BY JAN HAAG

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

HAAG'S BIO

ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS



THE 2010 POEMS

VASES OF FURY -- AND OTHER VICES


INDEX


MY CAT

#80
06-12/08-21-1

My cat and I, we lead a plain and simple life.
We eat. We sleep.

He likes to be brushed. I like to brush him.
He purrs --
especially if I brush while he eats.

Shiva-purna, God of Destruction, God of Creation --
we share a taste in jewelry:
little of it.

He enjoys playing with stuffed mice and thin rings.
Twice a year I wear earrings.

We both sing hosannahs to austerity,
long for silence.




FILTERS

#81
06-14/16/08-21-10

Suddenly I see, individually and collectively, human beings
as just a ubiquitous, earthly filtration system.
We beam in every direction, drawing in what is, filter it through
what/who we are and project it back out
to mix with universal data.
It changes bit by bit, though, coffee-like, it remains the same.



I NO LONGER NOTICE

#82
06-16/08-21-10

I no longer notice the weather.
Inside, outside, it’s a uniform grey
with shocking sunshine bursts now and then.
But mostly,
I no longer notice the weather.



LUCKY LINDA

#83
06-16-10

Lucky Linda:

She apparently died in her sleep
from SCA
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Perfectly natural --
joining the yearly
335,000
-- and no one knows why.
Except,
it’s thought to be electrical,
a cessation of electical impulses
in the heart.

Lucky Linda.
Goodnight, sweet princess.

Lucky Linda



EVERYTHING

#84
06-16/17/08-21-10

Everything is more fragile.
Everything is making its way toward being a ghost.
Encounters at the end of the world.
World without end. Ha!



MIND EROSION

#90
07-04/8-22-10

Losing one’s mind is not quite as scary as one might think.
One can watch the mind’s disintegration with a certain
detachment
and fondness for entertainment, observation, an amused kind
of thinking -- that on some other day, in some other time
one will, with delight, watch a replay of its happening
under better circumstances.



THE OUTSIDE WORLD

#91
07-07/11/8-22-10

The outside world is too sad to look at.
Look within for brightness, beauty, brilliance, wit
Out there are children without arms -- or legs,
a black Gulf of oil-soaked birds,
murdered turtles,
mud flows engulfing Indonesian villages,
women yelping and gnashing their teeth for dead spouses, dead kids
-- young men killed by the dozens -- American, Muslim, Afghani, Iraqi --
and limbless ones returned home to manage mangled lives on unswept streets.

Look within, where there are remembrances of bright summer days,
cool moonlit nights on the Arabian Sea,
sweat-sprinkling hikes through sand swept deserts,
Asian and American,
vistas of poems and words to be learned ,
treasured, used, forgotten -- and found again.

Look within, Happy Fool, for with-out is sadness beyond bearing,
tears beyond shedding,
cries beyond hearing,
pain beyond endurance.
The outside world is too sad to look at.
Look within, feel bliss.



HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

#92
07-07-10

From Bacteria to Sauropod in just a few million years.
From thence to humans.
How did it happen?



MIMA MOUNDS

#93
07-11-10

Every once in a while I think of the Mima Mounds -- like
Buddha bowls inverted -- and wonder why I no
longer know the need to travel.

There are whole hemispheres of knowledge in my head
that I have barely visited -- even once.
Where is there to go?



TRANSFORMATION

#94
07-20/8-22-10

Changing from a healthy, striding, intelligent woman
into a funny old elephantine gnome
is not fun, but it is certainly scientifically interesting
to watch it happen -- day by day, itch by itch,
pain by pain -- the result of all those magnificent
life-extending skills and experiments of all those
academy award winning doctors
who’d much rather replace an eye
than help you through the common cold
or alleviate a knee pain or
a pain in the ass.



BUS RIDE

#95
07-23/8-17-10

The trees are taller than I remember them
and dark,
frightening
even in the sunshine,

even as I come from the doctor adjusting
my neck
to be looser than in
decades.

I’m dizzy. I hardly know how to put one foot
in front
of the other.
How? Where? From

there to here and back again? -- in the sunshine
beneath the trees
that stretch
high as a galleon’s sails,

tossed by the wind on the Sound, and dark, even
in sunshine’s
noon.
I watch their crescent sweeps --

midnight in a storm. Did the doctor release a storm
in my neck,
my brain?
Should he have let me get on this bus?



MY CHAPEL

of the Good Shepherd

#97
07-26/08-16/17/24-10

I walk through the now -- feeling fortunate --
though it’s too early for reflections to be seen on the floor.
I think about annual Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) or Camphorweed
(Heterothea suboxillaris) vying, lately, to be my favorite plant/weed/
flower: tiny yellow daisy-like flowers, fragile stems,
gem-like dots of green pods all over on the high weed
as thick as a stiffened human hair,
fine as the shadows of cat’s whiskers.

I remember an evening, after yoga, Clives ran up one
of the tapered square pillars. Then, his feet safely wedged in
the wood’s delicate coffering, he waved from the top -- and came back down,
laughing. I, too, laughed. I am reminded of the delicacy of the Sowthistle
or Camphorweed -- and how fortunate I am to live on the other
side of the vast golden floor where, late in the afternoon,
the milky purple windows throw their auras
before the descending sun strikes

shafts of primary blues, reds, golds, greens from the shield
heart of each stained glass. How fortunate to live on the other
side of the Chapel, to have need to walk its width, to ascend the attic stairs.
I live where my cat lies on his back in the heat, his white belly
turned up and fluffed like a dandelion.



I’M NOT SURE

#98
08-02/8-16/17/18/22-10

Even if we do gang together for protection,
I’m not sure man is a social animal -- except by default

when his mostly monstrous fellow beings swarm to attack him.
Usually, the older, wiser, richer, freer-to-express-themselves they get
the further from their fellow humans they move:

big houses, big lawns, miles away from neighbors,
sealed off in cars, carriages, planes, yachts
-- almost anywhere -- out of sight of the others.
They lead rich lives without phones, door

chimes, face-books, radios or TVs. The extravagantly
rich have tired of computers. There’s nothing left

to do but turn inward, stare at their bloodied
souls hiding deep in flesh, sinew and bone,
untouched by the miasmic world.
Every emotion, every experience

becomes a stitch,
to match against
its neighbor,

to differentiated by subtle
colors and hues, to define by

unusual shapes, patterns lights, shades.
You can’t outguess nor outvisualize
the threads of the mesh.

Will it sing with its grid mate(s)?
You can only be
sure after a thousand
stitches and years, decades, epochs

if it
would have been better
to leave it skeined alone,
twisted, no more than a three ply.



THE HOLY

#99
08-03/13-10

The holy, inexplicable savagery
of the body rebelling with
itches, pains, stiffness, instant
amnesia, reducing one’s life to
screaming prayers: that I won’t drop!
this, too. Won’t drop it, spill it, won’t

detonate anger into murder and mayhem,
viciousness or violence. I keep asking: “What
can I possibly be learning from this?” The only
answer that manifests is: “This, no doubt, is how,

evil, wild, wicked, savage people must feel all
their lives -- or intensely, intermittently -- on fire
with itch escalating to kill! Driven by petty
annoyances to drop bombs, mystified by

continual frustrations, like a mistaken,
psychopathic detainee, developing a
compulsion to wreck vengeance
on the universe, on,
specifically,
supposedly
loved, but, no doubt,
ugly, guilty counterparts.



STATIC FURY

#100
08-12/13-10

If you live past the ignorant grace of childhood,
you’ll meet the paralyzed fury of stiff knees,
immovable joints, the all too liquid fury of
“can’t do,” the incipient realization of
“won’t do,” the gibbering idiocy of
uncooperative limbs,
dropsy of the soul.

Too incapacitated to clean house? Write poetry,
Enjoy a Socratian cup of hemlock.



THE AMERICAN DREAM

#101
08-15-10
Today starts anew
First thought:
Is today Suzanne’s birthday?
or
Why is 8/15 significant
remembered, memory-teasing?

Surely
this 8/15/10
will be remembered
for the brilliant sunshine
and
the refreshment of my memory,
energy, maybe even hope -- for what?

That the aches
and pains
might stop, or at
least
lessen enough to allow,
to encourage me

to
get back
to work after
my three years waltz
with
death, despair, sickness, peering down
black holes of nothingness. What was

there? Unexplored oceans
of darkness
washing my soul. Is
that
the form of human
life: sickened in

childhood
-- spending the
rest of life
curing the misguidance, the
mistreatment,
the madness? Is some human life
-- my human life -- only damage repair?

To what end?

Nightmare?



EQUATION

#102
08-15-10
Trying to do things slowly enough
to match my reduced capacities.
It’s not easy to slow down
in a speedy society, in a society
whose very image of self-worth depends
on supersonic speed in all things.

To slow down is equal to societal
death in 21st Century America
where all media announcers
now talk at double speed. Makes
no difference if anyone understands
what they say, because, if not erased

by speed, it’s sure to be erased by
the next murder, the next scandal,
the next global disaster. Who really
cares what they say? It’s meaningless
filler until the next Ponzi scheme,
the next failure of Congress to

right the wrongs of a supersonic
society, the next oil spill comes
along to transfix a society fixated
on talk and, more or less,“ do
nothing.”
My computer’s spelling check
refuses to spell “Ponzi.”

Hmmm.



WHILE WATCHING

#115
09-05/14-10

While watching LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA
I am almost sick
literally sick
Then they got old
and it seemed much less horrifying
worth watching

for

I have no consciousness of being loved
of ever having been truly loved
by any of my four great loves
or the others
A kind of longing

But never love

What would it be like to feel one was/is loved?

This seems the next secret to attack
after apologizing to D-- for my turning
away -- so unfeeling -- from her
after we made love

But no feeling of love that I loved her
or that she loved me
Just horror at how fragile she was in my embrace

I am still basically unlovable

With men it is always a market exchange: if I would only be
the person they dream of and be as they dream
then they would love me -- forever

However
Just me wanting to be who I want to be do what I wanted to do
Not suitable not loveable
Fulfill a man’s dream? -- Or my own?

I
of course
choose my own dream
and end up
ecstatic
(from time to time)
and
alone



ONE NIGHT

#116
09-05/14-10

I do remember one ecstatic night of blue light,
phosphorescent bones of pure light

But, for that, to put up with all the nonsense
of six male years?

Insanity? -- or -- masochism?

I feel the same re: enlightenment.
Why would one want to put up with all the nonsense
it takes to get there? --

Then the brief visit
and back
to
self-sufficiency.

-- In fact, without doubt:
one night of en-lighten-ment
was greater
than one night of blue lights.



THEY SAY:

#117
09-12/14-10

At some point you get rewarded for doing what you want to do.

They say:
Follow your bliss.
They used to say:
The best things in life are free.
Now they say a lot of idiotic things.

The moon rises,
the sun sinks.
Shlain is busy drawing some parallels
even I doubt.
But why not? Nothing else makes sense.

I look across land, the townscape, the sea and see there are a billion
or a billion billion billion interesting things going on,
yet I have allowed my vision to narrow
down to just not wanting to get
out of bed.

It wasn’t always thus.
I wonder if I will change tomorrow.
Surely there are more things in heaven and earth than are thought
of in my recent,
restricted, view of the universe.

They say: work hard and rewards will come.
Others say: there is no reward except the process of doing.
I throw my lot in with the latter.
But then I am alone
in my quest.

I can’t even imagine another human able to fill that void.
Shiva purna tries: comes, nuzzles the book I am reading,
lies down beside me,
but scratches
if I respond with a pet.

Growing old is,
perhaps,
the best thing I ever did.
It is: Meditation,
blank mind, live in the now, relaxation.

At some point you get rewarded for doing what you want to do.



TESTAMENT, THE NEW

#118
09-21-10

*Ancient Romans would conclude a transaction by placing their testicles in each other’s palm while mutually reciting an oath -- the ultimate expression of trust. The words “testimony” and “testament” both derive from this ancient practice.” Footnote, p 229, Shlain’s Sex,Time and Power, ref. from Brownmiller’s Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, 1976
Ah so! And life goes on,
even though I didn’t read this in 1976.
Would it have changed my life? --
If I had known?

Will it change my life now? Having today
read up to p. 229 in the Shlain -- a book
that should be mandatory reading! for
every woman, man and child.

One shouldn’t be allowed to become
a man
(all fetuses begin as female) without
Sex, Time and Power having been read.

Early on! Even though, in my opinion,
Chapter 14 is full of nonsense, as if
all women were born as princesses
and carefully instructed in the mating dance.

My childhood was passed in ignorance,
almost without instruction, and later,
though crammed full of oceans of knowledge,
more so than most, no one ever

spoke the truth to me like Shlain attempts
to do. Holy Nature! to think what we could be
and no doubt once were (developing into)
and look around now to see what we have become.

Horrifying!

But fear not, hope remains high and free floating,
as we begin our trip around (once more)
under feminine influence.

Remember: Birds, reptiles and fish began (begin)
as males until estrogen washes over the chosen
to become female.

A revivifying fact!



TESTAMENT II, THE NEW

#119
09-21-10

I shuffle around doing the little things:
re-hanging the laundry,
reading a page or two of Shlain.
Thinking.

Whatever “out of place” my trajectory crosses,
I restore it: a knife, a scissors, a poem,
a shoe, a thought.

Whatever comes to my ambling attention
as I drift through
the energyless days,

I deal with.

I putter, I drift, I shuffle.
My right knee hurts
extraordinarily

from time to time.
But it seems no reason
to stop walking.

I had wanted to commit suicide
all the days of my life,
and here I am at “full-term”

(most people, it seems -- via the obit page --
die in their seventies) but now,
life is so 1) outrageously beautiful and surpassingly interesting

and 2) idiotically dominiated by
Republican Christian weirdos, that
who wouldn’t want to know

the next step that Nature
has in store for us.
Maybe another bump-up

as colossal as
from the dinosaurs
to man.

One step more and we’re
at

wo - man.



100 FINE ADJUSTMENTS

#120
9-23/10-02-10

I used to do things so easily, so accurately,
so gracefully, so without flaw.
The 100 fine adjustments that were necessary
took care of themselves without bothering me.

Now, apparently, the “automatic” button is
switched off. I don’t know by who, or exactly
when -- or Why? But now, unless, I myself,
actually, physically, consciously think of every one

of those adjustments, I spill the coffee, or drop
the book, or stick myself in the eye when aiming
for my hair or can’t find or can’t do or can’t
remember to the point of the screaming meemies

setting in. I ask myself why I want to write all
these trivial poems, these poems about trivialities.
All I can say is That Is What’s Happening. I find
I have nothing else to write about except the

torment of being enclosed in this body that
just doesn’t work very well anymore. Why?
It seems the same, but each outcome, one
after the other, one by one, is not the same as it

once was. Do I really have to CONCENTRATE!
on each god-damned screw of the jar lid? Am I
the crazy one when I can’t get into the
double-thickness-steel-sealed-cheese

package? -- so well protected that the sentinels of Fort
Knox should imitate their methods guarding our gold?
Which is more paranoid? Me? or our insane society?
I am so sick of the 100 fine adjustments I must

make today, just to breathe, just to step out the door
or cross the street, or try to make one more god-damned
cell phone call. We have perfected technology
to the point where it occupies 100% of our time:

figuring it out, maintaining it, updating it, so
that we have no time left to just live, to just
put our fingers in the earth, plant vegetables.
a garden, tomatoes here, flowers there. Life has

become all idiotic instructions. The medium, indeed, has
replaced the message.” There is no message. There is no
content anymore. There’s nothing to send, just the message
itself: trivial, useless, sad, angry, unintelligible.



WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT DEATH?

#121
09-24/10-02-10

The concept of death, the fear of death? What exactly
must one do -- to preserve one’s equilibrium, in the face
of certain extinction? Here today, gone tomorrow. No

truer definition of life has ever been advanced -- except,
possibly: What is there to do but laugh about it. ‘Here’
and “gone” -- the Gods smile. For even they know that

when I am gone, when you, the human race is gone, they,
too, will disappear -- Poof! fictions of the human mind can
not outlast the thoughts that invented, loved, sustained their

existence. Even Shakespeare has had his day, along with the
crumbling pyramids, even the internet which laces the sky
and the earth and the ether will dissolve back into sulfurous

vapors. The sun, itself, its luminous rays, decay day by day.
And though we are future-tellers and can know this, no one
of us will be around taking the last notes on this before our

consciousness dies. What are we going to do about death?
It’s a personal thing.



SOMEWHERE

#126
10-02-10

Water tinkling through and the squeak of birds
playing
in the trees

Dense head and I still haven’t taken my pills, is
that
all there is?

And then the guy, the gutsy bird that actually
trills
a song, overrides it all for a moment.



EGOLESS

#127
10-03/09/11-18-10

The oddest array of bugs seem to be visiting me this (approaching) winter.
big ones, little ones, ones with antlers, antenna, transparent green ones,
spiders of a giant size and ones rather smaller. Is it global warming, or
my bad

housekeeping? Skeletons appear here, corpses there and, eternally, a creepy
crawly feeling that one is ascending my leg or descending my back --
just out of reach As Galbraith said of his India assignment, “...it is a job ,
employment

so fascinating that for whole seconds at a time, I forget about myself ...”
I float egoless as Buddha into vast spaces of wonderment, bemusement
then, like the usually vicious human male, strike out! -- a smashing blow
and move on.



THE WAY THINGS ARE

For Safiye
#130
10-06-10

The sorrow goes on for years and years and years
until it solidifies into the way things are
the changes stop
there is nothing but the way things are



RAISING THE SUN ON A GRAY DAY

#131
10-10-10

A little fish, green curry, tomatoes and bread
fed to the reluctant stomach
and the cat meows.
I put a little nettle leaf on his
claw box.
He meows.
Then he remains reverently silent
while I write this poem.
I, too, drink a little nettle tea.



10-10-10

#132
10-10-10

10-10-10 and nothing happening.
Did Linda die just because she ran out of things to do?
She sits heavily on my spirit lately.
Gone. The great appreciator , just gone.
And I go back to bed
to see if a nap might lift the weight
from my eyes.



RACHEL

#133
10-11-10

Don’t be so clever, mocking and sarcastic
It’s all right once in awhile, but you are more
serious then that, and need to be taken more
seriously.

Not like FOX and its fanaticism, its idiocy.
You must not meet Those People on their level.
Have you never heard the dictum: “All publicity
is good publicity.” or its twin “Bad news is better

than silence, or its triplet: “As long as they’re
hearing about you, you’re winning.”
I wouldn’t have thought you were so naive,
but you are,

and have wasted endless hours of making fools
of their tarnish and guilt, but have given almost
no hours to publicizing, the good
people --

whose virtues need to be howled from the roof-
tops, so that the “good” about them is as
ubiquitous as the gaffs and idiocy
of the Republican fools.

You already have the audience.
With your silence, They will fade.
With your attention
the fine people

on the right side,will shimmer, glimmer
and glow. Jon Stewart is a great comedian.
You’re one of the best, most passionate
shapers of public opinion --

designed to succeed if you don’t get
carried away with your own cleverness,
mockery and sarcasm. Shimmer for the truth,
forget the shadow

cast by the lies. Set your own agenda
do not contribute to theirs. You’ve captured
the medium, now give us a message
worth hearing.



INGRATE

#134
10-13-10

A friend gave Shiva-purna a Cat Tree, a homemade

series of scratching platforms

When she left, he said to me:

Mothhheerrrrr

I don’t do little platforms.

C’est la vie.

So I gave it to my plants.

They thrive.



I WANT TO

#135
10-16/17/18-10

Imagine things being different.
Reverse the development of time,
Go on through these molecule,
Leave without a whimper.

Nobody ever wanted to do
What I wanted to do,
Go where I wanted to go.

“I have two friends and I
Hate both of them.
What should I do?” *
I was better off alone.

Until my body began to decay
For lack of contact,
For lack of exercise.

I want to imagine things
Being different.
But I love my solitude.

I’m willing to touch
Heaven with my fishhook,
But, God knows, I don’t
Want to take up residence.

I can imagine things being different.

I had a nosebleed this morning,
Almost bled to death,
At no time regretting
Impending departure.

And yet, here I still am,
Still thinking,
Things could be different
But they are not.
*from Dear Abby



BLAZE

#136
10-18-10

My cat has a white blaze on his tummy
Somewhere in the middle of his chest
The fur changes direction.
My hand lingers on the warmth
Until his claws flash
Then quickly withdraws.

I wouldn’t be able to grasp a
Dagger vigorously enough
To pierce my heart.
Nor would I want to
His white blaze is silkier than
down.



I FEEL LIKE

#137
10-21-10

I feel like a character in someone else’s novel.
For surely I would not have chosen for me, or
for anyone I invented, this perpetual itch, as if
my skin were made of pepper and all the days
of my life were salt rubbed into open wounds.



SHUTTING DOWN

#138
10-28/11-16-10

Shutting down civilization looks like this:
Lines of little stores, in the poorer sections,
go dark, pay-day loans, and mom, pop and brother
stores lose their lights, close their doors, Then uptown,
the bamboo store moves out, leaving blank windows,
Whole Foods stops supplying their reliable fruit and meat
tidbits breakfast. Their prices come down, at least to anyone
else’s normal, no more bits of expensive, exotic pastry.
The secondhand CD store where you could get some
Indian Ragas, goes dark. Even the leaves that were
brighter than could be believed go mud and dark
gold after a wind storm. Republican nut-jobs
get more and more rabid. The mid-term-
nobody-pays-attention-to-it election
becomes shriller than the peacock’s
cry, not counting the banks
and financial institutions
that fold their doors
and disappear,
all except
their
payment
of millions of dollars
in CEO compensation.
Pouf, they’re gone! And
the younger generation no
longer knows the difference
between “they’re” and “their”
or “your” and “you’re.” So, ding-
dong on public education.
Skyrocket tuition, so
only the rich
can know.
A short, sweet return to
feudalism: 5% vying to
own the world,
91%
homeless,
starving. Of interest
only
when the “civilized” world
has to worry about the spread of
cholera.



SHUTTING DOWN II

#139
10-29-10

I always had too much energy to settle down and just live.
It’s one of the reasons I always over ate, trying to damp
that energy down, stagnate myself so I could just live.

But even now as my energy revives, it doesn’t revive
to do the household chores. The repetitiveness of life
is hard to take. Do it today. And tomorrow. And

again the day after, round and round until you’re
dizzy from the merry-go-round of life, longing
to get some static play.



SHUTTING DOWN III

#140
10-31/11-18-10

“Ten years ago,” Ruth said, “It was shut down ten years ago.”
The news, startlingly, seems to close off the past.
Memories oozed up.

We were on the phone, I only had time to ask about The Lake,
the giant lake that Guru Mayi had dug, and the stones, the
almost-as-great-as-Stonehenge stones that had been nosed

into the earth. The large buildings, all the halls, the spacious
halls and the little. I had not realized how much the ashram
infiltrated my past, propped and supported my assumption

that it was all still there intact. I didn’t even know I had
such an assumption. The great yards, the gardens, the
workrooms, the woods, the lawn where I had lain

in the sunshine with Darcangelo -- reflected in his eye.
It took me a while to see that it was myself, I saw
reflected in his eye. The drama, the anguish, the

revisiting -- all in the past, all now stilled, all
stilled in the past, brought to a halt 10 years ago.
No sadness, just a deer-startled-in-the-headlights

look in my heart -- adjusting. Always, at 76,
I find myself adjusting to a world I do not
know, that has come to replace the world

I once knew. I think about 75 years, 3/4 of
a century -- and see the devastation wrought
on my own remembrance -- and do not

wonder at the whirlwind that is Time Past.
I remember meals, visits, yoga, donating
Gypsy Rose Lee’s 16mm Bolex to that

ashram. I remember a walk or two on the
road. But mostly, when I was there, I was
only there, trying sincerely to distort my own

inclinations into the mold of Siddha Yoga.
Not quite a comfortable fit. And yet the
love of the great silence when I first arrived

and no one spoke. Ten Years. Where have I
gone? What have I been doing? I can only
list the dead, I cannot name them.



SOMEDAY

#141
11-08-10

It’s one of those mornings when everything seems stuck,
like it’s coming in on a different runway, and I don’t
know where to look, I don’t know how to taxi, I don’t
know how to field the ball.

I know next to nothing but anger, white hot, screaming
anger. This slips, that tweaks, the other swings askew.
Why the fuck is my world made of such idiotically
random things?

I itch, the skin crawls, the ears smart, the head feels
creepy-crawly as with lice. The bridge of the nose
twitches as millions of martial ants of gossamer
strength march across it.

My mind has gone dense and I want to scream and
scratch my itchy, damp armpits, the upper turn of
the ear lobe, as well the lower third of the right side
skin of the back.

This is not suitable material for poetry, but I don’t
want to go through all this and have no one ever know.
It isn’t suffering exactly, but madness! bright, glowing,
unadulterated madness.

I announce that this is what I have gone through
to write my poems. I remember reading a bio of an
Indian saint or guru, and all the bodily torments he
went through while

his wife cooked his meals, washed his clothes, tended
him assiduously. Me? I wash my own clothes, make
my own meals, scream and scratch in isolation. If I am
becoming a saint,

so be it, but Holy Shiva! what a pain in the ass it is to
live jumping with itch and hot, spiky pains at the hair
line, and no hope to understand where it comes from
or where it’ll go

someday.



TALLEST

#142
11-10-10

freestanding mountain on the continent:
today
Mount Rainier is sliced from the world by a thin layer of clouds.
It floats like child’s cutout in the blue sky.
A little later:
Blue mountain floats off into blue sky.
It’s nearing the end of autumn
and the gold leaves are no longer illuminating my high cave.
The twigs are showing. They dance
in the wind -- high up knocking the branches about.
“What should I do now?” whispers the cloud of evolution.
I’ve come to you on my belly,
longing for food and compassion, and yet the mountain stands aloof
fading blue and white into the blue-white sky.



MY STUDIO

#143
11-10-10

It’s always a mess.
I live here.
It never statically rearranges itself
into a comfortably livable pattern
Because I live here.
I’m a mess
for I do not know what is going to happen next.
I don’t flutter about trying to hold back
the drifting of grains from
the basalt cliffs
unto the basalt plateau
This is not Eastern Washington.
The flood basalts came at one time.
they will not come again in my lifetime.

My studio rests secure on the top of a secure hill,
an old nunnery, built by those who knew how to build.
It hasn’t budged in 100 years,
and I complement it by doing the same.
Vivid light rakes through the stain-glass windows,
just down the hall.
In here:

papers drift -- like the sand grains.
Deep fissures
open up in the mind.
What I think about now is not what I will
be thinking about when I get to the end
of this plateau,
nor what I was thinking about when I began this journey.



CHARLES

#144
11-13-19

Charles disturbs my peace of mind
because he becomes so snotty and know-it-all
as we talk --
as if I haven’t thought of all (99%) of everything he says
99 years ago.

And yet he does lead me into avenues where I have
never been before, or at least not like now, with my glasses on.

My biggest questions (always unasked so far) is:
If that’s what makes a painting so great,
and I do that and have done it for years,
how come my art is not recognized as
great?

Or maybe it will be in future times. Maybe this is just
where Vermeer or Picasso or Matisse was
when he was thinking out portraitures or cubism or vermillion.

Or, not thinking,
just doing.

Painting. Discovering as he goes.
And, when done, he sets the painting aside
and does the next.

And only critics -- 100 years hence --
point out how fine and complex it all is;
and highly interpretable: This follows that and that that
and it all hangs together.

Nonetheless, at the time, it is just what he was doing between
breakfast and lunch, and only discovered after dinner:

“Oh my God! Isn’t that fabulous: It goes back. It comes forward.
That color, which has always receded, now has jumped right
into my room with me -- to be admired
and danced with.”



I LIVE

#145
11-13-10

I live in a warm house with stale air.
Only when I step on the concrete path
into the garden do I feel that rush of
cool air -- like diving into a clean pool
beneath a willow tree, or eating coffee
ice cream -- on a grey winter night. It
wakes me up.

It’s like emerging from the warmth
of the summer into a blast of winter
wind. Refreshing, expansive, I breathe
deeply and wonder why I lingered so
long in the suffocating warmth of the
womb, cozy, comforted, drugged,
almost asleep.



HIS BRAIN MY BRAIN

#146
11-14/18-10

No matter where my brain wanders
sooner or later, especially sooner, if I am
trying to understand something in the realm of creativity,
I run up against a concept I can’t understand,
or, more accurately, a concept I can’t picture,

for instances, where the notes of music dwell out there,
in the air. How to grab them, pinpoint them, how to know
where they might be found, and where I go to manipulate them.
And more recently, in talking with Charles, trying to grasp what he

seems to find so understandable -- i.e. what art is, what makes it good
what “advances” it along. How Serra of the free standing walls is such a
great artist, and enjoys such tremendous recognition when, it seems to me,
he recapitulates only the work of a “half” builder. He puts up things to no
purpose, stands them there, wants admiratiion, when, with any luck at all, they
might end up the underpinnings of a bit of architecture, a magnificently curved
piece of architecture, but without meaning until it does become architecture.
Which to me is much like the “trickery” which Charles seems to admire
in, say, a cubist painting. I see it, but essentially it makes me shrug --
“Of course one does that! -- goes through that on one’s way to
something else, making something...
But what?

Why stop there? why admire that curve blending into a reverse curve,
when the answer is probably no more profound than “Ooooh, its more
fun that way.”

But then you’ve stopped the world to admire this and not that. Why?
Both are just evanescent constructs of the brain as it passes through this, the
fun of making a stitch on a needlepoint, or that, putting one more brushstroke
among many on a painting.



I’M SO RATTLED

#147
11-14-10

I’m so rattled and distracted
and my right nostril hurts abominably
My grand kitten scratches his scratch box.
Ruth is just leaving New York, tomorrow.
Nancy is still housebound with her hammer toe.

I ruined my entire positive mood
by overindulging in Coffee Ice Cream.
I don’t even dare try another walk, as I got
very tired this morning, walking down to Greenlake
and bussing home.



JULIAN ASSANGE

#148
11-18-10

I chose this; what do I do next?
Arrested in Stockholm;
Having upset the most powerful
nation on earth.
Flee? Remain? Sit in jail?
I think
my peripatetic life doesn’t
allow it.

Almost everything that has to be said
has been said.
What is to be will be.
One gets so very tired,
not of living, so much,
as of the chat about it.



A COLD WIND DOWN MY BACK

#149
11-18-10

The day yawning before me.
Gap-toothed, blank,
Grey, relentlessly gray.

I can still hear/feel the rumble
of I-5 traffic, and now a plane
above -- or inside
the head.

Concentrate very hard and one
can imagine the traffic to be
the solar winds constantly blowing

as we turn into the wind.
Spinning, spinning, spinning.
Then a burst of sound, a howl,
a bird chirps, crows caw,
silence.




Copyright © 2010 through 2015 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jjhaag@gmail.com




THE 2010 POEMS

INDEX



149 -- A Cold Wind Down My Back, 11-18-10

101 -- American Dream, The, 08-15-10

136 -- Blaze, 10-18-10

95 -- Bus Ride, 07-23/8-17-10

144 -- Charles, 11-13-10

127 -- Egoless, 10-03/09/11-18-10

102 -- Equation, 08-15-10

84 -- Everything, 06-16/17/08-21-10

81 -- Filters, 06-14/16/08-21-10

146 -- His Brain My Brain, 11-14/18-10

99 -- Holy, The, 08-03/13-10

92 -- How Did It Happen, 07-07-10

137 -- I Feel Like, 10-21-10

145 -- I Live, 11-13-10

98 -- I'm Not Sure, 08-02/8-16/17/18/22-10

147 -- I'm So Rattled, 11-14-10

134 -- Ingrate, 10-13-10

82 -- I No Longer Notice, 06-16/08-21-10

135 -- I Want To, 10-16/17/18-10

148 -- Julian Assange, 11-18-10

83 -- Lucky Linda, 06-16-10

93 -- Mima Mounds, 07-11-10

90 -- Mind Erosion, 07-04/8-22-10

80 -- My Cat, 06-12/08-21-10

97 -- My Chapel, 07-26/8-16/17-10

143 -- My Studio, 11-10-10

116 -- One Night, 09-05/14-10

91 -- Outside World, The, 07-07/11/08-22-10

133 -- Rachel, 10-11-10

131 -- Raising The Sun On A Gray Day, 10-10-10

138 -- Shutting Down, 10-28/11-16-10

139 -- Shutting Down II, 10-29-10

140 -- Shutting Down III, 10-31/11-18-10

141 -- Someday, 11-08-10

126 -- Somewhere, 10-02-10

100 -- Static Fury, 08-12/13-10

142 -- Tallest, 11-10-10

132 -- 10-10-10, 10-10-10

118 -- Testament, The New, 09-21-10

119 -- Testament II, The New, 09-21-10

101 -- The American Dream, 08-15-10

120 -- 100 Fine Adjustments, 9-23/10-02-10

99 -- The Holy, 08-03/13-10

91 -- The Outside World, 07-07/11/08-22-10

130 -- The Way Things Are, 10-06-10

117 -- They Say:, 09-13/14-10

94 -- Transformation, 07-20/08-22-10

121 -- What Are You Going To Do About Death?, 09-24/10-02-10

115 -- While Watching, 09-05/14-10




RETURN TO THE 2010 POEMS


OTHER POEMS



BY JAN HAAG


ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS


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

HAAG'S BIO

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