At the Field’s Edge

Not another word about kenosis! I dream of her and the next day she appears at work and we walk together outside talking about what is north.
Children playing near the water, how their energy – and the energy of the world – changes accordingly. Burning casinos. 
The weathered faces of barns that may not survive me. I would like to tell you what I have learned about forgiveness but what I have learned about forgiveness is that it doesn’t need to be explained. 
After projection, reflection. I ask Chrisoula how she would describe our sex life, she is reading Of Mice and Men for the forty-seventh time since we met, her favorite book ever, “it’s nice,” she says without looking up. 
Parking the truck at the field’s edge, laying blankets in the back, cooler full of cheap beer, stars flickering at the treeline, this too was growing up. A place for horses, i.e., my heart.
Clouds pass, they remind me of dogs passing. I remember bucketing out the basement, which storm was it, up all night in late winter, cold and wet, it had to be done, sometimes it doesn’t matter what you want. 
Two a.m., can’t sleep, head so bad even blinking hurts, is this what you wanted. I have been to Paris, I have been to Dublin, and the Heath Fair is better than both. 
Remembering whisky shots, Burlington Vermont full of rain, losing the argument, forgetting the argument. Time requires a body, as does an orgasm, but intelligence scaffolds differently.
The other night I confused the twenty sentences with fiction, walked around the house thinking, “it’s a novel – I didn’t know that – it’s a novel,” then woke up with these poems, thank Christ.
Hot peas with freshly-ground pepper, remember? Lifting you with my tongue – this sentence – into the heavens.
Categorized as Sentences

Lines I Draw

Purple clover, dark against the burnt grass of late summer. I have these hands, they are open as in prayer, and empty as befits my new calling. 
What happened to the hot dog, how did it become so pedestrian? Beautiful violent men I have known.
Wind blows, the maple leaves turn upside down, silver in afternoon light. We got carried away with burying the dead, let’s not kid ourselves.
Whistling. Dragonflies above the garden.
Jesus visits to say goodbye, thank me for listening, ask if there’s anything else. The rules we keep around eating together, do you notice them, do you notice what gives rise to them. 
Talking to a woman who is no longer here, happily driving between mountains, no longer alone forever. Shall we listen to the rain together.
The joy of recognizing kin. Holiness forgets nothing because there is nothing to forget.
Combing through old photo albums, taking pictures of the dogs, something wild in me insisting that the past be liberated from images. Naked now is close to what.
Counting flowers in the meadow.  Chrisoula and I meet behind the church, same as always, she wears flowers and bracelets, studies carefully the lines I draw in the dust, she tells me what I mean.
There were other paths once, there are not now. He weeps often in the afterlife, he cannot bear his failure to repent, I cannot write this sentence in a way that will help him, will you.
Categorized as Sentences

So Near I Cannot Breathe

Moonlight on the living room floor. Three a.m., coughing through the rosary prayer. Thunderheads bunching near the valley’s crest. Neither this nor any other horizon.
The sentence as a way of learning how to see. Old-time tractors. Gathering near the fire pit at dusk, horses curious, beer wedged between Tom’s knees tuning his mandolin, Chrisoula holding a joint to my lips while I stir the flames, moon rising. In those days we carried knives everywhere, you never knew.
The silver belly of dead trout just before they are gutted. I was not allowed to approach horses, nobody wants to talk about this, maybe it was a dream. Writing at the fair the day before it opens, Fionnghuala working on her entries. Light winds, first maples changing, may I never forget to be grateful.
I studied fatherhood a long time before that door actually opened. Plans to raise gladioli and hyancinths next spring, everybody confused because you can’t eat them, but the bees can, and the hummingbirds. What we cannot recognize from any distance. Fumbling through the dialogue as usual.
She sits on the bed’s edge, back to me, so near I cannot breathe. Horse-drawn. The well was up from the river, there were willow trees in the distance, the conversation ran to hard extremes. Being out of time at last. 
Categorized as Sentences

My Skin is Language

On the day I married her it did not rain. Mother Octopus, teach me again the way of the tentacled. Morning sun, do you see how your body is merely the world.
Let us go all the way through the keyhole. Giving head to strangers in cars, trangressing in an effort to drive away love, and love not going anywhere. The prism, the promise, the praxis.
Men walking past the cathedral hefting sheaves of wheat. Jasper reminds me that mathematical formulas don’t have to be executed, i.e., there is a stillness that does not submit to process.
Living in suffering happily. Arguments regarding the suit of swords which never land well. Love is a cosmos for which desire is a kind of treasure map.
Driving alone across the river, may I never not be the father she needs. A spiritual practice that lately focuses on folding and re-folding literally everything – quilts, her shirt, notes from last year’s poems. Capitalism is a form of hunger.
Can you name everything the river took. Falling backwards. At night I sit quietly in the living room and pray, moonlight gliding across the floor towards me.
You want to get naked with me but sister my skin is language, when am I not in your mouth. The Man without Shoes is a servant of history, history is method of assessing memory, and memory begins when we take death literally.
Categorized as Sentences

Kin to Lichen and Microbes

We who take it.
Coming back from the temple, a survivor.
She does not speak, she gestures, and it doesn’t matter anyway, you do what she says you do, you get on your knees, you never leave your knees.
Great-grandfather (whose face is being eaten by the Chthonic One) begs for a chance to say “no you do not have permission to play in the park” and the hurricane laughs and laughs.
Ashes swirling away in the sea, may we take nothing else for granted.
First time I ate pussy I tasted blood, knew I was home, haven’t been off my knees since.
Yeah you don’t like it, I get it, I don’t really like it either but why don’t you like it, that’s the question.
Long stretches of highway made bearable by rosary prayers.
Thought I would die, didn’t die, now what.
Pissing outside at midnight, visiting the horses, listening to the river under starlight: this this.
I feel sorry for the soldiers who crucified Jesus, I would take them in my arms if I could, would go into hell with them if I could, be a dog for them if I could, a dog in a ring of Heavens.
Nobody leaves the jail cell until we all leave the jail cell, got it?
She reminds me I am kin to lichen and microbes, She urges me to let the whole yard go to violets and bracken, She says help the groundhogs dig their holes, and I listen to Her, I listen. 
This sentence is for the luminous bell-ringer, may we both go unhealed no more forever.  
Something Christmas-y in me.
Goddess of Bees, this weight on my chest, this gallows I am never finished building, this rainy quartz I never quite get around to swallowing.
Fuck or else.
In my mind I am still in Vermont, Massachusetts is a bad dream from which I am awakening, and then I wake up in Massachusetts and turn north, begin again, is this what you wanted.
This family church in which more than once I prayed against my own interests.
It took her a long time to die, a terribly long time, we have to go into this, Dad is it okay now I am going into this. 
Categorized as Sentences

Like a Father

This one is for you, Goddess of Bees, you in whom I live a while and die.
Folded sweaters on the chair beside the bed.
How lost the widower looked in the take-it-or-leave-it shed this morning, and how I said nothing, didn’t even meet his eyes. 
You want more skulls, we want more war.
Forces at work transcending our dim perception, decimating our limited understanding. 
Writing in the side yard, wishing there were a way to share with you this breeze moving wild morning glories back and forth across the south-facing wall of the barn.
Resting my head on the blind horse’s neck after midnight, he bears my grief like a father, together we are what make starlight possible.
When I stumbled drunk around Boston looking for fights.
You are gone and with you goes green (but not yet blue).
Giving head to strangers, never looking up, not caring, my mouth sinning to make sin more real for all of us.
Teeth made of concrete, fingers down to the bone.
Rain on the harbor, I thought I wanted to die but I just wanted to feel differently.
“You need eyes to care about dice” is a lie.
Still prefer to piss outside, moonlight on my one and only cock.
Oh great-grandfather I will go kneel by the dread whirlpool now, I will hold her anger for you, I will reach the terrible fear and study with her a way beyond it.
If you read this, write to me, I am dying of loneliness and I cannot finish the sentence alone.
Being held to be beaten, surrendering to it, asking for it even, your willingness taking something away from the beating that makes them beat you even harder, but still.  
Fucks I would take back but can’t. 
Kicking the dead.
Categorized as Sentences

Arguments and Prayers

Burnt grass. I will never deny you.
No more suffering, no more confusion. In dreams, all fear magnifies.
The groove we are, the rhythm. Lord let me see snow fall one more time.
Mourning cardinals before they are gone. Sheets on the clothesline riffled by wind. 
Why is it so hard to meet for coffee? The hemlocks appear at dawn, brush off all my arguments and prayers.
Remind me again where and how Elijah heard the voice of God. This desert is not forever. 
Thanks Ron Atkinson! He asks if I am ready to apologize, this man who did more than anyone – including me – to end the marriage.
Trout not taking the bait, may I never forget to be grateful. Sunlight on the lake, this gift given to the ancestors who are as tired of haunting me as I am of being haunted.
Making peace with what refuses to make peace with us. Before Jesus, John’s head on a platter.
How quiet one becomes before Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, how still. Great-grandfather it’s okay, you can put her shoes down, I will help you let them go, I was made this way to help you let them go.
Categorized as Sentences

The Wrong Bed in the Wrong City

We can start by telling each other what our favorite poem is and why.
Doors open, take my hand.
Wind blows through the valley, something howls in the hills across the river, my heart vacates my body, leaving a little note that reads “I was never yours.”
We who drift, we who forget we drift, we who wake up in the wrong bed in the wrong city, wondering are we out of time.
Validate the other, nothing else matters.
Making signs for the march.
Under stars with the blind horse in order to learn how to see.
We who were against so much we forget everything good, we forgot how to be for.
The butterflies speak to me, I wish I could explain to you how this is so, it’s the only thing that matters now.
Jasper says quietly, it may always hurt, you must prepare yourself.
Debord’s point that tourism – “human circulation packaged for consumption, a by-product of the circulation of commodities” – was always merely “the opportunity to go and see what has been banalized.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
A way of talking about Emily Dickinson that always leaves me wanting to give somebody – anybody – head
Oh so now you want to talk about contemplative prayer.
“Dance the day away.”
You cannot take seriously the Sermon the Mount unless you are willing – literally – to die. 
Surrogate victims, our favorite role.
So the sacred has left us, so what, it was always just a finger pointing at the moon, and the moon has not left us, just look.
What is difficult, dangerous, deferential, what is delicious.
Punishment is not real but Christ how much suffering it took to learn this.
Categorized as Sentences

The Void with a Good Woman

How did you learn you were different?
Miles to go indeed.
I wake before the sun is up, make coffee, go to the hayloft and sit quietly in darkness with the one who is everywhere.
John Bell, my god.
Ten years writing haiku by hand in purple ink now how much do you love me.
We cannot change what we feel, this is a gift not a curse.
A spiritual classroom, the price of admission to which was either one hand or both eyes, guess what I chose.
Deep down – no matter what else we name it, no matter what context we put it in – the reason I am writing and you are reading is that we are lonely and we are not yet ready to be whatever is not lonely.
The thief I am, the liar I am, the lover I am.
Do you remember making love against the door in my grandmother’s house, do you remember biting my neck, do you remember – how could you remember – how I could not sleep that night (was this when the insomnia began) and do you remember – you must remember – breaking up on the long drive back to Vermont.
We are not alone when we dance, even when we dance alone.
Sunlight on the last of the violets, may I forget everything, may I learn how to.
Notice the ones in your living who personify ideals you admire – perhaps long for – and modify your living according. 
I praised his kindness – his clear intention with respect to extending it – and he bowed a little, he smiled a little.
Many revolutions are yet to happen, let’s not kid ourselves. 
What does thought want.
It’s going to hurt a little but not for long, this was the promise.
Leaning out over the void with a good woman, there is no other way for a man like me. 
The one who is never not naked.
Notice how the horizon is always there – you never reach it – it is always perfectly distant, exactly as if you were creating it, saying to yourself “I need a body and I need a world and both must be comprised of limits.”
Categorized as Sentences

One More Winter

We are dogs in a ring of Heavens. How quiet the house is when Jeremiah is gone. My voice breaks trying to explain why even though I’ve left the Catholic church I am still grateful for it. Where are you safest and other nontrivial questions.
Hanging laundry. The dining room table fills with jars of dilly beans, corn relish and pickles. You cannot effectively kiss when you are angry, think on this when you are trying to understand that “I am not a body.” Folding blankets and quilts for the peace of it, being that man, unapologetically.
She touches my shoulder with three fingers as she passes, and she is briefly then the Goddess Whose name we do not say aloud, and my shoulder fills with blue light, and an ocean opens in the part of my chest I call “heart.” Can you not. We grill eggplant and red peppers outside, sun setting, sheep calling, and it is enough, it is sufficient, it is praise unto the Lord our God. We make love outside near the apple trees, we laugh arguing over who gets to be on the bottom, i.e., who gets to star gaze and who gets to gaze at the star-gazer. 
Any object is merely a collection of features noticed by – and organized by – an observer (and an observer is simply a limit on perception). Leftover zucchini pancakes with sour cream, we eat standing in the kitchen, my mind can see nothing but snow, in my heart I am praying God give me at least one more winter. Who is nervous around you, why are they nervous. We who make the moon, we who make the onions, we who make the sea. 
What remains? An aversion to punctuation that is not the crisis we once made it out to be. Popcorn with coriander and garlic powder. Welcome to the difference that does not make a difference, would you like some coffee, would you like to remove your clothes.
Categorized as Sentences