Sunday, August 20, 2017

Another Verge

Something shrugs inside you: tugs at you
to draw yourself. You aren’t very good at that,
but acquiescently your pencil dips itself
and what capacities it’s got to stipple, jot
and lyricize into your folderol – and something,

after many careful minutes, slowly forms itself
upon the page. Mildly smiling, not unhappily
(perhaps because he knows the paper’s
acid-free), he wakes and sighs. You blink,
surprised: it isn’t you but doesn’t have to be

for you to like it. And you do! Canopied in chaos,
sticky with the chthonic mud from which
you wish you could have watched him 
with a liquid “plop” emerge, he’s clearly here
to bring you to another verge. And oh, you’ll go.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

This Noetic Lustrous Fuss

Everything's a poem. Poems
are the DNA of being. I grabbed
a handful of the stuff today
but it was so beyond enough

that I was forced to let it go
and send it fleeing. So many
syllables in throes of numinosity!
Today I watched as tasteful

consonants and vowels became
a graceful ABCB rhyme-schemed
tree – others coalesced into iambic
stresses which, if pressed, I’d

have to say looked not completely
unlike me, before they morphed
into two milkmaids who, when
they put on their bonnets, creamily

churned into terza rima sonnets.
That all is made of poetry becomes
quite something for a creature
just discovering the fact to see.

At every turn we learn we always
always face the hiss and crack
of this noetic lustrous fuss that
makes, and is made up of, us.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Obfuscatory Peroration on Red Grapes

In the course of eating red grapes
one has frequent occasion to notice
presumably unintended esthetically pleasing
configurations of the bunched fruits appearing
at unpredictable intervals which attain
to the condition of Art. I see it as a main task
remaining to me in these last two or three decades
allotted to me of life to make what record I can

of these happy accidents and to report on them
in an ever-increasingly baroque syntax
and involutedly nuanced timbre, tone & manner
so that as we proceed the contrast
between the evermore impenetrable
and the frankly accessible indeed by comparison
simple beauty of the revealed grapes will act

to frame them so ornately that we shan't be able
to see them as anything but the unforced paradigms
of a new category of organic allure so astonishing
in impact that we shall have to alter the way
we think and to investigate heretofore unquestioned
assumptions about who and/or what
allows creation at this elevated level to transpire
which will prepare us to examine the likelihood

that what we imagined to be evidence
of agency or intention may not after all be more
than an obfuscatory psychic ploy to distract us
from the real event whose methods & effects
do not remotely follow any system of production
we have ever known. I would continue like this
till the grapes and all trace of the space
I take up are entirely gone.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Aristocracy of Spirit

Back when I was a cricket cricketeering
chirrup cheer-up chirrup!
I assumed in insectival innocence
an inner sense that there exists an aristocracy

which has no truck with densities of provenance
or centuries of family or fancy balls or noses
held up in disdain, to which the best souls
in the cosmos gladly train their hearts

and heads to pledge allegiance:
an aristocracy of spirit. You know it
when you’re near it. You recognize its members
when you are a member, too: there is no surer

proof of who is in this special realm.
No one’s lording her or his good fortune
over anyone who doesn’t have it; in fact,
quite otherwise: you subtly influence those souls

who never knew that in their deepest being
they belonged: and then, as when
I was a little cricket, suddenly they did.
The aristocracy of spirit blew its lid too long ago

for anyone to have the barest notion
of its genesis. But when the sis-boom-bah of it
resumes its generous hooray, attracting
every soul its way, we lose our thirst for herstory

and history. If we were a church, we’d be
the clerestory: windows looking out onto the sky.
Although thank heavens (if that’s whom to thank)
we’re not a church: that would be a lie.

The aristocracy of spirit likes to undermine
all solemn premises and tends when
in the presence of a vaulted arch to lurch away
and out into the bright and unimpeded day.

Unless it’s cloisonné.
Spiritual aristocrats
(why we cannot say)
slaver over cloisonné.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Plus It Had a Funny Smell

I used to laze about in Xanadu
and ask what there was damn to do
in Xanadu
and found there wasn’t damn to do.

Xanadu was not so swell.
Plus it had a funny smell.
And so I called someone in Personnel
to tell

me what was what. “We need to spell
it out? Xanadu is hell.”
At least, at last, some bell

rang true
about this stinking boring Xanadu.
Then I thought: so what? – and pew!
How much does that help me or you?

Got the scent, the view, the crux.
Eternal acid reflux.
Stuck here till it self-destructs.
Which it will never do. That sucks.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Affectionate Contrivances

Whenever she bends over he performs a standing leap
up from the floor and gently lands upon her spine.
She doesn’t mind him there. He’s as light as air and she
enjoys him; he has a predilection for the warm affection
with which she provides him transport, so it’s fine.

Last night she dreamed of being interviewed by Charlie
Rose about their bond – what made it so absorbing
and enlighteningly fond. The tv lights were hot and bright.
“What do you do to get along?” asked Charlie Rose.

“We traffic in affectionate contrivances,” she said,
as she’d rehearsed the line. But no, that was all wrong,
that labored coyness; it niggled in her spine. But she’d
no other to supply. Charlie smiled and said goodbye.

Abashed that she agreed to being questioned on tv, she
woke and rose up from her pillows – when like a breeze
through Weeping Willows, her companion leapt back up
onto her back and filled again whatever lack she might
have thought she’d had. With him, she’s never sad.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Only Apt Response to Anything

Let the vagrant drifting quantities of lengthening late  
summer light as they begin to tumble toward the night
bestow their strange alluring modal breaths – as if imbuing
air with music, deftly draining thought of all its expectation,
framing inner sight: so that what starts to fill you up
is something like the brightness someone blind might

conjure in her mind as she begins to find that somewhere
in the Universe exists experience of seeing. Shut your eyes;
unplug your last reflex assumption: make oblique departure
from the usual compartments of your being: then deploy
a dab of the contained immensity of this dimension like a rub
of gleaming paint upon a bristling tiny splice of space and time:

weave with it a chain of silver rhyme – drop it glittering into
the palm of the amorphously gemütlich suddenly availing god
you’ll see, who’ll guide you to the Odd. Then let the gentle
fellow float you down with him back through your soft façade.
Listen to him sing about the law of awe: how it’s the only apt
response to anything. Wait for what all that will bring!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Not So Much as a By-Your-Leave

One half of me so seldom seems to want to see the other half
whose only interest evidently is to see its other half, I wonder
at the likely losses in the benefits and costs of their dichotomy.

Is one intended to correct the other? Is the other’s mission
to ignore the other’s admonitions and proceed as if no other
half were there? Is the outcome of what one supposes is what

I think of as wholly me in jeopardy? Am I doomed to a psychotic fall
or psychic leprosy? Will all go dark? Should I care? Or did I simply
make their duet up because duality is such a lure and seems

so sure a model for a vehicle for generating rules about no matter
what – the only car to drive and park? Is my divided brain a losing
cause? Is that good or bad? Have I been had by some bored

propagating force who long ago gave up the farce of thinking
there were any laws that could account for my egregious lapses
and now plays his version of a game of darts with my synapses?

Two humanoidal heads and faces rise beneath my pencils,
colored markers and eraser with not so much as a by-your-leave.
Uninvoked and uninvited, one’s not looking at the other while

the other looks at him. Joined together by a flaccid bit of spiral
left from someone’s skeevy mucus glycoproteins DNA they seem
un-bothered by their twosome. I find them not a little gruesome.


Monday, August 7, 2017

When This Poem Began

Consummation –
devoutly to be wished –
this slippery evasion:
to let the yearning be
its own reward –
less grasping-after
than a moving-toward! –

No, that's not what
it wanted to be.

When this poem began
like Pinocchio
to turn from an 'it' to a 'he',
I was tempted to trade it
for something more
neatly aligned with
my own kind of poetry.

But then it reminded me:
"I am a pilgrim!
And I tread the road to joy."

It's a good little boy.
Tell us someday
if he made it.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

We the Civilized

We benefit, so we the Civilized opine, from an innate
propensity for density, as we incline it seems inevitably
from the innocence of infancy to entering the intimate
immensities of later life: the tangled thoroughfares
of complicated love, and omnisexual perversity: thought

immersed in irony and paradox and dissonance, brought
to encounter the impenetrable obfuscations in more
serious investigations of, well, anything. We seem to think
that clarity in innocence is largely lies believed in ignorance.
And that painfully attaining incremental revelations through

essential rites of passage (which mainly mean humiliations)
from and of and with relations, amorous, professional
and otherwise, can lead us to a wiser clarity at last: a clarity
as vast as the complexities of Cosmos but transparent –
indeed, apparently osmotically available to the Enlightened.

No wonder we’re so frightened. But pretty funny, honey.
In fact, hilarious – indeed, nefarious. It amounts to this:
We invent and then ferment what we believe, then we
imbibe it: we’re drinking our own piss. Therefore, of course,
we tend not to get fat. There’s something to be said for that.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Color Gods, Color Guards

Without question, Red and Yellow and Blue are the gods:
the holiest triad, the primary hues – oligarchic triumvirate
from which ensues the Collective of Purple and Orange
and Green and their endless derivatives. But Green has been

keening for power – shunted aside for too long by The Primes
in the triad eternally second in line (with its doltish dim siblings,
that oafishly ogling Orange, and the prissily purposeless Purple),
its envy, for which it is justly renowned, has now grown

to a ravenous rage to unseat its complacent progenitors, quickly
dissolving them into insensible paints so that Green can begin
its illustrious reign. It insinuates into the dark and precipitates
slowly on each of them, making each slick with the smell of itself,

staining each with inarguably killing proof that, remorseless, they
all have incestuously used poor Green as their sexual toy. No
greater sin than to do such a thing. But so far this ploy hasn’t
very much bothered Blue, Yellow or Red. They’re quite enjoying

the emerald jello-y streaks that Green nightly appears to want
so much to leak. Each has started to lick off the skin of the other
the lime-minty drips which turn out to be rather a wonderful taste.
They’ve decided in fact now to issue a fiat to Green,

and to Purple and Orange and all of their infinite progeny
similarly to provide all their flavors, in dollops and drops, one
by one, sip by sip so to savor the fullest degree of the outcomes
of being the gods that they are. Green didn’t get very far.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Acute Aversion

Goosed by the Freudian principle that
what one mightily claims to detest may in fact
be what vitally one most desires, most
of the Creatures residing inside him began
to devise what they thought would be wise ways

of torturing him, by providing the vividest visions
of what he can’t stand: in their belief that by
driving him mad he would reach a catharsis –
releasing the largest out-pour he’d yet known
of imprisoned potential: they audibly groan

with this prospect so loudly he thinks it’s his
own grumpy bowels. What his creatures are sure
is his most covert love is his most overt hatred
of anything “cute.” One after another they’d
send up their sweetest most heart-wrenching

plump heffalumps from the cuddly snugglery
where more and more would await to be let
through the gate to implore their new savior
to savor abjectly adorable sentimentality. Now
he hates them in what has become his intensely

demented reality: he sadistically crumples each
sketch in a fist – impales the crunched paper on
sticks, row and row of which, speared with their
quarry like new-severed heretic heads, line his
lawn in a grave conflagration. One by one they’re

consumed in the flames. He defames them with loud
incantations he’s sure will arouse and awaken
the minions of Satan to come and assist in defeating
this scourge of The Cute. He meets with success:
his urges to purge are completely assuaged.

The fires he lit quite effectively rage to consume
them. Now nothing can ever exhume them – or him.
Art is exceedingly dangerous. Be here warned
to avoid what this verse has implicitly, torridly
drawn as its moral: never read Freud.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Backward Art

Two creatures announce that they want to be Art.
Should I want to take part in this serious enterprise I must
agree to their terms. First, be furnished with four virgin
pencils which range from the adamantine to the charcoal,

full spectrum of faintness to darkness and hard unto soft,
whose lofty encompassing goal will consist of the mission
to cast all life's tattle-tale shadows and blurry penumbra
and unthinking dashes and untrammeled scratches

and whirls and elliptical pearls of the kind that Vermeer
had in mind in his sketches of girls. But banish all color,
they said, that's what Art ought to do: "in black and in white
to go forward" as they will take frequent occasion to say

is the only acceptable way to achieve how they'd like us
to see them: in cold naked light – in perpetual flight to their
bold perpetuity: "what the sparest and barest and purest of art
ought to be," said the creatures to me when I started to pout

that I couldn't spread out my Crayola payola on this dreary grey
panoply. But I carried it out: I went in and I routed about and came
up with the smudgiest black-and-white thing, and you know,
I suspect that its elements do after all rather forcibly swing

to the offhanded flow and the stylish sway of how they say
they want art to look. I’ll have done what they asked: let them
bask: they're the winner. I’m thinking of dinner right now, anyway:
some slight poignant mischief and glee let me see what to cook.

all the hues I forsook. Red, yellow and green, pink, blue/purple
purée: sometimes sweet, sometimes tart, hot and acrid. Art
should go forward! they said and they say, every night
before going to bed. I am going to get at it backward.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Where Wisdom Slinks

If wisdom were a crystal ball the crystal would be cracked.
The medium who’d peer into its sinuous refractions, whom
you’d hear attempt to speak the mysteries that lay in its
divided parts, would know enough not to be rough. Encroaching

on a fault in violent geology requires a soft approach. To kick it
would be wicked. Caressing it was best. You never knew
what molten brew might be more ready to construe its chaos
upon you than you had bothered to imagine. We never think

we’ll die. We may, at levels where our mitochondria supply
the breathing secrets of existence, know that dying is a lie, but
do not count on that. Any hope too tightly held becomes a bat
that writhes and spasms – wriggles monstrously against your grip

to rip away. The medium is at a loss today. Wisdom couldn’t
give a toss about whatever you would like to have a bite of.
But oh! Don’t diagnose or explicate. Wisdom is a current
in a fractured body, lacerated by exacting laughter so disruptive

and delightful that it would be tasteless to the point of spiteful
to subject it to an exegesis. Sweet Jesus, don’t explain the joke.
You’ll make the cosmos choke. Parsing it eviscerates the wow.
And then its broken bits will coalesce into a killing danger

it would now be far from wise to beckon forth. But reckon with
assurance wisdom always slinks throughout its course along
an imperfection. With luck, one random day, down in your sinew
you will know because it’s in you that this is its predilection.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Crayola Payola

They’d be very well paid, they were told, if they came out
arrayed in Crayola. Five dollars and forty nine cents for a box
of ten markers – about the same price as a single purveyor
of classier ink that you get from the clique at Chartpak. They
were promised a claque of adoring new fans and appearances at

all the trendiest clubs on the planet, expensively framed in a swirl
of acclaim, with the fame of Merle Oberon at her most famous.
Now they’re here in immoderate glare on the wall of a men’s room
in back of a stall in a bar no one goes to who doesn’t get drunk.
So far they’ve achieved the response of a half-conscious stare

here and there. But they’re not in a funk. They know they’re
supposed to bemoan what they’ve done: sold their souls
to Crayola for nada. But Holy Kenyatta, they love being cheap!
They’d rather be shallow than deep. And they’re having great fun
posing elegantly like Faye Dunaway, making a run of it anyway.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Be Quiet, Make Nice

Can’t talk to your art without peril.
Or pretend it’s a pet cat named Cheryl.
Ask it too much, it turns feral –

rears up angry and bites
then becomes cold as ice
and as sterile.

Be quiet, make nice.
Soon it will send out its faceted lights,
like a beryl.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Color Blind

He’s decided that he’s had enough of color.
So he’s asked that I erase what hues I’ve used on him.
He wants to walk into the white and gray and black array
of something that, when you glance back then look away,
you won’t remember if you saw. Now his colors dim
to raw in front of him and brim out off his back like
streamers in parades gone by. He slides a sidelong eye
at me as if now to imply (I think, I’m never sure) I’m
bringing him to destiny. He says, “now do the rest of me” –
by which – I think (again, I’m never sure) – he means
he’s got the best of me and soon will leave me to endure
the certainty I never will know more. Will I be doing
with or without colors then? What am I doing
with them now? Again, I’m never sure.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Inspirational Rhetorical Extremities

To depict what flowers in the cavern of a dream
requires powers you profoundly lack. Yours turn to steam
when they attempt the least verisimilitude – the barest stab
at calling up what really ‘was’. Faintly recollecting

ferris wheels and women’s faces and a little child’s open mouth
exhorts you to dig clumsily to search not for the dream itself
but for whatever cheap availing tricks might crowd
that dusty shelf marked “Inspirational Rhetorical Extremities.”

To riffle through this piffle means to weigh the merits
of a spooky movie’s tactics and the colors of the day-glo
bubblegum conundrum that comprise the cliché pellets of what
few details you constipatedly can call up from your childhood.

Rhetorical Extremities, these be indeed.
But nothing with a feeling that remotely moves you.
And yet (you block the facile rhyme that it behooves you):
you tell yourself to do it anyway: write and draw these

cumbersome contraptions with the only theory you think enjoys
the prospect of a certainty. Which is: you’re dreaming now,
and what you’re trying to describe in what you call your
waking hours, you have powers to depict.

(Even to depict the fact you can’t depict.) How?
Decant Miss Dickinson: “Tell all the truth
but tell it slant.” This sneaky law that governs
poetry and dreams and life is very strict.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Like Any Other Love

Can friendship have indemnity? Insurance you
can pay so it won’t end? What would it cost

to toss away whatever drains the source in it
that wantonly ignites and bites, expends delight?

Friendship rarely ends in enmity. Like any other
love, it is ridiculously inexplicable. It surely must

be feeding on some random manna from above,
below, somewhere, a here or there we’ll never

know. Love bestows, love suspends. You may
well find that it depends on saying you are sorry.

I don’t suppose I’ll ever understand its quarry:
what it’s really looking for, what more it wants

that it can’t say, or isn’t saying. Should we all be
praying? Would that bring back its bright surprise,

its lift? Is everything a fickle gift? Surely everything
is far more wonderful. How wonderful is wonderful?

Maybe fantasies of ecstasies are what turn off
the light. We’re all right. Are we all right?


Monday, July 24, 2017

Only Then

Presiding over his own demise
But taking his time so no consequent
Ruinous outcome of this enterprise
Be allowed to disrupt too eruptively -- 

Wreak such abrupt surprise
That it gets in the way of the pleasures
Of slowly achieving the size 
Of a full dissolution, voluptuous entropy.
Only then might he test his surmise 
That destruction is also creation.

Only then might he meet God’s eyes.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Caught the Tide

He liked her awkwardness,
the smudgy yellow light she’d throw.
Why she’d come he didn’t know;
she gave him reason, though,
to think it wasn’t likely she would go.
This didn’t worry him, he liked

that she was there. Something
in her seemed to alter his relationship
with light and temperature and air:
he wouldn’t have been able quite
to say it but with her mute
reassurances he knew that he was

not so much the child of atmosphere
as sibling to it. But what was he
to her, or she to him? He asked
her in the way they had devised
to speak so they could understand
each other – had to do with

cultivating delicate degrees
of rising, falling breaths – he asked
her what she was and what he was.
She asked him what he thought.
Are you my mother, soulmate,
supernatural protector? She said

she didn’t know what supernatural
could mean. And only volunteered
that she was something different
from what he had said. Will you be
with me when I’m dead? Am
I dead? She said she didn’t know

what dead meant. He found
this funny so he laughed. There
we go, she happily replied.
You’ve pushed us off the shore:
we’re on the raft. We’ve
caught the tide.