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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stichomancy

Ancestor, Grotto, Halloween, Martyr, Mustang, Neptune, Unholy, Virtue, Blues, Dragon, Finger, Island, Joker, Rook, Scream, Shackle, Slave, Tiger, Civilization, Entertainment, Illumination, Comet, Drum, Fever, Foot, Friend, Iron, Light, Lips, Past, Pitch, Wolf, Zoo, Abundance, Armor, Bastard, Breast, Center, Comedy, Delight, Horse, Mayhem, Music, Poker, Prince, Release, Sadism, Spark, State, Taste, White, Conversation, Submission, Affair, Alien, Camera, Coin, Demand, Dream, Duke, Globe, Home, Joke, Key, King, Lock, Blue, Cup, Film, Food, Gamble, Line, Mind, Pact, Pain, Toe, Adversary, Ally, America, Animal, Anticipation, Apocalypse, Audio, Cabaret, Celebration, Circle, Consort, Devotion, Flesh, I Ching, Invention, Jubilation, Lens, Lion, Monster, Moonlight, Rapport, Resistance, Snake, Surrender, Synergy, Tomb, Trumpet, Typhoon, Universe, Vortex.

Butcher, Council, Engineer, Glory, Mouth, Player, Power, Stars, Theater, Africa, Boat, Change, Death, Fire, Gold, Jackal, Ocean, Palace, Rich, Tide, gility, Ambition, Author, Barbarism, Forest, Iridium, Monkey, Prayer, Shepherd, Shout, Spring, Violet, Warlock, Wisdom, Authority, Compulsion, Intimidation, Sterility.

Aurora, Beauty, Bitter, Chariot, Cocktail, Craving, Cross, Dazzle, Energy, Jury, Melody, Messiah, Occult, Opium, Pinnacle, Tantra, Tarot, Vassal, Vixen, Weapon, Beast, Defiance, Judge, Luck, Mink, Omen, Radio, Rock, Seer, Time, Authority, Compulsion, Intimidation, Sterility, Blues, Dragon, Finger, Island, Joker, Rook, Scream, Shackle, Slave, Tiger, Ancestor, Grotto, Halloween, Martyr, Mustang, Neptune, Unholy, Virtue, Constellation, Civilization, Entertainment, Illumination.

Appetite, Debauchery, Debutante, Ecstasy, Guarantee, Rebellion, Rhythm, Sapphire, Treason, Yellow, Black, Redemption, Sentiment, Vulture, Butcher, Council, Engineer, Glory, Mouth, Player, Power, Stars, Theater, Body, Chaos, Girl, Guide, Hacker, Hero, Madman, Shame, Abundance, Armor, Aurora, Authority, Bastard, Beast, Beauty, Bitter, Breast, Center, Chariot, Cocktail, Comedy, Comet, Compulsion, Conversation, Craving, Cross, Dazzle, Defiance, Delight, Drum, Energy, Fever, Foot, Friend, Horse, Intimidation, Iron, Judge, Jury, Light, Lips, Luck, Mayhem, Melody, Messiah, Mink, Music, Occult, Omen, Opium, Past, Pinnacle, Pitch, Poker, Prince, Radio, Redemption, Release, Rock, Sadism, Seer, Sentiment, Spark, State, Sterility, Tantra, Tarot, Taste, Time, Vassal, Vixen, Vulture, Weapon, White, Wolf, Zoo.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Reader of Signs

On December 31, 2014, I died. I was sideswiped by a hit and run driver. I wasn't paying attention. I was too busy reading the signs. He wasn't reading the signs. He aimed straight for me, but then swerved at the last moment, a moment of conscience, perhaps, and only sideswiped me. But it was enough. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was a fatal blow. For the next two weeks I was one of the walking dead. Mortally wounded, completely unaware of my tragic fate. Such a strange word. Fate. But there it is, I'd been frozen in place reading the signs. I knew what was about to happen, what would happen, no matter how I tried to prevent it. It felt like déjà vu. It had happened before and it would happen again. Over and over again.

It felt fated.

I know how you probably feel about people who use those kind of words, believe me, I feel the same way most of the time. New age shysters out to sell you something or woefully deluded, albeit well intentioned, tree-hugging busybodies out to save your soul. Oh yes, I was skeptical, cavalier even. I scoffed at the idea. Souls? Fate? Reincarnation? Even Nietzsche's idea of eternal recurrence seemed too hippie-crystal metaphysical for my taste. But I am speaking of the soul here. At least metaphorically. I'd sustained a mortal wound to my spirit. And he'd dealt the death blow before and would do it again. Will do it again.

He was sorry. So sorry. He regretted it almost immediately. But not enough to stop. Not enough to prevent him from seeking me out two weeks later to apologize. He held my face in his hands and kissed me. He said he loved me. And then he left me for dead.

It's not his fault. He is as trapped in this cycle as I am. As if we've made some sort of death pact in another life. He knows it won't kill me. Not exactly. It is a metaphorical death and rebirth. Like the phoenix I will rise from the ashes and be reborn. But into what I do not know.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Cut-Up Poem for Johanna's Birthday

Women think
 I had thought in those years, I suppose

But what pain

 I thought now,  to settle upon –

did not hold – that even that was illusory?

some more fantastic and rare dream
having once aspired? ...the most-the best-we can do:


over and over again, in the quiet part of our minds.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Salvation is here and now

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think . . . and think . . . while you are alive.
What you call "salvation" belongs to the time
before death.

If you don't break your ropes while you're alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten --
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment
in the City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life
you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest
that does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

~ Kabir, translated and rendered by Robert Bly

Sunday, May 3, 2015

"The Verb to Be"

André Breton’s poem “The Verb to Be”

I know the general outline of despair. Despair has no wings, it doesn’t necessarily sit at a cleared table in the evening on a terrace by the sea. It’s despair and not the return of a quantity of insignificant facts like seeds that leave one furrow for another at nightfall. It’s not the moss that forms on a rock or the foam that rocks in a glass. It’s a boat riddled with snow, if you will, like birds that fall and their blood doesn’t have the slightest thickness. I know the general outline of despair. A very small shape, defined by jewels worn in the hair. That’s despair. A pearl necklace for which no clasp can be found and whose existence can’t even hang by a thread. That’s despair for you. Let’s not go into the rest. Once we begin to despair we don’t stop. I myself despair of the lampshade around four o’clock, I despair of the fan towards midnight, I despair of the cigarette smoked by men on death row. I know the general outline of despair. Despair has no heart, my hand always touches breathless despair, the despair whose mirrors never tell us if it’s dead. I live on that despair which enchants me. I love that blue fly which hovers in the sky at the hour when the stars hum. I know the general outline of the despair with long slender surprises, the despair of pride, the despair of anger. I get up every day like everyone else and I stretch my arms against a floral wallpaper. I don’t remember anything and it’s always in despair that I discover the beautiful uprooted trees of night. The air in the room is as beautiful as drumsticks. What weathery weather. I know the general outline of despair. It’s like the curtain’s wind that holds out a helping hand. Can you imagine such a despair? Fire! Ah they’re on their way … Help! Here they come falling down the stairs … And the ads in the newspaper, and the illuminated signs along the canal. Sandpile, beat it, you dirty sandpile! In its general outline despair has no importance. It’s a squad of trees that will eventually make a forest, it’s a squad of stars that will eventually make one less day, it’s a squad of one­-less-­days that will eventually make up my life.

Translated from the French by Bill Zavatsky and Zack Rogow

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Apotropaic Hideousness

I seek to cultivate a kind of apotropaic hideousness--

Γοργόνειον

like the Medusa--

I might be halfway there;

I already turn men to stone.

Waking in the Dark

Waking in the Dark
  
1.

The thing that arrests me is
      how we are composed of molecules
      (he showed me the figure in the paving stones)
      arranged without our knowledge and consent
                like the wirephoto composed
                of millions of dots

                in which the man from Bangladesh
                walks starving
                                     on the front page
                                     knowing nothing about it
                which is his presence for the world
 
2.

We are standing in line outside of something
two by two, or alone in pairs, or simply alone
looking into windows full of scissors,
windows full of shoes. The street was closing,
the city was closing, would we be the lucky ones
to make it? They were showing
in a glass case, the Man Without a Country.
We held up our passports in his face, we wept for him.
 
They are dumping animal blood into the sea
to bring up the sharks. Sometimes every
aperture of my body
leaks blood. I don’t know whether
to pretend that this is natural.
Is there a law about this, a law of nature?
You worship the blood
you call it hysterical bleeding
you want to drink it like milk
you dip your finger into it and you write
you faint at the smell of it
you dream of dumping me into the sea.

3.

The tragedy of sex
lies around us, a woodlot
the axes are sharpened for.
The old shelters and huts
stare through the clearing with a certain resolution
– the hermit’s cabin, the hunters’ shack –
scenes of masturbation
and dirty jokes.
A man’s world. But finished.
They themselves have sold it to the machines.
I walk the unconscious forest,
A woman dressed in old army fatigues
that have shrunk to fit her, I am lost
at moments, I feel dazed
by the sun pawing between the trees,
cold in the bog and lichen of the ticket.
Nothing will save this. I am alone,
kicking the last totting logs
with their strange smell of life, not death,
wondering what on earth it all might have become.

4.

Clarity,

                 spray

blinding and purging

spears of sun striking the water

the bodies riding the air

like gliders

the bodies in slow motion

falling
into the pool
at the Berlin Olympics

control; loss of control

the bodies rising
arching back to the tower
time reeling backward

clarity of open air
before the dark chambers
with the shower-heads

the bodies falling again
freely

                              faster than light
the water opening
like air
like realization

A woman made this film
against

the law
of gravity
5.
All night dreaming of a body
space weighs on differently from mine
We are making love in the street
the traffic flows off from us
pouring back like a sheet
the asphalt stirs with tenderness
there is no dismay
we move together like underwater plants
Over and over, starting to wake
I dive back to discover you
still whispering, touch me, we go on
streaming through the slow
citylight forest ocean
stirring our body hair
But this is the saying of a dream
on waking
I wish there were somewhere
actual we could stand
handing the power-glasses back and forth
looking at the earth, the wildwood
where the split began.
             
~ Adrienne Rich, from Diving into the Wreck