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

Thursday, March 26, 2015

In the Head, a Hive of Divine Bees

Unexpectedly, a sudden comet appeared, unannounced: I reached entry number 2,000 for “The River, Fractured.” By surprise, the section’s closure lies firm with an end stop, an intake of air.

The central core of the book remained the same throughout all the revisions—
I was anticipating the last entry to be a broken line, fractured from its parent theme, before the poem picked up the point again—which would not be major cause for concern if it had—however, the poem itself provided a closed curtain at the end of Act II, a formal announcement of a brief interval.

There exist times when my subconscious follows habitual patterns for writing, instinctually seeking an arrangement of ebb and flow of elements and phrases, mirroring natural iambics embedded in English language. Poetry pulsates in the head, a hive of divine bees. Sometimes waking me at night. Like my son on the weekends, shaking me from deep sleep. Waking me with a stage whisper: “Daddy? Daddy, wake up!”

Bees Ball a Hornet © Bee Boy
His personal sense of confidence strengthens overnight, without warning. I remember childhood more as a time of hesitancy, questioning any action, always seeking confirmation from a parent. Whereas, Brendan boldly heads into the woods seeking giants and wolves to contend with; he craves action and developing plot structures. If he is ever cautious, the hesitancy lingers briefly, and then he is off, a whirlwind in his wake.
February and March did not produce much journal writing. Distractions rained down from all directions: work, family, editing final stages of my book. It feels odd saying "my book"—there are days I forget it is in production, and then a small reminder appears. Nervous excitement returns. The whole history of the book's delay, this stalling to such a late point in time, is riddled with negativity and self-doubt. Numerous factors exist. But for every rejection, a reshuffling of poems occurred, a casual shift in themes and narrative points of view.

The central core of the book remained the same throughout all the revisions: the middle section displays a sonnet sequence of twenty poems, producing a persona lost in his lack of connection and understanding with his immediate environment. That existential crisis everyone eventually experiences at one point in their life. Three sample poems can be read on the Saint Julian site, the first two works lifted from the sonnet series.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Innocence to Experience

Lately I have been experimenting with developing a self-portrait poem based of the Greek myth cycle-tragedy concerning Persephone—at the risk of seeming to appropriate and exploit the female-based traumatic experience. It remains difficult outlining the possibilities—the approach I have been considering centers around the ramifications of her abduction and the side emotions of possibly feeling abandoned by her mother, Demeter.

Proserpine Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1874, Tate Britian


The idea came to fruition from a short series of fractured lines in the ongoing River project:

1418. Bitter as Persephone, digging into the fruit of ripe pomegranates, believing the world had given up on her.

1419. Bitter at her mother for forgetting her, as she believed she was abandoned to the fate of the Underworld.

1420. Bitter-sweet as the seeds themselves, soft on the tongue.

1421. The fruit fresh from the Underworld gardens.

1422. Where witches tend the wilding orchard of dark figs, blood mangoes, blue shadowy berries.


Near the close of the cycle of stories, she is in Hades, after a series of months—there is a moment in an Underworld garden she “accidentally” swallows pomegranate seeds, presumably because of hunger. Yet a twist on the usual story could show she intentionally takes the food as sudden resolve to remain in the Afterlife, an act of giving up because her mother apparently has abandoned her.

The poem would work within a self reflection of the bitterness Persephone feels. Anger at the lack of connection, community, lack of family. This is the moment she shifts from innocent child victim to experienced embittered woman. It would attempt to explain how she became an Ancient world goddess for witches, for magic and folktale crones.

A sympathy poem told in first person.
As a result, I am lost in another night of insomnia. Oddly placed on a Monday night, not the usual pattern of days. First, I feel the beginnings of drowsiness until a vague small sound falls—or an itch forms along the curve of my leg, pulling me back into a tight state of wakefulness.

In the past, a visual concentration on an object, random and mundane, would help sink the consciousness into a healthy limbo: but tonight the mind wanders, scattered ideas arrive unbidden—as if a large mug of coffee was consumed moments ago.

The body pulses with awkward awareness.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Rapids of Technology

After a number of years of avoiding Facebook—I broke down this week and created a profile. Partly, I admit my reluctance stems from a vague fear of the unknown. Fear of understanding the hype behind the popularity.

So here I am, diving into    the rapids of technology to promote     my writing, my book,      as a means of acknowledging myself to my self.
Fear of trends and the lemming-effect. Usually in a crowd I tend to follow the minority status, no matter the circumstance, always looking at situations from the “other side.”

With social networks one becomes burdened with upkeep of pages and commentaries and friends and posts and photos—which offers an obvious explanation how people get lost in the digital connections, within the invisible trail of crumbs left behind every mortal who trolls the web.

For the most part, humans seems insistent to prove they exist. As a species, they mark cave walls, place graffiti on warehouse walls, carve initials into trees, send debris into the clockworks of the solar system. (Need I mention the two California women who recently took selfie images in the Roman Coliseum after engraving their initials in the ancient walls?)

So here I am, diving into the rapids of technology to promote my writing, my book, as a means of acknowledging myself to my self.
Here I am generating a giant textual selfie as proof that I actually motioned among the other humans on the planet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Perpetual Listings

I cannot hide the fact I like archives and labels. Which was the intended purpose of the reading list in the beginning: track and catalog books purchased and annotated. As it is, now I realize that the current number of twenty publications will need to be reduced to half for sanity’s sake— managing a reading schedule of ten books is easier to organize. Despite this, the index will remain a perpetual list: new books added off and on throughout the year.
Today I finished reading Amanda Auchter’s The Wishing Tomb. The poems collected focus on a chronological approach discussing the complex history of New Orleans—through multiple verses. Her sequential approach adds a sense of irony to the whole series—more or less showing humans running in place as time progresses. Society changes in slight variations.

I admire her intricate phrasing and odd enjambments—abstracting the view of the poem as well as the language. In my own work I have used New Orleans as a setting for a handful of poems—but as a minor relevance to the development of the verse.

Auchter’s poem-stories on the other hand create the city as a character onto itself: as a tarnished, middle-aged woman with too much make-up. Auchter switches from monologue narrations to personal stream of consciousness with a nervous camera obscura technique. A bitter love. A protest for change. Awareness for change.
We washed Brendan’s hair: the dirty blonde transformed to gold, to divine tangles and curls. Afterwards, still damp, he stood before me, pulling my hands over his ears as Ricky used the blow dryer. Brendan toyed with my t-shirt, humming and singing to himself, trying to ignore the angry buzzing clattering around his head.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Meditating on everything. Or nothing.

For whatever reason, the last series of days allowed for no prose discussions. No sudden revelations of character or personality. So numbers of visitors falter off my sites, page counts drop to single digits.

   The poem grows and develops like Brendan: sudden spurts of energy, unexpected new logic    falling from his mouth.
At one time I would obsess over every statistic provided to me about traffic flow. Now, I no longer agonize over small attendance records: I need my sleep.
An infection swells on the right side of my head. Call it a dragon’s egg. An awkward hex. Sometimes at night it throbs with the body’s pulse. I take antibiotics. Place warm compresses. After two days it appears to be reducing in size. Slowly. Ever slowly.
Tonight I bathed Brendan. He may complain a little about the loss of time, but overall washing up is less problematic than it once was.

He seems to have stretched these last few days—have I said that already? Any given moment I look at him and his body transforms into a stronger state. A taller young man.


The yellow jasmine in the sie garden so far seems to survive the cold snap from earlier in the week—the arctic front which paralyzed much of the Midwest only glances at Houston. A slight lowering of temperatures into the freezing point, then a gradual return to spring-like weather.
At least the long poem project “The River, Fractured” motions forward, on a nightly basis. Some hours the lines appear easier than others—which makes common sense. I cannot expect every moment writing to be as successful as another.

The poem grows and develops like Brendan: sudden spurts of energy, unexpected new logic falling from his mouth. As of this moment, I have reached 2,102 fragmented entries—an intense stream of consciousness meditating on everything. Or nothing. A flow of creative commentary building on a grand scale.