Wednesday, December 23, 2015

This Strange Something

Perhaps something is creeping around the forest waiting to be seen, felt and heard. A strangeness that comes into everything growing. A dim but distinct luminosity that inheres in all.

Maybe this strange something will eventually lodge itself in stars, stars that swell to dawns that burst forth into fountains of gold, rose and purple where birds sing in hidden gardens behind the perfume of trellised vines. Before long a sleek black cat will rise, yawning, and the change will become apparent to our skin, ears and eyes, prepared for almost anything now, and we won't be surprised when news beyond any mind’s guessing comes in a way which can not be easily told since no one knows for certain where it came from, or where it will go.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Moments of Sleep at Night

Perhaps moments of sleep at night are the distances from star to star, as dreams – expressions of the day’s sight, song and sound – weave themselves together and follow each other like fireflies, as if all of this singing, flying and dancing was a job.

Maybe even as we are made to know little of our dreams, they most certainly know us. All through the day they go where we go, move as we move, and are privy to our innermost thoughts. Over time, as we are constantly dreaming – sometimes with open eyes and sometimes with eyes closed – we become as dreams ourselves, vanishing as if dust into a mounting wind, leaving behind no trail. Where can we go to find ourselves again? Such things cannot be easily spoken of.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Resisting Intelligence

Perhaps we are engaged in an endless war that never feels like a war. As our torturers turn affectionate, offering us free Vitamin Water, they whisper, there’s no chance of getting out of this, but we admire your willpower to remain as swollen doors that require strong shoulders to push them open, we really do.

Maybe, as roped and shackled prisoners sweating and suffering, often out of breath, we have cried out every name we can think of to describe that living part of us that has gradually slipped away to the cemetery in an effort to throw them off. Part still-formed twin of the very garden that founded us, we resist becoming the blank glare of a square luminous flux without shadow, the child’s afternoon without the child.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

As If

Perhaps once again, the room itself is the “elephant in the room”. Because we cannot see it, cannot put a finger on it, this Here and Now, so fleeting, continues to require and concern us. It is the screened-in porch open year-round.

Maybe as we sit with our cup of melting ice cubes, wincing from yet another loss at the roulette wheel, we continue to risk everything we own. Hour after hour, we are birds circling a full cylinder of sunflower seeds but never landing, searching for that thing we are looking for but cannot name, that thing we would know if only we saw it, that thing that has moved into our bodies and multiplied in every tissue.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

This Forgotten Language

Perhaps while sitting in your chair, you simply disappear. Then what would be the point of remaining occupied, always doing something, obsessed with action, if whatever you had done also disappears; if everything you once started and were currently working on was suddenly finished?

Maybe for just a half-second you are not… and then you are again, and the world continues. Your eyes are open, the flower is there. This forgotten language that surrounds you has wide arms to welcome you. All along, it has been awaiting your attention.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ingenuity is Equal to the Maze

Perhaps the times when nobody is in the landscape are silent and lonely. Yet there are inconsistencies. It is not that there is nothing to say when there is nobody there to say it. This can go on and on… 

Maybe knowing my craft tells me we are not all brave. We may have to trust ourselves. I have had some expectations, and observed that the vast sky did not hinder those small white clouds from flying, but it is no use trying to look on it as a calling, or to look on it as not a calling. Better to let things come and let things go.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Where was I?

Perhaps the mind is a book of lost images – spidery notes written in a wiry hand, a thing to be poured over and decoded –a map without a key or cross. A thing thus pursued by the mind often comes to resemble a dot on the horizon getting smaller and smaller until it is swallowed up by the landscape and only the voice remains - the utterance of a soundless sound.

Maybe as we maneuver these dimly-lit grey corridors of paths near-missing, overlapping but never quite converging, we are only likely to find what we are looking for while looking for something else. It must be there, somewhere. Go back. You will be able to find it if you try, because it is there. It is all there. Just unroll it and, frame by frame, examine the film.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Becoming The Poem

Perhaps once erased a poem can start,  yet how to end while just beginning to question why the light lifts a little earlier today than yesterday as the sun sets over open water, darkening tips of sails and folding closed the wings of open clouds.

Maybe writing is the medium that permits movement after, against, along, amid, through, across, and beyond. Words as protection, as projection - and though my powers are not perfect, this is what I have decided to do with my life just now: I will begin as poet, then slowly become the poem.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Summer's Last Words

Perhaps summer’s last words are still tender on my eardrum. Today her emptiness has put on weight as a new season descends on either side of me, streaked with gold – fiery leaves laden with farewells that speak my name between tall trees and vineyard rows, whispered with a brilliant hissing.

Maybe as I watch the tired bird of her body leaving the land, licking roses of their petals and seeding spring crops of thistle, there is a restlessness to her reddish glow, as if she is late to hear her own slow, sweet song vanishing behind the lit woods. I cut the last leaf of fragrant basil and she is gone. I do not know who has closed the window.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

This is Time (guest post by Eihei Dogen)

Perhaps arriving is overwhelmed by arriving, but not by not-arriving. Not arriving is overwhelmed by not-arriving, but not by arriving. Words overwhelm words and see words. Mind overwhelms mind and sees mind.

Maybe overwhelming overwhelms overwhelming and sees overwhelming. Overwhelming is nothing but overwhelming. As overwhelming is caused by you, there is no overwhelming that is separate from you. Thus you go out and meet someone. Someone meets someone. You meet yourself. Going out means going out. This is time.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Time Transfixed

Perhaps it rounds the corner just as you approach, leading you ever onward. You see nothing but its back. It tells you what you want to know, and you reserve the future because of it. You follow it through the daily motions of name, address, date of birth.

Yet maybe while its presence can be easily felt in the long held note of a coyote, you still know nothing about its color. A nothing of a color that persists and persists and persists. And so you will not miss it as it hovers, then disappears, slowed to the point of contemplation. In its place a dazzling golden sunflower whose plucked petals fly one-by-one, lit by bits of sunshine, upward in a sudden swirl of fragrant, cylindrical wind.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

One Art

Perhaps a sentence that enters the body through the eye is taking the long road, not a shortcut. And while a page of text is a lovely thing to handle and see in perfect silence, once it begins to speak and sing inside me, I want to know how far it likes to walk.

Maybe words rest on the assumption that language comes out of the mouth. Yet a good sentence fits the entire human body: heart, hands and feet, ankle, knees and elbows as well as tongue. Words wander along the rooted edge of the tight-lipped, light-tipped grass as I forage for a story grown from seed on this quiet summer morning. It is very lonely living with them lost.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Single Something Finished

Perhaps the idea of life as a single something finished is as fleeting as a whirl of smoke from a winter chimney. One life doesn't follow a single path but many, changing unremittingly over time.

Maybe for some life starts out as a squawking flock of geese flying north, shaped like a flame, that later becomes a crowd combing the beach for diamonds washed to shore from a pirate's loot. For others life begins as an approaching wall of black clouds dissolving into a purple sunset, eventually culminating in a quiet pile of leaves decaying on the back porch.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Between Two Horizons

Perhaps plants grow in the meadow and very high in the mountains that are the front and back of one body. When I gather and eat the seven herbs of spring, my spirit becomes gentle and calm.

Maybe if children eat the insects living in trees, this will cure their violent crying tantrums. Moths, if you shake the powder from their wings first, are very tasty. That is to say, if one accepts what is near at hand, all goes well.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Following the Line

Perhaps a small gleam begins to touch the edge of things. It happens without much fuss. Deer that stand still as trees with their color blending in suddenly become visible as they lift their heads to smell the wet, sweet air that belongs to creeks, trees and clouds.

Maybe the presence of a chickadee on the low branch of a birch, curious and spilling silver notes, flashes in the gentle morning as my eyes follow the soft gray streak of a dove racing over the vineyard toward the afternoon's warmth. I follow along the edge without lifting my attention from the delicate rustle of my stride, as if creating a blind contour drawing from words and wings to keep the line alive.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Focal Point is Everywhere

another oldie! Enjoy. Hope to post some new poems soon...

Perhaps the steady buzz and whir of insects in the field around me draws my attention to a sparkling flower, no bigger than a snowflake. Moving my eye itself when looking at something that doesn't move deepens my sense of calm.

Maybe, with a simple tilt of my head, a different kind of world is made to appear that says: when too much is still not enough, or is an echo of what is yet to be, I should listen to the insects until I no longer hear them. Last week’s lilacs cast fragrant shadows against the curve of my wrist. Sun-warmed distances to be worshiped without ever knowing.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Interior Paramour (collaboration with Wallace Stevens)

Perhaps there is no greater pleasure than to live two hours out of twelve in a different world. It is like love at first sight – if the author is just right. An eye blinks, a muscle shifts, and I am glad to be under the spell. The sky brightens behind the glass, room swirling with the fragrance of my lover’s words like a sweet colored smoke.

Maybe here, now, we forget each other and ourselves. We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole, a knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous. We think the world imagined is the ultimate good. It is in that thought that we collect ourselves.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Atlas of Goodbyes #3 (a collaboration with Tess P)

Perhaps it is a small gesture that we practice saying goodbye to you in this way – you are everywhere: postcards, baseball hats, sweatshirts, tote bags, water bottles, coffee cups, Christmas cards and so on… (should I mention bumper stickers?).  Perhaps you will survive some adaptation. Your beauty and that of the frozen landscape is disappearing, a diminishing resource. Today the news of over-crowded, capsized boats on the Mediterranean Sea.  Lost forever, no looking back, a chance taken knowing death was there, willing to barter with life for a just life. How can I speak of both of you? Why?

Maybe as the first soft peach decree of light descends upon what remains of our great decision, its illumination appears small and scattered. We pass by a clearcut forest, and immediately notice the absence of shadow once cast by spreading branches and sprawling, silvery trunks. Sometimes a rush of doves reminds us that the world is a place where mystery does not ask of us to be mistaken for its being. It is as if the tight weave of shiny threads that capture dolphins in the reflective nets of our making tug our attention away from the urgency of the dark stain spreading out from behind the fishing boat, the horizon turning brown.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Thinking Through the Heart (with Tess P)

The spirit of life, which hath its dwelling in the secretest chamber of the heart - Dante

as a blue lake holds the eye accountable to its borders, what we experience of the world is first routed through the heart. The heart, which possesses the same neurons as the brain, stores memories, of which I could tell you wonders. My sweetest loves speak to me there as delicate traces of the past dislodge and sparkle deep within the dark oozy liquid that radiates to all points well beyond the fingertips of my extended palm.

Maybe somewhere between the tall silo and the shed, you held your hands out to us and we, as if invited and could choose, fell into its vortex of galaxies and swimming stars. Strange murmurs of the voices of our past entwined with songs of children yet born. We heard in a new language, and we knew for that moment that the world would go on because of your beating heart and your blood that you freely gave to us, your blood that is everywhere in the smells of the milking room, sweet, thick, and warm from the sun  and putrid as the decayed souls that linger in the hay.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Only in the night sometimes one seems to know the road (guest post by Rainer Marie Rilke)

Perhaps we always retrace by night the stretch we have won laboriously in the foreign sun?

Maybe. The sun is heavy, as with us deep in summer at home. But we took our leave in summer. The women’s dresses shone long out of the green. And we have been riding long. So it must be autumn. At least there, where sorrowful women know of us.

 from The Lay of the Love and Death of Cornet Christopher Rilke translated by M.D. Herter Norton

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Atlas of Goodbyes #2 (guest post by Tania Pryputniewicz)

Perhaps I feel your absence more keenly beside you four months before we marry in February chill of river house, startled awake on a fold-out couch under shelves of Greek amphoras and Turkish grave rubbings chalked by your grandmother’s hands.

Or maybe it was just a dream, not sighting with weight of prophecy, those silhouettes of snakes tipping Trident inches above us, red brine frothing like scorched cider, Neptune’s conditional permission to love you. Don’t forget, he added, your lover is of the sea. One day I will bring him home to me. His words fell contextless in the days before black seams of episiotomies, sting of newborn gum-bones on breast. How dare you take him before we begin.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Atlas of Goodbyes #1

Perhaps I feel your absence today in a loosening lull in the rain after a clap of thunder shakes the upper windows of the house that once spoke to me alone when I leaned my elbows along the delicate edge of her windowsills.

Maybe as I recall the pivotal scene of our parting, a performance of memory I’ve become expert on, the permanent sting feels unnatural like a cat that can’t relax or a persistent tingle traveling across my scalp held in momentarily by the music’s easy beat, cold drink in hand, the comfort of small talk.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Perhaps like a jewel in the hollow of my hand time’s silence shines in the moonlight of my dreams, well outside the daily hustle and thrum that cloaks the world’s divinity.

Maybe as we run on like hungry goats trampling and trespassing on land that is preserved, waiting is the calm within our agitation and patience the art that allows us to access a new point of tangency where each creative act is a muddled attempt to enter the stream.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hands (inspired by Sandy Frank)

Perhaps the fingers of one’s hands are the artist’s fluttering pennants of promise – forever striving and restless like the beating wings of an imprisoned bird.

Maybe if hands could speak they would take on the voice of a wise old man. You must try to forget all you have learned, they would say. You must begin to dream. For we don’t yet know the happiness to be found in hands, in the same way we might savor the sight of daisies in a field, or the sound of snow falling at night. Outside my window, dogs bark for no reason. Inside my teacup, what comes warm is good warm.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Looking Backward (with Tess P)

Perhaps looking backward for the truth and measure of one's life is useless because the shepherd quickens and disappears like the light that breaks the flight of starlings; or truth knocks like the woodpecker on the house; you leave the house to yell, Get off! Go away! and she's flown far beyond the trees. Last night, I tossed in sleep as if my limbs were branches heavy from a slow, tender rain that freezes in winter. In the heavy waking when "why am I not sleeping?" is the question, there, what I took for milk was mud, what I held as dirt was sweet and strange, a truth so twisted and spiraled, one need only climb into the clouds and it's quick to take your hand.

tonight with a new, warm mossy sleep nestled deep into the curve of my back, I immerse myself into clouded thoughts of the places I feel the tiredest. Eyes closed, I wander straight into the weight of a continuous rain that does not ripple my rising surface but swells into a stretching lake that mimics my reaching arms – sediment filling me to waking as my face, like a satellite moon, reflects the promise of the night’s swampy sowing.