The Right Way Out

works in words, pictures, and music

My new sounds:

Hit record and played for over an hour. Cut it up into an album.

This is a lone walk down a dark street or a ghost on the stair.

Identity. (Part of a Larger Work)

If there is an identity living within this pinnacle mound, within this chattering block, within this thinking muscle, within this spirit mesh, it exists as a movement in space without static form, without finite position, without solidified meaning or apolistic carving; it is an identity of blurred transitions and momentary heroics. It is a mesh of rights and wrongs, hopes and lost hopes, memories across the bow of time. It is a testament to the dependency of form to no form, of space to negative space, of clay to dust and dust to swirling alchemical oxygen. The mass of this machine body and mind is called meaning, its function; questioning and discernment both. Its range or value exists as both enumerated and lost within the tomes of the ages.

I may know the personified mystery as the lover or friend, I may see it disembodied as a warning or blessing, again cloaked as the father, as the mother, as the child.  As a shrouded action, it is a witnessing of our own unending mystery. As both the source and the personification of its myriad visages we are the nameless and holy word fragmented then stuttered out across tense time. Some fragments of the word seem like a curse. Other fragmented phrases seem like a blessing, still others seem solitary and disconnected from the greater word. When we remove the brackets imposed by time, by form, by solitary life, we are that unified and glorious sound of power unified and remembered.



Blindness and courteous advance, then silent withdrawal.

Dodge, parry, thrust, repeat.

I make an advance and move the dust for a moment.

It is not for me that I think these things are worth living.

It is for the framed and noble absence of a lisping or stuttering specter.

She is the only thing that I can uphold as a glorious beast.

She is the only monument worth carving into the book of time.

She is the only facade worth raising and razing both.

The parting silence, the noble bite on ignoble tongue —

It is a mounting glory of the sun penetrating the horizon.

It enters then soars above to crash too soon behind our backs.

An alien will circles causelessly.

But she is behind the force that reckons me to here.

The Woodsman

There was a slight weight, black and surreptitious – wavering in the air. It hovered in sound and descended into form.

The squeal was for the Liffey. She was the flowing bride. Flowering eternal, she still is the hand scratching at the window. She crafts a presence, beckoning and eerie. Her waverly blessing is not named, but felt in the quaking aspen. We have come to know that the slighted have more gain on the privilege. We have come to know the knotted chord as that which we ascend back into her loving arms.

I have seen many a crow in these woods, but have not as yet felt the specter, the shroud, the omen, the lurking cold shadow. I have stood still and sturdy and swung my ax at the bark to get to the heart of this twig.

A quickening pace. Suddenly a mad form rushes in. They were not needed, the dregs were lynched, the lines crossed, the failed attempts, the run ragged, the blistering love between the sheets, the promises, the desolate failure. It comes to a head and corrects its own path. The hero is modified and the world is at rest once again in a resting paper.

Back. I have hacked at her wooden core for more hours than I could wish to count, but have found her face to be kinder in a simple transfixed gaze. This ever-long moment of steadfast purpose is looking into the knotted wood and gnarled roots to see the oxygen laden soil on her clawed taproot.

I brush it aside. I have listed and numbered them all, they were good to be the deceivers, good to be my enemy, good to challenge me with time and good to give me a momentary completion. I have routed all the powers that mounted this arching grace into a thread of linear logic and have since, cut the cord of oblivion with many swings and trials. The lingering thought comes rushing back and I am stronger because of it.

The wind comes through the leaves like a cool fingered hand glancing on the tiny portion of my arm. That I draw down  and haul out these mile high saints must put me in some other measure against their grain. The song of these halls I have only begun to know.

The craft, the tradition, not of my labor but of my splendor, has been compared to weaving, to threading a yarn, to spinning a looming cloak of bickering forms. I have, since my own starting, been startled by the idea of whispering to the monument surrounding me. I have thrown back the sheath of woven forms to reveal a never ending start. My weaving hand is a swan song in reverse, it is a stuttering speech cut further still and pasted on to iron cliffs looming and beckoning both. I craft the ebbs and flows, the eddies and backflows, to mimic a life-long love, a familiar face, a human descent of kindness and structured obligation.

She is fine and flexible. She is honest and sun-worn. She is viable in her firming madness. She is as hungry as I, but with a different resolution.

We make a sturdy and honest dig to sweat for unction and unction’s short promise. Afterward, I find the cooling stream beneath the stone. We had burst forth the divining rod and suddenly blocked in this well to secure the deep wish. I etch a tongue into my cheek slowly. I do not have to hold it there, the feeling remains though the thick muscle has relaxed. We sharpen knives, we whet our leather. We sheath it and move forward. Better to delve into mystic revelation of skin and scent, sweat and bone torn thrashing – than to leave the dry desert of the soft machine to chance or boredom.

Now that we have established our character, now that we have our motive for fixation, now that we have nailed down the thatched roof, now that the dawn is retreating and the enemies have fallen sure to rise again, I steady my hand on the aim of a bird on a ledge.

It is the flourish that makes her a target. It is that I see in complex dexterity that which makes her both captivated and pursued by me. She has lighted on my cabin window and barked her whistling song of beauty or division. I cannot tell which of these is her heart. She is like another I know too well. The other, bent on a feathered edge, is coy and listless but sparking with a life to witness in the center of her black eye.

If I could box with her form it would be nothing but dodges. If I could land a blow, it would only be a curling wind that swings wide by her face.

She is the title belt and the champion won in time by sheer survival. She is awarded the points from a center of self mastery. Any man who would come to blows with her would be run ragged in her retreat. I feel I am always swinging my blade, swinging my cuff, swinging my soft blade or slinging my soft core to thresh some life from the bush.

I have never seen a bird emerge from the landing that wasn’t as coy and cruel as her hand and heart. She takes a small seed, and from this grows an oak. The giver can only watch. Perhaps he is blessed to shape a limb or two towards the sun, towards the dawn, or in peaceful salute to the set – but his is a fashioner of twigs and twine – his is a mottled and weak weaving basket discarded after use – his is hopeful but not plentiful, his is resplendent in a firm grace but not the headwaters, he may be the spring, but he is not the rock or earth from which this rises.

He is the mustard seed in the passage of time, the walled fortress that surrounds him – the earthly womb cradling his small love. This is fated to move a mountain they say, but it is not the seed that pushes the mountain apart, but the mother that cradles the rock that splits it irrespective of the seed. In that space she has made, he rises through her walls to find the sun but is still a small and delicate expression to compare.

The sparrow has left, the cut – gone deeper towards the quick. In the passing midnight to come I will surrender my thoughts in a greater part to the quaking forest. She is the rocking bough, twisted spine, leafy feathered fingers intertwined, sheltering grace, cracking wood sounds, lichen and dew.

There is some future forest that some future traveler will dawn into and receive the promise of a sheltering and wild heart laid bare in the wild braided wood. It is not me, it is not my fortune. If I was blessed with a wild grace, it is the wild grace that fights the bark and thorns, it is the wild grace that tears the rough and wooden green vines.

I am not a maker of anything. I do not harvest the wood, harvest the thorns, harvest the vines, or even till the earth. I tear down a swaying but sure monument. Her will is silent but wider in breadth than anything I could hope for. I still see her hand in the pines. I still see her signature in the laurels and small smooth river stones. I still hear her voice when all other voices stop and freeze, when all movement pauses, when all winds crawl down to the smallest of curlings, when I forget my place and forget my form.

She is surrounding me from all sides whispering my name. It is nothing.