Tuesday, December 22, 2015

M's


BOOTY CALL

At one point I found myself going from a trot to a full run.
I felt like a horse running and then flying.
I was a horse dreaming I was a bird.

I was listening to Gogol Bordello.

The music leads me into slow motion running 
on Boulder Creek Path under a bridge 
remembering a dream of slow motion running 
from when I was very young, 6 or 7, 
a dream in which I was trapped in slow motion. 

There was a moment of feeling trapped in the slowness 
and then I just let go into the slow. 
This is the greatest feeling in the world
because I am moving, I am running and 
don't need to go any faster. I am running slow.  

I was listening to Velvet Underground.

I noticed a sign that said "Human Impact" 
It contained information about pollution. 
The sign was re-signed when some punk tagged it
-indecipherably- with black sharpie giving
a new meaning to the words "Human Impact".

This is what I call a re-appropriation.

I did a rad jump off the sign to re-sign it again,
giving my own meaning to the words "Human Impact".

This is what I call a one-up re-appropriation.

I was listening to Art Brut.

Later I saw another sign written in white spray paint 
in the gutter of a street. The sign said "flow" and 
pointed downhill. I followed the sign.

I was listening to The Monsters of Folk.




PODCAST

Kids history

Absurdist radio

Waterfalls and ice cream sundaes
Pohlm
Creator of nature
L
L
Mil lpmau
Upblmmpmp
Patch
X
Jesus spelled his name with backward esses
LpZj olmlpm l m


Pll
Op
Mopping lp
Mpll
Ppl m
La



















POEM

One thing stood up tall and proud.
It was the sky. It was allowed.
It was out loud. It was outlaw.

I thought of that.

I thought about
how no is not alot.

The way living goes
is like a rodeo.

It takes a buck.

Donatello's seraphim
could speak truth to everyone
and everyone would see a star
of righteous indentation


MY SCREAM WENT TO HEAVEN

It died first of course. Then, when it had been
horse-whipped to death, it grew a pair. In seven
seconds it was sleeping in a dream hearse
peeling out in the silence of outerspace.

The hearse was very old and only drove
in reverse, so the Scream rode across the sky
like Icarus, but backward. The sun was thus
snuck up on from behind and spun
the car around its orbit thrice
before spitting it out
somewhere near the spout
of the big dipper.
Still a long way from
The Destination
and yet so very far from home.



I DON'T NOT BELIEVE

Cut to the chase: I fell off
the cliff, jumped off 
and landed face down
on the empty concrete, decomposed
as the weeds grew through the cracks
where a creek seeped up, raw garlic
growing out of used rubber donuts. 

Today I did talk to a bird. I tried
my best to match her tone, but
could only barely match the melody.
Every note pierced through me.
And when I sat down in that field
suddenly my blind eye could see
that gods sprang from underfoot.


NIGHT SWEATS

Dreamt last night of hanging out with Cat Power 
in Thurston Moore's basement and I had NOTHING 
to say to her! I want to reach back into the dream and tell her,
"Look how the ripples in the water make wings of light 
as the swimmer flies in slow motion to the other end..."

THERE’S A ROBIN IN THE YARD

There's a robin in the yard.
Her head is bobbing to the beat.
That's how she eats.
She is eating, pulling up a worm,
Snaps the worm in half,
But don't you squirm.
The other half of the worm
Will someday grow into a full length worm.
And he'll crawl through the ground.
He'll come up when it rains.
And we'll pluck him up from the ground,
Use him as bait, cast him out, catch a fish. 
The fish snaps the worm in half
But don't despair!
Because the other piece
Will grow into his own self
On his own behalf.

There's a robin in my bed.
She said something
I did not catch.
Because I was dead.
My ears were no longer receiving any thoughts.
But I heard the robin singing.
(Robin whistle)



UPSCALE POETRY

"Doe, a deer, a female deer"

Look how beautiful she is.

"Ray, a drop of golden sun"

The deer is in the sun.

"Me, a name I call myself"

Now, by juxtaposition, you have yourself.

You have the thing that you call yourself.

This "me" escalates out of the "doe" in the "ray".

You are a female deer outside in the sun.

"Fa, a long long way to run"

You are a deer running in the sun

And you have a long, long way to go.

"Sew, a needle pulling thread"

The needle is you, leaping as you sew.

"La, a note to follow sew"

The notes are like the leaping needle,

leaping up cloth mountains, up the scale.

The deer slows, near the top of the mountain now, tired,

her voice straining to reach the next note.

"Tea, a drink with jam and bread"

Time for a little picnic.

"Which brings us back to doe doe doe doe"

The bread and tea nourishes you, literally becomes you

and you're ready to start again

escalating up the endless scale.

















COFFIN DROP

I am compelled to wake up in the middle of the day and write.
Compelled by a conundrum. It is almost, almost, as if this thing, or things,
were born of dreaming. But it was not a dream. As I lay there sleeping,
wide awake, two beings appeared before me. Not appeared, exactly.
They became me. The being on the left was the shape of language
or rather was the stuff language is made from. At times it was even
the shape of feelings. Other times sight. Light presented itself
to the small imp on the left. The right side was silent. It was something
else, still. While the left side spoke an ever-changing and barely discernible
stream of images and words, the right side sat mute, waiting and watching,
a sentinel. The right side then became, for that moment, a shaggy ewe
bleating game. Sticky sweet saliva dripping from the corner
of its mouth, the right corner. The left side, the one who calls itself mammon
for a moment, and then man-moth and now woolly mammoth is prone
to suggestion. The right side encapsulates. The left is an imp bent on
surprise and exposure. This is the mutable undergirding of expression,
the immovable center of the left, and now the right. The right rises up
as an empty space with a palpable nothing; the isness of space.
Something must come of nothing. That something must be self.
There is that smell. There is a headache.The headache came from the left.
The headache is felt on the right. Inside are two monkeys, chained
to a rock. On the left Bruegel bubbles from the lips of John Wieners font.
On the right the monkey chatter hurts my head. The monkeys
are a symbol of themselves. They are plastic in a flash, dime-store
novelties. The left is taken up for watching. The right pops a drawl.
There is no naming of the left. We can say the right is correct.
The right is fooled by shame, desire & nausea. This side is stopped,
keeps stopping. You see your mother now on the right. The head
expands. The hair grows ginger. The ginger is a new spice and takes
commitment to grow. The left is a rolling ball of clay set to animation,
claymation. The dough is stretched in space. To the right is the analogous
dough in mom's kitchen being stretched to make bread. Good bread.
The early smell of manna that takes us back to the womb.
Then the earlier smell of animal and guts of sweet dew and underwater
salt. Those scents, from the womb, that are tantamount to what the tongue
lacks. The tongue made of clay. The shape bouncing off the center
into wordy vibrations. The station plays on, now a deejay with a soft voice
running down a baseball game in 1967. My father passing out to the drone,
the crack of the bat barely interrupting. The crowd hollers, the dreamer watches.
A curtain falls. The monkeys fall endlessly. The falling feels to them a kind
of trick in time. The chatter seems to get lost in the fall. As heard from high
above and at the same time from far below. Echoing chatter that is speeding up
as it falls. The head swirls in sickness and excitement. The fall continues apace,
the two sides in a race, a perpetual tie. Focus in on the vision of the eye
on the right attached to a corpse come back alive. Now inside that eye
become that eye and on the left the surface is gummy. Walk upon the street
made of candy. The candy road spins off the rotating sphere of language.
The feet stick to the road and make loud god smacks with every step.
Stand still and feel the wobble. Push the surface in waves with one foot
and then the other. The waves wake up the baby. The babbling of the baby
becomes the waves, a synaesthesia of becoming. The curvature of sight
and sound undulating. The sensation spinning out from lower back now
as a sharp pain. This is on the right. As well as all of the new physical sensation,
which starts on the left. On the left the station changes to Socrates giving fits
to one of the students. The student is holding his head. He weakly smiles
at Socrates. Socrates bows to the student, with a slight tilt of the head.
The student puzzles over Socrates. What is he doing? The women start to cry.
The men are even crying now. The tears dry up into fantasy. The cries impinge,
originating on the right. The left is only momentarily frightened. The left takes comfort
in two steady hands that hold it tight. Study. The hands become breath, left breath in
the right breath out. The driver turns the wheel one-eighty. It is a neat trick.
In the center of the wheel is another wheel and so forth, further than the eye can see.























Wildwood Holler

Way up in the Wildwood Holler
Face to face with my killer

He raised his voice
He raised his fist

I raised my glass

I said here's to you
Here's to me
Here's to us

Now kick my ass

Way up in the Wildwood Holler
face to face with my killer

He raised his sun
I raised my moon

He raised the knife
I raised the spoon

He raised the gun
I put the flower in

Come on man
Let’s begin 

Lightning bolt
Lightning bolt and thunderclap

I had to laugh

Way up in the wild blue yonder
face to face with my creator

He raised the sky
I raised the balloon

He raised the bar
I raised the saloon

He raised the morning
I raised at noon

He raised the Ante
I raised my gin

Come on woman
Let's begin

Already

Lightning bolt,
Lightning bolt and thunderclap

I had to laugh


Salsa @ D Note

I’m standing behind the bar
Staring in awe at the dancers
Tearing up the dance floor
When a drop of cold water
Hits my ear. I turn to Diandra
And ask why she dripped
water on my ear for?
She said it wasn't her.
I ask, well, who was it?
She answers the sweat
Of the dancers. The heat
Causes sweat to condense
On the ceiling and now the sweat
Of all the dancers in the room
has fallen into my ear. Sweet
I said, the perfect metaphor.
Yuck, she said. Salty, I thought
And left to join the dance floor.

Reggaeton at the D

I’m standing behind the bar
Staring in awe at the dancers
Tearing up the dance floor
When a drop of cold water
Hits my ear. I turn to Diandra
And ask why she dripped
water on my ear for?
She says it wasn't her.
I ask well who was it then?
She answers the sweat
Of the dancers. She said the heat
Causes sweat to condense
On the ceiling and now the sweat
Of all the dancers in the room
has fallen into my ear. Sweet,
I said, the perfect metaphor.
Yuck, she said.  Salty, I thought
And left to join the dance floor.




I looked in the water at the face of another. 
The other stared back in wonder. 
He watched a bird fly in one ear and out the other.




I looked in the water at the face of another. 
The other stared back in awe and wonder. 
He watched a bird fly into one of my ears and out the other.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Phattyshack


PHATTYSHACK: the movie

Mos Def: So hey Paul. What's this disc golf movie I hear you're working on?

Paul Rudd: (crooning) "Hey hey paula"

Mos Def: What?

Rudd: It was a long time ago. Anyway, did you guys hear about Phattyshack last year?

Mos Def: Which one?

Rudd: Right. Last year the activists over at Norml put on a big disc golf tournament, to raise awareness for their "cause," or whatever you wanna call it, compassionate legalization. They called the tournament Phattyshack. They invited a bunch of celebrities and disc golf pros to compete in mixed teams. Snoop Dog and Woody Harrelson were the announcers.

Henry Rollins: No way, that's bananas. Who all did they get?

Rudd: Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, Doug Benson, Robert Downey Jr, Ben Stiller, Zach Galifianakas, etc. So it had to be pretty good tournament, right. But get this, Robert Redford is producing and Silent Bob directed the film. It's gonna be the first great disc golf stoner comedy. I've seen the rough mix, it's totally going to happen.

MIA: Sounds like a real rolla.  

credits: PHATTYSHACK: THE MOVIE

Scene one: shelter between Hole 4 and 5.

Mos Def: (points to shelter) is this a safe place to, you know, partake?"

Rudd: Safe from what?

Mos Def: Well, you know, in Amsterdam they ask you to withhold your smoke from places where they got kids?

Rudd: Oh, I don't know. I don't see any kids around here? (camera pans around)

Rollins: Hey Paul, did you bring the chalice with you?

Rudd: The question is what did you bring for "the chalice"?

Mos Def: I've got Coach?

Rollins: Like the name brand? Like the luggage? Like the back of the plane?

MIA: Like the captain of the footballa?  A coach coach?

Mos Def: No, no. Well, yeah, sorta, something like that. Coach is a hybrid of hindu kush and damiana, infused with Goji berry. Not to be confused with Oprah's Acai berry.

Rollins: Ooh, sounds fruity.

MIA: What's the effect, Mr. Def?

Def: Damiana is a very...visionary herb, it gives you powerful dreams. Mix that up with the creative powers unleashed by the hindu kush, and bam, and you end up on a trip to the moon. To the future. It's like a dream quest or some shit.

Everyone nods yeah and the chamber of the chalice is piled high with Coach.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

secret selves

There was one of her
And one of me
And one of each of us
That you couldn't see.

Oh My God, look at us.
We're only the thought
that we're having
and the following actions

So the other of her
and the other of me?
We keep it that way
and it's better.

Friday, November 13, 2015

4D Goggles

4D Goggles

Today I went to the Bronx zoo with the girls and saw giraffes and monkeys. 

On the way there Sofia said, "Broccoli is Spanish for Brooklyn."

She also said Honeywell was her favorite street. I'd never heard of that street. Where'd you get Honeywell I asked her?

She didn't know. She just "made it up."

But when we got to the zoo we saw an actual Honeywell Street across from the park. 

Later I was telling this to Melissa Ivey. Then as I was telling her remembered that Melissa had earlier this afternoon said that she really loved honey, really loved a lot of it in her tea. She loves her honey well, I thought.

I explained my theory to her about the fourth dimension, the bending of all the angles of space together, all the corners of the cube matched up with the other corners. Kind of like putting the round peg in a square hole.

When I passed Honeywell St. the angles I caught a glimpse of the angles folding together. I didn't know why until catching that third angle, Mel's love of honey. Why was the 4th dimension showing its face. To impart some wisdom perhaps. Honey makes you well is the moral of that story.

Then when leaving the park I left the double stroller behind, packed up the girls and just left it there on the side of the road. When I called the zoo the manager said it was gone. Oh no! It felt terrible to lose the stroller and I knew Genevieve would not be happy either which added oomph to the gut punch.

I asked Melissa if she thought there was some reason I might have forgotten the stroller and she said maybe it went to a family that really needed it. Yes, of course! And this isn't even a stretch to imagine in that part of the Bronx.

I felt much better about losing it.

Afterward Mel and I went to see Ron Padgett read at St. Mark's in the Bowery. It was a fantastic reading. But even more fantastic was that afterward Arlo Quint gave me both a hard-back copy of Ron's Toujours l'amour AND The Collected Writing of Joe Brainard. I could hardly believe it. What generosity.

Melissa pointed out that maybe it was the universe giving me back a thank you note for use of the stroller.

Finally, after the reading, on the way back to Queens we met up with our girl Amma. Sweet as honey.

What a ruse!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

all day sucker

Forest green to the world, so show him the love, her,
the way mom took our complaint and turned it into proof of faith,
more, and there was more, though not in service to more
but to proof of love, anodyne of dove.

Here we go deeper still, into automatica:

Forebear asymptotic arms asunder, argyle agate rocks, ornate articles of thunder. Formica is the fallback. Eerie table top knows it, times bilingual absurdity -table mesa-  and affluent articles, antagonistic sombreros in the succulent Peruvian forged and foremost the que to get into the best pho on the planet, the pho que, where the best dumpling is all that and dimsum. Don't stop the assiduous murder, that wrongful action, dying the last ember worth around the house, in and around the house, strangers come out at night and we feel them. Do, lean on the horn to puzzle the scorned vertebrate, ancillary, tertiary, fog hat ombudsman, free form, spelling frigate bird sorcery, feverish pitch darkness, brutal bestiary. Am buckle, unbuckle and soar fossily, fro on the Johnson, naked man at Berkeley, bring him home, a small hero, small's not a joke, a big hero, there, said for dignity, let alone Sophocles and Tamerlane, together at last in eternity, not eternity, they were the erasures of said such, as are we, erasures of eternity, like in that Banksy piece, the one that means so much to me alone, quoting Gladiator, legendizing Eternity, Australian outlaw, and mercenary of tabloid, venturing capital unsettled for abdication. Free Jim Henson. Free Robert Johnson. Eerie manbody. That's where my mind leaves you. That's the striking moment, while its hot. And I'm losing you, except not you, but everyone else. And it is, is it not, worth it, to save one to lose all of the rest? There is a sense in which that is the test.

2nd draft

Dive Deeper

Forest green of the world, to show him the love, her,
the way mom took our complaint and turned it into proof of faith,
more, and there was more, though not in service to more
but to proof of love, anodyne of the dove.

Here we go deeper still, into automatica:

Forebear asymptotic arms asunder, argyle agate, ornate articles of thunder. Formica is the fallback. Eerie table top knows it, times bilingual absurdity -table mesa-  and affluent articles, antagonistic sombreros in the succulent Peruvian forged and foremost the queue to get into the best pho on the planet, the pho queue, where the best dumpling is all that and dimsum. Don't stop the assiduous murder, that wrongful action, dying the last ember worth around the house, in and around the house, strangers come out at night and we feed them. Do, lean on the horn to puzzle the scorned vertebrate, ancillary, fog hat ombudsman, free form, spelling frigate bird sorcery, feverish pitch darkness, brutal bestiary. Am buckle, unbuckle and soar fossily, fro on the Johnson, naked man at Berkeley, bring him home, a small hero, small's not a joke, a big one, there, said for dignity. Sophocles and Tamerlane, together at last in eternity. Not eternity, they were the erasures of said such, as are we, erasures of eternity, like in that Banksy piece legendizing an Australian outlaw, and mercenary of tabloid, venturing capital into unsettled territory for abdication. Free Robert Johnson. That's where my mind leaves you. That's the striking moment, while its hot. And I'm losing someone, except not you, everyone else. And it is, is it not, worth it, to save one to lose all of the rest? There is a sense in which that is the test.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Esthetic revelation

ESTHETIC REVELATION

The girls are down for a nap and I have a moment.

What will I do with my moment to make it a MOMENT?

First I will read. I pick up Elizabeth Bishop's “PROSE”

and turn at random to a letter in the middle and read,

“I’ve always thought one of the most extraordinary insights

into the ‘sea’ is Rimbaud’s L’eternite: ‘C’est la mer allee,

Avec le soleil.’.” Wala!  I don’t read French, but I do know this 

line in translation and even used it as an opening 

quote of a poem written for my daughters, plucked 

it out of a New Yorker article on Rimbaud in translation:

“I have seen it. What? Eternity. It is the sun matched by the sea.”

(The word “plucked” by the way I use here because I just read 

Nicholson Baker’s meditative novel on rhyme,  “The Anthologist” 

wherein he points out that “carpe diem” correctly translated is “pluck” 

the day, not “seize,” a notable distinction. “Seize” would be “cape.”)  

I kept reading the Bishop, my interest piqued by the Rimbaud. She 

writes “This approximates what I think is called the ‘anesthetic revelation’.

(William James?).” I was intrigued and did a google search 

for “anesthetic revelation.” I arrived at a wikipedia page not for William James 

but for one Benjamin Paul Blood, a 19th century character. I read,

“After experiencing the anesthetic nitrous oxide during a dental operation, 

Blood concluded that the gas had opened his mind to new ideas 

and continued experimenting with it. In 1874, he published 

The Anesthetic Revelation and the Gist of Philosophy.”

(The first time I had nitrous oxide at the dentist I experienced this,

a rushing backward away from all current reality into somewhere

other, I want to say nether, and was filled with a bright euphoria

so intense that when the assistant took off the mask I took her 

and kissed her, passionately. Oddly, she kissed me back, as if

swept up in my ecstacy.  Reality quickly came back to me

and I acted as if nothing happened and, funny enough, so did she.)

The Wiki article also pointed out that Blood admits never lifting a finger

in anger and that his entire life had been fun. Fantastic.

Finally I read that Blood also patented a successful swathing reaper. What? 

I had a moment of recognition, a super-recognition.  A revelation

(perhaps more esthetic than anesthetic) wallops me between the eyes. 

First I have to back up and tell you that there is another Adam DeGraff.

If you google me, you’ll probably get him. He’s a virtuoso violin player

who’s YouTube video of himself playing “Sweet Child ‘O Mine”

has gathered (plucked) over a million views. He is me. “I is another”

wrote Rimbaud. I recently noticed this Adam DeGraff had given

a TED talk and watched it out of dopplegangerly curiosity. 

Surprisingly it was not about violin playing at all, but rather

about reaping, literally, reaping swaths of grass by hand

as opposed to using a lawn mower. Adam said he had found his thing.

There is something about scything swaths of grass that just 

makes me happy he said. And this is what I remembered when I read

about Ben Blood, the happy farmer, who must’ve also loved to reap,

and who must’ve found there, like the musician Adam DeGraff, the secret 

of the trance. I sent the other Adam DeGraff the Wikipedia link for Ben Blood.

Imagine his surprise when he gets an e-mail from this other Adam DeGraff

all about reaping and anesthetic revelations. I went back and looked 

at the Wikipedia page again. I noticed Blood also just happened to be friends

With Lord Alfred Tennyson, another poet I love and a circular link

back to Bishop. It then became clear to me that this entire moment 

was a poem waiting to be written. Therefore I am quickly dashing it off, 

before the babies wake up so I will remember.  (So far so good.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

FOR REAL


                    I read
an atom
was recorded
                    in key of D
20 octaves up
                    from middle C

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Make book

Make Book

I blink for ink

Giver

For Preposterity
Fake time
Real time

Fake time in perpetuity for preposterity

Fake out time

Fake you

Faker

Super Why

Palms Up

Under The Rainbow

Sic

She's guitar
He's bass

A flat cricket
B flat frog

Musical

Playground

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

angle hour


Dear Chris,
I can never write Dear Chris without thinking of Berrigan's sonnets.
It's 5am. The true witching hour. Or maybe the angel hour.  I just woke from a dream. I was setting up an office space with my friend Brian (you might vaguely remember him from the wedding) and you had sent over a large artwork (6' by 6') as a gift for the office. I was horrified to find that the frame was broken when some janitor tried to jam it into a closet. The canvas could possibly be saved I thought, but I was afraid to tell you about it, and was wondering how I was going to do it.
I can't remember what the piece looked like.

Then I walked back into the actual office and Brian was sitting behind a desk. He told me you had sent some more pieces to choose from. There were 5 large works.

The first was a drab Baconian painting of two girls in a hot tub. One of the girls had her back to the viewer. She was sitting close to the other girl who was facing forward. The second girl had her eyes closed with an expression of pain, or maybe pleasure, pleasurepain, on her face. What was happening was mysterious. There was the feeling that something was going on under the water. It was sexy and emotional and slightly disturbing. Beautiful.
On the second piece you had somehow transferred a GIF to the canvas. The moving image was of a girl being pulled away at a party from several of her girlfriends. She had that look of both reluctance and willingness, a laughing, embarrassed, tipsy look that said, sorry, I guess I have to go over here now.  The girl was played by Alicia Silverstone. (Wow, I thought, Chris is working with bigtime actresses now.)
 
The third piece was framed behind a screen door. It was just a single word, perfectly placed. After waking I tried to remember the word, but couldn't recall it. My waking-up mind wanted it to be "forge." But no, that wasn't it.
The fourth piece was a wash of grays.

Suddenly you were there in the room and I said, "I didn't know you painted" and you just nodded.
The fifth piece was an explosion of overlapping particolored pinwheels. In each little sliver of pinwheel was a handwritten word in an 80's faux computer font. It was dazzling and I would have liked to have spent hours with it.

I woke up. 
Sorry it's been awhile since I have written. I was hurt when I asked for help with the review of my friend's show and you didn't respond. That was the straw anyway, on top of a chain of other things that I've forgotten about now.  It's all fine now. I regret letting so much time pass before reaching out.  But I didn't have much to report anyway.
Life is good. I've been in focused dad mode.

I've written plenty over the last few years, but it mostly goes unread. Hopefully I'll manage to get some of it out there into the world, but I'm not so good at that part. The book for Anselm is finished. Long story, but should be coming out in the fall. We'll see. Threw a reading series with my friend Tyler Burba that you would have loved. I'll tell you all about it sometime.
How are you?

Monday, August 17, 2015

mikhal poem straight up one day post death

mikhal,

yesterday you drowned,
  a victim of a malady
     not of your own making,
         yesterday gone.
so glad i was your friend.
    wish i had been better.

          where are you?

             i don't want to just feel you,
               i want you here.

i want to see you smile
   i want to hear your music
     want to float on the melancholy
         melody of your river-like flute,
             play along upon a skiff,
               drift with you to the sea.
i don't want you
   to just be a memory.
i remember all the way back to mike
  (later you would change your name to mikhal
       in honor of your polish grandfather)
          mike, rocking out to jane's addiction. you were cock sure,
            scrappy, a business school tycoon,
              a european fashion model wanna be,
               a ladies man in the making, all
                sinewy muscles and hair gel.
this was some previous you, though.
  he left to make room for who you became
       (an unlikely hero, as alex put it)
           via what catalyst?
              psychedelics?
                dr. lee's eastern philosophy class?
                 (he was a true buddhist and you began to wake up)
did i help? yes, i'm sure i must of,
   all of my mother's love for other
    and all of my father's love for self
      channeled through me
          and into you:
so, though i was uncooked, unrefined,
    still i could offer you something.
(i failed you more often than i was there.
      forgive me.)
and what is it that you became?
  a poet, a mind so attuned to magic
   that linear thinking would not contain you.
      your prose was ripped through with errors
        of syntax, incomplete argument.
           your professors all failed you.
              none (save lee) could see
               that you were merely
                     poetry.
in this way, too, i was there for you.
i could see that the truth you were after,
the truth you often found, was deeper
than the shallow rules, more round
than the square pegs you were trying
to fit into. only poetry could contain
all that color, all that light. but there
was shadow too, demons i could never
fathom. when they came to the surface
it was too terrible and awesome to face.
where did they come from? your mother's
suppression of her depression? your father's
anger? your intolerance for intolerance?
and who knows what chemical concoctions
arose from your dna, from the epilepsy.
perhaps there was even some real demon
attached to you, haunting you, a metaphysical
disease tenaciously holding onto your soul,
perhaps even the spector of pure evil, if such
thing exists. i always refused to believe it did,
despite my superstitious intuition. i always refused to
accept the fear if i noticed a bias influencing
my love for you. still, i often failed.
though these monstrous, terrible forces
working in you were more than i could handle,
i refused to accept them. this enabled me
to stick around for the long run, allowed me
to stay objective. still, there were walls.

your epilepsy, too, changed you.
you became obsessed with finding
a natural cure, disdaining western medicine,
even, it seemed to us, if it would kill you.
we hated this stupidity in you, but could not
help but admire your courage in the face of death.
your philosophies slowly changed as the methods did,
but since nothing seemed to work you adopted a stoic optimism.
you began to view the seizures as a blessing. you were grateful
(as long as no asshole cops were arresting you upon recovery,
as long as there was no sirens in your face) for the chance to be reborn.
for you did become a child again after the electrical storm in your brain
scrambled all of your memory. everything was glorious in the natural
state to which you awakened. this constant reminder of the true
beauty of the world was part of your wisdom, your simple
love of an apple, the mountains, your friends.
you once told me, pre-epilepsy, that you wished
the mind could be better organized, that memory
should be more effectively indexed. in this way you
could reference the information you needed by, say,
pushing the correct button. as if the countless desiderata
of each moment could be labelled!
the irony is that with each successive seizure
you would lose more and more memory. and then,
truly, you had to turn to a more organized memory aid,
a pen and paper, or to me, keeper of many of your
most strange and beautiful memories.
(i have no memory more intense, for instance, than your
melt down in the mountains of ecuador.)
you fought hard to maintain mental coherence
(you were eating high octane brain food,
twelve bucks a can, on the last day i saw you.
and though you were less hazy than normal,
nearly clear, still, you were trying to sell
the nuts and berries to me as some sort
of multi-marketing pyramid scheme. i
wasn't buying. you even made the mistake
of quoting bible passages that seemed to tout
the miracle mix. i had to gently tell you why not.)
and, perhaps to counter the failing of your mind,
you kept your body in maximum condition.
you were the only person i ever knew who
could spend hours running up and down mountains.
you were physically beautiful, had a stunning feline grace.
you had a beautiful style, too, in which form always followed function
and yet still managed to keep ahead of fashion, otherworldly, future primitive.
there were strange experimentations with your facial hair, usually
with striking results (though shaving your eyebrows
was probably a bad idea. i applaude your
courage, though, in trying it. you had that...edge.)
your aquiline, angular face was a perfect setting for
your piercing blue eyes. the icy blue of your eyes
seemed to match the burning intensity of your gaze.
your gaze was more than polite folk
could take. as brice put it,
you wanted to establish
an immediate relationship
with others in the real.
you would want to immediately
be true and naked. polite society
could never understand this. they
were too invested in their invisible armor.
so you were ostracized, too much to bear.
sometimes you even became aggressively antagonistic.
this was sincere for you, as was almost everything else.
you were nothing, if not rigorously honest.
what caused that love for truth?
it was one of the things i most loved about you.
i try to stand back and see your death as the natural processes
of life, try to be objective. but your very uniqueness won't allow
for it. i cannot accept the loss. who else, but you, will so fully
appreciate how beautiful she is? i'm losing it. my thoughts
are becoming a jumble. why is it i never missed you
a tenth as much as i miss you right now?
as if all my love were condensed
in the heartbreak of this moment.
is it because i always thought
i had tomorrow to appreciate you?
ah, well, i'll imortalize you in poetry
(if in the illusions of my mind only)

     i'll write you as you,
     a living poem, wrote me.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Big splat (high romance)





The Match

Upon a maroon swan there lay
 A black velvet blanket from Bombay
Upon the blanket from Bombay sways
A torch of elemental fire ablaze

Herr Swan is flying through a maze
 Of skies -through a blinding haze
Searching for one for whom to say
 what only the lit flame may

Found

Take out Strong and from while to slobbering.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Day in this life

Art Thursday is at home today, because I'm recovering from a back injury. Se la vie. 

We started the day out with a pottery class, on iPad, via the awesome Create This! Pottery app.

The girls threw down some masterpieces, intricately balancing line and color. I was proud.

Actually I was a little awed to tell the truth. Ah, youth! But then we got delayed

until later, as we were eating lunch and I vee-jayed a lunch set,

first Bjork (which got a little weird when Bjork's bots began to make out,)

then Luluc"s, "Small Window",  a masterpiece, then what, what what?

White Stripes, "I Fell In Love With A Girl," the Gondry lego video.

Sofia said, "that made me want to play with legos!" and ran to go

get her set out of her room. Lucia said me too, and, voila, the next piece

of Art Thursday put itself together. Every day's like a puzzle around here. Peace!





Monday, June 1, 2015

A Thorough Anti-argument

 A Thorough Anti-argument


I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on this coat,
for it may do good service to you whom it fits

Better if you had been born in the open pasture and suckled by a wolf,
that you might have seen with clearer eyes what field you were called to labour in

Contracting yourself into a nutshell of civility

Making yourself sick, that you may lay up something against a sick day

Not being immortal nor divine, but a slave and prisoner of your own opinion of yourself

What you think, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, your fate

Not to betray too green an interest in your fate!
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity  

To stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future,
which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line

This is the only way you say, but there are as many ways
as can be drawn from the radii from one center

Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look
through each other's eyes for an instant?


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Notes Paolo


But why the sizzle through the cheek
Working on an urban work around
Orpheus orifice
Queen of tardis
Queens crystal orbit 
Trollope
Devil
Manny
7
Labyrinth
Bone essence. Alice 
Biology of words
Windswept arrival are you?

Everywhere a center nowhere a circumference

American magic book

I'm an old guy
Old magic

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

List of recommendations

1. The Virtual Reality exhibit at Museum Of the Modern Image. 

2. Bernadette Mayer's collected early books. Poetry all the way through.

3. Alice Notley's In The Pines. Took my head clean off and left me in a cold sweat.

4. Paolo Javier's Court The Dragon. Magic capsule in lyric fire.

5. Caspar Babypants "I Found You!" Great kid's  album by dude from The Future Presidents of America. 

6. Alabama Shakes new album

7. Kurt Cobain doc on HBO.


Monday, May 4, 2015

queens sonnet

Queens Sonnet

In nearly every language there are eels and hovercraft, so in Korean, 
"Nae hoebuhkeurapeuteuneun changuhro kadeuk cha isseyo"
means the same as "Nire aerolabanguilua aingirez beteta dago"
does in Basque, though there are more subtle differences within
than can be known, and the musical differences alone
are bigger than the difference between, say, Beethoven 
and the Beastie Boys. The latter got it right in "The Five Boroughs,"
though most fly of all are all those flocks of languages spoken in Queens,
the most diverse of boroughs, which means the most musically diverse
too, of course. There are more songs here than you could learn in a lifetime
perhaps, but it'd still be great to learn a phrase or two from every place.
I'd start by taking the hovercraft to the nearest Korean restaurant.
And as for all those eels filling up the hovercraft? Think about it though,
that line still carries the same floaty slimy feeling wherever you go.

Friday, February 20, 2015

letter to anselm poem about poem

LETTER TO ANSELM ABOUT POEM


something I wanted to run by you. let me know your thoughts.
The second poem, "Look," seems weak. Snarky Malarky Mayakovsky. I like it, but not sure it isn't just a phase. You know? Also a little anti-preachy preachy. anyway,
This poem seems a bit more true somehow, for it's classic winning by losing pattern. I also like that in meta mode it posits both reader and writer as needing each other for release. Tonally off kilter poem perhaps, and perhaps easily mistaken for other more nefarious readings. Like Koch's, "Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg. Forgive me. I was clumsy and I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!"


Love Poem

You looked so restrained by your broken frame.
I immediately wanted to play music for you.

And so I took the job. I drowned myself in a lover's sob.
I hung myself from the ceiling of the broken hearts club.

I died the big O. I came the little death.
I fell into a big hole. Now who's sick?

Is it so wrong to love an invalid so?
So locked inside attention am I your man. 

Caught in the anticipation of conception.
I love you darling. Be free.


ps, just realized this also echoes the epigraph opening the book, about Zuul kissing the harnessed horse.

pps. forgive the OCD

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Post as Poem

Another book I have been enjoying is The Spanish Bow, a fictionalized account of Pablo Casals' life. I got the book because it was on a list I found googling the best books to give to your sister-and-law. I ordered it for her, but then it sounded interesting and got good reviews so I ordered it from the library. So far it has led me to listening to a lot of Faure. And just now to Casals playing Elgar's Cello Concerto. Elgar was waking up from sedation when he wrote the opening solo, probably under some kind of opiate, after a -for then- dangerous tonsil operation. I wrote an automatic poem after waking up from a deep Percocet sleep last week, so of relevance. And the fact that both the concerto and the poem are about war. Curious. Casals gives it Spanish duende here. Love the slight pause before the long note at the end of the opening solo, and then the way that note slides down.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wxMynt1kFFM

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Song not worth repeating

Codeine Coda

-Dreamt under the terrible influence of Percocet

I rode out of town on a lion skin, raw and feminine,
My satchel filled with lemons and limes, thyme and cinnamon
And sundry other spoils grown under the African sun.

The sounds of war were still stuck in my ears, the shock of the gun
Still ringing in my brain, the endless wailing of innocence undone.

Byron and Rimbaudelaire rode by my side and riding
Behind them on tired steeds a thousand legionnaires done fighting.

Who can free the sticky songs from tripping tongues and burning
Villages my companions beseeched me and I, bone weary, turning
To the salivating sky, could not reply for fear of starting
Another song not worth repeating.





I was listening to Faure and staring at The Tranquilized Tongue on my bedstand and thinking about this poem. So that's how Coleridge did Kubla Khan I guess. The words came to me upon waking! I hadn't dreamed the poem whole, but it came out whole, line by line, as if pre-formed. My opiated brain was taking various influences; I can feel Stevens, Whitman and Dickinson here, Ostashenvsky and Byron in the rhyme, Coleridge in the exoticism, and even some sprung rhythm from Hopkins.

Perhaps because it comes from the subconscious it has a dream like ability to evade any absolute interpretation. This is one of the trickiest things to get, something pointed that nonetheless has an open ended interpretability.

In this case, hard to tell if the soldiers are done fighting, because they can't stand the horror of it, or if they are done because they have just pillaged a city. It feels fiercely to be from both sides of the equation and that is fascinating. It is both the hero and the villain at once. You also can't tell exactly what a song means here, I don't think. And is this a song that bears repeating, or not, is implicitly asked by the last line.

And what does it mean to be raw and feminine? Especially in the light of soldiering?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

Genevieve cooked up heart-shaped Sofia-friendly pancakes for breakfast and then smoked-salmon sandwiches on toast for lunch, pepper tempeh over rice for dinner with home made french fries and garlic eggplant, followed by pink heart peeps for dessert. What a super mom. It was all heartastic (a word Sofia made up today.)

Before dinner I was able to fit in the first few chapters of a memoir on running by Haruki Murakami, which Gen picked up today from the library. The theme of the book is that pain is inevitable, but suffering's an option.

My back may be broken and the streets of New York frozen, but the cold kept us warm inside, and if my back kept me in bed, so be it, I have my girls curled up on either side of me, watching Miyazaki's Totoro, possibly the best film of one of the greatest artists alive, and what could be better?




 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Swan Flight

The Swan Flight

Some days with the girls are problems all day. "Problems" was AutoCorrect for "how I am" Which was in turn AutoCorrect for "Helen's" Which was always supposed to be "poems." Weird how that all works. Poems all day and I rarely have time to stop and get any words down in the cloud. So I'm dictating a sonnet of sorts to tell tale of a spontaneous dance to John Philip Sousa's "The hands of the sea" that has suddenly erupted around me. I put the music on because I thought it would be an appropriate background track to what happened on Mulberry Street, The Dr. Suess loaner I got from the Queens Library today and was getting ready to read to the girls before bed. Suess and Sousa together at last. But I guess old Suess has been waylaid. Both girls are swimming on the hardwood sea, doing the dance of the mermaids on the march. And now Lucia's doing the Tinkerbell. Now Sofia is free-forming to the actual music, jumping up and down, doing windmills and kicks, very expressive, very Mulberry Street. Suess snuck back into the mix! The song is over and I ask Sofia what she calls this dance. She says "the swamp life." That was AutoCorrect again, it should have been "the salon fight" Nope, "the swan flight" Weird how that works.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The swan flight

Some days with the girls are problems all day. Problems was AutoCorrect for how I am. Which was in turn AutoCorrect for Helen's. Which was AutoCorrect for poems. Weird how all that works. Poems all day, but I rarely have time to stop and get any words down in the cloud. So I'm dictating a sonnet of sorts to tell of a spontaneous dance to John Philip Sousa's "The hands of the sea" that has suddenly erupted around me. I put the music on because I thought it would be an appropriate background track to what happened on Mulberry Street, The Dr. Suess shiner -loaner- I got from the Queens Library today and was getting ready to read to the girls before bed. But I guess old Suess has been waylaid for now. Both girls are swimming on the hardwood sea, doing the dance of the mermaids on the march. Now Lucia's doing the Tinkerbell. Now Sofia is free-forming to the actual music, jumping up and down, doing windmills and kicks, very expressive, very Mulberry Street. The song is over and I ask Sofia what she calls this dance. She says "the swamp life." That was AutoCorrect again, it should have been "the salon fightCloser, "the swan right" Nope, "the swan flight" So weird how that works.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Button Holding Together the Universe

The Button Holding Together the Universe

I was taking a walk with the girls down 39th Ave
when I happened to look down and see a clump of

faded golden grass. Some would've said the grass was dead,
some might say latent, not sure what I would have said,

maybe something ludicrous like center of the universe,
but I would only say that because in the center of the grass,

dead center, was a golden button, the same faded
gold as the grass it was laying in, as if the two were fated

to be found here together; the way the leaves
were splayed out around the perfectly circular curves

of the plastic button, and the four little holes
suggesting a square, pointing to the four poles,

as if squaring up the center of all that infinite space surrounding.
The button seemed to be holding together the world, suspending

the earth itself, just as Wallace Stevens' jar in Tennessee
did -still does- holding back the hills leading up to it. I was lucky

to have been there just then, to see it all so improbably
arranged, just so like that. I picked up the lucky

button and put it in my pocket, aware now, suddenly,
but not then, yet, that I had just unbuttoned the universe, as crazy

as that sounds, even to me, but I'm not that crazy.
I didn't think about it again for a few days, but then I

put my hands in my coat pocket and there it was,
and there it was again the next day too. I would buzz

a little bit every time I touched the cool plastic
of the button between my thumb and fingertip,

like a talisman, or worry bead, or old Roman coin;
I was rubbing it like it really was some magic thing,

and not just some piece of cheap trash. Or maybe it was trash,
but either way, when I picked it up, it took on the weight of a fetish,

proven through the constant seeking of my own unconscious touch.
So flash forward to last night at Dynaco, after Anselm and Eileen read such

beautiful poems, and I'm talking to Anselm's daughter, Sylvie, at the bar.
She is showing me her button collection. Are

you kidding me with this? It was a terrific collection, but I smiled
with smug satisfaction because I knew I had a trump button. I pulled

the gold-dollar-sized one out of my pocket and unfolded my hand.
Carley Moore was there and she she asked me, Are you going to give that

to Sylvie for her collection? No, I said, I can't give her that one!
There was an awkward pause. Sorry, I said, I have to keep that one,

Because I found it perfect in a halo of golden grass, like Whitman reborn
and holding up the tender button of Gertrude Stein, like a gemstone.

I thought it was holding the universe together! I can't let anything happen
to that one, sorry, kid. Carley must've been embarrassed for me. But flipping

the whole script was Sylvie, because she just reached in her pocket,
pulled out a tiny red button and handed it to me. I took it

and then the thought slowly dawned on me that I was an idiot. I pulled
the big gold button back out of my coat pocket, rolled

it once between my thumb and fingers, for luck, or something
like that, and handed it over to Sylvie. But here's the cool thing,

the little red button is now the new talisman, and it's mine!
at least until the next time some kid wants it for her own,

and then I hope I won't be so slow to hand it over.
It's funny to think that maybe the button holding together the universe

will only hold the universe together when it's given away,
but that makes more sense to me now I have to say.


 



poem for a baker

Poem for a Baker

I listened to Anselm and Eileen on the floor of Dynaco. Floored.

After the reading a young woman sitting next to me on the floor turned and said, -These were the perfect seats.

-Oh, watching the reading from the floor you mean? Yeah, right, especially when Eileen got up on the chair.

-Yeah, it was like she was reading poems down through the clouds.

-Totally, like we were children sitting at Mama's feet and listening to bed time stories.

-Hey, is that a sky-light up there?

-I don't know. If it was it's been boarded up.

-I had a sky-light growing up in my room.

-That must have been amazing, to see the clouds and stars and sun and moon right above your bed.

-Yeah, it was, I used to look for the moon every night.

-And there was Eileen Myles reading poems from the clouds.

-Yes, and this morning I even baked a loaf of Challah.

-You wha?

-It was cloud shaped.

-Well, there you go, you got a poem right there.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Uh

Dear Alice

Why are you writing to me?
No reason to convince 
or respect, or even for me 
to convince you there is no reason, 
but interest me yes so far 
as truth is beauty does,
So far as interest means glue. 
Interest is not just for boys is it?
It's coded  in our chromesomes.
Interness!

I can stand your voice 
In tones of bursting out
until my legs fall off my ears,
Ringing like shattered glass,
But I still will never have it.
I'll become it or other,
Maybe, but not here.

The destroyer/preserver card
Is a hard card to hold but I'm still
Reading aren't I? Thank you, sir
may I have another? I am
Changing it up altogether.

I will sit down 
In the pines and whiff
The Needles of 
Clear forests until
I'm inside the ascent.

Everything, even this
Refusal of weakness.

You feature him who
Will come with you
If you want him too.

His own dead eyes
Lit up in a rat.