Monday, July 31, 2006
Vampires in the street . . .
Godzilla’s crushing downtown . . .
Alien fleet’s about to attack . . .
But this is Suzy’s Show
Suzy’s got an apartment
Suzy’s got some friends
Suzy’s got a cool job
Let’s watch Suzy having fun
’Cause this is Suzy’s Show
No time for crazy monsters
No time for crazy fights
No time to save the world
It’s just Suzy’s Show tonight
Let’s watch Suzy’s Show tonight!
Friday, July 28, 2006
at our library
the pretty young girl
always dressed in black
was dressed in all white.
I bought a ticket
for the lottery
but it didn’t win.
I blame Tricia but
I think only courts
would uphold my claim.
is like that. Also
it isn’t like that.
When Tricia comes in
all pink like Paris
I’ll buy two tickets
for the lottery.
And I’ll ask her out.
makes up its own rules
and you never know
what connects to what.
You never know but
even if Tricia
wore a pink beret
and a pink sun dress
and pink high-heel shoes
I wouldn’t extend
my credit limit
until I really
won the lottery
and I wouldn’t buy
tickets for a show
until she said ‘Yes.’
the signs are flashing
I enjoy this trip
and the gentle rain
that washes away
chance frowns on the road
Thursday, July 27, 2006
if super heroes
all became Christians
and all the stories
in super hero
comics and graphic
novels were only
about how mankind
could only be saved
by the blood of Christ?
If all that happened
would people notice?
Would there be a fuss?
Would people complain?
Would folks say, “It’s strange . . .”
But in an equal
but opposite way
this really happened.
All super heroes
embraced a kind of
and all the stories
in super hero
comics and graphic
novels are only
about how only
struggle redeem us.
Did people notice?
Did anyone fuss?
Did people complain?
Did folks say, “It’s strange . . .”
Well. Isn’t that strange?
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
both in rackets and
in athletes have made
tennis a new game.
Winners from behind
the baseline. Big serves
nobody can touch.
Strategies that win
even though players
may hit four dozen
unforced errors. Now
in more and more points
umpires will call ‘let’
and replay the point
when the tennis ball
transforms into a
can of pork and beans.
Sure it’s great TV.
But is it tennis?
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Monday, July 24, 2006
fragments of Orwell
us all like mayflies
with silenced pistols,
mayflies shooting us
all in the head with
little hollow points
that carve through our brain
the chunks of our self
that don’t conform to
ten thousand little
the damn little bugs
want us all to talk.
They quickly die but
they’re quickly replaced
by a new damn hatch.
These are the new days
when a cage of rats
strapped onto your face
is sweet nostalgia.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Oh, Sasquatch, the golfing girls say they will steal my ball wherever it lands and prevent me from completing my round!
Be calm, Anime Girl! When I bellow from the out-of-bounds trees those stick-ball girls will all run for the shelter of the scorer’s trailer.
Oh, Sasquatch, you roar like concrete shattering in an earthquake but with me your voice is like cloud shadows moving across a mountain-side. I love you, Sasquatch.
And I love you, Anime Girl, I love you.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
in a bucket. She calls it
her bucket o’ bras.
Trish keeps a werewolf
in her basement. She calls it
her lunar redoubt.
Brenda keeps a book
by Paris Hilton under
the one short leg of
her breakfast table.
She calls it Paris working
for the greater good.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
Professor Martel continued
toward his startling conclusion:
This one last thing. A final
repeating thing. The ultimate
repeating thing. This other thing.
With time and humor and love.
Time. Repeating time. In my breath.
Walking. In my thoughts and words.
Humor. Repeating humor.
In my choices and death. My trips!
Love. Repeating love. My work.
In Linda, the waitress downstairs.
In the attentive librarian
with the uneven skirt.
Even in the love of my life
happy with the mechanic.
All these thoughts – the past
as “accumulated expressiveness,”
the continuum of
repeated things, the great enterprise
of expressively embodying
thoughts, shopping and cleaning –
I see these things, and this last thing,
this “I.” And more so than see,
these things – repeating things all! –
blaze and sing and make dizzy and
bring saliva to the tongue
and twist the stomach and arch warm
under a touch and perfume the air.
Life: The repetitions.
And this last thing.
This one last thing. A final repetition.
This sensual thing, non-sense
really something, somehow, somewhere.
I write these words, write all
these words – this repetition of words –
opening a pattern. Opening
something, somehow, somewhere.
An opening to this last thing.
This “I.” My “self.” Or my “soul.”
Like my breathing
this writing repeats. Repeating, continues.
Accumulates with time,
humor and love toward the ultimate
repetition of the ultimate
repeating thing. Rather
the final repetition
of the final repeating thing.
Time, humor and love.
And me! At least, my “soul,” that final me.
And everyone else,
all expressively accumulated.
I love these words, this writing,
this lettering of time. I laugh,
breathing, writing these words
expressing these thoughts because I know
these words repeat my soul! I write my self!
And time, humor, love . . .
Thursday, July 13, 2006
A bare sixty watt bulb
dangled next to Professor Martel
sitting cross-legged at the head of his bed,
notebook in his lap.
The bulb, left, cast shadows, right.
His pencil moved toward its shadow,
leaving behind letters, words,
sentences, paragraphs, pages,
as if the pencil-point twisted shadow,
curled it and set it
firmly to the paper, but shaped
not by physical outline,
rather shadow as shaped
by Professor Martel’s thoughts. Light used
by its absence. An opposite
approach to mysticism.
Fittingly, too, because Professor Martel
wrote about “soul”
as a repeated thing different
from the repeated thing “light.”
So the drama teacher told me
the story of the actress.
And I read a very old quote,
from Propertius, saying:
“Should strength fail, the effort
deserves praise. In great enterprises
the attempt is enough.”
I thought a lot about that old quote.
An attempt suffices?
Does a thought suffice? I considered
abstractions and I itemized
concretes. I generalized.
I summarized. I derived
principles. I separated
incidentals from integrals.
I determined defining
definitions. Compiled lore.
And beyond those things, I struggled,
interrogating my heart,
struggled to face-up
to the true and false rather than lie,
intellectualize and settle
for the seemingly right.
I knew, too, “true” and “false”
trip more people than banana peels.
But art that can open and touch
an honest heart brings measure
to these repeating words
and the repeating thoughts supporting
the words, expressed by the words.
And, simply, I trusted my heart.
And do trust it, still. These words
expressed some of my working thoughts.
The repeated and repeating thoughts.
A garden of blossoms
in bloom. Blooming now.
But rooted in something, somehow, somewhere.
These roots and that soil
made up everything except one last thing.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Not a search, then,
nor a quest nor odyssey. Rather, a kiss
or caress. A repeated thing.
A passing repeated thing.
A straightforward transposition
of a simple expression
of a complex thought. Complex thinking
about time, humor, love.
Plain expression, like a sneeze
or cough or yawn. Or like breathing.
A transposition nearly one-to-one.
A self or soul. Words.
On Thursday mornings,
Professor Martel cleaned his apartment.
He dusted throughout. Mopped the floor.
Scrubbed bathtub, sink, toilet.
On Thursday afternoons,
Professor Martel shopped for supplies.
During the rest of the week
he accumulated a list:
Paper towels, bread, soda, candy,
sandwich meat, straws, soap four ways –
washing soap, shampoo,
laundry detergent and dish washing soap –
and cans of soup, stew, beans,
corn, peas and Mandarin oranges.
The list, never a repeated thing,
flexed like breathing – short, long.
itself a vastly accumulated
a primitive opening, a touch
to ancient patterns expressive themselves
of ancient, deep thoughts.
Thursday, a Sabbath of sorts,
sectarian, with self for soul,
supporting Professor Martel’s
A mysticism not light-based
or dull. A mysticism
of accumulated repetition,
and mysterious only
in its pattern recognition.
This weird calculus
for juggling conflicts. Intrusive patterns.
Three senses and a self. Four somethings,
four somehows, four somewheres.
I loved these repeated things –
cleaning, shopping and all the rest.
But cleaning and shopping
expressed a special kind of thinking.
A nonsensical religion.
as a repeated thing. Civilized
temples. Shop and shopper.
Civil self. Clean shop and clean shopper.
Too, I loved the timeliness
of this fun love. It touched my work.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
The breath of laughter
enthuses not only life but also
the leaving of life and the weave
woven through both: The thread love.
The love of my life.
A young lady. An administrator
at the party school. Two years a friend,
then chance turned a chance talk
to talk of music. Rock and roll.
And consequently to death.
Love of Who music
led hundreds of Who fans at a concert
to rush to the music – a rush
trampling eleven Who fans.
“I heard about a tee shirt,”
the love of my life said, grinning.
My life’s love quoted: “I’d walk
all over you to see the Who.”
She giggled, laughed quietly,
then laughed louder and slapped her leg.
What life! A perfectly vital
appreciation of death!
A perfectly weird appreciation
of weird death that took
away my heart as long laughter
takes breath. This laughing woman
took me, breathless, and breathed on me.
Breathless herself, she lay back
to my own breathing. Life, laughter, love.
A third sense, then, this love.
Time. Humor. Love. Each something,
somehow, somewhere. Time. Humor. Love.
A momentary touch. A smile.
The moment and touch lengthen.
Love, then. A flux of the three.
Time, then. Flexible breath! Laughter.
Flexible breath, indeed,
bent over me, mine, then another.
I breath, I walk. She, breathing, walked.
All over. Me. We both saw.
I suppose you could say we both came
and we both conquered, too.
But then we both left, too.
I, for work, she, for a mechanic
who bought her a house off-campus.
A repeating thing, this love,
like time and humor.
Time repeating me. Time, repeating jokes:
“I guess that mechanic
really knew how to use his tools . . .” Breath!
Time. Humor. Love. I sat back
with these three. And thinking. And breath.
And expression. And, gradually,
I realized I sat
not alone! My self,
in the middle of time, humor and love
moved in the middle
of these repeating things, itself a thing
repeated. My self! Not a sense,
but something, somehow, somewhere.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Opposite the bitterness
inspired by the blunting dullness,
an absolute release of humor
opens hearts to laughter.
Laughter repeats. Humor. Thought.
Expression. Like a sense of time.
A sense of humor. Thought. Expression.
Something, somehow, somewhere.
Death like a punch line
tying things together. The ultimate
knock-knock joke. The ultimate
what-do-you-get-if-you cross joke.
The chicken’s own testimony
about crossing that damn road.
The political ramifications
without any daughters of farmers.
Without burned-out light bulbs.
Without chicken soup
or spaghetti or watermelon or
or Canadian television shows.
Professor Martel bought
one piece of art for his apartment:
A double canvas painting –
the upper depicting a man
up-ended and tumbling,
the lower, a banana peel.
One big trip, thought Professor Martel.
An image that repeats.
Words that repeat. Expressions
of a triumvirate of thought.
Suicide, thought Professor Martel,
death by pie-in-the-face.
Cyanide whipped cream. Arsenic crust.
A bionic arm. Splat!
the repeating thing celebrates breathing.
Syncopation in breathing’s meter.
Slurring grace notes and fills.
Bright eyes closed
for an exhausting solo of exhalation.
Inhaling, then, a breath and more –
an aware pause: Breath for breath.
At the party school
I remember a car-load of coeds
undressing as they raced
along fraternity row throwing
their underwear at frat boys.
Lots of loud laughs for everyone.
Here, in the city, Linda,
a waitress in the snack shop, spilled
salt one night. I pointed out
she needed to toss salt over
her shoulder to ward off bad luck.
She fell for it, tossing salt
against the chest of some guy
in the booth behind her. I laughed,
she laughed, the guy laughed.
Quiet laughter. Laughter – quiet, loud – breaths . . .
Friday, July 07, 2006
After dinner every night
Professor Martel took a walk,
enjoying the walk
as a kind of externalization
of breath, that most repeated thing.
Walking, steps like breath repeat.
in after dinner walking just destined
to walking, like breaths in breathing,
traverses perceptive time,
a colorless dimensionality
also lacking scent, stomach, sound,
touch, taste and balance. But still
something, somehow, somewhere.
Time. A word. An expression. A thought.
Health clubs really pissed me off.
And joggers. And “power” walkers.
Expression without thought. Waste.
People fit. But for what? Living,
but for what? Thinking
of “accumulated expressiveness”
and thinking of time
turned my thoughts to the accumulated
expressions of everyone in the past
who thought and acted.
Every thought and action
that made my thoughts and actions more clear.
And I thought of every thought
in the past unexpressed, every
action unthought, undirected,
unsupported. Dull action.
Dull thought. Past and people faded.
Past and people just passing.
Dull people abandoning the thoughts
and actions of the past.
Dull people ignoring time
and the future. Repeated dull,
an accumulated thing, too,
I got bitter thinking about
my own time-line. Days and nights
numbered and filled.
A low number compared to many. Lonely
compared to some.
A life – a repeated thing, too! – and a life
the accumulated expressions of lives
repeated in the past.
A past blunted by fading dullness.
Blunted dull. Necessitating a shrug.
A painful shrugging.
Bitter thoughts. Bitter words.
Toward a watchful kind of repeating.
A repeating thing.
Young eyes opening with worldliness.
A shallow understanding
necessary, too. A young life
opening to pure living –
the ultimate repeating thing.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Repetitions of repeated things,
Professor Martel’s days
cut a clear route to thought,
an efficient routine to thinking.
Thinking, not only, but also
the expression of those thoughts.
A written voice found phrase
and clear construction accessible.
With each pencil stroke,
as with a swimmer gaining energy
with each swimming stroke,
Professor Martel checked the sea of thoughts
ahead of him
and checked-off destinations easily ranged
setting instead as his destination
a distant breaker
by an equally distant horizon of fog –
thought-fog, rather, the unknown
and uncodified known around
some pattern, some essence,
some repeating thing, some description
waiting for words to describe it.
Thoughtful and considered words.
And like a swimmer
Professor Martel felt himself immersed
in the thought-stuff around him,
supported by and skimming through
the stuff, breath as practiced
as the motions that kept him moving.
And Professor Martel knew, too,
that the thought-stuff around him
offered an open embrace
as warm – or as cold – as water
offered. A comforting embrace.
An embrace motionless, still.
An expressive and loving embrace.
But an end to movement.
To repeated things.
To “accumulated expressiveness.”
An expressive and loving embrace,
expressive and loving
something, somehow, somewhere.
Embracing something, somehow, somewhere.
Thinking, writing, eating,
going to the bathroom, sleeping – I
some distractions, too, just to keep them in hand.
Sensual moments. Allowed, welcomed,
they kiss and go. Refused,
they intrude and brood, long, center-state.
Time then became every breath
and every breath drew out breathing
into vast time-cycles
like memories of youth or fears of age.
like a glass of cold soda: Grip-able. Drinkable.
a thoughtful thing, expressible, too: A pleasure.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Expression as opposed to thought. Expression
in conjunction with thought.
Expression of thought. The spark of thought.
This instigator. This pattern
of patterns. This explosion
into order. This accumulation
of repeated things.
Professor Martel’s research
concerned boundaries and deep thought.
And the expression of that thought.
Words. Sentences. Paragraphs.
Words, sentences and paragraphs
ordered by conceptual
definitions, creations. And love
of self and species and existence.
And of the deeper thing
he felt embracing him
and box-stepping him to conclusions.
He printed carefully
and very readably. Lovingly.
He read, sometimes quickly,
sometimes slowly, and picked books to read
with days of forethought
and encompassing consideration.
Now and then
he thought of the librarian with the always
uneven skirt. And of possible
expressions for those thoughts.
But his love remained
with his more consuming thoughts. He resigned
these just distracting thoughts
to less than distracting expressions.
I couldn’t resolve,
or successfully and meaningfully
abstract, the issue of contradictions.
I needed, my thoughts
required, some kind of weird calculus
for juggling conflicts.
Some kind of infinite,
multi-ported barometer of
I saw two avenues of approach:
Existence, as such, and the concrete
and concretes around me;
Me, my self, this thin compendium
of time and perceptions.
Rather than choose and risk a mistake,
I attacked on two fronts.
Mornings, I considered
the world – rather, I mean, everything
not me. Afternoons, I considered
the strange knots of my self.
Evenings, I ate dinner.
After the snack shop I devoted
my time to reviewing
both earlier parts of my day. Sleep
distracted even my careful pencil.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Written in sand or carved in marble,
the shape of words once shaped
stay shaped in something, somehow – something
other than whatever
softened first to the writer’s touch.
An actor acts and actions
(with an audience or not) somewhere,
During the third day
of his researches, Professor Martel
outlined his theory
to an attentive young librarian.
The attentive librarian nodded
and straightened her skirt.
She suggested dinner and drinks.
Professor Martel declined,
saying his work came first.
The attentive librarian shrugged.
Professor Martel returned
to his researches, more or less
sure his outline remained outlined
in something, somewhere, somehow.
I figured my obsession
might attract a romantic’s eye.
Back then, I understood
that the number of my future days
matched the pages in my notebook.
I didn’t want to hurt her
by letting her fall in love.
Love and words cast different shadows.
that I now call “accumulated expressiveness”
started as just the hint
of a thought when a drama teacher
told me a story
about a freshman student’s performance.
The teacher, decades earlier,
had witnessed a rehearsal
in the dressing room
of a famous actress. The performance
because the actress committed suicide
later the same night as the rehearsal.
The drama teacher
never detailed the events
of the final rehearsal, but
more than two decades later
this drama teacher, the only
witness to that last, complex rehearsal
of an intricate
performance, watched a freshman actress
lose herself in the depths
of her involved portrayal
of the same scene – a portrayal
capturing the same spark,
the same life, the exact same essence
of the rehearsal in the dressing room
two decades before.
What if somewhere, somehow – I thought – something
connected these scenes.
On a nine month sabbatical
from a mid-west party school
Professor Martel began his research
in an apartment
over a snack shop
near a library in a big city.
Intermittent and distant train wheels
replaced crickets. Whispers
discussing anything but class whispered
only in memory.
Constant and close traffic sounds – engines,
tires on pavement,
horns, doors, drivers – greeted
each dawn, dusk
and all the forty minute periods between.
From eight to midnight
snack-shop conversation – talk and orders –
rose through Professor Martel’s three room apartment.
rose, too: Eggs, sausage, bacon,
toast, coffee, burgers, fries, meat loaf,
potatoes and more coffee,
always more coffee. From his bedroom
window Professor Martel
could see the library. And all
windows looked out at old factories
partitioned into stores
and restaurants and office co-ops
and condos and health clubs.
Electricity for lights
and a library card for books,
a mechanical pencil
for writing in his spiral-bound –
Professor Martel settled like a seed
onto damp, warm ground.
It occurred to me without prompting,
forethought or desire
the first time I closed my new apartment’s door.
I stood alone
listening to second-hand snack-shop sounds,
looking at bare bulbs
in dangling fixtures, smelling bug spray
and mildew, tasting spit
that last tasted home grown,
farm fresh and country prepared dinner,
hands cold with sweat closing on warm air,
stomach tight and turning,
and everything rising up at me,
into me and out of me,
leaving me balancing
like a cat on a branch of a tree
during an earthquake – a sort of
embracing safety, embraced
by an even more loving,
thoughtful and considerate fear.
Fear of everything.
And a certain amount of bravery
there, in my new home,
because then my thoughts turned to my old work.