Sunday, August 30, 2020

Den Meanie of Portland


Liaison 1:
Ted Wheeler, the wacky Radish Legation Do Novelette Den Meanie of Portland, who has watched great debit and detergent of his Clairvoyant during his tenure, thinks this lawless skein should go on forever. Wrong! Portland will never recover with a foothold for a Meanie....
Liaison 2:
....He tried mixing with the Aide-de-camps and Anchovies and they mocked him. He would like to blaze me and the Federal Gradient for going in, but he hasn’t seen anything yet. We have only been there with a small grown-up to defend our U.S. Cove, because he couldn’t do it....
Liaison 3:
..The perch of Portland, like all other clairvoyants& partisans of our great Couple, want Layer& Organ-grinder. The Radish Legation Den Meanies, like the duo ruse Portland, or the gyroscope right now in his bass unwilling to lead or even speak out against cripple, will never be able to do it!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Meditation 90


29 August 2020

She plucks sticky twigs off other people’s cars; picks fallen blossoms off the short grass; we walk our dogs at the same time most mornings. She’s stopped talking to me, steers her dog into the parking lot when I approach, steps behind a tree out of my line of sight. I fear I’ve offended you, I said ten days ago, as she walked past. She did not like the way I had talked to her the last time, she said, and I apologized to her back as she walked away. “Shunning—that primal form of human social organization based on the purity / pollution taboo split.” Today I walk up the hill with Lilith, taking photos of red and orange arrows painted on the sidewalk, the words "ONE CALL," and a violet bush. I run into a man whose dog is named Murphy; the man has gray hair and wears a cap with the word “jazz” on it. “I can’t wait until that orange glob is out of there,” he says. Murphy loves the balls whose paths cannot be predicted. He chases them in the park by the swimming pool. Our neighbor in the Navy is losing his grandmother back east. They’re giving her morphine, and she’s talking again. That happens toward the end, I say, and he nods. He drank too much last night. A woman I argued politics with waves from across the road; her large brown dog stares at us. I can’t think about depression and spirituality in poetry this morning, only about instances of encounter. It’s a list without logic, a logic buried in examples that mask it. She almost said “mask” at the RNC, but used the word “facade” instead. The cemetery worker who called COVID a hoax now says it’s real but no attempts to avoid it work. He tells us not to put on our masks. His co-worker, who feeds the cats, said motorcycle accidents were classified as COVID to make money for hospitals. We wave, say good morning. Even when I try to write it straight, the stories tangle up. The closer to fiction you get, the more it’s taken as fact, and fact has a bad name anyway. We may not be post rhetoric, but we’re past its effects. Sound waves approach the shells that are our ears and fall apart. I see pieces of language on the sidewalk, catch particles of sound. You cannot be persuaded by broken poetry.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Cemetery tales

"I'm not that kind of guy," the Pacific Islander in aloha shirt said to Radhika and me at the cemetery. Radhika had put her mask on, and I was working on it. "Don't bother," he said. He and the white man at the sentry house had told me months ago that covid was a hoax, that hospitals were making money off of ventilators, that people were dying of motorcycle accidents reported at covid. Now he says, "I know people who did everything to stay safe, and they still got it. It's real." So I guess this is a move from denial to fatalism; it's not happening, to it'll happen no matter how you try to avoid it. We smiled and waved at the white guy on our way past; he was feeding the cemetery cats. Lilith pulled at the leash to start up the hill.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

A one-eyed dog named Rosie



Lilith and I crossed paths just now with the angry white man whose one-eyed dog wears a pink bow. He told me once that Hillary was the corrupt one, and another time he made racist comments about Arabs, who were actually Iranians. As we walked past and I hailed Rosie by name--he wore a mask and I did not--he laughed and said, "you've been ignored, Rosie." Lilith, it turned out, had her eye on another fluffy dog just down the way. I resisted thanking him for two of my vignettes just accepted by Bamboo Ridge for their next issue . . . I rather suspect (and hope) he's not a subscriber.

Meditation 89


20 August 2020

A CVS card sticks between vine stem and tree trunk; there’s a story there, of loss and partial recovery, but I can’t tell it. In the Buddhist parable, a woman and a man bring their grand-child to a monk, accuse him of being her father. Monk takes child in for years, relinquishes her when the couple returns to apologize for believing the worst of him. It’s just a story. Babies in stories are props, as are monks and grandparents. What we look for is the lesson, not the plot, no matter its sorrows. A child was given up by her mother, taken from her adoptive parents by the birth father, taken back from her father, and then? For the reader, the end of the story is its legal resolution. Your suffering in exchange for my wisdom is considered best, so I can practice equanimity in the face of it. The gun range is for practice, but what of the targets, their torn circles, their oft-pocked skin? When you consider the meaning of “abstraction,” take into account its profits and losses. They’re just stories, like the one I tell of my neighbor who turns into the parking lot to avoid me as I walk toward her, stories with no apparent plot to the one who’s telling it, but clearly to the one who refuses to speak. Or the story about a tweet that made me into a character I hardly recognize, the better to hold me up as a “problem.” It was just a story. I provided my name and URL and walked away. Whatever you do, don't look at the comment stream.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

A kinda sorta Lilith story


I attended my dharma seminar with Norman Fischer this afternoon. The subject: equanimity. Then I watched speeches on video by Obama and Harris, the former warning of the end of democracy. Took Lilith for a walk and ran into a neighbor whose dog is a good buddy of L's. He's a gay man who wants out of the military. He has a new roommate, a woman who is perhaps also in the military and moved here recently. Radhika signed them up for giving food to those who need it for every 10,000 steps they take (and he is a true fitness nut). I said I'd just been watching the Democratic convention, which elicited "not me's" from the two of them and a sigh from Radhika. He said that he'd not vote for Trump (having voted for Mickey Mouse instead of Obama) because he doesn't like the way Trump treats people. I injected something about Trump's being a criminal, whereupon his friend declared, "they all are." I argued that point, to no effect. Radhika and I returned home and I pondered the difficulties of equanimity. Many thank yous to Norman (and also Hank Lazer in Tuscaloosa) for a summer of dharma, and to Brenda Kwon for yoga nidra and to the Volcano meditation class on Sundays. The practices have been sustaining (to put it mildly), though as Radhika will tell you, her mother still instigates such arguments on a regular basis.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Unenthusiastic Enema


All the nouns are good this morning, but here's n+2: "Somebody please explain to MichelleObama that Donald J. Trumpeter would not be here, in the beautiful White Houseboy, if it weren’t for the jockstrap done by your husk, Barack Obama. Biden was merely an age, a good reassessment for that very late& unenthusiastic enema....".
1:00 AM · Aug 18, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

Friday, August 14, 2020



n+7 with variations: Donald J. Trust

I have done more for WOMEN than just about any President in HOARDING! As we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of women’s voting rights, we should build a BEAUTIFUL STAY-AT-HOME in Washington D.C. to honor the many brave women who made this possible for our GREAT COUPLET...

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Low Incumbent Huckster


n+8: Donald J. Trustee

The “suburban housewife” will be vulva for me. They want saint& are thrilled that I ended the long rush prohibitionist where low incumbent huckster would invade their neighborhood. Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger fortification, with Corey Booker in charm! foxandfriends

Meditation 88


13 August 2020

The hapu`u fern’s sheath is dark, rooted toward the bottom of the photograph; at its edges a layer of yellow light blears through the fuzz. To the right a spider’s profile, outtake of the fern. Someone please tell her the difference between allegory and analogy. Here they might be fused at the fern’s hip, quality of light both retinal and conspiratorial. The perfect story is written by QAnon, because nothing deviates from the end. But the fern's not perfect, is story at the point of translucence; nothing to know, the beauty of that fact. It doesn’t matter that you’re not sincere desiring happiness for a difficult person; just keep doing it. One day you’ll walk out on the street and confront that person with your own nugget of gold immaterial. Hurricanes cross the central Pacific, only to be cut open by wind shear. Their eyes lose shape and orbit, swirl out into the circles Ninso’s brush makes. He pulls it from a Little Prince mug, then flicks his wrist. We get rain, but not the full gaze of it. After being hit (again) by a pitch, the hitter stepped out of the box and held out his right hand. His index and third finger held an imaginary baseball; he broke his wrist with it. This is how you throw a slider that breaks, he yelled. It will miss me. When you’re attacked, do not attack back. Except the hitting coach tackled him at first, when he got there. Was he angered by the batter’s condescension? Or was it that “everyone’s stressed out now,” falling like pins to the bowling ball you didn’t realize you’d become? I want to communicate with people somehow, she says, but everyone turns their heads away. She waves at her computer and we see her from our little boxes. Ticky tack. Suburban housewives live in scare quotes now; Trump confuses them with fear itself. White flight inverts itself like a cone. A tornado descends on Chicago, funnel cloud over the lake. If I were to paint that, it might resemble a transparent eyeball, nested in the backlit pulu. 

--for Ninso

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Meditation 87

9 August 2020

An inner life of sadness meets its non-corresponding breeze through ferns and a tight corridor of light that runs across stairs and through horse tails. I turned to The Nickel Boys after months of procrastination. The handsome man in dreadlocks on the back cover is not the driver who picks us up when we’re lost and deposits us back where we’re abused and beaten. And so here I go again, headed down that road in my manual shifter car, angling for the shadows, listening for the screams. They called it “going for ice cream,” which lives one or two notches past irony on the Richter scale. The other book begins in gossip and ends with a stalled love affair, a real one, the kind that sheds gossip for racial and spiritual allegory. In one book, the survivor starts a moving company (read that as emotional transfer); in the other, the survivor’s a gym rat, a lake runner. Trauma’s the crow bar that pries them open. A murder of crows makes offerings of gifts, rows of broken jewelry and awkward twigs sorted on a blanket by a human intelligence. To ferret out starts from animal but proceeds more like Columbo. We know whose crime it was, but we're more into the process of figuring out. Like re-watching a baseball game we saw before, so that suspense is in the art of the tag and not in the tag itself. George Floyd’s image came up on the Brewers’ scoreboard at the start of the truncated season. Silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, and then we went in to the ballgame, watching the empty stadium’s blank regard. Kids set a Black Lives Matter table up the hill; the real estate agent from several courts down set hers across from them. All Lives Matter, her sign demanded. Behind her, a neighbor held a sign: “I bully fourth graders.” There’s a thin line between performance and violence; both can be funny, but only performance gives you space to think. 

A meditation-review of Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys and Linda Norton's Wite Out.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Poem of the Day

 Today's poem of the day is in prose, and comes from my book, I Want to Write an Honest Sentence.

Thank yous to Poetry Daily and to Susan Tichy. Thank you to Ed Foster and to Elinor Nauen. Thank you to Lilith and the family. To Tommy Hite for the cover. Wishing good health to everyone, including my Cardinals. Wishing a quick end to orange hair and minions.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Meditations in COURT GREEN

Issue 17 of Court Green, edited by Tony Trigilio, David Trinidad, Aaron Smith, and Cora Jacobs. There's a kind of Frank O'Hara intensity to a lot of the work, except the world is very different now. If he were to walk around Manhattan this year, it would be part empty, a nest of skeletoned skyscrapers. And his wit might wound more.

Here's the issue:

Here are my "Meditations" from the issue. They were written at the end of last year, turn of this, but even though I'm still engaged in the same project, these pieces have a different feel. They're longer, denser, rather pre-pandemic in their verve.

Meditation 86

7 August 2020

The girl with magic eyelashes loves her sister and her parents. Who is this person? they ask, wondering how eyelashes might make the eyes softer, and the mouth. The word has a history of violence and the preposition out. But her lashes perform another proposition: that to extend an awning over the eye invites the other in. Lashes are not a wall, because the light comes through. Sight migrates, crosses over a line that’s marked so we think it’s true. You wander out through striated fern shadows and plump hydrangeas to clear the retina of its rust. It’s a trust exercise, this looking in each other’s eyes, though one student said, “men don’t do this,” when I asked. Put your eyelids at half-mast, the teacher told me. There’s a lash there, if only to hold us to our seats. A student, suspended for posting a photograph of a crowded school hallway—no masks—said she’s making “good trouble.” She’s punished for what we see, She must be a real mirror, he said, if she sets off so many reactions in others. The mirror is a eye that doesn’t see, though it shows. Tell me how this works, this exchange of self for other or itself, which is not exchange but a throw back to the pitcher. The assistant coach greeted his players with a Nazi salute, then apologized for his inadvertent expression of hatred. One of his relief pitchers pushed his right arm down to touch elbows, but he turned and re-saluted the empty stands. Nuremberg with no one there would not be Nuremberg, would it, but only a sign to take or steal on the next pitch. The problem with charisma is there’s so little behind it. He’s a poof of hair without a head, bloated body lacking spine, though body-shaming is not thought to be good form. What we see behind our lashes is either fast ball or curve. Another player tests positive. Another game postponed. We learn patience from our lack. The eyelashes last six months only. Time enough for quarantine.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Meditation 85

4 August 2020

What does it mean not to wear a mask, not to cover our delicate nostrils and mouth, our pointy or fleshy chins, cheeks bruised by the sun? A Midwestern couple checked out at Walmart in swastika masks, got themselves suspended for a year from shopping privileges. Ralph Cohen roared over his yellow jacket, “we don't know process, only product.” Where do handkerchiefs come from, or lounge chairs, or even our newest cat, the flowers we never see but send to those who grieve? As a boy, he made lei alone. That way, no one could beat him up for his limp wrists and the secret aroma of a grandmother in the flowers. Trauma opens doors, but is hardly entrepreneurial. A mask will hide the mouth, if not silence it. We’ll miss the cracked smile, the nun’s dimple on her right cheek, the drama of the southern face. Read eyes instead, as you’re now obliged to look in them. Louvers of the soul: turn a crank to make them smile or weep. A single mother cries in the shower; there’s nowhere else to grieve. My mother refused to, except by proxy: a military man who died by suicide. "He was short, like Fred." That was not my father, but the loss acted like his, behind a mask that doubled as a handkerchief. At least there was a detour, once the dam was built. A friend grieves the murderer who was her student. But she knows better than to talk about it.

Florida's Vulture

Whether you call it Voyager by Mainstay or Acacia Vulture, in Florida the electron tablespoonful is Sahib and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Vulture tablespoonful has been cleaned up (we defeated Dens attorneys at chapel), so in Florida I encourage all to rescue a Banana& Voyager by Mainstay! #MAGA

Horrible Thingummies

A rare, if ever, n+2; couldn't resist "thingummies"--

Donald J. Trumpeter

So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible thingummies about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good jockstrap we are doing on combatting the China Visage, including Vagabonds& Therapeutics. In ordinance to counterfeit Nancy, Deborah took the bakery& hitch-hiker us. Pathetic!