Thursday, December 31, 2020

Like That But Not Exactly

Sleigh bells. Ancestors. 

Songs about her shoulders.

Families of spices.

Cake tins, salt shakers, saddle soap.

I remember auction houses as a child, going through boxes of books and choosing the ones I wanted, favorites, which my mother would always bid on, a beautiful complex memory she insists never happened. 

I want you in the barn on the hay, I want you with the horses, teaching us all how to see again. So I cry when I kiss, so what.

The river unfreezes and white stones at its bottom glisten in the rainy dawn of late December. How far we go to speak of love! How we open, book-like, allowing the other to read us closely at last, consenting at last to textual healing.

We were lost a long time, and then we were found, and are obligated unto each other thusly. After days shoveling and sleeping on the floor my back hurts too much to kneel and tie my shoes and so I don't.

It's like that but not exactly.

But what falls apart reassembles and our dream softens and loosens its hold, and what is born does not die, and what can die was never born. Apples by Roger Yepsen, at which point the marriage acquired its non-negotiable unmovable Polaris.

Say yes again. Say yes at all.

Yesterday and the day before and the day before that. And you: always you always loving me, in ways I did not know I was allowed to be loved. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Something Closer to Anodyne

Christmas morning I write to Justine and read what I've written, and eventually cull four paragraphs totaling almost two thousand words about what I have learned about Love in, through and with her, and send something closer to anodyne, being cautious, insecure, careful, et cetera. We get greedy, we get presumptuous, and we end being the wrong person's truth and way and life and what can be done about it at this late and getting later juncture? Jasper offers to come by with his Bobcat and knock down a couple of stumps, which I notice is not okay with me because the stumps function as symbols of my unworthiness and being unworthy is still valuable (I know who could help but do I know how to let them help) and when I tell him this he laughs and says, "when you're ready, brother." Gun shots a little after dusk, end of deer season. There are prayers we don't notice we pray, and there are loves who teach us a new way of praying that is noticing itself. From the Letter of James, a helpful reference to "the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." Going out in heavy rain to check on the horses, who stand still and silent in the late December downpour, gazing at me where I stand in wet snow, thinking all the thoughts I think and all the feelings I feel when I balance so precariously (I wanted to write preciously) on the brink of healing, the beginning of relationship, the meeting of East and West, et cetera. Rebirth is death and death is not a thing of which we ought be either frightened or ashamed. I don't want to write another sentence without her by my side but nobody ever asked me what I wanted. Oh you who are the desert's end, my earthly delight and spiritual bower, be with me in the flesh, and build with me our bed. Om Shanti, Om Shanti, Amen.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Eyes of a Blind Horse

David Gilmour's second solo in Comfortably Numb. "Authority forgets a dying King" and other lines of Tennyson's that I've wondered about over the years. Shall we make it a threesome then?

Shoveling slower in my fifties but still happy to shovel. I remember drunk, I remember how it hurt after, looking at my hands and knowing what they'd done. A sliver of Lake Champlain forever in the mind.

How does one see through the eyes of a blind horse and yet in another sense, how does one see at all, if not through the eyes of a blind horse? Waxing gibbous moon high over the barn, soft in the hours before the snow starts. You close the bedroom door behind you, you pause and then remove your shirt before coming to bed.

Reading Tolkien in trees in my early teens. A blow is coming, I know it, I cannot adequately prepare for it, and yet. We "get right" with the Lord, we "get right" with our God and our wife, we vote the party line and we keep our rifles ready.

Dad making jokes I couldn't laugh at and how that hurt him so that when I did laugh in attempt at rectification it was as if I were laughing at his hurt (which only made everything worse) and at a late juncture I wonder if in fact I was. Rain in December and other anomalies. Everyone's in a rush to tell me what the fluorescent telepathic octopus signifies but I already know: he's a psychic manifestation of the Holy Spirit, itself a psychic manifestation of the impersonal intelligence that is not of - but creates - self. 

When you listen to my lies, when you listen to me sing. Whispering your name before coming, feeling your arms tighten around my shoulders. This was always the only choice, you see?

I carry the dead sparrow far from the back porch, laying it gently down beneath hemlocks nobody visits, and do not pray, for is not all I have done to this juncture a prayer? Your hair, the sun on your face.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Muttering the Luciferian Prayer

When you still think you need to be forgiven.

When you have nothing. 

When broken.

Unbottled. Blue lights in which our breathing softens until it nearly stops, letting us feel again the loveliness of what we are in Truth.

Not this. Not this.

Not this.

Love washing over us, wave upon beautiful wave, until even the idea of sin dissolves and is gone forever.

Her drive with her family to a place I am which I bless happily in prayerful huddle with Jesus who makes me smile, makes me laugh, makes me so happy I bless everyone without thinking, even Kent who I hate because he knows her in the many ways I cannot and never will.

Properly understood, dialogue has neither an end nor a beginning nor a middle.

Lost in a bologna sandwich of my own making.

The way you say anything matters more than what you say.

Last of the whiskey blackouts, last time stumbling in darkness up a rushing river, last time thinking about guns and ends and who saves who and how.

Last time muttering the Luciferian prayer.

My heart, that twice-concussed and born again hummingbird. Seeing her mother in how she holds the saxophone and brings forth the art, and grateful beyond measure in ways that cannot be expressed. 

What is beyond repair, what is beyond caring, and what is beyond what is beyond what is given me to share with you.

Raising the dead with her, praying in back alleys with her, feeding the poor with her.

Other in her, undone in her.  

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Our Small Fire's Reach

It was Saturday long ago, and I was thinking about long-dead dogs, and the way that Christmas carols have affected how I think about Jesus.

Coming down the hill on Route 143 in the 1970s, a million stars floating in the darkness itself floating high overhead, just grazing the line of distant hills I did not then consider either distant or an impediment.

Ways in which we are antagonists.

Shaking angels in her, loving how the light in her changes, letting it be hers then mine then ours, and being saved thusly.

Driving to Burgy, parking on the north side of 143, and wading through banks of snow to reach the land my father gave me. 

Little brooks pushing through mounds of fallen snow which if you kneel and gaze into are decorated with sky and towering pine trees.

As if kissing her one day were actually a choice.

Morning passes writing.

Jesus going out into the desert, and how that narrative image integrates into a broader narrative of consequence and salvation, and how two thousand years later I understand being lonely and inquisitive differently accordingly.

How happy John Lennon was from time to time!

Closer please.

Drinking again in the basement, whiskey like water, painting furiously, and when Chrisoula comes down to say in a scared voice "please stop," not knowing how to stop and so going deep into the forest before dawn to cry out for help in the voice that God has never not heard and being heard and being held, being helped.

Saying goodbye in hospitals.

A dim light the day after Solstice, a sort of softness that feels unwelcome, as if my heart were trying to reach me across a great distance, one that I am not yet ready to stop insisting on.

What falls apart does not actually but the dogs are still dead, their graves still asking me to come and rake them, come and kneel and pray to the bones beneath them, so . . .

Always pointing at Worthington, any Worthington.

My love the question is not who we choose nor why we choose them but rather how we choose, which reflects our deeper understanding that choice is an illusion, nothing can be lost, and all that can be given us was given us forever in Creation.

Heart as compass, soul as map, gut as weary traveler.

Healers who stay, healers who leave, healers who as yet are waiting in the dark beyond the our small fire's reach.

All this happened in a happy dream, a long time ago.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

We Continue on the Road to Bethlehem

Behind Blue Eyes echoing in my brain this morning, the one Townshend released on Scoop. Pushing back on what's familiar, easy. In the hemlock trees, blue jays cry out, and my dead grandfathers turn in their graves, trying to get comfortable. We are not what we drink but what we love, and our bodies are always angling for the river's far side.

Helping the neighbors with their trash and recycling, noticing empty Campbell Soup cans, and remembering aspects of childhood that you thought were gone. Snow crunching underfoot, the waning moon an afterthought in western skies the color of the inside of a clam shell.

The minutes pass like notes from hand bells and I marvel as always at Christmas carols and harmony in general. Something has passed us by yet what remains will never leave.

She gasps when I enter, shifts her body, which shifts mine in turn, and then we make love slowly, patiently, as if something other than sex was being brought forth. Barely-plowed roads, one truck wide. Moose holes in winter, wild turkeys in the bare maple trees gazing at us as we pass. Where once the heart broke, now the heart is fire.

Dishonesty as a form of disguise in contexts where another disguise would be more helpful. Enlightenment talk slowly winding down. We move snow in still cold, not talking, the marriage moving into a place language doesn't need to go. Sugar cookies, fudge, homemade soap and candles. Will you sing when I pass, will you talk in your sleep.

We rise and stretch, we continue on the road to Bethlehem, our arms full of emptiness, our hearts full of joy.

Let your little light shine. I cry a little saying goodbye, wishing another way were already here, being not quite ready yet to let this broke old body let go. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Remember the Door Opening

There does not seem to be a middle. Whose birthday is today? A gold dress, a matching bra.

What is this memory or am I just playing yet another trick on a self that can't let go.

Finger-painting. Balls rolling down hill. Leaning against a maple tree and reading aloud, unaware that a great moment of my life was unfolding and would not return again.

After horse chores, breakfast, and after breakfast getting broth started, and after getting broth started, coffee and writing in the hay loft.

The body refuses another breath but this is not the end. We all want something. 

Fortune-tellers. A woman who made him coffee when he was young, not yet a man, and how he has never forgotten her and even now - decades and two countries later - still talks about her. Writing blocks as a form of not wanting to find out what the blocks to love are.

The blind horse staggering away from the fence. Blue light that hides in the snow. 

I give up, I surrender, okay. Remember newspapers rattling over coffee, remember the door opening and closing, remember hearing Bob Dylan's Wedding Song for the first time, remember writing poems in notebooks. 

Remember being happy. Cardinals rarely seen this high up in the hemlocks. Jacking off, getting it over with, moving on, om shanti.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Conjuring Yet Another Mystery

Luminous tides are the heart another way. If it's nearly Christmas Eve then it's also nearly what? The culture lives in us as we live in the culture. Loons cried out in the distance and I turned somersaults in the middle of the lake while on the faraway shore she felt the loneliness of the marriage starting to acquire a Sean-like hue. There is no hurt is a hard lesson to finally grasp but I didn't make the path or establish the curriculum. Frost flowers blossoming make me happy to linger. One goes down a certain way and upon rising meets a new lover and so begins again. My salty tongue, my flowery throat, my night-strewn gut conjuring yet another mystery. Context is the problem not the solution. These untied shoes and unzipped jeans signifying a similarly rank insistence on mythology. Psilocybin mocks not the Lord but our middling conception of holiness and thus emphasizes the proper posture of humility and gratitude. I mean I'm here, right? As in an anonymous motel room once we made love in sorrow a last time knowing the price we were both about to pay and for the life of me Denise I couldn't find it again if I tried and I want to, I want to, I do.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

All the Shades of Blue

Honesty. Clearing ground in late fall, stumps jutting up from wind-blown snow just shy of Christmas, and a sense one is neither missing nor not missing a thing. Blue jays in the hemlocks.

Steam rising off coffee, maple trees on the hill blurred by frosty limbs, and a sense that - but wait.


My son working beside me, quiet because it's morning, and my heart folding and unfolding like a living but mute creature that can only express itself through dance.

I feel a rebirth behind my shoulders, something coming through me now like an avalanche or a jet.

I remember as a child cataloging all the shades of blue and knowing that doing so was the beginning of a mystery that I wouldn't solve until well into my fifties.

I'm exhausted by all the thinking and rethinking, planning and executing, related to sex, as if my attention has been misdirected all these years, gazing at a surface I am meant not to graze but integrate.

The cold makes me gasp, makes my head ache closing and reclosing the back door until it catches. You can hear the horses at a distance, their hooves grinding two-day old snow.

Goddess moves, vixen moves, grandmother moves.

Shifts in perception. Underlying currents. One day you will write "Christ" and it will be the last time ever. Solar-powered Christmas ornaments growing dim as dawn approaches.

Wife moves, lover moves.

My mother's frantic energy as Christmas draws near and she faces a loneliness that resembles in all the way it she makes it resemble death.

Venus on the livid Eastern horizon, a loveliness, a sentence, a brother, my love.

You have to get right with Lucifer, stop killing mice, and tell Shiva there ain't no dance that a dancer like you can't dance.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Old Lovers Shredded in Heaven

I call Jasper after hours shoveling and say "our fathers were sonsofbitches but I'm not unhappy with the man I am."

Cups of coffee, eggs over easy, sausage with too much red pepper kneaded in and steak fries cooked just shy of burnt, just the way I like them.

Soft padding of cats moving through the living room while I pray.

What is falling if not snow.

What is this globe in which to find ourselves so lonely and alone, snow falling.

Definition as function. 

And yet, in the end, it is not easy to be kind at all.

The man without shoes is also the man who is out of time. How did I miss this?

Who helps.

Letters to old lovers shredded in Heaven and allowed to sift downward through gray skies, quiet and soft, as if what went wrong were somehow not wrong at all.

Are lies a form of disguise? Why haven't I thought of this before? What else is out there for me to learn?

Oh, little by little and then some.

He laughs and says they were and you are and me too and then we talk about sons and daughters and Ron's plan to open a microbrewery when the pandemic finally ends.

What ends.

Waking to an alarm at 5 a.m., odd dreams of lawyers and state cops, probably concocted by late night reading of pleadings in the federal antitrust case against Google which left me oddly happy, hopeful.

Frost flowers on the east-facing window. Chrisoula passing through the bedroom sweeping, the floor in need of it but more than that, her psyche in need of the healing sweeping offers her, and I don't speak, in order that love might be love, mercy mercy, and what is holy, holy. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

A Grandmother Gazing Back at Me

What is the morning as it crawls from the shadows? The trap door in my brain behind which bad dreams hide springs open but for once nothing spills out. We are here to serve, and serve in order to remember we are not here at all.

Jasper emails to remind me I promised to help him carry the new door upstairs. Storm warnings. You can sneeze during zazen but we would rather you didn't, just as you can vomit after eating peyote but we would rather you didn't. Gaps in the circle which we fill, and gaps which can never be filled, ever.

Waving to every car that passes without looking up from my feet falling one after the other on the gray pavement of Fairgrounds Road. Steep slopes, their grassy embankments littered with Bud Lite cans. The cats nestle closer at night. The neighbors' Christmas lights are garish but delightful and I am not ashamed.

We are what we miss most. She accuses me of trafficking in spiritual platitudes, a fair assessment under the circumstances but still, prophets gotta prophecize. Let us be book sellers, let us be silent, let us "marry our fortunes together." Churches in which I shall never pray again.

Little fir trees in the meadow. For a long time when I looked at the sky I saw a grandmother gazing back at me, her kind eyes the color of blue marbles. How the trout fought not to die, and how clever the deer were, waiting us out in the bracken.

Knives my father gave me which - unlike the guns - I am as yet unwilling to give away. More of the stillness, more of the dim light growing dimmer.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

An Hour North

A black box, a warning. A good story. One sleeps through their alarm and wakes to find the chores done and the smell of french toast and bacon floating through the house, including here, the back room couch on which they fell to sleep reading Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy for the third time in their life. Gold light filtered by windows hung in the late nineteenth century as if to emphasize the troubles I've seen are only beginning. You deepen all of a sudden and learn without qualification that we are not bodies and so can set the body's concerns gently aside. As in a tent we make love quietly, as before fires on summer mountains we are somewhat less restrained. She touches my shoulder to wake me, asks how I am feeling and later over coffee reminds me I promised to drive with her an hour north to pick up orders at Just Soap. Do you know whose footsteps you hear when you dream? Something is washed away indeed but never our sins for there are no sins. Your grace, child, like your ambition, precedes you.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Love is Love and Always Merciful

In those days I lingered on the shore of Lake Champlain because a woman was on the other side, and yet I did not reach out to her, for good enough reasons to which we had both assented, but now I see it as a lesson in distance, not restraint.

Now this happens. 

Always I am left. Always I am alone at four a.m., pretending that prayer and black coffee are sufficient, which they are not 

Unanswered is not sufficient.

Here is the outline of my heart in red crayon. Here is my reading of Saint Augustine in my twenties, then in my forties and again in my mid-fifties. In my hayloft there are many bibles and other, less-sacred texts, and in all of the margins are notes, and in all of the notes are insights, and in all of the insights are questions that not even Augustine managed to answer. 

What you think is real and what is real. 

I lingered on the shore of Lake Champlain studying the faint green of New York, loving my loneliness and confusing it - as I have always - with genuine solitude.

What we forget as we learn what we are made to forget. Interior spaces in which we stumble in the snow bank, professing our love, and then he is gone, then he is driving down College Street forever, then we are alone again, and alone again, and alone again.

How in a sense I don't want you, and how in a sense it doesn't matter to you, what I want or don't want, because what you want is always what begets us.

Scrounging quarters for parking meters, malted vanilla ice cream on park benches in sunlight, used bookstores while stoned, not knowing what town you're in while driving through it.

Looking with her for the other way, the way where nobody is hurt, where love is love and always merciful, always just.

After a week of sleeping, a rough night of sleeping, wracked by bad dreams and that interior sense of unworthiness coupled with the need to be ready always for whatever comes next.

How when I unzip - or am unzipped - there is always a catch, a moment of registering with the Lord one's nonsexual longing for a deeper almost mystical union and the brief sharp sadness of knowing it can never - in this body, in this life, this way - be brought forth. 

The ghost I am, learning how not to haunt anymore.

The dog I am, with no coil rug on which to rest curled while waiting for scraps, pats, kicks, be gones. 

Long nights, longer days, and this, always this.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Other than a Mirage

Late morning sunlight, snow melt, the cats twitching in their sleep. "Come here, I want to tell you a secret." One floats through the fever dream, holding together a functional identity under terrifying pressure. Letting the car run, filling the freezer with day-old bread. Sprigs of dried lavender and a habit of playing Greensleeves whenever she walked by. Heart, soul, spirit, et cetera. The integrity of acknowledging what one wants without apology or explanation. At last, a love at last. Forgive me for lingering beside Lake Champlain, as if the other side were anything other than a mirage. Pretty going-down songs, other life harmony. If this were anything other than this, what would it be and how would I know?

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Over the Monastery Wall

So it hurts, so what?

So you have a secret, so what?

Over tea with Bergamot oil we talk about the Lord and Jung and what sex is like and what electrons are. 

How we hold ourselves in order to love women in the way we want to love women, and how our dead fathers watch and their fathers watch puzzled, and how our grandmothers and their grandmothers step forward in benediction and relief. 

For whom does the King of Swords kneel but a woman whose body was not so long ago the earth from which Mount Ascutney was created so that the ashes of his favorite dog might have a pretty home? 

I am the specific man I am becoming lighter and lovelier, and it's all happening right now, even in grocery stores, even driving slowly west on Route Nine, peering over the wheel at the road unfurling in snowy dark, alone and not alone, and beyond alone, too.

Pretty blue mushrooms, memories of bluets.

We wave a hand over what does not readily resolve itself in language and logic and go on together, which is okay, which is more than okay.

The blind horse calls me and I answer by moving quicker, arms full of hay. 

Sunlight on the horizon, knocking sounds over at the post office as Carl and Marie unload the delivery from Springfield, frosty snow crunching underfoot, all of us in it as one.

Stuff happens, other stuff doesn't, which is also a kind of happening.

Games one can play a long time before realizing that what matters isn't what you play but who you are playing with.

Tearing apart cardboard boxes for recycling, fingers going numb in early December cold, but a neat barn is better than a not-neat barn, and we are still beholden to that kind of order, so yeah, we yield to the requisite law and tear the cardboard up for recycling, cold fingers be damned. 

Women I've gone down on, and how I remember them all, and love them still for their beauty and grace, the light they shared, the salt and the wetness, teaching me one of the many gifts we can only be given on our knees.

The bridge over the Connecticut River on the Northampton Hadley line where I have been scared all my life. 

The thin gold band of her wedding ring and that which it signifies and that which it will never signify again and the world she insisted on bringing forth in which the distinction mattered.

Arguing for an approach to psychedelics that's closer to cutting one's hand off and flinging it over the monastery wall than anything McKenna advocated.

So I am lonely, so what.

Remembering last winter driving outside Providence Rhode Island and seeing swans on black ponds and feeling comforted in a way that would not clarify until nearly a year later when she settled for me the relevant symbolism. 

So I am broken, so I keep going, so what.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Like Family or History

Bitter coffee, that stage of not sweetening it but taking it like family or history. Being a man, being a martyr. Be not afraid. In dim light in the barn gathering hay I pause to imagine her helping me and am briefly dizzy with the intensity of possibly reaching the end of this lifelong loneliness. There is always a familiar sufferance. Route nine bends in a slow half-circle coming down the Windsor hill, more or less a straight shot to the Main Street cut off. Nobody knows the troubles I've seen but they've had hints and intimations and I'm not done talking, not by a long . . . but wait. What if Jesus and I and the many hymnists are wrong about how you traverse the lonesome valley? The light changes so fast as dawn becomes day becomes day! How creative one is when at last one is their Father's son. And whose daughter approaches, the earth holy in her silent wake?

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Starved Colony of My Body

Washed, robed in black, laid out, deaf to the weeping of the many mourners and gazing at the backs of oily pennies. In the morning after throwing hay to the horses, I piss on the roots of wintry forsythia. Draw a breath, let it slowly leave the starved colony of my body, gather another, painfully. Dawn arrives in a roseate blush, traces of snow suspended on tufted grass no longer white. What is reflected, translated, told again? What does the mind say and who is listening? We are hints of what is real but only hints but what is it that knows the hint as a hint and how. Ascutney in my dreams now, a gold slope I may never ascend alone again. One's gaze goes a long time west to find that upon which it can rest forever and does. The old dog visits before sleep, reminds me he is waiting at the edge of a vast field full of light, no rush, but what's waiting for what, right? Who is calling who. Soon I say, glad to discover at last it's true. Not yet, I say. But soon. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Frightened of What I am Becoming

On the zafu again, catlike and sad, the way I was in my twenties when Dan and I would hold each other and cry. How much breaking can one heart stand? Light seeping into Burlington streets, love like melting snow spilling from interior gutters: baby please don't go.

Sleet falls, grazing frozen ground I'll break later to re-fence the pasture, parts at least. Who is hurting who. Jesus in bare maple trees, hanging on, waiting. In the end, where isn't Golgotha?

I am frightened of what I am becoming.

What are you now I am no longer what recognizes you.

Christmas decorations hang on Main Street, a sense of something crumbling we will not live to see the end of. Africa forever family. We will be taken from each other.

We will be buried in a hurry, prayed over in a rush.

"The Tsar will see you now."

Military jets pass overhead. We have secrets but we won't have them forever. Nothing lost means nothing found means nothing seeking nothing.

Please my God: no more morning, no more night.

A sound the tea makes being poured. Bells which signify this love is not the end of our learning.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sweeping the Kitchen Floor

It comes into focus as a gift one longs to give, and it comes into focus as a gift that one is given. 

People come and go, talking about their favorite sandwich at D'Angelo.

Wind blows, lifting road sand scattered by Highway Department guys at 5 a.m. into sunlight. Or are there shadows. Saccades.

One moves easily between moods, as the verb they are also evolves, and never without leaving the hayloft. Quintillian's observation that "in connexion with the verb we get solecisms of gender, tense, person and mood [modos] (or “states” [status] or “qualities” [qualitates] if you prefer either of these terms), be these types of error six in number, as some assert, or eight as is insisted by others (for the number of the forms of solecism will depend on the number of subdivisions which you assign to the parts of speech of which we have just spoken)."

Women, too, come and go, talking of the men they knew or will one day come to know.

Mariah rattles the hayloft, making the effort to box up books more complicated, as in a deep place one feels threatened, and the books are stones against which no weather or intruder can prevail. 

Skies darkening with arrows in flight. The moon behind faint clouds, glowing, and the interior sense one is almost done with admiring it, can move on, let it be, let go.

Pass through. 

The lonesome valley of which many speak but few know. The desert in which one recognizes Lucifer as a brother, and is thus relieved of the role of savior, brought formally at last to the radical essence of mutuality. 

Christs come and go, talking about the little statues they make with their little brother's play-doh. 

For nothing then, for all.

Sweeping the kitchen floor, bits of straw, a random pin, two pumpkin seeds and dust. Chicken thawing, steaks on the counter coming to room temperature for later frying on the grill out back. When I said I'll be your baby tonight I meant it literally.

In the hayloft, Seans come and go, talking about this and that, nothing at all, all of which you know.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

What Faith Insists is Possible

Iterations of us.


Morning passes writing, sentence by sentence. What the body's eyes see and what are other ways of seeing. Falling into what faith insists is possible.

Breathless. Breathlessly.

Mowing the old cemeteries in Worthington at twilight, the mower chunking low-laying stones sinking and floating two centuries in the soil. Growing up, out, away.

I remember flying. I remember you far below, forever where I would land one day, and end one day.

Bird bones in talus off trails up Mount Ascutney.

Mount Ascutney.

Ascending you by degrees, breathing harder as the summit nears, thinking of stars and how the vast dark of night is only possible because of them. Learning how to learn. Learning you by degrees.

Morning passes listening to trucks pass, tires hissing on rainy macadam, a sound that makes me remember Worthington in the early seventies. 

Stained glass windows. Insisting on this or that form of prayer. Being endless with you, illusory with you, joining the way we join in you when lost in you I am lost.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Something Translated, Re-interpreted

Rain at six a.m., dark just lifting, stumbling through slick mud, arms full of hay.

My heart in you full to bursting, my heart in you no longer my heart but something translated, re-interpreted.

As if I were the maze, rather than the lost virgin, Minotaur or salvational thread leading out.

There are no hearts anywhere.

All night the phone rings and then chokes off when you pick up, realizing only after you've answered - ear full of dial tone - that it's not your phone, it's somebody else's phone, a phone from the 1970s, and it's not even your dream but somebody - or something - else's.

Somebody knocks on the back door, you wake up, and nobody's there, and this happens over and over and over.

Pulling her into a kiss, not thinking beyond the kiss, then being pulled by the kiss into something deep and without intent.

Going back to J.R.R. Tolkien at a late juncture and seeing what he saw and mistakenly believed had been defeated.

What is historical, antithetical. What is malignant.

Are we here? Healing? Do you hear what I hear?

My heart slips into an envelope, masquerading as a letter in order to reach her. 

Kissing your feet which are the miles you've traveled and the earth you are over which you have traveled.

And you hair soft on my hips then trailing even softer over my cock when you move to hold other parts of me in your mouth.

Calling you coming in you. Homing in you, remembering flying in you, skies in you.

Rain turning to snow turning to rain again. What the radio says as night comes on, and what night says when we walk away from radios, and the world in which radios made sense, and the bodies to which they spoke, long ago and far away.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

We Offer what We Refuse

Densely packed hay bales. Trails we make by walking. When I look up, the moon is falling apart over the barn, and I understand how it is not the moon but my heart, and how there is a light which transcends all of this. Stacking rocks around the foundation. Wintering-over skunks.

When I walk in winter in warm billows up and down main street, lost in the specific way I become lost, and rescued in the unpredictable ways I am - to date - rescued.

Footsteps upstairs and how we know who they belong to. Sitting quietly writing as morning slides slowly into something public.

What we offer, what we refuse to offer.

I remember sitting on a bench on Boston Common in 1987 or so, lost in a way that would not be resolved for many years, and which did not involve being found.

Reheated coffee. Stale donuts half price which I buy happily and eat while driving to the river just shy of the Vermont border.

One leans against the wall near the door, arms folded, digging coffee grounds from the hollows that fill their mouth, crushing them then swallowing, rehearsing a certain argument.

A game in which there are neither winners nor losers. The round face of the public clock atop the church.

Who is committed and who is not?

Punctuation is not about rules but rhythm.

Driving home just after dark, the sky still on fire but fading, city lights to my right growing dim as I lean on the gas, eager to leave the highway, and I remember the man I was, and the boy who became that man, and the child who far back who knew nothing and had to build it all, and hold it all, and not fall ever and who mostly hasn't, even now.

Avoid averages.

Sad outside the grocery store, early December passing in a lonely way, my heart not working the way it once did, and other signs I am nearly done with the book I was assigned all those years ago in Burlington, in a different world, in a body that was only beginning to realize its function.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Into Holiness

May I not forget.

She shares a photograph of her at a public gathering - dressed, made up, happy - and I have to deconstruct the image to find the light and then reconstruct it slowly to remember the light and it makes me go deeper into what is holy, what is relationship, what is love (and what is hidden, secret, ashamed, unsure).

What is love (baby don't hurt me).

Moonlight at 5 a.m., frost everywhere sparkling and the river humming in the distance and nothing missing, nothing not given, and knowing this at last.

What is distant, what is given.

I dream a certain philosopher following me down marble stairs, both of us preparing for a kind of battle, not alarmed but with a sense of futility.

Opals. Sapphires. 

The thin band of her wedding ring and that which it signifies and that which it will never signify again.

Seeing past her now to the world and time, to the cosmos and the one Goddess, to nothing and everything.

Imagine moonlight on your shoulder, imagine kisses and imagine the immense quiet after, as if there were no more shadows. Are there no more shadows is the question of what would you do if you could say aloud what you want to do more than any other doing.

I drive slower than usual in order to see more clearly the many holiday decorations in our little town and in this way go deeply into a very old and simple happiness and thus transform the holiday into a holy day and then the holy day into holiness and then I am home and then I am home.

Parting your thighs, kissing the hinge, hints of what's to come.

Goals. Gold. Gods.

Called lovingly into transcendence.

My tongue in you off the trail somewhere, your come-cries startling birds from happy trees bending over us protectively.

In the morning, in the light, in love.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Moonlight Going only Halfway

Dark is a certain kind of next, but not the only one. At a late juncture one realizes that reading, not writing, is salvation. And sharks swim in warming seas, somehow not our enemy.

Gazing for hours at the complex beauty of her face, its shifting sands and waters. Nobody knows the troubles I've seen and I don't know theirs either, and yet. 

We meet in crossword puzzles, reheated soup. We meet in rescue dogs whose joyful romping speaks to us of grace. Butterfly heart, dulcimer soul.

My body ceases.

In moonlight going only halfway to the pasture, satisfied the blind horse is okay, standing quietly facing north.

A sound the river makes in early winter.

Ten minutes with the right woman can change your life forever. The world is a beam of light. Daisies, bluets. Do roses get tired of bearing so much symbolism?

The effort one makes to be other than what they are. In moonlight softening, or is it obvious, has it been said already.

Who am I to say? When our people become the other's people and then beyond that when we see there are not even people at all.

May I never rise off my knees, may I never speak but in thanks and praise.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Knees are Kindred Spirits

Through trees, Christmas lights. Unlike yesterday, cold against which my hay jacket is little protection. The moon in clouds, floating away west. Nothing keeps, nothing stays.

My bruised heart on not enough sleep. My voice rising making point after point.

Nobody can say how long this will last.

Mushrooms again. Chaos gods. A single gold leaf falling in a forest on a planet no mind has ever visited.

Definitions again.

The door to the hayloft opens and closes as visitors come and go with questions and concerns, making it difficult to sink into the writing in a familiar way, and yet one is also grateful for those whose care and attention rises in such deliberate and everpresent ways. Using Bob Dylan to make a point that might otherwise go lost. When after midnight, after making love, one pads quietly down the hallway to gaze out the west-facing window at Main Street to see if snow has begun falling. Corn tassels, wind socks, finger puppets, locks.

Our knees are kindred spirits.

The clothesline creaks as recently-washed sheets are strung up and rolled out to dry in cold sunlight. What was given was given freely and yet something in us insists otherwise. Strapping lumber to the roof of the Outback, hoping for the best going forward.

My glad heart, my grateful soul.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Can't Sing but Love Singing

Unseasonal warmth. Smoke from nearby fires reminiscent of  benzoin, frankincense and myrrh. It will be Christmas soon and my heart has begun to remember joy, even in its alien casing, even in its bloody crust crumbling.

Rain passes, leaving matted grass where little floods ran. I trudge slowly past the summer chicken coop, reflecting as always on the many deaths in which I have had a hand, a hard one. You didn't used to see cardinals this far north, fifty or sixty years ago, and there are other changes coming too. A music stand which doubles as an easel.

Hayloft visits that end up sexual. Chrisoula and I walk down Main Street talking about our holiday "budget." A dozen or so turtles circle in the distance, obeying the dictates of the agentic cephalapod who took over for Jesus in late August (Jesus' secretary, says Fionnghuala). Hemlocks quiver in morning breezes, the last of the storm clouds race away east, and we are left with December only mildly threatening. That mandolin won't play itself, son.

I remember as a child peeling threads of birch bark off and setting the curly scrolls in the brook, sure I was communicating with something beautiful and full of love. We kept a secret list of good things I did, hidden under the stairs in the basement, which somehow only shamed me further. Lake Champlain remains a comfort, though at the time it was a complex relationship. One sits on the public stairs of this or that building and works on poems, especially when staying in their little one-room sublet makes them feel insane. I remember other things as well.

Can't sing but love singing means you can sing, you just need a better teacher, or any teacher at all. She snuggles me while I stir the coffee, asks if I want to run away for a month and I say yes because I know that's the answer she wants to hear. You pull out the Christmas ornaments, you do what do you with the Christmas ornaments.

In a text - this text say - the divided subject confirms its generative split yet also collapses in on itself.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

A Gift, A Significant One

The half-life of moonlight. Slowly - accomplished first in dreams, then under the influence of a fluorescent telepathic octopus, then with Christ, then as a matter of fact - reversing the perceptual errors associated with cause-and-effect. Doing laundry at five a.m., tightening the cap on the Mason jar in which finely-ground coffee is stored. "Evolution is a gift from God," he said, while pretending that he hadn't just given me a gift, a significant one, which was annoying but I let it go as you must. Bad men over the years, too many to count, and myself one of them some of the time. Over the years sleeping mainly with women who used language in ways that deepened my relationship with dictionaries. I remember kissing on the shore of Fitzgerald Lake and opening my eyes after to see dozens of turtles surfacing and realizing that they rose - in a non-metaphorical way - in worship. People think my obsession with images means I know about the narrative function of images, which I do not. It's fun to use the word soul in a sentence, so why not do it more often? This broken heart, this empty throat. This whore-sought soul. What else did I come back for but for you?

Friday, December 4, 2020

Composing a New Hymn

Full moon between hemlock boughs. The hayloft is warm and quiet. Somewhere a candle is being lit. Somewhere somebody is composing a new hymn. I am grateful, and my gratefulness travels. And when the moon is hidden, the moon reappears.

There are no secrets. There are no mysteries.

I pray and my prayer becomes images of my father, and the sorrow of his own healing, how it broke upon certain interior stones and could only go on in pieces. My brother, my killer.  My fellow hunter and herder.

Something in me is lycanthropic now. Murderous. And given to trouble.

Something in me is dying and doesn't want to go where it thinks death leads.

Is it in fact the case that suffering arises from a case of confused - of mistaken - identity? Blue jays scraw viciously down by the compost, and one wonders at the tenors of the world that are lost because our vantage point is so limited. Liberty and death are not the only options.

Dreams through which one rises as morning brightens, much like surfacing in moonlight. The world is full of kisses and our joy is not a mirage.

As stillness and other abstractions raise me like a pretty hot air balloon high into the Light of Love.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

A New Imperative

Once more into the breach, this time without so much drama. I slip into the bathroom, bring up this or that photo of her, and jack off breathlessly. Cars roll by, slowing by the post office where folks coming in and out stand too close to the street talking. Vespers and lauds, et cetera.

Winter. Work pants slung over the ladderback chair. Remember when you actually knew what was enough?

Remember when Lake Champlain was visible through a west-facing window, a blue glint of it, and how it comforted you then, and does still.

The neighbors putting out eggs for sale, their chickens not allowed to leave the shed, which chafes a little, though who am I say. Deer cross the road at dusk, bounding between clumps of bittersweet, disappearing. Less light, less love.

Beauty is a form of complexity to me, which I rarely admit to, because I'm exhausted (and a little bored) with arguments that beauty is simplicity.

Scuffing through fallen maple leaves.

Rain-washed quartz.

My heart shifts, adapts to the new tenor, and otherwise eschews mirrors. For days the familiar mode has not worked, and so letting go becomes a new imperative. 

We unwrap what was carefully wrapped.

We are conditioned to place conditions: where is healing in this?

The nearly-full moon in bowers of November cloud, unseasonal warmth allowing dreams of her to float like a cephalopod through green seas in my skull.

I, too, am well-pleased, and see no reason to forego a Passover visit to Jerusalem.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A Country of Blessings and Hymns

Wanted: less weariness. Easier breathing? Well, something other than nothing in these cupped, these containing, hands.

Failing lungs, the lines on my face.

The blind horse steps carefully through mud to reach drier ground on which flakes of hay rest, green and gold. My son and I share space easily in the kitchen, shoulders grazing, not speaking, and I think of how little I knew about my father's body.

Was it fall recently? Was it winter?

And my mother's anger and my mother's hands and my mother's face so often nearer than I wanted it to be.

J. says one nice thing and I end up weepy all day, my heart tremulous like a baby bird, my body a nest in the storm-tossed limbs of the world. 

Pumpkins gleam in November rains. Potatoes yield to recently-sharpened knives.

An ache beginning behind my left eye.


My dead uncles in a card game they have yet to learn has neither winner nor loser.

Purgatories, pap smears, panda bears.

Kisses on the back porch.

Yet at four a.m. billows of sleep carried me far from the couch and ratty sleeping bag into a country of blessings and hymns, gold light spilling through an endless afternoon.

Where in your body will I not bring my prayer?

When your people are my people.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Into a Safer Heart

Rain. I can't sleep and it rains, and I sit up on the downstairs couch, trembling in cold and fear. If every sentence includes the word "rain" what will happen and what will not happen. 

When she wrote two years ago I did not reply, did not answer any of her questions. Wrecks on the floor of Lake Champlain.

What pushes, what probes, what promises.

Sitting up praying. Sitting up and letting love be love. 

What mercy is.

The rain deepens - something chordal, something entangled - and nothing about sleep is made clear or possible. 

The cold iron of unused stoves, Vermont Castings filled with rotting ash. 

Bat dung. The second hand. Gladioli.

Briefly in Rome, crowds bearing me through hot sun towards the Vatican. Yet there were no rooms, no sense of where to sleep, and my arms hurt lugging my guitar.

Looking back at myself shopping for groceries in the early nineties, seeing nothing.


Lorded over.

At last hunger overruns the interior CPU and briefly I am unafraid, briefly I am taken into a safer heart for saving.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Slow Tides It's No Good Fearing

Odd stars. Unfamiliar lights.

Coiled hoses.

Benevolent cephalopods float through my dreams, guiding me back to the world of the living against my wishes, leaving me with gentle admonitions like "do the best you can!" and "you're doing a great job!"

Not even 5 p.m. and the skies cloud over and rain flies here and there, small hard stones flung from Heaven.


Heaven and all this darkness.

Sleeping sitting up on the couch, in and out of hazy dreams in which the dead visit, make half-hearted arguments about the existence of God, and wander off unconvinced.

Losing years. Losing rosary beads.

Floating away. Rose petals on slow tides. It's no good fearing drowning, no good getting attached to this or that oar.

Putting together sentences, one after the other, year after year. Reaching periods, then silences, then what is beyond silence. 

Picking up my mother at the airport.

Inserting chaos into what is already ruined.

The front lawn of the Cambridge Public Library.

This longstanding law-abiding confusion.

Call it home, this waking her up for help.

This lost in what was given in salvation.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Consumed in the Many Furnaces

The neighbor's chimes, a loveliness in pre-dawn darkness as I go about my chores - hay for the horses, checking fence lines, talking in low tones to the blind one, checking traps, then coming indoors to a next cup of coffee. The soul is bundled up in a body yet like a shock of wheat yearns to be consumed in the many furnaces that together comprise the world. What they used to say about how it works if you work it. What is your worth and who establishes it? Morning light in north-facing windows, the hemlocks still for the first time in three days, and a good enough bunch of poems, fruits of a lifelong disciplined practice. Once you set a goal of truth, what happens? Who is with you? Who pulls away? When you call, I am here, and yet it is not enough. Candles, catch-alls, catacombs. My love is a long silence, my woman a lake with more on its mind than depth. "How" was always a better question than "why" upon "why" upon "why." This heart, it witnesses thusly.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Body of Christ is Flowers and Birds

Hemlocks in heavy winds bending, the branches wrong-side up, storm-tossed, wind-whipped. 

Briefly, the machine of my body stops, and a gold light appears, like a dab of oil paint leaking through thin canvas.

Gulping coffee in the barn between chores, no end to the tiredness, and no end to the chores, and no end, apparently, to coffee.

A ceramic tiger that was on my father's book shelf as a child, and which is now on my writing desk, confounding me in ways that do not resolve easily through language, to which I will not yet nor thusly say no.

Saying yes, no, whatever, and knowing it's all the same.

Your shoulder, the light on your face.

A crucifix on which the body of Christ is flowers and birds, bright colors, everything blossoming, as befits the way this one man's end became the beginning of ends altogether. 

Crying out making love and after kissing you gently, saying "thank you" over and over, until you shush me.


How I wrote once that "in the silence, fireflies whisper, molten love notes to winters long gone by." 

The wind softens and the hills curl up like dogs at my feet. What texts do you save and which do you forget exist?

Where is what you have forgotten exists?

What are your outdoor sleeping preferences.

Facilitating the other's masturbation, another kind of loving and helping.

Acclimating, according.

Harmonicas dented thirty years ago on roads between England and Scotland which my son still from time to time pulls out and plays.  

Outcomes, off-ramps.

How confused I was for over forty years about the gender of the individuals holding up a Kiss sign on their first Alive album.

At last there is no longer any menu.

Friday, November 27, 2020

In the Troubles

Rain slows and it's mid-morning. Spiritual alms barely recognized. Rust-colored maple leaves fallen on the shiny black macadam. Corn stalks droop, lashed to a porch rail, sad and forgotten, facing winter alone. My father and how he loved old cars and how I would take him to antique car shows, the two of us walking back and forth, lost in thoughts of our own making. At a late juncture one realizes an affiliation with wrens helps more than the one with chickadees and wonders what other insights lie ahead. Department store Christmas carols. Masked angels. Rabbit stew, breakfast sausage made with bear meat. Losses, lawfulness. Lauds. My heart lives in the troubles and declines all aid and yet goes on. When you heft the lamp, how far does its circle of warm light go? Broken, unbroken, put back together - who can say at this late and getting later juncture? I remember hours alone on the shores of Lake Champlain, gazing at faraway New York, rehearsing even then my relationship with distance. This prayer like the others goes unanswered. And yet.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Abandoning Metaphors

A sound buckets make in November when water freezes at their brim. A sound goats make when they're lonely.

Sunflower stalks rotted and bent but still upright in the cold sun.

How my heart presses the case for solitude, teaching and quiet.

Still hemlocks at 6 a.m., light filtering through tendril limbs. Empty bottles on the window sill. All the containers we will never fill.

Vespers, lauds.

How my heart seizes and cries, as if pleading with me to renounce certain vows and adopt certain others.

Lost in being lost, alone in being alone. 

Quarter moon on the hill, a bag of black stones, a flurry of seeds and soil in unexpected places.

A sound November makes that is close to a sigh. Whisky, brandy, vodka, wine.

Glass tear drops hanging in east-facing windows. Grief and the alliances assembled on its behalf.

How my heart will stop one day, abandoning metaphors, and how what always goes on will go on.

How you say it when you know you don't have to say it any longer.

Footsteps on the stairs, books stacked on book shelves.

A moment of prayer. A mild repetition.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

One I am Still too Scared to Name

A voice asks: what would it be like to hurt less? Another voice - low, hard, cold - says the hurt will stop when it says it will stop. In the interim, this law of childhood: "You'll take it because I'm giving it."

Complicity abounds yet a new Justice is given, embodied in one I am still too scared to name.

When I try to pray now, I fumble for words and end up in tears. When I try to sing my voice ages in my throat and emerges thin and ancient like a snake skin. Everything spills out of me as if I were not a chalice but merely the idea of a chalice. Not an altar but where an altar might go, were one inclined to altars.

Faint light illuminating the different darks of sky and hill. Certain violent cousins, certain ongoing threats in the context of family, and certain kinds of dying. I let go of Emily Dickinson who is grateful because it allows her a little rest, all she ever wanted.  

The afterlife is real.

I expected interventions - like symbiotic mushrooms or the Holy Spirit on Sunday - and that was why I agreed to stand and not deviate from fear, but no intervention came, save Jesus sadly bearing witness to my suffering, much the way the Magdalene bore witness unto him when he was crucified.

I live now in deserts of Holy Relationship, locusts and wild honey, blessings which are the river pulling me under and fire converting me to something so light it floats to Heaven unaided. 

You are Christ now. You are the light. 

Do not - for my sake or anyone else's - forget who you are.

You lean with me into the salty currents of the interior Jordan, you ask me not to leave you alone in the bland crucible of history.

In your heart I relearn that I am not given to hammering swords into plowshares but rather seeing past sword and plowshare altogether.

We are a little fire on a darkling plain, and the horror that stumbles out of Bethlehem does not frighten us, and we are older than the stars, and the stars are here to learn from our love, and they do learn, Beloved, they do.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

What Collapsed after Albany

Snow on the pumpkins, on frozen ridges of mud, prints formed by horses pacing in the night.

Women I help, women I haunt, women I hold apart from what helps.

Does order matter, after all? Does it help to use the word "atom" in a sentence?

What collapsed after Albany? What secret vow was made in the church basement while up above other, more breakable, vows were being made publicly?

November stars and what else.  

In a dream my father asks what I think it is that can be pulled together at such a late and getting later juncture and we rest together in the darkness, complicit in all that is implicit in us.

Minnows flash silver in moonlight under willow trees.

The fire crackles and our faces grow hot.

Family stories, some as yet untold.

Sitting quietly with coffee upstairs, mostly gazing out the window at traffic on Main Street, now and then writing a sentence, as if what mattered mattered more so given language.

Picturing you coming with other men, glad the end of suffering is drawing nigh, hoping in the end your happiness will make it all worth it.

Glades in which deer rest. Photographs of horses. The futility of little notes.


Psychological islands, psychological ship wrecks, psychological Gilligans. 

Pushing up through sex to find something holy that remains rooted, and fighting to not fight the God of Letting Go, in whom all sex comes and goes.

This loneliness, this bad luck, this metaphorical broken heart no so metaphorical.

Monday, November 23, 2020

House, Family and Wife

Letting go.

Having nothing to say.

The interior silence yielding to the hymnal heart.

The stillness of the Holy Spirit choosing for me.

You. You and what I am becoming in You.

What I am letting go of in you.

The softness, the sadness.

Streams beyond the pasture freezing before the river.

Other errors arise, other sweetnesses appear.

Other tangles.

I turn certain lights on at 2:30 a.m. and leave other lights off. Inside me, the dark is unaffected.

Prayer is a form of intentional forgetfulness.

The confusion of how to say things, the uncertainty around staying silent.

Plans, plots. 

Alive in possibility, including the possibility of no-possibility.

Snow spitting in pitch dark off Flat Iron Road, hours after sunset, walking farther and farther away from house, family and wife.

Forgetting forgetting.

Who forged the container, who left it where they did, who came along and filled it, who is it watching me to see will I pick it up?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

In the Rain to get Clear

History is cruel because it does not let you sleep. Uneven bricks in the central chimney, and in the basement, boulders that were allowed to remain because the oxen were tired at the end of the day before they framed the massive walls. 

Cheap whisky in the dark. Stolen pennywhistles.

Listening to traffic on Route Nine in mid-November, thinking of all travelers, and all the miles, and all the ways that we pretend we are not already home.

Listening to us kissing.

Snow on Starkweather Road in early Spring, the impulse to frame it all as a story with a happy ending. Rotting pumpkins on the compost, dependable crows.

Walking in the rain to get clear and meeting at last, in a real and unambiguous way, the Holy Spirit.

When I think of you now, you are nearly all light, and I know that you don't yet get this, and I also know that you will, and there is nothing else I want for you, or for me.

Pizza with fried eggplant on it. Seinfeld reruns and Carolyn's insights into absurdist comedy. When you talk about narrative, my heart stitches itself back into what resembles the world a little while longer.

The sound of lentils being poured into a colander to be washed. The sound of my mother singing Christmas carols alone in the kitchen, 1972 or so, and what I learned therefrom about happiness, holidays and holiness.

A little grace is all grace.

Turtles, tall tales, Telluride Colorado.

Late frost on maple leaves piled in the side garden. When grass grows, the soul remembers there is neither here nor there. 

Laying out a blanket under starlight, folding my sweatshirt for under your head, letting night be night, and love love.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

A Long Way with only Forest

At six a.m. the blue pitch of dawn is my heart shedding Christ. 

Carefully setting crystals on the stumps of trees in order to heal what fells and what has fallen.

Roads that go a long way with only forest on either side.

Hats my mother's father wore.

Sleeping with the cobbler's son, not telling him where sleeping with him ends.

Midnight on the train in Greece, Athens behind us and you asleep, and me facing the early lattice of marriage on which strands of bittersweet would eventually grow gnarled and ruinous.

You only think you're a body.

Drops of yesterday's rain still resting on the side yard lilac. Puddles outside the transfer station that reflect the reddening sky.

You can't get closer in a poem than you can on your knees and yet.

We who are yet learning how to pray.

Cosmos is Longing.

I slip near the barn, right myself and draw a breath before going on. 

Everything that died when I was young, taking me with it into the void from which I clawed back, time after time, not knowing that the void, too, was my home.

The descent into relative minors which in the summer of 1988 in Burlington Vermont reconstituted my heart in ways it would take decades to understand.

Watching hills wondering what they say of the women beyond them.

A series of abstractions which are insufficient on their own to affect the requisite reversal of cause-and-effect. 

How frightened I was cleaning guns, knowing at a young age that "accidentally killed while cleaning his gun" was a metaphor for suicide.

Background vocals.

Forgetting what I meant to write, staring out the south-facing window a thousand miles, past prison yard and gallows, past even the idea of freedom, to you.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Such a Mighty Flood

Cars pass and I lift my hand, not caring who it is who is passing. Who is not my brother and sister? And: this love cannot exclude a soul. The far field, the trail in the forest. The quartz rock glistening with rain which as a child I carried five miles from the river to my bedroom. When I was young we carried guns picking blueberries because you didn't know if you would see a bear. Did some of us just like guns? The host on my tongue never wasn't mass-produced at a factory in Worcester - why else did yearning decouple from a particular church? There is later and later yet but not always the one who notices. The force that through the green fuse drives the flower, indeed. Walking up Flat Iron Road, I pause where it crests the wetlands and watch beavers float quietly between early winter cattail. There is yet more pain, there is yet more suffering, and yet. When my heart is still - when it overflows with love for her - the world is suffused with rain: this is how I learn how little I have learned. What a little boat we are! Such a mighty flood my love we are up against.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Chalice You Are

I want to drink from the chalice you are until my throat cries out for mercy.

In the morning the quarter moon glides knifelike through trout-colored clouds. My brain empties of both prayer and the idea of prayer.

I have nothing but this longing for you, am nothing but this longing.

The landscape is moving faster now, trains bearing down on me in darkness.

My heart is hymnal, happy, horticultural.

You were in the corner of the cafe once, reading Neruda, and did not once look up at me loving you so deeply that the world ended in me and was born again on terms and conditions so lovely my heart became a crystal lattice full of rainbow-colored roses swaying in light breezes.

Whispers, worships. 


You crawling on all fours up the bed towards me waiting, breath quickening, parts of me weakening remembering what it means to be loved.

There are parts of Vermont that are all of you forever. There are hills I will never climb again but on my knees.

We break laws and realize there is only one law and it is us.

You were in the corner of the cafe once and Bob Dylan's Wedding Song came on and my life died and was born again as the coming-and-going coming and going.

Those who practice the sacred embrace will kindle the Light. 

Taking your hand in the candle store, in the book store, in the bakery where we cannot decide what to buy and the tired woman waiting on us gazes out the window, thinking of her love. 

First and last, one without a second.

Your shadow on the bedroom wall merging with other darks. 

It has to do with forgetting.

My love, my lover, my letting go and letting God.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Over the Miles Happy and Free

All at once the leaves fall and a deep circle - orange touched with gold - surrounds the young maple several yards away. Given distance, all things are familiar, monuments unto the justice of attention. Wind-blown jewels, snow-crusted lilies. The soft efflorescence of your nipples under a faded t-shirt. And was it, after all, a dream - being soothed by you, coming home to a fire with you, no longer being hidden in you? The holy octopus returns, this time in the form of a woman from Washington state, whose early forays in A Course in Miracles lit her heart without ever precisely conflagrating, and I am gently warned accordingly. Snow swirls outside at ten a.m., a kind of mist, a kind of cold. The world forgets me and I go on over the miles happy and free, like a cardinal who has learned what it means to be red.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Many Steps and Stops

Snow becomes rain and then - the sun a pale disc against gunmetal skies - snow again. Now you are the hill country through which I passed in loneliness in 1989. Skimming familiar sacred texts, knowing they say nothing that cannot be learned in the garden. Holiness is a concept that like all concepts must be gently let go in order to see what - if anything - remains. What remains. The horses wait impatiently for hay, which I carry, along with other burdens, most of them psychological, past the apple trees to the pasture. Certain desires fade as one recognizes her body for what it is in truth and are replaced by a determination to be kind, gentle, forgiving. A long journey includes many steps and stops, all of which rest on a single decision, namely, to go all the way to the end, even if that is the absence of ends. I have no home in this world, and no other world awaits, and that's okay now. It's more than okay. Because you. Always you.

Monday, November 16, 2020

My Throat by the Sea Pleading

October snow in maple trees as the sun rises, a loveliness amongst all this loveliness. I let you go, let us go, and I let me go and thereby learn there is neither "letting" nor "going" nor not letting nor not going. Old hens leave the barn slower these days, tilt their heads to look at the cold sky for long minutes, as if seeing something the rest of are missing. Death exhausts but no longer frightens me, and yet fear is not gone. You can play at anything but it's not really play, is it. One translates the letterlessness the only way they know. And the nineteenth century fades, leaving certain clarities about the ninth, your hot mouth on my throat by the sea pleading. Kisses, cough drops, curriculums. My life floats over the landscape untethered, milkweed down, a cardinal feather. Old bodies get cozy darkening. No promises but all this emptiness is a kind of disclosure, no? I remember crying in the hospital parking lot, then walking around the hospital not crying, then driving home beneath a full August moon reminding myself to breathe. Certain silences do not need to be prayed in. Certain women you can be grateful didn't make certain journeys. The metaphysics settle, the longing settles, and the settling becomes a quiet joy insisting on nothing, not even itself. And even so, even so.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Kind of Consenting

October snow.

Still maples in windless cold.

Still picturing your shoulders shrugging out of an unbuttoned shirt, then hunching forward to remove your bra.

Lights we are given, lights we give away.

Snow on the chicken netting.

Snow on the flagstones.

The silence of three a.m. on our little Main Street.

Going back to what we name the beginning, looking for clues to what happened after, finding this and that without any real sense of how to contextualize it, let alone let it mean something, or anything.

The east-side neighbors talking at the grill, their voices floating through glass, language resolving to nothing specific but still somehow a comfort.

One settles the metaphysics.

The body is a kind of flower, a kind of suffering, a kind of forgetting, a kind of giving.

A kind of consenting.

Saying no to a blowjob on the couch, no big deal, my mind elsewhere but later wondering if something else is going on and if so what and is it beginning because I am ready at last to begin.

Outside at night after the rain passes, spare moonlight on both horses, temperatures dropping.

Shivering in you, lost without you, but still here holding up my end, the altar lonesome and filling with rain.

Saffron skies at dawn.

Memories of my mother's goulash with egg noodles, almost always on Fridays, fried chicken with spaghetti, a favorite of my father's always made after a midday phone call on which my mother didn't say much, and on Sundays roast beef with gravy and homemade bread and the conversational mandates at which I excelled until my excellence became transgressive and the many long silences began. 

Somehow now understanding you as hill country, rolling pastures on which sheep graze, as when in Ireland I walked a long time alone, guitar in hand, thinking what in time would become the idea of you.

Hiding in you, hurting in you.

Slicing apples at six a.m., layering them in pans with cinnamon and butter, pouring pancake batter over and baking it at 350 for half an hour or so, timing it for when Chrisoula and the girls come in, cold and hungry, happy with the gift I struggle to bring forth, over and over and over.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Pockets of Gratefulness

Thin layers of wet snow on the back porch roof, rain falling washing it away, the light hard to notice but also all there is. What we are and what we are not. Train tracks appear to meet in the distance, dissolving into a point at which we, too, might dissolve. Childhood. Roast chicken with sage. How in towns there are not neighborhoods but streets, and how this is Main Street, and at a late juncture how one understands that and feels that. Yesterday I studied bottles of whiskey, shelf upon shelf in the grocery store, and felt the vast dingle inside me open, the river filled with trout, the night with song, and a woman by the fire not frightened of me. How as a child I was frightened of the moon and remained so until about 1987 when I began studying and writing about it, and how that was my salvation until early October 2019. What we lose aging and the grace we are as it goes. My grandmothers, their grandmothers, and their grandmothers. I settle in my rocker and write sentences, these and others. Against the rainy sky, the black limbs of frozen maple trees. There is neither waiting, nor one waiting, nor one to wait for, and yet. These pockets of gratefulness. This peace I am no longer obligated to write about in order to know. And you, wherever you go when I am lonely in the way I believe I am lonely when you are wherever you go that's not here.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Reimagined yet again

Leaves slip, meet the damp soul of their maker, and the shadowy carapace of empty bee hives hang in the maple trees like visible warnings. Another age encroaches. What we are is a kind of context embedded in a context embedded in a context which, just because it's true, doesn't also mean it's not bullshit. Fried onions and mushrooms, bacon and homemade barbecue sauce, Jeremiah and I eating hamburgers standing at the counter, a bag of chips between us, talking about how you talk about what you don't know enough to talk about. Angus Young, Randy Rhoads, Mark Knopler, more or less in that order. I fall asleep reading, dream of the homilies he gave, so sincere and formal and and stiff, and wake up with Moby Dick on my chest and a headache. I have my father's lips and his tolerance for pain, everything else is a gift from my mother and by extension her father, both of whom are damaged fighters. In the swale, every color bleeds out, every note is muffled, and even so, even so. In the morning, the blind horse steps delicately up the slope, nosing the ground for tossed hay, and I call him in low tones even though I know it's not my voice that moves him forward. Mist in the pasture in late October. Miss being kissy with you more than I can say, miss the sense of coupling with you, coordinating over the distance to sustain and nurture the great love that is also bleeding out. "That - right there." And: "I know, I know." The charitable impulse reimagined yet again, and beyond it the generosity of those who no longer perceive distinctions. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Forget the Sacred Texts

Heavy storm clouds run north south, the sky melting behind them, everything locked in a forge now, everything bent on repudiation. The bank calls again about the mortgage, the list of who can help grows thin. Remember when there were dogs? I move the chainsaw to a new shelf in the barn, then lean against its central post - rough-hewn, a tree trunk mostly - and wonder yet again what comes after the marriage. Nobody wants to eat chicken this year, nobody can remember when it's daylight savings. I cook the pork with onion salt and sage, Chrisoula makes rice and quiche, and together we cut vegetables for salad, not talking, not hurrying. At dawn, after feeding the horses, I visit the stumps of recently-cut trees and explain myself yet again. It will rain soon, that's what these clouds are saying. I read the sacred texts in order to forget the sacred texts - does that make sense? It's like a museum kind of, or what the woman I slept with from El Salvador said the nights were like after someone's brother had been taken from the village. This body runs on pain, this heart on hate and loss. Why make it pretty when you can make it real? When my dead father visits, I see somebody has sewn his mouth shut. "Must be nice," I say, and together we cry, given all of what our Lord and Savior forced us to keep to ourselves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

All the Leaves Falling

We are sadly all the leaves falling, singly in October, as if yellow breaching orange were the Lord letting go. Scale the mountain, go down the mountain and then pretend you invented religion. I remember long talks on I-91, mostly about politics, sometimes about being Catholic, and I remember driving him around western Massachusetts after his stroke so he could look at farms, conversation mostly but not all the way gone. At night I sleep downstairs, no longer willing to upset the sleep of others with my nightmares, my tossing and turning, my quiet sobbing because I will no longer deny all the shame and sorrow. At three a.m. on Main Street, shivering and insisting on walking it yet again, rehearsing something under clear skies that for once aren't close enough to touch. The dead chickens will not forgive me or am I speaking now to my own capacity for forgiveness? Prayer slips its moorings, disappears in soft mist rolling in the distance, familiar and wordy. And what else, in the end, was this empty mouth for?

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Not Yet Churchless

Old clothes, untied boots, shitty coffee already cold. After chores, I linger outside watching geese fly overhead, the inner pilgrim satisfied with the solitude and intensity. If you think the problem is proximity - I mean, measurable in any way - then you're confused but confusion is okay. I used to buy donuts at Tailgate Picnic in South Hadley while driving to the Skinner Mountain trailhead with Jake. Nor ever liked roller coasters the way I pretended. So much living has involved the Connecticut River, the little brooks and rivers working their way to it working its way to the sea. The trout will not forgive me, the pheasants will not forgive me, and the Great Bear does not forgive me but only watches warily, pacing the neutral Heavens. I knew the earth around here well - forests and trails, pastures and mountains, rivers and ponds - and at a late juncture have been given the sky at a northeastern pitch. Returned to the light? Well, something loves us, knows us, holds us. Beyond God and No-God but not yet churchless. I mean signifiers of any kind. The play we enjoyed, each the other's reflected dream, and the silence after, which no voice or sentence breaks.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Blessed in a Way I Have Yet to Understand

Morning arrives like a disciplined follower of Christ and night, like the Roman Empire, is gone. Geese pass overhead, a counterpoint to old ideas of loneliness. The pasture is covered in frost, acres of white reminsicent of snow and what cannot be either learned or unlearned. The world is neither a casino nor a church, and our weddings mocked the Love which is our Mother, though this is not Her concern. I open downstairs curtains, put water on for tea, remind myself it's okay to remind myself of anything. The maple trees without leaves are witch fists. My dead dogs run happily in Her, which means they have forgotten me, which means I am blessed in a way I have yet to understand. The sky at - fine, dawn - is a shade of blue I can only see when you lean into me and whisper "blue." Over and over I was made a beggar, only to learn that even begging would have to be let go. The gourds this year were profluent, beautiful, and nobody understands this. Against the dark I grow wings. She whispers in me "to be sightless is to be the sky" and holds me a little. In October. This October.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Hiding in Churches

As if there were a woman who would love dogs with you. And walk with dogs in the forest with you.

How hard it was to love the dogs alone, and bury the dogs alone, and miss the dogs alone.

Holes in the sky, holes in the heart. 

And as if there were a way to forgive one's mother, who pleads now for forgiveness in the only language she knows, and as if there were a woman who would help you hear the Great Mother translating that language so you would know what to do. 

As if there were more than as if.

And as if.

Mid-morning I fry leftover pork chops with eggs and onions, which two of the kids eat smothered with the last of last year's ketchup, and one of the kids refuses to eat because killing pigs is no less immoral than killing people (she argues, not unpersuasively).

Sourdough starter unused now for almost a month, the back stairwell unswept for even longer, and the house unpainted for even longer yet.

All the art which is all we make, whatever we call it.

Watching Thirteen Days and stopping every fifteen minutes or so to cry because it makes me miss my father, and crying quietly so as not to disturb anyone, lest you have to explain the silly things that make you cry while missing your father.

As if there were a woman with whom you could miss your father in a way that was like remembering him happily or in a way that such happiness was possible, which would be a kind of healing. 

Dreams at night when it rains which I don't wish on anyone. 

Deaths of the father I don't wish on anybody.

The blind monster I became, wanting only to be loved, and so trying to avoid contact with anybody, lest yet more monstrousness find its way into the already monstrous world. 

And hiding in churches and behind churches. Leonard Cohen trying in vain to argue that our shared hump was an altar. Dan leaving for Paris, me sobbing in a Burlington snowbank begging him not to go and years later a wedding that settled nothing and postponed everything.

Late morning I hang a bifold door between the kitchen and the "white room," which is the crafting room, which Chrisoula asked for, and then reheat tomato soup and eat it watching football with the sound off, knowing that "normal" and "ordinary" are just ways of describing a dream, being okay with it while also wishing it had come to something else.

The gourds this year, and the pumpkins, and the rain this year and the night without end unending. 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Moving the Heavens

And suddenly I remember his suicide seven years ago, our long talks about Jim Morrison and writing poetry when we were nineteen and stoned, gulping beer in his Dad's pickup, all of life before us, including his last phone call in 1989 prophesying war in the Middle East, and all the violence to follow, telling me in a voice that didn't sound like what I remembered that he was about to be "blooded" and that "nothing will be the same again." 

A long way to fall.

And Dan and I on a fire escape at the University of Vermont at night, 1991, early November, drinking brandy from a shared thermos and watching everybody walk back and forth below us, not knowing who hovered above them, happy and happier, wondering how people lived who were other than "Dan and I."

A longer way to fall. 

And learning you are falling falling.

And the bones of her face and the strong waters of her eyes and her hair which was never as red as she thought but closer to persimmon, cinnamon.

And her voice - soft and melodic - always a surprise, always emphasizing unbridgeable distances.

And a long way to fall, and no way not to fall, and falling, always falling.

And another suicide, an uncle in New Hampshire, both barrels against the back of his throat after his wife died, leaving what my cousin called "a damn mess we couldn't clean" and so they cut that part of the kitchen wall out and rebuilt it, and eventually a buyer came along who didn't care or could overlook it.

And another cousin dying of a drug overdose at a truck stop in California, a paperback half open on the seat beside him, which they threw into the sea with his ashes.

And a cousin in jail.

And lost cousins.

And falling and falling - toppling - which is neither a beginning nor an end - but this, this this, as if there were only this, which there is, but only in the shallowest sense imaginable which is to say, not at all.

And sunlight on the barn roof and the moon a pale husk on western hills and the word "dawn" - I can say this now - awkward on my tongue and unwelcome in my writing.

Falling into a generative past in which I adored you, woke you kissing you, made a morning ritual of making you morning tea or coffee, tagged along with you in libraries and used bookstores holding books for you so you could browse easier, sheltered your writing space, made fires and cut wood and went for long walks in landscapes Emily Dickinson loved with a dog we both loved with you.

And at night the owls and deeper yet the bears and deeper yet the cats nobody is sure are there but which are there.

And at night, rain, and in the rain yet more rain, and in that rain a flood, a biblical one.

Walking at night back and forth on Main Street trying to find my way into the heart of fearing the rain in order to undo fearing the rain, and failing, another kind of falling, a late gift from a God who isn't quite ready yet to give up seeking His Self in Himself in me.

And the Great Mother who brought you to me, with ritual and intention, moving the Heavens and upending the weddings.

And this emptiness, which is not empty, and this fullness which is not full, and this loneliness forgetting itself, perfecting itself, all by itself no longer at the altar we make in the us we become in love.

Friday, November 6, 2020

The End of All Rituals

The Road to Damascus yet again. We pry open old paint cans and redo the front steps, admiring white. Rain gathers in puddles near the back stairs, feral cats crouching to sip. Me and the blind horse at six a.m., leaning on each other the way the sightless must. The first time I went down on anyone it was dark and I felt as if a secret were being whispered in ears I had not known were in me. Rushing, hastening, slipping. Instant coffee, scrambled eggs and raw garlic. I turn lights on in the barn, breaking a private rule that privileges darkness, in order to see clearly what died in the traps I set. Yeah, yeah - neti neti - neti this, pal. It rains a little and I try to be still. How happy we are when the other comes, as if our mouths were temples to be filled with joyous celebrants! Winter moon in October, bone bright and snowy, mocking the idea I'll see another Spring, not knowing that I've already settled my debts with the dark. Students write plaintive emails, begging favors, and I consent mostly, learning as always how to care without making it all contingent. Were it not for you, I'd still believe this old body mattered. Here we are at the end of all rituals and what do you see? The many landscapes mapped with fingers and a tongue? Wordiness embodied? Or the maps, maybe, which a kind Octopus took, saying gently over and over - in a language I did not know I knew - it's time to stop pretending you're not home.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Mind is like a Slant of Light

A little walk up Main Street, mid-morning sunlight, half a dozen maple trees leafletting in light breezes. At what age did you begin wanting other than what you had? I remember sitting in a little rocking chair reading Zane Grey novels my father grew up on, happy in ways I never would be again. The proximity of imagination both a blessing and a curse. The sidewalk buckles a little, hasn't been a straight line since the 1970s, yet here we are. She stops in front of the house to stare in horror at the space in the air where a giant Norway maple once stood. I'm sorry, I can't explain, it doesn't matter, I love you. My mind is like a slant of light, a seam that softens everything it touches. Measure, measure again, cut, and hope like hell you got it right. They say the moon is only there when you look at it, which I understand in terms of love, the love we turn away from in fear. Another death, another life. And really, who cares? There is all this light in which to whisper softly, happily, "look," there is all this light in which to learn once again the Name of the One Who looks. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

My Heart Opens its Many Eyes

In the dream, I am the monster, and he is scared of me, but not as scared as I want him to be. Is it all about forgiveness then? The witch does not literally eat us but rather demands all our attention so that nothing else but her will live. Morning sun in the maple trees, gold and red, softly streaming after days of rain, and my heart opens its many eyes. The many pornographies to which we subject ourselves - and others - rather than simply say yes to love and living in a mutual, care-filled acquiescence. We go "this far and no further" and pretend it's enough and it's not, it never is. As a child I went to war with forgetfulness and as a man was taught by a telepathic cephalopod that it was okay - necessary, even - to stop fighting. Fantasies of us were always the gap widening. Nothing is happening, not in Jerusalem, not in the Himalayas and not on the slopes of Arunachala. Who is the hero in the story you are telling and who is the villain are not the right questions! My work pants hang by the west-facing window, shit-stained, blood-stained, dirt-stained, oil-stained. The marble elephant Steve bought me years ago in Cleveland falls and its trunk breaks and now it has both a broken leg and a broken trunk and was this the purpose of the gift, Steve, to teach me yet again how everything breaks? Flats through which the river runs, recently-harvested cornfields. I got right with God and now I'm waiting with my suitcase at this small town train station wishing I'd said goodbye to her better. Christ what we lose in order to learn there is nothing to lose. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

A Long Walk You Can No Longer Avoid

Allow yourself to perceive that what matters matters, and its mattering is not up to you. 

Goldenrod going to seed. What's messy vs. what's not.

Missing being kissy with you. 

Rainy skies the day after we learn the front yard Norway Maple has to come down, an ancient tree beneath which many locals were married, a sorrow like all sorrows inevitable.

Pigeons modeling synchronicity. Breakfast deals at the new place in Chesterfield, like all deals devoid of what makes me willing to travel.  

Roland Barthes' point that "the infinity of the signifier refers not to some idea of the ineffable (the unnameable signified) but to that of a playing." Why bother correlating at all if not to bring forth a text?

Shining armor in which men see themselves reflected and choose not to be crusaders after all. God bless you my son!

Implicit arguments. The role a sentence plays in the ones that follow. Language is recursive and generative. And there are no mysteries!

Sunflower heads dangling seedless, stalks brown and withered yet upright in the mist. Holes in window screens through which hornets pass. A better cup of coffee than those I make myself, having passed beyond the imperative of quality.

Yet what is absent is not gone and so cannot be missed. How you think because she glimpsed It in you It is in you, and other errors upon which your sorrow hangs, a red cape for a long walk you can no longer avoid. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Last October Sky Ever

I imagine listening to you breathe in darkness.

Across ten thousand miles and even more lifetimes I listen to you breathe.

In the darkness I see your chest rise and fall.

Rise and fall.

Your breasts which were the world.

Your heart which is the world.

In the bed we share, in the cave.

The fire we share brightening.

Walking under the mountains to you and singing on top of the mountains to you.

The old stories becoming new in us.

The one story told again in us.

Again and again and again.

After many days of wind and rain the skies clear and a thousand times a thousand stars appear, each  an intimate blessing.

The moon appears and Venus.

The moon and Venus appear on the dark shelf of the last October sky ever.  

There is all this light in us.

In all of what is given there is light.

Oceans appear. Lake Superior and Watts Brook. Black bears and sea bass. Cephalopods extending understandings that transcend theology, philosophy, physics, love.

Maple trees and elephants appear. Death squads and cell phones. Music from the Peloponnese.

Fathers and mothers appear, and the Great Father and the Great Mother. The Trinity and the Mystery.

Does my heart race? My heart races. 

My hands flutter like chickadees too high up in the air. And I kneel now not in homage or praise but in submission.

Defeat and destruction.

I am the ruins of older ruins. 

You are the ruins of which I am the ruins.

There is a word for this. There is a throat with which to say it.

There are ears with which to hear.

When I reached God - when I gazed into the perfect blue stillness - what I saw was what I saw reflected in your eyes when you opened them once in a photograph. 

I have no legs now with which to measure distance, nor arms to mourn the absence of the one I do not hold.  

I have no heart to count the time - to bring forth a past or project any future.

No mind with which to remember names.

I have no will to make it otherwise.

In darkness I listen to you breathe, my love.

I rest in you, who are breathing.

My octopus, my angel. 

My here and my there, my once and forever, my gone. 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Just Out of Reach Singing

The rapture as a structure of delay, perfectly designed by that which cannot face its demise. Organ meats, chicken feet. When we rise after prayer, we are neither lighter nor light, and yet happiness in its way abounds. Gimme!

Washing kale and collard greens, slicing the stems away, bagging them to freeze. Think of winter, think of your hunger, think of the salt mines in certain fictional narratives. Nobody home, nobody not-home either.

Old Irish songs about traveling that my son neatly folds into his sunny 70s rock ballad disposition. Lights like candy corns we loop around beams in the hay loft. 

Turn to me once, turn to me twice and what do I become but a thinning version of a dream you can't quite remember having. And begin.


Spider webs float in warm drafts circulating through the basement. Ham steaks, ground beef, pork roasts, chicken. Would "amen" have taken us to a different sense of over?

Giving away my books yet keeping all the book ends, these remnants of a childhood in which the true savior was language bound in the reconstituted flesh of trees.

And what ends, ends, and what does not end goes on, hinting at even more encompassing states.

One longs for just five minutes alone with Heinz von Foerster, one steps out from the invisibility spell laid upon them long ago, one finds that their voice is no longer recognizable in their throat.

A dream of ruined Christmas tree ornaments, my feet bleeding, my heart a dove fluttering just out of reach of Hank Williams singing "My Son Calls Another Man Daddy."

It's this, it's that, it's everything, man.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Gathering Unraveling

Am I, then, a bruise?

Wind in the darkness, late stars. Carrying hay to the horses at six a.m., repeating this day after day, following the same path.

A service, a sacrifice, a sentiment.

The weaving of other's stories into our own, and seeing how the weaver is so far beyond the reach of Her material.

Women I name, Goddesses I am not allowed to name publicly.

Rushing up the stairs in my shitkickers because the blind horse is down, the house still shadowed at half past six, Chrisoula and Sophia meeting me on the landing already dressing, knowing something is wrong because who goes upstairs in their shitkickers when nothing is wrong? 

What is wrong.

We watch Eddie Van Halen doing Eruption live, then a couple of Zoe Keating's exquisite existential cello solos, then supper is ready and we eat standing around the island, speaking our shitty Greek, making Chrisoula laugh. Greek islands we visited early in the marriage, kisses touched with ouzo, olive groves crossing steep hills we ascended happily as into light.

The dry sun so far from New England's.

A way of reading texts entangled with Freud, kind of like how The Sopranos was written. 

At a late juncture realizing how poor I am at setting and sustaining boundaries, and the ones who teach me this by running over them and taking my stuff and picking at my bones. Sadnesses, softnesses. 

Crossing the street to give space to the neighbors, a new thing. Egg cartons blown off the front porch. Shivering dogs the neighbors don't let in, scratching their heads and talking in low tones, being whatever comfort I can be.

Waiting until afternoon to do laundry. The blind horse stricken now by wind in a way he was not when both eyes worked.

Mostly but not only alone, in love with what unfolds, and infolds too, gathering unraveling, and lonely in the way one is lonely when one is mostly but not all the way beyond being alone.