Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 30 is a Kind of Ship

It has been a while since my last post, about 6 weeks. Two factors, in retrospect: crazy work (up to 60 hours/week) but also winding out/down from the four mss I wrote/published from August 2011 to August 2012. I have painted a painting during this interlude, finished the one-year through-the-Bible reading goal I set, and with this and that was able to clear the decks so that I could look over the books today and reacquaint myself with where I was, think anew, or mull over where I am.

If I look back at previous postings I will see some plan for a long ms, and here before me is a print out of the 4 pages that served as a start. I don't see that idea being carried out, though what I might do (because we process always in new ways) is work out this fragment with the few other poems I have written since August, and publish a very brief ms - say 12 pages, which would be a nice riposte to the inflated notion of a 100 page ms. I mean to say that I do not have a clear idea of anything, but at least I am free to look, and looking, and considering what to do, rather than feeling lost in exhaustion and worry, etc. One thought I have is for a crown of sonnet style ms, or I might look in at the Princeton Poetics guide for another form or shape that wold suit this undefined occasion.

But whatever the shape, I will need a word for non-definition, and that word is contentment. I am content, or largely content, or happier than I can recall, or more at peace then I can remember. With where we (my family) are now, and our prospects, I have nothing that seriously concerns me, except to say that I am almost always concerned and for no real reason at all. I do not know why this is, or why I have fallen into the habit of feeling happy yet looking rather grim. I do not know why this is.

Looking back at the last four ms, I read poems by a man under a spell, driven, and strangely unconcerned, though I was certainly more concerned as an individual with myself and my world then. So there is no explanation of where I am and what is next. None. I take this as a kind of knowledge which, being inapplicable, is perfect - a kind of divine joke. More of my life may fall into this sphere of pure entertainment as the years unfold - so to see.

For now, the word is "Time to form the word that serves in all places at once." Not to make due or save time, but as a word can serve and perhaps must. That word is love, of course. As named, as perfected, serving for truth; not in its stead, but to a purpose.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

You Win Form Yes

Our conscience exists somehow between the facts of borders and the absolute of idea. In the 2012 general election it spoke, re-electing a black president, assigning a record number of senate seats to women, a record of congressional seats to so-called "minorities." In a state's popular vote allowing gays to marry. In this somehow, if not somewhere, on a given day a majority ruled by conscience.

Who votes, lives, writes, paints, marries, educates, worries, shoots hoops, bakes, bus-drives, plans, fosters, by their conscience, wins for all. The nay-sayers and haters lost; others won, and for all, including those who have not found a way. It is not news to win for all, but it is ever-fresh and true, once we pause and listen inwardly, acknowledging that right to agree with all, forever.

If I say no, it is for once and is a turning away. But we do not say no. We say yes, and yes. We say yes for all, not for ourselves, but for others. This is the form. The form is the somehow of what we refer to, sometimes, as America, who won.

The always is every day. In the morning and at night. I know nothing more and can go no deeper than to say this. If it is now, I can say now. I cannot say then or sometime. As now, yes. You say yes, I say yes, and yes, for you told me so.

You said love. I say you said love. What is lost is form in transit; what is won is form in love. Somehow between the facts of law and border, and the impurity of the absolute. By impure, I mean that which excludes. Between the twin circles of right and exact, love wins.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Post Thought

This new line of poems is worthless. The idea is 100 pages a various approaches/form and the three pages I have will not do. They are poems and nothing else and that is all. They are like little potted plants. I could re-arrange them or intersperse the lines but they're still worthless.

There is nothing going on here but little poems. So what. There is nothing there that is anything other than these three pages of poem writing.

I have had a couple ideas for forms, but they too threaten to be just more potted plants. The kind that people pick up at the supermarket to add a bit of life and color. Water them or not there are plenty more where those came from. Oh yeah we can all be plant machines. Come and see and buy our little plants. Screw that.

So you know God is great, so you write four scripts that are distinct yet form a unified effort you have no need even to define and then here you are, a plant farm. So it's like, what the fuck. I mean, yeah I'm happy and grateful and all.

And the trap is, I can see the long work, but seeking insight or a breakthrough in so many words would be to ignite a short-term solution, a spark that I could not sustain. No, I do not want a breakthrough. Not for a 100 page poem. I need a notion that suits a slow heartbeat.

I think the lesson here is some admixture of completion and acceptance, pride - in the mirror, or behind the reflection. So I turn away to seek the lost sheep of the impossible poem. This is what I know. To turn away and face what only the words or marks I am capable of can comprehend. And in facing that emptiness as before to find the words and the form. In two dimensions, the box or block being the first sign of civilization, I suppose, of this sort of work having been accomplished.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Infintive I Written You

I am not entirely comfortable with writing. Not alone or with others, not employing other sources or materials. Not as a person, writing, for I am called to pray, constantly, and have been so forever, since before time took shape as the passing of this world.

But I write and as I write I ask, is it okay to write. I hope it is okay. Fine. I am quite sure it is okay but ultimately, I cannot be comfortable with it. I do so, I write, of course, as I am propelled to do so. And I am conscious of no impulse or need or desire for words of doubt or apology. No, I am not sorry I write. Of course not. And this is about my understanding only. What I mean to say, to indicate, is that in writing I am one, composing; putting into form words from out of one or another additional form of correspondence.

So, I write. But what is that? I do not look to anyone to explain to me what it is, its value. That would be superfluous and selfish, a lion looking to other lions to comment on the meat I have brought to the ground; a satellite reflecting on transmissions to those who rely on the images transmitted. No, writing is more than this if it is speaking as one who is not one. I do hope this.

You would expect nothing less (or other...) of me (at this point!)  then to say, to write, that poetry in form is a kind of admission. It is a means of confession. Of worth and loss, of presence and dependence.

To say at one and the same time, at the exact same moment, I am, and I am yours.

I have written poems in form, the block/box form, for 30 years. I was prompted by the double acrostics of Herbert, and now I too am baptised and confirmed, and I have published/confessed 20 manuscripts, and all of this with every other fact and circumstance I can recount makes perfecte sense. But this is not so much about me, as it is about you; you, who made me, you who read me.

We are one who love. In love we are one. As we render and as we read, we are one, in one. To know this, quite precisely, is perhaps a form with one end, in one beginning.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Four and One

I have finished and published Colossal Ways You Were Right. The form of the book is as I planned. Forty pages, forty poems, 20 being box/blocks, alternating with 20 four-line strophe blocks. This is my 20th published book.

I realized afterwards that this book is the last installment of a year-long project including publication of four books, the others being (dot), First Days Last, and Farms Go Faster. All these can be previewed and purchased at my author's page at I can't remember feeling so done with a project, so utterly complete.

This group of four books interests me also as clearly they took form to a purpose, and their publication (in one calendar year) could only happen for me through a POD type publication platform, such as I think again about what that means, being self-published, further convinced that I am being myself, being self-published.

And so I wonder at all the words written on behalf of thoughts that language is not the author's. Then whose is the book? What is the self that employs language assembled in the form of a book that we call published; who is the I who publishes, and what is mine that I call it mine? What is the "self" in "self-published" but an ulterior designation, a socialization of the will, a kind of forensic exhibit of motive and opportunity, an expression flung at the hunter's feet; an incrimination dripping from the self-knowing facade we call our other self.

I am quite certain that I publish these books, but I am uncertain who does not publish their books. In other words, I publish my own books, and as with this last project, I now see that I write in part understanding the dynamics of the purpose of being able to publish what I write. Otherwise things would stagnate. As it is I can switch gears, modes, at will or by design. No doubt I could never work any other way. I feel like my entire life is involved in this form of account.

That's enough of that for now. When I do get to writing again I expect it will be a longer project taking upwards of a year and encompassing 100 pages of material. That's the general notion as of now.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chucky B. and the Corporeal Sublime

I attended a reading by a Charles Bernstein tonight and while principally bored I left the room almost giddy, convinced that I may be one of the greatest writers of all time.

Now, what does this mean? It means what it says. What I do I do certainly, even as I know nothing of what else I might do. Of course I have no connection with anyone hardly or anything really, self-publishing now for years. I care only for the work of friends, as I care only for my friends, because I like them and I want them to be happy. I have no influence, no students, no critics, no effect. No nothing. In this my generosity of spirit is beyond reckoning.

I hear a Charles Bernstein read and have no reference points. I do not think to compare and have no motivation to wonder at this or that, past, present, or future. I do not say Rosebud. I hear the work and am unimpressed and largely uninterested. I have no qualms and no position to support. A man performs. Time goes on. Tick tock. I am without critics or chorus. I could not be happier.

My greatness is this: I will write and my writing will either disappear from the face of the earth or not, and it is all the same to me. I do not care one way or the other. I wouldn't know how to care. I am sure that I used to care, but it has been a long time now, and I am very far down a road that opens to fields that have no sign or hint of that sort of emotion or consideration. My factors are otherwise employed. This is a revolution.

I cannot entertain except by accident or occurrence. And as to profit or position...hah! All I can see is the work I do, the machine on which I type. I have no office, no facility, no co-heirs, no investiture. There is this, then there is this, then there is this again.

I should explain myself better, but after all, that would be a kind of failure for which I simply do not have time nor the inclination to indulge. I have lost the flavor of half-measures.

So, I may be very great, and it means exactly to me what it means if I am very, very insignificant. Not worth the time to ignore. Yes, both states are equally satisfying - the latter perhaps more so. Yes, I am sure of it. To disappear without a trace. What could be more sublime. And the only way to demonstrate what I mean is to say it in this way, and to state further, if you doubt me, well, look to yourself first, then think about what I am saying. Do that. Attend to your own matters. Look busy. We have a right to a full account.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Gallery

Form says form and means form, As such, form is an admission and a grace.

Rhyme has been solved by certain artists, for whom for instance, "like" and "sake" are perfect.

I was in thought when nothing stopped. Everything was me saying no, but now was me hoping now, if belief is hope. But listen to how lazy I am. I invent examples and I do no research into other texts.

I do no research, I do not link. No pictures. My insight is, it sometimes appears, the insight of no insight. Do not expect me to blame myself. I have a kind of routine, a green surface. I touch at cards. I am at an age and see opportunity as circular, or recursive. Less turn than blend. Not so much blend as step upon step. Fewer steps.

More in the way of a gallery.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

More of This One

This new MS will have 40 poems I think, alternating 4-line strophe bocks and unitary boxes. It puts me in mind of a venetian shade, shut, open, shut. Or a winking eye.

The above comments represent the deepest auto-textual-criticism I have offered in years, and it is representative I believe of the best I am capable of. Well, no sense in apologizing. I am a busy man. Even so, I have in mind putting in a paragraph about-the-book at the end of this book. If I wanted to I could revise all the books to put in comments. Or I could post them to my author's page on Neither of these ideas interest me at all, now that I have written them down.

How I love abandoning grand ideas and projects. What a gift of time to oneself, to say no thanks, not interested, with respect to one's own ideas. Or, another favorite is to plan to go into work early, or on a holiday, then blow it off. Delight be mine!

Here is the drawing/panting for the new MS, called Colossal Ways You Were Right. This will be the fourth book I have finished and produced within an 11 or 12 month period, my 20th to date, so I am feeling excited and funny about things, not worrying, perhaps even clear-eyed and apt.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Word and Street

I am happy with the poems, as happy as when I walk down a familiar street and think about the families that live in each separate house, their likely struggles and obligations and overall success. I do not have suburban nightmares. Error is a common birthright, among others, independent of place and address.

Or, as when one prepares an onion, slicing the ends so that it peels more easily, then cutting up the layers for cooking.

Or a typical Sunday jaunt, to see the local waterfalls for example, and the cars that approach in the opposite lane, one after another, expressionless faces. There, beside the road, a parked car and a man reaching into the rear seat perhaps consoling a child or rearranging things. Eight miles to go.

Almost all the time I consider the next step but you anticipate me, so I like the poems. I am almost lost and closely found, which I recognize and appreciate. A small dog emerges and circles its owner then retreats behind the house, which includes a garden on the sidewalk meridian, tomatoes and flowers.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to This Thing

The box does not sit still. The box moves. The parts assemble and plans assemble. People go to work and find time to sleep.

The box knows weather and strangers’ hands. Once in a while another box is overlaid the box. The box holds air, it holds words, it holds a body. The body corrupts, renews. The body leaves the box. It returns to say “box” and lingeringly leaves yet again. It will not return again.

The box is lifted by interested hands and carried a distance. It is set down for the night under a tree, or in the corner of a shop, or in someone’s garage. I hear a tricycle being pedaled in circles.

The box does not sit still. I say “box” and invite you to say “box.” You say alphabet or commercial undertaking in the sense of a coordinated structure involving a set of documents proscribed by the rule of law. Here is black-and-white footage of the Russian Premier standing at attention at the de-planing of the box. Those men are playing an anthem, but that is not the box and cannot be blamed on me.

Here I am, and there I was, and here I am again. This is rock and roll. This is swing.

Once upon a time a box into a box, first in parts and then the whole. Once a breathy pause and, “box.” She suddenly stood and turned and scampered over the hills. I looked for her where I knew to find her to hear her say, “box.” I gave myself over to the memory of having failed. Now I remember her saying “box” as if I can hear her saying it. I have a good job and should find time to explain exactly what I mean. I am certainly capable of such movements.

Just like earth, the box has the kind of personality one ascribes to it. I love using the word “ascribes” because “ a scribes” is allusive while grammatically wrong while exactly the thing itself or the person we might be or have been, and the “a” in “ascribes” really stands out when I say it.

The box is somewhat proper to all including the linguist but cannot be held in one place either.

O for summer and the gathering of bells countenance by bell-makers and bell-swingers, of wine poured out for hands and words in common for an age and a summer.

So I write what I have not said which is this and what is now. The box for a word for the box. Box not because but then, and say you knew, but you never knew in the way one said now “box” and being not-the-box at once.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Just like a How and a Scurry

My first serious or concentrated thoughts and discussions of God in and without the context of philosophy occured with Mervyn Fergusen while working at C.B.G.B.’s in NYC where I formed among other opinions that God has a sense of humor.

My experience with the Roman Catholic church has not changed that opinion.

It would be a laughable understatement to say, that He gives us just enough rope with which to hang ourselves. Think upon it in light of Judas and it isn’t that funny. See that the parenthetical cites the exception. That is proper but not the real work.

To humor, the spirit that is perfect and calls us to truth. To the neighbor, the lover, the self who forms plans. Time goes by and more often than not we imagine our wagons still hitched in its cleansing wake.

I cannot laugh with God. I am the joke. I am partially formed, and devoted in the manner of the sparrow and a seed. I am complete in parts to the eye that sees a whole where, in fact, regions of passion idle and curdle like the Pacific in a tidepool.

To laughter and the threads that bind. A glance to seal an evening’s rest. Faces line up to say, Me not the other, like musical notes. I have eyes that see but I will not take myself literally.

You can be discrete and knowing, of course. You can make a habit of nodding. Nod away. At me, my wife and child. At God. You will waste no one’s time. You will remain unembarrassed and unimpressed. Nothing can shake the nodding man. He is awake and not awake. He falls for nothing and is never erect. There is no trouble where there is no concern. The heart is an ancient vessel.

Original for years, a face takes its rest in a concrete television set. Your work makes of flowers jewels set into the eye cavities of remote though adjacent deities. If only one could set it to a score – but, see. It is done. More glory. More taking away.

Laughter and the short excuse. I was lost. I was hurt. I forgot. That wasn’t me.

That was always me. I was always there. I will always be there. I can forget everything else, I will not forget that.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

To a Person or perhaps a Book

You were alive at all the right moments, so that form was a kind of gambit, a bit of sculpture passed back and forth between friends.

If I place myself near you, imagined, I take for myself a kind of liberty. I impose myself in stating what I am inclined to imagine as real, or representative. I write poems like a flower dropping heavily on another flower, or the skid of plastic garbage cans. One night I sat unsure whether to go out and called myself a saint for the facts of the time in considering indecision.

Good for life. Good for words for life like raspberry sherbet.

     fortune/misfortune, a tower a mess - a volume shimmers into view
     you take it as a choice when you have other choices to move on to

Representative. It sounds like work. It is work for the mind and the tongue. It's a word that boasts such promise to start, but by the end I'm all worn out with where to stick it. I mean, so that I or another might know how to retrieve it. That sort of legacy, or sharing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mail Art, Ho!

I joined IUOMA a few days ago (International Union of Mail Artists) based on possible interest but more on general liking of Ruud Janssen and Litsa Spathi. I received email confirmation of having joined and with a few days an email from a fellow in Brazil who wants to exchange, and real live art mail items (an art photo card) from Douglas Galloway in Cherry Valley, CA and more notably a piece of work from Connie Jean in Titusville, FL rife with ink stamps and labels and whatnot. Titus was as you know the god of truth for the ancient Assyrians. the modern Assyrians worship the god of the French township, or ville. Thus, Titusville.

You can see I am trying. The onus is on me to produce, and produce I will. I got me some sharpies, plain small envelopes, and plain note cards. I will do a bit of doodle on a card and slip it into an envelope also upon doodled which, then off it goes to Connie Jean. And another to the Brazilian.

I will set up a folder of photos on Facebook entitled IUOMA - Coming and Going where I will post. I think this is right and proper. I didn't quite ask for this but I like the challenge of seeing what I can make of it, by way of fleshing things out. My first thought was to draw dinosaurs as conventional mail is tending toward dead, but now I have colors and shapes and my son's stamps to work with. Seems to me that there are worst places for a 53 year old white male to find himself then the crafts aisle of Walgreen's.

If you want something shoot me your mailing address. I understand it is somewhat incumbent upon the receiver to give, so it's on your head if you ask, to then provide. Me, I just work here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kinds of Echo or Recollection

The wisest man I know right now is a 75 year old Vietnamese emigre. The second wisest is a Vietnamese Emigre in his early 50's. The wisest man I know is not a man, she is my wife, whose wisdom is such that I know all I need to know in recognizing how wise she is. The smartest person I know is maybe 17 or so men and women who happen to be smart. The best person I know I can't say. Over my limit. Okay more than 17 - probably about 30 really smart people, and certainly mostly women. The wisest woman is as I explained the wisest person. The second wisest may be too though I have no proof.

I was reminded yesterday to empty myself, as I knew well just a week ago and was practicing with success. Then the world and all the riches of experience intervenes and you are full, and perhaps neglect to take out the sweet-smelling trash of your plausible charm.

But these is no second route once you have emptied yourself in faith and await in faith, and it is not my fault that time and time again you are renewed with a passion in situ - being placed in a passion, or passion being made to surround your shoulders, like a cloak. Like human clockwork - an admixture of muscle, iron, and the stars - the life surrounding you makes sense without your having to make sense out of it, which is good as, you know, that simply does not work.

Is life like this, society, politics? Insofar as it is made of people not yourself, I couldn't say, though there are strong indicators. These are your brothers and sisters dotting the landscape or meandering along the highway or warming the seats of the automat. When you forget they are that - brothers and sisters - you have lost what you cannot afford to lose. Time to take out the trash.

I love you not for what you write or believe or for how you vote. I love you as I write that I love you. Goodness knows what I will be feeling when you read it.

It would be lovely and not life if one could make sense of love or have love make sense, such that one could explain it to oneself or to others, or create a formula, a procedure. I believe that true love not only is given by God but goes through God. I do not believe that one has to believe that one believes in God to know love. That would be silly. But I should say it because even my opinions should make sense and, as I confessed, I love you so I want to be understood.

I am not interested in impressing you, though that is the standard cultural form - for liberal and conservative. To impress who you love to be loved. Well, as I mentioned, I believe love goes through God. It is an equal opportunity grant where you can love me right now and receive the gift of love.

But once I try to impress you, to win you over, to point out the bad guys or show how you and I are the good guys; once I say what is right or what is wrong; in doing these things I am not feeling or showing love. So, what can I afford to do?

Well, what I believe I do (it seems this way) is to proceed as if everyone were here with me, or that I am with everyone where they are. I then address what requires address under the challenge of love. This leads directly to politics in saying "yes" to what is right and "no" to what is wrong. But it does not lead to saying "no" to anyone in particular or in mass formation. It leads I think to a politics of show, not tell.

Having ideas is good. Leading with ideas is hard, but learning to lead is necessary to getting those ideas across in a way so that they have a chance in this world. Do you have an idea for improving the world? I want you to succeed. But to succeed you will need to learn some things that may appear at first glance to conflict with your ideas. Do not despair. Perhaps your idea is a trifle over-broad or has been charged with a kind of ethical imperative that may not serve your purpose. You will have to make some decisions if you want to lead.

If you love your idea enough, you will learn to accommodate its needs in order for it to succeed. For ideas need love too. They need your time and patience and a willingness to accept them for themselves in their strengths and weaknesses. We cannot afford to simply project our egos or hurts onto our ideas.

If your idea is simply an assault on other ideas, you will fail. That the rewards of love and thought are in doing so truly, and need not be reciprocated, there is no doubt. What else is needed in demonstrating that this life is a gift?

I hope you will succeed in all you truly love and what holds your thought.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Next Talk Pope Notes

Alright so I think I've got the breakthrough I needed for this next book/sheaf/squander of poems. The titling idea I see now though was a kick-start investment and has no lasting purchase. Just now I have no room for titles. They seem perfectly showy and useless. As a point of reference - who refers to me as it is? No, I like a clean look and a self-revealing text so no hand-pointing or "framing" is necessary at the moment.

A thought today was, What would I do if I were Pope? Before I lose my interest in what I might say, here it is.
  • All marriages are blessed regardless of sexual orientation.
  • Mass is required twice a week, not once. Get out and celebrate, people.
  • Confession (or "reconciliation") is required twice a month. That's every two weeks. Not the current once-a-year cycle. I don't know what they were thinking on that one.
  • While we're at it, as the earthly church is imperfect it will be required to offer its own confession - okay, once a year. To kick off Lent the Vatican will make public its sins. I would announce these in ebony raiment flecked with gold.
  • .....
I could go on, and perhaps in another time I would have. But who cares. This is me, not you, and definitely not the other guy. Maybe this is what happens when you outgrow yourself. Figuring that out doesn't matter much either; it would just lead to another sort of title, wouldn't it.

I do know it's wonderful.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Friday & Dream

Well this is a good day. Off from work without a glance back. Morning Mass, a long bike ride, a nap, some reading.

My reading prompted me to recall a dream I had in January that I wish I had written down. It came just a week or two after the St. Petronius dream I described in my Jan. 13, 2012 posting. In it, I was walking among some houses on a hill and came to one being worked on or perhaps built. I think it was a reconstruction of sorts. I was suddenly in the company of several men and women who appeared to be somewhat or slightly challenged, perhaps with speech difficulties. A carpenter (wait for it) comes over to me and, showing me some tools, said "I think you are about ready to use these. You will work with these people." That's about it. I recall the sky was blue, it was spring. The house was Mediterranean style.

Yes, there was a carpenter. And not a skinny guy with stars in his eyes, but a pretty rugged fellow with a fair set of shoulders. But these people I was with - that confused me. What was going on here? Was I being asked to care more for challenged persons? Okay, I can do that. But I didn't want to write the dream down or blog it as I had just undergone the St. Petronius dream, which if you read it you will understand was enough to last me a while.

So it took until today to understand that the dreams were related. Whereas the St. Petronius dream cleared house, so to speak, the second dream was about setting down to one's task. If I had any doubt that the house was me and that my house is also of course that of the Lord, those doubts have been laid to rest.

Anyway, here is some more background in case you feel somewhat or are indeed RC challenged.
  • We are separate individual members of one body (in Christ).
  • We are are called separately and individually to serve. St. Paul covers the range of service options very nicely in I Corinthians 14 if you want to look. 
  • So what do I do? Well, I am a lector (reader) at Mass and will likely help with RCIA Catechism and have been asked to join the pastoral council.
  • But really, this is pretty embarrassing. I was concerned about what the dream meant in terms of the people around me, but it wasn't about them. They were there to help me to understand that the tool I have is that of communication. To read at Mass. To communicate.
Okay, I can do that. I can be myself in what I do and I can hope it is pleasing. The dream may really be addressing simply the reading, which I take very seriously and deliver with a lot of gusto. It's pretty intense, I can tell you, to be standing up there in front of a priest, a deacon, and a Pieta delivering some of the riper parts of the Old Testament or Letters. What it is of course is an incredible privilege. Short of being graced with having written the words themselves, I can't imagine how I could be brought closer to what I understand is love - pure and not-so-simple.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Turn up the Steps

If my thoughts were living things, they would long have died from abuse and neglect, having been allowed to wander on their own, unclothed, without provisions. They know where they come from but have no language to express themselves along the highway, and no sense of destination. They do not stop to exchange information, except to pause to announce themselves regardless of who might be near, if anyone - an occasional soul. What I could do for my thoughts is a long-foregone certainty: less than anyone I know is willing to do. My sense of duty toward my own thoughts expresses itself extemporaneously - but this position is a function of my heritage. I know that. I am not convinced that exchange is all it's cracked up to be. I suspect it is a form of certainty in seeking partisan support. But I like my thoughts alone. I believe that a thought worth having will better survive and in a truer state if left to itself. It would only serve to weaken or malign my thoughts if I put my hand to their surroundings. After all, they are free, here, to persist among their own kind. That is a quiet sort of life, granted, but no stranger than what we are left to amongst ourselves.

I say thoughts and may mean poems. They are one and the same to me, practically speaking.

I believe I am into a new manuscript whose challenges I want to outline. I will be fun to look back in six months or so when I expect to be completed, to see how my impressions bore out, so here are some things I see from the outset. I say "things" to indicate that I have no idea what to call what's coming next.

Since Early December of 2012 I have undergone catechism and initiation into the Roman Catholic Church, and so all I read is the sort of material you would expect. This material makes a lot of hay out of historical, revelatory, and prophetic events that occurred and are occurring, in groups and personally. The ongoing effect (and it is an intended effect, to be sure) lends a peculiarly illustrative nature to the conversation, exposition, and dialogue. This illustrative effect ranges from the sentimental to the pastoral to the pyrotechnic. It should be said that the writings of contemporary secular theologians entirely miss this effect and are, therefore, in my humble opinion, inclined toward dullness and redundancy. While I am inclined to want to capture this illustrative manner of rendering what it is I do when I write poems.

I do not mean merely writing imagey poems. That is not what I mean at all. It means that the author is required to relate fluid boundaries under the aegis of an expectation that both truth and love are realized by one reader at a time and only in the moment of choosing. That moment though is not one of crisis or difference per se. It is a moment of recognition, such as might occur when glancing up from a book on the face of a familiar landscape or friend, now mortal and incumbent. I also want to provide titles as I have not been titling lately and thought I should enjoy that for a while.

There. I think that's all I need to say for now.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Speak over Form

There is nothing in the ethical, in the universal, that can save you, even while there is every form of mediation such as provides the appearance of a means of being saved. I can mediate getting with spending; I can mediate thought with form. I can mediate desire with play; I can mediate outrage with talk. But I cannot mediate my duty to God. I cannot address my duty to God except as an individual. I cannot address my duties, as they present themselves to myself only as an individual, except by turning to God in my duty to God.

Form in poetry is the address which overcomes the appearance of mediation. A poem without form is like a stomach without a lining. It can't be done. It can be spoken or conjectured. And it is a largely settled matter that formfulness precedes and dictates content, and that content is in the loins of the beholder, and that the trumpet, for being commonplace, is a most difficult thing to play.

At this cultural moment of composition, form is the notion we have of a barrier, for keeping in what is ours, for keeping out what one does not wish to be among what is yours. The fact of form suggests that every writer is a censor, which of course every writer appears willing to believe, even as they may strive toward this or that species of inclusion or playfulness. But there is no crime in belying appearances or in delaying the effects of form. For those effects are hard dealt with.

As you imagine and are realized you are lost to dismay. Your panic is the tension of the smooth surface. You are intact. You are on the one hand thankful and on the other empty. What was fury is now a rite of passage - a passover. The question before you is what sort of music does one conduct who has neither chaos nor silence to interfere?

One does not have to think too long on Moses before realizing that, as god of this Israel, you write the rules. Behind, or in back of the fact of form as posing a barrier is the fact of the poet posing or positioning herself as god, or more accurately as architect. In a sense, the configurations - the blueprint - of one's barrier making (one's formfulness) can be lifted and transposed from one set of circumstances to another. That is, set your eyes upon a new land - the land perhaps of one's being realized - and find yourself newly dismayed. In my model, Moses can be allowed into Canaan - but only on certain conditions related specifically to his willingness to accept full knowledge of himself as an individual turning to God. It can be believed that it must be done.

Every poet, if he is to write forever, must learn how to forgive herself his success in believing that she has created a perfect world.

Title for Title

I guess Farms Go Faster is done. The longish poem about the two women who live above a laundromat tied it all together; as indeed any two women living above a laundromat can be said to tie it all together, in a manner of speaking.

I had assembled the other poems to about 28 pages. I expected this poem to take up some slack and provide the last bit of weight, then over the next month or two write individual poems to finish the MS. So, ten minutes ago, I'm leafing through the MS not know what to do next; then I read it slowly with the new poem in place and it simply clicks into place. It has some people, some nature, a bit of religion, and some thought. It's a book of poems. As with the last book, I won't provide titles for the poems or a table of contents. I just don't think that way now. Farms Go Faster will come out at about 36 pages, which is fine for a book of poems. I mean, let's be honest, it shouldn't take more than a dozen pages to get one's point across.

What about these two women though? I think, really, I wanted the opportunity to inhabit the lives of two people in love in a city living in that love and in themselves. In that sense writing the poem was a form of privilege. There is so much consternation out there about gay marriage - but this is about more than that. The poem is really about the author and his/her desires and ambitions. Choices are made unconsciously or not; something is addressed, "satisfied." I care about these two women who live above a laundromat. I will miss them.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Playpen Balladries

Hard week at work, interesting to review. I got quite angry in a closed meeting with a particular individual and rightly so, as I believed, and with HR agreeing. Then came the period of sorrow even as everyone around me (including this individual) rallied to support me in my extra work. And now, I realize that yes, I was right to be angry. The reactions of others are proper too, but even as I regret friction, I have nothing I can regret in my heart except that a thing occurred which was unpleasant. I cannot say I am sorry that the world is this way. I am instead weirdly grateful - well, it's not so weird. I am typically grateful that something perhaps has been accomplished if this individual has learned something, if work goes well; but it is weird to say that the anger was okay, when our expressions of anger are usually so incredibly inappropriate and damaging. Still, I hope never to go through anything like that again, or not anytime soon. It took me out of myself, and combined with long hours at work, there wasn't much left at week's end.

As well, oh, I hope no one who reads this ever has to work too hard to love and pray. It has been a week to take your breath away. I am leery of "resolutions" one way or the other - I have found it is best to breathe deeply while you can and put your hope into a positive attitude going forward. Monday morning will be here soon enough, and quick feet will serve me better then a hardened heart or one liable to disappointment and dismay.

It would be nice if my tendencies toward form meant that I was organized and practical, but I am not. Not particularly so. I go by instinct and priority. I do not burden myself with the form of specific hopes of accomplishing this or that by then or now. I end up where I need to be, most times, as I am capable of work, but I cannot claim to have a system or a plan - a form for how it is done.

Form, instead, is a precept and a container or event - consider the ring, the square, the cross. I write in form; I do not live it. I am no predictor of form even as I routinely produce particles of  rectangular shape. In twos and threes they describe an untidy playpen where the regularity of the surfaces of the objects belies the clutter of clusters of uneven groups. I am working on a poem several pages in length that shows this aspect in apparent detail, I trust.

Back to writing poems. I hope everyone has a lovely Spring week - and that at least one of you falls in love.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mount Angel Abbey on another Spring Day

I went for Lauds at 6:35 AM and made it just in time. Very nice. No communion, but prayerful. A surprisingly intimate group for a Sunday it seemed to me. I thought to leave, knowing of a sudden that what I love and am made for is the mixed muck and glory of a neighborhood Parish - but I stayed for Mass. It was a packed house. Well enough - Communion wonderful, tearful as always. Then I got pulled into a retreat group by a kind-hearted fellow, met the RCIA contingent, listened, then went home. So, these thoughts before I write poetry.

I have been given the grace of belief, that the Lord is present in the Sacrament. I can add nothing to this belief that is not fully expressed in the belief, except to confuse you or myself. Wherever I attend Mass, I receive the body of Christ. I may visit the chapel and worship the body of Christ, which is present in the sacrament. I may stop at a shrine and, inspired by an icon or relic, an image or touch of light, I will worship God, I will worship the Holy Spirit, I will worship Christ.

Belief, after all, is utter and immutable. It is not subject to change, it cannot be improved, not by experience, not even by thought. The belief I had in God as a child has not changed. I may have found ways to express my belief more fully or so that they suit other aspects of my life better, but the beliefs, they do not change. Concepts held as beliefs that change - these are opinions. They are subject to supposition. Someone who purports to have once "believed" in God but then "changed their mind" has done just that. Their opinion has changed. May God bless them, I say.

The visit to Mount Angel Abbey was frustrating to a certain degree, in that the people I spoke to viewed it as a place of deepening a relationship that can never be deeper than to say, I believe in the Holy Spirit. We give ourselves over to this belief - but then, variously, or for various reasons, it can be termed a thought and, as a thought, it becomes subject to comparison. "Jesus Christ," you hear, "is present in your life right now."

Like other things - more than other tings - yes, I see your point, and I thank you. Perhaps it is my epistomologically conservative nature, preferring scripture to commentary (a secondary to tertiary source), as I believe that absent sacred reference, only an individual can say for themselves where or what Jesus is, and only by belief. When I say, I believe, I do not say You believe, and I cannot afford to say, You must believe, or worse, You should believe. I have nothing to do with what you believe anymore than I am fit to "loosen the sandals on His feet." In short, as Catholics, I believe we have two references we rely on. The Bible and our ministers who, as Christ's representatives on earth, we trust to speak the Word in a manner that is faithful to Christ on earth.

And so, if you were to stand me up and demand that I tell you what I know about God or Jesus, I would say first, Forgive me, but I know nothing. I only believe. If you asked me what I believe, I would recite the Apostle's Creed. If you asked me to tell you some details, anything, to support my belief, oh, I could tell you a few things I have experienced, but they are in the nature of mere facts. I know enought to know that I am not fit to draw a line for others to adhere to or even perceive, however willing or sympathetic they might be. I would tend to want to sit down and look over scripture, perhaps. I mean, what can I say in the company of Paul except, to suggest that we read Paul?

It has been an interesting weekend. I can say, I have had the honor, much to my constant, effervescent dismay, of being a reader at my Parish, and as usual or has been the case it was an emotional and startling service. I can say I have insight into the politics of the Church and my liberal leanings that I did not expect to realize. I am a little happy to say, I think I have my perfect "Catholic" (i.e. paradoxical) solution, which is, I believe in the sanctity of life and I believe in choice. I believe in both as both are gifts of God. To live, to choose to live. This position I can imagine would infuriate a reactionary - How do you vote? I hear him cry. I vote my conscience, I reply. Abortion is the law of the land, and in any event I support a woman's right to choose as that is a gift of God. I support distribution of condoms at public schools as an act of Charity - but principally, when I hear people getting so heated over these issues I smile and ask myself, given that we are trained in eternities, has it really been so long since God walked among us and showed us how to love one other?

Like I said, I met some RCIA folks (from St. Joseph's in Salem) and - there he was among them. It seems that he was a seminarian for five years when younger and he asked me is I was attending the seminary! What a joy. I had never seen anyone absolutely prostrate themselves before the Host in a chapel until today. What a great guy. Well, I promised to visit St. Joseph soon and I will. St, Joseph is one of my patron saints as it is and has been very helpful, I think, though one can never be sure - with the certainty of fact - where the help is coming from.

I should know something more on May 20 when I help with the Pancake Breakfast at St. Stephens.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

St. Stephens on a Spring Day

I have been putting off discussions of God, Catholicism, abortion, the election, pedophilia, the Bible, birth control, Easter, my baptism and confirmation, Acts, and all that, waiting for the right time. That time is now and I have almost nothing to write that I need to see written, which is not to say there is nothing to write about.

For example, perhaps you have tended a garden. In the spring you pull out dead plants and hollow stalks, you remove stones and waste, you break up clumps of earth and you smooth it out. You put all the garbage into a wheelbarrow and take it over to a compost heap, or perhaps you bag it for collection by the city. You do all this because you want a nice garden. It's a pain but your flowers and vegetables need room to grow and, besides, you want your garden to look nice. Maybe your family helps. If you are like me, your wife and son do a fair share of the work you should be doing in tending to the garden. Well, they get the lion's share of the credit for that, and it is nice to see them out there doing things, while perhaps you take a nap.

I napped and dreamed of a gate that swung open at a touch. Inside was a garden of flowers and vegetables so rich and healthy I thought at first, for years and years I thought, they must be a sort of lie. I touched nothing in my walk, for everything was immediate to my senses yet, as it were, transparent. I walked in circles and was never lost, for every sight was perfection itself - but that understanding only came later. I touched nothing yet I did not hunger. The sun rested on my shoulders and soothed me like a cool cloth laid across my brow. It was spring, and I was asleep in the middle of the day in a house that would outlive me and many others, as I have always expected and still do.

But today I might walk and see the riches of the earth as one who sees into the heart of a lover and know that one is loved. That moment, that is now, what befalls and is immediate - promised as given and given now. That day. Now renewed and now. Granted and now. Held too closely for words for now.

There are journeys that are too long for words. You strike the dock and can only exhale. A hand smooths your brow, you are done. The birth, the life that seems like it has always been and can never pass, not from earth as you know it. You simply haven't the capacity - to deny, to go on without. An open heart is a heart that cannot fail to be true. The true heart is not an unfailing intelligence. It knows its way as by a star.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

This is What a Title Looks Like

This is not an occupy  or Occupy or "OCCUPY" posting. This is not the opposite of an occupy posting. Now I have put occupy in our heads. I do not want to spend the whole rest of the posting dispelling the aroma of occupy. I apologize for my clumsy beginning, which threatens to barrel roll toward a shattered mess. It is a mess. I will not occupy a mess. I will not be responsible for inflicting a mess on you, a friend - I assume only a friend would read this far.

I am into four pages - 28 three-line strophes - of a poems that I am determined will not simply resolve in any way to which I am accustomed, while neither being the opposite of resolution. So, I am interested and concerned but dissuading myself from a patrician's role, perhaps. The impetus is a resolved desire to write, to produce, come what may. To actively represent before myself the fact of having worked which will lead to more books, of which the world can never have enough.

And why not. Here I am training for a religion where biscuits are made flesh in the twinkle of an eye so to speak. Surely I can manage to keep writing poetry.

But this has been a long road. I would say I have been working toward sufficient peace of mind to write with hope for a few years now. I have produced, at times, but it has been against the grain of difficult, even unconquerable anxieties and doubts - not merely of my role as a poet but as a human being; even then, I am underselling the sheer labor of approach. I will not go into details as I am incapable of the narrative.

I think I could occupy (oh.) every day merely reminding myself of what I should not forget to do. For instance, looking at my old books. Here is Blue Aluminum Curtain, a 20 page poem I wrote on the coast, when we lived in Wheeler, OR, back in - 1998? I think so. I haven't looked at it for years, having in mind my impressions. Looking now, I have new impressions. This too was written in a waterfall of three-line strophes - 100 in total. This is one thing I will leave behind, I think to myself, besides the feelings and memories of family and friends. It is a nice little book, and who am I to doubt the author? His motives were noble and I should know. I see no contradictions to contravene kindness. We can move on relatively unsullied - buoyed perhaps. That is a kind of choice.

I am grateful I can publish as I do, if you can call it that. Self publication is a misnomer really - it is not publication, it is recordal. Self-recordal, or confession, or balloting. What I do is not what most people do or should or shouldn't do. It is what I do.

My way of doing whatever it is leads to some strange behaviors and non-participations. I sometimes feel like a Friday at the beck of a Crusoe who is also myself. I alternate in odd patterning treks, rites, feasts and famines almost half-blind, surrounded by an insensible sea. I do in fact ache to hear news from myself; failing that, I build a fire. It is two days later and I have done nothing, but then there are no guideposts or demands that I do anything. One or another of us, master or servant, examines our heart and resolves to work for the sake of work and to give thanks for what is ours by choice of being ours.

This is one way to write.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Covering Attentions & Thrift by Sound

A feeling of settlement. Trust in the perimeters, what I have built and natural limitations. Interest, energy, resources, desire - the characters that make up a cohort.

The daily routine leading to productions. Review, discussion, plans, building. A person of importance is visiting next week - or a special event. Put away the tools, cover the workings.

The surprise is continuing, today. Friends like bird song for the peace and kind attentions governed by their silence.

Monuments in small ways, or markings. To be gathered for a fire or incorporated into other, larger works. To be used and reused. Or as implements for fracture; set on an end , they serve as shovels.

A shower curtain, a lawn chair. A stand-in friend for a man or a woman, a child, seasoned by spirits.

At the outside is dawn and rattling cans. Feet into socks into shoes into the day. The snap of a flag in a sharp, unpredictable wind.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Form Arc Form

When I say or write the word "form," I am acknowledging creation and confirming limitation. This confirmation is not an admission, but a confession. I am under no duress to say "form," or to say what I know when I say "form." I speak and write it freely. Some may view that as a weakness, and I agree that I am weak. I am weak as all natural things are weak when they turn from themselves to another and speak of themselves. In form, I am as perfectly incomplete as another who dispels form; in form, I am as weak in freedom as another who imagines themselves complete.

Whatever meaning poetry is capable of, it must be capable of rendering that meaning, and in form, as form is the trace by which a thing is known and has been known. When I say "God" I say "love" and I say "turn to love." If I say "emptiness" or "silence" I say everything that is God when I do not say "God." The trace is what you know of what it means to you to read these words. But I am no architect. I am not a scientist. I have little range to leave myself, to make a show of it, to erect stand-alone forms. I am seeking to enjoy what I know and to explain what I enjoy.

All meaning is an act of limitation, as one might choose God or not-God, love or not-love. In either instance God is present in love as your choice is present in love.

Form is the word I give to the fact of being, in arithmetic, the hours, faces identified in a photograph. The other day I left work and purposely watched every step, looked at everything I could, along the sidewalk, at the bus stop, on the bus ride, until I reached home. I might die at any moment, and I do not want to miss it. I want to be sure to be alive to the time and place. Every particular gives me a clue. I refuse to distinguish, to erect some sort of hierarchy. But in employing the form of the thing in creating another thing, which will be silent, I hope to enact a willingness that speaks to another's conscience. If I only am capable, and act, I might be saved at last.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Writing in Returns

I have a theory (I have had lots of theories, and you probably have too. They reoccur from time to time) that one can write or communicate anything, anything at all, even by beginning in a completely different place from the thing you wish to communicate and returning to that place. This theory is founded on the none too radical assumptions that the act of communication is in itself meaningful, and that meaning is transmitted through direct and indirect means. The terms and variations of direct and indirect communication are many, as are the boats on the river, though perhaps not the fish of the sea, and certainly not as the grains of sand. I do not allude here to stream of consciousness writing, but to starting at a point as if at random, and proceeding by the eddies and currents of an apparently neglectfully manned craft, to arrive at a precise point on a distant shore; even one cloaked in fog. For what is writing if not a sort of landscape comprised of fits and starts, peaks and valleys outlined in black on the page, a topography at once absolute in identifying the word of the thing represented, yet utterly foreign to the eye, or to the mind of the reader who has not yet arrived?

An act, therefore, in the name of this theory: but first, I must apologize. I should be a scholar and do my research and some pure thinking on this matter so that I can point out examples of the kind if writing I mean, or present like-minded theories, etc. If I can't be bothered to carry out these sorts of duties I should at the very least take pains to write something so compelling that no one will be able to resist what I already know. But you see, I can do neither of these things. I cannot explain more than I have, and I can only write so well. My theory is a small theory. It sits in among other theories, most of which are much bigger and already have strong followings. My theory has me for its voice; and, yes, perhaps there are neighboring theories and authors with whom I should join; with whom, if I were to take the time to link arms and our fates, we might take our place with the great theories that rule this place. But, again, I must apologize and say, I am a father and husband, an inordinately simple man who finds that the most he can do is the best he can do, which is to state what he is capable of stating in the small time allotted to him, in the small space of the world in which he lives.

An act, therefore (see how I announce our departure, which should be counted in my favor or not, as the reader will, for I cannot judge for the reader or offer opinions in lieu of a general readership); as like a stone, I was turned against my will, for I had none that I would give that name, by a hand that had no author, or that wrote in no language I understood, as if seated at my leisure - call it a break in the day - under a tree past flowering; see we have our errors and our ways, but there is work to do today. Children came past who turned toward us and were suddenly transformed before our eyes into young men and women, dressed variously but speaking as if united to a common cause, when they dispersed - some into houses, other turning this way and that; along a road, perhaps, this one leading to the city. I think I told you about my life in the city. I recall how I appeared to myself, for instance in a mirror, a sideways glance at a mirror, which was all the time I had to contemplate what might become of me. But noise and lights took me away that night and for many nights, until I woke to the landscapes of both the outward and interior eye, the ship's cabin tossing too and for until I thought it would be dislodged from the ship itself, and I could imagine myself floating like that, alone in the cabin of a ship, until the sea had simply swallowed me out of boredom from the play of keeping me afloat.

But every day was like that, so I learned not to complain as one wears one shirt, not two. Form and repetition perhaps are the signals of staying; undertaken and sustained, survival is proclaimed joy - the seed bearing the fruit, the fruit providing sustenance for the body, the eye. A long journey only some of which is written down here. At the time, we were often too overcome with trails and exhaustion to note the particulars. But his journal, this pen I return to you in the condition in which it was given to me, bearing only superficially the marks of wear.

Thank you for reading this. In honor of return I will try and blog again soon.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thought and Faith in Thought in Form

One must work to keep oneself (a) honest and (2) surprised. This work can take many a twist, nay, many-a. Lately, and for lack of anything better to occupy myself, I have put away middle-aged things and convened at the point of faith. For background, I have for many years relied on a faith-by-belief position which lately has sagged and flagged, not for any reasons except that it seemed arrogant to maintain such a personally-preferred status when all the world is going to meeting. I mean, if poets can publish their own books, and gays fight to marry, and people can camp out for financial clarity, I really ought to find a church. Simple enough.
I thought about here and there (Episcopals v. Romans) and decided to go whole-hog, being one who likes commitment (see the ring, the boy, the forms) and besides is on-board with the Trinity. So I went to St. Stephens over here in the Southeast and loved it, and I kept going and love it more, and I have been going every week, and going to adult catechism classes, and praying the Rosary among others, and just having a ball.

It's a lot like C.B.G.B. back in the day but without the hangover.

If you want strange, join the Catholics. I knew Christianity was paradox-driven by the RC's are seemingly compelled to layer, offset, and baffle. I am convinced that fundamentalism is in large part driven by those who don't get RC and can't stand not getting it. Ontological Luddites, let's say. And as far as social aspects of the weirdness goes, I am happy to report that my positions are unchanged and in fact glorified, and I am happy to discuss them: abortion is a right; same-sex marriage is a right. Neighborly love and humility should leave us no choice. Thank you.

But anyway. The thing I want to write about involves Baptism (Capitalizing is big in all its forms), Saints, and dreams.

So. When you (or I) are baptized I will have the opportunity to name one or two patron saints. These should be highly prized individuals you adore, relate to, emulate. I felt groundless and while planning to drop in on the local RC bookstore laid in a proper prayer to God himself for help and guidance, promising a cache of one thousand prayers for the souls in purgatory if he helps out (like I said, whole-hog).

The next night, I had this dream.

I was in the lower level of a building, the interior of which was white stucco walls and old wooden stairs and moldings, which I took to be a restaurant. It was very clean. There was a knock at the door, which opened, and in walks Mervyn Fergusen.

Merv was the doorman/co-proprietor/dean of C.B.G.B. He was famous for wearing a construction hat while working. He was Scot born, Cambridge-educated, a lover of Bach, a connoisseur of all sorts, and he thought kids were the best even when they drove him mad. He was also a devoted atheist being quite unhappy with God for, among other things, the Holocaust. Point taken. He and I were close. He introduced me to T.S. Eliot's poetry, David Hume's writings, and generally was a great guy. Merv died in 1982 of colon cancer, having hidden himself away from everyone except closest family, not wanting to make a fuss.
But as I said, in walks Merv, bare-headed with a look of sadness or utter longing. A person pops their head out and after confusing Merv with me (as far as who had been outside) says we can go upstairs. So we go up these nice old wooden stairs to the ground floor.

*This dream is a trip. Read on. Sorry if it weirds you out. If it helps, I understand. The Catholic Church is rife with idiots, felons, sex fiends, and impostors. It's crimes are legendary. But then, I do not believe in the Catholic Church. I believe in God.*

Anyhoo - as I reach the top up the stairs (Merv drops out from the rest of the dream), a monk comes toward me, looks me in the eye, and passes by to my right. He is dressed in a brown robe, white belt. His hands are gathered in an attitude of prayer. A voice says his name is "Petronius."

Petronius. Keep that in mind.

I am now on the ground floor - same walls, lost of light - where a number of people are gathered, who I take to be waitstaff, cooks, and hosts for the restaurant, which I now understood to be in fact an utterly transformed C.B.G.B. They were all tasting wine which was to be served that night as a way of educating them for their customers. Very professional. The owner is there, and he says, "Actually, Patrick chose the wine."

At this point I was starting to wake up from sleep, but the dream was so strong it kept going. People looked at me and smiled. I nodded, and I woke up out of the dream.

It is about 5:00 AM. I lay there for a moment then said ten prayers to God to have mercy on the soul of Mervyn Fergusen, which I am more or less convinced may be languishing in Purgatory. Jesus what the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks is going on. I get up and go to my computer and look up "Petronious." I see the noted Latin satirist by that name, Fail. Then I see Saint Petronious.

Saint Petronius is an obscure Saint, unless you live in Bologna, Italy, of which he is the patron Saint. I mean to say that his name is not on the current Church Calendar of Saints. He was born in the early fifth century and died 457, I believe. He was born to a noble Roman family and converted to Christianity. He travelled to Africa and went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He was a noted ascetic and a "man of good virtue." He was made Bishop of Bologna, Italy. While Bishop, he retained his ascetic habits. He is noted for building a great cathedral on the model of the churches of Jerusalem. The Cathedral was dedicated to Saint Stephen.

Someone once told me that Catholics don't believe in coincidence. Well, I do. But I also believe in God. So, when I pray to God for guidance in naming a Saint, and I have a dream that includes a monk, and the monk is named "Petronius," and it turns out that there is a Saint Petronius who was a monk, who built a St. Stephens church, and the church I go to is St. Stephens. And, when the whole look and feel indicates that this is a seminal dream, and I weep to my wife as a recount it; and, even knowing that the unconscious/symbolic/archetypal form of C.B.G.B.'s - a problematic, mixed, dark place - has been transformed into a place of light; I say, given all this, I feel grateful and not a little awed. All this, and I am not even Baptized.

Well, what's next. My research yielded no clear results for dreams of Saints. I spoke to my priest who was impressed but counseled me to choose a Saint on the Calendar (the St. Stephen priest is about my age. He escaped from N. Vietnam under threat of death for practicing his beliefs and from what I know of him is very, very special. Just a great guy and devoted and solid in a way that takes my breath away).

At this point I was going purely on gut. I was glad I spoke to my priest, at St. Stephens. I went to daily Mass that evening at St. Mary'sCathedral in Portland, thinking I might talk to the presiding priest. I am glad I went, to give thanks, but as the service ended I understood that no one in the world was going to tell me what was right or true as far as the meaning of my dream. My body felt drained, my heart light. I attended daily Mass the next morning at St. Stephens. That is a hardcore group, the daily Mass folks.

The upshot is that my Patron Saints will be Joseph (husband of Mary) and Petronious. I have said my thousand prayers to God for mercy for the souls in purgatory. If I have done some good beyond fulfilling my vow, great. These were undreamt and treacherous real-world waters I was unprepared for that I got through and am glad to report. Thank goodness it is over.

Other notable"take-aways":

The RC Catechism speaks of prayers to God being directed to Angels or Saints for mediation.
Comments: Roger that. 10-4.

I am American. Petronius was Italian.
Thought: It couldn't matter less.

Saint Petronius, made a Bishop, appeared to me in the robes of a monk.
Rome: take note.

Principally, when God delivers your prayers, you should deliver on your promise to God.
cf. too many references to list here, and I wouldn't do that to you or myself even if I wanted to. I mean, you know where to go find this stuff, right?

Finally, my wife pointed out to me that I have often spoken of "rebuilding" from when I was young, since my days in New York, in C.B.G.B.'s. Rebuilding. When, in life, in poetry, in form, and now have I ever done other than rebuild.

Maybe someday, maybe soon, life mght feel new.

Ours is not a fashionable time to be Catholic, and less to announce it, but then it is never the time to be anything other than what one must be because you feel it stronger than anything, because you believe. I am what I am because I believe with love, and I state what I am and what I know being under another sort of obligation to tell the truth as I am best able. You see how lives can be made and remade, and so you speak to that purpose. What could be simpler.