Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chain-Link Fence

Drunk leans against the smooth wire diamonds
of a chain-link fence to which his knuckles
clutch to keep his body vertical: his eyes

imbibe the locked-up empty lot – as drab a blot
as late November can create of a forgotten
city plot, all sodden grayish brown.

He leers out at two plumped-up pigeons squatting
on the cracked concrete: “Yo! Sweet mamas!
Lookin’ fine!” Pigeons blink, don’t seem to mind.


Henry, Judy, Emily, Johann Sebastian et al. Notes on My Cabal of Artist Pals

Friend Jesse Neuro/Short writes me & I expound. He told me about David Bowie's surpassing effect on him. I love Jesse's parenthetical thingy here: "(in one angry song on “Scary Monsters” he has a lyrical phrase which ends with the word “society”, except he, or his “character”, cannot complete the word: he hisses “so-ci. . . so-ci. . . so-ci-eh. . ., never getting to the “tee”. So to me, that’s poetry.)"
He asked me about my cabal of pal artists (every name of whom he remembered! good heavens.) This is what I said.
You throw out such enticing bait. Both in telling me about what you love and by asking me about what I love. Finding that out about anyone is really the only interesting thing to me. Well, it also interests me a little that I never seem to love 'artists' (the word used as porously & encompassingly as possible) or their work as models of something to aspire to, or of whom I want to become, or gods to kneel before. I see them as brilliant cronies I am inordinately blessed to know. Peeps I would hang out with if they were breathing and on the planet (if I could), peeps I DO hang out with in the possibly more satisfying ways communing with dead people can mean. I'm never not interested in the life. I know Henry's and Judy's lives as if they were - well - what? family members, I guess. Emily's so-called reclusiveness seems to me a sort of gift she gave to the world: that is, she knew she would have to shelter us from her full-on intensity. She was not the kind of gal you 'hung out' with. To do that (in the unspeakable event she'd ever permit it to happen) would probably kill you. William James is the only 'psychologist' worth listening to because he didn't report anything that didn't come from his own perception/experience. He's the only writer I know who can use abstract nouns and make them seem like they breathe. Henry's force was galvanic. Is that a word? It galvanized and warded off and beckoned in and generally sent out a force field (in this regard exactly like Judy Garland) which was the first and last and probably 'only' (in the sense of being central & identifying) thing you notice about him - a trembling thing that simultaneously attracts and repels. They are my preferred companions. Though not for longer (as is the case with anyone) than about an hour and a half at a time. I don't, it turns out, 'idolize' - that seems silly, and to rob any encounter of its juice and real allure. I am Huck & Jim on the raft ("come out to the raft Guy honey" I can hear them call to me from that raft on the flowing river; and/or me calling to them from my raft: "Over here, Judy!") (In this mind's eye scene she's a very good swimmer.)
Here, I found a metaphor. I lick them like grape lollipops.
Well, all but Bach. I ask Bach's permission to speak his language. (He's never not granted it.) I don't lick him like a grape lollipop. But in a way I lick his musical language like a grape lollipop. (Grape lollipops were my fave thing to get at Amityville Public Beach when I was 9.) He has taught me that the skill and luck and funk and grace in & of sustaining wild intense impassioned sex amount to the exact equivalent of speaking his lines. And you do speak his lines. And you don't care, after a time, about anything but their meaning - 'meaning' which is so remarkably full that no part of you isn't employed in its expression; no part of you doesn't somehow both deliquesce and, with suppleness, toughen (melt and grow muscular) in response to it. So that's why I have a screen shot of me playing him to illustrate this. Its caption is "Bach the Sun Likes Best". I also found something that captions itself (it's from some sort of youtube thingy) 'Savage Snake Licks Lollipop Vine" mostly because it features an appealingly easeful man licking a grape lollipop - a Tootsie-Roll one to boot, so he gets that fudgy thing in the center. Which makes me think, yes, I lick my fave dead companions like I'd lick a tootsie-roll grape lollipop. Something fudgy at the center.


Today You Were a Drawing Made of Scraps

Today you were a drawing made of scraps. The caps
had been left off a slew of markers and the few that worked
at all bore only vestiges of greenish hues which had to be

pressed exigently into spaces left by other hues which
gasped their last before they could quite reach the vulgar
thick black outlines dominating everything – product

of the only writing implement available that was sufficient
to its task, which far more usually had to do with slashing
arrow marks on parking signs in used car lots than delicately

teasing out the sense and sensibility you’d wished your
failing unavailing parts had had the least capacity to bring up
even to the lowest of level of the arts. And what good could

be said of the haphazard farts of charcoal that a crumbling
piece of that dread messy substance had affixed to this:
if blowing off at every zephyr could be said to be affixed.

The hastily assembled seven-legged man-headed thing
whose butt was poodle-pom-pom-tailed was, well, the final
testament to the incontrovertible sad truth that it, and you

(because today, that 'it' was you) had failed. Because
today you were a drawing made of scraps. Somewhere
someone thought he or she heard a kazoo play taps.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Strangely Colored Creatures

Have strangely colored creatures been inspecting you today?
We ask because we’ve seen some looking us up, down, around
and from the back with such impertinence we thought to contact

some authority whose expertise was pertinent to knowing what
the habits and the dangers of a strangely colored creature were –
presumably then offering a context for inquiring about their

motives to determine if they meant us harm – or if behind
their patent charm (they seemed so smarmily flirtatious as they
all but leered at us) there might be reason for alarm. Who knows,

for instance, what such colored creatures eat? Perhaps they were
inspecting us because we looked a treat! One, in fact, was gazing
rather longingly at our semi- bare and sandaled feet. We only

wondered if you saw them too. In our opinion they appeared
too new to trust. We know that Self requires the Existence
of the Other as an entity, a counterpart to framing the identity

of Self: Hegel said it must. (We used to labor over Hegel over
coffee and a bagel.) But this Defining Other was a Something Else.
We didn’t like not knowing what it was. We suppose that Other is

as Other does. Whatever Other does or is. All of which is turning
our capacity for critical acuity to fizz. And you – you haven’t
said a word. Why have you turned away? What have you heard?


Sunday, November 27, 2016

For Now, Though

For now, though,
no more talk.
I know what.
Let’s speed walk.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Truth be Told

You wonder why you never wonder when you’re bundled under
tundra-proof thick parka-pillowed insulation, double-folded
in the this-and-that of knitted hat and shawl, bolstering yourself
against the coming frigid pall, why you had done the thing at all.
Truth be told, it’s not yet cold.


Friday, November 25, 2016

The Brothers Fin

The Brothers Fin – fraternal twins – were not so-named
because they came from Finland – but rather for the reason
they could not inhabit any portion of the planet too far inland.

Where we wear slippers they have flippers, and their hands are
webbed, and on their heads and backs grow fins. Their human
parents lived beside a bay into the frigid depths of which
they dumped their progeny at birth: hoping wanly that the bay
might be where they might thrive on Earth, or give the baby
beasts at least a chance (their mom and dad had not
themselves the courage to advance) to surface from their dive.

And so they did, still do – alive. Wave back nicely when they
wave to you, as wave to you they will. They know waves’
spill and line and swell, how they reflect both moon and star.

See how fine they are!


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Your Medium

To have, as your medium, speech –
when what flourishes inside
is so beyond reach – when what reels
in the slowest and softest diffuse

sort of way – counter-clockwise –
against what you’d thought was
the natural sway – to think that for this
there were words – is like thinking

you’d learn how to fly
if you queried the birds.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Our Mad Licentious Past – a Thanksgiving

They say, far back (too many hundred million years ago
for you or me to count or understand) a giant bandit
of a rocky body cracked into and mounted Earth: raped it,
and ejaculated in its center: gave ferocious birth to our
iron core. For eons we had fizzy rings, like Saturn (less or
more) – out of which catastrophe, and not a whit too soon,

emerged our moon. Iron gave us a magnetic field
(shielding us from most of the unwieldy evils of the sun) –
moon-tug kept us from the drunken wobble we’d have badly
stumbled from without her: no living thing would have
been able safely to traverse the ground had it not been
for all the reckless violence of our gratuitously whizzing

sphere, and the unconscionable queer impertinent wild
shock of molten rock. And so, my dear, today, when you
sit down to eat a roasted creature which, with you,
would not be featured here without the planet’s
mad licentious past, give thanks for the eruptive horror
that created it – and has obliged to deign to let you last.


school drawings

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dearest Tutor

Where did the future go?
Dearest tutor,
do you know?

Oh, it has a blast.
Left the way it always has:
to rush to fuck the past.

Future’s its devoted suitor.
Past’s got quite
an ass.


Monday, November 21, 2016

I Have an Art Job

I met somebody recently who teaches disadvantaged children
in Long Island – whose disadvantages apparently enlivened him,
once he had seen my gallery of creature features, to invite me

to provide the art for post card-sized depictions of teenagers
doing well – and seeming to be glad they were – in school. Three
views: my choice to choose among and from his pool of male

and female African-American, Latino, Asian and Caucasian
students: buddies reading, studying a chalked equation on
a blackboard, learning how to use a laptop. This meant, I thought –

although perhaps I hadn’t to ought to have – that I should stop
short of the brink beyond which my menagerie of many-limbed
and lumpy-headed species lived – whose strangenesses might

make this audience uneasy. So – ergo – I’ve done one of the three
and here he is, in rather a Pharaonic pose, in clothes I daresay
no one seventeen today would want to be seen dead in. That he

is offering the famous odd equation with which Einstein shocked
the world was not the outcome of some reasoned argument
that had unfurled to lead me somewhere I believed it wise

for troubled teens to see, reflect on as their academic fare.
I simply couldn’t think what else to put there. Two more drawings
to be done. Perhaps they’ll make me let them have more fun.


Seltzer & its Bewilderments


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Cuckoos Clucking Ding and Dong

Inexorable and illusory.
time always makes a goose of me.
I don’t believe in it, and yet
I owe its tricks and tocks a debt.

Clocks promulgate a calm –
indeed may lend the only balm
sufficient to allay our fear
that chaos is the ruling queer

egregious motor of Existence.
So I will practice my persistence
in accepting it’s enough that linearity  
and sequence are in parity

with all that might as well be true –
although I never will be able to
escape the arid fact
that Is-ness isn’t backed

by logical fiat. Mindless flow,
schizophrenic stop and go.
cuckoos clucking ding and dong.
Unless I'm wrong. I’m often wrong.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Hellish Error

He was a fairly settled fellow.
A quiet soul who’d rarely meddle –
except with red and blue, the only hues
he could construe. Indeed, he mixed chromatic
marvels from the two: subtle rosy azures,
reddish purples, lavenders in every tint

from light to dark and faint to bold –  
“Behold!” the brightest made a friend remark:
“this day-glo violet could rival gold!”
He’d heard of gold. He knew that others
could see gold. And he had heard of what he
understood to be its drastic cousin yellow.

It frightened him – the way imagining
the third dimension might bedevil one who only
knew dimensions One and Two. He went to sleep
that night and fell into a glaring dream whose
scheme appeared to him sadistically to want
to plunge him in the molten colors of the Sun.

In a field of groundless white he met
the unimaginably bright catastrophe of Yellow.
He ran and ran and woke a blasted man.
No more was he a settled fellow. We hear him
bellow, sometimes, from his bed, to which
he’s fled in terror. Yellow is a hellish error.