Both Sides of the Noose

The folds of Mary’s robes near the knee – it’s as much of the Pieta as I can bear to look at – make me cry and yet. When one turns inward one faces first the possibility there is nothing there. How easily “why me” becomes “why not you?” Here’s a clue: dog is just code for the self.

After thirty-one years the marriage went bad. My pajamas are still unfolded, the newspaper my father asked me to read is not. The story is about soap and silence but also about the interior light. Some things – including this ash heap you call the world – just can’t be cleaned. And yet Scotland goes with you everywhere, doesn’t it?

That soft moment when the chords transition downward into the relative minor and one is ready – almost – to follow. Forgive me Mother for I believed that I sinned and so lost a thousand lifetimes to guilt. One comes to understand that they have been on both sides of the noose and then what. No stars, the last leaves scratching as they fall and for once you don’t need to make a poem out of it. In my dream, Michelangelo explains there is nothing to explain.

Thank you he wrote. My library card survived the washing machine! There are days when talking about God is ill-advised. You can only circumnavigate the night so many times before it’s day. And now this.

Categorized as Sentences

Your Spiritual Doo Wop Doo Wop

Nothing but the darkness now. He wrote at the end of a long walk. The short pier? It is a dream, as all piers are.

It is a lotus, a torn jacket, a morning star. Jesus no longer fits so try something different. New? The universal blossom beckons.

As, for example, the long-awaited reckoning. The same old resistance, like a lover who’s great in bed but can’t talk Emily Dickinson after. Some habits die harder than others. One dies, one does.

And she remains ever a cumulative factor. The coffee boils, necessitating spoonfuls of sugar. Let’s have a ball and biscuit indeed. Let’s not circumnavigate now okay?

And so the sea remained their one home. Kittens become cats who beget kittens or so we learned at the shelter where so many of them were marked for death. More cookies and milk please! He stopped praying – where’s your spiritual doo wop doo wop now boy – and it shows.

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What is Already Made

On the one hand, fatigue. On the other, language. Old friends visit, bearing with them rose-colored wine glasses that for some reason remain empty. In the middle of the night, after dreams of rain, the sudden stars are brilliant and lovely, like holes in a fabric. And I still can’t pronounce wainscoting.

Nor build stairs. Light poured through, as light does, according to its laws. One comes to a place where there is no longer meaningfully place and then what. Prayer? We are lost – always lost –  and those screens are no help.

The fragment assumes the whole? We work diligently to create what is already made and call it home. Nobody is who they say they are but masks still aren’t a good analogy. What exactly are you trying to say?

When you sleep, you don’t rest. Up and down certain hills all morning like a squirrel learning how to ride a bike. The dog comes back after days away and it seems a lifetime and maybe it is. Medieval Poland supplies one answer. The perennial yawn, our exacting yet grotesque truth.

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A Sort of Soft White Blur

The glasses one wears make a difference. I can’t handle trips to the dentist, hence, I am a spiritual adviser to the rich. On the other side of the road a sort of soft white blur identified finally as a skunk. That’s dawn then. That’s the morning walk.

The dog waited. Jesus consults, advises, cautions, encourages. That too is walking before the sun rises, in the old neighborhood, the site of so much anguish. The words that I use matter, even in twenty semi-related sentences. As I am – as I remain – deeply grateful.

What is chance? What brokenness is it I carry with me beneath the slivered moon and still later over tea? When you write my heart lifts a little, as it always has, it does. Apologies as well. Well, we have to get on with life, however we define it.

I’d rather not look stupid and am also scared to quit which from time to time creates a problem. That’s a temptation of sorts, isn’t it? The mossy bank was less inviting in November than in July when weeks without rain left one longing for water. My latest book is about spiritual irrigation. I mean integration as did you.

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That Gun Is Always Going Off

Halfway up the air strip – buffeted by warmish air – I remembered an older dog. Grief, too. Idolizing grief is an effective strategy for avoiding guilt. Who said it’s okay?

No really – it is okay. You sob in morning darkness while geese chatter quietly on the black pond and it feels good. The sun is not a jewel but nor is it a fire and your tears while driving and singing were welcome. You did what you had to do – it’s called childhood.

Well, it’s called being human in the world – is that better? My feet were cold and the dog trotted far ahead, oblivious to danger. I mean war. Little by little we learn: I did not do it.

I remembered her and realized that it was not my fault how she died. And later, over coffee, forgave the damn fool who could only ask ‘are you okay?’ after pulling the trigger.  The past blurs and we remember not specifics but pain which is another way of saying that gun is always going off. Self-righteousness is inherent in grief.

What is my anger but a way to stay angry? The moon sifted back and forth between borderless clouds. Killdeer scattered as I stomped through the field. Forgive me oh my love.

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The Terms of Each Next Step

For I am tired. You see so many animals dead on the road, some of them picked at by glossy crows. The familiar conversations no longer work. Words, words and more words.

That which is not real can be made to seem real. The rose endlessly extended. An accent – perhaps Scottish – comes and goes. And wedding rings, of course.

And bells half a mile away like train whistles at dawn. We circle the hill over and over fantasizing ascent. Your note arrives somewhat like haiku about frogs. We all want to write and some of us do.

I know nothing. The hog of the forsaken visits me dreams, as does the dead dog. What did our fathers want for us? Long hallways in which the condemned walk, heads down, working out the terms of each next step.

That is not this. You will come to me in a half light while it snows, smelling of wine, with a small smile to stop my heart. Call it a preface, okay? And now the song begins, the old standby so beloved of the devil.

Categorized as Sentences