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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

History Fragment

An inch on a standard ruler is 'created' by the tiny mark engraved 'one inch away' from another like it.

Measurement is a conceptual process.

The mapping, of time, indeed history, incorporates void. A measurement refers to itself, omits detail. History must be imagined. An effort. Re-creation.

The flesh of history, involves all its viewpoints, consciousnesses, colors and molecules, thoughts and physical beings. These 'facts' themselves are dead, but may be brought back to life by a creative act.

What of soul-time? What of unanswered yearnings?

As soul-creators, inventors of fantasies so we are responsible for our present position. Doesn’t this give us the power to re-write history, and set ourselves in a different places and times?

History devours its own tail, or depending how you look at it, is forever shedding its skin. The past, that self renewing myth we carry with us, has but one use, and that is to supply useful context for actions in the present.

Wax sculptures melt, release their energy. Animal entrails give off an aura. There is such power in rotting guts.

Mexico City Notes

Mexico City Tuesday February 23, 1993

Lodgings: the cheapest without risking life. Each morning an ancient woman enters my room without knocking, empties my trash basket, beats the floor with a wicker spanker, pulls covers up on my bed, and leaves four bars of soap behind on the pillow as compensation for all she leaves undone.

I'm alone on the fifth floor of a hulking wreck of a building. The structure was shattered by the earthquake, and most of the property is taped off with barely legible signs "Peligrosa".

A block away in Plaza de la Constitution, the capitol of Tenochtitlan, indigena protesters wave painted signs and shout. Police in plainclothes watch behind sunglasses, murmur into radios, take notes, inform the generals of their actions. Troops wait on the side streets, cordoned in dark green buses, rifles and tear gas ready. 

Mexico knows the bread of paganism embalmed by a yeasty spirit. Corporate industrialism, Catholicism, and native gods vie for control, amidst pretenses of free enterprise, and a myth of democracy.

The clay earth took Spanish seed. Jesus, Mary, the Father and his saints, a receptacle for myths of the vanquished to quench the thirst of conquerors.

Cultural artifacts are exhibited with miniscule captions, stripped of context. Why haven't they been destroyed also? Perhaps one day one relic will answer the question "Who were we?"

Morning sun glints at Rivera murals on the courtyard walls. Officers in dark gateways disappear into a matrix of ancient stones. Order is catechism to a pagan mind. Vanquished by teachers will the pupils one day take over?

The Spanish created castes, crillio, mestizo, and indigena, but these boundaries cemented the people together, but isolated Mexico herself from the world. The conquerors would not ignore the the natives since they were fearful.

Torn temples, carvings stolen, glyphs battered, manuscripts burned. Mexico, a violent assimilation of a European fragment into a native American perfect storm of myth. Europe was trapped as if by quicksand. The army and priests were swallowed by a dark native force. Militant Catholicism, hip deep in a Mexican swamp, was destined to die very slowly.

This does not assuage anger on either side. In Mexico, rooted in the being and history of blood, anger becomes the progenitor of a new myth cycle. Expect riots, expect massacres, expect executions, and more revolutions, but also expect a powerful continuance of native American culture.

Is Mexico really one battle? Does Mexico mean 'battleground'?


My grandfather, as a young man rode a horse each September one hundred miles to his school in Watertown Connecticut, spending the night at two inns along the way. After a long life, he died the year men walked on the moon.

I remember with crystal clarity, him telling me that there was no greater joy than daydreaming, and letting the mind wander while sitting back and listening to the sound of of his horse's hooves on the dirt road.

Mason Whitlock, himself younger than my grandfather, was approaching a hundred when I took my little Olivetti in for a tune-up and new ribbon. The irony was that during my years at college, I never once needed a new typewriter. I changed ribbons myself, and cleaned the type with an old stiff brush.

When I returned Elm City to live, caught in that confused space brought on by the digital age, I found myself longing for the music and dance of typewriter keys.

Yes I miss the sentences that come to my brain when working on a typewriter. A percussive beats out one's commitment to a sentence. There's a jazzy rhythm, a machine beat, a machine gun beat. There's the slow clop clop, of an old work horse.

The typewriter was a percussive instrument, the melody and base instruments are the swim of ideas at the tip of one's brain. There's a beat for every mood, and feeling, every bit of description or dint of discipline. The beat kept thoughts in train, since it was not easy to drop back in and restructure one's ideas. The first draft required discipline and focus.

The mind raced, pounding on the dendritic telegraph keys of cerebral neurons, surveying the terrain of the rail-bed ahead, laying ties, driving spikes, keeping clear sight of the benchmark period in the distance, open to a diversion in root phrase or clause. When a line end was reached, the locomotive let out a release of steam, and brought the train to terminus with a 'bang' to the period key. The trill moment was the end of a musical phrase. The traveller, with scheduled music in mind for all connecting trains, got soon clattering away across the sonorous landscape with nary a care in the world.

It was a form of acrobatics. Yes it was writing, but also a workout. Posture mattered. At some point a particular piece of paper stayed behind as a fossil track, a recording. A skull. First drafts were akin to fresh rushes of a film. Modifications seemed beautiful, ugly, or impossible.

Language leapt into the air as a drumbeat accompaniment to the writer's deepest love. The ear became attuned to the truth of the rhythm. Sounding good? Or did it lack commitment?

Mr. Whitlock kept hours, in a second floor shop overlooking York Street, across from the Hall of Graduate Studies. Here are my notes from the day I visited him, in early 1993.


Why bother repairing the old? What sort of allegiance is owed to a non-functioning hunk of steel?

Of what significance is my stepping out of time to track this down old man, who repairs machines for a generation caught in their ways, bound to clunky precursors of another age? What bother, what cost? Why hold myself back against progress? I felt a tug of regret. Was I wasting time, indulging in flattery?

Whitlock rambled on. 'Classic little thing. No different than pen or pencil. Taken a lot of pounding. Hasn’t got the weight of say that Royal over there.' He gestured toward a heart sinking heap of ancient machines, elegant, but forgotten.

'What else is broken besides the shaft?'

'Margin release needs a clean. Some tender loving care. I’ll take it apart, clean it. Your carriage lock is broken. Can’t let you strip the escapement gears."


You Cut my Eyes

Te cortaste mis ojos, los arrebató.
Yo ya no veo.
Mi corazón se queda mirando a su trabajo,
Un amor que se ve.

He hablado con usted acerca de un lugar,
Siempre mantuve, para usted.
Está en mi corazón y llena de arte,
Atormentado por fantasmas, de usted.

En la cima de la gracia, caminé con la fe,
Tiempo demasiado corto a la atención.
Nuestro tiempo como torres cayó,
Moler cada minuto.

No puedo dar lo que haces para vivir,
Lo que no puede ser no puede comenzar.
Así que nuestras vidas sacó un cuchillo,
Y cortar nuestros corazones separados.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ker-Ching Song

Sing to me that bling song, that kissing song,
The song you sing, when we bling, . . . my love.

Please don't cling me, just ker-ching me  . . . with that kissing song.

Write me a song, as a dove alone.
But to win me, please don't string me,
Better bling me, . . . with that ker-ching song.

Keep ker-chinging  . . . with that blinging song.

Write some poetry, just for me,
The bling you bring, numbs me,
Your poems sting me,  . . . with that ker-ching song.

Now my love, with bling for free,
Such coquetry brings poetry.
Sing to me, that ker-ching song,   . . . . . . my love.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bling Song

All I want is ears to hear,
The songs you sing when I'm not near.

Don't you hear that sad refrain,
Don't you hear it? Hear it plain . . .

Come at night, with songs to sing,
Try my poems, wear my bling.

Don't you hear that sad refrain,
Don't you hear it? Hear it rain . . . ?

Dreams might speak it plain to you,
Night means play, I bring,

Try this day, to cling to me,  
Sing my blings of poetry.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Sing me awaken with English names.
Cowled Ra, stork of the Sudd,
On your blue lips I place my longest kiss.
Play sticks on your belly of stones.
Thoth, my Ibis-headed party-self.
Dips a pen to you,
Writes on papyrus words of smoking water.

On a reed raft, I ferry you to my island,
We cross the lake to Tis Issat,
Carry a shell into a branch,
and sleep there overnight.

We bathe in fountains, listen to the world.
Read by light you created,
Words that worship your flesh,
Songs that revere your bones,
Poems set in meter, to your dances,
That praise your every invention.

                                           [to N____R___]

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