Saturday, July 31, 2010

which continues

I got two batches of haiku off by email this week. Just making the reading period for one magazine, smack in the middle of the reading period for another. I said to Kent, “OK. I’ve set myself up for disappointment.”

I don’t think I’m a great haiku poet. I think I’m better with wild, twisting sentences that gulp at the world and battle with their insides. But haiku has been good for me as a practice this spring/summer. Whenever I have trouble writing one I remind myself that it’s only about the present moment, the here & now. If my brain won’t break into blossom, I just have to look out at the world’s existing blossoms, even if they happen merely to be a pile of socks or the cracks in paint. I put down a few words. A few words is all a haiku can consist of. They’re never terrible. At worst, they’re just blah. Just a note about my environs, maybe my emotion of the moment, maybe the writing.

“Thousand” is a practice. The haiku and “Thousand” help keep me steady, I think, help distract me from difficult things that are going on right now. Maybe they help me deal with them. I’m not sure. I think they do. When I consider not doing them, it makes me nervous. They’ve become a structure for me, and, of course, I end up with something, a created thing, art, which continues.

Thousand: Eighty-Eight

is nearby, after all. Should you reach out a hand? What if a monster bites it off? The Slave’s voice. Remember its landscapes? You begin to seek them. Weren’t they all face? Your feet carry you lightly, no problem. You’ve shed your last gravity. But weren’t you sitting among crazy kids and their dancing and performative nudity, a drug barging through your system, breaking things? You had a box of spectacles of the finest rose. You would offer them to whoever came to the gate. They always looked sad. Who else would wish to enter through the Gate of Heavenly

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thousand explained, 4

Damn. I was so tired last night when I wrote 87 that instead of posting it I reposted 86, which, evidently, was still on the computer clipboard. I saved 86 twice in my master document, it turns out. And I erased the 87 I wrote last night. So just now I heaved a couple sobs for my lost hundred words.

Rather than try to recreate them I incorporated the loss into the narrative, as you can quickly divine if you read 87, which is the new 87, not the repeat 86 that I posted last night.

"Thousand" is a real struggle sometimes. If I'd assigned myself more than a hundred words each day, even 200 words, I bet I'd not still be doing this. The years it will take to get to the goal -- 100,000 words -- seem daunting? Yes and no. I mean, yes, it hits me that I've been banging away at this project for about three months and I'm not even 10% of the way through it. But hard as the hundred words has been at times, it's still just one hundred words. It doesn't take long to write one hundred words. If it's painful, I push ahead, and that's about all it takes -- a push or two. Maybe I'll write a few words, then play a computer game or poke around the internet; when I get back the hundred word goal is in reach. And it's over for the day.

This little rumination, knocked out to relieve some stress, clocks in at 260 words.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thousand: Eighty-Seven

letting go of the breath that is moving into you. There’s a long moment where what happened, you realize, has been destroyed. Something was here. You were making something or something was being made for you. It’s gone. It was something that took a lot of effort. You were tired, you didn’t really want to do it, but the effort produced something, and, you remember, it wasn’t too bad. It was worth it. You look around. But something closed. Yes, your eyes are closed. You are just noticing that your eyes are closed. Perhaps here in the dark the thing

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thousand: Eighty-Six

forget to breathe. It’s an intricate process, requiring vast attention. The sky, again, is vast, though day after day, with its coin-sized star and it’s battered button of a moon, it can seem small as a leaky boat. There are some things that take too much attention, that would best ignored. The smell from the leaf is heady. You blink and gasp. The pipe’s warm mouth touches your own and you begin to suck from it. What comes at first is harsh, even bitter, and you want to cough it out, but your lips tighten on the brass piece, not

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thousand: Eighty-Five

skin. You look back at your childhood, which you haven’t thought about lately. Where is it? No, it’s okay. It’s okay that you don’t remember where you last saw it. You were carrying something, something important?, or you had to make a call, and there was your childhood, crystallized in a pure nostalgia. You put it aside in order to take care of that thing, the call or the broken cup, whatever. You could retrace your steps. One of the art students breaks a stiff shining leaf and rubs it between his fingers, his hand curving under your nose. Don’t

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thousand: Eighty-Four

curvy as a girl, glints from the middle of a blue carpet, its pipes slinking out to soft young mouths, including yours. You feel young again, if you ever felt young. You feel young in a way you never felt young, you just know it’s new and young and fresh and innocent, na├»ve, immortal. There are stars in your eyes, comets even. There are bangles and coins rolling on the carpet, catching the light and letting it go, playing with it, tossing it from concave to convex to concentrate on the dimple of her cheek, his chin, the hookah’s polished

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thousand: Eighty-Three

superhighway of his gaze is empty, isn’t it? Or is there something traveling it? There’s a. There’s a. A shadow? Is it him, his caravan, the camels with tasseled blankets over their humps, bells strapped to their knees, cavorting ivy leaguers and kids charging toward their bliss? Is that what is resolving from the mystery of his distance? You blink. He is offering a muffin, a dark muffin studded with raisins and dried cranberries. Then there is the black coffee sweetened to the depths of its ground. You are sitting on a round cushion. When did that happen? A hookah,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thousand: Eighty-Two

dust stirred by its edge, by the movement of the body hidden behind its swirl. The Slave is speaking. It’s not that his mouth moves and nothing comes out. If that were the case you’d just be amused or confused, instead of seeing things, landscapes, the transport of bodies, the tearing of the heavens, a new hurt or comfort. A Harvard grad turns a somersault. It’s cute. An art student strips off her shirt and another fills in the color of her dragon’s eye tattoo. What is he saying? You look at him again, the Salve of your pain. The

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thousand: Eighty-One

myrrh. His lips are moving and they remind you of the shapes of clouds at sunset, the way the last colors give them strange dimension. You think of light lingering on a lake, the earth gone dark, stars pricking out their patterns one by one. You think of sheep-cropped knolls, hills pocked by ancient rock recently exposed, and the dawn still cold. You might be looking down on rivers that have cut their own routes, that will cut new ones, entirely new, when they’ve tired of their beds. Or perhaps it is the hem of a dress you see, the

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thousand: Eighty

and shrubs, gnarled, with bitter black berries (from which is made a sacred tea), have twined their roots through those cracks for time out of mind. There is much here out of mind, sharp and blunt objects, sour fruits and slow syrups, the lost eye, the wandering knuckle. The Slave taps his staff and a parrot you hadn’t noticed squawks from the carved lintel above your head. The Slave speaks. “Have you have hurt me?” he says. You look down the interstate of his gaze. I would soothe you with sweet unguents. Somebody famous said that? The Salve smells of

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thousand: Seventy-Nine

with good luck, bad choices, and adobe bricks. A comet has been hanging in the midnight sky for weeks. Who will climb the Tree of Divine Convention to tickle the comet’s tail? A white plume from that tail would make a nice accoutrement to a tall helmet. The sun must be walking, too, in no hurry to cross a sky bleached sand white. Perhaps the stars have been smeared together. Night will show. Night hides so many things, until it’s ready, itself prime among them. How many years have dripped down these walls? There are cracks ancient as the bricks

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thousand: Seventy-Eight

at the Gate of Heavenly Aches. Allow to pass only those who fit. Look yonder, lo!, approaching, a caravan of Harvard graduates and art students led by a bold slave, black as Denver, his glasses smoked blue, his staff of office twined with crepe serpents and capped by fleur-de-lis. He wearies, his tread thickened by the flour of age, his wisdom clear even across mirages, his camels bound by ancient contracts to this road of ice and tubers. A divine spirit tugs him by the nose, and the educated children of privilege bounce behind him, even beneath their packs bulging

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thousand: Seventy-Seven

and heart-stopping heights. Are you roused? Is the blood within you surging? Good. Pretty good. Pretty fairly good in a nice fashion. Terrif! Splendi! Perfec! Whatever is new is new is now newer is no. The old no. Good. The old no. Good as gold gravy. Good as golly. Good as gone. Good as the way through the wild wood by the old fair path. Good as a foot. You are the measure. The two fingers of whiskey in the glass. The rain gauge making inches out of water the sky’s done with. Stand up for the rain! Stand sentry

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thousand: Seventy-Six

loose and bound for glory, glorioski, rounded with an O! Do not flinch from your duty, nor ask not, nor sasquatch that joint, my friend, nor end where end and commencement bend to mend, but sally forth, rally, excelsior! Take on the next take with the true zest of grit! Expound, propound, and make the hills resound! Draw your word from your sword as a blade from a sheaf of pleats and brandish its might with meat and main, for foe nor feckless friend may stay the frightful will from its progress, in deed, in derring-do, in delights and nights

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thousand: Seventy-Five

as a Winchester, the frantic immigration control official raves over the market rates. A night, then another night. Two abut. A third lingers somewhat near but a fragrant day intervenes, brief and bare, but not to be denied. It has denial written all over it. NO stitched among its stars. Not one of its thous shalt. All for naught, all for naught. Do not ask for room for the bell’s bowls, they nestle, one outside, one within, then within, then further in. Do not howl for the tongue, it’s wrung for free, all its speeches free, lost and fast and

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thousand: Seventy-Four

gives oneself up to the gods, who poke around the piles of human souls like heaps of fruit at the harvest fair. Another sanctuary burned to the ground and out of the ashes phoenix flowers bloomed, burned like sterno cans. What city was situated at the mouths of two rivers, at the feet of two mountains, at the elbows of two kings, and at the ass end of the universe? The rain-wet boy helps The Tomato down from the biplane while lightning sways her serpentine dance and thunder his big bronze gong bangs. Some soaked seed bursts its coat. Wild

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thousand: Seventy-Three

born of fragility and wine. A theater of excellence engages the rabble in a dialectic of forms. A house of pencils rubs wrong the testy fabulist of fate. A husky youngster lugging lug nuts to the pizza place wears on his fair face an expression usually fit to the margins of a dog. Goofy? Or melancholy? Which day will see the end of the rain? In her younger days the grandmother was known as “The Tomato.” Once upon a time there was a dog. It had to be disclosed, that secret. Her buddies still, joshingly, call her “The Tomato.” One

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thousand: Seventy-Two

about things, the things like that, the things like it, what carries and what follows through. He wants to know the ABCs of the saturated fist. He wants to know the fantastic apperture, including the welts but leaving out the field trip. A noggin of wood versus a capsule gradient. Those among the chariots versus those uglies flopping in the gullies. A lightning strike is followed in rapid succession by a lightning demonstration, a lightning sidewalk, and a lightening of the burden the thunder must labor under. The tenderizer of the heart sprinkles over the virgin liver with an insouciance

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thousand: Seventy-One

them into patterns, weave a thread to a thread, a cloud to a cloud, press them into bends, and bend them into bows. After everything the airfield, pocked with puddles, rutted with runnels, let the machines rise and caught them when they fell. A youth, naked to the waist, sploshes out to the biplane as its heavy propeller strikes a few more raindrops. Fire waits in pockets. A pot of coffee. Animals. The two transepts. Banished fangs. Absolute fortune composed of carhops. Hit the whisk. Farther in the distance a near thing throttles down. He wants to know something

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thousand: Seventy

the savage fair cost little. What shouldered in the average tin, the friendship had to bear. A vile exhaust and a pleasant ancestry had separately been compiled, posted on the ages, and returned as the years wrinkled. The wind fills the sock. It is a size twelve wind, a red-and-white striped sock. After everything, even after the stumps had been blasted from the field, and the holes filled with gravel and compacted, the landing was rough. Rain wasn’t falling but hanging around in several loose sheets, as though waiting to be creased, as though waiting for hands which could direct

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thousand: Sixty-Nine

be deciphered. Tomorrow or days from now the sign of the zebra will take on the greatest of significance. In the meantime, Eula, Emily’s sister, scoops vanilla ice cream into a cup. Over it she splashes lemonade, just enough for the yellow and the tartness. She takes it out to the porch and sits down to eat. The birdseed boy is being pecked apart by robins. Somebody lives purely because of a terrible illness. The sentient bastards, parsed by the tailor and lined up along the city limits, fade exactly. A newly built catapult shivers with presentiments. What elbowed out

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thousand: Sixty-Eight

Cats is a burning beacon, by night a tender ember. By day she is the ends to the earth’s means, by night the meaning of this end of the earth. By day she is tall as a rocket, by night squat as a candle stub. Fluffy Cats is out of the boxers. Fluffy Cats has moved the goalie. Fluffy Cats claws the bejeezus out of the social order and pees on your grandmother’s dicta. Her secret identity is classified by thirty-two governments and in each bureau a drawer is set aside for passwords to the programs that allow her messages to

Thousand: Sixty-Seven

carriage, the other to the top like an airplane sandwich. There’s even meat in the middle in the form of a pilot. He is wearing lettuce and is slathered with mayonnaise. A large slice of tomato occupies the passenger seat, which is in front of the pilot, interfering with visibility. The little girl’s tummy growls. She could bite an apple or a sandwich or swallow some of that lemonade sitting in a pool of condensation on a table in a house over which the sign of the zebra is being drawn by a clandestine operative, codename: Fluffy Cats. By day

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Thousand: Sixty-Six

bit more heart-shaped than spherical, dangles from a stem. But what’s this? A door opening in its face? The door inclining like one of those castle doors that drops down to cover a moat. A line of tiny lights begins to flash in sequence along the edges of the door. Emily leans forward, adjusting the focus on the binoculars. Something is moving on the door, a spider? a gnat? No. It’s an biplane, one of those early 20th century planes with a long heavy propeller on its nose and two broad wings, one wing affixed to the underside of the

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Thousand: Sixty-Five

sort of tree has decided on this sort of year. I imagine once winter has crept in, all the leaves having drifted away to their earthly reward, a burnished red bundle hanging by its long toes from a high branch would look apple-like from a distance. Emily raises the binoculars to her face again. She’s not training them on a bat. But is it an apple? It’s another of those way up in the tippy-top twigs, that, were this an apple tree, could easily have proved out of reach of the most determined and resourceful apple-picker. It is red, a

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Thousand: Sixty-Four

screamed or sizzled) harmlessly past. That is my problem. Emily, however, is yawning. She lowers the binoculars and rubs her eyes. It is not an apple tree, this tree she has climbed high into the skinny branches. It is not a fruit tree at all, unless you mean the bats. Nobody knows they are there. Being green they disappear among the leaves. When autumn comes around the bats fly south for the winter, except for one freak who lingers, having the chameleon-like (or, why not, octopus-like) ability to change its colors to whatever gaudy spangle of yellows and reds this

Monday, July 05, 2010

Thousand: Sixty-Three

leave such speculations to another. For now, it is enough that Emily has her own apple. Yes, everyone has an apple all their own. No doubt the apple tastes like knowledge, provided one can ever get it to the mouth. My own apple is shriveling on a high branch beyond my reach. I have shot at it with various small weapons, graduating from an air pistol to a shoulder-launched cruise missile, but it has, as yet, had the ally of a gentle zephyr, which, each time, has nudged the apple aside as whatever projectile I’ve sent up has zinged (or

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Thousand: Sixty-Two

thorns or needles, and tall. She’s way up there. She has the binoculars. That’s what you get for standing put, all stiff like a dummy. A little girl comes back and gets her binoculars. Then again maybe she always had them. This could be a version where she gathered them up quick, just as she dashed from the porch. In this version maybe she didn’t give a rat’s ass whether you followed her flouncy yellow skirt as it bobbed around her like a splendid jellyfish rising from the midnight depths, its yellow brilliance shocking the upper waters. But I will

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Thousand: Sixty-One

as you remember it, at least in so far as what is there is happiness, the very happiness you expect. That may not sound like sufficient velocity to break free from the present. Walking wouldn’t get you off the earth even if a ladder stretched so high. Would it? Drink your lemonade. Ah. Isn’t that refreshing! The girl’s sister, Emily, is in a tree. It’s down the block a piece. A sycamore. Or an elk. I mean, an oak. Or elm. I don’t know. What’s the difference? Anyway, sturdy limbs, few really vertical, bark not painfully rough or sticky, no

Thousand: Sixty

you can find anything. A basic grasp of the cataloging system is, however, unattainable. A hit-and-miss blind grasping is about the best we can achieve. That’s okay. This makes it not much different than most of our strategies. The rewards can be great. Or disaster. Tonight there will be no disasters, you might intone as you unfold the transdimensional shift and take the lemonade from the hand of the very patient little girl and answer the door where a dear friend is waiting, worried, calling your name. You walk back to the place you were happiest and everything is exactly

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Thousand: Fifty-Nine

meal by the ancestor of the flea, or, being less parochial, the first manifestation of the clockwise-turning gyre in a storm on a yellow-orange gas giant circling a star so many billion light years distant from the John Hancock adding his flourish at the bottom of a hemp parchment while wearing knee stockings. All of that and, as they say, more! An unwieldy book. If not written transdimensionally! The transdimensional index is, like the transdimensional map, essentially indistinguishable from the universe. The advantage the transdimensional index has over the universe is that, with a basic grasp of the cataloging system,