When the situation hits reverse
When you sleep and the situation speaks in tongues
When you don’t have a seatbelt and you don’t have a car
Going backwards off a cliff is not such a bad plan.
You might start dancing and you might change hats
You might introduce yourself as somebody new
But you don’t have a car and you don’t want to steal
So you rise from the dead just to try it out.
And you’re not such a dunce – as you feel your way –
And you spin even more – and feel even more new.
I wrote this in a couple of minutes to the tune of Fates Right Hand by Rodney Crowell – sort of a country rap song from years ago. I always like personal transformation stories. Not that Fate’s Right Hand is a personal transformation story. But I guess the juxtaposition of these images signifies such a possibility.
Just before Jimi Hendrix played the Star Spangled Banner
A wave went through the crowd.
Sleeping girls with feet caked in mud stirred.
Boys asleep with long wet hair awoke.
Potheads spinning up looked down.
Potheads coming down looked up.
Country Joe and Buffalo Springfield and Melanie
saw something moving like a river & coming into view.
He spoke without using a mic.
Ask not what your country can remember for you.
Ask what you can remember for your country.
The crowd applauded and gave him a standing ovation.
‘Inauguration Day man,’ the guy next to me said.
I looked at him closely.
The pottery in the next to last image is of Cucuteni-Trypillian neolithic heritage. I thought it played off the idea of ‘pothead’ as well as being a vessel the motorcade passed through. The images superimposed over JFK in the third image are the Sri Yantra diagram and a detail from the Book of Kells representing JFK’s ancestry. JFK loved poetry and read for pleasure so these are perhaps fitting images of tactile and spiritual deep time.
I do not claim copyright on original images. I have created new, non-commercial artworks for the purpose of parody or commentary.
All I wanted was a can of rice pudding. After a long day I wanted a reward. Not a drink. Not dope. Just some rice pudding.
In other stores I’ve seen cans of rice pudding beside the Devon cream near the condensed milk or in the baking goods section.
I thought of her, who I lost, and how she would heat pudding and serve it topped with Devon cream. I wondered who she was serving now.
The staff had no clue. One said aisle 13 with a blank stare.
‘Isn’t it with the pudding?’ said the one with centipede eyebrows.
I was determined to find the rice pudding section.
A woman without a shopping cart or purse or umbrella studied a jar in aisle 13 and then a bag in the organic section freezer. I figured she was the store detective or an immigrant figuring things out or maybe somebody lonely looking to get picked up.
I checked every possible location. No luck.
I walked away half an hour later in the rain wondering what sort of loser looks for rice pudding at ten o’clock on a Saturday night.
I thought of Rumi saying sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
But I didn’t have any cleverness to sell.
All I did was dump coffee in the sink
And he appeared. He must have wanted to go on a trip, a journey or a jaunt, I doubt he wanted to be washed down the drain.
Which wasn’t the plan anyway. Not when there is so much to see everywhere, day or night, here or there.
And kindred spirits to discover.
With golden suns disguised as room-temperature metal beginning the process of your transformation. No matter how you begin.
An idea for a novel came upon / me.
The next night I dreamed the title.
I didn’t see any connection
between the title
and the idea.
I wrote on paper with 3 holes / long-hand / daily, and typed those pages.
No matter the words – I simply transcribed.
If I heard it in my head I wrote it.
72 days later I had a first draft. And editorial notes for each segment.
I stapled each batch and stacked them on top of a cold radiator.
The typed pages are in the computer.
I emailed them to myself daily.
I didn’t edit the material
or refashion it.
I treated it like poetry
with a germination period,
alone in the dark.
Just allow it / to arrive
from surprise destinations.
It’s in the dark now.
Out of nowhere / it never failed
Like arriving from darkness.
A novelist told me the first draft
is the most difficult part
of the process.
This didn’t feel difficult.
I hope this is a good sign.
A sign in the dark.
until the sign
After I broke (shattered!) my ankle I began drawing for long periods in bed.
I used a Sharpie marker on lined paper and numbered the drawings.
Sometimes I titled the drawings and indicated how I might use them, a linocut or a painting.
Drawing 14 broke free of its mooring and reappeared after traveling through several rooms.
I recreated Drawing 14 using digital tools.
1 + 4 = 5. Some people say 5 is a dynamic number of change. An indicator of flux, of positive movement,
& some things never reappear & you realize there might be something else, down in the roots, you need to want more.
And you experience both mystery and loss
while wearing wings and antlers.
Wherever those came from.