Sunday, August 16, 2015

One Way You Say It

Half a dozen cups of coffee through which silence strains like sorrow in the nineteenth century and then it's morning. C. rolls over and we touch the way you do when it's not about touch (well, not just about touch). Two days running now the cardinal avoids the feeder or else decomposes in a fox's belly or is memory itself a sieve? Are you gone truly? One asks for it. Hunger terrifies me, as all appetites terrify me, and so the world remains. Or do I return to it? I still arch a little, kissed just so, and it makes us laugh. Perhaps joy is predictable, awakening mechanical. Her hand on my shoulder directs me and I flow - or follow - accordingly. Actually, I never leave but stumble on like a moose through snowdrifts, both wordy and wordless, a pilgrim who can't remember where he came from, much less where he's going. Fran offers a deal on oxen, reigniting the old fantasy of working all day with an ax in the woods. Whispering while moaning, knowing the way, enfolded by her a loveliness. It's important to say no sometimes too. Yes? Reciprocity, inclusivity. Ideals. You know how the parts crumble to reveal the whole. I hold her hair back, grateful as always, and as always a little amazed. Trust what works? Trust the gift being given? You have to see how the winter maple somehow contains the potential for green, and how green is never not contemplating the dark. Patiently we learn to follow, becoming less and less reliant on notes, ours or anyone else's. Urgent kisses after, salty and full, for the one who holds us, or holds the light. Shares the way? Well, I am happy and this is how you say it - this is one way you say it - at last.

Across the Mapless Landscape

How hard it is to bear her kindness for even a little while! I stumble through a half-lit morning, convinced there's a right prayer - a secret prayer - and I don't know it. Yet somewhere a train rumbles down tracks overlooking a river, and somewhere a heron strikes the silver anvil of a pond killing fish, and somewhere further yet a woman bends her head in prayer in a dim midwestern poustinia. Oh, Christ, what I wouldn't give to have nothing to give! And Christ what sequence of poems must I utter - what transparently holy supplication must I make - to at last go wordless through the yet more wordless dark? How slowly the lessons come! How faintly the hymn begins where chickadees wake up in bowers of sunlit pine! The duty of the moment begs my attention, and I try to say yes, despite this greed and this hunger and lust. For I love the cross, and the nails and the thorns, and the long shadow it throws across the mapless landscape, everyone kneeling in its rivers of whiskey and blood. If you were here I would open you, hold you hard, over and over, and cry out against your throat, and rise and plead with the Maker of Saints to forgive me, fulfill me, and then fall again to your thighs, that landscape, that openness, forever seeking the emptiness that blesses the one whose love is spent, who has nothing left. Bring me your mouth - I will fill it with stars - mine has turned now to dust.

A Dark Landscape Nobody Else Crosses Anymore

Let's get one thing clear: there is no separation. Not between you and that crocus, or you and your ex-husband, or you writing and me writing, or you and the way I want to see you naked. It helps to remember that countless situations are inherent - implicit - in any given one, but we always know which one we are presently experiencing. Yes? She falls to her knees and we can't believe our luck. Or did we do something to merit it? Her attention, her kindness, the gift of her over and over. Well, somebody is always kissing somebody - that's one way to think about it. Surely there are others. Often when the dog suggests we turn back I hesitate - as if some internal clock can only be wound by pushing my body further and further into a dark landscape nobody else crosses anymore. Yet I miss sleeping, and cherish rest, despite my insistence it remain elusive. Closer to six - yielding to something that is not love but a kind of fear I am no longer willing to fear looking at - I crawl back into bed, notwithstanding hours of writing, a couple cups of coffee, and the studied yearning that continues to argue it can only be met somewhere between my addiction to comfort and the sound your shirt makes falling to the floor. Am I imagining things? What I wouldn't give to be a birch tree right now, or whatever roses are in late winter in New England - a bloom unblooming, a luminous potential. An opening? Or am I? At last perhaps to enter, enter and be welcome. I mean You, only You.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Wordy Engagement

The skunk wanders in circles, soft and luminous in the darkness, not unlike the way I imagine making love to you will be, or would have been, were I more inclined to travel and you somewhat less bothered by your weight. It's not summits I'm after but movement itself. Hardship doesn't bother me, most kinds anyway, nor long hours alone where nobody ever goes. Horses step carefully over stones to reach the low sweet clover. How strange nearing fifty to succumb finally to the welter of not-knowing that has so long been nibbling at my toes! Images abound, and strains of a submerged melody awaiting formal composition, and also an old but still pleasing obsession with apples and orchards. Walking around the yard naked at midnight, beyond caring. Who hungers, lives. As if a little flame really does suffice. What do you see when you close your eyes? Whatever I don't say is what will haunt you most unfortunately. Morning coffee, the wordy engagement, and a thought that maybe it is time to look somewhere other than after my father.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

All the Orphans

Beach stones dry by the clothesline, the cardinal comes closer than ever, and I am almost ready to let that red and black winter hunting jacket go. Can you feel me when I breathe, as I feel you? The prism is my teacher, not of beauty as I so long thought, but of method. What passes, passes. When I walk now, there is one who walks beside me, gently sifting the streams of light, affording grace the home we are to each other, both in and out of time. Atonement is the blank scroll unraveling. Meanwhile, the ruby-throated hummingbird studies me in the lawn chair, a favor I return with love, and thus we are together absolved of the futility inherent in any horizon. Oh longing, you are the bright streamer that attaches me to the world! What would I say to you that I would not say to the darkness? This? That? The rose bush falters, but life itself does not, and in that knowledge we are married and call all the orphans home.

The Rain Before It Falls

And the dog leaves first, the mattress sighing, soft patter of claws against hardwood going away. Once upon a time, typewriters. Thunder started a long way off - first in dreams, then in the dream - and one sat by the window to listen, falling suddenly back when a blast of lightening struck just above the neighbor's barn. Oh what the hash knife leaves in its wake! I hear the rain before it falls, or rather hear it coming from the west like a soft but steady wind and marvel at it because I like to marvel. This silence, this solitude, this act of service, this self that is no-self and knows it. Yet later padding softly through the house naked to close windows and wonder who else is awake or will awaken and what then. How fast the rain passes! Yet lightening lingers on the horizon, now and again, strains of a melody one is only just now longing to to remember. It's fine to wait and see what happens, it is. Alone is what I am and what I remain, at least for now, and that's okay too. It's more than okay. It is.

In Search of a Certain Stand

Moonlight falls on the skunk's back while I wander afield in search of a certain stand of thistle. It's nice to walk, and hard to find something when you're happy just looking. She would want to know what purple looks like in the moonlight, which is not precisely the reason I am out here at 2 a.m., but what do I know about motive, really? The one who is not here goes with me, a paradox I decline to be haunted by, and yet return to again and again, a hawk to its gyre, eye to the horizon, and so forth. C telling me at the bottom of the hill, I don't need the metaphor, I need the fucking truth. When the skunk hisses suddenly I stop walking. We're closer than we should be, me and this skunk, and stay that way a good two or three minutes, a long time as long times go, facing off in the luminosity of a so-called blue moon, the last for several years. Finally, I give up and turn for home, mostly because the skunk was here first, and also because I forgot why I came. Only in the front yard, resting on the stairs and waiting for the dog to come back do I remember. Oh yes - thistle in the moonlight. Oh well. It's a good life, or a good enough life, and I really shouldn't complain and mostly don't. Though later, trying to fall back to sleep before the rooster starts his raucous howling, I think: I really did want to see it, the thistle in moonlight, and what else opens lovingly in the dark just so.