BY JAN HAAG

ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS

POETRY + ESSAYS + MUSIC + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO



33 ESSAYIC CONTEMPLATIONS OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT

for

THE 2001 POEMS





ESSAY I

#O1
05-18-01


 

What seemed imminent, important, imperative, yesterday
(written on my hand -- more reliable than my brain
these days) is a "civilization gone with the wind"
today.

Poof with urgency, necessity, time dissolves
in the spring blossoms weather it sunshines or rains.
Interest peeks twenty times a day, clouds over like
Rainier.

Zen it's called in youth. Focus.
Be here now. Today: just wait. It comes inescapably:
this moment, this rug before you, this utter emptiness
that is now.

I study archaeology, sympathize with the knee-high brick walls,
that, in an aerial photograph, I mistake for the "new writing system."
Grid like, I can almost decipher it, sole survivors of human speech,
human

error buried beneath the millennial sand, happened upon, dug,
as mute as me at Mama's dugs, mute as me soon, soon:
dust, no more, no thought, no pattern: molecules blown by the wind,
gardened by eternity.





ESSAY II


#02
05-18-01

As I grow older, I grow
less afraid of the didactic. O swift thought path,
winged creature, swifter than bird song, quicker than swat
for

the provoking gnat. Say it bald,
no tease, truth as I see it, shapely, grid-like.
Never mind the newly revealed shapes beneath the microscope.
Nano-technology.

Curving, meandering, who, my age, can
follow the rivers of thought, the blind, asymmetrical, random
-- but always the same -- patterns built into bone, tissue,
Ca, 40:08, 20,

the sphere? I wander the maze of human knowledge,
spider-weaving, dew-coagulating hostra leaves, grey-green, luminous drops vanishing with wind or rain
or sun. What do we remember from yesterday? Chinese bronzes older than
Shang?

Dig, dig into the earth, dig into -- view -- Zebrafishes'
pulsing nerves -- nervy impulses made visible. Dig, dig, dig, O man until,
like the Hindu, you find that nothing is thought, nothing is maya,
all is nothing.
Thou art that.





ESSAY III


#03
05-18-O1

Well, this is the Intro. I
don't want to mess with eternity's time scheme, nor
even today's spent hours. I didn't think: "The Introduction!"
until

two poems in -- what's the shame
in that? I looked up "essay" -- no such word
as "essayic" -- but what an interesting world [misspelling] word!
How

many of the words we learn
young reveal, intrigue, ensorcel if we look them up
in our dotage! I was moaning, groaning, mourning late
in my morning

bed that I've had no inspiration lately. But open
the spit-cock (spigot? spitch-cock? -- hmm, the closest word is a cut-up eel
-- "to treat severely"*) and out it pours so fast, even the computer
can't

grill it. Essay: "A testing... or experiment...; a trial
specimen...; an effort to perform or accomplish...; a tentative effort...; rough copy..."
"...put to the test...;" and, halfway down: "also, a literary composition...of
no great length."**





*p 1799, Century Dictionary, 1933
**p 516, ibid






ESSAY IV


#04
05-20-01

At times, I think it is
merely the obsessive reading of mysteries, ordering the world,
making straight lines out of the chaos, sense of
nonsense.

At times, I'm sure it's age,
memory's failure simplifying things, letting the complexity go, dissolving
into the backwash of time, tabula rasa of nascent
mind.

Could it be wisdom? Learning sans
memory is an awesome salt desert prospect. What occupies
the brain if memory is gone? It's a well-bucket
spilling into space,

cascades of liquid facts, facts of liquidity, the ocean
of Europa, between the ice and the rocks, sloshing clockwise, counterclockwise, pluming,
while with constancy Io, Ganymede and Mother Jupiter revolve. They hear sphere
music,

watch randomness sort itself to order in the silent
expanse, private interval, curved, round like Earth's ball, thinking there is
no other, no reason. What are we doing here? Walking Red Square
in the dusk.





ESSAY V


#05
05-25-01

What the kids don't know is
there will be time enough to make and break
a million habits -- all but the one (or possibly
two)

that will infest them throughout their
lives, grinding down wisdom, feasting on energy, sapping moral
fiber -- leaving it for pith -- letting chance in. Prancing
chance.

There's no choice of addiction. It
comes willy-nilly with being human, being had, being at
the mercy of. Trust me kid! Develop good habits
of mind and

body, lest the demon crawl in through a nostril,
lest hair folicles fall on fertile ground and independently raise a crop
of havoc. Beware! Do not become too smart too soon: aware of
fate,

karma, destiny, inevitability, perniciousness. To be is to be
in pain. Keep that in mind as the devil dances on your
dainty fingertips, taints the mind, using realgar for crimson. Poison is poison.
Dragonblood is dragonblood.





ESSAY VI


#06
05-26-01

Vikram loves the towered grain elevator.
It stands on the shore of the morning Sound.
It's loading and unloading bridge stalks across the water
one-hundred

feet high. Barefoot on the grass,
I walk, wondering: plucked, winnowed, shipped, sucked, stored, re-spewed,
re-shipped, packaged, cooked -- when it reaches a plate, how
nourishing

can it be? Odd thought: it
will grow again, provide nutrients, last practically forever in
a dry climate. Tucked into its genes, if not
destroyed by man,

are its instructions to grow again, bloom, head, drop
its progeny, feed the life forms unimagined today being invited splice by
splice into what humans enjoyed thinking of as "our world." Even without
human

interference, we promise to be but a transitory phase
in the earth's evolution, one bright earth flare on the sun's horizon,
then darkness, lightening striking, volcanoes spewing, earth quaking, its architectural tendencies molding
remolding the land.





ESSAY VII


#07
05-27-01

On my way to the library
I heard a cat fall from a sixth story
window, yesterday, on a quiet, Sunday, sunny tree-lined street.
Plop.

A dull frightening dead plop sound --
I looked around, across the street a cat curled
on the sidewalk -- no other reason for the sound.
Fear.

I crossed the street, the grey-white
cat, soft and shiny and cared for, betrayed, stayed
in the middle of the concrete sidewalk rigid, trembling.
I moved closer.

The cat limped behind the bushes edging the cement.
Crouching, she turned to face me, one crimson drop at her mouth,
a smudge of blood at her nose, her right leg twisted. From
overhead,

a young man asked me to stay. I murmured
to the cat until he arrived. His love, the cat's owner, came
crying. The startled, injured, mute cat flashed through my mind again and
again that night.





ESSAY VIII


#08
06-06-01

A vision last night before sleep:
Leaves and leaves and leaves, leaves curling like shadows,
awareness floating through, dream-like in chiaroscuro, golden-brown, parting darkness;
emerging,

but still into jungle, like roots
over stones/crumbled buildings. Where am I? Angkor? I
see jungle, no buildings. Still moving, I can't get
beyond.

I stand at an edge of
giant formations, twisted, obscured by my vision. Dim light
glows from the horizon. It might even be dawn
but, though faint,

it seems too bright for dawn in the north.
Does tropical dawn come up brilliant? Is it candlelight? A billion flickering
candles rimming earth's edge. I open my eyes again. I am awake,
without

fear. I feel I could have visions often, if
I wanted, if I waited quietly for them. I question its meaning.
Was it a prophecy, a remembrance, another life -- or just the meaningless
beauty of living?





ESSAY IX


#09
06-12-01

As if oaring into the sea,
I shove my needle into the sheet, snatch, pull,
three times jerking, then with teeth, I pull it
through.

Another stitch, a repeated pattern of
impossibility, fingers stiff, like swollen knees, except they look
familiar, act familiar, are familiar until I ask them
to

do things they have always done
before, stitched before. Now, not talented, recalcitrant, they can't
be reasoned with. They don't bear talking to. They
don't hear. Ears

are perfect, as far as sound goes, but they
can't make out the words. They can't distinguish syllable from similar syllable.
Sheeting used to be an easy mend, O gliding needle, now it
is

my shroud I stitch as if oaring into sea
waters, deep. My hands tingle, my wrists are like bark holding up
a tree. Word by word I try to paint pictures I hear
but can't feel.





ESSAY X


#10
06-19-01

Poetry seems to have flown away
on the wings of doves and other darker crows.
Is it comfort? Is it boredom? Is it a
waltzing

in the greenhouse to see how
busy I can be? I catch a glimpse of
incremental dendrite building via multitudinous lectures. Here at my
now

and only fingertips, I know everything.
Whatever there is to express, I can do so.
There is no secret to the universe but knowledge.
Lots of it.

So what is this low-grade mewling of the heart?
Habit? Orneriness? A life wish? A death wish? A longing for silence?
Explosions in abandoned minds? Methane? Bauxite? Tiny wee glimmerings of little elses?
Who

will put up with it? And for how long?
Tendrils creep beyond clouding windows, quano must be scraped from the door.
All parts of nature request inclusion. Our delusion we can do anything
about it -- lies.





ESSAY XI


#11
06-20-01

I used to feel that I
must choose a destiny. Now I feel that I'll
let a destiny choose me. I've given up judging
things.

I've given up being things. I've
become content that all things are different from me.
I'm neither fish nor fauna, moral or immoral. More
each

day I find that Buddha held
the views of an old woman who sees old
age, sickness and death everywhere, and comes to peace
with it, who

sees desire evaporate and wonders what to replace it
with, who mediates, lives in the moment and cannot remember the moment
before, can no longer defend a point of view because she has
no

point of view. How easily one slips toward death,
finds the slowness of reality dissolving, becoming unremembered dreams, sadness unfulfilled, bearable.
I no longer have to argue or believe, listen, recall, instruct nor
breathe to live.





ESSAY XII


#12
06-22-01

Dear Martin: I need your help
again -- in several things. The proportional working out of
the twenty-two srutis . I have the information, layout,
cents,

placement, et al, but I need
some human communication to bounce the count about with
me. Also I need to know, in the twelve
tone

scale, if each note, say Sa ,
contains all the harmonics -- which I suspect not -- but
if not, what are the harmonics each note contains?
Can you tell

me that? Sa contains... Re contains... Ga contains... ma
contains... Pa contains... Dha contains... Ni contains... And if they are sharped,
tivra or komal , flatted, do they then contain different harmonics? i.e. Tivra
Ma


contains... and Komal re contains... Komal ga contains... Komal
dha
contains... Komal ni contains... I have to work these out in
reds, oranges and golds, proportions and placements. Lets get together again soon.
Help! Love, Jan





ESSAY XIII


#13
06-23-01

Out. Wandering in the world. Through
memories. Street corners that remind me of earthquakes, romance,
domiciles, roommates, poems, changes in the world at the
King

Street Station -- long ago gone seedy,
its grand promenade concealed, juxtaposed to Chinatown's edge scraped
up into sheer edifices gleaming with glass, beaming anonymity
-- very

Chinese -- whether its modesty or steel.
I wander on up into Little Saigon (so posted)
-- where it says, on a Vietnamese shack, in among
its curlicue, works-of-art

lettering, I can get French Coffee. Beyond its small
malls transformed to Southeast Asian vitality, litter, I spy one ancient house
golden-yellow, stripped of its paint-over-stucco by the Northwest "monsoons." Is it lived
in?

Is its jungle-garden occupied? Inspection yields no secrets. All
I'm allowed is a graft to wandering memories, a reminder that I
have trod other worlds, seen prototypes, wandered twisting, ever evolving, side walks
of the mind.





ESSAY XIV


#14
06-24--01

MEXICAN LUNCH WITH NANCY: I eat
my breakfast taco alone, whole wheat filled with all
sorts of good things, bean sprouts and broccoli, tomatoes
and

peppers, salsa verde, pork (I didn't
say it was perfect) and Udo's Choice, both oil
and grains, but I miss the soaring laughter, the
gossip,

the plunges into philosophy and giggles.
I miss my Buddha, who sits on Boards, is
loved and loving, and happily lives to eat lunch
and dinner

in sophisticated places. But together (mostly my choice, her
bill) we ate in a low-brow Mexican restaurant in Sonoma's Historic District,
had margaritas (I never drink), guffaws, cheese, hot sauce, tortilla chips. I
told

her everything -- as far as I could remember it --
in my always-anguished soul. Between us everything winged like a gleeful cockatoo
toward sunshine. She told me wild tales I'd never excavate from people
on my own.





ESSAY XV


#15
06-24/25-01

I've had the priviledge and the
pain of walking alone on this earth -- in a
melancholy mood on a grey afternoon, late, nodding in
on

the chanting of a Christian service
in a Vietnamese church, wandering the gardens of a
Buddhist temple where small cut stones simulate a great
pool,

acres of deserted lawn in a
park, a vast night market of unknown fruits, unknown
vegetables in Little Saigon, steep hills, deep valleys covered
with houses, new

and ancient, the cool wind kicking up on the
Sound, the gulls crying, my heart empty, relentlessly anguished and blank and
still, shopping cautiously, buying eatables I have never bought before, catching the
bus

home through the intricate streets of Route 60, past
the hospitals, the view of downtown's edifices, our 100 story building -- only
two blocks to walk, swinging my groceries, eager for night to fall,
to stop walking.





ESSAY XVI


#16
06-26-01

Another walk, another thought, like fog
hanging in my brain, summer won't come and, under
the grey sky, the weather remains cold, windy, wintry.
June.

I continue to take my Vitamin
D in pill form, walk the arboretum only on
the upper path where leafed-out trees shelter the gravel
from

the rain. We live in a
rain forest. Not everyone objects. Nonetheless, happiness wells up
from time to time in that sexual way, permeating
my limbs, enervating

joy, relaxation. Do the cedars feel it as well?
Do fragile maples suffer from bliss in the cold dawn -- turn red,
purple and shiver? Defend your choice of the nomad's life, the
walking.

Ask the seagulls what they do for dinner, entertainment.
Is riding the wind, feeling the scent of the salt from sea
and the Sound enough? "Ah, bright wings!" Yes, some days, enough, other days,
discipline will do.





ESSAY XVII


#17
06-26-01

Fooling around with words in a
language, any language, is almost as foolish as fooling
around with greed, with wealth, with passions of the
heart

and other men's passions -- noticeable until
proximity to death quiets one down, lets one peer
into the well's echoing, flashing, ebony depths which swallow
time

and intention. My quarrel is not
with God, but with Buddha. Having achieved desirelessness, what
did he think one was going to do? Poof!
You are gone!

That's as simple and simple-minded as old age, sickness
and death being the problem. The problem is time and the river.
Not the river Styx, but the river of time, of flowing on.
Time,

once having cleared out the debris, hangs heavy on
one's hands, mind, footsteps. With no desire and no goal, and not
favoring being a fund-raiser for the preaching of inaccurate doctrines one is
lonely before Nirvana.





ESSAY XVIII


#18
06-27-01

The golden building, the grey sky,
the brilliance of scarlet geraniums on the terrace, lobelia,
the fine strike of raindrops on the window panes,
overcasts

the coming day. Sirens and horns,
a distant train, a plane, lobelia and geraniums on
the window sill, little lychees starting from seed bought
at

a Chinese market, and their sweetness
eaten, a California fern -- revolving from daughter to father
to daughter, sending up new shoots from bare earth --
my company as

the morning's poem shapes itself in a language not
native to America -- genes in Sumeria, India. The poem form, my own,
my heritage from ten generations on this continent -- how many in other
lands? --

confident, my years assuring me that what is is.
what comes into being exists, what happens is the record, the lobelia,
the geraniums, the white lilies, the sunset roses, the parsley, the rosemary,
and the thyme.





ESSAY XIX


#19
06-28-01

In the University quad, Yoshiro cherries
bloom and, among other fountaining, cascading, exuberant blossoms cherries
flow through the arboretum and dance on Seattle's city
streets.

They inhabit the Olmstead gardens necklacing
the Emerald City, in Ballard and to the east,
behind the church on 9th and in a photograph
on

my desk. To look up through
blossoms into the blue sky and breathe the ephemeral
stillness is to know that tomorrow the leaves will
green and blossoms

will fall. The cool shade of cool summer will
take their place. Rain-forest green everywhere shrouding the memory of white, pink-tinted
blossoms growing from branches, from gnarled trunks, bouquets, nosegays, a billion fragilities
snowing

on one's head, flaking one's shoulders, defining one's stance
on the lawn shared by trunks of cherries, some striped sensual copper-maroon, iridescent, brilliant,
ringed, peeling, supporting the blossoms, remaining through summer the same,
but growing larger.





ESSAY XX


#20
06-29-01

DARK THOUGHTS

With sunshine so bright it might
be California, I sit bemused. What is there to
write about? For the feet have already walked miles,
today.

Dreams have been dreamt in hypnogogic
wakefulness. Fruit eaten to satiety. Chapters read in three
books, and several library pamphlets. I wait to exercise.
In

the meantime, I have checked all
my plants for moisture, watered one lobelia, exulted over
the two lychee, and noted two -- who knows what?
As a matter

of principle, I throw most of my seeds -- avocado,
lychee, cherry, peach, apricots, nectarine, papaya, lemon -- into the next pot to
be planted. Who knows what has the courage to come up, or
strength

to fight the irradiation, the killing involved in creating
terminator seeds, the greed to own all the foodstuffs of the world.
Indeed, what is there to write about in this cornucopious world, fecund
with human greed.





ESSAY XXI


#21
06-30-01

Kitsch, Korn and Komic Book Art --
Academia grabbed the art scene by the short and
curlies. No curators now without doctorates, indeed, few undoctorated
artists,

all busily at work justifying juvenilia.
Previous profundities declared: "Scholars are not artists." "Those who
can't do, teach." But now everything's changed, scholars do
what

they do, they post-modern, they deconstruct,
they do kitsch, korn and komic book art, and,
since it ain't art, they've conscientiously re-defined art to
be, kitsch, korn

and komic book art. See it in museums, see
it in galleries. Academics choose the educated untalented, dub Dr.'s artists. Art,
once cherished by humans as human's truth-beauty-wisdom, is egalitarianized out of existence.
Trendsetters

help us to admire the distasteful, the obscene, ugliness,
shit, shock, stupidity, clap-trap, all clothed in jargon-rich justifications: "If you don't
comprehend-iality the art, stupid..." "An artist, as any entrepreneur, is defined, stupid,
by his lucre."





ESSAY XXII


#22
07-01-01

The water ran perfectly yellow, perfectly
clear and so real that, when I remembered it,
I couldn't recall if it were reality or dream,
the

Yellow River, the Yangtze, lychee-stem dye
or, an after thought, pee. It was clear, it
was bright. It sheeted from the white, wide spout,
flowed

from sheer, shining, stele cliffs. It
was sunshine, high and bright, in a white sky.
Did it have meaning? Was it just present? I
live in a

yellow building, dote on sunshine. Saffron fabric from India
covers my computer. Saris, tiles, other oddments, Shiva, bones and Kuan Yin
sit about my room, protect me from crucifixions of the brain. Number
2

yellow pencils, felt tipped markers, usually jarred and unused,
and a heart like a tear-drop, pale purple, very pale purple, against
gold, soft yellow, bright white, sent by Laurel, stand behind another Shiva,
bottled heena, mother-bones.





ESSAY XXIII


#23
07-02-01

Essays begin to lose their interest
for me. I've said enough. What's the next
step? Flight into darkness -- and beyond -- into darker darkness
-- beyond.

Devayani, you once wrote, "Emptiness is
the beginning of love." But you don't recognize it
as your path. You've lost your path, all is
shadow

as you look around. It always
was. Now it is darker. The irreversibleness of history
strikes such recoupable sadness in your heart, the devastation
of the earth

by your countrymen. They got here early, 1634,
in plenty of time to carry the infectious diseases, like smallpox, measles,
dysentery and greed. Looking for their own freedom, they did not mind
devastating

all others. In the north and in the south,
your English ancestors ravaged the earth, killed its peoples, destroyed its civilizations --
partly in jealousy, for Americans were more advanced than the living squalor
of marauding Europeans.





ESSAY XXIV


#24
07-03-01

I walk the streets of Seattle,
projects invading my mind like nuthatches, little brown-grey, round
fat birds, pecking bits of experience from the city's
streets.

Walk the streets, write a poem
for each. Write a poem for the municipal buildings,
in which, passing at 5:33, the last of
the

street-people are rising from their marble-floored
sleep. Tomorrow has begun. Watch the sun yellow-sheet the
upper flanks of the tallest buildings, illuminate the Sound,
strike West Seattle.

Cruise along the empty rivers of concrete, some flowing
north, some flowing south, all deserted, and the fresh wind blowing one
more morning up for delectation. The old library's empty, but not yet
gone.

Watch bus-waiting-people drink their coffee, read their books
and newspapers. Every street from the east to the west ends in
the Sound, the gull's sound, circling. A ferry slips past the pier-d
end of Union.





ESSAY XXV


#25
07-03-01

Allow ecstasy to reign. In blankness,
in boredom, in the aloneness of age and uncertainty,
the brain tangos through the tangle of memory. Let
it

dance. Fear not. Walk on. Cool
wind. Ode the city. Memorialize your grief. The parks
are emptier now, the geraniums redder. Count the grungy
cedar

trees along a chain-linked fence, handsome
really, better than only chain-link, asphalt, white-lined parking troughs.
It's all down hill in Seattle, squared off between-building-clips
of a watery

Sound, woods and squat, sunlit condos terminate the west,
the frontier of roller-coasters down from First Hill. Very strange end pieces,
like abandoned abbey walls, truncate the ends of The Rainier Club, its
facade

under reconstruction -- probably from the earthquake, Richter scale 8.2,
which rolled through the February city, or from the upheaval of greed
and foment of protest. Seattle's throes, passion, extravaganza of construction will make
a nice ruin.





ESSAY XXVI


#26
07-03-01

Secret walks in the dawn. No
one knowing I'm gone, or abroad. Even those in
the streets met face to face -- I do not
know

and they don't know me. We
pass in silence or with a smile. Fortunately, for
the most part, I have resisted the training in
fear --

the big seller of American Media.
Like Lawrence's Arabs of the desert, "I go where
I please and strike where I please." And you
could too, but

don't come out to clutter my mystical, naked streets
of the dawn. Let quiet, let desertion, abandonment rule, let me dream
of what it will be like, an Angkor Wat of the future.
The

Columbia Tower, how they will marvel. The two pancakes
full of seats, decorative ridges rising, just to the south, one black,
one white -- like the fulfilled plans for the Taj Mahal. That will
puzzle them, too.





ESSAY XXVII


#27
07-04-01

Happy Birthday, U.S.A., today.
Is this two-twenty-five? Imagine that, another quarter century gone --
or accomplished -- depending on your point-of-view. Not an awful
lot --

having just been reading a lot
of pre-history, B.C. or B.P.E. or
whatever of those half dozen designations scholars are trying --
to

make sure Christian counting WILL BE
adopted by the whole scholar's world -- and some of
those cave sites include habitation spanning 5,000 years.
So here we

are feeling our oats, perhaps at the pinnacle of
our civilization, galloping fiercely into the future! -- unheeding, unyielding,
challenging, snubbing nature,
jumping the traces -- into the future we go. Where? Machu Picchu, Chaco
Canyon,

Mohenjo Daro -- you name them, though skeleton remains, the
flesh is gone, and so's the spirit. We're arrogant enough to think
we'll escape, but we won't. What magnificient ruins "Delirious New York" will
make, Dear Koolhaas.





ESSAY XXVIII


#28
07-05-01

Mukti Bhavan charges no rent, accommodates
no luggage, serves no food, allows no medicine, each
cell is as bare and comfortless as the grave.
It

is a place for dying. It
is in Banares, Varanasi, Kashi, The City of Light,
the Forest of Bliss. To die there, is
to

receive the boon of liberation, never
having to return to this earth. It ends the
turning of the wheel of samsara, ends reincarnation, pays
all debts. Mukti

Bhavan, this "hospice," endowed by an industrialist, stands near
Dashashvamdedha Ghat, near the Gadauli intersection. If you want to get well,
you cannot stay. You must go to a hospital. This house is
for

dying. No other activity is condoned. Fifteen days are
allowed. Extensions are rare. The rules are painted on the wall. Continuous
chanting, Ganga water, tulasi leaves are free and available. Mukti Bhavan means
House of Salvation.





ESSAY XXIX


#29
07-05/11-25-01

Eleanor arrived today, a Norfolk Pine,
stemmed, large-boughed, tapering, capable of curtseying gracefully, her skirts
dark green -- not terribly old. Aside from 55 +
humans

to gaze at her, there is
a small plant of her own species, a daughter
who stands in the ante-room. Lynn raised Eleanor, and
brought

her; Paul provided transport. No doubt, Eleanor will like
it here, the rest of us do -- looking out on sunny gardens,
muted yellow walls, light, delight, where people talk and walk and weed,
water flowers, share

the herbs. Though young, she's used to stasis, patience.
Her room is spacious, couches and tellys and tables. Distinctive, noble Eleanor
will not feel captive. Never having known her homeland, we foresee that,
repotted,

nourished, moved about by company, she will no doubt
flourish for us -- away from the wind -- as she did for Lynn.
Some older humans talk to plants, some younger ones play the piano.
Time passes daily.





ESSAY XXX


#30
07-06/11-25-01

Dinner, last night, with Tom V.
Reeling drunk, a sugar-high, from grape-apple juice. Dining elegant,
downtown, Italian, we talked and talked and talked, like
I

haven't talked for a year. He
told me his life-story, I told him (partially) mine.
He a young man, 40, more interesting than most,
a

good friend's son. He lives in
a widow-walk house with 360 degrees of view. Rainier
wearing evening sun, Rainier was out for our delectation.
We talked about

life-immensities I had forgotten, life-vistas, now shaded, receding. Neutrality
welled from volcanoes. Munching slowly, Pele* laved my soul. The vast experience
of another human tunneled in passionate and neutral. Ah, the middle way!
Jan,

the widow-walker, danced above the city, cavorted among embers,
ate little, should have drunk less, avoided acquiring new cravings, cultivated no
new unsatisfiable addictions. Last to leave the virgin-white-topped tables, the help had
already gone home.





*Pelehonuamea, the Fire Goddess






ESSAY XXXI


#31
07-09/11-26-01

The gold and red India shawl
that protects my computer is laid aside. The machine
is turned on. It hums. We two, it and
I,

wait patiently for poems to be
born, images to appear, remembrances to be captured, recaptured.
Each recycling of memory, produces new holograms, encryptions, reveals
secret

crevices of incandescence. We are a
cooperative: my fingers, its fonts -- we share the spelling
and, at times, extend participation to various dictionaries, reference
works, my ill

written notes, jotted imaginings, ancient envelopes, recently read books --
any writ surface. Who, 'til now, could conceive such binary, vertical luminescence,
such humming, shining, brilliant colored -- or grey -- horizontal shimmer where thoughts become visible,

where words are! But aren't really! Illusions accumulate in
the air -- via chips, bytes, mice and the help of angels -- they
turn into words, vie for attention, presume to be meaningful, are, with
a stroke, deleted.
Amazing grace.





ESSAY XXXII


#32
07-10-01

Adversity is the cause of change.
Caffeine, to large extent, is the cause of creativity.
If everything were perfectly adapted and stimulating we'd be
where

we were. Caffeine is like meditation.
From the quietude of sitting, who knows what's wrought.
Nerves, one might say, were meant to be jangled.
Violence

is a part of nature's beneficence.
Human compassion is, perhaps, a mutation, a temporary interference.
What is is. What must be must be. Pause.
Let it happen.

Surely a tiger mauling, and serving as quick supper
is no worse than mauling by Western Civilization, painful, extended and fatal.
Education is to take never-ending lessons in misplacement of virtue from what
is

natural, what is normal. If Western humans have their
way, we will fill up earth with the incapacitated, the dying, pig-hearted
people. There'll be no room left for the new, for change or
caffeine's remarkable creativity.





ESSAY XXXIII


#33
07-11-01

Last poem. Last Essay. Number thirty-three
I've thought a lot and a little and, for
the most part, I think humanity sees itself up-side-down,
backwards,

misinterprets the evidence. Even as a
child, the idea that people are supposed to be
social animals, supposed to like/want to be social
animals,

struck me as absurd, with the
terror of falsehood, a sop to the way things
are, nothing to do with preferences. Man protesteth too
much, me thinks.

Deep in my own heart, it is self-evident that
I prefer aloneness -- and I think I am not unusual. Did anyone
ever get rich and want to move into closer proximity to his
fellows?

If we weren't so terrified, constantly anxiety ridden, didn't
need each other so desperately for protection, indeed, if we didn't fear
and loath each other so much, we'd admit to Vanting, like Garbo,
to be alone.



More of The 2001 Poems


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Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jjhaag@gmail.com

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BY JAN HAAG

ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS

POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

INTRODUCTION + HAAG'S BIO

21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B.C., A Context