Monday, October 31, 2011

Beneath God

The pleasure of God is indeed a sovereign pleasure. An arbitrary will - unhindered by obligation - preserves wicked men.

Truth does not appear in multiples. Our hands are not strong where God rises up.

Sometimes an earthly prince meets with a great deal of difficulty. We are apt to fortify ourselves with followers.

There is no fortress with God. Great heaps of chaff alight in the whirlwind leaving behind a field of stubble and devouring flames.

You cannot singe the delicate thread by which we hang fortuitously. What are we that we should stand before the one at whose rebuke rocks pick up and hide?

Justice cries out for the infinite. The sentence composed by God is both eternal and immune to righteousness,

You come from beneath. God is a great deal of patient.

An unmindful God is a concoction of troubled separatists. God is altogether a one such as ourselves.

Wrath and damnation don't ever slumber. We are ever ready to be seized as God permits.

The Scripture represents us as good in search of better. Oh the hungry lions that await should God withdraw his restraining hand.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

An Ache Where Yesterday There Was None

Perhaps it has to do with a combination of vowels righteously struck. The dog rushes out into snow, heels at the first bank, stunned and amazed. There are lessons everywhere. For example, you must believe that you are a body in order to feel fear. The "voice" was the one mind briefly surfacing. When you understand that all animals worship - deer, trout, blue jays, mice - then you will know God. Peace is a decision. Conflict never greased a wheel in its life. A sudden memory of doughnuts, an ache where yesterday there was none. One studies the techniques of parenthetical afterthought, one writes every day. Love in a deep blue. Everything without exception is the answer. Pay no attention to the so-called observing intelligence, it's as susceptible to the devil as you are. A treasure chest discovered in dreams and then carried forward. Certain directors do better with certain actors and certain scripts and thus is Salvation obfuscated. Trees fall, banks of snow cradle the garage, and all I can think about is how delicious this tea is! Nor can I abolish the desire to own macaws. You can learn a lot from rivers. I began writing one sentence and erased it in favor of this one. Why is not the question you want to ask.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Unequivocal Yes

Visible on the starling's beak, a drop of water - melted snow - through which sunlight sifts into myriad rainbow parts.

Snow buntings on the lilac.

One sees the neighbor's barn and - somehow moved - is suddenly willing to see nothing else.

Bright winter let me not know another.

The end of the divided self draws near and one is given any number of tools and tricks to help ease the transition.

It is easy when you know the Holy Spirit's love for you is your love for it.

This morning a starling rested on a snowy pine bough and I perceived the sun - bright, variable and alive - through a single drop of melted snow that hung from its beak.

You have to commit, there is no substitute for the unequivocal yes.

Peace and quiet.

Suddenly one realizes that no healing is necessary, only the awareness that no healing is necessary.

Let us say that a carriage appears, cresting a far hill, and in it the preacher sits, bible at hand.

In the starling - and the tiny sparkle that might have been melting snow at its beak - one came at last to the fundamental acceptance.

Delay is understandable - and goes unpunished - but why put Heaven off?

One by one the snow buntings fell off the lilac bush and each thusly lightened limb trembled in sunlight much longer than one would have expected.

Peace is quiet.

Learn to identify the substitutes, the idols, the many tactics you have created to assure confusion and delay.

It is related to - is manifest in - the way sunlight dissolves into a vivid rainbow entirely without the starling's consent.

Your yes does not create holiness but rather establishes your willingness to see what holiness is already created.

How delightful to see Creation in the lilac shedding its heavy buntings of snow!

Say yes now!

Friday, October 28, 2011

That First Critical Principle

One reads about the eternal beginning. Identity reigns ever supreme!

Can we say – reasonably – that being is the same as non-being? Is it – forgive me – identical?

For example, where does sky end and earth begin exactly? We must go back – or down maybe – to establish that first critical principle.

Yet God agrees that if there is a world, there must be a way out of it and that he must provide it. Liberation is his vocation!

Source has but one will. The dream of others scars our potential.

Yet in time we become a stone from which Divine sparks are struck. God, like most humpbacks, is buried beneath a familiar hill.

You think your skin conceals you? Try spending fifteen minutes with the devil's kindling.

“You” and “I” are a prison. What swallows whole does so to ultimately save.

God is perceived in essence, both being and becoming? All rebels are eventually brought to heel.

Thus I am delivered from my selfhood. You offer raisins and gratefully I accept.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


In my dream many faceless men and women worked the side of the highway, picking fruit and nuts to eat. What is it that we surrender when we turn to God?

I fear the loss of what has brought me only anguish.

(This was down near Berkely, Mass, I think, where Dad once dreamed of living). It's not as hard as you think it is, is what I keep hoping.

Your letter was so welcome that it momentarily terrified me. I would prefer not to forgive my shame.

Tea and the moment in which one sees no past or present. Children's voices. That correspondence.

One writes a dream of waking up in France. Attend the content and the form will take care of itself.

Yeah, right.

Yet saying "I miss you" still brings tears and feels right, whatever that means.

Another cup of tea, another chance to sift through the execution of Lincoln's “killers.” What is it with me and gallows? On the ship, the sea darkening around me, all I could think of was how badly I wanted you to rise from the waves to hold me. The inner voice proclaims its love. You can listen if you want but you can ignore it, too.

Somebody please I don't want to fall.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Angry In A Measureable Way

Could you say before God you had a good life? Not everyone in those days was bad or misguided.

What is joy but a cup of cold water straight to the face? You can give nothing to the Lord and if it's all you have then he's going to rejoice.

I don't care where you got the incense. The chocolate cake had a bitter aftertaste, which led at least one guest to recall the last words of Socrates.

He had two kids, one of whom was still not speaking to him. There is the only way it can be done.

Widows in the rain, contemplating the methods of trees. I feel ashamed, embarrassed.

The church steeple gleamed in the sunlight, putting one in the mind of bells. We kneel to pray with those who merely kneel.

The moon akin to a couple of bright pennies. God doesn't give a damn about the sweat stains in your work shirt, the bulge in your wallet, or the books on your shelf.

Go steal a rag and polish the temple floor. I am the offering box I am waiting for.

The servants escorted her along the balustrade, all of them careful not to meet anybody's eye. A teacher kneels to scratch the dust, angry in a measurable way.

Nobody knows the bubbles I've seen. You have to pray a long time to see it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Manifestation Bone

One wants to write "a riot of stars" and so does, and thus discovers the unsatisfactory gesture. There were little smiles on the waves, little curls in the swell.

It rained and I worried how you would answer. The mechanism of thought cannot end thought but it can demonstrate the futility of thought.

In other words, pay attention. Coffee and dogs, two good totems.

Your warm hand on my forehead before sleep. I am what is there.

Some mornings I wake up and the twenty sentences feel like more than I can manage, but I do them anyway, because sometimes something happens in them that has nothing to do with what I can or can't manage. Pancakes, chuck steak.

Riled up with vintage swords. Driving home in the dark just shy of midnight I began fantasizing about cooking that leg of lamb.

We laugh at the word "butt." I do want signs or so I say.

Grief has but one form. The world and my life in it are not what I think they are, or say they are, and all salvation lies in my acceptance of this fact.

Or whiskey. He wore a camel's hair coat, I think.

Once again the desire to write a mystery gnaws the manifestation bone. I'm not but you think I am.

Monday, October 24, 2011

In Lieu of Prayer, A Memory

A field of frost, a reminder of snow. In October, you go to sleep sad and wake up not sad. Scallop-colored clouds, a pinkishness that seems to float between pine trees. Is that music I hear in the distance? When you realize the present is all the time there is . . .

Cold tea in lieu of prayer. A memory of dreamlessness. The horse stamped nervously, aware that a stranger was evaluating him. We bring the flame with us, that's how. Scribbled notes toward a new breast bone.

Secretly we all long for death, we all fear God, and that's why we never have any lasting peace. Thank you, friend, for not telling the truth in a difficult time. Life in the movies! Well, buttercrunch ice cream at least, and pie crusts made with real lard. One sound I won't miss is the rat-a-tat-tat of a real typist.

She looked at me a last time on the stairwell, I have never forgotten that. I cultivate grief the way other men cultivate orchids. A long night finally ends and you can see the crucifixion for what it was, an extreme teaching example. Yet I still need new recipes. Meanwhile, one anticipates fearfully the sea at dusk.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Why do I bother with the world after 5 a.m.? What would a prayer life actually look like? A chipmunk scampered between the pews. I'm tired of Colonialism, tired of martyrs, but still. Jesus won't you just shake a little sugar on me?

Make it a new way of being lost and thus a new way of being found. A snowflake does or does not follow preordained patterns? You never know as much as you think you know yet your capacity for creativity is always boundless. The statue stared back, stone-faced. Beyond which, it was a raw day in which not much seemed to happen.

Burgers? We watched eighteen-wheelers track the old canal, the way oxen once did. Geese sailing back and forth overhead as if trying to orient themselves. We are not our orientation! Cold root beer, over which some bonding happened, over which some grace occurred.

I am not my sentences. A field of purple loosestrife alongside which a declaration went unanswered. Yet history can make you happy, can't it? Nobody attended the gift shop which was just as well. Some Jesuits limp into the future, others stride, and some never die despite the pyre they last prayed upon.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Something Into Which I Would Pour Language

Four a.m., wan light of quarter moon, the road stitched by tree shadows. Let us praise October, let us slip like falling leaves.

And the big dipper perched on its ladle, upending its contents in the cosmic soup. Friends both here and there.

The dog rolls studiously in fox scat. My life resembles artful graffiti on a water tower.

The plane bucked before righting itself coming in for a windy landing over the highway. Water glistening in the ditch.

We pointed our flashlights up and argued where each beam ended. One can dream about dinosaur hearts.

Yesterday, in the art gallery, I felt briefly comfortable. The way to peace involves accepting all cause as in the mind not the world.

One begins a study of solipsism, long misunderstood. The baby coos in the other room while we love in this one.

A dog barks, heedless of Sir Oracle. It is not quite right to say that when you don't write it's a silence but it is something into which I would pour language.

Thus, I am never not not quite free. God discovers us as we discover God?

Cattails stand like casual sentries where the field ends and I stop to pray. Soon I will have to leave and then what?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Grief is an Elegance

The clouds drifted north, contrary to expectation.

It rains.

Typing in the next room while children try to sleep.

I have never seen a ghost (but you wouldn't know it by my face).

You sit in a shadowed space and offer comfort.

One waits to be hit by an invisible hand.

Childhood recalls the cosmos.

Drunk at dinner, struggling to compete.

Here is the ninth sentence.

Here is a circle of Hell heretofore uncharted.

We don't have relationships with people but with our ego.

What feels sacrificial is not.

Absence of indication is a salve.

Here, then, is the fourteenth sentence.

We are like wheels rolling down hill, aren't we!

We are like baby carriages at a tag sale.

Spiders, hoof prints.

Grief is an elegance.

Here is the nineteenth sentence.

Here is the twentieth.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Mindless Ditty For Those I Love

So the twenty sentences shift a little. Because I want them to or because they want to? And what is the difference? When I write this way, it is not because I believe in the content of what is written. Sometimes, we write simply to do it, and the product is not idle chatter or words on a page, but more like a calling fulfilled.

Two recent pieces spoke directly to old loves, and in the writing of them and, later, the reading, I found myself longing for a clarity that is generally absent from this project. I don't mean a way of privileging a way of making meaning. It was more a desire in that one instance to simplify even further, if that makes any sense. What (or who, maybe) awakens the impulse to be understood? I don't want to be misunderstood, except when I want to be.

Is that it or am I being lazy? I wrote in my Goddard application so many years ago: "on the other hand - and there is always another hand." But is there? Some things sound right when you say them and so I do say them without checking is their meaning is consonant with mine? I notice that rewriting now means cutting words, not adding them (which is more often the case in this project.)

Are you out there Dan? Are you, Denise? Do you read what I write, these words flung like stones into the busy night? For all my dreaming, all my writing is really humming a mindless ditty for those I love while circumnavigating a sometimes lovely but meaningless life. And now comes the last sentence, which cannot - can never - perform the function I (so gravely (without coffee yet)) assigned it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reverse In These Machines Don't Work

Those old lovers are still with me, the best evidence I have that nonduality is complete bullshit. I'd write letters but my pen is getting drier by the day. Sour cream donuts in odd places do not abate the critical hunger. One dreams, one does.

Oh, she's probably running a used bookstore somewhere, with a tight circle of close friends, and a past that she hardly bothers with. Hey, the twenty sentences got real cheap real fast, didn't they? Coming around to what the Essenes might have called an important recognition. As for you, your comfort offends me.

Establish a point of difference! I tried to turn a table over at the Success for Small Business Owner's workshop but it was bolted to the floor. Later, watching the moon turn a few threads of cloud into Emily Dickinson dreaming, I became temporarily the richest man in the universe. Somebody please release me from language.

Yet there is always another field ahead, always the potential of palimpsest. We are the code we need to unlock Heaven, but the user's manual got dropped in a ditch about thirty miles back and reverse in these machines don't work. Get your best asbestos gloves on if you want to hold me for Christmas! I'm raring to go the only way a chimney knows.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Invested In Dissembly

The day of your funeral I sat on a park bench in the steaming city and watched a tidal sway of strangers where once abounded friends. Can a lake be unhappy? Peaches are a possible but difficult crop in New England.

Thank you for those quiet mornings in the meeting house, discussing the letters of Margaret Mead. Hugs beneath a cherry tree, memories of maybe seventh grade, when one's awareness of danger is compromised but evolving. We tell stories, it's what we do.

The fox came from the east, ducked beneath the broken horse fence and studied me studying it, light fading as the moon rose above us both. A jeweled line of blood where the jaw rested, somewhat removed from the otherwise intact skull. You're hungry and it shows.

I'm going to give up the vintage leather jacket, I promise, okay? I'm not following anyone anymore in a vain effort to follow God. How can I admit to being a poor student, a lesson you drove home repeatedly the last time we talked?

Ships at the lake's bottom recall my sorrow and also the fantasy I made, where you come back with bells. One skips, one dances and one arrives at a wall beyond which only silence plays. We must have walked that street in Jerusalem ten thousand times asking ourselves what, if anything, we might have done about the execution.

To be troubled is at times to be loving, as love itself is often invested in dissembly. Our letters functioned as imperial goads, driving us ever deeper into a European dream. The dead at Kent State are allowed no rest.

This morning belongs to your memory. Later I'll swallow my pride and see if anyone is still crying behind the barn.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Outer Limits of Our Longing for Heaven

We begin with a dark hour in which violins are heard mapping the confines of A minor, and a dog rustling at the door, anxious now to walk. A lilt, a lift, and a recognition that prayer is required. Your third floor apartment in which I was subject to unexpected - and somewhat stressful - praise.

The basement where I slept, and where we loved the way you do when you are young and poor and yes, in love. A breeze that one believed was named after a minor Greek god. For some reason, this poem - for it is a poem, you know - wants a black functioning cannon in it.

We are unaware of all our witnesses. How many churches did we enter, Sunday after Sunday, with the taste of each other on our tongues, testing the outer limits our longing for Heaven? Why do most singers write about getting their heart broken and not breaking someone else's?

It is hard to own a past in which we are the aggressor. Nickels and dimes will get you a hot cup of tea, that brief but welcome respite. Fall rain, perceived blessings.

In the twenty sentences, I am closer to you, and closer to God. How I wish you would write, fold your old love for me into an envelope, mail it to the dusty post office where I live with ghosts and pensioners and rats! Greetings were exchanged in the blue haze of pipe smoke, and a sense of promise - or adventure at least - was pervasive.

You wouldn't know me in a crowd yet in Truth we are always familiar. Without limits we might actually remember we aren't these bodies tied down with stories. She pulled her knees to her chin, gazed out the window where I was pacing in the rain with my grandfather's old umbrella held at a compromising angle.

This is it, the requisite surrender. For the time being, brothers and sisters, I am prone to grace and letters.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It Was Like You Were The Muse

It is too late Denise to find a voice that honors you?

There was that beach on which we whispered kissing because sound travels.

You inhabited so many poems it was like you were the muse itself, not the form it briefly borrowed.

Do you remember being locked inside an empty vodka bottle, wind howling off Lake Champlain, arguing was it my fault or yours it didn't work?

What I wouldn't do again would fill a book, huh?

Drunk on the cheap wine of poetry readings, throwing snowballs with friends we didn't really like, falling asleep in wet clothes . . .

I remember your ragged brown sweater in candlelight, writing poems while you read Virginia Woolf and realizing for the first time that the space between sentences or paragraphs was actually part of the music.

The rose I was too scared to give you froze by the gear shift.

Still, for all of that, for ten of fifteen years, you were the standard that all my loves were forced to crawl before.

We are always in motion but what an anchor the past can temporarily make.

The last movie we ever saw together was either Cocktail or Impromptu, and the latter is still one of my favorite love stories (beautiful Chopin!).

When you became a vegetarian I made up a song while we ate fresh canteloupe with cream.

"I'm a tangerine sitting in your kitchen/I'm a tangerine and I'm going to kill you."

Without you, the red bird would have been impossible.

Without you, I would not have learned that twenty sentences are not enough to hold the sky.

It was watching you walk away from me in snowy English fields that I learned love has nothing to do with bodies.

You can't invent what was always there.

For me you will always be happiest framed by the door of a used bookstore in Albany.

I used to wonder what if you came back?

A refugee now - homeless now - I thank you for the painful gift of an always unknowable future.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stuck In A Ditch

This one's for you, Dan Gallagher.

Like that roof in was it Shelburne.

Or that fire escape overlooking scholarly drunks in November.

The Old Testament torn to shreds and plastered on the hallway wall.

Teachers crying on the bus.

How to learn to feel real sadness at last.

Hey, what did you dream about on the plane to Paris?

Kneeling by the river two thousand years ago, obsessed with its currents.

One learns, one does.

Teachers with cameras abound on busy streets, don't they?

Love beneath a crucifix, love in search of a lotus.

One scrambles with locusts, one anticipates a city.

I bled in a desert entirely of my making.

The heart can't break and yet.

Like the ambulance stuck in a ditch, remember?

Did we piss off your grandpa's porch at midnight?

One is alive, one is dreaming one is alive.

Before the lines of poetry I shared you hesitated and in that moment I felt one of the only real lonelinesses of my life.

Thank you for teaching me that But and Yet aren't gospel.

Hear that whisper, hear that singing, hear the sweet crescendo of yes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Vacant Throne

A veil seen at last for what it is. A gate swings, centuries old. The legendary bolt of lightening consumes us all. Promises, promises. Aphorisms in support of undoing. Prose bent on a vacant throne. Heed the beggar who sees your heart. Vermont now, Heaven later. Gutter coinage abounds. What about what's in the reeds? Chuckling, skipping, making a squall. Abating. Walking the shallows, dreaming of snails. A place to go come winter equals prayer. Touching base matters, it's how I learn. Slope of a hill seen a new way. Christ beckons, discipleship looms. Fried fish, potatoes in lard, sour beer and later a slow fine dance. This is not the end. Will you not at last consent to your holy soliloquy?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unexpected Sweetnesses

Reading by candle. Venus inside the front yard maple. Distant holler. Telltale egg shells. Conversation indistinct. The calling, the vocation. Insinuations left by the wayside. The gap between need and want. Visitors ask for guidance. Polished swords, famous horses. Bend to the noose as if taking a crown. One builds castles of clouds, one trembles in farewell. Smoke to the North. Unexpected sweetnesses. Stopping to chat by the old gambrel. Toads digging temporary quarters. Orion obscured by moonlight. Long walks eclipsed by longer walks. The gap between knowledge and perception. Touching base with you, again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Polemic I Would Never Read

Abruptly, though not without warning, the train began to ease away from the tracks. The fact that all this occurred “in my mind” does not in any way mitigate its reality. It moved South and in its wake were snow-capped mountains and an impossibly blue sky. On the speakers, one could hear a singing vaguely reminiscent of John Denver. “Justice,” someone said, their face smudged and in their hands a polemic I would never read.

A purple light – one element of the spectrum – against which shadow was measured. It appears that your enlightenment has been postponed to another day. Yet more famous people have adopted your spiritual path and the fact that you experience this as a loss will no doubt displease our common father. I walked well beyond the limits of soap and conversation, arriving at last at a quiet place where prayer was possible. And yet at that moment the southbound geese passed, a raucous din that returned me to the world.

Is this writing the superior writing? After all, making sense was never more sensible than now. Against the backdrop of the infinite, there is little that can be measured. We are trying to communicate, which is to say that we are trying to carry something home to ourselves. Years later, that empty room above the homeless shelter would seem more and more special, as if God had a plan that was capable of being ignored.

Forever is as smoke does. I recall the pain of you leaving. Once you get over the story in the mirror, you can see the mirror. At the window, the music of unknowable birds. In my mind, an emptiness and a long walk, both inevitable, both for blessing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Torah Brough Great Comfort

In a letter she wrote about her son who loved to push his stroller and sang the kooky songs that pre-language toddlers sing but this was before Paris, this was before that grave. It was a very stormy night for our first couple and can you guess then how it ended? Jackson - ever diligent in the ways of feral cats - found himself a dead rat near the front yard swingset. Biblically, she looks well to the ways of both her home and family. Do you remember when you called me?

We found a clawfoot tub painted bright blue by the mission and took photographs of one another inside it. Kids played checkers while the riverboat tried twice to make it land before the flames began and people started jumping, even those who didn't know how to swim. Be careful of putting too much faith in active membership of the church. Some people just want to uplift my soul and make me promise I'll do better by the Lord when all I really want to do is eat bread and salty cheese and hedge on the Divine. Forgotten Christmas carols always show up unexpectedly, the melodies like stitches undoing the fabric of air.

Love God, love other people and above all, love babies. The Torah brought great comfort in a difficult time. I'm not averse to the Northern slope of Alaska but I'll probably be alone when I get there. J. was lonely as a child but still managed to raise himself and now he's a preacher bringing all kinds of people home to Christ! Still, one needs a good hot sauce recipe, one needs friends who appreciate a good paragraph.

That which results in giggles cannot be all bad. I was in those days trying to get to a place where magic shows wouldn't be so awesome. We hooked the trailer up, drove seventy or so miles south and camped by a river in which fat trout could be seen, rising like shadows to feed in the dusk. Things got difficult when I put the plants before the people but luckily now it's only Marigolds. What I mean is, I don't need all the answers in order to trust that He has all the answers, see?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The One Who Traveled Beside You

We naturally orient in the direction of grace yet resistance remains powerful. What gives? She hefted an oil lantern where the sea had been strongest and its light - effusive, tremulous - was very nearly enough.

I remember Burlington, I remember the Battle of Gettysburg. Upon arrival, be sure to greet the one who traveled beside you. It is the smallest fire yet burns brighter than all the stars combined.

No teachers, no lessons! The guru sat thoughtfully in the bathroom scratching a flea bite while outside his followers burnished roses and celebrated their uniqueness. What do you keep secret even from your "self?"

Listen, the obsession with oneness can easily slip over into specialness and this is the source of all resistance. Being without water, one naturally assumed the characteristics of salt. Twenty more sentences, then some quatrains, and then you can take a break.

Freud reconsidered, Jung set gently aside. Jesus out back with the hens who would cheerfully scratch up a Van Gogh original if you placed it before them in the dust. It begins with awareness but of what and by whom, that is the question.

Yet to question is itself duality. Yet repetition might be one way beyond the veil. What he was saying was that he was drowning in an intellectual understanding of Christ Mind that was so complex - yet true, in a felt way - that it rendered presence of any kind all but impossible.

The ocean of longing, the night of desire, the dawn of understanding in a mind that has at last surrendered. I am saying that tea in the right mug is a fine thing indeed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

When We Finally Get To Heaven

When I say "you" I am referring to the observable capacity of your mind which has (regrettably and unnecessarily) attached itself to the ego's idea of Sean. Ash where once there was a pile of old wood and timber. One dreams of selling vintage Christmas ornaments. One finds an old letter from a friend, one of those friends you don't talk to any more, who never wrote back after the last letter you wrote, and what is that but sad? That is what we call life in what we call this world. We manufacture crystalline tears. We keep a large portion of the universe hidden the better to keep our mind occupied with what is outside of us. For example, you can ignore God a long time but you can't actually create time. We are the pine tree that went up like tissues in back yard conflagration. A door slams and curses follow. He raised his legs twice, his chest heaved, it took him almost seven minutes to finally die. We are invested in braggadocio, we understand how to withstand pain. Nobility obliges. Belief stands in the way of faith. Many pages of the novel were destroyed that way. Emily Dickinson wept but says she won't deny a visit when we finally get to Heaven. We write and then we read and in all of it we are simply trying to see what it is we meant so long ago. Don't forget to laugh! Remember: the packaging is designed the way it is for a reason. Maybe the reason it feels like a one way street is because you won't turn around.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Brain's Buzz And Fracture

You come to the twenty sentences hungry but a little bored, as if there were really something else to do.

A wave rides up the smooth sand and falls back and sinks down.

Can you collect rocks?

What is the advantage of understanding the structure of crystals?

All magic takes place in a dream and all fools are bent on the virtue of physical sight.

If it's measureable, it's not.

If you can repeat it, then it was never uttered.

Why turn to so many books - and, by extension, so many teachers - when you already know?

Courage is not the objective though one might be forgiven for thinking so.

Earlier, watching a line of geese flap generally south and west, I felt sad and - subsequent to some interior shift I still don't understand though it is at least familiar - settled.

One trip to the basement for an old book or dresser and dozens of fleas suddenly find me hospitable.

Who am I to say yes or no?

Yesterday, despite my best intentions and sincere efforts at both love and communication, I was chastened by a Catholic priest whose field of expertise was exorcisms.

My dreams refuse to bust the imaginary wall which proves what?

Later, with coffee, I study fallen tree limbs and plot (in the interest of comfort) their continued demise.

We are not always closing, we are always ending.

You laugh but there's nothing to laugh about.

I am a guest waiting for a stranger and so are you.

The mutual assurance bore no fruit but only kept us focused on the brain's buzz and fracture.

If only I understood the "you" that Jesus refers to!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Familiar Dispute Perfectly

So little time. First Debussy, then accolades for a famous dead man, then the snooze button. What did I think in the night? Sentences act as fulcrums. The countryside was sold for cheap. Because the poor long to be known by those they do not know. Generals anticipate new power and suppress the inevitable foreboding. I am here but where are you? We adjudicated the familiar dispute perfectly, didn't we? The horse located a perfect chunk of raw quartz and many hours were then spent polishing it. The cold field across which my children ran, straight into the arms of Jesus. We age and learn our bodies aren't as unprotected as we thought. To question duality is to maintain duality. I will be the bell you have always wanted to hear ringing at dawn. Crackers and goat cheese, chilly grapes right off the vine, six strands of horse hair flickering where the screen hangs. She helped a spider right itself in the shower and thus I fell in love. Nobility is no less which is why so few phone calls are answered in time. Anger moves in the earth like lightening because that's where we want it. Better to drink cheap beer in an empty garage while it rains than go to heaven alone. Welcome brother to the visible - I mean the risible - slice.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Broken-Hearted Followers Of The World

Arise, broken-hearted followers of the world! Your notes are now unreadable.

We proceed to a theory of antique pewter candle sconces. We make the holy disco whenever we feel God outside our brains.

It's coming from the south these days. Call it the seventh son of the seventh son whose mother sailed on the seventh ship from Ireland.

I'd pay good money for a lilac bush. Certain songs from the 1970s almost always bring a smile.

We danced in the flour aisle, pissing off half a dozen people who had better things to do than witness joy. Some things were indeed my fault.

It is important that cure and healing not be confused. Here then is the bridge we spoke of.

I had a feeling inside night and day until at last I couldn't take it. Downtrodden sunflowers, mummified mice in the basement.

That old dog keeps coming back as if he knows I'm not quite ready to let him go. The interstice between what I wish and what I want and what I get is what I am.

The urge to kiss you was overwhelming though later it will occur to me that I'm turned on more by the circular Shaker barn than anything specific to you. Consistency matters!

The alleged distance between head and heart is just a handy excuse for lust. Midnight comes and the same old dream visits, again.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In These Bodies In This World

One assumes an ashen vigor, one does. The lady bug moved a quarter inch up the jonquil stem and another drop of rain fell. We are not who we were led to believe we were, a realization that is not of itself salvatory. Even to question duality is to accept duality. And where are you now, who carried my umbrella through the streets of Moscow circa 1992?

We work the cloudy river, intent on understanding water's relation to spirit. The rules are that you can't kill trout, you can't hunt bear. All dogs contain the shadow of their own death, which is no comfort, no comfort at all. We segment, we separate. Yet there exists a sort of sushi way of creating a functional network.

All morning between tears and cleaning closets, struggling to manage the dust. The abstraction wore us down until at last there was nothing left to do but purchase coffees and drink  them out on the ledge. Egrets balance on the ethical limb. He saved his mentor's killer, and released him in a snowy wood. We went out into the night, surprised at the moon and its dream of old letters.

One senses the noose, sees a last tremulation of heavenly cumulus south and a bit west and then the muslin hood falls, and the sound of women sobbing is suddenly clear, like a single ray of afternoon sun after seven days of rain. Silence is not the answer. At night in the calm mallow of the only streetlight for at least seven miles, remembering you and knowing at last we will not meet again, in these bodies in this world, I am moved not to tears but a happy smile, at last a fool in the hills of his worn out childhood. At once a single star thinned and sank lower. Remember that the leaves that fall don't stop to think are they falling in the light.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

One Cannot Be Devoid Of Landscape

One would rather scrub potatoes, lay them on the counter like stones culled from the cemetery, then argue about money. The chipmunk studied me from a nook in the stone wall, his tail curled like a question mark over rain-soaked leaves. The world is useful only to the extent that we can use it to undo our belief in it. Properly understood, the body is only a communication device, no different than a radio, or a program designed to forward email. You cannot build your home on a bridge. Yet kites and seagulls and the memory of a certain dog falling do little to calm the mind intent on obscuring itself. As if bells rang, and having rung, can never cease their echoes. One defines "half tones" in a Protestant light, on a belly full of cheap pretzels and tap water. In a corner, you don't learn who you are, you learn about the limits of geometry. I am saying we are projecting and playing a game that we have always played to our detriment. When I talk this way to you, I sense a wide marsh in the distance, and a single duck rising from its Southernmost edge into a bevy of fast-moving nimbus clouds, and someone - not us - waiting for a gunshot. The longer sentences leave the one who is prone to judgment satisfied. Your gift for silence at last unwrapped. In shadows - and rain sounds - we moved down the trail, taking note of the ferns which seemed to glow, as if anticipating a later moon. The sea is a comfort and mountains a challenge, signifying yet again that one cannot be devoid of landscape. He pulled over somewhere in Utah, pointed to a billboard that looked to be at least twenty years old and said, "now there's a map that leads away from the soul." What then are hand-crafted tea mugs? We crossed burning fields with a sense of urgency that had attended us long before the lick of flames did. It had to do with letters, didn't it? You resurrect before my eyes and I look away and that is why waiting is the story I always want to tell.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Satin Clouds of the Deluge

This is for you - please understand that. I woke in tangles, the dream liquescent, and went straight out into the rain to see if anybody would hear me cry. Desperation breeds the best prayers, yet sometimes we are actually happy and what then? Offer everything up which is another way of saying let it go or don't be invested. What blessings there are in operatic insects, cold but not frozen mud puddles, and the one star that manages to glisten through the satin clouds of the deluge. The so-called furry quadruped comes back to be one of us and this is the proof that Jesus is already here and will establish his kingdom with you any way he can. Study each attachment lesson carefully, is what I am saying. Tea with cream and honey. The morning walk. One doesn't repeat, one insists, one is always trying to get across with words what the body itself can't handle. All concepts injure the whole. You can't fake joy without alienating the truly sorrowful who need you more than you need the ecstatic life. The whole point of rules is to learn the art of bending. We all have all the blessings - as has been said before and better. I am scared of liars who consider dishonesty a useful tool. The dogs gamboled, the rain sank into the already saturated earth, and I thanked God for the jacket my mother bought me fifteen years ago. Anger over ouzo. In matters of spirit, content over form, but in the poem, form over content. I will not budge. And do you like it that way?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Farther Yet

So the blue jays come, pleasantly usurping afternoons meant for sleeping and love. One gets lost in television, one fails the communications test. I wake up and study my Mennonite neighbors, musing on what exactly is it that the devil needs from us to live. Tea, wedding rings and - in memory anyway - a boardwalk under which the homeless drink and kiss and cast brown shadows. Goats licked the fallen apples, nibbled rows of old newspaper and danced lightly in the aisles on their delicate cloven feet. A caramel way of seeing the world leaves one gasping for the holier salt. Nondualism is either right or wrong. I followed Jesus to a small clearing and knelt with him to pray and the prayer was so good that I forgot what I was saying and opened my eyes for direction and he was gone and I could hear the neighbor's chainsaw and farther yet traffic going who knows where. Shoulds pave a regrettable trail. We cannot sell the soul - the markets don't exist - but we can absolutely proffer our awareness of it. This is much of what we know to be the world. Against which, I write and write and write and write! For example, a fall deluge means a winter's worth of disruptive frost heaves. Over by the bridge, the ghost horses stop to nibble imaginary grass, waiting for my lead. The home fire, the treasure chest, the cumulus cloud with rays of pillaring sun. In one story, the new father balanced his wife on his back while the exhausted but game midwife hauled the squalling mew out of her. We arrive beholden to stars, the one fact we never quite forget. The sentences lately are divided, mirroring the current density of my body. And then another song was sung and another round was ordered and the candles flickered this way and that like young women dreaming of altars and so the last of the nights without rain passed and we woke up loveless and alone, a thousand years hence. Oh for another taste of you, who so delighted my days.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Harbor As Kids, Island As Adults

One comes to as roosters begin their throaty roar, attended by an ache that suggests no writing of any quality will be done before noon. Go ahead and question everything. Finally we are tackling Kierkegaard. She scooted around the basement in search of a picture frame, offered it as a gift and - or but, maybe - it was accepted as a metaphor for prayer. Let me be honest and say that I have broken faith with nearly everyone I've met. Sleepy children are not like secrets. The sentence begins with a fragment and proceeds to a lilt. Ships safe at last. The image is only once removed from Truth (as opposed to language (which is twice removed)). We played harbor as kids, island as adults. I stopped to admire graffiti in Paris, all the while with that nagging sense that somebody was watching me. His fingers were like sausage, his breath a bellows, and all the nurses still professed to love his jokes. We move in the direction of Heaven which is another way of saying we have no goddamn idea what Heaven actually is. Some teachers are better than others, and some lessons, too. Put on your glasses - there's something I want to show you. The chickens raced out of their soggy hut, stopped to pick at lettuce scraps from the night before, then bolted for the tall grass where succulent worms and other bugs remained despite the cold. My website on horses is your designer coffee. We paused to exchange pleasantries, intent on kindness but troubled by the inevitable vagueness of desire. There's a new way to cook steak now I've finally got some centuries old cook books. Pay attention then, and refuse to be casual.