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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

new project established



A symbol of abundance. Or often over-looked durability. Textured layers of peeling paint and rust. Exposing neglect and abandonment. In terms of mixing text and art: fire hydrants are Shakespearean Ophelias drowning among burgeoning flowers and blossoming weeds. Or they transform to Christo-like images, objects of progress and industry, bundled in plastic and tape—a tightly wrapped mummy ready to be interred in his tomb.

In their own right, hydrants stand as unique, diverse creatures presented with a multitude of shapes and colors. They appear as miniature Buddhas, a figure of meditation and individualism, a figure locked in contemplation of the Universe as the slow landscape covers over their presence.

more information

Saturday, January 29, 2011

259/365 - 261/365


01.27.11
As a wild haiku,
a yellow feral dog rolls
in dry grass, laughing.

01.28.11
In the other room,
I hear the baby with you
sucking deep his milk.


261/365, originally uploaded by d_g_s.

01.29.11
Out of winter fields
I emerge stumbling free— with
shoes burdened with seeds.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

258/365


256/365, originally uploaded by d_g_s.

01.26.11
A young wateroak
drowns his thin, winter shadow
inside a green pond.

256/365 - 257/365


01.24.11
Slow steam lifts upwards
off running water until
the faucet shuts off.

01.25.11
The bedroom closet
falls into deeper shadows
as its light burns out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

from 10.05.10: Various Titles


A Prayer
Reciting A Prayer While Thinking of Crows
A Prayer to Recite While Thinking of Crows
A Psalm to Recite While Thinking of Crows
A Prayer Recital While Thinking of Crows
A Recital of Prayers While Thinking of Crows


the verse will specifically address the transformation of the body into a crow metaphorically — without obvious allusions —

subtle transference of flesh to pinions,
then: carpus, metacarpus, and phalanges

Sunday, January 23, 2011

254/365 - 255/365


254/365, originally uploaded by d_g_s.

01.22.11
Finding it hard to concentrate on poetry tonight. Words have lost a sense of structure. They have lost their language. Both recent issues Ploughshares and American Poetry Review leave traces of ash in my head. One or two poems will click, but the rest—

My cognitive skills are drained for the moment. Brendan kept crying for an hour and a half for no apparent reason, only to express his angst and nausea at the world.

Leaving me wanting to channel this negativity (his and mine) into something else. Lift out a small flourish out of a pile of ash, a pile of spent charcoal.

Turn a project into something definable. Paint out an image of a crow. Abstract it. Brush out a multitude of crows from your hair, a murder of crows circling.

Poem for the moment:
peeling back layers of self
looking for the core.

01.23.11
After a few more days of reflecting and binding together ideas, I found a common element existing between three various, unfinished projects— which can be merged into one.

.: Back in October I recorded in my physical notebooks alternative phrases—playing with word order and sentence structure—closing with the probable title:
"A Prayer Recital While Thinking of Crows"—
.: This apporpriately can merge with the want to create a memorial for Ruth; a project I have been waiting to respectfully approach...
.: Likewise I generated a brief listing of images— surreal dream-imagery which suits Ruth's own magic-realistic / unrealistic / avant garde style.


Today ten dead ants
curl as punctuation marks
scattered in the tub—

Saturday, January 22, 2011

251/365 - 253/365


251/365, originally uploaded by d_g_s.

01.19.11
As thread spools released—
closely skimming the surface—
raw scrawls of algae.

01.20.11
Seeking out a new idea tonight—of course I realize the best ideas find you, not the other way around—but nonetheless I reread old notes from last year. Some satisfaction can be felt—after all I finished eleven strong poems—almost one per month, a solid progression out of the writer's block, that self-imposed cell where I locked away my creativity for ten years.

And then, my first poem for 2011 relates to Brendan's emergence into my life. All seven weeks wrapped in his fat little body. He grows and develops hourly. My little koi-child becomes more human after each nap, after each meal.

No time for walking—
the day dissolves too quickly.
Outside the wind howls.

01.21.11
The house settles down
into itself—no sounds left—
just your soft breathing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

250/365


Place five syllables;
spoon seven more with a twist;
mix epiphany.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

249/365


During my ritual walk around the pond the expected presence of an egret remained in view, testing the dark waters for fish. Rarely does he not appear here. He persists in returning as the weather warms, gradually. Stalking the perimeter of the pond for food and scraps.

About twenty-four years ago my brother died when he was just eighteen, a shock of earthquake proportions reverberating through the family. The event was totally unexpected. To help me cope I always pictured him putting on a coat of plumage, a heavy costume of a crane—the same logic of the Grimm fairytale showing the brothers bewitched into swans.

So this afternoon with an almost full moon hugging the horizon—an egret wandering nearby as a constant symbol, as a repititious image—I tried three or four times to get close enough to take a photograph. Snap a reminder—

but a rough tribe of children on their bikes and skates stampeded into the area, startling the bird away to his hidden layers within the greying field nearby.

So no photographic record. And the haiku which resulted seems sentimental, for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps over time I could appreciate the phrasing and the new age regeneration theme clustered in the words—human spirit tranformed to animal form.

Ricky appeared later with Brendan in his stroller, and the three of us walked home after one more cycle around the pond.


Elusive egret
pausing at water's edge—
were you once my brother?

Moon watches closely
as two white envelopes are
dropped into the mail.

Monday, January 17, 2011

248/365


head cluttered with nouns,
over-active verbs, chaos—
and then, your presence—

247/365


247/365, originally uploaded by d_g_s.

caught between extremes—
edge of water and shore line—
mosquitos dancing—

Saturday, January 15, 2011

246/365


246/365, originally uploaded by d_g_s.

He could be me, the boy who sat here moments ago, a reflection of myself back in 1975, a boy of eleven embedded in a strong sense of individuality and sense of identity. He even sits in the same manner, knees drawn close to the chest, arms wrapped around the legs, a slight rocking motion. Sitting outside isolated in a self-imposed seclusion from any community. In this moment of his present tense he wears my face. The present acknowledging the past.

Now of course he is a figure in the past. He no longer sits here watching the pond rocking itself back and forth in the same rhythm he rocked himself.


The boy sits focused
in the eye of memory,
facing winter winds.

Friday, January 14, 2011

245/365 || Greying Hour


Greying Hour, originally uploaded by d_g_s.
Winter's reign continues.

In a greying hour
the memory of the sun
squats within my poem.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

244/365


244/365, originally uploaded by d_g_s.

Wandering ghost-dog
circles the pond's memory,
colliding with me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

243/365


Winter 2011, originally uploaded by d_g_s.


Rough winds shape mountains
from cold pond water. Meanwhile
you sleep, calmly.

before/after

In between one of the recent night feedings the poem "before/after" was completed—after shifting through several quick revisions. It exists as an emotional collage of moments, utilizing a sense of desperateness Ricky and I felt the day before Brendan's birth. On December 2, in my notebook, I hastily drafted the opening stanzas as a means of psychologically addressing the issues we were experiencing as adoptive parents. The images used at that particular point reoccur throughout my journal entries and in scraps of poems for over a series of days, popping back-and-forth in a déjà vu-like fashion.

One major point I wanted to make lies in the aspect of creating metaphors and symbols. I wanted to artistically recreate the idea of Brendan into different, natural phenomena, building connections between images of stars and whiskered carp.

one early draft opens:
because we had no ultrasound,
no declarations of your physical form,
you once remained a possibility

rather than an actuality,
limiting you to a nimbus speculation:
a star-boy who fell from the sky.

a meteorite out of reach. unborn.
yet resilient. you remained
persistent in our memory of the future.

Another way of putting it I wanted to artistically represent Brendan as a poem, transferring the physical self to mythical/mystical form. I had in mind the energy that Galway Kinnell uses in his work “Under the Maud Moon”—discovering the forces in nature and the world, the Universe, then applying these elements to the child. In my personal case, I wanted to build an artistic, emotional bond with my child, with my new-born boy. A recorded history for him to read in later life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Experiment || Winter Walk


Video-Journal Experiment
video

242/365



A strong cold front ripples across Texas. More colder temperatures will cascade into Houston overnight. The surroundings burn with a burnt-ochre tone, over-cast skies.

Even myself. I fall into a winter mode.


Lacking a sense of
motivation—I circle
the pond only twice.

Monday, January 10, 2011

239/365 - 241/365


01.07.11
Middle of the path
rusty fish hook, discarded.
Decomposing bait.

01.08.11
Temperature falls.
One golden moth stutters
across mown clover.

01.09.11
A joy does exist
slipping between winter sheets
to imprint your warmth.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Jack and Jill, the beanstalk, the candlestick. What is the meaning behind “Jack” in every fairy tale? | The Hot Word

Jack and Jill, the beanstalk, the candlestick. What is the meaning behind “Jack” in every fairy tale? | The Hot Word

238/365


A cradle moon lowers in the west: soft, hazy appearance.

Constructing today's haiku remained difficult. Felt interference everywhere—static energy built up resistance, too many negative variables. What resulted, I almost missed noticing the lowflying hawk, she coasted to the extreme right of my path, a halfshadow darting in and out of my range of vision. And even then, afterwards, I kept waiting for a “grander” epiphany— some great lesson to fall on me from the skies. Three times around the pond and still I had not resolved an approach— until I acknowledged a the fact that a small epiphany in itself is better than none at all. I know. I know. Any moment can be twisted into poetry. Even ugly, hideous extremes of human nature. A few months ago I even discussed it in some detail with students—but every now and again I need a gentle reminder to pay closer attention to the mundane or halfformed situation, the unresolved circumstance.

In afternoon sun,
she skims across the surface
of wild grass: field hawk.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

236/365 - 237/365


01.04.11
Surprised with the appearance of a second verse this afternoon. As usual I set off on my daily hour-walk: past the community mailboxes and four times around the pond. The weather of course has returned to warmer climates—so after constructing one haiku, without warning, a second series of sentences walked past, an affirmation of the shift in temperatures: a boy of seventeen with his dog, the boy himself an awkward pony, shaggy hair and slow gait.

Invasive clover.
Discarded pack of smokes.
Sky threatens downpours.

Without concerns, he
casually walks by, shirtless—
suddenly its spring.

01.05.11
A night of storming
results in a swollen pond
of excess language.

As usual, when I make a declaration, within a few days situations change, transform the circumstances into something other. Case in point: I stop one project to begin another and promptly the correct concept appears for the previous idea, without announcing its pending arrival.

Today it was a rush of images stemming from Literature class on the Victorian Period—wait, no, the Romantics—Samuel Taylor Coleridge specifically, with his conversation poem “The Nightingale.” I love the basic scene: castle in ruins, nighttime, a countless multitude of birds everywhere.

And I know a grove
Of large extent, hard by a castle huge,
Which the great lord inhabits not; and so
This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
Thin grass, and king-cups grow within the paths.
But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many nightingales; and far and near,
In wood and thicket, over the wide grove,
They answer and provoke each other’s song,
With skirmish and capricious passagings,
And murmurs musical and swift jug jug,
And one low piping sound more sweet than all—
Stirring the air with such a harmony (ll 49-62).

I did not call it out of the past; the memory emerged by itself, on its own volition — yet, building a connection with my stalled project "Learning Spanish," picking up where my metaphor shifted from a countless series of birds which transform to representations of words, phrases. Originally the stanza began with a memory of grackles, hundreds of them roosting heavy on cable lines strung beside the highway heading north to Dallas.

My temporary-ending stanzas read:

When I practice phrases
my phonetics falter, they arch
and unwind the language into nonsensical syllables,
the words transform to awkward birds
settling into evening,

spilling out a chorus of blue-black voices—
the sounds clutter wires along the crossroads,
verbs jostle for placement around wide-eyed nouns,
the misplaced adjectives seek new positions to roost
along the established hierarchy on the cable lines.

And then Sunday or Monday past I put down the phrase:
“Yet, when you speak…”—a simple phrase, an intended bridge from my perspective to the “you,” character —and here the verse paused. There it sat. A broken phrase. A stalk of milkweed snapped off the main branch. A poem with its engine running idle— until the following chaotic notes emerged on a scrap of paper this afternoon:

There are times, rare moments,
when you forget and pour over me
a pitcher-full of indecipherable phrases,
a sudden shock of cold water,
a broken levee of vocabulary,

sensations similar to waking in the middle of the night,
and finding you rocking Brendan in full parental mode,
whispering Spanish lullabies — myself listening,
drunk on lack of sleep, my ears recognizing
only a few isolated words.

Perhaps this means the full verse will be reworked sooner than expected.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

234/365 - 235/365


01.02.11
Because of the stalling out of my latest project, I should begin another project — or look at my full list of ideas. Tomorrow maybe I can organize my notes into a tighter fashion, leave behind stronger concepts of a path.

One new idea in particular that needs formulating: basic title "before/after" — a poem divided into equal parts based on journal notes relating to Brendan, the possibilities of his existence juxtaposed with the actuality of his existence.


Fifteen young willows
lean out into their winter
with lingering green.

01.03.10
Passing winter fields
the image burns in my head:
endless horizon.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

233/365


Searching for a phrase to help complete latest project "Learning Spanish"—but for almost a month no firm resolutions emerge. The poem falters without a closing moment, without a sense of transformation for the persona.

Likewise tonight's haiku seems distant, unobtainable, as if—

Behind the closed door
of the bedroom, our cat whines
to be allowed in—

Saturday, January 1, 2011

229/365 - 232/365


12.28.10
—and for lunch today,
I warmed up left-over rice
with shredded salmon.

12.29.10
Unseen, I undress.
While on your side of the bed,
you mumble phrases.

12.30.10
As the baby sleeps,
contently stretched on my chest,
he smiles. Then breaks wind.

12.31.10
Midnight unfolds itself—both Ricky and the baby sleep quietly despite the roar of fireworks and the screams of rockets throwing themselves throughout the neighborhood.

Because of Brendan's presence I gain stronger resolve for 2011—I have more of a role to assert in the world, into the realms of poetry, into his world of words, language, milk, and life. With the possibilities of having a son achieved, nothing else is impossible.

Under greying skies
we trim back my hair outside
closing out the year.