30 July 2012

56. do not look forward

you cannot outrun this fire
it hatches in your lungs
you breathe eggshells and gunpowder
a dustcloud from your mouth

your words char the air
your skin is porous
you bleed like paper

the city burns
the mountains burn
the sea burns
cold and gray as an embrace

29 July 2012

57. do not look back (e sonnet)

the city will not save you
the city will give you nothing

except the taste of salt
coating your tongue

filling your mouth
stopping your words

except the vision of fire
through your eyelids

hot and bright and red
as a harbinger moon

there is fire and salt
at the center of everything

  falling from the ground
  or growing from the sky

28 July 2012

58. the poetry that thinks

the attempt to articulate the structure of a certain "place" seems to resist a single, originary unfolding or happening es sich ereignet, es weltet, es gibt a notion of projection understood in transcendence by the existence that underlies subjectivity not a matter of correctness at all

27 July 2012

59. song of myself (d sonnet)

little fanfare     had remained
in history        complications inflicted
flying flags       at half-staff
a bronze plaque      an inscription
two tourists          from the top
notes indicate

confirmed reaction          understandable

precisely and completely           pedantic
documentation question          demonic difference
right and wrong            prior indoctrination
immediate prospect      parents

separated           in shambles
all-American    all-American

25 July 2012

61. an aberration

become the prism, issue vital print -
self-consciously reactive, nous retardons
aesthetic continuity. Principles

quite separately supply the ideal critical
mediation: determinately and valuably
conscious of the past in the present.

the larger scheme failed, spectacularly.
more modest aims, still with us today.
deeply traditionalist, regionalist piety

assimilated to traditionalist, agrarian values

24 July 2012

62. lightness in his ears / & underneath

There was a war between good and evil.
We decided to call the body good.

That made death evil.
It turned the soul
against death completely.

Like a foot soldier wanting
to serve a great warrior, the soul
wanted to side with the body.

It turned against the dark,
against the forms of death
it recognized.

Where does the voice come from
that says suppose the war
is evil, that says

suppose the body did this to us,
made us afraid of love -

22 July 2012

64. all poets and heroes (c sonnet)

The lie eternal. Lies as such. Ugly,
utilitarian things: lingual shields,

frenzied fury, danger. What we treasure -
reputations, friendships, careers - so much

scrap. Silent reminders. Hunched, contorted,
exhausted paradox. Idealistic, crazy,

grief and rage. A scythe, crime lords and cops.
Harsh laws. A city, a festering army, swept

away. A willingness to sacrifice everything.
A murderer. A young idealist. Guns.

Killing. Firepower. Fight. Brawl. A knife.
A strong semblance of reality. Truth.

  The destruction of innocent lives. Starkly dissonant.
  Believed good. Instructive. Flawed. Dangerous.

21 July 2012

65. a letter

In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the Church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the Church; I love her sacred walls. How could I do otherwise?

Yes, I see the Church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the Church was very powerful. It was during that period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the Church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.

Wherever the early Christians entered a town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators." But they went on with the conviction that they were a "colony of heaven" and had to obey God rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated."

Things are different now. The contemporary Church is so often a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. It is so often the archsupporter of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the Church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the Church's silent and often vocal sanction of things as they are..

But the judgment of God is upon the Church as never before If the Church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early Church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I am meeting young people every day whose disappointment with the Church has risen to outright disgust.

20 July 2012

66. aux armes, citoyens; marchons, marchons

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

19 July 2012

67. the port city

the horror

shocking, irrational and fantastic
so strangely familiar

the kind of violence in real life
mass carnage and senseless overkill
the violence in the movies or in wartime

Monday morning "Oldboy" revenge thriller
possible influence tormenters Other

"The Killer" "A Better Tomorrow" John Woo
Chow Yun-Fat sunglasses affected real life
Bruce Lee Toshiro Mifune Tatsuya Nakadai
Clint Eastwood "The Killer" "Die Hard"

nbk "Bonnie and Clyde" "Clockwork Orange"
"The Wild Bunch" Others

we have mete the Other and He Is
free speech and non-censorship
Externalization is easy no evidence nbk

so joyously mercenary hallucinate
happy audiences powerless attractive

reveal a cosmetic crusade

18 July 2012

68. /d/ begins with b stutter

My speech changes when I talk to different people

a fact of landscape, not of personality.
it is more memorable unfixed
a map of violences anticipated

all humanity here astounds
the real and necessary information these epithets generate
Run, motherfucker!

the nesting instinct is not the same as the homing one
in this city, I don't know where I am
I don't know where I can go

a chronicle of incidents with a potential for wholeness
they did not have when they occurred
I believe one of the reasons Mr. Calkins came here

was to put some of his friends at a more comfortable distance

16 July 2012

70. en reflection from eschatology

You should have been here.
I know.
Why weren't you?
I don't know.

He slept through the third day
on his left side, lungs shaking
against the plaster wall.

Isaac goes to sleep
with his eyes open.
A lover closes them in the morning.

15 July 2012

71. dn affliction ef eschatology

We dream of bloodless
children grown in laboratories,
transparent skin and big, clear eyes
that have never seen the sun.

Other days, he thinks everyone
already does, that invisible
errors have written themselves
through every too-thin capillary wall.

Once, he picked me up
and held me at arm's length.
There is no mirror in his room.

14 July 2012

72. cn interdiction of eschatology

I dreamt that you were here.
The sunlight penetrated my window
too easily. I miss
the crows-feet above your cheekbones.

The second day, he shot up
for the first time in three years,
because what was it going to do,
kill him?

Isaac's jaw and chest are hollow.
His shoulders curl like waves,
or the fragile, sharp,
clear necks of glass swans.

13 July 2012

73. bn interrogation if eschatology

It can pass through mother's
blood, like blue eyes,
or intelligence, or wide hips.

Some days, he thinks that,
given time, everyone will carry
this story in their blood, and no one
will tell or hear it.

His voices drip like a window.
His pulse crests in blue-veined eyelids.
He blinks that he is drowning.

12 July 2012

74. an introduction to eschatology

You should be here.
I know.
Why aren't you?
I don't know.

Caleb spent the first day
crying and yelling profanities
at the envelope.
It didn't respond.

Isaac inherited Rock Hudson's eyes.
White coats and blue hands
open his switchblade ribs.
A thing like a wilting rose
graces his arm. I do not
kiss him.

11 July 2012

75. first (b returning)

                        when he first,
when he         first            ?”

Glenn          . “Everybody
                         seal     the edge

    the desk                   
                                                the president elect,
he                                              the seal of the presidency

                  the seal of the president elect of the United States.”

                             that before              his followers
    his face       our flag –                               with Ronald Reagan.

                 Ronald Reagan’s face       the flag                     running?
    Of course not, because                    America.

the workers.                   the people.                   the ideas.
A good leader                                     .
                         the ideas.                  the 9/12 project

                             these grassroots
the values        the principles.
                   the values        the principles.
      the personalities.                 the election,
                               this guy

the values and principles. The values and principles

08 July 2012

78. by the inch

A giant billboard of Santa Claus
  the food stands at Gurney Drive:
   pink man in a red fur coat in the emerald tropics.

The shopping malls behind the city.
  Aisles packed solid.
    Night traffic by the entrance of the McDonald's

at the near edge of the Esplanade.
  Three full-grown men, life-size costumes,
     a hamburger, a soft drink, a box of fries.

Passersby. Children.

Inside angry fluorescent lights
  scenes of immaculate debauchery.

Whole families
  greasy hamburger patties, air-filled pockets,
    french fries. The smell. You.

What was the body like before life came free
with the purchase of a medium-size soft drink
fries and a Big Mac

What was the Happy Meal like before the body
came free

07 July 2012

79. whilst i alone (a sonnet)

neither the flame shall singe your fingers
nor the smoke cloud your lungs

nor the flame burn your lips
nor the smoke blacken your breath

nor the flame melt your skin
nor the smoke rot your body

nor the flame consume the world
nor the smoke wave its banner to the dead

nor singe nor burn nor melt nor consume
nor cloud nor blacken nor rot nor wave

The only sign, this: the yellow tips of two of your fingers,
the mark of habit, of compulsion, of identity, of Cain.

  Here is your point of departure, here your journey's end.
  Here is your portable home, and here the continuous you.

05 July 2012

81. counterhegemony (a detournement)

    The cigarette appeared to have been hand-rolled, and when the boy lit it, with a matte black Zippo lighter, it smelled a little like burning electrical parts.
    The boy inhaled deeply, then held his breath. He let the smoke trickle out from his mouth, pulled it back into his nostrils. Shadow suspected that he had practiced that in front of a mirror for a while before doing it in public. "If you've lied to me," said the boy, as if from a long way away, "I'll fucking kill you. You know that."
    "So you said."
    The boy took another long drag on his cigarette. "You say you're staying at the Motel America?" He tapped on the driver's window, behind him. The glass window lowered. "Yeh. Motel America, up by the interstate. We need to drop off our guest."
    The driver nodded, and the glass rose up again.
    The glinting fiber-optic lights inside the limo continued to change, cycling through their set of dim colors. It seemed to Shadow that the boy's eyes were glinting too, the green of an antique computer monitor.
    "You tell Wednesday this, man. You tell him he's history. He's forgotten. He's old. Tell him that we are the future and we don't give a fuck about him or anyone like him. He has been consigned to the Dumpster of history while people like me ride our limos down the superhighway of tomorrow."
    "I'll tell him," said Shadow. He was beginning to feel lightheaded. He hoped that he was not going to be sick.
    "Tell him that we have fucking reprogrammed reality. Tell him that language is a virus and that religion is an operating system and that prayers are just so much fucking spam. Tell him that or I'll fucking kill you," said the young man mildly, from the smoke.
    "Got it," said Shadow. "You can let me out here. I can walk the rest of the way."
    The young man nodded. "Good talking to you," he said. The smoke had mellowed him. "You should know that if we do fucking kill you then we'll just delete you. You got that? One click and you're overwritten with random ones and zeros. Undelete is not an option." He tapped on the window behind him. "He's getting off here," he said. Then he turned back to Shadow, pointed to his cigarette. "Synthetic toad skins," he said. "You know they can synthesize bufotenin now?"
    The car stopped, and the door was opened. Shadow climbed out awkwardly. His bonds were cut. Shadow turned around. The inside of the car had become one writhing cloud of smoke in which two lights glinted, now copper-colored, like the beautiful eyes of a toad. "It's all about the dominant fucking paradigm, Shadow. Nothing else is important. And hey, sorry to hear about your old lady."

04 July 2012

82. shadowplay

    Here he came, tumble-dum, tumble-dum, crooked as lightning, but slow as the earth rolling over, all restless in her sleep. He limped, do you see? Though just a child then, he came through the great long war fighting at his father's side, and were struck a great blow near the end of it by the Sky Man, so that ever after, when it healed, one pin he had longer than the other. Was even captured, then, by Stone Man and his brothers, and they took away from him summat which they shouldn't have, but still he would not tell them where his father's secret house was hid.
    Later on, when his father and his mother was both taken away from him, and all his cousins and brothers and sisters were sent away to the sky lands, still he lived on in the world's lands because none of the three great brothers feared him. They mocked him, calling him Crooked, and that was his name always after.
    Still, here he came through the world, tumble-dum, tumble-dum, one leg the shorter, and everywhere he went was mocked by those that had won, the brothers and their kin, although they were glad enough to have the things he made, the clever things he made.
    So clever he was that when he lost his left hand in the forge fire he made another from ivory, more nimble even than the one he'd been born with, and when he touched pizen with his right hand and it withered away, he made himself a new one from bronze, strong as any hand could ever be. Still they mocked him, called him not just Crooked but also No-Man because of what they themselves had taken from him, but, aye, they did covet the things he could make. For Sky Man, he made a great iron hammer, heavier and grander than even his war hammer of old, and it could smash a mountain flat or knock a hole in the great gates of Stone Man's house, as it did once when the two brothers quarreled. He also made the great shield of the moon for her what had took his father's place, and for Night her necklace of stars, Water Man's spear what could split a mighty whalefish like a knife splits an apple, and a spear for Stone Man, too, and many other wonderful things, swords and cups and mirrors what had the Old Strength in them, the might of the earliest days.
    But he did not always know the very greatest secrets, and in fact when first he was become the servant of the brothers whom had vanquished his people, though he was clever beyond saying, still he had much to learn. And this is how he learned some of it.
    So here he came on this day, tumble-dum, tumble-dum, one leg shorter, walking like a ship in a rolling sea, wandering far from the city of the brothers because it plagued him and pained him to have to speak always respectfully to his family's conquerors. As he walked down the road through a narrow, shadowed valley, the which was fenced with high mountains on either side, he came upon a little old woman sitting in the middle of the path, an ancient widow woman such as could be seen in any village of the people, dry and gnarled as a stick. He paused, did Crooked, and then he says to her, "Move, please, old woman. I would pass." But the old woman did not move and did not reply, neither.
    "Move," he says again, without so much courtesy this time. "I am strong and angry inside myself like a great storm, but I would rather not do you harm." Still she did not speak, nor even look at him.
    "Old woman," he says, and his voice was now loud enough to make the valley rumble, so that stones broke loose from walls and rolled down to the bottom, breaking trees as a person would break broomstraws, "I tell you for the last time. Move! I wish to pass."
    At last she looked up at him and says, "I am old and weary and the day is hot. If you will bring me water to slake my thirst, I will move out of your way, great lord."
    Crooked was not pleased, but he wasn't mannerless, and the woman was in truth very, very old, so he went to the stream beside the road and filled his hands and brought it back to her. When she had drunk it down, she shook her head.
    "It does not touch my thirst. I must have more."
    Crooked took a great boulder and with his hand of bronze he hollowed it into a mighty cup. When he had filled it in the stream he brought it back to her, and it was so heavy, when he set it down it made the ground jump. Still, the old woman lifted it with one hand and drained it, then shook her head. "More," she says. "My mouth is still as dry as the fields of dust before the Stone Man's palace."
    Marveling, but angry, too, at how his journey had been halted and bollixed, Crooked went to the stream and tore up its bed, pointing it so that all the water flowed toward the old woman. But she only opened her mouth and swallowed it all down, so that within a short time the stream itself ran dry, and all the trees of the valley went dry and lifeless.
    "More," she says. "Are you so useless that you cannot even help an old woman to slake her thirst?"
    "I do not know how you do those tricks," he says, and he was so angry that his banished uncle's fire was a-dancing in his eyes, turning them bright as suns, pushing back the very shadows that covered the valley, "but I will not be courteous any more. Already I must carry the load of shame from my family's defeat, must I also be thwarted by an old peasant woman? Get out of my way or I will pick you up and hurl you out of the road."
    "I go nowhere until I have finished what I am doing," the crone says.
    Crooked sprang forward and grabbed the old woman with his hand of ivory, but as hard as he pulled he could not lift her. Then he grabbed her with his other hand as well, the mighty hand of bronze which its strength was beyond strength, but still he could not move her. He threw both his arms around her and heaved until he thought his heart would burst in his chest but he could not move her one inch.
    Down he threw himself in the road beside her and said, "Old woman, you have defeated me where a hundred strong men could not. I give myself into your power, to be killed, enslaved, or ransomed as you see fit."
    At this the old woman threw back her head and laughed. "Still you do not know me!" she says. "Still you do not recognize your own great-grandmother!"
    He looked at her in amazement. "What does this mean?"
    "Just as I said. I am Emptiness, and your father was one of my grandchildren. You could pour all the oceans of the world into me and still not fill me, because Emptiness cannot be filled. You could bring every creature of the world and still not lift me, because Emptiness cannot be moved. Why did you not go around me?"
    Crooked got to his knees but bowed low, touching his forehead to the ground in the sign of the Dying Flower. "Honored Grandmother, you sit in the middle of a narrow road. There was no way to go around you and I did not wish to turn back."
    "There is always a way to go around, if you only pass through my sovereign lands," she told him. "Come, child, and I will teach you how to travel in the lands of Emptiness, which stand beside everything and are in every place, as close as a thought, as invisible as a prayer."
    And so she did. When Crooked was finished he again bowed his head low to his great-grandmother and promised her a mighty gift someday in return, then he went on his way, thinking of his new knowledge, and of revenge on those whom had wronged him.

03 July 2012

83. goodbye to all that

will have to take word
that the week at the 
spring was a lodestone

       A week of talking listening and learning
began the annual sessions called

                                                  joined roomful

of in the dark

as took week to look closely at

        When lost the power of speech

couldn't do that any longer

join me in dissecting
great film
               acted as the facilitator

It was form torture for to sit silent

couldn't type in dark
couldn't scribble fast enough to keep up

and gestures meant

                                           wasn't there.

02 July 2012

84. covenant (a returning)

                            to pieces

                            spilling about
the poor 'social environment here.'

                            the 'morale amongst teachers.'

            '. . . not one does anything to stop the bleeding,' she rotting

            'adam thinks it's cool to get into trouble now,' she saying

            'we could test him,' saying the v.p. 'with some kids on medica-
tion the whole school feels safer.'

                           ha and ha

                    doors               closing

                    his eyes                         over his notes

                          the clock on the wall
                    striking late

'forget tonight,' he saying

'it's the other 83 days i want.

it's your priorities God wants.

what are your priorities?

             certainly not your family
             look at the breakdown of your family.

             certainly not your community
             look at the breakdown of your community.

             certainly not your spiritual life

             church is only full but one day a year

             the others?