Thursday, November 25, 2010

November 25, 2010

Observe. Write what impreses
the senses
let the mind follow

It's in naming common things
we draw the reader in

A kind of touch
                                                               you see
                                                               I see

where every conversation
wants to go

Outside a neighbor is talking on her cell phone
It's the day we call Thanksgiving
This morning snow flakes descended from gray clouds
There is neither rhyme nor reason for these lines
Distilled out of air
Out of the gray chemistry of my brain
Out of what we call mind
We can neither touch nor hold them.
As they pass through words
At near the speed of light
Cosmic rays pass through the earth
They are everywhere
Hydrogen protons
Alpha particles of helium
Hurled by magnetic storms from dying stars
A faint hiss
On my neighbor's cell
breaking open

the genetic code





of death & dreams


  1. Archive this one under Teachings of the Barking Dog. And fire up the still to celebrate its arrival.

    The thing about commensurate perception, an easy way to call off the illusory intimacy, toxic or otherwise, is simply not to look. "Naming common things" or even coaxing the ineffable into cogency may be "a kind of a touch," but so's a swift kick in the arse.

  2. The first eleven lines weren't at first part of this poem. A journal entry. Thinking about 'naming' in poems--what almost all description is. You write, 'tree,' and the reader calls to mind her own associations with what that word names. Further elaborations guide those associations, but at the core, there something in common, not the thing named, but the fact of its having a name, a word shared. Encountering the word in the poem, the reader enters it, enters its field of power, or is caressed by it, or sliced, or struck.

    There is the feel of magic about names, names of things, names of persons. The poem began with what's now the 2nd section. Had only the vaguest intimation that I was going to write a poem. I was doing what I do when I write in my journal. I ask, what is around me? Now, at this moment, in this place. What is it that most impresses itself on my senses? And I write that down--without elaboration. Without decoration. A statement. And in naming the thing I become something more--something else: I become a reader. THE reader. Every reader, and what has been named calls out to me, wakens in me--as myself, and as a Reader, a need to find words for what the name has summoned.

    Let the mind follow.

    It's like meditation. Where you focus on one thing, and this becomes a guide, opens a path that wasn't there before--or wasn't seen or recognized as a path.

    The name is the gate. The reader is on the other side, but it's the same gate to the same path... at least, to the first step. From there, the divergent branches are without number. Another word. Another step. And each step loses the reader, and finds him again. Until you reach a point of realized failure. One more word, one more step, and there would only be words, nothing more. The names having exhausted their powers--or drawn closed--or your power to follow, exhausted. Having become entirely A Reader... and nothing more.

    Intimacy, consummated... observing what is there, and nothing more.

  3. If that's the neutered world we have to live in, we might as well call a spade a spade.

  4. Not about the world. The poem.

    Leaving the poem... observing what is there... and nothing that is not.

  5. Woof-woof (rolling on back, showing belly).

  6. If I rub the belly of Cat-Who-Lives-With-Me I get clawed.

  7. Well, there ya go! That's why God made mercurochrome for scarless healing.