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

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Manner of Moments

Spent the day grading. So as a result the day passed in a manner of moments. In random chunks of hours. Without strategy or plans.
132/ In the shower he stands washing out the guilt of the day, watching the dirt and stains slip across his awkward form, his nakedness as an offering up to whatever god he worshiped, the sins falling away as an oil slick of retribution.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

thus the poem


Formalizing an idea: creating a new Blues poem for the solo-vocalist persona in Quintet —another song— creating a session of three songs in a row, a blurring of three distinct lyrics. “Devil Wasp Blues” and “Canal Street Blues” are combined— but the third verse needs to bring everything into a stronger cohesion. A specific story told within the three. Braid them tighter together with common language. Common rhythms. Common formulas. Repetition of names. Place names.
—or then again. Not. Leave the three verses independent. Individual. As free standing, short poems. They (by themselves, their themes, their formula) are brought together by the vocalist’s performance— as would be the case with any jazz set. The small tie grouping all three can be loose chronology. Birth—midlife—death. The last poem should carry a heavier, darker tone: loss of husband, partner…

turning it into a social commentary of experience, of witness

• having the absent male die through consequences of war— or as a soldier wounded, returns home to wife and kids, PTSD.
• or a policeman, fallen in the line of duty
• or junkie wrestling with dependency
• a real character taken from headlines—

His absence transfers to family’s grief. Thus the poem. Society shown in a limbo. Searching for a meaning.

Wasn't there a song titled “Memorial Day Blues”?

No, no, I am thinking of “Decoration Day” by John Lee Hooker. With the Cowboy Junkies later twisting the female voice to express the loss:

People I had a woman, she was nice and kind to me
           in ev'ry way
People I had a woman, she was nice and kind to me
           in ev'ry way
But Lord, she died and she left me, I sang the blues on ev'ry Decoration Day

Lord, I hate to see, I hate to see my baby go
People I hate to see my baby leave that mornin',
And my Lord takin' my baby 'way
She said, "Johnny Lee, don't you worry,
Bring flowers on every Decoration Day"

I was 'round my baby's bedside, when my Lord takin'
           my baby, 'way
Lord, I was 'round my baby's bedside, when my Lord takin'
           my baby, 'way
It hurt me so bad, so bad, until I, just broke right down
           and cried
Hmm, hmm

She says, "Fare you well, I see you on every Decoration Day", I tol' them
I told my baby, I told my baby, "I bring flowers on
          every Decoration Day"
I bring you some flowers, babe, just to decorate your grave

People, y'all havin' a good time now, just like the flowers
           that comes in May
Y'all havin' a good time now, just like the flower that
           come in May
I think about Lou Della, Lou Della, Lou Della on
           every Decoration Day

Lou Della, Lou Della, Lou Della stays on my mind
Lou Della, Lou Della, people, boy
Lou Della stays on my mind
Lord, she died and she left me on one Decoration Day
Lord, Lou Della's gone and Lou Della's worryin' me

Monday, July 21, 2014

brief entry || from July 28

sick. tired. exhausted. nauseous. It is an effort just to drink small mouthfuls of water.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Laughing— Always Laughing

Outside by the community park, I sat in twilight, watching Brendan chase his Papi around the manicured grass, laughing— always laughing. In the lowering halfmist, marsh cranes circled in the halflight.

His eyes shine winter blue in twilight hours.
During the drive back home, Brendan sat in a casual, pensive mood. He asked, lisping his ‘th’s from his car seat: “What happened to your bruder?” Everything paused around us. One of those eerie moments in life when time itself stalls. Freezing the material world into a limbo of sorts. The lights. The blue hour. The sun. The auto’s motor. The sense of self—

Lane, my brother, passed away twenty-seven years ago, this August. Lane was only eighteen. His body failed him one night around one in the morning. His heart simply turned itself off on its own accord. No rational logic.

We have photographs placed around the house in strategic positions. I’ve told Brendan who the images are— but without in-depth exposition. Today was the first time he made the association of Lane’s absence.

I kept my answer short. Brief. Establishing the notion of an afterlife in basic terms, even though I myself have no firm foundation of faith to explain the concept adequately. Let’s call my belief an acceptance of death. Let’s say I have a reserve on mystical claims. I’ve experienced at odd moments a clam meditative connection with a notion of a presence— that hour I held Brendan for the first time, my valuable package wrapped in blue sheets.

Whatever I said at that now moment I forget. The answer, however, worked. A resolution was reached and Brendan shifted to a new topic.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mild Annoyance

This afternoon, after completing the final stanza of a self portrait poem, just now I realize, a major portion of the plot echoes an older piece I wrote ten or more years ago. A plagiarism of self. Lifting of the past. Leaving me now frustrated and without a plot device to support the actions in the resulting stanzas.

Perhaps the motivation can transcend from the two characters sneaking off to slug whiskey shots, something other than smoking clove cigarettes.
The past looms up in the dark of the backyard, howling at the kitchen door, drunk in the wilderness.
131/ He shuffles an empty shot glass between his hands— left to right, then back again— right to left. Minutes passing, back and forth. Repeating actions. Over and over.

Leave the page Blank

Part of me wants to leave the page blank. Turn off the light and go to sleep. Another part however is wide awake and seeking an image to twist within a new poem—
                      Longing transposed to gold.
130/ The guilt of silence compiles within idle hands.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Making and Unmaking

In the distance from our house construction machineries can be heard humming: the air pulses with their manipulation of the landscape, making and unmaking the territory, dinosaurs insistent for procreation, their mating rituals vibrating across the suburban lawns—
After his bath, drying Brendan’s terse frame, he reached out and clutched his small, naked body against my chest, clinging both arms tightly around my neck. A sudden panic for an unknown reason. An unspoken fear.
129/ Guilt formulates overnight, appearing across men’s faces, a blue, early frost, persistent, expected.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Elaborate Acrobatics

The cat is under the bed raising a ruckus. She is chasing her tail in elaborate acrobatics. She twists in half circles to catch her shadow. I lie on the top of the bed with my swollen right knee, trying to ignore the pain. Another two months of waiting, before surgery.
Received another rejection for a manuscript in the mail the other day. No comments. No words of explanation. On the whole, the submission process is easier to deal with these days. One (I) cannot invest much emotion into the lack of editorial responses, lack of connection to a manuscript. So I bundle up a new assortment of poems and send off another arrangement to a new set of eyes.
128/ Guilt hides within the dirt of fingernails.

Jefferson's Complexity

[Image from: historyplace]

Despite the fact Thomas Jefferson wrote the American Declaration of Independence, declaring a break from Mother England for the colonies, Jefferson owned slaves.

Despite the fact he owned slaves, he approached abolitionist philosophies throughout his life. On this humanitarian venture, on both a personal level and a governing level, he failed. It is hard determining his mind-set on this movement. He left behind numerous, contradictory statements found in many of his letters, journals, and documents.

One of the few attempts by Jefferson to legally remove slavery from the emerging country can be seen in the composition draft of the Declaration of independence. Not surprisingly, this passage was deleted by the Second Continental Congress.
[King George III] has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.
(Norton Anthology of American Literature 655)

A digital copy of the surviving "Rough draught," in full, can be read here: www.loc.gov/exhibits.