Sunday, January 30, 2011

251. Questions after the Fact of Answers

A: Interminably.

Q: What?

A: Interminably long.

Q: But in answer—

A: A rose would taste as sweet.

Q: Taste or smell?

A: Scent or receipt.

Q: For what?

A: In exchange and valued.

Q: Meaning?

A: Always.

Q: But again I ask—

A: It is a passion for me.

Q: To?

A:. . . do and have done, ta-da!

Q: Yet—

A: No, but yes. Instead, say, Yes.

Q: Yes?

A: As you will it, so it is done.

Q: I?

A: Or U, half of Us.

Q: I am asking the questions, you know?

A: How do you know the questions I know?

Q: No.

A: “Know” isn’t a question. It’s an action of holding a thought in place.

Q: Place?

A: Where you are?

Q: Where?

A: To drape against your body to cover it.

Q: Against?

A: I am only for.

Q: For what?

A: Maybe snowflakes in the palm of your hand till they melt into it.

Q: Do you understand me?

A: Impeccably.

Q: Then why do you not answer my question?

A: How?

Q: To me.

A: You, too?

Q: No, I am asking the questions.

A: Are you sure?

Q: Yes.

A: Could you prove it?

Q: Sure. Give me a minute.

A: Ready?

Q: Set.

A: Fire.

Q: Do you feel the heat of those flames, cupped in the fireplace, against your feet?

A: Yes.

Q: Are you warm, even now that it’s winter.

A: Yes.

Q: Will you stay up the night writing?

A: Yes.

Q: What will you write?

A: This.

Q: Meaning?

A: These words.

Q: Those you are saying?

A: Those both of us are saying.

Q: So you’ll remember what both of us say?

A: No.

Q: Then what?

A: Then I’ll write something else.

Q: No. But what will you do if not remember what we’ve said?

A: I’ll invent it.

Q: And put new words in my mouth?

A: And place the only words you have, my words, in your mouth.

Just One Letter to Begin It

A

Saturday, January 29, 2011

250. In the Updraft of My Shoulders

I, for the first part:

windbreak and breached along the circumference of a line

an instrument of the word and instrumental in its demise
I am, at long last, impetuous and given over to self-doubt

modulated, labored (as breathing or birth), and resonant
blanched and almonds for the shape of the eyes upon me
numb and mumbling into humbling sleep and slouching

touching lightning to leave the greatest shadows behind
disheveled, splintered, withered in even the thought of it
wedged into and threaded through so deep I cannot move
tilt toward wilting hills until the rest can be undreamed

what it is that dissolves and darkens into fertile decay
dense but endowed with an enervating lexical sense
residue of definition upon me that I could not wash off
between the least usurpation and the greatest acquiescence
tenderly, with obfuscated silence and intended unravelings


II, for the two of me:

luminous with encrustations of glittering veils and a beach laid out

stabbed and shattered, I am inhuman enough to forget the reason
damp with songbirds, and inaccessible to subliminal substance

segments of scripts and fictions that must be thrashed or wreathed
distinct from cognition, the pollinated blossom, whose pollen is I
in the indeterminate midst, and immense, soft mist through the reeds

I am warped from white and wisteria, all that’s wrapped in weeping
the tapestry of raspberry across the arm in blades of intricate absence
thrust and must, tattered from the momentary, luxurious, hunched
slipped and muscled under encrypted twisting, slipping swiftness

straddled in a muddled way, absent measured attribution or scribbling
extricable but ballasted, viscous, and totally heartless in its own way
as I dwell within the jarring flame of field and furrows set for morning
olate, makeshift, unctured, fibrous, as if gauze has sprouted her wounds
moon’s message comes sterile but meaningful for we cannot linger there


III, for the meeting of moods:

rhythmic rides inscribed upon the skin imprinted with the forms of flaying

erratic aggregates, clusters of ducks hurled after pearls and peals
the needlessnesses of my heart riddled after itself and hollow quaking

rooted in the thistles charred from fires made of thistless whistlings
clotted panic, the way they scattered as if meaning for destruction
pleated cadence, how my wrist went into whispers of blood and perishings

alphabets pillaged for a poem and worshiped only for their nakedness
the structure of humming, immaculate in its back-glancing perditions
imbued with bullience and planks of evening air out through my heart
taut right angles of illegible fragrances, vaporous and pouring onto us

stripped and scrapped and pressured into wasted carbuncular lights
folded into muscles of depleted gulfing before incommensurabilities
I stood, exhausted and rippling with heat, in the atmospheric void
pillow for the teeth, and the florescent light of the garden woke me
sometimes weightlessly in waves, sometimes released against giant oaks


IV, for the fortunate:

either relenting or glistening, he could not extend to that slender point

facets of canceled stamps, and the syllables of straw swarming around us
quilted light and the reason I gave to loosen these sudden pigments into flight

cerulean reaches, past arborescent levitations, in ribbons of narrow sorrows
the pulping of every word displaced but in continuous impressions of death
my rafters crumpled into throes of mirrors milking eyes for desperate sight

articulate tracery lost and wrought upon the field of finding the way
embroidered voices, but pronged for fighting, clatter, suspended in breath
I stutter at the edge of dream spooling off into reverberating blackness
proffered woodlands without rungs, or feet for running upon them

canonical signatures gone into remission and buoyed by brasive skeins
plump, pendulous putrescence of a rococo deity forgotten except for tokens
unremitting grammar gleans consummate memories from dispersion
my knotted musculature is what sworn oaths obliterated in the aftermath
glowed as a swelling unsheathed, yet enough for comparable differentiations


V, for the season of flying:

hallucinatory now and the cloud of sleep darkens into cystic versions of me

creasing the sound into folds of my fingers, florid and retreating from the caves
rendered gutted, sotted, humpbacked, stuccoed, and in golden sycamore light

stratified, but calcified into vestiges that reminded them of eloquence
the calligraphy of blossoms, the scribbles of seeds so that so many were born
mistakable indentations in my own skin, unrecognized except as skin

cupped in the process of recuperation, I left sleeping for the deaf or bereft
the flection equivalent to shadow fanning out into the spectacle of speaking
unconstellated, imperceptible, amoral, illogical, decrepit, and brushed off
ephemeral bundles of existence is all we could stitch with a hummingbird

a sequence of ellipses in the frequency of fractures or even thinner than that
we are burnt but verdurous, written as if infused with moons and mirrors
troughs vested with slender threaded rhythms and wefts toward echo
contrapuntal motions against the concupiscent mouths we give each other
shh, it is but ash, and shudders, transitive, ponderous, and mute

Friday, January 28, 2011

249. La Vita Nuova

of the air in the reign of the body
from the body in the space of the air

with the rising of the breath of the body
at the loss of a grasp of the air

we take it in little pieces

icicle in the place of a palm
held enough to make for melting

bit of snow for the powder
but it melts

enough time and a black lake

white snow melts to black water
black water runs to white

toothpicks out of the smallest icicles
and we can drink what they melt into

our skin wet
from snow and ice

water is the form flesh takes
before it takes to flight

night is the shape of sleeping
and tastes the breath of snow

ave icicles
ave avenue of icicles across the eaves

with morning and sun and crashing
down of ice the world is once again alive

dragged or drug out of the water
and wet and wrinkled yet

pulling a body that is his own
body out of the pooled water

a wet man drenched in the pond of the cold water of the cave

water makes light
or makes the most of it

piston of the body as a leg
pillow of the body as a head

intricacies of enticement
in the body of water

amen and ave

amen
and ave to the people of water

amen
and ave to the rivers of ice off the roof

amen
and ave to the blank waters we sink beneath

water as ink
it covers us as a page

water as ink
we disappear into the making of our own words

if I could speak
I would not write this down

if I could speak
I would not write

if I could speak
I would not

if I could speak
I would

find the smallest breath of ice
to make a winter song with

Thursday, January 27, 2011

248. Worsted Words



ʌŋ
ʌŋ
ʌŋ

tla tla iːtl la ha
iːtl la ha ha

uːŋ
uːŋ
uːŋ

tla tla iːtl la ha
iːtl la ha ha

yːŋ
yːŋ
yːŋ

tla tla iːtl la ha
iːtl la ha ha

uːŋʰ
uːŋʰ
uːŋʰ

tloiː ll tloiː ll
tan də lə haiːjə
tloiː ll tloiː ll
tan də lə haiːjə hoiːjədə

uːŋkʰ
uːŋkʰ
uːŋkʰ

tiːamboʊ hiːjapaija
hiːjapaija hɔŋiːtɔŋo
hɔŋiːtɔŋo
hɔŋiːtɔŋo
hɔŋiːtɔŋo

hɔŋkiːtɔŋo la pa

ʃːː ʃːː ʃːːːː
ʃumbaiː taiːka
ʃumbaiː taiːka
ʃumbaiː taiːka wæʊ
taiːka wæʊ wæʊ ʃːːːː

uːŋk
uːŋk
uːŋk

ʒːː ʒːː ʒːːːː
ʒumbaiː taiːka
ʒumbaiː taiːka
ʒumbaiː taiːka wæʊ
taiːka wæʊ wæʊ ʒːːːː

ʘʰ
ʘʰ
ʘʰ

siːuːkeiːɔːː
siːuːkeiːɔːː
siːuːkeiːɔːːːː

noloteiːaiɔːm
noloteiːaiɔːm
noloteiːaiɔːm bɔːː


ǁǁ
ǁǁ
ǁǁ

tiːpwɔiː ete
tiːpwɔiː ete
tiːpwɔiː ete a la pataiːa
pataiːa tiːpwɔiː

!
!
!

kwe
kwe
kwe
kwe
kwe
kwe
kweːː

!
!
!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

247. A Poem Left Under Suspicion

I don’t write poems for cities
even the one I live in

          in a desultory way
          unengaged
          with harbor from winter
          and the snow comes down

          Sometimes at night
          as each snowflake is caught
          in the light through the house
          and out to the street

          each is a moth
          fat and wet and
          fluttering down
          into damp piles of wet moth

I don’t remember the dead
who’ve died almost on my doorstep

          the homeless man
          found deep enough into spring
          that the snow had melted away
          to reveal him

          dead from winter
          from the cold or
          illness and buried
          deep into snow

          at the end of our alley
          but right off it into the
          edge of the woods
          that’s the edge of our park

          or the boy beaten
          in the park’s playground
          to death by a group of kids
          one a student of my wife’s

          all for an offense
          against some point of honor
          no longer remembered
          or kept inside the heart

          or just before this last
          Christmas Eve and the man
          a week after a fire that gutted
          his apartment building

          around the corner from here
          and he wasn’t missed for
          all that time
          taken away wrapped in a tarp

          my son and his girlfriend
          driving by saw the transfer
          of the body to the authorities
          and continued on

          all of these dead
          men by the way
          but that one student
          a girl

So you can see
why I don’t write poems about cities

          not even this one
          good enough to live in
          rotted out by its own
          grand past

          the birthplace of television
          which I rarely watch
          an industrial city
          of electricity and trains

           “the city that lights
          and hauls the world”
          thousands once downtown
          only to build things

          of metal and might
          but we are long past
          that industrial past
          we try to keep present

This letter I meant
as a birthday wish
and I suppose mentioning it
somehow makes it so

but it’s not about this city
where I write my words
where I sit in the dark
awaiting the onset of slumber

Self-portrait with numbers

JoAnne Growney introduces my letter to her.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

246. The Salt and Crust of the Earth

Feldspar the Magnificent
Giant Lion of the Ultimate Vein of Disturbance
Franklin of the Eastern Realm of Tennessee
The Distinguished Condolences of the Rightward Tendencies
Mathman of the Working Until the Dishes are Clean League
Clarence, the Sainted Angel of Your Local School District
Samson Without Whom We Would Walk Ourselves Bald
Slim Sarah Solvent of the Graduated Cylinder
Frog-Eyed Old White-Haired Man of Arizona
Glumpy, the Bulbous Bagpiper
Entreaty, the Last Gasp of Hope
Odium, the Transcontinental Flyboy
Leroy of the Rural Electrocution Program
Cardamon of the Interstate Olfactory Commission
Beauty’s Burgeon of the Miraculous Vision
Constant Delivery of the Great Expostulations
His Lordly Highness Fallen Asleep with a Smile on His Face
Avuncular Dissenter by the Waters of the Great Divide
Periwinkle, the Color of the Snail’s Flower
Virgin Milliner Who Faces Fantastic Futures
Barney, Both Bipolar and Bipartisan
Articulate, the Aspirational
Corporal Hurtle of the Union of Extravagant Hyperbole
The Grand Panjandrum of Popular Poetic Parlance
Inspired Mr Miracle and His Band of Holy Revelers
His Excellency the Lord Exchequer of Sweet Deals
Bulletproof the Well Armed by Five
Carbon, the Debtor Copied over from Debt
Who It is Who Has Said All that Need Be Said
The Great and Powerful Ooze
The Twins Budge and Nudge
Coruscating Hawkeye in the Bluing Sky
The Porter across the Void
Sir Kinder Knight of the Rolling Woods
The Heralded Armory of Love
Distance Vision Whose Myopia Radiates
The Version of the Song Remembered Only from the Middle
Vanilla, the Faint but Powerful Aphrodisiac
The Great Silver Maple of the Western Forest
Cognac, the Sharp and Smoothing
Barleycorn, the Middling Virtue of Overlooking
Sir Mister Toad of Carmarthenshire Passageway
Night Tremors Situated by the Firelight
Metaphor, the Son of Virgil
The Glorious Minions Who Molded the Forms of Desire
Charles, the Fat and Bald
Hieronymus Balthasar, the Well Named Satyr
Liquor the Greatest of Muses
King General Fairview the Pious
Whisper the Flatfooted
Gordian Knot Duke of Westphalia and All the Phalias
Aloof I of the Cold Unwelcoming North
Basil the Byzantine Emperor of Green Sense
Cross-Eyed George XIII
Balance, the Hunchbacked
Dawdle, King of the Romans
Torque, Grand Duchess of Reverie
His Serene Highness Prince Albert in a Can
Marshall Marmot, Viscount of the Least Burrow
Rear-Admiral Sir Dysentery of the Bowels
Colonel Maze of Drunkenness and Delusion
Duke of the City of Empty Losses
Malcontent, the Great and Tall Hound Island Dragon
Malatesta y Testamala
Rosary Prime Concubine of Concupiscence
The Powerful Peter Purview of the Potentate of Potential
Mary of Undifferentiated Disturbances
Una, She Who Must Be Assessed
Regurgitated Thought of Unending Colloquia
Mural, the Always Successful Sultan and the Conqueror of Banality
Bertrand, the King of Popes
Tawdry, the Unburned
Paris, the Paris of France
Cardinal Sin Minister Plenipotentiary and Healer to the Sick
Sackbut, the Musical Minister to the Misled
Admirable, Le Soupçon de Huit Ans Longtemps
Queen Patricia Matriarch of All Visible Realms
Zenith the Lesser
Balustrade from Whom We Are Eternally Separated
Adam of Scotia and the Minor Islands of the Mohawk
King Vitriol of Upper Registers
Casement, Son of Casement
Hedwig, First Daughter of the Ancient Realm of Venus
Unrevised of the United Monarchy of Saints
Capsicum, Hurrier of Tongues
Mica the Fragile

Monday, January 24, 2011

245. Locations and Dislocations

from a grave distance
in an abundance of forms
despite the rigors required
of all the situations you hadn’t conceived
before deliberately intending
on the assumption of thrones
concerning facts never presented
through the animated rain
beyond the substance of act
past demonstrating illness
underneath frustration augmented by attentiveness to detail
beneath contempt
save for borrowing kindness as if sugar
using every means of forging
opposite delivery and with no concern for desire
out of frequency and without bastion
between bargaining and battered
at the point of purging the vein and the eye
till radiating forth a smile
though confronting backwardnesses
round every means of controlling morning sickness
about to be
minus the simple idea that everything was all
beside himself with reason
per the rules of the purse strings
within the pulse and the pressure
over the entire thing
amid the muck and mess and matter
excluding the usual exceptions afforded the well-to-do
but for the reason of never bequeathing
since the only possibility was not to
up to the one propelled by the greatest urging
besides the expectations of failing
inside the mind calcified by inaction
aboard the stalwart ship of fools
like unto one of us not awarded the benefit of belief
regarding the temporary state of the coliseum
detrimental to the agency of invention
toward perfidy
below the superimposed nadir
outside the tendency to estimate fairly
upon the throne of thorns
accumulating detritus
during the ceremony of defeat
ranging forward but slantwise into ice
off the reservations of the talented
through marvelous loss and damage
with watering mouth and anxious tongue
as a way of calculating prestige
considering death
into the last pupil of the last eye of the last one
unlike Versailles
above conscription
behind the wheel of a cheese
excepting the unavoidable vagaries of fate
than he would rather have had
around a bout of cancer
following after the only one he couldn’t find
plus the ridiculous harmonies of his stomach
versus adversity and ordeal
among the ancients and their orbs of flame
near less experience
until no more
for the gnarl of reason
down a long way from his starting point
under thunder
via the strains of violins and a life
across the hot sands of determination
throughout my house or ours
to a man
against regret as a symptom of breathing
by the time they’d reached Gehenna
towards though never quite to or true
after the last possibility had been exhausted by racing
except today
given reason to believe something not in evidence
along the River Styx
onto the vestiges of disgrace
touching the sensitive subject of objection
anti every participle of his speech
barring access to the levers of the hearth
cum love cum warm cum slept beneath the table
sans repair
alongside the terrors of mitosis
including those relegated to disuse
worth every want
astride further reaches of the body
circa twenty and then twenty more
pending the certain censure of the public
amongst fool children
counting any slight bigger than a fingernail
less their subsequent interminable complaining
pro whistling and happy for it
respecting anyone’s right to disrespect
amidst controversy and cankers
bar the best drinker in the place
saving the least for last
atop the corpses of defeat
notwithstanding her need to define the manner of conclusion
without regret

A Slow Beginning to the Night's Letter

from a grave distance
in an abundance of form
despite the rigors required
of all the situations you hadn’t conceived
deliberately intended
on the assumption of thrones
concerning facts never presented

Sunday, January 23, 2011

244. The Furious Function of Forgetting

Then in the drawn word, from static, aureoles when you move
in a solid slope of brandy, boxed bandages of syntax
among the pyracantha. If it were the fruit you were after,
there would be no way to determine what came before.

The talk resembled the finality of days, or their light,
and feeble scattered lights buttressing our quiet resolve to see,
thus the words we chose required no illumination and provided
none. It was how we had made a habit out of the virtue,
how a window arose, symbolically at least, to block our view,
to set a course eastward over Iowa, accepting the blessings
that checkerboarded snow would provide, even on Sunday.

You could, in that way, ask,
audience to the symbol vault, if derision’s vaunted
pleurisy, in monumental profusion, would be sufficient
to warm the hand of even the most comrade
among your foes. With such decisions, music,
sunlight dappled poplar, the inhalation of richness,
capsules of eucalyptus, pages of its leaves, its bark
unrolling in strands, thus walking as if inkfooted through.

Impressions of your comprehension of tension,
the tactile foot, tongue tapped in time to the tune
each word revealed, dances that lasted the night,
which itself could not distinguish between late evening
and early morning, everything going glass,
senses of the body of words.

Elliptical but pronounced epiphytically,
dungeons of crabs, associated with scallions,
distributed by the grace of circumstance.
Every one entire unto itself. All the reasons
to carry it segregated from those not meaning more,
again for the benefit of demonstrating
forth.

Her supporters were lesions,
handed to and suppurations at supplication’s behest,
sweetest dullest ichor, liquid and liquidation
of the body before her, what cannot be recovered,
reupholstered, set again into a holster, because dark
at just the moment requiring light, screwdriver
in an eyesocket, light fixture, but she is not corrected
so it swings, as a drunken pendulum, silently
and invisibly to our blind eyes.

Regret, what continues as grating against the cage
of heartsickness, bucket of blood but as palmsful doubled,
over into porcelain, midnight agrarian heavings,
the plotted life plowed and furrowed, her browbeaten
bent for rising made risible, in singing and the ringing
of bluebells for her bonnet, auburn hair
and the fingers of your lakes running through it.

Thrive to temper, to dodge, to repel,
to expel forcefully from a central point, to dislodge,
to engorge, to reverse from sideways to a sliding,
scant results from entreaties to stop, to engender,
to correlate, to excoriate, to disturb, to entomb.
Action as an articulation and an antecedent,
thus wreckage, thus thumbscrewed courage, thus
bilious aureate mornings after the frozen fact of night.

The world below us, the earth beneath, the globe
before us, radiates from the point of eyesight (“I who am
on the bridge, and thus part of the bridge, the reason
the bridge exists, the explanation for bridgeness, two
sides of a river brought into the walking through
of a single place”) with lines intersecting lines of sight
and human habitation, their habitual habit of reducing
the complex to the cartoon, so it is as faces of
them who have come before you, beneath and below,
yet recognizable by by neither scent nor sentience but sentence,
tucked away in rambling cartons of unmediated fact.

Facing impractical probability
insists insinuating biases, bolstered breviaries
of your own fate, yet or the contumely required of yet.
Wrested out of frozen feces and held until warm enough
to rinse through the rind of, to wrinkle by wrist, to tender
tenderly implying the last dollar of possibility, to
cherish before perishing, to symbolize simply as if relegated
to fact, to fracture into febrile jewels, to modulate and
massage the muscled bone of.

You are, of course, given of and given to
and given forth to function in this manner
with this matter, tireless thumbnails
revolving through the eyeless sanctuaries
of every memory you never kept.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

243. Plastic Words

Not as
essence
without
purity

a layer
of word
& a layer
of plastic

It is a
plastic
word &
world
where
we speak
what we
cannot
know or
hope to
make into
know

Essence
of a letter
read as a
road or
read as a
series of
words
made up
out of
letters

Purity
as the
sense
of the
word
as the
essence
of itself

Sense
as the
idea that
a word
could hold
within
its body
even the
vague
outlines
of a
thought

Thought
as a
thing that
a word
could hold
in one form
and that
image could
hold in
another

Word as
a plastic
thing
made for
playing
& twisting
out of
shape

Word as
a thing
written
into shape
and shaped
into thought
and sent
through the
mails to
be found in
another home

as if a surprise
even if not.

And Only the Title for Today's Poem

On Friday Mourning

Friday, January 21, 2011

242. On Friday Mourning

We are, maybe, a strange people,
as comfortable as we are
around the bodies of our dead.

It is always the living
we find difficult to deal with.

We have pictures now
of all of us and each of us
with your mother lying
quietly in her coffin

a bit plumper than she has been
in recent years and more comfortable
because her suffering has disappeared.

Death is the best remedy
for any disease, though
we don’t want it to be so.

Only you understand the end
of your mother’s suffering, because
only you were there for it.
You were our witness, and we know
it was a pitiless job, one designed
to wear you away. That it didn’t
succeed, that you stayed with us,
after so many years without sleep,
awaking every few hours to keep
our dear aunt breathing, means
that you have survived, that
the time has come for you.

To care for another person,
especially to care for one as you did
for your mother, is an honorable activity,
one that accepts the fact that
we are not here to be separate
from others, to live our lives
individually, but to live them
with others and for others.

You did this for your mother,
but now you are left with
the more difficult task,
one of caring for yourself.

Since you live in a place
that you do not understand
the magic of

(because I couldn’t learn it
without living away from it
for the decades that I have)

you should reconsider
the earth, the soil beneath
your feet

the scented earth
you walk upon each day.

Understand the scent of a place
and you will come
to understand what it means.
And to live among eucalyptus
is to live within the secrets
of the earth. You are a body
designed to perceive the sights
and scents and sounds around you

so take the time to accept them
to accept a new life for yourself

one unburdened
of the toil of caring for another
but one burdened by the loss
of that burden.

There are things we want
more than life itself, but
in the end we have to accept life.

You know this, I know,
but what else can I say
to thank you?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

241. These Ears of Ours

The smallest unread books
are the poetical works
of writers we can no longer
understand the voices of

We are deaf
to their words
and their words
are invisible
to us

The most vital books
we forget to read
are those we make of
ourselves just as our
aunt and sister-in-law
created the book that
was her life just as
all of us create
each other’s lives

We are born into
the inescapable arc
of our living


Rose bengale à Couer blanc et Hépatique

Here I am

returned to place
found as myself within the barriers of the past
come here for the end of a future

but not the

Within the boundaries of this room
where we sit with her

who is silent
who is motionless
whose skin is cold
her flesh stiffened
by the preparations of death

there are placed
against the walls
quiet prints that name for us

(in French)
a random collection of flowers

I read them silently
to myself to hear
the foreignness of their names
and faces

One of them has a white heart

one drained of blood

and most are somehow
whitened out of fact
and into the considerations of memory


Giroflée rouge et Géranium blanc

As I was born here
so has she died here

as every beginning
leads to an end

Around the block
and walking for a sense
a renewed memory of winter
in this place of
birth and death
and I see the plantings
people have set around their homes
those vegetable beings
left in continuous place
beyond the corporeal time
of peripatetic bodies
who do not stay in place

We are gyrations
in bodies of thought
and movement left
or moving through
but unconfined by
space except that
our minds make it so


Laurier blanc et Liserons

The sky is white in the imagination
to form a page against which the plants
can stand in silhouette and contrast
every feature created in pencil or watercolor

and the plants are not
the plants of my current home
slumbering through winter and ice

This modest neighborhood supports
jade plans four feet tall, slender young
eucalyptus that I don’t know if they’ll grow
into the giants that cover the ridge
to the west of us, rosemary, lemon trees
burdened by bearing, palm both tufting
into bushes and stretching into thin tubes
up over the housetops, even birch.

What gives birth
in each place
of our habitation
are these plants
set in the ground
to exceed our time
for staying here


Rose bengale élégant et Oreilles d’Ours

We bear the burden
of the loss of a woman
with us less than a tree
through the sidewalk
but meaning more
even in her disappearance
from us

We listen with the ears
we see with to the voice
she doesn’t make a sound with
and all we hear is breathing

and all we hear
is the singing
of her lungs

Today's Poem So Far

Given any opportunity, I would take
the advantage to say that we were
The Poetical Works of Jeaneen Ferraris,
that we are the books she’s left behind.
She had created us, just as all of us
create each other. We are born into
the inescapable arc of our living.

Rose bengale à Couer blanc et Hépatique

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

240. Subject Manner

(else this isle

of impulsive noise
partly lawned)

Breath, look—
loop it could be
detailed in connections

all this stuff in
shuffling
which runkles

hearing a silver car
sun-dappled and ivy-clad

Ascot, the truck
you can trust.

A big building
so narrow a compass

cotton fibre
deep-coated in clear
memory of hills
have just outlined
much of this

the world appeared

based on the attenuation
of the day, I’ll take this
slope of reference
to strim verges

everyday metonymic expressions
of subduction
forgotten, fluent and persuasive

anorexic fix
becomes visible in the trees
(sweet and persuasive)

how they tremble and shine
some force of allusion

blue among blue
aqua, eucalyptus
vapour, a figure of
two lines of slow
threshold

exact details of
“s” rubbed pretty
ordnance according to a pattern
without a centre

Obscenity poses like a father
from being to begin

broken cliff edge of red
of deluxe sentiment

embrace of a strange woman
bloodstained hankies
faintest touch of lips on the
peaches and penumbras!

blonde astonishment
up the seams

Ears are full of snow
baffling twilight instruments

the compass turned again
flattens our hopes
or mouth, wherever blood
in ordnance, inks, and symbols
wears a clock

out of emphysema
up into the cruellest

You in Dementia
lit by lightning night,
an ermine sleeve,

and writes
a public language
known of apperception
whilst making a continuous strand

In misrecognition
I’ll take a drink
of gothic jumps
a surplus of frames

unease
I want

some threadbare dignity
in its fusion
there is no evidence

underneath chairs
slow rain

agapanthus
sounds we emit

a bunch of fresh coriander
signs printed on the bottle

probes into the vent
into the bladder
with anaesthetic
for the left

No specific memory
eats any kind of little dream

unified flatness
colourful life

explosive wind
and salt water

in scarlet
or stainless

through brine
the remaining
mist condenses on the trees

attaching to ears
other signs of confusion

inscribing or grafting

this
finally integrated
figurative

silky excremental colours
flecks of blood on vitreous china

the cheek bone
eyes enlarged
the slim magic

Any father who has a daughter
saw people feeding each other
down through trees

a question of accumulation
and dusk was just falling

the impression of brightness
comes touched with snow

Glue and apple fibre
fritillaries
where oxlips peep

in the reconstructed
sugar and vanilla

hushed is that sufic
to earth o’ergiven:

in indigo
lyric outbursts
torn off endings

Paste or past
It is our poetry such as it is—

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

239. To the Other Side

Left Schenectady in the ice and snow and darkness

Trees as giant naked ghosts in the rain
coming down in the color of snow

or rain itself was the ghosts
were the ghosts
Hazy indeterminate
ill fitting
Spilling out of the night

There is a mess to moving

through any space
across any period of time

Leaving for California in the morning
and a funeral

on your side of the country
on the edge of my birth

continental edge

I say, “I’m from
the other Side
of the continent”

as if Side were the term
we would generally use

The dead Sleep gently
because they don’t sleep

and their dreams
are bolts of black cloth unfolding
before their eyes and after
their eyes stop seeing

All that blackness for so little purpose

Going to California
so people assume

] within the bounds of snowy
upstate New York [

that I will be at least warmed
by the Californian sun

but I’m from northern California
that pocket of Mediterranea
we call the Bay Area

peninsular by birth
born between the Bay
and the Violent Pacific

as if bound for water

and baptism by every form
of Water

one being the snow coming down today
that turned to tiny Fists of ice
that turned again to raining Against us

and the weather I’m heading for
will sink to 39 degrees on Thursday
(and that’s not Celsius)

even summers can be cold
in San Francisco

it is a barely tamed tip
that northern reach of my peninsula

and I go there to see
my dead aunt who once lived
Hollowed out by emphysema
she was always breathing oxygen

air just too mild a gas for her

yet she remained herself

hardly bowed
at least her personality
by the desperate need to breathe

she was funny
kind, goofy
in the way I’d want my only

aunt by blood

to be
and she loved my own family
the one I made
Had made

It may all be a trick
tho
of expectation

since she is my godmother
given thus responsibilities
serious and heady I’m told

to guide me

as if guiding
were a particularly practical path
for anyone to follow
on my account

And when my mother
died
in a second split as her ribs
were split
as one force of speeding steel
hit her lugubrious station wagon
broadside
at the intersection cradling
a towering white church
in one corner

then my aunt
my mother by god
had a greater
responsibility for me

] or would have if I
had not be 39 at the time

but time or age
does not or do
not always matter [

or maybe she felt it
even
tho she
knew there was nothing
to feel

no need to care
for a father of two

This is how
we come to the place
to the way
of missing someone
I see only
Every few years

or did See
or Had
because she is unSeeable now

she is
for certain
still corporeal
but not embodied

she has been released
to bolts of black cloth

as blind to blackness
as I am blind to her

Yet I might see her again

] not because of the regenerative
myths of afterlifes and realms
of grand surreal rewards [

because my family
watches the bodies of our dead
after they die

] I just don’t know
if her sons want that
or not [

but if I see her
I’ll know she’s not There

Still I respect
the body, a bag
of Bones and blood

and I’ll give my own possible Blessing to that body

and kiss her goodbye

] just as I have, since three
years of age, Kissed away
all four grandparents
and My mother [

for my aunt
was not her body but
her Body was a part of her
apart

] and we are not queasy
at the sight of our own
sanitized dead maybe

because we come from
a genealogy of morticians

(I appreciate the sense
of Death in that word)

and know the body’s
sacred [

When I saw my mother
a color off but still
her I kissed her goodbye

] last one I have
and that almost a dozen
Years ago [

And I played with
her Fingers
supple because time
has passed beyond
rigor mortis

(death Returns)

she was Cold
but moving
in my hands playing
the keys of
my own fingers
against me

and so I’m
Leaving for
California tomorrow

To see
the Dead
away

and you get this
Letter (more than
One) because you are

on that Side
of the Continent
and deserving

of unexpected
Surprise

Monday, January 17, 2011

238. The Color of Sunrise

The pressure of proportion
relieves as it suppresses

In the morning the desert
is a vine slithering to your window
and the least voice heard
is the thrumming of your heart
awake to moving

Distances entangle themselves
in your vision and you cannot
tell the mountain from the car
you tell to go home because
you don’t need to move anymore

The rigidity of virtue
kept you in starches
(shirts and potatoes)
all those many years
and you raised quail
for their eggs the size
and strength of tears

If there were rain
you would be king

(I must start over again
for I have lost my place
in line and I’ve no idea
if I am next or one text)

A quarter for a quince
its jelly the perfect receptacle
for sunlight

When winter comes
it seems to come
down the mountain
rushing as if hoping
for spring

The night terrors
were from the idea that the morning
would show things
to be just the same as they were

Either a cravat
or a noose
either fashion
or death

Disengage and
you might be
able to see they
who are standing
behind you those
who you thought
were shadows
of trees but there
were no trees there

I can’t sleep
for you and the creeping
shadow of dwarfish cacti
cannot satisfy a desire
for company

We are all lonely
in the absence of ourselves

When we are doing something
we are blind to that absence

When we sit in our bedside chairs
early in the morning before the light
and waiting for morning to happen
that absence fills us like water

Drowning in the desert
faces into the sand

Strop or strap
they are the same thing
and a close shave is sharpest
when it pauses
at the jawline

Bleeding is a way of
breathing out
without the chance to
breathe back it

After his accident
the women frantically sopped up the blood
with their skirts and
their hands with
towels and cloths
even though they couldn’t
put it back in.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

237. Deaths and Diaries

I remember your great-aunt


pl.

It is are
and numerous

Remember a thing at the tip of your tongue
touched once by the tip of your finger
and you will be that most joyous thing

a person alive in the presence of your own memory

When someone dies
we write it down
to keep from forgetting her

or here

There is a certain place we stand
that keeps us from being anywhere else
so that the world seems centered
on our own tiny story

though we share
a story of our blood
that runs within us
not away

something we cannot
escape

what comes back to us
when she leaves us

when anyone does

And that person
is many people to us
unfolding petals
of a book
the air and scent
off each page and petal
the heft and taste
of ink on pulp
the million million words
that moved through
her body before the end


sing.

We are is
and singular

(and we sing)

bound by blood
wed by word

names in masses

Tanner Huth
Powell Ferraris
Renfro Auberson

a web of us
a web of is

one in place
of many
in place

We inhabit
a generation

We hold
the blood together

one hand clasped
to another
holds time together

one crying baby
begins the cycle

we’re born to die

we’re borne by our mothers
for months and on
their backs for pain
to die

but it’s the living
we come for

When one of us dies
we take her back into
our bodies

we absorb her
into our bodies

we take every memory
of her and make it
our blood

each corpuscle
a tiny body
representing
the dead who
live again inside
our veins


dual.

She and you
are two

generations
apart and parted
yet each a part
of each other

The mirror
the memory

of your blood
and her breath

Friday, January 14, 2011

235. Written with Thumbs

Of words,
So empty

Of words so empty

Little peelings if eyes
Little peakings of sighs

In ossuaries
& bones as
Ornaments to
Forgotten
Bodies of
Knowledge

Unspooled
Or spilled
Onto or
Into even
If three

The sound
Of voice
Is a
Hollowness
Pushed out
Into space
Into spaces
Small enough
Like an ear
To hear
Them

Thus sound
Is always
Echo even if
Argument

Distance
Won’t matter
As matter
Won’t mind
Since voice
May be
Lettered
Cultured
Into molds
Or pearls
& scattered
Over a time
Of space

An audience
Is a hearing
Before a body
Whose
Pronouncements
Never come

So we are
The creators of
Debilitations

Of a right
Hand that won’t
Write

Of a left
Hand left
Idol as
Memorial
To written
Words
Unwritten
On the walls
Of every
Palace
Where we
Would not
Be given a
Night’s berth

Morning is
The only
Daily sign
Of beginning
So there is
A sadness
To it
In the guise
Of wailing

The birds
Do it first
& also

Cries
Coming from
Breasts
Of balsam
Bones &
Breaking
With each
Song’s
Bending
In & out

Snow is
The repository
Of light
& the shadows
Flying over
What cannot
Be touched
Or down
Or upon

Silence is
Worry’s
Manifestation
Or a sign
Of pleasantries
Upon the cross

We pass
Words among
Each other
& out

For only
In dreaming
Do we
Hear those
Meanings
Trapped
Inside the
Corpuscles
Of sound
Capsules of
Pebbled ink
Upon pages
After pages
Of screens
Beyond screens
Of vague
Shapes
As if
Legs of
Giant
Spiders
Escaping
Through
The edges
Of the fog
That guides
Us inward
To that
Languid
Beating heart
Beat out
& forth
From pushing
What it
Cannot hold
In place or
Even places
Kept secret
From that
Core & central
Self speaking
Only backwards
So you never

Understand
The words

E.M.F.A. (by Spencer Selby)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

234. In order but in media res

Creo que
like a market
vermin cloak
and docility’s
pistol-formed
cure. Tear or
four the plain
bucket wealth.

Puedo hacer
as the ancient
credence limning
the mirrored
ensiform bulging
burgeon bridge
for malicious
blending swell.

Sin vergüenza
and light-footed
to the last manly
procreation from
the portioned
foot—yes, you
can certainly
hear it in ear.

Mi oreja
so as said
that someone did
in case or
encased there
is within us
the sound of
before along.

Por sabor
oh and wreckage
built under
thus subsumed
by superiority
as a mansion
of stars and
twisting slow.

Tu casa cada vez
from the voice
of it deep toward
inched intention
and blossom
over bloom of
cheek and gulf’s
algae wade.

Tiempo para dormir
in the fistful
dreaming that
what ever-ringing
vulgate feeds the
river of her other
ear and nurture
over neutering.

Perros rancheros
as a matter of
act and factions
of slight yearning
beyond veldt and
felt into realms
perfervid audients
might wrench.

Y por ejemplo
in skirt and steak
thus rarely
interest out of
mocking. Birds
in light and
falling in tubes
and tumblers down.

Me llamo
Barbuda
or something
similar erected
before autumn’s
rector. Compasses
in pears to
measure meant.

Las canciones
no longer here
though shorter
than a day’s
range from
coast to beach
and wailing
along it all.

Nada más
nada más
y otra cosa
más maravillosa
como la mariposa
y los hijos támbien
los hijos tan guapos
pero . . .

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

233. Among the Freaks

d’

we all start
young and
helpless (an
arm not even
reaching out

blind or
blinded the
wind too
harsh at
any speed)

ready
to die


de

People accept that a poem is a broken thing, that it breaks into lines, might even break its own words apart, that it is a lapidary art, a process of accumulating glinting fragments into a fiction of a whole. But a poem is a stream through a thought (or myriad thoughts), a memory of an idea, though never the idea itself, because it is lost, because every poem is a failed poem, one never able to live up to the dream the poet had for it, as every person is a failed soul, incapable of living the best live possible, on this temporary earth, with these frail and temporary bodies.


de la

the ti
niest
ones
hurt
us the
most

& we
call
them
slights
but
they are
sleights
(of hands
& eyes
how the
two dis
agree)


du

I graduated from high school from a school I attended for a single year, and in that year I was given the choice between Christology or service in the community. I chose service and spent a semester working with severely handicapped children. Working there required extreme patience and an ability to function when your heart was broken. I remember one girl was over a year old but only a little larger than a loaf of bread. Everything about her was miniature—her dark jewellike eyes, her tiny fists, each the size of an acorn. She was so horribly handicapped and so fragile that blankets were bundled around her to protect her and hold her in place. And she would never really grow. Her body would never be able to feed herself. Her mind would never allow her to understand what I gently whispered to her. Yet she was somehow beautiful in her horrifying handicaps, and I assume tonight that she is now many years dead, never really having learned what it was to live.


des

so many
ways to
be bro
ken in
pieces
or half

every
one a
frag
ment
of a
self

and a
self
not
made

always
the ghost
of what
they
never
were


of

Not all of the children were so handicapped. Some were only handicapped physically, and others only mentally. Some handicaps were relatively minor, but only because of the group the children together formed. Elsewhere they were freaks. It is sad to think that, because they were small children, most interested in play, and sometimes in love with me. I would sit with them, one at a time, for a half an hour, maybe more, and try to teach them, try to show them how to teach themselves how to pick up a block and move it onto a pile. They could do it sometimes. They were born the way I found them, and we were trying to hone their motor skills so sometime they could work putting together small things that people didn’t need.


o’

we are
each of
us freaks

no-one
fits in
perfectly
with the
ways of
others

sep
arate
sep
arable
pet
als

everyone
knows
how
there’s
nothing
to us

that
is the
reason
why we
go on

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

232. A Moth of Some Ways

There is
in an isthmus
an opening
we could
walk through
and there
we could
think of
five reasons
for walking
through it


I. purlance

tongue to an ear
to taste to test

tatter the words out
in slips and shards

little red bits of tongue
flying

a pitcher of brown
a picture of us

eyesome pleasures
and measure’s mood

a quandary
of stone

it is summer
so snow is sand


II. eyèstly

a better margin
for looking at the night

what a walk to a door
to a bar might bring

heare there bee
barstools

shimmy
to shimmer

replaced by a pencil
so as not to last

dogmatic
and in packs

we were what
we had seen


III. fidgering

the only music
a tapping

watch the grip
release

accepted in a glass
for the quaff of

to lift is
to hand

fingers softly
against the shoulder

not a push
but an urge
nails tap
into it


IV. noisail

even night’s shapes
lifted a scent up to

liquid
color

smelling old
in empty glasses

the pardon
of spilling

a scattering of
breath and words

everything said
forgotten

everything forgotten
committed to memory


V. herdle

words in a manner
of plaything

herson
ham

“I said,
‘You heard?’”

“‘You herd,’
you said.”

Fat Elvis
ice-cream

moths falling in
flakes through light

tongue to an ear
to hear to here


*


Through it
for walking
five reasons
think of how
we could
and there we
walk through
as we could
an opening
in an isthmus
that is there?

Monday, January 10, 2011

231. Innumerable Thoughts

in a number
of ways
I am
1

in the least
of ways
I am
O

in the manner
of the expression
I am found out:

1 * 50 * 365 + 8 + 231 = 18,489

I move toward ∞
but never to
it or even close

(I won a bet
that some words
were numbers too
for I ate many
at breakfast.)

18,489 – whatever I’ve forgotten ÷ whatever I’ve made up ≈ 49±

a Pentecost
of memories
(but not
quite 50, so
not quite me)

Life
and poems
are made
out of
counting

the pieces
the lines
the digits
the spaces

I saw
since
a child
myself
as

1 body
1 head
1 nose
(but 2
nostrils)
1 mouth
1 penis
(apologies)
2 eyes
2 ears
2 arms
2 hands
2 legs
2 feet
10 fingers
10 toes

that’s about
as detailed
as a body

might be
broken down
for the pur-

poses of
counting
and making

sure each
piece was
in place

I might
be ≤ well

but I am
≥ productive

I am
wandering
here

in these
words
to you

I am
thinking
not through

but around
a few
thoughts

in the
vicinity
of insight

so I must
admit
to you

that this
letter
≠ a poem

even though
I mean it
to be

for
a poem
without numbers

is a poem
without
meter

or meaning
or structure
or the lack

of structure
that the best
poems have

by being
completely
controlled

by an
unnamed
source

such as
how I am
always 1

Sunday, January 9, 2011

230. The Sonnet Rises Slowly

Where’s the sound of singing in all of this? and where did we come from to stand here in the cold with these small lights in our hands? It is nothing
but snow that comes to us, the light that fills us is snowlight, and cold, as any heart intent only on its own survival. We are nothing
but a song written with water and the sun comes out to take it away. We hold together as if we were one, but we are one with whatever is nothing.

Take these spongy twigs of cedar off the boughs, and make on the snow a circle of green that we can walk around silent as a toadstool, our rightful poison,
until we have walked another circle around it out of mud, and a crust of ice around each tonsure, itself just another burst circle, our turgid blood the poison
that moves our frail legs in circles through the black night with a white snow falling upon the pink skin of our shoulders, as a cold ash, a permanent poison.

Why are we resting now in this cavity of snow? who is more hollow than us? the reed men, on our reedy legs, with our reedy voices whispering out our hallowed death?
When will these bodies of ours break and fall and give us the frigid and shivering sleep we most want? How will our eyes continue to see our blessèd death
repeated in the cramped and furtive corridors of our dreams? And why will our voices keep chattering through the empty pipe of night every secret of our anxious death?

Take these warm hearts collected from the shrew and the mole, collected from the mouse and the squirrel, collected from every warm, furred, and damned
beast of the woods. Take these tiny warm hearts in each pair of your cupped hands to that small depression of snow scooped out of the woods for the damned.
Take these tiny and warm and still-beating hearts and fill that bowl filled already with snow and darkness with these, and listen to the single heartbeat of the damned.

Which are the ones of us who sing like wood scraping against wood in a stiff wind? Which are the ones of us who believe in the singing, believe in the lie
of it? To what woodland creature do you bow and pray and ask for direction? To what marten or weasel do you ask for forgiveness? and where will you lie
and to what star will you turn when you think of that slight and sacred animal you think can save you after you drink the full gallon you’ve been taught and believed of the lie?

Take your pink and swollen feet in your hands, and maybe you can feel the little bit of heat seeping out of you chapped palms. Feel the exquisite pain
of the cold and the swelling, and the blood slowing in the pad of the foot been walking so long in the deep snow and the mud that foot has made. Revel in your pain,
in that slip of evidence that you have some living in you and some ability to feel anything. Remember well that all that shows you you’re alive is that red and pulsing pain.

Where are we walking if we’re walking in a circle of nothing but our walking? What is the journey of our going to sleep only to wake up again in the same trap
of the same life, each day identical to the next, identical to the last, and each seeming to last too deep into our soles to let us pull out of that trap
our bloody feet, ankles chewed open by the steel teeth? Why would we even want to walk free, out of these puddles of blood, free from the closed mouth of the trap?

Take the widest piece of light you can find, and fold it into the shape of a tree. Climb that tree all the way to the top and survey the destruction
of a night of fires burning the forest back down into darkness so that the inescapable smell that lingers is that salty scent of burnt wood and your destruction.
Find inside that smoldering scent a dark damp piece of charcoal and chew it so that your teeth are black and you can hide within your own destruction.

When could we expect the night to end, or the cold? At what point could we admit there was no more waiting we could do? When could we take the time to die?
Would it even be possible for us to admit that everything we’d already done had accomplished nothing? that all our effort was as random as the toss of a die
across the table? Will there come a time when we will sit in the dark, unable to see, and wonder if our skin had turned black because the night was a permanent dye?

Take a cone from the floor of the woods carpeted with needles. Collect every cone you can find and lay them all into a pile. Cover all the cones with blood,
the blood of the veins of your arms or your hands, of the thick veins of your legs, the stoutest vein of your neck. Shower the cones with a rich red blood
that is colorless black in the night. And set the pile of blood and cones aflame and watch the fire pop the seeds from the cones and roast the red out of your blood.

Why do we wander around this fire we have built from the forest and our blood? Why to we stare into the burning until our eyes go blind
from the heat and the light? Why do we believe that the red flames that sweep within the embers are the swishing of our own burnt blood? that we are blind
without that blood wandering through our veins? that we are burning our blood into the wood of the forest so that we can be like the trees, and blind?

Take your tongue, fat and ripe with words, and tear it, with the forefinger and thumb of your left hand out of your howling maw. Empty
your mouth of all the wretched words that taught you nothing and taught others less. Throw that red tongue, dripping your last words, and empty
its blood onto the last red flickerings of the fire. Breathe in the deep rich scent of your roasting tongue and desire its taste you cannot taste, and feel your stomach hungry and empty.

Why do we draw our raspy tongues across the raw red skin of our hands? Will we place these tongues gently upon the bark of the trees or slice
each against a sharpened blade so as to taste our own tongues? How can we believe there is a way out of this night even with a knife to slice
through the darkness? Why have we found only now upon our bodies these myriad
sigils, marks that tell us why we are here, each made upon our skin with a slice.

Take a handful of fire and hold it until you scream. Take a handful of snow and hold it until you feel the cold of the snow rather than the heat of the burning.
Bury yourself deep enough into the snow that you can feel the frozen earth beneath but keep your head up out of the white so you can gaze at the stars burning
too far away to hurt you. Fall asleep, fall into your only possible pleasure, and dream a story where, as you sleep, your body is slowly burning.

Which foot of which leg has burnt off in the darkness to leave a stump? Which step did you take that broke your leg? What small animal did you kill
with your teeth clamping down on its skull so you could feel its skull crush and its soft pink brain squirt out, sweet and satisfying, onto your tongue? Would you kill
your only love for the sweet taste of those brains, for the tiny fragmented thoughts of a small quivering animal intent on nothing but living? What wouldn’t you kill?

Take no refuge in the night, which accepts no prisoners and fights against the insult of morning. Remember that the universe is always night
unless you or the face of the earth is facing the sun. Keep a blanket if you want, but the snow will seep, cold and wet, into it and you will never sleep through the night.
Dream of warmth, if you wish, but that falsehood will not save you. We are made to live through darkness and pain and die alone at night.

The First Half of a Poem Called "230. The Sonnet Rises Slowly"

Where’s the sound of singing in all of this? and where did they come from to stand here in the cold with these small lights in their hands? It is nothing
but snow that comes to us, the light we are filled with is snowlight, and cold, just as a heart intent on its own survival. We are nothing
but a song written with water and the sun comes out to take it away. We hold together as if we were one, but we are one with whatever is nothing.

Take these spongy twigs of cedar off the boughs, and make on the snow a circle of green that we can walk around silent as a toadstool, our rightful poison,
until we have walked another circle around it out of mud, and a crust of ice around each tonsure, itself just another burst circle, our turgid blood the poison
that moves our frail legs in circles through the black night with a white snow falling upon the pink skin of our shoulders, a cold ash, a permanent poison.

Why are we resting now in this cavity of snow? who is more hollow than us? the reed men, on our reedy legs, with our reedy voices whispering out our hallowed death?
When will these bodies of ours break and fall and give us the frigid and shivering sleep we most want? How will our eyes continue to see our blessèd death
repeated in the cramped and furtive corridors of our dreams? And why will our voices keep chattering through the night every secret of our anxious death?

Take these warm hearts collected from the shrew and the mole, collected from the mouse and the squirrel, collected from every warm, furry, and damned
beast of the woods. Take these tiny warm heard in each pair of your hands cupped together to that small depression of snow scooped out of the woods for the damned.
Take these tiny and warm and still-beating hearts and fill that bowl filled already with snow and darkness with them, and listen to the heartbeat of the damned.

Which are the ones of us who sing like wood scraping against wood in a storm? Which are the ones of us who believe in the singing, believe in the lie?
To what woodland creature do you bow and pray and ask for direction? To what marten or weasel do you ask for forgiveness? and where will you lie
and to what star will you turn when you think of that slight and sacred animal you believe can save you after you drink the full gallon you’ve been taught of the lie?

Take your pink and swollen feet in your hands, and maybe you can feel the little bit of heat seeping out of the chapped palms of your hands. Feel the pain
of the cold and the swelling, and the blood slowly in the pad of the foot been walking so long in the deep snow and the mud your foot has made. Revel in your pain,
in that slip of evidence that you have some living in you and some ability to feel anything. Remember well that all that shows you you’re alive is that red and pulsing pain.

Where are we walking if we’re walking in a circle of our walking? What is the journey of our going to sleep only to wake up again in the same trap
of the same life, each day identical to the next, identical to the last, and each seeming to last too deep into our soles to let us pull out of that trap
our bloody feet, ankles chewed open by the steel teeth? Why would we even want to walk free, out of these puddles of blood, free from the closed mouth of the trap?

Friday, January 7, 2011

228. barring blunted or blinded sight

hysmn

:

snows comes gently
when it comes
and white

down snow comes
softly and white
when it comes

:

sryft

:

made out of words
and nothing else
made of words

made of words
as nothing less
made out of words

:

cryst

:

virulent blue
infecting white
in mounds of white

the light accepts
and earth returns
the sun turns back

:

fyst

:

a period of
snow as a flake
of white

a period of
snow as a burying
with white

:

blyst

:

notwithstanding
not withstanding
not with standing

in the middle of
white and the center
of cold

:

nyst

:

cup in the form
of a hand in
the shape of an

empty in the
hand of the heart
in the palm

:

symnpt

:

hand as if to
had as if must
stand as if with

can as if tin
plan as if end
sad as if dented

:

skyn

:

twy yyys
agynst
thy hyght

twy ways
ty fyght
thy syght

:

byrstht

:

the cover’d earth
a shambles and
shuffling under

cover of moving
sunlight through
snownight

:

brynn

:

wee thinke
small recompense
tiny thot

make it again
upon a board
white of snow

:

mnym

:

the grass is
forgotten the
green is for

gotten and
kept and under
and wrapt

:

blysht

:

shado’of
trees-a
swayingo’er

subtle supple
urgent bluish
snow around you

:

mydthst

:

is to be
to be in
to be of

to be for
to be on
to be is

:

psyve

:

fold’d
in/to
o)n(e

flood’d
out][if
t(w)o

:

brysht

:

window
sill ridge
of snow

candle
light wave
on snow

:

shyfte

:

moving
in place
and down

sifts onto
it itself
but deeper

:

grynce

:

evere
secret
ye see

peer
enter
be

:

trysht

:

it has color
or colour
or couleur

and cooler
deep couloir
of white-blue white

:

spyr

:

not in flakes
sifting down
but fluff

piling
in towers along
swaying wires

:

lyst

:

not made to
stay not
made to stand

what it be
is what it
won’t be

:

dryft

:

coming
to the middle
of a night

coming
in the middle
of the night

:

swysh

:

a light
awave
atop

a wave
alight
a top

:

crynch

:

this
still
wish

will
sift
shift

:

tyrnnd

:

snowberry
clouds
of snow

mounds in
clouds of
snow

:

twynnd

:

bitter to the tongue
and heart
and bitter cold

better than the rake
of wind
against a delicate cheek

:

brymnd

Thursday, January 6, 2011

227. in a little
bit of sunlight
before the snow

and she is
dancing
in the now
of it

in a slip of
sleep and sleeping
in or late
for breakfast

and she is
dancing
in the yard
and night

before snow
has broken
out
and down

and she is
dreaming
she is sleeping
on a bed

and she is
sleeping as she’s
dreaming
she’s on a bed of snow

or it is
morning
and the snow
has come

and
in coming
has so left behind
a whiteness

that she
could use
to write
a word across

to slide
a body
down
and farther

to cover
all that’s
underfoot
and shadowed

for she
will dream
of snow
and closings

of the door
against it
of the door
before it

so she
can stay
inside
and warm

watching
all the snow
that’s fallen
watching

snow
that’s falling
down
waiting

for the mark
to tell her
who she is
to wait

who she is
to wait
for snow
and snow

that
covers
every
thing

Note 2

The formatting of "226. Artist's Statement" has been corrected.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Note

The only way I could get Blogger to post tonight was via email, so I have lost my ability to control formatting. Please note that the poem directly below this one is in need of much formatting that I won't be able to add to it until sometime in the future.

226. Artist’s Statement

My artwork investigates the way vision distorts the world, always returning images trapped in conceptual frames that present reality of fragments rather than as a continuous and sinuous whole.

                                                   I find myself trapped by the scents of the world around me, holding me as if in a sac, and what are most palpable—and what I make most palpable—are the smells of our manufactured life.

                                                                                  Even as a child, I was obsessed by objects, believing them the isolated remains of the dead—even a ticket to a movie or a hair ribbon curled on a dresser were evidence of a life lived through to the end.

                                                                                                                                My work focuses on the idea that everything holds within it the possibility of making a sound and that we, as human beings being human in the world, have the obligation to make their sounds.

               I have been influenced by only one thing: the process of living the only life I have ever had.

                         It started for me with film, not with movies, but with the film of pond scum on the surface of water, and the sense it gave me that nothing was perfect or completed, that everything was flawed and being added to, and that the more that was added to anything the more it was flawed.

                                                     I consider myself a collagist, but the pieces I collage together are dried puddles of oil paints.

                                                                Encaustics are earthy media—smelling of beeswax so strongly that we want to eat them, that we imagine honeycombs full of paint or bees gathering paints from the flowers, each paint the color of the flower from which it was stolen.

                    We are all documentary filmmakers.

                                                                                When my brother pushed me off the roof of the family garage, I don’t remember the falling or the landing—I remember only the leaving from the roof.

                                        So it was that I discovered that I had remembered everything backwards, always replacing the victim with the perpetrator.

                                                                                               The goal was to unlearn everything I had learned to do and to learn how to do everything “wrong.”

                                                                                                                    What is the substance least likely to be considered a medium for art? I would ask myself and then try to use it.

               Soon my studio was covered with them, and eventually the idea of using canvases at all disappeared from my consciousness.

                                                                                       In a way I knew what I was doing.

My process was simple: letters and layers, and then letters and layers again, producing not a text but a textscape.

                                           I seem to have remembered that Brancusi had done something similar, and Klee as well, but I was wrong on both counts.

                                                                                                              Not sleeping was a way to change my perspective, and it served to make my life even more surreal than it had been before.

                              For I see the body as the central work of human art. For I see the body as malleable and stable. For I see the body as an object. For I see the body as the soul of the person.

                         Every piece I’ve made to be something different at different times of the day, in different kinds of light, in the daily recirculation of natural light.

                                                                                                              Only in the dark can the light have its power.

                                             Sleep is my only source of inspiration, because it is my only source of dreaming.

                                   Each painting I consider a song, so each has lyrics, but I don’t know what they are, because the paintings are mysteries of the earth.

                                                                                                                In that way, I could imagine that I lived within one of them and that the light that radiated from each came initially from me.

                            By the end, I hadn’t found a solution. I had found something more valuable. I’d found the problem.