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(9/16-21/01. St. Francis Hospital Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff.)



black ink

fantastic tangle of minatory tubes
     subject to pressures of mind—
tensions and distensions of a world release
  radical interrupts in chaos itself—

Strike One! and the eyeball seems
   to bugle from its socket
 and images slide away in double deficit—

When will the hammer fall a second time?
             What range of world
    elided or eliminated outright?


Mind falls into world,
             launches missiles
                    back at

The Towers of Extancy
      hoard all the being they can
as if being were substance
          and measured thereby.


There is a little panel in the intellect
whose rotating dials and levers measure extancy

and another darker panel back of that
where being’s ranges and categories are decided.

The ghost without a hand can turn these dials—
the one by measure ruled and read
the other by a kind of absolute dead-reckoning
moved toward world or away
back to that which feeling searches for home—
an open radiance watching through the meshes of thought and world
but spaced by love
to reach the spaces in all other beings
and lead them home







blue ink

    murky liquid looked at long
  until the mud wall’s small gleams
of silver hot to the mind—
mind burned by sharp edges of the light—

draw it up from the little glimmer
until brightness hiding in the tiny gleams
burn the mind that draws it up and out


    How can light
    burn the mind?

But the mind
pulled it
out of itself
straining its own
possibility—that’s how!
until major lesions streak the thought-flesh

The mind’s own edge
alarming its right to be

   inside itself
     the mind as light
        is sharp as diamond
and ever-growing harder and more bright—
the clenching intellect
     the riveting intensity
          the keenness
  wounds the possibility thereof
until all
       is edge
           and keenness

and the teeming feral darkness of the wold
    wherefrom that brightness first took gleam
falls back into itself and seems no more


            mind was parked as parcels mixed
in murky liquid swirling indistinct from element
and muddy textured wall before all face—

Appearances were flat as they were.
No lightnings crashed the ordinary.
The originary groaned with debile process.
Sparks adhered to resins.
Aged vessels sat on aging ledges.

          river of tetrahedrons
             flowing from a point
       gold and silver alternate
    bordered by triangles of silver and gold

         river of cuboids—
               intensifications of themselves—
      coherent blotches of light in turbulent blackness.


Writing is violence.
It draws from turbulent blackness
      cuboids of light—

   checkerboard swatches of intensity
            edging out absence—

the field of loud I Am
    that grows ever more distinct
  trumpeting edgeless edge
        and will not die.







red ink

Whence this incursion
on the visual field?
This incisive oval of geometrical light
that scares me with the mad
distress of “the origin”—as if
I could see thereby
the lesion itself—the tear
in the minatory tangle
of vessel and tissue—a singular
violence distressed from the physical
object of myself—the
thought of the tangle
in which it is posed
by thought itself—invisible
thought of selfhood—hyper-
spatial to the tear
and to its terrible
ovoid incursion into
its own thought flesh. From what
but the action itself
enunciated now as a vibrating inset
of an order unintelligible
to the object it disturbs—
as if the “I” itself were
incised in its intuition
or the hyper-space of its
occurrence were inscribed
in  a vicious act
that is no act but a thing
from that other zone
where terrors spring

—thus “I” must die
to heal the lesion
of its own increasing

and the afterspace
      that includes its violent incursion
return to the space before
                 the space before

          all violence began.
thick ink







thick ink

words without purpose
the embarrassment of apparently
real contingencies / asleep
on the cool embankment—
now ascend to the highest rank—
the empty empty;
the clarity; the breath
at home
with the bodily
meshes and hulk
it happens to be breathing in—
the largesse at large in the tangle
of cause and consequence
or purpose and embarrassment—
contingencies the meshes
of the snare / the alphabet
of contingency scrambled
so the noise of speech—speech noise—

You can’t get out of the
coil of speech noise
and the mind that
eggs it on—turning
about its axis and attempting to SAY
the state it wants to have and be
wanting to think out with mind brush
and mortar and pestle of intellect
the possible rank—IMpossible and RANK!
The gargoyles leaping from the forehead!
The bouncers and the barkeeps
locked up with the  brawlers in the brawl!



If I knew it
why not get on a bus
and go without delay
to the city beyond concomitance—
the luminous Room in The Hull of the Ship of Truth—
the moon man aloof in the saddle
    bounteous grace rays
 down hospital hallways
sneaking glances and casting beams
into desperate units
where groans and miseries turn on their axes
and the minds of medics are disjoined
from the bodies they’ve wired.

Why not get in the cab
of the big truck
in furious exodus
to comport oneself

on the bluenight highway?
no ink







no ink

            and nerves
                                  and roadways

     bundled in a tangle

                       snakes and phospherescent insects

          phos      the remembrance

    of light

                      when things leapt up
                           from themselves

                 long ago


           in the dawn of   ta onta—



  the singular


     released from the tangle

             mind saddled on      being


      without digression or part

                            galloping dayward







just ink


a ball of tangled “yarn” or nerves or vessels

        themselves the course and the message

 the singular message of self-luminous Orb

                   tigle chenpo

     totality      coursing through each span


the orb returns to the tangle

                      knotted yarn’s
              impossible story


            timed to burst

                        function to break down

         the furious space between the crossing strands

    that things are ripped out of their nature

     when the message explodes in the channel

the mindful light of the space through which it courses

            breaks into the coursing


 When earliest intellect

  awakens in the telling

the oldest gods
                             pass before the Face


               (care nothing
but for the moment of this passing

                 even in death

        the “green cloths”


                 solicitous friends disarmed


  launching the world

                           against its own    form




Three Drawings, 2014. Ink on paper, 15.5 × 13 inches



Charles Stein

Charles Stein is a poet, artist, and classicist. He holds a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Connecticut at Storrs. He taught for many years in the MFA Art Writing program at the School of Visual Arts, New York. His work can be explored at


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