Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Fatal Conglomeration of Toxins

Without a filtration system - mechanical and or biological - fish in a tank will die. We have to do certain things, don't we? Buy toilet paper, fry breakfast sausage in syrup, read to the children when they can't for themselves. Thus one assumes the mode of cranberries, one adopts a salty way.

Without you I am a block of wood on which somebody has painted eyes. Feathers fall, memories are recalled. We pull the past out of our brains, polish it a little, and call it reason or cause. The filtration system - whether mechanical or biological - enables the inhabitants of the tank to survive what would otherwise be a fatal conglomerations of toxins.

I am saying it is all in how we look at it. The ghosts near the forest rallied a last time, but I threw Jesus in their faces and they gave up with nary a whimper. Or am I remembering the old dog who died approximately one year ago today? Without some method of arranging our memories, we would lose entirely our longing for the present and then what?

Perhaps it is because we transitioned to hunter gatherers? Somebody said hey look that'd be a great place for a village, let's make babies and hem our stories in on calf skin. On the other hand, there's Las Vegas. Well, we have to perceive until we accept we don't have to so . . .

So one wants to mitigate what obscures a natural joy and peace. Transform obstacles to love? We arrive at each moment with the capacity to be born again. If a certain language leaves you cold then go find your own flaming pronoun.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Startling Dark of Midnight

The pilgrim landscape dusted with snow. The interior fire can sometimes be gray. One walks all morning and all afternoon just to speak with fellow believers. So I declined to play the part of Macbeth, so what?

Lives are altered by our actions hence the need to choose - to decide - carefully. Eschew lawsuits. At times it behooves the hungry soul not to feed itself but simply to observe the terms of its hunger. Sentences, my love, not lines.

We advanced confidently in the direction of our dreams. Decomposition beckoned, lent its shadow to the project. This is what I do and if you don't like it leave me alone. Little crescent moon, what did you think would come of the startling dark of midnight?

Oh but then a cup of tea comes. There are always firsts and they are always repeating themselves. In other words, wake up and allow your dream to interpret you. Remember you?

Remember that night on the fire escape, drinking brandy from a thermos and talking about the apocalypse only we knew was coming? Everything that happened is still happening, if you want to see if that way. The other night, out walking, I was aware of him in the distance - his black frock, his ancient pistols - and felt again - faintly - the powerful desire he wields, the yearning to know our experience, the anger at having once chosen otherwise. One hurls oneself from Heaven, one discovers that eternity is simply the longing to make it back.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The We We Really Aren't

Nowhere is better than here. One's life fits into a shoebox which can at last be dropped into the sea. There was a point I wanted to make about the space between waves but . . .

The morning walk abjured in favor of dreams in which Jesus was invited to appear. A simple yes or no would do. Yet the answer, when it arrived, was in the form of an email and only complicated the question's nature.

Question nature? How often do I return with blood on my palms and mud in my pant seams? There is only death worth talking about and it happened a long time ago.

Raise your hand if the crucifixion appeals to you. Stand if the reflection of broken glass in the driveway is more memorable than a lover's parting words. Do you believe in pain?

How about grass stains? Suisecki? A one word sentence has a lot of explaining to do.

Yet we kept going, as if into a photograph. We wake from one dream into another and have to choose the one in which we really wake up. What I meant to say before I embarked on the twenty sentences was thank you.

Or yes? Time doesn't pass so much as the we we really aren't does.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Intense Almost Divine Love

Fear on the logging road that tracks the old potato field (next to the frozen pond). Overhead, stars flicker heedlessly. One walks as if into a painting, as if some artist or authority had made this in a state of intense, almost divine, love. Understanding this or that social setting is not critical. We fumble, we make do.

We approach writing a certain way, as a process in which product is not valuable, not saleable. But malleable? Historically, our preference for gold is a function of the fact that it gleams in sunlight and yields readily to heat. We want to measure. We want our treasure.

While later, one assumed the stance of one who wears a frock coat. The past is never not with us. One prefers the abstract to the dense text that often follows. Pull yourself together! My boot strings broke and I cobbled together something else for the long walk that winter morning.

If you can't make room for your fleas then you can forget about enlightenment. A blanket is helpful against the cold, dust that's visible in the moonlight can help you recall old friends. I mentioned fear and I'd like to retract it. Retrace it? It passes is all I am saying.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Cherished Noun

The notes find themselves. Which is to say that music is there in a way the sentence is not. Oh but then you never write now, do you? Was it something I said? He waited all day for the mail and it never came and it saddened him but there was always tomorrow and what is tomorrow but a comfort?

Or that's what you told yourself when the closet got too stale. Albany freeways from which the distance beckons in a hazy, in a Saturday, kind of way. Remember eating frozen apple pie and crying about what we had just done? Remember our issues with the upper class? John Ruskin is absolutely not the kind of guy you invite to parties.

People who go to school to study ice sculpture have my vote. Art that grows old and disappears is all yay. Consider that Emily Dickinson asked that her writing without exception be destroyed upon her death. What was it what's-his-name said? To be a great artist you have to give up everything including the desire to be a great artist?

Or something like that. We are perhaps doomed by our incessant hankering for repetition. Rankled by imitation? All afternoon I wrote and sang and you were right there in my mind. Like a cherished noun before which verbs fall weeping.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Both Visible and Hidden Patterns

One recalls Jesus while studying the art of floral arrangement. A wind that recalls hills, a howl that carries in a way train whistles never do. Snowy fields facilitate memory, especially in the moonlight. You give and give and there is no end to your giving.

The dog sits by the window mulling. Curled up into the shape of a button, weaving himself like a thread into our lives. What is family really? We shed our maneuvers, we surrendered our strategies.

We meditated with coffee, waiting for everyone else to wake up. You have to engage, you have to risk conflict. Solve problems? A fish rises and falls in the current, indifferent to its environment.

More plastic flowers! A tire swing nobody has used since 1949. We are not what we use but rather that to which we aspire. Rhyme leads to the center of nowhere which is why we keep using it.

A king begs forgiveness, a mendicant preacher gives up and gets married and lives in a little cottage, happy for many years. You have to alter both visible and hidden patterns. To follow him to is submit to renewal, moment by moment. Heaven destabilizes which is how you know it's real.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Maneuvers of Extraordinary Men

Shall I allow for the maneuvers of extraordinary men? Pay the rain for when it blesses my field? Dross will do, when gold is unavailable.

There is no such thing as unavoidable complicity. We are called to love, not to overthrow rotten systems. Beware the lure of the big picture!

I await the mail as I have for decades. He came down from the mountain bearing arrows, a strange - an almost crazed - look in his eyes. One sentence follows another like a lesson in reliance.

Fragments, all of you! The dance grew violent and thus one abjured all art. What are calories but tiny funeral bells?

Many questions that together comprise an answer. The farm implements gleamed in the moonlight and in the distance a few deer could be heard tearing frozen leaves from the bracken. It's a nice enough world if you can tame your expectations.

Blame the infestations? Time passed, the dead turned over, and soon enough came the enlightenment. I shall want for nothing when I am in Heaven but until then, more chocolate cake please!

Ah, but I cannot really ask for that, not that way. You call me away from shifts that are mandated by ambition.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Narrow and Dim

Like a dog twisting in folds of the blanket, anxious to get out in the snow, I continue to think in terms of what I don't have. There are always consequences. And jewelry. One can look lovely while feeling lonely. Deeply – even dangerously – lonely.

Is it all a narrative, all a story? We characterize ourselves but what are we really? The shoe fell of the ship and sank quickly into the gray sea. Later, a dream of empty bottles, mermaids bobbing where the waves rose and fell. We are all part of whatever it is, without exception.

Mothers who drive buses. Horses who canter to the field's far edge then stop and stare as if thinking. Our capacity for selling never ceases yet our wares change from year to year. The truth is we can grow accustomed to anything. Like, say, dogs.

The row of books one hasn't read grows longer by the year too. The stage on which we prance grows narrow and dim. Dancers remember us in drunken moments. We are all part of it, this thing I call God. He means the part of the brain where language is not language yet but only sound, maybe only the idea of sound.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Splinters of Eternity

One morning, after several hours of prayer, I went to the window and saw a crow resting on a tree limb dusted with snow. As one teacher wrote of Jesus, his back was always turned to me. Yet what else are we called to do but follow? The road is many and the few upon it narrow. Well, sometimes it's better not to speak.

Yet upon waking - and following a few scattered minutes of prayer - a sense of joyful peace descended on me and I felt as if it was time to stride into Babylon with plans for a new society. I am going to run for political office, just like my Daddy. It's fun to eat figs with criminals and cavort with the generally unrepentant. The world is what you make it, my friend. Sally forth!

Yet on the docks - faced with a ticket for the ship that would crush every iceberg in its path - I hesitated, remembering the words of Saint Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians. What I am saying is that words fail me but who cares. A morning of snow, and birds who keep their distance making a different choice. I sat quietly with the dog who farted as she slept. We are here to open the shutters of guilt, we are here to illuminate splinters of eternity.

Hey, are you in the mood for some salted flakes of salmon? Faced with metaphysical improbabilities I could only say I know I am. Mountains in the distance, boots shrugging onto our feet. What is movement but an embrace of what might happen? Christ is the position we assume in love.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

You Think But Woe

In a dark hour I was marooned. The howls woke me after just a few minutes sleep. Wherever light was, wherever truth was, that's where I was thinking about writing about truth. There are no exceptions to the possibility of getting burned on the way in. The road is easier to find than you think but woe to the one who finds it and just ambles.

Let me say it another way. Let me have my tea and drink it as well. The organist stumbled coming out of the choir loft and her daughter had a sudden idea for a hymn. Let's go to the record store and get ourselves a date. This poem (that prom?) must include a cornet.

A hornet stole my wedding ring. There's disillusionment at work, a proposition bound to failure. We marched all day until we reached the temple only to find that it was closed for renovations. A war can't begin if the other side stays home. Hearts pour forth their wisdom, angels fall to their knees.

Some people are harder to please than others. We studied the shore line, intent on finding the perfect stone. So I'm not the prize catch I once was (said the Tuna with his hand-carved cane). We begin (and end) where everyone else does. Your dulcet voice, your bloodied knuckles.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thought In Those Days


We are never not dancing. The light falls where it does in the interest of surprise. The stage can be dismantled in a matter of minutes. Outside, clouds moved quickly from west to east, like commuters bent on getting home before dark. Another cigarette, another way to slow down time.



The teacher said quietly that talking is not working. We went back and forth between the main building and our little tent. Thought bogs us all down and yet. I once looked up from where I was fishing for perch and saw pillars of sunlight as if someone – God I thought in those days – was setting a new foundation. Doing never does anything.



She wrote about children and the loneliness was evident. Thus the desire to write this desire. It's good to ask what we're after. Bottles of whiskey, boxes of chocolates. You want a special song?



How about traffic sounds? Anything can be dismantled or so he wrote. I knew where the door was and still declined to enter. It's a question of rhythm, a matter of words. You are with me whenever I feel it.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Grave Way, An Important Way

If we are going to do this, then let us do it in a grave way, an important way. As this morning I passed without speaking the frozen pond and woods. As one searches for words. What is effortlessness worth but nothing? With what is spirit made anyway?

Ah, the rigid constructs of thought! I became a Communist in order to see you clearly. Yet beholden to grief – and stuck still in the throes of silence – I also made soap from organic goat milk. We are all other. It's time to stop.

It's time to sing? I can still see you thirty years ago. I compose this sentence in your name. One or two stars and a cut of moon were perceived as affirmations. One falls into a pattern, one gets comfortable indeed.

Violets remains in attendance. Like politics or talking. You cannot bear the bear can you? I waited all day on my knees. And you, you draw the requisite voice from my throat like it's nothing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

All Is Well Or Will Be

So it is true that goldfish only die on dreamless nights. Punctuation is dictatorial, also helpful, at least in those situations. A bland wing does what petroleum cannot. Don't wake up! While in the most recent installment of my gargantuan novel I abolished all pilgrims.

A board on which a few words were painted. A poem in which a blue streamer was compared to my late grandfather entering Heaven. Tea helps. A little bit of crying never hurt anyone but still. We are the signal we are waiting for.

Worth waiting for? Something always happens around the tenth or eleventh sentence. Plastic plants shift and shimmy in the soft currents, the cloudy H2O. We have been waiting for the arrival of insight, which will alter our behavior, and transform the grim and grimy world to a beautiful gold city with streets that run with chocolate and malt whiskey. While in the meadow - right there - a calico bull quietly ponders the death of an Iris.

The syllabus was not in any way helpful. Prayer is akin to pine trees in winter. Let's put Jesus in it just to say we did. The silver bells atop the church were silenced by rust. And yet, in passing, one is reminded that all is well, or will be.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Privileged Glimpses Of A Certain Interior Landscape

I come to this project out of a sense of duty but also possibility. One wants to see what will happen when language - curtailed by form - is freed of its tethers. The result was an overly critical narrative that was judgemental and disapproving of both humanity and society. Well, plagiarism remains an issue unless you're invested in repetition.

Like shrinking closet space for those wedded to keeping pace with fashion. Thus - without divulging sources - I experienced riotous excursions with privileged glimpses of a certain interior landscape. It was bells, it was carols, it was men who were not afraid to kiss rocks. As if to say. Or rather, as if this thus makes the language of criticality a meta-narrative that represses any effort to begin anew.

A hibernating newt? He saw the river move sluggishly beneath mounds of ice and snow and it reminded him of his father who had died years earlier without ever having run for political office. You can dream and I can blow up balloons just to pop them. She invited me to a parade in honor of Minerva. I fell asleep imagining what I would say to you, having dreamed of us together all these years.

One weeps fecund tears. One reads Wordsworth again and finally understands genius. When cold, approach a working stove. I plucked a turkey feather off the trail and went on struggling with multiple strains of thought. Often it seems to start just when you reach the terminus.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Dog Outside

Remember the days when there was nothing to do but dream about apples? Thus the poem - nestled in the twenty sentences - begins. A Roman senator passed by the window, his mind on a bowl of figs. We are what we perceive and what we perceive we believe. Push a little and see if the world doesn't give.

She was interested in liberation theology though she'd never heard the phrase before the conference. The dog outside will not come in. If you want meaning, you're going to have to come and claim it. Five more minutes before the house changes shape. Three witches in the hedge, plotting against us.

A gunmetal sky, a flat palm coming your way. It - meaning what - is never as easy as we'd like. Suddenly time begins to pick up speed, much like a car as it goes downhill. He paused only to ask if it was one word or two. In photographs you are beautiful but impossible to love.

In our brief exchanges, I have come to realize that I cherish in you only what recalls the burnished past. A tangle emerges, to the left of which Jesus gently reminds me that conflict is unnecessary. A temple emerges, another obstacle to peace. In a moment I am going to wake up but first let me tend to his corner of the dream. Cancer has entered our lives.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Slipping From A Cloudy Scabbard

One jumps, one begins. One gazes at the sky and wonders if there is another way to see it. Tea in bed. What a rotten moon, slipping from a cloudy scabbard, scuttling up the sky. Be bold my darling!

Letters come depicting a possible lifestyle, one I might have wanted. We are what we grow. Why is almost never the right question. He gave a fortuitous speech, one that paved the way to the nomination. Yet one never knows what the future holds.

If we're going to leave then we're going to have to leave now. I risked anger, I made unexpected changes. The speakers you brought are fantastic. A poem comprised of four letters. Did I mention the mail?

If you're going to leave then please leave now. A clean sharp break is needed. Also lessons in elocution. Evolution? We fall backwards almost always.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Secrets While Tending The Inner Garden

Walking this morning in the field surprised at how little light is needed to find one's way. Or perhaps knowing the way in advance helps? The beavers were quiet off to my left (that is, to the east). No visible stars. Last night I heard the far away train and talked to my daughter about the mysteries. Navigating puddles, listening for the dog's tags. We give up the little mysteries so there's room for the big ones. There is a bridge I will always remember for the God sounds you pointed out beneath it. Death is not the end but it damn well seems to be. Earlier we ate apples and popcorn and watched the sun set and discussed the role realism plays in funny stories. Pretty please with cheddar cheese? A head cold makes one struggle to communicate, which is another way of saying one struggles just to show one cares. Yet the practice of awareness is fundamentally healing. Does any of this make sense? She keeps secrets while tending the inner garden and we all know where she learned that trick! Must we then learn how to barter? Isn't negotiation a sign of weakness? All these voices in my head with which I must contend! Later, alone, I wondered who is served by the undoing of what is not real. You're out there and we both know it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mistaken For Grace


The impulse to avoid praise mistaken for grace. You are what you teach. There is no escape from the Truth.

There is no escaping Duluth. We stood outside while it rained, talking about our children. The night passes, with or without you.

Saint Paul is sometimes also mistaken for grace. The train lay rusting aside the tracks, blue jays nattering nearby. Silence grates.

Do something! He wrote, just before the sun rose, remembering that night in the rain. A cup of coffee went down the wrong way.

What did the clown song say? We have to laugh or else we're going to miss peace altogether. We studied a schedule, mistaking it for Truth.

That moment when they lose their first tooth! Please accept love, please don't reject doves. In my dream, I saved you a piece of raspberry cake.

Why must it always happen in the past tense? In other words, thanks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Into The Same River Twice

Few things are as moving to me as remembering Elvis shooting his television. Well, maybe members of the so-called peace churches training dogs and riding bikes. We climb hills only to see more hills and our legs are tired and now what. You cannot leap off the same bridge into the same river twice.

Heraclitus sends regrets. One apologizes to God in the moonlight, one contemplates an act of violence. Rebellion? Standing near the willows I imagined I heard deer breathing and crows shifting in their nests atop the pine trees.

Childhood is a photograph. All spirals are reminiscent of what decline? In this sentence, an old friend is held and remembered. Much like swimming in the creek, much like our knuckles after fighting.

The horse lifted its head as if anticipating the gunshot. What ends, ends well. Cheers rose, one dreams of a rose. One walks a long way in the dark to find a home where it is quiet and the soup rests on the stove all night.

Have me will you? The dead return for no reason other than to sip the joyful dram we can't surrender. Drama? No, I never turned to you for anything you weren't already giving.

Monday, December 12, 2011

No Other Miracle

I implore you to use language precisely (not bluntly).

One rephrases the last sentence in particular.

Is a word missing?

There is no other miracle than to see the world through another's eyes.

For all my mysanthropic tendencies I do love you.

The fragments of Christianity, the crumbs of Buddhism.

One makes a good catch (in a metaphorical way).

Yet the next sentence - which was this one originally - needs revision.

To make clear what is possible.

Are you referring then to the miracle?

Thus, be careful of concluding.

Nitpickers unite (with certain caveats)!

How many perfections are possible?

Hence the Latin origin, the Germanic adaptation.

But why exactly are we qualified as fools?

He whispered - there in the dark, before the sun rose - is it foolish to even try to be perfect?

We have not eliminated all our weaknesses.

Ask, too, what is amenable to elimination and what is frankly not.

Our natural hunger for what?

I meant for the nineteenth sentence to be the twentieth so now what?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Breath Deceives Us


One insists on positive affirmations.One gazes at his son and does not see his son. As the wave rises from the sea, it also falls back. We insist on other. Yet is also helpful to ask what problem cannot be solved by radical hospitality.

Weeds where yesterday just soil. A stand-up bass where yesterday was cigar smoke. I followed the moose's tracks for close to ten miles before letting him go before me into miles of unmapped hills. Gifts are as gifts do. One looks for his son in a familiar face and sees another child.

We are bent on love even though we pretend otherwise. You can choose peace or you can choose victory through conflict but please understand the two are mutually exclusive. One or two stars where the moon is visible, there between fading contrails. Everything will be just fine in the end. Thus the end, thus this.

One takes their tea late, as the moonlight seeps through shuttered windows. We insist on repetition. One sees their son wherever one looks. Our breath deceives us. I love you even so.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

You Are What You Haunt

I am witness to a crime that was never committed, a trial that was never held, and an execution that took place only in the dreams of certain angry men.

A jail cell is a comfort in other words.

I can see without my glasses, just not as well.

Left rotting in a cell?

Awakening is the goal.

And yet.

A challenge to full voice.

You cannot adopt the methods of what you would undo.

Nor sing.

Nor write by a South-facing window and call it of all things home.

Yet there are times when the inchoate fear is absent and those are the times when I am writing.

Put it this way: you are what you haunt.

Hence the sense that desire is inevitable.

Regrettable?

I am not a traveler other than in secret.

Someone - Kierkegaard perhaps - said that to be a Christian is to be a type of spy.

As living in the world is a sort of puzzle one completes piece by piece.

A certain street in Vermont, a certain song on the radio.

Screw that - a certain slant of light!

Before which - again - as ever - I fall.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Perennial Composition


What is anger? Who has been hurt? What is being defended? What good are these questions?

A possible metaphor for necessary sugery. The narrative i in perennial composition. An idea, a segment. This is how certain people grow rich.

This is how a poem moves away from the poet. This is how a river seen through trees in early December makes one want to exchange their walking stick for a tie. This is the futility of plannig. This is falling, again.

A wren? A lily. A man helping a man that his brother would only hurt? Me capitulating.

If at the end of the writing you feel no better is this success? If at the end of the writing nobody applauds is that success? What good are questions? If at the end of a piece of writing - this one or another - there is only silence is that a cause or an effect?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

If I Have Presented Myself As Not Fallen

Between stars and clouds, the moon. A dog's paw, crusted with blood. River sounds, trains sounds. Turning the corner, the smell of cinnamon. I am always going.

Always at one without knowing? The mentalist guessed my zip code from 1974. Between stars and clouds, unbroken darkness. If I have presented myself as not fallen, forgive me. Forgive my spelling.

Be aware of how verbs work in your sentences. Don't be jealous, it's a waste of time. Be willing to love your enemies or at least understand why someone else might. Saints is as saints does. The more practical model might be Mennonites.

At the beginning with lilies. Between stars and shreds of cloud, the memory of a dead dog. Passing the river, at one with fear. Bad things were done and I won't let them go. Withered apologies are thin gruel indeed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Dubious Gift Of Knowing

Duck shadows, tall grass. The sun rose and kept rising and when I looked again Venus was up above the pine trees. That world which I love despite knowing better. What do you think?

Gypped out of a taco. The tractor tires lay covered in snow, mouse prints going in and out, tending each of the cardinal directions. Repetition is fun, period. Later, we went out ourselves, mulling the dubious gift of knowing we are going to die.

"And yet" is why you can't go home. Another writing project, another self of which I must disabuse my self. High shelf? Sometimes you build mansions where a cottage would have done.

And yet. I wake the same, unawakened, and wonder what it is I think is going to happen. We open our arms to the sky. Open, unopened.

That dream is okay but I want another one. You in it. Despite the baubles attending the necessary ceremony, I continued to care for you, and it was that more than anything which led me to the  balcony where I saw, for the first and only time, as it were, Christ's face. You can learn a lot watching dogs.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bad Guides

In trying to account for anger, one is inevitably led to fear. Dogs struggle against the fence between them, their jaws snapping, intimating cruelty. Yet any point of identification is only marginally helpful. As a writing project can serve either to hide or partially reveal authorial discretion. One is invested in the nineteenth century, one has a certain predilection.

In the morning I choose my words carefully while at night I babble. The study of commas are a substitute for life. Walking the same trail I walked in dreams, aware of some interior kernel from which peace might spring were I ever to discern the right method, was itself a kind of peacefulness. Or else bring all the pieces to the table and then let's decide. Grieving parents make bad guides.

Yet loss - scarcity - abounds. And the perennial emphasis on Jesus can only be marginally helpful. We eschew coffee, go for long walks, remember a point about poetry, made I think it was decades ago. Thus this in the wake of prayer. Thus absence.

Thus you leaped a second time and that was both end and beginning. The past as a beacon directing our attention. And yet, again. In trying to account for anger, we come to fear, which appears inexplicable, without source, at least without resort to mythology. What I am saying is that dogs matter in the same way prayer can reduce us to desire.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Helpful Poverty, A Real Party

Disappointment near dark. One rises, one prays, one does. One reconsidered in light of the narrative I. Oh remember that little lake in Galilee, the one where we talked about our fathers? Also olives.

Also sheep. Certain reminiscences are seeds of helpful poverty, a real party. A quick fox reminded you that words are not unlike numbers, at least one way. Thus, why bother with new? It depends on the meaning of thus.

A little shake, a little nudge. A little glass of cold milk mistaken for blue. I am a victim of a certain type of heart but not another. I am always surprised that people are not nicer. Still.

But what does one expect after years of prayer, years of making rosary beads with their teeth? How busy we have become, and how transient. For example, the mail lay stacked on the floor, disregarded for seven days. Is there not another way? You tell me, you Freudian speed trap with bangles.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Pretty Melody Cast Into Space

One cannot be both a witty primate and a diminutive marsupial. What is it exactly that Lazarus says? The record of attestation grows thin, even marginal. Yet to raise one's voice in song - a pretty melody cast into space - feels precisely generous. Who is the you when I say You and I?

Do or die! He wrote, being entertained by dreams of clocks alternately sinking to the sea's bottom or being jettisoned into space. Thus time passes. Yet the words - what we might call product - remained. Thus, self-destructive utterances.

Thought will not suffice to undo thought! Nor can a fifteenth century King teach us anything about healing the effects of adultery. You will gather your will and appear at the barricades by dawn. Easter is as Easter forgives. A whole afternoon passes like moss on the south side of a favorite maple.

Even the distressed eventually come to rest. I notice that we (subtly) take pride in not sleeping. One does not die so much as admit to a writ of repossession. Oh you and your many excuses! I forgot what the last line was going to be but this one is a killer.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dreams Grovel

And then sometimes not. But never without malice, or at least not entirely. As one adores this sound but not another. You can't think your way out of thought, nor write your way past language. Thus the mail.

Thus some systems are merely deficient while others fail outright. Rhyme being one example. Bob Dylan concerts in the mid-1980's. We walked through the parking lot holding hands delighted with the present moment. Faking poetry, before one cut their teeth on experience.

So you want to reconfigure your personal settings? No nonsense meditation only. He did not cut off his hand to signify the gravity of his longing but he is certainly descended from men who did. Oh for Christ's sake must we hear again that old canard about undying love? Once more, with emphasis.

Once more in Memphis, rendering new Mobile. What works is not in dispute yet somehow remains hidden. A lilac, a heart attack and also a bus. We wait and wait and for what? Dreams grovel where footsteps end.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sometimes Emptied

Ah, 5 a.m., you know just what my vulnerability is. Tea with maple syrup, memories of second grade. I've been on my knees so long I forgot I had feet. Thus, prayer. Thus shame.

This shame. Or rather a particular memory which, upon recollection, makes one sad. Yet grateful? Well, living in a world of emoticons makes me sad, I can say that without compromise. On the other's hand . . .

And yet and yet. I argue with you while you sleep in the next room and then wonder what the next year is going to bring. Sometimes the twenty sentences aren't fun so much as familiar. Exactly the way "um" fits so well in so many conversations. I am the previous installation!

But somehow Jesus gets through. Oh, how I love saying "heaven" to scientists! So we are sometimes emptied of our natural inclination to peace, so what? There's always tomorrow (always more sorrow). There's always a skull that's happy with craters.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

You Can Still Dream The Dream

Tides, perhaps. Some interior dismantling that may ultimately be favorable. Apostolic? After a long time talking, one begins to understand silence. One begins to see beyond what the physical eye can see.

Or crosses a bridge, where before they had turned back. Turned inward? There are so many ways to fall and be forgotten! Yet tears eventually come, fructive and cleansing. And Thomas a Kempis, after what seemed like many dry years.

Like the dark which in fact does own certain qualities opposed to light. It's poetry but it's also work. Spiritual problems demand spiritual solutions, do they not? Little stones, removed from one's shoe to make the walk easier, are dropped by the road to inhibit other walkers. So not all models are created equal.

What - or who - is other? He wrote he wrote. He was always writing and thus approached - and then crossed - the boundaries implied by - sustained by, really - language. As in, please keep your troubled lens to yourself. I'm awake at hours - I'm slipping through prayers - so you can still dream the dream.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Feed Fish

The kettle is always found where you left it. Oh for a pair of torn jeans, oh for the perennial lift. Snow falling in a Paris garden. Intimations of some more glorious state. You left and I have tried to say you left without adding the silent equivocation and always I have failed.

One seeks patience. One dims all lamps. All night without dreams or at least dream unattended by memory. You cannot be the apple in the wooden bowl in the painting by Rembrandt and yet . . . In the lacunae, my love.

My sodden black glove. Once the conspiracy has taken root, reason flees for the hills. Nobody believes an umbrella man. That photograph you took of me - long since misplaced though hardly forgotten - belongs on some fool's mantle. Be careful or love will find you wanting.

The fisher of men was too busy baiting his hook to help me untangle my dreams. In your last letter, you mentioned audacity. Sparrows fly in and out of the barn at what seem like perilous speeds. It's a nice day for tea, a nice day to feed fish and pretend that war never happened.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Into The Lapidified Air


The secret to all good writing is to know that you can't make a mistake so long as you are hearing right. Seeing the light? Even rhyme is subject to the great undoing. Ghost is a kind word, another way of seeing the real self. As in, that spider plant looks healthy.

One inquires so as to know yet the act of inquiry - arising as it does from a sense of lack - is itself a kind of knowing. So. One eats cookies for breakfast, one casts a kind of spell. Cast iron no less. And thus.

One's writing is an evasion. Or rather, a theft. The grand cosmological design bereft of a few sentences. Thus this. Thus thus.

It's a matter of trust! I keep saying the same thing which is to say that silence is only partially fructive. Which is another way of saying what God isn't as if God was that. Could I be  more productive? Could I scale the last shelf into the lapidified air all to kneel before the one who is not - but why not - ever there?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Grist For Heaven


One laughs, watching how easy it is to write. Just say it!  And so all those empty mornings are suddenly valuable. Wood-shedding. One struggles to maintain a useful fire.

The dog is the father of the child who is father of the man. Don't talk to me about co-pilots. Those apples are meant for pie. My stomach is grist for Heaven. You wake up, you lurch down the stairs.

Aspirin equals true forgiveness. One anticipates a fatal experience. Is befuddled? You can see, as through a window, the frozen goldfish. What I am getting at is a rhythm implied by electricity.

Keep talking. The combustible present absent a token. One asks a question without expecting any answer. Never mind that direction we discussed. I'm drinking from a new bowl now.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

One Arises At An Odd Hour

At dawn an empty clothesline, through which both horses can be seen waking up. A penumbral method of attaining grace. What remains illusive is not unuseful. We traded quips outside the meeting house, fingering black lapels. My God is your grim reaper.

Oh apples how I love thee. To be or not to be is almost certainly not the question. On the other hand. Swans in one's dreams signify fear of a deepening unworthiness. These words!

Peas and birds. The lingering aftereffects of writing sentences for four years straight. One accepts judgment, one stands ready in their cell. Snow on the barn roof, Buddha grinning in the eaves. I have no investments to speak of, at least not the way you understand the word.

Time passes and leaves no wake hence our inclination to create. Our inclination to make? Oh pass me another slice of apple pie and tell me again how your mother fears the sea. Yet one arises at an odd hour and stirs the stove and steps aside and expects nothing. At last, the moon.

 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Prerogative Of The Silenced

It is a pleasure to write this way. One is in process, indifferent to product. The apples on the table do not claim red. Folded napkins are a comfort. In the other room, a cat tidies its paws after eating.

The recipe called for pepper, God called for garlic. Oil lamps stirred by an indifferent wind. We turned to Ecclesiastes, we claimed that we were guided. Channeled texts my foot! Yet never quite without coffee.

Without coffee one can never rush the gates of Heaven. What is attainable is maintainable. Inalienable? I got my enlightenment at Josiah Crest's Radiant Zendo of Lovely Impermanence, you? Oh you, always kvetching about spinal curvature.

It is a pleasure to write this way indeed! To repeat is to insist and thus is the prerogative of the silenced. Yet proceed with caution lest the angels send you back for another lesson in humility. Don't eat apples, pat every cow you see. Grace as always hides in the peas.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Gleaning, A Comfort

One wakes - stumbles to piss - gasps between stars. Horses step delicately over the frost, heavy presences, nervous observers. Not the breeze which slips hymnally through surrounding trees. Studying the veins in one's hand, one remembers St. John. Luminous apples indeed.

Glittering salt! Fragments of yesterday's activity, ragged chickens scratching the mud. How little we need to do when you get down to it. When you get down to it, keep going. This is what Jack Gilbert meant when he found Byzantium in was it a pear?

Ophidiophobic at 5 a.m.. Flavored coffee begs many questions, not one of which is solved by aspirin. Your smile is a gleaning, a comfort. One awakens, one does. And in the same circle of light that yesterday yielded only books!

Bakers? I trembled when it came time for my medicine. A cold night the stoves themselves could only rant against, mute iron fists. We say beneath when we mean between. I am instructed by strange dogs gratefully.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Only Fractured Solitudes

Coffee. Three shooting stars. The universe in perpetual decay. Disarray? All my best arguments are with myself.

Dreamless sleep first. Notes for the day. Burning the bridge to impossible is not an acceptable mode. One insists on who they are. Freedom is not made by language.

Creaking trees, crunching snow. Think of bells in dark towers long unrung. I followed the dog gratefully off the road. Small stones wrapped in rice paper, given as gifts outside the temple. Memory is as the present moment does.

All words are de facto lies. There are no crowds, only fractured solitudes. As in: he wrote he wrote. Against the cold, a monkish cowl. The loneliness of understanding love.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Truth Coming Home

Behind my shoulder, a disgraced pontiff. The mattress depresses as one prepares to pray. The gift of eloquence finally understood as not a gift at all. Yet wordiness, as always, attends.

Long walks in snowy rain, talking out loud to the dog. One arrives at what is essential by way of suffering. The path is optional but not the destination. I love you and want only for you to be naturally joyful.

Though earlier one wept, considering the damage. Your prose poems magnify what in me yearns to inspire. I say I say. Behind the clouds, the moon and behind the moon, you.

Truth? Coming home I wondered who would notice my footprints. Return a spiritual practice. In my hands now a new project not so different from the old one.

A running dog, a dream of wolves. I cannot help you, nor manage most social settings. The argument at last has been settled. The dog crawls back into bed, I kneel to pray, I hold you the only way that I can.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stymied Embraces

A blurred blue sky gives way - is overcome perhaps - obscured at least - by gunmetal gray. Winter is icumen in. Appointments, stymied embraces, folds of skin the color of coffee. It was always like this, even when it wasn't.

Or so. I say. Love. Is the new blurred blue.

I went back to Toronto, letters in hand, and arrived at a funeral. Her penmanship had suffered. Consult the preceding stanza for directions. It gives way to threats of storm.

It gives way is the wrong way to say it. Later, one could taste the coffee, could replay certain parts of the conversation. You move mountains only when you don't give a damn about the deer who live there. Pissing, a Christmas carol could be heard, thin as a reed in the distance.

It seems that her voice cracked and the plumbing was always spluttering in the walls. Discussing the death penalty on mattresses, watching the Montreal sky out the window. Something difficult, something blue. Knocking on the door, waiting, collar turned up against the snow.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Models of Betrayal

I woke to voices. One wakes, one arrives. What is hesitation for? What does it mean to say I am content when you are not? Thus morning.

Thus this. Twenty sentences as proof that one lives because it is evidence that one works. And yet and yet. Must one submit to must? I dreamed of testimony in favor of Jesus, given in time.

I want the room to fill with light. I want to feel your hand slip into mine. Mind? In any case, a narrative of which one is scared. The circumstances under which you wear a wedding ring.

Or hear the bedding sing. We wait a long time for that moment and when it comes there is only ever disappointment. If you are paying attention. The priests became models of betrayal long before the present millenium dawned. It's all over.

It never began? Do you begin to see the problem? I cannot continue to write letters to people I do not know. One makes poetry, one makes a prayer. Over tea, watching shadows on the wall, alone as always, saying it's okay when it's not and never was.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

With Each Kind Word

The dog yawns. On the cross, Christ after Christ nods its head. The essential affirmation is not always comfortable. Yet - again - yes.

And then there was the time we ended up walking twelve miles home in the snow. "I really do like that dress." He stood outside the bar, watching stars, not speaking, unsure of everything. One says "as always" and means what?

Current drugs include television, money, low carb diets, caramel nougat. Fading friendships, ascendant loves. The horse lowers his head with each kind word. Melting ice in the sunlight.

God. One wanders to the pond's edge and recalls fairy tales that suggested some transformation was at hand but in a frightening - a power not of thyself - kind of way. Harp music, flowers I do not know the name of. Not God.

Well, that's to call the problem what it is. The strains of violin faded first, then the engine broke. There is nothing before us but a long dark. You bring your attention to it and as always it rusts.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Difference Between Stars and Stairs

One longs.

One disagrees.

One falls to sleep trying to find a single thought that is not bounded by both past and future.

Places I have been include.

The dream of a hermitage high on a hill, the dream of pumpkins and apples, the dream of you.

We move backwards and call it spiritual progress, as if dusting the sand to remove evidence we ever walked there were a virtue.

Nothing is that also does.

What she was getting at - in the letter that arrived three days before the boat sank - was a difference in tenor, see?

In other words, always.

We woke when the sun was just showing itself, found three dead 'coons in the yard.

The memory of tortured dogs.

One is haunted by this need to do something, anything.

As if there wasn't a script, as if free will actually meant freedom.

One is drawn in particular to the difference between stars and stairs.

Saints vex.

When you lead with form, content suffers.

The twenty senteces are becoming a mean taskmaster.

What feverish pitch can I not attain?

One longs, one does.

What?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Men Who Practice

He crests the hill and stands, shoulders wide in the moonlight, face hidden like a holstered gun, staring at the town. We do make mistakes, or we believe we do. The river rises and the dog drowns trying to cross it. You collect beaver teeth, dead butterfly wings, and once played a rusty harmonica to try and win a girl who'd never seen a radio. I write it and he takes it, again.

Before I could mail it to you, he took it, folded in his black leather glove and left. We are always waiting. We are like braids of smoke curling above small cottages where the poor touch bravely, exercising the one pleasure left them. My anger has never left me. The rose of sunset is nuclear today.

Bloody fingers, loose teeth and I can't feel my feet. The damaged crow tried to get away from me and fascinated by the glossy black of its wing feathers and furious eyes I followed. You torment me too. He instructed his followers to pin me to corkboard as a reminder and I hung like that for centuries. Here's something: I don't care what you want to read.

I repented and it wasn't enough because really, when was it ever? He does not care for temples, churches, zendos or the men who practice in them. Unable to sleep, I get out of bed and kneel and profess my faith in Jesus. In the darkness, laughter. In the laughter, my name burning up like crickets.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

As Fructive As Writing Poetry


One is no longer a child and thus is not wise. Of what are we scared when we refuse to embrace return? For the call goes out all the time and we are always capable of answering.

Enlightening text vs. texts about enlightenment. Why must it always come down to vs.? In the morning shadows, writing, and calling it God, and enough.

What I am getting at is a theory of home. I do not believe in creation myths. Ribs baked on sauerkraut, served on a bed of steamed rice, with cider maybe, yes.

Another man passes a fallen man. Your Samaritan is my rube sucker. Are we stuck then, where the roads cross, and thick fogs roil down the hills toward us?

Never omit the mail! Never rely on a protagonist you don't love or can't imagine loving. Historians are useful, but only to a point.

He wrote he wrote. He bent paper clips, watched seagulls out the window, and it was as fructive as writing poetry might be. Jesus drops his bag in the hall, hunkers down, waits for the classroom to empty.

So we are back to the start then? Here in the twentieth sentence, can we at last articulate a beginning?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wedded To Yet

There aren't that many places where one has to kneel.

A chipmunk scurried between pews in the country church.

Ethereal vs. earthly.

Vs. reading lessons.

The computer grinds along, not quite smoking, thus disclosing our fatal commitment.

One carries a flashlight, turns from the road.

In the distance, dogs howl, heedless now of Sir Oracle.

The inherent danger of stairs, I mean stars.

In my dream, everyone was laughing at my writing and prayer hut, and encouraging me to expand it, and all the proposed dimensions were divisible by six.

The chicken or the egg is not an irrelevant question.

Part two begins with a label.

Seven students misunderstand the witches in Macbeth, one gets them.

Would you crawl across cut glass to recover your wedding ring?

Obviously some symbols matter so say it.

The page fills with notes and then what?

One wishes Gandhi and Dorothy Day would get out of the way.

Like kirtan leaders with ideas for a new age.

Another crappy poem by a man who might have known better.

Yet the morning passes with two distinct visits from Christ and so I can't complain.

I who am wedded to yet.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Turning Point, A Good One

It seems as if I am always saying the same thing. Like between the cattail and lake, deer.

Moon between dense clouds. Unseasonal warmth.

One wakes to find they only act for money. The introduction of laughter into the grand plan was a turning point, a good one.

A scattered bunch of pens. He hummed.

He recognized his anger at last for what it was. We walk through balmy dreams.

Beware of what you call awareness. Jesus calmly sewing buttons onto coats for old soldiers.

Forgiveness has been redefined, helpfully. There are mornings when one wants only to go back to bed.

From dreams of - I forget - to dreams of - I can't say. Well, goats certainly.

Will death please stand up so I can put my arms around you? Hopeful, ambient.

The present is not enough. At last.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Between Action And Activity

At the outset, one sentence. Yet also an agreement that nothing will be said. Learned? We are the bell we long to ring, the silence in which it rings. Or something.

Someone? You can't say anything anyway. One woman likes chickens, another adopts a turkey. The moon rises up through riffled storm clouds, one or two stars appear on the horizon. It's nothing and that's okay.

Or so I say, being predisposed to saying. One distinguishes between action and activity and feels . . . dirty. The devil loves semantics! Exclamation points resemble what garden implement?

I used to write he wrote he wrote. Being clever is not it either. Yet one does fall to one's knees, breathless at the sight of all that light in dark skies. We break out laughing. Twenty sentences later, still.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Another Nautilus

Briefly. In lieu of arrest. Subtly prideful. Emphasis on eloquence. Oh, and rain.

Three kisses, eleven stars. Beneath the old Willa tree. Not cops, men with guns. I mean Jesus. Hold thy tongue!

That quality moonlight has. One is the prism they can't define. I mean listen! Seriously, tea? Yet another nautilus.

Yet another naughty us. Odd ducks, strange birds but luckily, letters. So is it a question of flight? We bear the loving beams despite ourselves. Immortality is wind.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The We In Question

Could I repeat myself precisely? Without access to the past? What about for a parade?

In my dream, an old Irish woman cracked funny at a funeral. Outside the window was a big parade (with what seemed like too much space between marching bands). She said, we criticize the Gods and right then it's a banana peel appears on the stairs.

As if by magic. Someone dies and all of a sudden students abound. She did not mean that the Gods were invested in retribution.

Rather, we assign this or that quality to the Gods and simultaneously adapt the world to that quality? The secret to everything is that we're doing it to ourselves. But also - importantly - that the "we" in question has no idea what it is.

One draws a breath, one hunches their shoulders, awaiting a blow. A lighthouse? The seating was cramped and many were annoyed when I laughed out loud, saying to the man next to me, I get it.

I finally got it! I have been given permission to embrace the Thoreauvian impulse. He was supported largely by his mother and one certain kindly benefactor.

"But be sure to watch without judgment or condemnation what attracts you," he wrote. Oh sure and purple monkeys with winning lottery tickets will fly out of my butt singing early Elvis Presley songs.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Divine Plan Which I Only Know In Fragments

It has to do with where one places the prayer. Our lives are altars. Our lives our altars? The worst thing about automotive culture is not the pressure on fossil fuels nor the evisceration of the rural landscape but the impact of bumper stickers on civic discourse. We must absolutely distinguish between simplicity and stupidity!

Said the man who hasn't won a chess game in - let's see and then let's fudge a bit - seven days at least. Chocolate is not dishonest but I am, happily. Or will be once I better understand the Truth of Christ. I am fabricating all the time, which is to say that I am carefully selecting threads and weaving them in accordance with the Divine plan which I only know in fragments. If you aren't laughing by now then I suggest you stop reading.

Oh, I don't really care if you read or don't read. Look around. You think this project is contingent on readers? It's contingent on stars, and dogs, and and the hoof prints of certain quadrupeds filled with frost as the sun rises. Okay, now I'm laughing.

Jesus, seriously, it is so hard to say one true thing? Why would you tempt me otherwise? The truth is, it's the devil - the "evil one" as what's-his-name writes on his blog - who wants me all sober and pontifical. Give me a good belly laugh, give me maple syrup in my morning tea. Give me love any way I can handle it, watch me go under, lift me back up!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Exegetical Impulse

When I do not write first thing after prayer - that blue-black moment before the sun rises but after the dog and I have counted uncountable stars - the writing changes. One looks outward - yields, perhaps, to the exegetical impulse - rather than inward. Distinguish, in other words, between goals and the quest for its own sake. The way we say it matters, but matters always, is what I'm saying.

The tops of the pine trees darken and the Jesus ever settled in their limbs softens as if ready at last to set himself adrift.

Well, I chose coffee instead of tea, pacing the small room over peering intently at empty pages (alternating from window to page to window). Letters have a salutary effect. One learns that to write is to love and that it is the love that is hard to understand and bring into application, not the writing. Decisions, as always, have to be made.

We follow the apparently unraveling thread until we learn its infinite nature at which point we can stop and dedicate ourselves to saying it.

Saying it just so, I mean. Yet I do equivocate, as the horse sometimes does, deciding whether to follow or simply to stand and wait. Sometimes it seems as if flakes of snow have been sifting down to our shoulders forever. One longs for what one cannot say.

To long is of itself to know eternity (I wrote in the nineteenth century).

And still it does not rain. Still you sit in the dark shadow that never deepens, never softens, awaiting the mail. Repetition is akin to whistling past the graveyard of meaning. You cannot take it seriously, nor seriously enough.

This, the first writing of the day, as noon draws near, and all the ghosts who always stand between me and my pencils.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Mode Of Insistence

First, the itinerant carpenter with thaumaturgical impulses. We resist commensality and thus feel excluded. What is the same cannot be different, that is the nature of our fear of sacrifice. The phone call – at the other end of which an old Greek woman sounded mildly annoyed – came from a New York monastery. I am all “over the place” these days.

I am angry, too, which complicates the morning prayer. Would you walk past starving babies to get to the perfect yoga studio? The politic body is ever being addressed. Any definition of wealth other than “freedom from wants” is wrong. Thus you see how I conflate the many confusions that compose me.

Yet some grace stays possible, even as the dog struggles to walk, even as the neighbors grumble about fallen tree limbs, even as the bank account dwindles. We forget the degree to which a pine tree can bless. Consider healing as something other than the cure. The finger one mistook for the moon now taps one's shoulder, ever unwilling to be forgotten. In the distance, coyotes, and in the body, a chill.

One forgets their pen and so the page remains blank. It is hard to solve time when you need time to do it! The closer I get to those twentieth century men exploring a distinctly Vedantic Christianity, the more I feel I am getting closer to something. There is virtue in repetition once you understand it as a mode of insistence. Why do I believe I have to end here?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In Contact With The Missing Contagion

Something. Perhaps a wrinkle in the skin near the wrist. Three shooting stars. What crossed before him as he walked in darkness. Can a sound be said to limp?

Can a memory justify anything? Something does. Yet we are not so ancient that just any memory will do. One considers light. One does.

Mathematics enters the writing, a critical union. How else would we know oneness. I write to circumvent an otherwise time-consuming learning. It is like sculpture. Or something.

What he meant to say was . . . It's in the lacunae or it's nowhere. Everywhere? What passed before me brought me up short, fully in contact with the missing contagion. Something divine we know as always.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Way One Wants

You start sometimes without knowing what you're doing, or even what material you have. Frost in early November means nothing to a potato.

It is hard to accept that needing to see stars every morning is as addictive as whiskey once was. Jesus maintains a steady presence, reachable but not always responsive, not the way one wants anyway.

The female cardinal, that dusky fire. Chickadees, their tiny hearts like invisible sparks against the swiftly gathering cold.

In my dream I was writing and slowly the writing became this writing. Nobody is watching.

God, like democracy, is a good idea that is challenging in application. This is why so many scientists annoy me.

It was Dylan's melodic phase, which is an interesting way to think about it. Could I, if I chose to, write songs again?

One turns it over only to learn that they were still holding a big chunk back. It's a process, awakening, not just a word.

Those poor Irish boys, first executed, then denied burial. Yet for some reason I persist in admiring the entire nineteenth century.

One takes note of that which takes note of the sentence. One forgives dancing, one wakes from dreams into new dreams and shrugs as if to say, what else did you expect?

What else is there but to "keep on keeping on?" Faced as always with bells that do not ring.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mindless Ambling Endlessly Fruitful

One's dreams never grow old, or so I think, rising from yet another at 5 a.m. (yesterday's 4 a.m.) to wander up and down the road with the dog. We were in California looking at houses and C. found one and I remember pointing out the corner yard to S. saying Mac could live there, couldn't he. The house was square but arranged so that one could move through it in a circle. Later, I sat with realtors in a too-bright, too-plastic government type room, awaiting permission to act. The image of yesterday's dream - the executed men struggling with their nooses - still haunts, but not the way shoes do.

The thing with shoes has nothing to do with the devil. You have to take them off when you approach the sacred, right? Or so Moses learned in his traveling days, drawing nigh the burning bush. What more practical item of clothing is there? Mine are old and falling apart and easy to discard as one nears God, the mindless ambling endlessly fruitful.

Years ago I took note of the deep sadness that appeared to be uniquely mine, even at a young age when such exquisite sensitivity was not, um, precisely indicated. Why don't you ever smile was what a lot of people said and still would say if I didn't compensate the way I do. You understand, of course. What happens is that the inclination to write imagines an audience of one and then it begins to own all sorts of unexpected energy, like a bunch of prisms bouncing on taut sheets or perhaps a mirror ball swung by a giddy giant. Of course our correspondence takes time, it would hardly be worth the effort if it didn't.

Or so I write, being so inclined. I, who can't abide inelegance, want to push the borders of all comfort. The new work calls and I struggle with its mandate, its form, its size, et cetera. What do you suggest? And how can one not reject shoes once it's understood that nothing is that isn't God, that the holy is ever upon us?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Apocalyptic Copout

Moses was a traveller at heart. Hence, one is haunted by shoes, by sandals. This far and no further. Ashes caught by the wind lift like little flowers and the voice becomes a whisper that cautions against transition.

We are - with God - a singular brutal economy. One continues long after the sun rises, until at last there is nowhere left to go. Jesus instructs us on the true meaning of justice, the radical forgiveness that necessarily underlies love. Why don't you ever write me?

Yesterday in a dream I saw you holding a baby and gazing at the sea. God cannot be seen and we cannot really be reborn. Yet some concession seems to occur, some union is readily perceived. We move towards a final undertaking, bent on grace, despite the evidence against it (against us).

Meditation is an apocalyptic copout. All bane and never a boon. Let us think, then, about one might exist between old and new testaments, without actually bridging them. You who worship the back of your hand, whose shoes are the marvel of family and friend, what exactly do you want from the silence that necessarily greets all pleading?

The earth shall be darkened on an otherwise clear day and the righteous shall have on hand candles to which the rest of us might cling. Here comes the devil's train, long and black, screaming down the bloody rails. We are compelled to follow particular ends under the guise of free will. The mortal self stumbles, the unseen other watches, the heart (as always) hums a plaintive little tune.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Jesus Waits

Slushy fields, stars made luminous with mist. Splashing in unseen puddles, toes chilling quickly in old boots bought years ago to save a buck. In the cattails, a beaver slaps the pond in warning. Deer watch nervously from the bracken, ears cocked, eyes unblinking. For all the harm I signify there is still this yearning for peace . . .

Yet where the logging path turns to hardtop one encounters at last (unmistakably) their Luciferian pride. Old farm implements, burnt goldenrod, bunches of punky snow. The dog noses the ground, leaps ahead, shows up behind. The leading in hell thing is not working! And yet . . .

One recalls too - having seen it now in so many places - God's admonition to Moses. No man shall see my face and live. Our transformation to men of peace - our second birth, as it were - must begin with willingness. Cold winds follow us all the way to the road's end. Noon is, indeed, the darkest part.

Meanwhile, Jesus waits patiently, picking his teeth in the pine boughs, studying the stars in their filmy bowers. One proclaims their desire to surrender and . . . Nothing happens because nothing ever does. Though there is this, the twenty sentences, easily culled from that other dark place, the one we rarely write about. Nobody listens when I tell them I have control problems and authority problems and so my solitude deepens and so then does your envy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Only Song I Know

There is something about men that I cannot say. Also, there is something about money that I cannot say. Must learn? One never knows, hence God.

Above his head, the canary woke up and began singing. Stale beer, warm and flat. The concertina bore no dust and he hefted it in shadows, staring at the empty street. A mournful air, the only song I know.

Drudgery? Fiery anyway? The dream was supposed to be cautionary, yet I awoke with travel plans. "He had read many of the necessary books, but he was too hopelessly stupid to get much benefit from them."

Thus San Francisco. The self-righteousness of new members of the so-called peace churches. The chainsaw, the neighbor's fence. At dawn, barely visible in the distance, horses signifying what?

"But for one thing, McTeague would have been perfectly contented." That old story. God is. That one, too.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kiss Against My Better Judgment

Against my better judgment, I kissed you.

The garden was shrouded in mist, a loveliness no sweeter for the regret that was soon to consume it.

One hears chains, one sees a long tunnel.

Yet I will always remember that one hill in was it Galilee, the warm breeze on our faces, and the way you talked about your brother growing up.

Here we go again Jerusalem.

After, I went where the dogs live.

The voices of the long-insane were heard echoing amongst the tombs.

One forgets a great deal.

How seriously you took each meal, always careful to both bless and laugh.

I came to in the very place where I began.

One suffers at the whims of plot.

One judges, one kisses.

In my dream, you carried a vase of water through the desert without complaining until at last you arrived at a single wilted flower.

One kiss is sufficient for judgment.

A carriage can be seen in the Heavens, the great steeds that draw it are thundering even now.

We always carry a rope, as we always believe that some ending will be necessary and it is better to have choices than not.

It was because in that moment you were simply a brother yourself and I understood that and so much else besides.

We bear miracles, despite ourselves.

One years for a sweet rain, for a chance to try again.

One longs to the point of suffering for forgiveness, that single kiss.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Evolving Understandings

The red bird at intervals not established by me.

Bruised gaps in the lamb bone after stewing.

Prayer as song and song as union.

Evolving understandings of Christ Mind.

Daughters.

Reading at night, covers to the shoulder, the sound of rain (or snow) on the window.

Pine trees any time, Maple trees in fall.

The dead goldfish of my childhood.

Certain kinds of love and the corrosive effects of time.

Certain waltzes.

Apples, cinnamon.

The image of a monk in summer praying beneath an open sky, its riot of stars, the soft folds of his woolen cowl covering his shoulders.

That I have been here before and know what to do.

Max Planck.

Laughter from the stomach not the throat.

Black bears when they don't especially care you're watching.

Tracks in the snow.

The two note spring song of chickadees.

Emily Dickinson, of course, especially in the later letters.

That there is never enough, ever.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Beneath God

The pleasure of God is indeed a sovereign pleasure. An arbitrary will - unhindered by obligation - preserves wicked men.

Truth does not appear in multiples. Our hands are not strong where God rises up.

Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty. We are apt to fortify ourselves with followers.

There is no fortress with God. Great heaps of chaff alight in the whirlwhind leaving behind a field of stubble and devouring flames.

You cannot singe the delicate thread by which we hang fortuitously. What are we that we should stand before the one at whose rebuke rocks pick up and hide?

Justice cries out for the infinite. The sentence composed by God is both eternal and immune to righteousness,

You come from beneath. God is a great deal of patient.

An unmindful God is a concoction of troubled separatists. God is altogether a one such as ourselves.

Wrath and damnation don't ever slumber. We are ever ready to be seized as God permits.

The Scripture represents us as good in search of better. Oh the hungry lions that await should God withdraw his restraining hand.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Ache Where Yesterday There Was None

Perhaps it has to do with a combination of vowels righteously struck. The dog rushes out into snow, heels at the first bank, stunned and amazed. There are lessons everywhere. For example, you must believe that you are a body in order to feel fear. The "voice" was the one mind briefly surfacing. When you understand that all animals worship - deer, trout, blue jays, mice - then you will know God. Peace is a decision. Conflict never greased a wheel in its life. A sudden memory of doughnuts, an ache where yesterday there was none. One studies the techniques of parenthetical afterthought, one writes every day. Love in a deep blue. Everything without exception is the answer. Pay no attention to the so-called observing intelligence, it's as susceptible to the devil as you are. A treasure chest discovered in dreams and then carried forward. Certain directors do better with certain actors and certain scripts and thus is Salvation obfuscated. Trees fall, banks of snow cradle the garage, and all I can think about is how delicious this tea is! Nor can I abolish the desire to own macaws. You can learn a lot from rivers. I began writing one sentence and erased it in favor of this one. Why is not the question you want to ask.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Unequivocal Yes

Visible on the starling's beak, a drop of water - melted snow - through which sunlight sifts into myriad rainbow parts.

Snow buntings on the lilac.

One sees the neighbor's barn and - somehow moved - is suddenly willing to see nothing else.

Bright winter let me not know another.

The end of the divided self draws near and one is given any number of tools and tricks to help ease the transition.

It is easy when you know the Holy Spirit's love for you is your love for it.

This morning a starling rested on a snowy pine bough and I perceived the sun - bright, variable and alive - through a single drop of melted snow that hung from its beak.

You have to commit, there is no substitute for the unequivocal yes.

Peace and quiet.

Suddenly one realizes that no healing is necessary, only the awareness that no healing is necessary.

Let us say that a carriage appears, cresting a far hill, and in it the preacher sits, bible at hand.

In the starling - and the tiny sparkle that might have been melting snow at its beak - one came at last to the fundamental acceptance.

Delay is understandable - and goes unpunished - but why put Heaven off?

One by one the snow buntings fell off the lilac bush and each thusly lightened limb trembled in sunlight much longer than one would have expected.

Peace is quiet.

Learn to identify the substitutes, the idols, the many tactics you have created to assure confusion and delay.

It is related to - is manifest in - the way sunlight dissolves into a vivid rainbow entirely without the starling's consent.

Your yes does not create holiness but rather establishes your willingness to see what holiness is already created.

How delightful to see Creation in the lilac shedding its heavy buntings of snow!

Say yes now!

Friday, October 28, 2011

That First Critical Principle

One reads about the eternal beginning. Identity reigns ever supreme!

Can we say – reasonably – that being is the same as non-being? Is it – forgive me – identical?

For example, where does sky end and earth begin exactly? We must go back – or down maybe – to establish that first critical principle.

Yet God agrees that if there is a world, there must be a way out of it and that he must provide it. Liberation is his vocation!

Source has but one will. The dream of others scars our potential.

Yet in time we become a stone from which Divine sparks are struck. God, like most humpbacks, is buried beneath a familiar hill.

You think your skin conceals you? Try spending fifteen minutes with the devil's kindling.

“You” and “I” are a prison. What swallows whole does so to ultimately save.

God is perceived in essence, both being and becoming? All rebels are eventually brought to heel.

Thus I am delivered from my selfhood. You offer raisins and gratefully I accept.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Only

In my dream many faceless men and women worked the side of the highway, picking fruit and nuts to eat. What is it that we surrender when we turn to God?

I fear the loss of what has brought me only anguish.

(This was down near Berkely, Mass, I think, where Dad once dreamed of living). It's not as hard as you think it is, is what I keep hoping.

Your letter was so welcome that it momentarily terrified me. I would prefer not to forgive my shame.

Tea and the moment in which one sees no past or present. Children's voices. That correspondence.

One writes a dream of waking up in France. Attend the content and the form will take care of itself.

Yeah, right.

Yet saying "I miss you" still brings tears and feels right, whatever that means.

Another cup of tea, another chance to sift through the execution of Lincoln's “killers.” What is it with me and gallows? On the ship, the sea darkening around me, all I could think of was how badly I wanted you to rise from the waves to hold me. The inner voice proclaims its love. You can listen if you want but you can ignore it, too.

Somebody please I don't want to fall.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Angry In A Measureable Way

Could you say before God you had a good life? Not everyone in those days was bad or misguided.

What is joy but a cup of cold water straight to the face? You can give nothing to the Lord and if it's all you have then he's going to rejoice.

I don't care where you got the incense. The chocolate cake had a bitter aftertaste, which led at least one guest to recall the last words of Socrates.

He had two kids, one of whom was still not speaking to him. There is the only way it can be done.

Widows in the rain, contemplating the methods of trees. I feel ashamed, embarrassed.

The church steeple gleamed in the sunlight, putting one in the mind of bells. We kneel to pray with those who merely kneel.

The moon akin to a couple of bright pennies. God doesn't give a damn about the sweat stains in your work shirt, the bulge in your wallet, or the books on your shelf.

Go steal a rag and polish the temple floor. I am the offering box I am waiting for.

The servants escorted her along the balustrade, all of them careful not to meet anybody's eye. A teacher kneels to scratch the dust, angry in a measurable way.

Nobody knows the bubbles I've seen. You have to pray a long time to see it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Manifestation Bone

One wants to write "a riot of stars" and so does, and thus discovers the unsatisfactory gesture. There were little smiles on the waves, little curls in the swell.

It rained and I worried how you would answer. The mechanism of thought cannot end thought but it can demonstrate the futility of thought.

In other words, pay attention. Coffee and dogs, two good totems.

Your warm hand on my forehead before sleep. I am what is there.

Some mornings I wake up and the twenty sentences feel like more than I can manage, but I do them anyway, because sometimes something happens in them that has nothing to do with what I can or can't manage. Pancakes, chuck steak.

Riled up with vintage swords. Driving home in the dark just shy of midnight I began fantasizing about cooking that leg of lamb.

We laugh at the word "butt." I do want signs or so I say.

Grief has but one form. The world and my life in it are not what I think they are, or say they are, and all salvation lies in my acceptance of this fact.

Or whiskey. He wore a camel's hair coat, I think.

Once again the desire to write a mystery gnaws the manifestation bone. I'm not but you think I am.

Monday, October 24, 2011

In Lieu of Prayer, A Memory

A field of frost, a reminder of snow. In October, you go to sleep sad and wake up not sad. Scallop-colored clouds, a pinkishness that seems to float between pine trees. Is that music I hear in the distance? When you realize the present is all the time there is . . .

Cold tea in lieu of prayer. A memory of dreamlessness. The horse stamped nervously, aware that a stranger was evaluating him. We bring the flame with us, that's how. Scribbled notes toward a new breast bone.

Secretly we all long for death, we all fear God, and that's why we never have any lasting peace. Thank you, friend, for not telling the truth in a difficult time. Life in the movies! Well, buttercup-flavored ice cream at least, and pie crusts made with real lard. One sound I won't miss is the rat-a-tat-tat of a real typist.

She looked at me a last time on the stairwell, I have never forgotten that. I cultivate grief the way other men cultivate orchids. A long night finally ends and you can see the crucifixion for what it was, an extreme teaching example. Yet I still need new recipes. Meanwhile, one anticipates fearfully the sea at dusk.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Unanswered

Why do I bother with the world after 5 a.m.? What would a prayer life actually look like? A chipmunk scampered between the pews. I'm tired of Colonialism, tired of martyrs, but still. Jesus won't you just shake a little sugar on me?

Make it a new way of being lost and thus a new way of being found. A snowflake does or does not follow preordained patterns? You never know as much as you think you know yet your capacity for creativity is always boundless. The statue stared back, stone-faced. Beyond which, it was a raw day in which not much seemed to happen.

Burgers? We watched eighteen-wheelers track the old canal, the way oxen once did. Geese sailing back and forth overhead as if trying to orient themselves. We are not our orientation! Cold root beer, over which some bonding happened, over which some grace occurred.

I am not my sentences. A field of purple loosestrife alongside which a declaration went unanswered. Yet history can make you happy, can't it? Nobody attended the gift shop which was just as well. Some Jesuits limp into the future, others stride, and some never die despite the pyre they last prayed upon.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Something Into Which I Would Pour Language

Four a.m., wan light of quarter moon, the road stitched by tree shadows. Let us praise October, let us slip like falling leaves.

And the big dipper perched on its ladle, upending its contents in the cosmic soup. Friends both here and there.

The dog rolls studiously in fox scat. My life resembles artful graffiti on a water tower.

The plane bucked before righting itself coming in for a windy landing over the highway. Water glistening in the ditch.

We pointed our flashlights up and argued where each beam ended. One can dream about dinosaur hearts.

Yesterday, in the art gallery, I felt briefly comfortable. The way to peace involves accepting all cause as in the mind not the world.

One begins a study of solipsism, long misunderstood. The baby coos in the other room while we love in this one.

A dog barks, heedless of Sir Oracle. It is not quite right to say that when you don't write it's a silence but it is something into which I would pour language.

Thus, I am never not not quite free. God discovers us as we discover God?

Cattails stand like casual sentries where the field ends and I stop to pray. Soon I will have to leave and then what?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Grief is an Elegance

The clouds drifted north, contrary to expectation.

It rains.

Typing in the next room while children try to sleep.

I have never seen a ghost (but you wouldn't know it by my face).

You sit in a shadowed space and offer comfort.

One waits to be hit by an invisible hand.

Childhood recalls the cosmos.

Drunk at dinner, struggling to compete.

Here is the ninth sentence.

Here is a circle of Hell heretofore uncharted.

We don't have relationships with people but with our ego.

What feels sacrificial is not.

Absence of indication is a salve.

Here, then, is the fourteenth sentence.

We are like wheels rolling down hill, aren't we!

We are like baby carriages at a tag sale.

Spiders, hoof prints.

Grief is an elegance.

Here is the nineteenth sentence.

Here is the twentieth.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Mindless Ditty For Those I Love

So the twenty sentences shift a little. Because I want them to or because they want to? And what is the difference? When I write this way, it is not because I believe in the content of what is written. Sometimes, we write simply to do it, and the product is not idle chatter or words on a page, but more like a calling fulfilled.

Two recent pieces spoke directly to old loves, and in the writing of them and, later, the reading, I found myself longing for a clarity that is generally absent from this project. I don't mean a way of privileging a way of making meaning. It was more a desire in that one instance to simplify even further, if that makes any sense. What (or who, maybe) awakens the impulse to be understood? I don't want to be misunderstood, except when I want to be.

Is that it or am I being lazy? I wrote in my Goddard application so many years ago: "on the other hand - and there is always another hand." But is there? Some things sound right when you say them and so I do say them without checking is their meaning is consonant with mine? I notice that rewriting now means cutting words, not adding them (which is more often the case in this project.)

Are you out there Dan? Are you, Denise? Do you read what I write, these words flung like stones into the busy night? For all my dreaming, all my writing is really humming a mindless ditty for those I love while circumnavigating a sometimes lovely but meaningless life. And now comes the last sentence, which cannot - can never - perform the function I (so gravely (without coffee yet)) assigned it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reverse In These Machines Don't Work

Those old lovers are still with me, the best evidence I have that nonduality is complete bullshit. I'd write letters but my pen is getting drier by the day. Sour cream donuts in odd places do not abate the critical hunger. One dreams, one does.

Oh, she's probably running a used bookstore somewhere, with a tight circle of close friends, and a past that she hardly bothers with. Hey, the twenty sentences got real cheap real fast, didn't they? Coming around to what the Essenes might have called an important recognition. As for you, your comfort offends me.

Establish a point of difference! I tried to turn a table over at the Success for Small Business Owner's workshop but it was bolted to the floor. Later, watching the moon turn a few threads of cloud into Emily Dickinson dreaming, I became temporarily the richest man in the universe. Somebody please release me from language.

Yet there is always another field ahead, always the potential of palimpsest. We are the code we need to unlock Heaven, but the user's manual got dropped in a ditch about thirty miles back and reverse in these machines don't work. Get your best asbestos gloves on if you want to hold me for Christmas! I'm raring to go the only way a chimney knows.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Invested In Dissembly

The day of your funeral I sat on a park bench in the steaming city and watched a tidal sway of strangers where once abounded friends. Can a lake be unhappy? Peaches are a possible but difficult crop in New England.

Thank you for those quiet mornings in the meeting house, discussing the letters of Margaret Mead. Hugs beneath a cherry tree, memories of maybe seventh grade, when one's awareness of danger is compromised but evolving. We tell stories, it's what we do.

The fox came from the east, ducked beneath the broken horse fence and studied me studying it, light fading as the moon rose above us both. A jeweled line of blood where the jaw rested, somewhat removed from the otherwise intact skull. You're hungry and it shows.

I'm going to give up the vintage leather jacket, I promise, okay? I'm not following anyone anymore in a vain effort to follow God. How can I admit to being a poor student, a lesson you drove home repeatedly the last time we talked?

Ships at the lake's bottom recall my sorrow and also the fantasy I made, where you come back with bells. One skips, one dances and one arrives at a wall beyond which only silence plays. We must have walked that street in Jerusalem ten thousand times asking ourselves what, if anything, we might have done about the execution.

To be troubled is at times to be loving, as love itself is often invested in dissembly. Our letters functioned as imperial goads, driving us ever deeper into a European dream. The dead at Kent State are allowed no rest.

This morning belongs to your memory. Later I'll swallow my pride and see if anyone is still crying behind the barn.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Outer Limits of Our Longing for Heaven

We begin with a dark hour in which violins are heard mapping the confines of A minor, and a dog rustling at the door, anxious now to walk. A lilt, a lift, and a recognition that prayer is required. Your third floor apartment in which I was subject to unexpected - and somewhat stressful - praise.

The basement where I slept, and where we loved the way you do when you are young and poor and yes, in love. A breeze that one believed was named after a minor Greek god. For some reason, this poem - for it is a poem, you know - wants a black functioning cannon in it.

We are unaware of all our witnesses. How many churches did we enter, Sunday after Sunday, with the taste of each other on our tongues, testing the outer limits our longing for Heaven? Why do most singers write about getting their heart broken and not breaking someone else's?

It is hard to own a past in which we are the aggressor. Nickels and dimes will get you a hot cup of tea, that brief but welcome respite. Fall rain, perceived blessings.

In the twenty sentences, I am closer to you, and closer to God. How I wish you would write, fold your old love for me into an envelope, mail it to the dusty post office where I live with ghosts and pensioners and rats! Greetings were exchanged in the blue haze of pipe smoke, and a sense of promise - or adventure at least - was pervasive.

You wouldn't know me in a crowd yet in Truth we are always familiar. Without limits we might actually remember we aren't these bodies tied down with stories. She pulled her knees to her chin, gazed out the window where I was pacing in the rain with my grandfather's old umbrella held at a compromising angle.

This is it, the requisite surrender. For the time being, brothers and sisters, I am prone to grace and letters.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It Was Like You Were The Muse

It is too late Denise to find a voice that honors you?

There was that beach on which we whispered kissing because sound travels.

You inhabited so many poems it was like you were the muse itself, not the form it briefly borrowed.

Do you remember being locked inside an empty vodka bottle, wind howling off Lake Champlain, arguing was it my fault or yours it didn't work?

What I wouldn't do again would fill a book, huh?

Drunk on the cheap wine of poetry readings, throwing snowballs with friends we didn't really like, falling asleep in wet clothes . . .

I remember your ragged brown sweater in candlelight, writing poems while you read Virginia Woolf and realizing for the first time that the space between sentences or paragraphs was actually part of the music.

The rose I was too scared to give you froze by the gear shift.

Still, for all of that, for ten of fifteen years, you were the standard that all my loves were forced to crawl before.

We are always in motion but what an anchor the past can temporarily make.

The last movie we ever saw together was either Cocktail or Impromptu, and the latter is still one of my favorite love stories (beautiful Chopin!).

When you became a vegetarian I made up a song while we ate fresh canteloupe with cream.

"I'm a tangerine sitting in your kitchen/I'm a tangerine and I'm going to kill you."

Without you, the red bird would have been impossible.

Without you, I would not have learned that twenty sentences are not enough to hold the sky.

It was watching you walk away from me in snowy English fields that I learned love has nothing to do with bodies.

You can't invent what was always there.

For me you will always be happiest framed by the door of a used bookstore in Albany.

I used to wonder what if you came back?

A refugee now - homeless now - I thank you for the painful gift of an always unknowable future.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stuck In A Ditch

This one's for you, Dan Gallagher.

Like that roof in was it Shelburne.

Or that fire escape overlooking scholarly drunks in November.

The Old Testament torn to shreds and plastered on the hallway wall.

Teachers crying on the bus.

How to learn to feel real sadness at last.

Hey, what did you dream about on the plane to Paris?

Kneeling by the river two thousand years ago, obsessed with its currents.

One learns, one does.

Teachers with cameras abound on busy streets, don't they?

Love beneath a crucifix, love in search of a lotus.

One scrambles with locusts, one anticipates a city.

I bled in a desert entirely of my making.

The heart can't break and yet.

Like the ambulance stuck in a ditch, remember?

Did we piss off your grandpa's porch at midnight?

One is alive, one is dreaming one is alive.

Before the lines of poetry I shared you hesitated and in that moment I felt one of the only real lonelinesses of my life.

Thank you for teaching me that But and Yet aren't gospel.

Hear that whisper, hear that singing, hear the sweet crescendo of yes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Vacant Throne

A veil seen at last for what it is. A gate swings, centuries old. The legendary bolt of lightening consumes us all. Promises, promises. Aphorisms in support of undoing. Prose bent on a vacant throne. Heed the beggar who sees your heart. Vermont now, Heaven later. Gutter coinage abounds. What about what's in the reeds? Chuckling, skipping, making a squall. Abating. Walking the shallows, dreaming of snails. A place to go come winter equals prayer. Touching base matters, it's how I learn. Slope of a hill seen a new way. Christ beckons, discipleship looms. Fried fish, potatoes in lard, sour beer and later a slow fine dance. This is not the end. Will you not at last consent to your holy soliloquy?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unexpected Sweetnesses

Reading by candle. Venus inside the front yard maple. Distant holler. Telltale egg shells. Conversation indistinct. The calling, the vocation. Insinuations left by the wayside. The gap between need and want. Visitors ask for guidance. Polished swords, famous horses. Bend to the noose as if taking a crown. One builds castles of clouds, one trembles in farewell. Smoke to the North. Unexpected sweetnesses. Stopping to chat by the old gambrel. Toads digging temporary quarters. Orion obscured by moonlight. Long walks eclipsed by longer walks. The gap between knowledge and perception. Touching base with you, again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Polemic I Would Never Read

Abruptly, though not without warning, the train began to ease away from the tracks. The fact that all this occurred “in my mind” does not in any way mitigate its reality. It moved South and in its wake were snow-capped mountains and an impossibly blue sky. On the speakers, one could hear a singing vaguely reminiscent of John Denver. “Justice,” someone said, their face smudged and in their hands a polemic I would never read.

A purple light – one element of the spectrum – against which shadow was measured. It appears that your enlightenment has been postponed to another day. Yet more famous people have adopted your spiritual path and the fact that you experience this as a loss will no doubt displease our common father. I walked well beyond the limits of soap and conversation, arriving at last at a quiet place where prayer was possible. And yet at that moment the southbound geese passed, a raucous din that returned me to the world.

Is this writing the superior writing? After all, making sense was never more sensible than now. Against the backdrop of the infinite, there is little that can be measured. We are trying to communicate, which is to say that we are trying to carry something home to ourselves. Years later, that empty room above the homeless shelter would seem more and more special, as if God had a plan that was capable of being ignored.

Forever is as smoke does. I recall the pain of you leaving. Once you get over the story in the mirror, you can see the mirror. At the window, the music of unknowable birds. In my mind, an emptiness and a long walk, both inevitable, both for blessing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Torah Brough Great Comfort

In a letter she wrote about her son who loved to push his stroller and sang the kooky songs that pre-language toddlers sing but this was before Paris, this was before that grave. It was a very stormy night for our first couple and can you guess then how it ended? Jackson - ever diligent in the ways of feral cats - found himself a dead rat near the front yard swingset. Biblically, she looks well to the ways of both her home and family. Do you remember when you called me?

We found a clawfoot tub painted bright blue by the mission and took photographs of one another inside it. Kids played checkers while the riverboat tried twice to make it land before the flames began and people started jumping, even those who didn't know how to swim. Be careful of putting too much faith in active membership of the church. Some people just want to uplift my soul and make me promise I'll do better by the Lord when all I really want to do is eat bread and salty cheese and hedge on the Divine. Forgotten Christmas carols always show up unexpectedly, the melodies like stitches undoing the fabric of air.

Love God, love other people and above all, love babies. The Torah brought great comfort in a difficult time. I'm not averse to the Northern slope of Alaska but I'll probably be alone when I get there. J. was lonely as a child but still managed to raise himself and now he's a preacher bringing all kinds of people home to Christ! Still, one needs a good hot sauce recipe, one needs friends who appreciate a good paragraph.

That which results in giggles cannot be all bad. I was in those days trying to get to a place where magic shows wouldn't be so awesome. We hooked the trailer up, drove seventy or so miles south and camped by a river in which fat trout could be seen, rising like shadows to feed in the dusk. Things got difficult when I put the plants before the people but luckily now it's only Marigolds. What I mean is, I don't need all the answers in order to trust that He has all the answers, see?