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International Travel My Poetry

New Poems: Poems from Air

Poems written in Myanmar in March 2019.

stumbling from one periphery to the next
I slipped and spread meat
it was meat and it was me across the floor

the light buzzed
the noises flushed into
the familiar haze flashed

it was the challenge of morning
sweet with dearth of life and of death
it continued with fragility

across rooms and halls
a dampening effect
dampening quintessential
collapse

stumbling from one peripheral to the next
I slipped and spread meat across the floor
the light buzzed
the noises flushed into the familiar haze
it was the challenge of the morning
sweet with dearth or scatter of life and of death
and it continued with fragility across rooms and halls
a dampening effect of the quintessential collapse

home where hearts bend
and break to grow

home where mice hide in the rain
and rats come eat the sweets
the rats the sighs of rooms rarely heard

home: I left the cherry blossoms
they bloomed like filthy children

home takes in the deep breath of yesterday
looks comatose
exquiz—
tinted blue
blue in memory can’t you tell

home where hearts bend and break to grow
where the mice hide in the rain
and the rats come eat the sweets

where the sighs of rooms are rarely heard
where I left the cherry blossoms bloomed like filthy children

home takes in the deep breath of yesterday
looks comatose and tinted blue in my memory

the screams and crackles and the shades of the present—
how they rumble like shadow quake and brittle skyscrapers—
how they reach us, slice off our tongues, set fire to our beds—
no more walls of the bedrooms—
intimacy floodlit with guillotine spark—
decapitated home of the decapitated—

screams and crackles and the shades of the present—
how they rumble like shadow quake and skyscraper brittling—
how they reach us, slice off our tongues, set fire to our beds—
no more walls of the bedrooms, intimacy floodlit with guillotine spark—
decapitated home / of the decapitated /

splits open the image

let the bastards come
let the twinklingly literate arrive
we are ready with our grunts and moans
we are ready to ejaculate and spasm

like spines diced to neural mush
we await letting out the long mouth of pause

this world in its infinite fireworks, channeled energy
broken windows and new gardens

train tracks and gory investments

the reflection on the screen and mutualism
dead and gone, spiritual quagmire

(and it can be discussed globally over the Pacific Island
and its kingdom of invisible plastics)

an aerodynamic thirst
splits open the image

let the bastards come
let the twinklingly literate arrive
social in media
we are ready with our grunts and moans
are ready to ejaculate and spasm
like a spine–diced to neural mush
we await and we are ready
we are letting out the long pause we who have mouths

this world in its infinite fireworks is dim

the root cause!
the channeled energy!

broken windows and new gardens
with views
train tracks and gored investments

memories of lots revisited
transport of bottles, bags, bins

the reflection on the screen mutual dead
the reflection on the screen mutual gone

hint of the spiritual

discussed globally over and over
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
kingdom of invisible plastics

quagmire rotten and sweet

Ellen and the convulsive heart
Let rip be rip and polish be polish

I dream of the expressions of joy
I dream of the resolute distancing

Fantasy and projection
of the long walk through warmth

If you could have it disturbingly clear
would you live dutifully and terrified?

The last bird I saw: either a crow or a chickadee
Some common creature flitting across a common scene

This realm really, really is the fullest sense
Bold and interrogative and bloodied with experience

Healed, bruised, unreleased to the currents of air
I dream of the expressions of concern

Drop me into thinking there is a reasonable explanation waiting for us
Allow me to hit my head, break my neck, and convulse freely
(And allow, please, to exist faded, like mist or breath)

For Ellen

Ellen and the convulsive heart
Let rip be rip and polish be polish

Dreams and expressions
Resolutions and distances
Fantasies and projections

The long walk to warmth

If you could have it disturbingly clear
would you live dutifully and terrified?

The last bird I saw: either a crow or a chickadee.
Some common creature
alive and flitting across a common scene.

This realm really, really is the fullest sense.
Bold and interrogative and bloodied with experience.

Healed, bruised, unreleased to the currents of air.
I dream of the expressions of concern.

Drop me into thinking there is a reasonable explanation waiting for us
Allow me to hit my head, break my neck, and convulse freely

(And allow, please, her to see, and to say her piece, her whole self,
and fade thoroughly, like mist or breath)

Homicidal or domicile within a tarnished translation
Domestic blues in the whip and whorl above the sea
Who wouldn’t be blue with the grand eloquent you?

You and you and you and you
A trumpet of rocket fire
Flare as face, facial nation
Skipping forward embracing feelings

I hold up my palm with the cut from the bowl
I remember the slash and the immediate shock
I think, therefore I am sitting here and writing thoughts

Dharma as blisters
Phalanx as workshop
Within the eye of an echo is the karmic release

homicidal and domicile
tarnished translation

domestic blues in the whip
in a whorl above the sea

who wouldn’t be blue
with the grand and eloquent
with the you and you and you and you?

You and you and you and you.

But the trumpet of rocket fire
Flared face
Facial nation

A skipping past the embrace

I hold up my palm with the cut from the bowl
I remember the slash and the immediate shock

I think therefore I am sitting here
I think therefore I am writing thoughts

Dharma as blisters
phalanx of pain as workshop

Within the eye of an echo is the karmic release
Within the slump and the trudge and the embrace of the laughing system

This weeping is of joy, not disappointment

And retroactive they could be watching from the curb
the dust collecting in the corners of their ancient eyes
The fullest sentiments of a modest Wednesday vision
Imaginative scolding of the scalding-hot conceptualism

Drinking the slurps of a poetry poised in a cup brimming poison
Purplish-rose tones rising to the lips of the weakened
It’s grave the gravely nature of those last lips of survival
Photographed before the decades-long smash in a single full moon

We and our resilience capsized by the weight and stalling
The dead stop is the stop of death and it’s placeless and warm
The specialists are returning with their urges toward upkeep
The grizzly, speckled ashes are pouring over the skull-shaped urns

Coffers are the fulcrum moving masses into the slay
An aftermath of ruinous lisps lingers like an aftersex or afterbirth

(after visiting Tacoma)

And retroactive they could be watching from the curb
The dust collecting in the corners of their ancient eyes
The fullest sentiments of a modest Wednesday vision
Imaginative scolding of the scalding hot conceptualism

Drinking the slurps of a poetry that’s poised in a cup brimming poison
Purplish rose tones rising to the lips of the weakened
It’s grave, this gravely nature of those last lips of survival
Photographed before the decades long smash in a single full moon

We and our resilience capsized by the weight and stalling
The dead stop is the stop of death and it’s placeless and warm
The specialists are returning with their urges toward upkeep
The grizzly, speckled ashes are pouring over the skull-shaped urns.

Coffers are the fulcrum moving masses into the slay.
An aftermath of ruinous lisps lingers like an aftersex or afterbirth.

(Yangon, day 2)

upkeep. clandestine. the whirlpool. the fanblade. the festivities. the chants. the sirens. the caws. the ambient buzz. the reclining ignorance. the best foot forward. the champions. the realities. the furthest. the photobombs. the incorrections. the misperceptions. the masses. the proclivities. the belting out. the bulging in. the foray into time. the chiseled grin. the phallic gold. the rosy intonation. the spirit. the stunts. the trespass. the complacency. the waiting. the movement. the race toward a single emerging experience.

The dust settles like ink
Therein lies the problem:
more ink than I know what to do—
the interruptions are like radiation.

They settle. We get used to the poison.
Come to expect it.
Prose minded. Swinging across lanes.
The changing of the guard of the path.

Lights on or off with the motorbike customs.
Come to expect it.
A long way from home at Mt. Popa.
A long way from home at the banks of the Irrawaddy.

Steel Fighter adornment on the side of a truck.
They know what they’re saying, we just find it funny.
At what intersection between time and place,
between birth and death,
between the act of creation
and the creation.

Explosive. Plosive.
The long walk home is drifting in and out of—
Remembering Libby on a road trip.
But here with the sleepy dogs, cats, lizards, birds, etc—
here with the monkeys, cows, goats, horses, etc—
here with the clamor of footsteps (pilgrimage)
and the blast of fallen rocks (or coconut husks)—
damn the monkeys and our reliance on them.

We as audience and we as sellers.
Me and my own unmystical definition.
Where capitalism and mysticism meet
there is a finely-grained instance of expectation.

The fan blades thicken and the stomach loosens.
The motor of the bike grows closer even to this very spot.

Fallen.

I have eaten the goodness of the vegetarian
and am currently digesting,
thinking about war, independence, the fundamental will towards liberty—
is that what this visit, in all its luxury, affords?

A visitation of the random acts of sentiment.
Enticing acts of glass splinters of vision.
Exposed roots within the panatha-leaking rouge.
Melancholy of the poor with their outstretched arms.
A void in place of indecision and inward sludge.
Laziness is godlessness to some.

In sum:
a tract of lessons that can be foraged and before that be forgotten.
The spirit of Bagan and its ancestral quadrangle of pagodas.
The leniency of my own swiftly-blistered ambitions.
Thorough acts of gaudiness with windows open and moans invisible, muted.

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My Poetry My Publications Others Poetry Others Publications

New Release and eBook: Like salt. Like a spine.

Book cover of Like salt. Like a spine. by Maung Day and Greg Bem.

Update: this title is now available as an eBook through Amazon.com.

Newly released. Limited run of chapbook Like salt. Like a spine. Handmade in Seattle. Created for release in Yangon, Myanmar in March 2019. Featuring poetry by Maung Day and myself. Translated between Burmese and English. Email me if you’d like to request a copy or have comments. Digital edition may be forthcoming (still undetermined).

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My Poetry

New Poem: In the aftermath, days later, of soul touching

Originally written 2/6/19

Distanced amidst the mixed berry seltzer blitz, a bubble too open, I am refreshed. Coconut dregs to the other direction. These are the swamped days that burst out like chrysalises after the need to exhibit (share) energy has been expressed. Gray countertop punted into view like political anchors. My hair is a bath of soft line drawings. Sketch comedy. Her eyes shooting me down like bullets: out of where, and where, and where comes the next exceptional (and acceptable) intrusion? In forms expressed. Bob Cobbing. Robert Ashley. The unrivaled psychosis of new person. New human. Our hearts beat like gull-flaps in gale gusts. Earlier: several hours I’m reading CDMX Blues like it’s short, of breath, and the world (Ode nada) feels alive and full and pulling down from the cross (Tom Waits now, then, again). So many decades. Mexico 60 years. Mule 20 years. My god my youth the eternal sadness of that burst of time’s ultimate orgasm. The receiving end of the entity of our times minus times so just “our” smile.

FIERCE is what the may sez when he’s dead and frozen joy-cam from my early 20s, I was the punk addict impression on the world that was or was not needed. I dream in better understanding “horror” as a concept. Have I been horror to you, to me, the plastic godless skinner of clouds pile of soot o robbers my fingers like cradles for microscopic worms my skin the lousy state of eruptive (pre) Buddha dance(hall) with flailed limbs releasing glass vessels FIERCE! & it could be that this inquiring mind yet one more seedling the WE ARE VAT theory the continuum of simulation theory (the referee to Joe Rogan and Elon Musk and the symbolic aperture of smoke, in its corrupted commodified sense). Fascinating case study, with feet of flames and for the sentinels of bickering to scream (albeit softly and intentionality) down Road of Echoes. The definition of the limit is set to include a kaleidoscopic path of hills and turns. Imagining doom keeps the pressure going and personalized. It sits like ink before this newish moon that was long cyclical before rest and can dance again in blue glades.

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Domestic Travel My Poetry

New Poem: A Climb

On Piestewa in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, 1/21/19

Foot before foot. Each journey belongs to each. The last clap is never the last. I often wonder if this hike will be the final. Then I’m back at the question again. Candlelit now but then it was the sunlit choking effect. I imagine writing “oaking” and can’t help but think of the Oak Creek Vista, and more Arizona laughter. Then Trump. The wall. More symbols. That insidious-cum-necessary laughter a symbol dispelling more and more, more and more, the thoroughfare, it is as important to stress this as it is the systemic prevalence of the Native American stores that are giving life and persisting to an enslavement. It is. And so it is. We walked by the man who said hello so helpfully it was hard not to be completely drawn on in. Vistas abound. Transport back. The man who carried their child down the mountain. The want to tell him: Great Job. And: the group of women and the single voice expressing an insecurity of height. The want to tell her: you are perfectly formed! An exquisite fondness. At the mountain’s top: can’t pronounce Piestewa, but try anyway, and pick up that empty bag left behind like a reminder.

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My Poetry

From the AB Book: The Devil’s Drug

1/31/19: “The Devil’s Drug” for Imbolc 2019

Hello my old barricade, the last chance to be surrounded by a gentle error. Communication continually undermined by determination. Glut of aloneness pained with the patchy blue corn chip stale. Erroneous, but the clicking/clucking snap of doom.

I reach into the crevasse of a Cascadian’s slipshod note, a sequence of arrested brotherhood. I-stance to gain as a world of putrid limits denotes an upsetting intake of chloroformed breath, the upstand outlast rallying us from lack of it.

As Annette would say: a need for the neurotransmitter, a yearn to consider the balance of the Gaba’s chatter. Previously a whisper, sunlight recently opening melancholy like pores, the civilized cradle enticed, interstitially en-tilde’d; entitled to memories of when a demonic gaze left off, before breath, before seat, before chalice, and the bloated form of wherewithal, or however, let us be damned, demented, and dammed.

And let’s be friends: the triptych toward healing is a movement forward. And pinkness is still a trill of whiteness and relaxants are still giant, pocked walls of bird corpses and the fainting monikers anthropomorphized (anthropo-morphosed) across wretched, wretch’s documents.

And while there is fragrance in my holistic, unbuttoned hole of 2019 American nightmare metropolis, filling up is the active ingredient. To espouse holy beyond the sneers and the seers through a blast of fire slit and carbonized liberties, dreams of the planetary slash, the flush of a comet, which is beyond its Satanic ice, its membrane of reality a stinking of the cloud of memory too machinic when spun out on time, when thoroughly manic, entered int o a state of bliss, and a statement of dreaming, dreaming of and deciding upon lies.

2019 Winter in Seattle ends with a peripheral polar vortex crushing reality like wind upon the mounds of ants and my own mind, that heart-brain-neural network-system pulse-reclaimed—is the latchkey and the idea of leap or loops as it in in a crucial spirit ought to be, over-mind slash mind slash overmined—

E. Richard Atleo in 2005 spoke about secrets and power. In a world of social timelines, the ephemeral sacred may be our beating hearts. The ritual of sacrifice as swollen clocks. The bitten breasts melted down into a core. The central, electric pain of the encountered nerve. Enchanters wail whole like Coyote (trickish), coyotes (along the margins), the errors fictionalized like conquest, borders, permanence, claims reclaims, and the swerve of this very BARK.

A downwind howl picks at the mine and its prize—pure fiction as well, the commodity the corrosion the sense of value. The voice of belonging. The shared huddle. Survival as a form of trust. To live is to love and trust and belong to, to be possessed by/for/within. This whispered universe of wakeful moments. Lamantia spoke of this with his “Ruins”:

“Falling from tear drops of time,

the well of hidden dreams

seems like broken ice over the sun.”

I split open his form like a dried, dying coconut (memories of Hawaii, those folks I know there):

Emerging from flailed limbs of the continuum,

the dance of simulated truths

opens as pixelated birds flutter alongside the ferry.

A sonic resonance at age 32 is the thrust to love, breathe, and love again, attraction to heart is as full as heat, protection as protector, sense of sloshing and splashing of the identity, to which we owe our efforts, sense of self, egos and all, the sticks that let us leap off the cliffs, our profiles driving us to the madness of belonging, this Spring as intended as all is intended, lunar and glowing before the rot and the ruins, and Rainier Beach, a site to carry the weight of it all, so say us anyway, so practice these satisfactions we do, these relational patterns of distributed, magnetized blood, hearts here while foregoing and in a trance, a great American joy leaps forward, destroying stalemate’s board and the unshorn beard.

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My Poetry

Poems: Three Fragments

Three poetry fragments written recently.

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Domestic Travel My Poetry Videos [Thorough Water]

Oregon Video Poems 4-7

Additional videos recorded at Cannon Beach, Oregon, in October 2018. Part of “Thorough Water,” a Serialized Cascadian Meditation.

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My Poetry

New Poem: Landscape

After Jaime de Angulo

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Domestic Travel My Poetry Videos [Thorough Water]

Oregon Video Poems 1-3

Recorded at Cannon Beach, Oregon, in October 2018. Part of “Thorough Water,” a Serialized Cascadian Meditation.

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My Chapbooks My Poetry

New Book: Construction pt 6 (fin)

The final part in the Construction series is now available.

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Domestic Travel My Poetry

New Poem: Humidity Returns

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

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Domestic Travel My Poetry

New Poem: Dungeness String

Originally written at the New Dungeness Light near Sequim, Washington.

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Domestic Travel My Poetry Videos [Thorough Water]

New Video: Through Water v1 – LWTech Art Exhibit

Draft of Through Water, an upcoming video/textual project about transience, based on creative practices at the New Dungeness Lighthouse in Sequim, Washington.

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My Poetry Upcoming Events

Upcoming Reading: Accidental Player in Philadelphia

I will be reading in Philadelphia in September. Details here.

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International Travel My Poetry

New Euro Poems: A Mexican in Helsinki and Katajanokka Chorus

Written about the European trip I took with my mother in June, 2018.