A World of Servants

In the winter my heart is a wasp nest. Waking early to make coffee, sitting with Jeremiah in the kitchen, talking about changes. When we speak of war, we are never speaking of good news.
Jesus welcomes me, teaches me he does not ask for followers, you can do what I do, et cetera. Pulling the curtain aside to see Venus between empty limbs of the side yard maple. What is heavy, what is heavier.
Nobody eats bread these days, the sourdough starter languishes. Jack whinnying incessantly near midnight, we go out to find him lost in a corner of the pasture, unable to find his way into the run-in. What are you when you are not visible?
Yet if we cancel hunting, deer will eat our yards and gardens. Crows in the driveway, unusual to see them so close to where we live, is this what death looks like. Burdens, bear dens, grain bins.
A world of servants – a world where we all aspire to be last and least – is a world of peace, and a world of peace is a world in which we remember what we are in truth. Oh Holy Universe, thank you for including rivers, stars, chickadees, weed and blowjobs. Are you ready now to make the call?
Finally able to leave certain gatherings of certain men, not in anger or argument, just not needing that performance any longer – that posturing, that panic, that pathos. Make no assumptions, yes, but don’t neglect the importance of a well-developed epistemology. Brace yourself.
Creativity includes both no and goodbye, which I am only just learning. This lovely woman growing old before my eyes.
Categorized as Sentences

I Can’t Keep My Hurt to Myself

All desire is suffering.
Two barns in Vermont, opposite sides of I forget what road in Morrisville, which I thought of as sisters.
How happy I was on the mountain, stirring puddles with a stick, not yet boxed in with photographs.
Vast landscapes hidden by mist.
She cries because I can’t keep my hurt to myself, freeze up after, endure every alienation, every punishment, then feel sorrow as the house goes quiet I can’t decide where to sleep and or remember how, again. 
Access to reality matters, we need to preserve this for as many people as possible.
We meet after bread, in a room with open windows through which moonlight pours, reminding me the experience is fictitious.
She teaches me to be a peacemaker, she suffers the confusion that mars the passage of all who must journey from fear to love.
Time is in part a container.
A hard battle.
I long for the road, which is a form of the road longing for me, or is this why my feet abjure shoes.
Sentences written in rain, sentences written by the rain.
An exercise in which we must reduce our autobiography to no more than a sentence. 
Bearer of tidings, slayer of dragons, servant of queens.
Rethinking the early ’70s in Worthington Massachusetts.
Shadows on snow can be helpful in clarifying the way in which snow is not white but blue.
Poor connections through which we struggle to express our desire.
I am Christian, I say, not a Christian.
Categorized as Sentences

Cleansed and Obscured

Folds emphasize isolation, is one way to see it. Touching the rose with my tongue. Remember how it all fell apart, Burlington Vermont washed away in tears.
Stray dogs dragging my heart into unfamiliar cities. Windmills. How the blue light is pervasive now, showing up everywhere, making me almost giddy.
Eating falafel in Amsterdam, meditating on evil night after night. So much lost in our childhood to alcoholism, griefs and ghosts we did not know were not our own. Pour me another, I want to be five again.
I want to see starlight reflected in frozen gravel for the first time again. David does not respond to my email, which I expected, but you have to offer yourself, you have to make yourself the offer. How we are so much water and light.
Our daughters teach us what our mothers forgot? There are warning signs on this road, you have disregard them, they’re head fakes designed to slow you down. Nobody owns the veil by which the Face of Christ is both cleansed and obscured.
Losing a lot of what he says in the wind but nodding anyway, that’s what matters, being there, telegraphing love whatever you can. The silence of whales at night surfacing on moonlit seas. What word functions as a verb, an adjective and a noun without its spelling changing?
Growing up you learn to hide what you want and forget what you need. The Judge is ready to pronounce sentence, do you need help finding your feet, are you ready, it doesn’t matter if you’re ready. 
Categorized as Sentences

The Disco of Forgiveness

Made safe for what is nocturnal. We discount her tears, focus on arguments for and against, determined to be guided by reason: that old dream. Sitting on the back porch, late winter, stoned in the way I used to be when I was young, that is to say, full of wonder and joy, the river humming beyond the horses, the stars doing little pirouettes in the heavens, and this wish – this desire – to remember an ancient secret.
Making the world safe for pollinators. Sold the land, left a few wind chimes hanging here and there in the forest, who knows. Fern-shaped orgasms. Trying to explain that television is a sterile extension of fire, you have to go out into the world, you have to learn to stoke the flames yourself.
What is sacred, safe, saturated, sent. In my dream, the city is ruined, blasted and empty, not even stray dogs left, not even rats, and I walk through it singing a song in a language I forgot that I knew how to remember. We’re like ripples, kind of, kind of like eddies. I buy her chocolate, leave it in the kitchen where she’ll find it, it’s not enough, not even close, but willing as always to risk dancing in the disco of forgiveness.
This sorrow-flavored life. My father often saying “God hates a coward,” which I believed for a long time. Summer nights following the river deep into the woods, staggering through risky currents, dipping into moonlit pools, dreaming of women I have yet to meet. Something is opening in me, something is saying we are ready to remember what we are in truth.
It’s hard to read the bible, gets harder by the day. What are we if not communal is the question we cannot quite bring ourselves to answer. Watching her walk, getting off on it. Skunk passes by – pausing when he notices me noticing him from the porch – but I tell him we’re good, it’s okay, and so he ambles on, my beautiful brother disappearing in shadows.
Categorized as Sentences

Beyond the Semantic Verge

I remember fishing, sitting quietly by the river, attentive in the way one is when you are hunting. I watch clouds pass, murmur praise in broken Greek, I bring the blind horse to the fence line as by grace are all things possible.
Rain blown by wind into our face walking, making dialogue difficult. The strange territory of the monosyllabic.
Driving north into Vermont, third time since summer, my heart lost now, like a dog gone for decades, you can’t get it back. All the earth’s kings are wrong for there is only one Kingdom, and it has no ruler, only servants.
I talk a certain way about Jesus and loneliness, making her cry, and after want only to wash her feet. I remember coming to in Boston once, a basement apartment in which half a dozen men were playing poker, ignoring me in the corner, not knowing how I’d gotten there, not sure if there was – then or now – a way out.
This loveliness that transcends all light. Listen, if it can’t be put into words then it doesn’t exist, okay.
Saltines, soup. Ma calls, her voice brittle with anger, the struggle of her life, which became the struggle of mine, to which Fionnghuala has laid claim, brave in ways that my ancestors tell me is characteristic of our women.
Don’t blame me, it takes river ice a long time to break up too. A dream I am gazing at eternity and waking to realize while pissing that we are always gazing at eternity.
How happy we are when there is somebody beside us! An hour of the day when the Taconics are purple, not like the grapes of childhood nor Bacon’s screaming popes, but something quieter and deeper, like the river you are as it reaches at last the sea.
Lost again. For whom was I writing all those songs in my early twenties, why was it so hard to learn that art, why even now do I sometimes hum instead of talk, as if beyond the semantic verge lies the purer garden of simply rhythm.
Something Roman.  You don’t profess, you don’t promise,  you just go stand by the water and throw your bread, then wait on her to make up her mind.
Categorized as Sentences

Time for Another Disclosure

It’s not what you save but what you don’t save that defines you.
Our allies are not as enthusiastic as they once were.
Making summer plans in winter.
The sound the seal makes breaking on the cheap whiskey I buy each year on the anniversary of my maternal grandfather’s death.
You see the snow, you say it’s white but look closer, see the blue, bring the blue forward.
In my heart a little boy is walking around pretending a stick is a sword, he has no idea yet what a plowshare does or why it matters.
Once I understood that therapy was narrative, it stopped working and I had to move on to prayer.
Lately I cannot escape a dimly-felt memory of Halloween – something beautiful and dark, magical and strong – that was the antithesis of the demons I have spent a life wrestling to various standstills.
Is it time for another disclosure?
What we covet.
The nexus – for me – between seeing and writing, as if going blind were the worse fate, is this why I have struggled so to say Jack’s name? 
You have your Penuel, I have mine.
Steadfastly gazing at Venus in the cold dark of winter, the love I feel in my heart for Lucifer, for all the forsaken and loveless, for all the despised, I don’t care anymore who knows the ruins my love makes welcome.
Clouds coming out of the sky, much as the adult we are comes out of the child, or seems to.
How tired I am of this long sleep, this cold dream, these nameless helpers who are not actually helping anyone.
Perhaps every kiss is forbidden, who knows.
Dad was mostly remote save for the very early years when he told me stories every night before bed, I don’t know why he stopped, don’t remember many details, only that it mattered in ways very little else would matter ever again.
This is your brain, this is your brain on Chopin.
Saltless broth and other elusive stags.
The lake freezes, truck tracks embedded in sweeping arcs across it, we walk carefully, hand in hand, determined not to be scared of everything we know can even now happen. 
Categorized as Sentences

Deserts I have Never Visited

Pushing the writing into deserts I have never visited, only heard about. Pausing by the lemons, amazed as I so often am at the existence of yellow. Nobody is actually from anywhere. He couldn’t talk much in the end so we were quiet, admiring landscapes and certain trees, he would coo over the oak tree near the driveway’s end.
We live in loops. Corn stubble jutting through snow. Thinking is behind the eyes, yearning in the chest. Yet a critical aspect of effective writing is knowing when to end.
Fantasies of Gilligan’s Island, being eaten by witches, and a sense – hard to dismiss, even now – that dreams were realer than waking. The hanging weight of pigs, the sorrow one feels in the darkness there. It is possible to rely too much on italics? Free coffee which no joke I don’t think I’ve ever refused.
Falling to sleep, dreaming of moonlight filling the bedroom, waking to darkness, Chrisoula moaning a little in her sleep. Nobody awakens, there is no awakening, you have to see this. Bare limbs of maple trees in the dim light, evidence of a text I’d mostly forgotten. I push her away, ferocious and intellectual, a shitty way to treat anybody and yet here we are.
Barber shop poles. We talk quietly at the dishwasher about growing up in an alcoholic family, how long it took us to realize that what was wrong was not us, how we are still struggling to understand it wasn’t our fault. You don’t visit this circus, this circus visits you. Melting with praise, is there any other way to be a body?
Categorized as Sentences

Songless but not Shoeless

Perhaps we are all just ornaments? Little streams of light that are stars.
Holy octopuses visit, remind me of my promise to relax and let them handle things. We meet in a little room after dinner, he is gentle and kind, he refuses all my attempts to place him over me.
Untucking my shirt, remembering how Denise used to unbutton it slowly, then bend down to suck my nipples. Smiles floating on the lake, the lake floating in our mind, our mind a brief fire in the void.
We are not songless but shoeless, get the analogy right! Those of us who seek answers, as if questions are an insult to the cosmos.
What we learned about war in the twelfth century which we really need to forget. We are growing Hubbard squashes this spring, we are not killing pigs, we are entering without fanfare through the east gate.
How quiet one can be near the river! My open heart, its livid flame, these wraparound thorns, each one marked by my savior’s name.
Malvina Reynolds songs, which I used to sing to Sophia when she was little, which still from time to time echo in leftover neurons slowly blinking out. Sunlight on the crest of hills which I insist are shared with Emily Dickinson.
It’s always Lent in this heart, brother. I remember how I got good at hiding, accepted as normal the danger of family. 
Roads both in and out of the village. Later, unexpectedly, snow begins so we move the horses’ hay, talking to them in low tones, this love we share unto which weather is irrelevant.
My cluttered soul, bereft of any helper. Guns I still hear, fists I still feel upside my head, will I never be safe, will the one who will make me safe never find me. 
Categorized as Sentences

Begging the Stars for Answers

The taste of my lover on my tongue, always.
Apples so cold my teeth hurt.
Abandoned factory buildings on the edge of the city, driving past them, wondering if there are fish left in the ponds just visible in the distance.
Wanting more is not the problem, the logic justifying want is the problem.
So you see we are not actually going anywhere or moving or changing at all!
At night begging the stars for answers, then remembering I am past that now, and so sitting quietly happily in the darkness with all my loves attending.
Dylan’s Street Legal, a joy in the canon to which I came late, am still from time to time surprised by.
Between pine trees, a cardinal, and at last the willingness to let the red bird be without forcing on it my convoluted sexual theology and obsession with images and symbols.
To gaze is to live, to be gazed at is to die.
It’s minor, no big thing, but I do think about it from time to time, the way I cannot seem to make peace with bells, their relationship with hands, how certain women embody the conflict – and how hard it is to include them – bells and the women who ring them – in poems.
Everything corrected, i.e., everything accepted.
Local Greek festivals we haven’t attended in years.
Bald eagles at rest by the river, facing north from an honored hemlock.
Dad’s focus on trees and flowers, living things that did not speak or move, especially in the last decade of his life when so much went wrong. 
How tiny this cell, how fluid the calendar on which my death is marked!
This late interest in Madonna’s Hindu-influenced work, as if something inside of me is settling deeper than I realized.
The function of the holy relationship is to generalize so that you realize all your brothers and sisters are, in fact, brothers and sisters.
Playing with dogs, a joy I have almost forgotten, remember now and then with strangers mostly, a sorrow and more than that, nearly but not yet gone.
Stitching together a marriage on the outskirts of a desert I wrongly thought I had already faced down. 
Beginning to wonder whose baby I am for real.
Categorized as Sentences

Jesus and the Difficulty

There are little clouds bunched along the hills, they remind me of spring lambs, but not the fate of spring lambs. Long conversations about how tree stumps factor into ecosystems so maybe stop grinding them for aesthetics? Jack, the blind appaloosa in the pasture, tosses his head, his white mane briefly wild in wind-blown rain. Remembering visits with King David, and last night’s with Jesus, and the difficulty inherent in balancing the complex reality of those dialogues. We are tougher than we used to be, we are like made of stone.
But wait, is the metaphor using me or am I using the metaphor? War again, a grief that has haunted all my days since I remember, always laughing at me, mocking my resistance, my arguments, my anger and frustration. In winter I briefly miss the crickets who sing in the barn, their song reaching the hayloft where in summer I write and dream of a long rest. If monotheism has to answer to anyone, it’s to women, can we please not fuck around about this? Fried eggs, first in weeks.
One makes a list of things they are grateful for, adds a last item nobody but God is allowed to see. Learning something about hearts, about openness, about joy. Drinking cold green tea from a mason jar, remembering camping before the kids, how happy we were in the forest bird-watching, and swimming at night in the warm lake, the loons both giving welcome and prophesying hardships to come. Shadows move quickly across the landscape, as if chasing something. No more watercolors please!
At a late juncture making peace with lines and circles, being the intersection of both, especially when they are being forgiven. Who asks permission anymore? A week of punishing myself passes, and all that remains is sorrow and loss. Remember tobogganing? Making pancakes at the altar, which is to say, making pancakes because the altar is everywhere, especially when you’re making pancakes.
Categorized as Sentences