Thursday, July 20, 2017

20 July 2017

I want to write an honest sentence. This is not normal would be one. Academic mobbing is a thing; you can chart it by seeing how colleagues walk the corridors. One wears Beats and dances past. Another leaves the elevator, device planted in front of face like a palm. “Are you gossiping again?” my daughter asks and I explain that gossip is how women warn each other; it's a micro-politics that is suddenly out-sized. If he'd told me he'd recuse himself, I'd never have hired him. The individual is one thing, the all-consuming sponge another. I read Ponge as a freshman, loved and then forgot him. And now I'm trapped inside the chaos theory surfaces of a public ego. He really liked to hold my hand, he said three times in a row. Row row row your boat works as zen wisdom. My mother rowed into the Bay of Naples to be alone, but a soldier rented a boat to keep her company. Her story repeated so many times it became a round in my head. I don't remember if it's in the video the neighbor made of her telling stories, the neighbor who's now in prison for sexual assault. Undercurrents, riptides. A chain of 80 people formed from shore to the swimmers in distress. That was the good news last week. They doth accumulate, his lies, like piles of sand in an hourglass. The video of my mother now matters as much for audio of the neighbor, his inquiring voice, his fondling of her memory. Spool! Banana peels on a south London stage. Words make old technology sexy. If I had audio of that meeting, I'd put it in the closet with my mother's ashes. Don't bring up the past, they said. Don't you know students act that way? Feather in our cap, but. The drawer closed, as did my door. His poems are full of them, but they're usually ajar. Inoculation against assumptions, no anti-vaxxer I. Her photos of my son and his friend were done in fish-eye, though time warped the rest. I see he saw my message, but I get no message back. It's like responding to Trump's tweets; the glory is in doing it. But that's a distraction! The woman with the Big Gulp fed her granddaughter a spam musubi, rice clump by rice grain. She drives a pink electric car and says “true love!” at bed-time. It's Disney, you know. The French theorist had nothing on us now. You should see the refugees ride.

--20 July 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

19 July 2017

I want to write an honest sentence. A myna waves blue Dorito bag like a flag across Hui Iwa. Simile as false flag. Not the sound of a flag, its appearance in the beak of a brown and black bird. The sentence is true, if not honest. In that micro-difference we parse an older politics, the seen but not spoken hijinks of wink. There was hidden meaning, so we felt we were reading poems and there was some value in learning how to analyze a text. What was hidden has now floated to the top like crude, and it is. He wants to stay in the Senate, doesn't he? The aesthetics of a threat is pretty lame. I want my daughter to feel the joy of having her pass pushed toward the goal; an angle makes the run true. I also want her to drink clear water until she dies. Bryant nearly cried when he told her that she too would die. Existence is value that cannot be laundered, like a casino or tower. My son stands in front of an unnamed castle in Naples. Where ancient and modern rub together, my glasses need replacement. Stigmata or astigmatism. We no longer read his work for meaning, but for lexicons spread upon the plate, platitudes exhumed and replaced in reverse order. Where were the September towers, the airport warriors, flags plastered on walls? Adept of attention, he paid none. It cost too much. The massacre at Mosul takes place outside our camera lens. Even within it, there's nothing to see. Nothing to see in secret meetings without aides or translators. Nothing to see. My dog's brown and black ears frame an ocean that's still blue. Even if the blue whale game is false, young women still kill themselves. The new comfort is found in everything fake. After he confessed to the crime, his supporters still thought the news was false. The fake of a fake is still fake, until in this long wall of mirrors laws of diminishment reduce us to dots, like distant seals in a cold sea. That word looks true, but a wavering red line appears beneath it. Red sea spelling bad. She smelled Sewer View Gardens but placed it on the wrong side of the street. Eye exams depend on solitary letters. Even as my vision coheres, there's no meaning, just ever tinier lines to decipher. You're a good guesser, she said, and I felt like Bengie Molina catching 90 mph pitches in the Puerto Rican dark. When you can't see them otherwise, you get good at spotting pitches as they leave the pitcher's hand.

--19 July 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

18 July 2017

I want to write an honest sentence. I want to write a sentence I can own, not in the way I own objects but how I take responsibility for the air inside my room, breathing as a form of attention that enters without staying. Nothing stays, though "it stay hot" denote a change of condition. He who cannot own his failure tries for a better one, destruction without hope of renovation, a blackened high rise to remind us there's more to life than structure. Strictures bind us to our dog, who is pet inside the house and all animal outside. Nasal appraisal, one neighbor calls it, nose to the grass not grindstone, a way of reading in no particular direction, though leaves require particular energies to decipher. A swift intake of breath is not grammar or syntax, less an unfolding than a claim on the air that's instantly repaid. Her nose on my arm tickles, a greeting that is also inventory. Palm fronds shield us from the asphalt ribbon they put down on our field, the better to protect their golf carts from injury. A two cart parking lot adorns the front of the ever-growing shed. Cart Path Project, it's called. Black riibbon on a green field, no Barnett Newman that. Stations have not opened, though concrete ribbons run across the Leeward side. Look at the earth, my father would say, its rich reds or clays. I took to looking up instead, but age pulls us down a peg, pushes our eyeballs into what's left of the commons, pulls up the fences like blue tape. The blue whale game, while horrifying, may prove to be a hoax. The girl painted blue whales, but her family had no idea she spoke Russian. Each one cuts a blade in our emotional skin, leaving a ribbon of blood behind our eyes. The Senator's surgery was more complicated than had been thought, so he couldn't get to DC in time to vote against others' health care. Irony prevention is what we need, with small co-pays. She teaches irony by showing her students a bus marked by a huge sign advertising safety, a bus that has just run into a car. The car resembles a crushed maroon paper flower, or the sculptured trash can a president throws his deed inside. “I will not own this,” he says; he only owns what he destroys, the negative space charcoal is good at getting at. My daughter learned perspective last week; this week she's on to ceramics and soccer. I haven't seen monks play, but her passes sometimes defy physics. Space is time that's been thrown on a wheel.

--18 July 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

17 July 2017


I want to write an honest sentence.
I want to wear an honest bonnet like a helmet to hold out “fake news.”
I want my honest sentence to do good work.
I want my headgear to include only actual reality.
I want my sentence lived out in minimum security poetry.
I want my poetry to enact a radical moderation.
I want to tease out fundamentalisms until their threads become available.
I want the collage of tree and lace to exist as texture more than as image.
I want to taste dirt to see if there are pesticides in it.
I want “dull as dirt” to be my slogan, because dirt is neat.
I want to write about the green bird who uses a palm frond leaf as theme park ride.
I want to know the name of that bird; without names, there's less decency.
I want to get him out of my head; he's infecting my syntax with a verbal virus.
I want to avoid cognitive decline by inviting parasites into my body.
I want Alzheimer's not to be the symbol of our politics.
I want to write an honest sentence about a dishonest world.
I want to be funny, but not a laughingstock.
I want my honest bonnet to make me Professor Bitch. (That's not want, that's is.)
I want the old hag to leave me her super powers after she enters “memory care.”
I want a world without quotations.
I want to have an empty nest that's full.
I want to be that bird on that leaf on that frond in that field beneath this sky in this place.
I want the mountains to lean down to me.
I want my dog to tell me what she smelled and why she rolled in it.

--for James Jack

Sunday, July 16, 2017

16 July 2017

I want to write an honest sentence, one as true as the weather. But nothing's so untrue as the weather, forgettable as pain here on the Koolau's windward side. The mountain's obscure, it cannot be read. It blocks every attempt, calls back the occasional hiker. There was a boy in slippers for whom they searched for months. Don't trust a liar when he tells you the news is #Fake, even if his platform is suitable to the lyric. Threads unspool like couplets. He said his lips were seals, and our daughter didn't get it. She's got humor deficiency disorder. (HDD). Thought Romeo tore his trousers on the balcony; I told her he hid his erection. Only some bodies are bawdy. In his late poems there's either the performance of senility or senility itself. My mother's friend's daughter wouldn't recognize her estranged brother, though she might see her son in his early photos. Baby thrust out on a father's arm; precarity's joy. Divorced from late capital, that is. I can't remember the weather, though I think it was too hot last summer, and rainy. Gray clouds have passed and now the sky is white. Somewhere in the alphabet, Ron told me, there's a section about the weather. Did he express feeling? someone asked. But attention cannot but involve feeling, a sense that something exists on the lawn apart from us, toad or lizard or the dog shit someone couldn't find to throw away. Car alarm and rustling trees, digital music pulse, my daughter's voice. Even the abstract can be attended to. I understand none of them; they are like the mountains or the avant-garde. Helicopter clutter, some doves. What I wrote two years ago I failed to remember, and yet it made sense. The vocabulary of politics without the politics. That's not true or fake, is presumptive. To appropriate is not to make a statement, but to till the earth for one. Only the pure survive, staring in mirrors like weightlifters to see that their posture is true. I've chosen the elliptical, it's so like running on an ostrich egg. On the screen a poker game, commentary I can't hear. The son's lawyer was paid by the president's campaign, before the act in question. “That was before the Russia carnival started!” he says, who is its prime barker. This weekend our populist plays golf. It's real golf.

--16 July 2017


Friday, July 14, 2017

14 July 2017

I want to write an honest sentence. I want to write honest sentience, a body of thought flung into the dark cold of a waterfall's pool. The only good conspiracies are those that make no sense, those attached to birth certificates or grassy knolls, but this one with all the i's dotted and the p's and q's minded, proves entirely coincidental. It's like a Bond film without the flying cars or Trump (Sr. or Jr.) dancing on the roof of a fast moving train as it approaches a tunnel too shallow to accommodate his fat ass. My vocabulary does this to me, and it's gotten more profane these past months, more consonants per square inch of vowel, more spit and less varnish. I want to write an honest sentence, but the words are lacking. They flee from me, the quality words of substance, the words that anchor me to reality when I think I know what that is. Depends on how you define the word is. That's a used up scandal, but this one offers fresh meat on a daily basis. The rotting stuff sits at the back of the proverbial garage, covered with maggots and the raven who's been shown to feel paranoia. They make plans these large black birds, opting out of instant gratification for something they know takes more time. Re-reading the poet I find him obsessed with “time,” and with other abstract nouns, birds that aren't differentiated from one another. Like a menagerie without a genus, or a genius without a key to the library. When Bryant said, “bring the rope here,” the dog did so. “Tug of war” is another metaphor based on violence, though it's really only pulling a rope, like taffy. “Tug of candy” might do as well, and be sweeter for all concerned. I don't understand a word of his late, later, latest poems, but they do offer me permission to go on and on. That and coffee start the races; I am a greyhound chasing a lure. The allure of nature is abstract. A sheaf of rain crinkles as it approaches; I and the dog step up our pace. There's too much vision and too little sound in our lives, even considering the ear buds (what flower they?) my students wear to dampen their anxiety. A wall of sound after the concert in Lyons made us all leave quietly, like lost sheep. I remember lying in the sleeper car's top bunk and seeing only the concrete platform. But I heard the correspondences, too.


--14 July 2017

Thursday, July 13, 2017

13 July 2017


I want to write an honest sentence. I want an honest sentence, like or unlike our former neighbor. I want the assurance my sentence will (be) last. I lack insurance, as do so many of us in the era of empathy cuts. The mantra is short: Ted Cruz. The mandate is shorter. Sirens in the distance foreclose nostalgia for the journey they take to help. To help, if not create a relationship of dependence. Government is like that. The white guy in the gym called me “socialist fool,” for which I thanked him. That was not a lie, like the news he warned me about. Liberals! To re-read one's favorite poet is to find an absence of politics, though “listening tour” approaches it. The world of fiction's fictitious, but there's still a politics to that. If you tell me that tree's fake enough times, I'll see it as plastic, like an airplane fork except on Lufthansa. The Germans still believe in metal. He though it meant “air dancer,” but it means “guild,” which is less poetic, but there's still a pun there that redeems the practical banality. My new glasses warp my woof, meaning my dog appears out of tune with her surround. The far signs clearer than closer ones, the ones that confirm conspiracies by simply making lines between numbered dots. But numbers are fictions, too, so who's to believe even the narrative that fails to sink in the lagoon, whether or not it's polluted. Micro-plastics or micro-tones, either or none of the above are avant-garde. What you couldn't make with the plastics located in an albatross's tummy. The young man convicted of killing the protected birds was given a short sentence. You can sign a petition to get him kicked out of school. Maybe he can tweet out photos of Donald, Jr. and his dead prey. Amen.

--13 July 2017