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

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Nameless Element

Almost 10:30 p.m. Still seeking a sense of _____.
Fill in the blank with your own concept.

Ideal cohesion.
That component which words cannot describe.
Center of self.
Muse.
Inspiration.
Voice.
Harmony.
Discordia.
Closure.
All and nothing.
Infinite space.
The outer shell of the universe.
The innermost particle that supports the microcosmic bridge
                between Heaven and Hell.
Intuitive pulse of language.
113/ He sleeps in a mid-afternoon nap. That is, until an unexpected knock on the front door.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Crumbled Grey Fedora

For a few moments tonight we sat out on the front porch in the sweet-smelling-darkness. Casual brief conversations. Brendan related a portion of his day at school. A few neighbors walked their dogs. The sky pearled with potential rain.
Began preliminary drafts on the Bach poem, that old idea from a year ago. Using a heightened experimental approach I gain a stronger idea of reconstructing the awkward phrasing in my head. The broken antique vase mended hastily with glue. Fragmented experience projecting the full picture. Pixels of pure color.
As a further discussion of modern contemporary poetry I closed out the term a few weeks ago reading my “Chaos” poem to three classes— which worked well to my advantage. A common misconception can be drawn to two or three short stanzas; through deductive reasoning an implication of an auto accident emerges—an unintended element. Afterwards, recently, I believe the scene has been spliced out through simple adjustment of a strategic word.
112/ Bus stop off highway 249. He sits. Crumpled grey fedora twisting in his hands. Beside a make-shift memorial. A cross: painted in yellow and green. The name Julio in broad, white letters.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Dead Sparrow

While washing my face tonight, I noticed the flannel smelled of burnt wood, a scorched scent—even though it had been washed earlier. Remains of scented timber used for sacrificial rites. Patchouli. The odor lingers on my skin, along my jawline. My fingers.
We found a dead sparrow in the attic. Its lack of weight surprised the hands gathering its presence. An unexpected confirmation of its existence, its shadow bones. Fortunately Brendan was not home. We have skirted a full discussion about death one more time.
110/ Tonight he has nothing to say— so he says nothing, settling back into his quilt and bedding and wine-red sheets, slipping into a sense of another actuality, without denying the present history, the uncoiling facts of recent circumstances.
111/ Some nights he sleeps with the lights on in every room, the house bathed in a soft glow of evening, as wandering underwater, a full history of self layered overhead as he meanders through soft memories, fading recollections of the past few days, Repetitive weeks. Recycling months.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

He sits in the waiting room—

109/ —of his doctor, thumbing through pictorials of celebrities and their select lives in glossy gossip magazines, each photo a still view of their active lives touring the Hawaiian islands, helping the needy in a small village in India, consulting a moment with self-help gurus somewhere in San Francisco. When no one watches, he marks thick mustaches across the actors’ upper lips, arched slopes of barn swallow wings circling across dirt roads in April—

Monday, May 26, 2014

Drink Only Water

Sent off another manuscript to another poetry press. Feeling more hopeful this round— but don’t I say that every time? To date, at least seven publishers still have material from me— but I should not formulate statistics. Numbers only produce emotions. Moods can ruin one’s objectives.
Tomorrow afternoon they will draw blood, again. Analyze cell counts. Determine levels of cholesterol and sugar running through my system. I was told to fast—drink only water. Honestly not feeling exactly cooperative to their instructions—you would think there are easier ways to determine health issues—
I may take a sleeping pill tonight, just enough to ensure a solid state of slumber, without interruption. Last night the ebb and flow of deep-rest was rare: continually I startled into awareness throughout the hours, not nightmares, just odd dreams, awkward scenes or moments of seeking an important item, a small possession lost—
108/ Tonight Pan is ignoring the clocks, ignoring the slow tick of his grandmother’s small wall clock which chimes every half hour—if wound correctly on Thursdays after work, after […]

Friday, May 23, 2014

a balloon of dialogue

There should be something said for today, for Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday as well—but what can one add to a list of mundane activities which have already been expressed?

• resolved a poem

• began another

• reworked a manuscript

• purchased more books: Faulkner, Doty, Heaney, Collins

• submitted poems

• the pain in my right leg persists—a dull ache
107/ He has stopped writing haiku. Momentarily. However, the habitual five-seven-five rule still lingers in his head, so at times he talks with an awkward rhythm, his mouth seeking out a stronger pattern to release an epiphany midair, so he can watch the letters forming about his head as a Sunday feature comic strip, an adventure fantasy, the protagonist-hero with an expression of pain muttering a broken onomatopoeia, a scattering of phonetics appearing above his head in a balloon of dialogue: Uuuffff–! Yet, the pain is a deception, a trick weakness to capture the main conflict in a moment of false-superiority, the villain’s pride painted across a smug antagonistic face as he confesses all of his goals to the humbled hero collapsed at his feet, the hero waiting for the right moment to react, to topple over the criminal, reclaiming his right for glory—

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Apple, Pomegranate, Plum

As an experiment during the close of the 2014 Spring term, I wanted to torch the artistic impulse within my students by having them generate a group poem— a simple, instant project illustrating the creative writing process on a basic level.

Over the second half of the course, we had discussed the cultural shift from Victorian attitudes into Modernism, Postmodernism, and Post-postmodernism; I wanted t o leave them with the notion of logic behind experimental forms of self expression— of the various rebellions within the different strands of thought that braid the current poetic landscape— even if some of them would never look at modern writing ever again in their lifetime.

The project prompt was purposely left vague. No written instructions. Only a half sheet of blank paper. They were told to define or describe a specific object from recollection, in two or three sentences. One class was supplied an apple. Another, a pomegranate. The third, a plum. In addition, they were told to put on the page the first thoughts that came to mind.

When you click the links provided, the presentation of the entries retain the students' original intentions.Some punctuation and capitalization of words were added or changed. For the most part the words remain in their own possession.

One other item to keep in mind, these three courses were not creative writing courses. The courses similarly exist as secondary-level Freshman writing classes. One of the main emphasis out of Composition II is learning how to utilize and strengthen an analytical approaches when reading, conducting research, and correctly drafting an academic paper. Despite this, the results prove interesting. Only a handful of individuals broke out of a colloquial mindset, stepping away from formulaic declarations to provide a diverse view of the assigned object. Yet, because the chosen topic strayed in the realms of everyday reality, most of the responses resulted in repetitive phrases in the common vernacular.

As a simple example of meta-modern creativity, the collective, slightly random, student-voices produce eclectic refrains and echoes, shifting the basic understanding of an apple, a pomegranate, or a plum into a new form of poetic expression. Yes, the phrasings are awkward at times. Yes, the images surface into heavy clichés and expected notions of the world. However, the take-away concept from the experience remains the experience itself. The students learn the process of drafting the beginnings of a creative work. They learned how a product of creative thought translates and emerges into their personal community, beyond their hidden scribbles on a blank page. In a small fashion, they collectively have dropped small stones into the larger pond of a developing culture of their own time.

Lone Star–CyFair College,English Composition & Rhetoric 1302-5019 || Apple

Wharton County Jr. College— English 1302-20249 || Pomegranate

Wharton County Jr. College— English 1302-22187 || Plum

A New Gardenscape

discarded
106/ He transferred stones from one side of the yard to the other. Small greyblue weights. A gathering of stones. Handfuls of memory. Metaphor of the river. Of a broken path. Repetition between north to west. Acceptance to reality. Borders retraced. Outlines for a new gardenscape.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Iris gigantiacaerulea

Working again on the Apollo poem, the project showing Brendan in the image of the sun deity, indifferent and stern as he stands in the tub, taking his nightly bath. But, it lies frozen— a secondary point needs to be quilted into the mix— another level of thought to merge with the main story—
permafrost • tundra • rime
As a last act of spring planting I placed two large iris clusters, Iris giganticaerulea, in a fresh mound of soil— despite my “injured” knee, the work was effortless— the moist top soil peeled back easily, rhythmic patterns developed with the removal of dirt from the bottom layers of clay and sand, the spade slicing out the grass without complications.


Brendan built his own mound of dirt with a plastic shovel, once or twice glancing at my motions, but for the most part caught up in his own undertaking, building a mountain. Making holes.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Memory Evaporating

It is easy to fall out of the habitual cycle of writing, some weeks. Oftentimes I have no real excuse— but the last three days my attention focuses elsewhere: some school work, family business, bills.

Tonight my knee throbs, even with medication supplied by the doctor. There was an x-ray completed, two appointments, blood work drawn— I resent the fact my body knots around itself, unpredictably. I smell of muscle creams and aspirin tonics. My leg needs to be wrapped. I have to be cautious climbing stairs.
This afternoon I pinned back the yellow jasmine. It wilts a little since the planting. Some tips of the stray strands turned brown. I pruned back some shoots, encouraged some greenery around the trellis. Considered twisting the event into a poem— with major rearranging of perception and metaphor— but then, perhaps—
Rearranged a manuscript to submit out this month. I dislike the notion of cannibalizing other projects to meet the expectations of a small press’ guidelines. Yet. I want a book published.
105/ First line of a poem written in fading ink.

Water.

Memory evaporating.

Friday, May 16, 2014

A sense of anger woke me,

—after an hour and a half of sleep. A mild frustration. A heightened discomfort. It sat in the middle of my chest. A ball of paper— wadded up annoyance. I lay in the dark with insomnia alongside me, his nervous twitching opening up all manner of disagreeable notions.
Instinctual allusion: loose fitting robe.
104/

4.
The metal hisses, buzzes, steams against the fabric.

2.
Carefully.

5.
His mind wanders.

3.
Pan irons his work shirts for the upcoming week.

1.
Methodically.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Elaborate Weaving and Macramé

103/ In another aspect of reality he styled women’s hair at a small salon downtown, creating elaborate weaving and macramé knots of his clients’ color braids and threadlike strands, curls of Gordian knots, all of them wild flowers, marsh blossoms, stray weeds off secret paths in the woods— all of them as feral kittens leaning close to his attentive fingers, his wandering hands among their ringlets and cowlicks and layered folds of hair pinned back for bleach or ammonia, dye or neon paints. His comb shifting through their expectations and desires. Slipping into his arms. Waiting for his ever-ready scissors.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

At night, a silence deepens

102/ —around him as Pan lies in bed under the heavy folds of night, a persistent silence lifting a tidal surge overhead, lingering in the ears, a hum of electricity burning in the walls, across the ceiling tiles, a constant presence within the head, a droning buzz, eternal continuum of static, sounds of murmurs in the distance, a whisper falling against the darkened lamps of the bedroom calling him to prayer.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Before falling into sleep,—

A cramp in my leg deepens in the night.
Brendan slept, coiled in my arms today.
I wake to pain as a phone call from the past, the voice heavy with regret.
The cat slips once more into heat— the air heavy with her bodily changes.
Tonight I will dream if my right hand wounded; the air thick with scent of blood.
I planted a yellow jasmine outside the bedroom window— its vines sensing the trellis immediately, seeking support.
Part of me wants to write another prose-piece on the Greek god Pan— another part of me wants to sleep.
For the most part of the day a bitter resentment grew stronger: I am not living the life I expected when I was younger.
98/ […]

99/ […]

100/ […]

101/ Before falling into sleep, Pan sets his clock an hour ahead. The moon rises in schedule, motioning across the windows, with a heavy refracted light.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spectacles resting down the bridge—

97/ —of his protracted nose, Pan stands in his instructor incarnation, arthritis building up in his right leg as he relates the poetry, the forgotten lyrics—

In falling twilight,—

96/ —the last light breaks across houses and wooden suburban fences, Pan methodically cleans his spade with a damp cloth, a little oil, sharpening the edges for yet another dig, the notion of stability, putting saplings in earth, offering roots loose clay, mulch, water—

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Litany of Names {2}

81/ the lineage of maternal does— he recites the family lines {continued}

                               Early Frost

                               Winter Moon

                               Pumpkin Head

                               Dandelion Root

                               Koi-eyed

                               Autumn Mead

                               Branch Blossom

                               Garlic Blossom

                               Summer Fallen

                               Knotted Fleece [...]

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The arthritis in my knee—

—subsides a little; still, after sitting for a few moments, my leg cannot support my full weight. I limp about the house as an old man.
One of the transplanted irises finally prepares for blossoming, after numerous seasons without flowers.
95/ A moment of idleness, of waiting. So Pan makes paper airplanes out of drafts of old poems, old journal entries, folding the corners back neatly to ensure a soft gliding motion across the room, into the afternoon sun, away from the momentary pause of the clock ticking to itself, as the universe exhales.

His Left Hand

94/ He considers the dirt under his nails. The calluses on his left hand. The crescent scar in the palm from numerous years ago— so long past he has forgotten the significance of the mark— or the cause.

First Kiss

93/ There are nights he obsesses over his first kiss: they stood outside, before the dormitory doors, swallowed in halflight, halfdark— the measure of parting between her two lips, softness unexpected, the nervousness opening out, motioning across memory,

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Without any indication or forewarning

—my right leg has begun causing issues, a deep pain running behind the knee cap, along the top of the calf. When I sit, no pain is apparent, yet when I stand the leg limps beside me, a tired old dog.
More rejections arrived in the email. Little annoyances. Biting form letters. May rework a word or two later. Sometime when my judgment is not clouded with petty frustration.
A cob web shifts in the upper corner of the room, just above my head.
92/ Pan works in his garden, shirtless, feeling early spring on the curve of his arched back as he bends over, pulling weeds, rouge mint, dead branches. Afterwards he stands in full sun, eating a deep purple bruise of a plum, the juice staining his fingers, running down his chin.