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Saturday, November 4, 2017

It remains dark

Perhaps within neighborhoods of charred abandoned homes prepped for Halloween, snarled pseudo-spider webs and molten plastic tombstones sent through a ruthless furnace lie quietly next to roof debris and rubble. The children are nowhere in sight. With so many lives still on hold even as the seasonal holiday approaches, in our nervousness we refresh google-maps constantly, expectantly await more disaster alerts to flood in on our cellphones. 

Maybe there are lull periods with nothing to do, no one walking outside. Those still concerned for their health breathe hotly into white paper masks – not the usual masks for this time of year. As inky particles of ash blow silently into dreams and back out again, backyard after backyard of black toothpick trees and madly tilting chimneys ask us, Where do we start? How do we begin again? Residents of the few homes still standing would like to build a fence to hide what happened to their neighborhood. But there is no fence tall enough. 


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Prickly Purple Beauty

Perhaps the prickly purple beauty of thistle flower tints the summer seaside with lavender crowns. She feels at home here in these gilded hills, sparkling in her element as an amethyst jewel – each showy filigree orb perched on a silvery stem hemmed with the rich, royal green spiked collar of her imperial costume.

Maybe she is a no more than a troublesome weed, you say. With her stubborn, invasive root system and impenetrable armor of sharp thorns she is not easy to remove. Though she may choke your garden, come first and visit her on this secluded seaside trail, and see her as I see her. Greet her with the same sweet morning song of sunshine that opens your own soft violet eyes. Watch how industrious bees and idle butterflies alike are drawn to drink her dew. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

orange of

Perhaps the eerie, glowing orange of today's midday sun summons the midnight panic of hands reaching for family pets, photographs, passwords and passports with only minutes to spare. We have no desire to eat or speak as long as the soot of last night's hungry, weary witching hour infuses this peachy air – an air charged with particles too dangerous to breathe in yet impossible to flee – microscopic motes of heartbreak clinging to our cars, mailboxes, and entering our bloodstreams, scattering like loose petals in a fluttering avalanche of whirl and whim.

Maybe the grey that remains of what is lost kneels before each family. Twists of molten glass, shards of chipped and blackened plates, a child’s toy somehow untouched, a scorched coffee cup. Meanwhile this dusty citrus sheen of sunlight continues to illuminate the black skeletons of trees and florescent orange cones marking evacuated neighborhoods, the pumpkin-orange vests of volunteers combing the debris for human remains, a color so bright no one can bear to look at it for long.
  

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The kind of red

Perhaps it is the kind of red that tastes of late-September strawberries ripening under their dark-haired leaves, the sweetness of nature’s last hurrah sugaring the pink edge of my tongue – or the red over-ripe scent of forgotten apples left on the tree too long; a heavy, somber fragrance souring the air that follows my footsteps on this early morning walk.

Or maybe it is the kind of red that belongs to police lights swiveling into the dimly lit kitchens of neighbors coaxing their children to finish their breakfasts and get ready for school. The deafening shriek of sirens that filled my ears the morning you lost your son. I remember tugging at my own son to get dressed, brush his hair, zip his jacket, and put on his shoes as we ventured out into the cold red sunrise that hurt my eyes already red and wet from crying and I kissed him goodbye at the door of his kindergarten classroom.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Landmarks

Perhaps it is a way of being lost without having gone anywhere, like arriving at a cottage where all the year’s flowers bloom at once. The day begins with a long walk over land edged with the vivid blue of sky and white clouds overhead close enough to touch.

Maybe there is not one single open place, no path to walk along.  You attempt to follow the tracks of a rabbit, your feet crushing dandelion stalks sprinkled with dust. Thorns, briars and brambles fill the space of the open dry ground, until all the land looks alike. Up close the wide open vista dissolves into texture, into incoherence. You resolve, try again, and move along in stutters, starts, and stops.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Imperfect

Perhaps a story, like a person, remains imperfect, incomplete, during its entire existence. Each and every masterpiece of digression is a person on the beach tentatively touching his or her toes to the edge of the sprawling sea. It is a Mobius strip in which the first and last lines and all unfinished fragments in between link up to frame a unique, never-ending cycle of creation – a beautiful reminder that new views appear with every footstep and rays of understanding will always illuminate what needs to be seen.

Maybe in the cool spring twilight, water in the stream drips between rocks and I remember when you turned fourteen. We read The Odyssey together, and in the midst of the story's high drama you questioned the preferential intervention of the Gods. At the point when Odysseus’ men grew so full of despair at the hopelessness of their situation that they broke into weeping, I felt a glimmer of clarity. Waiting for the light of the rising moon I stand up and look out past the gathering darkness still waiting for you, you who promised to visit me.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Camelot

Perhaps because I am able to love you today, happiness follows me like a shadow. The saint to be appreciated and the animal to be condemned that have always existed inside of me dissolve into one. I am at ease, like a sky deciding to become one kind of weather. I am a painting of birds, a metaphor for what I might call joy, for what you might call light.

Maybe Camelot, located nowhere in particular, can be found anywhere. Any one brief, shining moment in which we accept whatsoever is the case, without praising it or detecting faults. Next, we pick a language from what we're given as twigs collect by the side of the path and wild flowers space themselves along the meadow. Your arm reaching toward me becomes what I might call a wing - what you might call a knife.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bells of Dawn




Not the best quality video, but beautiful sound!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxmbMUq9Mbw

Origin of Flux

Perhaps that which has happened can unhappen at any moment. I take a breath in, and I immediately have to throw one out again. The edge of day, which appears fixed in the mosaic of my eye, is even closer than it seems as it pulls away from me into the passing hours, days, months and years of a lifetime.

Maybe as I strive to direct my life according to the possible, memories occur, like rain clouds journeying west to east pressured by wind. These memories are neither small nor large; they are neither here nor elsewhere. They are the depth and echo of a future time; horses elegant and bright. Their galloping doesn’t mean they have come from elsewhere. Here when they are here, here before they were here, here after they were here – they are from no place from which I could ever orient myself.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Law of the Three

Perhaps everything is divided into three. The true, the good, the beautiful.  Existence, consciousness, and bliss. The seer, the seen, and their relationship. And what about the proton, neutron and electron? No one has seen electrons, yet it is mathematically assumed they are there.

Maybe, even about electrons, very little can be said. Physicists claim that now that we have electrons, we have come to the limit of matter because electrons are not visible and have no material property. Yet electrons cannot be called non-matter either, because all matter consists of them. If they are neither matter nor non-matter, what to call them? In the meantime, the hypnotist goes on repeating the phrase there, at the center of that sleep until you fall so easily under her spell – so colorful, so attractive, so magnetizing. You raise your eyebrows and wink, the real world falling through your mind in glittering pieces.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

What is Misfortune?

Perhaps misfortune begins with a ringing in the left ear.  It moves on to issue bad weather: storms, extreme cold, thunder and lightning – before widening its scope to make room for an accident requiring surgery, a failed relationship, emergency dental work and a lost wallet. Beware – it will find you more easily if you convince yourself that it’s gone for good.

Maybe while holding your breath, you may get a chance to throw a knife at misfortune’s chest, or kick it square in the jaw, sending it flying backward into a pile of boxes. Either way it is one down, two to go. Yet even as the darkness of all former unfortunate moments crowd together within you, life itself presents you with a most mysterious gift.  The world paints the world with light as snow mounds melt to make way for crocus buds. No applause, no congratulations as heavy sheets of spring rain feel surprisingly warm and refreshing on your arm.  


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Like Birds

Perhaps children are like birds. Today see one thing, tomorrow another, yet remember nothing. They clamor for pebbles to build a toppling palace with, for flowers forgotten as soon as they are cut. With the invisible strings of a pretend bow they shoot a make-believe arrow into the open sky. As long as they don’t aim, they’ll never miss the mark. 

Maybe as the child in us departs, a shadow comes over our faces. But is it our fault? How happy we shall be! we proclaim in the pale tones of early morning after revisiting the youthful joy of singing a song out loud. Yet we are troubled to see that the once bright red bricks of the chimney have visibly darkened. A birdfeeder falls in the backyard, cracks and spills its seeds. We leave it on the ground.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Magician and His Wife

Perhaps the magician and his wife, now retired, live in a small house in the country surrounded by tulips. Each day the magician waters the tulips, and tells his wife about the flowers that have newly appeared. There goes the old man into the garden again, bent with a watering can in his shaking hand. His wife stands at the door and looks at him calmly.

Maybe the magician’s wife has seen this image a thousand times, yet sees it a little less well every time since her eyesight has weakened. She stands at the garden gate and calls out to him but he does not hear her voice. His eyes are grey and old and something in them is strange – one would like to say alive. The magician’s wife follows him and takes his arm. Together they stand at a threshold, yet dare not step over it. Dusk is gathering as they walk back into the house.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Nude in the Bath

Perhaps the woman with the invisible face is a constant source of mystery. Though not at the physical center of the composition, she is the main focus around which the room revolves.

Maybe even as she lies encased in a watery tomb constructed from the gleaming white rim of the tub, there is always a chance the woman will slip out of the picture at the lower edge. Her pink flesh tinged with lilac might for a time escape the flatness of the painting, and emerge from its suffocating color and light into a great wind that will carry her over tall grasses via a scheming, mischievous sky. Sunglasses in hand, the woman will arrive in a cold country in the middle of a heavy snowstorm. To make ends meet she will walk from door to door selling pencils and writing paper until someone invites her in for a cup of coffee. Then as her host proceeds to tell the most appalling tales that include the despicable conduct of the local people, the first step will have been taken. The woman will now be torn between wishful thinking and the idea that some way for her to leave this place will surely be found.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Best thing That Never Happened

Perhaps each day a woman falls under the spell of a man’s words and glances. She abandons herself to this onrush of love, clutching at her happiness as a child opens her arms to embrace the simplistic beauty of soul to whom the greater world is largely unknown.

Maybe even as the brightest hours in these fleeting days are overcast by the sadness of their imminent separation, the surrounding gloom only serves to make the love sweeter.  She had thought this kind of love impossible in the past and had believed it only existed fictitiously, to be read about in novels and poems. Holding hands, the couple disintegrates into the play of reflected light on the water opening out before them until all that remains is a mauve shadow of their shared memory that, bit by bit, begins to dissolve.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Your memory (guest post by Tess P)

Perhaps your memory is hazy as sea glass, smooth and etched into softer blues, subtle greens or chalky whites. The clarity of a window you passed long ago has faded. You remember church bells, the smell of basil, the day you found your car had been towed, but then the sun melts into the bay and here you are.

Maybe a bad memory is no memory at all, but a haunting. It could be a story someone told you, a newspaper column about a Japanese woman who died and was eaten by her cats, or the other stories you read for pleasure. Sometimes you wonder what’s behind that door you closed, the place where you came from, and then you're treading dark water. Your bad memory is like a stray dog that wanders off somewhere and once home, you think it may carry a disease or it must have ticks or fleas.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

new year's prayer)

Perhaps you are alone beneath a cold moon. You cannot speak. The bitter wind has pierced your thin clothes. What is it like to find yourself cradled by only the faint glimmer of distant stars? To be the other half of a long, dark night? What is it like to relinquish the middle and the edge, the last and the first in this silent interlude of dust and thought while awaiting the new morning’s light, unable to filter out the extraneous and grasp the essential of the new direction you find yourself traveling toward?

Maybe as you venture out into the dawn, a bird is watching you from every treetop. Light floods your fingers, and faint heartbeats of the year’s first flowers speak your thoughts. You smile as you did in babyhood: a calm, blooming face haloed in brightness. Something divine lives in the shape of your eyes and the movements of your eyelids as, caught in the glow of all things golden – hillsides, shade trees and fields – you approach me, your skin sprinkled with the sun’s sweet afternoon.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Clarity

Perhaps as we take our first steps into the brightness, the width of the water increases. How clear everything becomes here within the sound of the moving sea, as only this walking into it can reveal.

Maybe as we continue to wade out with no destination in mind the metallic, lucent green clear-like aquamarine slaps against our skin before bubbling to the shore in a lavender froth. We look into each other’s eyes and find the water there speaking to us via its flash and gleam. Just as we breathe without thinking.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Inauguration Day

Perhaps mind is the shadow of a cloudless sky passing over the choppy water of a wind-tossed sea. You have been thrown overboard. You may not even be aware of it. You have entered a liminal space, silent, bound by certain rituals and full of magic; tumbled into a landscape where only the blackbirds know your thoughts.

Maybe the bricks by which the structure of this threshold have been constructed were raised by sounds: each brick filled with feeling, filled with heart. You can only know this space by leaving that step upon which you are now standing. Suddenly all sounds come to you from everywhere, from all directions, falling on you from every side. You will feel a dizziness. Relax, and let everything enter. You have become more liquid; you have become more evanescent, praising as you go.