poetry, prosetry

The Flies That Fasten That Shadow To The Ground

One thing is to be, another is to see, just the way I wish you’d see me. One too many phrases like that and they found themselves confused, adrift, and said my positions lacked grounding, something concrete, which in my head rendered cartoonishly into weighted feet sinking to the bottom of the Neva because, naturally, I like the facility of pseudo-homonyms and the presence and absence of consequence mixed with oblique references to macabre historicity. “You” can be anyone, so long as you’re an idea at heart with a questionmark head—how’s that, clarifying enough? I’ll start there, for want of any special introductions, transmitting these little vibrations to the ambient air no matter how “they” swing over “there.”

Speaking of specificity and tonewood, the server’s name was Azusa and she heard him say I don’t have any friends here, now, zero, he said, and in a split second the recognition, delicious and troubled, traversed her face. It’s like that when you read me, just that, word for word as if starting from scratch but tacitly knowing it all might as well be connected like how I’ve got four days off and you and I are right on time but twice removed. I should be overjoyed at those simple facts after three straight nights of deep sleep the likes of which just might make a person feel more settled and singular in their multi-selves. It’s not the qualities, anyway, it’s their fucking manifestation—how’s that for clarity and intention despite the maths and all that counting. The strength needn’t be audacity, the laughter needn’t be defense, the assertiveness needn’t be boisterous. These are the things we think about, independently, within and without definition, no matter what articularities we might share over dinner or through coffee or around spirits, here, there, later, now, so let’s stay in and eat some cheese and fish and a little drink and a little smoke and listen to music. A little. It’s only life so let’s have us an easy spectrum and see who we are where we land.


Originally published here on Art & Insolence. As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been “away” for a while. I hesitate to label this a return, but it is at least a reappearance. I hope you’ve missed me as much as I’ve missed you.

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poetry

Saudades

Hyper-awareness is such a flatly ironic drag when it
lacks the ability to go beyond itself, within itself,
the verysame way we mistake saying what (we think)
we’re doing for telling the truth, even going so far
as to imagine this language ours simply because
something must be?

This winter won’t be like the last because this one
looks at us differently, despite any and all linguistic-
cognitive acts of connective reclamation inspired by
socio-cultural-derived desires for sense-carving and
excessive hyphenation. I would send a note to The
University to say a sarcastic thanks for all this grand
superfluity but they’d take it humorlessly and ask
for more money.

She quoted Kafka and I thought of the zeitgeist because
I’m obsessed with essence like it holds the key to
all kinds of cages in search of birds. It’s almost as
fun to tell a story as to wonder why. I don’t know,
I had to tell someone. Were this the Old American West,
I might just ride off one day in a fit of magical realism,
singing with a voice that comes from somewhere and
everywhere about the presence of absences,
forgetful and free.


Originally published on Art & Insolence.

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fiction, prosetry

Fear and a Spirit of Hateful Accommodation

Yes, all those things are lovely, but it’s boring when all is said and done at the end of the day eventually in the final analysis after all—indecision can be a like standing in the middle of field of lilacs and sometimes we simply say too much. Speaking of lilacs and sometimes, I don’t do well on the fly, too little meaning caught in too many words, with “do” and “fly” being the operatives here, deep down undercover with fake mustaches and mirrored aviators for obfuscation. We all know “well” well enough, or so I tell myself, to hold the sentence together with minimal disambiguation. The sentence—life, with no possibility of parole, unless you’ve got a little imagination. We all step away sometimes, needing to, receding to or from or for with grimy presumptions of stiff finality all around, creeping up the walls like rot till they seem darker than the corners and we can’t remember how or why we serve the question, but we do. Insistent on the peculiar merits of placement, I seem predisposed to point to the energy and the process like it’s blame I’m placing, not credit, clinging to rhizomatic enthusiasms rooted in contexts so specific and references so obscure that the truth can’t go unnoticed. The truth. What is this appetite for absolutes? Strip that away, and what—the positive qualities of illusion suggesting that the walls and corners aren’t in fact closing in, that they simply have spirit? Having seen it done and having done it, I strain to model myself on something definitive, over and over, ever and ever, ever stepping away to return all over, mumbling mawkish mantras like Destroy, and piece it back together but this time with gold at the seams. Kintsugi, yes? and how appealing, no, how improving, with an orange-juicer twist drop of idealism plus the pulp. Each answer is formed of countless questions, as variegated as the languages with which we pose them, so thus I ask: Do we spill because we break or does our spilling do the breaking because we get too full?

Everything has to go somewhere (that’s definitive-infinitive); there’s action in the outpouring, but I could see it working either way, or both, finding a comfortably uncertain trajectory regardless, whether of containment or release, a course, of course, if you will, running roughly from vulnerability to repair and so on, with voice, agency, embodiment, and destruction all packed in and cozy snuggled between. And so on, and back again. Till it breaks again and I’m back here on the fly again, going nowhere till it feels too right to not be the wrong words for a story.

I had a rough day, she said, barely holding back tears and looking smaller and more defeated than she’d ever permitted herself to look. A hug and kiss were proffered as preludes to a word or two of unconvincing edification as I, draped in coat and bags, walked out the door and down the hallway to the elevator and another hallway to the parking garage so I could warm up the cold little car with rust spots on the hood and drive cautiously through heavy nighttime snow already covering the highway despite evening weeknight traffic to a hotel way out west of the city where there was a meeting of the old white minds that I had to endure the following day. The following day arrived and I woke up from an uncomfortable half-sleep with the outlines of a migraine that would gradually color itself complete as I tried to take notes and look like I gave a shit in a windowless conference room thick with recirculated air and coffee breath, wanting only the essentials of sleep, hydration, and a proper breakfast. The rest—freedom, love, pain—would have to wait.

 


Originally published on Art & Insolence.

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fiction

End Of a Story

Another time—yes, there was another time, but only one other time, and that not really—I saw her acting out some obscurely tragic final scene, rushing from room to room in a space not entirely unlike that flat but cross-sectioned like a stage, lamenting and gesticulating. The melodrama, the motion, the volume—oh the things I’d say if I could wake up, I thought. Like Sorry, just forget it, forget it all.

What if, when it came right down to it, I spoke less breathlessly but with the same fight, in a manner more contrasted to my hurried thinking, trying less adamantly to push it all out before it’s gone? Less, more, less—that’s how it always goes and all I can think to do is paint, I told my friend the next morning in order to have something to say, but there are only three or four colors at my disposal, looking at the walls and the one frosty window in our “living” room, but meaning something else entirely. Please look away. Who can even begin to imagine such passion tailored to their person, so perfectly trimmed and fitted, and such trouble speaking when each word reeks of fantasy. But it never comes down to it. It just goes and goes and that’s it. Or that’s that, depending how your crow flies.

The sun rose over ancient Crete in my boyhood imagination and I learned as if looking in from the outside that paradise is a construct of color and sound. That, of course, was well before I learned the first thing about crawling out from under the weight of my intentions, but I did know the myth of the Theseus and the minotaur. It was love that helped him get back out. Do you have any idea what I push through every day just to be here? To whom do these thoughts indeed belong? I’d ask her that, if I had another chance, and tell her I didn’t ask for this—none of us did. We were just born into a world arranged by madmen and madwomen and expected to find a way in and through some private-public unicursal when in fact the journey, the real challenge and struggle, is to find a way out. My friend is out of his mind, but he conforms—and he lives just fine right there in his center so he doesn’t know it, doesn’t have to. I am out of mine, completely, imagining anyone can hear me when I’m alone out here on the fringes because it’s the only time I can hear myself.

Goodbye, Ariadne, till the next time I need some literary device upon which to hang my isolation. You guys go right on without me.

 


These are the closing paragraphs of a story I won’t post here or anywhere in its entirety because I hope to publish it elsewhere, so there. Originally published on Art & Insolence.

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poetry

The Pleasure Of Perpetual Communication

No matter the number by which you decide
to split
the dividend of times I lied
to myself
you’d still have a quotient I wouldn’t know how
to pronounce.

Good sides are derivative and I know mine
suggests communication equals a judicious need
to see
the language of my circumscription—that, in other words, needing
to write
means needing
to outstrip
my speech, leaving only immodest thought to bare.

Once upon an otherwise ordinary
evening, I found I didn’t have
to seek
out and retrieve the telltale slant that, with (despite)
everything, alive is so simply good a thing
to be
no matter the manner of calculations
behind what I may feel or find
to say
or do, blithely adding myself up
to you.

 


Originally published on Art & Insolence.

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poetry, prosetry

To Be All Eye And Eye Alone

I have four windows open around me this morning, a sigh on every side—everything I am is a commingling of question and answer. How to live. Life’s worthiness is a matter of constant consternation. Oh, to see where it might lead, unambiguously.

These would-be pundit people and their long-winded self-flattery through the ostensible virtue of openness, though—everything I am seems at uncertain times to exist on some one-step-removed meta level. How tiresome. But what else is there? Setting out to create something—great—I find myself filling the air with the same species of noise and hoping, selfishly, that some number of those same people and an unknown sum of others will notice all the hyphenations and language-ardor and call it art, for my sake.

One night not long ago I had one of those nighttime darkness world-muted realizations and this one said you’re more into something when you’re half out of it anyway but I was too tired from being so daytime-busy “earning” a paycheck to do anything more than jot it down for later—everything I am says every mistake I’ve made began with a concession. I really should take it down a notch. I’d been reading Moravia’s Boredom, just starting, in fact, with my thumb stuck in the intro after a brief spat of indecision over where to begin, marking the page as though I might jump back out of the text at any moment and spoil it with background and situation, a hovering intermediariness which, to my astonishment, held my attention firm and strong, unburdened by any here-I-am.

 


Originally published on Art & Insolence.

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life, prosetry

Without Faltering For Reason Or Commentary

The perfect autumn day—by evening, when my toes are cold despite socks and slippers, I might not be so fond. So goes the erosion of goodwill. It’s fifty Fahrenheit degrees and sunny, gusting, and the trees are spreading color everywhere—rain is on the way, though, and the temperature is dropping. It’s fine to not be very good at something, like work, and to be much better at something else, like reading. Sincerity, I once read, is an inability to connect one thing with another but they don’t pay me to be sincere.

 


Originally posted on Art & Insolence.

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