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Thursday, 26 November 2009

View with Beach and Piers


View from the Dunes with Beach and Piers, Domburg: Piet Mondrian, 1909 (Museum of Modern Art, New York)

With Bob and Joanne then, rounding
the cliffs from Wharf Road

to the beach one idle late summer
afternoon, as if time were endless,

sitting down then to rest
as if at home, at water’s

edge, the seabirds swooping,

the beach empty, the talk lapping,
inconsequential, nothing brings

consequence, all happens, all this
sweet nothing. The moments flood back,

a blurring tide, and then withdraw

again into the ever
accumulating pool of ebbing

attentions, lost hopes, forgotten so
called dreams. No longer here to live,

simply to snatch another breath.
Three sat talking on the beach, one

doesn’t know what was meant,

one doesn’t know what was
said. But the faces, the voices

come for a moment clear. There, in
that light. Here. The tide incoming.

So it was then as the sun went down.

for Robert Creeley (1926-2005)

Night Shift


File:Mondrian Comp10.jpg

Composition No. 10: Piet Mondrian, 1939-1942

The moon coming through the curtains
makes geometrical patterns in bars
a calligraphic grid through which pass
the ever vigilant ones
the souls of “my” dead though of
course they’re no one’s
not even their own any more merely
messengers of the mirror negative
dispatched from a mute past
to efface a haunted present

Tuesday, 24 November 2009




soap white half moon
moves up through
winter sky's chill
steel blue

mist hangs over
green lit water
wispy as ghost
trails big
jet high

Distrail (opposite of contrail: jet exhaust has caused thin cloud layer to dissolve): photo by Mila Zinkova, 2005

The Possessed Winter Dusk


Sonnenuntergang in Ricadi: photo by Manfred Morgner, 2005

Possessed by phantom touch

I am tuned to your power station

Soprano sax sounds float in the cold blue dusk

Over East Bay hills’ heavy green shoulders

Drawn by dark earth rising plants

Like some buffalo soldier on an Indian pony

I hold on to the night’s dark mane

In the hollow bowl of the drum of your body


Udu (African drum): computer generated image by Melligem, 2005

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Self-Unseeing


File:Egon Schiele 079.jpg

His anxiety in the face of death
that walks hand in hand through the forest deep
with his anxiety in the face of life
standing beside the savage innocent
the innocuous mirage
the invincible ignorance of the boy
his own image in that burning pool
his penchant for destroying everything

File:Blake Dante Hell XXVI Ulisses.jpg

Selbstporträt mit Lampionfrüchten: Egon Schiele, 1912 (Sammlung Leopold, Wien)
Inferno XXVI (Ulysses): William Blake, illustrations for The Divine Comedy, 1826-27

"flat round..."


Tropaeolum majus: photo by Michael Gaspert, 2005

flat round
nasturtium top
plate leaves with
gleaming pin
head size beads
of last night's
rain water still
balanced on

pushed up
on long thin
green stems to
white morning

Tropaeolum majus: photo by Viola Sonans, 2005

Thursday, 19 November 2009



Polar mesospheric cloud (bright noctilucent cloud over Lake Saimaa)
: photo by Mika Yrjölä, 2003

Big clown-faced parallel infinity
you cried into my false twilight
a moon cupped in your creamwhite hands
poured milky awareness over me
more to feed my dream than to drown my fear

your tears blurry with repetitiveness
pearly sand grains scattered over that mandrake
root shaped cloud mass, opening into night
as if out through the motion space
of a two-way mirror, to where those planets

open into that lake

that ocean

Crepuscular rays and clouds over the Pacific: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2006

False Sunrise


File:Flying Mallards and morning fog.jpg

The weeks and months spent alone with himself were crowded by clamorous phantoms, speaking in unintelligible tongues, mercilessly badgering and taunting him, making his life miserable, until one day, in hopeless resignation, in helpless submission to their relentless demands, their incomprehensible commands, their obstreperous promptings, he began to compose books in his head, merely to appease them, to observe the offices of their irrational orderings, to come to terms with their gratuitous insistences, even while remaining all the while their vassal and fief, their servant and prisoner in the sleeping world.

The mental books he composed in the dense forests and desert wildernesses of their obscure urgings were mere mechanical compilations of animal lore, tales of the beasts of the wood, there was no lack of these, they had been here forever, waiting to be released from their cages, retrieved from the annals of the memoria, refashioned over and over, incarnated again and again, embodied, disembodied, captured, recaptured, lost and found and lost again in an endless circularity of sequence and pattern, of original and copy, of design and decay, of construction and disrepair.

Then came the morning when golden rays flooded the upper strata of woods around the cabin. The colours of dawn and flame bloomed upon the tufted throats of birds that piped their sweet mindless songs through the upreaching branches. The rustling of a distant stream washed away the chill of the night and life bestirred itself, yawned and stretched, as if the long spell of pensiveness and longing, obscurity and doubt, were finally over. Through a rent in the tall umbrella of trees, a bright beam of light entered the lower realm, exciting friction and conflict in his heart. Within moments a thought would burst forth, and the terror of the false sunrise would begin once again.

File:Canada Geese and morning fog.jpg

Flying mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and morning fog in Golden Gate Park: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2009
Canada geese (Branta canadensis) and morning fog in Golden Gate Park: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2009

Lough Gur (for Billy Mills)


File:LoughGur 2002.jpg

Blick über Lough Gur
The next best thing
to being there

A view a look a sight a vista
I can feel the wind in someone
else's hair

File:Lough gur.jpg

Blick über Lough Gur
: photo by Christian1965, 2002
Lough Gur, Ireland
: photo by Jon Sullivan, 2000

Wednesday, 18 November 2009



File:Mottenflügel in Mikroskop.jpg

Wings thinly scaled in postmedian light
appear transparent. The one last
isolated colony is about to die out.
Alighting on a bright patch of reeking mud,
she holds her wings over her back,
turning toward the small patch of sun,
and leans to the side, so that
the shadow she casts is minimized.
In this way she's protected.

File:Brown butterfly.jpg

Butterfly wingscales: microphoto by Jan Homann, 2000
Brown butterfly on leaf: photo by chung-tung yeh, 2005




In the poisoned garden
her shattered wings,
long, pointed and discal,
flicker like a delphinium
in a clump of thistles --
the light minimal, the dark scaling
turning a deeper blue ochre
with the dying of the evening
and then a silvery white.

File:Delphinium grandiflorum 472.jpg

Ground fog in East Frisia: photo by Matthias Süßen, 2003
Delphinium grandiflorum: Sydenham Edwards, from The Botanical Register, 1820
Large Blue butterfly (Maculinea arion): photo by Pengannel, 2006

Sunday, 15 November 2009

White Moon



A noise would awaken or impersonate Kim.
As if these things were self evident
In her sleep ancient lunar fish enacted,
As if before an underwater window,
A comic mimicry of a sunken world,
The one Kim wished to inhabit -- as if
Wishing were the next best thing to being
There. When the white moon comes up in the black
Cold winter night, the skin of empire drifts off
Like a poison that's evaporated;
Funny, thought Kim, how the film over words
Loses its toxic power in certain lights
Above implication's dowager kingdom.

File:School of Pterocaesio chrysozona in Papua New Guinea 1.jpg

Full moon from Istanbul: photo by Maderibeyza, 2007
School of Goldband Fusilier (Pterocaesio chrysozona), Papua, New Guinea: photo by Mila Zinkova, 2004

Entertainment Medium


File:Trapeze Artists in Circus.jpg

Flying through air, hanging upside down,
Tumbling, defying gravity for a lark:

Life going on while containing closure,
What in the world could be more common,

So, human; passing; thus, why requiring pain?
Loss sensed as hurt down through the drab ages;

Why not, one might ask, as freedom from same?
Forlorn the very word is like a bell

Miss Interpretation takes as an alarm
When may hap it might signal a homeward tolling;

Could also sound like a child's toy horn; to a clown
Tones of desolation might trigger laughter

Or tears; from the cheap seats all's equal either
Way; any sort of show brings down the house:

Flying through air, hanging upside down,
Tumbling, defying gravity for a lark.

File:Georges Seurat 019.jpg

Trapeze Artists in Circus: Calvert Lithograph Co., 1890 (Library of Congress)
Circus: George Seurat, 1891 (Musée d'Orsay, Paris)



File:Roatan shipwreck Honduras.jpg

Holding the wide world in the hollow of his
Hand, that role formerly accorded gods,
Yet keeping that hand open as a heart,
The magician king knows the shipwreck
Will happen, hears seas crashing, hysterical
Screams, final splitting of beams, feels victims' tears --
The whole spectacle recapitulated
By Miranda, who's seen it from farther off
Than we, stationed in the conditional mood --
Yet too knows all now not only must be
But will be well, in fact perhaps always was,
For the eyewitness' transfixed iteration
Seemed even at the time to be missing
Something essential, some element of trust.


Shipwreck at Roatán, Honduras: photo by Chris Vaughan, 2007
Shipwreck, Netherlands: photo by Maurice, 2007

Saturday, 14 November 2009

White Thought


File:Blank page intentionally end of book.jpg

Here's what I love about the slipstream blankness
Of the white page, its ability to
Harbour an illimitable conception.
I'll sail through zero into paradise.
I'll summon white thought streaming through the pale

Veins of the white leaf. I'll watch it sink into
The watermark and insinuate the margins
The way a sailors' girl beckons from the shade of

A lamp, whose illumination also falls
To its knees before the grand fog incoming.

File:Bratislava Temperature inversion1 2005-Nov-11.jpg

Intentionally blank pages at end of a book: photo by Roke, 2005
New Bridge, Bratislava, Slovakia: temperature inversion, 11 November 2005: photo by Ondrejk, 2005

The Confession


File:Liquor Bottles on a Bar Wall.JPG

Bottled up in the man something old
Bothered and blue you would conclude from
The vows he mouths to his unresponsive
Beer, in its nonjudging container.
Odd how lost you have to get before rescue
Vessels start to pick that signal up,
The anxious beeper of a fear of yourself,
Thought the man, now quietly slobbering,
Revealing his mood to the girl at his side,
His vanguard, prosecutor, agent.

File:De Oude Buis - interieur.jpg

Liquor bottles on a bar wall: photo by DWS-Montag Zen, 2009
De Oude Buis -- interieur (de Bar): photo by Ambertje86, 2006

On Dangerous Ground



It's not her inevitable unhappy end

We recall but her ambiguous power.

Her darkness drinks up the hero's gaze

As an ocean draws its feeble tributary

Into itself, to drown in its mirrors.

Which angle is to be trusted with

Secrets that make watchers uncomfortable?

Or does the sneaky camera eye control

Everything, the way night encompasses

Day, aggressor prey, heroine hero

Swaying from her to eternity and back

With his psyche hanging out, and this slack look?


Out of the Past, 1947 (publicity still): image by D.C. Geist, 2007

The Big Combo, 1955 (movie trailer): screenshot by Esun, 2008

Leave of Absence


File:Hibernaculum sweepings.jpg

Hibernaculum sweepings: photo by PixOnTrax, 2006

Slim consolation offered -- ticket on jet
Home once the going gets strange and family
Or is it authorities intervene
In what was probably framed in the stars
Or whatever it is blows all this around --
A seedpod in the wind, just another
Random young person lost and asking
Is this all there is, all there ever was

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

At Malibu (Prehistory Version)



Kowabunga! The amoeba was
Venusian burgers were sailing out
of broken windows
onto my plate. The Fantastic
Baggys were playing. Down on the corner

of Tubular Boulevard
and Transistor-in-the-Back-of-the-
Head Avenue,
near the approach
to the Gaping Maw Freeway,
the 6-to-8-plus
foot waves
were coming in like gangbusters
out back
of the Bar-B-Q Shack. Jan & Dean
and the Rip Chords
were playing on portables
in the All-Nite Board Shoppe;

chill were the shakes
and flat the tops.

File:Mercury Cougar (Orange Julep).JPG

A blue Merc cooked out of the light.

The cars were lined up
like igloos
in front of the Tastee Freeze.

Greasy smoke was
rising from the Taco
Bell, much as from
the La Brea Tar Pits.

Voices bubbled from
The ambient fumes.

File:USA tar bubble la brea CA.jpg

"I'm bugged at my old man."
"Trig pisses me off."

They were listening to
Danny & the Juniors
on incredible car radios
that picked up 1962.


Beyond the row of cars
three scraggly
condors perched
alert upon the branch
of McNabb's Cypress.

File:La Brea Tar Pits.jpg

One sloth trapped

in the pits
by the advancing Sabretooth;

two others watching his back.

Unable to escape from the asphalt,
wipe out, bones
of the unfortunate sloth
encased in the pit
to await the Perfect Wave.

File:Fuerteventura 2007 029.jpg

Going for the tube: photo by Gargoylepeni, 2006
1970 Mercury Cougar: photo by Bull-Doser, 2008
Tar bubble at La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles: photo by Daniel Schwen, 2004
Making the drop: photo by Ljsurf, 2006
Rancho La Brea Tar Pool with fauna: Charles R. Knight, mural in the Hall of Man, American Museum, New York, 1921 (Jesse Earl Hyde Collection, Case Western Reserve University Dept. of Geological Sciences)
Wreck of the American Star (ex SS America), Aug. 21, 2007: photo by Michael Wünsch, 2007

Honey Badger


File:Honey badger.jpg

The most fearless Animal in the world
Has a sweet tooth

And the acutest sense of smell
On the savannah

The honey badger
So courageous nothing
Dares prey upon it

Degree of difficulty
In attacking a honey badger

Reward minimal

File:Prague ZOO - Mellivora capensis 3.jpg

The honey badger is skilled with tools
A honey badger will log-roll
And stand delicately balancing
On its hind legs
On the spinning log
To patiently extricate
With its scimitar claws
A kingfisher fledgling
From the dark ceiling
Of a subterranean cave

To the honey badger
The world is an hors d'oeuvre

File:Prague ZOO - Mellivora capensis 4.jpg

Solitary and nomadic
Roaming a 300 mile radius

File:Prague ZOO - Mellivora capensis 2.jpg

Intelligent and playful
Loved by some
Dreaded and feared by others

The honey badger has a curious idea of fun

In Basra it is known
A honey badger will kill you
Not in order to eat you
But in order to tear
Off your testicles

File:Prague ZOO - Mellivora capensis 1.jpg

Honey badger
: photo by Jaganath, 2006
Mellivora capensis (Prague Zoo): photos by Matej Bat'ha, 2007



File:Binturong in Overloon.jpg

Binturong (Arctictis binturong) at Overloon, Netherlands: photo by Tassilo Rau, Summer 2004

The Binturong
or bearcat
is neither bear nor cat

It dwells
in the trees
of the rainforest canopy

Eats fruit eggs
shoots leaves
birds and small animals

Its only natural enemy
who cuts down the rainforest

Not many Binturong left
when cornered vicious
when happy emits

Chuckling sounds
Bushy prehensile tail
like a fifth hand

Fully as long as its body
Swings along by it
through the trees

Leaping from branch
to branch
Rotates its head backwards

So that claws grip
as it climbs down a tree
head first

Scent of Binturong musk
reminiscent of cornbread
and hot buttered popcorn

Brushes its great tail against trees
and howls
to announce its presence

To other Binturong
It's been here all along
Maybe not much longer

File:Young pet bear cat in Taman Negara Malaysia.jpg
 A young bear cat kept as a pet by Orang Asli in Taman Negara (Malaysia): photo by Bart Van den Bosch,16 August 2004

File:Head arctictis binturong JdP.jpg

Head of a binturong (arcticts binturong), Jardin des Plantes, Paris: photo by Jastrow, 2006

Sunday, 8 November 2009

"As we go on living..."


File:Binturong in Overloon.jpg

As we go on living
moving further away
from the zone where names are distinct
or slinking

like night animals
of interior vision
between memory
and oblivion

recapturing spaces
we pass unconscious
from intermediate names
to gradual

struggling from absolute
reality to subject
subject to reality
struggling from absolute

to gradual
from intermediate names
we pass unconscious
recapturing space

and oblivion
between memory
of interior vision
like night animals

or slinking
from the zone where names are distinct
moving further away
as we go on living

File:Ratel or honey badger.JPG

Binturong (Arctictis binturong): photo by Tassilo Rau, 2004
Honey badger or Ratel (Mellivora capensis): photo by Joshua O, 2007

Postconceptualism (Water Version)


File:Stuckist International Gallery 2003 (shark 1).jpg

I like breathing better than wireless ideation
But strange is the human meat
When it is ripped out of the sky
And arrows are shot into it

Nothing is personal then
And everything is true
Including love's great circumambience
And the skull in the mirror

The mortal intimation
Of souls of beings long since lost
In a forgotten past
And the deep pink nescience

Of the thought evacuated tissue
Glaring back at you
Through the empty eyeholes
In the mask


A Dead Shark Isn't Art: photo by Charles Thomson, 2003
The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (Tiger shark in formadehyde solution): Damien Hirst, 1992 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)