Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Streams of Running Water

I sit quietly in the back room writing, now and then looking at the sky. The Teacher does not hide Himself but allows me to see Him with my eyes. Earlier I drank coffee and watched cardinals fly back and forth over the snow. Plath's blue light forever a nurturing plenitude, pushing me ever deeper into the luminous heart of Augustine: "When I want to speak to you, I look for a way to share with your heart what is already in mine." So the hours come and go, so the temperature rises with the appearance of sunlight, so the Advent readings scatter their seed, nudge the coarse soil I am, and float away. It's okay. What I can give away, I give away, and what I can't yet give away, I use to study the nature of justice and mercy. Was Love ever more or less? Half-dead and broken but still bent on streams of running water, still turning to moonlit mountains, still listening to the still quiet voice saying "this is the path, child - walk it." Oh, thank you Jesus for the cardinals, who are my heart another way. Thank you Buddha for the quiet, which is my song from the inside out. Thank you Sean for writing, which is my joy in threads and spools. And thank you Lord for not hiding anymore, which is my walking stick and my shoes.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Last Summer's Hummingbirds

A thousand mornings pass but this morning does not pass. We are many things but we are not mourning doves on the crest of a storm, we are not shatter-proof outside Christmas decorations swaying in a storm-coming breeze, we are not leftover homemade pickles, and we are not socks lost behind a hissing radiator. Does the ocean deny you? Did last summer's hummingbirds deny you? Can you imagine any bluet ever in the so-called future denying you? The voice and the word are not one thing! The latter endures - lives on in Augustine's famous heart - while the former does its job and then fades, like an envelope or an A minor chord. Let us all praise the wholly holy envelope! Let us all sing sad Irish folks songs in a minor key! You might ask if we are talking about appearances in comparison with nonappearances or the coming-and-going coming and going or Tara Singh's Helen Schucman's miracle. Maybe but can we be real for a minute? These word games are one thing but the Lord is another altogether, yes? I mean, if Sean didn't live in New England he wouldn't be the man without shoes, he'd be the man without something else, and sooner or later he'd see as clearly as I do that this lovelily life gives itself away - literally infinitely spills itself all over itself - and what else could anyone ask for? Ten thousand mornings made this morning possible and - say it with me brother, say it with me sister - this morning is all the morning there is. The tea in the mug is so beautiful I cannot bring myself to drink it (but I do drink it - of course I drink it), and the wind against the north walls is the Christ who - even when made welcome by degrees (which is the only way I know to welcome anyone) - is made welcome all the way.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Shimmering Lard

Driving to the butcher down a long hill not quite a mountain, tired but not too tired, and only relatively alone. We who allow ourselves to be troubled by ghosts must still pick and choose our haunts. When I wake at 4 a.m. I am neither gracious nor alert, yet words are still there and - in an oddly predictable way - prayer is still there as well. "You can eat everything but the squeal," he says, helping me carry the divided body to the car, and I laugh out loud, rousting crows from a nearby pine. One is tempted to call the world itself the face of God but resists, knowing all too well that the face of God is that which does not need translation (and thus falls outside one's particular skills and ambit). How hungry we are after three hours of writing! As if the bowl in which yesterday dried rose petals lay had been subjected to a great wind and was now in need of replenishment. To say nothing of the writing, nothing of the voice, nothing of the ears with which one hears. "I'm sorry" I say happily to the bacon jitterbugging in our old cast iron pan. "Thank you" I say to the shimmering lard and the many fresh eggs frying in it. "Oh won't you stay or turn just just a little?" I say to the Lord, who as usual does not reply, but whose passing remains both legible and a comfort.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

On the Way to the Well

All these women I meet on the way to well - are they distractions or the reason I travel in the first place? We who forgot our bucket in a glade, who are yet writing her name on the water tower's side. I remember making love to you in the forest, your hands not on my back or shoulders but digging into the humus on which we came together. Perhaps roots are the sky another way or is my ongoing confusion not confusion at all but wisdom cheerfully consigning itself to the lowest rung on the ladder? Donning work gloves, reading John's Gospel, wondering what she looks like in three - not two - dimensions. Under the weight of so many metaphors and analogies and euphemisms - aka wordiness - it can be hard to remember that it's okay to make others happy, to let the little things go, and to fill and be filled by the world's salty gushing. Yes, I know, in December the rivers darken and maple leaves freeze in the gutter. Won't you come closer so I can decorate you and eat the distance between us? You for whom travel is both permissible and kind? Tell me again you will get on your knees. And can you hear across the miles my warming hymns of praise?

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Penchant for Previous Centuries

Well, I wonder about suffering, I really do. Strange songs are not a sign of madness and my shoes miss me when I go a long time without them. Chrisoula points out - wordlessly but not signlessly - that the moon is never not in the sky when I go looking for it. On the other hand, my father and I both had well-trained memories and a penchant for previous centuries. This morning the mist floated above the river, a sort of blurred white trail pointing east, putting me in the mind of sex, gentle happy sex between lovers who have known one another a long time. We for whom the kisses after are all the reason now to get - and stay - naked. On the highway, one sees a lot of Jesus, albeit mostly in passing, and begins at last to no longer demand any greater presentation. This this! So we were wrong about some things, so what? So the ladder doesn't reach all the way to the gutter, so what? I come back slowly - like surfacing, like a man who has discovered there is no such thing as a horizon, only the appearance of one. What a diet these assumptions make! What a stew of prose and half-assed imitations of half-assed interpretation of Rumi poems! No wonder I'm so hungry, no wonder I can't stop talking about what goes in the other's mouth. It's okay, I tell myself, doing a little dance on freezing hardwood floors. Or it will be? I do wonder about despair these days, I do open the interior cupboard to negotiate again with the darkness there, and the soup.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bereft of Scrawl or Scripture

The loveliness of dawn facing North: green lawn, brown pasture, grey trees, mallow sky, all of it as if emerging from some willing-to-compromise darkness. Or is it that I stand alone on the lip of a great canyon and everything I say is carried away by the wind and heard by nobody? The horses approach: a woman a thousand miles away genuflects for another man: and the last leaf falls from the mostly-fruitless apple tree. You make tea, you forget where you left your feet, the pigs are dead but not silent, and in your dreams homeless dogs renounce your studied casualness. It is as if my loneliness compounds itself with every effort to end it, as if the silence becomes drier and deeper with every thought and utterance. There are no footprints behind me now: mine or anyone else's: both desert and frost-covered field are blank texts bereft of scrawl or scripture. Everything fades: the possibility of blame, the possibility of healing, even the possibility of saying so much in words. For I do not know anymore who it is that suffers nor who the author of that suffering is to whom complaint or cry for redress might be directed. Another log splits in the fire, another heron starves standing upright, and another clove of garlic insulates itself from the kitchens of the soul. The man without shoes asks how he got here while his feet sing from the afterlife a song they wrote called "Nobody Goes Nowhere (And The Lord Goes With Them)." Even the language in which the questions are posed is foreign, like words from a kingdom from which I have been exiled, and from whose memory I have long since faded. So the horses turn away. So the hangman with a familiar face whistles where he waits braiding rope beneath the crossbeam. This fructive Advent, this crowning absence, this dull and plaintive script I yet again am called to edit.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I Cry to the Mist in the Pasture

One wakes before the alarm for no particular reason unless a sort of aimless happiness counts. There are no dogs in the house so the sense of being attended - or needed even - diminishes accordingly. With what shall I praise thee if not this weary tongue, if not this stub of lead? We for whom the Lord is words, for whom the semiotic impulse is itself the requisite - the longed-for - holiness. I reheat coffee in a.m. darkness, loving the hissing blue light, which is to say, loving that which makes loving possible. Clues and symbols abound but in the end even the hidden texts - even the sacramental texts - offer neither solace nor sustenance. Gain the mountain, lose your feet! Yet later, stepping outside to pee, to visit the horses, to walk as far as the empty-but-for-memories pig pen and then back in time to leave to teach, one remembers all the reasons to go both shoeless and alone. Let us leave nobody behind this time I cry to the mist in the pasture. Slowly one sinks into the abyss, slowly one stops trying to find its bottom or regain its crest, and slowly - slower darling slower - one perceives a dim light that is the faint - and getting fainter - trace of the God whose presence is forever passing.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

An Imprecise Eraser

In November one wakes to no snow, noteworthy only because at bedtime there was snow. Weather as a welcome if imprecise eraser, indifference as a kind of radiating SOS. While the others sleep, I drink bad coffee and navigate - that is not the word - a two-year-old depression (which is the word). We who cannot win but can go deeper do so only to discover a new "we" who cannot swallow all of the watery swale. First they ask how they can help, then they tell you that you need to get professional help because they don't think they can help you, and then they tell you that you have to leave because you're not getting better. Wind, snow flurries, sun against far hills the color of certain gun barrels. One rediscovers their fundamental homelessness and it hurts - oh how it hurts - but on the other hand, what else allows for hope? This and other park benches on which I have slept, spent hours pondering something from nothing while people passed without looking at me, and generally kept faith with the Lord as I understood him. Is it Sunday already? Are those bells dissolving in my gut or am I still a little bent on religion and salvation? Where you can't breathe, you can't ask for help, but you can be still, you can make the way you travel a light unto other travelers. This loneliness wants to know itself better, a tether if one is needed, and a familiar tether, if familiarity matters. Yes, the sun rises on dead pigs and many others who will never eat again but what else is new? My dear, my departing, my lovely - my willing - eclipse.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Continuous Rehearsal

This life appearing as a continuous rehearsal I can neither modify nor end. The stars are not looking back at us - not the way we understand "looking" - but it can be helpful sometimes to think of it that way. At midnight in November one visits the pigs a last time, their breath rising in the moonlight, dense and white like pools of semen. Pilate was a menace long before Jesus showed up, bound and determined to enact his public swan dive into history. What is prayer, what is love, what is forgiveness and who decides - these were never irrelevant questions - and their answers still matter - even if we are no longer a willing or ideal respondent. I wake and stagger down the hallway at 2 a.m., surprised to find myself on the verge of understanding nothing yet again. What is gallows but another word for stage? We aren't brave because we feed the poor, and we aren't right because we've decided the pigs will die, but the pigs are dying because we are still confused about the precise nature of hunger. I can't get away from Jerusalem, nor the death penalty, nor this studied reliance on women who calmly wash and wrap the dead. Morning arrives like pipe smoke, the invisible hand curling into a fist. It does come to this, doesn't it? At the last minute we refuse to swallow and so begin again: first we study emptiness, then we plant a garden, then we look for bodies looking for other bodies.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Light is Another Form of Darkness

Insisting others read Wittgenstein or Husserl is not where it's at, not anymore. It's possible the gift isn't for being a pretentious asshole but rather this ability to see all sides, to share in all sides. We really are composed of wow. In the end, it doesn't matter if there is "many" or "one-appearing-as-many" because you are still bound to response, and your response is bound to love. See if it isn't so! Hours pass on the highway, the moon disappears in thickening clouds, and the only voice I hear is the only voice I ever hear. Shall we gather at Emily Dickinson's grave and leave a sheath of daisies? Shall we study in the hay loft, completing the other's sentences? Shall we undress carefully and give attention to what remains at this late - but not too late - juncture? I know that longing for the light is another form of darkness but still. Look at these hands, look at this tongue. Look at this museum I can't quite leave behind. It is as though I am writing - writing writing - as if my life - or someone's life - depended on it.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sabbaths Abound

"To leaven means to lighten," a simple fact I borrow from a 1936 cookbook and take as the day's homily against so much grief and despair. We should not overly miss the geese who so quickly disappeared beyond the mountain this morning, and yet the geese are gone who this morning we begged to be a sign for us of love. Sabbaths abound but there is one that neither comes nor goes, and it is that sabbath to which my attention is now given. We are blessed who forget our blessing and are compelled to reconstitute it daily out of work and family and weather and the mail. The rain doesn't worry where it falls, and snowflakes don't buy tickets for the museum. When I walk, I walk with you, and when I clean and repair old furniture on the back porch, I clean and repair it there for you, but you have no name and do not live anywhere. Is it clear now? There is this wind, there is this pasture, there is this moment where the two are one, and the one remembers how it all came apart in the flood.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Termlessness of Salvation

On Wednesday morning Jeremiah writes "what the fuck just happened" on our family white board and nobody erases or edits it or otherwise suggests he could have said it less roughly. Chrisoula asks me to fill out cut sheets for the butcher because thinking of the pigs dead and hanging on a hook makes her sad. There is a sky through which we are falling but we are not defined by it. Goodbye moon, goodbye ocean, goodbye side yard lilac bush. When was I not waking early to drink coffee and write poems? Or stumbling drunk through Europe and Boston in order to get more intimate with the termlessness of salvation? I married her and learned how to make laundry detergent and soap, how to grow my own food, how to sit beside the dying, and how to write - and then extend - a wordiness that matters. Oh child, between birth and death - so dimly you could miss it if you hadn't been created just to see it - love. This love.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Interior Letterpress Museum

What is this then where we find ourselves bereft and unsure but not untended and - critically - not incapable of tending? The window is impossibly bright but then a bucolic New England landscape emerges: or is simply perception sharpening one way instead of another? The work is to love - and to save oneself for love - but everybody knows this. What remains when conviction passes? The morning passes wiping away mold from corners long unvisited, writing when chunks of time - usually twenty minutes or more - open up, and sorting through the interior letterpress museum formerly known as guilt and hurt and anger. Ruins abound but we are not bound to wreck ourselves all over again. Be the prism you have heretofore only collected. Insist - however brokenly, however miserly, however confusedly, however stutteringly - on the prerogatives of love. Which we cannot know absent the study of both justice and the Lord? Well, we who so long went without shoes now publicly decline to cut off our feet. We are not alone and our not-aloneness can no longer be fruitfully denied. I mean precisely this poor and largely unnoticed gathering, regardless of the god or gods invoked.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Quietly the Steam Trails Away

Perhaps I am not meant to accept these gifts?  Perhaps it is okay to say no thank you and instead sit quietly out back watching the horses? Would the Lord allow anyone to be injured by another's misconception of love? Or is it that I am only just now remembering it was always my decision to make intimacy conditional on crucifixion? Pushing noon and the frost still hasn't melted all the way so I put up the mower and drink coffee on the back porch. It's cold but not too cold, breezy but not too breezy. Welcome brother cardinal! Salutations sister junco! For the first time since Dad died Chrisoula and I fight, and the sadness is like drowning in a river. What is this pain that seems to go wherever I go? There are so many currents, so many seams! Anyway, at 4 a.m. I dress with the lights off so as not to wake her, then forsake prayer in order to submerge myself in unfamiliar texts. How happy we are, from time to time, in spite of it all. How quietly the steam trails away from the mug.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Any Other October

Our lives are changed forever or are forever changing or is it that we are changing forever through the beloved lens of attention? Acorns fall, snow melts, geese can be seen grazing in the far corner of the pasture. All the ways this October is not any other October! Deepening unto yet more deepening. Is this what they meant when they said stillness? At 5 a.m. I give up on going it alone and ask for help and that which shows up isn't helpful and anyway keeps going. I cast aside my shoes, now I have to cast aside my feet as well? We flee before that which reminds us of that from which we flee. The clouds are here and then they are there and in between them floats . . . precisely what? At dusk I run my hand along the horse's mane, talk to it in low tones about the many Kingdoms I left behind in order to arrive here, empty-handed but not unprepared. The lovelily prism cast by the lens of attention becomes us you see. Not even the mountains kneel anymore, not even the river kneels. Even the old barn cat on her haunches by the gate - swinging open, swinging shut - is thinking it over. Again. And again. And again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Ongoing Clarification

So much is clarified which is to say there is now an ongoing clarification in which one trusts. We slow down driving in order to observe geese settling in recently-harvested potato fields. When will I stop being surprised at how little it takes to be happy? Or - better - when will I consent to just be happy? She doesn't know, she doesn't say. All the reasons we adopt this or that narrative, including the narrative that narrative adopts us. Broadly speaking, the whorls of a nautilus vs. many grains of sand. One of the best bread bakers I ever met walks by holding a baby but I forget her name, remember it too late and anyway have no real energy for sustained conversation with relative strangers, even talented ones who gaze directly at hunger. Certain relationships are simply not helpful (if they ever were) and saying so means a broad space emerges which allows for slow turns and other forms of reconsideration. Luna belongs to nobody and you don't need a passport to spend a lifetime writing poems. Shall we get ahead of thought or simply disregard it? Who cares at this late juncture? I was happiest fishing with him, especially when I was young, Bronson Brook at dusk and who cares what if anything you catch, but now he is dead and I no longer fish. Leaves fall, and keep falling. Stars fall. Now I write this sentence. Now I write another.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

All the Hurt in the First Place

I am trying to make sense of the hurt and of the insistence on hurting myself, the latter as perhaps a form of penance, but more likely revenge against the one perceived as having started all the hurt in the first place. Write what you would rather not look at? One wakes up sore and confused on the couch, their dreams a blur of aesthetic directives - you should listen to classical music vs. I'd rather listen to new age music - and interior rooms to which one is confined by choice. Yet so often the one we would hurt no longer cares - has long since forgotten - was hurt themselves - received in advance what passed for our consent - or whatever - and so where are we then in the Freudian mythology? I can't make sense of my body anymore, especially its application to intimacy, or am I just now seeing the problem? Jesus makes sense, as always, especially through the lens of A Course in Miracles, which naturally we can't let go of fast enough. When we arrived home I dumped the last of the bad coffee on the driveway and went inside to read, later slumping on the couch like a troll whose bridge was being repaired and had no other place to go. Is it true that we are going to die? Would I let her kiss me - would I let her do more - or only share a cup of tea? Morning comes and brings with it the same old script, the same old story, the same old song and agitprop. Someone fiddles, someone else burns. Meanwhile, between smoke and portamenti, this. This this.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Socrates Always Said It Would Happen

Rain falls - everything is muted - but I am not muted. Hours after midnight sitting beneath the apple tree while the horses come and go, breathing and stamping in the moisty dark. Even thought leaves me alone now, but Chrisoula visits, as vast and encompassing as where one goes when they are no longer bent on being holy or unholy. How many yellow leaves can my shoulders bear? What is it they whisper going down? How many disciples have to throw their sandals into the sea just to get my attention? Whose idea was Jesus? And what if this little upturned turtle shell - the one Chrisoula made me at Fitzgerald Pond with a kiss - won't reach the far shore? Yet when I turn to the house she is there waiting and in her tired gaze I am all at once lifted. Made whole? Well, the night does pass and I do refuse sleep and so the day does rise like a tide against my knees. Why did Sean make an art of forsaking love? Why did he insist on going shoeless through the snow, year after year after year? A lifetime of aimless paddling redeemed by a vigilant Greek woman, the way Socrates always said it would happen. At dawn I tell her I am scared I have confused visions of Christ with chickadees, and chickadees with visions of Christ. "But I am always laying you down on simmering pine needles," she whispers, easing me down just so. "I am always giving you my Name," she breathes, and wreathes me in her circumference, and carries me home through the door.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Those Stars Glittering Above the Northern Hills

And was it dusk when I went out to sit beneath the apple tree? And were those stars glittering above the northern hills? And was it the last of the coffee I took with me? And was the sky also filled with clouds that neither moved nor changed their shape? Were the horses present? Was there not a sense of attendance - both attending and being attended? What is the function of memory in poetry? And was the chair sufficient? What shoes did I wear? Was the mug in which the coffee cooled too quickly sufficient? Whose teeth hurt? Whose voices could be heard on the distant street? What were the pigs saying to each other? How were they saying it? What argument was being made, what argument was being conceded? Who decided? Who knows? Are ankles intelligent? What was redacted? What was felt but ignored? What good are my hands? You were far away - why?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Undoing Every Crucifixion Ever

So you wait on the one who waits on you and together you make an almost-circle that never quite meets. Isn't it strange, this capacity to stand in the way of joy? Sunlight makes the world bearable, each falling yellow leaf a blessing undoing every crucifixion ever, even the one that brought us together in spite of our illusory wills. My lips on your shoulder, your tongue on my throat . . . We elevate the simplest impulse in a vain attempt to discover the holiness that already resides in the salt saliva and semen of which we are so lovelily made. In other words - in the spirit of the Husserlian bracketing - why not just be a body? Dance when the spirit says dance, fuck when the spirit says . . . well, yes - of course the spirit sometimes asks us to fuck. Syllables abound as if to make clear the song is going nowhere, no matter how naked or not-naked one gets. The moon is silent and still in the well-lit circumference of me - surely you have noticed this as well. Isn't it a sorrow that she thought she would disappoint me when what I wanted were her precisely soft and gentle billows willingly opening because they were her? Isn't it a grief that my bland concerns about size and shape interfered with grace, with the gift that begged to be both given and received? In other words, the forgiveness you are bound to share against the sins I insist on inventing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pretty Going-Down Songs

How slow one goes, or can go, on the cusp of attention. What you mean vs. what you say vs. what you are perceived to have meant, where "vs." is indicative not of conflict but relationship, and "you" is not subject to kisses, mine or anyone else's. The many sparrows, the many gusts of wind. The feeling of being carried away so often confused with the feeling of being carried back. Well, we always did have trust issues. Because I wake so early, by mid-afternoon waves of exhaustion threaten and no amount of coffee can right the capsizing vessel, though the drowning do sing their pretty going-down songs. That which has been blessed cannot subsequently go without its blessing after all. In her dream crows address the missing preponderance of rain and she wakes a detective of the weather, a regular gumshoe of downfalling. Meantime, I sit quietly at night beneath the apple tree and pretend I can hear the moon breathe. The familiar game getting more so all the time? Maybe. The Beloved says it's only a love letter if nobody reads it. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

An Unexpected Comfort

This man sees himself in the eyes of a horse at dawn. Sweet tea, blue sky: is this what it means to live? I write, and the writing writes me, and yet really all that's happening is writing. Suddenly even dying resembles the next breath: there without asking, a kind of sustenance one can but can't explain. After he died I began to question the world as a form of fatherlessness but it answered gently: you are here and you are a father. "The greener grass is always brown" indeed. Einstein's insistence on the moon even when he wasn't looking at it was perhaps a way of saying it's okay to be in love. At dawn the horses walk with me the length of the pasture, an unexpected comfort, a real and sustainable happiness. I would show her the church steeple maybe, and tufts of grass that at a distance look like foxes, and maybe the river just a trickle in its banks. This nothing-happening is all there is? Forget your yes, your no and your maybe. Between kisses and no-kisses, a sweet world rises.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Out to the Garden at Midnight

Awake before the others I go downstairs and make coffee, turning now and then to the west-facing window, a corner of the sapphire sky trailing threads of pale cloud as if somebody up there really does care about our joy. It takes a while for the interior compass to adjust itself, for true North to offer up its balancing load of ore but it does, it does. What I wouldn't do I don't do, but what I can do I do do? Sparrows work the feeder, briefly Christ to my yet-struggling epistolarian barreling down the road to a Damascus he'll never see again. What is One admits no fragmentation, and it takes attention to see this in a naturally sustained way. Depend on the Lord and all will be revealed, or just give until amidst the nothing-left-to-give you learn you can always give a little more. Sunlight is a form of starlight, though one can be forgiven for not seeing it that way. The last of the lilies for which nobody held a funeral, for which my grief at last finds expression in balky snot-filled tears. Going out to the garden at midnight where nobody will see or hear me weep, thus ensuring my continued role as the ever-uncomforted, lonely-but-for-thee poet. On the other hand, we write it, and write it in a way that others read it, so maybe not so much. Well, soon enough we'll be out at the barn offering amends and trying to find an unobtrusive way to be helpful. How much comes up for the saved! Twenty years after the wedding one loses count of the reasons to be grateful that they married her. Keep your letters and your wordy bon bons, Sean, and keep your course in miracles and the loyal dead for whom you disparaged it. There are no lost dogs where there is no trail to God. This frameless Love is forever.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Only the Impoverished

Apparently it's 4 a.m. again and I am awake, drinking coffee on the back porch, trying not to name every damned thing and squeeze it into a poem. The neighbor's porch light here, a wandering skunk over there. The faintest of faint breezes in the maple tree and a sense one gave insufficient attention all those years ago to liberation theology. To what end did I think it would all be put? These hands, these feet, this tongue, these ears? Dust rises as if to bless my ankles and the first bird - whose name I do not know - purples the dawn with hunger. It's beyond "grace," beyond "stillness," beyond even "God." We all want something, even if it's only not to want something. I waved driving away but nobody waved back. Nor does he answer when I call though perhaps he will tomorrow. You never know. Perhaps it's only a song when you say it is? A prayer when you forget to fall to your knees? Well, all hurts pass, all names are eventually forgotten. These wastelands I insist on visiting are starting to show signs of green, little blossoms here and there that only the impoverished would notice. I'm at the beginning again. You?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

In a Rush to Become the Prodigal

Near midnight I walk alone to the edge of the meadow and stand quietly as if by the sea.

One gives up on certain embodiments - this meeting or that, this woman or that, this teacher or that.

The image disturbs the clear surface only when we insist on attribution.

When I lean over the meadow and gaze into the fallen grass, what do I see?

Falling stars, hand-made scythes, lonesome dentists, crickets and ladybugs, lonesome dogs with barely-discernible limps.

There is no "what's next" where there is only this.

There are never not roosters, never not crows.

The interior silence both deepens and widens at God's request, notwithstanding the utter absence of any God.

One arrives again at the futility of effort and learning and is saved by attention which reveals not wholeness but the utter absence of nothing.

A fragmentary method that remains appealing precisely because it is illusory, comprised of hints, et cetera.

We pile zucchini on the counter, make bread and muffins, toss it recklessly on pizza, into spaghetti sauce, soups, et cetera.

I will no longer appeal to that which distresses me, trusting in God to settle all seas, including yours.

A little before midnight, pausing at the meadow's edge, one slips into the holiness of alone-but-not-alone that sustains one through the many deserts, the many cities of solitude and unknowing.

One does love the stranger, doesn't one?

We drive slowly along summery back roads, so slowly you can make out each tiny blossom on the Queen Anne's Lace, so slowly that even one's arrival home feels as if it happened in another lifetime.

One lives in proximity to death now and is not unhappy, is not in a rush to become the prodigal son all over again.

God was at the bottom of the watery swale, waiting patiently in the silt and weeds, and when I saw this, even the surface that had rejected me as unfit rejoiced, slipping beneath itself in utter joy.

You see what I see?

One turns to the medieval mystics in the same way one fishes in early October - patiently, thoughtfully, gratefully, studiously.

Thus, this alphabetical impulse lives in me - briefly I hold it - as only I can - for the collective in which together we reside, wordless.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Not a Light

Of desire made, of woman born. We are like apertures really, slits through which light pours, through which the whole is glimpsed. The lovelily fragment that implies the whole? I tell you with all my heart it is a holy sufficiency to perceive not the whole nor its absence but simply what appears. Even our labels are divine when we do not cling to them but let them fly wherever like barn swallows, dandelion seeds, sentences, star dust. Study et cetera! See clearly its many seams, how neatly they bear our projections, how indifferent they are to whether and how we dissolve those projections. Precisely because one is attentive to it, the peony never dies, does not even rise and fall in time but merely is, and inattention is what makes it so. Dialogue is not an answer, not a light shining in darkness, and not a city on a hill but a cheerful and quiet means by which we share with one another our fixed incapacity for truth which, paradoxically, yields truth as an experience (rather than an object to be perceived, forgotten and re-perceived). Seven a.m. traffic, chainsaws, blue jays. How precise hunger is! I hear distant hills growing, I can feel the Beloved when I breathe.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Those Berries Are Going To Pick Themselves

Following yet more bad news - it's summer, after all - I wander into the meadow and study the old gardening table left by a previous owner. One swallows the ghost, one embraces the spirit, one wakes up from the dream to yet another dream. Nothing happens? Well, earlier a deep mist trailed along the eastern treeline, a lovely strip of gray against green hills softening. Is nonbeing the horizon then? Two days of non-writing pass but are not gone? That wasn't the sound of a hemlock falling but my heart ripping. We adore violence, we abhor violence and Venn diagrams only make it worse. Wordiness a kind of giving up, a sort of cross one ascends without knowing it's a cross. The more specific your dreams become, the more consciousness dissipates throughout the collective, helpfully. We are here, after all, and not not-together - but also not together - which does confound one's admittedly New Testament sentimentality. Longing also comes and goes, as does a lingering desire for even more. Those berries aren't going to pick themselves but on the other hand, those berries are going to pick themselves, and one sees this and the interior shifts accordingly. How quiet the cats become when I am thinking deeply! How troubling your silence! Poor confused Sean stumbling through the meadow, all the while humming nearer my God to thee.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Only Inattention

In a way, all the writing was just a futile attempt to be a camera, to do what the camera could not, and what did one get for it but words. She still mentions you from time to time, as if knowing at some level how you matter. People do talk. For a little while once, the landscape mattered less than her shoulder, but those were not the days, and also, one can't say with any confidence they aren't making a comeback. We sprawl in the back yard and study the sky, its diamantine constellations, the threads of pale cloud lit up by the moon, all of it coming and going. Your finger touches mine under the table, soft and unwitnessed by anyone we're with, and it's like we're in love, whatever that means. "You had your hand in my hair/now you act a little colder/like you don't seem to care." A dream in which I am warned against a more aggressive, a more commercial approach to writing. She'll be happy to be hear about that, let me tell you. The interior optimist is mule-like in more ways than one. What we bring to the table, what is left to the by-and-by. Any anyway, how will we know? Christ is one possibility but there are others and only inattention knows them, only inattention can even pretend to gather them in. It's not futile so much as funereal. The highway is its own luminosity, blessing all travelers, making traveling itself the altar. Pray on me sister, pray! Here where I am rooted is ipso facto here when I am stuck without a blossom, without a green leaf. Oh what am I but a potato, mute in the dark ground, blind in the cool soil, only getting to the light in the hands of those who plan to consume me? My existence is predicated on the relationship between your hunger and your patience and don't pretend otherwise, missy. Lifted by hawks circling the meadow. What if it really is about just taking what you want? Well, I hope it was good for you, these many sentences.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ungraspable

Sitting quietly doing nothing is something. One begins to sense the way in which inattention is more radical, broaching as it does the always ungraspable essence of the whole. A dead fawn on Route Nine pleases nobody, yet at the same time we are always surprised by the presence of chicory. The lawn mower's high-pitched growl, blue jays singing while helping themselves to the raspberries. One enters the hayloft with certain intentions - to pray, to write, to sit in the darkness and do nothing at all - and is abruptly shocked to discover the bliss - that is the word - of inattention. From whence do the peonies come when one has not thought about them in many days? A dead fawn on Route Nine, its guts laid out across the macadam like blood-soaked rope. In which grief is not a sea but a shock, not what lingers but what strikes you, what passes but remains as the potential to be hurt again. Seeing through the Buddha, the way sunlight is what lights the world, even when the sun is hidden by clouds. Mind has no home, its home is its drift, and what but inattention makes this clear? The stranger wears so many faces, including that of our lovers, including that of our grandmothers, including that in the mirror. Oh how happy I am to see at last there are neither mistakes nor consequences, neither subjects nor objects, trails nor no-trails, and no bodies to share the way. Abandon pronouns ye who wish to enter here! The gift of tongues, indeed.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Beyond What is Given

Rain all night leading to a now-unfamiliar early waking. Mourning doves flutter around the feeder, lovelily interruptions of the light. It's not clear anymore that one can get to it in language, nor lead anyone to it with language, and so why not write a detective novel, why not just be a whore for the Democrats? The barn won't build itself but in another sense it will. Facing the pig question one is brought back to their childhood, all those dead animals that couldn't be saved, which led in turn to a lot of animals killed that could have been saved. These hands, these hands. Near the hilltop, mist, yet at the base - where the river flows - only the deep green of clustered maples. Rain in July can't kiss away my guilt. Fatigue appears first in the eyes, then sort of slips down the back into the body proper, a sing-songy plea for rest, dream or no dream. The deed there is but no doer thereof, yet in all honesty is that how it seems? Husserl eschews metaphysical drama, one reason I am still working through him, asking what happens when one no longer insists it be about God or magic or getting anything at all beyond what is given. The loveless envelope, the Darwinian miracle, the blessed collective. When I write, I am not lost, yet when I am read, I crumble, slip into a dense psychological web, complexity abounds, tangles, and one longs only for the silence they keep breaking despite, apparently, knowing better. Or not, who knows, not I. One is a new man on the second floor, full of hope, less wordy than before. Not without birches, not in my name, not anymore.

Friday, July 8, 2016

On the Old Black Zafu

So the point is I am not going to kill any pigs nor be responsible for the deaths ever again, is that it? Ma doesn't care one way or the other, having her own moral dilemma to work through. Bad news comes in many forms but almost always with a price tag. "One way / or another / I'm going to find you / I'm going to get you." A night on the couch in part because it's cooler downstairs in hottest summer but in part because we are struggling again with money. When you cannot meet your true love's eyes it's time to try another form of writing, like maybe fairy tales or ad copy for Jesus (or do I repeat myself). Once again I am bottled up in arguments, preceding as always from judgment not discernment, and once again it eviscerates my capacity for attention and lovingkindness, already in such compromised supply. Tara Singh is happy to see me back, listens carefully to my questions, asks I give attention to what occurs on the old black zafu. God will not meet you in the world as you understand the world nor as you understand the one who longs for such a meeting (nor as you understand God). It's that simple, which is way of saying it's that fucking hard. Black coffee at the gates of the Kingdom? If you kiss my throat I'll dissolve into moans and then we'll really be in Heaven! But my mother's handful of paintings were an exercise in longing and repression, not unlike the work of you-know-who. Thus this. This this.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

An Open Space

There is no particular virtue in sitting quietly while the sun rises, but it's a nice thing to do and so one does it, from time to time one does. Ex post facto justifications abound the way unused train tracks are still going somewhere yet the one who both makes and indulges them experiences now a sort of translucence unrelated to reason. Shall we converge at a point in the distance? Rationally no, lovelilyly yes. Strange how at a certain hour you recall a certain essay, Hillman on masturbation at 2 a.m., or what's-his-name's on growing up in Las Vegas while talking to the neighbor about our shared muskrat problem at dusk. Pontificating on how relieved I am to encounter a flower I don't know the name of because it means I can really see yellow Chrisoula says "think of how happy you'll be when you find a color you don't know the name of" and so for the rest of the walk I'm quiet, or at least learning how to be. That marriage, that way, though we are at odds over what to do with the meadow, a conflict that we resolve by walking through it and talking and sometimes taking pictures of flowers or birds' nests. Life does love an open space. We carry cameras everywhere now, enshrining the image and thereby deepening our embodied confusion, and it's so easy to share our thoughts with the world that the trap of thinking thought equals reality isn't even a trap anymore, it's more like a banquet we can't believe we're so lucky to have been invited to. Pass the five thousand loaves please! Selfies with Jesus for Christ's sake. Broken screens leaning against the back stairs, lilies blooming in what one cheerfully describes as a cheerful way. Thank you orange for being practically luminescent when I needed light most! Damned if you do, damned if you don't? Well, writing anyway. This.

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Pale Thread

Split skin near my thumb heals, leaving a pale thread reminding me I am still too willing to suffer, still beholden to the idea that pain is a man's privilege. Is she impressed, will she take her clothes off, et cetera. Meanwhile, the poor are given doughnuts and exhausted dentists. You wait for what to write then say fuck it and write whatever and it works, it always works. For so long I yoked sex to love and suddenly the yoke slips a little, implies it can be set aside, and what then? What was it Seido Ronci said about "monk dick" almost two decades ago? The many names we have for the poor, all of which are ways of not really seeing our capacity for hoarding. Saying "there but for the grace of God go I" means one has a lot to fucking learn about the grace of God. For a few years in the late nineties I painted, and the smaller projects - some of them - are still on my shelves, leaning against books, usually poetry. A cheerful ceramic elephant that belonged to my father's mother, an empty glass bottle that begs for color. Must we constantly reinvent the 1970s? How can there be such lovelily color in what is essentially a transparent world? One leans still on Emily Dickinson, one remains grateful for Max Ernst. In my dream Dan was ready to talk and my joy was such that my feet no longer touched the ground, one was neither the man with nor the man without shoes. Allusions to Jnana yoga - which are my own illusions projected - are not unhelpful. There is yet a way, the spiritual tumblers are yet tumbling into place. "I see the world in celestial gentleness" indeed.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Wild Violets Nobody Visits

A little light glistens on the shoulder of a glass bottle I keep half-filled with stones, a reminder of sorts, and a totem. Prisms everywhere. In my dream, misplaced books of poems call to me, begging for a place on rapidly-filling shelves. An interior poverty has never not attended, never not directed my attention away from what one calls "the world." Desire attends in varying degrees - inevitably, naturally - but one is not beholden anymore, not in the old way. The still heron everyone writes about sooner or later sooner or later leaves the still pond. Before the specific poem, before the specific kiss, what? Or, better, upon what does the specific depend? My hair is gone and my knees ache and yet every morning I come into the old hayloft and sit quietly and later write. Will it do? One can be holy without God and the sacred is whatever one says it is. Don't wait on permission, don't wait on an invitation and for Christ's sake, don't think you aren't allowed to gather up what spills. "The heart knows" or "the heart wants" is just rationalization masquerading as poetic bullshit. We aren't bodies with different parts assigned different functions - we are the collective presently remembering the whole. Grow old with me and die, let's be forgotten together. A shared grave beneath wild violets nobody visits but chickadees. Molecules relocating to rainbows, now to hungry trout. We are the impossible-to-reach light, love. By and by we rise.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Carry the Yes

Heavy rain at 2 a.m. through which I dozed, reaching for blankets Chrisoula had gathered about her, our ongoing struggle to be warm or cold together. The hospital was quiet, which made sense for a Saturday afternoon, but then I realized it was Friday and so the quiet was . . .  distressing. We talked about how you don't make any big decisions when it happens, you just let everything settle. The big goodbye elongates, becomes this.

Plan a visit for October? I always laugh at myself, especially when I drag the zafu out of its corner and perch on it like the cocky know-it-all I can't quite seem to get rid of. The wind from last night's storm remains, the tomatoes are doing a sort of dance in the sunlight, and the upper room where I write is cool and smells faintly like honeysuckle. Unpacking I found the wooden goose we bought in Chester, Vermont, the one I had admired for years and you finally said, fine, buy it, and I did and here it is, on a shelf next to Hayden Carruth.

You can be happy, just don't worry about what happens. The challenge of teaching arising again, the desire to do it, and the sundry resistances thereto. Am I a tease? I can only say yes to what's right in front of me, it's always been that way, it's why I'm such a terrible planner.

The blue jay works a bit like a hammer, reminding me I promised Chrisoula I'd stake the rest of the tomatoes, but I'm tired from traveling and visiting and worrying, and mostly sit with my books and my writing, not in a work way but in another way. Fionnghuala asks why I am so obsessed with colored glass and prisms and I tell her honestly that when I was little that was where I saw God all the time and when I'm not to full of myself and my big wordy brain sometimes still do. We were on the stairs nobody used, touching, and she asked breathily what my wife would say and I could neither answer nor stop. What we don't face is forever facing us, begging to be recognized - remembered - allowed its place in the prismatic lovelily whole.

But why are sentences so pleasing still? Honestly if you are still there in the writing - if there is still a writer writing - then that's the work, that's what needs to be written. Blossoming lilies all along the pond, so much so one's breath catches. And what if she does visit - if she does carry the yes those many miles - what then?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Wedding All Over Again

I say "no" a lot, or am perceived that way, and yet my "no" is in the nature of the "no" black bears embody, i.e., it is an insistence on a "yes" that remains obscure to - yet not unappreciated by - the one who wants to visit, have the vision, et cetera. Chrisoula cleans the house but leaves Husserl where I left him, on the dining room table with directions to the funeral home for a book mark, and is this not the wedding all over again. I knelt to pray, conscious of those who watched, and knowing that my father needed me to be elsewhere. The water was cool, the cup smooth and plastic, somewhat reminiscent of the 1970s.

I was only briefly writing in the old hayloft, most of the day passed teaching and driving and wondering when I'd get around to reading Henry. Shall we next inquire into the origins of extremism, which transcends race and religion? "Everybody does it" is a valid data point but there are others and one wants to be thorough, one wants to be aware of when they are not aware. You have to play the guitar you're given, not the guitar you can't afford.

Three times in five days now - about thirteen hours or so in toto - given to the turnpike which runs east to west, beginning of the day and late middle, and using the rest areas to pee and stretch but not buy food. He died early in the morning, his son was present, the one who later said at the funeral "we're free spirits here," and urged me privately to cherish whatever moments are given, no matter how hard they are, no matter how much I wish they had been given otherwise or to someone different. One parks where crows are visible picking at trash, one wonders at the language they use, and briefly envies the form of their intelligence, however unknowable, however marred by our innate habit of projection. So I am a monk after all, thank Christ.

The rooster begins carrying on at two thirty, a sort of kamikaze crowing, given the willingness of foxes here to hunt on the village side of the river. One does appreciate a comfortable rocking chair, one does want to put their feet up. Discerning writing projects is an art unto itself, the form they will take is often obscure, and decisions to have to be made before beginning, which few of us are willing to accept much less actually make. Hamburgers with bacon, trading garden lettuce for eggs, and Chrisoula's famous eggplant pizza, among other delectibles.

Sooner or later we learn to navigate funerals, always with an eye on the one we won't navigate. Not every stage needs a singer! If I never see a black bear again it will be okay because they're there, and their thereness is sufficient, it's more than sufficient unto my here (which is their there - you see?). Well, goodbye, don't forget to write.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Upon Arriving Home

Fionnghuala brings me daisies for the little vase my mother used to keep in the hallway so many years ago. One can be happy, unexpectedly, or is it like clouds clearing to remind you Sol never left? Even in rain, light. Books lay in piles across the floor of the old hayloft, oddly less comforting than one had expected, less like a text and more like that which begs for a text. Do all stragglers experience regret upon arriving home? And what does home think, if home thinks at all? How tired I am of special men - Jesus and the Buddha, say - of our penchant for following them, idolizing them, and how tired I am of history, the inevitable result of such specialness and inattention, its sprawling reckless skeins of narrative. Imitation is a form of violence! On the other hand, sturdy shelves, sturdier floorboards. Everybody is a child, everybody is in motion, everybody is responsible one way or the other. Briefly traffic overwhelms early a.m. bird song, briefly one is annoyed thereby. Masquerading briefly as in need of help? Well, in prayer anyway, and on a zafu no less. It passes and what remains is the same lilt - same melodious call - I have never not heard and still - and getting yet stiller - can't say what's being said, other than this. This this.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Given Back Et Cetera

Wanting what is not presently here fills the gap - is essentially what is here - which means there is no gap - which we don't want to see because what would we do then? The nothing-to-do is always confused with what is presently being-done perfectly consistently. You can't talk to eddies in the brook, but now and again they briefly embody otherwise, most recently and notably as Emily Dickinson. "None suspect me of the crown" indeed.

Recently I am aware of that which is forbidden - certain women, certain spaces - and it makes me smile, it makes me order hamburgers, it makes me change the batteries in the mirror ball. For example, the upper room, which I left to itself for six months - then entered - the old hayloft, and it takes a long time to walk across it, and some part of me cannot handle largesse, cannot say yes to the blessing. Where is the forest to which to run if not in the interior and if it is in the interior then why do I so often lose it? Foxes swim across the river, laughing on the other side because I'm still too damn scared to get my feet wet.

Hey look, the man without shoes now has six pairs! Suddenly I can't remember did she write about black bears, and not remembering is a form of emptiness - a gap - that is here but still, did she? He can't leave the chair now, has a way of humming that replaces speech, and still I understand, and still I sit quietly waiting. Thursday never comes, nor does tomorrow.

What really blows my mind is birth - not the body being born - but suddenly waking up to this self, to this world, to experience. "I was just stopping by," he says, adding "I like what you've done to the place but what are you going to do in it?" One can't get any clearer or cleaner so when it comes to soap and meditation, have fun, play, invite a friend but for Christ's sake stop thinking something right or necessary is happening. I do know that she wrote about her "freckled bosom" several times, usually with indifference, usually knowing that a man wouldn't have had to worry that question.

Saddle up, we're going for a ride! You may have noticed that consummation isn't my strong suit but hey, the textual - the wordy - foreplay is kinda divine, yes? Carey and I talked about the prophylactic nature of boredom, which remains the mode, sort of. What "I" am is this yearning to yearn for experience admiring itself. Given, accepted, given back, et cetera.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Garden Before Walking

Watering the garden before walking through the meadow to the park, swinging with the kids, cornfield in the distance knee high and green enough to make my throat ache. A blue balloon left over from last night's party drifts into the ferns. There is so little to say! Now there is less! Even the shadows are made of feathers. Once there were candles, once there were maps, once there was a harbor into which the faithful prayed to be delivered. Text is grateful for but not contingent on the envelope. Faint rainbows as the water falls, swallows circling cabbage leaves so soft your lover could sleep on them.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Soap Bubbles of Love

Suddenly the text declines to be contained - by bodies, by books, by the sky. Et cetera. The moon falls through its own light, my arms become transparent, and that which I once longed to clasp becomes the latter half of a long sentence, this. Trailing bird song, distance eternally swallowing ideals, all morning sitting quietly without me. Without me, no you, and without you, no me. In a lot of ways, hell is just blind reliance on pronouns. The lovely but unwieldy whole, the way peonies own the sadness we sought for a thousand lifetimes, and cheap coffee and cheaper wine, and a place to go that is nobody else's. No more poems about fireflies please and also, stop pretending you can't see in darkness, how else do you know to call it darkness? Michael's elephant takes Michael's road to Mount Fuji, and I let him go and what remains. In the end, the map is that part of the territory the territory declines to be contained by. We were foolish but so what? Life is punctuated by weddings and funerals and really they're just a way of reminding one to pause, to go slower, to notice briefly the joy that is never not attending. More chairs, thinner soup and the soap bubbles of love just multiply and glisten. You want a candle? You couldn't get more clean or obedient, you couldn't be a better girl. In terms of this - this this - nobody lit the way nicer.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pine Trees of Cape Cod

In the old field given increasingly to forest, an abundance of fireflies, a stunning abundance. What helps is not planning, even while planning, if that makes any sense. One night I was not alone, most nights I am. They are calling to each other, they are making sense of darkness. Who goes in for life, goes in for a funeral.

What we read by, find our way by. One dislikes bridges and canals but not engineers, not the workers who construct them. Ireland is not whole. At night when he sleeps he moans a little, and when I walk with him to the bathroom, his skins slips around beneath my hand. Gravity, entropy, et cetera.

Can you find the beginning or end of anything? Jake used to whimper in his sleep and I'd pat him, settle the dream, and he'd wake and look at me, which settled me. As soon as we name it, it's not gone, but we're not seeing it anymore, we're seeing the name, we're playing hide-and-seek with words again. Any act of will is violent and it is hard to see this and even harder to accept it. The pine trees of Cape Cod teach me how to obey.

Wake on Wednesday, funeral on Thursday, yet another sojourn down the ever-crowded turnpike. Holding her hair back as if knowing watching matters. You insist on us in ways that confuse and frighten me and I wish you wouldn't but don't stop, not on my account. Writing in the dark at 3 a.m., thinking I should maybe criticize smokers and other addicts less. This is my little green light and this is the darkness we're up against.

Friday, June 24, 2016

After Stargazing

My new office is the old hayloft, my new coaster a chunk of marble countertop dug from the trash pit unexpectedly discovered out back. Every generation has a different idea of what is necessary, what is dispensable, that's what time is for. The middle ground asks me to stay, to make no demands of it, and to give it away, no matter how confused the giving makes me. North means intimacy, north is okay.

We are working on the gutters now, and on the stairs rotting away after decades of rain. I am often translated literally, which is a mistake, since believe me, even I don't know what I'm saying half the time. The coffee was bitter, but that's what coffee is, or is it just that at a young age my parents taught me certain values? We call this low-resolution simulation home but it's not, it's what's already passed by our home.

Can thought go backwards - not think about the past but actually go backwards - or is it too subject to entropy? Michael argued there is no such thing as front or back, only spacious awareness, position-less awareness, to which I always responded, okay yes but it seems there is and, Wallace Stevens and his ice cream notwithstanding, "seems" is the show, "seems" is what we've got. Well, I am happiest when sex is a shared meeting beginning and ending in - gently annotated by - kisses. Jas talks about his pending vasectomy and halfway through says, you're the first guy I've talked to who hasn't cracked a joke, to which I respond, I never joke about penises, and Jas says, men who can't joke about dick don't have a lot of dick to joke about.

Those dreams of anger wake me still and I sit up in bed, listening to the neighbor's window fan, and wondering what has happened to make me so casual about moonlight. The letters come and go, coming and going comes and goes, and - oh hell, you know the drill. She bought me a coffee and even though it wasn't what I wanted, I drank it, and even though I'm tired of this kind of dialogue, we walked in a big loping circle around Northampton, talking about marriage and raising families and how exhausting it is to love the word "Christ." One feels threatened by certain biographies, yields, is brought to heel accordingly.

He said my lips were too thin for anyone to want to kiss, it'd be like making out with a pencil, but what can you do, the body you've got is the body you've got to both love with and let be loved. I stay awake after, stargazing, happy in a non-specific way. A little before six a.m. the ducks begin their guttural quacking, hungry and aware of the light, not unlike you-know-who. My new office is the old hayloft, I write beneath narrow wooden beams sparrows once rested on, and dust motes still drift through the familiar sunbeam, me.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Holy Sufficiency

Merton again, as if my plate wasn't already full. Yet at last this longstanding confusion between eros and agape clarifies a little, and a way in which the artificial division between them might be bridged appears, albeit dimly, albeit distantly. You know? That which is complex is essentially illusory, yet there's no harm in what is not real, and anyway, as Saint Thomas said (here paraphrased), the limit of our knowledge is to know that we don't know God. The swallows at dusk, their graceful swoops above the garden.

In some respects the work is one of translation - this belief system into that or rather the language of this belief system into the language of that. But one grows tired of it, and of the deepening uncertainty for which wordiness is only sometimes a salve. If only I'd taken up woodworking! The birds come closer to me - chickadees especially - and it is hard now to be unhappy, even when I'm unhappy, but loneliness - in the ontological sense - retains its teacherly prerogative. It's okay, it's how it goes, but still.

The second floor is a blessing but the stairwell is forever a reminder that the world is full of gallows and somebody somewhere is always being made to ascend. You can easily go mad on the trail of justice. One studies a pile of dense theological texts, mostly Christian, and thinks, not again. Chicory by the highway, daisies surrounding Dad's tiny raised bed garden, and the frail pink blossoms of the stubbornly abundant thimbleberry, all tickling the interior conviction that one is loved, held, grace-gifted, et cetera. Deeply, foreverly.

What we wait on is the everyday - the ordinary - returned to us is in its unadorned uncomplicated and thus clarifying simplifying essence. The narrative is nondramatic, and stillness - the seamless whole, the center-that-is-everywhere &c - precedes (by incorporation, by creation) perception. Bread calls on us to bake it, as poems call on us to write them, and we sing when we drive and insist on the heart as a metaphor, and none of it is a metaphysical problem, none of it needs to be solved or amended or repeated or undone because it's just what is, it's the holy sufficiency perfectly sufficing. How sweet and clear and satisfying when attention at last sinks into itself, not unlike the way when we trace our reflection in the water with a finger, the reflection disappears, transforms, is replaced by other, equally lovelily, patterns. Just this.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Describing the Reflection

What does a "theory-free description" look like anyway and can we describe it? Punctuation is the means by which both time and space enter the sentence. The book was closed, now it is open, and without my glasses, the text resembles still baby spiders. Nothing happens, including birth, including death.

Oh please read carefully! He wrote he wrote and thus touched infinity. Reflections in the lake can be described, but are we describing the reflection or that which is reflected? A miracle with your name on it waiting for you to remember your name.

The muskrat came up from the river and ate clover a few feet south of the garden. Amaranth is both fun to say and to see growing in the side yard so that's nice. A plan bereft of geese is no plan at all. The falcon passed over the meadow and with it went any sense the afternoon would not be touched abruptly by death.

You take my breath away which is not, all things considered, a good thing but still. Neighbors make inquiries, old friends reestablish contact albeit through outdated channels. One is puzzled to discover their intense alliance with cause-and-effect, especially given the relative absence of any good reason for it. No more metaphysics, okay?

There is no invitation in these sentences, no breathy yes, and yet. It's been years since I indulged ellipsis. In the lacunae one has no body and the orgasm is both endless and endlessly shared. Or not, I never know, being wordy but not wise, and given mostly now to walking alone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Brotherhood with all Snakes

Jesus is neither cause nor explanation but can in certain contexts be an example, broadly understood. The Buddha was not a Buddhist. Talking about Thursday the seamless whole briefly reminded me breathe, touch water, get naked, whatever works. We've already met so what's the point of either calendars or maps?

A little wind ripples the meadow and one feels regret at their commitment to undo it, to lay it out in sheathes, to gather them in like a threshing God. This summer I am bent on accepting brotherhood with all snakes, which is to say, I am officially beyond motives. One neither forgets nor accepts the text, being nothing other than the text re-cognizing text. Thank Christ for Lilian Alweiss, though one does wonder about her tendency to eschew periods, or forget them from time to time, in her desire to render the obscure clear.

Dusk falls while I mow their yard, the kids watering flower gardens, Chrisoula overseeing. Butterflies go nowhere, nowhere becomes a butterfly. How easy it has always been for me to talk, as if silence invented me just to better know itself. Feynman on the space shuttle, on fucked-up bureaucracy really, and dreams of countless rabbits, and at 4 a.m. a thunder storm through which I slept happily.

How simple it is to see beyond time, like pushing one's hand through their own reflection in a pond. The heron laughs at all our poems, being a motivated killer like everybody else. Leftover lamb with spinach, garlic, rice and curry and it doesn't help, not at all. Tom laughs when told I ordered a scythe from a guy up north, saying "don't forget the black robe."

The old fence is not salvageable so we move on to another plan, not without regret. At night the river is audible in a way that makes me wonder why we bothered inventing cars and trucks and planes and so forth. Strange to think how reluctant we are to die when we did not ask to be born, and cannot in any way account for what came before or what comes next. Stars falling, filling her mouth, and later the quiet song of those kept apart at last together.

Monday, June 20, 2016

We Fill Each Other with Prayers

I don't really go fast but am often interpreted that way. The tones comprising the crow's morning cries are so rich, so variegated, one almost forgets to write. Yet another job lost to lies, yet another highway crossed in tears.

When I was born it was snowing and my father was fast asleep. You remember the light in pine trees at certain times of day, and kissing boys your mother didn't care for, and all the while an invisible white swan was circling your chest, waiting on someone who would see it, me. The cherry pie was good, not great, but good and that's enough, it's more than enough.

An abundance of crushed mammals on the road east to the point where grief feels almost beside the point. The wind was too strong, everyone had one hand on their head to keep their hats from blowing away, but when I mentioned Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, nobody laughed. Oh effort, you are such a selfish lover!

The poem you want to write vs. the poem you do write vs. the poet others need you to be for their own obscure (and sometimes not-so-obscure) reasons. Dylan songs that don't grow old include "Shelter from the Storm," "I and I," "Man in the Long Black Coat" &c. I won't organize my books until they're all here and right now they're not, they're scattered, they're in exile in at least half a dozen basements across western Massachusetts.

The seamless whole again perceived and for once the perception remains - a sort of low level hum - and within it one writes, this. Every time the opportunity arose to stop and buy some McDonald's I didn't, I kept going. Roast lamb on Sunday and the grief one always feels having known the quadruped they're consuming.

That back-of-the-throat taste that won't let you forget what you've done. Oddly, there are no answers, not the way one expects, and you have to look at this clearly before acceptance of it actually settles. Write, don't write, but please, write.

In the morning, listening to crows, waiting on sunlight to reach the prisms my daughters hung while I was gone. We fill each other with prayers that nobody else can pray.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

More Prisms

Let's say there is a relationship between perception and truth, and that attention given to that relationship may be helpful or unhelpful, according to one's willingness to be permanently lost. The map is not the territory, but that doesn't mean we should discard it which - bear with me - doesn't mean we need to spend a couple lifetimes studying it either. When you kiss me just so in the dark.

On the other hand, accurate estimations of the Lord's capacity for intervention are not beyond the pale. We are carrying all these books, we are sharing all these ideas. The gate swings a little, creaking in sunlight, and the only daisy it reaches accommodates its coming-and-going without losing its essence.

One reaches a certain juncture and the words are no longer workable which means no longer desirable and so you heft a spade and keep notes on what grows and what doesn't and that will have to do and so it does, perfectly. The weather, the moon that in general we share a habit of describing, and the way you kiss me just so when the kids are asleep in darkness. Dust settles now in the upper room.

It must be time to hang some more prisms, no? It takes about four hours to drive to the Cape so you can get a lot of work done, but if you're not ready to work then it's just many miles and the rank smell of petroleum. The river up to my ankles, my knees and when I kneel, my chest and later yet - in darkness, in you - my shoulders.

We celebrate our anniversary unexpectedly, which is the new thoughtfulness. There is no yesterday for which I am more grateful. Ascutney is a pile of holy ashes and ascending it is a continual, a godless, genuflection.

Scientists can be such dicks but then so can poets, especially poets with a taste for theology, to wit, this. Nobody fares better than anybody else but that doesn't stop us from trying, does it? When you come with me, you'll see, and we'll buy something sweet and magnificent, an ice cream sundae to remember.

A sudden recollection in darkness prompted by her kiss. I said "those beans aren't growing for just anyone you know" and she said "I know" and we were quiet then, by the garden at dusk.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Defined by the Insterstice

A green world in which one doesn't have to learn to see yellow but does, naturally. Oh look, those daisies appear to be thinking things over, like mothers sending their children off to war. Hunger of any stripe will make you do strange things. Unrecognizable, even to myself! Let us imagine that one hundred thousand years of walking has bred into the human form a certain rhythm which emerges in certain complex musical forms to which dance is a natural response. Instant coffee in the back room in a house one couldn't have imagined, and yet helped imagine, literally from forest to this exercise right here. The trails are not unfamiliar yet one walks them less often, given now to labor, given now to relationship. How I long to see the New England ocean of two hundred years ago, the tall ships and their rifling sails, schools of cod so thick you could walk on their backs to Provincetown. A pilgrim inclination in which religion is no longer the obvious component. A trio of bass guitars, an unused drum set, brass wind instruments in a pile under the window, and wall hangings that made me wonder if a proffer of homegrown was in the works. In the distance, one perceives the foothills of the Adirondacks, and beyond that - in a hazy penumbra defined by the interstice of knowledge and possibility - taller mountains yet on which climbers routinely die. But not Husserl, never Husserl. Come with me to the river and let us see what we can see. The old bench no longer bears us ably, yet we decline to throw it away, being romantics and prone to nostalgia. There's always another picnic up ahead. J. said as we rounded the dingle "those butterflies know something we don't" and I replied "Christ, a slug knows more than we do," which was yet another example of my social ineptitude, dickishness really, especially while walking and tracking my own thoughts to the point where I forget the collective is never not in attendance, never not aiming at coherence. Well, silence isn't all it's cracked up to be, nor is sex, but a good loaf of bread rarely disappoints. Let me throw something together and see what happens, okay? Maybe the bluets aren't gone after all. Maybe there's some jam in the back of the cupboard.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Quieter on Arrival

Not a blue morning, but one where the birds are slower to the feeder, and quieter on arrival. A long walk back to the house where we make love, "forbidden love" as they called it prior to the realization (the acceptance) that sex isn't a procreative function owned by marriage but a spiritual exercise, a means by which the collective both knows and remembers - literally re-members - itself. Those curtains aren't going to open themselves! Everything is matter (from the Latin mater, or mother) and subject to time (traditionally embodied as male, i.e., "Father Time"). We never talk about your menstrual cycles, nor whether you nursed your children, and all the other ways your body becomes you. I can't tell what undoes the self quicker: religion, which I have been gulping for nigh on four decades, or science, which I read last night in bed. Tea bags, onion skins, garlic bits, cherry pits - all of it goes in the worm bins - and comes back soil. Terri compliments my linen pants to which I respond, "one is never out of fashion at Goodwill." Repetition signifies meaning, or intention at least, or maybe we are only just now learning how to count. Such a sensitive throat! In my dreams I give birth to birds then walk through rainy streets to the apartment by the homeless shelter where the work began and the loneliness. We finish clearing logs, move on to bricks half-buried in the thimbleberry bushes. The bluets are gone, a consequence of letting parts of the meadow return to meadow, yet what is the function of this sentence? People laugh when I relocate milkweed, building a good-sized swath of it near the tansies, but I'm in it for the monarch butterflies, and always have been so, you know, fuck 'em. One perfects a certain smile, a certain know-it-all style as a means of deflecting attention. Else what are these illusions for? "Do me," she whispered, aiming for sexy but the phrasing intrigued me and I stopped and began working it out, who was doing who and how and the relative nature of pronouns in a coital context and then she said "oh for Christ's sake fuck me" and that was different, there was nothing to learn, it was just matter mattering in an exquisite way. Apparently we are subject to moonlight, hints of wings, and the everpresent emptiness that can only be filled - is always already filled - by itself. Yet nothing comes off, nothing opens, and nobody enters anybody. Oh morning, was this what you lit upon my hands for? This this?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Dust Resigned to Trying Again

The hummingbird rests briefly in the apple tree above my head, a dark blur because my glasses have fallen to the grass, and I can't be bothered to reach for them.

The morning glories we planted are sprouting, as are the gourds, and the beans that we worried were taking too long.

Sol intensifies according to the earth's rotation, and one sweats digging bricks out beyond the thimbleberry patch.

A mourning dove mistaken for a rabbit, and the neighbor's cat worrying a squirrel and, as dusk comes on and the moon turns slowly from chalk to polished bone, swallows.

The doctor will not meet my eyes which doesn't bother me but on the other hand, what purpose does this sentence serve?

Many trees die in this narrow valley, three on land for which I am responsible.

A previous owner made wooden bowls by hand and from time to time in my spading I turn one up, dust it off, and stack it over by the duck pen.

There are Buddhas everywhere if you look.

The tarot book lent to Jason appears mysteriously in a previously-unpacked crate, along with half a dozen Hayden Carruth collections long since reassigned to the dimmest of dim memory banks.

In darkness before she wipes her lips I kiss them, deeply, gratefully.

The apartment across from the homeless shelter appears now in dreams, a clear presentation of the monastic oblivion through which I stumbled before drifting off to law school and marriage.

Sophia used to call it a "hossible," which made me happy, the way it rhymed with "possible," and yet she didn't like it when I smiled upon hearing her say it that way, because she knew it was supposed to be "hospital," which has no useful rhymes.

How many weeks since I cracked Emily Dickinson?

On the other hand, rereading "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" for the first time in three or four years, and making others read it, too, which is within my power and what is this but a benevolent application?

The calendar will eat you alive, spit our your bones, and the clock will pick at them until nothing remains but dust resigned to trying again.

The new mode fails me, which angers me, which is okay!

I tend to cry at night before Chrisoula comes to bed, quietly so as not to wake the kids.

It doesn't need to be hot or even close to hot for a fan to comfort me, which is why I call them all "Mama" which makes everyone laugh but between you and me, I'm kind of not joking.

Francis Bacon worried that "learned times have been inclined to atheism" which tended to impair the collective's "dependence on God," to which one can only say, religious whiners of the seventeenth century hadn't seen nothing.

Yet from the chemical perspective, all life is a unit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Carefully Exploring A New Way

Writing as prayer, as a way of passing time, as a way of seeing what one thinks. Our bird-filled valley, our Emily Dickinson hill, and our slow-rising sun. Waxing gibbous moon between flaming mare's tails, the gray in your hair and my tired old knees. Bluets are a way of deepening grief, of seeing the world from the perspective of hurt without needing to heal anything, because hurt, too, is a form of perfection. Please observe the way in which life requires no rehearsal, no manual, no direction, and you are it, you are the show, the whole splendid unfolding display. Free will is just a slightly more complex form of - a kind of code for, really - the natural, the inevitable yes. Or this: tell me of a time when you were not facing uncertainty. L. says when I dance my eyes close and I look like a man carefully exploring a new way his body moves. Many dead birds and not a few butchered quadrupeds attend. In what way is my capacity for sorrow distinct from my capacity for joy or are they the same space, the same sea in different lights? One never sees two moons at once, nor steps into a pair of rivers, yet when her shirt falls my breath catches, still. The neighbor's asparagus goes to seed, not wasted thereby, but one can't help thinking of certain recipes. How dark it must be in a closed book! "Christ those pigs reek." Planting trees is a way of thinking ahead, or seeming too, while trees themselves are a way of emphasizing one needn't travel to get where they're going. We are always loving forward. How tired one becomes of the religious imperative, its specialized language, its habit of insisting on precious. Making love has a lot of names, some more helpful than others, and nearly all of them contextual. Only when mowing do I wonder when this damn grass will stop growing. Waking early is a way of being alone, or of seeing the way in which one is always alone and yet - at the same time, in the same way - always one with the collective. Nobody joins me for coffee but near dusk we did gather at the meadow's far edge to talk about our relationship with the new acreage. Suddenly the path is a series of gentle slopes. A little goes a long way? Well, a little chipped paint can't obviate the wall. When I close my eyes I can still see. You too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Unfamiliar Wildflowers

A trail of ailments is no way to be needed, though one's pant legs do grow damp in the meadow while scouring for unfamiliar wildflowers. "Take me with you" only works if you believe there's somewhere to go. Turkey vultures are plentiful and yesterday a falcon took a mourning dove from the feeder, a sorrow only if one insists on taking sides, which hunger never does. Sooner or later, fertilizer, and sooner or later the nothing we cannot imagine, which is the everything we long for. Bibles burn the same way dictionaries do and summer beach reading as well. It's all fuel so far as the fire can tell. Bouquets fill the house, reducing patrimony to finding and cleaning any empty vessel. Cut stems encountered in odd places, batted there by cats. Her art is vivid and the only thing that quietens her, while the other daughter takes to her room to work on fiction that she no longer shares with me. The tape measure does nothing really, but it's probably a mistake to say that tools are neutral. One does cherish the diner-like coffee mug, myriad Mason jars, and certain ceramic candle holders made by old women in Greece just after the war. The world is not given to us multiple times in multiple ways but only once and this is sufficient to encounter the divine - the desired - stillness. On the other hand, it is nice to eat ice cream while watching television and think about what might happen when she comes to bed. It is not an error to consider the other, even to make the other the object of one's adoration and service, but it is still necessary to be alert to the "me" that roils below the surface, a deep tide of sacrifice and possessiveness that obfuscates our otherwise natural lovingkindness. The peonies lean and lean and one's study of support intensifies, one's gratitude for stakes and grounds in which to place them enunciates its boundlessness, and thus the lovelily blossoms continue their sunward, their lightward climb. Like that, kind of, and for now.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Discarded Concordance

What does the moon perceive if not that which perceives it, else what is the collective doing? The unpossessed, unpossessing collective? We stake the peonies with pickets from an old fence dug out in the forest, the little that stands between us and the river. Trillium asked the impossible which was an invitation to reconsider one's experience of boundaries, limits &c. I'm on the far side of hills that Emily Dickinson once gazed upon, but that means nothing in the presently-constituting, altogether neutral geometry. What else is new? In other words, what is rerouted still flows, making in essence an argument for revising our insistence on this and not that habit of spatio-temporal perception. Erection? Well, that which can be set aside anyway, manuals be damned. Maple leaves turn quickly in the north wind, a sort of surrender, or testimony to the present's present presenting, the way hummingbirds resting in the apple tree witness unto a living God, its specifically masculine joy. Your used bookstore is my discarded concordance, bible as blanket for those inclined to fatigue and sleep and dreams. No more miracles, please, and no more talk about "healing" now we know there is only this perfection. We walk to our favorite bridge, lean on its west side and study in gauzy distance a trapezium-shaped garden. "Look," I say, pointing at eleven rows of budding green, "seams through which the Lord passes," to which Chrisoula replies, "your Lord is lettuce?" Later, in the cemetery, we paused by decades-old barbed wire and thought about the cows who once made quick study of this field of memorialized dead. Let us pray, let us now praise the worthy, and let us forgive the many adjectives which cheapen our discourse and dialogue. Where the path fades, one's feet become the teacher. Study shoes! Dance is the new religion, hence my love of mirror balls. It's the landscape that's moving now, shimmy and shiver, a passing show of light and fancy, while this stillness-beyond-language just watches, as happy as happy can be when there is no such thing as loss.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Given My Knees

M. suggests that nobody has ever seen moonlight, which is technically true - or you can see it that way - but also kind of perverse, like baking cupcakes and not sharing them with anyone. Before the storm, swallows cross the slippery gray sky, and robins hop between dandelions to the maple tree where a feeder hangs that last summer was broken albeit not permanently by a black bear we all watched from the bedroom window at 2 a.m. or so and still talk about, a family. What the mower misses lives a little longer, gazing across a leveled landscape at a torn seam in the horizon where the reaper both enters and departs, "the widow's door" my aunt once called it. Replanted ferns are not averse to shade while chives just make it work wherever you put them, like hippies or certain kinds of Christians. Mostly when we are in motion it is because some appetite moved us that way - wanting to sleep with someone or see what's on the far side of a hill or eat apple slices spread with peanut butter & c. Perhaps ignorance is an excuse. Well, distinguish between the appetite and the narrative by which we justify it and thusly see the way the world is merely - is lovelily - passing by. When the spirit says dance, put on the White Album, eat a few tabs of acid and see what your feet want from the rest of you. At the top of the familiar Monadanock, windblown and sore, it occurs to me I haven't taken a step without Chrisoula in twenty some odd years and I keep touching her as we go down, sometimes for balance given my knees, but mostly in gratitude. That which is not unwelcome is not by definition necessary. Because I am not ready for him to die, I work all day in the garden, reinvigorating dormant soil with a third generation cultivator, the smooth wood of its handle at home in my grip like nothing else before or since. What the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh, but two can playeth at that game. Afternoon breezes moving curtains while I try to focus on my reading, idly checking email, and reaching - blindly still, but not unhappily - for the new mode of writing. Fertile grounds beckon, the sourdough starter eclipses a vessel's rim. Forever salted, forever yes but not the way we thought. Oh dear. When I say October, you say?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Subsequent Deepening

It's cold at Ascutney's summit so we don't linger, but a day later the familiar monadnock surfaces in all our bodies, in ways that remind us we are related and yet apart but here, right here. Always when I am discouraged with the state of raspberry bushes they suddenly exercise a prolific resurgence as if witnessing unto a forgiving God. There is the waxing crescent moon, the same color as the many clouds drifting roughly north to south, together reminiscent of chalk. The meadow discourages the neighbor's wandering chickens, a perfectly refulgent boundary protecting the garden, and an unexpected happiness. Cabbage leaves turn soft yellow and lay down in the heat, a garter snake slithers away when I upend gathered deadfall, and one is beholden - perhaps it was always thus, and will always thusly be - to traffic sounds at a distance, as if the highway longs for a certain traveler and won't be otherwise satisfied. Days pass and we study the outdoor oven, reflecting on another's labor and intentions so deeply at odds with our own, going slowly in the direction of a decision we know they wouldn't make. A subsequent deepening included the realization that there was fear, yet the specific incidents of it were like curtains which cause neither light nor darkness though to the uninitiated they appear to, and with that, suddenly, the specific incidents of everything (love, fear, joy, guilt, anger, play etc.) ceased to matter, though not to exist. Thus gassho, thus gassho rei. We plant morning glories in a rotting log, talking about natural patterns of seed dispersion, and how the desire to sit in on one of Husserl's lectures has made me forget all about sitting in on one of Tara Singh's. Crushed turtles, fallen dragonflies. After dinner we held hands briefly, and briefly I cried, overwhelmed by loss and its many demands, and so you took me to the bridge on the road between hills where we gazed for a moment into the river that reflected us yet never ceased to flow, and when you knew I knew it was okay, that it was more than okay, we walked home and I wrote you this. This this.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

In the Nature of a Guest

Morning winds evoke both landscape and season other than what both map and calendar declare are real. Or here? The longitude between us is a frayed flag, coordinates one cannot put a hand on, not unlike those rows of fine chocolate behind the Parisian chocalatier's window in 1989, when I was even poorer than I am now. Reflections cannot be hungry, cannot experience craving, and yet here I am translating a dream of swans into sentences for her. Labor in the garden is a sort of middle finger to the specific death that looms now, the way yesterday thunderheads loomed on the northern horizon and hard winds tore maple leaves from twisting limbs. What the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh, but two can playeth at that game. When we hurt, we hurt, and when we are joyful, we are joyful, so what's the metaphysical fuss? There are paths to the garden through the meadow  on either side of which wild flowers blossom, unbeckoned but here, recalling the wild morning glories we used to find in Worthington, what seems like lifetimes ago. How vivid this moment of being! Also, how fast can you run and where will you go when you get there? Insight arrives in the nature of a guest, meaning that late in life - on the cusp of fifty - I have finally learned one doesn't solve problems so much as allow them to be solved, which is not an argument for a deity with agency but a recognition that what is is always this and this is always this this. Now will you give me that gift we discussed? That moment when you see how the specific is merely a label for the general - a sort of mask - so that there is not a woman for whom you lust, there is lust, and there is not a garden one uses to resist the fear of loss, there is fear of loss, and so forth. Suddenly briefly I found the stillness Tara Singh spoke of, and wanted to tell him, but he assured me that notice was not necessary. Not quiet, not solitude, but a sort of untouched center that touches the world and everything in it. Well, the mountain does ask to be climbed, and my feet are not averse to that particular journey, are in fact quite good at it, the implication clearly being that in a past life I was your sherpa. Beware of explanations, especially explanations that resonate, where resonate means you really like it, you want to take it home and kiss it on the mouth. Up we go, in the many ways up implies. In the interim, one adopts the mien of a treasure hunter, a satisfied treasure hunter, a retired treasure hunter even. Come closer, okay? It's all about whispers now.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Rows of Pumpkins

At 4 a.m. the clouds open and a mild deluge pours out, briefly a sufficient reason to stay in bed. Vivid dreams are a feature here, yet one declines related semiotic adventuring. Actually, the tarot cards do read themselves, why do you ask? Your back is solid like a barn and warm like a cat yet when I turn to it in darkness you turn to me and open and it is like suddenly a new country, one where the metaphors fail me. Let us become cartographers, let us blaze a scenic trail into the sun! There is the fundamental insight into the nature of reality which subsequently deepens, becomes more broadly applicable, allowing one to see the way they are always excluding something under the pretense of love. Feigned accents, falling to my knees with arms outstretched, reheated coffee in chipped mugs, imitating mimes, lying about tap dancing lessons and other tricks. Antique lamps piled on the back porch, the meadow falling over in rain, kale and lettuce breaking soil - in other words, what works, what doesn't work and what is there to teach us how to embrace the world (though not in that order). In this new valley abutting the river one finally hears an owl call from several places at once, as if to put the lie to the supposed constraints of space and time. Upon waking there is still no word from her hence it must all have been imagined, kind of like my childhood on the  farm. I dream of rows of pumpkins and one with whom to share them but also the dream is sufficient unto itself and is only possible because of the presently forming perfection. This presently forming perfection, where "perfection" simply means "this this and not any other this." See? To overlook anything is to look at something else which hardly matters to looking. Yet another way to get there is to ask what purpose the subject/object division serves and then carefully write out the answer as if leaving instructions for future generations. Recipe as suggestion not mandate is one of the hinges upon which love turns. Be devoted to that which asks for your devotion and let the semantic constructions do what they will, which they always will do anyway, and your home will be warm and full of soup, and all your visitors grateful.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Composed in Unfamiliar Settings

If I am the leaves falling, torn from the tree by wind or a passing truck, then that hurts. This is the world into which I awoke, and you are over there, and when the wind moves across the lake the lake fills with a liquid script, and when the trains are finished running they rust in yards that nobody visits. Perhaps our grandmothers loved the same bible passage, repeated it quietly in difficult moments, the funerals of children, reports of war between radio static as the night came on through the hills. How slowly I go, as if my body were already turning to stone, as if getting anywhere were no longer an objective, as if leaving was the one thing left to fear. The garden after heavy rain, the meadow laying on its side, and the foxes whose den is near the old cemetery, who cross the road before it is light. One's head fills with sorrow, with lepers composing an essential poetry of loss, with fragments of songs. Perhaps we are forgiven. Perhaps we are simply radiant dust briefly functioning in a patterned way, where "patterned" is a form of longing, a belief that order somehow includes "us" in a longed-for way. Digressions as a form of repetition, lust as a call to go home. Where "one" is a way of speaking, a conceptual shortcut that distracts us from the real problem of shoeless feet perennially disinclined to travel. Barns come and go, the swallows come and go, and childhood comes and goes but you, you do not come and go. Thus our bed grows smaller, and the ghosts of many dogs float across it like bell-shaped clouds, like sentences composed in unfamiliar settings. I meant to say that sentences composed in unfamiliar settings enlarge themselves, as if to lay claim to the spatial encumbrance (which is merely psychological) or perhaps as a fixed response to some interior arousal dictated by causes that one intuits only because results appear - because this appears. This this. Upon what is the subject/object divide contingent? Why say anything at all? When you love the killer as you love me, then you will know what love is. In the interim, one constructs a fantasy of October, situates the body according to what appear to be mutually-agreed upon laws, and writes what is there to be written. If there is anything else, do tell. Piano notes recall one another, as envelopes recall the letter, and the letter recalls the one who wrote it, what seems like years ago, even now.