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My Poetry My Publications

A poetry collection both horrific and pastoral: Green Axes is now available!

My second full-length, printed book has appeared.

I am excited to announce the release of my next poetry publication Green Axes! Thanks to Red at Alien Buddha Press for agreeing to work with me on the poems and the overall structure of the book. As the title of this post suggests, these poems are derived from shadow and expanse. They are horrific and they are pastoral, sourced from a handful of local meditations and remote travel episodes.

You can read some of the poems from Green Axes in this Alien Buddha showcase.

The book is available to order via Amazon.

Some history.

This has been a long time coming. I first wrote these poems while living in the Greenhouse, the same apartment I wrote the poems in my six-part Construction series. Pondering the intersections of stasis and outward movement (pre-pandemic, no less!), I came up with several sequences of works that captured both confessional sentiment and a more tempered, objective experience. I intentionally approached these poems through a lens of horror and a tongue of cynicism, though I think neither captures the full range of the inevitable language.

An amassing of poems, a pseudo-collection. I released the predecessor, Green Axis, which is available for free (via open license), and immediately felt the need to gut this scope, this range, and carve it into something more precise, an embodiment of the zone I was seeking to know. The editing process became the next landscape and captured what I originally felt in the poems. Green Axes represents those hacked and chopped actions and processes and is the true collection, the core.

I have never really felt confident about a home for this collection. I set the poems aside but held them as a weight or lure in the digital archive–this feels long ago. Alien Buddha appeared with aligned aesthetics, more so than previously. And now here we are.

On another note, these poems were written before the poems in Of Spray and Mist, so seeing their release also comes with a healthy dose of bafflement regarding texture and the inward identity contained in any writing. Time is that moment of the horrific, that strange reflection, I suppose! In tandem and in conjunction, I feel the books rest well with one another: they both represent a couple (but not all) key facets of my writing and reveal values, interests, and (on a simpler note) different styles that I have practiced as an active writer.

I’m overjoyed to see this new collection come to fruition.

Categories
Book Reviews Friendships My Poetry My Publications

Of Spray and Mist Review – Joshua Lew McDermott

I’m very grateful for Joshua Lew McDermott’s Of Spray and Mist review for Line Rider Press. Joshua looped in my naturalism and librarianship in a way that elevates the book and pushes it further. Many thanks, Joshua!

Categories
My Poetry My Publications

A Book! Of Spray and Mist

Of Spray and Mist is here.

After nearly two years of work on a single manuscript, Hand to Mouth Books in Walla Walla, Washington has published Of Spray and Mist. At 122 pages, this full-length book features several sequences of poetry, including work first written on San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor Lab’s Whiteley Center last December. You can read more below (or skip over to the Goodreads page).

Categories
Domestic Travel My Poetry

Enchant

July 17, 2020

Lake Vivienne’s smile is marked by ancient voyeurs, whose minds don’t reflect such chromaticism.

Let us put our eyes to rest amidst wind scream and the hush of bush as it is clarified with memories of recent goat.

Categories
Music My Poetry My Publications

Bandcamp, an Album, three Sequences, and a Single

I never thought I’d post audio on Bandcamp, but it seems like a great way to share (for free) the audio projects I’ve been working on, and also get proceeds to donate to an organization of my choosing (in this case, the ACLU). For the last four months, under the banner of COVID-19, I’ve been working on an audio project that has finally come to fruition. While it is rough, while it is far from uniform, and while it demonstrates only a naive scope of knowledge of editing audio, shelter/isolation is here. It is a strange artifact, which includes spoken word and noisy, abstract renditions of field recordings from within my apartment. Bandcamp allows free streaming, which is fantastic. If folks are really interested in “owning” the album, that’s an option as well.

All in all, it’s the first step in what I hope will be an ongoing commitment to exploring the depths of audio production, particularly where field recordings and strange aural atsmopheres are concerned.

I invite you to listen to shelter/isolation, and the other “releases,” and let me know if you have any feedback. While I don’t plan on re-releasing this experimental project, I do look forward on refining my skills going forward.

Check out the Bandcamp page here.

The following are the covers for each of the releases, linked to the releases.

Categories
My Poetry My Publications

Published Poetry at Ravenna Press

Thanks to Paul Nelson, I participated in the August Poetry Postcard Festival (PoPo) last year, and ended up with a full sequence of poetry, “Bountiful Sound.” A selection of the poems was accepted by Ravenna Press. I’m indebted to Kathryn Rantala for thinking highly of my work, and including it in their Triples Series. #11 features this work by me, as well as Maureen Seaton & Samuel Ace, and Kat Meads.

Support the press by ordering a copy here.

And, of course, consider participating in PoPo this year. Register here.

Categories
My Poetry

Heart

Amidst pepper-fainted plumes

I felt the beating of drums emerge from chests.

To be there, to be now. To be urgent

through architecture outlined across rain and whispers.

~ position body ~

In asking to prove directly and to form a shield.

I will always blink to a vision of light.

Beating across skeletal relationships.

Bottles of milk. Bottles of baking soda and water.

 

The lines of scatter and spread

reflect the lines of converge and amass.

Dark clouds pour into those made lighter.

Breathe. The rate is an acceleration.

 

In a deeply troubled city there is a deeply entrenched situation.

And from it the emergence through cries and fists.

It’s electric the exhalations beyond a single body.

But the single bodies give an image to those single beating hearts.

Categories
My Poetry My Publications Others Poetry Others Publications

Pandemic Poems

Three issues of pandemic poetry are now online via North of Oxford.

I have three poems in the first issue.

One

Two

Three

Categories
Domestic Travel My Poetry Videos [Thorough Water]

New Video: Oceanic Triptych

Now available on YouTube: Oceanic Triptych (38:53 minutes)

Breakdown of contents

  • Introduction: The Breaker (also available as a standalone 4 minute video here)
  • Triptych Panel 1: Memory Shores
  • Triptych Panel 2: Sheathed Realities
  • The Signature
  • Triptych Panel 3: Manzanita Warmth
  • Closing: The Elsewhere that Codifies (featuring video preview of the Boulder River sequence, forthcoming)

Fun facts

  • Oceanic Triptych is intended to be watched in a single sitting, start to finish, ad nauseum to nausea
  • Oceanic Triptych is a follow-up to the installation piece Thorough Water: Here and There (which includes video from the Quinault Rain Forest, Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, the Royal Basin on the Olympic Peninsula, and Ross Lake in the North Cascades)
  • The unedited, hour-long sunset video is also on YouTube here
  • More abstract? Try Gatton Falls Study (playlist)
  • More abstract than that? Try Oregon Video Poems (especially the 2019 ones) (playlist)
  • What’s next? The Boulder River Sequence (video poetry featuring Char-esque aphorisms, coming in January)
  • What’s after that? An untitled San Juan Islands project

Categories
My Poetry Videos [Thorough Water]

New Video Poem: The Breaker

Part 1 of 2 in the Thorough Water: Sheathed Reality sequence. Prelude to Oceanic Triptych. All recorded in 2019. Features video from Manzanita, Oregon. Video production, text, and vocals by Greg Bem.

Categories
My Poetry

New Poem: Dance Poem

Hearing

Throw water in the streets

And devouring hearts

And devour

And heart dissection

De-sect-di-late

Trance

Categories
My Poetry [Thorough Water]

Script: Thorough Water: Here and There

Here is the text from the video Thorough Water: Here and There.

Thorough Water: There and Here

“Water is part of a pattern I’ve watched unfold throughout my career. I document landscapes that, whether you think of them as beautiful or monstrous, or as some strange combination of the two, are clearly not vistas of an inexhaustible, sustainable world.”

– Edward Burtynsky (Walrus, October 2013)

1: Quinault

“Human presence, once a factor less important to than elk or fungi, was then transformed into an agent of disruption as great as the ice ages themselves.”

– The Olympic Rain Forest: An Ecological Web, by Ruth Kirk (114)

Reasonable. The water still flowing in front of me, I remember sitting in place, stone monument, effigy of towers of wood and slashes of fern through millions of shades of green. While the creeks chugged along. The falls felled vision and circumstance. The tides were our breaths and the blood pushing against the walls of our muscles, skin, our frames.

Nestled. Nested. We can sit and watch the echoing of the scrapes against the land as that apparent infinity continues. I feel it now. The rumble. The roar. The press. And yet I know: what I saw was a marvel and could always move to the finite. To the nevermore. To the last stretch and the longing, so deep within, so trusted, this longing, this beautiful, fantastic emptiness. Quinault in daylight: where we go to think of loss.

2: Phipps

“The bubbles formed a sweet-smelling bell.”

– from “The Bath” by Elizabeth Cooperman (in Make it True meets Medusario, page 140)

They demand our attention, and we enter, and we wait. A factory of water that sprouts awareness. Education. And the pure bliss of a splashing corridor. I could watch humans pass by this vision towards conservation over and over. I could watch them move along, cascade like droplets into some basin of rejection. Or perhaps they stop by: admire as a tarn, as a cache of the leftover, and move along. The conservatory: a museum of the living. More trust. More love. More responses indicative of demand, imperative, resolve.

The most startling quality: what we place over the core. The core identity, the core message: we cover ourselves and our lives and the truth up with decoration faster than the beat of the tongue on the roof of the mouth: faster than a single word, covered in moonlight or the fatigue of the sun as another day passes, and we must reinvigorate our experience. Calmly. Splash. Shatter of liquid. Present enough to touch. Present enough to coat the body, the camera, the phone, glasses, purses, the paths to our collective futures of transience. Of an abyss worth living through to grind surplus into the dust of departure.

3: Royal Basin

the quick water
the slow water

and the same bank

– from “Remembrance of Water” by John Taylor (26)

Before the marmot screamed me into electricity, I watched the flow of blue through an underwater lens. The capture of light in the process of refraction: muddy and undeniably instant. The present moment, at least as far as water goes, is a shockingly muted experience. But this was the case in the upper meadow-filled basin of Royal. I have memories as a child on the Atlantic Coast, Southern Maine specifically, where the waves would throw me around like a bundle of rags, and I would see black and green and white and silver as my crushed body struggled to make sense of tumult and torment. To give form to the instant, an instant so extreme that form was its opposite.

Royal Basin, though, where Amy meditated and I imagined more bears and the edge of the peaks looked down like wizards burying their rituals into my shoulders, my back, the upper tip of my spine, energy slowly spreading through, like snowmelt pushing down mountainside steadily, methodically. That is: of stead and method, and me, the onlooker, in awe. I think of the source and urge myself to remain cordial. Past days I would jump into those glacial waters emulating sage or celebration. Now I stare and grow fond of the chance to be amazed at a stillness created by the infinity. The water that can remain the ideal while we still have time.

4: North Cascades

“I feel increasingly content simply being here, present, not doing anything in particular.”

– Chasing Clayoquot: A Wilderness Almanac by David Pitt-brook (112)

Dams made of brittle, exacting concrete and metal. The resort that houses a semblance of menial organization amidst a system of ecstatic beauty. The towering giants with names I’ll never remember, and shapes that change in my dreams. The listless ripples that etch into the topography like scales on the limbs of a myth. It is in the North Cascades that love breaks apart into reality, and vice versa. It is in the North Cascades that the slices of nature afford us with breath and breeze, and there is just as much ordinary as exceptional. Ross Lake holds the footprint together. It is the instrument we have earned through preservation and attentiveness. And it is shrinking.

Seeing 10-20 feet less of a lake for the first time after many visits provides a hollowing sense of fear and an indignation so human it feels unique, untrue, questionable. There are many causes for less water, and the ecology is difficult to pair with witness. But there are moments that trigger an awareness of spectrum, and that spectrum is the development of the relationship with the many possibilities. Staring down at the lake, several years ago, I imagined swallowing the entire thing in a single gulp. It might be that that gulp is ongoing, now, and into the future, and the swallowing involves savoring the benefits through to exhaustion amidst awe. 10-20 feet lower, and my breath still wavers, my mind still feathery and bracing for tragic circumstances. And regardless, there is readiness. To be able to receive, and to do it gently. That might be what is owed, before the ends and the retributions.

Categories
My Poetry Videos [Thorough Water]

Short Video: Thorough Water: Here and There

Categories
My Poetry

Aquam II: Blood

Script

Illuminates the sails

These certainties

Leading and fleeing

Forgetting a presence

Categories
My Poetry

Aquam I: Mucous

Aquam I: Mucous
     

       the way
            yellow color


                 justly slits
       across the lips

           a body

                  of newness