Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Corrosion, Reflection, Dusk Blue Light

This is the current experimental portrait, transfiguration, metamorphosis.

Still working out these themes.

Remnant structure of corroded metal control box, reflection of through truss, double lift bridge, skyscraper facade matrix, dusk light, Zhalih.

Evening Star

Over the winter twilight,
reigns as
queen of the night sky.
brilliant, glittering
her acid clouds shine
over early evening traffic
and skyscraper windows
that spell out characters
of an unknown language
that can only be understood
by the river and the bridges.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Under sky: dusk, rust, stone

This is the new piece I am working on. Fractal reflections, corroded metal from an industrial disaster, lichen coated gravestone, worn by weather and time, the color of the sky at dusk, grid work skyscraper arrays, and the beautiful Zhalih, a part-time muse who lives around the corner.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Zhalih, the curvature of an aluminum sculpture, and reflections in a skyscraper facade, as viewed from the steel bridge at dusk

I've reworked this piece. I think it is better.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Art and Corrosion: Portland Graffiti

The abandoned wastelands of industrial america, chainlinked art galleries on corrosive edge. Artists up against decay, fire, oxidation, and time. Here is some work I have found. McCormick and Baxter Superfund site, and Taylor Electric.


Reflection and corrosion,
after the fire, time, the rain and the wind

Surrealistic wheat paste, contrasted with the decay of old posters, faded paint, narrow lathe.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I dream of rust and fall

language of the birdssuffer the time

While you are here, if you want, you could look at my best work.
Experimental Portraits (Visual Art)
Epistemic Purchase (A poem)
Borges: The Golem (My translation)
Eagle Creek (A hiking essay)
The Time Factory -SF story and video

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Close to Abstraction

The response of the mockingbird.

In the response of the mockingbird I could not find connection.

On the grey road back
from New Orleans,
to Jackson,
to Tupelo,
to Memphis
to Chicago and
north to Wisconsin

In rolled up blankets ,
packages tied with string ,
cardboard boxes wrapped with duct tape,
over stuffed hefty bags,
and unmatched salvation army luggage.

Just clutch your ticket
be glad if you have a destination,

As I sit on the cold and hard plastic seats
under the cold and hard fluorescent light.
A guy collecting cans asks me for spare change,
everywhere I stop
50 cents will get you a play
on the pinball machines,

A pregnant woman, traveling alone
shufflles through some papers in her purse
looking for a dollar she hopes
she might have lost to spend
as ex-cons whisper through thin lips to
sailors on leave,
and Hmong kids with heavy metal T-shirts eat
cold cuts wrapped in plastic
under the “Arrivals and Departures” sign.

I drink whiskey in the back seats out of a passed half pint.
Get out at the stops and smoke.

I watched all day for junk yards
or beauty salons or
fishing tackle suppliers or
“Home Cooking” or
juke joints or
people sitting on the porches watching the bus go by
lost America.
Sometimes I can see it

But in the 4:00 a.m. half lit ride thorough furtive sleep and dreams
the miles are an endless stream of strip malls and chain stores,
with duplicated facades preaching an infinite echolalic neon text,
chanting exile in aluminum and plastic, as the diesel engine thrums spasmodic clockwork sleep.

Talking Earth Podcast: Noah, Otho, James

Podacast of TheTalking Earth, on KBOO, hosted by Patrick Bocarde, with buffalo poets and myself. It's not bad.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Experimental Portraiture

The images on this page are some of the art/craft I make. When I do these the visual elements: rust, moss, corrosion, water, stone, and portraits of friends, feel like words in a poem. I employ combinatoric techniques with many attempts, of masking, layering, multiple exposures (or the digital equivalent), until new pieces appear.

If you want to buy a print email me.


the music forbids deep silence

Leonardo da Vinci
From his Treatise on Painting

"You should look at certain walls stained with damp, or at stones of uneven colour. If you have to invent some backgrounds you will be able to see in these the likeness of divine landscapes, adorned with mountains, ruins, rocks, woods, great plains, hills and valleys in great variety: and then again you will see there battles and strange figures in violent action, and expressions of faces and clothes and an infinity of things which you will be able to reduce to their complete and proper forms. In such walls the same thing happens as in the sound of a bell, in whose stroke you may find every named word you can imagine."

span of days

Susan Sontag
From Fragments of an Aesthetic of Melancholy


Because, first of all, they are a compendium of desires – contrasting, contradictory, impacted, immobilizing.
The desire to become fully visible, to be seen (at last) as one is, to be honest, to be unmasked.
The desire to hide, to be camouflaged. To be elsewhere. Other. The desire to impersonate someone else, but that is not other enough. The desire to escape from a merely human appearance: to be an animal, not a person, an object (stone? wood? metal? cloth?), not a person, to be done with personhood.
The desire to be emblematic. Impervious to age and the distress of flesh.
The desire to accede to the ruins of time, to be reconciled with the depredations of time, to become a ruin.
The desire to punish the self. The desire to place no aim before that of gratifying it.
The desire to dissolve the self into the world, the desire to reduce the world to matter, something one can inscribe oneself on, sink into, be saturated with. The desire to compete with one’s own image, to become image, artifact; art; form….
The desire to be stripped down, to be naked, to be concealed, to disappear, to be only one’s skin, to mortify the skin, to petrify the body, to become fixed, to become dematerialized, a ghost, to become matter only, inorganic matter, to stop, to die.

fall glintsilver

Monday, August 06, 2007

Transfigurations 3

Most of my creative work lately has been involved with experimental portraiture, where I take photos of friends, layer them with moss and rock and stone and city fragments, with rust and corrosion and decay, with light reflections and trees and water.

They are a joy to do.

Some of them are available at this link.

This one is a picture of my friend Charles as a Dostoevskian sinner saint, genius clown. I suppose that it could be said, however, my work, and my friends, are a portrait of myself.

This one is of Aimee, as a 21st century Mona Lisa. I don't think I have this one right yet, it's version ten, but I am working on it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fashion Shoot

I did these photographs for my friend Reddi who designed the clothing.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

New Orleans

Man - when I worked with the old black men in the mailroom
they used to say
"Where are we at James, and whatyou eating?"
and I would articulate New Orleans,
say poor boy in my midwestern flat speak
and they would laugh at me,
make me say it right
pohboy, nawlins.

Every weekday mornng I would wake up to the mockingbird out my window,
and take the St. Charles streetcar into work.

Sundays I would go down to the corner of Decatur and Frenchman
and buy some crawdads and boiled potatos and a beer
some guy would make it in a big pot on the street corner
and go sit on the levee,
eating my meal
sucking the last bit of good
crawfish out of the head.

I'd hang there with a friend, an old man who lived in California
who came back to try to get the papers
for his mother's house,
that had fallen into possession
of some crooked lawyer
he would be fishing
while waiting for the wheels of justice to turn his way

we would watch the ships slide around Algiers point
in the big strong muddy
almost out of control except for the skills of the pilot.

Man I went to some of the wildest parties there
where two bars would be having bands and on a hot saturday night
the bands would just get tired of playing inside
and would walk out on the street
and the whole street would be full of people
drinking and smoking and shaking it
It would look like a wild musical
second line brass band backstreet
riot had broken out
and the cops wouldn't do shit
this would go on way past midnight

Just thinking bout New Orleans
man what I would give for an oyster poboy right now from

Seeing Coco Robecheux play in a sweaty room. Pealing paint on old wooden walls, oak trees, and termites swarming around the street lamps at night. Suits, gutter punks, and stone drunks: waitresses in their thirties with wrinkles round their eyes, some good used book stores. a coffee house or two, and the pastel colors of the thick air at dusk.

An old man,
dressed for church,
stooped over with hunchback, ,
walking on St Charles outside of the Woolworth’s,
where I cash my checks
sings a little gospel riff,
over and over.

Going into the salvation army store, trying to buy a suit, while a lanky, long limbed man in a black suit is in the back playing ragtime on a broken down piano

it's like New Orleans was sleeping,
dreaming itself into existence.

At the Hummingbird cafe,
if you went in and sat
at the counter
with a tape recorder,
you could write a play a night,
all the stories and the talkin.
They all know this
one of em told me it
but nobody does it

You know, after a hot summer day
sometimes it gets really quiet for a bit
the buildings are glowing in this backit murder
twilight and the thick air is so still
that you can almost hear Buddy Bolden playing his trumpet
for the paddlewheelers that came in
they say you could hear him all the way to the fairgrounds
his tone so clear and strong
before he went mad
makes me wonder, what shit did he see go down that sent him upriver to the asylum?

But here, now
I can hear the gospel bands singing at the fairgrounds at jazz fest
I'd be eating gumbo with andouille sausage, pheasant and quail
eating in these hot flavours and the music going on
and the chorus would be singing
and the preacher would be preaching
and we are all swaying back and forth and
I would feel like I could be saved.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Parallax II

Forest Park, Portland, Oregon, January and May, 2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

Time Factory: Alternate Titles

Time as Façade
Time Abstract into the Machinery
The Machinery of Fabrication in Industrial Plants.
I am Factory.
In Search of Lost Time.
A Book of Glass and Steel.
The Geometry of Mechanical Time.
Lives constructed from a Framework of Mutated Time.
Three Characters on a Framework of Industrial Time.
The Algebra of Steel and the Geometry of Destiny.
Time as Material Substance in an Economy of Terror.
The Interpolation of the Forgotten into an Abstract Economy
Witless Certitude and a Government of Fear
Spirals of Cut Time
Abstraction and the Certitude of Remembrance.
The Costs of Epistemic Purchase
A Purchase of Formed Steel
A Garden of Metallic Figures
The Cost and Quantity of Purchased Steel
Abstract Images of an Industrial Wasteland

The Color of Cut Time
The Color and Texture of Cut Time
Time Considered as Industrial Material
His Eyes were old as Time
Time Junkie!
An Addiction to Fabricated Temporal Reality
She Was Impaled on the Fabric of Cut Time
Woven from a Fabric of Cut Time
A Purchase on the Fabric of Cut Time
Woven from the Fibers of Time
The Calculus of Interrogated Machinery
Infinite Mechanisms and their Industrial Genesis
She was Made of Time as Glass and Shattered
If Time was Glass and Shattered like Dreams
A Broken Purchase, Shattered, Metallic
Strained Glass Black Time, Infinite, Metallic
An Abstract Purchase Hard on Textured Ground
Time Orchestras of Metal, Glass and Tears
Abstract Time Spun to Tears and Steel
Broken the Time, Falling in Steel, go Blue
Needles inject Time as loss into you
Metal, Time, Dreams, Pray, Tears, Falling, Stone, Ashes
We Turn on Steel in the Shattered Night.

Here is some of my novella, The Time Factory

Also, you could watch Video


January 26, 2007

May 6, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pirates of the Avant Garde

I remember in the late 80’s being reverently handed a 3rd generation xerox of Objectivist poet (and patron saint of the Language Poets) Louis Zukofsky’s 80 Flowers while walking down the halls of the New School. It had been published in an edition of 80 in 1978 – (and not republished until 1997) A poetic scarcity only circumvented by Langpo samizdat.

Now, with the web, and the growing number of online archives devoted to (for lack of better words) avant garde and experimental writing movements we are in a new age of access. Some of this work is up through the benevolence of the writer and creator, some of it, must belong to the true heirs of Mayakovsky.

Three great resources here,



Gray Lodge

(They have an rss feed!)
but there are others.

A quick sampling of things available

I have loved sound poetry since seeing Dutch poet Jaap Blonk read at Woodland Pattern Bookstore in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A reporter from the Milwaukee Journal was there, and writing his review must have been a quandry. Blonk gave interpretation of historical sound poetry, and then some of his own work. A fascinating performance, the reporter loved it, But would it play for the Journal’s audience?

Kurt Schwitters no longer lies in an umarked grave. And we are privileged to be able to listen his sound poem Ursonate and examine the score. ... and more merz.

It is brave new world for the avante garde. It is now omnipresent, subtle, filtering through. Here, as anthem, an interpretive reading of Hugo Ball’s Karawane as performed by Marie Osmond. Legend has it in performance (she had committed the piece to memory) her eyes grew glazed and she entered a trance like, dada induced state.

The French Ouilipo ("Ouvroir de littérature potentielle") movement was a literary anologue of the Nicolas Bourbaki school of math and the structuralist anthropology of Claude Lévi-Strauss. They developed new forms and constraint based techniques of creating works of literature. As described by cofounder Raymond Queneau, Oulipians are "Rats who build the labyrinth from which they will try to escape."

A web based implementation of Raymond Queneau's combinatoric sonnet. Cent Mille Milliards de poèmes

The Oulipians created text for the stations of the Strasbourg Tramway, and through google translate, (that Oulipian dream) for english readers. After the rain, the beautiful tram.

Writers who have been marginalized or forgotten are finding a presence.

Cleveland book artist and visual poet d.a. levy
is not forgotten.

You can hear the voice of Gertrude Stein
And Could You listen to Vladmir Mayakovsky. Yes.

And Samuel Beckett comes streaming over the web. Beckett directed by Beckett.
Krapps Last Tape
Wating for Godot

It comes in fits and starts, if you don’t have a quick pipe, but you can right click, and download the entire file. A 200 megabyte download, but in an hour, I will no longer be waiting for Waiting for Godot.

And here,

Varèse/ Xénakis/Le Corbusier - poeme électronique (1958)

These links cover some of the 20th century’s experimental movements, but there is new work arising. New forms, little bits of the amazing even rising out of the great shallows of the web. I would like to hear what you have to suggest. Something new. Something that has transformed the way you perceive the world.

Like this – an autistic woman describing her world, on youtube - In My Language.

Friday, March 02, 2007

13th Street Poems

From the LES 1992

She is anxious, afraid,
doesn’t belong on the streets and is
wondering where she is going to sleep.
She does not realize she has fallen off the world.


He knows the exact count on the cans
and the line from last time he went to the track.
Once he had the eye.


She is veins and nicotine, lipsticked,
tricking, seeking contact in a passed by pool of light.


Tattooed and tough, knows the hood, knows the scores
knows everybody in the night They call out “Hey chino.”


One foot ahead of the other
to work and church and home to his wife
At night they play the songs from when they were young.
He yells at the kids cause they aint gonna turn out right.


For Khusenaton Shu Amon

That jazz the sweet tone of fluting coming down the street as the windows break into memories into the night fog
penetrating the dark like baseheads hit the pipe.

The mouths are tuned nomads, throwing cascades of dreaming,
what cuts it more than that tone’s call out of night,
tones climbing
reflecting off pieces of junked cars,
breaking that desperate in the night of the tuned streets,
and the hit high flutes and quicker than any but you
smile into bird, they are turning.

They come like whispers; they fix it like windows with no glass, they're open as cobwebs, their fibers glint in the light,
but let them call hot as the guard in the bright of song

The moans, the sorrow.
break out the lamp, enter the fiery roof, then on fingers of silver, flute and tone play your name.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Poetry Podcast

This links to an MP3 of Holly Bickerton and James Honzik reading poetry and talking on Walt Curtis's show The Talking Earth on KBOO in Portland Oregon on February 12th, 2007.
Talking Earth

It was fun to do.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Aimee and her Masks

These are hand painted by Aimee.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Self Portrait in Blue

Experimental music, distressed sounds, transfigured video.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Teeth of the Dead: Walt Curtis

Here is a video of Walt Curtis, Portland poet, author of Mala Noche reading one of his poems.

Walt and Aimee and Dusty and I drove out to Sauvie Island in early February. It was a cold, misty,dark sky day and absolutely beautiful. The farmers' freshly plowed dark fields, the ancient bare oak trees everywhere, ships passing by in the mist, geese in great flocks, old barns covered with moss. We drove in Walt's old car down empty country roads for hours. We talked, Walt told stories. A good day.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Street music

: street music

Luther (in black, dreads flying) on sax, wails out
scales, cross time, moving
back and forth, orchestrating
like a sorcerer.
His knees bent, he gestures to
tom cat on high hat, smash, slash, slam
head rolled back, down (tom cat)
and to Paul now, hesitation glide, bottle neck slide
cross chords,
and then it gets all still as

Melissa (Paul’s wife) wails out
her short breaths, up and across
half moan, half tone, she
leans over, print dress clinging to her legs
holding her baby in her arms and as she’s wailing,
(oh baby oh baby oh baby) her baby
reaches up his big hands
at mama’s face to touch her cheek.

(for Luther Thomas)

: transcience

I saw her that night
in the down and out bar
that waits across the street from
the terminal.

I was shooting pool,
killing time,
waiting on a ride,
to uncertain destination.

She put a quarter in the slot,
leaned against the jukebox,
and with half closed eyes,
head held up,
looking at no one,
sang soft along with Billy Holiday.

"mama may have, papa may have, god bless the child...........................................................................................

(you have to sing that last part to get it right)