FEATURED POET: BRIAN LUCASPRESENTED BY Andrew Joron who says:
BRIAN LUCAS is an American poet and painter living in Bangkok, Thailand. His work, both visual and verbal, draws upon the pure transformative energy of the Imagination in ways that link him to the Romantics, the Symbolists, and the Surrealists.
In response to his visual art (available for viewing at http://notabove-notbelow.blogspot.com/), I once wrote:
"What a mysterious and compelling world you have created here! Like the surrealist painter Yves Tanguy, you transcend the boundary between figurative and abstract: your work inhabits both realms simultaneously!" Lucas's later paintings are lustrous and metamorphic as ever, yet now show (to my eye) a growing influence of Thai design and architecture. Drinking in the influence of his adopted milieu, he is developing a potent hybrid of local/traditional and universal/visionary artistic vocabularies."
As for Lucas's poetic work, I have written the following lines on his forthcoming collection LIGHT HOUSE (Meeting Eyes Bindery, Spuyten Duyvil), New York: 2006):
"Warning: the words strobing from this Light House may hypnotize the reader, compelling her to draw closer to the perilous shore of poetry. Once wrecked on these rocks, she will discover that "The head is a great sea of apparition" and that "broken textures are the seed of thought." She will learn that the voice that haunts this headscape is that of Brian Lucas, whose lyricism relates to the runes & ruins of Gothic and surreal writers. Yet Lucas's first book is also the document of an exilic voice, original in its wandering, a book composed of spectral coils, knots, and spirals, a book of arabesque (that perfect synthesis of irony and enthusiasm), whose language is limitlessly defined as "an intentional science of ecstasy beyond decay." Peruse, then, these leaves of Hypnos at the risk of understanding!"
Lucas is an adventurer in the liberated zones of the mind. And the tendrils and exfoliations of this American poet-painter's mental paradise are flourishing in the hothouse environment of Bangkok.
[THREE POEMS by BRIAN LUCAS]
Sketch of the Eclipse
his hand and mouth
engaged with limits
waking up to time
other than what’s
by the eye
Pain in the evening. Discomfort. To live without a thought or sinister dictations. A longing for certainty in a world of the indefinite, the unpredictable... There is all together too much meaning here…
Rest in movement…. in which part?
for the sake of flux he begins
In waves gathering up sail, swimming across sea
waters the cold length of sea
vegetable salt oil delirium
Brown cold sea waves a’ roiling swim
towards beacon across sea,
drowse eyes the jetty
The flag of marina star ahead, full mast
What remains after
a few threads
chalk particles ideal-flecks
Tone and sentiment
both aspects of
the same destitution
where space interludes
the screen itself
woven between image and sound
What’s on this disc?
Images of what?
―This disc contains images of cities and ghosts, of all prismatic sighs coloring the coast that rose into the air by wind in its sand; of lanterns and giant nests where mandates for actual futures are hatched, not the ones we were forced to bear. There were images of great walls and aqueducts, stone markers on valley floor.
Time wasn’t an image until given a number, and now as an image it seems less containable. Tepid water-flow over plateau, a woman distracted mid-step, the selected writings of an oceanographer. All images.
What other images are stored on this disc?
―The images of not-above and not-below; of gold-plated glands, organs, and tissue. There were several thin images of language reduced to pops and sputters but were only omitted when the words began to fail
Monsoon traced from dense cloud to flood
where he sits he can
see reflections on
songs played out
Sketch of an eclipse retina is summoned to detect. Hurried marks and scratches as if fear of losing sight was the sole impetus to its rendering in charcoal and lead. Sun ways are respected here. Vertigo at sundown.
greeting the seasons
determined fugue of what is
this whorl or that crescent
on the pattern
a design without
to star bellow
the inevitable dim
Amalgam of mirror
and the way brought up
in this illusion
of world and effort
this response and nerve
with fits of hearing
sight touch a wider connect
comet of one
with a tail of millions
leading into mountain scape
that is this and no other
Blowing from the inside
ears in maverick style
detect in spectral signature
chromatic bursts engendered
by unheard timbres
worn thin where sound
meets its match in the bright
flash between two ears
He had already collapsed before coming here. The new environment filled the gap a temporary state of disequilibrium left behind. Movement into theater. The actor’s costume willed to him. He tells a story and other characters appear; these he is unsure of, as if they could vanish at any moment. Curtain call. He steps out as a stranger to all who see him—void, yet permitted. Heads in the sand everywhere he looks.
The cipher without meaning
pacified by dominant modes
with the real sensed in its design
Traveling through sunrise domain
at peace with various strands
of dying rays and substandard light
claimed to be
the highest peak deepest gully
like an arctic song extinguished by flame
―this conceals sense
allows the rupture to show its promise
Trellises of ice
fragrant snow on a plain made fertile
by the rough seed words marry to land
dendrite startled out of ordinary mind
Some say, “across the waves lie a bed of nails, blue skies at night, and a wayward inch of rain.”
Others intone, “further beyond the furthest beacon there are mollusks made of lunar pearl that bask in moon sheen and moor reflections.”
breathing x and o
from one end of the continent
basking in surrender
a figment of tree
New Mechanics for results
statistics legend toward extinction
of the New Language abbreviated
spent geyser utilitarian sterile
with a fugitive appearance
Artifact, quiet for now
terror in its constant upheaval
another hot earth formed
from marginal resources
I decided to stay for
Two-headed men appear
who speak and piss in the wind
the fruit growing
from rot to ripe
without rule or reason
Each part from the whole
Each part has a separate system of sense
Each part as it is taken from its whole seems to have its own weight, its own concern, dream, and interests
Each part is an illusion
Each idea of self is an amusement
Each part becomes a rose but let’s stop, this flower talk will get you nowhere
Chiseled between cloud and ground:
What is being hidden
kept away from these senses,
trading the ability to observe
for an empty task… or something
that never occurs?
The practice of preparation is a sequence
of movements (ideally economical in execution)
that interlock, meld, or vaguely associate
with an end in mind
However, the end is naturally elusive and
a desired state is never reached
So what is the preparation for? To tide one
over, to serve the purpose of removing time
from the body?
Yes and yes and who can say?
He kept repeating that he could remember nothing of the previous day’s events.
She told him of the dream where the ocean’s shadow started to grow and of the mummified woman who accosted her while she sat on the bus.
He no longer had dreams, only loose bowels meting out gold coins and random souvenirs of a seaside town.
He looks out over the ruins, takes cold air into his lungs and vomits a cloud into the missing palm of his hand. Tragedy is born from such moments, yet he only experiences an uncommon joy.
She waited until he arrived home before telling him the house was no longer there. As he stood where the downstairs room used to be he saw the sky, the bright hot sun, and a few noisome blackbirds twittering to and fro through the branches of an almond tree. The walls were replaced by piles of splintered wood and rusted debris he had been collecting on the walkway which ran along the side of the house. He tried to think of where the upstairs had disappeared to; was it now on the island that used to appear before him?
There were people hidden in pockets of air. Deeper entities present long before the first explorers.
Before eyes set upon this fold of untilled earth they resembled quicksand, enveloping space then letting loose to form nests, hollows, and nerve. There were musclemen the size of cracks in thinking, sounds burned into the eye resting in mandorla and laughing.
The sun extends its branches. Every object commands attention, signing themselves out to symmetry’s decay.
Gentle, gentle goes the scrawl of fragmented fear that lovers never lose unless their heads are intact. Let these actors have their way! Extend the floodlights to reveal the orchestra pit of dramatists penning the closure of each disembodied word. Incidental music provided by hands slapping one’s own face until wakefulness.
Someone following me
in a yellow cab
is it the lord
who blames me
for a cat-eye sun
only savory qualities
24 hours isn’t enough to gain all the information so he elected to explode time’s particulars. Is he a spy for this other life? Spinning white and outward the old ways buried in mounds and seen in the twitch of a stick re-sound. No instructions attached to trees or devices realized to be only a game.
Is there someone here who can explain how the mysteries began? The ones with rivers that shift matter, permit skies to open, allow planets to bide their time with whale watching?
Twirl of leaf in midair sent sub-decibels out to engender havoc in the ears of birds and man so alike now that humans shit on windshields and holiday umbrellas.
Filament pulled through the mouth. River of flowers drying up as he speaks.
In order to dissolve all structure play nursery rhymes in reverse while wearing a crown of antler and chrome.
He traveled into seminal eye to regenerate the scattered dim light that forms concentric ribbons and banners reminding him of his frontier and where its waterholes are located.
Scattered sand onto the floor raw mark through the grains
limned pictogram as spectrum
of the silent approach to chaos-tensions
Monitor results through micro telescope.
He consists of water, blemishes, and an unused bardo ticket pasted to his face.
In waves, clustered lull, buoyant claims there is no ground. Set adrift, resurfacing as certain compass points drift closer to the edge in prismatic sighs and plundering O’s, shapes calling to what remains over half-light, half an eye to rescue this spectrum from the siren who attacks and decays by finite blossom.
A low anthem
necessity of innards
Take the center
orb in place
its heat unfolds
a map to stun
Take this road
it narrows until
a stream is reached
our pockets full
and their lice
Yet this is rare
vulgar dialect reaching
Behind the scenes
with a molecule
“the Word never
was an Absolute
in a cave of
wanting to be
tints and tones
to be seen
as a film
in the hand
Brian Lucas lives in Bangkok, Thailand. His book, Light House, will be published by Meeting Eyes Bindery (Spuyten Duyvil) in the near future.
Andrew Joron is the author of several collections of poetry, including THE REMOVES Hard Press, 1999) and FATHOM (Black Square Editions, 2003). A collection of his essays is forthcoming from Counterpath Press in 2007.