Caveat: Fireman

Fireman

I don't remember the exact date, but we took a number of fall camping trips to Northern Minnesota during the period 1987-89. I chose this date as plausible but it's at best a guess.

I was standing in a campfire (notably, a failed campfire), probably making a goofy speech. I really enjoyed those camping trips.

Fireman2

 

[The "retroblogging" project:  this is a "back-post" written and added 2013-05-05.  I've decided to "fill-in" my blog all the way back.  It's a big project.  But there's no time limit, right?]

Caveat: Lines. Motion.

I took several drawing classes during my time as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, in 1988. I happen to have scanned a few images from a sketch book. Here are two of them.

Art-lines1988

Art-motion1988

[The "retroblogging" project: I'm not sure what the date was that I made these drawings, but it was around this time.]

Caveat: Character Development

His circumstances led him to make that choice and that alone – but that does not mean that he had no choice.

I remember Beth Renolds, the girl who was killed by her family because of the TV. You probably saw about it once, on TV. It was years ago when the Renolds family lived next door to us and me and Beth were in the same grade at school – the old Park Elementary, the one with the weird Flash-Gordon spires and stuff that looked like King Kong had stepped on the Empire State Building and made it just two stories tall – but it was a nice school except for the heat was not too good in Winter and the solidified September sunlight shining into Mr. Logan’s third grade classroom where I would sit staring at Beth’s shoulder-short auburn hair moving as she laughed still makes me wake up sometimes right before my alarm goes off, all tingly inside, sort of shivering with regret or nostalgia.

Anyway, I was telling about the Renolds and the TV. One afternoon me and beth are lounging around languidly in their backyard, kind of both wishing we were a little older or braver so we could declare our undying pure burning yearning love for each other – or at least me for her, I didn’t really know how she felt, and afterwards, well, I never found out. That’s maybe because she was a year younger than me – an accelerated student – but likely I just figured something was wrong with me because I was so young but I loved her so much; it was a kind of sexless fiery passion like some gnostic Christian visionary escaping his body – me just looking at her – you know – God!

So we were sitting – not really playing – maybe talking, I don’t remember, I just kept looking at her hair and her lips because  they were very beautiful, and we heard Mr. Renolds call for Beth to come inside and see what he had bought. Mr. Renolds had got one of those new Korean sets – with computerized tuners and the hi-res screens. Beth’s older brothers were impressed, especially Bobby, who was about 14 I think – anyway, that very night the Renolds were watching the new TV and I was watching Beth because they had invited me and my brother Silas over, Silas who was Terry’s friend because he was always better at everything than me and could be friends with Terry.

[The “retroblogging” project:  this is a “back-post” transcribed from paper on 2013-02-18. I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back.  It’s a big
project.  But there’s no time limit, right?  The above germ of a short story was written in a journal I was keeping while at the University of Minnesota in 1988. There are themes in this story that I found genuinely surprising, given when I wrote it – I guarantee I didn’t not add in or alter the references to Korean technology or the pop culture of crimes of passion, etc. – they were present in the original!]

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Caveat: Okey, ya vamos

The day dawned raining grey beauty, and is fading with oppressive luminosity. Zoom-bunny skidded still tight against retro-contextuality – the MTC was of course slightly responsible for it all – ¿did I care, even? Нет. Okey, ya vamos, cansados del vivir de lo todo que hay, ¡güey!

[The "retroblogging"
project:  this is a "back-post" transcribed from paper on 2013-02-18. 
I've decided to "fill-in" my blog all the way back.  It's a big
project.  But there's no time limit, right?  The above was written in a
journal I was keeping while at the University of Minnesota in 1988.]

Caveat: Buy now, at discount

Mikkerbauk fantasie Joe - 
Ah, blue hills of quiet paradise.

The captain-people will take it all away
in fancy flying rocket-planes of self-individual, 
hallucinatory love of masses - 
squalid suffering folk with homes of cardboard, 
you see, don't you,
the danger?!
(Buy now, at discount).

[The “retroblogging” project: this is a “back-post” transcribed from paper on 2013-02-18. I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back. It’s a big project. But there’s no time limit, right? The above was written in a journal I was keeping while at the University of Minnesota in 1988. UPDATE 2023-11-27: I republished this little snippet as poem #2672 in my series of daily poems.]

CaveatDumpTruck Logo

Caveat: 1987

After a year working in Mexico City, I travelled (somewhat aimlessly) with a friend by horseback in the mountains of Michoacan (southwestern Mexico). I met lots of interesting people, including many indians, hippies, a draft dodger or two, and a dangerous, drunk, angry man with  a gun. The gun shot bullets.  I got a bullet hole in my shoe, but somehow survived this incident mostly unscathed. Eventually, I return to Minnesota. I rent a room in a crappy house in Southeast Minneapolis and take extension classes at the University of Minnesota, with the intention of returning to school.
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1987 – it was written in the future.]
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Caveat: 1986

In January, right after the Superbowl, I flew on a one-way ticket from Chicago to Mexico City (and why do I remember the Superbowl as the salient fact? – because it was the Chicago Bears in the Superbowl, and the city was crazy with it). I took an intensive course in Spanish at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico and ended up with typhoid. During my convalescence, I ended up with a job at Casa de los Amigos, a Quaker meetinghouse and rather leftist hostel in Mexico City. I worked as a volunteer English teacher, too, teaching English to Central American refugees. I made lots of friends. I got to travel to El Salvador for a few weeks in the fall, and get to see a civil war up close and personal.
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1986 – it was written in the future.]
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Caveat: Puerto La Libertad, El Salvador

Picture taken at the pier in La Libertad.

Jared1986

[The "retroblogging" project:  this is a "back-post" written and added 2014-05-14.  I've decided to "fill-in" my blog all the way back.  It's a big project.  But there's no time limit, right? This is a rare picture of me – I scanned the degraded photo in 2007 and finally go around to posting it.]

Caveat: 1985

I decided to study art history in Paris for the January term. That was fun. By May, however, alcohol and drug issues caused me to drop out of college. I lived in my car, first passing through Duluth and Ottawa, and then up and down the East Coast (mostly Boston, New York City, with a week in New Orleans). By the Fall, I was living a few blocks from Barack Obama (not that I, like, know him or anything – I just figured this out in retrospect) on Chicago’s South Side, and working in a hardware store. My unabiding love for instant ramen was formed during this period.
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1985 – it was written in the future.]
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Caveat: Chartres &c.

14 janvier 1985 lundi

The weekend was busy. Saturday, recall: the soft chilly gloom of Chartres, an amazing cathedral, so dedicate to god, as were the generations of men who created it. Each window, her own story, framing the illiterate world wherein the medievals lived placidly, sheep of god. The cathedral seemed the sort of thing that I though only appeared in myth, or in the daydreams of young children (like I once was) who went to be architects someday (as I once did). But I watched too the midwesternesque french countryside roll by outside the frosted bus windows, and watched the little farms and towns swing past, and the vast wires which swooped by only to be caught up just before they fell, under their heavy electric loads, by another prententious tower of gaudy, post-industrial steel. So much for Poetry. I spent that night – the whole night – at La Piscine – a strictly across-the-channel sort of scene (i.e. Londoneque). But I stayed six hours till 5:30 am. Not drinking, not dancing, but just watching several hundred disaffected french, british, american, german, etc. youth party all one Saturday night. It left me content but exhausted. You can feel all the shields of a thousand static individual clash, and smell the hot, empty ozone of their lonely intermingling. Some were happier than others.

Yesterday, having slept 3 hours after taking the 1st metro homee (yes, I got that wonderful, almost ecstatic sense!), I staggled off to the Louvre, looking for something meditative. I hit the whole thing, spending 7 hours there, and despite my exhaustion, I felt somehow compelled to see it all, and meditate a little on each thing I saw. I spent a lot of time especially with the early rennaissance schools of painting in Italy. I could spend hours watching the renditions of so many vivid imaginations.

Well, I did miss the Ancient Near-Eastern part, basically. But I meditated too a great deal on the displays of tapistries and works of Coptic Egypt. I recalled several books I'd read last spring on gnosticism, and how one of the centers of that alternate, powerful christian spirituality was coptic Egypt. I tried to squint my eyes and visualize the vibrant, christian faith in its hydra-headed, flowering, youth among the dead stone and starched styles – but all I felt were the overwhelming waves of heat, that desert, where those same artifacts waited 1200+ years after Islam had ousted the coptic vibrancy. Etc.

So I spent today pretty much recuperating.

1985_ParisFranceViewFromND01

[The "retroblogging" project:  this is a "back-post" transcribed from a paper journal on 2013-04-26.  I've decided to "fill-in" my blog all the way back.  It's a big project.  But there's no time limit, right?

I will concede: frankly, this is very pretentious, embarrassing, unpleasant writing to look back on – especially considering it was my own journal? In 1985, who was I thinking was going to read it – some futuristic world-wide computer network?

The picture is from a scan of one of the rather extensive set of photos that I took in 1983-1985. It shows a view looking toward Sacre Coeur from one of the bell towers on Notre Dame.]

Caveat: Paris &c

7 janvier 1985; Monday
I arrived in Paris Saturday the 5th at Charles de Gaulle Airport, and took the bus into Paris with the group. I was impressed by the “Americanness” of so much of what I saw, yet at the same time permuted in its own peculiar french way. When one anticipates traveling in Europe, I imagine that it is easy to forget that for all the history, most of Western Europe is very modern, XXth century. Freeways slip past XVIIth, XVIIIth, XIXth century houses without pause, and the littel cars with yellow headlights climb over cobblestones laid many years ago.
After establishing myself at the hotel <- St Sulpice, I went out with some people to try the Metro, &c. We went to l’Arc de Triomphe & the Champs-Elysees and looked around a lot. I wasn’t too impressed – the Champs-Elysees was so “touristy” and the Arc just sort of brooded over it all, monument to another unnecessary, painful human folly. The flame burned insomnolently, but its focus seemed other than the present moment.
Yesterday, I went to see this Magritte exhibition across from Beaubourg, for I have always liked Magritte and surrealism in general. It was no disappointment, & after dwelling several hours peering at Magritte’s dark, dusky symbols, I checked out the Centre G. Pompidou, and moved on to see the Musee Rodin across town. Rodin is gorgeous, I love his statues – I expect to return here better prepared for what I will see. I was plunged into an extremely pensive mood by all this art, and unfortunately became depressed – the snow fell, and it was cold, & I could not sleep last night (perhaps that’s jetlag too). Somehow al that art got me thinking of the John Barth book I read over vacation amongst the redwoods of the isolated California coast – my home. The book was called Chimera, and all the mythological references made there were evoked by the Rodin statuary. Coming out of Rodin, I went past “Invalides” & l’Eglise de la Dome. Anyway, I finally returned to the hotel.
[The “retroblogging” project:  this is a “back-post” transcribed from a paper journal on 2013-04-28.  I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back.  It’s a big project.  But there’s no time limit, right?
I will concede: frankly, this is very pretentious, embarrassing, unpleasant writing to look back on – especially considering it was my own journal? In 1985, who was I thinking was going to read it -some futuristic world-wide computer network?]

Caveat: 1984

I changed my declared major from math to religious studies. It wasn’t that I was feeling some sense of religiosity, but rather because I was looking for answers. Also, a certain math professor left my self-confidence in ruins. I worked for the Mondale Campaign that summer. I remember commuting to work on the #16 bus along University Avenue in St. Paul. I wrote more poetry this year, probably, than all the other years of my life combined.
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1984 – it was written in the future.]
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Caveat: Arcata Christmas

During my second year in college I went to study in Paris for the "January term." Before going to Paris, I went home to Arcata from St Paul. This picture is in the dining room at the Arcata house, with some friends (coworkers? co-grad-students?) of my mother, by the names of Diana (who I don't remember at all) and Colleen (whom I remember but not very well). They and I and my uncle Arthur are playing some game… Trivial Pursuit? I look so skinny.

1984_ArcataCAXmasDianaArtJaredColleen

[The "retroblogging" project:  this is a "back-post" written and added 2012-12-25.  I've decided to "fill-in" my blog all the way back.  It's a big project.  But there's no time limit, right?]

Caveat: A Rotated Rose

P1050999 Un-Rhymed Sonnet.
A rotated rose is nothing more than
Some reconsidered kiss, intractable;
Love creeps like cats, like lawn-mowers across
The green summery suburbs of my heartbeat,
Who tug mercifully passive, all alone
To evoke the blood of reptiles beneath
The scattered rocks of over-civilized spirit
To drain into the corners of my room.
Lovelost.  Your face as if beyond recall,
Memoriam:  As if black / cupric seas
Did separate two serpent-blue-green isles.
Lovelost.  Lost love which clings to my conscience
While I wait like zoo-monkeys in a cage
A hop and step distant from my desire.
And Rhymed Sonnet.
What’s lost?  I may die tomorrow-matins
While metamorphic metaphors fly blind
Through the lonesome corridors of my mind
To leap ‘gainst these fearsome, scaley satins
Which clothe a cowering lust.  Somehow your smile
Can drag old bears from under winter oaks
To shed carelessly their black hair cloaks
On the floor:  rests a love note all the while
Discarded by love-green-romantic fool;
With the ruby guts of a lizard-king
Spattared on my innards by silver knife,
Parabolic precursor to blood-pool,
Inward-facing stone, little pebble-thing.
The fool must be fool;  I must try at life.
And prose-poem.
Dream:  A rose is your cliché – an expression of horizontal love that’s no love at all but just like some simple multicolored leaf – pretty but irrelevant to the soul which is more like some dead leaf.  A rotated rose is the essence of cut summer grass – moribund like the subjunctive, lovelost.  Trees throw leaves down in angry disgust, “you’re too beautiful, and look:  winter comes!”  I want you more than any silly rose because, somewhat as the cupric seas of mythic green, you trace magic on the retina;  a residue fluttering downward from your eyes like rusting spring leaves – caught in a late winter drizzling.  I guess it’s more your face, traceries of sea-foam on the somber, pensive rocks, which danse irreverent of the genius of mother earth.  Which, of course, evokes further souls, more, more, than silly, shy, mine.  Supose it’s best you ignore this, as an angel properly should, but remember to dream at night about the saintless ocean, glycerine panic, and that muddy path along leaf-strewn, yellow-pink, cavernous cliffs – your name has become my most sacred prayer, and I don’t even know you.   Calm the injunction now, the heartfelt fool, under post-priori cobalt skies, romancing a ghost within his own imagined kingdom.  But you’re real, aren’t you?  Paragraph.  Nevermind.  Neanmois.  Maybe it’s just that you’re Parisian in spirit:  kind-of-inconclusive.  But even dark satan brightens when you blink.  Your smile brings only bleeding, ecstatic lesions of joy; romantics turn away and laugh, but only at myself.  So what’s funnier, this poem or this man-boy?  A nasty wasp of something cupid hath stung me.  Unsting me or not;  ice cream at the beach in July and now the leaves fly, now thinking thoughts about you – because now I’ve seen more in the wine-blue waves than just cold Aphrodite.
And.
If in some further time removed, fate could act as sea waves to wash, for one brief mote of singular time, your lips nigh mine, I would fall within that mote as someone from a bridge towards…
[The “retroblogging” project:  this is a “back-post” transcribed from paper on 2010-11-28.  I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back.  It’s a big project.  But there’s no time limit, right?  The above entry is clearly, obviously, about unrequited love.  Her name was Rosalie. UPDATE 2021-04-25: re-posted as a daily poem #1729.]

Caveat: Hawaii Where I Wasn’t

This picture was sent to me by my family. It's only here as a kind of memorial – I was not communicating well with them at this stage in my life.

1984 

[The "retroblogging" project:  this is a "back-post" transcribed from paper on 2010-11-28.  I've decided to "fill-in" my blog all the way back.  It's a big project.  But there's no time limit, right?]

Caveat: On Forgetting Having Seen the Cornice of a House

On Forgetting Having Seen the Cornice of a House

The group of people I find myself with
That night as per the howling fugitives
Dana, Kray, yourself, others — perhaps dan,
In vaguely snow-strewn streets dwelling
The Darkness somewhow uninterested in the commitment
Which is inevitably involved in introspection
We did walk and laugh as per the
adjourned party of this dream, perhaps
hoping, or at least hopeful.

Inevitable, perhaps again, that Kray & Dan
should take the stage, a wall along
the sidewalk bearing the hasty, sublime
imprint of white which has
its origins in this Minnesota winter.

That stage I forget. But, when if moved
to a framed window at the brown
forgotten cornice of a house, A framed action
which jumped through the window tho’ the
picture was indeed still — The actress
my young mother, whom I’ve never known,
Tilted in misery, — Who appeared (after
Kray’s antics as the carefree dog on an
elevator — which that boxed cornice became
through some trick of photography which I once
knew in some philosophic context, but which
given the retrospect of those pews I now forget.
More on the pews later. Kray swallowed
the spittle in his throat and danced,
blinking wildly in the droplets which excaped
his mouth to dance the blowing gusts of
The open window on this cornice accelerating
so rapidly downward.) in that aquamarine
flourescence of the bottom of the ocean seen
in a black and white film which must
be seething with imagination or at least the
unwarranted indication of things
outside the realm of a black and white reality.

It was fine green workshop lighting,
as If Jacques Cousteau had wandered in
to film this depth, the nascent,
Yes, oedipally so, nascent sun filtering
downward with those discouraged probability functions
which Max Planck may or may not have understood,
but which the fish understand without
asking — perhaps that is their key. A fine gold
key it must be they possess, an ancient one
as they swim within the metaphor which
My motionless child-mother evokes as she bends
foetally upon herself, framed like the light,
within the cornice of that house
above the wall upon the street, wreathed with
the heavy winter taste of night.

The funeral, the man who entered talking loudly
as if he himself were the dead, the discussion
of his purpose on the gravel outside the whiteness
Of those pews, with mooning.

The arrival at your house, the… the decoration,
the food. Your athletics. Your “father.”
the ensuing days. The shoes,
The car trip. The black place, the nukes, & John.
The terminal, taxes. writing. sleep.

[The “retroblogging” project:  this is a “back-post” added 2014-06-19, but originally written at the date posted. I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back.  It’s a big project.  But there’s no time limit, right?

The above is from an undated journal entry, but the journal itself is from the years 1983~1984 (based on the inclusion of math-class notes that I can confidently date from that period) so I have guessed that the above was written during the fall or winter of that year and estimated a date here based on the reference to snow, which means it has to have been after the first snowfall of late fall, 1983 since before then I had never lived where snow fell. It is a record of a dream, clearly, but also there are many indications (unusual line-breaks, capitalization and punctuation, and clearly intentional mis-spellings) that it was meant to be the germ of some kind of poem such as I preferred to attempt to write in those years.

UPDATE: I have added this poem to my daily poem series as Poem #1806, posted 2021-07-11]

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Caveat: 1983

I walked a lot in high school – mostly in the fog. I graduated from Arcata High School in Arcata California. My summer internship at a civil engineering office turned me off of the idea of pursuing engineering, careerwise. I started college at Macalester College in St Paul, Minnesota. The main reason for my choice of Macalester was that it was very far away from home. I met my best friend Bob on day one, and he is still my best friend almost thirty years later.
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1983 – it was written in the future.]
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Caveat: Lufenholtz Beach

Last year, I got a pretty nice camera from my uncle (used). It was a Pentax.

I took it out while home in Humboldt for Christmas Break this year, and took some photos of the world. One place that's important in my own psychological evolution: Lufenholtz Beach, in Trinidad, California.

1983_TrinidadCALufenholtzBeach

[The "retroblogging" project:  this is a "back-post" transcribed from memory on 2012-02-17.  I've decided to "fill-in" my blog all the way back.  It's a big project.  But there's no time limit, right?

The above picture is from a scan of one of the rather extensive set of photos (mostly of nature) that I took in 1983-1985.]

Caveat: Memoirs of the Architect

-> . . . )  Memoirs of the Architect ? {Post title}
When the calico cat on the couch fades
in the slanted rays of the wintersun
And when the streets outside the window
reach not for home but for their origins
Gentle, gentle, do my tears come.
Without the calculus of my memory to guide
those tears
Without the nurture of my once heroic
imaginings
Quiet, quiet, the pain slips heavily.
Toward anger                .    Time
the                            .        out
Knife                .            of
slips                            time
home.                    lost,
Cannot,
for whatever reason,
That these viscous drops of blood are mine.
And so bloodied a knife in my trembling
hand
Call me to mind,
A japanese garden I once
saw in a photograph which I perceived
with an ambition to become an architect.
A designer of my struggling end.
Little pebbles, little pebbles
meaning
.    for
.            nought
Quiet    .
11/17/83 JARED
There’s no eagerness here.
Nor will it ever come to pass
But in the thick, timid soul
of the non-architect.
There.
It is irremediable.  ( . . . ->
[The “retroblogging” project:  this is a “back-post” transcribed from paper on 2010-11-28.  I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back.  It’s a big project.  But there’s no time limit, right?  The above entry was surprising to find.
It appears to mark the very specific moment when I gave up my childhood dream to become an architect.  I’m not sure it explains why, though. UPDATE: This poem was published to my daily poems series as Poem #1692.]
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Caveat: While the Men Converse

MenconverseA_260 MenconverseB_260


[The “retroblogging” project:  this is a “back-post” added 2014-06-19  I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back.  It’s a big project.  But there’s no time limit, right?


These pictures, above, are undated but they appear in a journal from the years 1983~1984, near other pages which bear dates from mid-August of 1983. Those entries are also in the same pen, so I have assumed these undated pictures date from that time and have thus posted them here on this date. UPDATE 2022-04-14: I have added this as one of my daily poems, #2082.]

Caveat: 1982

I took a road trip, alone, over Easter break to visit my uncle, who at that time was in Port Angeles, Washington. I was surprised my mother let me do this.  I didn’t take enough money for gas, so I panhandled in Coos Bay and got enough quarters to put enough gas in the car to get home. That summer, I went to Harvard University, where I studied astrophysics and creative writing and went to a Dead Kennedys concert. I felt I had been transformed from a nerd to some kind of  beat poet, by reading William S. Burroughs and Ginsberg and Kerouac. I doubt I pulled off this transformation very effectively, but I started wearing Army surplus jackets and smoking (secretly).
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1982 – it was written in the future.]
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Caveat: Within

Within
Where Iron Factories spouted grey,
There I dwelt by Mahhalian shores.
So Doctor Hubert came with a Word,
For plastic Angels of the new Hell
City; for mind-slaves of Its hurt.
There I became blest--his Apostle.
Wind beat a slime to a sandy shore
There I began to hear of his word.
And from a dead-empty, bloody Hell
All the eyes glossy-dull by a hurt
The Rats fled; became his Apostles
So he promised to remove the grey.
Said he: No one can refute my Word
There I said: Amen! Ruin this Hell
Dr. Hubert!  Destroy my deep hurt!
He smiled: follow me, my Apostles.
Showing us how to survive the grey
Leading us to a candy-green shore.
Dancing, we were far from any Hell
Hoping, we failed to feel any hurt
Loving, thus were we his Apostles.
Plastic melted; we denied the grey
Eyes flickering/reflecting a shore
Free, happily alive with his Word.
Under a rock, the centipede hurts,
And he crawls, to sting an Apostle
Leaping, then he dies cadaver-grey
He's left to rot on a slimy store.
I run; I search for His holy Word,
The rats return whispering of Hell
For Hope, thus I became an Apostle
Then the rat-emperor came in grey,
And drove us to a cadavered shore,
Erected a cross for harmless Words
Removed the candy, revealed a Hell
No! Not Dr. Hubert.  Not the Hurt!
He brought Apostles to the shores,
He destroyed hurt with his Words--
But Hell revealed the Grey within.

[The “retroblogging” project:  this is a “back-post” transcribed from paper on 2020-01-04.  I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back.  It’s a big project.  But there’s no time limit, right?  The above entry was written on a rainy fall afternoon as I started my senior year in high school. You will note that the monospaced font is critical to this poem, since a uniform line-length, in characters, was one of the constraints I’d set for myself, above and beyond the demands of the traditional sestina. I also posted this poem as my daily poem for the day of transcription.]
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Caveat: I have feared too many things

I have feared too many things.
I cannot ask why.  I am not allowed.

When I look back on it all, I somehow cannot organize it all into a single block of "experience" or happening.  Instead it stretches with valleys and hillocks of memory shifting like the sea.  The arrival all but fades behind the departure, until I put my mind upon't, but then the departure sinks beyond any grasping of hands, which seek to mold the memory into a contiguous whole, seeable, explicable, graspable.

I remember wondering at my going, what it would be like.  I remember then again wondering what had happened, when it was over.  I asked myself if I had not, perhaps, been dreaming only.  I sat in a classroom a short walk still from my room, a continent away.  I doze as I study in a library much like I dozed and studied yesterday; or were yesterday and that day the same?

Memories are like that, you know.  They danse before, or behind you, daring you to organize them, and set them down on paper.  Only men of great skill can do that.  Most only end up writing somebody else's memories, forgetting their own.

I studied for an exam for 3 days straight, without much else to do.  I studied in a way I'd never studied before:  just staring at a page, wondering if I knew it all.  That is much harder than getting to know it.  I remember, I played mental games with my roommates, pretending to be insane, when I actually was, and knew it, too.

Then, most of the time, I pretended to be me, which is very hard, because it is so difficult to do.  I spent a lot of time studying my reflection on others, and modelling myself on that.  Ambiguous, eh?

Gently, know.  I tipped the capdriver as he left me standing culturally naked in Harvard Square.  "Which way is Harvard Yard"

"You haven't paid, Jared."  Yes you have, they just screwed up.  You're in the wrong line, kid.  Now, go back to your dorm, don't worry about it.

Ah, my dorm.  I took the top bunk.  That's where I slept all summer.  I remember it, just through that door… in a room built before California was "discovered."

I sat down one night to write a short story for my creative writing class, and began to spew carrots across my paper.  I woke up, frightened.  What a lousy dream.

So I wrote it down, and went to astrophysics.  Yes, you're supposed to have had a high school physics course.  Oops….  I bought some books and tutored myself, but I did not mind, because physics is fun.

My roommate told me he would convert me.  I think I converted him, but I learned more.  Nothing is certain if its foundations are shaken, is it?  A lot of foundations shook last summer, I can still feel the cracks in my soul.  Maybe things started shaking before I left, but I did not notice till I got there, so there is where counts.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun….

-=-

I said goodbye and went into the airport – was that leaving or coming?  My bunkmate, Héctor, said, "Okay."  That's the last I heard.  It was surely the longest sentence he'd used when talking to me.

No, but Boston is truly crazy, if you've been there, especially after having never been there before.  I ran the whole length of Commonwealth Avenue once, late for something.  Steve was along, surely a devil's advocate.  Always the devil's advocate.

He's the one who took me to a punk concert – me, I'd never even been to a classical concert before.  I was amazed, yes:  the various different kinds of people in the world.

Harvard Summer School, I rolled it in my mind.  I have memories of it, from before I went, because I daydreamed.  These memories should be the best, except they lack dimension.  Those kind always do, though.  I wrote a lot of poetry, even without a class.  Not a whole lot, really.  Just, well, enough.  And my short story.  You can read it.  [No – I've lost every copy I had of it.]

I thought it was so great, at first.  I was proud.  I had born my own creation.  Now I have my doubts.  It is with much hesitation that I submit it here, with these memories.  Keep in mind that the story is a symbolic autobiography of me.  It deals with my interpretating some almost universal fears and emotions.

Anyway.  One experience I had that might require some explanation.  I discovered a fourth dimension.  Well, just speculation….  I was sitting at my desk one day, procrastinating (tell me, you never procrastinate?) and staring at my assignment sheet for writing in the face.  But my mind was on astrophysics, and math, and such things as are prone to occupy my mind.  (All too curious.)  It occurred to me this following:

If there is a fourth dimension, then it can be said to be in a direction perpendicular to all others.  (Just as when you lift a plane to create a third, you are moving in a direction [perpendicular] to all others previously taken into account.)  Well, if an object then chooses to move away into the distance of the fourth dimension, from my point of view, while staying stationary on the other axes, then it will, in essence, appear to recede while in place.  How now?  It seems, thus, to shrink!  From this, the fourth dimension is none other than scale.

This discovery has occupied mind for untold hours, to no avail.  I do hope someday I shall clear it up.

I kept a journal last summer.  It was filled with anger, and discovery, and frustration and joy at the end.  But without the memories, it is empty.

I read it out loud to my roommates.  I think they liked it.  They must have liked to see me strip off my costume, reveal the suffering, erratic soul beneath.  But by the end my journal was often for them too read, and so it lost its naked truth, and became a sort of underwear, or better yet, a bullet-proof vest to wear under a shirt.

(Of course, I fell in love, several times.  But oh so shallow, beside my longing for a girl at home.)

So what did you do last summer?  "Oh, I don't know.  I went to Harvard, goofed around."  What did you study?  "Creative writing, astrophysics – oh, no -  I studied myself."  Did you learn anything?  "Sure, I learned a lot.  But that is nothing in an infinite universe.  There is much more out there."

P1050972

[The "retroblogging" project:  this is a "back-post" transcribed from paper on 2010-11-28.  I've decided to "fill-in" my blog all the way back.  It's a big project.  But there's no time limit, right?  The above entry was written shortly after I returned from my experience at Harvard, between junior and senior years in high school.]

Caveat: Il pleut

Il pleut

O where are all the other raindrops?
I'm falling all alone.
The city races onward,
The sky is thick with clouds,
Can't you see it's raining here,
But something here is wrong.
Einstein and Planck are dead now,
The frogs and squirrels don't know,
The raindrops keep on falling,
The universe goes on.
My window's partly open,
I hear the sounds without,
The sound of falling raindrops,
But everything is gone.

O quand il pleut ou allons les rats?
I haven't seen a one.
The telephones are ringing,
The voices, they're not there,
The squeaking of small rodents,
A-dancing to their song.
Newtonian mechanics,
Relativity now,
The rats sleeping in their places,
Their tails, they are too long.
And everything is quiet,
The sky is changing blue,
And the rats have stopped their dancing,
But everything is gone.

O what's the meaning of these flowers?
They've cropped up everywhere.
In the sun, grass grows quickly,
A sidewalk stone gives in,
Flowers of different colors,
And colors make a song.
The light, it seems uplifting,
But: E=mc2,
Drowning by our planet's mass,
Some fleeting fast photon.
Once more the clouds come back here,
The sun is covered up,
Flowers weep small raindrop tears,
And everything is gone.

[The "retroblogging"
project:  this is a "back-post" transcribed from paper on 2013-02-18. 
I've decided to "fill-in" my blog all the way back.  It's a big
project.  But there's no time limit, right?  The above poem (quite atrocious, methinks) was written in a
journal I was keeping while at Harvard Summer School in 1982, between my junior and senior years in high school.]

Caveat: Cage of lions and I we are two things

Cage of lions and I we are two things

Secure within immutability
safe inside my sphere
I pound my head against
its walls
begging to be free.
Then a man with silver key
cracks my prison
sets me free.
I grab some glue,
I gasp for breath
I beg the man to take his
key, and go away.
Patching sphere
repairing cracks
I turn around and
pound my head against
its other walls.

I know the answer
I have asked the questions
but no one tells me how

Dog and bug are in a room.
A green plant.

[The “retroblogging” project:  this is a “back-post” transcribed from paper on 2010-11-28.  I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back.  It’s a big project.  But there’s no time limit, right? The above entry was written during an angsty end to a bitter junior year in high school.
UPDATE: this poem was reblogged as daily poem #2074, 2022-04-06]

Caveat: 1981

I just kept going to high school. I was a very depressed teenager. I refused to talk to my father, but I would go visit him because he had cable TV, which my mom refused to get. I spent the summer with my uncle who was in Skagit County, Washington. I developed anorexia (self-diagnosed, but seriously – no food for 2 or 3 weeks straight?). I began writing poetry.
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1981 – it was written in the future.]
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Caveat: Frogs and horses, why are they?

Frogs and horses, why are they?
Time is inescapable.
A burden.  We cannot ever
escape.  A child knows not time
but they make him learn.
They throw it on his back,
and he never notices
until one day,
then it is too late,
and they are happy.
[The “retroblogging” project:  this is a “back-post” transcribed from paper on 2010-11-28.  I’ve decided to “fill-in” my blog all the way back.  It’s a big project.  But there’s no time limit, right? The above entry was undated, but I’m guessing sometime around the end of 1981, based on which journal it was in and what was nearby – I didn’t always fill in my paper journals linearly. UPDATE 2: this poem was reblogged as daily poem #1367, 2020-04-28]

Caveat: 1980

I just kept going to high school. I walked a lot in the fog. I played dungeons and dragons a lot with my friends, Wade and Richard. I spent the summer with my uncle, who was in Boise County, Idaho, at this time. I contemplated becoming a Mormon, just to annoy the hell out of my parents, and because the church was conveniently located across the street, and I envied the sense of community the Mormons at school projected. I also remember telling my mom that if I could vote, I would vote for Reagan, though I suspect this didn’t annoy her as much as I hoped.
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1980 – it was written in the future.]
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Caveat: 1979

That Spring I travelled to Europe with my father, stepmother, sister and stepsister. I liked Europe – I tried to speak French and pretended I was alone and not with those American tourists. I graduated from the 8th grade with the feeling I was destined to always be alone. My mother separated from her second husband and we moved back into the house in town on A Street at 11th Street in Arcata. I hated high school before it even started. I felt fear every day.
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1979 – it was written in the future.]
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Caveat: 1978

This was the year at the ‘ranch’ – my stepfather’s farm on the Arcata bottoms up against the Lamphere Dunes near the beach. I disliked my stepfather and my mother was clearly distressed by this marriage of hers, but I chose not to give a damn. I had a little hut that was a sort of detached bedroom. I listened to Cat Stevens and drew pictures and watched the rain. I took very long walks along the one lane roads of the bottomlands. I decided that I liked math, and over the course of the year – the end of 7th grade and beginning of 8th grade – I went from being rather remedial at math to being very good at it.
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1978 – it was written in the future.]
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Caveat: 1977

This year was the ‘exile from Eden.’ I ended 6th grade at Centering School, and began a VERY traumatic transition to 7th grade at public middle school. I have always believed this was the single most traumatic experience of my entire childhood – more than my parents’ divorce. My mother chose this year to remarry, too. I was very angry and resentful about this. 7th grade sucked.
[This entry is part of a timeline I am making using this blog. I am writing a single entry for each year of my life, which when viewed together in order will provide a sort of timeline. This entry wasn’t written in 1977 – it was written in the future.]
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