a dawn departure

barreling down the corridor
all of us warriors
bent on pickup and delivery
maneuvering like raptors
diving in and out as if for prey
steel bodies
rubber treads
eating up the miles
exhaling labored breaths

philly bound
a cargo of aesthetics
encoded in paint, wood, metal and cloth

fifty cents and out of the gate
hartford ahead
blue skies and orange trees
predators with radar hiding around the bend

winged feet
how long will this madness last
all of us fully complicit


there is no nothing that is not known
within the nature of being
yet civilization
confounds knowing
with illusion upon illusion

at best each element within culture
is a metaphor
for understanding that which can never be grasped
only hinted at
and poetic

seeing is the suspension
of cultural knowledge
and the aligning of vision and sensation
a resonant beat
an epiphany

art conjures
forging states of being
outside culture
in the service of freedom


manipulated words
upon paper
and images of banded tricksters
tucked into shop ticket holders
hung in a gallery space
make a proposition
about art
and experience

the artist
the magician
the creative visionary
the breather
projects images of mystery
transferring inspiration
into materials
with the new manifestations
having both their constituent associations
(the handed down language)
as well as their transcendent interrelationships within the new configuration
(evocation by way of organization)

the viewer
the participant
the creative visionary
the breather
taking apart what has been arranged
and making a new proposition
one thing
becomes many things
and everything

art (life)/here it is/one's shield

kid you not
this is definitive
definitive (and decisive) (1)
art is a shield
(the art of the shield is an art itself) (2)
not for defense
but for protection, preservation, and nurturing
of hard won realizations and inspirations (1)

so that in times of struggle
one can gaze upon the shield
(inevitably struggling in that struggle)
to glean the nature of mystery (2)
having been gleaned before and recorded upon the shield

and be reminded (4)
(becoming repeatedly and repeatedly aware)
that one does not order reality
so much as reality orders us
(our lives are metaphor) (5)

"reality" itself is not ordered (2)
(or so one realizes with age and experience)
rather it flows (3)
strings of continuity stream forth (3),
meander (3),
double back (4),
(not unlike remembering or returning to what once was but is no more in this moment)
gravitate (1),
(with solemnity)
double back again by doubling back yet again (4),
explode (2),
and begin again

(beginning yet again)
so that again and again and again in times of struggle (3)
(whether that struggle be at the onset or throughout the unfolding)
we have the momentary advantage of being receptive to the unknowable
the mystery of creating (2)
or creation (2)
and can see that upon our shield
really see that upon our shield (4)
as we might catch a headline in a paper (5)
or perceive a line in a poem (5)
with clarity (1)
and impeccable wonder (2)
(and carry on inspired)


i've been making imaginations come alive
since my earliest memories

as a child
i held pencil to meat wrapper
or scissors to scrap paper
i remember drawing houses and feeling they were real
people too
i remember making a set of stairs of cardboard
leading to a throne for the mother queen
it wasn't as if the object were separate from me
the object was a part of me
or an extension
or i was a part of it

creativity issues through me
there is this flow
and i enter that flow
and i am carried away
and things happen not of my design
but become apparent
and are given form

symbols emerge
and move in the world
independent of my actions
call them creations
call me the hand
the vehicle
the midwife
but it happens

the world of art
becomes sophisticated
and there is a joining of forces
a grouping of the herd
moving in unison
like a school of fish
and the artist whose job is to see the whole from the edge
becomes one of many in the center
and perspective is lost

the artist returns to the vision of the child
moving from that place alone
from the center on the edge
where senses are one
and the intellect has a place
but at the service of joy and mystery
and creates

before there were artists (or fags, even)

art once did not exist
it has become a specialization
like surgery of the eye
or surgery of the heart

before art there was that stranger
born amongst the clan
whose speech was measured and walk was dance
and who threw spears like girls

but didn’t he make nice blankets
nice bowls and nice fur coats
wasn’t it he who wove such complex vessels from grass
and discovered that wine could be made from sweet berries

didn’t he take good care of the old
didn’t he teach the children his crafts
didn’t he tell great stories around the fire
and didn’t he send the dead off well

didn’t he listen well
didn’t he care for the slow of wit
didn’t he love to make things beautiful
didn’t he love to love

and when the men folk came back from the hunt
who do you think lit the fires down in the cave
got the men off their asses to reenact their tales of bravery
shooting arrows at bison he had painted on the walls

wasn’t he the one just different enough that it was they who made him the arbiter
between man and woman
between fear humor hatred and tolerance
between the stars above and the very earth below

valued as he was still a lone man declared and consensus grew
the cock sucker must die
gathered about to pierce his heart
one by one their spears were lowered and dropped to the ground

instead they made him of two spirits
dressed him as a woman to ease their own fears
asked him to love them in hiding
told him he would have to do this for generations to come

yet they made a place for him
a place of honor just the same
were it not for this trickster and his many gifts
knuckles would be dragging the ground

between now and september

the clutter on the table
five dried roses like crepe paper burned
and held together with a breath
a set of tarot cards
pens and pencils
a stack of watercolors
a wire, silk rose and wasp nest sculpture
dipped many times in white oil enamel
an italian vase
with a black matte earthen glaze
stamps and a calendar
a letter about my car
four years since it was purchased
happy anniversary
a calculator
a ruler
a knife

a list of art
to be created
between now and september

dust and such

if one’s home is seen as a metaphor
for one’s own life
then i grow more dusty
more chaotic
more encumbered
by accumulations
the moles and warts of aging

pots and pans
pile at water’s edge
the sink
like flotsam
deposited upon the beach
by the relentless advance of the ocean
day in
day out

permeates all aspects of habitation
slats that form the wooden blinds
become petri dishes
breeding grounds for particulate matter
even the spaces between the keys
on this laptop
harbor these persistent immigrants

works of art
climb the walls
like an aggressive vine
seeking out every available opening
to occupy

books and art magazines
collect in towers of babel

sculptures and artifacts
gather in gangs
asserting their dominance
claiming window ledges
table tops 
and corners of the rooms
as their own turf

if i could
i would employ a caretaker
someone to spend their days
maintaining some agreed upon order
to shepherd these relentless assertions
of entropy
to behave themselves

yet there are moments
when it all has a certain baroque charm
not at all unlike
the unimaginably complex forests of plants
and trees
outside these windows
that advance each summer upon this small home
only to recede come fall and winter
tidy under blankets of snow

there must be seasons within a home
as there are in nature
and by extension
within our being
and just as dust is ever persistent
so too we become dust
to float about within creation
to precipitate the formation of crystals
in the clouds
to rain down upon all
to continue cycles
so much more complex
than i can fathom
sitting at this table
amongst the books
pots and pans
and the ever present dust

i will push back
to make some sense of order
but my order
will be subsumed
within the order
of the nature of things

if i didn't know any better

if i didn't know any better
(and how could i for that matter)
i would guess that life is unfolding
a folded paper sculpture
returning to its original form
a sheet of paper
pulp on a roll
a tree cut down in its prime
a seedling taking hold in the soil
composted ancestors
accumulated dust from stars
the universe
(for that matter)
returning to its original form
a sheet of paper
and upon that paper
faint but legible
the word


for the record
it would appear
that it is both our inclination
and our nature
to propose
possible arrangements
of visual
and conceptual

call it art
call it science
call it divination

but whatever it is
our choices are vast
yet the effect singular
inspiration being the lasting impression
since life is challenge
and hope but a promise
we dig deep
search long
watch for resonance
and feel the grace of wonder
when what is seen and felt and formed
unsettles and intrigues
and we are reminded
to journey deeper still

the art of appreciation

the appreciation of art
(or flowers)
(or life for that matter)
simply put
the opening of one's being
to the light of day

in the garden
poised on quick wing
envoys with precious golden bundles
transfer coded letters
reaching back eons
into fluted tunnels
constructed of fine colorful membrane
constructed to receive these messages
in exchange for nectar

and then the transcendent gestation
and then the birthing
and then the casting of the seeds
to start anew

we are all of us flowers
artfully arranged in a garden of exquisite design
the orchestration deep within our nature
not within our contrivances

we are compelled to recreate creation
it is our nature
it is our destiny
each of us an artist
each of us creator
each of us creation

we are flowers
in a garden of exquisite design

we make

sitting in the dark
watching a movie
might as well be
a cave painting
illuminated by fire
flickering light and shadows
in the dark
on a wall

the hunt goes on
intrigued by forms
not fully revealed
the seeking out
of sustenance
and inspiration

life is challenging at best
brutal too
and at times my life is as dramatic
as this sad story playing out before me
in this theatre
any theatre

i would turn away in horror
were it not for a persevering nature
within the character
on the screen
and in this seat

the trickster reminds me
there is little choice
at this point
i am left to create art
a joke
i have played upon myself

i create art because
i simply do not know what else to do
it is my nature to do so
and i do what i know how to do
and what i know how to do is sense mystery in form
simple to map
but impossible to explain
a stick of wood
a rod of divination
a jester's banded baton

allowance is made
for the possibility
that creation
is inclined towards revelation
within the dreaming
while ordinary life
extraordinarily bled of life
is elevated to commonality

the uncommon
signs directions
towards alternate routes
that lead to landscapes
shrouded in fog
rightly challenging any effort
to navigate such realms
since passage
is freedom
demanding endless effort
and awareness
and the soul grows so weary

but for the seeker
what else is there to life
but the searching
for the nature of
the twisted path
the spiraling
of our being
destined to ask
when we have always known
the answer

me make
or we die

we spoke

we spoke of art
between drinks
reminding one another
the origin of all creation
begins in not knowing

the enshrined articulation
an aesthetic penetration
a permutation
less a resolution
than a meditation
a bursting open
a spilling over
within this current present moment
holding breath and sway
while what once was
and what might be
matter not