Established by Luminous Chakras

Cold winter mornings. In the darkness touch is different, trails appear that only our fingers can follow. Many days of snow and rain pass and the moon appears, a slivered hook dragging the heavens. Subtlety helps, sure, but not only subtlety. 
Devin argues that you can’t imagine the size of the cosmos – that “size” isn’t even really a relevant term in this context – and he’s not wrong but also, who knows. Frozen hoses. I think often of the ones who figured out that stars were reliable guides. Suddenly all this Tarot.
A juncture at which asking how and why becomes viable in sustainable non-dramatic ways. The Rons of my childhood ascend in importance or rather, my recognition of their importance stops hiding itself. Hurrying so the coffee won’t grow cold. If you have to ask, then yes – you are complicit. 
The heaters crackle and murmur all night, the house creaking in sudden cold. Is this where it ends? The mirror suggests at least two realities but is silent with respect to choosing between them. It never hurts to read William James again. Checking on the horses just because.
Pictures of the place from when we bought it. Those who dance on planes established by luminous chakras. Even the lie is a witness unto Truth. I was never more lost than now, each step a measure of the joy I feel in Her care.
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What it Cost Me and Why I Paid

Tom mentions seeing a fox, says “better button up the chickens,” which makes me laugh. Starlight in winter, impossible to capture, yet my whole life has been given to trying. There is no such thing as the right word is a way to write poetry. Theories about why this ice storm was not the same as the one in 2008 used as a means to overcome shyness in social settings. At five a.m. in the dark certain lovelinesses appear – diamantine, harmonious, clear – and one is lifted accordingly. Church is this if church is anything? Apparently the end of conflict is closer than I realized. One works through the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus and realizes they are talking about their own self which, duh. Setting traps finally, and checking traps, and also escaping traps. We salvage what we can with respect to the squash, finish the cabbages, we order seeds and starts. Stephanie brings cider by and we drink it in the fancy thumbprint goblets I find so wonderfully emblematic of my truth. You set up this or that parameter and it works until you find yourself longing to go down on her and suddenly you’d make orphans of the children, burn the fields, salt the ruins. Fionnghuala and I argue about God in front of family and friends and after everyone is like, wow, she’s smarter than you are, which is true, but days later Chrisoula says quietly, “thank you,” knowing what it cost me and why I paid, and I am David then, and then I am David’s Son happily married, raising kids. Opening the barn door in coldest January. Letting go of the reins. Rising.

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That Moment in the Dance When Your Body Falls

You must answer this two-part question: what is love and how do you know?
Snow falling on hemlocks, a cardinal in the hemlocks.
We grow tender and slow over here: grandmothers indicate this is the way now.
A sudden panic in the community: all winter squashes going bad no matter how they are put up. 
Horse tracks in snow.
In the night – in utter stillness – I extend my tongue and gently trace the outline of the only pussy I know by heart. 
We insist on form which leads to loss which leads to war (by circuitous psychological routes I do not need to make clear to you because you already know them).
Do you know that moment in the dance when your body falls out of the song – when there is no next move, when the rhythm is measured in notes that extend beyond time?
One dream pushes into another, as when the witch led me deep into the earth’s belly and in the darkness there I found the seed from which all light is born.
Disarray is not the law, which can alleviate some of the stress around resisting or instigating change.
Holes in the wall made by angry men. 
This is what you want, this is what you get.
For the life of me I cannot say what Denise thought or felt removing that shirt and letting it fall, though I know in those days she liked being in my poems and found my obsession with the divinity of the image amusing. 
Lingering in Ireland, as one does.
Snow lines the limbs of dying hemlocks and for a moment the heart in me stops and a darkness opens of which I am not terrified.
I remember looking at their hoods and nooses in a D.C. museum and wondering not for the last time what the fuck was wrong with me.
Jaded, ended.
He said to me once he wasn’t going to lie – that what he was going to do was going to hurt and I was going to take it because he was the one giving it – and it was true.
Roseate light on winter mornings, this perfect love. 
We cried a lot, hid our tears a lot, slept with the wrong people, got lost and kept going, shoeless and empty-handed, and Christ would it be okay I sit with you a while and talk?
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This Riptide of a Life

The one who sweeps up after elephants. Who made us the center of the universe, hellbent on understanding? The radiator creaks a little, you draw the blanket tighter. Snow falls as if always.
A lot blurs when something becomes acute – a sense of loss, a deep love, the moment before coming – and this is neither a mystery nor a problem. The neighbors bring a dozen quarts of cider by, two pints of peach wine, and a drawing of raccoons their little one did. “Let us pray” is a sweet invitation, but the space it evokes has a wildness to it few are able to manage. Living alone at a late age.
Christy Moore songs. Make a list of everything you’ve stolen in this life, be radically honest in doing so. The light these mornings in the glass bluebirds I’ve collected and been gifted over the years. Shanna Dobson’s diamonds waking me in the night.
It helps to remember that remembering is natural, not a crime against God or Nature. Watching folks spread butter on toast – anything really, jam, jelly, peanut butter – and seeing the whole cosmos in the lovely dance of matter and intention. Lying in bed, my cock hard and smooth to touch, “hot marble” I think, “I should put that in a poem,” and then laugh quietly, the spell broken. A network of shadows on which the dead are suspended when they visit to relay their helpful missives.
At last the old jeans can no longer be patched and are cannibalized for what still can be. Detailed notes for what should happen after our death are not the answer either. After months away from the familiar text, I open it again, leaning into the devotion that has been so vexing in this riptide of a life. The moon blurred by snow clouds at midnight, a loveliness I would give up my wings to taste.
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Into a Marble Sea

There are invitations we cannot refuse – can we say they are still invitations? Clouds passing over the face of the mountain. Gaps in the conversation that no longer trouble us the way they once did. Making the bed after, listening to her make tea, remembering our first date in the little arthouse theater in Northampton. Plastic zombies intrude on our attempts to build a new church. Was it always like this?
Dylan’s Disease of Conceit. Everything revolves around bodies of water, there is no other way to live. Reading Bly late at night by an open window, a woman whose name I’ve forgotten sleeping an arm’s length away. 
Those who are no longer interested in the past.
Severity of the Catholic influence. Out-reading one’s father, discovering after all that it wasn’t being smarter than him that you wanted. A fine snow fell and I stood in it a few minutes, watching the hills brighten, thinking of what will never come to pass.
Tasting blood, remember those days?
Snake eggs.
There were rules about shooting guns and the men with whom I lived broadly speaking obeyed them, yet the possibility they would not was never far from my thoughts. What’s your excuse?
The light in my daughter shines so brightly sometimes I remember ten thousand years ago touching the sun and falling a long way into a marble sea.
One thing I’d like is no more long goodbyes.
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Crickets Fill the Night

A fine snow falls, then stops and begins again a couple hours later. In other words, we’ve been here before. Cardinals in the birch tree out back, the fence between our house and the neighbor’s leaning more than usual. When will you visit again and will that visit be the one that reminds me why I am here? 
Notes toward healing. My turtle soul wants to burrow in the wet moss of your soul, go all the way down in the waters of you. A man who cannot sleep, whose aversion to balms is the undoing he selects for himself over and over and over. Nothing vanilla please.
Everything diamantine.
Plaster falling from the church steeple where for reasons we cannot discern the weathervane no longer turns but merely points north. There are all these transitions, there are all these chances to begin again. 
In my heart, crickets fill the night with song.
I know a taxidermist who dreams each night he is hunted. Like, who doesn’t wear a mask?
We are butterflies pretending they are humans who are dreaming they are butterflies pretending they are humans.
It is stories – it is frames – all the way down.
A worthy priest disrobes at the altar. Every gesture my father refused was saved so that in the Purgatories he might drown over and over in a sea of unreachable hands. 
Neither sins nor errors nor even wounds: the world waits on us to learn this final lesson.
So far down you forget there once was up.
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A Man Who Never Learned

No more looking for signs! Christmas cactuses lined up above the sink, now and then a crimson petal falling into unwashed plates and knives. Kissing her tears and other reconfigured Satanic pleasures. 
In those days nobody knew what to do with dogs so the dogs died hard and lonely deaths. 
I liked pumping gas, reading poetry, fucking at night away from the fire. Stevie Nicks would have something to say about this, whatever this is, and I’d listen.
This is no longer about loss or gain, okay? Nothing wasted ever – even their bones were carved into dice we threw. The last guitar solo ever, which one day there will be.
On my knees in a desert I neither chose nor rejected.
How the sheep died differently than the pigs died, and how pigs dying made you think of your grandfather praising you for participating in killing. Maybe it’s true there are only reflections but still. Curses in me, blessings in me.
Quiet in me just because.
The last shade of blue before the sky is black – can you see it? I don’t know how dreams mean and still the dreams come and still I live in them for days, like a man who never learned he didn’t have to pick up a gun. 
Childhood disappears into a camera, comes out a barely recognizable fairy tale: this this.
What can you prove?
I mean, I learned to love getting high because it took the edge off how angry I was and that anger tripped me into murder zones that still scare the shit out of me, so yeah, from time to time I smoke weed, fuck off with your judgment. 
This fist loosening, these ghosts insisting it’s okay to let them go, this long drop I’ve nearly reached the end of. 
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Forward Over a Narrow Bridge

Something smells good, let’s find out what – how many stories begin that way? Lately, the sacred heart with which I was born – and into which I must die – resembles a baby bird straining for food at the nest’s edge. This dream, this game – why?
What we learned atop Wheat Mountain. I remember driving past the entrance to Jamaica State Park years ago, turning around, asking directions and then going forward over a narrow bridge to the river of forbidden love which of course is not love at all. Winning at chess, losing at chess.
Night passes as a text held up to clear light, and the priest in me curses again the useless litanies of prayer, the empty expressions of power. Imagine walking your mother through the parking lot back to her car, wind blowing, her voice lost and you only just now realizing she is old, does not remember her own name, needs you to lean on, et cetera. We level up, we leave behind childhood, we ascend in ways that were not initially predictable.
Unlivable. Stepping off the gallows, dreading the strangling pain to follow but grateful that the end game has at last revealed itself. Polishing quartz, not unlike a mouse in a snake’s cage.
Where there is nothing except nothing. One stands quietly under the hemlocks pissing, happy as always to hold their own dick. I ask a lot from a cup of coffee, I really do.
Passing through the city at dusk, especially grateful for the many pigeons darkening the sky with communal spirals and dives. Are we really just maximizing our ability to not be hungry? Many messes.
The unwashed masses. Tracking a certain dog from here into the afterlife and beyond, confident in the way he is confident.
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Willingness is a Form of Love

There was a fortune-teller once, and once there was a dog. The gray sky descends on the mountain and the mountain disappears. One walks a long time in order to remember that they do not actually have legs. Tell me again how the witch came to live in the forest?
We have beloveds, we are begotten, and beasties abound. One scratches the cover of an old book but declines to open it, knowing a bit about what happens when the text is revealed. Winter lightning. A particular sorrow, having to do with how the past is no longer with us yet retains causative power. Well, as it happens I don’t believe in God – now what?
I remember digging for clams with my cousins, smoking cigarettes at low tide, happy in a way that eluded – even now – understanding. Wanting to save things, always. I know what it means for a crystal to be healing – can explain, can extend – but you have to care deeply about people in order to learn it, i.e., all willingness is a form of love, and love is always healing. How certain men carry their arms while walking, especially when they’re old. All my grandmothers are good witches, all of them live now with the shades.
The letter was pictorial – a faint watercolor of a green feather – and smelled of lemon and something darker, sage perhaps, and one lingered in the reception of it a long time, wishing it had come to something else. Avoidance strategies. “Who was bearded was complicit” – who wrote that sentence all those years ago and why does he hate writing it now? “Stop being a baby” – as if babies could ever be anything other than pure.
Fox in the far field, far field in the mind. Who we miss and why.
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Studying Old Axes

Imagine the mountains are moving closer, imagine a light in the mountain becoming clearer, imagine no mountain. 

In the void is a single daisy.
This is not death.
Several cups of coffee later I find myself regretting a certain sentence and wishing I could rewrite it yet accepting without question that I cannot.
The Reagan family abattoir.
Stretches of highway with no motel, spotty reception, light rain making the macadam gleam.
But what do you feel?
Boys who never cared for trucks because they were comprised of straight lines and metal (against which the light ended) and because even then it was clear that slopes and bends – and transparency – were the Lord.
Maple leaves still hanging on the trees alongside Main Street, late portents.
It it not necessary to take me with you when you go.
Lace veils behind which much is hidden but nothing lost.
How she cried when it was time to leave the casket, how I threw myself to my knees demanding favoritism in that musty gaslit parlor.
Bad jokes.
Breakfast with my son, business-like but now and then we laugh.
What is perfect if not this?
A silence that is welcome but not desired, a visitor who is desired but not welcome.
A life in which libraries have factored in nontrivial ways.
In the middle of the night a handjob, coming hard across her expert fingers, not sleeping after but only resting beside her on a sea I did not create but which sustains me nonetheless.
In the barn with morning coffee, studying old axes, a kind of openness in me masquerading as confusion.
Many reflections, translucent signifiers, a world melting like ice on an old cast iron stove.
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