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.
   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
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