28 May 2009

On Answering a Friend

My eyes saw a man, torn apart by days, smiling.
I was stuck on a train, wanted to reach out, but kept moving.
Another man's face, older, about 60, had eyes that joy can't help
but reside in, like a light, like angels took shelter when too much
wasn't enough for the god in us all. He smiled, too.
And at once I was lifted to something other than my dwelling,
something more like ours.
As a landscape of One thing. For a moment,
I wasn't down like when I woke, how sad I was.
For a second all that dribbled onto tracks,
into the passerby's shoelaces and God was the warbler
calling for its lost mate. It called. I waited
for the train. It frantically paced, couldn't even fly.
Even in the small engines of life sadness soaks its body.
The bird called to nothing. To station-house beams housing
blown apart nests. Nothing there, I thought. Nothing. But
the weight of my heart would crush its beak. Nothing. And still
that man, walked past me, our shoelaces geometric
jolts in time speaking in tongues to each other, listen.
The warbler vanished. Trains come, one and then another.
Blurred. As when, sitting in the bath, crying, it could be yesterday
as much as today. Small engines carry even the heaviest
weight when God lives.

27 May 2009

"Realize that nothing is impossible for you; recognize that you too are immortal and that you can embrace all things in your mind; find your home in the heart of every living creature; bring all opposites inside yourself and reconcile them; understand that you are everywhere; that you are young, that you are old, that you are dead, that you are in the world beyond the grave; hold all this in your mind, all times and places, all substances and all qualities and magnitudes; then you can perceive God.

Wanting to know God is the road that leads to God. God will meet you everywhere, he will appear to you everywhere, at times and places when you don't expect it, while you are awake and while you are asleep, while you are speaking and while you are silent; for there is nothing in which God does not exist. And don't think God is invisible. Who is more evident than God? That is why he made all things, so that through all things you can see him." --Hermetic Writings (3rd cent.)

Five knocks inside the stomach. Bathtub hugs water, as though it's inside an ocean, but singular, stoic, hands hanging off the edges. Five knocks.

Stravisnky would lift the corners of my roof. If hope is lost, do this, he'd say; play God into being-- whether bitter or joyous, let air decide.

And foxes will navigate thoughts into thieves.

When the thought to paint bruises across your thigh hands herself to you, love her.

Stravinsky knew, a long road to spring meant burning through a page, getting caught among the wires in a field, twisting the shoulder out of socket to taste wild onions.

The barbed wire fence cuts, yes. But inside the bone, silk, cotton-webs.

Five knocks inside the stomach.

Foxes navigate thieves into thoughts.

Love them for the path they chew, for holiness stuck in the teeth of devilish things.


Please check out Kim-Leng Hills video: Memo: a still frame animation. It's wonderful

26 May 2009


Check out my interview with Thunk.

24 May 2009

Variation on Vision, Harlem 125th

Tell me, what light bends
off the brownstones, curves
bracelets of God round
my wrists, clattering?
--ajar, maple leaves.

23 May 2009

Variation on Vision, Re: Fields

Reading about the concept of a Zero Point Field on a AA flight to New York. Sitting in an isle seat while the orange rim creates its own coastline outside the windows. Telling myself to trust what fabrics days weave. How, standing in a Barnes and Noble, the weight of my feet seem lighter because, surely, there is a reason for the tingling in my fingers, the underlying feeling of breaking open.

Dread, in the Kierkegaard sense, taps it's words against my collar bone.

If particles are always moving, uncertainty is certain and God has a favorite number, I'm sure.

Someone asks if I'm feeling alright. Did a bad feeling pass through me? No, I say. I'm fine.

But longer things live in corners, bundled like a snake-coil in their own mistrust of themselves. So, leaning forward in an airplane seat, 33,000 feet above You, I'll let it out that it feels like Dread, unraveling the mistakes I've made, containing myself this way.

I will write:

A field is a region of influence.

Standing aloft above the second, the feeling of seeing beyond what is normally seen.

Messages of other worlds move into the Self. Flashes reveal moments of great weight and importance to ones projected action--that is, one's future. For the field of projection is already in motion (one's future vibrates in spacetime) and so there exist moments where something unexplainable is able to reach past the deaf walls contemporary concepts of time have built around the psyche, and, at once, projections and lines of projection into the "future" are in the same plane as Now, circling the Self in swirls of energy.

Messages can come through. One feels dazed by a sort of emptiness and connectedness, both present, passing away and eternal--both fixed in a destiny and multi-dimensional in possibility. How open one is to the field determines recognition or simply a queer feeling of malaise and momentary confusion from what has been imprinted in one's mind as "reality."

After writing this, my blackberry hums with a message from Prince Edward's Island, picture in JPEG form, attached:

"I'm hiking here tomorrow. The formation on the end is scoured by intense current. How it looks almost like stone henge. The rock is basalt so it's very hard. As you can see from tree on cliff top, the cliff is 200 ft plus. Every year or two "somebody" gets too curious and topples over the edge."

There's a section of my brain that stores images like this. Each sentence is a new born world, opening JPEGs.

I'd tie a rope to each end of a language of stones. Islands are themselves because of the surrounding water.

Energies are fields best bet we're even here at all.

Someone asks if I'm feeling alright. Did a bad feeling pass through me? No, I say. I'm fine.

18 May 2009

How, among a hall of chandeliers, does one firefly spin into darkness, twirling as a drunk who's opened the door to weightlessness?

I feel I'm struggling to hold onto the vision of things. I am an impatient wheel, distracted.

You are in my thoughts. You're not a light that is going out, but one that is reaching further beyond where you thought you would--so the fireflies feel strained, but their only growing in their influence.

Hold on-- the door to weightlessness only seems ages into the dark.

What the brain takes in, it can only transcribe--you think doors or the weight of bodies / thoughts are petticoats to the brain? No, the transcription is a letter the brain hands itself in the dark, having forgotten what was written.

13 May 2009

Variation on Vision, No. 41

Time isn’t written
on a bathroom mirror, but
questioning itself

in a photo-booth.

God angered the street sweepers;
they have nothing but
moon-candy in their pockets.

Gould / Bach / Einstein & a Brif Variation on Vision No. 44

Glenn Gould / Bach / Einstein

Tomorrow is Einstein's birthday.

Or, rather, according to New York time, TODAY is his birthday.

I was listening to Glenn Gould this evening, wondering what was going through my mind, wanting something tangible to wrap my excitement around, kiss, but lacking the proper shoes, I didn't walk out by the waves. I am lucky, however, because when Gould quiets, the waves from Long Island Sound can be heard outside my bedroom window.


Once, a young woman poured over her journal pages because she was sick of gardening. Once, even if the clouds hid the constellations, a lawyer's son dreamed of charting the stars. The young woman had nothing in her hands but clots of dirt from too many pansies. The lawyer's son hooked things on his ceiling each night, trying to get signs out of his head.

And when the young woman gave writing over to her body, leaning somewhere in two worlds but neither holding herself or a plot of land, something in her brain boarded up windows.

And when the lawyer's son tore the plaster off the walls, numbers knocked on his forehead. There, even walking among the hallways at college, equations wrapped up parcels of percentages and sprung numbers about his feet.

Walking, life swirls around the waist, letting all that was in ones head come up slowly--first, in the tiny bones in the feet, then, the hips get a feel for what-happens-beyond-expectation; finally, the bits of what-one-thought-was-forgotten reaches the forehead like the falling numbers off plaster, and, ignoring this brings a heavier weight than any previous anxiety.

And now, for Glenn's piece that gave me what I wanted but left me feeling distant, even still--

12 May 2009

Variation on Vision, No. 42

Under floor boards, a hatchling,
unwinds string, knots
from its back, a prayer.

Above floor boards, a light-bulb
hums variations, symphonies
from a half-believing god.

In-between, laughter--
what is this, the still
new world?

10 May 2009

Dread and Loathing the 3 a.m. Duckling that Never Turned into A Video Blog

I had all of these notes typed out earlier today for a video blog. But then, I started to record and I just couldn't do it. It's ironic, because the blog topic was / is on dread. And I will record it, soon. I will.

How dread can both hinder and help us along in our creative process. Or any process which requires a deep-searching, a chance for truth.

I got the idea from

a) feeling anxious about performing my monologue tomorrow

b) a conversation with a friend about being anxious in general about both stepping out of my creative comfort zone added to the pre-existing writing struggle


c) just like always, some hand of Fate or Coincidence had me reading a book on Wittgenstein on the train the other day. But specifically the section of the book pertaining to Heidegger and Kierkegaard's writings on Dread. "Dread is the possibility of freedom." How a man must strip himself of all socially re-enforced pretensions and illusions he harbors about himself. "Learning to dread is an adventure"...how we must free ourselves from the comforting reassurance from the crowd.

Now, why Dread? Dread is that deep-searching. The springboard for it. And the dread of ourselves, our power. Of failure (which must lead to success if we allow it) and other such things one can face before creating and recreating oneself. The binoculars for truth, or something of the sort.

I also got a bit into Gregory Bateson, the usual stock of writers, waiting to chime in when I am feeling down.

I kept scribbling these notes, knowing that I should have been preparing for my monologue...knowing the Dread is dancing with newly painted shoes. Knowing my body wasn't just a lump of something, but a entire circuit board, waiting to be lit up by dread.

And so, I bring in a poet, too. Two poets. Rilke and Muriel Rukeyser. Oh, my usual crowd of books. Sitting at my computer, I can hear people way back in the peanut gallery of the bookshelf, saying:

Shannon! No one has original ideas! Let us help you find what you want to say!

Even Dante* needed Virgil

*Sidenote. I recently read that Dante may or may not have had some sort of seizure disorder. Either that or he was just mildly psychotic. Love them poets! Love the neuroscience books that tell me such things!

So, yes. Rilke.

What could he throw into the conversation?

I chose this, among his other chimings, specifically because he uses the word "dread."

"I realize with a sense of dread that one grows numb with regard to even the most wonderful things when they become part of one's daily interactions and surroundings"

My notes after this quote read:

--Shock us out of the everyday, not in strangeness, but in newness, in that cracking electric feeling that makes up the edges of things when a novel, often strange and uneasy sense passes through. Like ghosts from a world we've forgotten, dread is a gift that we don't quite have the eyes to see or the neurons to understand.

And so we need this in the realm of the unfamiliar--but with that comes apprehension, naturally.--

What I mean, and what I hope to show is that this need for the unfamiliar is exactly what that "Dread" provides.

As far as Rukeyser, I was able to gather a few tidbits from her book "The Life of Poetry"--

"The fear that cuts is off poetry is profound: it plunges us deep....

Then, for the first time you wonder: what should I be feeling? instead of what am I feeling?"

(The second statement particularly parallels well with Kierkegaard and Heidegger's Dread in that the fear of the dread "causes us to be cut off from large parts of ourselves and we believe ourselves less and less." (Rukeyser) )

Dread breaks those defenses down. Breaks us until we are able to once again ask, not the socially appropriate "what should I feel" but, rather, the independent, Dread abiding "what AM I feeling?"

Rukeyser continues:

(Keep in mind, there's a difference between fear and dread, at least according to the examples given by Heidegger and Kierkegaard)

"What is the fear of poetry? To a great extent it is a fear produced by a mask, by the protective structure society builds around each conflict." (Life of Poetry)

The mask is our social-norm-mentality. Dread forces us to move past this. To, as the previous example said: "free ourselves from the comforting reassurance from the crowd" (Kierkegaard)

So, my fear of Dread has been keeping me in a holding pattern. Dread swoops in and gets to the root of things, doesn't it? A painful getting-to-know the self by, ironically, forgetting the ego. Who do you write for, someone keeps asking me in my head of heads. Who, not the New York Times, not even my lovely professors, but for me, for you, You. That's a scary thing. Not that one refuses suggestion, exploration, learning...but that one strives to be accountable to the highest of standards....the Truth of the Self.

So, the dread is allowing the self to be the self. The dread calls for this. Honestly? If performance is for the "crowd" then the mask never need be taken off.

Dread keeps me up at 3 am writing this. Is there a purpose?

I read this, before sleep, which compelled me to write all of the above....

"Uneasy, uneasy, uneasy--
Because--when opportunity gives you the obligation to create, you are content to meet the demands of the moment, from one day to the next.
Because--anxious for the good opinion of others, and jealous of the possibility that they may become "famous," you have lowered yourself to wondering what will happen in the end to what you have done and been. How dead can a man be behind a facade of great ability, loyalty, and ambition! Bless your uneasyness as a sign that there is still life in you." (Dag Hammarskjold, Markings)

Uneasyness = Dread.

Dread, such a brown little ducking, waddling around like it's a swan...perhaps, soon, it will be your most beautiful fowl. (Ha! did I just create a pun?)


A friend of mine sent me this in response to my Brahms poem. I woke up this morning, it's a bit grey outside, my heart feels odd. Odd in that I feel restrained. Restrained because I want to have a set of infinite arms to reach out among fields, loved ones, crop planes, truck stops, cafes, towers, farms, etc and take everything in. But how limited, I thought, waking up this monring. I dreamed of an opening up, a warmer light than what we all stand under, empty handed. But one where, yes, heartache exits, suffering exists, because what else pushes us back into compassion, into appreciating a love for things? But if only I could...and then, I thought, I can. Opening, embracing--sometimes to push through our ego is difficult. But to lean against that old wooden door, to move the pete moss from under its pathway, kick up the roots that shut it closed, to use the whole weight of our body and swing, crack the bones of the hinges back--perspective! I can feel my way through any day or trial in love, even if I catch my teeth on gnarled sorrow or anger.

And somehow, this made me feel as though the above was possible this morning:

I close my eyes when I listen to Brahms, or sometimes, if I'm on the train, I look into people's faces.

08 May 2009


an attempt: (but I am probably doing it wrong)

Look, birds chattering
in tree tops--what is hidden
has a crush on you.

07 May 2009

two poems for today

Poem 1:

Brahms in the drum of the bedroom,
piano prays to ceiling-beams.
It's just now 11 AM
And you're crying?

Hair clutters more sinks
than you realize. It's OK,
wash the body; thousands of red things
turn on themselves in the dark.

To want to wash clean
in a stoneless river, to want nothing,
not even Brahms, think:
drains would be less your star-dust, skin.

It's OK, it's just now 11 PM.

Poem 2:

The essential thing has been stolen.
A monk crawls into night,
Worships a moon
in secret. He knows
You are missing.

The field awoke
in him a tree, hope-
birds wet, tangled,
out of nest. He forgets
how to bar the door with his whole weight.

06 May 2009

nonesense that I'm not afriad of

If I were a beetle, I'd be almost invisible, making a home in a corner somewhere, having things for dinner like lint and dust-bunnies.

If I caught course syllables, I'd iron them in summer heat against my beetle back.

And if I carried things on the outside, the inside would turn into a whirl of beetle-tongue.

Sometimes the ticking you hear is me, whistling about God, waiting for crumbs.

04 May 2009

In You is my Other Eyelid


I slip back into solitude like skin of bathwater.

The importance of coming back to the center of things, like a small curling inward, a soft flutter.

Because isn't my heart broken each time I walk out the door each morning? Having left my sleep. The echoes inside a brain as in a cavern.

There is a song I'm listening to: "I forget myself when I'm not with you."

Seems funny. It's the opposite with me. Unless the you is You.

God / I am the center. Synonymous

with myself, having a touch-stone into my ribs.

Rilke seemed to get it.

"Think of the world you carry inside you--be attentive to that which rises up in you...What goes on in your innermost being is worthy of your whole love; you must somehow keep working at it...Only the individual that who is solitary is like a thing placed...

So it is again. A cycle.

I leave and come back, shift. How else would I wander out into the distance, gathering things on the hem, skirting like a wild, and lost man ray?

Jellyfish of the mind, a blue-drift,

as though aimless. But even a clown fish, unanchored to a reef, cannot drift, not really, in that purely aimless way--the tide has its hand in things.

As does the cosmos have its hand on me, though I think I'm wherever a map has been shredded.

God, I would love to break through one of those geological maps, or the cartographer's graft. Just to prove my point.

"For do you not see how everything that happens keeps on being a beginning, and could it not be His beginning, since beginning is in itself so beautiful?"

I look back and think I've had more gathered in my arms than I do now. Perhaps that's not a bad thing--emptying is necessary to take in newer dust-babies / dustlings.

My older ones glisten. Glitter stuck to backs -- it does not fall, the dust from the other world.

The bliss of this moment. Body warm from the bath, books like yellow boxes, lit up,

ready at my side--Just this. Where I am alive,

no matter what point in which cycle I'm in, isn't it still generous?

Even the deepest sadness that keeps me far from realizing joy. Even then, when I'm sunk in a self-deceptive blue, even then.

How that is necessary--to feel, reach out to You.

Do you know I love that in you is my other eyelid, closing? And somewhere, in me, a hive of Yours and yours.

So I ponder the cycles, or accept them and

embrace the body and restless mind, wandering jellyfish that it is.

The bliss.

I will write, will be under white space,

looking up, again.

01 May 2009

Dream and a Poem

I had a dream. This was it. And no, I am not writing, just moving through what passes in my mind, without thought.

My dream: in two parts:

1.a god told me in a dream to pull a string from a bundle of sticks...but only when the moon is red and women let down their hair, dancing...then, words will come to you, spinning in on themselves, creating light.

2. the god came back: it said, talk to the voices in your head, they will tell you more of their story. write that down. sleep in the grass after it rains. listen, all the gods have stars inside their bones.

And now, a poem by a wonderful poet, George Santayana

The Power of Art

NOT human art, but living gods alone
Can fashion beauties that by changing live,--
Her buds to spring, his fruits to autumn give,
To earth her fountains in her heart of stone;
But these in their begetting are o'erthrown,
Nor may the sentenced minutes find reprieve;
And summer in the blush of joy must grieve
To shed his flaunting crown of petals blown.
We to our works may not impart our breath,
Nor them with shifting light of life array;
We show but what one happy moment saith;
Yet may our hands immortalize the day
When life was sweet, and save from utter death
The sacred past that should not pass away.

-George Santayana