Monday, July 6, 2020

I Am Briefly Made Unlonely

What is it in you that distance insists on worshiping? Or have the miles made me their God? Women whose bodies remain fixed in images, as if one had never been hungry, let alone lonely. My body counts and recounts its scars, not unlike a dog who is unsure when it will eat next. Listen! Dawn comes, a slow and melancholic fire scaling the hemlocks prayer by prayer, until at last the sky utters a soft "amen." I brought my brokenness to the altar, and the altar broke, and the priestesses there suggested I try another church. Who can say aloud what the fundamental nakedness will not? Joy has not been a stranger in this life, ecstasy has not been a stranger. We talk while walking along the Connecticut River, eyeballing military planes high overhead, joking about how "crossbeams" can go with "condoms" if you're writing that kind of poem. The backyard violets welcome me by neither welcoming nor not-welcoming me, and they would treat you exactly the same, and thus I am briefly made unlonely. Doors, like relationships, close but can mostly be re-opened (which is less clear with relationships). Later it will rain but for now there is this light, now there is this warmth. Now there is this function, this healing remembering it's sacred.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Moon is a Faithless Lover

In the end, there is nothing but the pure neutrality of stillness. I taste the ash, I wither in the salt, and I rot with the roses in the compost. You take a story - Hansel and Gretel, say - and trace it back and back, fire by fire, season by season, a thousand years, ten thousand years, and where do you end up? The Man without Shoes becomes the man for whom the moon is a faithless lover, and so he begins at last the rituals of grief that will guide him beyond dying. We are prayerless who have no father, and fatherless who have no prayer. Notice how the violets are not pursuing anyone, how they are not hoarding sunlight or rain, how they have no favorite book or psalm. The argument at last passes and my poverty clarifies to an exquisite degree. Cheerful at low intensity, I carry a cup of coffee into the barn and sit on a bale of hay by the window. The horses are quiet, the neighbor's sheep are quiet, and the chickens are quiet. The world, my love, is quiet. Of this alone am I allowed at present to speak.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Better Dance

A little before 4 a.m. I slip into jeans and a t-shirt, pad downstairs, hand trailing the dusty banister, and make coffee. The prayer as such is merely sitting quietly, giving attention to what arises, always with an eye on the generative stillness at the center of being. Three days without Jessica and a sort of calm appears, an order one doesn't have to struggle so hard to obey. Just don't call it an answer, right? The problem, really, is my discomfort with desire and my fear of currents that don't share my interest in staying close to shore. At 5 a.m. I make a second cup of coffee, and sit by a different window, one that allows me to study the eastern horizon. Any profluence affects me, any loveliness testifies. When I make no moves unto the Lord, the Lord makes no moves unto me, thus this, the better dance. Yet upon seeing it clearly, I begin to shuffle and gesticulate, begin to rehearse both arguments and proposals. All is past and all is the past, and yet there is only this. I write by the light of my body until almost six a.m., when something nudges me elsewhere, no reason in particular, and I go.

Friday, July 3, 2020

How To Grieve A Gift

Competence. Arrogance. What are you taking?

Dandelions go to seed under apple trees whose blossoms were duller this year than expected. We nudge the garden a certain way and are changed forever accordingly. Over the river, and the fields on the far side of the river, a bald eagle circles

Late but not too late one begins to ascertain the limits of her attention, and adjusts their expectation accordingly. No more fairy tales please. How the light disappears from any living thing's eye when its heart stops.

Reading Feynman, bored. Notice the violets, who do not object to being your teacher, don't run around cultivating an audience. Relationship as a form of obedience. 

He taught me how to grieve, a gift I am only just now beginning to realize and bring into application. There are no mysteries but there are places we have not been and cannot describe. Scrambled eggs and tomato wrapped in corn tortillas and eaten standing, plotting the day.

Plans to meet in Buffalo scuttled, just as the plans to meet in Brattleboro were scuttled, and plans to meet in Ashtabula were scuttled, and can you see now the theme, are you ready at last to stop fighting. Sexual healing is nontrivial but partners matter less than one thinks. Please open your bible to Paul's second letter to the faithful of Corinth and we will begin.

Simple coffins suffice, simple openings. The King, my Lord, at last is dead.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Clarity Mind Can Bear

The lilac dulls, a reminder of the degree to which beauty is yoked to time. We are always sacrificing, until we are not.

Morning light along the horizon a softness, a blur. Notice how violets do not rage, violets do not object.

Our correspondence takes the shape of children learning they are no longer children. In the attic, in a box of books, a dead bat.

A sentence, a sorrow. Coffee deepens the prayer until all the clarity mind can bear streams like holiness unto the world.

Steve's insights about perspective with respect to protest. It's late but we synergize, and our synergizing is sexual.

And what would the Lord say about your love, which evolves in time? A decision to allow ecstasy to appear as grace, and grace as just a guy who's happy with his girl.

Slowing down. Lugging mulch hay to the garden, passing Jeremiah lugging manure to the potato garden.

Turkey vultures. Bald eagles.

In the middle of the night, one hears the river beyond the pasture. Last first kiss, last first firefly, last first love.

Distances, dystopias, divergences. This confusion, this blossom, this way to end all ways.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Neither Sanctums nor Cathedrals

In a dream Dad leaves me a note: "Dear Sean, you already know how to grieve, I taught you this, Love Dad." Sunlight blurs the horizon waking up. I will never have what I want, thus this loveliness, thus this suffering. 

I went for long walks as a child - farther into the forest than children are meant to go alone - and learned what you learn when you meet, are eaten by, and yet survive somehow the witch. Is a sentence intelligent, is a flower? There's something in your eyes that makes it clear we're finished hiding.

What is "all the way" now anyway? Glasses off means no longer knowing what bird is in the maple tree, unless it's a cardinal because even blind I know cardinals. She trespasses, lays graffiti on the cathedral and come stains in the sanctum, all to make clear there are neither sanctums nor cathedrals, thus liberating my captivated, confused-about-salvation soul. 

Snow falling in parts of the landscape I betrayed. It's like Vermont is a two-syllable prayer. Who needs saving again?

It's a relief to know that we are at last beyond the argument, beyond suspicion. Deer work together, a cooperative intensity we can't imagine. The war zones we worship, the peace plans we scuttle in hotels we can't afford.

Church reaches the bedroom - spills its rituals and stained glass on the sheets - and now what? There are depths of beauty I still cannot manage. Begging the dispensation of non-existent Gods, knowing it's all futile, and yet.

So I left Emily Dickinson staring at an empty table, so what? Whose hunger, whose meal, and who counts the sparrow choking on these bitter crumbs?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Lesser Heaven

Oh I am inside the wasp's nest now looking out!

Now I am a single hard-boiled egg.

A cricket, a crow.

Now I am a bald eagle hunting you over the oxbow.

Can you feel my hunger?

Can you feed my hunger.

Whose husband am I? Whose help-meet?

Whose body is my classroom? Whose thighs tighten on me coming. Who muffles her cries against my throat coming. 

Two years now, a single maple leaf wedged between panes of glass in the bedroom window.

The world I am loath to disturb. For which I became a song.

A lesser song of a lesser god in a lesser heaven.

Oh but imagine me as violets!

Imagine me at dusk trembling touching the violets. 

I tremble to touch you.

In the swamp off Flat Iron Road a red-winged blackbird, first in almost a decade, reminding me how hard we try, coming back to us over and over in image, story and vow.

Oh my God let me learn to let love be love and joy, joy.