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Sunday, July 28, 2019

In Search of Darkness

Perhaps life is a little shadow that loses itself in the sunset. I remember a time in my childhood when everything was dark. Somewhere in the house was a mother and a father. I was with a sister or a brother, and together our bare feet ran across wet grass, through tall pines as we chased glowing dots that floated in the air, trapping them in our palms.

Maybe black is the hole in darkness from which no words can escape and no soul can spring. The darkness of wishing to play a guitar without strings. A small room, perfectly black, with nothing in it but a bed. A mysterious, missing link. Like love, you’ll know it when you find it. A place where you can lie suspended, not sleeping but floating in and out of consciousness. A small black silent room. You’ll know it when you find yourself in it. You’ll know it when, sometime in the future, your small shadow of a life will become a map that someone somewhere will learn to read by the glowing flicker of a candle flame.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Gap

Perhaps according to one man, if he ever pauses, it feels like death to him. Here’s the fear: time is given to us, and we take from it until we disappear into an overworked and overly simplistic form. Someone on one side of a door, someone on another, and I can’t pause right now because I’m in a rush and there are forty million things to do. This layering of space upon space, the stacking of horizon upon horizon reaches a further crescendo outdoors at night with no flashlight on because I can see better that way, the stars so sharp and crystalline, my breath turned under and hemmed, smoothing out the once raw edge of my imaginings.

Maybe it doesn’t matter who remembers what, as long as someone remembers something. I see you through the window, sitting beside the lamp and you are like a faraway picture within a frame of blackness. It is disquieting to look at you, in through the window, and know that you don’t know I can see you. Why, I wonder, couldn’t something else be happening? It’s as if I don’t exist, or as if you do.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Rough Welcome

Perhaps time doesn’t show its face until the very end. Just another thing ending forever. All becomes a fluid gossiping about change and exchange, properly or property, as a dog in the corner of the yard hobbling on three legs becomes a metaphor for all we’ve lost, for the gigantic harm that has thrown us all off balance completely.

Maybe it is difficult to know what is happening to us. Too difficult to stay and learn what comes next, so we set out on a perimeter path, completing our circuit back toward parked cars.  As we drive, I hold the words for what I know in my head even as my heart fills with a grief greater than what I can manage. The speed of the car makes me nervous. There is a moment, when listening to a sound repeat itself, when one can either give in or begin to panic.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Yes, maybe, mostly

Perhaps the only way to escape our fate is not to know it. What is fate, after all? A scaffolding, torn down to discover what is growing underneath?  Remembering a song we’ve never heard before? One minute receiving flowers, the next minute pricked by a thorn? Feeling a deep upsurge of love for someone, until a moment later it's just a memory?

Maybe however close we come, we are always strangers to our fate. We can embrace it, but there is never a chance of coming any closer, since at the moment we meet our fate we have already changed. In the friend there is the stranger, and in the stranger the friend, and by the time I say I love you any feelings of affection I may have had for you may have disappeared completely.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Slogans

Perhaps times have always been tough. Yet things turn around. And strong determination is exactly what it sounds like. Don’t be jealous. Don’t be frivolous. Don’t wallow. And don’t expect applause.

Maybe though it may be possible to correct all wrongs with one intention, it is still best to begin at the beginning, and end at the end. Be wholehearted. Don’t vacillate. Don’t lose track. Don’t be swayed by circumstances, and appreciate your lunacy. Our suffering, troubles, and problems are our treasures and remember, while you cannot easily put your elbow in your mouth, when such preoccupations invade all is not lost! Scavengers descend, and your ideas will move from body to compost, regenerative.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Long Time to Come

Perhaps I wish I’d been listening and watching instead of closing my eyes. Something has led to something else, and I’ve missed the beginning. Death is everywhere in this forest and I can taste it – dead branches, dead crickets, dead mice caught in the talons of night owls. The death of the forest comes alive at night, speaking in the stench of rotten logs, only its shadow left moving.

Maybe each night as black creeps up from the ground, stealing the last light from golden grasses and shiny oak leaves, it tenses my fingers and tightens my scalp. I hold my hand out in front of my face. It completely disappears, and yet I know it is there. My main thought is, get out of this place before something happens to you! Yet just as fear threatens to overwhelm me, I bend my knees and relax the small of my back against a giant tree trunk. The tree twists and erodes into old age, carved into beauty by the elements. She's a place of grounding from which to wander from.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Personal Origami

Perhaps all because of you, I let go of something real for something wonderful. When a piece of paper is folded, the memory of that fold remains forever, and so the more I folded, the more I felt I had somewhere to go. In the end, I think, it is amazing how a short time together lasts so long, and/or how a single sheet of paper can breathe new life into most anything I set my mind to.

Maybe it was a lot to ask of you to believe in me. Like an eager ivy I regularly reached beyond my confines, stretched with a flourish across any flowerbed, fence or tree trunk that allowed me to take hold. Today there is only the scent of apples to remember your skin by, a ribbon of moonlight to trace your lips in the dark. Always, ever, forever, never. I touch my cheek in remembrance, since any spot where two people have been talking, however briefly, is not after that a spot for one person to sit alone.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Almost Said

Perhaps I had almost said, Are you happy? And you had almost said, No. And I had almost said, Everything seems to go badly. And you had almost said, I know.

Maybe I had almost said, Let me help you. And you had almost said, What can you do? And for a time we had almost carried on this type of meaningless, insincere conversation. Yet just as we had almost stretched our arms to each other and supported something in our joined hands, this very thing we were holding skidded through empty air before evaporating like a gas that disappears the moment the sulky yet deceptive beauty of any almost becomes clear.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

After The Tornado

Perhaps like a woman seated at the kitchen table being interviewed just a few steps away from the tree that has recently fallen through the ceiling of her living room, the sound of annihilation is something you never forget, I explain. Even as bathroom walls collapse and parts of the roof blow off into the yard you will continue to experience the thunderous ripping and splitting off of structures that once contained you long after the upheaval has gone.

Maybe while triple-stepping to the cha-cha-cha of your accelerated heartbeat, pain from the shoes you've outgrown will further fuel your inner thrum and pang of personal loss. Feeling as out-of-place as chicken wire hanging from a power line or a bathtub in a tree, your survival speaks the language of a cautious belonging. When the noise of disaster dissipates, the litany of who did what to whom and what went wrong so very long ago abruptly stops.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

What One Remembers

Perhaps when I was seven, I first heard a murmuring. The murmuring grew into music as I stood there, puzzled, looking up at the slow drifting clouds to see if they were the music’s source. A sweet melody featuring violins, horns and drums filled my mind, a song as true to me as the sweltering sun. The notes continued until all the clouds moved away, leaving nothing but sky. The song was gone as mysteriously as it had come.

Maybe what one remembers is a clue to what one wants to be. As the only daughter of an only daughter, I struggle each day to build an inner warmth toward myself, asking questions of a familiar story I don’t always understand the answers to. This reminiscing is a bit like singing. The words make sounds, and the sounds keep other thoughts away. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a form of telling by forgiving, but after a while I stop wondering what it all means since it has all become a part of me.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

After the Flood

Perhaps in a dream a community of people dig in mud to unearth large pieces of mirror. Children assemble the fragments over soggy ground in a jagged advance, reflective side up. The community gathers around the glass and gaze across the watery expanse. Their collective faces reflect the vaulted heavens where clouds and tempests gather; where thunder and lightning are produced.

Maybe upon waking, I climb down stairs soft with mildewed carpet. Weather-ripped draperies lie bunched on the floor and a fallen chandelier jewels the muck. In my mind where all possible details have been combined, sentences spin off in unsuspected directions and there is too much to point to all at once. I turn the landscape into language, and that’s when I finally wake up.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Personal Seismology

Perhaps though we wake, sleep and eat in a warped habitat of plastic-bagged bread and artificial light, my body is a divine spark. When I blink the stars flicker, and lightning strikes each time I clap my hands. An exhale of breath pushes clouds across the sky, and the movement of waves rolls into and out of shore with the rhythmic beating of my heart.

Maybe every time I miss you there’s a silent earthquake inside. Lying on a bed of cold pebbles with cool water washing over me, I am a leaf floating lightly away, drifting and twisting along a winding river into a vast ocean, becoming one with the world's greatest flood. Night and silence. The wind dies down. Stars go out one after the other as houses along the edge of the road quietly fold in on themselves.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Blue all down the wall

It seems strange, but possible, to use your troubles to take your mind off them - Mary Ruefle

Perhaps in my relationship with you, I passed through it like a net passes through water, passively snagging whatever happened to drift inside: a patterned white kerchief to wrap around your head, a dish of jet black ink left over from a calligraphy lesson, a drawer full of soft orange towels, your favorite red sandals, a couple of colorless books tucked beneath your pillow, your green, jingle-jangle voice.

Maybe, as you now know, I have kept no souvenirs of our relationship. I don’t want to be a tourist in my own life. No recordings of me weeping very softly at first, then loud enough for you to hear. No journal entries detailing my sleepless nights waiting for you to die, which might be at any time. No more wondering about it. No more walking around with a frown. No memory of you playing my Chim Chim Cher-ee piano music on your violin. Is it possible? I would have liked to have asked you. Yes, since they are both “C” instruments, you no doubt would have replied.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

As a Flock of Robins

Perhaps as a flock of robins emerges from the golden leaves of the autumn vineyard, their airborne bodies fleck the sky. Dark at a distance, ashen forms follow my eyes dis- and re- assembling.

Maybe from below as I gaze up straight the flock washes overhead, chilly air coming to life with the electric wind of wings. Is it not the same with us?  I marvel at the brilliant red of their breasts streaking by in countless similarity.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Event Horizon

Perhaps the grandfather is frail and old with hair so white it might be made of snow or whipped cream. He speaks a mixture of cloud and wind and tells stories that all end the same, with him sitting on the rim of a very, very deep pit that emits a gravitational pull so great as to make his escape impossible.

Maybe from the children’s point of view, the grandfather is always waiting for something to happen. Some days he is waiting at the window for a new pizza parlor to open across the street, other days at the door for someone to come back from the store with a gallon of milk. Whenever the grandfather brushes his teeth, cooks a grilled cheese, or tells a story he does it in a half-hearted way, as if to show this small action is only a diversion from the main business of waiting. A hole in the ground on earth is only a hole because of gravity, he explains to the children. But beware. It's also a thing you can easily fall into.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Strange Matter

Perhaps when you enter the home everything is there – furniture, clothes, laptop, piles of paper, coffee cups – but it has all been inverted so the that the floor is the ceiling and the home is upside down. You enter the home through a small doorway called The Title.  At first glance, the home reads like an M.C. Escher-esque installation of words, with stanzas of phrases forming staircases that don’t actually connect. On the second floor of the home there’s a cozy balcony with a couch and Scottish blankets, which appears to be an ideal place to view the home in its entirety. Then you realize that you’ve been tricked. What you imagine you see below the balcony is just a reflection of what’s above.

Maybe you will find the circularity of the home surprising. Since much of the navigation of it is in the belief of progress  that the point left behind when venturing forward is fixed  a feeling of having committed an error when moving through the home is virtually guaranteed by the fact that all sources of natural light have been concealed by angled partitions and that the route through the rooms is almost completely dark. As a visitor, you will only ever know where you are at in the home once you have arrived. Yet for all its strangeness, this dark, inverted home is amazingly stable. Above and behind you a fire is blazing at a distance, and at the end of the tour when a gift is presented you will be ecstatic when given dirt; less so when presented with flowers.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Untitled

Perhaps poets are liars obsessed with cereal. Take for instance, Fruit Loops. No bitter edges to disturb the sweet, sugary curves. All sharp corners of love replaced with nonexistent simplicity and colorful nuance.

Maybe as poets create something parallel to what they know there is always some progress, even when things are at their worst, because at least they don’t have to do over again all the negative things they’ve already done. Is it their point to show us how it is possible to do something by undoing it? As everything is disappearing more than once, once more, sometimes one has to dare to give the final brushstroke that makes everything one has done up to a certain point disappear.  Some like to imagine a cosmic mother watching over us from the night sky the poet writes as she places six quarters in the vending machine and a can of root beer tumbles out like a body falling from the stars.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Inner Life

Perhaps when zooming in on a leaf jagged patterns that seem random are, upon close inspection, predictable. So it is with the inner life. Deer move through it, of course, as do the wending paths of birds and the roughness of sidewalks.

Maybe every evening as I very gently tell myself to sleep, thoughts inside seconds and minutes escape as do feelings, both briefer and longer lasting. Don't be afraid of a little chaos (they say) as you are moving things around in bits and pieces. As long as you keep things moving you will be fine. Spiraling from one beginning to another ending may get to feel vertiginous. Inhale slowly, deeply as evening breezes fill all rifts and splits with the crisp fragrance of pine.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

What if This Were Enough?

Perhaps anything and everything we say is a curse that encroaches on someone else’s experience. Words only set us up to have conflicting stories with everyone. With our words, what should come across as an inclusive, all-encompassing account of what it means to be human, is instead a tale that presents only one version of our fractured, tough, protected selves.

Maybe this ongoing story of the intersection of my life with others, constantly recorded and updated, can be checked at any time, much like an email. And while the creative act introduces me to a pleasurable place where I am able to strive and at the same time forget myself, what if each new word I write contains the same message that has come before, so in a way my own words continually come back to me instead of ever truly being sent out?

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Swipe Tap Love

Perhaps while sitting alone at the cafĂ© the brightened screen of my phone reminds me that a catastrophe is unfolding somewhere in the world. As I savor the first sip of steaming peppermint tea, my mind momentarily calms its draw to the rushing stream of world conflict spanning moments, months, and millennia that remains forever at my fingertips with tweets, pings and alerts yet to be received that I can’t and for some reason feel powerless to ever wish to control.

Maybe as I quietly strive to meet the demands of my digital existence with taps, swipes, and scrolls all around me people chat or quietly read books. There is a pleasant smell of baked goods, full of warmth and life, and for a moment I pause to enjoy the golden peace of a world delivered between the crisp layers of a buttery croissant.