Human’s manipulation of the weather: it’s a subject that generally fascinates me. Particularly in March. Particularly in late March. Particularly in Vermont’s version of late March. PARTICULARLY following this morning’s forecast, which calls for 8-16” of snow in the next 24 hours.
According to our friend Katie (an expert on the subject), China’s been doing this kind of thing (attempting to engineer weather) for fifty some odd years. The best example I can think of (or at least the one you’re most likely to have read about in recent years) was Beijing’s cloud-seeding during the days leading up to the 2008 summer Olympics. The Weather Modification Office (itself a unit of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau) had its engineers launch rockets filled with silver iodide into the clouds (outside of Beijing), effectively relieving the clouds of moisture before they passed over the city, the lights of the stadium, the fair-weather mood of the Olympians.
I admit I’ve always found this story disturbing, if not downright appalling. I mean, a WEATHER MODIFICATION OFFICE. It is positively bewildering. I suppose my reaction is a result of the first-generation absurdist in me: the Camus’ and Becketts wandering around within, mumbling self-piteously, having surrendered themselves to nature’s demented whims.
But today I’m feeling less sympathetic to those mopes. I’m finding myself endeared (in a vindictive sort of way) to these Chinese harnessers of Nature.
But while I’ll readily admit that there is a part of me (a part that is most pronounced at this time of year) that feels like hurling some chemicals at the approaching gray, there’s another part of me that cares more about discovering what precisely this 8-16” snow-bearing-storm is actually going to bring when all is said and done. And whether or not I’ll witness it (live it) properly. This part of me that I’m referring to is neither Camus nor God, nor John Muir (I’m thinking of the famous episode in his journals when he climbs up into the tree during the storm and eggs that mother on), nor guilty-activist-sympathizer. Is neither manipulator nor masochist nor resignee.
Mostly, I’m talking about the ability to perceive precisely what comes when it comes. Evidently, in his “Book of Weather Reports,” in which he noted the weather everyday for ten years, Henry Darger grew less and less interested in the physical phenomena than the weatherman’s unfailing ineptitudes. What is the weather going to do exactly! I asked Stan, I asked Virginia, I asked Ivor—all neighbors I encountered on the road today. And all admit they know not; but all will venture to guess!
And here I’m supposed to be writing about today’s weather. And yet this fierce persistence, these unrelenting attempts to absorb the intricacies of tomorrow’s weather, over and over, to predict it, engage it. ENCOUNTER its unfathomable accuracy.
Use the weather in a sentence the bird with the blue body turned to face
us. His or her head turned very sideways & slanted as he or she looked down at us
as if to mime us into going on our way.
Aha! You (plural) saw me! Hurrah, goodbye! Hurrying by
the seaweed amber in the light-through-wave
shone sort of through the swimmer in the wave
as weather through the days we didn’t write the weather.
Why should it justify itself when looking is
a grainy cloud where feet fell blindly on the stones,
one hip higher than the other and meniscus torn—
serpintine in a matrix of muck, the doer done,
the California poppy, orange star on a stem, waved goodbye at the start of the trail.
While I sleep you can take that period out,
replace it with music: fugue & petal.
all of us trying to hatch in spring seems scary
a wind paid me to advertise its warmth
osprey touches a squawfish to its tender lip
fiddle around hatchling trajectory,
ferocious scribbling when you need a job
smack, there it is dyed-brown mayfly in my coffee
tastes like coffee just like March 30th 1000 years ago
I am thinking about professionalization, labor and poetry. How the counterpoint echos off each of these. Yet, these caverns find themselves pressured together, by little quakes, by life’s demander/s and other bandits: These are the attempts to crumble them into fluidity. If this essay had a title it would be: stealing time.
I work four jobs: part-time permeates every move I perform. Today it is sunny and almost too hot, a reprieve from the rain dumping on this coast and my hair and the news is reporting on radiation floating. I worry about getting sun stained; I wish I had my lover’s skin; I realize the privilege in this thought, which also feels.
Part-time afterschool program coordinator, part-time administrator, part-time poetry editor, part-time bartender and part-time lover. I live 300 miles away from my lover. The inability to dedicate myself to anything drips off the walls of these caves onto my skin, which can’t help but absorb. Yet, dedication (investment) is what I seek in each job. The economy of investment, its exchange, makes it beautiful between lovers, but despondent on a large scale and rarely beautiful at a job. Though, these jobs do want to be a part of this beauty, even if they are subject to the same imaginary-dollar-house. It is this nuance, intention, that causes my feet to trip over themselves, that causes me to over-invest and therefore, under-invest in each cave. Like when you write/ read something so determinedly good that it renders its opposite as clearly as the intended essence. I realize that failure also feels. I picked these positions because they were the best to me and the best for me. “The Best” is a vague qualifier, as lazy in practice as it is in writing or use.
Are my caves the best because they allow me to funnel my unrelenting need for labor into a category of professionalization, a need resulting in my class and upbringing? a need which connects me to disparate family? Did my class and upbringing fool me? I am not special in thinking this and my generation is not unique in feeling it. I have had fourteen jobs since I was 14, when I started working. It’s like that Tee-Shirt that make in Hawaii or somewhere: “QUIT YOUR JOB/BUY A TICKET/FALL IN LOVE/ NEVER RETURN”
————-I started reading a piece that told me ellipses were an ethical gesture because they indicated a missing text. This creates a culture that is embarrassed to use the text, I thought. Culpability must also extend past my writing into a utility driven self-reflexivity. Yet, I create permissions. Permissions we create. What I am trying to say is that culpability can, and perhaps should, be the fluid that forges the flood: the flood that cleans or damages anyone’s caves. Perhaps, the damage will be to those houses of professionalization, labor and poetry.
aside: These are not the houses that are grandparents lived in, and they are not real. A table because I put my hand on it and call it a table. No, the houses of professionalization are the breeders of imaginary money. They operate in imagination as well, and often, at a faster pace than the artist. And none of this has to do with a poet I am publishing in my next journal needing to flee to Japan to repair her home and my wanting to write to her endlessly about her journey: the selfishness in that.
For the latter of the two houses (labor and poetry), I carved poetry into a laborious endeavor. This might qualify as a success in my life. Therefore, I can write without the guilt of privileged telling convincing me my imagination did not deserve such luxury. However, with four jobs, I have to steal time to do this avoid walking home under dumping rain and grabble with the dump truck that is my liver now. I wrote a poem today when pulling over on the side of the freeway on way home from work. The exit was called “Fish Ranch Road.” What happens off of “Fish Ranch Road?”
This does not mean the writing before (or under) this sign was “the best,” only that it occurs/ed. It doesn’t even mean that what I am writing now is even good. It only means that it happens with using my hands, performing a physical action over and over, so that process develops into a laborious one that forges intimacy between endeavor of writing and the writer or me. By the time the poem enters the landscape of the computer, it engages again with the anxieties of its facade, and the process of writing begins to wither much like the enraged orchid on the kitchen table, disillusion by her image.
I cannot reconcile (my) poetry and (my) professionalization. I’m not sure I have time to take care of myself. A woman at my afterschool program calls me “The Machine.” Though others have, I do not curse myself or my imagination for inhabiting The Bar space, along with these other positions. They put mirrors behind the bar so the patrons can see whose coming up behind them and so the bartenders can watch the patrons when they turn to pour a whiskey. Where I live even the bar-bandits have degrees with poison ivy on them. In those places that I’ll never be able to afford to live, the ivy is just a little greener. The Bandits are everywhere —http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/450-a-world-of-bandits-a-philosophical-dialogue-by-alain-badiou
This is the best description of a hangover I read aloud this weekend while in California. I read it to my lover, who made me apple and mascarpone crepes and drank a breakfast beer. From Roberto Bolaño’s Monsieur Pain:
I woke with stiff limbs, an unrelenting ache in my neck, and a frightful hangover. It was eleven in the morning and a glassy dust was falling, or rising, through the gap in the roof. The warehouse was quiet; the junk was stubbornly guarded by an aura of neglect: objects banished from the realm of human concern—even the light seemed to shun them. It was not hard to find the door; it had no handle and opened onto a gravel-strewn courtyard with abandoned flowerbeds on either side. The morning, the sky’s crown, seemed to be falling apart. Which was comforting, in a sense, since I was in a similar condition. To the left I noticed a metal door, which was shut. Beside it was a little wooden box, which seemed to have been waiting there for centuries; I sat down on it. I took a deep breath. Images of previous hours—escape and disappointment, dreams and delirium— tumbled through me. It’s finished, I thought aloud, the carriages bound for nowhere are finished. The sky over Paris, though clearer than the day before, seemed more sinister than ever. Like a mirror hanging over the hole, I thought. But we could never know for sure. An indecipherable tongue. I urinated against a wall, profusely. I was tired; I felt wretched, alone, and confused in the midst of a labyrinth that was far too big for me. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t tell whether the sky was shaking or I was.
Like the Talking Heads I hate people when they aren’t polite. Learning how to move impolitely—stealthily—is what professionalization is; it is learning the moves so well that by being impolite you appear polite! Our mastering of maneuvering and the maneuvers themselves are what make one good or bad at moving and the profession they embody. We learn these moves so thoroughly that we succeed or fail at them on grand scales within the interior landscape of our selves, which go onto generate the imaginary numbers that appear online in our bank accounts. These successes and failures are what cause me to claim that money is imaginary. A claim of this sort scould be construed as threateningly condescending to the class that I inhabit and those on much lower class rungs. However, by eliminating the symbolic concept engendered from the paper-cotton-money, I would just take and give what I wanted. I would exchange and trade without the need to participate in those symbolic trades that further detach me from reality and from other living beings, making us all easier targets for the bandits.
Because of all of these threats, poetry somehow created or suffered from the generation of a poetic infrastructure within the shelter of the university: the academic teaching-poet was formed. However, there are not enough university positions to hold us all, and why should we be so privileged to fight amongst ourselves for such shelter… Am I being ethical? I hope the gesture is at least.
At the most, I want to imagine existence as a poem. This is what I wrote during Andrew Joron’s talk at the 2010 Labor Conference in Oakland. I agree with Joron and the person, lost to my notes now that he quoted: “Jobs are Jails.” They involve coercion against our wills and poetry operates against coercion’s imperative. I believe in the benefits of labor, and that labor pulls one out of the selfishness and privileged that the self can develop in America, while your uncles are out back burying thousands in the backyard. I believe in the process of writing as an act of labor. Thus, the rambling here explores the cave of a poetic position as well: one where we can choose how to focus our robust exploration and need to perform labor. Work is necessity and Poetry is Freedom. I steal time not only to love the way someone speaks to me in the morning hours but to write poems out of the corners of my eyes, the static climbing off me.
“CHAOS HOSTILITY AND MURDER”
Also, ginger … golden ginger
Mattress I sleep with
Between What’s it like?
Burger hair Potato neck
Running around without What’s it?
Golden ginger Ginger’s heart leaves
I DIP BROCCOLI INTO WEBB LAKE IT BEHOOVES ME
Roll into cleavages of heart leaves
Trees Golden ginger
Frying in transpacific sun Has to Smells
Boys in bunks Girls with fans on … CHEW SYRUP
INHALE SYRUP I DON’T HAVE
ANYTHING ELSE TO TAKE OFF YOU WANT
TO RIP OFF I GOT MASK RIP IT
CAME FROM EITHER
GIANT APPEARS over
Webb Lake, Fire Lane 27 …
Let’s bake glutinos in each other’s laps …
MISSUS MISTERS OW
Running around Through who accepts you
Sweaty Perform under them That accepts you
See myself stepping out for nasty habit …
NICE WIND … NICE CLOUD
NICE TREE …
I PREFER SUCKLE
… OATH AND INTERVENTION
TO KILLING PHILISTINE
What does a stomach look like? Can I put yours on my
Hand Blow through it
Are the clouds Al-ud kithara?
Choose between weathers …
“Sale at Walden’s for two hundred and sixty marks. The temperature last night slightly higher again, connected with a kind of ending of the thing. Natural exhaustion sets in. I am notified of my admission to my squad. Funny, funny”
c o U n t d o w NNNNNNNNNNN
5 o’clock B
walking bag train station walking bag 5 o’clock at the train he he he train ha ha hoo hoo train station walking bag into the sun a bag of sun walking into it the window in my fin-
ger a walking bag is a 5 o’clock capture bag my hand my man my man’s hand at 5 o’clock
shut up bag shut up a the top come on a my house a my house a my a house a come on.
warmer than usual.
warmer than before.
sun in bag.
sun in the stack.
blue in cunt.
blue in counting.
a California month.
a month ending in sun.
in the mouth, a month in the mouth, a punch, a petunia, an egg, a stance, a time to say buh-buy. bye bye violent femmes, bye bye mister twitter, bye bye marxist brick walk, bye bye sad toilet paper tree, bye bye eggie lovey moogly googly. bye bye. bye bye five. say by by / buy buy
Tonight it was a will
Sky night 12 degrees
colder than the talking
You force a turnover here and why can’t we do that again? I am a bunch of blue-collar guys. Strap on a helmet. Give it back to you. This is my center. My chewy.
12 degrees standing in the Yuban cold. Sans creamer. The fixers have fuxed up the sky. I F-book you. You effing eff me. Tomorrow another leather weather. Did we exhaust the paronomastic weathery glisten?
Everybody takes Florida on the cuff.
It was a matter of time.
You did a great job.
Do you remember Yuban,
Ambiance Non-Dairy Creamer?
Whispy haste of sky
filled with aeolian sand,
The dew warps my
fixity of notebook, my
stencil of yucca
my equivocal whistle.
Will you hold still
will you old fellows
hold still in this classic
bush plus varmints,
bulbous hills slung
with echoey? I’ll try
this, that, or anything
to change this condor puppet
into my mother.
—Joshua Tree, CA
5:10 pm, cloudy, 28 degrees, feels like 21 degrees
Rather, it feels like crossing paths with a stranger in a 4 acre field. A cerebral folksong the careful evening derives its plot from. Feels like watching tv for thirteen straight hours. Like correcting a student’s second draft of a thesis statement at 6:15am on a Monday morning. Feels like looking at a window from the middle of a field and seeing in the reflection an older version of the field. What body. What lantern going out against a blue canvas. My face is largely vacant. I can hear right now on this mountain, a watershed. I forgive you if my weather and I are the same.
So me and you we go on this trip take all of these birds about thirty species all edible and 29 languages what’s the difference all lovers migrate and all migrations end up at the beginning of weather. I heard you were reading up on a theory. Some theory about forecasts that involved the history of weather classification there was Luke Howard and then of course on the other side of the spectrum, Hopkins. Both describing clouds by looking real hard at clouds. Here’s what you do you take the present and try and focus on all the external phenomena of your immediate surroundings then you have to account for the not-so-immediate surroundings maybe a nearby valley or body of water because the local is only local in relation to the version of the field reflected in the window you look at through the eyes sitting right there on your feelings. And then we’re skipping through the dandelions waist-high into the actual. Fine. We were having coffee our second cup I said something about chores and you went away. Then you didn’t go away. Meaning we were alive simultaneously in the world.
The snowy fields in the afternoon have softened to a raw chevre. I eat a little of it I drink a little water I sing a little mercy to myself which makes me an honest man. Listen, you want an accurate description of the weather on March 25 2011 at 5:10 pm in Townshend, VT here on the mountain where I stand all exhausted with numb fingers my ears tuned to the 7 or 8 metal spouts in the vicinity dripping christopher into aluminum buckets in this battlefield of I miss you. Record all the murders people witness or don’t witness and you get the sound of the act and the sound of its consequence and you play them all back one-by-one in an empty wing of an underfunded museum in a thriving city and you just stand there for eighty years maybe you eat some muesli in the dark maybe you drink a little water from time to time you sing a little song relieve yourself and you do all that just like I say for eighty years until finally the murders cease and then silence. The silence that you feel will require very little in the way of description. So you just go ahead and leave the museum saying to yourself I can’t even remember why it was I came here. Then you see two tiny feet hanging off a blackbird.
Take care, Mom …
It is dropping … fast
I could see a way before But now not even distance
Though I know it
Intelligence gone Nothing in my mouth
Camera now in my throat
I thought it was
I am being seduced
In blench Mean sky and F
I take a braying hormone into the shower
It is the weather Stick
My tongue into the drain like licking root beer off the telephone receiver
I thought I would share it with you’s …
Without making it pretty Fucking ugly
Yet impeccably composed
Each life tied tight to presentiment
Without tension It has worn off …
Day with voices whipping camera beverages Night
Daughter’s throat is a blanket
Must have heard …
Snow like fighting for it
Symptoms are … entailed? Even if eaten?
Well Smiles have been slashed into cheeks No worries …
But I should have asked about the snow!
They’re gone Forget it
How it felt to have dropped so fast from cloud Law …
Before gothic blue Cassiopeia
Is it … it important … where are we?
Like being untreatable Weather Young
Loyal to the job Get out
How will the work progress?
Distance is people eating turkeys while listening to Heart
Shocking breasts Bending books over knees
Eating nothing while listening to Julie
Like a face Inventing something
Sleeping with a hemorrhoid on the outside
Which seldom reach outside the body?
Months or several years
Like always like Hey
Does anyone live anywhere anymore?
Thighs carry home Opal Sloths
In seams to slide the finger down
The throat to take the picture
Do not overreact It is natural
Okay I will enter the area
Strike obese beta burns Leafy vegetable
I am listening to the mud freeze
It sounds like … it doesn’t … I’m 93000000