shadows

“I am attracted to the ellipsis, to the unsaid, to suggestion, to eloquent deliberate silence.” —Louise Glück

Western winter light, January 2015

At their deepest hibernation, groundhogs slow their heartbeats
to three to five beats per minute. Dangerously efficient.
Orange blossoms take almost a year to resemble fruit.
Did you notice when the undulations became ritual?
When time, found in the sound of light, was earnest and seductive?

broswer history

Film still from A Taste of Honey, Tony Richardson, 1961

You may well be the narrator, the narrative, and the narrated.
—Mahmoud Darwish, In the Presence of Absence

Generally, analytic predictions are only worth their final outcome. To help explain the magnitude of our current predicament, experts frame our collective memories in context of 100-year old floods, fires, wind events, drought, and storms. It’s an affective perspective born from habits that deny discovery, and it becomes boring—this cycle of forgetting. It’s obvious they never bothered to ask the swollen streams and eroding mountains what they know. Patches of grey swirl in a wanting-to-be blue bruised sky. This familiarity, both as place and mood, is its own form of disquiet energy. Memories of transverse understanding are leisurely folded inside melancholic miles of distance and above tangled root systems bolting vigorous. I prepare these filaments of imagination for when the apocalypse finally arrives out-of-breath and panicked. I extend no shame in its direction. It knows how late it is. I close my eyes and taste the sacred in all its contingencies. temporary, temporary, temporary

push record

self-portrait [glitch], Petaluma, CA. July 2012
In a trance,
a warm winter sun
and somatic echoes
pull dreams from my bones
and the stars
become repetition compulsion—
call and response.

A gust of wind,
voices carry.
Thresholds of absence
absorb transfiguration—
artificial as divination.
Ease my thighs.
Pay attention.

Track the pattern.
It’s what is encouraged
when time does not stop.

commemoration

“Ask yourself: Why am I seeing and feeling this? How am I growing? What am I learning? Remember: every coincidence is potentially meaningful. How high your awareness level is determines how much meaning you get from your world.” —Ansel Adams

Screenshot from 1974: La posesión de Altair, Victor Dryere (2016)

Yesterday, not an ounce of sunshine so I read old love letters.
I hoard my integrity and stash joy wherever I can find it.

There is muscle memory and active imagination.
There is something called living in between these extremes.

I kept the love letters. I liked that they still held their refrains
from a recent past. I remember to cast its spell.

There is ceremony and letting go.
There is something I call living in between those extremes.

when a year ends

“I won’t see this year again, not again so innocent; and longing wrapped round my throat like a scarf.” —Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

GET IT OR REGRET IT, Jan 2022

Recent times is a reference, well-worn and specific enough to create a shared understanding. I read an article that used the phrase “deaths pulled from the future” after reading another article that claimed the word “robot” wasn’t publicly used until the early 1920s. The framing for both pieces was replaceability. What comes next becomes a question of narration. Can I claim to know the moon without having been there?

I listened to a recording of an exploding volcano thousands of miles away. It initially sounded like gunfire, then I heard a blast from a force unimaginable, a process of release and eventual settling that is so unknowable it has been ascribed to the gods. This is a story to find a way, a hook to hold onto while the world spins.

I wanted what the future would bring. When and how was what I was most interested in. I think the best poets break the conventions of language. Passive writing is aggressive. Darkness holds its own light. Trees absorb sound. Bodies shelter. I write deliberately. I’m acutely aware of how time can get one-dimensional when influenced by the dollar.

It was only February.

I imagined a time where hope has no currency because there is no fear to weight its over-inflated value. Neglect should have been the word of the year; acting as both a verb (a failure to care for properly) and a noun (a state of being uncared for—deprivation). In between the cracks of clouds, blue. I dredged, flayed, and autopsied the past into quantum bytes. I tried to stay inside my bones.

The palm trees hissed and swayed. A Home Depot burned so hot they saw the fire’s heat signature from space. I found quiet inside a frequency where the sacred is buried. Wars drag on, more brutal and unnecessary than yesterday’s justifications.

What can be palmed is what I want. A random ray of sunlight; the trill of unseen song birds; a break, nearly inaudible, in the freeway traffic. I gather the most extraordinary mundane moments—the astonishing present—as proof of my witness.

August arrived and asked an ancient question: will any god save us?

What reclamation can be shown from the exchange of a year lived? Inside this daydream marathon, I toast to multivalent miracles. Nobody survives by accident.

the remainder

Fortify yourself with contentment: that is an impregnable stronghold.
—Epictetus, Fragments

WHAT A RIDE, Oakland, January 2022

Let’s look at the ocean until we grow old and
drag the thread of time in between murmurations
as their shadows break the bright winter sky.
To our west, memory spools present tense
as a setting sun moves into its next future.
We are movements of repetitions, constellations,
imaginary museums, ancient light.
Out of all the days and all the cumulative years,
what we hold together is dedicated to what remains.

reference points

 

October 6:14pm, Oakland, CA, 2019

Maybe all of this has a simple explanation. I don’t remember
how I got home. I was feral due to generational circumstances.
I started this life from a deficit. I am a self-described opt-out.

What might be lies and what might be inaccessible misunderstandings?
The tail of history wags in all our faces, stubborn as possession.
It is an earned intimacy. The subject is abandoned, an allusion of comfort,
if that’s an orientation. It is a pattern recognition.

I want to try and describe an image of a hole but it’s more extravagant
than that. Hole is more of a preferential reference and also a moment recognizable only because this thread is a fractal.

Statutory evidence gathered like exhale and escape.

long in the tooth

starlight, November 2019

The Office of War called yesterday.
All I heard was long in the tooth
when I hung up. My sins caught in a swallow.
The shape of my throat a specter.
Inside a rest of breath, the devil entered.
Its own mouthed amnesia performing miracles
for an imaginary audience. Held in conversation,
duplicitous like looped lights, our testimony
has officially become an unsanctioned occupation.
My collusion its own astonished tradition
as the days spill forward as brave and holy spasms.

public hysteria

Capitalism fracks the sensorium.
—Lauren Berlant, On the Inconvenience of Other People

4th of July TV fireworks, 2022

At some point, your conception of the universe eclipsed mine.
It’s none of your business how we sorted out the important details
like why are all the planets round and who took winter?
I whispered the projected significance of seeing 333 predictably
patterned to arrive when yesterday’s headlines became a dirge. Bright,
overexposed, and not unlike prophesy I read between the images
and placed my gaze elsewhere. At this point, it’s an omission
if I didn’t disclose your mania kept us alive. We were shrines buoyed.

coast starlight

The energy of attempt is greater
than the surety of stasis.
You too can be carved anew
by the details of your devotions.

—Mary Oliver

Emil Bisttram, “Creative Forces” (1936), oil on canvas, 36 x 27 inches

Mountains were backlit to look like cat ears
and the golden hills, deceptively gentle,
were engraved with generational cattle trails.
Sagebrush squat, tilted west. Backyard pools lay
calm behind rows and rows of houses maximized
to worship light from a perpetually setting sun.
Spacecraft occasionally crash-land this far west,
missing the Pacific Ocean by a magnitude.
And then the hypnotic groves of ripening oranges
murmur my fate. The trees changed. So can I.

strictly personal

The Consciousness Raisers

they meet on Fridays when
the women home from the factories & the offices
& on Sunday afternoons

At night they lie in bed
& hold hands
counting the stars

—John James from the collection Kinderlieder (1992)

September 2022

I.
I saw a dream catcher hung inside a USPS truck.

II.
There is a shadow side of salvation, of rescue, of deliverance
from a foreclosed future. I want you to imagine the energy needed
to be in a constant state of arrival.

III.
I dream. The Pacific Ocean waves are frozen solid; locked, raw and stilled. No sound.

IV.
The news circles like a drain. The production of meaning taking
the path of least resistance. I write about the weather to keep track of time.

V.
I dreamt the Washington Monument was draped in Christmas lights in July.

VI.
I take in the beg and prompt of morning.
Familiar neighborhood sounds rise in courage
and with stamina. My waking memory, still a hinge,
holding onto yesterday.

dissociation

To say that trees are immobile results from an anthropomorphism that impedes our seeing beyond our own time scale. It is as stupid as the history of aphids: In my memory, says the aphid, no one has ever seen a gardener die. Everyone knows that gardeners are immortal.
—Francis Hallé

666, May 2022, Oakland, CA

A day-to-night sky fades shades of purple.
Impermanent referents. A bruised ending.
I tried to tell you otherwise, before I knew.
We’re not quite trapped, but not free either.
Poetics are drawn from our dreams: escape
and waiting. Similar to the way cat’s paws
mean rip currents. That specific kind
of dissociation. What do I want to be?
What a terrible question to get stuck inside.

meteorology

“Sanity is our power of perception kept focused. And it is an open ended endeavor.” — Etel Adnan

Jenny Holzer, Jesse 2, 2005, Polaroid, 33 x 22 in

Even starlight, and its perceived distance,
holds darkness longer
as these new days grow shorter.
Shadows spread. It’s their time of year
and we must learn to adapt under revised conditions.

The trees have begun shape shifting through color
and through ritual loss. We leave each other
in the waning dark of morning. I make the bed,
still holding warm from our collective sleep.
Our dreams now embodied and out walking in the world.

Physicality isn’t always an obvious feeling
like love or violence or how Earth’s atmosphere
blends, eventually, invisibly into outer space.
But here, now, I want to think about low-strung colored lights,
long-distance horizons, and desire lines back home.

call to warning, or a prayer

There are easier ways to say these things, but some things shouldn’t be said easily. —Octavia Butler, Imago (1989)

SMILE FOR ME….., April 2022, Oakland, CA

The first season’s snow dusted the highest Sierra peaks.
Much later, I heard the falling morning light beg for attention.
In this origin story, and its evolving landscape,
the changing trees become the loudest voices.

I learned early that submission requires indulgence.
They called it grace, which was also a sympathy.
I remember there was laying on of hands.
At the edge of town, someone advertised a rummage sale.

Within this temporary interval of speculation,
fate feels systematic. I carry absence like an autopsy,
an examination as method towards truth.
I know how to hold time as a promise.

comfort zones

“And now I see that I am sorrowful about only a few things, but over and over.” —Mary Oliver

July 2011

In June, I dreamt of New York City: the subway, tucked and nested shops,
sand dunes, snow drifts on the beach.

In July, at 6:47pm, so much light still.

In August, I prayed the cadence of life would find me awake and wanting.

Suddenly, it is October. It feels like beautiful trouble, like tasteful nudes,
both a precipice and an orientation towards receptivity.

For the first time in a long time I’m not worried.
I know how to wait for the giving to begin.

end of the third quarter | 2022

Alex Prager, Anaheim, 2017, 60 x 45 inches

“It is a time for tons of verbiage, activity, consumption.” —Mark Rothko

The end of the year is coming, again.
Will you claim you are satisfied,
so far? How will you commit
to these remaining days? In this interlude,
what to cherish, what to improvise,
what to root, and what to let go?

I am still learning to pretend
the difference between memories
of a past gone and memories of a past unknown.
A loop on its return becomes a harbinger
of sentient evidence, now personal phenomenology.
It’s best to surrender to messianic joy

at this horizon point in a vanishing year.
Update your maps of what remains of your calls
to provisional responses. Name your beloveds.
There’s still time for passionate cadence and
appreciation of light’s lengthened silhouettes.
That space, that pause, is an insider’s point of view.

These longings pull from long-shadow days and nights.
Return, again, repeat. That kind of essential
permanence, palpable. Cross reference your embodied index,
then become a territory beyond meaning.
Enable new, interpretive beginnings. I flicker—an epic
verse. Your alterity is my resonance. Ride with me.

happy ending as chaser

To strangers I must seem
alive.

—Jane Kenyon, a line from “Now Where?

I THINK IM DUMB / MAYBE IM JUST HAPPY (creator: unknown)

Based on rumors of math, scientists believe if they move Jupiter’s orbit the Earth will be “more habitable”. I have the same foolish desire when capturing moving light by using future perfect verbs and modified nouns.

What might be translated from the way light sounds after saturating iridescent city pigeon feathers? I think light and time become sacred geometry. Ordinary as questions ruptured clever and bright.

Your majesty is now gender neutral. Please comply. Receptivity remains bearded as you wait for affirmation. That you found lack of detail a form of stillness means I can trust you to keep secrets. Plumb that male gaze.

hope is a hairshirt

“Die knowing something. You are not here long.” —Walker Evans

Québec / Montréal / 1983 / © Gil Rigoulet

I don’t want to complain. It’s the morning light, bright and orange,
that is angry. Do not read this as a confession but more guided by the belief: a month of Sundays. It may be true; I have a furious wish to rearrange time. This is not a mare’s nest but more deceptively a half-full moon.
Breaking has an edge when the loudest crowd is guided by psychopomps
muted mouthing and demented.

I’m learning town names and their geography by following wildfires.
Not quite pastime, like writing, but more gradual like buried cities
now exposed. Reminders that the slanting light shares this memory.

I’m retraining my algorithms to understand me

“Absence is harder to accept than death.”  —Etel Adnan, Sea and Fog

TECH DESTROYS, Portland, OR, June 2022

August is a month of dedication.
Be like the cloud-burning light,
and ask yourself, was it on purpose
or an accident, and then try to decide
which wrong answer is easiest to forgive.
Is your faith in the disembodied voice of unlearning
or the recollections of a still life, untouched?
That’s the kind of sensory deprivation I echo.

You must assume there is truth in this translation.

maladaptive daydreams

summer avoidant
sadder than green oranges
—not yet

March 2012, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, DC

Diminishing returns on man-made misery:
take drinking water to put out wildfires
then create full-color murals of mercurial martyrs
underneath burnt contrails that suggest messages
of conscriptive curtailment. There is some hope
as we begin the slow pilgrimage towards autumn.
But, last year was a mast year. Abundant loss.
What should we barter for an underdog future?

post-errata

You have to find your own way of stilling time. —Mary Ruefle

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport March 24, 2012

Alchemic wishes and wants, memories
and miracles disintegrate—
muted into mythology of lives lived.
A texture felt both like a shadow
and a daydream or the loss of time found.

View from Main Terminal, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, March 24, 2022, 2:27pm

It’s ok. A sense of panic is inevitable
when half of this year is behind us.
Please promise me you’ll decorate
for Christmas in July, and in between
all the holiday seasons after I’m gone.

Westlake, OH March 23, 2012, 9:07am

Even machines take time to integrate
their learnings. Make the pause sacred
inside this constant state of readiness.

shadowbox

Paradise, Oakland, CA, July 2022

Summer funerals, holiday funerals, GoFundMe™ funerals
become parades of divinity serving a false purpose:
time progresses. Thrust takes the shape of a noun
and a verb; slow entry
repetition is seduction is violence is compliance.
Mutilated men archive intimacy inside avarice
and finger the crumbs left behind.

escape as an active present tense

1994, Berlin, October 2017

We seem to be trending, again.
That familiar sense of ascension,
of a ride. Time given, if we may be honest.
Relentless associations: abortion and rape,
vengeful anger and ketchup-stained walls,
parasocial relationships; unaware and informed.
Is my morning bus late or did it simply not show up?
July arrives. Come, unknowing.

summer testimony (no. 7)

That things “just go on” is the catastrophe. — Walter Benjamin

Gil Rigoulet, England series, 1970-80

The poppies were still asleep.
Cats, the ones who never let me pet them,
stare past me as the sun migrates west.
It is summer. I am feral, again.
Or maybe this rumor wants to be about withdrawal,
an urge for a substance being withheld. Within,
there can be acceptance, resistance,
and something possessed delicately in between—
unknown, suggestive and loose like spontaneous prayer.
The atmosphere, thick with notes of jasmine and rose,
wanders around my morning shadow. It traces vintage memories
swarming unsolicited and holy: 4th of July rodeos,
tomato sandwiches, shedding cottonwoods, and parental neglect
so pervasive it remains material witness to all those lost summers.
Of course gravity is physical, but who will study its somatics?

surrender

“Death is hidden in clocks… in my youth I chose as my motto
the ancient Latin maxim festina lente: make haste slowly.”
— Italo Calvino

HORSETOOTH, Coast Starlight (North), Eugene, OR, June 6, 2022

In between the gaps
where sunlight reaches—
shades of green extend.

Shawls of fog dampen
the moving silence.
I surrendered to Time

as the backsides of train towns
and tranquil boredom took me
closer to you and then back

home. Somewhere past the darkness
where distressed light of forests spill
into borders of thriving attraction,

I dreamt bravely. I named it joy.

5:53AM, Coast Starlight (South), Sacramento Valley, CA, June 11, 2022

of the now

“Nearly everyone in the world has appetites and impulses, trigger emotions, islands of selfishness, lusts just beneath the surface.” —John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Miklós Turtle, Hungary, 1999

If you read the daily news,
you are told to be afraid.

If you read the poets,
you see why the sun sings.

If you measure that gap,
slightly more oblivious than
upholding divine rights of kings,
you will find yourself.

If you are quiet, enough,
your erasure will light the way.

real was the last reality gap

fragments, Los Angeles, July 2018

Blue fading pink light transitions the sun’s nightly disappearance as a star.
Earlier the concentrated sunlight, setting late, hit a distant window—
just right. The bright reflection took shape of an ordinary reminder.
A reminder that temporal sequence as closure is felt, a sense.

What if we are actually expanding instead of contracting?

Hours as measured by:
clouds slipping by
    exhaust pipes
glaciers melting
street pigeon’s stuttered coos
gossip economy news cycles
a flock of geese in V formation
rivers carving out gorges
indigent centers
      exhale

Can we claim survival as the measured depth of a body of water?

An ending does not always need to follow a chain of events.
Duality alters thresholds, choices, interpretation.
These ongoing attempts become accumulations, layers,
a structure of ongoing being. There’s worship and fetish.
A complete world.

milk teeth

Perhaps I did not succumb to ideology…because I have never seen myself as a spokesman. I am a witness. In the church in which I was raised you were supposed to bear witness to the truth. Now, later on, you wonder what in the world the truth is, but you do know what a lie is.” —James Baldwin interview with Julius Lester, May 1984

Rather Be A Lightning Rod, San Francisco, August 2017

The surge is back.
We are hosts, again.

Feeling nothing but empty.
A physical sensation.

I am left wanting, again.
Never not forgotten urges.

Restraint is an evocative need.
Its own stimulation.

Free will is in the news, again.
When the wave comes, go deep.

Be a seed, insistent as memory.

analog fever

STICK YOUR FINGER IN THINGS, source: unknown

In a Christian context, responsibility of discernment
makes meaning a gambler’s holdout. I mean that literally.
It is the same mechanics when a moment can be a monument,
dramatic affect to overactive nervous systems—tense:
a knowing. Which indicators of such deception are most valid?
The idea is: what you saw isn’t always accurate.
Are we simply machines preprogrammed to make complexity
out of the simplest of ideas, like wanting to be loved
unconditionally and without remorse?

plastic as plants

A bitter taste lingers—
stringent, punchy
mouth feel—tongue maps.

Rebound special—
I dreamt, again, of moving.
A task of packing things
you forgot still exist.

We lay in bed, innocent
until forced to engage
with the world under a sky
quiet, grey milky light.

NICE KID, June 2014, Portland, OR

In America, I regret to be informed
war and rising gas prices
are equally traumatic. There’s panic
at that trigger-shaped pump.

Some reread biblical stories—
extracted citations of plagues, sin,
and salt. Fear finds us hungry.

Evacuation trails of refugees are littered
with what is no longer essential. Left behind;
rapture. Calculations shape bitter mouths,
reactions and policy becomes oracle.

In America, I regret to be informed
speculative fantasy and prosperity, a state,
are the gospel. Instead, I demand nothing exists.

Some claim emerging trends tell the story,
not knowing all data expires. The disconnect
of what has been with what is becoming unravels—
desperate inflations to make sugar from light.

lonely crowd

“I dream too much, and I don’t write enough, and I’m trying to find God everywhere.”
—Anis Mojgani

weiners for sale, South Dakota, 2009

Pussy willows bloom. Predictive seasons
filter a fuzz of sunlight; valedictory
transitions hold onto their return maps.

This prayer is a practice of communicating.
A form of knowledge or disciplinary violence?
Experts debate experts into echoes.

Meaningless noise fills sacred silence.
Our bodies desire ancient patterns,
a narrator’s reticence; sublime observations.

eavesdropper

Tender twilight skies and creamy clouds slant
the light of morning’s dedicated return. Birdsong opens
with the begging calls of fledgling Pacific Wrens.

Waking, we scroll through images of liminal threat so often
it’s either propaganda or the truth. The state says
don’t worry, control is what will save us.

I wish I could explain it better—it’s not about them.
Offering reconciliation, two halves of a whole,
agreement, I give you the keys to open your own cage.

Ready? photo: edward atlee

smile, with your eyes

Dangerous, but careful. Wanting everything, I tamed my anger, smiling wide and innocently. Dorothy Allison, from “Steal Away,” Trash: Stories

photographer: Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

An old man carries two oranges,
the size of his fists,
in a red see-through plastic bag.
The oranges swing inside its corners.

I know I need to throw away
your wilted memorial flowers.
The moon is in its last quarter.

Yesterday slipped past me
like a stranger. These artificial
gaps of light both score inner life
and the sounds of meaning.

corral

In war, mourning the loss of art, be it actual or anticipated, is not separate from mourning for the senseless disruption and destruction of human life. To live is to build, to repair, to illuminate, to leave traces in the fabric of time and space. Until an empire’s fist hits it all and smashes it to smithereens. In the face of its onslaught, human life is as fragile as the glass that bears humanity’s loving traces. —Yuliya Komska, A Stained Glass in Lviv (emphasis mine)

A Fragment, San Francisco, CA, April 2018

Officially, it is spring. Wars are an endless reality behind opaque glass screens. We are learning to feel non-solid things in the hype. The sound of analog reflected in a digital world hits different. Open your mouth away me. Climb out from underneath those emotional thumbs. There’s overtime to be made fabricating virtual systems. Memory tracers betray our line of sight. Some rooftops grow trees and some of us are proficient in the logistics of nostalgia. Do your fantasies prepare you or scare you? Tongues are cut to remove coherent confessions; supplemental augmentations will cost extra. Always cultivate a feeling of waiting for the next disruption. Faith’s orientation requires an artifice, requite deprivation. It’s really like that. Geography as corral, gathered. A rotunda of light. The curtains hung themselves outside the cracked window. This dramatic neglect obscures strategic purpose and tides are never mentioned in the Bible. Its promises another proxy of obscene revenge.

apex

That the forests grow back with patience, not rage;

—Tony Hoagland, “Peaceful Transition

artist: Helena Almeida

Digitally speaking, I’ve trained myself to feel distracted.
I’m occupied. As numbed witness, in muted sound and fury,
today’s testimony dissolves into lyrical indirection.
Sharp, warm shadows of morning light strike a blooming spring.
From formalized fragilities of fear, from the perceived aggressor
in endless wars, or from slants of perimenopausal sales pitches
as rumor and pre-emptive threats, it’s all terrifying.
My daily diversions upsold. Propaganda is climax!
The psyops of weak kings is an advanced state of dissolution.
I imagine a moment that lasts so long everyone craves
its optimized chorus—it has been like this forever.
This is the loop, an exquisite incantation, that never deviates.

there is a perception of threat when a loved one dies

Teach me mortality, frighten me
into the present. Help me to find
the heft of these days. That the nights
will be full enough and my heart feral.

Jack Gilbert, “I Imagine the Gods

“Heart Aches”, Berlin, October 2017

For most of the morning,
a banner declaring I LOVE YOU
hung visible from the hotel window
until housekeeping removed it—
to keep the room unsentimental.

Blue sky so bright, a harbor
to distract my voyeurism. Later,
a business man made a phone call.
Tie, no suit. Shadows from behind the curtain
portend a drama is breaking beneath the horizon.

Cherry blossoms explode on scene.
The trees have begun their spring planning.
Extending their grace & hope forward,
it would be wise for us to start doing the same.
We are well over 900,000 dead & barely counting anymore.

It’s the last week of February.
Angled rooftops, a single pane of glass
holds my wandering perspective.
I’m probably not telling you the right story.
Sun-marked rooms were the sentient witness.

scrawl

I’m begging you. Please don’t use this time wisely.
I want you to waste every swollen second
as your breath catches inside your abandoned throat.

Untitled, Louise Bourgeois, 1999

I’m sure you’ve felt this ineffable pleasure before?
Being unwanted, unseen, silenced: useless reputations.
What these words leave inside you matter to me.

thriving inside all this repetition

God is. July 2018, Berkeley, CA

“Everything is more beautiful because we are doomed.
You will never be lovelier than you are now.
We will never be here again.”
— Homer, The Iliad

Approaching the beginning of an end
is a crossover event. Convergence is likely.

Getting past, moving beyond, over it.
This consistency drowns its own promises.

At frequency, invention pretends tenderness
and, if lucky, courage. A day’s combined darkness.

mild paranoia

Like a good ride, it takes you somewhere.

I’ve dissimulated…, screenshot from Derrida

Show proof that you’ve lived.

Do habits (routine) flourish inside sunk cost?
Maybe normalization is radicalism?
Have you tried being more passive?

Don’t betray your stray background.
Don’t deny changing constantly isn’t boring.
Don’t forget the true believers.

Secrecy waits for something to happen.
We all have unreliable narrator fears.

shapes of buried sounds

“When it’s your turn to live through a war, you’ll see, you don’t have time to feel anything.” —Colette Marin Catherine

Zenon Zubyrtowicz

It’s all random chaotic vigilance these days.
Day number: “unknown”. Secret selves will be revealed
in the times to come. They know desperation
influences choices. Which illusions may end up real?

II.
This “new normal” hangs like a loose shirt,
an odor, a swallow. We are promised a brighter future.

III.
Philosophers and preachers’ predictions,
unproven claims, betray their nostalgia.
Doubts to the contrary raise suspicions,
an emotion of imagination and subjectivity.

IIII.
Uncertain and curious how permanent this now
will be is one way to recognize the game.
Loss, grief, time are the same measurement,
which requires comparison in some form.

IIIII.
The rich, and their need for luxuries, buy ready made.
Some beauty is unimaginable, a pang. Sharp vanishing
click bait. Possession was an emanation: source.

a cult of one

It is necessary to permit error because information is not simply making the correct responses. —Silvan Tomkins, from Shame and Its Sisters: A Silvan Tomkins Reader; “What Are Affects?”

put some respek on my names, February 2019, San Francisco, CA

What wildness still remains to be explored
and why haven’t I moved in that direction?
The horizon to the south cracks light.

It rained fish in Texarkana, Texas—
during the last days of December
and no one is afraid.

Imagine being actively denied
of embodied experiences.
That sense of knowing.

2014, Oakland, CA

A clause (particular and separate).

“Peach blossom has a beautiful sensual pink, far from vulgar, most rare and private.” —D.H. Lawrence, from Sketches of Etruscan Places; “Flowery Tuscany”

June 2020, Oakland, CA

What is positive about fragmentation?

||

The rest of the trees stand naked, unashamed, claiming a brighter future.

March 2012, Portland, OR

|||

When is it ok to stop remembering?

IIII

Crisis as a series, predictable, and, if you believe, a trick.

2012, Seattle, WA

Should I accept the end is near?

Or deny the possibility in the swaying shadows?

like a rush

A list, after all, is an incantation.
—Lia Purpura, from the essay “Sugar Eggs: A Reverie”

September 8, 2021, 11:05am PT, Oakland, CA

I almost paid attention every day this just past year. There might not be an instant memory to pull from but I remember:

  • new pages filled: creating a full, whole life
  • [absence]
  • days moving with the sun
  • nothing urgent getting done anytime soon
  • a chain of days: learning

23 February, Tuesday, 2021 — we reached that unimaginable 500,000 deaths yesterday

By April, languishing was declared 2021’s dominant emotion. The experts were specific—we are languishing, a residual and continuously active tense.

But we are extraordinary now, more so than the before-times. Those of us who survived have an understanding, a swallow of temporary obedience, having squeezed through another dimension. In the same way Cliff Swallows, federally protected migratory songbirds, continue to build their nests on overvalued condos built on top of their well-known migration paths, we can claim we too are still living.

What’s next will be found in the ordinary, beyond the cleaved repetition.

reprise

July 21, 2021, Oakland, CA, 6:10pm

Traveling at the speed of days per hour.
Is it okay to celebrate survival?
(All this death. It’s inevitable.)
Arranging for false openings—second endings.
What marrow should we salvage?
Oblivion becomes subjugation
when aesthetics have agendas.
Only at the very beginning
did the freeway quiet.
Now, faint signals of endearment are muted
as claw marks or socialized hope.
(All this death. It’s inevitable.)
At this point in time, there might be enough
to carry the rest of us curiously forward
full from holding unanswerable questions
in all this cropped light.

sifting through the ruins

If we do not forget, what is there to remember? —Mary Ruefle from “On Secrets”

found reality on a construction site sign, July 2011, San Francisco, CA

Suspension is a type of prayer
in the same way hard luck is still luck
or how clicking clocks make meaning.
Ending another year with reconstituted rituals:
unwrap an orange, warm the house with lights,
leave no trace and lament the echoes.

Interiors become accomplices
in a cascading culture of closures.
Reminding me the moon makes no light
of its own, and I don’t know
is the most honest answer I have to give.
This response to an unknown call,
how deeply personal an endeavor.

the saturation capacity of a week in December

That moment when the word incarnates, finds its skin: yes.
— Lia Purpura, from the essay “Sugar Eggs: A Reverie”

photographer: Leon Levinstein, New York, 1981

I’m gnawing off my own survival
and feeling full at the end of another year.

That any private emotion can still be felt
feels victorious. Sure, sensationalism

feels good, but only for so long.
Invisible patterns, an intentional result,

form this temporality, which may be also be
averse pacification. It’s not even midwinter

and yet we want—phantom abundance.
The way marginalia signals scarcity.

That kind of resourceful:
our aggregate bodies immersed in attention.

Pasteurized sameness. But wait—
there’s still anticipation—

a specific kind of waiting.
What clouds teach us.