Monday, June 30, 2008

I Mean Ours

Beneath storm clouds, wild strawberries. Underfoot, on the tongue. And, or - well . . . The "promise" of rain, how can it be broken. Is never what initially it was. After. You have to go stand beneath that tree now. Scarred and immobile and petrifying silence. The white clover blossoms like reluctant students. That voice, yes. Yes,that one.

Or this: your bloom, your bicep, which I followed in my travels. Your goat unraveling entrails. This forest, that voice. Or a story that no longer cares about negotiating pain. Ask: what the hell are you talking about, mediation. The sentence that longs to be a line but instead reassembles. As a gift, constantly.

Oh, did you seem them brewing, edging closer and closer? The tears, I mean, ours.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

This Time Was Smoke

The sentences were bracelets, once but no longer. Phone cords, holiday lights, a few lines written on the ass end of a telescope. What sequence was strung up, out, over then. It's a gray day burning as we . . . Before was a movement, away. Or a history of mathematics. Going towards that, is it something I can say? There really was a castle, toppling rotting, on a hill which we climbed, routinely. But not this time, this time was. Smoke the fire of what entrails. That's the part I like the least. You.

Oh don't keep me saying Albany. Which I do and do with still yearning. You weren't a comma, you were . . . A purple throw, a scrape to be engulfed by. Held weather, an inclination to precision. You see how deeply I resemble the man I thought I used to be in whose recollection, don't you? While the future beams its perennial but.

It helps to hear lots of things - even this, qualified - it does.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Heading To The Laundromat To Wash My Black Coat

I would not, not for purple loosestrife anyway. Nor tawny. The doe raspberries when I pass, nails in my foot. Roadside salt shaker. I got dem ole kozmic blues again Mama. There's a woman here who resembles you, by the way. C/Janis. And do I fear for my life? Like a penny rolling down hill, a brown eye in the rainflowering desert.

Say, is that crow bathing under the scarred pine tree? Or pulling what looks like a shoelace out of the mud? Design (desire) takes time so read up on, um, architecture maybe? Or what dance would you do if you weren't a wallflower. But I like blooming in dark corners. Somebody has to look out longing.

Can I pray it while swaying? In Costa Rica tumbling down? Did you hear - there's a stranger in town. That works. I was heading to the laundromat to wash my black coat anyway.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Throwaway, Hardly

The birds, the birds. Twenty minutes later is "you summed up in a sentence." The telltale black, the loping gait. Conversational tidbits. Dangle is a word. Up so early nobody else was and moths, little flies, fluttered in the porch light, making me think of ways to write about hunger and fear. Looking up at last at stars. This world, this life. I can't breathe in it sometimes, or forget to. A little chestnut perched on my breastbone. What am I saying, how much is pulled aside. If you mean all your spelling mistakes then what. In the moisty night, awash with electricity. Throwaway, hardly. "I wouldn't say no to a back rub." But the story was the point. Yes, of course, use "the," what do I care. A hawk, an owl, some cows. I planned a lie but never had the occasion to use it. What's enough - this?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

How I Know

There where the minnows dart, where the light is nearly red. On the causeway daisies, tough leggy stems. Ox eyes ox eyes, also wild strawberries. The only turtle sliding almost unnoticed back into the brown pond. First day without rain in what. Maybe a week, maybe more. We slept through the a.m. bird song, dreaming of lembas.

The trail covered with ivy except near the brook. Scant deer sign (but then one always expects more), though again, bear sightings. A branch crashed in the forest to our left and we squinted for the telltale black. And later we went back for a necessary rescue, while at home the rice boiled and kale and onions simmered in oil.

This life, that life . . . it's how you breathe that matters. "I want you to imagine your body is slowly filling with mud." I'm going in with my clothes on, ha ha. You leap, you extend, you lunge. For how many days running now have I gone without the stars.

Stars, tears . . . "tell me a poem." Wrap my arms around you love, that's how I know I'm home.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In A Green World Its Text

It's not about the sentence. It's about what happens through or within these particular sentences. A gushing, an outpouring. An expression to which the sentences are scaffolding. Merely. It's art, not theory. Just look at them!

No, no. That's ridiculous. The twenty sentences are not - just look at them - concerned only with recollection, only with speech. My speech. But it's true that the role they play - like coffee, like touch - is essential. How the day passes . . . well, without them, ungainly. A locked umbrella.

But what do they say, what do they show, about The Sentence. How can I say when these here - in this moment - seem wastrel, outsiders, plants. One prefers a fugitive language but why. The sentence as agent sent by what mystery to protect, defend, to bear away to . . . to where.

The moment a child emerges in the narrative is plot, your plot. The twenty sentences, including this one, are guides in a green world, its text, this one.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No One Turtle But Already Off

No time, no time - got to do this one raw. And so down it goes, nearly midnight, alive and now not. Game on, ongoing.

Well, it's not that bad. Nine p.m or just after. Which, given the parameters of bedtime for a 9-year old, a 4-year old, and a 16 month old, is still crazy. But hey, good news re: recent poems, and praise for other writing. Hungry as I am for that it arrives unasked for. Some God or Goddess looking out.

Night falling . . . but to me it always seems to be growing. Or seeping out at last from behind the dim walls of light. Bears crossed 143 as we drove west, not giving a damn, which pleased me. No turtles yet. No - one turtle, but already off the median, angled for the tall grass, Queen Ann's Lace.

And in Deerfield earlier a fox, mangy and lost and studying the litter just beyond the Highway Department's fence. Oh I love foxes, what do they signify again? Oh right, death. Well, I hate foxes then. And didn't point him out to Jeremiah or keep looking myself.

So no, I'm not well at all, thanks for asking but at least I'm here, this "ongoing cage match with the sentence."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Loyal, Awfully

Thunder in two passes, half an hour apart, never all the way gone. Or was it moving in circles, the lightening behind clouds. When the rain followed, nearly an afterthought, a soft thrumming on the maples, we smelled smoke but found nothing burning. We cannot be either old or new gods, it is simply too late. He thought as the belt around his chest tightened and going from room to room. The air was cold, a long night, and made him think of hunger. It was familiar and included fears that were loyal, awfully, and longing.

There was a way that things were done. There were "ships that had sailed." And there were looks, conditions, caveats, meltings, utterances that lingered even as the traffic picked up going away. He woke or came to - the difference being largely lost on him now - from dreams of the sea on which a dozen white boats had voluntarily gone down. Emails pointed the way, maps were sketchy. But the conversation accelerated, it did, it gathered steam and then what.

But are we the ones inside it - you and I? Now even? Purple is minotaur, blue is angel hefting a chainsaw. "We are back at lack." And the word lair purposefully altered to liar. A drizzle remained as the light broke, a warm fruit pulverized by stone. His hands longed to hold seeds and part of him was already out in the forest where yesterday the bears.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cigarettes Before Dawn

Poults weaving in and out. Asleep while Chrisoula walked through clover, Queen Anne's Lace, tangled blue of Forget-Me-Nots. Stunned as always by wild bouquets. And gifts, always gifts. His voice whispering was felt as an order. The house smelled the way Joe's trailer smelled. Sausages, wet dogs, laundry, cigarettes. Before dawn we pulled the blanket tighter and tried again to sleep. Outside a cat yowled. We woke to fog layered everywhere. It's just how it is, that's all.

I'm bored by the ongoing conversation about form. Can we settle and if not must we always be so circumspect. It was comfortable, after all, the way the sentences predicted and were predicated upon one another. They made a story to fall asleep by. It was all a fable and remained possible.

The "L" sounds were never lost. Later we'll visit the land and then what. One creates limits as a way of bounding a certain energy, hopefully productively. The result an investment in color, also rhythm.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Haunts And Cattails

We measured from the brook going east in a Hollywood light. Deer scat underfoot and at last the torn greenery that indicates moose. Thin coffee but the view was uphill and we did. Following, I felt again the unexpected urge to talk, to unburden but didn't. Was it water or birds we heard beyond the ferns. How sad, litter.

Beer depresses me (late at night). The physical heart depresses me. Scythes along weed-whackers, compare-and-contrast art, that too. In the backroom we passed on more coffee but accepted psychic tips. "But that would mean foul play . . . " She said over yogurt and granola, "well, you do what you have to do so you can live with yourself."

Jeremiah clung to me falling asleep. Little arms, little breaths. At the end, Pound stopped speaking, which may not be contraindicated. Or say what about the child's grave. Dreamed that one, too, with stones carrying themselves towards it, in search of vowels and consonants. At dawn, I came to in the backyard thinking, who tends to the white flowers there.

Is it too late then to find you Ron? As you found me (in was it 1983) mute and yearning amidst the haunts and cattails of Worthington?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Precisely A Blue Litany

The previous days are prayer. Lamentations precisely. A blue litany going. In the garden, water trickles, gulping sounds, rolling apple folk song. Please remember what was said here about suisecki. Now that we're all familiar with the space.

Pulling together the data requires a plan like quilting. Quite the opposite. The field in which the old fairs were held unmowed. Beneath the hydrangea, chickens. The heat, the desire, the loss.

Or the novel and its well of ambition. From a distance, grackles. Bigger than the mountain but how can that be if I didn't suddenly. Khaki-colored kit bag, harmonica in A, a bicycle, a map. The day's as long as what remembered line. Tell me the story of the three brothers again.

Okay wait . . . wait. Oh in down, in the murk, oh now.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

In An Unfamiliar Paragraph

Yesterday partially spent mulling the tendency of fields to be rectangular as opposed to. Does grass feel or can I write it that way. Pervasive sense that a word had been spoken and was still circulating, like wind. The afternoon dissolving in conversation. One limb of the front yard maple nearly reaches the ground. A lush summer, and trout rising.

He said but without interest. As always, Joseph Merrick is instructive. "I am not a monster." Gary Gilmore in dreams again, this time observed as rail-thin and wracked, following a line in foggy distance. Traveler. The question is, who can say for a fact that bears - even individually - have no God or Goddess.

A tight feeling in the chest related to a pattern of thought. Tea, crystals, antique coffee pots. The ducks were bored by the lawn mower but not the pigeons. In search of the right sentence one often finds themselves in an unfamiliar paragraph. Yes, you can get carried away, it actually feels good. How tired I am, how willing to sleep.

How the edges of the leaf curl as it dies. "You will take this with you and use it to remember this day when I am gone."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Distance Yet Blurred By Tears

A space inside what one hears. As sweeping allows an inflection of distance, painfully so. Also nights in summer when riblike cirrus clouds glowed in the moonlight. We laughed, we cried, we told stories. Here paraphrased: not the inclination to make tools but to create belief systems to help modulate the natural world. Three horses charged me where the field sloped gently and I never forgot it.

Their feet were like bells, the color of anvils. In the forest, lost, we came upon the ruins of a tractor. The ticks scurried up our legs as if in search of refuge. Pitter patter of conversation, pine catkins. I tied my father's shoes and we both wept then went walking. Wait - I dreamed of a rainbow from which I backed away.

A wall of water. A commitment to being honest, less confused, though not in that order. The turnip-colored heart, the vaginal folds of roses, and June. Salad greens tossed with apple slices and olive ol. We ate quietly, including crackers for dessert. The story takes place in segments and at the end of each you ask: but when will they find the treasure?

A balloon visible in the distance yet blurred by tears. Long before I knew it, I was home.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Are Turtles The Last Word

A fist is not lavender though diamonds do spring up in tight places. Sweat streamed down, prayers were uttered. The ferns cowered, the chickadees stopping singing. Echoes abide where green rules. It was the forest, it was full of us. At last, relief.

Of lurking. As if walking over the crown of a mushroom. Yet observe how silver the light is like recycling. Can one float or are turtles the last word. Couplets unamended.

There was a trail that nobody noticed except the dogs. There was a tangle of roots that resembled a map. The chipmunk's whole body trembled while it sang. Amongst the deadfall, fresh sheds. The pale wild morning glory escaped a certain blade.

A flutter, a cascade, imminent rainbows. Getting around to where on can use the word "angel." Why the red stem, why the memory of logs. Why now of all places this sentence.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Why What's All The Same

What's all the same? A picnic table with puddles of rain on it? As a porcupine mulling a new smell in the morning forest? What if blossoms of honeysuckle lay withered in the water? What if it shines just so? What if someone you knew a long time ago stops to look down, sees the bland oval of their face shimmering there, ash-colored circles where the eyes go? What if the sound of the river is higher than usual on account of all this rain? What if in the distance a phone rings and rings and goes unanswered by either a machine or a human being? What's next then? Will we have to pull together and pretend that some things happened while others were merely dreams? What things exactly? The spider leg that lay limp and broken between your forefinger and thumb? The sound of the broom as it went back and forth over the pavement despite the fact that the wind only blew more and more dust? What if the crow that flew overhead, so straight you thought it must be in love, with one feather missing from its left wing, was not a symbol of anything but only a crow? What has happened to our ability to read and to glean from what we read some useful information? Has it hidden itself in a cave? Is it stoking a fire and pondering shadows thrown against the far wall? Are we back to Plato? Then where did we begin and why? Yes, that's right - why?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Blossoming, An Opening

There were red monkeys dangling from the chandelier. Outside on Route 112, in a moisty dark reminiscent of sycamore trees, a single car could be heard droning on for miles. He worried about the firefly population this year, counting their soft green explosions of light while the water boiled for tea. In "the holler," a demented rooster tried its voice, waking up even his wife, who complained of the heat.

When the tea was ready he sweetened it with maple syrup. There was a sense of doom that accompanied him, had always accompanied him. Or was it crisis. He hates the sound of the word "crisis," but what if it's right? A sense of bodies flailing painfully, of vague large shapes tumbling down overhead. Perhaps what he likes about the fireflies is what he said years ago to Jesse in Winooski when he still drank: before birth is a mystery, after death is a mystery, this life is just a little flare between two darknesses.

And so he looks for what will save him. The twenty sentences will not, though they do bear him up. Images alone cannot do it - the man pushing a lawnmower over his lawn, across the street, across the neighbor's lawn, through the bracken to the next yard, then to the next street, and down that street. All the way into a new life. Which almost certainly resembles the one left behind. "There is no escape" is not as frightening as it sounds.

The tea is good. It is always that way, suprisingly so. The presence of his wife, rubbing his shoulder, saying yes, is a comfort. Later he will be surprised by gifts that his kids worked on the day before. There is also a blossoming, an opening, and welcome.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Same Bird

It was the same bird over the same grass. Punish the language be eliminating e's. Create such a space where what is possible has no vowels at all. The story grew like a snake, it shed its skin, it found a warm rock and napped there. A cork, bobbing, green shores in the distance. This is not the end, not at all.

Lethal consequences to what though. The conversation picked up camellias and left the room on its own steam. By dawn it was obvious that his output would never regain its former glory. My macaroni rolls down hill. More sugar, please. And Max Ernst paintings - I love those!

The blue, the loud, the salad greens. That blew aloud what saxophone dreams.

We present the twenty sentences in relative harmony. A paragraph is a loose corral. Words are: rehabilitated lemmings. Or maybe dander in a strong wind. Hey, whatever happened to frogs we used to shoot.

He said over coffee while his legs ached.

Friday, June 13, 2008

North To Yet Another

Here, like children. In the shadows of dandelions. My how the grass does grow. A shadow of what lilac. Behest. Bereft.

Beholden, Bethlehem. A nod in the direction, appropriately. Why not make a list of all twenty words. I recognize you, you're a photograph. Albany is one. Delicate another.

Why not let them go, the twenty sentences. Pumping gas while the sun sets and your shirt sticks. Get some donuts and pull over a few minutes. In my dreams, silver buckles and trout rising. I'm all over it, like a fern.

Oh to what aspiration do I owe this pleasure. For I am too entangled by far. While driving north to yet another paragraph and star.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Empy Stories Of Bears

I wanted to write today about shades of light on traffic signs. Or considered it earlier anyway. Yet I woke up at 4:20 a.m., Jeremiah lost in the house crying, and held him falling to asleep again. He kept asking me my favorite scenes from Lord of the Rings. His voice was tired the way only kids' voices can be, but he was scared to fall back to sleep lest he wander again. "I didn't know where I was." And there was nothing existential about it, he was truly lost. The birds were riotous as usual. I had gone to sleep on the living room floor where it's cooler, after staying up until 1:30 reading Kim Stanley Robinson. And so the day fled in meetings, writing, swordplay and fatigue. And now I am here.

Moose holes empty, stories of bears. Cats that went out and never came back. And yet another pigeon - Daffodil - fallen prey to hawks. Chrisoula walked with Finn up past the cemetery and came back stunned by the quiet. While the rest of us were fencing, working over heavy lunches, business again . . .

And the twenty sentences. If I don't get to them in the morning I fear I never will. It's nearly time to get the kids ready for bed. I don't know why it matters, but I believe that once I miss a day I'll be done, regardless of how many I've done, how attractive the number is.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Holding Up Chickadees

The year's first firefly observed on June 9. Make a note. One or two in the horse paddock next door. But none last night when Jeremiah and I went out to look, wondering should we trap some. Maybe they knew storms were coming. Thunder and lightening for over an hour, until all the kids were awake and reading in the living room. Waiting it out. Chrisoula clucks putting Fionnghuala down to sleep. Everyone in the house is sunburned but me. I can't tell you what I dreamed, only that before falling asleep it was crows on the brain. "What do crows do that you like so much?"

For the first morning in many, I can barely lurch through the twenty sentences. Or any writing at all. Well, that's not true. Blue Jays, a breeze, Wendy yelling at her dogs. Brown puddles of rain silver at the edges where the feeder turns slowly, holding up chickadees. Already I'm on the second cup of coffee. What does that tell you? It tells you nothing unless you've got the back story.

Listen: my body is shaped like a question mark and my mind is always removed from it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Words As Surfboards

Reading Natalie Goldberg yesterday, flipping through really, Writing Down The Bones, which I haven't looked at in over ten years. When I did last look at it, I hated it. After, in my twenties, relying on it to the point of scripture. Now I love it again, or can heed it, see how it's beautifully written, thoughtful and - at least the sections I glanced at - right in a provocative way.

I'll use it, or be inspired by it, for class next week. First time I'll stand in front of (sit with) students, in this case a bunch of precocious home-schooled pre-teens. For some reason, my anxiety around teaching diminishes considerably once I begin to think of myself as essentially facilitating a writing group with a few loosely-articulated goals. I want the kids to have fun with writing, to learn a bit about how to interact with others around writing, and to work on a writing project in a sustained way that's maybe different than they've done before.

My theory is along the lines of Gatto, giving kids space to do the work, and getting as far away from the educational "box" as possible.

For the first session I'm working on the difference between writing for public vs. private consumption -

- The thing about the twenty sentences this way - see above - is that they don't satisfy. Yet there's a point where the opacity - see yesterday's sentences, and the preceding entries - begins to feel too easy, too glib. It is, in part, about one's proclivity to revelation (what kind, when, how personal etc.) but also a matter of craft. These sentences here are utilitarian, but not delightful. Their energy doesn't crackle - it hums at a low level.

Equally important - the sentences this way don't evoke imagery, don't return me (or locate me) in the physical world that I know. They aren't in "the mystery." Maybe that's how I should put it. Writing is desirable that moves away from language as merely useful, merely a container for the exchange of information, data. Words as surfboards, the waves rising, deep and getting deeper sea surrounding.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Life In Ellipsis

Lately, the twenty sentences have become opaque. Partly because I'm writing them quickly because other projects take up my time but partly because I like opacity. Because I remain interested in fragments and their relationship - or lack thereof - to the whole, any whole. And also how one sentence predicts/implies/foreshadows the next and is - somehow - predicated on the one that precedes it, but in unexpected ways. Very much not like the sentences in this paragraph.

But at the same time, while professing a desire to delight or surprise, I must be aware of a personal inclination to avoid speaking in a specific way - of saying the thing I want to say. I prefer elision, redaction. A life in ellipsis. "Prefer" is the wrong verb, as it feels more like a defensive maneuver one has learned carefully, over a long time, and trained for.

But still, as always, it's good in an odd way, to see what writing carries on with its own energy and which I abandon or get bored by. The twenty sentences, begun with vague reference to Harry Mathews, have morphed, skitted over boredom, stated objectives, but continue. I turn to them in the morning no different than my coffee. As necessary but why. What is being said in, through, by them that makes them essential. To me. For what other reader(s) is (are) there?

Struggling as always with money, writing projects that pay too little, scheduling, ambition, fate, is there a God and if so etc. A life in confluence, in conflagration. Not unsatisfying at all, but sometimes . . . . What do I mean by that. Where, here, in the twentieth sentence, I cannot - will not - say.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Lemon Spray-painted Brown

What noise was that minimally. Showing off at the helm with lines about gender. There's always another stretch of field ahead. Abraham Lincoln wandering around blind. The door closed and behind it dust rose. A children's drawing, come to life.

The cheerful haunt, the lover of fruit rinds. Newspaper sales are down, what does this mean to me. Heat, rising, thunderstorms like broken kneecaps. The heart of asbestos is the ruin of glass eyes. An island, captivated, corn-related synthetic.

There was a letter about implants, there were reindeer suffering from cancer. There was a crack in the wall from which ants rolled their own missives, there was a lemon spray painted brown.

Dissatisfaction with the twenty sentences. Cramped for time. Remembering Ron Silliman. Also "music is the obvious analogy." Is that right?

It's about rhythm, how it all moves. Also the L sounds, particularly in tri-syllabic (or quadri-syllabic) words.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Certain Kinds Of Remembering

Walking on the wrong side of the road. And later visits from salesmen that leave us uneasy. Late at drunk, night, she sent emails to everyone she knew. The end is near but what end. And for who. Whom.

There were violins. Pocket knives polished till they startled. Rain fell or threatened to and the ticks were undeterred. What did I do that was ratty today. Falling asleep can be like following a chain. Albany. All bunnies.

Or else what is the wrong answer. Hand cloths on which the stains resemble faces. One wants a story but another one. A series of sentences in which bells were heard, maps located, sitcoms outlined.

Lyric influence pervasive and welcome. Put a tent in the nineteenth sentence. It was the eyes but also the cavity in which they glimmered, like candles, and certain kinds of remembering.

Friday, June 6, 2008

On The Roadside Flying Away

The color of water. Old heaters on the roadside. Flying away, a crow. What wires between us bearing what charges.

Poplar leaves turning frog-side in a storm wind. Bashful sheep spray painted blue. The slow-rolling Irish hills, I dedicate them all to you. Yeah, again, Albany.

Rose blossom litter. Our road is the whole world. Listening to Creedence while the sun fell, the beer settling in our bellies and eyes. Got to find a way to talk about it, split open like a husk.

Three days and no stars, only cancellations. Bananas, granola, a broken egg. All day yesterday I heard sounds. While Fionnghuala slept, nibbling my shoulder, bells in the distance, faint. Later a train while driving too fast down 143.

Where are we going. We are going too fast. Soon we will be where.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Turtles Braving Traffic

Do it first, fast. In Patagonia. "Time passes" but what as we are not still. He said, moving quickly, say that again. The rocky trail on which burro tracks were evident. It was a mystery then, a good one.

Below the lily pad an entirely new shadow. He felt oppressed in the city, all those lives around him. Consider Europe, parts of Asia. When names change - in the dingle - it hurts the most. In the bracken with fishing pole. "I don't want to." "Who asked what you wanted?"

But it ended, or stopped. It went on in other ways. You know what I'm talking about even if I won't say it. Years later he wouldn't meet my eyes. The past, what a blot, what a cancer. Going forward, tears.

On the Chesterfield road, turtles braving traffic.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Broken If You Look Closely

Sunlight. Ungrateful wretch. Coffee is fine. The walls are moving.

The walls are not moving. But Robert McCloskey is the problem. Or else my harmonica truly is broken. If you look closely you'll see turtles crossing.

In the painting he looked almost peaceful as if. And when it rained the sheep came down the hills. Odd numbers are like white sails where the ocean appears flat. Nobody has been more like a young man with wings than moi.

Any measurement that assumes quantitative authority is inherently deceptive and will be shot. In the morning we will begin drafting a new poem composed entirely of words. There was this mountain, you see, and when silver clouds broke around it you breathed. All was sweetness and alight until the time came to choose hymns for the funeral service.

Looking back is not the same as nostalgia although any good herpetologist will not tell you why. The more a given narrative resembles Tupperware the more likely I am to wonder about alternative religions. Twenty-five years later she could barely make out what was being said to her and photographs were no help.

How fast the lilac blossoms grow dull and droop, he thought, allowing his father's pen to fall from his fingers.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Geography Beyond Never

But what does two take? Supine, his shadow on the bedroom wall resembled a walrus, a wrench. Grackles and robins picked through the garden at dusk. Always hard to picture but stones do float through soil. While a long day gets longer.

Do you remember your first train ride? Buying the Homer Price books in a used bookshop in Albany? There was a sense later, over coffee in a nearly empty cafe, that we were "out of time." Not not having any but like falling through veils, a buffeting. It felt always like a moment with no before or after and so how could it last.

The dogs pleaded, the ants went about their business. Old manuals, faint notes handwritten on the back. The doctors apologized but what could they say really. In the parking lot, the priest stopped to fortify himself not with prayer but a drink. There was the time that he brought a sheep into church for the Christmas pageant and it broke loose and knocked over the baptismal font.

Okay fine there were stars wheeling through the heavens. At forty you start to long for that level of belief again. The afterlife, a geography beyond never again. How can the last time I saw you be the last time etc. And what else can be subsumed by etc.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Sentence, This One

Attached to the waterlogged clipboard was a small sword, the size of child's pinky but brighter. Hefting it, one felt as if they were in a New Jersey diner circa 1956. Buddy Holly dreaming of cornfields swept with snow and the sudden emergence of fire. Narrative is less important than song. Does it help to hear something like that?

Are we now doomed or just the latest of the doomed. The royal we. For the longest time I never saw a hummingbird. Then I saw one - a green scythe, a fine creation - and then couldn't stop seeing them. So is it, as so long supposed, a question of attention. In my dream, all was lost. Yet I stood in no body's footsteps.

The canoe on its side against the rain. Where water knocked against its walls drifting south by east on the Connecticut River was the whole pain of being mute. Parts of us lost in what cameras do. Parts of us wandering old New England forest in search daily of the right context, the better context.

And so Albany does matter then as it always has. And the lake where I went so often to see you floating away as sure as Peter Pan when the sun rose. Drinking beer there was the first time I considered the word "asbestos" as incantory. And what else after that then but the sentence, this one.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What A Whisper Would Have You Think

Pigeon shadows ripple like perch over sunlit maples glittering post rain. Heart knocking on breast bone after dusk but breath itself was slower. Apple trees cycling through the seasons in a single day. 'Twas lavender, was it not? And rolling candles down hill was the color green. But which past - and whose.

Soar. At night footsteps as soft as gossamer trailing through forest. A proclivity for lyricism parented by grace. The tulip petals sloped outward like antique umbrellas. Then fell. The moment elongates then until "beginning" and "end" arrived at artificial and didn't want to leave.

Sailing, slipping. Saying what one feels with arms open and eyes gliding through fingers like a magician's coin. The brook is shadows on both sides but marred by tracks. A duck walks with its head down and asks no questions of its hunger. Seedlings being a manifestation of prayer for those who have time. The genealogy of tomatoes, or maybe instead raspberries.

Not what a whisper would have you think nor what else. But at last along what measure, what road, love uttered its dream, of horses looking up.