Saturday, January 21, 2012


dear merchants of silence,

|master classes|
|emptiness| ,

it’s been a little while
since we last communicated
and I just wanted to know
how you and your business partners
are faring these days!

you are still faring on something
I do sincerely hope!

write me back!!!


dear sue-

the dark blue portfolio 
of darker blue fingerpainting collages 
is still selling extraordinarily well-
thanks for asking!

Mel is still our point-man, god help us,
and still crouching inert under the porch steps
all morning and most of the afternoon
gazing up thru slits in the woodgrain
attempting to more or less
reconfigure the horseshoe
to better suit the lines of contemporary
transit procedures and paradigms-

(and yeah, he still spends his lunch break
grooving out to beethoven
and beethoven's presumed
deafness trajectory)





tiny triangle of dirt = meet me in the alley
by the ragged tangle of vapors
some hobo smirk staring out from behind
a thin and semi-warped sheet of ivory

might not always be there waiting, remembering-

might not always be trembling


eddie, you sick swamp-creature,
how many times do we have to go over this?!?

now listen to me when I'm talking to you!!!

A)  |the weaker person eventually breaks|

but much more importantly,

B)  |the stronger person|    |eventually|     |breaks|

try to remember even just a fraction of this!!!!!

even just a fraction of this
could end up saving your life,
you sick bastard!


brenda, hun, I've been on the road
for 17 weeks now and the other fellas
in the band just don't seem to give a shit
anymore about anything!!! 


no, babe, I'm serious-
they don't give a flying fuck about anything!!!

life in a small hotel room 

and people eventually learn to ask for
precisely what it is that they want-

"hey- front desk attendant- 
does the ivy woman still live here?"

sorry, she’s out gathering ivy-
sorry, she’s out giving a lecture on ivy-
sorry, she’s out weaving and twining 
ivy over and around and thru
traffic lights 
dollar stores 
crests of waves 
public satellites

the same cell-bits, over and over
the same or at least very similar atonal proteins-

(oh really?)

the schoolbus or train car exploding-
another schoolbus or train car pulling safely
into the station or schoolyard-
rain on pavement sleet on pavement snow
and wind on or underneath pavement

*ah martin, I hate to be the one
to have to break this to you but I

met the kingpin late last night out at the margins of my old jurisdiction, sometimes referred to by any number of fun and colorful nicknames- utter solitude, wasteland, the ocean floor, Thoreau Country, Mulholland- the locals around here love me but I don’t seem to love them in return, or at least to love them in a way that they can readily identify or appreciate.  it was painfully obvious that the kingpin did not want to be left alone.  he wanted to be among other people, anywhere where there might possibly be other people, human beings as such, figures he could recognize from afar and confirm as actual people. 

(yesiree bob, he does love people!!!)

he leaned over the drinking fountain, the summer wind pulled his clothing taut against the faint lines of his skeleton.  one gnarled hand clutching  the button, the other holding his matted hair away from the water, glazed lips slightly extended, the throat locked in quiet convulsions, the system as a whole down on its knees and once again begging for major forgiveness…

(how many times 
can one expect 
the poison 
to be 

(he didn't realize it at the time but


and then, on top of all that

(martha told me that gary 
knew the kingpin back in jr. high school
when he was a more of stable boy.
he seems to enjoy this current phase.
he seems to enjoy giving orders!
if he’s forcibly thrown from moving cars
or punctured with hunting knives on occasion,
well, gee whiz, that’s just the price
he has to pay for so much financial magnificence!)


left him alone again   <>   was again left-alone-by-him

not always so easy to determine or navigate the desiccated borders of homelessness, again, often referred to by any number of fun and memorable nicknames:  anonymous person not very eager, anonymous person not very successful or educated, anonymous person lying dead or inert in an alleyway, anonymous person spray painted or urinated on by a roving band of drunken graduate students,  any state  in which the anonymous person finds him or herself exposed to particular elements, at night, after dark, from which there is no immediate escape……

the one which was intended
in relation to
one which was merely selected

frayed and nearly rubbed out
fast asleep under apple trees
so much good and solid advice
was conveyed to sweetcakes and tea
while she was driving me
home from the station
this morning

++++++++++++     ++++++++++++++

"fair to say he almost lived?"

well shit sandwiches, martha!

equally fair to say 
"he was almost 
rendered impermanent!"

descend down into the parking lot
and practice your cartographer’s artistry there,
if you please.

(from the 53rd story the factories become
more or less
and the plummeting bodies 
seem like snowflakes


(which, by the way, is not a reference to victims of co-ordinated attacks, but just the routine, workaday suicides, oftentimes carried out in states of near-perfect lucidity.)


dear betty, 

did you know that I
always wanted to live in the shack next door
to the canyon’s chief caretaker?
well, I ran into him last night at micah's
and he said he might take me 
on as an apprentice of sorts!
holy moley!
first I had to convince him 
that I had enough
of an internal chasm or cavity
enough hard won depravity
sufficient respect for the present moment’s
standard measure of hollowness-

and be willing, of course, to make a few personal sacrifices-
like giving away my books and paintings, wearing the same items of clothing for many weeks or months in succession, eating most of my food directly out of enormous aluminum boxes, no more feline companionship, no more TV on the radio……

ah betty-  can I do it?
is this what I really want?

always did, at least on a theoretical level,
want to apply myself to what the scriveners
referred to as "reverse simulations."
you've heard of those?  betty?
betty, you still there, hun?

I'm listenin'

well, by that time,
 the mountain gods had already put me over a barrel-
had a little fun, you might say,
at my own private expense-
I can’t honestly say that I hold it against them-
who really knows?  betty?
maybe I deserved the attention!
shit, maybe I even deserved something better!
something more along the lines of inert
and covered with piss in an alleyway!

oh well, there’s always 2009, 2019, 2090-



an older gentleman- 
you might know him- 
yeah, you probably know him-
yeah, that's him....
well, anyways, brian,
since you seem to be
so curious this time around- 
he plies his trade 
down by the riverbank.
he'll listen to your  description 
for as long as you care to talk
and then responds, wordlessly, 
by carefully drawing
a few stick figures
in the sand with his pocketknife- 
if this isn’t explicit enough-
you know, still too many 
questions/puzzlements lingering,
he implies, also wordlessly, 
that the exact same process
be repeated again:
same description, same listening,
same stick figures, same riverbank.
if the matter is still unresolved, 
he implies, the same way, that the process  
be repeated once more-
be repeated, in fact, 
as many times as is necessary-
same description, same listening,
same stick figures, same riverbank-
stillness, silence, darkness, emptiness, solitude-
same description, same listening,
same stick figures, same riverbank-
stillness, silence, darkness, emptiness, (solitude)-
same description, same listening,
same stick figures, same riverbank-
stillness, silence, darkness, emptiness, curiosity-
stillness, silence, darkness, haphazard-
stillness, silence, improvisation-
stillness, working its way all the back to the beginning

[mind is washing away]

)rumor has it(

[mind is pulling up stakes]

hand loosely closed over some 
fiercely guarded intention
memory loosely folded back 
over a single sun-addled photograph,
which, if  held to the light 
at the right angle
at the right time of day,
reveals motes of  priceless oblivion
notes of rock bottom magnificence
no longer sure how to measure
no longer sure how to monetize
rows of dust sand gravel mineral
swirling around
swirling around 
swirling around
swirling around
the hapless
the speechless
the fretless
the canyonless

}}}}}}}}}}}}}}    }}}}}}}}
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    +++++++++
~~~~~~~~  ><      ~~~~~

dear madam,
in case you're still interested,

I noticed something last winter
that vaguely resembled your raft
out there beyond the immediate,
highly untrustworthy reference points-

saw it floating or stagnating 
with the same grimy radiance
as one of Samuel Beckett’s last fragments-
wanted to call up some of my contacts
hang up a hidden microphone 
deep inside uncharted wilderness
the sense of decay almost addictive
had a hard time determining
had a difficult time making etchings
sat down on a       |rock|      |with|     |materials|
leaned back inside a wide oval of tin cans and seagulls
what if the person advised us to
what if the person ignored us entirely
what if the person actually taught us to
harness or simulate
that sense of desolate beauty
the pervading sense of collapse or catastrophe
the circus arrives in town well past midnight
we listen to the giant trucks and engineers rolling past
the massive beams sunk into the old village green
the intermittent animal noises
the normal human sounds of people 
thank god for so many diversions
thank god for so much quasi-divinity
step right up, ladies and gentleman,
primitive types of all ages
time’s a-wastin’
time must be the deepest truth
and the deepest lie
for us to remain so obsessed
so willing and even eager to be turned inside out
clapped behind bars with the cheetahs,
with the baboons and flamingos,
just another hunger artist, apparently,
buried beneath another long unfinished monologue
of Kafka's Second Life (registered trademark)
out in pioneer cyberspace.

well jimmy boy, since you’re so rarin' to go-

the man I knew the best 
back in my own curious days
had never been very successful or eager.
his name was Karl, he lived in Nebraska,
and he had a pet raccoon
affectionately named Uncle Feathers.
sometimes I was able to visit him
but usually
I had to content myself with simply forming
a mental or psychological portrait of him
in his quote unnatural habitat
camped out somewhere under the boardwalk
or behind the government parking lot
drinking water direct from the river or drainage pipe
selling postcards outside wal-mart, target, ihop, or monical’s.

assembling the scattered images I had picked up over the years and attempting to organize them, to fit them together halfway coherently.....a lost cause, to be sure, especially now with the pet raccoon in the picture.....Karl was no longer welcome in most contemporary urban  housing arrangements because Uncle Feathers, his companion, was deranged and would sometimes go on sudden, spectacular rampages, tearing all printed and electronic matter within sight to shreds.....there was just no putting the machines or the poetry back together again!  It was once again all raw material!!!  And yet Karl was patient with the animal and would do his very best to becalm it, gingerly stroking the fur on Uncle’s head, neck and back after the worst of the berserk shit was over, talking in a low voice about the fact that the raft was still said to be drifting, there was very little controversy about that anymore, it was accepted as scientific fact, cultural ethos, paradigm, zeitgeist, democracy-
and yet he still had a hard time determining,
a hard time weighing certain 

oh governor, I just don't know
what we're going to do!

we heard the raft was still drifting
had apparently broken free of its moorings
was no longer safe out in the middle of nowhere
but had drifted dangerously close to the harbor
animals and ghosts sometimes gathered there
no question that they, like Uncle Feathers,
sometimes had a hard time establishing boundaries
what differentiates a healthy investment
of time, money, and energy
from a complete aberration
of the horseshoe game’s
basic potential for nothingness-
the lines of demarcation which divide 
the quote wilderness
the quote civilization
either would be a pretty good idea 
at this particular juncture
the raft was most definitely drifting
impossible to say who was monitoring
scribbled notes passed back and forth
as a way of subverting some unintended
almost monastic vow of near-perfect silence
stacking papers, coupons, and photographs
all the way up to the ceiling
as a way of corrupting some unintended,
almost monastic vow of desert-like poverty
texting out to the wayfarers 
any number of Orwellian prophecies
as a desperate, last ditch effort 
of scrambling some ridiculous,
and yet

|the same words|   
|the same visions|   
|the same lies|    
|the same lineages|

nothing new is under the sun, mr. murphy

the crank is turned           music plays

1. the light and the dark depend on each other
2. the one and the many help to clarify one another
3. the noise and the silence interpenetrate one another
4. the stillness and the frenzy
5. the desert and the metropolis
6. the water’s edge
7. versus
8. the well defined 
9. borders 
10. of 
11. human 
12. ob-
13. session.

merchants of silence?

it's me- Sue

master interpretations of emptiness?