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.
Categorized as Sentences

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.” 
Categorized as Sentences

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.
Categorized as Sentences

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.
Categorized as Sentences

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. 
Categorized as Sentences

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.
Categorized as Sentences

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.
Categorized as Sentences

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.
Categorized as Sentences

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.
Categorized as Sentences

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.
Categorized as Sentences