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  • Writer's pictureRyan Nowlin

Notes from an Open Channel, Sections 1 and 2

Notes from an Open Channel


Through honeyed leagues of the Northland Border,

a black bear approached a nice lump of fur by Joseph

Beuys or a mud-scape by Anselm Kiefer, a mock

Tantric blue by Ellsworth Kelly----I became

a student of Pollock’s blizzards of salt loosened

upon Manhattan and all the broken statuary at the Met,

a personal sort of time oddly subordinated to

oppressive subject matters concerning the pull

between the easy/ not so easy emotions and images--

a larger than life crucifix more like a floater

in a tired eye than a body. Don’t we all flinch

from something that shuffles slantwise through the sleet?

A fragment of what is to come, a good rutsch into

the new year and/or a wall broken loose, something

without eyes. Hard bathroom yellow tile color of

the house where I live as an exotic and of course

in the sun, tempers stay above 90 dehumanizations.

An army of houses that grope their way through

the dark. When did afternoon at the Pines become

such a burden--Something to discard late at night

along with certain perishables. Under the yellowing

light the pickle jar, then peeled peaches.

We drop all pretense. Maybe not. I’ve dusted

off my old answering machine and am going through

the fires of purgatory after having walked the plank

between canvas and typewriter. A skein of geese

white against blue—-Some are outliers, disconnected

from the rest in a tic-tac-toe pattern or the sign

of the cross. I’m off to see the Auto Body Wizard

with his carpet of stars. Remember, not all those

who wander are lost. Here is a map to fold out area

top themes, weird joys, embattled alleys, districts

of intimacy, willful grease smudge,avenues of relief---

A succession of losses, dissonant, temporal.

Walking through inevitable constructs, a collision

of realms I knew many ways of being caught.


Intervals of blank stares encompassed by a squad

of cookies in their little trays. I was beginning

to catch the writing bug like Dean, but lacked

the bandwidth to take on anything really new.

I thought of Spain before Rudy was born,

and the weird phosphorescent void of Lincoln Tunnel.

A slow opening in the sycamores on a sunlit

morning was the only thing between us and an Andalusia

of random propositions and these far out worlds

and seasons, more suggestive of affirmation,

fate and the funny scent from the fungus chewing

its way out of boxes—-Psyllid pouring from

car window. Colors coalesce black and maroon,

inspired by Spain and the film we watched

together on BBC’s Channel Four. Anything can be

dispensable and invaluable—-understated

flirtations, a numb sky, oxymoronic phenomena

like “affordable housing”, the evanescence

of vapor, hard water, the beauty of drifting

trash or a spare cigarette lit and cupped

against the wind in a lyrical gesture

all can be reduced to its nuisances, belabored

propositions or a litany of excuses with some

nagging nostalgia for an Iberian shore

taken in small doses. The list goes on and all

around its margins lies the channel

or a new category representing the adventitious.

That’s how it goes. This is an account of

the rugged turn into the past. What may be

available to all. All understand the magic

regarding what is open to me in the repetition.

But as you, dear reader, are here we could

begin. You are an in depth person. Proud and sad

with a face for all weathers and seasons.

Let me enlarge on that later. I think this is

an act of repositioning-- or a darkening of


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