Thursday, December 31, 2009

chain poem

please add a line on this emergent poem in the comment box... follow along after the last writer... if you want to see another example of a chain poem hit this link...
==========================

post script (2 January 2010)

I would like to say thanks to everyone who stopped by in the last few days and helped out with this collaborative poem... it came together beautifully. Thanks to walking man, Mariana Soffer, human being, Echo, /t., Harlequin, Francis Scudellari, Cinnamon, Shubhajit, and Mike (I would encourage you to check out Mike's blog and the project he's started there... he's a new blogger and I'm sure he'd appreciate the visit). If you'd like to see the contributions from each of the writers, please see the comment box of this post. The poem as it stands now has been added below.

I'd also like to say thanks to BBC, Lynn, and Sorcerer for leaving thoughts as well. I'm all about the community and the interaction here in the blogosphere, and you guys make the biggest difference to me. Peace and best wishes to all...

==========================

static and silence on the phone line
tracing wires, nothing broken found, I listen to the white noise whispers

it just draws space apart

so many lightening rods
buried underground

so many expectations
buried even deeper than the rods

but space is curved
distance is relative
who now where is what?

i know there's an alien
living in the phone lines
the static is
when he's crying
over some spilled electrons
and silence is
when he sits on the curve of space
waiting for us to speak...

crackle, pop, sputter
tickle
wait
something silent sounds

zzzzzt

[tk tkk... zzt]

//ffff.f...f

...a problem, houston

]]

... but as long as there is static and sound I can hope that I am not totally alone....

because the static may be
a language
I haven't yet learned

though it rings with more than noise in my ears, my heart knows its intent

my heart, heavy, knows it's sent...

And there is a black blood syllables would sound through lines,

And someone would come and blow the fury,

And one day it may sound not like someone but One

and then,
when the pause between
rings
seems to last
just a half breath too long,
you wait,
an eternity in an instant

and then, there is your voice and memory calls me back to my stake in things
when silence is broken

when static is cleared
and distant voices
bring a song together
in distant lands

Friday, December 25, 2009

Question and Answer -- a found notebook

This post is a collaborative effort and I invite you all to participate. The text you see below was written by human being in the comment section of my previous post, and she has graciously allowed me to share it here. Have a read, and if you would like to play along go to the comment box and answer the last question, then leave a question of your own. If you would like to see another example of this kind of collaborative writing, check out another question and answer that we did last year.

===============================

i got on the bus hastily... so happy i was leaving the cold behind... the only passenger on the bus was the driver... and a Nike gym bag left on one of the front seats... i told the driver about it... he just shrugged... i took a seat by the bag... opened it to find any clue whose it was... i had returned many lost bags to their owners before that time... there was nothing in the bag except a notebook... so heavy and old and dirty... on the cover you could read, the book of changes...
i opened it... on the first page a very beautiful handwriting read:

this belongs to all and none... and is written by all and none... you can have it as long as you'd like... but when you want to depart from it, you should answer the last question and add a question of yours... no matter what your answer or your question is, you will change in a way there will be no return to it... that's what this book is doing to you...

i started reading the questions and answers... and tried to imagine each person who wrote them... it took me years to read them... to understand them... and to think if the answer to the question was a good one or not... good in the sense that it could help me to go on...

then one day i felt i could depart from the notebook... i answered the last question:

- when do i get there?

- when you don't want to get there anymore...

and added this one:

- can i ask no more questions?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

He looked at her, standing there in a fluorescent windbreaker. It hung from her body as though draped over a broken umbrella frame, the pockets weighed down, the left side white from the snow. She fumbled in her pockets, searching for change.

"Go on," said the bus driver.

She went past him and took a seat near the front, setting her Nike gym bag beside her. She had close cropped hair and dark eyes. Her face was swollen and red. Her hands looked coarse and hardened, and everyone on the bus could smell the heavy punge of living in the same clothes, of piss and shit and open fires. No sooner had the bus started moving than she closed her eyes and her head nodded to her chest.

That winter was especially cruel and it wasn't unusual for the temperature at night to hit 45 below. After every cold snap the story was repeated in the newspapers: homeless person found dead under bank of snow. Some days they were found in backyards or in seats out front of the Greyhound station, and sometimes they weren't found until spring. One story emerged of a man burned to death in a dumpster because the candle he lit to keep warm had fallen over, igniting the garbage in which he slept.

Some said it was their own fault, that there were shelters and organizations to go to. Others said it was the responsibility of the government and that more should be done. Still others said it was drugs and social decay and a loss of religious values. But all the talk and fine words amounted to nothing on a cold night in the richest city in Canada.

The bus banked around a corner and her head shot up.

"Stay away from me!" she yelled as she jumped to her feet, pulling a hunk of granite from the pocket of her windbreaker. "Don't fucking touch me!"

The driver hit the brakes and she fell in a heap in the aisle. He got out of his seat and started towards her. She struggled to her knees and she threw the rock at him. It landed well short on the floor with a dull thud.

He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the front. He pulled the bar to open the door and shoved her with his boot into the snow bank.

"That's what I get for trying to help you, eh? You fucking bitch!"

As the bus pulled away the passengers saw her through the condensation on the windows, lying face down in the snow, and one of them noticed her gym bag, still sitting on the seat.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Poem for poets

stray thoughts aimless of the target
constructing and destructing what's said before

an unnarrated dialogue between
mirrors and screens
punctuated by pulsing plosives
and caffeinated lights

when I write
my jaw tightens up

but it's so soothing when the world is rough
to taste beach rocks chattering in the tide

hear Cyprus trees

see cinnamon tingle my tongue

and the wake in the water
reflect the glistening gold
sun of a million years ago

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rough Work

It must be all in my head. Where am I? Am I? What's that noise? It sounds like static.

--How does he look?
--Not at his best.
--What’s wrong with him?
--I don’t know.
--What do you mean you don’t know? Were you not just looking at him?
--Yes.
--Well?
--He’s not at his best.
--I see.

Everything stops. Everything except that radio. Now I hear footsteps pacing. The floor is concrete. Or maybe it’s hardwood. It’s difficult to say. That must be footsteps.

--What do you think we should do with him?
--I think we should do nothing.
--Do nothing?
--Nothing.
--Won’t that come back on us?
--Perhaps.
--Do you think it would be better to put him out?
--He might get away.
--I see. Yes. He might get away.

Again with the pacing. He must always be pacing. If only I could see. If only my hands were working. If only I could make a sound. Then I could tell them. A raven caws. Maybe it’s a jackdaw, or a magpie. Not so far away. It’s a lifetime away from here.

--What about the machine?
--The machine?
--The machine from before.
--The machine.
--Well?
--Well what?
--Can we use the bloody machine?
--I don’t see why not.
--The machine then?
--Perhaps best if we don’t.
--Is there a reason you think that?
--It may not work.
--Why not?
--It didn’t work before.
--Yes. You’re quite right. It didn’t work before. Hmmm...

Will he never stop pacing? Maybe if I grind my teeth they’ll hear. I can’t take much more of this. I wish I could stand up. Wait. I am standing up. Am I? It’s only in your head. Static from over there. Somewhere over there.

--What’s that noise?
--It sounds like he is grinding his teeth.
--What is he doing that for?
--Perhaps he’s under some stress.
--What could possibly be causing him stress?
--I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because he can hear what we’re saying.
--He can hear what we're saying?
--I don’t know.
--Well, damn it, what do you think?
--I don’t know.
--Yes. You don’t know.

It must be concrete. That’s boots on concrete. That’s why me feet are so cold. I think I can feel my feet. No. I’m not standing on my feet. I’m lying flat on the floor. I’ve been like this forever. I don’t know anything. I can’t remember my name. Did I ever have a name?

--What if we asked the other one?
--The other one?
--The other one from before.
--You want to ask the other one?
--Yes. Do you think it is worth asking the other one?
--I don’t think so.
--Why not?
--I don’t think he would have much to say.
--And just why is that.
--He’s dead.
--Dead?
--Dead.
--How did he die?
--I don’t know.
--You don’t know?
--No.
--Are you sure?
--Am I sure of what?
--That he's dead.
--Quite.
--Then perhaps we’d best not ask him?
--Perhaps not.
--I see. We’ll have to think of something else.

I heard him say that. It can’t be all in my head. Who’s dead? Is that what I feel? Is this death? If death is the absence of everything, then I’m dead. I'm other. Or I’m one. But then, I can still hear the static. I can still hear the boots. Do I hear boots pacing on the concrete floor?

--What if we just left him?
--I don’t think we can.
--Why is that?
--There won’t be anyone left.
--Of course there will. How could there be no one left?
--There mustn’t be.
--But there is.
--There won’t be.
--How do you know?
--Because we’re to make sure.
--We?
--You and I.
--No one left?
--Not a soul.
--How?
--I don’t know.
--You don’t know?
--No. I don’t know.
--And we must?
--We must.
--I see.

Please. Please. There’s nothing left. Nothing left to tell. Nothing left to hear. Only boots. Only static. Only ravens. Only the voice in my head. It has to be in my head. Is it in my head? This has to end.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Terza rima

Two brothers lived in a city so fair
That no one who visited felt alone
Or threw to the wind their hope or their care,

So fair this city. To me it's unknown,
For I heard this tale second-hand, the name
Of this fair place, so let's call it Atone.

As I'm inventing, let's spice up the game
And say this city was not as it seems;
Say this city was fair only in name.

Perhaps in Atone the gold tower gleams
With the blood of the martyrs and rebels;
Is it gallows making use of the beams

And the stone of archways? Are prison cells
Stuffed so full that the bars brand the convicts,
The floors filthy, in the air wretched smells?

I leave it to you what this tale depicts;
I should tell only what things I have heard
About brothers, about family conflicts.

Each brother knew of the other no word,
Raised by different families of different class.
They shared one father; his title conferred

On one son, but not the son of the lass
He sought when he went to the bordello;
For, in truth, he was an unfaithful ass.

The lady, his wife, did certainly know,
But for a tale of brothers, let suffice
That one was born high, the other born low.

The father was Nimrod, a man of vice,
Who pranced throughout Atone in dainty dress
With bells and jewels intended to entice

Any unwary blossoming young Miss.
When Nimrod had pranced his fill he would sit
On a brick wall, and feign the greatest bliss.

Lucky for the reader, chance would have it
A picture of the pandering father
In his oft found pose I can now submit.


You must now wonder, why should I bother
To tell a story of such an egghead
As Nimrod? Well, it's only another

Step on the path of the story you tread,
And you know it soon will lead to a fall,
To his breaking. Then enough will be said.

His wife home pregnant, from pubs he would crawl
To the night-town district in broad daylight,
This foolish Nimrod had no wherewithal.

He drunkenly followed where lust invite,
He fell up the stairs and into the room
Of his mistress, who worked hard to excite

Masquerading manhood from his costume.
Then she squat down and loosened her girdle;
She put in his face her bosom perfumed

With lavender and sweet smelling myrtle.
She writhed and rolled all around his fat gut;
He sprang up -- then her womb which was fertile

Accepted the seed. Then that lousy mutt
Staggered and wobbled towards his abode;
All his clothes inside out, and still half cut;

He made of a doorway his own commode.
The citizens of Atone jeered at him,
"What depravity! What of honor code?"

Then some had their fill, right up to the brim
When he told them to mind their damn business;
Some swore they would tear him down, limb from limb;

But perhaps their hate and jeering dismiss
Nimrod not for his infidelity,
But for his part in their oppression. His

Job for the tower of absurdity
Repossessing the homes of the down-trod
Made him apt to their animosity.

He finally was home, spared from the hot rod,
And was told a rebellion had begun.
He shuttered and bolted his doors -- asked god

To protect him till the violence was done.
And so it was, thought not through divine grace,
Nimrod lived to see the birth of one son

By his wife, one by his mistress. In case
You are worried that this fool got a pass,
I tell you, no, for him was saved a space

Beneath a high brick wall from which, alas,
He was pushed and crashed, in the end to succumb
To gravity. But before he was cast

Named his sons Twiddledee and Twiddledum.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kayfabe



"You're some rude!" That's what she used to say. We probably were, by any definition of the word, exactly that. But when you're a class full of kids from the scabby part of town, the kind of kids that wrestle at recess and pack rocks in their snowballs at lunch, "rude" isn't a word that carries much weight.

Missus Walters (I almost feel bad for the old bag thinking about it now) should've been teaching at a prep school, or at least a place where telling the kids you'd call home on them was a threat. She was a washed out nun who sang louder than anyone else in church, one of those high and mighty types who got on as though she'd never done anything wrong in her life. God only knows what she did to deserve us.

Jimmy Coady was the kid in the class who usually got the worse of her wrath. I can remember her grabbing him out of his chair and then picking his desk up over her head and shaking it until all his books and papers showered down onto the floor, a punishment for being disorderly. She'd send him to the principal, or make him stand in the hall, or get up and sing in front of the class, as though any of this was going to curb his behavior. And always with that catch phrase: "You're some rude!"

It happened that in this same strange time in our lives there was a new champion crowned in the World Wrestling Federation, "Ravishing" Rick Rude. His signature move was to put his hands behind his head and swivel his hips and ass when his opponent was down for the count, like he was pure sex and mockery. We all thought this was great, the ultimate humiliation, and of course it was only natural that we'd pretend Missus Walters was the one who'd been body slammed.

I remember one day when Missus Walters was in full effect and she called Jimmy rude for what must have been the tenth time that day. She turned her back to write something on the board and Jimmy stood up on his chair and did Rick Rude's move. All the kids saw him do it, but I think they were too surprised to react. I was the only one who laughed. (I admit it. I laughed.)

She turned around just as Jimmy got back into his seat and she stared at me, at my big dumb grin. She stormed down the aisle and up to my desk, and before I knew it she slapped me across the face, one of those open-handed zingers -- WHACK!

"Go to the principals office!" she yelled. "And if I hear a peep out of the rest of you, you'll be following him."

My eyes welled up as I left the room.

When I got home that evening my father asked me what happened -- though it was fairly obvious from the welt on my cheek that an adult-sized hand had slapped me. He called the school the next morning and said that I wouldn't be coming back. From my bedroom upstairs I could hear him shouting into the phone (I'd never heard words like that from my father before). It was the last I saw of the place, and the next week I was enrolled in a non-denominational school in the city.

========================

Post Script

Missus Walters opted to take an early retirement package the same year I left. She still goes to church and sings louder than anyone else.

Jimmy Coady was locked up in the Whitbourne Correctional Facility for Boys in 1995 after a spate of shoplifting incidents. Jimmy was released in 1997 and was arrested later that same year for assaulting a kid in his neighborhood with a bat. He was sentenced to three years in Her Majesties Penitentiary. I have no idea where he is today.

"Ravishing" Rick Rude died of arteriosclerotic heart disease in 1999. He was 41 years old.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Toy Trains

Someone said, leave. I was going to say leave. That was before, no after, or already always at last. I was a banker. Rest an elbow on my desk. Maybe my chin. My eyes fell on paper. So many numbers. Meaningless more I look at them. A system for knowing that one isn't two. That ears aren't eyes. Woke up. Train banked the corner. Slammed my nose into the window. Some small red river runs. Missed my stop. Late again. Or early. Coming or going? Who can ever know?

Where's that hanky, that hankering. One eyelid glued shut. Like to pick the crust later, or before. Enough for now. First drink coffee. Two sugar. No three. But don't stir. Watch the cream. It swirls. Cosmos in a cup. Don't drink it. Just look. That old man. Younger than me. Maybe another shade. Another lamp light left on. Or still dark? Am I above ground? Doesn't matter.

Get on now. Blanket over my face. Don't want to see those stars. Just one tattooed on my neck. My shin aches. My hair hurts. No. Other way around. Lie down. There. That park. Concrete jungle gym. On track. Lots of time. Just a minute. A wrinkle. The tongue gets clogged. Maybe burned. Told you it was hot. Just look. Look away.

What's that noise? Make it stop ringing. Always ringing. Almost always. Sounds the color green. Or orange. Nothing rhymes with orange, except orange. Write in circles. Punch the numbers. Without stopping. Stop sometimes. Just toy trains. I'm never on one. Sometimes though. Don't want to be late. Don't want to be early. Someone said, leave. Someone said, leave.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Shimmy-Sham-Shump

Ok.
So let's say there's this state, right,
Let's call it "Shimmy".

Shimmy has a government
and the government of Shimmy knows
it doesn't have the support of the people.

There's a lot of people in the government of Shimmy
who have a lot invested
and desperately want to stay in power.

What does the government of Shimmy do?

Well,
the situation is a little more complicated than that
so let's just leave the question for a moment.



Ok.
Let's say there's this other state,
Let's call it "Sham".

Sham has a government
and the government of Sham knows
it doesn't have the support of the people.
(Did I mention that Sham is the most powerful state in the world?)

There's a lot of people in the government of Sham
who have a lot invested
and desperately want to stay in power.

What does the government of Sham do?

Again, it's a bit more complicated,
so just bear with me another moment.



Sham has a little puppet state called "Shump".
Shump has a government
and the government of Shump knows
it doesn't have the support of the people.

There's a lot of people in the government of Shump
who have a lot invested
and desperately want to stay in power.

What does the government of Shump do?



Here's where it gets interesting...

The government of Shump says it hates Shimmy and says that Shimmy is dangerous.
The government of Shimmy says it hates Shump and says that Shump is dangerous.
The government of Sham hates them both and doesn't care what happens as long as Sham can sell guns and make shit loads of money.

You can probably see where this is going.

It's good for Shimmy to be the victim
of an attack by Shump
because then the government of Shimmy
can say to the people
"See, I told you they were out to get us"
and solidify their power base.
So Shimmy provokes Shump.

It's good for Shump to be the aggressor
because the government of Shump
can say to the people,
"We did this to defend you;
they pushed us to it;
we had no choice"
and solidify their power base.
So Shump provokes Shimmy.

It's good for Sham to allow this all to happen
because violence equals guns to the power of money
and then the government of Sham can say to the people,
"We will negotiate peace and bring stability to the region"
and solidify their power base.
So Sham (covertly) helps escalate the tension between Shimmy and Shump.



So that's the way to do it.
As long as it's good for everyone
(except the poor people who always pay the price)
Shimmy, Sham and Shump
will wait for the right moment
and do each other a favor.

Of course, there are a few details I left out
(like how states are as imaginary as Alice's Wonderland,
a facade so that rich people can make money.)
but that seems to be the gist of it.
(However, this may all be BS.)




Please stay tuned... your regularly scheduled programming will resume shortly.
But first a word from our sponsor:

"he got the charm of his optical life when he found himself (hic sunt lennones!) as pointblank range blinking down the barrel of an irregular revolver of the bulldog with a purpose pattern, handled by an unknown quarreler who, supposedly, had been told off to shade and shoot shy Shem should the shit show his shiny shnout out awhile to look facts in the face before being hosed and creased" (James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, 179)

=============================================



I met the Walrus, by Josh Raskin and James Braithwaite

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ground Rules

Do not be coaxed into a plot too soon.
There is a danger in a plot.
Nor should you be coaxed into character.
Once you create a character they require a lot of attention.
Right now there is enough.
There is the narrator.
There is the reader.
Both surreal to the other.
Both important in this dance.
So when I tell you the story that I'm going to unfold just keep in mind
None of it's real at all.
Think how a narrator never experienced anything.
Think how a reader experiences something all their own.
Together we will look for the first time at this particular set of circumstances.
They may or may not lead to a story.
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Setting: New York, 9999CE

As you can see there are no characters around whatsoever. There are many different animals, those that walk on four legs, insects, birds, but no people. The remains of great monuments and feats of construction have given way to the earth's apparent immortality and thick vegetation has taken hold of the concrete. The whole sprawling metropolis of the east coast is a playground for the descendants of elk, and foxes, and osprey.

Our species can never have really hoped to accomplish anything truly monumental (in a world as precious and balanced as ours what monument could represent insignificant little us?). Then look at the stars, their infinite complexity to the power of possibility. How can anything on its own , even the earth, ever be given a special place?

When I speak of time (especially since we're taking a tour of 9999CE) I must think of it in terms of the earth, and space, and the mystery. It's all a matter of time, and, more specifically, the scope of time.

We've also got to think of location. I visited here on a holiday I took back in 9999BCE and I've got to say that it looked pretty similar. I just guess it's lucky that I visited both in warm patches, because if you've got a cold spell going on it's best to just get right back in the phone booth. Once when I visited Okinawa, or should I say where Okinawa was to one day be, it was so frigging cold that the words froze in mid sentence right there on the page.

Again though, New York is much the same as my pre-history visit, but with a few differences. Look to the east there and you can see some odd shaped hills that resemble a game of Tetris gone terribly wrong. If we got down closer you'd see the ocean surging through the farthest archways of what was the greatest city when the crest of man's wave broke and washed back out to sea.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

andallthatsortofthing

My attempts to get answers
were something like
walking into Disneyland
and asking the actress
playing Cinderella
to tell me something other
than how she lost her slipper.


**The title of this post comes from Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, a book, but not an actress, that also yields no answers.**

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Enemy Within

"They had the uniforms, the numbers, the weaponry. And they'd push the people, and the rest of the world, into the choice: us or them. The war was already won; all we had to do was get them to react." (Roddy Doyle, A Star Called Henry)

=======================================================

"Fuumpf" said the mortar.
They sat in a boardroom with glass walls.
"Would yis keep yer fecken heads down!"
"If they ever find out, we are finished," he said
"Poh! Pah! Sllt!"
"I know. How long do you think we can hold on?"
"Fuumpf"
"Today's numbers don't look good. Boeing is down two points."
"Did yis mine that field?"
"Yes, but not that."
"What are we shooting at? I can't see a bleedin ting!"
"What then?"
"On that 50 cal!"
"I mean, what happens when they find out? You know they will."
"Fuumpf"
"Oh, you mean that."
"Ere they come lads! Ere they come!"
"How will we keep them from knowing?"
"How do we know which ones to shoot?!?"
"Clearly, it's only a matter of time."
"Fecken shoot them all!"
"Yes, but..."
"But they're only young ones!"
"But what?"
"Gernade!!!"
"puolentomateshaddiesbuzzliquobedeedoziereresacer(poh!)hieheidissorsbeezel(pah!)sullibrateddroutpluck..."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Story of Autumn's Curse

I was asked to tell a story at a birthday party. The birthday girl was turning 9 and her party was Halloween themed, so she asked me to tell a scary story. I was in touch with her mom over email a few times, and asked if it was OK to tell a story about someone being cursed, and just what scary meant -- violence and blood and gore, or black cats watching from a fence. She assured me that whatever kind of scary story I wanted to tell would be just fine. When I started telling this story, one of the boys heckled me from the back, "This isn't going to be scary!" he said. I looked over at him near the end of it and he had a shocked look on his face. Some of the kids had their fingers in their ears, and some of the parents that were listening seemed as thought they were going to stop me... perhaps I went over the line. Let me know what you think.

===========================================

Every time I close my eyes I see his face and I hear the last words he spoke, the words that have haunted me these past ten years, the words of the curse he put on me.

His name was Autumn, and we had been friends as children. He grew up in the house next door and we were the same age. We went to the same schools and played on the same sports teams. We built forts in the forest behind our parents' houses and had sleep-overs on the weekends. For many years we were best friends -- we cut our fingers and mixed our blood and swore and oath to be brothers, to be loyal and true.

But that was before... and the terrible story I tell you now is of how our friendship fell apart, how Autumn came to be the one person in the world I truly hated. This is the story of his cruelty towards me, and of the revenge I took against him, and of how a sinister course of events has led me to be a man who cannot sleep, someone who can scarcely blink his eyes for the terrifying sights that lurk behind my eyelids. This is the story of the curse Autumn cast on me with his dying breath.

It was in grade 6 that everything started to change. We had been best friends up until then. But in grade 6 Autumn began to be different. He started to hang out with the bad kids, with the kids who stole money from their mother's purse and who tortured cats and who beat up the younger children in the park after school. One day when we were riding the bus home I knew for sure that he had changed. Autumn was sitting in the seat behind me with one of his "cool" new friends. I turned around and asked him if he wanted to come over to my house and watch a movie.

"No way!" he said. "All the movies you have are for little kids!" and then he spit in my face.

His cool new friend laughed at me and said, "Who is this loser anyways?"

"He's nobody," Autumn said. "He's just my stupid neighbor who still wets his bed."

Then they both laughed to kill themselves, and I knew right then that he had become evil, that being blood brothers was all over.

It just got worse as the years went by. Autumn was always mean to me and was always saying nasty things behind my back. He told the kids at school that I had lice and scabies and still slept in the bed with my mom. He called me stupid and slow. He wrote my name on the walls of the bathroom with the F word next to it. He put glue inside my winter hat. He picked on me all the time... and one day after school in grade 8 he grabbed me and threw me down over the stairs. Then he broke my arm while I was lying on the floor and kicked me in the face. I've got two false teeth that the dentist put in to replace the ones that he broke. Autumn had become pure evil. There's no other way to put it. And after I had endured so much pain and humiliation I decided that enough was enough. I decided it was time for me to get revenge on the devil, the ultimate revenge.

And so I made my plans and I waited... I stewed over it and I obsessed. I got together all the things I would need and I carefully laid my trap. I wanted everything to go perfectly, and I didn't want to get caught. So I waited and I obsessed... and somewhere along the way I think that a part of me turned evil too.


It was late at night and everyone in my house was asleep. This was the night. This was when I was going to get my revenge. I quietly got up out of bed and crept out of my room. I moved slowly and softly so as not to make a sound that might wake up my parents. I went down the stairs and then out the back door. No lights turned on, and I knew that no one had heard me go outside. I went and got the book bag I had hidden in the woods, the one with my supplies inside. The moon was full and bright and the shadows of the tree branches moved with the wind and looked like hands, reaching out to stop me before I made a mistake.

I put the book bag on my back and crept through the trees, over towards Autumn's house. As I got closer a cloud moved in front of the moon and blocked out all the light. It was dark, but I could still see the window to the basement and I crawled up to it, careful not to make a sound. The latch on the window was open, and I ever so quietly lifted it up. I paused for just a moment, wondering if I'd gone too far and if it was me, not Autumn, who was the evil one, whether I could live with myself if I carried out my plot. Goosebumps broke out on my arms and neck... I could feel a cold breeze under my shirt... my body shivered and shook. But then, it passed, and I decided to go in the basement window.

It was pitch black inside, but I knew my way around Autumn's house. I made my way to the stairs and went slowly, quietly, careful-not-to-make-a-sound, crawled all the way to his bedroom door. My heart was beating like mad -- thump thump -- and I was sure that someone would hear the sound of it going -- thump thump, thump thump. But they didn't hear a thing... nothing stirred inside the house.

I slowly opened his bedroom door. The hinge creaked -- eeeccree!! Then I looked inside and saw Autumn, fast asleep, lying in his bed. I stepped in and closed the door behind me. I took the can of gasoline out of my book bag and ever so quietly poured it on the carpet around his bed in the shape of a horseshoe. I stepped back towards the door and took out a box of matches and as I struck one and its light illuminated the room I could see his face, softly sleeping. I knew then I had gone too far but I couldn't turn back... and so I let the lit match fall to the floor.

Flames shot up in a ring and the sheets on Autumn's bed started to catch fire and a cloud of smoke rose up in the room. I turned away and opened the door. I knew I had to run, knew I had to get out of there. But then the flames began to lick Autumn's body and he cried out in pain, "AAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!"

And then I looked back at him (oh, how I wish I had never looked back). Autumn was sitting up in his bed and the fire was raging all around. The flesh was melting away from his face, his hair sizzled and his face swelled up. A terrible smell reached my nostrils and I urged and almost puked. He was looking right at me and his eyes were bloated and blood red. Then he raised an arm and pointed at me and cried out the curse that has haunted me to this day:

Gods of the underworld
I summon you here to listen to my last words
I offer up my soul and all I have left if you will curse this boy
Let his food always taste like ash
May his water always taste like metal
May he for the rest of his days be haunted by my words
May he hear them and may he see my burning face whenever he closes his eyes
May he wander the world alone and may he never rest.
Grant my wish and curse his every day
And may his torture be never ending

Then he laughed a foul black stench and melted away into the burning mattress of his bed. I turned and ran for my life. I ran and I hid in the woods. I never was caught and this confession I tell to you is the first time I have told this story. I think I have very few days left. For every time I close my eyes I see Autumn's face on fire and I hear his words. I am a man cursed, and I can never rest.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fan Fiction -- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

This post is a reworking of the final section of Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, "Henry Jekyll's Full Statement of the Case". I was wondering what would have become of the story if Jekyll had more fully embraced his inner Hyde and decided to flee rather than poisoning himself. I thought it might also be fun to try to write in the stuffy, drawn-out style of Victorian literature. Admittedly, I have found that I am not quite up to this task and beg your forgiveness for this ambling writing.


============================================

May this letter not be read as confession or apologia. Let these words, the last I shall write under the guise of Henry Jekyll, not be taken as an expression of remorse or regret, not the last desperate ramblings of a man who once did something finer and better with his life. No... it is quite the opposite. These words are written by one who has at long last found his way back to the true path and to a long forgotten self -- recently rediscovered -- a self I now long to never let go. This letter is an exaltation, a call to my fellow man to let go of themselves. And above all this is a call to you, dear reader, to return to your primal nature and cast off the cold coil of this artificial world where we toil and labour for the benefits of a rich few and deny our passions and desires. May these words be a call to liberation, and may you read them well.

I was born into a respected and prosperous family -- my father a gentlemen, by most accounts, and my mother a pious and devout woman. I was raised to uphold the good name of the family, to be a pillar of society and to contribute more than I took away. I attended the best schools. I went to church every Sunday and played nice with the other children. However from that very young age I was aware of a creeping suspicion in the marrow of my bones that the world of supposed goodness and truth I had been indoctrinated into was but a facade, and that there was a real world behind a curtain which waited to be thrown back. As I grew, this suspicion grew with me, until in my early twenties I decided upon a path of transcendence and actualization.

I enrolled in a medical academy, more to satisfy the demands and expectations of my family than from a genuine call to the vocation. My secret ambition I kept locked away, and at night after I had studied anatomy and dissected my specimens I took out the books for which I had a burning interest -- those of the occult and of alchemy. I wished to derive the quicksilver of the soul, the gold to be found at the bottom of my leaden heart, and to turn the shadows so long constrained loose, as starlings first fly from the nest of winter in the eaves. Verily I tried and again and again failed, for it seemed that whilst I could combine chemical elements to make laudanum and arsenic and lye, there was no formula to be found for the liberation of the secret cravings and desires locked away inside, and those starlings were surely meant to starve.

Finally, disconsolate, I decided to call an end to my quest, and chose to settle down to a life of toil and misery as a practitioner of medicine -- though I was always sceptical about why medicine should be called a practice, knowing I would never wish for a doctor, at least not those I had studied with, to "practice" on me. And so it came about that I concealed my pleasures, and when I came to a point of life that called on me for reflection I began to take stock of my place in the world, and discovered that I had committed myself, unwittingly, to a double life. For I could never actualize my pledge to leave behind the quest for my secret passions, and each time I resolved to rid myself of these carnal cravings I found that they came back with renewed strength and vigour, until after long years of torment I realized that I must follow my will down the dark corridors of inequity and be true, in the first, to myself.

Having so resolved, I renewed my pursuit for the elixir that would allow me to forever transcend my inhibitions and doubts. I came to see that it was the world, the society and culture I lived in, that was the stifling influence on my quest for a functional, primeval self. The decision, upon this revelation, was made for me -- I must cut myself off from the rest of the world if any semblance of sanity was ever to be found amongst the vacant thoughts and spectre filled delusions of my consciousness. I sealed my door and my practice from the prying eyes of the citizens of this greatest of all cities of the walking dead, and I began to experiment with certain substances that I had procured from an ancient apothecary via post. And as no suitable lab conditions would allow me to experiment on rats, and certainly I did not wish to experiment on other humans lest they should be the first to experience the bounty of my toils, I took the potions myself.

====================================================

This one is still a work in progress. It seems to have ballooned out of control. I'll be back to add the second half.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Concealment

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
$omeone told me 97% of money i$ digital,
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
just an illu$ion,
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
and if tomorrow everyone decided
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
that paper i$ just paper
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
and myth$ are just myth$
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
it would all fade away.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
I wonder why the $torie$
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
are $old as fact$
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
and what would happen if I read between the line$?
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

I$ to under$tand to tran$form what i$?
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Thursday, October 8, 2009

For an old friend

I am on a road

my feet struggle

on a road my feet

struggle

feet

on

I am on a road my feet struggle on my bare feet

bare

feet

bare

I am a road

I struggle on


Friday, September 18, 2009

Make me care about the lettuce

This post is a response to a writing exercise for Expressive Subjects.

=================================

The key to being a good waiter is to serve unnoticed. A good server is organized in the background and doesn’t intrude. Some waiters just don’t get that. They think that the customers came out to watch them perform, that they are acting on some spectacle stage and are going to make people watch whether they want to or not. When I served I always had a joke or a magic trick or a story if the customer wanted one, but I didn’t ever want to show off. I never wanted to be a performing seal.

I had just shown up for the lunch shift at Cruzzo in Malahide. I went into the kitchen to see what was on the go that day. There was a new kitchen porter starting and he shot me a bewildered look, as all new kitchen staff do.

“Hey Nate, how you doing?” said Paul. “This is my son, Cosmin. Here Cos, say hi to Nate.”

“Paul’s told me all about you,” I said as I shook his hand. “Welcome to Ireland.”

He was about my height and had the same strong facial features as his father. I knew that he was twenty and had just finished a college program in mathematics from conversations I'd had with Paul. They were from Romania and were both in Ireland illegally, as was Paul’s older brother, Viorelle. Viorelle had been working at Cruzzo as a kitchen porter in partnership with Paul until he was found to have placed an egg in the toe of a chef’s casual shoes. The chef had been particularly cruel to Viorelle by giving him scalding hot pans to clean, burning him in the process. To me it seemed harsh to sac Viorelle, but the Romanians literally had no rights in Ireland. Viorelle got another job somewhere as a painter, and incidentally, the mean chef was demoted to kitchen porter and quit about a week later, only to be replaced by Cosmin.

“Cos, you know Nate is good guy. I tell you. Remember I say?"

Paul was beaming he was so happy, just to have his son with him. His was such a hard life, to do what he did and be so far from home, and I couldn’t help but feel good for him.

“It’s nice to meet you,” said Cosmin in perfect English. “My father has told me a lot about you. It’s nice we get to know one another.”

“Likewise. I’ll get coffees and we can go outside and have a smoke, okay?”

“No Nate, no!” said Paul, “You and me smoke, but Cosmin no!”

I smiled at Cosmin and nodded, noticing the smoke pack outlined in the shirt pocket of his smock. “I’ll get three espresso. Hold that thought,” I said as I backed out of the dishpit.

I took a quick look at the specials board on the way by the pass. “Same as yesterday,” I thought. “Creative lot of chefs working here.”

I didn’t need to check and see if the bar was ready for service. The code of Irish bartending requires that you leave a bar cleaner and better stocked than you found it. All I had to do was wait for the customers. I went to the end of the bar and made three macchiatos.

Paul and Cosmin were already out back when I caught up with them. They seemed to be hotly debating something, and I may have learned the Romanian word for cigarette if I’d been paying more attention to them. I was drawn into looking at the arrangement of plates on the top of the shoulder height stonewall closing in the alley. Whenever Paul had a plate come through the dish pit that looked as though there was an artistic rendering in the leftovers he would put them aside and save them. Most often this was the medium of young children, making castles from mashed potatoes, and cut off straws with pieces of tissue for flags. It was not, however, exclusively children who make plate doodle designs, and the ones that struck Paul as the most inspired were kept for the alleyway collection.

“Which one you like best?” said Paul, as he reached to relieve me of the two extra cups.

“I don’t know Paul. It’s hard to pick just one, but if I had to choose I’d take the chicken bone clock.”

Paul and I had had this conversation many times before and I always noticed when a new piece was added to the gallery. Paul’s favorite was one made of olives and mustard in the shape of the constelation Orion, reaching for the Seven Sisters. The piece was minimalist, or so he said, and this appealed to Paul’s practical nature. He would admire it every morning while we had coffee and say, “I like easy to wash.”

One other that was particularly good was an outline of a thunderbird made with asparagus and orange peels. It had the look of a phoenix waiting to be reborn on a pyre and it was one of the first that Paul had kept. He had put it on a shelf next to his wash-up area for all to see. The manager at the time had frowned on the practice of keeping the plates out of circulation. He saw it as wasteful, I guess. But after the whole Viorelle-egg-shoe incident they let Paul do whatever he pleased, not wanting to lose the rest of their cheep labor.

In Romania, Paul and Viorelle both had good jobs. Paul was, in fact, a retired teacher, and Viorelle was a truck driver. They left Transylvania, which they assured me was a bountiful and magnificent place, and came to Ireland to illegally work in kitchens cleaning dishes because the money was so much better. I always thought it was funny that a nation so close to the rich western countries was that unequal, and it made me wonder what the rest of the world was like.

We chatted away for a few minutes, enjoying the sunshine and cigarettes and the easy nature of Romanian humor. When I was around Paul and his friends it made me wish that Ireland was full of Romanians. I tried to start most of my shifts by having coffee with the Paul and the porters. They had the worst job in the place, and yet the biggest smiles.

The hands on my watch rolled past twelve and I knew it was time to start back to work.

"Hey Nate," said Paul. "I have new plate to put up on wall. Think this one better than all the rest. You tell me what you think."

On the white background of the plate sat a single sprig of lettuce, slightly molted and shrivelled up -- it looked like a battered boat sitting on a calm sea. Inside it a single passenger, a gold ring with a red stone, the significance of which I have never been able to understand.

Paul held the plate before his son and said, "A nu se lăsa niciodată pe nimeni să vă spun sunt mai puţin pentru munca cinstită pe care o faceţi. Sunteti pe fiul meu şi te iubesc."

Cosmin looked for a moment at his father. He picked up the ring and put it in his shirt pocket and gave Paul a hug. I couldn't help but feel I'd missed out on something important and magical, though I knew instinctively I was in the presence of a father's unfolding artistry and the heart of the ages, passing from one hand to another.

======================================

(Link to a translator if you're interested in what Paul said)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Slurkett #1, Adam in the moon

I sat down today and decided that I was going to write a slurkett, a form that Timmy invented. He said to me one time that the first one he wrote was a bit of a disaster, and so that makes me feel a bit better about my attempt. I wrote a little review of Timmy's blog and this strange and challenging form that you can check out here if you want to give one a shot yourself.

====================================

Adam wears a bandanna every second day

but cannot tell you why.

Could it be with sorrow he forgets he lives on the dark side of the moon?

Does he know he will be forever alone,

endlessly seeking

for cheese and for anywhere like a Gouda place to hide?

"Go," seeps from lips, pitiful moan.

"Help," he whimpers to the stars, for in despair no one else is about to spy.

Is there no one around who can show Adam the way?

Just a friend to call him home?

Keep a place on the next shuttle -- he had a big bank account so you know he can pay.

Look now how you doom him to creeping.

Make a free seat for the misunderstood -- the boy whose wish is to fly

needs no more than a sail for his pontoon

or another bandanna on the moon, and one sunny day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Random

.

Can you hear me?
Can you still see the butterflies floating
in this mindless reverie?
Does this blade
of grass grow
and will there be tigers?

If there are
then there will be.

.

Monday, August 17, 2009

scattered thoughts 3

the marketers creed:

-if the primary need is security and belonging, then accordance or mainstreamism
-if it's control, succeedence
-if it's status and the esteem of others, then aspirance
-self esteem, then reformance

so then you have to ask,
what motivates the marketer?

scattered thoughts 2

this is no more a war than there is a war between mice and men

this is no more poetry than the insects I swat

Friday, July 31, 2009

nothing precludes anything else

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOaOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOsOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOtOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOrOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOtOOOOOOOOOsOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOaOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOmOOOOOOOOOOOOOOrOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOnooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOnomOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOmoon.O.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOmoon.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO..OOOOOnooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOmooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOmnmOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoonmOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOmOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOrOOOOOOrOOOOOOrO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOeOOOOOOeOOOOOOeO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOdOOOOdOOOOOdOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOiOOOiOOOOiOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOpOOpOOOpOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOsOsOOsOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOrewolfcolorflowerO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOsOsOsOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOpOOpOOpOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOiOOOiOOOiOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOdOOOOdOOOOdOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOeOOOOOeOOOOOeO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOrOOOOOrOOOOOrO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOof course one of the first things they noticed was that there would be a lack of food
the voyage would be arduous and filled with hunger and the sailors knew itOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOtOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOvOOcresOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOvOOOOOOOOOOOvOOOOOOwavesOOwaterOOOOOOOOOOOOOvOOOOOO
OOwavesOOwaterOOOwavesOOOwaterOOH2OOwaterOOOwaterOOOwavesOwaterO
waterOOOwaterOOOOwavesOOOOOOwaterOOwavesOOOwaterOOOOwaterOOwaves
OOOOOOwaterOOOOH2OOwaterOOwaterOOOwaterOOOOwaterOOOOOOOwaterOO

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Eclipse

I am glad you asked
me to speak
things you already know...

three dots at the end of my lines...

do not make me a poet
when I parse lines I
pay no attention to the ana
tomy of words
but to what shape they may take
in my mind...

what is this shape
who is the lady next door
who screams my name from the fire-escape-
night-after-night...

what book of answers...
what a story...


what an ellipse...
(pic is from the NASA gallery... a moon of Jupiter... I think they said it was Europa...)

Friday, July 17, 2009

.
sometimes you have to write your letter backwards
and explain all the things you knew
to your stuffed animals

because it's not their fault

the peppermint knobs
the decks of cards

the patter of bamboo on the window-
-sill as it should be

in a house of timber
jacks
and dominoes



and the more you hold of that rationale
the more you speak for that small part in us that is

willing us to be better
.

Friday, June 19, 2009

=========================

axiom part 2 (or a continuation of axiom part 1)

=========================





you can make up statistics to prove anything




33.8% of all voters know that




but my friend, it's
not the boat that truly turns

(or even the captain)





it's the tide



and what's in a movement of water that is standing still

and what's in words that makes me want to speak out

and say that it's

not the tide that should change


but the captain?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

a feather

falling..................................................................


f.....
l...
o.
..a
...t
....i
n..
g.....


.................................................faintly


remembrance.............................


.................................seagulls


expressiveness...............................


............................elusive

impossible.......................................................

...........................................sensation



c
........u
...............r
...................l
.................i
.............n
.......g



..h..e..s..i..t..a..t..e..s..k..n..e..a..d..i..n..g..a..i..r..

a feather falls

=======================================


am watching closely... a feather falls only for you

Sunday, May 10, 2009

d
iam
ondia
mondiam
diamondiam
ondiamon
diamon
daim
on
d
b,,,,
l,,,,,,,
a,,,,,,,,,
d,,,,
e,

o
,f

,,,g
,,,,,r
,,,,,,,a
,,,s
,s

b
,,,,e
,,,,,n
d
s,,


================================================

She balanced a diamond on a blade of grass,
She made everything sparkle and shine.


Tom Waites, Bottom of the World

And I'm lost
And I'm lost
I'm lost at the bottom of the world
I'm handcuffed to the bishop and the barbershop liar
I'm lost at the bottom of the world.

Well God's green hair is where I slept last
He balanced a diamond on a blade of grass
Now I woke me up with a cardinal bird
And when I wanna talk
He hangs on every word

And I'm lost
And I'm lost
I'm lost at the bottom of the world
I'm handcuffed to the bishop and the barbershop liar
I'm lost at the bottom of the world

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Renga




the back of the house
standing stone still, listening
hearing bamboo grow




Silently reaching
for a new day of brightness


*thanks to the walking man for the assist on these last two lines
================================================



a curious crow
digging the ground in search of
the last year's walnut


*thanks also to Human Being for this next haiku in the chain
=========================================================


dandelion on the lawn
always looks up at the sun

*two more from me
================================================

I watch you watching
little bugs, making their way
thoughtful stillness breathes


*a haiku from Harlequin
=============================================

Exchanging vision seeing
watchers in breathless exchange


*a couplet from the walking man
==============================================

silently watching
for a new day of brightness
Trembling bleeding hearts

*this segment from my friend Enemy of the Republic
======================

she loves these rare short-lived sparks...
which burn brighter than the sun...

*two more lines from teacher Crow
=====================

watering moisture
in brightness of rising light
burns darkness away

*another from the walking man
===================================

I haven't written haiku in a while and I forgot just how refreshing it is. Thanks to Christopher over at the Northern Wall for reminding me of how brilliant this form is, and for making me get out Lew Turco's Book of Forms. Turco says that the haiku is considered part of a tradition called renga, which in its early incarnations involved two or more authors, kind of a call and answer poem. The first three lines set the subject while the next two "amplify, gloss, or comment on the first triplet."

I'm wondering what you'd write for the last two lines?
Or for the triplet after that, or the couplet after that?

.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Don't give in

Poison against poison
cleans the blood
(revitalizes the soul)
if a curse is on you
(a curse of death).
Quick application is the only cure
(welcome to the new world order)
(feel the power).
Ask, why does no one care about me?
Ask, how do I know?
You sleep so still with such a solemn brow
Still too young and small,
still so asleep.
The last four of the six rules of politics:
lie, cheat, steal, deceive
and the others...
I'll let you know.

Sleep for now.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cilice


Yup... the old factory has been closed down for years now.
Seems like no one needs their shirts in this country any more.



When they shut down the homeless scavenged the building for scrap metal
and some squatters moved in.


But the government was quick to evict them,
having designs to convert the factory to produce bullet proof vests.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I remember in elementary school doing painting. All I wanted to do was mix the paint together, see what would happen... It always came out looking murky-brown-poo colored, the paper soaked in splotches and blobs.

Teacher said, "Oh, that's lovely! That's so good!" But I knew it looked like crap. None of the other students said anything because their output was much the same and besides, we were more interested in the process than the effect.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How can you live in the now with the view that posterity is on your side?

Friday, March 27, 2009

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.

--Sri Chinmoy Ghose

Thursday, March 26, 2009

M

for all your journey a blessing...
the path never knows the way but points the direction...

always listening if you want to talk...

good luck!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thrown

Maybe all life has the same soul
everything's a part of,
all faces of same one self,
everyone looking for salvation alone,
each one like a coal
thrown from the fire.


*******************************

from Harlequin's comment:


sparks, smoke, sighs, murmurs, mist
a sweet bayou of life
a feast...

******************************

so are words
so are words

Murambi

they say that he was free...

the one who has no no fence around his house is one who has no enemy...

and he had no fence around his mind...

=============================

these lines are paraphrased from a book I'm reading:

Murambi, The Book of Bones. Boubacar Boris Diop
.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Manifestations

Before I came to be I was nowhere. I'm nowhere now. I've been more and less present to dwelling on words, not the meaning but the way I say them, their relationship to silence and absence, the expanse about the syllables in the air. I think I should move on.

I awoke curled into the side of a mountain, a stone among the snow. Less I was the mountain or a tree, a stroke of lightening on the Liffey, unheard of as a story for gulls. Their battles are so fierce because the stakes are so small. Where was I then? Was that Swords or the Battery? That was wassisname's pub, wasn't it? More I think of it, it was Old Christmas Day, begging grog with boots on my hands and a cloth over my face to hide the scars. They all let me in. They know that I'm half-ways in, something left unfinished. Where are they going? I don't know. This isn't where I thought I was.

I remember a time before I left, but not well. I shudder to think back though it seems like only yesterday, or earlier tomorrow? Less I was a child and still an old man. Every word I spoke canceled out the rest and in the end I'd said nothing, just built mounds where I stood waiting for the end. Those apparitions showed themselves to me, though perhaps they never did. I tasted them with trembling, shivering down my spine, walking over unmarked graves, over crawling skin. Was that me underground, sinking lower than a sunset over all the unsympathetic miles? When I wake up I’m still gone and I never wake up, keep moving in a dream as notes falling from a piano to snow hanging in the air to days stolen from behind. Will I remember when the sun goes down? Will I be jealous of the night? Will there be lions? If there are there will be.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Short Play

------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------
This is another writing experiment. It was inspired by a post the Crow put up a week ago entitled Show, and by the writing of Beckett, who I've been reading lately. I'd also like to thank Derliwall for editorial support. I'm interested to know what you all may think about this piece. Thanks. The Hopper.
------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------

Front curtain rises.

The stage is set such that members of the audience seem to be watching the scene from behind.

Stage left a coat tree, wooden. Front center, a stool. Middle right, a rocking chair, facing away from audience. Taped to the back of the rocker, three white cue cards, each with a different actor's script. Blood drips from the rocker, forming a puddle on the floor.

Three actors, back to audience, arms raised overhead as though about to take a bow. Their costumes indicate that they were in a cowboy play, neckerchiefs, boots and spurs. Actor one (left), a young girl, wearing a summer dress, holding a six-shooter aloft in her left hand. Actor two (mid), a man, wearing denim jeans and a white shirt, soaked in blood, as are his hands, arms and neck. Actor three (right), a man, wearing black pants, a black jacket, empty holsters on each hip, holding a six shooter aloft in his right hand. The actors take a bow.

Sound of loud applause, cheering and whistling. Curtain falls along the back wall. Sound of applause and cheering continues.

Actors embrace and pat one another on the backs, jubilant. Exit left. Fading sound of applause.

Sound of murmuring and indistinct conversation, commotion and shuffle of theater emptying. Sound fading for one minute. Quiet din.

Sound of distant door closing. All quiet.

Stage left, enter cleaner pushing a trolley equipped with mop, bucket, towels and other cleaning supplies. Garbage bag hangs off the side. A typical cleaning cart. Cleaner is an older man, gray hair, dressed in an suit, threadbare, a tweed salt and pepper hat on his head. Walks with a limp in his right leg, making his movement slow.

Pushes trolley slowly towards middle of the stage. Stops when reaches center, humming as he goes.

Limps to the back of the stage, lifts up curtain, peers out. Drops curtain, turns, limps back to trolley. Looks around stage as he goes.

Abruptly stops humming. Notices blood on floor and seat of rocking chair. Grumbles and curses under his breath, shaking his head. Sighs.

Dunks mop in bucket of water. Wrings mop laboriously. Moves slowly towards rocker. Begins to mop blood. The mopping spreads the blood into streaks. Much more red on floor. More grumbling.

Stops mopping. Goes back to trolley. Puts mop in bucket and looks around stage, fuming.

Takes towel from trolley, laboriously begins to scrub floor on hands and knees, sopping up the blood and water. Towel stains bright red.

Struggles to get up. Throws spent towel in garbage bag. Takes another towel from trolley.

Goes back to rocker. Kneels down to start scrubbing when he notices the three cue cards taped to the rocking chair. He looks at each one.

Pulls a card free from rocker. Stands up. Reads card more attentively. Looks stage left, disturbed.

Limps to coat tree, mumbling to himself as he continues to read card. Tips his hat towards the stool. Mimes taking off a coat and hanging it on the tree.

Cleaner (in a bad western accent): Howdy.

Pause.

Cleaner: You know why I'm here lil' missie?

Pause.

Cleaner: No. I ain't gonna kill your pa.

Pause.

Cleaner: You'se is gonna kill your pa.

Front curtain falls.

Friday, January 30, 2009



b,,,,
l,,,,,,,
a,,,,,,,,,
d,,,,
e,

o
,f

,,,g
,,,,,r
,,,,,,,a
,,,s
,s

b
,,,,e
,,,,,n
d
s,,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Adaptation


-------------------------------------------

I must be standing on a hill,
some way from the village.
I can see the vineyards and gardens,
thatched roofs. The stars adrift
in light cloud cover, almost golden
the rolling hills like
a tide about to wash in.
An explosion at the point of perspective,
searing the canvass,
what could have been a tree,
surely a spotlight in the sky,
a fleet of bombers and the hills
the head of a hammer.
Pardon my grammar.
It was a starry, starry night.

-------------------------------------------

the opening of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett:

A country road. A tree.
Evening.

Estragon, sitting on a low mound, is trying to take off his boot. He pulls at it with both hands, panting. He gives up, exhausted, rests, tries again. As before....

-------------------------------------------

from Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra:

Here the young man fell silent. And Zarathustra contemplated the tree beside which they were standing, and spoke thus:

'This tree stands here alone on the mountainside; it has grown up high above man and animal.

'And if it wished to speak, it would find no one who understood it: so high has it grown.

'Now it waits and waits -- yet what is it waiting for? It lives too near the seat of the clouds: is it waiting, perhaps, for the first lightening?'

----------------------------------------------

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

-----------------------------
................................................................................................................................................... is silence............................lack of speech..................time remaining...............as punctuation...........the envelope................words left out...........................what is memory............see the photographs............................shoebox...............kite................burial ground for breakfast.......................................traffic light..........what is the truth about.........when there are many possible truths about..........what are we..................spaces between................................................................................................................................................................................
-----------------------------

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thus Spake the Crow...: Broken...

To thank the Crow for so many years of support and caring...

Visit tartx blog (You know, that "BWO" with a nice silhouette of a crow on the side) to learn more about blogging without obligation. Please feel free to share any ideas or thoughts about why writing in this form is important to you. Why are you a blogger?

Any comments you'd like to leave for the Crow, who is a teacher to so many of us, leave them here. I'll see if there isn't some way to pass them on.

Sincerely,
The Hopper-scribe

Thus Spake the Crow...: Broken...

Friday, January 16, 2009

-------------------
-------------------
-------------------
I'd almost forgotten about it until the other day.
When it came it was bubble wrapped and taped,
The tinsel and ribbon poking out through the gaps.
As the UPS guy handed it to me it rattled,

Something inside gave way and the package shifted,
The sound of broken glass. Forget how much you don't want this,
Forget that you should run out into the streets,
Heave it into the air! "It must must have been damaged

In transport," he said. "Hope it wasn't anything important."
He turned and walked away, smug in his assurance
It was delivered as it had been packaged.
The card was stapled on the outside.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Has Anyone Seen Fern?

colourable, best described
windows, frames laying an overcheck
on the path, dark roots a
hush spreads the mist
settling like a song,
corduroy.