Thursday, February 27, 2020

Worthington Dies A Thousand Deaths

Morning glides through me, settles on the bare branch of a far maple, and turns. We fumble through rituals in order to reach what cannot be ritualized.

The subject is a mystery in order to hold our attention, not because of any interior interest in solving (or resolving) anything. A blend of ecstasy and pedantry, a happy discipline.

One grows tired of the word "soul" and yet comes back to it over and over, as if somebody somewhere were insisting on something. Worthington dies a thousand deaths so what's one more?

Our innate preference for certainty against one's personal experience of how that specific longing interrupts and confounds and informs them. By "hunger," I mostly mean the still heron in the still waters of the old fire pond at dawn.

A mouthful of coffee grounds. Acting in a way that teaches us there is neither intention nor sin (nor consensus about the fact that there is neither intention nor sin).

The warmth of her at 3 a.m. which I do not want to leave but do in order to better merit our shared bed by faithfully meeting the Lord in prayer. Last of the wine, last of the whiskey: April 27, 1990.

Morning glides through me and settles on the branch of a distant maple, turning to gaze at me with gold eyes full of love. If you meet the Buddha on the road, give him a hug, say "thanks, brother" and keep going.

Sorting through recipes for Kung Pao chicken, aiming at something that is derivative but original, as always. A way I whisper "honey" that she understands.

So much ends when we stop insisting that language be more than a coarse-grained form of love. Who feeds us, forms us, finds us over and over.

One slips certain shackles, one runs all night to reach the farm by day. Say in so many words what you want and The One shall make it so.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Days are Without Boundary Now

The barn at 6 a.m., chickens stirring in darkness as I gather hay for the horses, the emptiness of right before Trudge brings forty some-odd bales. The Christmas tree in the side yard, gaps between its limbs. I do care where the moon is in January. I love you, how could I not.

Ice in the Old Creamery parking lot so we take wide slow turns, minimizing the chance of grazing other cars. Jeremiah eats handfuls of yogurt-covered raisins, eyes slightly narrowed, listening carefully to what Dylan's right hand is doing. Making love at night by outdoor fires and then later remembering how we used to make love at night by outdoor fires, peepers in the distance and - at least in memory - an owl. Something composed, something comprised, something composted.

Main Street wakes up early, trucks coming and going at the little hardware store and the post office. I remember my father making fun of the titles of poetry books - Neruda's Residence on Earth, Carruth's Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey. Yet say that one day an envelope arrives and you cannot decide whether to open it or not but indecision is not the real problem - the real problem is that you cannot go back to the place where decision was inevitable, that is, you can't go back to before the envelope arrived. Chickadees scavenging stale pumpkin bread crumbs - that joy, that satisfaction, that gift.

Birthdays vs. the anniversary of our death - which as Merwin pointed out - we pass every year without knowing. In our youngest daughter's bedroom, I hear Chrisoula's voice low and comforting, itself a comfort. Meanwhile, whales are swallowing plastic and strangling to death in heated seas. Truth is, I never pictured you on your knees but rather pictured picturing you on your knees.

Well, what works, what's helpful, what's fun. The days are without boundary now and my library is shifting from an image of what I've learned to a statement about what I don't know. Tides, too, come and go, ever attentive. Say that leaving Massachusetts for anywhere other than Vermont were possible and you'd be saying what in this life cannot be said.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

We Live in Tangled Spirals

And so at last I am old. I enter the shallows knowing the depths to come are no big deal. Erudition remakes me yet again, but this time in an image nobody wants. Desire is always yoked to memory because memory is all a body is, in the end. Crickets are a recurring dream of summer while fireflies are promises we make in one life but keep in another. The prodigal who elects not to go home, who eats his fate without choking or spitting - can I meet him now? At 5 a.m. the house is quiet enough for prayer, but I do not pray, only lie to myself about prayer. What is recursive is always escalating - we live in the tangled spirals of what we'll never know. Greek coffee boils under the watchful eyes of cats. One privately mourns their father's passing, signaling in a faint but ongoing way (which is what "father" means after all) their longing to live monastically. The many fallacies that organize our shared being are like cousins you never meet but then meet only to realize you've never not known them. Have another beer! In Ireland I was less Irish than I would be ever again and never was I freer but that's not how you go home now, is it? I will miss sex by outdoor fires, long drives with coffee, and the happy confusion instigated by photographs. Always be seducing and always be willing to be seduced, says the Man without Shoes, who will seduce no woman ever again. At the foot of a mountain, one looks up. Below the sky one studies with the Teacher who explains the sky is everywhere, we are in it and also, there is no sky. Oh my tired heart, oh my weakening voice. In January I pull the quilt tighter and try to remember how it all began. You?

Monday, February 24, 2020

Already Planning the Garden

Well, not lost so much as fond of risk as a way of saying to the men who beat me, fuck you. In one's thirties and forties chucking the maps but in one's fifties chucking "chucking the maps." One writes all morning after dizzying prayers, insights falling like the diamond rain on Uranus. You reach the forest, you reach the clearing in the forest, you reach the chapel in the clearing in the forest and you keep going because what else are you going to do, you were made to keep going? When I was a little boy I knew where black bears wintered and where I was likely to see them in summer and I am the man that boy became, with Jesus's help. I died in 1990 and when they brought me back I was disappointed but also puzzled. Who knew death had so much to do with prisms! So much that I doubted has been proven true, so much that I sacrificed has been revealed as never needed in the first place. We are past kisses mostly but we still do kiss, our bodies soft and familiar. We are already planning the garden, as if we were in Vermont - and Vermont in us - all along.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Halfway into the Prayer

I wake early and drink coffee and oddly leave a lot of lights on which I only notice halfway into the prayer. Being the smartest guy in the room has its charms but inner peace isn't one of them and anyway I'm only sometimes that guy. When you enter the church, do you bring your reasons for going to church with you?

I thought I was relegated to the far corner of the choir but in fact I was relegated to the broom closet and only enter the choir loft after everyone is gone and it needs to be swept. Drawing a deep breath after many weeks of struggling to breathe. Writing by hand, listening to the house hum, the faint interior hymnal growing fainter.

Sliced apples, halved grapefruit, bananas spotting in the bowl. My youngest daughter begins making a braid rug, converting our bedroom into her workshop. When you recognize a good story and then confuse your recognition for creation.

For a long time I feared I was as empty as the men I knew who were empty, but I am not those men but another man. We thought my wedding ring was lost and so we replaced it for ten bucks but years later we found my wedding ring. Tom Petty in 1985, 1989 and then 2015 or so.

I step outside at ten p.m. and the cold darkness welcomes me but I am still lonely in hard-to-explain ways. Often, what appears in the poems is not what we expect and doesn't exactly excite us and yet there it is in the poem. A dream in which I realize through the lens of fatherhood the importance of being happy and having fun.

Practice joy? When we wear masks we think we are anonymous or hidden, but masks reflect the self's preferences as well as any other face. Snow melts in late January to reveal the crest of a curated pile of quartz rocks, some of which I've been lugging with me for over forty years.

One begins to sense the virtue of order and leans into the woman who has proven she can make it so. Forget the dark - it's what your heart left behind when it fell.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

A Malign Enchantment

I slip a little going out back with hay, late January thaws turning pools of melted snow to ice you don't see when you hurry. A thinning copse of trees through which the neighbor's kitchen lights can be seen, a reminder that solitude has nothing to do with geography. It's not that I'm lonely so much as waking up from a malign enchantment, victim of a second-hand spell. Learning at last how to talk directly to the Lord? Sentences audition for the morning poem, clearing their throat, trying to impress me. Mockery is a form of indecision, pretending it's not you but another who made the wrong choice. Where once there was night, now there is deeper night, or more night, and insomnia remains our biological king. We for whom winter is a beginning, we for whom beginnings are are not enough, and we for whom "not enough" remains a viable strategy. Four days running I wake up and can't remember my dreams despite a pervasive sense that remembering them matters. Who needs ghosts when you've got clocks and calendars? Legendary scabs follow me into the same old desert, bloodless but loyal. A prayer is anything that moves you, and a hymn is not what we actually sing but rather what makes us want to make a joyful noise at all. On that note, this. This this.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Averse to Being Solved

Often, what works does so simply because it corresponds to some interior structure we've built up over time. Everything represents! There are barns in me, a gears-level appreciation of projection, there are rivers that others call brooks, and there is a trusted ability to tie folks who insist on distinctions (as between rivers and brooks, say) into semantic knots. May I tell you a secret?

One falls in love rarely and never forgets the fall, conflates the fall with the one for whom one fell, and so never doesn't love falling. My middle name should've been Ascutney. The Mysteries are not harmed when we learn about them, they are not averse to being solved. The scriptural is delightfully sexual: every child of God knows this.

We who linger at hints - who sip and never quench our thirst - what god or gods do we suppose have welcomed our worship? What altar - if it could - would turn and worship us? For we do not pray but in bodies that love a lot more than just prayer.

Imagine a long drive north, or in a direction of your choosing, to an end you can dream but not  guarantee. We invent the communion ritual by stealing joy from the ones who locked joy in boxes, invented compound interest and captured writers for marketing firms.

I mean picture the Eden we could make! The order we could restore! A kiss that exceeds anticipation of kisses, chocolate and bread and roses where the desert inclines towards mirages!

Witches know what works (you know). In our dreams a river, and in the river more dreams, and in each dream an image of a river. A hymn that is both our own and everyone else's. As if anything but this mattered.