Lesser Heaven

Oh I am inside the wasp’s nest now looking out!
Now I am a single hard-boiled egg.
A cricket, a crow.
Now I am a bald eagle hunting you over the oxbow.
Can you feel my hunger?
Can you feed my hunger.
Whose husband am I? Whose help-meet?
Whose body is my classroom? Whose thighs tighten on me coming. Who muffles her cries against my throat coming. 
Two years now, a single maple leaf wedged between panes of glass in the bedroom window.
The world I am loath to disturb. For which I became a song.
A lesser song of a lesser god in a lesser heaven.
Oh but imagine me as violets!
Imagine me at dusk trembling touching the violets. 
I tremble to touch you.
In the swamp off Flat Iron Road a red-winged blackbird, first in almost a decade, reminding me how hard we try, coming back to us over and over in image, story and vow.
Oh my God let me learn to let love be love and joy, joy.
Categorized as Sentences

Giving Up In You

“For no one knows the hour at which I come.”
Yet one does know who has arrived and what gift they bear, doesn’t one, for this is love: this love, and only this is love.
For this my knees were made.
For this the earth and my knees shall be one worship. 
So swimming in you. Listening to loons in summer dark in you with you. Moonlight rippling on our bare shoulders grazing kissing in you.
Loving in you the lakes in you.
Entering you already in you.
Listening to Dylan while traveling west, early seventies stuff, his family stuff, singing in you coming home in you the song in you.
Already one, already this love.
Already always this love.
Tulips in you, honey bees in you, marriage in you, infidelity in you, what is new in you. 
Hurting in you and healed in you and beyond help in you.
It is written we shall be lucky in prayer and unlucky in love for so long as it is bodies to which our longing points and yet “and yet” in you.
Giving up in you.
All up in you, in on you, all all of you.
My tongue in you in the forest in you to make all birds sing in you and all rivers say amen in you and sunlight say hallelujah in you.
Rising in you with her in you who was always in you, and always you, always.
Categorized as Sentences

That Which Remains A Secret

The murderous enormity of my pain and anger, which Christ gently asks me to give Him as a gift, which offer I cannot believe is real. After days of sun, rain clouds move in, and one writes quietly with their coffee, alone again. 
I reject as “love” that which remains a secret or illicit or even negotiable.
Death, like sex, feels like an objection to the terminal nature of bodies, one that we are together meant to elide. 
Various paint stains on my jeans, witnessing the many projects my hands have attended over the years, inartfully but faithfully. They say when are you going to get a dog again and I have no answer because the answer I have is not the answer they want. Samuel Barber’s understanding of sadness. 
Apple blossoms, annoyances, announcements, annuals, ant hills, annuities, antiphons.
He talked about the ruins of his marriage and as I listened a sparrow hopped along the river bank, not distracting so much as enhancing, as if reminding me of something I’d long ago forgotten. Sharing a joint by the fire, not talking, just now and then leaving the unity of our nestled body to throw another log on. 
Sparks hurl themselves toward heavenly stars and fall back into our fire.
How in certain traditions vomiting is “getting well.”
Slow-drying macadam, light breezes. How inevitably we disappoint one another, and yet go on together, lovers.
Frying breakfast sausage over low heat, listening to the kids argue about what constitutes “funny,” grateful for their intelligence but also lost in my own kitchen, my own family.
Hungry but not for anything I know how to cook.
Churches are empty now. Hell spews fire trucks into our brains which, lacking Emily Dickinson’s clarity, are receptive to such damaging energy.
The nineteenth century was ten thousand years ago, and I am only just now seeing this.
This slow coupling, soft opening, this rest in thee.
Categorized as Sentences

Spiral, Expansive, Repetitious

Apple blossoms just visible from the bedroom window where I make myself write. Something blurs in me, or softens. This lifelong inability to discern between bird song and morning, as if the one were the other, or discernment altogether were an illusion. The many uses to which “care” is put. Caution.
Crashing? Always the sense one is moving into a vacuum, a tremulous future, a horizon that is unlike anything you’ve ever known. Once I did. What does so-and-so want to hear vs. what do you need to say vs. what happened? Heat rises in the parking lot and a crushed Dunkin cup scuffs between cars. I try too hard to not try too hard. 
Iced coffee in Brattleboro near midnight – walking by the river – the end of our friendship still a few years distant – under stars.
Sick sometimes, or worried, or just tired and “relax, I’ll get to it.” Dandelions in the backyard where we work silently building a fire pit from found material. Sentence structure becoming a challenge again or is just that all our living is spiral, expansive, repetitious. 
In the garden, near where the kale comes back, half a robin’s egg, its luminous blue mocking my insistence on the Lord. I did not ever want to be kissed good night (for good enough reasons) and so became a man who wonders what it’s like to be kissed goodnight. How silent the inside of a mailbox is when the moon is full. 
And the moon, and her shoulder, and the tides of us.
Categorized as Sentences

Hunger and How to Eat

Snow squalls in early May. Inside, outside. The thing about witches, they understand both hunger and how to eat. A little blue. 
Jesus weeps where the wetlands opens into pine forest, shadows one never reaches the end of. Near supper time the barn grows quiet and still, and I lay down on bales of hay and close my eyes. Some of what passes for prayer may be prayer, but more it’s just the brain unspooling in pictures and words. You look in the mirror and what do you see?
The sky pulls back, clouds rush in. As a child there was this strange relationship to trains, one that has survived into adulthood, evidence if evidence is needed of past lives. Dan points to the dulcimer and asks do I want him to repair it and the silence – brief, intense, pregnant – speaks volumes in answer. Selah. 
Want. As the course points out, we are built to give thanks, and nothing else becomes us. Boxes of apples in the hay loft, potatoes and onions. The Kiss tie I wore to prom in 1983, drunk and happy, though Steve died two weeks later of cancer. The history of baseball, slavery, Gatling guns, nations. I am here for you, and all that you offer.
Remember when we quarreled? I’ve got crucifixion on my mind again, I’ve got these nails I never know what to do with.
Categorized as Sentences

A Resting Place

From high up in the maple trees, dying from decades of road salt, dead branches whistle down in high hard winds. A casket is a secret not a resting place, as this poem is a promise not to close until you’re ready.
One yearns to climb Ascutney today, yet knows doing so poses complications to the family dynamic (as all travel plans must), and so refrains. Sunlight melts snow that fell near dawn. All our hearts are cleared of ruin.
In what church – under whose tutelage – did I learn not to trust the body’s joy? The side yard lilac bush – which last year did not bloom – nearly reaches the second story. Yet another pair of shoes slides into a state of disrepair from which they cannot be saved.
And all Creation a gift.
Whatever is lawful, whatever is blessed, whatever it is. One can read too much into anything as the world is forever offering itself as a text to be constructed, deconstructed and constructed yet again. “Soon,” whispers the Lord, sounding like He means it for once.
We wait until late afternoon to walk, agreeing the light on the river is more pleasing then. We are one but not the same, and we do hurt each other, and only we can heal us. Snow on the forsythia, your name on my tongue.
Some of it makes no sense, and yet remains given unto us, as if the lesson were not intended to be understood in traditional ways. The artwork of children, the ongoing betrayal of decades-old vows.
What ends, what never ends.
This and that.
And you: always you.
Categorized as Sentences

Grace after Sunrise

Hemlocks sway in light breezes. Sometimes it feels like the sky is close enough to kiss, close enough to whisper secrets to and know they’ll be kept. I was a child once, and will be again.
Ravens pass, their guttural cries mocking our befuddlement, our leaden stature. The pond skiffles, fragmenting sunlight, and those who have headaches no longer have headaches. Study the sleep of dogs, study the waking of cats.
Morning passes. At the last second one finds it in them to witness unto the grace that is never not in abundance. She does not notice me noticing her, and does not care that she does not notice.
One adopts an attitude they secretly feel is becoming of a psalmist and instantly all the words dry up. The broken-hearted many, the open-hearted few. Cold drafts seep into the hay loft and the Man Without Shoes shivers while he writes which is, for him, a familiar way of writing. 
Who will say they are free of all filters? The hemlocks appear darker than usual with the sun behind them. Re-reading Joyce’s letters, remembering sharing them with Dan, all those years ago in Vermont.
Drunk and high on the shore of Lake Champlain, singing Hank Williams songs, scared I won’t find the next chord, and nearly always finding it. My grandmother’s tea cup filled with moonlight on the back stairs, me sitting beside it, quiet and still, filling with grace. After sunrise, another cup of coffee.
What you need is an understanding of the fundamental inability to grasp anything. The image dies on the only altar imaginable. 
Categorized as Sentences

In Sunlight the Boy Wept

Making love as a step unto the altar where the beloved is burned utterly and nothing remains but the Lord.
At night, silence is broken by spring frogs and the hushed river and occasional traffic on Route Nine.
There were pilgrims here once, beholden to concepts of God I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Before kids, we camped a lot, made love outdoors in the middle of the day – in fields, on the sides of mountains, the banks of rivers, and in an apple orchard in Whately once, giddy as dusk fell on our golden bodies. 
Looking up old lovers on Facebook and Google and finding nothing, as the women I have loved and not forgotten were headed somewhere different than this patriarchal hellscape and its technological catalog.
Willingness, humility, allowances.
Light enters and finds each nook within us.
The history of baseball, the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s education growing up, Parson Weems, plantation culture in eighteenth century America, coffin ships, Africa.
Longing saying “okay, you got me – I suck – go ahead and be done with me” and so you commence longing for the end of longing, for what comes after longing.
Cold beers out in the pasture, cows coming and going around us, talking about our wives, our families, how everything here has changed but us. 
Dust motes in sunlight which the boy wept being torn away from.
Certain Stevie Nicks songs.
Twenty minutes until we have to go, and other promises we failed to keep.
Rip cords, umbilical cords, extension cords.
The heart a desert in which only certain can survive. 
Categorized as Sentences

When The Tangle Will Undo Itself

As if all that writing were a way of hiding the separated self, preserving it from the destruction wrought by the inquisition of awakening. The ever-luminous Anamika Borst saying “how wonderful that even from Nonduality/we can move on.” We walked in a vast half-circle through old tobacco fields, the county fairgrounds ever in the distance, beckoning. When in afternoon the sun appears between fast-moving clouds, when at dusk you hear the mockingbird on the high black wire.
Oat pancakes with heated syrup. One is asked to be in relationship with all Creation, including paralysis, including deli meat. Crosses made of palms that every year grow a little more brittle. So there is no “us,” so what?
Longing is a kind of pain, premised on absence, which is an illusion we presently opt not to see through. She clenched her fists coming, pounded the bed beside the pillow or my back or the desk on which she leaned. Who needs pictures. The days are snarled now, like yarn in wild raspberry thickets, and there is no indication of when the tangle will undo itself or end. Sunlight on the river, the backs of new leaves that in a breeze face the river.
In many ways, “yes” is a negotiation. Non-cat people marrying cat people and what the long-lost Egyptian gods and goddesses do accordingly in their intricate festive afterlife. I remember days when it seemed like remembering was somebody else’s problem but the truth was, it was always my problem. 
Bach on bass guitar. Roast beef and bacon sandwiches on rye, eaten standing at the window watching snow fall through distant halogen auras. This man who, seeing a hot air balloon in the distance, grabs the woman he will marry one day and begins sobbing uncontrollably. As if “amen” were the end we all say it is. 
Categorized as Sentences

I Have Always Been A Little Sorry

Afternoon. The sky blurs, light falling off as clouds move in. Horses graze in the corner of the field we opened last autumn. Sometimes I forget what to capitalize, and sometimes I don’t care. Angels before bed removing their halos, saying their prayers. I was older than all this once, and learned nothing special, hence this inglorious wordy return.
Remember walking once in Northampton and hearing a harpsichord and following it into the Unitarian church near Polanski Park? Jack Gilbert poems, for which I have always been a little sorry. 
Knowing what was going to die was a burden nobody bothered to help me with, perhaps because nobody knew it was a burden. Often, walking in the forest in late afternoon, you’d wonder what would happen if you just curled up and slept. Even our ideas are helpful, so long as you don’t get hung up on claiming them. Room temperature whiskey, roach clips, and the understanding that somebody somewhere was paying.
The shade of green on Peter Criss’s eye shadow. Longing hurts, waiting hurts. Feral cats creeping into the barn right before the snow begins. Remember lanterns?
Remember love? Nothing is separate or otherwise apart from anything else, yet it doesn’t seem that way, and we make a lot of mistakes accordingly. One slips, one does. Oh Jesus, what is it with you and chickadees and hemlocks at dusk and women living thousands of miles away?
Categorized as Sentences