Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Notice the space in which what happens happens.

Space precedes both subject and object.

It joins them, too.

At night we go out and look at the stars

The ferns rustle as we pass.

The sunflowers stir in the wind.

Strands of cloud drift across the Milky Way.

Somewhere a piano plays, each plaintive note like its own drop of dew.

I walk slower and slower.

Between one foot rising and the next foot falling, eternity.

Or it feels that way.

She smiles when I least expect it.

She is indifferent when I most desire coddling.

She asks for coffee heavy on the sugar, lots of cream.

We talk about the bird feeders a lot - where they are place, what type of seed they contain, what birds visit, and what improvements, if any, might be helpful.

Sometimes I think: what are we talking about?

She says, doubt is not a bad thing because it reminds us to be attentive.

Humility is good, too.

And birds, she says.

Always birds.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


How strange to not be needed.

The old rules no longer work.

Her letters arrive the way birds arrive in one's field of vision.

Her words are always familiar, almost like echoes.

The brain hunts for problems to solve.

It is hungry like the chickadees who gather at the feeder.

It is clever like the squirrel that works diligently in their midst.

And predatory as the neighborhood cats who pass through murderous.

Thought is good for discovering the limits of thought but no more.

One makes contact with the space in which what happens happens.

There is always ever only one thing happening.

It is simple but the brain has evolved to obscure it.

We have created opposition where none exists.

We have hidden what is sought in the seeker.

We are agonizingly clever.

One notices then the verbs that she uses.

Release, surrender, give in, flow.

One notices too the nature of resistance.

It is like a war, an internal conflict with impossible stakes.

It is a dream, she says, from which we awakened long ago.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Yesterday a coyote crossed the road before me as I walked.

Forget-me-nots sparkled on the berm.

I wonder what to tell her in my next letter.

There is a loveliness in perception but it moves.

The coyote passes into the bracken, then deeper into forest.

In my mind he is frozen on the median, eyeballing me warily.

Crows pass.

Grackles move into flocks, undulating in open sky.

Winter is coming.

Before she left she told me I was almost ready, which was why she was here.

You will forget me, she said.

But I will not forget you.

In her last letter, she reminded me to simplify all relationship.

Pay attention to sleep, she wrote.

What is is aware even unto sleep.

Walking I pass the crab apple tree, and the graves of horses.

Resistance remains a factor.

I don't always want to let go.

Nothing happens and everything is transformed, she promises.

I tell her about the coyote, passing so swiftly into forever.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


The sunflowers adjust their lean according to the solar prerogative but still don't grow.

Calls are made but go unanswered.

One walks all morning only to learn the mail is not sorted and will not be until lunch.

Our lives unfold or flow - there is a sense of movement - and we remove ourselves from it in order to comment.

She urges me to write more.

"Silence is not your mode."

Yet I long for the deep quiet and rise early to walk through it, always sad when it is time to begin speaking.

She insists that difficulties are always of our own making for what is God yearns only to be known and offers itself accordingly.

I know it and I know I know it but still.

The study of resistance will not end resistance but it may reveal the futility of study.

The kids come by asking for help with a camera.

I put the book down and we discover the problem and solve it together.

To thank me, they take pictures of the gourd plant, always the most beloved.

They know my teacher's name and practice saying it, the awkward syllables tripping off their young tongues.

What would she say about this, they ask.

Their desire to learn is tangible.

It is not separate from the recognition of their capacity to love which goes before words.

One of her students - who handles her correspondence - sends me a photograph and tells me my letters are most welcome and very articulate.

I drink tea as the sun rises higher and higher, burning away what I cannot see and so remain burdened by.

Chickadees come by, then mourning doves, all staying just long enough to feed their hunger and then going on, to where I cannot say.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


She is gentle always.

It is not hard to walk with her.

Yet she merits honesty - unbridled and unconditioned.

Teaching is not possible otherwise.

Often I choose silence rather than the web of language I long ago rendered untrustworthy.

But she is clear: silence is not my mode.

Nor does she value opinion.

The level of opinion is always untrue because it is inherently both right and wrong.

On the last day of her visit she asked about my attachments.

It was hard to talk.

The list, I told her, was very long.

But she only waited.

I began with people: living and dead.

I moved on to food and songs and books.

It became that whatever image entered my mind, I was attached to that too.

And so I listed it, accordingly.

I don't remember how it ended.

She did not speak herself nor address any of the specifics to which I had made reference.

When we had been quiet a long time, she said "none of those things are real."

I began to say "I know" - how I long to impress her! - but her small smile stopped me, and I said instead, "that is not yet clear to me but I hope in time it will be."

Friday, July 26, 2013


One wakes before dawn.

Robins and grackles are silent in their bowers and shadow.

Clouds pass the moon, obscuring its light, as the  maple leaves do when one stands beneath them and looks straight up.

Thought is external.

When we first begin to sense this the tendency - understandably - is to pull back.

The conflation of light and dark is briefly martial in those moments.

The dog goes out and comes back, tongue lolling.

One can almost imagine the sound of rabbits chewing clover behind the woodpile.

Due East, a few strands of oily light appear.

Clouds bunch and float slower.

She writes that it is not a mistake to assume there are no mistakes.

And the form we assume is the form best-suited to the awakening of all life for all time.

Attention is required.

Sustained attention.

It is an act of love.

The wish to understand is not understanding!

At last I go walking towards the sun.

Birds begin to sing in still-dark bushes.

That which is Love is aware even within the deepest of sleeps.

Even unto death and after.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Last of the chicory where the trail begins.

This year's thistle grew taller than me.

We enter now a written correspondence.

I walk each day to the post office, six miles round trip, to look for her letters.

One half anticipation, one half either joy or sadness.

We are always learning.

We are never not the material we need to gain insight.

The birch trees bend towards the earth.

In glades off the path, deer lift their heads to listen.

I stop beneath a crab apple tree.

Spiders are working in its lower limbs.

Her handwriting has open loops and slants upward across the page.

One longs to study the cursive in order to perceive a deeper intent.

Yet she discourages enterprise.

That which is not revealed will not be discovered, she says.

Pay attention, cultivate gratitude & be helpful, she writes.

Rid yourself of the addiction to results.

The spiders work and the earth turns and the sun burns brighter through its tremulous veils.

Reading her, I hear her voice and smile.

Thus buttressed I continue, back to the chicory, so perfectly blue & still, and beyond.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


The rhubarb plants fall back into the earth.

Bluets and daisies fall back too.

The moon rises in the east and sets in the west.

And one or two leaves on the maple tree brighten like a livid fire.

So the days pass.

So the seasons pass.

Our bodies grow old and die.

There is no grief in what happens naturally, she says.

There is no sadness because there is no ending.

At the deepest levels - in the subtlest of understandings - nothing ends, nothing begins.

Chickens scratch through yesterday's compost.

Robins fly over singing.

Only complete independence from circumstance assures happiness.

It is both easier and harder than it seems.

She urges me to greater honesty, asking: what do you want?

Answer quickly or else it's a lie!

When I adopt the stance of a monk, she laughs.

When I refuse to speak, she chucks me gently on the shoulder.

The river is your teacher, she says.

For it simply goes as it must, singing.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Rain obscures the moon.

All night it falls, softer and softer, like kisses after.

At dawn, still awake, I stand beneath the Dogwood tree.

Its late blossoms are already turning to soil beneath my feet.

So long as you believe in beginnings and endings, you are in the range of neither.

Yesterday we walked in the forest in the middle of the day.

Where the trail turns away from the river, she stopped.

The dog and I stopped as well.

We waited like that, still and silent, for a quarter hour at least.

Just when I was beginning to question it, they came.

A doe and two fawns just ahead.

They stepped delicately from the woods onto the trail.

The babies wanted to play but imitated their momma, who studied us and, learning we posed no danger, continued gracefully on her way.

The world is full of gifts that seen rightly end time and lead one away from dependency on thought.

Did this happen yesterday?

Or was it a hundred years ago?

What does not bring us swiftly to gratitude must be set gently aside.

This is the time of thankfulness and simplicity.

Only then are we able to start the necessary journey to the interior.

She takes my hand and together we continue.

Monday, July 22, 2013


We settle ourselves in order to begin.

It is a matter of thought, she says at last.

We sit out back as the sun rises, clouds trailing across the hills.

Birds come to the feeder: cardinals, chickadees, grackles, finches.

Her joy at seeing them is infectious.

It is my joy, too.

Thought can solve problems in the way a hand can lift a hammer, she says.

But it cannot end itself.

It is like your breath, which moves naturally, without apparent effort on your part.

Thought, like breath, will not of itself lead you to God.

I bring her coffee heavily sweetened.

We spend hours studying attention.

The sun rises and the day grows hotter.

Bees drowse in the clover, heavy with nectar.

We differentiate between awareness and attention.

She encourages me to be less surreptitious with my love of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Who questions the gift is ungrateful, she says.

And who is ungrateful merely chooses to remain outside the benevolent nest of the Divine, to the dismay of all.

We walk to the corner of the yard where the hawkweed grows.

Before it we are still a long time, not talking.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Just after midnight the breeze wakens me.

The dog and I walk through the house, then go outside on the grass.

Between clouds, stars.

Between thoughts, nothing.

Deer look up where they graze in the distance.

The fawns step awkwardly through moonlight.

Our attention seems to drift but it can be directed.

She reminds me that there is much to do "in the world."

The pages of certain books turn slower than others.

Who wants the "one" has forever obscured the one.

And who goes "without judgment" has already judged.

It is much simpler than it seems, she says.

We talk about the garden at dusk and dawn and I learn.

We kneel to fasten the stems of tomatoes closer to their poles.

Help is always given but we have to ask.

You talk too much, she says, and other times don't talk enough.

She insists that silence is not my mode.

I wake again at 3 a.m., the right sentences in my mind, and put them down on a piece of paper near the bed.

How long it takes to become clear, when we have gone muddy for lifetimes!

And yet not so long either.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


We think we become the teacher.

Go here, do that.

A trout leaps from the pond and plashes back, silver and cursive.

The momma duck leads her near-grown ducklings into the reeds.

She says, the mind is always creating, even in deep sleep, and what is is always aware of its creations.

How far I have to go!

Sentence after sentence, life after life, like clouds following one another across the prairie and towards the sea.

I am heavy and dense, like a pregnant buffalo.

She urges me to consolidate and also not to soften.

You have so far to go, she says, without rancor or judgment.

At dawn I go out and listen to the rooster.

At dawn I go out and worry about the future and the past.

Often she leans against the maple tree, as if tired.

Always I am afraid I will disappoint her.

Let what does not serve go, she urges.

I stay under water as long as possible.

When I call her at 3 a.m. she listens.

I am breathless at each fold - each rustling - in her pale sari.

The breeze moves me deeper into the river.

Neither tears nor poetry move her.

Friday, July 19, 2013


She no longer visits in my dreams but waits by the bed for me to awaken.

First we tend to the chickens.

They are grateful and noisy, like cluttering hearts.

Then we fill feeders for the wild birds who watch from a distance.

She enjoys service to all things, stopping often to admire even a single clover.

She teaches me that the solution is inherent.

We practice to remember what is.

Names matter, she says, but not the way you think.

Form, too.

I point out the cardinal who waits in the honeysuckle.

To watch is to be attentive and takes longer than one thinks.

We clear the patio of a few leaves.

Go inside to make coffee.

The others sleep as the sun rises.

We lighten the coffee with almond milk and carry it out front.

Miles light up beneath the feet of those who are loved.

Who is loved is not a stranger unto God.

The maple tree blesses us as we walk slowly away toward the pond.

The hawkweed and sunflowers bless us.

Who merits the teaching goes wordless except - as now - as directed.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


We walk a little and I show her the garden.

She likes the marigolds because they remind her of India.

We sit beneath the front yard maple tree.

There is so much I want to say to her but don't.

We sit quietly.

A dragonfly settles on the gourd plant.

A milk snake scales the concrete stairs and rests in the hot sun.

Desire is not possible without an object, she says at last.

It is the belief that something external - anything - can fulfill you.

But what is of the world leads only to sorrow and then - at last - to death.

It is a law, she says.

Her voice is thin but strong and brooks no dissent.

Often when she speaks she studies her hands, which are gnarled with age, but always open.

Desire leads to craving, craving to disappointment and disappointment to yet more desire.

She asks me if I see how I am trapped.

So long as you remain yoked to the cycles of desire, you are bound to sorrow and death, she says.

A goldfinch passes and she gives a delighted cry.

I wrestle with what to say.

She seems to fall asleep but just as I am about to rise and leave her to her rest she raises her head with a small smile.

She says, even though happiness may at times be had in this world it is your sole duty now to seek only that in which there is no sorrow whatsoever.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I invite her in the afternoon.

Between shifting curtains, in breeze and sunlight, laundry.

Between trees, more trees.

Warblers sing.

Each note enters a space previously undefined.

How much there is to see when one no longer wishes to see!

Clouds move overhead like sacred cattle, borne by winds we cannot hear.

She pats the floor and I sit beside her.

In my mind I see a maple tree.

In my mind it is still spring.

Beyond the clouds is more space, and beyond space is what goes without ending.

Her smile is kind and sudden.

The kids come in with black raspberries and stories of a hawk.

Our voices carry, and something else carries too.

Her sari is red, she wears no shoes.

Dust from a thousand universes enters the body, swirls in a rapids, and exits purified.

The maple tree says, I was here when you were a little boy and watched you walking to school.

Why am I so sad and so afraid of tears?

That is why I am here, she says.

That is why we are here now, says the maple tree, leaning in closer.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


The new teacher approaches, so kindly that something rends inside me.

It is not me she wants - nor me she sees - and at last I am ready for that.

All afternoon on my knees peeling wallpaper off the bathroom walls.

All morning walking in the forest while the dog trots contentedly behind.

The bears come at 2 a.m. and are gone.

The stars shine for nobody in particular which at last is all I want.

She says to me, If you want God with all your heart, then the only book you need will be your heart.

I bow to the young sunflowers in the garden.

I polish the quartz in the garden.

She only turns to me when I ask, only teaches when I ask.

Slowly the many appetites of which I thought I was composed slip away.

Bee balm sways in the breeze and my fingers trail across the tops of the ferns.

One sees the bears all night without looking.

One sees the stars all night.

A corn husk, a rose petal and fox scat are the same.

She asks if I am ready now to surrender travel.

She tells me I am not a stranger.

In my dreams, many people come and go, a whole river of them searching.

She says: sit with me child, and I do.

I do.

A Certain Snake

The pond's edges grow dull without rain. Daisies lean toward the dirt as if defeated. In the distance, hawks circle. The same beer cans, day after day, rusty and otherwise. What matters and what does not and who will say?

A morning spent writing and later making phone calls. Mourning doves lament what? Part of the discipline is to simply do it - write - day after, day. Feelings are always less important than they imply. And so.

And so one returns to dictionaries from the early nineteenth century. Emily Dickinson's bible. In my dreams, I am invited to apply to leave the hospital where I am - clearly now - healed. Who sees me as separate must be let go. The trail turns, birch leaves flutter.

One cries out to the universe and is heard and answered: it is one movement. Read Eckhart before Merton and Merton before anybody else. Or so I say, leaning back, closing my eyes so the sun will not interfere with seeing. Time passes what? The question implies the answer the way a certain snake once swallowed its tail.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Not Unhealable

S. advised that when form grows comfortable, move away from it. As did B., very early in Vermont, when we shared an apple in a corner of the garden, joking we were Adam and Eve. Later she asked did I see her having babies and cried a little at no. What else?

Specificity gutters me. Learning new words is one thing, using them another. Unharvested rhubarb plants tower out back. Pigeons insist on something. Maps - old ones in particular - remain attractive.

One of the old chickens dies. The neighbor's party ends early and we dream of white flowers on slow-moving rivers. She comes in after midnight and we kiss with an urgency that is voluble. Touch follows and throughout, always, breath. Chickadees visit, and sparrows.

My love affair with the comma continues. Bolts of cumuli float gently overhead like unhurried cattle. Who is lovable is not unhealable. Summer passes without incident and also without funds. The way the poor touch in the dark is both lovely and grave.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

To Be Received After A While

They say there is a young lady.

There are certain seasons in some way or other invisible.

This great Being comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight.

She hardly expects to be received after a while where he is.

To be raised and caught up into heaven.

He loves her well to remain at a distance.

To be ravished with his love forever.

Favor and delight present all the world!

Before the richest of its treasures, she disregards it.

Unmindful of pain or affliction.

She has a strange sweetness in her mind.

Sweetness of uncommon purity in affections tempers most.

You could not persuade her thought wrong.

Sinful you would give her the world.

Lest wonderful sweetness manifest.

This great God, her mind.

She will go singing sweetly.

No one knows for what.

She loves the fields and mountains.

And someone invisible always conversing with her.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Study Rain and Strangers

Rain. And strangers. Also, marks in the dust where lessons were scratched. It is always question of welcome.

A question of letting go? One pulls the sleeping bag tighter, compassing both bodies, and still can't sleep. Warblers occupy a auditory space similar to owls. He doesn't reply, which hurts.

Yet some correspondence is designed to foster anguish. Wool socks in July? We circumnavigate the lake, our hands grazing, and the conversation returns often to Matthew. How do we keep the chickens safe from bears?

Who cares? Spare envelopes litter the dining room table. Denim meant something in those days, but now I can't say. Writing is rewriting, amongst other things.

Wild blackberries with cream for breakfast. Mice breed beneath old boards I never remember to move. Question want and satisfaction. Take notes, study.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Happy Boys

We play backgammon on the stone wall. Voices carry, some more than others, but that doesn't defeat the rule. K. rides by and introduces us to the verb "skunked." That's one way a day can unfold, a fine one. In another I don't forget the lettuce.

Sympathy for the Devil is a good song! We pause to watch turkey vultures circling and worry is it a fawn. Fresh cut grass, scent of lemons. Cats in the window make most people smile. Fear is predominant, particularly in those who think otherwise.

One grows tired of yet another quote and yet another sentence. Black beans, corn tortillas and cheap beer. Last night's fire was warm until noon. You have a way of removing your clothing that leaves me breathless. Elvis Presley understood one way guitars work, Carl Perkins a whole other.

My grandfather's walking stick is still propped in the corner. I remember the last time we took a piss together, off the back stairs at maybe 2 a.m. in winter, stone drunk and laughing so loud we woke Ma who came down to see her "happy boys." The song did not exist and then it did and I heard it and that was that. How tired I am! Sitting up night after night, trying as always to remember what to forget.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happiness Is A Filter

Rain cannot deter the catbirds from eating. Poetry books stacked too high eventually fall. And deep in the woods, I remember to pray.

Happiness is a filter, in a way. One moves lawn chairs in order to mow. I remember Albany, walking with you in winter, and the used bookstores in which we lingered without talking.

We circle the lake, catching up with an atheist we both know, her latest book. The way we do anything is the way we do everything. Change is the only constant is just another filter.

As are moose antlers. The luminous moss creeping along the north face of fallen pines. Fresh trout fried in almond butter and garlic, washed down with cold beer, while thunder rumbles not so distant.

Mistakes in print are harder to abjure. Open the bible to any page and be guided accordingly? We surrender too often - to the wrong parties - and we know it and so do they.

The motel in Vermont calls as always. The green mountains in which I was born before relocating south - certainly against my will. Family, too, is a decision.

Here and there one kneels. And here and there one sings.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Whispering Sound

So quiet at 5 a.m. I can hear the horse's tail swish. Mist settles. We are the details we notice, not the ones we write.

Yet I could not sleep and got up to walk and came back and leaned against the garage, exhausted and drained. Some writing is like that! And in the morning, still bleary, made muffins for the kids.

Some mornings are like that.

Certain walking sticks are as clear in my memory as walking itself. One sentence follows another. The movement of desire is forever backwards, even as we assume the opposite. Who sees truly, learns, and who learns teaches, effortlessly.

Coffee props the internal eyelids wide open briefly. Grackles worry the chickens. Two weeks ago a bald eagle sailed overhead, the sun bright on the feathers of its skull. M. calls and asks can we meet soon at the lake. Without geography, you're nowhere.

Nor does the Country of Tea have any maps. Turtles make a whispering sound surfacing. Fill bird feeders, clean dishes, gather recycling, rewrite more chapters, repeat. Words spill out like snowflakes and claim nothing but the joy of falling.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Relevant Satellite Has Passed

Near the brook, the dog growls at something - probably a raccoon. The underbrush rustles, going away. Many stars and no moon is one kind of lovely. And closer yet, fireflies.

Slowly the way out becomes clear. As does the nature - the need even - of resistance. Teachers arrive, dispense their lessons, and then go on. It's okay to cling, okay to let go.

The dog and I nap in the backyard, covered in dew. Take awakening seriously but nothing else. We make space in which to consider, space in which to learn. Beliefs matter, largely in order that we get beyond them.

I remember New York lakes from the late eighties. How we whispered kissing because sound travels. Poetry remains akin to everything. Cold black coffee at 4 a.m., listening to rabbits slipping through lettuce, hungry and intent in the impersonal field of perception.

A memory of anything is an image. And metaphor can only take you so far. How lonely we become, bent on a far light! Like an orbit when the relevant satellite has passed.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hunger Pleases Me

One wakes slowly from a dream of immigrants. Ice in the wrong season somewhat hidden. What appears to be a question of timing - of disclosure - is not. The artificial self feels - but is not - intrenchant. Thus this.

Blowsy clouds, the neighbor hollering for her dogs. Certain texts - you enter them - and they grow thin pretty quickly. "I like that you're married - I'm kind of into it." It's in the nature of alcohol, which if she knew - and understood - would make her sad. Manipulable context.

Sunlight on the barn's east-facing wall. Dawn finds me busy and not alone but wordy as always. Black coffee heavily sweetened as the breeze picks up. Exchange without play bores me and I am invested in play. And winning.

Oh let it all go! Goldenrod extends steadily up the backyard fence, a luminous green. One waits on him, one does. Hunger pleases me, mine and everyone else's. Hunting crumbs in the shadow of God's table.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Her Imaginary Monastery

Thunderheads build in the west, faint rumbles precedent. Berkshire County or possibly Albany. Alone, I gather laundry, and move the chicken feed back into the shed. She writes expansively to start but each sentence becomes more and more clipped as she gets closer to the heart of it. Bean plants tremble in the garden, the tomatoes lean into their just-hammered stakes.

When she gets like this, I wonder what she wants from anyone not cloistered in her imaginary monastery. It's not just writing, as a storm is not just thunder. I pour a tumbler of cheap whiskey - all I can afford this summer - and step out on the sinking flagstones to watch. I wouldn't mind her being here but wonder if in person she's a talker. Some people confuse spirituality with being worshiped.

Just fall into my arms, won't you? Or not. Swallows dive into the barn and don't come out, a sure sign at midday we're heading into a good one. I write what I can, which is all I've ever done, and somehow manage. I always defer to you, though that's perhaps only just getting clear.

Storms begin at a distance, then enter the space of which we are aware. Weather re-establishes the vital connection. The discipline is to do it - whatever you decide it is - regardless of how you feel. Sensing an opening, these twenty sentences sift out of me to travel west and a little north. Rain begins and I watch it happily, the only way I can.

Welcoming the Stranger

An unspoken behest to consider Mexico. Or playing in a city while nobody watched and the sky - that part of it that was visible - darkened. I do.

There are those to whom the red balloon speaks. Yet we earn nothing and too often forget that. To be attentive is to love and love and order are the same.

Strength and loneliness combine in the kisses of immigrants. Passion always measures our sense of loss. How often must one indulge what is apparently forbidden - and so often - first - in stairwells?

There is always after. Rabbits appear leisurely beneath the bridge and yet who knows them knows the degree of their awareness. Who is shy in one setting is not in another.

Perhaps this particular longing has to do with play in language? Or not belonging? There is an element of hunger in the deeper sense and also the power always inherent in welcoming the stranger.

The backyard rose bush darkens and sags. One makes a catalogue of kisses and rereads it often, happy as always with any attention. What goes unsaid goes purest perhaps.

I fumble speaking with you but other gestures come naturally and you are grateful and readily - instantly - reciprocal. We work at what passes for love and share the learning accordingly.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

After I Like

Memories of the Massey-Ferguson. I have never not had time to write. A rabbit scurries away, at last ducking into the Tipton's Weed, right beneath the crab apple. The generative impulse is God.

And birds sing, but we wake to Johnny Mathis in our heads. New sandals grate walking, heat rising off the pavement. There is never enough money and yet we manage it gracefully. Certain books of the bible grate too, so.

Certain fish hooks left fluttering in murky depths. I've killed more fish than anything else. The eggplant cooled while we talked about the skirt you're making. Tiger lilies and Fionnghuala's quiet insistence on - and devotion to - the image.

She entered the room naked and self-conscious and it was hard to say which moved me more. I've got to get back to the early sentences of Joyce's Portrait of the Artist. Try not choosing and see what happens. Your important arguments are always with yourself.

Mathis gives way to Dickinson, who appreciates a walk but knows you have to pay attention to old dogs. Tides, folds. It's after I like best, leaning into who you love, or loved. Who needs readers is not yet writing.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Brighter One

A bear - "a big 'un" as my grandfather used to say - crashed the underbrush and tousled briefly with the dog before going deeper into the forest. One does not see so much as sense. The invisible light is the brighter one which is one reason we fear it. And later, coming back, near the old homestead, hundreds of daisies in the bare light, nodding like blind seamstresses beyond likes and dislikes.

The robins sing first, then the warblers. I make fresh coffee and think about the mail, as I have since 1987, when she went to England. The best sex is looking forward to sex. I check the dog for injuries, and myself too, as you never know.

Complexity is usually a substitute for clarity. Rose petals litter the back lawn. You have to read but also write, and both more than you think. Plath's mushrooms, as always, inspire.

While earlier yet, pissing in the ferns and thinking about Emily Dickinson (again), I smiled thinking of her last wishes with respect to her life's work. Carson's revision of Sappho remains essential for one who wants to "get to the heart of it." The moon is golden on the horizon, just ahead of the sun. D. knows I walk at this hour and is often on his porch, waiting.

Writers, like truckers, depend on routine. My infidelities are not crimes so much as incidents of broken in the presence of those who want to heal but can't. Everybody does what they think they have to, and that is the problem really. One writes, one does.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Slow Kisses of Yes

A warbler begins as she goes down on me and I can't decide what to focus on. We are always torn, always divided. The side of the barn lights up as the sun rises. There are gaps everywhere. She whispers there, she tells me things.

As earlier, I followed the brook beneath starlight, a kind of forgetting. The dog hesitates cresting the ridge, perhaps sensing bear. I am always sifting a woman's hair, always whispering back. The loveliness offered is never enough yet I never say no. Near the end we swell and sense only what is hot, only what is wet.

And forget the song? The warbler leaves and I raise my eyes. Her knees slide up the sheet and she crouches, finishing. Who calls is answered. A point comes when one can no longer wait and so surrenders, filling the one who receives.

No soft moan is like another. Who lingers, pleases, and comes after amid the slow kisses of yes. Our bodies declare themselves then settle, and something else enters. Need? I enter you wanting, even at a distance.

Calling Yourself A Phoenix

The day passes, somewhat like the long piece of writing with which I am engaged. Yet not without clarity. The thought near midnight was to share though by morning the urge had passed. Good readers are hard to find.

Luminous green of the peas, muddy petals of garden marigold. We bear the rain. Dream of going further North, possibly with a companion, possibly alone. I long to provide answers but people so rarely inquire.

So the evening passes as well. Spats of rain, unfamiliar cats studying the feeders. The ferns this summer reach nearly to the windows. I know that you can never love me that way but still.

When we do not give expression to our pain, it doubles down on us. Lifetimes pass in an hour. I keep writing, even to the ones who have closed the door, and lit certain fires. All day writing and rewriting and thinking on writing . . .

Who makes us beg for crumbs is neither a lover nor a friend. Reciprocity matters, as does balance. We are always talking to ourselves, saying, yes, you. Cold wintry you, calling yourself a phoenix.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Not A Gap But A Continuation

One writes but does not - for once - question the impulse to write. Sleep is not a gap but a continuation. Most metaphors eventually decay. We explore each fold, discover the next, and explore that one too.

The one who is articulate injures silence. Is that true? Yet there are moments when we do feel as if we could slip the coil and end suffering. It does have to do with language, which is a symbol that facilitates communication, by which we live, or seem to.

You see? She walks away and you let her go, as others have done for you. The numinous greens of summer everywhere. Who credits the rain, forgets the sky.

The twenty sentences began as an exercise: in getting to writing, in learning writing, in being stubborn about writing, in personal writing, and now what? The dog waits impatiently for me to finish. Frank O'Hara has a lot to lament, but a lot to be thankful for too, as I am for him, always. Again with the expensive cigarettes!

Well, I carry my coffee down to the road and pretend to study the clover there. I can see a little over one mile south to where a couple of deer are picking slowly back toward their glade. It passes, life does, or it seems to. We bind ourselves up - thusly - and go on.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Those That Enter Me

She asks after the dog, which matters. As always I refuse to be tired. As always I invest in liquids - those I enter, those that enter me. You do what you have to do. Mostly.

Yes, later, the lake. Yesterday I held a woman's hand while she cried, saying that she doesn't feel she's "one mind." Babies die at one, two days, and we want to meet them years later. I remember leaping in certain barns, I remember kisses after the sun set. The beautiful ones settle for longing, while the broken push on towards atonement.

The bear perched perfectly on the stone wall and looked back at me. The moon is always falling somewhere. One gushes, one swallows, and the world is remade accordingly. The man without shoes doesn't own a watch. Be not afraid indeed.

Be a knot, a braid. My fingers are always trailing through some woman's hair. This table sustains me while the sentences sustain a reader in Paris. Who gives me nothing may yet. We are susceptible to love, to subtlety, to this.

Born Stumbling

And so the night passes. I end up howling with bears somewhere below the old pasture. Owls are amused when I imitate them - and chickadees confused - but the bears always go silent and pull away. Oh well.

Somewhere around three a.m., Chrisoula comes out and moves the bottle away from me and touches my hand and doesn't speak. It's hard when you can't see any stars. My God, do the dead ever leave us? People are always asking me how to write.

The dog crawls out from under the lilac bush at the sight of her. Sentences hover just out of reach. He was so drunk he couldn't find the pond but only wandered in circles, bumping into pines and tripping over rocks. I slurred a sorry thank you to whoever it was got me home.

It happens but rarely. Sometimes you have to get in your car and just drive. She calls after many weeks apart and asks if we can talk. Poetry books stacked higher than my bureau slip over, notes spill.

Even hungover, I'm up before most anyone. Hot coffee and a few hits of P.'s cigarette, admiring his new front loader. I was born stumbling. Was born broken, longing for atonement.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Never Static Nor Capable of Containment

When we consent to sorrow, the road before us lengthens. Grace, like dawn, is faint at first but brightens. And who leads us only seems to go before.

Strawberry season empties itself into white ceramic bowls. Gifts are never static nor capable of containment. We eat quietly, grateful for the company of those who prepare a way out, and only later include them in prayer.

Yet the sky clears and the rain passes. Cardinals pause on the back fence, then flutter out to the feeder. Who hefts a camera must soon lower it, understanding at last the futility of the image.

The voice is intimate: and tender. Who reads to us blesses our sleep, or would if we asked. What we see is only real because we believe it is: this is the first law, and the only one we need to learn.

Meanwhile, the interior valley darkens. Word of you comes and we bless the envelope, confused as always about the difference between purpose and meaning. Folds and refolds: and no center from which to observe it.

The body aches and reassembles into something less contingent. Effort remains bound to her bony zero. It's like writing, in a way, except it's not.

One studies the map for hours - goes away and comes back - , wondering what will work and what will not going forward. The sun rises and falls, rises and falls, and we go on the way we do: waiting, expectant.