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.
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 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.
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 am standing at the ledger stone on my father’s grave.
I had never seen it before. I am 70 years old.
He died when I was 10 years old. Took 60,
60 years for me to go the 65 miles to here.
I had been scanning and cleaning up old fampix
When I was intrigued by one shot of dad;
One of him and mom taken the month I was born;
Dad looks amused at whoever is holding the camera.
I thought I’d feel something standing here, but, no.
Too far away, too long ago; I wasn’t imprinting well.
Only vague memories, maybe just phony shadows.
“’Bye, dad,” I said and quietly walked away
I remember my mother standing at the window, looking out
At the trees waving in a cold wind and a light flaking of snow.
“A good night to sleep,” she’d say. And, sure, it was.
Under blankets. Safe and warm. Even now,
Every once in a while, when in winter’s grip, I think,
“A good night to sleep.” It’s that sleep grows fragile
As I age and ache and really need to get up to pee.
Even then, sliding into the residual warmth again,
I sleep a good night. Good night.
Perhaps the Word of God is a hapax legomenon
Waiting for us in the dark of the night,
The kiss of the wind as it sighs by our ears.
The one Word, only one, only once, a hapax
In time and space, anchored there and strong.
All around it flows the else, always moving
To the beginning at the end of the end.
The Word just waits.
We’ll find it. We’ll say it.
And nothing will happen.
We’ll say the word again, louder.
Now it’s no longer a hapax.
God has moved on.
Sheet music. That’s what we called it.
The enthusiastic and athletic love we made
In those heady early days. Good days all,
Even with those satin sheets that kept
Sliding us off the bed.
My mother was small, four feet eleven on a good day,
Made smaller by an aging spine. When she was younger,
She made her own clothes, better to fit into, but shoes,
That was another matter and a good winter coat, forget it.
So, when my brother and his feckless wife breezed through;
He taking her to study for a new career in New York,
She told mom that she’d bring her a fine new coat
That would fit just right. Mom eagerly believed her.
Then, six months later, just before Christmas time,
They came sailing through going back to Nashville.
Mom was excited. She eagerly awaited the gift
She knew was coming. The new coat, the warm coat.
And they gave her a sweater. A dumb damn sweater.
Mom was older then and the disappointment showed
So clearly that the heat drained away from me.
Betrayed. Like a kid under the Christmas tree
Looking askance at, not a doll, but some socks.
My brother saw it, too, but his wife nattered on
About New York and so forth and so on.
My brother tried to jolly mom along, but, no.
It was done and they left and mom almost cried.
I hurt for her hurt. But, I thought, that’s what
You get for believing and for being that trusting.
Years before, when mom asked two skeevy men
To rent a truck and take it and me to another town
To pick up all the family furniture we’d stored there
When we moved. They brought me back but, then,
Left with the furniture. All of it. All of her life.
Later, the policeman, kindly, but truthfully, told her
“You were very gullible, ma’am.”
So, you spend an hour or so wondering if a certain seme
With a hook for a hand was fascinated by a certain uke Peter.
Weird, no? Well, Barrie’s marriage didn’t go very well, did it?
And you figure if something like that is a back story, then
Go a little deeper, so to speak, and discover a matrix
Lying on a substrate of, what? What is a substrate
For a matrix? Quanta with a plot? Dark drama?
And just where does dear Wendolyn fit in? As a beard?
There you go down another rabbit hole as a gravity well
Written by a man who liked to take pix of poppets.
What fun. What fun that we can do this. Wow.
Trouble is, change the characters, rename the names,
Make the sword that pierces Peter a metaphor meant
To show that Right can prevail and keep the world
From some young-appearing person who just would
Never grow old, not any more, not any more.
That’s something entirely different.
I’m thinking about photography and about art.
A friend once told me that photography was art.
This was when film required a certain expertise.
Still, I quietly kept from laughing in his face.
The art of an artist is the result of work –
A lot of work for a really good artist. True.
Eye to brain and brain to fingers holding
A pencil or a brush with intent to create.
Intent to create, not content to fail, but often do.
There is no lipstick that can make a photograph
A work of art. Like, dude, there’s no work there.
(this webpage gives lie to some of the things I wrote above, but it’s a good article.)
The wife of Epimetheus, the fair and curious Pandora,
Unlocked and opened Zeus’s vengeful wedding gift
And released Sadness, Illness, Poverty, Lechery,
And their horrid cohorts onto mankind. Alas.
Yet, the last one out of that evil box, the last one out
Was Hope. Someone, I know not who, considered
That something good.
I hope it is.
You will notice, if you look carefully, that none
Of the resplendent, swaggering suits in the news lately
Had a more plainly dressed person trailing close behind
Whispering, “Respice post te. Hominem te memento”.
“Look ahead, you doof (not in the original Latin), bear in mind
You will die.”
As I grow closer to my expiration date, whatever that is,
The lie grows more apparent, the scrim thinner, the light brighter.
There’s just not a whole lot of anything there.
I will not let the media feed me.
I will not let the myths beguile me.
I’ve seen what they’re all getting up to:
Make lots of money. Get on TV. Be “real”.
Meet my good friend Heterodoxy.
And he’s got good eyes.
It was a fast run to Gate City in a new tbird
I’m in the back seat. I’m only 10.
Even in Morristown, Gate City was the place
Where you went to get liquor.
I was along for the ride. Dad died that year.
I don’t know if this was before or after,
But the memory does not feel sorrowful.
It’s like a five second video clip. I wish
I could save it and open it in Elements
To hear the audio, to slow the video down.
I don’t know the file extension for ghosts, though.