Poems, Aphorisms & Provocations

Don’t we want once and for all to forget who we thought we were for all those years? But if we finally do forget, don’t we still wish we had forgotten at least twenty years earlier?

 

 

Pretend it’s really all a Grand & Glorious Adventure.

 

Why work in the Theatre? Because it’s the one opportunity afforded us to make life somewhat interesting.”

 

 

These days every walk is a walk

through the historic district on a cold day.

But memory is that best, most favorite coat.

Fists warming in my pockets,

eyes wet, half shut on familiar sites.

The unpredictable pummeling of air

is now exhilarating,

and I press into it.

 

 

Stop. Deep breath. Unclench hand. Wiggle fingers. Resume.

 

 

The lecturer, motivated by a strange mixture of fascination and disgust and by an interest in connecting with this student, interrogates her on the nature of gum chewing, its physical mechanics, its pleasures, the decision to remove and dispose of it, etc. In phenomenological detail. The audience watches this exchange either chewing their own gum or having chosen not to chew, some having thought they might “save it for later,” some not chewers, etc. Lecturer starts out trying to humiliate the student and prove gum chewing is a sign of second-rate intellect, but the exchange goes in unexpected directions lecturer cannot control. Lecturer has already placed a call for something to be done about all the gum under the chairs, hence the arrival of “the scraper.”

 

 

With a second mirror

you can see the corpse.

 

 

it must be tough keeping house when neither knows how to do the irony

 

interior fears and inferior tears

 

it’s always strange when everything is in and out of reach equally

 

 

Whenever I hear the word Culture, that’s when I reach for my checkbook.

Great-Aunt Lucretia on a certain bridge partner: “My God, the woman ain’t just loud, she’s Alabama loud.”

A Dear in the headlights of Demand

Doom and gloom.  Who and whom.

“The clown whittles it down bit by bit just to spite those who stand ready with their tape measures.”

“Show an interest in others?  My dear, if life were twice as long, that might begin to be a possibility.”

The mere desire to aspire

and already I long to retire.

 

 

Resolves evolve, revolve, dissolve.

 

 

“Use of ampersand is charming.  But ultimately easier?  I’m skeptical.  Fingers have to do more complicated things.  Sort of same as my disenchantment with sober sex.”

addicts protest in vein

the constant interplay:  revealing and congealing

a surfeit of stimulation can end with a word (or three)

Family Freud!

That’s Intertwinement!

it’s perfect weather to strike the hot ironist a while

there’s no risk of anything even half-baked these days

notes on method:  put the pun in puncture; point at inflated egos

notes how gatekeeping is now delicious while traveling is now suspicious

 

 

The copies have become indistinct.

Indistinct?

Utterly unreadable.

It might be time.

Time?

To replace your Pinter cartridge.

Yes. I think it might be time.

 

 

TUHmult? TOOmult? TUHmult? TOOmult?

TUHmult?

TOOmult?

And in other news, the floors are sweating.

 

 

Like those trains hauling freight

out of the Sunshine State

assorted juices

spilling in our cabooses

running too fast

running too late

 

A Theatre is where you will find Charm under house arrest and closely monitored.

 

I tap a vein

in my reptile brain.

 

Sooner or later

you will be introduced to yourself.

And that will be that.

 

Spidery spindly skeletal demons sporting visors to win protection from harmful sunlight are emerging from the shadows and snatching babies all over town then rapidly fleeing down the sidewalks while trundling their precious captives in little carts.  End times?

 

Underneath the wiper blade,

a note of explanation.

 

Experimental theatre is just actors sitting in the lapse of the audience.

You find the one true calling to which you can be tirelessly devoted:  remove all evidence of your existence.

The decision is getting increasingly difficult to make each morning:  today do I hunt or do I gather?

The research lab was not thoroughly cleaned–we still found a few rhesus pieces.

composting is difficult even with many words in your disposal

they walk on water because they’re pierless

it will be hard to stomach another “non-symbolizable kernel”

trying to breathe in the fumings of his own pastpyrations leads to a ‘snuff vocation

some plastic surgeons offering lip service to eye deals

 

 

A Walk

There on the roadside, at the tempo of impasse,

analyzing the doughy mud of plod,

I squeeze each bit of gravel like a wet grape–

but I do mind my inner parent

and try to look up now and then.

 

Rewarded with the image of a tall tree,

leaves caught in the rush of wind,

I note “the joy of looking up.”

When I get home I’ll write it down.

 

Songs seep like leaks from cracks.

 

So much misses narration:

the emptying of the road–

travelers alive at a faster particle pace,

breathing into the pulsing future,

vanishing into corpuscular doorways

I’ll never see.

 

Dandelions

A sign someone’s chosen to spend more time

in cool curtained rooms.

I see them waggling in yards as I pass.

Folks are tired.

A capitulation’s occurred,

a giving up on the Idea,

a giving in to that Lie

as old as the Line:

the belief in some beauty

not bought, some beauty

now free to climb through

since we’ve set aside the scythe.

 

 

“Truth is, we are what we are, and we are what we aren’t.”

“I am not a Professional Shakespearean Actor, but I play one on TV.”

Renewing commitments to finding endings only after making beginnings.  The only acceptable use of gerunds, actually.

 

a friend abandoning her dream and returning to domestic life:  too bored with a Pashtun

Finally going to buff up, buzz my head, and start scowling.  Conformity or camouflage?

lèse-majesté feels like the plan for the day

each of us is composed of a number of tape loops of varying lengths

 

 

The most difficult lesson a writer must learn is what to leave out. With diligence, practice, and years of perseverance, you eventually achieve a level of mastery where you need hardly write anything at all. You finally understand that the power of the written word resides not in your effort but in the reception of the reader. You accept that, ultimately, the imaginary land of enchantment you are seeking to chart through creative effort lies wholly upon the shimmering peaks and within the shadowy valleys of the reader’s cortex. It is the reader who does the work and unearths the prize and who, when all is done, achieves treasured transformation. The writer should merely provide occasional gestures of guidance or a smile of encouragement now and then. My current work method is as follows: I set an empty sheet on the table before me. I stare at the blank surface for five to ten minutes at a stretch depending on the time of day and my level of alertness. Then I turn the sheet over to appreciate how the reverse side is equally as blank. However, it is far more than a flip of the sheet–it is a momentous act, one I accomplish slowly and reverently. By turning it over, I have signified that I turn over the task of creativity to the reader. My work is done. I look ahead to the beginning of my next project. As an artist, I have reached a point where all I have to do is clear my throat and the audience will begin singing. That is as it should be.

 

Yard Sale

Those nights you let me peel thoughts from your shoulders.

The gown with its spectral splitting of moon.

Loomed with the adventurous thread

only an exuberant wartime chemistry could extrude.

Knowing it was your mother’s

made the night silly and obscene,

the dance paralyzing and enticing.

We kept it in a dark stained drawer of wonder

eddying and swirling, gestating, waiting.

 

They inspect it and me.

How much do I want for it?

Our sunglasses locked in combat.  I’m outmatched.

And how much for you, they might as well ask.

I never leave my lawn chair.

 

Stretched out on a hanger now,

baked flat and dry by a Saturday morning,

as blunt and embarrassing as an out-of-date anatomical chart.

Clearly lacking the latest information.  Quaint.

Setting an antique tone.

Should I tell the story behind it

or let it speak for itself?

In the end I pretty much give it away.

 

The Cat She Did Collection

Cat she did catch a katydid.

Cat she reaches with screeching catachresis.

Cat she gags playing hair catarrh.

Cat she spies a new specimen to categorize.

Cat she yowls catastrophic vowels.

Cat she loves gin till she’s catatonic.  (courtesy of Sue McCully)

Cat she love cataloging.

Cat she hissed a tryst catalyst.

Cat she leapt till cataleptic.

Cat she tries to catechize us on her dinner’s size.

“Cat she fought” carved on her catafalque.

Cat she licks her fur with inexhaustible catalytic conversion.

Cat she moans and roams through catacombs.

Cat she catches and coaches chipmunks and roaches.

Cat she walks the wall swallowing a caterwauling swallow.

Cat she has sat on the hazmat: a cataclysm!

Cat she changes her name to Cat Stevens.

Cat she is wary when I put on Katy Perry.

Cat she can’t: she’s Catholic.

Cat she stammers jibes and ribs when I reference the Katzenjammer Kids.

Cat she inserts a claw catheter through my shorts–yes, it hurts.

Cat she killed them last month in the Catskills.

Cat she stalks Kate in the Bush.

Cat she don’t in Katmandu: so she broods, mews and stews over veggie brews.

Cat she’s old but beams like a cathode.

Cat she can counteract the cataracts with contacts.

Cat she bats at flies and caterpillars.

Cat she tore, zut alors, through les petits fours: pas douze, pas treize, mais voilà, quatorze.

 

 

has no element to be out of

 

depend is deepened with a mere shift of emphasis

 

Sunday School!  Frankfurt School!

 

feels the tense in pretense…puts the tense in pretense

 

“Baritones cannot truly possess either Air or Earth; instead they leap among a few peaks, brandishing a Promethean torch, trying to keep it lit.  The voice confesses the fear that the flame will soon extinguish.  And it does.”

Workshops and Seminars?  Save your money.  All you need to know is that if you enjoyed writing it, you need to prune.

Have. Had.  Will Have Had.  Grammar:  the low-cost psychotropic.

Waxing Talmudic these days.

 

 

Hymn to willows

My first and only decree shall be:

A willow in every yard!

The teddy bear of trees are these.

Who knew such life could droop

and not provoke a peep of complaint.

Send those burr-head little monsters

on a rampage round one some time

and watch the crenelated shade

dissolve all malevolence.

Laboring neighbors plop down

against the slender trunk–

instant brotherhood of man!

A cool hold on us it has,

a caress from the tree of truth–

brushing branches,

Asclepian serpents,

brash boas of light.

Every house grows feathered wings

and lifts into the blue.

 

 

Sun Room

Finally put in that sun room.

She’s been asking for it forever.

Closed in the swing porch.

Nice young fella did the work. Took his time.

His wife just had a baby girl.

Every day he showed us new pictures.

The room’s got so much glass.

We walk some mornings

while it’s still cool.

Coming up the last hill you can see it

catching the glare of the sun.

All that glass lit up.

You have to shield your eyes. Bright.

Quite a thing to see.

Quite a thing.

 

 

Latest Multi-Use Metaphor: putting shellac on soap bubbles

Feel free to employ in any situation where the need arises. Recently had great success with it while attempting to illustrate cinema’s relationship to fantasy.

 

 

When she spots you in her purr-if-real vision, you’ll know right away if she likes what she sees.

“Our waiter:  an assault of charming insincerity.”

One more generation of millions engaged in a lifetime of desperate résumé writing will lead to the death of prose.

Haven’t we all, at one time or another, countered the sensation of slipping into oblivion by grasping at some little genealogical factoid?

 

 

The Fez

I am resigned to wearing the fez

and standing at the hero’s side–

a eunuch-y air and aura,

but dapper,

trim in my white suit, exotic

whiskers, loyal but

ultimately inscrutable.

I may have one or two

unspeakable appetites,

but the hero isn’t invested

in such substitutions and differals.

I don’t leave messes or corpses,

just empty bowls and ashes.

He pursues justice and fresh beds

while I click my tongue.

No passion is true

since the loss of the library

in Alexandria.

I sleep with ancient grudges.

I make a sullen companion,

but I’m useful for reading

old documents, decoding

lore, sharing my familiarity

with each local custom.

For a lifetime I resisted the role,

floating out of body in incense

and endless transmigration,

lost in my own faint haze.

Now I wear the fez

and no one asks questions.

 

 

Go Humor:  I’d challenge you to a game, but I don’t have the stones.

 

–Damn.  Finish already!

–Already finished?  Damn.

 

Good slip today:  “…in the great scream of things.”

 

“Did that tickle your fancy bone?”

 

 

Life Sentence

Had you been following a path in life which could conceivably lead to your speaking the word “insufficiencies” in a sentence and, further, perhaps even modifying it with the word “certain” to produce the phrase “certain insufficiencies,” your path having shaped you as the sort of person who might call upon the phrase as a natural and spontaneous locution, now, as you entangle and ponder and imagine in response to this sentence that you are presently reading, engaged in a kind of unavoidable speculative exercise in which the phrase “certain insufficiencies” issues forth hypothetically, unfolding in a moment chosen by your own whim and notion of timeless fancy, you are now no longer on that particular path, it being a permanently lost possibility no matter what direction your present speculations may take, nor can you ever be on that path again, and had you been following a path on which the phrase did not exist, in whole or in part, as an instance of truly outrageous diction, as a needling and peculiar and perhaps indulgent articulation, as an option afforded a speaker in need of drawing precise distinctions and of truly tapping the nail into place, now you, too, will never be on that path again. Ever. Ponder that.

 

 

Pirate’s cheese of choice?  “HAR-VAR-TEEEEE!”

Trotting dogs on the roadside out for a jolly scrounge.  Ah, that’s the life!

H line from abandoned abecedary:  Honea habitually hatcheting hyperbolic here-we-goes…

All the old pleasant trees…have been cut down.

The hairline in my profile photo has receded.  Weird.

“On or around.”  Like that phrase.  “On or around.”

The way of the Whitmanesque Loaf is lost in the smoke of the Information Revolution.

Cool and collected.  UV protected.

must smile and ignore

more and more

 

I’m thinking of a blog title…ACTION AT A DISTANCE:  aches & pains in the interstices of art, science, thought, and politics

Why do the monkeys fling their poo?  They’ve been convinced it’s really fertilizer feeding the growth of Liberty.

Beyond your reach then.  Beyond your reach now.

Invited to meet up with old school chums.  What’s the best way to practice reminiscing?

Working title:  Comfort Foods of the Post-Human

Love.  Lies.  Bleeding.

 

 

Putative Origin of Symmetrical Hand Arrangements

I’m thinking about what happened during the Paris Commune of 1871. A sculpture student at the École des Arts Plastiques (the scant enrollment documentation from the École for that term referring to him variously as Felix or Felice or Fleece (?!), no surname recorded) responded to the shortage of marble (quarry workers throughout European went on strike in sympathy with the workers in the city) by undertaking what the ever-arch Zola would describe in an article years later as a “ridiculous exercise.” “Exercice ridicule.”  Our aspiring student began to spend his studio class time sitting upon a stool in the corner and fashioning a series of formations with his hands that elaborated upon the various “mirroir identites” possible through such manipulations.  There is one bit of scribbled anecdotal recollection attributed to this enterprising and impoverished visionary, a scrap salvaged from a dustbin, now a thing of legend:  “My professors insisted I must occupy my time well while I waited for the meager eighteen cubic centimeter allotment of stone which I was told must last me for the whole month of June. I undertook a study. I began to explore symmetry.  And with material in good supply. Le renouvellement est infiniment.”  “Infinitely renewable.”

 

We’re able to bring a remorseless, gritty reality to our facial scrub.

Suddenly motionless in the kitchen, he takes a moment to appreciate it’s no easier finding the good grater than the greater good.

“Controlling how you share”…indeed.  Trying to.  Trying…to.

 

 

“That was very dry, my dear. Very dry.

You are, no doubt, the driest one here.

Though I’m compelled to ask if you’ve noticed

the most truly worthwhile pursuits in life

involve a good bit of moisture.  (Pause)

A greasing of the wheel.  (Pause)

A wetting of the whistle.  (Pause)

Finding your way though the primordial soup.  (Pause)

So where does that leave you?  (Pause)

Really.  Where?

 

 

Our roué

sommelier:

“In the finish of this Fumé

you’ll detect her hint of ‘You may.’”

 

 

Since the day of our marriage, if not even some time before, my wife has had a manqué on her back.  Keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

This manqué is always all too ready to perform his tricks.  You don’t even have to turn a crank or feed me peanuts.

 

the sigh for my self

amen dove, a null assist,

poor chance

 

 

Now I want my poetry to do what I should have been doing all along with photo albums, home movies, and journal notebooks. It’s kind of pathetic, really.

All this debate over whether or not sex is religious.  It always ends with someone asking for forgiveness, doesn’t it?

Artists my age are supposed to be eating their own livers with a malevolent gusto, but I still don’t have the stomach for it.

I think I’m some kind of compromise between Sisyphus and Priapus. Trying to roll my rock and perpetually hurting myself.

 

 

Sure, therapy is fun, until some body loses an I.

At Wit’s End…A-W-E…

We want our own Wits Untied.

Two woots or two to woot?  Which?

Marketers.  They know me and call me by name.

The terrifying reality of absolute freedom.  A plunge into depthless and abyssal possibility.  The true and primal anxiety of choice.  Facing that final existential limit.  Just as long as I’m back from the store with bay leaf by five.

Go carefully, Facebook friends.  The air gets very thin once you reach the higher platitudes.

I seem original only because I pull from a broader assortment of clichés.

 

 

Exceptionalism for Dummies

Trying to invent a form of solitaire in which you have to mislead your opponent.

What’s really going on with vampires: born out of anxieties related to concerns for bloodlines and kinship and fears about intertribal marriage. The legends possibly began emerging as the bourgeoisie started to assume these formerly aristocratic concerns through their more immediate and familiar fears of “foreigners” and other such threats. Thoughts? Observations?

 

 

Stuck in his thumb

and pulled out a plum

and said, “What a good boy am I!.”

–the essence of all intellectual ambition.

 

Assert your absolute.

I don’t give a hoot.

Now working exclusively with found objections.

Reality has been altered in imperceptible ways.

Was going to write a status post about clowns and age, but it was too many characters. Seriously. No word play here. Just a report on the state of things.

Notes the word “rapacious” is spot on and powerful whenever he uses it, but embarrassing and pretentious when used by some flavor-of-the-month artist/intellectual in an NPR interview. Baffling.

 

 

Maybe all of the “blood of patriots” people and all of the “blood of martyrs” people could sit in the same tub and enjoy a “blood bath.”

To exploit the system from below is to be a bum; to exploit the system from above is to be a competitor; to accept the system as it is is to be a fool. Is that about right?

I’m mature enough now to know my lack of brains is not due to lack of brains.

Postmodern Theatre in a nutshell:
Antigone sports a berkka
while Kanye leads a masurka.

 

From their nests

all are pests

take your pick

a flea, a tick

you scratch, you’re sick

none are neat-o

damn mosquito!

 

 

Suddenly struck by the phrase “wiggle room.”

 

Organic: it means those tiny little seeds are still in there.

Is it desire or jouissance? It depends on where you place the potted plant.

You want to power your political machine. There are two batteries: one is labelled “Reason,” the other is labelled “Conviction.” Which do you hook up to?

A noonday gimlet is no gimmick. It is real. It is true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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