Paul Haeder, Author

writing, interviews, editing, blogging

Introductory remarks — It gets complicated, life imitating art or art imitating life. I try to go into a trance and also flow with the proscribed language of words . . . poetry as music, a song of discovery. Sometimes a fugue state, emotions drawn and quartered. There are not enough songs, and with each passing nanosecond, the new-old masters of the universe (capitalists by any other name, whether it is the digital gulag capitalists or The Jungle sort of capitalists) control the narrative . . . thoughts . . . dreams.

The piece I did first to germinate my own dream-like cognition was called, The Collector. He is a new friend but an old soul, a person captured in the works of Kafka, Garcia Marquez, Melville. And he is a friend, for sure — The Collector.

Tribute, honorific, psychological, philosophical, lyrical, imagistic, and, well, the pure hum of words decluttering my mind. I know the “subject” of the poem my have to work on his emotional squirming, and this is a microscope and macro lens into just part of his life, his psyche. But what better gift to the world than honesty, the sweat and the blood and tears and spasms of life?

An Art Poem — The Collector

vessel of father’s
detachment, skies drawn
from Columbia Gorge
heckled, drawn-and-quartered
a boy in This Portland Life

skinned heart
broken dreams
promises, the kids
piled on, heart and soul
splayed, heap of flesh

another heart beat
compelling boy to structures
musical, voice, effervescent
light frozen, smeared into
blinking eyes, boy hoping
for life magnificent, a tribe
of artisans, troubadours

the deserted island
they sent him to
father, collapsed in his own history
of hard-drinking parents
mother slipping deeper
into illness, left to his
own devices, he hunkered down
into a rainbow of washes
the acrylic requiem
parting words of genuflection

many days turned around by life
memories like hot slag
skin pulled back by prying
bullies, boy to man
back to child
repressions and booze
the electronic sunset of drugs

“the forgetting” turns
to toil, daily clock puncher
grinding lenses, a Spinoza
allusion, yet art
is the crafted religion
luminosity in the frame
outside clarity
depth of field
he embraces, refocuses
pain into purity

he tells me more than 3,000
art openings, maybe four
a continuous loop
of clowns, clumsy, cloistered
apparitions of rich by night
day risen with incredible lightness

of being with art
like elixir
even as drone of depression
compelled him to jump
he found the angelic
great humanistic
endeavor of cultural
illumination

he’s a jumper for art
lonely days and nights
child pulled, pushed
plied by the ugly gang-mentality
child mobs, prodding
poking turned to angry bosses

he tells me 39 years
grinding lenses, two decades
the barbs of bastard bully
he eyed a bridge, Portland’s
gift to artists, bridges
the precipices of his
longing to jump
flattening on concrete

no one decides sanity
controls pulling life from
a lost landscape
behind barbed
wire cages
yet he floats
outside the haze of using
every chemical
self-medications

art as obsession
he’s The Collector
not some Mafia repo man
but anchored to
this art as life world, regional art
in the process
his life remade
with each acquisition

until four decades
later, a wilderness
a room full of wisdom
he holds a new light
upwelling from Japan
the chilling beach
coastal range forest
Siletz ghosts
he draws memories
now, wife and old man
singing songs of freedom

but compelled to dredge up
process of turning
life into performance
fluidity of memory
clunky in the production
of words, the key
a crypt of a thousand illusions
art like shroud from above
he lives in strokes
the plied hands of artists
like a nurse’s gauze

childhood wounds
healed over
days trapped farther
with each downy woodpecker
any measure of a man
ornithological now
he sits with wife
stares at the art
each piece a story
layered stories
meaning now in

The Collector’s pathos
& ego flitted away
corners of a different life
dog-eared memory
can he withstand Pacific
isolation, diving pelicans
quiet nights, quelling days?

like a scene in snow globe
he walks a street
two paintings clutched
on both sides
we shake that glass orb
instead of snow
shards of pain
float and fall
fall and float
he smiles in that globe
a scene some artist
might have conjured up

The Collector’s frozen
in a time of regaling
holding treasures
walking a lonely path
where art is dream
emancipation from
pain, culmination
of the betterment
of Homo Sapiens
a gift of color
The Collector’s
shield against
acerbic memory


… and he rejoices
one day all of it
goes away, piece by piece
chucked away
gifted one-by-one
each deserving
recipient now
a story in that snow
globe shards of pain
now gestating
joy, each
form, an epistemological
wonder

Installation of Chuck E. Bloom originals

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