Thursday, August 30, 2012

Letter to my lover on the incipient breath of autumn...

…or perhaps it would be like this:

I’d pick you up after work toting a cup of coffee and a silo-thermos of pissing hot cider and a backpack, buckling my arms around the lithe contours of yer gentle waist, hoisting every fiber of your anatomy up in the air christening steeple fashion like some sort of metaphysical torch the moment my eyesight saunters across the scent of your body, holding you close upon greeting you, dipping my nose and forehead into the porcelain stump of your neck prior to inhaling like a toddler pirouetting on his toes seeking liquid sustenance at a park fountain, kissing the glossy cheekbones heralding your countenance one molecule at a time before opening the car door in the fashion of the wing, lassoing my right arm (tight) around you, harnessing the steering wheel with my left knuckled palm while my right arm stolidly remains shrouded about the stem of your torso, reeling you in close to me as we listen to music (Neil Young/Lucinda Williams/Counting Crows) perfect driving music as we blast out into the feral prairie meandering meadows still-life savanna glory of the Illinois country side, early October, breezing through fallow fields of checkered chess-board dun splayed quilt like fashion acres upon acres of harvested stalks the color of gold resembling truncated exclamatory marks, the two us, chasing the drooling tendrils of the dripping western sun, noting the chilled pink and frigid azure splattered over head as if in poetic panorama as we wend north through trumpeting glades and sallow-eyed hollows, pausing occasionally in a duet of deference every time we pass the aching menstruating crimson of a wayward barn, our fingers clasping forming a conch of flesh, igniting each other with a subtle squeeze.
Perhaps it would be like this:
We would arrive in the nylon-tint of dusk parking in the upper dells, myself, telling you how much this park phucking means to me, telling you all about my first encounter with the nesty foliage of unalloyed wilderness that is Mattheissen State Park , telling you in detail how I first found myself at this metaphysical mecca of the chest all alone what (shit) fourteen years ago, lost, desultorily driving down country roads one day battered after class, chain smoking, lost in the ghastly windshield welkin outline of my visage feeling like a total failure in all things literary—in all things life, Finding myself alone in the leafy merkin of Matheissen three hours later, early November, the trees resembling chiropractic boughs, doffed leaves, my feet shuffling across a confetti shards of stain glass fractals, ferrying a copy of LEAVES OF GRASS and ON THE ROAD tucked under my arm like a military flag configured into a pyramid after taps, and a notebook to chronicle my thoughts, inky lacerations welted into the page with indelible intent, with each scratch, tryin’ to chisel out everything stowed inside the crater of my chest, trying to make sense of the transient sneeze of time.

I would tell you (as we tramp in tandem to a spot in the park near the Vermillion river, isolated, beginning to constitute camp, pitching our tent, gathering twigs for a fire, myself, popping open a beer (something stouty and earthy)..I would tell you about that day fourteen years ago when I was all alone in the park even though it was a perfect autumnal day, when the park was there for me with open arms at a time I felt like there was no one on the planet who wanted to hold me. I would tell you how I ran wild with deer that day (a bevy of twelve) scurrying across the staticky brush off the beaten bath, across hidden dells and drizzling autumnal glens, the asthmatic cough of a thick autumnal gale unbidden and lost in a fury of leaves, and how (Lost) I somehow found myself that day. I would tell you how that park somehow became a harbinger, (my self-proclaimed creative vagina) a place I go to when I feel I have nowhere left to go in the planet, a sanctuary and somehow every time I leave the park something ( usually life altering) transpires upon my emotional egress. The time I found myself in the park shortly after falling in love (in early January) the park delicately latticed in a half-foot of snow, showing my new found bride every formidable facet while the park itself resembled a wedding cake, snow untrammeled and serene.

I would tell you about the time I let my hair down and skinny dipped in the arteries of the Vermillion river not far from the Oglesby bridge (same exact spot mentioned in the children’s book ON MY HONOR) and, looking up, sprouting from the limestone crags near the far end of the park, I saw a cross emerging up from the earth like something out of a pop-up book, and how, slithering on my jeans, I scaled the precipitous rocky banks of the river nearing the cross, seeing a Virgin Mary candle tithed at the bottom of the cross in vigil like fashion and the words JESUS across the center plank and then seeing the date JULY 6th 2002 (My 25th birthday!!!!) seemingly inscrutably scrawled down the southern latitudinal plank and, upon further scrutiny, discerning that the cross was a homage to a purported Hispanic lad (i.e., Jesus=Hey-Zeus) who had died at that locale and how I sloughed my sweater and tied it around the tree in deference and offered a Baha’i prayer for the departed in his name.   

I would tell about the time I found myself at the park with my friend (Now DUKE professor) Kris Weberg and how we monopolized all afternoon off the beaten path conversing about James Joyce and Don Delillo (lil’ prick purloined my first edition copy of WHITE NOISE) and Wittgenstein and Morrissey and folk music (ah the legendary Ani Difranco-Gilean Welsch-Greg Brown show at the Madison theatre in March 2000) and art and longing and how the moment I arrived home I was offered a job (that night) at Bradley University library where I would work (either as a student manager or as a supervisor apr├Ęs graduation) for the swaggering bulk of the next decade.

I would tell you about the time I found myself (inexplicably) at the helm of the park and how less than a month later my father (who had been healthy) would be gone.

I would tell you all this as we would set up camp I’d begin to quote poems.

I’d quote to you WH Auden’s “As I walked out this evening.” Eliot’s perfunctory Prufrock (how I used to traipse up and down Moss Avenue in high school smoking cigarillo’s and adorned in a blazer lost in the globe of illuminated Street lamps thinking about the evening be spread “half-deserted streets/restless nights in one night cheap hotels.” I would quote to you Shakespeare’s “The time of year thou mayest in me behold/ when autumn leaves or none or few do hang.” I’d quote Rumi. I’d quote passages from Wittgenstein’s Tractatus-Logico Philosophicus (‘nother germinal read,) about how the single thing proves over and over to be unimportant but the possibility shows us something about the nature of the world and, “..If eternity is understood not by endless temporal duration but by TIMELESSNESS then he who lives in the moment lives eternally” (sounds like a good name for a blog).

I’d quote to you Whitman (perfect poet laureate for Mattheissen):

WHEN I peruse the conquer’d fame of heroes, and the victories of mighty generals, I
do not
the generals,
Nor the President in his Presidency, nor the rich in his great house;
But when I hear of the brotherhood of lovers, how it was with them,
How through life, through dangers, odium, unchanging, long and long,
Through youth, and through middle and old age, how unfaltering, how affectionate and
Then I am pensive—I hastily walk away, fill’d with the bitterest envy.


I would tell you about the music I adore. How I am somewhat of an Opera buff (Cecelia Bartoli baby!!!) How one of the highlights of my week is Sunday morning, reading the New York times, making ma’melettes (ie, man omelets, lathered in hot sauce and grazed cheese) while listening to BACH in my solitude phucking loud. I would tell you how I went to school in the Southside for most of my life until college and was kinda a thug (god ol’ topography) and just listened to copious amounts of Gangsta rap and how I think the moment I truly became a writer was when I first heard NWA’s “ALWAYS INTO SOMETHING.” (esp. the stanza when DRE talks about always feeling like a motherfucking failure b/c all he feels like is just a statistic of his zip code). I would tell you how I think the most brilliant band that never made it was FREUDIAN PRESS (they were pretty much ONE WORLD’S house band in the poetic patchouli and hapless hemp of the mid-90’’s )and how local leprechaun-bearded folk singer Dave McDonald (he owns and founded the academy of fretted Instruments on WATER street) is one of my best friends’ and how a fairytale song he wrote called MERRY MONDAY HAPPENSTANCE was the only thing I could think about when my father was on his death bed. 

I can tell you how in high school (Moribund Manual) I was seemingly fucked-up (ie, I carved the word ‘POET’ horizontally down my chest) and how my best friends were Morrissey and Tori Amos and ironically, get this- I actually purchased LITTLE EARTHQUAKES from the old co-op in Campus Town in late winter 1992 on THE DAY IT CAME OUT on a fluke but then didn’t listen to it for like six months until I randomly had it playing in my bedroom freshman year that autumn and I was sitting at my writing desk in my bedroom on Sherman avenue and the song WINTER skated out is icicle-laced chimes across the speakers and time stood still.

I’d tell you about the song that had undoubtedly (unabashedly) meant the most to me for nearly all of your lifetime has been GUNS-N-ROSES emotional epic “Estranged” (even though the video admittedly sucks).

I would tell you all this as our senses olfactory acclimate to the damp clover piquant fern/muddy moss of Mattheissen, a fire dancing in dervish flickers in front us, a banner of lavender pinned in the directions of the sun slipping out of our collective vision in a plateau of pressing gold. I’d cook for you (re-heat rather, over the fire) my signature (beer saturated) Sweet potato stew. I’d hold you close. I then tell you about the status quo of my heart. I would tell you about how (the last nine months) I hurt all the fucking time. I would tell you about the classy married women who lives in Switzerland (she’s American but she has money) who the last decade of my life has more or less evolved around and how I used to write her a long love letter every day for all of two years.

 I will tell you about that refulgent day five years ago where she (surprisingly) showed up unannounced at my doorstep in autumn and how it was the best day of my life and how the first time we really made out was on a picnic table in the lower level of Bradley park (her on top of me like a lid) and ironically, it was at the same area of Bradley Park where (in the in the winter tundra circa 2004, with snow) I first started writing a poem for her called LOOK FOR ME UNDER YOUR BOOTSTRAPS. I’ll normally revise a poem close to nine or ten (more like 60— fuck those writers in town who scribble out one-draft drivel and deem it art ) times and then let it sit and come back to it and (even more ironic/mystic) that poem when it came to me, for the first year at least, was originally called SIMON (like Simon says, only it was called SIMON) the color of your last name.

I would tell you how the next day I went back to Bradley park and felt a peace I had never felt before and found her cigarette butts (menthol) on the ground and placed them in my mouth sucking on them like communion wafers just so I could taste the romantic residue of her lips once again.   

I would tell you how later that night at work (Bradley Library, third shift) I got an e-mail from her claiming that her (rich-as- fuck/doesn’t work/asswad) husband she married when she was your age (she’s 38 now) wouldn’t like what happened between us. I would tell you how I went crazy. My body started shaking. My heart began reverberating seismically out of control. I had trouble breathing. My thighs buckled (which is the sign of a heart attack) and I couldn’t walk up stairs.

I phoned the campus police for help. When they found me I was lying supine, face up paralyzed on Bradley quad. I had no voluntary control of my arms or my legs (was literally paralyzed in love) my arms stiff ( I just couldn’t move them hard as I try, although ironically I still had my wit—when they hooked me up to the machines at the hospital I inquired if EKG stood for Eternal Keg of Guinness).
I would tell you this before quoting Walt Whitman again:

SOMETIMES with one I love, I fill myself with rage, for fear I effuse unreturn’d love;
But now I think there is no unreturn’d love—the pay is certain, one way or another;
(I loved a certain person ardently, and my love was not return’d;
Yet out of that, I have written these songs.)

I would then thank you for listening and thank you for always supporting our local readings.
I would then tell you how much I cherish our rapport.
I would tell you how much I enjoy being next to you.
I would tell you that at the last poetry reading even though I was sitting next to my girlfriend at the time, I couldn’t keep my fucking eyes off you and how I found my hand errantly gravitating in the direction of yer skirt, a clamp to a bell.
I would squeeze your hand and lead you to the banks of the Vermillion.
I then would kiss every part of you.

….this is how it would be:

The two of us draped beneath the winged penumbra of the prairie moon basking overhead, undressing each others flesh as if opening cupboards, buttons plopping in the fashion of skipped pebbles, zippers reeling south in purred metallic yawn, DNA helix being unfurled, my cock, launching out from between the albino hymnal pages of my thighs, a telescope of flesh saluting in yer direction, the kid waving his hand in the back of the classroom aching to answer the professors query.

How I would hoist you up and cradle you in my arms, naked, my cock pressed against the lower curvature of your anatomy like pillar, carrying you like a child into the direction of the river, leading your hand to my body, grappling the southern scroll of my virility like a diploma, myself, alighting the planks of your legs around my waist, kissing you slowly and deeply at first, as I grab your wrist holding the aesthetic ache of my libidinous desire and tell you to put me inside of you, entering you tightly at first and slowly. Our bodies forming an unknown integer of limbs and longing, as you scrape at the back of my hair and tell me to go slow and deep like a fairy tale, a chandelier of stars jisming above us, myself lost in the constellations of your eyes.

How the shadows our enjoined limbs cast across the riverbank would resemble a lighthouse and how I would then lead you back to shore, arraying your limbs down like a table on all fours, pressing you body down, fucking you like I am trying to saddle and tame a feral animal, our bodies, a conjoined cocoon waiting to be hatched in a fit of scratches and sighs, kissing the lower hemisphere of your neck once again, tittering, telling you that I am going to come. Asking you if you want me to pull out and aim dousing the smooth pasture of your back with a rivulet of the nocturnal jam.

And perhaps in that moment you would tell me not to pull out of your body. You would tell me that you are close. You would tell me not to sop as your body tightened and squeezed and how, you would start speaking in unknown tongue before you come, are body, as one, howling beneath the moon, sharing a filched pocket of pilfered eternity for one pocket of what is conceived as time.

And how that night, my arms would remain devoutly buckled around you close and occasionally you would feel my lips kissing your forehead like a petal in medias blossom, closing your eyes, the sound of a waterfall in the near distance lulling us into avenues of wished-for sleep.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Carole Maso and the Threnody of Aesthetic Desire......

When I was a junior attending Illinois State University I tried to seduce Visiting Writer Carole Maso. I had read her delicate novel "AVA" three years prior and had fallen head-over-Doc Martens in love with her poetic ardor, tithed sensuality, lavishing, sumptuous syntax and overall succulent jazz moonlight-stillness slipped into every stanza --she is one of the few writers who possesses the ability to gently chisel out museums of sound into every sentence she produces (It's almost as if the privy reader feels the blanketed galactic warmth of an angel subtly exhaling next to you in the middle of the night--sharing your pillow, a nocturnal breath of dream hope lulling your ear). The fact that Carole Maso herself is a DAMN FINE classy scholar and teaches creative writing at BROWN failed to hinder the culmination of my sophomoric libidinous conquest in the slightest and I arrived at the reading juggling gumdrop visions of the accomplished literary goddess nestled up in my dorm room, our lips volleying stanzas of Keats, Byron and Bronte between our chins before succumbing to the scent of her chamomile kisses. The goal I oriented for myself was simply to say something to Miss Maso that no other human being had ever said before. To (as she had done for me in her prose) add something to the collective discourse of the humanities using the medium of voice and sound. Something that would leave an indelible love-rash into her memory. I arrived at the gala two hours early and by the time she entered I was stationed agape-mouthed in the front row voluntarily clueless as to what my immortal author-seducing comment might be. The reading was a bouquet of echoes mingled with linguistic vistas. The author ravished the audience with never-before-read scrolls culled from a fetus draft of a pending novel. She stood gracefully above her attentive audience, the buxom mast of a maiden vessel, her body engulfed in a syncopated sway, her lips forming erotic key signatures with every plosive intonation. Miss Maso hurtled sounds of feminine wrath--Eve endeavoring to convey her sexual frustration to Adam in triumphant animalistic caterwauls and snug salivated grunts. She read excerpts of poetic grandeur, tossing her shoulders towards the crowd, swaying in a metronomic parlance, her eyes and body lost in fervor resembling a creature that was haphazardly tossing shards of antique furniture in an incinerating snap of a human conflagration. I milled around the conference room at the end of the reading while fellow undergrads and literary toadies huddled around the author; their arms outstretched with recently purchased copies of her work like wounded wings. When I finally accumulated the gall, gulped and accosted her I alighted my hand in a gesture of thanksgiving, embracing the smooth interior texture of her palm, I muttered out the following ill-contrived canticle. "Miss Maso," I stuttered in still-life awe. "When you were reading just now. It was so beautiful....It was so beautiful. It sounded like someone was going down on my heart." The Eternal Scribe looked at me and at the word "heart" her body jumped. Her shoulders jilted. Her eyes opened the way the sun opens up into sleek, lavender corners of early morning atmosphere. She then silently smiled, blushed and jolted her fingers into my wrist manacled in a grapple of white dactyls. "I could see you in the front row." She said, a neon electric tilt of excitement glued to her voice. "I was reading just for you." *** I had failed in my germinal quest to seduce of a conspicuous literary celebrity. There would be no fellow male gloating and embellished boasting in the linguistic locker room to fellow toga clad novice poets and forensic fags. Miss Maso never entered my dorm room to marvel over my selected crop of Dalkey Archive titles. There would be no promises. NO poetic banter. NO shouting out of first names in the urine-saturated dank of dormitories. But what I learned that day was all in the manner of the squeeze. It was in the method her nails gnawed at the pallid interior whiteness of my wrist. It was the way her lashes batted in my direction when I told her that her prose, "sounded like someone was going down on my heart." It was the covenant of her breath that when she said, "I was reading just for you," which this formative writer intuited as something like this: "We're in this profession together. It's a shit profession and it's damn fucking lonely at times. But this is the life we've chosen. Let's give as much of ourselves to this vocation as we possibly can so when other's need us, they won't have to necessarily endeavor to seduce us, they can just prop open the sleeve of our narratives to find solace and maybe hope." That said, for those of you out in the circus of cyberland willing to give yourselves, your life and your talents to that which is greater than yourself, don't be surprised if you feel a snap at the interior whiteness of your wrist before finding yourself encircled in an endless cloud of smiles.