Sunday, January 31, 2021

What went Wrong went Somehow Right

Well, it's just a fact: sometimes the apology comes too late. Patterns enfolded in patterns, women who read knitting magazines before bed. Snow settles on roadside maples and hemlocks behind the barn, and I remember childhood games, and something even older and more precious that does not have a name. Putting a certain emphasis on yellow made us rethink our shared commitment. She shows me the bedroom, taking one step further into it than necessary, and the possibilities becomes heavy, like the air before a storm. One drives home slowly, in no hurry any longer to be anywhere in particular. Snow buntings on the lilac, chickadee prints near the stairs. My son sobs in my arms and I rub his strong back, saying over and over "you are a good boy," which is what he needs to hear his father say, and in the afterlife my own father clutches his gut, hunched over, seeing how what went wrong went somehow right. The body illuminated briefly, then released like a fistful of dust. Chrisoula pulls the quilt tighter at my shoulder and though it is the rest of a wary dog, I do rest. Om shanti my love, amen.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Illusion of History

Life goes on, says the dragonfly. Yet in dreams, nothing is actually repetitive. Reflections of Christmas lights. Snow-encased hemlocks.

Pattern-matching through inflection. All night hearing footsteps in the attic, wishing the deceased preacher would cease his confusion of Heaven with once-familiar heights. 

As want fades.

We pause on the outskirts of Bethlehem, as if recognizing a last opportunity to avoid history altogether, and yet go on, as if recognizing the illusion of history altogether.

Ferrying hay through darkness and snow to the horse. Barely visible figures of men moving around the lumber yard. When I was little, briefly, I believed that trucks were the right answer to a question all men had to ask to be men. 

Leaning one's head on the other's shoulder. Loving darkness and starlight, and ready to release it all in favor of Love Itself. 

As want fades, the song fades, and what remains is what you understood a long time ago: there is only silence and stillness.

Graven images again.

She is sad but willing to work through it, visits me in the hay loft with tea in the mug we share when we share tea, and talks quietly about her parents who are increasingly unable now to speak to her in English.

Doors close, hallways are the only way forward. Dreams of Emily Dickinson.

Given to doubt, discernment, denial, delight. Well, we are all nobody, yes? 

One or two passing snowflakes, reminders of a nontrivial origin story, and ears that can hear because longing made them thusly.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Attended by Serious Women

We forget that the minotaur doesn't just eat people. We sleep and wake and our waking is another form of sleep. She relays all the bad things men have done to her over the years and we begin to realize that deepening our study was not the kind of answer we thought it was. Legato then.

Liberated then.

Pretentious clowns next door, overly impressed with their role in the culture, making arguments that nobody takes seriously. Always ask: what is the light in which darkness is visible? Narrative threads that are themselves a maze.

Amazed, amazing, amazing grace. Salty waves crashing over the bow. We leap into starlight and land with a thud, soft cock in hand, the fire low but attended by serious women for whom cocks are sometimes a pleasant distraction.

Absent names, what?

Bad luck.

Oh but listen, reading Darwin and Freud is super helpful! Being performative, practical. Dad's pride when it came to handguns. Kali energy. Always ask: whose loss is this exactly?

Skipping class, skimming texts: that guy.

That death, last breath, that bread.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Neither Falls nor Lands nor is Lifted

How oddly specific one's dreams become at a late stage. Confirmation in fantasy. I mean, yeah, let's meet in that little cafe off Mason Street, talk about our marriages and our dads.

Shoes that men wear when they have little or no money. Fireflies higher in the hemlocks than one would have guessed. A thousand years pass and I remain a secret. We fall a long time before learning what we are neither falls nor lands nor is lifted.

The specificity of language mostly a myth, hence my confidence in our ability to be cooperative.

In winter, what is a frog?

A way of using one's hands, a way of using one's mouth. A way of being settled long after one has given up on dreams of settlement. Narrative, always narrative.

A way of giving attention to what is being lost, and seeing in a specific way how it cannot be lost, and thus knowing the self in a new way, which was heretofore missing.

Our tongue in the gaps. Our poems reinforcing a regrettable mileage. Fat Santas.

Wandering west, thinking about Minnesota where Denise ended up before returning to New York, and points further yet that lack a historical context.

Contexts, always contexts. Turtle metaphors, without which my life would be merely the space in the air where a chickadee was. 

Shall we gather at the giver?

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Entombed in Possibility

A dream of balustrades again, hiding behind enormous containers of grain while she gazes into moonlit distance. 

Undoing her hair, unhooking her bra, always that smile, that intimation of what's next that somehow remains entombed in possibility.

Writing at 4 a.m. like the old days, in prayer with a Loving God whose only desire is expression.

Our curious obsession with personal history.

What is justice, what is mercy.

Whiskey with long-dead uncles, a blind horse that somehow feels like a curse laid on my daughter, and my dead father trying to reach me from an afterlife that is not what he expected.

Bridges failing. 

Northbound traffic. Finding oneself in winter with ten thousand otherwises.

Long talks while walking up and down Main Street in the dark, neighbors who have cancer, neighbors who refuse to wear masks. Settlement papers.

The redhead years ago at kirtan trying to explain to me how her teacher lived perfectly simultaneously in both the sacred and the profane. Another redhead years later updating that confusion by altering "profane" to "mundane." 

Me always writing, always in the confusion in the graceful way of a learner, neither alarmed nor at peace, but deeply wholly textual.

What my grandmother called "the troubles," by which she meant our family history of drinking and related violence, which evoked the whole damn history of Ireland, which was such an Irish way to look at the problem.

What is sexy, what is not.

For this - and that, always that, that that - we give thanks.

Taking her on the bathroom floor, hastening through oral foreplay in order to enter her, oddly driven to be a certain kind of member of the species.

Fine, I'll look at the Latin root of special!

K. writing in that odd way of hers, trying to break through the hierarchy and bureaucracy, but quickly distancing when she realizes on my end there's nothing to break through, I'm just there, and what's possible is possible.

Getting head in a canoe a little after dawn, steam rising off the pond which rippled softly around us, the first time I realized sex wasn't always all it was cracked up to be, and thus saw a vast plains open, one that I am as yet still crossing. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

So Long Ago Consigned

We wait on transformation albeit mostly alone.

The distance grows voluble, full, but still without meaning. 

Flakes of snow rise off the pasture, mica-bright in the cold, swirling and dissipating in brief gusts of icy wind.

This is my heart. This is not my heart, but another heart, or not a heart at all.

How we square-danced on the second floor of the library, three hours in early spring (lilac reached the window) and later learned that many of the couples swung in other ways too, and opted not to return.

Exposed beams strewn with dust. Dogs crying out in my dreams. 

A little after six a.m. I pause by the hemlocks and ornamental birch, face Venus and piss, stretching as I do, exhaling happily, briefly unalarmed by the proximity of so much evil and dissembly in the world to which I was long ago consigned.

Fixing radios. Polishing crystals with two kinds of cloth. Drinking my one coke through a straw while he guzzled beer after beer, rarely talking but when he did, doing so in that clipped voice that always intrigued me, as if something had been stolen from him once and bitterness at the loss had done something to his throat. 

Gutted bucks hanging on racks in the side yard. Steam rising from puddles of pig blood which didn't - but seemed they ought to - steam. 

Always ask: where did this begin?

What is another word for a fatal blend of misunderstanding and misidentification? 

Night does not "fall" it simply appears all around as the light grows dim. 

These eyes eying unspoken desires. Ragged delights?

Well, deconstructions really, pouring out of what cannot help but pour itself out, over and over and over.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Deeper in the Pasture than Expected

Blue though the mind says white. 

A problem mostly understood by painters, now trivialized mostly.

Where I pause. 

The blind horse whinnies earlier than expected and upon going out I find him deeper in the pasture than expected and bring him back through crunching snow speaking in low tones, one hand light against his neck.

Guttural cries of ravens in memory.

Dissolving line breaks by looking within and understanding what the sentence is.

My dead father approves of her, envies the far fields through which I travel to meet her, saying he only went so far.

Pausing by the lettuce in the supermarket, dizzy with joy, murmuring to whomever needs to hear, "I made an angel come yesterday."

Seeing the drive home through her eyes (which are my eyes).

What is downstream.

The ones who help me work through the material, the ones who make me pause and go slower, ensuring that what I want to say arises in love and understanding.

Fairly haunted by Elvis Costello asking what was so funny about peace, love and understanding, and the long history of my living being seen in one light as an engagement with the question, bringing forth an answer.

Christmas decorations that stay up long past Epiphany.

Kali energy, facing it and becoming obedient unto it, and realizing how much of my life has been that of a toad negotiating with a snake, let me live a little longer please.

Asking her questions when her mouth is full of me.

Lake snow. The "clitoris area." Awed by her singing softly in the bedroom, the day unfolding in euphonious tones, a love that baffles me.

Befriends me.

That ends me, om shanti om shanti amen. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Not Past Prayer

These flakes of snow falling just after the sun rises. 

The blind horse stepping back delicately to let me toss the hay.

Tossing the hay.

My hands are light, never more than when they dream of touching you.

Touching you. Touching each of the ten thousand miles between our bodies.

Past church. Past altars

Not past prayer.

Praying in you.

"It feels like our light burns brighter and goes with me like a thousand candles just behind my eyes."

Rise with me forever into light and grace forever?

May I go handless now. May I no longer be a body now.

Lights and graces I knew were there but did not know I was worthy of.

The one in whom I am made worthy by remembering I was created worthy.

Knowing peace in love with you.

Flakes of snow falling all morning, each one your name.

The heart I am in white now. The heart I am now ready now.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

An Error that My Life Was

Smattering light where the hills break for Route Nine and the river. Going back to close the door, waiting to see if it will close. Prayer life, hair shirts, hot sex.

How fast the tide comes in and how fast it flows backwards.

How lost I am in me lost in you lost in you gazing at me.


Light hay in my arms going back to the horse pasture, slipping a little on ice under the hemlocks. Pissing later on ice under the hemlocks.

Coffee going down slow, amen amen.

The computer perched on a stack of the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, this nod at scholarship, that dive into the nineteenth century from which I never quite surfaced.

Her hand tracing the shape of my erect cock on my gut, not touching it until I say breathy and hungry, please.

The space between touch and what is touched.

Laing's Knots. The darkness in a prism. How when I told that story years ago to Jasper a shadow crossed his face and I realized I'd made an error, that my life was the effect of an error.

Remembering fireflies, Christmas ornaments. Lake snow. Letters from Denise.

Living without Denise.

Never quite surfacing. Never quite stopping.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Darkness in a Prism

Or was it "you talk slower?"

My fingers in her black hair while she slept, the fire dying and my back aching. Her lips moving in her sleep, saying what prayer, laying what spell.

Not knowing all that was in front of me contained all that was behind.

Holding the moment because of how happy I was.

Holding it because I knew even then it wasn't real in the way I would need things to be real if I was going to survive.  

Being happy in a way that wouldn't surface again for almost thirty years.

Thirty years.

You could see stars through the cottage window. You could feel a breeze all night through cracks in the wall. You could hear the sea. The fire dying.

You could hear night birds.

In Ireland I heard night birds while a woman slept with her head on my thigh, a fire dying before us.

You could hear yourself think. You could forget what you thought. 

I didn't know what to think, could only see what was before me, and name it in the only language my father allowed.

We drank whiskey and got high, passing a joint back and forth, laughing. She drove an old bus with no brakes to speak of. She wanted to know if there was any "revolutionary left" left in America. She liked me singing Woody Guthrie songs, sang along in a voice that was lower than I expected. I told her about Denise, told her about Ana Laura.

Told her about ghosts.

I remember her asking, both of us naked and already doing it, what I wanted, should she turn or be on top, and being confused by the question, and knowing the confusion as something I would not be able to work on for at least thirty years.

Thirty years.

In the morning I'd walk with my notebook up through hilly pastures surrounded by sheep, sit on jutting rocks and smoke and watch boats coming and going from Castletonbere, the only place my father asked me to visit in Ireland, and which I did not reach. 

That meadow - that woman - that sex - was the closest I got to the ancestral nest.

The past already past.

How she would come up with bread and cheese after a while to see if I was okay, ask what I was writing. Her hair is easier to remember than her face but I remember her face was broad with sharp features, prettiest from the side. Passing a cigarette back and forth. I still remember her going down on me in sunlight, how she used her hand more than anybody else had to that point, and how still she grew right before I came, holding me deep in her throat, not breathing, and how something in that stillness made me sad.

Kissing after. Salty kisses. 

She had a soft smile. She laughed a lot, in a way that suggested an understanding of aspects of life that I wouldn't get around to looking at for years. Her tarot cards, her willow wands. 

The dark she broke with fire, the shadows she brought forth in whispers.

How I was happy in a way I could only be because all the while I knew I would leave.

I used to wonder would someone knock on the door all those years later and say, "you knocked me mum up in Ireland." 

She said when I left, "I know you won't come back." We were at a fair or a market. I forget. One of her friends was going to drive me partway to Dublin. She was sad and the friend was impatient.

It was the impatience to which I responded.

She was thin and strong. Hugging her was like holding a fallen branch, one you could lean on, use to walk a trail. She wore a purple hat that was mostly cloth folded and pinned in the shape of a hat. I lied and said I would be back, just give me a couple days in the city.

I never meant to be one of those guys who says thirty years later I wish I'd gone back. Christ what we do to the ones who teach us most.   

Anyway. Those were lonely days, broken days. There was a lot of pain going around. Some of us were luckier than others. It's gone now mostly but still.

Sometimes I wonder what a prism would do if it could do anything backwards. Is there darkness in a prism? 

There is darkness in a prism.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Something that wasn't Food

Twenty words. Twenty sentences. I remember kissing her on the shore of Lake Champlain in early spring, thrilling to the proximity of water and woman, not knowing how fast I would fall and how much I would lose and how long it would take to understand any of it.

Oh dirty snow piling up along the road. Oh ravens flying low over the pasture, aiming for the compost, guttural cries making me feel all alone.

And a long bus ride to Edinburgh. And hungry in that beautiful city, and confused by my hunger, and walking far past the city to try and find something that wasn't food because it wasn't, in the end, that kind of hunger.

Unable to pay for anything touristy and so mostly walking, now and then stopping to play guitar, or buy a coffee and write and smoke.

What was her name, the Witch from Bantry Bay, giving me head in meadows overlooking Castletownbere and later letting me ride her horse in salty shallows. Saying at night by the fire smiling "you talk less after fucking," then resting her head in my lap and falling asleep.

Being happy. Being far away.

Starlight. Lily light.

Our feet in the summer river, standing talking. How the river is one color looking west and another east. Ascutney at dusk, night falling. 

Imagine us. Imagine less.

And rain falling. And later laughing getting high, hackey-sack by the empty swings, somebody running out for sandwiches and asking did we need anything and saying seeing us nobody ever needed anything else less.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

What Happens at the End

Before dark. Before help. 

Untangling flakes of hay from rugged twine, chickens cooing in darkness. 

Oral sex as a distortion of the "take impulse," itself a distortion of the idea that one can get or give anything through a body.

Before confusion. Before narrative. 

Brother hemlock. Brother Lucifer.

Pausing atop the icy stairs in darkness, gazing at stars, thinking of the one who is not here in one way, but everywhere in another, as if inescapable or wholly loving.

More tired than I can say at 4 a.m., going downstairs shivering to make coffee, pray and read, feed the horses. 

My limping heart, my staggered soul.

Blue jays in the hemlocks outside the hay loft, reminders we are not alone, and at a minimum, there will always be blue.

Leaving the lights on to see better.

Relating any way possible.

Have I reached the end of the twenty sentences? 

One kneels happily. One slips away on what happens next, neither here nor there, barely aware of what happens at the end.

What happens at the end.

I mean lost, lonely. I mean begin.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Mostly Useless but not Unhappy

Perhaps there will always be blue.

Subsistence. I feel sad reading Irish history and confused at my father's insistence on genealogy. The horse's hoofs kick salty spray back to the beach and I could feel how unsteady he was on the rocky surface.

We sail around, then away. 

I remember Athens from the plane, all that white, as if the brightness were trying to tell me something. We made love against the old cistern, not crying out, then walked up the hill which in those days reached the stars.

What will never be again. What never was. 

Chrisoula kneels painting the enormous east-facing window frame and when I ask what I can do to help says slowly neutrally "nothing." The hemlocks are always stirring. The hayloft is messy but quiet.

I will never rest in this life. Will never be home.

Regions of my brain light up when reading early Christians who saw in the Jewish scripture hints of their teacher Plato. "Be less logocentric," says Spirit, to which I reply "it's a little late for that, no?"

Standing on icy stairs watching the sky turn blue.

My grandmother told me once that our family was always in "the troubles," a phrase I associated with drinking and fighting, though it wasn't spelled out precisely that way. She also said that nobody likes a blue jay, which was wrong on its face, but I liked her and didn't argue, and even now feel grateful in a mostly useless but not unhappy way.

Monday, January 18, 2021

The Long Painful After

Heavy snow. Rotten potatoes. In dreams a sense that one is traveling and upon waking a sense that one is yet dreaming. Appendages that convert the attached whole into a prayer. Attended? Ireland in the late eighties and the long painful after. In branches across the yard a cardinal and in the cardinal organs I would not call beautiful. And yet. We move into range of binoculars, Ascutney clarifying as both body and a means by which to taste the body. Lanterns, lauds, lipstick blowjobs. A lie another way becoming not truth but another way of crying out for truth. As "Sean" is another word for "deceived and prone to destruction." The troubles, my love, are only just beginning.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Such Bland Disregard

The rain in me. A soft sky in me opening, a soft earth in which Emily Dickinson quietly sleeps. A sensibility now. A willingness.

The messy hayloft. Before the sun rises I check traps, thank God the mice outwitted me yet again, and feed the horses. Grim cities of western Massachusetts, sad faces on Main Street. She does not say "good morning" anymore.

How many doors down. What else is coming.

The snow in me, airplane sounds in me. The neighbor's goats in me, and the neighbors. Everything settles a little, grows back. You cut down trees to make life better for the horses and you take up burdens that make you feel alive by reminding you you'll suffer when you die. 

What happens after. What is after.

One lugs the zafu back into the house, sits on it and breathes, wondering what they did in a past life to have earned such bland disregard in this one.

Coffee grounds. Idly patting a dozing cat, reading confused texts. What is shared, what is stolen, what is sacred.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Stoking the Fire

The liar. 


Far from church. Far from the hill where the dead go to die.

Far from shoes. 

And miles to go.

Miles to go.

Do you remember the carpenter who so carefully said thank you when the class ended and urged you to be more patient with the younger ones?

Do you remember drinking brandy at 3 a.m., stoking the fire, writing poems while ghosts gathered, egging you on?

Do you remember how it feels to cut down trees. Do you remember when the blind horse had eyes still.

How her shoulders move when she lifts her shirt.

How we lie, and push through lies to truth, and through truth to what never changes, and there rest, like rangers with no clear adversary or home to go back to.

How she rights something in my thinking by upending assumptions too long held about what the body does and why. Do you remember walking in darkness where the river swelled beneath towering pines.

Do you remember kissing. Do you remember swallowing. Do you remember lying awake unable to sleep because grief had turned your bedroom into a torture chamber.

Is your heart ruined. Is your soul a ruins.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Being Haunted is a Decision

Well, in important ways, dictionaries are traps, as language is as well. Being Irish in a way that speaks to certain condition of violence, usually but not always directed at oneself. Stroking my thumb gently swelling around a splinter.

Put it in quotation marks to create an impression of irony. Be serious, be sanctified.

The scent of hay before dawn, the blind horse crying out in the darkness under Venus. 

At a late juncture my father visits and reminds me that being haunted is a decision, a regrettably uninformed one, yet when I ask about happiness he grows strangely quiet, as if I am speaking another language. 

She removes the purple shirt a thousand miles away and my breath catches and all of a sudden the Kingdom expands to include everything I have ever wanted, ever feared, ever regretted, ever promised.

Emily Dickinson being "ceded." Shiva in her, Seders in her.

What is parallel, possible, prohibited, pleasing.

Sunlight streams through crystal vases found in the dirt beneath old barns torn down after at least a century of neglect. Reflections in hemlocks. The quarter moon hangs low over the town gazebo strung with holiday lights, oddly gutting. There are neither causes nor effects, live life accordingly. 

He wrote writing that over the years taught him he was being written, and the only thing that mattered was the author to whom he submitted. Can I get an amen.

Can I be happy in cold winds high above a frozen earth.

Can I allow her to see me. In the dark the light I am makes possible.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

More of What is Always Beginning

And so it is day.

Sanskrit sensibility affects me and the movement is slow and elegant, as if I have been emptying the bodies of animals all day in anticipation of a long winter.

On my shoulder the moon, and in my mind, brother Lucifer. 

Our shared release put off again another lifetime. Awkwardly navigating lies.

In semi-darkness I kneel and study the dark object before me, trying to ascertain is it a chunk of wood or a bone. The old lie of "if not now, when?"

My father's books spill across the hayloft floor and I step among them carefully. Hand-made chalices, as if there were another kind.

We who have dominion over all things according to our Creator. Whispering, gently cupping the side of her head with my right hand, the other against the pantry wall for balance. 

Giving each other head at a late stage of the marriage. Light breaking through the prism. Unclean amethyst.

The function of oxygen.

Of worship, which is simply a gentle recognition of the other's "worth."

Willow trees near the air strip descended from those my father grew. There is nothing here but more of what is always beginning. 

The question is: what do you want now?

More sketches of the Buddha please, more Jesus gazing soulfully back at us from shattered glass.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Make it Hurt Less or Hurt Less Often

Half moon, shifting clouds. Icy stairs one goes down slowly. The slow road to death shows there is no death. 

My heart on wounded knees. My television on a low table culled from the side of the road two years ago  because what can be used should not be thrown away.

And thou, always thou.

Remember learning the value of specificity? Remember learning that all things are the same?

Light winds rustle frozen maple leaves, whispers at distances I do not have to imagine. Imagine that. 

Grazing does leaving tracks in light snow.

Remember child: all things external unto you are the same. This is not the relationship you were promised, it is another one. Broccoli fried in hot oil with grated ginger.

My heart going forward in spite of the many reasons it cannot move at all.

At dawn moving cars in the driveway so folks can head to work. What we do to make it hurt less, or hurt less often. Lines from certain poems, scenes from certain plays.

She loves me, she loves me not, and other games that distract us from love. 

Oh mighty quartz rock in the meadow of my childhood, be with me now, and ever in good stead. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

After the Semantics

A soft light after snow fell all night, slowly filling the emptiness in me. It was as if small bells rang, as if my shoulders were lions yawning on the Serengeti. It was after the aftermath, and after the semantics that we use to cloud love. Will you? Hot sun?

One confesses. Shows off their knowledge of geology to the one who is the earth and the cosmos in which the earth floats, electron-like. One alters the text in ways that are designed to make the other wonder. I am faithful but lie about my fidelity in a vain - in all the ways one uses the word - attempt to make her be unfaithful to me. My father saying in the afterlife where he is not alone and always happy, "all the ways of being hurt and you have to go invent new ones."

The chainsaw growling over the miles. Deer bleating leaping into the forest.

My cupped hands, this river from which I have drinking, mistaking it for a desert in which demons live. My teeth hurt, my fist has been clenched like this a thousand years.

This love.

I am sad because I alienate her. I am saved because I do not flee the God of Love but come back over and over, a study in perseverance, a model of holistic genuflection. 

How the chickens fight dying, and how dying fights nothing. How livid the sky becomes at eight a.m., how it opens like fine prose.

Cardinals at rest in snowy maples saying we are not bereft of love.

Monday, January 11, 2021

What is Before Her

Is it possible not to listen after all? A Heaven in which the oxen have no ears and the lions preach, hour after hour after hour. Absent Jesus but not Christ: that light.

She steps out of her shoes to kneel, an oddity or I am simply giving attention in a new way. She tilts her head for what is before her.

Difficult work. Not open-ended. 

Snakes swallowing excrement. Toads screaming dying.

Weatherless mornings on the inside, outside unseasonal warmth and less light than one expects given the calendar's bland insistence on January.

Elephants remind me to end all prayers with "thank you amen."

We descend. We are deathless. 


We are distracted by specific fantasies that involve past lives and an inability to speak truth to love.

Who I become when in a state of worship I become you. When at the end of the dance one begins at last to dance.

A sound the broom makes when it is laid up in a corner. In frozen snow melt the tracks of a skunk circling the barn. In darkness then, in love.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Beautiful Poison

What is allowed, disallowed. A stomach full of beautiful poison. You take it and take it and take it.

The error of writing to music, the joy of writing to music.

Buttercups. Butter sculptures.

Briefly given - in my thirties - to collages, later given to not being given to what distracts me from what is given.

In mid-winter, a loneliness washes away. Oh the diamonds. Oh the light sometimes. 

Remembering sawing wood, hating working with my father, and the age at which I understood how he loved working with me but could not say so.

Instruments that make chords, instruments that don't. 

Leaving the wasp's nest.

Happiness dancing.

What is stolen burns in me, clearing in me a space for the new green.


Facing down trains. Holding world and identity together in the same way diamonds are made.

Between darknesses, between women. 

The light in minor chords making what is broken allowed to heal.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Turtle Poems

Pausing to gaze at Venus, a luminous point roughly above Northampton and wondering if Venus - if anything really - gazes back. Dickey Betts guitar solos. Among the Heavenly mansion's many rooms I plan to visit and slip notes of thanks beneath the doors are those inhabited by Jonathan Edwards, Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson. Footnotes are sexy but parenthetical afterthought is sexier. I think? Drinking coffee leaning against the sink, talking with Chrisoula about seed orders for Spring and discovering - rediscovering perhaps - reasons for the marriage. Later driving to Ashfield to buy 150 pounds of apples, talking about the day before's blowjob and whether I will write turtle poems for her ever again. One revisits old decisions as a gift unto the future. One is a light unto shadows that are only as real as how badly one still needs to be a light.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Flexible, Amenable, Renewable

Confused men asking me "you got this" and answering quietly "yeah, I got this." 

Rain. This rain.

This center of feeling. This sunlit turnpike that goes east in a kind of straight line leading to either Boston or the sea.

What takes three minutes and makes you feel happier than you have words for?

A prayer that begins when you need something, that inclination. Coffee in a mug on a book on the bed while in the nearby rocker I write. 

Carrying a compass now at the behest of the moon in order not to be totally lost on the earth. Called, commandeered.


Fionnghuala begins making felt foxes and I tell her about their symbolism in my life and she shrugs and keeps going and so fox after fox start appearing around the house and the symbolism is revealed to be flexible, amendable, renewable.

Unmasked men. 

I remember shooting at deer in my early teens and deliberately missing, knowing it was honorable, but still not comforted in the face of the mockery and shaming I received.

At the end of December I lose a critical thread, become frayed and afraid, stumble through sleep and sleep through hard days.

One can never say with confidence they have reached the last of the whiskey blackouts, for to do so breaks faith with the dead men who are family still, and the Lord in whom both the specific thirst and its absence are brought forth.

The oil truck grinding as it pulls away from the neighbor's. The gleam of pale sun on rainy macadam, making it appear not black but silver (though the mind says black). 

Blue snow. Yet what was the name of the woman I made love to for days - by the fire, in sheep fields, in the barn where her horse munched hay watching - who forever after I have recalled as "The Witch of Bantry Bay."

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Sorrows We Know

Promises - always all these promises.

Ways in which the fracture appeared unavoidable.

And yet.

Chrisoula pulls me into the pantry, kneels and swallows, a gift, and after we share a single cup of tea in the dining room, talking about the sorrows we know. 

Chickadees pass, and juncos. 

Where in the mother's body are you now.

Maple leaves still frozen to the paternal limb, hunched and crepuscular. Sacred geometry is just another way of assuring yourself there's an order to your living, which there is, but not the way you think. 

This is all you asking the wrong questions and thus getting answers that are no fucking help. Massaging sage and butter between the chicken's flesh and its skin before cooking

Lawn furniture roped to the back porch rails, as if we are sailors anticipating a difficult storm.

This fear of going down.

Psilocybin heals, haunts, hurts, helps, hinders, harms, holds, heats, hearkens and handles and hums. Chrisoula calls at the foot of the stairs for somebody to hurry, one of the horses is down. 

Pancakes after. Home fries with peppers and onions.

The blowjob given vs. the blowjob yearned for: at last one discerns correctly between them, which is to say, there is only one blowjob and it is this.

Searching both memory and dreams in order to learn what, if anything, remains to be said about shoes.

Spelling errors integrated into crossword puzzles which are themselves integrated into spiritual healing which is a sixteen-letter phrase for "still confused."

As after, in bed, hours when nobody speaks and the world is dark and vast and given to dreams, she speaks to me, consoling me, the loss in me she daily mends.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

My Teeth Hurt After

Often, in a moment, I will smell in my sweat my maternal grandfather, and recall other smells - cigarettes, wintergreen - and be happy in ways that I am not ordinarily happy. One has holes in their sweater now, one's shoes are perched upon fragmented soles. 

And I remember walking in Burlington when it rained and when it snowed. Roses for sale by the cashier which seem sad to me, oddly lost in plastic to me, and yet somebody must have bought them, somebody somewhere made happy by them.

Rattlesnakes in New England. 

The remaining snow freezes, making the outside appear oddly lunar, and a sense of play arises that is otherwise missing. Were the handguns really about protection from bears or was something else going on?

Turning from the Lord. 

A blind cripple in me offering itself to be martyred which I have so far managed to avoid doing. Some photographs we frame, others we forget. Tell me again about unconditional love.

Sore spots. 

Lemon drops.

Chocolate-flavored lollipops.

It begins with kisses - which are not a form of teasing but gathering - and it ends in her mouth, unless she chooses otherwise. My teeth hurt after, another self-inflicted penance nobody asked for. Begin - or end - what exactly?

"There is no otherwise" says the one for whom there has always been at least one otherwise and sometimes several.

Helen Schucman cleverly obfuscating, leaving the rest of us to untangle her Platonic Jesus-y skein.

Cloudy skies again, just okay again, this again.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Fructive Male Desire

Coffee, darkness, thought after thought. It passes then. Many beyonds, many never evers. Tell me, father, when is it day and when is it night? The blind horse calls early for hay. Venus makes me pause on the top stair, lungs filling with cold, briefly swayed by the Luciferian impulse to go it alone, damn the consequences. Pissing on winter forsythia, grateful to retain some fructive male desire. Be in me that I might one day be in you? The trail behind the barn has a thin layer of frozen snow across it which crunches underfoot. Sentences can be sad, can open valleys of loneliness that are darker than death and longer. Deepening into the prayer now, with and without her, and God. There is all of this, and more than this. This this. My only, my lonely, my love.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Slowly Like Turtles

Tears in lieu of regret. Snow showers. The far hills are not so far after all, are they.

Sheep crapping on the altar, Arlo Guthrie earnestly singing "O Holy Night."

How we are converted.

How we navigate slowly, like turtles. I begin to see a new way of being poetic which is also a new way of being masculine. Yet again. I don't wonder what you kiss like anymore because what is kissing anyway. Wind chimes, dream catchers.


Putting it all together carefully as if understanding finally the critical distinction between medium and artefact. 

Frank O'Hara's "In Memory of My Feelings," "The Day Lady Died" and "You are Gorgeous and I am Coming."

Paul Klee's "Winter Picture."

Our fractured being slowly reconstructing itself in tenuous love affairs. 

Deconstructing communication to see if there's another way.

Trout in winter rivers. Crows coming out of the forest to eat kitchen scraps off the compost. Trucks warming up a long time along Main Street.

How intelligent the light is, in the way that light is intelligent.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Many Ruins

A confession the size of Pangea.

The many uses to which "please" is put. The many ruins.

She wipes her mouth on my t-shirt after, rising off her knees.  

What is broken in me, what is lost in me, and what is not allowed to say "no" in me.

As later, leaning on a window, my breath causes frost flowers to surrender their integrity.

Surrendering integrity.

Weeping quietly before the God of Love who brooks no broken promise.

The Cure's Friday I'm in Love. Dire Strait's Telegraph Road

The drunk I can still be no longer terrified of the suicide I will never be again.

Crying out against my will, her hands tightening on my hips to hold me deeper in her throat. My balled right fist against my mouth hurting my teeth, my left hand flat on the wall behind me refusing to lose itself in her hair. 

As later, going out to listen to the distant river beyond the horse pasture making winter sounds before a storm, I cannot face the storm.

Always the storm.

Always my father insisting I take his guns, and always my mother asking are my father's guns okay, are they being cleaned and used at least once a year, and always her father being beaten in an orphanage and later beating men for money and always his father running guns from Cork Ireland to Fall River. 

Always looking for a woman to say, you are not those men, you are another man.

How long it takes.  

How lifetimes pass. Om shanti om shanti amen.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

It Was A Woman Who Found Me

Maple sugar candy offered as amends and accepted on behalf of the man who cannot easily forgive. Wooden spoons, untied shoes. I stand a certain way doing dishes because of shoveling snow all day a day or two before. Chrisoula tells me there's a dead sparrow by the back stairs and I go outside in the rain to carry it somewhere private. The song accelerates and everything - including the pain of losing her - accelerates as well. How Sid Vicious handled guitars and what is its relationship to silence. I remember passing bodies hanging in the forest, steeling myself to go on despite the way they gazed at me through bloated crow-torn eyes. Playing checkers with Holocaust survivors, feeling up nurses in the activity room after five p.m., going to law school at night. Steam rising from the kettle, mist in the far meadow. It was a woman who found me playing God in the belly of a vast unworkable metaphor and said there was another way. Somewhere between masturbation, fucking up on expressing fear, and shared cups of pu'er tea. Even the losers get lucky, om shanti om shanti amen.

Friday, January 1, 2021

A Confession the Size of Continents

The back porch full of rain.

Pianos. Postures.

How carefully I step at 5 a.m. now, down the stairs, through the yard to the horse pasture. You shook the angel in me, you woke the angel in me, you made the angel in me love me again.

Chase the demons out of me.

Daisies and trees in me. Quartz rocks in me. 

Rain in me. "Please," she murmurs in me, going down on me when I cannot say "no" without risking a confession the size of continents. 

How carefully we step when blind we cannot say how near the walls are, when everything - everything - becomes a transgression.

It sits okay now, my uncle with a gun in his mouth and the way in which I, too, know the flavor of that metal.

Fried sauerkraut with slivered apples.

Apples by Roger Yepsen. A way of dancing that speaks to how my body was handled at a young age. We have secrets. We have secrets we don't tell anybody.

Turning on the dance floor, moving mostly in terms of my shoulders, following them, not knowing - as always - what to do with my hands and so grasping, hitting, caressing - knowing it's not enough, and wondering about the God who created me this way. 

Mama I got them interior monastery blues again.

Cemeteries I will never see again.