A CHRISTIAN POEM FOR THE LATE IRA COHEN, The back story of the recent poetry broadside collaboration between Peter Lamborn Wilson, Gerard Malanga, Ira Cohen and Shivastan Press; essay by Shiv Mirabito

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Poetry Process: Collaboration & Community are the Keys to Success

The back story of the recent poetry broadside collaboration between Peter Lamborn Wilson, Gerard Malanga, Ira Cohen and Shivastan Press:
“A CHRISTIAN POEM FOR THE LATE IRA COHEN”
I have a small press which I started in 1997 called Shivastan Press {Woodstock~Kathmandu} which is the only small press which publishes limited editions on handmade paper in Nepal. I was inspired to do this after traveling to Nepal and later meeting the poet, publisher & filmmaker Ira Cohen. He and his friend poet musician shaman Angus Maclise (who was the first drummer in the Velvet Underground band in NYC in the early 60’s) had both lived in Nepal in the early 70’s and had worked together on a few different publishing ventures where they printed their own poetry and also work by friends on handmade paper also. The collaborations they made were called Bardo Matrix Press and the Starstreams Poetry series. They published friends such as Gregory Corso, Paul Bowles, Charles Henri Ford and many other creative writers and artists.
In the 90’s I was enamored by the small circle of artists who had worked with Andy Warhol that were still creating and gathering at events in NYC. Through my friend Warhol superstar actor and artist Allen Midgette I met many of these people including poet photographer and Warhol superstar Gerard Malanga who was also a very close friend to Ira and Angus and had been published in their Kathmandu zine called “Tingpa”. Gerard Malanga is also the most knowledgeable scholar on the work of Ira Cohen and Angus Maclise.
In 1998 Ira was visiting Woodstock for a few days staying with another old Kathmandu freak friend. He told me that a great anarchist writer would come to visit for the day from New Paltz and we should meet him and go for lunch, stroll around town and go to visit Allen Midgette and Ossian, the son of Angus Maclise. That writer was Peter Lamborn Wilson – also known as Hakim Bey. He has written many many books but his best known book is called ‘TAZ: Temporary Autonomous Zone”. I gave him a copy of my latest book I had published in Nepal “Maha Mela Bliss Trip” – a Burroughsesque exploration of traveling to the Kumbha Mela in India – the largest gathering of humans on the planet where everyone wants to bathe in a sacred river at the same astrologically auspicious moment. I did not know that day when I first met Peter and that he would move to Woodstock and we would become close friends after Ira’s death in 2011.
Fast forward to Autumn 2014, Shivastan Press has published over 50 publications. I spoke to Peter about working on a broadside project which I could print while I was in Nepal that Winter. I have traveled to Nepal every Winter since 1988. All my friends say to me “How can you afford to go to Nepal every Winter?” and I always say “How can you afford not to go?”. It is comparatively very inexpensive and fascinating to live there. Peter said he did have a poem that could be good project called “A Christian Poem for Ira Cohen”. As we discussed it I said we should add lots of far out graphics and we chose a Dover Press image book of monsters from which Peter harvested many ancient, bizarre and classic images for the border. Peter wanted to include a photo of Ira also and had one in his mind of Ira posing next to a stone statue of an angel. I knew that this is a photo by his friend Gerard Malanga so I found it online and then we emailed Gerard to ask him to be a part of this collaboration. Of course, he loves Ira and Peter and said yes. Peter and I continued to discuss all the aspects of the broadside and then we decided to change the title to “A Christian Poem for the Late Ira Cohen”.
Unfortunately, while I was in Kathmandu working on the project the great 7.9 earthquake happened on April 25th 2015. That ended any ideas of doing any publishing and printing at that time. After a few rough days of sleeping outside in the street with no food or plans surrounded by flocks of pigeons and stray dogs I finally got a flight back to NY thinking we could work on the broadside later when things became normal after the natural disaster.
The following Winter/Sping of 2016 in Kathmandu I did work with my printer Sherap Sherpa of Mandala Graphics to finish designing the project and after I left in May he organized the silkscreening of a limited edition of 108 copies on handmade natural color lokta paper and shipped them to me in Woodstock a month or two later. Although the printing work was good – all the text and monster images were very clear – the image of Ira’s portrait was not as perfect as we had hoped and was unrecognizable. We all planned to meet and discuss what to do and then decided to print 108 copies of the photo on glossy film paper and I would carefully glue each one onto each individual broadside with archival glue. We met again and our friend Raymond Foye (publisher of Hanuman Press) helped as Peter and Gerard both signed all 108 copies. Then over the course of a few days I did all the “cottage industry”of glueing on the kitchen table at my Woodstock Shivastan Poetry Ashram Bookshop and Art Gallery space. This extra bit of work affixing the photos onto the broadsides made it look even more spectacularly crafted with the glossy black and white portrait boldly standing out and contrasting with the handmade qualities of the light colored lokta paper and black silkscreened text and images.
Now that the broadsides are finished Peter and Gerard will each have copies to disperse as they like and I have decided to send all proceeds of the remaining copies of the limited edition to help with Nepal earthquake relief. As you can see from the photo this art and poetry broadside is an interesting collaborative archival document and art object that will be collected and shown in private collections, art galleries, museums and universities for many years to come. I would like to thank Peter Lamborn Wilson for initiating the project with his wonderful poem and for also designing the layout, Gerard Malanga for allowing us to use his beautiful portrait of Ira Cohen, my printer in Kathmandu Sherap Sherpa for actually facilitating the silkscreen printing, my friend Raja Bajracharya in Kathmandu for arranging the shipping from Kathmandu to Woodstock, and Raymond Foye for his infinite knowledge, advice and help in this and many other projects.
Please look at the page for Shivastan Press {Woodstock~Kathmandu} on Facebook for more information about this limited edition and many others craft printed in Nepal on handmade paper.

John Clarke, Seven Sonnets in their sequence written September 29, 1976

Law-Giving 

 

We must see clearly the ruiner

of ancient Greece, Zeus-Jupiter,

how he became pulled away from

his original perfective action, one’s own

lord & Lot of Doom, the dawning

upon oneself of oneself, or Urizen

as Truth-Dream before Luvah stole

the Horses of the Sun, what befell

Our Don of Phoenician Minoa when

Indo-European Mycenean emissaries of

conjugal love, having no sense of west

knocked out their Sixth Eye of God, the rest

is history until Jesus came to remove

this imposture of Patriarchal Pillars & Groves.

Wed Sept 29

 

The only way

 

for Dorn

Cain forgives Able, Claggart forgives Billy Budd,

the K he slew in his dark self-righteous pride

must become his own dear twin brother,

even that hard-hearted tyrant Zeus himself,

if he is ever to get his speech flowing again,

can you stand to see this monster & not want

to kill it, yuk, or do you so love it you’re afraid

it will be killed, by someone else, who could

kill Ulikummi except Enki, & what does it mean

to be translated into a Blue Star, why is it such

a secret in the West still, Orphic wouldn’t you say,

or like Lohengrin, to keep from her his original,

exactly who do you think that other guy was in

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, wasn’t he a huge twin to Will.

Wed Sept 29

 

A long last

 

Why was it Gilgamesh went on quest for

immortality, was it not because of the death

of Enkidu at the hands of Inanna, but that always

happens when patriarchal propaganda has made

you afraid of her, who can withstand her power

but this can’t go on, Siduri will find you at some

bar & open the gate for you, the Shadowy Eighth or

both the K & yourself transcended & ready for Origin

a magazine of the creative, where you are going to fall

asleep, & dream such an alcheringa it will seem

as plain as day. so much so that you will even break

the oldest taboo in the world, you will give the woman

at the well your words, John Golden Mouth restored

to human society which is a city yet a woman, Jerusalem.

Wed Sep 29

 

Bad Bed, Hesiod

 

On first looking out through Athena’s eyes,

or the lamb emerging out through the gates

of her poor broken heart, the kourotrophos

the Society of Eternal Events, Herakles in drag,

or sperm-brain Basileus Albina, Lost Phoenician

Original in the West where phallic pomp & pride

ruined discourse, so we can only stammer

in the face of bitchy accusations, or get angry

& hit, at least Melville got it as far as the K

& not his wife, the next step in this working out

of projection would be to put him to work, to direct

his anger as Blake did his Spectre, against the real

enemy, those who would depress mental & prolong

if they could corporeal war forever, pure animosity.

Wed Sep 29

 

Fuck You

 

If Archie Bunker promises Edith he won’t

throw his back anymore, & if Gore Vidal

rescues Mary Hartman from the mental hospital

these are beginnings, by analogy, of Brotherhood

that is of being projective in the Human Universe

sense, not saving women, protecting women, or

any previous program, but imply entering

that world, of Power, of Britomartis & Sophia

the living & the dead, to be able to speak

as a Don to Portia, the vocal event that

consumes all space-time, that dumps the two

Platonic Months, & restores the I-am-Rig-you-are-

Veda discourse of Heaven & Earth, Heavenly Ava

Earthy Oly the inversion of sun & moon story.

Wed. Sept. 29

 

Patriarchy there, Matriarchy here

 

The dipolar, & the great biomorphic loss,

which is the Secret of the West, well-kept,

Eden, all perverted, reflected in the Veg

glass, mimetic fallacy of all looking

at the picture, what Gawain knew, you don’t

get to speak to the King without going through

the Queen, which Lance seems to have literalized

like all of us adulterous pricks, & ruined society

called Camelot one of the better Muslim shots

in the West,  for the Sexes, yes, indeedy, but why

should the K be allowed to trick us this way

& for so long, never mind, more to the point, isn’t it

true that Trickster figure is just a vulgarization of

the Angelophany itself, of Hainuwele’s terrestrial animal

Wed Sep 29

 

The Leopards of Catal Huyuk

 

Underestimated, wild, feral, beasts

wheeling variously according to size of

birth, no society except for milk

bearing tree, they are one, we are many,

if we try to be so, we get the ultimate

anguish, one law for lion & ox, if they try

to be many, astrologists all, society

collapses, didn’t mean to drone on about

this but She is coming, the Amazon Achilles

killed & it will happen again in Aquarius

if now everybody doesn’t change, get

Paul Bunyan to build Golgonooza with

an ox & pickaxe, not out of Hainuwele’s

limbs, like that Marduk, trying to replace Enki.

Wed. Sept 29

Sherry Williams, from “always now beyond”

This current, ongoing work comes out of a deep connection to layers of life, dream world, waking life, and a sense of the beyond. The first graphite layer on the surface is a manifestation of an inner reality, dream…executed without conscious intent. The next action is the dark marks, which are acrylic paint applied with various techniques in an “all or nothing” moment, waking life. I do multiple drawing in one studio session. Then, when they are placed next to each other without any preconceived notion of what the overall piece is lines connect, shapes emerge, and none of it was planned. The beyond comes forward. [1-2 of a 9 panel work, 5.5” x 14” each, graphite and acrylic on paper, 2016]

1_2_always_now_beyond

 

Joel Newberger, “Coronas”

Coronas grow Eyes.

The plucked leaves of the Sun’s corona blossom again in Eyes. The Sun’s crown fills all air and covers the earth, like grass, a diadem for all heads to see. Coronas grow Eyes in eyes that are retreating flesh Holes in flesh that flesh crowns, toward rare inward abysms that are the crowns of deeper hollows or eyes. Sun-pressure upon whose head for an instant marks the split-second of all that is not air, by surface deformation, by pressing the face against the veil, laying the veil upon the face, and concealing the face with a masking blinding veil.

Coronas encircle the five souls. Rarefy meat, blood, lust, and spirit in a luminous admixture that irradiates the body, around the five points swimming, diurnally round them, flesh photon flowing, frock gown or dress that the breeze befalls, which is the psyche’s lightless rhythm in the skull. Inside any of us the streams of life have their own force heat that is the light the eye emits. This presses against the sun that presses. This emends the eye-ball’s disfiguration by objects. When then the dissolving split-second of the object falls below the eye through flesh hole, hole, hole, flesh hollows, through the eye of each corona, into the topmost soul’s head, a type of litter and letter latterly current in the Sun’s life.

Stand still sun eye. Moon eye stand still. When something moves you come to a standstill.

In wartime, the ramparts of border forts are the crown on the king’s head in the capital. Letters on shards of ostraca were found at Lachish, written by a hasty, anguished hand more than two millennia ago. Beyond the walls of where we are, what remains? peering into Judean night. Babylon is here. One letter, with terrible uncertainty, begs the defenders of this desert city to signify their survival by flares sent up, or torches raised, into the black air, for Azeqah can no longer be seen. Azeqah was the second to last of Judah’s fortified cities to fall; Lachish must have been the last; then Jerusalem. Then exile. This according to Jeremiah in the thirty-forth book of his prophecies, just after he righteously announces that the downfall of Tzidkiyyahu the King is near.

Peering into Judean night, over fortress walls, does the world still exist?

Kings are suns. Crowns coronas. Deflect the lens of every subject to see one light that no inward abysm may in its emptiness desire the sun, the sun that rarely shines, temporary and far-off, the sun that rises and sets, letting the world die nightly. Peacetime desert cities are invisible, but the corona that rings the capital is a leaping flame from rampart to rampart to the sea in which the night is two. The author’s request is that a torch be raised on high ground. The author’s question is whether or not the true sun will rise in the morning.

You and I hold aloft fiery branches or shoot flares into the nighttime sky, words against the evils that may intervene between us: unlove, malaise, repression, fashion, profit, selfishness, spirit without flesh, flesh without spirit. For your eye I burn this letter. But I have not known, or heard, or ever seen you.

The author’s fear is that the sun of Israel retreat to holes in the fort of the flesh where

The light inside the I is

From inside the eye

Emitting

Coronas encircle the five souls that are the points of a star that is the body of any of us, and therefore the body of us all. Meat, blood, lust, and spirit. Meat, blood, lust, and spirit, and. Who is the fifth? All of these have historical dimension. Weight does. Things going around do. Arrows at. A reservoir from which we. That is mode. And so they are all of the deep past (10,000 years extending), and of the individual’s and species’ future; and they all work to go on, to preserve—even though preservation is profligate waste, or can be the flinging of arrows and excreta from the ramparts of the self, when the babbling host besieges you where you are, lusting as one for your company. Night-fires and flares you send up destroy you, waste the tongue that only laps darkness, but might be seen. Fifth is the five eyes: eyes, ears, nose. Organs of meat that are not downward meat because omnidirectional to the swirling air. Organs out of blood that are not blood because they can perceive God and die. Organs that lust but are not lustful, for if the eyes see God or the Crown of Heaven, the eyes will permanently retract into the skull and want the world no more. Organs of spirit but not spiritual organs. Death comes. The child rubs in circles with a closed fist. In the darkness there was an explosion of sparks. Where does the music come from? And who? I tell the spirit what things are adequate to be beheld. Air is the crown of the five eyes, and, in the darkest night, when the shades are drawn down, the God of Air swoops from point to point to make sensible the whole star.

This pentapsychotic self is αστηρ. The city is αστηρ—αστυ before an excess of meat and a dearth of blood polarized its life, and before the crown, which like all coronas had encircled the self, the town, and the world, was placed on the head of one man.

Monarchy falls like a stone to the oldest son. Mere being. Falling from the father, the son, too, is an inevitable stone. Αστυ. A city. Air to the crown. The forest. Circles around circles are the globe until the vault of heaven. Radiating outward, the oμφαλος is alive, a gut maggot, and it is set in the ground like a king’s eye, only half of which the townspeople can see. It is an eye. In Jerusalem, Isaac’s laughing rib pressed against an oval rock, and God spoke to Abraham through the rock. No altar. No angel. A ram trotted by a rock. Jerusalem was built around an oval rock for God, the living and dead matter that is God, the rejected stone become key.

“ Thine Only … Withheld Thy “

“ In the … Voice … Is Seen … Thy  “

“ Stars … of Heaven … “

Heat the earth’s stones with thy beams that bind rock to rock like light string, so who walks across deserts or who commands the last garrison might warm his palms. A familiar song sung in a strange land, sung for you who lie on a rock in the afternoon in the desert shaded by the tree’s arms. Sun-stone’s song plucks the five world-strings that are invisible, the settled, taut things of night that link dream to dream. Light struck, touched, rubbed, plucked, and did twang things first into an animal quiver then into daylong vibration. I need movement, and I need heat. How do I see?

We return through night, like the sun. Coronas grow Eyes. The plucked leaves of the Sun’s corona blossom again in Eyes.

A dark, dark world, a dead world where things do not move, where forts hold, where form holds, where the Law holds off babble, where union communion is a dreamt illusion or analogical conjecture. Things possess no light. When the sun retracts to the farthest line, he sees that the world is a diorama or stage, where objects sit, which the lamp sometimes illuminates. I speak of the sun-stone to kings and queens, lovers, and you, the tumescence of earth, who spend this borrowed time burrowing for what is theirs and hunting for the first letter of the alephbet. But the sun is really a hole in the cloth of the sky. (The oval stone in the solid ground, though solid, points us toward hollows.)

Was it She, the queen, and the poets that love her? “He witnessed her trace by knife-point

her own shape in the air and cut it out, for her and the אּישׁ to cross through and over.”

Or was it God, who sucked the light into his own realm, dividing the light from the world?

If God is being, is what is what is everlasting; if the king’s crown is the sun, and he the decider of all being (who lives and who dies); if existence is song, the hum of things by which we can see,

then the sun

is no stone

no oμφαλος

in heaven

is φαος, a

white, loam-

less model

of keystones

and navels.

There is no

sun-rise or

sun-set or

sun; it is

nothing

not whole

for our eyes

but a hole like an eye like a mouth that gapes open, dumb struck and slack from beyond desire, to let a beam of light become the world, hitting the rocks and water. Gauze gas chaos. Φαος. Glass gust, we are something made, some fabric, between the letters Po po po these let that fire through. Open the poem with penknife. Po po in the po me po me holes She cuts in Who for the fire’s eyes to gaze through, at you.

 

As far as you I come loving, stranger with fire eyes. This is not nostalgic. Not fantastical or wishful. Not a love given. It is the kindled by words, or words’ friction, flame. Am I not intoxicated by them burning out of your Empty Mouth. Sentence after sentence I make in your image, who look behind me. In your measured dance, in the arms you keep flinging at air, I am able to hear a godly knife insinuate the man I must be. Unyielding efforts to replicate the lαsting sentence of vision put us in stupor to the evanescent things of this world and reveal to us the good future. Sensations of reflections of eternity, felt in the act of creation, make us discontented no longer.

I wonder then in light of all you say, why am I so scared of death?

The sun is a volcano in our language. Our language is a volcano inside of us. We stand on the rim of a volcano, the black crown. Why am I so scared of death?

In light of all you say, the sun is a volcano through which molten words explode, melted and melded by the God of Fire. Fast friction of words archaic. Let there be. Let the sun eye stand still. Light be gone. The sun is a volcano. Anyone’s mouth is its eye that looks and looks for an opening formed holy by unwitting utter a word, just as archaic injunctions erupt in our sons.

 

The iris is a volcano when light touches the iris.

The sun “rises” and “falls” when God fatherly draws west or east the cloth of the sky, painted by him, a picture, a remembrancer to the dying babe. And so it was that, when Moses lifted his hand, Israel had the upper hand; and, when he rested his hand, Amalek had the upper hand. Heavy were the heaved hands of Moses, and they took a stone, and wearily he sat upon her, he holding this arm, he holding that arm, and his hands held or kept faith until the sun’s going down. Psalms palms river-splitting staff gripping. And the thirsting nation where is water pelt stone the King speaks that the King of Kings. Shall I stand upon the oval rock before thee smokeless not silent or thunderous. Strike me not. Strike the rock with the rod in your hands. In the water that came forth from the rock and upon the face of the rock, we saw the white that is sunlight. Therefore the sun is at once Shabbat in the sky.

A later war: the conquering Israelites, led by Joshua, smite the armies and people of the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Yarmut, Lachish, and Eglon, driving them unto Azeqah, where the Lord flung big stones down from heaven, killing more of the Amorites than did the Israelites’ swords.  See for yourself

beyond the walls of where we are what remains babylon is here

one letter flares torches for in the black air somehow signal

azeqah cannot be seen the city of stones hail god’s hail halls built of blood

we are dark hear nothing sun-death songs soon slaughtered

stoned out of god’s sight for a fire is gone out of a flame from the city of

and it has eaten up the lords of the sun Daughters and

sons made captives beyond  the lamps of the night

His face is an ill-starred cloth, drawn down by the eye of God. The day is pitiful; the sun’s eye is partly seen.

A king and the would-be usurper stand at points on the circumference of a circle, which is a symbol of the revolution and of the territory over which he reigns, of his crown and of the sun that lets all know of his power. Is he killed by this diametrical opponent or by his own soldiers? If the circle is outdoors, the sun’s rays are like a hail of arrows upon that one’s torso, face, and arms, and there is a shaft of light along the line that connects them. If he has children, they will be playing a children’s game, linking arms and dancing in ring after ring around this risen crown. If his soldiers were to find out that he stood still upon the rim of a flower, bearing neither a sword nor a shooting bow, and that this was the true model of his reign, fleeing their forts they would all hasten from as far as the first sea without flares—no matter if darkness is—and they would light upon him. Does the king himself know where he stands, living, as he does, in the olden time?

Charles Stein, “Tooth Fairy”

And so one by one
The little letters
Crumble
The crowns
Remain
Strangely even
After
The stems and roots
The arms and little noses
Bleed from their insignia
And now the teams
Don’t know what team to be
On
And the children of the game
Disperse across the field
And the sponsorship
Has nothing to preen on
All this because the little
Letters
Crumble

It seems that existence itself
Can’t hold up
If the little letters
Cease to be the letters they’re contracted for
It is as if the parts
Of a vast organon
Came apart
You can see the cellular construction of the cheese
The smoothness isn’t smooth anymore
And the open space between the morsels
Blights
With open lights

At the bottom of the world
The alpha beta gamma daleth ee ee kratkoya
Ka kay ku ke ko
A a ee ee eh eh oh oh oo oo ri ri li li mi mi
Hey vov zayin cheth teth yud
Elemeno pee

Mix and match
Bate and switch
The sounds have been broken on the cave that any mouth is
Internal continuum running from whistle to drone
Contemporary with insistent katydid cricket cicadas tree frog hoot owl crow
Spit out the seeds
The toothless tooth fairy
Picking up the money
You put under your pillow
hoping your gingivitis will go away and new teeth grow
What  is this utterance   that   has   passed through the gates  of your teeth?
You say this to me now?
Ploxo
Nyet
Ya ne poneemayo
Nichevo.

Paintings by Brian Wood with responses by Robert Kelly, “Five Tableaux Vivants”

                                                                                               

                                                                                              FEEDER

We do not see her but she pours
diverse waters into one small bowl.
Skull craft of Byzantine alchemy
remembered by a drunk Venetian
whose box of chalks ran out of sidewalks
and he sleeps, dreaming of her again
as he always has.  Marco Nolo, ‘I do not
want,’ Carlo Crivelli, most secret of all
painters, I set foot in that lagoon
at my peril.  Alchemy, not art, he said
and I said tauromachy, as in Krete,
slim girl swings over bull horns
by natural dexterity.  Alchemy is water,
art is wine.  O stop trying to sway me,
memory is propaganda enough. She
has heard this stuff for years, likes it
a little, sound the rippling water says
echoing from the cave behind.  Strange
how few birds there are in alchemy,
mummy of a crocodile hung in the roof.
The magpie and the robin and the eagle,
they came along with her and flew away
so now they are ours. And we are hers.

 

 

 

                                                                                            PREQUEL

Moses was able to do what he did
because he was Egyptian and still is.
They know such tricks, water
is just another word for them, sounds
like mmmm, looks like an owl,
the Reed Sea parts before his logic
and the soon-to-be Jews slosh across.
Year after year they try the same trick
to no avail.  Moses was Egypt was magic
and still is.  There can only be one
Egypt at a time, and ours got lost.
Oil wells yes, and lakes of naphtha,
and blue lessive that whites our sheets.
Because we sleep, and sleep compels
sacramental dreams and new hi-tech,
tongues of plenty, arrows that come home.
Moses shouts with his trumpet, sings
with his shoulders, it’s clear the painter
here spent time with him, a long time,
a Merovingian time, shared water with
a ghostly white man near Trois-Frères—
now else could he know and show all this?

 

 

                                                                                                PHOS

How can we help?
From the magician’s tall steep hat
a green mamba remembers
the lean lianas of his jungle.
No.  That’s no help at all.
Once in Staten Island
where the Italians, and the zoo
specialized in reptiles cheap
to buy and cheap to keep. Stop.
That’s the same road, the same
venomous streak across the path—
resemblances are the death of art,
bring wars, divorces, coronaries.
No hat no snake.  The magician
has vanished himself the way
smoke drifts through the trees.
Not smoke, mist.  Not mist either,
light taking on body from the air.

 

 

                                                                                                    SINE

Ah, she spread herself just this way
for Monsieur Matisse, was pissed
when he was more into his white doves
than her pink expanses, but that’s art.
She remembered childhood, the farm
in Picardy, flat, flat as a painting,
the umber fields of winter, a cabbage leaf
dried in the cellar, still green. Steeples
here and there but church was not for her.
This was:  the propagation of iconic
beauty, the crusade against the colorless,
the enemy the all-invasive line.  And line
is what that whiskery old painter had,
line that confutes the poor colors every time.

 

 

                                                                                    FRAVARTIS

It resembles us to life again
after the black hole of seeing
not with the eye  it rises
from what is seen until
it veers into invisibility
to hover at our right shoulders
(see its golden thread
its hollow needle (  eye
of the needle ) it sews
our wings on, connects
by way of vegetative matter
the heart to the wing and both
to the wind, the wind
is what you hear when a hand
pours water into a glass,
the truth of human identity
hiding behind the human face.
O hand with no face
erase the mistakes of vision
so I can actually see.

 

 

Charles Stein, from Views from Tornado Island, “Book Eight: Across The Perilous Line, Part II, Section 2”

Professor Tongs was first to deliver
a course of lectures
in the academic lounge
of the newly restored and decked out Old Hotel.

The room was festooned with violets.

The chairs were filled with studious moles
in every kind of garb,
fashionable and un.

Even ghosts were welcomed.

The subject of Lecture One was the question:
“What is Black Lake the Cover For?”

The topic was of some political moment
and served to introduce
the more general concern of the series:
“Being and its Apparencies.”

Hammerhead vowed to himself
to attend every lecture.

His initiation had
touched upon such matters.
It was why he had found
rapport with Wrench Boy, who,
it should be mentioned, intended to attend
as many of the lectures as
other commitments would allow.

On a desk, front-left of the podium,
was a large, magnificent opal
that seemed as though its luster’d never fade.

There was a sense that what might transpire
in these talks and demonstrations
would be of some concern to the Loop as a whole,
its members, its institutions, its manner of functioning;
indeed, of concern to all whose energies
tended to oscillate or fade — even,
in particular, the ghosts —
do they exist or not?
The perennial question.
Or are they in a special sense
appearance only?
Likewise The Garden: its archetype and its instances.
Is there an ideal sense of “Being,” say,
such that it is that garden?

The first lecture was well-attended,
for everyone had a stake in Black Lake,
even those for whom the thing was but a rumor.
What lay hidden in its waters?
What were the images
strangely reflected therein?
What did it mean
when dark breezes
agitated its surfaces, subtly
or with energetic perturbations?
What did it mean when the Lake was still
and what did it cover?
It was this last that most troublesomely
had been bruited about
on the winds of ontological rumor.
Its virtu and portentousness depended,
it was thought, quite upon that.

Each being in attendance brought to the lectures
habits and predilections
hoping to overcome, affirm, or enhance
performance of them.

There were those who had questions about Hammerhead
and the other archetypes.
Just what was the nature of the strange
authority they seemed to exert
over the whole Complexus?
How did each proliferate and reabsorb
the indefinite multiplicity of their avatars?
Indeed what were these avatars?

Outside the Lounge was a Garden
at the center of which there stood, like a small tree,
an African Rattle.

And a tunnel-like causeway
passed in front of the tree
to the hallway
that passed the lounge.

As Professor Tongs
began to speak,
all sense of where it was and how and why
the Lounge was occupied
began to flicker and fade . . .

[]

 

A transparent globe.

And now they were all
figures of light
introjected there.

The sound of an African Rattle filled their ear space
and trembling things like ghosts were there —
liberated, as it seemed,
since the substance of them was like the light
all the others actually were composed of.

Hammerhead spoke to himself,
“O Hammerhead,” he said, but stopped abruptly
having lost what he wanted to say.

A chizzel (sic) lay on the table,
a copper coil and a chizzel.

Then Hammerhead himself began to fade,
and a black gorge opened
visibly
out of the African Rattle’s gray sonorities.

The moles were fingering violets,
and now they were at the Garden
where African Rattle Tree,
dropped from its gnarly arms
crystal nuts;
and as they accumulated
into little mountains,
the ground began to disappear
and there was a Black Pot.
These things continued to change to other things,
but the sound of the African Rattle remained the Same.
Hammerhead in a kind of ecstasy appeared again
and faded again. Then came Jaguar,
all in the sound of the Rattle out of Africa,
then Hammerhead again,
then the sense, neither vision nor sound,
of the space of the Great Gorge,

and it became the academic lounge, more or less
an ordinary scene again,
and Professor Tongs was there behind the podium.

He spoke.

“I hope I need no introduction to most of you.
No time has passed at all since last I spoke here,
though in that instance
none of you were mules,
your habit was mostly humanoid,
the fading character of the things within the ambient
had not yet manifested. Hammerhead
was prone to raise objections, and the Gorge
was imperceptible, not even felt, let alone seen.
I pick my African Rattle
from a jungle of such,
and from what I hear,
I soon shall find myself
discoursing about Black Lake.”

The volume of the gray susurrus increased
and the textures and voices
discernible within it
diversified markedly.
There were tunnels through the sound
down which it was possible to pass
with one’s attention;
and at the end of each
there was a kind of mouth.
In the midst of the tunnel
one shed what habitude
one was ready to be disabused of.
It appeared as though Hammerhead were the guide to this,
that is, one of his avatars.
His soul was like a gorge.
And that to be an avatar
was to be a ghost.
When he had no persons to speak to,
his form fell into Black Lake.
What was Black Lake?
You could see this.
When your nature, defined by your function,
ceases to function under that function,
that is what the form of yourself
that you self-apprehend
passes back into.
There was a middle stage
whose sense was Melee.

The Professor did not say all this.
His work was but to orchestrate
a kind of demonstration.

You became the avatar that guided you,
and grew and then released within your being
the thing
shown.

Each of us was a ghost
that rose and then fell back
into Black Lake.  “But what of the Lake itself?”
everyone wondered. “Was there a tunnel
under its substance
to The Gorge? Or was the Gorge
itself —
the roiling space it managed —
the Pit that held the Lake?”

[]

Violet sat next to Wrench Boy.
Violets filled the Gorge.
Suddenly there appeared
in everyone’s hand
a fist full of violets.
They all were standing —
ten-thousand avatars and their archetypes —
around the Gorge.

Interval : The Lecture of Dr. Tongs Part Two (Journey to Black Lake)

“Things are getting serious, ” thought Wrench Boy.
I am professor Tongs.”

He journeyed to Black Lake.
He allowed the waters to churn.
The churning waters
drew from within themselves
a Black Box.

Wrench Boy removed Black Box and placed it on the shore.
It grew big enough for a man-sized door to appear on its forward
side.
Wrench Boy opened and entered it.

There were two rooms
separated by a wall.

Wrench Boy sat down in one of them.

Time was like a Crystal.
Jaguar and Hammerhead observed
that when Wrench Boy approached Black Lake,
it seemed that he had diminished to a point and vanished into it.
But it was Time itself
that had entered the center of the Crystal.

When Wrench Boy came out of Black Box.
Time resumed.

He had something to say.
The others gathered in assembly.
Things were simpler now:
no Gorge,
no avatars,
only the persons themselves —
Hammerhead, Jaguar,
Violet, Crystal,
Melee, Moles —
collected in their natures and ready to listen.

Interval: The Coverings of Being

Professor Tongs
that was Wrench Boy
opined:

“Being
is not built
like a house
out of bricks and mortar,
elements and their connectives.
It has innumerable coverings.
Strip them all
and nothing remains to be seen.
Yet Being is not its coverings,
singly or in aggregate.
It is the principle that allows

the appearance of things.
It is innocent and simple,
the deepest lure in the heart,
the spring for every act,
the source of every motion and its consequent.
It supports the truest wish
to release oneself from the complexities, the toils,
the opacities,
the thoughts and systems of thoughts,
the myths and their narratologies,
the sciences, hypotheses and theories,
speculations, observations, technologies —
now or ever,
in this world or any other —
the wish to release all things
that cover Being.
But supports these things as well.
Its truth is the lure, the bait, the miraculous elixir,
its apparancies and their forms,
compounded in our senses, or any other senses —
the eyes of insects, the olfactories of bloodhounds,
the unimaginable modalities
belonging to the sensoria of beings
anywhere, at any time, in any world;
or the nature and structures of intellect,
or any other means of apprehension;
indeed whatever is discovered to be so
is but a revelation of Being;
whatever is uncovered as illusory, or left illusory
and uncovered not, is Being’s form.

“But this is what I learned
when I called Black Box from Black Lake
and entered the black door of it
and sat in one of its chambers with my inquiries.
On the other side of the wall there is a being,
and its work is to alter the machinery
by which we configure the world:
as we approach some
great complexity
of proved veracity
by means of diligent effort,
collective or alone,
earnest and obedient
to the best of methodologies,
this being shifts the subtle ground of it.
Our thoughts respond
as if to the revelation
of another world.
And it is another world,
another schema of apparencies,
another Cover of Being.

“And this is what Black Lake covers:
the inapparency of Being itself,
and that everything that seems must seem to Be.”

Everyone was respectful and attentive,
everyone understood something,
none got it all,
and in the end it was quite as if
there was not a being among them
could attest they believed a word of it.

Peter Lamborn Wilson, Four Poems

*

Zing crash boom –– frog in a tweed jacket

pipe & spectacles –– an animal w/ culture but

no technology to speak of –– like the weather

a machine with fewer than three moving parts.

 

A Bureau of Euphemisms standing for various

erasures or as you might say a

box of rain or sack of clouds like

a roach motel for dangerous thoughts.

 

Sit right down beneath the willows

& warm yr empty head at their

failure to signify. Weather has no moods.

Willows weep when we debunk the Myth of Progress.

 

Having been frog & crane, fog & rain we know

their feelings from the inside like sentient cabbages.

 

*

The vesper candles are cold

bee’s lard, the pews are mildewed

the choir’s gone home to bed

the Bishop’s dead.

 

The problem w/ the rapture is

it’s come & gone. Some called it

monkey glands, some called it

love, cold love.

*

CONCEPTUAL INSTALLATION

Dear Sâr Péledan, here’s my proposal for

historical reenactment of yr Rosicrucian Mass

w/ music by Erik Satie. First we need

a virtuoso to record score on mechanical player piano

(circa 1907) to simulate ghost of Satie (invisible).

In candlelit chamber decorated as per reubrics

celebrants will be life-size mechanical automatons

(not electrical) presided over by clockwork Sâr Péledan

in full vestments & Assyrian beard. Spoken parts

pre-recorded & played on wax cylinders

(Edison originals w/ large horns shaped

like black trumpet flowers) –– all the machinery

openly displayed –– with Bunraku-style

attendants in black to wind everything up.

*

The messiah already always arriving

never quite takes the shape of all

our sins of omission. Some phrenological bump

on our cranium could be the second

coming of Jesus but the rest of the brain

is slave to Satan in the form of a

crashing bore. Reader of the Sunday Times.

Owns stock in environmental portfolios.

Our first Green trillionaire –– the Anti-christ.

his executive Lear jet runs on salad oil.

Vast wind farms out of H.G. Wells.

Corporate headquarters a PoMo slab

shiny black w/ solar panels as a

carapace, looms over the suburban viewscape.

Eileen R. Tabios, excerpt from “I Forgot the Spiral That is Memory’s Perspective”

I forgot ice relaxing its contours into liquid gold.

I forgot him softening through sleep.

I forgot Salieri.

I forgot apples rotting on a lawn.

I forgot, over a hill, there waited a choir.

I forgot the stillness of a barn as moss peeked through wood slats.

I forgot molasses.

I forgot bonhomie.

I forgot sausage fat sizzling with the passion of cultists.

I forgot the sacrilege of orange lashes.

I forgot pearls.

I forgot the names of children not born, like Alexander.

I forgot bells.

I forgot the voluminous ballgown extending her skin.

I forgot the dangerous happiness only rain can elicit.

I forgot the redhead during Verdi.

I forgot dwarves playing violins.

I forgot the room intimate with piano lessons.

I forgot the pleasurable tension of avidity.

I forgot responding to mysteries with kisses.

I forgot the ember of amber.

I forgot paintings completed by the shadows of viewers.

I forgot waiting out the ash in one’s mouth until morning dawns.

Kelsey Miller, “Place”

Place 1, 11" x 15" trace monotype, on mulberry paper
Place 1, 11″ x 15″ trace monotype, on mulberry paper

 

Place 2, 11" x 15" trace monotype, on mulberry paper
Place 2, 11″ x 15″ trace monotype, on mulberry paper

 

Place 3, 11" x 15" trace monotype, on mulberry paper
Place 3, 11″ x 15″ trace monotype, on mulberry paper

 

Place 4, 11" x 15" trace monotype, on mulberry paper
Place 4, 11″ x 15″ trace monotype, on mulberry paper

 

Place 5, 11" x 15" trace monotype, on mulberry paper
Place 5, 11″ x 15″ trace monotype, on mulberry paper

 

Place 6, 11" x 15" trace monotype, on mulberry paper
Place 6, 11″ x 15″ trace monotype, on mulberry paper

 

Michael Boughn, Hermetic Divigations for H.D.

Part One – Definitions of entrance

[1]

Unfolding casual light’s deflection
into scattered rose
comes on heels of the end

It opens like that, a surprising
ly choice bit of illumination vaguely
embarrassing in the midst

of sculptured parks of abandoned
phrases. Coming forth
in twiggy, stiff, upstanding

connections reins in negentropic
rush even as old friends
discover paths perilously

yet to be discovered. Abrupt
meaning stalls its always
already unfolds rose

[2]

Another abandoned premise
can lead to surprising turns
of setting, another name

bestowed on exterior
leaves it holding canals and little
bridges in mind that still

hasn’t arrived at an estate
worthy of its amber
gleam. Amid the yellow

leaves brightly announce
death recalls
a beginning, carefully

folded rice paper covers
to hold angels’ names
and the crucible’s secret

[3]

Following steps veer
suddenly this way, that
way, smouldering embers

in eye’s amber. When she
last came shadow spilled
from her arms, it was dawn

of another intractable new death,
joyous even in unordered
sun’s ravaged domain. There’s something

to be said for a comfortable
measure, ease of mind’s
familiar foot now enters

old terrain even as it
dries up, blows away, material
analogy’s bad joke

[4]

Return of the lotus
in a day of impossible
blasphemy given constant

slide into enlightened
aridity may or may not
signal rain. Word slips into work,

even a further world. Refrain
is another module of blue
evidence, in case red wasn’t enough,

that invented magenta has no
wavelength, hence the lotus,
a-spectral luminosity breeding

in the industrial-chemical
revolution of 1859 and dreams
of encounter by ancient canals

[5]

Word – world? slip of tongue
through which stations brushed
aside in instant translucent

magenta lotus bloom. 37,000 years
and she still speaks forms
of cup glow opening

some other light. Even
after carefully folded rice paper
covers long ago drifted away

in a fog of mutual worship, radium
blue remnant lurks in spaces left
behind, one half of magenta’s

a-spectral crucible. Word – worm
is more like it, wriggly and waiting
to turn you into worm shit

[6]

Much remains unsaid though letters
never stopped falling since she kept watch
at the borderline through all

the wars words waged with mouths
of impeccable babble which is not
the same slip. Certain names

otherwise hung up and drained
show up in her heart – Bridget,
Marilyn, Scarlett – chiselled in shadow’s

secret and occasionally on a street
by the canal. Knowing when enough
is not enough is an archaic

champion, a veritable cathedral
full of shadowed little mysteries’
hints past further remains unsaid

[7]

The reddest rose burns,
smouldering in doorways
scarred by ill considered

openings into blue extensions
of the abyss. Salvation ponders
the next move in patterns

unable to settle reasonable
stretches of enchantment
into desire’s subdivisions

repeat themselves endlessly
encasing the space
formerly known as earth

in thick, asphalt crust
while erasing shadow’s
hidden knowing. When

she came, darkness congealed
around her story, apparently
part of an entangled

garden, perennially reaching
down to tap the rich
wealth of matter, mater

[8]

The trouble with time continues
a turbid tale of abasement
in hands of the decline

of meeting zones. Entering
through cascading angel’s
names and storied footprints

in sand, she lit the space
so shadows could mask
signs of previous encounter

with secret forms
just beyond flame’s reach
in lightless corners, crevices

of forgotten connection
to other words of love
and inextinguishable flicker

of loins imagination’s
touch, a meeting zone
of exquisite age and intimate

conflagrations in different
stories of how it burns,
and burning, releases

spreading deltas of time’s
pooled shadows where lingers
refuses to settle but stays put

Sophie Strand, The Red Dress

even now there are things I cannot explain to you. I have no source. it comes when I am outside and always from the left side. I will not tell you more than that. no, pass over.

the red dress, skirt to the foot and with long sleeves, becomes a symbol for a time in my life before god. before god the fields were their wildflowers. I was never terrified, or only very rarely, by my father: the white bulb of his nose so like the stones at the edge of the oak forest. the red dress went better with the beechwood trees. its hem never tangled in vine. I was never tangled in this time. every light seen was seen by everyone; it was the sun or the candle of my brother come to call me inside from the garden. I saw the same things as anyone, the priest heard my confession and grew tired. a word is the smallest offense against the vacuum, the church is only for holidays, he instructed. I should continue confessing, but not to him; I should tell the trees.

in the alphabet of my country, the red dress occurs somewhere between J and X. It cannot be said but is heard in every word. even the word for war lives somewhere in the pleats, touching its secret metal like a zipper that is sewn so as to be unseen. J represents the sound of my name when it names another. many girls own the same name, the same sound, the same dress. the X is a sign I make on paper when I believe I cannot bear the sight of a lit fire. this language is something I did not inherit from my mother or my father. they are good people and speak plain French.

this is not in tongues, although I have been accused of this skill; my words are easily understood, often exactly a “field” or “crown” or “angel”. only later do I speak in figures. impossible to explain to an audience of stones, dressed as men, what a thousand scintillas of dust look like when they separate from the air in order to communicate the fate of a nation. see: even now I fail and the dust returns to its hiding spot behind its requisite molecule of oxygen. a vision cannot be repeated. there are some things that do not have a proper noun. I will not attempt to share. pass over.

it has been a long day and the dress you have given me is the wrong color. it is for this reason alone, no great thunder of metaphysics, that I once again relapse in my chamber. pass over. I do not have to explain. the hills were resilient with unmeaning. they bore my feet when I led the cows out in the morning and then returned to their original texture.

there is a word for how badly I want to return home. I cannot speak the feeling of visiting my favorite shrine after all this time. I would bend down, fold my skirt, touch my fontanel to our lady’s own stone skirt, so different from the stone men. and then home for dinner and all my uncles come to drink too. I think, having seen blood and been a long time separated from my things – two gold rings, a dress, my own hair – I might sit quietly and refuse wine. pass over. this cup is not for me. it is not easy when the voice comes and then a light the size of a coin in my left eye.

an X on the right hand of the page could have bought me a vital language. but I quickly erased it, knowing full well, it was the letter closest to meaning my red dress. how carefully I would wash its skin, saving the bones of the bodice for last. I did not often wash and am now so very dirty. perhaps now the dress prove too small; built for the brightly lit world of a child. I am older now. there is a better word for its color. red being something like a dead river filled with every year of the war. there is a word that better describes the dress and that word is fire.

Robert Kelly, Actaeon

I am no hunter.
I was just a man
walking alone through
woods when I saw her,

I stood there, gazing
like a kid at her beauty,
intensity of her being
and being there for me
to see, and her fortitude,
the day was and cold
but she was naked,
cold water all over her,
when she’d stoop down
feeling along the bottom
for things, bringing
stones up, crystals they were
her fingers knew how to find
and each crystal she’d
examine then toss on the bank
where they lay hidden in grass.

A long time I watched her
bending and finding and standing
tall again, leaf shadows all round her—
she  must have known I was there,
I didn’t hide, I stood erect
almost worshipping what I saw.
And then she looked me in the eye
and smiled, looked away
and whistled into the trees till
down the hill came bounding
two black wolves — not dogs,
the story got that wrong too,
they were wolves, not dogs,
wolves with yellow eyes and thick
meaty tails, what would she
need dogs for, wolves they were
and came at me and tore me,
dragged me down and bit, tore
their way into me and then were
gone.  No wolves out there.
They were both in me now
and always are, raging with lust
and yearning and always
something more than I can say.

Now I live where you find me,
by the stream where all this fell,
and I spend my days searching,
researching, those crystals
she let fall.  And when I find one
I use it to cure cripples, lepers,
sick children and sad teens
who come to me.  Can’t cure myself.
I am a prisoner of what I’ve seen,
I lie here on the riverbank
remembering how that day
the water gleamed down her thighs.
I am a broken man but I heal the sick.

Alana Siegel, from “FIFTHS: a test in listening through the symphonies of Gustav Mahler to pass through the memories of dead or living ancestors”

Impossibility? Little does Evan know I barely
Left the house today—will barely leave it. There
Is a lot that I want to say but don’t know how
To do it. It is pink to hear a fire engine siren
From the silver affability of my privacy in
The drudgery of this unbearably hot afternoon.
Why don’t you want to answer my question about
How books change the world, or what the world
Would be without books? The “days pen” was
Too expensive for her, understandably; but she ask
Ed me questions for her “book report” on books—

/

And then life worked again, or maybe only for a moment.
If only I didn’t have to be so excited—is there a way
in? Alice Bailey and Alice Notley. Not. Bai. What
Is Bai? Bahai? A term of endearment, like bae?
Many nightmares I imagine do not come true. I wond-
Er what every person’s mind does—I would like to see
All of the pictures. Maybe I can relax into it. This
Is, after all, a confession. No one really knows what
Anybody else’s mind does, so how can a person talks its
Terms of “history”? $20 now means I chose Alice
Notley over William Basinski. I suddenly feel like
My brain has not been working for over a year. A
Woman, standing on rocks, with her arms behind her,
Is standing in front of a raucous ocean. My heart is
A raucous ocean that wants devotion which is how I
Know to enact it. I want, need, to find, to call to
Me, another person who works in the auspices of
Similar vehemence. It is not possible for me to
Go there. I can’t be polite now. This is the only
Way I know how to be a road, to keep on going.
Let’s talk about it—the project of it (us) for long
Periods of time. When are we going to go to the
Columbarium? How do you know what to do? I can
Only be you, and the flies, buzzing around me? How
Does the fly see me? As a castle of heat, as an is-
Land with weeping willow theses, as cheese? What
Would the world be like without wires? I saw Eliz-
Abeth late the other night—she was falling asleep at
Ten. She was starting to hate her job again. She’s
Been falling off her bike a lot. What is she not writ-
Ing, not saying to herself, that “falling off her bike” is
Trying to command, or ask her? For writing to
really happen, it has to be a devotion. Why
in the world would you want to see anyone?
You only remind me of this, this, and that. I
Have a feeling that five people aren’t writing
About everything, and because we’re not writing
About everything, the upper worlds are not
Coming down—“You make my love come

/

down”—the upper worlds are not being drawn down “Drawing
down the moon—noon (moon memory) theory—into
the lower—in order to not only be upper but higher—
what’s the difference—it makes heavenly sense
that I bought Alice’s book on the 7th day of “The
Days of Awe.” Laura said that she didn’t want to think
About her past year and what she did wrong. I know.
I know—how she feels. We are going to try to
Create—I mean, can we contact Kevin, can
We invite him to our birthday party? Who will come?
How will anybody know us? Feel free to come in
And out at any time? I like how you are and
The magnitude, the aptitude of your measures—
It will be insightful to—I am imagining my
Birthday party now. (I’m turning 30. Sometim-
Es I’m writing something but I’m thinking
Something else. And my attention to the some-
Thing else, that I’m thinking is more interesting
To me. You’re threatening to me. Why does my
Mind jump so terribly quickly? Why is it so hard
For me to stay with a thought? I know Zach
Would do that—come later in the day—can
You give me Chad’s number? I thought I saw
Him yesterday. What do I want from people?
I say what I think and feel, I incur the
Premonition that I am “ploughing the psychic
Field.” The same old fate dump, lazy along
The lives. Two swans crossed in Lake Shrine wh-
En you died. Once Sarah dove under neath the

Thomas Meyer, Matter

 

An Accompaniment

for Michael Joseph Watt

That plant
the same as

the one in
India

that makes
red water.

That makes
water red.

Never
let me go.

There was a soufflé
our marriage hung

by a thread upon.
Inspiration fixed it.

I do. I do.
We do too.

Each blesséd day
we sweetly fill.

For that moment
with not in

time a bird
sang.

The work proceeds.
The king marries.

The queen sits.
A thousand flowers.

I lie here
half a day

undistracted,
pleasant half-thoughts

almost held in hand
not clear enough

to be called
ideas

Happiness is forever.
Except when it isn’t.

thrift (ameria maritima)
squandered

along
the highway

Open
the door.

Look. See
what’s there.

To wake to think
how much

I love you
and sleep on it.

Listening to your breath
deep and even

mine is held
in this warmth

deep ad even
that beds us

if ever two
were one

it is us.

Double dealing. Two
faced. Quicksilver.

Each and every way
faced. Not Janus.

Welcome any time
day in or day out.

That last step
there

in the dark
isn’t.

Ad lapidem.

prakriti
what starts

whatever
matters

No sleepless night, no
wearisome day

in light of you and
your shadow’s cast.

right rain
green apple

clarity

Blood. A phoenix. A rose.
The king

in his crown. Someone
dressed in red.

sit where
anyone

can
see

Arrive Spring. Depart
upon the first frost.

I thought
we could live with that.

The fact of the matter.
Is a desert.

All of that away.
The numbering sense

of something over. Gone.
Let go. A rose

in a desert. A thorn.

res ipsa loquitur
a less than factual earth

a world of tokens
and signs

the unspeakable
matter dreams

embody

And I turn
and I see

your
fabulous

face.

The radio makes
music,

the horizon a
steeple.

One and one,
then.

Michael Ives, The Law of the Father

I can and do tax my family. Nor do I mean “tax” in the sense of beleaguering them. No, I levy a tax, inasmuch as I possess the authority to do so by the warrant of our shared blood. A fealty tax, I call it, tribute of a kind, for an unobstructed enjoyment of material existence, which they, my family, owe at least in part to my chromosomal legacy.

Though I impose the tax on the basis of their use of my bequest, if I should choose to use these monies toward the satisfaction of pleasures but tenuously related to my role as father, this need be no concern of theirs, however much my wife might argue that it be grossly unfair to tax her and the children and then use those proceeds to finance my growing interest in golf. Thus she occasionally accuses me, when moved to communicate at all, of graft unbefitting a father, which accusations I rebut with the standard argument of blind duty: the bee in the comb need not know to what usage its honey shall be put, etc. Nor, by the way, has it been adequately demonstrated to me that my achievements on the golf course do not in any way benefit my family. Quite the opposite, for reasons I’m sure I need not enumerate here.

But notice, even I’m vulnerable to the conviction that such a tax may be levied on the grounds of utility alone. How easy it is to forget a proper appreciation of the living miracle to which we all belong and for the sake of which we ought not hesitate to tithe some small portion of our abundance.

Yes, my growing interest in golf – I haven’t as yet “hit the links,” having had precious little time to research the best equipment, the appropriate apparel. The sport of golf, after all, consists of a small nucleus of actual sport surrounded by layers of accessories. Nor have I secured a membership at the sort of club that can put a man on a footing with the world commensurate with his ambitions, his abilities. All in due time. As I think you will agree, the effort to establish a wise tax policy dwarfs these other comparatively minor concerns.

Nor have I as yet made provision to collect the tax in what may be termed legal tender, though everyone who has handled our facsimile thereof marvels at its resemblance to bills appropriate for games of chance and real estate speculation. Both my wife and I agreed that a preliminary period of remittance in, as it is said, play money (though I can hardly agree with such trivializations), would be the best way to usher the children into the heavy responsibilities of adult life.

Admittedly, my wife would seem to wish that this preparatory period extend into the foreseeable future, if not explicitly, then by her laxness in moving forward, not to mention the additional nuisance of her restraining orders, my forced removal from the house, etc., which have only exacerbated our efforts to cultivate in the twins an appreciation for the general good and its associated sacrifices.

I hardly think it necessary, though, to offer much detail beyond an admission that the matter of authenticating my paternity, in view of the revelations concerning Albert’s and my wife’s “involvement” since before the children were born, remains an ongoing struggle, my forcible sequestration in a state facility notwithstanding.  Indeed, delivery of monies and receipts will certainly be complicated by such obstacles.

I shall continue to press my case, however, and lobby for an accelerated intermixture of real monies into the children’s obligation over the course of the next several weeks, if not immediately. This will require that my keepers see fit to loosen institutional protocols and, in the interest of preserving a prerogative at least as ancient as the money economy itself, release me from my physical restraints, if only briefly, in order that I may argue my case before the tribunal of my children themselves, to whom it would seem I must, perforce, reintroduce myself. For who else could explain to them by what concerted and insidious a program of misinformation they have forgotten whence they came, if indeed they ever knew? Untethered from law and principle, their joy unmarked by the bruise of obligation, they gambol and frisk as if they were utterly innocent of any knowledge of my existence. Surely, the day will darken for these wastrels, and they will founder. Only then will they call for me, at which time I shall be pleased to hand them their bill, and calculate, according to a standard of accountancy forged in a hell of their own indifference, a minimum payment.