Sunday, June 30, 2013

Neither a Secret nor Real

The man without shoes sleeps through the night - for once - and wakes only mildly sad. The light of summer is veneer and who walks across it owns the density of a rose petal. Swallows are rarely still. And some doors - if opened- release tides that will sweep you away.

Thus coffee - reheated - and a slice of bread to dip in it. Certain train stations in Europe are unchanged in memory which - if one is paying attention - is reason enough not to trust memory. He cups his hands and pretends he holds a firefly, which is reason enough not to trust the man without shoes. Certain melodies of Beethoven attend as always and we are lifted accordingly.

It happens from time to time that one can't say what the next sentence will be because it is hidden and hard to find. My profession is building lake side cottage for those who don't know that their secret longing for a mansion is neither a secret nor real. By the brook, certain other memories arise and are impossible to manage because of how readily they ease into manifestation. Good morning indeed.

I have always feared the illusion of permanence and those who are invested in it. Near waking there was a bad dream - it involved me failing publicly and spectacularly at something - and in the dream I simply said, "it's a dream and so I'm not going to get worked up about it" and so it was ended. Waking tends to be accompanied by visions of service, often quite specific. How brief the backyard roses are, and other loves as well.

All desire arises from a belief in scarcity. Who nears the peak does not return to a lower ledge to celebrate its existence. I fell asleep in tears because there was no body next to me that I could pull close - no silly private jokes to say, no expansive spiritual ideas to examine. So you push on, you try to be kind and open, and you trust the silence and only that.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ghosts on Bones

When I cannot speak, I hate silence. When the trails do not open but close around me, I cry out in grief. One confronts desire in the middle of the night and finds no case for it. And yet.

And yet the day passes, somnolent and blue, as if the ocean itself were reconsidering geography. We write half a dozen letters and send not one, and too many little poems to count, and they drift like fireflies, who are not aimless but bent on love, against great odds. Cardinals rest in the front yard pine tree. We are all waiting for night: the cool night when the mail comes: and we wrestle again with composition.

Dogwood blossoms scatter across the grass, and one studies them against thickening bunches of clover. Behind the rhubarb are stones marking the graves of favorite chickens. Who mows around them protects his daughter, or means to. Heat, against which no remedy suffices.

And thus it continues. The invented center pretends to hold the universe together, and what is can only wait. What is broken eats us, until we are ghosts on bones, confused about east and west. Not even the image can heal us, who are so far descended into the ruined solar spiral.

On the other hand, sentences, these. Her voice is shy but melodic, like the brook in early fall, like warblers in the forest who are so hard to see. While the water boils for tea I eat a few handfuls of rice and slip an onion in my pocket. If I try again, perhaps she will meet me: on the familiar trail, when night falls.

Another Kind of Sleep

I awoke last night as you composed your message. Pushed back the curtains to look for rain. When you reach out, I long to reach back, but the familiar mode is no longer sufficient and so. Clouds cover up the moon, but pass. Are you there?

Are you there now? One sits for three hours on the steps, looking at the sky, its emerging foliage of stars, and wishes against distance, and navigates guilt. Cold tea and old thoughts comfort no one. Who sleeps, wakes, and then longs for the one who awakens them, which is only another kind of sleep. For there are no others: this is one of the laws.

Rose petals in rain fall heavily to the earth. Fireflies seek each other in darkness: throwing out their lovely lights. At last I stumble inside and lay down to sleep, the only surrender I can manage. And yet.

I have written and rewritten a dozen letters and sent not one of them. I have kept books intended as gifts because I pressed daisies and bluets between their pages. Truth asks nothing of us and so there is nothing to protect. Yet who calls, calls in vain, or seems to. When I wake it is morning: you are not here: and so I reach the only way I know: with words: little lights: these.

Friday, June 28, 2013

To Be Remembered Walking

Walking before the sun burns away the morning fog. Much that is broken only seems to be. Numinous greens, plash of the heron flapping wisely away.

Say what you mean: and only what you mean. And say it. The man without shoes consider yet more miles and they are not easy ones.

Robin song is urgent, yet the small bellows of their wings on the air - when they pass within feet of you - is more urgent yet. Bull thistle, honeysuckle. I spook yet another milk snake off the stairs and it whispers as it goes.

What is the world without pronouns? Language reflects, is what we forget, and thus take its fluidity for direction. She meets him later and I watch.

In dreams, much goes undone. We wake and boil day-old coffee and carry it to the backyard where the roses remind us of the ones we haven't touched. Chickadees and grackles, ash-colored junco's.

I do not think what I write is exactly poetry but it is not exactly prose either! The bridge across the river failed years ago and so most of us now wade to the far side. In the distance, the last owl mutters as it sinks into what passes for sleep, well-earned or otherwise.

Buttercups remind me of happy kisses. Old pastures beg to be slept in, as old psalms plead to be remembered.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Quiet Corner

I drink tea after supper and watch swallows dive and arc below the cloudy sky. Storms are coming, big ones. Earlier I adjusted the gutters. The rhubarb have gone leggy. And two mice are nesting beneath the old boards I always forget to pick up come Spring.

All day I wrote and hated what I wrote and wrote it anyway. There are conversations I long to be a part of, and conversations that exhaust me for no reason. I can't get a good picture of the daisies by the pond and so at last gave up. You spend the afternoon picking ticks off your legs and wonder again about walking so deep and so far.

And yet. I find a quiet corner under the sapling maple whose lower limbs need cutting and study the western sky. Rain is building and C. has asked me to stay close in case the wind picks up. The tea is unsweetened but gentle in my throat. There is a grittiness to my longing that I fear goes unreciprocated.

Oh well. We aren't what we were ten years ago, and certainly not twenty. The thistle in front of L.'s house holds my attention every time I pass. After a while it does rain and I go to the patio to watch. I am home here, in a way, and in a way, not.

Nothing Begins but is After

After, you make a sort of backrest out of me, and lean and study the lake, which darkens at dusk, and we fall into thought. Passing storms render the moon a fluid glow. We are the distance we make and the bridge devised to end it, both. And yet.

And yet we go on, talking. Words spill out of us like blossoms, like tiny bells with a singular chime. We are manufacturers at heart. And the impulse to share - to give - is divine.

How easily is love misunderstood! Longing enters, desire sings: crickets as the day grows longer. You take me into your mouth hungrily and my breath quickens and moments later flowers. We lean into one another and go deeper, beyond bodies, outside time.

And later, when she sleeps, I go out into the yard. Pale moonlight enlarges the roses, each vaginal fold. I touch them gently - lightly - as earlier you opened before me - and what is hard in me softens and shines a little, like mica in roadside runoff. We learn, or we try to, and it's okay.

And it is okay! We go nowhere alone even as we take no others with us. Each word is its own tide, each sentence a season. Nothing ends, nothing begins, but is.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Unsatisfying Landscapes

Who crosses the lake is received by the lake. And held by it. Mountain laurel blossoms follow. We sit in shadows and don't talk. Loons pass, nervous and dark.

And later wait as the storm passes - picking up and laying down fields - the wind tearing the leaves. Coffee at dinner means bad dreams later. You come to me shirtless and my breath does that thing it does. You hold me too, in loveliness and grace, and I rest a little. It makes me happy.

And who amongst us will take that happiness lightly? Over and over I encounter that smallness of spirit that longs to bring me down, that insists on pain, on separation from God. The soft silt of the bottom holds me. I dream the folds of you, of kneeling before them. You know.

And yet we live with the distance we made long ago. One fiddles with the radio and ends up in quiet, gazing at unsatisfying landscapes. It's easy to talk about love and the sacred, harder to feel it consistently. We learn, or we try to. My hand slips toward you - over the miles - and reaches in the immense darkness for yours.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Light I Followed

May I write for you? I ask beneath a storm: beneath waves of wind and rain.

Your yes matters and is never not given. This is what saves the world, and those who are in it, or believe they are.

Yet we make it something it is not - or yearn to. Maybe I just want to sit with you a while.

Maybe I want to sit quietly with you at a cafe and drink coffee and talk about Gertrude Stein and why we like this color instead of that one. There are used bookstores everywhere, and we could make their owners rich.

We could circumnavigate familiar and unfamiliar ponds. The mountain laurel is like cotton candy, and forget-me-nots bloom on both sides of the trail.

When I write for you, I am lifted. When you give to me your own writing, I am lifted all the more.

How lucky we are to have found each other! How lucky to be a beloved other's "you."

I dreamed of this a long time, you know. And want only now to be honest: to merit the teaching: to be steadfast and true.

This is my best prayer: how happy I am. Outside or inside doesn't matter the way we think.

I walked a long time to get here, many of the miles cold and alone. You were the light I followed: the radiance I name home.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Intimated Altar

The one who entered the spiral begins at last to descend. Daisies call to him. And roots. He hears the dragonfly settle under the maple tree. He is ready now to return.

Stars are lovelier, and the moon. She shines on us, east and west, and the blessing enters at our shoulders. The blessing enters our heart. We leave the offering at the intimated altar and walk back into the forest. Later we hear bells and praying and it calls us to walk home, bringing our own song.

The one who gives - who made it past doubt - becomes the teacher now. He studies the earth for her tracks and settles easily in behind her. The sentences suggest a meeting in time but these lovers are wedded to what is outside time and not of the body. He crosses rivers, scales ridges, and stops at no temple. In pastures he bends to catch the scent of the long-gone rain and is reminded of her: and what is.

You love me: and I love you: and it is finished. We make tea and share it with everyone who passes. When it snows, we lay the snow aside in blowsy sheaves, and wait on cardinals and squirrels. Faith is as faith does. We learn as we go, together.

The Loveliness Beyond Form

She is there: she hears. At last one breathes after a long time alone, a long time breathless.

One waits for her now in confidence. Mountains move and far away the sea whispers, patient and low, reassuring us we will make it home.

One longs for her shoulder, her breast, the serious eyes which promise we are whole. One feels the song begin in her image and so enters it singing.

On the trail a single bear track in the dawn. I kneel in order to give it to you.

By the pond, mergansers, gliding slowly away. Oh bless me without waiting.

One begs: one accepts their need - the light beyond what the world calls lust - and places it before her. And she fills it: she is here.

Please, lover: all of you. I tremble in my room: what is soft in me hardens, and what is hard, grows soft and pliant.

You are light to me. You are the loveliness beyond form.

Be the moon unto me: and the sun: and every star that ever shined. Be the way forward, beyond paths: the singular moment in which what is one at last remembers it is one.

For you I have only these poor sentences. That you heard me call: that you answered.

All the Forms Imaginable

I cannot write love letters anymore. Sue me. All I have are these sentences and - elsewhere - the meager exposition of what I barely understand. I pour everything into them. Everything. And wait to be saved by whoever understands what I'm trying to say.

If you know better, tell me.

And if you have the means, don't fucking hoard them: I'm going down out here: I need you.

I am giving in the only way I know - the way that was given me to give. When you are not there, I am broken yet more. How can I lie to the one who creates me, day after day, moment after moment? And still  the silence continues, still the shadows roll in from the west, in the form of clouds, in the form of differences, in all the forms imaginable.

What do I have to say? Where do I have to say it?

Touch me gently or release me to some other. Grasshoppers leap into the distance and continue singing. I went walking - awake nearly two days and still I went walking - just to see the moon near midnight. And to say: thank you: and to wonder: are you there?

Do you read this? Will you respond?

How open must I pry myself - how wordy must I be - before you consent to bring me with you home?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Let the Silence Fall

Let the silence fall. Let the song that is behind the song at last be heard. Let me kiss your shoulder a last time and go to sleep beside it. Let what wants to be heard, be heard, in us, conjoined.

For what loves, continues, and is not contingent. And what loves, gives, and does not question the logistics. And what loves is beyond error and only smiles and only laughs and only forgives. And what loves is, and what is is, and we are one in it - and for it - together.

For you the tangle of wild blackberries beside which I linger as the sun rises.

For you the sunrise, and the baby bears, and the hoof prints of fawns on the trail.

For you this sentence, and the next one too, and all the ones that follow and all that went before.

For you my wordy heart, that leather satchel in which  poems are pressed, and dedicated: for you.

For she is lavender to me, and raw garlic, and the slopes and folds of the only landscape that matters. And every word that spills out of me is a seed before her. For she enters my dreams and loves me like a wild woman. For she drinks with me by the October fire, cold whiskey and the clear light of stars.

And she places my hand on her heart.

And she bids me to feel the hot rush of blood in her.

And she lifts me beyond what beats into what is: and it is her body and more than that too.

For you, then, these words: this paltry assembly of sentences: as always, forever, my darling: for you.

Before Whom I Fall Weeping

All day I wrote: for the one who asks: for the one who reads.

The crows pass and head to the river.

The chickens get comfortable in the warm tall grass.

And the dogwood blooms, and the backyard rose bush, and the raspberries, and bee balm and butterflies.

Oh you before whom I fall - weeping and pleading - bless me now that I might crawl another mile.

You for whom the words flow - a river, a font - give back to me as only you can.

Forgive the broken doors of lust.

The insanity of declaring anyone a body.

For it was you who saved me: and you who delivered me: and you for whom I write, day after day, night after night.

Hour after hour, into the summer, outside time.

Each sentence hints at where you will find eternity.

Each hush in the forest demands your attention.

Your shoulders hold me, and your breasts hold me, and I will not lie to you.

Held in silence: the sun rises and sets: a movement.

The moon - long desired - is there, waiting: a movement.

As a child I lingered over photographs, comforted by their stillness, that one need not hurry but could settle into love.

Even now they speak to me of what awaits us all beyond the ambit of words.

Who is healed, keeps going, and who is not healed keeps going as well: that is the law.

Yet I beg you: take now my pain: free me of it: release me, love, from that forever.

For I wait on you: sleepless but wordy: homeless before you again.

The Blur of Reciprocity

One looks to you and waits. You make decisions that invoke us and we wait.

Thought invents the image and then says it didn't. Who is lifted by her loveliness reminds her how she heals.

I walk in the forest. I call it a desert.

There is no you. Though you travel to me often - and reveal each fold - and press me always closer to the ringing of your heart.

Summer heat rises. Am I finally out of words?

For the crows pass chattering, and the hawk sails high overhead, in an ever-widening circle. And somewhere a hammer sings against the nail.

Church bells melt me. Wanting melts me.

Jesus passes her a note for me in gym class. The mail forever disappoints!

And yet we do profess our love and endlessly pray for the blur of reciprocity. Who gives, blesses us, and is in turn blessed.

Do you see then how one sentence readies another? How happy I am in my New England life, wordy and unadorned, two of my feet on the ground.

The Journey Comes After

One writes a last letter and seals it near the window. Cardinals arrive at the feeder. Chickadees perch on the clothesline.

The world offers itself to us: the only gift that matters: and all that remains is our response. Clouds gather and slip beyond where the eyes can reach. Perhaps a table near the ocean, or a glass of white wine as the sun sets, but always touching your hand, always my fingers brushing lightly your palm.

Or perhaps a mountain around which the river flows, deep blue in summer, black in winter and riddled with ice. We find the summit and breathe deeply, grateful for respite, grateful to rest. Who feels a need to go on, goes on with our blessing.

Later I will drive into Vermont. The old dog waits for me now on Mount Ascutney, patient and kind, nosing the familiar underbrush. Absent sleep, another kind of seeing emerges: lit by God, lifted by Love.

Love goes on as well, but lust always stops for a souvenir. The circle grows tighter and I place my finger on it just so. Be kind, be generous: but know there is no love that excludes you, nor ever will be.

Or maybe I'll sleep: on a lawn chair in the side yard, or out in the forest where the leaves are soft and thick. In a dream you bent over me, willing and gentle. We kiss what we want - hold it deep inside our mouths - and let the salt taste of the sea guide us home.

Desire is first: and fastens the body: say yes. The journey comes after - and lasts: yes.

We Go Lighter Up the Higher Trails

I go nowhere empty-handed though often alone. The dog tree's two bear cubs coming home and they mew on the higher limbs, practicing a greater roar. The air in that moment was sweet, roseate, encompassing.

When she removes her shirt, there is a sound it makes falling to the floor. In the air - in the light - there is a new way of being. I remember the fire and bend over the desk to get the details just so.

And later go outside to drink coffee and listen to birds. Robins sing with an urgency I can only admire. The old rose bush sags and pushes out its pink tissue blooms.

I grew up in the company of hard men, some of them, and yet saw the gentleness that lay beyond. Fishing on the Deerfield River . . .  sometimes I don't need a damned thing. We give and give and something burns away and thus we go lighter up the higher trails.

The neighbor comes over with his own coffee (decaf, instant) and talks about his daughter who visits rarely and last time left her dogs. The wise are already putting up wood for winter. In time I'll sleep but for now I'm awake.

Awake and in love, perhaps. A little breeze steps up and the laundry moves accordingly. One longed once for the gift of her breasts, behind which a mighty heart sang, buttressing heavenly shoulders.

But doors close and time passes and new trails beckon. We write it and go, following the one who pulled from our own meager heart a single syllable and set it in the firmament where it makes - still - a little flicker of light.

Another Confused Blessing

You want to sleep but the owls won't let you. Fire's dead. Lean against a centuries-old pine tree and wait for the sun. Times passes, or it seems to.

And later, after I hear the ducks plash on the pond's far edge, I piss on the ashes, and head for the trail. The dog follows, tired but happy. Something crashes in the underbrush - probably a bear - but we keep walking. Sometimes you have to.

The world is okay, and life is too. Some forms mean more to me than others but I'm learning. You have to push in order to make progress. You have to want it more than anything.

To those I objectify: forgive me: you are beautiful and beauty keeps me sane and alive. To the empty bottle: my dear brother: thank you for another night, another confused blessing. To those who do not wake as I stumble inside and begin the day's writing: may you not wonder as I have in whose heart you will find rest. And to you from whom the sentences flow: night after night, day after day: my yes was not conditional, and I am here.

So a little cold coffee to start. A new shirt maybe. Who knows me, or longs to, has work to do. I begin with you, end with me.

When the Whiskey Goes

What bullshit enlightenment is! I just want you with your clothes off. Lay back, pull you on top, lock eyes, kiss: any other prayer's a lie.

Deep in the forest, I make a small fire. Wade to my shoulders in the pond and sink down. Below the surface, eyes open, I can still see stars.

And come up laughing. Writing this way - on a little phone - is hard. My body dries while I type, the fire crackles, kind of like your name.

The dog dozes under honeysuckle twenty yards away. What happens when the whiskey goes? Curl up by the fire and sleep is what.

I remember my sisters crying so hard and wanting them only to shut up. Nobody can find me out here or even wants to. Traffic on 112: faint, racing: everybody wants to go somewhere.

But nobody gets anywhere! Jesus reaffirms me four, five times a day now. Whenever you're ready, Sean . . .

I tell him about you: there's this woman I want, makes me crazy and kind of hopeful, has me drinking whiskey naked by a 3 a.m. fire. We talk it over and he listens as always: and says when the whiskey's gone he's going to talk to you for me, see what he can do.

Colder and Wilder

The sky clears. Nightcrawlers pop as they clear the moist surface. I wait by the road, sipping whiskey from a pint-sized mason jar, and try to recall voices not heard in many years. Stars slip back and forth across the dome of the sky, some leaving trails. In the distance, a fox pauses - sniffs the air - and continues.

Who goes alone can start now and just might. Yet who travels with another must wait. Who navigates logistics? Who promises what they cannot give? We sing an old song - and shuffle a little dancing - taking off our clothes - as we do from time to time as the moonlight requires.

One, two hours of it and he stumbles inside to write. He is always writing. He is always lying. He gets weepy in the third stanza, wondering how he will sleep. For she gets inside and he cannot rest but only pace in the darkness, like something caged.

Yet the moment passes. She is out there somewhere: the one who will allow him finally to rest. He thinks of bluets, the moose he tracks, the heron that waits on him, and the shoulders of the one where so briefly he was home. How he longed to see her naked and how his longing seemed somehow redemptive. I goes outside again, a little further from the house, where it is colder and wilder, quieter, and still.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

On Meeting the Darkness

There is a transparency to Life. It is in the nature of a very thin curtain in a very soft breeze. Piano notes come close, when the keys are understood as sexual.

And the sun falls slowly behind the hills, or seems to, and we go on in the old ways, singing familiar songs. I cannot bear what is casual any longer. Nor the mail which is only an excuse to avoid God.

At night, when the other sleep, I walk up and down the road, sometimes going into the forest, sometimes into the fields. The moon lights my way, or the stars do, or else I know the way and will walk it even after death. What opens and closes employs us as its hinge.

I come back to write: and to see who listens. Who listens responds, naturally and without effort. As the sound of the bell travels, and one travels with it, away over the hills, like a train.

Lovers do indeed come and go. The stream rises under the bridge, then falls back as summer begins. One thinks in terms of psalms, and foxes, and being held by women who ask nothing in return.

Or that is one way to see it. Midnight approaches, and the body insists on meeting the darkness naked. Words take us so far and no further.

Not all who ask are met at the altar and not all who answer can find it! My little prayers go up into the stars like smoke, like little children who know they are loved.

Studying the Shadows Below

Tired and hungry and out of time, I wander through familiar fields and old pastures. Old fire pits, trees on which my name is carved. When the rain is heavy shotgun shells kick up from the earth and remind me of the dead. Such gentleness I require, after so many years.

She writes and says some of what she means. God waits patiently, as always. A little rain might fall is what I think, as I crest the ridge and studying the shadows below for waking deer. All I can offer are sentences, and long for the day when they dry up and blow away and let me be.

When I come home, the others have eaten the supper I made for them hours earlier. I boil some old coffee and carry it down to the maple trees, the ones surrounded by ferns. I live in the sweet spot between Life and the forms Life takes. It is not clear how many more I can help for I am tired and lonely, almost beyond words, and want only to rest now, only to sleep.

Yes, rain, a little, from north and west. And redolent breakers of thunder about five miles distant. The world softens some, and cools. I finish the coffee, and wait.

The Day Comes When I Will Ask No Longer

One recoils from the limestone ossuary - that image of first century heartbreak - and yet writes it anyway. For the heart of darkness resists light and yet light continues. And words, always words.

When we get close to want - not the object but the longing itself - we begin to perceive the outline of Christ. One sees the mandate of attention: and heeds it. Together we go further: is the responsibility clear?

I want her - in all the ways that wanting is cataloged - and am not condemned because of it. Cardinals cross the yard and rest on the fence and are beautiful. And in the distance one senses - but does not see, not yet - the waking deer, the depth of their awareness, and their hunger.

Through the mail he begs her to send him photographs, trying to explain how her image saves him - how deeply it affects him - and yet she will not do it. He lives with her refusal - and the shame of his wanting - even as she asks for - and takes, over and over - the gift of his sentences. He gives and waits: in brokenness and grief, he waits.

For so many women have loved me for what I write, the gift I can neither explain nor manage. Nor do they see me but only their own selves reflected in what is written and so ask for more, and more, and more. There was a monk once who wanted a little hut and a quiet companion with whom to pray but instead was made by his superiors to sing at every service and every event simply because his voice was lovely.

Who is lost looks to the body. I want her to lead now - to meet me in this place, this giving beyond boundaries, beyond logistics - and to lead so that I might rest. For I am so very tired of pointing the way and want only to rest: in the soft space of your heart, the secret space of us, may I?

Who knows what I need must give or else find another companion with whom to travel. For the day comes when I will ask no longer but simply go - alone - into the desert.

Daisy's Petals Widen and Open

One pauses between the form of life and life.

And thinks of her in her western garret, eloquent but troubled, waiting on the hero she is always writing towards.

One questions what she offers and what she withholds.

The hills are voluble and the trails I walk empty: the middle of the day slides gently towards dusk.

The hawk circles high above, yet below the bright ivory of cloud banks, while chickens scratch through piles of compost.

Who gives, receives, and goes without lack.

There is only one gift though it takes many forms.

There is a sound one's shirt makes falling to the floor.

There are soft cries and promises, there are kisses that go on without end.

One expands in order to meet it.

One steps into the welter of longing and makes contact there with what is and knows at last they are forever welcome and the altar goes with them and cannot be rendered unsacred.

But who dreams waits and who waits goes without.

Observe the heron who moves her great wings slowly and rises and flies away.

The blood in me rises and my eyes close and I pray.

Who knows how to reach me must, and who cannot, will find another.

Absent clothing - and offered willingly - the body is a kind of map.

One lingers a long time over it, grateful to be no longer lost.

As the raspberry bushes extend their fruit.

As the daisy's petals widen and open: and what is lovely and soft is revealed: and Heaven itself opens.

For I entered you long ago, Beloved, as soon as you asked, and became then the hot center you are so afraid - still - to touch.

Pressed in the Service of a Dream

One pauses where the trail goes four ways. Temptation of any kind is simply willingness to refuse God. The dog waits, too. You have to decide: you do.

Freedom is not about satisfying want which cannot be satisfied. Desire is natural but still. What emerges from the fear of scarcity cannot yield abundance. We choose the familiar, and it chooses us, and what is unfolds accordingly.

Here and there we leave the trail: to search for bears, to sit quietly in  shadows, to pray on our knees. Words light the way, or seem to. My solitude is unperfected but sincere, a product of the "yes" I whispered decades ago in these same woods. Those who follow must attend their own salvation.

How broken we are, who long for the other, as if any body or thing can replace God. Coming home, letting the chickens out, I feel sad and lonely because of it. Such numinous greens this time of year, this hour of the day: how many gifts do we refuse while pressed in the service of a dream? I profess my unworthiness and go on, ever deeper into the interior forest, mapless and stumbling, but happy.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Some Things are Completed

Night passes. Morning comes.

What is continues, serene and gentle, like the thinnest of thin curtains in a honeysuckle breeze. What is not grows old, and dies, and is forgotten.

After midnight, the dog and I went walking: bright stars and settling gibbous, fireflies high in the slow-buffeting maples. Without word of her we walked.

Without word, later, one lies on their back and imagines what might happen. Near dawn the owls come up from the hollow and sing, their hunger abated, their rest assured.

Who fears their appetite denies what is. Who refuses to give according to the terms of desire, also denies what is.

We walk and almost always return to where we started. Some things are completed, others continue.

Mourning doves visit the feeder, elegant and whole. One dreams of her naked: asks for it: and waits.

All morning - bereft of sleep - I write. The sentences form themselves and go out, as on a radio, or mysterious.

The radio does not know if its song is received, nor how. It is ignorant of logistics.

For a few minutes I consider sleep: silence and rest: the drag of blankets and pockets of heat. But wait instead: and radiate the only gift given me: the awkward song, the sensual plea.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Eyes on the Far Green Shore

All night the lake calls to me: in dreams, waking, walking the dog: like a lover whose body I have never seen.

Before dawn I meet it: obedient: outside language: and independent of logistics.

For who loves answers, and who answers gives, and who gives is blessed, a blessing outside both time and the body.

For the world has not yet seen love: but I have: so sweetly - so briefly - at home in you.

The birch trees rise above the laurel, and the laurel shed their mallow blooms, and bunches of blue flag creep like sentinels out into the shallows.

All this I offer to you.

The trout leap and buckle, silver in the mist, hungry and destructive, and slap the water as they fall back, and the water ripples and the sound echoes: goes away and comes back: and I give it to you: you.

The heron rises unconcerned, pulling with it the early rays of the sun, and that too is offered.

That too is given.

Almost soundless - as if slipping inside what is timeless and welcome - I am borne forward, out into the center.

My own motion carries me: and what calls to me carries me: and I follow.

For who follows loves, and who loves, gives, and only giving is holy.

Only giving - according to desire - is sacred, and only that will serve.

Where the water deepens and grows still and transparent, I can hear the mergansers half a mile distant.

One longs to behold a confirmation of their longing: the image perfected: the folds and soft slopes: the interior bells that drown misgivings and proclaim the one who is both beloved and trustworthy.

All morning I study the sky: pale mare's tails drifting slowly south: and think of what to write: and wait.

For summer is here and already the gathered heart assembles its autumnal garlands, the smell of wood smoke: and whiskey under stars, from a shared silver cup: and the kisses that follow, against the cold.

Soon you will travel again: east and a little north: like a letter from long ago: sprinkled with rose water and folded over on a sprig of pressed lavender.

There is a voice that speaks to me for you, and when it speaks, I put all other work aside to hear it, and attend to it, and only it.

And wait - drifting - eyes on the far green shore.

Lifted in a Welter

The buttercups extend yellow, the first sentence.

The white petals of the daisy fold delicately towards me.

All morning the offer to love and be loved goes out, and I write and listen and attend to it, and what is one unfolds accordingly.

The cardinal observes the rose bush.

And the tall grass by the back fence observes the cardinal.

Who wants love is already love and lives bereft in the well of memory.

And the moon falls, and starlight flows, and the air sweetens with honeysuckle and wild roses, and all of it is a dream in which one lingers.

The world resolves into a.m. coffee, declarations of intent, and the body's need to be fed and held and lifted in a welter of soft kisses.

The offer goes out eternally and who makes it waits while the separated ones settle for logistics.

In the mason jar on the table, buttercups and daisies perch on green stems, and are silent and still, and drink the pure light.  

And light the way, as fireflies do, and moonlight, and the moose who grazes contentedly in the shallows while the sun rises.

We get up early when it is still dark and in darkness acknowledge one another in the way that was given to us.

We for whom love remains sacred.

We for whom touch is a prayer.

Don't ask how to love: find out how to love and then teach it.

One imagines a certain light coming off the lake at dawn.

And a certain light - pale, tremulous, extensive, lovely - comes off the lake at dawn.

One accepts gratefully what is given: and need not ask again.

For desire merges with responsibility.

And with yes: and you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Blink and be Whole Now

We can only give according to the desire of what is.

When I write, it is included, and the writing moves accordingly.

I follow: I am composed by it: it is given.

The image is given as well: bluets, moose tracks, ripples on lakes, the silver hook of the crescent moon as it slips towards the west.

It is the image through which what is holy and sacred secretly shines and - when glimpsed - enables creation.

In the presence of what is holy and sacred, one knows only giving, and so gives, by creating.

It is internal and one knows it only by releasing what is external from the drama of outcome, the agony of specificity.

One has to say yes the only way they know and then give it the necessary space.

Alone or with another doesn't matter, for the loveliest of lovely people is merely a means by which to love all people without exception, which is the only sacred objective.

It is the present - not the other - which renders us new.

Who takes us there explicitly - through writing, through the shared image - goes with us, and so we are never alone.

It is not contingent on the body and it is not contingent on time.

There is no application of love on terms the world will accept: this is a law: and there is no life apart from it.

You came to me not to be the student but to be seen, beheld as the God-lit whole: beautiful and perfect.

You wanted to be healed by - to become one with - enveloped in - the gold braids and fluid nights of writing.

Beloved: no word leaves my lips but knows Her first, no sentence gathers but it gathers through and for Her.

What is given in love need neither manifest nor heal on terms set by the world for relating.

Seek only the interior altar: the gift is there.

For what is is already given: and you both have it and are it: trust only that, child: give only according to its light.

For what I am is only what you created before time began, that you might remember in time you need but blink and be whole: now.

What Moves, Moves in You

And the mountain bears itself to the sky in silence.

And the stars fade and grow dim and wait for night.

In eternity, one does not struggle to find words.

In the forest, the moose waits patiently as we pass.

Bluets and daisies wait patiently, too.

Perceive the motion of all things.

Perceive what is inherent.

Who loves is grateful for love and thus enters the spiral.

But who ascends does not leave what is holy behind.

What is holy is the bluet, and the black raspberries, and the tracks of moose as they follow the trail to the river.

And the river is holy.

For what moves, moves in you, and in me, as we are in it, moving, always.

The letters go out and are received.

Who sings composes a reply, and who replies, sings.

The mountain rises up without forgetting its center.

Darkness does not oppose light nor hide what cannot be seen.

Who waits builds a temple.

Who selects a trail surrenders digression.

The heart of the mountain is its darkness and that darkness sings, as a letter sings buried in its envelope for travel.

For you move in me, always, and I in you, and our moving is holy, and extends the blessing of gratitude to all life, always.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Holiest of Signs

Yes . . . Loveliest of all syllables, most healing of all sentiments. Before its penultimacy, one kneels. Makes the offer. And waits.

What are you that anyone should fall before you? When we know we are the object of another's longing, we must meet it: with words, with photographs: according to the terms of their desire. Logistics has no place in it. When you are ready, you will signal: you know what the other wants because it is what you want as well.

There is a way things are, and a way things can be. Who places the sacristy within, and attains it interiorly, knows. I wait beyond words for the slopes and folds that only you can offer. Give and be healed. But give.

And so . . . All day I bend over the desk and write: about the sea, about cemeteries, about love, about lust. I travel to her and take her with me, hand in hand, lips to softer lips, and travel more. I wait on the holiest of signs. Her tides: her picture: her yes.

Again One Falls For It

Early a.m. For once I don't feel like walking and just stand there listening to rain. As if sensing me - as if - the neighbor's rooster crows. Frogs sing in the near pasture, telling all the old lies again and again. One falls for it, as always.

And for you, and her, and the others who come - came - promising the Holy Spirit. You reduce it to the body and nothing bad happens. Naturally, one wonders can you go any further? We do have to learn what to question, and how to question, and so forth. So much seems to depend on that insidious wheelbarrow and yet one can always say "and yet."

And yet. And yes? Reading is nice, as always. And thought - apparently so supreme - only captures fragments of what is real. Somewhat like us, though admittedly some function better than others.

And so I wait. The mail comes without the requisite insight or explanation. The nights pass without Her which indicates something. I work quietly, lonely but insistent. At 3 a.m. - twenty sentences later - a little light emerges, and one sees the work differently, just so.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Blinds of Forever

Early - before I wake - she wakes me and we kiss quietly. Our bodies make a bright tent against the old darkness. Redwinged Blackbirds sing at the window, responding to instinct outside of thought. One remembers Jesus at odd moments, and is joined to time accordingly.

That wily mountain beckons, doesn't it? How I long to see you beside a river! As touch is to her, so the image is to him. We cultivate desire and then wonder why joy remains so distant.

He is not trying to mislead anyone but simply gain an old - a nearly forgotten - clarity. Some of us sing as we shed our clothes, slip into the lake, and swim happily in circles of moonlight. The movement is so slow - glacially slow - but now and again we make contact with it. Stillness is holy and yet.

And yes? It is the only syllable that matters, isn't it? One glides from the question out over a rangeless desert and then ends in a kiss that softens the blinds of forever. Is it a secret that he writes for her?

We find our way in accumulating sentences. Certain loves light the way. Gratitude abounds. As one day soon I will meet you on the familiar trail and offer you a hand and a walking stick, and liberate you from socks and shoes.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

What Sings Continues

Love is all I sing, and all I can sing, and so all I offer.

My body weakens and lays down beside the trail.

The heart goes on, singing.

Who are you that I should fall weeping?

Who are you that directs each sentence, each word placed lovingly just so?

Clouds pass, and rain comes, and night follows.

There are no sounds but the song.

There is no light but the light you offer in gratefulness.

The body sinks back into what gave rise to it.

And what sings continues, and what continues, is eternal.

The moon grows pale.

The sun is cold and distant.

On the dance floor, dust swirls, and behind the barn, crows pick through the mud.

Who longs to sing grows mute.

Who names the song goes wordless.

In the desert I sang for you, and in the forest I sing.

Honeysuckle blooms along the trail, and the raw quartz shoves upwards through dirt.

Who waits in the trees?

Who lingers watchful near the brook?

For I sing now, and long now, and the offering extends itself, and nothing goes without, and nothing is that isn't you.

Signals to the Willing

Nobody has to write. It's a decision we make. I'm going to do this. It has to do with loving words and also feeling a narrative. It's a substitute for creation, like making love or baking bread. It's hard to write about.

Honesty is difficult, and ascending the next level of relating is even harder. How do we reach each other outside of time and space? What does it mean to want? Lately I have been asked to remember that I am not here to learn the meaning of anything - especially love.

On my end, the fireflies came early this year (and I missed writing it to you). The redwinged blackbirds have not disappeared into the lakes and cattail as usual but stay near the feeder, lovely and insistent. A mystery? In the front yard I mow carefully around the single daisy near the raspberry bushes. You understand.

Or understood anyway. Now I stand in a perilous place and wonder can I go on? And am I alone? I read the twenty sentences and see myself in them - and feel the reciprocal love - but then wonder if I am just being foolish or naive. You have no idea how tired I am, and how I long to rest, and how a certain yes burns near my heart, and signals to the willing: may I curl like a tired dog near the sacredness of your knees?

The Dim Road Lightens

She leaves again.

One stands in the rain with a broken gutter and no shoes.

A crow watches from the nearby pine tree.

She does not read anymore the secret runes.

Or perhaps we are mistaken.

We write in vain when we write for those who are not yet ready to leave.

Some women build temples in order to find a lonely priest.

Some priests wade a long time through rivers, trying out new songs with which to win the lonesome women.

He made benches until the Lord asked would he build something new.

That offer goes out to everyone for all time forever.

You say yes.

You wait for the ones who said yes.

The dim road lightens in the company of the familiar.

She comes, her mouth gold with praise.

You eat it hungrily.

We were hungry together once and then taught each other how to eat.

In my dreams, Jesus waits patiently, while I stand at the pasture's edge and call my dead brother's name over and over into the gathering darkness.

Black birds come to the feeder.

What can deer do about the rain but bear it as they leave the thicket to feed?

Near the edge of the village - the one we all grew up in - she turns back: we go on, together, into the desert.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Way To Say Yes

Who hears me - and hears me call - is never foolish. The question is always the mode. Or rather, what it is for?

Hummingbirds, fireflies. At 4 a.m., rabbits dash back and forth through gardens and pasture, driving the dog mad. I make coffee and sit at the old table under the maples, watching stars fade, feeling nothing in particular, and okay about it.

I picture highways bright with sun, not crowded, distant hills, maybe even ponds. He wonders who will bring a smile to her face and how long it will last and will she think of him at any point? Call me when you come as far as far East as the Hudson river, okay?

A kiss is a type of spiral, a type of immortality. One admires the muscles that compose the shoulder and longs for the respite it seems to offer. And listens: and recalls a voice not heard in many months.

Find a way to say: yes. Soon I will travel north to write in a motel, alone with multiple texts, given only to silence and long walks (and maybe - probably - whiskey) and yet more writing. Who shares the bottle, shares the depths, willingly.

I remember summer nights by the lake, swimming out to the moon, how our laughter carried over the water. I have been dreaming of you since I came here and now we are so close and yet . . . What does Jesus say in John's Gospel, that bit about abide in me as I abide in you?

Who longs loves, and who loves is never foolish. Be my abode, as I will be yours, however briefly - however sweetly - in this vale of scarcity and fear.

Having Walked A Long Time

Beneath rhubarb leaves the size of elephant ears, water runs. The Herefords look up as I pass, the square batten of their faces fixed on what only seems real. After rain, the fence steams and finches gather at the feeder. I miss her.

One reclines in sentences the way they might in arms they have seen but never felt. What is it we mythologize the most? In the distance a bald eagle circles and chickens squeeze quickly beneath the shed. Honey bees everywhere.

Victims abound, but we are past that now. The horse stumbles a little coming up from the pasture. Something insists we take life this way and not another and we acquiesce. What else is there to question?

He listens carefully to the same song over and over, letting the fierce melody locate him precisely. Some barns need painting, others simply need to be used. Lose nothing in the bottle. Having walked a long time down tracks on which trains no longer run, I do long to teach.

This - and no other - kiss. How I long to escort you anywhere! The mourning doves - who mate for life, you know - flutter west, as if carrying some essential message. You always have a say, beloved: simply speak.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Yes Alters the False Structure

It is not that I write for her, but that she reads what I write. The distinction matters. Behind the face we wear, and the name that gilds us, Creation hums. One makes contact with it and then struggles with the apparent - the seeming - consequence.

I do want to be in relationship, but how? The old ways beckon but some new mode is required. One moves beyond the rugged cross, naps beneath the Bo tree, and then keeps going. It's simple but we insist on learning it slowly.

Longing sustains nothing but the old illusions. Desire is a bright thread in an otherwise bland fabric. I value honesty but question the mode in which one seeks its realization. Don't hold me but . . . you know.

Do you know? And if so, how would you tell me? It is like we asked for a cottage, were given a mansion, and then learned that we didn't really want a shelter in the first place. He asked to be reached - to be found and held - but outside time, outside bodies.

A simple yes alters the false structure and brings it toppling down. Perhaps I am asking now to be led? Jesus smiles happily near the garage! All the highways we dream must one day dissolve, much like the salt I am begging God to serve, in the sea where we will know each other all again.

Old Houses in Greece

Ungathered stars at 3 a.m.

We who are borderless must surrender all maps.

The requisite quartz is never not in your hand.

A song about shoes, a song about highways.

A lonesome cry in the hours before dawn that reaches no ears but God's.

As a child I often swung on gates.

There are old houses in Greece that we must visit, you and I.

Days after Mariah leaves, kicking around the fire we made, I find this long black hair tangled in the grass.

The cats trouble a dragonfly.

Hummingbirds visit the phlox and in my dreams I get to watch them feed their young.

One half a broken Robin's egg.

We are not in an environment, we are the environment.

Behold the cosmic ha ha.

I remember how you slipped your shirt off, that motel in Albany, and how involuntarily I moaned.

Twilight anywhere is a manageable loveliness.

We don't end but go on, even after so-called death, or so one hopes being at last face to face with it.

Paint me into your life a last time, won't you?

One last kiss.

He waits on the mail, the man without shoes and goes - as so often we must who wait - disappointed.

She smiled after, an intimation of shyness at odds with what went before.

Or so one writes, being dead tired, sad, and without meaningful correspondence of any kind.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Ghost, A Shadow, A Broken Dog

And if I had said otherwise - how I want you still - what then?

We are each other's servant, bonded outside time - how can one negotiate it?

Who loves is outside the law of logistics.

And if I had said, yes, I long for you even now, and cannot bear the days that pass without your voice, your image, your insight, your love . . .

What then?

For I walk quietly where it rains, pausing by deer tracks in which tiny blossoms of honeysuckle drift, and you are there.

And by the pond where the heron waits, you are there.

In all the rippling and tides of the heart, only you.

And the rain seeping through pine, cold and sleek.

What prayer must I make?

Invent what ritual?

For you will not now follow me and the hills grow lonesome, the sentences arid.

Nor any longer do you walk beside me and thus I go without light.

Once - so sweetly, so briefly - as in a dream - I was home in you.

There are joyless hours, minutes that grieve your absence.

I pass along deer trails and sip from the rain-pocked brook alone, a ghost, a shadow, a broken dog.

I long for you - I am my longing - and nothing else is real - and nothing else lays claim to me.

The soft melody of you still renders me open.

In barest dawn I turn to you, I fall to my knees, weeping and empty.

Accept no salt: hear nothing but this: what is said in love cannot be unsaid, nor taken back: oh come to me now, you, who were the light of all my days.

What Kills Us In The End

Night comes on, steady as a train. The birds sing as if saying goodbye. But it's not a different song than in the morning when I think they are saying hello. So maybe I'm different? After a while you give up thinking and just listen.

"Heartship" was a nice word, in its way. I can't remember who came up with it. I sleep outside because it's quieter, which most people don't understand. Please assure me you do. Pretty soon I'm going to go into a very deep and dark forest indeed, one where my brother waits, with bullet holes in his chest.

We gather up our silence, expecting it to mean something, and are always surprised to learn that it doesn't. We stand in line and profess a silly faith, one in which we don't believe. How I longed to slip my hand across her back and pull her close! Call me a dog, I don't care. Want is only a problem when we say it is.

Ah, but that's all gone now anyway. We visited the lawyer last week to be sure all the ends are well-knotted. Driving home, there was talk about a last trip to the sea, or maybe certain mountains in Vermont. I told a lot of lies is what worries me most. What we don't know - but assume - is what kills us, in the end.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This Side of the Bourne

Everyone tells me when the angels come I'll know it's real but I'm not so sure. I mean, it worked for my grandmother but so what? Remember, I've been close enough to black bears to touch them. Certain trails I could walk with my eyes closed and not step wrong.

Also, I keep a list of women I've kissed, women for whom I've sung songs, and women before whom I've cried. I'm kidding of course! But you were pretty good company, in your own way, at least for a while. I always liked that picture of you reaching toward the horses and kind of hoped I'd see you do it again.

Here's to lovers and wives! Here's to the women who said "I'll try," even though it wasn't enough. The lilac is gone and I won't see it again on this side of the bourne. Here's to Jesus too, who probably would have been happy just to keep on building benches.

Ah, what sentence is better than the sixteenth? The seventeenth? You fall easily into a pattern, don't you? It's okay - they work for a while, until they don't.

I can't find my glasses anymore. My old friend Mariah said one last time for the books and straddled me by the dying fire. We say yes, or something like it, and nothing special happens. And still the maple trees hunker down to listen as I pass, as if I know something they don't.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Man Who Sells Coffins

So my father drives me to the crematorium in Vermont. We can't talk about it. I drink a lot of coffee, black. Purple Loosestrife abounds.

A friend writes, asking will I review his book. One dreams of grass, of women in Ireland and Rhode Island. The man who sells coffins sleeps better than you think. Oh please Lord may I not die alone!

Or, as You will, and not as I prefer. I remember certain pickups, and dogs always. Once you can't get sufficiently drunk to forget death, you might as well get sober. I never sent you that book because after filling it with dried flowers I thought, shit, what's her husband going to think?

The wooden coffins (they put you in a container!) remind me of Dorothy Day. There is a certain rush now, to get it all out there. Fire doesn't scare me so much since once the body stops, I'm going to be elsewhere. Dancing maybe!

Well, probably not. One studies the reverential silence to no avail. I'm bent on Heaven, despite my proclivity for being an asshole. You do what you can and then just wait.

Monday, June 10, 2013

To Be Unlocked

Scraps of birch bark on the trail. Newts. After an hour walking in a slow-widening circle, I finally find the bear tracks. Near the stone wall, old bottles surface after rain. More rain is coming.

Dandelions spring from the deadfall. Daisies in the forest make one happy. I wonder if she understands what I am asking and whether she is prepared to follow. The brook hums in both my heart and the earth, wearing a rugged groove. I wait on you, naturally.

The song that turns us in the direction of externals continues. Yet now I know the singer. How fine and clean the air is when one finally ascends the ancient pines! What is one can neither leave nor be apart. I dance over slick rocks, miles from my death.

One prays in writing. One opens their chest to reveal the blunt desire. I wonder if she understands what I am asking her for and whether she will consent to extend. How cold it gets when one is silent a long time alone! How I long to be unlocked, how I long for her picturesque key.

What I Want

One longs. And wonders will "all" ever replace "us?"

Will you eat my pain? May I empty into you?

Have you gone beyond the drama of desire? You write and write and wonder what it all means, don't you?

What I want is you naked. Naked and open.

I want you outside of whatever is made with words. Show me.

What I want is the vulnerability inherent in the shared image. You know what to send.

Extend, if you can, otherwise turn back. Melt for the ones who aren't going where I'm going.

The trail here gets narrow indeed. Who doesn't want to turn back?

Perilous heights abound, my love. One is grateful - always - for the slightest gift.

The Mode Apparently Permanently Shifts

Shoulder against time. One pushes now to say what must be said before the mode - apparently permanently - shifts. At 1 a.m. wandering around Worthington with a puzzled dog and some cold tea, thinking it over. Bohm helps, as always.

Beyond that, the windiness of previous spiritual texts deflates rather than inspires. Where I'm going, you don't do much talking and you can't take books. Last night I needed help to fall asleep. And still.

Earlier, listening to kids play piano, there was the grace of knowing one at least wants to be well. Summer does confuse the roosters. On the other hand, howling coydogs in the not-so-distance. An owl passes, not quite silent, blotting - briefly - the stars.

One misses those exchanges which didn't require code. Rain is coming. The dog and I are both tired, stumbling more than walking, trails toward the pond. In the valley, strawberries are out which means we're about a week or two away from them ourselves.

Have you found yourself yet? Is that still a goal? I'm slipping as one who can no longer swim slips slowly into the depths. Perhaps I'll meet all the trout I've killed, or maybe just sink, a long time alone, waiting for what comes next.

My Exquisite Artificiality

It's nice that in some essential ways we still track one another, though which of us notices is a fair question. Daisies in the front yard bring smiles to everyone. Fallen gutters, not so much. Well, life goes on, despite us.

Us? You and me? She and I? For what union do I most long, when night falls and everyone is asleep and prayer doesn't work one bit?

Your bible is my Hallmark card. You are still too close to the plastic Jesus movement for my exquisite artificiality. And yet. My heart bears the mark of you, not quite a scribble, nor yet quite art.

The mail comes back unanswered and so we assume she is finished talking. And so what? There is always a woman who wants a handsome poet to objectify her! The question was, were we doing something besides that?

Maybe not. I sit up for hours and listen to the radio, drinking the only whiskey I can afford these days, and entertaining the dead who are stubbornly silent as usual. Prose hums in what passes for my heart. We take it for granted, love, and then fall weeping when it betrays us as it must.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Emily Dickinson Grins

Sunlight on the fence. Still shadows slowly rising. Phlox all over or so it seems. I misplaced my glasses and have to settle for blurs.

The horse turns its back. At night rabbits come out and nibble the clover near the garden's edge. Feta cheese is best, I think, though cheddar works well, too. I wrote you a long letter about sourdough but never sent it because of, well, logistics.

Cats take over the writing chair. Absent spectacles means I type by feel. We scaled the trout, Jer and I, and fried it over an open fire with lots of onion and butter. The dead oblige us with recipes.

The dead curl into braids of smoke and float overhead like clouds. I bought the wrong canoe because I got distracted by a woman. Be careful, dear, what you believe! I have so many letters to write and so little time!

And no way to see what I say? Life always resembled a puzzle to which the necessary key had been withheld. Jesus waits patiently. Emily Dickinson grins near the hedge, saying one more sentence, written just so.

A Last Ditch Effort

Buttercups decorate Ted Porter's lower field. Daisies too, and Black-eyed Susans. Where two years ago we found a fawn sleeping, this year only battened Timothy. Hawks pass. Milk snakes.

When I met you, you reminded me of a young bull, or the young bull's mother. There was a way you walked that moved me, even before you spoke. That I might one day die while you held my hand - assuring me it would be okay - did not occur to me. I remember driving to New York. And later still Montreal.

I remember also sitting with you by Walden Pond, eating cheese and day-old bread, talking about Greece. Cows settle near the forgotten mower, happily nursing their cud. Clouds pass, and threats of rain. Who is going anywhere is lost. Who builds a barn works in the past.

Another bottle of whiskey, another long night. One refuses dreams and all that is external in a last ditch effort to see the Lord. Cells divide and the result is chaos. Will I see the late Fall apples? So many questions, so close to home.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Part About Dying

As morning passes, I hang laundry. There is rhubarb to be chopped, a lake that needs looking at. Somewhere in its pillared shadows a trout waits, singular and intent. We are all hungry, and we are all being fed.

Later I check on the sunflowers, most of which are sprouting. Mend the fence - or try to - where three nights earlier the bears plowed through for compost. N. comes over to ask if he can borrow some shotgun shells "on account of the damn foxes working through my chickens." Food.

Food and sex. And beauty? I pray contentedly as I move through the day, stopping now and then to write poems. Mare's tails fill the sky, swallows trace their invisible sanskrit across it.

Last night's kisses were so tender I wondered could a touch be any lighter. The dog watched from my writing chair, waiting for a corner of the bed to open up. After we ate pumpkin seeds and talked about my recent doctor's visit. You don't like it when we get to the part about dying.

What I won't be able to write will not go unwritten. The early spinach leaves are muddy and sweet but gone. One accepts that grace is fluid and in motion. And what is holds us, and promises death is dead.

Always Waiting As If Knowing

There are no mysteries, you know. Shadows scale the barn wall, the horse tosses his head. You can think of it as tides, or a long slow kiss, or else what wells up inside you when you walk alone at dawn.

One writes carefully sometimes, and sometimes recklessly. Please be happy anyway! I am grateful when you come to me at night, knowing the nature of my sorrow and pain.

One sits quietly by the bluets. One studies the bears and then moves up the trail. The heron is always waiting, as if knowing that he needs to be looked at.

I am the man without shoes by choice and I don't regret it. All I ever said was that I listened once and the silence listened back. One is given so much and yet still consents to longing.

In the forest, loneliness morphs into something holy. The movement is always toward truth. There are no impediments save the ones we are still trying to understand.

One mutters and scribbles and the days pass. It rains and then the sun appears. One wakes to stars that appear - no kidding - happy to be seen.

What a lovely story! What a happy ending!

Briefly, So Sweetly

I am trying to find something to write.

Something honest.

It can include a lie, but it has to be the right lie.

I miss you.

Last night I dreamed of you and you were so vivid and clear that I woke up and thought: I have to call her.

But who is this you?

Me?

"Let be be finale of seems" indeed.

I'm sick of love.

And yet . . .

Do you want me still?

You who are now learning how easy it is to write about the Lord?

There are other lessons, if you are ready . . .

I want to tell you to your face how angry I was when you wrote that all that was left was "logistics."

You cannot give the other space but it is you who are crowded, who longs for "a room of one's own."

Do you see that?

I want you to eat what wells up inside me.

Show me your breasts, behind which the luminous heart of Christ forever whispers.

I want that, too.

For I was briefly - so sweetly - home in you.

Friday, June 7, 2013

This Broken Song

How I miss you. Are you reading this? Would you tell me?

It rains. The trails blur. Tracks of the one I follow grow muddy and faint.

What is the meaning of forgiveness now? Why do we insist on logistics when all that we want is to be loved?

There are lakes that exist only because we dreamed them together. In my dream you told me stories - in a language I didn't know I knew - while I leaned against your warm shoulder. What clarity you brought! And how tired I am, how hungry for sleep.

And yet . . .

How deep the solitude goes, how lonely one becomes without . . . . what? What facet of Christ now beckons? What kiss is sufficient in the difficult extremes of silence?

For you the bluets. For you the baby bears.

For you this cry, this broken song. Reach me in the old way, show me where your heart beats, where once - so sweetly, so briefly - I was home.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Forever the Center of my Attention

Mariah comes and stays the night. What will I tell my wife? Walking with a full wine glass, discussing the usefulness of knowing what a certain constellation is named. Do you remember when I discovered the moon and wrote about it for two years straight? She reminds me always of my obsession with images.

Nothing can be added, nothing subtracted. My Russian lover calls and wants to know why she's not in the poems anymore. Well, when you're bent on confusing Heaven with a woman, any woman will do. I often dump a bottle of cheap whiskey on his grave. I was so drunk when we buried him that - no joke - they made me sit in the back of the hearse.

Ah, well. The horse likes her, which matters. These days I can't get drunk enough so I don't bother. I miss you but I don't miss your penchant for drama and your habit of insisting on being forever the center of my attention. I'm crawling along familiar trails, which takes concentration, so you're going to have to manage for yourself.

Remember that clarity and grace are not conditional! Grackles storm the feeder, a wave of iridescence, a black shock of lovely. Peripheries work just fine my dear. Mariah kept me up with her kisses and bites, gusting over my shoulders, insisting on another story. She's right of course: word by word, we perfect..

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Something Beautiful a Long Time Ago

You ask to me to write for you. This space belongs to you and you ask me to send you words to fill it with. In all the ways we are joined, you add this new way.

I say "yes" - Да.

I remember the first time I saw your daughter, how serious and quiet she was. She studied the lake as if studying God. That is how you look too. When you are inside me, that is how your eyes are. As if you are looking for God. You are always looking for God.

That is why it is easy to say yes to you.

When you said stop and pointed at a clearing I was surprised. Что делает этот человек? But you walked me to a river and told me a story that made me cry. How important dogs have been to you . . .

In Vermont, we ate bread and cheese. The Connecticut River was blue and slow. There have been too many women, you said. How sad you are at times! You are like a man who lost something beautiful a long time ago and fears he will not find it again.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How One Waits

After the rain - how one waits on Mariah - fantails fill the sky. You are not who you think you are, nor who I think you are, and the whole thing - literally - is a fiction. There is no us! Ha ha!

Old Honolulu, San Francisco, Ashtabula. I have walked a thousand times a thousand times on roads beside which Queen Anne's lace grows, tangled up with purple clover. Near the old maple stump raspberries emerge like small green stars and I stop to admire them. Bears sniff the wild blueberry bushes and I stop to admire them too.

Oh, the loveliness is sometimes too much. I can't decide what's more amazing: bluets or Fur Elise. Wind moves in the pine trees and takes with it my sadness, at least for now. The blanket reeks of horse but that's how I like it.

At night, covered with fireflies, I laugh and my laughter floats up into the stars. Leave me alone, won't you? One looks for toads by the back fence, as if in search of some vital confirmation. Times passes, or seems to.

I haven't slept well for maybe a thousand years. Resistance is a form of love, but we tend to miss that. The chickens greet me before the sun rises. Studying the remains of last night's fire I think how much can be written with ash.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Patient and Kind

I take a certain joy in the earth. I turn as always to Emily Dickinson.

The neighbor's cat comes over to hunt. Chickadees warn each other high in the dogwood.

The bears leave their tracks all around the garden. C. dares me to sleep with honey on my toes.

How brilliant the quartz is as summer passes. We are all refugees in a way.

What is offered is taken or it was never offered. Piano notes, love letters, a collection of foreign stamps.

Anger passes much the way a storm does. How long have I collected stories of adultery!

We work all day in the garden. We drink iced tea at night.

The you in question is probably not you. Yet love is not what is negotiated and so . . .

Wind chimes wake me before dawn. I roll over and smell the grass, cold with dew.

The dog watches me follow her to the pond. The heron waits - patient and kind - as always.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Old Story

Do you know the old story about the monk who left the monastery because he had never kissed a woman? What about the story of the woman he ended up kissing?

Yesterday a robin flew into the window. No wait - it was two days ago.

Yesterday it rained. Yesterday I got yet another kiss that reminded me monasteries are indeed overrated.

Apple blossoms! Trout feeding at twilight, reminding me of fishing with you, those years before you went away.

You can only collect so much quartz. You can only lose your car keys so many times.

It was not the image itself so much as the willingness to offer it. I hadn't written sentences like that in twenty years!

K. calls and I plead sick to avoid her long apology. How many biblical references does one woman need?

Ah, but there is always another hand. The blue lights of faerie seen again in the bracken.

Rain woke me but passed before I could decide was it worth walking back to the house. My first bottle of whiskey in at least two years.

One hears in a dream the opening notes to Fur Elise. One wakes to mist, deer grazing close enough to touch.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Whispers Beautiful and Low

I write from a hard silence. A hard longing. And far beyond logistics.

Is it longing - not having - that makes one write? The tides of Her - unfolding - again and again and again? Or is it - as Machado suggested - the fear of going down?

Was it begun in love? In lust? Who is it knows the difference?

I write from the deep shadows, untouched by prayer. My shoulders bear the summer honeysuckle gratefully into eternity. Stillness reaches from beyond my solitude and hums and whispers, beautiful and low.

When the dark settles I call to Her, as soft as the wordy can manage. I sleep alone with the crickets, lit by fireflies, wrapped in a blanket that smells like horse. A last sentence a last time again.

I pause in the old fields, taken by starlight, the moon,  the fluid darkness moving between them. One with who or what? Nakedness - not the hint but the wholeness - is sacred and each shared trace heals the world.

You for whom the old ways to reach me still work - who know what moves me most - reach me now. Show me - without condition - where Her heart beats, low and beautiful, in soft susurration of oneness, where once - so briefly, so sweetly - I was home.