Verses, 11.1 – 11.51, Revolver

11.1

Why do I crawl

in reverse,

rewinding back, back

through the eye

of a needle, back

through a stageset

desert?

11.11

Am I inspired by acquaintances

who play so tight and close

their intimate whispers,

pregnant with trauma,

give way to a fetish:

a knowledge

of sutures,

de facto,

aid in a minor form?

11.12

The first ones

so lovingly forgive;

close those caverns

in the flesh.

Now chambers echo

where spinae yanked

tight as guidewires.

He who said so

set-to with

thickset hands,

unbuilding things

inside me.

11.13

In this way

my ambitious spell

was set in motion.

I gunned it, high-speed

down the highway

‘long uncharted deserts…

the lone oasis long departed.

I ran those re-treads thin, left

that smoking hulk aside,

tumbled out on a sandy

shoulder to save

my skin, birth

a little shiva.

11.2

Call it what you like,

but I know my own

private fear of death.

It was laughter over radio which

bubbled up from wreckage wires

and echoed in that dented hull.

11.21

You know I did not get

away unharmed…

could not make my break intact.

Now my undelivered

foot must sweep the dust

as Lefty, clopping clods apart

and falling, just as

poems fall, suggests…

11.3

(I later note

a fear of death

to be the flare

laid out

on asphalt,

which gets us gawking left,

such stupid geese,

while right

a parked car smolders,

its shadows on the grit.)

11.31

Meanwhile,

the mechanic, slave

to other accidents,

sweats and bends,

his dream catcher

hooked to the roll-tor.

Yet I’m the one

(Waaaaa-Waaaaa cries martyr!)

who hoists that

fucking engine.

11.4

You note an emotion

makes your trapezius

knot and lift; your shoulder

the record, the softly turning vinyl

of a breakup.

Revolve;

A needle

inscribes

its world

upon your surface.

11.41

I must turn.

I must turn and

Turn.  And turn and turn.

After all, my dear one…

There is no Witch-Doctor, no Alchemist.

Only a locator of grips, a deft

unwrapper of phantom fingers,

one who makes wake for her

who would choose superstition,

flying along the mirage of our secret

inland sea, strange wood fins

nailed to the side of her aqua car,

(a rooster tail, a big deal).

the painter’s knot left

unfurled at the dock, I

the one who cured her.

11.42

No magic here,

no paradox.

Instead, a desert lake:

a perfect fake,

now spoiled,

a silver mirror

rippled

by the speedboat

with its tall-tall yards of spray,

its superstitious show.

11.5

You and I,

ever pragmatists,

know a boat will make its

desert rescue even

across the sickening mirage,

in the middle of nowhere,

in the deafening silence,

in the absence of fanfare.

11.51

So why do you

force me on

the thing you deny,

(though you think it already):

Every means is orthodox,

when you bite down,

train the mind to skip

the trauma we both

know as cause and effect.

11.52 (Three Epilogues)

1.

Now we dance

beside the smoking car,

its radio tinnily

doubling the bursting

ring of laughter,

its broadcast hollow;

we sing across

the sands, black asphalt

ribbon’s end no matter

now… We’ve seen its vistas,

and survived.

2.

We dance at dusk…

in the cool blue shade

of metal husks,

‘mid radiowaves

and tiny shivas,

and in our

spirals,

thread

the eye

of Christ…

3.

…a decoration

slid ‘long twine

hung round

my neck,

then yours,

(a fisheye, a wet

black bead, an

ornament worn

for tiny dances).

Verses, 9.1 – 9.53, The Deep Well, The Rushing River

 

9.21   He sits with you, by the nighttime river, and sings these tales over the babble of the rushing waters.

9.3   If, when you hear these singing tales, you become curious, or secret your feelings, it means you feel desire.  And if you deny yourself, perhaps then you have handed down a hard line of austerity unto your mind, and, therefore, have suffered.

9.31   If, however, the river flows in you, perhaps you have forgotten everything already…

9.312   But the river is a riddle, and a paradox…for the defiled and damned have no greater desire than to ride its current, to rise and fall on the curve of a wave, to dissolve in the speeding waters…just as the enlightened are dissolved, and sparkle like the daylight which dances on the turbulence of rapids…

9.32   Here, on the river, now, the dancing of the lights is beautiful, and yet, on the instant, it is nothing…for it is neither the sun itself nor is it the river.

9.4   Feel no guilt for this pleasure of the eyes!  When words dance on irises like the glittering of the lights!

9.41   Yes, fill yourself with with desire…then, when the sun sinks below the touch of skin, converse in the languages you know.  Sing, dance, and rejoice in your heartbeat and your breath; rejoice that your skin retains the warmth of the day you set to pass, as you watch the sky go slowly out…

9.5   And know, that if you have danced, you have transmuted the contents of your feelings; you have signed the language of desire.

9.51   And know, that if you have sung, you have transmuted the contents of your feelings; you have spoken the language of desire.

9.52   Sing, and dance, and let sing your heart…and know that we are conversant in these tongues, and that these tongues are rooted in the darkest, deepest well.

9.521   We drink the waters of the well, and watch the waters of the river, and feel them flow free within us.

9.53   We know we want to ride the river…to feel ourselves drunken on the thrill-ride of our ignoble experience.

 

(Back Door: Enter “Chapbook” into the search bar.)

Cupped Hands

We sat still and looked.

Again, a thrill passed through my body.

In our eyes, our spirits danced.

The day grew long, and bright.

Later, we locked up the apartment and went down onto the street in our jeans and T-shirts.

Sailor stood there, blinking in the sun.

I held my half-full coffee cup in two hands and looked at her.  She’d pulled up her hair, and I could see the back of her neck, and the thin chain she’d put on, just showing above the soft, well-laundered edge of her T-shirt.  She stood with her hands in her pockets, with her shoulders up ever so slightly.  The air was cool, and yet she seemed to enjoy it, the sunlight, and the feeling of the breeze against her skin. I realized I was staring at her body. I wanted to touch, but didn’t.

It was mid-morning, and the life of the city was full, and busy.  A car alarm blurted and then ended abruptly, followed by the rumble of passing truck.   Exhaust, and engine sound, and sunlight filled the street.  From somewhere came a pair of voices, perhaps children talking in an upper-storey apartment.  A man dressed in a jacket and tie jogged from the stoop to a car parked nearby.  I looked to the end of the block.  People emerged from the train station.  Men standing near an open truck watched a stack of boxes go below the street on a freight elevator.  A jogger with earbuds and new sneakers bounced past, led by a shaggy retriever.

“I think you were talking about a kind of loneliness,” she said.

We walked to the park nearby, where you can look out over the Hudson River.  It was sunny, but there was a slight breeze, and my ears got cold.

“Going all the way is not an errand,” she said, “It is a dance.”

“And I’m a dancer,” I said, “Dancing is my life…”

“You won’t be satisfied until you feel your story has been told.”

I cupped my hands over my ears for a moment.  It was getting cold.

“Listen,” she said.

I uncovered my ears.

In the distance, somewhere far away in the park, I heard singing.

Too Yellow

I heard a truck pass in the street outside Sailor’s building.

“I have no courage.”

Sailor looked at me inquisitively.  I felt a thrill pass through my body.  She wanted to know.

“Why do you say that?”

“The only thing I can think of that would take courage, the only thing I’ve never done, is dive to the bottom.”

“And why would you?”

The room was cooling significantly now.  She broke eye contact to go to the window and pull the upper pane down.  I looked across the kitchen.  She saw me looking at her and recoiled.  I realized that my eyes must have flashed.

“Shhh,” she said, “I’m not shutting it all the way, just so it’s quieter.  I like the cool.”

“Me too,” I said.

She turned her head away from me.

“So why this desire?”

“To learn something.  To learn what you learned.”

She returned to the table and sat down.  Her voice shifted into the regional inflection that I knew, that she never let sound in polite company, a voweled “r” and a vibe in her throat, a heavy sound that made people move back.

I didn’t learn shit.  Except ‘Do not repeat’.” she said.  “That darkness you think is so luxurious and deep; it doesn’t exist.  Once you go that far, it’s white noise, a snake eating its tail, the only sky you’ve ever seen that’s ugly; your guts go bland; your imagination is gone. You saw me when I was there…”

I sipped my coffee.

“I don’t understand. I’m so hard now.  I can’t change it; can’t help it. It makes you hard.”

“I don’t want to be hard. That’s not it.”

“So what is it?”

“I’ve never gone all the way, not with anything.  I don’t even think I know what it means to go all the way.”

She leaned forward.

“But it’s not that…” I said, “It’s this…profound lack.  It’s the reason I like to lean forward when I stand in high places.  It’s an attraction to falling, a mild feeling that underlies everything, that there is something lacking, and that I have a desire to move into a place where I can feel it more acutely, or where I can feel nothing at all.  Yet I lack the courage to follow that desire, and so I float; I am a nothing.”

Sailor smiled and stood.

“You’re not hard,” I said.

“I know I can never get enough.”

“Well, everything has to be dismantled now.  This is what I’m talking about.  There is always this leaning in, wanting more.  So that life is the adventure.  But there is no adventure anymore…only addiction, introversion…sport.”

Sailor was standing at the stove now, preparing supper.  She was slicing a potato.  I couldn’t have it.  I stood up, approached her from behind, slid the knife away from her hand.

“I can’t right now.  I can’t be a man sitting at the table.”

She turned away from me and left the room.

I abandoned the kitchen things and followed her into the bedroom, where it was darker still.

We touched, like this, until we lost track of time.  I could not believe a touch so sad could be so charged, so sensual.  Our perplexity, our joy, lasted forever, as we ran each other’s fingertips along the surfaces of arms…

Days later, maybe weeks later, we reached the same feeling…

The air and temperature were the same; the way the light filtered through the plants which she had trained up the glass of the kitchen window, so that there was a slow flash of sunshine that bounced off the stainless steel of the sink, lighting the faucet to a bright spot behind her head, making a halo of her flyaways, the way it was afternoon, but cool…the calendar, the season, made no difference; we had traveled through space and time.

“Remember,” I said, “when we returned from that rave in Kennewick, and the next day, we sat on a Greyhound speeding across the desert, and you said you’d never been so sad in all your life?”

Our hands nearly touched at the center of the table.  “That’s what I mean,” I said, “When those cops came in to the upper room of that stadium with their German Shepherds, and went through the crowd, and all those hundreds of kids, high on E, were buoyed up and down, as if they were rolling on a wave of techno, and there was a smile that spread across the crowd of faces, because we knew, somehow, that we were the world, and yet the world couldn’t touch us; they couldn’t arrest a soul…and those kids were moving like one, in a giant circle.  It was a rolling, tribal, unison jumping.  And those poor cops looked like forlorn boy scouts.  Nothing they could do…  The E was in our veins.  And it wasn’t that anything had been lost…  But we’d felt this collective joy…and not being high made the distance between that joy and the world too great to bear.  And you could either lean in to oblivion, or you could sit still and perceive, and know the distance, and be desolate, staring out into the desert.”

“That is the truth about emotion.  That is its ontology.  Desolation, the space between spaces.  That is the essential property. Too yellow to lean in and fuck myself on drugs.  And out here, in the desert, with my eyes clear and level, I don’t know what to do…  I swing with this emptiness inside me.  I rock, and sway with it, and live.”

“Okay, N,” Sailor said, “Okay…”

She touched my arm, and I felt drunk from it, and lost.

(This is why I must dismantle everything…because I know emotion to be different from what is taught.  This thrill I feel when you look at me, when my skin receives the trace of your fingertips.  The light, the charge in my body, is blue in color.  It is a feeling of plummeting; it is pure joy, and it is paradox.)

(A Footnote: For the small value a factoid may hold, the draft of this post was completed, according to the dashboard timelog of this website, at 11:11:11 p.m.)

Lakshe

We’d met at Lakshe, a jungle club all the way over on West 14th Street, in a warehouse.  No sign, no line, just a door in the wall, and a man, sitting in a metal folding chair.  You had to know.

(Back Door: Enter “Dark as an Illusion” into the search bar.)

Metaphysics

After many years, things have come to a head.  (You brought them here, perhaps.)

I can now perceive what I will become after death, in the next lifetime, or two lifetimes, or three…although the number makes no difference; I have lived a multitude of lives.

And in the same way that a novel is the long unspooling of a thread…

which in its circumference makes a circle, a circle which is nothing more than a slender metaphysical principle, which can only have a thickness if it is perceived as a disc, and then replicated, and redoubled, and stacked up into false infinities,

…the circle, when singular, has no materiality…and yet contains a center, a fine point.

The fine point, a single thought, does not require infinity for its expression.  It does not require us to run a line out to the horizon; it does not require the mind’s eye to send forth a pulse-line toward death.

We do not want this line, You and I, for it is crooked.  It is supposition, and complication, and labyrinth…as if the flexible cross-hexes of the ocean waves were not liquid, but a web; as if we might attempt an impossible drawing, a description of a dance, which is not a dance, but obsession itself.

And now, the fine point, a translucent grain of sand, rests on the open palm of your hand, astonished at your touch, after the salt wash of the tide has softened and crumbled a castle, or multitudes of castles

…sand castles that once populated the strand, from horizon to horizon, bristling the beach with dense miles of spires and turrets and scalloped walls, thickets of towers and portcullises, no smooth sand within eye’s reach…

…none of them necessary, if only the idea, the one grain, could be taken up in its tiny, inscrutable, transparent singularity, and, in the precise moment the bright sun plays on its six surfaces…

perceived, in a flash of reckoning, and memory, when no other instant, before or after, could allow its revelations to dance themselves into my eyes.

Now, I ask you this:

Why should I live this through?

Why should I build dense, wet, castles, opaque, and solid, and permeable, when a lone grain of sand in your open palm is such a jewel,

which in its multitude only makes dense gray citadels ever-more destined to consumption by the waves?

Why should I not let all structures crumble in the surf, and pass into the smooth gold ribbon of the shore?

(I watched you as you glanced at a castle, and knew all of this.

You are so beautiful, and, in your speechlessness, astute.)

(Back Door:  Enter “Soles of my Feet” or “My Illogic” into the search bar.)

(Front Door:  Enter “Nail the Definitive” into the search bar.)

Seams of Skin

The clustering sensation which I have grown accustomed to,

in the way it inhabits me,

in the way it rocks low,

and swings, in the way

it occasionally sparkles,

and lights up the tips of my toes, the last hairs left

on the crown of my head, the cracks

between my teeth, my spine,

my seams of skin;

Begins to rise,

like a bubble to the surface.