Sunday, August 30, 2009

one word city limits: fate

ashen marketplace
feeble encroachments

out of egypt
marching crosswise
the visual
tendencies awaken
the touch
of four
o'clock upon
your pate
the whisper
that now
could be later
than usual
of light,
we quiver
taste fever's
rush on
skin, rush on
blistered memory, rush
on all these
of need.


one word staving: pit

touch and go,
the bull
shit, pitted
against pithy
anorexia, sublime
from the day's rest:
you would
the difference, you
would know
where Mary
led the way,
'scaping Egypt,
Pharaoh tailing,
should we
the fairest one
of all, or
the last
truly first,
in fractal


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sunday Scribbling #178: Ceramics Class

[bath water]

sharon took

her olds down
to the river -
bath time - she
ain't never,
it was all
down by the river,
'patin' by the river
as if we ain't
never -
gone - by the wayside
& heard

the sharon-baby
word a god,
mighty sweet
if you nevuh,
if you even
if the grit in the bot-
tom of your

clawfoot tub
nevuh told
you, then
now's the time, now's
the ready-do, cuz
sharon gonna tell
you, though
the Devil probably



10,000 Angels couldn't deliver the Oscar he should have won for this...

Labels: ,


watch out for the explosion in the middle:

queen of 'em all:


i shall never ever grow so old again: segues du breton



yo yo ma








Friday, August 28, 2009

one word pedagogy: teacher

james charleston the Seventh
broke his nether
lens while
scraping the rest
of his anatomy class
off the wall:
he optioned
his last itty bit
of granular
for chocolate
from julia's
secret stash,
the dark
ambiguities nestling
all down
the lines of her
ubiquity. balloons
have the crash
course capacity
for cryogenics.
we wish for many
things in our
vigorous youths,
but it ain't
nothing compared
to the wishes
be comin'.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

one word free range hearts: [un]cage[d]

[match the wine]
for tina

mistress minstrel
freed across
time's limitations
freed from
the lapidary
setting of
all dreams
lost & found:
these were
lasting visions
nearing the longitudes
& latitudes of
capricorned cancer,
trading wings
in the upper rooms
of love's rampant song.
you look for gold
in the estuaries
as you find them,
you pray for
the ends to match
the heart's wine,
you claim what
sends you round
the moon's
harvest, the sun's
drumbeat, the pulse
of fires
that blaze night
when night
blazes best.

Image: Joseph Cornell, "Navigating the Imagination"


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

one word you and me: assume

assiduous possibility
the orange quilt
in the back 40
the rollover minutes
squelching the dreams
of the five and dimers
down the tripsomatic
cast iron
visually bursting
times new roman
and the new
comic sans
a revolution a
on the order
the new world
passersby in
straining diapers
the naked eye.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

one word wiggy: sneeze

casual it ain't,
in this day & age,
the usual
fishy in their
flimsy gowns,
ancient mardi gras
balls detonating
with thrilling splendor,
hummingbird grills
of afterhour
klezmering: we
didn't miss a thing,
cherubing down
the cherub highway.


Monday, August 24, 2009

one word bucky: habitat

bosch dealer

the wee people

furry feet

furry muzzles

furry brains on

media fasts


the very well, nigh

on dowdy,

parables of variable


questioning the status

quo, from the covers

of ecclesiastical ermine.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

one word chisme: bars

the stinky review -
after you fished out

your life lessons,

ate the cake of fools,

fool's golding

the atypical

plants, cheese

on a stick,

sodas popping

this way &

that. Names


in the terlet:

games of chance,

all cat

in the



Sunday Scribbling (on Sunday, even!) #177: Adult

Adult was not:

Registering for the draft.

Changing majors.

Co-directing the student counseling crisis hotline.

Summer interning at the juvenile detention center as a "social worker."

Opting out of the rush to graduate school.

Graduating in June 1975.

Working as a psych tech at Villa Rosa Psychiatric Hospital, September 1975 - January 1977.

Falling in love with a woman ten years my senior.

Moving to the country.

Learning to survey land.

Reading Gravity's Rainbow on a spring-splendored hilltop, while learning that craft.

Having a relationship with a married woman.

Marrying that previously married woman and stepfathering her beautiful four year old child.

Getting married, becoming a stepfather, starting graduate school all at the same time.

Buying the first house.

No, ADULT was buying the weedeater.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

mouth of babes, iii

hygienic beans...



Floreta over at The Solitary Panda (link in the blogroll) posted a meditation on teachers; she ended by asking about our own transformative teachers. This was the comment I left:

1. John Robert Barth, Jesuit priest, perched atop a lecture hall table in sock feet, reading from Faulkner's Light in August. Political science never had a chance after that.

2. Can't remember his name, but my undergraduate sophomore poli sci seminar leader whose first two assigned books (for poli sci, mind you) were R D Laing's The Politics of Experience and Ram Dass' Remember: Be Here Now. Said grad student had all but abandoned his dissertation to write and recite poetry; I was soon to follow.

3. Bill Wallace, grad student mentor extraordinaire: shaped the therapist I was for 20 years and the teacher I am now.

4. Innumerable clients and students who have taught and inspired me through the years.

5. My wife Tina and my son Walden.

6. Sophie the WonderBullmastiff; Lucia the Neapolitan Mastiff; Thunderheart, the Bighearted and gorgeous red Bullmastiff; Blue the BlueHealing WonderDog.

7. Writers: Grace Paley; Denise Levertov; Campbell McGrath; Charles Olson; Michael Ondaatje; Andre Breton; Mina Loy; Henry Miller; Hoa Nguyen.


one word foliage: destination

this is it:
the one we


the pinnacle,

the slithy toves,

the gimbling gyres,

the towers of babylon:

variable intimates

dusting down

the road,


meteor showers

of the fluent

mind, carefully

drawn to the flame,

elegantly tossed

to proclaim.


Friday, August 21, 2009


For some years now, I've become something of a connoisseur of graduation ceremonies and speeches. Not your elaborate, highfalutin ceremonies and speeches, mind you. I gave a speech at my high school graduation 38 years ago, one I'm sure was full of words meant to impress: highly forgettable words, words of the head and not, surely not, from the heart. I am not trying to be overly modest here: I know my MO from those days: if I could say it in more words, and longer words, and more incomprehensible words, I was all for it. Readers of the posts here in Muravia might argue that not much has changed in that regard, but the distinction is this: here in Muravia, my incomprehensibility is in pursuit of a muse; at Callaway High School in 1971, I was in pursuit of ego gratification; my words then might have impressed, but they were, I'm sure, highly predictable as well.

My tastes in graduation ceremonies and their inevitable speeches, then, run to the short and the sweet and the deceptively simple: I want my speeches to steal in and bring tears to my eyes: I could give a shit about longwinded (and long-winding) circumlocutions.

I first ran across such speeches at a local career school at which I taught for about four years before settling down at the Instituto. I found myself quite moved by very simple stories of thanks and gratitude and inspiration. At one graduation, I listened while one adult graduate thanked her classmates for pulling her through a nine month bout of dealing with cancer as she also pursued her education. Folks simply spoke from their hearts, and I invariably found myself deeply moved.

Last night, I attended a graduation ceremony for a former student who finished up at an alternative school here in Tres Leches. She was part of a larger group of summer graduates from the high schools of one of our public school districts: there were perhaps 80 or so grads in all.

The commencement speaker, representing all the graduates, strode confidently to the podium and laid down a wonderfully affirming speech for all of about four minutes. As she brought her comments to a close, she said, "I think I can sum up what I'm trying to say here in 5 words: Love wins. Love ALWAYS wins."

I was rocked and blown away, and I feel as if the words were inscribed on my heart.

Imagine all the bullshit that could have been thrown down for the occasion (the kind of bullshit I have certainly tossed in my day) and this one chica, summer graduate of the Winston Churchill High School Class of 2009, cuts through it all and nails it.

May we all commence in such fashion, because in spite of all our fears and cynicisms and modern day forgetfulness, it certainly does. It always does.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

one word immortality: coffin

listen: right in

yes: right there

the night will


presence will


the rest will


marry into your


bid them follow as

you, they;

time will match

the heart's brimming

fever, appleheaded

wonder will be

your place,

applehearted wisdom will


your grace.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

one word gorgons: optional

gerber baby:
the transitions are


funky cloud patterns


while the legos

roam westward;


in the bleachers

sing hallelujahs,

wrangle dreamcatchers,


remaining worm tins:

frugal Orwellians


the bellwethers,

the fiscal undertows,

the carefully pruned

sanctuaries of our

optimal prose.


Monday, August 17, 2009

one word quinientos: gong

gadabout town,
Barris in his

will to live

wonders if this

one deserves the full


or if titillation

has its bounds:

the company does him


while sucking the juice

out of his joie de vivre,

mr mucketymuck valentino,

mucking out the stalls

with Hercule,

amortizing the fleabag futures,

animating the frivolous climes.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

one word electrolux: itch

-ycoo park
all the hoi polloi

the hoidy doidy

the polyester paisley

college prep preppers

in their calomine


we instigate

by push & shove,

we enable


copious mongrel effluence

we envision

the better days

through the hi

dee-hos of our

eternal youth.


Sunday Scribbling #176: Fantasy Dinner Party

[the swell crowd]

giddy giddy savoir faire
nickel in the juice
we dine for fashion
and fashionable taste:
lucky dogs a la Ignatius -
Dickens loose in the Quarter -
amiable misfits galore
five and dime-ing
the afterhours.
seven, besides moi:
Pynchon in sailor garb
(it's a costume party, natch)
to sign the first editions as
Tyrone or Pig;
Foghorn Leghorn,
not as meal, but
to match TP's
erudition, southern
style; Van to tickle
the ivories and drain
the swill; Padgett
in Shelby-drag, Grace
Kelly for (and to say)
grace, Secretariat, so
we can all say we
ate with a winner,
& Fistula Babcock,
for her segues to heaven,
her eminent domain, her
Etta James without
the sass, &
her Irma Thomas without
the rain. Horseradish
on them Jesuit dogs,
sweet tea for the non-
swilling, paletas
(cookies and cream or nues)
in the aftermath,
cold and rushing.


Friday, August 14, 2009

one word gene rayburn: match

fractal aneurysms
you might have heard
the weather is splendid
down java way
in the interest of
character analysis
we offer the remainders
in telluride
the blissful contemplations
will ever do
with prismatic
you will ever do
if you never do
the dewdrops
of pass me round
the scylla
the charybdis
of adolescent blue.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

mouth of babes, ii

"The president of deluded fruitcakes."

"When the Jonas Brothers sing, it sounds like they're screaming...quietly. And I know there's a girl's voice in there somewhere."


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

one word ruud: conditioned

Yemaya drips wet
by the first,

takes him into her


this heir-conditioned

heirlito, first-born &

generative -

a ludicrous price

for one less

than humid

summer afternoon,

rent by grilled

cebollas, taquitos,

& beer.


Monday, August 10, 2009

one word chantilly lace: cleanse

solitary brooms,

aquifer in the distance
these diamond wiles
castaway varmints
casually gliding

down whimsy
if I ever travel

the return will

be twice

as sweet.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Found it.


hope for us all...

[From Christopher Orr's review of "Julie and Julia" (why in that order?) in The New Republic; that italicized last sentence kills me, as does Streep's "I'm growing before you" line in the trailer. I've not seen the movie yet, probably will wait for Netflix, but in one trailer Streep has redeemed the "Mamma Mia!" fiasco.]

"The Childs are mutually devoted and supportive, yes, but also committedly carnal, whether it's Julia's description of the lunch and "naps" with which the couple filled her midday breaks from Cordon Bleu training, or Paul's feisty translation of a tricky French recipe: "Bathe the thighs in butter and then stuff the hen.... until she just can't take it any more." I won't even relay the obscene simile Child deploys to describe the firmness and heat of boiled manicotti, but it's enough to make Judd Apatow blush. The couplings of this giddy giantess and her bald, bespectacled hubby will probably do more for sex in America than all the frictionless collisions of aerobicized abs that Hollywood inflicts upon us for the next decade."


Sunday Scribbling #175: New

[new drink]

Sister, come away with me
Lay ye down:
We’ll cross sapphire black water
Churning home, as home can be
Mountain dark
You’ll know the rocky shore
Atop the world’s gloom
Fire at your back, my tin cup in hand
That’s life you’re drinking, lass
Nothing more or less
Black life, ancient life, swooned life

Clouds feather your hair
I’ll gather leaves to match your eyes
Shade green upon your limbs
Remember as it was before it wasn’t
Those times, the fire of blood in the body
Time well spent
None of the dismal that did us in

There’s rivers for you, sister
Moons to swell the belly and set it free
Our mountains will grow as grows your fine lad

Take boat with me, girl
I’ll take you to darkest bloom
A rose to swell the heart
You’d not think the world
Such beauty as our mountain’s cry

Tis good—
I am never far—
I’ve me longboat to take your pains to shore
My weave of flowers to braid ye
My evidence of things past to things new
Drink this, darlin’, for all that ails ye

Yea, it will pierce the wound.

I’ll carry ye
I’ll row ye
I’ll mother ye as sweet and loving ye did your boy
He’ll carry ye in his heart always

Up the mountain, girl
There are waters hot for
Body & the mooring mind
Scald the tar out of demons
But leave the living slack,
Blessed, vital in the Mother’s loom.

Come, my sister
Do not tarry
There be moon in your tea
And in your heart there be merry.


mouth of babe

From the back seat in recent days, Mr. Baby crooning. A list poem:

ceviche stormtroopers
bubonic plague
kitty carlisle
bean juice
cash cow

The lines are punched.

The Child is father of the Man. - Wordsworth


one word rothko chapel: gallery

the bloody marys

of the turfside

exquisite vagabonds

the road to cairo


time sits with

her mermaids

the squalor

of sassy friends

calculations divvied

by the time

we get there.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

one word aviary: geese

kremlin rodents:
geburtstag - the only

way to go - via brine, via
twine time. all
negotiations are off

the wall, off

the effervescent jungle,

in visitations

of twos & fours:

minnie comes walkin', but

cab's the show,

the hi-dee-hi-dee-hi-dee



Friday, August 07, 2009

one word federal reserve: idol

the thrones are bare
the minstrels
with the days of
we wonder when we
the vision is always
plummeting through space
for price
cost/benefits that
mangle the taste
evade the question
the 42 you didn't ask for
this was before
the time of
the golden calf
the golden bowl
hell, even the golden
ass: it's all in the woodwork,
it's all
for the count.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

one word scheherazade: idol

don your cowls, babies,
spread your mishmash
for all to see:
sanguine turpentine
in the brew
missing the point
of red sea moses
evening out the turpitude
erasing the visionary's
finding the way home
while one and all
are fit
to be tied.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

one word edisto: idle

best left unsaid
the grueling genuflect

wisdom deflected

angel hair pasta

& all that jazz

mystery underwear &

padgett is coming

questions and all

visitation will out

when you least expect

the northern lines

to merge &

the brakes to peel

within the hair's



one word elfin fish: collapse

amiable trysts

you find your way
or with

down the main


the hardware of


regales us

with all you want

& more: you

wouldn't know it

now, would you?


Tuesday, August 04, 2009


"He may be dead; or he may be teaching English." - Cormac McCarthy (Use of semi-colons suggests early provenance; CM hates 'em.)


one word dogtown: planet

fallopian connivance
convivial dissipation
treasured jewelry in
the western storms
you will
why the pandering
(why the panda?)
while brisk
the busy-ness
of shangra-la wills
past the furnace
the desire
the inquisitive nature of
in pacific bliss.


Sunday Scribbling #174: Anticipate

[bloom turbulent]

quartzite: flash of a diamond mind
under her crown of glory.
enter wavelength, down the stairs of
empty worry. never the wary captive,
never the ancient doom, she
cries a sun bold, nubian strong
yearning into midnight’s dark yearning,
nearing the wested ways of ample bloom,
turbulent bloom, volcanic estuary,
halving the distance between points
inward, points astral, points ferried by
all that binds fierce to birth, face to worth.

[Twinned Water]

somewhere in your triumphant jubilation
there lurks the imp of wisdom -
a young girl whose heart’s brain
collects leaves the size of people,

elegant in her silences,
yearning for truth. you say that
flight is no longer in your plans: you
resist the notion of wings on your back,

even as the quill pricks your skin.
elation is your calling:
doubt, dismay, your double foes,
erased from the conjecture of your genius.

near the brink of pacific waters
there waits a twinned fate,
housed in delight, bursting,
a sunflower whose crown is zealous, whose

love is dappled green.

[this blue]

still not there I want to tell
you when my face twisted
looking up from beneath lake Ontario
tunneling in darkness
a babe in dark morn, pink wrapped &
even now my heart is spilling without
words, better the beating organ
on page, stilled by pain
collision of fiction with story
this is no place &
yet am I here
this is no place &
yet I have traveled shit
& catfish & rotgut booze &
still no place & yet we are living
this blue chapel our one hope
each with what we carry
will you dream me back to a
mouse dream, will you stagger
my faults without worry,
will you fill my heart with
balm, o my wee bright poetic
champion, wheelwright of the western
gleam. My sun, too, has brightened my day
on breast asleep – my beloved, too, her bright blue shining.
wreak havoc, heart: break day, bring down
mighty doom, bring down gwyneth’s
dream of plenty.

[less green]

in the middle of the night
derived from sighs
bravely sung
an island full
center of incandescence
two syllables long
ridden from sleep
in the voice of one who weeps:
nothing shall move
we embark
belief wanders west
a dilated silence of oleanders
the green of your dilemma
vibration beneath sky / beneath journey
shadow of dreams
(tomorrow’s decision built
beyond green dream)
nothing shall move
embarkation complete
in an hour more grand
than turbulent
an hour less green than you

[burning after]

loosen the nots loosely knit
all the western suns sunning

tarry, merry tarry in my long limbs,
inching the wild ways of mercenary

nesting, can you forgive, oh please forgive
all my solar sins, my lost

moons in midnight eclipse.
i who will roam your heart

far far far beyond memory’s lance
at the pass of noon i am

more than my mouth can say, twittering
impish fool that he is, twittering.

lay down beside me, down all the downs you have lain
in fire, in seed, in water of your wyldwoman burning

after, your wyldwoman burning mind.


one word gasp: humid

bacchus on the back wall
visitation was seemly

visual campaigns are

the last thing you

expect. raspas

chill the fever

a little

gorgon infatuation

carrion overload

gargantua in the mist


Sunday, August 02, 2009

one word slough: respond

this will only take
a moment:
of your time, my time
of nevertime: listen
to the song unfold
listen to the river
through your chest
the rest of
the journey
cascading down
the nevertime you