messenger mystic mashup

the hidden world gushes and thrusts
apparently the body is full of seas, channels, and rivers
gates and jeweled palaces…
that is so fucking lovely but is it magical enough…
does it speak through the normcore in whispers,
tell us what we seek here at noodle world?

when you get out of your car in florida right now
your sunglasses instantly fog
is it the original dampness: this tropic swelter
or that of the cave which we have been seeking
as it inconveniences us with shadow and sweat,
with things that might be funny if they happened in a movie

i need an outrageous and mythic secret identity
i’m considering selling my services as an internet muse
mystical hawk-winged snow leopard spirit guide
or this americano is far too strong, an easy out
i might blame caffeine for delusions of grandeur

cute pet ideas: free to good home
i am as much my audience as you are
and have also been third hand a witness
to terrible things done to salamanders
in the name of science

we’d rather live off roots and berries
entraining softly in the cooling dusk,
in the absence of vehicles and sunglasses
with an autumn song or dream poem
a dance with our mother of the beetles
who insists in the power of small glossed wing shells
to alter the course of historical events
she wags her finger knowingly…

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Sinclair the rosy maple moth & myself

IMG_20140915_164233[1]in my world, the hero narrative is kind of a ‘thing’ lately. i am actively exploring/integrating/reinterpreting the hero mythos and Jungian archetypes, their meaning to myself, and how their significance has shifted as we progress(?) as a race.

originally, this was not my conscious intent. but the quest found me when i decided to undertake the series of paintings of which this is the first piece.

yes, i am riding a moth and his name is Sinclair. i remember this type of moth from when i was a child. it’s a cute moth. we are not likely heroes. but all the true heroes are unlikely. if victory was assured, there’d be no story.

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an untitled painting

oil on canvas abstract

oil painting on canvas
paintings like this are enjoyable to create because there is no pressure to commit to form.
also, the dynamic flow of colors and lack of representative imagery keeps the eyes moving.
this painting seems organic, and to me seems both vegetable and embryonic. seeds burst, flowers bloom. if it sounds like i’m referencing Georgia O’Keefe it’s purely accidental- who doesn’t like attractive vegetation?



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the hour

There is an inconclusive hour
early evening,
even in a land of urban parking lots,
the air turns yellow inside out;
the greens are blue and bleeding.
Descent into night commences.

Water might pool from an afternoon rain;
the clouds might break just once again.

Then, ditches reflect the sky, and my sorrow,
At the hours, days I have spent
watching light tumble underground
like sand rolling in an hourglass.

Soft, it falls through dirty puddles,
escapes me.

My lifetime is an avalanche of sand and light,
of puddles with a mystic oily sheen.

And only sorry am I then,
with no breath left for anger.
Only tired am I now
With nothing left to do.

But to rest here for this yellow hour
With my sorrow and the water.
The anvil of the passing day will
crush the ripples flat to lay
like glass.

My brow has likewise softened but,
as the light slips soft, away, beneath,
I’m like a stone skipped hard across a wave
To the surface side I cling
Yet to my resting place I sink.


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Creative Process pt. 1

Creative Process, Thoroughly Unprofessional Discourse pt. 1 (Setting the Stage)

All familiar demons rose to taunt me as I procrastinated. I had given myself a writing assignment: a short series of articles on the creative process. My topic is so contextual, with subtopics thoroughly enmeshed. Where would I start? How to divide content? Outline or free-write? Conduct research or write from experience?
I did everything else on the list first. I checked out a library book, renewed it twice, and returned it weeks late. Searched for the right mood, the right lighting…Until the project intended to ensure I would write was preventing me from writing anything else.

Writers block: a formidable impasse. A long stare into a chaotic soup of unformulated thoughts, a morass of vowels droning indistinctly. Or worse, a lonely stand at the brink of nothingness. So, maybe the ideal starting point is a look at the bogies that thwart the creative adventurer on the road to manifestation… Except, it may be necessary to take a step back. Isn’t it essential to provide at least a vague and general conceptualization of the creative process as well?

Yes, but.
One more step back. The afore-mentioned library book explores creativity as a discrete concept. I sympathize with the author who tackled this daunting task, but I returned the book unread. Despite some effort to be general and abstract, my description of the creative process will be contextual. The context is by necessity Me, so a brief introduction is in order:

I’ll introduce myself as a general-creative. I’m of the type that commits various creative acts with fair aptitude. More specifically: I can paint, draw, sculpt, design a website or a logo, structure a yoga class, and make soap from scratch. I like to write poetry and short prose. I’m a versatile and skilled cook, I’m learning to professionally decorate cakes, and I’ve tried my hand at bonsai with a fair measure of success.
This is a partial list. I love doing all of these things and more.
One of my challenges in being effectively creative has been completing projects because I tend to have a few going at the same time. Sometimes my focus is too diffused, and even my finished projects lack a sense of fullness and completion. Personal challenges aside, my varied forays are deeply enriching in the broader context of my life.

As somewhat a Jack of all trades, one of my primary skills is translating effectively between media. This is what drives me, hopefully qualifies me, to write on the subject of the creative process. If my take is subjective, it is also diverse.

Time to return to the second skipped topic: a general overview of the process involved in manifesting an idea as an intended representational form.
A looping function this may be. But if it has a beginning, it is a moment of acknowledged inspiration. A brilliant idea coalesces unbidden out of the ether!
‘But is it brilliant, really?’ hopefully the mind asks. If the idea passes a test of being plausible and potentially executable, the mind may take firmer hold. The idea has to evolve through some stages of conceptualization and formulation. If the inspiring idea makes it this far, then next would come planning. Once an executable plan of attack has been formulated, it’s time for the action that will manifest the finished product.

Mind may be unbounded, but space-time relativity comes with rules by which we play for the most part. This is the skill game. The physical actions performed to achieve a complete manifested form will be temporally ordered, specific and have definite results. The planning stage, whether done initially or in phases, is a translation of idea into form by the means of action.
The formula I’m postulating seems accumulative and linear, but one must allow for back-to-the-drawing-board insights. The process is not complete without them. Further qualifying my outlined structure, microcosmic versions of the whole erupt spontaneously, whirring in and out of existence like the quantum phenomena they likely are.
And one more important qualification: I have created a model for something abstract or metaphysical, then broke this continuum into distinct phases that don’t really exist as such so that they can be discussed. This is a common function of human thought and arguably the whole basis for language, therefore I feel that it’s allowed. (End disclaimer.)

Coming back to the first skipped topic:
Impediments to project completion can occur at any phase of the creative cycle. If it’s a jungle out there, then it’s a jumble ‘in here’. So, perspective and discipline have rolls to play in the life of any effectively creative person. True, many artist-types identify with a free-spirit, non-conformist, do-what-you-feel fantasy image. There will be no career in the arts for them. The more the ‘D’ (discipline) word scares one, the more likely that person would benefit from developing the trait.

Conversely to what the art-hippies believe, the right dose of prudence and discipline enhances ones capacity for creative fun and freedom. But the lack of these traits isn’t the only impeding factor, so why the focus? Other challenges require persistence to be overcome, for which discipline is required.
Example: Jumping the puddle of doubt between planning and acting is a recurrent challenge. Learning to take it less seriously and let go of perfectionism, I find a motive to splash through it. Then, I can achieve results that are validating and improve my faith in my abilities.
But to overcome my inertia requires discipline. Without that, I couldn’t build better creative habits.

A change in perspective can have a radical effect on experience. Walls or bridges can grow from the stories we secretly tell ourselves. Ultimately, it is this inner narrative that determines a life of self-imposed limitation versus self-created opportunity.
So, what are the stories behind our habits? We all have our own. The general theme is fear. The common manifestations are many and known. A guide to creativity-snuffing demons and methods for foiling their attempts is in order. For next time!


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Acute Cat Poem

Once more coming onnn
with a florescent hummm
brittle, a flame pushing through flesh,
avidity in small gestures,
each step a crescendo
Lean up on a wall, almost too much
Large cat pawing at the knee, just smile
Smell the earth, coffee, smoke,
take-out, shampoo
Sight floods the body with light
Sharpness pulse of ceiling fan
Tail up, he weaves through ankles,
just smile
He returns much larger than before
In secret, I watch him stalk the room
Someone pops open a coke
Thunder rolls down the walls
breaking into lighter sound, laughter
I am everywhere fur brushing up against…
I feel the room. I lean in silence

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Have faith: in the mundane mmwhispers the song eternal
As you hover over an organ in the body of a song
my ignorance grants me an esoteric interpretation
The blind theory is an almost-sensation
a tip of the tongue quiver phantasmal
peripheral occipital ravine shimmer
Ignorance degrades functionality but allows innocent perception
Experience tempers understanding but jades poetic insight
Entertain me, Pythagorean waves abstractly crashing
High-tide, equinox Earth-tilt angles, plate-shift geomancy
Heartbeats and footsteps in dust-speckled light beams
The humidity in the room tempers the timbre
The struck string: All, all is vibration…

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Phillip K Dick’s DIVINE INVASION broke my teen shackles of angst & despair

i was born the same year my favorite science fiction author died. i don’t really think that means anything. other than that i could be a reincarnation of Phillip K Dick. no, i don’t really believe that.
but i do Love him. i came to discover that i probably love his books because a lot of my interests, ideas and views echo his.

i find this most compelling about his novels:
as the science fiction gets wild enough to dash any sense of “this could actually happen at anytime” the characters become more and more real, lovable and complex.
the stories demand something deeply personal from the main players and therefore the reader, nothing so simple or symbolic as the mere slaying of a dragon.
the sense of participating in the human experience is only accentuated by the unlikelihood of the grosser narrative aspects.

Phillip Kindred Dick suffered from mental illness and hallucinations, experimented with drugs, and was married something like 7 times. in almost all the photographs of him that i’ve seen his eyes reflect a certain angst or thirst. he had transcendental experiences, and described himself as a cosmic pantheist (yes!) and fictionalizing philosopher rather than a novelist. he was born prematurely alongside a twin sister who died several weeks later. his own death resulted from a stroke at the age of 53 in 1982.

themes/tropes explored in his work naturally reflect his life and preoccupations: a phantom twin, hallucinations, mental illness, the subconscious, the moral obligations of mankind, theology and metaphysics.
couple those elements with scifi dystopia… yeah: what could be better?

back to a more personal narrative: i’m using my favorite books as a autobiographical tool. one reason i’m doing this is that i’m squeamish over anything autobiographical (including job applications which i plan to avoid here on out). the other reason is that i read this really stupid article (i refuse to link to it.) that can be summed up briefly by my following paraphrase:

“you’re all dumb pop-culture automatons, just like me. consequently i can assume that you all lied when the personal book-list fad rolled through your facebook timeline. Your favorite books are actually Harry Potter, 50 Shades of Grey, and [insert NY Best Seller bullshit here] because you’re not capable of being shaped by important works of the written word and only read for mind-numbing enjoyment.”

yes, i take issue with this. how could this person possibly know that Carlos Casteneda changed my life by altering the way i look at road-killed animals? what? it has to do with a crow. i’ll explain that later.

Back to Dick. (lol)
most New England kids are exposed to Dick’s work in middle school: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep which gave rise to the movie Blade Runner in the same year of his death/my birth. somehow i missed that book during my childhood. i was a senior in high school when i read Divine Invasion. i felt like i was In that book. the story swept over me in waves. now, i wax autobiographical:

a young kid, i was close enough to norm to escape serious remedial attention. i was a quiet kid, at times very withdrawn. i liked solitude every bit as much as company. i spent as much time as i could alone in nature.

but by the end of high school, i was just borderline freak-out weirdo. i could still be fairly quiet about it, though it showed. i felt really different from everyone except from a handful of friends. and i was; this isn’t a lack of humility or terminal uniqueness. i was asking questions about the nature of reality, theological and metaphysical questions. i was searching deeply for a cohesive sense of meaning. i was doing these things consciously and i knew only a few other kids who would play.

also, my search for meaning did not mix well with adolescent hormonal flux. i found myself having regular nightmares and experiencing frequent acute states (i didn’t know to call them that then). my senses would ignite like a fireworks display. that wasn’t always unpleasant, but could be overwhelming and disorienting. (i think acute states are natural during adolescence, and that they mix strangely with whatever the kid is experiencing during that time. i am describing an experience that is personal and universal.)

i have a natural tendency to escapism and therefore had already become a master at suspension of disbelief. Divine Invasion was one of those books that i willed to life. while i was reading it and the months following, it became my personal Torah – which in fact the book mentions and to which it ascribes a beautiful life and energy.

i had been failing at putting the pieces together. a lot of this was a mix of chance and teenage disillusion. i found my own interpersonal experience mostly isolating. the world seemed fractured, fragmented and i felt that way myself. i encountered Gnosticism and the online parody religion called Discordianism at around the same time. Hand in hand, they validated my fear that reality was chaotic and flawed. i hopped on that train with a ‘hail Eris’, decided that confusion must be the natural state of man and that my only hope was to embrace and enjoy it. not a good place. yes, there were drugs.

Dick’s self-described cosmic pantheism couched in the familiar salve of science fiction offered me an alternative mythos. and it was prettier and much more human(e). i had found a new train. i was off the hook of resigning myself to a world ruled by Loki, Eris, the Demiurge… it sounds so cheesy now, but my fantastical 17 year old mind was just thrashing with this stuff. really, it was self-abuse.
thank you, Divine Universe. you don’t have to invade, just knock at the door anytime you like.

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