Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Neither Church Nor Ritual But After

And so at last I find my knees, as one dark morning I would have to. Moon a smear of light behind unmoving rain clouds, the dog rustling where recently a skunk passed. We incline to declarations and we long for secret letters yet happiness is hardly so contingent.

Thus this, again. The sentences toppling from caves like unpolished crystals into whatever hands receive them. What is interior has no dimensions and welcomes us accordingly.

Certain women are easier to write for than others. Sacred is neither church nor ritual but after, walking with you, and learning together the names of trees without worrying what comes next. Like that but different.

There is a little brook I pass, the bridge across it unsteady and old. Crab apples rot in the tall grass, picked at by crows and jittery deer. How tired I am of longing and yet . . .

She opens and the familiar light shines and so I open too. We have to do something with them, sentences and bodies. As the sea is never silent, not to one who knows how to listen and when.

Thus I await your signal, nearly at the end of my long affair with signs. A little dust rises where I kneel to pray, muttering about mountains and starlight and soft petals not quite hidden. Spirals please me, folds please me, and prisms please me too.

You are that light a little while yet. And this is for you, to accept on terms of your choosing, offered at last without thought of reward.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Inclination of Ash to Rise

I walked quickly this morning, head down, cold hands in pockets. Sunlight flashed on the little brook. Bridges are good but only in the sense they facilitate travel. One admires the inclination of ash to rise and infers accordingly that death is no big deal. Or something like that.

The dog's hackles were up the whole walk, odd given that the only trail signs were of a moose walking north. A bear still gorging before its winter rest? Ice lined the pond's edge and for the first morning in seven there were no geese floating on its glassy surface. Well, we are all in motion.

It's odd how I long to possess time and resent intrusions upon it. One learns that the present moment is all there is and then recalls the lesson over and over, thus obviating it. Still, beneficence is everywhere. I have long imagined stars as pinpricks in a vast black fabric, signalling a greater - a blinding - light beyond. Remind me sometime to talk to you about prisms.

Sunlight was a red bruise east coming home. One goes deeper into their greed and begins to sense it has no bottom and then what? There are many "yous" but only one "I." Is that right? We find an interior waystation and linger, see who else shows up, and make a party of it, hiding as always in language.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Darkness and Space and Pending Realization

There are no replacements for God. The waning quarter moon fades while drifting through the interstice of October maples. Frost glitters on fallen leaves though you have to kneel to see. One has a sense of darkness and space and pending realization.

There are no codes to unravel. In the morning I walk shivering, looking down, and later write, unsure why. An old sweat shirt on the bed, unusable reading glasses behind the clock. We want to be reliable but for who?

And why? The tea grows cold while I wait for the dog to come back and my stomach rebels accordingly. For the first time I am frightened of winter! One's appetite for fiction subsides and in its place is a longing for the simplicity and clarity that only honesty can bring.

I waited up for hours but nobody called or visited. I remember afternoons in Burlington Vermont, sitting at the window, watching the lake change colors, idly picking my way through unfamiliar chords. Churches come and go but prayer endures regardless. Hours in the kitchen are a kind of love, albeit not the one we are after, but still.

My father's walking stick rests in a corner by the door, a single thread of cobweb dangling. In the end, sex is just a prelude to being held both gently and carefully, enabling at last a sacred rest. It is no longer sufficient to know the way or point others in its direction. I linger over the sentences, set them as best I can, and move on as we all must, sooner than later.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Secret Letters, Impossible Promises

Coydog madness one hill away keeps my own dog close. Clouds float in to cover the half moon, swift as some tides. At last greed sheds the mask of desire. In a sense, we always face the sea.

One lingers before images only to learn they are gazing into a mirror. Forest trails beckon before dawn precisely a moist darkness. All the fallen leaves whisper as I pass. Behind its gossamer cover, the moon whispers too, about want and holiness and how it's the same moon that shined on Jesus.

Or you can see it that way if you want. Which one does when given to the religion of wordiness and sex an expression of elegant gentleness. The sound your shirt makes falling to the floor, my breath quickening, and the Holy Spirit moving in us as we move in one another. When we do face the sea, it faces us as well.

There are churches everywhere, little chapels made of birch trees and rivers, smooth stones and shells on glistening sand, secret letters, impossible promises. Desire pretends we are all pilgrims, each kiss begetting each soft cry a hymn unto our mutual Oneness. Greed masquerades as a penitent to enter. And yet . . .

In my dream you follow me along a river. Beyond crowds, in a center of green fronds and ocherous blossoms, under starlit skies in which the smoke of the one fire dissipates, we open as only our two bodies can. What is Christ decries judgment and renders all our urgent fumbling a gift. We come together into the Kingdom, we learn that we never left.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Each Tear

Sky the color of a well-oiled gun barrel. Geese pass in ragged V's singing.

At 4 a.m. the moon clarified like an ancient script on papyrus. Frost grew flowerish on fallen leaves. What am I that insists on specification?

Yesterday's apples are today's cider and today's cider makes everyone smile. Who longs for allies remains friendless.

The willow tree near the air strip slowly extends the range of its tears. Mallards sleep lightly in brittle reeds. I pass quietly, still a threat.

It is hunger that mandates the idea of feasts. We linger over definitions as if playing at solutions matters more than finding one that works.

Your hand in mine remains one objective. Others find shells near the ocean. That particular hell and no other.

The mail often smells of lavender. A poem is neither lantern nor map.

We fall weeping and each tear is a kind of repetition. A prism separates what is light into what we call beautiful. I mean you reading, me writing.

Friday, October 25, 2013

From One Idealization to Another

One wakes to moonlight. And later walks through it, thin and feathery, like a cloud. When I write, another intelligence attends. My life is what happens, like a leaf falling in Autumn, or a skunk on the trail.

Some mornings the words are not there and you have to go looking for them. The dog curls up next to me on the couch. The houses of the poor are often cold. I move from one idealization to another, only slowly recognizing they are all the same.

Though I don't understand what this means exactly, I know that who professes to want peace does not want peace. What did M. say about leaving Heaven each time we open our mouths? I can't remember what to include and what to leave out. I don't want to be wanted - does that make sense?

And so the hours pass. I rise early for no particular reason and walk for a while and write for a while and sort of drift for a while, too. How little is required of us! And yet we persist in our quest for advantage.

The thing about desire is it's a third party and it wants something, too. In this body, this time, honesty is all I've got. I shivered walking despite a warm jacket and thought for the first time I am not ready for winter. How scared I am of mistakes, of being told to come back and do it all again.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fragmenting

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkvLsg2k7pg&w=420&h=315]

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Becoming Unreliable

My neighbor D. is burning summer deadfall: maple branches and leaves, stalks of sunflower, pine needles from where his backyard reaches mine and (don't tell the town) a little bit of trash too. I head over to talk after hanging the laundry a couple hours later than I was supposed to (there were poems needed writing). He pours me a whiskey (Black Label) and returns to leaning on his hoe and studying flames. The sun is bright - and still enough foliage on the maples to call beautiful - but clouds are gathering like rats on corn and so the light dims and fades, eventually becoming unreliable like every other goddamned thing in this vale of tears. Yet I love the smell of smoke in autumn - it wakens something coiled deep in the brain, a memory of simplicity and comfort and - oddly - anticipation. Or is that maybe the whiskey talking? Well, something is talking, just now about cooking meat over open fires - a man's subject in my neck of the woods, which I can tell you from experience will cut itself off pretty damn fast if you happen to mention the state of your sourdough starter. It's okay. The traffic hums by a hundred away from us, everybody going somewhere and nobody getting anywhere as usual, though a couple of young redtails circling overhead serve at least a little hope the world isn't all broken. Speaking of which, my heart is broken though to be honest with you, I can't remember a time when it wasn't. Mostly, I think I'm getting tired of not being honest. I like to bake bread and don't want to keep pretending it's a poor second to venison or beef heart. And there is a woman who is not my wife for whom I want to bake. Whiskey makes you think things are possible which you keep trying to decide are not. I don't want some things to end even as I seem bent on beginning their replacements. My father always said I was a damn fool and I'm starting to see how he's maybe right. How hard is it to send her a letter that says, "hey sweetheart, want to go pick some apples and maybe do a little kissing after over cider?" Pretty goddamn hard, judging from much I think it without ever quite getting to do it. A third hawk shows up, triangulating with the others our pale gray swathe of New England sky. Watching it, I forget to turn as the wind blows and so my eyes fill with smoke and I cough and hack so hard the whiskey sloshes out of the juice glass D. poured it in, and when my eyes finally clear, and I can manage a restorative swallow, he says, "you know, you look like a man just saw a ghost," and I think - but don't say - "I am a man who is afraid he has become a ghost."

What Is Enough

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGI3xPs--U4&w=420&h=315]

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Only Form I Can Bear

I sift quietly the afternoon alone. Rain comes in from the west. The last tomatoes from the garden sliced and salted to be laid aside fish. How sad I am, and have been, and yet how grateful. My teachers have been good ones, often unintentionally.

Two days ago driving over the mountain I remembered an old poem of hers and wanted to stop, pull over, call her, and say "my God, you have to read Lorine Niedecker." I did pull over, but I've long since forgotten her number, and it's past that time where you call someone to say, I was thinking of you . . . Later, reading Niedecker myself thought, well, she'll find her soon enough. If she's meant to. And anyway, I'm happier now . . .

Though for the past couple of weeks my stomach has ached the way it used to years ago when the doctors were predicting my imminent death. And I can't sleep for shit. Even now I sit on the couch, writing patiently in the only form I can bear at the moment, with a sense my body is going to simply crumple into itself, like the leaves with which I am so enamored of late. Oh well. I'm in the thick of what I wanted and there's no going back.

It's true that love isn't personal in the truest sense, but for most of us that's just intellectual pap. Pretending we're beyond it spiritually is just another way of keeping God at a distance. Our hearts quicken when touched a certain way. Why fight it? Longing is not a crime and kisses aren't either.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blessed As Always

My hands freeze a little hanging laundry. The chickens are bunched together in patches of sunlight. Cup after cup of tea. The light cold and hard as a star reflected in quartz. The trail fades where it turns north and we are left in forest, studied by foxes.

We dwell mostly in conceptualized reality - a replacement built to obscure life. It is a way of thinking - a habit of thinking - and thinking can neither end nor - really - make contact with it. All problems are resolved in an instant or they are not solved at all! Moonlight makes the sky and we make the moon? Better in the end to just avoid words.

I return to this project chastened but intrigued. Can writing lead one through writing that has become needful to the point of claustrophobia? At its best it's not personal but reflective. Yet longing entered in a special way and the sense of space was diminished accordingly. I want you to be happy, too.

I write happily, blessed as always to not make too much of it. There are other projects, even other others if one wants to see it that way. In my dreams I recoiled in horror, lost in an old house in which an even older woman only wanted to be seen. Love has always frightened me, what little I have known of it. Endings are sad but life goes on, even this one.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Where the Trail Turns Suddenly

Do you know what I long for most? A sign. Not a star falling in the western sky, trailing smoke like the ash of a thousand letters. Not a black bear where the trail turns suddenly.

Simply a word. Like "quartz." Or "Ashtabula." Any word from a dream in which one needed no ladder to reach the stars.

Nobody reads this poem but it's possible she does. Nobody knows what I look for in the deadfall, muttering to myself the deeper I get. My faith is that the sentences matter because one day I will get them just right and remember the Love of God. "Candle" perhaps, or "fake snow falling in a candle shop," or "out-of-the-way craft fairs in Vermont peddling blown glass to lovers who can't let go the other's hand long enough to hold a beautiful Christmas ornament."

The water of the lakes beside Wisconsin pushes softly over the shore. Summer's lady bugs disappear as winter lengthens its hand-sewn sleeves. I am scared if I write a note it will only be set aside now, which will mean I am set aside, and my sentences barred from grace. Like Chopin I always compose in a state of near desperation.

Until her too-brief tenure, I never believed in forgiveness. Nor saw with such clarity its capacity to heal. How frightened I am of your hands and voice! Yet still dream - sadly, stubbornly - of a small fire for the two of us, against which no darkness or cold can stand.

Given to Words

I fell to sleep remembering the grape arbor where we buried calves, the dark blue shadows, and how light seemed not to enter. Gardens are happy places, as are open fields, as are trails through the forest. One longs to follow moose and so does but always ends up at that place where they cannot follow any longer because to do so would be to become a moose and so turns back. We are not our lovers, nor what we read.

The dirt road roughly tracked the brook where for years I fished alone, telling myself stories, fertilizing imagination. Do you remember the photographs I mailed you? A certain sorrow attends all that one does, and at last one begins to see that it is negotiable, perhaps necessarily so. A world view is not the world yet we think it is and that is the whole problem.

In a way, all correspondence is public (says the man for whom all secrets are in writing). Most of the trees to which I pay attention are now bare and have turned to face north. The moon's favorite instrument is a mandolin, possibly a fiddle. Also, as I told A. and N. yesterday, one of the laws by which I live is "be sure you have a dog."

The morning given to words and chores. Two hours in a lawyer's office only to learn again that dying is the easy part. Roads do go hither and yon in such a way that eventually you learn all that matters is you walk one. Winter is for putting up wood, harvesting sap, icy clarity and life-changing syllables from strangers.

The water bearer's arms have been empty a long time. Who bends toward service teaches, regardless of what we call it after. In late fall, I can at last sleep beneath piled blankets, a joy left over from childhood. And you, always you.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Softer Than Leaves Falling

All I want is to be helpful.

But longing confuses the way.

Why call it longing when it is really lust?

Why write "the country of her sighs" when we mean to write moans?

I know that she needs me but I don't know what that means nor whether I can manage it.

Snow falling is a rarer comfort.

How vulnerable must we be in prose and to what end?

When I walk each morning I think of her.

When I write each day I think of her.

But I perceive her only through the dense web of my own needs and wants, my own lenses of desire.

I wish that were different but wishing does not make it so.

When I will to see her differently then the need to go to her becomes so strong it is as if I do not have a body or that the one I do have can be blown this way and that by the faintest wind.

I am scared of what the miles will say to me when I travel.

I am scared that when I arrive she will not open but only want to talk about ghazals and Rumi and A Course in Miracles.

Why is it I am unable to trust any but the most public communication modes?

I wish I could write her a letter in the swirling water of the river to which I wander every day, each word dissolving as soon as it is written, its frail intent carried out to sea.

How tired I am . . .

How long have I wished to sleep beside her - not the stolen sleep of the guilty - but the deep rest of the safely loved?

In my mind when I enter her I cry, I bite back tears, and we move in each other so gently, softer than leaves falling fall into the grass.

In a certain light it is all possible and then one shifts - a little - and no, it is not and never was.

A Reflection of Our Will to Obscure

It rains. Clouds cover the moon, leaving just enough light to stumble happily into the old pasture. Who is not here is somewhere else. But it's enough.

And the pine trees do nothing yet I love them. I stop by the ones I planted twenty-five years ago and wish they could talk. A skunk hefts its tail and flares in the bare light. In the distance, howls.

One rises from little or no sleep and can't untangle desire's many objectives. One word in the right ear can change a life. In the garden, ridden now with weeds, a few Begonias remain, the color of moonlight, the color of a mouse's ear. In those days whiskey made many things possible, while rendering others beyond even dreams.

Are you reading this still? My knees are muddy from all the praying I do in the forest. Pileated woodpeckers that swoop away, deer that watch nervously from a hundred yards off. It's for you, which is not enough, nor all I have to give, which is why you left so gracefully.

Some trails are easy to follow, others not so much. We glorify what appears hard or mysterious or distant, yet it's merely a reflection of our will to obscure what is Love. Who knows this waits patiently on my song. I squander words in the rainy dark, nearly out of time.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

In the Darkness Flaring

Morning grows wise without me. Yellow birch leaves here, brown poplar leaves there. The trail turns and I follow it with my dog, as I have since I was young, and it is enough.

One turns to Jesus in a difficult time and is rewarded. Turtles push deeper into the mud and close their eyes. Frost decorates the prints of deer, as if somebody had scattered marzipan stars.

She kisses my throat hungrily, the dog steps off to the floor to wait. How lovely our bodies are in the darkness, flaring and joining like moths. A ghazal is another way of saying the same thing: I am separated from God and want somebody else to fix it.

Thus this. Thus the breeze that pushes each red leaf of the front yard maple into the sunlight where it spins and drifts to the uncut grass. I sip tea and write as I have done almost every morning now for thirty years.

The sentences, too, would replace God yet - paradoxically - also suggest a way back to divine wholeness. Her voice is sweet but I am not a butterfly driven to any flower. Often I leave the trail and wander for hours alone, making sense of things the way bears do, or wolves.

All psychological problems are solved in an instant or they are not solved! My foot brushed a mushroom which leaned on its side. Remember: solitude and loneliness are not synonymous.

We come quietly - gratefully - holding each other. Redeemed - briefly - by mutual tenderness.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Heart Wants To Climb

After midnight, sleepless for the thousandth night, I take the dog walking. The waxing gibbous moon sinks beyond tendril clouds. The sound of leaves falling seems to require something but I forget what. It was always this way.

But was it? These forest trails don't really remember me: I remember them. The man without shoes could walk anywhere. How many women must I make crawl across cut glass just to hear a kind word?

Well, we are who we are. We make contact with what is eternal and are correspondingly gratified. A few stars, a breeze in the pine trees. All of this has been offered up and yet here I am still, walking through it, as if I really don't want Jesus, really don't care for love.

Only once have I mentioned her name here, and quickly took it back. We are all scared of something. A taste of Heaven recalled in the body is not Heaven, merely a hint of the memory of Heaven. Don't get hung up on improvements, just look for the gate you hid a long time ago.

The dog comes in later and I sit up in bed writing. My heart wants to climb out of my chest. Well, one day it will. In the meantime, this.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Back and Forth in the Ruins

Walking again in old clothes, October wind nestled inside my ratty shirt. Moonlight follows me in spirals and cones, whispers and streams. I carry with me a memory of horses. I carry with me a sea.

The lumber out back shifts as winter gathers. I understand less and less as time passes. The words spill behind me like handfuls of white stones marking a trail. In my dreams, a swan offers me her back, and I sit instead on the shore and watch her glide away.

I cannot put back together what was broken and so wonder back and forth in the ruins, pleading with Jesus for help or at least a map. At times our voices ascend in a single harmonious note and other times, no. I am faithful to the call heard so long ago, the one about writing writing, and my God my God, what a price I have paid. Or so it seems.

The church mouse hums gathering stale crumbs. How rarely the words falter and yet here I am, faltering amongst them. The dog returns from the lower field panting, and I remember older dogs, and something else too that I am not allowed to say. You knew something I didn't but you didn't know how to share it which was I kept trying to leave and finally - albeit roughly - did. Poetry will help you, and reading more, and more carefully.

The mossy roots of slow-toppling maple trees tap an ancient desire I choose not to render in sentences. A gorgeous home awaits us all. I come back cold and tired near midnight, no closer to the Lord, but no worse for it either. Your pale imitation - the one you spend so much time writing about - satisfies nobody.

I Begin Again the Old Prayer

Before the sun rises I take my coffee outside and sit in the darkness listening to leaves fall.

There is no silence like that, not yet that I have known.

And yes, I wish that you were here.

Does not the profession of love obligate forgiveness?

And if forgiveness is less than total, it is not forgiveness but a sort of qualified hate?

Who stumbles toward God pauses now.

Your hand is the one I want.

In the distance, deer step delicately through the bracken, leaving the pond.

The heron rises from her nest in the high limbs of the pine tree.

And the geese mutter and rustle their wings for the long flight south.

Like you they are averse to winter.

Like me they only settle in darkness, afraid of any body coming closer.

I begin again the slow ascent of the hill you are.

I begin again the old prayer.

Blessed by your kindness - which brooks no refusal - I open my shirt to show yet another scar.

The darkness opens and refuses no light.

You who count daisy petals are loved.

Who you love is loved.

I begin again the slow ascent to forgiveness in the Kingdom of God.

Shame and sorrow urge me to hide but I offer again my damaged hands and wordy heart to the one who knows better than I the way home.

Monday, October 14, 2013

What Rough Angel Sent Me

One ascends gently. Ash falls. A single red feather fattens on the cliff. The bland lake of interior discourse.

Who no longer reads me bleeds me in dreams. What rough angel sent me toppling into the nether? We wither on vines of our own making. I cannot - cannot - undo the dream of kisses.

Well, stories. Makeshift apologies that run down by the garage. Stalkers abound. In the morning, walking, I shiver because I never wear the right coat.

The old blight passes by. Poems sift upward. I consider again the virtues of lying. If when I open the mailbox you are not there smiling I will wilt, I will die. Like that.

Like fat congeals on the onion soup. One never talks anything through. The needle falls to the floor and the widow gives up ever sewing again. You stone in my shoe, you fault line.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Untangled From Matter

Four a.m. holds me in its arms. A skunk - a white blur in darkness - picks slowly through underbrush, unconcerned about me. The house smells of apple. We are all in motion.

Why when I think of you is it always with such sadness? We are not bred to any condition. As light obeys its laws, love obeys its laws? One grows tired trying to reason through it all.

Money is the root of nothing yet it can certainly be a most pernicious branch. Avoid photographs of yourself praying. In my dream I was jailed, or at least ran the risk of it. Illusion equals incarceration?

Hold this for me, won't you? Up the road is another body that yearns to be untangled from matter. The scientist runs the same risk of fundamentalism as any Christian does. I like some movies, others not so much.

And breathe. And accept responsibility for dancing. No stars beneath slow-moving rain clouds. How tired I am, writing this.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The God I Consistently Crucify

If you gaze east while I gaze west where do our eyes meet?

If I think of you where the trail turns, does it turn for you as well?

If I sip this cup of tea with my eyes closed, picturing your shoulder, does the blanket slip from your shoulder as you sleep?

How many others must we pass through before resting at last in one another?

How many more lifetimes?

Stories come and go.

Even the stars come and go.

You were here before the hills, here before the sun setting beyond the hills, and here before I began writing prayers in secret rooms for the God I consistently crucify.

The moon comes and goes.

The dog goes out into the woods without me and I walk slower until she returns.

Daughter of wolves, woman of light.

How I long to kneel before you, to worship yes, but also to lean in to where you are softest, most secret.

A fool brings emptiness to emptiness.

A fool sits all day writing captions for photographs nobody ever sent him.

And this and that.

If in your mind you see a daisy do all the daisies of the world brighten the tiniest bit?

Does the highway beg to be traveled?

The hotel to be left behind?

What new home beckons where my heart trembles so frightened to go, so scared of what it fears it must give up?

Oh you, you beautiful you, you river of all my days.

One Considers the Stars

No moon. One considers the stars as children. One reduces awakening to a metaphor. The dog waits atop a hill. She does not speak.

Fear wears heavy boots. Trailing my hand through fallen leaves the familiar smell arises. One pictures her in a hotel, asleep, enchanted with what she can only manage alone. And yet. I slip easily into writing, perhaps too easily.

We are always sorting something, or so it seems. Clarity beckons in the same way a hotel does after a long day's drive. In another life, it is guitars that save me. Cement blocks around which the grass grows thick and tall. What do we want?

And so the flowers fall over in the garden. Quartz sings its muddy song a stone's throw from the brook. It is and that's enough. We like seeing what we have to say, as if that confirms the "later lovely blooming." Now this, again.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Excuse for Love

There are doors through which we all must pass. The tea kettle strains against the raging water inside it. Faith in music gets you nowhere.

One wakes and takes stock. Always ask: who is not here who should be. Peach compote on pancakes and then a long walk through sodden woods to the brook.

How it hurts, your absence. No silence is complete without her. Yet there is always another hand, or so it seems, this side of Heaven.

One studies the maps for a hint as to intent. Leans toward spells. In my dream, I nearly drove into a lake but stopped, and appreciated with new intensity, my coffee mug.

Patterns are shiny objects. Any four leaf clover will float for a while when set on water. It's cold in the morning and your presence matters differently.

He wrote after a long walk, as always, not in search of what to say. Belief in what, is the question? I have been writing poems since I was six years old - and talking to God, too - and it is getting tiresome.

On the other hand, what is a life but an excuse for Love to assume yet another form? You won't take this but it is for you, as all my poor efforts have been, since I first started to stumble down this trail.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Perforating Darkness Without You

How slowly I walk in October. This October.

How soft the brook sounds, like leaves falling, a murmur.

Just because a certain wilderness is familiar does not mean I want to walk through it. How many nights must I gaze up at the Big Dipper - its vast ladle, perforating darkness - without you?

In the morning I make coffee. In the morning I write.

A falling star just shy of the old homestead. Scent of apples. Hay bales. Would you hand fit in mine?

I cannot bear tenderness.

And the night winds go out farther than before and come back. The bear grows sluggish, the space between its thoughts like a liquid.

The welter of women no longer confusing, just one sign of loneliness, one sign of willingness. I read carefully what you write. I am sad to see you go.

The sentences float like dandelion seeds, from God to God. I can say that now. As open as the pine cones whistling down from the sky.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What So Long Went Closed and Broken

In October I walk slowly. The dog stops often and peers ahead. We listen to leaves falling, acorns bouncing off emerging quartz. One goes without love a long time and when faced with it is confused.

Invisible breezes. One moves slower along the rafters of language to find certain words. J. brought me a whiskey which I sipped at midnight, silver clouds sailing back and forth below the stars. Sleep does not come, not at all.

And yet a few hours later he stumbles outside and wanders a few miles of old pasture. There are names I will yet utter. A broken heart appeases nobody because liabilities never do. If only we could turn back the clock.

If only we turn darn our tattered socks. Between spruce branches the yellow leaves of the birch tree. Between desire and what names desire a little harmonious river. She slipped beneath the blankets quickly and we did not speak for there was nothing in that moment to say.

The motel stares bleakly out at the highway. Wine bottles crusted with blood roll around the dumpster. The mode matters but not so much as just choosing one and getting on with it. Not the heart - not even Christ - but simply the opening of what so long went closed and broken.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Like A Lonesome Motel

My lesson is not about letting go but rather holding on. Or so it seems at just before 5 a.m., this side of a rainy walk. Fog makes all light more luminous. Where are you? How my perception enlarges when you are its focus . . .

Or so I write, being bound by the laws of art to seduction. She writes about a new season and a small smile creases my lips. Rarely do I give attention where it is needed. We are encrusted and set in our ways long before we age.

Is change possible and if so then in the field of change, what does not change? My letters to you change. The breadth of affection, never. The highway beckons and like a lonesome motel I go to it.

Do not stop giving form to that which will one day go without. Express what is learned, that others may follow. I urge you to share the loveliness of your shoulders. I urge you to restore the red-winged blackbird to its rightful home in the cosmos.

Winter is coming. Who goes without their beloved goes cold. A thousand daisies forge bravely onward into the dream of no-Spring. I am here, as always, folding and unfolding in the nameless dark.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

What the Mind Deems Illicit

A night of rain such that one awakens at 6:30 to a kind of darkness. There is so much to do it seems - or at least a choice to make - the perception of which is a burden.

If we censored nothing, then what? Photographs arrive and one studies them a long time in the welter of desire. It is seasonal perhaps, or obligatory.

Water boils for tea (for her) and coffee perks (for him) and the house is quiet a little while longer. The first touch is sweetest but rarely satisfying. Thus praise, thus this.

One accepts a band of sorrow. It is a kind of arrogance to say one's sentences rarely mean what others think they mean. A belt that is heavy, that weighs you down as you cross a dark plains.

Behind the clouds, the sun, and behind the sun more space which means more stories. Awakening is a question of letting go, mostly, hence its difficulty. Ghazals now.

Ceramic vats of sauerkraut on the counter. Service extends even to what the mind deems illicit. I have begun to root for the front yard zinnias, stubbornly insisting on red.

On blood? Across many miles she shows so much and no more and one wonders, one does.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Northern Forests

A love letter remains a favorite mode and yet it foregrounds the body, the dissolution of which is apparently home to this life's salvation. And yet. Somewhere beside a lake you study the small rocks and think of my cairn. I am always writing, always in love.

Yet sex merely replaces the finer - the ineffable - Love upon which we are all (ostensibly) bent. Sunflowers stagger through the night only to end up in the same garden where they began. A wasp does not study winter. Yesterday I nearly called and who knows what today will ask of me, chirpy fool that I am.

Does a horse know better than you God's will? Mist rolls in gently from the northern forests. The world exists in a rain drop in a dream in a mind in denial. And all the answers can be found in a grasshopper's eye.

My favorite kisses have all been outside, mostly in the presence of birch trees. Yesterday we picked sixty pounds of apples while it rained. My father is dying slowly and I am scared, so scared. Greed sits in its slivered chamber blowing on its cold thin fingers.

My eyes were made that I might see your bare shoulder. My toes were made to remind me I am human. This sentence goes unread. The heart does not break but rather stops and so now what?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Where the Wind Goes to Die

A moth follows me inside. Shuttered darkness. What leaped away in darkness earlier was heavy and inelegant. The way you don't read me is a desert and I go deeper every day.

There are words I am not allowed to say, as there are stories I am not allowed to tell. Cattail stand at the far edge of the field. Stars seen through dim clouds. We are always pressed for time, always.

Perhaps this time I will send you a letter. Ask what God requires. The sentences trail off and in the distance a siren begins. We are unknowable in the end.

Thus marriage, thus this. Drinking coffee I think of calling you. Words slip like figs from my throat. Accusations rest in the corner like boys with swords.

Would you if I asked? We make promises and they are wind, they are where the wind goes to die. She can bear silence better than he thought. Weeping insects ascend through maple ladders.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Last Petal of the Last Daisy Falls Softly

In Heaven no one will ask are they deserved or not. Falling to sleep with wind in the tops of hungry maples. And later you came in and we made love the way we do - a softness, slowly, a cry. A mouthful of pillow so as not to wake the children. And after gratitude, warming tea, and talking about our favorite fall.

In the corner, the fan from my childhood gathers dust. And Venus moves unseen through the sky, awaiting the sun's descent in order to briefly gleam on the westernmost rim of the sky. Who writes is blessed, like the end of clocks. Answered prayer, endless hymns. Porcelain predators line the window sill.

What is happiness in a world of scarcity? Why does God bother? All night dreaming of birch trees and traces of water in my palm. It must matter, she wrote, but then wrote no more. Teachers come and go when the student is not sure if they are ready.

A quartz silo glittering as the sun rises. The last petal of the last daisy falls softly to the frosty earth. Starlight takes a long time to find our eyes. One struggles to accept the love of Zinnias. The road home winding through billowing dark.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Hidden Chapel You Know

The curtains billow in breezes coming from all directions. I am happy for you, and also grateful. The dog - somewhat later than usual - comes out of the forest panting. Thus this.

Pumpkins on the periphery of thought because one sees them in late September and early October. One blurs the relationship between cause and effect. Though I wait on the mail, the mail never comes. And yet.

He thinks of her often, usually while walking, but sentences about her - or for her - do  not arise the way they once did. Forget what you're doing and focus on healing. I forget the names of all the bushes we transplanted. Thus this, for you.

I bear a difficult silence, only lately understood as negotiable. Enormous books ask to be read. One smells dust and mildew and sees a slant of light in which the faintest of faint blues is visible. The lake before dawn, a thousand miles away.

We were made for a hidden chapel, you know. I broke faith too easily for too long and may no longer pray on my knees. Songs compose themselves in the valley of rhymes. The women who don't read me are the ones who help me most.