Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Record


Now I will do nothing but listen,
To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it.
I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat,
gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals
I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice,
I hear all sounds running together,
combined, fused or following

All the Records previous to this.
Past peoples who yet thrive in my present.

The Record

a morning in inman, books to my body
coffee then with sabeen, we talked at 1369
for a few days i waited about the west
there were films, snowy nights, papers to write
long mornings and afternoon rest
late night walks with many people in the streets
monta's house
the druid where we all said goodbye
sabeen, teddy, shu, leah, maciej (as he was then known)
doug, sarah, jenny, kristen, sylvia
i was going to say something after that night
with so little time left but decided not to.
one last lunch at shaheen's, mack at the table
i drove west to buffalo
arriving in a blizzard, sleeping in a mute farmhouse
next was home, a day over, then to buffalo
boston again,
maciej and sylvia at the middle east
denounced on vodka
i almost did it, there was a moment it might have happened
and before i know it,
there are the plains, the mountains,
denver, vail
there's a full moon tonight, wave so i can see you
here i am in my new home
my back taking a week to adjust
time off in the lodge, waiting for gear
the sun at such a high altitude scalds your hair
it saturates your body with depth
each morning there is blood from your fingers on the bed
many talks, many chats
what happened was what i expected
i tried to be a good compatriate, and patient
the back room finally became safe
i drank with these kids, inhaling smoke
i took walks above the road and remembered the lights on the hills
deep in the trees there were fewer hesitations
i love you, but you lost me
after many years that story was over
andrew and i spoke in an empty room
i said, i can't believe
winter turned
now i have one wing of fear, one of hope
where will this lead
now all of this began to make sense
the true west, a point of access
when the door can stay open
in a soonly spring i reversed, gathering for the south
the day i left colorado, the air smelled like my own youth
an afternoon out of the mountains for a train
my heart started to pound, others could hear it
they turned their heads, i was sure
except for one
will you wait for my train with me
we talked in a park, saying i knew from the beginning
you didn't have the fortitude
i'm not sure if it's fortitude exactly, more like an impulse of making
the station silent, the late day sun across the pews
i said this is the universal there, i could do this,
i know this place without having been here
the platform cleared and i said this is like a song, an odd film
suddenly, breakfast in the landscape with a flower
a near suffocation, but soon came chicago
and chicago, home, and it was turning spring again
i went to durham, knocking in the evening
and then atlanta, a hot day in a cool office
westward to alabama, through deep red pine trees
it was a cool night, and rammed earth smelled like beets

and alabama happened

now it's a cold morning in the rain
the north has returned to get you, she said
i went that way
jb and i talked about alabama, risks worth taking
then in nashville to skate music, coffee with phenis
keepin cleanis,
long days here of repetitious sitting, i made lists
through the land between the lakes, at a nabokovian wayside
i miss your existence (oh is that right?)
then to ottawa in a crisp midwestern may:
deep wind, bright foliage, walking with andrew and rosie
melissa at the house, the back doors open
where there was once a garden trough
then chicago with dawn, a long companion as i call it
conversations that years ago may have been surprising
on a cold morning i went to the lake
soon again, in grand rapids with another long companion
you didn't fail, i tried to explain
conversations that years ago may have been surprising
ann arbor to d and k, ashton and wrigley
warm spring nights of hockey at the corner
eastward to cambridge now, with a stop in buffalo
hello, here is my home, here are my kin
can i join you? yes,
and a crossing into boston, an intepid anxiety
make it right, i said, make it right
this was not a weekend for graduation and procession
but reconciliation and setting out peace
peace, peace, and i nearly cried
evening at the cellar, and another with
teddy, ingrid, sylvia, cryan, emilyp, kate, echristo, daniel, caitlin
class day and light in the city like paris somehow
yang and i discuss the heaviness
michelle, shanks, ricky with champagne on a last night
flowers falling in the new yard, birds, resilience
this thing called harvard is over
monta for naps and coffee, lingering in the square
inman, people's republic, topher, saif, brigid
a final punjab with sabs, goodbye to you at ss
a final 1369 with teddy, and the road again, south
ricky in brooklyn, chang in union,
easy e in baltimore, and rightly proud
annapolis for phil, gail, dunc, mike
a strange almost sinister silence in this history
a day in washington, then durham by nightfall
a week in durham in a long, lingering song
abiding in many of the gaps, alex and emily
soccer beneath the oaks, a drive southly more
a walk up springer, then a goodbye, a long path.
on foot across the land with
moondog, rocketbug, blue, doublecheck, magnolia, pearl, listener, etc.
the doc and the georgian
long days at the sunnybank with its porches
instruments in the evening and lingering rain
farther north into cold wet mountains
with the captain i closed out these days
coming to virginia with limping
waiting in a sundry town listening to storms
along she came in a car
a long-waited reunion at the francis marion
driving in the wet night and timeless day
farewell at the curb like a old radio ballad
i feel like i'm in a dream
beginning a new fall with gray
silence came over me, hesitations of words
after a month in the west
here was my brother and ross
teddy and clea walking into the mountains, buff in the water
an el camino for the last days of summer against mt. tabor
now to jill beyond alabama at the corroding beaches
doog and sarah in a strange flat land with odd silences
back to the east for tepid months of waiting
the land became fallow again
a purple evening at pamplona
like in a film i can only watch her as the train goes on
ending in the north again with persistent snow
easy e and mike d on the sides of hills
near calamity in the body, but also the heart
this is the point, a passing on of a stand
a trading of platforms and premises
the taubman college supper club with jen, ciej, teman
viva la revolucion at the house on heather
many returns to the comfort of a home when i had none
a harbor in more ways than one by dj and deniz
and again became spring, in a week in march
then april passes, and on the third of may,
regeneration. this never should have passed us by
some weeks of trepidation and hope
ultimately hope (against hope)
suddenly back in a place where i once began
an old crew, maggie and kasi, shaheen and fashion,
five years and one week gone by
and e
please be on the other side
another cold gray goodbye, and it is beautiful
flying west now over the same land as always
arriving back, returning forward
a period for grace and will
time and yes
and we're calling all the people
and we're calling all the people
that were here
this is a record of all the happenings
of another may to may, a year gone by.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Finally your home

Half Moon Bay

Finally your home has changed
it has been coming with a limp
a long conveyance of moving soil
it was an immense creature with no eyes
trucking like a glacial till across the land
blanketed and abandoned in blossoming white
it came like the erosion of the beach heads
without violence but impossible to relent
there was a place then that is now
the meadow in your first letters
you think about this transition
it comes to you in small creatures
when you are standing in the fields
and your feet are wet because the fields are low
and the air is washed, the light is mute
the season is turning in slow strains
and the fields have been swept up into knots
combed by wind and stacked in rain
and your own hair is now long
and your eyes are now stones
you find it hard to think about where you will die
or the day of your birth with its tremors
its cracking ice, its cold high clouds
the long moment of your initiating breath
it came to you, and it was by will, your own will
that you came to us fighting
you actually gasped
in the swale you find a dog's bones
there are flowers in its eyes
leaves between the ribs, and you find a crow's wing
but the grasses are fluttering, the weeds rattle
how do you say all of this
that you are immersed among the birds?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Goodbye Franklin

Observational notes from a town visit

The Confederate Army memorial is surrounded by half empty buildings from a dozen decades ago and others selling vintage things, family department stores as they once were, and the gap along Main is now a pocket garden, Antebellum dresses are next door in the window, paint scrapings and lace. Up the hill are a few tired houses, a curving driveway going towards nothing in particular out of view next to a pedestrian crossing sign and another which demarks BUS441. I go down now, pass the berm with its trees and flowing plants, right at the light, and cross the street. Here is the VFW hall, a windowless cat store with a fluttering flag of airbrushed kitties outside making faint noise in its shadow; it blocks the sidewalk at head height. The ubiquitous family appliance store, Ingles, hot parking lots, occasionally a tree that is old and large—its canopies sweep up the wind—are all scenes from the periphery of this busted sidewalk. There are odd corners where nothing stands but mowed grass and some perennials. A realtor’s hut with a shiny Hummer and sunflowers outside. The backs of the buildings on Main along the diverted and split one-way highway. Everybody here has a sign in the window, some gentlemen are setting out antiques. Where do these power lines go besides into the canopy? And why are there streetlights here? It is nice outside; warm with no humidity. Drafting services, radio towers, police parking lot, Latino men walking down the highway. That lazy sound of cars. Bright teals and reds and yellow beiges. Shiny cars parked along shady trees, in the center of a town that doesn’t seem to bother. Everywhere is a nowhere. For Rent, For Sale, Now Open. Air conditioners and one-way delivery drives. Inexpensive clothing; billboards. Well drilling, Ruby City. Everything in need of a trim, a touch-up, rebuilding, alignment. Some things are freshly painted. Odd background bird calls. The Sapphire Inn down the hill in the distance. Music is coming from the cars and leaves are falling.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Pot Diet

I like brothy soup

To save money and kill time, which I have too much of, I've started eating from a pot. I am a soup man; most of my life, I have been a soup man. The pot diet involves a spoon, a bowl, and a pot. In the pot I make soup by combining anything that is available in my cupboard and fridge. Lately, this has been clams and onions and spinach and milk with some other things also. Mostly, it's delicious. Spending two hours a night making a brothy soup (broth and I are in love. We are lovers) is probably the best way I could spend my time in boring Vail. Colorado, though, isn't so bad.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February 26

A poem

This vast earth carries the burden
of countless scabs buried in its skin.
Here I am in a premature spring
scraping them from the surface
in gravel fields and flowerbeds
with a disposition for fracturing.
I put my ear to the till
left wondering, what world is this
where magma and tempering water
spring forth from its crust?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Personality profile

Michelle had me take a personality type test at

The results are below. Text in blue is pretty much true. Text in green is circumstantial. Text in red is pretty much not true:



You are very curious and you love adventure, either or both intellectual and physical. So when you get interested in something, you can become extremely focused on it, sometimes to the exclusion of all around you. You pursue your interests thoroughly, too, often with originality and exactitude.

You are adaptable, competitive and a problem-solver, as well as skeptical, tough minded and determined. Because you have a lot of energy and tend to be enthusiastic about your theories and projects, you can be very persuasive. You are eager to make an impact on those around you, too, as well as in the wider world.

You are irreverent and highly independent. So you can be oblivious to authority figures, as well as to rules, schedules and social customs. And although you enjoy people and can be charming and humorous, you are not interested in routine social engagements or anyone whom you regard as boring. Instead, you seek stimulating and focused conversations; and you are comfortable being by yourself, pursuing your own many interests.

Of all twelve (primary/secondary) types, you are also the most sexual-because both dopamine and testosterone stimulate the sex drive.


As an Explorer, you look out not in; you are foremost interested in the world around you. So you are attracted to a mate who is also intellectually and physically adventurous and interested in dissecting this complex, tangible universe. You particularly like imaginative and theoretical people, a "mind mate." And you like a partner who is sexual, because you regard sex as an important aspect of a relationship. You have nerves of steel and thrive on the edge. You are also decisive and direct. So you are unconsciously drawn to those who can balance out your highly independent and tough-minded spirit--those who are novelty seeking, yet compassionate, verbal, intuitive, trusting, flexible and emotionally expressive.


You like to have good conversations on important topics; so people tend to admire you for your knowledge and innovativeness. You shy away from emotional or self-revealing conversations, however; introspection leaves you cold. Instead, you derive intimacy from doing things with friends or a partner. So you make an exciting, although at times aloof, companion.


* You can be highly emotionally contained, even pretending that you are fine when you are in deep psychological or physical pain.
* You become impatient with cautious people or wordy conversations.
* You can become so wrapped up in your own interests that you spend too little time with your partner.


You tend to naturally gravitate to EXPLORER/negotiators.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Chat with Jennifer

From last spring

: what should i do when i graduate?

Jen: Travel the world, sample exotic foods and wine, recite poetry to beautiful women, skydive, buy a small plot of land with a vineyard.

me: that sounds about right
it’s a cash problem
i'm no trust fund baby

: Make lots of money. Get rich quick. Then do the above.

: how do i get rich quick?

: Um, become a pimp.
Sell illegal drugs.
Start gambling.

me: actually, you know what occurred to me today?

Jen: What occurred to you today?

me: i won't really survive at all financially unless i get married.
no joke.

Jen: To a trust fund baby?

me: no, anybody at all.
who has an income

Jen: So not anybody at all?
You couldn't marry me because I don't have an income.

me: but you will, right?
before too long?
plus you're already married. which saddens me :(

Jen: Someday, perhaps. Before too long? Not sure.
Already married, no, but plan to be, hopefully sooner than later.

me: so what the fuck am i supposed to do now

Jen: Since I'm not marrying you?

me: yeah, since you're not marrying me.
i never thought I’d need to get married out of pragmatism.

Jen: You use the f-word too much.

me: that's once.
and it was for emphasis.

Jen: That's once too many.

me: it sounded good in my head.

Jen: It looks bad on chat.

me: sorry.

Jen: And sounds bad in my head.

me: sorry.
ahh, sorry.

Jen: No worries. I love Jesus, so I forgive you.
So you need to find some hot mama with an income.

me: yeah.
who is tolerable.

Jen: Tolerable? How do you mean?

me: who isn't annoying

Jen: Hmm, you're being a little picky, aren't you?

me: wanting to marry somebody who isn't annoying is picky?

Jen: First she's gotta have an income. Then she's got to not be annoying.
I'm sure you have other criteria as well.

me: yeah, but they are pragmatic criteria.
i mean, both of the above are pragmatic.
my other criteria are probably similar.

Jen: No other pragmatic criteria?

me: like, can't have psychosic allergies and isn't awkward around trees.
i don't really ask for much in any part of life.

Jen: Awkward around trees? Are there people who are awkward around trees?

me: yeah.
especially when there are lots of them.
such as in a forest.

Jen: What - are they scared of them? Do they not look at them? Are they afraid to get within a certain number of feet?

me: i don't know. ask them.
my point is, marriage is utterly abstract to me and isn't something i'm really after.
so to realize that, pragmatically, i should get married puts a large burden upon me.

Jen: Are there no single architects in the world?

me: architects are ugly and inept.
i am a case in point.

Jen: You are neither.

me: architects are scary people who believe in fantasies
such as the virtual future
and deconstructivism

Jen: But if they are ugly and inept, then there should be lots of single ones in the world.
How do they afford to be so?

me: there are plenty of single ones and they're degenerate. they can't afford it.
they don't make any money.

Jen: Hmm, when do you graduate?

me: next january
i wish i didn't have any student debt.
then i could be the person i need to be.

Jen: You and me both!