The minister of God awakens to snow. Moonlight. Deer step deeper into the bracken and the frost crackles as they go. A crow will fly many miles going home.
The mail complicates what we call our lives. Insistence and repetition, the twin angels of destruction. Bohm was mistaken about the Greek god of time. With that, we are back at the start.
Yet the post office is oddly a site of camaraderie. We decorate for Christmas and invite others to do the same. The oddity of shame, the turning of a coin as it falls off the bed. He wrote his feet were tired and so they were.
Tuffets of snow after days of rising temperatures, reminders of what awaits us all. She held onto her old college poetry books and I could not help but feel some necessary, some reassuring kinship. We are what we read. While notes of music riddle the shared body.
And this. When I look at you I feel happy and that is a sort of peace, one for which I am grateful. Turns? One walks lightly where yesterday was only anger.
Yesterday at dusk I watched snowflakes cross the face of the waxing moon which later faded behind piles of cloud. At 4 a.m. you never walk alone. First the dog’s prints fade, then one’s own. I slept, dreamed of death, and kept sleeping. Silence, that one.
And woke you to complain without actually complaining. We come to the shame, the guilt, the oh-no-I’m-doing-it-again and then what. I mean it: then what? Dance lessons as a metaphor for prayer. I remember you mostly leaving the library.
The ice melts, bankers grow fangs, and Jesus continues the long walk to nowhere. Sunlight? The dog’s prints fade and then you can’t really make out yours either. Here is the house I grew up in and here is the house in which I now live. One more cup of coffee might be enough.
What can you do when the writing disappoints but keep writing? Emerson wears me out but his protégé not so much. Train tracks, empty wine bottles, that sort of thing. A thousand yesterdays multiplied by nine equals whose lifetime? Start over with an empty room and a north-facing chair and see what gives.
The west-facing rock sees no sun in winter and only a little in summer. Ice at noon, a few patches, first of the year. I want to see you naked and will no longer pretend – aspire? – otherwise. May we call it gain?
The power dynamic continues to evolve and yet stays the same, or seems to. He wrote. Slivers of quartz jutted from the cleared forest, like bones or teeth or diamonds. The better question might be what do you want?
Pissing in the dark, feeling the snow on my face, and other vague pleasures. Somewhere a dog barks. The terror inherent in always? I dream of you often and wake up happy, the familiar ache satisfied.
Yet zoos disturb me. The front yard maple closest to the driveway sheds a final leaf and so stands at last like a young woman in a time of war refusing any concession to grief. He didn’t write that. I erased a line that would have come too close to you – evoking you anyway – and leave this one – evocative differently – in its place.
Your hair, the lines on your face. Can there be such a thing as partial honesty? Buttered muffins as the sun rises and we contemplate a long drive east. This is for you – a little light – and what informs it in deference to forever.
You have a way of allowing me to sleep all night, though I did wake up rhyming. And later she heard geese flying northeast to southwest, probably coming up from a night on the fire pond. We are teachers and must await our students. Who holds the cat holds the power.
He wrote that he paid in his early twenties but his repeated emphasis on payment revealed the debt was perhaps not fully settled. Remained nettlesome? The dog curls up on the bed and one projects sadness and guilt onto the supine body and then tries to “solve” it. Resolve it?
Well, dissolve it, really, but certainly not without help. An articulated Victorian sensibility might not hurt any of us and could even help. You show up in neither dream nor fantasy but you do show up. The struggle to explain, to frame, to stage it in a fructive way continues.
And then? False faces are impossible as are false hearts and yet. But? The coffee is gone and we are slowly entering the daily terror unaided.
In my early twenties I saw the Ramones while tripping on acid. One can be in the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time or on the wrong drug period. Or and so forth. Oh think of me, won’t you, when thinking (as you think it) is most fruitful?
It is not so hard to find words. Clouds are never behind the moon. The work is simply attention. As in, I woke with a sinus headache and didn’t want to walk or anything.
Well, Jesus is happy to listen, happy to instruct. My son wears his mother’s watch and writes poetry about birds. Old library cards, tattered ribbons and a gaudy plastic ring I would have loved as a child. Give me a real sign, won’t you?
Don’t you love the new advertisement for salvation? After a while, one rejects altogether the concept of communication. We are never what we seem to be and yet not another thing entirely. The important arguments are always personal, always just beginning.
I pissed out by the wood shed, studying constellations in the November sky, working and reworking how the first line might go. Am I asking you for more than you can give just now? Wordlessness is all our ends. As a dog barks and farther away, one answers.
If I could, I would hold you just long enough to let you know it’s all okay or will be. Then later, over coffee, consider Dickinson’s aversion to titles. Perhaps there is only ever one poem and we are it and writing it even now? He said as the sun rose, wondering where you were and what you were doing and with whom.
In my dream, at least two songs – previously unheard – indicated that I was “ready for Jesus.” The clarity of associated loss on the other hand . . . It is possible to love others and yet not be physically present to them. She said she wouldn’t “pull that” with me. And yet.
And yet some phone calls are not returned and a certain sorrow attains. I weep in old graveyards for the grief that accumulates there, like snow. Shadows cross the south side of the decrepit barn and a new writing project springs to mind. The mode is like kittens. One loves what they write and believes it is permanent.
Imagine a solution in which nobody loses and everybody gains. It is sweeter not to read the mail. Many divas, many bars, many lyrics. We climbed the pine tree almost to the top and thirty years later I still remember. One does in order to teach and thus learns.
Like that. Back roads at midnight and tumblers of whiskey. We stumbled into one another and stayed until a haze of affection made writing all but impossible. Clarity? When I see you something inside me lifts and what else is there to do but say it?
I am alert around you. The dog at 3 a.m., nosing aside curtains. Clouds cover up the moon, then continue East, more or less. We are all in motion always. That is how it seems anyway, this you and I.
The old clothespins call to me in my dreams, speaking of a tiny island (the coast of Maine maybe?) on which it is possible to do no wrong and only good. God vs. Magic, the same old same old. I am alert to the subtle shift in light near your face as you struggle with this or that idea. Home is attention, lovingly paid. Earlier, over coffee, I longed again for poverty.
Silly me! I can’t carry a tape measure everywhere although one does appreciate a certain order. You turn South, you rise like a feather into mist and then later buckle your knees and listen. In my dream, a kiss, and in this dream – shared – a long talk about Emily Dickinson. Sooner or later one takes what is given.
November sadness like pilgrims waking to a persistent raven. What we fear is never quite worth fearing which we only learn later. Again? I nearly touched your shoulder today, that soft gem that renders you holy. Don’t laugh, sister, you’re in it as deep as me.
This waiting paraphrases (unhelpfully) the larger giving. As leaves falling are a sort of donation. Discomfort is persistence justifying itself. Just say it, he said.
Unhelpfully? The ellipsis is the invisible bridge, the chance to say not this way, not now. Paper swans, a thought of children, and earlier still, the quarter moon amid flickering stars. It is a way of saying I cried.
There is nothing funny about a bus. Bent over the writing as if to get closer to what. These twenty sentences are not the twenty sentences I wrote yesterday. Introducing my best friend the monosyllabic yet.
Remember the letters you wrote when I was in prison? The moon falls under the hill. At our best, we give away what is best about ourselves. Your romance is my dreary afternoon but so what?
Wasn’t it? It seems as if long ago we held one another against something monstrous, something unkind. She entered the room and what he noticed was her hair, pulled back severely, though her eyes remained curious, ever with that hint of gratitude that masked the underlying – as yet unsolved – anger. We are one another’s teacher, no?
A sense that some impulse to seek is dissolved now helpfully pervades the day. Rise, walk to the window, look at the snowy lawn, sit down. Nothing passes because nothing is not and so is time.
Belt folded on the bed, a dozen mostly-read books and the dog curled “into the shape of a button.” Thought suddenly no more intrusive than bird song or a waterfall. The old familiar poem no longer making demands of us.
There is no more try again. All morning drinking warmed-over coffee, strangely happy and knowing at last it can last. Naps too.
On the mountain’s crest she realized that she no longer experienced life as a photograph. A sigh, a cry, a sweet but lonesome and lingering kiss. And now this, this beautiful this.
Knowing the limits of the body means beginning. You can’t hurt me! All I really want is to lift you and not stop.
The old quilt from our wedding now being used to drag leaves to the chickens. What we resist learning is that what is fixable is never worth fixing. Perhaps Heaven might be better understood as a verb?
Grannies don’t really die, you know. And home never was either sweet nor there.
The waning moon wedged between pine trees illuminating the barn. We go where we hear cries and linger, ever prostrate for whispering crossroads. One intimates, one does.
Another mention of fathers – those that rage before brick ovens, those that mistake gregariousness for love. But are you happy? You make me happy and that is what matters.
Coherence matters. We enter the dialogue like swans coming around a bend somehow aware of the surprise they will cause. Rivers make deltas and deltas suffer under aerial bombardment.
Sons and daughters and uneven distributions of power. Somehow rectified? When I kneel in the darkness and whisper your name you don’t always come but I always feel better.
One’s writing bent ever on achieving the holiest yes. Differences make for wild nights but it is sameness to which peace attains. Twenty bromides with dreams of a poem.
Your synesthesia is my long walk and no light. When you say Edinburgh what I hear is that early loneliness no walking could assuage. One lives a long time in the bliss of pronunciation, the sacredness of maps.
I waited lifetimes before mountains that were indifferent to reply. And now you, beautiful you.