Nomadic Homes

During the daylight hours I spend my time in the Sales Department at TASCHEN, working out of the offices on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. We are currently in Sales Conference, where many of the books for the coming season are presented to the reps that they might begin pre-selling. Most of the prominent and important titles are presented by their editors, but the ones that aren’t quite as major are presented by the reps.

This time around, I drew Nomadic Homes, which is a compilation of photos and essays and information about mobile homes, from early wagons, to revamped airstream trailers, to luxury yachts for the eccentric rich. It is actually a rather nice-looking book, and interesting, though it is destined to serve primarily as chum for fauxhemians to purchase at twee boutiques where the idle upper middle class peddle snake oil and fetishize an idea of spirituality that doesn’t jibe with the actual definition.

My friend Erin challenged me to offer up my presentation in the form of a haiku, so I did. I include it here for posterity:

Nomadic Homes, or
Apocalypse real estate:
on your lawn, quite soon.

Sunday Service

Holy man in the subway, fingers stretched to breaking across a pearl keymap
(Well, maybe not pearl
But close enough in the Universal Scheme)

Seeks a new sound—
One to break the deadlock of evolution
And unite the world as one.
But the world is already one:

All gods are the same god,
Of the same spark fanned
And bred;
Lonesome walks the traveler who
Understands
This great truth.

But the Holy Man is not lonely,
For he sits among the rest.
They pass him by without a thought,
But the squawk of his horn is
The pouring forth
Of the same confusion.

Aching Forest

Vines grow fierce along the edge of every whim
Each notion pulls with it twelve other seedlings
That ripen and bulge and invite
The neighbors into your kitchen

You may believe that islands stand individual
Warriors of solitary purpose projected toward the sun
But each base gloms onto the earth
Thirsty, without the benefit
Of advocacy

We live in sagging huts
Blankets between you and us and
Songs that slip across the great expanse
Harsh whispers to the untrained ear

Myths stand under the stars, not thee
Lips pursed in quiet judgment as gods titter
Come home to roost among queer birds
On branches beaten from the finest
Silver

Maps will not illuminate you
As unfathomable as the ebb of the cosmos
Ever collapsing onto one point of light, screaming
The bleat of midnight, the call of darkness unbidden

Anise

Oh, Anise,
Would you be so kind
As to listen
As I unburden myself?

As this dance, which lingers—
Malformed—
In my mind
Takes from me that lasting dignity:
What remains of the rhythm
That animates my spirit?

Or would you sigh,
Anise,
And stroke your eyebrows
As my thoughts—
Vaporous—
Dissolved before you?

As my throat constricted,
Would you fall into reverie,
Content with your own dance—
Graceful—
And delicate—
And elusive—?

If every day was like Christmas

If every day was like Christmas,
I’d jump into the sea.
I’d sink down through the deep dark depths
‘Til there was nothing left of me.

I’d let my spirit float away
Beyond the great, yawning divide
That keeps us from eternity,
Holding us pris’nor, trapped, resigned

To endless thoughts of what’s ahead,
Rather than what we have, instead,
Because despite our weak’ning cries,
We don’t believe in God.

And while so many drop in prayer,
Prostrate themselves before the glare
Of naked sky, of empty rooms,
That simply won’t reveal the flaws

Intrinsic to such bitter kneeling,
Sad escape from depth of feeling
That might finally release
Both of us from unnat’ral laws,

Others look behind the stars,
See nothing but deserts on Mars,
And know that that should be enough
To drive us to each other’s arms.

Windward, past the blades of grass

Windward, past the blades of grass
Stained ochre by the sun’s pale glow,
Lie gentlemen of ill-repute,
Those gods aloft, their lanterns low,
And further on, beyond the dusting
Of a spring-defiant snow,
The bleached bones of an ancient forest
Wear away, and row by row

The beetles skitter, crawl away,
To other sources of decay
And formerly putrescent bodies
Dissipate, as dust,

And pollen that once floated there,
Laid golden sheets across the air,
Rests stale along an acrid plain that’s
Hardened into rust.

The Ballad of Denim Elvis

He buttoned up his aging soul
And packed it off to Idaho,
Where teardrops fell upon the soil.
He slicked his hair, all smeared with oil;
The chopper roared beneath his ass
Clad tight with denim, shake, and sass
He threw on a helmet, masked his pain,
But he’d taken his shot, there was no shame.

For the man called Denim Elvis
There’s nowhere left to go,
And nothing but toil in the potato fields
Of Boise, Idaho.

A rainstorm beat upon the plain,
Cut deep, but could not kill the flame
That in his heart stood stout and full
And held aloft his iron will.
He’d plow those fields, he’d show them all,
Hold caution up against the wall.
The jeers were distant echoes now,
No longer threatened by the sound

Was the man called Denim Elvis,
‘cus there’s nowhere left to go
But to a simple life in the potato fields
Of Boise, Idaho.

The farm was still and cold that night,
The moon was slung real low.
He laced a poncho ‘round his neck
And walked against the flow
Of wind that slapped him forcefully,
Cast poison in his eyes,
Wrapped a noose around his neck
And cinched a deadly tie,

But the man called Denim Elvis slipped
Away from such a bitter end.
He tossed aside a shredded rope
And, free, he stood before a friend
Who handed him a golden hoe
And set him on a different path.
The cheers had drifted silent now,
But he could only shrug and laugh,

For the man called Denim Elvis
Did fortune and fame let go,
So he smiled and dug into the soil
Of Boise, Idaho.

Carrion Comfort

Sometimes the march of hollow words is comfort enough

For two strangers, briefly linked by a shared glance,

The smell of something fresh.

 

But too often there is little but the sting of loss,

Another and another,

That rips away the small joys of little connections,

 

Joys, fleeting and false and weightless

Against tears that tip the scale.