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creative material by lee van laer

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2009

Isabel , v1.0

 

Lithe, Brown,

Crouching in anticipation

On the Chinese rug,

And rolling over, muscular with joy

As I hold

One

Greasy

Piece

Of lamb

That is, to you,

Worth anything I ask, and more.

 

Isabel, v 1.1

 

You nearly caught those ducklings

In the dark splash of shallow, swampy water

And they were terrified by your

Exuberance.

How could they know

It was only just a game,

A celebration

Of the possibility of death?

The Dream of the Fish

 

The fish begins in silence

Darkness, depth

With a wish to swim, unknowing, into light –

Where dancing, rainbow spattered cells

Reflect a radiance too delicate to measure.

And then to find its wings –

To leave that womb of water,

Into places never seen, or sensed, or felt.

 

I have not delivered myself sufficiently unto Thee, my Lord.

I know not how.

 

2008

Denizen

Lurking, low, descending even further
Down at the base of things where dragons spread their obfuscating claws,
That's where to dwell.

Nose-diving, archiving, cataloging
Everythinging
Point by point
And organelle by organelle.

Then trace each root and clip it,
Become a bonsai master of sensation
Lurking, low, to seep and creep, inhabit cracks
Where only silken spider-threads of love can fit.

Spelunker, caver, down-to-earther
Breath by breath, nirvana-birther
By the twitching of my thumbs-

Something sacred this way comes.

 


Monkey Business

Fidgety, bashful, hyperactive

...Apes

Who can't sit still

Filled with too much sneaky happiness that can't be let leak out at times like this.

(To rip your clothes off,

Run naked, free and wild

Is frowned on nowadays.)

Trapped.

We blue-gray, corporate laptop goatherd types

Try not to snooze

On this too-ergonomic seating,

(Barf)

While fellow capitalists drone on in dollars Senselessly. 

Oh, frabjous convocation!

Objectives met with ease!

Let us issue

Carefully constructed recaps

Anoint the final moment

With bogus mountain spring libations,

And rearrange the paperwork.

It looks better over there,

Doesn't it.


I Makes Things

I makes Things.

Things fail and fall,

Sweat in the dirt. 

Time dines on them, amused,

At Her entropic leisure.

And as for I,

I plans-

Half a league, half a league, 

Half a league onwards-

To make more things.

And as I tosses children,

Pitchfork by pitchfork

Into Her redfire, cast iron maw,

I celebrates.

After all,

In the light of well-fed fires,

The illusion of

Victory 

Is compelling.


From The Heart

 

You want me to write from the heart,

 

And offer promises:

 

Pry those oysters open;

Strip them, show the pearls;

 

And then you’ll slurp down

Juicy, muscled mantle

Like a connoisseur.

 

Go ahead,

 

Drink my salty blood.

 

It comes in buckets.


Elapsed time remaining

We live by wall-bound shadows,

Scraps of errant noise,

And a ticking, tocking, lorelei refrain.

Screw that. Come with me NOW,

not later.

Let's drop facades and clothing,

Savor foreign tongues:

Take golden breaths in, deep

Fill midnight wells with nectar.

Nor hesitate

When wanton, wind-blown sorrows come-

Drink fearless, everdeep, and taste

A fiery dervish bliss which gives no quarter.

And joy? I'll show you-

It's out there where we least expect it;

Hid beneath what look like rocks,

With worms, and unburnt salamanders.

Why look for God?

You know for sure he's down there, too,

Still bare-ass-naked like a child.

What say?- Let's join Him

Dip toes in moist dark loam.

After all,

There is not much elapsed time

Remaining.


Terra Nova

Molecular Magellans

From icy, starry nights,

South into gravity.

Grave-robbed, molten, molded

Hearts of dead stars

Stand up, walk around

Drink aged tequila,

Take motor tours.

Some isotopes point coldy north;

The social types

Get married to a little oxygen

And circulate.

Beneath it all, Yggdrasil's roots

Gingerly breach magma.

The final glimmering light from mother's eyes Lingering in centigrades of darkness.

A casual attitude prevails-

The young forge swords from her bones.

Swing them carelessly,

as though toys dipped in blood

Were laughing matters.

She cannot be amused.


Worm Ouroborous

 

I

 

There is a serpent underneath my feet.

Asleep, it stirs,

And moves the rocks and earth

 

Concealed, I might survive this insurrection.

The coward’s way is always quite attractive-

So it seems.

 

But then,

They say

To always think outside the box.

 

Should I attempt

To swallow myself-

To disappear in paradise-

 

…Or is that just a snake oil

For invented maladies?

 

And if I should succeed

Will I excrete the ego

A hardened, squamous turd

That I’m best rid of?

Flush it down, and walk off

Free and clear?

 

Mythology reveals

No clear instructions,

Nor does Freud,

Or Jung, or Marx or Engels.

 

Damn. They’re no friends.

 

Looks like I’m on my own-

Again.

 

Solicitation:

Please place suggestions

In the box.

 

 

II

I’ve done it-

Independently!

Thrust head between my legs,

And sunk my teeth deep in my ass

…And now I’m rolling downhill, fast.

It’s good because, they say,

Until you hit your bottom,

There’s no overhead.

This is no time to render

Philosophies--warm, moist, and tender

Here is where the there is-

And I’m rolling downhill, fast.

III

The lowest low.

I creep on hands and knees

In breathless breathlessness,

Because I know,

I know,

I know,

In darkened temples deep inside

Where cowards dare not go

Resides the Pythoness,

Dervish mistress of the dead.

Give Her one chance-

She’ll squeeze this mousy life

’Til eyes pop from its head

In sheer astonishment.

She did that once,

She merely touched my tree

And it rained snakes

For week and months

And years.

I’m not afraid of fears,

And even draw some comfort there.

It’s my courage I distrust the most

That fairest of the fair

It opens boxes—yes—best left alone

And in the shaking, quaking darkness,

I hear the serpent moan.

Uncoiling now, from age-old slumber,

With scales of gold, and eyes bejeweled

It offers ice-cold bliss I cannot countenance,

Or fathom,

Islam- I must surrender

To that chasm,

And throw myself into it,

Once again-

Downhill faster,

Faster still-

There is no bottom.


Stunned like rabbits

Stunned like rabbits

On we run

Through city streets, awash in ignorance,

Oblivion, or bliss

Pretending there’s no difference.

Today’s disciples draw their comfort

Not from the iron around their necks-

But in the ears.

The chatter of convenient, hand-held Gods

Is eminently reassuring,

When facing the abyss of What To Do..

Darkened fodders penetrate the brain,

Erasing who we are, and where we go-

Replaced with cuckoo's eggs

That grow and grow

And grow and grow and grow,

Consuming all the while

The things we think we know.

We rush to this confessional,

In open space, with open doors,

And play repentant fool,

Projecting newly minted sins

Through tiny apertures designed to eat our words

And spit them out as wavelengths, gigabytes.

Is that cool-

Or what?

We stagger onwards,

Makeup, hair, and clothes in disarray;

No worry; cheery neon billboards light the way.

They’re watching those.

Eyes aglaze, we think we pick and choose,

As sidewalks clutch at us

With eerie, gummy residues,

And storefronts hunt us down like hungry hounds

--We’re lost, of course, we know it--

But, thank God,

The merchandise is found.

Stunned like rabbits,

On we run.


Four A.M.

I used to hear the ticktock man when I awoke.

No longer. Clocks have shed their gears,
Acquired quartzite hearts
That drink precisely measured drafts of time
In silence.

Darkness brings awareness,
Branching streams that flow.

In stillness
Lungs imbibe the broth
Of gross mortality.
It weighs on me
In greater measure as I grow.

Alone, alone, my wife beside me
Still asleep-
Beside me, still asleep.

Last night, we died together
In that privilege of bliss conferred by nature,
Then we died again, the daily death,
Presuming resurrection by default.

And now I find myself within
Death number three-
MUST I keep doing this?

And this one's slow, and clever, calculating-
Creeping, crawling, silent, calling
Between-four-walling in the air and darkness.

There's something comforting, it's true, about this moment:
Silent morning, holy morning
All is calm, and all is borning-
Maybe no so bad, I think-

But at the root of life as it flows in
I sense the touch of death,
Clutching every cell
By whatever balls it has, and tugging
Downwards veeeeery slowly, sneakily.

That's number three
The long, slow death that keeps us cool
Within its warm embrace
By chanting, "you're alive..."

I sense the knot that ties this life to flesh.
Disturbance.
No psychological variety
(Lydia Davis, call your mom again)
But something more insidious.

Blindsided.

At times like this, I'd rather Tivo life
And watch it later, when it's safer
And I'm more prepared-
Fast forward over parts where death seems immanent.

But there's no later, now-
The clocks we own no longer tick,
They just protest,

It's now, now, now.

And now, I'm always dying.


Ars Poetica: to Impress Rebecca

I'm going to write a big, sloppy poem
That covers everything.

It will be arch, and kitsch, and coy,
with clumsy use of metaphor;
Excessive adjectives and adverbs, too;
And exclamatory elements that don't quite do.

Wahoo!

Rhyme won't play a role, because
It's overstayed its welcome
By participating once too often
In obnoxious lyric efforts.

And as to subject, well, it will be positively stuffed
With religion and psychology, philosophy and such-
With references to nature, and biology,
Interspersed with literary snippets.
A dash of shakespeare, pinch of Proust (although I've never read him)
That's the way you show how smart you are.
Why, anyone can do it.

Pick a paragraph, voila!

And that's the whole damn exercise, me droogies,
To demonstrate a competence
Which others marvel at.

The failure to show adequate foundation,
And, perchance, a few egregious spelling errors
-if I make 'em, tho unlikely-
Will be overlooked, because linguistic rhinestones
Are all the rage,
Since forever reared its ugly pimpled head.

I think I'll write this poem soon,
Perhaps while on a plane above the cliffs of Dover,
Such geographic factoids being one more evidence
Of my intense sophistication.

The glittering rewards of my poetification
Will slop out generously
Over the edges of the verse,
Just like the tuna splooged out of
The croissant I ate on the plane.

Delicious-

And even the hothouse grown tomatoes
Were acceptable.


Lady’s Cotton Briefs

A true story.

Late, late delivery! Great woe!

Ladies cotton briefs must fly,

Lest America-it's immanent-

Run out of underwear.

(No doubt Al Quaeda plans it so,

Inshallah.)

Fill the multitudinous casepacks!

Command the trucks and planes,

Let cargo doors gape wide, and cross

The vast expanse of ocean,

Using

Untold amounts of our

Apparently (I didn't know this) limitless

Petrochemical bounty

Just to keep those hungry crotches

Dry and warm. 


Picky-choosy

 

Don’t come to me

With picky-choosy sexuality.

 

Or cheapen this

With nervous virgin laughter.

 

Be red in tooth and crotch;

Let’s see those genitalia

 

Unadorned by compromise.


A Few Predatory Thoughts

Inside, silence

Slap-dash, syncopated, thrown-together silence Mostly made of noise.

Outside, turbulence

Assigned vibration values by arbitrary means.

Seat belts, please.

Collected moments

In the killing jar du jour:

Ballistic, battered nylon leathery luggage

Spit like squirming,  wood-plucked grubs

On a hamster wheel conveyor belt

Of daft associations.

And we, hard-head, showy red-crest pileates

Moment to moment,

Whack for whack

We pick and choose at whim

By color, size and shape.

But inside they're all packed just the same:

Yesterday's dirty laundry.


Dirt Papaya

Dirt papaya

Under concrete overpass, ripe

With a monoxide dust patina

Crawling gray, towards not much sunlight-

Are you screaming for your mother

Who apparently abandoned you

To languish in the grip

Of these animals called men?

Yes,

They look like homeland monkeys

But they kill with deeper,

More perverted skills-

With dainty pointed weapons they name

Progress, and development.

The words come first

To dress things up. 

Machines come later-

Lots of them-

After the standard-issue

Thirty pieces of silver.

It's a gardener's trick

Pruning down his horns

Until he is disguised as

The Good Thing.

That's real estate for you.


Handled things

With these handled things of ours,

Craft lies within the making-

But art-

Art lies within the seeing.

Art rises up from inner depths

That science says we do not have-

Beauty, sensitivity, and soul

Are of the organism.

Divorce imposed by self-important reason

Cannot change this one iota.

The intellect can sterilize

A thousand enterprises,

yes-

Burn the ancient houses of mythology

In its march triumphant

To the newly shark-starved sea.

Foolish modern prophets sing

Abandonment.

The crashing of cathedrals,

Silencing of symphonies

Is marked

By the small, crabbed words

Of narrow men.

If misguided lovers of the soul then turn,

And burn their towers

Who can wonder?

Rage is just as blind

As science

But much less subject to the rules.


Keeping God Company

God made me

To Keep Him company.

-But,

If Jesus calls,

He’ll have to leave a message.

Unfortunately

I’m too busy just this moment.

There are all these

Things

To do, you see,

That keep me from remembering

He’s lonely.

Perhaps that was His supreme and only error,

Thinking His creation

Was less magnificent, and less attractive

Than it actually is, and we

Much less susceptible

To its allure.

His therapist tells Him, no doubt

That His issues of abandonment arise,

From His own

Underestimation.

We are made in His image;

In the end, as usual, even on a cosmic scale,

Everything stems from

Low self-esteem.


Played-not-played

I do not know the Watchmaker,

Though I presume to know it all:

Let me explain.

He lives in

Said-not-said

Played-not-played

And sneaky, hidey places in between.

They say He is Blind.

A

Magnificent

Stunning

Kind of Blindness,

Producing trees,

And rocks

And sixteen (count ‘em) different kinds of paradise.

Light fills all the cracks in my world

But not in His;

Born in darkness, He

Has no need for it.

He knows the world by smell and sense of touch alone:

It is enough. Light comes from places we cannot understand.

Slow-witted, touching-elephant-unknowing,

I feel Him when my heart beats.

Watchmakers are never blind

But watches always are.


Narrow Grave

Men join boxes made of wood

With sturdy lids, and tight with nails

Then lower them to earth, within this life-

Dig narrow graves from fear,

Not knowing.

Why not throw flesh to birds,

And bones to wind?

In dying lies no death, but freedom-

So they say.

Roll back the stone!

And see-

No tomb preserves the light from which we’re made.

And to hide

Within the grave

Is not an option.

Visitation

 

She comes from elsewhere,

Needs no invitation,

Unexpected.

 

Spreading

Reassurances

Which, though foreign to our ways,

Belong at once.

 

We travel far, and yet,

This single instant calls us back

To those unshuttered, silent homes

From whence we came,

To which we shall return.

 

She reigns,

Pronounces unknown syllables,

Floods gravel paths so keenly spread

By our intentions.

 

Is She the color of a morning sun

Dancing off mirrors

That rise above cities

Built by our artifice, and shame?

 

She is;

Although my coarse affections beg to differ.

 

No sour manmade crucible, no flask

Can hold such wine.

 

It stands alone.


This Irritating Matter

I'm filled with a disturbing kind of

Joy

Lacking sound parameters. 

It leaks out intermittently

Infecting everything I touch-

And see-

And breathe and speak and hear.

There's a blankness to it, too:

A jack-be-nimble nothingness

That disregards the killing thrust of wit.

In joy like this, in short,

Jehovah's witless.

To wallowing, shimmering,

Star-born fools like this,

Shadows cast on urinals

Become attractive.

 

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