Tuesday, June 04, 2019

mmdccclxix

Cheap Legs

Poem by me
with a title
that is also
one of, yes,
you guessed
it, John Ash-
bery’s.   This
could go on for
years.   But this
too-much-of-a-
good-thing has
now gone to
brand new
lovely lows,
as I have just
ripped one of
his poem titles
straight from
one of his
poems (from
Breezeways,
which I had
been under
the impres-
sion was his
final pre-
posthumous
book, but
now I have
been told
that I am in-
correct?)
and made
it the title
of one of
my very
own in-
ferior
pieces.
Why? 
Because
it sounded
like a great
idea at the
time.  Who
needs ex-
pensive
ones when
one can
have hand-
me-downs?

Monday, June 03, 2019

mmdccclxviii

     Was it this month?
     No, it was last month.
                  —John Ashbery

As for the flavor of the
book he seemed so into,
he claimed he’d lost
most of his senses; had
no taste.  This was, to the
point, at least how I defined
his “I do not recall,” which
he kept muttering to himself
or to the book but definitely
not at or to the proposer
of the question.  Existence is
futile when in such company.
Company?  Yes, I am looking
for one.  When pressed for
specifics, elaboration, eluc-
idation, or even a sampling
of dry statistics, my reply
is always, “Ask me again,
tomorrow.”  Or at least
it wants to be.  Good gracious,
how thusly I do desire it!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

mmdccclxvii

We drank the grass, drunken fish,
in servile mode.
                               —John Ashbery

Often, this is how it begins,
rather than ends.  Endings are,
after all, so unbecoming.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

mmdccclxvi

Teenage Rebellion:  My Version

       You’ve fallen, roof...
                        —John Ashbery

Continuing to be inspired by one
of my heroes most high, the fellow
who wrote yet another epigraph
for me: ...also, perhaps because
he can no longer explain himself—
his poems—and who needs one,
anyway?   Furthermore, I would agon-
ize over the possibility he might come
across so many epigraphs by this one
wacky poet (maye Googling himself?)
and therefore be in a position to find it
distasteful or to openly criticize that
fact, and there, my work (or also my
work.  I am being, well, only some-
what tongue-in-cheek here as who
would not welcome seeing in someone
else&rsuo;s work tbeir own words (and
not of a plagiarized nature, although I
am certain that by some people of the
pen, hopefully a rare few, seeing their
own words in an epigraph which gave the
writer credit might cause some cringes
or occasional downright anger. I can
imagine a circumstance or two, that
is.  But I would by all means be flat-
tered, even if it were in the John Riv-
ers/Donald Trump any news is good
news way.  But I would worry more
if he were alive.  But I have to admit,
I've done this for years, and it never
stopped me while he was still here.
Yes, this is the stuff I normally wor-
ry about, even though I personally
to it as and absolute homage to
his work and to the creativity I
get from it.  He made these ab-
solutely jam-packed absurdities,
and I do take them most often
out of context, perhaps, but they
are limitless, it would seem in the
ways such a small amount of words
in a certain order might and do inspire
me, as they surely do countless others.

Sad money remains the problem, which
is pessimism I don’t like to resort to, but,
alas, it is in my blood (and I’m much more
an optimist than a pessimist; more
on that later, bbut...)...:  Poetry
is here to divert, please.  To take
my mind off the mundanity and yet
necessity of cash.  To need $400 for
a job, for example, seems like, what?
And yet that is where I find myself at the
moment.  And this is not even a fraud-
ulent job (don’t even ask, or, well, let
me just say that I lost my checking
account of 13 years or so because
of just that about two weeks ago—
I was grandfathered into the bank, and
now I’ told they are looking more in-
to “wealth management” clientele now,
not a niche I fit into.  This is such a long
and complicated problem.  I feel that I am
obviously the victim here — on the phone it
almost sounds like empathy from the folks
whose job it is to tell me “We’re sorry, but
you’ll never have a checking account a this
institution again.”  We most certainly feel
for you in this horrible time, we really do.
Great timing, too.  To expound the situa-
tion, I attempted to speak with one my
close family members recently, reaching
out to him first.  We had not spoken in a-
around two years, ironically during the time
when I have been without a home (okay, I
can get a bit bitter at times (again, more
on that later).  He is the one member of
my of my immediate family who could
easily help me with a weeklong loan,
the one I need for the new job.  Well,
my attempt was a bad idea and
slam went the phone.

I was an odd child.  And I did not go through
teenage rebellion until, well, literally until
after I graduated from high school and was
about to leave home for college.  I was
young.  You cannot even make a state-
ment about your belief system or your
values (as opposed to those of your folks,
and you know we all have gone through
this, it is just that this thing seems to
most often happen, at least on television,
somewhere between the ages of three and
thirteen.  Am I not correct in my estimation?).
I was so happy to be leaving, and I was also
angry because of something, I don’t even
remember what it was.  I think I was a
a little tipsy when I decided to leave.  I got
just past Tulsa‐—from just on the east side
of the Arkansas border to Oklahama. I was
on my way to, get this, California, before
I either sobered up or wondered what in the
heck I was going to do in L.A. once I got there
with the money, or lack thereof, that I had in
my pocket.  Become a poet, maybe?  Needless
to say I turned around, headed back home
to the drama I had created (mostly), and
a month or so later I was in college.
I did go back home for a summer to
work, but not being a fan of the South,
and feeling that there are so many
places I would love to see before I
die, I do not go back much.  Well,
that and the fact that for most of
my life I have lived from paycheck to
paycheck.  Once in San Francisco, mak-
ing ends meeting, I would buy my mom
a place ticket to visit me for a week at
a time, around every year and a half.
She loved it. These are not new stories,
I have told them in one way or another
before in here, but there are my thoughts
in connection to some other things
this morning.  Which, essentially
is the nature of my rebellion,
which I will try to spell out
for you below, in as clear
and straightforward a man-
ner as possible.  But they
are my truth, meaning these
small things I found myself
despising in my parents
while growing up, and my
successful (quite, anyway)
adjusting my life accordingly
in often an opposite manner,
so as not to be like them in
these ways, have not only
worked quite well in my
eyes, but that have pretty
profoundly affected my
life henceforth.  Is that
normal?  I imagine so.
But is it normal to think
about this in such a way?
I’d imagine not.  So I will
leave you with these, what
I would consider my most
promininent means of
rebelling against the
(what I felt) silliness
or unnecessary ted-
ium which I felt ep-
itomized at my par-
ents (or at least one
of them):

  1.  Never let money be
       an object of obsession;
       decrease materialistic
       impulses as much as
       I can.  Reason:  I was
       witness to a father, who
       was relatively poor thanks
       especially to raising four
       kids whom he loved, yet
       he was the most material-
       istic person I have ever
       known.  The torture it
       seemed to cause him,
       and his desire to have
       things he could not afford
       was to be avoided, I thought.
     
2.    Racism is pathetic.  Again,
       this comes particularly from
       Dad, who had grow up in a
       suburb of Detroit in which
       he went from being in the
       majority (white) when he
       was quite young to being
       a minority in his neighbor-
       hood and school by the
       time he graduated.  Ap-
       parently he was bullied
       by some of these African-
       American kids and the
       chip never left his should-
       er.  My guess is this played
       a big part upon staying in
       Arkansas when he met
       her there.  Enough said.

3.    Worry not about your en-
       emies (imagined or real),
       and never spend much
       time dwelling on how
       you have been wronged
       (which, in his case, was
       most often by one per-
       son in particular that
       seemed actually like a
       scapegoat for his anger
       and the belief that he
       had been wronged).
       This is something that
       I had to pay close att-
       ention to, over one part-
       icular incident that af-
       fected my life drama-
       tically.  It was tough
       to overcome, and at
       times I did not suc-
       ceed but awkwardly.
       One thing that helped
       was not allowing my-
       self to accept the re-
       sponsibility of the harm
       that was done and con-
       tinues to this day.  If
       the blame lies else-
       where, even if you
       have to work like
       hell to get through it,
       place the blame on the
       where that it belongs and
       move forward.  It is a
       process, and has helped
       me understand my fath-
       er’s obsession over this
       one person who supposedly
       ruined his life, something
       I think we have a lot of
       control over, almost no
       matter how bad you have
       (or have not) been sabotaged.

4.    Do my best to remain
       optimistic and positively
       forward thinking most
       always.  This has to do
       with how I saw both of
       my parents.  I saw my
       father seem torn apart
       and unhappy about, to me,
       the most unnecessary things. 
       And my mother, to this day,
       is the most glass-half-
       empty person I know.  It
       is a way of living I knew
       from early on I did not
       want and, frankly, puz-
       zles me to no end.  I
       may have my sarcastic
       or even bitter side,
       on occasion, but I am
       an optimist to the
       core about the fut-
       ure and its possibili-
       ties.  I am living proof,
       despite or thanks to some
       recent struggles, of optimism,
       or its certain brand of faith,
       being an enhanced or progress-
       ive way of living.

5.    I am a pacifist.  I never
       raise my fists at anyone,
       no matter what.  Prob-
       ably the biggest reason
       for this is that my father
       spent hours teaching me
       how to fight.  By which I
       mean, to fistfight.   And how
       to do whatever I
       could to survive at all
       costs.  He felt it some-
       things of a right of pass-
       age.  I balked, bigtime,
       have made sure never
       to get into a fist-fight.
       The notion seemed incred-
       ibly foreign to me until re-
       cently, while living in a shelter
       for the homeless, where
       “Let’s take this out-
       side” is one of the
       most common things
       you will here from guys
       when you live each night
       with a hundred of them.
       My pacificsm is not without
       its blind side.   As a child,
       I know that my brothers and
       sister and I wrestled like wild-
       cats.  And when I was about
       three I would talk my
       relatives into letting
       me in the playpen with
       my younger twin bro-
       thers.  When the rel-
       ative would leave I
       would the attempt to
       beat the two younger siblings
       up.  Pretty well, I am told. 
       And on more than one oc-
       casion.  I do not remem-
       ber this, but it alone
       should be cause en-
       ough of leaving this
       physical remnant of
       survival of the fittest
       alone at all cost.  As anec-
       dote, I am proud of our
       military, the other three men
       in my family being veterans of
       war.  But if I had had to make
       a choice, I would most certainly
       have been a conscientious
       objector.

5.    Sexual perversion.  As
       a child I witnessed my
       father flirting with
       waitresses incessantly.
       And he engaged in the
       performance, at least
       once a year for sev-
       eral years, individually,
       to all four of us, of the
       telling of the lesson of the
       birds and the bees.  And it
       was quite the lesson!
       The act of sex was a typ-
       ical topic in my family.
       He even included....
       Wait, who am I kidding.
       This is one topic with which
       I happen to have not
       an issue in the world:
       this pretty much obsession
       with sex and sexuality.
       On this topic I am surely
       more openminded, or all-en-
       compassing, in my curiosity,
       thanks to my father.



P.S.  If you realize that these
        latest poems are not only
        often longer, but in more
        draft form (including ugly
        typos and grammatical er-
        rors), please know that I
        am aware and have been
        going back to edit them
        as time permits.  Editing is
        something I have historically
        never spent much time with.
        Time have changed, though. 
        There is certainly a necessity,
        anyway, and I wanted you
        to know that I know, just, you
        know, in case you happened
        to notice.

P.P.S.  Does anyone read
           these?  Just won-
           dering.  Alexa
           says I have the
           number 4 poe-
           try blog in the
           world at the mo-
           ment.  But I often
           get the feeling it is
           entirely random,
           their ranking system.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

mmdccclxv

Some Thoughts on Inability

   Say hi to jock-itch    
                  —John Ashbery

The hardest thing I have ever had
to do is ask for money.  I some-
how found a way to do it, on
occasions too numerous for me
to really dwell on at the moment.
I find myself in a situation in which
I may have to do it once more, much
as my life is much better than it has
been in years.  I have a roof over my
head, my own little isolation tank, and
it would be a difficult thing to lose it,
even with my luck.  But so it goes. 
Money.  And I cannot begin to
imagine what I would have done
nor what my life would be like
if I had not began my habit of
begging online.  For some rea-
son, it makes me think of my
fear of flying. I started air
travel in college, with a
trip from my home state
of Arkansas to New Orleans,
thanks to my good friend
Don, who allowed me this
one foray into the rich kids
way to do spring break, to
my mind, by letting me use
miles he had accumulated
with business trips, of which
this would be yet another
one for him.  For me, it
was spring break.  But it
was very scary to me in
those four airplanes (i-
magine, layovers in which
one has to catch a next
flight both to and from
cities in adjacent states).
I remember that there was
some pretty bad turbulence
on the second leg of that trip,
from Nashville to New Orleans.
But, for whatever reason, each
time I got an an airplane after
that it became a worse exper-
ience, and more difficult to
force myself to even do, and
this when on for about four
trips until I could not do it
anymore.  And had never been
anywhere but the US and a bit
of Canada (driving, of course).
Am I perhaps suggesting that
the fear of flying is something
aking to the fear of asking
for money, and perhaps just
as ridiculous in its own way,
given the much-known sta-
tistics of how you are much
more likely to die in a car
than on an airplane, and
doing many more much
more mundane things,
apparently?  Unfounded
fears.  Things that cause
way too much stress for
me to accommodate. In any
case, I found the unfounded
fear of flying quite absolutely. 
Fortunately, I found a way to
quell the fear after many years
of polling folks, be they acquaint-
ances, good friends or total strang-
ers, whenever I would learn that
person had the same fear.  So,
as common as it was, and as
illogical, all I knew was that
I wanted to see the world.
And how would I do that
without flying . So for over
a decade a took a poll, so to
speak.  What had each person
who actually overcame the fear
(which was not everyone of the,
of course) find a way to do it and
survive?  Finally, after that decade
or so, I had enough research to
finally settle on one of the
most common ways these
folks I would query found to
ease if not rid their fear of fly-
ing, and I went with it and can
attest that I turned forty in Paris
on my first trip abroad.  And
have easily traveled in
an airplane ever since.
Or for about seven
years or so, when I
could afford it.
This is very off-
the-cuff, but my
plan was for it to
be humorou to the imp-
ortance of humor.  I know
that if I even have a point,
I meander my way to it.
But as for the humor, despite
consciously realizing it must
be an important part of my
work, just as it had always
been and continues to be
in life (not to get into why
that I came to such a pronounced
conclusion about anything, but it
had to do with the times during
which I began to write seriously,
and moving from Boston to San
Francisco about that same time,
and about why I read poetry in
the first place; all in all, it was
just about me and my own fragile
baby values, which also included
things like honesty, which can mean
many things to me, a guy who realizes
it is literally non-existent on the whole.
That did not have mean the straight truth,
again, if such a thing even exists, but  a-
bout my own desire for being real, some-
thing I was taught was a virtue, but found
no evidence of it (again, in whole) what-
soever.  Quite the contrary.  And along
with that honesty, which was I would call
it a honesty of experience and curiousity/
imagination, so it was not even the nirvana
of truth, but a truth that one might, like
nirvana, aspire toward.  So it was inflected
and even aided with such things as
my current mood, my imagine, and not
only real events, but could be portrayed
fictionally, so long as it was in some way
perhaps too difficult to describe here,
honest to me and honest of me. This
would need to often include actual events,
or at least the things that went on in my head
because of whatever was going on around me
(or despite of it, perhaps?) and usually
included somewhat nostalgic or emotional
content, and what I may or may not have
learned about the moment, or experience, or
just as a way to relay it or what i was thinking.
Also important was gossipy stuff, a way many poets
got under my skin by interesting me in their lives,
wondering what was real and if it was, how the
rest of the story went.  Hence my obsession
with O’Hara and, as it turns out in
some ways even moreso, at least as far as
the amount of reading I do, one vs. the other,
the work of John Ashbery; certainly moreso than
I would ever have known when I first started
puzzledly reading his books.  But they have
become a compendium which I now think of
in the same way as a child I thought of Bible,
or, probably moreso, The Chronicles of Nar-
nia or The Lord of the Rings.  Like any other
form of art I had become attached to, the
one thing I could not handle was that what
little intelligence I may have not actally have,
that I not feel insulted or bruised by what I read
(or saw in the cinema, or saw or performed on
the stage, or heard in the music to which I
danced, etc.).  When the stars aligned, as
they can more often than I would have
thought at first (even though, the truth is
that after finishing that first book by Ashbery
I certainly didn’t think I would ever be reading
anything by him again, which also pro-
pels my practice of reading that which
I do not understand or even like, trying
like hell to get something out of it; and
let me assure you that this can, for me,
lead to some wonderfully eye-popping
moments of enlightenment), the exact
opposite happens, and, say, the juicy
stuff, the esoterica, makes me want to
read biographies, essays, journals, what-
ever additional information I can get on
whomever this poet was or is who spoke
so intimately and interestly and hum-
orously and gossipy and often obvious-
ly out of love or extreme respect about
quite often the same persons on a regular
basis (yet the obscure singular references
become madly interesting, as well)—many
of whom I also desperately want to know
like I do the author.  This practice is the
stuff of basic academic research, of course,
so is quite possible to do in most cases,
as it turns out.  And this desire has pro-
pelled me along on this trek almost as
much as anything else I can think of.  I
call it engaging with an author (dead or
alive), and it is the author I am most of-
ten hoping to get to know when I pick
up a book (of poetry, let me be specific)
in the first place.  Almost without fail,
the desire is to engage. 

Anyway,
there are other things, too but I was
getting to humor, wasn’t I?  And, oh
yes, how important it was for me even
from the beginning to make absolutely
certain that my work and what I would
editorially showcase had plenty of it.
Humor.  It just seemed something that
was lacking.  I have come through
some recently times, recently, in
which humor seemed to be extra-
ordinarily absent, or unidentifiable
at times to me.  But looking back
through this experience, and back
at my writing both before and during
the time, often when I do not
even realize it, I mix very low-brow
humor with topics or story-lines that
are of great importance, perhaps
severely so, to me.  So there is a
bit of purpose to this method, of
course, and a lot of it has to be
to engage.  To give someone the
opportunity I had to delight in
getting to know my heroes.  And,
after all, this is about me.  But about
me engaging with you.  So, if I can get
you with the fantastic jock-itch epigraph
at the top, and you get this far, then there
has been engagement.  I may never know
you.  But you can certainly know plenty
about me (if you read Roman Numerals
for example, just look at the number
above, each of the poems with numbers
before that can be found right here.
For those of you who may possibly want
to know more, however few might be
left at this point in this poem, for those
of you have never read any of them before,
for example, there is ample means to know
me much better.  A lot of what I do, I am sure,
is try to capture or mimic those things
in those poems by the guys I mentioned
earlier (and many, many others) that
made me want to understand him, often
to the point here it would literally feel
as if we were friends who would often
stay up together long into many an
evening or night talking, talking,
talking.  Learning about one another.
It make me happy that I have not quite
lost my sense of humor.  I feel a bit in-
complete when I offer something that
is seemingly too heavy with the lack
of it, but that seems important to me,
as well.  Or something that is just plain
sappy, which, here I am, doing some-
thing like both of those example, and
without a lick of humor (or much, any-
way). And while many of you may have
gone further, and gotten to know me
personally, especially pursuant to
reading or hearing something I wrote,
that is huge to me.  And I know how
full of ego that may sound, but this
method of trying to engage seems to be
one of the most genuine ways to begin. 
For any of you I have jilted, by not re-s
ponding in a proper fashion if you have
already attempted to reach out to me,
please try again.  I do not prefer this
life of solitude.  There is no one to
blame for it but myself.  But however
I might act elsewise, I do this as a cat-
alyst for engagement, first and fore-
most. 

I never got to meet Mr. Ashbery
(unlike so many of the poetic
heroes who have lived in
my lifetime who have be-
come friends or acquaint-
ances or which I have at
least had the opportunity
to shake a hand of the poet
and try to say they are, to me,
hero) — but I never
even heard him read.  Not
that I did not have ample
opportunity.  I think it might
be just because I was literally
too in awe to bring myself
to be there?  But while
he can surely no longer
hear me and my feelings
about him, there  is still
engagement between us,
and it is not just one-
sided, to me.  And
I feel a much better
person for picking up
that second and third
and fourth book.  And
reading and re-reading
many more.  So thank
you very, very much,
John!  Even and esp
ecially for the jock-itch.
And thank you, too.  May
you never leave the word,
including its truth and its
hopeful humor, and all of
the rest of it’s wonder.

Friday, May 24, 2019

mmdccclxiv

...life is short, and life is long, how a thing may contain
    the opposite direction of wherever it’s headed...
                                             —Stephanie Young

I was not born yesterday.
And I am a Gemini.  As-
trology being random,
it makes a lot of sense
to me.  As in or does it? 
And so I look at you,
quite often and proud
and love you despite
your foibles.  Some of
which were horror.
I grew to love you,
Dad.  I always did,
but the expansion
began after I left
you (left home,
that is, all of seven-
teen, to go to a col-
lege that I would pay
on my own; it was al-
ways the deal) and has
never stopped expanding. 
You loved me (He did.
It was unmistakably
obvious). You even
knew, in so many ways
who I was, well be-
fore I did (: a squirrel;
a twinkie. For ex-
ample.), but were,
by your own ad-
mission, clue-
less as to what to
do with me because
I would always have
rather stayed in my room
all day reading than go
build fences, tend to the
cattle, watch you play
with your bulldozer
or go fishing (and I
certainly never en-
joyed the times I
had to go hunting).
You taught me how
to read before I got
to first grade (we
had no kindergarten
the year I would have
attended such).  I was
therefore an anomaly
to my teachers, just
as I was to you. I can-
not imagine how my
life would have gone
without this gift.  So
this is just a short note,
after a hard talk that
ended too shortly (of
which I am heartbro-
ken, which is appears
to be yet possible),
to remind you (myself)
that I miss you, I love
you and I am very much
of you.  And for that,
I could not be more
grateful.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

mmdccclxiii

Page 3

   a giant crab
   in the sky above Tokyo
   whispers compassion —
                      —John Ashbery

There is no English
for the song in my head
that popped up when I
recovered.

The fingers made the
strings of the beautiful
guitar emit sounds that
were ethereal.

The entire world was
rapt.  I asked the eaves-
droppers of the very tall
videos to come sit with me.

Their flips were quite
confusing at first.  But
then each one held my
hand to a conclusion.

Here was a guy explaining
something about, maybe,
dancing; my Indian
heritage.

He said “The Condolences Book
is for nerds.  I said I loved
nerds.  I failed to say that
I am one.  What is nerd?

But I cannot stop wanting
just to feel something.
When I write that I don’t feel
anything.  Writing not righting.

The urgency of the moment.
Instant camera.  The polaroid
of the day.  What’s
confusing?

Time as an instrument to detect
quality.  The irritability of
instantaneous.  Identity.
Feeling terrible.

I am unidentified
in the sky at night.
Feeling blue.  Say-
ing “I do.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

mmdccclxii

Page 1

She was stopping to
warm with the fog
or something.  “Fog
and warmth make
little sense toget-
her,” I’m sure she
was thinking.  I ha-
ve been there.  Sh-
e says it even, a
few moments lat-
er:   “This war-
mth makes no
sense at all.  A-
nd I love it.”  Lat-
er, wanting to
sleep, I feel like
slapping myself
so hard about it
all.  About every-
thing.  Flogging
myself in my sol-
itary little apart-
ment with my su-
it still on (having
passed out from
10:00am to 1:00
pm, missing the
free food pantry
that comes ever-
y Tuesday at 11-
:00).  Then I start
singing.  “Oh, the-
re’s lots to do!  Th-
ere’s lots to do!  Lots
and lots and lots to
do!”  In my frag-
ility, I am singing
as if I am with a
guy who isn’t in-
die at all.  Banging
out some thunder.
Strumming to the
radio from storm
to storm.  All the
other guy hears is
“wah wah wah &
wah wah wah wah,”
having no idea I’m
thinking “we we we
& we we we we.”
The warmth makes
no sense but I am
nonsense anyway.
It is a lot like war:
when the festival
comes one has to
either get to work
or simply do...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

mmdccclxi

Page 2 

...and I am hungry.  And the
pairs will await.  I’ll be there.
Or.  Axel Bower is NOT a Wo-
man?  But my largest dilemma,
the most confounding for some
time now, because fidelity is
not only NOT a dilemma, but
she is bouncing, or she is Bou-
nce Electra on the verge of
doubling up (the Wrigley
twins come to mind).  And
then thrice such.  As I was
saying before, the gig di-
lemma, which is coming up
apace, anon, toot sweet:
do I head for Africa, which
has always been next on
the list and/or lose my he-
ad, either here or there?
Back on the ground is a
place we call Spotify (at
least these days).  And
the news that Weezer
remade Toto just ab-
out a year ago?  Or
something?  I type it
onto (into?) my list,
post haste.  We do
everything in a hurry,
have lots of projects,
and never finish any-
thing.  Life is happy
like that.  Am I dis-
appointed about the
whole Weezer thing?
I used to have a best
friend who was tot-
ally infatuated with
Rivers Cuomo.  We
aren’t friends any
more because “I
am not the same
as I used to be.”
Anyway.  Such a-
re so-called friend-
s.  Well, the histo-
ry goes that we
went to an OK Go
concert (before
the treadmills
made them such
a big deal) just
because Cuomo is
buds with the ba-
nd, and word had
it that he’d be in
attendance.  She
was right, and OK
Go was pretty rad.
It has been one of
my rare concert
experiences, es-
pecially those of
an intimate nat-
ure (it was at
Bottom of the
Hill). Indy band
gone terribly
80&rsquos. Or
somesuch. Was
the headline.
I used to nev-
er read much
beyond that,
so....   The
1980’s, my e-
ra, totally.  Tot-
ally.  More to
that story la-
ter, as this
one is about
piecing thin-
gs together.
Like a quilt.
I had a hand
in making a
quilt with my
3rd grade cl-
ass (thanks
Mrs. Wells!).
It was 1976,
the bicent-
ennial, and
she thought
it’d be a fan-
tastic way to
celebrate su-
ch a year wi-
th a quilt-ma-
king project.
Moms and
grandmoms
were invited
to participa-
te, too—and
of course
they did.
In fact (
or of cou-
rse), most
of the
actual
quilti-
ng was
done by
the mat-
rons & gr-
andmatr-
ons any-
way...

Monday, May 20, 2019

mmdccclx

Reinventing History

   We can’t live on without the rhythm.
                —LSD (the musical trio that is Labrinth, Sia and Diplo)

I get up, a friend
messages me, a
friend?  I have
about an hour
to do this, an
hour to do that
and then two
for the next
item on the
list.  I can
see life
from
more
than
just a
singular
perspective.
I think.  I can
go a week with-
out a shower.  I
would assume any-
one can do that.
Bad example.  I
have a refrigerator
now.  It is for my
perishables.  I
talked a bit with
my friend about
perishing.  I
suppose you
could say that
I started it.  I
had told him
I will be much
better soon
unless I die
first.  And
he said
Don
die!
I had
to smile.
I certainly
don't plan to,
was my resp-
onse.  Then
we went on
to the next
subject.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

mmdccclix

Where you headed for?
                 —John Ashbery

“I been to Houston
once,” said the man
who only came once
to the Alcoholics An-
onymous meeting at
Birch and Marlowe.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

mmdccclviii

“i’ll have the nostalgia pancake, extra syrup, please!”

sure, a nostalgia pancake in-

cludes some unhappy memo-
ries (which, as it turns out,
turn out to be just a pinch,

even though i realize that
i usually have on my rose-
colored glasses), the men
in my life (especially; and

by men, i mean those with
whom i’ve had relations, by
which i mostly mean the men
with whom i have resided for

a good duration, with whom
i was most often living only
a week or two to a month
after falling for one in an

untested domestic bliss, in
which at least one of us did
tremendous work to main-
tain).  the recipe includes

dreams (good and ‘bad’,
with the most memorable ones
recurring; serials that, as such,
became so totally real that

they become indistinguishable
from reality as time passes)
and the good fortune of a
very blessed, non-tragedic

life (without even a singular
regret), replete with a filing
by in two and threes (etc.,)
of a potential endowment

of acquaintances and crushes
from which to literally pick
(as if standing hungrily at the
entrance to the ark before the

flood, deciding in an instant as
the line progresses in front of
you, whom to dismiss and with 
whom to spend the next few 

weeks, months or even years 
so get to know or co-exist with) 
and a spoonful of kismet (even 
if one counters this flavor with 

a complete disbelief in fate 
or karma).  one of the big in-
gredients, of course, is love.
the several loves in this life

(both great and small, long
in duration or swift and pass-
ing).  each of these have brought
warmth of heart, elucidation,

adventure, indelible snap-
shots in time that can be
recalled with ease, usually
one that is a paradigm of

that particular love, and
all of which bring thoughts
of good times, almost never
unhappy times, but definitely

a few moments of absurdity
or enlightenment which can
be easily recalled (this from
someone for whom recalling

is not a given, is pretty un-
usual at times, unless there
are words or photos of rem-
inder, or when the wonder-

ful moment of an odd trig-
ger comes by someone or
something that brings it all
back like it was yesterday, a

phenomenon for which i am im-
mensely grateful; like recently,
how while staring at a mop in wal-
greens reminded me of being chased 

around a second floor apartment, 
which was directly above a printing 
press establishment on main street 
in bowling green, ohio, with a broom, 

escaping just in time to watch dishes 
fly down from the window above by 
the man previous behind the chasing 
broom, (mostly) landing on the foot

of snow that was the winter
norm in that part of my life;
followed an hour or so later—
after “making up”—by a

trio of police officers at our
door asking about a domestic
disturbance that had been called
in by three or four neighbors).

also important in this nostalgic
and decadent breakfast are re-
collections of adventures of hik-
ing or camping, of many hours

of flitting around with my crazy
movements on dancefloors all
around the world, and of parties
hosted by yours truly (wherein

there might be, say, fifty or 
sixty folks show up during the 
course of the night in hallo-
ween attire.  these memories,

this nostalgia, help me 
to get perspective on
who i am based on who
i was, and most gener-

ally brings me joy, even
sealed within the isolation
tank that has been my 
life for over three years

now.  so much joy that
i find myself quite often
pilfering through pictures
or trying to fill in the gaps

where i cannot bring my-
self to remember an event
that i know took place, a 
person that i know i had 

a meaningful encounter
with.  these are usually 
the durations in my life 
when there is a distinct 

lack of photographs av-
ailable (as few or any 
were taken at the time)
and the timeframes du-

ring which i failed to write
much in my journals.  also 
important in building 
these flapjack stacks

are fond memories of
the long conversations
that happened, over
meals in cafes, or 
wherever i was living

at the time, in groups rang-
ing from two to twenty or
so (like the one with four
or five of us at the

apartment in which i
lived the longest, where
we talked for some-,
thing like four hours

about how gold was 
made into bars).  i spoon
into the batter many
stories, particularly of

love, different with 
each person, but each
having a beginning
(illogical, intense),

a middle (building
your ‘place’ and
exploring the idea of
domestic bliss) and

the ending (which,
even if hellish at the
time, can now find me
grinning with glee; paus-

ing for long gazes into the
nowhere space with these 
brown eyes, lost in a moment, 
my face that has been fortunate 

enough to enjoy hours of kiss-
ing (and of course i do 
not suggest overall, but 
all at once, on many 

occasions), the hours of
conversations, the arguing,
the tears, the coded looks
(“please can you open this

can for me?” or why are
you even thinking of 
doing this to me?); 
whatever would bring

me to the next stage
in the journey.  ad-
ventures, for sure.
happiness, obviously.

hedonism in many forms.
and so much love (i have
learned to only speak for
myself on this one; but i've

so often felt it coming at me
with as much certainty as
the fact that i am actively 
returning it).  admittedly,

it is easy to appreciate
the value of such a blessed
life when you find yourself
in a long drought without

most any of it, when you
find yourself in unknown,
undecipherable, troubled
times, alone, in a box 

you call “helplessness.
but you do what you know, 
if you know some good, and
you do it with all you have in-

side of you. i will continue
with this blessed and overly
joyous existence, nourishing
myself with these pancakes,

which are drenched in maple sy-
rup (which is almost too excitable 
for this tongue).  but i’ll be back
there lickety-split. just watch me.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

mmdccclvii

I Am Not A Protected Veteran

 ...need house sleep with men
 come after not too bad.
                   —John Ashbery

need?  can’t say no to that,
but perhaps more importantly
is strong desire.  yes, i’m back

in the isolation tank, and 
this week not so much feening 
feening dating/intimacy (none

whatsoever for over a year now), 
nor obsessing over the why of this
fact, but instead, mulling over what

a reminder it is that my life is 
so precisely upside down; so opp-
osite.  i’ve had my moments,

but the past five years now
are a new map.  one that has
been impossible for me to de-

cipher.  a flat earth, but not how
that antiquated notion must mean 
to the today’s trendy flat-earthers.

absurd.  many days the question
is no longer about how to get
that (i.e., a) life back, but 

will i ever get a life again?
par for the course, of course,
is that the upsides of living in

this isolation chamber are al-
so the downsides.  the freedom 
of joblessly setting one’s hours

(alas, the decision whether or not 

to utilize this freedom to search 
for employment, which, from my

observations isn
’t the most com-
mon choice amongst my neighbors 
here in this transitional housing 

apartment building).  it’s home.

i can say that with a certain pride.
a certain pride.  i try (desperately,

especially of late) the optimist’s

approach.  which, thankfully, some-
how still seems to exist most often.

nevertheless, this freedom becomes

a prison unto itself.  to stay idle is
often too easy.  especially after what

got me here in the first place (not to

speak for most folks but, I would most
certainly get it if that were the over-

whelming reason for such lethargy).

but i choose the job of searching for a
job; an odd, yet sometimes too easy

to understand why, difficult process.

meaning, simply, i never had difficulty
finding a job before.  they always tend-

ed to just land in my lap.  something i

obviously took for granted and makes
prevailing times even more awkward.

but as for my paid job (you can roll your

eyes if you’d like; many of you would —
even I have, in the past, when one’d make

this distinguishing point), when i am working

unusual amounts of overtime, for example,
or have very mind-numbing projects with

overly early deadlines, when i should be 

too exhausted for any real work afterwards,
that’s when i find myself producing more.

art.  more poetry.  more of this attempt

at engagement.  more of this attempt to
understand you.  more of this attempt

to find those who might possibly begin

to get a glimpse into my own soul (with
all of its illogical geminic layers); might

possibly be interested in doing so. 
more of this attempt to make the 
things that have made me make 

myself, and have made me love 
myself, and have helped me in
my discovery of a stable value

system, as evolving as it is, this
magical sculpting that takes place
right in front of my eyes as i turn

page after page, which has also
gifted me with most of the people
whom i an earnestly call hero, and

many whom i can call friend. my other 
job, when i have one, i appreciate very 
much.  it is a career that has known its

successes, too.  of which i am proud.
and one that i do well.  but, there 
is no way to explain how much

i love my real work.  sure, theres
a problematic need to prove my-
self. to be listened to (even in the

isolation tank i am way too loud, i
know).  to be, even if in some small
way, understood.  it is also work

that can turn into a means of en-
gagement, or find you a true friend
(that rarity), can give someone the

joy you have in some way—from 

what you do—the inspiration,
which is maybe the most imp-

ortant thing, i cannot say that i am

certain that i am not alone in 
feeling or desiring these things

from the work which i call my
real job.  however, for me, the
ultimate hope is that my words

and their architecture, become
a means of engagement; not sim-
ply in one direction, but that there

is rapport:  hearts and minds
having a conversation with the
me, even if just the pages of me.  

growth, most always in a posit-

tive way, occurs primarily from
engagement.  speaking.  listening.  

passion.  adjustment.  it’s also a
way to meet people; someone, 
anyone, with whom i can connect 

on a level that is so rare that it 
seems in retrospect impossible to 
do.  a hope.  (oh, i've believed.

i've felt such a connection.  but,
as often as i can recall these mo-
ments, in the end, i turned out 

to be sadly mistaken, sometimes
tragically so.  but life is full of
disappointment.  for me.  on this

subject.  i spend much of my life 
living for it, nonetheless.  and 
haven’t lost that hope.  if any-

thing it expands. not logical,
but worth noting.  so all one 
can do is try to make good out

of whatever you’re given.  and
give back in a better way than
you’ve gotten.  in the case of

the tough stuff, anyway.  i
try not to be a tragedy. 
and have nightmares of

what seems to me would
be the most horrible trag-
edy of all (which, for me,

would be coming to a
horrible end in the midst
of a time such as the one

i have just lived through;
am still living through.
the only way to avoid

it, at best, is to remain
as happy as possible as
often as possible.  and

i am generally very lucky
to be able to do just that.
or i hope to get back to

that point.  in percent-
ages i certainly have the
wonderful stuff on my side.

anyway, you’ve gotten this
far with my foibles.  or you
have arrived here, and let’s

say that you just might be 
interested in knowing more
of the same.  perhaps i am

too hopeful, but such a thing
could happen.  seems to on
occasion.  well, if so, even

in a generally slight way,
i say stay tuned here to 
find out what happens,

whether tragic or comic.
if you just arrive, feel free
to back and catch up.  it is 

your decision, and if you 
did, it would certainly tick- 
le me pink.  or at least such

a fantastical notion does al-
ready (as in, i’m pink).  and 
know this.  there’ll  not be a 

sequel once it is over.  so, i bid
you an adieu for today.  and plan 
to be back again in a day.  or two.