One Anticipates Cacophany

Circle the mountain twenty times, then climb it. Or look at it from your kitchen window while water boils for tea. The notion of oxen sooner than later remains particular. My lungs heat up and my dreams take place at the end of a long tunnel.

Midges, cattails. In the blue distance a pair of deer step patiently off the treeline to browse. Turkeys like dark grey bells on stilts where the field began its slope. The social compact varies from body to body, and there are lots of bodies.

Yet I cultivate a relationship with darkness, and one with narrative, and the two are not strikingly dissimilar. There are gaps in my education, yes – they’re where I do my best thinking. He wanted to write “he wrote while drinking coffee” and so he did. A relative quiet upon waking where one anticipates cacophony can be as disorienting as gunfire.

Going in, going down, going on. Moby Dick bores me and I can’t find my Emily Dickinson. The twenty sentences are like a party I didn’t expect to attend but once there am not entirely disappointed. I do have a hard time listening to people, the way my mind wanders, and my gaze.

Sugar crystals. Maple trees. Pale green acorns which I imagine crushing to a gritty flour. Ultimately it’s futile of course but then what am I talking about.

Categorized as Sentences

Billowing, Laughing

Blur of chipmunk crossing the road. In the rearview after thankfully no sign of its broken body. The white horse skitted, reared, knocked her to the ground but she pushed up fast, unhurt. Lily raised one leg but otherwise ignored us standing in the shade.

Leaping from warm rock to warm rock, dress billowing, laughing. Baby ferns so late in the season. Official complaints. Dark green goose turds where we put the canoe in.

Clouds immortalized. Salad with a homemade yogurt dressing, tart cheese. The clocks wrong, skipping, leaving us with only our heartbeats. It’s just family, that’s all.

Late at night, cereal a welcome comfort. No blossoms yet on the sunflowers and it’s nearly August. The neighbor’s dog gives up, the roof of its house spackled with bird shit. Invasive species indeed.

Nobody remembers the many wrongs that I do. Rosemary, dill, chives, drying. He felt he said as though he’d swallowed a candle. Two days ago I bought a sack of white flour and nobody here has baked a whit since.

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Like Cheerful Juggernauts

Nearly at the intersection of Routes 9 and 143, as if an answer to some mute or garbled prayer, I saw myself encrusted. Let me say that differently. Self buried beneath mounds of what appeared to be green and mustard coral. You can make – I probably am making – too much of this. Yet it was very clear, not something I arrived at logically – what if I tried this image, what if I tried that – but what just appeared out of the “where” I’m usually not. I was frustrated moments before its appearance, talked out, dirt poor and sick of it, discouraged at the constant abrasive presence of family, etc. I was making an argument – call it notes towards an explanation, a justification – that I only dimly understood the work I am to do, what writing, for whom. And that it was mainly poetry and then fiction that was simple, a pleasure to read, and not at all literary or pretentious. And why – went the argument/justification/etc – can’t I simply/just write that that way? Why should that so hard? Lately I have been refusing prayer in a less obstinate way – in fact my heart seems to be in prayer always, or my soul – oh Christ how I hate that word but still – is in a state of constant crying, yearning. And the work, meanwhile, proceeds – “proceeds apace” as Hans used to say, smoking on his cluttered porch in Townshend, VT. The fiction – these stories, thick and dense and not inauthentic but ask why do they even need to be here the way they do – goes on, and the poems. I do, I miss the novels I used to write, the ones that followed their own unwinding, like cheerful juggernauts. And yet and yet. The vision – I don’t mind calling it that – suggests that the work (the life) lies buried. Fishing last night, wading through high cool water, I wondered if I wasn’t in search of some metaphorical acid bath, a letting go of one writing, an embrace of another. The chips of coral loosening, melting, falling aside. When I tried, in that moment – a moment of simple and deep joy, fishing with Jeremiah – to “see” the encrusted self it struck me as more distant, more fluid, thinner. I want to say the work begins when the crust dissolves but now I think no, the work is the dissolution of the crust, which makes it somehow more perilous and risky and “do it right now.”

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The Drift Of It

In consequence of eating too many blackberries. We are deeply affected by his death. It is for the want of disposition and resolution. The gulf of oblivion in consequence. We are all well and the babe is as fat as a pig.

There is a commotion about religion. Unexpectedly rent asunder. An enemy to me who would exult my calamity. How much they weighed – ’twill discourage. Content without a pretty spry horse.

Received the distressing intelligence. So hard a bed of which he complained incessantly. In the village churchyard Tuesday. The finish and ornament of this material fabric. Did the grapes get ripe before the frost came.

A load of apples sold and had very good luck. When will the time come when I will not have to stay alone. The sleighing was good and the evening. Frank went over there to embalm him.

The drift of it was that the good old days.

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Infiltrators wielding commas

This was the last sentence I wrote. The green world for the green man. Yet still the purple spoke to me, almost as a brother. Slept dreaming of infiltrators, wielding commas. Longer by far was the silverish ribbon.

I ignored the difficult phone call which spoke volumes about my commitment and intentions. Lavender drying, and mint too. It was morning, wet popcorn, clouds of fruit flies tousling over the compost. Sitting in the theatre I imagined I could smell gun powder, ruined brain. Railroad spikes painted red and yellow and used to hold loose mail.

The stove coughed in the half-light and we all smelled ash and yesterday’s bread. If storms always pass is there a default weather? The history of lawns, and bad ideas. Tomatoes scrunched over, their roots moldy. Lightening lingered hard to ignore.

What it was also and remember that. Horses waded upriver, foraging, thin. The immediate war rent by bored. Terminally sage, mercifully banal. Maladroit gamblers drag the bandaged dead to wagons.

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Moments When Pianos Appeared

Errands in the sun. A brace of perch. I died in green ferns dragged through the sea.

The earth a nest from whose rim we are pushing off. Off. There were moments when pianos appeared in the gloaming, derivative and quaint. Certain fields recalled the nineteenth century. Certain stones were voluminous.

Love letters to a coelacanth, also to Helen. Secret notes in the basement where the blue molds flower. A singing in the veins, a gift in the mail. A moment of deception, one you built with your hands.

This would be my twelve. Your dispensation, gloves. Refusing food where breathing was impaired. Try a more sensible rhythm, a draft horse pacing.

And so slowly over a pile of swords the sun rose, a roar. Where the river grabbed at more slender banks. The clover blossoms emerged like voters, choosing December, blushing but proud.

My reader, my only, my dear one, oh.

Categorized as Sentences

An Old Awe

Windows closed against a gone rain. A morning hour that’s blue, fluid, that’s holding. I write from the half-assed lotus, folded in the shape of an apple. Ambitious for these lines, dough for pierogies, possibly the lake. As hearty as trout in a tousled spate, the muddy next, and birch leaves fluttery.

Things I will do not this year include kill a bear. Though my heart owns gristle, embraces compromise. A draft horse in my future, a callous, a saw. On the long drive to Connecticut, I was – could only be – little more than dander. Which these lines cannot address. Or wouldn’t, only.

And there is always Canada, there is always religion. Tracking deer we forged cold high water to examine the far bank. “We are sailing people,” though not in recent memory. That you listen at all moves me, and the memory will sear. Oh and the fairs now only weeks away. Hours in the pit, dust lining jaws.

Proliferation of lilies along familiar trails means what. A pilgrimage at first blush, the success of any inception. An old awe is returning, an immense and distant star.

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The Nascent Beggars Go Walking

By day’s middle a cucumber, a dreams of what brine. Toppling line endings, roses hobbled, the garden’s child is heir to what break. Or keyed to what, peelings, or books. Stop here. Now read to there.

Where headed north, horse-ridden focus, we didn’t see – for its sound displeases – a what, a skunk. But occipital, yes, its black tail flickering, to taller grass, a mica dust. And late season dandelions, golden yellow brow.

So rhythm more than chime, and chime more than rhyme. Content celestial, bestial adored, but always from afar, the distance of “so.” Before the barrel of a gun. Then: Ron – Ron.


Cattails cry, the nascent beggars. Go walking at midnight where in 198- all the old ghosts clamored, riven mist rolling. Bellow then of cattle, tangle tangled weeds. The pink wild morning glory whispers underfoot. Where narrative excuses, relaxes, holds. Where forgiveness, forgotten, forbearance of grievance, old, yet, still bearing still.

Where we settle – now – on forward standing – so

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Like Lanterns, Like Origami Shoes

One anticipates perforation. Which clocks abjure. The applause began in back of the room and scuttled forward like cautious mice. Bliss again, a rolling trysts. A gentle wave that lifts the craft, sunset beckoning a reddening blear.

We weren’t salt, weren’t tea, but what was sweeter, berries then, or boiled corn. As crows picked where bracken fell or tossed, fallen, for the sake of the right sound. Sirens everywhere and that’s the meaning of bliss. Treasure, a treasury. A single flake of snow, a lilac on which the moon was a very little so. Sussuration, yes? At last, at last.

While mercifully she was silent while the night’s blanket raveled, as distant as wealth, her hands folded like lanterns, like origami shoes. He on the other hand perennially dreams. Use the word “saint.” Use “amethyst,” “crown.” A little about me means maybe she whispered or was it maybe a glimmer, capricious where eyes. We should write about the ones – writes A. and I agree – “that have swallowed us.”

Whither what – whither which, and whither. When on pilgrimage, on hunger, when bent.

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Lost But What Lost

It was over and over a low call resounding. Where the water rose a white blush, a body plash, dusk.

Falling to sleep with how she wrote in my brain, the Dickinson rhythms, the commas, dash. Grasses, rocks, drippy prints, feet slipping but also – check for him now – following following. Behind where the brook bent, gentle bend, I recalled him most and yet . . . Ask what do you resist, what voice, voices, what loveliness, or – maybe –

Rising in the dark then, the pre-dawn mist. The moon a blur skirting low south hills, a pervasive glow where at night the chickens hug handhewn roosts, chicken dreams.

Vellum, quill, what purple word. Thinking then I would write about fish – the one’s torn lip, the other dead (spiraling shadow away in the sluice). But instead, again – and against, too – jesus (again), Jesus.

The mute, scrawl, the many other ways of talking. “Not everyone who talks/has ears or a tongue.” Bronson cool against the dayslong heat. Jeremiah fishes, the sun settles in this humming embrasure – where forested, prayerful – I have been at times both father and son. “Oh father forsaken, forgive your son.”

At home, then, at rest. The heart its own clenched fist. Longing confused – as ever – with a certain lost – but what lost, what – distinctly masculine kiss.

Categorized as Sentences