The Rest of Us Have Suffered In Translation

Does the sea get angry? The night when it’s here gives no sign of leaving and yet. Withered forsythia, open garbage bags, and roads I won’t walk in a thousand times a thousand years.

The point in a sense is space but not too much space. The sentence occupies time and space, as do words, yet the meaning to which they collectively point, apparently, does not. When in Rome.

When I was in Rome it was hot and I at a stale cheese sandwich and decided abruptly to leave for Ireland. Patting invisible dogs while walking alone pretty much sums it up. In the distance cows graze and yet another farm struggles to define itself in a more or less farmless world.

Outside a little after 3 a.m. to pee and maybe walk to the river but it’s cold and no stars. Faced with a noose one turns to peer instead into shadows which at least imply light. Everybody likes the surface, and everybody knows it.

Washed down with coffee, followed by cigarettes, and an old man bumming one, easy enough to do despite no shared language. Turn the other cheek hasn’t worked so well but what can you do. Lilies like the rest of us have suffered in translation.

Oh the many aches in my back and gut, the teeth slowly rotting and slipping, and a sweet dream at night of beds of grass on which to sleep. Broken wagon wheels, displaced bee hives and thou. Nobody asked for this and yet here it is, precisely.

More tea, just to be clear. You and me, not so much.

Categorized as Sentences

Distant, Mysterious, Nonexistent Even

The cardinal only matters if you say it does – the red flash between budding maples, the vivid reminder of what is missing but not gone – what is never gone but here – but what really matters is the underlying belief in mattering.

One aims now for sustained attention, attention given to the granular, the blade of grass, the sparrow’s wing – not the wasp nor the wasp’s shadow but that perception underlying both.

Study engines, all of them.

My philosophical doh-si-doh is your finger trailing down your lover’s spine, his shiver, moan, his falling over into blankets, tangles, where you take him just so.

No other, no words but does the opposite follow: no words, no other?

I don’t want to write about visitors and travelers, because it suggests I’m not finished studying a particular error which really really means it may not be an error but a correction and then what.

It’s all worth looking at but what’s really worth looking at is the underlying idea that there is that which is more worth looking at.

Slowly – gratefully even – one goes back to seeing just birds, just trees, just flowers and things.

Perception is part of the problem but there really isn’t a problem outside of perception.

On the back porch one is not alarmed by not writing, hour after hour, day after day, for there is always reading, which is simply writing another way.

Ah but he once wrote that her shoulder resembled the moon – the waning gibbous sinking westward like the last note of an old country song about love – and what was that really but a plea to see her naked.

Rivers, always rivers.

The external landscape shifts but rarely does so dramatically, even as the interior becomes beautifully – unbearably even – radiant.

Sit quietly by and let it all be, which it always does be anyway.

Another batch of clover insisting the particular is yet relevant even as the one with whom to share it remains distant, mysterious, nonexistent even.

Poor Buddha, poor Jesus.

The mail comes, insisting as always one study the mechanics of expectation through a lens of disappointment.

Don’t wait on my invitation but simply visit and we’ll see what happens even if what happens is that nothing happens, or something else happens.

Reading on the landing listening to voices downstairs and remembering – if that is the word – Emily Dickinson.

The first time I heard the phrase “turn the other cheek” I was a child and thought it meant being kissed by your grandmother twice which seemed mildly annoying and an odd thing for the son of God Himself to be concerned with.

Categorized as Sentences

A Moment of Brief Ecstasy

Getting naked is oddly complicated, considering. Morning coffee out by the forsythia bush nobody’s trimmed in at least five years. The chickens know one thing I can do and see me thusly. 

The Christmas tree appears to rust, turns the color of certain fallen leaves anyway, and one remembers then how happy goats are when you throw this or that into their pen. All the ways this life is pine. And the sound of the river is the only sound when that’s the sound I am hearing. 
“I’m tired of words,” she says, by which she means putting them into coherent sentences in an effort to make sense of our relationship which is vexed in no small part by my habit of putting words into coherent sentences without putting a lot of thought into the needs and desires of who’s on the receiving end of them which is a form of incoherence which is probably her point come to think of it. This obsession with shoes ends a little shy of visiting Toronto. Listening is a form of giving the apparent other the benefit of the doubt. 
There’s work and there’s work, apparently. When you trace the self backwards you end up at a moment of brief ecstasy made possible by other moments of brief ecstasy, an infinite regression that quickly becomes boring because of how it’s at odds with history. Christmas decorations come down but Easter’s tend to linger, perhaps because we love Spring so much, or maybe aren’t sufficiently enamored yet of rabbits.
Who reads Dickinson and still thinks about a career as a poet has not yet read Dickinson which isn’t as big a problem as a certain idiot used to routinely say it was. At last a landing, at last an attic, and at last a second floor. Thank you, Buddha, for bearing this projection of discipline but one is ready now to take it back.
Ascutney, always Ascutney. The pear tree’s intention scuttled by apple trees, by some well-intentioned asshole’s bad decision to plant it too damn close to them. You want to say sorry to the bees but the bees are so far past that, which is a lesson for when you’re ready to go past lessons. 
 Thus our habit of reading Ecclesiastes every few years, thus our collection of old cookbooks. Making tea in the dark, knowing how, gratefully.
Categorized as Sentences

A Way of Thinking about Distance

Mist tracks the river, or seems to, being more a reflection of ambient temperature. After dusk we pause to watch geese appear to emerge from the dark hill – like parts of the hill with wings and a hoarse cry – aiming for the still-flooded corn fields. Religion is a form of marketing. You aren’t as interested in criticizing Margaret Mead’s seminal work as one might have expected which is oddly titillating.

I fucked up with the bees, two years running, yet there are bees. The neighbor is teaching her lamb to stand just so in anticipation of late summer fairs, another sweetness I can’t help loving to unbearable degrees. Distance begets a way of thinking about distance that corresponds to distance, more or less. You are there: There you are: Are you there: but so rarely there are you.

In other words. In these words one is grateful to be nearer Forsythia than previously, all that yellow being an intimate expression of gratitude, a kind of going down on what comes up just because. She putters with old furniture and older tools thinking God knows what about who watches. This is a rehearsal, a recital, redounding.

“It must be cold up there,” he said, studying the starlit sky, which I took briefly wrongly to refer to my skull, which was angled such that I could study him studying stars. Back again! My father’s corn cob pipes – just two or three of them – encountered while scrounging the attic for the old bible in which my mother drew faces as a little girl. My habit of stopping to stoop and study clover tries everybody’s patience so maybe I am really studying patience or others.

You can’t really say rain is “for” anything but since when was talking about being right or accurate? Another old New England cemetery, another tangle of stories in which to hide one’s fear of living. The blue jay is not whole but a fragment is a way of looking at things that may or may not be helpful because it happens to be true. How crowded making love is, when one thinks about everything and everyone that brought us here!

Categorized as Sentences

Always Touching Eternity

It’s too dark to see the pigs but I walk that far anyway. Who mowed here last or my feet only remembering the sea? Clouds move quickly south, somewhat like the river, silent. Reference points matter, of which I is one.

In what way are bees related to romance? The camera delivers yellow in a permanent way, or so one argues on the drive home without actually saying it. Farms are not coming and going but going but farming is not going. You listen for the wind that moves them because it is a way of orienting.

Disorienting? The way we write it matters though generally differently than we first thought. My wife doesn’t read what I write, which as time passes, matters more. Or maybe I incline to darkening, dramatically.

Subtly inclined! But also bearing cameras through felty fields in order to remember. We are always touching eternity, which is the essence of wanting more. I desire you see?

You kneel. Thou art what poem uttered what way and by whom? They grunt a little in their plastic cave faintly visible in moisty dark and briefly I ponder liberating them. You aren’t mine either.

Categorized as Sentences