lover of the black rose; unfettered and alive; chief archivist of the western slopes; another of Yemaya's babes in the world; Joachim's distant star; boring stories of - glory daze
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Sunday Scribblings #147: Phantoms and Shadows
["neo-soul"] monarchs of the western slopes sedition's right to a mind at rest - we gather together - the last glimpse of evolution's darling conquests, out of the mouth of babes: i went down to the restoration, prisons of vast consequence, kneeling in carnage blown by want of turbidity, total departure from the other ten percent, self-interested but creepy, roughly bled into, but moderated by the winds of paranoia, you know the song, the perorations of a 15 pack, pack of knives, pack of thieves, pack of all the gemini drift of frozen rivers in your midst: smoke descends, you wish for the last time you knelt and the feeling wasn't mutual, the halves were knotted in embrace of where you stood before the unidentifiable knocks, the lonesome instruments of healing, bigger than religion, as psalmists overtake the competition & gaming in the night greases the soul, the granular vessel that was your meter & rhyme, now fades, now lists, and the coracles of fate are circling.
I almost posted this for Sunday Scribblings pilgrimage prompt: an old faux translation of Neruda's "Galopando en el sur."
The convent's tongues are quarantined In the corridors of Malleco Camped in the wash of time The air verdant, electric: pristine.
Stones triangle the regions of heart An aviary south of the quiet sea Water written in earth Perdition down a long saffron land.
You leave us in a flood of tears A jaguar flood - eternal A horse in flight - pegasus All the seas in a flood of disillusion Lost and reconstructed In september dreams In movement through rushing time In the shadow of horse and dream
Call the shadow of your dream, silence Find joy in the region of lost hearts The grand solitude of ocean draws nigh In the corridors of Malleco.
a wild deviation from Neruda's "Galopando en el sur"
Rana walked in the afternoon heat Teardrop leaves, gold dust pollen at his feet Shiva rumbled from his distance Dreams of wet The silent ones are listing
Why the long ache Why the congenital speak Why the inverse proportion Anvil interpretation Acetylene meadow Coffin estuary Shroud upon the noun
This is classic denial Deaf leper at the crossroads Kensington Square These yellow hands Feel the cartilage Lose the bone, separate Cast from crown Wheat from chaff Shuddering:
Call the day this Giant heart, this blowing Wind, this diligent pearl.
Virtue rescinded I see what essence is At the brink Of an eye The blue gate, A sand wall and 30 Bodies: compost for the chinars Between here and Sangrama They said, “Come here for the beauty And the chinar trees” But come too for a taste.
Four big chinar trees standing In the middle of the lake Blue under the shade of centuries, Lapis for the eye and throat.
In the midst of saffron fields The place where Zoon was singing Sona lank and Rupa lank Which of the four will she cut, who If any will she spare? Paydar dreams the lake Out of the dream of revolutionary dust His mother a different blue than Krishna’s veil at the lying gate.
The next day, 40 feed The roots that will not wander The blind eye at the Azadi Hotel
iii. Native Morn
After the midnight cries, Over the river’s deep, Sediment of love’s ruin; An archer’s list— Shocked by day Stunned by wood Flamed by fire risen.
From the lowlands I stagger: Fog mutes desire and hope, Ancient crimes fallen, The book of days—
After the black river There is another Woven down your back
Shaken By the cries.
Old chair on a shattered porch— Moon’s loins, Scattered eyes Of night’s vigil.
Climb this tree: My limbs, yours; Yours, mine; Ours, time has Made revelry Of loss.
iv. Druids, these revealed children
Druids, these revealed children Blue umbrellas in the high blaze Wandered through the plaza de las islas Came to rest against white stone, Shade.
An old man the youngest boy, Squatting, thighs to calves, Shower shoes, green shorts and tee and Someone’s heart broke This afternoon of orphan time, Tiny Buddha in limestone shade, Sister lying prostrate in the heat, Lifeless, eyes open to searing blue.
Mother wayfare broods, The bottom of her belly—copious— Stars fall in the lap of he who wanders Heart razor-wired to memory Crossing dreamland, crossing shattered, crossing The last stitch of time These gathered ruins These splattered lives A boy whose syllables sing the song of 46:
Treasures? Lies? Sundays with fathers missed? Pennies in his mother’s pocket?
Gather him, gather you Riverbound, this one cool and Clear. Gather. Cool hand upon his brow. Gather. Birdsong in his heart, gold Sun in his mouth. Count toes, count fingers— Map the caverns from you to him, Undertow of privation Fields of weary, this weary world, Worry world, worry.
What to give him, he me, my Pockets too were empty—
My eyes. Here: take my eyes, New and old, The palms of your hands, Cat’s eye, tiger, steelie
A trio of exquisite corpses, from the Instituto juniors y yo. ECs, for the uninitiated, are collaborative poems: write two lines, fold the first down, and pass to the next poet. We wrote six altogether, and drew one as well (not the above illustration; for its attribution, go here).
Young man said what he said when he said— But, did he say what he meant when he said what he said?— Or was it just an argument, Bloody argument, bloody imbeciles reeling Sun rises on the Reign of Terror Don’t think about the meaning (I wish I could punch you!) “Green eggs and ham” mixed with “post secret” The name is green. Not the eggs mixed with a secret. Possibly the eggs cooked by Shawn’s mom Or a rotisserie chicken cooked by his dad Don Juan, the cavalier rotisserie man, A Father without legs, without arms, without Train kept a-rollin’ All night long They howl and scream and die and love It’s truly terrible That was quite a scene She fed off her nemesis The food of hate She hates that food But eats it anyway.
A peek inside, you or your charm, The place of horrifying Of mesmerizing Thoughts unseen like night There is a coat-hanger fetus On that old computer She was standing at my door A jigsaw puzzle not completed It is not as done as you are It saved itself With time it all became clear Patience is a virtue The virtue of vultures Circling the latest corpse I don’t want to stop So let there be rock Let there be light Let there be “free will” with retribution— The summer of 1997 Was two years before all the madness Ever started happening It wasn’t all madness Or maybe it was, just depending on your thought—
The corpse next to me applies makeup And next to her there is a corpse with a headset At night you rub against the coffin fodder And only the occupant of the hearse is Perfectly human Well, that’s up for debate The crusades should’ve done their job If they did a good job The job was not well done.
[tribal exquisitors: ldm, adt, er, cm, zs, cn, pmb]
“Morning full of bobble to you, Mr. Fish—and to all your forty-two little fishies.”
Mr. Fish was looking crabby: I hadn’t seen him this bereft since the advent of the Awkward Sneeze.
I’d been to early morning mass, sung my penance, and was full to the brim with goodwill and excess. You’re wondering what the latter has to do with goodwill: I can’t help you: my belly’s full of communal port: I’ve got it bad and that ain’t good, you know? Believe me, you don’t want me to go all George Bailey on you. I’ll just stick to the back story: angels in the belfry, angels in the parking lot down on 5th and Clime. Little angelfish at that.
Do fish sleep? Do they want to? Do their little fishy mamas have to keep fishy-barking at them to get into their organic cotton fishy-jammies and brush their fishy teeth and floss their fishy gums, and are those organic cotton fishy jammies blue fishy flannel or orange fishy flannel? Is Sendak their favorite organic fishy baby monster story or is it A Hole is to Dig? Can they even read down there in all their organic wet-fishy wet-fishiness?
Yes, 42. And, no, it doesn’t. Not in the least—or, not anymore. It used to, but then it got tired, very inorganic. Very tired: as tired (and inorganic) as Mr. Carmine Fish is crabby, and that’s before you even asked me what happened to Barnaby and Garson and all of yesterday’s oopsy doopsy folderol.
I just won’t have it. I won’t have it at all. It’s beyond fishy, it’s beyond poultry, beyond nectar, beyond all the entire collected works of Hula Kavula. It’s down to your very last organic cotton towel, but don’t panic. If all your options are blown, you know what to do: call Bob, Organic Bob, Bob of the difference between organic symmetry and long lost palmistry, Bob of the noodle in your soft dark—organic—place.
Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of intoxication with success
The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.
I’d hooked up with him outside the downtown library. Couple of gorphs gave us a pair of bus transfers about to expire. By the time we left the town meeting, we’d impeached the asshole president, rescinded the vagrancy laws, voted for chartreuse M&M’s, and come out unanimously for the old Elvis stamp, instead of the pretty boy stamp tapped by the postal yokels.
We headed down St. Mary’s Street to Convent, and crossed the bridge over the green swill they like to call the river.
“You spell your name ‘Charles,’ right?” said my companion. “I’ve seen you write it.”
“Correct,” I said. I had no clue where he had occasion to see my handwriting. I couldn’t have made ‘Charles’ out of the scrawl myself.
“So, what’s with the ‘Sharl,’ man?”
Latest nosey bastard. I lied: “My mother was French. What about you? Where’d you scare up the name Ris?”
“Dye my mother used on our clothes. She liked that it was short and to the point.”
“I believe the dye was called Rit.”
“My mother couldn’t spell for shit.”
I said, “Admittedly a tough call,” but I was already rethinking the bus ride. Air conditioning was one thing, but air conditioning for imbeciles was another.
“Rit, huh?” he said. “Like that Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind.”
We came to the corner of Convent. I slowed my step—maybe the transfer would expire if I walked slow enough. The 8 could be counted on to run late, and I’d never known one of its drivers to cut me any slack on the two hour grace period. If the ride fell through, I’d excuse myself and opt for a nap at the SaintAnthonyHotel. The second floor lobby had enough mildew to scare away their own staff.
Convent Street dead-ended into the stop on Navarro, a perfect little wind tunnel in the shade of two high rise towers. Half a block further sat the Municipal Auditorium, an old Spanish Revival relict in the oasis of Auditorium Circle, once rumored to have been an island. Bygone downtown royalty used to row over, plant gardens, escape the nearby predatory shadow of the several city blocks known as FirstBaptistChurch.
My dyed friend eyed the two benches on Navarro, both smothered in pigeon shit, as if Jackson Pollock had come back as a gray bird and picked up where he left off. I sat right down on the iron bench; I’d long ago given up any hope of keeping bird shit off my back side. Mr. Ris struggled to maintain the bum’s fiction of being well-heeled, a difficult proposition when you counted bus transfers as a part of your revenue stream.
“There’s usually a corner of the concrete bench that they miss,” I said. “What’s there just seems to blend in better.”
He eyed the corner and smoothed down the back of his unlaundered jeans with his hand, like some demur debutante’s little fidget before sliding onto a banquette at L’ Etoile, the fancy uptown eatery of my adopted people. I had no idea if there were banquettes at the place. I make it up as I go along. If there aren’t any, there should be. I’m sure Mr. Hemingway would agree.
“You’re probably right to hesitate,” I said. “You purposely sit in bird shit, it’s just downhill from here on out.”
A small Toyota pickup truck pulled up along the curb in front of us. Two boys in teal-colored knit tees and Panama hats, towing a big plastic tub of water, always three days behind the pigeons and their rampant graffiti. They hauled out their pressure sprayer and started in at the corner, nary a by-your-leave to the two constituents standing by. Wind out of the north did a fine job of soaking Mr. Dye and me.
I walked over to Mr. Spray. His associate was standing upwind, in the flimsy shade of a palm tree across the street, blowing bubble gum bubbles half the size of his face.
I had to give it to Mr. Spray; he was a dedicated employee of the City of San Antonio. He done ‘em proud. The man standing at his left ear deterred him not at all from his duties as custodian of the streets. I’d seen Westside chicas derail a squadron’s worth of utility workers, but not so my humble fleabag self in baggy khaki pants.
“Sorry to get in your way!” I shouted, into the horrid din of the washer. Blasts of shattering noise, followed by windy silence.
Mr. Spray gave me a look that confirmed my suspicion that, given a double-aught shotgun in his hands, rather than his standard water nozzle, there would have been one less meddlesome citizen roaming the streets of San Antonio.
“What can I do for you, sir?” said my teal-resplendent civil servant. It was my experience that at some point in the 1980s the word ‘sir,’ rolled around in the right mouth, designated a variant of the human species just this side of vermin. Or maybe that side of it.
“My colleague and I were wondering just how one might go about gaining such fine employment as yours with the local constabulary.” I knew the word constabulary would throw him off, or piss him off. It did the latter.
“Fuck off, old man,” said my civil servant.
“Hey, Chuck. 8’s coming,” said Ris behind me, committing the unpardonable sin of a familiarity with my name he had no right to. Chuck, my ass.
I stepped up onto the bus behind Mr. Familiarity, waited for him to find a seat on the back banquette, and darted out the door, just as the bus pulled off. Good Rit-tance, asshole, I thought, and waved to him as he passed by. My transfer would work just as well on the 14, one block down.
The keys I’d purloined from the Toyota truck of my civil servants clunked nicely in the bottom of the trashcan at the corner of Navarro and Pecan, though there was not a chance my demolition buddies up the street would hear it.