In view of the Supreme Court recent ruling on "buffer zones", I'm thinking about harassing people as they enter gun shops. Call ’em kid killers.
Anyone care to join me?
She could have been
waiting for you ages
at the stop sign
or some nameless doorway
— Diana, our Lady
of the Moon Waves.
She's reciting your horoscope.
She has tied your dreams
in the long tresses of her hair.
— Diana, the lady of water
and lights on the water.
She's mesmerized the cars on Canal Street —
now they're a painting:
white shimmering circles
on a black background.
— Diana, our lady of rain;
and she's waiting for you, brother.
She's been waiting for you
since the dragons were born.
The moon rises behind her head
there's a stop sign behind her left shoulder
and at her right, hidden in her hair,
is a dark angel.
And though half her face
is hidden in shadow,
you know it's her.
You know she's been waiting for you
for ages now
with her arms folded beneath her breasts.
Her face has never grown old
since the river
first learned to speak.
Go now, brother, go to her now —
she's been waiting for you.
Begun on a bus from NYC to Princeton, NJ
Art by Drew Curtis
What secret box must I steal to rediscover the timeless space?
Shall I befriend the angel of light
or the dark voices only I can hear?
The secret of improvisation is to always say yes,
to always gratefully accept whatever is offered;
my life is a long improvisation
And the dark voices offer their dark critiques
but the angel of light will never whisper 'no'
I improvise my sacred love
over the random jazz heart
and the discordant nerves
Practice the timeless breath
out by breathless mesas
red hawks riding thermals
Compassion for the angel of light
Compassion means presence
but does not require deep listening
Attend the feelings, but walk beside
keep your distance from the darkness
There are no wrong lines in improvisation —
There's the footlights, and the outer darkness;
There's the darkness & void where a world is created
and the light where the world begins
The box has pearlised inlay:
young artist as crow
in his black fedora
and his morning ritual
Open the curtains: let the jazz begin.
Well, Henry Miller died June 7, 1980, at 4 pm Pacific Palisades time. It would be too much to hope that flags would be lowered to mark this loss. At best, America has taken her writers for granted; at worst, she has ignored them or maligned them. Henry Miller is certainly a case in point.
There are few books by Henry Miller which have not been banned in America, as well as many other countries around the world. Among these are the Tropic of Cancer, the Tropic of Capricorn, and his trilogy, The Rosy Crucifixion. Why have these books been banned? Supposedly due to their explicit sexual content. But sex scenes are brief in Miller, and are certainly the least important elements of his books. No, his books are dangerous, like Catcher in the Rye or Huckleberry Finn, because they are full of life, full of living ideas. And as a self-admitted anarchist, Miller is especially threatening to those our love our status quo institutions.
Henry Miller has been accused, and justly so, of writing exclusively about himself. Even his study of Rimbaud, Time of the Assassins, is really about Henry Miller. He agreed with Thoreau, who said he'd write about anything else if he knew as much about it as he did about himself. If there were any justice, Henry Miller would be remembered for his epic autobiographies rather than as the author of “dirty” books.
If you asked me where to start reading Henry Miller, I'd suggest his little book Quiet Days in Clichey, then — if you like that — the Tropics and Black Spring. After that, you'll probably want to read everything he's written.
His books, for me, have been a thrilling adventure. I shall miss him, though I never met him. His death is a great loss to the world of letters. Even so, his books remain for us to enjoy. As he said, “The dream lives on after the body is buried.” With Walt Whitman, he is waiting for us to join him on the tour of life.
Originally published in 1980, shortly after Miller's death.