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.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Men Who Were Haunted By Men

Yellow maple leaves falling, toppling through warm air, a loveliness, a light, littering wet grass.

Chrisoula advises me that inclement weather is coming - rain and wind - and I tell her I'll be okay, which is a lie, which in context is okay, but still.

Old friends relaying news of their illnesses, a reminder we are all in motion, going along.

What helps includes potato chips, chess with Jeremiah, Hallmark movies, watching football and baseball, kittens and quilts, baking pies with Fionnghuala, rereading favorite books from childhood (and talking with Sophia about what constitutes "favorite books from childhood," especially if we never stop reading them), and long walks alone at dusk and - in ways I am only beginning to understand - just not being lonely anymore.

Hey Sean, what did you mean all those years writing "and begin" when you had obviously begun and were going along?

One enters the desert in which everything is blasted and wasted and consents to be blasted and wasted and thus meets the Lord shriveled and dry, a husk, a dried-up seed pod, a carapace, a corpse.

Always ask: what is near, nearer, nearest?

Hills on the far side of which Emily Dickinson wrote poems and letters that a century and a half later would guide me through the rockiest portion of the trail.

Neither late nor early, neither enough nor not-enough.

How grateful one can be when one is grateful for the ordinary gift of ordinary days!

"That was another happy summer, for the troubles had not come yet."

Making coffee, taking it with me outside, standing it on a shelf in the barn, grabbing hay for the horses, then coming back to get my coffee and finishing it in the doorway, the earth turning mindlessly into light with me. 

The older cats curl up sleeping. The younger ones stretch and roll. 

And a storm gathers.

Family jokes about how as a baby I ate so much bologna, behind which rests the sorrow of poverty and ignorance.

Oh, nothing beautiful, nothing free.

Yet as as the night grows darker and terrible rains fall and he cannot sleep, his heart softens and opens, and all the sleepless men - haunted by violence, haunted by anger, haunted by men who were haunted by men - come into him and cry quietly, leaning on one another, salting each other with tears - and he says to them all, "here with you by the grace of God am I."

All the many ways we interpret the late biblical gloss: "no man knows the hour at which I come."

And to October I say, "not again."

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Able to be Forgotten

More of the same at last blurring into all there is at last able to be forgotten. Sigh with me please. Maple leaves dulled by rain plastered to the back stairs. One moves slower in their fifties, one counts their blessings, one uses "one" in awkwardly formal ways.  The sound a mouse corpse makes when tossed onto the compost under the watchful eyes of crows. She visits the hayloft, passes me working, squeezes my foot hello, but otherwise does not speak. Yellow school bus, yellow sunflower, yellow rain. Remember when practicing kissing was a thing? So much bittersweet. Your octopus soul is showing and "I" am the ocean. There are always more ways than one, my dear. Look at all this smoke rising off the only fire I know.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

My Hands will be Gone

Black coffee, half moon. 

October: this October. 

Also, what's "in" a name? Where will the sentences go next - the form and the specific example? 

The blue stillness, depthless depths, the stars and the space between them, all of it spilling, being brought forth.

Frothy beer heads, messy blowjobs.

Bittersweet on dying maple trees just beyond the pasture. Every time I hold a chainsaw I wonder if one or both of my hands will be gone by day's end.

I remember looking for her bra in the dark, both of us laughing and happy.

We sleep, dream, wake up and go back to sleep: is this a problem?

Fire makes a dim light when it's lit in the far back of the cave yet somehow we find it. 

Lines in the sand.

Unexpected letters that reveal once again we've been used, set up as this or that, tossed around in social circles, and when will this grief end, when will this loneliness cease.

My mother trying to say she is sorry, the Great Mother leaning in on both of us without clarifying my role in the amends.

Bells, bats, binoculars, bears, bad bets and bestiaries.

Pancake batter forgotten in the back of the fridge.

Altars made of cornstalks and dried gourd and pumpkin vines. When your people and my people are one people. Long roads on which we walk a long time before turning back at last, as if giving up on distance and its array of possibilities.

Born again in you, little by little trying my voice in you, lost in the truth of you, the simple notes, the unlimited arrangements of you. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Heart of the Mother at Home

Half circles nudging the dew off stiff clover. Nursery rhymes.

Dead maple leaves stranded in avian netting casting thin shadows on old chickens who - rare in these parts - will die a natural death.

Time in which to kiss each point on the circumference of your aureola, stubbled chin grazing the nipple.

What story am I telling you, my ocean, my hole in the sky, my dearest emptiest only one.

Promises, promises.

Pretty girls, popular boys and all the rest of us keeping up.

October fastens me to now-harvested apple trees, making a handsome pair of corpses. Death is neither the end nor an escape nor a beginning.

Fighting against the urge to rest and then fighting against fighting against the urge to rest.

Later the sentences help elucidate the actual conflict. What falls apart falls apart and what is reconstructed is not what fell apart. In Africa once.

And yet. There are all these rules, there are all these capital letters.

What we call it - awareness, consciousness, mind, Light of God, nirvana - does not change its nature or function but rather the community in which we speak of it.

A sound the tree makes falling, torn from its roots and its roots shivering in the earth, and all of watching in bright sunlight this rehearsal of our own inevitable destruction.

The country of tea in the kingdom of coffee in the heart of the mother at home.

Hard coughs in the middle of the night indicating something has gone wrong somewhere but what and to whom and what shall we - who have never been very good at answering these kinds of questions - do.

I mean really: what shall we do here in the heart of what has no heart.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Days of Heavy Lifting

Given the leftover canes of more important men and being told to be grateful and being grateful. The waning moon on the western hill. 

We take the calendar off the fridge and study it plotting the week, which is full in a complex way. 

Putting up tomatoes: canned salsa, pizza sauce and pasta sauce, and frozen roasteds for soups, stews and casseroles. 

The eighteenth century yawns, stretches, comes downstairs and joins me for coffee. 

The neighbors ask for help carrying their new door upstairs, and though my days of heavy lifting are now mostly gone, I say yes. 

Accepting a cane from a man rich enough to own many canes, who now and then gives one to the poor, high on his benevolence, deceived his gift is a form of justice and mercy. 

John Prine's last record. Cutting down mostly-dead trees past the pasture, knowing the end of days is nigh, and drawing each breath in a rush of dazed gratefulness.

And water boils for tea, and coffee boils in the low pan, and we wake the girls for morning chores.

What is ordinary, what is lost to itself, and what is grace-filled because it has no word for grace.

Nor any language at all.


Hefting fifty pound bags of flour, setting them where Chrisoula says, the back stairwell a second pantry now. Repotting succulents. 

She takes her glasses off, rubs her eyes, and later falls asleep with her feet in my lap. There is no channel anymore that soothes me the way she soothed me once against how rough and indifferent the world is. 

Market capitalism has failed us. Her hair shot through with silver, exciting me as if moonlight were a guest and not a stranger.

The Light of God in which all things - including the Light of God - are seen.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Futility of Gifts

Moonlight on the barn roof at six a.m., frosty dew on the toes of my black boots. I am mostly broken, mostly riddled, mostly limping. The heart has no thought of its own.

In dreams the dead visit, and in psychedelic prayer space, we can die and be reborn. Blue jays in the hemlocks mock my fear of chainsaws. How else are we sustained in this hash mark of a world.

Poems for pretty girls become pleas to be understood and then - later, in this autumnal darkening, this end of days - a hymn to the One who breathed us and whose breath draws us back. 

The neighbors come over with plans to kill the fox who is killing their chickens and, foxlike, I lie to them about where the den is located and, Seanlike, disable the trap after dark just to be sure. Bittersweet scales dead trees out back. The mute center, the warm billows.

She tells me she is breaking into a thousand pieces, and I fall asleep to the sound of her whimpering in dreams. Paper snowflakes that lasted through spring and summer, harbingers of what's to come. We pile blankets on the bed, quilts and throws, and our bodies grow thinner accordingly.

Breathe me, believe me.

Early October, shivering in morning prayer, clutching the hot coffee mug, letting what wants to come into the light, come into the light. The psychic who predicted my death, who was obviously angry at me for reasons I could not discern, taught me thus the futility of gifts. Drinking coffee with Dad in the hospital, easy in those days because there was a future with which to blot any study of the past.

The blind horse begins to age, and I take over the early hour chores - checking on him, checking on the fence, throwing flakes of hay. Sprigs of lavender in water in a yellow plastic aspirin bottle, lasting longer than one expects. 

For a long time I was ruined by images but at last saw how this was simply a construction of language which I could do or undo at will, which doing or undoing reached all the way to the self, and then ended, as sentences do, and apparently must. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Silence which Cannot Be

Starlight, city lights, that which makes all light possible. Darren offers me a cigarette, which I take but do not light, nervously waiting for the cops to finish their interview. Peace signs everywhere, Black Lives Matter, the silence which cannot be broken. Distance. The circle allows no argument about what constitutes circularity. We work together at a steel table, our dialogue public yet shot through with the privacy upon which all marriages are premised. Gently plunging my right hand into the chicken's body, massaging organs from ribbed walls, easing fistfuls of steaming guts out, leaving a cavity to be flushed, a husk to be frozen. Idealized spiritual states breed competition and other zero-sum activities. Shivering waking up because early October is cold this year, and chores do not allow me to linger in bed. Dionysius the Areopagite said the Godhead was "the Universal Cause of existence while Itself existing not, for It is beyond all Being and such that It alone could give, with proper understanding thereof, a revelation of Itself." Precisely. And yet.

Friday, October 23, 2020

On a Bus with Her through Vermont

The eye of the observer alienates what is observed. Or something Bohm said long ago, when one was curious in a different way. Brutal cycles of creation and destruction at last perceived as distinctly feminine and through which one passes to a generative stillness beyond gender. A gold light in October that I remember from long ago, a childhood in which all was given so that in time it might be pieced back together. Muffled distinctions and other softenings. I remember riding on a bus with her through Vermont at night, snow and darkness in moonlight perfectly blue, and how surprised I was over all the miles at the happiness washing over me, wave upon wave of her attention and delight. And so again I come to the table and shuffle the deck and douse the lamp. Shoeless and blind, I wait patiently for whatever enfoldment She decides is coming next. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Memory of Sight

Coffee against sleeplessness, that losing battle ruining my body. Scarring patterns, dental records. A sexual hunger that no woman ever met and no man understood. Early October wrapped in heavy quilts, gazing through the window at a world blurred by melting frost. Whenever you have a law, at the next level of existence, you have a reflection of that law. What is the structure of mind save the structure of the content appearing? A lot of writing is done simply that we won't forget, and yet forgetting is precisely the goal of Love, a difficult balance I am yet to sustain. As in, how I wanted to take the tryst to church and give it my name. Since you didn't really see me, I became blind, and in my blindness died to the memory of sight, in which darkness much is revealed, more or less continuously. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Out of the Forest at Twilight

Sentence after sentence, a reminder that eternity is not "time unending" but rather "no time at all." The fox came up out of the forest at twilight, loping in a relaxed way along the pasture's edge, a way that made me happy by reminding me that death is neither the end nor the beginning. And then and then and then. And thus. The kids ask for cinnamon raisin bread so I make cinnamon raisin bread. Ask a philosophical question, get a philosophical answer. In so many ways, reasons become hostages to fortunes they did not - indeed, could not - anticipate. Dad is gone now, and what remains is an absence in which I recognize the Lord, which is just another kind of absence. In the blue stillness there is nobody who says "in the blue stillness." Gift-giver, go-getter. Get along little doggie, get along. Go home, good god, go home.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Lonely in the Way One is Lonely

Maple leaves on the front stairs, brittle with frost. To live is to remember in a very selective and deliberate way, which means that much is forgotten, and it is in forgetting that both love and peace surpass understanding and thus are known. Waiting in a line outside the hardware store, saying "good morning" but not much else to those arriving to also wait. Morning passes limbing apple trees, all of us together, laughing at Jeremiah clowning in sunlight, and calming the blind horse for whom loud noises are now orders of magnitude more stressful. After lunch - baked beans, breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs with onions and peppers - we take down whole trees near the pasture. My heart which was never not broken breaks a little more. Winter informs us it intends to linger, maybe stay forever, according to the whims of the God of No Gods. The ripping sound letting go, the thumping falling. Chrisoula and the kids reminisce about the dogs, how protective they were of the chickens, how I slept outside with them at night, sleeping bag here and there in the yard, all sorrows that I cannot go into as deeply into as they can. A sigh seeing the moon so pure and bright in the briefly rainless sky. One is lonely in the way one is lonely when one has come a long way alone to the Country of Marriage as once contemplated in another, less Godless, age. It passes but man, what the passing takes as it goes.

Monday, October 19, 2020

A Vast Alliance of Comorbidities

What is the body but a vast alliance of comorbidities opposed to love? What is the mind but a cramped prayer? You let everything go - blowjobs, love letters, long walks by the lake - even that fucking trestle table - and what remains is the emptiness that can never be filled. I mean, what remains is the emptiness that can never be filled. Oh draw near to me Great Mother of the psalmists and teach this foolish scrap of flesh a last time how to be an oasis against vast encompassing wastelands. Scales dry up and blow away, leaving the snake merely meat that from time to time is hungry. Veils age and become dust, leaving the wind no reason to blow. And yet. And yet. Beloved, I lift you with broken arms high into the light: do you see now how you see? I sink into the great stillness - without sight, without a sigh. Do you feel your loneliness compounding? In the generative emptiness all is forgiven: dreams of holiness and unholiness both. Promises, promises and yet - absent us, which is to say, after us, which is to say, us - love.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Checking the Sky Before Bed

Rereading von Foerster's "Through the Eyes of the Other" which three summers ago saved me from despair, only to later plunge me deeper into an existential crisis from which I was gently retrieved by a fluorescent telepathic octopus with surprisingly helpful insights into prayer, othering and inner peace. The cashier says good weather helps, I was going to say good cider helps, but the important thing is we are both thinking in terms of helpfulness. This new habit of checking the sky before bed, ensuring stars are out, then drawing sleeping breaths into antique lungs. In days and nights such as these indeed. This fatigue - a kind of sorrow, a kind of clinginess - upon seeing the confusion of others, knowing it must be allowed to dissipate on its own, without input from me, which it will, in time. Gazing into cloudy October skies, nodding at Venus which is there but unseeable. Near 3 a.m. a light rain begins and my heart - that useless bellows - flutters like a sparrow in the jaws of the Great Cat. I am blind because she makes me so and rather than visit the divine ophthalmologist, I go into the world, sightless and alone. Weddings upset the heavens, decoupling and recoupling us like starfish exhausted by death. Look at us taking turns going down on the Goddess of Again and Again. Again. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

All My Dogs are Dead

And now it is October. Errors which upon noticing we do not amend but strengthen through denial, projection, doubling-down, et cetera. It hurts, this body. Blind in her sight because she refuses to see me with eyes, and thus I am a monster, a mutation, when "all I ever wanted was to be loved." The great whale in the great sea and the hunters who think they have seen God's Face and yet still somehow manage to justify their weapons. Neither wake nor funeral but deathbed vigil. Bells toll, the wedding finishes, and the marriage begins to shadow the love that shadowed the parentless courtship. The perfect balance of his last breath, the tonal detonation - a long rasping sigh echoing - of the last exhalation. "Cool it, kid." Geese cry overhead, low tones obscured by clouds, and once again a longing to travel fills my heart. A fulcrum, a fault. Flowing around boulders. A force? In my soul it is always winter, snow falling on hemlocks, the river lost beneath enormous wedges of ice. October again or did I say that. The old drama to which I was consigned repeats and rather than indulge repetition I leave the theater and take up smoking. Fuck you Shakespeare, fuck you Saul of Tarsus and fuck you Sylvia Plath. Now begins the forgetting. My woman far away with the wrong man, all my dogs dead. And now there is this rain. Now it is raining. Now this. This again: this this. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

A Whispery Sound the Mail Makes

Who pulls into McDonald's where years ago Dad would have me pull in after one of our afternoon-long drives through north-central Massachusetts, ending in dinner in a parking lot, eating listening to NPR in the car, wondering what saves any of us. Seagulls this far west speak to the human influence on coastal - and far inland - ecologies. Smudges on the door.

Too tired for sex but then not tired, or rather willing to overlook tired, sensing in the other a need that one longs to meet, a longing that reaches well beyond the body. Talkative cashiers not exactly welcome on this morning where I'm working through one of von Foerster's thornier essays and just about getting it. Yellow light. Among the many secrets to fine scrambled eggs, the two most essential are beating them a long time with a good whisk and starting with a really hot surface. 

Reading the Washington Post at 5 a.m., too tired to pretend prayer is more important. Biden/Harris signs appearing like blue mushrooms after rain, joining the many exotic Trump displays, helpfully reminding me we are in a political and not - or at least not only - a religious crisis. It was a good year for gourds. Ceramic plates make a certain sound against one another being washed. 

How cavernous she becomes in those moments, an animal, alien, crouching over me giving me head, then straddling me, grinding, her head low, hair swinging in moonlight streaming through an east-facing window, guttural moans deepening as my thumbs reach her nipples. A whispery sound the mail makes opening. I can't sleep anymore when it rains and so sit up for hours on the downstairs couch, alternately reading Moby Dick which Sophia leaves around and watching 80s sitcoms which the culture recycles in an effort to sell me stuff that doesn't heal - but deepens - this new, this familiar, terror. Green tomatoes sliced thin and fried with onions in butter with salt. 

Birch leaves yellowing. Blue jays in the apple tree at dawn, on the woodpile, the mailbox.

I am blind because you do not see me with sight, an injustice to us both.

Pickup trucks with busted appliances in back, a reminder of something lovely which I can no longer name. Forgetting precedes apace, a million blessings cascading into one, nameless.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Not Afraid of Falling

The river's soft hum at 5 a.m., mist rising in the pasture, muting the gold light of Venus. One pauses at times to remember to forget, then goes forward. Death is one phase of a cycle that is not alive but generative. I stood on the precipice and was not afraid of falling, and I did not fall, and now I am home, and you are home, too.

Black coffee after checking on the horses, reading the news instead of sitting quietly in darkness. We rearrange the living room for comfort, leaning into our living in which everybody is always home, whether working or learning or both. The sentences, they write themselves.

Yet pausing under the hemlocks to watch the moon disappear into undulating western hills. In what way did "hover" become a word? It comforts me knowing the general structure of mind doesn't require an identity to function. We are often overlooked, but rarely to the degree for which we long.

Grease is the word, Grease is the way we are feeling. Moonlight in Vermont. One allows for openings the other declines to pass through and so the relationship dwindles a little more. The chickens don't want to die, a fact that blurs the broader fact that we all have to eat. Fewer secrets, please. Fewer lies.

Walking at 2 a.m. in the rain, my fear biblical, trying to brave my way through it but reaching the dark parts and not being able to go on, so coming back to read Moby Dick, skimming whole parts, until I doze and dream on the couch, dreams I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Realizing that the one you wanted doesn't see you but sees only the projection she makes of you, from which - thanks to von Foerster - you are liberated now. For many years loneliness was a condition of writing but suddenly there is this new way of being, suddenly there is this companionate joy, this wordiness that longing cannot erase.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Ripe for Admiration

Love sets you going, an engine, a seed. Her sun was a "fat gold watch," mine a blue fire encased in snowy quartz. Birthday chrysanthemums set just so on the front porch stairs, ripe for admiration. Pumpkins and gourds, empty boxes, a chair for the barn cat we all call "Kitty." Morning after the sun rises and Chrisoula wakes and well into my third cup of coffee I check the various traps, happily empty, and go on writing poems. A sense when one sleeps of being enfolded in amber, coming out with insights about oral sex and love, and later putting it into words lest the art of self-interpretation remain untested. A light in September as maple leaves turn gold and topless. No heart is all the heart we have now, which is all that makes us religious in the end. A dream of us standing under trees we're taking down later, talking through how making something topple is not the end but the beginning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

My Heart was Supposed to End

Storm clouds running over low hills west. Let this be your prayer? Marigolds lift their heads a last time. A sorrow, a sadness, a settling. When it's windy and rainy I feel fear, but snow and cold can't touch me. When are you a comfort to those who require comfort?

Was this how my heart was supposed to end? Newspapers drift through the sky, fonts falling off of them like dust. I wake early and check on the horses, come back to bed and remember the days when I couldn't go days without sex. Erections and other remnants of a self long-gone.

Paintings which reflect an obsession with the sky. What opens, what sifts, what swears it will not be forsworn.

We laugh as late afternoon thickens around us like heavy quilts. Bowls of chili with salad on the side, corn bread crumbs on the hardwood floor. 

Provision, provenance. Pestilence.

We are lovely in ways that we forget, and ugly in ways that reflect our ongoing confusion about what is lovely and perfect and true. 

Down by the river, letting the body go.

Navigators, nativity sets, The National.

Refreshing familiarity with what will get us through the night, then getting through the night. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

To Make Our Way in the Darkness Better

What I am saying is.

Ordinary blues. Definitions. I often find myself giving attention to Latin roots, as a way of going beyond language to whatever first opened when we started opening our mouths.

Imagine fucking happily in late-stage patriarchy! Sincere prayers and the men who make them. After breakfast and chores I ask if we can share a shower and we do and we kiss a little and she jerks me off, moving things along, both of us playing at being content with what the marriage came to.

Whacking goldenrod. We carry stones to the rear of the property, a pile of them to be washed by rain.

Your intentions matter but not the way you think.

Think of those shepherds facing starlit skies - the semen-colored stream of the Milky Way gleaming - and ending up with a single Father God to rule all other gods.

Money problems, monkey problems.

The pressure I used to associate with Valentine's Day. A single gold leaf spirals down in fine mist.

The dead mice go into a paper bag and are tossed onto the compost where later crows gather, winking and nodding at me, like brothers knowing the deal is bad but determined to go down without whining. 

Fucking Reagan genes.

Sometimes walking up and down Main Street we hold hands briefly, like nodding in the direction of what gathered us once, then letting go in order to make our way in the darkness better.

I used to read cookbooks in bed, which amused her, made me attractive somehow, in ways I still don't understand.

Machinery, mockery, manfully.

Come unto me over the miles, Love, that my last death might not be losing you in the clouds of leaving what is dearest for love.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Hating the Deaths I Come To

I am not a crucifix nor shall I play on one for the pleasure of all these self-instantiated demons.

How in 1988 and 89 on Saturday nights I would go to the Fine Arts Center with coffee and play piano until two or three a.m., lonely and getting lonelier, yet delighted with what my fingers could do given keys.

Whatever was sacred became less so, while what we had filed under "mundane" began to slip its moorings, opening unto us a sense of the sea that had nothing to do with water and everything to do with depths.

Old poem structures that introduced me to sentences, which introduced me to an order which made possible - in time - remembrance of the Lord in Glory, and then the great fire in which even the Lord grows still and quiet.

Snow falling at dawn, melting on the dog's back, both of us standing still and quiet halfway down the slope, hearing the river trickle under ice about half a mile away.

Your beached whale, my broken heart.

We all have a husband who lives in our living the way our dads taught us about women and marriage, and we all have to leave him for the lover who allows us to be the woman the damaged world needs us all to be right now. 

He "got right with God," he "put aside his childish ways," he stopped drinking and a faraway look entered his living, which was neither a light nor a darkness, but an acquiescence of a kind that was forbidden.

Letters that came more or less regularly from England and Scotland, to which I replied faithfully, though only now - some thirty years later - do I see how the content and tenor of those replies are lost, as if what mattered even then was forgetting as fast as possible.

Yet what is fictitious after all?

Salad wraps with bacon.

Mist fills the meadow and the horses step through it gently but deliberately, like regents from long ago, who love the Kingdom over which they so briefly rule, will do nothing to harm it, and so model for us a specific form of Christian love.

My longing becomes mute - doesn't recognize the body in which it arises - and has no idea any more what it wants, as if forgetting were the point all along.

At 5 a.m., before anyone else is up, I check traps in the basement and attic, hating the deaths I come to, making it easier a little by no longer resisting the hate.

How eventually facing everything itself fades, becomes so familiar we forget it matters, and so drift into a peace that does not insist on naming itself or representing itself to others.

Once we established that we would not be unfaithful, we found yielding to the pressure of infidelity such a sweetness and delight that it no longer resembled anything forbidden.

The whole morning slipping into something out of the 1970s, the women who were sexual and beautiful before we understood was sexual meant, and so could only follow them at a distance, puzzled and dazed by the nature of a calling we would only later understand was desire.

Contentment of which I speak in you.

In the Greek icon - the background of which emphasizes gold filament and luminous roses (intimating a queen without knowing it) - Jesus open his arms and their width exceeds the height of his body.

Cry "amen" and put your heart into it, moan my name coming and let the world loose in us, dogs and shepherds and jazz songs and all.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

I Love Now Without Understanding

Morning stillness in which a single breath is lifetimes. Apples rotting underfoot, hay flakes light in my crooked arms. When the shepherd calls, you have no choice but to hear, and in this is your sure release, if you will only see how it generalizes unto everything, including your response to him. 

At the transfer station I tell the guys to stay put, I've got it, and then unload happily, as if I have somehow quietened all the men who used to yell at me in the outfield - where I was always happily stunned by profluent dandelions and how each blade of grass was different than the next if you looked at them closely, not caring who won or lost - to "show some hustle."

There are no signals and no mutations.

Mist muting the maple trees in the orange yellow glory, but not muting my desire to perceive - and to name what is perceived - glory. 

Sleeping habits. Trying to understand the old mystics, honoring them accordingly, and becoming quietly happy, as if communion were merely intention to love, by which Love comes forth in our living.

Fenelon's reasonable point that one should not presume their "inner crucifixion" is complete, to which I can only add, nor even begun exactly.

Playing guitar on the front porch at 10 p.m., moths fluttering around a single dim bulb overhead, my fingers easing into old patterns, ferrying me over the many interior Jordans. 

She clutches the comforter with both hands, raising her hips coming, choking back come-cries, and I come a moment later, rocked by her thighs, the salty folds of her quivering against my tongue.

Tolkien's sense of landscape.

Blue jays rising in noisy lines arrowing off the neighbor's umber lawn. Late September robins, a single chickadee fluttering panicked near the attic eaves, three stories up, embedded like all of us in space.

Fifteen months it took me to finish the ACIM lessons, a fructive blur that stands behind me like a long-closed restaurant from childhood.

Rising off my knees, her "hey," pulling me by the hand to where she lies on messed blankets to kiss - daintily, almost chastely - its still-swollen tip, and we laugh about it, coming unexpectedly while giving her head, our exchange muted in this form delight chose for us at this late stage of empire and meaning, patriarchal dissembling, predictive cephalopods deepening our prayer. 

Later, going out back with Jeremiah to cut down certain saplings, clearing space for the greater cuttings of early October. Remembering how once I longed for a team of oxen and the knowledge of how to work them.

Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists: this is actually true!

Not wanting to go either forward or back, the beauty of the post-equinox stillness, you so far away and not far at all, and everything I love now without understanding at last.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Everybody Trails Their Fingers

Don't lose the thread! Writing through afternoon until I'm bleary-eyed, unsure of whether what I'm saying is clear, or if what I'm asking for is appropriate still. There are always all these remainders. You and your fucking contracts. Four a.m., struggling out of bed, thinking of the horses. A dream of you giving me head that is new somehow, as if the whole past of us had disappeared and was reborn, a new being in the same clothes. Blushing maples. The tiny forsythia near the sidewalk everybody trails their fingers on as they pass. Slow-rolling pickups going down Main Street. The mailbox leans as if thinking or getting ready to empty itself. Would you disrupt the order of the world if you could? In a dream, the poems write me, and this is not a dream.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

With God's Grace a Gentle Glide

Many writing projects are the means by which we avoid writer's block. Mocked by young men who are not afraid of being aggressors and who find me problematic accordingly. A monkey tattoo on her shoulder, appearing to swing on her lime-green bra strap. So many reason to be happy! Walking around at dawn with a cup of coffee, watching the bruise-colored sky soften around Venus, mumbling the same old prayers. How as a child I knew the world in terms of disappointment and violence, and how I became predictably a certain man thereby. Afternoon coffee with a shot of whiskey, which nobody knows but Chrisoula. What else, what now, what next, what then. Basically never dating women who liked jewelry, a sorrow at a late date, as I love gazing at pretty things and choosing among them and giving gifts. Will you never go down on me? Dead mice, one of September's lesser charms. One more New England fall, one more winter, and then with God's grace a gentle glide into uninterruptable stillness. Wait for me? What we lose to know the world, and what we learn to forget love.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Mane of the Blind Horse

Hosta leaves wet with rain. Natal charts. Pregnant elephants. 

Eels fried in butter with salt and thyme.

Bicycles offered at the driveway's end, gone before noon, even the Free sign.

Seasonal promises.

Seats in which we are no longer comfortable and yet linger in because of poems we wrote in them years ago. This love, and the loves against which it measures itself, murders itself, remembers itself. 

Stroking the mane of the blind horse, his left eye sewn shut forever, telling him I love him for how faithful he is to my daughter. 

Beautiful Venus, beautiful Jesus. One combs through old texts looking for translations of Gregory of Nyssa that align with their sense the universe is not as orderly as it appears.

Dickinson's sense of the cosmos as destructive and creative both, and realizing in a way that what we describe as awakening is basically a formal reproduction of a worldview shaped by a lifetime of deep and sustained reading.

Dried red berries. Bittersweet. Pumpkins on the porch making us happier than it seems we have a right to be, yet here we are

Sweet sixteen. The edge of Seventeen. Eighteen-wheelers grinding the miles. The average age of U.S. combat troops in Vietnam.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Emptiness that Death had Wrought

A single gossamer thread strung between fence posts, rising and falling in early September breezes. A rattling sound when the car backs up. A settling, then. A sifting.

His handwriting was thin and hard to read, yet he wrote the letters, didn't he. The sun set just so in proportion to floating clouds, making them bright enough to barely see.

The luminescent Octopus whose soul is my soul, whose healing is my healing, whose dream is my dream. 

Tossing dead mice into overgrown forsythia bushes.

Buckets of chicken guts steaming at mid-morning.

We are all capitalists.

Yet high on the hill, a few maples begin turning, the fierce red of their leaves like a hand-sewn streamer made of cardinal feathers. A sound the wind makes as if dying.

His funeral brought forth neither apologies nor explanations, and I was lost for most of it, exhausted and sad and confused about the emptiness that death had wrought. 

Male monkey politics. Fallen tree limbs. Rotary phones and trying to hide while talking on them. Burnt ferns at summer's end. 

And silence, and silences. The Man without Shoes is also the man with a rosary in his pocket, yet he mentions this a lot less, doesn't he.

Offers to dance, meet in strange towns, drive another loop, et cetera.

Monday, October 5, 2020

The Hard Prayer our Living Together Requires

A degree below freezing. A wandering art.

A part apart.

The water moves a little between shores and remains a dark mirror. A silver thread. 

A warm bed refused on account of poetry, no matter how shitty.

We read carefully into the night and realize we are surfacing as from depths we only partially understood we were plunging through. 

And how do you end your sentences and how do you begin. Premises, promises, primroses.


Stars flicker in the dawning sky then disappear. Horses circling the paddock, hungry.

In the late seventies Diana Monforte died on an icy road in pure sunlight in the faraway Alps and my heart has been oddly on edge ever since.

Upset, undone.

Gravel on her tongue, her throat a salty mess inside of which a song grows.

I can see you in the distance, readying yourself for the hard prayer our living together requires.

Poses, postures. Possibilities, playthings.

Giving me head at three a.m. because I can't sleep because the dead insist on homesteading in my dreams, and water thunders a mere wall way, and is this a way love and sex intertwine at a late stage of the marriage, helpfully, is it.

What gets better is what passes.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

After Making Love

A softness underfoot. When certain of the apples fall they are allowed to remain in dewy grass for days so groundhogs, rats and birds may dig at them. Using "fuck" in a context that upon reflection may not have been appropriate. A joy that is fundamentally accompaniment. Prosthetics as metaphor. Do you remember drinking beers on the open porch in late fall, both of us out of place at frat parties, dreaming of lakeside darknesses in which to touch and kiss and whisper. Elusive centers. How after making love beneath the Pleiades a last time we draw the blankets closer, letting the embers darken, understanding more than we care to about loss. Trout songs, bear songs, turkey songs. It's dawn, everything is new. Even now the story you tell yourself is less familiar than you think. 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

An Altar of Sorts, an Offer

What we say without saying much. Fingers deep in you, kissing while you grind, slippery and hot. Bringing up ham steaks to fry for lunch. Frost melting on grass in need of mowing. In need of Vermont at a point when Vermont is no longer possible. Amen? Folding and refolding the quilt my aunt made many years ago when Foxboro still had farms. Pigs hanging in the freezer barely recognizable. Dreams your father had becoming dreams you have, and the nightmares that drove you both to distractions that were political in nature. Trolley tracks, train tracks, fox tracks. This ancestral inclination to booze. Song. Jacking off, silver streams of ejaculate glistening on my fingers, an altar of sorts, an offer.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Together as Night Deepens

Turning away. And will you, in the end, perform as I have long desired?

A gulping sound in the sky that is geese passing a little west. Swift walkers, head down, studying the ministrations of grief.

Venus. Jesus. Countless losses.

Many cars fill the driveway the day after a funeral. Oklahoma, Virginia, Vermont.

You can drive a thousand miles east and fuck me in the hay loft then hold me while I sleep then eat with me quietly when I awaken near dusk then together as night deepens help me figure out "how."

Pissing on the jewelweed, listening to crows. Dad's plans to live into his eighties thwarted. How surprised we are to discover that we are human after all.

How does it feel?

The blind horse standing just outside the barn, still as if made of marble. Of sadness, of emptiness, of loss.

Russian poetry recalled in a dream.

Defenestration used in a sentence. At a distance, a gallows.

What do we forget and how is it holy if we can't remember holiness? 

I rise from depths and bring with me new light.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Lonely No More

It has to do with forgetting. Letting go? At four a.m., rather than go back to bed, the warm billows she is under blankets, I stay up and write poems, mostly bad ones, but one or two okay. The child I was approves. Atop the maple stumps out back, green crystals offered in some vague gesture of healing, some plea for divine forgiveness. Crack the hymnal and what do you find? Yet the chickens do not cry dying, but some of the children watching them die do. Word games with which we are less and less amused, less and less distracted. A surprising offer to swap, which was hard to say no to lest we hurt anybody's feelings, but of course, no. Up so early it might as well be late. We tune our guitars in late afternoon sunlight, run through half a dozen Hank Williams songs, and then it's dusk and time for a new kind of quiet. I was lonely once, but then Christ stepped out of the shadows, and I was lonely no more. Like that, but without drama.