Friday, April 30, 2021

Haunting Never Brings Anything Back

A wind I wouldn't wish on anyone. A wish I wouldn't whisper into any dark hole. Ghosts of hemlock trees unsure how to proceed, as if knowing that haunting never brings anything back.

Phone calls we don't remember we need to make, remember when it's too late, nearly asleep, et cetera. In the hayloft with my poems and a couple hundred pounds of potatoes and apples. When you drift, are you really drifting or is it something with intention you only name "drifting" days later. How the floor tilts. 

How nothing fits.

A nexus between denim and desire we didn't make yet can't resist. She is shy until we're mostly naked, then takes over, slowing everything down, sweaty and breathy, as if we actually are bodies and well-paced fucking is what makes us happy, religious, et cetera.  

Cold winds that make me duck walking back from the horses. Everything is alleviated when one is disposed to the end of crisis, but you have to actually want the end of crisis and most of us don't. On my knees briefly in supplication.

Knowing what we want and knowing how to say it aloud are maybe two different things. Clearing a little where in later spring the blue flag will appear (but not spontaneously). What else is so reckless in its desire to claim us if not Jesus and what Jesus symbolizes? 

Teacherless teachers, Buddha-less Buddhas. What is empty now grows more so, as if to emphasize something about process. Apple-shaped sun catchers hang in east-facing windows, surprisingly luminous for this hour of day.

The illusion - again - of satisfying - of incandescent - answers.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Not even Thirsty

That is just another experience you had, since refined as narrative, and cherished because who doesn't love a good story in which they're the protagonist. Waking at 2 a.m. to cats fighting outside, that specific terror, and not falling back to sleep. Dishes in the sink I promised to wash but didn't. 

There is something in surrender, letting go, in no longer insisting on what must matter but what. Stuck in traffic on the Coolidge Bridge, that old nightmare. Intimations prevalent in starlight: we are not alone, have been here before, are loved and loving, et cetera.

The patience of oxen. Who arrives does not arrive as a consequence of virtue but of physics (see, e.g., Navier-Stokes equations). Threads, biological and otherwise, frayed and otherwise. 

And wish the way could be released? Speaking is always a means of forgetting: remember this. Seek and ye shall find and what ye shall find is what will leave you empty and fragmented forever.   

Stillness anyway. Over and over leaving the Divine for little sips at the profane river of the world and I am not even thirsty! Old letters from Dan in Paris, Denise outside Albany, all my loves always. 

It means I am scared of what happens when I finally do leave. Forever Sean? It is not always about psychology but also, we are never free from psychology.   

Into the abyss then. Into others. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A Vast Cosmic Flower

We say it will rain and it rains. Robins have a way of moving through the grass that is unlike a snake's. In which the "breather" becomes breathing itself. 

One has the feeling of having passed through the useful parts of their life and can settle now into simple observation. Better than attention? Oh I am all ash, the next hard rain or strong wind will deliver me piecemeal unto the earth.

Be prosaic, please, pragmatic. Experience shrinks to something the size of a postage stamp. There is stillness, there are appearances, and there is narrative. 

Stop signs misinterpreted as speed limit indicators. Hoof prints in the backyard where the neighbor's goats grazed, none of us noticing until hours later. I feel as if I am watching a vast cosmic flower blossom.

Contextualize it! Sites of learning that remain challenging, distracting, insightful, et cetera. I cannot separate landscape from the one with whom it is shared so, in that limited sense, no, I don't have a favorite part of Massachusetts or even the back yard. 

Were it not for you I would not be able to feel as if I am watching a vast cosmic flower blossom. Trying to be willing. Breezes stir the crowns of roadside pine trees, causing them to undulate as if in the sea.

In sunlight, without movement at all. I did not want to leave, nor understood why I should be so content all of a sudden and why for the life of me I cannot stop trying to possess what is beautiful. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

This Desert I am Crossing on my Knees

A loveliness that was terrifying because it arose so clearly from her willingness to die in order to live however briefly on her own terms. 

Oh my grace, et cetera.

Hospital smells in the 1970s. My paternal grandmother's smile, especially when drinking, especially when her sisters were around. Sometimes at night when I put my hand out in the darkness another hand is there to take it.

You are not as lonely as you say you are, is what we are meant to tell each other but don't.

Remember light from the fish tank for the first time? My son floating farther and farther away from me, until all that remains is a green dot in relative folds and the sound of a man weeping, me.

Perhaps there are no men after this.

Going out earlier to visit the horses in order to stand quietly near the raspberries in order to watch sunlight illuminate the many horizons enclosing us. 

Lord from this desert I am crossing on my knees I beg you, let this be the end of "or else." 

How you showed me your mind Rûaħ and years later your body and how even now I am in you.

God is beyond.

That which teaches us how to go beyond the conviction that only in the other's arms will we know completion. "I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me."

Perilous hope, pearl-shaped wholes.

It gets easier to go when you remember you have feet. Cello accompaniments we haven't listened to in almost fifteen years. The many ways my many cousins find to die alone.

"Go your own way," as if.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Jewels in the Eyes of the Lord

So I made a promise, so what. 

Drinking coffee as sunlight cracks the horizon, yesterday's rain clouds growing thin under seams of orange and mallow. It's cold but not too cold. Forsythia blooms, Forsythia starts.

Using Scooby Doo episodes to discuss the various psychological motivations for confronting what one fears. 


Beyond all appearances, one life, and beyond the one life, the void.

What matters.

In a dream we talk about making cheese and where to store it and you remove your clothing and I wake in bed beside you, breathless and hard, happy in the darkness, letting my erection subside so you can sleep: this love.

Certain slopes of hill that aren't ideal for raising sheep. Grinning all the time these days because of how rich I am, now I know that buds on maple trees are jewels in the eyes of the Lord. 

Going slowly up Main Street, humming Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot, wondering why I associate his album covers with sexual indiscretion. What did you walk in on as a child and how did you feel walking out?

We are not killing chickens this year, we are not killing pigs, we are opening more garden space for Saint John's Wort, corn and cannabis. Making sense of things. 

How you can hear the river at night and at dawn but then you can't after a point and why. One of our babysitters used to pin me down on the couch and kiss me, grind on me, which was scary but not uninteresting. Taking the stairs two at a time, ascending. Who is lonely, lonesome, who needs you to do better, and who uses you and who do you forgive, and who do you forget needs forgiveness, even now. 

It's late but not too late, and I am carefully loving what is given, I am letting what is loved love me back.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Down on You a Last Time

How can I explain anything? Praying between naps, curled up on the floor like a cat. The Man-without-Shoes is now lost in a series of relationships that seem to be disappearing the way the more pleasant aspects of childhood disappear. The elegance of her removing her shirt in that Albany motel, poetry culled from used bookstores stacked on the tiny table to her left (Corso and McGrath predominating), a bottle of Jameson I'd end up drinking alone days later, devastated for what would turn out to be years. What does it mean to say a certain light is dusty, mottled, gray? Seeing faces all the time now - in raindrops, hedge rows, drifting clouds - so something is changing but what. There are caverns in the skull of the blind horse where once the light rendered whole worlds of precise detail, in one of which we lived together. I hear it overhead now, death drawing a last cold breath before sweeping its scythe from east to west. Will you meet me in liminal gossamer? May I go down on you a last time, jacking off when you come? A song that prepares us to travel, a road that prepares us to sing. Heavy rain where the soul once lived. Lines from letters that thirty years later still speak. Those who have ears, indeed.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Yet More Water from the Lethe

Waking to rain, darkness, vague dreams of being asked to hand the blind horse off to a man who needs it in order to more effectively prophecize. Your body in the loose cavern of blankets warm like coals, a memory of fire. Who is singing, what is coming up out of the earth to remind us that we are out of time, need to flee?

Coming to terms with the likelihood the sentences project will not be completed in this lifetime, not a sorrow so much as a frustration with the many distractions to which my attention flies, Peter Pan-like. Cats walk leisurely across Main Street. Buds on the maple trees are like jewels this year, I cannot believe how wealthy I am.

Certain other writing projects strangle off as well, as if it is time now to explore something without coming back over and over to report on it. You wonder about Emily Dickinson's experience of dying, don't you. A heaviness in the air, a desire to sleep that one doesn't - has never, really - entirely trusted. 

I grew up in a forest, lived by a river. Hansel and Gretel is not just a story.

The horses shed, especially Jack, tufts of white fur drifting over the pasture like hints left by angels in this cosmic, non-zero-sum game we are playing. Remember barber shops? We pass on killing pigs this year, we pass on killing chickens. Antique door knobs that rattle and sing, evoking an age in which ghosts were obviously prevalent. Can we not face our ontological loneliness, can we not agree this is what matters most?

I want to undress you or, better, watch you undress, then turn to the small lamp on your dresser - all the light there is - and switch if off and then - in no hurry in the dark - straddle me on the bed. 

I want to tell you something between kisses, but can't say what until we get there, the valley between kisses.

In my dreams unfurling leaves fall from dark skies all night, as if we live under ten thousand trees, a vast canopy of cherry and birch, walnut and pine. 

You always look unsure in your pictures, yet you take them, don't you, as if to remind me you are one of the ones with whom I am allowed bucket yet more water from the Lethe, ever grateful for such helpful - such precisely apprehensive - company.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Near Emily Dickinson's Grave

"Oh I have nothing to say," says the one who is never not saying something. When was Jesus actually born?

Love letters read while deer hunting, the gun forgotten, father forgotten, men forgotten.

Cats sleeping in patches of sunlight on the bed while I write. Imaginary gunslingers challenging us to duels that beget no consternation because all conflict is imaginary. Coins, porcelain cows, salt and pepper shakers and other things people in my family have collected.

Remembering a grilled cheese sandwich Mrs. Fisk made me in Sunapee, New Hampshire forty some odd years ago and wishing it were possible to say "thank you" again, now I understand what was actually being given in that moment.

Picturing kissing you somewhere near Emily Dickinson's grave, wondering when, if ever, I'll get past wanting to kiss helpful women. What is sacred, sexual, silly, sad.

What is peach sorbet.

Eddies in the brook, unpublished essays I wrote about ignoscency, and news about an old girlfriend's husband committing suicide in their barn, a kind of sadness and wanting to help that resolves to nothing but this sentence.

It's context all the way down and stances all the way out. Talking over coffee about what a pain in the ass A Course in Miracles is but also, thank Christ for A Course in Miracles

Subtext, always subtext.

We sailed past the lighthouse to where the sea was rougher than felt safe and upended the urn with Jack's ashes, praying in cold winds that some of us cut with whiskey. 

Another spring, another sorrow. Another spiritual interrogation of one's fear of death and love. 

At night by the river in starlight I remember the men who taught me that pain was a privilege, especially psychic pain, all without speaking a word, and wonder did they think they were helping, and does it help now if they did.

Yet I like holding hands in spring, making breakfast for the kids, and especially like walking after dinner with you past fields where we might see deer.

Is it time to go again and will you, with me.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Deception has Never not been the Objective

Buds on maple trees, one yard over. Cardinals. It's hard not to read the signs, being basically designed to read signs but still, can you for one minute not read the fucking signs? Ceramic tigers covered in dust, amethyst that hasn't been washed in years. What do you put on toast, a surprisingly fruitful inquiry. Surprised to learn that "come" as a sexual verb has been around for centuries. The night we met I sat out back with a camping lantern, nearly done with law school, watching moths flutter, naming them and writing poems, happy and calm in a way that has neither precisely left nor settled down within me. Shall we at last then drop the charade? One goes back to their notes and realizes that deception has never not been the objective. What do we do when we begin, what actually starts, does anything end, et cetera. I mean I'm here now, now what.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

An Insufficiency We are Together

Stone walls surrounded by decades-old pine trees. Striated by sunlight. We are the proving ground of angels, or so I say after a long and lonesome winter.

In a dream confusing "Gretel" with "Grendel," and upon waking thinking, kind of a cool confusion. Where we place names in sentences and how it relates to what we hope to get from them. Cardinals, certain helpful women, but altogether a failed prayer.

Legless beggars outside the Vatican. That guy in Scotland who followed me around for days, fish and chips in Amsterdam, and Bloomsday in Dublin, 1989, lonesome in a way I wouldn't untangle for decades.

You can screw up the sentence count and the world won't end, is what I can't quite bring myself to say.

Waiting on dandelions. Stations of the Cross, standalone blowjobs. We talked on a bus leaving Vermont, the wintry blue landscape going on for hours making us happy and voluble. This is not a comment on my father, more like a footnote.

Is it me or are there fewer chickadees this year? Morning sun after many days rain, a kind of quiet joy which was not enough, an insufficiency we are together reconsidering.

End times, end games.  

Sweet potatoes with butter and pepper. Pan-fried noodles with slivered plums and soy sauce. 

Tree grief, grace, grooves in their severed trunks. 

In fact, certain forms of love do go without saying, why do you ask?

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Horses are Always Waiting

In a dream I wrote twenty sentences a day. A white truck going slowly up Main Street, hay in the back, a cheerful reaper to take us all home. But who is counting.

Folks selling eggs at the end of their driveway misunderstand what about homesteading? She writes back almost instantly, overwhelming me, so many details about the weather. The man who is partial to libraries, always wants to meet there, go from there on long walks with coffee, et cetera.

By the river, maple trees acquire the red hue of early Spring, precedent to the soft green of unfurling buds, and one goes slower, knowing there are only so many ways to be grateful in this world. Kissing like playing ukulele takes practice. Baby robins in hand, this tragedy insisting on itself, over and over and over.

Let us be neighbors, lovers, layabouts. Daffodils at the very moment when I was ready to give up. It is context all the way down. 

Between stars, darknesses. We clean the outdoor fire pit, sit outside with it past dark, sipping cold tea, lit up and smoky, talking about how certain weddings can overthrow whole marriages. You don't sleep well anymore and I am the man who knows why.

The horses are always waiting for me in the morning, heads tilted just so. There is nothing else to learn? Days pass between poems and one struggles to remember the eremetical impulse.

Seductive Lucifer, persuasive Lucifer. You are getting worked up about tri-syllabic words again, have you considered visiting Rhode Island?

Monday, April 19, 2021

Remember the Woman

There is something in the grass, moving between rain drops, heading for the taller grass where in May the peonies will bloom. 

Peonies, blue flag, tiger lilies.

People leaving stuff out on the curb for free - pool ladders, kid bikes, old windows, mason jars. But dandelions are always free, cries the man for whom arguments are often the only way to know he still has a working heart.

Washing my thumbprint goblets and putting them on display in the kitchen. Reading a mid-fifties Betty Crocker cookbook, happier than I can say with the drawings of happy families in it.

Still from time to time listening to Human Sexual Response because a babysitter on whom I had - and, in some ways, still have - a breath-taking, knee-weakening crush mentioned really liking them, wanting to go see them in Boston.

Thinking of the various deaths that came near to me - especially in the mid-seventies and late eighties - but passed, taking others, often painfully, who watch me now, shades in a well-lit place.

Rooster works out his maleness on a low limb of doomed hemlocks. When you see a cardinal, will you ever not remember the woman who taught you to see God in all things? 

Baby rabbits, robins. A slate gray sky that reminds me to wonder what memory is for. How much of my spirituality knows itself in the relative minor!

How confused I was between the ages of six and fifty-three! Cutting limbs on the ornamental birch tree, the stumps leak efflorescent sap, and I press my tongue to the rough wood and lick and swallow the cosmos. 

That was Saturday I think. Making love in winter by the fire and after sharing an apple, wrapped in blankets, working through our unwillingness to go back to Foucault's History of Sexuality

Two cups of coffee into the sentences - the part that's supposed to be ten thousand septets - and all I can write are lines from Bob Dylan songs that I loved, driving around Vermont in the late eighties with my heart broken, whatever that means now I don't remember what it meant then. Speaking of which, the stairs in the barn going up into the first landing are getting wobbly, do you think you can fix them?

Sleeping on the floor, wrapped in an old quilt, talking myself to sleep, happy in the old ways, the ways we didn't use to tell about. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Ocean is the Other

Threats of rain pass and we are left with vaguely gray skies and a heaviness that seems to be more than just weather. It's hard to talk in meaningful ways for a lifetime. Gaps in the fence are fixed over time, and we see less of the neighbors, and while this is satisfying in its way, it is also a reminder that we are maybe not as in love the way we profess. Geese pass, their guttural cries haunting, exactly the way one is haunted by what they have forgotten they forgot. What are we supposed to do with all these pronouns anyway? Garlic and spinach smoothies for lunch, three days running. Interior clarity as an actual function of gut health? Suggestions, hints, intimations, et cetera. A plains over which we must pass a thousand times before realizing the ocean is the other - the better - way. Talking about "The Dead," it occurs to me that I do not always practice epistemic humility, the virtue I profess all human beings should practice. Make me a sunflower please! His shoes reminded me of coffins for babies. "Do not take me to a disco" indeed.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Singing Where I Cannot See

The front porch, slow breezes coming from no particular direction, and happy finally, in no rush to either live or die.

Fire trucks pass with lights but no siren. The neighbors lean on rakes and say things that cannot be heard from across the street. Is this Sunday or Saturday or something else entirely. 

Throwing twigs and dry leaves into the horse manure, dust rising. Sun-bleached gourd husks in which bees rest, or wait or sleep, or are simply still in warm sunlight spilling over the hedge. The barn door lists now when it opens and we are concerned but we are not yet doing anything to fix it.

Straw blows across the front yard, a stray piece wedging against a purple crocus, royal purple, trembling there. 

Cardinals singing where I cannot see.

The God that is beyond all signs and is thus capable of expressing through any one of them, as now. Sex as an ideational extension of communication in contexts where people need to do something with their mouths besides talk. Going back to Bob Dylan's Christian records, especially Slow Train Coming, and remembering being open to those songs in ways most other Dylan fans were not.

Midday cannabis. Tea with lots of honey, matzos with cream cheese and raw onion, and later a handful of raisins.

Sheep bawling in afternoon sunlight. Now when they say "wind," we have a different experience, but it is an experience of anticipating, not an experience of damage. I remember helping family drunks to bed, unsure why we celebrated them so, but in no way - even now - interested in doing anything else. 

Chickadees, the heart within my heart, promises made to foxes in my mid-twenties coming due, and et cetera, always et cetera.

Friday, April 16, 2021

A Fact I Have Not Forgotten

There are no coincidences, or you can see it that way, if it's helpful. Fallen trees that weeks later bear witness to recent winds that decimated the homestead. We trim the forsythia, we rake the fallen leaves into piles. Morning passes mostly reading, Christian and Hindu religious texts that are familiar but which always shift upon study, much the way a river is both always the singular object it is, but with an endlessly fluctuating surface. Getting high on - vs. getting on with - the fragments of Heraclitus, another way of seeing how nothing has changed since the early nineties. One learns to look past appearances to the changeless, or at least says that's what they learn, and this, too, appears to more or less function. Suddenly all this Lucifer energy, suddenly all this doubt. Coffee laden with heavy cream, stevia, cinnamon and a dash of cardamom. Why don't you throw yourself off this high cliff and we'll see what happens? I say in the morning hours, silent and alone. What happened was, a new way of living came upon him, and living that way was living in light, a fact I have not forgotten, all these centuries later.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Out of the Garden

Shades. The Dead

What else, if anything.

How he looked laid out beneath the stole my mother's sister made him. 

Marriage vows, ordination vows.

Late afternoon I drift away from books and writing and wander up Main Street, over Route Nine, onto Fairgrounds Road running off into the forest. Liquor bottles in fallen leaves. 

Deer tracks gouging roadside sand, indicating a hasty - probably fear-filled - leap.

Quartz jutting out of the tall grass near the garden after two days rain. As well? 

Ah well.

What am I not noticing? What savior is wandering lost, hunched over in some alien landscape? The chickadees I mean.

Fallen fences. Irresistible symbolism resisted at last. To talk at all really.

When "your place or mine" becomes "our place" and then the end of pronouns altogether.

In a dream I put my arm out for an eagle and he came to rest on my arm to the surprise and awe of all save me, who knew that it would work, ordained the way it was.

For he is light and so his burden is light as well.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

There is Another Heart

The crows move on, the cardinals move in and is it me or are the chickadees less prevalent this year? Afternoons pass walking up Fairgrounds Road to the town line then back, holding my jacket folded under one arm, trying out this or that sentence, as if love really does require poetry. We glimpsed one another through a crowded room, we took each other's hand, we spoke as men about death. Mornings I go slower now it's Spring, standing near the top of the pasture, listening to bird song, pale orange mare's tails floating over the river. A light in me won't let go or am I still confused about something important? Who will answer now the question has been loosed upon the world? In the heart there is another heart, and in that heart another heart (where Emily Dickinson lived), and in that heart there is a tiny room (where Jesus met the disciples), and in that room there is a little box, and in that box, a locket, and in that locket are the cosmos, which include you. This is my witness, let me not forget. Om shanti shanti shanti, amen.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

This Emphasis on Eyewitnesses

Can anything good come from Worthington? Jack is oddly timid approaching the fence and so I enter to check on him. Chrisoula and I work through a budget allowing me to purchase certain of Abhishiktananda's books and I weep a little in thankfulness. Fine rain on the windows making the world seem beautiful and sad and impossibly far away. In a dream we meet at a well - there is a sense Jesus was here yesterday or the day before that - and she tries to explain a complex symbolism which I gently point out is eclipsed by the phenomenon of the astounding - miraculous even - fire she is. On the other hand, it would be great to move past this emphasis on eyewitnesses, wouldn't it? Wounds do heal and even death is not the end. esiidic's legs open, her knees rise and I become evangelical accordingly.

Monday, April 12, 2021

All the Other Lambs

Morning. Throw hay to the horses. Village asleep, family asleep. World asleep? The only man in the cosmos who knows what shoes are for listens to cardinals in the still-unblossoming apple trees and later writes this: this this. Geese in the flooded cornfields a quarter mile way. I, too, shall try my wings and sing as I go into the light. How soft the earth is underfoot! Call it meditation or contemplation, call it happiness, who cares. I don't have to live the way I lived anymore: this is a critical insight we must all reach. Venus so lovely on the horizon brightening if I had a heart I'd carve it into an altar. Or say yes to Satan. Or is seeing itself the church? Shed the alb, twist the sword into a pruning share, stop murdering Isaac and all the other lambs. Jump! You taught me this and I've got nothing now but this. Let's talk, indeed. 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Focus on Crosses

My destination, my peregrination. One day we will write the last sentence we will ever write and then what? The prismatic spiral opens and the cosmos replies accordingly. You take yourself pretty damn seriously he said, which I deemed merited no response which was, in a way, responsive. Playing piano on Friday nights in college, hiding with coffee in the fine arts center, a way of getting away from the politics of sex and drinking, but also a way of being quiet with something pretty, which I never learned to say is all I really want. A dog named Algonquin, a night beneath stars. Crocuses rising about the time we have to focus on crosses, or that one cross in particular, and the dead man rising in its shadow. Nothing happens, nothing is happening, and yet the stillness is so alive and creative it makes me weep. A lot depends on the language we use, and our willingness in the end to go beyond it. Nobody wants to say so but a little boy needs help and the man who wants to help him is confused about what comes next, want to talk?

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Compasses and Charts

It's nothing, I'm an octopus.

Morning winds laying low fencing, setting loose livestock, driving us to crisis mode but days ago, lives ago.

Jacking off into her mouth, kneeling after to kiss the corners, clean it up, feed it back, tongue to tongue.

The thrill of being where one is only.

Vermont into Massachusetts and the other way around, and all the times we talked going back and forth, and all that we talked about, most of which I've forgotten, but still, Vermont into Massachusetts and the other way around. 

Sunlight on phone lines, on the wings of crows, red-wing blackbirds.

It's nothing, don't worry, forget about the fluorescence, I'm a telepathic cephalopod, I got this.

Mummified strangers haunting museums and otherwise complicating our long study of death.

Not wanting to examine one's attraction to opals for basically obvious reasons.

Let there be light and also cattle parades on the Fourth of July and people that hate cotton candy as much as I do.

Let there be a woman just for me and also let me find her soon! 

It's too pretty and amazing to be nothing but we can't tell anybody about it or they'll think we're crazy so we'll call it nothing but cherish it privately or in really small groups that can't be readily labeled. 

Rain in me, sun in me, now and forever.

Walt Whitman in me silent before Jesus in me silent before Emily Dickinson reminding us what we're doing here and who's in charge et cetera.

Blue underwear that weeks later still makes me hard, closing my eyes and seeing her, back turned and arms upraised against the wall of her childhood home, hips undulating and - oh wait - am I not supposed to say this?

Straining at the fiddle, especially in 6/8 time (which Dan said never say again is just a waltz trying to get away from its father issues).

Still in Dublin in some ways, and still in some ways on the west coast near the ancestral village getting head in an open field surrounded by sheep.

"Lower your voice, you'll wake the kids," she says a minute or two before crying out into the pillows coming, loud enough to wake the kids.

Strange gifts we didn't ask for, can't refuse or return, yet late in life are revealed as compasses and charts which - oh right, I forgot, sorry.

It's not that the ocean is a church but that there's no such thing as churches, and not even really oceans, or octopuses for that matter, but we'll get to that in another poem because this is the twentieth sentence, this is where he says we have to stop. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Complex Games of Hangman

It's easier without bandages, is what I can't quite bring myself to say but must. The church of childhood is full of new congregants and it's okay because we are called into the forest now where the old witch still wrestles with the twin pangs of hunger and isolation. Buckets of monkey tears in which blind eels thrash and convulse. Silvery moonbeams just after midnight. Names we are asked not to write lest certain someones suddenly fill in the gaps of a narrative so obvious you have to work to avoid seeing it. Train whistles, killdeer cries, deer leaping away. The heart has a cave in it, and in the cave is a pale lotus, and in the pale lotus is the Lord, holding the heart - which is the cosmos - in his cupped hands. Mid-afternoon _______ strips and ________ herself, telling me she wants to _____ me and _______ when I ____. The provenance of Eriugena's major works, coming again to the deep question of whether authorship matters and why. Whiskey-colored sunsets on the border. Complex games of hangman ending in _i____e. I'm happiest at dawn, just as the light is breaking, at peace with the interior Luciferian strategies and somehow still dreamy enough to see a way into your arms. What fools insist on, indeed.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Sudden, Indescribable and Beyond Possession

We talk about the ninth century, the last time I remember you as close enough to kiss. Irish theologians, warring Catholics, Dads with Dad issues making everything a thousand times worse. Crossing from Le Havre, we got drunk on champagne and threw the empty flutes into the sea, a wastefulness for which I still feel guilty. "If you miss the train I'm on, you will know that I am gone." A little gate that opened and closed, roads that snaked up rocky hills from the top of which Dublin was visible due east. My hands are as old as my father's were when I first saw how his hands were gripping the steering wheel, Vermont into Massachusetts. I say "Boston" and it means something different each time, like mercy in the middle ages. All roads lead back to God I saw, therefore you don't have to travel, and the happiness was sudden, indescribable and beyond possession. Sea breezes in the middle of town where we wait in line for clam rolls, cokes, all you can eat fries. Childhood is no accident! A blue sky, an open throat. A confession and more than that. Cash only. I'm here a while longer, want to talk?

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Left Over and Lost

I close my eyes and see you, royalty, high above me, like the sun or the sun's lover, a flame, fire, fucking the whole sky. What would have to happen to be together didn't happen and at a late juncture it's mostly okay because what else but okay is left. All those long drives from Vermont into Boston, getting coffee and smoking joints, listening to the Dead and Dylan, talking about the world we were going to bring forth, which we did not in the end bring forth. I'm last in a lot of ways, left over and lost, but you keep saying you see something. A handful of pumpkin seeds takes the edge off being hungry, but being hungry makes it easier to remember how to wait for God, so, you know, balance. Cosmic bus stops, angelic Patty Hearsts. One by one the many psychological hang-ups get resolved, and it's like dropping into a warm sea that has no bottom. Pearls on the tongue, oysters in the shallows. Ravens on the church steeple, sentences only you can write. Emptiness vs. dreaming. There was a question I was made to ask and the thing is, having asked it, I'm having a hard time remembering I wasn't made to answer it, don't need to wait, can shuffle on, even without you, right now, et cetera.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Into Bright Air

A crepuscular maple leaf that survived winter finally releases, spirals into bright air, and grazes the window in morning breezes while I write as if my life or somebody's life depended on it. The few times she got drunk, the high price she paid, and now look. What did Ken Wapnick say again in letters you didn't feel a need to save? Cats curl up in broad squares of sunlight that slip slowly up the bedspread and disappear as morning progresses. We are all traveling, we are all lost on highways we made out of memories and dreams. No woman, no cry, nobody knows the troubles I've seen, don't worry be happy, et cetera. If I slighted you, forgive me, and if you cannot forgive me, then at least don't forget me. There are holes in the sky that were clearly put there by God, often indicated by rainbows or starlight. I will wait in you, prayerful and grateful, if you will let me wait, and when you are ready, I will go home with you, if that is what you want. That is what I am saying, what are you saying. Om shanti om shanti amen. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Leave Off, Let Go

No apology necessary means what? The corned beef was delicious cold with spicy mustard and sauerkraut. Ma calls to say that Pete Cerretta died at his daughter's house up the road, everybody got there in time to attend, and didn't he get the good death your father was denied. 

Snow flurries left over from an earlier storm. Dreams that seem to partake of something that isn't just me or mine but collective, communal, mythologized.

We argue a little about what to cook for dinner, each exasperated with the other, the fight an old one, the armies experienced, nobody really in touch anymore with how the damn thing got started. Past prayer into generative silence, and past generative silence into stillness, and waiting in stillness for the Lord to come and remind us why to pray. 

Licking the spoon. 

Coming in after emergency fence work I'm cold and sore and parts of me are bloody and I don't want to sit to eat but only sleep in the hay loft but there are new problems now, having to do with no internet, phone lines down, nobody can reach Ma et cetera. Remember instant coffee with tap water and not getting worked up?

Dad was quiet when he fished, that and driving were where our best conversations happened, and I still like doing both accordingly. Jake went a little ahead on the trail and now waits, now and then turning back to me, as if to say, it's okay, it is, come. Crows on the church steeple, fallen mailboxes up and down Main Street.

We list, leave off, let go. 

I say kissing you is a kind of healing but Chrisoula says it's just another distraction from the grace that is never not right in front of me and which I have always - since a child - refused to acknowledge in favor of seeking it everywhere it cannot possibly be.

Snake swallows toad, toad strangles in snake's throat and Sean's life drains into an existential mire from which there is apparently no salvation. And the water rising and baby snakes writhing. 

I do know what to do with my fists, thanks, but don't do that any longer, so fuck off. I like for my own sake to go slow licking pussy, loving what I learn on my knees between thighs, almost always ask permission before coming, want to talk?

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Only All this Damage

Deep cuts on my left hand after stumbling throwing foundation stones, flesh so readily torn. How pretty blood is, pooling in the groove between my knuckles, then spilling down all four fingers like melting rubies. "That'll need stitches," says Craig - who grew up in Boston, moved here last year, but still works there - and I laugh, remembering all the times in my life I needed stitches and didn't get them because we couldn't say aloud how the injury occurred. 

Absent a clear border, the neighbor's sheep drift into the horse pasture, which surprises but doesn't alarm the horses who eventually return to grazing while we run the sheep off, waving sticks. I remember years ago driving around on days like this as a reporter looking for cool pictures and stories, drinking coffee, poor but not unhappy. Why did I leave that job again? 

Chrisoula stays inside to make pancakes, home fries, ham steaks and coffee, not happily but somebody has to do it, and her back won't bear heavy lifting anymore. The young men helping me are quiet but grin at each other when I lean over gasping after dragging fence panels into the forest. "It ends faster than you think" is what I want to tell them but don't because it's okay because they're young. Close up the maple trees being strangled by bittersweet don't lean as bad as I thought. Out here it seems like the wind has a voice, wants to say something, but it's a language I don't understand, or not a language at all, and anyway there's only all this damage. Was this the sentence I was meant to write?

As we work, sunlight bleeds through fast-moving storm clouds, crystal snow flurries spackling our shoulders. "This ain't good," Jasper says, staring at the sky full of invisible but howling gusts, stopping on his way to help the Andersens, whose barn roof was blown clear off half an hour earlier. "I didn't know he smoked," Jeremiah says, watching Jasper walk back to the still-running pickup and I say, "only when things feel out of control," to which Jeremiah replies carefully, trying out the man he is becoming, "I don't see how that helps," and I put a hand on his shoulder, loving him so much my throat chokes, say "yeah it doesn't but it's okay, sometimes we pretend, that's how a lot of living gets done out here." 

By "out here" I mean something about men, which Jeremiah both gets and doesn't care to get, being more his mother's son than anything else. At ten a.m. we all agree noon is when the wind will end, as if saying so helps, but we all know it only takes one hard blow - a couple seconds flat - to create days of work and expenses none of us can afford (who aren't working in Boston). "At least we've got good neighbors" is a common refrain, the easy consensus, especially from those for whom "around here" began less than twenty years ago. Lots of dead men and women weigh in, what comes to us as whispers, a language we've forgotten we know and hide now in declarations made popular by Robert Frost, Wendell Berry, et al. 

I'm tired of something here but I can't say exactly what. Or is it that I don't know to whom I'm supposed to say it? I want to rest but don't. Can't? This isn't the last wind we'll see, is something I could say but don't. Won't? A lot goes unsaid out here, in this - in my - for better or worse - life. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Deeper and Deeper into the Forest

Mid-morning, they say. Past abbreviations, vacations, all the way to bridges spanning tidal flats, stained black by stormy tides. There is no past, there is no future, only this. Flurries of snow on the back roof, high winds and more fence damage than we can figure out how to pay for. Loose sheep and other temptations to the ragged imprecision of metaphor. This jerry-rigged world, this blank how-to manual. Like that? The sentences do not weigh in yet remain given, like the idea of justice. Eagles circle the far hill, now and then dipping towards the river, and we watch without comment. Was it last summer or the summer before that I walked the river as night fell, deeper and deeper into the forest, thinking of a woman and later writing it, word by laborious word to share with her. More and more I am less amazed and simply present, gently but pleasantly surprised with the end of suffering. God, who has neither feet nor a sense of distance, does indeed take the last step. When we wait, want intensifies, and what we are here to learn clarifies to an exquisite degree. The egoic self is blown out of us, like dynamite blasting a tunnel through rock. Boundaries transgressed by bad-asses who actually do want what's best? Blue underwear that remembering weeks later leaves me breathless and hard. It's enough and not enough both, which all along was the clue I needed to stop looking, stop longing. And begin. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

What We Believe is True

We learn there is a gap between what we can prove is true with the tools on hand and what we believe is true, and in that gap are born many creatures with appetite.

Heavy rain in late March. Two cups of coffee, a handful of mixed nuts. The afternoon passes reading, struggling to balance on a tightrope for which no creator but myself can be blamed.

A landscape of throat and shoulders, a traveler who cannot believe their luck.  

Starlight. How as a child I knew God, and was not afraid of knowing God, and yet how baffled I was by all those who did not know God yet professed to. Brushing snow off the side of the driveway. How blue in those days the sky was.

We go down into the weeds, down into the numbers. Poor people at the dentist, too tired to fight. The rain falls and I think of all those who have not seen the light. Corn waffles layered with avocado and honey.

Purgatory. Palimpsest.


What kind of story are you telling and are you even telling a story. Bundled up under a quilt with popcorn watching old Cheers episodes, a little sad, a little happy. Waiting again.

Wanting again.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Oedipus Basically

The heart is not emergent.

Snow banks in the barn's shadow on which wrens hop. In a certain light a maple tree's limbs appear silver. You feel the syllable count, and you learn to feel it by giving attention to it, which includes counting it: haiku. 

A plan to build kites. Vague worries as a sign of increased acceptance of abstraction. Are we historically unable to notice what our father did or is it something else?

What constitutes practice? A certain way of hearing in the dark that works best at three a.m..


Well, they say that where the problem is, that's where you'll find the solution. Got siblings?  

Oh trust me, I've been to the "how to tell the muse she's not your muse anymore" rodeo.

Hills in Vermont, a sense of what was possible, and how this in which it is all possible, regardless of hills in Vermont, is possible.

Can we be clear now about the distractions? Over Margaritas, over dry champagne before walking to the lake to break up?

What Freud said about Oedipus basically.

The intention to accept and not interfere is fundamentally salvational. A messiness, a dissatisfaction, a confusion, a "so forth." 

Who is all the light there is for me.