Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Other Side of Elaine

A black-and-white photo of you, energizing 
me like warp drive on Voyager. I need you 
now more than ever as I stumble toward
oblivion. Where are you? I speak to you, 
include you in out-loud toasts when I drink 
a beer, but you never respond. Have I been 
misinformed? I revolt against the acceptable, 
then the acceptable revolts against me. Many 
fester in stability when there is no stability. The 
earth will persist, I’m sure of it. I hear sirens 
from its four quarters—no, nothing metaphysical 
in that there’s a hospital nearby—and I wear the 
flannel shirt you gave me. It’s a size too small, 
but its tightness swaddles me in your memory.

Brown Study

The sycamore (older than civilization, a sapling
when declarations were signed in wooden lodges 
behind enemy lines by periwigged and powdered
aristocrats, tended to by black slaves and new
nations were initiated in blistering confusion)
now deadly, extended, quadrupled in size
but unpredictable in that it might have 
outgrown its roots, and as steady as it appears
is actually teetering in every breeze, and, like 
a neighbor, not to be taken for granted. 
   
The teen diva impressive, a white face in a sea of 
darkness, not taught about brutality yet must 
sense the incongruous when celebrated as a benefactor
by equally uniformed children of the oppressed. 
               
 And so it goes that history is 
sanitized, made palatable, twisted, so symbols 
replace truth, and I, frustrated by a fear of reaction, 
hover over a computer, reduced to signing petitions 
that go nowhere.

A poem with cryptic and self-indulgent riddles 
that scholars can make their living with or couplets 
banged out on a empty paint can that have the aesthetic 
of a laundry list. The authentic a consistent fatality 
come to life thoroughly in the old-age complex I live in, 
with those who have not given up breathing but seem 
to have perished ages ago, and if not, have kept themselves 
shrouded for so many years, they no longer have the 
capacity to be otherwise.                         
                            And I like them—although not yet 
dormant. Self-censoring, yes, but short of effacement,
but knowing when not to speak. Not a state of denial,
but of dying.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Art For Revolution

Put you in terms of nature, although nature is no 
more natural than a city where people nest. Bring 
nothing to an artwork, nothing representative, put 
you in terms of not the street you live on, but pebbles 
crushed under car tires, shot up often into passing 
vehicles, leaving quarter-sized dents on doors and
fenders. Life is an emulsion, the sirens, the silence, 
six chords on a guitar you memorize, play resolutely. 
Come with nothing familiar but colors or words and 
make something occur that wouldn’t have. If you 
do something do something more. If you haven’t 
said it then say it and keep moving. Urges, hues, 
stay raw, as an ex-friend said of me, be a colossus, 
larger than that, be treacherous, be everything.  



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Encrusted

Violence is brewing. Ordinary life subordinary,
as in other land masses where exploding barrel 
bombs cluster the air with steel snowflakes.‘Tis 
the season in the community room where the lit tree 
a cocoon of aliens transporting the elderly to a far-off 
nebulae of death dying and rampant health. The truth 
is never in-between but falls on everyone whatever 
one’s fantasy or faith. Believe what you see. Work 
in it. I’d like to go back, protest for something, not 
only my life. The land is curdling whatever is said. It 
needn’t convince anyone. Who’s going to stop it? 
A neighbor says I’m blessed, What does that mean?
She offers me free sneakers. I decline them. They’re
Not what I wear. A child is born, is born repeatedly,



Lifemarch

Pay attention.
A situation is creeping towards
a conclusion. 
You might miss it. It might terminate
seconds before you’re aware it has. If so, focus on
a parallel situation, although conclusions
never actually occur. One merely says “enough!”

A war ends here, begins there.
A love story ends with a marriage, a marriage
ends with a divorce, kids, remarriage, new families,
new friends, new un-friends, And in
this constant shifting, we live, eat, and work.

The road goes to the left, to the right,
in the future up, at an angle,
GPSs become three-dimensional
There is no end to derivations.
Dislocation will thrive—those dwelling in a box
will be driven over, crushed, Protesting
a must—tyrants look like they’re winning, 
they’re not. They never do, but they 
leave bodies everywhere, including 
their own.

Quibbling over tactics is not unity. But one
person can’t do it alone. The human race
sparkles, yes, but is also laden with fools:
people who reject their own bodies. 
Centuries of misery will not stop. Living 
is a constant blossoming, erosion. Wars
are life, too. Many need to be fought, 
even if you have no weapons.
Just so many people can be shot down. 
The time is now. It’s always now.    

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Phenomenology

Le soir, toujour, sans cesse  forever night, the darkness
having cloaked the brick walls I fixed on through my
camera lenses and studied intensely in that each had
its own existence, each brick its own shadow when the 
sun setting before the blackness obliterated my vision—
(recalling nothing of the many walls I passed indifferently). 
To know a brick wall’s being is so individual it ceases to 
resemble another. How dismissive one can be of one’s 
reality, to gain my own freedom to photograph such a 
wall as it exists to me, so thoroughly. My viewfinder
angled, I record its chips, discolorations, how undulating 
a flat surface can be. My eyes, conscience of the slight 
southern arc of the sun in the hot weather, in the winter 
my hands frozen as, I allow each brick, each wall to emerge. 


Friday, September 15, 2017

The Shop Behind

Hanging two original Tony Springer oils
on my plasterboard walls. The nail hammers
in an inch and then hits nothing. Hopefully
secure, although I wouldn’t hang one over 
my bed.

Secretive in that
renters have no rights to walls, which are owned
by landlords, although landlords (seigneurs) 
themselves cannot
live with bare walls, or can they? 

The Lord of the Manor has money in his
head, not walls—unless they’re his,
unless he designates them damaged.

So the poet has a shop behind in that
walls are his façade. Unlike the seigneurs,
he needs to be alert, ready to hide.
He knows the walls are temporary in that
he is passing through, while 
a landlord is permanent in that he thinks
no deeper than a nail.

A poet must be ready to hide, like a member of
a resistance, for to write significant poetry 
is to resist. A poet is a revolutionary,
whether or not he’s aware of it.
or capable of thinking so.

Poetry is abnormal, a poet is abnormal,
unless he belongs to a local writing group
where normalcy is expected, as if poetry
has nothing to do with life but is merely a way
of getting together, like a knitting group
meeting monthly with new needles and
wool.

Life is immeasurable, unless it is reduced to
inches. But the poet of ambiguity, existence
is a danger to a knitting group 
and must be repressed.

A shop behind 
in which the poet cannot be disturbed, or even 
located at times, is always there, even as this 
is written in the obscurity 
of what I am, if I accept myself, as I must,
live there in distinction—
not long but deeply, 
whether others like it or not.