Friday, November 6, 2009

The Key

The key to understanding my condition is the knowledge that I have limits. I feel bad. It is learning to watch my brain stop functioning
I feel bad and desire to think. I want badly to talk to someone I love. I experience a mixture of voices and panic. I dissociate myself from my accomplishments. It would make sense to take a break, give in for a restful half hour. I cannot bend my will to this simple declaration no matter how my will has been my aid earlier in the day. I call it voices because I lose my voice. I have no power of speech. It is difficult to make my needs known. I'm not asking for much talk. I only wish to say a few sentences.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Crushed Together

I have blundered and by snowball effect
made a metal music. I travel around a piano,
flute, and violin. Looked everywhere. Stopped.
Hear them grating and scraping.
Maybe you could say I listened.
A searching light on this bike ride
streams to a Douglas on a mountain.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Great Western

The halfway point of my bicycle ride 

Friday, October 23, 2009

What hasn't been done

What hasn't been done, all the yesterdays all the tomorrows, I share this hammer with the world. Belongings, from fingernail to bicycle pedal, are given up. It is poverty, and I have to get used to it. Send me the tangled thread that secures our story. Forgive me for the times I have not inquired. The unbearable afternoon sparkles between a raindrop and a candle.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Strange Creature

U2 cries in the deserted heart of America, "What a strange creature I am!"

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Last Error

The last error is being honest.
Love sends me in all weakness.
I look in the mirror.
See the one who draws the eye of anything powerful. I see him leave, leave me with one who is honest, and the turtle walks off in the rain. I have few steps left to open my heart. Make no fight. It might not be a matter of days or months. My life is halfway over. It's unimportant. I'm beginning to simply be strong.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Dormers

It is a hot day.
Carl Jung mops the sweat
from his brow with a cloth.
He hands the cloth to you.
"Stop," he hollers.
You turn back toward the garden.
"You forgot the potatoes."
He hands you a burlap bag.
The sun slanting through the dormers
multiplies the stairs as you climb.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Willowbrook Wildlife Center

We are patient and more patient protectors
waiting for our sight to repair.
They shuffle identity which I guess
is the nick of their exchange.
Two owls suspend synchronicity
while the third remains motionless.
The bobcat jumps to the floor.
Each darting mind, falcon or bald eagle,
watches, working with time.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Guides

I am more a question -
a proposition
I notice two guides who have followed
every proof the advanced class offers
to this point. I examine my life.
I believe I am a great mathematician
whose experience has been effaced.
Once more, I am trying to learn the rules.
As the class takes their seats, they are of one kind,
and it is this. This is given to them.
The guides walk briskly to and fro.
I sit in the front row. My condition is a question.
The other students here are the numbers. They exist.
     The guides begin to teach.
They say something to a girl in the second row.
A guide explains to the girl that she is the occupant of her desk.
If this is allowed to continue, the guide will next tell her
that one number is not the next. The guide herself realizes
the gravity of the situation.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Ducklings

I know I must return to the signpost and follow
the trail which I glimpsed earlier. A family of ducks
passes the afternoon. The mother ventures into the reeds,
and her babies lose no time in following.

The father passes by where his children played a moment ago.
I venture on myself. At length, I come to a second signpost.
I look up from my reading. Behold the grassy, unkempt mound
where stone tools, pottery shards, and human remains
have been found. I might say here is where I wonder, and here
is some line I will stand behind to look across at the sacred.

That is more or less what occurred. I define no spiritual greatness
that limits itself to exercising its newness or oldness on top
of the burial mound where only the grass grows a little thicker
than at other points in the wood. I walk a minute more,
find civilization, and turn back the way I came.

I pass the spot again where the ducklings played.
The pond is left to the father who seems a trifle uneasy
in his forgetfulness of his family who is certainly not far off.
I rejoin the path at which point I pedal the route over the bridge
and to the intersection.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Overlook

I stop to stretch at a shelter in the country along the Military Ridge
Trail. I bicycle into Blue Mound State Park which has the highest
elevation in Southern Wisconsin. I climb the paved service road
to the campsites. I continue on the park road to the overlook.
I look up from my reading of the spiritual writings of Soren
Kierkegaard to behold the rolling forests of the Driftless Area
to the west. I catch my breath on the staircase of the observation
tower. I open up on the trail to find myself outdoing the path.

I expect a sleepy town, not a Main Street that requires a traffic light
to get across. I hope to bring back a postcard from the Mustard
Museum of an old-time mustard jar. I am helpless. I promise myself
I will give up at the shelter where I stretched. I have no courage
to stop. I feel a few raindrops. Anton calls to tell me there
is a tornado warning. I wait out the rainstorm with no power
of speech. My obsessive mind will not relent that tomorrow
I have to do the same thing over again. Climb the hill at Blue
Mound State Park, ride to Mt. Horeb, get a chicken sandwich,
and try to visit the Mustard Museum.

The next day, Anton wants to drive me on the backroads
with my bicycle. We agree to meet each other back at our camp
in Governor Dodge State Park. I know the patience of a climb
in farmland. Noon finds me at Subway. I don't have to ride
all the way to Mt. Horeb to get a chicken sandwich. I order
a turkey sub, ride back to the park, and call Anton to tell him
we should go swimming. At 6pm we start dinner. I play my new
Bob Dylan CD. My persistence with the fire brings us a second
course of pork and beans. I read Anton and his girlfriend a story
by flashlight from The Sun. My voice finds its way through a circle
of fishermen at Navy Pier and their dialogue. The next morning
I ride to Ridgeway. I walk the length of the sleepy town that ends
in ice cream. I know it is time to draw the white church and a bit
of the side road. I eat an apple and find a spot in the shade
across the street.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Relaxing with music - a paragraph

Withdraw. It is an excellent meditation. Suffering plenty from
the plans that advance to completion and the preparations
for the next step, a relaxation is needed. Hard work is not
called for. Distractions are asked for. I have no knowledge
of classical music. Nonetheless, I can hear it pleasing
in the background. Sometimes I listen to a well-loved song
of the pop variety. I listen to the words as if the songwriter
had turned the phrase to melody only a few hours ago.
In a new place I find static and Ramblin' Jack Elliott's plea
to the crowd of which I am one. All the accessories
of my bicycle ride, which I will embark on, lay here
and there around the dwelling. I know where each one is.
My visualization consists not of strength but of safety,
not too much listlessness, not too much rapture.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Course of Happiness: Birthday 2008

We move through the wild flow of bodies, sometimes faster,
sometimes slower than them. I watch the shadows of people.
Who would they be in the 1920's, in the 1930's?
A vendor gives a tug on an assortment of balloons.

A man sits at the next table in a short billed cloth cap,
the chameleon of occupations. We had gone to Thunder Bay.
"We were on the waterfront in Toronto."
"Lake Ontario," I add to the lady from the Philippines
seated next to the man.
She holds up a black T-shirt with a decal of Mecca
that I remember from a five 'n dime on Devon Street.
"Salaam malakam," I say to the clerk.
His eyes resonate with an understanding of a bird
that has just flown off my tongue.
At the tables in the restaurant Indian men speak low.
A waiter brings a heaping plate of yellow rice
and accompanying curries, yet it is not an interruption.

Tony's four guests might be the party of a great banquet hall.
He knows the secret. Tony knows Mykha, Anton's old employer,
a saint who taught him the trade he loves. She took him to Vietnam
where they traveled somewhere in the country of her past
and the land of his present. Mykha and Anton are travelers
of rural towns, back roads, and small shops. Each adventure,
each mutt that Anton discovers, prompts a scolding from Tony.
He includes me as the sideman in Anton's stories.

The million people of Saigon begin to dance through our meal.
Tony's father held a small office in Saigon, fulfilled his rank,
and accepted no bribes. There is a restaurant at the end of a dock
raised on stilts that Anton and Tony have both been to.
The taxis have an agreement with the restaurant to bring
their richest passengers to dine there. Tony keeps a motor scooter
between the kitchen and the seating area, a floor with a capacity
of thirty seats that defies judgement as busy or slow.
It is Tony's stage where he entertains and cooks. One orders from
a menu of three hundred items and receives their soup, noodles,
or rice. Next, they are served the course of happiness.
On that menu Tony has three thousand items.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Each new day whether standing by railroad tracks
waiting for the freight train to creep through so I could
get my next installment of freshman seminar's article
at the leaflet shop or going to Acorn Studio, transported
with twenty new ways of seeing the world, focused for
a moment together in the high cathedral where we sit
with sticks of charcoal, gradations of an agreed still-life.
Socially, I am no more famous than I am in my art.

I cross paths with Friedrich Nietzsche at the beginning
of spring semester. I feel I have never opened so difficult a book.
I progress by two opposing views. First, "What is this clay?
Why are my hands going to alter it?
Why will it not do what I want it to do?"
Second, "There, even I can see that is a change
in the beauty of the subject."

(Dream) I tell the notable people in my life that I go to the opera
early every morning. Of course I don't, but to make sure they believe
me I take the sand from outside the opera house and scatter it
below my window.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bear Lake

Bear Lake in Estes Park signifies for me an older brother
who knows my childlike excursions into nature. I grow distant
from him though because as I grow older I do not immerse
myself in nature like the young child. Now I am at the shores
of Brother Bear Lake with family Mom, Dad, Aaron, Brita.
This is a photograph from the Beyerlein family albums.
It is cold but not so cold that I have to wear gloves.
There is snow but not so little snow that it does not cling
to the split-rail fence on which I am leaning. We resume
our trek into Rocky. We are traveling by snowshoe.

The second lake is not my brother. It is life itself.
The Beyerlein men stand here on its shores. They have no plan,
only to begin walking across it. We are halfway across,
but it might be that we are only half of the first halfway across.
It is cold. It is cold enough that being tired will make one colder.
I am also scared. If the Beyerlein men do succeed in crossing
this lake, then they will be greater than any notion I have now
of the three of us. This future photograph is greater than any
heartbeats that have beat in my heart. I find myself taking smaller
and smaller steps in my snowshoes. Now if I had pictured a mirror
at this time instead of a heart, then I might be less trapped
in paradox. Bear Lake is a lake of the past, present, and future.

I take my excellent rest by its shores. Bear Lake is one of the order
of lakes that I have enjoyed. The fact is that there are lakes above
Bear Lake. We encounter the lake of the next order; I fear for time.
The greatest photograph I will ever take is within me. It is a direct
link between life and older brother. In fact, life is older, older brother.
When one looks in a mirror, they see a surface in perspective that is
one order less than the person observing. It is conceivable that I
stand on the far shore of life. It is also concievable that this is only
my reflection, and I am standing on the far shore of life that is next
in a sequence. Older brother talks about this. I have evidence of this
because the reflection I see in Bear Lake is nothing but our family
gathered at the lake in the vicinity of the trailhead.

If I were to go further back in the day, then the reflection I see
in the lake at the vicinity of the trailhead is nothing but the reflection
of my family gathered at the lake in the vicinity of the cabin where
we are staying this week. Now the fact that I cannot see my reflection
while standing on the lake of life is due to nothing but fear. If I had
visited my photograph at Bear Lake of two hours ago, then my fears
would have been allayed on the higher lake of life. I take this picture
out of a book where I keep it for safekeeping while the Beyerlein men
are crossing the lake, but this is nothing to me. The Bear Lake picture
of two hours ago does not exist in any family albums. Let's say that I
did take the picture with an actual camera, and it does exist.
It is still nothing to me that I take it out of a book where I keep it
for safekeeping. The camera is only a pump with pipes out of and into
which flow light. It is only a mere pump in a great factory of fear.

The message I know in my heart is that time is getting briefer
and briefer. It is a mere pump in a factory so great that it might have
been created by God. With fear there is no way to establish a mirror.
We know that if I had seen in the snow something like the first snow
of a child's winter or if I had seen in the sky something like the one
bird that is always the one that alights on my shoulder, then I would
be without fear. I would be able to establish a mirror. So is this not
also a contradiction. I had been of the opinion that to cross the lake
I must become older and stronger. Now we see that if I had seen
either the snow or the sky with the eyes of a child, then I might be
writing this on the far shore of the lake of life. It is neither reason
or feeling but a certainty that the heart of my child is greater than
the heart which beats within me today. Older brother talks about this.

It is almost beyond question that on the return trip we go back
to Bear Lake, back to the lake in the vicinity of the trailhead,
and back to the lake in the vicinity of the cabin where we are
staying this week. But is this not also true. I mean to say that at
the end of the day we will have found our cabin where we had
breakfast this morning. Dad, Mom, Aaron, Brita, and I will be
here this evening. We are observing from a lake that is higher
than any actual lake we stopped at today.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Scattered Campfires

I treat myself to writing
that is like the smoke of scattered campfires
     rising into the air,
drifting currents that do not meet
unless the writer,
for all his birds-eye aspirations,
arranges a rendezvous between particle and plot,
     withdraws, and waves his hand.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Color Fastness

The snow is thick with footprints. I snowshoe through the deep
snow to the side of the broken trail. The preserved cross-country
ski trail runs next to me. Sun reflects off a thin film of ice left
by the parallel runners. I'm trying to visit the impressions of a family
snowshoe outing in Estes Park, Colorado. Dad wears a light brown
jacket. The colors of our clan our light brown, green, and purple.
I am getting closer to a barn. A few red jackets are gathered together
in a hay wagon ride that is about to start. A ranger in a winter brown
suit stands above two brindled blond horses. A man in yellow
with sunglasses riding a chestnut horse approaches. Beyond him
a photographer turns and sizes up his subject. A few minutes later
I stop while the hay wagon rolls past. On the bench a man stares
through me. He holds a case that certainly contains something
valuable. The ranger wears earflaps. I smell the pasture mixed
with burning leaves. A white horse is drawing closer to me.
I wave at the rider and the color fastness of her red riding blanket.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Skeleton Man

I flip through the library's many books of black and white
photographs of playgrounds. It's a provision of picture references
to draw from. I lose myself who might later sketch any of these
playgrounds into a border for an architecture composite. I lie down.
The first wave of voices brings blog obsession. I'm three weeks
ahead of my posts. Yesterday and today don't exist in my blog.
There is nothing for me outside the blog. I drew myself into
an inclusive circle. It is too big a risk. I'm running the symptom
of this massive uneasiness I have now through every entry.
If I stopped, gave up on the blog, there would be no diminishing
in symptom. My mind is screaming blog. Praying to calm down,
I take my Zyprexa. I release the blog to artistb. He and I are a team.
Is he bringing out the Proust in me?

I always like the drawing - green - because it amounts to destruction.
It is an organic destruction in which it is difficult to distinguish
drawing from collapse. Green gothic gives me permission to go on
to find the third theme. The fugue reverses complexity.
Its struggle with teacher builds the machinery of a collapsing
chamber. A chorus of voices repeats at play. My involuntary
memory spots an unplanned rebel who jeers at the chorus,
a chorus of harmony masters. Although they are accused
of standarization, they are also the best at evoking a chaotic silence.
It is more sin than the rebel is worth. The rebel and I must
collaborate in a search for adaptation to what Samuel Beckett
called in his essay Proust "boredom of living replaced
by the suffering of being." A counterpoint between building
and collapse is my slight.

Dreams never really happen. The waiting brings me down.
My struggle with the chorus constitutes the rebel's wish
to stand out in lack of melody. The crowd assembled
on the risers is a drug for the speechless daring of the melee.
I would rather champion cacophony and innuendo.
The shanty images, pushed together in village,
overrun path. Thumbnail innards of plants are left to stock
monkey mind. The nothing of a sharp report has the looming
quality of a fish bowl. I swim in a bell curved world of sound.

I put on headphones. Relax with the radio. If there's any
sensibility in my blog, then these songs on the year's best
of the big beat have hit it on the money. I listen to a recording
of me reading my journal. There is something at the edge
of my voice that is more intrinsic than any account I'm able to give.

I wrestle for the means to the ends of frying words
in a wordless frying pan. There are two frying pans one may
travel in. The first is Frytuck's pan. It ends at frying pan level.
A wordless level. I have triumphed. I skate the slope
of the frying pan, ranging across its surface. I turn on the radio.

I am not alone in this park, this second frying pan. The skeleton
is here somewhere. I pass the torch to the hens of the porch poets.
A fast moving hen joins the poets on the porch. Lawless thorns
puncture my poor feet. I seek a center tile meek lost down
by the creek. Perfection is a heavy race. I will quit the procession
before Frytuck takes up the anthem. Stab at me ghost.
Find me defined. Take my guts, ghost, and cast them into verse.
Ghost be thy concealed in the skeleton's ribs,
waiting to bloom in the nighttime phosphorescence.
The skeleton is beautiful. He holds sway in my conscious.
He is a naval captain of a lost battle who returns
with refreshed officers. The skeleton's fleet boards enemy decks
scrubbed clean by censurable years. In the middle of the night
his crew glides and glows. Many stray through the fence.
The skeleton waves them on.

The skeleton sits in a chair of twisted wire, grooming his glow.
On the deck, in the midst of the naval battle, he orchestrates
the boarding glow. I sense no division in the glow, only
thankfulness. Bring me water if it is known to your upkeep.
I am no machine, almost glow like you. Celery and I paddle
alongside the tugboat.

"Look at the mime specters it hauls," he says.

I return to the mud of the riverbank. Once again I am lost
in the gravel of the late night radio announcer. We are lost
in the annunciation of his favorite haunts. Soon I will follow
with my carriage in the flight circle. Celery has crossed.
He executes a neat side roll and greets the official
on the other side. We used to steal bits of chocolate
that the old man kept here and there convincingly
in wheelbarrows on our sledding hill in summer. We ran
with them to the closest shores of our forbidden town.
I am looking forward to meeting Celery on the porch.

It is the eve of Frytuck's nightmare. The river is dark at the edge
of the park. I lost a toy skeleton here. I wait for him here these
nights to bring me the magic that glowed from his tiny ribs.
The magic I feared once is now in a breath, the light still
to be drawn. I've been busy this week with the installation
of another deck in the cargo bay of my carriage.
Once I get it together, I will join the circle of flights.
I may not have a chance to visit the riverbank again.

I look forward to meeting Gabby. He is the only one of us
whose name remains the same now as in childhood.
Gabby meets us one day tugging a raft.

"Let perfectionism break me before Frytuck takes up the anthem,"
he shouts.

Frytuck suggests to Gabby they might use aphorisms to cross
the river. What rasp would my voice sound should I speak
in aphorisms? The keys to the porch are out by the creek.
A tortoise inlays a center tile meek. The hens to the tortoise
pass the torch. A fast moving hen joins the poets on the porch.
I run the tablets through one of the machines I manage.
I lift the carriage panels into place. The carriage belongs to me now.
It always has.

On more than one occasion the official had words with Gabby
that caused him to reconsider his ambition. The official dressed
for exactness, as an umpire would. Gabby admired
his resourcefulness in the upkeep of the backyard.
He attempted deeds laying in his path, and in those he succeeded
without dislodging much dust.
The house held no particular call to Gabby, yet it lay in his path.
The skeleton held little interest for Gabby - of that I am sure.
Each of us suffered with the great house in his turn.
Moving swiftly over the rocks, Celery's greenness eclipses
the shimmering glow of the skeleton. I desire in him no destiny
on these muddy banks. Celery moves with an economy of grace
across the creek. He stands on the edge of the park, deliberating
which direction to take. There is no choice. We all proceed
to the house on the hill.

Frytuck, I hear you whispering in the soot.
Fold the soot into your hair. Tuck in your hair Frytuck.
Climb the hill. Vindicate your story. I am perfect. I am tough.
I grow weaker to cross these stones. Formless suffering
is the fire that supercedes reason. I watch the passage of glow,
distractions in the night. I mope and take sail with these ghosts.
Perfection is a heavy race. The fence is farther away now.
There is a meadow to cross and then the fence. Henry laughs,
letting the skeleton fall through his fingers. He joins the ghosts
in their skeleton madness. Green glow, passage of labor carved
in relief on a stone wall, glide, accelerate with my thin thorns.
I yell not. I whisper not. What rasp would my voice sound
should I call? I am no machine. I am almost glow like you.

My carapace is complete. I dice and knock the earth cubes away.
Mist settles into the gaping space between my bones.
I am the skeleton man! I cross the meadow. I crawl through
the hole in the fence and walk into the yard. I find the official.

"I could only see you thus," I say.
"You are the last of the ones who have returned to address me,"
he says.
"How many have returned?"
"Many, many have returned."

Frytuck stays late in the alchemy of his science to precipitate voice
out of a sample of gravel he keeps since his childhood.
His friends talk about anything but their turn in the line-up
when they will have the mighty god in their grasp with which to turn
their idle lives into something of summer. I pass Gabby in the halls,
but he does not recognize me. So it is me Celery crafting what I will
begin to craft in this notebook. My anxiety is here neatly between
the lines of my notebook. Celery sits in his drawing room.
His greenness whelms him. Frytuck begins to appear in the margins.
The porch poets talk about this.

It was as if I had been writing for a while in a voice I thought
was exceptional. Then the exclusiveness both elevated me
and saddened me. Then I was distraught because I believed
I had been singled out for the poor ridge and outline of this voice.
Then in one setting, perhaps an hour, I had the pleasure of reading
a poet very much alive. S. does not accept the abyss between prose
and poetry. I felt whatever name I gave my writings would be
unremarkable. Her tone bound the poems through and through.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Reversing the Flow

A dull knife is more dangerous to use than a sharp knife.
Occam's razor: If you have two solutions to a problem,
a simple one and a complicated one, then the answer
is usually the simple one. Is the simple answer a spare equivalent
of the less simple kind. No, it was cut from a sharper knife.
In its simplicity is its elegance. What if a simple answer
and a complicated answer are proposed for the diet
of a healthy planet? Vegetables and meat are diced for soup
with a sharp knife, if the cook is skillful, though the cleanness
of the cut does not add flavor to the broth. Assimilation of the meal
is proportional to the cleanliness of the ingredients and the ritual
manner in which the meal is enjoyed. Soup is the simplest of meals.
The cook who fixes many kinds of soup will not find his dining hall
hurting for nutrition.

Let us go back to the phrase "cut from a sharper knife."
It implies that we begin with an exceedingly sharp knife.
The resulting answers are derivatively dull. Assimilation
reverses the flow. A small piece of food is divided into
smaller pieces. Pieces keep getting smaller until a calorie
or several hundred of them are created and spent.
In the end, we arrive at a unit of work. So perhaps
there was no knife at all, only work that needed to be done.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bonaparte, A Lost Town

My guide explains that we are still fighting the Revolution.
Men travel the Geneva Road prospecting new territory.
A scale model of the Glen Ellyn Hotel shows what it looked like
before the fire that started the volunteer fire department,
still of Glen Ellyn.
The era is closing in this room. Railroad cars display on the shelves.
Mrs. Stacy fetched her water once from outdoors,
now next to the kitchen.
They tossed broken dishes down the well when it was no longer
being used.

I view the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Churchill
at Stacy's Tavern Museum. They were sixty years old
when they began their journey from New York.
They each sit with a book, a symbol of their ability to read.
A forest preserve is named after the Churchills. I wonder
what the archives might hold in store for me on the way next door
to the Glen Ellyn Historical Society.

Milo's grandfather owned a tavern in Fort Chicago.
Milo is listed in the census. Milo lived close to what is now
the west suburb of my residence.  He knew Lyman Butterfield,
an early settler who sold his land by the latter half
of the nineteenth century, but whose namesake lives on
through Butterfield Road, the busy street I ride my bicycle on
to get to points yonder.  I want to travel back in time
to when the road I live near was a dirt path not much wider
than the ample shoulder that serves as my bike lane. 

"You know how there's a hill and a valley in south Glen Ellyn,"
I say to the footman of my research. He points out the valley
as a possible location of early Butterfield land.
The lady who works at this detective agency has other facts.
I shift hypothetical Lyman to west of yonder.

"Are you looking for a relative," she asks.

Sitting here, I'm trying to pinpoint what my goal is.
The other lady in the office wears a yellow sweater. I speed read,
trying to gather facts for the next step. Next to me,
she reads as if the leaves that are falling all around us have been
promptly plated and imprinted in the press of the book.
I show her a picture of later school kids by the side
of the bus that goes to Bonaparte school. She shows me
the early schoolhouse, a house I would be proud to teach in.
We are in Bonaparte. It is a lost town named after the postman,
known to the settlers as a taskmaster and general of sorts.
The next closest schoolhouse identified on the map
is at Roosevelt Road where a replica lighthouse once existed
across the street. The footman now has an earlier map of the town
I live in, divided into rectangular subplots available for sale.
I address Lyman Butterfield, Milo, and the discovery of Bonaparte
through his gruff shout.

Bonaparte School is now the Village Theatre.
The one room schoolhouse has become an intimate little theatre
putting on five productions a year. I ride by it daily.
Right now I am immensely satisfied to have met the postman
whose route follows my neighborhood, an area of Glen Ellyn
that used to be called Bonaparte named after the postman
who made his deliveries two centuries ago upon the land
which I daily traverse. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Vance Kirkland

A wiry man crosses an intermediate measure of sand.
He carries an easel and watercolors.
He opens his sketchpad to charcoal gesture sketch
     a seagull on an outcropping.
He is Vance Kirkland, an artist of the timberline,
seeking a castle to deconstruct. He stands before the last painting
of his Surrealist Period, beginning 1940. In Prairie Monuments,
ghost lines dance somewhere among shadow and shape.
Kirkland's images weld the conceptual curl of metal to open sky.

The prairie began my previous exhibition yet could lead
somewhere else.
     Little men without names are jumping out of windows.
They are landing in cups of poor design.
Luminous little men are asking for saucers.
I am eroding into islands in order to escape.
I enter the labyrinth of my latest series. Paint under my eyes,
clouds overhead, I walk a tapestry of avenues.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Best Losers

If in a breath the light still to be drawn,
have the courage to be thankful. I was sorting
through my fits and starts of writing that have
accumulated in the new millennium. I found a sharp
retort to a job I took, tried, and failed at after three days.
I had a wealth of uneasy feelings to respond to
as a complete novice on a house framing crew.
I notice my documentary writing sparkles with life
compared to trying to echo a poet. My best friend told me
the same thing after an open mic where I nearly brought
a poet to life although I wasn't sure he was myself.
He brought me down to the ground telling me,
"You're hallucinating a lot of this stuff."
It woke me up.

I slashed files on New Year's Eve. Four years ago
I completed a book. It was painful to read the polish
of four years ago although I respect the effort of the entries.
I've spent a decade searching a frightened animal, but when
I found him he had curled up and died. I am left with the thin
payoff of a trace of who might have been talking to me.
The best losers are not bitter. The value of those transitory words
is priceless. I found voicing although I may not have secured voice.
I learned over Christmas that my rotten moods are followed up
and followed through with new beginnings.