Monday, October 26, 2020

Days of Heavy Lifting

Given the leftover canes of more important men and being told to be grateful and being grateful. The waning moon on the western hill. 

We take the calendar off the fridge and study it plotting the week, which is full in a complex way. 

Putting up tomatoes: canned salsa, pizza sauce and pasta sauce, and frozen roasteds for soups, stews and casseroles. 

The eighteenth century yawns, stretches, comes downstairs and joins me for coffee. 

The neighbors ask for help carrying their new door upstairs, and though my days of heavy lifting are now mostly gone, I say yes. 

Accepting a cane from a man rich enough to own many canes, who now and then gives one to the poor, high on his benevolence, deceived his gift is a form of justice and mercy. 

John Prine's last record. Cutting down mostly-dead trees past the pasture, knowing the end of days is nigh, and drawing each breath in a rush of dazed gratefulness.

And water boils for tea, and coffee boils in the low pan, and we wake the girls for morning chores.

What is ordinary, what is lost to itself, and what is grace-filled because it has no word for grace.

Nor any language at all.


Hefting fifty pound bags of flour, setting them where Chrisoula says, the back stairwell a second pantry now. Repotting succulents. 

She takes her glasses off, rubs her eyes, and later falls asleep with her feet in my lap. There is no channel anymore that soothes me the way she soothed me once against how rough and indifferent the world is. 

Market capitalism has failed us. Her hair shot through with silver, exciting me as if moonlight were a guest and not a stranger.

The Light of God in which all things - including the Light of God - are seen.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Futility of Gifts

Moonlight on the barn roof at six a.m., frosty dew on the toes of my black boots. I am mostly broken, mostly riddled, mostly limping. The heart has no thought of its own.

In dreams the dead visit, and in psychedelic prayer space, we can die and be reborn. Blue jays in the hemlocks mock my fear of chainsaws. How else are we sustained in this hash mark of a world.

Poems for pretty girls become pleas to be understood and then - later, in this autumnal darkening, this end of days - a hymn to the One who breathed us and whose breath draws us back. 

The neighbors come over with plans to kill the fox who is killing their chickens and, foxlike, I lie to them about where the den is located and, Seanlike, disable the trap after dark just to be sure. Bittersweet scales dead trees out back. The mute center, the warm billows.

She tells me she is breaking into a thousand pieces, and I fall asleep to the sound of her whimpering in dreams. Paper snowflakes that lasted through spring and summer, harbingers of what's to come. We pile blankets on the bed, quilts and throws, and our bodies grow thinner accordingly.

Breathe me, believe me.

Early October, shivering in morning prayer, clutching the hot coffee mug, letting what wants to come into the light, come into the light. The psychic who predicted my death, who was obviously angry at me for reasons I could not discern, taught me thus the futility of gifts. Drinking coffee with Dad in the hospital, easy in those days because there was a future with which to blot any study of the past.

The blind horse begins to age, and I take over the early hour chores - checking on him, checking on the fence, throwing flakes of hay. Sprigs of lavender in water in a yellow plastic aspirin bottle, lasting longer than one expects. 

For a long time I was ruined by images but at last saw how this was simply a construction of language which I could do or undo at will, which doing or undoing reached all the way to the self, and then ended, as sentences do, and apparently must. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Silence which Cannot Be

Starlight, city lights, that which makes all light possible. Darren offers me a cigarette, which I take but do not light, nervously waiting for the cops to finish their interview. Peace signs everywhere, Black Lives Matter, the silence which cannot be broken. Distance. The circle allows no argument about what constitutes circularity. We work together at a steel table, our dialogue public yet shot through with the privacy upon which all marriages are premised. Gently plunging my right hand into the chicken's body, massaging organs from ribbed walls, easing fistfuls of steaming guts out, leaving a cavity to be flushed, a husk to be frozen. Idealized spiritual states breed competition and other zero-sum activities. Shivering waking up because early October is cold this year, and chores do not allow me to linger in bed. Dionysius the Areopagite said the Godhead was "the Universal Cause of existence while Itself existing not, for It is beyond all Being and such that It alone could give, with proper understanding thereof, a revelation of Itself." Precisely. And yet.

Friday, October 23, 2020

On a Bus with Her through Vermont

The eye of the observer alienates what is observed. Or something Bohm said long ago, when one was curious in a different way. Brutal cycles of creation and destruction at last perceived as distinctly feminine and through which one passes to a generative stillness beyond gender. A gold light in October that I remember from long ago, a childhood in which all was given so that in time it might be pieced back together. Muffled distinctions and other softenings. I remember riding on a bus with her through Vermont at night, snow and darkness in moonlight perfectly blue, and how surprised I was over all the miles at the happiness washing over me, wave upon wave of her attention and delight. And so again I come to the table and shuffle the deck and douse the lamp. Shoeless and blind, I wait patiently for whatever enfoldment She decides is coming next. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Memory of Sight

Coffee against sleeplessness, that losing battle ruining my body. Scarring patterns, dental records. A sexual hunger that no woman ever met and no man understood. Early October wrapped in heavy quilts, gazing through the window at a world blurred by melting frost. Whenever you have a law, at the next level of existence, you have a reflection of that law. What is the structure of mind save the structure of the content appearing? A lot of writing is done simply that we won't forget, and yet forgetting is precisely the goal of Love, a difficult balance I am yet to sustain. As in, how I wanted to take the tryst to church and give it my name. Since you didn't really see me, I became blind, and in my blindness died to the memory of sight, in which darkness much is revealed, more or less continuously. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Out of the Forest at Twilight

Sentence after sentence, a reminder that eternity is not "time unending" but rather "no time at all." The fox came up out of the forest at twilight, loping in a relaxed way along the pasture's edge, a way that made me happy by reminding me that death is neither the end nor the beginning. And then and then and then. And thus. The kids ask for cinnamon raisin bread so I make cinnamon raisin bread. Ask a philosophical question, get a philosophical answer. In so many ways, reasons become hostages to fortunes they did not - indeed, could not - anticipate. Dad is gone now, and what remains is an absence in which I recognize the Lord, which is just another kind of absence. In the blue stillness there is nobody who says "in the blue stillness." Gift-giver, go-getter. Get along little doggie, get along. Go home, good god, go home.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Lonely in the Way One is Lonely

Maple leaves on the front stairs, brittle with frost. To live is to remember in a very selective and deliberate way, which means that much is forgotten, and it is in forgetting that both love and peace surpass understanding and thus are known. Waiting in a line outside the hardware store, saying "good morning" but not much else to those arriving to also wait. Morning passes limbing apple trees, all of us together, laughing at Jeremiah clowning in sunlight, and calming the blind horse for whom loud noises are now orders of magnitude more stressful. After lunch - baked beans, breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs with onions and peppers - we take down whole trees near the pasture. My heart which was never not broken breaks a little more. Winter informs us it intends to linger, maybe stay forever, according to the whims of the God of No Gods. The ripping sound letting go, the thumping falling. Chrisoula and the kids reminisce about the dogs, how protective they were of the chickens, how I slept outside with them at night, sleeping bag here and there in the yard, all sorrows that I cannot go into as deeply into as they can. A sigh seeing the moon so pure and bright in the briefly rainless sky. One is lonely in the way one is lonely when one has come a long way alone to the Country of Marriage as once contemplated in another, less Godless, age. It passes but man, what the passing takes as it goes.