Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Shadows of Scary Creatures


More bad dreams.


I wonder about the physiological effects of dreaming. I mean, neurochemically, the body can't know the difference between a dream and reality, right? So your dream life really can take it out of you. Or can help you.

I imagine the dream life of a monk or a yogi, esp. one who utilizes lucid dreaming. You could double your effective "spiritual growth" time.

Then you have to wonder about the lack of real rest and recuperation...


I am grumpy and pissed off and irritable. I've been here too long now.

I want to go home. See my wife. Visit my life.

This weekend.


I watched Herzog's "Little Dieter Needs to Fly" again the other day. It's a remarkable film about a really remarkable man. It's one of those films that makes you feel like an idiot for ever complaining about anything in your life.

I'm spoiled.


And petulant.


Luckily, I don't have the disease of taking myself seriously...

Hope you are well and happy and alive to what the world is showering you with. I hope I am, too.


Sunday, February 25, 2007



Spent the first part of the day at the Museum of Contemporary Art. There were two buildings, across the street from each other. I think both buildings held about twenty pieces in total.

At ten bucks to get in, that's like, fifty cents a piece.

I liked the store, though. I spent an hour just leafing through the monographs. I'd been reading about Wall's photographs in the New York Times, so I looked at his books. I don't know. I love photography, I love large scale stuff, I love narrative and figurative work, but I just can't get into his stuff. It's very staged, part of the whole point, but for me the ironic distance and intellectuality are insurmountable, and they keep me from penetrating the brilliant, carefully constructed surface.

It's anti-art, as far as I'm concerned.

The remedy was Erneto Neto's installation piece. Now, this is the opposite of what usually gets me off artistically. I find installation pieces too intentionally hip and post-nowtro and generally seriously lacking in what moves me.

But this thing.


Imagine a huge, white stocking stretched out over the ceiling, twenty feet above you. Descending through and from it are these tubules of more white lycra, the bottoms of which are tied off and swollen with pounds of spices- turmeric, sage, lavender, dozens of them. The color leaks through the stocking and adheres to the outside like some organic crust, and the scent of them fills the room and as you walk around underneath the whole thing, it is like being suspended inside the best-smelling and oddest body part you've ever encountered. And everyone walking around is smiling and laughing and sniffing at the protruberences and holding their hands over their mouths and the space is filled with light and the way your body reacts to it all is the most delicious thing about it.

At the store I bought a magnet with a photograph of a dead, stuffed deer that someone had placed against a photo backdrop of a mountain road.


Walking back to the ferry afterwards, I crossed the street and on the corner, in the gutter, were the lifeless bodies of two headless chickens. Feathers all blackbrown and bluegreen, their hard yellow talons curled up next to their bellies.


Last night I had a terrible dream about a spider. At first it was sneaking up on my wife. I tried to warn her, but she didn't get what I was talking about. Then the spider got into bed with me. I could feel it moving around in the covers by my feet. I got up and threw off the covers, but it had moved around and gotten onto my back.

It attached itself to my spine, its legs sinking into my flesh and anchoring in the vertebrae. Then it bit into my spine and sent a long tendril up the spinal cord and into my brain. I could feel all the tingly weirdness and hot, electrical pain of it and as this was happening, my cell phone rang. I picked it up and a weird buzzing went off into my ear. This was the second part of the spider's attack- a remote brain-draining program initiated wirelessly through the cell phone- downloading the contents of my life from my brain, and also stealing my soul.

The only thing I could think of was to try to warn my wife before I was a soulless husk, filled with alien poison and drained of my lifeforce, but I was unable to move or control my body in any way.

I just shouted in my head, "Help Me! Help Me! Help Me!" over and over. I was actually trying to wake myself up, and I sensed as it was happening that I would wake Yolie up with my shouting, even if I couldn't wake myself up. I wanted her to get up and help me get out of my nightmare, and I was also wanting her to soothe me and hold me in the aftermath.

Eventually, my shouting actually DID wake me up, and I reached out for my wife-

but I was alone.

Man, let me tell you, that sucked.


She's so good to me.

I call her every day. Once or twice. And this is when we're together, at home. Here, too. I'm grateful for the technology. It helps, her voice in my ear, moving through all that space and snuggling right into my actual body. Odd, when you think about it. Magical.

I love that woman real, real bad.


I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. And I hope you get to see some art. Or even better, make some.


Peace out.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Far West


I am grateful. I pretend to be wounded.
I am grateful. I pretend to be alone.
I am grateful. I pretend to be wise.
I am grateful. I pretend to be competent.
I am grateful. I pretend to be compassionate.
I am grateful. I pretend to be grateful.

I like the way you look, extant world.

I esp. like your birds. And the water. All those
different kinds.

Also light is magical. Esp. through trees and what's that,
dappled. Dappled shade.

Music. The sound of sobbing. The idea of someone sobbing, collapsed
by their bed or in a closet, wrapped in a wet sheet.

The sound of a door slamming shut.

Wind across a flat surface.

Decay. Abandon. Kissing and bruises.

I am grateful and there is fire.
I am grateful and there is the void.
Filled with fire. Filled with ice.

In that western front movie the soldiers walk away from the camera
with their guns slung over their shoulders and their packs on their backs
and they turn back and look at the camera and then turn away again and keep
walking off into the distance and that is all of us, isn't it. It is those
boys and it will always be those boys but it is also you and me and everyone
we love.

I am grateful and that is no protection.

I am grateful and I should wish for no protection.

This life is what the soul craves in all of its particulars.


Letter in lieu of speaking

Look what you have done now:
gone and made me a god. Didn't I
breathe my breath into some mud and
stir you into life. Didn't someone
reach in and take a rib bone from
me back when all I was
was a man?

Wasn't there a fall from grace?

It was all so long ago that I may have
some details wrong, but it seems there
was a void and a wound and some thrashing
around and a lot of blood. The taste of steel
on the tongue, the liquid snake-feel of muscle.
A blow and darkness. Water moving
on the face of the void.

That old story.

Then some period of wonder. I remember flowers
that smelled so sweet it made your mother and I swoon.
We'd lie down together in the scented shadows and talk
until the moon rose over the trees. Maybe you were a baby
then. Maybe you slept between us, pinching the soft skin
of your neck as you nursed at your mother's breast.

Maybe I wasn't even there. I know I took long walks in the
tangled jungle with a club, looking for something.
Perhaps I got lost. Or drove you away. Maybe I kept walking
as the land rose and the trees thinned out and there was ice
and hard rock and the going got harder. I skinned my knee and
watched the blood well up from the blue wound.

Clouds enveloped me. I stopped breathing.

It could be that I curled up on my side and wept bitterly.
Or a man came and we wrestled until dawn or a snake swallowed me
and I cut my way out of his belly or was it a whale.

Whatever. I woke up and was stiff. Alone. I made my way to the
edge of the clouds and looked down and there, far, far below,
was the circle of green. Like a garden. Trees and flowers.

Your mother washing clothes down by the river, you
talking to a man holding a flaming sword.

I call out to you, but you can't hear me or won't.

I want to come down from here now. I know there is something
I need to tell you, and something I need to give to you that
I forgot to give you when I left.

Now the man swings his sword. Your mother looks up from her washing.

Someone takes you by the hand. You are running, looking back.

Or I imagine that. You get smaller and smaller and it
is hard to say for certain.

But I tell myself that you were.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Skeleton Crew

This being alone thing.

I don't know. I guess it's alright. God knows I want to be alone often enough. But this is perhaps too much of a good thing. I don't know what to do with myself. Don't feel right. I am trying to just be with it, not fight it or wish for it to be something other than what it is. Trying to learn a little bit about myself when I'm not being reflected through someone else. It's odd. I feel invisible to myself.

I have to learn to see myself as more than a ghost. As more than a reaction to the outside world. Get corporeal.

With this school thing I'm totally unplugged from my artwork and writing. And I don't have my camera. I'm not into it now anyway.

I think of myself as an artist, a writer, someone engaged in the wrestling match with the world and the self. Of late I feel like one of the great sleeping masses. Not a spark of an idea in my empty skull, not a bit of heat in my chest.

Not dead, but not quite alive.

I suppose a fallow season is good. Something is resting, something else is getting ready to push up from the dark soil. It's just that I feel like the dried and dead stalks of last season's harvest, not the impending new growth.


This polygraph thing has got me pretty creeped out, too.

I can see into a place I shouldn't be able to.

Of course, the perfect new skill for me. Only reason I became a cop was to watch what you all were doing when no one was looking.


The only poetry I can stand to read lately is Dugan and even Gilbert I find too histrionic. Simic seems like a smart-assed dandy. Collins a wimp. Maybe I'll go read some of that Loudon woman. She's pretty tolerable and damaged and anchored in the wild green body.

Anybody else out there?


What do you do when you're alone?

I mean alone alone.


Sunday, February 18, 2007


Yesterday was a beautiful, bittersweet day. I crossed the Coronado Bridge and went into Balboa Park for the day. The park is home to the San Diego Zoo and about fifteen different museums and goofy places. The park is spacious and well groomed and parking is free and everywhere there are little knots of families walking with their children, parents pushing strollers, and lovers holding hands. It filled up my stupid little heart with joy and tender longing, and it made my loneliness flare like pushing on a sore tooth with my tongue.

A couple obviously on their second or third wedding were having their pictures made (how my Grandma would say it) in the park. They sat on a bench under a cherry tree, the white blossoms falling over them like paper snow, their faces lit in the glow of the reflector held off to the side by the photographer's sad Asian assistant. His tux black and shiny as coal, her dress white and lace and overstressed by her giant tits.

I thought it was sweet. In a kind of desperate and sad way.

I loved the Museum of Art. I got to see Annie Liebowitz's show, which was made for me on the strength of about twenty of the three hundred or so images. One of the things I read in there that stuck in my chest like an arrow was what she said about the difference between herself and Avedon, how he could talk to people as he shot them, and that interaction would make them come alive for him, and for everyone who sees the photo later, but she couldn't do that, she could only seewhat was happening and that took all she had, or , rather, was the only way she interacts with the world. And how she knew she should try to talk to her kids, interact with them, but really, all she wanted to do was to just look and look.

In the Model Railroad Museum down in the basement of one of the Spanish style buildings, dozens of old men in windbreakers and Sante Fe RR hats worked in the tracks, standing grim faced in the center of tiny towns and hillsides like sad, distracted giants overlooking a thousand little plastic people frozen in the act of changing a tire or walking out of the depot or waving to their children in the plastic grass yards. And they muttered about side tracks and fritzy controls and extending the pass-through next weekend.

A world within a world within a world.

Throughout the day I just looked. Like Annie L. Took it all in. When I am with my wife each small moment of discovery gets amplified and polished when we share it, turning over in our hands, treasuring it. Without her I felt just like I was tossing jewels and gold into an empty, dark pit. Where they fell without a sound and were swallowed by the gloom.

When I got home I did laundry and watched Tom Hanks in Castaway.



"I'm SORRY, Wilson!"

"I'm sorry."

One of the saddest moments in Tom Hank's filmdom.


Maybe this being alone is going to make something happen inside me.

Maybe something is being wrought.

Maybe, maybe not.


Listen, I want to say thanks for stopping by. It's really good to know that you are out there, that there is someone with a can on the other end of the string. Even if I can't see you.

The tiny string vibrates with your presence.




Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I have been away a long while and am still away. I'm in San Diego right now in the first week of an eight week course in polygraphy.

I don't know what the hell is going on.

I feel like I'm a million miles from my wife and my home and all that I hold dear, and I'm equally far from whatever this place, this blog used to mean to me. Not to say that I don't miss it, or miss you guys (whoever may still be reading...), but I've certainly been away and continue to be.

I guess it's normal to experience this ebb and flow kind of thing. Right now I'm rereading Moore's Care of The Soul and so I feel very comfortable just wallowing in my own kind of loneliness and solitude, but at the same time I feel strongly that I've let things go too long and that all the people I get such a thrill from won't be hanging out any longer.

This post should be enough to drive the last of you away.

I am happy and although I feel completely disconnected from my own life, I am able to enjoy a lot of what is going on around me. I am grateful to be learning this new skill, and glad for the opportunities it will present for me.

But I miss my real self.

I miss art.

I miss connection with the oddball.

You, especially.

All best-