Saturday, February 25, 2017

Stranger in a Land Dedicated to Superheroes


RESTLESS SLEEP

Dreamettes.


THERE’S THIS SORT OF

Butterfly garden.


FIVE SENSE MORNING

Touch and sight: fire.
Hearing: dueling roosters.
Taste and smell: coffee.


WTHOUT I

Magne.


FOOLED

Into thinking.


ECHO

If you call he just runs away.
And I don’t even own a dog.


SPEAKING OF STRING QUARTETS

Like an opossum tripping the motion detector
My love of Russian literature and music
Gets tripped by cheap vodka
And food bank cranberry juice.


TWICE I DRANK THAT OTHER STUFF

And ended up in Emergency.


THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM

But I’m not that lucky.


CELEBRITY DEATHS

What are we at, a million six, a million seven?


BUT HE DIDN’T HAVE

The cough or the sneezing.


MASS GRAVE AT TIMES

Earth.


BUT I WILL TELL YOU THIS

Laughter is the best medicine.


ADDICTION CAN KILL

But not fast enough to do any good.


TURN QUANTUM THEORY ON ITS HEAD

Take and go like this.


CHALLENGE BUTTER

To a duel.


I JOKE AND I KID

But seriously.


WALETOWA

It is?


THE VOLATILITY IN SOYBEANS

You've got to kind of see this.


A FEDERAL JUDGE IN LOS ANGELES

Came upon a little pocket of slowing.
And her daughter Qiana is going to swim this year.


LIKE ELLA AND F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

I’m feeling positively fauve.


HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HEARD SOMEBODY SAY LIFE’S TOO SHORT?

Well it’s not.


THIS IS MY REWARD

I’ve already went to it.


HOORAY!

Hip! Hip! Hooray!






Saturday, February 18, 2017

The First Five Chapters

Chapter 1

NINE JET AIRLINERS IN THE DESERT

Three tamales and six eggs on the plate.


REALLY

Still?


BIRD ENTHUSIASTS EATING

Beef stew.


HOW THEY GONNA PAY?

They ain’t got no job.


Chapter 2

I’M HERE TO TELL YOU

It was quite something.


I SAID THAT’S IT DEVIL

You ain’t touching me no more.


HE SAYS WELL

You know I was talking to a guy.
I thought shit.
I’m starting to hear that everywhere.


Chapter 3

HAVE I BEEN TO PARIS?

I was born in Paris.


WE DELIVERY

I welcomed the New Year at home with a two-item combo from Little Beijing.


IN THE KAZAKH SECTION OF MEXICO CITY

I remember nests of exotic birds.


IN CASE YOU FIND ME NOT HERE

I’ll leave a key.


SOME WOMAN IN MOZAMBIQUE

A fixture on the Maputo scene.


Chapter 4

OUR LADY OF SURFING

Expressing wave behavior.


PERSONAL PROMO CODES

Be.
Shi.


EZ ADVANCE

Used her legs as collateral.
Walked out with a million bucks.


CALL YESTERDAY

Supplies are unlimited.


YOUR ORDER DOES NOT REQUIRE SHIPPING

Your order does not require billing.


SUPER CONCENTRATED

For a better clean.


Chapter 5

GUY PAINTING A GREEN LINE

The paint is talking to him.


BRUSH

China hog bristles.
Beavertail handle.
Lambskin cover.


GUY BY THE NAME OF SAGER DASH

Wore a parka, ate flapjacks.


THAT’S BASICALLY

That’s basically it.


OH RIC ELAN

A super virtuoso from a family of super virtuosi.
Naked in the psych unit restroom.


IT’S REALLY WEIRD

How that happens.



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Namaste

TODAY

A morning plush.


FAITH IN BRIEF

A petal floats to the ground.


THE SOUND OF HUMMINGBIRD LIFE JACKETS

Tumbling in the dryer.


WHEN I FIRST STARTED OUT

If it wasn’t for the.


UM YOU KNOW I’D SAY

Definitely.


I HAVE A TRICK HEAD

My brain pops, locks, catches, sometimes just gives out.


I OFTEN LAPSE INTO REPRESENTATIONALISM

Cooked in bacon grease.


AND I’D FIND IT ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO CALL MYSELF

Zucchini or basil.


WHEN I WAS A KID

I noticed that like my brother.


AND EVERYTHING BECAME

“Foggy.”


NEAR THE LATRINE

Hi baby.
Hi sweetheart.


OUR TRYSTING PLACE

The anti-itch aisle.


WOUND UP BEING SPATIAL

And a charming scherzo.


OUR KIDS WHEN THEY WERE LITTLE

They always.


THE SIGN AT THE COMMUNITY POOL SAYS

“All are welcome.”


THE ZEITGEIST IS BUSTLE

Rotate, revolve, gravitational, electromagnetic, strong, weak.


LANES

Leap to their feet.


TERRIBLY HAPPY

“Terribly free.”


TELLING THE PETS

Be good.


YOU REALLY FEEL AS THOUGH YEAH

But in a way that makes you kind of want to say hey.


I’VE SEEN IT

Well not the exact thing but.


AND YET THESE KIDS

Everybody says.


ROOT STOCK

A note of underlying anguish.


FOR BEST RESULTS

I close my eyes.


OR LOOK IN THE MIRROR

And simply pay the difference.




Saturday, February 4, 2017

Good Taste is Never Extreme: Throwback Sat.





REACH OUT TO ME

This is to advise that a parcel addressed to you is currently being withheld from delivery as there are reasonable grounds to believe its contents are, possibly, in violation of Federal law, specifically, the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act.” If you want to claim the parcel, please reach out to me so mutually convenient arrangements can be made for this purpose.


LEAVE HIM BE

Jesus. I do, I love him too. But I also love duck pita with hot mustard and cheese, and you don’t see me keep bugging him to buy me one.


OUT BY THE HIGHWAY

The evening darkens ahead of the storm. Birds juke for refuge through the stuttering wind and debris. Big rigs pulling flatbeds stacked with tree trunks are parked outside. After a week of regeneration felling they are on their way home. Elevation 7 feet. Population 10. One recharging station. And Abigail’s Custom Milling. Wearing matching windbreakers with the logo, they sit beside each other in the booth, talk, check messages, maybe play a game “characterized by randomization for replayability, permanent death, and turn-based movement.” They look forward to a few days of relaxation, romance and fantasy, pajamas made from silk-eared sows, slippers from wings of poesy. Every word is prelude, like actors talking about how they have to “dig deep” inside themselves for their roles, and how “amazing” the writing is. Saving the world one country at a time. Paradise in their blood. They laugh with their noses. The dinner special is the lunch special repurposed. All substitutions cost extra. She sees the doctor on Monday. It’s always kind of there. In the back of their minds: stick to the plan, understand and perfect each sequence, celebrate, step to the next, until:  behold the result!


STEWARDSHIP

My head is the alpine hotel where journalists and anthropologists gather. I need to get me some universal trimmer line. I don’t own the mountain. Voices in the cafe are lower than the water level at the lake. Not much is fishable anymore. The old feed store is now a multiversal media technology distribution center. Kiki’s Bikram Yoga and Dry Cleaners is calling it quits.


BISON JAW COUNTY

Grandma is in the kitchen, clinking and stirring her coffee. The kids are already podcasting from their tree house, two brothers, their two sisters, plus a girl cousin. Scrapped tires tat the edges of the blue tarps covering the oxidizing cars and trailers and camper shells and kayaks in the yard and along the side of the house, a decrepit backboard and distended trampoline.


BLISS POINT

A turbid fog roiled larger than the wings it flew in on, a consciousness slogged like a queenless chessboard, a queenless colony, and if hearses were U-Hauls, redwing blackbirds would ride sheep. Nneka and I spliced inside on the sofa, evolving from numeric to alpha, she reading Chester Himes, me staring at the sledge hammer and the power washer, birthday presents from her, resting in front of the fireplace window like pets who’d had a busy day.


AVERAGE NIGHTLY RATE

And then I remembered bringing ice up to the room. And why. So I rose from the chair.


DESIGNATED TAKES

I am the designated head in the clouds, the designated heart in the throat, the designated pain in the ass. I am the designated eye peeled, the designated lips sealed, the designated nose bent out of shape. I am the designated foot and the designated door it has gotten in. I am the designated bended knee come begging on, the designated hat in the designated hand. I am the designated driver, the designated hitter, and the census designated place that I live in.


HIGH DEF

Fouled straight back. Ball came right through the TV. No chance to get out of the way. She dropped like a sack of wet cement. We’d been together 26 years. Married for 19. I built a large patio on top of her. She left behind her Barbie collection. Ken?  I’ve got a Ken for you.


GOOD TASTE IS NEVER EXTREME

Our languages are English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, Armenian, Russian, Japanese, Farsi, Punjabi, Khmer, Hmong, Navajo, Arabic. We believe in passive acquiescence or total resistance. Normal presents itself as a vase of flowers, a family photo and some optimism. Over the top are hanging planters and wind chimes and birdfeeders. And there’s no point in talking down to us because it won’t be remembered, or it’ll be ignored, or the wrong thing will be latched onto. We are not immoral, but we will white lie a little, when we need to. We respect everyone’s journey, every dawn a hot red vertebrae. Our stink bugs are antsy. Ants walk three abreast. Bees wax nostalgic. There’s a pharmacy of barking, a small airplane grousing overhead, and several double helixes of butterflies.


HOTEL INCA REAL

Every niche of the still ornate lobby profaned by the must and muck of wild asses whose carts have overturned in culverts of wildflowers. A concierge emerges from a restroom holding the cardboard center of a toilet paper roll as though it were a dead bird or a toy airplane, a couple of strips of tissue like feathers attached to the fuselage. The cocktail lounge is quiet. A prostitute sits at the bar watching TV, a rerun of “Little House on the Prairie,” with the sound off. Tired makeup betrays flow states and kill streak rewards—each eye a different shape and color, like an apple and a lemon side by side in a rachitic fruit basket. A party of four in mute multiplayer mentality has spread over a loaf of green chairs:  Rug Doctor, Diaper Genie, and a pair of two by fours. A quire of foolscap, blunt light love.  Who’s got the next round, the Dutch marabout as seen on TV, down to his last gris-gris? Mooi, dank je wel, and with superhuman strength in one motion propels his wheelchair backwards and out onto the street.  A cry goes up and his groove suite give chase, back in the hunt, caparisoned in cardboard box helmets with cutouts for eyes.


REBUTTAL

Your grandfather, on the other hand, hated it and often went to the porch and stood on his head and shot farts into the spy planes that wore out the sky over our house. Other times he sat in a chair and by rubbing his legs together recreated the sound of a tree filled with cicadas. His life dedicated to lepidptry and the study of kelp ecology, he once circumnavigated the globe using only the butterfly stroke.


A THIRD HAND LAUGH

I zombied through a morning flush with doubt and fear congressional, questions I’ve no answer to, charges I cannot answer for, and equal parts anxiety, helplessness, and paralysis. I’ve been an incomplete person for most of my life, so why am I taking on a person and a half’s mental anguish? Was it only a week ago, entitled to the ensconcing arms of nostalgia preventing me from throwing myself into oblivion, I’d been working the banquets for extra money, things had been cool. But at the last minute I was hurdled over the railing and into the rainbow abyss. In the descent I heard a third hand laugh. And this is what the way down looks like.





Saturday, January 28, 2017

And Figured Hey

WORLD

California.
Baja.
Canada.
Other.


NOBODY KNEW

So we looked it up.


THE FRANKFURT SCHOOL

Has moved to Chino.


I’M TRYING TO GET THIS WHOLE THING SQUARED AWAY

And figured hey.


TIDES AND MOONS

Ports and trading posts.


THE JOURNEY THAT WILL STAY WITH YOU FOREVER

“The journey itself becomes home.” Basho.


I SAID HEY LOOK

I told them.


NO HE’S MY AGE

No before.


I’M LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT?

It’s getting to where.


MORE SYLLABLES

Instantly better.


THAT’S WHY

That’s why I’m thinking.


SUPER COOL

Very nice.


NO I WAS WATCHING IT

Well actually right here.


OH REALLY

And when.
OK.


I HAVE A COUPLE

Actually I have three.
Different sized ones.


I THINK IT’S JUST SOMETHING THAT YEAH

Causes it to almost.


ERASE THAT ONE

Screw it.


NO YEAH

I just I.


GOOD

There’s plenty of it.




Saturday, January 21, 2017

Acting is Our Business Here

Even though February seems to be arriving early around these parts, and I’ve been slow out of the gate in my artsy endeavors for this year, my only regret in life remains not being born with a scholar’s mind—so things aren’t bad at all for me, not at all.

I tried to be an intellectual.  From my “unbaked and doughy youth” to the “sans everything” countdown I’m currently in, I’ve tried converting my common, country-fried mind into a cultivated scholar’s intelligence: I’ve attended college, I’ve read encyclopedically, until my eyes were raw as rain, books and posts and pdfs, but no dice.

Nevertheless, the visceral sensation derived from reading and listening to brilliant minds is fabulous and so I keep scrolling, keep searching, keep following threads. With the internet there’s no end to it, discovery is perpetual.

And it was through reading, probably an online magazine, maybe something that had Hymn to Life by Timothy Donnelly in it, or maybe a mention of this video by Sondra Perry, and there was maybe a mention, somebody might have recommended or referenced Karen Barad’s book Meeting the Universe Halfway.

In the intervening weeks since I first mentioned the UC Santa Cruz physics professor, her awesomeness numbers have gone off the chart in my head as I got more into her book, even given the (optimistically) five or six percent of her thinking/writing that I (luckily) do comprehend.

Her book is subtitled “quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning.” There is a wealth of discussion of academic theories about the “nature of identity, being, meaning and causality.” She coaches me through terms like interference and diffraction, position momentum, waves and particles, indeterminacy not uncertainty, post-humanism. She combines intellectual brilliance and hard core academic writing with a teacher’s patience (compassion?) for the dense reader like me. And she goes far afield in bringing back elucidating evidence and backup to her arguments. Her erudition allows her readers to help themselves to a giant bag of eclectic corroboration, footnotes and appendices, including poetry.

She both led me to and was part of the immersion of words, a self-administered treatment that I use when my own “stuff” just ain’t coming. “We are part of the nature we seek to understand,” she writes, and as to demonstrate that I begin the immersion, the word spa as it were. Primary sources and spinoffs from her work include (but are not limited to): Niels Bohr, Alice Fulton (from whose poem comes the title of Barad’s book) and Richard Feynman and CaridadSouza and, of course, Michel Foucault.

So not only was I luxuriating in Barad’s book and the writings of some of her references, there were other sweet refreshing stars in the constellation, such as Habib Tengour, Inga Abele, and Joe Keppler, not to mention my fortuitous foray into the dramas of Shakespeare and Pirandello.

Shakespeare’s Richard the Second and Henry IV, part 1 are suffused with poetry, and the nonsense talk All’s Well That Ends Well (“First Soldier:  Bosko chimurcho.” “First Lord: Boblibindo chicurmurco.”) cracked me up.

Luigi Pirandello won the Nobel Prize for literature in the 1930’s. I skipped around the room when I came across this line in his Six Characters in Search of an Author: “Acting is our business here. Truth up to a certain point, but no further.” That seems to capture the motivation of my writing: entertainment, delight, beauty, and truth up to a certain point.

Finally, and it’s funny to me, no matter the topic--philosophy, politics, art, sex, architecture, literature, physics--it seems like, somebody is citing Michel Foucault. And through it all, he is sighted at a donut shop, perhaps enjoying drip coffee and red velvet donut, perhaps thinking about a seminar he attended earlier in the day. (His essay on rose pruning techniques remains to be discovered.)





Saturday, January 14, 2017

I Thought I Saw Your Truck Out There

SHOP TALK

Two deputies.
Two more deputies.
Talking about losing weight.
The barista is in Admin of Justice.
Dude I'm trying to get in officer school.


OH YEAH

Oh yeah.
Oh yeah.
Oh yeah.


SHE’LL BE IN WATER POLO

And he’ll be in baseball.


SEE MYSELF I LIKE PRUNING

Pruning is an art.


SO UM LET’S SEE

What’s 9 percent of 5.4 million?


HE ASKED WHO I WAS WAITING FOR

I said my boyfriend.
He said which one?
I said first one’s the lucky one!


SAY

You know what?


YOU CAN KIND OF GUIDE

The growth.
Which way it goes.


AND HE WAS TELLING ME

He says yeah.


DO PEOPLE OF COURSE THEY DO

We did three weeks in November.
We had the drink package.


THIS CHAIR

It’s like my rear end doesn’t scoot it back.
I don’t know what it is.


I THOUGHT I SAW

Your truck out there.


HE’S A LITTLE PORTLY

But he thinks I’m gorgeous.
So whatever.


I REALLY FEEL LIKE FOR YOU

I feel like maybe.


IF THEY’RE GOING CELEBRITY

They don’t have that.


YOU HEARD WHAT HAPPENED, RIGHT?

So OK so.


NO THAT’S RULE NUMBER ONE

No long haul.


THE THING IS THAT

It does matter the angle somewhat.


YOU TEAR OUT A WALL

And you set up an office.


YEAH

Actually no.


I THINK THEY SIGNALED

Did they signal?
They will.
You watch.


I ALWAYS WONDERED ABOUT THAT

It’s crazy.
But I mean.


A COUPLE

Maybe three.
Years ago.


PSYCHOLOGICALLY I THINK YOU’RE THINKING

If I start doing that.


I TAKE IT YOU’VE

Pretty much stayed away.


SO WHY NOT JUST

In fact I think maybe.


I’VE DONE THAT

I’m like oh man.


I DO

Every single day.