Friday, January 21, 2005

This site dates back to '98 in honest terms (its precursor was a tilde site on Teleport that featured my comics, and that one dates back to '94 but is not archived). I was looking at it on the wayback machine to see what it, and I, looked like back then.

Truth is, it's all there, more or less. The site is somehow free, overlooked in a sea of acquired servers. I've not paid for it in several years. It may go dark any time, but so far it is still up, ever the bandit.

I recall those first attempts at realizing my essential humanity in drinking, parties and large debauches, in sad company late at night and in blind stabs at doing something with weight. I always steered clear of success, plumbing instead those sources of immediate gratification such as fast, drunken poetry or walking the streets late at night. I felt wholly alive, though I was not so, not as I now see it.

It brings to mind the reasons for writing poems. Such things are deeply encoded, so much so that even the writer may guess vainly in later years at what he was about. To hope that anyone else could read them and feel touched is folly. Probably what has always drawn me to it, I suppose.
a last visit


I talked to him as he was secretly dying
and I did not listen
so there is little to say now
that it is all over.

His gaze, I thought,
skipped over my face
tapping my hands and the table,
a stone thrown indifferently
into the flash flood.

When he died, he importantly
was absent, a first, for he
had held us solid in his smoke
year after year.

And so, they wept, trying
to please him still, burying
a sad cardboard carton beneath a tree
with no marker but memory to name it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

I drove once across the country
seated next to my mother.

We talked. I was 20
and stared out the window
not knowing much else to do.

She forged in this trip a host
of stories of forgiveness
because I was suddenly, to her,
a man.

And I wondered and still do
where I was when all this took place,
since it blurs into every family
vacation.
We lie entwined in sleep,
perhaps, coming as we sweat against
the heat.

Summers are long
and sometimes hard, but the buzzing lulls us
in the dark air and we smile
against dank pillows
while the fields grow and grow, terrible
as they approach indifferent harvest.

We know it
is fall when the machines wake
us, engines warming for days and days
of cut and stack

piling all that was borne
in the long quiet.

Monday, January 17, 2005

You might make a case that Martin Luther King, Jr. was the last leader of any significance to arise in America. A powerful speaker, a grounded idealist, and--mostly---the weilder of moral authority, he was able to galvanize the ideals of freedom and equality better than any American since Jefferson.

But certainly all are not created equal. Jefferson knew this as he wrote his numerous doctrines and sipped wine discreetly carried to him by slaves (he was a master at concealing his servants... Montecello is an edifice of underground tunnels, secret passages and cunning sliding cabinets that kept his slaves all but invisible to his guests). He knew these things, surely. When everyone is special, no one is says Syndrome in The Incredibles. And this is true. King, as a leader, stuck his neck out and thus lost his head (Stokely, Malcolm and a host of others did the same). Everybody since has had sime naked striving greed for power that has discredited their moral authority.

Perhaps the next charismatic, galvanizing leader will arise from the fields like Cesar Chavez, or more likely from the streets. The homeless face more discrimination than anyone and always have. People look through them just as they once did (and still do, in places) to blacks. "The Stare," I've heard it called by Ralph Ellison.
And maybe no one is special, but no one I know wants to believe that. Do you?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Talked to Chris Morris on the phone about aliens, the end of the world, the meaning of both our lives, growing older, philosophy of Marcus Aurielus, my father, women in general and particular, the law, Oregon, the midwest, world culture, American history as it relates to the current situation, the spiritual world, dreams and a host of other subjects too numerous to mention. My cellphone nearly dead, I looked down when I hung it up and the number dialed read: 411.

The thing about the hand of god is that it is usually funny and is always apt.
These nights I won't sleep I dare myself
to suffer tomorrow, push
until it blurs soft and I answer sharp
to any prodding question.

The successive moments lose their sequence:
forced tears peeling the pancake
of an aging actor's party face.