Thursday, April 25, 2013

bits and brambles

i came home from the woods toward you, toward the question i knew you would ask and i wished to break apart all of the words like boards upon my knee that the question and the answer would be made of.

the other day we made love and i told you that words moved from me, from my fingers, into you.  they were the true words, the naked words, the words.  i felt them leave me and enter you.  (and i felt them never leave me too.)

in the snow last week were broken bits of branches.  i recognized them instantly and fondly as a language i understood. 

as i came home toward you, toward the question, toward you but through the inevitable words, i hoped and planned for a true answer.

one finger upon you, joy.  two fingers, with the solid length of two breaths in between, absolute.  one more breath, one more finger, joy.

i would ask, do you hear me, but with what has passed between us, you have already answered.

black shawl

again i awake with the deep need.  i have anxious dog eyes for it even in the dark.

blurred body meets fuddled mind, one bare foot laid succinctly, coffee.  and then a tumbling forward.  somewhere in the world it exists.  but in what form?  i don't know.  i don't know what it is i look for though my organs are desperate for it like a flung black shawl is desperate for a chair to fall upon.   i swallow a mouthful of morning air and begin again, the inside of my body drawn new once more, this inhalation taking space and drawing the perimeter to my inside form, one dark place of many i'll never see.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

april 24, 2013

i wake and yearn to be and so in a practice i carefully wring from my body as much ego/self and expectation that i can manage, allowing myself - what? nothing)) to ask of myself and the world for nothing - then i become a thing, this thing, this small and inconsequential thing which yearns to give back to the world something of herself, not my self, but her self, the world's self.  

the possibilities? 

a photograph washed clean of the junk of the world and all our distracted seeing,

a resonant word,

or silence,


i can do nothing with this life.  nothing.  nothing.  but be.  and in my purest possibility, be less, thereby letting the world see herself.


how often i yearn for the words to be the prayer to bridge the distance.

each word is a dumb man's sound to deaf ears.

Monday, April 22, 2013

looking, seeing

have you noticed, when i look at you i don't look into your eyes?  i look somewhere beyond your mouth, toward the nether regions of where you breathe from.  it used to be that i didn't know.  i used to look people in the eye all the time, thinking...

that one uncanny time when my legs were around you and the great lake water pushed us together and pulled us apart like a pulse made into some giant mechanism that we were fleshed cogs of and you asked while looking into my eyes (almost afraid?), erin?

even when i look into the mirror now i look beyond the form.  even beyond the mirror.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

in response to poetry, love making and a particular duck flying across the road on a perfect angle

i feel i am both drowning and delivered,
each the perfect state.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

april 16th, 2013

i prepare to run, which means i sit and drink coffee, slowly move into my body, reach outward around the spaces in my mind, try to inhabit the world.  inside my clothes i feel naked.  how can this be a revelation?  everyone is naked inside their clothes.  and yet it is a revelation!  i feel my skin, my thighs, my breasts, the outline of my form beneath the fabric.  i wish i had a small chest and long limbs.  i suppose it is that i wish that i was young, prepubescent, and that i could run up the long road like this, reduced and tight, closer to the world.  it would feel like freedom.


when back:

the mouse i saw some years ago at the top of the hill just beneath the snow, the one like a heartbeat, whether i knew you or not, i loved you then.

and the other small animal, that time a mole.  i saw it a year or so after, all but dead in the snow at the mouth of the park, the snow melted back from its body, snowflakes melted on its whiskers.  i loved you then equally. 

and each time i grieved no less.


later i drive the tote road and measure out my run.  this is important:  there are ducks; there is ice; there are tall thin scraggly pine trees moving in the wind and six or seven crows lite a dead tree like a dead body off to the right, light spraying off their backs blue and silver and i am submerged into a black river of desire.  for you.  for this life.  never with there being a bridge wide enough to breach the chasm.

Monday, April 15, 2013

not even death is the answer

standing at the counter shaking, i think,
there is no living answer to this longing;
there is no answer to this living longing;
there is no answer to this longing of living.

outside and overheard
a seagull screeches.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

saturday april 13th, 2013

i am holding two mugs, one plate and a small bowl (please discard all of these words).  we have spent the morning looking at the photography of imogene cunningham, judy dater and uta barth.  i, others such as risaku suzuki (yuki - sakura), machiel botman (one tree) and hiroshi sugimoto (noh such thing as time). earlier this morning you opened the sheets before i awoke. you came back toward my body like the silhouette meeting its shadow, each of us the silhouette, each of us the shadow.  yesterday you read philippe jaccottet's, "early spring in provence".  i read it the day before. and yesterday it snowed.  as i stand holding the two mugs, the one plate and the small bowl, you outline the curve of my inward thigh.  your finger traces lightly along my black sweater.  you find the nape of my neck.  never before in my life have i felt so beautiful.  i waver and am almost not here, but your finger suggests otherwise.  i feel as though my body is only a finger on the edge of a plate which holds a bowl and the lucky ether that catches light between my other hand with the weight of two mugs.  somewhere there is a photograph waiting to be taken.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

while waiting for my lover,

there is some kind of mad dog energy wound into me.  i am the black tree to the white plain.  i am the open mouth to silence, the brood of bats over the open window. is not love supposed to be lovely?  forgive me small defenceless animals.  i grab you up between my fingers like earth and use you to beat my drum.


in my throat opens a small box like a baby bird's beak that has been waiting throughout all time, long before me. 

i lie to myself, or the world lies, or my body lies, or god lies, shhhh, soon it will be filled.


i am the pitiful creature

i am the goddess

i am irredeemable

i am all there is, the only possibility


no one knows when the begging began

i will end long before the begging does

i am begging's implement


{            } (the sound in my throat, the hunger to live)

         (the denominator of this fraction, the willingness to die)


the dialogue of march

shame on me for ever using a word as an emblem
the spring sun climbs high and asks for all passers-by
to take from their shoulders their sweaters
naked through the snow they go
the road draws down the center
like a converging shadow from either side
from either side of the road a chickadee calls
a chickadee answers
naked through the snow they go

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the mighty myths

last year i was cruelly tricked into the truth.  my son lost a tooth while he was at his father's.  he told me he was unconcerned about it but really he was saving up a lashing for me.  once back with me, with great premeditation and impressive patience, he hid the tooth under his pillow not telling me.  of course the tooth fairy, sleeping well and uninformed of the planned trickery, did not come.  haha, he said, brandishing his finger as he exited his room.  you are the tooth fairy!  i cracked under his composed pressure (he looked pleased and wise) and laughed.  he told me of his careful planning and foil.

this easter in the small two bedroom apartment, i was not excited with the prospect of somehow stuffing and hiding eggs, especially in that i did not really believe the children believed in the easter bunny any more.   the morning of the day before easter my son told me, while driving to a nearby town, that he did not believe.  i did not respond.  he told me again later that day on the way home that he did not believe.  again, i did not respond.  but that night sitting on the bed unable to stuff the eggs because of the proximity of children and myth, i gave up.  i called him over and said, ok, now, do you want to help me?  i knew it! he exclaimed.  yes, yes, you knew it, now will you go and ask your sister if she believes?  he went to her bedroom door and knocked.  she was being a preteen, brushing her hair and listening to music.  he asked her.  her response:  of course, i believe.  i was flabbergasted.  (one of my son's new favorite words, flabbergasted.)  but as it turned out she was only sheltering his belief, thinking the question had come from him.  (this too flabbergasted me, that she would want to protect him in this way.)   she came out of her room with her eyes the shape of question marks.  i asked her again, really, you believe?  with great relief she laughed her way to the truth.  they helped me stuff eggs and then i shooed them off to bed so that i could hide the eggs and they could wake, and with practiced indifference, find them.

last night while on the couch watching America's Funniest Video's, a desperate attempt to hold onto their childhood (they have graduated to watching crime shows), my daughter held the tv hostage.  she turned it off and said, ok, mom.  tell me the truth about those chipmunks.  i sat beside her appraising her face.  what did she want?  did she want the truth?  or did she want to carry on the myth, the story?  i almost laughed.  she was so serious.  and then somewhere in the confusion of how she didn't know how to frame her mouth (it kept shifting its position) i nearly wept.  i saw what she wanted despite her age or any other truism.

when she was a year and a half old there was a knock on the door in the small trailer in which we lived for a short time.  it was winter.  we lived out in the middle of nowhere.  who could it be?  her father and i prompted her to the door.  with her squeaky little voice she looked out the frosted glass and wondered, who is it?  oh, there! we said, noticing that there was someone small at the door.  we opened the door and there was a little chipmunk, a toy, an unlikely gangster chipmunk with an orange toque that rapped some ridiculous song and moved his body in conjunction.  to activate it you had to push on its toe.  our daughter, it turned out, would spend hours singing and dancing with this chipmunk.  our son at the time was a newborn.  it was a welcome distraction for our busy toddler.  but suddenly the chipmunk disappeared.  (her father and i could only tolerate so much singing of the same song.)  where did he go? she would wonder, shaking her fluffy little blond curls.  and so was born a myth.  we began creating stories of where the chipmunk went.  oh, he had a motorcycle.  he was a bad-ass chipmunk after all.  he would get on his harley and take off on the roads for adventure.  a trailer would never be enough for him!  perhaps he was at the children's grammy's, perhaps off down to florida.  who knew?  but after a few months and in a desperate wave of boredom (or later, delight as we loved tricking them) there would be a knock on the door and the chipmunk would return.  later a buddy was added to the first.  the second chipmunk wasn't as entertaining.  he was a hockey player but was made with the same technology.  we never really learned his song, but it was enough to occupy our growing son and keep them from fighting over the one.  both chipmunks would arrive unexpectedly by a knock on the door, the one of us who did the knocking running from the front door around to the back and in again to take part in the trickery.  we'd all be surprised and then the children would marvel at the mystery, engaging in hours and hours of bad music and dance.  eventually the poor creatures both stopped working.  that's when they took off on an adventure and never returned.

my 12 year old daughter, almost 13, tried to hold her mouth still while staring at me, pointing the remote at the blank tv.  truth!  she barked. 

every philosophy and truth and word dissolved.  i shook away every smile.  i said, very seriously, i don't know how it happened but it happened.  it was real.

she broke like a flower after rain, like a first orgasm (every orgasm being the first), like a crescent in a clementine, the shining jewel.  i knew frightening, i mean, how did they come and go?...and she went on at great lengths, overcome by the mysterious truth, turning story further into something real.

i didn't realize until right now the relevance of what happened to me later at bedtime.  my children in bed, i laid on my side with the covers pulled up over my ears and nose, my hands drawn together as though in prayer.  i breathed into the small shelter of hands and blankets.  i felt well.  my children were well, my lover was coming.  i felt a balance in the world.  i had kissed moss on a tree earlier in the day on a walk through the woods and truly understood (or so i believed) what was happening.  i was present.  lying there trying to warm, not really thinking but rather being thought, these words and ideas went through me, if only i could recite the rosary right now and believe what a beautiful place of comfort that would be.  i understand, i thought, i understand our need.  i understand our desire.  i understand that myth is not necessarily lie, but sometimes sustenance, sometimes salvation. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

pulling cabbage, carrots and turnips, late fall

how hard must a mother be, how enduring, how tough
that the world asks her to be the soft place
all knowing in advance
that she's only the soil food is plucked from


small mercy (and a mother's grace)

my son is 11.  he asks me to snuggle with him.  we are in his bed under the blankets in the thickness of our jeans and sweaters.  i draw him up behind me to spoon me.  he is almost my size.  how long, i wonder, how long might this continue?  i am getting away with something, the boy still needs me, wants me as a mother. but no man, no woman, is truly well alone and so to what fate do i leave him?  precious boy, precious skin and hand and growing limb. 

while walking i stop and bend over your small red and purple leaves veined with green.  your leaves are like paddles or arms pushing away the snow on the forest floor.  where, small plant, do you go to so quickly?  the sun has found the density of your colour and has melted small patches for you to grow up through.  the world is made this way, places of void constructed so that you might fill them. i hold your leaf.  i want to lie with you.  can't i? 

he asks into my ear, do you like to snuggle, mum?  yes, my son.  yes, i do.  we hold hands.


Nativity, by Li-Young Lee

In the dark, a child might ask, What is the world?
just to hear his sister
promise, An unfinished wing of heaven,
just to hear his brother say,
A house inside a house,
but most of all to hear his mother answer,
One more song, then you go to sleep.

How could anyone in that bed guess
the question finds its beginning
in the answer long growing
inside the one who asked, that restless boy,
the night's darling?

Later, a man lying awake,
he might ask it again,
just to hear the silence
charge him, This night
arching over your sleepless wondering,

this night, the near ground
every reaching-out-to overreaches,

just to remind himself
out of what little earth and duration,
out of what immense good-bye,

each must make a safe place of his heart,
before so strange and wild a guest
as God approaches.

Monday, April 1, 2013


it is not enough to hear the word "orange".
i must hear the branches moving against the rooftop.
i must see the bowl at the center of the table empty.
i must smell pine needles and know the cold coming.
i must feel the longing of the long season about to begin.
all around the absence of the orange a life must be made
to know what it is that i am missing.