19 December 2016
05 December 2016
21 November 2016
The woman had made empty promises with an honest deceit. To each other they had a scratch-deep desire. He walked away from her, internal in the tumult of the carnival. She was rich on his fingers but cool in his heart. Somehow, after blocks of ambling, his friend Joshua found him. How did he find him in the crowd and chaos of carnival? It is one of the indecipherable mysteries -- perhaps God's own hand, perhaps random chance, fate and coincidence, perhaps the bond between best friend beloveds. "He's dead," Joshua said, "come." Without explanation, he turned and the young man had no choice but to follow. They entered the gate, the old wood door and climbed the stone steps to the study. There, the body was being prepared by four priests while a wizened old rabbi looked on. The young man was shocked. It was not the old Rebbe, but Joshua's father who had died. The young man felt himself standing, alienated, outside the stained glass temple doors for the elaborate funeral ceremonies. When the doors opened and the procession to the grave passed him, the young man made the sign of the cross toward the body. It was as if he did not exist. Later that night, while Joshua mourned his father, and the young man felt helplessly adrift, the old Rebbe came to him and took him to kneel by the fire. From his robes he produced many esoteric objects foreign to both their faiths. He uttered strange quiet words and preformed subtle ceremonies. They sat there, upon their knees, genuflecting before a small fire in a cold dark room full of useless books. The young man began sobbing. He sobbed and sobbed desperately. Though they did not speak, the Rebbe spoke without speaking, "This is our atonement."
14 November 2016
The room was fire warmed and candle-lit, dark in the corners. The room was a stone cloister with elaborately carved shelves of heavy wood filled with ancient books. The room held warmth like the bright hope of a monastic diaspora, like the wisdom sitting silently bound upon the shelves. In that room in that medieval port metropolis, a young man sat chatting earnestly with his friend Joshua, Joshua's father a rabbi, and the father's mentor, an elder Rebbe wrinkled and scarred, a tragic old face from tragic times and a gleam in his eyes. The four there, debated life, free of dogma or pedantry, debated passion and purpose and spirit. That night the two young men were preparing to go out to carnival, and they did just that. The streets were a riot of color and noise, or fires that tempted conflagration, of liberties that threatened damnation. In the tumult, the two young men, the jew and the gentile, strolled and marveled until they were happily separated, trusting always in their fidelity. The young man walked on till he came to a small square in a district he didn't know. There was a low platform in the middle, and upon it a dark woman sat alone, apart -- for a moment -- from the reverie. She was beautiful and harsh and, though he was attracted to her, he feared her. She caught him with her eyes like an arrow on a string. She pulled him to her and regarded him coldly, eyes locked on his. With her left hand she pulled up her layers and put his hand between her legs. The warmth that held his fingers passed through him with a shudder like strong wine. He had never been that close to a woman. Her lips parted but they did not move. She held him then released him. With cold kindness she sent him away with a kind and empty promise. He saw that their connection was true but also false and that he was at play for a moment in a drama that she had for herself in every direction.
31 October 2016
In a rush from the car to the house in the too cool air, he remembered to grab the last few days' mail. Unease from the dark driven into, and sharpened with the headlights cut, followed him in. He fumbled keys and dropped the mail in a clumsy fan in his unnecessary rush. Sure to shut the door firmly behind him, he sought the lights. Switched on, he saw the postcard kicked past the threshold alone on the cool tile. What is this? Not a wish you were here, or majestic nature, nor mighty buildings in their dotage. Not even bikini-clad humor, but a chopped assemblage out of context: a masked, or unmasked and disembodied woman with hair cast like fire, the wrong hands crawled past her, reaching from and into some impossible gate, like a theory drawn out only to fulfill its uncanny form. The moon, or a planet, loomed and pulled and cast a ring of dripping black gravity. Behind all this random words floated down and settled in deep mysterious drifts. He flipped it over. It was only vaguely addressed to him and bore no return address. The text started and stopped in an irrelevant middle and was frustratingly self-descriptive. It sung along like a blind wire, and seemed even to attempt impotently to describe him in the moment. The strange epistle held in his hand had a charge as if written under moonlight. He looked away from the card and let it fall, fluttering silently away to a dark corner. He felt compelled to see himself and stepped further into the house to a half-lit mirror. The man gazing back did not menace, but was decidedly unfamiliar. They examined each other with curious unease.
24 October 2016
There was a woman who spoke only music. I say 'was' because she is gone now. I say 'music' because that is what came out of her, not words sung, no words. Not just humming, though hum she did, and whistle and click and clack and spit and sigh and warble and sing in any way you might imagine a person would make music without words, and many you would not because your imagination is not up to the task, bound as it is by words and syntax. That is how she would communicate, call and respond anyway. Her teachers, when she had them as a girl, were more than sympathetic. They were not martinets and she filled them with awe and wonder. She's not doing what she should, they would say, but we let her be, so unique and wondrous a child. The system of school, however, could not tolerate her and she was made to leave. Many people could understand the girl, a young woman by then. People from all walks of life: teachers, children, engineers, trash-men, doctors, fast-food-window workers, it did not really matter. Some did, some did not. There was no rhyme or reason, just a facility of reason open to her tones and rhythms. So it was perhaps just a series of misfortunes that led her through the people who would decide her fate, destroy her. The first was the social services worker who decided she needed to be evaluated, and who grew more resolute in her decision as the singing woman voiced her dissent in angry stochastic melody. Next was the evaluating clinician who could hardly be blamed for her evaluation, for her subject's songs grew confused and dis-harmonic in response to the dizzying evaluation questions. Of course, one could blame the sadistic operators of the institution that held the woman, who's neglect and torment tortured angry bellowing opuses out of her, filling the halls and rooms with ominous climbing and descending adagios. When they broke the woman, when she took her life, only the ignorant laundrywoman heard the haunting song.
17 October 2016
10 October 2016
03 October 2016
I love you, he says. What does that even mean, she replies. I love you, he says. You do but you're not very good at it, he replies. I love you, she says. He leaves the room, terrified. I love you, she says. Me too, she replies. I love you, she says. They change the subject abruptly. I love you, she says. I know, he replies. I love you, he says. You're a fucking liar, he replies. I love you, she says. Do you? he asks. I love you, they say. Then why do you hurt me, she asks? I love you, he says. Right now, in this moment, he replies. I love you, they say. I love you too, they reply. I love you, he says. You know better than that, she replies. I love you, he says. I didn't ask for that, she replies. I love you, he says. Its only fucking, she replies. I love you, she says. Prove it, she replies. I love you, they say. Please don't, he replies. I love you, she says. I used to love you, they reply. I love you, he says. Say it again, say it again, she replies. I love you, she says. She is asleep. I love you, she says. He is only a photograph, says nothing. I love you, they say. Goodbye, she replies. I love you, he says. You don't even know me, she replies. I love you, she says. That used to mean something, he replies. I love you, she says. Yes, you do, she replies. I love you, I say.
26 September 2016
Think of me, don't think of me. Think of you through me, my eyes, my gaze. Think of misty nights of bus-stop waiting, in blurred confidences buried securely in oblivion. Think of crying, solid-shouldered brotherhood and clumsy corner punching jaws. Think of love captured and committed, as complex as river-cut stone. Think of proud parent gazing down and the wonder: what happens when I fall? Think of you through me, aging friendship found and strained. Teeth on lips and shoulders, and 'you know better' and 'I know'. Think of fire-warmed skin in forest dark and all our gleaming-bodied friends. Think of scared unsure and hurt and the hope and grace of my strong-muscled hand in yours and yours in mine. Think of too worn apologies thrown and skipped and skipped and accepted into dark like river swallowed stones. Think of laughter, of teeth, of eyes. Think of the beauty of bodies aging, round or lithe. Think of sun-kissed shoulders new and tight, of chapped lips and the graceful lines of living long across your face. Think of holding me weak, of me holding you strong. Think of witness. Think each smell that holds a whole. Think that moment when, through me, you were all, and that walk away.
19 September 2016
16 September 2016
Its hard to explain what we do.
Tell me about your false idols:
Your father, run off and clarified.
Your earth god, harmless, impotent and benign.
Your lover, a furtive catalogue of desires and fading ecstasies.
Tell me of the power that pulls at your roots and wings and I will reply:
Zeus is a servant to thunder, and Kali a servant of death,
and Christ, a servant to the cursed tree.
The idol bull, washed and combed in warm milk and perfume,
waited upon by vestal oracles unblemished and beautiful --
that God of spring is a servant to, if not the sword, then the manure pile.
Tell me and I will ask, "Who serves you and where is the blood?"
06 September 2016
One of these mornings, some fine morning, we're going to go down. Down on to those waters, yes we're going to clean those waters like a swarm. Oh, we're going to filter those waters like oysters, like mussel clusters, like a host of shrimp. One of these mornings, oh its gonna come, that fine day, we're gonna go down to that shore. We're gonna give that boatman. that old ferry man, we're gonna give him a brand new silver dollar not to take us anywhere. That ferryman's gonna leave us there. One of these mornings we're gonna dig down in that mud with our naked toes. We're gonna lay down a new foundation . Oh we're gonna dig down in that mud like clams and lay a new foundation with our bones. Oh that lovely blessed day, we're gonna put up new walls smooth and white. We're gonna put up bleach white walls, pure and bright. Bright as that new day. One fine morning, some fine morning, we're gonna go down. We're gonna go down to our new houses shining in the blessed sun. Our star-roofed houses will have many rooms, each bigger than the next. Oh on that day, our houses will be ours. One of these days, we'll toss that poor ol' ferryman a bag of pearls. And then, oh then -- one of these fine mornings coming down, we're gonna lift up that house. Oh, we're gonna lift up our homes in this world. We're gonna lift up our new homes and we're gonna walk right on away.
22 August 2016
I woke today to a discomfited world. The air hung like coal grease and the wind, when it came, was too warm and from al the wrong places: refinery wind, desert strip-mine wind, smelter and kiln wind. I filled myself with this taxing air and my body responded in kind. My back and palms were damp and tacky - what had I touched? My armpits and crotch began a great primordial cultivation, little white pustules and an itch that grew angry with scratching. I got dressed. The news came on like a broken gasket faucet: disease, pestilence, starvation, (I could not turn it off) mass murder, corruption.... My sock fell into my shoe. Great institutions fell like pussy denigration. Leaders cried out like the squirm of eels, leeches, lampreys. Figureheads were the flies on the face of maddened beasts. There was grit in my ear. There was grime and stiff bristled hair in everything I touched, dark and crimped. I went outside but the sun was burning. I felt the cancer crisp up on the rims of my ears. I scratched the inside of my nose and pulled out blood. Death was everywhere, and worse still, pain, and beyond that, discomfort. My loved ones were weak and spiteful. My confidants were liars and cheats. Avarice and malice coated their actions like tar.
Did I ask, where is God in all this? No.
My pulse quickened at mention of rape. My knuckles strained for violence and my spit boiled to tear down.
Not where is god. Where is man?
These are the days when try means try.
Where am I?
15 August 2016
Came up from four-cornered desert. Ive got four lovers there.
First one rattletraps and drives out of Reno like a wild and speckled mare.
They got her slam-gated up on that highway down the coast,
bound for Pomona. They gonna break her over that glitter rodeo fence.
I come up from four-cornered desert like a lost postcard with too much blank space to fill.
Too much chalk-gypsum white light dust and time to kill.
My second lover was a ghost who spoke into herself and hid fierce scared eyes in wild dark hair.
Her freewheeling trailer is parked on bricks, and she won't come in till the well dusts dry.
Come up from four-cornered desert like an indian cross.
White bones under a hot yellow sun in a turquoise sky.
She's got that inlaid silver on her wrist.
All I remember is a bench seat on a school bus and a cool dry kiss
and too hot car seats and sweet cigarette breath and the dust in the light and the shimmer of heat.
Came up from four-cornered desert that no one is from, and all four directions are out and away.
Had a slim lover with a lean sharp sway.
She grew slow and ripe as a cactus on a windy hill.
She was a beauty but guarded and cruel.
When I think of her I think of a stunted bush we passed as we walked to school,
and in the hottest months, the fruit we stole and split and its sweet chill.
I come up from four-cornered desert horrified by my own magic and any magic I had grabbed:
silver rings and bracelets, bones and pomegranate seeds, all held up in a horse-hair bag
08 August 2016
The quote is something along the lines of: "Do you want to know the history of humanity? Killing children. Killing children is the history of humanity." A striking statement. Is it true? A game I play is to imagine the worse thing that could be happening and then know that it is likely, in a world as full and calloused as ours, that that thing is happening, or has recently or will soon. What morbid game. I've not completely sussed out how this exercise helps me but I know that it gives me an idea of the scope of the size of the world and somehow builds my compassion. Yes. children are killed horrifically the world over, but not so monotonously as to be the history of humanity. I think the assertion is true if we consider it metaphorically. What is above is the extreme, the outlier. But considering the children we all begin as, consider how rarely that child survives into adulthood, then yes, that is our history. Survivors are the outliers. I don't have some naivety about the innocence of children. They are brutal and selfish and shortsighted. But as a vicious dog is made not born, so an adult is made.
Here is what is murdered, here is the murder that we partake in: the death of marvel, the oblivion of the moment and most horrifically, the brutal evisceration of trust.
09 May 2016
Two lovers on the beach, bared soles of feet turned up to the sun. Young and trim theres nothing like it. Small boat is offshore tacking with clean white triangle sails. A whole warm world with cold only suggested, to tantalize. What does not glimmer ripple rumor and tremble here? What does not not feel that breath of promise. Breeze on sand, on water, in grass, in sail, on finest hair on skin. Young goose bumped lovers in the heat. Young lovers fingers buried oblivious, a whole warmth untroubled by the promise of shimmer. A family sits nearby. A cloud bank breaks the horizon. The tide works its way in. The breeze is making good on its promise. Have we ever held such smiles? A son capsizes his new boat. A daughter runs into the sea. Two lovers on the beach, naked to the world, light a joint, bury face in face. Youth, always youth.
02 May 2016
Seek a stillness in solitude with the wind's own sibilance.
Seek a stillness but not a silence:
Hush of breath, heart's ichor woosh, ceaseless whisper of world and whirl.
What words or wordlessnesses wayfare there?
Seek a stillness and hear.
Can we make the cooling cooking buzz of the far horizon,
The slow moan of plates and seas exalted and subsumed,
Patient histories of tribes and herds and trees?
Do we hear the grassy, snow-melting slouched shouldering of each season?
Do we hear the clicks and crunches of consume devour in root-balls and swaying blades of grass?
If we can hear these things, if we perceive some other scale of being, what does it say?
In my solitude, seeking stillness, I wonder at the power of the human day to overspeak, to stifle.
I wonder at the frailty of all these eternities in me collapsing in a human day
-- a scale of tires on roads, of cords and plugs,
the strange pains of want and need.
26 April 2016
My name is I have no name
My home is I am a stone in space
My family is I am alone
My pain is holding on of course.
My pain is holding course and my pain is letting go.
My pain is a flex of hot and cold.
It seems there's countless dust in space, not moving really, but drawing near or away. Each with pull and direction. Burning out and free with the borders of space a cold glowing dawn. Swirling together colliding, the fast coming horizon of a new day.
I'm feeling lost, so might you be, but whirl is king or queen and, cold or hot, is you and me.
11 April 2016
On the first day, you were clumsy and awkward. The wrong side of you hardened, like a wounded tree, You were rigid in that vernal desert stillness. You didn't need a rising sun on that first day. What did you need? You collapsed like the snap of a whip. That first day was so hard on you. The other days may have been worse, but that first was the hardest, an uncompromising day.
On the second day you dreamt and wandered. You wandered like an Israelite. You wrestled through forty days of fever dreams. You lay on the cool floor. Your stern father came, contentious. On that second day your father came and you turned him away. Your brother too, came, suborn and pleading. On the second day your brother came. You embraced him and asked him to leave. He said farewell with a kiss on the cheek. On that long second day your lover came. We've never touched, she said, though lovers, you insisted, you were. That night the moon waxed full. That night the fever broke and you awoke. She sat beside you in a chair combing oil through her long hair.
On the third and final day, the sun was weak. It shared the sky with that gravid moon. On that third day you gave fond farewells to everyone. Your eyes were like a calm and kind embrace. You father you forgave. Your brother you forgave. Your lover, you betrothed. And even me, a guilty friend beside you, you blessed with joy.
We mourn joyfully and the moon is brighter still with the blushing of the setting sun.
04 April 2016
28 March 2016
Politics, ugh. What short-memoried hope. Does anything trickle down but fear and hate? Look to the person looked down upon: whom do they look down upon and why? The racist poor, misogyny, well groomed cul de sac households terrified of far off mud hut dwellers.
The only thing I can hope with is love. The only thing I have to will is love. The only bravery that can exist is love. Well then what the fuck is love? Its people are persons. Consider the corruption of power. I've always read that from within a group, that power leads to graft and fraud and violence, but those are all external actions that affect the group or the polis. What is really corrupt, like a worm gouged fruit, is a person. A person who, having achieved what they have sought, is pathetic in the insecurity of that false goal. Poor helpless sucker who must resort to ever more desperate, ever more corrupting shoring up of a crumbling edifice about them. If that sounds familiar, it should. On some level that is each of us.
What the fuck is love? Read The Secret. Just kidding, don't read that crap. But understand it is an exploitation of a real and true and universal thing. Confirmation bias doesn't do it justice. That assumes we are always making judgements. I would say the secret is more of an input filter, a screen or strainer. The world is a horrible dangerous place. So it is, inarguably. The world is an interconnected web of symbiotes. True! The world is inexplicable spirit. Of course! The world is a series of chance probabilities. You are clearly right. But we see one and exclude the others and start rattling with cognitive dissonance like an old car going too fast down the highway. We are all fooling ourselves with certainty and its terrifying to not.
What the fuck is love? Its right in front of you. Can you vote for it?
21 March 2016
I am reminded how I used to sit with all the characters I could stand to be: Adam to Zenophon, Gilgamesh to the futurists. I slink low in my chair under the remembered weight. I pushed dull blades into my chest, trying to get at that wizened pit. I wondered at my parents, teachers, friends, schools, churches and books, and could not grasp a blame. I used to crux myself, as man, within the planned arc of man. I am reminded, recently, of all that.
One river may pollute the ocean and one mill may pollute the river, but it is the need for a mill on a river, and the need for that need.
Well, I know that I am not a stone and not a tree. I am not really man. I am not the sea.
I am the nameless, speechless thing that peers out.
I cannot claim to matter, but also I am not an insignificant being.
I am reminded of a pain that now recedes.
I am sitting in a coffee shop, surveying people and things: the plank tables glued or joined, solid and well milled, fresh and clean. But none is impervious and each will warp and bow and split with time, and in my attempts at being, at words and naming things, those boards remind me of you and me. And also, of what we are not, of what we relate to but are intrinsic to.
Like trees, we reach and root to desires. We attach.
Like the sea, we precipitate in moody flows and seasoned tides and gravity.
Like other beings, we toss painfully and pleasurable at the beings we call 'me'.
14 March 2016
To see as a stone, a geolithic indifference. To know that heat will follow cold, that pain will crumble to the comforting pulse of annihilation. To sit and not to respond. Thrust up to grinding glacial peaks, rolled and split, a pit held between the teeth of water and air. To sit like a sage on the seafloor waiting without hope for the tides to recede. To love and lust for only one thing -- the strain of gravity.To only join with and to. To only join with other stones. Indifferent to dayless space, carelessly collecting, brilliantly discarding frosty dust, seeking only parabolic speed of pull. The only thing to hold is weight. The only pull is gravity. The only things are other stones: melted and fluid, vaporous and free, organized -- for moments -- and alive. To vaporize in the friction of pull. To impact and melt.
To dissolve in the pulse between one pull and another. To dissolve in the freedom of weightlessness. To commune with solvent water. To commute in bloody tides and ichor currents. To be as stone harnessed and unharnessed. Harnessed by gravity; unharnessed in liquid suspension. To be as stone, itinerant traveler of days flickering by like film. To be as stone, witness impassive and unimpressed the gradual imminence of erosion. To be what is and only that and then to not, to falter and seam, to split and to tumble, to gather and release, to melt igneous, to seek and stack, to compress and granulate. To swallow chalky skeletons, to seek a mean, to dissolve and always -- above all -- gravity, To crystalize.