Salinger is my one of my favorite sci-fi writers.
In the universe next door I’m reading through all his new material, some that is sent to me personally, for advice, like he needs it.
Fairly certain he is humoring me and pretending that he cares what I think. Next door exists a similar social feed, and J.D., forever the resident recluse, many years ago as he was writing Teddy, one of his Nine Stories, has confided:
“Soon we will be writing to each other not by hand or typewriters, but will be sitting, as it were, in front of these glowing ovens, and there will be some sort of system that will connect us and divide us (a bully-option, subscription free). I urge you to keep free-willed of this affair, although, myself, I may indulge and solicit your attention, all of which will be, anyway, false figments of your imagination, of a fanboy. I’m writing to you now, after all, blitzed.”
The courage to write poetry is to let the very act of writing it fall apart and let it come back together again, if that’s what it wants to do, and just be honest about it as it is and as you are, and as you are who you are at one place in time, understand that it all changes and you might not be exactly that for them anymore, how you thought, or how they thought. How are you different—today?
To write this goes so far beyond being known as the one who writes it, beyond the place it’s shouted, to be asked about it, asked to repeat it, asked for more of it, to be demanded to release the secret recipe to a public consumed by millions of bits of media-ideation pushing memes, dreams, and nightmares to new levels.
As ideas materialize they don’t always make for the best of conversations, nor should they be a part of the conversation, at least the ones you’re invited to.
I’m a fan of the idea that once you get started with something you can get infatuated for awhile, and over time possibly lose interest, but you’ve still been marked by the thing. Suddenly you’re swept back up by a mysterious momentum, or someone else burning, might, in some strange way, take you under their wing.
Be alone and sit still and process this life for a bit as it’s natural to do so, for as long as children aren’t starving in your corner, and never announce a verse from the very beginning. It’s not exactly the same as having a baby that always pops out.
Ideas flip and fizz into the abortion bin as quickly as a hand turns a staticky AM radio dial.
Verbalizing poetry is humbling, tricky, difficult, enriching, otherworldly. It helps you weed out your fake friends for your true friends who will stick with your poetry. Poetry can do this for you.
Confirm with the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen—everything is on fire and you can write it all.
So friends, I moved into a house on a busy road, with a porch. Finally I’m sitting more out on the porch these days, mostly evenings, enjoying the view, taking in the new neighborhood.
I was over in Montrose I think for too long and it’s good to be out. Now when I’m back over there, I’m an outsider. Feels right. Here in Eastwood, it’s all a little more raw. GF says one night there was a man slowly going past the house, scuttling backwards, like in a recent novel I’ve read. And so many books this year, until I moved.
Now, no reading schedule. Prepressing and adjusting. Okay, so I’m adjusting. A move can take a lot out of a person, not just this person. Ah, yes. Remember, we call these things bardo realms, transitional periods, some rougher than others.
Observe with some clarity your transitions. Sometimes someone is going to help you through, tremendously, maybe just a little, maybe not at all.
From the front porch I tell my friend, again, again—”If you’re really looking, there’s teachers all around you. If you want a teacher, you’ll find one. It might not even be a human. It could be the side of a wall. Could be a complete asshole. You never know.” Time to adjust, best I can.
This ain’t no comfort zone. This either/or shit. Oh man, the election. This shit is a bitch. Less evil, less evil, less evil, at least, like we’re ordering a drink. Leave room for milk. Why do we always leave room for less evil?
A tad of a journal entry. A spot, a spotty dalmatian, some Disney movie from some time ago attaches itself to your young brain and you drag memories with you like bashed up old luggage.
Don’t look at my eye infection and it won’t look at you. Things are swell but swollen.
Concentrate on the music festival coming up, who you wanna see most. The watch on your wrist will remind you to stand. Remind you to be kind, if you set it.
Compliment someone today, if you can. Thank them, if they’re around. Morning sun comes in soft and says last night’s mistakes are going to matter a little less now, provided…
some poor kid with jock itch eating breadsticks
a chest pain the same as that other time
no cash to catch a doctor here
along the coast of capitalism
a dream for sale
the going price
had to come down
the book cover judges were frowning
and in a fowl mood
deejays ran out of samples
police ran out of crack and heads to crack
no strength left for walnuts
the plane taxing out to the
Leslie Nelson and his while hair
passengers trapped on a bus up there
not as fun as the trampoline park
if you pretend you’re sitting in
the living room of a home
in the 1950s/
well—think of us well
I’m sure you’ll think of something
swell, head swelling heat swelter
my life’s work
a straw and its shed snake skin
a straw and its drink
a drink and its sucker
a heat seeking PENCIL
someone you already know
let’s see then
how the introduction goes
friend or foe
room for you in the
so here’s an excerpt from
the long lost journal of this
he wound up
across that haunted divide
you lose enough things till it’s finally
the roof and then you’re outside
the pages wound up writing
now that he’s older full of bile
for the landscape
the sacred got itself lost
along the way
trust no one
became a part of his DNA
changed his name
to Dan The Negotiator
but it did nothing
for his reputation all
short shallow steps
save the date
make a bitter face
slice the cake
rake to the blunderer
on/off wagons and their
slag the flag a motivational nag
skin sags and onion rags
young and fake—alone
you’ll see the real thing soon
so soon it’s too soon
you’ll wonder if
This is the first part of the evening fable. Chris, you’re in my past now, you fucking crazy ass. Now you’re a Christian or something. Who would’ve guessed? I guess you could predict where I was going. A star is born, right? Scrub those dishes clean. If it’s true that God hates fags then it’s also true everyone is too afraid to tell him he needs to relax. Scrub. Scrub them dishes to the bone. Chris, how are sales lately? How do you earn your crazy living? Did you find someone to put up with you full-time? I’m sure our lists of accomplishments and regrets are painfully similar should we hold them up. This, this is it from you? I have to admit I’m not impressed. I don’t feel good about it. This needs some closure. But I can feel friends slipping away. It happens more often now. The sudden news and shock comes. All we have behind us now are those memories. We didn’t always treat each other well. We lashed out. It could come to blows. Now those days are over. The place barely resembles the memory. Sometimes it rides in on a smell. Did you become one of them? Myself, I left the cult way back there and I can’t say it was a bad decision. I do miss some things. Whenever I light up Nag Champa incense I think of a long string of Hindu temples up the East Coast where we banged drums and cymbals and did our black magic. Now, sometimes, I remember, I wonder what happened to you, and that whole attitude. Something snapped. I didn’t stick around much longer to figure out exactly what. The past burned out. Now I resemble the unknown and my being explodes into mystery.
Another Chris came into frame, a co-worker, in one of the original printshops in DC. Elements of me were torn against one another then. I’m sure it must’ve made everything around me fairly uncomf. And maybe some, anyway, were too sensitive. One young man by the name of Dave used to call me up and ask me questions on a number of things, and it was all very inspiring and serious, until he got to see other sides of me, sides less serious, and ones, at times, so extremely silly, and so his psyche became so repelled. The naive young man told me that I had changed. I was naive enough to take offense, jump on the defense. Honestly, there were times when I don’t think I was very well balanced. It’s okay to admit it now. Had a lot of energy I didn’t know what to do with. It was my own sculpting a line of dominos, resembling the charred remains of a forest fire next to the library. That smell you can’t scrub out without a little more time. Do you think you have the time? I wonder what the world would look like if we gave only sincere advice, unburdened by the Id. Oh me my stars and emotional scars. Address the unrest. Undress death, these serious concerns, our tendency to obsess. Oh me my stars and conversation starters and false starts and blood.
How do I keep from spilling out into the street? A homeless man sat there and told me what the culture is to him and why so often his heart just isn’t in it, he has to quit even a cushy, steady job, get back out on the road, get back to some potentially sad, lonely adventures, much of what happens with us anyway, on the other side of the it. A student’s back talk is smack talk, is a student getting a smack for said cracks, the whole thing resembles jail if you’re feeling as morbid as I am. What you see is the negative in things and it’s cloudy, perspective is mix-matched, confused, unsightly. You know? I guess you would be surprised to know I have other sides. The music fades out right where it’s getting fucking good. You get sent to a little room called the principal’s office with cows swinging upside down, their throats slit, the school nurse mopping up, taking care of it. They call your mother to discuss your behavior and lack of interaction with others and what this could spell out if gone unchecked. You feel crossed out. They say no one wants that. You look back at them and realize they won’t be able to raise you, these same people who pawn their dreams off, and live off food stamps of sorrow.
Towards the end of 2014, I realized that I was becoming a lot more organized, thanks to a little research in various organizational methods, such as GTD, live action item lists, and so on. Where much of my work in poetry is in the abstract, other parts of me crave a marked progress.
Meditation, for one, has been something very important to me for a long time now, and over time I think I’ve better learned how to pace myself and stop trying to break, what I called for so long, the wild animal in me. Mindfulness has been instrumental in helping me through the rough times and helping me to know myself better. In one sense, as everything is constantly changing, how do we ultimately get to better know ourselves? Perhaps I’m trying to develop a better understanding of patterns, and how to change them, should I feel the need to. I do believe we can gain better control, and better navigate the emotional storms.
I remind myself every day to keep a cool head. In a so-called professional environment, we often don’t have the luxury to just let it fly. A more careful approach is required. And yet we don’t want to feel that we’re walking around on egg shells, ultimately morphing into someone else to be an artless people pleaser.
To be continued…
oh ho hum
fill my cranium
I me u put them there
the fellow is glum
into the margin
not the field
up comes the sun
I bought a gun
I walk around
like I want
to cap someone
tea that is iced
no head lice
this will all
look into my eyes
dinner at Mai’s
the door line
she is not her
he is not him
individual radio towers
see if they will
see if they love Austin
what’s so weird about it?
do I recognize you?
no I’m just starring at you
for no reason
the Buddhist way of
faces on human bodies
where you from?
fuck where you from
what you know?
measure the pain
the email comes in
like a great flood
make friends with
everyone you can
hold others away
because they’re toxic
where ya coming from?
don’t be afraid to
epiphanies and theories
get these words out
you sleep with a Tech Nine
All in all every day is the same. Look at the image. Watch the image change. Ask of the eight ball some tired question.
It was good seeing you. Come back later. You’re welcome anytime.
Drive a Porsche. Silver bus passes. This is the coffee station and I’m feeling weird. Wired.
Words could start tripping over themselves to get their best ideas out to me, a formal unraveling confession. The person who listens. I don’t appreciate you enough.
Drive the theory home. Small town womb. Gator belly swell. Walk along the backs and stones for the dream.
The flag that is a pain in your ass you see a doctor for. Strangers mailed you an insurance card. You rent your life. Pay for pictures of a pond.
Friends are stagnant and hidden, tucked away under folds, in a place like New Jersey, friends are still beautiful and eloquent under fire.
Turncoats not forgotten. Every era we consider the extraordinary, but we need our rest, we need our reset, not to feel too raw like Ohio. Coming soon. Make you this sandwich. A once in a lifetime deal. Harm’s way. Coming soon. Acquire fame and bodyguards.
Money in the left boot. In the bag. Gimme the bag. Baker’s dozen. Two dozen doughnut holes. Three thousand percent. Mindless chatter. Blood spatter analysis. Studio apartment over some garage.
Two men nodding along the side, the one falling forward, the other yammering on and on, the other, the first man, falling forward, into a circle, into a circle curling into a swirl and opening up. Falling forward. The second man without pause, yammering on, going long.
Mowed down people lose something essential. Some of us mow them down for fun. I know because I sense it that we can be better people to other people and better to ourselves without the evil.
Tapering off at the pinnacle. The author decides. Should we run a replay? We teach each other to learn to laugh at our tragedies while we remain in shock, while we sleep in hospitals, ghosts in shells, ghosts in vending machines, ghosts in screen savers and grave yard shift games of solitaire.
Stench in the wind. Bible salesman also selling knives knocking on your underground silo door. The cost is more. The Old Testament is old. The New Testament is also old.
What I said a minute ago is now two minutes ago when you get this old. Next batter up. You can use this for that. The day is long in the tooth. At the end of the day it’s the same day, the same one. You’ve already done it all before. You’ve been the butcher receiving vows. Water damage. The lady vanishes. Commits a heinous act.
Everything is a mirror projecting more of the dream. Bitches of dream. Brought low. Reconfigure. Call Art Bell late at night. Smart phone. Dumb battery. And application suites are suburban gangs.
You witness the unreal. Smart and alone. Prison prone. Prison isolation. Broken men and women. This broken thing. Portion of a leg.
If you befriend and save crawfish during the event you will lose your current friends. Something to consider. Some webs are complex. Walk a tight rope made of egg shells. Make pretend.
Change is the same. The cashier counts you all the way back to the bill you forked over.
Social media is performing a social experiment. It recognizes faces and knows they won’t always have smiles on them.
It builds a following into a political state.
Darling remind me not to have house envy. This is a simple evening stroll. Alright already.
The story that unfolds as it is retold unrolls differently.
I bow in holy gratitude
for what the world
offers me in abundance
abundance is already there
you just have to notice it
if it’s actually
bowing to this feeling
bowing to the notepad
to the keyboard
that tree of oxygenation
that building protecting people
from crazy people at night
the harsher earth elements in life
shit, you don’t wanna even
sleep out in the garage
I bow to this current feeling
simple as an abacus
bowing in gratitude
for the wilderness
the bewilderment of wilderness
or being bewildered out
in the middle of wilderness
this is how
you make a dog smile
write him a letter
don’t miss it in your lifetime
steady beating lifeline
to some random dude
walking and listening to music
on his way to wherever he’s going
some random spot
which will turn out to be
not so random after all
gratitude for solitude
it’s something you just have
to appreciate for it showing up
but let it go its merry way
when it wants
gratitude for aptitude
the ambulance serves as a bell
to bring you back to yourself
360 degrees of yourself in 3D
it’s like this
it’s like it’s with this
pick pockets with
in their pockets
flier for missing dog
your positive thought train
it is a matter
of identifying where
I want to go and
trusting that a spiritual
thirst can be quenched
to these socks
I begin to
slide onto my feet
trust the warmth
when you’re young
they ask you to choose
your profession when
you’re busy being five
I struggle against falling asleep
until it wins
I try to be as stern as possible
I must accomplish some *things* first
don’t always trust the warmth
you want to transform
your dwelling spot into a
holy abode of conscious awareness
you work from the inside
until you reach the outside
This is the next part. The next part of the day. We like to call it night time. This makes it anti-day, without the sun, but the sun is shining on the other side. There’s more than one side. Don’t be selfish. Interviews with Bill Murray are hella interesting. It seems late in the evening. It’s only 8 o’clock. Just woke a bit ago, with sniffles. It was a long fucking nap. I can do what I want. Work was fucking dumb. There are so many dumb people. My god, if God exists in that tangible sort of way people like to push, you’d think he’d put some smarter people down on the surface of his creation, or what some think the crime of humanity is that it turns on itself, poisons itself, kills itself. Work was fucking dumb.
I’m speaking Greek to some. My gratitude is for past, present, and future—to get me some. When I ask you to get me a glass of water, I also want you to get yourself some. I’m speaking Greek and I’m not really even from DC, in the ultimate sense. DC and I had to deal with each other, and we’re still both afloat, in some… sense…
The death toll rises as I rise out of bed, to brush my teeth, while they’re scrubbing blood from the floors in Ecuador.
Everyone is dumb, somewhere. There are dumb people everywhere. They want to jump out at you in traffic. Dumb people create traffic. I don’t mean all traffic always. When’s the last time you’ve seen a drunk ass procession of ants marching to the next discovery? Those fuckers are organized. Those fuckers are organized. Those fuckers are organized.
Grateful for those who grated on my nerves, and the silence I would get to afterwards. When you’re done speaking, I need to go take a shower, and forget about some things.
Finding a place to sit down in the light rain, a quiet invaded by the sounds of the city they only wish they could sustain. Silence reigns supreme and makes people uncomfortable.
Grateful for the uprising. Flip a cop car over. Burn your mayor. Baby steps of breath. One. Two. One. Two. One. Two.
Finding my way back.
So I’m coming back to consciousness because I fell under an object that felt like a table but was probably the hull of a UFO hovering over the corn crops scooping up the children of the corn.
earlier the fire trucks
nearly fifteen all
lined from my apartment building
forever down the road
a bunch of fire men out there
running all around
then stopping and talking lightly
what the fuck is going on here
I don’t know there’s no fire
so we’ll figure this out then
we’ll be out of here
like it was nothing
and it is nothing
a scarf is ignited into the air by the ceiling fan
after smoking a glimpse of this from the
corner of my eye is like a strange person materializing
into the thin and back out specifically down
there is a scarf on the ground
my head is fucking around
a day not an adventure to the beach this one
decided against the rain brought by tropical storm
burning the midnight oil
grinding the 1 AM grave
feel your face explode with possibilities
words like liabilities
push the hush around
diamonds are forever
divorce is forever
there is a pot leaf on my bed drawn on
to a sheet of paper today’s
first and last one
don’t want for my feet to be cold
creativity is surging in my bones
I just sit back and laugh and laugh
this time I write about the time guessed to the minute
if you ask me sometimes I really nail it
there is a glow in my forehead
shooting pain in my chest
an angel to talk to
“he’s coming tonight
he’s coming to kill you
get out of that house”
news for the captives
living the nightmare
the invention of themselves
fired from their jobs
in the chamber
old gents tilt over in their remainders
who write letters to the president
no one believes their empty promises any more
until four more years pass and then it’s
amnesia at the polls
flock to the polls in this dead man’s gait
it’s not like they’re opening the
gates of Macy’s on Black Friday
which concentrates on the coming
of our Christmas Day our lord
speak your silent name into the typewriter
the lies you tell will win you
medals and accolades
speak your silent name in earnest
as an ear rest or near arrest one can attest
close calls seek closure and
in Jah what we seek is the companionship
a promise kept like connection
when we claim we stop seeking
parts of us still are
perhaps while we’re not looking
which could explain for
the dehydration and internet addiction
a name like a calling card never called upon
loosely slipped from grasp
digits evaporate people as steam rises
from hot asphalt inside the belt of sunlight
we don’t know how to say
or communicate the breakdown
soon to be parentals dig down
the silent name you’re rounded into
introduced to a hard edged gunfire
walk kick scream jump
try not to get jumped
the jacket off your back
speak of giving nature
it’s all in the brochure
tear the billboards down
or iron new ones over the old ones
no time to advertise
just a deadline
we needed this yesterday
I know you can hear this, all of it. Two hours in the clouds they go by. A surprise is a surprise but I’ve got you down. The spirit of my past crouches in the hallway. I hear the ceilings are to die for.
Try again like always right? Don’t stop. Give it get it. Hand it over. The dope shit. Don’t look at me cross-eyed. I’m tired of your crossed eyes.
Crossed eyes film news by ten or eleven before bad dreams appear in the foreground.
Better to be recording your life experience for awhile a little something for the imaginary grand kids. Try again the holiday cruise is squished. Like always right?
On Monday a plane in the friendly skies is better than a derailed train in the desert. Bald men who got over their envy took the scenic route Tuesday. It was a sunny day. The holiday route. When they stopped looking for jobs and dads became the moms and the moms set out to pasture, jewelry store robberies were the norm. If the junior high school nerds could find a place to belong they would’ve destroyed us by now. Why now? Why not now?
I’m tired of your crossed eyes. The ninth unexpected organism is a man resting in a giant salad bowl waiting for his three hookers to arrive. The service in this place is awful and awful. A wrecked house with a shop attached to it wants to know who snuck in and did the art. Put the work in so you can say you did some fucking art. Put the work in so you can say you did some fucking art. High art. The jagged parts.
can’t switch that
when it’s jazz
goin at ya
it’s a date
look at how
of the afternoon
just ya know being
flicking off friends
on the side of the road
who are waving
hellos at me in passing
I’m cold and exacting
in this life or another
I write on napkins and
they look at me
“he’s got the nerve
to write poems on napkins”
I say I’m pure with flaws
you say I’m pure flaws
you say I’m pure no more
I say I’m pure on holiday
there’s nothing else I wanna take off
or get to take off
it’s not like you wanna land in the trees
holy fuck I’m not stuck no more
leave pure to pure milk colored milk
playing around inside the glass
but I’m making progress and progress is gorgeous
not hammered impaled or bludgeoned to death
not the excremental seance
of a board meeting saying they see things
things are on an upswing
then my grandmother died
a friend died
and we’re waiting for the next one to die
while we’re in the middle
of this upswing
jobs are hiring
if you want a shit job
they’re in the trees
where they’ve always been
I’m mad because I’m in love
understand I’m not mad because of love
mad because vast parts of the world
aren’t in love
this kinda talk
smoke spins at the ceiling
if you’re trying to follow my meaning
I’m trying to follow yours
and we’re in this shit together
your pain is mine
but you know added suffering is more of a coating
not the real thing
we get into a mess
I got a year long gripe with the New York Times
it won’t let me sit here and be the universe
if you don’t believe you’re the universe
I don’t either