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.

Categorized as Sentences

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.

Categorized as Sentences

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.

Categorized as Sentences

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.

Categorized as Sentences

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?

Categorized as Sentences

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.

Categorized as Sentences

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.

Categorized as Sentences

Always Teaching Always

It is time to be sad, to hope that certain people and animals will not wake up. Can I say that, that way? My eyes apparently work only to confirm illusions.

Sow what? The candle sputtered and the old woman stood to stir the heavy black pot. Are we not all starving in some way?

The ox stood patiently in the rain, its shoulder bloody and torn from a panicked black bear, attacking to protect its young. A gun is what punctuation mark? We are always teaching always.

T. writes about the great wisdom in nature and the words zip through my brain like bumper cars. I will not forget you, I will miss you. In deed.

Correct to say all writing is commodity? At least an object. The beaver climbed its dam and turned to look back at us doomed.

Autumn and its heavy bells. Pumpkins in the moonlight growing larger and larger. If all rocks are expanding, won’t we someday lose sight of the world?

Or no, not. That long black car is rolling to a stop, locks on the back door popping.

Categorized as Sentences

In The Planck Epoch A Woman’s Voice

The desire to steal apples returns. Sentence fragments are suggestive, full of allure, like commercials (for finished poems?). Grammar cops obscure God.

All writing is excavation, linear, though not necessarily in a horizontal way. Writing cannot reveal (dispel? dissolve?) illusions of time and space. It did not exist in the Planck epoch.

A woman’s voice, assuring. Sentences from the nineteenth century presumed a level of attentiveness and luxury, at least in terms of time. All writing is commodity, but all speech is not.

Write and wrong. Write wrong. Write wrongs.

Ignore trivial exercises and never play with words alone. “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” It’s hard to build a poem like this, the way it’s hard to build a stone wall from scratch.

We all laughed when he confessed that he had stolen apples from the neighbor’s orchard because we all hated the neighbor. Cannot write “apples” without thinking of her. Don’t presume you know you have no idea.

So the couplet unclasps at last. And a low roll of thunder that beckons becomes her.

Categorized as Sentences

That Last Hard Thump

The clouds behind us are filled with the setting sun. “I saw the light – I saw the light.” While before us a gun metal nimbus predominates. Crows.

Before the blueberry bush from which every berry had been torn (mostly likely by bears) J. said “I stand correctly.” The tin bucket with a crooked spout wedged in the stone wall for a quarter century which I have never once passed without wanting. T. says we must come to see what our wanting means, how destructive it is. Did I mention the crows?

Did I mention the apples? The fallen graves on which spider webs lay like crepe, spackled with dry grass from the mower’s pass? You keep coming back so you must want something. By the south wall, where the poor kids were buried anonymously in the nineteenth century, a single black feather.

Crab apples and macintosh, the later hard and sour, but already shading the red that makes one think of autumn. Circling, always circling. Coming back past a crushed milk snake, door left open to the barn, the one in which so many suicides have leaped. No dancing in that last hard thump.

Or else we are forever a lick of fiery light suspended in the katabatic wind. Yes. It’s your space, read the way you want to read. No one limb transcends another.

Categorized as Sentences