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.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Impossible Brightnesses

Jonathan Edwards' insight that "the image that exists this moment, is not at all derived from the image which existed the last preceding moment." Something about a prayer, something about a promise. How fleet red is, how evanescent and involved! You mentioned crows? Going to bed I muse yet again on the apparent need for a new language. Our shared nude anguish? Jasper texts late to say he's sorry for recent silences, what about Tuesday next week. What about the monstrosities in Kenya and Northern Ireland and Iraq? You meet Jesus and he's happy but he doesn't need you the way you wanted him to need you. Beware your conviction, beware your bias. Married in the Greek church twenty-five years ago today, the mark the crowns made still visible on our foreheads. My drunk grandmother singing Johnny Cash songs while crying and how things are explained later to children. Impossible brightnesses. We walk to the river, and the river is full of trash and dead fish litter its banks. Work remains. And love - as we presently understand love - is not the answer, which is to say that our present understanding of love is not itself love. What else is okay?

Friday, July 10, 2020

Failing Jesus

Three grackles fly faster than I thought possible into a distant maple near the church. Failing Jesus is a way of seeing yourself that doesn't have to be unhelpful.

One cares about poetry in a way that includes - by way of letting go of - the world. Lovely men are lonely too.

You navigate, circumambulate, you masturbate. In the distance, white shells of fair buildings which will not be used this year.

Fate. Foreplay. Fastidiousness.

We talk on the front porch at dusk about food, recipes, putting up the harvest. We are in a corner now and we know it.

Schaberg's anger and her willingness to live clearly in her anger: how many scholars remain for me to discover, and how much time is left for discovery? Beginning stations of the cross at the removal of the body from the tomb: grief but not frozen-in-grief.

"The garden proper." Experiments.

Threats to groundhogs safely undone, our world goes on briefly safe for love. Mary Magdalene vibes, the cat with a mouse in its jaws still kicking.

Laundry hanging still in sunlight, still and translucent. Notes for later, always. 

What is west after all but a concept.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

I Have Yet To Understand Sunlight

In the distance, bright in a way that suggests I have yet to understand sunlight, the horses graze, tails swishing. Wind moves far off maple trees in a way that implies the wind and the maple trees are cooperating. 

What does it mean to say to you "I love you?" Why risk - again - a delirious, a delightful, undoing?

As a very young child, I did not realize that the sky was full of stars during the day as well as the night, and when I was taught this, I decided privately to disregard the lesson, but could not.

Now I am a man: this man.

Nobody's man.

Sometimes it is like I cannot know anything - see anything, taste anything, feel anything, do anything - that does not evoke you, which is a way of saying that what you are cannot possibly be contained by a body.

And yet.

At mass yesterday, the priest was confused about what constitutes virtue, and after a brief moment of judgment, I ceased holding his confusion against him. If you were in my arms I would remember what my arms are for, and other appendages, too.

Purgatory is not a thing, nor are we called to suffer.

Robins sip from buckets of rain left out near the chickens, and the chickens don't care.  Something in you suggests I am have been mistaken in critical ways, but may yet learn the truth.

Side shows, peep shows. Unfamiliar prayers. Popcorn with smoked paprika. Things for which we would die, and things for which - a little while longer - we will live, happily.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Sex for my Wounded Heart

The heart does not actually break - being a muscle - and yet, the heart breaks. As night falls, bats begin caressing the sky with leathery wings. Neither God nor a message from God, but starlight reflected in a shallow pool.

Stop seeking agency in all things! She notices my quiet, which I am too engrossed in to violate by comforting her. The structure of the relationship, the fluidity of the need. 

You move a certain way, you have a certain style, and it moves me in ways I like being moved. I work quietly through late afternoon, turning over soil where the squash plants will go, tomorrow or the day after. Swallows circle overhead, childhood does not end. 

Butter yellow pickups. I remember enjoying early kisses and holding hands but then came a closing up as if there were something to be ashamed of or defended against. Ducks arrow along the river at dusk, beautiful and strong.

While certain people come, certain people go. When I look for the next sentence, there is nothing there, and yet the project demands another sentence, so this will have to do. Arnica for my back, sex for my wounded heart, and a couple or five ice-cold Narragansetts for the soul.

Flames lick the sky. To be together while a thousand miles apart is what miracle according to what God? You insist that I matter and so I do. 

There are no sins! Late but not too late I go back to the old work, pulling it together for the private audience, not calling it art, letting the Lord be my Guide, and so forth.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Without Any Pattern

Don't ask what home is for I cannot say. Am not allowed to know? Rivers are patterns, the veins on the back of your hand are patterns, but the whole is without any pattern. Light streams through dying hemlocks, and one revisits their father's last words, which had to do with how thirsty he was. Honesty requires discipline, which requires an ability to see beyond the emotional tenor of a given moment, which requires better teachers than I was given. We wake and our waking carries others with us. Make no promises? I walk a long time along familiar trails in familiar forests, back and forth, waiting on deer and bear, skunks and woodchucks, turkey and quail. "Better listen," she whispers in a dream, and I come to all at once, worried about my marriage. In another dream, you are allowed to learn you are dreaming, while in yet another, a long dialogue with a turtle yields instructions for managing time better. What I've desecrated loses none of its beauty, none of its integrity. Roses in compost, me alongside. As if I were in love, or the Lord and I shared a single clear intention for joy, yours.

Monday, July 6, 2020

I Am Briefly Made Unlonely

What is it in you that distance insists on worshiping? Or have the miles made me their God? Women whose bodies remain fixed in images, as if one had never been hungry, let alone lonely. My body counts and recounts its scars, not unlike a dog who is unsure when it will eat next. Listen! Dawn comes, a slow and melancholic fire scaling the hemlocks prayer by prayer, until at last the sky utters a soft "amen." I brought my brokenness to the altar, and the altar broke, and the priestesses there suggested I try another church. Who can say aloud what the fundamental nakedness will not? Joy has not been a stranger in this life, ecstasy has not been a stranger. We talk while walking along the Connecticut River, eyeballing military planes high overhead, joking about how "crossbeams" can go with "condoms" if you're writing that kind of poem. The backyard violets welcome me by neither welcoming nor not-welcoming me, and they would treat you exactly the same, and thus I am briefly made unlonely. Doors, like relationships, close but can mostly be re-opened (which is less clear with relationships). Later it will rain but for now there is this light, now there is this warmth. Now there is this function, this healing remembering it's sacred.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Moon is a Faithless Lover

In the end, there is nothing but the pure neutrality of stillness. I taste the ash, I wither in the salt, and I rot with the roses in the compost. You take a story - Hansel and Gretel, say - and trace it back and back, fire by fire, season by season, a thousand years, ten thousand years, and where do you end up? The Man without Shoes becomes the man for whom the moon is a faithless lover, and so he begins at last the rituals of grief that will guide him beyond dying. We are prayerless who have no father, and fatherless who have no prayer. Notice how the violets are not pursuing anyone, how they are not hoarding sunlight or rain, how they have no favorite book or psalm. The argument at last passes and my poverty clarifies to an exquisite degree. Cheerful at low intensity, I carry a cup of coffee into the barn and sit on a bale of hay by the window. The horses are quiet, the neighbor's sheep are quiet, and the chickens are quiet. The world, my love, is quiet. Of this alone am I allowed at present to speak.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Better Dance

A little before 4 a.m. I slip into jeans and a t-shirt, pad downstairs, hand trailing the dusty banister, and make coffee. The prayer as such is merely sitting quietly, giving attention to what arises, always with an eye on the generative stillness at the center of being. Three days without Jessica and a sort of calm appears, an order one doesn't have to struggle so hard to obey. Just don't call it an answer, right? The problem, really, is my discomfort with desire and my fear of currents that don't share my interest in staying close to shore. At 5 a.m. I make a second cup of coffee, and sit by a different window, one that allows me to study the eastern horizon. Any profluence affects me, any loveliness testifies. When I make no moves unto the Lord, the Lord makes no moves unto me, thus this, the better dance. Yet upon seeing it clearly, I begin to shuffle and gesticulate, begin to rehearse both arguments and proposals. All is past and all is the past, and yet there is only this. I write by the light of my body until almost six a.m., when something nudges me elsewhere, no reason in particular, and I go.

Friday, July 3, 2020

How To Grieve A Gift

Competence. Arrogance. What are you taking?

Dandelions go to seed under apple trees whose blossoms were duller this year than expected. We nudge the garden a certain way and are changed forever accordingly. Over the river, and the fields on the far side of the river, a bald eagle circles

Late but not too late one begins to ascertain the limits of her attention, and adjusts their expectation accordingly. No more fairy tales please. How the light disappears from any living thing's eye when its heart stops.

Reading Feynman, bored. Notice the violets, who do not object to being your teacher, don't run around cultivating an audience. Relationship as a form of obedience. 

He taught me how to grieve, a gift I am only just now beginning to realize and bring into application. There are no mysteries but there are places we have not been and cannot describe. Scrambled eggs and tomato wrapped in corn tortillas and eaten standing, plotting the day.

Plans to meet in Buffalo scuttled, just as the plans to meet in Brattleboro were scuttled, and plans to meet in Ashtabula were scuttled, and can you see now the theme, are you ready at last to stop fighting. Sexual healing is nontrivial but partners matter less than one thinks. Please open your bible to Paul's second letter to the faithful of Corinth and we will begin.

Simple coffins suffice, simple openings. The King, my Lord, at last is dead.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Clarity Mind Can Bear

The lilac dulls, a reminder of the degree to which beauty is yoked to time. We are always sacrificing, until we are not.

Morning light along the horizon a softness, a blur. Notice how violets do not rage, violets do not object.

Our correspondence takes the shape of children learning they are no longer children. In the attic, in a box of books, a dead bat.

A sentence, a sorrow. Coffee deepens the prayer until all the clarity mind can bear streams like holiness unto the world.

Steve's insights about perspective with respect to protest. It's late but we synergize, and our synergizing is sexual.

And what would the Lord say about your love, which evolves in time? A decision to allow ecstasy to appear as grace, and grace as just a guy who's happy with his girl.

Slowing down. Lugging mulch hay to the garden, passing Jeremiah lugging manure to the potato garden.

Turkey vultures. Bald eagles.

In the middle of the night, one hears the river beyond the pasture. Last first kiss, last first firefly, last first love.

Distances, dystopias, divergences. This confusion, this blossom, this way to end all ways.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Neither Sanctums nor Cathedrals

In a dream Dad leaves me a note: "Dear Sean, you already know how to grieve, I taught you this, Love Dad." Sunlight blurs the horizon waking up. I will never have what I want, thus this loveliness, thus this suffering. 

I went for long walks as a child - farther into the forest than children are meant to go alone - and learned what you learn when you meet, are eaten by, and yet survive somehow the witch. Is a sentence intelligent, is a flower? There's something in your eyes that makes it clear we're finished hiding.

What is "all the way" now anyway? Glasses off means no longer knowing what bird is in the maple tree, unless it's a cardinal because even blind I know cardinals. She trespasses, lays graffiti on the cathedral and come stains in the sanctum, all to make clear there are neither sanctums nor cathedrals, thus liberating my captivated, confused-about-salvation soul. 

Snow falling in parts of the landscape I betrayed. It's like Vermont is a two-syllable prayer. Who needs saving again?

It's a relief to know that we are at last beyond the argument, beyond suspicion. Deer work together, a cooperative intensity we can't imagine. The war zones we worship, the peace plans we scuttle in hotels we can't afford.

Church reaches the bedroom - spills its rituals and stained glass on the sheets - and now what? There are depths of beauty I still cannot manage. Begging the dispensation of non-existent Gods, knowing it's all futile, and yet.

So I left Emily Dickinson staring at an empty table, so what? Whose hunger, whose meal, and who counts the sparrow choking on these bitter crumbs?