In the well of understanding

In the well of understanding

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In Absentia, a Haiku

Whether we wait upon our lovers, children, family or friends - whether it be waiting for renewed connection, a decision, or an epiphany - there can be an intensity which haunts:

Purloined moments wait
And in the absence of you
Restless thoughts assail

Monday, October 5, 2009

Entreaty of the heart

If one could be drunk on love...such a large thing pressed into a thimble of emotion. It calls for a haiku:

Inebriate love
down to the dewy lees drink
liquor of my soul

Friday, October 2, 2009

Writing Resumed

Anyone who scribes for a living knows how much effort is required to put pen to paper, and daily produce. Difficult blocks often come up and the valiant writer takes a break only to return to the source of inspiration. This poem marks out the perspective of someone renewing themselves through their work, remembering how writing calls to the soul:

Desire wells in fissures suffused by fear

like breaking sunlight filtering benighted sky,

The pen, set in motion, through openings

in the crust, once more attempts

to love a page ensouled with passion

vulcanized in twin chambers,

fed by grain imbrued feverishly

the color of sunset before

the autumn moon's coal-scarred swath

hawkishly descending, represses the tide

Hearts may be stopped, instruments blunted,

but purpose, fiery as lava, blazons

past worn passages guttering in shadows,

inscribes and marks the sheaf,

innervating minds to the testimony of the word

gifting moments expression untrammelled by trepidation

unsealing the ardor of hands,

consuming margins of the page

exploding to the surface in a molten hail

whose train sharpens the stars and

professes the perfusion of rapture unbound

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


A poem I wrote a few years back but have never shared broadly:

Under the velvet of upturned leaves,
Sanctioned beneath green gauze and trembling,
The languid child strains against the womb
Wrestling equally with the practice and idea
Constraint is that bridge
Half caressed in sunlit memory,
Half crumpled in neoteric ruins,
Where the world girds society
And morality's skyscrapers sentinels
Known peripheries, planted just a stone’s throw
From the mire and muck of the extraordinary

Contest as it wills, the lash is firm
Effluvium lines the cottony membrane
There, in that spark of life, in that brace
Which straddles the crossing, groping
The child stirs towards seraphic peace-
The dizzying stillness of death settling-
Plunging without a whimper, without complaint
Releasing restraint, relishing its throes:
To die to live to love to hurt

Somewhere we cease to try, somewhere we become
Somehow we need no learning, somehow we come to know
The child within relaxes its grasp
Ruptures the verdigris placenta, scatters the leaves
Arrives in the limpid atmosphere
And walks upright, in time, in rhythm:
To die to live to love to hurt

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Counting: A Poem

Counting slow brushes of rain,

he feels at last alive

though not free

even in heaven's wet embrace

fragments of prison,

he called life, intrude

war sounds, distance-striped vision

barely meets one moment from the next

always loss, he considers,

of self we forget:

to stay, to be here now,

love's deprivation the common chorus,

counting inadequate measures:

our wealth, our will, fearing judgement

counting everything

without counting ourselves

"I remember," he thinks

within the storm liberation looms

this time he counts the strokes

made by the meeting

of his and heaven's tears

seeing no difference

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ideas Does Not A Reality Make

"It's a strange thing to go through life as a social experiment. If you were born of ideas, then all you have are ideas," so opens one of the chapters of Man Gone Down which chronicles the ups and downs of a Black intellectual raised in the post-Civil Rights Era at a climactic point in his life. It summed up a groundswell of feeling I was experiencing watching our current President at the UN and the subsequent G-20 Conference.

I could not help but wonder where were all the ideas of the pre-election fervor had gone. To my endless inquiries of EVIDENCE of change I have been met only with deaf replies. Where is the normalization of relations with Cuba? Where are much vaunted reforms? The closure of the wars abroad? The realization of smart power? The healthcare overhaul seems to be a mote in the eye which will be washed away like a speck of dirt during the morning's ablutions.

The reality is that the Obama Presidency itself is a grand idea, fed by the American imagination but simultaneously riddled with the shortfall of American idealism. Americans are haunted by the idea of equality, bracing to embrace the idea of it but unwilling to recognize that validating humanity means demystifying any particular notions of racial identity, cultural origin and thus any attachments-favorable and unfavorable-to these. In effect this particular Presidency is a social experiment, and experiments always imply a norm (i.e., control group) versus a delta (i.e., change group). Of course, the most snowed under regarding the experiment is the titular head of the country, and this is attributable to the realm of ideas without action that have circumscribed the world from which he has sprung.

I fear that an ensuring passage of the novel presages much of the future of Presidential idea: "I suppose I should have been a superhero or an agent with no mission-AWOL, lost, forgotten, like a cold war relic, the laboratory, the training camp blown-up, the notes destroyed, my creator insane or in ashes...I should have been a vampire or a werewolf. But if that were the case, then there would be some kind of unbroken bloodline tracing back to the original. I feel artificial, man-made, like saccharin or LSD, something synthetic that was fucked up but issued nonetheless. I should have been something inexplicable, but at the same time nameable-a tolerable paradox, a recognizable of the land of the obvious; and, obviously, phenotypically different. My internal conflicts need be expressed not in words..."

But unfortunately words and ideas are all the grass which has grown since the taking of the oath. We are masters of the oratory, and wielders of the image, but manifestation is a discipline we have yet to brandish and exercise with truth. There were smatterings in the press of the term engagement in dealing with other sovereign powers last week. The veritable question is, "How engaged are we with ourselves within the American landscape?"

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Beauty of Day

Ablaze and radiant, morning salutes the dawn
brushing aside the mascara of clouds
resolutely striding through bilious winds
humming on the larynx of the earth
fluttering on rimed lips of heaven
until color breathes through the sky
spilling in a heady stream of iridescence
vermilion, azure, and amethyst droplets
to stir the imagination and prick the brow
bearing loveliness once more into the world

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another Day of Living

Frustration bristles,like unruly hair
messy and tangled, an annoying menace
too much work here, too little pleasure there
the right mind gifted to the wrong heart
family nominally but strangers in reality
effort given to elusive success,
sloughing off despair, half asleep
slurping the morning coffee, berating tea
the endless mountain of meetings
followed by the empty landscape of endeavor
gym-toned, perspiring useless hope
And all these moments are the windows of Life

Friday, July 24, 2009

Declined Access: Healthcare

I have listened as the healthcare debate raged back and forth over the past two weeks. And it seems that the scare tactic being utilized to block a public option is the question of cost. Now while I would not advocate spending willynilly, it does strike me as ironic that whenever the issue of paying for those necessary social goods which ultimately benefit the society as a whole, the specter of expense is resurrected to haunt the halls of public conscience. Curiously, this spook never raises its head when the military budget is up, or when voting for financial support of some rogue national power whose agenda benefits U.S. aims, despite said polity's lean away from democratic rule. But the reality of day should surface and banish the lingering shades of doubt: what is requisite for life - for all members of our community - should never take a backseat to the potentiality of debt. After all, whether or not, a public option is passed the healthcare industry is headed towards an explosive implosion due to unwieldy expense and an overrated fee structure. Will our elected officials have the courage to exorcise the demons laying waste to the commonweal or shall we succumb to despair and sever our limbs in a futile attempt to preserve the body?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beginnings of a short story: Gathering The Tribe

This week sees the initiation of short story installments on my blog. For the first one I have selected a contemporary topic.

On the eve of a Presidential election, two U.S. Senators in separate locations awaited returns. Both had engaged in the fray of politics, though one lacked the years of experience of the other; and both, while playing to their constituencies, had advocated lies. Of course, neither considered them untruths but a matter of expediency to whatever end they deemed appropriate. And in doing so they continued the grand tradition, the inalienable pageantry, from which American Presidents arose.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fragments of Father

Two years have given us the full measure, and still the hole left by my father's loss gapes. In reaching for the memories sometimes it feels like trying to capture rain, and the realization dawns that each drop is its own precious keepsake:

Sunset & Shadows

Indeterminate memories surface
on the rim of sundown's flange,
murky is the mind's eye, misted,
recall's uncertain grasp steadies
the fog, uncoiling Time, untwining
inaudible is the voice, cloistered
nubilous the final image, obscured
all I can reclaim, across distance,
is a prosaic portrait, near trivial,
of a young son with father, clasped,
warmed in the shadows of closing day

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer's Pear

Hugo, your continued inspiration flowers:

Luxuriant as honey, sweet as figs
my pear tree - Pereira - flourishes
bursting in darkness, white blossoms
against hardy brown wood, branching
into gray eyes and fruity fuzz,
swathed in the pinnate silk of Love

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Span of Love

For Hugo

Our impassioned words are a bridge
across which our hearts travel,
ushered into wondrous assignation

Monday, July 6, 2009

Yearning: Poetic Murmurings

I awoke this morning,
and like the settling dew
upon sun-kissed yellow roses,
my body sought immersion
in the warm folds of your arms

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Haiku: Winter's Farewell Kiss

While the season of winter has shuffled off and awaits the cycle of the stars until its time is once more, the autumn within may still be flickering in these rough economic times. It aids to remember that winter has its beauty, and strength can be measured in any interval, particularly when there is silence to allow hearing:

Downy snow shimmers
feathery brushes over sky
cushioning stillness

Monday, June 1, 2009

Haiku: Summer's Harbinger

On the cusp of summer, color becomes a paramount theme. Yellow speaks of friendship and joy; it is the bridge between the moments of day and its' close:

Yellow like sunrise
unfiltered scent of lemon
the tang of sunset

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quillsby's Quip: Bay Area Rapid Trash Talk

"Hmmm, our so not highly performing public transit service wants to raise rates again for less service and greater parking fees. Remind me again what BART stands for. Oh, that's right: Beastly Abominable Reprobate Transport. You know - the kind of thing you get at great public expense with little results."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sound-byte Doltishness

I am unfamiliar with President Obama's prospect to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court; but I am more than acquainted with the ridiculous clipping of commentary those cast into the sudden glare of the spotlight find themselves bracing against. This nominee, Judge Sotomayor, deserves serious consideration from everyone. However, in the land of perverse politics she is already being denigrated, and her statements parsed without context. Racism has been trotted out and lashed as a banner over the mast of her ship in the most recent smear attempt.

We should be smart enough to comprehend that being aware of race, and the nuances of it in America, is not equivalent to being a racist. Sotomayor's take that a Latino woman might come to different conclusions than a White man is mere common sense. Just as we are not solely defined by our cultural heritage, neither are we homogenous drudges living easily circumscribed tableaus.

Can we actually spend our time with greater wisdom and examine her qualifications? One wonders if the US politicians are capable of having rational debate with facts in evidence. Or has the roar of the sound-byte smothered and murdered reason?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memory is Life

Summer approaches and the wheel turns with the year's progression. The anniversary of the loss of my father draws near. I continue to experience a sense of displacement and stunned bewilderment, as if nothing is real; all is wrapped in a translucent haze of albumen. Memorial Day evokes for me not only those who have given their lives in service but those who have touched and been intimate to my life, whether human or other. Yesterday, on the holiday, I attended a birthday party for a new friend and learned that one of his dogs had transitioned that morning. Once more I summon the wizardry of words to ward, to re-stabilize, the magic of existence. This is for you Robert and James:

On Death and Remembrance

Life's velutinous web,
we are reminded just now,
is frail but endures

Lives on eternally
in the lacework of memory
reviving and imbuing

Begets anew the circle
dirge to morning song
mourning to love recalled

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Awakening of Dreams

We forget in the bustle of life those dreams which moved us in our salad days, and in this slump of disregard, a little of ourselves becomes dead tissue; papering over the life we have desired with a film of the mundane and mediocre. In this time of disassociation we can connect best with ourselves by rekindling the pyre of bygone reveries:

Nuevo Suenos

Because he could not fly,
he chose instead the Art of Building
and followed the threaded path
of soaring constructions and vaunted erections,
winging his way over edifices
assembled from the stuff of reality
in the practical guise of fulfillment

Success, that fickle master,
lay like a shiny coin in his palm,
and beset him from all sides
hemming in his creativity
and depositing it in a bank
molded by business acumen
but embattled by the idiocy
of management run amuck:
he found his competentcy
reflected in a pool of ignorance,
the chains of corporate responsibility
wound tightly about, encircling
his avid mind, and bit by bit
tarnishing the gilded edge,
until he knew the tables had turned
and he was the coin in the machine

On a morning, as he prepared
for the routine cycle, he perchance
spied a robin chirping in its nest,
welcoming the bright fillaments
of Life with the simplicity of being,
and memories, which had lain dormant,
waked from the attic of the mind;
he recalled the original desire,
the colorful mural of his youthful soul,
felt the incompleteness of the pattern,
and panted after the navigation
of the heavens, unbridled in form
mounting once more the vision
of flight unencumbered by society:
it was time, he noted simply,
the period of dreams had swung
its pendulum, projecting outward
where the future waited patiently
coalescing from gossamer wisps
to a vibrant canvas with his stylus
poised to draw a new reality

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Simplicity and Conveyance

I adore the lushness of Romantic poetry, and it moves me in ways which few in this modern time can appreciate; but their is power of expression also in succinctness. None exemplifies this better than the work of Jacques Prévert. As with my homage to Baudelaire, I have selected an exquisite piece of Prévert's oeuvre and written a response which captures the perspective from a different angle.

Last Breakfast

She pulsed the grinder
powdering the beans
She poured the dust
into the shiny press
She added the water
to the kettle
She lit the gas
fire under the kettle
And sat back to wait
Her eyes speaking volumes
She folded the towel
She creased the edges
with corniced flourishes
She tapped the press
absently clinking
Her eyes speaking volumes
Her gaze elsewhere
She poured the water
She depressed the dome
into the glass
She waited
She lifted the press
Because it was ready
She dispensed
liquid into the cup
Her lips motionless
Her eyes speaking volumes

She sipped
never seeing him
and she
She walked away
out the door
out of his arms
never glancing back
to what was behind

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Silence is broken: Hope you did not hope too hard

At the behest of a friend (yes, Judi, you) I have been biding my time (and tongue). I was asked to give our new President and his claque a reasonable amount of space to begin implementing his policies before commenting; in this friend's opinion my style and manner may sometimes come across as ad hominem but then we all know the quip about opinions and, er, fundaments{smile}.

Naturally, this means that I have a backlog of thought and feeling which now seeks expression, craves release in a written medium. I have recovered from my brief stint, the warm escape and balm, in Brazil and once more am ensconced in the native soil of mundane existence. My country is troubled on various fronts, chief among them the crisis and insolvency of leadership which has resulted in the crise économique. For the average citizen concerns have shifted from expansive ideals of where to vacation and what to buy to preserving the sanctity of hearth and home, wresting what they may from the ravenous jaws of disregard and greed.

Our federal government - first last fall under the auspices of erstwhile President Bush and now secure in the aegis of President Obama - has followed an abortive scheme of continuing to bailout fruitless financial institutions with the vaunted hope that these firms will extend lending to citizens and prop up the rapidly failing burg of the economy. Instead, this has had the opposite effect of insulating a particular class from economic ruin, essentially creating an aristocracy not allowed to feel the chill winds of national calamity while the garden-variety denizen languishes in hopeless despair.

If the government's goal was to give succour to Citizens Joe and Jill, then why provide monetary security to reckless banks without any oversight, consequences or clear direction? It would have been far more advantageous to let those firms meet their demise, and use the taxpayers' dollars to create a national bank where there was direct control and supervision. If I were to posit to conservatives the notion of an extremely risky investment where your returns are uncertain and your input was nil, very few would leap at this as a golden opportunity. Yet some of the most conservative legislators were the loudest voices in support of this boondoggle. (Not that the Left was much better, as they were thronging about in hero-worship for their new Demiurge). So much for change, Mr President; your ringtone is stuck on the unrestrained melody of status quo.