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

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Night is Mine Alone

366/ for a brief moment I convince myself my words were already down on the page, set in blue ink, and the night is mine alone

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Casual Brevities


There is an unexplainable difficulty with writing short verse. More often than not, I tend to create long winded poems with elaborate details— rather than follow a terse format. In particular, for me, there is a difficulty with the process of generating tanka poems.

Salado, Texas

As of this week, after a little more than two years, I reached a milestone moment by finally completing three hundred and sixty-five verses, all of which loosely follow the general definition of this form. It was in June 2011 I began the project as a means of cataloging aspects of my writing, in a scattered fashion, to show the building process of larger works. This project intended to present itself as a daily experiment, a daily writing exercise. Unfortunately, frequently there were moments when a scuffle manifested, a confrontation between myself and the blank page. Even now, afterwards, I still struggle with rationalizing self-imposed hurdles and roadblocks associated with this genre of poetry.

Generally, I seek out the casual, fragmentary notions of the mundane for these poems: a forgotten cup of coffee on the desk, a torn page in a notebook, a dropped cigarette, my son’s sudden laugh from across the house. In the process, an ordinary event is celebrated and elevated to an extraordinary occasion. However, often what occurs, due to the use of obvious, commonplace images of everyday-living, a sense of intense, irritating repetition falls into place. The creation of personal clichés becomes apparent. The creation process in turn bogs down with the need to prove the relevancy of an average image within the poetic form and at the same time adhere to expectations and limitations of the syllable count. And then, likewise, in the act of seeking a specific commonplace event, I begin seeking an elaborate scene from a routine day, wanting to locate an outstanding moment with a loud, obvious epiphany—which of course is not the initial intention of the form.

Consequently, having reached the closing of a great clutch of tanka poems, the flow of posts will be reduced: a reshaping of emphasis towards other projects falls into place. With the apparent winter unfolding around Cypress, it is rather appropriate— allowing for a meditative series of days to find new forms to explore. One possibility lies in the prose form of flash fiction or hint fiction— those suggestive sentences of vignette scenes— yet, even fracturing these even more into smaller chunks of fragmented sentences, casual brevities. In this manner, a return to the original purpose will be achieved: the generation of a thoughtful moment, yet without an intense restriction to the end-product.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Unexpectedly

365/ unexpectedly, poems cluster within my palms, closing out the day— I lie down with too many words and phrases in my bed

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pumpkins Rotting

364/ carved pumpkins rotting a week too soon, all due to an unplanned rainstorm— the gourds pull within themselves, a haven for gnats, biting flies

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Sign on the Door

363/ a sign on the door restricts admittance, and yet, a hole in the roof grows large enough to allow the full night to slip inside

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Casual Turn of Phrase

362/ a casual turn of phrase— as a cigarette, colloquial words sprayed across a brick syscape, smoke lifting under streetlights

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

As a Corruption

361/ —as a corruption, tarnished metal left exposed to the elements— fractures of thoughts forgotten— a book with missing pages

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Gold Ring

360/ —as a lost gold ring suddenly found, hiding in the top drawer of the night stand, in the back, crouching under old papers

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Cigarette in Twilight

359/ rather, the pulse of a casual street light, the falling ashes of a cigarette in twilight, his shirt waiting to be washed—

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Revising Tanka

358/ revising tanka with autumnal satellites falling across full twilight— the side table lamp sputters in a strange morse code—

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Triskaidekaphobia



An odd situation opened itself after the recent completion of my October writing exercise— a lingering question of presentation. This latest poetry experiment originally was set up to be displayed in a chronological fashion— that is, each numbered stanza represents a day from a quick series of thirteen days, thirteen chronological stanzas posted to a Tweeter spreadsheet. In this order, the ancient building shown in the poem is slowly constructed: from absence to presence.

However, the embedded theme suggests the chaotic nature of discord, disharmony: as a faulty record of personal recollection. At a reading performance, the intention was to shuffle between the various sections in a non-linear fashion, without an established pattern. With this notion, it seems more appropriate to place the individual sections in a random order, without any adjustment for the haphazard results.

To take this up another level, displaying the lines backwards produces an unusual, additional item of consideration. The theme of disorder and failure of recorded time shifts the reality of the situation: unrealized presence to anticlimactic absence. This in turn develops into a deconstruction of the shrine's image, a slow erasure.

The Holy Discord of Thirteen|| Fragments

iii. (random)

06/ through the glory of ruins the chaotic number thirteen surfaces

11/ here was the altar; here, the nave; here, the thirteen candles burning in a row of perpetual lights—

02/ An absence made relevant. Persistent. Thirteen meters wide. Thirteen meters deep.

05/ at one time a full collection of thirteen columns supported the rough pediments

08/ thirteen temple priests once carried thirteen tallow candles, chanting in unified processions

10/ the more you look, the stronger the shift from absence to presence, the foundation refurbished, reconstructed from fragments of stone,

03/ as if a shrine was once built to the holy discord of thirteen, then erased over a series of thirteen days, thirteen weeks,

09/ beside the corner stone, thirteen blind and hairless field mice squirming in their nest of woven grass

13/ left unfinished, without resolution, the thirteenth hymn fading from the page,

12/ as a row of temple bells, ranging in scale, yet flawed, the last tone in disharmony intentional discord rippling, an arthritic thirteenth note sounding—

01/ thirteen steps through the grass fields lead to a void in the grass fields

07/ mosquitoes breed in the remains of the marble font— the rim still encrusted with thirteen black onyx stones

04/ erased at the thirteenth hour, only the foundation remaining and one, solitary, red marble column

The Holy Discord of Thirteen|| Fragments

ii. (backwards)

13/ left unfinished, without resolution, the thirteenth hymn fading from the page,

12/ as a row of temple bells, ranging in scale, yet flawed, the last tone in disharmony intentional discord rippling, an arthritic thirteenth note sounding—

11/ here was the altar; here, the nave; here, the thirteen candles burning in a row of perpetual lights—

10/ the more you look, the stronger the shift from absence to presence, the foundation refurbished, reconstructed from fragments of stone,

09/ beside the corner stone, thirteen blind and hairless field mice squirming in their nest of woven grass

08/ thirteen temple priests once carried thirteen tallow candles, chanting in unified processions

07/ mosquitoes breed in the remains of the marble font— the rim still encrusted with thirteen black onyx stones

06/ through the glory of ruins the chaotic number thirteen surfaces

05/ at one time a full collection of thirteen columns supported the rough pediments

04/ erased at the thirteenth hour, only the foundation remaining and one, solitary, red marble column

03/ as if a shrine was once built to the holy discord of thirteen, then erased over a series of thirteen days, thirteen weeks,

02/ An absence made relevant. Persistent. Thirteen meters wide. Thirteen meters deep.

01/ thirteen steps through the grass fields lead to a void in the grass fields

The Holy Discord of Thirteen || Fragments

i. (original)

01/ thirteen steps through the grass fields lead to a void in the grass fields

02/ An absence made relevant. Persistent. Thirteen meters wide. Thirteen meters deep.

03/ as if a shrine was once built to the holy discord of thirteen, then erased over a series of thirteen days, thirteen weeks,

04/ erased at the thirteenth hour, only the foundation remaining and one, solitary, red marble column

05/ at one time a full collection of thirteen columns supported the rough pediments

06/ through the glory of ruins the chaotic number thirteen surfaces

07/ mosquitoes breed in the remains of the marble font— the rim still encrusted with thirteen black onyx stones

08/ thirteen temple priests once carried thirteen tallow candles, chanting in unified processions

09/ beside the corner stone, thirteen blind and hairless field mice squirming in their nest of woven grass

10/ the more you look, the stronger the shift from absence to presence, the foundation refurbished, reconstructed from fragments of stone,

11/ here was the altar; here, the nave; here, the thirteen candles burning in a row of perpetual lights—

12/ as a row of temple bells, ranging in scale, yet flawed, the last tone in disharmony intentional discord rippling, an arthritic thirteenth note sounding—

13/ left unfinished, without resolution, the thirteenth hymn fading from the page,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hidden from View

357/ hidden from view in the east windows: a full moon rising— still damp from his bath, wrapped in a towel, my son curls close in my lap—

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Full Rising Motion

356/ but then, consider the full rising motion of the moon in autumn— the same arched path as before, wandering across your window

Friday, November 8, 2013

Full-Empty

355/ hands in his pockets, he motions through town center, bearing the full weight of the closing day— empty hands in full-empty pockets

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Silence Pools

354/ silence pools on the floor, creating new continents, amorphous shapes without real definition— until you shut off the lights

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

But Wait

353/ —but wait, silence rests in unlikely places— it lies hiding under the mute tongues of lost shoes, or within a discarded shirt

Monday, November 4, 2013

There is a Distance

352/ there is a distance— even between the intake, then release of air— as one steps forward walking on water-based memories

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Shift Between

351/ yet, perhaps he knows, in reality the shift between, as notions of light to shadow— or from land to gulf water: changes

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fresh-Rising Discord

350/ naked from his bath, the boy with a wooden spoon knocks on temple bells, laughing with the loud clamor, at his fresh-rising discord