this year -- 2020, the chinese year of the rat -- has felt like a pest swept through and upended everyone's preparations and expectations for the future. christmas feels no different, and so a story unfolds. the rat who (tried to) steal christmas. through 16 postcard scenes, the story of the rat who (tried to) steal christmas depicts the rat's curious yet mischievous antics and santa claus' reaction to the chaos.
i'd strung you up in twine and fine branches and imagination fragments your voice followed suit in feathers which i tied to that crooked ring hanging up how ridiculous to chain compression waves when they are in fact like wings in your throat to pin you down in dreams was a fucking waste like taking life from a gull or serenading the soul of some captain hoping he'll stay and listen and peer through the torrents of rotating face and open his lips to sound like water but your voice cast open webs capable of trapping my lids so i could drift off in something immense something wider than wind and sharper than spit i saw you in those depths as tides realigned and i casted the net i listened
new year’s eve 2019
neahkanie may 2020 no kidding i'm as big as this earth big as the wind in locomotion look at the teal of the sea it never ends end has no end and the seals play along its edge if 6 was 9 that'd be fine or if heaven were hell it was an angel that fell after all to create their own paradise gabrielle and lucifer are brothers, sisters and blood runs deeper than sin i close my lids, its all the same this edge is as holy as a summit a thin transition line between the elements i am a rock! it's where i stand nothing quite as sacred as land its infinite disintegrations like when the pine trees slide into the sea i will be ready to be swallowed whole macerated and shit out clean like rain escaping heaven only to turn back tracing circles on a plane shaped without time
september 2019 goodbye ocean! my voluptuous lover! lay off the sodium, it makes you bloat or do whatever you want i’m only joshin until i’m back soak the verse & when i do step back in you’ll know my head follow me on this velvet gradient the salmon’s dimming pupil about to dip underwater leaving us indigo lines in threes we descend this jacob’s ladder submerged to salt water when in the hills i fucked the land now there’s the sea she’s back — life, my lover praise the gods hollow belly running off unalloyed joule under gray satin ripplings enigmatic stitches liquid salt water wine dry in my throat eucharist mists scrub over my veins hemoglobin rust chains the moon near the moon near i match it face to face on the aqueous face clasp limbs over the whitecap rim sink to my toes catch my breath to feel her breathe to break surface like slick fish she a mirage of hands combing over sand over over tracing land’s epidermis wearing down skin i love you now just as then even when i’m not here even when i’m sleeping even when i’m leaving even when i’m dead
has legs that extend walks first on the heels wears a hat with thread breathes deeply beats a snare drum chest blinks the eyes traces the sidewalk web listens to the blues takes a pack of cigarettes likes gas station florescence talks to empty heads stalks only the stars ties the day into nets is slipped the green to dream rewrites alphabets has no anatomy is shadow: arms ears leg neck reads corso curls the lip's edge evades the sky's pellets faces no constellation holds the apple won't eat it finds the top of a hill feels full & unfed swears to god witnesses the bereft stares into lit houses reaches into your ebb wishes for the best unafraid of the dead unafraid of the dead unafraid of the dead
tacoma — gig harbor the edge of july such green teeth — the bridge gaping wide. i walk the divide sewn by cement and the towers. i stalk cathedral at sunrise. here, genie— swim up from the depths, swim up with silver eyes and dreams where the roads intercept. below the black ashes run on and on — ashes run on tracks, run fast on iron wings. rail laid out— your hand beckoning some thing some thing every thing found dunked in that blue throat drunken— i saw smoke simmering all around — faces and friends and unknown towns— tan brick buildings— city brooding city thoughts— a single singing wind. but nothing and no one — only alone blue horizon. the fiery ring sighs slow in the face of that yawning bridge with such green teeth underneath infinite blue, above the infinite soul, the eddying sound, spinning where the roads intercept. below the black ashes run on and on — ashes run on tracks, run fast on iron wings.
collection of pen drawings & gouache dedicated to astoria, oregon. completed october – december 2019.
flora flora flore elixir kids’ menu corn dogs august rush illuminated thru scrawl follow the greats not intuition therein lies the flaw that the saints refuse sunglass man folding his arms with a slight lip curl stone postures belligerent content marvelous chisel with my arms bent pebbles and sand fall from the polished form voyage of the ships pilgrimage of the crescent flight of the pigeons path of the comet all rushes into now without event or agenda like goosebumps from the wind taking over the garden arenas canvas bag guarding my trinkets four tickets left and an unused pass to giverny coconut balm marilyn monroe divine would you love a faceless god would you want a faceless hope gold plated slip to abyssinia coins echo across the doors cracking thru the tundra’s nose are the trillions of wicks and flames robes all wrapped in fame and he would be enraged flipping the pews and busting mosaic glass skipping the coins like shard stones across the marble water surface walking across the marble like us kneeling at the dome like us looking up at the wings like us and he’d be barefoot no comb open eyes and heart hallucinating the effects of a certain destination a sacred certain state — paris
freckled highway slopes yellow with vein vessels goldenrod soleil sleep the great parade of cobblestone meandering thru this continent beers on the river rats scurrying to us shop windows and soap silk pillowcases white plaster attic residents in aesthetic contrasts of verdure and blacks painting of a nude woman concrete full of nude women i am a nude woman nude woman new woman like this country so new facades medieval just mind fucks to me another life regulars in the cafe with strange sounds from their throats tabac following you around routines cycles i’ll never know the fruit that lines these german grocery shelves me among the swans craning necks knowing each other’s tongues scooping the same water which i tread with human lungs like reaching for the next waves all heat cool salt miscellaneous odors not big enough for power but scraping thru those aquatic muscles for froth for wind for a shot at a stance i’ve never stood out this cracked window a finger awaits my open eyes for prodding and interrogation on all that they have endured for perfect recordings and renditions which are never possible and slip on thru like silver fish and bread crumbs white wine and beer bubbles kaffe and tee all so particular and all the same to me when i think back on all the gold i’ve found golden round euros golden thread sewn golden mangoes under summer lickings golden lashes behind glasses golden beverages shimmering in my stomach golden hands golden eyes they call green golden night that seems yellow golden wrapping golden necklace with an elephant chain clinks that mimic golden edges cascading to a tile floor bounce back as laughter from the others from strangers from blood from me from melodious bums — berlin
q-tip stuck in my head the sun sets church bells rest reverberations of artists’ labor liberating stone whole clans sitting on the lawn some tuba down the path playing a do-wop tree-lined sand and the trees are cut in france cubes the european concrete exaltation short bench nap with my mouth agape O what to do in the fading blue pipes of summer leaves begging for memorials just starting to turn a disc just leaving the wrist two shirtless shoeless men here in the palace park and finally familiar timbres of r&b music aretha maybe temptations whitney not so much english or american but simple bassline crooked notes what i’ll probably play in the morning before work don’t think about that quite yet — dresden
reapers ink smudged and raven above singing it must be the gloom or else this rhythm kept up by my feet as light goes not waving voice of zoltar three wishes in the attic pub exemplification all right purification all right wrong dedication all right levitation all right no destination all right asphalt predation all right slick-haired sensation all right geometric elation all right that sacred G in the stones in the wood in the work in the bones in the dust in the tire in the wheel in the fuel in the oil in the fire in the us beneath the birch trees paying to piss gotta run to the atm damn the public WCs can kiss my all peace now green grass grown long church bells swinging bug on my chest postcards laid out cicadas sweat dehydration after three sips fresh orange book that mentioned patti smith roach in the terrace pressing down the piano keys the people are out but they don’t listen rust edge leaves won’t stay but your print will leech off the page and our eyes until we lay under with the worms and debris the one suit that fits skeleton threads they will leave roses and my hands empty save this pen this blank page — prague
think i’ve befriended time our palms clasped over a round table negotiating nothing me knowing looking thru its glass how i knew weeks ago i’d be here wondering the film pixels slipped came and went this flight will end and i’m onto another subliminal tick wax accumulating in my canals made my deal took the hands like felt like rose petals up to my cheek didn’t ask questions now here twenty-one but thirty scalp stubble reappearing strands gone after eons of sun touch water brush still there fallen onto the moon’s freckles tricky fingers pulling the tides over and over i only notice when i need to go nowhere — halle
fresh reflect past commentary fool’s lens all that you remember was worth a month of presence commencement and return journey and settle did i settle don’t think past it into those trees lose the context in thought “mr nigga” a cigarette but better feel asleep on the porch post-party popped his ears in the full house some current in the back a the head rolling out the ears rather than in soul rather than throat that’s what is rattled that goddamn soul not quite blues no rock and roll spiveying up the and’s and sitting out here the first night vapory ask sashaying around askin you to dance am i where i’ve divied up thoughts between now and future until now and future becomes past i sent those things fast precipitation aggravation and i looked back to nothing but future you see how it goes in your head night-step imitations who’s that talking is he walking on good leather shoes a top hat frisking it around at me don’t know how i’m feelin feel my lips why do songs always rhyme it with kiss the knowable end green grapes i was sleepy hours ago and now dream awake — astoria
believing I have good ideas, how grand even great imagine it there a face you can forget of course black cat has crossed my path sam come down the metallic ledge wait in vain red thread in a sunburnt palm damn cat damn sam ego of a man it was nice for a while concrete trumpets singing in lines imagination tall leaning on telephone crosses evergreen beats and two pinkiless hands strike the stars d’amico metropolis made of three green lights strap the back, no weight freight lines grappling woven pavement stone real estate open little crushed scorpion (was only a sock) playin drums drum drum duh drums give you my gentle fingers sprawling out white slippers to try without numbers
the fog burned, and i feel may through a thin sweat sheen. windows tempt me with abundant greenery, with leaves upturned and moving.
the last time i climbed up here, i shifted between reading karl ove knausgaard’s fifth book of my struggle and staring through the glass that faces the columbia river. a cyclical ritual i’d developed: look down, scan a paragraph, look up, scan a skyline evergreen. my eyes sorted out the still motion — the spring leaves staggering on the hills, the white semi’s rambling beneath bridge beams, the outstretched statuesque crows hitching wind rides. the wall-mounted clock with spinning needles, ticking. almost one p.m.
i’m two thousand pages into this norwegian man’s six-volume autobiography, every word of which may be a complete lie or partial fabrication. scenarios range from slightly boring activities like frying up onions and potatoes to completely maddening descriptions of young girls (cue “breasts” and “thighs”). but the words feel honest. and it’s reassuring to discover how mundanely, yet sometimes fantastically, this stranger’s life unfolds.
however, the irritating thing about absorbing just one author’s work over a long period of time is finding that my own thought structures mimic his. (even these previous paragraphs draw heavily from his style.) what’s worse, i sometimes grow an appetite for fried onions and potatoes, which i cook, and eat, all of it bland.
but the fifth book has grabbed me with different fists. karl is in his early twenties, hesitant but sure that he is on the brink of something grand. restless. which reminds me that i’m twenty-one, in brain osmosis, with a body itching for movement.
yesterday morning, while scheming for my day off, i decided to continue reading book five, really read it, just sit down, let the pages open. don’t buy anything, don’t eat. focus on a certain consumption. this usually troubles me, as i typically grow distracted or anxious about my what else i could be doing. i’ll stop reading, glance out the window, notice the familiar pavement and white house across the street. couldn’t i be out? couldn’t i be creating music? couldn’t i be savoring time? am i missing something good?
liz once told me i’m “always looking for the next best thing”. i know it’s true, she doesn’t bullshit. even a simple evening walk may set me in a loop of thought: imagine that brick covered in ivy, it would look mystic. if there were clouds out now, the sky would be cotton candy. no street corner may be what it is, only more. transformed, yet the same. surely if i improve what’s around me, something will improve within me — that’s the loop. of course, it doesn’t always play out this way, and this thought process is exhausting.
the same exhaustion seems to circulate in karl’s twenty year-old mind, half-foreboding, half-exuberant. it wears him out, the longing for ephemeral beauty by happenstance, for a notion of fate, for divine caesura in the rhythm of commonplace. always keeping eyes out for a sign of reassurance. how helpful it feels when, in the midst of his clusterfuck youth, he encounters some environment that harbors symbolic comfort, or some sense of celestial guidance.
i can’t say i don’t stumble upon similar scenarios — a number 9 on a lamp post, three deer grazing, owls cooing in the night, silhouettes of bare tree limbs, a street walker with known brown eyes. poetry and literature, too, can pause my thoughts. karl’s reflection on the orpheus myth, for example:
the utmost is that which disappears when it is seen or recognized.
reading this, i thought of past favorite moments, recollected in alchemized golden light, surviving for mere seconds. within them, i was within it: still motion. stillness being no action, no state of being. it is a mood of illusions. all around you moves, earth and life and time in spin. like driving through evening countryside, basking in the violet sky, noticing how the fleeing sun turns every shadow sacred — every time you try to capture it, to remember a certain arrangement of slanted country houses and barns, a certain scene like a post-impressionistic painting, it blurs by, and another scene emerges, which you struggle to memorize.
the clock reads forty past four now. my eyes want to close after an afternoon well-spent, but the sun still rests high. how did i blaze through those four hours?
i think of nick drake’s time piece, not exactly a song, not exactly a poem, but a rhythm and reminder:
still it’s time that grows in my brain
still it’s time that calls me here
still i scream when time ticks
still i cringe from time’s tricks
still i groan for time’s loves
but still i’ll try for time perhaps.