Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Invisible Middle


Writing at the end of the day - as opposed to the beginning - produces lists as opposed to what?

Can I say truthfully that I have never not had time to write?

What is writing anyway?

Where is silence?

Are chickadees birds or is that just our agreement?

Who wrote "The dog is curled on the bed 'in the shape of a button'"?

Narrative effect or narrative collusion?

Why doesn't you ever write to me?

Why don't you?

A private agreement that over time becomes public and even acceptable.

As opposed to the vital - the very much living - welter perhaps?

She does write, sometimes more than is helpful, but who cares?

What do we want from writing?

I have no desire to write.

What do you mean when you write interior?

Do you say that writing is a job or writing is a sacrament or that writing is the invisible middle?

What are crows?

How come you never do what I expect?

Who stays when the writing is over?

That's what I want to know.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

That Lovely Unfolding

One writes one is tired and so one is. At last a walk in the moonlight, at last the silvery pines. Near hay bales brushed with snow he remembered the storm that was coming - word of the storm I mean - and an old student who had not enjoyed his class. Let us watch a movie, a helpful one.

Scallops and green beans and later a local whiskey. "The team that wins is my favorite." Memory moves us in a way that photographs cannot but still we insist on cameras and why. The bows of the Pequots should not have been forsaken.

Over chess we discussed Henry VIII's marriage difficulties and then - as always - how one is supposed to integrate Gandhi into anything. Bullets fly, in a way. She calls herself a deadly Scrabble player. While later still you fell to your knees and in the light of that space - that lovely unfolding - I grew attentive indeed and after nearly wept.

Nearly is not helpful, not at all. Robert Frost recalled out where the pond was just visible and just as quickly discarded. While on the stretch of road we walk - the only risk of traffic we face at that hour - I owned that I was Emily's equal in language but not insight - especially psychological though spiritual too - and then laughed out loud, a real belly laugh to the stars. Christmas always results in a stomach ache of sorts.

One writes instead of sleeping and soon enough comes to regret. To woe? I remember the goats I slaughtered and how unsatisfying that was, that meat that way, and how hard I cried after the kids were in bed and how you held me so. And is this - was that - what you wanted, my dear?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our Current Confusion


Recovered writing (remember that). I woke to fog and snow, a perceived simultaneity that for some reason spawned a peace that lasted - so far - close to ten hours. Later, kneeling on the zafu, grateful for the many flaws - here and elsewhere - of which I am aware.

Our trip to the New York shrines was helpful though it took many months to see that. That chipmunk darting around the church's cool interior made me happy. Messages abound because we wouldn't have it any other way.

I don't recall what gift I gave which perhaps explains our current confusion. She disappeared and only sometimes returns to say hello. Lilac in winter breaks the leathery heart.

"You are introspective" the student said, the way one would say to a butterfly, "your wings are colorful and I am curious." What we find interesting finds us first. In some ways, I am never not standing by the river, astounded by the way light is everywhere and seems to move.

Past and future are stubborn illusions indeed! And yet, we really only need to question them. Answers are never as satisfying as we hope they will be, though Thoreau certainly gave it a good effort.

Your respiratory problems - and the astounding reference to a performance of Macbeth now three decades old - inspired the best conversation of the evening. She closed her eyes while listening to music, I remember that for darn sure. And dreamed a happy dream?

This: what is broken is not real. Oh and this too: what is real can never break.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holy Distractions

Stepping onto the porch at 3 a.m., last living dog bounding ahead, one looks up and sees flurried snow and dimly beyond, stars. Both earth and heaven are familiar landscapes, no? In the forest, one pauses to listen. Just shy of the brook - where sixty years ago you slept and made biscuits and repented of your one movement towards love - I heard ice melting, trickling down through limbs of chilled pine. You give to me and so I give to you and together we ascend the lighted stairs.

Or something like that. The old cat limps to the water bowl night after night. In my dreams I teach myself, or that is one way to see it. As a child, he identified with the internal observer and it wasn't until he turned forty that he began to question that decision. For some reason, I am thinking of the fairgrounds two towns away.

We confuse time - which is merely another idea - with time's measurement which - again - is merely another idea. As a child, the chemistry set appealed to me because each exercise invoked - involved  maybe - transfiguration. Imagine that! He walked up the center aisle, lit by the rose light that was everywhere in those days. As are the dust motes, most holy of holy distractions.

We have been angling towards one another for lifetimes but at the last minute will probably veer away. Accidents of biology - their stories notwithstanding - can probably do no better. I write because I write and also prefer my cabbage fried in butter. Burned? Oh darling, the last thing you need is a plan

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lumbering Away, Glancing Back

A way piano notes have of arriving where one does not expect without jarring. You rise at 4 a.m. and listen to the rain. Dogs at the window sadly. I have felt this way about you as long as I can remember.

It's settling that I'm talking about, a sort of coming to coherence, naturally. We often mistake greed for freedom but life is not about getting what we want. Pine trees by the fire pond dusted with ice. We will not - not now - see a bear in the distance lumbering away, glancing back.

Silence becomes us. Yet I still long for what only you can give - a word. It is this to which we all aspire regardless of learning. Later, when the guitar entered, one began to understand the stars - the heavens, really - in a new light.

Elegance matters. We are released as we learn to let go as - for example - we choose not to trouble the smoky lair of sleeping mammals in December. Each sentence begins in the ground we share which is why they resonate the way they - the way we - do. Electricity was always there - remember that.

Ah guilt you remind me always of what I will not forgive! We will never be framed that way. You bring me to my knees and you know it. We lean towards salvation, we check ourselves, we are - you and I, together at last - almost there.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Miles Standish Often Pushed


This is the writing that emerges when I don't want to write. Sunlight on the white barn all the brighter.

Dusty horses tossing their heads while led to pasture, as if reluctant, as if to insist. We issue our own challenge and then respond accordingly.

Writing is talking's extension. What is natural.

Saying goodbye, one felt only relief, as if having scaled a necessary crag. Sunset follows.

I am reflecting on the arms and armor of the pilgrims. What is the way we say no.

Earlier, folding our sleeping bags, I could not go on, could not. We must preserve what expires, no?

And thus write? Well, this anyway.

This welter, and this bell. And later still, working the new chainsaw, I remembered my uncle driving through Rhode Island in a moment of uncharacteristic quiet.

You can't not say goodbye. This writing is in effect farewell.

No, that's not right. Miles Standish often pushed farther than anybody else wanted.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hunger When You Are Not Here

When you are not here - where I am - I notice. One longs to extend, to make an offering. There is so much you forget when faced with a beautiful woman! Call me stupid, Ishmael.

While earlier beneath stars I reconsidered the whole of civilization and also the necessity of apology. One gets good at what one does often. Time must matter or we wouldn't be so focused on it, yes? And later, a sense of sharing, an opening of language into what is new, and continues new.

Coffee, bells, buckshot and the bones of birds. In the museum I always lingered by the stones laid out in rows, astounded at what colors the earth bore to us, sentience or willingness be damned. What else would you call love? Cezanne, of course.

Say it again in that voice that even in my dreams is clipped and soft, reminiscent of fields I have not yet seen but will, or must. It's all good is another way of saying it's not and never can be. Flat surfaces yield up any number of directions. We end and life somehow goes on.

Roll on Columbia. Any word of Vermont is welcome, even if it's going to break my heart. I remember as a child contemplating the sky while thunder boomed in distant hills and it boiled down - it always did in those days - to punctuation. Tell me please that you read this and I won't stay up by the window, glued to a dozen special stars, and the dark towering pines beyond that always remind me of hunger.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Disgraced by Price

The crescent moon at dawn, sharp as tacks encircling dust. First the ducks, then a tired - a surprised - chicken. Dead leaves crusted with frost crackle underfoot. You are always you.

And never me? Hanging laundry one studies a sort of lavender blend in the northernmost sky. In my dream, you claimed you could not see what I see because I am Christian to which I wrote - in a tight-fisted script above your comments - question this. Emily Dickinson is instructive as always.

Avoid study, avoid rivers and also astronomers. Don't rely on luck to make the poem. I paused near the clothesline and looked at the moon before ducking back inside to make you coffee. In the distance, deer pause and breathe and at last step out from the shadows.

Narrative makes demands in at least two ways. Photographs resist the familiar structure. The penultimate reason for living is at last extended. We are all of us disgraced by price.

And yet, certain rivers - as certain landscapes - continue, or seem to. She wrote of my sentences, they are oddly reassuring, like distant relatives who have studied religion. Thus the moon comes back in, as it must, at my behest. And you, as always, so lovely, so inquiring.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Attention Matters

The sentence unfolds. Is a way of unfolding. Is like that. And not this. Not now at least.

At last. One can always ask: is there anything else? Ideas unfold. Evolve? The moon appears to float, certainly.

So it is a question of movement then? As in one writes and then publishes and then another one reads? As leaves fall? One has an enduring memory of a sidewalk in 1985 in Burlington, Vermont on which brown leaves are pasted by rain. It does float, in a way.

In a way, the sentence does unfold. And passes? Becomes objectified, perhaps. So attention matters. Ceaselessness as well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Season of You

The moon seems to begin at a low place in the sky. It seems to begin, in time, at a particular place slightly south and due east of the neighbor's house. It's a way of saying what matters. The mind turns where it will and toward what remains. I am saying something about a flower, one I am not allowed to pick, and have been looking at all my life.

Like a niece's letter? One misspells gassho for going on two decades and then wonders what it - what anything - means. As seagulls sail back and forth above the parking lot, day old french fries dangling from their bills. Remember we always said as if when we meant not really? Now and again avoiding hello.

Somewhere near the eleventh sentence you begin a necessary reconstruction. One is shaped not by elocution but by certain sounds that, when uttered, eschew definition. This gold braid, that gold braid. The cat leaped and landed and paused as if to replay it all in her mind. A season of you is now coming to a close.

I don't believe what I profess to believe. One grows tired signing checks, but there is more to it, but what? A river runs through it indeed. One resists the impulse to send yet another letter and that has an emotional - a psychological - effect. This sentence is here simply to put you in the mind of what I did not - because I could not - say.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Shared Body

The minister of God awakens to snow. Moonlight. Deer step deeper into the bracken and the frost crackles as they go. A crow will fly many miles going home.

The mail complicates what we call our lives. Insistence and repetition, the twin angels of destruction. Bohm was mistaken about the Greek god of time. With that, we are back at the start.

Yet the post office is oddly a site of camaraderie. We decorate for Christmas and invite others to do the same. The oddity of shame, the turning of a coin as it falls off the bed. He wrote his feet were tired and so they were.

Tuffets of snow after days of rising temperatures, reminders of what awaits us all. She held onto her old college poetry books and I could not help but feel some necessary, some reassuring kinship. We are what we read. While notes of music riddle the shared body.

And this. When I look at you I feel happy and that is a sort of peace, one for which I am grateful. Turns? One walks lightly where yesterday was only anger.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Yesterday at Dusk

Yesterday at dusk I watched snowflakes cross the face of the waxing moon which later faded behind piles of cloud. At 4 a.m. you never walk alone. First the dog's prints fade, then one's own. I slept, dreamed of death, and kept sleeping. Silence, that one.

And woke you to complain without actually complaining. We come to the shame, the guilt, the oh-no-I'm-doing-it-again and then what. I mean it: then what? Dance lessons as a metaphor for prayer. I remember you mostly leaving the library.

The ice melts, bankers grow fangs, and Jesus continues the long walk to nowhere. Sunlight? The dog's prints fade and then you can't really make out yours either. Here is the house I grew up in and here is the house in which I now live. One more cup of coffee might be enough.

What can you do when the writing disappoints but keep writing? Emerson wears me out but his protege not so much. Train tracks, empty wine bottles, that sort of thing. A thousand yesterdays multiplied by nine equals whose lifetime? Start over with an empty room and a north-facing chair and see what gives.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Evoking You Anyway

The west-facing rock sees no sun in winter and only a little in summer. Ice at noon, a few patches, first of the year. I want to see you naked and will no longer pretend - aspire? - otherwise. May we call it gain?

The power dynamic continues to evolve and yet stays the same, or seems to. He wrote. Slivers of quartz jutted from the cleared forest, like bones or teeth or diamonds. The better question might be what do you want?

Pissing in the dark, feeling the snow on my face, and other vague pleasures. Somewhere a dog barks. The terror inherent in always? I dream of you often and wake up happy, the familiar ache satisfied.

Yet zoos disturb me. The front yard maple closest to the driveway sheds a final leaf and so stands at last like a young woman in a time of war refusing any concession to grief. He didn't write that. I erased a line that would have come too close to you - evoking you anyway - and leave this one - evocative differently - in its place.

Your hair, the lines on your face. Can there be such a thing as partial honesty? Buttered muffins as the sun rises and we contemplate a long drive east. This is for you - a little light - and what informs it in deference to forever.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Daily Terror

You have a way of allowing me to sleep all night, though I did wake up rhyming. And later she heard geese flying northeast to southwest, probably coming up from a night on the fire pond. We are teachers and must await our students. Who holds the cat holds the power.

He wrote that he paid in his early twenties but his repeated emphasis on payment revealed the debt was perhaps not fully settled. Remained nettlesome? The dog curls up on the bed and one projects sadness and guilt onto the supine body and then tries to "solve" it. Resolve it?

Well, dissolve it, really, but certainly not without help. An articulated Victorian sensibility might not hurt any of us and could even help. You show up in neither dream nor fantasy but you do show up. The struggle to explain, to frame, to stage it in a fructive way continues.

And then? False faces are impossible as are false hearts and yet. But? The coffee is gone and we are slowly entering the daily terror unaided.

In my early twenties I saw the Ramones while tripping on acid. One can be in the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time or on the wrong drug period. Or and so forth. Oh think of me, won't you, when thinking (as you think it) is most fruitful?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Only Ever One Poem

It is not so hard to find words. Clouds are never behind the moon. The work is simply attention. As in, I woke with a sinus headache and didn't want to walk or anything.

Well, Jesus is happy to listen, happy to instruct. My son wears his mother's watch and writes poetry about birds. Old library cards, tattered ribbons and a gaudy plastic ring I would have loved as a child. Give me a real sign, won't you?

Don't you love the new advertisement for salvation? After a while, one rejects altogether the concept of communication. We are never what we seem to be and yet not another thing entirely. The important arguments are always personal, always just beginning.

I pissed out by the wood shed, studying constellations in the November sky, working and reworking how the first line might go. Am I asking you for more than you can give just now? Wordlessness is all our ends. As a dog barks and farther away, one answers.

If I could, I would hold you just long enough to let you know it's all okay or will be. Then later, over coffee, consider Dickinson's aversion to titles. Perhaps there is only ever one poem and we are it and writing it even now? He said as the sun rose, wondering where you were and what you were doing and with whom.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Something Inside Me Lifts


In my dream, at least two songs - previously unheard - indicated that I was "ready for Jesus." The clarity of associated loss on the other hand . . . It is possible to love others and yet not be physically present to them. She said she wouldn't "pull that" with me. And yet.

And yet some phone calls are not returned and a certain sorrow attains. I weep in old graveyards for the grief that accumulates there, like snow. Shadows cross the south side of the decrepit barn and a new writing project springs to mind. The mode is like kittens. One loves what they write and believes it is permanent.

Imagine a solution in which nobody loses and everybody gains. It is sweeter not to read the mail. Many divas, many bars, many lyrics. We climbed the pine tree almost to the top and thirty years later I still remember. One does in order to teach and thus learns.

Like that. Back roads at midnight and tumblers of whiskey. We stumbled into one another and stayed until a haze of affection made writing all but impossible. Clarity? When I see you something inside me lifts and what else is there to do but say it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Attention Lovingly Paid

I am alert around you. The dog at 3 a.m., nosing aside curtains. Clouds cover up the moon, then continue East, more or less. We are all in motion always. That is how it seems anyway, this you and I.

The old clothespins call to me in my dreams, speaking of a tiny island (the coast of Maine maybe?) on which it is possible to do no wrong and only good. God vs. Magic, the same old same old. I am alert to the subtle shift in light near your face as you struggle with this or that idea. Home is attention, lovingly paid. Earlier, over coffee, I longed again for poverty.

Silly me! I can't carry a tape measure everywhere although one does appreciate a certain order. You turn South, you rise like a feather into mist and then later buckle your knees and listen. In my dream, a kiss, and in this dream - shared - a long talk about Emily Dickinson. Sooner or later one takes what is given.

November sadness like pilgrims waking to a persistent raven. What we fear is never quite worth fearing which we only learn later. Again? I nearly touched your shoulder today, that soft gem that renders you holy. Don't laugh, sister, you're in it as deep as me.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Way of Saying I Cried

This waiting paraphrases (unhelpfully) the larger giving. As leaves falling are a sort of donation. Discomfort is persistence justifying itself. Just say it, he said.

Unhelpfully? The ellipsis is the invisible bridge, the chance to say not this way, not now. Paper swans, a thought of children, and earlier still, the quarter moon amid flickering stars. It is a way of saying I cried.

There is nothing funny about a bus. Bent over the writing as if to get closer to what. These twenty sentences are not the twenty sentences I wrote yesterday. Introducing my best friend the monosyllabic yet.

Remember the letters you wrote when I was in prison? The moon falls under the hill. At our best, we give away what is best about ourselves. Your romance is my dreary afternoon but so what?

Wasn't it? It seems as if long ago we held one another against something monstrous, something unkind. She entered the room and what he noticed was her hair, pulled back severely, though her eyes remained curious, ever with that hint of gratitude that masked the underlying - as yet unsolved - anger. We are one another's teacher, no?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

This Beautiful This


A sense that some impulse to seek is dissolved now helpfully pervades the day. Rise, walk to the window, look at the snowy lawn, sit down. Nothing passes because nothing is not and so is time.

Belt folded on the bed, a dozen mostly-read books and the dog curled "into the shape of a button." Thought suddenly no more intrusive than bird song or a waterfall. The old familiar poem no longer making demands of us.

There is no more try again. All morning drinking warmed-over coffee, strangely happy and knowing at last it can last. Naps too.

On the mountain's crest she realized that she no longer experienced life as a photograph. A sigh, a cry, a sweet but lonesome and lingering kiss. And now this, this beautiful this.

Knowing the limits of the body means beginning. You can't hurt me! All I really want is to lift you and not stop.

The old quilt from our wedding now being used to drag leaves to the chickens. What we resist learning is that what is fixable is never worth fixing. Perhaps Heaven might be better understood as a verb?

Grannies don't really die, you know. And home never was either sweet nor there.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Indifferent to Reply

The waning moon wedged between pine trees illuminating the barn. We go where we hear cries and linger, ever prostrate for  whispering crossroads. One intimates, one does.

Another mention of fathers - those that rage before brick ovens, those that mistake gregariousness for love. But are you happy? You make me happy and that is what matters.

Coherence matters. We enter the dialogue like swans coming around a bend somehow aware of the surprise they will cause. Rivers make deltas and deltas suffer under aerial bombardment.

Sons and daughters and uneven distributions of power. Somehow rectified? When I kneel in the darkness and whisper your name you don't always come but I always feel better.

One's writing bent ever on achieving the holiest yes. Differences make for wild nights but it is sameness to which peace attains. Twenty bromides with dreams of a poem.

Your synesthesia is my long walk and no light. When you say Edinburgh what I hear is that early loneliness no walking could assuage. One lives a long time in the bliss of pronunciation, the sacredness of maps.

I waited lifetimes before mountains that were indifferent to reply. And now you, beautiful you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

As if Direction Mattered

One's dreams are instructive. The broken fence wandered as far as the road. And I remember of course the three horses who ran gracefully and proud through the unplanted potato field as the sun rose and the fear I felt and the wonder.

Your thunder is my drifting apple blossom. Yet we all fall and must if we are going to get anywhere. There are no mysteries but those that we want.

Some hair product, a new shirt and of course a bit of attitude. The morning coffee no longer sustains the way it once did and thus. We are just writing on one hand but on another we are writing.

After a while, symbolism loses its efficacy. The West has done a poor job of processing its spiritual impulses, preferring to contain rather than expand them. Is that right?

Behind the clouds, the moon. And the lonesome howls of a chained dog, rising up from the hollow, as we walk together hand in hand. Accept my gratitude as I accept yours, gratefully.

Gertrude Stein was right, as was Emily Dickinson. Hansel is brave but lacks a meaningful capacity for looking within. That was a sweet kiss we shared - unexpectedly - in my dream.

And now the water boils hopefully for tea. And now we recall the sea, always to the north, as if direction mattered, as if it did.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Allowed Alone


I was speaking happy and fulfilled. Of all the grace is surrounding us? A solitary activity given insufficient thrift does indicate so.

We are always alone when we turn to our mind and our voice. The relevant emphasis not really our own. Composites of all those who came before stream through our own.

It is a sort of true example of sort of. My father's elocution filter is not my own. The one who decides when and how is not the one who says this works later.

I am not disparaging yet not blessing either. Car mechanics check in with each other. Allies is a far cry from those assorted problematic needs.

Time indeed is precious but to whom? Family to to wade through before I die. I cultivate people who will respond instantly.

A cup of tea and a pep talk to censor his beautiful provocations. Reciprocate without question are very much at the heart of what this is saying. I am saying that what will offend people undertaken on behalf of some truth will have its own mode and necessarily.

We must be faithful for art demands it. If you need quiet, then cultivate the allowed alone.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Both Sides of the Noose

The folds of Mary's robes near the knee - it's as much of the Pieta as I can bear to look at - make me cry and yet. When one turns inward one faces first the possibility there is nothing there. How easily "why me" becomes "why not you?" Here's a clue: dog is just code for the self.

After thirty-one years the marriage went bad. My pajamas are still unfolded, the newspaper my father asked me to read is not. The story is about soap and silence but also about the interior light. Some things - including this ash heap you call the world - just can't be cleaned. And yet Scotland goes with you everywhere, doesn't it?

That soft moment when the chords transition downward into the relative minor and one is ready - almost - to follow. Forgive me Mother for I believed that I sinned and so lost a thousand lifetimes to guilt. One comes to understand that they have been on both sides of the noose and then what. No stars, the last leaves scratching as they fall and for once you don't need to make a poem out of it. In my dream, Michelangelo explains there is nothing to explain.

Thank you he wrote. My library card survived the washing machine! There are days when talking about God is ill-advised. You can only circumnavigate the night so many times before it's day. And now this.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Your Spiritual Doo Wop Doo Wop

Nothing but the darkness now. He wrote at the end of a long walk. The short pier? It is a dream, as all piers are.

It is a lotus, a torn jacket, a morning star. Jesus no longer fits so try something different. New? The universal blossom beckons.

As, for example, the long-awaited reckoning. The same old resistance, like a lover who's great in bed but can't talk Emily Dickinson after. Some habits die harder than others. One dies, one does.

And she remains ever a cumulative factor. The coffee boils, necessitating spoonfuls of sugar. Let's have a ball and biscuit indeed. Let's not circumnavigate now okay?

And so the sea remained their one home. Kittens become cats who beget kittens or so we learned at the shelter where so many of them were marked for death. More cookies and milk please! He stopped praying - where's your spiritual doo wop doo wop now boy - and it shows.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What is Already Made

On the one hand, fatigue. On the other, language. Old friends visit, bearing with them rose-colored wine glasses that for some reason remain empty. In the middle of the night, after dreams of rain, the sudden stars are brilliant and lovely, like holes in a fabric. And I still can't pronounce wainscoting.

Nor build stairs. Light poured through, as light does, according to its laws. One comes to a place where there is no longer meaningfully place and then what. Prayer? We are lost - always lost -  and those screens are no help.

The fragment assumes the whole? We work diligently to create what is already made and call it home. Nobody is who they say they are but masks still aren't a good analogy. What exactly are you trying to say?

When you sleep, you don't rest. Up and down certain hills all morning like a squirrel learning how to ride a bike. The dog comes back after days away and it seems a lifetime and maybe it is. Medieval Poland supplies one answer. The perennial yawn, our exacting yet grotesque truth.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Sort of Soft White Blur

The glasses one wears make a difference. I can't handle trips to the dentist, hence, I am a spiritual adviser to the rich. On the other side of the road a sort of soft white blur identified finally as a skunk. That's dawn then. That's the morning walk.

The dog waited. Jesus consults, advises, cautions, encourages. That too is walking before the sun rises, in the old neighborhood, the site of so much anguish. The words that I use matter, even in twenty semi-related sentences. As I am - as I remain - deeply grateful.

What is chance? What brokenness is it I carry with me beneath the slivered moon and still later over tea? When you write my heart lifts a little, as it always has, it does. Apologies as well. Well, we have to get on with life, however we define it.

I'd rather not look stupid and am also scared to quit which from time to time creates a problem. That's a temptation of sorts, isn't it? The mossy bank was less inviting in November than in July when weeks without rain left one longing for water. My latest book is about spiritual irrigation. I mean integration as did you.

Friday, October 5, 2012

That Gun Is Always Going Off


Halfway up the air strip - buffeted by warmish air - I remembered an older dog. Grief, too. Idolizing grief is an effective strategy for avoiding guilt. Who said it's okay?

No really - it is okay. You sob in morning darkness while geese chatter quietly on the black pond and it feels good. The sun is not a jewel but nor is it a fire and your tears while driving and singing were welcome. You did what you had to do - it's called childhood.

Well, it's called being human in the world - is that better? My feet were cold and the dog trotted far ahead, oblivious to danger. I mean war. Little by little we learn: I did not do it.

I remembered her and realized that it was not my fault how she died. And later, over coffee, forgave the damn fool who could only ask 'are you okay?' after pulling the trigger.  The past blurs and we remember not specifics but pain which is another way of saying that gun is always going off. Self-righteousness is inherent in grief.

What is my anger but a way to stay angry? The moon sifted back and forth between borderless clouds. Killdeer scattered as I stomped through the field. Forgive me oh my love.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Terms of Each Next Step

For I am tired. You see so many animals dead on the road, some of them picked at by glossy crows. The familiar conversations no longer work. Words, words and more words.

That which is not real can be made to seem real. The rose endlessly extended. An accent - perhaps Scottish - comes and goes. And wedding rings, of course.

And bells half a mile away like train whistles at dawn. We circle the hill over and over fantasizing ascent. Your note arrives somewhat like haiku about frogs. We all want to write and some of us do.

I know nothing. The hog of the forsaken visits me dreams, as does the dead dog. What did our fathers want for us? Long hallways in which the condemned walk, heads down, working out the terms of each next step.

That is not this. You will come to me in a half light while it snows, smelling of wine, with a small smile to stop my heart. Call it a preface, okay? And now the song begins, the old standby so beloved of the devil.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

As If Lonely

We observed that rain had pushed the leafy humus southward and a bit up. Trails are not made so much as revealed. One can learn from a dog how to move. The mown hayfield enlarges the world.

We are empty, without boundaries. Learning has a place? She said goodbye with both hands near her chin. That particular road remains unplowed.

Bloody but unbowed? The past does appear to follow us. In another way, I spent hours watching sunlight shift across the (less shifty) face of the mountain. In which a dream of molecular beneficence appears.

Also maple syrup albeit in winter. "You" cannot steal "my" lines. Sentences? When form urges you in the direction of definitions find another way.

One says trail, another infers path. The crow looked left and right without knowing that I would later write the crow looked left and right as if lonely for some other who had yet to reveal themselves. Like that? Like this then.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Unfolding That Surrounds Us


Perhaps the point is not about calculation at all. The unfolding that surrounds us, implicitly revealing the unfolding that surrounds us. Yes, it's a clever trope he wrote. Then he wrote about having just enough trope to hang himself. My apologies!

Later still a Monarch butterfly passed, its uncertain bounces at odds with its legendary focus. Love is heartbreak, love is chocolate, love is a proven to be little more than a biochemical reaction to certain types of feedback. Ah for a 6 a.m. that never ceases! Fisher cats sleep in hollow trees, their ears pricked to the running of dogs. Nothing oppresses like a schedule.

Folk songs recalled in dreams, much the way hunters emerge from shadows, tired and empty-handed. Your compass is my quatrain. We too the pencils and hid them in the disco and to this day nobody has found them. Midnight water and a blessing. I woke up early thinking of you and composing letters and it made the morning pass.

Up the hill, past the stream until at last we arrive at the crabapple tree where twenty some odd years ago I first kissed a boy. You leave me notes, each inviting me to join  you in South Carolina. I resent because. We all have dreams so stop acting like the world's a stage built especially for men who came of age in the 1970's. In effect I represent because.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ghost Dogs When We Sit In A Circle

Blurred stars. In the bracken rustling. Later I will have to "hold space." One learns, one does.

The old woman suggested - tacitly - a new project. The last green before autumn. Fragments imply wholeness is not an insight. Insight is itself.

Sleepy dogs, ghost dogs. When we sit in a circle without talking is helpful. Non-tribal fellowship abounds. A few sentences will do.

Hold true? Dice are fun! A pile of books is too but differently. Or maybe not.

Or not so much. "Are you with me so far?" Abandon lyrics outside the shed please. In this dream, Thelonious Monk.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Be Chronological


What we are not is the past. Passed? One is.

Venus rises in the east. October morning slipstream. You forget your first.

Cup of coffee. Things without names. Or things before naming.

The old impulse at last understood. You wave. The barn door hangs perpendicular.

To be cognizant is to be chronological. What does the snake call you? Five a.m. rabbits in shadowy clover.

This is for you which I wrote. Frozen green beans, cold tea. Hamlet dithers.

A long sentence is still. Before the kiss then the cause.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In Terms Of Guidance

Epistemology vs. history in terms of guidance. This vs. that, again. The hawk flies overhead, studying the farm, moving on when I wave the shovel. Malice is not present, which is good. You see what I am getting at?

When I say problem I should perhaps say paradox. Just how are we to discern the measureless whole? One grows tired of God, the way "tree" is a poor substitute for "maple," "birch," etc. She read the instructions very carefully and followed them precisely. Miles can seem to grow, depending on how one feels about the journey.

A mechanical substitute for travel. The imposition of that one syllable on literally everything has caused a lot of conflict over time. One teaches, one does. The mountain is there and when we hike it it is here. Remembered poems validate one aspect of the self, a treasured one.

Thus, welcome to my winter! He played backgammon alone for hours on end, his lips working as he studied the math, concluding at the end - later as I put him to bed - that it is "too random to be really interesting." Self-imposed ends are a way of ensuring order is what I cannot quite say. This sentence is not the last but the next one will be. Maybe.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sparks And Smoke Follow

In the front yard a slender curl of fox scat, explaining the dog's anxiety the night before. This and not that. The neighbor's truck on which a new batch of decals suggests nothing is ever learned. Are we older? Is the ocean ever bottomless?

A seamless sky in which narrative drifts. Why do you insist on using paraphrase to your advantage? A blueberry pie wants nothing. More skid marks. Also, a better story won't do what you want, at least not always.

Coming down the hill, I saw again how anger springs from fear and fear is always intimate with my dogs. My strength is somebody else's weakness. The real question is how to commodify something without actually appearing to commodify it. I walk and sparks and smoke follow in my wake. Seams of light that suggest boundaries etc.

We welcome any sign of order, often calling it beauty. Thought is what it says it's not doing and thus leaves us dull. The Christian metaphor is decrepit but I insist on mummification. The shovel is an effective if mechanical tool. If I write, will you listen?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

All We Ever Do

Precisely what sound does a chicken make at midday after laying an egg? The kids return from hours away with stories of a fox, possibly rabid. We pass - that is all we do ever. And sing a little, as swans are reputed to do in similar circumstances.

Thus one writes thus. It is a day of letters, also nagging flea bites. Your promise is my routine. It is good to get beyond symbols though worth asking why one needs them in the first place (which is perhaps how one does actually "get" beyond them).

What I am saying is this. That? In my dream a certain project was undone - nobody seemed to care - but I was sure the world would end on my account. Naps are nice, as is coffee, and repetition will sometimes breed spontaneity.

He forgave me, or so he said, and then gave me his cell phone. Freckles, sun spots, cancer. France or bust! As always, what I am really wanting to say has to do with trains.

Oh Jesus won't you please come home? What was stolen from the cemetery does not remain at the cemetery. Two hours and all we did was listen to folk songs from the 1950's. You once said it could be worse and even now I wonder why it seems to be thus.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Spiritual Not A Mechanical Problem


We look at baby pictures while the kids sleep. Rain storms always seem to contain pronouncements. The sunflowers this year are spindly and dull. Yet another linguist who can't shut up.

I am driving to a funeral later. Bulbs in the earth multiply. The hill beneath our feet steepens.  Please don't open with once upon a time.

Gretel is always is misunderstood, that's why. A brief history of the arrow. The sentence works best when textual expectations are kept to a minimum. Yet another novel stuttering.

Horses made her laugh. The delete key is stuck which is a spiritual not a mechanical problem. We can only watch the mind and its dance so much so long. Your tutu is my grim reaper.

Wry slim leaper? A series of photographs eight years old that make one want to cry or else fall weeping. Yet we continue, or we seem to. And I am always home, always looking away.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

That Old Common Distraction

Thunder rolling outside the east-facing window. Clover rustling where last week - or was it longer - baby robins first took flight. What a world in which to find oneself. Dreams of wax and perilous heights signify another ellipsis. I am what are you. He wrote later I wish I could take a picture of that thunder. Take one more drive through southern Vermont? There is no it and it's a problem. We ate apples on the broken bench, watching traffic navigate an open sewer hole, not talking. Like wading through suet, he said of the last time he voted before he died. We are all in motion anyway. Does it come down to relationship? I confess that getting worked up about the essential conservatism of nouns more or less escapes me. On the other hand, horses, Jesus and certain collections of letters. Oh that? The hum - growl perhaps - of lawn mowers and the occasional car on Route 112. Doing things, going places - that old common distraction. We are forever outside a lunar perambulation. Nobody wants to disappoint. Your focus on biology is going to be the death of you! Another cup of tea and then I really will be done and gone.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Helpfully Birds Tweet

Is it possible that we are not going anywhere? Can one ever get anywhere? A photograph would perhaps resolve the problem. Or a book cover, assuming it is a problem and not - as Bohm suggests - a paradox. We are always in motion, outside of time.

Hummingbirds move in lines, like helicopters, pausing near the Zinnias not to be admired though it happens. In my dream, fields of marijuana, and something I can't write about. You are near, like broken glass. A penny found is not as good as a hit though it feels that way to the poor who are, regardless of our good intentions, the losing team. We are motion and time arrests perception, apparently helpfully.

Birds tweet, profligate novelists blurb. When it is cold trains can be heard before 5 a.m. on the far side of the distant hills. The past appears to grow, it appears to be real. We pushed the frame to a standing position. Everyone applauds.

As the poem skids - or hesitates - or seems to. We are always busy in October and sometimes it snows. Shadows high up in the maple tree observed while sipping beer left over from the party and I am happy. You go back to the start and try to make sense. The distant hills are not outside the ambit of Emily Dickinson's eye.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Passive Alarm

Rhyme invokes the body differently. As when one leaves their seat in order to avoid disturbing nesting robins. Blackberries? I fell asleep on the word charm. Out on the Narragansett.

Days of summer in which one reflects on changes. My book is your studied moment. Most meditation is premeditated. We dream of outdoor activity, falling asleep while the moon rises. Baseballs left out in puddles.

Mist on the lake? A deer steps gracefully through beams of sunlight pillaring the forest. Studies reveal certain facts about cellar doors. I mean the swelling egos of damn Moors. Score!

He means it is hard to hold in memory what does not readily reduce to song. It has to do with effort in a way. Romantic outreach! The passive alarm, sounded at dawn. One is different amidst what never changes.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I Requires A Narrative

I was central. Puttering in the garage one comes upon a shovel from World War II. Time is a donut!

One sweats as they write it. Crab apples falling early. The neighbors yelling at each other after midnight, too.

Perhaps the heat? Awareness edges out ahead of thought and one realizes the space in which thought is. Yes, we can still get together.

Clarity is not the opposite of obfuscation. Somewhere, the hill remains. In the distance, mourning doves.

The same story about bears, told and retold for no apparent reason. I requires a narrative. I am sleeping on the floor again.

One rarely sets out to be prodigal but it's not the worst goal. Can you hear me? I don't appreciate being referred to as anybody's beloved.

And yet, one keeps on keeping on. The leaves on the squash plant wither while thunderheads hem a couple counties over.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Question Of Safety

I had hoped to learn you didn't suffer. Small white mushrooms underfoot. A square of light in which yet-folded dandelions stood out like clubs. Like? And later still a small pyramid of ash that burning had smelled of sage.

We push out from the shore. Thirty years pass and still one navigates a familiar line. Meditation is almost always premeditated. Remember the way albums left out in sunlight would warp and become unplayable or - perhaps worse - unfamiliar when played? It is a question of safety, absolutely.

One begins again. One writes about "one or two steps only," as if it were a question of commitment. The light cleared slowly in the forest to reveal a pile of bear scat loaded - stitched almost - with blueberry seed. It's an old fear and it seems to return and so we have to "deal with it." You know?

Lessons would have helped. As would lyrics or at least a repetition of the complex melody. The mushrooms seemed perfect or so I thought before the day's first cup of coffee. Word of you never ceases though it does slow. I want to cry but - it is an old story, isn't it - I can't.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Am Only Now Remembering

A patch of bluets that escaped the mower. As all matter unfolds. Who is writing? You see.

Memory is not romantic. Ideas are. A handful of bluets shifting in a light breeze after mowing. If you can get close, you can hear them too.

I am saying that and not this which means now I am. You do see, and hear as well, and the bluets are all of that. Yet not here in the poem. Though perhaps - helpfully - in your mind as you read it.

Thus this. The bluets remembered following a walk last week down Sam Hill Road, the dog tugging at the leash, and the kids rolling crabapples like bowling balls along the uneven macadam. Like that.

Nothing escapes just as nothing mows. Yet something does capture - or memorialize - and it does not capture or memorialize everything. Is that what I am saying? When I meant to say - as I am only now remembering - forget-me-nots.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Forever In A State Of Motion

One struggles one does. My art is your old shoe, patiently biding its banishment. You see, the idea of reading Deleuze is attractive - very much so - and yet the act of it makes one dizzy to the point of stupid. Let's be honest, yes? Four blades of grass fumbled with the dry soil until a passing thunderstorm lent them a necessary grace.

Much-needed? The tomatoes pulled at the vines reminding one that life is forever in a state of motion. Decisions are never called for! I looked all night for the moon - that lovely unfolding assurance - and saw instead a blurred gray, or perhaps sensed the blurred gray. He wrote as if perpetually on "the edge of darkness."

A time never comes. The dog's tail curled up revealing soft blond hair underneath, the only detail that separated her from the coyotes whose fate was ever at risk. I meant to say something about a pendulum. Unicycle? God is not the site of choice.

At last the young woman signed up for vocal lessons and so her fate was sealed. The cards dealt? It is only a struggle if we insist on playing the central role! You wake up and the birds are singing and what did you do? We open windows, we oil the gate, we pluck the fruit and compose a bright salad.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Broken but Happy

I woke up at 2:30 from dreams it seems I've dreamed a thousand times. Feeding people I love - including Dan, who I haven't seen in over twenty years - vegetarian sushi. Can you really make it with roasted red pepper? Please promise me that we'll talk before we die I pleaded even as I knew there wasn't anything left to say. We can't be with our favorite teachers all the time. Some we see only briefly and, learning what was there to learn, move on.

Waking, I warmed coffee from the day before yesterday and carried it outside to drink. The dog rambled, owls hooted back and forth and I stood alone in the cold staring dizzily up at the resonant tendrils of the Milky Way. Very clear night, many shooting stars. Yet something seemed to stand between me and the sky, hindering true vision. I recall as a child gazing upward, hardly able to breathe with all the beauty and majesty but now the heavens are just another idea. Or so it seems. I hunkered by the ashes of yesterday's deadfall, felt the heat still rising. A rooster crowed and I thought as I always do, shut up you damn fool. The foxes are still out.

And later still came inside to pray and write, still feeling that veil - that wall, whatever we choose to call it - and wanted to plunge straight through it. We make our own obstacles and so can undo them at will but . . . well, who amongst us ever gets around to it? We slip into these habits and have a hard time seeing it's the habits that keep us broken. Well, broken but happy. Whatever else one feels in these before-dawn hours - making little poems, saying little prayers, accompanied only by a dog - one does indeed feel joy, one is indeed lifted.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Positive Influence Understood Positively

For one of the progenitors, it was a matter of getting started. The twenty sentences. And then it grew (for him) or at least it became a book. That's form, in a sense. But it's also a process, a way of writing, right? Starting. Yet for me it was never that - or it outgrew that - because starting was never really a challenge. Editing - rewriting- was. I mean going back. And then also - possibly related - the idea that one ought to say what they mean without dressing it up. In other words, I read Silliman et al really only as rebels. I defined them in opposition. Negatively. Probably unfairly. Yet that is what this project became - poetry inspired by a limit to its length. And then seeing that - and honestly being a bit bored by it - one asks: now what? Well, you keep going. Writing writing, as Stein said who - unlike the language poets - was always a positive influence, understood positively. Which strikes me at the moment as saying more about me as a reader than anybody else as a writer. But it's always that way I think.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Perfect Witnesses

What is a corpse but an echo?

Mist rising off the fire pond, the heron extending its wings.

It's a long drive home but what choice do we have.

It's not the town but the house or is not the house but the family?

You called and accordingly I was lifted so thanks.

Graceful half tones forever define the amends.

Now I forget.

What.

Forgot?

Oh, you again.

Don't ignore Macbeth's final decision, the one to die on his shield.

Walking in darkness earlier a branch snapped off to my left and I started.

What?

What I wouldn't give to not read old poems all night.

Sitting in that old bar - what was it called - the other place - and drinking gin and tonics with no lines to show for it.

Bad dreams make for good morning walks.

Dogs don't care which is why they are perfect witnesses.

"Time it was and what a time it was."

He said to the tulips grow up, won't you.

We're the best togetherness ever.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Limits of Politeness

And with that. She wrote about how offended she was, and how being offended made the writing itself difficult. Somehow the conversation turned to animal sacrifice as a rationale for vegetarianism. In the forest, one has funny ideas.

May we now reduce the twenty sentences? Are you out there/can you hear this? Some people prefer to hold their peace as if its expression were to somehow place it in jeopardy. It's not Christmas exactly but almost.

In a biblical, not an ecumenical, way. Service is intrinsic but do check your motives. One finds the blood root everywhere, doesn't one? Where the fawn was yesterday, today an indentation.

All your suggestions are belong to us! The stage flooded with bad actors and the audience was moved to the limits of politeness. Greens, avocado, frozen blueberry and voila! Nerves attend any change.

Truth is mightier than all your lies. A funny phrase - leap like a lizard - given the stodginess of most reptiles. Hunger will do you in. Sharing the metaphor.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Support For What We Are

A gray morning before the lilac blooms contemplating fog. You turn inward and discover waterfalls. A pair of mallards swoop low over the far pasture, then rise up and point towards the fire pond.

There are problems in the world but correction is possible. Tell yourself that. I don't feel like crying right now.

In other words, another way of writing. It's worth asking - it is always worth asking - what is our responsibility to the twenty sentences? One longs for reciprocity.

One repeats the other far too often. Remember that motel in Vermont, the sandwiches we ate while the sun set behind us? Familiar faces come out of the rain.

We are supported in what we do as an extension of the support for what we are. Which is mirror balls, yes? We ascended the stairs and discovered ourselves not in a library but a dream.

Drinking tea, studying the firewood, the tracks of chipmunks in last night's trace of snow. The three witches appeared in my dream, making testimony on behalf of Jesus difficult. Thus we wake, thus we go about our business.

Time passes which is all one can ever really say about it. Learn what the authentic expression is and then allow it out.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Not Even Sunday

Pizza dough rising, lukewarm tea, a music in which robins sing and it's not even Sunday! A gap between teeth in which pain exists. One comes to the essay in search of understanding, hence the need - almost imperceptible - for poetry. Or Bob Dylan in 1965. You see?

One wouldn't eliminate waterfalls, why eliminate thought? There is no such thing as banal chatter! Yet drunk sometimes I do wonder. You understand? Or I don't.

Or else. And other phrases one can't quite escape in which the self shamelessly asserts itself. Writing like this is fructive in a way that most writers have forgotten. I mean we never mean what we think we mean. The field was seen as a beautiful carpet until I remembered the horses buried beneath it.

How strange to be so familiar with the graves of horses. To leap from one stanza to the next under the guise of heeding the sentence. One glances in the direction of trust, then back down to the day old pastry on which a single black ant rests. You want rhyme? I love how you are always on time.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bodhisattvas I Have Known

A bee approaches the window, a birch leaf spins madly, testifying to the breeze. You can stand a long time seeing nothing and for what? Yet studying the sentences one learns that they are essentially repeating themselves and not in a good - a Gertrude Stein - way. Fructive silence is the best silence. Thus one remains unenlightened.

Think of all the Bodhisattvas I have known . . . Or, another way to think of it, all the walls I've chosen not to dissemble. Keep your hill, I'm partial to the cross at its summit. Lines on a page leading one where. To lilac at last?

The neighbor's chickens come over to scratch the dust near the fence. The movie got the execution scene wrong, as if to remind me that narrative and truth are often at odds. He wrote a poem during halftime. Later the pain came and then she spoke convincingly about our burgeoning need for healing. The students write when I ask them to write.

Say please please! Forgo vegetarianism. Be very discerning regarding the consumption of that which causes you conflict. Grumble grumble grumble. And yet you are always there and I feel you and it makes me glad.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Familiar Absence

The familiar anger begins in dreams. Bob Dylan's confidence, Kirk's trim calves when he returned from India changed. Are we awake yet? When later, out walking beneath - yes - familiar stars, one experienced the familiar absence masquerading as the self. Open some more maybe.

Where tangled hummocks are reminiscent of the devil . . . Farther along the trail than I thought I'd go, I remembered that yesterday I'd forgotten the twenty sentences. Noon is indeed the darkest time, as the road does narrow and the company becomes thin indeed. Deprivation then? Maybe you can't keep on keeping on.

What one means to say is, is it really better to reign in hell than to serve in Heaven? Thought is the only problem, opinion the real jailer. It's lighter earlier for what that's worth. In the distance, apple blossoms. And coming back, the year's first bear.

Thus I am aware and is that not enough? Must one always be jotting down these little notes to Jesus? Who is it behind the familiar constellation that smiles and whose smile is - despite our denial - a blessing? The truth asks nothing of you, that's how you know it's the truth. Help me Jesus, I'm still charting the middle ground, I'm still beholden to a charcoal map.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Chaotic Holler

Might we review our dreams? The dream? That night on the fire escape with brandy against the wind and professions of love that - twenty-five years later - are still clear, still absent an echo?

Or was it perhaps simply the conversation - once had - that made possible another, longer, conversation about what it means to face one's fears? Trace one's tears down an unfamiliar face? In the dream we prayed and the prayer was answered.

Yet inevitably one wakes up. Thus the moonlight bright on the night table. And later still stars and tea while the dog tears through far off bracken, rousting foxes who will - if alive - return to badger the hens.

You can't fool me, except when you do, albeit with my permission. I said a bad word. I had a bad day?

A sad day for horses and horse owners alike. Or we are simply peering up into what appears to be - and for all I know is - immeasurable darkness? Who wouldn't channel the chaotic holler?

Stop writing, I'm feeling you. Just-made yogurt dressing dripping down the side of the bowl and like that, you're lost. It's summer somewhere always.

And with that, this. Again, a kiss.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Never Replace the Essence

Wooly road socks. Cracked quartz. A list will never replace the essence. But may direct us? I can't wait for May!

But the fleas . . . A field in which years ago I noticed how tired the deer look in Spring. My life is not a loaded gun. Little gardens. Don't go.

Stay. Stay for the repetitious burial. Dystopia is a lack of faith, kind of. The secrets we keep from those we "love." I mean prayer of course.

I mean I'm scared, honestly. Liberation from this itchy skin now! One is not a different person when their feet are bare. That essence? That yes anyway.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Few Raindrops, A Cup of Coffee

One writes one does. Again. One insists on it. Is this it? What one writes?

Or perhaps what writing. That which witnesses briefly the sun. The neighbor's cow bellowing at dawn. Metaphors? Art anyway.

Of which one is a part. Apart? Who wants to know? The pond was roughly circular, the streams of mist shapeless. Keep going.

What is healing but the removal of that which obstructs knowing? A few raindrops, a cup of coffee. One walks that way. Listening? As on the trail this morning I helped you with your shoes and remembered again how to kneel.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Settling the Apparent Confusion

One watches sunlight flicker on the shallow pond and all afternoon reflects. Hell is other people - or maybe just Sartre. Put your glasses on and see if the text doesn't resurrect of its own accord. Old poems are the best. Defy - I mean deny - expectations.

As in, who amongst us hasn't been the dentist? Is that a way of saying you would like to write poetry about a kind praying mantis? Once upon a time I explored fearlessly but then I learned. Foxes, ravens and black bears with pumpkins. The world is indeed full of people who know what in the hell a red bird is.

Ever on the stage! The words swam on the page and then sank like stones intent on settling. The apparent confusion is ever in attendance yet there is always another turn just up ahead. Up the road, past the graveyard, all the way to where the road ends and then you keep going. The only hell I'm thinking of is whatever I'm thinking of right now.

Pigeons are angels in a city otherwise bereft of saints. Finally I understand what he meant when he sang mysterious ways. Take comfort my friend because all idiocy is obviated sooner or later. Often it feels like I want whatever is whatever after this. She watched sitcoms and gradually deciphered the central illusion.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Circling When and Where You Did

Emerging sensitivity. A way of working from the heart. Thank you, mallards, for circling where and when you did. Brittle like eggshells? A new gap, a helpful one.

A new space in which we are not so resistant. The physical world will always be real to the physical senses! What we are saying is, following Christ is not harder so much as different. One devotes a lifetime to exploring useful roles for interpretation. Bells.

Bells and profligate quartz. The fields, turned and seeded, are no longer open for walking. One crow follows another. Working with the heart? Well, healing anyway.

Sealing the deal with whiskey and warm tea. The watercolors ran "as was their wont." Pods released to the breeze blossom outside our knowing, on other hills, other swathes of grass. Thus beauty. Thus this, especially for you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Closer This Time

We are all animators. Thus wild clouds move through the sky, thus the wake of a drenching rain. Half moon visible through sapling maples, as if raked by darkened claws. One senses the fox has passed, only closer this time, and oddly it yields a sense of safety. It is madness to assume when there is only that which can be known.

Is it possible there are no consequences? One rereads Romeo and Juliet, one wonders. As the sunlight acquires that particular slant, the mind turns to bluets. Pilgrim sensitivity is not contraindicated. I am not my password.

And yet. "I won't tell a soul" is hardly convincing but we have to accept it, don't we? That house in the dingle did not appear in my dreams which were otherwise complicated and fueled by my love of games. She was willing and it was enough. Thus the past tense, thus the need for healing.

Dual-wielding? One senses in crossword puzzles the secrets of the universe, much more so than in geometry. Please understand that whatever meaning or value you perceive "out there" you put there. We want to be subject to source - that is, cause - and not effect. Of course it is all a form of entertainment - how else would a kind God play it?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Rarity This Far North

Seven finches, apparently unalarmed. Fifty years ago cardinals were a rarity this far North. We don't really know how to live and that is the essence of the problem. But again, one's attention must be directed internally. One pities crystals.

I feel sad and listless! In other words, it's not just words but also punctuation. Insist on seeing it. When at night you lay looking out a south-facing window, what do you see? Surprise me.

In the valley, the first dandelions, while in the hills, crows still fly in jagged lines West to East. She refused my invitation to attend the gallery opening and twenty years later it still hurt. Or am I just confused about happiness? A short sentence has no more virtue than a shorter one. We are keeping it simple, you see, and more, liking it.

As in the eradication of a horrible disease? Or an essay perhaps on the virtues of aspirin. She said later who knows where the goldfinch nests. It's true that I can be hard to please. You can't take the child out of the adult.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Driftwood Thing

What is order if it is not related to discipline? There are certain questions to which one arrives as a pilgrim arrives at a candlelit house, rain on her shoulders, and a different light in her eye. Is it possible there are no consequences? He talked a long time about how evil is only possible when choice enters in. We laughed over coffee and went home together because.

We are going to walk at dusk and allow the twilight to occupy us in what they used to call a holy way. Like nineteenth century cupolas. Someone you have not seen for a long time is sitting on the hill and the breeze moves her hair back and forth. The year's first dandelions. Helpfulness.

It is everywhere. Or this: there's nothing to do and only you can do it. I remember playing guitar in those days and never quite getting enough distance to really hear the notes and so eventually had to stop. Now you walk a long time in the forest and what does that do but beget yet more ideas? The challenge is always managing what appears to be exterior, no?

Ah, but somebody is always going to love you on terms only they set. It's a driftwood thing, right? As earlier I stumbled, caught myself on the bridge and laughed out loud despite the many strangers passing. What does it mean to believe in perfect happiness? The wait for a teacher is long indeed when you won't begin your studies.

Monday, April 9, 2012

One Can Be Psychologically Adept

Wind at 4 a.m. defines what. A fox in the far field, silver in scant moonlight. What fades and what does not. A lie? We are here and we are listening.

One stops to talk. Ravens settle on the fallen maple and give us hell for looking. Change is what doesn't happen, actually. A cold wind, one that eventually turned us back toward home. That and river sounds.

I mean, the tyranny of want. The body's needs multiply when we begin to intuit other energies. Keep it simple isn't bad advice. Stone steps designed to impress don't fail. One can be psychologically adept and still . . .

Still? What does it come back to then? Return is ever the defining theme. The fox turns to watch us or so we like to think. Morning, yet again.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What You Can't Fake

It is the same old meditation always. Or should I say, leather strip on which several cheap gems have been quickly pasted? The store smelled of cigar smoke and called to mind swampy vistas from which tendril mist rose. I hid a long time in that cornfield and for what? What you can't fake, you are allowed to call your own.

Only? The moon sank through heavy clouds, peepers bade it farewell. Whiskey steadies one for the necessary introspection. Introduction? Well, we went more down than we went down last time and did indeed sense a dim light reckoning.

One ascends the way that Dublin fiddler in 1989 played her scales - gracefully, attentively, with deep - with abiding - affection. Without typing? You can't escape your kidneys so why fret about the brain? Love in bowling alleys. Love in plays.

Love always? One is determined to be saved and so reads Macbeth and everything by Pinter. Yet the zafu gathers dust, your ribs ache from breathing slowly, and at night you dream of blood. So the days pass. So you lift the heavy veil only to find another.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Familiar Mask of Resistance

One way to think about it is to imagine how withdrawing energy from a system or institution undermines it and leaves one free to invest that energy elsewhere. As in, we sit down and have jasmine tea and agree to begin a Tuesday evening prayer group. What I am saying is that we have to get beyond not just Jesus but also Christ. The moon appears to float through the sky, doesn't it? Understand what calls, understand what answers.

Poor Isaac . . . Yet a grudge held just so yields as much or more evil as the event which gave rise to it. Behold the familiar mask of resistance! What I am saying is, pay attention to the requisite tenor. Double check everything.

And never sing? The cardinal moves in and out of view, unaware of how it blesses us. Lambs are not just symbolic - they are also living creatures one can liberate from victimhood. What I am saying is that love cannot see the differences inherent in form. Now we're unfolding the red paper heart!

Now we are extending the eternal invitation! One sees him everywhere and the effect is simply happiness and an abiding peace that is not of the ages. One knits, one chants and both compose a sutra. What comfort I draw from Gustav Landauer! Getting up, making a prayer, doing the work.

Friday, April 6, 2012

That Dickinsonian Slant

I spent the afternoon watching cowbirds at the feeder and remembering what R. said that time we were out looking for eagles: if there's ever just one bird left in the world it'll be that one. Pie is a winter affect offered mainly - somewhat oddly - in summer. We live in a small house and so accommodations often have to be made. Don't be ashamed of virtue! He wrote after a long time away from words and it showed.

Well, a few hours anyway. Later, drinking beer, I had that feeling of being outside myself and watching mannequins struggle to navigate reality. If you have to write, then write. You could tell it was no use talking. It's also no use collecting coral, at least not if you're from New England.

Strange rules breed stranger bedfellows. Noon terrifies me more than 4 a.m. ever could. Turrets blocked the moon where we hiked in France, reminiscent of certain kinds of love. Your stories are sad - have you considered poetry? Or pottery, it's all the same.

How open you were in conversation, as if we had been friendly a thousand years! Time is your project so use it to good effect. A blackberry aftertaste and a dream of steaming apples. The undertaker professed a lack of faith to which the minister replied well, we all have problems. Thus my habit of weeping whenever the light attains that Dickinsonian slant.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Inevitable Awe

Plenitude, grace. One can dream, or at least apprehend the inevitable awe. A door opens and you're left standing "in the floor." Is it possible that in the second inaugural address Lincoln changed tenses in error? I love you too!

Family cloth. A pattern is a mode of insistence, beautiful in a way that habits are not. Or not. One begins to sense that oblivion is the wrong word for a good - a truthful - idea. I mean in other words.

Beloved birds? Contrails drift east to west, testimony to mute winds large beyond our ken. Confronted, Frost's cynicism yields to the Emersonian ego. The lilacs show bright green, the goldfinches gather hay in the chicken yard. Your shed is my acceptable nursery.

Oh the misery! Mystery? Spiritual mastery. Well something must come next. And after a while you can see through anything.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mired in Holy Syllables

One begins and the beginning is the first sentence. Yet the first sentence is always very old, ancient even. And is not the same as an utterance. What does any of this have to do with God? Well, we are mired in holy syllables.

We are following a narrow path at noon when it is darkest. You aren't alone exactly but the felt presence is not perceived as a comfort. Be careful of the inclination to take sides, a natural consequence of seeing sides, which is actually the only problem you need to solve. Uh-huh. Tell me again where the eloquent go to die?

The sleep of the just or just sleep? The way that I say this - or that - matters. Your note left a tiny prick of sadness, through which a light poured like sand. At three a.m., worked on by angels, one discerns a buzzing and understands that death is the end one way, but the only way most of us know, which vexes. Are you laughing with me yet?

It does pass. One begins and the beginning is soon cocooned in time. Your river is my bright manger. Give me your hand then. Let's walk, you and I, in the only direction in we know.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Realm of the Possible

A list of that which I am done talking about would not include poetry but still be long indeed. Who needs a compass when you have eyes? Our sinlessness is assured by God, who cannot create unlike God. You see?

Your letters did not persuade anyone but it hardly mattered as they came general delivery from a country which prohibited extradition. One does explore the realm of the possible. Another begins at the beginning and so learns something valuable. Working in the past tense is desirable if you want a sense of control over the sentences.

Or not. Devoid of cloth, a clothes hanger is skeletal. She walked through the forest to avoid being seen. Chickens moved their claws through the dust, not reflecting on the nature of death.

We leap off the bridge and land laughing, surrounded by cold water that moves quickly, like dogs tracking bear in late Spring. Bones rise, much the way old glass does, both where our ancestors once dumped their trash. You have these dreams and what else can I say? Mistakes were made as always.

Oh but there's a tear that opens our heart, isn't there? Grace is knowing that wherever you are you can awaken there. Precisely? All day you were here and then - two syllables lightly uttered - and you're gone.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Our Desire for Solutions

Following a day-long meditation on defenselessness come dreams of violence, portending what? Maple buds the color of blood float along the brook. Time passes, or it seems to, and that is all one needs to know about it. Later still, prayer. The dog pisses where I piss, for reasons I can't explain.

On the trail, one longs to find her teacher. Quartz erupts, sparkling with dew on one side, terra-dark on the other. Stop and ask questions. That is what the wise teach: begin with what you are. Also, avoid the habit of collecting what is attractive.

It works, or it seems to. In my dream, I recognized my attacks on the blind man as having a dual nature, that is, as symbolic. Leaving the trail is a different kind of learning. Sunlight through the remainder of last night's rain offers light, the same prismatic effect as looking at the sun through clear quartz. The student comes to understand fragmentation in that way and then what?

I am waiting for you, as you surely know. The woman at the well essentially said "so what?" You move in the direction of peace and thus render peace impossible. This writing is the only writing I will do today. It is hard to remember that the only real problem we have is our desire for solutions.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Inclination to Order

Defenselessness must have a home, which is to say it must be welcomed. Bob Dylan records, cheap red wine, my poetry books stacked in the corner, falling over on one another like Corinthian columns after a sand storm. What is the match, what is the candle. And: You are always on my mind.

Exploitation is inherent in all systems, because they are all of the brain. Doctors consistently own a natural curiosity which they are - somewhat less consistently - unable to attend. It has to do with order or the inclination to order. Also with how Jesus approached meals, perhaps the most revolutionary of his many revolutionary stances.

Hush. The cardinal hesitates on the lilac, his black eye just visible through the tangled new blooms. We welcome the rain as we welcome sadness. Bodies break, there is no other way to say it.

Oh but you are forever in my thoughts, somewhat like food. The neighbors go on behind untouchable veils and we watch them sadly, unable to help. "Intent and intense," the very words. This is the real writing.

But then one hesitates. One sees that passivity is not natural but habitual and so a question at last emerges. Metaphors are helpful and it's no good forgetting that. Be the four walls!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Again and Again

Crows.

Rabbits.

Desire.

Melting snow.

Barn eaves.

Juncos.

Manure tea.

Strangers.

Black gloves.

Stolen shoes.

Boxes.

Sitting rooms.

Requests.

Open coffins.

This memory.

That sentence.

Consequence?

Do nothing.

No sleep.

Again and again and again.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Same Habit of Decision

Ah, that morning hour when the pink sky can be seen gleaming on the gray snow-flecked ice and you fall on your ass trying to piss without hitting a chicken.

Sir Oracle where were you when he needed you most?

Those dogs were skulking toward other villages I guess.

Well, burning bridges is a fun metaphor.

Old teachers drop lines.

We are the trout we have been waiting for!

She wrote out of the blue.

Punctuation is dictatorial.

No sentence is not better than any sentence.

This project may end today.

You have six days left to live.

We are all living on death row until we wake up and see that death is optional.

He healed by not seeing sickness.

One longs for right alignment.

Yet last night, walking up the icy road, impressed by the quarter moon's capacity for light, I felt the quiet joy we talked about all those years ago and wondered what about it was so hard then.

Kiss me you crazy bastard!

We're out of cinnamon and raisins.

Solutions and problems are different words for the same habit of decision.

My coffee mug requires better company.

Right-mindedness at last understood as a prerequisite to one-mindedness.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

At Last A First Time

Deal?

I mean it does seem as if leaf mold is not altogether bad.

A Volkswagon, a glass of milk.

Violin concertos where yesterday was only cattail.

Stars.

What would you remove from the equation if you could?

God is in everything I see.

Merton chuckles wherever he is now.

I remember you making lists of books to read, based on my suggestion.

Tangerines, clementines.

A cat names Franklin.

A clutch of mice.

It matters how I say this.

The heart does not break but on the other hand the heart breaks.

Lincoln's speeches read at last a first time.

Beethoven.

Did I mention the moon, that fuzzy sliver lost behind pine trees?

My friends in Millers Falls are blessed.

Barrels of rain.

Safety.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not My Voice But Another

I didn't know that when I was tired I could sleep.

Ten hours!

A dream of a library on a sloping hill in maybe Vermont.

I allowed strangers as much time as they needed to find books and then we all drove away.

A dream of hunting deer with Bob Dylan, using cheap shotguns.

Freestyling at the picnic table.

Blueberries with vanilla ice cream, heavy on the blueberries.

Did you know that you are allowed to be happy?

If you have to pee in the middle of the night, get up and pee.

Now are you in the vortex?

Vortext?

Now are you?

These poems are not designed to impress.

Exclamation points are the new prayer!

Lent went and let it stay there.

LOL.

A dream of an old house, rickety and white, in the middle of a field.

Thank God you came.

He loved my lyrics, especially the one about drinking beer no matter what anyone thinks.

Later I sang for a large audience - mostly strangers - and my voice was not my voice but another voice - I didn't know I had and it was good it was so good.

Friday, January 27, 2012

We Dream We Do

Yes, my heart is full of flowers.

Yes, I slip on the ice sometimes too.

You direct but I don't listen very well.

Cars crawl slowly along the interstate going who knows where.

We dream we do.

We like this sentence better than the one we haven't written.

One says yet.

Are you enjoying this process of creation?

I only exist this way because you want and need me to.

It wasn't Bob Dylan but Rimbaud who said I is another.

The longing for opium dens intensifies.

She owes me mail.

I love mail!

Hamburgers are beef patties and raisins are dried grapes.

You have large eyes that somehow make sense to me, as if . . .

Oh lacunae how I love thee!

The teacher misquoted Macbeth and nobody caught on.

Some students just don't want to learn and what can you do?

Chickens hate snow.

My heart overflows with peonies and gardenias.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Noticing

The dead squirrel slowly blanketed with snow.

The bald eagle settling on a pine tree, then lifting off when it noticed us noticing.

A good thing sustained for a period of time can become a bad thing.

But what if all things are only neutral?

Like angels?

The fence gate swings this way and that.

The little baby's toes were like green peas and he smiled a little when we tickled them.

The car that won't start but only bark in the cold.

I asked God for a message and he sent an eagle, ha ha.

Prayer is itself a distraction.

Buttercups.

Who tends to the Gods if not us?

The tractor growled as it bumped along between frozen ruts.

Who tends to God if not you and me?

A song will do.

Some students want to be there and some do not.

All things are inherently meaningless, thus comforting.

Liar smiles.

The road turned and we pulled over to watch the eagle who, when he lifted back into the sky, tossed a bit of snow our way.

No, I will not rewrite.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Some Happinesses

It won't matter.

Silence I mean.

Four syllables, twenty sentences . . .

You.

I asked the wrong questions.

I questioned the wrong authority.

Up one hill, down another.

Don Quixote is a good example.

Fox scat.

Ravens in the snowed-over hay field.

State officials declined to be interviewed.

Lights out.

Silence and darkness are not equivalents.

Silence equals clarity, sometimes.

Up down - it doesn't matter.

Question reference points.

Laugh.

Juncos picking through the wood pile.

A little scattered corn.

Some happinesses go unnoticed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Passing What Is Gathering

It is not night any longer.

We are fishing and we are not talking.

There are rings everywhere, spools of time unraveling.

Here is the crown, here is the scepter.

We are quietly fishing together.

We are letting the canoe drift.

The next sentence only knows the previous one.

Mirrors, knitted baby caps, frequent apologies.

Time adjusts itself to our decisions.

The night passes and the gray afternoon stands waiting.

The canoe drifts, past blueberry bushes, past the camper's beach.

Your letters are always late.

You are always late.

When I am angry I resemble royalty.

You crack a beer and I wait uneasily.

You changes.

But I do, too.

It was a rowboat, and this is fiction.

What is passing, what is gathering?

My friends are waiting on the shore but I can't say who they are talking to.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy to Settle

You can walk away.

You don't have to decide now what are you walking away from.

Distance is not a place and neither is a feeling.

Bridges are nice.

Walk away from nice?

What about bridges in Nice?

You can put the pencil down and the world won't end.

Your shoulders are happy to settle.

Your ankles are happy to settle.

You have friends who aren't leaving.

You don't have to wake up at 4 a.m. and stare at the stars and come back and struggle to write about it.

See how easy a sentence can be?

There is nothing wrong with the weather.

There is nothing wrong with drinking a cup of coffee.

You asked the right questions of the wrong teacher, that's all.

You can walk away now.

The right teacher finds you, not the other way around.

The right teacher is always already there.

You see how the sentences are just there?

It's okay - you can stop writing now.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sufficient

These are for you.

Thank you.

It was nice to hear your voice this morning - and also hers.

I promise not to waste myself anymore.

I'll go to bed earlier and I'll wake up later.

I'll put jam on the bread and not worry about how it was sweetened.

I accept as gospel don't worry be happy.

My friends in New Hampshire are blessed this morning.

My friends in Vermont are blessed.

I will rewrite as necessary.

I appreciate the gift.

It's okay that it wasn't what I thought it would be.

I'm tired of being frightened for dogs.

Honesty really is the best policy and there really is nothing worth hiding.

You like roads as much as I do.

Is this what you wanted?

I won't sleep if waking up is more helpful.

There really isn't anything that we have to do.

The gifts are distributed equally but it does appear they are at random.

Your understanding is sufficient in this regard.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Circumstances Fade

You want - how do you say it? - a habit of inner peace. Rabbits ducked through sage underbrush, skittish in moonlight. Halfway through the walk it snowed. One comes back to where they started in a state of gratitude. It's about a gift, which is about as much as I can tell you, not being seated at a table, not having shared a cup of tea.

The man without shoes is not concerned about return nor about modes of travel. Tiny flakes, barely more than frozen silt, making a brushing sound against my shoulders like what-was-his-name, the drummer for Stan Getz. Airplane crashes, unexpected insight into dead rock'n'rollers. You better believe I'm egocentric. Yet once there, the crowded circumstances fade, and all that remains is a helpful conversation.

A Christian convocation? The dog disappears and only at the driveway's edge does she reappear. It's about receiving a gift and so you want to mimic that state of anticipation, faithful anticipation. The pilot said about landing in fog, it's harder than it looks. Different tracks on the way home suggest we're not the only ones who prefer the dark silence of night.

And Falmouth, Massachusetts. If you're not surprised, you're not writing. If you're not laughing then your prayers have become bloated. I leaned on the windowsill and asked God to show me a better way and look what happened. This minister walks into a bar and says to the bartender - big guy with biker tats, hasn't smiled since seventy-eight - give me twenty whiskeys and the bartender says - get this - what's the big deal with twenty?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Through The Gloaming, Lit Up With Song

We woke late beneath tangled blankets, discussed the way winter light is not spring light and why. Snow. One misses the moon one does. Baby pictures from the nineteenth century are oddly discomfiting. Uncomfortable? We sure did spend a lot of time in that yarn shop.

Up North a ways. Coat hangers, hamburger wrappers, a crushed cigarette. Years later, meeting in a coffee shop, one could only note how the years had worn on them both. Thus a story, a good one. Words falling over one another en route home. We pass through the gloaming, lit up with song.

Ah smoke, you have helped so many of my poems! Choosing coffee beans yesterday I felt the mutual amends go unspoken and thanked God that we don't always have to be these bodies in a food store. One always wants more until one suddenly wants only one thing. Are we still talking about salvation? It comes down to words until it doesn't. Like like.

Your hand grazed my wrist and I remembered knives from long ago. Something leaps, something is lifted, something is happy to see anyone at all.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Confused About Who Loves Me

Going out I slipped on the ice, steadied myself by staring at the moon, a thinning cusp lolling above the tree line. It's what you say about life that matters in life. Though later standing still in the darkness, you couldn't decide whether to say "thin" or "spare" to describe the light. It's all there is, you could write that, right? We all get home, sooner or later.

Just like a tuned-up alligator? Pass the sugar, please, I'm done with watching my weight. Yet the inclination to pay attention must be directed somewhere. Norman Vincent Peale won't you please shut the door and go home? Spiritual ballistics!

And then there's the muddy hole God made. You can't imagine the sound made by falling trees and you can't believe what babies think. Another few minutes of the passive serenade and then we're going to get serious. Damn but it's cold! Of course there is always but.

But it works, right? We solved the tractor problem with shovels or belief, I can't say. Early to bed, worldly to rise. My legs ached and I couldn't decide to take the long way or the short way home. Be still my fainting heart or I'm apt to get confused about who loves me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Vantage Point Itself

The vantage point itself was suspect. As in, it was hard to judge the tragedy as it yielded benefit for so many people. Salvation, salvage - who is to say? Yet your note arrived in a most timely fashion, much as your earlier one had. In general, one is lifted, not saved.

Yet on the other hand, in that black hour before dawn, I recalled the broken tractor and all the words we uttered around it. What did the gimpy sage say, where the road branches, about letting go of the body altogether? This teacher and that teacher and the lesson never changes. Catfish dreams. Also, an old friend who followed me along a dirt road made virtually unnavigable for - as yet anyway - obscure reasons.

We donned caps, hefted hand-carved hiking sticks. Do you remember as I do that morning we spent gazing at the distant Alps, making love on a single bed, and feeding one another day old bread and cheese? The divine arrives so often we miss it! What hurts? Oh, what I would do if time were not merely what passes.

I mean you think we'd learn. Here we are again, all naked and happy, as slippery as eels. The plans for a Christmas wreath were accidentally used to start a fire. Why cry when laughter uses less bodily fluid? I love you still, in spite of self.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On My Knees Again

Little steps. You go down into the basement to look for a book of poems - what was it called again? - and find nothing. Fleas leap happily onto your bare legs, nestle in the thin fuzz and gorge. I swung on a gate once, watching the sun appear to spin in the sky, and a rainbow appeared - this was without rain, mind you - a real rainbow that sort of folded over on itself and began to shimmer and settle on me like a divine envelope. Jesus can we stop talking about that damn cross?

He laughed, resting against a pine tree, scrubbing pitch from his fingers with a little saw grease. In the distance, horses stamped and cold air steamed from their nostrils. We are the winter we've been fearing? What use are coupons and recipes in Heaven? Yet who can say what it is or isn't except those that are there, waiting.

Anybody else but me notice that I'm okay now relating the one sentence to the next in a more obvious way? Like this? I want to say it was angels but all I can really say is I never forgot it. On the other hand, one lies one does. We are all salesman.

You keep going and eventually you won't be where you started, that's about the most I can promise. He wrote once about the yellow pickup, its soft edges, the only truck he ever loved. It takes a village to comprise a village for purposes of identification as a village. You're not laughing now but trust me, you will be. I begin to pray on my knees again.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Plain Empty

At a later hour, the sentences move differently. Roast beef, steamed broccoli, scalloped potatoes. Maybe black beer and whiskey? One forages beneath dense cover, anticipating language and surprised to find only words. What we don't know . . .

Or, the dances that we recall, from years ago, when the world was a simpler place. Certainly the illusion of forward motion is a convincing one. Otherwise why bother? What I meant to say was black coffee with cream from that new farm over near Christian Hollow. How did you end up where you did?

In other words, stories. Stomach pains that make it into the project as . . . well, the word "dense" anyway. I am the mirror ball I have been waiting for. At the end of the day the place from which the words usually spring feels dried up or covered over or plain empty. He was getting to it, he wrote.

The neighbor's dog, the big dipper. Walking this morning my face fell off, and I was aware of you, in a solid, pleasing way. Certain readings were undertaken in error. Oh,were you showering? I begin to find one or two syllables that might work, might . . .

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Slant of Light

So the days pass.

So the stars filter their own light to hide what we can't yet see. Does it matter that you are loved?

The collective illusions - Da Vinci, Johnny Cash - work just as well as the personal. In general, we see what we need to see, hear what we need to hear. I wouldn't go at it any other way.

One studies forgiveness and only later practices it. Horses plod through snow, eyeballing us warily, uninterested in entering the forest on such a frigid day. A few strands of cloud, a half moon due South. It was Blake, I think, who said we are here to bear the beams of love a little while.

Or pace monastery halls, sucking hard candy and dreaming of France. Government can come to no good. She collected glass bottles, turning them this way and that on the window sill. One remembers a slant of light and in remembering falls weeping.

I am coming around to the notion that form is simply an extension of content. Some decisions are harder than others. We spent the morning looking at the broken tractor, smoking away the aftertaste of last night's whiskey.

I'll give you a dollar if you can show me where God is not. Alligators and sharks worship only hunger which is why we fear them.

Or seem to.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Worst of the Night Before's Whiskey

We are assured of nothing. Yet as we spoke - you from a distance, me at an unwilling center - one sensed a general, a kindly movement on which rest was possible. Perhaps it is simply like staring up at the stars and not drawing on your knowledge of galaxies. We are what we assume? Please, only facts are acceptable where the road branches.

One asks what it means to aspire at all? Or eat aspirin in the morning, fending off the worst of the night before's whiskey. The tractor was broken and our breath hung in the air as we cleaned the lines, all to no avail. One trudges, one does. One begins to assemble an argument, as if God really were a judge.

I tried to be calm at a difficult time and could only pretend to admire the clouds gathering in the distance. In the presence of newspaper journalists, one is either prone to fibbing or not. Dessert was good. Later we will walk into the desert together. It might be a psalm I'm after.

No envelope can contain what the letter actually means! And that is the whole problem of form. The twenty sentences forget where they're going and end up in a forest, metaphorically speaking. It's late and I really do want that jigger of whiskey. Can you be quiet now, can you melt into the candle?

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Fruitful Dalliance

Of which I am one.

The cottage in the distance faced a mercurial future. We are in motion, all the time.

Or was it gazing upwards, counting stars, imagining reason that did us in? Gazelles leap over fallen trees and never arrive back on Earth. We misused our natural capacity for creation and now look.

Ah, but there are ways. Your letter arrived in early Spring and my heart - or what I call my heart - broke repeatedly, but also beautifully, as light is fractured by prisms. Don't call it a car accident and don't feel guilty. Later, circling the block and thinking about a cigarette, I recalled my one night in a convent, reading Thomas a Kempis by candlelight.

I would rather feel compunction than know its definition (he wrote). Yet one does collect books and read them and then go out before dawn, letting certain ideas gleaned from them lift one over the pine trees. Jesus is a busy man, what with healing us and all. These poems must do, as little else does.

Or else? In the morning, I return, and you are there and we are prone to comfort one another in ways that are themselves a comfort. Thus, repetition encourages the immortal perspective, a fruitful dalliance.

Though a day spent walking through museums - wondering what the world will look like when these works of art are no more, because being made of matter they are as doomed to dissolution as you and I - can be oddly pleasant, even reassuring. The hot dog vendor outside wanted to talk and so he did.

Or, all in all.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One More Walk On The Lake With You

There is a focus now on bass notes, a certain way they echo. I remember everything, despite a thousand reasons not to. Memory crushes the present, the way an open palm can crush insects or smiles. Trust is not the issue, until it is, and then it's all there is. You see where this is going?

You wrote towards the end that our lies had become like renegade soldiers, always gathering in the distance, ready to storm our meager shelter. I remember in Burlington a dog with a red bandanna that I tried unsuccessfully to rescue, the sense of hope and promise inherent in any loneliness. Death is the end, don't kid yourself. I wake and go walking in the darkness, attended only by the devil and his now-familiar longing. Oh how I wish I could start my life again.

We are perhaps one, perhaps not. He fed himself a crust of bread and watched the sun fall beyond gray hills. Voices of children in the street, witnesses to hunger and political failure. Followers of the executed criminal persisted their damning testimony. I braved the gallows but for what?

Did I mention dishonesty? Broken thoughts that fall from my tongue like windows out of long-abandoned factories? You left, you did not come back - what is death against that? The end is coming, brother, and it's going to feel like being drunk in a snowbank on Christmas. I would trade every prayer I've uttered and every hint of God I've written for one more kiss, one more walk on the lake with you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Trying to Make You a Map

There are those amongst us who have become pilgrims.

I am one, although you cannot tell by looking at me - or by listening to me talk.

Our common objective is the present moment, bright and clear, untended by the past and without regard for the future.

Heaven is a state of being that remains distant but possible, somewhat akin to the optical illusions you enjoyed as a child.

Obviously we are bent on undoing fear.

There aren't many of us - not even enough for a club.

We don't congregate, except when we're sure we won't be seen, and even then we are careful to advance only with cover.

What can you ask of those who are tortured by the fearsome condition known as recollecting God through desire?

It's not arrival that makes one a pilgrim, but the decision to travel.

We give up a lot to get here.

Antique lamps, expensive tables our grandmothers purchased in White River Junction, even the family dog.

Somebody somewhere wants to know you're not just playing.

I, for example, offered up my poetry and so am left now with paltry sentences.

At night, alone, like you, I study the stars for signs.

The old reliance on songs is being reconsidered at the highest level.

Before the sun rises I walk deep into the woods, grateful for the chance to know myself as alien.

We know we are broken.

We are trying to make you a map.

You don't owe us anything.

It is the surest way to love.