Another evening with no art.
Do this. Do that. Have to.
Tomorrow, I meditate.
And new images will appear.
The trees are tired of summer.
They shyly begin to show their hidden colors
In advance of approaching winter and
Their autumnal deciduous dump.
The skies today are Navy grey;
Rain is coming.
The leaves will be wet and heavy.
Unpack your sweaters and sweats.
It’s that time again.
Wrestling angels is tiring. They always win
And are nice about it.
Which is mean, really, but they’re angels
And angels never lose.
The arena – here inside my head.
And the bout is between me
And Mr. Angel, who never loses.
The Bad Boy who roars and wrestles;
Mr. Angel, of course, who never loses.
Bad Boy fumes and mutters.
Mr. Angel’s nonchalant.
I’m not especially vain,
But I don’t want people to get the wrong idea.
Not stupid. No Dunning-Kruger Effect here.
Not a slob, but fitted sheets did save me
From hospital corners.
Shirts ironed, as the pants.
Shoes clean and brushed.
Braced and belted for work, of course.
But looser here where I live.
Henry Rollins said he was not
Lonely. He was solitary.
I get that.
I’m dancing around in my mind like this
Because it’s what magicians call misdirection.
I’m pretending to see the blur of my feet
Not the fear in my heart.
I’m grinning and joking around like this
Because it’s what comedians call comedy.
It’s the silly, clownish face, radiating.
Not the sad one beneath.
I’m moving slower and slower like this
Because it’s what mages call meditation.
I see my fear that shivers, hidden away
And move to embrace it.
Ever since my Muse, that louche bastard,
Hared off to who knows where
And never returned, I feel I’ve lost a hand.
But I was never all that good at art, anyway.
In my early 20s, I had to choose:
Pictures or words.
I chose art.
Fall back. Regroup.
Put a tenner in that body’s mouth!
Pennies no longer suffice to charm Charon-on-the-Styx.
You know that he’s been the ferryman for souls
At a penny a pop, non-stop, since Day One?
That’s a lot of pennies. Charon’s loaded.
He vacations in Death Valley, palling around with Scotty,
Hood thrown back, drying out in the desert air,
Before he returns to the soggy bottom land
To receive the gifts of the endless psychopomps.
So, make it a Hamilton, make sure the way to Hades
Is as well unencumbered
As you might expect from
This guaranteed ultimate trip to Hell.
My ancestors lived in Doggerland, Doggerland, drowned by the sea.
They hunted deer and mastodon in the cool Mesolithic climes,
And nighttime fires, tended with care, marked out their borderlines.
On the land they never called Doggerland, Doggerland under the sea
In Doggerland they lived, not knowing England, not knowing France.
They wore warm furs and hats of straw but, probably, seldom pants.
Such was the life in Doggerland, Doggerland under the sea.
I remember teletypes with their bauded paper ribbons,
Telephones and forever fixed addresses, typewriters (ugh),
Press type, sticky jars of rubber cement & vapors,
And those crepe rubber blocks for cleaning up layouts.
Blue pencils, red pencils, photofaxes, the smell of paper
And ink, the rumble of those massive presses.
Pneumatic tubes that fascinated me as a kid.
La la, gone for good. Clear ‘em all out. Bye!
Oh, Word, I am not worthy.
Then there was: darkrooms, chemicals, Tri-X or Plus-X,
Velvia…American or English photo paper? More silver,
Blacker blacks. Light meters. Cameras weighed a ton.
Don’t even think about those glass lenses…weapons!
Then, in Rochester, evolved a sensor and a Bayer array.
Double K, seemingly oblivious, let it all slip away.
The future? Bring it on.
Everything in me once social
Is compressed into a tight little brick
That only warms infrequently
By memories served up
From my default mode network.
I savor the old movie (seemingly
Shot from just over the refrigerator).
Two now dead, three still living.
Vertical, breathing, warm.
Why Thomas Alva, sitting there in Menlo Park
In his fancy genius pants
Would find that his major tinker’s dams
Would only thrive through the genius
Of Nikola Tesla?
Thomas Alva could have electrocuted
Every dog in New Jersey and every
Elephant, if he could find any,
And Tesla would still have come to eat his lunch.
DC or AC
Any hayseed could tell you
That electricity is the bomb
Without knowing what Carrington
Saw when TAE and NT were mere babes.
Current runs through the veins of the Earth
But the million-times-larger Sun
That white star magnet just 93 million miles
Off to the right runs the whole show.
I admit I was wrong. It happens all the time.
Maybe more now that I’m older.
Maybe more now that I’m dumber
And quicker to fact-check before posting.
This is a photo of a sourdough boule I bought
At a local farmers market. Locally baked.
Six dollars and I got it home and thought
Leaping lizards! There’s only three bucks of bread
Around all these gaping cavities. I bin scammed!
Well, no. I looked up the baking process of sourdough.
It’s supposed to have all these holes
Like Swiss cheese. Holes are where it’s at.
Sort of the way life is, no?
It is a clatter like dueling drumsticks.
A cold wind jostles the bare branches
Of endless trees, stark against the night sky.
A chevron of wild geese faintly chatting
Passes over, between the autumn moon
And the young man who shivers
With the absolute oneness of it all.
As we drove along, we saw the lines of hoppers in the yards.
Empty hoppers that should have been chock full of coal.
Now sitting idle waiting to be moved to busier yards.
And Southwest Virginia watches them go.
It’s the economics of the industry, it’s said.
Sitting on hundreds of years of coal, the miners wait,
Made redundant by natural gas and automation.
For over a hundred years, coal brought good times.
Now, for some, only the opioids do.
There are not enough pages in the Book of the Damned
To inscribe the names of the ones who did all this –
Who took the black and paid no price.
The ones who used bullies and bullets
To keep their dollars squeezed out of lives.
And then pass on to let Great Pharma
Glide in on soft woozy painkillers, legal,
By prescription by the doctors, often desperate
To give their patients some ease and comfort.
Leave it to life to make the bad ones good
And the good ones left with few options
And the poor out there alone;
Just them and the coalmine kudzu.