Thursday, October 31, 2013

The gruesome investigation

out in the country
summer camp scenario
a lake near Dallas
a group of old friends
now police investigators
come out there
because of a mass murder
I am out there
for complicated reasons
but I am not the murderer
I know if they find me
they will think
I murdered everyone
so I am hiding from them
more police arrive
and head into
the interior of the camp
my friends are leaving
handing over
the gruesome investigation
I take this opportunity
to try and escape
while I am hiding behind a car
a tiny portable radio catches
the wavelength of the station
and starts playing music
I silence it
no one has heard it
but a few seem to look over
in my direction
I get the car started
and tear out over the fields
as I am driving
out onto the road
I see the several men and women
and I know they
are the true murderers
but I need to reach my friends
before they do
and tell them
my side of the story

The sanctity of the creative process

on a tour
JGM there with me
writing a book or an article
always waiting for me to do
something outrageous
easily scandalized
as if the two of us are onstage
she and I are arguing
about who is going
to take a shower in the morning
later one of the kids
not ours
comes in with a friend
starts reading from one of her articles
I stop him
saying something about
the sanctity of the creative process
he starts to mock me
I tell him to finish this sentence
"after he set the book down
his pants were around his ankles..."
his friend laughs
the kids leave

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A museum where all the works have vanished leaving only the signs behind

something astonishing
mnemonics setting up
within a vague preconsciousness
a delicate sense of holding
the entire world
as a shattered egg shell
not entirely fallen apart
but in that tender moment
even the softest light
of consciousness
becomes everything
it centers the world around it
its intention
the focus
the rewriting of one of
Shakespeare's plays
the tempest on a tortoise shell
enough to bring it all back
but it is not
only the mnemonic remains
enigmatic souvenir sign
what was once under the painting
the painting itself now gone
a museum where all the works
have vanished
leaving only the signs behind
sorrow upon awakening
holding the mind
still and quiet
barely breathing
watching for shapes within
the grainy shadows
the mists of the dream
dissipating with each dawning moment
of disappointment
in the failure of memory

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How utterly unremarkable it all is

waiting for someone to die
passing time
at the old bar in Austin
employee meeting
in the morning
customers and other employees
coming in after a night of drinking
I have been away
visiting friends
at an Ivy League University
many customers
believe I went there
because I was leaving to attend
they are tipping me extra
to help with the tuition
JGM and I are working together
waiting for Emac
he comes in
tells me he has new guidelines
everyone must give a pint of blood
in order to keep their job
I am trying to explain
it is against the law
you can't force employees
to give blood
and my blood
for example
is toxic
he is not listening
wants me to gather up everyone
and take them behind
the jack in the box
down the street
I am waiting on whomever
is going to work while
we are all meeting
she comes in late
riding a bicycle
I think her name is Marcie
but am not sure
don't really know her
I say her name anyway
what seems most remarkable
to me about all of this
is how utterly unremarkable
it all is

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Complicated stories being told

elusive narratives
a series of disconnected
fragments of my days
on Margate Sands
over several nights
themes orbiting around
an abandoned school
elementary particles
older selves
the once discarded
now recollected
archetypal constructions
names repeated
faces reflected in
facing mirrors
doubling elaborations
these monster ghosts
and a vague sense
of divinity
upon awakening
these complicated stories
idiot mythologies
being whispered to me
behind the painted curtain
of the scenery
just beyond the reach
of memory

Monday, October 21, 2013

Anagogy: And the blind eye creates

The source of dreams is unknowable. Always beyond our understanding. We want to say: deeper than our understanding (emptying phrase). The dreams seem to arise out of some Ur- foundation of our being, primal, ineffable, defiant of the limitations of language and, to a lesser extent, imagining itself. Dreams emerge into consciousnes out of shadow and depth.

Our consciousness sits trembling, a poor beast on the threshold, safely housed within our conception of self. The dream resolves out of the Dark Wilderness in increments of wonder. The bonds of sleep hold us to our vision, Odysseus tied to the mast before the Sirens. We cannot look away,  whether this be through fear or fascination - or a charmed mixture of both.

There is no actual sensation. All arises from within. The fabric of our vision has been woven by ourselves alone. This is the inward perception, shadows dancing on the cave walls of our skull. All too quickly, we conceive the story, the narrative, imposing meaning on mystery. The rags and poor vestments of our imagination are fitted quickly upon, instantaneously giving substance to, the shadows of the dream. There is a stage now. There is an actor. And another. Dialogue. The ancient drama unfolds before us, now the audience. All of this in a quicksilver shimmer. It is a great mystery of our being.

And so the writing down of dreams is always suspect. The tendency to gloss over, to amend lacunae, shape into narratives - transforming nonsense into sense. Still, even through this, the mystery remains. Often it is that aspect of the dream we thought insignificant, that one detail we almost neglected to include. Nevertheless, by writing down dreams we subject them to a reduction, a Procrustian process of interpretive (pornographic) writing. These symbols in argument with each other upon the fire-lit stage of our interior cavern, this drama will not confine itself to even the broadest of linguistic mis-prisons.

But we want to remember. We want to understand what this nightly drama is trying to tell us. But who says it is for us to know what dramas engage our archetypal beings? Who amongst us can translate the thunder and the lightning? But we want to remember. A sad prayer whispered into the wind by the monk desolate in the Desert. Oh God, please speak to me. And so, he dreams.

The unknowable cannot be written. And once the Dream is aware that we are sitting out there in the audience with pen and paper, scribbling feverishly before the Mystery, then the Dream changes, refigures itself to fit our sorry horde of words, as the radiant king removes his robes and takes on the rags of the lowliest beggar. Greek tragedy becomes a banal television sitcom. More insidious, the Dream takes on the attitude of the ally, the friend, the helpful guide when it it actually the adversary. Satan, Mephistopheles, Iago, Kaa, Gollum. This is the dreadful masquerade. They encourage and strengthen our resolve to penetrate the mystery of the Dream. Always there with the helpful word or phrase at hand, whispering poisonous instructions to our attention, hand on elbow, false Vergils, leading us into the pit of mis-understanding.

We cannot trust ourselves: we, who rationalize and lie and in every moment or our daily lives drain our words of all their blood. And so, what are we left with?

What remains is war. There is no trust in words anymore. We must use them as tools to immediately discard, knowing that to use a tool found within the illusion only strengthens the baseless fabric of that illusion. Long ago: faith was broken. The words can dance before us on the page, a thousand mirrors full of our reflected hopes, each letter a cage within which sings a tiny fragment of our soul, singing only because it is imprisoned. Keats' nightingale forever trapped in its melodious plot of beechen green and shadows numberless.

What also remains is the Dream. For it is everything. And however mindlessly we spend our time, we must pay attention to it. For in this dark and empty world, it is the one of the only lights we regularly are able to find. Every night, we sit in the cave of ourself and stare into its fires, watching the drama of our Self unfolding....

But we must be careful what we say...

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

- T. S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday (fragment)

He wants me to reveal his skull

I am interrogating a prisoner
a captive
a figure from the other side
there is another there
we place the man
in a device that fits around his face
the interior is full of razor blades
once on
these blades will slowly cut
all the skin from his skull
the prisoner know this
and he is happy
with the knowledge
of what I am
getting ready to do to him
I think
perhaps with slight awakening
this is his strategy:
he wants me to reveal his skull

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Because I am Hamlet

the production of a play
high school reunion
LB was the director
I was in the lead role
an amalgamation
of Hamlet and contemporary themes
LB there with husband
and an old friend
who I didn't recognize
he had just had a sort of throat surgery
a new fashionable thing
where he mouth was removed
and skin grafted over the hole
I kept trying to make him laugh
tear the hole open
we are in a large modern performance hall
everything is chaotic
I am confident and happy
full of mischief
LB leaves to go to the store
across the street
the play is supposed to start
there is no clear delineation
between the audience and the stage
I clear out a space
I am wearing headphones
listening to the sound of the wind
while I am playing
an exposed set of strings
a deconstructed grand piano
with a rack of long tubular bells
making harmonic feedback
by placing them close together
I take off the headphones
and realize the sound
was not as harmonious as I thought
but I am greatly amused
the audience does not know
what to think
LB is still not there
I go to look for her
find her in the bathroom
the friend with no mouth is there
I tell him a joke
that makes him laugh
almost tearing open the hole
I can see the outline of his lips
his wife is mad at me
LB comes out
ready to begin the play
I am moving signs and props
to an arbitrary back stage
the audience believes all of the movement
is part of the play
I have the feeling
that I am not doing a good job
but everyone believes I am
because I am Hamlet

But then the glass breaks

a university
performance hall
an old friend who teaches
trying to see the performance
end up going back to her house
a long discussion in a small room
the middle of the night
our figures are elongated
as if we were drawn by El Greco
we start to kiss
but I am aware her husband
is in the kitchen now
opening a drawer
it doesn't seem important to her
and I can't tell
if it is because she doesn't care
or if it is because he doesn't care
I run to a small window
too small for me to fit through
and try to jump outside
into the garden
I am stuck for a moment
but then the glass breaks

Friday, October 18, 2013

I believe the storyteller / magician is a secret agent

long complicated conspiracy
attempts to save someone
only remember the last fragment
was told by a woman
to go to the library
couldn't get away
so I sent S.
an old employee from the coffee shop
gave him instructions
on what to look up
a revelatory genealogy
told him I would be right behind him
sense of urgency
after he left
the woman told me to note the path
I had traveled on the island
scene now Anacortes
if I looked on a map of the city
I could trace the figure of infinity
in my footsteps
I get to the library
there is a sign on the door
to be quiet
because a storyteller / magician was performing
walk in
large group of parents and kids
old and young
See S. in the next room
not the normal circulation room
he is excited
wanting to show me something in an old book
I can't get to him because of the crowd
and I believe the storyteller / magician is a secret agent

Monday, October 14, 2013

But i sense that he is here to tell me something

walking along a dam
some sort of reservoir
I look down and see an old friend
who I used to coach in football
he has long white hair
he is standing at the top of a stairway
I stand above him
call to him and start down a steep stairway
then fall forward
off balance
and nearly fall
I catch myself just in time
we laugh together in relief
he climbs up
with him are a group of young hippies
he had told them stories about me
one of the girls is sitting on my lap
not seductively
but as a daughter would with a father
I am dismayed at this
but know it is appropriate
she keeps wanting me to tell her stories
I look over to my friend
he is watching
listening to see what I will say
but i sense that he is here to tell me something
and is waiting to see when I am ready to hear it

My head is filled with an apocalyptic vertigo

a variation of the house on 16th street
looking out my window
over the ocean
see a tidal wave approaching
growing enormous
cresting over as it surges inland
boats, cars and people falling over the edge
the wave crashes down below
but I know the water will rise up to us
I think I should retreat
to a high place inside my room
then realize that it will be under water
I go outside in front of the garage
searching for a higher place of safety
my sister is there
We retreat to the interior of the garage
and close the doors to break the crash
of the first wave
the doors start to break apart
but hold enough to allow us to get out
and find another place of safety
my sister sees a dog running through the yard
and goes to get it
I try to call her back
I can see another wave building
out beyond islands
a swelling darkness rising above them
I know this wave will sweep directly into us
I am calling my sister
telling her the dog will be all right
we move to higher ground
find her husband
he tells us most of the houses below
most of the land
have been swept away
now there is a collapsing cliff
that the waves are crashing into
each waves seems larger than the last
R and I are now driving down above the cliff
looking at the damage
my head is filled with an apocalyptic vertigo
R is concerned about some of his property
we get out by some apartments
the back half is gone
fallen into the sea below the cliff
it seems like we are safe
but I can see another wave
more monstrous than all the rest
coming towards us
we are on a cliff
thousands of feet above the sea now
and I know the wave will swamp us
I imagine the continent had tilted
I know nothing will be the same ever again
I imagine most of the West coast is gone
R is not paying attention to me
he is talking with a survivor
water is rising
it will be impossible to drive away
I turn towards the mountains
in the distance I can see volcanos erupting
I wonder if there is anyplace to go anymore

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hovering illuminated in the air

coordinated effort by family, friend, group
to either fly a ship away from a hostile place
back to safety
or fly into a new world
with no knowledge of what may come
training for this
one of us in the group
figuring out that it would be easier
to communicate with the ship
via a form of mental shorthand
the symbols now
hovering illuminated in the air
before me
mix of the Kabbalah - which I do not know
Hebrew - which I do not know
and shorthand - which I do not know

waking towards consciousness
musing over the symbols
as a dream shorthand
a language of god
a bridge to the unconscious