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.


The One Flatterer Of This Base Despair

Tears in the morning at the slightest provocation—the inconveniences of sensitivity, the troubles of necessity, and the opportunities to oppose it. The rain falls or it doesn’t, and coarse tabloid judgments are hurled at everything in between. I grow weary of trying to be definitive so I set the glass on the windowsill and avert my eyes from screens, doing my best impersonation of choosing stillness.

Miłosz observed the inescapable influence of historical context at a time when that context was quite literally governed by historical context’s inescapability, suggesting that acceptance, meaning, and possibility are dependent upon the extent to which our expressions of them reflect the zeitgeist with “scientific exactness.” Today, limits on time and attention breed anxious “musts” which branch out in all directions and frequently send us headlong into tranquil, violent, and utterly mundane abysses of pure diversion. Are they one and the same? Chaos and authority? Meaning and meaninglessness? Escape and captivity?

In the twentieth century, it was the dialectician, with his towering rationalisms and tunneled threads of theoretical consistency, who controlled the rhetorical landscape. Now, it’s the petty carnival ringmaster megaphone-spouting from every angle of every corner but I keep talking in code for lack of anything expressly geometrical to say, at once both caught and cozy in little brick and A-frame languages of home and shelter. To you I simply said part of what I felt, more or less knowing it would stack up and you’d understand. It could’ve been this way but it was that, or is, or however.


Post, Scripted

P.S. – Believe me, I’m not trying to embark on some regular correspondence, just offering a splat snap smattering of uncalculated afterthoughts and feeling Los Angeles as if it were a psychological condition but I’ll leave you to decide what that means

and what it means to ask more than wonder or think whether we—you and I, addressor and addressee—feel obliged to act like less because so many think they’re more, countermeasures and weights we must, it seems, imagine as some kind of silent unsteady change and there I went saying “we,” you’ll notice, you will, as if to even out the statement so… well… so its mass doesn’t feel all mine, if I have to be honest, looking for at least one other pair of kindhearted, tired shoulders for baring, some way to share the load

because I need help and won’t say it in the body sometimes but will in the afterword, hidden tacked on and down below where it can stand as said but might just as well be overlooked all the same, help feeling that it has to mean something beyond image or projection or—god forbid—market value, our thoughts and sentiments, our dreams and wonderment, our sentience, something, anything without the flying buttresses of ego mystification and all those self-ful things which look so grand in person but not on them

just like how it has to mean something—maybe two somethings—to say something dimly earnest and American with the brow furrowed and eyes wide and glazed like: Same loving kindness for “them” as for “us” and maybe even for a police force of lowly paranoids but these times make that maybe big and make that saying seem to mean more than the first fact of the speaking matter which is that I know more or less how to put the face on like all the rest of them the juxtaposers and equivocators yes them as opposed to us and where do you think the honest truth lies in that, in this the spirit of our age.

Or the spirit of our we-weight, for that more or less unspoken speaking matter, the spirit of rhetorical dissatisfactions word-turned mutual and voice-made real, we like two grains of sand in a scale pan held way up high in the clouds while the world of bricks and mortar and the hard evidence of scientized deceit keeps the other side grounded in a truthishness I purport to despise while looking straight at you and plagiarizing and no one is any much more the wiser even when I say, wide and furrowed, And that was no lie. It was instead the best kind of truth, the one that means at least two things, saying without quote or attribution and to you it just feels like déjà vu, just more talk and dream

of reaching to you from across an expanse I don’t acknowledge because fear makes the wolf bigger than he is and so in my fantasies I talk like this in these fits and stops and fragments all around and through the central thesis, an act like wrapping it up the fear for you, a gift in the darkness for both of us, creating a both of us, and so I go on and on recollecting, stealing, plucking anything that mind thought time brings, memories and phrases from over here on my side in the matted grass like so much rotten fruit but not without a sense of stench and a pinching twinge, if honest I must be, from the daemon close beside with “hypocrisy” whispers on his forked tongue, “hypocrisy,” he says, “you don’t wish to share, to be, only to be wanted”

and so I say these things down here like this in the post script on the under and back behind side nipping at your elbows, treading on your heels, nudging saying look, if you’re inclined to see, how interesting, see, imagining what you’d think of how some other grain of sand—or maybe salt—once said “The only minds which seduce us are the minds which have destroyed themselves trying to give their lives a meaning” and throwing it out there as a smoke screen signal from across that chasm to conceal the real question which is

what would you think if at the end of this if after this at the end of this I finally shut up and told you that when I try to write a poem all that comes out is bad prose and if literature is equipment for living then who am I outfitting with faulty gear and broken hinges and fraying bootlaces, wishing I had an ounce of the ability to destroy my mind trying to give my life meaning and wondering who else feels this way, if you do, and that’s the only reason I bother lacing up at all

using too many words and too few breaths to simply wonder what you think of truth and lies and equipment and selves and if how when maybe someday past it all in fact turned boring—all done, all said—no matter how much lag there is between you, the instant, and I, finding the middle ground within the circle we create to do something more than lie to ourselves and in the beds we make, if the truth with a capital T is only in reflexivity, in obverse, the way Z is not for Xylophone, it just sounds like that.

But I leave you to decide, and leave you now, sincerely, goodbye, so long, farewell.