On Turning Inside Out

comments 8
Course Ideas / Poetry

I work away
in my castle of thought, jolly
as a clam, surrounded by
parchment stacks, withered ledgers,
flat screen monitors speckled
by looping video clips of the past-
(for research purposes)-
key chains full
of memory sticks, key chains full of keys
to foot lockers, desk drawers, leather-bound briefcases,
bulkhead doors, bicycle locks, motor vehicles,
and a big-wheeled red tractor that gurgles when it idles,
plus there are reams of photographs, black and white, Polaroid,
faded colors and faded histories that
require periodic inspection, renewal, and ramification,
gramophone recordings of
lectures given by early 20th century electromagnetical
savants and Eastern philosophers,
piles of discarded answering
machines- a heap of plastic and metal
extrusions growing wires- in which are hidden figments
of a time I used to think about often, and
cassette tapes, hand held or desktop voice recorders, notes
on stacks of legal pads, index cards tacked
into cork boards and white boards with scribbles
dry-aged into permanent artifacts
mounted on a fancy rotating white board rack
like DaVinci would have made.
My chair swivels, glides, rolls, boosts,
dampens, tilts, (groans), and locks.
Bare bulbs don’t flicker overhead because
I have excellent lighting.
In my castle of thought I sort ideas,
link them, wash them out, distress them, recombine them,
sift them, cut them into bits and reassemble the parts
into new configurations,
reconcile them, discard them, yell at them,
dance upon them, stomp on them,
send them away from me,
crush them with baseball bats and iron skillets,
fling years of long work cutting words
out from newspaper sheets and pasting them
into a short story on white construction paper
into the fire along with
a three foot stack of those scrap dung crinkled
processed bleached baked
word-encrusted wood fibers
from print factories in assorted cities whose
once current thoughts are now decades lost.

I am in the business, you might say,
of fabricating meaning.  I-

Wait…!  Shhhh….


(I have never seen this idea before.)
(Or any like it.)

It has feet with little claws
not made for the smooth surfaces
ingenuity has produced.
Eyes like tiny black marbles that twinkle
and behold me.  A head that swivels.  Wings.
A body that quietly oscillates with
ancestral rhythms passed down
from generation to generation, the looping movement
of a completed story still not written.
It is surrounded by an invisible question.
It is… alive!

It flies!  Around my castle,
under my table, up to the vaulted ceiling,
a line that intersects my chandelier,
a curve unfolding within my archives,
alighting on the top shelf-
a moment of grooming,
a moment of taking in what is,
a chirp to no one, to every one,
and then out, whoosh!
Along the far wall, a missing
stone block, a pixel that is gone forever
from the screen of my perimeter.

I have to say:
I very much want another winged idea to find me.
Next one that comes, I will
put it in the container in my chest,
like the tin man would,
so it can leave its silent question
in me like a ticking revelation
and I can experience the incurable
undoing of ingesting holy dynamite.
As it flies away
I will bask in a fever silence
in a heap on the floor leaning against familiar cold stones
as the smoke pours out of my ears.
Wiley Coyote turned into a blackened skeleton
with two eyes and a mouth
and it was funny.
But I have a suspicion- I think we will turn inside out
and it will be never-ending.  Flying ideas
will never run out.  Flying ideas
will find us forever.  Flying ideas
flying back and forth is who and what we are.

Today I will take a stack of journals
and baseball bats, discarded metal shelves
and the kind of twine I use to roll up
old maps and scrolls, and I will
build a contraption tall enough to stand on
so I can peek through that missing pixel
and see what’s out there…


    • Thanks, Meredith. I really enjoyed your “Raspberries” post but couldn’t find a place to comment so will do so here since you’ve provided me the means… I loved the line “we all need inner super powers to keep it compassionate” and I resonate completely with the notion sometimes we have to go with a little sprig of absurdity to keep it light as we pass through this realm. Michael


  1. Love the poem, and the winged ideas that take flight from here for not only you! I am fascinated that I read your poem several days ago, and returned here again to find an overlap with our friend Wiley E Coyote. I thought of him with your references to falling and flying, as he so typifies that moment of, “Oh Shit, I’m falling.” To find him here with his smoking ears 🙂 makes me wonder of the image you must have created with me, or the memory you must have stirred that I subconsciously stored and mirrored back to you without knowing. Oh, such mystery.


    • Very cool. Encounters and moments enter us and go to work. Then they come back around. This is the very best form of recycling there is! We are all love- recycling, or perhaps spiraling outwards I suppose!



  2. Gracious, just yesterday I wrote about the movement of and the cleaning house on thoughts and their emotional offspring found in my mind when moving!
    I spent a whole afternoon last week attempting to hang a heart in the iron man mannequin statue that has found it’s way in manifestation (with many layers of meaning) into the corner of my “living room” at home! I am hereby christening this piece “INSIDEOUT” and am going to hang a dream catcher behind him for those deep ideas that are flying off the tips of the wings of the truths found floating here to stick to!



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