Tuesday, December 24, 2013

at the estuary where we dress

with a fish flown from a river heart
i take legs and run to the snowy field desperate for the woods
and to the woods i run desperate for the snow.
i breathe with lungs not made for this world
                                      but there are no other lungs
and i think with a mind that can't mind what it reasons
                                      but there is no other mind.

god which-is-not but which i seek
with eyes that sense the tails of robes like shadows
strobing through the wake of the turbid heart,
                                       save me.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

december 18, a few hurried notes in seach of stillness in the busy christmas season, between buying presents and wrapping them

it is such a difficult thing.  there is such desire in me to be one way and yet the world pushes at me to be another.  i imagine it must be this way for everyone and so it is that we become obscured, or torqued in a current in how we meet the world. 

and even before this, even in ourselves, even in how our spirit meets our body, in how our spirit meets the sac of what we are inside our earthly being, our encapsulation, even here at the conjunction in self there is great friction upon our various parts.

but what madness this is!  i have no proof of spirit.  i have no linear mental argument to substantiate such claims.  and yet it feels evident beyond the logic that i so value that i am the conglomeration of more than one element.  i am the coming together of so many (so often - too many) things.  and so even i inside the i of myself am torqued before i meet the strong current of the world.

where once there was whiteness, we are something black.  how i understand this! 

could god be only everything.  (isn't this notion hilarious that we might depreciate in value the All for that which is lesser and more specific.  but don't we yearn for a thing that is larger than us but like us, but better, more pure?  but what might more pure mean?  what might be better than man and all of his heights and failures than the absolute expungement of man?)  could god be the proverbial white page of Everything, whole and quiet, counterbalanced in perfect perpetuity and cancelling itself out, whose surface ruptured and all word and body sprang forth from the wound of possibility, each thing black in being in this hustling world, moving and busy?  i mean man, yes, but even the caterpillar. even the stick he crawls upon.  even the calm black night sky he crawls beneath.  even the idea of the calm black night sky.  even the idea of black.  even the idea of idea.  even black.

and can i ask, should there be compunction for being?  should the caterpillar bewail itself?  the stick, the sky, night, idea itself, or anything else?  should man?  should i?

i try to slow enough inside this busy season to create around me space enough that feels as though i am aware inside the bell, so that i might feel the ringing of my shoulders against a more truthful existence.

are these shoulders mine?  how curious they sit about me like an apparatus.  but how they allow me.  how they beg me to fill them, to take up residence between them, but how i am careful to not fill them too much.  i look toward my feet.  past my feet.  ahead of me at the ground.  i throw myself through the hollowed out moment of blessed space, closing my eyes, hoping to hear even the silence which, when attended to, rings.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

her name is rose, III

even that which is nimble becomes ash in the end

oh, fire!
oh, that which burns!
oh, that which is swept away by the wind!

her name is rose, II

i am a white rose on fire
those who burn with bracken and bramble choose when to gather the fire
they leave, they come back, they strike the match
i burn always and always from my center
i burn from the hole at the center of my void
i am spun gossamer, body bloody but bright
i burn from the crux of the word yearning
i burn from my mouth and my eyes
a hot white flame wears my mind
my heart is lost in the vast journey to itself
my core is ferocious, the Ouroboros answering its own question
i am a white rose on fire

her name is rose

i am a white rose on fire
bracken and bramble are for those who need that which they do not already have
i burn from my center
i burn from the hole at the center of my void
i am spun gossamer, body bloody but bright
i burn from the crux of the word yearning
i burn from my mouth and my eyes
a hot white flame wears my mind
my heart is lost in the vast journey to itself
my core is ferocious, the Ouroboros answering its own question
i am a white rose on fire

Friday, December 13, 2013

snakes and saints and a little bit of all of us

i am at work and let me tell you, i can be a sonofabitch. i have rolled my eyes and hated strangers and i have spat in the proverbial soup, but my co-worker, who is four foot ni, is scooping sweet stuff into pretty cellophane bags, yakking on through my telling of how many times i can (and will) forgive every fool who wrongs me.  and despite having seen my rolling eyes and despite having known i have hated strangers and despite having spat in the proverbial soup alongside me (just from a lower spitting point) she says, erin, you are good.  erin, you show us how to be good.  and i feel both goodness and badness snake all over and through my skin.  and i hang my head and cry for all of us. and i hang my head and cry for all of us.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


i crawl to the feet of the house matrons and patrons,
kings and lords all;
                   i do not own myself.

i am a very lucky dog.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

an incomplete poem from the bedside floor

It's raining.  I dress.
Old black underwear
from the first time we made love.
Old jeans, from the same.
Old black sweater that we endearingly joke
is the wedding sweater
having married in January
(then for necessity,
immigration forms to ready,
the second-hand wedding dress hanging
unseen yet by you
secretly and still in the closet.)
You have just read a poem
by a Canadian poet, Karen Solie, i think
and i think she says ... 
And then you read your own,
in which you wrote, ____.
Yesterday I wrote, ____
having felt it the day before
on the Tote Road.

After we read
we make love
going slowly,
as married couples do,
but going farther still
   toward the terms
                       Wife and/or Husband,
(brother, sister, beloved, self, or other.)

Now we get dressed and go out into the rain, you wearing
a sweater decades old, extending back into your first marriage. 
I pull on a wool sweater which does the same.

We are an accordion of tatters, love,
          between the folds, that which hovers
in the dust mites,
     between the webbing,
            our tune. 
We are barely held together
but for this -- .

Thursday, December 5, 2013

once i heard a journalist lament coming upon a dismemebered arm - waiting alongside the highway, Reisterdam, 4:30

i begin to understand but of course i can not.

at every moment there exists the possibility of the desecration of the human body.  at every moment.

it has been six years since my brother took ill in the bed next to me, only three unfortunate years until i had matured enough to leave that house.  and while he had laid there rotting, at first an imperceptible rot noted only by a slowing down, a malaise of his doings, later it became evident when tied to the bed by his own inertia, the corridor of his throat abscessed and putrid, begging for him to cough out that which had once sustained him, until finally even the coughing gave up on itself and he settled into a drowning by poison of the body's own wet-shingled toxicity heaping terminal weight upon itself, while he was dying in our childhood bedroom, the corners of our adolescent posters of fast cars closing themselves up at their moist and curling corners, i oscillated at first between pained empathy and pained living, until i too finally gave up, but lived.  when they shut the lid upon his acrid body, his limbs atrophied, stumps of what he had once rode upon to chase me, i rose up like an alien object through the skin of death, silver, clean and shining, a honing object for the new to assemble upon, remarkably death-untouched, or purified by its keening proximity.

i put a breathless feather in my cap, for death was already behind me.

and so i carried on to get groceries and clothing, to laugh inside of theatres and to find my way at first bumpily, accidentally, and then directly and with great steadfast endurance, inside my girlfriend's pants.

eventually we were married. 

and the world was, at best happy, always predictable, a larger vestibule of living that we were as familiar with as our low light lit living room with our beloved matted grey couch and our adjoining kitchen with its leaky faucet.  one element was fitful on our stove, a Bronox, and for this we congratulated ourselves, for despite its inconsistencies they did not touch our dinners.

and all was fine and we were well fed enough and modest and immaculate and untouchable.

i had always been partial to the name Cynthia but my wife's name became Patricia - is Patricia, was Patricia (i practice).  we were going to the Holsen's Christmas dinner, an event deemed to be annual, although this was the first gathering.  thoughtful and with common sense, the two of these at times very different, and leaving at first from separate locations, we planned to meet at a central location, leave the cars and travel on together by cab (we would be drinking), but it was for a long period of waiting that i sat there in the plowed car lot thinking of my wife, Jason Holson's new car, his wife's job and the politics, and the water bill going up at the first of the new year (the city's infrastructure was old and crumbling), at first annoyed and then confused, and then picking up annoyance with one hand like a stone and confusion with the other; i spent about twenty minutes weighing each against the other and then, in repetition and juxtaposition, by themselves.  where could Patricia be?  i considered the infinite possibilities finitely, making lists and adding and subtracting, until finally i remembered through the mirage of all normal human functioning (ordinary like the hum of a motor) the possibility, but improbability, but possibility of the degradation of the human body.

how i loved my wife.  how i loved her sensibilities, her arrivals and departures, her endurance in the warmth of my hands, her warmth in the endurance of them.  there was nothing left to me any more which did not speak of her presence or shadow.  i was in part, although remaining myself, also the penumbra of Patricia.  we had been together for so long, two or three long years, depending on how you charted it.  and didn't (despite my love for my brother which had obviously not been strong enough) - didn't love conquer all, keeping everything established? 

but i knew it didn't, didn't i?  i knew it, but in all of my grocery shopping and getting dressed and not to mention moving the couch to the brilliant place in our living room where it could receive enough light to read a book while lying down, i had not let myself truly know it.

it was a revelation.  it was a revelation that i could start my car and travel along the route i knew my wife would travel and that i might happen upon her car struck by another, careened from the road by a jack-knifed transport, diverted by ice or an indifferent but rambling puppy, or that perhaps i would find her car inexplicably in the ditch, her car door open and her lurching disjointed alongside the road about to run headlong into the oncoming pulmonary embolism that was born in her body one night while we lay together sleeping.  she would be mind-blind and stumbling while i brought her mâché body into my god loving and desperate arms.

impossible!  impossible!  impossible! 

but inevitable.

while it might have been and was probably (or, was "perhaps" only) her ample body that had been dappled, dimpled and deflated to a shell, it was the image of my own life which crumbled while i drove on recklessly trying to determine what had and had not happened.

well, that night we happened to make the party, albeit a few hours late.  and in the end it was a good time (it had only been a minor distraction inserted by the body of the world that kept us momentarily apart, a flat tire, misdirection, a hang-up at work, a tear in her sweater which sent her home to change or out to do some shopping) but death awaited us at either end, awaits us.  i finally realize this now - for the moment.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

fundamentals found

outside of our precious and pettedly precocious selves only 2 things matter:

1) that we allow this world to continue to exist

2) that this world continues to exist

articulating (or, poor translation)

just vowels and consonants
just bloody vowels and lousy consonants

if i were telling the truth i would open my mouth and scream

if i were telling the truther i would open my mouth and --


just cunts and cocks
just bloody cunts and lousy cocks --

Sunday, December 1, 2013

while running, the last day of november, 2013

yesterday while i ran out of town a gentle snow fell and i was warm.  i ran along noting careful fox tracks down a steep rock, deer tracks separated and sporadic and sliding (it must have been bounding) across the road, oak leaves still tied convincingly to their trees rattling sideways in the snowy wind which did not reach me   -   until i turned around.  and then the wind pushed against me and my steps were more difficult and my face stung and even my hair hurt and i was happy.

running out of town i passed by the large blue re-sided house on the highway.  how i love what lies beneath its exterior, or beyond it, or before it.  one of my most joyous memories comes from one of my most painful days, a day near Christmas some years ago after i had undone my family.  i was alone and even aloner as i had just cut loose from my lover, realizing that he was not living by the same assumptions.  i walked through the town just after a snowstorm.  almost everyone was busy with someone somewhere.  (it was Christmas after all!)  except at that blue house, which was then old white clapboard, paint peeling, most excellent of old warbled glass windows.  the crow lady was outside, the matty haired poor woman i often saw biking on her banana seat bicycle, playing with a baby.  he had his arms out in his skidoo suit, unable to do anything with his body but relent.  and she was picking him up and throwing him to the sky laughing and then upon catching him plunging him into the snow.  over and over.  i was devastated inside myself but it meant nothing against her joy, or rather my devastation was sharpened to the point of dissipation.  i looked at her and loved her and her baby (which i would learn later was her grandchild) and i even loved myself that very day inside all of my pain and bumbling, and most certainly the world.  (and it was important that it was that woman at that house, that she lived outside of modern expectations, that she was poor and her house ramshackle and she was, despite all apparent failures if judged by someone else, joyous and lively.  she quite simply, it seemed to me, dared to be.)

what are we if not the tension between our joy and sadness, our happiness and pain? 

as i ran yesterday the world rang bright and real around me, searing me with its being.  more and more i want, more and more.  and i get it.  there was ice forming on the lake.  the heads of clover that i ate from two short months ago were dead brown and still over a field of snow.  i wanted to move and my body moved me!  another field further back i'd never noticed, the snow pressed against the knees of its forward trees)))  one tree left standing, now snag, in a ravaged lot after the summer's tornado.  had an owl ever set in just that tree or would one?  my heart, if it was a cold container, was deluged with the hottest liquids.  if it was a container with warm hands, continents were heaped upon it.  i raised my face to the cutting wind and could only know such bounty because of pain i'd been lucky enough to receive and endure and love.
each momentary note of happiness
is a sad song about to be sung