Saturday, December 17, 2005

Artist's Statement

"Le bon Dieu est dans le detail" (God is in the detail) -- Gustave Flaubert (1821-80)

"Der Teufel steckt im Detail" (The Devil Lives in the Detail) -- Anonymous

I am primarily interested in the romantic distortions that lie between the capture of realistic details and the fantastic interpretations that such renderings may offer.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Shell in the Mirror


the impossible, not the casual

the kind where the groom is covered with dung
and the bride is a white seagull

the way the buildings look

when they emerge fresh from the morning sea
drenched with night, clotted with pearls

marriage of reflections

gold light wedded to the perfect calligraphy
of shadows knowing no boundaries

white avalanche

thunder and dome rising from catastrophe
tropes of contrails' and star maps' merciless

thieving wilderness and the hut within

refuge from rain separated by glass
clouds trapped in bottles while we smoke

crude alchemy of corpses

slashed by time's chain of forgotten landscapes
hanging in the central gallery of the medulla

sweet stench of fish rot

pure in the indifferent swirl
of childhood's vessel and wave

hello candles in the darkness

the ice palace melting from within
dissolved in saltwater


the huge burlesque heart pounding drunken anvils
invincible drumbeat of a primal adrenaline rush


carved into an agate ante meridian
the frame twisted into winter angels


fabricating madness refusing to embrace mortality
holy dream disintegrating with each sigh

one eye

Cyclops breeding technology into pulsing red and
green signals
triggering the third eye's blinding schizophrenia


sketching the ineffable grasp invented to populate
tuned to something vaster deep beyond lies

a kiss

making us more than whole joined to death
like hip to flesh by the Carpenter's nail

the pull

between ecstasy and mutilation
sweeping rhythm of snow's virgin brooms


the ache of deception created by criminal words
uttered for the sake of something greater than

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Autumn Masque

I entered the autumn masque, fallen stars glistening in the eaves. . .

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Poems From the Book of Angels


I awoke in July. When heat
Seared the orange daylilies
Framing fragile gardens.
Walking through the new city,
I shed my coat, gloves,
Sweater, scarf, and boots.
There was a white birdhouse in a yard,
The replica of a tiny church on a pole,
With cross-shaped windows
Striking me like a bell or a whip.

Smothered by tubes and sheets
For weeks, and
Angels sat on my head and licked
My face with raspy, catlike tongues
Until I appeared like a cloud on someone else's
Lawn. I went to a bar in the foreign
Town and drank beer and ice water
But all I wanted was the snow I had fallen from
Into this glass inferno.
Angels sat on one side of the cracked mirror
Behind the bar, devils on the other.

I was a dancer, possibly a father. All I
Remembered was now burgundy, red flesh within
Siberia. I see myself walking down
The road in the picture to the beach. My
Eyes have seen the shape of the future
Through rain. I am like the future. I am
A god, risen from a basket of worms. I
Am walking into the picture.

The ship's prow is
Covered in flowers. I spent a decade
Living with an angry beast
I never knew in a
Dying cell, didn't I?
Sprinting occasionally
Like spirited lightning
Across a fabulous floor
Made fine.
Clever sweat and dissatisfaction
Were the price we paid. But we always
Struggled and went on
Until I fell. Did I fall?
Do we ever?

I carry coins in my head. Prance
With flame-drenched souls.
Hunger and light is what boiling
refines down. A little passion (like a footnote)
Between the scurry and the files.
The ship inches down the bricks,
Dragging our house behind it.
The house we built is
Unfamiliar, but I find the beams and
The masts lovely: it views
The sea.

The waters closed over my head
And I sank into a bed of anenomes
And roses. Mermaids and men
Pulled me down, kissing everything.
Cries and red lights in the distance
I called home.
I am home now and it is the strange
Place I love. Dress me with flowers,
Stand me in the garden. I will be your
Sextant, your sundial, your walking
Miracle of cherished bone.

I was never as fragile as a song
Before, more like Atlas holding
Up your earth. Your gaze withered me
And we are married but whose clothes
Are these? I'd like to find the person
In the video who swept the world
Into his arms and kicked a flight across
The stage. . . his heart pounding like a star.
The resemblance would drive the old me

The pictures are so lovely!
The phone rings night and day!
I am beloved! Miraculous
Renaissance encyclopedias!

There is no decay.
I still see angels
Lighting and quivering in the corners
Of my eyes. They make me laugh
And people say "hallucinations."
Flash: an image. X-rays: surgery.
Our lifetimes combined added up to less than
A second one.

First you throw all the rules away.
Then the notebooks, the textbooks and
The science that saved you.
Then you clasp your wife's hand tightly,
Defy the world and stand gracefully
On the prow, sailing proudly (no tears today)
Through the mechanical painted streets,
Out to a sea the color of beer.


The Mystery of the Huge Black Carp

In the Netherlands
Where the landscapes are soft, dreamy and brutal,
On the immense rolling grounds of the university
I came upon mysterious ponds
Filled with huge black carp,
Vague missiles moving stealthily under the fogwater.

Carp had ceased to thrive here
Centuries ago.

There was a rotating lens
Atop the building on the hill
Which observed my movements through the valley.
And before that a journey down a waterfall
River in a boat that meant certain death --
A graphic, misleading design.

Sleep is like death sometimes;
Our memories intermingle with those of angels.
And our thoughts move like huge black carp,
Stealthy symbols trying to navigate us
Through the dark, lurking just beneath
The surface of morning.



Strange hay of bodies threshing light.
Scimitars of thought slicing unfaceable nights.
It is impossible to die
Mid the inscrutable crunching of cells.
Impossible to kill time
Or lie to the brazen hour.
The beat has come to kill us now.
No more pushing through weeds
To strangle moments.
The boat has docked.
The endless ladder abruptly
Ended. The next step lands in
Space. Below, the mists of a child
Gazing into the lake rises, strong enough
To blind.

The darkness collapses.
The angels mimic science, basses drone
And whine. You have run into the wall.
Alone. The threshing heart ceases.
The silent bone sings.

Plummeted high
Above the bright world
Without speech,
Dangled until one by one
Their thoughts let go of you.

If only you'd known the stupidity
Of numbers, the moronic, aching waste
Of cellular days.

Now you know
Everything. What you'd give to touch.
Nothing is taken from what has been given.

Your eyes are raining jewels.
The ocean has fashioned
A harp from your thigh.
The electric deer graze in meadows of mind.
A fetus made of stars
Swings in bone and cradles night.

Here you are, a nothingness
Clipped from pictures, sewn
Into disguise.

The star that doesn't last is why.
The medicines lasted and rang true
Until the line erased all facts.

Imagination perfect and true
Is all that's left of you.

The angel falls away at last,
Leaving only hunger
To devour.

Inside life, at the core,
There are no dresses and wings.
Where rain begins
And light shines
Madness unfurls.

The door opens wide,
And no longer matters.

It was the last thing you saw.
Now never begins.
The old

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The tiny maps were true to us,

Leading us into the darkened gold of mermaid caves deep within sleep, brown windows no on else could ever open. Enchanted, we groped our blind packages of loss, fingers brailling tapestries of hunger. We climbed elaborate stairways of dust together to hear the whispered poems of tooth, bone and wing, to find stories of the ancient spiral told by its invisible inhabitants. We hunted save colors in those palaces of intrigue until our tongues went numb from the salted taste of the glacial swells and our clumsy heads were deafened by surge and drum. Clasping hands, we followed seaweed paths into tomorrow, drank deep from starry wells, and folded many kinds of darkness into our chests, where we kept their beats both secret and alive.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Momentists live their lives in search of “perfect moments,” moments of illumination, transformation, exhilaration. The perfect moment may be one of reminiscence triggered by a déjà-vu like sense of familiarity. Or it may be a profound realization of the inevitability of death. It can be a variety of things, but the essential element that defines the perfect moment is the extreme degree of its intensity.

Whether the Momentist experiences an overwhelming sense of loss or of recognition, what characterizes the so-called “perfection” of the moment is its fullness, its uniqueness, its ripeness, in comparison to the emptiness, complacency and ordinariness of much of our waking lives. Perfect moments are like rich tropical islands coming into view after a long tedious journey, during which the splendors and fascinations of the ocean have ceased to inspire and have metastasized into a uniform gray longing for an invisible shore.

The most dangerous mistake made on the part of the Momentist is in supposing these moments to be real, or – even worse – in some way more real than the average and dull wasteland in which we float. For these moments are just as unreal and illusive as the waves that surround them. Simply because they are searingly poignant or heartbreakingly beautiful doesn’t make them any truer or more ideal than anything else in life. Their substance depends entirely on context and subjectivity rather than on an absolute value or meaning. But those individuals drawn to Momentism are notorious for their passionate natures, as well as for their romantic ideals.

The mature Momentist, however, is a cynic at heart. He or she knows all too well that every moment is a precipice, behind which lurks an abyss. What makes life bearable for the true Momentist is that during the trance-like experience of the perfect moment, the rest of the universe ceases to matter. The true Momentist is highly aware of the contextual nature of perfection, and revels in it.

Momentists are a dangerous breed. They live in a world dictated by longing and expectation. If they are foolish enough to believe in ideals or absolutes, they are more often than not perfectionists as well, rarely satisfied with themselves or others. If they are cynical enough to perceive there are no absolute truths, it is often difficult for them to justify their own existence. Frequently, however, the uniqueness of the moment is justification enough.

A Momentist waits and watches, hopes and fears; often the perfect moment defies manipulation and happens without warning or explanation – then suddenly an emotion blooms, eclipsing the intellect entirely and one is plunged into that transcendent realm of irrational “one-ness,” ravished to the core, and – alas! – absolutely dependent on the transience of the illusion.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Rancid Prince (Compadrito) of Darkness Dances the Tango with the Intaglio (Milonguero) of Light

Salimos a bailar? = Shall we dance?

Could feel his moustache on my hibiscus breast (we were born in mystery)
Glimpsed black wiry hairs sprouting up between
sock and shin (dance is braiding and shearing)

The mountains slid backwards (the house became huge)
The mud-colored leaves swirled up like bee clouds (his shoe caresses)

Around our prancing forms’ (eagles in flight)
Mad backwards spread (birds falling)

Caminar = Fluid Walk

For starters, he hissed, I will give you (thin wings, fragile animals)
An everlasting lamp, made of a winter (the destiny of stars)

Morning that will never fade, shot through and through (tapestries of ice)
With silver, gold and blue:
a living bauble made by a god or two. . . (witnesses of night)

I felt his lacey shirt cuffs (understood the futility of food)
Graze my waist (the enormity of the map of the world)

Media Vuelta = Half-Turn

He was saying as if living was just one more (blue perilous sky)
Way to stop the pain (the necessity of inhabiting words)

Or at least a way to try to keep it away, at bay,(of shaping the night with verse)
Like using a stick to wrench a wild animal’s(no matter what it cost or who it hurt)

Jaws apart, just like so many trappings (he liked me for my spine)
Of art we rip and save and tape (cracked songs lost transmissions old loop plays)

Salida Cruzada = Beginning of a Cross Pattern

All to delude ourselves (hungry glass continents)
That art is something more. . . (irresistible lips in bliss)

And next, I’ll marry your hump-backed sister (deary fuzzy fawn in shaded wood)
To a faithful farmer-bandit (revolutionary zeal)

And give you five gold coins as bright as suns (stunning weather reports)
That will become whatever you imagine. . . (horizon-melt)

Desplazamiento = Displacement of Partner’s Foot or Leg

And what do I have to do, I murmered (bad laugh track sitcom hell)
Lost in the winter lamp revolving at our feet (the hour glass that never runs out)

Merely marry my shadow (the one you’ve always known)
And he opened his cloak (course of adrenaline fear)

I saw a shadow of gold, lit from within (hope begets glade)
Cold and harder than any stone (the polished thing)

Sentada = Sitting Action

As far beyond earth’s fragrant touch (narcissus bloom)
As a long-dead fossil, and thought (mirror crust)

It wouldn’t be so bad (sin spotting scope)
Caring for what’s worse than a corpse (ruined cherished fractals)

In trade for wonder (philosophic wax)
Embracing a grave (smooth deep glossy sheen)

Boleo = Throw

But stop right there, I said, wheeling (make me a wonder)
I think I remember how this kind of thing ends (haunted by the parade)

As our reflections parted and joined (dark mossy rope)
Like some clothed vessel and he (the emerging frame)

Said don’t think about that (sweep away the thoughts you can’t stand)
It’s not where you belong (lone bauble in waves)

Dibujo = Drawing Circles on the Floor With One’s Toe

Poetry can’t live alone (dance, one-legged doll)
It needs the dark corners (basement psychology)

Feeding its ravenous spider-mind (creep of vermin)
With worms from down deep whispered endearments)

I’ve been shot, stabbed, beheaded and slashed (his faith)
And never felt a thing (her need)

Llevada = Transport by Sweeping the Partner’s Foot

For 3,000 years I was a crow (black flutter of night)
Just watching and learning (perhaps you were my bone)

And our reflections flew apart (unions betrayed)
Then were soldered in one fleeting, flaming tool (alchemy of lust)

He flashed the map of secret routes that would (you too can be a star)
Make me young (you can play the role better than most)

Firulete = Skillful Adornment

I could feel it in my heartbeat (no easy answers)
Part of me already belonging to him (purse clasp and knee click)

From the moment I had skin. (flaying has its)
There is danger in the kind of pleasure (underground allures)

That twirls you round (lasso-style)
With champagne veins. (high, high, highest)

Enganche = Partner Wraps Leg Around Other’s Leg

I saw the dark velvet tunnels, caverns of stars (crush)
Blue underground lakes (Elysia)

We made it look effortless, like blown glass (breathing)
Though our complicated dance cost us our lives (toll pass consequence)

You are the etchings on the moon – (in my black dress)
Cool, lovely, distinct, distant. (I was his living shadow, his relief)

Amague = Threatening Noise/Embellishment

I tried to bite down HARD on my angry salvation (steamroller Blues)
But couldn’t stay focused (fabric of magic)

It kept slithering back (herding theories)
Into the ocean of will (photos change over time)

The only catch – barely a ripple – (windsurfer swallowed by wave)
Is your inspiration will run dry, drop and stop (headline truth stratosphere beat)

Mordida = The Foot of One Partner is Trapped
Between the Two Feet of the Other

In a world (perspiration)
Screaming with excess (lifelike plastic blossoms)

Dark days ruffled grays (open doorways of decay)
Beat a cool din in my fevered ears (the C Sharp of the color Red)

You will live in inspiration (he couldn’t help roaming)
And not feel a thing (a frozen moment that stirred my soul)

Quebrada = The Woman Stands One Foot, Hanging Against the Man

The night is hungry he hissed (desire trumps lucidity)
Pressing the small of my back (fear trumps guilt)

He swept away the light within his cloak (shield the moment)
And drove us across the room (one day to save the world!)

We fluttered into each other (love swallows creative mania)
Like a perfect match (mercenaries of poems)

Lustrada = The Woman Strokes Her Partner’s Pant Leg With Her Shoe

Scent of pomegranete (illusory potions)
His ice-thin hand, special in mine (he is too vulnerable too)

The earth heaving and sighing (an ageless mordant grace)
And rolling over nations (music please)

As light as slippers (we glide together through)
We waltzed (reflections only I can see)

Cadena = Complex Turning Figure of Enchainment


Compadrito – Ruffian; inventor of the tango

Milonguero – Tango fanatic whose life revolves around tango and who embodies the essence of tango.

Salimos a bailar? – “Shall we dance on the dance floor?”

Caminar – Balanced, fluid walk

Media Vuelta – Half-turn done when man’s right foot and woman’s left foot are free

Salida Cruzada – Beginning of a pattern with a cross.

Desplazamiento – Displacement of partner’s foot or leg using one’s foot or leg.

Sentada – Sitting action.

Boleo – To throw.

Dibujo – Drawing circles or movements on the floor with one’s toe.

Llevada – To transport; one partner’s foot sweeps the other’s foot.

Firulete = Complicated or syncopated movements used to demonstrate skill and interpret music.

Enganche – Hooking or coupling; one partner wraps leg around the other’s leg.

Amague – Make a threatening motion as an embellishment.

Mordida – The foot of one partner is trapped or sandwiched between the two feet of the other partner.

Quebrada – The woman stands on one foot, hanging with all her weight against the man.

Cadena – Complex, theatrical, rapid turning figure evoking a chain or enchainment.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mussel Shells

the darkest blue nights

spent inside

empires of small wind squalls


tiny traces of sky


I can't remember the first time I made collages, though it was probably sometime in my childhood. Later on it became the way to make a 'zine. Before Photoshop it was photocopy, cut and paste. My friend Frank used to have "collage parties" during which guests would listen to cool music, drink and eat and make collages on poster board by cutting up images from a huge pile of unusual magazines. It was great fun and gave everybody something to do, thus avoiding the dreaded "party scene" where people stand around and feel awkward and don't know what to say to each other or have to get drunk in order to have fun. Now Frank owns Ubu Gallery, which will exhibit a number of collages by local artists, myself included. To the left is "Mnemosyne," the collage that will be included in the show.

Here is another collage:

Collages are democratic. You don't have to be a great "artist" to make collages. If you can handle scissors and a Glue Stick (if you're really into collage you'll use something like Yes Glue, which doesn't wrinkle the paper, no matter how thin, when applied so that it completely covers the back of the image).

Of course, it's my theory that anyone and everyone can draw or paint. We're all artists. It is only fear (and negative experiences) that holds us back and makes us believe we can't "draw." (Or sing or dance.) Some of the greatest drawings I've seen in classes were the ones by the people who had the most "primitive" styles, sometimes having done no artwork since third or fourth grade in school. Why is that? Because their images were raw and heartfelt; direct; uncluttered by the conventional ways of being taught to "see."

Here's an old collage:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Painting of Gourds

This is a watercolor painting of gourds I did last week. I like painting gourds because they seem wondrous and magical to me, yet somewhat monstrous -- curious freaks of nature, with their odd colors and strange, twisted shapes and markings. They also fascinate me because their landscapes are contorted, alien, bizarre -- like small villages dotting ravines and crevasses of dark green and pale gold. Watercolor is an amazing medium. A lot of people think of it as uncontrollable and hard to manage, but the key is in the water itself. If you use very little water on hot pressed watercolor paper, the paper won't warp or wrinkle. The flat paper holds the color well and it is possible to take a long time to explore the slow build-up of mass and color, almost in the same way as oils or acrylics. The beauty of watercolors is that they can be used as translucent layers, to build up colors, and they do have a certain crisp delicacy that is hard to achieve with other media.

Lit Crit

I recently came across the college textbook called Modern Criticism and Theory, A Reader, Edited by David Lodge which I paid .50 cents for. The original college price was $26.95. Published in 1988, it has essays by Ferdinand de Saussure, Victor Shklovsky, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Mikhail Bakhtin, Tzvetan Todorov, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Stanley Fish, Paul De Man, Terry Eagleton, Helene Cixous. . . in other words the big guns of Structuralist and Post-Structuralist theory. Though out of date and already passe, this movement had such strong influences on literary criticism and academia (to the horror of many writers, such as W.G. Sebald)that it is still fascinating to read. Usually I don't like texts that have been pencilled over, but in this case, it's almost equally as interesting to note what material was underlined and the content of the margin notes (in themselves a deconstruction of the text). Here are some of the juicier excerpts:

From "Art as Technique" by Victor Shklovsky: "Potebnya and his numerous disciples consider poetry a special kind of thinking -- thinking by means of images; they feel that the purpose of imagery is to help channel various objects and activities into groups and to clarify the unknown by means of the known."

Although Shkovsky is rebutting Potebnya and his disciples, as an Imagist I am interested in this.

" ' Without imagery there is no art' -- 'Art is thinking in images.' These maxims have let to far-fetched interpretations of individual works of art."

"But we find that images change little, from centruy to century, from nation to nation, from poet to poet, they flow on without changing. . . poets are much more concerned with arranging images than with creating them."

I found this an interesting observation.

"Art removes objects from the automatism of perception in several ways." He goes on to illustrate how "Tolstoy makes the familiar seem strange by not naming the familiar object. He describes an object as if he were seeing it for the first time, an event as if it were happening for the first time. In describing something he avoids the accepted names of its parts and instead names corresponding parts of other objects. Tolstoy uses this technique of 'defamiliarization' constantly."

Good advice for any writer. . .

Roland Barthes, "The Death of the Author":

In his story Sarrasine Balzac, describing a castrato disguised as a woman, writes the following sentence: 'This was woman herself, with her sudden fears, her irrational whims, her instinctive worries, her impetuous boldness, her fussings, and her delicious sensibility.' Who is speaking thus? Is it the hero of the story bent on remaining ignorant of the castrato hidden beneath the woman? Is it Balzac the individual, furnished by his personal experience with a philosophy of Woman? Is it Balzac the author professing 'literary' ideas on femininity? Is it universal wisdom? Romantic psychology? We shall never know, for the good reason that writing is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin. Writing is that neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identiy is lost, starting with the very identiy of the body writing."

"As soon as a fact is narrated no longer with a view to acting directoy on reality but intransitively, that is to say, finally outside of any function other than that of the very practice of the symbol itself, this disconnection occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters into his own death, writing begins."

I find the Structuralists annoying at times, in both their rhetoric and their nihilism; at the same time, some of their observations on text rival the best poetry, the best creative fiction.

Michel Foucault, What is An Author?:

"The second theme, writing's relationship with death, is even more familiar. This lik subverts an old tradition exemplified by the Greek epic, which was intended to perpetuate the immortality of the hero; if he was willing to die young, it was so that his life, consecrated and magnified by death, might pass into immortality; the narrative then redeemed this accepted death. . . Our culture has metamorphosed this idea of narrative, or writing, as something designed to ward off death. . . The work, which once had the duty of providing immortality, not possesses the right to kill, to be its author's murderer, as in the cases of Flaubert, Proust and Kafka."

"Another notion which has hindered us from taking full measure of the author's disappearance, blurring and concealing the moment of this effacement and subtly preserving the author's existence, is the notion of writing (ecriture). . . The notion of writing, as currently employed, is concerned with neither the act of writing nor the indication -- be it symptom or sign -- of a meaning which someone might have wanted to express. . . In current usage, however, the ntion of writing seems to transpose the empirical characteristics of the author into a transcendental anonymity."

Wolfgang Iser: The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach:

Iser's comments on the illusory nature of writing/art are interesting, especially to someone interested in Hypnosis.

"Even in texts that appear to resist the formation of illusion, thus drawing our attention to the cause of this resistance, we still need the abiding illustion that thge resistance itself is the consistent pattern underlying the text. This is especially true of modern texts, in which it is the very precision of the written details which increases the proportion of indeterminancy; one detail appears to contradict another, and so simultaneously stimulates and frustrates our desire to 'picture,' thus continually causing our imposed 'gestalt' of the text to disintegrate. Without the formation of illusions, the unfamiliar world of the text would remain unfamiliar; through the illusions, the experience offered by the text becomes accessible to us, for it is only the illusion, on its different levels of consistency, that makes the experience 'readable.' If we cannot find (or impose) this consistency, sooner or later we will put the text down. The process is virtually hermeneutic."

"Even while the reader is seeking a consistent pattern in the text, he is also uncovering other impulses which cannot be immediately integrated or will even resist final integration. Thus the semantic possibilities of the text will always remain far richer than any configurative meaning formed while reading."

"It is precisely during our reading that the transitory nature of the illusion is revealed to the full."

"As the formation of illusions is constantly accompanied by 'alien associations' which cannot be made consistent with the illusions, the reader constantly has to lift the restrictions he places on the 'meaning' of the text. Since it is he who builds the illusions, he oscillates between involvement in and observatio of those illusions; he opens himself to the unfamiliar world without being imprisoned in it."

"In order to understand this 'experience,' it is well worth considering Georges Poulet's observations on the reading process. He says that books only take on their full existenc in the reader."

Such an obvious observation! Yet how startling! Imagine the greatest books not existing -- and yet they don't, until someone reads them. . .

I was never a big fan of Harold Bloom,'s but his essay on "Poetic Origins and Final Phases" has some great stuff:

"More than ever, contemporary poets insist that they are telling the truth in their work, and more than ever they tell continuous lies, particularly about their relations to one another, and most consistently about their relations to their precursors." [The pencilled-in margin note here reads "poets tell lies". I found this priceless, easily worth the .50 cost of the book.]

"Catastrophe, as Freud and Ferenczi viewed it, seems to me the central element in poetic incarnation, in the fearsome process by which a person is re-born as a poet."

"How are true poets born? Or better, as the Age of Sensibility liked to ask, what makes posssible the incarnation of the Poetical Character? Dessication combined with an unusually strong oceanic sense is the highly dualistic yet not at all paradoxical answer."

"For even in the context of incarnation, of becoming a poet, obligation shines clear as a little death, premonitory of the greater fall down the the inanimate. Poets tend to incarnate by the side of ocean, at least in vision, if inland far they be." [The margin note here reads: "Poets tend to incarnate by side of ocean"!!]

"If not to have conceived oneself is a burden, so for the strong poet there is also the more hidden burden: not to have brought oneself forth, not to be a god breaking one's own vessels, but to be awash in the Word not quite one's own."

"To live, the poet must misinterpret the father, by the crucial act of misprision, which is the re-writing of the father. But who, what is the poetic father? The voice of the other, of the daimon, is always speaking ine one; the voice that cannot die because already it has survived death -- the dead poet lives in one."

"A poet, I argue in consequence, is not so much a man speaking to men as a man rebelling against being spoken to by a dead man (the precursor) outrageously more alive than himself."

"Perhaps this why the poet-in-a-poet cannot marry, whatever the person-in-a-poet chooses to have done."

I'm not crazy about Robert Bly, either (though he has his moments), though parts of this bring to mind an excellent book by Bly called Leaping Poetry.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Rooms Where You Move

The rooms where you move inhabit you,
Growing monstrous in time
And when I come here it’s like
Wandering a spacious brain

The eclipse of one hundred blind eyes
Shadowy hands that dust the cornices,
Your tongues in the mouths of the gargoyles
Filled with snowflakes and ash.

What else do we find?
The unleashing of secrets, solvent mysteries
The shape of keys
And the subtle pungencies of art.

All buildings are insane and in no way
Better than any other, their grace determined
Only by cleaner motions, purity of guises
And these rooms are the mask

Of a body of wire and light
Lain out in muscled inches
For its travelers to marvel at
And wonder.

In the rooms where you move
There is no mystery deeper than the self,
No space finer that what lies between
The rubber cushions of thought

Described only by traffic and rule
As I move within your imagined steps.

-- A. Seikonia

Portrait by Martha Miller

This is a portrait by artist Martha Miller ( I sat for her this summer and she made this gorgeous portrait, using pastels, charcoals and a bit of watercolor.

Dragonfly Wings

Recently, while walking Kaya, I found an amazing pair of perfectly intact dragonfly wings on the grass. I am amazed that I even noticed them. A faint glitter in the sunlight attracted me to them. I cupped them in my hand and brought them home with me. I was fascinated by the delicacy and detail of these fragile wings that had borne a creature through the air. Later I made some drawings of them.