Monday, July 17, 2006

Emergency!

Tomorrow morning a dull surgeon in a bright room will have his way with my right ring-finger. My accident-prone friends tell me to take the anesthesia offered by the hospital; knocked out for a few hours with a tube in my lungs, I ought to escape the worst of the pain.

They ask with a certain bemusement “Why watch? Why endure the drilling of bone, the slicing of flesh, the insult of marrow?”

I must admit here to my inability to stomach gore and guts. I reach my gag point seeing the innards of faux homicide victims on our tame, mute, tasteless television. Had it been Brandon’s finger, crushed and dangling; had it been Brandon screaming and flailing about under the waterfall with the offending boulder resting, serene, at his bare feet instead my own, I would have added something vile of my own to Cascade Creek.

Yet, seeing my bone bare, benevolent and confused as it must have been, meeting the outside world for the first time, I felt purpose. I had reason. As I lifted the remnants, as I rebuilt the awkward entity that is a human hand, as I wrapped the whole of my accident inside a sweat stained t-shirt, adrenaline became a broom, removing cobwebs from my bored veins and aloof arteries. Emergency!


Yes, I enjoyed my incident in Cascade Canyon. Somewhere, I’m not sure yet where, underneath my shouting and crying and next to the moans and whimpers, stood delight- vibrating, shivering; filled with motive, sanity, lacking bias. Expecting, hoping, searching for a similar divinity, I look forward to my presence in the operating room tomorrow.

In a more malignant accident, I’ve found myself in love. Here too, with the zeal of ignorance, I’ve chosen to watch the knife discover flesh. Again, underneath the screaming and next to the pain, stands delight. We will have our scars soon enough.

A week or more ago, near a featureless aluminum bench and across from a featureless aluminum toilet, a beetle scratched about on the sterile linoleum of a Canadian jail cell. For three hours, he attempted to carve spirals and loop-de-loops into the cold floor while I watched, wondering if he knew he was in jail. Confident of my own incarceration however, I took his advice. I etched with my eyes fantastic patterns into the cinderblock walls. Perhaps with years my vision could break through the concrete, if I tried hard enough, but I doubt it. I’ve always had bad sight. Unfortunately no optometrist has yet prescribed a pair of lenses to correct poor foresight.

Speaking of questionable judgment, I move to Chicago in a month to pursue art and writing at the famed Fart Institute of Chicago. I’m wasting my time, along with everyone else at the school. Perhaps they don’t realize it, but school is no place for art. School is the climax of shelter, the high point of disillusion and cowardliness. Only in the real world- wading, swimming, swallowing ones way through the morgues and battlefields and slums and rapes- can an artist become a philosopher, and philosophy is the only quality of art not yet stripped bare by computers, cameras, or decorators. Yes, most who call themselves artists are merely applying wallpaper, making pretty- decorating. Let us see statements! Screams! Knives and bones and flesh intermingling! Emergencies! Anything but that which has been seen.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Here's my portfolio that i made for creative writing. yeah, i don't know why but publishing it somewhere helps me feel like it's complete.




We are all lost. I think many people just choose not to look at the map and go on living in ignorance. The rest of us, those of us with curiosity and exploration and a yearning to understand, those of us who point these desires for learning towards our own lives, we will always be lost. There are no roads or paths that lead anywhere. Every road leads to another road, an intersection or a dead end, or a cul-de-sac or a round-a-bout. Those of us who wander these paths have one thing in common- the knowledge that this map will fail us in the end. We are all together in that one sense; hopelessness.

But we are together. Let us share tales from our search, our expeditions and our mishaps.





Phantoum for Megan

I let it ring. That’s how I am,
Just another shade of dull.
I know how flammable bridges can be
And we all play with matches

Just another shade of dull
And the angry torrents washed her away
We all play with matches
A river of what could have been.

The angry torrents washed her away.
I know how flammable bridges can be.
A river of what could have been,
I let it ring. That’s how I am.




Astray

A clock tumbles past my head,
Zips, whizzes,
Freewheeling,
Crashes.

She coulda been a pebble or the president,
But she’s picked a spot on the wall,
Above my bed and to the right a bit,
Where she keeps a steady beat;
No one knows why.

Speaking her mind-
She keeps a beat.
All by herself
And no one knows why.






Homestead

North of the North Dakota border
Where prairie ships steam through the night,
On waves of wheat and wind unseen,
Where the cemetery overlooks
Verendre Mining Co.

Autumn of eighteen-ninety-four,
By the stone church on the hill, restless.
A homestead, departed.
The pioneers, derelict.

An Oil-lamp’s glow pounds down through slats
As thunder whispers outside on the porch.
And the clouds pluck mandolins for nobody.

The way we live now,
At November’s door with keys in hand,
All hinges rust, pins-and-tumblers seize.
All doors crumble to sawdust
In Verendre homestead.




Invisible Man
“Without light I am not only invisible but formless as well; and to be unaware of one’s form is to live a death.” –Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Perhaps I should speak with Ellison,
For neither the presence nor the prescience
Of 1,369 light bulbs suspended overhead
From miles of rotten wire, the veins of my city,
Can illuminate just one tenuous strand of
Despair within.

Thus I fumble in the warm light,
Survey from the rim, peering through
The V of fingers parting over eyes;
All that should be hidden-
Revealed now,
Excepting one final strand of
Despair within.










Cliché is the New New.

Before I met you I was barking up the wrong tree,
I had many irons in the fire.
But we didn’t beat around the bush.
I was about to look before I leapt, but
This labor of love made me wear my heart
On my sleeve.

And after a rough patch, we learned
To do as the Romans do
When we saw the writing on the wall,
And went the whole nine yards.

Our love spread like wildfire,
And the proof was in the pudding.
More than anything, our love is like
A shoe: If the shoe fits, don’t worry
About the other shoe dropping.

Yes, this may be the worst poem ever,
But it’s only because you took my breath away,
Left me speechless.
So if you need me to go above and beyond
The call of duty, I’ll bring you breakfast in bed
Before we go for a long walk
On the beach.
And remember, roses are red…











Love Poem (of a life amok)

Try as I may,
I’ll never rescind yesterday.
I’ll never repeal this morning,
And I’ll never prevent
The regrettable misdemeanors
Of any day.

If fatalism is a stone,
I lie shattered this morning.

With a sigh I resign;
Hand the reigns over
To any of the forces beyond conciliation-
Gravity,
Erosion,
Bad luck,
Bad habits.

Life amok,
And that’s okay.





No man stands so satisfied as the useless granite boulders of the South Platte.

Each heavier than my conscious;
Heavier it seems than the earth
Upon which they reside.
Their form rests ambiguous,
Giving way to uninhibited existence and nothing but.

And here I sit, the malcontent,
At the edge of my driver’s seat,
Watching, hoping, just to catch
A glimpse of their granite secret.

No man stands so satisfied and here I sit.
Their defeat remains unseen- a theory, a myth,
But each mile marker repeats: my defeat looms.





Short Poems (too be read as one sees fit)


Paul Klee, color, line, color.
An Exhibition Summer,
Nineteen Sixty-Three.


Three to five million;
So says Professor Milo
With Dollar Sign Eyes.



I never felt patriotic
Until the day we wore white
And the city’s stoplights, silent,
Stood with open eyes to the flow
Of 75,000 dreams.









April Elegy

All the transitory time and empty transience,
Faded now and laying crumpled together
Heaped in the corner of regret.

All the words, mine and yours,
Folded neatly in a dresser in the attic,
Left to yellow with the photographs;
Corners mauled and misspelled.

Days swallow hours,
And years choke on months.

Spring funerals weigh the most.









Main Entry: apo·gee
Pronunciation: 'a-p&-(")jE
Function: noun
Etymology: French apogée, from
New Latin apogaeum, from Greek apogaion,
1 : the point in the orbit of an object (as a moon, satellite) orbiting the earth that is at the greatest distance from the center of the earth;
2 : a swing in momentum; the greatest point from which a descent begins.

The moon wanes…
And you just lie there naked.
A coal train keeps time.
Endless hills of sage painted
The color of forgotten history.
The farmhouse where your father died.
The farmhouse where you learned how to count.
Only a fence defeats the horizon,
Pins it to the ground and counts to three.
You say the spaces between the stars
Are bigger than when you were six.

You just lie there naked
And say someday the spaces
Between the stars will swallow us all.
And thus we reached an apogee.
Turned, and marched home.









To-Do-List (an Elegy)

-Fix squeaky brakes on the car
-Write thank-you note to uncle john for graduation gift
-Create new word for summer (one is not enough)
-Pay water bill
-Drink less
-Learn to sing
-Stop falling in love with love
-Stop falling in love with lust
-Cuss less
-Grow beard
-Flip mattress
-Become pro-hockey player
-Finish reading Anna Karenina
-Look for thesaurus (try the attic?)
-Visit Alaska
-Learn Icelandic, or at least enough to impress girls
-Write a novel
-Exercise more
-Quit plagiarizing other people’s emotions
-Learn how to say hello without voice cracking
-Make more wishes
-Fix the screen door.
-Change batteries in smoke alarms
-Neglect regrets
-Apologize to Becky (after all this time)
-Ignore bitterness
-Stop telling bad jokes
-Believe you’re strong
-Plant strawberries before it’s too late
-Reject anxiety
-Listen to your mother
-Forgive your dad (it’s been years)
-Quit playing with food
-Quit smoking
-Someday; anyday, be able to say ‘everything will be okay’
Verendre Mining Co.

North of the North Dakota border
Where prairie ships steam through the night,
On waves of wheat and wind unseen,
Where the cemetery overlooks
Verendre Mining Co.

Autumn of eighteen-ninety-four,
By the stone church on the hill, restless.
A homestead, departed.
The pioneers, derelict.

An Oil-lamp’s glow pounds down through slats
As thunder whispers outside on the porch.
And the clouds pluck mandolins for nobody.

The way we live now,
At November’s door with keys in hand,
All hinges rust, pins-and-tumblers seize.
All doors crumble to sawdust
In Verendre homestead.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

No man stands so satisfied as the useless granite boulders of the South Platte.

Each heavier than my conscious;
Heavier it seems than the earth
Upon which they reside.
Their form rests ambiguous,
Giving way to uninhibited existence and nothing but.

And here I sit, the malcontent,
At the edge of my driver’s seat,
Watching, hoping, just to catch
A glimpse of their granite secret.

No man stands so satisfied and here I sit.
Their defeat remains unseen- a theory, a myth,
But each mile marker repeats: my defeat looms.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Love Poem (of a life amok)

Try as I may,
I’ll never rescind yesterday.
I’ll never repeal this morning,
And I’ll never prevent
The regrettable misdemeanors
Of any day.

If fatalism is a stone,
I lie shattered this morning.

With a sigh I resign;
Hand the reigns over
To any of the forces beyond conciliation-
Gravity,
Erosion,
Bad luck,
Bad habits.

Life amok,
And that’s okay.

Introduction

We are all lost. I think many people just choose not to look at the map and go on living in ignorance. They are the lucky ones. The rest of us, those of us with curiosity and exploration and a yearning to understand, those of us who point these desires for learning towards our own lives, we will always be lost. There are no roads or paths that lead anywhere. Every road leads to another road, an intersection or a dead end, or a cul-de-sac or a round-a-bout. Those of us who wander these paths have one thing in common- the knowledge that this map will fail us in the end. We are all together in that one sense; hopelessness.

But we are together. Let us share tales from our search, our expeditions and our mishaps.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

April Elegy

All the transitory time and empty transience,
Faded now and laying crumpled together
Heaped in the corner of regret.

Days swallow hours,
And years choke on months.

Spring funerals weigh the most.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The moon wanes,
And you just lie there naked.
A coal train keeps time.
Endless hills of sage painted
The color of forgotten history.
The farmhouse where your father died.
The farmhouse where you learned how to count.
Only a fence defeats the horizon,
pins it to the ground and counts to three.
You say the spaces between the stars
Are bigger than when you were six.

You just lie there naked
And say that someday the spaces
Between the stars will swallow us all.
And thus we reached an apogee.
Turned, and marched home.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The only words I know how to spell are those that have struck me down: home, youth, lifetime, leaving, gone. The only sentences I ever write are streams of regret, rivers of “what could have been” or floods of maudlin uncertainty. The only paragraphs I ever put to paper are those with brilliant introductions and blurry conclusions. My essays do not rise above a moan.

All I can do is write. Write about the places I’ve known, the people and their faces, and the places that have known me. All I can do is write and I’m not even good at it.