Tuesday, July 04, 2006

23 Roads to Mythville
An apocalyptic journey across America and meditation on the imposition of order in space, both cyber and dirt real. By experiential author Douglas McDaniel, who explores the mysteries of American networked life. Read more

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Ipswich at War
A few days after Sept. 11, 2001, poet and essayist Douglas McDaniel moved to Ipswich, on the North Shore of Massachusetts. A collection of poems from that period of fear and anxiety, as well as the polemic essay, "Media Arts and War."
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Glasnost Lost
As an act of defiance after the botched election of 2000, experiential author launched himself into a journey into the underworld of American life, or, what he calls: The Science of Descent. Read more

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Godz, Cars & Cannon
Experiential author Douglas McDaniel launches drives into the networked thickets of American life, looking for signs of myth and romance in the age of automotive machines.
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Many Moons the Mythville: The Collected Road Poems
Poetry written during a 10-year span of criss-crossing America in a roving-eye view of the turn-of-the-century landscape of Mythville, or, as the author puts it: "It's all a bunch of Mythville." With work from four separate books by Arizona-based author and poet Douglas McDaniel, the bard-inspired voices of Milton, Blake and Yeats, as well as the saturnine streak of early beat poesy, ring through this collection of poems and essays. From the southwestern deserts to the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, "Many Moons to Mythville" is a foot-to-the-floor blast through the mythical roads of American life.
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Human Search Engine

The journey continues as the quest for myth in an age of information overload leads to online life as an editor for Access Internet Magazine. A story about all human search engines as they chase the ghost in the machine.
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William Blake in Cyberspace

Experiential author Douglas McDaniel takes on the visionary art and poetry of William Blake, comparing an otherworldly worldview to that revolutionary, romantic era to our own wild, wired, mythic world.
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The Kachina's Son

Poems about the Four Corners area written while author Douglas McDaniel was living in Telluride, Colorado.
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The Road to Mythville
A collection of poems on the new millennium in America, drawing from decade of bouncing across the country as a journalist and Kerouac-style poet, from the Southwestern deserts to the shores of New England and back again.
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Monday, August 30, 2004

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Wellington Station

I saw you across
the commuter aisle
twitching and huffing
at Wellington Station.

I, too, am a loser
in the war. I lay
down my sword.

Set my auto alight.
Left it a funereal husk,
just a memory
to the challenges
of sunny October days.

Be still, my brother,
my angel of anxiety.
I see you gasping,
reading the news,
oh so careful
about what you touch,
what we all touch.

We meet in common
places of terror, our
shared communiques...

Oh veteran.
Oh war lord;
I lay down my arms,
I comply, I let go,
I ride smoothly
into the inner-city
bowels of tension
and glittering dreams.

Then I will take on the attire
of Napolean's three-pointed hat.
I will curtsy, bend, that is,
into the sweet reflection
of what a peaceful city
wants to be.

The war news is hard,
ubiqitous as pearls and steel
and mobile phones.
My train runs silently,
beneath the stars and stripes
of all conquering heroes.

The Bunker Hill spire
is muted through glass
running by in the opposite,
direction. I descend
down the catwalk
of morbid hell. Silence
encloses me in a lightless
pipe of dread.

I am a monster.
I confess it all.
Just this, please,
after this night,
on the battlefield
of Boston,
willl you let me
safely caress
my love, my sweet
daughter's face, or,
anything else I can keep
perfect or sane
for a whole rail yard
of days.

Let me retreat
with my bag of games,
my pen, my spear,
my telefrantic machines.
Let me walk, just one more time
into the target valley
of technology.

And though I will breathe
the very microbes of hell,
through pile drives, tunnels,
lost wheels and poisened wells,
the endless botched catacomb
of the world you made:
Oh Wellington, allow my return
to Corsica, even Elbe, I will allow.
Where I can be at peace.

With who? Myself, at least,
as I wait for the night
to fall upon your victory.
If Napoleon could stoop
this far into the refrigerator,
he would have become
a suburban monk like me.

The Spin Dry Cycle

The trouble with laundry
Is that I let you see my soil
And you told me I never
Learned to fold.
Now I fold in my own way

On a windy Sunday morning
After a short drive to see wave caps break:
I got home, turned off the car, and sighed,
“I’m free.” No more technology.
Then I went down to my dank cold cellar,
Hauled a blue laundry bag over my shoulder
And pulled taught its string. I skipped a peace
Down the hill to the ’mat, remembering.

It isn’t easy being clean, this much I need to see.
Can’t even tie my own shoelaces. It’s a motherless thing.
But more than that, this ongoing entropy
Is a shudder in the halt of who I will ever be.
I have to practice the art of being slow.
Around me now even the tossed churchgoer,
The hurried newspaper I never completely read,
Forgets to know.

And somewhere back
In the long gone dung of my brain
I recall a bum who called himself, “Change.”
He told me about what it takes to survive,
A laundry list better than at least three
Commandments. The first was sleep,
A good night’s sleep, and a place to bathe,
A post office box, and you can always
Stay warm in the library (which is why
Many destitute men are so well read).
But more than anything else,
A place to shower the baptismal self,
And a laundry, now boy, that’s the key.

I enter the rows of circles and machines
And carefully pry my prickly dirty things apart.
This takes so much care, Oh God, the anguish;
My shoes are untied again. My mother gone,
My father isolated in a city of noisome dream.
All things I failed to learn, I’m really learning
Laundry now. I crawl a pace, buying
A little orange box of sandy blue and white soap.
My dirt is the cause of a loss of no small fortune.

Then I remember to take out the change
From my pockets, I’m richer than I think.
Small wrappers and pocket tumbled follies
Spill into my hand. I’m just a beat up shirt
and wreckage in the wrinkled land.

What else, there’s this: The little shortcuts
I learn from making mistakes. Not my mistakes,
So much, but the machine’s.
Not so much the machine’s mistake,
But a failure to meet the tumble dry
needs of man. Redemption goes on a spin
and returns again as you fumble for buttons
at the bottom of the pan.

Then I wait. Then I wait some more.
Then I walk down the street, smoke,
Buy a fifty cent piano for my daughter’s
doll house. The wind up part still plays,
“Memories of the Way We Were.”
I wince but I do not weep.
My laundry is my dirt to keep.

Cat and Andrew’s Ring

Your ground is weeping
The humid air soaks
Wrinkles into all my
Categorization. I am
The air, ever changing
And it’s easy to see
How my inability
To be ever present
On the earth
Is enough to send
You beneath the surface.

He was a fair-faced man
With a smooth baby face
And a soft tone of mouth
That would easily shatter
But he could shatter none.

They bought a wedding ring
And experienced love
Well before the mildew
Of everyday things
Could wear the heat away

She would talk talk talk
About the little things
I couldn’t see, or believe
My wind heart hardened
Into storm clouds
Into a rain of gloomy
Terror in a private sky.

Mostly I was jealous
But realistic, knowing
Love is a survival game
Old as the dirt and sun
And if for just a while
I consider the trees
As I blow through in ill ease
Of temperature and pain
Let me for just this once
See the majesty
In the impermanent
Pebbles, and in tenderness
For just this one day
Of weather, remain.

Ipswich In a Time of War

Rebuilding a doll house
Piece by piece
Little wood beams
Adjustable walls
Suitable for child safety

Out on the street
Flags at half mast
Raised after one official
Week of mass mourning

Cinematic violence
Blowing a red leaf
Through the dented car:
You know,
Our separation
Is bigger than
The both of us

We are memory,
Clinging, clutching
And a prayer
Each stranger
We meet have
The same stones
Of shock
Eye to eye

Birth Canal

Before I was born
I was an anxious
young man.
A premature baby
Crawling in a toxic
Sea of sand.

Oh harsh light.
Oh mother. I left
You for this?

The panic I feel,
The destruction
that saves me,
Is older than I.

Now my birth
Is wearing me out.
I leave the birth canal,
And looking back,
Am born again.

Which is why
Creature comfort,
The soft, wet womb
Is a fire that lights
A furnace beneath
My eternal arse.

Which is why
My escape imprint
Has been lifelong,
A pattern to understand,
Address and alter.

So I don’t gasp
For air in your
Loving arms,
Or take the back door
out the burning fort.

Boston Harbor

So I descend into the dark city
Beneath the sea
Singing and swimming
Asking, to myself
Why do I want to go
Down there, the deep diver,
saying, to the first fish I see,
“Jeez, my wife says
I gotta quite diving
Or she’ll divorce me.
God how I’ll miss her.”
Then I return to the surface
All mangled from the currents
And dodging sharks and seaweed,
Navigating by sun streams
Of electrical light through
Green eddies and mysts of mirth
All wrecks down there,
Oh lord, I know. A lot of them.
And sunken treasure, too,
But not much worth taking.
A lot of it is heavier than whole
chains of rusted anchors.
My tanks of air get clanking
Silly, all choked up and gasping.


Alone in a one-room sanctuary
A girl wants to give me a TV
And I resist
I say no, I need to hear, well,
More like filter through
To find
The voice
Of myself
In my head

Life in war sharpens senses
And I am well prepared
All stocked up
On shock

The city is a skin
I embrace or feel
Or shed, depending
On what time of day

A leaf falls outside
My window
I take this
as a good sign

Everything amuses me
And the ephemeral
Clutter of my life
Reminds the voice
To remember

The Fire Mound

Stand on this mound of stone.
Look around. Energy is fire,
And fire is everywhere.

You are afraid of fire.
Do not worry. A fire hydrant
Stands nearby.

Controlling mechanisms
Are everywhere. Public
Safety is ubiquitous.

This quarry is holy land
Overlooking the city center,
Once a great seaside harbor.

Mitigating factors include:
One park sign full of don’ts;
A church, an Odd Fellows hall.

We tolerate witches now.
They, too, are needed:
Human spirit pushing up.

The fearful want to burn us both.
Hot and cold is the way. No matter.
We walk the stones, simmer down.

Your Moral Authority

O haughty hard one
Why add to the troubles
Of the world?
Seems to me all vessels
Draw from the same well.
Your pinched fundament
Squeezed me out
Like a pressurized pop bottle
At an impossible altitude.
And as you fret and threaten
And beat me over the head
With a sequence of sequined
Dreams, a Bible black.
Your lesson of God’s love
became a lesson to avoid,
an institutionalized
classroom, a system,
a lie. Better to live
with plastic forks
than silvery knives.
Better to walk
In the rain and woods
than put on a hood
and cover my eyes.
All winds blow
From the same
Direction. This much
I know, this much
Is wise. Self-same for me,
Prophets and gunmen,
Cathedrals and wives.

Deirdre of the Sorrows

Hello. You must be Deirdre.
Don’t be scared. I stole your name.
I’ve been looking at you.
Stunned me, really, yes,
I know, even without
Your makeup on. All
Tumbled red lock
And breasts as in
The promise of an
Unfortunate evening
That never lets go.
Even without makeup,
Jesus, how they cheat us
With paint on the face
And the faint memory
Of the afterglow. Deirdre,
You become a slick magazine,
All shiny and glossy,
Tantalizingly so. But then
I get inside and struggle,
Swimming upstream
Like a salmon, working
Toward a deadline
That never ends.

Cops and Lovers

The first
of love
is war
bonding follows
Whole families,
the big lie
And when the truth
is gone
Nothing left
but a cubby
Little hole
Where God
is the last safety net
a security,
a delusion
We need
like light
in the darkness
as love dies
with a whimper,
when you really
need a bang

Too Many Horses

Automobiles owned,
driven and reacted to,
starting with the one
that ran over my dog,
but not limited to,
includes the following:

One 1965 Ford Mustang,
which my dad owned
as a shiny new thing;

one green Oldsmobile station wagon,
which my mom, dad, brother and sister
drove from Texas to see Wyoming in 1971,
right at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius;

that same green bomb,
a handover in high school,
which Mark Hirte,
who died in a restaurant robbery,
put dog shit on the windshield,
an apparently random
and thoughtless act (in both cases);

one really cool and efficient
blue Toyota station wagon,
another hand me down,
which I drove to college
at the University of Arizona, Tucson,
got married, and therefore,
personal financial oblivion,
eventually blowing an engine
in the desert on the way to a U2 concert;

One hitchhike home in a white truck,
the good vibes of the show lasting a decade;
one series of turnover cars, gas guzzlers,
four door, family friendly, snow weary,
with lacerating dents over one wheel well
when the chains came off in a storm,
playing a drum of pain on the paint;

one red Nissan truck, a mighty stead,
which drove me out of danger,
trouble and into a world of need;
one silver Datsun, which I believed
possessed the spirit of my dead mother;

all the high-end hijinks
of Porsches and Jags,
all rented to lead me to believe
I was a rich man leading the druid existence
of a philosopher playboy;

one old Volkswagon Rabbit
that I bought for two hundred dollars
as an act of rebellion against
the smog belching stink;

One Taurus, circa 94,
fast as boiling blood
on a clogged freeway,
forty miles one way to work,
forty miles back,
the stereo blasting a skin
to shield me from the world,
until the day that I,
a bull in a china shop,
broke all my life away,
brought down
by a bunch of Sicilians,
all angry that I could
no longer accept the life
of conspicuous consumption,
all so cosy in their hobbit hole
expectations of me;

One two thousand dollar Honda Civic,
circa 1990, which belched oil because,
truthfully, I know nothing about engines,
but drives me, truthfully toward
not so much you, but myself,
safe in this one more chance
for a road of joy,
as opposed to self doubt and torment,
probably the best of the bunch,
because it’s mine.
Because I have to fix it.
That’s my responsibility,
my gasoline dream.

The Time Capsule

My car is covered
In autumnal leaves,
Stuck wet in the morning,
Wind-plastered, reds, yellows
And faded brown bumper stickers.

My car is just me, being natural.

Your car has a tempermental sound,
A whine, just coming from the hood.
Runs hot, and oh how it purrs.

Another’s car is a time capsule
On the passenger side.
These crates of care,
Being all that we are
Or ever will be.

Coffee cups, papers, flyers, books
We’ll never finish reading,
Crumbling crackerjacks,
All the things we’d rustle around
To fix in shame, because nobody
Wants you to see their dirty car.

My car is clean, ‘cept for the ashes
That have gone out of control.
Leaves just blow through
And I leave them there, amused.

My time capsule is tapes and little scraps
Of nature. Once, I just threw everything
Into a pile because I was consciously
Concealing myself. No more.
I just open the door. Let nature ride
On the passenger side.

When the plague or atom bomb
Or sun burns out, some future
Archeologist will be able
To read us this way. That is,
If we are truthful
To our car carpets.