Sunday, March 16, 2014

a little memory in frozen March

never mind that it's too late to move onto a farm
and in a dream isn't there alway somebody leaving
never mind the warnings the gas lines need replaced
never mind no one agrees what love is or even what the weather is or even a what  a song was
never mind the movies aren't worth the matinee price
never mind what used to be a memory worry seems now a dwindling peace of mind
never mind there was this swell idea and that idea is still like hearing birds in the morning
in that dream somebody's leaving a pile of stuff on an old brown car and they fidget as the sky turns mustard and what you see on the person is the faintest smile like a figure on a Mona Lisa print
never mind I don't believe I survived either the stone age nor the cold war
never mind I've forgotten the combination to the bicycle lock like someone fucked up on daytime tv
monday monday the bells are ringing and somebody calls for a dog with  honey voice
passing  strange wide awakenings kissings games
never mind thinking how DNA might save it all now
never mind who's asking or how the precious mettle is or what substance makes who's desire
put everything aside and listening to the recycling truck
never mind things like quantum or nostalgia or utopia or underwear and a technical screw up
never mind that set of misunderstandings
never mind pitch perfect necessities and how in the music they fell so good
never mind the window gets smaller while a target grows and fills the window
never mind the mourning doves and that who- who - who call that you always answer

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Details equals details

There's something mysterious in the rain blown against a fence by an afternoon wind.

Mortgage payment was due. Insurance check arrives in the mail.

There's something mysterious about a broken branch dangling by a tread in a yard.

There's something mysterious thinking about low tide while sitting in a house in Vermont.

Any clock will hold the mysterious. Any doubt. Any laughing to oneself.

The way lines of geese are rips in the veil of the sky.

When the phone rings while you're watching a movie that's mysterious.

Taking about a closet and refurbishing it to find maybe lost money is mysterious moment of maybe.

Mysterious quiet. Kabuki dawn. The sky on a John Cage trip.

A slice of bread and the hunger that went before it and which cannot be remembered.

A runaway dream where you can't get away. The computer gear that keeps loading and loading and loading until you need to make a decision. Some woman playing with her tired curly dark curly hair and stretching into the back of a green wet car and smiling kindly in profile.

It's mysterious to know something and not find the origin from this information.

Mist gliding away in the trees is a mysterious contrivance that wants to be so rightly cinematic inside the eyes.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Blind Surfer

   Blowing like mad this morning. Leaves fly off and say goodbye to October in dusty yellow numbers flung across the yards on a harsh wind driven rain. Hundreds stripped away just like that. Naked trees left standing just like that. Seems the almost perfect time to hit the pause button and reflect on something as you stare out the windows.
   The honey in the tea cup seems just the right amount.
   Trying to keep your head spot on can seem difficult.
   Cleaning the baseboards not only loses dirt but rids looking at the dirt like some value added attachment gone weird.
   Just last week I went out for a walk on another beautiful afternoon that seemed chasing itself across a long string of fair weather days. A persistence -  a feeling maybe - seemed trailing me through those days - on a walk in the afternoon - that's the best thing - walking in the afternoon and forgetting - forgetting - words like quits - phrases like money kills the dream or other phrases like fear worry and doubt kill the dream - need the dream - need the money - when suddenly I was taken in my tracks - what a friendly environment where we live. The mystery of oxygen and all that remains in pictures…
   Trees bent and twisted by seasons grew along the water and geese flew south across a deep blue sky and rowboats in the harbor swung oars in an awkward fashion that pulled them back to someplace like home. Warm air shone on the lake. Ripples that were starlight bounced off the water and so in turn fled back to nowhere in the sky beyond the knocking on heaven's door at my feet standing in the little waves.
   Scarlet vines - crisps siennas - shapes and characters tangled in a wire fence beside the rail yard.
   Clean me out till there's nothing left - nothing left but some host of life grabbing a breath and pushing golds and shadows back out. Make it while you can. Brilliant orange. Purple runners.









Steady overnight rain fell like a drumbeat on the roof. Before you call it quits for the day - before you fall asleep - before you go off like a character dancing through landscapes of dreams   chase words and pictures that belong somewhere else -

Friday, October 11, 2013

city of attraction

   Too much to pass on with no clouds. Clear skies in the face. Hardly a wind and a warm Autumn sunlight: been a month since I was out on the water: like being a stranger without environment. When it comes down to it there are things you just can't miss. Like suddenly being inside an afternoon and having to blow off house projects and instead going out on the water for a paddle. Dozens of sailboats to the south like torn pieces of the sunlight itself reflected off the bay. Dark blue almost viscous colored water rippled underneath a small breeze. How to reflect on oneself seems nothing more but the quiet blade movements pulling water and pushing air and sending forty seven pounds of bright yellow fiberglass toward the rocky point at North Beach. The muscular skyline of town faced into the late heat falling from an an old precious star in space filled me with such a longing that one could not begin to possess it entirely and offered a wealth in place no one could ever steal. Burlington. My adoptive hometown. Set neatly in a biology edge from the lake to the west against what once were productive fields in Williston and the Green Mountain arch beyond Richmond to the east... one hope... among many that day I had... was whatever the developers and politicians do in the future and how the money turns out... what I hope for is - they don't fuck up the place. Might not have many more days like this. Paddle till the body turns sore. Then float. Be suggested. Look back at the shoreline where you belong. Bob like a cork from an empty bottle. Then move. Filled with sweet empty.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Epistle. To: Berlin Film Actress

   The nurse took me out walking on some old woods trail. Did I need anything more? A path that snaked up like a lazy nude across the mountain and practically was this hillside environment of dull packed gravel flats with poison ivy and wildflowers on the side that rose to the sky top and ran like waves upward behind her birthplace farm in the midst of bird song and quiet falling streams. She held my arm on the walk. That made me feel spontaneous. Who does not want a touch? Something that crosses the warm blood like a stem and makes sparks? Notes played in my head. The rest of the body did the navigation. If I have a life to desire then I desire to walk properly again in that life. Not too much to ask now is it?  And in that life I want to double clutch all the prospects - and so in the telling - having the nurse upon my arm - as though to this were enough to say let everything else be mimicked and foretold but I have a wish in the afternoon with a scare of thunderstorms I might die for.
   Funny isn't it she said.
   What I wondered... even though I did not care what... I was walking up the side of a mountain and suddenly there was - like it existed - a secret way doing things - like somehow you suddenly knew how to tie a knot - on something pesky - but that does't really cover it...
   About things having a mind of their own she answered.
   They say motion reduces swelling I said.
   That's just silly optimism she said. It goes along with having a belief in potential.
   Isn't there a tornado watch today you wondered?
   No she said. That's what you read in the papers.
   Never been a tornado here? On the top of this mountain?
   No she said. And what would you do with that anyway? What would you do with all that openness?
   She had me there. Probably I'd do the same old things as before. Doing the same old things feels like home. And that almost makes you feel in love. That secret way of doing things like I said. The power of something other where can you hide while you think about it. In the head. Floating effortless and bargained with Damocles. An award winning second place head. I guess the question of openness and what to do with it make me want reservations I know I won't keep and not the methods for dealing with it properly.
   What does that mean she said?
   I didn't really know I said. But what I did know was how it felt. And that was like drinking cherry wine in a song on Cypress Avenue. Life's a feeling. No escaping that. You need to tire yourself out each day I said.
   Want to see the space ship she asked?

Monday, September 2, 2013

to bring neglected places and to find them

   Labor day.
   The conventional end of summer... tired garden flowers... ripe tomatoes... full cycle witness... each year comes back like reminders in days of small degrees of your own thinking to set things proper... you might flee.... you rally the marker... whatever case you make what I'm thinking is to celebrate millions... workers... have hope for more equitable standards of living for those coming after... and when all's said and done maybe then we've done more... more decent to have and to share the bounty of time ... more than just having a day and maybe setting ourselves up for a joke...
   Ah... the domestic self in a brutal economic world ... just as simply the cock-sure self in a funny throwaway world... either way when August goes into a calendar flip there's a chance to have proportion in your life.
    Okay - apart from having a couple of beers and watching the bike races each year downtown - not that it's a sacred tattoo of being - but it is a viewpoint - each labor day I feel lucky.      
   Hooked on it really.
   Consistent.
   States or wonder beautiful as evening clouds that describe the sky above.
   Fretful as a scrawl on a building's facade suggesting go away and be damned.
   Never enough really.
   Not DNA.
   Nor framework.  
   If I don't find out well that's enough for starters again...
 
 




Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Epistle. To: Elisabeth Bardo

   Odd brainstorms to have lately but hey I've been thinking about you. All those kicks in the pants and blows to memory leave me wanting but I'm not willing to give up just yet. You once said, don't fake it, just shut up and stay quiet. But you must know how difficult that becomes from the other side.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Epistle. To: Wolstonecraft

   The nurse said to me, you wait here. And being a compliant type, someone who really did not care much anyway, I said sure I'll be here. I watched her walk away and say something to a tall headed minion at the desk and then disappear into a room off the lobby.
   I adjusted the braces on my halo and sat down on a dark brown luxury couch, feeling all the while that I might be invalidating or even assaulting it's deep leather appearance. All around on the sponge patted sepia colored walls were artworks hung like hooks for attention. The usual suspects - landscapes that made you envious - portraits that made you glad you weren't part of the family - knock off color schemes and grids painted with some ubiquitous big soft brush vying to be rainwater in an old school zen essay. A perfectly easy place to be. How to keep happiness was such a mystery, happiness being that secret machinery, a grandeur played out behind your back. Big empty dinning room in the formal sense, a magazine shoot. Alone among plush materials overflowing at the seams, swell chairs, swell tables, caching glass vases filled with affected purple flowers and sober window treatments, the first impulse I had while I waited was there's only so much opulence to be around before the unfulfilled hopes that it signified threw you for a loop.
   Then a waiter showed up and served coffee and biscuits. And looking about with a nod, added a heft of vodka into the coffee. Best thing was he was silent and didn't call me sir either. Being called sir was like occupying an unvalidated position, due to the fact you're still alive but haven't yet left the planet. Like whoever calls you sir tacitly admits what a mess you are. Given that, what's left, an automatically turn invisible? Who wants to be called sir?  That's so fucking creepy. You might as well have a dead life already as to be called sir in this one.
   Why were we here was another question. The guy who owned the place was the nurse's cousin. Another cousin. The list of people she was related to seemed endless in its reach. But I was along for the ride. The chance that something happens always struck me as a fundamental default anyway.
   So what else to do but wait. Scratch a thought like a ticket...
   Walking home from the St. John's club you said, you should wear a hat. Cold windy air. Bright moon mid-November sky. Leaves blown through a dip in the street and left over from the brilliant fall were crowded against the rusty graffiti bridge supports holding the train rails. I did have a hat but it was crumpled into my coat sleeve. I suppose I've always feared being bundled. But you kept at me so I let go and got my hat on. Our footsteps echoed together in the cold air... Friday night... like it was easy.. away from the popcorn studded tables and spilled drinks and all those other people climbing over one another to be heard against the din freight of  karaoke songs... it was the weekend... blessed at that...  and I had this middle of the road feeling... like an appetite... a bit drunk... hungry for something...  a sandwich and a plate of fries... someone to leave with...  perhaps you were imaginary and that's who I slept with...  guess what I mean was an invented person is very easy to talk with... laughs wonderfully... and has a near perfect degree-less set of time... heroic in a sense... tragic only if you examine it...  that whispers lead to unknown creatures... light years apart... curling up besides the distractions were exactly what we needed... like terra-farming some unremarkable earth...
   I stared out the many clean windows onto a village green outside. I'd like to say I was a gleaner and heard someone call my name...












Monday, April 8, 2013

Epistle. To: Lady Kimono Clan

   Lying prone in a hospital room on a narrow table and waiting to be fed into a  CAT scan it catches me by surprise how I might feel if things weren't already so confused. Like each time you turn around what you witness blows you off and turns into a gift of sorts without you ever bothering to mess with it. There's a machine about to pass over and pass through you. A nuclear material about to be shot into your veins so that you light up like a flush on a cheap on-line gambling machine. Can't science make all this stuff enjoyable? Then as your stuck in a windowless room and feeling a bit small beneath the machine and a bit lost with technicians hovering about doing small talk and all you want is quiet and to get through the tent like pressure and arrive soundly back on the other side shouldn't there be something like a preliminary drug? Maybe I'm too fussy. But I do not care for windowless rooms. I care even less for being fed into a machine. Like the song said: is it asking too much? Not only send me someone to love but how about space around my head!  Even going to the movies I creep out unless the exit sign is burning. Why not stuff a little narcotic into the nuclear crap and go away for a time... and before you know it what was present and was fucking you up... is now gone and past...  and what does the machine care for... the more chances there are the more unpredictable the outcome...
   Anyway. Took matters into my own hands. Isn't that the heroic way? Usually I'm a city squirrel hanging onto a branch in the wind. But hey John Ford never made a western about my character...
   And like I said everything is a gift anyway. And it's a straw man argument to say maybe it was bigger than expected and try to own up to anyone who said it was not... but what's all said and done and sometimes your life doesn't turn out to be so heavy at times...
   Like being in the machine. Like closing your eyes.  A subterranean flat in the house of your head.
   Fire jumped in January and sparks cut into the night air, flying like old birds brought to life off the heaps of burning Christmas trees. Who doesn't like a good fire? Adults with a keg of beer. Little kids running around with glowing sticks like little torches. First it rained then it snowed then sleet. Then it snowed. Then it rained. Over and over again it seemed... and what it brought up was this.. a kind of absolute feeling outdoors... getting soaked... ancient contact lines... the fire was so bright and clear as to be a daylight chasing the night beyond the camp and into what was unknown out beyond in the dark.
   Old Christmas trees lined in rows like Druids. One after another a silent march into the fire. Sacrifice. Or call it a different festival. Music streamed into a tented shelter, back along a wire from a computer indoors.
   The kids especially... diving headlong into snowbanks... yowling with their red glowing branches... building a memory system where they will learn to live upon later...
   Rain falling. Then snow.
   Everyone in nylon hoods and smart clothes against the weather, the 21st Century version of animal skins. Maybe even some hoods were presents in the holiday spirit and as such once stood underneath the Christmas trees now burning. Pagans with cups of Switchback. The Dead. Some blues. Sparks caught upward in a web work of snowy tree branches overhead. The kids attack some dad and suddenly he's got live youngsters hanging on his limbs like ornaments. Mystery and meaning. Darkness and safety. Another way good burrito...
   Must you attack? What does it mean to - get over your fears?
   Just another pass sir the technician said.
   But I said I don't have the personality for sir.
   Driving home - the road was a mess - unplowed - wet snow forced everywhere making tire ruts and slick traffic and blinding the windshield - suddenly there was a huge flash turning out the night sky -  like a silver wave about to crush everything below. What was that? First thought was alien abduction. Followed by a nuclear blast in second place. In the beer ruins of the night coming in third was a frightened gratitude for clouds and backlit illumination and the small place you have on earth.
   The technician pulled the IV from my veins.
   A thunderstorm inside the snowstorm.
   It's like you can plan on traveling a lot but get nowhere special.













Thursday, February 14, 2013

Epistle. To: Grace Nelson

   Remember that tattoo your cousin had? After she shaved her head bald and had her skull lined with an old Chinese curse - may you live in interesting times - and then grew her hair back over the message? Maybe only the next barber or an autopsy might see it? Well I was thinking about that a few days ago. For a number of reasons. Any one of them by themselves just might add up to be true.
   I ran into a kid crossing South Onion on his way up the hill. He had a backpack on that seemed way too big for someone with a spine his age. Hanging on the backpack was a decal or something like a bumper sticker. I had to look at it twice. But what it said was - youth shooter.  So I asked him about it. He said he was in a gun club and was learning how to shoot and fired at targets. It was pretty cool he said because he was learning stuff but he had to go now because he was going to be late for a summer class if he didn't. Thanks I said and off he went up the hill, checking his phone, hunched over like he was a climbing trellis and something growing around him was taking over his body.
   The sky was overcast again - too much humidity - too many demands. You might think over time it turned out easier than that. But not really. And I hate to be caught out in a thunderstorm. The metal halo holding my neck and skull in place seems like the perfect landing for a lightning strike. Somewhere between Ben Franklin's kite held aloft in a thin new world and poor Frankenstein's search for meaning in the fuse of an old one, you always wonder - what are the clouds going to do? A flat line grayness stretched from the buildings above to the ground below. It was like a monotone that became the air, thick enough to reach out and touch, and in doing so made you feel stupid to bother with connections if you were just going to be oppressed anyway for your troubles. In a way like the possible navigations to the thousands of colors any one problem had were yours alone and were not spread around. Some days it's hard to avoid the whole cosmological business being underneath the influence and trying to dodge brute facts meanwhile.
   Oh I know - why not be happy and call it a technicality and just leave it at that. I guess for the most part that works. And for the sake of letting go then yea for sure.
   So I walked on to the market to grab a sandwich and coffee. It's great when the nurse has AM duty. She left the house like a curtain in a open window. Left me a plate of fruit with mint sprigs and a cup of simple vanilla yogurt. Left a corn muffin big as curiosity in a tumor and as lovely as an August day. And always this sad little promise in a handwritten note. I was on my own for a few hours and so be careful until she returned. It's like you rise out of bed and suddenly everything around you becomes so fine that you start to feel molecular. Bit by bit it's a groove and a scheduling of humanity takes shape and whoa there you are naked and dumbfounded in the morning like a yawn released from the trap of sleep.  But I've always had this problem with identity. Let's just say when my eyes touch the dawn then I feel trouble for no reason, and simultaneously come to grips with an idea that gets flung from the back of my head explaining to me there's no reason to do this. So ate everything - my response to the handwritten note - a gastronomical test message - how it is to be in love with a satisfying but now empty plate. And after I injected the meds to prop me up for a few hours internally and adjusted the braces so I wouldn't actually fall down on the street, I wanted grease caffeine and the more sublet approach from the world outside. So forgive me if it sounds like I want it all. But we all do and that's not really a cause for alarm.  How do you freeze one moment when that moment you're trying to freeze gives off to another splendid one?
   Anyway - and let me go on record again -  to say that crashing into limitations all day long does not hold down the long view of imagination - give me ideas and things and witness marks and I'll return a satisfied utterance before I die - but I was in the check out line at the market. And there was this guy ahead of me. He was buying the usual stuff you pick up a market like eggs and cheese and frozen foods and cookies. When it came time to pay he swiped a card, and waiting for a prompt then touched a machine keypad with information enough that appeared to satisfy both the machine and to get him out the door and on his way.
   What happened to you he asked? He was holding the card up in his hand and waving it around like that meant something to me.
   Alas I thought. Caught again. Before I could sufficiently answer the question and throw all the headaches of explanation back at him like a mirror and say who the fuck are you - well I said I was was in a bicycle accident and now children call me monster and even after now it's great to be out among the living. Being among the living I said is what I do.
   In response he threw his lips at me like so much air and held the card in front of my face.
   You don't bother to remember this he yelled. Do you know how odd it is to remember a number on a bank card? Do you have that? How odd it is? You don't bother to remember it you just rattle the damn thing off. Into whatever machine. Plastic in and you cash out situations. Just arrange the digits. When was the last time you paid actual cash for a bag of food? And think if the systems went down how will you survive? What are we going to do? Wave some white flag?  Pin number equals new shoes. A new tank of gasoline. Know what gets me he said?
   I didn't really and it wasn't really a question the way he said it because in other words he wasn't waiting for an answer from me.
   Pin number equals perceived affect he said. Having common goods and the material longing after them. Then square it and then square that because that's how often this all happens.
    I really didn't understand him. But I also really didn't care. The way it seemed I was just standing in his way.
   I was dead once I said for lack of a better conversational opener between strangers. For a minute and forty-seven seconds. Like dead in the books. Maybe afterwards what you got for living was a grainy head shot in the newspaper obits. And that shot of your death was fitted onto a page with the other deaths of the day running concurrent opposite the funnies and an advice column for a macaroni recipe. What I'm saying is...
   ... and it was not like I interrupted this guy... the success of it he said blowing right over me dazzles the innocent. This is where it's going he said.  And I don't care if you believe me or not he said. But look at those lawn chairs outside the windows for sale -  look at the coffee machine where you just were - the little geraniums outside by the lawn chairs - the pretty little watercolor cards in here on the rack - look at the way that light falls outside on the parking lot - look in here and here we are beneath the fluorescents...
   Meanwhile back at the checkout line the guy's bags were packed and put into his shopping cart and the gal at the register handed him a receipt. He stopped waving his card and put it back into his wallet. Then he walked away. I guess I was supposed to feel stupid but I really didn't.
   What do you think I asked? Should I buy that white lily out there?
   The gal at the register said sure come back in a month it'll be on sale.
   Then the thunderstorms rolled in. I waited out the downpour in the little cafe behind the registers.      
   You can jinx yourself so simply in time. You can't be perfect - but really that's what we want. Even as we try and avoid it we want to be perfect - to understand - to duck and cover - like something atomic that's solid one moment and fluid the next. So I hung out waiting for the rain to pass and took a corner and sipped a coffee. Strange beautiful moms nursed plastic cups and rocked infants in strollers. Backpack kids reading novels with cut up knuckles. A guy in a nice shirt and tie paced against the windows, like he was either magnificent or nervous and couldn't find out where he belonged where he stared eyeball to plate glass to the rain. Another guy who looked like he hadn't bathed since the last big flood was finishing up his hash browns and clicking madly onto a keyboard device and kept saying yes yes yes under his breath while nodding his scraggly head to the music implants in his big ears.  It all made me think - and while there's no crime in that - thinking can get you into trouble! I suddenly found myself wanting - wanting to be a backpack kid - wanting to walk down the street and escort a strange beautiful mom to home - wanting hash browns with too much salt and pepper and just slightly drowning in ketchup.
   So it put me in mind in kind so to speak.
  I remember watching a fledgling barn swallow that had fallen out of a nest. Flapping on the ground. Wanting to fly. Lost in the shadows of the old manure gutters. How does that work? Just when is that moment? Other birds with full on wings darted about the barn in small dozens zooming in and out of broken windows. Mysterious bird language flew about my head crying encouragement and warning I guess. I suppose loosely translated it said - get airborne before it's too late for comfort!
   And I thought so fuck the rain I gotta go... even if I wanted a shortcut... just a little piece of someplace  to belong to... straight up and unfiltered... the word conjure is a very handy verb to have...
  ... Later that day I saw a drunken cyclist. Pedaling along a freshly paved asphalt street and in clear violation of the city's open container law. Hoisting a beer can to the open sky. Toasting all that passed. Cheers to everyone everywhere he said! A real dude of the world. And a one clown parade that despite his wobbling front wheel was doing his best and bringing what he had to the pissed off  harried commuters sucking bumper to bumper in a straight taught line of air conditioned cars crawling nowhere on a Friday to get out of town and forget their livelihoods for the weekend. Hoisting a beer can to the sky he shouted it's real man it's real! He was like a shaman in a fit of happy hour ecstasy only he could see. I hope he saw the bus. Like Casey Jones on warm tar I hope he saw the bus. The one coming on from lakeside. The bus passing beneath the train bridge and into a severe dip in the road so for all intents what goes into that dip stays invisible for a moment further down the road. Just where he was headed. His spirited animal yahoos were like a hide to wear and he shouted in spades it's real man! There was nothing but the future for this guy. Hope he saw the bus. So happy and so generous he was weaving throughout the cars and banging on windshields. Hope he saw the bus. If not there was a roll headed his way...







   








Friday, January 4, 2013

Epistle. To Mercy Hunt

   Ever have those days? You know the ones I mean. Those days. They might be anything. And then anything again. One distinguishing characteristic they have is to circle back around from the day before and tap gently at your skull  like a jeweler's tiny hammer fashioning a silver ring before it's inscribed. Hey you in there - what do you think? Can we let fantasies of liberation get to us? And if we do what happens then to the old presumable self that wears us like a raincoat on a bright sunny day? Ever get chased around like that? That no matter what you do to the contrary time appears solid and wants a blank disk from you to burn and copy a new music? It's scary to think - aren't we tired yet?  And it's a sort of blessing to look out and be scared and think the tulips enjoy the water... someone yesterday passed by and said this is just like Seattle but without the benefits... and I said what do you mean... but they left without answering. I've never been to Seattle so I wouldn't know.
   But it has been raining so much these days so maybe this looks like Seattle?
   I said to the nurse art does not pay.
   What she said the show's been up for five weeks and running and you've sold all the red ones. This is not a time to have doubts.
   But I said why hasn't someone gotten in touch and said I'm not interested at all in what you do?
   Listen she said what's to the good comes in strange and measured doses. Why compound it by looking through it? You have a payday and leave it a that. You might even be successful. You might even sense you were in touch with something. But no. You need to live your life and what you do like that life was forty degrees downward from ninety from the life you live.
   What does that mean I asked?
   The nurse laughed and said I haven't a fucking clue. Would you like breakfast? Or are you being stubborn this morning?
    Breakfast I said.
    Eggs beans tortillas salsa mexican style and served up like an environment... like there was the nurse... and there was a field you saw begging your retinas and was stamped in a message that you'd be foolish not to cross the fences across that field to walk over to the other side. Who argues with food? Only the wealthy or the damned can be so stupid.
    Deep creek New England nowhere she reminded me from where she was and setting our plates down upon the table with a slow handed grace. I've seen it before - here as it was handed on a plate before me - and other plates that went on before me and I've seen it handed elsewhere - not like a dream but flashes from the real world - and that world was someplace back then before I was around but I see it now plain as rain or the sunlight that's not there - and I swear this was a kind of deliverance to the obvious failings on my part. Do you imagine there's some mathematical coding? Something that turns your brain into a password for dashed hopes?
    And in a manner of speaking what I do runs parallel to what everyone else does only at a slower pace because I have not only wounds and aspirations but also I hate to pull up short and stand about like I'm empty handed or didn't plan on something happening and you probably don't know what I mean but how do you care about something unless you know that something does not care about you and while it doesn't leave you stranded it does leave you spinning your wheels and each of these days I think I'll put some cash into an envelope and mail it to myself and yea that'll do it and maybe time starts again

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Epistle. To: Berlin Film Actress

   If I possessed two coins of happiness, and if those coins were true, and were valuable enough to never have a market for them, then I would take one of those coins and pay you to look back at me. And with the other I'd bribe you. To simply take a moment and and just tell me something. That after all the eternal validation we have for one another, how we've expressed that year after fucked up year like we were just throwing it away in the telling of it, how we posted our lives to be viewed in the news and weather so to speak, what does it come down to? I suppose my question is do you think enlisting in hope is a losing cause? How endless does this seem?
   For me I'm sitting in a room where the first green light of the morning rushes through the trees outside and flows down along the windows till it reaches the floorboards like a paint and showcases the strange and difficult fruits for the day to come. Who wants to stop? Even if it was built within us from the go who wants to roll over?
  Here's what I think and what I think is founded on what I see. There's a opossum walking across the yard. Late night out looking for food I guess. That and whatever opossum kicks are out there to be found in the night! Before it crawls underneath the shed - because that's where it lives and because that's where I've seen it go in days before - walking silently mindlessly absently across the yard toward a little ditch in the ground that it's made - I swear the opossum looks around and checks out the world around it and then does a small animal double take like some private detective - and then slides under the building in a simple fluid motion - the air of poetry - and finds rest in whatever frightened way that it knows how.
   Ah. The nurse is up and stirring and humming a tune that she often does when she wakes up. It's not really a song nor a melody but sounds more like a southerly wind that comes up and shakes the plants.
   There are certain blanks I need to fill in. I often feel like waiting for the opossum to show up and scaring it. Here's the day! But then, wouldn't it just roll over and play dead and hope I went away? Because that's what it does to get along and that's what it knows how to do?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Epistle. To: Wolstonecraft

   Something funny's going on. Woke up with headphones still around my ears. The surf crashing off the dune from my campsite in the woods. It's illegal to sleep here but nobody's caught me yet. I'll probably die from tick bites and poison ivy before that happens and I spend a night in jail. I guess I plead guilty to successful vagabonding! But it's such a place to sleep out in the open. Pine trees and oak trees bent and twisted like old ink drawings. Some low crawling bush that I can't identify on my phone. Aren't phones like god? Don't phones know everything? Whatever lives here gets its due from the weather. Atlantic winds. Piercing salt. A coast shifting whenever the winds howl. Hey so far it's been great!
  But did have a nightmare.
  No matter what happened - all night long - a face kept appearing across the clouds in my head. Like having a threat for a name almost.
   Glad I woke up.
   But. Remember the monsters we used to draw in school? Remember the time we snuck back into school and drew monsters across the blackboard and never got caught but everyone knew that it was us?
   I've always felt that I would turn into a monster. And what do you do with that? Like some character made from spare parts?
   Must be the drugs. How to think about the peculiars. The confusion of samsara as belonging on a grid with drugged birds and drugged trees. Or drug induced nonchalance when faced with the sweep of life. Were you scratching your chin while sleeping or not? Maybe it's the way a page doesn't focus. What do we do with this gift of electronics? Or not. Clouds rolling over. Maybe it's just hanging out doors all day. Maybe it gets odd and you think all nature loves me. The air keeps dropping. The air keeps rising. Wait for thunder. Wait for a single hand. Children in bright orange jerseys run along the beach. Do you want to go for a bike ride? Watch out for the thunder that hasn't happened yet. Must be the drugs when something tells you to believe in everything you see. Refreshing snap off a crisp apple. The old in/out. Union of opposites. Keep searching. Get to Friday and turn in another phony script. Look helpless so strangers turn into big hearted neighbors. Too bad about the weather. A slice of pie left. If someone else were around we could have a party. There's a party in my head. All kinds of bands. Monologue winters  in the coming sky of the eyes. Reflections from central casting. Great amounts of waiting. Waiting about on drugs. Maybe it's the drugs but it feels ridiculous to doubt. Cooler air. Clouds moving the heavens like romantic balloonamania. Lighter than air. Crows seagulls the usual suspects. Huge military planes like infected enthusiasms. Need a shower. Radically. What have we done? Can we turn this back. Take a pill and you just have to wait and see. When did focus shift to the long trailing shot? Can't stay still any longer. Need another sleep. Deep tranquil movie from the day bed of the woods. Messages from other humans moving about on the phone. Yea. Bring food. Information. How we're doing. You gotta see the dancing troupes.
  Anyway yesterday bay side I ran into this guy. He stood in the water like he owned the place and was catching blue fish on a fly rod like he knew how a fish thought and he was just an extension, like how the ocean worked. And as he hauled them in -  hand over fist - yea I'll be among those using shop worn cliches in an attempt to describe things - but hey when imagination fails! -  but that's what he was doing! - he shouted out to anyone passing -  take a fish! who wants dinner! It was almost like watching a murder.
   Afterwards - after I took my fish to cook up later - I said hey that's kind of amazing.
   No he said they're just after the little shits that run in on the tide and then they throw themselves up crazy.
   Yea I said but you still have to catch them.
   Any fool he said can fish in a frenzy.
   Been here long I asked?
   Over two hundred years was his reply.
   You look pretty young for that I said. You know I thought trying to be friendly and not make it sound like age was a category. Or even something to fucking endure while you got on with life. But over two hundred years? Was this guy a vampire?
   He shook his head at me and laughed. A little three step cough of a laugh that was barely recordable and that seemed to suggest there were bigger things in the world to laugh at than at me. He rigged up his line and secured it in the fishing eyes of his pole. My family he said. We've been here for over two hundred years. Settled this place actually.
   Holy fuck I said. First thought was to search it on my phone but then thought whoa this was instinct instead. Roll with it and check it later with verifiable means. I think I got it. Mayflower and all that I asked?
   Don't let the heritage fool you he said.
   Right I thought. If you can't fish then fuck them all because you're fucking dead if you can't. But you know I said there was this one time I was reading something and got it all wrong. It was a book on Greek philosophy and there was this chapter about a goddess who offers the narrator two paths. I read it wrong. I thought the narrator was offered two baths by the goddess. And you know who would't want a couple of baths with a goddess? I mean I'd take one. One bath. One goddess. But two? You know what I mean?
   No he said. I don't.
   Maybe he was right. Maybe it's just another kind of ladder leading up to nowhere to care about except where you are and that's it. The washed up seaweed on the shoreline though twists me around how beautiful it gets left in place.
 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Epistle. To: Bernadette Wild Garden

   Had to continue this because I was distracted by that old one-armed surf caster guy and I said to him maybe I'll run into you some evening because I planned on hanging around for a while and you never know what happens. He thanked me for the coffee and pie and was off before he answered what I considered to be my fundamental question. What did he think? Does the ocean have consciousness?
   Ever hear the one about the slinky that fell in love with the escalator he asked?
   No I said I hadn't.
   Good he said and then left and walked off along the beach.
   If I wasn't such a fan of extreme comfort just lying around across the morning and letting my head fill up with the day I might have gone after him and pressed the issue. What's in it - what's in it to be some lonesome figure who wanders the beach? And so I'm trying to think this out - been here a few days now - talking to no one but an idea I have. An idea who's left me with like a blister on the mind in mid-air trying to figure it out. Armies of gnats start flying around my head. Somebody back up in the dunes in the parking lot guns a big truck engine. Clouds settle above the horizon line and underneath those clouds a fine gold light shines like something beautiful that would kill me if I might simply rise up into them and just let go. The light spreads across a solid green line of water and settles beneath a long timed and reliable star rising out of the sea to give us hope, with complications naturally, even if that hope fucks us all up with small talk about surfing and jobs. Further south there's a slowed down motion with pale greens and charcoal pinks losing eventually to an immense blue sky, burning into something crazy and solid that no matter how long you live you'll never live long enough to grasp what it is. What is it that wipes away the traces? Takes the shadows of the night away and leaves you alone?
  What prospects to enjoy.... what a place to enjoy it if I could let go...
  But that's not my style. If anything I'm a total hanger-on. Remember that place by the river we rented? How everything from out the window looked like an oil painting? Common enough to be on a museum wall and that meant a dazzling landscape saturated with chemicals and mood swings to the eye and filled with throws into your head and it was like let's first be fools arm in arm and then go along together struck from longing till we end. I might have died there. But we didn't. The woods where we walked together along that path... and remember that time when we were splattered by goose shit from above? Do you ever think about those woods? Like maybe you could reach back into them? Just by being there once and nothing else again ever need be involved?
   Maybe I'm headed in the wrong direction here but hey and maybe that - what makes me different on some level from all these waves crashing before me I can't exactly say. Some level, down in the storms that come up and crash after the beautiful sheen of days that went before - you and I failed. But truth be told to power we tried to haul in a fucked up rope that life dangled toward us. We tried to make a knot around a cloud of adolescence and take it away from there. Something secure because time is so fucked up but hey - what our hands were able to hold onto our spirits appeared ready to betray. How it goes and how I hate to say that because I have my hands threaded through that knot and then that cloud threaded through my hands...
   And here with the day rising on my head it is not enough to phone it in and it's not enough to write something down on a phone. Because it can't be captured as such as a word and hey that's too heady and deadpan a word to capture. So I sit here in a tiny space in the dunes ready to leave and have a swim. Tumbling beneath a laugh circled above by gulls pecking at the waves and diving for leftovers.
 


 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Epistle. To: Bernadette Wild Garden

   I remember sitting below the beach parking lot watching the sunrise come up like from way far away and eating smart food - the popcorn that's supposed to be good for you - and thinking I'm from far away also - variegated creamy clouds with the fire of gold light of desire underneath them -  and yea you would understand this because you and I have been there before - eating slices of cold pizza leftover from the midnight drive to the ocean - and tanked on coffee urns from when I left up north through a place called Sandwich which really seemed odd or fitting given that I was hungry and all that - when  I spied someone walking along the edge of the waves where they spilled onto the sand. It was a one arm surfcaster. I said to the guy hey how do you do that?
   He looked over at me - pulled the ear buds out - one at a time - put the rod down on the sand -  and said what?
   I said, how do you do that? And maybe I was ready for what he said next. Because it was a stupid question to ask a one arm surfcaster how he does it. I mean he's already got only one arm and a fishing rod. To my surprise he walked over and chowed down a slice of pie that I offered him. He said you get used to it.
   And I said what I mean is what's the technique?
He looked back and said well the possible responses could be: fuck you asshole. Or I did this with two arms long before I only had one. Consequently I think about phrases - like ocean pine - like wharf rat - like butt naked dune - but the amusement wears off.  When you think about it, and the only arrangement I have left is,  to go out and have the beach all to myself without worrying about what other people think.
   What do you catch I asked? And immediately after saying that I again felt stupid. But what the hell, feeling stupid's been a way of life that's suited me for decades and I'm still moving about it.
   I catch fish he answered.
   Well I knew that one was coming. So I said while we spin our wheels here on earth like we might figure out an existence you're out here looking into the ocean and trying to find dinner -
 Yea yea yea he interrupted -
  No no no look I said maybe think about yourself as being on a grid. Were you scratching your chin or were you falling asleep... know what I mean?
  Not really he said. Don't confuse me.
  Far above the clouds was the electric blue sky shinning off the first day's light and turning into a color that seemed best reserved for some ancient sensibility. I gave the surfcaster another slice and mentioned this to him.
  What ancients he asked?
  Whoever it was that came before us I said.
  Well that could mean the people yesterday he said.
  That's not what I meant I said.
  No shattering insights there he said. Do you have any more coffee?
  I did. I mean who doesn't have more coffee? I had a big gulp for the moment from some doughnut heaven store and a thermos to brace the rest of the morning and a backup thermos with the rest of the gear in the truck to combat the end of the world and the shifting sands of time so to speak. And I've always felt that staring into the ocean was like having the lens of these senses turned back toward you. That in particular was what I saw in the first blue sky. I said to the surfcaster this is more than a conceptual project. More than what we do and what we don't say much about. We assume there will be light to see by and then darkness to rest behind. Does the ocean have consciousness? What do you think?
  I think he said that usually I don't talk with people in the morning. Mostly I talk in the evenings. You got the day under your legs and that's better.













Monday, October 22, 2012

obsessions are maybe like songs

   Can't get over it when I see all these people in the morning walking to work and in a sense I envy them how each day they're off and about. Not only are they walking without a limp (!) but they seem to have a place to go and something to do. ( I'm hurt and unemployed with no job to return to). And I know it's just my impressions guiding me, even these people might feel lost, but they're all off and after something. At the circling back point where a day layers upon the day before, don't we wish, don't we won't, the little pieces of physical evidence we have to start grabbing onto a void of sorts and contribute to something done with? At least for me it's that way. I hark to the object.  And to make a sentence out of one's life - to take living as language and to lose the appeals of authority for that life -  like to forget that frothy dictate I am who am -  that leaves a subject to dissolve in the making and a verb in the action word sense to make the thing presentable to see. Manufacture suits me. Something rather than nothing I guess and yea I add to all the layers of material stuff that overwhelm us. But I find it unsettling to do nothing. Give me a tool, a baking pan, a paintbrush...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Epistle. To: Elisabeth Bardo

    Don't we all crave? Somehow to be loosened off the screws of disappointment and be left off to float? Float on a world we didn't make. Float on a world that might not exist if we did not make it up?
   Relax the nurse thought. It's just another bad night's sleep.
   Yea I said there's nothing like it. Something picks me apart and rolls me around like a piece of dough.
   Wasn't it you she said that said get rid of the anxieties in life and then what's left?
   Alright I'm not alone I admitted. But without a decent night's sleep what's left in the morning?
   Oh I know the nurse thought. Isolation. Dread. Weird fears. But listen. There is no condition working against you. This is just a bad night's sleep is all.
   But where's the super glue that's supposed to hold things together?  Where's that voice? The one that's like a backup plan. The one that tells you it's just the mind of your life twisting you around and so don't pay attention to it? I'm out of context.
   This is just another surgery she said. This is not out of control. This is what happens on a long list.
   Maybe we should leave I said. Go out for a drive in the truck and never come back.
   You need to be put back together the nurse thought. That's life in the really slow lane.
   I want to imagine heaven I said. But I'm nowhere close.
   Heaven is impossible the nurse said. The minute you say the word your head starts to fill up with junk. Even if you're nowhere close the place still exists far away and you can't get there.
   Why? Why is it impossible?
   Because she said. And if that's not reason enough then you just keeping thinking butch because that's what you're good at. You know what happens then? Then he and Sundance get blasted by the Bolivians. Great photo. Fade out. Cue the raindrops keep falling on my head music and then you leave the theater stepping on all the wasted popcorn that got spilled into the aisles.
   It just needs to be easier is all that's what I said.
   Here the nurse said. Take these pills. You're do. Find some happiness for the moment in chemicals.
   I guess she was right. But we only get to see what we see. Isn't that a kind of problem? I fell back on the couch and ate a slice of grilled eggplant like I was born to do this. Like I was some kind of by-product of my own ignorance and it just kept coming back to this. Don't get me wrong. The eggplant was fine. In fact we grew it outside the door.  Also there was salad from outside and flatbread the nurse made and as ever a plate of deer meat from the cousins up north near the border. And despite knowing where our food comes from, and how a meal was put together, do we know what we're talking about?
   The nurse thought - geez - just enjoy what you're doing and deal with things later.
   That's all fine I said. But the shit does get thicker.
   Tell me something else she said. Be the nobody you can be.
   Alright I said.
   And she was right. Falling back on a standard did seem like a cheap way to go, but who cared? Who was scoring? But I couldn't help feeling like all I wanted to do was to run away, run away and forget the whole mess, and in turn be so easily forgotten that no one's head would ever spin no matter what happened. Flatbread though is excellent. And fucking simple. Flatbread eggplant deer meat oh my. I felt like a champion taking on rewards. Late sunlight on a squirrel's profile on the willow tree. A few small birds like a gang outside the window on the roses. I saw a dragonfly this afternoon buzzing around the potted plants like one of those zen precepts we take to mind but find it hard to live against its influence. Flatbread though is excellent and so are the pills and who understands where anything goes? Yea. That's simplistic... I know that... it's like some ace to have and play or a hand to fold like a trick... and so tries to split a line of obsessions square through the middle... But I've been told to let go and forget the markings... which I can't... which is what I think I should do...  
   Alright I said. But there was nowhere to go. That's not so frightening as such, but as I wanted to speak there were these walls, they appeared in the distance of my eyeballs and seemed blown closer in around me the longer I stared at them. Alright I said and I saw the nurse looking back at me. I rode through the park the other day. But it couldn't have been the other day since I've been this way for months and haven't been on my bicycle since then.
   You're just a creature the nurse thought. And you're remembering. Don't let it get in the way.  
   Alright I said. Everyone in the park was stretched out. On the grass. On the rocks. On the beach. It was like everyone was lying conscious in the sun and hardly anyone moving. Like they were bombarded from the air by some massive lazy ray that put everything extra out of reach. All the sunlight... little humidity... there was a breeze drifting over the picnic tables and the lines of trees that make for a soothing natural edge at the water... and you go there to have no worries for a time... and that small breeze that seemed banked off the mountains across the lake from the west... there's something about being in the park... any park really... that's why parks are built... to let loose emotions... something we have that's at ease and that we have something inside and you know maybe stays buried during all those tortured and personal agendas that make up our day and slowly destroy us and keep us locked together because there's employment and love and jokes and places to go that don't add up... and then when you get out to the park you kinda feel a sensuality that might understand and give back to you why you're here to bail out on what your own head has already done... and that's like you said I said I think I said it might might stay hidden during the rest of the day and so I said to one of those kid micro-cops on loan for the summer from a criminal degree major patrolling the lanes for excessive fun and dog shit that wasn't picked up I said to him experience accumulates and it's like having an account here every time I come over...
  What did he say the nurse wondered.
   He just looked back at me with this extra credit smile that meant nothing.
   Maybe it's just another beautiful evening the nurse said. Or do you often think of yourself as to what you've failed?
   I get so frightened by time I answered. That the minute I think about something I have to be off and into it.
   Oh lucky man she thought. Thinking big about nothing.
   Often there's this intersection I said. Between stasis and why you consider it worthwhile to get up and leave a chair. Either way it's like stepping into an avalanche of your own thoughts... either way if I don't do it now worlds collide and the orbits go wrong...  
   I'll tell you a dream the nurse said.
   Alright I said. Still waiting. Still waiting for development to arrive...
   I had this dream where I was in places that I'd been before, in another dream. I was running back home and had a long way to go. There was a store where I stopped to talk with someone in a town, on a main street with lots of cars going by. Then there was a narrow farm road overgrown on both sides with weeds and trees and rusty fences. I had run up this road before in another dream. The licorice red ant colony was still there woven around an old fence post. I passed the same two kids on bicycles again. I was running well. I seemed able to do it with ease. Came to the big fast river with the empty power station nobody used any longer. Busted shale rocks all around. Kept running because I was going home, to something, or someone. There was this barn around the curve and I recognized the farmer and his wife. They waved back and smiled. Same cows. I ran through the barn, past a new door that's been built, the old one was falling apart and was off its track. Was I in the same dream? No. Different dream. Same places. I went down a flight of steps and into a large wooden room. I was stopped cold in my footsteps. Stunned. I felt happiness.  My mouth wide open. I had been here before. In this room. In another dream. In the current dream I tried to remember when that was and who I was after at the time. And I grinned like a fool in the dream. Looking around the big wooden room. Having been here before I kept asking questions that could only be answered from that other dream. I knew I had to keep running. But it was so wonderful to stand there. To sense.




Thursday, September 6, 2012

Epistle. To: Lady Kimono Clan

   The nurse was helping me clean out the basement when she looked over at me and asked, do you think it's important to defend your privacy?
   Depends I said, on how private.
   What if I were to tell you something she went on.
   Let me count the ways I said. And then so, let there forever be a ray of hope.
   I'm serious she said and squirreled her face at me.
   Okay I thought. And while we don't question the truthfulness of our thoughts back and forth, we were able to motor along and come to understandings of sorts without trying too hard. It was a kind of telepathy we've developed over the months and at times it was like being caught in a trawler's net.
   The night before I was to have this big church wedding she said, I was watching a baseball game on television, having several small whiskeys, and I just knew the next day my mouth would get me in trouble.
   You were married I asked?
   Only for a while she said. Now I've fallen out of trees. I jumped from roofs. Once I walked from El Paso to San Diego to get food at a take out joint.
   Why I thought.
   Because she said. But here's what I mean. The night before the wedding I was sitting with my cousins and we were all chain smoking these unfiltered cigarettes and worrying wether we should lock ourselves in the bathroom because we had these amphetamine problems and in my mind I kept hearing myself talking and saying what's wrong and I'll do my best and I don't wish to be vulgar but damned if the next day if I just didn't shut up and listen to something else and then I said I do.
   So it's regrets I asked?
   No. Not regrets she said. I meant everything. But suddenly it was hold on one minute. One minute I'm just this gal. On a farm. Loyal enough to cut teeth on the family. I thought for sure I'd make a house out of a granite mountain. And while I was at it, redesign electricity and make some money. But that night before the wedding we all went out across the border and I got a tattoo.
   You have a tattoo?
   Yea she said. On my left ass cheek.
   Whoa I thought... whatever those inked lines were... how they handled those sweet curves...
   Stop this the nurse thought.
   Okay I said back in the vernacular. What was the tattoo?
   She looked at me and laughed a little and said - no child, left behind.
   And I asked?
   Well she said, on the wedding night... as we peeled down to the biblical issues... the last thing I wanted was to take one for the team. At least not that far.  He saw the tattoo. He wanted a 7-Up. For months afterwards we celebrated a headache.
   And let me guess I asked, as a wedding present, your cousins gave you what, a vibrator? With ribs and all the latest attachments? Maybe it came with a small electronic fan...
  Where does all this stuff go the nurse thought?
   Oh. The basement. Over the past seven years the basement has become so filthy and cluttered and on its own like some mountain of shit unable to be moved and has sat there so much on its own that the things from the past don't even seem like finite obstacles anymore as much simple junk to be disowned and removed and then hauled to the dump.          
   So fuck the past you might say she thought.
   Yea the whole ensemble is just a great many trinkets from the yesterdays of importance. Moldy holdover smells from springtime's high water mark. Boxes of books photos letters - all belonging to other people - how did I come to be the repository? And maybe a decades worth of old christmas wrapping paper in tatters and degrees of unravelling. Ten thousand paper napkins the mice have made a universe in. Why all the chicken wire?
   On our honeymoon the plane lifted off from JFK and I was floored with excitement to be in the air and watch the skyline from the east coast begin to disappear. Going to London. See the sights. You need to start with quality. And of course there were contradictions. That's how I was feeling as we leveled off into the clouds. Never leave in a hurry. Never turn your elbows out. Maybe it was for the best to forget what I was doing. Or get out. It's only going to get worse. Save your rags. Always have a tin of canned meat. Write on scraps of paper because it saves trees. How do you live?
   This is how it works I said to interrupt things. Hold that thought. What we need to do is move a bunch of crap, and then clean out behind what we've just moved, and then move the crap back into place and then decide what to keep. Dried up paint cans. Spider webs stretched across the mouths of ancient tupperware. Bastard wood scraps that were too short to save one day but then too long to throw away on another day. And we're the ones where it seems like we end up being saintly to whatever reasons we thought about, but really it's a waste of time to have saved it in the first place and then to have to throw it away later on. A totally trashed bathroom rug and several cracked bicycle helmets - now that's worth saving!
   Decisions are tough animals the nurse said.
   And perplexing moral landscapes I said.
   Suddenly I was  in London. Having this street in Europe beneath my feet.  I wanted to carry it lightly as I walked about even though I felt like oh wow this is happening. But I had a duty to pay and I knew that. But what - I had a pain and wanted to shape that?
   I suppose it might be a sentimental thing I thought.
   I wonder wether it was divine she added.
   Maybe you were avoiding being alone.
   Maybe she thought all I had was an old bathing suit and some new green lipstick to put on.
 


Sunday, August 26, 2012

notre jardin

      An odd little rainstorm shows up from nowhere and these sudden clouds rack up overhead and as such derail my plans. Only rains for twenty minutes or so and then the sun comes back out. Only it's like being in the middle of something etc. and now that middle is gone and it's somewhere else to be found and so gets lost in space. What to do? Start something else? Settle for tomorrow?
   But I wish not to hurry off to nowhere, especially in particular, (!) and so just sit here on the back porch - the back porch mountain of solitude hanging out in a small town of influences - and take in the air as it happens.
    A truck out on Route 7 is using it's engine brakes against the neighborhood streets and it sounds like someone stuttering. A rapid vocabulary of sounds, brokenness and hesitation, the more you apply the sounds the more there is a hope maybe...
   Everybody lives faraway... and it's only a phone call... and it's not like they are required at the moment or anything... but they just live faraway...
   Try and concentrate on what you were doing -  but instead look up at those clouds with their frosty white peaks like mountain tops riding atop the packs of twisted and layered gray mass that spin into a kind of wool that seems classic and penumbral and stupid and gathers shadows from the wind and has a storm packaged within - and you think you're never too old to engage in doubt, never too far removed to have a portal onto a problem...
   Get soaked in the process...
   Ah the first aster has bloomed...
   Today without fail I still can't ever imagine heaven...
   Hell is for suckers mom used to say...
   Everyday there's a need for something like a tissue in nature that runs way below deep and so rips out your heart and then hands it back over to you to begin again...
   And tomatoes keep rising from the garden like the fruits of paradise turned over and made into salsa and canned later for soups when the dregs of winter hit ...
   Last evening at the ice cream stand... the tourists took so long to either make up their minds or get their money out and get out of the way that the sun went down as though no one might notice the full difference between an ordinary breath and a small silent bravo. Fathers called out for gleeful mindless children climbing across tables and jabbing one another with cones. Mothers lost in phone calls called out to fathers to harness the children as dollars worth of chocolate went down to the fate of gravity. A silly thing really but utterly worth it. To have one's own chocolate and watch the sights off a summer evening... sitting on the stairs that lead down closer to sea level... as though practically invisible... gleeful mindless people walked over me to get closer to the lake like American meatball heros appropriated from a source of endless life like vacation idleness and the un-lived terror of their failings and split into a simple human mask that grinned and spilled cold soda on my shoulders in the process...  Gold blue light settled on the water. The ferry boat pulled into the harbor like some character from a picture book. A brilliant blue sky flared out into the sweet blanket of night and exposed those first few stars that grid the light in space like fireflies. Seagulls in teams went mad over a discarded sundae that lay on the grass all wasted rose and lemon and stripped mined sugar from those pleasant creeme machines.
   Get rid of the anxieties in life and what's left? Leisure? The screws of disappointment?
   It's that time of year when the garden goes unruly and you feel a little scared about it and the plants flop in whatever direction they take. Grasses take over like wands casting myths. After a long season you need to let go - but wasn't I the manager of this dirt just like three months ago and so was cheering on the natural order of things?  So you take a look one day. And the whole organism is on its own without you. There doesn't appear to be an I within this equation that you do anything about.
   Some years I take the time... I tidy it up.... stake the tall late flowers like the asters and wage a kind of mesmerizing air against the weeds that want so much against my own desires...
   This year I guess I'm inclined to let it all go and watch. It's all quite beautiful. And I really don't know why.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

soft vanilla

      Aint it like mad crazy, an eternal kind of set up, a kind of mad crazy happiness to boot... oh it's mid-August ... and crazy with it. Like the way the air of life possesses smells that bend you... tomatoes on a platter with cheese and oil and basil... corn in a pan steamed for six minutes and then spread with butter until the mouth understands what the brain keeps talking about...  the low feel of lake water on your skin after you dry off from floating at the park and forgetting about what made the day heavy... didn't all this happen just last year?
   It's mid-August and suddenly there's need to have that knocks you about like a few steps after a few cold beers and suddenly you need to fall in love.  
   Plenty of sunlight and no humidity to speak of. Beautiful afternoon even if the forecast said iffy weather. Walked over to Park Street to a reading because it was way too attractive a day to drive in the truck. Some poems. Some food. Lots of chatter. Flowers in the ground and also perfumed out of glass jars and books to inspect and a large bowl of popcorn for everyone's hands. An airplane did barrel-rolls overhead like a noisy ridiculous insect. Motorcycles roared on the street like some big balled confusion. Lawnmowers from across neighbor's fences  crashing through personal backyards. All folded into the din of a lively Sunday afternoon. Some poems. Some food. Some beer.
   Walked back home and on the way bought an ice cream cone and watched the sunset on the lake drop down behind the old rise of the Adirondack range to the familiar west. One could do worse and I guess it's hard to go wrong walking along and watching colors in the sky and eating ice cream in the evening heat. Like all the years we spend bring us new innards. What crashed into what over those years - fingerprints on the eyelids from what we know -  easy to settle upon the paper mask mystifications we invent for ourselves as a personality that sees death as anything at all but a clarity - as the years strip us down to a thin gauze from a horror movie you're afraid to peel off -  and I thought never post handsome photos on facebook...!
   Meanwhile back at the ice cream stand!  The mandatory turbulence of two kids holding onto one another, of adolescent introspection at a take out window, each wanting something they say, but maybe different for each other they say, the way they hold hands together while deciding what to order, what do you want their whole body seems to say like a question singing out for an answer, holding hands, looking at each other, confused, so solid, settling for sprinkles, one on a cone and the other on a dish...
   Got home. Has to be the best.
                             
                                    things to do in August after cold beer

a closed spherical spacetime of zero radius
small round stones in pools of willow shade
mark shelly quotes
tomatoes in hand
why be astonished at all
treat every light as a yield    
watch an inning of baseball on television
don't even think about igloos
imagine there's a marilyn monroe apt for your phone
entertain bit player thoughts
keep in mind the word vesper and what pertains to the evening
have drunk dial questions at the ready in case someone answers
why does the world exist
should there be synchronized floating as an olympic sport
what's the unintended side effects if our memories are no larger than google
 






Thursday, August 2, 2012

Epistle. To: Berlin Film Actress

  I wonder how much that we have to play with in this life is spent rushing for sensations? Why is it, do you think, that we're not satisfied? Why is it, the grass always rises up greener somewhere else? Yea. I think I understand the expression you're wearing at the moment, and so, go on and have a laugh on me.  There's a quality to have. And I know how you often feel remarkable about it - you read a script and you slip into roles and afterwards you  call a taxi or hop a bus and that's the end of it.
  Anyway, I was standing on the back porch watching a storm develop from the west. Heavy thunder and crazy lightning and tree bending winds flying like the end of the world across the rooftops. The display threw me perfectly, like I was suddenly on a kind of holiday. I wanted  to be as near inside it as possible. But I'm not in the movies. Maybe I've always wanted to be. And maybe thinking that way has  always been a step away from all that heart thumping stuff that I want. So. Somehow real life figures to be a disappointment?
  The rain crashed into the sides of buildings in waves enough to feel like a tide. The wind tore up the plants like some angry blind hand throwing them aside against the fucked up rain. Sirens began calling out upon a static thick air, one that tasted like bad electricity filled with the metals from old explosions. A real ancient storm brewing above a desirable south end real estate locale where the mortgage company just handed me a decent rate last month. And I thought of you. Other than the appeal and the safety of illusions, what more do I have? A fierce wind rattles my bones?
   Maybe the appeal is simply passive, like a hand job in a porn film. You can always say, oh yea I saw that. Whatever happens in our heads and all that later on down the line...
   Large dark clouds piled up like so much material up above it seemed that the sky could not hold onto them and so became the chaos of weather... and if you can't trust the sky then shouldn't you be afraid enough to run away?... and then let loose in lightning streaks that scared the clouds like a knife fight across a face... all the difference in pressure and air temperatures and the combustion between hot and cold the way thunder slaps you ears down on earth and instinctively you shrink away... but  where's the move? The sky roiling above the ground like a sea driven from nowhere and about to dump a swamp upon your head.    
  Don't get lost might really be the application.
  Don't get lost enough to explode the little phone in your hands.
  Don't get lost - as the wind - my face - my thoughts of you - fly against one another.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Epistle: To Grace Nelson

       The seven o'clock bells ring out on an otherwise quiet Saturday morning. Small breezes shake last night's rainwater off the still trees. The lilies in the garden have gone away and it feels grand to look out from the back porch idyll and miss them for all they had and what they gave. More space for the brown eyes then as they cycle through the blurred hot days of summertime. Local is beautiful. That's what you hear anyway. That's what people keep saying. In markets. On phones. Any old web page has tips on how to stay right where you are.
   And that's cool. But it's like we want to belong so badly we forget what's opposite. How can you be sure? If no opposite is there to look into and find a reference? All the information on people's phones makes it appear like we could never be lonely even if we tried. Hey. Even my fingertip has started to heal and grow back.
   Who on earth wants a limit? Hasn't it been a hallmark that for over two centuries of American optimism the gig was to fake it until you make it? Local is beautiful. Perhaps that's a wish. What we know stays locked onto an endless dark unfolding beyond our influence. And maybe that wish is to possess something we know little about, something broader than ourselves, something we want and have to grasp at and that translates across borders and language to find us all rooted nowhere but in the present. Namely my guess is we need to live in order to fear nothing. And then we need to live again to tell someone else about it.
   But at this point I still feel like a ghost. Eerily distant, as though out of focus and lacking a good skin on my bones. You push against a world with all you have, but that world does not move for all the trying. Remember: young. Remember: luxury. Remember: sadness as an option. Years ago we had a talent for placing those emotions. Weren't we as bright then as the sun in the sky? Remember: young. Not sore muscle sets. Nor tired sets of thinking. Who's around to listen so you're crazy with it?
   The nurse said I brought you the last of last year's pickles my aunt put up last year. And this years onions.
   What about the recipe I asked?
   Can't have that she said. Family owned.  
   But what about sensation I wanted to know? How can I duplicate that? When I taste these pickles... when I look at them in a jar... when I hold one up against the window in the afternoon and wonder how they were made...
   Just have a pickle the nurse said. My aunt will never show you the recipe. She'll only give you the pickles.
  But what happens when she's not around, you know, to give the pickles away. What happens?
  Let's have hot dogs and cold beers tonight the nurse said.
  Ah. The very idea of joy I said. Who can have only one hot dog off the grill or only have one cold beer to kick at the starch in your head?
 She looked at me and grinned. Her face was like a hummingbird hovering for an instant and then finding nothing to match its appetite the wings flashed and were gone.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Soundings


The two kite surfers the other evening - skimming on the ocean like a pair of mechanical toys chased through the waves - where were they were riding on - the water or the wind?

   Wide hot sunlight let lose and catching a stifling 90 degree mark. Bikini season in full bloom. High school graduates just off the block and what seem to be a kind of dance on the the crazy whims of happiness were hauling coolers and plastic footballs along the shore and yelling out each other's names as though if they did not make this effort then they might forget who they were. Coppertone smells on a small air moving inland... makes me think backwards... back to hanging out on beaches in Jersey when I was a kid... where mom was somewhere near an old blacktop access road to the beach and chain reading mystery novels and buried into a wide brim hat and sunglasses so as to be so little noticed like a blade of grass you might pass in the dunes... Tim was out in the surf fishing for blues and I remember him casting and reeling and casting and reeling... and just where  in this sweet world am I?
   And so am left standing, knee deep in the calm surf at Watch Hill. Staring across the water at the lighthouse. I guess there's a tonic here for the nerves. Falling beneath the sway of the summer air around your shoulders and the cooling brace of the ocean around your legs. You know for sure that if you blink in the looking nothing ever gets resolved.
   I keep looking out at the sea, past the lighthouse, and thinking there goes my family. Everything I've ever known as family - the blood links - the biology like connective tissues on earth - the names given to us at birth that keep us separate from the other groups we encounter - was now over. But not gone. Right? Because now that family was a part of the ocean. Can't go wrong there. Right? It's like a cosmic homecoming. But still gone right?
   Sadness makes me feel stupid. And I don't even know if that's just a guess.
   There is  a picture in my head... one that I hope I will never forget. What we have we need. And what we need we have all the way through and that way through us all and how that becomes a circle that we look to complete... first we dumped Tim's ashes overboard... then we did the rest of mom... they sank just out of reach... beneath the easy roll of the  parchment green water... the Rhode Island Atlantic they both loved... and stayed visible... swirling about... as though hovering in a place before taking off for somewhere else... like a powder from magic tricks.. like two ghosts kicking around a house... magnetic as we watched.. spreading out into the waves which meant they were lessening from what I knew about them ... but still recognizable from what I've known of them...
   Emma tossed flowers overboard. Yellow for Tim. White for mom. Al circled the boat to keep the lighthouse in view. Pete said goodbye my friend.
   The yellow flowers stayed over Tim. The white flowers stayed over mom. And it remained that way for several minutes. Ash pools rising and falling in the swells. Flowers marking the rise and fall and not leaving those pools. Like nothing was separate... like everything was separate... we stared in near narcotic silence... having a conversation without words... maybe afraid that this was so final and nothing more could be done... maybe we'd seen something... the other worldly tour guide who came around for the dead... and following those several minutes the ashes then began mingling in the waves... Tim and mom... turning into part of the Atlantic...
   I see those milky translucent clouds turning below the surface of the water... just released out of a cardboard box and a plastic bag from the funeral home... and perhaps were now living again in a strange way... like they swimming for the first time... finding peripherals... turning over to a different world... the ashes  becoming water... the flowers like our hands waving on top... like the flowers belonged to our world on land... and now the ashes were in the water and belonged to the water and were on their way... opened onto a great system... tidal and deep... something we only fetch at until it reaches us and we die... and back on the boat we try and fathom it but we really can't since we're not down there in the water... so we sigh because that's the consequence for the living and watch it all drift away... then we all started to laugh... I guess we recognized what we saw... we the living had our boat... in ways left to the imagination... Tim and mom had theirs...  
          

Thursday, June 7, 2012

thewreckhunter

           Back to R. I. for another truck load of stuff from my brother's apartment. A work bench that I can use. Odds and ends of kitchen things - there weren't many - how many pots does a person need to heat up a can of soup? That doesn't even seem like a question to me as much as a blank and satisfying statement. A small television used for sunday football games with take out pizza and a couple beers. And paper back books. A quick estimate in the stupid heat of a humid afternoon hauling them down a flight of stairs was around 800. Mostly political thrillers and the star wars books.
    And oh there was a house plant that I now remembered from two weeks ago. I watered it then before I left. My thoughts were someone had to have given it to Tim. Maybe after mom died. I can't see Tim as someone who bought a houseplant. Not that he wouldn't care for it. But I don't think he'd go out of his way to have a plant. Maybe I'm wrong. I said to the plant you look like you need a ride. Had to be the hottest day to haul shit away...
   On my way down the stairs one trip, a neighbor in the complex held the door for me and asked, are you still at it? Yea I thought. It's just a call that's been placed in my hands. Naturally, just as I rolled into town and was driving north on School Street a truck passed me and I said man that guy looks like Al. Five minutes later Al pulls up. Goes like that. The way it goes. You leave a phone message for someone and the next day they appear to help out... like magic, like technology, like love...
   So cleaned out two file cabinets and a closet. So weird. To pack away the flotsam and jetsam of another person's life into a truck with out of state plates and then haul it away - to recycling to the dump to storage to perpetuity. And what of that brings the responsible one, namely me, nearly bone close to the present? Don't know. And that thought was a little troubling. Had to leave mom behind though. The photograph. And why bring those ashes all the way inland to my home in Burlington when in three weeks time I'd just turn around and bring those ashes back to the sea? That's how I explained it to the plant. It was tired and withered looking. I gave it some water and fussed over it.        
    Anyway I said to the plant you're coming with me.
    I guess it was another phase complete. Truck packed. Sweating like mad on the summer earth and feeling crappy over the loss of the dead -  I grabbed cold beers and drove out to Watch Hill. With a peace lily riding shotgun. The guy at the beer store said you look like you could use these! So with two hours free parking to be had - it's a moneyed area and enforced as such or else - I went out walking on the beach. Threw a jacket over the plant against the windshield as a sun screen and the best shade I might offer. I think the plant understood. Better probably than I did.
   When I walked far enough I stopped and flopped in the waves.  And the weather in the surf was different. A sweet breeze. Less humidity. Ah. Salt water. What's about it that grabs you like a call and won't let go until you dive in? Perhaps it's nothing more than getting away from the heat... Anyway I've had this walk many times before. Out to Napatree and back...  with my dog Mckinley and mom's dog back in the day. Back when everyone was alive as I later said to the plant...
   It feels so strange to wake up one day and be the last one standing. Like suddenly you've got extra  gravity dumped on your feet.
  Checked into the motel for the night. A much needed shower. Another glass of water for the plant.
  And it was too creepy - like where's Norman Bates - and too boring - like who can I drunk dial -  to be in some motel room around six in the evening on a beautiful night with nothing else to do but watch the news and weather from Providence and wait around for pizza delivery and then watch a few innings of the Red Sox/Tigers game on television before crashing out. Creepy and boring are enough I said to the plant. So we went back out driving some more.
  Back to the ocean where all this began. Back at the parking lot at Sam's Snack Bar. Often the heavens are viewed as the ocean of space, so, adjacently speaking, why not the ocean as the space of heaven ...  Just looking out into the sea, the Atlantic, and I guess the end place where my family will ultimately be.
    What I was doing I guess was trying to gather some sense of Tim in the abstract and tried to bring it home to the evening where I was. He lived fishing. He literally died fishing. I guess I was looking for a blessing. But it's a fools errand to expect something back from your own gaze. Waves in. Waves out. The waves coming in had a slap crash muffle sound to them. The waves going back out there was almost a sound of crystal tinkling as they land and were pulled away and then got lost back into the big water in the pull of the tides. Maybe that's all there is. But I want to believe there's so much more.
   Sun going down back over my shoulder if I cared to look back over that shoulder toward Weekapaug and the salt pond where he died. I simultaneous felt like jumping off the world and falling in love with accents both on that one long sigh that gives us pause and has another breath for us for another day in the world...
   A good sadness will do that to you I said to the plant.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Epistle. To: Wolstonecraft

  All right. Maybe I was sulking.
  Last night I had a dream. I met a prostitute and she told me, those new shoes will give you a blister. What I asked? She was mesmerizing to look at, like a pine tree in a desert.  All ghostly and worn and a delightfully naked face. Even though a pine tree does not belong in a desert. Maybe this was desire.  Fake creamy hair with bold gray streaks. A set of high unvarnished cheekbones catching up to the small age circles below the sad moons of her dull brown eyes. We were having clams and noodles at some seafood joint. Do you mind if I change into civilian clothes she asked?
  You are too careful. That's what a psychiatrist at the hospital told me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Surf Rat

   Must be like fifty surfers out in the water this morning, maybe looking for something to call their own in dark rubber suits. Big windy clouds race through the sky like shreds from yesterday's storm. Spray rises from the waves and catches the sunlight in the air and the effects from each wave and the sunlight behind them and the air all around are like the fine needling of lace from old window curtains. So much depends on a take out coffee. So much is silence. So much like some guy parked next to me says - I don't know, I'm from out of town - when I ask him a question.
   But I do know what I'm looking at. Staring into the rear view mirror of my truck. Weekapaug. A salt pond where my brother drowned ten days ago. Out fishing. Tim was forever out fishing. And that's how he died. But that's also how he lived. I can only imagine how cool he was with that. Not dying. But living. Sometimes it's easy to confuse the two. And it's not my job to either blur the lines nor clarify the lines. I'm sitting in a parking lot at Misquamicut at Sam's Snack bar with a fuzzy head but a razor outlook. What did Tim want? The sand from all the rain was soft and rich, almost a thrill to walk upon, almost like your footprints slipped after each step and then with each step further you forgot about them.
   Tim was maybe twelve or thirteen. We took the bus out to the Schuylkill River. Tim with all his gear causing looks from other passengers and riding along in his quiet and taking notes on a flip over spiral pad. Tim was fishing for carp. I didn't really care that much so while Tim was out fishing I wandered along the banks hanging out with stray dogs and avoiding the toughs in the neighborhood. We both had a baloney sandwich on white bread with yellow mustard and a black cherry soda for lunch that mom put together. And I don't know what Tim valued more. That I remember this. Or that mom made lunch, because whatever mom did, Tim in turn revered. When I got back later in the afternoon, near the bus stop, Tim wasn't there. A kind of panic flooded over me. How do I explain this to mom? That I lost my brother? Plus he had the bus money!
   Then I saw him. Down off this retaining wall knee deep in the water. Fishing rod in his right hand above his head and in his left hand was a soda bottle that he was smacking the top of the river with. Like I said Tim was a quiet guy. But he wouldn't let that carp go. He knocked the shit out of that fish with a soda bottle. But that fish was his. And that moment, I think for us both, was enlightenment. I believe it at least because I saw it. He looked up and saw me and grinned and held up some gnarly looking beast that he pulled from the stank brown and heavy polluted waters of the Schuylkill.
   And watching all this was a reporter from the Evening Bulletin. He wrote a story a few days later in the sport's pages about what he'd seen. He also took a photograph of Tim holding up the carp. Tim smiling and tired with his head cocked and holding up a fish by the gills.
  Over the years Tim sent me photos. Here's a shark. Here's a tuna. Here's a tarpon. Nothing more than a little note with each photograph. But I know that inside each of those photos was the picture of a carp. That's where it began. What they show me is the same kid, head cocked, tired from the fight, smiling, with a fish that he caught for the world to see. And that's how it ends. Tim was out fishing. God speed.

Monday, April 30, 2012

View to the West

   Arthur Rimbaud said, "always arriving, you will go everywhere."
   Seong-jun said, in the voice over, a fictional character in the movie - The Day He Arrives by Hong Sang- soo, "I have nowhere to go."
   They say aging is a spiritual practice. The boxed set of the years so to speak. And I imagine we'll all find out how that works!
   But in the meantime life is on the move. With or without us. Always recharging like weeds in the ground after a springtime rain. It seems practical and dumb enough to say it without feeling you having any smarts about it. And even though I'm a rather domesticated being, with regards to what my daily habits are in the world - yea - you could almost set your watch by me - it's a sentimental notion to try and occupy a fixed position. I remember a few years ago filling out a credit application to buy a bicycle. Questions like: how long have you been employed? How long have you lived at your place of residence?  I've worked at the same job since 1978.  I've lived in the same house since 1987. Whoa. What does that amount to? A good credit rating?  Walking away from a store with the bicycle that you want?  Good thing - bad thing - indifferent thing.    
   I remember driving to Florida from Philadelphia and sleeping in the trunk of a Chevrolet Caprice circa 1972 in Key West next to a circus because that was the furthest point on land and that's all we had to do.
   I remember after a weeks' hike in the White Mountains saying fuck getting back and hopping in the van and driving overnight to Acadia and sleeping there against the rules and watching the sun come up from the parking lot on Cadillac Mountain with instant coffee and a bong.
  I remember a bus station in Savannah and an elderly woman stealing my book while I went to get food out of a vending machine and my having to ask her to please give it up once I got back to my seat.
  I am afraid to let go of the days. I want to let go of those days so bad I don't know how.
  So in the interests of standing someplace forever, the pursuit of happiness and knowing something eternal in the bones, I painted the front room over the weekend. The room was a little beat up and dingy looking. It's funny. First you buy a house and that's like having this step into some established order. You feel cool to be there etc. Then you fix up the house which is like having a tag for others to see as they pass by your labors and ideas and designs. Over the years you maintain the house, which as the house gets along in years well, so do you.
  Did I imagine in that last third of life I'd be cutting in ceilings and rolling out walls? (!)
  But when it's done the room looks good and feels clean - the way blue sky in the morning makes you   want to fly out an open window and loop around the trees.
  There's always something next to do. It's worthwhile to look at things in their opposite and float around in the moves and strangeness and beauty of one's peculiar space. A crack in a wall needs to be repaired, and you begin to notice, the cracks elsewhere, and how they appear to be wherever you look...    
 


 
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