Friday, April 20, 2018

mmdcclxviii

This Is Not At All How I Feel About It

Many apologies. In all the years of our correspondence, I
do not recall broaching this subject, which has been many. 
And this particular topic is uncannily important, especially
with regard to our relationship. So it is with all due respect
that I respond with a question.  This is what we do.  The
answer is not when will I become my old self but how.
Sometimes never is a bless├ęd thing.  Its a lousy example,
but when I took the Hippocratic Oath, I never thought
I had become such a hypocrite.  Maybe the Greeks were
all Geminis, I dunno (I certainly dont remember copulating
the Halloween previous).  “I wasn't on hand for that part-
icular heartbreak,” he says nostalgically, not even using
them (his hands) to make the point.  Amused by this, Arthur
begin to sing La Isla Bonita while the rest of the knights
are serving all of their soldiers for dinner (shining armor,
indeed!). All of the henchman agree upon specifically
what to do about history. The agreement, stacked as it
were, rock upon rock (as I recall, it was mostly slate,
done in the classic style so predominant in those less
volatile but much more tawdry times), was hinged
into about seven triptychs. “What do you mean,
what is there to do about all of this history,” she
asked the by then vanished capitan while astral pro-
jecting herself into a different parlor which housed
all of the same strange people at the other parlor,
except this newer family looked a lot more exhausted. 
I agreed as I twitched back and forth amongst extreme
clarity, juxtaposition (again, in the nature of that
particular era), a perverted cynicism and a very
oddly-whetted comedy at which only I occasion-
ally would squeeze out a dry chuckle or two.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

mmdcclxvii

The White Cliffs of Dover

           Old age is not to be believed.
                                          —Joe Brainard

I woke up
this morning
with no hang-
over (I mean 
like the ones
that occur
without the
aid of a yes-
terday of
drinking or
participating
in alternative
festivities).
Meaning:
I’m young
again. Check
Roger slither-
ing out of the
bedroom and
into the L-
shaped hall-
way.  Check.
Roger.  I’m
slithering as
well, out from
under my blank-
ets to grab my
favorite pull-
over, head to
the shower
for a quick
scald and
a comb-
over.
Mostly
happy,
like al-
most al-
ways; re-
lieved with-
in the con-
viction that
I’m in no
need of a
do-over.
“Check,”
shouts
Roger
with both
arms up
in the air.

Monday, April 09, 2018

mmdcclxvi

New Poem

Stay true to your
self.  I try to be kind.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

mmdcclxv

Comic Strip Yappy

Diane, I don’t remember all these cartoons.
We have novel-sized reams of mail sent to
each other from the nineties (in particular).
Was your intention to send me both Mary
Worth AND Apartment 3-G?  The latter,
whatever the case, seems hilarious,
looks like it would be a total scream 
to me (now - I certainly did not get
them at the time).  Also, The Far Side
never grows old, apparently.  I love the
one you sent of a young Captain Hook
who’s seeing a “job therapist” (I could
definitely use one of those, by the way)
because he’s torn between two potential
careers: pirating or massage therapy.  The
look on the therapist’s face is priceless.
Or did I make that part up?  Anyway,
one thing I didn’t make up were two
“Special Report” sidebars you must have
cut from something (From what, though?   
Was there a magazine called “Special Report” 
to which someone in your family – or, just as 
likely, you – subscribed?) that were titled
“Special Report 2” and “Special Report 3.” 
They remind me of the pamphlets that folks 
in and around Chinatown are always passing
out about the ... Falun Gong ... I think?
I’ve no recollection beyond that, at
the moment because I’m reminded
of the man (I actually really miss him) 
who stood on a dais made of a couple 
of milk crates, I believe, on the corner 
of Grant and Washington Streets (or 
Grant and one of the cross-streets 
nearby Washington Street) literally 
all day long sing-saying “Happy Happy
Happy” over and over and over again.  
Only it sounded more like “Appy Yappy
Yappy” to me.  So I’d be sing-saying
the same, all the rest of the day, 
when I had the joy of running into him.  
It gave me a very warm feeling, and I 
felt reassured and okay, as in I’m gonna
be okay because Appy Yappy Yappy.  
There really are a lot of these letters, 
Diane.  All in one envelope, for example, 
there’s an 8 1/2" x 11" handwritten letter, 
along with a Gil Thorpe stripan always 
seemingly worthless comic (to me) that 
I only now, as I read through your letters 
and their various surprise enclosures,
seem to be getting.  Like, I GET 
Gil ThorpeHow crazy is that?  
And then there’s Mary Worth
another soap opera strip with
only two or three frames a day,
like the soapy and oh-so-slow
moving Dick Tracy, a strip I 
actually read and read, but
never actually got, to be per-
fectly honest.  Who knows why,
though, because even back then 
I loved  soap operas (I’d watch 
Days of Our Lives and The Young 
& the Restless – which starred
David Hasselhoff, at the time – with 
my mom from before I went to school.
I remember this!)  I always felt in these 
drawn-out dramas that there was
some sort of humor that I must surely
have been totally missing.  And
there must have been.  Because 
you sent me strip after strip after
strip, along with your three- to seven-
paged incredibly engaging letters,
most all of which I took photographs of 
before everything in my storage unit
went to auction.  These are the things
that life is made of. Of which life is 
made.  Which make life.  For which
I am beyond grateful.  

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

mmdcclxiv

Latin Pig

Greetings, beneficiary!
There’s the “ick” of St.
Petersburg.  And then
there’s the “ugh” of St.
Petersburg.  Lucy lives
in St. Petersburg, but
she is not to be con-
fused with the one in
the sky with diamonds. 
No, but she has immeas-
urable amounts of gold.
During the warm season,
and sometimes during
the not-so-warm season,
the gold cascades down
the mountaintops that
surround Lucy’s daringly
hip (for Russia, you know)
mansion.  So, yes, lots of
gold.  Urp!  And lots of
icky sky.  Ugh!  But the
golden icing on the peaks
of the summits surround-
ing her dainty mansion,
and the gold itself, seem
to be the only pollution
in Russia’s Amsterdam
(however, I will always
prefer Venice).  The pol-
lution wraps the city into
a singularity, so it can be
stuck into a sentence all
the more appropriately,
all the more violently,
with the common sway
of the boughs, the overly-
ornate parlor parquetry,
the kitchen cabinets that
are so often open, hanging
limply like the lower part
of the human body around
a broken bone, a leg bone,
as it sways ever so slightly,
to and fro (for purposes of
this missile, we can deny
the pain of it all; there’s
enough in the beautifully
wrapped city of St. Peters-
burg, whose inhabitants
seem endlessly enraptured
by the sunken rooms in
their own homes; rooms
we’d probably call dens.
In fact, “Down with the
dens!” is the somewhat
unofficial motto of the city
of St. Petersburg.  A den
with an extra e  is of course
Eden, after all.  And always
he sways and she sways,
in unison, in solidarity, it
seems with the bows.  He
sways, she sways.  And do
I ever love it when you sway
on your uniquely bland (for
St. Petersburg, anyway)
porch-swing (also unique.
in that same way) in the
indelibly heartwarming
city of St. Petersburg.

Friday, March 30, 2018

mmdcclxiii

What’s true of labyrinths is true of course
Of love and memory.  When you start remembering.
                                                                –Jack Spicer
You have created with-
in me a hole.  Well, an
open eye (with no leaks),
and it is a very cold hole.

I did not know what to 
say to you who had such 
bountiful half-barrel 
of the sweetest apples

as you placed them on
the dock of your choice
for the world’s apple
junkies to gather

around and to adore.
Not until it was almost
a minute too late did
you take the most

beautiful one in your
precious hand with
its elegant spindly
fingers and offer

one boldly to the
threshold of my
younger lips.
“Here,” you said,

as I took a bite.
“There,” you said
as I swallowed it.
Where I am now

is anyone’s guess.
Even my open eye,
which is con-
stantly leaking 

(liquid which
is obviously
from some-
where in my

head), hasn’t
the where-
withal to en-
vision a map

to provide
me with gui-
dance, nor
offers a single

token of advice 
regarding which
direction my next
step should go.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

mmdcclxii

Alice, I wish you a factory.
                                Lucas

I wish you a
factory for all
of the same
reasons I
wish the ex
who stole all
of the rest of
my clothes (ex-
cept what I am
presently wearing)
peace.  The news-
paper clippings my
grandmother col-
lected and carefully
arranged into a sort
of funerary scrap-
book had no sticker
price, of course. 
Upon the clippings
were photos of men
who were killed
during the second
world war.  The
whole set was
enclosed nearly
airtight in a large
ziplock bag.  By
now, perhaps,
the fragile yel-
low clippings
which hung
onto the fragile
black pages of
the antique note-
book have been
blown into hun-
dreds of pieces
and flutter like
autumn leaves
over the crooked
streets of my city –
a city that knows
neither autumn
nor winter.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

mmdcclxi

Two Good Years

As for my perplexed reaction,
I need a good playing field.

You giving me good playing
has a certain come-uppance,

the silence of which was the
silence of the Nevermind,

the area we both penetrate.
Never mind the era in which

we both penetrated the
Netherlands.  Purportedly.

Hold off!  Be silent!  Catch
your breath, Bill!  The

suspension (which was
the truth that was killing

us) had never spoken so
softly, swaying, as it were,

in the hillbilly breeze,
which was full of the

distinctly indecipherable
whispers of that voice.

Said perp (the sotto voce
perp), who hasn’t been

seen (nor heard from)
since either before

or after.  During which,
the march.  The long march.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

mmdcclx

     What a beautiful and violent day today is!
                                                   —Joe Brainard

The city slowly
exhales.  It ex-
hales forever.
I know this be-
cause I hear it
out my new win-
dow all night. No-
thing going in. In
is not a direction
tonight.  I’m a
slave to the
clouds that
carry away
this incessant
breath.  Gulp-
ing everything
I can from this
vacuum, I scream
Come back to the
ground, you mon-
grel clouds!!  Come
back.  Be fog.  Be
like I am.  Square
in the face.  Hazy.
Pinwheel of in-
determinate
temperance.
At a loss.  Death,
that last gasp for
breath, is but
the clean sweep
of this infernal
breeze.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

mmdcclix

2018

    1970
     is a good year
     if for no other reason
     than just because
     I’m tired of complaining.
                  —Joe Brainard’s poem “1970”
                     in its entirety

2018
is a good year
if for no other reason
than just because
I’m tired of complaining.

Monday, March 05, 2018

mmdcclviii

The Happiness

                I lack the courage to talk words very much
                because they are terribly finite and
                final and I don’t enjoy the risk.
                                                                  —Joe Brainard

Memory of a late May
tarot card reading
on a pile of rubble.
Don’t multi-task be-
cause it’s literally
impossible to multi-
task.  Give each step
your complete atten-
tion (totality).  The in-
ternal attention that I
am unable to see:  Pro-
jection.  The outer influ-
ence that I already know
(all too well): Playfulness.
In retrospect, all too well
turns out to be not nearly
well enough.  So what do I
need in order to resolve this
playfulness problem?  Well,
it says here “a ticker-tape
parade.”  And “I should ride
on the tiger of success” and
“squeeze every drop of juice
out of the happiness.” The
memory, a few lines written
on frayed and yellowing note-
book paper, ends obliquely:
first, with an “AMEN!” and,
all by itself near the bottom
of the page, “The Monster.”

Friday, March 02, 2018

mmdcclvii

Chocolate Grape of the Day

What’s un-
settling isn’t
just the shout-
ing/shoving
match in in
the “Quiet
Room” on
Christmas
Eve.  It’s
simple
math;
it is you
and me.
“What the
future holds,”
you say, “isn’t
pretty.”  You
don’t actually
say that.  To
be honest, I
summon that
up on my own.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

mmdcclvi

Diary of a Landmine

This year’s word of
the day is calm down.
I know this because I
hear it regularly all
year long; more
than I hear any
other word.
This strikes me
as humorous,
out of the ordin-
ary, puzzling, frust-
trating, defense mech-
anism and hopeless.
In that order.
Chronologically.
Because it is a year.
And, true, it is not a
logical year at all, but
it is humorous, puzzling,
frustrating, defense mech-
anism, throwing up (yes,
a whole lot of that), surreal-
ism (which numbs rather than
stings, because it is not reality),
dread, fits of dead end, which,
when you find yourself there,
are pretty hopeless (nowhere
to go but backwards, and all),
etc.  Every day there’s another
obstacle.  Until you find that,
pausing for a breath, you
have rested your foot
upon a landmine
(which, you have
to admit, is a pretty
solid example of
“dead end”).
At this point,
you look back
(as I did) and
question where
that path you were
on to begin with must
have led.  And where it
it all went wrong.  Where
you somehow deviated, and
wound up at the end of this road,
instead of another one.  Instead
of any other one.  Instead of
each and every end of each
and every alternate road.  So
it’s safe to say, I do believe,
that calm down land mine
is the word of this year
(thus far).