Hieronymus Bosch Comes to Madrid

[A Short Story]

500 years ago this August, on the 9th day, Hieronymus Bosch was buried. Where was he buried? I imagine you ask. I say, I imagine, to you, as I make it up in mind, “I do not know where he was buried. In fact, I am not even sure if he died on the 9th of August 1516.” It has been said that an entry was made in the records of The Brotherhood of Our Lady in 1516; other accounts make note of a funeral mass held in his memory was performed in the church of Saint John.

What is most interesting about the current excitement about Bosch at the Prado in Madrid is how we impose–how everyone from everywhere has always imposed–the currents of our contemporaneity on what we look back to, as if we could look back . . . there is no line to history or to time or to how we think. Nothing in our post bourgeois conceptions or conceptualizations—not necessarily the same thing—is prepared for the psychology that Bosch presents, the residue of archaic mind, a metaphysics re-presented by the visionary company he keeps.

We do not look back at all. That is a lie we tell ourselves to maintain the illusion of being historical? We do know so very little about his life. Above, by archaic is meant what Eliade delineates in his Myth of the Eternal Return; or, Cosmos and History—the English language translation title; he wrote it in French—and that is a world where myth is true story, where time can only be cyclic and not opened and directional.

Now, here, I am imposing. What deposits on memory—in memory?—do I make? Time regenerates; the cosmos is populated with exemplary models in archetypes. This cyclic notion of time cannot be drawn—how? How is it not drawn? What lines do I or do I not use to say what I mean by what has been . . . here in this space . . . this poem as a trial?

The space of a writer writing and the space in the world the writer occupies with a body. But narrators and expositors do not have bodies, do they?

This notion of time I am attempting to construct, reconstruct as Eliade delineates, represents, articulates . . . is more consistent with the actuality of time as opposed to our custom of thinking about time as a line or a moving arrow. The tunnel we move through?All time is one, Einstein reminds us. Past, Present and Future are illusions, persisting.

How much more like an archaic conception of time could we imagine?

El Bosco is going to be at the Prado . . . I loved the Prado when I was in Madrid . . . we were in Madrid . . . we went to Madrid in July—who goes to Madrid in July?

I loved Madrid, I have said already, already having said even in July. The people in Madrid were better looking than the people in Barcelona, or so I thought thus said, meaning in general of course.

I flipped for the paintings by Goya, by Greco, by Velazquez, by Ribera, et cetera . . . it’s always the main museums we go to more than once whenever on vacation, several times to the best of them in every city we’re in  . . . Goya’s Blacks were astounding . . . the black paintings which were the several oils he had painted directly onto the walls of two of the rooms of his country house between 1819 and 1823 and were subsequently removed and are now held at the Prado. Since a boy in second grade learning Spanish from his teacher from Madrid I have held in my heart . . . Viva! Espana.

We ate as well if not better in Madrid than just about anywhere else we have ever been—summer, the wine we drank mostly was Albarino, a Galician white we learned to love from two Galician brothers in Brooklyn, running a restaurant we have been going to for a couple of decades, already. Our time is not cyclic; it is directional, opened, without regeneration, only hopefully able to sustain itself infinitely . . . but then this infinity is itself an avalanche waiting to bury us, as I have read in a poem by Jay Ruvolo.


When You Become Other than Who You Are, and Where

[A Short-short Story]

A man not so unlike any other man . . . any man who may or may not be like me . . . and I recall realizing that I was exactly like my father in every way that I was different from him . . . different from any other man who could only be like or unlike me to those who have known me well enough to tell . . . like or unlike me when I become other than who I have been to most of those I have known, familiar to them as I might be yet familiar to myself, familiar in the ways . . . what he says, how he says it, when he what?

He says: “‘Look at what he does with human form, Michelangelo,’ I said, she said nothing, she looked ahead at his Dying Slave in the Louvre a few minutes before closing one February night how many years ago I have chosen not to say.” Yes, he says this, what he says about them, about himself, about what they say that he says they say the way . . . what more do you need here? Michelangelo distends form to its limits. The next step after Michelangelo’s Mannerism is Picasso’s Cubism.

He goes on to say, “Michelangelo’s mannerism . . . I saw his cartoons, the increased lines, once more his Dying Slave at the Louvre who I trace with my eyes, and by now my memories seem nimble enough to trace new shapes, to seek and find old form. Another wall rises.”

He pauses.

He continues, “There we were walking across Trocadero in the flurries, and all I could do to keep from being too cold was mumble through a recitation of ‘Mirabeau Bridge’.”

They held hands. He and she.

He says, “I trace again with my eyes the outlines that form my bedroom ceiling, then tracing with my eyes the lines that run on the floor, parquet wooden slats, and then once more the lines of the cracks in the ceiling, one end to the other, a subway map of cracks. I trace her form too with my fingers, a body in form, is form, form in itself beauty running the length of her hands, her left arm, the back of her upper to the pit the times after a shower we would and I could, the stubble in her armpit, when I come I bury her name in the space between her throat and collar bone. The grave of her neck I once said . . .where did I say it, I think I said it in a story, or was it an essay, or was it one or another of those pieces that were both?”

He says, “I kiss her throat, kiss the well between the arcs of collarbone, the lines of Michelangelo, nothing so difficult, Picasso said, a line, a line, please drop me a line, does email count . . . questions come, questions go unasked . . . she dropped my camera impatiently insisting I adhere to her demands. The door to the film chamber would not close.”

He pauses. He says nothing for a count of he does not know how many beats.

He says, “‘conclusion,’ the word, comes from the Latin, conclususwhich means a wall or the wall, a stopping of the flow, like a dam in a stream. This may or may not be the end; but it has reached its conclusion. Conclusus can also mean enclosed. You see what I am driving at here, don’t you?”

He did not add that their photos in Paris were considerably shortened in number and narrowed in cropping possibilities because . . .

I do not know why he did not buy masking tape and tape the door to the camera with the zoom lens shut.

How Coalition Support of Tribal Lawsuits Against US Army Corps Permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline Might Help the Cause

On Tuesday, July 26, 2016, the US Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) approved the water crossing permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline, proposed to carry fracked oil from the Bakken fields in North…

Source: Coalition Support of Tribal Lawsuits Against US Army Corps Permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline

Brief Encounter [flash fiction]

Brief Encounter

[flash fiction]


[. . .]

A crazy man speaks of his having discovered he was crazy in a world far madder than he, or so he wants to think, thus believe, know in a way other than how others know the things they say they know for certain, or so I imagine, of them and  of him; or as I think from time to time about him, remembering quite accurately everything this man has ever said.

Who is he? You ask. Who am I? I need to know when considering this man I am, was will be might have been in another time wearing another mask, the many roles I play in the world, in a series of contexts differing from one another greatly, slightly, at times I discover new men to be, I have never had the fear of being crazy that so many I have known over the time and course of my life–living has provided me with many courses to take, traveling them as I do, the morels travelled ones, you remember; has provided me with many roles play, all the world we remember, a stage, the many stages I have walked on, fretting about an hour or two or more, sometimes repeat performances, we are always acting, acting, acting; and yes with many transformations to make, take, endure–we do endure our transformations, one or another metamorphosis, yes, who can really say he is the same person today he was last week–and I am not talking about Gregor Samsa transformations, you know. Yes, no one the same today as he was last year or at any moment or string of them extending for minutes, hours days weeks months, whatever have we at our finger tips to say At that time then I was nothing like I am now.

Is it only about lessons learned, or is it otherwise something else in the metamorphosis of the being I am–what is it about being and existence that I recall from some discussions I think I could recollect having had about the distinctions between existence and being . . , what is it about my being? Firstly and lastly I have it, no? I mean, the tree outside my window exits but does it have being? No, right? I do–I have being. See what I mean? No? Of course, you do.

He said, “One does not explain all things by one thing alone, but by explaining all things by all things at once.” yes, he did when I did as I did as he does will do, he and I another wee I become. I am we as I have said before here and elsewhere, over and over saying the same things again and again. Not in time extended can anyone explain everything needing to be explained, but by explaining everything needing to be explained in pure simultaneity. Pure? What is it about anything we have we do we become we say think write paint compose that is pure? There is no purity in our being so composed of uncertain potential as it is, what do we actualize? No, I am asking. What do we?

“Adam would have needed infinite time to name infinite things,” he said. Paradise is heaven on earth? If so, then it is of eternity and does not participate in the laws of infinite space, infinite time, duration, bow do you count infinity? You cannot. Yes, infinity never comes. Infinity is never reached in time or space. Infinite time would not be enough time. No amount of time would ever come closer to infinite time. One billion to the one billionth power is no closer to infinity than one. How do we not see that infinite possibility is an avalanche waiting to bury us, as I have said before and again after that, before.

Eden was a space for eternity to exist–the walled garden where heaven on earth . . . how does Eden relate to the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem? But nevertheless, yes, Paradise in this way was heaven on earth. It is only from eternity that infinity is resolved. It is only in this way that the Incarnation of the Son of God begotten not made before time and creation could be Alpha and Omega, beginning and end at once. You do have to get this, that infinity and eternity are not synonyms, never have been. It is confusion that allows this to persist in our contemporary meaning.

I could have considered more here, no? What else could I say about existing without being–isn’t that about what the state wants from you, from me? Why am I again posing the questions of we,excepot in the ways that I am this we, right? So what is it that the new State as God wants from us? Or from whomever it might be possible to thrust this upon? Existence for people–what people? For humans? That does not amount to what being is; thus, another form of not to be comes with this existence without being. Yes, not the suicide we imagine Hamlet thinking out loud about–and is it interior monologue or soliloquy, his to be or not? They are not the same thing, you know, to be or not to be, being and becoming.  They serve separate functions, don’t they? What has utility to do with what we are talking about here. Metaphysics; Ontology; Epistemology–I remember these from Philosophy classes as an undergraduate when I thought I might want to be a Philosophy major.

I wish I had the time to make clear to you this suffering of folly or madness or something else quite synonymous in the mind of another, not so synonymous in mine–no two words share complete or absolute synonymy in every context of usage. I do not even imagine that they share anything other than a limited synonymy. What more will I say could only be completed by you, the reader–and now a new rub is introduced. You don’t think that it is interesting, at least for incidental consideration, if not ordered inquiry?

[. . .]

What is Past is Prologue [Poem]

A man telling a story to another man

At a bar in Brooklyn

Sometime in the mid eighties or nineties,

I think maybe I have conflated the persons

Who were the principal actors in this recollection

From when I was either three or two decades younger.

I convey this in memory of our fathers,

Of their past past reckoning . . .

Yes, this man, telling a story to another man,

Said what he said as he did

When he did

Wherever it was he did

To the other sitting with him listening, as he was,

To the story about how yet another man had said something

About someone saying something about Agamemnon,

To which it was put as follows:

“He said, ‘Agamemnon launched a thousand ships, not Helen.

If Helen had looked like a monkey,

A hundred thousand Greeks would still have battered Troy.'”

Than All the Books [short fiction]

She . . .

I have heard it said in these and in other words that everything we think is all and only words, everything only a word. There are no things except but for words, I have heard and I have said; yes, words, ours, and words more, ours . . . ours of words . . . if you get what I am driving at; the force and the power and the glory of words.

What does it mean for someone not to be able to read–what is it that the man who does not read, although he has the ability to, imagines he has over the man who cannot read? To read or not to read has been the moving force of civilization, I remember having heard, I think. Although, where it was, I cannot say; but I probably could imagine accurately enough if I called on myself to do so.

I have the tendency to sub vocalize. I am poet and must feel the words, the weight of the words on my tongue (you do, you know, feel them there, their weight); yes, the texture of the words, the shimmering motion of words–and there are words that do not shimmer in motion . . . the fires and motions of the soul, I believe in soul, it’s almost a must that I do.

Sight and sound and movement are not one–why one? What am I trying to capture? Why then do I use a metaphor of light for motion . . . a streetlight blaring through a window like a stampede of elephants, I recall having written, I forget in which piece, was it in a novel I remember having rewritten how many times–the variations in theme I imagined having published together, at what date in my chronology would that have happened, if it were to happen at all? Yes, the perpetual revisions, revisions, revisions–what is it that we do see again–the irony remains in how there is often so little gain in the again and again we try. Rewriting taking on the role of seeing again, means what to him, to me, before the page in hand with a pencil to mark it up . . . this word, that word, which word where, why, how so to say what needs to be said even above what I want to say. In the beginning there was the word?

Did you know that a tree falling in the woods does not make a sound if no one is there to hear it fall, having fallen in silence? To be silent or not to be silent; how to be silent? I grew up when parents had abandoned, although not entirely, the notion that children should be seen and not heard; unheard, muted? Gagged? We were permitted much our parents would not have been . . . God did create the world with a word, did He not . . . He, She and It are one.

What was it I was trying to say about the tree falling in the woods with no one there to hear it having fallen? No ears; no sound. Yes, that’s right; no ears to make the sound, no sound. Sound is created in the ear. What the tree does, though, by having fallen is make a compression wave, which would then be translated into sound by the ear if there were ears to receive the compression wave . . . yes? No? You disagree? How so? Why am I asking you?

So, what then do we listen to when all of us are trees falling in a forrest bereft of ears? How so the babel that continues . . . there is something other than just sound in words spoken, no?

“God is greater than all the books supposedly by Him,” She Says. He says nothing. He listens.

What more is there to say, would there be to say if . . .?


November in My Soul

Looming,  a word, a word I say, not just any word, this word in particular for the thing I name, am naming, what I do and what I am doing not the same thing, time, tense, aspect.

Things in themselves only things, nameless things, how do we hold onto to our things, what do our things impose on us, a gravity proportionate, no? Yes, things are until we do not.

Name. As it has been called. This thing, a thing, what thing, what about this thing? An act of naming gone awry.

I would like it to mean something, mean everything–nothing can mean everything, no one can be everyone, who can be anyone–we love to say that anyone can be someone–how awfully artful of us, no? It means nothing? What is in a name? I recall something about roses and dog shit, something I read somewhere, some-when.

To name or not to name, I would like to say is the question, was the question for sure for Adam. No thing ever but the thing in itself. Each itself a thing without a word. No more.

I have to reiterate for you that if there is no one in the woods to hear the tree fall, then the tree does not make a sound. Sound is made in the ear. Yes, we have been calling dog shit a rose for so long that we have nothing but contempt for roses because they do not smell like shit.

Call me Adam.