Poetics/Poiesis in the Country of Turtles

I’ve always wanted to write an essay about the poetics that ground this writing project but it’s never come together, ha ha. I’ve been writing daily since I was about sixteen – forty some odd years now! – and while I love theory and criticism, love analyzing writing and speech and stories generally, I’ve never been especially effective at applying critical thinking to the craft as I live and practice it. 
Here is the thing: writing saved my life without telling me, and it did so by keeping me close to you. I was in my fifties before I understood that the function of writing in my life had been survival and that – most critically – it involved others. Writing is relationship before it is anything else. It is communion. When you realize this, it creates a responsibility in you that is a joy to uphold.
When I met Chrisoula, I fell fast, hard and deep into a living metaphor that has the name The Country of Turtles, of which Chrisoula is the Queen. I wrote about fourteen hundred poems for her in the first couple years of our relationship, outlining all of my hopes and fears and dreams et cetera. She received all of it but was mostly interesting in how it cashed out in action. Chrisoula has always understood that the level of the body is both utterly meaningless – a shimmering illusory reflection – and also the only game in town because it is the text – it is the site – in which Love both reveals itself and cries out for revelation.
She is a Buddhist who believes in angels.
When I say “poetics,” I really mean “poiesis,” and what I mean by that is close to what Plato was getting at in his third example in Symposeum: poiesis is the creative work of the soul as it cultivates in and of itself virtue and knowledge, which together are Love. 
Writing is poiesis, it is learning how to be coherent, it is learning how to be helpful in a context where help is needed. 
Readers help by telling you what works and asking you for more, or by showing you what does not work, and nudging you in a different direction. And here is a critical thing in the poiesis of this writing project: I, too, am a reader. We are all readers and all authorship is rooted in our shared reading. The cosmos publishes us, not the other way around. You can only be so serious.
Of course, taking myself too seriously is the subtitle of my autobiography, as the many therapists, counselors, sponsors, teachers et cetera who have helped me over the years would be only too happy to tell you. It was a great gift to learn that taking things seriously was not a problem, so long as I do not also take them literally. That’s the part that lets you get creative and playful, because you know none of this is real. That is another thing writing does, it lets you lie in a way that makes clear to you what the truth wants, which is to say, what you want.
“Only truth is true.” I feel like I read that somewhere once.
Long before Chrisoula and I grew our own food and began integrating in sustainable ways with local agriculture and local economies, I was reading and writing about it. I am still writing about it because I still have a lot to learn. But that is okay. The important thing is that the writing gave birth to a practice, it said “this is the way” and then it gave me courage, hope and strength while I began taking faltering steps, hand-in-hand with Chrisoula.
Be a student of your own writing. Give your writing to the Teacher who knows the Author of the Cosmos. Take it seriously but not literally. Don’t sleep with anybody who isn’t actively trying to help you give birth to what is beautiful and true in you. Befriend them, yes, but don’t fuck them. I’m not sure how that relates to poieisis but it does.
I’m kidding. I know how it relates.  
Writing and sex are adjacent practices in my life, flowing in and out of each other in instructive ecstatic ways. I had a girlfriend once who commented – complained? – that I’d rather write about a blowjob than receive one, which was – and is – true. I mean I like blowjobs of course, who doesn’t, but writing really is . . . exquisitely communal in ways that sex is at best a poor approximation of. 
Which is to say, I believe writing is a creative practice by which we bring our living into alignment with Love, in which we seek coherence with that to which the word “God” has always pointed. Chrisoula would talk about harmony and rhythm here. I would counter with “coherence, cooperation, and communion” to which she would gently reply, “yes those are all nice words Sean, to what do they point?”
She means that the more abstract the language becomes, the harder it is to have it cash out in a lived practice. “Rhythm” and “harmony” point to the day, the body, the season and the earth. The garden doesn’t weed itself! She is interested in the praxis that any poetics brings forth, and poiesis is for me – as her husband, her helpmeet, her half-assed lover –  a way of letting the writing direct me to the garden. In this paragraph, “garden” is synonymous with Life and Love. 
Poiesis seems to require one have a magick, the “k” indicating that we aren’t talking about anything supernatural or chaotic or tricky, but rather what is deeply powerfully natural while also dwelling mostly outside the domain of what can readily be languaged. If you don’t have a practice that takes you away from words, then it’s hard to be a good writer. Orgasms can do this but magick – for me it is Tarot – is a kind of ongoing low-level orgasm one can access at any time, without obscuring (by wanting more of) the healing message ecstasy is designed to extend. In other words, sex always wants more of itself for itself but magick wants to give itself away. I’ve tired out a lot of lovers over the years, not because I’m a stellar lover – I’m a cheerful and clumsy lover – but because I can’t stop talking – and writing – and asking questions – about life and love. Sapiosexuals of the world unite, indeed. 
Pace yourself, says Chrisoula. The heart never fits the journey, says Jack Gilbert, my brilliant elder brother.  Together they help me breathe and do what’s in front of me, rather than dream about what once was or what may yet someday be. ACIM’s holy instant is no joke.
In my early twenties, I read an interview with Robert Bly in which he said that the point of writing poetry was not to publish or have a career – those were distant and unremarkable secondary effects – but rather to be healed of fear and hate and the belief in differences, et cetera. Like a windblown mustard seed in the mouth of Jesus, this landed in and blossomed in me, and has guided me by becoming me ever since. I don’t say it’s correct or true or helpful for anyone else but I do know a lot of well-known writers who are selfish and miserable, covet the accomplishments of others, et cetera. Are you happy, in a natural serious way? Because nothing else matters. Really. 
My mother read a lot of poetry (among other things) to me when I was a kid; she loved the Romantics in particular. She also loved John Denver, which still does not seem strange to me. I take both men seriously as artists. I think we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t. Wordsworth’s insights about happiness and love are not different than Denver’s. There is only one heart!
Anyway, my mother was my earliest language teacher, which was both good fortune and also nearly destroyed me, and may yet. Children who are asked to enter the forest in order to die never truly leave, though many do survive.  I remember a therapist saying to me once in exasperation, you have this facility with language which allows you to take anything I say and turn it ever so slightly away from the light. Who taught you how to hurt yourself and others this way? 

The answer of course is my mother, but if you think that means she is the wicked stepmother or the witch or even a bad mother than you have lost the only thread that matters. She is also Gretel, the one who saved me. (Side note I wish I could develop better: both my parents asked me to save them, to “fix this,” and I did not understand this as a cry for love until I was in my early fifties). My mother’s love of language and poetry, which was not separate from her incredible rage and destructiveness, or from the vast body in which all destructiveness and creativity lived, and which – like all mother bodies – we never truly leave, was the means by which I at last realized she was the same as me, that we were equal in our pain and suffering, and that there was a way to be healed, and held, that was not forbidden but allowed, encouraged even, and that this healing pleased – by harmonizing with – divine order.

That reminds me of something I am not allowed to say, and won’t, save to say that we cannot write effectively – as healed healers – if we do not know and honor in a real – a tangible, embodied – way the One Who Cannot Be Named. 
What else?
I’m with Frank O’Hara on the technical aspects of writing. If you buy a pair of pants, you want them to fit well enough that others want to sleep with you. Same with poetry. Does it awaken in the other a desire to heal and be healed? Rhyme, meter, theme, symbolism, et cetera. I mean, yeah, that stuff matters but it’s more intuitive than not and the measure of our facility with it is not what some poetry teacher or journal editor concludes but whether we are in the deepest sense of the word coming in and with others. 
On the other hand, form does help constrain what we are allowed to say, and since nobody is beyond the trickery of ego, some relationship with form matters. You can write a lot of shitty poetry by thinking that because you can write it you should write it. The limit of twenty sentences (thanks Harry Matthews (and later the paragraph, thanks Hayden Carruth)) became vital ways of letting ego know I wasn’t available for simply venting toxic bullshit. You have to make a room for the Lord to visit, you have to make a space in which the spirit can come, literally and figuratively. Read Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson, everything else is a fucking footnote.
Everybody says that writing is a form of order – or of bringing order to what is disordered. That’s too grandiose. We aren’t situated or constructed to evaluate order in the divine or even the cosmic sense. What works in your living to make people feel a little safer, a little happier, a little more willing to create with you a world in which living is just, equitable, merciful and joyful? Nothing else matters, truly.
I am not saying I am that guy! The guy who’s got it figured out, the guy who’s living the dream, the guy who heals because he’s healed. I am saying that writing reminds me I am sometimes that guy, and being more and more that guy is a good thing. The metaphysics don’t interest me even though I’m relatively facile with them. Am I hurting people less? Am I helping people more? Which nearly always means, just get out of the way.
So that is the other thing writing does. It gets me out of the way and leaves a big space for you to do what you need and want. You can read or not read, you can take it to heart or not, you can be in relationship with me or not. You can be guided in your own writing and living or not. It doesn’t matter. The writing is offered because in my fucked-up way I love you and the world so deeply it terrifies me. I can’t stand what we do to the earth and to each other. Writing for me aims at truth – not literally true like will it stand up in a court of law. On that level I’m a liar and a cheat and a thief and I mostly always will be.
But at another level – more abstract, deeper down or further out, up high in moonlight, whatever – it is possible to love, and to extend love in gentle ways that are inclusive and instructional, bringing more and more of us (broadly defined to include sunflowers, blind horses, vexacious neighbors etc)  into the Circle of Light, which is just the same old fire before the same old cave. All we want is to sit with each other, gaze into the flames, tell some good stories over a shared meal, then lay together to tell with our beautiful bodies a quieter, older story. At its best this writing project is a way of sharing with you that older, quieter story. In it, we complete each other, and in our completion the whole cosmos – its gods and goddesses, its maths and philosophies – come gently home to rest in us as one.
In other words, here is my battered and broken heart, open for you, best as I am able. Thank you, always, for helping me find a way back to the light. 
Categorized as Exposition

In the Country of Turtles

This writing project has had a bunch of names over the years. Twenty Sentences, Worthington Rag. Sentences. I am renaming it The Country of Turtles. Or was it always the Country of Turtles. See below for an important point about pointers, and words generally. Names matter less than we think, maybe. Differently?
Anyway, this is not really about names but relationship. There is a love letter, which is the love letter of the world, Love calling and Love responding, and this project is my minor but nontrivial contribution to it.
I am endlessly grateful to the one who invites me to share.
In the dense cosmos of the living in which I find myself with others, the Country of Turtles is the condition of grace, peace and joy I discovered in and with Chrisoula. She is the Queen of the Country of Turtles. She doesn’t actually care what I name it or her but she does care about the world any nomenclature brings forth. We are responsible for love; there is no other way to bring forth peace. Words matter. Be nice, be helpful. Self-efface. Et cetera. Love is the law.
That is how she puts it, when pressed. Mostly she acts.
Language and praxis are not separate but inform each other, give rise to each other. I understood one half of this principle; Chrisoula taught me the other half. Together we lean on each other as we bring into application what it means to know we are not separate from ourselves, from others, from the earth and from the cosmos. 
The Country of Turtles is the condition of knowing and practicing Love with another.
A long time ago Chrisoula and I sat quietly together on a large flat stone facing Fitzgerald Pond. We were watching the light change, that was our date that day. We were content in and with each other in a way that we had both believed would not be possible for us in this life. We surprised each other. In our relationship, a certain form of confusion was ending yet what remained or would take its place was not yet clear. We were young, et cetera.
In summer sunlight Chrisoula put a hand on my heart, eased me down on the rock, and kissed me. 
When the kiss ended and I opened my eyes, there were turtles everywhere. Everywhere. On logs, on the shore, floating in the water, on rocks. Before the kiss, I was alien and confused about my function. Turtles meant nothing to me. After the kiss, I lived in the Country of Turtles and my only function was to serve its Queen. 
More prosaically:
Prior to the kiss, my life owned two phases: a painful childhood I was grateful had ended, and a young adulthood given mostly to drifting. Person to person, place to place, practice to practice. The former gave rise to the latter in which there was less pain but I was still lost. I wasn’t happy so much as surprised I had survived. Not everybody did. 
After the kiss, I was found. Home wasn’t a place but a person. It wasn’t even a person so much as a peace and happiness that asked nothing of me, which the person – Chrisoula – embodied. 
The kiss was an invitation from the divine to remember what I was in truth and to live the truth of it which, years later when theology finally caught up with me, means to love in a loveless place. 
It is a gift to be loved by one who understands and lives by the law that love cannot be possessed, only given, over and over and over. Truly, in that moment, I uttered the only prayer that has mattered in this life: Lord make me worthy of your daughter. I urge this prayer on all men.
Between that afternoon in late August and the next couple of years, I wrote approximately fourteen hundred poems for the Queen of the Country of Turtles – notes, prayers, hymns, questions, lists, myths, fables, complaints. Chrisoula read many of them, never indicating she preferred one to another. Her focus was always on the praxis the writing brought forth. If the praxis was love, then the poems were welcome. If the praxis was fear, then they needed to be rewritten or set aside.
It was Chrisoula who first brought me to what A Course in Miracles calls the holy instant, in which we know ourselves and others as God does. It was Chrisoula who taught me to give attention to the way that only violence, not love, can be personal. 
It was Chrisoula who said, stop doing this to yourself. Do something different with yourself.
We moved to Vermont, had a baby, got a dog and some cats, bought a house. The poetics shifted. I began anticipating sentences rather than lines. We went for long walks together. I went for longer walks alone, climbing mountains, sleeping in the forest by tiny fires. We read difficult texts, and talked about them. We carried the relationship to an unfamiliar place, a dangerous place even, and left it there to fend for itself. Seams appeared. Around the time I became serious for the last time about Catholicism, our drifting became chasmic. 
It was a lonely and difficult time that lasted for decades. 
I remember one night sitting by my fire on a ridge overlooking the Black River. Bears hooted in the distance. My dog, Jake, sat beside me, patiently alert. Stars wheeled above the breezy pines. I fell asleep wrapped in an old blanket and woke up  . . . where exactly? Chrisoula and I in ladderback chairs an arm’s length apart, facing an old woman who sat in a similar chair knitting a scarf. The room itself was plain and clean, like a Shaker bedroom from the nineteenth century. The scarf was the history of the world; it was the self-creating cosmos creating itself in the hands of a woman who was herself outside both creation and destruction. She neither looked at us nor spoke but only stared out the window while she worked. 
A pale moon neither rose nor fell in a sky that was neither light nor dark. 
I was fine with this at first; of course I was. I made a showy pretense of accepting and explaining it. I was effective and clear – of course I was – but for the first time since we’d met, Chrisoula ignored me. In that room, with that woman, she gave attention only to the woman. It wasn’t like I was incidental; it was like I didn’t exist. 
I grieved this loss of attention. I raged at it. I wish I could say otherwise. There was no grace in it. I pleaded and begged, I threatened to leave. I broke things. In beautiful stillness and perfect creativity, in the company of the holy, I acted the spoiled frightened child. My hurt and anger was revealed for the failure of love it had always been. 
This went on for what? A thousand years? A thousand lifetimes? 
One day – exhausted, empty, beyond misery – I surrendered. There was no honor in it, there was no wisdom. I merely acknowledged the obvious defeat. And yet, in that moment, I was lifted beyond victory and defeat to what is. The secret to salvation is that we are doing this – all of this – to ourselves. At last it was perfectly clear: in the presence of Her, you can only be in the presence of Her. There is nothing else. Choice is an illusion.
I was in my mid-fifties when I finally left that room. Psilocybin helped; penance helped; prayer helped. A Course in Miracles helped. Writing helped a lot. But mostly, Chrisoula’s attention unto the old woman helped. It was the final pointer, allowing me to pass beyond pointers, pointing and points altogether. When I try to write about this experience directly, or about the old woman specifically, Chrisoula gently redirects me. 
That is not the work, she says. This is the work. 
The work is becoming clear so that the light of Love can pass through us and illuminate the world in beauty and meaningfulness. Poems help, but they are not all that helps. Sex helps but it’s also not all that helps. Chrisoula and I grow food together. We leave some of the harvest for wild animals. We let parts of the garden grow wild. This is a metaphor and not a metaphor, both.
We name our errors and our enemies and give them to the Holy Spirit to be undone in us. 
We are not afraid of each other.
Here is the thing. In the Country of Turtles, there are no Queens and no Kings. There are only servants, whose joy is to help the other remember that they too are servants in the Country of Turtles. In a world of servants there is no conflict, there is no loss, there is no sacrifice. There is only peace. Nothing ends and nobody needs or wants to run away. You are home; you are always home.
These poems (in conjunction with other writing) reflect my ongoing half-assed attempt to invite you and others to join me and Chrisoula and all our brothers and sisters in the beautiful difficult work of becoming still enough for Creation to flow through you in the only way that will truly bring you to happiness and restore the world to peace. 
It is possible, I promise; this is my witness.
Categorized as Exposition

November Interim: Poems

November . . .

I wrote some poems in November. I wrote some notes about the poems, too. Like, we are never actually alone. And, it’s not a calling if you can say no. In general, it’s not the past or future we’re concerned with, it’s the way time functions as a screen upon which certain narratives are cast. Certain spells? The whole thing is basically a distraction from the caster (the projector (the poet)) but why?
Ask and it shall be given really means that we do not need to fear desire, and the end of fear is the remembrance of Love, which never leaves, so nothing remains to desire anyway. Technically! Without time, there can be no distance and vice versa, the whole apparent structure of the cosmos indicates a lawfulness upon which we can rely unconditionally. The forest is not only trees and rivers and scrub brush but also creatures and paths, i.e., home is a network not a place. All expressions of the earth are multivalent and holistic. Fire is not flames but it’s not not flames either. What is a system is a good question.
The answer to the question of loneliness (which question is an answer to another question) is “not really but it feels that way sometimes.” Much grief is obviated by honesty. Some of the poems are more related than others, i.e., it’s possible I’m mistaken, hence my ongoing commitment to learning. Leaning? Well, listening anyway. I am grateful to and for you, I really am.  
I’ve always liked the phrase “promises promises,” both as a pejorative and an insistence of some original benevolence. In general, the whole twenty sentences project aims to rethink locally certain rhetorical strategies advanced in the twentieth century, e.g., use of the word “baby” and “babe” to refer to women upon whom we depend. We all know what’s going on, right? The projected object of desire is a cover for fear and we don’t know what we’re scared of and what we’re scared of doesn’t want us to find out. Sex with holograms is not as fun as it used to be! Did I mention screens? 
There is no way out – knowing that is the way out. Related: crucifixion and resurrection are distractions but distractions from what? And for what? If you answer at all then you don’t know the answer. But if you don’t answer, then the question can’t even be asked.
Anyway, November poems.
Categorized as Poems

Tired of Pretending

There is a moon at the beginning of November that I have to look at alone. Not alone but with the God you alone could teach me to see. The truth of this works for nobody so far as I can tell but there is a Light beyond triviality. I’m trying, woman – does it matter at all? 
It’s getting colder than makes sense, as if winter were looking for a sacrifice and I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time. I study the garden with my whole body now because doing so hurts and the hurt reminds me not to fuck around. It matters – of course it matters. 
Who let the dog in? Who let the calf die? 
Why is it so hard to make a good soup? 
A child learns some fucked-up lessons and some good-enough lessons, and it’s on them to figure out which to live by. Yet why force yourself to make decisions on a breaking limb? Why not pray to the God you’re okay not understanding? 
She puts her hand on me in a way I am tired of pretending matters. We are all beautiful is the winning move in the Game of the Image. Of course it’s about the Mother, of course She is the Cosmos, what nightmare did you think I was waking up from? History? Plato’s stupid cave?
Midnight on my knees in moonlight, alone again. Thanking with all my heart the one who dreams me into existence over and over. All that fire in the divine furnace she insists I insist is not her body. 
Categorized as Poems

Apostles of Love

We are homesteaders, contemplatives, we are not fucking around, the whole marriage comes down to this. Tea cups full of moonlight on the back porch. Polished quartz behind the barn. More rain, less rain. No rain but snow. Trimming back the raspberries, raking the pasture. The world is an orchard untouched by God. What is eclipsed, contained, what cannot be ever. What is created. It hurts less when you pray – what hurts less – if you have to ask – . Morning sunlight glides across the floor, opposite nothing. Across the cosmos, the Apostles of Love rise as one to minister unto uncountable Merchants of Death. My brilliant dangerous mother, my distant beautiful father. Their shared heart a fire by which everything lives, in which everything dies. 

Categorized as Poems

Prior Winters

The wedding and the garden getting more so all the time. Preach, herpetologists! In dreams I am no longer lost, my wandering serves a purpose by never concluding. The church comes to you, not the other way around. November is colder than we remember but then again we never speak of prior winters. Bread in the oven, money in the bank. Grunting coming inside her. A difficult love forging a cosmos in which it only gets harder. You ask if my heart is broken, why do you always ask that. An envelope large enough for all the love letters ever, and a love letter to that envelope. There is no misunderstanding here, there is no mistake, only the absence of promises. As high up and far away something beautiful and vast flies hard into the distance, breaking it once and for all.

Categorized as Poems

One More Theophany

Morning is quiet but productive. Some of us were not allowed to sleep it off. On the other hand, you have to want the crisis, you have to secretly covet the trauma. Peace wants to be found, is what one finds when they look. Pushing sixty, remembering childhood, amazed I survived, got as far as I did the way I am, et cetera. Now what is the answer not the question. Chrisoula knitting while I read Merton’s Contemplative Prayer yet againNo more hypotheticals please. Clearing around the potato garden, watching sparrows in the compost. One more winter, please, one more theophany. Something given, something taken, something mistaken but what. Bald eagles hunting up and down the river. Glistening quartz near the fire pit. The poems empty out into my heart, my heart empties out into my soul, my soul empties out into the cosmos, the cosmos has a secret name, yours.

Categorized as Poems

Measured by Crows

Does anybody ever really win the game of Survival? Then maybe there is a better game to play?
What if everything isn’t an iterated extension of the Prisoner’s Dilemma?
What if you’re not hungry?
And begin.
Rising earlier and earlier, called by Her. You have to get better at pattern-matching, become excellent at it, you have to go all the way to the laws by which pattern is even possible, i.e., you don’t fuck the Goddess, the Goddess fucks you, and only when it serves Creation. 
Distances measured by crows. The river out back is a silver thread flowing through my heart into the cosmos, which is our shared heart learning how to share. The gray death of goldenrod, hollowed-out stalks through which next winter’s wind blows. I don’t have a baby, I have sisters and a mother. My brother, my killer. My not-so-secret lovers on their knees beside a river, behind churches, in restaurant bathrooms, et cetera.
What if there is no subtext, nor even context, what if there is only this: this this? Up early to pray, devoted to work and writing, given to healing – even these must go, even these. To be ready to die is a form of longing to live, keep digging son.
This is not loneliness, not anymore. This is not suffering. As high up storm clouds race through the sky. The bald eagles, they do not think of me at all.
Categorized as Poems

Focused on the Flames

The hills are a horizon, not a jail cell, stop playing a foolish game – what game – the game of pretending you aren’t doing this to yourself – I don’t understand – you have said it.
Here a sacrament, there a ritual. Everywhere a therapist modeling effective modes of dialogue, demonstrating ways beyond the sucking vortex of death. The cathedral in which we were married creeps out of the city and visits the messy glades and gardens of our falling-down monastery. Sing with me, sister, pray with me. Eat with me, end hunger with me.
The sun rises, ice on the windows is gray, then diamantine, then so bright you have to look away. Between trees, narrow fields of snow through which horses pace, the moonlight lingering all day. You want to keep a secret, you forgot we don’t have secrets. 
Forgive me, I was focused on the flames, not the Body from which they arose. My hands are empty of everything now, including emptiness. Will it do? These ashes bread, and these tears, wine.
Categorized as Poems

The Last Workable Prayer

Woke up knowing my fate, no use pretending otherwise. How cold the floorboards are in early winter, shrugging naked into yesterday’s jeans. Lost in a bedroom itself endlessly shifting in space, the world is basically unfindable. What ends, what begins. Or rather, what ends and does not begin.
This again.
Sky was the first text. I think of this often in winter, when Polaris is as bright as childhood, and long walks a return to whatever inside me once longed to find a way back to Her. The upward gaze is the gaze that extends us, or did you think that Heaven was just an idea?
One disregards most of history, ends up with a new name and backstory, but don’t kid yourself, nothing changes. When is it not the third of May 1808? There is only one river and it makes no provision for time or space.
Pausing on the stairs to listen to traffic on Route Nine, eighteen-wheelers leaning on the jake brake. You can’t pretend it’s four a.m. when it’s four a.m..
What do you think the early travelers noticed most? Or is the question why did they travel at all. How long do you have to look at something in order to decide it’s not worth pursuing? “Don’t think about it” they said about the first dead dog and fifty years later I still can’t think about anything else. Sextant, schmextant. But not map, schmap.
Blustery winds come down the river, maple leaves tremble in concert at dawn. Feeding the horses in darkness is the last workable prayer. We are in the garden late into November, spading compost, harvesting kale, we are devoted to nothing if not continuity. Imagine telling God your dreams, and God telling you none will come true, and yet still dreaming.
Imagine choice really is an illusion.
I am alone in morning darkness making coffee by feel, trying out sentences, discarding the ones that contradict the conclusion I insist on coming back to. The argument is over, the conflict settled, and here I am, secretly resenting the plowshare we crafted. Those storm clouds, they never stop to tell me where they’re going, they just go. 
Categorized as Poems