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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Cloud Spa

Perhaps I arrive to find myself in the center of a cottony flock, busy clearing daylight from the dark as I bloom into a soft, rosy circle in which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere. I see you arriving in the distance. You are the high, dry morning. You rise and sink, a kind of sun.

Maybe whatever hour I wake at night, there is a door opening. Soft-eared, I do not know I am made from sky until you uncloud me. I barely stir when you come through the grasses. Sound asleep, love upon my lips, I dream how it is to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Pomegranate

Perhaps the world is already ready and willing to give you anything. Today grass ignites on the hillside in a roaring spring fire – with green the color of its flame. Blue bird, song sparrow and redwing shout silvery glees to moist fields and meadows as shrubs and saplings, appearing dead from root to twining vine, push forth buds once again to eternity. A fresh wind slides eastward over the surface of all that is awakened, until it reaches the living surface beyond. 

Maybe just as it is glorious to behold a ribbon of water sparkling in the sun, or the bare face of a pond with the joy of fishes within, there is much to accomplish today. Knife in hand, you wonder how to best penetrate the hard outer shell of the bumpy orb-like fruit to get at the slumbering goodness inside. To begin, remove the flower from the top and cut at an angle. Once split open, be prepared for the one big, sweet juicy mess of all the jewels of the world to tumble out.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Place (flowering)

Perhaps I wandered into a place that pretended to be as carefully mapped as a labyrinth, with an outer edge but no center. So much was happening, and I was too alert and alive to keep a single focus: dark-colored spores and fungus threads catching rides on the backs of mites; young box turtles sifting through layers of dead leaves while on the hunt. Here, trees were so much more than roots and branches, and big bouquets of showy flowers roped by sprays of nectar drenched me with splashes of scent and sweetness. Limb to limb I climbed upward until my arms ached. It grew dark. To my astonishment I fell asleep. When I woke at dawn I was happy to see I was still surrounded by trees, up where the flowers are.

Maybe as I doze in the high canopy, butterfly wings brushing colorful petals carry pollen aloft. A group of birds steadily gathers beneath me, sifting the soil with their beaks, searching for more than just seeds. In the center of older trees a dark aromatic wood is steadily forming, bringing with it a pithy maturity and heart. Buzzards drift above in lofty airborne circles, illuminating the way to all who feel hopeless, orphaned, abandoned or invisible to themselves.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Lovers

Perhaps the heart of a moth hides a house of spark. It is a prick of plush, part blood, part chalice. This heart runs a most beautiful path around any dread much as the heart of a butterfly rifts in petals of lift to embrace the crisp swoop of dawn – a true window to trills, leaps and soars.

Maybe while the heart of a wasp is a czar that cannot be confined, it may be best to leave her nest alone. Is it really worth all the sting to bother her? Blue-quilted silks veil the gusty hearts of damselflies darting and dashing in fitful dreams of mist through shifts of leafy trees, gilded wings barely visible. So it was when love slipped inside of us. 


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Old Growth

Perhaps life did not always exist on this planet. Yet at any time we can experience the results. Like it or not, it is the mysterious work of our own hands that returns to entertain us generation after generation in unthinkable shapes, colors, and forms. 

Maybe the image in my mind of this lonely blue marble (only half illuminated at any given moment) afloat in a vast and endless sea of darkness, leads me to ponder how it was that single-cell entities emerged that could so easily spin sunlight into substance. How is it a place that was once lifeless rock could make way for salt water, humpback whales, and scientists with neuston nets measuring the health of ocean ecosystems worldwide? Even now, we are the victory and battlefield all at once as life evolves in thriving layers accompanied by shifting shapes of a darkened hemisphere unleashed beneath us in all her disturbing splendor. And so this will be for a very long time.  


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Anything else but

Perhaps we do not live by anything else but what is necessary. It is what rises in the trees, what lifts our arms and drives our hands to trace natural exchanges between distant oceans, rivers and clouds. It bathes us continuously and enters into us as bread, as wine, as fruit. It allows all human hearts to sing two notes at once – one rising, one falling, and is perhaps, in its diverse forms, the only thing in the universe that constitutes a force opposed to gravity.

Maybe when I am alone in the early morning, I am a deep quiet pool that allows this exchange to surface. It feels safe to be me, exactly where I want to be. The new day sends out a small wind, carries a bee along, lifts pollen from the grasses as the open cup of a poppy radiating with a coolness contained in the center of her stem beckons to the warm heart of a bird in search of her favorite nesting spot.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Her Garden of Roses

Perhaps it’s that quiet way she shows up, so unexpectedly into our lives, assuring us we will rise from the ashes, giving us all we need to survive and thrive in this difficult time. She’s as soothing as the color blue, resting above us like a cloud, nourishing the garden she herself planted seed by seed, row by row, thought by thought. 

Maybe to sing until death is a form of life in which all remembering is forward facing she tells me, reaching for my hand, leading my attention away from the modern compulsion to be both everywhere and nowhere at once. As devotional hymns emerge like fragrant, melodic blossoms from the depths of my chest, sweetening my lips and softening the manic palpitations of my heart, I have the impression that I am not alone – that there really are two of us. 


Sunday, January 3, 2021

New Year's Day 2021

Perhaps today we can say that if she hadn’t in some way filled the void we would have fallen into it and died, and that yet, in our eyes, the way she had chosen was the most offensive one. But at the time in the piercing light of our cold stares, she couldn’t help but feel guilty of holding back something that would come and explain everything to us later, conversing in a calm and private silence.

Maybe as unfolding events went muddled in our minds, she squeezed our wrists hard, as if she wanted to harm us. As she paced up and down the waiting room, launching into a tirade of complaints because we weren’t paying any attention to her, we found we had lost our voices. When we finally opened our mouths to speak to her knowing that she wouldn’t be able to hear us, like stars that guide only in brightest daylight, in that brief moment, the heaviness bearing down upon us lifted. Happy New Year! we sang to her in a chorus of our best voices wrapped with bright, metallic paper - practically shouting, nearly shining, almost crying. 


Monday, December 14, 2020

2020

Perhaps a dark shape materializes in the middle of an iced road. It’s too late, too slick, to stop—when the animal turns to kiss the headlights. Everything slow and muted in the storm, the animal levitating now and passing through glass, an apparition. It nestles neatly into our laps, we the passengers, whose mouths, open and cavernous, are now the ghostly ones—white-faced and wailing. We pull off the road, and the hazards blink as something reaches through…

Maybe autumn has gone, but spring has not yet come. The branches of the trees lay bare, without buds, in the cold air full of sunshine. The light of the day arises, shines forth in splendor, and fades away so the moon and stars can enter through the window. At times we fall silent, take some bread from a cupboard, and share it. This bread really has the taste of bread. I have never found this taste again. Yet how am I to know if I remember rightly?  


Saturday, October 10, 2020

No Color (for Tess)

Perhaps the sun is not yellow. Most of the time daylight has no color at all. What if the sun is really a hole in the sky, and that is why we should never look directly at it? What if the sun is really the color of everything we wish we could have simply forgotten...or perhaps it's the color of a crowd of parents and children coming to our rescue.

Maybe yellow is the color of all things round and whole and dying like the sun that possess a certain sadness. Maybe it's a loose ball rolling out into the street tempting a young child to follow it, or the improved grip and spin of brand-new skateboard wheels. One of her sisters hated the color yellow, the nicotine stains between her fingers, the fields of dry grasses at the end of summer. Maybe yellow is a kind of dreaming without knowing that populates night after night of unsatisfying sleep, so scattered and shallow.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

The World is Quieter Now

Perhaps in these late last days we spend much of our time in bed but like mountain climbers in a nightmare we can never reach sleep, for it is the untiming of time that is our project. We work on lifting ticks from the clock and freezing them the way that furniture and light are frozen in time in some of our favorite paintings.

Maybe just as experienced firefighters take pause to hear the faintest crackle or pop that will signal the flames' approach, we quietly await the finale we know is destined to come. Our bags are packed to overflowing, yet so much remains on shelves and in closets. Evacuation orders accumulate on the lock screens of our phones foretelling another night of sprinklers on the roof. We climb towards sleep accompanied by a song that sounds a lot like falling rain, but isn't. 

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.