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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

No Epiphany. No Fireworks.

Wanting to find a sense of a profound moment in the day even though, for the most part, everything flowed in a mundane fashion. Read over some poem batches from The Centrifugal Eye, a few surprised me with their quality. Now however, at the close of the day, little rises to the surface— I may delete this entry in fact, when the time comes for posting. Although I want to be honest as possible— today’s material lacks major impact. No epiphany. No fireworks. Just routine. Following the path as it flows forward.
53/ a dry abandoned well, half covered in moonlight

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Litany

52/ the shift of weight of an autumnal cypress— shifting to rust hue in the halflight of autumn

or the undershadow of wild grass before full sunrise

(he is here)

between the insisting intake, then release,

or cold charcoal ash from a past sacrificial fire, drifting in slow circles

within the triplicate trill of a male grackle

(yes, here as well)

the blood lust of a blue-winged sparrow hawk circling for wood doves or field mice

the rime of ice skimming over fence posts

or even the slow, soft decay of a blood-red maple leaf

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Within the Hesitancy

51/ Sometimes, in late afternoons, Pan will sit by the piano, hands hovering inches above the keys, almost motionless, almost trembling— they pause, soaking within the hesitancy before a key is stuck. Two wild birds, perhaps mocking birds or starlings, wings spread out in midflight, caught waiting before him, before the plunge into sudden sound, sudden release. His puckish face smiling.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The records relate the story wrong—

50/ The records relate the story wrong.

He does not remember before— all he recalls is a pulling out of the damp earth, when mud and clay released him out of a muck of afterbirth and renewal. So Pan stood for the first time on shaky colt legs, with sweat and stain covering him fully. His matted hair. Small budding horns just breaking the surface of his skull. As one of the first Gods. A natural process thrown out of goat dung, discarded balls of wool, human remains. He took his first steps leaning off the earth, leaning into the wilderness. Phallus erect. The muscle angry and extended with a rash desire. Eyes seeking. Taking in the Arcadian humid air. A greening. A coiling in the gut. His eyes. The sun lowered on his right hand. A horned crescent rose on his left. A rising blue mixed with a sinking gold. The first night.

Hiding His Reflection

There is an odd meditative quality in the task of washing dishes— I may have stated this previously somewhere. As a teenager I resented the chore, of course, but now there exists a calming release in the ritual of soapy water, bubbles and foam rising to the forearms— fingers massaging a sponge across a grimy play, a saucer, a drinking glass.
49/ —and there are times when a sense of dread rises within his chest. Pan turns all mirrors toward the wall, hiding his reflection: the unkempt hair, the ancient green eyes

Saturday, February 22, 2014

To Scrub the Flesh

Once, in the seventies, my parents drove us up to my father’s family in northern Ohio. The state roads motioned through dense wilderness, dark green forests and small towns. It was the season of the cicadas. When you walked outside, the drumming of the insects names pulsed over your skin, as a swimming in warm water. Everywhere you looked, brittle bodies coated the ground, inside gas station windows, under parked cars, over porch steps.

We drove an American-made car with a French-sounding name. It was painted an Earth dun hue, caramel toned. After it was traded for a newer model, for years afterwards I would see cloned replicas of it on the highway— constant reminders of the past: elementary school, my father’s receding hairline, my mother’s insisting nature.
48/ Some nights, he feels extremely lecherous. As a horny old goat. A slow gaited flasher in the city’s park. On such times, Pan logs into web sites seeking younger flesh— the soft smile of a nymph digitized on a flickering laptop, or the overly painted divorcee. The curious banker. Pan slips into chat forums to exchange smut, mud. The dirty phrase or allusion to any willing ear. Wanting to scrub his flesh with grit of everyday obscenities, the blue, soft-core indecencies of desire.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Machineries of Human Curiosities

Tonight I hear them upstairs, my partner and my son: Brendan chattering in order to avoid sleep. Ricky patiently waiting for the shift from awareness to slumber.

I am downstairs uploading digital photos into backup folders, storing various memories on a cable which sends images into a server somewhere in Colorado or California, maybe even Washington State, somewhere other than here, this house where the recollections germinate, intricate instances of my life seeking to become immortal— at least in terms of electronics, social networks—

A year’s worth of images: twelve months worth of five folders moving across the terrain. All of them showing Brendan’s slow transformation from toddler to young boy. Transitioning overnight into his own identity, his own willful sense of self.

There are times I feel a severe disconnect with my son. Either from my anger or his rebellions, even as a three year old, his independence runs strong in his mind.
The short arctic freeze, which fell southward this week, fades. As if it never existed. Some plants did not survive the ice and cold rain showers. Even the plants I covered overnight, now seem without the former strength.

47/ Some nights, when insomnia drowns him into awareness, Pan goes into his basement, and in the halflight, tinkers with the inner mechanics of radio parts, retro machineries of human curiosities, music boxes, and rusted grandfather clocks. He rummages through forgotten necessities looking for his power to sleep. To dream.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Unaware of the Hour

46/ Unaware of the hour, half slumbering in the heat of afternoon sun, Pan lies under summer burnt pines, whistling at birds with a blade of grass.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In the shape of a red-tipped fox—

Driving to work this morning I kept hoping for slight delays and mild pauses in traffic so I could finalize a new idea. While reading through one of my older manuscripts, Quintet, there seemed a lack of cohesion for the full cycle of poems. Because primarily the series is based on a five-member jazz group, each musician gains one or two moments of full narration— yet only one instance is laid out for the full members to converse as a group. For a stronger sense of balance, a second selection of a collective narration is needed, near the end of their time on stage.

For that matter, I also wonder if the vocalist-persona needs a third lyric-poem, an opportunity for her character to perform a short song revealing more of her individual personality to the reader.

Overall this meditation process has taken longer than usual. Which explains my impatience at the lack of congested traffic. The few stop lights provided some resolutions: utilization of an extended conceit of “wilderness,” plus a manipulation of the numerous types of landscape, natural terrain, cluttered woodscapes, and human built metropolises. However, I need more phrases and structure, rhythm and content to begin formulating the meat of the verse. At this moment the main concept lacks a foundation.
45/ In the shape of a red-tipped fox, Pan slips between trees, between shadows, merging softly with the treeline and the underbrush growing in tangles and in a series of briar knots around his ruined temple.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

stretching hoof and tail

44/ Pan wakes late, stretching hoof and tail, spine and shoulder, circulating blood into all limbs. Still half asleep, he draws water into the kettle and brews a weak green tea— then stands blinking in sunlight, picking ticks off his rear rump absentmindedly.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Inexplicable

Leaning against the bathroom counter I watch Brendan having his bath— he transforms to a slick-wet seal, laughing. His three year old body glistens with soapy water. Behind him, Ricky sits, covered in suds and small felt toys. He laughs also, pouring pitchers of water down Brendan’s sleek back, pouring off bubbles and foam and grit from outside playtime. I stand, leaning, feeling an inexplicable loss.

42/ Moonless night.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Random

41/ Along the stem of a transplanted orchid, the last wine-colored blossom remains, slowly wilting.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Meta-modern Love Poem

                                                                                             for Ricky

My love descends in a rookery of angels,
the casual stigmata of paper cuts,
paper clips collected in a bowl, objects swelling
over with intent, the shut tones of temple bells

or the unopened book, the burning page
in the fire unscorched, yet—
shifting of focus: a release of rages
ungathered, scattering of blackbirds set

against a white landscape— my words fall into place.
So you see, it contends with expectations,
the fury of release, the unexpected phrase
shifting to a positive affection,

or a mild gesture of your hands slipping
under my own, the world shifting on its axis—

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Haiku

40/ On the tile-floor of the bathroom I find a small cream colored button.

Little Cellular Deaths

Rearranged a series of verses— casual revisions; yet new phrasings emerged to reinforce the theme of Brendan, the child, mirroring Apollo, the deity. Our boy motions through the days with similar angry forces, demanding, dictating a high expectation for satiating his needs. There are times he is is inconsolable, aggravated at the foolish world he finds himself bound to.
39/ After multiple washings, towels carry a scent of discarded proteins, of little cellular deaths, rank waters rising— but Brendan’s shirts sustain the sensation of fresh patchouli, of divine oils anointing the forehead or neck, maintaining as aspect of the sacred, the holy.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In a slight disagreeable mood—


In a slight disagreeable mood— puzzling really. Have no real basis for this irritation. Perhaps the sensation falls on the flu shot I received earlier in the morning, before I began the usual chores of the day— my arm does not feel sore. No blistering wound. No drama. Almost feel cheated. And cranky. My sinuses cloud over as after a heavy sobbing. Or after biting a fresh jalapeño without warning, the heat rising up and over the tongue.
This afternoon I went for a long walk, the first time I’ve managed to have an hour for exercise, for meditation, since Brendan was born. Crossing from the subdivision into grass fields I startled a small flock of birds. At one time I would have labeled them chimney swifts or barn swallows, but I am not sure now— they scattered out of the dried winter knots of wild weeds, flying over my head with panicked wings, pulsing small voices, their chests caramel colored. Burnt orange gold.
Honestly this event could be the source of my frustration. I expected Nature to provide a poem, but the mind is unwilling to follow with the plot. So I grumble and cuss. Fumble with words. Maybe later.

The Bones of January

(A Stitching of Previous Fragments)

01/ The bones of an hour are revealed slowly, with soft flesh becoming angular, tense, abstracted against the histories of the room, the tongued stories in the walls—

02/ A blank page easily irritates. A hesitation frustrates. On the other hand, a lost thought burns. The brittle bones of memory— always on the verge of breaking, snapping as a dry tree branch, midwinter

03/ She wore her mistrust as a formal corset, with ribbing firmly made of whale bone and white muslin. She moved as if underwater, bitterly indifferent.

04/ Impurities rest in the bones.

05/ fossil remains of leaves imprinted in cement—their bones outline the contour of a history untranslatable—

06/ the bones of an idea scrawled across scraps of paper—

07/ this morning, two feral cats argue over bones of a heron by the side of the canal

08/ Stitched with golden thread in the inner lining of his winter coat where the bones of a random moment of time, the tailor daydreaming of Egyptian fabrics dyed with Sapphic purple.

09/ The commonplace object easily fits into the center of a shaky palm: handful of salt, clipping of rosemary, yesterday’s forgotten bus fare, the gold plated ring purchased in New Orleans as a gift.

10/ The forgotten bones in the throat.




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Pen, the Hand, the Poem

Tonight, already I feel a slumber approaching— it counters my intentions, my expectations for brief commentary on the day. Or on the necessity of poetry. The insisting rhythm in the blood. The manner cells shift within, seeking a path. Following a ritual. A pattern. A measure of self, pen in hand, a metaphor itself. The pen, the hand, the poem. Transference of the idea circling in analytical brain cells. Release. Transposing from one form to another.
I did add a few lines to a poem in progress. An accomplishment in highest regard. Handfuls of different ideas slowly form, all at different extremes of completion. Rereading other books may help twist a stronger phrase on the page.
38/ There is a joy bundled among a crowded city bus, sitting beside strangers with a heavy pelt of rain outside, raising the humidity and steam inside the bus— windows fogging over with the presence of others, multiple breaths, multiple lives, clusters of histories momentarily linked in the metal shell of the midcity line. A casual, weighted silence numbing their tongues.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Enumerations

37/ A joy exists in the repetition of phrases, in Whitmanesque enumerations and catalogs of animals, native to the North American prairies: long-tailed ground quail, blue-eyed hare, whispering Ophelias, hungry grey fox cubs—

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Almost Arabesque

36/ A joy exists arcing along the oblique curve of a medieval letter form, almost arabesque, floral, more decorative than functional—its thin calligraphy mimics the elliptical orbit of a falling satellite, or the uppermost eyelid closing over your perfect, almond-shaped eyes—

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Knotting the Unknotted


It is a matter of casual irony.

While researching background information on classical sculpture, for a short poem comparing my Brendan with Apollo, I found a small notation of an allusion Marianne Moore makes to the Apollo Belvedere: “Truth is no Apollo / Belvedere, no formal thing” (“In the Days of Prismatic Color”) — so I pull down my copy of her Complete Poems only to proceed in drowning myself in the ocean of entangling knots of her hyperbole and extended metaphor. Overall the ideas express benefit loosely with my work— as an ill fitting shirt, the cuffs hanging low, below the fingers— but there does exist a connection. Part of Moore’s theme is to display a simplistic notion in a complex venue. Knotting the unknotted. In other words: How to explain the process light motions through a prism. Yes, she goes beyond this, but my point remains, Moore is successful at generating a dense observation, “dense” as in “solid.” “Firm.” “Stable.”

Oddly enough I like the structure of the work— the regularized cinquain stanzas, the repeating pattern of meter. The work moves unexpectedly in opposition to its point. That is, in the end Moore explains that the process of intensifying a simple matter is actually a simple process. I do not want to formalize my thoughts beyond this however. Her quote mentioned already makes a strong epigraph, well-placed for my poem.

A fact which proves how research works towards unseen ends.
35/ A joy exists within each little blue pill taken at night to drown out the insecurities of the day, to be able to swim deeper into the belly of the night, slumbering with the pikes and monk fish and saltwater prawn.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ramblings

Possible resources of subjects for professional wrestling sonnets. Because the subjects are not traditional, nor “appropriate” for poetry, they become a valid source for poetry. Inverse logic. The pop cultural references transcend from the flat commercial prospects to higher artistic topics. As long as the themes center around the theatrics and surreal notions of the events— plus the admission of the sonnets acting as fictions— then the material should work.
George Hackenschmidt
Frank Gotch
Ed Lewis
Gorgeous George
Lou Thesz
Bruno Sammartino
Von Erich family
Andre the Giant
They exist as examples of contradictions of the expectations of poetry. Worth experimenting, toying with the notion.
34/ collecting rain water in an old coffee tin— blood rust roses

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Old Argument Returns

The middle of the week always produces a dull, static void. I stare at the blank paper expecting words to appear, but only silence. The same silence as the drone of a housefly— a bumbling, gritty sound, edging closer, then arcing away, edging closer… Honestly, if it weren’t for the dryer spinning down to its last moments of heat in the laundry room, I would simply go to sleep: yet, I am being practical. Responsible. And it puts me off groove. Without rhythm. Lack of focus.

Sometimes a mundane act like a domestic chore spirals out into a poem— an occasional poem about routine reality. The chore itself then transcends, transforms. The average event motions from the ordinary into something larger. However, in this case, in my head lies a nagging voice: the Ideal Sonnet-Cycle taunts. Teases. Refusing to merge on the page. Refuses to merge with the notions of the Ordinary Act.

Maybe this all falls down to fear of completion. Fear of an incomplete completion. Of a flawed product(?).

No. No. What this all falls down to is a lack of organization. My old argument returns. The ideas are scattered across the week itself, interrupted by preparation for school, new quizzes to generate, new essays to read. What is needed for me is a stronger connection to my journal entries, my catalog of ideas. A casual index of projects. A notebook for my notebooks.
33/ Walking into the back of the house; in tight slumber, the family sleeps. From outside, in the side garden, suddenly, wind chimes clamor.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yesterday

For twenty minutes I braved the cold temperatures outside— covered over the potted plants on the porch, wrestling with the sheets in the wind—
32/ a closed blue book

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Layers of Past Lives

With the intentions of pulling a new book off the shelves I looked out the bedroom windows out of habit and was surprised by the moon as it hung as a crescent boat, hazy in the partial cloud cover.

I do not remember at what age I first became aware of the moon— but its presence remains a constant source of inspiration, directly and indirectly metaphoric. A subtle off the cuff comment to spark a poem’s beginnings. Or a symbolic layering of archetypes as in building a temple, a reverence to the Unknown. The Hidden. The Presence.
31/ A joy exists peeling back spring onions in warm water— seeking the innder pale essence of being, layers of past lives removed slowly—

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Undisclosed Secret

Returned to reading Eastern poems translated by Hiroaki Sato— a large volume of cultural writing, collected over a large span of years. Some use such a stark minimalism the translation falls into elusive abstractions. What is the cultural meaning behind jonquils? Are foxes always incited to betray humans? Does a pomegranate seed carry the same significance in Japan? Sometimes the shortest work carries the heaviest message— all due to the hidden, the undisclosed secret.
30/ A joy exists knowing of the force of fragility within an egg shell —the inevitable, hairline crack will spread—