Saturday, March 18, 2017

Poking in inner watery electric fire of the mind for flame and ember, you sense what you're looking for, to explore, write about.

A picture of a young woman thirty years after you last saw her.

The brain is an organ, it collects, records, exchanges remembered.  It has done its Shakespearean job, laborious, saving words and feelings, like a cherished tool box waiting to be put to use with some old craft.

And the brain has a reaction.  The picture, a lesson, the disappearance of all regret, a sudden thing.

You'd waited for what?  This, probably, this freedom to breathe again and live.

"No, honey, you were too fancy for me.  You could never have accompanied me on my voyage physical and spiritual, and a lot of other people came to bear me along, my body and my time.  And you see, I was, and remain, a sort of politician, a man, a creature whose bearing deserves the fable and dignity we all deserve."  Something like that.

That was how you acted then, and how you would act now, I'm afraid.  I didn't see it as mutual;  it was, I, going one way. my own way.

I kept writing.  That was all I could do.  I give that person, myself, I guess, some credit.


Storms in the mind clear, winters are passed through, clouds break, the sun comes out finally.  You've got to give the weather time.  You have to walk through the woods in all seasons for years and years.
A private person, I took care of my business, on a daily basis, living, even when the whole old thing and memories would kick me almost everyday, first thing.


The bigger, the longer the telling of the joke, the better the punchline.  It was only through writing that I could see clearly and work things out, achieving peace, see the good in myself, the part that was ready to do some work, mysterious, strange as it was.

I had the artist's love of simplicity, a cot with a Buddha statue, incense, a bottle of wine maybe, something to eat, a guitar to strum.  She was too fancy for me.  She was my own embodiment of the selfishness the Buddha shows us to be illusion.  I kept the thought of her for years, until one day I found a picture of her on the web and it all disappeared.



Sketches, Irish Wake.:


Lincoln, as a young fellow, in the failing tavern in the town no longer on any map, the dignity of going broke, into debt.  A story.  The dignity of work, failures and all.  The storied quality of his life, the web of craziness below the surface, of all ancestors in all situations.

Lincoln, in the ideal realm, bridges, almost, the ideal politician and the problem of finding 'right profession.'  He was strong, a  wrestler, ambitious politician of the 19th Century perfect for him.  Was he 'just a politician...'  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I rested on the couch, asleep, still fighting a cold after four weeks.  Bloody Valentine's Day had did me in, the completion of a whole holiday cycle coming at the worst time of the year, on top of the general high stress of having to entertain--you try it--with that whole stupid clock change thing putting me into darkness...  I'd been back to work all through it, and got through each week, but when the days off came, as for weeks in a row, I coughed and slept, croaked to my old mom when I spoke to her on the phone, feeling bad for not being there, and barely had energy to get groceries.

The days off were typically bad enough as far as being low on energy, (though my coworkers seemed to not comprehend the strength it took and what it took out of you)  but it was worse with a cold, the tail end of winter, some days remarkably warm, and others very cold by Mid-Atlantic standards.  My coworkers were meeting Friday night, but I had no energy.  Rousing finally to take care of a few things, figuring to myself how I'd hear soon enough what a great time I missed, with hot women, I turned on the television, as one does at a quiet late hour, wanting to get the dishes done, finding the account of JFK Jr., the last flight, the HLN news account, with interviews and information pieced together.  Long enough ago an event, you end up watching it, first to remember an era, then out of sadness, nostalgia, a whole nuclear kernel, and then hoping for some form of satisfaction somehow, knowing better, and being reminded of what a guy said to me during a day shift--he worked for AllState, came in at lunch for a few Lone Stars, a former bobsled guy who'd done the infamous Lake Placid run, knew something about flying--of how the young man wasn't trained for instrument flying (where there are no external clues of things like where the horizon is and must fly blind), how disoriented a pilot can be.  Alone, at night, still sick, feeling funny in the head anyway, unable to turn it off, there was raised in me no small amount of anxiety and sadness of a kind not easy to shake.  And then, having slept so much, I was restless, and thinking of how things can go wrong, very wrong.  There was traffic much worse than usual in Manhattan around rush hour, a whole string of events, choices.  And at a certain point, the pilot knew, in the dark soup of night, things had gone very wrong, despite being so very close, so very close.

Earlier, much, in the day, before again a lot of rest and sleep with dreams, I'd found a book of mine I'd not seen in awhile, bound in blue, specially printed with engravings of lotus blossoms and scenes, the story of the Buddha.  (Buddha:  A Life & Teachings, Peter Pauper Press, Mount Vernon, New York.)  And sometimes it is the early part of the story that seems to be the meat one craves, in this case of how the young prince gets curious, ventures out, through no fault of his own, and rather to his credit, and how he, with this chariot driver, sees old age, sickness, death, impermanence, suffering, and how that young prince, Gautama, wends his way with some purpose to find out something very important to human existence and sanity and the life of the mind.  How to put that is up to you, but it has something to do with not being exacerbated into chasing personal participation in the things our minds might tell us will bring something we would like, in the way of pleasure and satisfaction and some sort of worldly enjoyments we would like to find eternal, and they are, of course, not eternal.

Having satisfied myself that my immune system truly needed the downtime, to fight the damn thing, the cough, the sluggish ache, the depressed feeling, having listened to my body and not dragged the old bartender's body out into the cold of a Friday night to meet people half my age intent on things like crowds, music, dancing, and not feeling like checking my ragamuffin system of coats, well, I was asleep anyway.  But when I woke, there still was some vestige of a being aware of a self, a self in need of some form of satisfaction or entertainment, something to put a finger on for the night, and wanting to satisfy both my deep respect for the Kennedy family and its story and my love for what could have been had he been given the gift of years on top of all his other gifts, I watched the television screen at night as the account went on.

And somewhere within there is a lesson of Buddhist nature, of how our minds can quite easily be taken over.  The very sad thing we'd like to turn away from but can't, driving into our stomachs, taking over us, our body, our cells, bringing the real sense of tragedy such as proof of the grim tragedy that any life, looked at honestly, could be.  A lesson wrapped in a lesson?  With the sting of angst, and with images of the well-bred faces, with all the ironies, with a sense of all the bravery of a family to weather such impossible loss, so was the rest of my quiet evening quiet in the dark, a light on, waiting for more sleep to come.



A Tathagata... has great love for all creatures, has a knowledge, a truth of so many things, so much insight, gained through meditations available to us all, to let us bypass suffering, as much as we can.  A father to all beings who undergo that cycle of birth, life, death, rebirth, compassionate and wise and understanding, one whose vision encompasses assassinations, tragic death of worthy people, the losses that survivors must contend with in anguish...

So one returns to a purpose, a job, a professional situation, as best as one can, given the circumstances,and sometimes there is Buddha's handwriting all over everything, to the foreground his understanding of the physics of human experience and the mind and all sensations and feelings.  And it is not the wine, necessarily, to be faulted, as wine is food, necessary, sometimes, to some of us, to some of us in certain states, perhaps, as it is not what goes into a man but what comes out of him that is indicative of good or bad deed.

And in trying to cope with any offering of the media, perhaps it behooves the human creature to be careful, to be aware of how much influence a selection of media past time, information or entertainment might be...   Look at what the environment we have put before ourselves as a media source hath wrought, the perfect tyrant not to play by the rules we thought were imposed upon it, through fairness, discernment, properly informed subjects and objects, the educational element, but to ride it, to manipulate it, to make himself a giant and the rest of us small, ready to wipe away instruments and institutions of fairness, legality, equality, values, beliefs, understandings, in order to allow individuals of corporate greed and unsound decision-making, bowing to the god and goal of personal profit, a vision of golf courses, and escort services and lavish hotels where no one wants them to be but to feel wealthy to come upon us and use the structure of democracy for his own.

In need of some mind change afterward I put on a dvd about Catholicism, Word on Fire, narrated by Rev. Robert E. Barron, usually something I get something out of, but on such an evening it seemed full of dualistic thinking, statements of a story, simplified, in need of backing away, nuance, perspective.  (Really, did a baby as such bring forth such an army of angels to fight, almost in a mockingly superior way the crucifying armies of the Roman Empire?  Or is such a man who has something wise to say necessarily an imposter if he claims something wise to say?  Father Barron saying one would claim to be wise, maybe an evil type...  Meaning there's only one Jesus.)  Sometimes it's better to think of things purely as a believer, but that night I felt older and wiser, burdened in such away as to lose a certain amount of patience, while still being a believer in the story.  If you've completely bought into the story, and it sounds a bit much as far as reality as it appears to us, then maybe you're not the best teller of that story.  And so would my own literary rendered Peter or JC be a bit more earthly and profane, as if they went to, or even worked in, restaurants and bars amongst publicans, sinners, gluttonous men and wine bibbers... fallible normal people fighting perhaps with their own minds and the things people tell them.


Melville stood out on ship's deck in the night, listening to the prow cut through the waters, and sea shanties in his mind, silence, the stars, life in the waters, Biblical stories wriggling alive all round him.


The next day when I awoke the dishes were done, the teacup clean, the living room in order, myself in a reasonable state, a gentle peace having fallen over me for not going out, as much as I missed my friends.

A long time ago, it seems, I wrote a piece about watching the Tour de France, in many ways, and numbers, my biggest blog hit, though who gives a .hit.  It was about finding something worthy of watching, finding a kind of mythos, I don't know what you'd call it.  I guess by some vague calling I wanted to be a media critic, sort of an F.R. Leavis, or Matthew Arnold, meaning to be a believer in the democratic capacity of readership.  The cinematography was worthy as we watched the Tour from that higher perspective, looking down from helicopters on human endeavors with history, churches, castles, rivers, bridges, mountains, monasteries, Cathar hold-outs, farmland, vineyards, inns, plane-tree lined streets, Provence, in mind.  It matched, it gelled, even with the shouting byline of the race story and odd factum.  Hannibal took this route through the Galibier...  The gut digestion, as remembered by a schoolboy before a fire alarm in French class, and then, as if by miracle, found thirty years later...  And what sticks in your mind, your own mind, about any sort of media?  There was something JFK, the president, as Jackie herself tells us, about listening to the record before bed, before kneeling for his nightly prayer, Camelot, Camelot...  Richard Burton.  And by projection, Malory, Mort D'Arthur, and any number of King Arthur old literature, and by expansion, poems, Donne, Shakespeare, Irish kings, the kinds of things the eternal reading schoolboy--who else it is who is the inner reader--loves and spends time with in that glorious free time of life, reading, say, Lord of the Rings trilogies...

It's the storied man who will save us, who knows no bridge, no distance between the stories of myth, who finds the tales awakened ever and ready to be applied, rather than the cold cynical pols game of controlling the ins and outs of a day, bashing away....

This night ends with remembering the old clip of The Pogues, Shane MacGowan, singing the old song, Dirty Old Town, and anyone who remembers Saint Patrick's Day, or by extension anyone literary, like, say Dylan Thomas, or Larkin, still has a cloth to wash their faces from the sticky consuming insanity of the non-literate creepiness.


You see, I was afraid to say anything, I was afraid to be myself, because, well, being poor, living on paychecks, shifts, compared to everyone else in the town.  I was afraid to listen to music, and tune my guitar so I could play along exactly with the You Tube of my favorite songs, and yet I kept to them because of some deeper drive related to the things one does not question when it comes to their own brains basic procedures of digesting and processing.  I love to pull out a guitar and hear in it an old song...  And I should think I'm entitled to that, after all, (and I try not to bother the neighbors at hours of night.)  It's important, music.  (Who will Trump invite to play his WH?)


And Lincoln, to remind myself, yes, he wrote that letter to a woman he liked, about the woman he was almost, maybe was, engaged to, and how, he observes, ever the Buddhist, yeah, the picture of her changed...  Let it go.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=244EmfdANvA  (What writing looks like...)

I found it healthier to write, to occupy the world of my own mind, rather than to listen, get sucked into CNN, much as we all need to be informed...  It was better to listen to the old music, and in that way be armed, have an armor out into the world, even if it was  Monty Python armor, and the babble of our brains.

Dear Buddha,

I find the joy, at least in bar tending, and in probably all things, is when someone confides in you.  It may be over time, taken a certain amount, an inkling here and there, and admission, an honesty, a candid moment.   This was something I could not easily translate into talk, or profession, or tangible accolade, just that people spoke to me in candid moments, and let me in, like they wanted a little bit of light on something, and understood that I needed a little light too.


In media times such as this, maybe the positions of people who speak wisdom have been replaced.  SNL offers a bevy.  Where would that mystical horse-rider-in-the-night Lincoln be, that ballast of things Presidential...




There's always a shyness to thoughts and thinkers.  What if a creature thought beyond itself, not that it would.   A butterfly imagining being a bird?  A human being imagining writing a book length piece, a novel?  Don Quixote, it would be.  And all relationships are metaphysical, not the direct confrontations we make them out to be, poetic things, I have seen this and know it to be true.  Daniel Boone went to a wilderness, and he fought it out with the tough things in the wild, and there is new territory for us as well.  If and when we say so, it is hard to be heard above the noise.  "The point of literature?  What is that?"  the people, dumbed down into some skepticism, allow to be led so.  Could it be, people speak at a distance, through warps of time and space?  Bobby Kennedy is speaking on the night of April 4 in Indiana to you and me.  Pope Francis is cutting across waves of sedimentary thinking of a church lacking the imagination it proposes to support most integrally.    The liberal college is ossified.  You are sensitive, just as much as I, and you know, as well as I do, that education is about content, about what interests a soul.

I would consider a glass of wine necessary at certain hours, in certain circumstances.  I hope the Buddha would too.

There is always a terrible shyness attached to such things, as wisdom, as speaking out, as truth telling, and that is why, I suppose, we have these old, maybe now archaic systems, like when we listen to the Clancy Brothers (or write laws into order) and we protect and teach because of the very shyness of these enlightening moments and thoughts.  There is always a greater purpose...

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Irish  Wake
revisit

http://www.firstofthemonth.org/irish-wake/

Walking at night, somewhere in Washington, DC.

Lincoln:  But a light can change your mind, the way lights have become, what you call them.  They'll change your words, the whole spooky interaction of blood and brain and man we have no real control over, but record, each to his own.  The new lights are bright, and they can change what you have to say, or rather, mainly make you forget, the revery, I mean, that makes them happen to you, an idea, a thought.  Trees in springtime, with a clear sky, a weird gushing wind, coming like ripples on the old Sangamon, blowing over forgotten towns, outcrops, really, collections of hewn timber made into squares with walls and roofs...  The stars at night when you're walking home at the end of the workweek, having slayed the awful dragon, cold, but could be worse, walking past the cemetery, the high iron fence, a road almost secret at night.

The tulip magnolia, that year, my boy died, they came into bloom early, just as they laid him down, just like this year.

I'm reading Dostoevsky now.  Of course I would.  The Idiot.    And that little bit at the beginning of Karamazov

(JF Kennedy mute, still, portrait like, as if in rocker, legs crossed, cigar in Irish fist...)

That bit about "a sudden flooding wind," it's only there in the author's introduction, and these are forgotten things, such revealing author introductions, guiding hand, that crucial immersive admission, that the writer is imbedded--if you will--in the writing.  He became a writer in the same way the writing became writing.  Who knew?  When did it happen

And these days, of course, we'll know less and less how that happens.  We'll bow to the new little I don't know what to call them, like demigod or demiurge or demisomething.  The distraction.  The light, the images, the people talking on the images as if it's them.

But that's all thrown off now...  I mean, unless you're allowed to walk around at night, a ghost like me, no one seeing you, no one giving a shit, completely anonymous, your footprints, your very trace, disappearing completely from the face of the earth, no matter what you do.

I crossed Sheridan Circle, one of those little field like places I wander, this one reminding me of fields and battle, I cross there, a ghost, no one sees me, I stop beneath the one old tree left--it's had some surgery lately, and many of the lindens have died now, but thank god the elms are still with us--and a Mercedes, what do you call it, drives by, and there are many of them, oblivious, even if I were alive they wouldn't see me, enwrapt as they are at attentions.  And there's that scrawny little runt of a fellow, Sheridan, and often it's the small little guys, the shorties, who have it in them to he emperors over fields of men.  Little terrors, really.  I could never have been like that.   The elephant moves slow.

And you, in your pain, Jack, I guess that kept you sort of in my realm, that old realm, the old Irish way, ha ha.  Go wander, the trees at night, the flooding wind, the weird stuff like that....

But we come back from our happy living oblivion death, our insignificance, our complete anonymity, we have to come back into some form of light, I would hope gas or candle, not electric much as I might have espoused such innovation, generally, but not for the creative spheres, to do our work, and then we're left to salvage our thoughts, and it's only through some great self-control or practice, that we are able to write down those few things of insight that establish, that establish our common base.

And look at now, look at what we've become, look at who the speaker is now, what he says, the light he is so stuck on being attracted to, the revenge of all electric lights upon us, the abandonment of the quiet lonely cemetery and the rain falling on the fresh entombed.  Rain falls drop by drop upon the soul until by the awful grace of God...     So as once was said, so still let it be said, and that's you, your brother, who said that.

That's Irish music...


All the little creepy men who sit under strange lights, thinking of such things as murder...  Let them walk, a ghost in this town, all the living gone to bed, strange folk out, and cab drivers, for exercise, for a break, when they could walk past the cemetery, feeling something human, I suppose.


MacGowan;

And it's 'how are you kid, and what's your name, and how would you bloody know...
In blood and death 'neath the screaming sky, I lay down on the ground,
and the arms and legs of other men were scattered all around...



Lincoln:

A writer is a writer by being a writer.  That's the only way.   Dostoevsky hated electric lights.  They turn us away.  More and more until the writer is as much of a ghost as I am now, obscure, a shadow in the night, writing about what appears to be nothing at all.  Forgotten.  Things from graveyards.  Nature at night, trees, the sky, water.  Birds.  We go full circle, from birth, back to obscurity.

The thing is not to fight it.  Lesser men, they always see it differently, grab for the attention of all the people, and the people, enchanted by the electric lights, will be numbed into hypnosis, believing the lies.  There's dignity in obscurity and dreams, in spooky things.

But so much of it, the chatter...  The puffed-up claims.

And the vehemence with which they attack.  Calling you a baboon, a tyrant, a creep...
Then you die, and truth comes out, as death is truth.  Then they leave you alone.

Kennedy:

It's enough to make you paranoid.  Like my old friend Dick Nixon.


Lincoln:

Yes, old Dick...  Well, the things you do in life...

And then afterward, after your act, there's that thing, there was always that thing, you wanted to be a writer, you wanted to be writing, up there with the oldest of stories, Job, Jonah.  Write that feeling you have when you feel that home is gone, that you never have a home, no more than you have any place to write, who are you, what experience do you have, and some would say I had a lot, sure, but at the end of the day, and life, we're all just amateurs.

And you, Jack, you had that gift.  No one doubted, this guy has a way with words, and life.

Kennedy:

silent

Lincoln:

You're still in flashback mode.  It's okay.  You'll get past it.  Despite, despite your schoolboy mischief, you were always a good student at heart, old boy.  And your old man helped you regather the dust of what it's like to grow up out on some prairie town and all that life will hold for you, the earthy people, the muddy circuit, the cross section of human legal misery, that great oozing mass or watery mess that in hindsight makes me feel like I was some frog, half submerged, my eyes sticking out above the water.

In life, I took great gallops around, wherever, whenever I could, when I got restless.  No one hounded you back then.  No one insisted, following you, bubble topping you.  In this after life I am the same weird night adventurer.  I go walking, out where the wind blows, where there are old trees out somewhere in the universe, made of all the elements...

"I am confined to fast in fires, until my sins are burnt away..."  Old Bill.

I'm out there walking, or riding my old horse, the same fellow he was, we know each other, and out there, yeah, there are still pigs stuck in the mud, and kittens, abandoned, species on the verge of extinction, cheetah spirits as they near mortality themselves, white bears, the poor whales, and out there there is no need of congressional acts and pork barrel legislation, thank god.  It's already been sorted out by the divine hand, as if the closest we might come to that is that nice park up in Gettysburg, you can drive your carriage through the points of the battlefield, Roundtop, Bloody Angle, the Peach Orchard, look down on Devil's Den.  Ever go through?  Well, you'll find all sorts of people getting all kinds of things out of it, leather POW MIA guys on Harleys staring off at sunset, not all of them innocent, except the school kids and the parents who take them there.  Where I stood to say a few things, well, I chuckle, because it's kind of obscure.  There's no sign.  Hah.  I was in and out.  Famously.

Well, that's all part of the fabric of the universe, like anything pithy we might say, knowing we're fucked, but knowing we still have a good long ways to go, and meanwhile the body is aging, and the possibilities are narrowing, and we are in political binds deep as molecular things spinning about, little genies of good and bad and...

Non duality.  That's what wisdom says.  Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.  You know who said that.


I was, in life, given this great character.  Who said it...  "I saw his face, and what a face."  Whitman, the poet?  That face was an instrument of the divine, as much as yours, Jack, as much as yours.  As much as yours.  I knew, take some pictures, let them make a cast or two.  You left before they could do much of that, but, on the other hand, your voice was recorded, cut into little groves to make waves of sound for eternity.  Mine seems largely a thing of conjecture.  It was different from yours, Jack.  Different accent.   But as easy as yours to have fun with.  "Mr. Ch(ia)eerman..."  They were ready to laugh at the hick in New York, just as they were ready to laugh at Little Lord Fauntleroy in PA, WV, Texas, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina...  My suit was ill-fitting, yours was perfect...




It is all about music really.  Beethoven was right.  And some of the music the kids listen to...  A politician should be a musician just to prove himself.  No one ever thought of that, except back in the caves, bison and deer in ochre.



Dostoevsky, he'd been through some horrible thing for his youthful rebellion, almost for the very same urge, off to some shitty place out in the sticks, worse than, worse than anywhere I'd ever seen or lived in.  For being a literary sort of gentleman, a reader.  A rearrangement, I guess you'd call it.  A reassignment.  A transformation.  An utter defeat.  One of those things.  I laugh at what I went through, in comparison.  A failure to get elected.  Well, back to the old law office.  Defeat.  Mary wasn't happy there anyway, Washington, and in a way I should have listened to that.  She would never have fit in.  Nor would I.  But, circumstances...  a divine need, if you will, something beyond us all, the universe needing some words, some words about its atomic structure, energy, all those things we float on, waves that we are.

Afterward, harried as he was, he loved the nighttime to do his work.  I've said it a million times, to myself, here in the hereafter, where this weird stuff counts,where personality and character really come out.  You go get your groceries, cook, eat, clean up, in the cold, and then, when everyone's gone to bed, you open up this fantasy life, and you write.  You write things down according to vision, something, and even then you have to figure out what you can get away with.  Brothers Karamazov.

He'd sit at his desk, doodling in the margins, rolling cigarettes the doctor wouldn't let him smoke.  He'd been in the hands of less than scrupulous publishers, and they even tried to take advantage of him, and to get through it he wrote about his greatest weakness, a compulsion.  He had to open up about all his sins, gambling, losing everything, his wife's jewelry and you know how they like that stuff.

He was a man.  It took him a while, a lot of figuring.  He'd sit on benches and listen to the way people talk, record such things in little notebooks.  All adding up to some vision.  Before he died.

You can't blame a fellow for being in love with the night.  Frost has that poem, the two roads in the woods, basic physics, really.  What are you going to do?

Now those planes fly over you, just as you reach that quiet time, just before the birds start their singing.  Roaring over the trees, you can't hide, can't think, can't hear your dreams anymore.


I wish he'd written about those things, you know, the things that make you feel a bit stupid.  Like that beautiful face, that girl who was part of you boyhood, Grace Kelly, but you weren't Gary Cooper yet. The things that you outgrow, the sort of things you never want to admit, what a hick you were, your own misplaced sense of attachment when you suddenly felt like you had no home, not here, not there, nowhere, and you felt like the girl would give you some sort of continuity, as if she knew who you were, deep in your heart, just like you know yourself deep in your own heart.

But the clock embarrasses you.  Time is time.  And you're still stuck being you.  And, well, the vain things, they boil away, and leave you with... well... you.


Daylight comes too early, my friends.   And I have failed.  Failed at everything.  But even then, I have still managed to bend space and time with my own little gravity, my own little love for the world and its creatures and sometimes its people.  You know what failing is like?  Well...  It's just weird.  In the end we're too gentle to do anything but.  But fail.  Live in some old soldier's home with our effects.  Strange it all is.


Kennedy (perking up):

So what's with that girl you were talking about?

Lincoln (turning):

(... chuckle...)  I don't know.  You always think of The Winter's Tale with these things.  Alabaster.  Statue.  Is it her?  Looks like her.  But you've let her down.  You could never live up to those particular standards, or... really, who knows why.  So clever, so smart, so gifted with words, and yet lacking a particular kindness in my direction, as I thought I always had for her, but now, it's kind of worn out to tell you the truth.  Years wasted because of all the strange stuff in me regarding her, telling the story over and over to myself, writing some strange sort of long poem about it, when we knew each other, sort of.  It cost me.

Mary, her embodiment, she came along, it was complicated, it worked, it didn't work, then it was done, how things happen.  She fit.  I fit.   The story worked.



But I was a master manipulator in life.  I played people.  I'm in no way the saint they make me out to be, no sir.  I was a politician, a lawyer before that, of course I knew how to play people, shrewder, more calculating than the next.  I got things done, but...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Old wounds of the flesh,
eventually they heal
themselves, close over.
The splinter works its way out.
Raw flaps of skin close as the beneath
hardens, then softens into normal,
the invading dirt repelled,
and pain leaves, to eventually,
be, more or less, forgotten.
This is nature's way.

Of their own accord,
and in their own time,
decreed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

There are the blips and the blurbs of the writer's mind and sketchbook, scraps of paper with lines, the thoughts that have no immediate joint, no standout alpha.


A sort of waking dream, after a bad cold, aches and pains from head to toe, as I found myself feeling somewhat better amidst all the imposed rest that had been building for a long time in the struggle.  I lie on the tribal rug and feel beneath the outer wrapping many rolled nets in layers pulled from a sea, such that the collection of nets is alive, almost as if there were a horde of tiny sea creatures gurgling about, as I drip on the outside, iodine and seaweeded, as if pulled from drowning or a long day on the cold sea in a curragh, leather skinned it is like me, black on the outside from tar on peat bog worthy skin and the ribs of found wood.  A tiny crab or shrimp -like creature would be at the big end of the scale as fluids adjust and I concentrate one by one on each nodule of vertebrae for how they all fit in this boat of life that is a fisherman's toil.  Beneath my skin as I lie, I am a skandha, a complex, of these nets that have seen the waters of the ocean and their life.  That life, all getting along more or less, but you take a slide, like those idiots who drop a bomb into the archipelago to see what fish live their by assessing and noting, but here, in this case, such a time-honored method, like the old dinghy like long boat good from here to Arran island, or rocky isle, those old nets of rope or twine tied into squares and smaller geometry, to then be tightened as they round the creatures free in their cold clear medium of water.   That's me, the writer, lying there, more or less defeated, or caught, but still breathing as tiny infant eels wiggle somewhere within.  A friend of the seal and all the kelp and things that take to rock and live in tide or depth in worlds obscure to us.  Electricity, the minute lightning and thunder that happens down there beneath that gray or green surface, inky, cold, as it must be off the West Coast of Ireland, or Maine, supportive rocks.    In metal form, as in airplanes, or bigger ships, it only increases the tragedy of simple lives, makes burst for an instant the old back and forth of the tide and the bravery of man, woman and child and houses and families.  The plane will, like the curragh, bring you back, in metal, catafalque, and you will to be that mystery of skin, outer husk of all you know of you, your face, and down through each layer of the seawater wet net-like wrappings, each one, not all neat, down to core.

There are the words in all of this.  Like the nets, they are very old, and as fisherman talk to fish and all creatures of the deep, there's the older way of talking, Shakespeare, John Clare, anyone who gets the guttural, as if we could still make up words, and still could hear them as we spoke them and they intoned in some deeper wooden part attached to jowl, jaw, tooth, lip, tongue, throat, collar, heart, clavicle, lung, while the old brain watches on like an owl silent in the dark wood.

Breathing, I feel the ribs expand of these wrapped coils of old hemp woven, those nets that give a dignity to sea and creatures swim.


My job, I always thought, was to be creative.  But I rest now, pulled up, nothing but wild, dripping...

When you become a writer, you become another thing, another animal, quite different, that lone beast you always protected, from childhood holding bear or doggie, friend of the cats that would come to you.  You stand, autonomous, wild, a creature in some habitat, hiding in the herd, a whale in depths.


Time and thoughts, they come from chewing, as we would, not from labors impressed upon us, the squeezers.

Monday, February 20, 2017

However you can sneak up upon, pass the gates and enter, waylay or entreat, simply befriend, entreat, set forth to, however you do it, whether by style and attitude, or by persistence or self-knowledge, need, superstition, dupe yourself into such belief, however you can do it to get over that magic fence and into that quiet nightly yard of the peaceful mansion where you find the spirits and become enabled to write and explore the muse however you might do, this is worth it.  No doubt, no surprise if some people take it to be a spooky business, a feat of augured listening.

Entering the sacred woods, knowing the way well enough, finding your skill honed by years as hunter or trapper or guide or one knowing simply how to live, what music you might find, you have to keep your field notes as to how you are allowed to pass in.

And once there, you have a time.  Its minutes are numbered.  You cannot be interrupted.  You have to remember the styles of history, to remember the penchant for visiting cemeteries with a wish to almost live in them seen in the Nineteenth Century.

We don't know what the product of such communing will be.  Ghost tales in the form of music, poetry...

I mean, most people are not of that mysticism, that possibility of that ghost yard world.  Of the peace that brings us in touch with ancestor or hereafter, I mean, in the way that we have to grapple with it, our own mortality, the death of people close to us....
Reading it reconstructed in an excellent biography, and having long loved reading him and Moby Dick, I can see why Melville would have like sailing and the sailor life.  Those vast open periods, the space of the sea, the sky at night with stars, seen from mast, silence, communication bound to the rituals of a whaling ship.  The strange tales of the professional sailors, the singing of the sea shanties. And all the tasks the jack of all trades a sailor must be, keeping a man occupied, while the mind works.

A lot of the Indie music these days doesn't do it for me.  I remain in appreciation of what The Pogues accomplished, taking from a large body of traditional music based on older traditional music sometimes directly, indirectly.