Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
they sing the lyric of the lower man
as black-tongued chows they bark
primordial words like familial hounds
their harried language howls to the languid
lovers of the lower level and like
puritans in their log cabins they pray
for the patriarch's provision of profit
owls observe their shadowed orbs
beneath the New England woods
and doves huddle in their hutch
cooing to the sweet squabs
that squeak tomorrow's sun
their fresh feathers fray
throughout the night's somber
embrace and the moon's frigid light
at dawn a pigeon carries a message
to the sun-knitted in angelic sun-threads
the primal word images god
through the lower ones
and incarnates the quotidian
receiving the message on winged tongues
the pilgrims pray for transcendence
but the elect find their wealth
in the moldering soil of the worms
the worms wiggle on hooks of desire
the chow tongues once blackened catch fire
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
while the stone measures the line
the act on board is made
and the doing
done and now alone
like a castaway
the line moves on
as does the raft
as does the bottle
all three bobbing
up and down, then sink
as the horizon shrinks
and seagulls squeal
we remember it
but we cannot recall it
Monday, March 23, 2009
drone in a gallery
buzz about without adjectives
and then a laugh
with a violent
on a wall
a dour Dutch
of a bowl
of brown eggs
two dead fowl
a tumbled glass
of ruby port
and a Burgermeister's
a gelid tear
on her blue-green
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
at first light
fog fragments woods
as three men
find the green clearing
as a preamble
in this rite
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
snow and blue ice
hunger for black
seals with black eyes
on green ice
and white snow
between the rifts
of the archipelago
south toward ship
lanes where steam
bellows and screws
torque toward green
land and brown land
in the west
shriek in dark jungles
as they shed
she reads his poem
it is not his poem
it is another thing
she writes a poem
he reads her poem
it is not her poem
it is a new thing
the message is not their message
the bottle is not their bottle
it is a found thing
a new thing
the lost thing
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Doctor John Dee
read four thousand books
She was his muse
and Spenser's virgin queen.
Together they scryed
a darkened way
to a manifest
and bartered ships
one fateful day
Monday, March 16, 2009
of the dried Cocus, which is called Copra
on the lower level,
beneath the sea-green
breakers, we walk on our head.
At night we dream
of parakeets in palms;
dance on yellow sand.
Yesterday we piloted
a silver schooner
through the archipelago
and traded Gaugins
We serve the sea-spider;
we breathe through gills.
Tomorrow we hide
in a coral niche
and count starfish
with tattooed eyes.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Black and spindly, she spreads eight legs
into the nether reach of our aquatic strangeness.
Together we fall toward the star's reach
and embrace beneath the comet's tail.
Together we shuffle on our heads;
our feet slide against the surface's tide.
Anemone and starfish shape our single scar;
the remnant of saturnalian incrustation.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
twining through the leaves
of the sweet gum tree,
where Gerald hammered the yellow pine
with nails stolen from homes
purchased on the GI Bill.
I supply our house with apple crates
filled with pulp fiction and comics,
as we retreat from glassy-eyed blonds,
wearing white blouses and pink poodle skirts;
their pony-tails bounce with each Elvis
skitter and roll. We huckleberry our way
through the summer riding the wind surf;
the limbs, lissome and frothy with green sap,
roll and pitch like a raft on the Mississippi.
Wasps buzz past onion-ed ears and skinned knees,
while ants savage the rough bark, sucking nectar
from the bleeding nodes of the sweet gum.
It's a portal, glassed as oblique
as Alice's mirror, and as porous.
Through this gate we walk on our heads
and hide when the hobos pass
under us and the jets stream overhead.
A crisis is brewing in Berlin
and everyone is on alert, except us.
We wait in our silenced space
for the call of the mothers at dusk.
Löwe was sitting at his writing table in front of two French windows overlooking the garden and the swimming pool. He held a Cartier fountain pen in his left hand. In front of him was a short stack of white paper made in Italy, which Löwe specially ordered from a shop in Venice. The top page was half covered by his strange, tiny handwriting. To the right was a copy of Plato’s Theaetetus in Greek and further to the right, a stack of blue index cards. Drago took no notice of the books or the writing; he simply placed the tray in front of Löwe, who had pushed his papers further to the right to make room. “It was always like this,” thought Drago. “He is like a baby bird waiting for me to bring his food. When it arrives, he pushes everything away to snap up every morsel. It is like he is starving. What an appetite for such an old man.”
Löwe was hungry as he always was in the morning. He fantasized that his dreams burned up a lot of calories throughout the night. He had been thinking about his dreams when Drago knocked on the door. Last night he had had a strange one. He was fighting in a medieval city against a large foreign army, equipped with war elephants. In the midst of battle, Löwe stood upon an elevated podium and called out to the elephants to come to him until they heard and came, one from the right, one from the left, and one from the center.
“What did it mean?” he asked. An elementary component of dream interpretation was to say the elephants represented a part of him. He suspected they represented three primal sources of power, which he could not control. At the beginning of the dream, they were out of control, destroying men and material, but upon his command, they came to him and stopped.
“Why were there three?” He asked as his mind wondered over the number three. He knew the images had at least two components: meaning, which could be deciphered intellectually; and emotion, which would have to be investigated from the standpoint of its feeling-value.
In other words, to fully comprehend the images he would need to meditate upon the image of the elephant from several viewpoints, a task, which, once begun, seemed quite daunting in its complexity. He rubbed his head, an act which was unconscious, and which signaled he was deep in thought as he let his mind wonder over the image of the elephant, he felt its great size, its color, the stiff hairs of its body protruding from its leathery skin, its smell, its sound as it shifted from right to left on its ponderous legs, larger than tree trunks. He examined the metal and leather harness, which held the platforms onto the three great elephants’ backs and he could see the armored bodies of the archers perched on top of the elephants. He saw the legs of the men sitting on the necks of the large beasts, the wooden handles of the hook in their hands, which they used to turn and guide the great beasts. He imagined the elephants’ pink mouths and their swinging trunk. He asked himself how he felt about the elephant and his first reaction was a feeling of awe at their great size and strength. So how did he control them? What power did he possess to call them?
The dream reminded him of Ganesha; the elephant-headed God of the Hindus, and the first god worshipped at every ceremony, which had the head of an elephant and the body of a round, rotund, overweight man. Accompanying Ganesha are the hooded snakes wrapped around his waist, the lotus, which Ganesha holds in one of its two left hands, an ax, which symbolizes Genesha’s ability to destroy evil, a noose, which emphasizes mankind’s connection to human desire, and the mouse, which provides him with a mode of transportation.
Ganesha was a good sign, thought Löwe, and the appearance of the elephants in his dream was also a strong vision, a message from his unconscious.
Löwe also recognized Ganesha’s duality. He found, or least suspected, a difference between those creatures that bore the head of an animal, such as Ganesha and the Minotaur, and those creatures like fauns and centaurs, which had human heads and animal bodies. He felt that mythological creatures with animal heads were controlled by their natural or animal instincts while those like the centaur and the faun had their human nature controlled by their lower body, which was more basic in its demands and desires. He had not worked out all of the associations and differences, but he suspected a difference. Ganesha, of course, was nothing like the Minotaur, who was rapacious and sadistic.
He immediately thought of a series of dry points, which he had seen in Picasso’s atelier during the war in Paris. He remembered they were called the Vollard Suite and the one, which he remembered vividly almost fifty years after he had seen it, was #68, the Minotaur Caressing a Sleeping Woman. He remembered the day he had visited the atelier. He appeared along with several others for drinks with the Spanish painter. Although he was a German, a soldier, an occupier of Paris, he was on good terms with many of the artists. After all, he was a cultural attaché and his good will allowed many artists in the city to continue their work, to enjoy the patronage of the Third Reich, to sell their art, to receive ample food, and to enjoy their life. Picasso was a Spaniard and Spain was friendly toward Germany. Although Picasso was no friend of Franco and the existing Spanish government, he was willing to meet with Germans who were interested in art in 1941. There were many young, well-educated German officers who were appreciated surrealistic art, even degenerate art, as the Nazi regime called it. Löwe thought the Nazi propaganda against the expressionists and surrealists was ridiculous and he was very interested in Picasso, as well as several others. He was a personal friend of Cocteau and Brasillach and he tried to court as many of the French artists as he could. He had read Breton on surrealism and he obtained a copy of the magazine Minotaure from a friend in Paris, who provided it to him while he was training in Russia in 1934, the year he had met Sartre and Raya. Consequently, when he arrived in Paris as a cultural attaché, one of the first things he did was attempt to see Picasso. It was no problem to find out where the Spaniard lived and he could have easily entered the atelier, but he did not want to use the power at his disposal; instead, he decided to court the Spaniard and play to his ego. When he finally met him, he asked about the Vollard Suite, about the series of dry points, which spanned many years. When Picasso showed him the works, he was immediately attracted to the mythic character, which Picasso was obviously using as an alter ego. Löwe realized immediately that Picasso’s Minotaure was connected to the Dionysian spirit and he began to identify with the lusty representation of the Minotaur. As a result of the strong feeling tone he associated with the creature, Löwe began to investigate the source and quality of his feelings. He now believed that the appearance of Ganesha was similar to those earlier associations with the Minotaur and that his identification with the Minotaur and the appearance of Ganesha were signaling some significant change in his psychic life.
Löwe believed in both physical and spiritual evolution. The spiritual evolution was always a movement toward wholeness and this progression manifested itself to consciousness through images, images sometimes in the form of mandalas. With the appearance of the elephant, he felt his unconscious was trying to signal something to his conscious mind; therefore, he had to use various psychological techniques to learn the meaning of the images. This process was tedious and long in duration. He knew that now the elephant had appeared to his conscious mind it would stay with him for some time. It would stay until he understood its meaning.
“Shall I put this down, sir?” asked Drago, reminding the old man of the present and his hunger.
“Of course. I am sorry, I was lost in thought.”
Drago had the coffee pot in his right hand and a cup and saucer in the left.
“Your food is getting cold.”
“What time is it?”
“It is 8:25.”
“I must hurry. There is so much to do before the journalists arrive.” Löwe said absently, as he began to eat the now cold oatmeal.
Drago poured him a cup of coffee and then put the silver coffee pot down and retired from the room, leaving the man to his thoughts.
As Löwe slowly chewed the oatmeal, he imagined the Minotaur lying on a bed with a woman sprawled across his lap, while the sculptor, another character of the Minotaur saga of Picasso, lay on the other side of the woman, holding a champagne flute in one hand and a swooning woman in his left. The Dionysian atmosphere was so obvious that one had to start from there in the analysis of the sketch. The image of the Minotaur touched a psychological cord and reminded him of his years in Paris before the war, a time of great emotional and intellectual activity for him. Now, another mythical creature had entered the stage, Ganesha, a mixed being as well, full of strength, exuberance, and life. Löwe, though old in body, felt ripeness in his mind and a stirring somewhere in his loins. He was not dead yet.
He felt the images of the elephant signified a feeling of strength, a solidity of mind and concentration. He reached for the stack of blue index cards and wrote the words: Ganesha, Dionysus, Minotaure, Picasso, and Elephant. He would have to explore each name and meditate upon them. He had had a long experience with dreams and dream analysis and he knew the dream was the via regia to his unconscious mind and that once this passageway was opened, unlimited images would force their way into his conscious mind, just as water would flow from the earth to the surface at a spring. He imagined himself dipping a gourd into a spring.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Mr. and Mrs. Stevens select a black Steinway
for their sun room in anticipation of summer.
Like a black bird it awaits the sirens
that sing operettas on the west side
between the ice-cream vendor from Venice
and the jeweler from Charleville.
After the thaw, silent summer arrives
and Mrs. Stevens takes a steam train alone
to the Poconos and Mr. Stevens remains
in the city to advocate for the insureds
and play the piano. For seven hours straight
the first night he scratches the ivory keys
like a snowcat against Orpheus' tree.
And so proceeds the solstice quotidian;
the infinitesimal gesture of their separation:
Mrs. Stevens golfs and Mr. Stevens plays.
Once, however, he pauses to erase a moist circle
left by his highball glass and Mrs. Stevens writes
requesting more money. He begrudgingly wires
her five dollars. On another day, he puzzles
out the latest Schoenberg and she buys
a dress. In August rain falls on Manhattan
island and the water drains into the sea.
Most days though, Mr. Stevens pilots
a skiff between the keys of half-notes
that litter the green waters of the archipelago.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
Instead the islands in-dwell in the castaway's gray iris,
where white sharks circle beneath a beached raft
that lists left in a lissome jolt with each azure wave
and parakeets with blue and green wings pinion a tattoo
at retreat toward a swiss-ed psyche. Landfall
stretches the comet's tail and a maitre'd arrives
and recites French, while the barefoot castaway stands
on warm sand beside a chaise longue marked reserved.
In that internal archipelago a snowcat purrs
in an apple-barreled rum in the castaway's daiquiri,
informing him that the first island begats the second
and the second births the third, and the fourth
mirrors the first and the first awakens a fifth
and there is no end nor order outside the rhythm
of the islands and no sound except the drone of a Hellcat,
scouting off the mid-way, and the pilot's hand vibrating on the stick
as icebergs calve from green glaciers in the north.
Friday, March 06, 2009
like the bruised wing of a crow.
Firecat is red
like the speckled eye
of a peacock's feather.
Krazy Kat appeared first,
like Abel, in the world.
Firecat will arrive later,
the last one before the end.
Firecat and Krazy Kat share
the silky sand of his garden.
Krazy Kat slumbers in the shrubs
in the doomed darkness of dusk,
while Firecat doozes on the grate.
Another mediates the in-between;
Snowcat purrs under the red rushes
beyond the bed of purple irises.
Snowcat loves Krazy Kat and Firecat.
Snowcat exists in perpetual winter;
she is the queen of snow
that blows from ether.
Snowcat cannot purr; her throat
is blocked; the glottal stop
is wrecked. Instead, she listens
while Firecat and Krazy Kat sing
trending toward harmony.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
The crystal sand in the stained
dwells within the snail's memory
of the castaway
who walked on his head.
yet again in the space
between the quietude of play
and the quotidian
worm mold, he scribbles
on Egyptian papyrus
an anecdote of a black
that fetches an artifact
of glued feathers
and glittering leviathan bones.