Wordy Twice Over

One is given to epistolary gestures. Meaning that is at one’s behest. Dented guard rails, mice bones.
Wrapped in the old quilt, shivering on frosty grass, staring at the moon. A bower of mist, a memory of ghosts. We have to get beyond all systems and also Jesus.
Deep hush of owls. The mind returns often to glistening roadside mica. The nexus, then, between power and creativity.
Ten a.m., last swallow from the last bottle of wine, newspapers burning in the old pit. Shattered quartz, watery crystal. A trip North, long longed for at last in memory.
A letter unopened for seven years owns what relationship to death? Huddled in freezing dark, laughing at religiosity. Followers whispering in the dim alcove.
Your ash is my apple wood rosary. Headlines return to air, words to silence, all mirroring the relationship between darkness and light. Given to sentences, given to judgment.
The trap now is baited. We wait, wordy twice over, never growing the wiser.
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Delicious With Dark Bread

The sun just below eastern hills, the bright tumescence of night-wandering cumuli sucking the orange fire. What clarity beneath the maple trees, stripped of every leaf! Barbed wire fence for a witness.

Thus does one stanza beg another. The mug is unaware of and does not care for the coffee it contains, thus solving all my religious problems. Why ask again what has already been answered?

Ron asked who was speaking thus and thus and the answer was I am. Moldavia, because of my accent. A sudden profluence of pronouns that signifies what.

Bear stew is greasy – less so with yearlings – and delicious with dark bread. We spotted an empty room and filled it caroling. What clarity in the white cold, watching the older dog sniff the dry leaves.

One minute Jesus is wiping tears from your eyes, the next he doesn’t even know the internet exists. Love letters to Emily Dickinson. Thus christened, thus this.

Can you hear in the distance how snow accumulates, anticipates? Gather ye rose buds, it’s time to make some tea. What clarity in my dreams, once I handed them over to a family of thieves.

Oh you, reading as always, with one hand on your hidden heart! Oh you and your ashes, you and your crumbs.

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The Road Opening

Dreams of peace. The road opening just after dawn, mist rising off the blacktop. Thanksgiving dinner and no one a stranger.

These then are the eyes of Christ . . . Whoever has ears . . . And the unending focus on song . . .

Fear of lucre, of compromise, the absence of joy. The road opening in my dream and I began to float where it turned into Worthington. “Blood ink in bibles.”

For you, then, these twenty sentences. These fragments. For you, then, all these compliments!

Elision, lacunae. God’s eyes. Place the emphasis on parallelograms, won’t you?

It was quite a year that year we gave to God. The ropy guts of the crushed skunk carrying over to the ditch. Also orange juice.

The road opening and filled with light. What a year, what a sentence!

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You Learn The Shine

The barbed wire advanced, clutching and dredging, finally covering. Bear scat, grape seeds, dew. Framed by either side of the trail, the older dog refused the woods. Behind me, ducks noisily lifted off the cold pond. Sunrise.

Crookback moon waxing or waning, bright chalk against a violet sky. Season of goldenrod all but impossible to get into words. The neighbor’s apples fall all night, soft thumps inside the wind. You wake tired, angry and fighting it. There is barely time to write this poem.

It is a poem! And these are paragraphs. Inside the night, muted prayers appeared as houses in which nobody had lived for a long long time. Tangle of blankets, a chickadee scratching the cellarwell clover, dogs pacing, needing to pee.

And tea, that blessing. Carried into the fields where my feet got cold and wet and the older dog staggered, listing like a drunk. You were there, pointing out the low hill behind which the sun was just scratching. I know now that you don’t carry every piece of quartz home, especially when it’s wet. You learn the shine and leave it everywhere.

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Sitting Figure With Rose Water

After midnight the existential maw yawns. A black cloud, an ink blot. It is all about death you see.

Sitting on the bedroom floor, folded in the shape of an apple, in prayer. I need do little, just realize I need do little. It yawns – reveals itself – and you have to sit with it.

Just sit and look at it without . . . without what? Rancor maybe. Maybe forgiveness.

“I will not value what is valueless.” It is all about money, actually. Look at your greed, which is rust-colored, a weathered screen.

The existential maw! Not this personality nor even this body. It is good to be Martha – or wait – Mary?

At night Mary comes and sprinkles the sitting figure with rose water. The shadow of the past is revealed. Let me say aloud at last I don’t believe in God.

But. But you are in my thoughts where – I hear – the company is fine.

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The Traveler’s Pen

Fraught with a mad romance. Perfectly. What the little black bull did once in the meadow.

Flaunt your sad pole dance. Existentially graceful. The old cow died and its body sailed away.

Gaunt mole salad plants. Persistently arriving here. The sow’s jaw bone cracked and got buried near the tractor.

Baudy moose prints. Ever loving always. Skipping across the desert in tears.

Bloody noose drips. So narrowly now. Who took along what gun why?

Three loud mouse lips. Flawlessly rushing. A mighty turkey with dirty feet lewdly stared.

Forever yours. The traveler’s pen.

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The God Your Actions Signify

What word? Already amber leaves skit across the pavement when I walk before dawn. A cloud simply does what it does and the brain is no different. Be careful when you say the word love.

Fleas leaping and dancing where the older dog’s tail meets the body. Who was it spread his cloak so they too could enjoy the warm sunlight? Narrative is dictatorial or do we simply long for guidance, direction? As in, he wrote he wrote.

What can one do with twenty bones? Who was Jesus anyway? How little we know about love and joy. How futile – yet how alluring, if I can use that word, that way – is language!

Not amber so much as rust-colored. I cannot write without certain male writers watching me, or so I think. What I meant was that writing is linear is the sense that one word follows another. Not who or what is God but rather who or what is the God your actions signify?

What a headache! I erased a bad word a ways back. I hefted the sword of judgment and could not put it down. Hence the narrative, this one.

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Dim Prerogatives

Luminescent crab apples. Porcupines glaring over their shoulders at traffic. At the top of Christian Hollow, a mother bear nurses a cub whose hind leg is broken, urging him into the ferns. In other words, love.

There is no God up there looking down and judging but still, be careful what you say. I might have said, urged him into hedges. A dream of historians swimming and flirting, exploiting a shared history. Carrots boiled in orange juice and “salted” with brown sugar.

Love the other words! There is no time like the present. We are the ones we are waiting for. In other words, these words.

God is like any other addiction, as is self-improvement. Why not call the Big Dipper the Baby Carriage? A windy evening in which the toy castle toppled, the one nobody played in anyway. Shall we exercise the dim prerogatives?

Carting the celestial Christ hither and yon. What we accepted in lieu of. It was headlights of passing cars made them glow a way I never forgot. The whole point of the exercise is memory, isn’t it?

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Unattended Museums

Other times we wake to the dogs, especially the older one, wanting to get out. Don’t shit where you eat. Don’t buy antique tractors for investment purposes only. In other words, love.

Latin. People named Paul. A woman came by the other day with a pamphlet about Jesus but said when I opened the door, “It’s too hot to even try” and we both laughed. Walking the dog beneath summer stars.

Feels underwater. Muddled but soft. Latin roots can be instructive in a kind of “I know more than you do” way. Seen another way, the Big Dipper is actually a baby carriage.

Chronophobia is the new me! A rock painted white to remind us where the calf was buried. The intercession of desire where memory was hoping to lead. A ladle seen a new way.

Talking after about the summer of fleas, the summer of no sleep. Unattended museums in which even indifference nods off. Imagine no Dakota. That love, compounded.

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Russian Nesting Dolls

We wake up late, facing east. The clarity of nouns cannot be understated here. Repetition is affirmation.

The busted coffee maker steaming by the window. Rehang the laundry, scatter feed. Daisies that escaped the mower could not escape decay. That same old invitation. Coffee mediates the maddening awakening.

A list on which Emily Dickinson and Jonathan Edwards figure prominently. When it was still dark the question of what is eternity hung in the air like a gaudy ornament. You can make money or you can make art but if you make both you’re a sinner. Perhaps we are not awake but only dreaming we are awake dreaming. Russian nesting dolls are so hard to resist, aren’t they. Of what is forever composed? Snakes!

But then how does allure ultimately deliver? Portable Stein by the sleeping bag, forty-seven years old, still reading by flashlight. How bright was the sun in that sudden coming to! Nouns as magnets, cornerstones, charismatic politicians paternally guiding the sentence where it’s best.

This implies that which must never forgot.

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