6 x 36 Nocturnes

series one, #1-18

i. 6/8/2000 On board Boston-to-Hartford Greyhound bus

something, not yet word, nor yet shine
yet beyond shadow, no longer blue fancy

i don't know. a game, this cosmos? time + play?

something from somewhere. wreckage of a dream
not yet word, nor yet shine, no longer blue fancy.


ii. 6/8/2000 On board Boston-to-Hartford Greyhound bus

world not revolving, no, world undulating,
the flow of energy into, out of, creation,
time a mischief floating nowhere, everywhere
time spun by fear, evaporated by laughter

time the bluest note in eternity's starshine

time thinned of power is bliss. happiness without limits.


iii. 6/8/2000 On board Boston-to-Hartford Greyhound bus

universe, we do not know thee most times
universe, we mistake thine glimmer for thine truth
universe, art thee grasped somewhat listening
            to heartbeat, falling through water?

universe, we writhe & reduce thy depths to
            our tears, our stories, our loves,
            our deaths, our beliefs

universe, we mistake our identities for our truth

universe, we are things, we are animals,
we are spirits, we pray while deaf,
            we are someone from somewhere. who are we?


iv. 6/8/2000 On board Boston-to-Hartford Greyhound bus

Holy night, reverence to thee in wakefulness
            & restlessness
observe what emerges, what disappears

Kindly night, the brighter hours led into
            diminishing, a fell distance
            but silent

Night dancing, nocturnal ecstasy, pouring
            & burning & crying & arriving into
            dreams, the door, dreams, the open door

Night raging, a herd wild, grieving, unsure,
            lost, clues everywhere, even fancies
            roar with Goddly might

Night the blank paradise still dotted
            with glimmers of resistance, filling,
emptying, everywhere a prophet,
            a scripture, a chunk explaining
the beginning hurling tandem with one
            explaining the end while

Night roars there is no difference!


v. 6/8/2000 On board Boston-to-Hartford Greyhound bus

anxious, irritated, closer to the source---
fire explains only fire. love reveals nothing.
trees provoke patience.
kindness seems more important.
there is always movement. nothing changes.
memory of a tin shack in the woods. memories
            mean nothing.


vi . 6/8/2000 On board Boston-to-Hartford Greyhound bus

remove i from the mulling, the equation,
yes, simply efface narsiss & regard how
all glows, clarity

love explains nothing. hunger is about hunger

nothing yet has been abandoned here
everything remains at stake


vii. 6/9/2000 On board Midway-to-Clark & Lake
Chicago Transit Authority train

listen to the obscure tongues of the world,
            & beyond, listen, many musics begin to tally
to meanings among words, secret hustles &
            romances, collisions fanatics heed, & often
                                    what is the light deferring to?

listen for the quieter, & yet quieter still governors
                    of change, continuance, for the many musics
beyond sweetness & flail . . . listen for what
                    is listening to you, how it watches you
clenching tighter while trying to let go
                    how it laid a teaching grid so long ago, how this
                                    grid awaits you. stop seeking. listen.


viii. 6/9/2000 Kronies Pub,
near Division Street, Chicago, Illinois

without sinking, to fall, to fall, &
            know nothing once more, happily
til shiny is funny, loud shudders one
            curiously, til maybe the clouds are
passing or is it really the earth?

new. old. attitudes slick & soiled or baby's gold.

the fires are small throughout the city
            tonight, many of them, silly, dull

but something else too, something furious
            with its own existence, how to live,
            how to live, how to live & why.


ix. 6/10/2000 Corner of Division Street
& Lasalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois

Things clearer in context but perhaps
            better alone.
Suffering given a how & why glows lower
            & pathetically

Yon street corner cannot be explained

A taxi for every direction, most empty
            & sad

4 a.m. & all is lost
            4 a.m. has no how nor why ------


x. 6/10/2000 Art Institute of Chicago
Vincent Van Gogh, "The Bedroom,"
1889, oil on canvas

Things twist fall, curve, tricks, there is
            too much meaning, then there is none,
doors & windows do not help when the floor
            is giving way, doubt, mangy truths
alone are left, the mirror is blank,
            mirrors are always the first to relinquish hold,

best to lie abed? whistle at the collapsing
            windows? Rush through the door hungry &

Best perhaps to crawl into one of the
            paintings on the wall, watch from
the other side the collapse imminent,
            best to stay still & hope what was back
            there now growls with all the danger
            of riled air. The last of us will be gone
            a long time before it is generally known.


xi. 6/10/2000 Martyr's Pub,
Chicago, Illinois

Silence kills. Silence heals. Language is captive
music, visible flakes of cosmic mystery.

Absent the I all seems possible again.

Empty poppy fields-- er, no, poppy fields
            absent of the human I

Wintry glowing wheat stacks-- the obscure
            allowed some chance again

Even when the corpsey man plays
            the blue guitar . . . something . . .
                        something . . .

More air. More wild music. The kind
            no I has ever been able to hear.


xii. 6/11/2000 Art Institute of Chicago
Claude Monet, "Stack of Wheat,"
1890-1891, oil on canvas

Six windows, each with a communication,
            a lesson, a yawp, so it seems

Stack of wheat in a snowy field
            lightless grey sky, trees & farmhouses

in the distance, the field is covered
            in pink & blue & white brushstrokes

The wheatstack is assembled thusly only
            to be taken apart again, this is one

of its several moments, this is the bit
            of time, the place it gets & did it

mind posing for Monet's brush a century ago
            and could it mind, & thus think, would
                it be impressed with how long its residua
                        has lasted beyond farmer, cows, painter?


(xiii.) Claude Monet, "Stack of Wheat
(Snowy Effect, Overcast Day),"
1890-1891, oil on canvas

Could it reason, could it dream, did it
        remember, could it hope, what of the

many overcast days it knew, the snowy silences
        in rural France, did it brood, doubt?

Give it a name, call it Reality, yes, good,
        this suits, mmm, Reality is alone,

in the cold, Reality is snowed upon, Reality
        is assembled without consent, Reality will

be gone anon, will be food, or maybe just
        rot, there are other wheatstacks

helpless in this field too, they share
        similar stories, they give each other
            comfort with presence alone, covered
                in the same snow, the same grey sky
                    above, the same unknowable fate,
                        perhaps, or is there more to it?


(xiv.) Claude Monet, "Stack of Wheat (Thaw, Sunset),"
1890-1891, oil on canvas

Reality during the thaw, Reality at
        sunset, oil on canvas, every living
thing can nearly be reduced to a formula,
        nearly, Reality alone in this dreaming,

the farmhouses, the trees in the distance,
        even fellow haystacks, Reality alone
& dreaming, thawing, sunset, no
        remembrance nor regret, no expectation,
no words of any kind. The breeze is warmer &

kind. Reality floats, nearly evaporates, a
        shadowy blotch in a vague pulsating landscape,
            oil on canvas, 1890-1891, release is
                temptation for all creatures, final
                    cessation to suffering & music.


(xv.) Claude Monet, "Stacks of Wheat
(Sunset, Snow Effect),"
1890-1891, oil on canvas

What if the music burns too hard & the
        suffering becomes comic? What if
the worst that can happen was being
        created at all & one fine wheatstack
golden dusk the wind & the shadows &
        the ton-heavy colors all cried "Gift!"

Reality drifts & swirls & wishes to follow

Reality calls for more colors, wilder music,
        the beginnings of a new freedom

Reality does not think in cycles & maya but
        to reinvent the world you must begin
            everywhere & nowhere--------


(xvi.) Claude Monet, "Stacks of Wheat
(End of Day, Autumn),"
1890-1891, oil on canvas

without sinking to fall, to fall, &
        know nothing once more, happily
there is attraction among all things,
        there is will to creation, will to annihilation,

there is beauty in the young & in the
        decrepit, in that which shines &

that which lies in a ruin behind a gate &
        a sign & a padlock

the truth of Reality is no-truth, only
        a continuous becoming of all that

exists through a cycle briefly visible, sunsets
        in autumn, the many wiggles of one's body
            then sleep, then dust, then the truth,
                perhaps answers, plain, even blank


(xvii.) Claude Monet, "Stack of Wheat
(End of Summer),"
1890-1891, oil on canvas

Morning. Or perhaps coming night. The end.
        Or perhaps we still do not know a thing.

Poor Reality. Debased with understanding.
        All is maya. Perhaps.

Shadows dim more of the colors, mute more
        of the music. Until one discovers that
            seeing & hearing, learning, knowing,
                the ecstasy of a dance, the sullenness
                    old wounds are

all kin. All that is, is kin. The farmer,
        the hungry cows, Monet, oil, canvas,
        all flows, all matters, nothing is lost,

nothing is unimportant, all feeds all,
        the emptiness felt by embodied creation,
            yes, a valid assessment, pain, woe,
                the wildness of pulsating creation

The lesson each can teach each
        all can teach all, they're just
            wheatstacks, paintings on a wall,
                yes, but from this perspective watch
                    how everything ends, & a beat, & all begins again.


xviii. 6/12/2000 Art Institute of Chicago
Pablo Picasso, "The Old Guitarist,"
1903-1904, oil on canvas

He no longer plays the notes, no longer
            sings the words. There never were
notes, or words. There was springtime.

Yes. & children too. There was the ocean spray
            that warped & defined the instrument
but it really played nothing.

He remembers. O yes, this is how it really
            was. Perhaps one fellow did really

play the music in all those years. Perhaps.
            A gypsy. Scum. But the night he charmed

her, fires, dreams, a roasted pig, yes-- well,
        perhaps. So that was music, really music,
            the night never really burned like that
                        before or since. Crosses & cunts.

Piety of priests & senators crafting sewage
            from platitude & revolver.

To play one true note. To refuse the coin.
To reach beneath this life's nightly bed
            of rubble & come up with a handful
        of sunshine. Just once.


On to 6 x 36 Nocturnes, series one, #19-36

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