July 1, 2020

Iron Anniversary

The object of this restlessness that puzzles you
is solitude: a loneliness for loneliness,
a wistfulness for restlessness, a straining back
to what comes naturally – the way things used to be
when I had only me. I miss myself madly.
I long to be romantically involved
with myself again, like old times,
dependent only upon independence, demanding
only temptation. I’m better off in an empty kennel,
unmuzzled and free: that was the essence
of my doghouse epiphany.

Upon your encroachment my world shrinks.
My energy level sinks. I feel as if I’m fading away.
But your need of me is addictive: It keeps me warm,
the way a tea cozy maintains the pot’s warmth
long after the tea has lost its flavor.
Now I am continually both parched and sated,
sapped, tired of feeling, halfheartedly clinging.
With or without you, my life has no meaning.

April 23, 2020

Pleasures Of The Plague

 

Pleasures of the Plague

April 9, 2020

False Starts, Dead Ends

So, reluctantly and in vain, I take up my own vain cause.

I can feel my powers—such as they are, such as they were—waning.

It’s a shame that I didn’t use them more when I was in full possession of them. But it’s too late now to fret over considerations of repetition and hesitation. 
Maybe this is where I can finally begin, with the conviction that I have nothing to say. It’s not the most original idea, but I’m running out of steam, running out of ideas, running out of time, and I can’t allow the fact that I have nothing to say stop me from saying something. Although it isn’t easy to suspend self-disbelief and succumb to the phenomenal arrogance of imagining anybody might take an interest in this.

Paragraph by paragraph, I anticipate my potential readers dropping away, wearied and irritated by this tiresome outpouring. But I must insist on pressing forward, if only to honor a life’s work of discarded manuscripts. With so much unfinished, so much unbegun, nothing, no matter how worthless, can be thrown out anymore. I have to complete something, even if it is ignoble of sentiment and unsound of construction; even if it’s not up to the standards of what I once threw out; even if it is the exact opposite of what I had once hoped to achieve—that I was probably never capable of achieving in the first place—even if it reflects badly upon me, even if it is rubbish. Unseemly as it is to be carrying on like this, and tedious as it must be to others, I intend to force myself forward, and, for once in my life, finish something.

The very thought of it made me want to lie down.

I got up from my chair and stretched out on the sofa.

March 27, 2020

Down From The Mountain

The trail you blazed was a well-worn path.
Narcissistic heroics,
with one eye on posterity.
Until the time rolled around to reverse
into the antithesis of what you once
so convincingly pretended to be: stripped
of the trappings of excess, climbing
the twelve steps on the ladder to success.
Sober up, straighten out, settle down
and become what you always wanted to be –
a clean-living family man.
That was the plan,
and it worked out perfectly.

An artist over-appreciated in his lifetime,
who threw himself a lifeline
of excess. Sheer force of vanity
kept you going; self-immolation
in the interest of self-preservation.
A smart career move:
You got it all out of your system, knowing
you weren’t in it for the long haul,
and found that underneath it all,
you were just a regular creative joe,
who used to claim that he couldn’t say no.

While others took a stand, you showed your hand,
reaping the rewards of self-destruction
as reconstruction, making mountains
out of your stumbling blocks.
A prince of redundant darkness,
chipping every nickel out of that rock.
A smug survivor, without a damaged liver,
satisfying a luxurious affliction
from a position of responsibility.
It wouldn’t be worth it
if you couldn’t do it publicly.

January 17, 2020

Gentle But Firm Engagement

1822 Sunset Blvd, LA  CA 90026
1/16/20               9pm onwards

 

November 15, 2019

Chronic Chroniclings

Sink into a chronological netherworld.
Flashes from the Artillery Archives:

https://artillerymag.com/byline/john-tottenham/



 

November 7, 2019

Tinnitus, Dying Horses and Other Vital Matters

An Art Ramble with Top LA Dealer Jeffrey Poe

October 17, 2019

A Legacy-Defining Moment

New Emptyscapes up at Alias Books now through whenever.

3163 Glendale Blvd, LA CA 90039

September 19, 2019

Safety In Numbness

There is safety in numbness,
in so denatured a locality, so far removed
from nature and history.
And I’m grateful, deeply grateful, to be stuck here,
sinking in geographical and cultural isolation,
seldom jolted out of numbness,
in this seductively deadening place –
both sanctuary and termination.

 

 

 

September 3, 2019

The Thrill Of It All

Distressed glamor and strategic provocations…

Saturday, September 7th    Doors 8pm
HM157
3110 N.Broadway, Los Angeles 90031