Thursday, August 14, 2014

All My Days A Wordy Slippage

The lake pulls me into something I barely understand, as dogs demand I learn yet more about forgiveness, both implying depths I have never not drowned in.

Wine through afternoon and after midnight: that bleary stumble, that ancestral blessing, that cry-that-is-not-a-cry-but-something-harsher: and no fucking other.

In a dream I recall her phone number and all day wonder who would answer if I called.

"That forest ain't going to clear itself, son."

The first leaves on the maple trees are turning and I ask again: what have I become that I should be so lonely and dangerous beside her?

I cannot face what is broken in me, in part because my brokenness is what does the looking.

Kicking through shallows at dusk, aware of those who think I am already too distant, even damaged, but ready to go deeper, as I decided a long time ago you have to be.

The answer, in part, must be: a man who sold his chainsaw in order to hear better chickadees while working in the forest.

Should Christ call me brother and the band be willing I will waltz with her into the clear dark of midnight and beyond.

There is a clearing I am working on where I intend to lay you down and discover what no path has yet revealed to either of us.

Grace forever underfoot, hence my habit of looking mostly down.

Oh you eighteen wheelers singing your sad traveling songs on Route 112, how many petals of the fettered Christian soul have you scattered to get where you are?

Deadheads, hummingbirds, a dented mail box.

And suddenly a photograph in which I am - not unsurprisingly - more interested in the tree than the woman who chose it for a visible perch.

A burning intends to claim me - soon enough will - and for once I am not terrified but accept that going is not going but something else, cleaner and hardly permanent.

All my mornings are lonesome and all my days a wordy slippage of boys-don't-cry.

I lost my eyes a quarter century ago in the kind of crash you don't talk about and only now am starting to wonder when I might consent to see again.

That damn cricket under the window wouldn't leave until at last I said "okay, fine, Jesus Christ" and got up and wrote the sad stuff, the really sad stuff you can't share except with the ones who are gone, who are gone and aren't coming back.

Slicing Tomatoes While Drunk is the title of today's mini-memoir while yesterday's was I'm Glad I No Longer Punch Complete Strangers In The Face But Still.

I mean don't fake it, don't call it a prayer, just rest your head on the glass and whisper the Name again and again, again.


  1. "I cannot face what is broken in me, in part because my brokenness is what does the looking."
    Wow! You have my attention. When I awoke this morning, one eye still glued with the dream of jealousy...I asked the Holy Spirit to be in charge today as I do every day. I stumbled upon you for the second time. I wanted a bit more on, "To have peace, teach peace to learn it." Now I have this poem to share with my partner and you too share with her as well. Thank you for being here. You are! I will continue to visit your site and remember to forgive it as well.

  2. Thank you Priscilla - I am grateful you are here, reading and sharing. Forgiveness is never not welcome!


  3. I read this post on Friday.

    I found it easier to comment on the post prior to it - the one where you and your family are pictured all together.

    Still I want to say something, something kind and encouraging, but the words don't come.

    Just know these raw posts serve a purpose too. Often times it initiates a conversation with those who have past on in my life too.

    Peace and Love,

  4. Thanks, Annie.

    It's funny - I think of the 20 sentences and the ACIM posts as separate projects, even though they share a site and, in some sense, a similar goal. The ACIM posts are always intellectual, mostly, in the sense that I am trying to clarify for myself some idea or aspect of the course.

    But the 20 sentences are always about a feeling - like groping one's way through a dark hall in search of a door you are pretty sure is there. I say sometimes that the hard part of ACIM is allowing oneself to look at the blocks to love - because that looking, with the Holy Spirit, with the Right Mind, the healed mind, is what undoes them.

    I often feel like the twenty sentences are what allow my blocks to show up - sometimes subtly, sometimes blatantly. The looking, for me, is in the writing - letting the sentences come up, trusting that the feeling - whether it's anger or desire to prayerfulness or whatever - will take me as far as I am ready to go in the direction of Love . . . by the time I publish them on the website, they are pretty much calcified . . .

    But it is interesting still to share them, and in particular to learn how others read and what they see in them. I appreciate your kind words but it's okay to dislike something too and even tell me that!

    I'm glad you're up for a walk to the Santa Monica Beach! I just learned that Bob Dylan may (or may not) own a coffee shop in that area so I'll have to visit that en route.


  5. Oh Annie, as a devoted reader of Sean's course writing and someone who wonders her way through the unexpected landscape of the 20 sentences (I love them), I so get what you are saying here. I am in complete agreement with you.

    So I guess it's about me, too. :)

    And I am also in my 50s, although closer to the other end ... but, hey, age is just another subset of time, which makes them both illusory and thus, irrelevant.

    It's so nice to meet you here.


  6. Thank you, Annie. I appreciate hearing all that. I guess the other thing about the 20 sentences - which is generally good practice around writing generally - is that they are always fun and interesting, just as writing projects. I trust that writing - any activity - where the sense of a self doing it fades or dissipates and you are left only with the pure action. Relatively pure. It's a balancing act, for sure.

    I suck at grammar! Mostly I get by on memory but also on keeping in mind that the point of it is to faciliate readability or access. I'll put a comma anywhere I want a reader to slow down . . . Gertrude Stein was a great teacher in that regard (Stein's essay in that link - not so much Goldsmith's reworking, though that is fun too, in its way).

    Oh, I don't think any comments are unwelcome, really . . .

    re: Dylan's coffee house. I don't know! I was reading an essay the other day and it mentioned the rumor that Dylan owns a coffee shop in Santa Monica - a big painting behind the counter likely done by him, no wifi, and so forth. It sounded fascinating. Check it out and let me know! If it is, you can steal me a coffee mug . . .


  7. This is kind of a hijack of your comment to Annie but . . . I have been thinking about this lately - this age thing - in relation to Krishnamurti's comment (in one of his dialogues with Bohm) that he does not believe in psychological evolution, in becoming. It's odd because I feel that I am wiser (more patient, gentle, etc) than I was ten years ago (and let's not even get into my twenties), and so I look forward to my fifties (I'm 47) and beyond because it is my sense that there is this becoming, this movement away from inattentiveness, selfishness, etc . . . but Krishnamurti and Bohm were not fools and so I am giving attention to this question, asking is it possible and so forth. Change in chronological time vs. psychological time . . .

  8. I've thought about what you're saying relative to age, Sean. From my own experience, I, too, have grown calmer and wiser, more patient and less fearful, yes. But, in many ways, as I open to "being this familiar essence," I am more connected to everything, more "in the energy" of my younger self, my childhood. So much of the time in between was spent satisfying needs and desires -- ones we are taught to have -- to support myself, to find a lover then a husband, to raise a family, to figure out what the world wanted from me more so than what I wanted from it, to somehow make some indelible mark; that whole impossible leave a permanent contribution to the impermanent physical world. There was all this exhausting, exhilarating "becoming," but never quite getting there.

    It's like we are born with wings, that we do indeed "wonder" our way through our early years, and depending upon so many variables, we gradually (or quickly) forget we have them. Until, again I can speak only for myself, I couldn't anymore. It wasn't that I suddenly wanted freedom, it was this soul or spirit, this "whatever I am in truth" had to break through. IT HAD TO.

    And, for me, this happened right around age 50. Who knows why? I had been a people-pleasing, rule follower much of my life, so maybe that explains some of it. But I finally saw quite clearly -- after nearly going crazy -- that none of the roles I had assumed fit anymore. And now I feel young again, kind of ageless, really. So, in a felt sense, it is less of a becoming and more of a letting go, of stepping out of the layers of the ego self that formed around me over the years.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the little knobs of wings sprouting along my shoulders any day now :)

    (But I am attending my 40th high school reunion next weekend, so we shall see, won't we?)

    Thanks for this thought .... I enjoyed contemplating it.


  9. OMG the Gertrude Stein link - Hilarious!
    thank you for that (:

    I am on the case re: Dylan's coffee house.
    I read a few Yelp reviews and there was one that mentioned the coffee shop closes down for an extended period of time each year and that to him was a sign that it was owned by someone who doesn't operate it for any financial incentive. That seems plausible but I will need more info than speculation.

    Either way, getting a coffee mug sounds like a must.
    Positively 18th street..on the list of must see.

  10. Cheryl,

    It is your commenting that has allowed me to join in and post my gratitude to Sean as well. So I must thank you for that. I still have many articles to catch up on and I can see you have been a loyal follower. Often you quote and touch on the very sentences that touched me.

    It is so nice to make your acquaintance and your gravatar is adorable :)

    How is your daughter by the way? The organization that she worked for lost their leader in that terrible crash. Is she still living in Texas?

    I look forward to you comments and contributions and I thank you for making me feel welcomed.

  11. Hey Again Annie,

    Your presence and willingness to share and be vulnerable also opens the door a little wider for me. You are appreciated. I have found that in sharing here -- particularly when I am speaking from the heart without getting caught up in whether I "get" something in the way Sean or you or someone else intended -- I learn so much, and in learning, grow and in growing, learn. It's a communion with others and with self. (One of my ACIM friends would say, at this point, "Of course it is. There is only One of us here." :)

    You are so kind to ask about my daughter. After a little over six months in Austin and regrouping after the loss, Jessie finally seems to be settling in and opening to all the city has to offer. I am grateful.

    Hope you are having a wonderful day (as it begins there). Here in southern Virginia it is a breezy 75 -- such a gift for August.