Dirty Gerty's Hurdy Gurdy


Only the poem knows what's true

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Crazy take on Demeter

A crazy person's take on Demeter:


Fear not the heat of the sun
As you turn your back to shadow,
And find a fiercer brand
Upon your brow
Than any night or curmudgeon shade
Could possibly avow.

The world has feral brevity
To mark its face;
A panther’s footprint
The strange allure
Of finding death much deader
Than it ever was before.

But you have borne a shadow
By turning your face to Apollo,
Ripped from womb
The blond canal
That made its voice grow silent
Makes it still grow tonal.

And you listen for a cry
To tune your currents to Simois;
For a tired Andromache
Lost beyond the world
Weeping in needle point rivers
With currents yet unfurled.

There’s nothing you can give
Not to negate her death;
But to pretend she lives
Just this little shadow
Fussing upon your breast
You feed it to the gallows.

You give it to the sun
This little brand you birthed;
Still to find what brands her face
A light where shadow has no place
To run its fatal glory
Makes you her murderer.

There's so much that can be said of shadow. It really is what the sun brands upon us. When I wrote this poem, tonight, I wanted to figure Demeter not just as a sad sobering mother. But as a woman implicating herself in the murder of her daughter (Persepone).

The last stanza, you give it to the sun... makes you her murderer, is significant in the logic of my unhinged mind for one reason. It attempts to warrant Demeter's insanity, waiting half the year for her daughter's return. The poem is meant to be Demeter thinking to herself, believe it or not. And I suppose, she feels she is the murderer because she sacrifices what brands her (Demeter) in order to see a place where there are no shadows, her daughter's artless face. Only to realize, this would be murder, because her daughter has inexorably changed. PERSEPOHE has been murdered, already, you see. A part of her is murdered each year, re-creating a succession of counterfeits, much like the seasons, when leaves wither and are re-created, for example...

It's meant, despite being horrid, to implicate the fulfillment of fantasy in the murder of dreams.

And, as I am feeling quite horrid, quite sick, I best be off...

Pulchrum Est Paucorum Hominum!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I've been coursing through two poems, in Paris Spleen and The Flowers of Evil. L'INVITATION AU VOYAGE (Paris Spleen) and Invitation To The voyage (The Flowers of Evil). In the former, Baudelaire presents a black tulip (which I utilized in a poem on The Soul of Art), and a blue dahlia. Both incomparable, both part of this wonderful country, a country of Cocaigne, where a curtain's fold breathes forth a curious perfume, a perfume of Sumatra whispering "come back." The Soul of the abode.

I'm intrigued by these two flowers because they can only thrive here. A country so beautiful and full of calm. And Baudelaire asks "Would you not there be framed within your own analogy, would you not see yourself reflected there in your own 'correspondence' as the mystics say?"

For some time this question baffled me. I wondered to what analogy he could be referring, and something struck me, reading Invitation to the Voyage (The Flowers of Evil). Here Baudelaire speaks of the soul's loneliness, noting her own "sweet and secret native tongue." The Black Tulip and the Blue Dahlia speak their own sweet and secret native tongue. They are lonely, except in this land, where beauty and calmness prevail, they are framed within themselves. Their endemic strangeness speaks back to them as beauty, which speaks back to the strangeness as revelation. And what is this revelation, except "come back?"

I think both poems speak to the soul not only of poetry but the poet. The notion of poetry being an invented instinct is something I've believed for quite some time. But, the notion of "coming back," is more endemic to poetry (and the poet) than anything I can surmise. The strange beauty of the flowers, which would be outcasts anywhere else, is like the images a poet sets forth. The creative trajectory, where imagery speaks to itself and the form a poem wants to take talks back.

There's a state, I'm not even certain I can fashion, of reciprocity, where strangeness feeds on beauty and beauty strangeness. But the two can only be had in an environment that allows them to thrive. Some would say this environment is the soul. I would say this environment is art, a poem, a painting, etc., To which the soul is conceived. Much as we conceive nature with artfulness. For we can only view it (nature) through human eyes, so the art is actually more natural than nature (itself). The same is true with the soul. It is, actually, found through an invitation to a strange land, the land of art, and re-creation. The land that asks us to come back, to everything we are, and all we never knew but always had.

I'm including below a poem I wrote within the eternity of an hour today, about Narcissus; some of the thoughts herein manifest in what I've written above, at least the concept of "coming back":


A mirror doesn't shift,
Its glass remains in tact
For the face that always drifts
From youth to hoar winter,

When he fixed his face
In a pool of shifting glass
He didn't have the grace
To fix his face in loam,

But assumed his eyes
More azure than the pool
Would betray the disguise
Of knowing they would die,

Chalcedony skin, ruby lips
He felt they were like stone
And shaped them into quips
Against' the liquid's wit,

His image was his place
The sphinx that was a fop
And he brushed his face
With his curled fingers,

And knew there was a riddle
Only he could solve
But his curiosity, so little,
A seed that could not grow,

Offered nothing, no question
No answer, to its bloom
Just the sun's obsession
In making his image grow,

If there were rain or clouds
He certainly would know
The beauty of the shroud
Is in knowing time will wither,

To flower the first image
From the apple not bitten,
To equate his frozen plumage
In the vision of a snake.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cesare... Evil's Vocation


A star’s vocation isn’t light

But fine muslin of deepest black,

And caught within the rosewood night:

Fibers of blood and thorns unkempt...

Keep the shadow of his doors unlocked,

Let no light but ashen roam,

Exude from them my fatal night

And make from clay their fetal loam.

So I so shapeless shape his gaze

And will where eyes all willing wants

Escape and thieve the prolific haze,

That breeds in slums and sooty wombs,

The sooty brood of death and want,

Their brilliant dark diurnal haunt.


I do not know the way to day,

To see in light maternal slants

On hemlock, rose, the shadow-play

The sun makes on her favorite child…

But go I do on his command

The one who makes blood syrupy,

A knife between my fingers,

My tenderness too monsterly.

I walk through space without his eyes,

Anemones, purple, red, and pink

Black centered stars, my alibis,

For all he asks, I think and do.

But can I love in dusky pinks?

When death creates what beauty thinks?

I had a dream some time ago, where someone I love said "evil is not destructive; evil is creative." And although, when I told this person about the dream, her reaction (that she was told the same thing- in a dream) astounded me. I must say, the truth of it astounds me more.

I've been trying to conceptualize how this could be true, only to realize, it's all transparent. Evil creates states in us, which, by very means of their vocation, recoil from creation unto destroying the very evil that makes them... endemic. If you take, for example, something as horrific as the death of a loved one. The occurrence is undoubtedly evil, but after its initial impact, you create another being that must adapt without that person, in the flesh. A being that, if artistic, will even fall further into an abyss (to rival Charybdis), and, create, or as I oft say, re-create from this experience a reactive spectrum. A spectrum that is the embodiment of life, thus destroying the evil, death, which made it, nurtured it, and brought it to chaotic fruition.

The same could be said for states of mind. It is often the anger, the "evil," the resentment, the "demons," the self deception, that creates the best Art, and, by lieu of that, the greatest personalities. Because, to compensate for pain, many of us are in a life long struggle, the mortal coil, and we create (re-create) a "good," within, that works to be a product of this pain, this evil, yes, but the very force which destroys it, too. So, in this particular incidence, evil is creative and good predominantly destructive, as it obliterates the very evil that "made" it.

There are countless cycles in the history of man that show we have evil proclivities. Fascism. Racism. Etc., And I would by no way justify these occurrences. I am of the belief, however, that the evil they embody works to re-create an "other," an antithesis, if you will, which, in its very means of power, could destroy this very evil. Racists and Fascists and Fundamentalists are hopeless; they think what they are doing is right and good, and this makes their philosophy destructive. People who rebel against these evils, however, have the evil itself as an impetus to foster creativity, to create, not a new ideal, because ideals in their "goodness" are generally destructive, but a more malleable mode of being. A revolution can only exist against antithesis; I'm stating the obvious, it is something we all know.

And this all relates to my above poem. I've had an interesting Thanksgiving weekend. The first one without my father, who passed from cancer/metastatic melanoma/an insidious demon (the cancer), nothing less than Evil. My father was its antithesis. He was wise, humble, kind, and cognizant of things I'm not certain I'll ever learn. On Thanksgiving day, my sister, mother, and I visited his grave, the tombstone of which we hope will be up by Christmas. And standing there, at this spot so scantily marked, with a broken sea shell we had placed there on our previous visit, we cried (of course). We put a new bouquet of flowers down, and it began to ice or hail (I couldn't tell which), but it was frigid. And in all the motions of my mother and sister, my mother's loving words, my sister's loving gesture in giving me her gloves, I felt an infiltration of my father, an immense infiltration. As if he were there, inspiring us with his creativity. And it seemed to me, at home, even after the lovely meal and lovely company we were all in, I couldn't get over how maybe, despite the evil and pain of the experience of loss, we found something, a hotel eternally vacant, within, comforted without by the ceaseless cycle of life and decay, and in this eternal decay, this eternal "evil," beauty. The beauty of who he was, who we are because of him, and what we will become, even without his physical presence.

A similar thing happened to me with my illnesses. When you're diagnosed with something incurable, you enter another world. You leave something behind that will never be had, again. And evil though this may be, evil though I thought it was that my kidneys should be affected, my depression worsened, my demons abounding, thought processes chaotic, "delusions," medications, pain... I knew there was something else at stake. I just read a Baudelaire prose poem where he says the soul is impalpable, something he wouldn't miss, should it go, like a card left carelessly in his pocket (the subject of the poem was a gamble with Satan). I think, when you lose something so endemic to yourself, your healthy self, when a part of you must be let go to decay, it feels like the giving up of a Soul. But in doing this, in confronting this insurmountable evil, you create a Soul that is palpable, that is variegated, and does destroy the evil, which made it, in an illustrious illusion.

Now to the poem. Today, after puking (forgive the horrid imagery, I'm just being honest), I saw a silent film from 1920, for the first time. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. And in said film, there's a somnambulist, Cesare, a zombie like man who enacts all of Dr. Caligari's homicidal tendencies. I need to view the film again. This is only after a first viewing, mind you. But I was enchanted by the premise. Of a man who, stifled by morality, "the greater good," even destroyed by it, enacts his evil through a somnambulist. (I won't go through the whole story as that wouldn't be right, to those who haven't seen it). But, the idea of having evil control and create something that enacts all its tendencies, only to have these tendencies result not just in murder, but the creation of murder, suggests to me a greater metaphor at stake. The doctor's morality was what saved and ultimately destroyed him; it was his evil tendencies that created a "monster," if you will, Cesare, whose will wasn't any bit his own, but whose actions created such a fuss, a fatal fuss, that the repercussions of madness and "evil" were generally re-discovered, seems to me the embodiment of us all. The question is, what can and can't we control?

I've set up the poem as two sonnets, two voices, which I hope you'll pick up on. But even if you've never seen the film, this poem should reveal what you already know. Evil encompasses us daily, and it is a far more creative than destructive force. Whether warring against God or human nature, we're always vying against it; and it is always the impulse for all we are and all we seem, like Poe said, a dream within a dream.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Black Tulip

I've been thinking about my old definition of poetry, why it's so intuitive. Because it reveals to us what we already know. It's an invented instinct. Takes us to re-discovery. I still abide by this definition, though I'm always cautious, as pertains to definitive claims. After reading a prose poem from Baudelaire (from Paris Spleen), I realized what poetry is saying to us. And that is, come back (!). It embodies the primordial encompassing, the nothingness that envelops everything we are and see. Simply, every metaphor it entails, every image, is an attestation to the answer of a question we all ask: why? It is a course in re-discovery, an impetus for letting our instincts escape. And, I believe, this is the answer, escape, embodiment, existing in metaphor without even realizing it. Something in between negative capability and duende. Because of these thoughts, I wrote a poem today about the soul of art. It follows:


A black tulip in a field of violets,
A blue dahlia in a glass vase,
Leda left inviolate
To the swan’s impulsive gaze.

The busker on a crowded street
Waiting for some change,
His life the prolonged beat
Of his violin’s unlocked cage.

And the rain pirouetting windows,
With its liquid texture,
Falling like the willow
Under its architecture.

And the busker’s wilting song,
Petal by petals falls apart,
To an uncaring throng
Of those who wilt its art.

As sylphs pass through time,
The migratory hours
Their prolonging grime
Prolongs the lives of flowers.

But nothing can persist
Without the revelation,
A mind cannot exist
Except in elevation.

High above the clouds,
Where nothing has its place,
A star hides among crowds
Of fragrant hues of space.

And here its violin
Is not to entertain
So virtue and thus sin
Make time a pauper’s flame.

Art, to me, is a black tulip in a field of violets. Something so extraordinary, and distinct, it even accentuates the world surrounding (it). Just as nature is manipulated, created by our perceptions, so our perceptions are goaded by it. And it is in this goading, that all art aspires. The primordial encompassing; what was and will or never be.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A bowing flower...

Alas, this is where my thoughts reside, at the moment:


Your footsteps stroke a flower with the texture of grass,
So it seems as the petals withdraw, there is no distance
Between night and day, and the migratory pass
Of the sun, setting and rising to longing and light,
Is just a beacon upon which shadows play.
There is no time where you began, falling earthward,
From a sky who has much more than tears to shed,
All equity ends when a flower bows to being dead.

I cannot resign your fragile little perch,
Sitting upon the cusp of a universe whose embers fall
From ancient conflagrations, to the child Earth,
Where all things are re-made. If you were re-made,
Into more than a bowing flower, I’d count your footsteps
Never again foreseen, the dreaming of an hour that never again seems.

This is really a poem pertaining to grief. Even as it's a sigh from the depths, it's meant to signify the struggle between death and moving forward. I do nor proclaim death here as an equalizer, rather as a dissident.

And I'm dedicating this one to my father, and everyone who has passed. Some of you may know that All Souls' Day passed on November 2nd. I went to a mass, to honor my father, on November 2nd. It was quite... agridulce. I say that because it made me sad, yes, but the thought of eternal re-creation, matter is always preserved, permeated through my little brain, invoking a sweetness that can only be experienced in the throes of innocence.

Yes, we all die, but this does not equalize. If we are equalized, it's in our ability to see beauty. To see, that the same invisible bonds connecting us, are those which made us; the bonds of nothing and everything. The big bang. The tiny little strings vibrating in the universe, providing different dualities.

Simply, the interconnectedness of nothing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Haunted Hunt The Hereafter

“It seems, when you lose something, or someone, something strange happens. It isn’t denial. At least, for me, it isn’t. It’s like, knowing at dawn the air’s tears will be wiped away, to clear another aspect of the day, but not even caring. Not even recognizing. In fact, taking everything about this cleansing for granted.
You don’t see the person or thing as gone. An aspect of you is even evil enough to thwart grief. Because, you know, beneath it all, it’s inevitable it happens to all of us. So, the repetition of its occurrence stymies its originality, even as its originality is always sustained when it happens on a personal level."

These are the words of a character in my new, very unfinished novella; the doctor, that is. My novella focuses quite a bit on how death and recurrence both sensationalize and sensitize us. And being haunted, is either true hysteria or the hysterics of consciousness resuscitating the future. Yes, the future. Because, ghosts drive us into the future; we create a boundary for them, yes, they're from the past, they seem to be gone, but they're carried with us into some sphere of nothingness. Strange, how this sphere correlates so well the concept of a hereafter; as if, both the future and the hereafter share a secret not controlled by fate or chance, but denial.

In my novella, Evadne Duncan is haunted by her fiancee, Titus, who died after being struck by a car. They live on an estate, called Malmere, which is 300 feet away from a cliff overlooking the Long Island Sound. Which is surrounded by forest, The Wood. And there's this point of forest, beyond these gates, that is desert-like. Insomuch as once you enter beyond them, the gates, the air is sapped, there are no animals, the trees even seem scorched. It is all nothingness, stillness. And this is where Titus's ghost remains.

Even as my novella deals much with the concepts of love and loss, a pivotal scene occurs when Evadne ventures into this area of the Wood during a storm. As she enters this area, it's hot and stifled. So, she takes off her jacket, and sees Titus, who proclaims Evadne is in the realm of dirt, earth and he in the realm of the shadows and the sky. As Evadne goes farther into the woods, she comes upon a mere, in which she undresses herself, and submerges. And as she emerges to the surface, Titus is watching:

"When she emerged from the depths, she caught Titus’s eye. He was watching her, admiring her voluptuous neo-raphaelite frame. And, maybe because she was still inviolate, she found his eyes a violation upon her soul. And, for the first time, she felt anger towards Titus. Her body became the air, her soul the earth. And Titus trespassed the line that separated them; he ventured too far into the heat of the sun.
Evadne was hunted. He had hunted her all the way to this Lake. A place where she baptized herself in darkness. Just so she could get a glimpse of where he was; but he saw her first, and this was a violation she couldn’t understand."

From here I re-create the myth of Artemis and Actaeon:

“ 'Fear no more the heat of the sun, for it is in darkness that the sun evolves,' she whispered, and shut her eyes. And listened to Titus’s awful cries. 'Evadne! Evadne!' But she could do nothing. She looked at the surface of the lake, played with her finger so that it made little rivulets from the water.
And, Evadne saw her reflection. It was as if she were looking in a mirror, crystal clear, that would break with the touch of a finger. Her eyes were the color of pine, her lips redder than the sun when it melted at dusk. And her hair, in its wetness, frizzed into a mane of blue-black curls.
She was a part of the Wood. She didn’t want to leave. And as she grew more acquainted with the face staring back, she knew it was only Titus who made her this way. So she cried, and her tears hit the lake as drops of blood. There were no nymphets to swim by her side, to console. She was left with the guilt of killing him.
Evadne turned, and saw the hounds devouring the stag. It couldn’t be. She hadn’t killed the thing she loved; even if all things that were loved were destroyed, she couldn’t fathom doing it to him. She wanted to become the air, like he; she had turned him into earth, into fodder for the carnivores, so she could appease her selfish desire, of knowing what it was like to be ethereal and sublime.
She shooed the hounds away. And knelt over the dead stag. And her tears were no longer tears of blood, but dirt. Which, as she cried more, became muddy. It wasn’t until she gazed at the sky, now grey and thunderous, that she knew she had disturbed the balance. The stillness that only the dead deserved."

I focus on this myth because my novella pertains to the significance of myth, yes, but also because the concept of violation infiltrates every haunting. And here's where I want to go with this stumbling blog. In being violated, like Artemis, Evadne violated her boundaries; she had Titus turned into a stag, devoured by his own hounds. All because she wanted to violate him in the way he had violated her. To show him the boundaries, between earth and shadow. And, to show him that in becoming earth again, that in dying again, he had really killed her. It wasn't the guilt over killing him that's meant to be significant here; it's the guilt of disturbing balances, between here and the hereafter.

There's still quite a way for me to go with this piece. But, it isn't just a Henry James Turn of the Screw (I shouldn't say isn't just, because James was a genius, and the boundaries between madness and real haunting so ephemeral, in his famous novella, that you wonder if the two aren't co-dependent on each other). And, I suggest everyone watch The Innocents; Truman Capote and his co-writers did a fine job adapting James' novella to the screen. But, back to the "reality" of this blog, it does more than dance with hysteria and "truth." It accesses the very means by which we're violated, daily, by death. And how recognizing this, helps us cooperate with life in a way that isn't prosaic, but, mythic. As Dolores (Evadne's mother "maman") thinks:

"What were ghosts but the lingering resolutions left behind? The things that had no beginning or end. But lived in the mind by virtue of being made up?
Dolores had never really seen a ghost so realistic as Titus. There was a time, when she could feel eyes upon her, on the estate, before he died. When it seemed people were whispering, she even heard them, words not meant to be heard, but experienced. And the experience wasn’t in their translation. But in the fear their mood translated.
Maybe Evadne understood this, but never let on. She had to protect her daughter. She couldn’t let her go. But how what that suffice with Mitch? He seemed to linger on the doctor’s every word, as if, it were too difficult for him to grasp that maybe this ghost wasn’t a figment. But a fragment of something grander than imagination. Of our need to manage the world by holding on to all we must let go."

Do we manage the world by holding on to all we "must" let go? Or is this letting go a survival tactic? An illusion meant to allude us to times, which, may not have been better, but carry with them the conscience of antiquity?

I know from experience, as I miss my father dearly, how difficult it is not just to "let go," of the physical being, but to live in the fruition of their hereafter. To mine the ascendancy of what we'll never know. And by being here, go to places that make us angry, "irrational," and, more than anything, sad. Almost like having your lifeblood severed from its breath. I'll end with something Evadne tells her mother, about Titus, because this really sums it up:

“ 'I don’t know, maman, it’s just, I’ve always seen this world as a self-containing place. Where what we are within takes us without. And really, it’s what's without that takes us within. Titus taught me this; seeing him, after he ‘died.’ I took a handful of his soul, and turned him into a cluster of chrysanthemums and kept them close to my heart. And all this reminded me that the secret to life isn’t death, it’s having your beauty severed from its breath.' ”

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Much has been said of nature, red in tooth and claw, and the ways in which it provides some sense of inspiration, if not revelation. I believe nature, if anything, provides one re-discovery. Via objectivity, poetic objectivity, mind you, where a person can attribute the wind with human qualities, make a zephyr cough, and actually become it, that such stuff. Or, just an impulse, hidden too long, that birds in the morning can elaborate, or the foam of a wave coming to and being receded from the shore, the way it controls our ebbs and flows, even if all is a function of human interpretation, guiding the thought that life imitates art.
In his defense on poetry, Shelley had a line memorable to every nascent artist, that is, poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. For some time, this mistook me. I didn't quite realize what he meant. But now, perhaps because my illness has made me closer to a "core," or because after my father's death this May, I've been in numerous existential battles, which, I've come to realize, are never won, perhaps because of this I know more about Shelley, and his inclinations via this phrase.
Poetry has the remarkable quality of revealing to us what we already know. It gives the reader an invented instinct. So, Dickinson, her certain slant of light on winter afternoons, oppresses like the weight of cathedral tunes, has the reader come to a rediscovery, about a moment or instinct this light reflects. Even more prominent is Keats' Nightingale. Its immortal song reminds anyone who reads that poem, of their own mortality, and even sets the reader into a frenzy whose climax is "do I wake or do I sleep?" And Baudelaire, describing the air at dawn as a face full of tears having them swiped away by the dawn's wind. Reading that, you're reminded not just how the dawn operates, but how things are so easily wiped away with every day, and that point in which they are destroyed, is the point in which death becomes beauty, baiting the depths of revelation.
I could go on endlessly. When Shelley set forth that phrase, I don't believe he was referring to matters of politics and whatnot. That's just the metaphor. Poets provide us something priceless, that is, setting us the rules and laws not under which we live, but under which we are re-discovered. And the poem does the same thing to a poet. When a poet finds an appropriate form, and the form the poem wants to take talks back, there is s symbiosis at stake. The poet somehow rediscovers an identity via this form; the form rediscovers an identity via the poet's inclinations. And all of this is recycled, re-created when art is given to the readers' eyes.
And, the realization is, this process goes unacknowledged. It isn't recognized by every reader. Is, in fact, assumed anonymously. But this unacknowledged state is what makes it so perfect, and profound. Because, really, the poem acts like nature. Certainly, our interpretations are at the core of its existence; but it's something there, like a zephyr's cough, to remind us how we're rediscovered. If not through the grace of space and time, at least through the grace of an unassuming line.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Delacroix and Ophelia...

I was just looking over Delacroix's Hamlet lithographs, on line, mind you. And one caught my attention, if only for its capability. That is, The Death of Ophelia. So much has been said, can be said, of death and "madness." Where one is a dream that gives us no counterpoint, on which to fashion myth, the other is a myth that gives us no counterpoint, on which to dream. And what we often, tragically, do not see, is that beauty does not flee. It does not go; beneath a shroud even white and unrefined, it carries its heart unto life, and life unto mind. I wrote this poem some minutes ago, not really taking into mind Hamlet's complexity; more having him play with the visions of love, beauty, and mind:



A pall sets over a daisy,
White and unrefined
It carries no scent
No texture,
But that
Set by your mind.

The river's currents stall
So that your hand,
Grabbing unto a branch,
May induce,
All that could ever be,
Summed up in a dream.

But your dream takes me far
Far from fantasy,
I am no counterpoint to my Self
No myth made out of mind,
More the kind of Dream
That imprisons stars in a glass box.

And makes a ring out of flowers
Freshly cut,
All to parade in the parade's end
Some kind of stream that does not bend
To curve or waterfall,
Just takes you still and wanting life.

When your hair touched the river
Was it encompassed in swirls?
Did it dance to shiftless currents?
Was its tendril a gentle curl?
Or was it frenzied by the touch
Of a friendly frigid pall?

You did not want to go
But your mind made it so,
Hand brushed over your chest
Garments washed in rainbows
Beauty has no wish
But to make you think it goes.

I saw him as I see you,
Rex and Iron Mail,
Sword in hand,
Only his was fleshy
And yours a dream
Set in eyes of deepest blue.

With your eyelids shut
Little daisy,
White pall,
Scent and touch
Set by my mind,
I carry you unto my death

Bloodied and yet refined.

I think Hamlet and Ophelia make intriguing counterpoints. To me, both weren't maddened by the loss that came unto them. But the gain. An awareness, if you will, which a more sensitive nature just cannot endure, without falling into "death and madness." If Hamlet's madness was a mask to protect his poetic soul, so was Ophelia's, only hers was the truth there is no soul, something so damning, it carries us all to an unwanted "Gaol."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A la Caravaggio

Although the poem, below, is dedicated to Caravaggio (particularly his famous depiction of Medusa's head), it is much more than this. Medusa isn't malicious, here, by means of turning me to stone. She tempers grief. She is, in fact, the flesh against which I re-discover my stone:

For Caravaggio

On a shield your eyes writhe
Like the trestle of snakes
Whose eyes reach out
From your mane.
One would think your disdain,
Your small mouth
And small fangs,
Were fixed on a certain point.

They do not look at me,
So the blood spilling
From your severed head,
Is like a zephyr on the sea.
Skin not yet ashen,
The flesh of an amber peach
Set against green and copper
A storm against a lake.

But the songs of the snake,
Violin Stings
Weaved into your scalp,
Are the busters of a vacant street.
Your eyes sing more to me,
That point on which they’re fixed,
The soul to which my tears affix,
A marble cutter’s Art.

My face is just a loam
For the chalcedony it hides.
When I see your scream,
I want to hide
From the green rain
Acid upon my skin.
But I can’t,
Because it is your mane

And it is the pain of my flesh,
A bloody loam,
That brings me back
To nothing;
For what am I if not
A snakeless head
Eyes already dead,
Already shaped to ashen stone?"

Much can be said of grief and loss. I think the death of my father brought me back to everything. And, sometimes my "grieving" makes me feel as if I am made of stone, if the loam of flesh I wear isn't just that, an alabaster loam? But then I know, that he's part of something exceeding me. Something, I cannot, for the human life of me, color with human shades. Baudelaire knew about this need, for a particular beauty, for artists and whatnot, only found in death, but he also knew that the difference between life and death is as simple as a breath. They are twins. The flesh/stone, stone/loam I speak of in my poem. Separated by something so small, and yet such a Colossus. So perhaps the only task that makes us wise is building dreams of nothing. And thinking we are flesh, when really we are stone.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Les Paradis artificiels

It seems, to me, any apotheosis, or better yet, any point of sublimation, requires... work. If one is to enhance beauty, within an artistic piece, it isn't something that is a function of morals or mere passion; but a point of reflection. Where one looks into a mirror and sees themselves as subject/object, somnambulist/mesmerizer, etc.,

I admire Baudelaire because he realized this, and in his Les Paradis artificiels, where he pits a comparison between Wine and Hashish, (I'm only just in the beginning of this work), he signifies something that correlates so well to the artistic process. I'll begin with Paganini. It was said that Paganini, prior to fame, traveled with a Spanish guitarist, who happened to be an immense talent, an immense beauty. On one of his travels, this Spanish guitarist came across a marble cutter; the guitarist was slated to give a concert for the bourgeois in town that night, but they found him entirely drunk with the marble cutter, so when he went on stage, many were offended, and left. But those who stayed, were privy to something that really cannot compact to word. The marble cutter wasn't gifted on his violin, but once he started playing, the guitarist provided a contrast befitting every notion of beauty that can be conceived. What Baudelaire was trying to say, in approaching this, is that wine, as opposed to Hashish, produces useful results. Hashish, according to him, is useless and dangerous.

Bear in mind, I'm just in the beginnings, of this work; once I read it entirely, I'll provide a more perspicacious blog. When Baudelaire describes the effects of Hashish, he exemplifies an Objective process. Where an individual's conscious behavior disappears from time to time. So that everything is just that, objective, and the person affected can become a tree swaying in the wind, losing the sense of self command so significant to "reality."

Hashish is antisocial; wine tantamount to the nature of man. At least, according to what I've read thus far, what Baudelaire has said. What I want to pinpoint in this blog, though, which seems to lack focus at the moment, is that we always seem to be in search of artificial paradises. A way to fuse the animal (man) and the vegetable (wine, hashish), so that another being erupts, a divinity, if you will, the holy ghost in an unholy trinity. The question becomes, can we exceed the artificial aims and create paradises of our own, on our own?

I'll quote something from Barbereau:

"I fail to see why rational, reasoning man must employ artificial means to reach poetic bliss when he can, with enthusiasm and will, raise himself up to a supranatural existence.

The great poets, philosophers, and prophets have all, by the free and pure exercise of their will, succeeded in reaching a state in which they were at once cause and effect, subject and object, mesmerizer and somnambulist."

Baudelaire's response to this is, "there I completely agree."

And it's something I've always tended to believe. Wine is wonderful, and I imagine hashish, which I've never tried, opium was never a drug of choice (!), does bring one to what feels like a philosophic and artistic apotheosis. The more sensitive natures, at least. Hashish inspires kef, the point of perfect bliss. Where man literally becomes God.

But if one has the capacity, they are able to become the subject and object of their will, they are able to exceed the artificial paradises, and come to a paradise of their own "Dasein." I really wish I could go back to the Hotel Pimodan (back in time, that is) and see a whole series of Delacroix's Hamlet lithographs... and meet Baudelaire and Gautier and whatnot... but what I really anticipate, in everything I do, is to bring things to their intrinsic possibility. The true cultivation of beauty, by means of a will that makes me cause and effect, subject and object, mesmerizer and somnambulist. That takes me to a point of reflection, so that the mirror I view, isn't Narcissus gazing over his own reflection, but Artemis inviolate by Actaeon's violation. Bearing the "soul" to the world, when really this is a mask of something more infinite, what we're ineluctably grasping (at). So maybe that's why we aspire to artificial paradises, there are too many quandaries to resolve, but perhaps, the key to it all, is will; the will, more importantly, to see that Les Paradis artificiels are always things of our own making. But if we bring our will to full apotheosis, the things of our own making become the things that exceed, and make us. Yes, that primordial yawp of the inimitable Whitman.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Diaphanous Dawn

Much like the gloaming, the dawn wears no mask. Its task is to erase the boundaries of night, into a conception of re-awakening. I woke to the dawn today. Sleep seems a bit inaccurate for me, la somnambule! I've been thinking about something, perhaps best conceptualized in my most recent poem, about the island of Cythera. Cohabiting love/beauty and death:

There is an island where Myrtle and Cypress
Feed each other golden threads.
Near where Leucas gave Sappho
To the surf, and the rocks,
Until her heart was dead.

But here, Sappho’s hair is golden,
Her lips a poppy red,
And the sky,
A face of blemishes,
Has its clouds cleared away,

And the grass grows dewy,
Under a gloaming tent,
And the moon launders its beams,
Over dawn,
And all the anemones bunched like stars
Wait for the feet that would crush them down.

I remember ages ago, when I first read Keats' Ode To A Nightingale, and I couldn't help but cry, thinking about his concepts of his own mortality. Perhaps because they co-mingled with mine. It's interesting, it seems to temper death, we create something immortal, against which our lives can be a vast relief. But being in relief has its disadvantages. Especially when doubt torments us, and we are left with what? Space and time. "The ineluctable modality of form." Even as we dream, feed on the dream of being on Lethe wards drunk, dreaming the immortal Nightingale's song, we only go wrong in attempting to pretend it all amounts to more than nothing. And I do not say this as a nihilist and whatnot, nothingness is beautiful. It's capable, culpable. And makes me realize all the more that even "source" is a mask for something more... infinite.

Is this heaven or is this hell?
She waits for a hand
Soft and white, to break the Myrtle and Cypress,
And fashion them into a crown,
Flowers of Lethe’s thorns.

I don't know why, but dawn seems more diaphanous to me than anything. Even more than the moon laundering its beams over an ocean's horizon. I suppose because in it I find something of a shape shifting Idol, and what are we if not makers and breakers of our own diaphanous Idols? The difference between Keats' Nightingale and my dawn is simple; whereas Keats can set himself in relief, really acting as the source for this creature, I'm the shadow to something endemic. And what could be more endemic than the cusp, the burgeoning of life from sleeping?

Maybe I'll play Stravinsky's Firebird. Just to remind me how in art, like life, everything is a matter of re-creation. An author, like any concept of divinity, is both a known and unknown force, upon which we set ourselves up, to be made, and, ineluctably... broken.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

K'NAAN - Take A Minute (Director: Amir Aziz)

I wish to make this blog, not so much, about me. Tonight, I saw K'NAAN perform on Austin City Limits. And, I must say, he was exquisite. This video provides a wonderful montage of historic figures, who have fought for the liberty of others. By the by, I also read a lot of Baudelaire today, and I'm including below a poem inspired by his Danse Macabre:


It may be his eyes were a field of violets,
Or redder than Hyacinth’s lips, to Apollo,
Sun to Hadrian’s kiss
In cloudy skies and neverness

He walked, his gaze an unknown shore.
A point in the night sky,
Beside stars who seemed to grow brighter,
In the light of his remorse.

Even youth in all its dawned dew
Will vapor into ether
Of something newer, a veil covering
His face, thin and diaphanous,

Evaporating time and space.
Hadrian loved his young dream,
A boy whose eyes’ omission,
Many a Lovelace, at the commission

Of some never place grew newer,
With each false lover erased.
But Hadrian could not see,
The remorse upon his boy’s lips,

The deadly kiss,
Of being forever, in the narrowness
That life, and mask, and role,
Defied, the narrowness of his Soul

Trapped behind his poisoned eyes!
The most infamous Lovelace took a mirror
And put it before this boy’s face,
And what could he see

But eyes of black, their blackened grace
The grace of carrying nothing,
An emptiness even space envied,
And time tried to traverse,

But nothing could traverse what seeing them
Saw, the Lovelace laughed, at this boy’s appall,
What was the world before the fall,
But a broken vault, from life’s thinnest pall?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A touch of the poet...

While i did see A Touch Of The Poet, with Gabriel Bryne(s), in the city (New York City), some years ago, this is no blog pertaining to his performance or masterful playwrights. It's more, an intimation of where my mind has been. Oscar Wilde said Hamlet's madness may have been a mask, his way of having a poetic nature cope with the crude realities of "something rotten in the state of Denmark!" I sometimes wonder if his madness wasn't sanity; if the true insanity he could not display, so his foray into madness was really an act of futility. But, I'm not here to analyze. Simply to say, Wilde's explanation of Hamlet pertains to me, too. I find it difficult, at times, to manage the crudities of "reality," even tonight, I was asking the ubiquitous, irksome question, why, are we here?
So, when Nietzsche wanted to discover the soul of man, could he really find anything except Nihilism? Perhaps, nay, Fatalism? That will to power seems to me to be an intrinsic possibility. But, I will not go into Dasein (Heidegger), or Pulchrum Est Paucorum Hominum (Beauty is for the few). I will say, I think being in Montauk some weeks ago (for those not cognizant of Long Island's geography, Montauk is the far eastern tip, where Long Island ends, hence it being called "The End." It's quite lovely. A getaway akin to the Hamptons in everything but... snobbery), I think being in Montauk some weeks ago made me see just how much I miss my father. Looking at the waves he used to surf, thinking he actually met Truman Capote out there, when he was in his early twenties I believe. And realizing that the cancer that killed him, so he couldn't even make it to 60, was synonymous with life... more death, though I believe the two are twins. Something that eats away. That continues. Without a cognizance of anything, except nothing. Through all of this I came to poetic expression.
Here is a small selection of the poems I wrote, I'll include two, maybe three, of six or seven:


A sky of ashen shadows
Hovers, no clouds to see,
Just the white light,
It seems, my destiny.

But I prefer shadows
That blacken the earth,
And suck from its blood,
The roots and the dirt,

Another kind of shadow,
One without a source,
Fainting its way through my blood,
Its blood a serpent’s course.

And when it bites into my flesh,
The apple’s rind,
Red and bloodied and intermeshed,
With the blood of death and time,

I seek no answer to my life,
Except that nothing is,
And from nothing, to fashion fate,
Seems the work of Sin.

Here's another, which I wrote today:


Your complexion is white,
The freckles on your face,
A sea of clouds,
Overwhelming the light,
The sun once hid.

You give me negation,
Not a shadow
Made stronger by its source,
But a fire’s ember,
Set to windy force,

I’m carried by the wind,
But only when I dream,
And dreams are a source
To the seam
Reality never sows.

In my dreams,
The sun hides,
The moon shines,
And Mary perches atop the moon,
Wearing a thousand thorns.

Nothing like your slap,
Across my face
Making my complexion burn,
Her kiss was born in sorrow,
But yours is born to spurn.

You temper me with your clouds,
With the blue that hides itself,
Much like the sun,
So I am the fate and talisman,
Of being nothing, and no one.

And this, in its rudimentary stages, is dedicated to Baudelaire; I also wrote it today:

For the eternal Baudelaire


A river runs her boundaries, in a sickly stream
Simois runs, and Andromache thinks she’s home,
Seeks the blue sky in her eye’s reflections,
Expands little Simois to new directions.

And when a tear runs down her face,
She dreams of this sacred place,
Here flesh found flesh in soul,
And Hector was a little knoll,

Where Simois hushed itself,
So she could lie in the grass,
No fate to fall,
Except the one in soft blades,

Tickling the tears time befalls.
A swan is out of place,
An albatross to water
Whose air is its home,

I see it, and think of Andromache,
Wings flailing, hurried yelps,
Wandering in the rough,
When the soft water was well enough.

A swan that is an heir to Leda,
Revenge is sharp like its beak,
There are things, of which it does not speak,
Being found without its self-retreat,

Away from home, from anything,
It was a God, and now a king
Without a crown, a clown, performing
Tricks in self-misery.

It doesn’t think repentance,
When joy breeds its diaphanous threads,
Just dances with cloth above its head,
And makes a veil out of my face.

But fate has made another way,
So joy is just a fickle spell,
And heaven is a self-made hell,
Where fire ices everything.


I stood over your mound,
An ant crawled above the grass and dirt,
And life laughed at my expression
Knowing all was its possession,

The ant should have been crushed,
Kicked, smudged into the earth,
But it kept its course,
A swelling river without a source.

Such is life, and its Simois
The flailing Swan,
No place to go, no home to find,
No core to make its blushing rind,

Just Andromache’s dream, her sickly stream,
The river that was her life’s esteem,
Now barren, a little rill whose happening
Happened to be the wound of, nothing.

The last one isn't too good. But I am going to revise it. The others are mediocre, I'd say. Even so, I hope you didn't abhor, them. I'm quite fascinated by the concept of nothing. If all that we see and seem is but a dream within a dream, why are we so focused on purpose?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Purple Rivers

I've decided, after I finish my second novel, I'm going to compose a book of poems. With Persephone as the theme. Persephone being me, half heaven, half hell, half winter, half spring, all recovering, all my withering. I'm going to begin it with a dedication. To The Dead. And it will follow this way:

If purple is the color,
That soot your holy hue,
To trinity of black,
To tragedy and truth,

Let dolorous purple,
Thin the Virgin's skin,
Under an under cover,
Sample the rood of sin,

It is only in sin to suffer,
The amber and the black,
And find for each an emblem,
For Heaven Hell and back,

But bloodied is the sin,
That in purple blood redeems,
The angel and the leper,
The Devil and its dreams,

In dreams you walk,
In purple rivers,
Moon lit, soft, and sweet,
What the Soul will not deliver,

For the Soul is pretense,
And Fate a passer by,
But Death is Life's first lover,
And Beauty the gloaming sky,

You wander in no garden,
Except where thorns prevail,
And the roses of the gloaming,
Have no fate to scale,

Except the thirsting, searching,
Loving, the bidding you adieu,
So me and you and everyone,
Sees to Sorrow sin and good,

And in these purple rivers,
Where everything holds true,
There is no sin to Sorrow,
But the loss of Sin in You.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where there is sorrow there is holy ground

I've been absent. And as I watch my father's favorite tree hanging its leaves in the front yard, I cannot help but say, where there is sorrow there is holy ground. I read it in Wilde's profound De Profundis; and there are some things Wilde touches upon that relate, almost too well, to me.
When you feel as if everything has been stripped away, the way I felt at 19 when I was first diagnosed with the Lupus, humility finds you. It isn't something you can give. It isn't something you can receive from another. It's an endemic nakedness, that we all have, and can only be rediscovered through trying times. Wilde knew this. And there's something about sorrow he touches upon that I must touch upon. Yes, he says where there is sorrow there is holy ground, I imagine inspired by a verse his mother used to recite from Goethe, but he also admits sorrow is really the secret to art and life and individualism. Sorrow, unlike vacuousness, has no mask; it attempts to make its soul incarnate, its body introspective. Like... art.
There are definite modes of being, we all experience, through life. We are colored and tempered by Mood, so that it seems Mood, is the supreme creator, of a rediscovered creation. But, when you think, as Wilde thought in Reading Gaol, that shallowness is the supreme vice. And all beautiful things must be realized, you come to find the importance of sorrow in consort with the imagination.
Many feel their relationship, sorrow and imagination, is clandestine. That they don't really meet to exaction. Their coming together is a secret, something they hide from you, ruthlessly, so that you feel sorrowful without an imaginative pulse.
But, it seems to me, sorrow and imagination are inextricably bound. Because when you find humility, when you're fortunate enough to rediscover this treasure you've buried, you sometimes, or at least I have, find an essence. An intrinsic possibility, I call it. And you begin to sense this in everything. The consort of science, and silence, in their loudest capacity, come to be a source for beauty and creation. I've been thinking a lot about art. I've had a difficult time since my father's death, trying to realize things. But, I've found that the sorrow I feel at his loss, isn't the Mood that can be fashioned into an idea and visual concept, presented as a hanging climax to your artistic audience. It's more the creation of Mood. The only experience we have that can reveal itself while revealing the beauty of everything. Pulchrum Est Paucorum Hominum. Beauty is for the few, because it must be realized. And, to me, what' beautiful is the end result of sorrow and imagination; the taking a form, even an "ugly" form by societal standards, and taking its capability, its intrinsic possibility to such a point that, you experience its beauty. I'm not saying we should take life, and say Nature is inviolate, I'd more agree with Tennyson that it's (Nature) red in tooth and claw. But, Nature is violated by the idea of its being inviolate; when it should be inviolate by our need to make it violated. Just like... art.
There are numerous and numinous parallels between. I'm all excited because I'm going to get The Flowers of Evil and Paris Spleen by mail (Baudelaire) some time this week. From what I understand, of him, he understood what Wilde did. He didn't just revolutionize poetic art, he revolutionized Individualism. And being an Individual isn't anything but a re-discovery, of something you've buried long ago. Like Sorrow and Imagination and Mood. Like all great art, whether it be poetic, visual, prosaic, photographic, it reveals to us what we already know. And it's this, re-discovery, that makes us, not only more cognizant of real beauty, but... indeed wiser.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kis's grand cenotaph

I'm about to indulge in "Dogs and Books," a short story of Danilo Kis, included in A Tomb For Boris Davidovich. The eponymous Boris (Davidovich)-his story is included within the anthology-incites me to the ramifications of historical precedent, even when such precedent is built upon feathers... that is... lies. Boris reawakens me to something a professor once mentioned, that is, that Soren Kierkegaard said, purity of heart is to will one thing. When you think about Boris's struggle with Fedukin, his deceptively perspicacious interrogator, you realize how this one thing is a haven for the redeemer and the damned. What I enjoy, thus far, of Kis's work, is its ability to put you in historical frameworks, via fictional accounts of humans who, obviously, have never existed,materially. But whom, once you become inter-meshed in their stories, materially manifest, to justify the immateriality of history.

A writer can do so much within a fictional work. In Kis's case, he seems to take that damned, beserk Trojan horse Comintern (as Brodsky deemed it), and involve its riders in a race to futility. He takes the history of time, and makes it irrelevant, to the history of fiction. There's an idea presented in A Tomb For Boris Davidovich, which startled me. That is, the cenotaph. *Bear in mind I'm referring wholly to the individual story, not the anthology.*

In the story Kis brings up an ancient Greek tradition. Anyone who perished by fire, swallowed by a volcano, by lava, torn to pieces by beasts, sharks, or whose corpse was prey to vultures in the desert, any one of these individuals would have an empty tomb created on their behalf. Called a Cenotaph. For the body is only fire, water, or earth, whereas the soul is the Alpha and the Omega, "to which a shrine should be erected."

It seems to me, by having Boris's death be self-inflicted, via a furnace of fire, Kis was saying much of the revolutions and counterrevolutions we maximize historically, only to minimize rhetorically. We cannot say everything of history; all we have are annals of ancestry and anecdotal accounts. So it seems some of our greatest historians are raconteurs; Kis was seeming to hint, through his stories, that by being close to historical atrocities, they can almost be made irrelevant and even absurd, and the tellers of their "happenings," are like jesters in a court. Deciding which purview to take, to amuse, to arouse, to incite. More so, he dignifies the dangers of historicism, inventing histories with no real allusion (to the past).

What I've noted thus far from this anthology, is that all of the "historical" accounts Kis sets up for his characters are a mainstay of anecdotal reference. Anecdote and real historical events collide, to create a Colossus, upon which no one can slay and thrive, or, like the doomed Comintern, ride. Brodsky was right to call the Comintern a Trojan horse. Kis was right to make this horse susceptible to the irrelevancies of facts, and the Cenotaphs of fiction. It seems much of what we take for granted, those of us who live in countries that aren't marred by dictatorships... by Stalins... etc., is our ability to properly place those countries that are, into empty tombs. The cenotaph isn't an homage, then, but a sabotage. It takes what has faded, and deceives this fading, into an empty monument. Which is really full of legacy.

A Tomb For Boris Davidovich has me questioning much of Yugoslavian history, even as none of the characters are of Yugoslavian descent. The book has nothing to do with Yugoslavia or its internal situation. All it bears in common to Yugoslavian history is an allusion to the beserk, futile, Comintern. The riders of which, all Kis's characters, create an ideology professed "today," in the name of which they were murdered "yesterday." In the name of which the still faithful are infuriated to read.
So where do fiction and history collide?

I'd say, not in life, not in dying, but in the cenotaphs we erect to make something of our lives, our despairing, and the often unforeseen ramifications of our greatest expectations.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Keats, evil, and Imogen...

I've been thinking about, not the "meaning" of art, as I believe that's an endemic, primordial encompassing, but how an artist should be in relation to their subject matter. Keats purportedly could conceive evil just as easily as he could (conceive) good. Counter Shakespeare's Iago to his Imogen, and you'll see, an artist isn't meant to dabble in ethical matters. In a previous blog I mentioned Truman's (Capote) apple theory, and Wilde held this too. That an artist must be distanced from their subject matter, and not simply to employ the lyrical beauty of a piece, but to master its integrity. Dorian Gray wasn't meant for criminals and illiterates (allusion to The Scots Observer). The atmosphere of perceived corruption in Dorian Gray was meant to be vague, to push the plot and its (piece's) vocation. People who complained of it being an immoral book, failed to see, any sins that were conceived in reading it were of their own kind, their own proclivities, and making.

I have an idea about art outlined in my second novel. I'd include an excerpt from it, here, but have been advised to keep the work to myself. It is this: its birthing is idea, and becomes concept when the idea achieves a finality, going from thought to perception. It's when the artist can perceive the color, taste, and tact of the idea that it becomes a concept to be had. Once this is put to paper, the concept dies, and evolves into something that requires lyricism and integrity, which is in the artist's purview, always, instinct*ually*, what I would deem a memory. It is only in this "memory" that a re-creation occurs; so concept, idea are refashioned into a climax, whose denouement occurs when the audience looks on, upon, the piece.

When the climax dies, so too does the secret. An artist always has a view no one will fully comprehend. People can conceive of things, kill the author/artist, and create their own concepts, which are sustained in climax. The climax doesn't die for them, because they are on the receiving end.

In my second novel I do project a juxtaposition between ancestry and historicism. It seems, to me, with a work of art, the ancestry is always in the author's scope; it's the audience who give it a new identity, fashioned not from the past, but the future. Any link to the past is thus, obliterated. Art is made historical by being historicized, but historicism can only go so far. I think when a reader realizes the artist was committing suicide in giving the piece away, a small act of suicide, mind you, because the very distance between the artist and their climax includes, ineluctably, an individual, unique, bent. It is only the artist who can create a piece endemic to themselves. When a reader realizes this, they see how magical art is. Because it sustains them (audience) in climax.

Of course, none of this can occur if an artist is in the immense immediacy of their emotions. They must be distanced. The subject is meant to be distanced. They must be able to eschew ethics, and make a climax out of the integrity of the memory at hand. It is only in the integrity of this memory, that a climax of truth and integration exists. Without which, there would be nothing of creation but pop and insurmountable fluff, good to escape, but not good, for Art.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

16 Tite Street (Chelsea)

I'm looking at a copy, from Merlin Holland's brilliant account of his grandfather's (Oscar Wilde) libel trial, of an auction notice. On Wednesday, April 24th, 1895, Wilde's home on Tite Street, his Arundel Society Prints, his Chippendale and Italian Chairs, Old Persian Carpets, Rugs, Brass Fenders, Moorish and Oriental embroideries, old blue and white china, etc., were auctioned off. By order of the Sheriff. I suppose I'm focusing on this today, because it seems Oscar's "offense," which resulted in two years hard labor at Reading Gaol, was simply him abiding by his nature. Posing as a Sodomite may have been the source for his libel trial, but Wilde's homosexuality was/is something that shouldn't have resulted in jail time.

Oscar lived, in what I imagine, was a very complicated internal... frenzy. His integrity to his art wasn't just brave. It was endemic. His integrity to life, the same.

I am thinking of Oscar now, what it must have been like, at Reading Gaol. Knowing I must read De Profundis again. And, perhaps because I'm dumb or utterly off-kilter, I find an affinity with him, now, pertaining to something exceeding life, law, and liberty: death.

When someone dies, that you adore, or when an aspect of you seems to die because of illness, you're left auctioning pieces of yourself away. To what, one wonders? To the serious, unrelenting natural crest. A friend sent me The Denial of Death, which I have yet to read. But in the beginning, there's this need for us to recognize nature as Tennyson would have it, red in tooth and claw. Rather than focus on its deceptive surface, we should recoil unto the core, of everything, and that is, violence, destruction, and death.

By my estimation, these past weeks have been horrid. I've succumbed to voices no one should succumb to, I've dignified an oppressive evil with my vulnerability. I've mourned. I've screamed. I've sobbed, endlessly. And, I don't know why, but thinking about my father's final breath, coincides now with my own internal illness. Not the mental one, but, the Systemic Lupus, more specifically, Lupus Nephritis.

People say we shouldn't be defined by our diseases. Or anything that oppresses us. I have realized, however, that we are shadows to these violent sources. It is all so ineluctable, how can we not, at times, give in, and feel wretched, vile, and powerless? After my dad died, I felt a contrast between the self I had auctioned away, because of my disease, to the self I had secreted away, because of his death. And as the days progressed, since his passing, I began to give my secrets away. To nature red in tooth and claw. To what I cannot see. To what Joyce would see as the ineluctable modality of form. Simply, change.

I auctioned away bits of me that will never come back. So, as I think of 16 Tite Street on this June evening, I must remember, the shame wasn't the auctioning of his belongings. It was the auctioning of his (Wilde's) soul. In a poem I'm working on, Demeter thinks about aspects being secreted away each time Persephone goes to Hades. Secreted to the clouds, and their rainy seed, to the procreative cycle, of death and life. So, I'll master the obvious, and say, without an ounce of daftness, that it isn't really death we fear. But life, going on against death's ineluctable will. Because death is ineluctable, it's instinct and intuition. And I do believe we all know one thing: life may be easier because of death, if we choose to live how we desire to live, but more often than not, death is made easier because of life, and while we pass each day, not even aware a breath is taken away, we sometimes forget to heed death's ineluctable, frightening, but... pro-creative will.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Post Death, Post Illness, Post Delirium...

Do forgive my not posting anything in quite some time. Things have been quite horrid, here. Some of you may not know that my father passed away on May 7th, a day before his 34th wedding anniversary, with mom. And mom was hospitalized on Sunday, given her dangerously low potassium and low blood pressure. She got home today, but they're still trying to figure if it would have anything to do with her kidneys. Which would make sense, considering her mother's kidney failure, and my own kidney disease, from Lupus.

On this late afternoon, I wish to write about... grief. Pardon my damper on your happiness, but it's something so elemental, to all species. It signifies our capacity for predisposing the primordial, taking it, and making a bounty of its... nothingness. We predispose it to its own mask, which is nothing but the mask of our fate. A sweet, palpable nothing, the on children(s) lips the singing carries a tale confused but pain still clear, the way clear water carries the strain of love long past and leaves it unsaid. A lullaby I included in one of my earlier blogs.

When my father died, I was certain I'd grieve more. I did bawl when I saw him in his coffin for the first time. I did tremble when a Deacon we know gave a touching sermon at his wake, seeing so many people, there, that he impacted, seeing his knee board on display, which many mistook for a surf board. Mind you, he adored surfing, but in these later years knee boarding became his capacity.

I do not want to disconcert any of my readers, if you still exist, or frighten you, shoo you away. But, grief, for me, involves my illnesses. Mostly the depressive psychosis. I am two entities; one, adoring, kind, soiled only in the purity of my imagination. The other, evil, vile, pure only in the soiling of my imagination. I'm quite frightened, readers, because I feel the second bit overwhelming. It has swallowed me these past few weeks. I won;t even pursue the voices I hear, but, my sister told me, maybe it's a mental deviant's way of grieving. (Those really weren't her words, she said something more along the lines of a mentally ill individual's capacity for grief, involves that, deception of the mind).

My experience with grief follows: it is all deception. My mind deceives me into feeling happy, into laughing at things I shouldn't laugh (at), and feel quite guilty laughing over. All I can make of this, is the way that grief has a way of predisposing us, taking us, making us into sources of shadow. We might become delirious, delusional, disarrayed, but all of us, in some way, find our own "sun." Our own blond-black assassin, killing every inch of its presence in the way our shadows want to thrive. So what are we to do? Die, each day, because life is nothing but the drag death wears to make it (life) laugh?

I don't know; I'm not certain. I believe what I've found, through all of this, is that my answers are kaput. Have always been that way. As have my questions. Not grasping even nothing, with expressionless much chagrined. Paragon nonchaloir. That is, always has been, I. I've never been more confused by my "mind," but must focus it, somehow, on writing, and Wilde's trial(s), on Soren's proclamation, purity of heart is to will one thing. So what is it I'm willing? A body that will not die, but a presence that always will *die* in its own blond remembrance. The remembrance of things past is really an amnesiac; all our lives are one amnesiac's plunder. And the plunder is this:

the body, the ghost and holy host wrapped into one unholy trinity.

Friday, April 23, 2010


It's quite difficult, as we all know, to cope with the fading of someone we love. I must say, seeing my father in pain, etc., knowing these might be our final days together, etc., puts me in a horrid state. My depression is exacerbated, my thoughts, exacerbated. I can hardly write these blogs. All I can do is provide you (with) fiction. From me. So, I've decided, to give you a continuation of Part 2 1/2. I certainly hope you don't abhor it; if you adore it (which I doubt) do relay as much. I'd be quite happy and honored to hear your responses. And, mark me, I don't utilize writing as a catharsis. Some may speculate it is that in many respects, cathartic. But, I'm of the mind, the concept(s) at hand, when I write, are less venting and more relenting. More about this later. In my second novel Deirdre goes on about how art isn't meant to be cathartic, etc., But I won't bore you with that now. I might bore you, instead, with the continuation, and here it is:

“Well,” she said, “He was just listening to all my grievances, against you of course. Don’t’ look so dour! You know I’m kidding. Really, we were talking about personas. How people take on guises to complement their own… lack, of persona.”
“I’d disagree,” Dedrick said.
“Yes, yes, of course you would,” she said, and left the two of them in a corner, against a mirror and coat rack.
Dedrick turned to the mirror. It spat back his Romanesque nose. And the way it twitched. The mirror told him he was nervous.
Sylvia balanced her way to another room. The kitchen perhaps. May it be she was going for more wine? Or was she hiding something, from him. Dedrick never took much care of those who were meant to be close, to him. He found it far more resourceful to ignore them, so when you did pay attention there was so much more interest to be had. And Sylvia was no exception. Something was happening to her. That she should even venture outside in the getup she was in was surprising indeed.
“Mr. Forrester, haven’t you heard a word I just said?”
“No, no, and forgive me, doctor, I was just thinking, to myself, of course.”
“Within yourself, you mean.”
Dedrick excused himself, and went to the kitchen. She was there. Sitting at a table, looking at a bee circling the fake flowers. Her eyes were a blue made bluer by the darkness around them. They were large, and not so inquisitive. More dream like. As if, when she looked at you, she was really thinking of something else, so very far away.
“So, you’ve found me,” she said, with a giggle.
He didn’t respond. He only walked over to her side, and brushed his hand upon her soft shoulder. She wasn’t wearing her usual powder; the fragrance was more distinct. Like flowers in bloom. Exotic, too.
“Whatever are you thinking?” She said.
“Nothing important,” he said. And sat beside her. And brushed his finger through her long dark locks.
“Will you stop that?” She said.
He stopped. He turned in for a kiss. But she turned away.
“What’s wrong, Sylvia?”
“Nothing except the obvious.”
“Which is?”
“You think you know everything about me, and I so little, about you. Which, in some ways, is true. But, in many ways, isn’t.”
“You’ll always be enigma…”
“Will you stop that? I’ve had enough of your lies, Mr. Forrester. Funny thing is, you think you’re pulling the ultimate trick. The way to cheat death into thinking it could ever lose to life. You put on a false identity, which makes people want to know the real you, and you keep it ever so secreted away. Without even knowing, when you put up a false affront, people find you’re really anticlimactic. When you set up the truth, people are always expecting more.”
“I still don’t understand…”
“You wouldn’t, Rick, now would you?”
“Now that’s just not fair…”
“You know, I’d understand if you had some wild reality to secret away. I always knew you weren’t who you said you were. But, to think, Mr. Forrester is keeping the secret, that he’s really dull? I can’t accept it.”
“Then don’t.”
“It’s a bit too late for that.”
“So,” he said, “What do you want?”
“I want,” she gasped. “I want some time to myself. That’s all.”
“Away from me?”
“That is what having time to oneself means. Away from you. Away from everyone.”
“Except yourself, of course.”
She didn’t appreciate how he could complete her thoughts. How he so readily completed her life. Taking all the details he knew, and fashioning them into some fictional altruism.
“What kind of wine is that?” He said.
“White Zinfandel.”
“Your favorite,” he said.
She took a final sip, and rose. And left a kiss on his cheek. And said, “You don’t know, do you? How you’ve managed to break my heart, so it seems there was never any heart broken to begin with.”
He didn’t have the urge to cry. He couldn’t laugh. He could only affirm it; he had destroyed her. Like so many, she had been, for him, the perfect marionette. When he fashioned his characters, in all his works, they were always based on the people closest, to him. This latest novella was no exception. He used her; he took every bit of her dignity, and fashioned it into trite wordplay.
It was as if, he was holding her, and controlling what she said. Her movements. Her intuitions. Were all fashioned by him.
And what didn’t trouble him was his lack of guilt. She let this happen. They all did. He, so enamored they’d sacrifice themselves to be close, to him, enamored everyone. There was something about Dedrick’s ego that drove people bonkers. And yet, none of them knew who he really was. Some, with Sylvia’s perception, would say he were really dull. But her perception wasn’t too keen. Neither were the people who thought this novella was all about him, and his life. Truth be told, he was scared to confront the real Mr. Forrester.
There was something to amnesia. Sylvia complemented him in the sense her thoughts were so overbearing, her madness so inclined, she could eradicate her past. And wonder; was any of it even true? Did she lose her brother? Did she deal with this illness for a time? Or was it all artificial? The bee swarmed around the fake flowers, it had to know the scent wasn’t there. But it was attracted to their luminance; the luminance the key, to everything, in life. Even if it was false, we were always so attracted to it. Sylvia was stretching at something she could no longer handle, when she tried to off herself, it wasn’t like she even considered the life she had, with him. She saw everything as a contrivance, and the artificiality became too overbearing, she had to leave. And lose her soul to the hollow host.
He could have been wrong, about all of this. He may have been imposing himself on her. He often did that, in real life. In fiction, it was always the lives of others being imposed on his psyche and into words. In real life, it was his life imposed onto others and into their actions.
When he met Sylvia, she was 24. A friend, whose name he couldn’t even recall anymore, who said she was the real deal, introduced her to him. Really avant-garde, he said. The real deal. So when she floated up to him, treading rough on the air, he was asphyxiated by those dreaming eyes. When she looked at him, he knew she looked beyond him. Into what sort of world? He knew she’d be the perfect wife, because she could invent what was beyond him. She could care less for his real identity. She was really avant-garde.
He knew about the Lupus. She was diagnosed at nineteen. She had to leave school to study close at home. She’d deal with oppressive bouts of fatigue and arthritis. None of which he could feel, because he had never experienced it. And when she was diagnosed with this nephritis, he wanted to scream. He really did care about her, on some level; the real Sylvia. Knowing her kidneys were scarred, seeing what the Prednisone did to her, and the chemo, and now the CellCept. She was 25 when the nephritis happened. It had been four years since. At 29 she was wearing the body of something that must have been monstrous, to her. And he didn’t know, how despairing it was. To lose your looks so young, it seemed so superficial. But it really hurt. Especially considering her mental afflictions.
He found her beautiful. Certainly, she wasn’t as striking as she had been at 24. But even with the added weight, the added conflicts, her eyes were dreamier. She walked through a room and made flowers envious, with her delicacy. And fragrance. And the beauty of a sleepwalker. She had it. La Somnambule. Her gift was the ability to take everything in, accept it, repel it, fight it, and in the end, even after trying to sacrifice her life, seek it.
She was always a seeker. Seeing beyond everything. As if there were something on the horizon far prettier than she.
Why had she said that? It was true, certainly. But why did she come out and verbalize it? It made accepting it all the more difficult. Sometimes, when people keep to themselves, you’re able to venture into their minds, and look upon yourself, in relief, and see what sort of source you really are. But when people verbalize what you are, what you’ve done to them, you deny it. Because the verbalizing kills its intrigue, your attraction to it.
The bee buzzed and flew out of an open window. He knew he should go back to the party. Keep an eye. But he’d much rather sit and ignore everyone. The last year had been so stressful. Having people nitpick over his words. Some saying they were too ornate, others saying the ornate was what made it real. Because what was fiction without some bombastic disguise?
All along, though, it was really Sylvia, who drove him to his “madness.” The taking her, the making her a source of contemplation. The re-creating every event in her life, into some monster. And having people fuss, over every detail, hegemony, subservience, even sycophancy, were all terms thrown about. What none of them knew, though, was the import of his being in that state. Where someone you know becomes a concept, to be clothed and nurtured, and presented to the world in adolescence with too much lipstick.
It was all overbearing. He despaired knowing what she must have been through. And what his character was experiencing, so… fruitless.
“So here you are,” Edward sat across from him.
“Hello Edward.”
Disturbed. Someone always disturbed his thoughts. Or something.
“How goes it?” Edward said.
“Not so well, bro.”
Edward laughed. “No need to call me bro. I may be much younger, but I hate the machismo vernacular. Kind of reminds me of chimps taking their ground, but not really taking it at all.”
“Sylvia wants nothing to do with me.”
“Yup,” Rick said, “She knows everything. About my real name, my faking all those characters. Making it seem autobiographical when it’s really biographical.”
“Some women would be flattered at being a muse.”
“But don’t you see? Why would you? You’re so damn young. Sylvia knows she was more than a muse. She was what becomes a muse when it’s overworked. A victim.”
“And really,” Edward said, “There’s nothing more insulting than that.”
“So, when did you find out about her nephritis?”
“She told you?” Edward nodded. “She must be off the rocker then, telling complete strangers about her health issues.”
“Do you love her?”
“What? Why are you asking me that? You’re so young, what do you care? Love to you is a sex romp.”
Edward laughed. “You didn’t answer my question. And by not answering, I think you’ve said all that needs to be said.”
Edward rose, but Rick grabbed his arm.
“Do you think I should leave her?”
“No,” Edward said, “But I think she should leave you.”
Preposterous. The audacity of the young. He smiled at Edward as he left the room, with a glass of Pinot. What did Edward know to make him so boundless? But maybe it would be best if Sylvia left him. Five years of marriage was a bit too much, especially to one so young, but with the grace of a sage.
Such grasp. She had such grasp of fantasy. Knowing, more importantly, that fantasy was really where all reality was to be had. Because it was in the fantastical that you put real motivations; in trying to be real, motivations were always imagined.
If Sylvia left him, he would be the victor. Because she wouldn’t be able to handle him. Wasn’t able, was what people would say. Couldn’t put up with the stress of being married to one so powerful...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I've been struggling what can compact to word.

What can't compact to word is simple.

The impact of some news I've received, from last week, pertaining to my father.

He's here at home now, fortunately, albeit in hospice, at home.

My sister wrote a beautiful poem, about him.

Which I won't care to share, as it is quite personal.

But I will say this.

There's a reason cliches exist.

We often spit them off as thoughtless whimsies, sometimes to vituperate.

They exist only when we feel them, and when this happens, they become less.

Than Cliche.

My father said, the other day, worry not about the past or future.

Take each day as is.

To anyone else, that would seem obvious.

But when you're in the Charybdisean free fall of grief, you forget.

You put it in a box on a shelf to remember, but also forget.

It's only when the epiphany comes, physically, that you realize.

Taking each day as is is probably the greatest cliche ever to exist.

Cliches are the only things that make us endemic.

In a world where what seems to be is equated by what wants (to be), there is solace.

In taking things as they are, in just embodying a moment to be lost.

Without even considering it will be lost.

It's kind of like embodying energy, without thought.

This is the supreme act of life.

The red poppies Mr. DH Lawrence wrote of in his Thomas Hardy study.

Without it, we are nothing but a death, in life.

Because I have scant to share, this eve, I'm going to provide the beginning.

Of part 2 1/2 of my second novel.

I hope you like.

It's not nearly so powerful as the rest, of the book, which may just be why I share.

My weaknesses, always.

And by the by, I AM back:

PART 2 ½
When Sylvia entered a room, she was always an elephant. When she entered the living room, gazes turned, upon her risqué dress, and those heels she was trying to steady herself upon. What were they thinking? Dedrick had often wondered, that, what people really thought about his young wife.
And she was young, in many ways. But older than everyone in the room. She never knew that was part of her appeal.
She had certainly changed since they met. She was fatter, for certain. And less confident in her looks, but more confident in her art. Maybe this display was her way of showing him, and everyone, she didn’t really care, anymore.
But was it an act of desperation? Her last call before suicide? He should really keep an eye.
Sylvia shook Dr. Strattleby’s hand. Which was must larger than hers. And coarser. Mr. Forrester couldn’t help; could it be her hands were like petals guarding a bud, having not been touched by wind or rain or sustaining grief? But then she had been through so much. May it be this was a part of her that hadn’t found the storm, had instead kept it enclosed, from wind and rain and sustaining grief?
Dr. Strattleby looked over at Dedrick, and back at Sylvia. There was certainly a look of concern, from him. But flippancy, from Sylvia. Strange she should be so enamored by pseudonyms. His was obviously one, and Dedrick Forrester wasn’t really a name you’d find in the White Pages.
Mr. Forrester walked over to them, and coughed. Sylvia caught his cough, and used it as a reason to escape Dr. Strattleby’s company.
“Not so fast yet,” Mr. Forrester said, “I’d like to know what the two of you were saying.”
“To ourselves or to each other?” Sylvia said.
“To each other.”
“Well,” she said, “He was just listening to all my grievances, against you of course. Don’t’ look so dour! You know I’m kidding. Really, we were talking about personas. How people take on guises to complement their own… lack, of persona.”
“I’d disagree,” Dedrick said.
“Yes, yes, of course you would,” she said, and left the two of them in a corner, against a mirror and coat rack.

Friday, April 9, 2010

So, the blogging has been sparse...OULIPO!

My blogging has been quite sparse over the past week. Mostly because of my depression, my "irrational" thoughts, "delusions," and "paranoia." I must say, there's quite an intriguing interplay, between the mind, when it's sick, and stress being imposed upon the body. Some years ago I think I read an article about how obsessive compulsive children are actually more prone to have autoimmune diseases, like Lupus. In my childhood, I wasn't merely OCD'ish, but, as I look back, somewhat medicated, completely whacked!

I'm not certain what I should blog about, today. It's almost 5pm. Still damp, and cool, a blatant contrast to yesterday's zephyr inducing weather. And, someone I love dearly, received awful news, yesterday. My father. I'm a bit tentative, writing about him too much, because it's not something he would want addressed to the whole blog'o'sphere. But, he's been battling a recurrent cancer, metastatic melanoma, and despite a new experimental therapy, his tumor grew, not only that, but it's putting pressure on his liver. Its (tumor's) nodes are constraining a bile duct, more specifically, making his liver function... off. He's getting a risky procedure done, to fix it, but, I'm quite worried indeed. And this only, here I am the solipsist, makes my thoughts worse, thoughts I won't relay for fear most of you will shoo me away, or run away, thinking, clear off, or better yet, RELEASE THE KRAKEN! (Did I spell that correctly? With me, orthographical solecisms sometimes abound)!

Everything occurring has honed my perceptions of death. Which is a bit unfortunate. A character in my first novel, says he's amazed at how death "indebts" us. How we couldn't live without the contrast it brings. How we require a small act of suicide each day, to foray into our multifarious psyche.

And what we owe it, in return, is known to everyone: life.

I'm tempted to embark on my interpretation of Dasein. Being, generally. But it's far too simple. It's only this. We are matter, incontrovertibly conserved, and even if invisibly, our molecules will always shape the universe. In this sense we're bound by nothing. A culpable, capable nothing, that intrudes upon and exceeds us every day we live. And interconnects all. And this is what beauty is, the interconnectedness of nothing.

When I think of existentialism, and nihilism, I'm reminded that there are values at stake. For either to exist, there must be some predecessor. A notion of GOd and value, that gives these systems their own contrast. I propose a new nihilism. Though, given my cursory knowledge of philosophy, from Plato to Gorgias to Nietzsche, this may have already been presented, to the world. I think when we speak of the universe as being composed of nothing, as "God Is Dead," and whatnot, there really is something there. It's kind of like silence. In silence you have a greater perception of sound because the awareness of it is more prominent; in sound the awareness is defunct. In nothingness you have a greater awareness of SOMETHING, because when you think of monotheism, or polytheism, God or Gods, you take the concept at hand for granted. You don't see that when you live in a state of "nothing," there really is something infiltrating your axis. And this something has more value than any contrivance, any myth we create as a means of coming to terms with our destiny. We are inundated by nothing, it's nothing that connects us, and I argue that this gives more value to life, and spirituality, than any religion, which to this day, exists. It's, remember that childrens rhyme in a previous blog, "the way clear water carries a strain of love long past and leaves it unsaid."

If you can feel that statement, you know what I'm referring (to). And we exist on the strangest continuum. The ineluctable modality of form versus the seeming negation of it. But, the beauty of our being is, that is isn't petrified, or manifested. It's something on which we must ground our faith and determination. When I was little, reared a Roman Catholic, in religion class, I remember how I used to envision "God." Not as a bearded man with staff and whatnot. But as something more... diaphanous. Comparable to a cloud, so that the outline of it was clear, and tangible, but the composition of it, him really, was... numinous. Invisible, even.

And, I'm beginning to see how this early image shapes my perception today. An aphorism for life? I'll quote Robert Stone again. There it is.

It's as simple as that, yes, but grounded in something so abysmal, we're blind to see (it).

I can't ramble about philosophy, as I'm quite the novice. What I do want to say, on behalf of my father, and this might sound a bit detached, and strange, is this: I'm happy The Large Haldron Collider exists. I'm happy the "god particle" is under investigation. I'm happy that, even in a vacuum of seamless (ness), something still compels us to think, and re-create. As of late, I've found it all so futile. Why do we even bother when we know the end? And the end is really the beginning, is really the answer as to, the "meaning" of life.

If I can impart anything on my remaining readers, it's this: nothing may seem a lifetime away, but it's really a lifetime that lets us foray into something far more profound than something. Read some Oulipo. You'll know what I mean.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Last Night... What Happened?

A trusted source relayed, to me, there were cops (in abundance), Police SUVS, even a military truck (?), by Tides Beach? The road, to Tides, was in fact closed off. The bit about the military truck seems rather... sketchy... that may have been something else, which appeared to be a military installation. Even so, I could write a piece of flash fiction, here, as pertains to what it might have been. But, frankly, I'm not in the mood, my imagination, that is, quite sub-par today, my wit, too. I'm guessing it was an alien or one of those "monsters" floating up on shore, like the Montauk Monster, or as of late, most recently, The Glen Cove one (!).

Today, in this luxurious weather, spring is attacking me with its luxuries, after all, I want to say something about The Paris Review Interviews, so I will. The one about Robert Gottlieb (let's hope I spelled that correctly), is quite intriguing. In case I performed a spelling solecism, spelling his name incorrectly, I'll refer to him, within this blog, as Mr. G.

In the bit about Mr. G, The Paris Review put together a bunch of writers who were commenting on editors, on Mr. G and whatnot. Writers like Toni Morrison, Cynthia Ozick, Michael Crichton, Joseph Heller... and there was one idea I adored. It was set forth by Mr. Crichton. He said, basically, as a writer, when you conceive of something, it's like standing on a dock with the view of a ship off in the distance. You see it in its entirety, but find yourself, quite suddenly, in its bowels. With a view of nothing but the wires and pipes and whatnot, losing the "full" concept you had had from the dock. It's editors like Mr. G, who can see the work as if from a dock, who in fact have the gift, the ability, to guide you to make it that way, as you originally viewed it, again.

I think this is quite true, for all good editors. Because, I find, when you write, it's very much like that. You have the conception of the idea, in your mind, you have an image of what it will be like overall, without any intricacies, any details. And then, when you start in the process of re-creating this image, you end up in its bowels. Diverted by the technicalities and syntax at hand, by the characters, the plot, the images, you can't quite put it all together. You know there's a collective "dock image," containing these intricacies, at hand, but you can't see it. A good editor, an excellent editor, however, can. Because good editors make it a priority, to mine the writers' temperaments, to see the psychology, to see the aim, and sustain their own vision within this process. What makes the work speak, what makes it an image to be seen, even when there's emphasis on its "bowels."

I like reading about Gottlieb. It seems, to me, anyone who worked with him, saw that he had the gift of... intuition, and perspicacity. He knew when a writer needed to axe 300 pages. He knew what did and did not work. And there's another idea put forth that I like, that a good editor is kind of like a director. Someone who can take ALL the actors' potential, and fit it into a film reel; someone who can take all the writers' potential, and fit it in a book.

I'm writing about this, I suppose, because my mind is defunct, but, I want to put forth my appreciation for GOOD editors. Not the sort that nitpick over EVERY word, and point out ALL the grammatical and spelling solecisms, but the ones who know how to give the piece its voice. Though, not necessarily to give it its voice, but to polish its voice. To do this, an editor must be VERY well read, and very acute, and quite astute as pertains to readership.

Something Gottlieb lamented, Mr. G I mean, is the way things have changed. The way publishing houses used to take chances on beginners, even if it meant no profit; now they are simply profit machines. And, the editors, well, some of them try to make the work entirely their own, discrediting the writer every which way. A good editor is someone who doesn't do this. Someone who is selfless, in trying to polish the writers' voice, but able enough to stand up and point out what doesn't work in getting the writers' idea across. I would adore a Mr. G; it's too bad the Mr. G clones aren't sold in stores, because I'm certain, I'd be the first to grab one. Maybe even a robotic replica, of Gottlieb.

By the by, does everyone know where the word robot came from? It originated in Carel Kapek's play, RUR. In the early twentieth century. But, get this, it was really his brother, Josef, who came up with the idea. Just a bit of trivia to flit away anything that now, to you, seems mundane.

And also, here's an aphorism for you to digest. "There it is." From Robert Stone. Seems to me an encapsulation of everything we seem, and everything at stake, in the slosh and slip of the dream, from which we must wake. Or must we? That's simply a thought, for another day. Now I'm on a hunt to find extraterrestrials, or, perhaps something more productive, more work on my second novel.