Wednesday, December 12, 2012



is the




-e.e cummings

In these last days of the semester, my mind is running five hundred miles per hour in every direction that is not where I 'should' be focusing it. So I took a look at some fragments of poems I began at various points during the times when I couldn't find myself to really sit down and come up with something meaningful, but could potentially squeak some pleasing little lines onto a spare notebook. I can very rarely enjoy reading my own words until after I've left them alone long enough for them to become a bit less familiar.

I saw an unfamiliar quirk in these words today.
Something in me gave up on finding a connecting thread; a purposed intention for each piece. I'm seeing words that look kind of nice, and

I will criticize them soon, and upload over the next weeks. [Edit: Lies as of 2.10.13]

Now back to work.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Shivering Heart

Felonwood's birth at Java's Brick Lounge

Now I read self help books by the light of my muted television
Illuminating the walls in the same inconsistent pattern a fire would
But this light is less warm, and this light takes less effort
And this light trembles nervously through my bedroom
Much like I trembled nervously through this day

                            -Uncredited from Tumblr

Blame caffeine, poor diet, the assorted and often overbearing stresses of academia. Whatever makes you feel more comfortable in the moment. Some form of temporary relief.

I've recently developed a little heart shiver. It comes sometimes when I should be focusing on bigger things than myself. It's just tangible enough to become real in my mind and suddenly seem worse than it probably is.

But yes, my life has gotten pretty exciting and terrifying and rewarding lately.

However, one small solace from chaos I've assumed recently is a music project I've started alongside some new and old friends in response to the open mic nights we host on campus for our literary magazine. I think we're calling it the Felonwood Project for the time being.

Here's a fly on the wall recording of us playing with Jeff Mangum's Oh Comely.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


where am I now?

Because I could have sworn this road started somewhere.
In another life maybe, still
connected to me only by the offramp taken to get this far

where am I now?

In the eyes of anyone. I am
Every year of every memory of
every person I've ever been.
all swallowed by the thin grey
hours since I could look outside
and see nothing behind me at all.

where am I now?

as Gideon as
my truth unnoticed goes
into the back of the drawer.
just so that some small voice can say
in the aftermath,
there was hope all along.

there I go.

And of course,
it would be
euthanasic to feel so free
to feel the speed
my windshield melting away
giving voice to the night
the weight of the wind against my streaming eyes,
pushing blurred vision to the back of my skull
peeling back lips, tearing at the tongue
screaming louder still dissolving bliss and skin
teeth and bone erode to dust
shattering and shimmering
suspended behind me

The highway consumes my reminders of what could return,
dormant in my marrow,
and leaves in the world
just one more stranger.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Jessica's Perspective

[New York Post:]
3 June 2012

(I was shown how fragile life is on Saturday.)

TORONTO -- Police in Toronto were searching for a gunman who opened fire in a shopping mall Saturday evening, killing one person.

The shooting occurred about 6:20 p.m. local time in the food court of the downtown Eaton Centre, local TV news channel CP24 reported.

(I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime.)

Two women and a man were also rushed to the hospital and were in serious condition. All were suffering gunshot wounds 
A pregnant woman went into labor after being caught up in the stampede for the exits after the shooting. Two other people were injured in the stampede.

(I saw lives change.)

Marcus Neves-Polonio, a 19-year-old busser at the food court, told The Globe and Mail he saw a man take out a gun and start firing. Neves-Polonio said he saw one person get shot in the chest.
He described the scene as "mayhem" as people ran for the doors.

The Eaton Centre is the largest shopping mall in downtown Toronto and police said it was packed with thousands of people at the time of the shooting.

(I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.)

[BBC News:]
20 July 2012

(I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted.)

At least 12 people have been killed and 59 wounded in a shooting at a midnight cinema showing of the new Batman film near Denver, Colorado.
Witnesses said a man wearing a gas mask opened fire after tossing a tear gas canister in the auditorium.

(Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings.)

Friends and family of Jessica Ghawi, a 24-year-old aspiring sports broadcaster, have identified her as one of the 12 people killed in the Colorado shooting spree. A survivor of another shooting at a shopping mall in Canada just one month ago, her death was confirmed by her brother on his blog.

(Every second of every day is a gift.)

Jessica Ghawi, who wrote and tweeted as Jessica Redfield, had recently moved to Denver from Texas, and was working as a sports journalist. She narrowly escaped another major shooting event, leaving a food court in Toronto's Eaton Center minutes before a deadly shooting occurred there in June.

(After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
-Jessica Redfield, 1988-2012)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I read an article about advances in bio-engineering today. Apparently they made a functional artificial jellyfish out of silicone and rat cells. That’s pretty cool.

Maybe I can make something too.

The building blocks of life

(This is about how far I got before I realized that I might need to go to the craft store.)

If I was going to bring another creature into the world, I wanted to know my creation would be able to experience hardships in life, and yet come through with wisdom and experience.

This also helps make sure he won't get up and run away

And so naturally, he developed into a badass.

Ran out of black thread for his torso. An innocent enough error that sadly left him somewhat gender confused.

But don't worry. Underneath the tough exterior is a sensitive soul.


Monday, June 25, 2012

I Was Reading a Scientific Article

They have photographed the brain
and here is the picture, it is full of
branches as I always suspected,

each time you arrive the electricity
of seeing you is a huge
tree lumbering through my skull, the roots waving.

It is an earth, its fibres wrap
things buried, your forgotten words
are graved in my head, an intricate

red blue and pink prehensile chemistry
veined like a leaf
network, or is it a seascape
with corals and shining tentacles.

I touch you, I am created in you
somewhere as a complex
filament of light

You rest on me and my shoulder holds

your heavy unbelievable
skull, crowded with radiant
suns, a new planet, the people
submerged in you, a lost civilization
I can never excavate:

my hands trace the contours of a total
universe, its different
colors, flowers, its undiscovered
animals, violent or serene

its other air
its claws

its paradise rivers

-Maragret Atwood

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Of Cabbages and Kings

Cabbages & Kings Literary and Visual Arts Magazine

Ending this last semester was a bigger weight off my shoulders than I could have ever imagined. By the last couple weeks, when people asked me what my plans for the summer were, I would tell them "I'm just going to fall over...and I'm not going to get back up." 
True story, as it turns out.

I'm lying here having discovered a couple things about myself in the last month. Mostly weaknesses that I knew existed somewhere in there, but I had yet to be confronted with their actual depth. I've never had to stop and accept that I was in a state of honest dysthymia like I was as this last month came to an end. I managed to lose a lot of academic ground in the withered mindset I got myself stuck in. Not to mention my fading ability to trust the voice coming out of my own mouth, or continuing to ignore the inevitable misfuckery I constantly try to keep on the (distant?) horizon. Plus I managed to misplaced 15 lbs due to stress/poor diet/etc somewhere back there. 

But hey, it's over.
I'm doing alright now. 
Moving on.

Jay and Silent Bob My co-editor and I on a 2am city romp
through the glorious subways of NYC.
I might be singing something.
The one good thing I can say about this last semester is that my magazine team and I really put out an excellent publication over at Cabbages & Kings, and had quite an adventure making it. 

Nearly the entire staff was relatively new to the magazine, all of us serving our first terms in office. Including myself at the head of production as the Editor-in-Chief. But we still managed to craft a solid magazine that's been well received by every department that's seen it so far, traveled to NYC for hands-on training as current and future publication editors, and even fostered a small community of artists by hosting open mic poetry nights on campus and developing writer's workshops for students in the coming semester. 

I just got back from a dinner meeting tonight with my officers to plan and schedule for the next school year, and it's safe to say that the goals we've been fomenting for this next effort use this last issue as a catalyst to reach excellence C&K may never have achieved before. It's something I can get excited about; a refreshing feeling considering where I've been lately.

I've come to the conclusion that I am not an excellent student. It's okay. Not everyone is cut out for this. But at least I know that I'm a damn good editor, if nothing else. And I've been given an opportunity to bring out the best in the people I work with, through managing the publication itself, as well as building a grassroots effort on my campus to connect and cultivate aretè in the artists of my community.

It's something to look forward to.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Almost done with this.

As straightforward as we are,
My bewildered brother
[and to separate him so far from myself is blasphemy]
doesn't find in the same light
what the both of us know
to be true.

Or at least good intent.

This makes many things
difficult for me.
His hands are mine
until I paint them another color.
He thinks the best of us
without compromise.
He read all about
you and I, in
the Sunday paper.
What he sees, he sees in the bolded blacks and whites
when all I can find is the underlying
permanence of gray.
Anticipating the inevitable yellowing,
the browns never considered by human eyes
pink young worms eating headlines and compost.

And this is what gets me.
That it mattered as much as anything could,
and doesn't.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Setting Proposal

Rudd gave us a strange in-class assignment today.

We started by writing out images that we connect to a place from our past that we hold familiar. A place we've spent a lot of time with. Then, switching to a place we also hold important to us but have only been to maybe once or twice in passing, we continue writing associated images.

Then came the interesting part. Write a few lines alternating between the first and second settings, and intertwining them together. Making a collective thought out of otherwise isolated parts of the mind. I went for it. Later that afternoon, at a Starbucks, I went ahead and finished what I had started.

I've been having a very hard time lately getting outside of the moments I'm in. At least enough to say anything about them. This exercise was a nice release from that mindset, even if it doesn't look like much on paper.


The Collective of Past and Present Lives I Have and Have Not Lived:

My bar was bare. No child collected
greenglass thinglass liquor drained or half-not
there, in the back corner. Bitter escapism is to be seen, not heard.

Nothing grows down here.
It culminates.

It retracts my sandpaper tongue into the cat's mouth.
(She walks away)
It traded my walls for a t-shirt.
And now I'm looking around this room.
Over the years, it's become as big as I am.
The splinters in my hands
from wooden walls I secretly return to
sink farther beneath the skin
each time I press palms against the glass table,
painting over keratin shells.

Remember that old wooden bar?
The small box dreaming of static snow,
rescued from obscurity to live
in the basement, unplugged.
Moisture over years leaving
a glaze of scum
under fingernails, dust
over collective memorabilia
enshrining 4am prayers
spoken face to face
in warm silence, in waves of blood

And yet...
Touching splintered fingertips to serrated wrists,
it's still hard to imagine being so young
in this place.
So old
in this place.
So tired
so long ago.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Pier

The sun-bleached wood of the pier worked side by side with the chill moving across the Atlantic to turn the world a faded white hue, as if color itself was repressed by the cold brilliance and breeze. There was a knife in the shape of a feather in my pocket.

The wind created a strange sense of isolation as I watched the fishermen nearby. Their voices, muffled or shouted or far away, were at its mercy. No matter the distance, I only heard the fragmented murmurs of conversation and the distant screams of seagulls that were blown in my direction; the rest was lost in the swirling chaos. When the wind would die down, it was odd to hear how close the voices really were. I wore a knit pullover that I found in a little beach store nearby. It was like wrapping myself in a thick blanket, and no sporadic wind would pierce its warmth. Between it and my old jeans, I looked more like a member of the Fleet Foxes than a new yorker on spring break. I sat on my bench, reading Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse and waiting for a phone call that I wasn't expecting to actually get. Because in a perfect world, I would be on the phone at the end of the pier, all those hundreds of miles away. I'd be standing there looking over the Atlantic, probably smoking some musky cigarette that a lonely sailor would crave. I'd be standing there without having paid the $2 spectator surcharge at the shoreline.

A fisherman was admiring his son's catch on the other side of the pier. "Look at you, boy! Haha! Y'all just keep getting better and better!" I couldn't make out the sight or smell of what the boy had reeled in, but I could feel his young pride radiating as his father laughed his coarse southern laugh. A second younger son stood with his back turned, his gaze undoubtedly set in a fierce watch over the remaining two rods. He stood very still; 3 feet of cold determination. Those fish didn't stand a chance.

The salt in the breeze was drying out my eyes as I read. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my shadow dance despite my stillness. Looking closer, it was the shadow's hair that was dancing. Like a freak Medusa, twisting and coiling and launching in every direction, and the figure underneath it remained stone. I tasted the salt on my tongue as the breeze picked up a little. Medusa lunged into her frantic dance with renewed vigor. I looked away, back to my book, to prevent thoughts of how ridiculous I must have appeared right then.

Fishermen and spectators walked up and down the pier. The sun continued to beat the sounds and smells and color into nothing but salty stains on the aged wood. The longer I read, the more I noticed the subtle power of the water underneath me. There was a definite sway, however slight, that the waves gave to the tall logs below. I would never have noticed it if it weren't for the smooth shifting of the letters on each page of my book, movements just real enough to distract my eyes and allow each word to slip out of its own meaning. Time could pass as quickly or slowly as it pleased, and the sun would never budge, but my eyes and tongue would continue to collect salt so long as I stayed. A breeze passed away, leaving the voice of the fisherman's son in it's wake. He was getting hungry. A seagull cried out out a few hundred yards away, no doubt the latest captive of the same wind.

I wasn't going to get a phone call that day. The dancer Medusa tapped on my shoulder instead. I wasn't wasting time. But she tugged at my sleeve, so I stood up and walked to the end of the pier, without any cigarettes, and $2 still missing from my wallet. A group of fat women in tight neon clothes were next to me, chattering away for a few minutes before they made their way back to shore, somehow above the influence of the color-sapping sun and the quiet shifting power of the sea. Two old men sat dead center at the edge of the pier. They had been there long before I was, probably as soon as the pier opened that morning, and would still be sitting there long after I left. I leaned over the rail near them and was surprised how high I was suspended over the water. The lingering image of the distance between myself and the ocean below followed me through the cracks between wooden planks all the way back down the pier. As I passed, the wind shifted in my direction some wisdom the father fisherman was giving his son concerning the price of hot dogs. I pulled the feather shaped knife out of my pocket.

The color of the brass handle resonated with the faded yellow sun, and it burst apart the dull white of the world with a brilliant golden shimmer. On the ground below the tiny explosion of light, I saw my Medusa shadow electrified in fear or delight at what it saw, and underneath, the faraway dark water just visible through the wood continued to softly shake the entire foundation of the pier. I closed my hand back around the knife. The chilling breeze died down again, and farther down the pier there was a small group cheering on the youngest of the southern fisherman's boys, who was reeling in something that must have weighed half as much as he did. The two old men watched and smiled from their bench. I put the little knife in my pocket, and made my way back to the shore.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Snow Man

When I woke up, I hit the silence button on my wristwatch alarm, and quietly arose from bed into the pre-dawn night. My roommates were sleeping, and would be for a while after I left the house that morning. I shifted and slid through the darkness of unlit rooms, passing the man asleep on the couch only in his dreams. My bag had been packed the night before; I slipped it over my shoulder and walked outside into the frosty air.
Except it actually wasn't that cold.

And the goddamn sun was shining. 
Completely threw my groove.

My winter has finally given way to everyone else's lovely little spring. 
There's no excuse for how hot it can get outside starting now, and inevitably will for the next unbearably long time. Not a single ac had time to kick back into life during the one day we had to prepare for this weather, so the rank sweat of the collective masses lingered in the air all over my campus, in every room and every hall. To leave a building is to subject yourself to these ultraviolent heat rays, and the only solution is to squint and grimace (grin and bear) your way to shelter as quickly as you can.

I am melting, suffocating, and everyone around is dancing, laughing.  Nobody wants to wear pants.

So when Rudd decided this day of all days to read Stevens' poem, I felt the spirit and the chill, and took refuge in it. When he recited this last solace, there were tears on my face right there in his class. It's going to be a long summer, but I think I'll be alright.

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

-Wallace Stevens

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love.
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste to garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver int the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter,
and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say,
"God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy,
directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings it's melody into the night..
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
to be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate on love's ecstasy;
To return home an eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thin Wrists


            wrists.      Thick
thought             s.

                 splattered     pigeon shit

streetlight         [        ]

                      (beneath her)
      (open)         Her eyes

                       like      vacant spots

                                       the way
                                       they passed on.

Friday, March 2, 2012

City of Pittsburgh

Despite what usually ends up on this little blog, I'm not actually intending to go very far into publishing or poetics. My aspirations as far as career is concerned always leans in the direction of psychology in the end. I'm down in Pittsburgh right now with the Psychology club (soon to be the newest chapter of PsyBeta) of Monroe Community College  attending the Eastern Psychology Association conference. The seminars, research presentations, workshops, and networking opportunities are endless, and are giving me a clearer picture of where I'll be focusing my education in the near future, since I will transfer to a secondary college in maybe less than a year. Because I live as a minimalist, I've been able to get away with not taking out any loans for the first 2-3 years of my college education, so I'm going to use this transfer as an excuse to get out of Rochester. I've got nothing against this place, and I desperately love its people, but I need to travel in spite of all sense and justified reservation. That's just who I am. This might change when I'm older; also, it might not. I don't know.

I'm immersing myself in this conference and these people and this city. I'm taking pictures of my future on a cameraphone.

As my mind can only take so much stimulation, as these presentations are as never-ending as they are impelling, I felt need to go off to walk the streets of Pittsburgh today. I had no idea it was such a pretty little city. Some of these buildings are so incredibly tall and yet squeezed together next to each other; it gives me the illusion that I'm walking through a film set. Trains and lifts and bridges and bicycles are flying about all over the foreground and horizon. I saw the Warhol museum today, and ate a hoagie fit for a tourist. To think that Warhol himself pissed on this wall...this is his actual stain on the world I was brought into.

Somehow, regardless of physical environment, I've found myself fit for battle in the eyes of my Lord this last week. This is pretty eye-opening in and of itself, but I'm quickly learning how to fight for the souls that have been suddenly placed on the stage of my life. There's two that come to mind right now: One has been leaving messages on my phone that display to me a growing loss of confidence as she understands more about the world that is slowly trying to kill her. I met her in the back of a car, once. Haven't seen her face since, but her voice has been a presence in my life, regardless. I know she's convinced at this point that she's all alone in this. I suppose that makes me the catalyst for the time being. It brings me a lot of peace to comfort where I can, but comfort can only go so far. She needs healing. That's something I can't really bring myself, but I hope I can help bring her to it. She deserves so much more than this.

The other is actually asleep on the bed next to mine in this hotel room. I didn't know his name on Wednesday, but I'm praying for him now. He told me that he's changing his life around, that he's surrendering everything he took pride in and surrounding himself with a cloud of witnesses. His zeal is contagious.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.

-Robert Frost

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Unconscious Insight

N: I dreamed of you last night

S: That's odd. What did you dream?

N: We were swinging and talking and lying in the grass.

N: In my dream you were struggling with your faith. Not as in you were questioning God, but you were having trouble being close to people who didn't have the same ideals & morals and you felt alienated.

S: Wow. Sounds about right.

N: So now I understand why I dreamed you.

S: Thanks for not letting that thought die away when you woke up.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


In Order of Appearance:

William Blake
Samuel Coleridge
William Wordsworth
John Keats
Arthur Rimbaud
Charles Baudelaire
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Walt Whitman
Emily Dickinson
Ezra Pound
William Carlos Williams
Marianne Moore
T.S. Elliot
Langston Hughes
Sterling A. Brown
Jean Toomer
Charles Olson
Robert Duncan
Robert Creeley
Denise Levertov
Paul Blackburn
Ed Dorn
Jack Kerouac
Allen Ginsberg
Gregory Corso
Charles Bukowski
Wallace Stevens
Frank O'Hara
Kenneth Koch
John Ashbery
Alice Notley
Harry Matthews
George Oppen
William Bronk
Susan Howe
Diane Di Prima
Amiri Baraka
Jerome Rothenburg
Diane Wakoski
Nathaniel Mackey
Victor Cruz
Jimmy Santiago Baca
Tom Mandel
Frederico Lorca
Gustaf Sobin
Geoffrey O'Brien
Leslie Scalapino
Eileen Myles
John Yau
Ann Lauterbach
Ed Foster
Leonard Schwartz
Andrew Schelling
Joseph Donahue

Locations Used:
Rochester, New York
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Gloucester, Massachusetts
NYC, New York


These are the people I'm studying over the next few months, and the places I'll be visiting if all goes according to plan.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Organic Soul

Selected (+ rearranged) pieces of an article written in the 1950's about the Cherokee beliefs about souls, and their passing on after death. The author was an anthropologist named John Witthoft, who apparently wasn't very well remembered after his own death, except for a couple articles and contributions here and there concerning Native Americans and their bones.


"....Will explained to me a multiple-soul concept involving four souls and four stages in death.

The First Soul (Consciousness)
"This soul is located in the head, immediately under the front fontanelle. This soul is conscious, self-conscious, has personality, memory, continuity after death, and is unitary, not quantitative in its essence. It creates or secretes the watery fluids of the body: saliva, phlegm, cerebro-spinal fluid, lymph, and sexual fluids. Will called this and the other the three souls "Askina," and also used the word for a ghost. This is one of the puzzling cognates to northern Iroquoian, where the word (phonetically identical!) is a rare and nearly obsolete root. It means "the soul of the bones," and is thus also used as a term for the substance of deer antler.

The soul of conscious life left the body immediately at death and continued its personal life, sometimes remaining nearby for a time, often seen as a ghost, harmless and powerless. Will believed that this soul eventually followed the "trail of Kanati" to the western land of the dead, but insisted that no one had any knowledge of that land or situation. Some people believed that this soul went into the river and followed the river up to a spring-head when it went down into an underworld. This soul might continue to communicate with a loved one until death rejoined them, and "ringing in the ears" was a sign that a deceased loved one, usually a mother, was calling to the living person to join the soul of the dead one. (This is usually a symptom of approaching old age.) Will was experiencing this when I knew him."

The Second Soul (Physical)
The second soul, that of physiological life, is located in the liver. This soul is a substance, is not anthropomorphic in any, has no individuality, and is quantitative, there is more or less of it. Its secretions are yellow bile, black bile, gastric juice, etc. Destruction of the liver substance produces lassitude, the "yellows" (jaundice or hepatitis, or cirrhosis) or the "black" (deep depression or gall bladder attacks or acute pancreatitis). Exhaustion of the liver substance (absence of the soul) produces physiological death.

When the animating soul of conscious life leaves the body at the moment of death, stopping all life processes, the other souls begin to die. That of the liver is gradually diffused back into nature as a life-force and it takes a week for all of it to disappear from the body, if death has been normal.

The Third Soul (Life Blood)
The third soul, that of the circulation, is located in the heart, and blood is its secretion. This soul is non-individual and quantitative; it takes a month to die, its substance gradually diffusing back into nature as a life force. 

The Fourth Soul (Foundation)
The fourth soul is located in the bones, and I don't understand its secretions. It takes a year to die, its essence gradually returning to nature. Will said that the grave should be tended, weeded, etc., for a year after death, but was neglected and forgotten after that, because there was nothing of any significance left in the grave. All mourning ended a year after death, because the processes of separation of the dead from the world of the living were completed. This, of course, is true of many other tribes as well, and many details in other parts of the four-soul systems are matched in the fragmentary data of other tribes. I think the basic system was much more widespread than just among Cherokee, but the recorded data is so incomplete."


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bismuth Subsalicylate (C7H5BiO4) and other thought.

Pepto Bismol
I read it's the only over-the-counter drug that will turn into a metallic slag if you torch it.

I've started taking a contemporary poetry class under Professor Scott Rudd. As a teacher, he's one of the most passionate, expressive, clarified professors that I've had yet. As a poet, he's still top-notch by my standards. Here's one of his pieces I found while digging up stuff about him.

As Flesh

There was news this evening

The model loved
gave birth and divorced

She returned to work the next day


Casualties near the Somme

into spectral photographs

of a broadcast

airing at night


Passing through
the curator’s arrangement

of skulls
crude tools
and serrated spearheads

all now still
specimens under glass

bits of ulna
in a drawer
out of sight


In the next booth
a man recounts his day
to a lost missionary

fingerprints blackening
a spoon

the odor of diesel
reaches my table

So yes, I'm looking at something very real and happening and it feels very good to be a part of it. And I've been latching onto everything that feels good to me lately, even though I know that's a very bad path to go down, because it's become increasingly difficult to maintain a neutral state lately. My mind has been standing still on the down escalator.

I got to a point yesterday in Scott's class where I realized that the only moments in these days that I actually wanted to keep were the times I spend with the people I love on Sunday, and the times I spend learning about my world from an understanding of the poets who came before me right there in his classroom. I think that narrows it down to about 10 hours a week where I actually want to be alive.

I saw an abstract painting the other day that looked like some bright colors (blue, yellow, red)  and a bottle of Pepto Bismol. I don't know if you can use Pepto Bismol instead of paint. It was really nauseating, and I had to sit down for a while.

There was a second poem that I had been writing when I was walking across the downtown area of Rochester at 2200 hours on the coldest night we've had so far this winter. The cold was opening something in me, even before I met Scott and I think might have even been more inspired than Two Dog Night, just in somewhat different way. Two Dog Night was inspired by everything I wrote about in the poem itself. That was more ruminating on an actual set of events than it was reaching for something more abstract inside myself. Like a Pepto Bismol painting. This one was inspired by the cold, and the city, and the happy. I want to remember where I was right then and finish it someday soon. Perhaps when my understanding of poetry is a bit more fleshed out.

When I was really young, I would drink Pepto Bismol when I felt like I had to throw up.

One last thing about poetry that I've been inspired by in my hours of complete sanity has been blackout poetry, or the idea of creative destruction. Basically it consists of vandalizing or censoring a written work of art, or even just a written work of work, and creating some sort of clear, raw meaning in the words you leave unmolested. Lines of poetry will emerge from the ruins you've created, if done right. I've seen quite a few examples of it being done right at this point, and want to find some time and energy for myself to try it out. I selected my canvases already; there's an old paperback copy of Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut that I finished recently, and a long forgotten political philosophy book written right after the end of world war two (nuclear bombing) that I found for 10 cents in a bargain bin.

Pepto Bismol... abysmal
ok kids,
It's Word Association Time.

Pepto Bismol
I think of...cheerleaders(pep?) hell. You know. Thick, molten goo; an oozing medley of flesh and fire and screaming and damnation.
I think of children vomiting and sobbing and begging their parents to do something that those poor people can't actually do. Some form of comforting or rescue that just doesn't exist in this world. I think they're clutching their little burning bellies with their slimy fucking hands and understanding something about their world that probably hadn't ever occurred to them before.

I don't think I'm going to get any homework done tonight.

Monday, January 9, 2012


She lay herself down
naked back to the bed
one hand on her belly
the other on her heart.
It was busy organizing her blood
servicing every little piece
every last part
except for the state of her mind
which may have needed more than simple circulation
just this once.
She felt something burn there
a hot sloshing, pulsing,
just beneath the skin
inperfect synchronization with her brain
it confirmed her restless suspicions;
She was troubled as the waters of a liquid hell.
Her dying thought to the day
head left discarded and adequately oxygenated
on a reasonably soft pillow that night
was hard to discern, for sure.
we do have an idea
thanks to the nature of it's origins.
thanks to the nature of the ingested migraine
the gurgling circulation of nutrients
the stretching
the pressure, beyond imagination
(to understate, for the sake of clarity,
like a hand, pressed on her belly
and another to her heart)
even the bed itself
and the dreams she had of her own childhood
of a white dress
and a little white hat
memories of a cathedral
just big enough to hold a god
a cathedral who's sanctuary she never learned to appreciate much at the time
and would never experience again, I suppose
you know how children are.
not even in her new black dress
let alone any sort of hat.
if thoughts made small noises
instead of water and salt
and the living and the living had any sympathy to spare for the dead
that last thought
might have sounded something like this:

"Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine
you lucky bastards

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine"

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Two Dog Night

He asked his ghost with all the confidence in the world
"So what do you think about that, Jeff?"
That sly grin
I can only imagine that if Jeff was impressed, he tried not to show it.

The old man had walked into the barely florescent shelter of the bus stop
The uncompromising chill of that December night gathered us as strangers
Some of us wanderers were going home.
Some of us were sharing the night with ghosts instead.

He came too close and started smoking something comfortable.
Didn't notice me
or anyone else, for that matter.
I guess I wasn't so real to him and his world.
Just a shadow in a flickering florescent incandescence
That was fine with me.

But I noticed in the grey light
that the lines that defined his grinning face weren't so deep.
His wrinkles were almost flesh, but not quite. His voice
with all the tired cynicism of a sax whispering jazz,
was aged with his experience
but not the countless years it suggested.

I think that Jeff stood right where I was.
Joking and teasing and reminiscing
of the years he shared with his old friend.
The old man laughed.
The years when Jeff might have really stood right where I was.
The old man laughed.
He couldn't look his ghost in the eyes.

He continued to flaunt his success to his old friend.
"$25 bucks or what?"
He smiled and stared at his feet through the veined veil of a tired eye.

They weren't waiting for any bus.
After some time I suppose the ghost grew restless
and walked back out into the wind and snow.
The old man frowned.
It was going to be a much colder walk for him that it was for Jeff.
But he followed his friend, again.
They walked side by side into the two dog night.
Leaving the rest of us
strangers sharing a grey light.

I looked around at the masks and scarves
as if they might have known something that I didn't.
Judging by their faces
We had all been inconvenienced, somehow.