Ben Cramer recently received this message from the very well known poet Rewfjaan V. Roofjean. You may have trouble playing it if you don't have a player that plays "wav." files. I'll try to get an mp3 version up when I can.
to this am a strange interval, my sister and mom am in a action, or, if not in a action, a we’re no matter talkative as a matter of we apiece be considering facts different being crazily interval, and I'm laying do something inbetweeny, attempt to be her “communicating,” become her explaining their feelings to each other ... cuz facts always been a part I’ve tried to game: peacemaker smootherouter, deal in ... but I ain’t do it, see ... I ain’t getting in among facts dates back to excitement ... oh, wait, now they have it edged ... (it is a action) ... mom’s yell out her chunk it’s a great time, I be considering, facts she’s saying it, no matter a great time facts she’s yell out, or yell out ahead my, but my sister ain’t reacting she’s a fair way been yell out for, I wish certainly say something, have a mind to her to have a mind to my mom her drop-in, have it edged, open facts lines at communication ... but I’m hold back ... this ain’t my action, this ain’t my excitement, this ain’t my accents, I don’t have to be one of inbetweener here above ... to, there a bash at relief in facts midst at stress, draw up these drop-in as a matter of fact decrease correct now botsett at I’m no matter is running away and no matter reacting sadly, albeit ... I’m a fair way being in the middle of
The spaces between people: laughs a world. Front tarpaulin, you raise your glass to woods with burnplugs and ankles twisted sideways, feeling wishy. Not a tan in the house, all bellies white and foolish and we slung noodles at haloes for getting old kicks in. Now, this text’s prepositional transitory mood maneuver: All hauled up from clammy ditch where previous civs deposited bodies, precious stones, even flowers. Once, waiting at a stoplight, I saw them taking a dead person away. The dead person was also waiting, but not to get somewhere else. Criss-crossed lines and cankick rambling walks on roadsides, traintracks, utility-conditional spaces where cities want you to walk but not authorities. Good advert strategies: free to buy, once you’ve tasted the expensive stuff. In magazines, trinket-baby eyes wink back at you for clever moments of goofy intuition. You dreamt of last night’s good rest, an old lover who meant a lot to you, as much as I did, but probably more. In this text, you and I are the same. That was the end note, so as not to pale out too quick. The meta-narrative was the occasion, despite being able to eat, walk, conclude things about where we were. Sometimes, I have this feeling, that I have lived too many different lives to represent myself honestly. Trying feels scattered. You feel a mode, think it’s me, be that for a while. We’ll both feel freaked when it alters. Am I listening, or watching your lips for change? Time was.
Think: slippy cool ice chips; mint bell peals sliding down warm lips; handholding under clear cold skies, hot thermos chocolate tucked inside coat; temples rubbed by strong, careful hands; freeform cloudshifts tripping by summit tops, kites aloft with crows; kind slow kisses lost in tremulous eyelash reunions; trees leafy green and shady over desert hotheat; cake on plates, eaten at weddings between fundumb dances; carpets of moss and leaves in quiet forest silences; waking pressed to naked lover and favorite song.
the circus the circus the big apple fambly circus in new york city with sparkling Chinese men in blacklit greenlight skinsuits tumbling through rings and strapped inside giant wheels that spin around a clapping axis—Jack sitting on my knee wide-eyed and startled by hilarious watery abandon of clowns and buckets and sprinklers sluicing while horses wing the ring with sand-upkicking hooves spattering front rows of kids and dads—holding my own mom’s hand while strange white-dreadlocked god-figures stand upside down on top of each other, on their hands, a human power pyramid, dark skin glistening under big misty floodlights—my sister and cousin next to me, passing around hot soggy hotdogs and tossing salty popcorn on the floor—a giant billowy puppet man with flowing blue arms and weird bulging squinty eyes sways right next to us and Jack says, “that’s kind of scary” and I say, “yeah, kind of scary, but kind of cool, too,” and he says, “yeah, cool”—and all and everpresent are shimmering tight thigh muscles of acrobats, arm and back ripples of tightrope girls, sequined calves and glittering chests of dancers—a wild guy on a bike with oldtime aviator goggles rides wobbly round the ring, up on his back wheel, while taking off the front and spinning it in his hands—clownmen piping satyr flutes while audience kid faces flicker in the strobe of this polis vortex—Jack squeezes my hand when the bikeman rides through a ring of fire, acrobats swinging on spongy poles above us...he is my nephew, he is almost four years old, and after the show he’s up on my shoulders and we run and traipse up and down sidewalks, laughing and singing about the people we saw spinning and seeing just how far we can get our fingers up our noses...can we touch our brains?
On-The-Bike-Horticulture was Ben, a Pablito, making cash to pay for tostones in the nickel window. He rode every wrong way next to the cops, without getting seen, since he always, when available, took the secret passageway. There was a little salchicha that didn’t represent, but actually was, all the power and knowledge and intellectual fortitude in the world. It was the same as Wallace Fowlie’s bald head. When he ate it, he also didn’t eat it. When he egested it, he brought the tautology to its natural conclusion. In the middle of the sea, there lies a wasted land. At the midpoint of [his] life, [he] found [himself] in a dark forest. He opted to pregin prevery prentence pre proke prith pre pround “pr.” It was better than not breathing through his nostrils the whole day. He didn’t notice that a building that was almost right next to the one he lived in had been restored (or built anew) simply because it was next to a hill. He never rides up that hill, except today, a December day when he wears cargo shorts. There is no sweaty old Septic System Cleaning Company shirt in his pocket, but there was one in the pants of a fellow he met at a wedding reception.
Ever so minutely delicate, I can still feel the pink digits of day’s beginning rove through my hair. In corners, in homes with loneliness, who will weird out the pretty sources of love? Trust, in raindrop form, is the comeback’s exoskeleton.
In my search for meaning I am always alarmed, never surprised. Rapt in booming vestibules of the past, I keep finding more animal habits, more thickening games, more careful meaningless gestures. Many instruments intended to produce laughter barely suffice for groping.
So there’s me, bleary-eyed and coaxing. I wonder through the simple days, loose-jawed and without handles, avenues plush with brass tacks. The grey and green of it all is getting brighter, as I practice non-avoidance.
my girl's tall with hard long eyes as she stands, with her long hard hands keeping silence on her dress, good for sleeping is her long hard body filled with surprise like a white shocking wire, when she smiles a hard long smile it sometimes makes gaily go clean through me tickling aches, and the weak noise of her eyes easily files my impatience to an edge--my girl's tall and taut, with thin legs just like a vine that's spent all of its life on a garden-wall, and is going to die. When we grimly go to bed with these legs she begins to heave and twine about me, and to kiss my face and head.
Holding hands up/out in front of me to block sun going up my cavey nostrils, trance of this world, I feel you once again upwelling for my root-shot. Cavernescence of head, mucusoid webtrails pastiche my Hadean greysongs in/outward from older earthsmudge. Bean-breathing electroluminescent whorls inward from El God Eye of grief outward to forlorn navel Mandalaspace, many loves have I lost, many lives started and restarted. Many worlds have I traversed, many affairs meddling with my brainheart. Fashioned from the mawbone of my own crass mindscape, where relatives crackfall like giant Jackfruits down from trees in night, property thudding as with the routing of hogs, in shade of bitter grasses, I lay me down to contemplate itch on my bare backskin. Fish with jaws of rusted Chinese scrap metal hauled off to build big things twenty centuries from now stare at my weeding hair, upcoiling dirtily from might of candlefields and future weirdflowers. Sitting upright in possible space, the world plinks her pollen mandolin. I hurdle forward, mad through voidchasms and sundry songholes. With sun descended, free from the colloid of time, fingers press at my sides; me, self-imaged a man of tendrilhands, rustily send down feelers towards warmth that flows further past cold dirt air. And in night breathing, while manic moondrafts sluice me over, someone comes striding, wild through fields of frozen heather, to take my hand, longfingered, ringlet-haired, white-skinned and fine. I smell her own hair, busting up cold-current watercourses. I crane toward contact, feel real after centuries of blankshining vocal catatonia. Mythos plies its horned wares in dusty corners of my regal visionchambers. I sprawl outward-bodied, grab Nereid flesh and stunsing new grooves after girlwhirled nightsighing. Squalid time, you/me wretched in angelic torpor, what blithe pilgrimage are we on now, with eyes so wide we pupil-respire? I see her thin figure, strong and roiling in sleepshorn tumult, tangled, as I am tangled, in alliance of ocean-bed winewaves. We one and two to the perspiration sounds of happy fingers fumbling for new knowledge. Unestablished codes of thisness and drunken heavylidded sweetsounds double as body cartography. Mist rills flirt between lip gatherings. Flying on the ground never felt so highwinded, currents of this rococo lay circulate back to beings born of tiny phosphorescent touches. Walls bliss out like shucked snakeshrouds. Her smile is a smoky token to take on all my travels.
I lay my bell-cry out, aloud from under creed of night, rioting in loadstone-mangled hands with crashburnt eyes, torn apart by fire. Flowing from tongue-induced wounds, three-souled breathfeathers embrace the daystar’s brilliance. Touchstones gather in water-stirruped windchannels, whipped aloft in softheard fury peals. No rhythm in the chest makes up for sound of rain. I angle dreams together with white winter blossoms crowded into ice along pond’s edge.
This watermelon watch seeks everything, thinks about Monday with gigantic frustration, fails to encourage perversity. Frontiers lie fallow, haunted by housewives’ spinning eyebrows. Careers, like display cases, obscure the cracks in things. Culture is not good for much more than beverage measurement.
"...Ah, poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life. You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a long one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences. For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still explained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn't pick up (it was a joy meant for somebody else—); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars,— and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many lights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labour, and of light, pale sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves—only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them."
--From The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke (1910, trans. Stephen Mitchell, 1983).
I am fallen, and hard, for 7 muses. I never expected this. My whole life spun, the most unpredictable moment, and seeing myself suddenly in an entirely new light, impossibly alive. I see her face, smell her hair, taste her skin, not only when I close my eyes.
What, now and/or then is the truth of poem extraction, of the press of bodies, friendly relations between bodies, the lingual trick and slip, trip and slick, fleeting warmth in an otherwise icing night?
On the outside, fish swim in air.
Why the cross-stitched milling of bees under the rib cage? What the truth of ticking and beast sound, hair tingling the upper back, the neck, the chance encounter with the lip-dryad?
On the outside, blue cacti tell secrets.
Time, then? An extra-spatial thing, a gradual occluding, a tropical crucible for saponification of the senses and window throwing…
Outside, tired cars sleep cold.
What comes in? Who comes in? Who gathers readiness, nautical miles from Pangaea? In the cant of reason, in red-rimmed momentary lapse of trees, outside, where eyes tell storytales, a dream in the crazy night runs closer, ever more highly reticulated, ever ready to follow a candle, shadow of another energy signature, into the dark. Who’ll stand for cinnamon scented new kisses and not deshacer?
Outside, Christmas lights think new thoughts.
Victorious humans, in perfect cracked-apart versions of their body-shells, find magnetic ease in a hundred glances, a hundred beginendings.
Outside, houseplants huddle closer.
In this rarified air, in this stricken era, the bed is an island of freedom in a time of exploration. It has its own atmosphere.
Bright and dark unbroken forest light from within my willing world to find places I’ve never gone and whisper where I might... I am a way that being does its thing. The lost cloth of a thousand years of seeing. The truncated silences that make comfort feel unreal. The feeling of the car as it moves from inside my ear. These things I cherish, along with the tight night embrace and the reeling kiss.
Why the happen from the chance, Crom?! Today when the pacific is a trade from the tune to oven-folded head of your dear pal, drinkthink my chances at the lathe, I crumble coal for ya. Not a hanger, but a gliding thing that guns trip down from hotpot frightening heights, fly butter, or something such as like a fried butter pavilion where to rest your deepest tot. Wink the peel if you slip down on comedic chance the pop of iffy stuff, like falafel and smoothies made from old loofa things, radio men emerging out of froth strewn stew. All the goiters made our appetizers wet, the free-floating gobs of fist abandoned to the casa, and masters of teal and other leaden tings go belted into night. Whiff of birdshot from your doppelganger, Mr. Chance, is an encounter with your times. I still the harshest waters. You, messianic Oyster, eyes wobblewarbling over pages made of pixilated vibratto-hustling, stand in the shadows with the figures you hear to know. You'll get there.
I a sting eyed burn event, ramble from butt of stove, make palaver out of old pipes and trees winking out at edge of civilization-colloid. Nothing but broad expanse of thought between distances of spear-popped space, capsules of old Inferno-giggles crunking their ways out from out of Mars-eye. Grunt the canticle with dents, cuz old cousins like oliphaunts know Poems have Demises, like big bellied head-legs, squids, octo-men, and whatever else rambles in night-towned dirge ditches, filtering the city dust from over-opened skies. When whispered the majesties of old Serendib? Where hallowed the crows of radio-siren-headed dervish toboggans? How tinctured streets with handblown Venetian pavementshards, wondering in kind nights from memorescent tries at visionshifting? Old friend, tumbling animal kinder, beatitudes of lilting bell-peals in the homes of your head, be well with world as spin cycles quicken and pow...
Sleep two great equalizers, greed and childhood, suppressed, grainy with dew, apes run forward off cliffs. I watch Tando listen from within weeds, gathering dusk in his nets. Flies buzz by quadruped ear tips, hunting in agitated cloud, tiny mobs. He thinks, when you’re traveling, ask a traveler for advice, not someone whose lameness keeps him in one place. Swelling from ancient heat, he makes waves with hands to remember water patterns under cover of leafy head. In sinuous folds of cities old and grim, where all things, even horror, turn to grace, he follows, in obedience to his whim, strange, feeble, charming creatures round the place. In seeking weathered notions of seem and mind-at-rest, he’s clattered his walls with hand-sewn symbols, cranky sometimes, or full of sweet radar scent, and tangerine-blanked photographs. Pancreas and penned wishes own this pose, what’s stung and told from pillow’s lies, or a long wergild parchment, stitch lines of song on guarded eyes. Pang in pang, tacit time genuflects for an old brass ring or stark hymn. Crows abandon Stand-In Alley, look grim, ready for takeover. Later in the afternoon, swimming his shadow in late afternoon clear water light, “Three-eighths-inch open end,” he says, voice raised, he sees me pause in front of ...... . We swim in nada for thin sips of life in it, he up-stones a throwing spike, an arm in strength. Tando, it is strange to live in a body, to have hands and feet and a head. Is there a simple meaning in this? Is it important to live in one part of the body more than others? Franchise of local food producers, mitochondrial collaborations, marmalade goes in, sweat goes out. For host species that live with mutualistic organisms, cues derived from symbionts are likely to be exploited by specific parasites. Where water goes, we should both go, and go under. The sting of recognition triggers the memory & try to take that apart (put that together) dissolved in day’s baked light. If your cause includes you well, you will summarize the traits most excellent, a lot of lies in words. Or flies in a jaguar sign. Now hominids eat hominids and big cats get themselves gone at the sight of them, which they always did, but perhaps with less disgust? A rum endeavor, this human wheeling, going into and over everything for a chance at lips and touch. Our voidy ball of space wrack both warms and winces from the heat of you, Tando. Look, feeling is a vividness that passes so quickly, you have to abandon the poem to follow it.
I scam rascals of an extra dimension, tranq gun for premonitory feelings, crapulous and goring, I ride. Time to people them skies with blokes and fish hat tangerine calluses. All stories I tilled under and told to me and switched ’gators, my stomach turning hit and jump a dirt bike, dangling from a tree and throwing firelit paper crumples down on our neighbors. Not to shake it but there was a candle time when boyhood friend Danny Roemer and I built a startling tree house at the edge of the road, took boards and hammered them into branches, gambling on blindness of cops. We stashed everything secret and meaningful to us up there, everything to make fire and some money too. That was our stuff, and we liked to hold it. Once we set the street we used to play on on fire, turned Danny’s lawnmower over and opened the cap, covered asphalt in gasoline and popped a match…watched from the bushes while the elder McGuiggan boy (wearing a leather jacket) stomped the flames out, looking all around for who did it. We sunk deeper into the bushes, held each other tight for laughter. Should have known I would get these memories back, auld things and actions whipping by as my wired home-visit approaches. Got to see my brain crease in the mirror. Will I visit the Granfortuna graves again?
Like Truman Capote I’m writing this in bed. Writing in my sleeping bag, transcriptions from skull wall, elephant ears grow from memory’s heads…ghost fragments of all friends shivering me temples. A constant staccato signal stutters outwhere, of who, of how, of whispers under my covers. I, a child, am taught to think with a new body, an awkward body, a joyfriend body, reveling under fulling moon, just letting motion happen. Even with my graying hair the body moves mostly how I tell it…spine pain grinding away under the lunatic sky, but me, laughing at the sweetness of it all…rolling along on crazzy green wheels led by the 7 muses of Art, Insight, Nonsense, Strangeness, Light, Energy, and Yes. Chanting of nonScrit sanSense words had me hand over heart, hands in air, bellowing as a baby bellows first words, tossing them out like cheerios from my lunglipped bowl. The room itself chanted, vehicle of a hundred yogis bursting with Bhaktic glee. It was a mytheirheart situation, and it was good. It knocked my shieldface off. I was happy to give it all away. José on the cushion next to me, vibrating kindness in every direction, his smile alone beats back the snarling orca of despair. And still there was the strange dream, this morning, sitting on a cold ground next to a fence, watching an owl silently wheel in a field. It came straight for me and I tapped it with my sole, sending it caroming against bumpers of soft air. It came again and this time I tapped its forehead with a broomhandle, knighting it as it veered, turned, landed next to me. Imperturbable owl.
It’s November in February. It’s odd in evening. It’s San Francisco in Ireland. It’s cold in keys. It’s bravery in calliopes. It’s mystical in flames. It’s peace and truth in candles. It’s Transylvania in tapeworms. It’s grout in eyes. It’s breakneck speeds in physical therapy equipment. It’s horns blaring in teacups. It’s blackmail in Gnostic rituals. It’s bands in pudding. It’s memories in Mars dust. It’s always a hand in front of my face. A stumbling block in the dunes. And an accident in your field of vision. In a gypsy wasteland, it’s a wall to crash through. The tundra. If it’s in time, it’s in mezzo mar, un paese guasto. In trips, it’s rolling. In magazine pages it trolls in my swelled head, made of grandfather, lost. It’s past, in colony of dreams, redoubling each minute, a cluster of frog’s eggs. I is a doubtful river-crosser, using sticks to support himself in the frigid whorl. It’s avocado in continent before the drift. It’s at the midpoint of my life, I find myself in an obscure selfishness. It’s a good bet that everyone I’ve ever made love with is asleep right now, at 11pm Arizona time, December 1, 2006. It’s December in February. The skies are whis’pring change. I’m Change.
An Italian-American Spaceman Foresees His Death:
Smashing against ashen walls, alone in space,/
Weirdly wired, mind warping/
Through the void, veering over/
The vapid edge of madness, mumbling aloud,/
"Per aspera ad astra, you young asshole./
It’s a rough road to the stars, Rotando."