Sunday, July 31, 2022

I Am Saved Sometimes

Dragging the past into it again, what is wrong with me. 

Therapists need dialogue partners too!

In dreams lately somebody wants me to hurt for not following through with music and I won't do it, I wake and won't do it, I accept what I did and did not do with music, but that is not the point of this sentence, the point of this sentence is to notice that what appears in dreams does not always serve us, what does it serve.

For Christ's sake argue with me.

I am so tired of the way we glorify - the way I glorify - suicidal alcoholics, can we not - can I not - at last reach the shore of the truly healed, the truly sober, the truly helpful.

Beasts we raise that outgrow their leashes and cages, whose hunger becomes the thing we must both feed and flee.

Apparently being a better storyteller was not the answer. 

Fire is a good servant but a shitty master I say while chucking flint. 

Want to get high with her still, listen to Dylan, laugh and get naked by degrees, and sometimes I don't want anything else: that darkness.

The fantasy wasn't sex it was a second chance, why did it take so long to see this, and why do I only see it now she's gone down the river.

There's more to the world than you know, I know, tell me something I don't know.

We are ruled by a small number of men whose interests do not align with ours, it's a function of the system to which we've consented

He sings "I was never lost/you were always there," there is only one woman about whom I can say that.

Left to drift in the shallows, or am I the boy who was told to get lost and so did.

And now it is time to harvest, the counters fill with broccoli and squash and greens, steam rising from the canning pot.

She gave me a sprig of lilac, she told me there was something sad in me, I loved her so much and had no idea what to do with that love, to this day I think of her.

Pausing to pray, to draw a breath.

Chrisoula says as we leave the house "we need to make our shared footprint smaller" and I say "if it gets much smaller it will disappear" and Chrisoula bumps my shoulder with hers and says "I know a guy," what did I do to earn this, can it be I am forgiven, can it be I am saved.

Sometimes you want a mix of long and short sentences.

Perhaps I don't write enough about my mother, her addictions and diagnoses, what it was like to learn from her - be taught by her - what good boys do and never do and who they do it with.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

World Full of Daughters

Shall we put down the sword of judgment?

Waking near midnight, both arms numb, from a dream of ladders which bad men are climbing.

You find yourself beyond the reach of the body, no longer containable, and yet somehow still local, what does this mean. 

Lilies towering over other flowers.

The lake in which I swim is closed now, the water testing too high for this or that contaminant, and a kind of sorrow enters my heart, and my body grows still and hard, like jerky.

Perhaps all problems are insoluble?

Morning coffee in a different room, why not.

How women talk about you when they love you, how they talk about you when they don't. 

K.'s typos a delicious subtext, the relationship complicating literally before my eyes.

How a certain melody will settle in your mind, move you to tears, lift you over the hard parts even.

I can't say I'm sorry enough apparently, what shall we learn from this.

Faith that things are okay or getting better or will.

Chrisoula broaches the difficult topic of my father's grave, traveling to it, and in her voice I hear his voice, the way he could be patient sometimes, the way he could be clear, oh Christ why is this all so hard.

It was about fragments once, once it was about telling a story, now it's about run-ons.

Waking to gaze down the hallway and see whose light is still on and who has gone to bed: midnight.

Trying to remember the world is full of daughters, trying to remember to be one of the men making the world better for them.

Apples appear at the top of the handful of trees left out back, remnants of a nineteenth century orchard we do not talk enough about.

Imagine Jesus looking at you from the mists of time telling you he would climb on that cross again for you, telling you to give him everything bad so he can give you everything good.

The new therapist is the old therapist and he agrees, who is helping who is no longer an interesting question.

Reading in bed, Rene Girard's Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World, wishing I could tell someone who gets it, "my God, my God these sentences." 

Friday, July 29, 2022

A Monster who Stayed

One of us wears the other like a skin. Mountain lion piss. Winds pass through, blowing hard though nothing breaks. Begin, dreamer.

The kitchen, in front of a mirror, on the living room floor. Logos delivers us to the Cave of the Heart but in the Cave of the Heart there is no logos. Something about pacing, pacifying, or maybe it was patronizing. Name a monster who stayed on the screen.

"But this is what I want," I said that for a long time, had no idea what it was or how it was a lie. Where Bronson Brook straightens in Stevensville, running faster to falls where nobody died but somebody could have. A bell, a bottomfeeder, all in the background. Where the laundry was done, in the darkness there.

Interventions did not abound. Women who sleep with men who build gallows. Everything on the savanna, may I never forget how I loved you. Dying on the cross again, wishing certain women weren't there watching, wishing certain others were.

This is not your et cetera but mine! Lilies bound up in our dream of joy, now and then showing themselves in what newcomers to this church call sunlight. Stories the headboard tells. Oh Christ, leave, oh Christ stay.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

In the River in Order to Feel

Quiet morning rain may I never forget to be thankful.

Homemade bread with homemade strawberry jam.

Had dogs once but no longer, is this how it ends.

Standing in the river in order to feel the current, considering being taken by it, then realizing I was taken by it lifetimes ago, this too is drifting, this too is always. 

Cardinals in the hemlock tree outside the hayloft window - what is the world teaching you is related to what you are asking to learn (i.e., ask a philosophical question, get a philosophical answer).

How silent the lake is an hour after dawn, mist rising, bass surfacing in still-dark shallows.

Being is communal, why is this so hard.

Dolls my daughter made left in boxes in the attic now she is making rugs and dresses.

My mother the sun, my mother the darkness the sun only sometimes breaks.

Shall we accept the invitation we have so long pretended is not being offered?

Pausing on a street corner in a mostly empty city, dark settling, neither scared nor not scared, neither grasping nor letting go.

Emptying glass bottles of rocks and sand, saying goodbye in this very specific way.

Shortcuts can take a long time too.

Even in the context of a dream one can become still and quiet in shared awareness of God's presence as permeating all experience without qualification or condition.

Watching the horses roll in mid-summer, dust rising.

Overeating again.

Yet ask: what if anything is actually fundamental.

Teachers long ago who did not foresee the world in which their students would be asked to live and so were themselves bereft.

Honesty and nonviolence cannot be distinguished from each other.

This is the twentieth sentece, there will be others.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Saved not Found

I didn't know all I needed was rapture. Only one of us can be real and it has to be me. Oh sparrows, the sky is dead without you. 

Swallowing another salty stone. How easily I squeeze myself into corners. Gnawing bread.

Remember the party where I hacked my wrists with a knife and everybody screamed but nobody would touch me. Stumbling drunk through Burlington looking for a lake. It's easier than you think to switch stories.

Standards, drifters. "I hate the way I love you."

In my late thirties I realized the poems were about being saved, not found, and my life changed accordingly. What else but falling? The observer you are, the lawyer.

With what will you never meddle? Imagine my fear. My father howls in the afterlife because he remembers everything but the names of those he loves. "On your knees boy."

Her arms close, I did not reach her in time to be encompassed, this is how it always ends. North even a little, for those inclined to travel. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Pulled In Yet Again

Tipping the king. At midnight or so I take my clothes off in the moonlight, soft and pale in the moonlight, heart breaking in moonlight, why is it so hard to love me. 

And begin.

Tossing dead chickens, empty carcasses courtesy of foxes, into tall grass near the skip of forest before the river. Unable to sleep, seeing the future. What ruins us, restores us, rehabilitates us, et cetera.

Prevaricating again. Are we, in the end, stuck with our selves? The gallows creaked a little, it took longer than we expected.

"Price of doing business," they used to say about literally everything that hurt, and I believed them, even after I stopped believing them I believed them. Her narrow shoulders in sunlight, leaning to tend to the tomatoes. How at a late juncture I see women.

It only hurts a little means what exactly. Summer moves quicker than expected, carrying us forward. Shitty iced coffee is my favorite!

Whiteness, witness. I learned early how to bury the dead, I never didn't not take death seriously. Not going to finish that study of melancholia, sorry Robert Burton.

Clarinet solos. Pulled in yet again: this this.

Monday, July 25, 2022

What a Mother Does

We all think we are the one, we all seek those who confirm or deny our supposition, what is wrong with us. 

The cave mouth is never not shining in the distance.

Fionnghuala's orchids scaling tendril frames cut from the apple tree.

In the hemlock a male cardinal comes to rest and the old familiar pain deepens but also somehow grows lighter, as if at last I am ready to be grateful for everything, even suffering.

Still missing cigarettes, three and a half decades gone. 

Swallows at dusk, everything briefly held together in their divine lettering of light and dark.

A joke is less about content than timing, which most of us don't know or forget but also, timing is hard.

Going slower under the train tunnel, why.

I sleep on the couch, neck pain spreading again into my lower skull, until at last I sit up, give up, choking on fear and bile. 

This this.

Chrisoula makes a salad, brings it to me in the bedroom where I am writing, sits with me while I eat, in this new crisis falling back on what a mother does.

This odd emphasis on being late, out of time - what and why?

Three things floated away on the Vermont river, and one of them came back to me transformed.

If there are dogs in the bardo, may I never leave the bardo.

She wears the sundress a woman made her decades ago in Vermont, her arms and shoulders deep brown and muscled, the blue cloth sliding easily off when we lean on each other in the old way.

Jeremiah says "remember when Dad used to make us kiss that birch tree in the forest" and everybody laughs, even I laugh, but still. 

Desire is not a crime but it does lack a certain discernment, hence the many warnings.

On the road to Pittsfield a black bear tumbles over the guardrail and lumbers across the road and the whole day is better accordingly, om shanti shanti shanti.

What we call oneness is simply a limit on perception, we are just observers, why is this so hard.

Swimming past where the bottom is reachable, then turning back to the shallows where she waits, full of ideas and understanding, like a teacher, a grandmother, like a witch who has come back from her banishment to forgive us and to teach us how to love.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Watching Her Readjust

Are you the one. What is a hemlock but shadow and light. Bad things happened behind the barn, there was only one law there. Oh swallows please don't ever stop filling the sky.

It's a bad dream getting better? How at a late juncture one is dragged kicking and screaming into enlightenment. Loaves of bread nobody touches. I was saved on a river bank, I was given another chance.

Part of me will always be homeless, always be a reckless drunk, always be lonelier than intended or desired. Folding the quilt we laid on the floor, watching her readjust her sundress. Black bean soup at a little restaurant in Putney. You say you'll make coffee and yet you don't make coffee, what's up.

Often while driving west I will catch a glimpse of Greylock and feel a sense of impossibility that is somehow comforting, is this what I want. Watching boxing matches on Youtube, remembering Joyce Carol Oate's book on the subject, back when I desperately needed an argument violence was okay. Rainbows over the far hills. And in my throat now, a great blue heron, wading through shallows in service to hunger.

We make sense of things, best we can, and limp on. Apple-shaped suncatchers, half a dozen prisms. The tests come back negative, which is positive, and I can't work out how I feel, which frightens me a little. All we need is someone to walk with us home, why is this so hard.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

A Response to Another Heart

Nothing happens, nothing ever happens. We soften together where the road turns. Shallows in which one wades a long time. 

At a late juncture, clarity and healing, unearned and unexpected, but a blessing nonetheless. We sit in the sunroom and talk, she is happy and tough, there is nobody else like her in the world. Wind in the hemlocks.

Morning bird song. Crucifixes hand-crafted from sunburnt hay. We are the art we are waiting for.

At the beginning of a long day reminding myself it's okay to be happy. We heal together or not at all, this seems to be a law. Those glass bottles in the hayloft are a promise kept, do you see it now?

The answer to what is pretty, what is fragile, is me. Long drives west, slowing where in spring the moose come close to the road. The heart is an invitation, the heart is a response to another heart.

Putting her in my mouth. Black bear on the trail, briefly both literal and figurative. My many mothers, my many secrets.

Oh so now we're going to turn our attention to pruning hooks and plowshares, gotcha. I didn't mean to hurt you but I hurt you, I must've meant to hurt you.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Punishment Mistaken for a Treatise

Chicken carcasses under the apple tree, abreast of unmown grass. The many griefs of the many Marys.

Starlight after the moon sets, here we go again.

Meeting the neighbors to corral another neighbor's loose sheep. All controversy is status-based, it doesn't have to be this way.

Forsythia blooms.

There are all these trails in the world, there are all these dogs, and yet I am alone and mostly lost, what gives. Stopping at that place in Shelburne for cider donuts and coffee.

Hills on which apple trees proceed in stately lines, roughly north to south.

Meet me on the Mohawk Trail. Days later my finger is still bleeding, is this what you want.

Communal crucifixion, communal resurrection.

A treatise on punishment mistaken for a treatise on parenting, how we were made monstrous thereby. Hungry kisses and then the drop to one's knees and then the offering, both ways.

What cannot be joined?

I dream of making love in a room in which a rainy umbrella is still open on the floor, I dream of being breathless in gray light fading. Wrecks at the bottom of Lake Champlain, each a testament to the defining failure of my life.

Borders, bastards, broadsides.

Watering pumpkin plants, watching the sun throw planar beams of light down the hill towards me. Almost everything is broken, almost nobody is evil, let's go back to the beginning, let's try again.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

The Secret to Abundance

What I learned about hunting from my father, which haunts me to this day. Shirts I wear, shirts I don't. I promised I'd be here always and I will be, I just didn't think it meant being so alone. Moss on rocks, a little off the river.

Planning a drive to Mansfield to the cemetery, maybe pushing an hour east to the sea, who knows, but once again nobody will travel with me. Drawing the curtains, something shamed in me whispering "tighter." When I was twenty-three I learned I didn't know how to talk to people, it took a long time to fix that. In the name of the father, as if there were any other way.

Dying patches of grass. Starlings nesting in the hollows of the apple tree. Near dusk a storm comes down the valley, and we sit by the horses waiting on it. Wedding bands, wedding bands. 

I see myself sometimes as a monster constructed by others, subject to countless banishments, most of which are deserved, good for the world, et cetera. And the sea rolls in, and the sea rolls out. Waking to moonlight on the floor - knowing again the secret to abundance is gratitude for what is given that you cannot possess and so cannot spend. Yes, we get it, God is disappointed with us, what else is new.

Lilies leaning out from the sideyard crabapple. "You're not perfect, you know," I tell Chrisoula who says quietly in reply, "no but sometimes you make me feel like I could be, and I love you for that." Buddha saves me a little always, let me not forget this. Bean wraps with ice cold lemonade, and after a bowl of raspberries sprinkled with sugar and lime.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Gathering in Loose Flocks

Summer lengthens like a hand-sewn sleeve. Sparrows in the pasture by the horses, other birds already gathering in loose flocks, the travel impulse ever upon us. Whatever you want, ask for it now, or you'll never get your peace, I mean piece.

How a certain tree in the distance leans, as if readying itself for an ax. Imagine being the last to know you're Christ, everybody just hanging around waiting for the obvious to dawn on you. At a late juncture, declining yet another effort to understand what an eigenform is.

I got your back, Judas! Honeybees in the clover, swallows in the air above the garden. The lies we tell to comfort children, which therefore are not lies but truth beyond the semantics of judgment.

So I am wrong about death, what else might I be wrong about. How swiftly the clouds shift in appearance, every time I look up I am re-reconstructed. No dog, no trail seems to be the law, at least in my neck of the woods, we'll see.

How after our first hug I turned from you and you reached for my shoulder, impulsive but shy, frightening me, hastening my steps away, was anything ever any truer. The river took three things, can you name them? Kisses at the beginning, kisses in the middle, kisses at the end.

Thanks for the peonies this year or did we already say that? You are like the perfect tour guide to Boston who inexplicably is lost just outside the city lines. Cold egg salad, better even than ice cream. 

One turns to the monster, offers to make a deal. The apple trees trembling, the sunflowers swaying, the bee's wings shimmering, everything alive in ways that testify to love, was this what you wanted, you who never say what you want.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Going Down on the Witch

What if I repeat myself? Islands that disallow all comfort. The argument again, which means the earlier resolution was not a resolution at all but an extension of the underlying conflict. Shall we metasticize?

The disease of conceit, did you find the cure (or is there no cure for love). Doing somersaults in the lake, fifty-five years old, still happy, this is something I want, if you want something else you'll have to wait. Raspberries coming in. Wishing I could watch you take your shirt off again.

Something refactored, something yada yada yada. Less interested in what you know than how you know it, which seems to bore people, but what can do you. Eating raw potatoes cut thin as paper. I told her my heart was a garden, she said hers was a mole, a family of moles. 

Shall we at last shift to the aphorism? I'm tired of Hansel and Gretel but they're obviously not tired of me, nor of us, so I guess I'm not done going down on the witch. You say my thoughts are not my own, I knew this forty-five years ago, what else you got. Sunlight on the milkweed, plants overwhelming us a little, God be praised. 

Masturbating at 3 a.m. to see if it will help sleep, it does but the dreams after are confusing, full of swans and belt buckles and hay bales. People who try to make you read Aesop, how easy they are to fool. What the wasp trails behind it flying away. Last kiss, last caress, et cetera. 

Monday, July 18, 2022

Masters of Departure

An hour before twilight carrying compost to the bin out back, the silence ethereal, otherworldly, and I stop walking, briefly transported to a stillness that is familiar but otherwise impossible to speak of.

Gold light fills the upstairs hall, the floorboards glow.

No longer swimming to the lake's center but back and forth where the rippling waters aren't over my head.

The perfect four a.m.

The audience leaves and the show goes on, as if one doesn't have a choice.

Masters of departure, masters of deciding the route, but never masters of destination (else why emphasize mastery at all).

Like the old days, combing over baseball stats.

Chrisoula observes mildly that asking why is generally less helpful than figuring out how, i.e., put your body into it.

I am not a crow, I have killed crows, crows judge me even now.

You were not a bright shiny object nor a sexual conquest but an active player in a dangerous game we needed to play in order to learn who we are.

Finally getting to the epistemics and heuristics.

Watching a blue jay hop from one branch to another, and wondering what mental and physical processes allow it to "know" which branches will support it and which will not, is this what you wanted.

I, too, enjoy watching clouds, busting clouds, and bringing clouds forth as representations of what exists in my world. 

Being intentional with desire means understanding desire, which is a work that most people don't bother with, can't be bothered by, et cetera.

What is with us after all.

Whale ribs, candle stubs.

Writing in the hay loft, wishing I didn't have to stop or leave, knowing that "stop" and "leave" are what give any communal activity - writing, sex, talking - its meaning and - by extension - its value.

She moves slowly picking up sticks on her lawn, the wind storm gone, the work as always going nowhere: what is her name again.

When you think you have to solve the problem externally - in the relationships - then you are still in the projection, still in the fear.

All this starlight I insist belongs to me. 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Under the Rubric of Desire

Light rain all afternoon, somehow making me think of choir lofts, practicing in them. Daisies going to seed, let us pray. When you drive a long time and end up nowhere, what then?

Need vs. want, both under the rubric of desire. I read and reread The Secret of Skull Mountain around age seven, longing to camp that way - what way exactly - and knowing somehow I never would, even then I was out of time. Apparently only of us was allowed to be real and it had to be me, sorry.

And was there, in the end, another side? Far up Fairgrounds Road coming to a crushed turtle being picked at by crows, i.e., this again. Slivered moon behind the church steeple.

Surfacing. I don't mind being the man you leave, standing alone is part the deal, how else do we learn the lessons of solitude. Disputes about texts are never about the text, what are they about?

Oh Frank O'Hara won't you please take your work more seriously next time? Jennifer asks when I was last at Dad's grave and the answer is I don't recall. Living religiously.

I let three things go in the river and the Lord allowed me to become happy. Maternal testimony many years later. Her sundress slips a little, her thin brown shoulder fills with sunlight, my god.

Where do the bees go? I made promises I was not allowed to keep, and nothing prepared for me the aftermath.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Peace with Horses

Gray skies, low clouds where the valley turns toward us. In the forest yesterday off Kinnebrook Road a deer stood in shadows not moving. Remember as a child wondering where the rivers went and why they didn't run out of water? Well, we are all travelers.

Again facing the penumbra of a woman's anger, that fierce light, that vivid psychological corona. Some mysteries do not allow clues, merely exist as invitations to ask better questions. Books read to pieces, that life. Last of the peonies, is this how it ends. 

Better metaphors only sometimes help. At dawn the birds are oddly muted, as if some shared sorrow were upon the earth. Church-goers making sure you know they're going to church. There is no such thing as a secret, this is the secret to salvation.

We make love at night for once, in bed for once, loneliness breaking the way waves break along rocky coasts. Long walks past the fairgrounds, listening to crows. At a late juncture making peace with horses, is there any other way. Observing oneself falling.

Are we, in the end or at the beginning, love, because it sure doesn't feel that way here in the middle. Toad resting in the shade cast by sunflowers. Jasper asks what's next and I can't say, I never can, and he points out mildly that may be part of the problem. My daughters teach me a new story, such difficult beauty, this godless - this grace-filled - mercy.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Stages of Undress

Let's undo another button, shall we? Reading and re-reading the one who is most helpful. We who take too much for granted, get our signals crossed. The lost moon, livid roses. There are many ways to be grateful, choose one and get on with it.

Something unworkable. Making Dad an ash tray and Ma a wine glass back in second grade ceramics. Who is lost, who is found, and who cares about the distinction? Perhaps we are bookmarks, vaguely aware of the text and its reader, ourselves signifiers but without meaningful agency. I'm hungry and getting hungrier.

The old problem of not knowing the difference between her mind and her body, and so wanting to fuck her is not different from wanting to spend night after night in dialogue with her. Rules by which therapists chisel away at their own effectiveness. It's easy to say that truth is true, but there's another level, the level of understanding. The speaker who remains silent despite our pleas. Upended plans, our hearts forever adjusting.

Stages of undress both inner and outer. Jogging in the park near dawn, cottontails bounding away. When at last we are beyond either winning or losing, what do we see? The light only appears to be seamless. And with that, this.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

A Good Man Worth Waiting For

What do you mean the storm has passed?

Swimming to the pond's center more or less, treading water, too tired to swim back, is this how it ends.

The thief I am, the killer.

Wild roses I don't mow but which don't take off the way the violets and forget-me-nots do.

The dogs have all forgiven me, I don't deserve it but that's the point, that's what they knew that I didn't, and which now I must accept, their judgment of me as a friend on the trail, a good man worth waiting for. 

She flirts during the meeting, sending text messages about yesterday's walk past empty summer classrooms, her blue dress brushing my arm. 

We are all this pain and yet somehow all this healing also.

Dad cries hearing Johnny Cash's cover of Hurt, something inside justified.

What is familiar, fantastic, forsaken.

Why fuckable, why that, why now, still.

Chrisoula walks me to the river, trying to explain why she wants to go back to Canada to live. 

Oh feelings come and go but there is something that does not come and go and finding it is not the blessing you expect.  

Late but not too late I remember again that my obsession with Gary Gilmore and the death penalty is just an acute form of self-induced suffering, so brother forgive me I have to leave your death and die myself.

Remember playing piano drunk and alone, remember forgetting to be hurt and angry.

Sunlight streaming from our shared heart which is not in a body but is the cosmos.

Something is coming down the stairs, why are its feet so heavy, why does it walk so slow, what is that smell.

Can we finally look at her death, Dad is it okay now can we look at her death.

Signal fires, lover's eyes.

It's not "don't judge," it's "give up, you can't judge."

How "sexual" still requires bodies, an aesthetic, et cetera.

Chrisoula staying with me through the hard part, again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Communion at the Bottom

That moment when you realize you have no home. A wind that means rain. Fleasbane. Would you eat a wolf?

What is a lover in the end but a living example of what commas do in sentences? I prayed to God to let me taste loneliness and - late but not too late - fear I may have overdone it. Swimming through mist. Slipping a hand under her shirt, resting a thumb on her nipple, she closes her eyes, hitches a finger through my belt loop, pulls our hips together.

Who doesn't want to get it right? Distinctions which are oddly helpful at demonstrating the futility of difference at all. Less rain that we expected. "I don't think of you that way" - okay but why.

Buddha obscured by grass, the prayer flags bled to gray. Being is communion. At the bottom of this shared investigation into projection what do you find, is what you find a bottom? Making space for one's feelings, letting them work themselves out the way wind spirals through the pasture.

Nothing does not hide. You remember stuff, it feels like this is an argument for the past but it's not, it's just the present remembering possibility in a form you can manage, observer that you are. In a dream he mocks me for not following through with music and I wake flustered, is this what you want? Fucking at a Vermont rest stop, 89 North, want to.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Explained in Terms of Bluets

What becomes us is not religious. At four thirty the birds begin singing. A little light to call one's own. A softness I do not recognize. 

Monadic. What we are must give consent to its conversion. We are unified and yet diverse. This hunger that can only be explained in terms of bluets. 

A crisis, a crossing. Was it all in the end a performance? Noteworthy spellcasters. Days later I find myself still taking notes, unable to produce coherent paragraphs. 

Piety, porphyry. How quickly one is consumed once one no longer fears the flames. Walking to where we fish, not talking. Something absent vs. something that cannot be named. 

Growing old under the hemlocks, happy in ways that were once considered illegitimate. Sparks ascending, the stars choraling. Never allow rhyme to take you away from what you know to be true. Bland kisses, forgotten rivers. 

Monday, July 11, 2022

As Grandmother Loves the Bear

We bear the weight of the Lord, and we cannot tell any other story. 

How quiet the hay loft is at 3 a.m., the past so far away it can just barely be sensed.

Watering the garden alone at dusk, needing this life to be another way, as always - still - learning to live.

Spider webs on the electric fence, no sign of the spider, what doesn't turn me on.

Crickets in the pasture, for those with ears.

Chrisoula's new obsession with fireflies, both of us near midnight outside watching them, discerning the code, all of us together a light undoing the darkness.  

What else was underfoot at Golgotha.

One's theology unravels, one stops looking for any bottom.

Swimming slowly through the lake, the shore receding, growing old.

Now we are organized, what does the boss want?

Flowers I cannot name, dreams which pass mostly unnoticed.

We who do not disdain our role as messenger.

Briefly four a.m. is holy again, I stand outside with coffee beside empty Main Street, the cosmos breathing me in and out.

Falling asleep before we can talk about our day, that sorrow.

In my heart are many salmon refusing the upstream push.


Abhishiktananda's insistence that being was communal.

She wakened something in me, and loved it as Grandmother loves the bear, and we deepened and became beautifuler accordingly. 

We are revealed in sex, pried open by lights that long to extend themselves.

Even to think about looking for Jesus obscures the means by which Christ is revealed as our identity.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

So Often Amazed

Do you go outside at four a.m. to stand in dewy grass and look at the stars? Shadows of crows.

Look - in the river sinking - my heart. 

Watering the tomatoes, end of the hottest day of the year, swallows filling the sky like an angelic cursive alphabet. Doubt enters my mind again. 

At last a hummingbird. 

Ways we live that cause us pain, which pain inevitably extends into the hearts of others. Phospohoresence is the name of a ghost. 

Name it and own it, or, as I like to say in company that can handle it, get your shit together.

I have good reasons for no longer going to church, but I do miss the friendship and sharing in an intentional spiritual context. What is the means by which a sea turtle recognizes another sea turtle?

What is falling, what is fallen.

Are you amazed, I am so often amazed. The little place in Adams that we visit for coffee, the little bench by the old train station where sit in shade and drink together.

In the distance, a moose.

Transgressions light the way, don't kid yourself. When I used to come back from long walks with pockets full of stones.

Watering the garden rainbows.

So it has become darker, so what, look at who is here with you, what else could possibly matter. Morning kisses deepening, extending unto the length of our bodies, this too is summer.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Angels in a World Full of Butterflies

So I am an aberration, so what. I drink coffee by the ferns at five a.m., there is nothing to say, which means you can say anything, and so I hold my peace. 

You want angels in a world full of butterflies, what is wrong with you. Our feet in the shallows, trout fry nibbling our toes, hips grazing, our shared silence reaching distances I heretofore only knew as longing.

Where the hemlocks lean and touch a single cloud hovers, a blessing. Oh swallows please do not leave the sky, I am still a little scared to die. 

My mother aging rapidly, as if before my eyes. Spiderwebs at twilight, at a certain angle shimmering.

Coming down from the attic to show the family what we learned in our isolation, what we know now about penance, and rare modes of unconditional forgiveness. Towering clouds following the river, promising rain.

When you see Christ in the other and do not need it to go further than that, that love. This is what it is like to play music together. 

Evening Primrose forgive me. Feral cats haunt the barn, now and then dragging unfortunate rats through the hay onto sunlit flagstones to be eaten.

Who tells you to go your own way and means it? Fallen tree limbs, this new way of decorating the earth.

Hummingbirds are living prisms, I did not know this, thank you. At night I wander out to the horses and stand in the pasture lit with ten thousand fireflies, grateful and amazed in ways I cannot stand I cannot share.

Yet ask: what you are here to learn. Hawk defines the sky, om shanti shanti shanti.

Friday, July 8, 2022

From One Corner of Hell to the Other

After the ghosts come the demons and after the demons a mirror in which Satan plays a last cruel game with you.

Remember fucking to the radio.

Men who still scare me, because they awaken in me what longs to destroy them, which - don't lose the thread, Sean - awakens what can destroy them, which is what I fear, which is me. 

Having no friends to speak of, no followers or teachers, just this weary sojourn from one corner of hell to the other, the tedium occasionally broken by a woman who knows how to listen and can hold her end of the dialogue, and understands fucking as a clumsy, largely unnecessary, extension of the underlying effort at communion.

Faroff maple trees moving in winds that are mostly quiet.

Letting go of Jesus is the hardest part.

She moans in her sleep and I waken and murmur Emily Dickinson poems, a trick I learned that sometimes calms her but which this time does not. 

In a way, my dick is permanently stuck in the late eighties, when everything was falling apart and sex a way of remembering something important about not dying. 

Let us laugh.

Chrisoula's Goddess is our focal point - she is most of the time Her embodiment - and I am not allowed to name Her, and when I try Chrisoula angrily denies Her existence, yet remains with me, which is the lesson I most need (obviously) but is also the one I am least interested in remembering, so, you know, baby steps.

Summer is the most sensual season, the forbidden lushness of Spring settling into something still and manageable.

In my heart is a scarlet violin - nobody is allowed to play it but her - I made it when I was twenty-one or two and she had fled across a lake leaving many drowned ships in her wake - and she has not come back - and yet.

He asks where to start with Dylan and I'm too tired to think clearly, can't put it into words, you start where the heart says start, what else.

How sad I was when she said her husband liked jacking off on her face, offering to let me if I wanted, and I couldn't explain - and feared I would never be able to explain - the way sex was the opposite of desecration and semen not an ornament to admire (or a weapon to deploy) but an offering to accept, which acceptance was procreative at levels only the cosmos truly understood, i.e., who the fuck was I to judge another's sex life? 

Shelter from the storm indeed.

She leans into me on the porch before I leave, a little something something.

The piano in the middle of Bob Seger's Against the Wind, how listening to it became a kind of bridge or ladder by which childhood ended and something difficult and beautiful began.

It's interpretation all the way down, I get it now, thanks turtles. 

Buttercups, battle ships, blast patterns.

Dad appears now in the nightmares smiling stupidly and I see at last how lost he was - how hurt and confused - and how he fought valiantly but uselessly and how that fight became in a way my fight - and I wake up inside the nightmares and carry the horror into the day and refuse to look away from it - not fighting, just letting it be - determined to save us both before the light goes out and I forget that I too have children.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Forgetting as a Father Must

Hard winds blowing the turkey vultures south across the pasture, their wings still and clear. I am also the void, and at a late juncture, no longer resist it. Part of me was made for your mouth but the better part lives forever as what you call your heart. Breathe, child: I am going nowhere.

The ferns grow thick and deep, green insisting on being noticed. What else is the world? The apple trees collapse and I accept the wreckage as art, gently using a bow saw to nudge them into another something that will outlast me, e.g., fields of wild violets. You have to leave some of the strawberries or you are not properly harvesting. 

Won't somebody say what I cannot? Peonies falling over, petals blowing here and there across the yard. Nightmares again, carried into waking, Chrisoula refusing to sleep while I weep on the floor praying God will forgive my many sins. The stars are a comfort, as is the moon, but differently.

In crowds briefly seeing past the way we are all separate, then forgetting, as a father must. "Loving you isn't the right thing to do." So much seems to invite equivocation - can it be this is helpful or even right in some deep or cosmic way? Many cardinals taking me back to Denise, the red bird who destroyed me, leaving a mess no other woman ever matched or figured out.

At night - by a small fire - the kids gone inside - we touch each gently - all our errors dissolving in this late stage of marriage-as-love. Oh look at all the birds gathering in flocks! The blind horse cries out and Sophia says to me don't worry, and I watch her go into the pasture to comfort him, I see how she comforts him, and I wonder again how what goes right goes right apparently without me. I mean it this time: fuck that stupid cross.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

For A Few Minutes That Was Love

Before the honeysuckle I am breathless. Rosebuds in midair singing love songs to the sun. The hawk does not think the way you think - do you think in the way hawks think - do you think in a way that the difference matters?

Jasper observes that the pear tree leans at an angle similar to the Tower of Pisa. Half moon in the summer sky, a little after dusk, what else but love in the end defined you. There is no end, did you forget.

Sitting watching swallows over the garden, remembering how happy they made me when I was a little boy, when I did not know how fucked-up my life was, and what it would become while becoming something else. What is freedom if not this? After the rain, puddles form in the horse turnout.

Buttercups. That one spot near the apple trees where a bunch of violets blossom beneath a towering clover blossom, the pink and purple bringing me as close to gasping as I can get without someone mouthing my cock. Everywhere you look, the effects of a man's decision.

Three months now with neck pain that won't let me turn my head, maybe I should try sleeping in a bed again. He played his harp for me in his living room, he was lost in the notes, and I was lost in his lostness, and for a few minutes that was love. When doesn't the rain find your throat in a welcome way.

The night becomes slippery, full of ghosts who are no longer interested in haunting me, demons who would rather do stand up comedy for an audience that excludes me, maps on which somebody has scribbled happy faces with a yellow crayon making reading impossible. Remember going places? I question everything now except apparently the marriage, which lies in a domain over which another is the master.

Rewatching Breakfast Club, half of it anyway, then walking up Main Street to the bridge on the road to Plainfield, thinking about how I wanted to die for years before anybody finally asked was I okay. Hemlock needles in this little heart of mine.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Somewhere We Were Never Meant To Be

We are in summer, which means my heart is jumpy. On the river past Trudge's place, I watch baby trout nip the surface, darting through beams of light. You come close to losing everything but don't, learn a little, keep going. The phone ringing later than it should, that worry.

Maple trees bending in seasonal wind gusts. Buttercups bound forth beneath the crippled apple tree, effacing the ceramic Buddha sitting at its base. The story ends, the teller adjusts his coat to his shoulders, leaves town. Suddenly this crisis, I knew it was not gone for good.

Hawks circling silver clouds. The silence of the classroom when you've asked a good question. Social gravity, cultural gravity. Your place or mine was never the question, not once ever.

Iced peppermint tea at the little table by the flower garden, writing writing, knowing it is not always like this but for now it is. Kind words are never unwelcome. We plan outings and meals, we walk in long circles around the lake, we are deeper than we thought we could go, we are maybe somewhere we were never meant to be. Sushi rice with fried bananas. 

The difference between a house and a home. The answer was no, it was always no. And thus, at a late stage, with a little help, I am able to name some things that for so long had to go unnamed. Adjusting, as always, to dawn.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Defined by Violets and Yet

Yellow buttercups full of sunlight. Cardinals on the garden fence. When I was born I did not choose for my sixth decade to be defined by violets and yet. In my heart, many finches.

A sentence stands in relation to space and to what cannot be contained by space (yet from time to time consents to be). These headaches leaving me vomiting, everybody worrying, is this what you wanted. I remember watching a seagull tear an eel to shreds in Rhode Island, I felt both its hunger and the eel's suffering and never really recovered. Ascending stairs to find more stairs, et cetera.

Moths resting in tall grass at dusk. How the undersides of the clouds darken as if with water or the anger of the hunted. Dreams in which certain themes prevalent in Scooby Doo appear and reappear, reminding me what to take seriously and what not. Reading poems outside in early summer, the afternoon light making all distance appear negotiable.

We walk two miles with a saw, come back with a Christmas tree. How happy I am roasting turkeys, sitting alone in the kitchen with my books and pencils, is it really so simple. And so at last I left, and turned back once or twice, doubled back to be sure, and then saw the futility of goodbye and at last - without effort at all - it ended. Letting a new apple tree grow by which I mean, giving attention to what is happening in a particular time and place in a particular way. 

We do not enter time, time enters us. When I was allowed to learn what a symbol was and then and only then understood this facility with language. Homemade iced coffee, sharing a cup while talking out back. I cannot displace her though I have tried, was this what you were trying to teach me?

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Following a Shepherd Home

Change is a form of travel. Afternoon passes watching swallows loop above the garden, stymied by the netting we put up to protect the kale. I am here but only for a while: this is our condition, which we are not allowed to refuse.  

Sculpting a fallen limb of the apple tree, rewarded days later with a robin perched on it singing. White flowers on the raspberry bushes. Clouds pass like sheep following a shepherd home.

How tired I am (and growing tireder by the moment). Hell hath no fury, only confusion, and no remembrance of any origin (which is the secret to true suffering). Life is an invitation to recognize an underlying relationship, which I say is with God, but you know.

A meditation practice based on giving attention to whatever is given. Late at night, nearly finished with the anguish of telling secrets to ghosts. And the river flows easily between its banks, much the way we ourselves bring forth the container in which we know ourselves.

Thanks but no thanks, Plato. The garden at a late stage of the marriage defining us in a way that allows us to move forward together into old age. Sleeping on the floor, a phase of living with which one is never precisely finished.

Likeness dissolves leaving what. To consume, commune, cooperate. So this is what I am not, what then am I?

Unable to end the forbidden narrative, one opts instead to begin a new one, discovering they are only alive "once upon a time." And did you, in the end, drag your father kicking and screaming out of the orchard?

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Once There Were Other Ways

Don't mention cigarettes. Blowsy clouds floating over the far Adirondacks, my heart signaling to itself the conditions of peace.

Buttercups, nasturtiums, morning glories. Half the apple tree falls, we cut part of it up but most we leave where it is.

The cosmos allows you to make arguments both for and against it: what are we really saying then about conflict? Existence is a burden, it is clear now.

Settling the bill, preparing to go. We roast a couple chickens, eat them with salad and bread, all of us in the kitchen arguing whether human beings can form a meaningful model of what it's like to be a wasp.

Misreading the cues again, is there any other way? Summer nights given to crickets, distant stars, the river endlessly flowing away.

She informs me of her hidden rationale for agreeing to plant Hubbard squashes and it makes me smile. Coffee in Adams on Sunday morning, followed by a long walk up the  Ashuwillticook trail.

There is always a story about longing, isn't there? Hands reaching out of the earth as if to say that something in burial is backwards, or at least misconstrued.

Tall grass grazing our shins. While to the north, Greylock rises like a stony orca.

Dreams in which everything is settled, we all go our ways, end up in the arms of the lover who is most helpful. How once there were other ways of saying it.

I sleep on the floor, better for my back, but something in me wonders if there's a better way even than that. By the river green rushes, sky-blue forget-me-nots in the shadows.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Certain Trees of Childhood

After the fear, the anger, even though the order seems backwards. I can see with perfect clarity certain trees of childhood, fifty years gone now, and what is this but a reminder that we never die? Pellucid sunrise.

Back to Steve Hagen, back to Ken Wilber, skimming both men happily. Slowly I begin to unload my many tchotchkes. She leans into me, I massage the small of her back, birds sing in the lilac bush nearby.

What is blue to you? Promises are a weapon, don't kid yourself, choose another way. Visiting Emily Dickinson's grave always in Fall, late October, why.

Sophia and I wander through the little shop gently arguing whether Christmas-themed fabrics count as Christian, while Fionnghuala looks for something to make new curtains for her bedroom. And now I shall let go of hot air balloons, may my tea bag of a heart no longer waste itself in tepid water. All charm is fear-based.

Ferns unravel in sunlight, dandelions go to seed. What is being threatened, truly? I polish all the colored glass in the hayloft while we talk, it calms me and I am now pro-calm.

Uninteresting arguments but why. Perhaps we should pray more in a formal way, I don't know. Imagining you jacking me off - an extension of helpfulness - both of us laughing after, cocks are so silly, sex so basic.

Oh is it time to climb Ascutney again? Beyond salvation, healing - this healing.