John Olson Five Prose Poems, And Some Canned Tomatoes

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John Ruskin Doing A Swan Dive

Needs simplify life. For instance, today I need a farm. I’m in a mood to grow beans. Or rhubarb.
              I’m no greenhorn. I once petted a cat. And rode a dragon through the streets of Hollywood.
              Shouting: “I have the belly of a Montana rancher!””
              Which is true. It protrudes. Because that is the way of western bellies.
              I once saw a woman crushing cans with her breast on YouTube. Her breast was huge. Both breasts were huge. She used her right breast. Lifted it to her chin, aimed at the can, and shoved it down as hard as she could. And crushed the can. That must have hurt. That can’t be good for a breast.
              They say the mammary glands evolved to keep the eggs of early mammals warm. It is hard to say, because breasts do not fossilize well.
              I feel quite certain they did not evolve to crush cans. Or mobilize nipples into soft pink warfare.
              But what is emotion?
              The sounds of the prairie kissing our ears.
              The willow of the cemetery, whispering and leaning in a soft southerly breeze.
              A high cliff overlooking the sprawl of the Pacific ocean.
              Two boats and a flock of seagulls.
              Eternity muttering omens in the sand.
              Babelthuap. Karakelong. Zamboanga.
              John Ruskin doing a swan dive.

Coming To Terms

How do words refer to sensations? I love squirrels. But what is actually communicated? Certainly the image of a few crazy squirrels. But what of my feeling? The word ‘love’ can be taken into so many different directions.
              North, south, east, west.
              Northwest, southwest, southeast, northeast. Windbells, theorbo, mandolin, lute.
              Two-headed lute. Archlute. Baroque lute. Harmonica.
Overhead, a dirigible dribbling rubies smears my feeling all over the paper. It is now fully broadcast.
              I feel like a clarinet.
              I revolt against the pornography of empire.
              I succumb to the comforts of a large red armchair.
              What happens if you rub a pronoun?
              I hold in my hand a worm of unpredictable syntax. It wriggles and curls. It is lyrical with struggle. I see a pronoun in its construction. It is a jewel of meaning gargling a wildcat. My ink is alive. Religion is everywhere. There is a feeling of granite and fog. A Bigger Bang, by The Rolling Stones.
              We are all trying to find freedom. All trying to inhabit a rock of imperturbable beatitude.
              It feels good to be in the public domain.
              Feelings of transcendence stir in my blood.
              I love squirrels.
              I really do.


Sometimes I encounter an object that I do not know how to describe. For instance, just now, I bumped into an enormous handshake. Two clouds greeting one another in a hail of thunder and lightning.
              How do you describe a cow drowning in a pool of ink?
              How do you describe a cow drowning in a word? In the word ‘cow’?
              Syllables are the candy of thought. The rattling of tools in a toolbox. Two women fussing with a TV camera. The taste of the sound of trigonometry.
              Not all experiences are explicable in words.
              The world is a ball of rocks and water, but crossing the Cowlitz River in a Subaru on the way to Portland, Oregon, describes the world differently. The world, at that particular moment, that particular juncture in the space-time continuum, was a sensation too large and cumbersome for a forge of vowels and consonants, the alloys of expression, the bellows of the lungs, the shaping of the tongue, the motion of the lips, the colors of the palate.
              Any abstraction delayed for a period of time on paper, or in the pixels of a blog or website, will eventually harden into an idea. A hotel lobby inundated by bicyclists, or the wobble of a white wrought iron gate upon which a Steller’s jay has just landed with a view toward scooping up a peanut.
              Goldfish circling a bowl of water. Branches of coral and a mermaid.
              Humanity invents gods, or a God, to explain the enigma of existence. Fruit, gamma-globulin, loose change.
              The book is a machine of ghosts. Pick up any book, shake it, bake it, eat it, read it, and you will find hallucinations scattered everywhere. A group of people sorting through the debris left behind by a tornado.
              The human mind is a very messy place.
              The meat of configuration depends on the muscles of concentration.
              Here is my advice: stay in bed.
              Or go to Barcelona.
              Wear a funny hat. Chew a stick of licorice.
              Buy some goldfish.

My Favorite Emotion

My favorite emotion is feeling cosmically anonymous. Anonymity is sweet. Sweeter than fame. Though I have never been famous so I can’t really comment.
              My second favorite emotion is crystallizing into a mind. It hangs inside my head, twinkling like a chandelier.
              Is consciousness a product of emotion?
              I doubt it. Knowing how to solve a quantum equation involves some emotion, I am sure, but the actual mechanics do not require any feeling.
              Maybe a lawnmower, or chalk. Blackboard. Logarithms. Hyperbolic geometry, unicorns, and photons.
              When humanity gets excited or puzzled about a tornado or hurricane, or dying, or sexual reproduction, they invent a deity to explain it. This is called the Creation Myth.
              I believe we all crawled out of a garage swarming with words.
              Some of us took wing, and some of us found refuge in cartoons.
              Licking lyrical wounds.
              I believe the goal in life is to make as much money as possible, pile it up in a corner, and set fire to it.
              It is vital to develop a relationship with one’s body that is based on respect, masturbation, and candy.
              Falling in love is helpful. Falling in love expands your options. You can live among the Mongols and marry a beautiful Mongolian woman, and travel from yurt to yurt with a team of reindeer, or learn to play bass and join a rock ‘n roll group.
              Or invent something. Invent a sneer. A new kind of smirk. Taunt, gibe, wisecrack.
              Merge with the world. Become a cockatoo. Listen to the stars. They groan as they lift the night into the world. And hijack infinity with a fierce and ruthless silence.
              The goal in life is to rejoice in geese, eat watermelon, and avoid being a nuisance.

Peacocks Excite The Cream

Peacocks excite the cream and the squash is mentally heavy. The incursion became a beam of garbage and a dissonance ensued. It is the time when August grips your feelings and enzymes converse by quill. When sketches of exploration smell of daydreaming and old rotten wood.
              The alligator scrambles along the ground and weaves his way into the river.
              The hobnob balloon bends in to be a harmonica.
              An aviary of washcloths mimics the furniture of the mind.
              Paint touches the ensemble to energize its eating. Now such pain operates on a spectrum of baritone fish.
              It is longer to inch along a gardenia moaning of consciousness than to flare from a nightclub in a ball of exaltation. Wildcat that irritation broken by a mahogany shave. The tonic which is teeming with thought floats a bicycle made of urge. Pepper from incentive, not hills. Architectural willow, which scratches the vapor of dawn.
              Above, pharmaceutical planets converge on the aerodrome. An emotion somersaults through the air. It is sympathetic to bark but argues against the chill of the parking lot.
              Apollinaire ambushed the bruise because it was too parenthetical to carry into pulp. It resembled a blister between a finger and a conflagration of ink.
              Do objects have value if they have no utility?
              Intentions are all I have. Plays, reflections, and glue.
              A few paintings by Braque.
              Think like a geisha, act like a flame.
              The organic must breed from the inorganic to reach the ceiling of today’s bazaar. We heard it jingle in the potato. Then examined our faces for traces of blood.
              Stink in mutation as a mushroom does. There is a Byzantine cotton for such things, and virtuosity in thought, as if thinking were a form of paregoric, or invited the literature of silver to sparkle in the name of cafeterias everywhere.
              The insistence in candy is indentation.
              Water is shaped into mirrors in ceremonies of bald reflection.
              Moss will landscape life if oblivion nibbles the table.
              Everything is scarred by someone’s opinion. Except tin.
              Er is rijkdom in introspectie, ingeblikte tomaten in de kast.
              The incentive to swim brings me out but the itch is within.

This material is © John Olson
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