Thursday, July 16, 2009

454. "The Fish" By Elizabeth Bishop, A Highly Influential Poem

The Fish
By Elizabeth Bishop

I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn't fight.
He hadn't fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
[[complex emotion]]
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
[[animal --> human metaphor]]
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper: [[animal --> human metaphor]]
shapes like full-blown roses [[animal --> plant metaphor]]
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled and barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
[[animal --> plant metaphor]]
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
--the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly--
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
[[animal --> animal metaphor]]
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony. [[animal --> plant metaphor]]
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil [[animal --> human technology metaphor]]
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass. [[animal --> human technology metaphor]]
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
--It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
--if you could call it a lip
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line, [[animal-human relationships, gas chamber 5x]]
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons [[human technology --> human ornament metaphor]]
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
[[animal --> human emotion metaphor]]
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels--until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go. [[complex emotion]][[simultaneous triumph of capture and letting go, you go girl!]]

(And besides, no one wants to keep a fish full of parasites.)

This poem is NOT A STANDARD FISH STORY. Fish story being (1) corporate dude in suit and tie goes out fishing on a pond on a lazy weekend day (2) fishermen catching a great white shark or any other MobyDickish big fish or whale story. This story demonstrates more complexity of emotion, compassion and triumph all at the same, time, a moment of capture, but then finally letting the fish go. Many metaphors are animal --> human domain. Some metaphors are comparing animal --> animal (or plant).

I suppose I like this poem because I am having very similar experiences, and I feel I have an chest-beating ego that can do a better job than this poem, I am working on a fisherman-fish dialogue story as we speak, exploring metaphor, translation, and complex-simultaneously conflicting emotions as I was inspired by Samuel Beckett's minimalism. Though this poem is metaphorically layered, metaphorically rich, I feel that if there are so many metaphors, the metaphors should construct a patterned layer. The poet reaches out for random metaphors, some from fish to plant, some from fish to other animals, like birds, and even comparing fish parts to human pieces of technology, though they are colorful, they are random, and the lump sum of random metaphors may build emotion but not necessary leap into an alternative universe. I prefer more consistency in metaphorical construction. And? I think Jules would like the poem as well.

453. Collecting Poems I Would Like to Send for Publication::: Starting with "The Can Collectors" and "Death of Anonymous Meaning"

Based on Blog 451, with the help of Barry Spacks and my new friend Bahareh, I was able to revise and blob together two poems into one. Please see PDF version here: I currently am not satisfied with the lines "Some endlife metamorphoses are pathetically metaphorical, yet starkingly true" but perhaps it serves as a good transition. It's too reflexive to me. I don't like writing about my writing. Is it a bit snobbish?!

Apparently, I accidentally made up a new word--a neologism--called "starkingly" for me, naturally from the word "stark" but usually the term "strikingly" is used. I felt like my best Chinese friend Talei for a moment. Upon learning English she accidentally invented new words--and I declared to our group that if Talei invented a new English word, then English must have desperately needed this word, for she is one who needs to fully express herself.

Barry acknowledged that I gave him two very strong poems, with very NOT STRONG endings--they were more "transitional lines" that beckoned more. He also discussed on how you can tell when people are "faking it" in their writing or "adding filler lines" in their writing (Ernest Hemingway saying), and it was amazing, Barry knows me so well he went straight to my filler lines even I MYSELF didn't even feel good about adding them, and he slashed 'em up, deemed one of them cliche (thanks, I thought so too!) the line "All my knowns foreign once again, can I catch-hold, renew once again?" Generates friction. For "Endlife Metamorphoses," the poem ended on transition lines "Nevertheless downright mentally incomprehensible," which beckoned more, but couldn't be a punchline ending. *Dope.* "We have to foster this poem to its fullest growth, potential. Read other poems for nourishment, more DNA material." / Death of Anonymous Meaning had a style transition, at first from solid poem to more song lyrics, too choppy, doesn't work. I agree.

Barry and Bahareh are "blessings" (hey, I don't like using religiously affiliated words) such that for me to transition from being in an experience, and then to take the barfings of an experience and translate it into thinking as a "poet" and only seeing this as a "poem for the sake of a poem," I would have to distance myself at least a few months, even a few years, to acquire a distanced perception of my byproducts. Barry declared, "I am a poet. First and foremost is the poem for the sake of poem," and right then and there, he could distance himself from me as a person going through an experience, and demonstrate his compassion through the form of a poem. As a result, I think Barry's essentially a psychologist as well.

The Can Collectors. Upon looking more closely, you might be able to detect a can of Coors Light tangled in a mat of ephemerally invasive species of kelp decorating a lobster trap of Mission Bay. Fishermen collect cans, literally and figuratively!
The Can Collectors. Black and white.

On one impulsive early Saturday afternoon, as I was trying to escape Santa Barbara, I had a strange experience, within a few minutes of time, in which I thought was so absurd, that I was able to document the experience and instantly emailed Barry my poem. He had an "elated" response through email. He recommended I removed two lines that severed the "proximity" of the poem. Maybe I have an ability to paint pictures and "summarize incomprehensibility" in the minimalist of ways. Lovely day. PDF is here:

I guess, what I would like to do is compile at least 12 poems (6 bare minimum) that I feel good about publishing, and then I'll send them off to contests and such. You can't force it. Otherwise, I'll just post them or link them to this blog for people's viewing, and as soon as I submit the poems, I'll take this blog down temporarily until I hear back. Lovely strategy, eh? YA!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

452. Photographic Collection: Celebration of Papu Ray's Memorial and the Minnich Family, 2009, 2008, 2003 (Literature Discussion Leaked In)

Photographic Collection from Ray's Memorial (Riverside and Mount Baldy, California, July 12, 2009, as well as Ray's 96th Birthday in Corona July 2008 and a happy summer back in 2003.

The Blurb that I Wrote in Picasaweb:
Ever since my grandfather Ray's passing, I felt like a strong current in my mind and life had stopped flowing, a string of attachment to this world had been cut. But it's funny; though Ray has metamorphosed into new life and planetary cycles, the past flows of this mental river of Ray never seemed erased--perhaps now even more vibrant than ever. [Paradoxically chopped up, severaged, and reconverging into a new order] I returned to Riverside shielded by video cameras, digital cameras, voice recorders... knowing that this familiar home is somewhat foreign, now that one major character in my life has been removed... or altered into another state. Through loss, or perhaps, strange transformations (for me), I feel I have gained new, stronger currents... more closeness to my family than I had ever detected in myself before. Anyhow, the least I can do is construct a collage of the memorial and highlighted past adventures, which reflects a heightened consciousness and appreciation of family, as well as acknowledgment of inevitable change.

I emailed several of my family members--I don't have everyone's email, but whatever emails I could scrounge for--and I sent a long email to my aunt Jeri Lyn in Sebastopol. She vamped up her website, and I can't wait to tell Barry Spacks about her work!!! Jeri Lyn had this funny line concerning her life-long moodswings as well as her attempts to differentiate "nothingness" and "pointlessness." That's SOOO funny. SOOO Beckettsonian, and something I SOOO get. My Ph.D. question is "What's the point?" in the first place.

I'm glad I performed this task of photo compilations. I feel I have delved deeper into the psyche of my grandfather Ray, preparing me for writing an upcoming story, "The Mountain's Last Flower," concerning the story of a scientist with a troubled history with personal walls and universal walls of perception and action. And due to these internal walls and borders and failure to address them and break them down, he defied his own childlike commonsense and his adult antirationality took his own life. The main character is not a mirror of Papu Ray, but certain elements mimick his circumstances, especially in terms of retroactivity of perception of the condition of his son John--the retroactive diagnosis of Asburgers.

Well, shxtso! I'm ruining the story! I better write it SOONER than LATER! Okay, I'll shut up now. I invented the story on the fly in a car drive, and through my conversations with Barry Spacks, I discovered I was crafting a character that summed my fundamental troubled relationship with science and scientists, as well as my attempts to understand the inner world of Ray. It was all very subconscious creativity... now taken into full blown consciousness. I am actually kind of shocked at myself.

Barry Spacks mentioned two things to me and the class. He noted in one of my poems in which "my writing became smarter than my own self," which I agree. And we also talked about the IMPORTANCE OF READING versus THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPERIENCE. I argued that if I spent most of my life reading litrary classics, then reading would become my experience, and then there is no possibility of injecting novel input to the field of literature. And if I lived a life strictly of experience (without being well-read), then I can be majorly detached from the gestalt of human history (except for the stories told by people in real life). My combination of life is (1) experience, mostly with mountain and ocean boys and chics (2) reading scientific literature, being taught scientific ideas (3) barfing everything out in literature-art mode (4) retroactively being informed that I sound like Samuel Beckett. I told Barry that we have to unplug ourselves from the Matrix to bring new ideas into the matrix. If we read strictly classic literature, the field would be self contained, and the likelihood of anything new coming out of younger generations is close to minimal--especially if experience constitutes of being locked up in a classroom for 20 years (so I raise my hand, claiming to be victim of that). And then I argued, another horrible part about modern experience is that most of it is INDIRECT, as opposed to DIRECT. If you ask someone, "how did you spend your day?" they discuss the news they watched and this movie star did that, and that pro athlete took this type of dope, but did not talk about their own personal lives or experiences, like I talked with my neighbor about the tides and had an adventure up in the mountain and worked all day trying to make a gadget to improve fuel efficiency for my car. I could not write a glorious piece on tennis (for another person baseball), because I feel insulted that this society has come to glorify the most absurd sport of swinging at a ball to hit over the net with a stick of high surface area. Professional tennis players get paid more than teachers, etcetera. Society has made absurdity a CONVENTION. Granted sports is all about exercise of primal aspects of our brain, like socially acceptable forms of competition beside bloody warfare, but to make it the centrality of entertainment?! Come flipping on! I would rather go in my backyard with my friends and figure out, and invent a new sport. That would be more self amusing. And to think the psychological damage tennis was for the entire family, and so many familes who's mommies and daddies who want their little kids to become the next Venus Williams or Roger Federer. Like flipping whatever. Okay, okay. I'll shut up. The point is, I would be mortified to write a more rudimentary memoir of my life simply because the first 19 years of it, I was trapped, drowning in a largely consumerist mentality, largely consumerist society, physically and mentally. By the time I entered CCS, I started carving out a universe of my own. I was 19 years old, and that's when I felt like I was born, when my "self" and my "surroundings" was born to its truer state of consciousness. Right now I'm in a fiction phase in which I construct alternative fictional realities based on oversimplification of components of the current universe I live in, and through this fictional universe--I seek to discover new and greater truths about the world we currently live in. Tadah!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

451. Notes of Higher Consciousness (aka Beyond Diary Entry Details) on my Grandfather Ray's Memorial July 12, 2009

The Death of Anonymous Meaning ~ Prose Poem?

She struggled so much to acquire knowingness, familiarity, comfort, even passion for existence within a once perceived foreign terrain, even the land of her birth rite. As soon as she crafted a web of associations, some layered map of values, attachments, meanings, she was soon after strangled, stripped, raped, deprived of this self-carved universe, partially to its entirety. It was as if all the thick-skinned layers of her mind were burned and ripped off, so that her inner thoughts and guts leaked out and oozed into an uncontained puddle of permanent deformity, while existing in a simultaneous fleeting state of psychocardiac arrest. Her surroundings as a whole were some ever-shifting, hauntingly pathological makeupbreakuper that she could barely cope with. This acquisition and subsequent stranding, displacement, death of a now anonymous meaning, which somehow resulted in the LACK OF her own death, transformed all things known to once again foreign, alien, massive entanglements… return to void.

Yet somehow, amidst periods of desolate change, she craves so hard to grasp, keep, tend new bycatch of her near empty mesh, remain undesensitized to these anonymous shiftings of meanings, even diminish meaning to being much less anonymous. She still seeks trust even though it hardly exists. Otherwise, she will become like most of the rest: savage waifs subsisting on fragmented islets of values, so willing to latch on, sunbathe for a while, so eager to swim away, abandon to the next seemingly fresh spot.

Many people live their lives
Through other people’s lives
Because they have no lives
—Jules (short poem, quote)

Endlife Metamorphoses (poem)

It’s easy to love a human being
Especially when he loves you back.
It’s agonizing to love
A decaying water sack.
And it takes a major dose of dreaming
To love a bag of dust
Beside a pine tree
Up in a mountain.

Some metamorphoses of life
Are pathetically metaphorical,
Yet starkingly t

Nevertheless downright
Mentally incomprehensible.

Death of Anonymous Meaning, Part 1

It was the Death
Of Anonymous Meaning.
Pain universal,
Yet exclusive to me.

T’whole world gone amuck
Throbbing, screaming.
Yet no man on the street
Felt of any other human’s
Yet no man on the street
Knew of any other human’s

Hooked on my mourning.
Caught on his passing.
Mourning of all minds
But t’mind was just mine.
But t’mind was sole mine.
Why t’mind was just mine?

All known, foreign
Once again.
Catch-hold, renew
Once again?

Death of Anonymous Meaning, Part 2, Grandfather

Why any other
brown box?
Just not another
Brown box.

Why any other
Bag of dust?
Just not another
Bag of dust.

For, a few months ago—
A breathing water sack,
A caring human being
Even then, before that,
Was my grandfather….

Why any other
Hole in the ground?
Just not another
Hole in the ground.

Why any other
Pine tree around.
Just not another
Pine tree around.

For, those long years ago—
He jumped the sugar pine
And passed torch to his son
Who’s aged growth came aligned
To a new growing….

Why any other
Red cabin?
Just not another
Red cabin.

Why any other
Bald mountain?
Just not another
Bald mountain.

For, a long time ago—
Now near abandoned tomb,
Terrain burned to the brain,
A childhood’s tended home
Of fathers, mothers,

sons, daughters….

Death of Anonymous Meaning, Part 3, Random Boy

Why any other
Two-faced boy?
Just not another
Two-faced boy.

Why any other
Impulse ploy?
Just not another
Impulse ploy.

For, a few months ago—
He crept into void’s tart,
And anonymous meaning
Wrapped cozily barbs
‘Round a squeeze
To near strangle,
Mostly me.

Why any other
Humored house?
Just not another
Humored house.

Why any other
Mooned-oak rouse?
Just not another
Mooned-oak rouse.

For, a few months ago—
With foothold in mind’s heart,
With a flip of a switch
He swiped out his dagger, (ripped apart)
Slashed abandoned (stabbed)
Burning forests,
Mostly me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

450. Full Moons::: A Family Comedy Moment During Papu Ray's Memorial on Sunday, July 12, 2009

Full Moons ~ A Family Comedy Moment

Maria: So, how's work going at the Kaiser Crisis Center?
Jennifer: It's been great. Very, very busy. A lot of people have been coming in the last few days. It's been a full moon.
Jean [taken aback]: What?!! That makes no sense.
Jennifer [defensively, playfully]: Yes it does! Around the time of the full moon, all the forces of the universe pull together, and that's when all the loonies tend to check in at the psychiatric wards... by the hordes!
Dwight [in declaration]: Oh, come on! I never heard about this correlation before.
Jean [in chorus]: I've never heard of this full moon research before!
Jennifer [in explanatory mode]: Oh, you skeptics. It's about the tides, the ebb tides and the flood tides.
Jenny the up-and-coming physical therapist perpetually smiles while shaking her head.
Maria [announcing, clearing her throat]: Let me, lemme explain! Because our bodies are made up of water, our psychophysical cycles synchronize with the moon, just like the tides! On the full moon, the tides go up, just like we get to be full of fluids.
Jean [sarcastically]: Hopefully they're not PMS-related fluids.
Jennifer [continuing where she left off earlier]: Then throughout the week, during the full moon, the psycho cases who are full of fluids tend to aggregate at the mental institutes. Because of that, I've been extremely busy all week! And I guess it's better being busy than NOT being busy, like the other three weeks. I don't do well with slow times. I don't do well with boredom.
Richard: We are going to have three eclipses within the next six weeks!
Jennifer: Oh no! Oh no! New cycles! I'll be super busy!
Richard [whispering to Victoria]: Show me the data, show me the data, show me the data!
[The New MyBigFatGreekWedding Windex Theory for the Mental Cases]

Friday, July 10, 2009

449. Consequential Dope of Subconscious Starvation

Consequential Dope of Subconscious Starvation

It's funny
I began writing
and writing
and drawing
and then someone
told me after
6 years of
writing drawing

that I am an "epistemologist."
and soon after that
someone told me
that I am a "phenomenologist."
A phenomenon-what?!
And two weeks after that
someone told me
that I am a "nihilist."
No! Ni- like "Neh"-hilist.
And another
an "existentialist."
Cool! I'm existentializing!
I'm proud as a button.

And I didn't even know
that I was doing
what I was doing.

I'm just writing
and writing
and drawing
as people need to

breathe and eat
I need to write and draw.

I mean I "learned" all these

weird words in high school--
more like choked them down
for a test--
I thought all those philosophers
were thinking and writing
when they were high
on dope and mushrooms
to a point of absurdist
but then over time
during my process of
self carvation of inner maps,
out of the blue,

someone calls me,
associates me with
one of those dope-head

who somehow "advanced"
our little human leaf cutter ant colony

society, I mean,
to its present state of overfilled

I find it kind of disturbing.

So and so

it's been ten years since
I've cracked into the words
of Camus and Descartes
and I am frightened to say
that now...

and somehow now,
I understand
what they were talking about.
I understand
what they were going through.
But I swear upon any
Allmighty Tree and Moon
My only dope
was subconscious

448. "Catch Share" as the Next Level of the Literary-Multimedia Video Game::: First Publishing Experiment in Literary Magazines Since November 2005

Right now, since I am trying to publish "Catch Share" in more formal literary journals, I can't let the story see the light of day.... Only the underground.... *sigh* I like to put everything on my blog, but I like it how I have a "secret." Like the whole "Victoria what's your secret?" is now into play and I feel like I have backing from some of my favorite professors that I have something up my sleeve.... He he he....

I am only looking for the story publishing version of "Catch Share" so in this blog, I included a poem that I wrote the evening before I started writing the prose version. Poems are like warm-up compilations of thoughts to longer pieces. The PDF of the poem can be found here:

Below is a PDF of a lengthy chronicle of all the hoops I went through thus far in order to be convinced that I am ready to start experimentation at the next playing field of publishing. I guess two major obstacles I overcame was receiving major encouragement and advice from Barry Spacks and Shelly Lowenkopf. It was the first time going to Shelly's that he "gave me the card," or, he gave me a card of a list of potential places to start considering submissions. Shelly gave me a very nice compliment, "This story is so whacky and so far out there that you better just get your self a roll of stamps, and keep submitting until someone accepts it for publication." Shelly's said other great pieces of advice and compliments about my writing, but this is the first time he ever encouraged me to go full gear into the publishing experimentation phase. In addition, along the way, Barry Spacks gave me advice to read Samuel Beckett, Gertrude Stein, Wendell Berry, and Lynda Barry. I did my initial survey of the literary magazine market in the PDF below, but very exclusive to my needs: (1) electronic preferred (2) simultaneous submissions preferred (3) I can submit now (as opposed to September) (4) prefers experimental work, words synthesized with images "graphic stories" genre (5) expects an ERUDITE AUDIENCE; TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE is a BONUS than a hindrance--e.g. ENVIRONMENTAL SLANT (5) prefers to see NEW and UNPUBLISHED writers (6) return response is rapid (6 weeks over 6 months).

Shelly gave me the card! Shelly gave me the card! Shelly gave me the card! Woohoo! The sad part is that three of these literary journals are closed to open submissions over the summer. *Sigh.*

All the places I sent my story to... all over the world... including England! That was four dollars in postage! Gawdzeeks!
I submitted to Zoetrope All Story Fiction contest (receipt above) and also Southern California Review Fiction contest:

Anyhow, compared to my non-optimistic 2005 publishing experiment venture, I remain very optimistic and excited about this experiment. I have a new-found philosophy and can take rejections as if I accidentally swallowed an ant, not being struck by a lightning bolt. Rejections are part of the game. I think it's all about chance encounter, frequency of encounter, and developing compatibility. I am trying to make my writing the new invasive species of the literary community. I'm not trying to dominate, but more so subsist. What's more fun than that?

447. A Poem of Pointlessness (A Potential Conversation with Samuel Beckett in My Head)

A Poem of Pointlessness

I discovered I was
a Nihilist of sorts.
I didn't even know it!
Nihilism means
the point of existence is to
emphasize there is no point
of existence.
I mean, there is a point of existence,
and it's a bit beyond no point.
Granted my Ph.D. topic is
"What's the point?"
simply because there's a
widespread discrepancy between
what we know
and how we behave.
We live in chronic dynamics
of shifting paradoxes, hypocrisies,
revealing absurdity of human behavior.
But uh... otherwise...
I find lots of points of existence,
but perhaps saying
there's no point of existence
is a good baseline of assumptions
to start building more elaborate
points of existence,
Like hunger,
and the satisfaction of it.
So, to be Nihilist,
you must argue
the point that there is no point.
It's a process, not a purpose.
And that's how you find a point.
And then,
we go from there.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

446. "The Psychopathic Koan" A Short Story

PDF for "The Psychopathic Koan" is found here: If I receive great reviews for this story, I'll take this blog entry off line and consider it for submission to a few literary journals.

As I had told Barry Spacks, I was struggling about the last two weeks of June with a story entitled "The Peacock and the Bowerbird." I had been collecting, amassing data, trying to organize the story as much as possible... and then I reached a threshold in which I could no longer work on it anymore. Why? (1) I had quarantined all the information I needed. Instead of becoming a never-ending diffuse identity, the tumor of T suddenly became discrete and bounded. (2) Right now my life is flowing, changing all the time, at hourly, daily, and longer scales. Everything is flowing positive. I am not ready yet to tackle a failure in my life. I am not ready to end a story in a tragedy. (3) I had some level of difficulty in organizing the material because I didn't have a more simplified recipe for a controversial character with "psychopathic qualities." I returned to Santa Barbara feeling my head was a lot cleaner, a lot calmer, a lot more open and vacant, especially since the tumor had now been contained, yet still not removed. But a LOT less painful. The process of containment removed the possibility of "spread" into any other parts of my mind and body. Then again, it's still a fairly large tumor.

So, as I was driving through Santa Barbara, out of all the layers chaos involved in "The Peacock and the Bowerbird," a VERY CLEAR IDEA came to me. As the T tumor or T parasite (I can't wait to scoop out) told me one time a koan-story about a man who broke a jug of water in which he worked so hard to acquire and walked on from the scene as if nothing ever happened, and at the time he seemed to perceive the koan as a way of how he wanted to lead his life (dthfthr)(freeneasywndr learn from mistakes?). Sorry, those were just personal notes. The context of telling the koan story. So, then I started to think about it more and more... and now I was in Goleta, and I realized this is it. This story is it--a formula for a simplification of the character! A fundamental unit of organization I needed in order to better understand the construction of the character... and as a result, the overall story. A simple koan could suddenly describe this horde of information of a method of existence of a person who injured, wounded, damaged my inner emotions, intellect, meaning of existence overall.... The word psychopathy quickly crept up to me.... And the story marinated in my head for a day, and finally on the Fourth of July, down in San Diego, I had a fabulous conversation with Jules about the koan, and he added his own twist to the interpretation. The following morning (after a good night's Fourth of July sleep, without watching fireworks, boohoo), I woke up and cranked out a rough draft for "The Psychopathic Koan." Then followed by a jog, a dodge to Kinkos in a white truck, I cranked out the pictures and a first working rough final draft by the evening. The story was 3 pages long with my formatting, about 7 pages long with standard page formatting.

I was amazed. I wished I could write stories like that, in such a fabulous workflow... almost all the time! The best part is that the evil demon that drives the plot and tragic ending for "The Peacock and the Bowerbird" was formulated into a simple formula, recipe. I really needed that. By the time I returned to Santa Barbara once again. My mind became even calmer. I had more room for positive thoughts.

Yesterday, I talked with Barry Spacks about the story. I told him out the revelation of this story was an act of impulse, and sometimes I feel fresh stories are absent of vital details that add vital sprits of resolution... reality... just as long as it's not too much. At first Barry tried to halt me in telling him about the story because it's like Don't ruin the story for Barry! But I think he saw the struggle in my eyes and voice, and "The Psychopathic Koan" was a very bothersome issue for me worth discussing. I ended up spewing the story in sketch form. Barry really liked the idea of a "psychopathic" koan. I informed him that I was surprised that many of my peers did not know what a koan was, given that Buddhism is pretty popular. Barry informed me that koans are found in the less popular branch of the two branches of Buddhism (Renzai?). Koans are short stories inteded to be anti-rationality... insult rationality all together. And I chuckled, "Well that makes sense!" Barry also stated that koans, like the Bible, can give people an "surface-value jitter" or shakiness. Either the religious association compels them to read the story... or urges them to shy away... But I suppose koans are good (Buddhism overall), and it invites people to think. I suppose when I add "psychopathic" in front of "koan" perhaps the flavor of religion is toned down a bit. And lastly, Barry mentioned that at the beginning of the story there seemes to be an emphasis in telling the koan-story, and after the break, two characters at a bar took interest in the koan simply because they sensed that the story pertained to their own personal past failures, but were still trying to figure it out. Barry flat out told me in the end it seemed like the most important aspect of the story is not necessarily the koan itself, but how the two main characters related to each other, as well as their own inner selves and lives. Ooops! As soon as Barry said that, I internally flipped a switch and realized I had to figure out a few more aspects of the story and add a few more lines to further develop the relationship in the story. I made one more final round of edits, and now I am about ready to send "The Psychopathic Koan" to him.

445. Poem on the Verge of Language Poetry, Influenced by Gertrude Stein "Whatever's Left of the Wild West"

Whatever's Left of the Wild West. I think it will be Version 1. The link can be found here: I think there will be several "Whatever's Left of the Wild West" poems, because this theme of "degrees of freedom, degrees of constraint" from an individual perspective and the perception of "Manifest Destiny versus Human Biological Invasion" of America will always be an issue. In this poem, I explored issues of rampant development of open space and peripheral impacts. In another poem, I want to describe how the unbounded parameters of the ocean are becoming more and more bounded, not only by "knowledge constructs" from the university, but from use, management, and policy constructs from commerce and government. The more you know a system, the more it attempts to become manicured by human beings. *Sigh* I also want to explore a fisherman's construct of the Wild West. Fishermen fish from the ocean and provides food to the local community--that is one of the most rudimentary, local and purest of professions. Minimizing strings attached. While fishermen are at the mercy of the ocean, modern scientists are at the mercy of the nearly religious cliques of academic culture, public and private funding, and other pursuits of accolades. Too many strings attached for me. First fishermen of Planet Earth were scientists, and first scientists were fishermen, ranchers, farmers, cave men, hunters and gatherers, etcetera. Fishermen are not only driven by the pursuit of fish for trade of rent and other visceral needs of all organisms... and by being out in the ever-changing Amusement Park of Ocean, but they are driven by the notion of individuality, and independence, maximizing their degree of freedom from "civilization" or the land... but in turn, realizes his vital dependence and core interaction with the land. So, it's a paradoxical situation. Through fishermen's attempt to seek maximal independence, or freedom from civilization, they find themselves more blatantly tied and bound, and dependent upon the laws of the land... rather than the laws of man. At least they have maximally stripped the absurdity of human laws from their minds. But now, modern fishermen have to deal with the encroachment of human law on the ocean since there are concerns of management and health of fisheries. The encroachment of human constructs, dividing a vast blue comes with good and absurd outcomes, just like the law of the land. Fishermen were trying to be with the elements, seek freedom from the terrestrial world, and now it's being imposed on the ocean, and fishermen as a result, are not as free and as "lawless" and as "Wild Westish" anymore. But in southern California, being a commercial fisherman is as Wild West and as anti-corporate as you can get. I'd like to call this phenomenon as the PARADOX OF FREEDOM: ONCE YOU SEEK FREEDOM FROM ONE ENTITY, YOU FIND BONDAGE IN ANOTHER. AND IN THE BAREST OF ELEMENTS, YOU FIND YOURSELF INTIMATELY TIED WITH THE LAND.

This poem was influenced by two or three major elements. First of all, I recently read Gertrude Stein, and there are several elements of her work that I challenged myself to slacken on. First of all, she is VERY experimental with her writing, though quite SELF-INDULGING, in which I would rather desire to be SELF-DEPRECATING if I even exist in my writing. I would rather become the writing. Essentially the aura, or ghost. But essentially, Barry Spacks told me that Stein has a dominant streak of being an "incoherent language poet" in the genre of "language poetry" that can function as jibberish. Secondly, I found out that I missed an opportunity of meeting in person a film director by the name of Laura Dunn (Two Birds Films, Texas) who won a student academy awards. I ended up thoroughly exploring her websites, and, and somehow the material crept deep into my psyche, as it was already in my psyche in the form of one poem I keep insisting on writing, entitled "Creeping Development" and another poem entitled "The Encroachment" (Blog 429). This poem started with the "attack of the American Dream" of "Reshaping the Future" to the notion of perceiving "Manifest Destiny" as the "A Brief History of Biological Invasion of Homo sapiens on the continent of North America," otherwise a more neutral-pessimist perception derived from "science jargon" of "biological invasion," which is ironically applied in the university to speices (plants, marine and terrestrial organisms, etc.) other than ourselves, even though our behavior of invasion brought along these tag-along species in the first place. The third, and more distant influence occurred back in a winter of despair, early December of 2006. I traveled all the way to Los Angeles to watch Alexi Murdoch perform (and now his music has finally infiltrated into the Hollywood cinema soundtrack scene), and though I heard him perform from the outside back door in chilly winds. Murdoch's lyrics remind me of Samuel Beckett; stark naked minimalism, to a point it makes me depressed. I find Nick Drake's lyrics more colored with metaphor and I don't find myself as depressed. Don't get me wrong, I love Murdoch's work, and admire him for his persistent, anti-corporate individuality in the music business, but I can get depressed because his work is too minimal for me. My writing may have a foundation of minimalism--or reducing a system to the barest of elements--but I need a collage. I need lots of layers, lots and lots of layers of consciousness to cover up the starkness of visceral rationality, visceral consciousness.

That set aside, on that fateful night of meeting Alexi Murdoch, I watched an AMAZING POET perform the "spoken word;" I forgot the poet's name. I forgot the poem. I forgot the topic, but all I remember is that I was dumbfoundedly mesmerized by his passionate work, and when I wrote "Whatever's Left of the Wild West" I had his passionate voice resonate within me.

444. Poem / Song Related to the Ocean Called "Roll Over Me"

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I was with Jules and Ernie down at Mission Bay, San Diego. I met Ernie's deck-hands in an "unusually usual" circumstance down at the Galley of Ernie's sportfishing boat. I thought we were going to say a quick hello, but it ended up being a monstrously intense 1.5 hour "galley talk" between Jules and Ernie, exchanging huge volumes of information amidst a sunset with the fog rolling in, and the egrets, blue and night-crown herons became the new masters of the harbor. Finally, galley talk faded and peetered out, as it was becoming dark, and as I drove home that evening, this song popped into my head. It was very melody driven--slow rolls. Most of my songs are pretty fast-paced, but this one is semi-slow and rolling, there are "long gaps" between words and melody, which allows myself or someone else to play with the voice box as an effective instrument for emphasizing the complex happy mournfulness of the song. The PDF file is available here: