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

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.