Friday, November 29, 2013

redefining the Dog Star

not one poet knows what the world is like to the new inhabitants
all the poets having been washed rheumy in the milk of the way
the night sky a star pierced bolt of velvet fabric tossed over a tableau of light

the new inhabitants hold up their cell phones and smartly chart their meaning and location
through applications aptly known as apps
Look! my daughter points to Sirius, a cursor in the sky!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Northern Ontario Seduction

Giant Tiger: this week's flyer forecasts it
$1.99 "Satin" Panties
four dozen of the North's "finest" asses
(regardless volume, creed, or colour) 
to be packaged aforementioned
in a hopeful lustrous quiver
all without a stitch of real satin™ delivered
poor people love to love too

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

my son casts a shadow and i find myself, another short story revealed through the wisdom of children

this i must remember for it becomes a penumbra and embraces my own shoulders and shows me where i (too) exist.

my son was sad because his sister had been as a sister often is, she had blathered and blubbered and bullied him.  and so i held him while i talked to her and we all moved a few steps through this journey together.  she left the room and alone with him i pet his back and talked more a little above my mind, not quite paying attention and i said, you are a very good boy but not perfect either, and not plainly setting out the right definition of perfection i went on to explain how we are all human and how in our human form we all precipitate a certain kind of violence. 

but beneath my hand my son had been forced to escape his safe body at my words and had found instead a body of feathers and flames.  and he erupted.  and he quaked. 

shuddering beneath my hand i asked him, shuddering in such pain, why do you cry, son?  because you're not perfect? 

he was bereft.  he was bereft by this horrible fact.

he remains so.

so do i. 

pulling back the foreskin and cutting is another way to practice death, another short story of my children


daughter, 13
son, 11
the tv and the couch
these unripe to ripe to overripe bodies

we are watching a show and it hardly matters which show.  circumcision is mentioned.  my daughter asks, what does circumcised mean?  and i proceed to tell her.  both children listen and they oscillate in their stillness evaluating whether or not they should be uncomfortable.  i wait for the outcome.  why do it? she asks further, before they decide how to respond.  to discourage infection, i answer.  i turn to my son and tell him, you were circumcised.  he says, ok, and shrugs his shoulders.

my son is sitting between us and without any choreography both i and my daughter, on each side of him, raise our hands to give him high fives.  she says what i am thinking, hey, buddy, give me five on the no infections!  and he does, smacking each of our hands and smiling.  we are all saluting his penis, which really means we are all aware and alive inside of these remarkable and fading bodies.

i fall to laughing delirious inside this moment which brings me to the precipice of crying but they can not understand, i think, why.  it is not because i push them to casually speak of the body unguarded.  it is because they are so beautiful without fear.  it is because without fear i think they might have the best chance of living this life and embracing what comes after.

considering a photograph of jane hirshfield

the barn cat scrams hunch-backed into plain air but remains
(the strong defiance of the body)
at the bucket kicked by the rubber boot,
at the sudden rush of feathers in the folds of his mind,
at the unseen element, sensed in muscle.
i look at the body of a person,
their eyes sharp, self defined,
(where the hell does such assurance come from?)
as though what resides inside of them is anything,
people, formed and real and keening,
silver blades honed on the black strop.
they fascinate
and scare the hell out of me.

i remember my father, a trapper,
cutting loose the hide from the fatty clump of being.
what thoughts might addle the skull of any animal?

jane hirshfield and the likes of her,
mystery entangled in emboldened flesh,
and the hordes of the lesser muttering below her,
their eyes pinpricks of light in the black cloth of being—
they cut straight into me,
while pelts hang like silent flags from the musty barn rafters

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

at the asylum on Parkway, across from the burger hut

thought the old lady mental -
sharpen your poverty! she shouted,
teach the children to love their hunger!
dragged her shrieking down the narrow hallway,
no slippers.

outside the asylum, the once schoolhouse,
the old metal swings clanged rusty in the wind

but across the road all the silent children
ruminated politely over their burgers,
their faces reflected somberly on their small screens,
plinking personal buttons,
everything in order.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

the profound quietness of my son

sitting together this morning on the couch, shaking last night away from us and adjusting our eyes, our shoulders sloped and our mouths goopy, my son says lightly but seriously, staring off into nothing, "i don't want to go to school today, mom."

we watch the tepid light on the floor.

and then he asks, "you want to hear something sad?"  his eyes unmoving.  "some kids in my class, if they don't want to go to school, they don't go."

i rub his leg and say, meaning it, "wow, that is sad."  feeling great sadness for the parents, for the children and for our world which chooses to operate on personal momentary satisfaction and endure no sacrifice.

he raises himself to make a ham sandwich and packs it into a container and goes.


specificity and otherwise


a didactic play triggered by the selective ringtone of an i-pod

my daughter groans while looking at her I-pod, "ohhhhhhh! we all have to hang out with Drayden tonight!"

"who's Drayden?" I ask, never having heard the name before.

"it's this kid who is SO annoying," she answers.

"well," I offer, "maybe over time he will mature and become less annoying."

annoyed with me she says, "oh mom, Drayden can't help but be Drayden any more than you can help being you."

this is true.  this is so tragically and evidently true.  let us all forgive Drayden.  let us all forgive one another. 

forgive me.

Monday, November 18, 2013

whereupon i can not be rilke's eighth elegy animal but only human

november 18th, 2013, driving

i sit at the lake i didn't know the name of until today (west lake road, the sign says).  i liked it better before inside my intimate ignorance.  i sit and listen to ... well, not listen but read charles wright's "Looking Around III".  a duck trails his feet in a long line of lift-off out across the water.  while clouds pass quickly overhead it feels instead like it is the sunlight which is passing in blocks, quickly illuminating one space and then the next against the rock and evergreen scrubbed shore, as though it is the light which has form, has the body, not the clouds.  then i look down to begin writing this and the wind picks up and rocks the car, the tail end of tornado winds that found their penultimate culmination somewhere else. and so i look up and it is snowing now! the sun is gone and a hard dry quickly laced snow pelts everything.  a black bird dives deep out over the water.  to take cover?  really i don't know a thing.


after, i drive the back roads watching the grasses thrash themselves, intoxicated bodies in the wind, feeling as though never have i done anything so important (since the last time).


i drive listeing to fur alina and like clockwork i touch my lips, the shape of my face.  with spiegel im spiegel i am holding the orb of my shoulder, my breast, the crux of my sex.


reading charles wright, jack gilbert or rilke, one poem is enough.

sitting beside the lake (i wish remained unnamed) one moment of the light passing, or the water moving under the wind, is enough.

driving alongside the forest, autumn raw and honest in its bones, light shining (extreme verb!) on the most delicate and thin evergreen, i feel an ecstatic grief.  i feel i am living inside this dying, dying inside this living.

the other night my son touched my skin and asked in wonder and beyond comprehension how it was i was so soft.  he then asked if his skin was soft and prompted me to touch him.  i told him the truth.  he too was soft.

nietzsche asks for us to live as though one day lived is enough, or even only one moment.

it is. 

it is!

perhaps the greatest tragedy is that there is more than one, that the world keeps playing the perfect note over and over again.


there are newly discovered swamps seen through the clawing back of autumn to the right of me.  there are devastatingly gorgeous grey woods to the left.


the world is too beautiful to not tell you.

from the podium

i have a friend who means to take the podium
i have a friend who means to charge admission and sing
well, not sing, but rail with fistfuls of cunt like pumpkin

the audience had better wear raincoats
or the audience had better come hungry

i want to ask her, what is it you want to shout
i want to ask her, what is it you wish for them to hear
believing now that there is no song to be shouted

outside my window the November wind racks the bottom-still treetops
no more leaves scuttle, they're all mashed to pulp and quaggy

once i too was loud
once i too was angry
until i learned my mute mouth is loudest and my anger not even a wind

dressing and undressing

we always knew it
even when we didn't know it

like wondering in the middle of the day
if you had had enough mind to fully dress early in the dank morning light
and then you slowly took into account your shirt, your pants, your underwear, socks
and you nodded your head, yes, you were most obviously dressed

but we are not dressed
we are never dressed

there is nothing to dress.

Friday, November 15, 2013

my beloved feeds me dirt

today my beloved teaches me the word geophagy
and suddenly I see myself now and always.

I remember, from now, from inside this articulation,
how once I had asked my first husband to strip down
and run through the forest naked
and how I had photographed him
hoping to photograph him into a philosophy of being
which I understood beneath language.
instead, all I got was a handful of shots,
which, after years of hiding under my underpants,
I became nervous with and so shredded.
I had hoped he would be revealed a man in a forest,
you know, a vibrating clod of enunciated flesh,
but when I looked at the photos
he seemed a skinny sasquatch
out of place in a mall.

some years later I divorced him.

my beloved raises his hands full of dirt and says,
"here, know yourself and everything there is".

plug (audio)


Thursday, November 14, 2013

another short story of miracle and love

i watch a very boring-to-an-eleven-year-old-boy movie about the elderly.

my son asks in his deepening voice, can i watch some of that with you?

and i ask slightly astonished and perhaps somewhat suspiciously, why?

his answer thrusts itself into the center of me as though i am a wide body of water and his answer a beautiful stone thrown with the purest arm, because i like you.
but this pain is the small bird
i hold in my hands and shield.
this pain i must keep alive.
i must shelter and nurture it.
it is my slight nursling,
the convalescing part of my self.
i might think without it i would be free
but without it, as anything free of life, 
i would not be alive.

what webs

we forget what it's like to be married while so close up,
so full, so marriage like pork fat, or bile, or snowsuit in summer;
it's too easy not to know the blissful excess of love
until you're standing alone and naked in the naked moment,
alone alone in nakedness,
raped by the omnipotent quietude
of the slender spider mending her web.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


november 5th, it's warmer than usual.  the day is brown-grey.  i enter, for a pulverizing moment, the other world, which is this one also.


i am neither proud nor ashamed of this story.  it is simply, and with great difficulty, the truth.


after we did it i got into my car and drove the short distance to the next back road which would take me home.  i kid you not, the name of the back road was Pleasant Valley.  the day looked remarkably normal as i turned the wheel, my right hand sticky, the only physical reference my body still made to what had happened.

once my step father and i had cut down a Christmas tree on Pleasant Valley, stolen it from a field (stolen-, but understand that the north is comprised of a citizenship of trees with a few copses of people splattered about and so stealing a tree is akin to stealing air but still illuminates our recklessness of touching the world), he then very ill (i had thought nearly dead, a heart condition imposing itself on every branch of his fiber over his lifetime). "go, go, go!" we had shouted once the tree had fallen into the four feet of snow.  but how might an hysterical girl and a disabled man quickly breach the 20 or so feet of crotch deep snow to throw (ya, throw) the tree into the back of the truck?  and with a chainsaw in tow!  he nearly died then in the glow of his paternal happiness, his daughter laughing so hard, almost pissing herself.  with all our might hardened forward, and yet still laughing, we moved in our first thrust approximately no-yards-per-second, the last remnants of the chainsaw's sound cut and cold, dissipating into the winter's air, the final crack of the tree disbanding, already memory.

when we finally did manage the tree sweatily and sluggishly into the back of the truck, the stubborn body hefted, we jumped into the front, slamming our doors closed.  and then drove home cautiously, the roads winter slick, our hearts thudding deliciously in our chests, two small children waiting for us sticky handed against a window, wonder their engines each, causing imaginations to churn and move stories together through the sky like big bits of coalescing cotton fluff; Christmas was coming.

now i drive Pleasant Valley road alone.

did it really happen?  where was the evidence of today, my fingers stained but dry now?  i go so far as to raise them to my nose and smell - but nothing. 

was i such a fool as to believe i could have done it?  (i was.  i had believed i was capable of it, being fool enough to think it had anything at all to do with ability.)

how often is anything ready to die?

although it was old it knew enough to want to escape from the box.  that much i saw.  but it hesitated, its shoulders up and its head exploring over the edge, its paws up to support it for a possible leap, its eyes wide with anxiety, not understanding the situation.  so much white fur in its coat which had once been black.  i had been surprised when i had retrieved her from the car carrier a few moments before to put her into the box, how slight she was, already seeming like a small empty drawer.  how easily i lowered her into the box only needing to use one hand. and then i stepped away, hoping for quickness.

and so my step-father, upon my stepping away, stepped closer to her, maybe three feet from her, following her head, she searching for escape, he searching for the perfect death blow. 

Pop! - it shattered the air in a new reality of potential, crows letting go of their branches, but in the same motion already lowering their feet to settle again.

i waited in the split second of almost silence but the silence i wanted didn't come. 

"shit!", he said, laboring with his rifle, willing it to not be jammed. 

from inside the box (thank god - the box!) the body thrashed in decisive defiance like a strong man captive in a basement determined to get out. 

"shit!", he said again toward the sound, handling with blind hands the eunuch gun.  "shit."

and then he managed something and began to handle the gun again smartly, to raise it, but it was already too late for me.  i had torn through the fabric of possibility.  i was inside the repercussion of the sound of the unwilling body, the body resisting the threshold, the animal in the box walloping its descent through this world into the next.  it was something articulated thumping in the box, some thing, everything sooner or later. 

and it would not stop.

"jesusgod!" i doubled over, not nearly able to articulate a thought, only pushing at the sound.  "jesusgod!" i said again to the impossible ramification. 

then the gun rang clear again. 

and in that sound another articulated body passed through this world like a single nonnegotiable consonant galloping, or a punctuation mark fleeting the forever sentence, a great horse of transition, life to death, and it moved out black and solid, both with body and with void, out and through the treeline.  death, yes, this the one thing, but to decide death as we had done, quite another thing, the moment like pulling the plug of the whole world from the whole world, falling rushed and cataclysmically through air at such a velocity that wind became reinvented in a new form, not as movement but as all location, and yet finding, with a thud, that your feet had never left the ground.

then a few twitches.

"ok," he said.  "ok, it's done."

he said it as much to himself as he said it to me.

he was calm then and ordinary and seemed unaltered, but i couldn't have it so.  that's not what had passed between us. and so i grabbed him to me and i sobbed, the child i will always be. 

and in the pocket of the world where i sobbed my jaw began to stutter.  it began and it would not let up.  i was shocked, amazed. at first almost in horror.  this happens now with my husband in the center of sexual awakening, when he looks at me and i at him and the ordinary fabric of the world falls away.  but now?  i held my step father and sputtered words which meant nothing like, i thought i might have been strong enough to do it myself but how wrong i was, all the while watching my body open on the center of this heightened plane, my step father against my chest.  how grateful i was to realize it meant ecstasy and that ecstasy means equal parts the highest joy and the deepest sorrow. 

i sat behind him on his quad, my legs open, his body warm between them, she in a bag on the front of the quad lodged beneath the shovel.  we maneuvered the quad up the trail to an area of softer soil, the soil below where we had shot her knotted with the tangle of roots.  how easy he made it look casting the shovel into the earth, the shovel slipping in so effortlessly, making the sound exactly that a shovel should make.  when he thought the hole deep enough he walked to the quad to retrieve the bag he had put her body into.  at the hole i thrust the shovel deeper down but so ineffectively i barely made a sound and removed only a little soil, but i needed to know my weight was present.  he put the bag gently into the hole and i knelt and tore it open so that insects could find their way in more easily, so that the process of decay could begin.  it was only then that my hand touched my cat's blood, not quite its body.

i stopped along Pleasant Valley to write this, the truth of what had passed, the truth that had screamed its resoluteness inside me the long few seconds while my cat was dying, but already the truth was lifting its body like the crows from the branches, only to settle again upon me in the form of a story, lighter than the truth of its real moment.  i was sad, naked sad, that i, like the crow, could only ever hold the branch, not what the tree itself was.


(am i a monster?)  as i drove homeward i kissed these fingers and i said, i am so sorry.  and i said, i have loved you.


i tell you this so that you understand.  i tell you this begging you to see what i don't know how to say.  i love this world so deeply, but it is by this hand - , by this selfsame hand...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


the words, "what are we playing at?" came to me
while i sat upon you skin to skin, 
but this is not the truth for i was not upon you but in
as the geometry of space had been subverted,
which is to say, was revealed

and when the words spoke,
"what were we playing at?"
they did not mean what were we playing at then,
but rather every other moment
when returned to the perversity of individual skin,
then, what were we playing at?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

november 3, 2013

with not nearly enough time to be silent lately ...

i consider in the troughed pockets of silence between the cacophonous crests of waves (which are the world's needs) such things as existence, the articulation of body and spirit, being, identity, violence, acceptance ...

yesterday we walked a trail which was once long and even though the length of it has not changed, it is now (because of experience) short.  it is like this with these ideas i consider.  they become new and redefined, even though they are exactly the same substance as they have always been and have even been defined with the same words.  what changes is their spatial relationship to my understanding.  how small and obvious they have been these last few days.

i remember being young and carrying a full bucket of water, struggling with it.  of course it was heavy for me.  i remember that inside of me my will strove to have dominance over the physical world, my body, yes, but even what extended from that, the world that was not directly connected to me - past my arms: the handle, the bucket, the water sloshing.  i think about carrying a bucket of water now and i imagine myself simply moving.  it will be heavy.  and i will have a body.  it does too, of course, this being its heaviness.  i will arrive wherever it is i am going with whatever happens to remain in the bucket, both water and whatever is missing.  absence, yes, but void being something very particular with a body of its own.  this is how i try to know things today.

downstairs the children are happy.  they have friends sleeping over.  i am the most well in their happiness.  my lover is out touching the frost of the morning.  i go out to run as far as i might be able to, my body carrying me, my mind - water, my spirit - the very world i pass through.