Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Proper Role of Parenthesis

Morning breaks, a slow seeping of yolk and albumen, mountains like cut stone against brightening skies, and moments later, the raucous scraw of blue jays. Three cups of coffee, a brisk walk up and down Main Street at 4 a.m., and the ability - subsequent, apparently - to say "oh" without drama. You were always a mystery until I allowed for the possibility of actually meeting you, and then you settled into something familiar to which even the idea of clinging did not apply. Or is it that afterthoughts arise as secrets, or are we yet confused about the proper role of parenthesis? Writing that, that way, is a way of writing about my father's grave, which is too far away for worship, which is to say, for any useful contextualization, which is to say, some "we" somewhere is going to have to come up with a better definition of holiness. What works? Who will say? As years pass, selves pass, as passing passes. There is always a particular prayer, as there is always a memory of dogs going away to die, as there is always a quarter moon slipping into the jagged maw of southwestern treelines, a fleck of mica spilling downhill in late winter runoff. One cries out a little coming. "There are no kings" is the end of kings but the old stories still beg to be told, as if some story somewhere can't find an acceptable conclusion. Autonomy ends, say our mouths, if they say anything at all. Hymns, fairy tales, poems, psychologisms. Love letters, ransom notes. Somewhere far away the inspired transgressive slips over the wall of his monastery and instantly transforms into a mendicant teacher confused about boundaries. All hail the available light! And also the requisite shadows. Who will remember the spiraling yellow maple leaves? I mean really and truly bolster those still consumed with this or that bank of the one river? Who will sing - in days and nights as bloody and cold as these - for those who have ears to hear?

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