Thursday, March 31, 2005

Humic Songs

I think that I will begin posting my new poetry here, as well as my thoughts, which haven't been frequent, as I have been trying to break from the water-top once again in that never ending wheel of anamnesis.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Portland & Beauty

Qui nous fera voir le bonheur? I feel like a turtle carrying a VW bug on my back, while everyone else is carrying their shell. Is it necessary? This lingual pursuit of the good? Or do we follow Christ by forgetting about Him and doing things in His name? Happy mediums?
I am the unhappy medium.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Testament of Beauty

I have finished the first quarter of this meticulous book of poetry, and I am barely grasping what he is getting at because of the archaic and complex voice he uses. It seems he is making an argument for supernatural being, and for the soul, from the premise of the reality of beauty - either that or describing how the human soul has naturally evolved. I really can't tell. The last section of the first book ends with an exclamation about Jesus Christ, but I can't feel whether it is derisive or humble.
Anybody else out there read this work?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Bridges & Pinsky

"Testament of Beauty" by Robert Bridges is a hymnal-twin volume of turn of the century British Laureate poetry - red, raggedy split-end binding. Picked it up at Powell's Books in Portland - saw it & knew that its heart was good.
Pinsky greeted me in the library with plasticized soft-cover binding, but his words are clear enough, and thorough. He hates God for some reason - for the reason that all men hate God: confusion - maybe a dead wife or child, brevity of life and its glaring vanity. Pain. He wrote a poem about the childhood of Jesus, called the same I think, that is clear, and wide-eyed and beautiful, and mocks the Christ with a dark confusion.
Read some Luke this morning. There are words that stack up toward heaven and become more and more like lies as they get higher. And then there are words that as they stack they get thinner and humbler, and more like dirt. Soon like air.
Scrap all of the sophistry, all of the techni-color words, and I know two things with the most basic kind of knowledge I have: that I will die, and that there is beauty. That makes a question. That makes a bubble in my stomach that has turned into a sour rock, hot as a firecoal. It changes my breath into light. I become a magic beast, suffusing smoke and light, rather than a hunkered monkey in a suit.
I will choose to see beauty, and therefore take on the burden of death. And when the burden of death grows too heavy, I will look for someone to take that burden from me - someone with wisdom-lit eyes more full than mine. Someone who can't be easily unwound down to desire, like Buddha's complacency, and Mohammed's bare desire.
Someone who confuses me.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Poet Laureate of the United States

by Ted Kooser

Slap of the screen door, flat knock
of my grandmother's boxy black shoes
on the wooden stoop, the hush and sweep
of her knob-kneed, cotton-aproned stride
out to the edge and then, toed in
with a furious twist and heave,
a bridge that leaps from her hot red hands
and hangs there shining for fifty years
over the mystified chickens,
over the swaying nettles, the ragweed,
the clay slope down to the creek,
over the redwing blackbirds in the tops



Each time I go outside
the world is different.
This has happened all my life.


The clock stopped at 5:30
for three months.
Now it's always time to quit work,
have a drink, cook dinner.


"What I would do for wisdom,"
I cried out as a young man.
Evidently not much. Or so it seems.
Even on walks I follow the dog.


Old friend,
perhaps we work too hard
at being remembered.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Palm Sunday

"Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Morning Coffee & Freud

As I sit sipping coffee this morning, prepping my body for hours in front of a computer screen, I realize that in order to do anything there must be a story. There must be a going - a movement toward some meaningful end - if I am going to be the kind who opens his mind in every moment and says to himself "Oh, and here I am in this moment." Maybe you don't want to do that. For me, its not a matter of want. I am a slave to my self-perception. I always know that I am there. It hasn't always been that way - sometimes there isn't enough language - I have floundered like a fish through a barrel of light to get here. (And who knows if its somewhere worth being? I think that old wing-ed serpentine cherubim had a pretty good perception of his-self).
Freud did too. In "Civilization and it's discontents" he talks about that fact that he perceives himself, and that it is the cause of great pain. I'll have to go back to get references and quotes, but basically he points out that life is pain because (and I am adding to what he says here, massaging) it is self, and knowledge of self, within a futile death-destined system. Basically: "Oh, Look! I am here and I am... oh, &@#!$$"
Freud prescribed, being a doctor, a good medicine for this great pain: distraction. Drugs might work, he says. Sex. He himself distracts himself with Science. Now theres a thing. Science! The great machine of thought, working, working, toward ... death. That was the only destiny marble that Freud carried in his bag.
But then, I am an artist, not a scientist, and I think I know better. I think I see some hazy sort of light when I'm mid-song, or finishing a painting. I hear some truth calling me out in the distance; "Hey! You! Fish there, in a barrel of light! I'm calling you out!"
Distraction doesn't cut it if you hear the calling. Self pops up, and you've got to deal with him.