Wednesday, November 2, 2011

your own logos

create your own religion,
create your own logos and
write your word of a god and
Imagine you are the image
of a god
you imagine
you are.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

god bless approximate utopia

Bin Laden's Gambit -
Sacrifice Afghanistan
The U.S. military predictably bombs predictable targets long evacuated and the bin Laden propaganda public relations machine rallies the fundamentalists, converts more, a clear line is drawn between Us and Them. On America's side are some shaky corrupt regimes and on the anti-American side some popular revolutionary movements and thousands of potential suicide bombers. We attacked Afghanistan because bin Laden wanted us to and he outwitted the U.S. government, not that its so difficult. Our problem is not that bin Laden is so evil- millions of evil people in the world - our problem is that he is more intelligent than any of our leaders, especially the chief executive the Supreme Court chose for us and who is now in way over his head.
What the fuck are we going to do?

global city of peace,
approximately no where,
on the best planet in the best solar system in the best galaxy in the most beautiful of all possible universes
Do not fear the Last Day, it may be billions of years away
before our Sun dies
and don't cry
over a spilled Milky Way
The universe is still my universe, right or wrong.

go anywhere
do anything
harm no one
food will be provided, sandwiches for everyone.
Salad bar,
You will be given the medication you need
and a spoonful
of sugar
to help it go down
Everyone will have a place
to crash
Everyone will have a

Can we build nations that will leave us alone when we want to be left alone and take care of us when we need to be taken care of? Can we balance security and privacy - community and freedom?
A mountain rises out of the sea and a new Moses walks down from it carrying a stone tablet on which is engraved a single phrase -
"Unquestioned Authority is bullshit"

So far the 21st Century sucks
We are under seige,
maybe forever,
by small and large groups of killers,
freelance killers, and killer nations.
Ordinary things are turned into weapons for mass murder.
jet planes, letters.
Can money be infected? Is it possible to make George Washington and Abraham Lincoln carriers of a plague?
How long will this go on?
How many Octobers will be diseased? How many perfect September mornings blasted to bloody pieces?

I show my I.D. to the guard and enter the food court.
Is this salad bar safe?
I do a little ethnic profiling of the employees, the food-handlers. One of them is startled when my foot knocks a salad dressing container across the floor. I feel the few people at other tables are watching me with suspicion and I'm suspicious of them. I see there are ATMs for my bank at the next level and I go up to withdraw money and just before I enter the bank the power goes off in that section of the building and everyone jumps and I decide to forget the ATM and get out of the building immediately.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


We will live in the Death Smog for a while,
breathing the dust of the dead,
the 5 thousand or so who turn to smoke, as the giant ashtray in Lower Mangattan continues to give up ghosts.
The dead are in us now, locked in our chests, staining our lungs, polluting our blood streams.
And though we cover our faces with flags and other pieces of cloth to filter the air.
The spirits of the dead aren't fooled by our masks.

Columbus Day

looking for a little homeland security in the midst of a war with no boundaries
here in this homeland we are in the war but not fighting the war
there are no soldiers against soldiers, just murderers against victims
there in that homeland you're a Taliban scapegoat, a refugee, or collateral damage

Its World War but its not World War Three
Its World War Indeterminate

Its maybe World War from now on
perpetual world war
You can't say when it started or when it ends, if ever, anymore than you can say where it is or who it is
- and why it is?
- why is it?
Its because it was. Its because an eye must be paid for an eye that was taken,
and 10,000 eyes for 10,000 eyes and you took too many eyes and now you owe me eyes, and soon we're all blind like Gandhi said, the blind killing the blind
and anyone with vision put in prison

You can't see this war most of the time - that's why the TV replays the same video over and over
The real war is invisible, in your head.
Its when you're on a Trailways bus in the Lincoln Tunnel and you think how easy it would be for a group of suicide killers to coordinate a multiple car bomb attack and maybe release nerve gas as well and you imagine what that would be like and you forget about your carsickness for a while.



Recite what?
Recite whatever comes into your mind.
Nothing comes into my mind anymore.
I will put something in your mind and you will recite it.
I don't know, I don't know.

From an Audio Artists recording session:

You know, Frank, some people can't listen to this.

1) 17:20
I am the Hummus
Running out
seller of Scriptures
The Savage
The Wizard
Art Bum

2) 16:40
The Odd Pilgrim
3 Books

3) 1:57
Surfer Jesus Pt. 1
4) 1:55
Alright Stoners
Art Bums For Democratic Society

Monday, September 12, 2011

What rhymes with HazMat?

Planets die.
solar systems also die.
I’ve seen photographs of galactic collisions.
How do you mourn an event like that?
Truly cosmic disasters happen all the time
Where do we put the shrines?

What rhymes with HazMat?

HazMat to the left of me
HazMat to the right of me
HazMat raining down on me
HazMat in your eyes
HazMat in your nose
He’s never going to be Lincoln or Churchill but if we’re lucky he’ll be a decent guy - the decent guy he tried to portray himself to be during the campaign. He’ll never write a Gettysburg Address but he can give sincere and convincing readings of the speeches written for him. Maybe modulate his black and white worldview and forget about an eye for an eye and 12,000 eyes for 12,000 eyes. Bring the bad guys in alive and put them on trial in a Court TV mediathon that will wipe OJ out of our brains and I won’t complain if Osama gets the chair.

I don’t want to return to ordinary life.
I want to attain ordinary life.

How can you think when realities collide?

galaxies collide
solar systems end

Will the time come when I go through a day without thinking about it?

Where do you go when galaxies collide? Where do you hide?
Does one universe ever smash into another universe?
Is this happening now?
How can you think when realities collide?
Think the unthinkable - go ahead - Think the unthinkable

Nearly 2 weeks after
nearly obliterated
the vaporization
of the Twin Towers
I relax on a bench
in a park
where long ago
men were executed
by hanging.

Walk to the Village.
Despite the Death Smog that covers the city, happy people sit at sidewalk tables, drinking, eating, laughing, talking on cell phones. The smog smells like a burnt electrical cord combined with something you don’t want to think about.

Walk below Canal Street,
join the carnival crowd of picture takers, rollerbladers, baby stroller pushers, souvenir T-shirt buyers and sellers, cell phone chatters - an ugly mass of people with no sense of the sacred, except for the odd mourner here and there, the odd pilgrim.

And what are you doing here? What did you come to see?
I wanted to go back to the center of the world
where I used to sit on a bench and drink coffee
and watch the human race pass by.

Every day the city wakes up to the anguish,
to the fact that something very big is missing.
the entire city wakes up like an amputee haunted
by phantom limbs.

first there was

and opposed to this was

was contained in

outside of
there was only

some people went by
and others went against

the first kind of people were
and the second kind of people were

then a third kind of people arrived with a NEW BOOK
which was a sequel to
they said that THE BOOK,
together with

now there were 3 kinds of people:

1) those who go by THE BOOK, but against THE SEQUEL
2) those who go only by THE BOOK and THE SEQUEL together as one BOOK.
3) those who go against both THE BOOK and THE SEQUEL.

then there came another, fourth, kind of people who had a
this, they claimed, is another BOOK in the ABSOLUTE TRUTH series that, furthermore, completes the series.
Now comes another group of people - the people who buy many books, but who are not by any book exclusively.
no book, they argue, contains ABSOLUTE TRUTH, but most, or even all, books contain some mixture of truth and falsehood.

the peoples who go by THE BOOK, or its SEQUEL, or THE SEQUEL TO THE SEQUEL, are infuriated by the relativism of those who buy many books and who apparently reject even the idea of ABSOLUTE TRUTH contained in a book.

A DAY will come, many say, when a BOOK WILL BE THROWN.

but which BOOK will it be? we ask.

sketches of the new now


I’m going to miss it when people are no longer happy just to see I’m alive.
Soon they’ll say, “Yeah, you’re alive - And? What else have you done?”

Maybe its not enough simply to be alive, simply to exist, but I’m going to miss it if I’m no longer happy just to be alive.

The path of destruction and the path of creation are sometimes indistinguishable. From certain angles the straight path appears crooked and the crooked path straight. Watch your step, look both ways. The Trickster hangs out at crossroads. What path is favored by the All-Merciful? What path is despised by the All-Wrathful? Do you pray for the mercy of the Wrathful or fear the wrath of the Merciful?

I did not see the people jumping off the building, and I did not see body parts falling from the sky. I did not see either jet plane cut into the towers. I saw smoke and the storm of paper, as if the World Trade Center was stuffed with paper and its stuffings were blown out. A blizzard of financial documents. I remember a piece of a ceiling tile sailing downward. I don’t think I know anyone who died.

I want to beef up my story.


(from my 10/05/1998 notebook)
“...thoughts of salvation or enlightenment. Zero...the cessation of desire in the Buddhist sense. And what exactly is the Buddhist sense? Recognition that the condition of desire is suffering. Desire gives rise to suffering because its object may be lost, will be lost. “Unconditional love” may be a phrase to describe an acceptance of what cannot be changed. Accept the cosmos as it is, in its beauty and its terror, recognizing yourself in it and it in yourself.

You identify yourself with what you want, what you buy, what you pay for. You go to work and make money to buy food and pay rent so you can go to work, and your fear is that your only purpose is to be a laborer in the machinery of the economy, a replaceable part, and you want a higher position - you want to be more valuable, irreplaceable, and tell yourself your art defines what you truly are.”

A Parable in search of a Point
Find your Way to Here

Canal St/W. B’way
2nd phone N. on W. B’way
Up to Grand turn East
to Clinton St?
and North to Delancey

Let’s take the Beeline Highway to Approximate Utopia, gotta get Nowhere fast.
Are we there yet?
If its not here, will we ever get there?

the straight Path to the promised land, the global City

Sunday, September 11, 2011


The immensity of it hasn’t hit me yet. I think my system has set up a defense.
Phones don’t work. I walked to LR’s and left a note saying I’m OK and in Brooklyn.
“My Brooklyn bomb shelter”
Biggest concern is I can’t reach M&D to reassure them. I’m at Phoebe’s. Iced tea, although I’ve absolutely no need for a stimulant.

I was the opening manager today. Sometime after 8:00 I was on the Upper Plaza looking around for Marisa, I guess, to ask her to cover Mimi during a 15 minute break. There was a big boom that we all heard and felt. We saw a lot of paper raining down outside, and other debris. People were scared and headed for the doors. I couldn’t tell if it was safer inside or out w/ all the debris coming down, and we didn’t know what happened. Herman said a jet had smashed into one of the buildings. People were rushing down the escalators. I got on the paging system and told everyone to calmly leave the building, or something stupid. I think I actually said we didn’t know what happened yet. A woman was trying to get one of the Lower Plaza doors unlocked - one that we keep locked because the lock is rusty and hard to use. I got it open. There were still customers standing in the check-out line and I told them to leave. It took a little urging. Kaz said, Just customers? -- and I said You all can leave. Employees were leaving. I guess I paged the store that we were evacuating, probably after someone in an emergency type uniform told us to get out. I was mostly concerned w/ safety - was it safer inside or outside? Eugene said he locked the Upper Plaza doors and Concourse. I went through the Mezzanine and looked to see everyone was gone, calling out that we were evacuating. I looked in both bathrooms under stalls and called out. Eugene paged me just before I got to the bathrooms and I told him what I was doing. When I came downstairs he said he was going up to get his bag. Some others - Jody, Mimi - I don’t know who else - were also going back - This is when the guy told us we had to evacuate. Jody was already at the top of the “down escalator” which was turned off. I yelled get the fuck out of the store! They said they had to get their stuff and I yelled Get the fuck out! Maybe I got on the pager and I yelled, Everyone get the fuck out of the store. Your precious possessions will still be here when you come back. I’m pretty sure I was the last one out. I crossed the street and stood near the Post Office, not sure what to do, where to go. I walked uptown. The sidewalks were full of people moving quickly or standing watching. Confusion. I decided I would get at least as far as Canal Street before I tried to call anyone. At one point there was panic and Church Street was full of people running and screaming. I got against a building. I don’t know if anyone knew what the panic was about, but soon after there was another explosion. I was as concerned about being trampled in a stampede as I was of any further explosions. I saw the tower that had been hit first when I’d got outside, It looked like a shot in a disaster movie. I don't know when I saw the other tower. I crossed Canal and waited for a woman on a pay phone. A man was talking to a street vendor. The vendor was talking about a plane hitting the building. I asked him if he’d seen it and he said, No, someone else saw it. While I waited for the phone another woman got behind me and said she saw the second plane hit the building. She was driving on the Westside H’way and saw it. I couldn’t get through to M&D on the phone. I tried twice and got a message saying the number couldn’t be reached. Someone said no one can get through. I tried a few more pay phones as I walked toward the W’burg bridge. People were looking at each other, making eye contact, not necessarily saying anything. I tried to call Melissa and got an answering machine. I was leaving a message that we’d evacuated but the machine beeped before I finished. Later I called Ed and left a message on his machine that my workplace had blown up, I was OK, and walking home. A man on the Lower East Side was handing out flyers for a local politician “Keep F_____ in office,” he said as he tried to hand me one. I just laughed and then he laughed also at the absurdity. There were a lot of people on the bridge. Now I could see that only one tower was standing. I did not stop to watch. People were taking pictures, making video tapes,trying to get through on cell phones. I was frightened and felt vulnerable on the bridge. I kept thinking, The bridge is a target, the bridge is a target. Any bridge or tunnel could be a target in an attack. Were we under attack? The third plane [?] hit just before I got to the bridge. People were running to see. I was like Lot - don’t look back, get out, get away. I walked but I walked fast, imagining terrorists machine gunning us, or a plane crashing into the bridge, or a train exploding. The trains were still running but I didn’t want o get on any Mass Transit. I briefly considered staying in Manhattan and waiting it out, but I thought - no, I felt I wanted to get home. Also, maybe I could call long distance from Brooklyn.
I saw Greg on the bridge, headed for Manhattan. His brother worked down there also - for the mayor -- and he said he talked to him 10 minutes ago and his brother was at the foot of the building before it went down.
I was very relieved to get off the bridge and hurried away from the Jewish neighborhood. I went up Bedford to Metropolitan and took it all the way to Graham. All the way, people were talking, watching the smoke, the spectacle. I was on Metropolitan when I looked and couldn’t see either tower and I didn’t know why. Weren’t they normally visible from here? Are they both gone? I got home and went to the phone. 2 messages but I picked it up to call - no dial tone, silence. I played the messages. I think the first was 8:40 - Dad said they knew I was safe because the Lord was blessing me today. The second was Leslie hoping I was safe and trying to give me her cell phone number but she couldn’t remember it. After some searching she found it and said she hoped I was O.K. I turned on the TV. There was sound on channel 2 but no picture on it or most stations except the Spanish and Korean and some wacky religious station. I couldn’t watch. I went outside to sit in the backyard but I was too wound up. I went upstairs, calling for Sonny and knocked on his door. No answer. I had my notebook with me. My door was locked and I reached for my key but decided to try Paul & Judy’s. Rang their doorbell and knocked the knocker. No answer. I walked to Phoebe’s, walked in and shrugged and then walked to Leslie’s and left her the note. I walked back to Phoebe’s wanting to be around people. A radio was on, talk about the attack, people calling in asking questions. I still don’t know what’s going on. Is it true the Pentagon was attacked? Several planes hijacked 4 or 5. One crashed in Pittsburgh, maybe shot down to prevent a suicide crash. A caller asks about a plane and I guess someone turned off the radio - it went silent - A Love Supreme came on and played most of the time I wrote this.
There are more details I might write down later. I’m still dazed and hyper, can’t think ahead. This could be a real war, or could become one, and we have an idiot in the White House.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

zero poet

I had intended to do a reading on or around September 11. As the date approached it seemed obvious there would be an overload of commemoration and kitsch.
Tomorrow I'm going to publish my account of what I witnessed ten years ago. I've published it before, several times, in various ways. Maybe too many times. I wrote it early afternoon or late morning of the eleventh, high on adrenaline. For the next four months I'll publish installments of the journal/sketchbook I kept. Its unfinished business, as they say. I will probably publish the whole thing as a book on demand, possibly soon. Whether I do that before or after the Art Bum book is another matter.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Forget September 11. What happened after the attack is more important than the attack. How one responds to a crisis is what counts. I responded by buying a new sketchbook on September 12 to replace the one I left in 5 World Trade Center. I am scanning and posting the sketchbook I kept for about four months after the attack. I published my post-911 sketchbook before onlline in different forms. I think this is the right way to do it. This isn't about September 11 as much as it is about responding to the events and atmosphere after the attack -- disaster kitsch, PTSD, Patriot Act, perpetual war, Anthrax, homeland propaganda, clash of fundamentalisms, and so on. It is an assortment of cartoons, poems, jokes, and commentary in the form of a diary. I have no idea if anyone will be interested in following this and commenting on it. I would like readers to share their own memories, dreams and reflections.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

5 World Trade Center, autumn 2001

Place of the Dead

Where is the Place of the Dead?
We seem to have trouble keeping them buried.

During the Great Flood of ‘93 there was a kind of miracle in a Missouri cemetary. The flood opened some graves and some of the corpses ESCAPED. And when the dead rose the living were scandalized and labored to fish the corpses out of the wild river, but many of the Dead were quicker than the Quick and never could be found. They were the lucky ones, the ones I envy. They rode the river to the sea, while the others got stuck in metal boxes and placed in a neat row in a pit that was filled with dirt by a bulldozer. A return to the primal sea at least makes a poetic sort of sense, and that might be the most you can ask for.
Does a person “need” to be remembered after death? After I die I no longer need to be remembered, but maybe the living need to remember. They also need to forget. Put the dead in their place. The Place of the Dead.

Washington Square Park: Nearly 2 weeks after being nearly obliterated during the vaporization of the Twin Towers, I relax on a bench in a park where long ago men were executed by hanging.
Walk to the Village.
Despite the Death Smog that covers the city, happy people sit at sidewalk tables, drinking, eating, laughing, talking on cell phones. The smog smells like a burnt electrical cord combined with something you don’t want to think about.
Walk below Canal Street:
join the carnival crowd of picture takers, rollerbladers, baby stroller pushers, souvenir T-shirt buyers and sellers, cell phone chatters - an ugly mass of people with no sense of the sacred, except for the odd mourner here and there, the odd pilgrim.
And what are you doing here? What did you come to see?
I wanted to go back to the center of the world
where I used to sit on a bench and drink coffee
and watch the human race pass by.
Every day the city wakes up to the anguish,
to the fact that something very big is missing.
the entire city wakes up like an amputee haunted
by phantom limbs.