A while ago you may remember a briefly posted item regarding hiatus. I took a few days off and felt oddly compelled to make news of it. If I had to guess I'd say it had more to do with the dip in a seasonal glut of writings as opposed to any functional want for vacation. Anyway it didn't last.
Well today I announce similar news, if for an entirely new reason. In the past month I have resumed activity under the name, To Stink, To Cheat, To Torture, a platform primarily reserved for prose and essayage. While I assure you the notebooks are filling up at blurry-edged speeds my ability to, as the old proverb goes, walk and chew gum at the same time, is remedial at best. Rather than coughing up some formulaic ten line shitters just for the sake of keeping to date I've decided to pace myself a bit.
Raise your clanging pitchforks against the light of the fire.
It was set to evoke the hell Of hell if you should fail-- For I am a breeding demon, Fixed to love, Sure as you are my throng, You cultivation! Fixed to hunt me down When the moon and your elevated Fires should search me Destine me...
In a wonder, a bubble-- Marshalled out of an ungrowing, Parented out of, Districted in those, (spray cans, no one) Kept in close proximity of those, then Left to modify on shit and blood You're not welcome here Policy
First only protruding, then Actually walking on Children's legs --for it was a group of them, Born in a silver instant On a wall.
Quickly, and covered in slime, They set about the miracle Of fire.
Spend money, devise a thing Do what you have to do to make this happen.
Produce a perfect blank canvas reminiscent
Of those armless clocks tolling in your sleep, That ferality of dancing oceans-- Had teachers not taught you Would you know their Names? Those faces between counted sheep whose features You could not restore, nor even dream about.
How romantic it is to have and to hold Nothing.
As it is not the substance in beauty that compels, But the compulsion that we continue to look for it Where so little lies open for us, and when Our need exceeds the provisions of space.
Sometime long ago when boys ruled us, Grown-ups wore decorative laurels in their thinning hair, And marble rose from every field, Either born out on a servant's back or Ripened up in the rain naturally-- Each white and gray crowning in the grass Pealed for its hour.
Certainly there must have been observers, people with no premeditated desire to remember or Even see.
But they saw.
See now the way she lacks a head,
Those bygone, laureled witnesses could not have wagered to even expect Such white and gray Hours Diminishing not her But our apprehension.
From this wooded landing, casting forth unfocused into the pelvic midst of night, Not yet anointed by dawn-glow The notion of actors here, Props embellishing this, dogeared scripts puzzling upon it as Preposterous of notions as Electricity or, say, Time travel--
To this prehistoric medium Alone We venture with no mediation, fiction, introduction-- Nude.
We must manage the dearness of this hour, And never bow to curse the darkness As it held us in maternal proximity, When in urgency and not-knowing We waited for one another to appear.
Applauses of brittle leaves at the moment of their descents await; We are expected to be true.
This wilderness belongs to the wild white sun. Its impaling force has grown us from mere dust And giddy childishness. It's stain is a seething blister open to the world As it is the painful, wounded world we seek.
Years before I was born President Kennedy ennobled us,
We all cherish our children's futures, and we are all mortal.
Stop with all the bitterness and long on this Earth When there is magic to be done And the beams appreciate downward--straight Out of the startling courage given--solely-- To straight lines and the Beggars.
Our beggars, obviously, chosen for the way they walk in the light.
Do you feel like David Niven with kids in each arm? Is the world pausing for your speech at the podium, Hoping for your next word, Waiting to make crucial decisions, Eschewing the awkward and Irreversibly bad?
The speech goes...
I don't expect you to know exactly. But you could watch, listen, Give yourself over. This road we travel was paved with incomprehensible reason and Do you feel like David Niven with kids in each arm?
The courage to create emerges When--undusted, distressed, Unstolen--NOT returned, It has nothing--not the shadow of its amnesty Not the sympathy of otherness-- It has nothing but its own dream-craving for The pyre.
The evidence from nature Is like a bagged lunch, left crumpled with A 7 Up bottle in between floors Of a service elevator. You see it through the grates and it's a discovery: There: Waiting to surprise someone with banalities Not yet exhilarated upon by the young.
I keep stowing twenties in a paperback copy Of Georges Lefebvre's The Coming of the French Revolution For when I visit you. You know, none of this is mine though I have bragged and Tanned myself on the rocks. And may G-d shatter my knuckles for having lived so.
Bloomfield and District Judge Costa extended a tailored arm. One of us went up to embrace him. His call, "Eh Gumbah" fell to a deafened finish as the Acadian Pips Ensemble, A dixieland get-up marching in tow Occupied a famished space on Liberty.
For a moment the birds flew to us And our heritage, Whatever our heritage Congealed and met a complicated Applause.
"Where all of us had arms he only had a gentle breeze" -Stanislaw Lem, 'Tale of the Three Storytelling Machines of King Genius'.
For Jina Valentine.
If you could research the humidity and seasonal factors and actually Till encouragement in a form, and of course If you could, too, Till discouragement in a form And on this ground then a formation and the nature of agriculture--
For Daniel Ralston and another witty guy, Richard Hawley, the singer.
The patois of nuisances, and then an echo of them that comes later, gripes about the others. I was going to write a poem of it, but I thought it might be too obvious and candy, torn tissue from the party and you would always know where I got it from--Laugh if it becomes you to laugh. This road has been paved upon, then paved upon. Where we walk is where we have imposed upon--
You know , what G-d hath created it created a specific problem, among others, the durian fruit and the boys turn to wilderness for their grapes and the others. What can be done with these pricklings of aromas!?
My Man Godfrey must be 24 hours long tonight As this drink and apprehensiveness fail Everyone. Stick legs and stick glasses and smiling girl swiveling next to me saying, "I'm a bartender" Which is alright and happy. I have a Crown Royal bag full of them and quarters hanging from a doorknob at home.
See how William Powell lends me his silver smile when I smile At these stars we beg to share. Hear Eugene Palette's patina tuba bringing upward things I felt might lie buried in the cynical earth Of a month, a year. A movie about A fallen man.
In 'The Wicker Man' I really felt for them when they faked to not know You. It's just that Christian, crosses, cruciform offices and airplanes And loveless... You know I wouldn't trust those terrestrial bewilderments Either.
The mulch is made up of birch, seed and bone. Do you know my shoulders have been blinded by the sun, Peeled bright orange and rare, My buzzing eyeballs glazed and pinkened, no longer awake... Am I qualified To beg or Fetch this remnant of Another's Ossification?
I don't know much about cake blood Or what it takes to clean it Off the road But when I watched--and it was drenched, From a safe distance My cleanliness went away And I started to learn about the regularities of The path you've bluely shown to the drivers.
The wise and wishful and necessary, How hard to differentiate. Could only their Mother know? Could it be possible that an hour separates their births? A minute, a second? See their features-- Is She trisected for the same wailing baby?
The theirs has been maimed. Totaling my strikes, the tally is blood rinsed and quite significant. Like the time I fed the Wolves torn bread and aioli in a crowded restaurant in a favorite dream. Everybody was nervous and first:
Their hunking jaws-- I'm sorry THE hunking jaws, Abounding on the food. The food!
The dull patina in the eyes of Edward Hopper's prisoners: Last night I dreamt about an open suitcase. Open window Wet butter knives spilled out on the floor, An overturned drawer. Her affairs lay open on the desktop, drenched and Illegible.
By the suitcase ran spilled ink. Cursive and at such a breakneck slant, Heedless, the way an animal would charge, Antlersdown at the creek, Charging the adversity of All Things Embodied.
It was unmistakable what she'd been thinking, Whatever it was--we're just here to observe this reliquary.
You would lie naked in the field Without a hand to warm you, Without any consolation in fact. You would be there with me, Ever I was that I was not there But there. I am in my eternal fluctuation There.
Do you see how the smoke rises, And how all beyond us And us lying there Is ruined?
You could have sensed it --even a non-believer like you: The walls came closing in. Someone was playing The Stones. We'd been momentarily disoriented-- Our brains weren't working right. Our flowers came unto us.
In the disverdant end we shall speak as we have been spoken to And what had been green, that will be green And the alighted will return as if having never flown so far-- Only with the wisdom of having flown.
An abrasive definition of sanity I remember from school suggests That loneliness is a resident distortion And that the sun discolors our rejuvenescence. My discretion prevented me from swallowing it whole.
It was in a book, one of them. That, or I made it up.
I want to take you back and show you the world as it was before you The prehistory How they foundered and bred How their love was a coarse love and their labors drummed the controversy of the G-ds against them You may first squint then look away How unstomachable we were
Norman Rockwell Doctor and Boy Looking at a Thermometer (American 1954)
To the opposition I gotta ask you to stop lying.
The floor won't fall out, and most of us don't get sick til it's too late anyhow, so no money wasted.
I haven't been to a doctor in easily a decade so don't call me a parasite! Most of us unprotected will never sap a nickel of your taxes, let alone enough to warble what gets spent on when or where you go to the doctor or what his coddled ass drives!
We bounce from job to job, we work for you--the time away from the light and what we love and we never goddamned once said to you we were tired, we brought you that beer cold, that tomato. We're fucking tired. You put the custodianship of care for your children in the hands of people whose chief priority is making money for themselves and--with the richest of oblivion, disdain--RESIST, the transfer of that care to elected officials--officials YOU elect, who, if they fuck up, you could boot straight the fuck out the chair when their terms come up.
How rich we are. And fraught. And if a fucking janitor gets leukemia it should goddamned matter for whom he works and the ambulations of scrupple. But I guess like anything a wealth includes the vestiges of a blighted palate. I hope you swallow it and live to watch US choking, over and over til your last grasp of the finery.
You asked a wolf to protect you, and a wolf will do as nature has conceived.
When I was a kid I thought "jet set" meant a paid-for girl getting off a pinscher-nosed private plane in a white coat and her hair. A ruddy billionaire with a self-selected ring. Now I have a picture of Aztec kids crying in the volcano and how dearly they want to get old.
Now I look down the gutter and Liberty Avenue's descent, and I can't even imagine my legs, let alone using them to get me somewhere.
The presses go through the night, mating: Literature theses-- None of them even rhyme, make any sense. And that cacophonous sound! We come up With pamphlets to combat the din, But those naugahyde vinyl spines they bind them in And the barricades of white light through which they force the adherent... None of them--not one is St. Peter, An upper-level representative...
None of them are confident enough to employ a hush With that altruism so adherent to the sight of clouds At eye level.
You were going blind-- on our Fourth day in Manhattan. The evenings started Getting darker earlier and We sat on a marble step with our fingers and looked up as the stock market ticker Changed to a Jenny Holzer poem. I said how She must be losing her shit or else the programmer got fired and he's over and was already over It When he keyed it in, seeing as all the A's had been replaced by 4's.
An artificial sky, Like motorcyclists wear, Gleaming on the ridden landscape. Why not? What have we known, counted, stacked, traded-in more valuable? What parts of us As it passed Didn't shake, Begging to split And go back And carry on?
What I remember about history is scant, Just some men in wigs corralled around brown paper, abused time, And Bulgakov's St. Matthew, Stealing a fork from the bazaar With which he scraped his chest raw, That he might never have the ebullient means To forget the Crucifixion.