Category Archives: Poetry

Last Days and the Situated Hour

 

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Still from Chase (Calling Palmdale), 2015.

The “situated hour” referred to in my “Last Days” excerpt references Proust:

“We may, indeed, say that the hour of death is uncertain, but when we say so we represent that hour to ourselves as situated in a vague and remote expanse of time, it never occurs to us that it can have any connection with the day that has already dawned, or may signify that death — or its first assault and partial possession of us, after which it will never leave hold of us again — may occur this very afternoon, so far from uncertain, this afternoon every hour of which has already been allotted to some occupation. You make a point of taking your drive every day so that in a month’s time you will have had the full benefit of the fresh air; you have hesitated over which cloak you will take, which cabman to call, you are in the cab, the whole day lies before you, short because you have to be at home early, as a friend is coming to see you; you hope that it will be as fine again to-morrow; and you have no suspicion that death, which has been making its way towards you along another plane, shrouded in an impenetrable darkness, has chosen precisely this day of all days to make its appearance, in a few minutes’ time, more or less, at the moment when the carriage has reached the Champs-Elysées.”
Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way

And what is death, but change? 

And what is change, but the process of process itself? The sublimation of the ordinary and extraordinary. Scary as it moves from the incomplete to the possible. Curious, lonely, lively…

My Last Days poetry manuscript deals with the space between beginning and ending, a field of stasis (perhaps, the plane in which everything actually takes place), suspended between our understanding of movement and cessation.

The space between is literally the process of existence itself. We spend nearly every moment there.

It also speaks to the indeterminate state between loss and gain, manifestation and dissolution; a mystical, shifting moment subject to physics, forensics and fantasy.

What does it mean to have, lose, gain, enjoy–to vanish or be erased? That such a weird, in-between moment can be extended and investigated also speaks to my recent visual artwork, as well as personal experiences that seem lodged in an eternal space of processing and incompleteness.

There are points between time, location, knowing and mystery… Do we ever really know how others feel about us? Do we ever really see anything whole?

Snippets from Last Days have found their way into (and helped shape and inform) the Desert (Loss) series I completed this September and October.

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Last Days

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Working on a poetry manuscript: Last Days.

The endless catastrophe of words…

Excerpt from the title poem, “Last Days”:

The space cleaves me in two.
An impossible distance,
on the surface of a planet.
Can you believe it?
We walk on a planet.

Also working on:

  • audio rips and remixes of the The Cascade, which I’m adding to my SoundCloud.
  • deconstructing music videos. Because. Mad DJ. Watch for those here and on Vimeo.
  • I’m composing and mixing sound pieces and experimental music with Ableton and Encore.
  • audio recordings of Last Days (need a new Tascam, though)
  • also revisiting notes from my poetry mentor, Thom Gunn, who died of an overdose in 2004. He suggested not all poems need Imagist-infusion; sometimes words are powerful as words. This new work bounces between image and syntax, the critical (clinical) and lush.
  • always working with my firemen. I wonder about their last days…

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Excerpt from “V-Fib,” part of Last Days:

Real end times
occupy liminal space
occupy corners of your street, a counter’s edge
partial thoughts and partial plates,
quiet moments between coffee and key-turn
sitting still and soft, moving lush and hard
sitting, wishing, dialing, watching.

Decision during a bowl of cereal,
powerful, palpable
flow of Richter scale garbage in vibration V-fib,
lost in the now-fallen, unimportant.
A drudge of dirty sock, windowpane sensibility,
that noticing last days are like seeing rainbows
and dog shit.

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Excerpt from “Backroad Remaining,” part of Last Days:

Each day
it does not diminish,
heal-cutting, collapsing like
cross-fade TV recap,
these flash-back moments, missives
pause between touch and tingle
tomorrow, never

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Blog Futures

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This blog’s original purpose was to document my progress through the Lesley University College of Art and Design MFA program, serving as a storehouse of information and a log of my research and production. That phase is complete.

I’m adopting a David Hockney stance and I’m planning to continue using this blog as I move forward. I don’t mind leaving a trail of where I’ve been, as it is all relevant, useful, maybe interesting/boring/wild/necessary.

You may notice, however, that I will be making organizational adjustments to the blog, to suit its new role. If you’re looking for the links that used to fill the right hand side, check out Links and Resources.

And from here, we embark.

The wild freedom, the gamble, the beginning of the road, that terrifying, mysterious visual-desert sublime…

Here’s a Gary Snyder poem for this new departure, (from Regarding Wave, 1970), which I’ve read and re-read over the years (like my copy of Catch-22).

It’s not just what you should know to be a poet (artist), it’s what you need to know.

What You Should Know to be a Poet

all you can know about animals as persons.
the names of trees and flowers and weeds.
the names of stars and the movements of planets
and the moon.
your own six senses, with a watchful elegant mind.
at least one kind of traditional magic:
divination, astrology, the book of changes, the tarot;

dreams.
the illusory demons and the illusory shining gods.
kiss the ass of the devil and eat shit;
fuck his horny barbed cock,
fuck the hag,
and all the celestial angels
and maidens perfum’d and golden-

& then love the human: wives husbands and friends
children’s games, comic books, bubble-gum,
the weirdness of television and advertising.

work long, dry hours of dull work swallowed and accepted
and lived with and finally lovd. exhaustion,
hunger, rest.

the wild freedom of the dance, extasy
silent solitary illumination, entasy

real danger. gambles and the edge of death.

– Gary Snyder