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the roar of god

The day is deranged,
the sunlight rails against me
and the Victorian brood
balk with painted pleasantry
but the dregs descend
on the damp, trashed night
they curse and they howl
and like dogs, they fight.
The wind stirs waves
in the puddled brine
rain soaks the centuries
the color of wine
and an old man, ruined,
hears a jet and nods,
"Ah," he says, "the roar of God."


80s childhood



Found in Park Slope, Brooklyn.


back in no time

Stencil of William Burroughs, by Willis Bigelow


western addition



Interior ceiling of Castro Theatre.




I told no one of our secret kingdom
where fog pours over the teeming legion
I lean on the rail, inhaling the mist
of primeval verdure untouched by the grist,
and while I alone name the hybrid fauna
you lazily soak in a steaming sauna.
A quiet sploosh, "the soap, please, Jordan"
I plunge in my hand, grab your cord in the foam and
am slapped by a rag as you lean back and laugh,
so I slip off my clothes and crawl in your bath.


on the line


An essay refuting the subordination of art to social demands,
and an affirmation of the power of poetics.




my new steed


my generation



Iranian classical music (Sonati)

Iranian Radio
Radio Darvish



"birth from a steer"

"The process... for re-creating the hive of bees in case the original bees die. A two year-old steer is brought to a specially constructed hut that has windows facing in all four directions. The animal is then beaten to death and the remains left in place through the spring. Suddenly, in the rotting flesh a whole cluster of bees is born."
lore of old, from introduction to the Fagles translation of Virgil's Aeneid


real time.

I read excerps of Song of Elias to a classroom on Saturday, and spoke of the following:
: "The dream of the novel is the absolute defeat of Real Time."
: The physics of storytelling. Physics, not psychics.
: Writing as architecture, like the construction of a cathedral. Built from stone, it rages toward the heavens.


give thanks.



It is quiet here. Planting time is over, the plow has been put in the shed. I am working on a story tentatively titled "Song of Elias and the Ancient Philosophical Problem Solver." The ancient philosophical problem solver is an instrument with hundreds of keys that I found in a dream.


five year plan



Touched first by attentive tendrils,
that bore their holes to branch the loss.
I wed myself to your blessed eyes,
beneath which joy has carved its lines.
We kick up all the ancient dust,
foreswear the end of every hour.
A hand once held is not a hand,
but a pink and deathless flower.


head of state

In this blank form I think of you
as I roll my belabored Bali Shag.
Neat now, by a dextrous hand,
smoke curls in the shape of a W.
Is it smoke that makes a man?

All these accoutrements of cool,
and idle chat of how we style our hair,
moot vapors, but I clutch at them.
As a cat at a phantom bats its paw,
I swing at the specter of self.

All these qualms of authenticity,
doubt at truth of what is solid and real.
I met you in a labryinth of As-If settings,
the stage sets of North Beach,
husks of history.

Our Time is no less worth keeping.





The sky, dim and grey, said no,
and the quiet waves said no,
and the puddles in the sand said no,
and his eyes, turned away, said no,
and my shaking hands, they too said no,
and only I said yes, yes, yes.


holy host

nochnova sontsa

i went out for a night ride last night through downtown. Everything was glazed orange from the streetlights. I spread across the wide brick layed sidewalks on my bicycle. I paused at the top of a hill on my way home around 1:45. A black homeless woman came up to me, wrapped in a flannel coat that stretched to her ankles. She offered to sing me a song, either one she had written, gospels, the temptations, and countless others i didnt recognize. I chose those she had written herself and she swelled into it. When she sang her lips curved over her teeth. She looked like a mummy, skin tight on bones, features protruding, wrapped in the white coat, swaying back and forth to her own singing. She finished, asked my name, shook my hand. I told her it was beautiful. She hugged me, i hugged back. I gave her my last 7 dollars, she only had 15 cents in her pocket, she said. She told me her name but i didnt catch it. She walked off, i rode home. -WILLIS BIGELOW




I have been to Russia many times and never touched its earth, never seen the frigid limbs of white birch. But I have walked through the rural manor, now a Soviet sanatorium, now a museum no one visits, and there in Petersburg was young Nabokov holding his father's hand before a white-bearded man, "That was Tolstoy," he says to his son as they walk on, just as Thomas Wolfe walked by Whitman on the Brooklyn Bridge. I have stomped about in Raskalnikov's boots hearing their echo reverberate among the golden threadwork cast by the gas lamps between the rustling trees over the crooked heaving slabs of sidewalk on a stillborn night. I called the strike, dodged the hissing gas grenade, ran with my only son from the merging ranks. I stood spellbound before Trotsky's raging prophecy and heard Lenin's banging fist. Mandelstam's poem forms itself on my moving lips -- I walk in his exile, as he walked with Dante before him. I have mown rye with a sweep of my scythe, and haggled over a slab of bloody beef thrown against the stump. I bathe on the banks of the Volga and run barefoot back to babuchka, who rocks me to sleep telling of a grey wolf lost in the forest. In the candlelight, they were murmuring verses - it was Pushkin, it was Church Slavonic. An icon of St. Francis glowed golden on the wall lit beneath it by a small, steady flame -- but lo, St. Francis is squinting, he has put on a tie. In the bleak, neglected streets of unadorned doms I run to a friend to trade a leather jacket for two tickets to a concert hall, and trade them for pencils, and pencils for a sack of rye. My cap sags strangely over my left eye.

a dream

In the city, at night, going from parking lot to parking lot, to parked cars with their doors open, looking for refuge, a place to sleep, but each lot and each car was threatened and controlled by looters and thugs. Complete anarchy. I was sitting in one car, nervous and afraid, with a guy who showed me an egg-shaped globe that had golden, wet, flesh-like patches on it, which he was applying, and he was only a child, and I thought that these patches were somehow the source of all corruption... I finally found "home" and was on the second story of my building and was looking through the mute glass at the life outside. Paramedics and passerby suddenly started running, I heard women screaming, and shots rang out in the air. I ducked behind a column. Just society falling apart, I thought, and marveled at how I was already used to it.

I walk among bearded peasants, a passerby


non-aristotelian systems

How quickly all this came to pass,
but past is irrevocable.

Dense is day but night is thin,
the sheer back of a beetle.

pay to purchase

Blue eyes open I walked in circles
around the golden fourth floor window
and heard the aural tone of angels
slid my fingers along the gleaming rail;
in anguish deranged in poison stations
shied from screams of subway wraiths
aboard unbending blade of steel
transports the public, from pay to purchase;
am I alone? though I a fortress,
I an Adam, the namer, alone,
marking Time in fickle mazes,
inhaling myths of old Manhattan,
a fantasy, phantoms, dreams, no more!
I stand corrected, age will dismiss
that youthful ticcish kisslessness.