Sunday, April 30, 2006

A poem written while watching...

... a group of highschool dudes at a starbucks coffee shop.


Do not be deceived -
we will not live long.
The little demon choir
assigned to herald our end
is already clearing their throat
for the song. I hear them at night
like fieldmice barking
at the blue moon.
Don't assume much else
than this: death, and
a few bright moments of bliss.
There is a choir, as well, for this.
They, however, have been singing all along,
and sometimes, sometimes,
we wriggle from the life vest
of deception long enough
to swim, for a moment,
in the radiant chorus of their song.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What is here and what is not


The day is really here friend.
The words have bowed in acquiescence
to the day, for she is really here.
The words, where are they then?,
flitting around like insubstantial sparrows
of the night. Flitting around
like balls of unseen electrical light.
They have no place to land otherwise.
But the day is here, before us,
pooled out, and floated with
a million bobbing bits & creatures;
paper, bone, petals, and a squirrel.
The squirrel floats past on a raft
of walnut shells, barks gallantly,
and the words flit and flit with new fury,
finding their only perch on the day,
because it alone is here.


Where is everything else?
The unnamed, unplaced creatures
pull at my pant legs. Yes, I know
you, little one, I know that if
you were given a space in the day
you would become hard and bright
as a pearl. I know that if one man
would crawl on hands and knees
all day, pushing you into holes
to find the place that you become
a key, many doors would open
that would not open otherwise.
A new fantastic corner of the day would
open to his eyes. Perhaps no one else would see.
Is it worth it? Would it be worth it?
So many beings inside of me
do not have a place in the day.
What else can I do, but reassert
that the day alone is here, and there
are many things inside me that are not of this day.
Shall we keep these other creatures in the cold?
Shall we watch them fade, like accidental
pencil marks being erased?
I will not – I will fashion them sweaters
from the songs that their flitting stirs inside of me.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

All of A Sudden

What a great little cluster of words: "All of a sudden." From the latin "subre": to approach stealthily. You're zoned out, loping along merrily, and bam! all of sudden:

You realize that somehow you've become the person you've been waiting to become. And it feels eerie - it feels like all things feel when they are actual, when they have found a niche in the room of place and time . With its own skin, withs its own corners, with the detail that cg artists vainly stetch their digital pens out toward, and artificial-intelligence engineers only dream about.
No, not perfect, no Ideal Man, Renaissance Man, the Third Adam, now complete with goodness, truth, and beauty.
I mean, come full circle on Dantes dark downhill road. I mean, being circumsized of ones intellectual dependence on certainty - as distinct from an intellectual giving up of it. I mean clambering up the river Lethe on the otherside of the world, and feeling strangely unlike any superhero. Have you felt how Dante felt when he first arrived to Purgatory? Oh, dang, so, I'm not in Heaven? My my, what a steep and pretty hill...

I mean, realizing you are not a child. Realizing you have a mind; one that has been given over first by a gift to you, then by faith, then by sword. Am I afraid to call out to the creator in the world of ones and zeros? No, I am not. Great God of the red-wing blackbird, and the peacock, and the black bugs that kept sticking to our shirts as we walked today: here I am. I am myself.

Push me across the fields of flax and corn
but push me equally

push me up and over the blue hills, into the break of morning
let me roll down the slopes, pick up speed
but do not let one part lead, of me, and one part follow

do not let all my pushing be hollow

but push me in such a way that I gather earth
about my shoulders, thick and even, time and girth

and then when I roll down into the city
and then when I roll down to the sea

smacking roadsigns with solidified speed
hitting that pier and launching out over lashing green

I will have meaning, and I will have me.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Cherry Blossoms & Robin Songs

I relearned the spring call of the Robin. I'm not actually sure if it is indeed the Spring call, and not the generic "Hey, I'm a robin" call, but I hear it in the spring, or, it reaches my conciousness in the Spring. It reached my mind's eye, and ear, yesterday again. Immediately I recognized and loved it - yes, you are one of my friends. You there, song, and your russet-vested friend. Robins are almost always portrayed as female in cartoons, but I see them as distinctly male. Oh, and canadian geese. Those dudes are dudes. Gentlemen, really - awkward & bumbling, yet kind and dignified old British gentlemen you might find at clubs, you know, where they sit in big leather chairs and smoke pipes and get red in the face over pish-posh and all that with a dry & clever wit. I can see geese doing that.
My sister and I saw one today, black neck in the air, trumpeting a series of evening honks. I think it was a love song. Some female goose (wherever they are) I hope was extremely taken by it, because I thought it was mostly humorous. But then, maybe girl geese list "sense of humor" high on the attractive-qualities list.
It's so awkwardly beautiful to think of all of these animals all around me thinking urgent Spring thoughts - hooking up with the females, going out on dates to parks. Songs, swoons, bright tail feathers erect and waggling.
"Hey everybody!" I want to shout "Lets have a meeting here in the grassy patch tomorrow about this whole Spring mating fuss - lets figure all this out - lets approach this rationally" Next thing I know, I'm up on a tree branch, yodeling & sporting a new Italia Sport jacket.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

To what shall I compare thee?

My dear dear long-blue-legged
beast, or woman, or man.
City? That is the pretty name
we have chosen to call thee - no?
I sit absorbing microwaves
in your blue suburban glow.
I am your child. I feel
the deep deep planting
of a seed within the twist
of my intestines. Vine and wire
have combined to climb the spire
of my spine. You ask me
how I am feeling, if I am not feeling
well, and why should I speak
freakishly, hellishly, if I am
feeling well? And so I reply,
Yes, Yes, quite fine. I have what I need.
Your have given me much
from the blue cornacopia
of your bosom. I have taken
what you didn't give.

Now dear woman. Man.
Beast or thing: to what shall I compare thee?
No one has ever stood before me
so seductively, so completely,
so namelessly
as you.


Big News: you might get
a horrible international plague
and die. A chicken walked out
into the road in Germany today
and burst into a festered heap
of rotten bones and flesh.
This could happen to you.
Big News: People are dying
in Columbia of a virulent condition.
Her name is Operation Hurricane
, and she is currently downloading
viruses onto the cell phone
silently radiating
inches from your reproductive organs.
It happened in Beijing.
Its coming. Its coming.
Take out a multi-million dollar
life insurance policy.
Wear a wonderbra. Subscribe
to Hot Sex Unlimited
and scoop red coals into the folds
of your gunny sack. You only have so long.
You, my slick suburban friend
of flimsy flesh and bone,
only have so long.

Circle of Surprise

Life is a continuous circle
of surprise. You say, “I have
been here before” and you have
and yet still you startle back
in surprise as you round
the familiar corner. Life proceeds
in patterns: perfect, regular,
and entirely unpredictable.
A poem? you say, “A, B,
A, B, …A?” and your hands
spontaneously clap
like an epiphany, like
thunder on a clear day,
and your knees wobble
with the surge of chemical interplay
in your veins, and you come upon
the same word
you came upon yesterday,
and the day before, and the
day before, and still
you shout

Monday, April 03, 2006

Guy Fawkes

I have taken to wearing Guy Fawkes masks, or, I changed the look of this blog. This is how it happened - I thought, "Hm, this blog is ugly." Then I thought, "I have power." Then I thought "Plus, I have a sweet looking old board." Which, out of neccesity, I photographed.
Then, armed only with my 60 watt witts, I proceeded to spelunk into the dark caverns of the open code that Blogger provides. I found a way. In the darkness, I found a way. Light of Galadriel or something, I bet.
Do you like it. Yes, I do.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

More Dr. Seuss

Speaking of Seuss, I've just been looking through some of his political cartoons from the second world war. What a different attitude toward war than the one that the contemporary American intelligentsia has adopted.
Click here for more of Seuss' political cartoons.

Anapestic Tetrameter

My guess is that there are very few in these United States who haven't been touched by the rhythmical eloquence of the late Theodor Seuss Geisel-- that is, of course, Dr. Seuss. One wonders how any mere man could create such a bevy of magically enchanting sing-song stories. I'll go ahead and tell you: Anapestic Tetrameter.

I've been learning a great deal about meter in the past few weeks, and therefore this little bit of information excites me. An anapest is a tri-syllabic metrical "foot", a section of meter with three syllables, and tetrameter simply denotes four-footed meter, which makes it then four three-syllable sections on each line. English verse relies on syllable stresses to define the metrical feet. Thus, an anapest in English is two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable: "dum dum DUM", if you will.

Anapestic Tetrameter is much like a series of Seussian four-footed creatures -- long gangly legs, fat slanted eyes, and shaggy blue fur. Each foot has three toes, the last toe being a big toe, perhaps with a claw. And the creature is loping along a Seussian landscape, rolling hills and tall tufted trees, at a gallop.

Here are two lines, for illustration, from "If I ran the Zoo" (notice how the first foot only has two syllables; dropping a syllable here or there is a common practice in any sort of meter):

"the world's biggest bird from the island of Gwark,
who eats only pine trees, and spits out the bark."

Imagination, meet Perfect Rhythm. Copulate. Make children.

Classically, this form wasn't used much for, you know, serious poetry, since it does roll along rather comedically and joyfully. Lord Byron, however, gave it a go and wrote "The Destruction of Sennacherib" in anapestic tetrameter. Honestly, messieur Byron, you're good, but you're not the Seuss.

The Destruction of Sennacherib

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail:
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

On Feeling A Little Ashamed

SO, I have just gone back through my archives and read some of my earlier more lively more articulate posts, and felt rather ashamed. I feel sort of scared as well, you know, considering the dreadful things that happened to Wordsworth in his old age such as, and we must say it in hushed tones, LOSING HIS MUSE.

I have never called out to a muse. Even Milton called out to a muse, but I never have. I suppose the Queen of Los Angeles, the imaginary figure in my mind, was at one time my muse. She did often spread her glowing faery wings in my heart and cause many a song to rise like glorious indigestion.

But here I am now, toying with the idea of scooting back down south and employing myself with the study of the Great Song, and I am terribly frightened of the dryness in my heart. And of my exceptionally poor sentence structure. I think of Henry Higgins and his ode to the uneduacted masses.

I think of dry things. Like saltine crackers after a run. And I am a little ashamed.