i stood in the snow with my foot pulled out from my winter boot, my winter boot full of snow, my sock falling off. i pulled from my toes my sock and there i was suddenly released into my hand, skin, foot, body. but whose foot? the skin was so smooth, the experience of meeting that body so sensual. I was only utilitarian, so how could this longing body and the longing i had for this body be me? and yet it was and i was overwhelmed like a woman surprised to find her lover in her bed waiting for her.
where you going, man? zink's having a party saturday night and then toad and the grim's going down to sputsville to play a gig. tina said you'd be there, man. we're all wearing like these outrageous wrestling masks and tina's guy, loose, has his hands on some freakjeek hits and we're gonna tear up the town, man. you can't leave.
ya, frank, i can. i told you i'm done with this. i can't take another roll. my head's all empty on air heavy as stone. it's one fucking table turn after another. and the cops again-
ya, matt! this is it! we're on the cusp of the revolution. it's us or them, man and they know it! this place in sputsville, it's supposed to be a ghost town except for the gig. something going on big in farqston next door. nobody to see when the pigs descend!
frank, when it's tits, ass and ball gags every saturday night and you're eating freakjeeks like pickled eggs, it's just another ordinary. i'm getting the fuck out. i'm done. i can't stand ordinary any more.
well- what the hell are you going do? i mean, where the hell do you go? if this is ordinary then what the fuck isn't ordinary?
i don't know. seems like if i go as far from here as i can get it'll be like i open the door and walk right back into this shit hole. frank, maybe i'll buy a suit. maybe kill a man, get married, buy a dog, live in the fucking woods.
wait, wait, wait! live in the woods? leave the fucking city?
ya, radical, eh? maybe tear this fucking face off and set myself on fire!
matt, matt, dude! settle down, man.
frank, that's just it. i don't want to. i don't fucking want to. and i don't want to do your brand of opposite either, your every bit as brandable counter revolution. it might as well have a logo. i'm done with it. i've got to get out of here and i've got to find the far enough that keeps me from opening the door that brings me right back to this fucking spot! i've got to find my way beyond it!
i stood at the desk in the stern white light that stripped me and made me anyone. the desk was a mass produced piece, infinitely mirrored in hospitals around the world, blond, chipped faux wood trim, modified perhaps even for a happy fit with office buildings for serious, competent and convincing business people to sit behind. i could have been looking for a stapler or filing a report, my hands on top of the surface were that common, but i wasn't. the heavens were crashing out from between my legs. hey, there rolled earth, zeus with his eagle-headed scepter! a dark mass edged down my white legs eclipsing me. is there anyone to check me in, i wondered with no one to ask. i needed a room in which to metamorphose. i'd be seeing god any moment, appointment or not. hello? his dark head crowned then, suspended by the muscle of me over the high sheen of linoleum. it would be a steady system of unlearning all these common things for him. he would have to practice no to staplers, reports, prefab furniture and polished floors. no even to god. my son would give god his own name in time; perhaps name him: that which disappoints, opiate, breast, love, insatiable appetite, black tree in fading light, or that weird-ass feeling of vertigo i tip toward near sleep. but for now my son shuddered through me a series of shutters losing their slats, a rush of bats throwing open my eyelids, surging through capillaries the way a wave escapes a kid's finger pushing shit from a worm. between my legs his ridiculous and dense head was like god in the body of a ram being squeezed into the thin skin of a grape. a cataclysm scraped along me, scoured over the incremental line. i held to the high note of pain at the desk for the black duration and then released beyond bones, allowed him to begin his movement from me. when he broke into being, breached the barrier between no sound and sound, he was finally breathing as thin as lanugo in fine white light. we remained then separate and wholly formed, somehow mirroring one another, two black shadows dumb with their reflections, happy with the light.
from down the hall i heard soft shoes running to find us a room.
the plum rose apple and what makes the plum rose apple: the sweet skin which contains it, the scent which is suggestion, the magically tolled description, the flag beckoning the mind, the flesh and the experience of the plum rose apple entering your ripe pink mouth bursting into its specific sense of being, the memory of it like a stain on a white sheet, put all of these into the form of the hammer and strike me. strike me pink and crimson. strike me until my shadow becomes my body. strike me until my body becomes the world vibrating like the bell. force me, atom by atom, to enter through this body and be catapulted beyond this body, finally released into that place where i desire/yearn/lean to/lust to live,
my daughter, my first born, my baby, is old enough to have bags under her eyes, to care about this, and to know the word concealer. i find my skin tone make-up in the bathroom, its cap off, the future and all its unpredictable faces at hand.
what if you set out with only the small story in mind, the woods, the cold, a cabin, a wood stove, cold hands, heat, soup warming; is there room still for failing; is there room enough for fruition? a man, a woman, 2 women, a woman and herself, a man and a dog, the deer distant, a crow circling, any variation, a life, a ledge with a pen, a chair, a sheet of paper, a shadow, a window. what more is there to want in a life? summer is coming. fall, and then winter will follow. the soup pot will empty. fill. empty.
i go into it over and over again to note it, to notice it, to find the bridge between us, like to kiss a baby's hands, to be filled with that wonder; to sit outside in the first warm day of spring, to cast oneself outward; to note the lover's skin and to be titillated by the anticipation of the moment of meeting it with your lip; to deliberate over and around the first bite of welcome and precious food.
going into it i take time, open the distance, so that i might pour myself into the gap and find my way up against it, to become the lover of that which is loved.
i was crouched down over my heels in the first rain of spring, the time in the north where thaw pulls her thin lip like a sheet up and over the still well made white bed of snow. i had been running, remarkably not cold, my hair and shirt soaked through, only a week ago struggling against the windchill. busy in the bushes, flitting from branch to branch in her searing perfection, was a solitary chickadee. i stopped to watch her. how is it possible that birds are so perfect, so precise, so made according to plan, a slit of white here like the gills of a fish (also remarkable!), a cap of black there like a lego man, the decisive feathers exactly but so of-coursely laid into a body, singular units each and yet plenty but its corpus as smooth as skin, or so it seems? as i watched it about its busy work, all movement coiled and released (the release never seen) in rapid abridgements of location, here on the twig, to there on an upper branch, to a new twig, to the torn end of a twig, the tiny beak finding its way in to what it sensed? was inside, i felt *****!!!!????? i can't quite say. i noted how it was the size of a heart, perhaps not the SIZE of a heart, but was a heart living in the branches. i held up my hand and imagined holding the beating body and got dizzy with the possibility. it was the size of a rodent, too, but no less appealing or enticing for this fact. somehow its animation there in the branches that were bursting upon the precipice of spring with buds, seemed quite simply like life itself, a demonstration of life, exhibit a. i felt myself there inside the small bird and i felt it inside me. i didn't know any difference other than location and even that i wasn't sure of. but whether the bird was the bird or the bird was me or i was the bird, i felt love and knew it with no ego, just on the other side of words. it was one of those moments, a liminal place, a threshold upon which if you stepped over, everything that seemed separate would soar together, not like metal to a magnet but things soaring through and through each other, dust motes through light, or the atoms from trees and trucks and mud, wolves, chickadees and children trading places, as easily as people passing buckets of water from a well along a line toward a fire. soon enough they would discover that the water they passed was indeed the same fire they intended on putting out.
i was healed there beside the chickadee, whatever part of me that is renewed as broken, for my breaking seems to be a part of the same course as my healing. i thank god for the natural world. without it i would be mad. with it, i might only seem mad, but am whole.
i have made a piece of toast. toast! and so i close my eyes like a blind person. i really want to taste this toast. and i do. but i mourn. i also taste the jam or honey that isn't on it. i also taste the turkey my mother prepared that one weekend, not thanksgiving (turkey sandwiches). i taste all the disappointments, the deaths, the i'll never be's. but i also taste the toast.
they say you can only do it one person at a time and so he did it to save himself and thereby, everyone else. in this way, he thought, i'll save the world, secret in his pillow knowing he was saving no one. he was only not going to see.
sadie, typical enough, beautiful and free in the fields, a real animal more akin to wolf than cow when removed from man, caught her leg in a rivulet of frozen rutted earth when called. went down like a flash of heavy lumber. oh, she was one savage son-of-a-bitch on her side writhing, breathing foam-wet warnings, you, you did this! you're the son of a bitch! should have let her keep on grazing. like a plug of tobacco in the cheek one bullet slid lock-joint between the eyes. and then the unwalled transformation. i, i did it to you, sadie. he knew. but that was the obvious one. there were all the others walking around with holes in their heads who didn't know, stomping the soil ugly in the heart. every damned person he'd touched. every one of them slid. every one of them fine in the fields but sons of bitches when down. and he did it all. he did it, he knew.
from his front porch unbudging he'd throw day-olds through the clearing, quietly proud of his distance and almost so of his generosity to the birds, which stayed well enough away, as though making amends.
24 miles down Walker Road the crows tightened their circle, threatening to spread the contagion.
rambling and figuring:
while in ways it might seem this is about a particular person, it isn't. it's about all of us, how when we touch one another there is damage, often no matter the best intentions. how the only way to escape damaging one another is to leave, truly remove oneself, but then, of course, this isn't the definitive cure. the definitive cure is impossible as long as we are alive, as long as one man is alive. (this is the point.) we will inflict damage even in our removal.
i come back to this line, life itself is a violent action.
but but BUT, and - , it is the work of life to press toward resolving conflict, not to flee from it, not just in this obvious way but in terms of all polarities pushing against the other. this is the momentum of life. this is the reason. existence whole and complete is perfect. so what? it is in its separation that room is made for life. the room exists between those forces which press upon one another. each man whole and complete and isolated is perfect. so what? removed from his fellow man what is the purpose? a life of absolute peace is perfect in one way but imperfect in another. it is, in fact, our state of imperfection, our obtuseness and pushingness, our conflict with one another which opens the gap into which we might move to learn, to grow, to find love.
(note - apply this logic to the distance of language or body. how does this then work? again, the gap opens up between the article and the perceived article. it is in the gap or void, the attempt to bridge the distance that momentum takes place. momentum is life, otherwise all is static, whole and complete. complete is done, possibly done without even a beginning. ! and this introduces then the notion of time, the other necessary distance.)
the most difficult photos from alix cleo roubaud's journal, she and jacques together in bed. what familiarity, what longing, what impending tragedy. the difficulty, for me, is not in alix's death but rather in jacques' living. how then can the longing be answered?
this is our story, all of ours, every day. we pour coffee for our lover, go to work or walk in the woods, dash in and buy a loaf of bread on the way home; we soak in the luxury of forgetfulness over pork chops or poetry, dishes, music or news; we rally the children to their baths; we read our novel while our lover's body warms our backside; we are taking part in the act of longing and the impending time when there will be no one to answer our call to intimacy, intimacy so much vaster than the body, the body only demonstrating it, the body only a screen.
and then when the body is gone - ?
but what supreme gorgeous vulnerability in togetherness. what profound life. what impossibility made real and tangible for the duration of a frame. what grace. it is madness to choose it. it is greater madness not to.
what was my point of purity?
at what moment was i not ruined?
all gravity slipped into me as i slipped from my mother
how bright the room was!
what grace, my first cry!
(Stay Awake For This Instalment Of:) An Ordinary Story
amos is neat and tidy, wears suits at all the appropriate times and enjoys his casual clothing like a monkey with a rare secret. he likes small dogs like jack russells but tells most people he likes labs or golden retrievers, but has no dog anyway. he has a cat, or rather his wife has a cat. there are eight mugs in amos' kitchen cupboard all in complimentary colours. amos' wife is nancy. nancy is efficient. well, that is not to say that she isn't disarming, or at times charming, or pretty, or open minded, she just doesn't have so many opportunities to open her mind, you know. she wears sweater sets, or anything at all with buttons, but only as long as the buttons are shiny or have the pearl shell coating intact. her cat's name is clementine but ironically nancy doesn't like anything orange-like. she prefers any foods at all with accents or ingredients difficult to find, suggesting they are from other countries. she and amos have been married for 16 years. when you see them together in public they are confident and close, almost as casual as amos' sunday clothing, but you don't see them at night in bed clutching. you don't get to know that. you don't know that what little they are, the tiny order they have established, would be undone without the other. you don't know the black corridor of wind that will one day blow through them. you don't know how thin their door.
one day amos will be dead. one day nancy will be too. who goes first? they don't like to think about it, do you?
but sometimes they do despite themselves. and when they do they spring out of their suits, casuals and buttons. all dogs run the streets filthy and wild chasing cats up trees and then they find each other in alleys barking and frothing, at home in their nature. like dominant philosophies they usurp one another, locking in the geometry of madness, jack russell and retriever alike. you've got to know complimentary colours mean nothing. please, know this. and food, as long as it sustains the body, this is all that matters. take only your fair share, what is needed and lovingly retain a touch of hunger. and amos, do you take nancy? and nancy, do you take amos? and if you do, then take them! take them and push your body through the other's, love them completely and purely in all their foibles. (amos reads comic books on the toilet. nancy cuts the hair from her upper lip with the kitchen scissors!) eat each other like handfuls of sand as though you are laying the coast line. if you don't, know you will certainly not exist.
on the beach is a bolder the size of a small car, the colour of a bad man's heart. it split in two some undetermined time ago. i climb upon it with my lover's help, a gentleman helping his lady up onto the predicament that is everything.
there is a thin hairline fracture between the handle and the body of my lover's mug. i think of a dancer with her leg extended, upon further scrutiny a delicate vein near her ankle exposed. he drinks from it regardless, or because of, or he simply drinks from it because this is who he is.
i get older. my knees and hips rub ball and socket, crooning the long sweet demise of my body. i go out and run the back roads like a spooked badger, nothing graceful about me. i use my body regardless, or because of, or i simply go out because this is who i am.
a woman i know with a tight face and a wide ass grimaces at me wildly, thumping me with the proverbial cane, warning me of worse to come. don't you know you will end up ruining your body? i hold my fingers interlaced as though filled with seed. this is her death. i offer it to her wordlessly with no malice, come, eat.
transition and variation exist so that we might have the opportunity to notice;
and in our noticing, in our attention, we might have the opportunity to experience;
and in our experience we might have an inclination toward wordless knowledge, more a feeling or perception than linear and concrete