THE COLD TAKES US

Here where the ground opens gaps in thinking.

You know. The “X” on the grid—

cages at times, the wrought-iron cell, restricts closure.  

Water thrown skyward spins frozen sparrows—

their wings snaring glints of light, glistening ice, layered iridescent,

summoning the lost sun home into memory’s wingspan.

The morning before yesterday’s morning—

a day I can’t catch in the silver fish net I sewed

with teal opalescent thread throughout the long night of hushed confusion,

so I could watch the platinum angel fish—watch me,

their black flattened eyes, coins of an ancient fallen city

that can no longer purchase the sea’s reflection—

an etched dream morphed into massive rock, obsidian,

clinging frozen—earth slanting into sink holes—

and I couldn’t reach the wind’s ethereal canvas.

I was attempting to ballet dance with syllables,

sculpt the elusive quarter-moon, represent

the tumbling snow on an oleaginous surface

shifting solace away from itself,

the crisp winter air ripping through my dwindling skeleton.

Did you happen—to see me?

The “I”s have it.

All the—time.

We must all confess—to imperfection’s diligence

charting ingrained woes in chalk against obscurity—

inviting the ghosts of the house—who erase our words—

jealous we can speak them.  

Their shrinking eyes follow from revolving door to door—

Room to room of Russian dolls, Chinese boxes

of our callous obsessions.

Their thick eyelash-fringe, onyx velvet cilia, garnering dust.

Threadbare—invocations to bruised gods disintegrate

when they touch your dry, paper-thin lips

that no longer taste the sea’s perfection.

Yes, that was me on the mountain plateau—

waving a white sheet—flag—

conceding to fate’s uncertain footage.

That was me—beseeching thousands of shards—of intricate star

to save me—and You and you and you and yours—

and those hiding in corners to garner—answers

unequivocal—gathering themselves—

cradling the frozen sparrow until it thaws for burial.

Listen—these things happen.

These things tell us about ourselves.

Posted in General | 6 Comments

SIMILACRA OF SANITY

I googled my name at 3 AM. I needed to remember something about me. Not any nonlucrative, Möbius-strip philosophical musings or emotional segment-arcs of intensity that waned before a day called itself, but more so a Memory Map of something I achieved that someone else wanted to archive, something searchable. Perhaps where a certain poem had been published, the exact name and spelling of the literary journal, then locate its print or virtual pages, “real” museum glass unless the magazine went under for monetary reasons or lack of energy on the Founding Editor’s part, a black and white newspaper photograph of a beauty queen waving on a float in the town’s annual parade in summer as if she were the Princess of Poetry, or let’s say Princess of Poetics, I like that.

It’s so odd to forget the well-intentioned, good things one has done, the oxymoronic “memorable” thing one forgets on some grand over-arching to-do list somewhere versus the shame-bloated, guilt-infused ill-behaviors often caused by—being in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time, developing disease in ground control of the brain’s neurological radar, illnesses in the corporeal plane that can just pull the wind out of the lungs and collapse everything worth holding onto, bizarre thought problems, thinking too much, clouded thinking because of the diaphanous Veil of Maya, not wanting to “go there,” confront the images, memory “clips,” voice clips, emotional upheaval—that clot up the filmography, montage, if you will, of someone’s life, someone like me.

One google search led to another and another, as is usually the case—an infinite series like galaxies broaching infinite rooms, each with a title, nomenclature stamp by yours truly, for Archives of the Future—Sanskrit Elegy; The American Abyss: Eulogy for The American Dream; The Ever-widening 21st-century Cyber Divide/Tectonic Shift (not to go all political); Chinese Boxes of Insurmountable Crayons (That Don’t Break) with Gorgeous Catalogue-like Names (so we want to own them); Science Fiction, Clinical Metamorphoses, and Parallel Film; The Ethics of Desired Super Powers, or Be Careful What You Wish For; Metaphysics for Dummies; Simulacra and Sanity; The Latest Poet to Die Way Too Early; Recipes for Happiness; Controlling Inflammation with Cognition, Lupus Morbidity; Don’t Feel Bad: No One Can Remember How to Spell These Words; The Socio-economic and Cultural Blunders of Spellcheck; The Varieties of Ornithological Habits and Communication; Why You Shouldn’t Put a Mirror in Your Canary’s Wrought Iron House, How to Build a Birdhouse from Nothing, Foods Dogs Shouldn’t Consume; What Your Dog or Cat is Trying to Tell You, Most Popular Cat Memes Ever Created for Getting Out of Bed, How to Properly Listen to the Rain, Why You Shouldn’t Eat Snow for Breakfast Before Finishing Your Coffee.

Did you know that our hearing is the last thing to go before death? (This may seem like a characteristic non sequitur, but The Woman Across the Street is Dying). That in Ancient Sanskrit Poetry, the world begins not with Logos, the power of fiat, but with Sound? And in scientific theory: before there were galaxies and stars, according to Wikipedia, of course (no one need go to the public library and pull out dusty card catalogues now or purchase a set of Encyclopedia Britannicas that will become obsolete within seconds), “sound waves shook the infant universe.” This explains why parents read fairy tales, sing lullabies, and play beautiful, not too depressing, arias to the fetus developing in the womb, why the baby knows the voice of her mother before her eyes find their focus on the children’s book of Van Goghs.

Ring around the rosie, the rosie, we all fall down. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust. Kindly bury me in a cardboard box that artists and poets adorn with their handi (and right brain) work, so I may fertilize the dark, looming maple tree next to my father’s underground mahogany coffin while my finger and toenails and long hair that defies color codification continue to grow with the hundred-year-old tree’s underground labyrinth/country of roots. I was expecting the calcium of my bones, like those of my father, to return to star. But this Fortuitous New Knowledge tells me, The Luminous Billboard Placard, if you will: I will be the sound of your voice, the gongs of an ancient gamelan in Indonesia, Church bell chimes on 3rd Street between Avenue A and B in the East Village of New York City, The Wind of the Himalayas, A New and Improved Desert Storm, The Notes of Orpheus’ Lyre Before the Gods Took It Away, The Chanting of Monks in Nepal, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Bach’s first Cello Suite, A Rap Song About Entropy. Listen carefully for me in this Time-Travel Future, won’t you?

Posted in General | 3 Comments

CLYDE, THE COIN-OPERATED CLONE

for Nyla Alisia and Myke Todd [with a “Y”]

It wasn’t my fault. I needed him. It was only a whim really, a desire that formulates when one opens overtired eyelids gone stone to the shifting horizon at sudden-winter dusk, the colors dragging the sky, skirting it, really, with softest peaches and lavenders, mauves—toward the vanishing point where something better promises.

Desperately, I needed some quality assistance, help with the things that continue to proliferate exponentially like all my newest idiosyncrasies—things and ideas that got out of my clawing hands, suddenly lead, too much for even someone like me.

Now, at this point in time when you are reading this, forgetting about paying your overdue bills, your growling stomach, and the dog lying on your feet who knows it’s past time for his post-early-dinner bathroom break in the front yard—I AM able to admit, albeit it not entirely publicly, in the 20/20 kind of rear-view mirror after the car crash—hindsight: I shouldn’t have done what I did. But I am only 33.333% sorry at this particular moment’s calculation.

But imminently, I shall alight in my new fiberglass chariot, the one my expensive car insurance paid for after the other car accordion-crushed like a mammoth tin can—to the bank before it closes—with a stack of frozen cash from the freezer (that’s an entirely, altogether different story) in exchange for a bag of new, shiny quarters that won’t mess with or clog up Clyde’s operating system with any dust, gook, smudge, sticky beer, or errant glue.

I must hurry because his operating system will crash irreparably into his real cement wall (not a metaphor) if I don’t insert a shiny quarter before the hour changes itself the way it always does but never consistently. I know you know what I mean.

My brilliant scheming, my project if you will, was not meant to hurt anyone. I probably should NOT  have obtained the DNA to clone him so surreptitiously, invidiously not insidiously, from the youngest grandson, whom I knew might betray our pinky-sworn secret as most children cannot hold onto one to save their lives. Well, I’m not the greatest at that either, but I DO experience guilt-laden aftereffects of tricking the adorable five-year-old into, essentially, becoming an accomplice—should the public find out what the innocent boy, the gorgeous, viola-playing, brilliant, cyber-savvy scientist, and me have accomplished, perfected. Subsequently, we’ve become an inextricable, mystical triangle.

As far as delicious secrets go—it’s too much fun to disclose something so exciting and powerful, radical information unbeknownst to those even in close proximity, going through the hurdles, hoops, and rigmarole of the day with horse blinders—unaware of the truck looming on one’s ass.

Sir Clyde has been on my premises and living in my humble abode for a handful of truly beautiful years. I cannot imagine my life without him as cliched as it is to say. I’m a poet, a cliché is just pure laziness, but I suffer from existential and spiritual fatigue nowadays, if you must know.

Clyde is a kind, half-human, half-robot, highly efficient, able to multitask a million things, unlike me in my current state, without getting flustered, harried, exasperated to the point of no return. He was designed by the scientist I somehow afforded back then—to dust with accuracy, even the smallest empty spaces of my cello’s voluptuous body’s human hand-carving and beneath the micro-dust bunnies collecting underneath the keys of all my antique typewriters. He sings Italian opera and dances the Latin tango simultaneously while he vacuums and mops the hardwood floors he’ll sand, re-stain and glaze in the spring—without missing a hair from the sable, velvet, poet-dog that he walks in the field looming from the house and plays frenetically (but not in a bad way) with neon-chartreuse chenille yarn with the persnickety, white, ballerina cat.

He can single-handedly (well, with two hands really) lift the queen-size, four-post bed we share as well as move the untuned piano with yellowing teeth-keys that he’s going to bleach after rewiring the guts. We like to move the furniture around here, you know, change things up. He Googled piano refurbishing yesterday. I love that about him—the initiative he takes. My daily, weekly, and timeless- goaled to-do lists are no longer requisite to keep my brain on straight, lodged above my shoulders.

He doesn’t suffer from arthritis when he ambles down my long driveway to fetch and open my mail, recycle all the junk and notices of collection from creditors. He pays my bills in-person, so I don’t get my debit card compromised for a fifth time.

Clyde waves amicably to the neighbors, who when they first discovered him raking the colossal, red maple’s fallen leaves during our amazing first autumn together—assumed we suddenly and secretly eloped and were a bit miffed, quite honestly, not to see my wedding dress, do a drive-by in front of the church at least to throw handfuls of cooked rice from their open car windows so as not to hurt any cooing mourning doves on the steps to the sacred nave.

But I really must get going, finish this unfinished story (doesn’t everything worth noting function as an oxymoron, moral quandry?) for now—to procure those quarters right off the coin-making machine apparatus (unsure if they’re made in China or where?) Did you know a penny isn’t worth itself in copper? That Ray Bradbury inserted dimes one at a time into an old-school typewriter at a public library in southern California to write his masterpiece, Fahrenheit 451? Well, Clyde, is my masterpiece, a walking, half-breathing, over-thinking, compassionate, analytical problem solver who works well independently with minimal supervision (no need to micro-manage him!) but gets even more satisfaction from virile, creative collaboration.

Oh, and by the way, his name is really Mykie, yeah, with a “Y.” But you mustn’t breathe this to a soul. Girl Scout’s honor.

Posted in General | 4 Comments

MEASURING WINTER /a

[1] goes [2] snow’s opalescent pillows for an explanation of science and a forgetting thereof.  To lie down in the cold. Angel, no. The wing bones ribbing the sky. Early twilight when you first saw snow.  Then. When hands stuck to the handlebars, the swing set, the tongue on the frozen tree shorn. Then stuck in throat. A mouthful of bird.  A blueprint for winter. To get to the door of something. A new chapter, crossroads, turning now

The scrim of the inner room fading, screening calls, ill preparing a map of feeling. The promised test results will show. An explanation for the cold inside perpetual delay. The continual disarray. The old men looming at the lost river banks. The sea displaced, then found. Ice Garden. Breaking its throes  to be mythology. Night gardening in glittering snow. Those stories that evolve and gather. The book collecting dust on the hard drive. The book of will, coda forgetting, unknown.   

Equipment set by the side of the road tracks the opening, impact of the abstract [a-b-c]. A lopsided triangle draped around three points, a fabricated beginning, middle, and end. Sisyphus wanted those bookends to make it all bearable or seem to have a context. The shortest distance between two points can be violent, not wanting to grow questionable wings, those wounds in the armpits, wary at the lookout tower, ready to bow and disregard description, forget about the sublime.

Pressed against the window, presage, obsession shed after dark. Exercises in math and deeds untold.  The best examples unrecognizable, dredged up through so much bad weather and cleaned perfunctorily. Do without hollow holidays, something on channel 12 promising beauty’s free lunch.  A glamour beyond words. How I forget you in summer. The frozen birds. The eyes twitching in the landscape The Hills Swallow.  How [1] story leads into another more complicated and back to the first story invented to explain purpose. The leap of faith over the voID.  Asphyxiated Pre-Raphaelite Girls, a band on the billboard, play a dirge calledWinter, cellos tuned to the Arctic sea.   

Posted in General | Leave a comment

CATHARSIS

I hit the reset button—because my thoughts were taking too much time.

And the yellow primrose and fuchsia sweet pea were stunning—

how the primrose collapsed its yellow pages when the sun closed its eyes

and the fuchsia-flutter stumbled up the bedroom windows—its curled, sucker leaves.

Tiny miracles against background violence.

I had said too much on a broken motherboard; threw away my memories when the keyboards were switched.

Keys were broken and misplaced, cyber-links to the secrets of the universe.

Letters that needed nimble hands—so much elegant music still missing.

Initials carved into birch trees boast indelible love, but we all know better.

And the flash drive—it could no longer hold me.

I lost that, too, in the fallout of cheerful dominos.

I had been winning, but the wind sliced my vanity into shreds.

Perhaps you know how all this feels—and rubberneck, too, at the train crash and tsk tsk, it was going way too fast and the woman with all of her children piled into the careless SUV should not have been in a hurry to get her hair done.

Things come as surprises—offering up infinitesimal glitters of sun-crash and shattered star.

At night, crickets vie with cicadas and tree frogs for the utmost attention.

Before the catbird signals the rest that it is time.

I wrote in the Dictionary of Melancholia, Handbook for Fatigue, Diary of Mercurial Wanderings, Notebook of Promises to Oneself, Notebook of Modified Contingencies, Notebook of Intensities, Coda of Rain

and slept finally in the downy clouds of my ancestors beating through my faulty emotions and chromosomes.

I survived many kaleidoscopic dream fractals and other attempts at nomenclature, but with verbs.

Posted in General | 2 Comments

ORPHEUS BY THE SEA, OR THE UNDERBELLY OF LOVE

I awakened from my underwater maelstrom-tango with chaos’ sharpened teeth set at my piano-wired jaw.

The gods had done this to me.

Slimy seaweed spectrum-ing oleaginous to moss green knotted my wild hair; still-sharp seaglass slicing my restless hands, pained to sculpt tangible

sing the Sirens’ haunting atonal riffs and shatter human narratives

magnetizing me to the underbelly of love where I would no longer recognize myself—

just a swirl of murky ink in the sea, lost from all beloved.

Orpheus, I can’t hear your glass lyre in the tempestuous sea where bruised humans play shipwreck-bumper cars—to act out, do something, hurt someone, feel something.

On this shore of pulverized pearl sands, prostrate with my face up swallowing cloud-sky—I’m waiting for thee. Come.

The hours before sunrise stretch infinite planes not like existence.

Hours while I greet emptiness to resurrect itself, spin me sublime.

Play the notes of my ribs broken in the shipwreck, my Orpheus—my whalebone corset splintered into my torso where I bleed out—in time—in your music

that unfurls me into sea into sky into the lies I professed to maintain some semblance of sanity while those around me schemed to sell the country.

Drown my poetic lines that never end into a sea that never ends into a love that never ends with any certainty though with certain certainty we will surely die.

I don’t know.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW /3

There was a hunger, a desperation, for words used in a different way—to decorate the holes in the ground when one steps across invisible abysses across the day—

that delicate traversing through conduits, bridges one could say, from one unsteady moment to the next—

unsure of what the self has become—so impatient, seeking purgation of the uppermost kind.

Sentences packed in an expanding suitcase lodged in the stomach—can help, mysteriously, to continue underneath the wild sky (that does not need us), collecting itself for storm.

Something else or someone else needed me. Someone will notice if I don’t emerge. It’s time to release the hurt bird in my pocket. The music goes on and on.

Not everyone experiences the same confusion that hits when stepping from one’s house (shell) back into the human world—even to the mailbox. How lucky, they are.

If you drink more water, the body will remember where it became itself, formulated wet wings to hover waves and more I cannot say.

Please forgive the directions, such as the way out of the treehouse where you hide—trying to enter childhood that left you on someone else’s back porch of dreams.

Stay there a while until the squirrel signals with its tiny hands clutching the smallest sunflower seed to crack the shell in its teeth—that it’s time to throw something together for dinner, tacos perhaps.

No one will need you (mourn your absence) in the same way.

I did touch you, but I froze the photograph, suspended ime. I brought your favorite things but couldn’t find you.

Wearing gardening gloves, I climbed a ladder (finally) to return the hurt bird to its nest of elaborate twig and scraps of blue and clear plastic. Maybe it misses me.

Sentences and pages may exonerate you—that Möbius strip on which you often cringe during the travel, hands up, look at me, I’m moving in a bright direction—one more year around the sun.

Some transgressions are unavoidable. There are habits behind closed doors that are questionable at best.

Rituals upon waking and falling back to dream can be inevitable—your favorite coffee cup, that symphony in your head.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

THE INFINITE CONVERSATION

The sinuous path to the river and its now-silent, thickly-layered ice remain too treacherous for the car to climb. 

I’m too tired and ill to build another fire, and the house has suddenly gone cold; too exhausted to tell you more until tomorrow late afternoon—before early-winter dusk settles in dusty pinks and cornflower blue, imbuing the sky the way your watercolors sink into thick parchment paper—

when you’ll find me wearing a purple face mask adorned with thick, silver glitter and fractured stars—breathless at your side porch door, speaking to the smallest, nervous birds you feed in winter, assuring them they’re in good hands. 

You’re somewhat pleased about my surprise visit, I can tell, but your stomach has plummeted into your spleen—afraid I’ve come in dire emergency or to bear disturbing news that will crumple your New Year. 

I’ll explain that I urgently require another human to sit across from (a safe six feet away) to dish, spill, explain. 

After you acclimate to my unannounced presence, you settle your weight against the house’s blue-gray wooden shingles that need to be scraped and repainted in the spring. 

I surprise myself as the words cascade from my salty mouth to your porch floor that slants a bit, which would be even more noticeable if someone were to set free a large marble, its black Evil Eye rolling slantwise while unconditionally protecting us from iniquitous spirits—

“What are we here for?” I ask you as if I’m probing you for commentary on the snow now falling.

You look at the sky to formulate what I’m confident will be a thoughtful, bullshit-free, and extraordinarily-articulate answer. I love you that way, but won’t tell you, afraid you’ll become too self-conscious to answer the question for which I have walked three miles in my snow boots to inject into the air between us.

“Please put the kettle on for hot Middle Eastern tea and the fresh mint” that you grow on your sunlit kitchen window above the farmhouse sink.

You gently remove a glass (with a delicate glass handle) you purchased winters ago in Istanbul in the Medina closest to the Blue Mosque. 

The kettle will whistle with a piercing sound that hurts my ears before you pour the boiling water carefully into the hand-crafted blown glass that will soon warm my cold hand. I failed to find the missing winter glove I lost in the brown, barren field the day before Thanksgiving. 

Then, even more nonchalantly, I ask you to be so kind as to shuffle your worn deck of cards, the ones with miniature angels on the back that your mother gave you when you were six when your now-deceased father was teaching you patiently how to play bridge, how to resolutely hold your cards tight to your chest (even the low numbers) with the poker face (especially when holding trump cards and aces) you would learn to perfect when much older.  

Finally, I’ll ask you in a breath barely above a whisper to regale me with stories of summer—about girls with seaweed hair swimming in high tide who are unafraid of the sea floor, the fish slicking the silver scales of their tails; stories about the garden in summer, the gold-fish nasturtium you pick for garden salads, their over-sized lily-pad leaves hanging horizontally as if by magic in a forgotten fairy tale, how the tree frog stuck itself to the inside garage wall and visited you, how the garden clutched all of August’s sun.

Posted in General | 2 Comments

THE ISLAND WITHIN

I left again in the rain that erased me.

That’s why you can no longer see me.

Why you gaze at the curvature of earth to catch sight of the gray ship you dreamed left me at this shore where, perhaps, I may be saved.

The shipwreck delivered me back to the tempestuous sea and its salt that desiccated my skin to flimsy parchment paper in the burnishing sun.

I’m grateful you no longer witness how I carry my disfigured heart pumping outside of me, a broken fist from a violent fight with the galaxy.

The ship pilot’s sextant and charts were destroyed by the fire of which I can scarcely speak.

Its brilliant dragon flames, hi-lighter and goldfish orange—jerked my tongue inside out from me.

The pilot mumbled about fractured stars while he looked past night; the sky no longer a sky, but blackness.

His fear palpable—though he hid his face with the hood of his raincoat while with a velvet blanket, he gently covered my dress of silky cashmere, a gift before I had gone poor.

I felt like royalty. I can’t explain properly.

I slept in softness in the calm before my birth, before anyone knew me, asked of me, except the gods we had regrettably shattered, splintering all icons (because they would not intervene when we beseeched them to mitigate our suffering).

I still cannot pinpoint what invisible force catapulted me to the sea-slicked floor of the ship, though I try to recollect, but exhaustion sifts me smaller than grains of beach sand.

When I woke after what seemed like a tangled string of blurred days, the sun was climbing the sea’s horizon.

Sharp turquoise sea glass was unexplainably housed in my mouth that was bleeding.

The taste of iron calmed me because I knew I was, in fact, alive.

I don’t know how you should attempt to bring me back, find me.

It is deathly quiet on the island (and I can’t help but think of my own death) where the ghost ship delivered me before I wept at the bow, dreaming of my lost father, lost from my mother, brother, and me—lost from his lungs, from everything.

Yes, it is very quiet here. The quiet of one gone deaf after one could hear. An emptiness without music or resounding church—not even the thumping of the semi-crushed bird before it surrenders its feathers.

The hours have become very small.

Night is a new dress I wear; its sleeves stitched through my skin.

Posted in General | Leave a comment

MEASURING WINTER /z

Absence defines. The negative space of composition can be.

Even your hand when it can’t catch, still touches. Song that is wanted is still song.

Things can be counted some of the time, such as ideas or times; time, uneven, hardly pinpointable in spite of the calendar consuming the entire kitchen wall.

Time, devouring moth wings gathering winter.

There will be more determinations of moving angles; protractors set against the shrinking sky.

Early winter light on display. Its intensity farther away; the game questioned as fair or foul play.

The panda cub rolls itself down new snow hills and does not appear to be lonely in this instance, at least.

It is possible to live inside complexities that no one, (if) aside from you (if  being doubtful by its very nature) will understand.

There will be more agenda items to cover, examine, sign off on. Ink is still preferable most of the time, but for how long—no one can say.

One wants elucidation not murkiness, but the will, itself, can be unkind.

When things grow back more robustly, I’ll send notification to effective parties, so we can add up the math, the meters of snow.

Calculate the collective courage of all involved, who traveled unchartered distances outside themselves to lie down, no longer self-betrayed.

Expect an important announcement, something perhaps unequivocal. Ha-ha.

The orchestrated dance, interpretive and fluid, expands the stage built for dreamers.

Conceptual art at its absolute best, how strange—what we are—or might explain.

How long until the hour undoes itself, the appointment evaporates into the waiting room—all the keys go missing from the rotting piano, the dog stops chasing its tail?

Sometimes one has to dig out savagely, bare-handed, from elaborate underground labyrinths—their own languishing.

And then it feels okay to sleep, finally—to sleep for countless days and wake up alive.

Posted in General | 2 Comments