Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Stumps of Silence

The Atlantic Ocean

Some days you walk through the halls of sunshine. The glow is remarkable. Sustaining. You forget the loneliness. Kick the rubble of despair. Follow the road of those whose intrepidation you admire. The tales woven, scattered across the skies, across the tundra, into the valley of distant possibilities. The echo of your mistakes grow dim. New possibilities arise from the ends of the earth. You bless the spirit that leads you to the wondrous inevitability of civilization. Tension dissolves into a pool of cool water. Flowing reflections of here and there. Your infinite separation becomes less vast. The interruptions don’t seem so daunting.

You are a traveler. Moving is the only solution. You must settle now, though.  A place to start from. Held in captivity by a pandemic. So you read and read and read. The great adventurers. The Scot Dalrymple and his exquisite pursuits. The nomads Thesiger and Burton. Desert loving British. Each story a fine piece of narrative to wet the spirit. To sleep, perchance to dream. From the bowels of unsavory condition, the siren song gives delight. So distant. So precious. You had your moments. There will be more.

Storks flew over Tiberius as the hills of Jerusalem were lit one by one while daylight faded. A recently unearthed Roman mosaic floor greeted you upon leaving. The wild days on Ios. Volcanic beaches at Santorini. Wonders upon wonders. That cold, rainy winter at San Souci. Currywurst when returning. Eine mark, bitte. The rooster in Cairo after you found all were staying below a bordello. Awake, awake. Don’t forget tiny Kleenex packs. The first time you saw a snowy clearing of deer, herded and huddled. Fresh from urban dirt, you were. Free, you thought. The gaiety of New Orleans, the spectacle of endless bayous. A riot of color, flora and fauna. Pirogues, air boats, a helicopter over lost barrier reefs. The horror, the horror of breaking news. Incest, child abuse, unspeakable acts. Fierce Minneapolis winters. Searing hot Indian months. Exotic and unyielding. These paths you traveled unescorted. The boldness often unraveled. You kept on and on and on.

What can you say about a disjointed life full of marvels and dead ends? You went after every dream. No one wanted to come. You went anyway. Often penniless. Living by wits, the will to move on. You do not wear this on any shelf, any recommendation or congratulatory article. In the deep, in the recesses you must remember all that you did even though it landed you here among the mistakes, the uncontrolled environment, not quite the end of the line. Jug, jug to dirty ears. Entrails of emptiness. So many not knowing what to do. You thread such things into art forms, books, words, paintings. The poverty never stopped you. Discouragement did not matter. Along the wide berth of opinion you strive while others pine for nothing much. Twit, twit, twit.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Plague

Metal casting in Ahmedabad

The plague reveals everything. The tenor of the dead screams louder than the merely aggravating. The locusts come. They are in your hair, in your eyes. Why are they there? What do they want? To prove themselves. Oh yes, the devil wears Prada and top dog types chew away at your ankles to prove some imbecilic point. Let us not know more about the world but stay in the small circle of uncertain creations where egos bark at the moon. That barking, you have grown tired of the barking. Belly up to the I am who am types. The experts, the drivel, the half baked ideas raised above the limited sense of earth, land and sea. More garbage making it is. The irony seethes like a festered wound that should have healed ages ago. (Where is your mentor? The irreverent teacher, aging yet staying well past midnight to help the ones new to art, new to universities, boarded up by white desires to be the only ones. He died much too soon.) 

I grow tired of the barking, not the howling of pain as humans drop like flies in India. The student calls for help. You outline faults on the cliffs of prosperity. You shared better times exchanging culture. It is always generous. Often bombarded by little cruelties. The burnt toast of personality. Pantajali reels you back in to see these pinpoint attacks are as meaningless as the end of day. It will all start again tomorrow. You make the best of the time you have not filling drawers with more garbage that you will never use. That does not happen in India. It is American consumer insanity, American vehicles with deer-killing, people-maiming grills wider than the playground gate. The snow is black and grimy from such excess. Watch out crossing the road with your cane. They will run you over trying to get to the next red light.

The sun is out. It is vibrant green from the rain. Shadows are long as the sparkle of fenders mark the race to work, to the store, to somewhere that may not be any better than where you are. The Orientalist bellows across the continent. Not here, not there. He marches on regardless. He captures and mixes time and place. You yearn for such theatrics since the day to day can be a bore. It can drill in your ear. Eternal buzzkill of the know it alls who don’t bother with critical reading. They have a theme to pound into the rich earth that is looking for new growth. New growth. That is all that matters. The experts remain short on desire and passion. The greed to be right, to be above and you don’t mean the eternal nirvana of purposeful existing. You are no wizard. You search for an even playing field since berms prevent the  glorious flight of inspiration.

The desperation of the plague wore off as fast as it came. You climb aboard the next bus out. The nightingale directs your thoughts. The poetry lies here next to the eternal sarcophagus.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021


The sky is white again. The complexities of living throw you off lately. It’s been months since the light of unraveling words made the day shine. Reading hampers the spirit depending on subject matter. You grow apart from time to time. No way to escape. Travel banned. How many times can one go grocery shopping? You have many projects to change the time. Numbness sets in instead. You know it will go. It always does. But here you are. The grim skyline does not amuse. You should not have communicated with the brother. It’s alway like an ax in the back. Unless there’s a check involved. Not a fevered pitch to create from. It’s a start. To acknowledge the hole in the work. To acknowledge the need to escape from reality through books. It happens. You remembered how much you loved the auto rickshaw on longer journeys. Moving. The destination never matters. Moving. That day in Delhi when you bought your first dress in ages. Earrings. A scarf trailing in the breeze like Isadora Duncan. Those dreams are but snippets of larger desires. Repetition drives you mad. Daily dullness makes for restlessness. The tools are gone. No stamping, soldering, polishing, metal cutting or casting. The sky is white again.

As you get older it is harder to imagine a better destiny. Then Ana comes along. So full of life. Orchestrating a weekly feast. Her valiant helpers. The needy following Covid rules. A bit of clothes and plenty to eat. Then there’s India of the soothing voice who prompts you to thread the sewing machine, get an old cotton tablecloth, stain it with leaves and rust. Make south East Asian pants and a flowing smock. Female things. Resurrecting your hippie, gypsy self. The sun peeks over the dread skyline and life begins again. Relationships through technology are a bore. Unreal. Lifeless but useful. You look at the Himalayas and want to climb through the screen. The neighbor makes his daily lengthy OCD projections doing god knows what. Every day, all day. Will you ever change? Every place is a problem.

There are things to be done here. Let the ghosts of the past wail on their own. Give the numbness a kick. Spring will be here in two months. The ugliness in the news will change but never go away. The day after MLK day and it’s still here. Better but not enough. The sun is trying hard and so should you. A clean, well lit place, warm, with books & studio. Stop carping and get to work. Sorrow solves nothing. The day breaks. Life begins again. Every day. Use it well.