Thoughts on Silence, Ideas, and “a kind of soundlessly spinning ethereal void”

 Wilhelm Freddie, Sensitive Portrait, 1940

Where does one truly “begin”? The ‘act’ and the ‘intent’ of that ‘something’, like a writer, a pen of the past before the “pen” of the future became a technological machine (keyboards aplenty). And perhaps I shall start this off this way:

There are momentous, cosmic instances, where I sincerely yearn to physically be the ink inside of a pen; I want to dive directly into the cosmic chatter, to be the words themselves, to pamper the page with my liquid existence. My notebook looks like the tattoo’d arm of a sailor—pin-ups aplenty, or “pen”-ups, in this case, and my notebook, yes, looks tattooed by a wall of words that move when I turn each page; it’s as if my own words co-mingle with the quotes, so that, somehow, my veins are connected to the veins of the past. To be the ink itself would be like pushing every star in the universe together into super-ball of light (taking up only a small percentage of the universe?)—this is the Writer’s eye, the Poet’s eye of the soul, and the surrounding “dark matter” of what remains outside of this star-charged oneness is like left-over ink, or a kind of inky thumbprint smeared from one end of the spectrum to another, hidden in perhaps the “pen of the future.” Did Bachelard believe that “all corners are haunted” in outer-space, as well?

I should never ‘digress’, but continue to progress. (As Fenollosa would reverb: “No full sentence really completes a thought.”)—there are times when it seems as if my speech and photographs are merging. What Phenomenon is this? Who is to say otherwise to spoil the party? If one looks closely enough, one will discover that people appear, disappear and reappear in photographs. (Naomi Nye once said that she “inherited the ability / to stand in a field and stare,” which she learned from her father. There is a silence that speaks like a clear sky, or as Edmond Jabès would say: “Dreaming is above us, silence below, in stones.”).

I often enjoy placing coffee cups on top of my opened journals (tattooed inkiness, how I’m swathed and cotton-swabbed into this dye’d reminder) in the hopes, oddly or not, that a “bump” or some hullabaloo causes a “happy accident”—ex., perhaps a cat-scattering movement, in the sense that I’d like to see coffee spill onto the pages, even if a drop or two, creating a spot to cover a word, a sentence, or a phrase, a quote, etc., to cover it like Time covers history in its permanent veil, an irremovable, impenetrable, infinite Iron Curtain. To be able to “sniff” a word, as if it were already aromatic, and remember a memory even sharper, like scents that make us Recall, like recollections of a childhood bee-sting—the smell of coffee on texts is like the text that grows like hair on one’s body. S. handed me a coffee bean for me to smell of (“smell of this greatness!”) and so I took it, smelled of it, sniffed and sniffed until I was momentarily out of breath, and then she said, “Now, eat it.” And I did. I ate that coffee bean and the granules were in my mouth, scattering like marbles, kicked my clumsy children on a hop-scotching sidewalk, chalked and powdered—the granules, stuck inside of my mouth, in-between my teeth, and it must have appeared as though I had eaten soil, pure soil, pure black soil from the underworld, and eating coffee beans, or any beans for that matter (“cool beans”), is as close to eating soil as anything.

What is Silence? Who said this?: “The sedge has wither’d from the lake, / And no birds sing.” How odd, no? Are my photographs “eccentric” to some people? The first reaction is key—(Howard Nemerov once said: “Strangeness is a quality belonging inseparably to language and vision.” Aristotle said: “poetic language must appear strange and wonderful” . . . Okay, how about this?: I am so spiritual that even my prayers have prayers. . . .

Photography is my way of writing the Infinite into a frame; and how about a text from Nabokov’s “King, Queen, Knave”?: “Weaving his way among the ramparts of sand that surrounded each bather’s ephemeral domain, hurrying to nowhere in order to prove by a great show of haste how much his merchandise was in demand, an itinerant photographer, ignored by the lazy crowd, walked with his camera, yelling into the wind: “The divinely favored, der gottbegnadete artist is coming!”)

Elias Canetti: “Not to speak anymore, / to place words next to one another mutely / and watch them.”

Elias Canetti: “All the things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams.”

Silence. I hear you. Poets listen to things that most people would consider “voiceless” or inaudible. Even the words speak audibly without a voice to read them. Clark Coolidge’s early statement of “intent”:

“As Stein has most clearly & accurately indicated, Words have a universe of qualities other than those of descriptive relation: Hardness, Density, Sound-Shape, Vector-Force, & Degrees of Transparency / Opacity. I am attempting to peer through the lines into this possible WordArt Landscape, work within it & return with Wordscapes, WordObjects to light & refresh the mind so currently overloaded with centuries of medial Language-Tape.”

Listen to the waves clashing inside of you. Listen as the unspeakable object, whitish and hazy, speaks, as if teasing those that wait for a sound to enter their ears.

If one cannot hear with their heart, they are forever deaf.

Even the wasp will sting without hearing a sound. Silence stings only if you cannot hear a voice within the muted quietude. All “listening” first begins with silence. Let us sit here, together, whomever you are, our hearts singing as One, in the silence of our precious music.

e.e. cummings: “Clouds over / me are like bridegrooms // Naked and luminous”

Rumi: “The puppet show looks charming / but go behind the curtain and see who runs it”

Frank O’Hara said that he would “put up with anything if the orchestra’s big enough,” and I would put up with anything if the orchestra is silent enough, which is louder than most things (within the heart), and also: “what I cannot remember / I see them with your eyes”—Erasmus: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”—I’ve been thinking of the idea of the Pre-Me. I think of photographic ideas and experiments that would correlate to this on-rushing connection! “God knew us before we were in the womb.” Also, “Guardian Angel” series: who truly understands the heart of a poet? I have realized a long time ago that I am not really a verbal person, but rather a visual person. Being able to communicate visually is truly like a gift from the divine.

Frida Kahlo: “I am so often alone . . . I am the subject I know best.”

Art will always be an essential part of human identity. Joseph Conrad once said: “Art is above all, in the first place, to make you see, and the writer’s object is to render the highest of justice to the visible world. Language is a special extension of the power of seeing, inasmuch as it can make visible not only the already visible world; but through it the invisible world of relations and affinities.”

Overheard recently: “Everything your eyeball sees, your eyeball wants.”

What about the other eyeball?

Another thought collapses on me, like a tumbling building, demolished by nature, or by man’s arrogance. Thomas Hardy’s broken heart must cover me like a veil; I understand what one must have felt, like Eliot, or Shelley. This thought, right now, came to me, briefly:

With your eyes, I could see myself clearly in a shattered mirror. My longing, my lips that have missed a kiss for so long, are covered by my hand, waiting for the right one to remove it from my mouth, one finger at a time, in slow-motion?, one breath at a time, in “self-repeating infinities.”

Last night: A spider falls in the dust behind my head-board; what will I dream of tonight? My head, spins, dreams of a hope, when hope was hip, but now is a hip-flexor. Where is that spider? I hope that my mouth stays shut during sleep. The doorknob just appeared like a head poking in to glare at me. I’m awake on the inside; my eyes are like a summer dusk. I went to switch off the lamp, before placing my head upon this harmonious pillow, and I was grabbed, as if the light bulb feels bipolar, and is “taking it out” on me. Then, it said to me!:

When morning rays of light kisses your eyelids, the sun will peek into your heart and capture more of your light to give to the day.

How could I, or anyone, believe this is real? My Imagination is far more “alive” and “real” than Reality. That of which seems “dull,” or “useless” and “lackluster,” comes to life! And I applaud, as a woman and a man watch me from a park bench (yesterday), as I spoke to bright, red tulips—they must’ve thought the flowers didn’t speak back to me in joyous enchanting songs, but this couple could’ve heard it loud and clear had they allowed the orchestras of their hearts to open wide as the mouth of the universe.


The other day, as I frequented a café, a woman spoke to me so crisply (as if to “impress”?—surely not!) that I thought that I was turning the pages of a new book, listening to the world spin, torn from normal input, and I was beside myself, then—Myself beside the unexplored “I”. It wasn’t long, after she invited me out to a yoga class (gulp!) that she walked away with a smile upon her complexion, as if I had entered her garden with the only available water remaining upon the Earth.

Truth is this: The ‘dew’ in my soul never lifts; every droplet reflects the enchantments that I’ve felt, that I’ve experienced, and every moment is like a stirred-up sea within me, and the moonlight-tide ceases to exist in a world where I move about like angels in their miraculous habitats (that exists far beyond Time’s tumbling roads). I must be like a vanished bird, still seeking a tree. No bird, nor any animal, ever truly “dies”—they all live on within me! like a procession, like some glass vase full of freshly-picked flowers that never die (in the photograph). My church is my body. I haven’t been kissed by a soft collision of lighted lips in years. . . . I, O, you.

Yesterday, as I documented upon one of my self-portraits, I said that a butterfly flew by me, and took my spirit with it.

This, like the Evidence of A Disappearance, besides not seeing anything. . . .

Do I disappear and loop, hanging from the day-sky? I see a butterfly at night, still fluttering. It’s held on to my spirit for so long that it needs never to slow down. It only pauses to feel the pulse of my love, like a shadow of some cosmic pulse that reveals the beginning of a Vanishing Point. I once said that the eyes of a mirror never close. This is true! There is a kind of offset of feeling of conclusions, born out of near weightlessness, like that of a ruby-throated hummingbird hanging on to one’s wrist.

What of The Naked Eye? Take that literally. Make a photograph out of it, or a collage, or anything. Yoko Ono would say make it into nothing, then bury it.

The Naked Eye, clothing my body? The Naked Eye leaving my body behind?

Perhaps it must’ve been something I ate, or like spies with big eyes eating pies? I just had a bright idea, but now I’m getting a bit “light”-headed. I overheard: “got lemonade that’ll make you see double, and I don’t mean eating the yellow snow” (must’ve been zapping Zappa!). I see some people’s faces, and it’s as if they had been locked inside of a toilet for a few days; people are depressed, not always because of loneliness; it’s sad, but to some people, there are no negotiations, like having “discomfort in the pants.” “Everything strikes me as peculiar”—fascinated by things, all things, and perhaps now I’m merely going in circles; it’s like a wrecking ball that never stops wrecking.

What did the kitchen maid see through the keyhole?

I just realized that, etymologically speaking, my full name when put together could very well mean: a hoist/crane in a contemporary 17th c. theater, perhaps in the “Low Countries” of hæð, or a tract of wasteland, yet abound with high-spirited qualities, which is accurate. Or, if visually: A theater hoist lying peacefully in a heiðr “field,” alone, yet high-spirited.

Seeing an insect so tiny, so minuscule, that it’s nearly invisible. Looks light the ‘period’ at the end of a sentence that just decided to walk off. It is times like this when I need a microscope. If this thing were any smaller, the Naked Eye might have to cover itself up. I extracted a tiny mirror from the ground; a reflection still cast unseen, or by the very remote grounded insects it was viewed, and how shocking to be an ant, a minuscule creature, viewing oneself in so large a structure, an architecture of remembrance, of both present and past, to stop and pause; to be the glow underneath the grounds of the unseen earth.

Decipher me while devouring me. It is necessary to recognize a smallness of the face on a colossal scale.

The greenest foliage of the luxuriance of the forest, intense light pulls the trees into it without mercy. The Light reveals its secrets, like an old riddle, if one turns to it, to consume and accept it.

Collapsing ear drums and a red newborn-baby face in this pre-Summer heat.

Spam-mail, again, hum-drumming along, from Irishka Ross, saying, “I want to establish familiarity with u. Answer me promptly.” The oddness of the person sending “spam” mail; or, robotically-driven? Another one, in my spambox, from “Natashechka,” saying, “I am Sara. Do you like ski? Compose a few words.” 21st century technological non-Whitmanesqueries.

What really happened: I ventured through a spur in the forest, casually at my own pace, a distant call rang in my ears, and suddenly, I fell into an underbush, the twigs all turning into lighted rings!


There are certain things that rips me a new skeleton, or rips the skeleton out of me.

Desiderata: “Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit...”

Jack Spicer “rebuking” Robert Duncan, the poet: “He is too concerned with affirmation, with flying his soul like a kite. . . . He substitutes wit for nonsense, the transcendent for the vicious. It is as if Gertrude Stein and Ralph Waldo Emerson had gone to bed together with Jean Cocteau holding the vaseline.” (!)

Susan Sontag: “Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”

New Poem, by yours truly:


The only absolute complaint that I could ever have
would be to find myself not gazing
into the mirrorless pupils of Omnipresence,

where eventually I would find my soul
melting outward from my out-stretched body,
pulled slowly out of me like a sun-soaked veil

held up in front of a spectre, or an amused muse--
light, baking me into a “phenomenal smear,”
like a silver-scaled fish on a tattered hook

snatched upward from a pool of crystallization
into the unbreathable air. Perhaps I gasp
beyond the gasping. Perhaps I always will.


My body, in-tune, is spread out to sleep, yet never do “I” slumber. Opulent opal memories, some of them full of thorough thorns, prickly remembrances, loud as clumsily-blown trumpeted ballyhoo, and these unexpected exiles I can speak without speech, yet speaking it all to you. Easily amused and easily satisfied, I am. Satisfaction is never the ‘end’ of anything. Seldom does misery create pleasurable experiences, yet when misery roots, it’s bound to eventually wither, and what sprouts from it is an enchanting new beginning. Every day is like a new beginning, or just a continuation of honey seeping from passing day to passing day, seeping perhaps from a jar, slowly, but surely; the taste remains in the mouth until, bong-bong-bong!; an interruption! Interruptions are often necessary as well, for the continuum of poetic maneuvering. Distractions occur and in a flash a new thought arises. Maybe these interruptions are needed for new creations...


Borges: “Under the Moon / an extended, solitary / shadow.”

Helen Mort: “Watch how the leaves balance the sky, / then let it fall.”


Something about a heart that has been broken from its tenseness, from its elasticity, is a rigorous labor that, at first, seems to wear more and more upon the psyche’, but returns to the source—the mind at this time revisualizes every beautiful thing, flat-lines the Finality of a loss, into a sound that travels through the Body at the speed of light, or faster—inflexions felt further along in the solar plexus, maneuvers without susceptibility, maniacally crashing, like a thousand meteors to the soul, or more, becoming the serpent’s fangs at the point, entering quickly; shockwaves roaring like a volcanic-force before the force can be seen; the entire soul buckling under the fever of all that one has to die to, so that scars cover one like umbrellas; a shell, like its own lingo, its own hibernation.

I shall never dare to abandon the idea that somewhere, somehow, a great love will discover me, perhaps in a gutter, rain pouring, like in Shock Corridor, just as someday the world will be forever without pangs and curses, without a battling nudge of plucking, of worry-warting us all to a swell; the ferocity of an inevitable chasm that demystifies, plunges a loving heart into hysteria, into despair, and perhaps eventual madness—yes, a world with perpetual, endless peace. I somehow become further poetically-enhanced when I feel a connection to something miraculously glorious, that it also has a way of assaulting the “ticklish” part of my existence, like seeing a ventriloquist’s cheeks vibrating with puffs of miniature air-swells.

In reality, my hopes are often shattered, as if the dream itself were made of glass, as if all of my wishfulness, hopefulness, longings, were scattered on the back of a bird with broken wings. Immovable. I often wonder what do other people expect, other than the “normal” expectations? Even though I’m swarmed with an energy that is sopped with luminous variations, often times I feel that if I had to explain in greater detail, in this mad rush of a thought, I’d rapidly have to play possum with Myself so as not to remember my own face in a mirror, so that the light that travels to the visual source is interrupted, to be far more inconsistent than I already am, to vanish before being gazed upon.

W. S. Merwin: “Your absence has gone through me / Like thread through a needle. / Everything I do is stitched with its color.”

Bukowski: “if I never see you again / I will always carry you / inside / outside / on my fingertips / and at brain edges // and in centers / centers / of what I am of / what remains.”

Renoir: “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”


I always feel like every photograph I make is like a film still, always leading to something else . . .

Some things are so beautiful that their presence alone could make me disappear from the face of the globe. One look, and slowly the invisible metamorphosis begins. Another look and I’m blinking out of view. One final look, and I’m the real Invisible Man.

This quote by Clarence John Laughlin sums up the “why” question for me personally:

I am trying to create purely visual poetry, and to use objects as symbols of states of mind.” “He called his early results ‘visual poems’ and meant for the images to be explicated like poetry. For Laughlin, objects possessed an intricate web of psychological associations and a multitude of meanings.


There have been only two chief and consistent concerns in my work: 1) luminosity — the magic of light itself; 2) the use of the object as a symbol, and hence, of the camera as a living instrument to probe the intangible psychological jungle in which every object is enmeshed.

Susan Sontag: “All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”

George Saunders: “An empty rocking chair rocks faster than any mortal granny could.”

And: “Out the wide window across the room, it’s a crescent moon in bough-crook kind of thing; caramel lights through sectioned panes in houses of white wood, trees blown and slanting like smoke. Windows and doors of the houses wide open with Trust. Children breathe pillow air. Hills roll away behind the row of houses in a fairly pastoral manner. It is a kind of smooth blue Ireland. And the blue is in the room too. It is the blue of night scenes in animation. The cloak of night and all that. It is very much like the nights when little kids point at the moon and say odd things...”

Inside the heart is a heart that beats to the drum of the conscience’s daily waking thought-process. At night, that same drum must be slightly atilt.

I’m at the ticket-window of a new dream, except not being able to sleep gums it all up.

Dorothy really thought that the Wizard was a clear-cut hierarchy of ill communication or a mere spin-off of Jan Van Eyck with eyes that flame brightly, the way that “poppies send up their orange flares.”

A Thought:

Sleeping “soundly”? Shouldn’t it instead be “sleeping silently”? Sleeping “soundly” makes me think of someone snoring, not sleeping peacefully. 

I dream of vocabularies that are loudly inexpressible,
like putting your ear up to a word as if it had decibels.

 Félix Labisse, The Passage Wall, 1951