houston day 3

hot out there
cool in here
headache messed up
messed up
on a headache
in the suburbs
with
my socks
over there
balled up
by my feet bare
over
there
placed with care
awwww yeah
Houston, are ya
in the house?
awwww yeah
internet internet internet

arrive with a passport
wi-fi with the broadband
caramel swirled into the ice-cream
sunday HBO television
I’ll give you
my best sincerity
my best knowledge
is everything is fragile
all around us
we develop attachments
because we have
to be addicted to something
I’m eyeing mine
talking a walk
around the block
steam empties out
of my ears
seek wisdom beyond
my years
the kitchen light
left on
I shoot it out
as a courtesy

junk from my pockets
piles up on the
living room side table at night
in the day we train trip
to the art museum
and the butterfly museum
my best joke if I
do say so myself was
when the lady came over
and she was like
would you like to feel
the wing of this dead butterfly
I was all – what happened?
“he died”
how did he die?
“well, they don’t live very long…”
oh. so he didn’t get
into a fight or anything?
she was a sweet lady and said no
I didn’t make a big thing of it
didn’t want to make
any real trouble

I feel myself quiet and reserved
at different points and
this is my lovely nature
later I will
climb a tree to its tops
and spit lava
or collard greens
to joggers
jogging through
peaceful territory
no one
can say I’m wrong

well
they can
it’ll be all right

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houston day 2

relaxing on vacation
in Houston, TX
this morning
we were almost sideswiped
on the road in a
major way
we were
jolted to
say the least
lunched and
shopped around
came back and
rested with stomach
aches and
Millennium on
the boxset
Seaguy 3
laptop postings in
a chair

overhead fan twirls
5 remote controls
in living room
4 year-old clark’s
spiderman puzzle solved
told him spiderman
is a domestic well-behaved
fellow who picks up
around the house
but still
curses a little bit
saying things like
‘holy hell’
when things go…
well

bought a tony hawk t-shirt
and new wallet
took from old wallet
junk and trashed it
too many cards and junk
bloat the new one
it ain’t cash

the plane turns
out to be safer than
the ground
though I don’t
appreciate take-offs
none too much
or turbulence
flying a plane
is faith in God

I’m back
on the ranch
stayed back for
stomach reseting
and some alone time
it’s just in
my constitution
like to write
wacked out sentences

realize mostly I
ask people questions
to see where they’re coming
from and to learn something new
I’m a curious young man
in a sea of people all around
some very friendly and willing to talk
some with pad locks

TV here is fantastic
I will take pictures

shall I move?
job to job
city to city
disrupt the marital balance of things?
merge of two ideas?
split ideas like atoms
lean back in
a chair
apathetic sigh
flush face
turn yellow
reveal weakness in
just movement of bodily hinges?
slowness or hurried?

I want to vacation till
the next car accident or
plane crash
this work thing is
so lame
but now
is not the time to cry

telepathic

I like what Stephen King says about writing and telepathy. The writer puts it to the page, you get it, perhaps years later, it sinks in. If that’s what he’s saying. I think I have it right. So King and I are sharing telepathy? I’m receiving it… That’s the beauty of publishing, whatever its form. The beauty of writing kills me. I guess that’s why I attempt it and others, just a few, read it and tell me I’m doing the right thing. I’m not pleasing everybody or trying to please everybody, so I know it gets slighted here and there; nor is it really promoted or . . . Because it’s hard. Writing is hard as hell. I can’t do it. When I’m here, this is something else. But if you ask me to write, I can’t to save my life. Yet I can. I sometimes get it onto the page and it hits gold. The other night when our teacher asked us to write out a quick story, I thought I would freeze. Instead an idea came through. When I read the thing to a small crowd there, I looked up and they were smiling. The one girl said she felt like an asshole. Man . . . So why can’t I write about Dostoevsky? Or Stephen King for that matter?

I can.

You correct me if you can.

Writing is open ended. This is not a formal classroom. We shall learn together. I write a line about Dostoevsky, you go out, read Dostoevsky, prove my line wrong. If that’s your thing. I’ll place your line next to mine for others to see.

I’m learning here.

this small paper awaits your critical eye

Death and the Skeleton

My philosophy class is going up and down. As a friend predicted, I’ve started to lose patience with the kids in the class, most of which act like they’ve been hit upside the head with something very, very hard. Nevertheless, I now present to you my most recent essay on death, a critical review of Kathleen Higgins’ paper Death and the Skeleton. Feel free to reply, stamp upon it a letter grade, post comments, and so on. My teacher simply puts a check mark at the top without any advice. Annoying.

It’s been said that as soon as you’re born, you start dying; death is inevitable. The cigarette is burning down to its last cinders. In time, reminders of death start to creep in; reminders come stomping in. Bones act like floorboards. The skin sinks. Disease moves into the body, slows the mind, causes forgetfulness, hinders mobility, and so on.

Kathleen Higgins is looking for a new way to look at death. “Death, for the most of us, is a challenge to our sense of self as aesthetically valuable. We fear death as an endpoint, but also as a force that extends backwards, by means of aging, to undercut the sense that we ‘walk in beauty’…” She begins to awaken to some unique ideas about all this when a five-year-old tells her that it’s a skeleton that lives within us all. It might be fun thinking of it like that, she decides: Death is the liberation of the skeleton.

This is a fantastic writing; many different ideas are covered. (1) Death is glossed over in our culture because most do not find it aesthetically pleasing. (2) The approach to enhancing wrinkles. “Why not enhance them with gold, or some other indication of value?” (3) The skeleton is a limber acrobatic character waiting underneath to shed the skin and move about unencumbered, dance around like an earthquake. (4) An early death. With the death of an infant, there isn’t mourning so much as there is a life-long aching and questioning — what if our child had lived? And (5) the dream of mother and daughter, both dead, referring to one other as sisters. “Why do you call your mother ‘Sister?’” “Because we are both dead.”

Though I wonder, when Kathleen Higgens is old and gray, if she will have in mind that playful, giddy skeleton and want to dance, or if getting up in the morning will feel like a punch in the eye, and want to stay down. I cannot pretend to know death and aging as intimately as say, a senior citizen. But we all reach a point where it’s no longer hypothesis or guesstimation.

As we progress in this world, it can become for many of us one more increasingly difficult to live in. The intense times cause us to focus on these questions of life and death, while modern culture, if it cannot avoid these questions, at least tries to make them youthful, entertaining, and beautiful so we continue to consume with gusto. I’ve always found it interesting how most older women are removed from the public screen by the age of forty (or sooner than that!), while it is considered that older men can age more gracefully and radiate a sort of fatherly warmth and respectability — therefore they endure. Just a bit longer.

get up and pace the room

wrapped up in things to do
split up into nothing all the things you want to do
society’s needs are controversial
some parents
need to be cast aside
my past is behind me
when my mother says she ran into so n’ so from
the old hood I’m thinking
what the hell does that have to do with me?
wasn’t connected then
not connected now
been above it but didn’t have the leverage
I have now

are you going to behave arrogant?

one of the biggest lessons I’m finding in writing:
don’t get caught up on words
type them out in a fury
move from one to the next
then edit

today I get up and pace the room
thinking about my next essay

I come back to the keyboard, write:

skeleton
gravity
dream
death

lines on face
wrinkles
gravity

beginnings, thoughts whirl around, form from small pebbles, misspellings, and day-spells.

no way to deal with hurt feelings. they hang around. I hang around. the heartache. tumbling down a hill. I wait for less of an ache uneasy upset elated overjoyed transcendent artistic left-wing (the very tip, radical) bruised healed brass knuckles a father to felines.

no way to deal. climb a hill, get some air. bludgeoned by betrayer.

I don’t like advice but am always seeking advice so I must like advice, drink it beverage-style. it has been a week for incredulous customers who have pole vaulted into the store demanding atrocities no other print shop has endured. I have become a foul mouthed typesetter, a mind reader, a designer of business cards from Excel spreadsheets, a sponge to soak up bitchy remarks and slamming doors, a phone operator to distract the mind, a keyboard shortcut ninja, and many other things. whatever a job requires, one must adapt or be expelled. my life and belongings balance on a grass blade tip of mild temperament. the journal (live or dead or in limbo) wants to achieve all the things beyond prim and proper and non-opinionated.

so I have time to bask in the sun. hedonistic.
morals bagged up and hauled across oceans
fingernails grown out and clipped short . . .

dream…

dream: got into a brawl with a young man at a basement show. hand gashed severely as if chopped by a short axe, a deep wedge of skin bloody to be flipped up like a car hood. I crawled out the basement window looking for a taxi walking from block to block, blood drying, empty inner city early morning. Kierkegaard lectures running on…

giving time

philosophy papers
compound me
trap me in
a time frame
and excommunicate
me from x-journaling

in five minutes
I mark down
a cold juice bottle
between my
two feet
extended
above the
wooden floors
air conditioner
engining
a fan behind me
moves like
a lighthouse

Dostoevsky plods on
beyond the grave
I am to be
a learned scholar
in all things
Fyodor of
St. Petersburg

word pad
temper held in a kitten saucer argument over the basic aura that glows about the body if it’s even there I haven’t seen but am fascinated by and say they break new boundaries every year what is this so-called law of nature you speak of? the airplane was perfected and flown mistakenly for all to see and to slip past some sum totals and read readjustments for educational value

let me level with you about anger and coat hangers and men devastated in their own beds who leak coolant when they shouldn’t they pretend snow storms are here in July wounded hands tossing and turning in the front yard on the back of a tired critical review imbalanced illogical uneven half-truthed keyed speedily in transmutation in commute in vehicular biography when you wake up your eyes all crusty and say shut up shut up don’t talk to me yet I feel like a dead guy still

learning to hold the breath and revolt against breath and tan blue instead of golden speak hues instead of browns exhaust fumes instead of ancient documented tombs and rooms with views

picture hung on top overlapping the paragraph your palm expressing one version of a possible future so you bust out a jack knife and re-carve in the sands every last name of every last coal miner recorded at the dept. of energy in a cubicle saved on paper a list put in a drawer down the hall locked in a cabinet door closed guarded by guards who do not fall asleep unlike me unlike now

tap your forehead to see if you’re still there fallen asleep driving the SUV turns over grins at passing traffic reporting circling helicopters I wanna pull them down by their blades to play it safe they hail me over radio to request backup and I am the wrong man for the job they learn given that I have shoved them in high school lockers and stolen their Trapper Keepers and Caprisuns have been stabbed to death with attached poking straws pilots now send out a most wanted with my picture on soy and rice milks don’t be annoyed with me for the tapping bit it is not redundant I need to see if you’re still there and not mocking me from the outside for trying for bothering for giving time

5 minute break from homework

why is it that
I can talk and talk
on various philosophical
concepts late
into the night
but when it
comes down to
writing even small
one page essays
I freeze up?

it is grueling work
my body
starting to
break down
will definitely
feel it
all through the
day tomorrow
and throughout
class in the evening

July will be
a month of
philosophy
whether I fucking like it or not
I’ve put myself
in that position
to be a man of ideas
in almost an official way
I should be glad
but tonight
the pressure is on