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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hydrant 22 || Almost Translucent

There is a moment outside when walking across the commons to a small pond you cross through a cloud of gnats; they spiral as individual galaxies, a fog of stars blurring in front of your eyes for a moment,then hover just out of your vision, then return. Unintangible. Almost translucent. Always out of reach. Unphotographable. As the early twilight moon skimming the horizon. A dim crescent in a moment of hesitation.

90/365 - 91/365 || Two October Tanka

As an afterthought:
ignore these fading ideas,
lost conversations
trapped in technology,
a limbo of wandering—

In worn leather shoes,
October stumbles, falling
forward slightly, scraps
of blank paper slipping from
holes inside his coat's pockets.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

89/365 || We are Separate

Randomly, I composed a haiku and tanka based on the same scene, the now moment just before ten o’clock with the cat curled against me with R. asleep even with the lights on as I read the poetry of Santoka Teneda. My two short verses follow the notion of the two of us in one bed, on the one hand living a tight bonded life of its own patterns and habits— and yet. On the other hand, we are separate. Individualistic. A clear division between our positions. Unique islands, two territories.

For now, the tanka:
As I turn the page
you roll over half asleep—
nightly ritual.
Our two lives lie side by side.
Only a cat between us.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

85/365 - 88/365

The moment hovers—
a peristent present tense—
unfolding itself,
slowly uncovering both
of us lying prone on the bed.

All I remember
from today: wood doves clustered
along the back fence.
The sweet weight of the baby
falling into a deep sleep.

We bundle the baby,
and his frustrations, outside—
spoon into his mouth
a stronger identity
and a greater sense of self.

The baby frowns and
considers the buttons on
my shirt as I hold
him close— his fingers tug tight
on the threads that bind us close.

As of tonight, I like the repetition in the last verse. The wording emphasizes the lack of distance which lies between Brendan and myself, at this stage of his life. Lately he stares thoughtfully, intently at the most mundane objects: a ring of keys, the open electrical sockets, the autumn decorations we hung on the front door. When he gets into these serious modes, you can see the thought processes forming, the formulas building up the cause and effect aspects of the household. And then, on occasion, satisfied, he will look up at me and grin wide, and proceed to waddle off to a new corner for further examination of all his toys.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Item of Interest || Ten Oldest Books

from Vintage & Anchor:

Due to the ever-changing nature of archaeology and dating technology, the literature currently considered the oldest in the world may shift in line with newer, more exciting technologies. Regardless, however, these ancient texts will always remain amongst the oldest known to humanity. Typically of Egyptian, Sumerian, or Akkadian origin, the world’s first works of literature provide an integral glimpse into how the peoples who initially recorded their histories, stories, and religious beliefs lived out their daily lives. By educating oneself in humanity’s past, one does nothing but forge a deep understanding and awareness of the present.

Read more:

79/365 - 84/365 || Domestic Tanka

You feed the baby
in the backyard— while I walk
around the warm house,
with buckets of green water,
for plants wilting on the porch.

Another listing
of negation: no crickets,
no fire flies, only
sudden, endless rain falling
on top of this house of light.

Suddenly sleep tugs
at my sleeve—insistent child—
I almost consent—
until sudden wordings fall
in my lap, as steady rain.

While waiting for words
to emerge on blank paper,
the floor fan spirals—
creating drafts in the room—
coiling back empty pages.

It is time I moved
the round stone head of Buddha
among the milkweed:
soft divine fires for his night,
new platitudes for his days.

You sleep soundlessly,
never moving beside me
as my hand furiously
motions over lines
of paper, a soft blurring.

Hydrant 21 || The Ether Background of Living


This moment is forgotten— the inspiration lost in the ether background of living. But I can say this much, as a means of reaching for closure, stretching for a point beyond blue hydrants on greening grass, the last few days proved how one can become lost in their own rituals, not as in a rut, but in the stress of motioning forward day to day. Chores which should take a matter of minutes took hours: confirmation of a prescription at the pharmacy, driving across town to pick up my boy, feeding him as he squirms, as he resists the straps of the high chair, the limitations I place on him as a father— how soon does one's inner drive kick in? Is he already a viable personality struggling against authority, even as a ten month old? Yet, he still needs a sense of comfort and control; I must acknowledge that his want of my presence does overwhelm me often. Echoing my want to reply with confirmation of his identity, his stretching shadow across the kitchen floor in the afternoons—

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Steel Toe Review || The Myth of Pain

This month, Steel Toe Review posted one of my earlier poems: "The Myth of Pain." The work opens with the notions of personal violence, what people will do to themselves in a fit of guilt or resentment:
At the bus stop, we watch the other couple.
They have hidden themselves in a corner,
away from the general movements of travelers.
There is a quiet casualness in the way she tugs
at a strand of her straightened hair, as she pulls
back her sleeves, exposing her brown arms when she leans
against her boyfriend’s shoulder. The same slow motions
you took, angry and drunk,
leaning against a bathroom wall, marking
your arm with a paring knife, cutting soft scratches
into the skin.

The notions here, even a casual scene replicates hidden anger— and how one on the outside reacts to the situation.

In the poem I flipped the concept so that an average couple without issues is being observed by a couple who have issues. The plural "we" voice carries the burden of knowledge of self-injury; the other couple is oblivious to the situation or the fact they are observed. What results, the "outsiders" view the "norms" of a community. Yet a commonality is reached through the accepted definition of pain. One character keeps herself in a well of guilt over her mother. Another character suffers from specific issues of self-harm, self-mutilation.

Read the full poem:

Friday, October 7, 2011

76/365 - 78/365 || Three Water Tanka

Four days of silence.
No ideas merge on paper.
But tonight I dream
of a mountain in Japan.
I lean back and drink it in.

In a calm fountain.
Mosquito larvae hurtle
and plunge as small ghosts.
Pale incandescent bodies.
Translucent under water.

From outside, daylight
collects in a metal tub,
already filled with
unripe, greening rainwater
and the impatient autumn.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hydrant 20 || Tilt -- or the loss of a metaphoric bridge--


Times exist when a fluid annoyance easily flares up at myself— for not creating elaborate commentary for these photographs— the loss of a metaphoric bridge, or rather for not building a metaphoric bridge between an image and a creative ideal. For instance today's picture displays what should allow for instantaneous exemplifications, remarks regarding the state of the world or tilted political discourse in America— but all I recall is the moment itself— the short walk down a sidestreet in Houston this summer. The buzz of traffic blurred in my ears as I crouched down to shoot the photo. Brendan was asleep in his carrier; Ricky was busy with a meeting in an air conditioned hotel room. The day presented itself with much promise—

Hydrant 19 || Cypress Grasslands in Triplicate




Hydrant 18 || Roadside

Recent construction has removed this hydrant from the back roads. The full area is being renovated and repopulated by a new subdivision— what was once scrub-land is now dirt fields with wood spikes measuring territories for houses and streets.