I am learning the lesson in the eye of the cook;
To the magnificent ratio of ingredients and
Timing for the bread to rise,
For the cement to dry.
The whole world is ratio and timing.
Everything here is a mixture
And a specified amount of time
To make the ingredients one and acceptable in the world.
A man is a ratio of body and mind.
A tool is a ratio of form and function.
Love is a ratio of kisses and walking-talking.
I am a ratio of my dream of me
And my inadequate attempts towards that dream.
An artwork is a ratio of the possibilities/limitations of the
And the artist's intention.
If our meaning in life is art
We may steal the endless passing of days
And place them on a pedestal as art.
Naturally, we all fall into television and masturbation.
We fall whimpering if we do not fight this lassitude
With an intent such as the pretense of character or of art.
My scheme is to love and to write. Ohh, to practice these
Wild events of the soul.
The panting of your dearest mourning dove and pressing pen.
It would be quite romantic to think that I would not be able to
If I could not write or if my lover left me.
But I would not die, I would need to die, but I would not.
I would continue in these dumb feet
Tumbling onwards towards a new design.
Why not say it? I feel blessed in writing, blessed in my lover.
I do not think that it will ever end. This is what a blessing
And why we search for it in sturdy columns and
In the ephemeral charm of leaf.
A blessing enchants our eyes with dreams of it forever.
I can picture endless days of writing and loving;
A theme park does not offer that.
I cross myself in front of a cedar,
Full of time and the grace that time brings.
"Spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch."
I fall into the universal cross of the body,
Skeleton key of my specific cross.
I watch my lover and undulate between patterns of love.
I am searching those patterns which I cannot decode,
But cannot deny.
I travel like an uncarved block of wood,
Waiting to be sketched into a vessel by
The design of my own draft.
I search for my true action in these patterns
Of gray buildings and green growth.
Now, I am the vessel of my own unformed searching.
I do it in love and writing.
I travel in successive forests,
In the old growth Douglas Firs and Cedars
And in the weedy alders and ferns taking over the land.
Exodus. . . Exegesis.
I migrate like birds in winter
Who flock in a pear tree for a conference
Over what they have created.
That is my attitude of movement.
I penetrate the space with my body,
Searching recursively through traces of growth -
Embarrassing ones that I wish I could denounce,
Thievery and the laziness, but also the movement
And enchantment of growth;
Tendrils of seasons saved in tattered notebooks.
The artist is the pack rat,
Denying the urge not to leave traces of his existence.
I send it all off in a letter to my lover,
Like crumbs leading me home.
I am being ushered to the tempting apple
In the same family as the womb of the rose.
The smell of roses followed St. Francis
As he bilocated well with ecstatic stigmata.
I grip the pulse of that choice.
I send a letter to that human voice.
A letter should be a whole world proposed;
A flower arrangement should be the acceptance of ephemeral life.
Arrange the roses,
Warm petals delicately
Spoke in my vessel,
As to say a nest of change;
A vow of envelopment.
Eating the apple
I knew I could choose timeless
In her hair or wind,
Annihilated by both.
Here I am reborn in spring.
I mail the letter and know the river god and his mission;
Mixing the majesty and tragedy of this world together.
Timing the performance well, I always wanted to write a play;
The design of houses moving, of voices conversing.
I am the open concept of art, not closed cold,
But nevertheless defined enough to be communicable.
If an apparatus for communication exists it must not be disregarded.
For if it is ignored, messages will be communicated through it
Which you are unable to understand or contribute to.
Every apparatus is limited. . . Poetry is limited. Novel is limited.
Movie is limited. Photograph is limited. Symphony is limited.
The choice of an apparatus for communication
Begins with its definition.
A definition is an articulation of boundaries and possibilities.
First, you must define your body. Then you must define your intent.
Then you must find an apparatus for communicating
And doing that which your mission implies.
I am a poet and a lover.
I use a pen and a talk and a kiss to do and communicate these.
In my midnight confession I'm gonna tell all the world that I
In my midnight confession I'm gonna make up a language about a
language about a language
So that I can write about writing about how and why I write about
what I write about.
I write about being an artist and a lover.
This is how I follow the course of the river and how we have viewed
After the agricultural revolution the river
Was seen as a goddess and giver of life.
After the industrial revolution the river
Was seen as a wild thing which needed to be tamed by man.
Its only worth was in its navigability for transmitting materials
After the information revolution I do not know how we will feel
for the river.
I watch the inexhaustible source of ocean’s ideas
Through the lens of exhaustible thought.
I do the wild discipline of freedom,
I name my design and attempt acting upon its current.
To float with no purpose
Is to be chained to nothing.
To work with aspiration everyday
Is your freedom in that thing.
So too in love, I live in relation to her,
Our existences are attached.
Yet, I fit freely within her voice.
This is the paradox of being engaged:
To be in the yoke and be divine in the sweat.
I attempt to be captivated within the whole world,
But I may only be enlisted with one thing
And speak one thing.
After I have mastered affairs with one thing
I may move to be engaged with another thing,
But I do not wish to overextend.
May I attempt a photograph now
Or a simple line drawing?
The whole world is a mixture of ingredients and timing
To make those minutiae one and acceptable in the world.
I am also a mixture of these engagements.
These rings and other simple symbols of infinity.
I keep the house in view. The mortar and the result of
Pens meeting in love, plowing through the fields;
Turning over the earth to find an arrowhead-
Tool of direction
Met well with time and my own myth of it.
Who knows if the direction sets?
My perspective is limited. I say my direction and mean it.
I am here to art and love. I expand into new directions.
A patchwork of explorers and scientists
Leading to the braids of her dreamt hair.
I follow a small cloud out there
Where art and life combine
And there becomes here.
My method is a slip of hand,
But I am attempting, like a rude investigator,
To find my bliss. I follow it with a thread,
Perhaps I make a quilt for a wedding night
Or perhaps I let the thread lead me on a long eve
Towards the pale action of creating the quilt.
I follow the act of creation into
A mixture of play and knowledge.
Now, through a turn of events
I search in coffee houses and bars for a perfect place to scrawl.
I do not escape the urge for it.
Earth has no escape from heaven.
I find no place to write. I find no urge for it.
I sit unmovable beneath the brooding poet's willow.
I am bored here. I hope to fight that boredom,
I hope to turn again. I mix new days out of old lessons.
There is no place to write or love.
I write and love.
2003 Francis Raven