Friday, May 30, 2008

Breaking the Palomino

John knew what he was doing. He knew the Palomino did not like riders.
His father alone could ride him with strong working of rein and bit but
no one else ever did. Except the fat kid. Earlier they’d been fighters,
rolling in the dirt. John had Fatso in a headlock but the kid stood up

and ran straight into the side of the barn with John hanging on, until
the third time when John hit his head and nearly tore the kid’s ear off.

That was before the horses came in from the pasture, down the hill

into the field and the kid asked to ride. John looked at his big soft

body and laughed. “Sure, I can arrange a ride. Let me get your tack.
That’s rider talk for blanket, saddle, bridle and reins. You’ll learn. “

The fat kid did what he was told. When the big horse reared back

the kid hung on like snot. He stayed there through buck and turn,

kick and spin. He held on and pulled down on the reins until the damn

beast stopped and stood like a statue. “I was pretty scared for a while,”

the fat kid said. He sat up straight in the saddle. His swollen ear had

turned purple. John hated how it all came out. Hated the fat boy’s smile.

They rode for an hour and when they came back John’s dad was there.

“See you boys been riding,” he said. “It’s my first time,” Fatso said.

John’s father laughed. “You must learn fast,” he said. “John, take care

of the horses, while us men clean up for supper.” The sky turned red.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Five thousand decades have passed
since the dragon with a taste for virgins
was slain by Prince Krak. The jewels
of royalty and the chambers of the rich
rise above the cave where the bones
mounded before the open wound
in the earth. The stench of rotting
flesh and the fiery belches of
the beast, led the brave knight
deep within the bowels of
the hill, to slay the evil thing.
And while the mass is said
and the choir sings, the beast
awaits within. Where once
again it will awaken.

# # #

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Dead Tooth Fairy

When you find out it’s a lie just like Santa and Easter Bunny,
the whole thing comes tumbling down like crumbling cake,
It may be something you can laugh about. But it is not funny.
People lead you to believe in magic and then pretend to make
the lies come true with money and presents and made-up stuff
so that you don’t know who to trust. I mean, how can we take
anything you tell us for the truth? What is important enough
not to lie, if not for Saint Nicholas and coloring Easter eggs?
Now, you go and kill the tooth fairy, and tell me “Get tough,
from now on your teeth are permanent. It was all a mistake.”

# # #

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Childhood’s Hill

At the age of nine, I climbed, crawled vertically up the hill
over rocks and thorns, through nettle and brier and berry cane,
hand over hand, a ladder of roots and rocks to the top. Still
and windless, where looking down on the house to ascertain
the new perspective from the height, I saw it shrink down until
I realized my life was an atom, in the larger world, a tiny grain.

Half a century later, the climb is locked in chains of change.
What was so mountainous, seems smaller now, but uphill
made more difficult by the touch of time and a twinge of pain.
From the summit, the house appears a toy, and smaller still,
here, out of breath and bone-weary from the sweat and strain.
I remember, then I was out of breath and had to rest until
I could descend down into the yard as it all loomed up again.

# # #

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A word for time

Time steals so much from us, you would never
think, a feral trader, she leaves a token in place
of what was taken. The tannin in the grape, the rind
on the cheese, left in lieu of nothing more than passing
time, touching all things: lining, folding, graying, fading.

The heart, is improved by age, slowing and deepening;
its beat like an old drum to a longer and stronger rhythm.
Some think it weaker and worn by the years, but lovers
know it beats better when it has beaten so long for another.

Each year, the time our sands started, turns round again
to remind us how little we have but each other. No one
can ever give us more and deep inside we know it.
We need to take the time before time takes us.
Someone, now gone, wrote this in the beach sand.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Earth Quakes

Poetry was once just another way to touch other people's minds. The game built up around it in a culture, whether academic or publishing, is irrelevant in the new world of the web. The world is now, a world of poets.

Chung Du, in Sczechwan Province, where the recent earthquakes killed thousands, was known as the city of poets. People recited poems in the streets and parks for centuries. The city had a living tradition of honoring the power of the word and how the use of just the right words to say the most jewel-like thought, distilled to its essence, is vital to life and to the spirit. Their honor for the ancient art of word painting and story telling, the art of seeing and saying the deepest thoughts, was part of the history of the area.

Among the cries of mothers calling, of wives and sisters crying and calling out names, of children crying out for their mothers and fathers, there are poems floating in the gray dust. Pages swirling from open rooms. Young poets lie crushed at their desks, ink and blood on the rice paper. Old poets release their last song, crushed from their lungs by fallen concrete. Nothing is less abstract than concrete.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Twitter Experiment

To twitter, to warble like a caged bird some demented mating song, not truly seeking a mate but reaching out to other souls caught in the connective tissue of the world wide web. I have a new game, twittering is using 139 characters to post on twitter, on line and on phone, exactly what you are doing at the moment. When I can, I am twittering within that limit and trying to introduce a poetic thought in the intricate techno biocosm of minds and machines with electron harmonics that penetrate mere communication and either evoke an echo from a similar soul, or follow on with a new original thought, leading to conversation. Either way, an experiment, a limitation, not quite a format but a de-finus to bring to an end the word.

My latest twitter post: "Media Quake, social net quaver, spider-web quiver, sensational shiver, sensual shudder, ticklish tremble, vector ray vibrate, terminal twitter."

None of it makes sense and yet every word was chosen for its twitterisciousness, its taste on the tongue and its corresponding note in the hammer and anvil of the ear. My challenge is to do this regularly without robbing from my other writing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why September 11?

09/11/1683, Vienna

How long the Muslim memory must be,
to recall so intensely the Turks and Tartars
fleeing like girls from the Hussar’s heavy
cavalry, in the Siege of Vienna. The stars
have shifted in their spheres. The zodiac
become a string of satellites and King Jan,
a figure in a painting on a wall. Attack
and keep this in your heart, all loss gone
beyond a dozen generations, yet still fresh
in the fratricidal hearts of Atta and the boys,
now charred to ash in old New York. Flesh
seared off and evanesced, like the sad joys
of patriots singing drunken songs in a tongue
no one cares to learn. How long must they
remember, the Sultan’s loss, the sadness sung,
a piper's gross ghazals for which we all must pay.

# # #

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

These named days claim us in ways we usually ignore. Each of us would like to think we sprung whole from the our father’s mind, complete from his brow in god-like innocence. The seamier thoughts of our parents’ intimacies and the corporeal essence of reproduction is usually taboo. We are not much interested in imagining our own conception. So the idea of the archetypal mother remains child like, virginal, or at best, abstract. The intensity of birth is soon forgotten in the joy and work of caring for a child.
Unless, that is, you have been present at a birth, looked into the glowering eyes of a new-born fixing you like a bug on a pin — an expression of mixed curiosity and discomfort. The child is an alien, ripped from his/her womb-world, where all needs were met instantly in an insulated water-filled globe. From another world, almost tube-fed, the fetus flowers into a human being, from a squirt to a zygote, to a dodecahedron sub-divided, bi-sexual squid into a complete child, screaming, gasping for breath, crying and angry, torn out of heaver by the head into a cold, laser-bright openness filled with other creatures you are completely dependent on.
The power to give birth, literally to give life, attaches us to the life-giver for our entire life. This sort of cosmic connection goes beyond words, into the realm of the mythic.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Creative Conversation

Social networking has all the potential of a good conversation, except you can exchange ideas and “feed” off the thoughts of dozens of souls from all around the planet all-at-once. Add to the mix the ability to access the conversation at your convenience, to drill down into any discussion that interests you or drop out and go to pee without losing any of the gist of what is said. The excitement of where this is going is part of an electronic awareness and as a matter of course becomes the subtext of all topics.

The mind seeks feedback and new ideas spring from synapse stimulation with thought streams flowing like bio luminescence through the ocean. Facelessness helps, as well. No body-face hang-ups to pull you to or push you away. No beauty to enchant, and conversely no bad breath, body odor, warts or freckles or scars to distract us. As technology pushes forward into more complex and intricate webs, these conversations will grown richer, more fulfilling, more enlightening. Other currents will ripple in, led by the articulate voices that call us like schools of fish to swim in the depths.

I am intrigued by collaboration and experimentation and interested in the creative potential that blogging offers, the conversation, if you will, of fellow cursor clickers, cliques of enchanting creators collaborating on a developing dialogue.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Monologue in a crowd

Facebook, Twitter, Friend Feed, My Space, You Tube, Metacafe, all working their own angle on the communication revolution. If one is experimenting, one is everywhere and nowhere all at once. One is many and yet no one. Many self-absorbed egos prattling on about what they are doing at the moment, or better yet, hiding behind a camera, like a high tech voyeur doing digital video of his/her bathroom mirror. Dipping my toe in the digital river, pulling it back boiled to the bone.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Writing, like reading, is an anti-social activity

I write alone, in my room, with the door closed. I focus completely on the monitor like a flashlight in a dark room, there are rings of awareness within that focus, but outside my periferal vision, the world fades to black. I am so intensely concentrated on the cursor, I might as well be that blinking little vertical that words trail after appearing as it moves across the page. I am the same when I read. The world falls away and I am lost in the story, the poem, the page. I can be interrupted, ripped from my trance, taken away by reality, but that is never my choice. I would choose to stay until sleep or hunger or love, in other words something my mind sees as more important than the moment.

Now, I find a hornet's nest of activity circling the web known by many names but which I will refer to as social networking. People gather around common interests and exchange information, comment, gossip, pass judgement, share sh*t, connect. I read that in Japan, the majority of best sellers are written for the cell phone. My mind warps into where this is all leading, how art and self-expression and society are transforming. I have always been an experimenter, a post modern, jazz-oriented, improvisational creature. The future is pulling me in new directions.