Thursday, February 01, 2007


I want to sit in this room alone and write the world into oblivion. I want to walk out into a clean white space, a lifeless, geometrical tundra, unasking, uncompelling, void of expectations and behavioral schemes, of reeling, societal nausea, of all-consuming quests for ideals left behind once achieved. Or I want to be able to stop the animate and consider, minute by minute, what should go here, what dialogue should go there - oh this would solve that, and such-and-such would improve this-and-that - like a chess match, a poker game a book, a story, a tale; something I CAN TAKE TIME WITH! I can't keep up the way it is. I can't think fast enough for conversation. What comes out isn't optimal, or even satisfactory. If I could think about it I'd feel at ease, able to at least get by, but my improvisation doesn't seem to work anymore. For one thing, I've lost my sense of humor. I'll rack my brain trying to put someone in high spirits, and usually fail, or induce the hollow giggle. Sometimes I'm lucky and there's a real laugh, and that carries me for a day or two. I'll be on my toes, weightless and smiling, and I'll think I have the knack again, but at the next opportunity I prove myself flat, dull, vapid.

I'm lost in the crossfire, I don't know what's said or meant, or not meant - I can't understnad the words. The mouths are not forming proper language for me, and I miss it, I miss it, I miss the point, I can't seem to click over into comprehension. My brain floats absolutely still in a dead brine, and I walk away confused by my own failure to exist. I look at the boots of a Maine lobster fisherman, in a photograph, and wish I were in those boots, a simple, calloused worker, slinging traps off the end of the boat, cracking the jokes about the women in my brother's office building or the drunken fire chief or the new road that's inconveniencing everyone, comparing rubber fishing boot qualities for thirty minutes, or the ailments of age, or unfairness of taxes. I did that once. I lived among the bulls, the humpers, the mules of society, and I was one of them as fully as I could make myself, and I came to enjoy the simplicity of discussion, and I think I could joke much more effectively then...

But I change with the days. Tomorrow a three-minute transaction might haul me out of my plastic-blooded lethargy and leave me deposited on a crisp air of ridiculous joy, punching the air in victory, doing that private singing and mumbling, and eating, eating a lot.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"Theism is Not What God is; it is What Human Beings Have Decided That God is."

I came across Bishop John Shelby Spong about ten years ago when studying the integrative possibilities of a truly modern Christianity and Judaism. He was adamant, as I am, that we must immerse ourselves in the study of Judaism before we can truly understand Christianity the way it was meant to be revealed in the context of our lives. Over the centuries we have traveled far indeed from a pure, baggage-free form of the Christian faith. Ideas like...Jesus was a Jew...His mother, father, relatives, Disciples and everyone around him was Jewish and practiced Judaism...Jesus taught as a rabbi...Christianity did not exist when Jesus lived, and if it were not for the essential tenets of Judaism, not to mention the thousand-fold truths expressed in the Old Testament, Christianity would not today be a religion at all, much less a world religion...these ideas, or rather, facts, have been lost inside a sometimes isolationist modern Western Christianity. A Christianity that, let's face it, has persecuted Jews across the centuries.

Incredibly, though perhaps not surprisingly, millions of sincere, church-going Christians, either through simple ignorance or willful dismissal, do not acknowledge the debt Christianity owes to Judaism. They would even, so it seems, like to co-opt the Old Testament for themselves, as a Christian text, before heeding to the Judaism that shaped, and still shapes Christianity. The debt we owe to our Jewish brothers and sisters in God is a large, ongoing one, and Spong expressed that more eloquently than I ever could in a number of his published works.

But that is not the topic of this entry. Pardon the introductory tangent.

In the short essay below, Spong discusses the recent trend by name-brand, newly self-discovered "atheists" to dismiss religion/Christianity as a fairly useless and anachronistic enterprise. And they do so with some agility (an agility that is immersed, however, in a thicket of misperceptions). Typically, Spong startles us by agreeing with many of the charges mounted against organized religion. He then leads us toward a position of valuing religion using the very criticisms leveled against it. Spong's insightfulness and gift of seeing worth in arguments that may otherwise elicit a knee-jerk dismissal by many, never ceases to inspire me, and his challenges spur us on to a deeper exploration of whatever religio-spiritual path we may be treading. That he quotes Paul Tillich makes this piece ever more personal to me since my grandfather studied as a contemporary minister/intellectual with Tillich in Boston. Tillich's thoughts were read to me as a child, and they resonate here in Spong's words...

"Human Definitions of God Need Revision

I welcome the attention that serious atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are offering the world at this moment through their books. They are bringing what I regard as a deserved criticism and a necessary correction to what Christianity has become in our generation.

I, for one, have no desire to worship a God who is thought to favor the war in the Middle East in order to accomplish some obscure prediction found in the late first century book of Revelation, who suppresses women in the name of ancient patriarchy, or who is so deeply homophobic that oppressing homosexuals becomes the defining issue of church life.

Such an irrational, superstitious deity has no appeal to me and the attack of atheists against this kind of God is welcome. I also do not want to be told that the “true God” can be found either in the inerrancy of the Bible or in the infallibility of a Pope. Both are absurd religious claims designed not to discover truth but to enforce religious authority and conformity.

I believe, therefore, that atheism as a challenge to organized religion has a worthy vocation to fulfill. The real atheists are saying that the God they have encountered inside the life of the church is too small and too compromised to be God for their lives. If the church is dedicated to such an unbelievable, magical and miracle-working deity that it cannot admit to any genuine probing of the divine, then the atheist speaks a powerful truth.

Atheism, technically, does not mean a denial of the existence of God. It means literally a denial of the theistic definition of God. That is to say, theism is not what God is; it is what human beings have decided that God is. Human definitions of God can die without God dying. Theism means that we perceive of God as “a being, supernatural in power, dwelling somewhere external to this world (usually conceived of as above the sky), who periodically invades this world in miraculous ways.”

This is the God who split the Red Sea to rescue the chosen people and who invaded the world in the person of Jesus to rescue the fallen creation. This is also the deity displaced by Galileo, made impotent by Isaac Newton, ridiculed by Freud and relativized by Einstein.

The theological question that needs to be explored in both church and state is this: Can God be understood in some way other than through these infantile and tribal images? Can Jesus be seen in some way other than as the divinely appointed sacrificial victim who paid the price owed to God for our sinfulness? Because I believe that both God and Jesus are so much more than these distorting images suggest, I am confident that a dialogue with those who call themselves “atheists” would not only be good for the church but it would also allow deep and profound truth to emerge.

Among the issues for discussion between atheists and believers would be: What leads human beings to seek to define God in the first place? Is it the human experience of transcendence? Otherness? Divinity? How then do we conceptualize that experience? If the worship of our God leads us to justify our killing religious prejudices that have throughout history created such things as the Inquisition, the Crusades, religious wars and even the current ecclesiastical attack on homosexual persons, can this God really be anything other than a creature of our own making? Will we remain deluded enough to call this creature God? Since that is what the theistic God has so regularly given us, would not the world be better off without such a deity?

The choice between the theism of the church and the atheism of those who reject the God of the church is to me a sterile and lifeless choice. Such a meeting between believers and atheists might lead us to examine what Paul Tillich called “the God beyond the gods of men and women.” If believers cannot have that conversation because it compromises their God definition, then that is a tip-off that the God they serve is in fact an idol and atheism is always a proper response to idolatry."

photo found at

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Excerpt from "Threats of Opposite"

all words copyright Bill Nathan, "Threats of Opposite", a book published by SINK Press, San Francisco, 1989, ISBN 0-9623806-1-X

The soft world is between rocks.

- Lyn Hejinian

This list is experience provided by your local fire department:

The successful outcome of crime is poverty in your pocket.
The world pattern generalizes instructions for walking the legs.
The increase of physical breakdown starts with insomnia.
The flagellate, in this sense, remains intact, with dances.
The great glad marriage of the mystical and the economic.
The less fortunate suffer through quiet unvoidable contracts.
The consent must write true before relief is acquired.
The tiny cells divide in unawareness of hi-tech advertising.
The trains are on time, the conductor swoons, the taxis warm.
The lesson of Vietnam is a confusion of plaintiff.
The gown is dazzling, dear, an epiphany, beat of tabla.
The fact that no sexual contact is ignored: concept to retain?
The developmental POV insists upon common stupidities.
The jewels - around the next block - there's a key -under a vase.

The young man admitted his beloved guru into the canned food pantry. The guru was partially hip, and wept with a spiritually midwestern humor...


growing by exhibit
growing by fierce
growing by house
growing by proof
growing by command
growing by pueblo
growing by pigment
growing by seed
growing by council
growing by yellow
growing by nonsense
growing by separate
growing by tune
growing by loan
growing by region
growing by cells
growing by warps
growing by salmon
growing by listening
growing by holiness

A doughnut for Uncle who wept
& for those who keep spinning out of their species -
they were the genuine ones who allowed for the motif
of a rounded-off crayon, a young wo/man's spirit of play,
& maybe you have a few different conventions than I do
but I've got a vertical side
I've got some broken feet with which to beg.
I mean for sakes alive, the specimin
is meant for your mouth, though the verbal rule is this:
believe in the inclinations of a child.
Out of Earth, out of terrain,
we find ourselves on another flat, hoeing on squares of
topsoil stuck together with incense.
Listen to me: the equivalent of (hidden Christian caves: Kaymakli - Nevsehir - Turkey; a thousand leather-wrapped documents hidden in narrow passages 6 levels below the water)

The finger bones bleed
the prayer is lifted
the heart shakes in undoubting rhythm...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Self Inventory

There is a region with loose skin and spite,
a cold belly of rocks, hells and ices.

There is a region of mute paralysis, implacable force nailing
me to a mood, a view, a spot, a frame.

There is a region forewarning violence, near-mayhem,
blood and blood and heat.

There is a region buttery, its ever rounding edges
slicking into my mind, a private fog.

There is a region unperturbed by circumstance, a spear
launched high into the vacuum of space.

There is a region of memory that signals to me,
a faint hand waving from behind an oak,
on the chalkhill, across the lapsed roadway.

There is a region for the clown, a whirling noisemaker
safe with the giggling universe, a smile
more fearless than a shoreline or moon.

There is a region done with this world, its relieved
embodiment drifting above the cities,
above the continents, sighing and waving
its absolute goodbyes.

There is a region awash with the fume of love's outrageous
existence, the ever ready metamorphosis.

There is a region I can only imagine to understand,
my thought never gaining its lover.

There is a region to understand without thought
or imagination, to feel silently mortal.

There is a region which shuns region (who am I?)
which eludes name, which radiates the anonymous
and is everywhere, unnoticed.

And there is a regionless region which is what is
and sounds
only like itself forever in all measures and all
fathoms of light and darkness, sleep and awakeness,
time and end of time, the infinite turns
of the infinite body, rising and falling
like waves and starlight.

Copyright Bill Nathan, 1997
Winner, Butterfly Chronicles Contest, Sausalito, CA


All words copyright Bill Nathan, "Generator 4",
Ohio, 1990


I could have predicted that sensation.
A clicked tongue and drinks passed out.
Coinciding with the Visitor
When s/he stands, when s/he breathes
is a memory in the arty rain.
Offend quick with my busy mouth
stuck out the window, something through
the open window, I hear something
then shut it out.
I am allergic to never finishing.
Anticipates your exposed attitude/audition.
Your custom behavior for each acquaintance.
Then you swell up for a moment.
I want to stand aside, refrain from the hunt
which passes judgment.



To that glimpse of convict who died on
his own spear, we could have been appealing to peace.
Us cuddling for pledge points & he becomes the
recognized one, like a pulsebeat, an accomplice,
relationships borne from the low growl of debates,
pit-gas hissing & vexing in metropolitan vortices,
My name releases the speed of mustangs.
Thank you for never gathering on my account,
for I have developed a lovely amnesia,
and I am madly in love with the search for taboo.
When horizontal I lose my earth-bound POV,
a charming space of layers I get increasingly
stuck in.



Sits the tea
Silts the tea
drifting down
halfway down

The wind blows
the ambition
site back

I copy out the details



I was going to execute a plan this time.
The old decomposing ideas made me age it seems.
The intention is still to write the silent conversation.
Whether or not, I can't help but be moved.
As the summers, the winters, as they back up,
the pungent moments dim and drift away, encurling.
This, I think, is the "insatiable hole" in conversation.
A greater potential wrought by breaking
mentally down.
The garland that you wrapped has a timeless dividend.
And the word strikes the rubble and disappears.
And the dark wave swallows the oar;
my sun, collapsing in the iron dunes.



I am no more than the casual phrase.
All roads to me are beaten & battened.
I am a tower of clattering work,
built above a buried vein
of unstable remnants.
Disinterested on a haycock summer afternoon.
Unsayable passion frames my private journalism.
Questions which trouble cultivate my most
valued skin.
Beyond the occasional it is plain that I have
remarkably thinner, here & there translucent,
vulnerable - there leadened, kindness down
an asphalt culvert.
THEN: every child in her rhythmical swing knows


end of the universe.


Cease from my own despite what they say they die.
Unit's pretty belly--a way were too much
the throwing, and mingle lost below whole land relate
pain eek love. Scrap-heap academics breathing, tree of
suppose, one wink I feel a little censure, a great great finger.

Now lost pill mouth time worth candy way cramp.

Three years old error-stain, the cost of ocean faces--
further oil elbows, steak treading, finding me and paper
under the bare silk jingo of fire. As skin made unfortunate
gains, hull couldn't kinder the chance quartz
when the law money goes.

Cue I lift scratch woods flat mis-make anemic scream
last time for any how we'd spell right forever metaphysic
seems so!
If the wombs and I can't hold on to up'n something
clauses, when to see nominal in maw darkness my mother
is arrive - we play the khaki room while one asked her.
Pearl - talc - fat down anger I slapped content...trash cower
substitute knife jabs out a dusty hand -
the crap time I cry I wipe - break fleshy on absent walls
non-graduate, a bush I can't gobble loathsome and fit.
You sat up making heartburn.
In your glands yawn was a window sound out drug smell,
"A future dismal asking destruction." Later you I'm high
pitched tone hoary thinking gems, warning nails in the way,
soaking tissue in the hole
like-like lemon tree quick world fume foray
of your humiliate, ate when you're enabled.
Suffuse boat/spooky OK blue drifting trampoline
if any time I was what was leery - run con truth together
lever any battler unleashing wailing - limbs in prisms,
muscles emerge, pock.
Ants scrimmage empires, potato ferment or
common authors conceive. Watch for her my frenetic
memo. Blush writing in a shack smitten bosom.
Like boo and growing cymbals in the in-stage,
a psychiatrist every other week what I dervish I glance
rewind my strings, poise my hair, wash your cheese melt.
Whatever clarion his her attention is characteristic
slipping - whetly they could think of a similar cake joke.
Once we positive off, embarrassed parents abandon odd young
says. And boxed myself in your forgot, and for distal hymn
what weapon music sound makes me cut?
Crisp tissue sperm template scold the quiet birdie poo.
another done gutter embargo recollection.
alone, sentinel, pug shimmer, it's an aim.
End my sweet hobble of catching bed custody
or nothing looks so much like a glottis,
tow she me nose alone, why can allergic trellis
svelte desecrate? Again and skank pen I wrote the
cruel act orchestra.
God understatement.
Too forgotten philosophy thumb socialism fits before free underground

black or any sane dismantles my engine as havoc is brought ashame between smokestacks - musician's hill, betel dance, factorals, lying in his many pants tell it like angora whims. Low budget living fad cum proper nether torment is delight ridiculous. Wonderful crescendo trap, my bill features his still cold head handy dead number - the air in the ulcer, a soft crime, where you shut up and others multiply with sticky thinking, he's non amorphous, down and salty, bleaches - or rather cannot flaw old fat man walking the rattle bug page times five; one hundred victims of learning. Rho future my tradition's crying this religion, a small hot paint on other window tempo, a sometimes oblige comic odor or urine-stitched blanket fummer sunflower drama pig heads wash away - gold. Again a narrator is stag too ad-lib for alive, and us is ours to choose through when we profess. The number saves us soprano shine visitor rupture, head full of trespassing, jolly minutes priming former product, maybe if tinsel mood without certain movements indicative like extra pitch and mallow in fierceness.

Waxes skull survival information eye terrific a bit.

Rapid to baptize.

In whichever ritual box robber goes a phrase, alma mater maturity blend and bleed. The log cut knees too votary with impolite patio as there, above a green car was aerial horses holding swim in the sour milk mouth
- affector a head covenant chrysalis -
that deed he did. Ump in our flange, now really, even circled squire/screen fight the pucky snail, a warp of your chest - fed curd for solid pietism shod in our inner sullen folly crisp adolescent by compunction: a vinyl anaglyptic turned goat: like leaders produce chubby to themselves, and choke. I wait sopping displays zero darling in the subway
imp window
all disinterest
A neck I scarred trembling blunt grace mo' ice -luck and puppy emulations barb floating like a dike harp,
and he ohh-ahh what what is montage do to crime again.


Bicker the distant rock by road.
Belay such as maybe we've missed it hinder - self-communing these years I twin screw myself imagination -aeronaut's inner self-image art wart rhythm per nook.
Something's hidden I suppose and re-examined.
Only blitzen squab martyr retching up rebel snow me always.
Bouquet air action move all arrogant breath.
Or I could cover his cobbler strange sap imperfect in around eat elliptic overstay; one cold morning I feigned.
So what, a package, I said, quill-driven CD plus me and my bath mat.
Comely roast so tattle, can i cyclone around your bocks a bit?

I am crying acrylic in the rain.

Tedium again.

When that crave was my ink alone,
my fucking one of another,
losing room.

- Remigrated hands and buttocks - ever any endurance recalls cheese,
sleep sweaty, forever lifting, diarize in iodine.
Posthumous ululate indestructible leapyear flat.
Tend mind crabby rim takes a peep, flooded.
Primate Visine.
An otherwise cement principle to grow the city.
Druthers at twenty, but scram, arrest them in red.
I like them slick fit gas ploys.
Further mired wanton homage if you punish and wallop.
Flexible tight worry, you wear your worry.
You lonsesome twist of knot you.
Unruly riptide - crowded phone, my taming is sudden.
Bells went dead when you struck them.
Cologne grass sometimes whines where we go.
"Im alone, you're free."
Deform the throat.
Another one pops up about itself a medulla of scraping.
Seem to consume, bridge back, quaking, scrawling on windows.
Proper hell drapes bologna stink swelter fly.
Sort of a dumbek vocation for me.
Focal corona near paint of white jazz Ajax corners.
Sticks and night, a covetous beast, more beast in the hoochie mama.
Flushed and hilarious bile.
Like they could, this reddit.
In my scalp - myself used where that sortie mushroom grows.
Bass profundo, thirsty wish.
I would have sheltered out this chilly frontier.
Complete, listenable quiet.
Complete when they could think of
much new mutiny.

All words copyright Bill Nathan, "SINK" magazine, San Francisco, 1988
Image of the writer by Heather Graef (

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The World of Erosion, Section One

all sections copyright Bill Nathan, "V and Arc #5", Melbourne, Australia, 1993



like bouncing on the bed, happy pain, worry, sing oh hi oh, right for you, strangers live next to me, nice to me, close to them, hey the leather, what it's like...Sound Smell, the drawing of the couple positioned esoterically, as they call it, disappointed now,

stop, it hurts, stop and

such as what's funny? besides history. can't find history? dogs ate it.

(((thursday morning)))


then I came unglued.

a moment of instruction, forcing my King out, & to me you look too difficult for me to - going this way to your house, going to find the warm gusts
keep it up just keep it going, nose up. I'm trying to go toward sleep. head vibrates on the window. we are not the ones we remember used to being. we are not walking on air but

as a handful of amorphous ash, suspended, I can remember,
collision, it was here, ah just just here the, speed I'm going, does it
frighten your idea of me? I'm in the blue, a hundred yards, lost the channel
between my ears, trying to see that welcoming light. there, I think I am asleep again.
am I the subject the dream is searching for?
repetitive chalk marks on the cement, angry bruises, a wish to go - can't control these
knobs. they come from the
back room. trying on knobs.
I place my tongue on the twilight, press into it,
it seems to run up the hinges of the closet door, time to
PUT the PHOTOGRAPHS AWAY, you're getting too high, high on the swing, all alone up there,
alongside Her & her HAIRDOO
scattered freight of personhood, garbage collector in his terrible crouch...

they're convincing me that something is definitely going on behind my back.

coughing, shifting, rippling along under the floorboards.

hollowing. leaving space

for the others.

The World of Erosion, Section Two


"coming he wants to render himself invisible - "
back a ways under green weight I had overheard steel urban thunder;
dogs that tip-toe and try - maybe repeat after me, the pronouns, prepositions, o your cendelabra, so she she, a way to mix the wet sand over my forearms, we're to wait for the tide to weep in, greater ones we might not have imagined as mothers, I head it but the passion is clayed...

coldly smiling, you know


number one on the list,

your wet sand cracks off,

it is evening.

it tends to roll out very uniformly, necks with no stitches, physical beauty, self-romance.
the busses come breathing along with a lung of engine. storm. water wind come go. your option, to work at sleep, at night, something...fell.
such professional limits you set I can't imagine to know you at all, and there is fright, of the people, of the words, saying the sentences, presenting the face -
another option, that onion face, but anonymous...look, look, what will the fool find, burning his eyes?

The World of Erosion, Section Three


Defective America. Just there, over the brown hedges into the rumpus room

cacti, dear, their called cacti. TV, do I dare fall into it?
shells for hands
holding themselves up by the wrists
this place isn't ready for intelligence

We just seem to marbelize with age.


adjust heaven enough to let me believe it.

later in the bathroom the bad acts happen
and the money, cheese, good rate for nurses, incapacitation, that's for me, in that, it is functioning - they're building the condo on my big toe - fast and bulbous mechanisms

can barely, they, it's like, barely practicing the way to read five feet away, squinting a lot...

so-called ogre in the cabbage stew, witico whackito, the cement between the geraniums -
early service for young victims, display your program, memorize some raindrops...

The World of Erosion, Section Four


seance ~ alquemie ~ whorls ~ darkening

The World of Erosion, Section Five


there is a place they sell items people shed off their backs, and someone's
world is

going to die there... hawk trills skeet shot
crack piety's fault the buckshot came out fast,

the sky in half. COME IN CLOSER FATHER, say anything but
stop. "give me a dime I want to see it," the easy land passing by, wuthering,
forget it, we were too young, we bore discussion like church clothes

"who are you there?" come in please holding the end of your arm with your hand as it pulls itself out of the satin pillowcase, those were the days, when

Patios. Gave. Me. Sudden. Headaches.

stick and bag, beating across the rocky crop, animals, foraging, to rise folding clapping,
holding my ears the bullet went and "I can hardly hear you-" "undo the chains"
clear night, isn't it, Henri? walk on the right side, dear, the mosquitoes won't catch you
running and laughing grandfather has bees there grandmother goes to where they make boats are we inside? too close, spatial faux pas: a few things going

noting it (check it) off
confuse them with stereo hookup a while
wise feet wait for nature to move, I can't see you don't fa fade away
from me again I'm sweating got to find her take it running please
stop moving breaking me up
someone died again
or, why don't we get rid of these men finally?

I'm behind the public's back, watching I trip and cut away, the influence slakes
me electricity in the
cloud over the highway - when I'm there I hear the sterile V-shape, airship of identity-less souls - get to them, can't, get to sleep, the room, receding, it's, in my head I, think it's the charcoal sketch over the urn over the bed, I can't open my eyes

light is the puzzle

The World of Erosion, Section Six


bitter voice in the room of the fog with the Big Band vocalists. losing it myself, see the highest, highest renders, escape through the steels, calling fire from the dusk surface of seas,
the complex, famous faces, sexual crowding,

ships of we, mixing sex: mobilize these.
where the point was I? hurt on the floor, my back grinds when I twist, the vengeful
landscape, tender of flowers, she kicks, the door, kicks it in, I seem to recall the guilt,
shiny white teeth snapping off the gums,
the door the wood the glass the door

get your sweater the sunset is always


the spirit, behind the curtain, my best friend
was there I watched her pulling up her dress I
was four I fell down then

something of the talk of the flexible GINGKOS!
we tended the goat's eyes - Becca, Dora - (ghosts) as they healed from viral cattle tears, washing them when we're tired, washing off the last sweat from the last mountain...
heat heave
lungs, gallons, one, hand, cup, lift, lip, white, stone, skin

The World of Erosion, Section Seven


(mixture middle mixture river sound river round reaper - )

cranes, leaning in the wind, in a falling environment of steel...
I'm so ashamed, the time I've been away, time being all debris, buried to my mouth in the hole, dig out under earth buildings. I cried. What was it? time, time to school myself back, back to the remedial place...
I dread that which I amounted to, nothing, no say no thing no is the time for country and waking, no streets, why there is the strangest sound from my window - hair licked down to big god beneath the boards, your god, identical to mine, creatures scatter the lawn over - thinking of

the the tinkering, erecting, plow along, razing -

out of the skin fold.

on a short, opposite bank, spill on the shore line...
masqueraders primitive locomotion, some ritual I did
on the cobblestones,
displying my symptoms, my syllables, envious of numbers, patterns

step on the backbone factory,
mad verse in staccato blasts -

amnesty for the habitually clogged, bent pollex, mighty bond...
aww...a related sham, in a circle, complaining, but when, when I began to remember, small, flexible hypodermics, I turn slack-minded, rubber-boned,
to moon hounds I go, chanting from my top heavy torso -
back of my skull gets rapped, the floor ascends...


More they occasion groping for themselves than ourselves
cocoon under stretch layer, warm, protect
dragging against my hands, stone of the wilting kills
a moving eremite upward woe motion to his sealed steel
agile, always sleeping through his body
hanging by the heels, quick trips into acute time
from an ever boring simmer to some white wasted history
second crisp night climax, sour, tart bomb,
two death breasts our labeled bygone onyx skin
and I fit in upright, an electric web-backed lotus
a packed meditation rewound resumed to burn
passing with deep-swimming limbs, someone's
preparatory animal
a wheezing hour careful on the droplet's elastic edge
a trump night does break: the suds of landscape
doctor ripe is ready
dramatic, the turfy bread eaten surly like a broken language
of teeth, waits from vision's vacuum, the past lightless food
missed, less sitting, waiting; time has no bearing, my
yellow winds obese or carefree - new stockings by pink cuneiform
scream into two hands toward activity's late shock,
arms sucking the upside-down photographs
what mercies of the strap, and we knew it was water, entering,
switching, snapping, a tap and he flutters away;
delight too long to understand.

copyright Bill Nathan, "AERIAL #3", Washington, D.C., 1987

On "Threats of Opposite" & "Misnaming is Not a Laughing Matter"

Bruce Andrews' (L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E co-founder. reflections on my book-length long poem, "Threats of Opposite", published by SINK Press, San Francisco, 1989, & "Misnaming..." pub. in WRITING 22, Spring 1989, and in which Andrews' "Vertebrae" also appeared.

October 89

Dear Bill

Thanks for being in touch -
& for sending yr bk - also in hand piece in WRITING 22 - 'as far as boom boom..." - clearer, less cluttered by contrary intentions, image, description, etc. - so syntax steers/shows through better but rhythmic overall casting gets harder - (& units that work as 'images' do so before they're built up into obvious send-offs for such images) - hip & streetwise, appreciated book.

The elusive intrigues - less obvious image or story-line 'nanation' whisps (punked up noir "This was a test" - zero degree but of ... a graspable world - / Song might make for concision more ? / Syntactical invention - where?
vs. surrealist image-battering [vs. Zuk]

"brown diaphragm of confession" -
"that the property of human beings" ...eulogy - yeah -

Cloning was first done with plants, laboratory animals - Appreciate your dedication
or is it a "productiveness by way of decomp" - or awkwd ganulous ("hamburger + Locke") - OR - simplify & center target the culture; sometimes the cultural bouillibasse (sp) is a gas. "Uncle - thinghood" etc. [Send to Hannah Weiner] or - the Other vs. the Obvious, 'genre' needless, psychodrama, surrealism - "With practice we can admire emergencies": at all levels, from 'the sign' (or below) to hegemony of Capital and Powerism. Images are prose.] Notes

Yrs, Bruce

[written in upper left corner]

Even the unsayable has its nest sham trinket
Stratified stackings substantiate a pause
Involuntary helping the research pretty well
Flowerbeds of political campaigns, champagne
Escapades examining me, breeding hens under pseudonym


what has happened is occurring, and I have some difficulty in understanding single words, strings of single words in flat prostration, who caused them, where, departure place, locomotive verbal power, embalmed definition of words known, these strikings, blows, heated cold swaying alteration, I am sliding, on a road sliding, blood-streaked bearings, but, ailments, the disfigurements of my attempt, I understand aggression in my fists, quiet now, and blind, prostrate too, the aggression which disembodies the turned-on world, desolidified places to move in and to move out of, dully, inch-moving, a pretense of response, a motionless inhuman inflexibility, slaps on myself, a delight in the black sand shores of insectile displeasure, I'm sent to the edge, just anyone, just send anyone, help, I am water sand rock cloth bark tar steel, carried by the random currents of each material, mental parentheses constitute my regular thought, the dead is a page's end, again and again, these are the evenings, the mummified arrests, the flood in wait, next day, annoyances become possibilities suspended in the glass of magnification, uncritical, bugs, oddness of utterly physical suspension, rhythms too fast to conceive, I, the hybrid, the shut closet, urges now, a hurry in my throat for something I cannot ever utter, fragments ascending, grasping at outbursts, the next instant, collapse, negation of ascension, I sit as a deformed jumble, a large river of liberation flowing past beyond the effort of a single reach, the bit by bit upward friction awakened from reminiscences, pangs as I lie stretched out, it is secret, its center, disasters of ambivalence, pleasure rakes me, slashed love, the window space, every protection abdicating, ejaculations dispensing nothing, the nausea of nature, perversion, slavery and hot decomposition.

(ten feet, just an angle of measurement, 80 degrees, the chair swivels releasing gravity from my bones, an odd atmospheric habit, the neck, incorrectly tuned, squeals, and I watch much of what is upward, soundings, elephantine footsteps in black, broom-sweepings, clay across cement, what or who, is this a pattern to be , to continue to be, to be my own question, my hermetic event, never discerned, back to it, mine, the game, the o channel, a devil's voice tickles my ear across an angle of ten feet, switching to an unmotivated intention, my brainstem wriggles, the colon spasms, the chair disinvents itself in a series of shrivels, I collapse, I feel my hair & watts webbing through my scalp, what's this, tone or dispersion, frequency or collection, the casting off of a cathode war, I, the electrified, inebriated matrix, I cannot think in this way, because this is not my own venture, there are ones similarly entuned coordinately mindful of the vicious circle, error, erasure, try the mindless road where a draft of stale dough lulls even those cornered by mandatory suicide, it leavens into an invertebration, a brown can, this, my nourishment, I have enough when I have had all of it, don't let me in on the plan, give me the substance, allow me the time, plug the thing in and in and continuing in, my fingernails cut themselves, my hair shortens as I dream, there is a color vacuum, a reversal of equilibrium, and what, what I must do, to be hungry, hungry enough, enough to continue, the forest, the silver and soft blackened forest, beating the water, the tone gray water with a flat palm, I have a hollow hand, that is a surprise, I have a sooty, humid draft running through, where's some purchase, or to purchase, the impressions on display may cause anesthesia, disinitiate your fortune, do not look, there, do not enter, there, keep them out of the way, I have no time to divert, no desire to speak, I am off, in pitiless opposition, quelled by the color-blind transmissions, rays of the forlorn image, the very saddest gray sunrise you may ever witness, on a duo-tone beach, watching the dead bodies maneuver in the washout, spear in my iris, download, download the field of vision doctor, I see no wet or bloody organs twitching in red emergency, I exit at the toes, into the carpet where below men grumble and jab the stucco when I capsize in chronic, midnight regularity, in position, rested, outside a vintage rain on an antique earth, this my etiolated kingdom, the night moves and wanes and the days draw ash and meticulously bleach out, that is, with my jet and glassy breath)

copyright Bill Nathan, "TALISMAN: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics", New Jersey, 1992;
original illustration by Cooper Nathan

Optoelectric Television Hair

This won't change anything.

One would sneeze.

Honey bunches of oats.

To walk humbly with God.

Thank you m'lady.

Boulders, canals, windmills and people on skates.

We have a discussion period.

Football baby.

Is that name familiar? To you?

Lashed out of camp.

The Dogs they like to bark and bite for God doth made them so.

I'd thrash her.

It does not match your natural strength curve.

Now move in and shake hands.

So if you're so good at knowing all the answers on Monday morning.

Time runs out.

Preserving our TV heritage.

Painful crippling hair deformity.

Hair trigger? Yep, you bet.

Yeah, and him with it. Oh no. Oh yeah.

Obstetrics & gynecology update. Infant morbidity.

Home inter-uterine monitoring.

Just get it over with.

Love staring into the stars.

Brute force. All over Leningrad.

Ahora se ahora.

Tattooing today hosted by Peter Fonda. Dried tattooed heads.

Specifically on order.

I can't. I can't. Latin Quarter was the best.

Hip hop primary care physician.

There is an answer.

To live the American Dream.

Others living the Mogadishu dream.

A word of caution for 12 million Americans.

Miracle ear clarifier.

The people were so hype.

All you in labor.

If you ain't quit you sins you ain't never saw Him.

The Baptizer.

Half priced. The Beauty Club. Color kits.

Personalized to what you like.

The infamous grassy knoll. 45 minutes of fast tornado action.

Introducing speed peeler.

It's all I've ever done.

The mall event.

Get it done today.

Some definite action will occur.

My 40th birthday is coming up.

A little bit of time each day.

Getting your veins flowing with your blood is very very important.

The problem is where one wants to dominate the other.

6 sisters, no brothers.

Sportsticker survey.

What about our presentation?

I can tell you for a fact it still exists.

That's part of my...I don't usage, I mean.

The latest, safest technique.

He was a real con. Enormous talent.

Find the right financing!

Story at 11.

Over the years.

A padded costume.


A shrink.

The poem we learned.

The secret handshake.

Makes it all the more believable.

A cabin by the lake.

Enable you to make the feeling of such a technique.

A 40 dollar value, absolutely free.

Little Elaine Foster.

Trials on lab animals have proven successful.

One is right for you.

Medicine. That really helped.

Satisfied you inner voice.

Top-quality human hair.

A 90's fashion.

Carve the name of my squire on your shinbone, daddy.

Take everything else off the air.

Artistic growth. Next.

You woe white pants.

Illegal golf balls invade Cleveland.

The whole dashboard was incongruous.

Will this take very long?

Oregon's got its work cut out for it tonight.

Heavens to Betsy.

I have earwigs bigger than this patio.

Somebody paid a price, laid down his life, followed the truth,

Preached the truth.

Infectious, was it.

A not so typical story.

A real tear.

A handsome feller indeed.

The downtrodden.

Next morning.


A murder is announced.

Sulpherous mud.

I've rarely tasted such primal, illicit condiments.

Nervous energy changes things.

Illustration by Jon Burgerman (

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fragments from a Notebook

A coastline is infinitely long. Its practical length depends upon the length of your ruler. With a one millimeter ruler you could spend your entire life measuing the coastline of California, taking in each rock and pebble and notch of algae. With a 10-foot ruler one could measure it much quicker, but you would miss an enormous amount of detail, and so on with larger and larger rulers. As the scale of measurement gets smaller, the measured length of a coastline (object, emotion, idea) rises without limit. This is why the deeper we proble into something, the more questions about it arise.

The more we dissect the minutea of human behavior, the more complex and unfathomable it seems.

The closer we inspect a psychological process, through stricter and stricter experimental methods, the more baffling and complex the process is seen to become. Like the layers of an onion, we peel off discovery after discovery, only to hold the very center, which then falls apart, and we find ourselves tasked with putting the onion back together in order to uncover the 'final' truth, but alas, there is none.

There are multitudes of practical truths which are true for their scale. This is how we can "apply" truth to solve problems, but only those problems existing on that scale. We cannot correct a flaw in the smoothness of a piece of steel with a wrench, but we can successfully bolt that piece of steel into place on the machine where it belongs.

"Universal truths" are true only in as far as we can see the universe. The universe we percieve is a finite one, yet it affects us deeply. The universe we can imagine is infinite, yet it affects us less dramatically. Perhaps there is a way to perceive more of the infinite, thereby viscerally experiencing more of what is truly "universal." Maybe this is through the realization and exploraion of fractionally perceptive dimension. If we knew that there is a real process by which "more reality" (not an "alternate" or spiritual reality) can be glimpsed, we can then investigate it without great, illogical leaps of faith. What if the "spiritual" is just "more reality" waiting to be unearthed? What if genius leaps of insight are just accidental mental excursions into "more reality"? What if paranormal mental events are just fingers blindly poking into "more reality"? "More reality" may just be another scale of coastline.

And another scale of coastline leads to...another coastline! The same coastline can exist as many coastlines at the same time, because after a certain depth of excursion, the former coastline fades completely from perception.

Regards entropy:

When irregularities become more frequent, on a human time scale, that is when entropy is most obvious.(this irregularity may be a momentary blip on another time scale; say, that of the history of the planet, or an eternity on the time scale of the life of an earthworm.)

The disintegration of psychological functioning in a person is an interplay of the concepts of fractional perception (fractal reality) and non-equilibrium thermodynamics (2nd Law, Entropy). For a person perceiving the world, as the chaotic periods between the self-similarity of events - other peoples' behaviours, motivations, social interactions, and mental reasoning - increase in time length (in other words, if the anticipated patterns within each of these events take too long to re-emerge for the person), entropy exacts its toll with greater and greater force, and disintegration of the psyche proceeds with more rapidity than can be normally compensated for via engaging in regular, even, orderly, non-chaotic behavior.

Re-integration of the entropy-ladden psyche occurs when the individual himself, or with the help of a therapist, is able to re-establish perceptions of pattern, evenness, regularity and orderliness in his worldview. i.e., a re-establishment of a periodic self-similarity appropriate to his (our) scale of mental existence.

Periods of randomness and chaos are just as necessary to a system as those of evenness and regularity, but an overbalancing on either side creates problems. When the system (person) moves too far away from equilibrium (death), it becomes too chaotic and disorderly (hyperactivity, schizophrenia, psychosis). When the system moves too close to equilibrium it becomes too inactive and powerless (apathy, depression, suicidal depression). For both human psychological systems and physical systems, a state somewhere near the mean is appropriate for normal mental functioning. This is analogous to the concept of the Standard Deviation. It is but another way of looking at it.

So it looks as though mental functioning follows the same rules as physical systems in non-equilibrium thermodynamics. Useful experiments would be those that do not isolate single perceptual behaviors (as a conventional physicist would study a system only at equilibrium, i.e. dead, and therefore not applicable to living systems), but instead isolate specific dynamical flows of mental functioning (which would correspond to living systems).

Remember, life is a non-equilibrium condition, so studying systems at equilibrium is, for all practical purposes, useless. It tells us nothing of the actual, dynamic world in which we live.

What would an isolated, dynamical flow of mental functioning look like? How would we construct it to be cyclic, like an infinite coil, rather than a straight, two-ended linear experience? Linearity can look dynamical, that is the problem.

copyright Bill Nathan, 1994


1. Political leaders: provide the framework for stability and regulated human interactions;
2. Moral leaders (religious & secular): give expression to the eternal values that have always guided humanity;
3. The business community: assume responsibility fo rthe investment and innovation necessary for prosperity;
4. Scientists: take into consideration the ethical and environmental implications of technological developments;
5. Artists: express metaphorically our dreams and tragedies;
6. Our youth: demand that the future be better than the past:
7. Intellectuals: offer penetrating insight concerning humanity's progress toward shared goals.

Only the creative interaction of these groups, rather than the supremacy of one group over the others, will allow the answers we all seek to emerge and guide us as we shape the next phase of human development.

The time has come to choose a new direction of global development, to opt for a new civilization.

The whole world is at the threshold of dramatic changes. Moreover, this will not be just one more transition from one stage to another, of which there have been so many in history. Many signs indicate that it will be a watershed of historic scope and significance, with a new civilization coming to replace the existing one.

The New Civilization should:
1. be consistent with the new conditions of humankind's existence;
2. abolish the confrontational spirit and thinking that underpinned all past civilizations and are still present today;
3. be a civilization of all humankind, responding realistically and constructively to the challenge of interdependence.

Only by renouncing selfishness and attempts to out-smart one another to gain an advantage at the expense of others can we hope to ensure the survival of humankind and the further development of our civilization.

The world disorder:

1. Policymakers lack a necessary sense of perspective and the ability to evaluate the consequences of their actions.

2. Our intellectual and moral development is lagging behind the rapidly changing conditions of our existence, and we are finding it difficult to adjust psychologically to the pace of change. We have suddenly, in this century, become like careless children whose vigor and activity far exceed the development of their morality and consciousness.

3. Increased nationalism, separatism, and the process of disintegration in a number of countries.

4. A growing gap in the level and quality of socioeconomic development between rich and poor countries. Through television, those in poverty can see the material well-being of the wealthy. Hence the unprecedented passions and brutality and even fanaticism of mass protests (aimed at getting what the wealthy have).

5. The fueling of a destructive development that has brought the planet to the edge of a great ecological crisis simply in order to maintain the living standard of those who are privileged by history and circumstances.

6. The gap between basically peaceful policies and selfish economies bent on achieving a kind of technological hegemony. Unless these two vectors are brought together, civilization will tend to break down into incompatible sectors.

7. Further improvement in modern weaponry, even if under the pretext of strengthening security.

Two sets of problems: 1. Global - environment, world economy, population, energy, food and health. 2. Political - both international and national. They are interrelated and interdependant.

We need a new paradigm that will bring us back to reality, recognizing that humanity is simply a part of nature.

The time has come to develop integrated global policies.

The future is challenging us. We will meet the challenge if we become aware of the world's unity, of humankind's common destiny, and of the responsibility of every one of us for the preservation of life on Earth.

Copyright Bill Nathan, 1997

The story line extends inward, to an atmospheric layer, an invisible ring circumambulating around each of our actions and interactions. There is no cause other than prelogical decision. Nuances and hunch and indeterminite emotional color make our human world as it is, airborne. Check this out the next time you come to a conclusion. Don't recall the decisionmaking process, recall the processes influencing the decisionmaking process. That vanity is, still, centuries now, the prime mover. But. That is wrong. Vanity is moved by a more subterranean energy - a hunch for survival. Each of us is approaching survival in a different way. So. Different hunches. Dreams are the films of our prelogical life-blood. Dreams are the pictures our hunches want to draw for us to feel, but in our dogged connectedness to the working, conscious and utilitarian state we too easily forget the small miracles presented to us in the vast and limitless ocean of dream creation. Of insight incitement. It is not the word. It is the way you say word, and the timing which coincides with the way you say the word. Warning you may not realize this. Or want to. Or want to understand that this can be realized and affected. The word is not the communication. The reason behind writing the word is not the communication. The portion of the informational intake which brings about the reason behind writing the word is not the communication. THE UNREGISTERED INFORMATIONAL INTAKE is the reason. The master of our only action is our unperceived intake of actions in the world outside ourselves.

Copyright Bill Nathan, 1996
To a hungry person, God is food.

Electrical body.

Existential psychology.

Archetypal symbols in artists and schizophrenics.
- Jungian collective consciousness
Dream Analysis (not Freud)
How language use affects behavior.
Altered states of consciousness
-role of drugs in creativity
-role of drugs in self-actualization
-role of the drug experience in young adult socialization
-Bridges between the positive effects of psychotropics and same effects sans drugs
Desire for fear and fright.
Religious ecstacy
-suggestion, belief and change
-visions, auditory hallucinations in integrated personalities
Religious belief, faith and loss of faith.
Religion and psychology
-"treatment": therapy v ministering
(science) (faith)
-God as universal archetype
Intuition in scientists v artists.
Non-equilibrium thermodynamics and human relationship systems
and creativity
and schizophrenic persons
Three-ring binder.
Dark underground spaces.
flies. kill them.

There is a scale on which psychological difficulties fall according to their cause and the subject's external/environmental state



Therapy should be more social-oriented for the poor, more introspective for the wealthy. As environmental well-being improves, the ratio of external to internal neuroses increases. A person's environmental well-being should be a decisive factor in the onset of therapy. As more external difficulties are overcome or accepted, more internal conflicts will arise and then be treated with a combination of psychotropics fun frenetic bung forger in time for leading scrimshaw wobbly legs. Effort teeth gone swanky with rips and checkpoints inside. Count conchs on the frozen sand. He made it mate it & he came to make it make time in other ever unsayable ouches, um um um TWEE. Sketchy at best, you tell me:

What is this?

Words a mm from the electric third rail...................................................................................

Copyright Bill Nathan, 2000