Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Blue Surface

Swimming farther than anyone else as always, to rocks that from a distance looked like an island but close up were more like knives jutting from a blue surface. Later we talk about the difference between Picasso and velvet Elvises, Steven Pinker essays, and how generally confused people are with respect to evolution. The many dead fish are not averse to your use of the pond. I held on, floated, caught my breath, was amazed at bees who'd flown this far out for the few flowers sprouting in crevices. My brothers and sisters in sweetness. Keeping it simple for once, or trying to, and maybe that is the new mode but who knows? Bohm by the lake, poodles with docked tails, old ladies unperturbed by play, musicians going to seed, and Bohm yet again and yet again the lake. Struck as always by the clarity of seeing the observer and the observed as one and yet how the seeing comes and goes which can make it seem special or magical, your specialness, your magic. Can I get an "oh for the love of Christ?" Be sure you are aware of your preference for the Abrahamic God as you ask all these questions - question questioning, question the questioner and so forth. Or don't bother. It's going where it goes anyway. I didn't think I'd make it out - thought maybe at last I'd found the limits of my body's need for water and ability to leave others behind while in it - but no, there I was alone, floating, everyone a blurred dot on the shore and it was peaceful and quiet, an earned joy, if one can say that that way, which I'm going to do whether it's allowed or not. Well, there is so little to say really but one knows it must be said so there you go. Sunlight on pine trees at six a.m., my new home beside the river, and my river flowing in every direction at once.

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Kind of Thank You Note

Rain which for some reason makes me think of boundaries, dissolution, what is new, is there any such thing, etc. You were born but birth is less a beginning than a continuation, a reassembling of what is familiar, or is that just a way of putting it where "way of putting it" is the world. Wendell Berry's concepts of order many years later seen as overly rigid, insufficiently inclusive. Months later one comes up with a helpful example but the dialogue - in the narrow sense - has ended though its helpfulness has not. Some of us ask why, others just put their heads down and build things. So I am given to texts, to textual approaches, so what? We pass on the party, the lamb on the spit, and for the first time in years I wonder if my habitual preference for solitude needs to be reexamined in light of my kids whose needs diverge from mine, revealing  yet again the collective and one's ever-shifting relationship with it. Rain means writing, or time for it, which has been absent lately, leading to shorter pieces mostly while brooding on abstract longer ones, what one thinks of as the moose approach to writing. There are consequences to prioritizing, and prioritizing is always happening, so it's good to be attentive, to just see what matters to the deep interior algorithm. The many Buddhas and the many Christs are like blow jobs - too few makes you obsess over getting more and too many make you bored and drifty and ungrateful. The idea that we can figure this out is problematic mostly because the "one" doing the figuring is not static but in motion in many ways at once. Even the moon is folding and unfolding, which is a way of saying there is no center. We laughed watching Morrison stalk the stage. Spilling a little yeast, studying a little sadness, and learning that the nature of entropy is forward, toward forward, is bent in a sense not on decay but transition of which translation is a useful part. Will one day I wake up beside you or has that already happened? Perhaps she is in the next room, perhaps there are no rooms, only all these ways of saying it. Oh what was my wordiness ever but a form of gratitude, idealistic love, a kind of thank you note extending across a life, this one.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Always Oh

Six a.m. with a spade, sweating, the sun a roily smear beyond the far hill which is not the only hill as this is not the only six a.m. but we are trying, we are trying.

We agree to try a couple of cows on the back slope of pasture, and see what happens, and it feels good to make a decision, any decision.

No more sins, no more kneeling.

And yet no more rainbows either and what will afternoon do then?

Skipping rocks across the meadow, the neighbor's pigs watching, and you wonder how far their thoughts go, musing on the spinal afflictions of bipeds maybe, or speculating from whence the inclination to sing to the young comes.

And yet as the light sifted through layers of black maple outside, no rain yet but maybe later, we did kneel, one before the other, together, and we did hold each other after, thinking thoughts that went unshared yet lost no tenderness thereby.

Images of you with your head turned, eyes closed, cheeks flushed, your lips open a little, while I whisper, so softly, a wordless objectless language.

Ferns, unfolding, furls I trail my hand across, learning to go lightly where what loosens is welcome, welcoming.

The one yes, and the other yes, and what is not yes but intimates yes, that yes.

"The hill is always taller than you think" is only true according to what mode of travel you use to ascend it.

There are other ways, but this way is fine, more than fine really.

The particular salt of light, the beat-up shades in motels she declines to visit on my - on anyone's - account anymore.

I no longer covet houses or landscapes, and sex is no longer the hinge on which my attention turns, and only one of the preceding clauses is true, or so I say, being as always inclined to hedging.

Dirt roads, wild mustard, first moose sighting of 2016, and oh, always oh.

Over my shoulder the moon, while beneath and somewhat before me, the garden erupting in clumps, worms twisting at the sudden rush of light and heat.

That black coat, that heel upon which he turns, the dust that rises and settles when he does, and so on and so forth in the many ways our language allows and makes necessary.

Dad and I studied the tool shed but the pitchfork was gone, as if claimed by whoever needed it more, where "whoever" did not include either of us, and also implied some sort of subterfuge alien to Christ.

The river not murmuring in the sense of speaking to me - or you - but still, murmuring.

Chives, bluets, onions, rhubarb, tomatoes, amaranth, bee balm, peonies, clover, and in my mind, always, pumpkins, rows of them between which we walk, no longer given to waiting.

One day you will regret not making a more intimate use of cameras, understanding late but not too late that it captures not the body but the desire that makes the body possible.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

We Go There Almost Nightly

New meditation exercise: watch the garden grow. Or so the bougainvillea suggests, the wild blackberries, the iris. Capitalization intrudes on the sentence generally, somewhat like broken window frames removed from a house. What are we looking at and why does naming it matter so? These are interesting questions! And one meditates a long time walking along the river, thinking things over, in no rush to conclude, content to see - and be perhaps - the flow. What did John Lennon say? Once again I fail at purchasing new shoes and so C. comes with me and under a veneer of efficiency and inside jokes we yet again work out certain painful aspects of my childhood. Shod at last! On the other hand, that calf grave and those bones - oh Christ all those bones - isn't going to write itself. Does the unknown actually exist or does "unknown" sufficiently cover it, for now? The slope of pasture troubles me, and so we go there almost nightly to look it over, always at dusk or just after, as if what we are actually looking at doesn't matter, only working out what we think, which we only see when we say it. "And how do you feel about that" my first therapist asked, when I was eighteen and always ready to run and always ready to fight if I couldn't run and I answered "like knocking a few teeth out of your head you smug fuck" and he smiled and that was the first time I understood forgiveness might be possible and whatever follows forgiveness and it was, it was, oh Jesus it was. And now what? Well, now you among other things. There are wool socks on the writing desk, business cards that haven't been rifled through in years and a dull paring knife. Husserl hides in the ruins so stop avoiding the interior wrecking ball. Let me go suggests Jesus and in response I write an essay about how there is neither one to do the letting go nor any thing to let go of. That. But not always that. Not anymore anyway. And in the meantime, this.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Obscure Designs in the Morning

You don't participate in dialogue - dialogue participates in you. And yes, spelling is relative, as is communication, yet there remains an absolute sense that there is an absolute. Attend thusly! Bringing up God feels pointless now, a distraction, almost as if one isn't serious but just wants to close the future down. Cards were scattered across the dining room table, mostly face-down, but here and there revealing content (oh look - the three of hearts crossed by the king of clubs) and intimating both games and value, and how appropriate, how helpful. Attendance, attention, a yes. In that moment we found our way, mostly by relaxing the inclination to control the direction and also by rolling down the windows a little. The map was not helpful but it was a comfort to have it, which struck me as a sad commentary on the human condition, our little aspect of it, and yet it was a nice drive, an act of love, and so who cares? Like coffee but harder to articulate, maybe. Getting old is okay as entropy is just another way of finding the way that long ago found and made you for its own obscure designs. In the morning there are certain fluid insights that by evening calcify and become oppressive, hence our need for a body to sleep with and ceiling fans and cookbooks nobody opens. He said he was working on an essay entitled "Condom as Text" and though I understood there was also a barely restrained sense of "Oh for Christ's sake learn to run a chain saw or ride a horse." Nobody cares if you want to learn or not, or want to fall in love or not, or want to become the head of a big television news network. You wears your shoes, you walks your path. Or you disdains your shoes and discover that's the path. On the other hand, the stairs invited a level of panic that made discourse a challenge. Sparrows, chickadees and enterprising hummingbirds abound. Begging for gogyohka is no help but being willing to write poorly is. Alms please. I am tired, mortally so, and night is always falling somewhere, and now this. This this.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What the Forest Wants

The chicken in the post office was not our chicken, the clamor not our clamor but naturally we helped corral it. In the village, one attends to work, broadly defined, and leaves the forest to itself which is more or less what the forest wants. Needs? Don't get me started she said, which is what people always say after they are "started." I am always telling lies - which are simply the truth another way, a sometimes elaborate sometimes minimalist way, but mostly an enhanced narrative way, a better story - and then compensating for perceived dishonesty. Jesus wept but so what? We are all composing a plot (as we are all eventually decomposing in plots), and we are all lead characters. After you shoot the goat, you string it up quickly so it bleeds out in buckets, and the blood is good for the garden, but in doing all this one does sense a god or two in need of appeasement. Let's dance! At 4 a.m. the birds begin and you go out to look at the moon - that waning gibbous ensconced in soft clouds - and the river is a low murmur that way, and the city a soft glow on the horizon that way, and desire unfolds all around you, like a patch of bluets re-cognizing sunlight, like melting. Think it over is what I am saying, from this small island of trust in an otherwise reckless ocean. At a minimum find a way to say "be mine." I napped after mowing, sweaty and thought-out, then met with the neighbor to discuss essay-writing, no longer a strong point, and later ate pizza, amazed as always at the abundance of choices. Amazed at always? Well, eggplant anyway. At dusk you think maybe a beer but it doesn't work that way, not anymore. Define your terms, be aware of inferential distances, and remember that luminosity will take care of itself. Here I am, love: what do want to say?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Languages One Hesitates to Translate

We are guided only by the words, you and I, and yet seem to have achieved some coherent affection - both loyal and faithful, verging on joy even - which is a kind of miracle, cognitive and otherwise. The tribe sits quietly at 4 a.m., separated by miles yet viewing the same sky, constellations that speak - are speaking - quietly in languages one hesitates to translate. The season of apple blossoms falling nearly over, so exquisite and lovely, yet each one emphasizing what I neither have nor know, and so each one like an eyelash being torn from my face and yet I did not leave, could not - can not - tear - yes, tear - my self away from watching them. Attend what begs our attendance! Because you. "Knowing me/knowing you." Certain neighbors are like weeds, and there is always somebody somewhere who likes a given weed, and so it's best to breathe, just roll with the chain saws and the poorly-tended sheep and the not-so-private arguments and so forth. We are behind the garden, behind on the garden, and yet in time, perfectly. Old pleasures no longer satisfy, and one cannot ascertain if it's a new material paradigm requiring adjustment, or simply another case of nostalgia burying what one is otherwise reluctant to look at. Birdwatching, that old standby. The inferential distance expands, swallows us whole, or proposes to, and in that unseeable chaotic ocean one at last eschews vedantic semantics and simply gives attention to what is here, which is the world, this world, which is a sufficient anchor, a harbor even. It is a question of kisses, at times, and at other times simply taking what the other reads seriously, and at yet other times being careful to cook not what we want to cook but what they want to eat. Abiding happiness resides in service, and subtle philosophical distinctions related to service are like folds that lightly touched yield yet subtler folds, openings through which one travels in search of the reason for all this traveling. Be grateful as I am for who is presently companionable, not begrudging the interior hermit her antique lamp, her practically pagan prayers. Sparse blooms of lilac arrive at the table, we say grace just so, and eat - as grateful as only the empty can be, as only the hungry know how to be - what is given us to eat. This.

Monday, May 23, 2016

What Passes for Engagement

The camera says one thing, shows another, and what we believe thereby creates a spiritual - a pointless - triangulation. Get it? This is what passes for relationship now, this is what passes for engagement. Decamping yet again for your corner of the world. The tiny wooden cross I wear appears in the faces of those who perceive it, reflections studying reflections wearing reflections. "And so forth" may as well be the mode. The title? We bury the pigeon shot dead by a neighbor, musing on good intentions and the functionality of shovels. Thank Christ somebody was thinking! The problem of course is that somebody else wasn't. You bring wine, I'll bring willingness. The joy? Well, it's helpful to be aware of the referential nature of language without making a big deal about it, just sort of thinking about what can't be said and yet is real, yet is present. "Knowing you/knowing me." Another pair of shoes ruined, yet another way poverty makes light of me. I woke early to read the mail, then went back to bed, a bad one-two combination because it didn't involve either coffee or sex. These apple blossoms are lovely, these bookshelves bear splendidly the weight of ideas, and in general my fear of love gets more and more specific. You never send pictures which confuses me which is maybe the point. Perhaps we'll die! And perhaps the camera is telling a kind of truth, a melting kind. The doctor was gentle, speaking thusly, more Bayesian than not, possibly Tibetan. You wonder after how the present is so often composed of wonder! Don't get worked up about coincidence, just keep giving attention until the one reveals herself, saying darling it's this. This this.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Under the Covers

Talking to J. the other night while walking - the courthouse on Main Street obscuring sunset - I said I was in love with two women at once and he said very seriously, only two - how do you do it? When you think in terms of reducing something to Heaven then life is pretty good. Stars in the whiskey, wagon wheels turning, and begonias on my mind. Somebody upstairs looks like you. Likes you? Stray dogs make me wish I was rich, otherwise being poor just sort of keeps passing like a breeze, a season, like a homily when there's all that stained glass to admire. Those moths sure do love your shoulders, let me kiss them off you into flight, okay? Funny how we keep thinking of ourselves as attractive when really we're just poster boys for entropy. Shall we dim the lights, draw the shades? What happens under the covers never stays under the covers. You feel bad for Judas, want to put your arms around him, which when you think of it is pretty much what Jesus would do. Getting dexterous with Husserl in anticipation of undressing her, or making the case for undressing her, or at least being brave enough (faithful enough?) to get to where undressing her is possible. The prayer takes care of itself as always, otherwise it wouldn't be a prayer but a negotiation. Oh please. My peas or yours? I hope there's hummingbirds in your suburban midwestern poustinia. The cold cell gets colder, and mice took all the crumbs. The breaking-down monk who from time to time you bless can barely remember "amen," can only narrowly see a way out to you.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Still that Hunger

Four a.m. retains its sacred prerogative, even as the tops of the hills turn from black to deep blue, Sol ascending, this side of the circle. Ants ascending too, their horizon forever a matter of right angles, both here and in the kitchen. Briefly I step outside with tea, then come back in to sit quietly in darkness then write, this. This this. You fall in love with words, with phrases, then you see the sentence as a sort of insistent yet satiable lover, laying you down in paragraphs for messy but ecstatic romps. After matters more but still, that hunger. The moon to the west is so bright one can't help looking, being amazed, which is itself amazing. Even what is gone remains - remember that. Thank you in advance for our shared hypnosis. Clumsily undressing, reading before sleep, touching my neck, that sort of thing. Those coffin ships didn't sail themselves, so here I am, filled with want and courting ruin. From the shoulders down, as long as it takes, okay? What happens is you put your new shoes on and realize your feet are still there, still doing what your feet have always done, and there is some slippage then, as into the sea, the infinite, the praisable woman indifferent to praise. A lovely salt, a lingering kiss. Keep practicing! How close is mountain to moan, and moan to means, and means to end, where "end" is the love in which we the collective, we the insistent, we the implied begin? Not climbing really but just being in motion, eternally, closer to stars, stairs, slowly encircling, the delirious cartography of light we share, literally, lovelily, la.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Still Blind Mendicants

Well, not metaphysics, not anymore. But maybe - at least so long as cognitive science remains semantically inaccessible. Apple tree limbs dominates the new burn pile, the hummingbird finds the new feeder readily. In terms of lilac, one always arrives, one always gets it. Husserl is oddly hard to take seriously until suddenly you're like, holy shit, this guy is for real. Ha ha. Once in a while it's nice to just shut up and listen. Where one doesn't fit, there the divine resides as well. We work through the chives, trim the blackberry, put a little stone wall right and discuss - and bless you love for discussing - mowing around a patch of bluets. A prayer foundering, yet grounded. My new shoes appeal to everyone but my feet are still wanderers, still blind mendicants in search of a land called alone. Perhaps the field is grief, and the work healing, and my Carhartts a kind of cassock. A long times passes while a long time passes and it does, it does. Those roads you don't drive are still there because when your eyes are closed you see them. Here comes that curve again. Me and you apart, never more together. Thus gassho, gassho rei, thus this.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Yet Another Satellite

As memory is recreated anew each time, what is the past exactly? Everywhere she looks, the self is undoing itself just for her. The many years of study appear to have ended, and the words - broadly speaking - emerge slower and slower. One envies the black bear which is silly in a way but what can you do? You address the moon when it’s in the sky. What a relief to no longer be looking elsewhere. Just undress. We worked quietly together behind the barn, understanding that marriage is a long game with neither winners nor losers, gratefully. A single blossom on the lilac which makes her laugh which makes him smile. This! Jeremiah and his father sat on the back porch to watch the storm, talking about the present political climate, and I was so tired I could barely remember to be grateful, could barely remember to be amazed, but he did. Yet another visit to the doctor, yet another sad song about what happens to everyone sooner or later. The moon undresses in a preferential key while you plead with her to hurry. It does seem like a lot of writing needn’t be written, or perhaps I am just being miserly now with ecstasy. Discerning? When the moon appears overhead, I talk to it, and when it’s not there, I don’t. So it's particular then? The social value of laughter, friends I haven’t spoken to in years, and fear, always so much fear. Those algorithms abounding! Once again invited to help others write, a heaviness, yet doubtlessly what was asked for all those many years ago. You say yes, I say no. Yet another satellite, yet another sad light.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Toward Black Bears

Behind heavy curtains apprehension, yet one can say a great deal about cedar waxwings without invoking local poets or biology, and does. You don't "let go" of anything - you just see clearly that there isn't really a you, and - critically - nothing to hold in the first place. These hands on the keyboard are my only friend, all I trust, how they mediate the material world and what is thought. We incline toward black bears, their preference for solitude, love of food and sex, and strength masked by a general willingness to avoid conflict. Second thoughts all around! Also tall trees. Walking through the village last night, pondering apple blossoms and sunset and the flight patterns of swallows, wondering if now is when my inability to truly trust anyone will ruin me, and thinking too about Rockwell again, who resolved his dilemma in a way I have yet to precisely articulate. Why resent safety? Who finds grace in longing? The absent object blesses us yet again. He does not say much anymore about his pipe, and we are long past discussing the many dead animals we buried and/or killed. The obscurity we fear is home and nobody need measure any drapes or lock any door. Plans are being made for Ascutney, for the sea over yonder, and one is borne on them through time, is carried just so, or is there just this flow as so long ago suspected. A child insisting on this and not that mode of prayer. Coffee, descents unlabeled, a quiet house in which one falls in love all over again. Can we see what happens? Say it's a secret? All these books reading me in the light you are. Again. And again. And always.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Only Distantly Related to Chairs

The pie was not what I remembered, which was perhaps fortunate. Fifteen forsythia shoots beg one to think clearly about the future. The landscape is moving - alive - and who does not see this movement does not see the utter stillness at the center of life. On the other hand, it does get quiet around here. Mist through which sun streams, doves calling to one another, and the prattling of the neighbor's lambs. Writing is somewhat about "ass in seat" but in another way it's a kind of attention, and intention, only distantly related to chairs. A pick-me-up. We bought a pound of salami from a guy who looked like Dylan, and expensive chocolates from another store, and drove home listening to Abba, which was oddly exhilarating. The sum exceeds the parts - consumes them really - and yet is forever itself subject to consumption by the whole. Awakening as code for "less wrong." Or so I say. The pressure of your legs against mine was lovely, I slept deeply, and now this. This this.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Hill in Terms of Horses

There is something about morning. One stumbles less in the dark kitchen, reheating tea, starting the muffins, listening to birds. Going nowhere is a joy. We walk the back pasture, study the hill in terms of horses as yet boarded elsewhere, and I say "I'm not unhappy" and you say "you sound surprised." Sewing patterns, of course. The Irish coast comes to mind, the silliness of taking literature seriously from an evolutionary standpoint, and also the moldy shower curtain we threw away five years ago. A map of the world is useful even if you aren't inclined to travel. You can't account for much, not even accounting really, and so why not indulge? Why not take her hand, kiss her, let her feel you getting hard? Thinking about the way women take their clothes off, and how you never know whether they should leave anything on until they decide, until they make the call, and it's always the right call, because that's the kind of man I am, that's the way I see it. The fence sags, too. Horses are coming. In my dreams  a student tells me he is going to get his Tibet on. It's no big thing, I reply. Send a postcard. On waking, there it is. It's this. This this. Can you feel it?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ordinary Rippling

A little before dusk we go out and study the landscape together. Wind moves the tall grass, green becomes a kind of silver, and I am lost again. Head colds, cold hands, silences one longs to fill. Bending, often, almost as a spiritual practice. You slipped on the back stairs, three months later we bought the house, and a month after that made love for the last time. It happens, among other things happening. Another letter, another mailbox executing its grim prerogative. What I miss most are black bears and the word trails. The past is close behind is just a way of seeing it, or saying you see it. On the other hand - and when is there not another hand - pine grosbeaks. Something about pairs resonates, that's all. Not hooking up as the kids say but holding one another through the ordinary rippling, the ordinary folding and unfolding. Scraping together used furniture for the upper room, the new adventure. Now I shall explore my misunderstanding of Husserl. The clover at my ankles, the intimating grave. You settle and it works, it always works, it works regardless of the attention you give - or don't give - it.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Stone's Throw from the River

At the far edge of the property, a stone's throw from the river, trillium. Violets in tangled grass reaching our ankles - anchors - and allowing us to say the word "pasture." Past her? Dandelions in clumps beneath the apple trees. Sweet rot, blood red. You draw another breath, draw another, remember stars - the word "startographer" maybe - and nothing happens. Or rather, what happens is you notice what you want to happen doesn't happen. Nothing is precisely what doesn't happen, ever. Ask what floats, what flows. What river where. Not the one within and no other one either. Don't ask "now what" when you know now it's this. This this.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Knowing what's Coming

It's a way of organizing, or nodding in the direction of sentences you don't want to write, or can't yet, for whatever reason. It doesn't matter unless you say it does and nobody really cares anyway. "I mean that in a good way," he said, fooling nobody, which doesn't mean it wasn't true. Passing the wetlands, listening to peepers, and fighting the urge to make it all more than it is, where "what it is" includes the urge to glorify and deify it. Once you've glimpsed the holy roundabout it's more or less smooth sailing, forward and backward, but a companion is nice. Study sufficiency, self-sufficiency, and subjugate the role economics plays in what you call "your" life. That? Two days running I can't go five minutes without wanting to talk to you and stuff, where "stuff" is what I am presently too shy and circumspect to say out loud, but you get my drift. Tell me it's okay. In some respects that's all we ever want to hear, isn't it? I hope you have blankets and sunrises and tea. Why does everyone listen to what I say as opposed to what I mean? The story of my life now entitled "Skipped the Apprenticeship" and not necessarily in a good way. Unbuttoning one more button than she allows undone in public and lingering there, going slower, that sweetness, that knowing what's coming. One way or another, yes? Those inclined to travel know where to find me. So yes, then. Yes.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Discordant Interior Note

Anybody can sit on a zafu, hence Buddhism, hence zafu manufacturing companies, hence marketing zafus, hence ideas like "anybody can sit on a zafu."

Coyotes won't cross the river, which makes keeping sheep somewhat more attractive, though not as much as a couple of cows.

Perhaps I really am finished with digging graves.

Which is to say - only because one notices they're writing it - that building shelters has never been my thing but burying the dead, I'm your man.

Arriving late as a (dubious) social strategy.

Religion as a political strategy, and politics a way of feeding people with a minimum of fuss.

Sleep at last and yet dreams thereby which, even when they're good, are bad.

Chrisoula observes that my habit of collecting cookbooks while steadfastly refusing to follow recipes perhaps indicates that coherence doesn't matter as much as I so often so publicly profess.

She was willing to leave the fan on which, in the context of our marriage, went a long way towards love but I turned it off anyway, being just that kind of cranky.

The Irish coast strikes a discordant interior note, which is a silly way of saying that it makes me think about difficult things, like women with whom I have not kept various faiths, and what my ancestors felt leaving, and the role horses have played in my life.

How is it working for you is a good question and one that bears both attention and answering.

Maggie O'Brien?

O'Brian?

Or O'Ryan maybe?

How grateful I was in that moment to have briefly been other than a horny asshole.

It's nice to wake up and not believe in God because it means I can eat a hamburger for breakfast.

We set about fixing the upper room without actually saying what for, and it's okay, it's a way of keeping faith with each other, and isn't that better than sex in the end?

No more coffee says the doctor to which I reply kindly go fuck yourself and we both laugh, it was that kind of moment.

And yet there are other moments, some gone and some yet to be, and what does that mean?

Oh relax - I read Husserl, I know what it means.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Shivering Before the Side Garden

The difference between lilies and tomatoes, which we articulate over tea, shivering before the side garden. You want to avoid arguments but really the thing to do is go right into them with an eye on their source. In other words, the belief systems underlying logic and language, our use of them. Application? There's a reason Tara Singh and I never talk. The cats sit attentively while I make tea, waiting on the cream that now and again spills. The bees do not forgive me so much as overlook my errors. Projects abound, nudging my sense of justice this way and that. There's no self to undo, but it seems like there is - it appears that there is - and so isn't there? I mean really. One wakes too early and goes outside and it's so clear and simple and beautiful even though it's raining and there's holes in my boots. Suddenly I see how there are not teachers so much as lessons, and there aren't lessons so much as currents working themselves out, and there aren't currents so much as a still river, a beautiful big still river. Buddha knits, Jesus tears loose pages from a difficult text, and my knees creak getting up. Lost in nuthatches, recipes from the 1970's, forward-looking writing, and you, always you.

Monday, May 9, 2016

All These Absences

Naming anything - flowers, birds, satellites - no longer demands attention. Perhaps righteousness abounds naturally, or there really is only one thing. We are what we are and so is the collective? One hesitates to say it that way, yet does, lacking any other inclination. Organization abounds as well, you have to see that. The sea accepts our gouging of earth and we call it a canal and that's what it is, a canal. Nobody cares about your ancestors! The almighty filter of self, the paradox inherent in thought. We herded sheep through tall grass after days of rain and came in winded, happy, hungry. She pulls her robe tighter, her smile tightens as well and this is where we are, which includes where we are going. For example, my body which softens and sags, which looks at last toward sleep, and is given to no one. I bury the birds for her - two fledglings, one adult - and wonder again at the proximity of graves and sorrow. Father is the wound I want to parent. The calf was wrapped in burlap and saying it so often is what? A kind of prayer, a kind of guess again? Cartography was waiting to be discovered, the same as modality. Yet we stumble, don't we? Into these arms, out of those. Maybe it doesn't matter given a cup of tea or coffee but still. All these absences darken in an almost threatening way, almost as if there are words I have yet to learn, or must.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Lost to the Body

And now this death, and now this feather.

We go out in the afternoon and learn that what is asked of us doesn't fit the answer we are wanting to be. And what is hard remains hard while what is simple remains distant, painfully so.

A flutter. The forsythia darkening, the yellow blooms swinging as low as chariots into funereal grass at dusk. 

Her wooden coffin, the weight of it, and the way it looked in sunlight.

In sunlight lightening. Loosening?

The leavening we imagine, the forbidden expanse that swallows our voices. Longing as always for what longs and no more.

She looked back several times, then rested. We used lavender to dampen the smell. What the body loses, what is lost to the body.

The lights flicker. How elegant cinema was in the 1970's, how large! Like elephants at a distance, like beach grass when it storms or just after.

Thus the acceleration, the declaration. We travel, we miss each other on highways and motels, we come home again, broken where broken is another word for whole, for healed, for here.

The poem contained the death of which I wrote, yet there was no death to speak of at the end. We are faced not with a dilemma but with the simpler yet unresolvable question of balancing competing rights.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

One Lantern is as Good as Any Other

There is writing, this writing, while there is rain - light rain - and so the light appears slower, or tentative maybe, nor is there a dog. Absent long walks one is left with dreams to provide the fix - to feed the hunger - for the image. If one lantern is as good as any another then why do we bother with aesthetics? Don't tell me what you read, tell me what you know. You have to stay open, I tell her, subtly insisting that "God" is simply another word for "gentle but sustained inquiry." The moon means nothing is a way of acknowledging the meaningfulness of meaning, so you have to be careful, and go slowly. The void, so-called, is a way of speaking about what's there in other words. Studiously avoiding students has become a kind of fetish, so now what? Well, this is how it arises, and it does not arise another way, and that is how it arises. "Gone but not forgotten" is a silly way to put it, as once you say "gone" you are contradicting yourself and asserting the memorial privilege simultaneously. The knot we tied, the knot we left undone, and the tendril threads drifting wildly this way and that. Thank you birds for singing! An abundance of miserliness with respect to insight indicates there is work to do. Share this. There is no next.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Sundry Pressures Attending Kisses

The writing goes slowly, taken as an indication that my thinking is as yet still sorting itself out. Two cups of coffee, the second one for you, even if you're still asleep and many thousands of miles away. We make love quietly and after look out the window without talking, lost in thoughts that may or may not include others.

Morning spent lugging deadwood to the burn pile, tracking a certain Husserlian argument around and around through my skull. The risen Jesus grows pale and thin for which I can only say thank Christ. Also, the sundry pressures attending kisses fascinate me.

Rethinking peace, finally. One enjoys a certain silence, a certain stillness, and is willing now to explore what happens when it passes, or appears to. The mail arrives, and between letters, a breath of you, a hint, the no-letter on which I wait forever.

Gaps in logic or understanding that are vexing not as a matter of crisis but more in the nature of making puzzles while it snows in late December and there's no hurry, no rush because Christmas never doesn't come. The far hill once studied by Emily Dickinson moves me. One discovers suddenly they are not waiting but simply attending happiness in unfamiliar ways.

Tired forsythia I can't bring myself to nudge awake. Shall we relax about our mutual objectification and simply enjoy what arises therefrom? Revisiting old promises, kicking the tires, getting somewhere at last.

I write about travel because of the "L" sound in it, not because of any desire to go anywhere. The man who hasn't bought a book in almost two years is beginning to feel a little cranky. Send a photo of your shoes and I won't go barefoot anymore.

The guitar shrugs into my hands, a difficult exercise begins again. Horizons, far sides, and the idea of you, the idea of you, the idea of you.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Reason for the Moon

The way the river unfolds enfolds the adjacent landscape just so. Thus green, thus Freud, thus the allowance for rest. Driving slowly, with coffee, happy.

Miles Davis in the upstairs office, the back room, a way of thinking showing up in words. We are considering now cooperation as an alternative to the somewhat confusing - and arguably unsuccessful - directive to turn the other cheek. Facing the text as if there were another way.

She thumps the alarm clock, comes back to bed and we meld just so and sleep. The way dreams seem to point, and do, but never the way one thinks. What are we watching?

Also, what illicit plan are we hatching? The thing about attention is its relationship to desire, to longing, and how this unsettles me, which is why Pan visits, and I can neither accept nor reject him nor find a middle way. We aren't wrong to go into it deeply but expecting this or that outcome does make insight difficult.

The doctor advises certain dietary changes and so forth and one senses the utter boredom underlying conventional health care systems. Good intentions are masks and so let's lose them and see what happens, yes? Slowing down when passing the old house is a way of studying interior foundations, and being willing to find them wanting.

Reading Husserl for hours then surfacing, discovering Africa, spending hours shuffling books from one shelf to another. What a sorrow to discover I cannot distinguish one cardinal from the next! Over and over one plunges into the folds, discovering the ever subtler nature of reality, and the way language doesn't help at all.

Still, what world arises for you and how? Here are three sheep, rescues, employed as lawn mowers and one sees how this is why the sun rises, this is the reason for the moon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Swallow of Graced Life Forever

At 3 a.m. or so, gun shots - one followed by a spate - and then silence. Clouds falling, or seeming to, which even in bed you can't stop imagining. One nods in the direction of Pan who takes any acknowledgment as an invitation to fuck. Me too for pity's sake. The river in motion yet forever still, in the same way existence is simply non-existence from another reference point and yet. And yet when we talk about how he feels in the wake of his diagnosis, we have to go carefully, all of us, as if the interior landscape were an old battlefield littered with potentially functional mines. In the end there's no reason not to talk about well-fed blue jays, or fields of bluets just off the highway, or how rarely we see the sky these days. Making coffee and navigating in coded chat the parts of the relationship that are hardest. Chickens faintly audible from the barn. How can I talk about this and who needs to hear it? Awakening. The bee who is Christ lives in me, the swallow of graced life forever circumnavigates in thought. How I wish the wordy baton had passed to someone else or that I had dropped it twenty and thirty years ago when there was still time. It's time now to wash windows, time to gather the recycling. The old testament prophets and Ralph Waldo Emerson drink beer in the pasture and holler at me laughing. I wish stars would fall from the makeshift sky and burn their gorgeous tongues out. It's time to write another poem for you. This. This this.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Seeing Myself as a Mercenary

I am still poor. I tell the neighbor's pigs about it while the sun sets. They listen though what they take from it, who knows. Pigs are cute when they're little but that changes. Not for the last time do I think of rescuing them - releasing them - but to what end? Nobody wants a pig except to eat it. And people have a right to farm and eat. The urge to inflict our moral values - our agricultural ideals - on our neighbors is a form of violence, a microcosmic image of our species' violent passage back and forth across the evolutionary stage. Life eats us up and that's that. I wish I could talk to Lilian about it, though what I would say I can't say. She's to me what I am to a few others, which helps manage certain expectations though only a little. I like mowing lawns, and thinking about things, and writing, too. I'm not good at humbling myself, playing by other's rules, or seeing myself as a mercenary. What a tangled mess, both interiorly and otherwise! But what can you do? For thirty pieces of silver I'd kiss anybody's cheek which - as Jesus more or less continually points out - shouldn't surprise anyone. Here is the man who leaves the pigs to their prison, to their pending abattoir, and proudly argues that turn the other cheek reflects poor teleology. Kiss this, am I right?

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Self is Blindness

At 3 a.m. we talk things over a bit, then agree to go back to sleep, which I do, which is funny (when we wake up, I mean) because I hate sleep and never say yes to it happily. My mind is no longer on maple trees so much, nor walking even. The future is just anticipation experienced presently and thus not a big metaphysical deal so for Christ's sake relax a little and enjoy the kombucha Chrisoula made.

That which is known to the self and unknown to others is hidden, but that which is known to others and not the self is blindness. So this is what it's like to be wanted! She puts a folded quilt down and kneels on it and this is where we are, this is what we are doing.

We hold up mason jars of water and peer through them at the goldfinch which loses none of it resonance thereby. Old jazz records, a briefer foray into sheet music for polkas, and a more or less unused low D whistle. You keep finding beer cans and it becomes a running joke, beneath which is a bed of grief and confusion nobody wants to touch.

Deleting old email addresses and wondering who will notice is a form of caring. Perception becomes subtler, easier to let slide, and it changes the way one experiences thought, and life. Reading Husserl closely, carefully on the landing, watching the sun set, tea gone cold, too tired to walk before dinner, aware of who is there and who is not there, which is a way of saying nobody is not there.

There's so much to talk about so let's buy some bright bandannas. We joke at supper about dating robots, keeping robots for pets, and what the difference is between interfacing and relationship. Getting clear is good, even if it's just a way of seeing clouds better.

The nineteenth century lets go of me - probably only briefly - and so I can read Alice Knotley again and Lyn Hejinian and Rae Armantrout. One is never far from a shelf of books. "You might want to forget about honey this year," he says, as we stand in front of the hives, and all I can think of is the forsythia bush a hundred yards behind us, unseen but so fierce and lovely in imagination that at any moment I'm going to burst into a one-word flame.

Sweetness abounds beneath the backyard apple tree. The moonlight is not silver but one does love the word silver and what it implies going forward.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

More Communion Than Conflict

No rain at dawn which allows for a relatively comfortable walk to the river humming quietly in shadows. Pan goes by with his busted but beautiful flute, harder to see and hear than you'd think, and I can't help loving him, even as I politely decline his hoarse plea to fall to my knees and let him finish in my mouth. You want to see stars and moonlight then see them, that's the new me.

Later, writing upstairs, the scent of French toast heavy on cinnamon wafts up through drafty floorboards and I stop to think how happy one can be with what is here. You are there, of course, but daily I consider the miles between us more communion than conflict. Sometimes at the old house my morning walk spooked killdeer and I always felt a little rocked, reminded dearly how brief and perilous life is in darkness.

Early bluets, before which I pause to admire the lovely complexity underlying them: atoms and molecules and hexagonal doo-dads. My purple bonnet swaying in sunlight is not impaired but only elevated by your science. And deep in the forest the old dog's grave grows a couple of stray violets not averse to comely narrative.

So what ends ends and what begins is what was always here. One day you don't want to write in a certain style to which you're accustomed and then the next day it's okay, it's more than okay, and so you do it. Teach me by listening to me seems to be the better mode.

Vivid dreams are fun and interesting and nobody needs to make more of it than that. It's like semi-colons, she said, half-turning to pull her shirt off, knowing that I don't take punctuation lightly and wanting my attention just so. A crow visits the pig pen and the pigs scurry and fuss, too big to be eaten themselves, but too little to make the crow rethink its plan to steal their slop.

Certain questions she never answered remind me of apple blossoms at a distance forever halving itself. You think you're done learning and then the bees show up and say, hey, we've got some things to point out, pay attention. You can't see seeing but it's there.

Well, grounded as always by New England transcendentalism, for starters. Before dawn large stones in the brook can be anything you want and that my love may be the only thing I know.