not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

exiting selfhood: toward the indistinguisable oneness

"to be separate, to be apart, is to be whole again."  (from "Meditation On Summer And Shapelessness", Charles Wright)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

toward, together and apart

 the intoxication of singularity:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

against nostalgia

Nostalgia by Charles Wright

Always it comes when we least expect it, like a wave,
Or like the shadow of several waves,
                                                         one after the next,
Becoming singular as the face

Of someone who rose and fell apart at the edge of our lives.

Breaks up and re-forms, breaks up, re-forms.
And all the attendant retinue of loss foams out
Brilliant and sea-white, then sinks away.

Memory's dog-teeth,
                                lovely detritus smoothed out and laid up.

And always the feeling comes that it was better then,
Whatever it was-
                            people and places, the sweet taste of things-
And this one, wave-borne and wave-washed, was part of all that.

We take the conceit in hand, and rub it for good luck.

Or rub it against the evil eye.
And yet, when that wave appears, or that wave's shadow, we like it,
Or say we do,
                      and hope the next time

We'll be surprised again, and returned again, despite the fact
The time will come, they say, when the weight of nostalgia,
                                                                            that ten-foot spread
Of sand in the heart, outweighs
Whatever living existence we drop on the scales.

May it never arrive, Lord, may it never arrive.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

the conversation

why something instead of nothing?

consider for a moment eternity (eternity!) and then consider the possibility of what might happen inside eternity.  if all were to exist (and all does exist if we label everything that is and happens as we know it, or imagine it, as all), if it were to exist cumulatively, dense, with no distance, there would then be no comparative point of reference and therefore everything, happening simultaneously and inside of itself, would be equally truly denoted as nothing.  (imagine only one body in the universe and no other, no time nor space, nor even your imagination.  you can not see that one body without seeing another to know what the first is.  everything gathered together in the one body of possibility is invisible without a second to measure it.)  but throughout the length of eternity, nothing?  i imagine that for a great long part of eternity it is true, nothing exists, which is to say that everything exists for a great long time without distance. 

but is it not common sense to imagine that inside of the vastness of eternity at some point something happens, some event, accidental or purposeful (or even outside of the meaning or implication of accidental or purposeful) that ruptures the wholeness of everything and inserts distance inside of it, thereby fracturing all into the multitudinous state of being that we witness, this something, these many somethings?

how long might something endure?

might it matter?

who can imagine the vastness of eternity?

driving down the grey empty road i asked myself why something instead of nothing. 

 and then the crow crossed my path

and i understood.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

a bird. a bird. a bird in a frame.


ecstasy, real ecstasy, contains equal parts joy and pain.

it is all ecstasy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

not political

(the lake which is not Birch Lake, September 18, 2013)

Children of the Epoch by Wislawa Szymborska
(translated from the Polish by Austin Flint)

We are the children of the epoch.
The epoch is political.

All my daily and nightly affairs,
all your daily and nightly affairs,
are political affairs.

Whether you want it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin has a political hue,
and your eyes a political aspect.
What you say resounds,
what you don't say is also
politically significant.

Even coming through the rye,
you walk with political steps
on political ground.

Apolitical poems are also political,
and in the sky there's a moon
that's no longer moonlike.

To be or not to be, that is a question.
Oh darling, what a question, give a suggestion.
A political question.

You don't have to be human
to acquire a political meaning.
It's enough to be petroleum,
cattle fodder, raw material,
or just a conference table whose shape
was disputed for months.

In the meantime, people were killed.
Animals died,
houses burned,
fields grew wild,
as in distant
and less political epochs.

(*In Austin Flint's translation the third stanza reads:

Whether you want it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin a political tone,
your eyes a political color.

I have opted to include a partial translation here by Walter Whipple to my own preference, not necessarily reflecting the original.)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


the beggar stoops shoddy in the shards of his clothes, his body the hollowed out gourd of hunger much like his bowl, which each (body and bowl) have been sculpted from the whole with one fine sweep of a sharp implement. 

god stands very much like a man with a cast black pot but unlike a man he has no hunger, no yearning, and the pot is not heavy for him.  sadly, he turns out three small stones into the beggar's outstretched bowl. 

the man doesn't want to be unkind but his stomach rumbles.  from his pit of ingratitude (which is really misunderstanding) he says, but god, i'm hungry.  i can't eat these stones. 

to which god says, i know.  i'm sorry.  instead, keep them warm.  this is to be your life's ambition.

but the beggar is stricken with pain and asks over the roil of his rumbling stomach, but god, are we not speaking the same language?  do you not understand me?

to which god answers more quietly but with great love, schizlops.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


in my grandmother's attic there was a jettisoned pile of old tarps, not plastic but leather.  under the tarps was a trunk.  and in the trunk - well, i'll never know.  but my grandmother locked the attic door and folded up the ladder and carried it with great labour (she was bow legged), out across her yard and into her barn to rest inside the last unused stall, bits of hay or dust nudged aloft in the process and biting at the light in the air, each time she retrieved or placed anything from or into the attic.  this is how i know there are secrets.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

boys in autumn

 i stood by the window waiting for what i had already seen to happen again.  the wind had picked up several yellow leaves and tumbled them to the east down the street like squat toddlers doing comical cartwheels.  the wind did not come again.  instead three teenage boys came from the east and passed svelte and silently to the west. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

this world, this feather, this mouth: grinding the lens

it is not to wag a flag that we make art, if art is what it is that we make.  it is to be here. 

Spinoza ground lenses to afford himself the breadth to think and write.  i wake and lay into the side of my spirit in the hopes of grinding this lens of my being.  perhaps i will only ever create lowly things which might afford a moment for the world to show herself as the world.  if this be my poverty, then i am rich.

i wake up.  i find a feather touched with dew.  i wake up further. 

it is at least another hour before i break free from the reverie of feather.

i don't know what it is that i have learned but i know that i've learned something.

i am conflicted about posting here but then i am conflicted in life about a great deal.  my last post was to (perhaps) have been the last, however, i find i have no conflict with the feather and i am driven madly to sing her.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

everyday has a way of unlocking the metaphor of being

early morning, january 3, 2013
 this too is a photograph of the iris passing