Invisible Man Chronicles, continued

These consist of my attempts to account (to myself mostly) for the past 6 months of my somewhat turbulent season…

Read part 1 HERE

Kansas Ruins




“Dying seeds split towards open…”


            “I was about to ask you to speak to me stories of how we met,” she murmured as we waited for sleep, “I never tire of them, how they change as we go, all our perspectives…”

            And we begin.

            “How was it for you when I entered that kitchen?” I ask, for what occurred in me I am still – four months later – unable to give voice to, just as I was unable then.

            What I can say is that I entered anxious, uncertain, afraid and filled with grief – but knowing I must begin somewhere, try, introduce, extend myself, my life, beyond the coil I’d created of children, survival, and pain.

             An old yellow farmhouse replete with water pump, out-buildings, repurposed windmill-like sculptures, abandoned well, mannequin-legs lined windows, rust, piles of parts, cats and kittens, bunnies and snakes.  The home of two lively artists, the wife soon to be known to me as “her” best friend.  Corn and wheat fields with their fences and rows, tall prairie grasses, birds of prey, and heat and wind is what I stepped out of my car toward this April Kansas day.

            I carried a backpack of notebooks, pens and books, a small cooler with two wrapped bratwurst, a liter of vodka and TexSun grapefruit juice cans (my armory against strangers and surprises, perhaps against myself) toward the homestead’s screened-in porch.

            Opened the door to a greeting androgynous mannequin and a doorway to the kitchen.

             I turned the latch with an apologetic and nervous smile as if to express “None of you will know me and will probably wonder why I turned up here in your home.”  The lady of the house greeted me and quickly introduced me to a workspace full of smoking hams, tossing salads, and baking grains.  At the island stood…and here I blank out.

             My torso, from lowest throat through loin-bottom, floods with feeling, with absence, with amazement and hunger.  The first sheer drop of a roller coaster.  Catching air off the road.  Losing your hold on the side of a mountain.  What seemed so certain – a mountain of absence and grief, a path of sorrow, loss and regret, misplaced footing, and fright like a life-ending fall… or life-fulfilling…

             All I remember was a brain flushed with “who IS that creature?” – large glasses, Dukes of Hazard or Wild Western clothes – a button shirt tied just under the breasts, long and limby body, mass of hair the color of ripe dusty wheat – long like the Kansas horizon.  I nodded politely to each, walked through three rooms and out the front door into air.  I had lost all my breath for that journey.

             Confused and baffled by the overthrow of my reason and will to be a severe and grieving abandoned invisible man, I set off to examine the property, to photograph remnants, to see as far as I could see and let the wind blow this internal combustion away.

             Part of me knew I’d survived.  What undid me was turning out not to be mortal.  Perhaps I maintained the resilience and adaptation of a child with a little less flexibility and imagination, but the floods and droughts had not burned me fallow.  It frightened me.

             Eventually I conversed most of the evening away with “her” young, thoughtful boyfriend, engaged the generous and open artist-in-residence and made more plans to enjoy this group of hopeful, resourceful humans… while “she” moved about like the grass and the wind, the trees bending, swaying – each too large to comprehend, each farther than the eye knew how to see.

             One learns a landscape by living in and with it over time…

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Invisible Man Chronicles – Pt. 1

The times have been odd and I’ve been at pains to record them.  Here is a series I began recently in attempts to account for my life over the past 6 months or so… for what they’re worth.  In this current apparent “season” of ongoing stress related to surviving I am culling old notebooks for substance and will begin posting as I find time to type them. \

Kansas Ruins

Invisible Man Chronicles

            Six months ago, things were different.  I found myself unable to breathe, in England, windswept and drowned out in a kind of panicked grief – a she had proficiently evacuated my life, my home, a marriage… a business, a practice… The weather was cold and drizzly – melancholy, hibernatory, reflexive.  One might say: “Winter.”  My return would be to four children, now employment, no sustenance, no inner strength, little support and a home hardly emptied of her artifacts.  She had literally flown away.

Seasons in Kansas are cyclically exemplary.  Summer – hell-hot, a dry blowing flame, readings often surpassing 100.  Winter is a subzero freeze – bitter blizzards and veils of ice – both producing post-apocalyptic land.  Autumn, as is idealized, a gradual and colorful falling away – temperatures, foliage and field – a clear and moist sarcophagus.  And Spring.  Spring is explosive – blustery, redolent – a balmy turbulence of expansion and growth.

Some have suggested that landscapes, climates and geographies form the tangible shape to our thoughts and personalities and beliefs.  It makes many kinds of sense.

When we experience loss we consider to be great, we often find it inexplicable, and it may exhibit many qualities in common with fallow fields of Kansas Winters.  Clinging to cold and dark uncannily, as if depressive states were somehow desirable.  As if persisting in sorrow might validate what grew there before.  What cannot repeat (we think) – bumper crops and windfalls – the decay of which we experience as hopelessness, helplessness,  a ruin.  Plumbing gone bad, a roof worn away, the appliances failed.  Eyesight, blood pressures and flesh.  Things fall apart, the center cannot hold – wisely penned, and yet the Seasons.

When a wheat crop fails to a Summer’s drought and burn – there is thorough discoloration and a withering.  The rusty dun of a malpracticed rain dissolved by menacing sun seems a sign of things gone wrong, things never to be the same.  And it is so.  In some various version of “now” – growth is undone, production waylaid, and a pestilent edition of dying appears to have its way.  We cherish that in our bemoaning.  Misfortunes as notches on a belt that signify toward some later date: “We survived.”  “We survive.”

Certainly not forever, but perhaps another season.  Another cycling of the clock.  We sleep and we wake, and “every day begins the same.”  Every week and month and year.

That apparently demolished – scarred and furrowed stillborn field, however, hasn’t lost capacity, only a season’s fruit, a momentary harvest.

I shackled myself to determined grief.  Treating my earth with lyme.  Still its soil didn’t die.  Flowers and grasses were never erased, only unsung and silent, covered, eventually, by a type of ashen snow – very difficult to see.

The lesson I find ever-so-hard to incorporate is that the responsibility of flourishing or dearth lies not on the soil, the weather, or farmer – wind, sun, rain or seed – not even diligence, care or quality.  Rather, its growth or despoiling depends on the entire orchestra of factors.

What blooms for a term, given other conditions, even ever-so-slightly adjusted, may miserably deteriorate, may “fail to thrive” or “take.”  Human infants, ant colonies, milo crops and butterfly paths, wildlife populations and the microscopic advance of forests all share this cosmic weather – growth and decay depend on convergence.

A determined depression, a strange and celebrated joy – can be deranged by simple sounds or gestures, weathers or tastes.

Helplessness altered towards hope by some unexpected “yes.”

I was contacted to compose a responsive work for a miniscule fee in relation to a visiting artist.  I was given employment, extremely part-time it appeared – as a rural mail carrier ‘associate’ – filling in for regular carriers days off.  And yet they were SOMEthing, a shift in the breeze, a change in barometric pressures, percentages of precipitation, doors opened with smiles.

A bonfire had been planned at a farm to forge acquaintance with the visiting artist – two weeks of work from Brooklyn, NY.  In my selected sorrow I avoided meeting people or mingling in groups, even contacting more than a handful of friends (often reaching out and then canceling in efforts to conserve energy for survival).  Yet work (survival) was serious business and necessitated uncomfortable measure.  I went to the farm and the fire, and from there began a new history.  New season.  Dying seeds split toward open…(to be continued…)

a la Sympatico

This week marks (for me) an exciting new release from Explosions in the Sky and David Wingo – they’ve composed the soundtrack for the recent film Prince Avalanche (I’m also a fan of Paul Rudd).

PAMuralalthough I haven’t viewed the film yet (I fully intend to) – I was unable to wait to acquire the soundtrack, in fact it was a primary plus in returning to Kansas from the Rockies of Colorado (after the books – see prior post).

Beyond that – it would appear the film offers a sympathetic example of quest in another mode – and the soundtrack definitely does… So, entering a new semester, a season of changes and re-established routines – finding our way forward – quest – here is a sampling of the soundtrack: Prince Avalanche by Explosions in the Sky and David Wingo:



In our realm, Summer busies – schedules, rituals and rhythms deconstruct and a verve of freedom and compulsion arises in our children.  And there are vacations and visitors and spontaneous events.  The weather withers me, people are drawn to the outside, in all – Summer discomforts me.

And yet…this week expect the visits of my wife’s twin, her aunt, and a long-time friend and his family, AND we’ll celebrate these dear twins birthday with wild national hoopla (July 4 – precious to me because she entered the world, but I’m happy to have help in the celebrating at this level!).

What gathers and whispers…or shouts and plays…runs and claps…talks and snuggles…HOME…those precious to us, invaluable, incalculable,

Yesterday eve we were enjoying a particularly (abnormal) gentle, cool Kansas Summer eve on our porch and listening to the music of Keith Kenniff – placed here as a celebration of Summer’s affordances – dislocated time, gatherings, visitations and travels – favorites – family, friends, nests…

Keith Kenniff - Branches

Keith Kenniff – Branches

Deep and Wide in Kansas

meant to be read to the accompaniment of Ben Howard’s “Highland Drifting” which was playing as we flew

Safe in smooth salt from a Permian sea.  

  wide land preserve us.

Dizzying dreams.

The hum, the rumble, the altering sky.

things get stirred up

family dozing, off the horizon

you listen.  to nothing.  to all.

  a sense is made of comparisons with  sea

the winds.  the open.  the variable border between land and sky.  its permeable skin marked by  few trees.

and memory.

how i only hold names and not faces.

language whispers while images fade.

family.  friends.  relations.

at some time I was young.

now diffusing.

it goes on.

it is Spring.

we were there.

we are here

2 Exhibitions

I’m excited about 2 exhibitions occurring this month with which I am involved one way or another…

ReMades will bring multiple local artists together, hauling sundry objects and materials  to their homes and studios to begin remaking, recombining and incorporating these items into lasting objects and artifacts, which will then be exhibited throughout the Fall and Winter at Fisch Haus Studios’ tremendous gallery space, thus preserving their potential to enliven and enlighten our communities.

Opening Reception on Final Friday, November 30, from 7-10pm

Fisch Haus, 524 S. Commerce, Wichita

An exhibition of work by local artists using materials fromThe LUX renovation process that would have otherwise been lost.


And also my lovely amazing wife’s exhibition currently available at Mead’s Corner in Wichita KS

Friday evening, November 23, 6-9 pm there will be an artist’s reception with an artist’s talk by Holly Suzanne at 7:30!

Hope to see you there!

Address: 430 E. Douglas
Wichita,KS 67202
Hours: 8am-11pm Sun
7am-11pm Mon-Thu
7am-1am Fri
7am-1am Sat


(and support art and artists! – BUY IT!)

Inscribing a Now

Inscribing a Now


Today I just feel like writing.  I don’t have anything in particular to say, no specific emotion I am needing to express (that I know; or am aware of), simply a kind of quiet delight in our capacity to make language.  To fit words together, to knit our lives, to be.

Enormously unusual (I cannot stress that enough!) it is around 50 degrees and solidly overcast in Kansas this June 1st.  Not humid even, but sprinkling now and again, the kind of precipitation you could enter and be refreshed, but a long time in getting wet.  As if the sky is asking us to take it easy, to relax, be reprieved, just enjoy.

My children are reading and practicing stringed instruments; my wife is making sounds that are delicious as she struggles with a painting; my room is dark.  These are moments of peace, are unexpected, a relief, a protection, a comforted grief.

Language is a beautiful necessity, unnecessarily.  Like bodies and voices, flowers and food.  Like mountains.  Oh, necessity can be argued for each, but what’s the point?  The world is, and that’s enough, that’s what’s important.  It seems.  And what a hinge-word!  It means we’ll never know, and that’s not the point.  Is must be different from certainty.

Perhaps I’m engaging a kingdom of “trust”?

An as-if-ness that isn’t afraid?

How little I know.


So the ambling to no purpose again.  “Angling” is how I heard it in my mind.  Seems it must be so.  To language in leisure must be near to the impulse of finding to-do for a bored adolescent.  Dropping a line.  Seeing what bites.  Or even just nibbles.

Sprinkling rain.  Haphazard, unpatternable, occasions.  Delight.

No expectation, desire (that’s pressing).  Just a wandering way.

It evokes a wishing-well torso for me.  So many words in the world used in anxiety, in need.  So much language and gesture, expression and sign, mobilized to “get” or “secure;” “ensure” or “relieve.”

Not that, not right now, not need.  Just rest, an in-pleasuring, a reprieve.  Just an hello or a thanks.  A “notice that?” or an “indeed.”  An agreement of person and term, an almost “natural” weave.

Sounds and sense, tones and rhythms, raindrops tickling shingles and birds.  Tires whispering snare-drum waters, puddles triangle-tinkling away.

Hello.  These are words.  It feels good to shape them – a cursive-recursive flow.  To be real (enough), here (enough), to know (enough) to inscribe.  What a pleasure, a leisure, a joy.

Thank you, world, for that hour.

Swarm. Absorb. (the words, pt. 2)

Swarm.  Absorb.


metaphor:  the entire discography of Mark Kozelek (+ Sun Kil Moon, Red House Painters) / each version of Max Richter’s “Haunted Ocean” on dizzying random repeat – this is the setting:  atmosphere.  environment.  “context.”

metaphor:  the Kansas sky in storm

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            metaphor:  dealing with Ache.  (“being human”)

metaphor:  “Control without Hierarchy” by Deborah M. Gordon…on some page in a book called Swarm by Lucas Felzmann:

A flock of birds turning in the sky is doing something that people don’t know how to do: moving together, beautifully, without a leader or choreographer.  It’s a spectacular version of the collective behavior that goes on everywhere, in groups of animals and among cells within our bodies…Life in all its forms is messy, surprising, and complicated.  It’s difficult to imagine how any social group could be organized without any hierarchy.  We are used to hierarchy as the principle that organizes human institutions.  Think of companies, armies, governments, orchestras, schools, and clubs – without any person directing another, or having more power than another.  Although we are so accustomed to hierarchy that we think of it as necessary, it is rare in nature.”

think of language.

            what is scattered widely or uniquely ubiquitous – call it “swarm.”


I know I cannot gather to a grown pillar of I-ness, something you might recognize, could “identify.”

I know I cannot be where I am as long as “time” and “space” function effectively in my frames of reference…

I spread.

I swarm.


(the “human” world-situation)

            Leaving that aside.

How might one (dependent on two or more in order to, well, in order to simply “be”)

how might that one (singular mark – “/”) handle (manage? survive?) “its” Ache?

“To be or not to be, that IS the question”

(o wise god)

            So I split…up…

I canvas the sky, the context, the landscape, the sitz im leben, in fragments.

I approach, engage, invade the world like shot scattered from the anguished burst of a wombgun.




from “Swarm” by Lukas Felzmann

            Seminal-syllable words resound –

Let their pulse reverberate your bodies like hymns

God.  Void.  I.  You.  Song.  Life.  Death.  Love.  Real.  Being. (Not).

and so on…

all with no definition…


nowhere near

where we mean to be.



from Swarm by Lukas Felzmann

            In this situation then,

of too much

of grave luck

(all that hope and final destitution)

I swarm.  I absorb.

I decenter.  I explode.

I desist in pretense

in sense

I spread.

One mark….thousands of pixels….without hierarchy

(a swarm of cells)

(a flock of birds)

(a fish in school)

I swarm.

I absorb.

[ – I love you – ]

 -for my wife