Posts Tagged ‘writing’


Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Its a misty late summer afternoon in Seattle,
some Howard Roberts style electric guitar jazz is riffing on the radio.

A mug of fake coffee with Hazelnut syrup is steaming away on the taberet
while the darkness of my barely lit studio wraps around me.

I’m wondering how I might write in the same way that I paint —
moving colors around on a new canvas seems easier than moving words around
on a new page.

A painting starts with a few colors chosen and spread around on a canvas with a brush or palette knife, then maybe a rag to smear light washes, starting to see something emerge is such a thrill.

Writing seems so clunky, words must be typed or handwritten in a pretty much linear form so as to be readable and have some meaning — or do they?

If I were to put down a random selection of words I would then have to either cut them apart and rearrange them physically or erase them and re-write or, cut and paste to get a new creation. Is it worth it?

I hate editing as much as I hate doing pre-ordained imagery in paint, preferring abstract expression to classical illustration.

I want to create written works that have the same ethereal yet engaging quality that my paintings have– to transport viewers/readers to a place where they take ownership of the words as they spark new images, ideas and words of their own in their minds and hearts.

So, let’s try something out here — throw down some words and move them around. Here goes:

saliva mountain mounting glancing abundance around throwing riffs drums cymbals driving lemons gout midday ringing signals whistling macaw juniper jungle rhythm jingling q-tips phoenix eraser needle-nosed broom sharpen pen boom heater wheel fundamental

OK, now let’s see what happens in various rearrangements, adding some connecting words and punctuation:

Whistling mountains foretell the ringing of the macaw
and the jungle rhythms throwing riffs into the mounting
midday abundance of lemons and needle-nosed drums
as you sharpen your pen over the glancing heater at your side
while the phoenix-like boom erases the q-tip’s subtle strokes
from the fundamental wheel angles that signal the beginning
of the driving cymbals in the juniper broom that sweeps
the fundamental glancing aside and leaves you inspired.

…or maybe taken in their original order:

A saliva mountain is mounting, glancing in its abundance
around the throwing riffs of drums and cymbals
driving lemons of gout in the midday ringing — signals
like a whistling macaw in a juniper jungle with its rhythm
jingling like a q-tip in Phoenix, an eraser of a needle-nosed broom —
so sharpen your pen, your boom heater wheel is fundamental.

… there are some possibilities there — maybe.

Or, what if I just take them as a starting point for a stream of consciousness ramble:

Thoughts of fresh lemons hanging in the midday sun
echo in my mind as the gloom of autumn settles in
to the rhythm of ringing cymbals and mounting drums

Rising like the Phoenix from the gout of the jungle
to the heater from which the macaw and juniper merge
into a whistling wheel of throwing song and saliva

Driving the broom wheel into its fundamental q-tip
as the needle-nosed eraser pulls on the strings
and the pen moves out into the night with a transcendent riff.

Nonsense making sense, that’s what its all about. Its the only way to inspire some original thought, some intrinsically unique experiences that can’t happen with words that have too much meaning as they are, common phrases. Telling a story is one thing, inspiring some original thought is yet another. I guess I’m going for the latter in a more direct way, trying to circumvent the redundancy of familiar situations and their influence on thought patterns.

Its a continuation of my initial forays into what I called “thought generation by exposure to non-objective media” back in the late 60’s in New York and later in Park Forest at Governors State University. Guess I haven’t changed much basically. I was inspired by Dada — Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, et al while a student and felt that my entire career as a graphic designer was a work of conceptual art or, merely a way to make some money masquerading as a design consultant.

So, as I transition into adding writing to my painting I want to bring that same approach to bear, hence these stabs.

I hate editing, re-writing so, you’ll just have to bear with my
unvarnished uttering and find what gems you can. Why?

The more I leave to you, the more of personal value you’ll find
as you let these words settle in to the fertile soil of your mind.


meeting your muse

Horizontal folds of blue magic surround the twirling air currents that swirl around
the outer edges of this room and leave a soft pulsing light as if a cloud of energy had descended
from out of nowhere, leaving a scent of incense and fresh air mixed with the smell after
a rainstorm on the fresh grass of a summer field, now drenched in a warm orange glow.

Spikes of bright green wave in this gentle breeze, emanating the essence of liveliness
whispering of new beginnings and an unusual ability to sense the new in the familiar
as ever lightening clouds glide against the deep blue sky leaving nothing but nothing
in its path but the feeling that something new is being born in this most comport-able place.

The room and it’s contents begin to move about in their own independent ways, some in,
some out and others around as things now begin to take on the aura of another place entirely
and the energy is palpable as your very being seems to be experiencing the same dis-integration, in a nice way, floating pieces of your thoughts and feelings intertwine.

Contrasting thoughts and ideas meet in juxtaposition and affinity at once becoming friendly
as the obvious and the hidden, the sublime and the ridiculous dance in cozy confluence
and new insights begin to bubble up from within your own colored space to join in this
merry pirouette of consciousness and sensory pulsing you feel, this dizzying ambiance.

Listen then as the sound of the nostalgic clarinet hums with the piano and the flowers on it
and the unicorn and the gas station down the street flirt with the passing days of swimming light
into the forgone bidding of the old woman who wears the fresh rose in her hair, singing
old show tunes and holding forth with a chorus of air conditioners in the most beautiful concerto.

The sharpening stone makes its presence known to the crayon of red but not so as to blind
the frog in the old Sprite drinking the elixir from a paper cup and a plastic straw — hold on.
Fantastic blankets of pink and pale blue flit past in little pieces with furry bumps and satin edges
rubbing your cheek, touching only the lightest fuzz as the thumping trumpet explodes gently.

Fat orbs glistening with juice and fresh pulp of fruity tendrils, leaking an aroma of cinnamon
soft-edged in their pubescence and ripe in their maturity approaching a fermented sound
like a muted saxophone in a smoky club or darkened alleyway as cats howl and sirens hum
and the smells of musk softly fill your nostrils and turn into your own array of colored light.

Slowly a chant begins deep inside and you can hear it welling up just behind your lips
as your breathing falls into a deep, slow and soft rhythm — hnn — hmm — hnn — hmm
and now all is bathed in pastel light as the sounds of your primordial tissue reverberate
slowly taking you beyond consciousness into the light where you rest awhile, and Return…

babbling on babylon – another kvetch

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Sometimes I feel like a gun without bullets, a cake decorator without icing
or, a broom without any dirt to sweep — a mason without a wall to build
piling up bricks and tools for that next big project that is nowhere in sight.

So, without an externally funded job, I start piling the bricks
into whatever seems to feel right at this moment, though right
isn’t obvious to my wandering thoughts. Shut up and go do something real.

But this is real isn’t it? Am I finally going crazy? Some would say
that happened a long while ago but, really — all artists and writers are crazy, right?

Some say I’m not crazy enough — too regular a guy, and so do I but then,
why am I sitting here doing this when I could be seeking the next thrill
elsewhere in this room, on this computer or in this stomach that awaits breakfast.

And, I continue to babble on.

mind find grind

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

I’m not asking for much
just to be in touch
with the voice inside
who lately’s chosen to hide.

I watch others clever inventions
and artfully gravelly voices
make my soul seek its intentions
while they seem to have real choices.

Where are those words that once seemed to float
in torrents that gave me such pleasure
the ones that could make the word “goat”
just right to fit with my newfound leisure.

Do I really have to take things in my own hands
and force it if you will
or does it simply come from one of those glands
that feed the longing skill.

Its forced and I know it, it just doesn’t feel right
it hasn’t that ring all poignant and warm
if it doesn’t just flow on its own, out of sight
and then, reeling back with such wonderful form.

Where are you oh welcome stranger whose left me stranded
on the distant shores of wanting and vacuous flight
feeling not just wordless but wain and wrong handed
Come back and please, just help me write

Flowing words and catchy phrases
that lift the soul and tickle the inner orchestra
with thoughts and sights that spur praises
at the insanity of meaning and acoustic aphasia.

Does it matter what’s said and what we read?
Of course you fool, and you’d best take heed
To force the muse you will certainly strangle
whatever little thoughts it started to wrangle

And leave this sitting all dazed and confused
when all you wanted was to re-meet the muse.
There’s something inside but it just needs to bubble
in its own time to yield without all this trouble

as it cries for silence to surround its shell
or at least the end of such irrelevant chatter and din
but from which must arise at last and as well
the pieces of trash that make it ring deep within.

Om mani padme hum
the mantra rings still in the temple of my mind.
It takes a fossil fueled ‘varoom’
and makes it into a beloved ‘bump and grind’

Out of the clatter comes a song
if only the rhythm you can find
and see that really, all along,
its all just part of the presence of mind.

whatever it takes

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Whatever it takes
to avoid the fakes
and anything else
that tickles the pulse
to make the day
one where you say

I love that and
I’ll give you a hand
even if it rhymes
at least fifty times
and drives you mad
like you’ve been had

by another vain rap
of some driveling sap
who has nothing more
than to mop the floor
with pummeled words
turned into some turds

just to fill a page
for another sage
who also has nothing
better a-going
and is lost in a fog
like an old baying dog.

So do what you must
to bake someone’s crust
but please – please
give me some ease
to just hear my own
monotonous tone drone.

some good, some not

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

some are good, others not so good
but they are what they are and nothing more
perhaps unless they are edited or refined
then they won’t really be what they are
but hopefully better, we’ll see won’t we

since this is a universal truth effecting
children, objects, ideas and words
that possess excellence in their freshness
that can be ruined by redirection and hint
yet be improved with work and love.

that doesn’t really say much so good its not.

something to say

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

everybody’s got something to say
and its like we are a choir
singing our disparate tales and wails
out into the evening of our time

who sees what and what sees who
as we jostle for position and wring out
the juice from our tales into the goblets
held high by the cheering mobs

a fleeting presence on the stage
of the sunset club for aging gods
and its too late to plant seeds
or even nail some sharp points home

who lets these things in
through the holes in the fabric curtain
that forms our shelter and makes our beds
in the dark gloaming of our intent

and why do they exist anyway
if we already are aware of their being
and are worn from their yammering
into nubs of drooping wax

but we keep on and on and on
batting the shuttle here and gone
weaving the floor so we can stand
and shine what little light we have left

so that those whose eyes have shut
through some negative twist of fate
might take a spark into their nests
and spin some golden raiments

that may just be the birthing
of the next new age or at least
not the last in this inevitable trudge
up the looming hills of night

simple gift

Monday, May 4th, 2009

in spite of my years my naivety
embarrasses me sometimes

as does my inability to get beyond
wonder at life’s simplest gifts

that result in repetitious verse and
droning prose that sometimes amaze

but to my eyes suffer from a case
of amateur excitement and simplicity

but is not that what I seek —
a fresh view through wizened eyes?

I’ll go ahead, rattling on for an audience
I don’t see but may come to meet

who may wonder with awe from whence
came these choice morsels of wisdom

and hopefully find their own font nourished
by my humble words a simple gift.

flash in the trash a rash of stash

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

and nothing else that’s new
a glimmer in the night precludes
a run on the food-bank instead

of milestones placed by runners
of sleds bearing gifts bartering
for smooth faces and wet loins

in the entries of clubs and bats
are leaving the confines of misery
to enjoy the bliss of ravens

when mockingbirds are parroting
the real estate magnates in the sand
for carrying out someone else’s trash

and why not says the ferret
who is a symbol of the ever-seeking
minds of tarot readers and shaman

alike in their quest for rhythmic
balance of power and might beside
the seven-eleven of their souls delight

only to find a carcass instead
of the bonfire inside that glowing
shell of mercy beside the walls

of brick and murder just above
the sealing wax which is funneling
into a bright new flower

back-and-forth in its repetitious
swings as this rhythm plays itself
right out of existence — for now anyway

sniff, slurp, cough-cough
and more mundane thoughts
in a random spewing decorate pages

with nonsense that may divine
some meaning somehow, somewhere
for anyone who will look deeply enough

without allowing the dense filter
of academic analysis to cloud further
the already vague images set forth

while the writer is in a fog
of illness and weary of sitting motionless
feeling the flash of time missed

out of synch with the environs and inhabitants
of the whole tableau set before the eyes
that wince with stiffness above the running

nose and dangling throat of raspy snot
and gooey slime that weighs down a mind
that’s better suited for racing and speed

rather than the confines of sluggish
non-thought, non-action, non-non and non-anon
so its time to quit and leave the rest for rest

…but I digress.

snot & phlegm

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

i long for a flow of nonsense
that can awaken me from a lethargy
brought on by my body playing
with some cold germs

from an airplane through my partner
because of the past taxing season
at H&R Block ® – go figure
and remember to wear a mask

of amontillado when approaching
a distant relative of the writer of Zoro
especially if there is salmon involved
and catching a virus is not scheduled

on anyone’s itinerary and certainly
not a sought after condition
when weather is turning warmer
and the full heat of desert summer looms

is it any easier to paint than write
when the body is in a funk through no fault
of its owning anything resembling a
good haircut or decent clothing

or even a mind that can think clearly
but then that’s never held me back before
so I should launch into writing from
mucus and phlegm constricted depths

from the post mental drip of old ideas
may sprout some neti fueled clearness
and perhaps a few lucid words but
i want more, much more from this pit

of snot than most would expect because
that’s me, the great expector of miracles
and good from bad and all that stuff so
i’m really disappointed that this is all

i could come up with when i was just
beginning to see something through that
foggy golden glass that separates me
from the figures and their shadows

within that warm and inviting room
where there appears to be a lively discussion
of things immortal and yet so much
of the flesh and i want to engage it

another beautiful day

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Got the word basket out onto my computer screen
and I’m tossing in the early scraps that precede the making
of any sense and finding hidden poignancy and insight
in the fact that at some point something of value will emerge.

Its cooler out my open window this morning, the sun
is over the nearby hills illuminating the film of dirt
that clings to the panes and makes a screen for the projection
of hibiscus shadows dancing in time with the swaying cords

of the up-pulled blinds and the sun is reflecting off the mirrored
doors of the closet behind me and into my eyes off the monitors
glossy surface telling me its time to change things a bit but
wait, there’s a really cool looking rainbow visible in that reflection

it is very ordered and linear with the colors displaying as increments
along a long horizontal line that is aiming directly at my head
as if it may be carrying some message from a distant universe
only it can’t get through since the fingerprints on the monitor

are distracting my gaze and drawing me into the beautiful depth
of the other reflections that my lingering study is discovering like
bits of random but purposefully placed anchors of emoted flotsam
crying out for interpretation and inclusion in a dance that’s about to

engulf the entire cacophony of this morning’s bird twittered sunrise
in waves of arhythmic orgasm that surround my entire being
including those aural extensions so rarely realized and now
I can feel my personal inclusion in this rebirth symphony

cleansing away the dark of night past and winding up the spring
that energizes this daily cycle of life in which every atom plays
a leading role where up meets down and in out rebounding
in this timeless infinite universe we keep clawing at. Aaah.

Another beautiful day.