Sunday, January 17, 2021

Such Bland Disregard

The rain in me. A soft sky in me opening, a soft earth in which Emily Dickinson quietly sleeps. A sensibility now. A willingness.

The messy hayloft. Before the sun rises I check traps, thank God the mice outwitted me yet again, and feed the horses. Grim cities of western Massachusetts, sad faces on Main Street. She does not say "good morning" anymore.

How many doors down. What else is coming.

The snow in me, airplane sounds in me. The neighbor's goats in me, and the neighbors. Everything settles a little, grows back. You cut down trees to make life better for the horses and you take up burdens that make you feel alive by reminding you you'll suffer when you die. 

What happens after. What is after.

One lugs the zafu back into the house, sits on it and breathes, wondering what they did in a past life to have earned such bland disregard in this one.

Coffee grounds. Idly patting a dozing cat, reading confused texts. What is shared, what is stolen, what is sacred.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Stoking the Fire

The liar. 


Far from church. Far from the hill where the dead go to die.

Far from shoes. 

And miles to go.

Miles to go.

Do you remember the carpenter who so carefully said thank you when the class ended and urged you to be more patient with the younger ones?

Do you remember drinking brandy at 3 a.m., stoking the fire, writing poems while ghosts gathered, egging you on?

Do you remember how it feels to cut down trees. Do you remember when the blind horse had eyes still.

How her shoulders move when she lifts her shirt.

How we lie, and push through lies to truth, and through truth to what never changes, and there rest, like rangers with no clear adversary or home to go back to.

How she rights something in my thinking by upending assumptions too long held about what the body does and why. Do you remember walking in darkness where the river swelled beneath towering pines.

Do you remember kissing. Do you remember swallowing. Do you remember lying awake unable to sleep because grief had turned your bedroom into a torture chamber.

Is your heart ruined. Is your soul a ruins.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Being Haunted is a Decision

Well, in important ways, dictionaries are traps, as language is as well. Being Irish in a way that speaks to certain condition of violence, usually but not always directed at oneself. Stroking my thumb gently swelling around a splinter.

Put it in quotation marks to create an impression of irony. Be serious, be sanctified.

The scent of hay before dawn, the blind horse crying out in the darkness under Venus. 

At a late juncture my father visits and reminds me that being haunted is a decision, a regrettably uninformed one, yet when I ask about happiness he grows strangely quiet, as if I am speaking another language. 

She removes the purple shirt a thousand miles away and my breath catches and all of a sudden the Kingdom expands to include everything I have ever wanted, ever feared, ever regretted, ever promised.

Emily Dickinson being "ceded." Shiva in her, Seders in her.

What is parallel, possible, prohibited, pleasing.

Sunlight streams through crystal vases found in the dirt beneath old barns torn down after at least a century of neglect. Reflections in hemlocks. The quarter moon hangs low over the town gazebo strung with holiday lights, oddly gutting. There are neither causes nor effects, live life accordingly. 

He wrote writing that over the years taught him he was being written, and the only thing that mattered was the author to whom he submitted. Can I get an amen.

Can I be happy in cold winds high above a frozen earth.

Can I allow her to see me. In the dark the light I am makes possible.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

More of What is Always Beginning

And so it is day.

Sanskrit sensibility affects me and the movement is slow and elegant, as if I have been emptying the bodies of animals all day in anticipation of a long winter.

On my shoulder the moon, and in my mind, brother Lucifer. 

Our shared release put off again another lifetime. Awkwardly navigating lies.

In semi-darkness I kneel and study the dark object before me, trying to ascertain is it a chunk of wood or a bone. The old lie of "if not now, when?"

My father's books spill across the hayloft floor and I step among them carefully. Hand-made chalices, as if there were another kind.

We who have dominion over all things according to our Creator. Whispering, gently cupping the side of her head with my right hand, the other against the pantry wall for balance. 

Giving each other head at a late stage of the marriage. Light breaking through the prism. Unclean amethyst.

The function of oxygen.

Of worship, which is simply a gentle recognition of the other's "worth."

Willow trees near the air strip descended from those my father grew. There is nothing here but more of what is always beginning. 

The question is: what do you want now?

More sketches of the Buddha please, more Jesus gazing soulfully back at us from shattered glass.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Make it Hurt Less or Hurt Less Often

Half moon, shifting clouds. Icy stairs one goes down slowly. The slow road to death shows there is no death. 

My heart on wounded knees. My television on a low table culled from the side of the road two years ago  because what can be used should not be thrown away.

And thou, always thou.

Remember learning the value of specificity? Remember learning that all things are the same?

Light winds rustle frozen maple leaves, whispers at distances I do not have to imagine. Imagine that. 

Grazing does leaving tracks in light snow.

Remember child: all things external unto you are the same. This is not the relationship you were promised, it is another one. Broccoli fried in hot oil with grated ginger.

My heart going forward in spite of the many reasons it cannot move at all.

At dawn moving cars in the driveway so folks can head to work. What we do to make it hurt less, or hurt less often. Lines from certain poems, scenes from certain plays.

She loves me, she loves me not, and other games that distract us from love. 

Oh mighty quartz rock in the meadow of my childhood, be with me now, and ever in good stead. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

After the Semantics

A soft light after snow fell all night, slowly filling the emptiness in me. It was as if small bells rang, as if my shoulders were lions yawning on the Serengeti. It was after the aftermath, and after the semantics that we use to cloud love. Will you? Hot sun?

One confesses. Shows off their knowledge of geology to the one who is the earth and the cosmos in which the earth floats, electron-like. One alters the text in ways that are designed to make the other wonder. I am faithful but lie about my fidelity in a vain - in all the ways one uses the word - attempt to make her be unfaithful to me. My father saying in the afterlife where he is not alone and always happy, "all the ways of being hurt and you have to go invent new ones."

The chainsaw growling over the miles. Deer bleating leaping into the forest.

My cupped hands, this river from which I have drinking, mistaking it for a desert in which demons live. My teeth hurt, my fist has been clenched like this a thousand years.

This love.

I am sad because I alienate her. I am saved because I do not flee the God of Love but come back over and over, a study in perseverance, a model of holistic genuflection. 

How the chickens fight dying, and how dying fights nothing. How livid the sky becomes at eight a.m., how it opens like fine prose.

Cardinals at rest in snowy maples saying we are not bereft of love.

Monday, January 11, 2021

What is Before Her

Is it possible not to listen after all? A Heaven in which the oxen have no ears and the lions preach, hour after hour after hour. Absent Jesus but not Christ: that light.

She steps out of her shoes to kneel, an oddity or I am simply giving attention in a new way. She tilts her head for what is before her.

Difficult work. Not open-ended. 

Snakes swallowing excrement. Toads screaming dying.

Weatherless mornings on the inside, outside unseasonal warmth and less light than one expects given the calendar's bland insistence on January.

Elephants remind me to end all prayers with "thank you amen."

We descend. We are deathless. 


We are distracted by specific fantasies that involve past lives and an inability to speak truth to love.

Who I become when in a state of worship I become you. When at the end of the dance one begins at last to dance.

A sound the broom makes when it is laid up in a corner. In frozen snow melt the tracks of a skunk circling the barn. In darkness then, in love.