Self and reality. Symbol and language. Myth and image. Memory and consciousness.
Dream and unreality: locus communis.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

228/365


Even when covered—
under three layers of sheets—
toes curl in the cold.

Monday, December 27, 2010

225/365 - 227/365


12.24.10
Just before midnight—
everyone asleep in the house.
Silence vibrates close.

12.25.10
While reading pages of
haiku—some lines are glossed tight
with a dark blue line.

12.26.10
Pen against my mouth;
baby in his crib; I wait
for a new haiku.

Friday, December 24, 2010

222/365 - 224/365


12.21.10
Leaning into night,
from the edge of the mattress,
the cat blurs darkly.

12.22.10
Unexpectedly,
I cut myself while shaving.
The wound clots, slowly.

12.23.10
Inbetween feedings,
in moments of scant, brief sleep,
you appear in dreams.

Happy Christmas and Happy Seasons


Happy Christmas and Happy Seasons, originally uploaded by d_g_s.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

221/365


Feel the need to say something important, with the solstice outside forming, spiraling out to encompass the Earth. But a heavy sense of weariness soaks my bones— numerous reasons play into the sensation. Logic fails. I hear Ricky and his sister talking in the other room. Fragmented sentences. In the distance. I should be reading.

Solstice night falling.
Memories of my brother
call from the next room.

Monday, December 20, 2010

220/365


During one of the late feedings I stepped out of the kitchen into the family room; the moon startled me with his bright face, light drenching the house and streaming through the blinds. Holding Brendan, the two of us stepped into the angled light, into a shower of silver coins, Brendan swallowing milk and moonlight in greedy gulps, mouth foaming with saliva and formula, our reflection leaning to meet us at the window.

Four in the morning:
moonlight streams through the windows,
covers you and me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

219/365


Apparently I missed publishing a poem; with relatives in the house and the new baby seeking attention every two hours or so I completely forgot to post the hiaku moment for yesterday.
The event behind the formation of the poem contains an edge of symbolic irony: a few weeks ago I devised a folk-loric fable regarding the birth of my son, soon to be transferred to a long poem.

Brendan is a figure fallen from the skies in a meteor shower, a star-boy who lands in a pond to become a water-creature, a koi-child with wrinkles and whiskers. Later he leaps into our laps, a fresh baby human, all wriggles and eclectic squirms.

In the logic of the haiku presented below, Brendan is the green ball tossed by the wind into the water, only to be pulled out once I discovered it/him on my daily walk. The essence of the object, of Brendan's nature, is still intact, even with all the changes falling around him.

He remains my catfish boy, my dream-child fished out of marshy shallows.


The plastic ball pulled
from the full pond yesterday
remains a green sphere.

218/365


Nothing new to say—
baby in his crib, sleeping;
night shifts overhead.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

217/365


Mid-day winds bluster—
pause—then esculate—sending
newspapers skyward.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

216/365


The last remnants of Brendan’s umbilical cord fell off this morning, looking similar to a dried-fossilized worm, or sheep entrails dehydrated. For the moment it lies on the counter, out of reach of both baby and cat, a possible icon wanting to remind me of ancestral pasts. I think the Plains Native Americans carried the remains with them, in a small muslin-like sack worn about the neck. A symbol of heritage or a traditional birth rite. Is this a fiction placed in my head by false memory? The concept carries a weight of practicality somehow: the mummified flesh showing acknowledgement of one’s past.

And of the ultimate end for the journey
.

Despite the late hour,
still feel the pull of verses
wanting attention.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

214/365 - 215/365


12.12.10
Too late for grackles,
this season— what remains are
shadows flying.

12.13.10
The baby's crying
echoes with intensity
as cat at his bowl.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

213/365


Walking after a week of disrupted schedules and occasional naps from feedings in the middle of the night. Today the crescent moon still hangs outside, persistent in the blue of afternoon. Even a week after Brendan's birth the moon remains lit throughout the day, dodging clouds and low flying airplanes.

A reminder pinned
against the sky, suspended.
The crescent moon hangs.

Just behind the crib
the nightlight glows: arched aura.
Encircling closely.

Friday, December 10, 2010

212/365


Paper magnolias
on the dresser cast off light
as twilight deepens.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

211/365


remaining inside,
almost all day; the moon's shape
stays hidden by night.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Update || 206/365 - 210/365


Much has happened in the last six days which cast aside all plans of writing and developing new poems. To the point, my partner Ricky and I welcomed a baby boy into our lives last Friday—a hungry little fish who demands much attention.

Already a change in direction for my writing emerges; when Brendan existed merely as a possibility or a plausible thought, the interference was minimal. Now, with his physical form heavy in our lives, his image walks into many of my projects in the guise of a teenager, or as a young child, wearing the mask of a red-tail fox, laughing and crowing loudly.



Consequently, although the last week feels like a month of events, publication of the daily haiku was placed on hold. However, the poems themselves were composed, often late at night, sometimes after feeding, as a means to bring a renewed sense of structure into my writing.

12.03.10
at a loss for words—
the crescent moon in daylight
rises at your birth.

12.04.10
only one day old—
and the seasons tilt around
your sleeping new form.

12.05.10
Took a moment to drive out by myself into the cold Dallas morning for a strong cup of coffee and a take-away breakfast for both Ricky and me—while pulling away from the hospital driveway, I saw in the street's meridian a blackbird standing and tilting his head sideways with an over-sized nut in his beak. A good omen of plenty and ripe harvests. Possession, ownership, protection.

your grandfather crow
sits with a nut in his beak
contemplating life.

12.06.10
Three days old, Brendan fills out his form rapidly—he develops rituals and personal routines within the family's circles and inner circles of circles—even now across the room he sleeps a blue bundle of life, a fallen star-child in our laps. Dad and Mom both bridge themselves over his little form, another generation of protection

you are my koi-child
a whiskered carp rising up
to the bright surface.

12.07.10
your bundled form hides
beneath a printed pattern
of blue and red stars.

Friday, December 3, 2010

205/365


Trying to forget
consequences of the day—
seal off awareness.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Update: Acceptance


After the day closed with a sense of tediousness, a twist in mood fell out of my computer: received word that a poem was accepted for January publication in 2011. The on-line journal displaying the work is called Saltwater Press and the upcoming issue is their inaugural project.

In particular, the piece focuses on a collective stream of conscious, shifting from one main character, falling into the heads of two other secondary figures. Ultimately, the three voices prove that although they have diverse histories as individuals, they all have a common element in their lives.

A link to the full poem, titled "Variations on a Theme of Desire," will be posted as soon as the publication is available.

204/365


A flat horizon
unfolds into prairie grass—
extension of self.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

203/365


—and without warning,
a dark blue heron startles:
an awkward marsh priest.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

free write


Reading poetry of Robert Haas—stumbled on an approach he addresses, briefly, an implication of layering images, the stanzas as interlocking boxes, each inside the other; told as in transition, a camera angle moving forever inward, beyond the microscopic into deeper levels of alternative dimensions.

It is important to dig deeper for the source, shovel back the ash and silt of the past, moving beyond the layers of recognizable history—fall into fictionalized realms—Elizabeth I pulling back a section of her blouse revealing a mole under her right breast, —and further inward, below the surface impression of the text, in the closet a doll sits, holding a box, within the box a castle, within the castle the moon.

Layers of rooms, because stanza = room.

Layers of Dante’s Hell or Dante’s Heaven.

Spiral staircase leading upwards, or drilling downward.

202/365


Once around the pond—
no haiku emerge from
the murky green depths.

Monday, November 29, 2010

201/365


After a blue pill,
the world blurs into slower
motion, a soft fade.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

200/365


Despite the cold snap,
patches of clover still rise—
persistent greening.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

199/365


Moments ago turned on the radio for background classical music—and Bolero fell out with its insistent rhythm: dum deda-ditty de, dada dum, dada da—So of course when I start working on the "Learning Spanish" project, the poem collides with the persistent beat as I recite the lines out loud seeking a balance between the stanzas.

And R.'s parents walk into the poem unexpectedly, making their lunch and coffee in their home on the island—I see them singing to each other in a casual manner, not as a fifties musical with sudden troupe of dancing couples waltzing in the room— but a more subtle reality— a connection built between language, ocean, phonetics:
...the same manner your parents
move about their narrow kitchen, a casual salsa,
following rituals and patterns
of making cafe con leche, then

simmer pink beans
with chunks of stewed gourd,
while a stalk of green plantains arches,
leans forward to a ripeness,
leans forward to listen

to your parents humming
with the radio, an unrecognizable lyric,
a washed-out blue tune,
the same color of the streets in the capital-city
which run as streams of faded beryl tones...
Now what remains is to shift the scene back to the original theme...

Patterns of blackbirds
lift up, rising overhead.
What does this resolve?

Friday, November 26, 2010

198/365


Still, there are times when
expectations weigh me down
with a bag of heavy stones.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

197/365


procrastination
hovers over my notebook—
constant irritant

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NewPages Blog: The Immortality of Fairy Tales

NewPages Blog: The Immortality of Fairy Tales: "'About 50 years ago, critics were predicting the death of the fairy tale. They declared it would fizzle away in the domain of kiddie literat..."

196/365


November morning.
You open the blinds looking
in vain for the moon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

195/365


No haiku emerge
out of the pull of evening—
only full darkness.

autumn milkweed

milkweed
autumn milkweed, originally uploaded by d_g_s.

This autumn the milkweed in our backyard managed to pass the six foot mark. Now, some of the strands arch-over in half circles, still flowering, still producing numerous seed pods. Each individual branch ends in five or more pods, more than I expected. Every-so-often a ripened husk bursts open revealing layers of feathery-down and countless grains. With the right wind gust, the yard fills with the parachuting seeds.

Monday, November 22, 2010

194/365


The milk weed pods split
open for a quick release of
an early snowfall.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

192/365 - 193/365


11.19.10
Three misplaced llamas
stand as if in a warm daze
near a blue hydrant.

11.20.10
Counting syllables.
The only sounds from the night
a few distant chimes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

187/365 - 191/365


11.14.10
Unexpectedly
rain falls on the poet as
he circles his poem.

11.15.10
Gray autumn descends—
only a pale green exists:
as a curled lizard.

{—and a tanka form emerged today as well—}

Week of silences.
But now: mucky turtle crawls,
toad and crane startle;
at the base of a green pond—
one drowned rat floats, suspended.

11.16.10
The drowned rat’s carcass
lies wearing its mousey coat
beside the pond’s edge.

11.17.10
A hint of a stain
is all that is left behind,
from the rat’s grey corpse.

11.18.10
Walking by the pond
We startle ducks into flight
cross shards of moon.

Friday, November 19, 2010

182/365 - 186/365


11.09.10
Stumbling with the third section of latest poem. Even when walking around the pond today, I circled at least two or three times before a haiku concept arrived. Usually the verse composes itself immediately, with the formulated pace of my walk

But the poem, the poem “Learning Spanish” wanders into a memory without a sense of personality—the persona seems dry, cardboard cutout—I suppose the lady with the pushcart needs a voice. A phrase or a glance. Personify an abstraction of reality. Can she become Memory itself? Or Language?

Crescent moon shifting—
a rising epiphany—
listens intently.

Another day lies
without clear inspirations.
No new fresh-faced muse.

11.10.10
Interrupted walk
caught in unexpected rain.
Memories falling.

11.11.10
Discovered an Irish sculptor, Fidelma Massey, (http://www.irishsculpture.com/) who creates wonderful work, images unique and eccentric, based off a mythic energy and dream logic in a variety of forms and symbolic archetypes. I envy the mannerism of her figures—they arch and bend, blur between a theatre masque procession and a tableau depicting ancient gods and goddesses—they curve within themselves, half human, half animal.




Halfway round the pond.
In the distance faint music:
a boy with a flute.

11.12.10
Sunlight curves within
the base of blue ceramics
coiling tight circles.

11.13.10
The night splits open
spilling out blue black voices
from unseen grackles.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

177/365 - 181/365


11.04.10
Thursday night slips close
under the bedsheets, wanting
to escape cold air.

11.05.10
Managed to work a few moments on my “Learning Spanish” project. Brought it down to a working draft, broken into three sections, intervals of time: past, present, future— ideally the segments should contain the same amount of lines—but I do not know how severely I will uphold such a rigid rule.

And too, I am stuck for ideas of future possibilities. Brendan is the main focus of the future, yes—but what else could act as a secondary backup image? For that matter how can I tie Brendan with a mention of learning Spanish?

Struggling to find words
or new phrases to describe
the mundane moment.

11.06.10
Odd these last few days,
random acts of pale haiku
scatter and evade.

11.07.10
In an empty room
the television stays on,
casting out blue lights.

11.08.10
No moon out tonight.
Only the lights of passing
planes dragging darkness.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

172/365 - 176/365


10.30.10
Not yet twenty-four hours till my birthday. Yet close enough to mention the upcoming moment. A little bitter-sweet, glass half full/empty moment. One step closer to turning fifty. There is a poem here, somewhere. Just as a poem lies in almost everything these days. And really I had a point when the pen began writing on the page—but it wandered off by itself, so I stumble around seeking something to write about. Perhaps Ricky’s infected sinuses. Some days seem more realistic than others. Some hours flow with a rush of mundane waste—today I created databases for grades. Talked to Mom and Dad momentarily.

Checked e-mail… M. sent me a message finally. I did not open it. The hurt lingers. The rejection strong. Even if he states an ignorance to his avoidance, the reality is: he has moved to a higher plane of celebrity-poet. He is beyond me. So be it. You must keep writing. Walk around the pond for ideas. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually.

In late October.
Even now. Two dragonflies
mate, skimming the air.

10.31.10
Momentarily
the mind falls into silence.
A deep autumn pool.

11.01.10
Forty-something years
bring me up to this moment—
counting syllables.

11.02.10
After wrestling with myself for almost twenty minutes, I finally sent a reply note to M., explaining about the manuscript given to me in the late eighties by his ex-wife—I managed to misplace one section of the work, which adds to my frustration. I’ll need to dig it out of my notebooks and reread the poems—perhaps use a few lines as reference.

I remain a bundle of contradictory emotions about the whole situation anyway—both M. and R. put me into a conflicting psychological realm—torn loyalties to each of them. She intended me to publish her words— but legally I think M. owns them—and although she gave the manuscript as a gift to me I cannot realistically incorporate the collection into a volume on my own. Nor do I want to ride M.’s coat tails… but R.’s poetry should be published.

Sea tossed in milkweed,
a poet sits, contemplates
his situation—

11.03.10
Completely by accident I found out one of my students passed away—one time he had mentioned he was prone to seizures—and I only half-believed him. Students tend to relate heavy dramas and operatic fables, embellishing the truth with heavy varnish of possibilities and probability. In Seth’s case he related an accurate portrayal of himself. When he didn’t show up for midterms a few weeks ago I assumed he’d be back alter wanting a retake… lately he had taken to wearing baseball hats, making dry remarks from the back of the class, his deep voice carrying strong from the walls, despite his thin frame—a tight body—just a few inches shorter than myself.

No one told me. I discovered the fact while confirming roll off the school database, just on whim to help construct a grade sheet—

The hour stumbles late,
heavy with the day’s events,
and persistent rain.

NewPages Blog: Barns + Poetry + Art = Cool Stuff

NewPages Blog: Barns + Poetry + Art = Cool Stuff: "Artist Bill Dunlap was selected recently to do a series of murals on barns across Maryland. Each mural will be a text and image piece featur..."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

167/365 - 171/365


10.25.10
Still fighting off seasonal sinus issues—after two or three weeks of a slow recovery, I took an extra dosage of cold remedy medication. Within fifteen minutes the dose settles heavy into my system, drying out my nose and ears—but leaving a dull hum in my head.

Would like to work on my Spanish poem, but my comprehension lowers into instinctual patterns. Common actions easiest to recall.

Received another rejection—so promptly sent out five free verses to a new on line journal. Feel somewhat better. Positive action out of negative. Although finishing a poem perhaps would promote a more uplifting feeling.

Milkweed stalk as brush for abstractions and textured lines—outer edges contours use micron pens for tighter details
.

Ricky gives me three words at random for poem:
camisa, tabillero, portada. Still toying with possible applications—a listing would be the typical expectation.

Cold medication
leaves me in a heavy fog.
You confess the same.

10.26.10
Burdened by flowers
a dilapidated cross
leans by the road side.

10.27.10
For some unknowable reason I always plant the moon in my verses, a persistent white blooming, grey magnolias in dusk, unclosing their smiles… yet. I lie when I say “unknowable”—the image of the satellite lingers because it suits the mood of the individual, a constant icon shifting in phases, some nights drawing out of focus, permitting any slight gesture to easily block it from the perspective of the horizon. The moon exists as a perpetual reminder of my individualism, wait, no, my singularity, that sense of self that lies in the center of the skull—

Spent the day grading
while the moon circled elsewhere,
hidden from full view.

10.28.10
Day without walking.
And now a slight nervousness
lingers in my hands.

10.29.10
Shifting through your lungs
a pale sinus infection
invades your system.

Monday, November 15, 2010

162/365 - 166/365


10.20.10
The world on her back
Old Tortoise scuttles beneath
the water’s surface.

10.21.10
The night settles in
with television static
unfolding over—

10.22.10
Do not feel the need
for words tonight; exhaustion
numbs the thought process.

10.23.10
Just before midnight,
with cat asleep at my feet.
Finishing lectures.

10.24.10
No words. No letters.
No extremes. No new phrases.
Complete negation.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

157/365 - 161/365


10.15.10
As a lost bundle,
buried deep in blue bed sheets,
the cat curls, asleep.

10.16.10
In another house—
cross town— the same moon rises
over head. Slowly.

10.17.10
On the edge of sleep.
Despite the early night hour—
the day feels wasted.

10.18.10
After weeks of silence, I finally move forward with a new idea: “Learning Spanish” is the tentative title. Playing with my stumbling understanding of a second language.
          phonetics
          language
          syllables
          vowels
          tilda / eñe
                  •
Fluorescent hallway
lit with colorless tones. Then,
a black moth descends.

10.19.10
It is just enough—
innumerable grackles
and slow rising moon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

152/365 - 156/365


10.10.10
A prayer in basic terms is a communication with a divine presence. Prayers at night put the day’s events into perspective of a spectrum of a full life— or building a bridge between the Material World and the Divine World through the subconscious. If, as the Transcendentalists believed, we carry an aspect of God within each and every one of us, talking inwardly to the Hidden Soul, we communicate outwardly to the Universe itself.
So, in turn I can shift the notion a step further with creation of poetry: creation of haiku channels inner meditative reflection to help contemplate how the Natural World fits into the scope of the Universe, how humanity fits into a Divine Plan
.

No matter how mundane the subject, we celebrate ourselves.

Fresh tarred timber poles,
aligned on the road, glisten
darkly with black sweat.

10.11.10
Sooner or later I will have to acknowledge Ruth’s death. She would prefer something rich in surreal details, almost baroque really, abstract symbols walking into the text with indecipherable analogies: the flute player wearing his shirt of bells; the Peruvian bird catcher with empty cages calling out his daughter’s name; Gabriel Garcia Lorca combing back his hair, whispering a lullaby from his childhood—they could be presented as a masque of characters of course, all secondary to a little boy in his chair, newspapers spread under his clean white pants, his red crayon spelling out his name, over and over, practicing his awkward letters, handwriting shaky

A point of review:
sleep avoided me last night,
a callous lover.

10.12.10
Soon I need to return to previous ideas set up in August—Juan Bobo for instance. His mother will need to grow tired of his misadventures—the dressing up of pigs in dresses, carrying water in a basket, so she props him in a nearby woods to attract bees—they move in during winter. Aim for the fairytale logic, tones of Grimm Brothers or Anne Sexton’s Transformations.

Read up as well on beekeeping terminology—check the medieval poems as well. One of my old text books from St. Louis has the complete dream sequence of Piers Plowman, although I believe a different character meets the Beekeeper.

“This is not a story my people tell.” —Laurie Anderson

Apiary —a place to keep bees

Pressure in my ears
throbs, pulses, a steady hum
rippling through my head.

10.13.10
Scene today in the neighborhood: boys playing with toy guns, plastic water shooters, but their actions mimicked a raw video game, jerking motions, play acting death scenes, wounding each other in their shoulders, chest, face. The realism of their recoil, their heads pulling back, snapping neck muscles, it all proved too graphic for ten year old boys. Where did they gain such knowledge?

“The blackbirds settled / their clannish squabbles in the reeds.” —Robert Haas

Juan Bobo gets a nest of blackbirds in his head, his empty head—bees in his chest.

A rough tribe of boys
shoot metaphoric pistols
in their friend’s faces.

10.14.10
Torn between multiple projects—so of course none of them get worked on during my free time. Yet, due to a unique process of procrastination—the language shifts in my mind. The poems morph into something other.

Keep circling back to images of Ruth; Robert Haas seems to steer me into a frank and complimentary discussion about her: alcoholism, apples rotting in her desk, breasts falling out of night shirt, her intellect, her need for attention. Fractured image: poet, banshee, drunk, idealist. Needs a central metaphor.

Numerous grackles
scattered in October grass—
but not one haiku.

Friday, November 12, 2010

147/365 - 151/365


10.05.10
As words fail—complete,
dusk drops a greening mayfly
on my book’s arched page.

10.06.10
My personal ghosts
reappear, yes once again.
Persistent egrets.

Across autumn’s cusp
of sky—seeming just in reach—
field hawk lifts her wings.

10.07.10
The autumn sun slipped
on the horizon, breaking
through a spider’s web.

Clusters of dragon
flies coast over wild grasses—
darting in autumn.

10.08.10
Knotted groups of bulbs—
yellow cannas— planted in
early October.

10.09.10
A few days ago I read a poem by Temple Cone titled “Prayer for the Body” and found an element of inspiration for a poem of my own. Yet tonight I cannot find the source again. His work still shows the original notions from before—I just cannot realize the specific tone which bridged the distance between his sense of reality to my own writing environment.

We moved bookcases around to add a greater sense of space to the office. It helped somewhat. It just happens the population of books remain heavy—

A waste of a day.
Waiting for my allergies
to leave my system.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

142/365 - 146/365


09.30.10
On the pond’s surface,
balanced between reflection
and self. A wasp rests.

10.01.10
No words for tonight—
my vocabulary fails.
Sleep consumes my thoughts.

10.02.10
Sinuses clog up
throat, ears, nose. I drown in phlegm.
Fever burning tight.

10.03.10
Considering the fractured approach again for poetry. Say 10 or 15 haiku loosely bound by subject. In this case: crows, blackbirds, grackles. Whereas my earlier tanka project consisted of individual poems, this flock of haiku would be a collective thought—a grouped series of verses.

Or a new approach entirely—five stanzas of five lines composed of five syllables (5 x 5 x 5) under a common binding title. In this manner the individual poem would at least tread into the territory of a secondary collection, a part two within the manuscript. And still require some craft and experimentation.

Grading more papers.
Watching the clock shift forward.
While thinking of crows.

10.04.10
A foul mood rises,
from the pit of my stomach,
ascending the spine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

137/365 - 141/365


09.24.10
The bulk of the moon
transitions behind cypress
branches. Then a crow.

09.25.10
Struggling with 3 or 4 poems at once. None of them behaving in any sense of the word. And I am tired of complaining of all the failures in my life. Think of the words. The flow of phrases. Maybe watch Wings of Desire. Would spark the old energies again.

Yannis Ritsos helps. The translations of his work prove a valuable resource
.

Momentarily
caught among storming egrets,
a circling tempest.

09.26.10
Stalled out on five or six projects—I say “stalled” as if they were engines sputtering, then flooding over with belches of diesel. Each of the individual poems rest in various stages of unfinished modes.

Yet it feels good to have these handfuls of work waiting to be completed. I progress, motion forward. Receive a rejection—send out newer material. Do not make a connection, send an email to another poet I admire. Fight the invisibility. Resist the notion of isolation
.

A slight apathy
descends; words seem to fail me.
Unfinished poems wait.

09.27.10
After a walk around the pond—an hour’s walk, a probable conclusion was reached for my “3 Scenes” poem—it is a full working draft at least. The morning may prove it too awkward—the ending stanzas jolt slightly, jumping between two subjects. To my ear, it sounds fluid—a planned, eccentric strategy, not a haphazard meandering.

Another reject from River Styx; annoyance. “Not enough votes” the note read. At least the reject slip was personalized. Not fully formal.

Fall walked in last week,
unannounced with hat in hand.
Terse smile on his face.

09.29.10
Strips of dried guava. Water. Reading poetry in late afternoon. Waiting on electrician to arrive to install a ceiling fan—

rime = hoarfrost

A basic statement:
while watering gardenias,
a green dragonfly.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

132/365 - 136/365


09.19.10
In the oven, a chicken bakes, clicking and spitting in its own juices. The house is warm with scents of the food, left-over garlic and a basic litany of herbs.

Reading Mary Oliver, her early works. She has a profound way of making me pause between pages. One is forced to meditate on her work in a way that is not often evident with more contemporary writers. On the surface her words appear plain, minimalistic—but the verses carry a heft, as a stone…

A day to read poems
and then slowly fold up fresh
laundry in warm piles.

09.20.19
Boys with sticks poke at
a brown toad carcass left on
the side of the road.

09.21.10
State the obvious:
frustration of a blank page
and errands to run.

09.22.10
A moment clichéd:
the full moon descends over
the back garden wall.

09.23.10
She simply stands there.
In the middle of the road.
Watching cars speed by.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

127/365 - 131/365


09.14.10
Inside the lamp’s globe
a collection of dead moths
rest, drowning in light.

09.15.10
Unexpectedly,
a gold epiphany flies
among grey sparrows.

09.16.10
Once around the pond
our conversation ceases.
The sky threatens rain.

09.17.10
Wandering bookshelves.
Hands fingertipping volumes.
Sorting through the titles.

09.18.10
Ricky found an international market stocked with Middle Eastern foods and East European desserts; stalls of figs, dates, broad bean stalks, large fava beans, bags of poppy seed, fresh warm pita, numerous spices—a poem lies here somewhere, a song of diversity.

There are days when I feel invisible to the poetry community. Even today after calculating the poems published this year, I cannot seem to build an audience or steady readers for any of my poems. I keep reaching out to other writers, other editors—and all I get is silence.

Another new series of rejections fall into the mailbox this week. More negation to contend with—and I send out more material once more.

Women in burkas
among red pomegranates,
between market stalls.

Friday, November 5, 2010

122/365 - 126/365


09.09.10
Tonight the cat mews
from the edge of the mattress
continuously.

09.10.10
Despite a late cup
of coffee, sleep settles down—
curls up on my chest.

09.11.10
Mid-September walk:
two moths jostle in circles
across a dog’s turd.

09.12.10
Middle of the road
lies a child’s discarded shoe—
sense of purpose lost.

09.13.10
Singing out of tune
while walking alone. And then
a sudden egret.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

117/365 - 121/365


09.04.10
Anymore the act of writing a haiku suffices for a creative burst of energy, no need to relate more information regarding day’s events, political agendas of the day—so I allow sleep to cover me with his deep wings…

Dad and I painted the garage door with a paint gun today. He showed me the rhythm and pace to maintain, while shouting directions over the roar of the machine: the vibrations shook through my arms, my shoulders—shuddering a thin coat of beige over the metal doors.

We pass a chimney
wearing a cap of bright blue:
scraps of tarp bound tight.

09.05.10
September dusk walks
aimlessly in slow circles.
The moon waits, patient.

09.06.10
Shift poetry down to the bare scene. To the mundane act of opening an envelope in the kitchen, cutting partner’s hair on the back porch, closing a book when finished reading—a beauty exists here, in terse fragmented scenes. Shades of reality.

So in the case of my vocalist’s solo: she glances up at a boy in the room. But what obvious characteristic can he have? Is the dragonfly tattoo enough—or is it too commercial?


Open book resting
across my chest almost as
a full, rough embrace.

09.07.10
Set on the night stand
a slim tower of books wait—
murmur to themselves.

09.08.10
for the solo-vocal: heads up girl I tell myself

Display the full poem in fractured haikus, numbered. Keeping a sense of bridged verses—the idea is to collect fragmented scraps of songs/lyrics related to her surroundings.

Then create the Juan Bobo poem second— then create a full song-poem; look at Elizabeth Bishop again.


After heavy rains
oblong circles of mushrooms
spiral across yards.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

112/365 - 116/365


08.30.10
(See “On Sentimentality” for commentary.)
Luminous green fires:
constellations of may flies
locked in August’ web.

08.31.10
The sky threatens rain
with dark blue motioning— yet
it all proves for naught.

09.01.10
Like a lost traveler,
our conversation wanders,
seeking out a home.

09.02.10
An hour of silence.
Then the roars of school buses,
shrill calls of children.

09.03.10
Yesterday two boys
circled the pond with their dogs:
symbols of my loss.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

107/365 - 111/365


08.25.10
Last two mornings I wake to sensations of utter despair. Regret. Possible side effects of the medication the doctor gave me to fight off the pain in my elbow— so tonight I do not take the prescription, resort to a typical aspirin, standard cure for any ache.

By chance I stumbled on Joan Seliger Sidney’s poetry on-line. Her work survives, appears everywhere, whereas mine flounders, hides, lies ignored. But I contacted her—as a voice out of the past. She deserves a new poem dedicated to her.

Not yet 9.25 p.m. Trying to find a way to create a poem for my soloist, the vocalist in the
Quintet series. I visualize her, channel her voice, but the phrases are not in tune yet— the frequency out of reach—perhaps a running metaphor revolving around tarot deck or Ouija board? Or maybe something from the medieval lives of the saints would work better… Christian mysticism…

OR look at a past haiku—begin with a visual from her immediate environment— her "now" moment woven with a song shown in italics… trading between the two; weaving different realities in unison.


Suddenly, without
warning, five wild birds startle
out of the underbrush.

08.26.10
A day with absence—
clusters of horseflies circle,
dive, rather than words

08.27.10
I know (now) what style of ballad to use for the secondary verses for the vocalist series. In a sense, a modern dance torch song—experimental edge while at the same time maintaining old school rhythms. Elements of modern technology would not hurt, a metaphor of the immediate computer age decorated in 30s or 40s concepts—

I like the notion of a car, or bridging distance between two lovers—or a positive rush of desire: the voice confirming the notion of doing anything for the other.

Repetition would work, a refrain in tetrameters:
“as if the wheels could only fly.”
.: train
.: subway
.: airplane (on runway)
.: rocket
.: automobile

Bluegreen dragonfly
with wings stuttering wildly
in a crow’s harsh caw.

08.28.10
Cup of bad coffee:
watered down caffeination—
day of frustration.

08.29.10
New experiment:
a swarm of bees — Juan Bobo (idiot child) Parental figure retells persona new versions of the folk hero from Puerto Rico, but because the female persona acknowledges the stories are not authentic the poem does not try to come across as an appropriation— just a warped mirror of a reality—
Likewise I can compound a cautionary tale to a higher level:


five stanza of five syllables (once complete): 5x5

...so he sits
slack-jawed in the woods
an idiot boy
as in the stories
Tia Juana told
at night: Juan Bobo

all rough simpleton
until he transformed
to a swarm of bees...

I remember sometime ago, in the eighties I wrote a dream-reality piece with a similar concept: parental figure abandoning child in woods as in a German folk tale. Psychological violence expressed for children's literature.

The cliché stretched out,
branched off, opened small flowers,
sprouted august weeds.

Monday, November 1, 2010

102/365 - 106/365


08.20.10
Seventeen egrets
reflect back as seventeen
syllables, resting.

08.21.10
Darting and flinging
his body in the milkweed—
a little warrior.

08.22.10
Sometimes I utilize thousands of syllables and the works still remain a convoluted metaphor without resolution. There cannot be one pure moment of absolute happiness, nor full satiated desire. Both extremes do not exist in the natural world. Both moods are tainted by other emotional states which cloud the surface—they water down the waves of intense joy, depression, excitement, misery.

My writing meanders within these extremes. Collects different random moments and recollections and loosely weaves them together by word association or theme—this is what I aim to show: the more random we try to make out lives, the more similar we are.

We are all fractures of conflicting feelings and vastly unique histories. It is a paradox; we are all the same, because we are all different.


I read a poem recently by Stephen Gibson from The River Styx: “Dueno and Baptisery, Florence”—he uses a similar concept, different planes of perception unfolding various points of view: tourists, rebel youth, a marketing campaign, locals— all components which makeup the scene, all individuals necessary to reach a sense of fullness within the poem’s message—it’s hard to pinpoint one strong example from the full work. Through an individual multifaceted experience an universality should be reached. The poet as a cracked mirror reflecting back the public to itself.

Sometimes 17
syllables are not enough
to express my moods.

08.23.10
Falling into a fist of frustration: every idea I begin to structure out in my head soon falls apart, crumbles under pressure of purpose. That is: does the idea function as a purposeful concept. The internal editor works overtime today critiquing every phrase or verb; random thoughts should appear aimless, without clear purpose. It is up to the reader to apply a function or a goal to emerge from the text.

The manner I treat my impulsive ideas—this is what my students do to their poetry assignments. If they cannot find an immediate moral or point they assume the work is only a collection of words and phrases. They are not taking the second step of processing the information or meditation on possible themes. Which provides a lesson for myself. Even the most decorative language poem contains a point. Decoration in itself is a function. The reader must transcend the situation and the text.


On outside tables
a young grackle laughs and then
steals sugar packets.

08.24.10
Yesterday we found a used book store; in the poetry section I found a collection of verse glossed over in pencil. Almost every page dog eared with notations regarding strategy and technique: metaphor, simile, alliteration. The markings distract the eye in a fashion; they serve as a precise dissection of the verse. Somewhere a poem of my own making lies here, in this event—

Lull of midmorning.
Neighborhood empty. Silent—
yet distant yapping.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

97/365 - 101/365


08.15.10
On my left forearm—
without warning, a green bruise—
a tightly clenched fist.

08.16.10
Middle of the night.
Insomnia on my chest—
you sleep unaware.

08.17.10
Feelings of strong guilt
inhibit the writing mind
and silence the muse.

08.18.10
I lather my face
with soap while in the next room
you fold back the bed.

08.19.10
Two young girls walk by
with braided arms —entwined tight—
entering my poems.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Phoebus was gone—" || Poetry Magazine


Direct link to original.

Phoebus was gone, all gone—
by Anonymous
translated by Eavan Boland

Phoebus was gone, all gone, his journey over.
His sister was riding high: nothing bridled her.
Her light was falling, shining into woods and rivers.
Wild animals opened their jaws wide, stirred to prey.
But in the human world all was sleep, pause, relaxation, torpor.

One night, in an April which had just gone by,
The likeness of my love stood beside me suddenly.
He called my name so quietly. He touched me gently.
His voice was drowning in tears. It failed completely.
His sighs overwhelmed him. Finally, he could not speak clearly.

I shuddered at his touch. I felt the fear of it.
I trembled as if I knew the true terror of it.
I opened my arms wide and pressed him against my body.
Then I froze: I was ice, all ice. My blood drained into it.
He had fled. Here was my embrace—and there was nothing in it.

Fully awake now, I cried out loudly:
"Where are you fleeing to? Why are you rushing away?
Wait, wait for me. If you want, I can enter there.
Because the truth is, I want to live with you forever."
But soon I regretted it—that I had spoken out this way.

And all the time, the windows of the terrace had been wide open.
The light of the moon poured down; its beauty, its radiance.
And I grieved and grieved. I grieved for so long.
The tears flowed down my cheeks: tributaries of tears.
It was a whole day before I could stop weeping.

91/365 - 96/365


08.10.10
From across the room,
the boy’s dragonfly tattoo
trembles as he leaves.

08.11.10
Just found a poem of Susan Mitchell’s online: “Bus Trip” — makes me question my efforts to over-embellish, over-explain all details of a story… She creates intentional moments which lapse reality, resulting in creative, surreal notions which linger in the verse—every image does not need definition, every action of the persona does not need clarification.

And she is not afraid to confuse a word’s function in a sentence. What looks like a verb or an adjective will emerge as a noun:

flying > “She carried her flying…”

And remember what M. told you—retractions can work in a poem. Present the scene and take it back. State that the text is all a fabrication, a lie, a myth.

Are haiku disposable poems? Does the average reader glance across them only once, determine a secondary theme, acknowledge the imagery, then toss them aside?

My daily exercises do not move beyond the planner, the web log entries … should I try to publish them by themselves or incorporate them into something larger? Can they be considered as more than just exercises for that matter? There is a realm of thought that haiku are cliché and over-commercialized. Hard to publish such verses in “notable” literary magazines— until after one’s name has been established.

Theme of aimless meandering… how to utilize... and still have a point, the metaphor should be obvious.

Ironic. I write down the word “tributaries” perhaps for the first time—and now moments later, I read an anonymous poem which uses the word. See “Phoebus was gone, all gone—.”

Irritation swells
over, sitting on my chest—
tossing taunts at me.

08.12.10
On the branches’ tip,
without leaves, isolated,
a gardenia blooms.

08.13.10
Another moment
as typical as before:
haiku shift as mist.

08.14.10
In the back garden.
Behind rows of cannas.
Remains of a wing.

Friday, October 29, 2010

86/365 - 90/365


08.05.10
Finished reading a collection of fragmented modern writing, intentional broken phrases and twisted notions of literature. That is—twisted as in altered, realigned, personal, private—

Ominous sight: a swinging screendoor, banging against an empty house. Each swipe at the air pulls it further off its hinges.

A green grasshopper
clings to a speeding windshield
hitching a ride south.

08.06.10
On august treetops
dragonflies gather en masse,
dangling metaphors.

08.07.10
Another moment:
mundane day with limited
possibilities.

08.08.10
In bed together:
thirty minutes of reading.
Lights will then turn off.

08.09.10
Outside the second
story window—chimney swifts
wing across the air.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

81/365 - 85/365


07.31.10
Almost prepared to leave the page blank. I’m in that sort of mood. A little bitter, frustrated. Pointless. My sense of fulfillment fled quickly this year. All it takes is one rejection in the mail—and the evening settles into bitterness.

Cast off satellites
diving, circling at random;
moths orbit street lights.

08.01.10
Not fond of the haiku tonight; the event spiraled out of this afternoon, so I concentrate on preserving the actuality of the event, rather than use strong creative phrasing. But see—I over criticize all my words anymore. Question all statements on the page.

Above the doorway,
outside between two bricks, bees
submerge with green leaves.

08.02.10
To counter silence,
in the night I imagine
steady streams of rain.

08.03.10
A flock of sparrows
scare off a helicopter,
arching cross summer.

08.04.10
After ten o’clock.
The neighborhood settles down
outside out window.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

76/365 - 80/365


07.26.10
Driving to work I realized a stronger approach to a new poem—but it rests in the car. Locked up; house alarm set; myself lying in bed. Tried reconstructing key words—but the phrases fall flat. I forget how resolution was reached—if it was reached at all.

Over the weekend Dad and I drank black-and-tans at a pseudo pub which lies between our houses. Mom drank cold tea.

Another moment.
Night slowly uncoils itself.
I bite on my nails.

07.27.10
Fading rapidly. All of a sudden—the sense of sleep floods over, intensely. Earlier an idea shaped in my head, but the cat jumped on the bed and howled. I lost all notion of my thoughts. Perhaps the phrase dealt with poetry. Or school.

I forget how my travelogue essay finished. If it even finished. In a few days, it is crucial to re-read it, start cycling it out to journals


Before the full sunrise
damp windows bead with water.
Mosquitoes dance close.

07.28.10
Three sets of rejection notes arrived this week. Which means this Friday I’ll have more opportunities to mail out. One journal included an encouraging note. She liked the poem regarding Atif apparently—but not enough sentiment to accept it.

Five weeks of silence:
no news, no comments; but now
rejects come roaring.

07.29.10
Slow ache receding
from my right arm—painfully
slow—testing patience.

07.30.10
Driving home from work.
At a stuttering red light
one small feather falls.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

71/365 - 75/365


07.21.10
Six old men resting
in barren arms of morning:
a murder of crows.

07.22.10
Across the back porch
after days of heavy rain
a snake slips in view.

07.23.10
Driving to visit parents a thought passed into my head—partly due to a lyric on the radio: viewing self as Adam, as Eve, and as the snake. Three quick stanzas—where reader decides which potion depicts which archetype, they blur—elements of desire, awareness, slithering. Use of self limited to “now” without an elaborate story or background…

Almost wrote a poem—
until procrastination
tapped on the window.

07.24.10
Stayed up past bedtime.
Suffering now with red eyes
and heavy limbs—sleep.

07.25.10
Waiting for a poem
to walk into the bedroom
and embrace me, deep.

Monday, October 25, 2010

66/365 - 70/365


Confusion reigns. I am currently existing in the middle of two time streams: my haiku remain primarily a hundred days in the past, as a recording of my former self; whereas my general commentaries lie in the “now” moment, reacting in mid-transformation. So. It is time to bridge the two into one functional flow of information. With today’s entry I begin clustering the haiku in bundles, gradually, bringing them up as close as possible to the current timeline.

In the beginning I refrained from presenting verses in this manner because I firmly believe too many poems presented without adequate breaks cause a gluttonous stimulus to the reading brain. What results is an over-production of the visual imagery in the head. A chaotic meshing of ideas. A knot of realities. And less concentration on the individual work will result.

However, perhaps displaying four or five at a time will be less of a flood of imagery, still allowing the proper moments of reflection. For clarification, over the next few weeks, each haiku group will show the original date of creation.

07.16.10
Cross the summer ground
collections of lacewing flies
gather like dead leaves.

07.17.10
Crawfish chimneys of mud. Haven’t seen these in a long time. In Slidell I could locate a large clutch of the creatures when I mowed the grass. What brings this to my head tonight? Random thought or potential poem?

Sudden summer falls
down a flight of stairs. Banging
drums, clashes of storms.

07.18.10
It rained yesterday and today. A solid drench of thunderstorms. A necessity. Already can see a difference in the grass. It transforms to a thick carpet overnight. The gardenia bushes plump out with new leaves. Slick green.

Summer dragonflies—
at least ten, or more, coasting
across the back yard.

07.19.10
The mirror reflects
back the image of a man
displaced with his craft.

07.20.10
Our neighbor’s parrots
screech all morning honoring
their captivity.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

65/365


A grackle watches
father and daughter feeding
turtles from the bridge.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

“Harry Potter” author may face plagiarism trial. What is the precise meaning of plagiarism?

"Harry Potter" author may face plagiarism trial. What is the precise meaning of plagiarism?

64/365


Two scenes with children today. The first: after getting coffee, after lectures, I slowly leisurely poured the cream and sugar, then moved to the exit: full glass. On the reverse side a small girl about six or seven peered intensely through the door, not able to make out clearly I was waiting for her to move back. She: shoulder length brown hair, light olive skin tones. Finally, when I could open the door she asked me all innocent: “Do you know where my daddy is?” A quick survey of the outside patio revealed he was within earshot, just around the corner. She ran to him, her dress flung back in excitement of acknowledgment. “Yes!” He collected his child and waved at me appreciatively.

The second scene: tonight we walked to the community mailbox; junk mail again. No news. Heading back, a ten year old boy, shirtless and shoeless, ran past, brandishing a toy sword and scabbard— mind whirling with possibilities for wild adventure: explorer, pirate, soldier.

A book rests open
on the edge of the mattress,
contemplating sleep.

Friday, October 22, 2010

63/365


Woke at one last night and couldn’t fall back asleep until almost three. My right arm stiffened at the elbow, reacting to the box of stones Dad and I collected in May or early June.

Ghost pain, ghost memory of a pain… the phrasing is off. Memory of a ghost pain… the idea rests in the middle of my tongue like a communion wafer, dissolving slowly as the priests recite their litany.

As I close the blinds
archer’s moon clings in the west
counting syllables.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

62/365


You ask what is wrong
as I lie staring blankly
at the empty page.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

61/365


Tracts of snow and ice,
curving valleys of winter
in the unmade bed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

60/365


Nothing new to add.
Settled in the same routine
as the last few weeks—

Monday, October 18, 2010

59/365


A moment free—rare these last few weeks. We drove to get coffee and wander a book store for two hours. Purchased a variety of mismatched volumes: Tom Sawyer (to reread), City of Ladies (to finish reading), Collected Works of Marianne Moore (because I should read), and Journal of Thoreau (inspirational read).

Almost ten o’clock, but do not feel the usual pull of sleep. Trying to shift focus from school matters. Concentrate on poetry once more. In memory, St. Louis offered more inspiration. Atlanta: nothing. Houston: slim. But we only lived here two years—and I have created new work.

I marked a line in a collection of Robert Haas poems—as a reminder for a future lecture, or future verse of my own, yet now, looking at it repeatedly, memory fails, refuses to release the background information again… the significance of the wording fades, despite the their beauty, just as a faded, fragmented fresco in Italy— Florence or Pisa, showing two cupids wrestling, arguing over a fallen heart, the full tableau tarnished and barely recognizable on the wall, colored in tones of rust and old blood.

Fragmented haikus
as broken shards on the floor—
or clusters of stone.

58/365


Mosquito hovers—
balanced midair. Caught between.
Wakened by rainstorms.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

57/365


Old man mosquito
circles with acrobatics—
buzzing in my ear.

Friday, October 15, 2010

56/365

.
Too tired to think.
Breath rises and falls, steady.
Persistent rhythm.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

55/365

.
I almost forgot,
with all the grading today,
to breathe out my name.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

54/365

.
Without proper backing, nor notes, nor Muse, I wait for an idea to emerge on the page. The very language needed to spark a poem, to kindle out a verse strand, the igniting element is missing. Besides, the hour creeps close to midnight. I have hours of grading still left to complete. A dull ringing in my ears hums indifferently, as if I submerged myself in water—

Could the vocalist (a character from an unfinished work for the Quintet MS) could she feel disconnect from herself or a partner? Her persona is characterized by her Puerto Rican roots. Originally I wanted to show she missed her culture from the island itself. Or from a father figure.

So I lie here instead listening to the occasional pop of fireworks and to the steady drone in my head—maybe Brubeck's rhythms could help generate phrases.



More fireworks explode
overhead. The night trembles
and quakes with the noise.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

53/365

.
Contentment, despite
rejection slip in the mail;
poems fill up the night.


Monday, October 11, 2010

52/365


After weeks of no rain—only cloudy skies and thunderstorms thundering in the distance—Cypress gets caught in a trailing series of clouds off a hurricane in the Gulf—and steady downpours for the last two days.



Asleep at the wheel,
the moon rises out of synch
early Wednesday.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

51/365

Days of silence in my journals are important as days of extreme disclosures. Absence speaks as loud as presence.

Even in poetry—a line break or gap between stanzas stress extended distress or unrecordable joy.


Tomorrow they draw blood, checking for probable cancer. I do not expect them to find anything in my system this early. Yet the potential for disaster remains. Ironic circumstances of fate.

Do I believe in fate? I once believed in Divine Intervention.


Aluminum tub
          overflows with summer storms
                    outside my window.




Friday, October 8, 2010

50/365 || Two

.
Your anger carries
throughout the bedroom. Even
the house feels tension.
               •
Slight buzz from coffee—
even though it was decaf—
the night stretches, yawns.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

49/365

.
They stare back—blankly.
Without expressions. No thoughts.
Absent, static minds.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

in light of recent events

.
In light of recent events, and the litany of names of young adults who reach a limit of intolerant behaviour thrown at them—and then take a desperate leap against themselves—it is time for people to step up and show a stronger sense of acceptance of diversity that makes up our global culture. According to an AP article displayed on Yahoo! News today: Gay and lesbian teens are four times more likely than other teens to commit suicide, and 9 out of 10 report being bullied, according to recent studies cited by CBS News. Parental tolerance for their sexuality tends to reduce the suicide risk, one recent study suggests.

I remembered an old poem I wrote in the mid-nineties. I reworked it slightly for today; its tone is relevant to the contemporary times.


Metamorphosis

The moon was not even aware of him,
of the boy climbing the water tower,
     a figure held against the graffiti
          and a rising tempo of the moment.
The boy was suspended above time. Above
the town. And though the moon did not watch him,
     he watched the moon. The slow rowing across
          still water. At the top of the tower
he paused, opened his arms as if to take
in the silent crescent on the horizon,
     or even the town itself, as if one
          could embrace rejection. In a sense
he became the moon, a paleness spreading
his arms— or rather, he opened them
     as a memory, as my memory,
          of the time I was 17 and knew
I was different, but could not name it;
only felt the presence here, in my chest,
     a rhythm beating at night, as I tried
          to conform my thoughts to what I was told,
what I was taught. The drumming never ceased.
It grew, over the months and years, became
     a persistent hum in my ears, my throat
          breathing with the motion, until I saw
myself for what I was: a pale changeling,
my form metamorphosed to a bird,
     soft feathers covered my hands and shoulders,
          a soft down of my new self surrounding
my form like a warm coat, a strong embrace
of acceptance; the kind I wish for this boy,
     for this scene of the boy alone. He breathes
          in the moment; his blue hour tightens.
He arches his back and falls forward,
into the arms of emptiness, of night.
     Can you imagine such a falling?
          The denial of the self arching the body,
casting it into a death of scandals.
I used to stand on rooftops, on houses
     to feel the moment of it all, to try
          and abandon myself into the wind.
But I realize now, I am like Horace,
an old man chasing young girls and servants,
     all for the sensations of past flights
          of fancy, a man picturing himself
with wings, an old crow tonguing the moon
with songs of beauty in a passing face,
     the hard-hearted boys that tempted him
          with their hard bodies, their rough sports.
My wings cannot take me backwards in time,
to change events swallowed by history.
     I hover softly in the present times,
          cursing my lack of angelic powers,
wanting to will myself to the falling,
hold back the events. To re-cast the boy’s form
     into a new image, if only into the shape of a passing swallow,
          or a young swan shifting eastward—by night.

48/365

.
Without poetry
the day settles to mundane
rhythms: breathe in—out.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

47/365

.
A lizard motions
into sunlight, neck arching
and flickering red.


Monday, October 4, 2010

46/365

.
Clock falls to midnight.
You murmur in your sleep—until
somewhere a dog howls.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

45/365

.
Origami dropped
on the sidewalk turns into
a dead butterfly.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

44/365

.
Paring back toenails
while standing in the tub. Night
flashes: summer storms.


Friday, October 1, 2010

43/365

.
Burnt coffee grounds rest—
lingering reminders—grit
in my morning cup.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

42/365

.
Summer storms mumble
as chimney swifts spiral cross
the darkening skies.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

41/365

.
Typically, these verses exist approximately 32 days in the immediate past—it was after developing an archive of poems I began publishing them here as an established project.

However, a majority of yesterday was spent reviewing in my head the developing stories within Austin and the University of Texas campus. Usually I take current happenings lightly; oftentimes, if not careful, a poet can date him/herself rather quickly if a steady notion of the momentary culture is maintained—and yet every once in a while a situation raises the need for a creative response.

Case in point, the drama at UT. It remains hard to fully comprehend the struggles individual students stress on themselves—and why they resort to voilent extremes. Commentaries and news updates will clog television stations and media outlets for the next few days analyzing the details. Situations like these leave me feeling at a loss for words or action—is it enough just acknowledging the unfolding drama, or are there steps as a teacher I can put into place myself?

And then sometimes, a respectful silence can be the only temporary answer. A waiting for further details.

Consequently, this is what developed on the page:


Take in the day. Breathe.
There is nothing one can say.
Events rest as stones.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

40/365

.
First day of summer—
slowly she slips off old clothes,
brushes out her hair.


Monday, September 27, 2010

39/365

.
Glowing in morning
sunlight, scattered silk nests of
tent caterpillars.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

38/365

.
Fifteen minutes to midnight.
Wanting to sum up the day
in small syllables.



Friday, September 24, 2010

36/365

.
Overhead, air vents
rattle like grey mice gnawing
on scraps of tinfoil.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

35/365

.
Nothing new to write.
The sun skims the horizon,
low. A burning ship.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

34/365

.
An epiphany:
just above my head— a moth
clings against the screen.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

33/365

.
Mind locked in a haze
of alcohol—fog descends
encompassing all.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Current Project

Began a new poem recently to fit into the Quintet series. The full collection of poems consists of five voices, each interior monologue based off one of the band members: sax, upright bass, drums, piano, voice. In the current verse, the solo vocalist is the only female of the group. Her thoughts are more formulaic than the other members—in my logic, she thinks in structured lyrics. In this case I fell into use of the haiku formula, 5-7-5 syllable rule. I liked how the syllable count fractures my typical long lines— likewise, the appearance of the numbered stanzas encourage a further halting rythym to be placed on the full work.

And then too, I like how her story formed in my head to begin with—she echoes my own personal experiences slightly: the loss of my eighteen year old brother for example—

Debating at the moment if the repitition between 5 and 6 work muscially... or clash with a lack of harmony. In other words, does the discord sound intentional or forced?



The Falling:
vocalist solo
1
—and that’s all it takes,
(even mid-song) one slight glance
across a small room.
2
Or even mid-phrase.
Mid-word. And then the falling
into vertigo.
3
As casual as
slipping into mama’s dress,
stepping out to dance.
4
Nights of Latin jazz,
a time when I’d wear music
as a second skin—
5
all past sensations
returning from just one quick
glance of a stranger—
6
It is just too much—
when a full stranger mirrors
a past memory,
7
reflecting the face
of my brother: his earring,
his stance and movements,
8
a gentle haunting,
which clings, even years later,
as if time derailed,
9
as if this city
transposed itself to somewhere
else—to fractured scenes
10
stolen from the past,
before the epiphanies
or experience,
11
before changed notions
of self took hold, unfolding
paper memory.
12
His attention falls
elsewhere, seeking out someone
in this small grey room.
13
I close my dark eyes.
Step further into myself.
Acknowledge the past.
14
Across the tables,
the boy’s dragonfly tattoo
trembles, as he leaves.

32/365

.
Settling into bed,
a full weight of sleep exists—
despite car alarms.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

31/365

.
In the other room.
Lie down, watch television—
blue lights flickering.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

30/365

.
Almost nine o’clock
and the sun settles beyond
the west garden wall.


Friday, September 17, 2010

29/365

.
Walking across campus,
while passing gray underbrush,
a rat parades past.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

28/365

.
Along the roadside
a discarded bundle sulks—
trash or animal?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

27/365

.
Across fresh cut grass
a circle of lazy eights:
continuous birds.