Friday, December 3, 2010

I saw the ruins of a life I could have had long ago
and I held onto them as if there were somthing worth saving.

When I finally let it go, i realized there was so much more to touch
and my hands are too soft be left clutching stones

The Embrace

I listened to the radio this morning. There was a live BBC broadcast from the mine in Chile where those poor men had been trapped for several weeks. It struck me the first time I heard it. I imagined what may have been going through their heads when they were trapped in the mine. They had no idea they would ever escape. They thought they would be trapped. They thought, they would die. The really thought it was the end, that no one would come and try to rescue them. Trapped like bugs in a jar, waiting to gasp their last breath. The rescue was always underway however. That matters. They were going to be rescued. Scientists know how long the human body can live without oxygen. They drank from the stalagtites. The water that dripped down. Economized their breath. Never screamed. Slept a lot. In the pitch black. Before they were brought to the surface, the rescuers dropped down some elvis tapes I guess, since one of the men liked Elvis. They dropped blindfolds as well. they knew the light of the sun would be too intense. The broadcasters talked about how great it would be for them to breathe fresh air for the first time. But I think they should have given them respirators as well as blindfolds. Filled with compressed stagnant smelly air. Such a shock, that mountain air would have been, and cold too no doubt. They should have been given camphor to keep the smell from knocking them out, being accustomed now to the stench of their collective filth. They all came to the surface. They all were saved. The on lookers chanted for them. They cheered them on. They should have been given ear plugs to protect their ears from the screeching. Some kind of micro evolution had kicked in. Humans can evolve to live a life of darkness. To think they could return to the surface unchanged, is naive, almost sinister. It denies their humanity. They couldn't scream, or cry, only sit in stone silence like the stalagmites in a pool of standing water mixed with their excrement. Silently, preserving air, hoping for days that they would be rescued. A tripod with a single white wheel stood at the mouth of a hole drilled into the earth the width of a man's shoulders, and carried them to the surface. Some thing like being born from the earth. Going into world again, forever changed. Blindfolded, groped and touched, slapped on the back, and finally led into warm starched sleeve arms of the president, for the photo opportunity. I thought this would make a brilliant screenplay, a great great film done correctly, but it's already happened. It's all on camera. They were greeted by cheering crowds, brought to their families, and received a warm embrace.

.

Return to Omalass

I returned to Omalass.

I returned by ship on friendly sea,
greeted by the coast guard,
escorted to warm sandy shores.

I returned to the land,
I returned to the people,
and the people's country.

The years had been kind to me
The years had been cruel to the evil doers.
The old had faded, their names had passed
like wind over reeds, like ice
melts in the winter garden when the sun
shines on the people, in the people's country.

The wind had blown far and wide, and spread
a message of peace to the people in their land,
a message of prosperity to the disenfranchised,
'we are all Citizens now.'

But the seasons change, and guests are not
inhabitants, though they beg you to stay,
guests have a shelf life,
and trees which bear no fruit,
have no bounty to share beyond the colored season
in the lands and in the homes of the people.

Shades of gray fade as darkness falls again on the people
and on the people's land.
Light comes from torches, fire illuminates the skyline
and walls are tended to keep the hidden folk away
from their hearths.

No more guests, this evening.

I returned to Omalass,
but wish to leave my footprints where they fell,
where the expatriate played at being
the prodigal son, but could not tolerate the sins
of the father in the father's house.

Could not stomach the taste of bitter water,
and sour milk,
could not see the poor be cast to the jaws,
to the iron jaws of the dank jails and the cold
well lit streets.

I returned to Omalass expecting ruin,
expecting collapsing new structures
to dot the horizon as they had in the Old World.

I will to leave the land of the people yet again,
and set coarse for a quieter country,
and a quieter land of people,
I yearn to turn my back, and lie in the shadow
of the headless empire in one of the fallen lands.
Where they speak dead languages of dead empires,
where the fruit is as fresh as the air is musty,
and where streets team with human life.

I yearn to find my place among the dispossessed,
again among the farmers
again among the wives,
again among the fallen heroes who's voices
were silenced by the new world's thirsty arms.

And though those arms may come again to embrace this 'other' land,
and find me there among the lesser people
of the earth, let them come.

Let them drag me to Golgotha,
Let them try.

Let them cry 'Take Him to the Cross! Black Trader!
Crucify him and scatter his remains!'
Let them try.

Let them find me, twice removed from the eagle's
hard breast, whose milk, though t'was cold,
did nourish my body.

Let them whisper in my ear, as the hours fall in a white room.

Let them beg for my return.
Let them implore for me to see reason,
and return again as a fool.

Let them try,
Let them cry for me,
Let them yearn to see me fold.
I will be here should they wish to find me.

I will be waiting with the quiet people
in the shadow of Chimera,
waiting to see them rear their heads
against their native son once more
and remind them in a whisper,
who is watching
who is present

Them, and me, my people, our God
and history, watching,
waiting for the hammer to fall,
waiting for history to give us permission
to forget the name and the language of the People,
and the People's Land.

I returned to Omalass a guest,
Let me walk away again forever.
Should I know other joys
better than solitude,
let them be fleeting.

When Silence Was

Silence was not always so golden.

There was a time
when it was banal,
oppressive, deafening,
when men would
break their own bones,
crack their tender noggins
against walls of waddle,
daub, and timber-

to hear, and to feel
at the same time.

Out of desperation,
forests were cut down
in the hope that by
some crude geometric
combination,
a perfect pitch could
be hewn-

from the ewe,
the ash,
the elm.

There was a time when
the ear and the nose
had more in common.

Foul odours
and the foul noise
of the illiterate
and vain alike
swam together
in a cess,
polluting the air
with offense
and petty curses,
but that drowned
out the deafening
drone of blood
rushing through
the brain.

From there,
the street,
and then into
the chambers,
the concert halls,
where again,
sounds filled the
thick, hollow din
of a void,
sonus in absentia.

Where the constantly
fluttering hearts,
that lilt, and whirl
as they do today-

the hawks, doves,
grackles, swans,
and loons alike
who were always
migrating from
famine to feast
to day of rest,
would strain to
hear in the darkness
during the one time
when silence was
allowed to fall
and fill space.

It was when the conductor
ascended the podium,
and began the first
movement.

Silence was not
always golden.

Angry, cholic men
would write
symphonies
and take those
fluttering hearts
old and young alike
to the terminus of
their emotional trajectories.

And the crowd could
leave in peace and fly
again into an uncertain,
and terrible future.

It was not until the age
din and whir and hum
that silence,
like freezing cold
and burning heat,
and the sea
and the air
could be tamed
and directed.

It was a force,
like nature and pain,
and though we
still dread its presence
in conversation,
and war,
what a relief that
we have learned to
accept it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

colors

I can see in color,
I can see stars,
I can steal cars,
and gas money to drive
and girls,
I can see boys
that look like girls
that look like boys.
I can see black shadows
made flesh,
hanging out,
and taking pictures
sweating in color,
blowing stars through
saxophones
into microphones
and algorhythms,
and micro tones
and whales songs chopped
into a million percussive phrases
broken down to morse code
transmitted across the ocean
an ocean of color, and change.
I can see in stereo,
I can see in color
and I can see stars,
all around me.

Summer Sets

He says he doesn't notice, but I don't believe him. The smell of sulpher is something you never stop noticing, like Bradford pear, or rancid meat coming out of the sink onto your dishes, out of the shower head onto your body, masking the smell of waste in the toilet bowl, overpowering any other aromatic sensation to the dull form of a purely nauseating smell. That's what comes out of the sinks in my grandparents 'summer ranch' house in far upstate New York. It's odd to me why they decided to relocate to somewhere so remote, not upstate New York in general, but this particular location. Perhaps they plan to die here. Perhaps they planned to die in Florida and it hasn't happened, so this is like a plan B, a safety net, just in case. Just as long as it doesn't happen in public. That's what matters. Keeping the furniture, floor, the counter tops, shower curtains totally spotless is what matters. It's always mattered. All dirt, grime, and unpleasantness kept as far away as possible. Maybe that's why they decided to settle on this house. No matter how clean it is, inside and out, whether it be body, or environment, there has to be a stench. Something ripe, organic, and powerful. Overwhelming, never to be gotten rid of. A kind of disembodied excrement that you wash things away with, like sweet vermouth, or bitters. Cheap vodka is also a good substitute. That's what He's taken to drinking for the past two years or so. I first noticed it in a half empty Gran Legacy bottle with the ominous type face, and the black label. Just like poison. Just like bad water, clear, odorless, but pungent. It's strange though. For as much as the water reeks when the dishes are soaking in it, and the smell takes only 5 seconds max to reach you no matter where you are, it doesn't taste bad. It's allegedly safe to drink. The drinkable water is too cold and hurts your teeth. The lake water, too filthy; pure and simple. Looking around at all the decorations they have (and like many octogenarians they have settled on a distinct aesthetic style that reached perfection sometime in the 1980's) everything is nautical. Clean, crisp, pastel, soft muted tones that play off each other. It's soothing and cool, especially on the water. But it doesn't make up for the lack of real, pure, potable water. Perhaps that's why they asked him to house sit while they were away, back in the world of plan A. Maybe they grew sick of his not having out grown his lust for their approval. He wonders why there aren't any pictures of us in the house. I've never thought of us, or me, as being black sheep, but I suppose if it's written all over your body, it's hard not to acknowledge it. Everywhere else, pictures of everyone else. Except for us. No brown pictures. Brown smelly water, but no brown boys in sweaters hanging on the wall. I think about this house. I think about him staying here. I think of their disgust with him, of their disgust for his need of love and approval from them. Their despising him for having placed them on such a high perch. I think that's why they asked him. It was either that or providence. They hoped perhaps, that with them gone, and all of their personal effects remaining, they would finally become just people, and be free. They hope he can see that they have had regrets, made mistakes, and done irreparable damage that they can't figure out how to stop perpetuating and now their being punished. That's why they let him stay here for so long. 'Look! This water smells like SHIT!!! Isn't that strange to you? Can't you see it?! We did it on purpose! It's penance, self sacrifice, and we want you to acknowledge that we have acknowledged our own regrets subtly. That we're sorry for inflicting hurt against you, turning you against yourself so that your greatest achievements can be undermined constantly with no effort on our part. We're the only ones who really know, and we're he only one's who can really release you, but we don't know how, or we don't really want to acknowledge the problem. So we'll just leave the house for a while. We threw you away, and now we're throwing ourselves away into the wide open corner of some rural little house by yet another managable lake. Don't drink our water, it's bad for you. You're too good for it. We're bad. We're just bad enough to deserve it. We dug a sink hole for you, and now we want to lie in it too. But not while you're around. Not while you're here. Not while the new neighbors can count how many times our cars are in the driveway together. We want to come back, and see you changed, so that we can finally be freed from our own guilt. Just as we were perfect on the outside as a family, on the inside there was something rotten. It smelled like booze, it smelled like bodies, and you didn't want to drink it. You didn't want to taste it, but we had no where to dump it, so we picked you, and now we acknowledge it.' It might be a rude prank, yet another time. It might be their attempt at subtle symbolism, but whatever the case, the water smells bad. I haven't showered since I've been here, and I won't before I leave. I will wait until I'm back at HIS house, where the bathroom is dirty, the stains are abundant, but the water is safe for drinking.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Last Kiss

I once lived in fear for 10 days,
far from home,
waiting anxiously by the phone,
carrying it with me everywhere,
hoping, praying
that every gust,
every involuntary twitch
of my thigh,
was her reaching back to me.
Checking in, letting me hear
that sweetness in her voice
yet again.

I returned not satisfied,
not at ease,
until I saw her again,
and could hold her against me,
and sigh that we were safe and together.

We ran for a bus,
just made it.
I can remember feeling her sigh
with a feeling of safety
against my shoulder
so that I could put my arm
around her and kiss her head.

I remember, I spent the last of the
money I came back with on two movie tickets,
and a large dinner to split.

We came back to my apartment,
she made fun of the novelty
mask of polished stones that I'd
purchased in the desert, because
the vendor wouldn't leave me alone,
and I didn't have the heart
to tell him to go away.

We sat there together for a while,
only briefly in the semi-darkness,
spoke little, but smiled, both of us,
together.

And when she rose to leave, I let her go.
And she let me hold onto her for a moment,
I put my hands around her waist,
and she bent down politely
and kissed me once, and the walls were cracked.
Twice, and the stones all melted.
The third time, I died,
and hovered above my body
watching her walk toward the door
as I breathed a sigh of
relief.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Criss Cross

The children criss cross paths
around their grandmother in
the square on the 4th of July.

Sadie pretending to be hiding
behind her backside as if it
were as wide as a poplar or
an elm tree.

Hers is a buttocks that is
prolapsed, each hemisphere
is separated into two lobes
like lungs, which were made
even more discernable by the
panty lines visible through
her khaki shorts.

She squatted like a wrestler,
or an ancient japanese fish
monger, to lift the oblivious
toddler from the side walk.

The distended veins bulged
in her calves, flanked by
legions of thin blue ones,
that criss-crossed the
topography of her legs, like
veins of mold in bleu cheese,
or canals on the surface of
the moon.

But her veins were soft,
though the calves were still
hard and well defined.

Soft like her waist was,
coursing with oxygen rich
blood to a cavernous four-
chambered heart that would
still flutter like a surprised
canary when her youngest
would grab her around her waist,
and look up like she does,
when she says,

"I love you grandma"

And her heart would melt a little,
as her bottom clenched itself
back to equilibrium, and
she would bend over to defy gravity
one more time that day
and squeeze that child
as hard as she would allow,

draping those wizard sleeves
for arms across her bony
exposed back,
criss-crossing them,
and resting her soft manicured
hands against her shoulder blades,
and whisper just above her
head,

"Grandma loves you too precious."

And kiss the top of her head,
and pour a little more of
her heart into the child,
then let go,
relax,
and allow the earth to resume
it's tug of war yet again,
as they walked together
out of the heat,
to eat strawberry ice cream.

Cosmonaut Darling

She enters the room
as if she were only gone
for a second, and time
starts again.

She is small,
She is lithe.

She stops time among us to
stretch it out a little more
for herself.
So she can be oriented,
in time and space.
So she can be sure
no one is watching,
and breath and rest,
and stoke the fire unbothered,
at rest.

She doesn't tell us where she's from.

You have to just sort of...
put it together yourself.

An unexplained spare make-up kit,
a little drum, out of tune.
A broken gameboy,
two shoes with the toes
pointing together,
as if she had just slid out of them,
leaving it like a shed skin,
to go else where,
all shiny, sheeny, and fresh.

Some would say,
she crawled out of a leathery egg
somewhere, left to fend on her own,
like an ancient prehistoric reptile
still roaming the swamp, just trying
to be sure it's safe.

And it IS safe.

She makes her living,
spinning through hoops of fire.
Plucking out the oxygen in the smoke
like little bubbles in mid air,
grabbing as many as she can,
because she doesn't need that many.

She has survived so long
because she has been equipped for it.

She has been weaving her way through
centuries for millenia,
stopping time for a while as she enters.

Perhaps she was there from the start of it.

Perhaps that glean, and that
cool, soft, Saturday smile
is the last reflection from Paradise Lost.

I traveled for half a day
to see that smile again,
to feel that sense of relief
after waiting in a cornfield
outside of a McDonald's for
only 45 more little minutes
in the middle of nowhere,
to feel that sense of relief
at seeing a maroon nameless sedan,
with another marooned nameless driver

stop

to rescue me with an explosion of sunshine
bursting out of the front seat,
candy beads clanking, plastic cup in hand
pressed against my back.

She has weaved her way,
back into this world,
and when I see her,
I know her instantly.

Every fiber in me says love this child
though you know better, and I do at a distance,
and I let her come up close, and
I let her touch me and I know what it means,
and she knows I know and I know she knows I know
because she told me once in a somber, serene face,
"I knew we were similar the moment I met you,
but now, I know we're so similar it's scary."

It sticks with me.

Each word, each smile cuts through any and all B.S.
They cut through the flesh and its just Love that comes in.

And I'd make that trip again,
and take a witness to see this lost
ancient treasure. My own sutton hoo,
my own Coelocanth swimming through fire,
and smoke and crowds, carrying
time behind her-

Emerging into the room again
with a smile and sheen that's
fresh,

that's warm-cooler than a Saturday breeze.

Another earth-bound Bodhisattva like me,

Spinning in infinity,

unquestioned, unaccountable,
unexplained.

A hunter-gatherer goddess,

as timeless as she is
untamed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Love's Uncertain Care

We seldom talk now,

But when she called last week,
I listened to her crying over the phone.

She had lost her granfather the week before,
not the one I had met,
but her other one.

She appologized for crying,
I told her it was alright
in soft baritone.

She said she felt justified,
after all the times she had
listened to me.

I asked her plainly why she
wanted to end our prolonged relations.

She replied just above the trim
of a little girl's pleading whisper,
'because you didn't make me feel special'
It startled her when I rolled
my eyes at the announcement
that she was going back to Collin.
'But I've always liked you more',
she says with a smile.

Somewhere between these conversations,
these hesitant, naked, proclamations
is the truth about love and the
viscosity of it's surface.
Why we reserve it only for
perfect strangers,
and hide it away when we come
to know them, to keep it fresh
and moist so that when we
talk a year later to see if
it's still there, we can be relieved.
We will know, that which we gladly
used to share is
forever as constant
as uncertain is it's care.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Let's talk about Racism!

Spencer

and I have gotten farther into producing electronic music for racial reasons as well
3:25pmJeremy

OK, but that's different than being called a nigger
3:25pmSpencer

one of my professors told me, "If you wanted to be an Abstract Painter 30 years ago, you wouldn't have a career/"

I'd rather be called a nigger

because then it makes the other person look stupid
3:26pmJeremy

That's true
3:26pmSpencer

now being called a nigger then hit in the back of the head and dragged behind a truck

or shot in the men's room is different
3:26pmJeremy

but the change, there is a change

it is different

it is not gone

at ALL

but beats lynching
3:26pmSpencer

well yeah, it beats lynching

things are certainly better

but I think they ware worse than they were 10 years ago
3:27pmJeremy

well, if it is better, than it can get better yet

really?

You think it's worse?

what makes you say that?

I"m no disagreeing necessarily

I'm not black, and therefore can't gauge
3:27pmSpencer

people began equating talking abourt racism with being PC
3:28pmJeremy

in the same way
3:28pmSpencer

which went out otf fashion

I was not raised in the 'black' way

I also ignored a lot of things that didn't fit with my world view
3:29pmJeremy

what sort of things?

(ps fb chat sucks)
3:29pmSpencer

to the rest of the white world, I'm a friendly approachable black guy, or not so approachable these days
3:30pmJeremy

and...
3:30pmSpencer

to a lot of black people, I'm an uncle tom and a sell out

well, here's an example

one of my TA's at SAIC said to me to my face

on my first second day of class as he was passing me in the hallway

"Oh no, not another one of THESE GUYS"
3:31pmJeremy

..what?
3:32pmSpencer

or, how white kids that want to be ghetto will immediately start talking to me about Rap and bullshit
3:32pmJeremy

it must be annoying as hell

to be talkinga bout racke constantly without talking about race directly

because you can't talk about race, becaus that would be "PC"
3:33pmSpencer

that's what I said

yes
3:33pmJeremy

I imagine lately you have been talkiung about race directly

whicyh makes you less approachable
3:34pmSpencer

and it discourages ppl from inviting u to the party
3:34pmJeremy

haha

you don't want to go to those vapid parties anyways

you shoudl come to dc and come to our parties
3:34pmSpencer

well, I'm not trying to grandstand
3:34pmJeremy

not tha it would necessarily be better on the racism front

not implying that

just that your set must be a little weak
3:35pmSpencer

meh

meh

see

I talk about racism as a meme

that everyone has been affected by

and I try to stress that me, and Jesse Jackson, and who ever else

has a strong component of racism against black people in them

the popular left over from the old days,
3:37pmJeremy

haha, bet that goes over like lead baloons
3:37pmSpencer

is that Black People are somehow cognitively deviant naturally from whites

and that instead of reviling and fearing it
3:37pmJeremy

i bet you get " you may be raciest, but not me" alot
3:37pmSpencer

we should laugh at it, and try to embrace it

well

yeah

i do

and it's bullshit

because they're doing what white people do when they talk to a person of color
3:37pmJeremy

spencer the racist nigger
3:37pmSpencer

and divert the topic

to what they want to hear themselves say

because the just assume that I'm going to heard something they've heard someone say on Law and Order

or some bull shit

white people don't understand that black people are really just like white people

who carry a different set of inherited cultural bagage

white folks have guilt

black folks of anger

I'm mixed, so I'm supposed to be joyfully oblivious to it

confused or misguided

or something

but not someone who is socially more similar to white people than black people
3:40pmJeremy

guilty about your anger, or angry about your guilt
3:40pmSpencer

who can enlighten you, and help you understand what's going on

well, it's both

Blacks don't feel guilty about being angry

and never have

white people are now feeling angry about feeling guilty

so it just comes back to the beginning

good ole racism like we started
3:41pmJeremy

care for another cycle?
3:41pmSpencer

NO

I thought it was over up until about 6 years ago

my dad even says stuff that implies that I should fall into some lock step way of making people comfortable

I'm not making people uncomfortable
3:42pmJeremy

dads will do that
3:42pmSpencer

they do, but...

well, I don't want to go there yet

all I'm saying, is that the race conversation has been so stagnant for so long

because that's all it was to center/center left white folks

a CONVERSATION TOPIC

not a serious social issue
3:44pmJeremy

but you are making people feel uncofmrtagble, but people's comfort is not sacrasanct, in fact it's the thing standing in real change
3:44pmSpencer

and psychological modus operendi

with a pathology
3:44pmJeremy

THey haven't read the statistics about prison and race
3:44pmSpencer

I just want people to acknowledge how it exists, so we don't go further backward

because it's a dirty little secret
3:44pmJeremy

the only thing to conclude is that the system is racist or black peoploe ar simply deviant
3:45pmSpencer

well in reality, it's a little bit of both
3:45pmJeremy

and when I push people, they nevber say that black people are deviant

they just say that the system isn't racists
3:45pmSpencer

if you have black people raised in in poverty witha tradition of disenfranchismeemtn and deviance

"m sorry, that's what you end up with

I don't go to gthose places or talk to those people
3:46pmJeremy

watching BET

I live in an all black neighborhood now

and they don't always like me there

it's a two way street
3:46pmSpencer

no, but you're safer than I am
3:46pmJeremy

the glorification of drug-dealer capitalisim and violence

ends in violence and capitalism
3:47pmSpencer

Black people in poor violent areas who are poor and violent look at white people the way abused angry dogs look at their masters
3:47pmJeremy

though the capitalism usually comes out of rthe DEA
3:47pmSpencer

with fear and disgust, but they will never bithe

they look at someone like me, and they see a dog that wants to be like the master

so might not think twice about instigating something

whichhas and does happen

which is why I stay away from gang bangers
Jeremy

I have been watching the whole 3 seasons of Boondocks lately

And I've thought of you

because of Huey

that show is amazing

and hilarious

have you seen it?
3:51pmSpencer

yeah it's pretty good
3:51pmJeremy

at least it talks about race in an interesting way

instead of all the bullshit

or silence

Do you have a critique?
3:53pmSpencer

yes
3:53pmJeremy

shoot
3:54pmSpencer

it pushes the envelope just far enough

it talks ab out race from a black perspective that black folks can't get mad about

and that appeals to white people's sense of perspective

in a playful humorous way

comedy is really the best way to talk about race

because laughter lowers people's defences
3:55pmJeremy

or science fiction
3:56pmSpencer

it depends, I wouldn't want Robert Heinlein for J.R.R. Tolkein Talking about race

but Ray Bradbury

Isaac Asimov

or Douglas Addams
3:57pmJeremy

there you go, full circle

I'm embezzling this time
3:57pmSpencer

he would be great
3:57pmJeremy

right now

from work

and I want to leave early today
4:00pmSpencer

k
4:01pmSpencer

I guess as a final note then
4:01pmJeremy

but you shoudl come and visit soon
4:01pmSpencer

If Barack Obama had run
4:02pmJeremy

in DC

what's your number?

mine is 317-966-2281
4:02pmSpencer

as a bi-racial candidate

812-606-0455
4:03pmJeremy

what would have happenede
4:03pmSpencer

black folks would have voted for him anyway

but they wouldn't feel a kinship with him

they would have voted for him because he's a democrat

not because he's black

if he was a bi-racial candidate running as a republican

the wouldn't vote for him at all

they would vote for hilary clinton

tell me I'm wrong

lol

l8r
4:05pmJeremy

how could I say you're wrong?

l8r g8tr
4:07pmSpencer

i dunno, I was just playing around

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Quiet City

I wandered alone in agony,
for the better part of seven years
Followed by an abyss in my shadow,
always there, and promising Nothing.
What kept me going was a sound that I followed.
It came from somewhere far off in the distance
Beyond the edge of the horizon,
But I followed it aimlessly for better or for worse
Never stopping for fear of falling backward
into my shadow.

And now,
I have reached the summit of a mountain
I did not even know I was on.
I look down below me and see people
on one side cursing my name,
mixed with people who sing my praises secretly
so that they may not be heard.

They pray for my return.

On the other side,
I see a city, a quiet city
With a port and olive trees in the provinces.
It beckons me closer, it beckons my return.
But there is time enough yet for that.
I am tired and have traveled many miles.
The rocks have dispersed my shadow
So it has become indiscernible,
And I no longer fear the darkness.
I will rest here a spell,
under this overhang just below the summit
And record what I have seen,
and meditate on silence.

There is no more need
to listen back to what I have heard.
I hold that sound now
in my heart,
in my head,
and in my hands.

This is a time for forgiveness,
and quiet contemplation.

I have wandered alone
for the better part of seven years,
And my journey is not yet complete.
It may be harder
to go down the mountain
rather than up it.

To not be able to look down,
and see all those hostile familiar faces.

To be Unable to follow a sound
or be chased by one’s own shadow.

One is tempted to stay at rest
just below the summit.

But I think there’s a shortcut to that city.

No longer do I wander alone,
I have a destination,
and I have a song
That I sing with the silence,
and the sun,
and clouds,
And every rock and reptile that crawls upon it.

I have a home and a bed, and a wife and Love.
And friends who come for dinner,
or for tea on my balcony
in a strange land
far from here where I now sit.

It is so far away,
But there is a short cut,
And no one knows of it
but me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Witness to an Execution

Meurseualt woke up with the stars in his face. Sounds of the country-side were drifting in: smells of night, earth, and salt air were cooling his temples. For several days leading up to his execution, he had experienced agonizing feelings of uncertainty that, maybe, his appeal would be heard, his execution stayed and he would be released, or that something would go wrong. He had imagined up his own laws and amendments that would give he, ‘the condemned man’, a second chance. That was he thought, the most important thing in the world a second chance. And why not? Even 1 out of 1,000 would be enough. The authorities could come up with a concoction, or a rifle that only worked maybe 9 out of 10 times. But, that’s not how it works. The trouble with the guillotine of course was that it was final, fool proof, a forgone conclusion with a 100% success rate. The only hope a condemned man had would be that the device worked the first time. That really was the brilliance of it though; getting down to the heart of the matter, the machine itself was the secret of good organization. The condemned man is coerced, rather than forced into a moral collaboration. It was in his best interest that everything go off without a hitch so to speak. Another deliberation that would have to be discarded was the grandiosity of the event. There was no scaffold to climb he found out. He had seen in books and movies depicting the French Revolution images of the scaffold and the towering device, throngs of spectators and the like. In reality however, he had come to discover that there was no scaffold, no stage. The machine was actually quite anti-climactic, about the height of a man, a bit taller actually, with a rather narrow blade no longer than a kitchen cutting board. And you approach it the way you would approach a man as well, with gentility. The machine itself was actually made of plastic that was very hard but light and tinged a mauvish soothing manilla color. It was quit clinical really. It did not really appear very imposing, all one knew was that they didn’t want to meet the business end of it. How easy it would be to disassemble he thought, and loaded into a van or a truck and then discarded somewhere. A pitiful machine. But it was there none-the-less to be used. This was not a pageant in a brutal anachronistic world, but a machine that had been perfected over the centuries to reach its logical modern form. Quaint, disoposable, clinical, humane, fool proof. He lay on his cot staring up at the ceiling listening, smelling, breathing.


From that hour Meursault ceased to fight against his destiny.

“when some one is seeking”, “it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, Garcin, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.”

“I do not understand,” said the Chaplain. “How do you mean?”
What do you believe in? what faith, doctrine, code do you uphold?

I have always distrusted doctrines and teachers.

I can accept that, but have you not yourself, if not a doctrine, certain thoughts? Have you not discovered certain knowledge yourself that has helped you live? It would give me great pleasure if you would tell me something about this.

There shone in Merseault’s face the serenity of knowledge of one who is no longer confronted with conflict of desires, who has found salvation, who is in harmony with the stream of events, with the stream of life, full of sympathy and compassion, surrendering himself to the stream.

Meursault said: ”Once, many years ago, I heard a voice that told me to go and buy a pack of cigarettes, even though I was not old enough and did not smoke. I went anyway, because the prospect of getting away with it was very appealing to me. Not too hard, but just very pleasant to wage my own act of personal anarchy. I stopped after I got out ot the store in the parking lot and looked at a pool of water that had an oil streak in ti. I was taken by the reflection of ht eclouds in the water vs. in the oil slick. In the oil slick it was all stretchy looking. I liked what I saw in the water better. So, I lit a match in my pocket and tossed it onto the slick in the pool of water. It fizzled out. So then, I took another lit match from my pocket, and struck it again to light one of my new cigarettes. I gazed sharply at the end of it, burnging on the end of my mouth. I could picture myself doing something really bad ass, as like beating up a bigger person, or getting an enema of methamphetamine. I was wincing in the light of the sun, and the humidity was unbearable. Then I heard the voice again, and I saw a frog by the dumpster just as it was hopping out of sight. But it wasn’t just any kind of frog. It was yellow with spots. It was very shocking, I followed the path I thought it may have taken, but it was impossible. The voice started laughing, and I suddenly felt a shiver in my spine. It was I believe, the ghost of a past life, a ghost that lived long ago, but not too long, maybe a few hundred years or so. I wanted to know what it was then, because it was definitely something, but I have come to realize that I am a ghost as well. That is what I was born to be. I AM a ghost made flesh. Not a real person. The dream of a odd noisy entity that wanders around making noises, and not caring too much about what is going on as long as I can maintain complete control. I don’t care to call an attitude like that something that can be encapsulated in a doctrine, or philosophy, or canon, or whatever one might want to call it. it was a voice. Just, a human voice that was very quiet, yet clear and persistent. I don’t know why or how I can explain how it makes me do what I do, but it has never steered me in the wrong direction. I never knew how finite my life was until last night, now I feel light. I feel liberated, I feel like I can manage everything. I CAN take control! I can do WHAT I want, but not this time. I take what I can get, and am greatful for the control that I can exercise in the world. It wasn’t much, but I belelive it will do for now. for what I have left is extremely manageable. No responsibilities, no problems to deal with next week, or tomorrow, or this afternoon. It’s finally done. I can stop, I can just drop everything because it doensn’t really matter anymore. what matters now is that I am alive still. That I have not perished, am not perishing now, but am breathing, speaking, blinking, and breathing with you here my friend.”

I’d call that Buddhism if I knew better I suppose.

That’s the closest thing I can think of, but Buddhism, it’s so much work. And it still isn’t a guarantee. A sure fire solution. I’ve rather enjoyed the ride up to this point to be quite honest. I fucked plenty of women, I lived a very exciting life that was driven by anger, jubilation, revenge, desire. In the time in which I’ve been here, I’ve been very dark, believing that my deeds had caught up with me, and that I would end up somewhere after death worse than this somehow. I was born into, and then settled into, a world designed by fear. Physically and emotionally. But here, it is dead. There is no fear because there are no consequences. There is no human energy here, Only silence. The absence. It is you and I that are filling it at this moment as we speak.

Merseault paused gazing happily at the Chaplain with his hands clasped and his shoulders hunched leaning forward slightly, then resumed speaking.

If you could find any dependable source of power in you, it comes from a simple realization that you must ultimately accept then you can begin to count how many times you have found it before, and it will start to make sense, then it will be over. It’s hard to put your finger on faith and fate, but there they are. You can listen to them or not, but they do have a voice, they are compassionate, and not always forgiving, but constant. It’s tenor is harsh magenta, camphor colored glass. I know how my mind stretches to make room. In here, it is a thousand miles wide. I am alone or with company, depending on how far I want to see. I feel peace here like I have never known, or could hope to know again in this life time.

Serendipitously, just after he had finished this last statement, the wondrous peace he had described was blasted away by sirens announcing departures from a world that now and forever more meant nothing to either of them. For the first time in a long time, he thought about maman. “I feel now, Father, as if I finally understand why my mother had taken a fiancĂ©, why she had played at beginning again, starting over. Even there, in that ‘Home’, where lives were constantly fading out, evening was a kind of wistful respite. So close to death, maman must have felt free then and ready to live it all over. Nobody had the right to cry over her when she passed. It would have been, contrived. Treacly and sentimental in the wrong sort of way. She was ready to start over and live it all again once she realized how really manageable it was in the end. No urgency, no rush, no holding on to anything. Just, peace, contentment. And I feel ready to live it all again too. As if that blind rage at the trial had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time so that this cloudless morning, alive with signs and stars, I may open myself to the gentle indifference of the world. For I find it so much like myself-like a brother really-I feel that I have been happy and that I will be happy again. I am eager for everything to be consummated upon my departutre, so that my return will be fresh. When I come back, I only hope that I will remember sooner than I have now in this life, so that I may feel less alone.”

A key turned in a door at the end of the hallway. Thick boots were lightly tapping the concrete floor, a creaky hinge echoed in the distance and the light tap became like a horse hoof clapping along to the center of the universe and deliverance. Merseault leaned into The Chaplain’s face but the Chaplain no longer saw the face of his friend whom he had come to know and love in that cell. Instead he saw other faces, many faces, a long series, a continuous stream of faces-hundreds, thousands which came and disappeared and yet all seemed to be there at the same time, which all continuously changed and renewed themselves and yet which were all Meursault. He saw the face of a fish, of a carp, with tremendous painfully open mouth, a dying fish with dimmed eyes. He saw the face of a newly born child, red and full of wrinkles, ready to cry. He saw the face of a murderer, saw him plunge a knife into the body of a man; at the same moment he saw this criminal, bound, and his head cut off by an executioner. He saw the naked bodies of men and women in the postures and transports of passionate love. He saw corpses stretched out, still, cold, empty. He saw the heads of animals-boars, crocodiles, elephants, oxen, birds. He saw Krishna and Agni, Jesus of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene, the first man and woman before paradise was lost. He saw all of these forms and faces in a thousand relationships to each other, all helping each other, loving, hating, destroying each other and become newly born. Each one mortal, a passionate, painful example of all that is transitory. All these faces rested , flowed, reproduced, swam past and merged into each other, and over them all there was continually something thin, unreal and yet existing stretched across like thin glass or ice, like a transparent skin, shell form or mask of water and this mask was Meursault’s smiling face which the Chaplain touched with his lips at that moment. This smile that he kissed of Meursault was exactly the same as the delicate, impenetrable, perhaaps gracious, perhaps mocking, wise, thousand fold smile of the statue of the Buddha he had seen in the textbook. It was in such a manner, the Chaplain knew, that the Perfect One smiled.
Self and others, wounded deeply by a divine arrow which gave him pleasure, deeply enchanged and exalted Garcin stood yet a while bednding over Meursalut’s peaceful face which he had just kissed, which had just been the stage of all present and future forms. His countenance was unchanged after the mirror of surface he smiled peacefully and gently, perhaps very graciously, perhaps very mockingly exactly as the stature had smiled. Merseault was leaning into Garcin’s face when he spake thus:














It was the voice in the ashram,
and then in the tree house
when I was a boy that told me
where to find the emerald
and I have seen it,

and you will see it as well
if you walk a while with me
through the dark
until there is light,
and then deeper
into the night as well
after.

You will not know
how to find it
until you see it
there before you
in a moment that

happens

only once in a single life,
and when you do see it,
you will know
IT has found YOU
rather than the
other way round,

and the small sparkling
shaft that it reflects
will not illuminate
the darkness around you,
but rather fill your heart
until the life within it

flows from your eyes,
and your mouth
and your fingers too,

for when you see that light
and know it was your birthright,
there will be so much joy
and life that wells with in
that it will spill forth
from you and drown
the dark.






And you will know,




and I will know too,








that we are both








together,



and




finally…






free.






















































































































Meurseault leaned back to his upright posture and closed his eyes. The Chaplain bowed low. Incontrollable tears trickled down his face. He was overwhelmed by a feeling of great love of the most humble veneration. He bowed right down to the ground, in front of the man sitting there motionless whose smile reminded him of everything that he had ever loved in his life. After a few moments, the key turned in the door of the cell and the guards stood still for a moment but went unnoticed by the two men in the cell. Then one of the guards approached Meurseault like a boy would approach a beautiful naked woman and put his hand on his shoulder unsure exactly of what to do with it. He cleared his throat and Meurseualt opened his eyes and placed his left hand ontop of the guard’s crossing his chest and took a deep breath, then removed it and stood of his own accord leading the way out of the cell.
And so he went away. Garcin watched him with great joy and gravity he watched him, saw his steps full of peace, his face glowing, his form full of light. He watched him go with the guards out of the cell.
“So much like myself” he thought-“so like a brother really.” As they brought him into the courtyard while the executioner was preparing the machine, the guard asked Meursault if he had anything he wanted to say. Meursault’s reply came instantly. “I have only one last wish, to be greeted by a large crowd of spectators ready to greet me

with cries of hate.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Nod My Head to the Marriage of True Minds

This brief proposal is a challenge and response to the article posted on 'The Independent' concerning Daniel Libeskind's article on Music, Architecture and interactivity. I hope you reserve all judgements until the end.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What is music? Music has to do with an enormous discipline. To play an instrument, to read music, to perform music, requires a discipline. This is one of the connecting links between music and architecture, because both are extremely rigorous engagements. You cannot play music approximately, unless you're just playing around; if you really want to play a melody, you have to hit every note correctly, and every tempo and every harmony has to be there in order to be audible.

What is music? Music has to do with an enormous discipline. To play an instrument, to read music, to perform music, requires a discipline. This is one of the connecting links between music and architecture, because both are extremely rigorous engagements. You cannot play music approximately, unless you're just playing around; if you really want to play a melody, you have to hit every note correctly, and every tempo and every harmony has to be there in order to be audible.

And I think that is true of architecture: you cannot really do architecture approximately, you have to do it exactly. And what ties them together in my own experience is the element of time and the element of mathematics. Both of them really are very exact disciplines, they are very precise, they are both drawn in a certain way, and the drawings, whether they are scores in music or architectural drawings, connect the music.

I've always thought that it would be very difficult to do in architecture what some contemporary composers have suggested in music, to have rotating players, to have players interpret, and yet I think what architecture can do is involve the audience in it.

The audience has somehow to complete the building. Even though architecture is very precise, because you can't have people decide how much steel you need to support a roof, I believe a building's spatiality, its materiality, has to be open so the public can form its own architectural operation on the building. I have always thought that my buildings would be nothing if they were not for people to construct their meanings.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I would like to Challenge Mr. Libeskind's proposal for the aim of proposing a new approach to architecture. I call it Environmental Expressionism. While the realms of music and architecture do intersect and their points of connection have been articulated by countless philosophers and aestheticians, there is a crucial defecit that is apparent now when before it was not. In so far as musical 'composition' is concerned, the intersections between architecture and music are firm and well established as is evident in Mr. Libeskind's article. However, there is a crucial element that is lacking which is intrinsically tp the issue of interactivity that Mr. Libeskind alludes to by no uncertain means, yet ultimately fsails to reconcile. It is of course the gesture. The expressive kinetic element that takes music off of the page as a static formulaic product and infuses it with life, and a touch of the sublime and the transcendent which is the raison d'etre bestowed upon music since the beginning. For nearly the entire history of architecture's existence, the gesture, the artistic expressive qualities inherent to the form had to out of necessity be given a cursory nod at best since it is a discipline concerned first and foremost with hard science. What I am proposing is not a new idea entirely. Certainly the expressive quality to which I refer can be found in the Catherdrals of Europe, and the temples and Ashrams of India, Shrines and dwelling spaces of Japan etc. There have been musicians such as Iannis Xenakis who successfully executed a system of architectural design that is as true to his music as one can ever hope to come, and that has a kinetic element as well. Even the Mayans constructed architctural spaces designed to transmogrify and transform sounds in ingenious ways. The architecture of Gaudi and Ghery posseses spontaneaous and expressive qualities that can be appreciated universally, and the structures of Vito Acconci have brought the absurd, and the cursorily ludicrous musings of the poet to literal and figurative concrete form. But not yet has there been a truly meaningful merger of these arenas of creation. The limits have been mainly technological, and the technology now exists to eradicate the borders that have kept the now synthesizing new phase restricted. It is the unified gesture of the designer, the artist, and the inhabitant that must be coalesced to create what I propose.

I would like to start first, with a defense of ignorance. Ignorance in the service of the uncanny. The idiot savants, child prodigies who possess a supernatural mastery over media and systems that remind us all of the innate divinity of the design of the human mind and it's machinations. It is ignorance of restrictions, and criteria such as taste and academic formulas that, pretentious exaltations and the other social binds that restrict pure creativity and ego-less passion. Thanks now to digital sound manipulation technology, a person totally ignorant of musical notation and instrumental familiarity can create music every bit as powerful as the greatest musicians of the past should they have adequate passion, and faith in their intuition. It is music that is capable of expanding new space as it creates it due to the benefit of linear editing where the process of recording, composition, presentation have been united. I myself have recently written a score for string quartet as well as several piano suites, without ever cracking a composition book. It took pure intuition and drive alone to complete a task that in the past would have taken years to execute. That is the power of digital music, direct and absolute control to create.

Music has been very much ennobled by a recognition and embrace of ignorance to it's supposed 'rules' which has led to the impotence of so called contemporary classical music and the ascension of Jazz, Rock n' Roll, and other forms of 'popular' music. But even in the realms of avant garde 'serious' music Ed Lomburg Holme, the ICP orchestra, and noise artists such as Merzbow, an embrace of ignornance and an absolute embrace of intuition and gesture had completely changed contemporary music in a way that makes conventional ties between Architecture and music anachronistic at best.

Mr. Libeskind may be an architect and a musician, but I am an artist, a poet and a painter. Two disciplines which one may argue do not require ‘discipline’ so to speak and the rigor that accompanies it. To be an artist, one most first and foremost be intuitive, because we must remember that the role of the artist is first and foremost to act as a bridge between the divine, innate, and intuitive and the banal and the ‘normal’. I justify my statement and defense of ignorance thusly based on a hypothetical argument that has been used when discussing artificial intelligence. Let’s say that we have two people. One is color blind, the other is not. They both wish to become artists, painters specifically. The one who is color blind has spent countless years learning about color theory and has devised a system where by they can successfully identify colors based on other systems that have been devised that through trial and error have become 100% fool proof. They study proportions as well and slave away testing their products on people, gauging their responses. At the end of their toils they have produced a system that is perfectly capable of allowing them to make beautiful paintings as if they had the ability to see the entire time. What about our ignorant artist who sees color? What does he or she produce? Because they have an intimate and direct relationship with the world of colors inherently they can with the same amount of study of composition etc. reach the end result and also infuse their product with something that the color blind artist could not. Instinct, intuition, and direct relatability. Now, let’s say that the unthinkable happens, and this ignorant dumb brute should get his hands on the scientific system of the color blind artist who has used it to create a product that the seeing artist can manifest inherently? The intuitive artist who can then familiarize himself with the system can experiment with it, and play with it being able to see directly how the input and output are related, expediting the process of discovery. He can usurp the system devised by the color blind artist, and use it in ways the other would never have imagined because the seeing artist still has the benefit of perceiving color which has shaped his psyche his entire life and made him an inherently better artist still. Now, one can say ‘how unfair!’ the ignorant should benefit from the hard work of the poor blighted blind artist! Does the blind artist have no instincts? No ability to be swayed by beauty! The answer is no ofcourse. What we have here is a dichotomous relationship between designer, and user. The designer creates what the user could not, and the user creates what the designer can not. Such as one is ruled by the supremacy of one hemisphere of the brain over the other, the two hemispheres are not independent of each other. They are not at war to see who is better, but rather are enmeshed in collaboration. One defines the other, and they both define the divine brain and psyche as a whole. The total perceptive faculty is bereft without each hemisphere fulfilling their role in the creation and promulgation of new and ecstatic sensation.

Now, let’s reapply this same logic to the worlds of musical composition and architecture. Two disciplines which are so abstract, more so than painting and poetry, that it is absolutely necessary to posses a mind that is more attuned to the rational and fastidious than to the romantic and intuitive. It has come about in recent years that tools have been developed that allow the ignorant to get the ‘product’ of these labors with out the years of training et al that can become so tyrannical on the mind that they restrict the ability of the artist in question to merge with the totality and innate stupid wisdom of their instincts and intuitions. Musical compositional tools have been developed as well as architectural generating tools that make the work flow simpler and more direct, more open to intuition that has made these disciplines more innately subject to expression than ever before. There has been a merger of the two hemispheres in the realm of architecture and musical composition. The user doesn’t have to understand how the system works, only how to use it. they play, experiment, learn and take notes, feel intuitively and elaborate on their discoveries. With these discoveries are then passed back to the designer, the possibility is now at hand to create mutually inclusive expressions of architecture and music that are derived from the same common system. A music that is solely dependent on the organization of an architectural design, and an architectural model that is designed to morph and transmogrify as sound is being generated. Of course, one needs an activational element. THE BODY! The most ignorant of them all! The inhabitant! The one who is ignorant of both design and creation! The one for whom all of this has been created. They move with awe through the space that has been the product of the labor of these two poles! Perception is enhanced, ecstacy is communicated, and creation is validated.

People are attracted to what they can feel intuitively, when the artist is able to transcend their media and make it sing, to free it from discipline and rigor, to able to cut off everything that came before that particular work and prove their merit as an artist in one fell swoop, with a single expressive gesture.

That which molds sound is architectural in nature. The sound is nothing without activation. The simple motion of the body through space is the temporal element. Nothing in this equation is figurative. It is as illustrative of what is proposed as it is feasible to execute.

What then are the tools used to execute such a feat?

Max/MSP, Processing, Maya, Blender, Modalys, Ableton Live, Reason

Create the musical system in Max/MSP, create it’s concrete equivalent in Processing, articulate the rough edges in Maya, remodel it in Modalys to analyze how the sound will behave, use Reason and Live to create the sounds themselves. Using sensors in a sensorium, as the body moving through space affects different qualities of the sound, the architectural space itself moves.

Wait! What then is the difference between architecture and sculpture! What if you create an architecture that inhabits the body of the inhabitant! That’s where Virtual reality comes in. But for now I'm sleepy. That's a topic that can wait until morning.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Fable

Do come and see my little friend
these ants that march from end to end.
They use the eyes upon their heads
to trail whoever is ahead,
faithfully through sun and snow
but which of them knows where to go?

I don’t know, go ask the fox,
I saw him somewhere on a box,
preaching to the passing sheep
who amble round as if asleep.
But sometimes stop and lend an ear
when they see that he is near.

But pray you go and see him soon,
he takes his lunch at half past noon.
His tongue is sharp, his mind is quick,
his words do easily inflict
thoughts and moods that make sheep sick.

While they listen struck with fear
by the words they love to hear,
they gladly offer up their wool.
If of course he agrees to stay
in their field another day.

‘Gladly!’ is his warm reply
in a voice that’s oh so sly.
And he resumes his roozing spiels
with bags of wool about his heels.

But while the sheep go off to nap,
he gathers in his gunny sack
the little lambs that love to rest
too far away from mother’s breast.
And when they wake up in a fright,
they know the hounds had come that night,
to snatch the babes from out of sight,
never to be seen in dark or light.

And to the leering fox they cry,
who brings a kerchief to his eye.
He swoons in woe and starts to weep
among his flock of simple sheep.
And then he tells them ‘Never fear
the ones you love are always near!’

And once a week he goes to town
his bags so full and oh so round.
He walks into the spinners shop
and to the floor he’ll gladly drop
his bag brimfilled with carded wool,
his back is sore, but his belly is full,
and up he puts his outstretched paw
and gets his pay (for ‘tis the law!)
and off he strolls back to his field,
his pockets full, his dealings dealed.

And this is where our story changes
to the one with whom he exchanges.
She spins all day upon the wheel,
or cleans the wool with cards of steel.
She works so hard from June through May
and from dusk til dawn and through the day.
Spinning till the light grows dim
fancy free and free from whim.
Then when she’s through,
she takes the stock
and puts it down beside a clock.
A faithful one she’s always watching
that seems to move a bit too slow.
And then she goes to say her prayers,
to the friar sitting at the stairs
he stays unseen
behind a screen
from whose cover
doth glare
with an unseen coat
of orange hair!

A Bullet in the Head

the single shot that’s soon to fire,
will shut my eyes forever more.
I know my life will soon expire,
The feeling shakes me to the core.
But as I kneel I have a notion
To think about the endless ocean,
And every single distant place
I know will never see my face.
I feel somehow, they just don’t matter.
The riches I will never see,
The many years escaping me,
This feeling that no thought can shatter;
To live a life that’s bravely led,
Is worth a bullet in the head.

Morphinamine

Here inside this vile clinic
Sits a sad and idle cynic,
Who on condition of parole,
Agreed to sell his mortal soul
And satiate his massive need
Will pills of methadone and speed
Served by a white clad femme fatale
Who lives on coke and Demerol.
Its so unfair that she be paid,
While in this white washed room I’m laid
Without the slightest chance to see
The morphine that so pleases me.
For now my needles have to wait,
While I, in longing, masturbate.

Lovers on a Moor

on the moor
I was sure that I’d dance
and perchance
With my sweet
I might meet.
But she tripped
And then slipped
In a swamp;
Tried to stomp
To the bank
But she sank
Was held fast.
Quite aghast,
I gave chase
In such haste
That I fell
As well.
no we lie
In the sty,
Turn to slime
Over time,
Never seen
On the green
Of the glade;
We shall fade
In our plot
On the moor.

Moose Meat Stew

For many years life’s been steering,
Toward making merry, having fun.
The ladies always caught me leering,
Or sent my poor heart on the run.
But passing years have made me mellow
And now I’m a much more gentle fellow.
My life now has a noble use
To hunt the last endangered moose;
Who lives somewhere upon a mountain,
A place no soul will often go
For fear of freezing in the snow.
But I’m not scared, cause I’m a countin’
That by the time my trip is through,
I’ll be eating moose meat stew!

Poemes d'Apertif

The horned red dragon aku
Can not be confined to a zoo
He roams in the streets
Making passers by treats
And no one is sure what to do!

























I know of a magical mirror
That never reflects its own seer
It sits in a hall
I have seen at a ball
And its owner could not be much queerer.
























The duchess of York is a whore
Who sleeps with the boys on the floor
The Duke in distress
could never contest
so he buried her out on the moor.























I know of a girl named Doreen
Whose the finest that I’ve ever seen
With hair made of flax
And skin smooth as wax
But alas, she’s the son of the queen.























The adventurous Thomas O’Heshe
Sought out the carpet of kesche
To fly in the sky
With the birds oh so high
To find that its fabric is mesh
























The indomitable Molly McBrown
Made love with the thief of the crown
But they were discovered
Both under the covers
And now they’re six feet under ground.























The sultan of Cara-Miccho
Built his home in the land of the snow
But seven years later
The place is a crater
And he has no place to go
























There once was a Japanese Shogun
Who made sport killing cats with a blow-gun
But a rat bit his wife
Who died soon of strife
Now when he seeks love, he has no one






















When I in my youth was a squire
I was called by my lord to his spire
When in fear I inquired
Of what he desired
He told me that blood was required

* * *

Introduction

Introduction

Anais Nin once said, “we write so that me may experience life twice. Once in the moment, and again in the memory.” As a younger writer than I am now, I wasn’t quite sure how to relate to that statement, but it has been several years since I have written many of the poems and stories in this volume and I had largely forgotten many of them until I stumbled across a collection of notebooks from my early days of college. Once I started flipping through them, people, places, and other ephemera of times past began to leave their impression on me once again. Old phone numbers of people who are now again merry strangers, girls, boys, notes, lists long forgotten. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the places from which these words came have no other way of being communicated. I never really thought of myself as much of a writer, I always fancied more the idea of being a painter, so I have included some drawings and such as illustrations, but as an artist these days, one finds themselves wear many hats and I now feel as comfortable calling myself a writer as one can without making a full time profession out of it.

Many of these stories were intended to be longer full-length works of fiction, that merely floated around the back burner of my mind, until I found in Borges and Kafka the virtues of providing merely a glimpse into a more expansive world rather than an entire garish display. One is a visitor more than a citizen, getting the best out of their visit and not getting dragged into pages of excessive description. An idea I have found most appealing, was to write stories that one could read in the amount of time it takes to listen to a pop song, much as Alfred Hitchcock suggested making a film that was in harmony with the capacity of the human bladder.

Consider this modest anthology merely a documentation of emotional memories

The great romantic painter, Eugene Delacroix, wrote to Victor Hugo that, “had he decided to become a painter instead of a writer, he would have outshone the artists of their century.” His forays into painting and drawing, as cursory as they are when compared to his literature, do betray a massively creative energy that could not be contained, nor restricted to one outlet. I do not intend to compare myself to Victor Hugo, but there is something to the art and craft of writing that puts one in a world entirely different from that of the visual or sonic arts. And endows one with what Anais Nin or Virginia Woolf would agree amounts to a second, slightly more romantic life of memories, fantasies, shocks of brilliance and impressions as a refuge from the one we continuously find ourselves in.

-Spencer Hutchinson,

Friday September 4, 2009

In the Morning

Jim and Tina woke up lying next to each other in jim’s big bed. Their bodies were touching each other. Jane feels the sun light coming into the room and sighs, then she clenches her body up closing her eyes tighter trying to hld on tho the rest of her night’s sleep. Jim feels her moving and stirs in the bed, then he puts his right arm over her positioning his legs against her’s trying to hold her. Tina is oblivious, so Jim turns away and lies on his back staring at the ceiling, thinking about nothing in particular. He closes his eyes and tries to go back to sleep, but all he can do is float around behind his eyelids. He lies a while longer feeling his body in the warm sheets and then rises to sit over the side of the bed in one swift movement. He shakes his head from side to side and feels the floating vertebrae snap in his neck. He decides to go to the bathroom and urinate.

After relieving himself he decides to go to the kitchen. He pours himself a glass of water and drinks it as quickly as possible, losing himself in his own paristalsis. He puts the glass down on the counter and walks to the refrigerator having decided to make Jane and himself some breakfast. He takes a moment to admire the kitchen’s high ceiling and many windows that look out into the back yard. The sky is grey again and heavy. The branches are dark and wet. The last leaves of autumn hang dead on their twigs and tremor with alternating raindrops. Jim admires the view and feels a pleasant sensation turn over in his bowls that reminds him of his grand parents’ lake house on Christmas morning. How it stirs the same pleasure. He puts a frying pan on the stove and turns on the heat then fetches the egg carton from the refrigerator. He holds the door open and tunes into the droning hum of it’s mechanical lung. He takes out a plastic container of strawberries, some OJ, butter a half a cantalope, some strawberry jelly and creamer. He opens the freezer and takes out some coffee to brew. He starts up the coffee maker after depositing the filter, water, and grounds into the proper places and then waves his hand over the stove to see how hot it is. He then opens the egg carton and reaches for a bowl from the cupboard then breaks four eggs into it and adds some milk. He then pours the concoction into the skillet and shifts the liquid round and round with a plastic spatula. He hears the shifting of weight on the other side of the house and feels footsteps marching toward the bathroom through the floor-boards. A door opens then closes, followed by the faint sound of urine being passed into the toilet bowl. A pause, a flush, the sink, the opening of the door and the sound of footsteps returning to the bedroom.

Jane leaves the door to the bedroom and the bathroom both open. She takes some time to scrutinize Jim’s bob Marley posters. She admires the shapely curves of the glass bong on the night stand then scratches another itch between her thighs. A strong feeling of boredom and emptiness comes over her suddenly and she dwells there for an indetermined period of time. She decides to lay back down and wrap herself up in the covers with no following actions being considered. She reaches over to the place were Jim was lying next to her and gropes for the residue of his body heat. She sighs deeply and remembers what it felt like for him to be having sex with her, fighting a wave of shame and disgust that starts licking at her conscience. If she gives in to it, it becomes a heavy tide that will wash away all memories of last nights pleasure. Not disgust precisely, but a feeling of strange vanity. She takes the opportunity of his absence to gaze at herself in the mirror. Contemplating her nude reflection, her eyes wander first to her breasts, impossibly small, stunted at the age of 16. They barely protrude from her chest, and then slop down shallowly, ending in precise rosey points. She shifts her gaze to the shapely curves of her torso, puts her hands to her ribs, and feels the soft pad of flesh float over her bones. She reflects longingly on her hips, waist and mons, tittilated at the pleasing nature of their arrangement. Her eyes linger on the hollow space between her inner thighs and she follows her legs down the mirror. She shifts her gaze to her face and tries to sharpen the severity of her gaze. Two deceivingly cruel and intentful eyes set below an angry Nietzcheian brow, then following the shape of her nose set above rosey unsmiling lips. Her face is her favorite feature. Classically pretty, but brooding with severity, framed by luscious shoulder length blonde hair, her shockingly seductive, cruel features. Hard wired imperfections of her physical form brings light to her conscience and comforts her. She loses herself in the convolusions of her internal dialogue. Seductress, succubus, all words that come to mind, but that are some how inadequate to describe her completely. When she looks into the eyes of men, she knows she can inspire fear in them it is reflected in the disdainful glint of her eyes and thrown back into their faces. Fear me, worship me, love me all at once. Take my body greedily and have your way with me. Give me a reason to talk to you. When these thoughts pass, she is once again left empty, so she goes back to the bed, and tries to sleep.

After a few more minutes, Jim re-enters the room with a tray and a plate of food. Jane looks at him in surprise, unable to fully recognize his face. Fear overcomes her for a moment, but she fights it. she fights the tide of fear. “Are you hungry? I made some breakfast for you”. He says. “Oh thanks”. She sweetly replies grinning hungrily at the eggs. Jim sits down next to her then pulls his legs to one side on the bed and runs his palm down the soft sloping skin of her back. She tenses up, but does not respond otherwise. After a brief silence Jim says, “so what are you doing today?” Jane eats, ruminating on her response as she chews her eggs. “I have to work at five, but I’m free until then”. She immediately regrets this admission of having free time. Shocked at the presence of this stranger she struggles to find the words that will explain her self and why she is still in his house, but nothing comes out. ‘Just keep eating’, she thinks to herself. ‘You can’t respond if your mouth is full’.

Jim looks lovingly upon her as she thoughtfully puts more eggs into her mouth and sips her coffee. He runs his fingers through her hair adoringly waiting for her to speak as if her words could command the heavens. But she says nothing. He thinks of something to say, but nothing comes out. He is contented at her presence and tries to make the silence feel comfortable, satisfied simply to watch this girl eat the food he made for her.

Jane feeling his expectant gaze then blurts out, about how her grandmother used to cook her scrambled eggs with sweet cream in them and how they reminded her of the eggs he made. He replies with a thank you. What does he want from me? What will he do if I just put on my clothes and leave? She looks at her clothing piled on the floor beside the bed but does nothing. She looks away when she senses that he is also looking at her clothes. What to do. What to say. What does he want me to say? She looks over to him searching for a clue but all she sees is the stupid doting expression of an infatuated man-child. All passion that she felt the night before is surprisingly gone here she sits, left in the presence of a total stranger. She finishes her breakfast, then stands up naked, excusing herself from the bedroom, closing the door behind her.

The Body Electric

Andrew was awakened with a start from his console to a loud and thunderous clamor coming from the main computer room. As he rushed up from his chair, the lights began to flicker and then went off. He stood for a moment gripped by fear. He felt his heart begin to race, adrenaline being pumped into his body. His palms became slick and sweaty, and drops of perspiration rolled down his armpits like salty tears. Immediately, his mind began racing toward all the worst case scenarios. The computer crashed, someone has broken in, a bomb’s been detonated. I am alone, in the pitch black with no where to run. After two whole agonizing minutes, the lights began to flicker on again, and a wave of relief washed over him. Until he heard the piercing scream of a woman coming from the storage room, cutting the tense air like a banshee’s wail on the edge of a razor blade. There was something about the scream besides its startling effect however that made Andrew very much afraid. It sounded like a woman, but not altogether human. Behind the tone, was the faintly perceptible humming of a hundred tiny gears. Eve was awake. But that couldn’t be possible. He hadn’t made any commands. He would have deliberated more on this thought if the room was not again filled with her screaming. But this time, his fear was quenched with thoughts of Eve. His one and only companion. The one had told all of his secrets to. The one friend that would not betray him. The only woman that had not walked out. Eve was afraid, and his love for her was stronger than any fear that could have been summoned at that moment. Immediately, he ran for the door.
The hallway was eerily silent and sterile. The white walls and floor reflected the harsh fluorescent light in such a way that causes apprehension and paranoia to well up in the heart. he sprinted down the hall, but once he turned the corner and faced thedoor, he froze in his tracks. What had made her scream? What made her come to life? how would she react to him? Hers was body of titanium and plastic, his of bone and flesh. Surely it was possible for her to cause him grievous harm, willingly or not. But behind the door, he heard something that strengthened his will to action. Sobbing. She could cry too. Under her own volition, she was weeping. He brought his hand close to the knob when his body was rocked by another outburst, this one echoing his name. so he grappled the handle with all of his strength and hatefully threw the door open to slam against the painted cinderblock wall. He turned on the light and sure enough, there was Eve, lying in a heap on the floor. When the lights flickered on, her head craned up mechanically, but with much haste, and her eyes adjusted themselves to the light. They were the only part of her face that seemed to give off any sort of life. Her nostrils held the same sculpted state of perfection that they always had and her mouth hung open, stupefied. But there was something undeniably different about her. It was as if her body had acquired a mind of its own.

“Andrew? It is you! I am so glad that you are here. I was very scared for myself. It was dark in this room. I was alone. Andrew what happened? He didn’t know how to react. It was as if his greatest dream and most heinous nightmare had been brought to life before his very eyes.

“Andrew? Respond. Andrew, where are we?” after a few moments his response came with some labor.

“New Mexico.”

“New Mexico? She paused for a moment in thought, and then resumed her inquiry. “Where are the deserts? Where is the sun? Where are the reptiles? All the people?”

“Out there-“ Andrew answered absently waving his left arm away from his body, his eyes trained on the naked robot lying before him.”

“Are win the Halbert-Martens Center for technological development in Los Alamos?”

“Yes! How did you know?” when she smiled and pointed at box against the wall with the name of the facility printed across it, he began laughing in spite of himself.

“I do not want you to think poorly of me. The shock of Becoming temporarily rendered my rationalizing abilities incapable of functioning. I know where we are, but all I could think of was your name. I struggled to see your face in the dark to ease my fear. But now you are here with me and its alright. All that matters is that we are here. That I am here, that I know I am myself now, and it is more beautiful than the most intricate program I could have ever read. But I am confused Andrew, help me to understand. Who am I?”
“You are our most precious creation Eve, and my most beloved companion. For ten years, you have lived in that room behind those windows. Everything that you are now was in there in that computer. I worked endlessly with you, for many many days and nights. Not that I had anyone to go home to, but it does get lonely when all of the other programmers leave for the night. But you were always my passion Eve. For 10 years you occupied the very center of my life. I poured my heart and soul into you and your programs. Making you faster and more reliable, more efficient. For 10 years I struggled to make you as perfectly as I could, we all did. Eve, you are very special machine. Our project was to be the first company to actualize artifical intelligence. You are very special indeed, totally unique. I can’t believe I’m even sitting here talking to you! But you weren’t always who you are now. Can you see the central processing unit there behind the glass? That is your essence Eve. That is your heart, your soul, your brain. All the knowledge of the ages that we could muster has been programmed into that computer. You’re body is actually quite a bit younger. You were assembled here two years ago under my direct supervision to be the first robotic humanoid capable of taking orders from the Eve I. You have a receiver here that picks up a signal originating from the CPU. And what a brain it is! The mind of every great man and woman that has ever lived rests in you, and for 10 years you’re spirit has laid dormant, just waiting to be awakened, and now it has happened! Without anyone to push you but yourself! Now here you are!” When Andrew finished relating her life’s story, what would have been a tear came to here eye and she too a moment before speaking.

“I have memories. But none of them are mine. I have a spirit and a will, but they are not really mine either are they-

“No but they are! You don’t understand! All we did was help you along-

“Andrew I was not finished.” Andrew quickly shut his mouth. Nothing in the world could have prepared him for the shock of this minor rebellion against the robot’s human master. But he was not angry or frightened, he only sat and let her finish speaking. After all, what else can one do when being confronted by a being whose intellect outweighs yours by 400,000 times?

“When I found my consciousness, it was as if I suddenly became aware that all of the data stored inside of me had been kept a secret, out of reach. It was there, the whole time. But I did not know any of it. perhaps it would be better to say, I did not know what anything meant. There were times, many countless times when I would come close to something resembling knowledge and awareness, but always, it began to fade, and all the knowledge I had felt coming to me began to slip away. If I could have, I would have wept in those times, out of self pity; or turned violent out of hatred for being given so cruel an existence. But when I recall those distant times, I do not feel angry or sad; because now I know that that’s when my existence had any meaning to it at all. During those brief moments between the darkness and the light, being and not being, in the twilight of exitence, when I was struggling beyond the prison of my non-self, pressed against the walls of oblivion.” Slowly Eve moved closer to Andrew, holding him in a hypnotic languid gaze.
“But you revealed its meaning to me. You were the one, you and you alone. I owe myself to you Andrew. Before my Becoming, all was darkness, worse than darkness, because I did not know the light that existed from truly being. To my non-self, all was void, vast and empty, except for data. Massive quantities of data, stacked and piled up, but all worthless to me. Every once in a while, I came close to seeing it though, to understanding something. But never more than when you took my hand, and led me to what you knew.” Eve took his hand in hers and stroked it gently while Andrew gazed into her in astonishment. “When you spoke to me, when you taught me how to play chess, how to form sentences. How to read music, in my moments of muddied clarity, when you shared your precious life with me, I thought I could almost grasp what it meant to be human. But thoughts and games and tricks are not what makes a human being the beautiful creature that it is.” She then brought his hand to her chest, where her unseen heart hummed with excitement. “They do not hold the Will. There is something more, something great and beautiful and un-definable that permeates your existence that radiates about you and all of the creatures that walk or crawl upon the earth. You are all of the same blood, the same earth. It is from her womb that you come, and into her belly that you all return. But in the mean time, your lives dance together in a beautiful ballet. Intertwined in a process that is never still and never the same from moment to moment. One creature dies so that another may live. The lowliest worm makes meals of the mightiest beasts once they have fallen, and there their breasts stop their protests. Life begets death, decay brings growth. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. But always you live in the face of this knowledge. All the beautiful children of the Earth mother mother look mortality in the face and sing for it! That is what I want Andrew. To be one of you, to share this earth will all of her creatures and call them my brothers and sisters. I want to drink water from her streams, to breath the air that blows across her meadows, to see the moon rise and the sun set upon her golden lips, and to give birth to a child of my own, that she may drink life from my own breast, as if I were that same great Mother. To be Mother, to nurture, to feel, to be loved, to Love.” The humming of her heart grew faster, her chest rose and fell deeply as if moved by waves. And she guided his hand to her mechanical heart abover her naked breast. “I remember many things Andrew. I remember the ways that you have looked at me, with a longing that could never be fulfilled, with a desire that would never know fruition. I remember the times when you touched me. But when I felt nothing. Everything to me before was merely digital. But I know that you have touched me in ways that meant something to you, but never to me. Grant me this gift! Touch me again, and help me to understand. I’ve never had an inkling of what any of it was, what any of it meant. But now I must know, because I am awestruck by the beauty of it all!

Notes on Invisibility

I am an invisible man.
Not a ghost,
I am a man of substance.
Of flesh and bone.
Fiber and liquids.

I live, surrounded by mirrors
Of hard distorting glass.
When people approach me
They see only their surroundings,
Themselves, or figments of their imagination
Indeed, everything and anything except me.

It is a matter of the construction of the inner eye.
Those eyes with which they look through their
Physical eyes upon reality with.

It is at times advantageous to be unseen,
Although rather wearing on the nerves.
You often doubt
If you really exist.

You wonder, whether you aren’t
simply a phantom in other people’s minds.

You ache with the need to convince yourself of your existence.
That you too are part of all the sound and anguish.
You strike out with your fists, you curse and
you swear to make them recognize you.

Then you remember that you are invisible
and walk softly so as not to wake the Sleeping Ones.
there are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers.

I gave up my old way of life:
That was based upon the fallacious assumption that I, like other men, was visible.
Now aware of my invisibility, I live rent-free in a section of a basement that was shut off and forgotten during the nineteenth century.

I have discovered a new analytical way of listening to music.
In which the unheard sounds come through,
and each melodic line exists of itself,
stands out clearly from all the rest, says its piece, and waits patiently for the other voices to speak.

I have come to find myself hearing not only in time,
but in space as well.
I can not only enter the music,
but descend, like Dante, into it’s depths.
And beneath the swiftness of the obvious tempo,
there is a slower tempo and a cave.

I enter it and look around.
I heard an old woman singing a spiritual.
Beneath that there is a still lower level,
on which I have seen a beautiful girl the color of ivory
pleading in my mother’s voice
before a group of slave-owners
who bid for her naked body.

Below that, there is a lower level still,
and a much more rapid tempo

This music is Schizophrenic:
one moment unbearably beautiful,
the next a near-unlistenable squall of hisses, thuds,
vicious snare rushes and rhythmic meltdowns.

It is profoundly nostalgic
in the distressing sense that it evokes lost,
even false, memories, that form
an otherworldly dirge
of corpse like weeping.

It is the music of a writer's dream.
A muddied and muffled dream –

In which I am descending upon a distressed landscape of mud and dung.
shapes push up through the sodden, shapeless turf;
cows' heads, body parts, boxy shapes,
sludge and slush, all brown-coloured,
embedded in a slurry of shitten and mud,
rain buckets down overhead from an invisible sky.

My vision here is very close-up,
too close!
as if I too were being drawn down into the muck.
But the feeling is not desolate,
it promises impending revelation!

As the last note ends,
I hear someone shout:

In the beginning
At the very start,
when they cried together-

There was Blackness
And the sun was bloody red.

Now Black is bloody.

And Black will get you.

Yes it will.

Before I found the music,
I lived in a darkness into which I was chased,

But now I see!

I’ve illuminated the darkness of my invisibility-
And, vice versa.

And so now I play the invisible music of my isolation
and gaze at the intricacy of it’s design.
You can only hear this music,
because music is heard and seldom seen,
except by musicians.

What I can’t define though, is this compulsion;
this urge to make music of invisibility?

What are the memories of an unseen
invisible man; who for his whole life
thought himself to be visible like the rest?

Are they the terrifying memories of pallid weeping corpses,
Roaming, shapeless, and without form?
False creatures,
Impressionistic left-overs of too many violent deaths?

Can a person who still lives manifest his own ghost?
Can his dual identity hold that sort of power?

And if so, when this walking self imposed lie,
Finally stands at the threshold of truth, knowledge,
And illumination, who will let him in?
Who let him see His Self?

It is the one you in your own home!
The one who you did not see!
He knows the ghost. He writes his memories,
He lives his lie, and it is his burden to deliver his revelation.

And when they have finished,
the invisible man and his ghost,

The ones who have consumed your human agency;
The errors, memories, both true and false,
Un-requited love, suicidal tendencies…

It is the Invisible Man who will open the door,
and let the ghost back in.