Monday, February 26, 2007

drawing room etude 2

"...happy only in moments of pure idleness when I was comfortable.

how purely material was everything that I desired in life, and how easily I could dispense with the intellect."

in the drawing room we had sherry with silver spoons. drew the curtains, up to sea, down for a cool dampness, oh what a mistake, it is we that should see the waves and yello sky. it's quite charming, Soon Liszt will play, you know him-? very topps. a mesh of dresses and teas and invitations, and oh look here a delivery of orchids from meseur (he payed for them with Aunt Leoni'es silvers. t'adores that Mme. O so so much that he'll barely have any renumerations about it later. he'll have scant dreams. any case, all are wellcomed and sitting pretty and gussying and gusshing. Here, its plodding and prissing onward when that Liszt stops for a sec of a second and i'm all in arms, that's the finish?!? just the next movement honey, dont get so troubled. Liszt begins again and bliss restored for the chitter of gulag gossip (all dusted in scents and shmmying pearls).... no no no that is all behind this couch i suppose a secret written on male's lapels that woman must be taken to dinner this night

leisure time:.

At Dinner: ladies collected, senses getting propt. eyes aface.. food fawns in on butterfly wings, alightng pm everything anything. first positions open and marked. wallpaper, a decoaretd thing, clings. first course lands as a loaf bear, on his back, legsup. viviseced and laid bare the mushy insides of his sugar wheat flour insides. Nice with jam or butter. They are tthe latest these days. Magir speaks: TO CHEEZ BUttONS for her gracious hostesness please thank you. open now, theDuke du sluffs off the niceties and huffs Is It About God? A roomfull of em they prick up! no doubt an easy opportunity for scandal, the good questions thus remians. such would never be a problem if arrtists dined alone or with thier kynd; or if nobility maintained its own bylaw. {and oh so rare that noble artist. still, always pleasure from idleness}

lunch party

there's much ticking in my ear i have to wonder if it's safe to go about finding ticking's end. an itching to move or a licking to get out. cat's always licking and caught the lines, the ways out. bless him for it. he runs. so we'll see(maybe disagree). bet it would have been a party. i find myself saying that so often now;

i'm slow, the exits are many, i'm slow to say this or that and follow, or else it's the cave, the leaves, which we wanted anyway but which must be innacessible. out of here! thats what they say. in other words, i like it, but hey it's an escape like any other, so can we live in it? what are the options? bring me options, that's what i repeat to my sef all through my laze. yeah bring it to me .

i'm the one wanting openness, branches to walk on, white clothing, you get the idea, and then it's just bad lighting (which they say helps for the hallucinations and that's quite alright) although..dirt..big leaves. that would be luff

Sunday, February 25, 2007

more ashes: the vase is a preparation, an example of patience.


To say that nothing has changed is wrong, or at least, it misses the mark.

Shell-shocked and trembling, I lose my bearings, and this is what I want.
True north remains, but I don't know what this place is, this place where I find myself alone with you.
I am patient.

We’re in an abandoned skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur.
130 floors up, we can see a garden below, from this space that is ours but not ours.
Kuala Lumpur is the only city in the world to have a million-year-old primary forest within the heart of the city.

And you're right, I'm not leading a caravan through the desert, where ashes hide among the grains of sand and water flows beneath.

Receiving and transmitting, I am following the current that flows between us, traveling along its coil, electrically charged, invisible.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

indefinite maps; a burning bush.

and further more, there's the house on 181st street, the one willfully burnt down. the one abandoned at first, only later to be demolished by its owners with fire. why they did this i don't know, but there they were, standing in front of the smoldering cinders with a cardboard sign that read, "please help--god bless." we could smell the stale pepper scent of the burnt wood down the block. then later, the ash stirred up by gusts of wind. aren't those clouds of ash still the house, the same one as before, now transformed, its material diffused into the air? the house opened, its walls loosened, spread out by the wind, as ash. where are the maps for these places, these homes blurred and cloudy. and god sees, i suppose, blesses through such flames. if we are ash, as you say, then god burns the bush, is behind it at the beginning, sees to it that there is light in the end.

Ash Wednesday

A smudge of ash across my forehead, crumbling down onto the bridge of my nose: "May God have mercy on you and guide you on your way." My son cried, terrified, his head buried against me, "But I don't want ashes, Mama, I don't want ashes, don't make me get ashes!" And of course, I didn't and never would. His seemed a strangely prescient objection, a poignant and wordless fear of death, his own demise when he will become ashes again. We are all but ashes, even our children, even our mothers; that is what we are reminded of now. Not of the abundant gift of grace, but of our own finiteness, our end. And we wear and bear this sign as we leave from this dark place, just as our knees bear the weight of our bodies as we bow low on the altar: "I come, I come."

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Curious Smudge

There lay a curious smudge on the atlas right on the point of my destination. Days earlier I had marked the spot precisely with my pen, and now, as I am looking back on the spot and wondering the logistics of getting there, the exact point has indeed vanished and, instead, a watery blur of inks lays stained.

In order to get there I wonder if I could locate the exact perimeter, encircle the area, and lasso it in. It is in there, I know, somewhere within that watery smudge, and perhaps I can still find it.

An enduring languagelessness and the sound of water

After the dream of the tidal pools:

In the water, with you, what I whispered was, "This is almost unbearably contrast to so much else." And I’m thinking now of your skin on mine, underwater, so warm, where there are no words.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

speaking to the deaf

my deaf uncle though, he speaks in tangles of flesh: kind of. hands that are naked and used for the purpose of speaking-- this just complicates things though. he had my aunt try and translate literally from the american sign language into english and twisted from her tongue came this and that, confounded strings of sentences: inelegant. he laughed at me, because he could see in my eyes a confusion that only his hands could unknot. once, while he was fixing a butane barbecue grill, his right arm caught fire in a freak accident and he had to be rushed to the hospital. his arms and shoulders were covered in second and third degree burns, and he was red with both arms elevated, like in the first moves of the YMCA dance.

and when i looked at him, into his eyes, i felt him say to me, "to know true silence, to live wordlessly we must endure pain not unlike this."

and his arms remind me of my baptism. if the water rises up, if the banks of the river recede, my uncle will notice. he squats beside the river, spits into the sand, and we both remember the day i came to know christ.

carried on the shoudlers of church men, their strange hands against my elbows and the back of my neck, the women clapping their hands, my brother, my friend in the white linen suit. there is the frail, breaking light, the blank undersides of leaves, the river rushing ahead, babbling. and there is the song, the singing voices loud under me, to the side, leading the way.

and my uncle in silence, a deep kind of languagelessness that years later, now even, i wish to endure with him.

Text burlesque

For words are clothes; they are not flesh, not even skin. They are adornment, protection. Each a performative utterance, a costume worn in consideration of others, either for or against. What is naked is something else, something which I cannot name for you; I cannot wear for you. The more I seek to reveal, the more I obscure. Yet it is precisely within those acts of obscuring, each a repeated act of pointing towards, that disclosure might begin to occur.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"my first love, taller than me"

"what are you looking forward to?"
"not a lot. the summer. maybe."
"what about it?"
"getting out of oregon. heading east. seeing you."

you say this, and i cringe (but you didn't see, i think). i read to you over the phone that she says her words are all borrowed, ill fitted, like baggy suits. you ask me "what about nakedness," and i'm worried now, because i could borrow those words from you and share them, or i could just keep them to myself.

i like to hear you move around your apartment over the phone, because it is the same as when i knock on your door and i hear you move around in there, your bare feet, your tennis shoes, your socks.

"there's more to look forward to than me, don't you think?"

no answer.

because you still crave santa anna winds; the rain-river through your front yard.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A suit of words

And all of my words are borrowed; like a poorly fitting suit, they sag and hang and never quite fit the way I wish they would. Nevertheless, I wear them repeatedly on my outings into the world of others. Again and again I clothe my body with their forms, and they begin to show mine. After repeated wearings, they grow thin, hems unravel, buttons pop off, and zippers give way, in the places where they endure the most friction, the most stress, and in the places where they are worn most closely. In the end, however, even if I tailor my suit of words to fit my form perfectly, all I’m really left with is a ready-made form, altered.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Pressed Against the Pain, Part 4

Until that spring of 1985, life had been quiet and relatively uneventful. The birth of three healthy children, a simple home, and a life of making ends meet.

And then the phone call from his mother. Heart attack. Harlon gone. Services the following Tuesday. His mother’s voice hadn’t changed much in 30 thirty years.

Jack couldn’t bring himself to go to the services. The man who could not remember him in life would not be remembered in death, he thought.

But Jack had been remembered.

The check arrived unceremoniously in a brown envelope from a generic-sounding law firm. 500,000 dollars. An amount Jack not only never imagined seeing in one place but also never thought could be attributed to him. The letter accompanying the check was terse and to the point: “Your inheritance, my son.” Only a few words, but “my son” was all Jack needed to hear. The disowned son was owned and claimed. The warm tears ran down his cheeks as his hands trembled, re-reading the four words.

Then, what to do with the money? Mary wanted to invest it. “Be sensible,” she advised. But Jack wanted a gift. An extravagant gift for Mary. Something to say thank you for claiming him every year he’d been disowned by his father.

Stepping out of Hannigan’s that fresh spring day sporting a freshly tailored tweed blazer, Jack’s eyes caught the “For Sale” sign in the back entrance window of the closed bistro. He and Mary had been there a few times. French-y, he thought, but good wine. It was a quaint and inviting space. Taupe adobe throughout with dark burnished hard wood floors. A small bar area with an impressive silver-tinted cappuccino machine as the focal point. The bar faced a small cozy fireplace in the corner near the front door entrance. The place was usually bathed in warm light due to the front wall being a sliding glass garage door. He could already imagine the twinkly lights that could adorn the dark ceiling.

A place for conversation and connection, he thought, where everyone is welcome. No one will be disowned from here; everyone will be family.

Mary loved the idea and instead of yet another restaurant on the Brookside strip she suggested a coffee shop. “Gold Coast” she called it, after the coffee-producing area in Africa. But Gold Coast reminded Jack that that anyone can wash up here and find untold treasure.

And so Gold Coast Coffee Shop was born. They decided that since they wanted to seem like mere parishioners of the place, they would keep their ownership a secret, hiring a financial manager who hired the store manager who in turned hired the rest of the staff. And so every day at 2pm, they arrived to preside over the doings of Gold Coast. In their eyes, the godparents of everyone who walked through the door. In everyone else's eyes, table 9.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The City I Crave

The city I crave resides in a fantasy of pressed together flesh. Space is not scarce, nor is identity stable. Where one oversleeps is called home. Restaurants are made up of a myriad of rooms where one can be alone or with company, eat or sleep. Space is unsigned and unmarked and no one space is marketed for a single functional purpose. Lips press against ears, language is spoken for the pleasure of oral compulsion, communication attained by gesture and gaze. Belonging is temporary, shifting with backdrop and desire, and no expectation of its permanence is understood. Activity is not regulated by time. Borders and nationality are fictions to be answered to by all with the theatrics of multiple identification cards and contradictory allegiances. Policing is impossible yet life is respected. Flags exist only to add colour, their designs and imputed meanings replaced every week on a Tuesday. Cities change name with the flags, their citizens dropping pieces of paper with scrawled phonetic renderings of alternatives into a hat the day before to be picked at random. Buildings are covered in digital skins, changing architectural features at the touch of a button, their height variable at once through the projection wrapping their upper floors in the shifting colours of the sky above.

(Peter H's Funeral) A Time To Render

I just went to pray, nothing on the doorstep, the theatre chairs
empty, the performance cancelled...annulled...I search for my name, I
google, I seek. I ask for direction. I as for a structure, belief,
system, blot.

I sneeze, my glands swell.

I am detached, like his eyes that peer at me. I cannot win what.

My shoulder blades cool. My chest stiffens. I am a shell. The sound
of the sea omits from my orifices. The smell of a pungent rotting
welcomes night.

Lady Salsa

That's the best time of her life
No matter how down you are
How many days did you swim with'em
Hello darling
White light was amazing
Its very kind of
I was with a group and they said
Stay together
I was doing some flips and then they showed me and if I'm
No you've got
They've the same money as me
And where the hell were they
One of the dolphins went to say like
To say goodbye it was incredible
Very wow
Amazing amazing
If you live there you get on a bus
You can go into the centre and
There's a door that they leave open just down the road
He actually knows two dolphins and
Whenever he goes in the sea he makes a noise and they come to
So what did you do with your flat in London
Really that noisy
You don't know what a headache is even if I move my head like
Even that didn't get me
I would get to work and I was thrown off balance
Where did you get these black eyes from
And your starting on about conscience
Didn't you tell the council about that
Myself there's no way
Is that on the Abbey Road
I don't mind
To come back next week
You can't even walk
You're a floosy if you don't cover yourself up
But prostitution's unbelievable
Every other woman you see
Its so religious
In London there's an idyllic spot where all the dancers hang out
Did you have a relationship with'em
We talked about it over two or three days
I didn't want to be responsible for'em
He'd done it to someone else.
He wants to bring her over
How many thousand pounds a month
I said no
I'm going but what I decided
You haven't wasted it
Only wanted the lightning unless your an American
They're not looking at my work and I find that hugely
I hate it
The fact is I can come over here and get a job tomorrow
I'm reading a lot
Decided to give it a couple of months and then I'm coming back
London's such a right place
If you've been taught how to get on with people you should be fine
All kinds of walks of life and in the end that's what I need
In two years they might
Maybe not
That was the thing I didn't like about London
I should've picked that up really quickly
I'm not worried about here
How are you
I know its lovely
Its difficult I know
If ever you're back in London you give me a ring
Have you got a business card
What about colours
You got a permanent headache
What are we doing then
Couldn't sit for five minutes
Went to the Park
Walking through the Park
It wasn't their fault
Even that any noise
Amplified like four million times
I was like
When I went in there
On top of the world
Went to speak to my dad and he doesn't understand why
I want to speak to him my real dad
My real dad he's in Australia
I started screaming and all you can hear is me screaming
And all you can hear is me screaming
Once it started like looney
Scary wow
Like its a great big theatre
Lady Salsa
I'll teach you how to do it

Thursday, February 1, 2007

she said he said

he said

"what are we doing here, anyway. why do i even bother?"

she said

"if I am going to be here anyway, if i am going to be taking up time and space, then i must first know about light."

(bc & jym)