Friday, September 23, 2022

All the Family Shoes

You once asked why I was the Man without Shoes, the answer is because my great-grandfather hoarded all the family shoes. Hurricanes have no mercy.

We drank beer mostly, the one time it was gin and tonics Denise made them for us in a thermos we shared, standing knee-deep in Lake Champlain, I was never that happy again, I don't regret anything that happened since, I forgive it all. Hemlock trees are never not in my prayers, chickadees forever in my mind. 

Burlington in mid-Fall, our shared heart so bright and livid even the moon is compelled to genuflect. Cape Cod wind chimes, the past is forever a melody recreated in the present.

How happy I make others sometimes, as if the stories about me being broken and bad were just wrong, totally deeply entirely wrong. Imagine not liking your father.

Will trains last? I am focused on one last winter, nothing else matters now.

My taxidermied heart, my skinflint soul. A bridge away from death one built in their early twenties, made mostly of poems by suicidal women.

Lifetimes cutting cigars on the devil's train are finally gone, may I never cease to praise the Name of Jesus. What happens behind the church does not stay behind the church.

Used to get drunk and wander for hours at night, sober thirty-five years, still wandering around in darkness, star-gazing, happier than the odds once suggested was possible. Spent a lot of time swimming through wrecks of ancient ships trying to find something that wasn't skeletal, eventually surfaced, returned to shore.

Kneeling at Emily Dickinson's grave, hopeless and helpless in mid-September, i.e., how long does it take Gabriel to blow that fucking horn? This train is bound for glory - yeah, sure, whatever.

Framed pictures of the wedding in our bedroom make clear we have not yet gone beyond the marriage but let's not give up just yet, I feel lucky and there's something about this place. Fell shy of love, got back up and tried again, this is what I want, this is my only function, om shanti shanti shanti, alleluia alleluia.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

I Don't Remember Agreeing

Monarch butterflies passing by the goldenrod, we are all going somewhere. What is the relationship between hunger and love?

He visits in the bright middle of the day to remind me the way will not be easy but also it's too late to back out. Something happens far away - two thousand years ago, say - and all the fear of it is here. 

Towering hemlocks may I finally learn what these hands and arms and eyes are for. Sailing over the landscape in Lukas Geer's hot air balloon, the old dream of never having to give up dreaming.

Screw any list of guitar solos that does not include the final one in Sultans of Swing. Something went wrong early in my life and it turned out there would never be a fix, who knew.

The new therapist asks why do I insist on finding ways to argue I should be punished and we both know the answer but only one of us has the courage to say it. Geese in the distance, everything ends.

No more highway blowjobs, I don't remember agreeing to that but okay. We hang a Happy Birthday sign together, we don't know ourselves anymore outside of characters and narratives we didn't write.

I mean how much more rapture does one really need? When licking you was like licking marble in clouds of falling ash. 

It made me happy watching the turntable, it taught me something important about forgetting. "More mushrooms" cries the Man without Shoes, whose feet are now clad in Steve Hamlin's higher-priced clown shoes.

Mothers and Others, may I never forget to be grateful. Needy magick. 

That little farm in Vermont we could've bought but didn't, all to end up in these prolific gardens a stone's throw from the river, thanks Jesus, thanks God. The guy whose favorite poet is Emily Dickinson, whose favorite novelist is James Clavell, who invited that guy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Love Itself Immolating

A little moonlight on the floor, apparently Jesus never gets tired of showng me Love Itself.

Remember the Country of Turtles, how one kiss became the cosmos, and the cosmos this: this this?

Sex is just power playing with itself until you see how it is actually communion, i.e., Love Itself entangling with Love Itself. 

Digging potatoes with Chrisoula, stars coming out, fingers cold on cold spades, finally the wedding reaches the marriage.

Deconstructing old loves so as to forgive familiar errors. 

Under the ferris wheel looking up, was there ever any doubt?

Saturday morning waking early for chores then brewing coffee while the kids argue is "parer" a word and then going upstairs into the sunlit bedroom to write, this.

Flirting with disaster, who's kidding who.

West-facing hills on which mile-long bands of white pine are dead. 

Sifting through hatred to reach the fear, offering the fear to her alchemizing love, om shanti shanti shanti. 

Leaving Albany forever because Jeremiah taught me that all along Love Itself was my companion

Falling asleep under a blue blanket, thinking of Mary crying at her son's execution. 

Everything we look upon because there is nothing to look upon but Christ. 

Be mind.

She smiles when I knock on her office door, something frozen in me softens, my heart weeps a lake onto her feet.

Friends who became teachers, teachers who became lovers, lovers who became symbols of Love Itself, immolating every relationship but one. 

Walking around the back yard at night, slowing down when a skunk lumbers by - hey brother - staying out until the quarter moon crests far hills full of deer and other dreamers. 

I tell him about the time my mother threw a knife at me and he refactors his internal model, may I never forget to be earnest.

How sometimes we stop working, smile at each other in shadows sinking into the garden and say, "hey, remember when the summer sky was full of swallows?"

You don't read these poems Chrisoula and yet they are all for you, and it doesn't matter you don't read them, I will write them for you until I die, I will write them for you when I am dead, I will write them for you until you say "rise brother into the new Heaven we make together rise." 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The One who Refused the Wings

You never read my poems and yet you are the one who made this life safe enough to write them.

Unmade bed, are you thinking what I'm thinking.

Gathering goldenrod for the neighbor's goats, leaving some for mid-September bees.

What I won't do for certain women.

We sit quietly watching the moon between maple trees just beginning to turn.

He asks me to be in my body in a way I find terrifying but I try, for him I try, as we both know only another man can truly understand this particular fear.

Cartoon demons, watercolor angels.

It's all forever now!

Learning with K. it's okay to let certain lessons go, it's okay to be happy and free.

Once I decided to no longer be lonely, the brief moments of solitude became diamantine, a light piercing it from all directions at once.

The hay loft becomes a chapel in which sex is gently forgotten in favor of communion.

At an early age I swallowed a compass, how else do you think I managed the difficult landscapes I was forced to live in like a rat? 

Oh Fall River thank you for existing for without you I would not have understood how deep and slow the River of Beauty truly is.

Not Icarus after all but the one who refused the wings and then cried a long time on the beach watching his father fly away forever and his brother die, crashing into the sea. 

Who or what is behind this, I want to say thank you.

Suicides whose calls I did not return in time, forgive me.

Made feral by a mother who had seen more of hell than one would wish upon an enemy, and a father whose eyes were stolen by a decades-old hurricane. 

Chrisoula knits while I read Sarah Hrdy, now and then reading aloud this or that sentence, may I never forget to be grateful.

Coming to terms with Tara Singh again.

There is only one love, thirty years after the wedding we reach at last the marriage, and even then, even then. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Suddenly Swathed in Gray

We stood together near the stage watching Mike Campbell play guitar - scarecrow-like, excellent still - and several times I touched Jeremiah's shoulder and he turned to smile at me, a man with whom I do not need to assume any pretense, and in this way something about Albany changed forever.

Who or what is behind all this.

Crows before the sun rises, heading north.

It seemed there was a path that involved painting once, it seemed there was a dream of getting something just right, where "just right" meant creating an image that conveyed a feeling rather than any technical accuracy related to how things actually appear. 

People ask why the rose became so ubiquitous an image and symbol - practically bereft of meaning at all according to Eco - and the question strikes me as a failure for the answer is quite simply: look.

Early evening, between sips of the last cup of coffee ever, a heaviness settles on the valley, and the soul - which lately is attuned to the throat chakra - is suddenly swathed in gray.

Images and ideas I would rather not put into a sentence, or the same sentence anyway, and so do not (but did in a previous sentence - can you see which one).

Vision in the right eye slowly failing, a haze descending as if an angel were gently lowering its wings.

This is not the sentence I meant to write, this is the sentence I actually wrote.

Walking in Albany again, all these years later, remembering the past, and letting it go.

We were broken, that was why.

As if praise were not enough.

Getting curricular.

We pause beneath the hemlocks, we draw chairs and talk about the kids, we talk about moving, about cutting back the berries, we talk about what we are becoming together now we are not trying to become anything else.

The void giveth and the void taketh away.

Remembering William Kennedy's novels, how hard it was to get Dad to appreciate them, how I read them endlessly for years, delighted with the prose, the familiar characters, and always the untiring romance. 

We who are refused over and over - denied entry unto the temple, not allowed to touch his robes - pushed away and rejected - whose dreams are fed by wild angels, emissaries of a God who has not yet decided is He interested in our salvation.

Obedience, who knew.

Getting to know the narrator, going slowly so not to spook him, that path.

And will there be another snow storm, now I have been granted another winter in which to stand quietly in quiet forests amid all the snow falling in all the cosmos?

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Lost Children in Previous Centuries

Okay, I give up, why do we die? Burning straw dogs, the ruins still smoking after dawn. After rain, sunlight in the lilac, and after sunlight in the lilac, moonlight. Obligate sexuality, who knew. 

How do we recognize sentences? Here is the secret to happiness, you are related in nontrival ways to apples. Death and sex are intimate, let us not live elsewise. Chipped bricks falling off the chimney in high winds.

A deliberate choice to speak of "cosmos" rather than "universe," sensing in the decision something promiscuous, risky. The body is a site of negotiation between agents trying to remember how to cooperate. Chess, too, is a helpful metaphor - why. Spank me.

Hours pass or seem to. Once I was a lake, once I was a woman who could walk on water, once was I was a child who spent many years swimming through the wrecks of ancient ships. Chris Fields' point that "biology is all about recycling." I cannot bear another horizon. 

Licking semen off the fingers of the seraph who gave me a handjob in the pantry. Seams in the poem where understanding appears. We are together a response to the cries of lost children in previous centuries. A leaf falls, Chrisoula reaches me, I will see another winter.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Back When I Was Still Pretending

She visits in a dream - a desert, we are very poor, we have no right, we are meeting far from our homes - and says "longer sentences, please."

Driving into Albany with my son, the moon shrouded, my head full of memories I want to share with him, how I have loved three women, made a life and family with one, cannot always find myself in time, and want nothing anymore but this. 

Falling asleep with the taste of her in my mouth.

The heart is a useful metaphor but must be deployed intentionally hence my poor use of it as such, I am what is led by language not the other way around. 

In the distance the city was colorful, we were both relieved to see it, and I remembered driving through it with Denise in 1988, not wanting to let go of her hand, I was so happy, I was so happy and knew I would never be that happy again, and the knowing did not impair the happiness, and thirty-five years later it still does not. 

Remember making love on futons in hottest summer, going out after to drink gin and tonics on North Beach, stars falling one by one into the vast lake.

Sad Jesus walking in a meadow full of cattle who are only weeks away from being slaughtered.

This is my heart when it remembers you, this is my heart when it forgets.

Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Suurya-Kotti Samaprabha / Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa.

Near midnight, lost.

Chrisoula comes back from her pottery class happy and laughing, and something in me is lifted and lightened, and something else - hurt and angry since before this body was born - goes away to plot in secret against love.

Ways to see it does not matter, what happens or does not happen, ways to see that even suffering is not suffering, only saying so is suffering.

We share a joint near dawn - everyone else fallen asleep, embers only, instruments set aside - and our knees touch and stars settle in the lilac, one after the other after the other.

Pushing the canoe out and then - possessed by who knows what - not climbing in but swimming behind it to the center of the lake, cold in the cold water, apparently needing to be closer to what is dark than the surface will allow.

Loneliness, not solitude, has been my path, please God let me not pretend otherwise another day.

On the back roads I remember absence. 

Oh I would leave this body to all the hungry dogs, I pray their hunger does not last much longer. 

Poets I read who cut me, carved me into a specific site of loss and grief, sex and writing, joy forgotten and joy remembered, who opened in me an intensity and awareness that is all the treasure there is.

Light rain all afternoon, part of which I sleep through, waking to the phone chiming (a three-word text from Jeremiah), and a headache that was laid on me back when I had enemies, back when I was still pretending I wasn't full of hatred and anger. 

He says quietly there are no bargains, you must love and you must let yourself be loved, and you must live in the world this shared - this difficult but shared, thus this beautiful - loving brings forth.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Crucifixion Notes

Sheep cries echo across the fields.

Saturday wasted, again. 

Sun appearing here, moon appearing there.

Sentences shorten.

Stonehenge was progress.

Dangerous evaluation.

No longer recognizing the argument but still recognizing winning.

Inverted turtle shells.

It gets bad sometimes, who doesn't know this.

Carrying Dad.

Men whose stories falter, fall off.

Little Wing, broken wing, hallowing.

Glimmering web threads floating off rafters in the hay loft.

Who trembled mounting the gallows. 

Perpetually drawing aside curtains.

A sickness traced back to guitars.

Always Kali, always Perses, always this self-righteous fury ending in crucifixion.

Notes coming out of the void.

We are not observers.

Imagine new alphabets.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Missing Nothing and Nobody

Rain fell. What was precious became more so. A paragraph is not a feature of speech but can be spoken, this is not important anymore but I wanted to say it.

You develop an appetite for Barthes, which is an appetite for a text, for an author and a reader, and then you spend a lifetime gazing at the world, singling this or that element out for special attention, sometimes putting parts of it into words. Wrens in the hemlock, welcome to early fall. One sleeps longer than usual, wakes up tired. 

What happened. Something that could not be saved, I have been angry for fifty years, now you tell me it's time to grieve, why don't you tell me how it ends. The river so low we can find no fish in it.

Four a.m., drifting through prayers Christ shared with me years ago in my father's old bedroom. Failures, a sea of them, swimming in them, coming up through them to an unfamiliar light. Precious surface I will break you in the name of love.

Long gone dogs, my life in ruins. Rain fell and fell, decades became sunflowers, I stopped being able to breathe, and still there was only this: this this. The affair ends, you haven't changed, you betrayed the only one who can save you, this was apparently what you wanted, a way to fix what appears unfixable, may you never forget the ones who went with you to help you remember.

Little bells beneath apple trees, i.e. rain, all night missing nothing and nobody, the back porch a chapel, God a cosmic billows. Lost in the only forest, swimming in the only river, chanting with ghosts in the name of the unnamed father. Moonlit genuflections. 

I wasn't supposed to be here, was supposed to have gotten out years ago, what happened. The Author of Hope will see you now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Away from Ourselves

I've strayed but not too far vs. I'm back and won't leave again. Tomatoes falling from falling vines. The cosmos is lawful, what else do you need to know.

The question of what is sustainable is harder to answer than it seems. Stopping outside Washington D.C. for breakfast, we are not traveling the same way anymore, we are taking different roads, we are farther and farther away from what we eat. Prayer again, always.

How far away Dan went in the end, and how lonely I became and have remained ever since. Refried bread with maple syrup for breakfast. This is the 1970s, this is the 1950s, this is not something older than that.

No more what? The garden happens under laws of attention I am only just now learning to notice, let alone obey (or is it the old game of wanting a certain woman to want me). We who become the refused.

Trains full of drifters, low-down grifters. Perhaps I will be here folding and refolding the quilt on which we make love for all eternity, perhaps I already am. A sound the river does not make this year.

You want to be happy, I want to be happy, but we are not happy, what is wrong with us? Letting go of certain readers, the writing shifting accordingly. Goats crying out next door.

There are old ways that still work, I am their witness. Becoming one with the biography in order to end biography.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Only I am Allowed to Dream

Old texts.

Outside at night silence.

Suffering no longer. 

They asked me to go home, they reminded me Ma was there, alone with bad dreams only I am allowed to dream, and so I lived in that house for nineteen years. 

Queen Anne's Lace all up and down the hill.

What happens when you leave identity out of it, can you.

The voice that is negative and fearful is trying to argue it is reasonable.

Please don't take away the peace.

A church for beggars.

The Judge who declines to be seen, who will not make his argument in public

What blurs.

Enlarge the space of agreement, make it at least possible, find others to help.

Sinners watching the sun rise yet another day.

Resistant to sharing, going into it, finding something unpleasant traveling north outside Hatfield, but what, and why now.

It has to do with specificity. 

The lake full of ice, neither one of us wore clothes for days.

Rainbows indicating what about boundaries.

September sunflowers, maybe dying won't be so bad after all.

An aversion to using the world "only" and "reflection" in the same sentence. 

Brattleboro taught us how much we had left to fear, and how wrong it would get before it got better.

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Oldest Apple Tree

A dream of better questions.

Dreaming the other into existence.

Willingness becomes a burden, a duty, it becomes the opposite of what it is.

Disrupting hummingbirds at the jewelweed, Sunday mass put off another day.

Leaves on the lilac turning now, early September, something rust-colored in the suddenly cool air. 

Cirrus clouds where yesterday the moon passed.

Cardinals at odd moments as if the red bird is finally returning, no longer bound to the body of another. 

I am trying to justify optimism, who knew.

Train engines hidden away.

Going through old photographs, finding the ones that are hard to separate from what actually happened, and taking them. 

Spells are not irrelevant here.

Morning sun, neighborhood cats following me to the oldest apple tree, sidestepping fallen fruit. 

Where the horses were buried, where we began rehearsing for the war.

Or not, as always.

Replanted lilies alive the next day, may I never take a single breath for granted.

Star-gazing at three a.m., bats dipping back and forth, if you were here what would I miss.

Those who got away.

Missing the hint.

Sometimes you see the cave mouth shine, sometimes you find your way by feel.

Winning the argument and the argument goes on, one of us wants this, who. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Seduction is an Agreement

Night belongs to us, the day is forbidden.

Searching for a tea kettle.

Something Christmas-y in me, something maternal.

Finding roads with you, finding ways.

Lovers are the site of remembering what mattered at the beginning.

You bookstore, you, you library.

Take me, that's how. 

Seduction is an agreement to be bound by lies in order to remember what is true.

Say again what we learn together.

Sunlight on the only birch tree with which I have a chance.

Faking it sometimes, sometimes improvising, always in it though.

Butterflies make me cry, tell me again what this means for our relationship. 

Telling K I'm lost in what resembles a Peanuts cartoon.

Near the bottom sex is merely power but past the bottom it's pure communion, which is about everything, including sex.

Refusing sleep - refusing forgetfulness - paying anyway.

Becoming carefuler.

Icarus rising from eternally smoking embers comforting Hansel and Gretel coming back from the witch, the teller pleading with her audience to get something right about who serves who and when.

Never really had a home, was never really homeless, nor did I travel. 

Nothing ends, there's nowhere to go, that's how.

Pumpkins ripening in tall grass by the garden, another summer gone, another ring of Heavens. 

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Those Hills in Greece

Questions I regret asking, answers I only recognize too late.

Moons in you, miles in you.

The solitude with you.

A loss that cannot be categorized every day. 

Men who hoard clues, who don't know it's only a game. 

The new therapist observes that Dad was better at politics than I am, which I did not know.

Tracing her skin, collarbone to shoulder, then pulling her close, her body thin and hard, always reminding me of olive trees in the hills above the Greek village where she was born. 

What do your feet know that the rest of you does not?

Two dead foxes in five days, I have forgotten how to end things.

Sharing a joint on the back porch, knees touching, starlight in the nearby lilac.

Long gone dogs coming less and less to mind. 

What is observed at a distance, what is identified because of how it draws nearer.

Cosmic gift-givers. 

The mushrooms are still here I say to which Jason replies maybe, maybe not. 

Writing in this constrained, in this mythologized way.

We live differently, what does this mean?

Was I sent away or did I get lost or did somebody find me and teach me a secret I am only just now remembering to share?

Icarus wakes up drunk, no idea where the church is.

Going down on her in a Boston hotel, how she slammed the mattress with her open hand coming.

This map you keep insisting belongs to me, for real, I don't think it belongs to me.

Friday, September 9, 2022

What Makes it about Love

Still that feeling while fucking there is only this.

Pickup parked outside Hruberic Orchards in late summer, Tom Petty on the radio, we are laying in the bed on a blanket holding hands gazing at stars and I am learning that if I don't write it down I will lose what makes it about love.

After the gospels, after the God spells.

She wakes early to find me, knowing my mind, we are becoming together a prism, we are becoming together a light.

Another day born in me with you.

We agree the vagina is more nuanced than the penis, more responsive to language, but we disagree which is more beautiful to look at.

Museums are not helping maybe.

Outside alone an hour or so before dawn trying to make sense of dying.

Two dreams running Dad is content, unworried, silent in a good way, or am I just finally letting go of the need to win the argument.  

He described giving up on an old friend and it made me sad, I heard in his story the voice of those who have spoken of me that way over the years. 

We age out of monogamy, it's okay, sex is just another way of communing, shall we.

But who taught me to argue instead of carry weapons, who taught me to get sober, who helped me find a good woman to teach me how to let go of everything, even this.

Route Nine at seven a.m., driving to work in relative silence, surprised at how happy I am, at such a late and unfamiliar - at such a difficult - juncture.

Remember parking at the fair, not going in for a long time but finishing the conversation we were having about John's Gospel, I died that day, became a ghost that day, I was saved that day and you became my savior, om shanti shanti shanti, alleluia, amen. 

We choose favorites, it happens, but there's another way.

There was nothing sweet about sixteen.

She asks about my obsession with trisyllabics, tries to locate it in childhood names, favorite stories et cetera, and I go along with the inquiry, equally curious but less committed, i.e., being happy doesn't always need an explanation.

Roads we know, roads we do not.

Falling asleep a little after nine, she says it's okay, so okay, it's okay. 

I have a father now, who knew.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Stories not Everybody Wants to Hear

So it's a guessing game then, good to know. Well-polished turtle shells.

Serpentine. Am I studying A Course in Miracles or am I remembering that something comforted me once?

Never leaving the bedroom, that old trick. Unhomed.

In my mid-thirties, a brief spell of painting poems, one or two of which can be found in the hayloft still. What is oblivious to context.

So grateful to be allowed to kneel for her still. An abundance of crows, the days getting shorter, the night telling stories not everybody wants to hear.

Do we not grow up? Fair season ends, coffin ships of winter bear down on our little harbor.

Be less monosyllabic! Therapy interrupted.

Wrapped in a quilt, working on poems. Jasper leaves to visit family in Indiana, always this sense that he will not return and then what.

You want to be told it's okay to leave, so okay, it's okay to leave. Born in a snow storm, what did you expect.

You don't talk much about money she says of the poems to which I respond but I do talk a lot about treasure don't I. We are gliding together above Ascutney, we are rising higher and higher, we are flowers in a clearing watching ourselves rise higher and higher.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Off in the Hayloft

Cast iron left out all night how much colder will it get before the end. We travel together to Cape Cod, we never run out of things to say, we don't say everything anymore. Be my baby tonight.

Sipping coffee instead of meditating, listening to the occasional eighteen-wheeler grind down Route Nine thataway. Made like this for no reason in particular, what happens happens, it's okay to be happy, it's okay to tell a story in which we are happy. Your body is a church unto microbial congregations.

Cheap Trick in the mid-eighties, turns we don't take. Fionnghuala tells a friend that Tarot is a kind of evolving picture book for one's life, Chrisoula jokes "somebody's work is done here." Who else is sick of zucchini.

Light sifting through glass bottles, crystals and prisms, one does love a crowded pretty space. Kisses are context! She jacks me off in the hayloft, we can't stop laughing after, how happy we are together, remembering the cause for optimism. 

It won't kill you to be a bit more facile with metaphors. Back roads full of turkeys and deer. Not even my father could say what had happened to the past, it was that kind of mystery.

Making her a fire, that old art. Looking but not touching. While in another sense, we can only be said to exist in language itself.

Waiting not knowing the prayer has already been answered. Bats fill the dusky sky, draw the flannel closer.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Bitter but True

This feeling of being late always, somehow behind - what did I learn or not learn about time that led to this. Old joys scale the nether walls. Always ask: who or what do you recognize most?

Waking early wishing I hadn't, making coffee, sitting on a bench in the hayloft to write. We find our way mostly by narrative because there is no other way. A balance between looking down at quartz and looking up at stars.

Nothing happens ever is one way to look at it but why would you. Dylan songs from the late nineties. A juncture at which one is falling anyway, might as well call it love. 

Blue light travels through my heart and this too is the world. Something bitter but true that we do not want to look at. So I like word games and third-person erotica, so I will not betray optimism, so what.

Coming to terms with a childhood that was steeped in forests and rivers, and an adulthood that recognizes there is only one forest, and only one river. Horse cries after midnight, all of us up at once. What works?

I learned how to talk from my father, a non-trivial gift, but how to love words for words' sake from my mother, which was not a gift but something I stole. Hours with Emily Dickinson again, hours with Tom McGrath. Lilting oars on Upper Highland Lake, was dawn ever better, is there any other wealth.

The game of what are you thinking is not as fun as it used to be. Leftover pancake batter, may I never forget to be hungry, I mean grateful, may I never forget what I wasted.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Stones in the River

Oh not another word about snakes please, I don't want to disturb their rest. 

Looking for the beginning is the only way to see there is no beginning, only a void with which we can more or less be in relationship.

This hurt, it is too big to be anyone's alone, will you help.

At the Cummington Fair, sitting on a stone wall near the face-painting station, waiting for Chrisoula to leave the horse pull, I pray quietly to be forgiven all my sins, including in particular the sin of taking sin seriously.

In fact we actually have had sex in the barn, handful of times at least, it's overrated but still. 

Suddenly called to a new form of order.

Brother Singh reminding me that even ACIM must go, even the one who studies it so diligently must go.


Lords of the edge, too willing to be mistaken, too proud to be corrected.

Counting stones in the river, sorry for the trout who suffered, the bears whose hunger was not met in cool waters.

There are laws, not standards.

Where do you worship he asks, he means well, I cannot say what I want to say without alienating him, I say quietly "I try to carry the Lord with me everywhere at all times" and he says he will consider it, he can promise nothing more and for once, for now, it is enough. 

Morning kisses, must all anarchists be evangelical?.

Sloppy blowjobs apparently a thing of the past, may I respect our shared expression  - which disregards form - of longing.

Sitting a long time by the fire undoing what remains unhealed in us.

Remember friends?

Rays of sunlight at dawn appear as bridges you could follow all the way to Heaven if you were not so densely made.

Kissing her nipples, her fingers trailing up and down the back of my neck, nobody in any hurry anymore, this is what I wanted.

One wonders, one does.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

It has to do with Desire

In the mind of holly and snowfall, that's all. Minor chords, nobody listening.

One gathers their self at the window, it has do with distance and penetrable surfaces, it has to do with desire. Stray cats on Main Street.

Pulling over in Windsor, heart racing bright tears, step by step through forgiveness, getting it right enough to drive again. You can call it anything, why not call it a prayer?

In the dream Dad and I are on the porch of the house in Hanover where I learned Grandpa died, and Dad is quiet and calm, he is dead but he is not dead, he asks if it is okay to leave, I say yes and wake up and all day he is everywhere in me, this man through whom my life flows like a eucharist. She says at the party the only gospel worth reading is Mark and Chrisoula leans in on me to murmur "let it go, Sean, let it go." 

By itself the phrase "the numbers don't add up" is false. ACIM's insistence that Heaven is a decision means what regarding time and space?

Who has time anymore for grudges, me, that's who. I remember sitting with my mother in a parking lot near Cape Cod, two years ago or three, watching seagulls pick at chicken bones, she was talking about what Dad thought about family and I was trying hard not to show how scared I was.

There is something slippery in the culture, we are all falling away. Jesus being mostly mythological.

Grinding through the sentences, wondering how it came to this. Butterfly wings opening, the whole prayer of us enveloping the world, undoing everything, including us.

Watching Jack, the blind horse, walk slowly - elegantly - up from the lower pasture to the fence line to be fed, how can anybody find fault with God ever. Trout shadows, I've always been lucky.

Rain on my tongue. God is what you forget until you stop insisting on remembering.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

An Angel just Waking Up

You are asking yourself what changed and the answer is nothing changed, you are just seeing now what does not change. Bees in the goldenrod, the goldenrod so tall it blocks the front porch. A morning glory or a bluet, possibly a butterfly, why do you ask?

Meditations on suffering in a Christian context articulated by Karl Rahner, many sentences of which were underlined by my father, a dutiful student of the subject. Noisy fans. The jewelweed at dusk, my heart opening so wide it no longer resembles a heart, more an angel just waking up.

Sunlight decanting into a muddy pond. We left the fair early, quietly speaking about what has changed over the years, including especially our perception. Cognac glasses filled with polished marbles set on the window in sunlight.

Crickets in the barn at dawn, I carry hay to the horses, apparently immortal. Blue light of faerie in the pasture, a little before midnight. We counted to three, flung our wedding rings in the sea, the whole afternoon filled with light.

A hill is a pile of dirt and rocks on which trees grow. Trimming the fallen limb of the northernmost apple tree again, trying to get it just right, even though there's no such thing. Men being boys, same old problem. 

Misunderstandings being slowly worn smooth, like rocks in the river. Low-lying sage, the scent of it so strong we stop walking, stand quietly just breathing in the world. Suddenly all these crows, is it possible I am ready at last to die?

Opening old trunks to find the family bible full of dried roses. Another dead fox on the road out of town, sooner or later your luck just quits. 

Friday, September 2, 2022

Someone at the Fair

Who made the light this way? Green scaling the south side of the barn, butterflies everywhere. It's a lie but the cosmos allows lies, stop pretending otherwise. Put it there, brother.

Buckets stacked just so for spring container planting. Goldenrod leans across the front path, the house looks abandoned the neighbors say, tell it to the bees and hummingbirds I mutter. Buddhist sensibility. He writes to ask about visiting, the note lingers, there is no bliss anywhere suddenly. 

All kisses are hungry is one way to think about it. We'll get there, okay, but when exactly? Imagine God again. Broth simmering all day Sunday.

Missing someone at at the fair, nobody else knows my loneliness. How happy we are now we are hippies. Home is where the heart is broken and cannot learn how to fix itself. Guitaring again.

Sitting outside at night, unable to hear anything but the ghosts insisting only death is real. Who lives in the middle of the mirror? Something settles when something else is allowed to be elegant. This map you keep insisting belongs to me, I do not think it belongs to me. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Soap Bubbles of Unknowing

Her shoulders, stronger than anything I know. Men who built crosses, men who needed crosses built, men who died on crosses, men who put other men to death on crosses. Pizza with basil, tomatoes and feta.

A promise that was not kept of which I can say happily "thank Christ it was not kept." Marigolds, how is more happiness even possible. It will storm soon, shall we check on the horses. 

Karla asks Chrisoula, "why do you keep him around" and Chrisoula says, "he makes me laugh, he always has." Soap bubbles of unknowing. A disco that never closes, a dance that never ends. 

Started writing love letters when I was six years old and now look. Stealing from your father's church, what else is sufficient unto love. Loading rail road ties into the truck for raised bed gardens.

Jasper says the clouds remind him of cloud-gazing once with an old girlfriend, I say more like the surface of a slow-moving river, maybe a long break-up, and we both become quiet, reflecting on our sins. "Can we sell the damn stove," she says to which I respond "sure, just as soon as it's no longer referred to in a Hayden Carruth poem."

What we call the beginning. Driving home from the Heath Fair, happy in ways I did not know was possible and yet all along was given, was right in front of me, like moonlight or a woman. Imagine being welcome.

Sometimes at night I will walk a long way in the darkness alone, find a place to sit in the forest, and listen to all the prayers the lost and forsaken pray, answering each and every one the same. Stacking hay, is there any other reason to live?

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

At the Field's Edge

Not another word about kenosis! I dream of her and the next day she appears at work and we walk together outside talking about what is north.

Children playing near the water, how their energy - and the energy of the world - changes accordingly. Burning casinos. 

The weathered faces of barns that may not survive me. I would like to tell you what I have learned about forgiveness but what I have learned about forgiveness is that it doesn't need to be explained. 

After projection, reflection. I ask Chrisoula how she would describe our sex life, she is reading Of Mice and Men for the forty-seventh time since we met, her favorite book ever, "it's nice," she says without looking up. 

Parking the truck at the field's edge, laying blankets in the back, cooler full of cheap beer, stars flickering at the treeline, this too was growing up. A place for horses, i.e., my heart.

Clouds pass, they remind me of dogs passing. I remember bucketing out the basement, which storm was it, up all night in late winter, cold and wet, it had to be done, sometimes it doesn't matter what you want. 

Two a.m., can't sleep, head so bad even blinking hurts, is this what you wanted. I have been to Paris, I have been to Dublin, and the Heath Fair is better than both. 

Remembering whisky shots, Burlington Vermont full of rain, losing the argument, forgetting the argument. Time requires a body, as does an orgasm, but intelligence scaffolds differently.

The other night I confused the twenty sentences with fiction, walked around the house thinking, "it's a novel - I didn't know that - it's a novel," then woke up with these poems, thank Christ.

Hot peas with freshly-ground pepper, remember? Lifting you with my tongue - this sentence - into the heavens.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Lines I Draw

Purple clover, dark against the burnt grass of late summer. I have these hands, they are open as in prayer, and empty as befits my new calling. 

What happened to the hot dog, how did it become so pedestrian? Beautiful violent men I have known.

Wind blows, the maple leaves turn upside down, silver in afternoon light. We got carried away with burying the dead, let's not kid ourselves.

Whistling. Dragonflies above the garden.

Jesus visits to say goodbye, thank me for listening, ask if there's anything else. The rules we keep around eating together, do you notice them, do you notice what gives rise to them. 

Talking to a woman who is no longer here, happily driving between mountains, no longer alone forever. Shall we listen to the rain together.

The joy of recognizing kin. Holiness forgets nothing because there is nothing to forget.

Combing through old photo albums, taking pictures of the dogs, something wild in me insisting that the past be liberated from images. Naked now is close to what.

Counting flowers in the meadow.  Chrisoula and I meet behind the church, same as always, she wears flowers and bracelets, studies carefully the lines I draw in the dust, she tells me what I mean.

There were other paths once, there are not now. He weeps often in the afterlife, he cannot bear his failure to repent, I cannot write this sentence in a way that will help him, will you.

Monday, August 29, 2022

So Near I Cannot Breathe

Moonlight on the living room floor. Three a.m., coughing through the rosary prayer. Thunderheads bunching near the valley's crest. Neither this nor any other horizon.

The sentence as a way of learning how to see. Old-time tractors. Gathering near the fire pit at dusk, horses curious, beer wedged between Tom's knees tuning his mandolin, Chrisoula holding a joint to my lips while I stir the flames, moon rising. In those days we carried knives everywhere, you never knew.

The silver belly of dead trout just before they are gutted. I was not allowed to approach horses, nobody wants to talk about this, maybe it was a dream. Writing at the fair the day before it opens, Fionnghuala working on her entries. Light winds, first maples changing, may I never forget to be grateful.

I studied fatherhood a long time before that door actually opened. Plans to raise gladioli and hyancinths next spring, everybody confused because you can't eat them, but the bees can, and the hummingbirds. What we cannot recognize from any distance. Fumbling through the dialogue as usual.

She sits on the bed's edge, back to me, so near I cannot breathe. Horse-drawn. The well was up from the river, there were willow trees in the distance, the conversation ran to hard extremes. Being out of time at last. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

My Skin is Language

On the day I married her it did not rain. Mother Octopus, teach me again the way of the tentacled. Morning sun, do you see how your body is merely the world.

Let us go all the way through the keyhole. Giving head to strangers in cars, trangressing in an effort to drive away love, and love not going anywhere. The prism, the promise, the praxis.

Men walking past the cathedral hefting sheaves of wheat. Jasper reminds me that mathematical formulas don't have to be executed, i.e., there is a stillness that does not submit to process.

Living in suffering happily. Arguments regarding the suit of swords which never land well. Love is a cosmos for which desire is a kind of treasure map.

Driving alone across the river, may I never not be the father she needs. A spiritual practice that lately focuses on folding and re-folding literally everything - quilts, her shirt, notes from last year's poems. Capitalism is a form of hunger.

Can you name everything the river took. Falling backwards. At night I sit quietly in the living room and pray, moonlight gliding across the floor towards me.

You want to get naked with me but sister my skin is language, when am I not in your mouth. The Man without Shoes is a servant of history, history is method of assessing memory, and memory begins when we take death literally.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Kin to Lichen and Microbes

We who take it.

Coming back from the temple, a survivor.

She does not speak, she gestures, and it doesn't matter anyway, you do what she says you do, you get on your knees, you never leave your knees.

Great-grandfather (whose face is being eaten by the Chthonic One) begs for a chance to say "no you do not have permission to play in the park" and the hurricane laughs and laughs.

Ashes swirling away in the sea, may we take nothing else for granted.

First time I ate pussy I tasted blood, knew I was home, haven't been off my knees since.

Yeah you don't like it, I get it, I don't really like it either but why don't you like it, that's the question.

Long stretches of highway made bearable by rosary prayers.

Thought I would die, didn't die, now what.

Pissing outside at midnight, visiting the horses, listening to the river under starlight: this this.

I feel sorry for the soldiers who crucified Jesus, I would take them in my arms if I could, would go into hell with them if I could, be a dog for them if I could, a dog in a ring of Heavens.

Nobody leaves the jail cell until we all leave the jail cell, got it?

She reminds me I am kin to lichen and microbes, She urges me to let the whole yard go to violets and bracken, She says help the groundhogs dig their holes, and I listen to Her, I listen. 

This sentence is for the luminous bell-ringer, may we both go unhealed no more forever.  

Something Christmas-y in me.

Goddess of Bees, this weight on my chest, this gallows I am never finished building, this rainy quartz I never quite get around to swallowing.

Fuck or else.

In my mind I am still in Vermont, Massachusetts is a bad dream from which I am awakening, and then I wake up in Massachusetts and turn north, begin again, is this what you wanted.

This family church in which more than once I prayed against my own interests.

It took her a long time to die, a terribly long time, we have to go into this, Dad is it okay now I am going into this. 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Like a Father

This one is for you, Goddess of Bees, you in whom I live a while and die.

Folded sweaters on the chair beside the bed.

How lost the widower looked in the take-it-or-leave-it shed this morning, and how I said nothing, didn't even meet his eyes. 

You want more skulls, we want more war.

Forces at work transcending our dim perception, decimating our limited understanding. 

Writing in the side yard, wishing there were a way to share with you this breeze moving wild morning glories back and forth across the south-facing wall of the barn.

Resting my head on the blind horse's neck after midnight, he bears my grief like a father, together we are what make starlight possible.

When I stumbled drunk around Boston looking for fights.

You are gone and with you goes green (but not yet blue).

Giving head to strangers, never looking up, not caring, my mouth sinning to make sin more real for all of us.

Teeth made of concrete, fingers down to the bone.

Rain on the harbor, I thought I wanted to die but I just wanted to feel differently.

"You need eyes to care about dice" is a lie.

Still prefer to piss outside, moonlight on my one and only cock.

Oh great-grandfather I will go kneel by the dread whirlpool now, I will hold her anger for you, I will reach the terrible fear and study with her a way beyond it.

If you read this, write to me, I am dying of loneliness and I cannot finish the sentence alone.

Being held to be beaten, surrendering to it, asking for it even, your willingness taking something away from the beating that makes them beat you even harder, but still.  

Fucks I would take back but can't. 

Kicking the dead.


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Arguments and Prayers

Burnt grass. I will never deny you.

No more suffering, no more confusion. In dreams, all fear magnifies.

The groove we are, the rhythm. Lord let me see snow fall one more time.

Mourning cardinals before they are gone. Sheets on the clothesline riffled by wind. 

Why is it so hard to meet for coffee? The hemlocks appear at dawn, brush off all my arguments and prayers.

Remind me again where and how Elijah heard the voice of God. This desert is not forever. 

Thanks Ron Atkinson! He asks if I am ready to apologize, this man who did more than anyone - including me - to end the marriage.

Trout not taking the bait, may I never forget to be grateful. Sunlight on the lake, this gift given to the ancestors who are as tired of haunting me as I am of being haunted.

Making peace with what refuses to make peace with us. Before Jesus, John's head on a platter.

How quiet one becomes before Georgia O'Keeffe's work, how still. Great-grandfather it's okay, you can put her shoes down, I will help you let them go, I was made this way to help you let them go.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The Wrong Bed in the Wrong City

We can start by telling each other what our favorite poem is and why.

Doors open, take my hand.

Wind blows through the valley, something howls in the hills across the river, my heart vacates my body, leaving a little note that reads "I was never yours."

We who drift, we who forget we drift, we who wake up in the wrong bed in the wrong city, wondering are we out of time.

Validate the other, nothing else matters.

Making signs for the march.

Under stars with the blind horse in order to learn how to see.

We who were against so much we forget everything good, we forgot how to be for.

The butterflies speak to me, I wish I could explain to you how this is so, it's the only thing that matters now.

Jasper says quietly, it may always hurt, you must prepare yourself.

Debord's point that tourism - "human circulation packaged for consumption, a by-product of the circulation of commodities" - was always merely "the opportunity to go and see what has been banalized."

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

A way of talking about Emily Dickinson that always leaves me wanting to give somebody - anybody - head

Oh so now you want to talk about contemplative prayer.

"Dance the day away."

You cannot take seriously the Sermon the Mount unless you are willing - literally - to die. 

Surrogate victims, our favorite role.

So the sacred has left us, so what, it was always just a finger pointing at the moon, and the moon has not left us, just look.

What is difficult, dangerous, deferential, what is delicious.

Punishment is not real but Christ how much suffering it took to learn this.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Void with a Good Woman

How did you learn you were different?

Miles to go indeed.

I wake before the sun is up, make coffee, go to the hayloft and sit quietly in darkness with the one who is everywhere.

John Bell, my god.

Ten years writing haiku by hand in purple ink now how much do you love me.

We cannot change what we feel, this is a gift not a curse.

A spiritual classroom, the price of admission to which was either one hand or both eyes, guess what I chose.

Deep down - no matter what else we name it, no matter what context we put it in - the reason I am writing and you are reading is that we are lonely and we are not yet ready to be whatever is not lonely.

The thief I am, the liar I am, the lover I am.

Do you remember making love against the door in my grandmother's house, do you remember biting my neck, do you remember - how could you remember - how I could not sleep that night (was this when the insomnia began) and do you remember - you must remember - breaking up on the long drive back to Vermont.

We are not alone when we dance, even when we dance alone.

Sunlight on the last of the violets, may I forget everything, may I learn how to.

Notice the ones in your living who personify ideals you admire - perhaps long for - and modify your living according. 

I praised his kindness - his clear intention with respect to extending it - and he bowed a little, he smiled a little.

Many revolutions are yet to happen, let's not kid ourselves. 

What does thought want.

It's going to hurt a little but not for long, this was the promise.

Leaning out over the void with a good woman, there is no other way for a man like me. 

The one who is never not naked.

Notice how the horizon is always there - you never reach it - it is always perfectly distant, exactly as if you were creating it, saying to yourself "I need a body and I need a world and both must be comprised of limits."

Monday, August 22, 2022

One More Winter

We are dogs in a ring of Heavens. How quiet the house is when Jeremiah is gone. My voice breaks trying to explain why even though I've left the Catholic church I am still grateful for it. Where are you safest and other nontrivial questions.

Hanging laundry. The dining room table fills with jars of dilly beans, corn relish and pickles. You cannot effectively kiss when you are angry, think on this when you are trying to understand that "I am not a body." Folding blankets and quilts for the peace of it, being that man, unapologetically.

She touches my shoulder with three fingers as she passes, and she is briefly then the Goddess Whose name we do not say aloud, and my shoulder fills with blue light, and an ocean opens in the part of my chest I call "heart." Can you not. We grill eggplant and red peppers outside, sun setting, sheep calling, and it is enough, it is sufficient, it is praise unto the Lord our God. We make love outside near the apple trees, we laugh arguing over who gets to be on the bottom, i.e., who gets to star gaze and who gets to gaze at the star-gazer. 

Any object is merely a collection of features noticed by - and organized by - an observer (and an observer is simply a limit on perception). Leftover zucchini pancakes with sour cream, we eat standing in the kitchen, my mind can see nothing but snow, in my heart I am praying God give me at least one more winter. Who is nervous around you, why are they nervous. We who make the moon, we who make the onions, we who make the sea. 

What remains? An aversion to punctuation that is not the crisis we once made it out to be. Popcorn with coriander and garlic powder. Welcome to the difference that does not make a difference, would you like some coffee, would you like to remove your clothes.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Not that Kind of Traveler Anymore

Strangers saying thank you. Let us face the war in us, let us face the pogrom.

Clipping song lyrics to an old music stand I stole back in college. Nothing is lifted like this heart is lifted, this bag of black stones, this sky blue turtle shell no man is allowed to fondle or hit. 

The new therapist smiles, "far be it from you to be dramatic." Icarus leaves the villages for faraway Athens, doesn't actually believe he'll arrive, he's not that kind of traveler anymore.

Three a.m. out back with the horses, star-gazing. Nobody told me it would hurt this bad but they did all say the hurt was necessary.

A story we tell that includes a lot of bells and giving her head on terms and conditions that she sets, which are not negotiable, and which we call Prayer. Rabbits in the clover, no hawk overhead, who feeds when.

I am saying there is no point where all this grounds out and you can plant a flag and say "game over." Studying towering cannabis plants at twilight, both of us surprised to find ourselves here.

Boiling chicken at six a.m., mid-August. Maybe let go of some of this, not for any spiritual reason, not to be religious, just because of what is lightened thereby.

Mirrors are nontrivial aspects of the overarching problem we name "ego." So it's turtles, chalices, frames, narratives, threads, knowings, quilts and ghosts all the way down, good to know.

"Tell me about your writing," no thanks, I don't play that game anymore. Steve Hagen helped me see the value of seeing the lack of value in the nomenclature.

We are Skinner boxes, black boxes, and what helped in the end was understanding sex was a form of communion but not the only or even the best form. Wading into the river, going further than Chrisoula goes in order to remember how to return and stand with her in her garden under the moon with our God, amen. 

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Time Becomes a Wound

Moonlight over the airport, how did it come to this. Blue heron circling the swamp, settling in the distance between dusky reeds. The arch of my foot, the scar that is my throat.

How a need unmet in time becomes a wound. We shared an ice cream cone on the steps of the old town hall. Peace came but it took a while, there was work to do, there were puzzles to make, there were relationships that had to be taken to the river and released.

What is fair. One becomes resonsible for projection, realizes they are lonely, and starts looking for a bridge. They live now as statues, as characters in a tale they did not know they were telling.

Suffering becomes us. Chrisoula finds me in the hay loft, coffee and writing, rainbows cast by prisms everywhere, and it's hard to say the simple thing, our marriage was always about saying and doing - and sustaining the other in saying and doing - the hard thing, the difficult thing. Roadside chicory and queen anne's lace, may we never forget the body's contingency and thus our shared cause for joy.

Pretending again. Jasper says maybe it's okay it's all about sex, we're monkeys in the end, what's wrong with saying yes a lot. Venus in the sky at dawn, fear coming down the hills like an army, so laying down my arms, opening my arms.

The many meanings of "passing." Messages. Shopping with Fionnghuala is like remembering something I left out in the rain, going out to find it's still there, but washed clean.

Don't look now but the Lover isn't done asserting his prerogative. Nothing moves me like moving in you with you.

Friday, August 19, 2022

A Mouthful of the Apocalypse

I never go away. Sex is hard to see through yet still calls me forth in luminous lovelily ways. Every cup of coffee is a mouthful of the apocalypse.

What we want and get and wish later we had never wanted. Fields of ripe corn along the highway. Prayed and was allowed to pick up the mountain but lost my focus and so wasn't allowed to throw it into the sea, nor to put it down at all: this this.

No to those frames in which kisses are bound by chronology and order. Bitter swallows. It took a long time to see how confused I was. 

Sinnerman. Saving up and other mistakes. Letting Jesus go but grabbing him back, exactly what the early followers could not do. 

There are laws, they are not negotiable, they are totally neutral, there is nothing else to say. Dawn coming down the river towards me in my grief. It's not nothing, it's something but what, or is that a not-helpful question. 

Joe Roberts and his oxen all over again. One weeps before the many butterflies, the impossible beauty, the inevitable deaths. Oh so now you'd like to talk about power.

Waving at her from the grandstand along the old racing track. Everybody's got an angle, just don't let them lose their spark. 

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Both Incidental and My Own

Weeping quietly for the dead in the arms of one who does not weep for the dead, quietly or otherwise. A music the chickens make, right before the the light changes. Who will play with Judas?

Non-posturing Buddhists. Her letters arrived in unpredictable patterns, there was no mail on Saturday, Friday was feast or famine, exquisite either way. She was angry in ways that I could not face, she loved me in a way she was not interested in facing. 

Losses I am only just now seeing. Cars breaking down are not moral crises, be clear on this. A loneliness I am only just now seeing is both incidental and my own doing.

Can transference be a useful fiction, of course but both parties must be in on the game. Once you understand that sex is about power, everything simplifies. Where is your Christ now, brother?

Bother. Daisies wilting in the back yard under the apple trees, some things you can't save. Oh so this is what you mean by being human.

And: begin. Pellucid light, no birds, a heaviness in the shadows that comes from moisty - mostly lightless - deeps. This prayer you continually fail to interrupt is not as bad as I feared it would be, please don't interrupt.

Beyond father and son, to the mother and then beyond the mother, nor God nor awareness, and not "this: this this" either, but lawfulness and the neutrality that lawfulness brings forth. I mean religiously, in your mouth.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

A Fool but Still

At night I begin to think again about how scared I am of hunger, and wonder if at last I am ready to go into it, if I am ready at last to be the witch.

Butterflies in the garden, bees in the garden, as in the deepest center of me - in the cascades of me - this love.

Always ask, what are you defending.

Closing my eyes, clutching the headboard coming, oh summertime thank you, thank you so much, thank you.

Following Fionnghuala who shops - skillfully studying clothing, fingers trailing through lines of cloth to find the one that works - in a way that I associated with my sisters and mother, i.e. we are never not near family.

Cannabis basically instantiating a kind of insight porn masquerading as spirituality, i.e., fomenting the same separation with a slightly different appearance.

This city stands for angry men.

Don't look now but the marketplace is coming for you.

Take me down to the river, woman, take me down between your thighs to pray.

Loving what is pretty, preferring what I can buy, can own, because it increases the odds I can protect it, but I can't, I never can, who made me this way, broken and too confused to ever heal.

Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin.

The whole zombie thing isn't funny by the way, not funny at all.

Buying watermelons, juicing them later to drink with a cold rice and cucumber salad.

Why do you read these sentences.

Going out at midnight, taking my clothes off, dancing in moonlight, really doing this, knowing I am a fool but still, doing this.

Sitting to write in the corner of the couch where I sat last week and got an unanticipated no warning blowjob and this is the sentences I write so yeah, I get it, I'm still just a monkey dreaming of angels.

Oh Randy Rhoads thank you, I did not who I was until I watched you be so pretty and powerful all at once (is this related to your death which left me stupefied for decades). 

Stacking boxes of canning jars, being told how, happy to help, happy to be helping the one I am helping: this this.

The maya today is so fine I don't even remember there is moksha.

To whom I am kin if not you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Again in this Understanding

The smallest detail, like the way you carry a coffee cup to the sink and rinse it, reveals the cosmos. 

The rapture we overlooked.

Stirring the compost a little after dawn, adding lime, a sense of something lost - or gone and never to return yet still known - pervades.

Troubling ourselves out of false peace, seeking instead the deeper peace to which all troubles can be brought and seen anew as not-problems.

Counterargument: thinking well is actually a valuable skill, one we've got to do better with.

What helps you worry, what helps you go beyond worry, you need both.

Divine Cephalopods, brought to this psyche on towering waves of psilocybin and fire, remind me again what it means to be tentacled.

How the ten seconds they waited on the scaffold became an eternity in which the world they helped bring forth - unwittingly, half-assedly, in utter stupefaction - now participates. 

For starters, less parochialism please.

The new therapist laughs, "far be it from you to be dramatic."

We reveal the secret, learn that it wasn't actually a secret, begin again in this understanding of honesty and - by extension - nonviolence. 

Neolithic cults the spirit directed to sip hallucinogens from the hollowed-out skulls of their ancestors, thanks ancestors!

You still think it matters, being expert, being consumed, being constructed. 

Eschew the signifier, what happens.

By afternoon the heat becomes too much, the morning glories wilt, smell of something burning comes down the river, itself a bed of stones not bread. 

Nobody is who they say they are, but that isn't their fault, since saying who we are is in fact the one thing we have been encultured against doing for at least ten thousand years. 

What is not written exists but how.

The seas begin to boil, whales cry for mercy, the garbage of a billion selfish apes catches fire and is visible to denizens of galaxies a thousand light years away. 

Let us pray, now that sex has collapsed into communion, let us pray a lot.

Hawaiian Bobtail Squid, may I not forget you when the first of us leaves.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Desire for the River

How we are in a sense the other's world. A path one follows to a clearing in which one lays down and waits on their lover to find them, no matter how many lifetimes it takes.

Peanut shells in the compost. Imagine two thousand years ago setting out on the sea, being committed to going beyond the sight of land.

A crow on the fallen apple limb I am sculpting into a resting place for corvids, thanks brother. Absolutely leave a note.

Reckoning with what we put off reckoning with. A map on which emptiness figures prominently.

Studying the drafts, never leaving the drafts, writing is rewriting, and you is passing, never to return. Being is plural, stop kidding yourself.

The sky shapes the way we think, at night the sky is full of stars that shape and guide the way we think. The Man Without Shoes has a thing for rocks, has anybody noticed, and has anybody noticed that this youngest daughter did too.

Far away in the forest, the sound of a tree falling. Oh beautiful lichen may I not forget our shared history.

He mentions Gaia and you can feel certain women in the room rise up to kill him. Coffee-flavored kisses.

What is a crisis, what is good work. I spend a long time gazing at the letter - under glass - that Sylvia Plath wrote, just grateful she existed, wondering what she thought of Emily Dickinson (herself encased at that juncture in a kind of glass) - wishing there was a way that so much of what hurts us didn't have to hurt us.

There is no foundation so stop anticipating, stop seeking, stop carrying on! And yet - even now - this desire for the river prevails. 

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Nothing Inside but the Void

Time to visit the well below the valley, time to go with my woman to the entrance to the Cave of the Heart, time to meet my lover beneath apple trees in August moonlight, time to say to Jesus, "okay, yes, I get it, I will, yes."

Those moans at the end, those little whimpers beginning.

I forgave Dad, it was easy, and he was grateful and I knew then that he had forgiven me too, it was just hard to notice, being so caught up in the Sean narrative.

That look on your face, who is its author.

So much of the Savannah lives in us, you close your eyes sometimes and feel what it felt to be at the beginning, when we were just figuring out holding hands.

Let us not ignore the clitoris nor our ignorance about the clitoris nor our gratitude for the Creator for creating the clitoris.

That which by necessity is unexplored.

Weather aesthetics.

Not forsaken exactly, yet also not bound to coming back whole. 

Eating what does not want to be eaten, welcome to eating.

Beneath the sunflowers, in cool dust, a toad.

Driving east through Ashfield, past a field full of sandhill cranes, and that farm we both like, the one with peach trees up and down the long curving driveway.

Witches are female says language. 

Dreaming of a well-lit Christmas tree, opening the gift beneath it that bears my name, finding nothing inside but the void, and looking up gratefully at the giver only to find she has been eaten by the Goddess of Bees.

We never got around to certain promises you made.

Second or third time I made love to a woman it was on a stairwell - carpeted stairs, after midnight, we were a little drunk and had to whisper, it was an early example of my desire to render location a conflict sex was responsible for overcoming.

Tea with devout gnostics, is there any other hell.

Being cannot be reduced yet is forever in-between - you can say it but when you meet one who knows it - who lives according to the living brought forth thereby - your living will shift in noticeably nuanced ways. 

Even the cosmos are basically a construction we are ill-equipped to evaluate for truthiness.

Late afternoon rain, tomatoes and bread on the back porch, the man I am with the woman who called me out of childhood to this little homestead in this little valley, may I never forget to be grateful.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Living in what is Damaged

Emma Goldman said that "Revolution is but thought carried into action.” Who are you trying to please?

There is an art to living in what is damaged and it doesn't have anything to do with repair. Sad witches leaving the forest for senior living centers in distant and unfamiliar cities.

There are storm clouds in the sky, something must be missing in my heart. A boundary that is mostly vegetative, suggestive, communicative, et cetera. 

Arendt's observation re: the banality of evil coming into focus as an inability to change perspective, and an unwillingness to notice this inability and examine it with others, i.e., we are the problem we're trying to solve. So we made mixed tapes once, so what.

Something about the cost, something about the price. We said goodbye in a parking lot behind the coffee shop, we never spoke again, it's okay but why do I remember it so clearly?

Another little cup of coffee please. The fine line between too rough and just right when it comes to fondling my balls.

Say nothing. Bob Marley's conversion.

Get what right, what are you talking about. We sit for an hour in the back room talking, a lot gets said about something I used to pretend was funny but which is not, being mostly about alcoholism. 

We gave each other head in a meadow surrounded by sheep overlooking Bantry Bay, we both cried a little after, rocking in each other's arms, as if something had at last been abandoned to which we would never return. "Splish splash I forgot about the bath."

I can't take anyone seriously who doesn't own a mirror ball, what the fuck are you doing with your life? Icarus had a gift for abstraction, it got him laid, it worked, but at a late juncture it occurs to him that his Dad knew how to build wings and he doesn't, i.e., Icarus finally asks "what do I know?"

Friday, August 12, 2022

Call Me Lover Again

I am trying to say something about loveliness, maybe I already did, I don't know, I can't say.

We are born over and over, how I wish I could show you this, make it clear for you, you would never call me lover again.

Intentional discord in order to make clear another fullness.

"I was never lost, you were always there."

In my dreams the Chthonic One visits, for once I don't wake up screaming, I understand how to welcome Her now I know the inside of the one who welcomes Her.

They told me to get lost and I did but in another sense they were lost and they sent me out to find the way home and I did.

I mean why leave the microbial at all.

So you are a bell, okay, who rings you, who comes when you ring.

You see, the other thing about heavy metal - often missed - is its religiosity, that too is part of what calls to us. 

Paleolithic skulls cut in ways that make clear they were designed to hang facing forward, thanks ancestors!

I wonder if the women I made love to in Ireland remember making love to me in Ireland and I also wonder if remembering the way I remember is also a kind of making love.

Morning passes writing, may I never forget to be grateful.

Haraway's point that we were never individuals but lichens, and the way in which even that does not go far enough.

Let's you and I burn the Book of Leviticus and fuck under the falling ash.

No more flags, no more codes.

War still, why.

Dead uncles reel through the hay loft trying to reach me through the web of language I've been spitting - I mean spinning - since at least 1983.

Oh hold me tighter, won't you.

Ambrosios Pleiathidis was buried alive, stop pretending the tame demon with which you wrestle isn't a servant of the demons who directed the burying.

This twentieth sentence is dedicated to Emily Dickinson, may I never forget either the bees or the light in which they work.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Bees I did not Know

Oh is it time to atone again?

Holy Octopus, Sacred Cephalopod. 

How at an early age I longed for distortion in music, found it comforting in its fullness, the way it restored something fundamental to the senses, as if raw were better, as if clouded were a better way to see the light. 

What are we learning and what are we doing with our learning. 

There is no end to the layers of the onion, no foundation or stopping point where you can say this: this this: this this.

Men who are skilled at apologies, the problem they are, and how I know this, and how sorry I am.

To whom or to what does the feeling appear?

My tongue in her vagina as far as it will reach, the blindnesses in us, the holy places, and the rapture when we reach them together.

The Man without Shoes realizes he was just deflecting attention from the pilgrimage which he can own now, gaze directly at now, and share now, thanks and praise, alleluia alleluia. 

Excesses we can only undo in dialogue.

Goddess of the Bees, I did not know how close to Her I was.

Perhaps the end has begun, perhaps there are forces at work that transcend our narrow band of perception and understanding. 

Writing in the side yard, thinking in sentences, same old dream, breezes moving pale wild morning glories back and forth along the south-facing wall of the last barn I will ever need.

What Jesus learned and how we are called to apply it in contexts he could not have imagined.

Having once begged both coffee and cigarettes from strangers, having once played for hours on Irish streets just to make enough money to buy fries with gravy for supper.

Please do not assume you know as much about me as _______ does, even she is relatively unenlightened.

Men who murder trees for a living, men who unfairly characterize other men as murderers just for making a living, and men who know - and live according to - an order that undoes this sentence.

The priest I am not, the lawyer I am not, the thief I am not, the lover I am not.

She accepts me broken, she lifts me in pieces above the altar I did not know was an altar (I thought it was a kitchen), and the Goddess she worships consumes me, goodbye.

Elephants mourn their dead: this is all we need to know to be saved and to save, stop making it harder than it has to be.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Indistinguishable from Love

"First comes the temple, then comes the city" but that's not right either, is it. And the door opens and you see what? Even in dreams, this healing occurs.

Perhaps consider paragraphs again? We visit the Smith College Museum of Art, later get ice cream at Herrels, finish with iced coffee for the drive home, just like in the old days, om shanti shanti shanti. Let us work on the confusion together yes? 

Don't brag so much about being a good writer, it is relatively speaking a new art. One teases out a helpful disclosure. Hemlock trees passing too fast, may I never forget to be grateful.

Sex collapses into communion, let us pray. At night in summer the stars blur and disappear, something old comes up from the river to sit with me on the back stairs, I'm no longer scared, just sad at how long I was scared. A long talk about death with the dying. 

The interior pilgrimage never ends. A prehistoric religious emphasis on menses in which our existing worship is seeded. The uncles I don't talk about.

Talk is cheaper than writing - is this true? Scanning for signs of crisis, finding them, all living becoming responding to them, somehow needing to live this way, why. Ma and I walking out back, Dad's meadow full of goldenrod on which uncountable bees work, the pauses in our dialogue filled with a low hum indistinguishable from love.

What it is like to be naked now that Christ has come. Reliving the hard parts one last time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Story Forgot who was Telling It

All day a scent I cannot place that places me back in childhood - something okay, something touched by light, a laundry room maybe, or a blanket spread across summer grass. She is out watering her front yard lilies, this neighbor whose joy is infectious, who laughs when I stutter trying to small talk, says "Sean it's time to go home and rest." Sarah Hrdy, thank you.

A subtle shift in her facial muscles alerts me to her frustration, moves me to a patient silence in which she can process her emotions, yet later on Route Nine descending into our valley home, she thanks me for raising it, this thing neither one of us yet knows how to talk about. The insomniac is back, it's summer, the moon is barely higher than a maple tree, what did you expect. Night clouds obscuring stars, undoing distance, you can wander a long time without looking up and still remember you are holy. 

"I knew this day would come" and other lies. Cats chasing moths, moths fluttering higher into the light, all of us doing what our bodies say do. Something about Halloween that cannot be shared, must be possessed, but what or rather why does it refuse to be put into words and why now. 

Brainstorming band names on the drive to Pittsfield, getting silly with it, until the silliness is the point and we enter the sweetness of needing nothing else. What is discontinued, what is beyond repair. In mid-afternoon a local amateur ornithologist stops by to talk about A Course in Miracles and a propos of something only she and the Holy Spirit can see laments the diminishing number of birds in western Massachusetts.

I got good at the story, its arcs and embellishments, forgot who was telling it, and now look. Men who mow around flowers, my brothers. Watching the neighbor hang laundry, asking Christ to translate it, tell me what it is I'm looking at, he says give attention to the shapes and colors, notice movement, what shifts, and most of all don't worry so much about the names you're using - shirt, shoulder, sweater, dance - all of which are means by which the separation seems to be real.

Gently correcting my son, "actually what I said does explain my behavior, it just doesn't justify it," feeling pretty damn slick and righteous, and he's quiet a minute, then sighs in a way that makes clear - again - that being right can in context also be a way of being wrong. The wings of house flies in late summer. Thunderheads gather where the valley's summer hills form a wall called west.

Waking early, driving to the airport, right hand clutching coffee, sight never drifting off the highway. What you would do to me if you could, would it help, help, I am still having nightmares, I am still waking up with these spikes in my neck.

Monday, August 8, 2022

There is No In-Between

I looked at a lot more than bees in those days - sunflowers, rivers, starlight on frozen gravel, snowflakes falling on pine trees, flickering snake tongues and empty snake skins, and graves.

I wake and I take my waking slow.

So there is no in-between, who knew.

We make plans for vacation week - trips to Vermont, trips to stores with "witchcraft" in their name, swimming at the D.A.R.

We talk while he grills, Greek music playing low in the background, I admire his tomatoes and eggplant, he gripes about rabbits and chipmunks, all these years and still we circle the only topic either one of us cares about.

Finally my twenties come into focus, what a decade.

Nothing lasts but a lot lingers.

There are stories we could tell but don't - have I written that before?

D. invites me to teach a writing workshop and I pass, he asks why and I can only shrug, it's what it is now.

Rain falls in the Adirondacks.

A distance that one is allowed, any practice that does not honor it is not my practice.

Getting off on knowing the other is getting off.

I've only had a handful of shoes in my life that I've truly felt comfortable in, and this pair is one of them.

What I dream about now - invisible paths that open in dialogue with others, knowing which ones to take and which to leave to others.

Chrisoula kisses me while I load the car with olives and feta from Montreal, calls me her "old man," om shanti shanti shanti. 

Knowledge is about fitting into one's living more than having this or that piece of information. 

And so the fairs begin, and so the summer begins its slow fade into our shared death.

There are no right enemies.

Trucks grinding coming down Route Nine, always my life has included a road that suggests getting away.

Chunks of rose quartz in an early twentieth-century canning jar, who made me this way, why did they make me.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

I Don't Want to be Alone

This is not the void, this never is. Tom says he read an article about bees, did you know bees are conscious, I tell him I knew when I was four years old, come on man. Coconut oil handjobs.

Wet heat, blurred stars. Queen Ann's Lace under the window swaying in light breezes. On the back porch listening to thunder, our valley a resonant drum.

The neighbors' mother dies, they don't seem too sad, maybe it's different when you take Heaven literally. The cosmos don't belong to us, sometimes the poems write themselves. The clarinet player keeping it all secret.

Listening to Lil Wayne. Everything I can tell you about God, the self, love, the world and the body et cetera Emily Dickinson already told you. He asks are you ready to get better, the answer is not what you think.

Losing playing chess with Jeremiah still a kind of winning. Insomnia, trauma, this and that, the turtles say shut up and listen to our story now. Many Christs nodding on many crosses on the many hills of which psychology is merely the latest. 

In a nightmare another door I'm not supposed to open which of course I open. Everyone leaves for the party but me, I don't want to go to the party but I don't want to be alone either, we agree it's my problem but I wonder sometimes if there's another way to see it. Oh so we are angels now, now we are motherless gods. 

Teachers who were scared of me and didn't face their fear, I forgive you. Blessings trickling through nineteenth century faucets.