I Mean Ours

Beneath storm clouds, wild strawberries. Underfoot, on the tongue. And, or – well . . . The “promise” of rain, how can it be broken. Is never what initially it was. After. You have to go stand beneath that tree now. Scarred and immobile and petrifying silence. The white clover blossoms like reluctant students. That voice, yes. Yes,that one.

Or this: your bloom, your bicep, which I followed in my travels. Your goat unraveling entrails. This forest, that voice. Or a story that no longer cares about negotiating pain. Ask: what the hell are you talking about, mediation. The sentence that longs to be a line but instead reassembles. As a gift, constantly.

Oh, did you seem them brewing, edging closer and closer? The tears, I mean, ours.

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This Time Was Smoke

The sentences were bracelets, once but no longer. Phone cords, holiday lights, a few lines written on the ass end of a telescope. What sequence was strung up, out, over then. It’s a gray day burning as we . . . Before was a movement, away. Or a history of mathematics. Going towards that, is it something I can say? There really was a castle, toppling rotting, on a hill which we climbed, routinely. But not this time, this time was. Smoke the fire of what entrails. That’s the part I like the least. You.

Oh don’t keep me saying Albany. Which I do and do with still yearning. You weren’t a comma, you were . . . A purple throw, a scrape to be engulfed by. Held weather, an inclination to precision. You see how deeply I resemble the man I thought I used to be in whose recollection, don’t you? While the future beams its perennial but.

It helps to hear lots of things – even this, qualified – it does.

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Heading To The Laundromat To Wash My Black Coat

I would not, not for purple loosestrife anyway. Nor tawny. The doe raspberries when I pass, nails in my foot. Roadside salt shaker. I got them Kozmic blues again Ma. There’s a woman here who resembles you, by the way. C/Janis. And do I fear for my life? Like a penny rolling down hill, a brown eye in the rainflowering desert.

Say, is that crow bathing under the scarred pine tree? Or pulling what looks like a shoelace out of the mud? Design (desire) takes time so read up on, um, architecture maybe? Or what dance would you do if you weren’t a wallflower. But I like blooming in dark corners. Somebody has to look out longing.

Can I pray it while swaying? In Costa Rica tumbling down? Did you hear – there’s a stranger in town. That works. I was heading to the laundromat to wash my black coat anyway.

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Throwaway, Hardly

The birds, the birds. Twenty minutes later is “you summed up in a sentence.” The telltale black, the loping gait. Conversational tidbits. Dangle is a word. Up so early nobody else was and moths, little flies, fluttered in the porch light, making me think of ways to write about hunger and fear. Looking up at last at stars. This world, this life. I can’t breathe in it sometimes, or forget to. A little chestnut perched on my breastbone. What am I saying, how much is pulled aside. If you mean all your spelling mistakes then what. In the moisty night, awash with electricity. Throwaway, hardly. “I wouldn’t say no to a back rub.” But the story was the point. Yes, of course, use “the,” what do I care. A hawk, an owl, some cows. I planned a lie but never had the occasion to use it. What’s enough – this?

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How I Know

There where the minnows dart, where the light is nearly red. On the causeway daisies, tough leggy stems. Ox eyes ox eyes, also wild strawberries. The only turtle sliding almost unnoticed back into the brown pond. First day without rain in what. Maybe a week, maybe more. We slept through the a.m. bird song, dreaming of lembas.

The trail covered with ivy except near the brook. Scant deer sign (but then one always expects more), though again, bear sightings. A branch crashed in the forest to our left and we squinted for the telltale black. And later we went back for a necessary rescue, while at home the rice boiled and kale and onions simmered in oil.

This life, that life . . . it’s how you breathe that matters. “I want you to imagine your body is slowly filling with mud.” I’m going in with my clothes on, ha ha. You leap, you extend, you lunge. For how many days running now have I gone without the stars.

Stars, tears . . . “tell me a poem.” Wrap my arms around you love, that’s how I know I’m home.

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In A Green World Its Text

It’s not about the sentence. It’s about what happens through or within these particular sentences. A gushing, an outpouring. An expression to which the sentences are scaffolding. Merely. It’s art, not theory. Just look at them!

No, no. That’s ridiculous. The twenty sentences are not – just look at them – concerned only with recollection, only with speech. My speech. But it’s true that the role they play – like coffee, like touch – is essential. How the day passes . . . well, without them, ungainly. A locked umbrella.

But what do they say, what do they show, about The Sentence. How can I say when these here – in this moment – seem wastrel, outsiders, plants. One prefers a fugitive language but why. The sentence as agent sent by what mystery to protect, defend, to bear away to . . . to where.

The moment a child emerges in the narrative is plot, your plot. The twenty sentences, including this one, are guides in a green world, its text, this one.

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No One Turtle But Already Off

No time, no time – got to do this one raw. And so down it goes, nearly midnight, alive and now not. Game on, ongoing.

Well, it’s not that bad. Nine p.m or just after. Which, given the parameters of bedtime for a 9-year old, a 4-year old, and a 16 month old, is still crazy. But hey, good news re: recent poems, and praise for other writing. Hungry as I am for that it arrives unasked for. Some God or Goddess looking out.

Night falling . . . but to me it always seems to be growing. Or seeping out at last from behind the dim walls of light. Bears crossed 143 as we drove west, not giving a damn, which pleased me. No turtles yet. No – one turtle, but already off the median, angled for the tall grass, Queen Ann’s Lace.

And in Deerfield earlier a fox, mangy and lost and studying the litter just beyond the Highway Department’s fence. Oh I love foxes, what do they signify again? Oh right, death. Well, I hate foxes then. And didn’t point him out to Jeremiah or keep looking myself.

So no, I’m not well at all, thanks for asking but at least I’m here, this “ongoing cage match with the sentence.”

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Loyal, Awfully

Thunder in two passes, half an hour apart, never all the way gone. Or was it moving in circles, the lightening behind clouds. When the rain followed, nearly an afterthought, a soft thrumming on the maples, we smelled smoke but found nothing burning. We cannot be either old or new gods, it is simply too late. He thought as the belt around his chest tightened and going from room to room. The air was cold, a long night, and made him think of hunger. It was familiar and included fears that were loyal, awfully, and longing.

There was a way that things were done. There were “ships that had sailed.” And there were looks, conditions, caveats, meltings, utterances that lingered even as the traffic picked up going away. He woke or came to – the difference being largely lost on him now – from dreams of the sea on which a dozen white boats had voluntarily gone down. Emails pointed the way, maps were sketchy. But the conversation accelerated, it did, it gathered steam and then what.

But are we the ones inside it – you and I? Now even? Purple is minotaur, blue is angel hefting a chainsaw. “We are back at lack.” And the word lair purposefully altered to liar. A drizzle remained as the light broke, a warm fruit pulverized by stone. His hands longed to hold seeds and part of him was already out in the forest where yesterday the bears.

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Cigarettes Before Dawn

Poults weaving in and out. Asleep while Chrisoula walked through clover, Queen Anne’s Lace, tangled blue of Forget-Me-Nots. Stunned as always by wild bouquets. And gifts, always gifts. His voice whispering was felt as an order. The house smelled the way Joe’s trailer smelled. Sausages, wet dogs, laundry, cigarettes. Before dawn we pulled the blanket tighter and tried again to sleep. Outside a cat yowled. We woke to fog layered everywhere. It’s just how it is, that’s all.

I’m bored by the ongoing conversation about form. Can we settle and if not must we always be so circumspect. It was comfortable, after all, the way the sentences predicted and were predicated upon one another. They made a story to fall asleep by. It was all a fable and remained possible.

The “L” sounds were never lost. Later we’ll visit the land and then what. One creates limits as a way of bounding a certain energy, hopefully productively. The result an investment in color, also rhythm.

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Haunts And Cattails

We measured from the brook going east in a Hollywood light. Deer scat underfoot and at last the torn greenery that indicates moose. Thin coffee but the view was uphill and we did. Following, I felt again the unexpected urge to talk, to unburden but didn’t. Was it water or birds we heard beyond the ferns. How sad, litter.

Beer depresses me (late at night). The physical heart depresses me. Scythes along weed-whackers, compare-and-contrast art, that too. In the backroom we passed on more coffee but accepted psychic tips. “But that would mean foul play . . . ” She said over yogurt and granola, “well, you do what you have to do so you can live with yourself.”

Jeremiah clung to me falling asleep. Little arms, little breaths. At the end, Pound stopped speaking, which may not be contraindicated. Or say what about the child’s grave. Dreamed that one, too, with stones carrying themselves towards it, in search of vowels and consonants. At dawn, I came to in the backyard thinking, who tends to the white flowers there.

Is it too late then to find you Ron? As you found me (in was it 1983) mute and yearning amidst the haunts and cattails of Worthington?

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