Friday, May 26, 2017

Where You Must Be

You think that coming out of chaos
is the problem. What else could being 
bred by chaos do but to foredoom you
to unspeakability?  

Well, yes, that’s true. You were and are,
will always be, unspeakable. But leaking out
of that is what and where and how and when
the fun comes. Lacking definition, Chaos is

and has to be the triumph of disorganized
catastrophe – the only source of stuff
and nonsense in the cosmos adequate
to line up what you’ve got with what it can

infini-grab from its unspeakability to catalyze
the babbling rotting polyglot of you into
the singularly sensible persuasive lingual stream –
new sentience breeding sentences that gleam –

according to and by which you can tell yourself
you’re fine. Finally you’re finely calibrated
to combine the Apollonian divine with the chthonic
tonic hunger, lust and rage that seek to ravage

the meticulous and suck it back and back until
the Universe’s size again begins to near the other
side of One. This is God’s way, or so they say,
of having fun. How lonely he’d be otherwise!

What’s a “they”? What could an “us” be?
Now you’re where you must be.
(Are these the conversations you will
have in heaven or in hell? Who can tell?)


Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Before we get
to the particulars
of the estate –
to ascertain

the moral weight
of its requirements
and of the blunt
materiality of its

and other exigencies
of what your provider
en fran├žais refers to

as dependent on ”la loi
du roi”, there’s a sacred
question to be asked
you as inheritor, which

if incorrectly answered,
means you’ll lose
all rights and interest
in and to the will.

Don’t fret, sit still.
It will all be over soon.
Look out the window
at the moon.

What do you see?
(I’d seen the face
of my provider.
Hadn’t he?)

Oui. (How could
he not agree?)
You are
the legatee.

the moon
to me.)


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Excruciating Charms

Who could possibly create the frame you do?
Through your sweetly organized arrangement
my eyes understand again exactly why they see.

The flicks and licks of light around the sides of you
do arabesques for me – summer-night al-fresco
tricks of sight in which each holographic piece evokes

the dazzling whole. Your shadow wings around
the center of whatever I could ever want to look at:
sings a barcarole: flings my love up like a baby in

a doting father’s arms: wields excruciating charms:
provokes the soul. I wonder how you fill this hole:
immanent as rhythm through the body from the heart:

drum-roll in a movie: you are careless, perfect Art:
a tremor in the blood, assimilating every feeling in
its stream. I wonder why I ache so in this dream.


In Praise of Eating Bowls of Cold Leaves, and Other Bewilderments

At first the only way I could think to ennoble the three pics I feature in this nonet of the desultory stash of Salad Ingredients I recently bought at Key Food on Avenue A (every item chosen because Cheapest) was to feature my mother's framed pen & ink Avon Lake Amityville ducks in back of the two salad stuff on bowl & plate pics - sweet little suggestion of narrative perhaps: look! the duckies are waddling toward the chick peas! In a pinch you can always count on my mother's ducks. 

But it needed more. So I interspersed six views of what I hope you'll agree are elegantly kaleidogrammed leaves and their edgy progenitor into the salad stuff's unprepossessing midsts. I mean, they was some relation: they were plants too. Which is what I'm apparently eating these days.

I'm perversely delighted by it all. First off because I'm fascinated by the tenacity of my reflex to reproduce this Long Island ca. 1966 supermarket idea of what Food is. I am forever marked by Bohack's & the A&P & Stop & Shop. But I acquired these bargain salad commodities and am eating them day after day for a much more joyous reason. And it IS joyous. If just as bewildering.

I don't know how it first noticeably happened, although I do know when - when I had gotten over time significantly porky by about 2011 (up to just under 220 or so, which is a lot on me), somehow, with no fanfare or angst or drama, a dial in me switched to LOSE WEIGHT and I proceeded to do so: lose, in fact, 65 pounds in the next not too long a time. This is not a boast. I can't claim any more responsibility for this than I must deduce by my "duh" observation that it apparently happened as the result of my behavior: what I guess is that the full system of response of me decided to act this way. I find, in fact, I'm less & less able (I know I say this a lot) to suss out 'intention' in anything. All I can see is that you do it. Or you do something else. I mean apart from, you know, when you know you gotta Go to the Bathroom & the like - there's 'intention' you can articulate there.

But prevailingly this losing-weight thing is very much the kind of "something else is doing this not me" sense I feel when I draw or - do anything else in my life these days. Somehow, some jittery hand at the Controls in me relaxed and let go of them, and whatever it is that I more largely am began to do what it wanted. And what it apparently wanted in this instance (I deduce, because it happened) was to lose weight. Buttered noodles and "Happy Birthday" Oreo Cookies had begun to parade in ever-greater number & intensity through my kitchen and into me over the past few months - that too was a 'decision' undergone no more consciously than this sudden shift to eating Key Food salad stuff now. There is no wizard behind the curtain. And there's nobody out here I can point to 'deciding' things either. It's much more interesting than that. Of course I might just be wackadoo. Well, we know I'm that.

Whatever, I'm in awe of people (sometimes I think everybody but me) who have clear takes on why they do what they do. So much of this choice business seems to rest simply for people under the tent of Common Sense.

But I don't find any sense common.

I do like bowls of cold leaves though!


Waking Up with June Allyson

I just awoke in stages – bumping, twitching, blinking –
from a 1940s sound stage, come to think: half pink-
furred poodle and half twirl-tressed movie star
June Allyson, whose laryngitic voice was just then
shoving through my throat as I awoke: came out
a choke of an unlovely bubbling: rattling, battling
breath: all reeled right into my awakened flesh. In fact,

my inner and my outer eye smacked right into each
other – both at once beheld the bug-eyed moon at
noon, the blundering sun at midnight. Whatever doubt
that where I was in dreams was any different from
where I was in my daylit schemes, had scattered
into misty bits. Miss Allyson’s and my voice rasped
in chorus: “Something fits!” I knew, as if by a decree,

the atmosphere above my dreaming ocean was made
of the same components in that sea: neither was more
clear, less real. The psyche doesn’t have to sneak
or steal to fill a lack: it never doesn't have enough
to play its acts – there never is too little or too much.
It bumbles, gasps and goes full blast from dusk to dawn
to dusk. I knew it wasn’t only in the weave of dreams'

imaginings that I lose touch: I lose touch, just as much,
awake all day! I vow now to invite my inner eye and outer
to reune soon. I’ll say,“Hey! Knit the day and night into
a festival of playlists: unite your dream songs with crisp-
consonanted speech!” I’ll encourage each to beckon
each into connection with the unimagined wonders
in each other’s realms, now no longer out of reach.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Breaking with an Article of Faith (Untoward Growth)

Over the years, it has become an article of faith for me that when I sit down to draw at whatever time of day the urge becomes untenably intolerable and I've therefore no choice but to give in to it (which is as close as I can come to saying why I do anything) that I not bring to the blank sheet of Southworth acid free thesis paper (what I draw on) any intention whatsoever.
This moment is probably as close to what I understand to be the experience of meditation as the Buddhists envision it: that is, I've been doing this pretty much every day for so many years that it's not a struggle at all: it's not, that is, one of those awful DON'T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT! self-directed-admonitions which of course insure that's all you'll think of. I guess I'm saying I don't intend to not have an intention, I just don't - by now, in fact, for the other and greater reason I do anything: it's a fine-toothed, -tooled, -honed pleasure. However, as you no doubt suspect from the accompanying duo of images, I recently broke with this article of faith, which, as a measure of the seriousness of this sin, I hereby publicly confess in full daylight in the center of Facebook's town square. That fragile audacity of an aberration of a delicate sprig of neatly ordered baby green leaves you see bleeping out of the bark of that tree - well, that little bibbly-bop bred that most dread of all things: an idea. An Intention. Which I (taking a deep breath) confess to having followed.
An idea (the source of intention) like an ideology, is surely the most killing phenomenon known to human consciousness. As with the sun or God or anybody/-thing you deeply love or hate, it's best not looked at in the face: its tyrannical glare can take over your soul, effectively kill it. However I shall whisper this to you: if in the thankfully rare occasion you find, after having run out of any possible alternative, you must entertain "an idea," give it a fleet sideways glance: register only the barest impression. Like a whiff of gasoline fumes, it can very occasionally prick you into a moment of skewed if vaguely drugged attention in which you - well, may find that most terrible of all things, an "intention," emerge from it as something generative. That is, I hope, what this intention (sprig out of bark becomes 'untoward growth' drawing & poem) turned out to be. 

But I labor in detail herein to warn you that however benign and floating amid visions of  festive flowers and happy flounders it may seem at first inarguably to be, intention is invariably the thin edge of the killing army of ideas and ideologies and other illusions of certainty which comprise the active substances of hell. Regard it always, in any dose greater than a whiff, as the terrible toxin it has proven itself to be now and in history: at the poisonous heart of why human beings find what strikes them as inarguable reason to hate and kill and turn life into living death. 

But every-so-almost-never-here-&-there-otherwise, dare to have one anyway.



Untoward Growth

untoward growth!

What will become of thee?

Will you be pruned,
or mulched,
or both?

you be
torn obliviously
off in bits by passersby

or painted in the style of Klee
(no, not the homonym of ‘clay,’
the one who rhymes with 'me')?

Or will you, like the rest of us,
go on however long you

can, then simply
cease to