Monday, April 22, 2013

Wavy Kat Tink-A-Tink

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Beast That Lunges/ La Bestia Que Abalanza

(I'm deeply grateful to my good friend Dr. Marlowe Daly-Galeano for her editorial assistance and guidance with the Spanish version of this poem.)

The Beast That Lunges

The best thing about remembering is that it’s in your hands. You revolt against sleep and become a phantom in time, moving through rooms and visions as a wiry, feral child. You don’t need words to eat, to find shelter. You taste water in air and move to it with your thirst. You kneel over a lake at night. The outline of your face is a surprise. You breathe hard and lunge into recollection. You run backwards and laugh at your heelprints in the earth. Snakes slide back to their skins. Fires grow into trees. Pearls soften to sand. You unwrite the future for the happy beast you are becoming. Rain whispers quietly upward. The past begins to show. Clarity is dimness. Your hands as clouds, as fins, as roaming notes.


La Bestia Que Abalanza

Lo mejor de la memoria es que está en tus manos. Te rebelas contra el sueño y te conviertes en fantasma del tiempo, moviéndote a través de piezas y visiones como un niño enjuto, salvaje. No necesitas palabras para comer, para encontrar refugio. Saboreas el agua en el aire y acercándolo con tu sed. Te arrodillas sobre un lago en la noche. El contorno de tu rostro es una sorpresa. Respiras duro y arremetes contra el recuerdo. Corres hacia atrás y te ríes de las impresiones de tu talón en la tierra. Las serpientes vuelvan a sus pieles. Los incendios crecen en los árboles. Las perlas se ablandan a la arena. Desescribes el futuro de la bestia felíz que serás. La lluvia susurra en voz baja hacia arriba. El pasado comienza a mostrar. La claridad es penumbra. Tus manos como nubes, como aletas, como las notas que vagan.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Your Newness

Sunday, April 07, 2013

On Memory

I have just woken from a dream in which I ran into my dear friend, S., after many years. In the heat of the afternoon, at the same moment, we each turned a dusty corner on a quiet street of our old town, which I happened to be visiting. To my pleasure and surprise, there was S., thin and loping, and wishing me a good day. I embraced him of a sudden, and he took several confused steps backward. He did not remember me. I could hardly believe it. We had not seen each other for some years, but we had shared so much. We once walked and laughed together, many miles, in the blistering desert. We had browsed the cramped markets together in the Valley of the Brave. We used to spend hours in silent meditation, sitting alongside each other and breathing. I tried to remind him of his love for huitlacoche and for the chocolate sapote, and for the wings of men. He shook his head in silence. I recalled how we once appeared to each other in the hills, summoning one another with our thoughts. Bewildered, S. remembered nothing. I recounted in detail how we laughed at the wind when it dislodged and flung poorly attached shingles from the roof of the little mountain house we once lived in. I told him of how he comforted me after I had to leave a woman I loved, who had been his friend. He stared into the distance. I told him of one of his own lovers laughing and throwing her head back and tossing firecrackers from windows of moving cars. I told him of how he taught me to be patient, very patient, when sautéing mushrooms, and to use more butter than I thought appropriate. None of it came back to his mind. He could not even recall my face. I began to wonder if I had invented him. He certainly looked like the S. I thought I knew, but since he neither remembered me, nor our experiences together, was it not feasible that I had created him, that I had made his likeness a character for my own use? Was it possible that I had never been to The Brave Valley, had never savored the huitlacoche, and, indeed, had only dreamed myself into such scenes, using the template of S.'s face as a companion in my imagining? Perhaps I was a mirrored reflection of the forgetfulness of S. Perhaps my memories, which I had cherished so hotly, were pure invention, immaterial as wishes. I tore at my chest with my hands, and trudged from the street where we met. I looked back only once and saw him, perplexed, holding my black wings in his arms. They had fallen into the dust when I turned away. That was the last moment in which I could recall him.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

On Art, Part III

(This is Part III of a four part mini-think piece on art. Every section qualifies and contradicts every other section. Okay?)

God, to me, is only the vast expanse of neural fire and silence that gives rise to the imagination. Hence, in a metaphysical sense, there is no death. But we use the word as a stand-in for an infinite depth of unknowing. And I suspect there is a way to touch that sea of storms and quiet in this lifetime...and I suspect it is through the heart door...because sometimes when I'm making art the world of distraction slips away and it's as if I'm barely there, my words are uttering themselves, and all I really need to do is get out of their way.

Thus, regarding art and everything else, there are two modes: pressing forward, or giving up. The former allows for an upsurge of inspiration, of questions, emotions and thoughts in the artist and the audience. The latter is a dusty secluded room where people go to be bored by an assembly line life...moving around as mere meat, shrouding the burnt-out remnants of consciousness. And if we decide to embrace the former, which we should do, definitely, then life becomes this risky and deafening cascade of glorious and terrible interactions. Even when we're by ourselves, alone in a room with our thoughts...and especially then, because to feel the weight of those thoughts as things we make and then let go of forever is to feel the weight of time and oblivion, which we all must face. Now and at the hour of the body's demise. 

Art is the process and the practice of knowing that every moment matters. This doesn't have to be a fearful knowing...but it makes some people desperate with denial if all they've been doing is pushing their meat-suits around, grumbling about how much highway tolls cost. But seriously, that is the silliest have someplace to go, the road you're on takes you there...just go. Enjoy the scenery and the music and the sound of the engine and the wind in your face. And when you come to the toll booth, pay the price, say "thanks" and make sure you touch the toll collector's hand (at least acknowledge the minimum of human contact). And then go forward. I'm not talking about tolls, of course. I'm talking about obstacles...every one of which is both a pitfall and a chance. But the idea is to pay the toll and use courage and momentum to look forward into the wind. Keep one hand on the wheel and one hand on your lover's thigh, and turn in the direction of brightness, strangeness, and adventure. Then art is not just something beautiful that you make to leave for the world so that it remembers you (it either will or it won't). Art is also a tool and a talisman that you use to see ahead of you into the night. It's something you use to look into that vast neural fire and emptiness. Because you have to look and you have to go forward into it, despite all fears, to avoid the insipid meat-suit shuffle. 

The rooms with those selves of ours that are just acting life out, rather than living it...those rooms are always looming and lurking right behind us. And jutting our necks out into the uncertainty and strangeness is what causes us to embrace the death game, saying, "Yes, death, I know you're here...but look, I'm here too, and I made something that even you have to contend with, before you pull the sheet over me." And though we may shake, art is the love that propels us forward into the glimmering dark...and it's also the message we bring back to this humming world.

The Captain