrestling, only the significance is wetter and spongier. Somewhere beneath all my turmoil is an apparition awaiting a mythology of shirts. I like to give everything at least one subversive flavor to bring to the surface. I drag a monster out of my heart and dust it with summer until the machinery of language smears us with hallucinations. And sit back and listen to the rumble of a dishwasher and whatever drifts through my head gets a thrust of thought.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

This Time Around


This time around I’d like to write 
In a lineated 
Barn the swallows 
Fly in quick tight turns 
And dives and the straw smells 
Of straw and there’s no other way to put it 
Human beings die from lack of contact 
With the real world blackberries 
Grow on thorny vines and it’s a mess
To disentangle in the mind 
For example Paul Dirac
Observed that God 
Used beautiful mathematics 
In creating the world 
And is the preferred language 
For describing swallows 
Unlike the cubic crystal lattice 
Where gravity condenses matter 
Into galaxies stars and swallows 
Behave as if nothing 
Existed but air 
The blue globe of planet Earth 
And Dirac so loved Cher 
He bought a color TV 
And watched her adoringly 
In the sweet Florida night 
Massive particles spin 
Around an axis of love 
As Cher sings if only 
I could turn back time

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Words Of Fire

I’m sitting by a fireside. The logs are logogrammatic. It’s an imaginary fireplace. But with a real fire. I swear it’s real. It’s burning the words down. The words I put on the fire. That I started with words. And couldn’t stop. So now it’s everywhere. Can you feel the heat of it? It blankets the mind in supposition. And then there’s frost. Those mornings when you want to get into the car and get the heater on but you can’t go anywhere until the frost has been removed from the windshield and the engine hasn’t been running long enough to produce any heat so you have to get out and look for the scraper and scrape that frost and ice from the windshield and it feels good to do that and get back in and start the car. This is what you do in the northwest. Adapt to frost. Adapt to rain. Adapt to ice. Adapt to damp and cold and solitary pedestrians distant and unapproachable in their introspection or conversation on a wireless phone or fairies and elves who knows. It’s the northwest. Kingdom of moss. Realm of mushrooms. Home of Grunge. Domain of the Dark. Long cold nights and omnipresence of all the oceans of the world. Everything moist and steaming and slippery and delicate as those fronds on the Jurassic ferns. And I keep wondering what exactly it is you can do with words. They seem to confuse things more than clear the obfuscating air and its 7-11s on foggy midnights near Aberdeen. The warmth of an animal speaks volumes. Concaves are conversational. Presentiments stoop to the truth. Which is a caterpillar spinning in dreams of fruit. Which is a fabrication. Internalized by an internist in Issaquah. Studying a new disease. Which happens to be on my mind today. Issaquah.  Not disease. I don’t know how it happens. How the mind’s focus drifts so unnoticeably into the ether of reverie. Maybe it’s the weather. The caprice of a gas. The whim of the wind through eelgrass. Maybe its’s the mountains. They don’t look like themselves. They look like the Wasatch in Utah. Like the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico. Even the Olympics are bare. The gods are naked. Bare as a rock. Granitic splendor of whatever intelligence in the soil makes volcanos vomit fire from subterranean realms of a molten heart. I remember the immensity of Notre Dame cathedral and how those vaults inside seemed to ascend with limitless force, and that I was standing in a mountain of stone, an edifice erected to counter the miseries visited on our kind. I heard recently that the ability to tolerate uncertainty is a mark of maturity. If that’s the case I’m still a child. I have a hard time with uncertainty. Of that I’m most certain. I’m just now learning the art of Negative Capability. Trying to accept the improbable, even before it’s probable, or solvable, or anatomical. It’s all just grass, in the end. And the wind in the trees. 


Friday, October 1, 2021

The Medium Is The Milieu

I’m invested in a milieu of bone and blood, a simian exposition founded on a principle of flexibility, the cartilaginous column providing robust passage, a conduit for the melody of nerve & spinal cord to flow through the musk of our mutual understanding. Can I say it any differently? The how and why of the marigold, the ounces of math left on an unzipped testament. The parabola of the sky trembles like sugar in the shoes of articulation. We see this hunkered down in the shadows and leave it to the jaywalker to figure out. We don’t talk about it enough. This dazzle, this interrelation of things played out in moss and mushroom. The musician must understand the music of mustard before she can understand the needs of the cello, which are werewolves tempting the favors of the moon in the grain of the wood, and come out in deep vibrational fantasies of perpendicular lacquer. Everything is a matter of breath and furniture. The substantive is a bullet. To be peripheral is to be figural, a daydream laid out before us like a mound of applesauce adjoining a mound of mashed potatoes. I feel the edge of the world in the breath of the morning. The dizzying liquor of possibility. That moment when everything is so clearly delineated it could never be a song. It could only be a weekday, a frontier with a schedule in it. It’s hard for me to say this but the truth of marble isn’t in its density but the nobility of its influence, how it affects the hands when you’re leaning on it to gaze at yourself in the mirror wondering who the person might be behind that face in the glass. This is how tedium becomes a medium for nitroglycerin. The hotel is a rationalization. All this luxury is supercilious, but we all need a place to sleep. The theatre, on the other hand, constructs an emotion so large for us to go home with we can barely contain it, which was the point of drama in the first place, absolution, catharsis, but what we ended up with wasn’t Centaurus but a colorless planet called Deputy Jones. When last seen, it was holding a glass of wine and wearing a crown. This was out by the Kuiper belt and I was still in my underwear when I drifted into a field of introspection. One can find paradise in an almond and the sound of the word staircase is in the ink with which it’s been written and then used, step by step, to take us into the attic where we talk of feathers and evolution in the fog of conversation. Images are the shadows of a brighter reality. The fire is behind us. The shine of saliva reflects the intensity of our vision. The darkness is animated by a crystal interior. Everything is an instance of poetry. But not everybody sees it. Kiowa hunt buffalo. It’s 1854. Arthur Rimbaud has just been born. Franz Liszt’s Orpheus premieres. A philosophy walks out of the sun and splashes down somewhere near Omaha, which has just been established as a trading post. Essences are axles. But it’s the wheels that make things roll.

 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

A Long Tall Look At Width

Pasting suspension to the present has multiplied my resources by half, and the distortions are weekends. I sift the depth of Being and get absorbed in baking. Concertinas and drums inspire swimming. Words make me feel athletic. Salmoniforme. I have all the incentive of extraverted spars on an introverted ship. I like to build castles when I wash and perceive soap as a form of swan, immobile as a fork on a mahogany table. Scribbling excites my instincts. It gives me intent. I cut a long ugly spoon out of Dickens and tumble the dinner plates into Middlemarch. The harnesses get soaked in the rain and a horse opens a single eye. I foster all the splashes I can. I think I may be getting somewhere. I whisper things while doodling and enkindle a scratch of thought on the back of a summer. Logic is the last thing I think of when I think of thinking. I bump into implications of melody and exaggerate my sweat. The interior holds me in its curves. I wax an edge and growl. I see light come out of my thumb. The buckle invites the beats with which to haunt Cézanne. The confusion is palpable. Fashion likes to watch itself. And it’s flourishing. So what does that mean? I’m going to yank a lotus out of the architecture of age and produce a blue so blue it beats the autonomy of red to hell. This is evocation. This is catalytic. The strength of any book is to impose its frictions with heft and deliberation and appear to bounce effervescently into Wales. I insist on being geographical. It brings me peace. And hills and fields and mountains and perforations. The mind blossoms in its malleability and sparkles like an airplane. Go figure. I sigh to accept the hive. I will employ it well. The aluminum is parenthetical. Hair has a physical elation that can only be matched by the suppleness of pronouns. I will therefore furnish the migration with maps and arms. Hegel urges coffee. Spit hooks. See what happens. I feel the ache of healing in every plummeting monarchy. Vapor hauls the mountains into view and that old timeless beauty of birch on a hillside in early October. Playing Bach brings the sweat out in me. Especially since I can’t play Bach. What I can do is zip my pants up and try to be more honest in the future. I can supply wrinkles with wind and distance. Wrinkles in time. Distances on the face. I will wiggle it all into paradigm. I will indicate eyeballs when I see eyeballs. Yours or mine makes no difference. I will pull the creosote out of the debris left by Jack Kerouac and introduce an unfettered oboe to the upholstery of wine and its sumptuous homilies. Brush tendencies into stars. Stray into winter with the exploding metal of revolt. Writing is brocade, pure and simple, a cow alone in a field chewing a stunning insight over and over. It gives me instincts and wonder and I flow along in the sentence sagging a little at the stern on a flat thin piece of language.

 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Weird Shit

A drawer so stuffed with junk I have to lightly press on it to get it to close. I found something wet and filamentary under the desk this morning and assume it’s something the cat coughed up. Weird shit happens all the time. Taxi drivers in Bangkok, idled by Covid, are starting vegetable gardens on the roofs of their cars. And here in Seattle, UPS and Amazon Prime drivers will park anywhere, the middle of a busy street or turn lane, blocking traffic, and nobody seems to mind. But it’s the seemingly insignificant that gets my attention, as always. Two plastic water bottles on the bed one empty one full. The empty one is full of emptiness and the full one is an emptiness waiting to happen. I keep thinking about time, and language, and non-existence. Imagine, for example, Hamlet is holding your skull and talking to you. Shall I enter the body of Proust and learn the intricacies of Parisian life at the turn of the century or Danny Kirwin circa 1969 and learn the desperate feverish moments of a guitar in the hands? Let’s be prudent and find out what’s on Netflix. Democracy is long over. The oligarchs won. But won what? What was it the oligarchs wanted all along? To take a shit in the weightless conditions of space while looking down at Earth and remarking on its beauty? Wednesday morning I get out of bed open the door and discover the corpse of a wolf spider on the floor, its legs curled up, and Athena sleeping nearby. She gets up, stretches, and I take the corpse of the spider into the bathroom and drop it into the wastebasket, an ignoble end to all the struggles and goals of this member of the Lycosidae family. Such is life. Here today, gone tomorrow. But you don’t see this from space: what you see is a big beautiful blue and white ball floating in the black void that is the universe. You don’t see the fragility of its ecological balances, the thinness of the atmosphere, the death of its oceans, the hatred and conflict among its populations of homo sapiens, the primates that evolved to build rockets that propel themselves into space by burning aluminum. And I find this utterly remarkable. The contradictions are dizzying. Is there anything more fascinating, more baffling, more limited and illimitable, then human perception? And imagine what shifts in perception would come after an encounter with extraterrestrials, or their counterparts on earth, its poets. I go to pick up a refill at the supermarket pharmacy. No one is behind the counter. R goes to get some wine. I wait. And wait. I lean in to see if anyone is there. I see a woman in a white coat on the telephone. I continue to wait. I look for a bell to ring so she’ll know I’m there. I don’t see a bell. I continue to wait. Then I think well, she probably doesn’t know anyone is here. So I go “hello, anyone there.” “I’ll be there in a minute,” the pharmacist shouts. And a couple of minutes later she’s there, but very harsh, stiff & formal. She’s obviously pissed. She asks for my birthdate and name and gets my refill, I sign the etch-a-sketch thinga-ma-bobber, and leave. I tell R I have to take it slow, I’m so intoxicated by the woman’s charm, I need time to take it all in.