Dec 17, 2010

Only the form of your body

All bodies are real to me. You do not exist in memory or reality without being in the world. All is present in things, and only things matter. Only the form of your body, the force of its movement in will through the world, matters. I have to imagine you receiving my letter with legs folded under your body as you sit on a bed in a room you no longer rent. This makes you no less real, makes reality no less real, but infuses it with enough meaning to give life to what would be dead.

Oct 26, 2010

All You Need to Know

I found myself telling a story, consumed by the generalities of narrative and the urge to make universal by way of flatness. There’s the generality, which wants to be something to everyone, but not very much, and the specificity, which is a thousand times more ecstatic, bound up in memory, and quivering with alive but in conversation gives us back blank faces, downcast eyes. Caught in the generality and suddenly wondering where the wonder has gone. This is a vision and a revision, a memory of arbitrary specifics, a dream you are sharing with a will behind it.

We met and began to fall in love in Spain, in Granada, the city that no one wants to leave but I had to leave on a 3am bus still a bit high, a bit drunk. I had to meet her in the north, in Bilbao after university finished a few weeks later. She somehow found me at the airport though maybe we barely remembered each other. She’d found a pension to stay at. The room was large and all white, with dark wood furniture and a balcony over a small old street. We didn’t know how to know each other. We didn’t know how to make love to each other. I barely knew how to make love. We spoke, faltering. We made love. We made love for days. I don’t remember how many. We’d leave only to go for walks, sometimes not until evening. We drank wine and ate olives on the small balcony. We began the slow process of knowing each other. We began to learn the words that the other used. Our two languages fought, though sparingly, joking, not knowing how serious a problem their inability to communicate would become. We couldn’t know how little we understood of the other. We visited the famous museum, through curved shining forms, through dulled rusted tunnels. We walked over many bridges, talking, listening, trying to hear. We made love many times a day in that white room. I was deliriously in love, so much that memory falters. A black man, there are few in Spain, sang old American songs down on the street. We played a game of believing he sang to us. We left the curtains open, the windows open all night. It was June. Late one morning the woman at a higher window across the street, working in a carpet shop, must have seen us making love. We hoped that she watched for a while. We hoped it was beautiful because we believed ourselves to be beautiful. We believed ourselves to be beautiful because we were in love and delirious, drunk on ourselves, the way we should be when we fall in love. Exactly as we should be, innocent as we should be and are, completely naive and raw for life. A touch of cynicism could have killed us, a bare mention of a steeled rational plot, but none came for us.

I fell in love in Spain, gorgeously, without hesitation, and did not look back. When she left down the Metro stairs in Paris I didn’t look back. I’d played Bruce Springsteen to her on the way to Paris to try and get her to stay. I couldn’t understand that her French mind didn’t know what to make of the lyrics that saved me. I spent days wandering the streets of that museum-city, sometimes visiting museums. I don’t know what I ate. I don’t know what I did, except walk and read, sometimes write, but I don’t know what I wrote; there’s a journal now with little in it. I sat by the Seine and watched Parisians. I drank beer, or wine, I don’t know. I paid too much to keep our double room because we’d danced there crying before she left. The owner spoke no English anyway. He asked where she’d gone. Elle voyager, a few words I could remember. I lay in bed all day in the heat, sweating into sheets, taking a shower when it was too much. I watched the apartment next door have a dinner party through multiple windows. I watched some of the World Cup games in French, or the news channels without understanding at all. How many days? I don’t know. I’ve never figured it out. A week? It seems impossible. What I remember as one day in the room could have been three, or more. I didn’t talk to anyone. I found an internet cafe down the street and wrote to her a few times. Eventually I bought a plane ticket to Berlin and that moment ended.

When we met again we were far from Spain, far from falling in love. In love but uncertain, knowing nothing of each other but our love. We began again.

P.S. - I've left out the Chinese restaurant, the beach and her beauty along the rocks, the endless hunk of cheese bought at a market and carried for days, the tapas of San Sebastian, my absolute shyness at trying to speak Spanish, the restaurant in Guerncia thinking about Picasso and Franco's bombs, these and thousands of other things...but you aren't supposed to know that.

Sep 22, 2010

If the night would end

If the night would end.  If the night would never end.  If we could sit endlessly facing each other.  If we ceased facing endlessly.  If we faced, ceasing endlessly.  If we ceasing endlessly faced.  If the night ends.  If never ended the night.  If ceasing ended the night.  If sitting our ceasing the night ended.  If ceasing to sit the night appeared raw and black, maw and swallowing.  If ceasing our sit swallowed into night, chewed and quivering.  If endlessly maw, chewing sat, facing and swallowing the starlight.  If pulling down if rising up.  If quivering facing our ceasing ended.  If maw talked, if quivering warbled a song to our facing.  If warbling the ceasing sang to our night.  If sun bitten, if moon raked and quivering bleeding, if ceased endless our chewed minds and derelict visions uplifted.  If our quaking bodies turned to chewing endless fortune’s strands.  If uplifted the star threads pulled us, limbs into void, facing our ceasing notions, chewing our endless notions, quivering our faces, threading our eye’s beads on wires of identity.  If hands abandoned the beads.  If night abandoned faces.  If ceasing abandoned night.  If we ourselves torn and tearing, only eyes strung, only arms flailing, only legs quivering upwards, only holy ghastly constellations chewing in the maw of light.

Aug 1, 2010

Commentary on a poem by Leonard Cohen:

This Is War
There is no one
to show these poems to
Do not call a friend to witness
what you must do alone
These are my ashes
I do not intend to save you any work
by keeping silent
You are not yet as strong as I am
You believe me
but I do not believe you
This is war
You are here to be destroyed
from The Energy of Slaves

“There is no one / to show these poems to” - Do not run to another.  No one else will understand.  What I have found here will be mine to deal with.  No other can validate.  The truth would be lost if they did.  Don’t look back down the tunnel.  Eurydice disappears down the path with a pale face.  Revelation disappears in the same manner.  There isn’t anywhere to go.  Stop trying to escape (I know that I want to). 

“Do not call a friend to witness / what you must do alone” - This isn’t something to show off.  The poem isn’t foreplay.  It won’t get you in the door.  It won’t bring friends or lovers.  When you inform them what it does do you they will nod and say, “Yes, very nice.” Or something else, but no better.  You must do it alone because the hero must be alone with the gods.  Ghosts of gods, ghosts of men, in tattered clothing and unwashed.  Alone with it all, the throbbing presence of the void.  Eternity in an hour and a grain of sand.  A particle with the weight of star matter.  Alone with it.  There are no calls to make.

“These are my ashes / I do not intend to save you any work / by keeping silent” - The poet has burned himself for this.  Or he was burned, and spends his time collecting his ashes as offerings.  His love has been a fire.  His self has been immolated.  His ashes are mixed with ink and water and written upon the page.  Perhaps they are mixed with blood, a trap of a dramatic urge with a ritualistic novelty.  Keeping silent would save us work, much hard work, many difficult questions which materialize upon the reading of this page, upon the realization of ingesting ashes.  He has chosen to speak.  The words are there to be dealt with.

“You are not yet as strong as I am” - Simply a statement of fact.  Why else turn to these lines?  Why else be so disturbed by them?  Why else feel the knife of truth twisting in a gut and inspiring the urgency to flee into the arms of comfort, into the arms of safe love, into the arms where no poet is putting our intellect and ego under siege?

“You believe me / but I do not believe you” - I believe you because you have proven yourself, because there are ashes amongst and upon the pages.  Because your absolute privacy has violated itself before my eyes.  There is reason to believe you and none to believe me.  All of these things I have expended efforts to hide.  I have cowered under the veil of my self, which is a mask I work on day and night. I’ve proven nothing, given nothing of myself.  I didn’t even know there was a war.

“This is war” - I didn’t know love was, either.  I didn’t know about ordinances, swords, shields, revolvers, parading around in the guise of words.  Thrown into it, even offended.  A fevered dream that I didn’t even want to have.  A war because the poet levels the full weight of his well earned ashes straight at me.  Because I feel truth in my gut and am afraid to be destroyed.  Because war is where my self is caught up in the mercy of the universe, completely humbled and subject to the laws of chance, the gods of dice, the game being played out that many have tried to rig and all have failed at doing so. 

“You are here to be destroyed” - Why else come to these lines? Desperate to preserve, and nothing happens.  Full of virtue and not even a tiny shift in the fabric of the universe.  Destroyed and the gates of love might budge an inch.  The whole tower I thought was magnificent turns out to be rusty, nearly falling over with age and misuse.  Why else come to anything, to love, to her, but for apocalypse?

Jul 22, 2010

Series of Dreams

A series of thoughts, series of dreams, series of selves and beings. A stringing together of things that no one who wanted to string anything together could ever come up with, or would ever want to. A series of images so disjointed that the mind recoils out of not wanting to participate in insanity. Out of refusing to confront itself further. The rational mind, what it wants, and the comfort of what it takes and protects against. The concrete dam of language and steel shell of the unwilling body. A corpse formed out of words that cannot be said. Faces which rearrange themselves depending on the minute, hour, or are nothing but shifting: like sand in the wind, like eddies and crosscurrents, like landscapes observed over millennia; ordered only in the meta-reality of the geoscopic view but never from face to face. Memories that don’t go together, one thing after another, but never singularity. Instead a thousand things, and none of them go together, none of them have any magnetism or obvious attraction. There isn’t even anything to sort out, and that is what should scare you (though that isn’t for me to say). There isn’t even anything to sort out. I’m still going to try. Trying to arrange a ceaseless shifting parade of images that never remains still, never sorts out, never solidifies, never means a thing and laughs outrageously at all attempts to inscribe form upon it.

May 29, 2010

memory bubbles

The rum gets to me. The heat gets to me. The voices next door blend with the music and all I can imagine there is the beautiful girl I rarely see. In the other room my wife has taken paint and paper, intent on taking the world out for a ride. In far Los Angeles are names I want to know and can’t help but knowing, bodies I want to know and can’t help but knowing. In far Edinburgh, in Granada, in Paris, in Milano too. My senses as artifice run rampant and commit the rest to oblivion. At some point this all stops making sense, as we all do if we are honest enough. At some point the pursuit falters, the chase ends through exhaustion or death. Never does everyone go home happy. Someone sat by themselves at the orgy, looking through a straw at her feet. In the parks of Montreal couples hold hands, in the parks of Berlin couples make love, naked on the grass and on rocks above a beach in Denmark I sit blistering in sun writing poetry while white windmills turn on the sea. The line between memory and creation fails me or was never valid. Memory made again every day along with the world, a new one always, a new cry in the dawn and in the night, new blood that knows nothing and phantoms dashing across streets without words but refusing to be forgotten.

Mar 14, 2010

between the 9th and 10th beer on Bukowski's death day

that’s how it is
the tears run down the face
of the ocean like a mad horse
tearing loose from it’s rider
until you’re staring
at nothing at all just the glimpse
of her face and the hatred
in a pair of eyes. that’s
nothing, just a frantic
wailing of simple fools
that didn’t know enough to
get out of the way when she
came riding through town.

all i wanted to do
was take a walk down the street
but pretty soon i figured out
that everyone was just as crazy
as I was and that we had nothing
to offer each other. the addict
on a bike almost ran me over.
the girl who was nearly beautiful
from far away
had a bit of a smashed up face
a large dark birthmark on her jaw
and smelled of cheap strawberry
perfume. the kind that makes a man
recoil or choose to accept his fate.
but i had to walk
until i wasn’t on trial anymore.
the day had begun badly
and i needed to get it off my back
so I did
and the sun was very bright outside
thankfully, the sun was bright and high
even though it is still winter
and there wasn’t a cloud at all
just like a morning in spain
without the scent of jasmine.

that’s how it is.
i wasn’t looking for anything
not even for a word or a bit
of advice and thankfully
nothing found me, no one on the street
noticed or cared how mad I looked
or wondered why I lacked
a warm coat to protect myself.
some day
i might be dying in the street
and they won’t notice then either
but that’s it
what we get
the freedom of not being known
except by the ones
who love us
or hate us.

Mar 6, 2010

War all the time

Things changed. I saw everyone trying to look away from death and darkness while I saw both everywhere: in the joyless cruelty of shopping malls and the freezing homeless bodies who curled up next to them on Montreal’s winter streets, in the whore at 6am leaving the club and hurried by her pimp saying, “hang on baby, my feet hurt, OK, hang on baby” worn out and without respite, surrounded by crazy and noise all the time. War all the time. Everyone kept looking away so I looked harder, because I saw how easily they looked away. Their eyes flicker away from mine on the street and have no answer. Only the poor ever answer, the only abject and most accurate answer of “Spare any change?” There’s many ways to say this; one man sings showtunes in a monotone, another girl sobs in the metro station. More polite than the asshole trying to sell you a phone, begging for a handout all the same.

I don’t even know why you come to me. All I offer is what you most do not want to see. This mirror shows only yourself, and never in a flattering image. I know you can’t love, but you believe you can, and know you don’t live, but you believe that you do. That’s ok. It doesn’t bother me much anymore, though I’m sad for us all. When I can’t stand the situation anymore I try to write, and write what I need to make it through evenings of solitude, or a walk down a street full of beggars (most nights everyone is a beggar, from the girls in tights and short dresses to the men with hats laid in front of them for change). This is what I need to write, the madness that sustains me, and I can do it because I don’t care whether you need it or not, whether you like it. I’m not worried about your taste in anything because I don’t trust you one bit, not with my mother or my wife or my friends.

The thing is, who cares about the dead? Her body washes up in a quiet part of the river missing most of its clothes, bloated and visibly battered. One guesses, the newspapers, those who read the newspapers, her friends and mother and daughter, that she was followed home. That she was hit over the head. That she was raped. That she was afraid. That she hurt, felt terror, eventually died. One guesses and imagines these things, but these are fictions and like most fictions only a narrative to fill the void of feeling and bodies. No one worries about truth because the fiction is knowledge enough. so who cares about the dead, when a fiction is good enough for her mother, good enough for the news? A detective is born like a poet is, from wanting to know and revolting against all illusion. The void is there, and so is the dark glimmer of light on rippling water. That is too beautiful a way to say it. The bloody wall, torn throat are there, justice and God are absent, and the detective realizes without him no one will know, no tiny drop of sun will fall into the void. Justice is the furthest thing from his mind, which knows justice is impossible. She is dead, and that’s the end. Justice doesn’t drive him, unless its the injustice of fiction, the passion to be sure of something.

Thrown into life and desperate that way. Mad, needing to know what no one wants to even think about. I work conscious of the walls of the world, conscious of the uselessness of death and the void underneath me. There’s nothing to it. Take your own weight or float around forever. I don’t have any to give you. At the first clue it is over for the detective; the first clue that destroys the fiction forever. Something crooked in the world, out of place in the imagined order of things, and the true world becomes nothing but a fable. The husband still wears the ring on his finger, but no one has checked it for a stain of blood. In Argentina they dropped prisoners from helicopters, but who cared to know of these killers were their sons, their brothers or lovers? I see myself the killer and don’t know if I have the courage to die rather than become a murderer. The detective knows this too, sees the darkness in the unsuspected place, in the fiction of innocence protecting the beloved who is close to us. All terrible possibility. Everything is possible, the father to kill his daughter, the daughter to long for death at his hands, sickness to manifest from all of us. No one accepts this willingly. We build our own crosses for our own crucifixions, and then some of us find the courage to rip our hands from the nails staring into the eyes of those who have hung us there, seeing only a mirror of ourselves.

He can’t turn away. I can’t look away, though sometimes my courage fails and I try to do so. From the moment a stray hair, an oddly broken finger, an out of place bruise, destroyed the fiction of the world he cannot turn away from knowing. I could name him a compulsive, and others do, writing stories in which the detective and the killer share so many affinities. True enough, they know each other if the killer knows himself, since the detective knows all possibilities, and even beyond those. But he has a choice, every day and every case he has a choice to walk away from all of this and knows it to be the case. One day he will, one day later maybe he will come back. One day Rimbaud left for Africa and never wrote again except letters of failure, eventually misery, but finally wanting to be anything but a poet. I imagine them both orphans, Rimbaud and the nameless detective. I have to, because no parents can believe their child has seen so much stupid cruelty, felt the uselessness, terror and beauty of the world so keenly. No more than a parent can believe their child a killer. Both reject the world as it appears, but parents must believe precisely in that world or else be terrified forever of losing their children.

Still there are more dead and endless fictions to go with each one. Thousands of unsolved murders, let alone wars filled with murder for which their are no detectives, as if the answer in itself was merely “war” and that is how things are. Every completed investigation followed by another one, every truth knocked down replaced easily with another fiction. Endless narratives, endlessly imagined truths for every murder and occasion forming the veiled fabric of the world, and the poet-detective with his insane task of piercing those veils knowing there is no glory, no eternity, nothing but a gathering together of what minor truths there are. Every murder an open wound of the world which exposes all we wish desperately to believe as false. Every freezing body next to a warm empty building, everyone who doesn’t have enough to eat, everyone who is daily abused and accepts it just to live.

The detective protests injustice and illusion simultaneously. The poet does the same, or she isn’t much of a poet. I do the same, or I fail my heart. “Protest! Protest! Protest!” Lorca says that’s all he does and Camus agrees when he says out first conscious act is always a rebellion. Protest because things are not the way they appear to be and we inherit a poverty of vision along with a learned avoiding glance. Being awake is simply not the same thing as being alive, and you will happily live the dream until the knives come out. A few weeks ago a car, going obscenely fast, plunged off a road into the river. Imagine the two men riding in it and their sudden realization that life is not a dream which came much too late to do anything at all about it. Life is not a dream! Beware!

Jan 25, 2010

Phish Notes - Nov. 27th, 2009, Albany NY

...but then we’re thrown deep into the darkness of the Jam! and surrounded by Glittering terrible things brought out of the world to be displayed and negate illusion forever.

I don’t think the same now and cannot. I don’t see the same now and cannot. And I thought I knew everything that was just exposed to me. I understood that the “true” world was a fable! But Nietzsche didn’t get me all the way there. More correctly, I didn’t get all the way there with Nietzsche. Phish, in the darkness, glittering shadows, between what started in Split Open and Melt and what came to be conjured in the Seven Below followed by Ghost jam, brought me all the way. Me with everyone else there to witness, and even the less attentive NOTICED. Crowd frantic and then hushed, breathless and speechless, then mad and dancing. Every peak of the music crashed into dissonance and terrifying disorder of “it won’t come back together!”, but the jam always DID, they always brought us, themselves, the Jam, back from the brink.

These were not leaps of faith, but mastery of the forms and the spirit. Phish conjured Milton’s Satan as artificer of those jams, he played on the lights and exposed to us the “true” world which is false. All of our daily falseness became reality and couldn’t stand the light of day ever again. It’s not chaos that wins out, but our ability to navigate the chaos, to bring forms out of the darkness and truth out of darkness NO MATTER HOW TERRIBLE. The heart of those jams a brother to the heart of Bolano’s 6666: a black hole, merciless and impossible to reason away. No one could be counted on to find the way through it, and there were moments when I couldn’t possibly believe Phish WOULD make it through. Tangled up in black and blue, bruised. I don’t and won’t know how they did. The moment seized them. Trey resolutely stabbing at beauty again and again, BWAAOOOYYY again and again. Dylan, “You made it there somehow...”.

This experience is difficult for language. Why even talk about it? Why describe another concert experience and try to take a language-less moment and force it into what seems like banality? It would be easier to say “impossible” to reconcile in language other than music, or a language which doesn’t exist yet. We need the language which doesn't exist yet and this is how to make it. Everything is possible, no matter how difficult, and Phish isn’t beyond the possible just at it’s farthest extent, an endlessly moving horizon with no line, as U2 have found.

Where are you or I if not there? At the farthest extent and exhausted! Deleuze says the exhausted. Bolano’s detectives, Rimbaud walking himself to death, Nietzsche through blinding pain and blind, all of us at Burning Man who want to follow the Last Star all the way past the Orange Fence that is the border of Possible. Phish is there EXHAUSTING themselves in the truly great, high, moments of a jam. They go so far that one cannot go any further...and THEN they go further, past what anyone who is part of it can imagine (including themselves).

It’s very important! You can’t breeze through if you want to break on through. Again, Phish goes past what it is possible to imagine beforehand, they create, through exhaustive effort and searching, what doesn’t exist yet, rather than merely reminding us of what does exist. All reference points vanish, because no one has been here before except other great artists, by which I mean those who created the SPACE in which Phish is now playing. Blake has been here, Nietzsche has, Milton...but Phish does so with the audience, for the audience, because of and influenced by the audience, and the space becomes exactly that all entanglement Nietzsche talks about. They are not the lonely poets of our mystique going alone into the darkness to find truth, because there is a community roaring that it MATTERS how far they go, can go, gives them company, even compassion, in the searching. We’ve invested ourselves. We might go mad if they can’t pull us through. Right at the edge of madness, darkness forever, right at the edge of light and the heart. Loving the world enough to give into the laws of gravity and chance, balancing monsters of love.

Jan 7, 2010


Why have we kept our own names? Out of habit, purely out of habit. To make ourselves unrecognizable in turn. To render imperceptible, not ourselves, but what makes us act, feel and think. Also because it’s nice to talk like everybody else, to say the sun rises, when everybody knows it’s only a manner of speaking. To reach, not the point where one no longer says I, but the point where it is no longer of any importance whether one says I. We are no longer ourselves. Each will know his own. We have been aided, inspired, multiplied.
-Deleuze and Guattari

I am tangled with you. The you reading this, that I’m imagining and who now influences me, and the you I don’t know at all. We are writing this now, because I can’t be certain anymore where what makes us act, feel and think is us or I. The certainty was an illusion like most not broken until it was revealed as a fable. Out of habit! Nothing else than our daily constant noises that we’ve learned how to make. I say I because it is convenient to say I, because there is something I can’t define or quite recognize that has it’s source of power and voice coming to what appears as a finite intersection at me. But it is not a finite intersection, or I have chosen to see only where the lines cross. The lines are not even straight. Tangled lines, the cross over each other what appears to be endlessly. Some take a thousand turns only to come back on themselves. Others are infinite lines. Others caught in the moment of time.

Why speak of lines anyway? Fragments of the multitude, lines because each of us extends far in every direction. Series of moments? I don’t even know if they are linked. Each space, like each room or each scene in a film, has it’s own bodies, space, color, scents. We, this series of I’s each of which is another, wander between them and their paths do not always cross. You are my parallel, or sometimes we come close enough to touch but fail to. You are our vertigo, because when I look up I see you, down I see you, NICU the first thing and last thing that I see. We inhabit and dream ourselves and the I stutters in the multitude. A noisy solitude, Deleuze says! There is your I, my Our, We, a noisy solitude always inspiring because the source is not one but many. Pessoa and his many selves, Borges' Pierre Menard composing the Quixote, and neither Max nor Percival Everett are Sidney Poitier.

We write the page as the music affects and infects us. Music of your voice and music I remember. You who are here and are not here. What is this statement anyway? I just manifested you in my bedroom, past the lamp where there is only a blank wall. I don’t even know, maybe you dreamt me doing this. You dreamt the rose in the sky and I pulled it down, taking a bite out of gushing juicy petals. I imagine I know myself, but really let’s be serious now, I do only imagine that I know myself. What about how we imagine myself? These attempts at definitions are grasping at phantoms. Nothing is stable. Remember the Queen sees nothing, but all there is to see she sees. Ask the man on the bridge from Waking Life, “To realize you are a dream figment in another person’s dream...THAT is self awareness!!!!” I exist whether you dream me or not but we only exist because we are dreaming each other.