Sunday, May 27, 2007

Something essential...

I got meme-tagged by sam of the ten thousand things... a nice little meme which originated from They Shoot Poets - Don't They?

Here 'tis:

“Give us at least 10 quotations pertaining to poetry - from 10 different writers &/or poets which best coincide with your philosophy vis a vis ars poetica. They can be posthumous or otherwise. The order is not important - unless it is to you.”

Sam rather charitably added the following disclaimer: "If the number ten is too daunting, go for less." Although I've managed to pull ten together from everything I've (n)ever read. And yes, for me the order is important.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear.
- ‘London’, William Blake

The people need poetry that will be their own secret
to keep them awake forever.
- #355 (‘Now I’m in the spider-web of light’), Osip Mandelstam

Reality is not simply there, it must be searched for and won.
- Paul Celan

The human body is the best picture of the human soul.
- Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein

each word is a room built around us
- ‘Pitching Woo’, Karen Weiser

The great city has a hundred million rooms so any combination is possible
- ‘Day at a Time’, Michael Dransfield

Money is everywhere, but so is poetry. What we lack are the poets.
- Federico Fellini

i had always had mixed feelings
about being considered a poet “if robert lowell is a
poet i dont want to be a poet__if robert frost was a
poet i dont want to be a poet__if socrates was a poet
ill consider it”
- David Antin

If you can do it then why do it?
- Gertrude Stein

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.
- Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki

And I'm going to tag exoiced (aka Brow of Calm), Yarni, Nathan, EZB and Reyes Cardenas.

Friday, May 25, 2007

digitalia (2007)

every day here
at the image farm

crop & resize

I’m shrinking into, becoming
synonymous with my work

am this low-cost ‘virtusurgery’

am ‘his’ & ‘her’ sightlines


every day here
looking for some other face

out in the pseudo-rain,
packet traffic

not another me for chrissakes

will someone come visit,
feign interest

have their cowled, smoky needs
deluge my inbox?


photograph is a spell,

seductively true


desked, but
pumping the brakes

(praying for
glue to meld the storm together)

I am a fat, balding forgery
with a swipe-card

faulty (2007)

your speed-reading eyes
stalled by things I don’t have names for:
birds, trees... nature stuff

so we invent names from our lexicon:
banking bird, valium tree

our poems detail
glitches of perception,
are loose & easy,
repel ghosts

An earlier version of this poem was published in otoliths 12.


chose pile of scissors as my profile pic

oh no symbolism help !!

(may these scissors fall into the hands of fools)
(may these scissors fall into the hands of fools)
(may these scissors fall into the hands of fools)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Vipassanā (2007)

shouldn't be misunderstood
as another search for an exit

It is a way back
to where you are

First letting the eyes stop,
calming the antennae

Then all punctuation dropped,
an unhurried torch
shone throughout the body

The mind does not need to shop

Silent as smoke
except for the radio
from the apartment below,
bleeps counting in the newshour;
swooshes of traffic, birdsong solos,
hum of the nearby city

Of course the body hands out flyers
for a protest march
and sometimes a slow bee visits,
buzzing at every itch,
every knot of fear,
every burn of venom in the blood

The ongoing task of sitting
may be learning such restlessness
by heart
(the heart has many commas)
while mind writes smaller and smaller

Though my first teacher taught
that mind and heart are the same bell,
fused in a single word:

Note: The literal translation of vipassanā (Pali) is ‘insight’. The word is used to refer to ‘insight meditation’, and a specific form of Buddhist meditation practice which is taught in various strands of modern Theravada Buddhism. See the Wikipedia entry on vipassanā for more information. I practice vipassanā meditation each morning, following the method taught by S. N. Goenka.

Below: An image from Ansuman Biswas' project Self/Portrait (sourced from

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

unplugged (2007)

day two of rehab

the raw bed
no exits
air soured by puke

steel-cold / sleepless,
fingers heavy with days

deserted eyes
running city steam-alleys
to cut a repair deal

ever try a sprint lying down?
(it's exhausting)

the stories I hid in the city
have scattered, escaped into films
(my brainchild their goldmine)

outside of visiting hrs
a squad of ghosts
makes another sweep