Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Plea In Verse

He walks at dusk - twilight perhaps - which allows for an old clarity. It is like standing inside a bell, like laying down beneath centuries-old maples. Explanation is a crutch and he can't seem to communicate otherwise. Thus the woods, thus stopping to let the dark settle around him, thus composing yet another plea in verse. Properly understood, Walden is an interior space.

Or so he says, prone as always to what language helps work out. The hens scratch at bits of lettuce and coffee grounds, the compost sinking in slow-melting snow. Earlier, hunched over on a zafu in an empty house, he began to laugh quietly, uncontrollably. There is no such thing as endings. Nor is there any such thing as sad.

He reads young adult fiction from the 1960's - letting it read him too - and stops here and there to catch up on what the many poets he knows are doing. Last week the dog refused a walk, a first, and it got him thinking. There are trails in Vermont where twenty years ago the old dog ran through misty fields, barking at turtles and often leaping what seemed like twenty feet in the air to get at disappearing bears. You never know when you're going to fall and not get up or only get up slowly. Also, you wait for a miracle the way a drunk waits to vomit.

But listen, in order to write the way you want you have to be rigorously honest with yourself. It will show in the writing, even if what you write is technically a lie. He cannot ask for what he truly wants: to walk with her beneath the ten thousand stars they threw into the sky before time had gathered steam. You have to ask what everything is for and not be afraid of the answer. Or so he writes in the larger lacuna, the one that wrote him what seems like ten thousand lifetimes ago.

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