awareness as a courtesy

awareness as a courtesy

Nighttime muses caress breezy shoulders
careening over little known instincts.
For bliss, for virtue, for loss, in folders.
On blocks of lady luck, we connect.
Using whichever craft of needlepoint
canoodles us best, to resurrect.

We sit and soak our nimble hips
in nebulous.
Jubilee delight
(so I like to call it).

               Some drive cars, most eat shit.
               We decay at computers becoming illiterate.
               Mouths flap, ears close, dogs still prance and babies pose.
               Little’s the same but most still here.
               Quintessentially remiss.

Togetherness, anti-retro world of narcotic bliss.
You know what I mean.

               Everyone talks about the same.
               The people, the places, and worst, the things.
               We’ve got shoes, we’ve got pants, we’ve got shirts
               and sometimes even skirts.
               Hats, purses, jewelry, blame, all the same.

It’s a kind of madness, this sickness is.
Oh, do tell.

               We drink, eat, shit, fuck, breathe.
 And move, we all move.
               Capacitize, monopolize, reiterate.
               Concretize, idolize, create.
               Philosophize, dramatize, rejuvenate.

It’s a kind of sickness, this madness is.
Rusty days, layback mattresses.
Don’t.

               We are parody, we are myth.
               Satire, blasphemy, tragedy, tryst.
               Hardly there, always here and closer to death.
               For those with bodies, only birth was first.

It’s a kindness, this awareness is.

scintillating drunkards, a poem

scintillating drunkards

My New Year’s Eve said to me: “You are a stoic woman.”

attended the opera alone at carnegie hall. die fledermaus, concert version. had two tickets, but never found the gorgeous stranger i fantasized i’d run into in the preceding days. it was fine. i cried. not because it was touching- no, this opera is fanciful, silly, a farce. i cried because the applause filled me up. because the stage looked so inviting. these sorts of tears are commonplace to me though.

after the opera, i imagined i would find a bar. walked down the west side about thirty blocks, never did. They either cost fifty bucks plus just to enter or looked like a college dorm. one lounge looked just right. simply called “the door,” velvet rope, attractive muscled doormen, discreet enough.

until the kid in front of me said “why are you alone?”

i looked at him. i just looked at him. you can imagine. “oh i guess that was a dumb thing to say…”

i shook my head. i was not really in a just-let-the-idiots-simmer-in-their-idiocracy mood. so i of course found myself grilling him about whether or not he is capable of going anywhere without his supportive cohorts who will stop him before he ever has the chance to experience anything or anyone new, or god forbid, think new, expansive thoughts. the poor boy was so clueless and apparently friends with so many of the people inside- that after one peek inside, i tossed my imaginary cape around my shoulders and flew off.

as the midnight tide struck, i do believe i was on the subway, being spoken to by a mentally disabled man who wanted to give me his phone number so i could call him and check up on him at his new job in a month. he said his daughter was gonna be on Jeopardy some day! in this moment, i feel guilty for not taking it. imagine how good he might have felt, had i called him in a month. so good, that it may have knocked some IQ points up and into him. oh well. next time. retrospection, once again, teaches lessons.

upon emerging from underground at 72nd street, the fireworks over central park had just started. and although i don’t particularly like fireworks, it’s all i had to work with. i really prefer the ocean or the moon, shooting stars, a waterfall, nuclear revolution… i decided to grapple onto any last shred of dignity and meditate on these god-forsaken rainbow preservatives. my primary resolution fell under the category of doing more of what i love, and the list was long, but tight: love, act, write, make love, meditate, write, dance, act, sing, make love, play the piano, meditate, be free, travel, make love…. and on through the rotations.

and i realized, so pristinely accurate, that i was alone. nothing i ever really cared about much before. alone? of course. it could not have been any clearer. i am entirely alone, as we all are. i was somber, but grounded and feeling myself. there, planted on 72nd street and so intensely focused on the night sky colorfully lit over the park.

and lo and behold, i was hit. not by a brilliant taxi nor a life-changing revelation. no, hit by the careening body of a sturdy, past the the point of alcohol poisoning english bloke. he twirled around himself, like a bulbous top without a proper point to spin upon. he smiled and chortled, not a wee bit humiliated. steadying himself on a fat woody lightpost, he observes “You are a very stihistioriric woman.”

“i’m an historic woman??” i admit, i was flattered by dragon mouth. i thought of grecian statues, joan of arc, egyptian queens… i could do that…

“A stoic woman. I said. You are a very stoic woman.”

“oh.” great. just what i need. “oh, really?” are you sure??

“yyyyisss.”

“not always.” i’m a fucking actress! was the only defense that lept to mind. and truth. Struck me as an inappropriate and showy remark, so I stuck with the mundane, and kept my own imagination, of the plethora of colors I keep in my wings, to myself.

turned out to be quite a funny fellow. intelligent, probably rich. make the best, or at least most successful, drunkards. i refused his card. i will not ring him when i’m in london, for “i’m never there. eat something.”

of course it was not the night personified that spoke to me, but perhaps the drunkest man I have ever seen, barreling unsuccessfully around his nonexistent equilibrium point. he thought he was fine, smashing into walls and poles and stoic women. he had another engagement yet to attend.

back to my meditation sequence, i ended before the fireworks. they overdid it as usual. the more fries the better, folks! this is america. supersize my resolution, my hips will thank you!

then back home, essentially doing nothing. minus the champagne. too leaden and depressed to pick up the phone. and finally slept.

New Year’s Eve, 2004

Photograph by Mike Gutkin

the arbor hollows

So what, leaves scurry across Madison Square Park’s stoned paths.
Unbending characters as they fall through the air.
Too dead already to leave a cicatrice upon their wombs,
They find themselves again alive in the afterlife
Giving voice to loneliness.

And the wind itself, which kindly aborts leaves
Before their deciduous infects the trees,
Maintaining its cyclic taunting,
As does the external world of interaction-mingling.

In its silence, we’re left to ourselves, to ignore the social.
We do not see nor hear, nor need.
But there, again. It submits to busyness.
With audible leaves who know quite obviously how to behave together.
No time for contemplation where the wind is concerned.

Leaves don’t chatter among themselves about social norms or seasonal etiquette.
And until one becomes its branch’s sole survivor,
not even self-awareness will it have.
No sense of being a leaf, a free mind to enjoy the journey it’s on.

Have you heard a leaf run across the pavement?
An unmistakably desperate scurry toward nothing
Because choice never existed in a life fated for death.

How could it have been sprouted with any greater purpose,
Than to die?
It could never truly be, with any being outside itself,
But only coexist with other pawns for the duration of life before death.

Why is the leaf said to be more alive, or alive at all while on its branch?
Only because it grows, until it doesn’t.
And so death sets in.
Are we as alive as the leaf?
Do you remember when you stopped growing?

Photograph by Mike Gutkin

Bondage

a thousand ideas of bondage

The chains look quite different now–
Having morphed from a thousand ideas of bondage to actual cuffs.
A choice, another day. Yet chains are still chains.

Passion diffused to specificity, reined to immutable reality.
Desire reduced to just one lone force–
Still it’s the same game
As when the vices were many, centrifugal pursuit.

To say I want you
Would be just another doomsday greeting.
Confirms we’re both standing in the same field, that is, of existence.
It’s no coup, neither understanding nor escape from thingness.

So, is this the same performance you signed up for?
I know I did. But I’ve changed my mind.
Sweet punishment shall follow
As we don’t get to change the patterns set in our minds
From eons before. The now is merely a result of all that.
Yet we reside in the fantasy of immediate creation.

In this revolving mindfuck, we are no different
And so the compassion flows deep.
From within this requiem, I have no firm urging,
No wisdom growling approach or resist.

We must play these rounds all together
Whether with hands of denial and inexcusable bliss–
Exquisite choice or destiny divine.
There we each are.

In perfect stillness, it all disappears.
Save the throb of heart, course of blood and cosmos rushing.

Yet the silence of the in between is only that,
An intermediary until the next flesh thought.

Chains remain links to bodies
To lives and earths of unquestionable flux.
Yet the truth of why we are here is neither fading passion nor logic.
No, this level of desire is the soul begging for goodness
Through atomic revelation of seed and sight–
There where there is no distraction, no sex, no justice, no fight.

Only a love which has no name.
It is false piety and the perversion of confusion which gets in the way
Of wiping and polishing the chains clean
To present our vigorously exposed minds on a string
To wonders which will cease.

There, God is found.
Otherwise you still wait in the abyss,
A shivering masochistic lamb, the nether pawn of self.
You can never build your own light, without the nameless one.
Rebellion is a mere folly of identification; nothing truly courageous there.

Step and sniff.
Bow and obey.
Dissolve into mortal light.

by Jill Freedman (1971)

crusts of the poet

Smoke.
Trails painted red.
Trolls collecting the wrong fees
for dollhouses never built for the wrong sexes.
Liars lie where wisdom ought to breed.
Children bathe in too many shades of juice to digest.

This is a circus, I feel I’m in a circus.
Wherefore art thou?
Alongside me?
Yes. No.
Yes yes YES.
Phantom messes lodge in my seat.

Please please purchase me out of this life,
away from rainbow flakes of gravity.

So much expressiveness in toes
So much pain in the world, in people,
such a huge need for love exists.

Changeling stress won’t utter the words
you want to hear.
For in its furry body,
only farthings can get
the newfound dribblings of self
to scream.

Imagining self stains my goggles
with a pillowcase sodden by night,
a chance completed by sleep
and left seeping out
in a prattle of bygone.

Watered mouth,
a fully satiating self
sits at desk, so still.
With the discipline of Titus,
she surges into herself
by finally giving the world
its reason to beg for more.

Rub your beak in charcoal and see
the darling pea that yearns for a pod
nearing beanful engulfment without respite.

You’re a midget?
Well, you’re tax-deductible.
You heard me!
You’re so short
you don’t even have to pay!

Pleasing the likeliest of crowds
hardly seems a feat of great mercy,
yet it still happens constantly and consistently.
Doesn’t matter who stops it, tries to, or doesn’t listen at all.

This particular scrim still outlines your tides of life,
waving you up and around me.
Moon forces up the liquid love around us,
eternally, yet only now so tangible.

What is, what was.
There are so many ways to go about it.
This trifling, meddling carnage
which could be dizzying.
But lo and beheld, it tries not-
to be fortuitous and so newfangled.
Ironically never terse enough.

Pile on the zygotes!
Just high enough to tempt the tempter,
to bludgeon the mindstuff.

Flippancy will not delight
where toppling over preconceived jokers might.
Chipotle mediation for kind hearted, restless fools
in meetings of clowns and miscreants.

Please do not dismiss my fitness like that.
Secularities strike me peculiar!
“If nostalgia is a country, tango is the capitol.”

Splash out the unadulterated bliss!
Until there is little left to understand.
Only the last left sage branches,
spriggets slid through teeth.
Pulled off tiny leafy by tiny stem,
leaving behind bare-armed twig bodies
littering leafless floors,
The changeless martyrs of forest time.

Encrypt a poem
for the sake of the poem,
and see.

Photograph by Jill Freedman
from “Circus Days” (1971)

timeless dissent



Sanity cannot have meaning
      not as subject, nor as experience.
Insanity, at least, secured better references
      along the course of history.
Gender, as subject matter, fed the monster
      of revolt by making logic out of nothing.
If not geometric, our love stories belie reality.

And since angles exist in matter,
      love must have form and thus equation.
Cracked open, love does have four legs
      and three eyes, like anything.
But it need not see nor ambulate
      to be recognized

As the great obsession-objection of man.

 

October 2004

Photo by Tom Clark

 

Painting by Randall Paul O'Rourke

mutual muses

 

Wrapped in outdated expectations.
The aftershock of having let someone crawl up
Inside your brain to nest with charm.
And in there, suckle at your ravishing blackness.

In the scheme of bygones,
We’ve let charity equal sacrifice
And become the changeling children of the asexual.

The deadlines for forgetting
continually pave our paths with ruthlessness.
For those loves still unforgotten
threaten, as if from a flaming star too close.
Even when sitting quietly, the naughty midgets speak through our minds.
Plebian thoughts plague our not so plebian aspirations.

A poor man’s thrombosis
will infect
your unscheduled passions, if not careful.
And you’ll become another fragment of your imagination.
If careful, you can eat your fantasies, bless your own God, and
neuter
judgment flat.

 

December 2004

Painting by Randall Paul O’Rourke

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