Friday, May 31, 2013

what beautiful bounty to know these words, soon we will sleep together, petals from a flower, one lonely night unto the other, my body cold and indifferent, but soon we will sleep together.  all around my face my cheeks gather light as though the sun reflects off these petals, my husband, my lover, beloved, tonight i go to bed alone, but soon we will sleep together.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

i will ride this dark storm until it is a tremor
and then i will ride this tremor as though it is a dark storm
and then even when the mist comes i will ride it hard

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

i am broken and must be mended. 
you are broken and must be mended. 
armless, handless, i long to hold and to be held.
armless, handless, you long to hold and to be held.
but we have no arms, no hands. 
but god says anyway, enter my hands, and you enter my hands.
and god says anyway, enter my hands, and i enter your hands.

Monday, May 27, 2013

sometimes the simplest gestures are the coarse crust of revelation;
like driving my car and noticing my arms ringed in skin
extended from my spirit, corporeal animation,
this singular and small human step across the threshold,
choosing direction.

Friday, May 24, 2013

four white calves


four white calves trot out onto the field.

sometimes when the pin cherry pushes its white clits in through the holes between the air,
words are born.

sometimes when the milk moon moans and her breasts roll off into valleys,
one to the east, one to the west, a metaphor begins.

and sometimes, rarely, but sometimes
four white calves trot out onto the field. 

can we imagine a world where only this happens?
and can we imagine immaculately we still exist?

the four white calves are the first four white calves
and only.

if my sister is a mechanism with which to sort out the world's chaos,
then i am a mechanism to inflict chaos over and over again,
which in its own way reveals the order of the world.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

consider for a moment, my sister

she is standing in the doorway of my brother-in-law's hospital room cocked and leaning forward, ready to spring outward into the hallway.  what is she ready to move toward?  true, this is her normal physical countenance.  i think of her in her uniform at work always ready to help someone, always ready to move to the next location to solve the next problem, one leg slightly raised, one hip higher than the other.  even while entertaining the family, musing on the funny circumstances of nieces and nephews, retrieving mail at the post office, this is her way.  and over decades, always!  the nurse is to arrive.  is it a solution my sister seeks?  does she think meeting the nurse in the hallway might expedite things?  does she understand that even though medicine is a science, the body remains to a large extent a mystery?  is she a mechanism with which to sort out the world's chaos?  what would i look like standing in the doorway of my husband's hospital room?  not this, surely.  and i know it has more to do with the person she is, her identity, then it has to do with her physical framework.

illness grants proximity.  a few days ago over at her house to lend a helping hand, i found myself on her stairs calling for her.  she didn't answer and so i made my way to the upper chambers of her house where i have never been before, except for when the house was empty.  she and her husband just moved in in the last year and stripped and remodelled everything.  i stood at the open door to the spare bedroom dumbfounded.  the room was full of things i had never seen before, things they had probably purchased for this space specifically, some things new from a store but many repurposed from antique shops and yard sales.  i noticed the bed frame had been built by hand, probably by her husband, tom, a wood worker, and yet i also recognized that the frame was most definitely one from karrie.  it would have been the same frame built by her first husband, barrie, or by herself.  perhaps she did make this one.  everything in the room reflected her, despite these things being new and not associated with her previously; the entirety of the room, the geography of furniture, the colour, the tones, the energy, it was all my sister.  and yet it was only a room.  how could this be possible?  how could the once empty room now contain shadows of my sister's spirit?  and yet it did.  somehow it did. 

i stand in my own living room and note the furniture i have and what the room says about me, of me, after all our physical environments are only our larger bodies, and our bodies are only reflections of our spirits, even though we are most definitely of the flesh accidents of biology.  no matter how i might arrange the room, no matter what furniture i might purchase, no matter what catalogue or magazine i might consult, if i were to pick up X number of pieces and let them fall, or place them precisely where i chose to, they would reflect me, my way of being in the world, my inabilities, my vulnerabilities, even my strengths if only in negation.

what can this mean to who we are?

i am born.  you are born.  we are organic conglomerations of goop that off-gas in this world as individuals, biological stuff. and yet.  and yet.

it is some time after my sister examines the medical papers and waits with her keen effort for the nurse that she turns to her husband and kisses him in her way, in their way, and he receives her.  i am bewildered.  this situation must play itself out infinitely and each time, despite all of the similar variables, uniquely.

in the bed next door i see a thin arm, brittle, reach out of the bed clothes toward his television set and with great effort draw it toward him on the crane.  i can not see his face except for a fleeting moment in reflection, his face nothing i could ever anticipate;  the curtain is drawn just enough to grant him that solitude.  his frail arm tells me that we are all headed to the earth, even while we are still breathing, even while we contain this singularity.  i see his arm and i think bone and know even the gentlest of dogs could break it.  his arm quakes with the simple motion of pulling.  and then it does what he asks of it again.  he raises a piece of paper he has found beyond the curtain and he tapes it to the television screen.  there are black marks on the paper, important information pertinent to only him.  his thin arm lowers into the bed clothes.  he sits close to the screen considering what only he knows as important, perhaps essential.

i hear from down the hallway an advancing apology for the wait.  my sister projects herself out of the room and toward the nurse who is coming.  they meet in private outside the room against the wall.  my brother-in-law, from his bed, leans forward to listen.  this is your story, i tell him.  why don't you sneak out and listen?

navigating the dark streets of Reisterdam

the electrical's been faulty here for some time.  don't mind on it.  i don't trust it anyway, even when it works, because when it works it is sure to stop working again at any moment, in the most desired of moments, in the moment of necessity.

but when do you suppose you will need it, hilda, instead of only wanting it?

stop playing with me, jan.  you know we are always in need of it and this is precisely why we won't bother with the auxiliary sources.  here, use this instead.

but this too could go out at any moment!  who can trust fire?  who is perverse enough?

jan, give me your hand.  feel here. 

hilda stopped in front of me and turned, took my hand and opened it like a white sea creature and laid it upon her chest.  her chest was a vacant tableau, cold, except for the small spark burning in the center of it, the ember tied to the memory of sunlight on her hair.  one day last august i happened upon her sitting on her back porch, her black hair lank about her face but blistering in the sunlight.  she was crying inconsolably.  i still don't know why.  when i kissed her the salt from her tears nearly burned my mouth.

jan, it's true.  at any moment it too might go out but if ever there were a light to trust, and i say this knowing that trust is irresponsible, this is the only true light source.  now come on, behind me, quickly, before the wind picks up.

Monday, May 20, 2013

ephemeral blossoms (passing through the thirteenth year)

why are we not born with words already formed inside us? 
we spend our lives trying to catch up to the momentum
of the woman's hands which are like crow beaks
dispensing the furry cloaks of dandelion clocks
as she stands at the fold where we meet the world.
we have a net only after the animal has fled.
infants, we kick our legs in turkey jerks
and yet it takes us years to realize we have bodies.
we run through damp grass not knowing dew
straight into the future of our forever dawn
where men break through us like papier-mâché
before we even know our names, our rib cages.
words are like dead stars and light; 
they are shadows of that which is already gone.

my daughter's balloons lie on the floor.  she has cut them open.
what do we call this?  what do we call this humanly eternal disappointment?
hurt most by the chaos of this living i want to retreat, but not into the stodgy plush high rise of more, not into fortification, but rather into the glaring rawness of less, of real human nakedness.  this is how i seek cleanliness.   this is how i seek truth.   this is how i seek being.


she laid the silver body out onto the counter like a sacred robe and then slit its belly from top to bottom.  the hole of the black can swallowed and then concealed its guts as its body had done for the countless seasons while it swam in the limitless world, discrete void.  she will eat tonight.  this blessing.  this life.  body to body.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

while busy wrapping birthday presents, preparing salads and blowing balloons -

do you want to know who i really am?  do you want to know what little there is?  can you bear it?  do you truly want to see the dot of chaos i spin around, pivoting always upon self annihilation? 

do you dare to hold the mirror?

the jeweler makes moments, not stones

sitting at the high island in the kitchen upon our stools, woozy on our elbows in our everyday living,
my daughter interrupts a lazy conversation between my new husband and i.
she has been very ill for a few fevered days and just now the fever drains out of her face.
slowly, as though choosing stones to cross a river and somewhat shyly she says,
"so, like, if i were dying and the doctor told you my medicine would cost rubies, what would you do?"
as i am learning to do in this world, i hold my breath, not pouncing upon any answer; i am a study in my own ignorance.
my new husband though, swims through my breath and leans his face forward into this new world answering simply and with great acuity, "then we would give rubies".

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Reisterdam in the rain

as i crossed the blackened rain pelted streets my shoes called back on time like pulley systems opening doors on troughs.  i knew i was forgetting something, but what?  all of Reisterdam even though before me, even though i dashed through it, was a sketch in someone's dresser drawer beneath their worn socks.  what i was forgetting was curled into my belly well before the sketch of the city was, or the idea, or even the perception of the city existed; even before the paper or the pencil which drew it. certainly before the hand.  thuck ,thuck, thuck, my shoes against the wet pavement.  what was it, the external mystery made internal, sewn into the wet sacks of my intestines, thrown out of me into shadows and reflected back again off the slickened streets? i maneuvered the wet keys in my hands unsystematically.

"and where did i get these feet?" i marvelled, as i dashed toward the car.

the fire

what is most wrong with man is that he has nothing profound to say but goes on saying anyway.

last night a neighbour man in a bush jacket, about 6 foot 2, filled his arms with spring refuse from his in-town small yard and heaved bundle after bundle onto flame.  i mean, this was very dangerous behaviour.  there were trees on all sides of the fire, evidence of his living, whatever it was concealed then by darkness, only a couple feet beyond the flames, and his house only a couple feet beyond that.  this next morning i look out my front window and see that an old freezer jacked up on a cement brick in his yard has been scorched and that the fire consumed almost the entire size of his lot!  and yet last night while it burned his two small young children, their hair revealed as straggly (perhaps dirty) through the flames, danced barefoot almost in the fire while he was off gathering armloads, elevated by some ancient energy, their spirits looming like creatures out of their shadows.  now a rake sticks up out of the abandoned scorched earth, the only piece of wood around besides the living trees, looking like managed doom. 

on the lot beside mine my other neighbour's sprinkler goes off in even ecstatic spurts onto their green lawn.

i have never seen a child play in the scorched yard before the fire and i doubt i will again. i wonder about the dark soil that remains.  do they carry some sacred knowledge i do not?  will they plant a garden?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

please, and other related entreaties to call the necessary paradigm shift

i don't know what to say and yet it must be said.
the human world must suffer on on its own.
one foot in front of the other i go quietly into the woods.
the moss - thank god - the moss is.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


she has no idea what she might look like from the outside.  in fact, she wouldn't think she.  she would think they. nor would she think outside. once she would have wondered about her earrings, her chin or limbs.  but now she has no idea.  they aren't any more.  not the parts but the whole - it isn't.  they are instead me, or rather this, or now, this thing, now, us, this.  where once there was a wall and shadows, there is only light and they are falling through it an almost-body, one almost-body, one almost not-body.

like grey, there is time. 

or perhaps not even that.

outside a bird lands on a limb, chants once a song that no one knows, and leaves the limb, no one seeing or hearing anything but wondering what has passed.

beyond them on either side as they move the world exists a shudder, a mechanism, a violation, a betrayal of names.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Reisterdam coming, going

"what's that up ahead?"


"you mean Rotterdam?"

"no, Friska.  we're in another country."

"you always say that."

"well, it's the truth."

"but i don't know it."

"that's the truth too."

"seems there's a whole lot of truth and plenty i don't know."

"this is true, Friska.  there is.  do you know what else is true?"

"what's that, Merik?  and don't piss me off."

"you're beautiful like this."

this too is true.  too true.  so many true things and not one thing to hold.

Friska is low on her seat in her real body but it is her reflection that Merik is staring at against the night, as though by staring into the eyes of her reflection he might be able to broach the wall that she builds every day.  oh, she is a brick layer.  but perhaps she was born with a trowel in her hand.  perhaps we all are.  her face is soft.  her skin is made up of a field of grey tones lit up in flashes without control by Reisterdam and all its brick walls punctuated with street lights and commerce.  who knew her cheek would explode into light and then collapse back into skin pocked with the relief of brick? no one knew before now but now Merik knows it was always going to happen because it did, just then.  and her dark eyes, her dark eyes like medieval grapes.  no, not grapes but olives, sad bruised olives. or like an old man's liver he could heft over his shoulder, a soiled and pregnant burlap bag.  he would walk a thousand miles just to intimately know the weight.

"what are you thinking, Merik?"

she sees him through the window but in the same train cabin she's in, on the very same seat, next to her, almost touching, but not.

"i am thinking this is all tragedy, Friska.  i am thinking your beauty will kill me.  how far apart we are.  i will die soon."

"Merik, you are so dramatic."

this is true.  he is.  they both know it but this is no respite for either of them.  he wishes she would swat him playfully but she doesn't.  she sinks further into her seat, more and more painfully beautiful.  Reisterdam draws closer and closer.  it is beside them. but as always, they will pass it.  the train whistle begins in their legs and grows denser, heavier, finds the roots beneath them and sinks into the earth, groans out from the deeper place beneath their bodies as though they themselves mourn the low urgent croon.

Monday, May 6, 2013

an afternoon after (of course) making love, sitting on a rock in the woods over a haphazard splash of trees from here to everywhere, reading kinnell and vallejo, still making love, alive alive

what?  what more?  what more is there?

nothing.  nothing more. and nothing less.  there is nothing.

a tragedy?

yes, a tragedy.

not that there is nothing but that there is no way to hold the magnitude of nothing.

what is nothing?

moss is nothing.  rock.  the sun.  lichen like skin.  fern.  ivy. 

it gets worse.

catkins falling through the sky like slow confetti, stories littering the ground from generations, a grandmother once a girl, a man once a wet boy, the grand party of newness always taking place -

and i with no arms to catch any one of them.