Saturday, August 23, 2008

Perchance to Dream

When it comes, it isn't. Call dreaming a riddle.
Water doesn't feel wet when you're in it,
and dreaming is dead real when it begins.

No images this time
words again

Thoughts printed and careened until they
were forced back on themselves for nourishment
in a kinetic recoil. They bounced, fought and merged.
Each moment a sentence or two scrolling across my vision,
Yielding a slew of urgent questions clamoring for the floor.

“Were you to repeat this, would you use first person or third?”

“Which one of you is experiencing this? How do you determine?
How important is it to be right?”

“Do you see how every context already saw you coming, laid

There is a pendulum here, a three-dimensional shadow of the one poised above the heart of the city. It sways in multiple directions at once and at different speeds. The lie is that one can reach, within it, some kind of d├ętente. You pen your best lines, deliver them with passion and perfect timing. You state the case of your life to tacit response. You walk away with a smile, believing this time the deal with the Devil has been figured out. This time, you win. However, the deal has been perfected on the other end to lead you to this false confidence. There are always advantages to allowing the enemy to believe he has won.

Photo by Paula Campbell (

You return to the act of creation to find that you have, indeed, come out ahead, as long as you do not dig too deeply, study the boundaries with too much scrutiny. Best to pick a medium and a closed universe and ride the blind wave to an ephemeral satisfaction. Walk beyond the taped off areas and you see that your world is a room within a room within a room of people that don’t stop laughing.”

The questions begin to fractal and assume the stance of a lecture meant half to warn, half to entice. The responses I generate naturally half-asleep load and fire just as easily as the questions arrive, pounding holes in the exterior of inquisition and exposition alike. But it’s old hat for the other side, and whatever damage you think inflict is compensated for immediately, replacement axioms, paradigm shifts are born to fill the holes. Your attempts to gain control over the shifting parameters of form, function, perception, and acceptance yield little – all your might just to tread water.

Like trying to punch holes in the flow of a fountain.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Southern Cross (to bear)

Page 248 and Fleming's still choosing coffee over the bottle. He still gets the latter, offered up by the old and weathered and dying either to make some tiny ammends to the fragile, or - almost forgiven - to try to get a rope around a little bit of beauty, take it down with them. A rabbit's foot. A four-leaf clover covered in gold.

It's funny that it is here and now, in this umpteenth journal that a realization hits me. I'm starting to sink back into some relaxed, southern earth I didn't think stuck around low these twelve years up north. By all rights it ought to have come about after some small tragedy, stolen wallet or busted locks or lips on the way back from a night to remember. But there's been no such loss. I think it comes to others this way, but when you're as sensitive as I am, it doesn't take much. And the Lord God whoever has clearly taken this into account and doled out epiphanies in right and proper proportion.

I see, and now I know.
It feels real and I'm the kind to heed what it might come to mean.

The language that speaks to me these days rests in valleys not covetous of surrounding peaks, but resigned without a word to a place that cradels wind and rain instead of braving it for old Scottish ballads and shitty overpriced scenescapes circa my granddad's living room.

It's a language that can drink like my father did for a time, like I've heard his dad did. It could break noses by looking at them. It's the language of earlier times hid away in attics and spider basements. Younger days full of whatever the hello powered them, like crack we can no longer afford. Nights too much like contstantly pulling a butt from the fire for one last taste of what's been bought and paid for. I dreamed I talked with Buford, my mother's father the other night, in a way I never did when he was alive.

"Finishing up when the clouds are gathering" he said "is the best example of heaven."

"It's a sign sure as losing the lottery." I added bitterly.

"The air getting colder and your lot burning its last till payday. I don't know," he drew out with a cigarette smile, "timing like that should give a guy some hope in something."

I stared at my shoes and paused out of respect. These were words he could do something with, and I should find a way, too. Some simple scrap meant for better than fading into the backdrop of days. He said he tried reading some book from China once that was supposed to hold some wisdom. The "I-Ching" I told him. I gave it to you. All he could remember was the number of times it used the word 'auspicious'.

"Seemed like a bunch of fortune cookies with a bar code." He laughed embarrassed, trying not to disrespect it as a present from his grandson.

But these sentences, the ones he doled out wistfully in my dream, these were something that could make a life with legs under it, should you have the gift to know what the hell to do with it.

I finish Provinces of Night and begin Crime and Punishment. Lord help the kind of dreams I'll have now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Strongest Thing in the World

"The night of Cisco's demise Bloodworth had been trying to keep a mare and the stallion apart. He had penned them in separate pens. Between the pens and joined to them on either end was a barn with a sloping tin roof.

Sometime in the night he woke to bedlam. He could hear a voice screaming, dogs barking madly. He jumped out of bed and ran into the moonlit yard. The stallion was screaming and thrashing about inside the barn. Bloodworth saw with a stunned disbelief that the stallion had climbed a stack of haybales at the end of the barn and somehow managed to clamber onto the roof; the tin and two-by-four lathing had not held, and the spotted horse had fallen in a jumble of tin and broken lumber. The horse looked like a unicorn struggling to free itself from a snare and he saw with horror that a sharp section of rotted lumber had imbedded itself in one of the horse's eyes like a horn. He'd struggled in the darkness dementedly with Cisco trying to remove the splintered board until he finally noticed that one of the stallions front legs was broken and he gave up and went to the house for his gun.

What the spotted horse had done awed him a little. He thought then and he thought now the cry of flesh calling to flesh must be the strongest thing in the world."

from Provinces of Night
by William Gay

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Reading Provinces of Night by William Gay. Engaging writing, if not overdone at times. Interesting use of the southern vernacular, as may still be employed in the backwoods of today.
Can’t make out whether he intended it like Sebald. The evocative flow is climaxing about mid-book, reminding me immediately of Sebald’s The Emigrants. Intentional with Gay or a stumbling upon his groove like Jack (The Town and the City) or evidence of the steady state of enlightenment as with some unknown, an overlooked Montaigne, perhaps?

“Don’t forget who you are, where you come from.”

The sentiment rose from the page to sting my nose from pages 171-180. There are things that have yet to be said, I added. They’re just getting harder to find.

And it is this search that often draws me from hearth and home. Away the pit stops have me questioning goal and attempt ad nauseum. The attempt to reconcile universes. How much easier to live completely in one and write off the others to tabloid storytelling. But the Truth has a way of tracking down your zip code, interrupt you placid dreams. What behemoth and lumbering desires call to you from across lonesome roads, heated traffics?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hearing French Ambient

Who knew when the French started being cool in the
post-modern age? Did their cache enjoy such health
that it naturally bled past the New Wave, riding it
without effort, into the electronic default?

I hear the beats now, soft, a breathy vox pulling
them like beads from her tongue. The seduction
capable of the stereo-type quadruples like an
errant gene come alive, squirming the whole
gender open in terrifying blossom.

The pouty kiss of that language sparked thanks
to up and comers of that country, the artist MIA of its
neighbor. Breathy moans were not invented by the French,
just perfected by them.

Struck by the cocktail: modern, sterile syncopation in a
vintage nubile base, as if Lady Day
decided to come back all carnal, just to give
her blessing to the future of fantasy.

Dipthongs rise and lilt in some breezy attempt.
A smile to lift the summer hem. A glimpse of sun
on knee, too conconscious of itself.

Each beat is a finger on a nerve point
unknowingly errogenous.

Every note a Kegel flex
around my wide-opened heart.