Thursday, June 30, 2022

Time to Make Arrangements

Or is all death watery.

Jesus was embodied, lived and died, nothing at all will make sense until you accept this.

What shall we listen to in winter if not snow falling, ice groaning in the river, the horses walking over frozen ground towards us in darkness for their hay.

Even our ears tell lies.

They held the coffin by its handles, three to a side, they carried him to his final church service. 

Sex must include "or this?"

Stagecoach piano.

What do you not want to see in a mirror?

Robert Johnson songs at two a.m., stoned, through headphones, world never the same again.

Opening the window wider in hottest summer, breathing deeply.

Insert an ellipsis.

When is it dawn really?

Groaning entering her, still, after all these years. 

Homes we make, homes we ruin.

She leans on the porch railing to call dinner to Jeremiah who is spreading compost in the nearer garden and I study her ass happily, this fine woman, this happy life. 

Thirty years ago waking drunk in tangled bedsheets reeking of piss feeling confirmed and so at last ready to stop.

Does gratitude include amazement always or is it just me?

Always there is this shame whispering to me it won't hurt long.

Is it time to make arrangements, everything dies when I pass.

There are secrets about the stars yet to be disclosed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Icarus Did Not Die but Landed

I am telling you that Icarus did not die but landed decades later, tired and burned-out, on a beach he no longer recognized and this is that story.

This this.

Trembling in the dining room, unable to meet her eyes.

Sunlight on the replanted Rose of Sharon.

We stumble through an argument, both of us trying to undo our sense that winning or losing is still viable, it takes three days but we do it, of course we do it.

There is no other, do you get what I am saying?

When you lift your shirt, when briefly I catch a glimpse of your shoulder - that struggle.

Hours spent in prayer in an attempt to no longer feel the fear I always fear feeling.

I think of Auden writing "a boy falling out of the sky," and something happens in what I still insist we call "my heart."

Amends which, once made, need never be made again - that peace.

This is not the poem I meant to write when I began, but this is the poem I am writing - that is a way to think about writing.

Musical traditions in which drone predominates, especially those in the Mediterranean.

Dried zucchini soaked in salt water with garlic, mixed with cold quinoa.

I did not plan the eulogy, I merely spoke, and now I have no memory but of that moment when I choked briefly looking down at the coffin I could not believe contained him.

Our shared body as yet untouched, as yet unkissed.

Cirling the lake talking about what we thought the marriage was, and how it was not that, and how it is this: circling the lake talking about we thought the marriage was. 

We are all hungry for the witch, what else did we think was going to happen when we banished her?

Coffee mugs that are always empty.

It occurs to me as I leave that this is a pattern - I am always disrepecting the art somehow, always ignoring the work, in some critical way I am always refusing to be a member of a community

One breath follows another until suddenly they skip - slow - and then no breath at all.

We talk over each other, it's okay, what matters is we are here and we are talking.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Manger We Cannot Quite Believe is Empty

Walking further than one expects or even needs but still.

Choice is an illusion, it may or may not be helpful to see how this is so, your call.

Dreams from which I wake but do not know I have awakened.

Roses growing wild beneath the maple tree I cannot bring myself to topple but must, and soon.

For too long I let nobody tell me what to do, I thought this was strength but it was just more effortful chaos, mis-directed penance, intellectual confusion, et cetera.

Stuff I don't say but from time to time think: Peter Buck is an under-rated guitarist, the Grateful Dead fed bad demons who are still with us, air-conditioning has hurt more than helped our species, humans going extinct isn't a crisis, and we should all be more grateful for oceans.  

Learning how to hide our tracks.

In tangled night grass, moonlight.

Lies we tell about sex, myths we share about sex, and then sex itself, our bodies remembering what they really want to discover in one another.

Let us grow silent together, let us insist on no prerogative, let us undo the personal, let us see what happens when together we consent to be a site of only love.

Somewhere is a winter field in which I stand alone, the four horizons moving further and further away with each breath.

Before bed I walk south down Main Street to the swamp off Flat Iron Road and listen to frogs, lost in ways I thought by now would have passed but which have not passed, only intensified.

Letting go of everything, including letting go.

Who wants to be satisfied?

My God, this fear of the other, is there no end to it?

Oh Sarah Hrdy a thousand times thank you.

Giving head to the pleromatic self until my tongue falls out, a stone. 

Life in the stable, the manger we cannot quite believe is empty after all this time, money and effort. 

We construct identities, could easily construct others, others construct others, can we agree on this at least.

Suddenly this willingness to sustain complexity, even confusion, as if doing so were the art by which the cosmos reveals itself in all its wondrousness and glory. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

Leaving is a Mirage

This desert has been our home too long, shall we leave together even if as promised even leaving is a mirage?

Let this be the end of suffering, let us at last float away from this wasted and wasting abattoir of a world.

Walking on the beach, walking in the forest, walking to the altar, walking past the grave.

Between stars, more stars - this is all I know of comfort.

Mornings full of rain gently cradling us.

I know a sorrow that declines to named, you know it too.

Find a woman you trust, ask her what the rules are, listen to what she says, live accordingly.

In the hayloft I wake to birds singing a little after four, get on my knees and pray in the old ways, for what else would I possibly be here.  

Do you remember throwing our wedding rings into the sea together laughing and then knowing all at once what weddings are and what marriage is? 

So much darkness, so much pain, so much loss and yet.

A waiting in which one discovers there is nothing for which to wait so long as one is willing to forget everything.

Placeholder relationships all over again.

Monsters whose emergence reflect sentiments with which we are in reluctant - mostly unexamined - relationship.

Sometimes I want to die.

He called me "a broke dick drunk" once when we were both wasted and he wasn't wrong on the one hand but on the other he was wrong in a way for which we both paid more deeply than any loving god could possibly have asked or required. 

A way of slowly licking the insides of her thighs that undoes the fear of lack in both of us. 

Luce Irigay teaching the Mother's Son I am how to say at last "there is no one in whom to remember the dream of yourself."

In which the blowjob becomes a footnote to a greater healing mostly now behind me.

Spending early hours in the potato garden, later coming in to write and read this or that difficult text, altogther insisting on a peace that has - as yet - declined to be reclaimed or found. 

Opposite exist together, when will this stop being a problem for us?

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Masquerading as Stars

Tom Petty's Even the Losers, how did he know and also how did I forget.

Crushed turtles on the highway, this is not the way it ends but Jesus why did it have to be this way at all. 

War is a form of confusion only love will clarify, I'm sorry your fear of women prohibits you from seeing this.

When you were real.

Wanting reasons to be angry and finding them, big surprise.

It turns out I'm not a whore, who knew.

The neighbor says "those violets are out of control" which baffles me, what does he think life is? 

Finally saying no to her, letting it be my final answer, finally ready to pay whatever price it is you pay when you won't change just to save a place in a family that never wanted you anyway.  

Piano notes masquerading as stars and then not masquerading, om shanti om oh you know what I mean.

Women who murmur my name when they come.

In law school before exams we used to play catch by the library, it was a kind of happy I never knew again.

Okay so how does it end then, right?

Of what are you ready to let go that you swore you never would be able to let go?

I think of her while getting ready for a dump run, how happy the take-it-or-leave-it shed would make her, how she'd talk to the old men running the place, effortlessly reminding them they were young once and strong.

Iola Morton where are you now I need you really.

Counterpoint: the cosmos are brutally fair.

A knack for knowing who to talk to and who not.

In the distance an egret, still between still reeds, is this why I am here.

Chrisoula taught me how to not go shopping and thus what a gift is.

No more death, especially the one I believe is aimed at me.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Pleasure of the Other

I am giving away the past, piece by piece, I am growing fainter every day, is this what you wanted?

The art of the apology, and the darker art of not actually meaning it.

Bed sheets drying in morning sun.

The Forget-me-Nots I planted last summer have taken over that corner of the yard, Chrisoula says what is with you and wild flowers.

My heart reminds me I am going to die soon, what's next.

Okay, so where do you keep your treasure?

Still Corners' The Trip on repeat while I work through a difficult paragraph.

Wanting to fuck certain women certain ways, wondering who I don't know who wants to fuck me and how.

All the machinery I cannot stand, walk away from, wish others would walk away from as well. 

Peacemakers stumbling through a long night towards a distant fire, the fuel for which turns out to be their stumbling.

What keeps us alive after the body gives up, lays down a last time?

We are not allowed to possess the pleasure of the other. 

I sleep now in the hay loft, alone on the hard floor, waking earlier than usual to prayers I should have started praying decades ago, but it's okay or it's going to be.

Kites tumble out of the sky, land in the horse pasture, we gather them without talking, return them to the children who know better.

Everything is broken, yes, but that is not the end either, you can see how still the world is some mornings, as if rehearsing for a funeral.

We only want to be helpful, why is this so hard.

Dad pleads with me to stop writing about him, reminds me it's mostly lies, to which I say yes but lies are a kind of truth, which is true, and to which truth he does not have - nor did he ever have - a useful response.

Judith Butler's observation that a text always has "more sources than it can reconstruct within its own terms."

What arises in language will not undo language, can we stop with that old dream please. 

The chapel is nearly finished, soon I will be able to walk away, leave it for the next couple whose difficult love will re-reconstruct the way.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Away from the Argument

What is living. Dandelions gone to seed, apple blossoms everywhere, the grateful heart calling to itself any way it can.

Remembering when we were bees in Emily Dickinson’s yard? Something takes hold of me from the inside, it feels like a man who knows how to use a scythe, it feels like a fight I know I'm going to lose.

Horses come when she calls them, how is this my child. Anniversary travel plans put off for a month, stuff comes up, the marriage was never one that insisted on its own remembrance, et cetera.  

There are many ways to be violent, she teaches. Waking from dreams in which many children I do not recognize taunt me, overwhelm me, ruin me where I live and I wake sadder than I can put into words, is this how it ends.

Drinking iced coffee in traffic, tireder and tireder. He is gentle with me, kind, he reminds me what I already know, he emphasizes the absolute absence of consequences.

A flurry of dust motes briefly prismatic, may I never forget to be thankful. Early morning walking in the forest, unfamiliar trails, my life passing a few dozen feet off to my left, a young man who knows how to fly, doesn’t need anybody’s bullshit, not even a future, et cetera.

Her deepest pleasure is watching my cock when I come - how it darkens and enlarges in her hand, everything opening all at once. The violets bloom suddenly earlier than expected. 

It would not make sense the way it once did. On my knees staring down the impossible distance some cruel god insists must be my penance (for a sin I do not recall and which he will not reveal). 

Pirate ships in my heart finally running aground, sinking, et cetera. It is the nature of hemlock trees to demonstrate how we are not near the sky but in the sky. 

Sleeping alone, waking at 2 a.m., sitting on the porch in darkness, oh Nāgārjuna was this what you meant. So you can just walk away from the argument, all arguments, I did not know that.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Washing Her Feet

Cut me up and plant me, sunflowers and morning glories rise entangled skyward. 

Oh what did the pigs dream of the night before we cut their throats?

We follow a winding road to the orchard, pick up boxes of seconds, drive back talking about the kids.

What happens next is already happening, this is the secret to inner peace.

In certain critical ways, no longer fitted to the world, and feeling sorrow about it but also ready, okay with it, how it is: this this.

Opening a can of hash by the river, eating it cold, bamboo rod leaning on a rock, evanescent line not moving in the currents.

The stage in darkness.

I can still see the ragged brown sweater she wore when we kissed for the first time, can still remember the absolute – never again repeated – joy of holding her body near mine, folding into her, being enfolded, as if we were one, which briefly we were.

What we replicate.

And now the Lords of War will explain to you how you will die.

Getting clear on what is recursive in us.

The many names for God appearing first as candles, then as the night sky filling with stars, each a clue to what it means to love.

This too shall pass indeed.

Telling Dad a couple days before he died about how Dorothy Day died, and how he called Ma in and made me tell her, and how angry she was, as if somebody – but who – had violated some law upon which her  being depended.

Imagine great birds with great jaws alighting on the crucifix and feeding on his eyes before he was dead.

There is no next chapter, we are hurtling now to the end, we are going to be catapulted into the light in which language is a lesser mode of communion.

Calling Bingo games in the retirement home, first year of law school, the nihilism that would later characterize my forties and early fifties just taking root.

What mattered more, washing her feet or the dialogue that led to her allowing me to wash her feet?

You don’t think about it much, frog-mating season in Florida, but it’s real, it’s a thing.

For Christ’s sake, this again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

I too am Dad

I still carry the dogs and brother let me tell you, they still carry me. Ways in which Dickinson ruined me, but also how in and of the ruins, a new order was born. Restaurants scare me, I wonder why.
Remember learning how to draw snowmen? You wonder what time of day he was actually crucified. This pain in my skull now, mostly behind the eyes but also in the rear on the left, as if something in the cosmos were trying to enter me, or something within me that the cosmos forgot is trying to leave in order to be remembered.
Back to no more coffee, I don’t think so. Spring is space differently, that’s all. Going too fast over the speed bumps, that old problem.
Let me now open myself to the deluge, let me forget we ever traveled together. Goldfish dying in Woolworth’s which we nonetheless purchased, only to watch them die days later at home. Something lovely is in me, like my bones are pure amethyst.
The darkness coming up from the east. How close to bad men I was growing up, and how even now it affects me, like not knowing will the bottom fall out and is there even a bottom at all. Clearing out the strawberry patch, planting cannabis.
Yet I too am Dad. How I cannot sleep anymore, worse than ever, and how it makes me indifferent to dying, as if this body is at last ready to become again the earth, and the earth the cosmos without thinking about it. Heart torn open by shooting stars and never healed, the boy I was, the man I am.
Begone? Studying the forsythia I replanted last spring, all three bushes still sprouting, little yellow blossoms, can I get an amen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Dead Uncles Coming to Grips

In my heart the red bird never moves or sings.
Shadows, shingles, shit storms.
Traveling on 495 South, passing the exit for Fall River, something in me catching itself before tears come (and later yet wondering where do the tears go and what happens to the grief for whom they are such loyal emissaries).
And then it came, the end of love, and everything grew brighter as if suddenly that which all along had been hidden became the hot sun, a living fire. 
Monks dying with the word of God on their lips.
I mean traveling through history with this sense of justice and a woman who helps you live it, both of you surviving your many fuck-ups. 
Noodles with peanut sauce, chicken fried in sesame oil.
The blue of the ocean when you are under it and open your eyes.
I can no longer say “I am not an Elm tree.”
Dandelions insisting we not give up on beauty.
Gulping wine in the truck, then mouthwash, then spitting and staggering into junior year, and years later in Vermont final exams drunk on Jack Daniels, and a couple years after that a homeless dropout in Boston wondering is this the way it ends.
Storms off Cape Cod, against which we anchored, privately praying we would last the night.
And the brutal chains they placed on the elephants.
In fact, there sometimes are atheists in fox holes.
Yoked by crowns on the altar, each of us holding a candle, the candles yoked with a single white ribbon, how boring it was, and how dead, and how we saved it all by dancing together after for seven hours, ignoring everyone.
One day I will write the last sentence I will ever write, and that will be the last sentence ever.
Making clear I’m about to come asking may I.
In Bronson Brook, my heart.
Dead uncles coming to grips with what the afterlife means in terms of those who are not yet in it.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Love has Gone Away

Mercy unto all lobsters but only after I eat one more.
Transparent borders. Writing by hand.
My admiration for calligraphy and also groups using hand bells for Christmas carols, both of which imply levels of attention and cooperation I only dream of.
In my heart there is a little boy who tells on everybody. Driving through Pittsfield, wondering when I will learn the secret to peace. Nothing is every truly borrowed, nothing ever truly returned.
This is the marriage now, this is where I have come at last to rest, this is where my travels end.
“Batter up,” says the man for whom pancakes are more sacred than communion wafers.
We are here to hydrate, is not a bad way to think about your function (says the Divine Telephathic Cephalopod of Eternal Love). Pictures of Alan Ginsberg at pro-cannabis rallies in the sixties, what a beautiful man, what a saint.
We move the old table into the hay loft, use it for work, certain stages of sewing projects (mostly cutting and trimming fabric) and puzzle-making. This, too, is the way home, you know?
“Celebrate good times, come on!”
Trying to explain what I meant when I tried to explain what it meant to realize that nothing mattered but knowing – or dying trying to know – the mind of Emily Dickinson.
There were no empty rooms, there was never not moonlight, and oh my god the sacred intensity of this nearly-Satanic anger. Picture the Titanic in freezing dark going down.
We who eschew discipleship at a late stage find ourselves desperate for the master.
How still one becomes when love has gone away.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Because of Emily Dickinson

Not fishing, just sitting, watching eagles on the far side of the lake watching the water. Must everything in the end be a performance.
Letting go in the sense of no longer keeping anything but memories. All rivers reach the sea, all seas reach up to Heaven.
Losing so much of what mattered yet acquiring this new way of living in the world, quiet and non-dramatic. Patches of grass on which robins pause, tilt their heads.
What happened to me because of Emily Dickinson's poems and letters. We are so far beyond what we can put into language now, aren’t we.
Afternoon passing, crows strutting where last year the blackberries grew tangled and wild. Something opens and you walk through and the price is forgetting what came before.
I loved leaping off the quarry walls, everybody in awe but I trusted the air and I trusted the water, and it wasn’t a big deal, it was just what I was in those days. Rolling a joint, remembering learning how to back in Vermont, all those years ago.
But are you that kind of girl? Something about the red-winged blackbirds I can no longer recall, just remember how happy they used to make me in spring, how I used to linger by the old fire pond watching them, gun forgotten in the grass beside me.
They kept saying “don’t get carried away” and I couldn’t explain how it wasn’t up to me, it was just what happened. Hollows inside trees I used to long to live inside.
How quiet the afternoon becomes so I write a little, experimenting with the twenty sentences, which lately have been stifled, as if refusing anymore to have a damned thing to do with me. The blind horse crying out all afternoon.
This, too, is my interior. We talk about his deceased wife, we talk about what one does with clothing, and we talk about something else too but now is not the time or place to say it.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Back When I Drank

All these years alone it turns out I wasn’t alone but now I am?
Sitting on a bench in Boston Common, bright sun in the mid-eighties, the troubles beginning, the logic of the interior dissembling.
What are minds but change?
What was it my mother thought which she can longer say.
You ask when it will matter but the answer is that it will never matter the way you want.
The structure of the mind is kin to the structure of crystals, its function kin to prisms.
Stars falling through the night sky, river blowsy in the distance, and everything briefly aligned in ways that used to indicate Jesus was near.
Divine cephalopods reminding me not so much that I’ve over-emphasized sex but that I’ve been confused about its actual – i.e. its cosmic – function.
Back when I drank, back when I would wake up in strange places with my knuckles raw, back when I was so scared of my anger there was no other way.
Or try this: Mama it’s not alright, you’re the one that made me bleed, so can we – at this late and getting later juncture – talk?
It’s not the notes so much as the sound they make – is that right?
In my heart there are half a dozen copies of Gulliver’s Travels but only one copy of Shogun.
Chrisoula and I discuss a trip to Cape Cod, our hearts slowly attuning to the lessons of the beginning, when all that mattered were long walks, sprawling dialogues about justice, her stacks of books and my poems, and the gentleness with which we cared for one another, knowing the great pains we had both already endured.
The amber hurricane lamp in the dining room, a kind of warm glow that sometimes serves to comfort those of us with insomnia.
Prone to rambling still, but getting less so.
Oh I remember Starkweather Road, how could I forget.
Let’s call this the seventeenth sentence but not otherwise disclose its content, can we do that.
This sentence has thirty-two letters (not anymore it doesn't).
Things we survive that we think define us but which are closer to images hanging in the museum of our brains than to anything actually causal.
Oh my grace, oh my dear, oh my love.

Friday, June 17, 2022

How Lonely Icarus Is

The darkness in me, the death. While under pine trees one grows calmer, amazed at what the world offers when we are still and attentive. Saddle bags, sap buckets.
The mushrooms remind us there are other ways to perceive the world, in the same way a bullet reminds us we are soft and full of blood. When will I be an old man. Taking the chainsaw in to be sharpened.
Days of rain pass, the world smells differently, green is noticed differently. Praying in the hayloft near midnight, a familiar desperation entering the mind. How he let go at the end when we were all there but not giving attention to him.
Somehow this all has to do with happiness. The social complexity of Easter in our family, the bad things that have happened, the weight of our shared religious heritage, and the way our kids are growing up with different ideas of what matters. If only I could get everybody to hang prisms in every window.
Chrisoula reminds me of what beaches do to the psyche, I remind her how lonely Icarus is when he lands, his long sojourn in the heavens ended. In our shared heart is a little farm on which no animal is ever eaten. The many writing projects which haunt us.
Writing through the eyes, everything in my brain echoing, coagulating. Tell me again about the elephant’s eye? What Emily Dickinson poems did to me in my late thirties.
You don’t have to go deeper than you already are is more or less the lesson now, one I seem congenitally unable to accept. It will end soon, we will leave together, it’s all okay or it will be.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Another Way of Living Happily

What is new. All the ways the world will end. I buy a muffin with coffee, a sign of how tired I am, giving myself a kind of permission I usually refuse. The quiet of the lake surface gently disturbed when I cast my line. All these attempts, all these efforts. A little lift, the Lord reminding me I’m not alone.
Let me be your midnight loon. Climbing trails to the old fire tower. In my dream there was another way of living happily but it was behind me, kind of like childhood, meaning it could neither be reached nor forgotten. A song coming through the forest comprised of birds and wind. Imagine no caveats.
Imagine no alley cats. Broken windows we board up rather than replace, that life. Dad’s ghost softens, reminiscent of candlelight, and I soften too, endlessly linked to this beautiful damaged man. What is finished ever? Sometimes specificity hurts, what can we do.
Memorizing the steps to a dance that I will not get to until after the body is gone. Stable perception in which love points the way to itself. It’s tempting, isn’t it, to just walk away from creation altogether. Sitting on the stairs at 3 a.m., letting the world wake up in me, slipping into the soft places where even death is a familiar friend. Shall we recalibrate?

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Singing a Song of Tiredness

Chrisoula comes downstairs at 2 a.m., asks me to come upstairs and lie down with her, and blearily I go. Dreams of muffins and of something going horribly wrong. Let us pray.
Easter is a dim memory but Ma did make several of us cry, so there’s that. Be happy, be helpful, there is really nothing else. Pissing in loose hay behind the barn.
Were we in fact dancing or was that just a fancy way of describing our particular blend of loneliness and desire. In my heart is a river and on the bank of that river we sit forever, holding hands and not needing to speak. How in April the violets appeared, something wild reminding me we’re going to be okay.
Fantasies that we don’t even know we are indulging. How frightening in a way to realize your own mind! The whole problem is symbolized by the idea that there is more than one Jesus, which there indubitably is.
Squash soup with crackers, don’t bother me. In the middle of the night in the middle of spring insomnia suddenly came back, I wake and know the darkness is calling, and find myself unable not to answer. My feet are singing, a song of tiredness and peace.
Settle up! Practicing making fires with flint, this new insistence on living in old ways. Kissing after swallowing, that way of saying yes to something beautiful beyond us.
Let the prayer begin! Oh all this green, I can’t bear how happy you make me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Hands Full of Moonlight

What am if not constantly being found? Waking early to bake bread.
Sometimes I think cannabis is basically anxiety masquerading as insight porn. Going all the way to the river with my hands full of moonlight.
Garcia’s insight that choice complicated joy, and his approach to music accordingly. Is it me or are the cardinals more insistent this year?
Sleeping through dreams, one after another. Clouds fall through the sky.
We are never as far away from one another as we seem. Playing guitar in the hay loft, learning as always what it means to make a noise.
When in death shall we know better or more than we know now? Misreading social cues as always, finding ways to make it not so obvious.
First dandelion. June bug, jitterbug, litterbug, ______.
Crows flying low across the highway, a sense of alarm or am I just remembering something about childhood again? Limping a little after.
In my heart is a little farm, and on that farm  a man and a woman grow old together happily. The purple maroon of distant hills, an imperative of some kind, a dream.
There are no more sentences in me but there is still a yearning to write, does this prove Gilbert’s point that the heart never fits the journey, one always ends before the other? You say amen, I say begin.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Dogs Coming Out of the Void

Always wanted to love nursery rhymes more than I do. Rain that near dusk turned briefly to snow, lights going on up and down Main Street. What one learns when one goes slowly through Advent. Something about Florida, something about doom.
Something about a clock.
Sitting in hot sand gazing over calm seas, overwhelmed by distance and depth: childhood. My mother talks about how poor we were, but how happy we were, and my body shrinks and wraps itself in ancient hurts, and that night I cannot sleep. Dead dogs coming out of the void to remind me I am loved. Mist falling off the water.
Driving at dusk through a familiar city. Blue lights in the heart of all passersby.
Guests everywhere.
Imagine being a stranger unto your own heart.
I remember making donuts for my father – they tasted just like what I remembered growing up in Aunt Muriel’s kitchen – and he took one bite and said it didn’t taste at all like those donuts and I apologized, I wonder why I apologized.
Look closely at A Course in Miracles and see that it does not invite you at any juncture to investigate your childhood, your family history, your genetics and ask two question: one, what does it ask you to investigate and two, why. And clouds move across the mountain, and the mountain moves across my mind.
Faint melodies, fainter lyrics. Quesadilla madness. Old mattresses.
That time we held hands by the river, that time you put your head on my shoulder.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Prone to Calypsos

We who are prone to calypsos.
There will be bagels again, there will be long breakfasts with friends.
This fear of certain women, which is a form of fearing women, which fear I must not be afraid of, lest I go forever unhealed.
Rain falling in furrows.
Quick hits of cannabis behind the barn, then back to the grill, Tom Petty songs in my mind. 
How I still love sitting on roofs and gazing at the moon, how my friend up there still sometimes speaks.
I miss you Dan, my whole life sometimes grounds out in how happy I was with you, and how lost I have been since we said goodbye in a Burlington snowbank, the cold turning me into something that didn’t care about death.
We’re not bodies, okay, what are we.
I liked adding and subtracting, found multiplication unnecessary (for where did you see it in the world), and thus I moved on from math.
One thing about witches is they don’t follow you, they call you to them.
How she sighs sometimes after, not always, and it always makes me happy, because it doesn’t always happen, it has to do with communion and not orgasm.
Forever moving on.
This hurt and anger the adults around me were always criticizing but never actually helping with.
A long drive to visit my mother, a longer drive back though the miles haven’t changed.
Candle moths, which don’t actually exist strictly speaking, but remain a label I use from time to time to describe the pale moths that visited me the day after we talked by phone the first time.
The man who is not prepared becomes skilled at faking it, at evasion, and at nurturing resentments.
The secret to Tarot is knowing there is only one story and it tells itself.
Men with whom I can share space without talking, that grace.
Tortured logic.
Yes, even salvation is just a concept, even that must be let go.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Ten Thousand Turtles

There was a morning once, once there was a day. Touch matters.
Lockets from the nineteenth century, extensions of the way we live in language. He never made it to Israel, only into history, there to live forever.
What is deeper than we can go? Walking through summer drizzle, wiping our eyes.
We stay with the dialogue, we keep trying to find our way to peace. The stories we could tell but don’t do not go untold.
What helps includes distance. At a late juncture becoming willing to drink flavored coffee, ashamed in a way that is silly, but still.
On the backs of ten thousand turtles I attest to my gratitude for turtles. War is never as far away as you think.
One “gets it right.” She reads on the couch, cats dozing on the quilt across her lap, I walk quietly back and forth, rehearsing for something but what.
Disorder reigns here and there, it’s no good denying it. Jesus in the bedroom at night while I can’t sleep, reminding me there is a problem that he solved that I can solve too.
Easy come easy go is such a con. In this sentence I will use the word “prism,” with the understanding we are talking about a process that cannot otherwise be put into words.
It grounds out in this: this this, please do not fall for the many distractions arguing otherwise. My tongue inside my lover, tasting her forever.

Friday, June 10, 2022

An Ethereal Register

What we mean by “easy.” Mist rolling off the mountains, my heart trembling in its bony cage. Kisses, holocausts, miasmas generally.
Walking outside at 2 a.m. to piss like in the old days, the horses stamping, surprised that anybody is up. How hard it was for him to be my father! I see things I hate seeing, accept them, accept the hate, keep going, what else is left now.
Starfish at low tide. It’s funny but you realize you don’t have to solve the problem of death because it’s not a problem. Pumpkin seeds, walnuts, raisins.
I am urged to new heights. Making an argument for celibacy in an ethereal register I did not realize I was capable of. Ordinary woes.
Pumpkin spice coffee, sipping it during a meeting, mind wandering, is this the end. It’s hard to get past possession and ownership, isn’t it? So much of peace has to do with refusing to accept the distinctions society imposes based on its confused idea that we’re bodies in a world.
Not yet Easter but I’ll keep you posted. Chrisoula meets me in darkness in the hay loft, we talk about my cousin in Florida, beyond the reach of all of us now, facing the lonely death that from time to time we are asked to die. Imagine the mind of Augustine.
Studying the earth for signs of resurrection. Certain dreams that happen over and over, as if you are trying to warn yourself or teach yourself something but can’t for the life of you remember how.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Only Albany

Of all things. Maybe I am not as good at this as I think? In a dream the sunflowers turn their faces to follow me as I pass.
Long night on Ohio highways, deer grazing in moonlight, everyone falling asleep, alone in a luminous way at the wheel. You can change the world in six minutes. Even Paul understood that Jesus was in some way the light.
Imagining evil as I sleep. Laying my tongue on the ferns, the whole morning trembling coming. Tears fall, the past crumbles, with what are we left?
What was always going to happen? A long list of names in the midst of which our attention falters, loses place, what does it mean, et cetera. The youngest among us.
A specific loneliness only Albany embodies. Relearning building fires, wanting to anyway. Who doesn’t appreciate a warning about the weather?
The city is neither welcoming nor unwelcoming. I wake from a dream of wind spinners, sparks flying into cold air, and dress slowly in the dark. A morning one wishes they could share.
The ocean never leaving us, somehow always reminding us it is both our father and our home. The moon is not a perfect circle – we know this – and yet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Mode, not the Explanation

I dream of being held in your hands. The utter poverty of using language to name or describe color. Ordinary patterns.
A juncture at which Valentines Day stopped being fun and became stressful, and then the sweet juncture when I found the one who ended holidays altogether. I murdered snakes – that is the verb – and to this day cannot make myself regret it, which failure I regret. Ecclesiastes is the mode, not the explanation.
Smoking cigarettes at Center Cemetery, that little bench by the stone wall away from the road, lonely but not too lonely, speaking between inhalations to the dead. My body was not my own until well into my early twenties and by then a lot of damage had been done. Dust motes passing through pillars of light, how happy I was when there was time still to see it this way.
Truth is, I don’t like sharing stages, which is really my way of saying I don’t like sharing audiences. Stores that spell “shop” “shoppe,” make me happy, I can’t say why. Lost in small towns that idolized my suffering in ways to which I did not consent.
More meetings never solved anything. Something opens in me when I pray sometimes, and the prayer stops and all that remains is the vibration of phenomena, which includes what I call – but which is not – my body. The rain when the wind blows, gathering in sheets, undulating in the air like the idea of ghosts before we had screens.
Aquinas wrote that "a man would not believe unless he saw the things he had to believe, either by the evidence of miracles or of something similar," a truth that I don't think the religious among us have fully grappled with. We never buy antiques, Chrisoula and I, but we are oddly happy wandering through antique stores. Say that when you leave you will return, even though you may not mean to.
There is a way of being that has to do with nonresistance. There is a way of folding your self into yourself that makes you both messenger and message.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Near Open Windows

This fear I have lived with so long, it is not merited. He made masks for a living, grew his own food, had a hard time explaining why it all mattered, but it did, and I knew that, and I think he liked having someone around who saw that.
There are roses in between the stars, if you look carefully you will see them. I never met a witch I could not pacify, my whole childhood was basically one long blend of negotiation and subterfuge with her. 
The cows died, the sheep died, the chickens died, the ducks died, the pigs died, the dogs died, the cats died, even the fucking goldfish died. You never forget your first fight, how a nose sounds breaking.
Sex in summer near open windows, laying together after letting the sweat dry. Chalk drawings disappearing in rain.
It’s not just that we have to choose sides – that happens – but that we think we have to go to war. I miss drinking coffee and writing poems and not caring about anything else.
It never occurred to me the price one would pay for living the way that I live. Weekends in my experience are overrated.
Saw James Brown a couple years before he died, sold out show at the Calvin in Northampton, watched the guitarist mostly, wondering what it was like to be so young behind such a giant. Contextualizing my father’s death, our last grim conversation, struggling mightily to put it in a place that won’t haunt me when it comes my time to die.
Bluets are for grieving. You go into it and you see how in a way even death is just part of what comes and goes.
For what I cannot say, may I say I am sorry? Funny how we still choose coffins, given the silliness of cemeteries (we need the space to grow food) and the irrelevance of the body to being.
Something red growing brighter and brighter. Would you be for me a birch tree?

Monday, June 6, 2022

A Psychic Weir

Nothing stays, this is a law and one I learned early, and even now pit myself against. The covers of romance novels in the 1970s.
There was sadness but also amazement, also a sense that order was possible – what else was reading for? How strange that we should suffer.
The idea that we can be better parents at all stages of our children’s lives feels important to me. The psilocybin was like skating very fast, so fast you left the ice and ascended, I remember the stars under my feet, I remember inhaling  galaxies. 
We hurry too much. I think Book of the Dun Cow was maybe the last work of fiction Dad and I read and talked about, this was the summer of either 1978 or 79.
It took a long time to learn that the void was in me and not the end. Alarmists of the world unite.
I stopped collecting quartz rocks about six years ago, began the difficult work of returning them. So much of what is beautiful ruins language in me.
Kids waiting alone at bus stops, staring into their phones the way I used to stare into the distance. Cars don’t help.
How easy it is to become dogmatic, a trap of some kind, a psychic weir. Aunt Muriel’s kitchen a kind of totem, as for my parents it was a rare happy place.

I remember looking for her in December 1990, finally finding an old roommate who told me she had killed herself in the fall, it was hard to breathe in that moment, all I could see was my mother folding laundry in the early seventies, the light so bright I had to look away. All kinds of hunger making us do all kinds of things.
Per Tarski, truth is a property of sentences, not the world, so long as we deploy a metalanguage to set the truth conditions (i.e., no language can be used to establish its own truth conditions). Later it began to rain, and it seemed it would rain a long time.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Crowns that Bound Us

Used to resist that feeling of dissolving, don’t anymore.
Lily pads. Throwing a stick for somebody else's dog.
If you don’t get how your ancestors worshiped the sun, if you can’t see a way you could easily worship with them, even now, then your study is not finished.
Steaming trout so the meat flakes off, mixing it with potatoes and onions, remembering how Dad would add a little beer.
She used to watch my little apartment at night, savoring glimpses of me through the window facing Church Street, I didn’t know until fifteen years later reading a poem in I think Rattle where she used the image of me she’d always used when we were together.
Hanging the laundry outside, wind making the sheets rifle.
Daffodils on whose petals of light I am borne forth into regions of heaven heretofore unnoticed.
In my heart the seasons change moment by moment.
Imagine seeing the world as Emily Dickinson saw it.
A woman who can live the mythology with you, live the fairy tale with you, all the while not losing the specific co-creation of marriage with you.
Pausing near the cattails, remembering early shooting lessons with Dad, not liking the heft of the gun nor the sound it made, but grateful for his presence, how near he was to sheltering me in that moment, how he held his body near mine in a way I understood was - in a barely recognizable register - love. 
There are no instants. What will roses look like in a thousand years, where will the cardinals live?
How hard it is coming down from the perilous heights to which I assigned myself, puer aeternus-like, a little prince, and how Marie-Louise van Franz saved me, despite her own confusion and fear.
Killing pickerel, killing catfish. Golden eagles circling the distant hills, hunters but also just "hunger organized." 
Visiting Saint George’s Cathedral in Springfield with Chrisoula, remembering the wedding, how ornate and stern it was - the linked candles we held and the crowns that bound us – and how after during the reception we ignored everybody and just danced, alone at the party together, always our favorite mode.
Screens falling out of windows. Wind blowing last year’s maple leaves into the road where they linger a moment, directionless.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Terminal Loveliness of the Body

Chrisoula points out that time will end before the things I want to say will end, and this is true. Flexibility is a virtue but in certain contexts so is stubbornness, so don’t ask me. Walking slower past farms with donkeys, who doesn’t.
The slow blossom of maple trees up and down Sam Hill Road, mica glittering in melty runoff. The body matters less than we think and yet we really only appreciate this when we accept fully the complex and terminal loveliness of the body – it’s a playground more than anything else. The arcing flight of pigeons interrupted by the straight line of a hawk.
Surrendering to yet another dialogue about fishing, exhausted now by all talk of food that does not include gardens and sharing. You were my lesson, well-learned. On the horizon, yet another offer.
Time and the body are the same, it’s important to see this, really see this, and you will know you have seen it when you are no longer vexed by either time or the body. To Tara Singh I owe nothing but gratitude, especially for his use of the word “application.” The precision of certain stained-glass windows.
A look in her eyes that means I am going to soon exercise the best use to which my knees and tongue are put. Rarely listless, averse always to boredom, and the confusing space where all this merges with stillness. May I show you the spot on Flat Iron Road where I long to sit quietly with you for hours, watching red-wing blackbirds in the wetlands?
Looking up from Dickinson’s Collected – which poem I forget – and blinking in the light, amazed that such a mind existed, let alone managed to express itself in words. The envelope is not the message! Easter means what you want it to mean so ask yourself: what does Easter mean?
Finally I say yes to the offer of donuts, agree to come down off the cross. What’s the story indeed.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Falling for the Poems of Frank O'Hara

This mantle of teaching I have been so slow in accepting. Jesus laughs, the mountains are suddenly grey, and tomorrow disappears in a maelstrom of desire. Be real!
Be teal? If you don’t understand the specific joy and logic of crossword puzzles then the spiritual path I am on will not make much sense to you. Waves roll over the sand, servants come and go.
Throughout the night it rains, and in my dreams women with rosaries ask difficult questions I am not sure I am meant or allowed to answer. Wanting to not cause the other pain, how necessary it is to reach that juncture, how challenging it is to live that way, how much you still need to learn about what the other actually is, and what hurt is, and how you are implicated. Very briefly at the age of four I wanted a dune buggy and equally briefly at the age of twenty remembered this and was saddened, falling as I was falling then for the poems of Frank O’Hara.
Sometimes I still miss cigarettes, even though I smoked for less than a year, the months in Europe and the hellscape after in Boston and Burlington, from which I barely made it out alive. Eggs scrambled in crushed tomatoes with feta, slow-cooked for an hour, served with slabs of bread: the breakfast Chrisoula’s grandmother made us, goats braying in the distance. In those days my head was full of many gods and I was delightfully verbal but frequently trespassed the boundaries of others in ways that caused deep pain.
Vows made of dying hemlocks, nesting cardinals and starlight. How does anybody find their way anywhere. I’m tired of men, I really am, and I get that I’m one of them, I really do.
I became especially skilled at navigating dense texts and also recognizing that how you say a thing matters exponentially more than what you say – or, rather, the “how” is the ‘what.” Clam bakes, staying up all night, skimming stones at dawn, the reek of low tide not touching our simple happiness. Forget me not indeed.
The twenty sentences is a form that includes sub-forms, such as this one, a trusted favorite. Admit it: you like high quality pens, you’re just like everybody else, up to and including your desire not to be.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Making Others Crawl

Her shoulders in my mind. Purple is where red and blue meet, is there another color so worthy? The rain passes, I thought this time it might not.
A plan is not an assault upon the cosmos but investment in the plan’s outcome might be. Apple, garlic and banana smoothies. What you call art I do not call art.
We meet in chapels and fields, we meet by rivers and where rivers meet the sea. “Far out.” We go deeply into Scooby Doo, past what the text itself supports, and into our own living, which is also frightened, hungry and companionate.
Walk with me? Fionnghuala asks for help describing the jewelry she is selling, I struggle to find a language that appeals to her, she is so determined to forge an identity that is not contingent on family and this has a lot to do with language. Making others crawl through the temple, my favorite sin. 
Or was I just confused? The mountains appear lush in the morning light, deep and strong, and one is comforted accordingly, one is held upright on the earth. Counting the days.
I remember thirty years ago in Burlington learning I was a radio, and just the other day I learned what station to which I am tuned. Cinnamon raisin bagels with cream cheese, hot coffee with cream and sugar, the pageantry of the world so perfectly welcome. Is that a roll of lifesavers in your pocket or are you just happy to see me, it’s both, I hope that’s not a problem.
New metaphors for the heart – what if we just don’t anymore? Out of school, out of church, out of time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

In Greece in those Days

It’s never afternoon more than now. How happy I am in forever.
Other marriages, other weddings. Birch trees, their limbs widening, a gold light floating through the faint leaves skyward.
I remember walking in the forest, tracking a bear, my body changing as the forest deepened, as if what I tracked – lumbering in shadows – became me. The sentence is a prism and you are light, is one way to think about it.
Slow dancing, tucking her hand where I can kiss it as we sway. We became art consensually, no other way sufficed.
A crow flies away from me, angling a little where the tree line begins, and I swear it has eyes in the back of its skull and they are boring into me, naming me for whatever god comes after crows. Back when it mattered, being good at writing love letters.
In a critical sense, we are all food. Waiting for something to happen is itself a happening.
Going back through my notes from two years ago, wishing whatever in me resists order would consent to relax, let two plus two be four without triggering yet another existential crisis. Eventually it all disappears.
Wreckage. Dad and I spent years canoeing various sections of the Connecticut River, part of an abortive attempt to do the whole thing in sections which in truth I never cared about. 
I was happy in that little house farming, the woods nearby and the cows always happy to see me. There were troubles but if there aren’t how is it still a story?
The summer dress she wears, deep blue of the sea, nothing underneath but skin and heat, reminding me how in Greece in those days our love was ancient and getting older by the minute. These preferences, they are murdering joy.