An Evolving Blueprint

The eggplant in layers, lightly salted, then forgotten when the news came. She picked up a brass figurine – a cat, maybe, or was it a small bear – and polished it steadily, not meeting anyone’s eyes. While outside it began to rain, not a downpour, after which, all night, you could hear the pocking of fat drops hitting in the driveway.

Stylistic tics and gestures over the course of a piece can cause numbness, or become static. Such as the over-reliance on light as a way of avoiding what thought. He asked, almost as if it had only just occurred to him, Do you know what might be at risk here?

In the living room, those who couldn’t sleep sat up and stared at the walls. Speech was arid – had always been, actually – though it was first collectively felt then, at that place. Then one remembered hunger – or was recalled by hunger, maybe that’s a better way to say it – and so went into the kitchen for crackers, a slice of cheese, anything really.

A boiled spinach prose. A habit of not focusing or taking certain parts of the gift for granted, as if a fine sentence will carry the paragraph, the paragraph the page, the page the whole story, etc. A fear of narrative – the eruption over time of not only what is felt but known, or suspected – attempting to write itself as the event.

The sound of traffic which is always coming or going. That, too, recalled him, as the pond had earlier, with its pumpkin seeds and perch coming in close to feed. There were moments that he was able to articulate certain positions or ideals – often formed as questions that nobody could answer, only sketch replies to – the result of which was his perennial sense of being in possession of an evolving blueprint which necessarily disallowed any building, any risk of permanence.

On and on it went and death had no intention of bringing it to an end. That was narrative, as well – what was actually happening, regardless of how you brought it into the text, this or any other. By dawn they were making plans and asking what he would have wanted and somebody – who, though – thought to bake muffins, and there was also the smell – as opposed to the taste, its effect – of coffee.

Then this writing, take it – you decide which word to italicize. He felt it as threads that would bind him, and wanted to swing out on them like vines, or else use them as lariats. He was a gambler who put it all in the line, or so he wrote, boyishly.

Contentedly, as if arriving home tired to a full meal, a warm bed. Potatoes could be as satisfying as stones – it was all how you read them.

Categorized as Sentences

That Crinoline Moment

It was at the end and rather than step lightly they lowered their heads and plunged. Over fifty mounts like this one! And the butter wrapper clung to the grass, while across the street dozens of headstones appeared to righten themselves as if by magic.

Much like wrinkles are said to be the containers of memory. Salted meats a lumpen gray. The pope lifted his skirt and smiled at the jetlagged visitors, their plastic gift crosses, and thirsty-looking eyebrows.

Slumbering was an afternoon. Oh let us all embrace the dreamer, let us all have that crinoline moment. He wrote, wondering why the sunflowers in Massachusetts were bright while those in Maine were over.

A landscape is more than geography but only according to certain circumstances. The way light falls from a given sky will affect both mood and temperature. The car stalled and while they waited for a lift back he recited “The Cask of Amontillado” from memory.

Albany was more than what you assume but not not always. In the dream, I heard the phone rang, and when I pursued the ringing to its source, found only an empty drawer. In which privilege is used to silence figure.

Even without funding, the film festival was a rousing success. Frozen mint, populism. The curator had fallen asleep and when nudged awake, farted loudly several times quickly, which appeared to embarrass him.

Uncanny narrative plugging what hole. Go, prosper, elide.

Categorized as Sentences

Forward And Later

A yellow, chimney, and otherwise an example of early braided narrative. What if you had to give your readers more to work with? Well, ascent and descent, and landscapes more or less unchanged from the prior decades.

Their prayers sank, like slices of stale bread, into the sea. Called forth from the hiss of what fire. They rode up the trail expecting at any minute to be turned back towards Albany.

Layer upon layer, or perhaps overlapping circles. The store selling cemetery stones is up for sale. And the old man who planted wildflowers all over the city appears to have died at last.

He wrote. And then the a small number of clouds floated by, each bearing some moisture derived from the Black River. Lists help, also drinking.

Yet in the shade he reflected even more deeply his many gestural tics. Felt a tapping he would later describe as feral, not at all holy. Which was a way of inhabiting a place while simultaneously being elsewhere, or so he said, after.

The word was what it was, but the question set it up another way. She waited for him at the top of the stairs, holding a coffee, her smile disappearing in the crowd teeming around them. Though crossing the street, it could have been any city at all.

He made it older by raising the narrative stakes. He felt his way forward, and later put it into words.

Categorized as Sentences

A Single Word Passed

The coffee tasted like reheated bong water yet he still ordered a second cup. There were stains on her dress from killing the rooster. Not a single kind word passed between. Nor salt, nor soap. Yet footsteps could be heard in the stairwell, a pattering that echoed, as if a little body followed.

The stars swirled, assembled into the shape of a clipper ship, one that was pointed west. Two children – both long dead – stood critically by. Failure was a real possibility. He mulled at night the many books he had made, while ink dried on his fingers, and smoke from his cigar circled lazily the many trees. Hiding was a favorite verb, as pink was a favorite color.

It was all substance, all the time, and that was the new theory of poetics. Smell of wild catnip on the morning breeze, an herb nobody planted, and now look. The rabbit’s hind leg had been torn from it’s body, held to by a bloody skein, and it panted rapidly, each breath outrunning the other towards death. In the distance, you could hear sheep blat. A barn, one in which a suicide sang before leaping off the rafter.

There was no word, and a thin rapier inserted just below the shoulder hurt less. The picture had mold on it, orange and yellow flowers that obscured her face, her sweetly crooked grin. Pretty and magic are special friends. The allotment began swallowing its tail, inducing genuine panic. While the cost of maple syrup went – I mean really went – up.

Categorized as Sentences

He Wrote Then Climbed

A walk out where wandering made sense. A note of three words only. The wolf interviewed potential victims and found no takers. Everyone wants to be grandmother these days.

A vortex in which horticultural inclinations are suppressed. He wrote, again. Tilting the fan away, its small whir a balm amidst the more angry sounds of traffic. Sleep where once a lily grew, right there on the dew-swept bank.

A coffin-sized hat went rolling down the hill until a boulder stopped it short. Shades, lunar phases. With trumpet in hand he marched down the street, wiping away sweat, despite the morning cool. Was the sky ever the point, he wondered.

Jonathan Edwards doing a jig, balanced on a gimpy but game brown mare. The lecture fell flat and the room emptied quickly, which he could not help but see as a comment on the overall direction of his life. He wrote, then climbed the thirteen stairs, head down. Save your wishes for whatever comes next.

A shadow mistaken for the family dog there by the house’s southwest corner. White pillars that required frequent painting and so were ignored. The blur of roadside greenery. In all of it, the lack of a good handler.

Categorized as Sentences

A Wetness Like God

Tea apples.

A long poem about waiting, about the fear of hunger, also angels. Frightened by the way the stars appeared electric, the lycanthrope swallowed his pride, and cowered in the grape arbor until dawn.

Giblet blessings. And soil bearing a wetness like God. Yes, that way.

He wrote he wrote. As rapture would have, had it.

There are stones in the choir, potatoes in the pews. Frosty scrimshaw on the silver glass that overlooks. While outside the monastery, a little snow collects on the last of the wizened apples.

I can’t forget you. I was writing before you but still. Now I am mortally tired of the word lake.

Milk, biscuits, and strawberry jam. “The way a slant of light falls I want to fall weeping.” In October, a way forward. Like horses.

Cows get over it just by standing near the fence. It’s time I’m worried about, not death, not the perennial broken organ of affection.

Categorized as Sentences

What Lost Embrace

Old Scratch lingered in the water, a rust-colored frying pan. The word did at last arrive but it sounded like static. As August ends, nothing like a whisper.

In the bracken, a tiny horn. Fairy beds sparkling with dew. A moose print more likely a horse but where’s the balance.

This and that, of which the welter is comprised. Thanks but I’ve got lots of Hansels, said my inner Gretel. Hauling branches to the fire pit while a dozen chickens look on curiously.

Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen. He exhaled noisily, scaring the fish. The apple core bobbed, faded from view, like most dreams.

I mean nine – is that right? The porcupine lumbered up the old ditch unhurried, his ass wobbling like water balloons. A good August for haying, if somewhat unexpectedly.

I can’t escape the piano notes that your voice contained, even when I dream. Sadness defined then as what lost embrace, with time running out.

Categorized as Sentences

Over The Many Miles

The slow and the sad. There was an opening and Christ leaped fluidly into it. Against the sky in which the moon was a pale mollusk. The veil dropped, the horses stayed to finish.

Without grace, without calm. The tangle was lugubrious yet no less holy. What do you want the experience to resemble? The priest stepped slowly down from the altar, thinking of how certain sharks batter the protective cages of their photographers.

“I will go far from this family.” Christmas twenty-five years ago and the sound of the wind is still not buried. Mammon, of which there can be no regress. Or looking back, gun in hand, at a long series of choices that did indeed backfire.

Yet the foundation was there, it always was. The leather cowboy boots of childhood. “Well, thank you.” And the evening sky bore her body softly like feathers.

The geese made their decision, we could hear them over the many miles. They saw this river or that pond and redirected according to the glisten. The visit was brief yet effective. In the morning a tiny uttered prayer appeared ready to celebrate its echoes.

Categorized as Sentences

A Bullet Reimagined

What is more arid than not happening repeatedly. In handcuffs at least one fear can be faced.

A last glisten in the tall grass where the weather was only just catching up. She, he, both, together.

A land of plenty in which hunger could only appear in certain fairy tales. A bureau falling down a dozen flights of stairs, yet nothing blowing out of its drawers.

When I forgot how to type, I heard music, a calliope. And sailors, their hats shining in the winter dark like little platters of snow.

Of, to, without and then the more so. A line that spiked and in doing so reminded you of marlin.

The canvas sails were moldy but remained folded. Nobody would say what had happened to his uncle’s car, whether it had been sold, to whom, or if instead it had been junked.

A letter won’t offer the way out but in another way. Yet purple contained – or channeled maybe – the rougher, the buzzing, the hornets of desire.

So crooked as to be impossible though still lovely. Where the bay was lit up by the rising sun they agreed to make changes in the way they allocated their earnings.

Guillotines, valentines, training manuals. The last goldfish in the world slowly spiraled down through dusty tank water while underpaid attendants looked on bored.

The nickel felt like a bullet reimagined. The poem had fur, like your teeth during a hangover.

Categorized as Sentences

Stumbling On The Word Emily

What way was a new way and what was yesterday. Familial rage billows a deep red. She saw him not handsomely but more akin to raw bacon. The notes were white stones, bread crumbs, and very much so. And yet given a chance, he returned to the familiar forest, he did and with his own sprouts.

Oh, glade – let’s use that word. The mug broke, the song embraced a cascading reverence of thereafter. We went to the river, prayed, and saw nothing but an evanescent pink oddly reminiscent of war in the nineteenth century. Found poetry – is there any other kind? Clipped and mimeographed ode to a scissors.

Ignored in favor of nightfall. The last of the newts was a deep orange like pumpkins. We won’t – we can’t – attend the party less than one mile away. A dog died on the road or the grief the air bounded had that wild pained inflection. I keep stumbling on the word Emily.

The grass with its diamond revelation, the bible suddenly flexible. The priest walked up the driveway with his head down, thinking no doubt of Poland. An abundance of cucumbers, kale, and old Cary Grant movies. The harpist wore glasses, played badly and raised money for the S.P.C.A. He wrote and the words – the sentences they called – did not let him down as always.

Categorized as Sentences