Sunday, September 20, 2020

On A Lonely Plains

Wasted.

Left for dead on a windy plateau, a warning, a show.

Shielding a small fire from rain with my body.

Scrubbing blood from a gallows, a marble block behind the coliseum, a cufflink.

Sorting through my confusion between museums and libraries.

Asleep on horseback on a lonely plains.

Sleeping with herpetologists out of pity.

Defending not sleeping while dreaming.

Far from church or chapel, shrine or temple, confessional.

Untroubled by death.

Burning old journals.

Writing "memory is a specific form of forgetting" and wondering why.

Pausing to watch swamp trout dart through sun-pillared shallows. 

Followed by an eagle.

Fraught.

Regretful.

Given to wishes, wishing.

In relationship with a basilisk.

Re-reading Frankenstein and Lord of the Rings.

Altared.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Prayer is Mother

The prayer is: Mother I want to see you.

My left arm hurts and can't be lifted. Warblers sing to each other in the lengthening twilight, a loveliness I can just bear. 

Narratives in which apple trees predominate. 

We leave as if nothing bad has happened. In a sense - a nontrivial sense - the temple never fell in the first place. Gunshots persuade the horses to come back to the fence line closest to the house.

The many pornographies of which we are comprised.

The prayer is also ongoing, mutual, unconcerned with its reception. Interpretative dance projects. 

Do acorns bruise falling?

Self-aversion as a strategy for inner peace.

The outdoor oven - which has not been used in almost a decade - softens with blurry mosses.

Remember jitterbugs: it is the dance that makes the dance floor, not the other way around. 

Low-flying military planes to which I extend a middle finger, which annoys the neighbor who's a cop, who comes over and asks me to show some respect, to which I suggest that exercises of free speech constitute respect, which only exacerbates our difficulties, which I knew would happen, which Chrisoula reminds me, to which I mutter "but still" to which she replies by kissing me on the cheek, right there on Main Street in full view of everyone watching the dispute and really, what other joy will suffice? 

I mean, yes, I really did go to Ireland but also, really, isn't Ireland - aren't we all - a state of mind? 

Buckling under sundry pressures.

As night begins - as twilight ceases to be a relevant category - we begin to see a soft pink on the eastern horizon, barely noticeable - maybe not even there save in a sentence - but still.

Two cups of coffee, a mental note to read Camille Paglia again, and a lot of mutual praise.

This is the end, amen.

Friday, September 18, 2020

A Little More Bittersweet Ascends

So this is the silence to which you were referring! So many gods speak to me now that the One God no longer has to argue or even try to be heard.

In your heart there are many rooms.

Many ellipsis.

In my heart, a fireproof floor, and in my soul, a long sigh. 

Letters to the Creatrix.

At dusk a cloudless sky, as if good news about the horses were heard overhead as well. Plans for early October begin, a sense we are eclipsing some old stagnation. Going down on you, lingering at your thighs.

Seven geese, then twenty geese, pass overhead. I am oriented accordingly.

And the garden dies a little, and then dies a little more. 

Bittersweet ascends the dying poplar.

Not so long ago the devil moved on this landscape, belted in black and reeking of ashpits, and yet even that is undone.

Piles of kindling we don't burn will winter over by the raspberries. Sunflowers in starlight. The killdeer we used to excite, walking at four a.m. in old potato fields, up and down the airstrip adjoining a pair of fire ponds.

Slowing for deer crossing Kinnebrook Road and not picking back up. Two hours of discourse, revolutionary animism. 

Why not walk in pairs?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

I Dream of Us Laughing

Is it wrong I want to follow Her? At night she wakens me at three a.m. and I walk through the yard to the apple trees. My heart is cavernous, duplicit, fatty and brass. 

Apples fall in the cold wet grass of August. The stars say "winter." Night winds rattle the second story. Whose town is this?

Crickets singing in jewelweed, toads scuttling off the stairs when I pass. How agile we are when in need.

And another story and another.

Eighteen-wheelers grind up Main Street to the hardware store. Wearing hats while walking that belonged to my father. In a dream, a friend who became a therapist says, "it's not supposed to be this hard."

Big fury. My nightscape.

One of these robins may be the last robin I'll ever see in this life and will I know, do I want to know.

Suddenly the gods are speaking to me again, rising up in me from deep places to nudge the writing this way or that. Complicity requires a collective. 

It begins in black I say of his art and years later he tells me how helpful it was, that observation. I dream of her hands undoing my belt, I dream of us laughing at how long it took to find the requisite trail.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

What was Stolen

I mean the shadows of the horses. Clouds far away, like trout in a low river. 

Walking all morning to where in winter the river will freeze beneath wheels and tables of ice.

From a distance, goldfinches in the sunflowers, and the specific joy of saying so. Chrisoula brings coffee, bad news

Thumping sounds in the horse trailer. Giving back what was stolen, refusing everything else. 

Everything else.

Shadows beyond the horse pasture which are openings in the forest through which one can make out nothing. The witch, the woman the witch became, and the man who sees them both.

Holding hands in bed before sleep, too tired to make love. It all burns, goes up in smoke. 

For years I confused my father with a fire, and fire for something you cared for. Gunshots, soul shots. The abyss littered with selfies.

Forget-me-nots. Second thoughts. Snakes curled up in flower pots.

Whole flocks of birds traveling south, reminding me of grief, and what grief comes to.

Butterflies, better days, these bitter drafts my throat cannot renounce.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Soul Begins Foreshadowing

This vale of tears, these morning glories that don't quite scale the chicken pen. These worries, fears, these ballet moves.

Sometimes it snows in late October. Sometimes the dolls wake up and wonder why you are so difficult to play with. 

Geese cross the lower east panels of sky above the hills and you count them - six maybe seven - and then they are gone. 

The river is mostly gone.

Morning passes half asleep, waking to write a few sentences, rewrite a few sentences, boil water for tea, forget to make tea, worrying about money, meetings later, inter-library loans. There is less to say than yesterday, and only I can say it.

Articles about oyster-farming on Cape Cod making me wish I was an oyster farmer. Lost intimacies, lost time. When she comes upstairs to fight, a choking feeling in back of my soul begins foreshadowing resolution. Wear something black can also mean a funeral is coming. Selah.

Sirrah.

The surrey with the fringe on top. 

Sheep-farming as a model of escapism, the monastery as an escape. Losing interest as an escape.

Goldfinches in the sunflowers. A surplus heart makes the world safe again for romance. Tell me yet again what your Dad said driving back from Saint Louis about why he left your Mom. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

In My Tears and Gratefulness

Nobody says anything anymore. Just shy of noon I finish a rosary, go inside and eat cold pork from yesterday.

We are dusted with time.

Robins perch on fence posts that lean awkwardly in sunlight, untended for many decades now. Dried stems of tiger lilies. Degrees of intensity. Dirt gods.

Desire.

Densities of starlight so bright and wild that my heart expands unto infinity to encompass them.

Drawing the curtains, undressing, all under her watchful eye. 

Kneeling to wash Chrisoula's feet, losing track of the time in my tears and gratefulness. 

All night lost under the hemlock trees, swaying in light breezes, crying out unto the many entities crying out in turn to us.

Your letter arrived.

Lycanthropes, licenses, logjams, lust.

How shall we describe dying? How shall we weep when our eyes are become dust?

Goldfinches in the garden, grackles in the chicken pen. Gray skies telling a story in which in two hours or so it rains. 

I shall make clothespins by hand, I shall absolve myself of sin.

The trail my love it widens.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sex and Time and the Lord

At a distance, chainsaws. Due west, my love.

One writes and days later what they write appears differently on the page. Passersby. Passenger pigeons.

Breaded lamb chops, caramelized onions. We share a beer on the front porch, not talking which is - at a late stage of the marriage - talking, deeply.

Trimming forsythia so that it doesn't extend into the sidewalk, making it easier for older neighbors to walk with canes and walkers. 

Spun glass. Spitting.

Near midnight I wake and go to the window and the stars are so glorious that I go outside and stand in the driveway awestruck, sure I have lived before, a thousand lifetimes, and in this one am meant only to give thanks, over and over.

How we cry in the dusty stairwell leading to the hay loft, how we hold each other in the dim light, as if for life.

Contemplating trees that need to be cut down, which I do not want to cut down yet which - because they jeapordize the horse pasture and the horses - I will cut down. Forgive me yet again, Goddess.

For years it mattered that I'd had sex on a hill overlooking the bay opposite Castleton-Beire but now I don't know, now it feels as if I was confused, deeply, about love and sex and time and the Lord.

We who are executing a nontrivial end run around monotheism which, paradoxically, does nothing unjust to the divine. 

"Optimism," I say, to which she adds, "and margaritas," to which I say gently but without conviction, "and margaritas, yes."

Hungering for turtle meat and longing to be straddled again by the fire.

The first ghost, the last ghost, the in-between ghosts, the middle.

Seriously, whose dream is this?

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Allowance more than Cultivation

Making love in full view of the wasp's nest.

In 2016 I entered a swale - went down - and was brought eye-to-eye with demons whose lifebreath is nihilism, and whose clutches appeared as fucking to me, a confusion I am only just now escaping.

Listening to eggs fry. Fried bread with maple syrup. 

At dawn, before the children awaken, I kneel and wash your feet, a 30-day ritual _____ asked of me, which I give gladly.

Waiting on the gallows, wind rustling our pant legs. Let us not overly worship the camera or its productions, okay?

Last of the coffee.

And summer ending, and certain loves.

We study the sideyard poplar as we do every summer before deciding not to cut it, as we do every summer. Neighbors slow in passing, small talk filling the space between us. 

Eggplant parmagiana, gluten free pancakes.

Be a good symbiote!

Is one ever finished praying a rosary?

Truly, actually, whole-heartedly. Presently.

Thanks to the neighbors for helping - through allowance more than cultivation - a meaningful milkweed patch to grow.

Emily Dickinson in the river and not drowning. My heart is the river which does not know - but forever reaches toward - the sea. 

We lock the doors, we "turn in," and this is love - at last it is love.

Friday, September 11, 2020

A Rosary in Starlight

What has no antonym? 

Rinsing out the trash cans. The chicken whose legs weren't working a week ago is no longer distinguishable from those whose legs do work, so something is working.

One goes deeper into God, as into a difficult text

I find myself thinking of Cape Cod these days, the way it appears in my living as a dreamscape, an ecstatic landscape, visitable but not - for me - habitable. 

Shall we begin again?

At the transfer station I keep my head down, my fatigue such that dialogue is a peril. Juvenile hawks exploring their wings.

Purple loosestrife, roadside chicory.

What do you say on balance?

I make popcorn with paprika and cumin and we eat it side by side on the couch watching Golden Girls reruns, laughing at ourselves settling into the early stages of our dotage. Please: don't forget dysthymia.

When we use language, we construct a world of relationships from which we cannot escape, yet is escape as such desirable? He calls Northampton "Maskville" and I sigh, withdrawing a little from the conversation. Quarter-pounders grilled outside, roasted kale chips and malted vanilla milkshakes.

In the grocery store I hesitated by the gin, admiring the many shapes and colors of the bottles, and remembering years ago drinking gin and tonics with J. by the Connecticut River.

Outside the lines.

Divine revelation is ongoing and the reason it feels otherwise is our stupid addiction to ecstasy and misery, the wild twins of our childhood. 

Praying a rosary in starlight, knowing my solitude is my own now, and will only be shared on terms of another's making. 

"I like it when you do that - will you do it again?"

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Through the Night

Morning is one of the things that passes.

The dead fox on the airstrip does not pass.

Jeweled blood on its broken jaw.

Grackles overhead. Quiet overhead. My father told me stories, he was confident telling stories, and then one day the stories stopped.

What we learn from witches. Frogs and lumberjacks, ticks and kangaroos. 

Near midnight I slip into the backyard to stargaze, waiting on the Perseids which are gone they say, and yet.

When we are tired of sex, when we are exhausted by bodies. The soft fur covering the hot stones of my balls. Bells ringing. Words we don't use save in this or that context.

Promises we make to ourselves in the far back of the choir loft.

When prayer floats back and forth.

Crickets in the folded tarp near the chicken pen.

Apples fall through the night and in the morning we gather them and put them out for the hens.

Plans vs. what appears, and what just happens. Be less so more so.

The ocean gently moving against the shore, the interior of certain shells.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Reverent and Penitent Both

Cutting thread to bind the chicken's legs over stale bread for roasting. The fence breaks and half a dozen rams charge into the horse pasture, reach the center and stop, confused. I pat her ass passing and she hipchecks me, leading me back for a soft caress, a kiss, a murmur, a promise, a love

Going out later for a beer. Greek villages in which I learned what men had done to her, deepening my commitment to consent, chastity, dialogue.

"I want your tongue in me," she said, reclining on the futon couch in my one-room apartment on Church Street, opening her legs, before which I kneeled, reverent and penitent both. 

Associating the sound of geese with the sun setting over Lake Champlain. Reheated Thai noodles.

Her hand working around to the back of my head.

Yet on the drive to Mansfield to visit his grave, the conversation slackens, and it's like we're tired or something, or have suddenly discovered regions of the self we're obligated to explore alone. 

Venus twining over the low hills.

Luciferian pleasures.

Not liking it, doing it anyway, getting it done. Who doesn't need to be guided?

Gorged on?

A last book of poems in which her handwriting can be found, an anthology of Irish poets. I miss the pheasants of my childhood.

Crumbs, crosses. Craic.

These troubled times, these missing bridges.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Every Way but This

This dull heart experiencing itself as a muscle for the first time in forty some odd years. Geography merging with memory.

Manifest desire.

At night I dream of oceans slowly rolling up beaches in moonlight where no human foot has ever been.

After days fasting I close my eyes and become symbiotic, psychedelic.

CCR songs while driving west to pick up five hundred pounds of chicken food.

Spiritual smorgasbords at which we gorge, pretending we are somebody else.

This all too common today for so casual a leaf.

Dismantling the affair for spare parts, whatever I can take with me into the next phase of the marriage. 

The radical anthropomorphism.

She shudders coming, hand fisted near parted lips, eyes closed, reminding me of how poor I am in almost every way but this.

Bellies of swallows as they turn in the late August sunlight. Back roads, backsies. Backpacks.

Say there were fifteen disciples rather than twelve: what story would have been served thereby? What poem or other process is served by wondering why?

Getting high on the shore of Lake Champlain, later taking her hand and kissing near the water away from the others, her whispering "I'll do it if you want" unzipping my jeans, the whole night with her like swimming between the stars even now. 

And the sky will yet be free of us.

Chris comes over to talk, cheerful in the way he is cheerful, name-dropping local names, and I wonder for not the last time will I ever be free of the monkey?

Old men in the hay barn smiling at me, almost fifty years ago, and I pause stacking the bales remembering them, and how happy it was possible to be, in the days that came before these days came.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Always Yesterday

Faint clouds. A sense - accelerating - of emptiness, nothingness which is simply the other side of all this. We are all without God now but not without love?

Peach trees, persimmons. 

Garden beans fried with bacon and onions. 

Fried bologna, kool-aid. 

What does your mother like?

He died four years ago and it was yesterday, in a sense it was always yesterday, and grief responds accordingly. What drifts, what doesn't. 

Priests come by in the morning, having nothing to say but prattling endlessly the many scripts they didn't write. How he squeezed my hand, how the time passed.

Creaking swings.

The horses stomp at dusk - tails swishing - forever urging flies away, the flies returning. It is summer: this summer: there will never be another.

We are out of time who were given everything but time. The neighbors talking to their sheep, telling them to calm down, be nice.

To what do you give oxygen?

Our rotating globe makes it seem as if the sun is setting but the sun is not setting, only burning fiercely, tens of million miles away.

Nobody tends me, nobody can.

Secrets, like stones, keeping.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Of Salt and Excitement

Called.

Chickens croon to each other in the shade cast by hemlock trees. Hunger has no friend.

Morning glories ascending thready vines encircling the front yard maple.

Blind yet he runs when my daughter calls him, clear and true, bracing on arrival to a command uttered so low none of us outside the two of them - the half-blind circle they make in the universe - can hear it. 

Is this love? Is this?

Lost in the economy, joined by elephants and cobblers, all of us lamenting days gone by.

Sanctified. Satiated.

Space shuttle disasters. 

She lays down in the field with the horses, no book or pen, content to spend time with them longer. The past is what we remember, but not only, the world the way it is.

Buttercups, buttercrunch. Near the tomatoes, half a dozen marigolds on which bees rest, and an invisible hint of winter.

How low my voice gets a few moments before coming, the bottom of a marble staircase, the Greek sea at dawn. Syllables full of salt and excitement.

Groundhogs scurry out from the raspberry bushes. Translucent dragonfly wings, a late entry in the catalog of beautiful things I hope to take with me into the void. 

Be symbiotic, simple, save somebody.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Day Before a Fox

Grackle. Graceful.

Religion shifts into commerce, politics. 

Living religiously shifts elsewhere.

This green world.

In the grass to my left, and white and orange cat reclines.

"Some mother's son."

Tumescent moons.

Braying donkeys on the other side of the river, audible half a mile away. My heart, my wallet, my shoes.

Who is frightened of "who."

Shadows of me typing.

Was it yesterday or the day before a fox crept up alongside the goldenrod before noticing me noticing it and turning back.

Slips of forest. Lakefront property values.

Waiting on Jesus no more, and other declarations of freedom.

Shopping lists, shaving kits.

I remember giving you head in a field in Vermont at dusk and you said after "the sky was full of birds."

Reciprocity matters.

We are looking around, thinking things over, we are setting ourselves up for joy.

Friday, September 4, 2020

The Entropic Gala

Fifty or sixty grackles pass in a ragged flock, the collective patter of their wings beating the August sky, oddly alarming.

Cracked skin on my heels. Bees pass, nuzzling white clover by the kindling. Somewhere, somebody is pulling over in their pickup because what they have to say is so serious they can't risk saying it while driving.

Christmas trees, crabapple jelly. Geese circling the cornfield past the town park. Perhaps we are all ornaments

The Man-without-Shoes contemplates yet another winter. Snake skin lodged in the barn door. 

Men who keep things orderly vs. those of us who are too in love with beauty to oppose the entropic gala. 

Fox scat, rat tracks. Telling the future for fun in coffee grounds at the cup's bottom. Tea cups full of moonlight.

Yellow where one cannot say is it yellow or simply happy.

The late insight that happiness is mild and that so much of our grief arose in a confused homage to ecstasy.

"Ego is a red herring," he said, a casual aside in a long conversation in Cambridge but still, five words that changed my life. 

Cattail, cottontail. All the way to the town line, all the way back. 

And the door closed, and the window closed. 

The writing now, it writes itself.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Happy to Watch What Passes

What I can't say comes back to haunt me. 

Dragonflies high above the outdoor stove. I say sunflowers are not the color of the sun and Fionnghuala says I am confused about beauty.

From whence does the chorus come if not the conviction that repetition is how we remember best.

Two foxes come up the meadow at dusk, getting almost halfway to the garden before they notice me sitting quietly. Warm beer. 

The popping sound pickles make deep within the towel-wrapped crock.

Swollen ankles. I remember telling him she was Greek and he said, "Greek women are the most beautiful women," which I hadn't thought about. On the train all night, happy to watch what passes, as if there no other kind of joy.

Absent utility, is it still love? "Ego" is mostly a red herring. 

Coffee at dusk, writing poems, happy in the old way all over again.

Think carefully about what you kill. The sky, it empties itself of clouds. One anticipates bittersweet, its decorative qualities.

While in another sense, there is no interior. One admires the optimism of the man growing plum trees in New England. 

Be a good symbiote.

Swallow me if you don't mind I swallowed me first.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Patterns Nobody Asked For

Catbirds singing in the raspberry bushes. The world in a blade of grass.

The multiverse in what you insist I remember. Notes for later. "Don't come," she whispered, kneeling beneath the Perseids, giving me head for a moment before straddling me with a soft groan. This: This this.

Later we sit with iced tea and lemon watching the horses graze, trying to decide if the older one is behaving any differently on account of his eye. Rolling rice and fried eggplant in collard greens for steaming. 

Checking in, out.

What passes.

I remember visiting churches in Europe, confused about the Lord, knowing my parents would approve, and yet oddly happy in spite of it all. Heaven is processual, perspectival, possible. Fire ants.

Distant thunder. Eighteen-wheelers leaning on the brakes where Route Nine dips heading south. We lean in to each other, broken and knowing it, happy nonetheless.

Is there such a thing as silence after all?

Cheap tattoos, memories of blowjobs you wish you hadn't given, dead cows your Dad blamed you for, and now this. 

Joe Pye Weed. Patterns nobody asked for, like will it rain or will it not and when.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Under the Perseids

Jasper moves a piece of hay around in his mouth and says at last, "well, are there good reasons to postpone joy?"

Rain showers. Feed buckets.

Apples falling all night.

We laughed on the blanket, remembering making love in Vermont all those years ago, but then around midnight we did make love, quiet and intense, and after lay under the Perseids naked and happy, breathless and warm together, as if this were the point all along.

What your mother notices about you on the anniversary of your father's death. Sheep kicking the sides of the trailer, bawling and angry with what's going on. 

How the old horse - blind in one eye now - follows the other horse around the pasture. Leaves fall in a sudden wind, and briefly you are happier than you ever thought possible. 

Interior lullabies. Psychological reckonings.

Twelve disciples. Thirteen days in November. Fourteen more trips around the sun.

Faraway breezes stirring trees you can't identify without binoculars. Clouds sink through the dusk, swallowed by green hills. 

Be vulpine, secretive, adventurous. Be my baby tonight.

Torn. Pepper burgers at the neighbors, the scent making you hungrier than you can say.

Monday, August 31, 2020

All of What is Alive in Us

Horse tails swishing flies in late summer. Cumuli tower overhead, dreamy and full of rain that won't fall until somewhere else, another time.

Dragonflies over the garden, swallows over the horse pasture. Sudden - welcome - drops in temperature.

My shoes! Apples thumping in tall grass and clover bunched around deadfall gathered in a pile. 

It makes sense, doesn't it. Making plans later to watch the Perseids, remembering Vermont years ago, making love beneath the Perseids, all night the light shining on you.

And the grackles gather now into flocks, and by the swamp the early maples begin turning. All of what is alive in us now.

Borrowed jackets, borrowed ties. I remember taking my Dad's down vest a couple years after he died and finding two acorns in the inside pocket.

Her breath hitches masturbating. Ordinary days pass becoming more so.

Down past the feeder brook a fox yelps. Sunflowers are the color of something other than the sun.

I am lost now, but it's okay, as I've been lost before. Hospital gowns, hospital blues.

One waits on bad news as one can. Plans dissolving like salt in a river.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Flowing to the Sea in Us

Kosmos emerging through repetition, the pattern of you sucking me, sentencing me, swallowing me, seeding me, saving me, selling me, sorting me, savoring me slipping in me. 

Making space for the shared pathology, giving it light, not antiseptically but lovingly.

What we measure against the calendar, what we measure against the yardstick.

We are never not producing ghosts.

"Houseness."

In early August the sky is the color of the sea which is far away.

In mind, generating.

"For a discussion of the seventeenth century Dutch practices of household maintenance and of the impact they had on Dutch social life, see Schama 1991: 375-480."

Within space, other spaces, and within those spaces, other other spaces, and within those spaces, other other other spaces and . . . 

Hot wet folds of Kosmos.

Fried eggplant, figs, cherry tomatoes and bread soaked in chopped garlic and olive oil.

The way your lips open in certain pictures you send, as if to make clear a new way of thinking about being in space with you ecstatically.

Paradise is empty, awaiting.

A green dress from long ago I imagined you slipping out of for me, somewhere far north where nobody knew us, nor ever would again.

A Vermont of our own choosing.

Ancestral desires, astrological profanities.

Her mother was a librarian, her father a forester.

Crumbling, crying, christening.

Coming.

Coming in you in us for what is new, breathless, light on the river which while not desiring the sea knows nothing but flowing to the sea in us.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Working a Loom in Dim Light

This life in which reading and writing became fundamentally private, acts given to creating spaces in which the self was not at risk in either minor or major ways.

And yet "and yet."

It is the dance which brings forth the dance floor, and the dance floor disappears when the dance is ended.

What shall we talk about next?

I mean how memory works against instinct.

Louise Bourgeois: "Mirrors can be seen as vanity, but that is not all their meaning for the act of looking into a mirror is really about having the courage it takes to look at yourself and really face yourself."

And so on and so forth et cetera.

Freud: "if we are to take it as a truth that knows no exception that everything living dies for internal reasons — becomes inorganic once again — then we shall be compelled to say that 'the aim of all life is death,' and, looking backward, 'inanimate things existed before living ones.'" 

All morning listening to blue jays yet not seeing one and now and then seeing a cardinal in loping flight down by the raspberry bushes.

The cosmos are ornamental, unopposed.

In other words, both life and death aim at returning to a previous state of existence.

Letting go of you in us.

Loving Chrisoula knitting, patterning in the passenger seat as we drive south into Springfield to pick up olives, olive oil and feta.

Panels of sunlight glide slowly across the floor of the room in which I write, as this sentence glides in you reading.

Gently licking you in us, opening you wider in us.

Our monkey paws, our fate.

I am paralyzed by melancholy and nostalgia, sadly working a loom in dim light recalling sailors, poets, physicians, fortune-tellers. 

Intellect as shroud.

To suck is to repeat what pattern?

In you already it is Fall in which I join you in the city of our choices settling in us like grains of sand in a participatory cosmos of a kind god's making. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Jesus-based Intervention Strategies

Ask what I want! Less guilty maybe, or less willing to prioritize this or that sexual act. Emotions are data points we confuse with actual goals. We stop washing the car in order to save water, which everybody thinks is silly, but still. Pausing to remember Oreo cookies at six years old. Spiritual poverty clarified as an impediment to Jesus-based intervention strategies. Always all these notes for later. Schopenhauer argues that it is impossible to imagine happiness because it "cannot dwell where, as Plato says, continual Becoming and never Being is all that takes place." Boiling water for pasta, then forgetting what you're boiling water for. Driving three hours over back roads into Sturbridge to pick up my mother. Everybody has an opinion about the best flavor of ice cream. Mental bucket acquisition processes are nontrivial. So much of my writing is premised on the tension between "too late" and "late but not too late." Joy where once there was not joy, and peace where once there was war.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

My Little Saint Lingering

Beginning the morning's sentences later than usual. Beautifully, boldly. What do we reclaim and why. When. Requisite chemicals. Your mushroom is my little saint lingering on the tongue. Absent sexlessness what? As if the painful thing were not there to be gone through but rather not looked at at all. Reading Ron Silliman poems on a plane to Austin Texas. But you cannot get away! Hills and streams mostly, sometimes open fields. Neighbors who overemphasize the appearance of the lawn vs. neighbors who overemphasize not overemphasizing the appearance of the lawn. Is it conflicts or turtles all the way down, I forget. One thinks of birds in the forest that do not want to be seen. Hemlocks and maples and even birches. Positing a nexus between wishes and what works. I shall look away then. Elephantinely. Oh river forgive me. Oh autumn have faith.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Scriptures on my Heart

Morning grates. Her notes are indicative of a space we will not broach in this lifetime, a sorrow I can only just manage, and yet. Sitting quietly in darkness, listening to bat wings whisper in moist air above me. Her visits when I was little inscribed scriptures on my heart which you are meant to elucidate through a fire for which - as yet - you will not allow yourself to be responsible. All these endings, all these plot points we can't admit we wish had evolved differently or to finality. As if. The horse's eye clouds over and we sink into familiar horrors, expensive ones. With the curtain drawn, prisms do nothing, yet one is not bereft thereby. My whole life has been a war with the void - I am a soldier of memory - which was exactly what the void wanted, which is all that matters, if I remember correctly. Dragging my feet in dewy grass, in no hurry to finish. Oh ______ forgive me, show me the new chapel, send me a woman for whom my knees and tongue are worthy and not unwelcome.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Between Honor and Mercy

Do not disregard Camus' insight that travel strips us of the means by which we efface and ignore our fundamental loneliness. It is possible we shall die without being delivered, one unto the other. How close to the house certain crows come, as if actually bearing a message, or wanting to see more closely what we are doing. Doors open, floorboards creak. Morning passes reading and writing, thousands of words on a theme of transgression, at last understood as fundamentally creative. We have many sexual partners over the course of a life, many of whom stay with us in various ways, forever inflecting the ongoing study of ecstasy. A nexus between honor and mercy often misnamed forgiveness. Is it possible that space is generated by the existence of multiple - indeed, infinite perhaps - viewpoints? Listening to the neighbor hammer boards together for what I can't say feels religious. All these encounters, not one of which reaches the core.

Monday, August 24, 2020

If I'm Still Enough I Don't Exist

This story is fiction, and fiction is a lie, but from within the story, it's not a lie: it's just this: this this.

Starlings leap through the hemlocks, asking me for nothing. If I'm still enough I don't exist, am not worth noticing. Even my lies are of no consequences but wait - is that a different story?

Sometimes when I pass Ogunquit orchard I remember the poem I wrote for you there - the one about apple blossoms in your hair and making love in the farthest corner, advancing a theme of indifference to male owners and their bizarre notions of owning the earth - and wonder what it means that we will never make love there.

The river did not crest the banks in that storm. In another, it was so dry the stars came down to fill it with their tears. Strike that (yeah that's right - I'm editing as I go - you got a problem with that?). There's another story - but wait. Did I say that already too?

I'm almost lost now in antique stores, without parents or grandparents. It's just a coffin from the outside in. Or are we all one - that is to say, nothing together - already. 

Simulate me. Her songs in mid-morning leave me wandering interior landscapes from which it is not possible to escape. 

That is to say, in some stories she eats you and in others she starves you but in some, she is healed, and whole, and you are never without her, nor hungry nor hurt.

Let's go somewhere where we can smell the sea. Let's be as one, you and me. As the sun? The sun's mother, my sister, no lover left undone.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

You Have to Go Hungry in the Moonlight

What if the wounds never heal? The ones we receive, the ones we administer. We say they heal - we buy books that assure us that they heal - but maybe they don't heal. What God would allow this? Going on hurt forever. What if you were wrong when you were right and right when you were wrong and what if that was okay? Who would have to look away to make it so? Is there something we can use to distract them? Is there another way this moment could be, apart from what you'd like to be the truth? What you're calling "Truth" - what do they call it in the church down the road? In the next town? Those cardinals you reduced to symbols for forty years aren't waiting on salvation - from you or anyone else. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can see you, other times I have to fill-in-the-blanks with what happens to be around. The military isn't your friend is a hard fact to admit but there you go. She's not asking you to kneel - how many times do you have to go hungry in the moonlight to remember this? There's a better story around here somewhere but I'm not allowed to look for it. Or when I find it let anyone know.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

What's Really Happening

You think you're making patterns but what's really happening is that you're noticing patterns. It feels good to put the puzzle together. Eat the puzzle? It's easy to overlook how new pieces keep appearing, and the puzzle itself doesn't resemble anything familiar or beautiful. Hornets jostle the windows; the hemlocks fill with blue jays and wrens. "I want this and I don't want this" is only a problem if you think "I" can mean less than at least two things. It's not a bad morning listening to the neighbors cutting up a fallen tree after yesterday's storm. The storm three days ago? It's funny how time swallows itself, leaving you happy but not exactly in the life you keep insisting is somebody else's.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Shared Fire

Suddenly the gods are speaking to me again. Suddenly there are all these stories and I don't have to choose just one. It's like never having to share a breast again. Wait - who says that that way? The grass is soft this time of year, but apple trees are prettier in spring. The grackles are gathering in flocks; it's the time of year when we used to sing songs about corn. We've both paid a high price to end up living in this cold Christian parsonage on this slow-dying Main Street in this forgettable, soon-to-be-forgotten town. And you can't say the world is better off. I did something my father never could and I want to tell him it's okay, you live, it's different after, but it's okay. Or is that him speaking to me from beyond the grave? We are like boards when we die and life goes on building itself into whatever version is next. Blind gods playing with bones, angry gods being stuffed into boxes, Great Aunt gods tending the shared fire. "I have to tell you a story - you're not going to like it but it's a good one. Your father told it to me when we met." Is that it? The throats of the chickens open so easily; and somebody is always looking for a boy to adopt. Sister, at night, facing the darkness the way we learned, I can Her singing strange songs to nobody in particular.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Neither Effaced Nor Elided

Desire. 

Not sorrow but desire for the thing not possessed. But formerly possessed.

The known wanted for the first time again.

The given tasted again.

This want whose power is that it does not hide. Does not act in secret. Its name consonant with its self in the world.

Itself in the world.

You who teach me so I might teach you what you can only remember by seeing it in me.

The holy - the very sacred - vice-versa.

Which does not ruin itself with denial, stupefy itself with gluttony. Whose table adjusts to accommodate everyone. The hawk of language and the mouse of the unconscious. The taxpayer and the whore.

Which overturns tables in the sacristy and temples and which says "those tables in the sacristy and temples aren't going to overturn themselves . . . "

Neither effaced nor elided but accepted. Welcomed.

We who are on our knees accordingly.

Who move through the world with nothing on our mind or in our heart but love: this love. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Love Quietly as an Afterthought

At dusk battening the chickens.

Yesterday was a storm. Today another. 

My tiredness and sorrow are like oceans pulling me into their low places. Folded towels hanging on doors, making it hard to close the doors.

Her breasts, thighs, how she stands a certain way undressing. Letters home. 

A mailbox full of violets. Summer lights.

We make love quietly, an afterthought in a long day. Trucks on Route Nine. My distressed heart. My wallet.

Why are you the man without shoes. Do I dance, ever, yes, often, when I think nobody can see, doesn't everyone that way.

Or how do you see yourself, or are you seen.

Sweetnesses, sadnesses.

Bolts gone through me, littering my heart with ash and salt. Greek insights into oral sex.

Time's up, out, always.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

As if Borrowed

A sweetness in the story. A lack. 

I sit in a rocking chair and write all morning. Arms aching from cutting down trees.

Heart aching from cutting down trees.

Answers I did not give: Macintosh, birch, pizza. I'm not fond of organ meats. 

I don't like jazz the way I pretend and think I ought. Same with the Doors. And Donovan.

Men in my family who died in fights.

Men who died with guns in their hands.

Slowly coming forward, chickadees on my shoulders, Hildegard's medicinal texts tucked beneath one arm. 

A sorrow. A settlement.

You offer your heart to Jesus and he tells you not to worry. From your shoulder spring green fronds, from your hands blood.

How close we got, and yet how far away we always stayed. As if burdened. As if borrowed by others on terms we could not break. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Kindling for a Fire

As if you are not lost. Now the ocean is a memory so now what? 

The sun sets. High over the hill between you and Emily Dickinson a single bald eagle glides gently in circling winds.

You made a sudden turn and she is with you still: you are with me still. 

Jesus is with me still.

Let me murmur Kenyan good night songs. Let me lead elephants to safe watering holes.

That cross never did anybody any good, yet here we are, in love and working to extend that love yet further.

Lala salama. 

Lake lover.

We nearly made it to easy laughter.

I put on my boots and gather kindling for a fire. I wait all night for a sign from the Lord it's okay to sleep and no sign comes, yet in the morning I waken.

Morning glories and a flower I do not know the name of. Ghost dogs, ghost bears, ghost crows.

Rain wash me. Lover, forgive me. Love me still.

At a great distance - across lifetimes - this love.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Shell I Picked Up in Ireland

Hang up the phone and your heart breaks.

Between Route Nine and the river, picking up the mail and visiting family. 

Cars pass as if people had anywhere to go.

Go anywhere and your heart breaks.

I cry in Goshen, cry in the post office and when somebody asks am I okay I say softly "I lost somebody dear."

Nobody is dead. Someone is dear.

Nobody is lost.

This broken heart reliving the breaks of 1988 and 89, when I really did visit Ireland, coming back so deeply broken I nearly died. 

You want to write and say "I forgot to tell you about the shell I picked up in Ireland and have carried with me ever since."

"You're just sad." "Out of sorts." "Away from Jesus but finding your way back." 

You have prayers to pray, poems to write.

A non-zero sum game to play alone mostly. Be conscientious now. Be reasonable. 

"Shit happens." 

You have this heart, and it is broken. 

Now what.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

In No Rush to Finish

Getting something. Somewhere? It's not a plan so much as a hope, or rather a landscape gone into more or less mapless, yet not without intention. That old pizza place in Chester Vermont, where they named a vegetarian sandwich after me in 1998. Brentano's writing reappears and one decides to call it a "critical juncture" in order to justify reading him closely yet yet again. Slowing down in order to hear better, in no rush to finish the job, and yet not reaching any clarity with respect to what the child is trying to say. At the last moment she pulls back and jerks me off, as always fascinated by roping streams of ejaculate gleaming on her hand, wrist and floor. Pumpkin guts, candle scents. Fox tracks. We are what we long for and what we take and we are also what we despise and refuse, and everything else as well. So there? Your secret is safe with me! The hymns, I say, they do not sing themselves.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Again I Lay the Useless Cross

The mountain is briefly visible in clouds off I-91. We mistake the role certain women have played in our living for roles we asked them to play, they wanted to play, actually played, et cetera. 


Twice after midnight going outside to pace back and forth on the porch, listening to night songs at a distance, a sense the world is okay, or will be.

Saint Hildegard protect us.

We drive west into Stockbridge to visit the shrine, driven by prayers that we can make only clumsily. Sunlight, bright clouds floating overhead, and dandelions. Working up the nerve to wear clothing that's colorful.

Perhaps I am in a woman's body after all, or a secret longing from the nineteenth century tenuously embodied forty or fifty miles west of the generative affair. Boston as a state of mind.

And: begin.

Begone! Beyond the range of the Taconics, a sense of space we will never reach, nor even try, as if west really were just an idea. 

Stroking my cock, slow and patient, coming silently so as not to wake her, and yet she does awaken, turning to me with her eyes closed, her breath a warm recurrent pressure against my bare shoulder, where once again I lay the useless cross.

Travel plans, farm stands.

Garage bands. Clock hands.

Marriage banns.

Jasper promises to write or call but does not, and the heat becomes even more oppressive, making it hard to decide whether to try again or not to reach him.

You grate, groan, go into me gorgeously.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Mirror for No Obvious Reason

What happens in August. Wind blows apples off the apple tree. I choose against this or that disclosure. Liver pain is a family problem, not one you want to have, and I have it now, now I have it.

At night the stars are beautiful over the barn in a way that released me from needing them to beautiful in any other way. Neighbors' voices. Dreams through which one spins, always opting for the next dream, and the next, and the next. "I am not worthy," I say to Jesus, who gently responds that nobody is, including him, and it is this shared unworthiness that redeems us.

Mall rats. Mobile phones.

Masturbation.

Class action lawsuits that do, in some instances, make the world a better place. When your face is pressed tight against the glass, when the mirror for no obvious reason knows your name.

Vietnam in the early sixties and other sins.

The plants make clear your place and one begins the requisite undoing of homage, idolization, et cetera. What happens in the sacristy does not stay in the sacristy.

Of course we were not given the full text of the third secret, does the world as it appears to you not make this clear? Your swan song is my serendipitous meeting in a country lane.

The twentieth century has cast a long shadow (and other confirmations of light).

Priapic hymns, Hermetic lullabies, swan songs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Answer is a Form of Love

There are times when Her silence is a form of exquisite torture, which is embarrassing to say, but we are made of what we're made of, it's no use denying it. Bawling goats, cooing chickens. Five crows in a line on a branch off a maple tree off Dawson Road. Sometimes the east-facing window grows bright and red, sunlight streaming through a dead hemlock tree, amazing those with eyes to see. How deep we go. How we decompose at levels that make us realize dying is neither the problem nor a solution. This is the only question we are to answer: "what is reality" and the answer is a form of love which we are learning to bring forth, which may or may not be contingent on bodies and in any case is subject to revision, even at this last stage. You are a mother yet other responsibilities and interests obtain. Ways in which Upper Highland Lake in Goshen Massachusetts remains an idealized locale to me, yet one that - upon visiting - no longer resonates as such. Yeah, yeah, yeah (like really - why was that in the chorus). We who are given to self-destructive impulses as well as the idea of healing. Yet if you can when the time allows, respond to my questions as deeply and attentively as possible. What is honesty, what is plain to see. I who am more grateful than you can imagine still.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

In Distant Bracken, Boyish Voices

Light breezes, barely enough to beat back the late July heat. Chainsaws in distant bracken, boyish voices where the river is.

And if I sold it, what would happen? Hiding behind vast urns full of grain in order to see the Goddess who knows we are watching but who, like us, depends on secrecy.

Sexuality in the kitchen. Nodding but not speaking in order to make and by extension emphasize a point.

Boston. The tin roof over the neighbor's barn buckling.

Leaving notes in order to clarify I will neither see nor seek to see another winter. Stems of lilies gone brittle in sunlight.

When once we lived in Chester Vermont. People talk as they drive past, in dialogue with selves they know better than they realize.

Abrupt departures in form. Laura Riding but at a distance, an unbridgeable one.

Gaps in the fence, pretty flags with bunnies on them waving in light breezes. What we've said already and will never say again.

And the glade darkens. Mid-afternoon cumuli acquire the hue of storms, floating like roses down a mythological river.

Of whom I am not allowed to speak, of whom even this much constitutes unnecessary flirtation with denial. Scent of hay, cut pine, dried snake skin, rain.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Notes in the Margin

I doubt Abraham was happy about the whole Isaac thing but that doesn't redeem him, at least in my book. Some gods aren't worth the price of admission.

I have seventeen bottles full of rocks from mostly New England. I have notes in the margin of almost every book of poems I ever owned.

Eagles cross the sky too far away to say are they eagles or something plainer. I survived half a dozen encounters with marbles as a child, and can say nothing else about that at the moment.

Yet ask: who will save you when the monster at last rises from the pond - the fields and forests - and comes to eat you alive? Jesus practicing unfamiliar dance steps on the bridge over Watts Brook and - let's face it - he's not bad, not bad at all.

Swing sounds. Lawnmowers.

Secret bowers in which we pledge to one another our love forever. We are not forgiven who refuse to forgive our own selves.

Venus at an hour and in a state which broaches ecstatic. Faint cries of a rooster somewhere west.

This is also the earth! We are trapped in both the 1970s and the nineteenth century and the decor is primarily nautical, agricultural with a hint of hippie.

The shelves arc and bow and the many books on them begin to slip away. Behind us, memory stirs a thin wake that never disappears and yet professes nothing but its intention to disappear.

Favorable outcomes are the problem, maybe. Days pass, then years, and then you find yourself in hottest summer wondering when they'll let you out, say sure, try again.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

The Myth of Our Composition

It takes time, I guess, or something else I don't have. You make the morning sacred to the maximal degree, then sink into writing, thousands upon thousands of words, all of which are the latest entry into a vast compendium of spells and arguments and recipes and hymns. I won't ever take you again becomes a plea to be filled one last time, as if I were a waterskin on the shoulder of a woman who is probably strong enough but you'll never know now. How deeply we must enter the myth of our composition, so deeply that we risk death itself. Even this poem is just a list of things that went right once, and could have gone wrong. Goats and sheep cry hungrily and those who have ears and can feed them respond accordingly. Me, I just sit here with my books, in which every page goes slowly blank. "Like your heart?" you ask, licking your lips, and I sigh, needing neither to rush you out nor succumb anymore to these bland seductions.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

A Lifetime of Collected Stones

I wouldn't write but it appears I have to say something again, something that got lost in the mid-eighties. From my perch in the hay loft - between books and guitars and a lifetime of collected stones - I watch chickadees hop from branch to branch in the hemlock tree. Pale sun, frail son. Some of the men who scared me are still alive, and what can anyone do about this? Days pass stacking tires along the canvas tarps that will keep the hay at least a little bit dry. Snakes pass with their mouths full of toads who are maybe saying goodbye, maybe asking for help. I remember mornings going out into the fields, wondering how far I'd get before that little voice began calling me home. Even now you can hear it, a breeze just over the hill, a thunder storm on the other side of the river.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Relational Conflagration

Perhaps nobody needs anything and all this was just a confused cry in the darkness. At 5 a.m. I wade through grass to feed and water the chickens, pausing briefly to admire Venus, bright as a glass bead between branches of rusting hemlock and, closer to the barn, actual beads of dew on which royal purples glisten and shimmer. When you fall in love, you don't know you are falling because it feels like a joining, but when you land you realize you are not not-alone and it's okay - it's more than okay - which is all love ever teaches anybody. The coffee, the cold calls, the interior chrysanthemum floating in a mountain brook. Miniature cities in which lovers consent to relational conflagration. Five nights running the ghost of a certain dead dog appeared, accompanying me through difficult hours and work I have yet to sufficiently understand. A woman tosses in bed and I watch from what feels like a thousand miles away but is actually just here, just another dream in just another skull, going nowhere but wherever the current says. Late, but not too late, and with the precise joy becoming of a priest, I embrace the pure neutrality of Love.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Murmurs and Rumors

After rain. The trees are like saints, old hemlocks so tight with grace no disturbance or distance is possible. Who cried, who told the truth despite the many good reasons not to, and who ended up in a small town far away from home?

Jesus is a way of emphasizing beginnings. When shall we be captured? 

Antiquated texts. Letters to mothers.

Sex at 5 a.m., unusually urgent, the heat yet to begin yet our bodies sweating, birds sounding tentative from over beyond the barn. Demands to which I acquiesce gratefully. Growling coming because of the deep place touched.

Coffee after. And after coffee, sex again, but sexlessly, soundlessly, shamelessly.

Aa.

The lake was almond-shaped and stories were told about what had disappeared into its depths, one or two of which were affirmatively frightening. An early emphasis on cannabis.

On a platypus anarchist.

Ambergris.

After rain, finding oneself in twilit writing naturally softening, and by softening elongating, the sentences reminding me why I shift in their direction always. Blue jay feathers, smooth stones in the river, towering clouds, and other non-iconic icons.

And murmurs and rumors, all saying what.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Certain Prayers Are Now More Helpful

Morning quiet, soft skies. I make a pot of tea for Chrisoula, then coffee for me. It's really interesting how well math works.

Slipping into poetics as a means of persuasion. You have to be brave and cunning and act fast, seems to be one of the lessons of the fairy tale. We talk about Greek gods all the way to Pittsfield.

Mirrors abound. Lately blue jays have been the augurers but the real point is that augury is not extinct. To what critical ideas are you adjacent?

Sweating cleaning the barn. Rice, zucchini, roasted green beans. A folding shovel used in WWII that's a bit rusty but still basically functional. 

Who died? Hours pass in the back room trying to integrate. I have memories that I cherish, others by which I am haunted.

Paper snowflakes. Sleep patterns. Phases in which we don't want to be seen.

A sense that certain prayers are now more helpful than others, and so praying accordingly. Something is always being born, no?

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

You Made Happen this Lovely Presence

The one who is in my life as a god who is in life on behalf of Love. 

Handjobs punctuated by deep kisses, the parking lot mid-day, as if what? Who is looking and who is no longer looking away

Gasoline rainbows, beautiful and useless, or harmful. Decks of cards, beautiful and functional.

Broken rubber bands, beautiful and dysfunctional and therefore beautiful.

Who at night reminds me to balance my fear for the sheep with respect for the neighbors and the lines that bind us and indeed, half an hour later, the sheep are quietened thusly.

Who is rain falling all night, cool breezes all night, and near dawn is roosters crowing, cacophonous cries criss-crossing the landscape, like overdoing consonance but in a way makes clear you know how to be consonant. 

And Narcissus always, and the rank pool always, and the faint - barely noticeable, always unactionable - regret always.

Writing cross-legged for you.

Red threads and bangles on your wrist.

Eyes closed at the end, head back, and your soft "mmmm" at the end, like liking what you saw you made happen. 

This lovely presence, this instructive relationship, this needed-like-oxygen healing.

So it doesn't make sense to the world, so what.

And fifteen, and sixteen.

And all these prisms, all these rainbows, and all this light!

At dawn with coffee writing you love letters, cross-legged on the couch, thinking how much of my life was given to writing love letters to women who were grateful to receive them and who thus gave me writing, this writing.

The horses in sunlight, dew on the clover.

All this without distance, instantly: this us, and that us, and all the other us's unto infinity.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Kneeling is Welcome, Revered, Allowed

Soon a storm will come. I say what I say, then sit back and listen. A lifetime.

The Universe is a distinction within What-Cannot-Be-Named. The west-facing window is full of clouds and wind. My legs hurt. My jaws are tired from chewing so much meat.

Sunlight in the grape arbor. Bones of cows. Snakes escaping through seams in the concrete.

You put eating pussy on the table, so I eat pussy again.

Hail Mary, full of grace.

What Hermes wants and does not want in his capacity as Messenger. Environments and circumstances in which kneeling is welcome, revered, allowed.

Footnotes are sexy. Footnote fetishes. Footnotes within footnotes within footnotes. It is footnotes all the way - but you know this already.

What you know already, what I still have to teach you.

The distance that separates us widens, becomes unbridgeable. Unsolvable? Well, not unnameable anyway. The universe is a distinction within a distinction within a distinction within "but you know this already." 

Crescent moon, starlit wells of sky.

Starlight, the Standishes, sellouts. Satisfactions. Seals.

Once again I open my arms, my heart, my mind to accept it. All always. And always always you. 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Not Romantic, Just Irregular

I wrote "Our patriarchal emphasis on linearity and hierarchy creates the illusion that it's better to be this or that."

Compassion arises as a natural function. We are not throwing away anything, let alone the ape. Leonard Cohen dying alone.

Alone in blue lights.

Captured for her, made safe for her. Kneeling in clover to see if the fallen pears are soft enough for the horses. It's a language thing mainly. 

A Creator needs others to maximize and extend creation. Traveling to other states to protest executions there.

Certain libraries in western New York. Beads, buttercups. We got lost on back roads and it was not romantic, just irregular.

Nobody is doomed.

Yet ask: what is the fundamental issue that needs to be addressed? 

Frames.

Her image is interior, glowing, a living flame

Centering prayer, settling there. All is well and all that is well is well.

I mean a little church for one who needs reminding that the altar is already everywhere.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Lost in Sadnesses

You do the right thing until you stop and then what you did becomes no longer the right thing. 

"Ideas leave not their source."

Mowing under the hemlocks at 10 a.m.

Storms pass in the distance, leaving our valley dry. Fireflies, foreplay.

The peacock opens its fan.

Who is it about?

We walked slowly, a few feet apart, gazing at pottery that was too expensive for us to buy, not talking, lost in sadnesses that we were learning would be with us forever.

Long drives. Losses.

There is nothing it is like to be a chair. Ornaments.

Your lips parting, indicative of things to come.

It gets complicated. Lying about the nature of our concern to those who are essentially lying by asking about our concerns. The salesman, the coordinator.

The priest.

Your footsteps on the stairs and later the bed sighing as you lay down next to me. Rain falling, thunder rumbling.

Anyway, you can't run away in a maze. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Trials, Testaments

Night is blue. And everywhere I look is blue. 

Blue light in us. 

Rain falling.

Throwing bodies of dead chickens past the deadfall at the property line, turning away without prayer. Various faiths like sea foam, sand, like pretty shells on leather bands. I know better but not always, or it doesn't always help, which matters.

What are you saying? Now what are you saying?

We clean the pantry, make love in the pantry, linger after in the pantry, clean up in the pantry.  

Horses. Halters.

Remember that fear is not always inappropriate! Blue crows even.

Crosses, blue.

The miracle always staring you in the face, daring you to remember it.

Idea is primary to matter, which is not an argument but an experience. 

Truth, trials, testaments, Taps. Trotsky.

Tell me again you love me, in ways I will recognize, and not forget to carry with me forever.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Leaping into Another's Dream

There is an absence now of any simulacra. Letters home which, upon departing the envelope, go instantly blank. Piety is nearly always fraudulent.

Talking at the sheep farm about the politics of local libraries, watching a storm gather due west and slowly work its way towards us. Gifts, participatory ones.

What slows, softens. What sifts.

Priapic appetites, infighting. Precipices. 

Sexual phantasms making secret demands - eliciting promises we only find out about later. 

Travel plans. Totem poles. 

We who are divested of images go around begging images and then - unexpectedly - encounter the one who makes clear why the image obscures what is sacred. Liminal boundaries, lucid appropriations. Dreamers leaping into another's dream.

Lured elsewhere, by unfamiliar gods. Noteworthy exhalations. In the middle of you, tasting you, forbidden in you. Mothered in you, maddened in you. More of you, always.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Undefined Nexts

True or false and more so. If you've never been enlightened, how do you know you've never been enlightened? Arrivals.

Crumbled feta on salads. After dark, sweating in bed, kissing naked, in no rush for either defined or undefined "nexts." This writing replaces that writing, and becomes other writing

Don't be afraid to investigate context. Clouds float through lavender skies, sheep burrowing into amethyst folds. You develop a whole ontology around misspelled words, stomach pains and Elmore Leonard novels. 

Thoughts?

Intentions to recover something lost or confused, missing.

Arctics.

The very place of being, defined in part by an absence of either text or image. 

Easing into something forbidden, foreclosed, and going with full knowledge one is going. The night the warehouse burned, the morning after the warehouse burned, and the memory, clear and stable. Blues.

Blahs.

We sing together, moan together, we come together in mid-summer, sunlight cutting the mountains into manageable chunks. Some boundaries you cross. Representation doesn't work, we'll need something new.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A Mere Shift in Description

Ships beget shipwrecks. Thus we are discovered. 

A long silence in which images of you naked predominate. 

Guy walks into a bar and learns to appreciate his wife. Sunlight on the barn roof, too bright to study. Pax.

Basically, magicians are organizers. Near eleven I grow hungry, begin fantasizing crackers and cheese, spankakopita, bowls of clam chowder (and, oddly, winter). 

Non-obvious - and non-trivial - gaps in our knowing. It is the case that sometimes a mere shift in description will undo decades-old knots. Rhubarb pie, pacification projects, rain.

Context has to do with use, purpose, social dynamics, culture and so forth. Maple sugar sprinkled on pancakes. Post-blowjob messiness.

Oh Hestia, oh Hermes!

Making sense of environments in which problems - let alone answers, solutions, fixes - are unclear and hard to discover. And as time passes, even more so.

Narrative competence.

What survives in the cells of eggplant. What you want, ask for, get, give away.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Us as a Form of Loneliness

Faithless lovers, faithless fathers. Clumps of cardinal feathers on Fairgrounds road. Enormous moonlight, heathen hemlocks. When my tongue ceases its manipulative striations.

Mud daubers, Pam Dawber. Mirrors only work when there is a source of light. Given silmarils. Loneliness as a form of holiness, and us as a form of loneliness. Atop the old chicken shed, blue jays. 

Laughter on Iron Flat road. Mist rising in the cattails. There is hunger and then there are hungry dogs. Atop the local hill, we cry out to the stars the names of our sons and daughters.

Ecstasy has not been a stranger.

New flowers in the tangled bracken just shy of the old dairy farm. What is wild is not alien, yet it feels so, and the feeling is not itself a problem. Kayaks at dawn nudging the black glass of the river. Voices carry.

The sound the knife makes slicing broccoli for a stir fry. Goddess of the image - guardian of imagination - comfort me, who am your servant.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Freedom Inherent in Obeisance

Passing back and forth over dew.

Never without bread and water, never without the key. Insistence as a matter of survival. 

How heavily fatigue wears my body! The one who knows, knows, and the one who never knows, also knows (but keeps their knowledge hidden, even from their own self).

Lily fresh grace, blazing desire. Early metaphysical crises at last understood as the only parent one has.

Thank you for last night's notes which are received, read, and rewritten on the heart. In the liminal chapel you opened for it, my soul offers as lauds "I love you." 

Pulling back the sheets, doing things we couldn't do even a year ago. I have been up for too many hours, allowing the many minor deities who haunt, hound and harass me to haunt, hound and harass me. 

Given pain, grief and chaos, I study your image and lo! Whirring fans, the river a quarter mile away through mist.

The nights are quiet now. Fireflies pass over the horses under stars. 

It is as if one recognizes the Lord when they see the Lord in the apostle they honor most. You walk into tall grass along the river and recover the beads you lost lifetimes ago and remember again the freedom inherent in obeisance.

Late chores. Circumstance.

Yet I am with you, utterly, drawing each breath in a Heaven - a complexly mythological Eden - in which there is neither time nor distance, nor even an other, but only Love: this Love.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Black Bear Sightings

More thunder but far away. No more rain for the moment. I roll the windows down and breathe cool clean air. Cars pass on Route nine, lights on, tires hissing.

I've never been to many places but they still exist. Do they exist?

There was a song in college, old then I think, called "Cool Change" and I don't know why I liked it but I did. Lots of Dead songs back then, until I got hooked on Dylan, and then no more Dead songs to speak of (but shows still, and acid, like having a razor blade in my skull). 

When you arrange your life around black bear sightings and don't see a black bear for going on five years, then what?

You arrange your life around something else.

I have never been past Saint Louis, but I have been to Dublin and Rome. 

My heart is not a motel, it's a mountain. Your heart is not a cathedral but the sky into which the mountain my heart is rises. For years I associated fox sightings with death, and cardinals with God, but I'm in a new space now and don't know what anything means.

We invent new mythologies by falling in love with strangers, which means they're no longer strangers.

Once I said "fuck Michigan" and a woman from Michigan made me apologize.

For many years of my living living has been arranged in part - sometimes a nontrival part - around monasteries, the idea of them. 

If Minnesota were New York and New York Minnesota . . . 

If time were not measured in hours and days.

At night the mountain asks the sky what all the lights cast across it are, and the sky does not answer.

Yet not answering is a kind of answer. 

My heart is in actuality a motel, one that's open to lonely travelers like me who get lost on all these highways because nobody taught them how to steer by starlight.

Thunder, lightning! Time to go . . . 

How strange to discover so close to the end you knew the way all along.

Friday, July 24, 2020

A Benevolent Drama

Many fears, many fathers.

Many feathers.

Fortunate sons surviving on plants and feminine Gods and women who see what can and cannot be shared. 

Despite this. In spite of this.

In spiral with this.

Connotatively deceptive yet not without charm.

The dharma, the dumbass, the diva. The deep dive into the divine.

Yet living.

Licking?

Lording in a benevolent drama without concern for who is the author.


You see how it intensifies? Towering cumuli.

Simulated succubi. You cry we all cry.

We all die.

But not only that. Not only that.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Our Own Hands

When we wake up, we make coffee, and then we read writers whose work is hard to follow, and stay with it as long as we can.

Green Man iconography that briefly appeared magical to me. We are built for longing, and what longing produces. 

Be a better engine!

When the other wakes up, we take care of them. We have our own hands. Sentences I don't remember writing.

Problems that are solved when seen in this or that light. What is extending itself, especially when you are not aware it is extending.

Roots of oak trees, roots of hemlock.

Bad ideas.

Getting clear on what hurts and what does not, and aligning oneself with what does not.

What helps and what does not. 

What's what. We are not allowed to reach everyone in substantive ways, not every conversation is meant to own the salvational light of the first morning ever.

Sarah Constantin's point that "feelings that come from good human connection, the feeling of being loved and cared for, are real."

Gravel in the driveway. Swallows resting briefly on mounds of dirt in which squash seeds open, thrusting green stems upward, towards the sun. "What I meant was not what you took."

Dust on my sandals again and again and again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A Form of Mutation

Was she exhausted with the upper room, was she bored with Peter's strategies.

One imagines a bitter cup.

We who are children of the same sun, beholden to fortune in ways Feynman elucidated so helpfully.

She teaches me to resist going meta.

Dialogic black holes.

What we're good at in terms of abstraction.

Pretty things we save.

Misunderstandings of the Green Man and other iconography, and the fatigue of trying to explain, over and over, underlying errors.

Simply put, the universe is not contingent on one's awareness of it.

Going back to writers I only partly understood - Maturana, mainly - and trying again. 

Cows coming up from the dell in a sentence that wanted mainly to use the word "dell" a certain way.

Early morning walkers, sun in their eyes.

She is sad coming back from the Cape, and in her sorrow is angry, a sort of indiscriminate sense of being wronged, which is familial and frightening.

Off-loading obligations.

Bluets, dandelions.

Rich asks if I'll wait a day to mow, I say yes, and the we talk briefly about who's running for selectman.

This poem being clear it's a poem.

Perhaps learning is actually a form of mutation?

We stop at a roadside farm stand in the valley and buy spinach, a couple bunches of end-of-season rhubarb, and five pounds locally-grown tilapia.

And begin.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Forbidden, Almost Alien

It takes time to say goodbye.

Jealousy.

Contextualizing our human experience as one of meaning-making getting harder as time passes because we make too many options.

The Lord speaks in ways that are hard to hear because they are self-constructed.

Make it ordinary, more so.

The pressure of partners who are forbidden, almost alien.

On the bridge she speaks to me of selves I cannot easily face, makes clear she is working on healing.

Fully Magdalene, fully beyond crosses.

Beginnings are not openings but sometimes they coincide so. 

Parks in Vermont where we camp, hike, swim and talk about what our lives resemble and what they are in fact.

Multiple drafts of break-up letters.

In a dream I did not dream.


What elides.

Mornings the writing is so clear and strong you forget coffee, forget you are in love, forget the animals are waiting on you.

Chattering crows, raucous jays. Delightful chickadees.

Straddling me, putting both my hands under your t-shirt (No GMOs), moaning "yeah" when my thumbs press lightly against your nipples.

Slipping, settling.

Ending, this.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Happy in a Way

Steam from the coffee fogs the east-facing window through which morning sunlight burns hot against corner beams. The hearts of wasps, the hearts of whales.

May it come to pass as you once intimated it would. We were young once, alone once.

We were sold once.

Certain anniversaries. Certain ways of softening, making fundamental insights clear, then more clear. Given money, we buy things.

What is absent, what is empty.

Nothing is incomplete.

In what does God appear? What do you think you are going to learn when you take off your clothes and kneel at the fountain?

We who circle churches before entering, we who enter and later wish we hadn't. Bright patches on old jeans. Roundabouts that confuse us yet still somehow we get where we were going. 

Something is indeed at stake. Pregnant cows, angry elephants, misunderstood dolphins. Reading Jack Gilbert poems on park benches in Northampton, mid-eighties, happy in a way I would never be again.

Beginnings. Listenings.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Church Bells

Smoke from the neighbor's grill, wind grazing the tops of roadside maples. When we are ready, we are ready. What else could Jesus say?

Blue jays and robins, grackles and sparrows, and poems about birds, and essays about poems about birds, and birds. I have been here before, I know how it ends.

Something interior nods, finds itself nodding back in the U.S. flag halfway up a nearby telephone pole. Fifty turtles, a thousand turtles, a million turtles - there are no turtles!

There is only this: this this.

In Plainfield, twice a week at noon, they ring the church bells. In the attic window facing Main Street, we set an electric candle. Whatever we eat dies, and we are not exempt from this or similar laws.

Fresh peas, spinach, kale, chives. Tomatoes tight against green stalks bending as they near the sky. My breath catches, my heart races.

I sit out all night on a blanket watching stars wheel between soft clouds barely lit by a waxing crescent moon. The sound a hammer makes laced with silver. Now it is dusk, now it is not.

Now we are lost in thought. It is not possible that the mail will always please us.

"There is something sweet and intelligent in you," Chrisoula says as we cross the bridge, "and after all these years, it binds me to you still."

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Many Sweetnesses

We are older than history. 

Letters one regrets sending, and yet.

In early summer I dream of snow, three nights running, and have the strange sense I will never with these eyes see snow again.

Sex in middle age, encased in narrative flows that intensify the relevance of orgasm but still leave us groping for something solid.

Sun bathing.

Outdoor blowjobs after all this still.

Sunlight in distended squares slides across honey-colored floorboards then up the far wall. There are many sweetnesses, including these.

The pleasure inherent in being told what to do.

Our true body is networked. Trauma is networked.

Disaster blankets. Forget-me-not seeds. 

What do you see in the mirror in the morning?

Disallowed mysteries. Left turns onto roads named after somebody's grandfather. Twenty year old draft conservation easements. Yellowjackets.

We get somewhere once we reach the bridge yet keep going.

It never makes sense and yet we keep going.

Friday, July 17, 2020

In a Sunday Mood

Braids. Dead chickens. A list where everything on it doesn't exist except on the list. Letters from you, long ones, mostly illegible. 

Never. The present tense eating all the metaphors leaving us broken. We unfold together, fools together, we are gold together. Blue orbs, Iris, Irish boys, overs.

A parade in which nobody marching looks at anybody else. Fly-overs, pull-overs. One hand on the small of your back steadying you entering you. Hip bones, happiness. Our shared flesh, folds, and yes. 

Recurring lawfulness as if there were any other kind. You have to say, are you alone or are you not. Synergetically bootstrapping one another into fluid orgasm using language to get us most of the way. 

Willow trees. Watchfulness. In a Sunday mood shall we walk to the church just three doors down? Hymns in you, home in you, in the heart in you healed in you.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Particular Ecstasies

My tongue is another country. Behind my teeth, gods rage. Just before dawn, in clover under the apple tree.

Salt licks. Troubled dreams.

The outlines of an alien mythology for you.

Sunlight burns the mist away and the horses plod slowly into shade where the pasture is within pissing distance of the river. Nothing confirmed, nothing denied. 

Nothing given.

Religion will not survive. Cookbooks will survive a while longer

Even now you are a dead thriving.

In order to understand desire we are first obligated to manufacture an object. Please reread Ecclesiastes, the Gospel of John, and Watership Down.

Giving head to beggars near the quay (and why).

Apocalyptic slip-ups. You graze your nipples with the back of your fingers, moaning a familiar beloved moan. What we discover when we allow for particular ecstasies. 

Recklessly poetic in you. Coming in you, crying out in you, becalmed in you.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A Yew Tree at Midnight

Anxious monkeys plotting against death. Of course you should write me letters, and I will read them standing at the mailbox, and then tear them into pieces and burn them under a yew tree at midnight.

Amplified internal settings. Moderate climes.

Couples going hand-in-hand into the co-op. Freedom is actually not "just another word for nothing left to lose."

Talking in the closet. Silt on Jesus' sandals, my tongue, the world. 

McKenna's observation that "the universe does not build up such complex forms as ourselves without conserving them in some astonishing and surprising way that relates to the intuitions that we have from the psychedelic experience." If our lives were more openly and unapologetically conjoined.

Sun rising through red hemlocks, a loveliness. Yet all our days are numbered.

Loves which are no longer constrained to the narrowest of narrow stream beds. When you ask permission, when I give it, and then what.

Ways forward that do not involve religion. The confusion of Descartes continues.

In the eighth year we gave up on the Buddha and simply settled for happiness. I tell you there is another way. 

Water Moccasins are not the problem, child. Mad Gods are running the asylum.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Seven Years

If not this, what, and if not this now then what when?

I drive east on Route Nine a little before five o' clock talking to you, wondering who, if anyone, hears.

A heavy crucifix in my father's old bedroom, the one I prayed to as he died.

White stones.

Kneeling in dust in the pasture to trim weeds growing into the fence lines, the horses trodding around nearby.

Twenty-one, thirty-six, forty.

In whom my faith is justified.

Heal a hurt, won't you?

We who insist on codes, who break open alarms at the slightest sound, who are so careful not to cross lines that cannot be uncrossed.

The middle, as if.

Ten pound bags of coffee divided among friends, laughing in June, hotter than we expected.

Nearby Christians.

In fairness to the Romans, the shock of the resurrection must have been some story. 

Cats sleeping curled up on the dining room table near a stack of books, none of which I recognize.

How you quoted Singh - begged me to hear you - and yet I didn't realize you were the one for seven years.

Stove pipes.

What is the purpose of history?

Photos in oval frames, the clothes men wore in the 1940s, and Ty Cobb's prowess.


What's it like where you live, what am I like so far away?

Monday, July 13, 2020

Mercy Unto Betrayers

Perhaps light. We pause to empty our shoes of dust, and I think of Jesus long ago, and the way that stories become us without our actively noticing.

Remove your shirt slowly then, that it may fall a thousand years as was ordained. She cries a little after midnight, a long conversation that goes nowhere but deeper into familiar anguish.

Dying grass and it's not even July. Sumac sprouts where two years ago a bear paused watching me watch him. If you're doing it, you're doing it right.

Note that the universe allows for abstraction - considerable abstraction, even betrayal, even mercy unto betrayers. We work a couple hours in hot sun trellising tomato plants in the garden, working out wordlessly the terms of our dissolution.

In the shadow of the kale, a toad.

Swallows decorate the sky.

McKenna envisions a way language may become sculptural, three-dimensional, so that what we say hovers in the air and we can circle it, examine it, correspond about it in the way we would a statue or a vivid piece of architecture in a new-to-us city. Dead arachnids.

We who, at a late juncture, contribute to the collective shaking off of the monkey. Midnight, beams of light. In your teeth, a rainbow, which you set gently near my shoulder, an offering.

Let love be love, and joy, joy, saith the Lord, who has nothing better to say in or through or with me presently.

Hearts break on Main Street. The Divine is multivalent and predisposed to loyalty but also, whatever you take seriously is not it. Oat and banana pancakes, chest pains, the mail, and this: this this.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

What is the Plural of Us?

Storms in the night that soften the entire morning. Clearing the barn for more hay, straining in ways that no longer work the way they did twenty years ago (but unable to see yet another way.) Two cups of coffee, a mild headache, interior conflicts that show no sign of abating.

The burdens we place on pronouns! We stop walking to stand in shade, empty our shoes of dust, share a bottle of water. Dialogues have many strands, all weaving and proceeding in their own way, and only sometimes encounter us encountering them.

Innoculations, imitations.

Articulations.

Summer is all green in ways Spring is not and yet one begins to yearn for Spring in a distinctly religious way. She licks me gently, holding me at a certain angle, in no hurry, despite my plea. The plural of yes is us but what is the plural of us?

No clarity, just the sense that clarity is coming, which is its own kind of clarity, I guess, and may have to do. Speling errors. The lilac blossoms are gone and the consensus seems to be, screw lilacs. Chicks feathering in the hay loft, my sins building in anticipation of a familiar confession. It is [fill in the blank] all the way down.

Unsent letters that are not rendered mute by their status in the domain of mail. Dry patches in the grass, withered stems, all testifying to our ongoing relationship with the weather.

I never wanted to be a farmer or a gardener, never wanted to be a ruler, and look at me. Look at us.