Monday, August 31, 2015

Mama Bakes

Mothers are like spiders with paste
Or like brick layers with their busy little trowels;
Pies and squares, cookies and tarts the fodder of clinker bricks,
Heartier and heavier than the milk once sprayed 
Into the heart sacs. Big strong bodies in one way
Stay still just a wee bit longer.

In another world perhaps Virginia would say,
Don't worry, mum, just going to the river to play,
And her mom would answer (only to her devilish self),
Don't you worry yourself, with the weight you've gained
Come dinner I'll know just where to find you.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

thinking of fall and seeing in terms of rising and falling notes of hemoglobin

i am leaning forward. i am smelling the air. my heart is looking for its home.

fall is coming and what is it i mean to say?

In Kyoto,
hearing the cuckoo,
I long for Kyoto.

thank you matsuo bashō.

this is more true now than at any other time.


i close my eyes and try to see it.

what colour is it?

it is not the suspected blue of longing. it's red. illuminated. as though it takes place, not in my mind, but in my very blood cells. i can descend into it like entering a flower's bloom but understand it is not a flower's bloom. it's not fire, an end, but like hemoglobin, a beginning.

is it my body longing for what it understands happens this time of year? the harvest. the putting up. the hoarding into cupboards to manage the long slow desolation of winter. (longing then, in winter, another colour. longing then the pencil's nub against the stark white horizon - another beginning.)

yes, yes. i think it is this. i think my blood sits on the edge of its bones and wonders like a madman watching a movie, will she make it - only the flushed madman (so alive!) is also (in the end) the doomed and repossessed protagonist.


this fall i have made thirty jars of salsa. punched a red glow, like lanterns, into glass containers.


my arms are alive. they long to do something. what terrible distance we have put within ourselves with malls and supermarkets, with mail order and convenience.


if i keep my eyes closed my body is a shack. the autumn wind outside mounts. red leaves like lips are ripped from limbs as testament to the world's potential. my walls are vulnerable, stuffed with straw. the animal of my stomach is hungry. i have never been more relevant.


one day (like every year) the wind will finally hang its head, open up its rib cage and produce to the white plains its empty toolbox. then the small shack will sit at its center, a small box stove at its core beating, throwing small embers of heat out like a heart. the person inside the shack will sit at a table and crack a jar of cached autumn and the whole shack will be, for a moment, illuminated. and then dim again. at the edge of the image a jack rabbit will make delible tracks in the snow as though its feet are gently coated with a fine dusting of lead.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

more, notes

it cost more than two times what i'd have paid had i driven to the neighbouring town for the sale at the supermarket. but what was i to do? it was saturday morning. there was a much needed heavy rain on every window in the house causing an immediate intimacy. i was standing in my sock feet in their kitchen. strangers, but not. he was wearing a button front shirt, long perfected with dirt. the traditional blue work pants. she, an apron over her blue dress. there was a "grandparents live here" sign on their front porch. and to attest to the truth of this a brown teddy bear, unadorned, perhaps sixty years old, loved and worn through generations, laid tumbled on its ear in an easy chair in the front living room. the floor boards were wide. the afghan on their couch was simple. a few thin books lined a shelf. i ached so bad to know what an evening might mean for them. something boiled on the stove top in a little stained pot. not a good smell. a challenging one. maybe giblets. condensation within. and rain without. our bodies were so close. i gave them all the money i had and trusted them to give me what they could. their hands worked, counting out. awkward, for a moment, i waited. and then unable to wait any longer i asked, can i help. together we three tenderly moved the tomatoes into baskets.

Friday, August 28, 2015

breath on glass is opportunity for enigma, but is misinterpreted as deception or cold

dear auteur,

why does your audience fail to notice,
always gaffe the review;

why do they see the stilted stage of days
but not feel the rose coloured mystic twilights?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Knowing the Difference

Kiss me here, love, upon my bloom,
my place of planting and harvest.

Standing here, early autumn, amongst
the closed fists of queen anne's lace
and opening faces of parasol asters—

It's never been about death; I see
that now! It's only ever been about
learning asters are asters.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

moving through the borderland of salsa

Reaching up to the overhead shelf,
taking down into the hands the familiar book's texture,
sentient recognition, backwards bodily divination,
opening and scanning the communications, the inks, the pens, 
the years, the curious slants of hand (what did they suppress?),
unlocking the secret vault and sting of the garlic (body remembers),
cracking cubes of green pepper, unleashing embodied bursts of water,
running hands along the plush corridors of seductive mind-ripe cilantro,
earth's hair infusing breathing lungs with the vibrant green of spiderweb stories,
locating the center, the rumble, the roil, the cloisters of chaste red tomatoes
which have fallen down the lewd mahogany well oiled staircase,
more doors unlocking, more shutters ripped wide, 
more blinds destroyed, more shades thrown up,
more shadows and light looming off from the main corridor,
laughter through the shadows of some doorways,
footsteps running off - in haste (fear? eagerness?),
keening the palate harder, stricter, chilis, habaneros, jalapenos,
boiling and boiling and boiling the bottles with rigid endurance,
warding off insidious inklings and wayward hitchhikers,
preserving, always and only the finale and its hooks, the one intended,
the humble jar, the single, the emblematic,
the one later to be cracked again (always broken into), 
to be shared so to call again from one another the memory
of the ecstatic time of the coming together at the brim,
at the mouth.


i have two recipe cards for salsa tucked into a pocket in a cookbook that i insert recipe cards into and that i bought for a dollar from a bookstore about 20 years ago. i have another handwritten cookbook my mother gave me when i moved out of her house after high school. the first dog my first husband and i had ate half that cookbook but the recipes have survived. i'm sure the dog has not and certainly the marriage didn't. and then i have a christmas tin of recipes written out by my own hand or other people's. recipes seem to find their own way into their own homes although i'm sure in some way i must be complicit, but i'm never sure why one recipe ends up in one location or another in another.

the two recipe cards for salsa are dated 2008 and 2009. i've not made salsa since then but i plan to this coming weekend. you see, my children are far from me. in 2008 and 2009 they were not. then we were nearly one body.

in 2008 the first batch of tomatoes which i made salsa from were from my uncle henry. they made 7 jars. my uncle henry is dead now. my second batch was made from a half bushel of tomatoes purchased from the Mennonites on lee valley road. i remember pulling up into their long driveway. i was excited. i can't fully explain why but to remember it is to nearly cry. (something about magic, about miracles, about taking part in the alchemy of conversion.)

in 2009 i bought a bushel of tomatoes from the Mennonites on river road west for $30. i made 43 jars. and then i used the leftover tomatoes and bought one more basket from shank's grocery store, which is now sadly (very sadly) out of business. shanks grocery store was our only local grocery. a man that i know bagged groceries there. he always had a smile and loved his work. he wore a white shirt and a black bow tie. now he wears a shaggy t-shirt and cleans the already clean floors at the mall in the town one over.

one fall day when my daughter was in junior kindergarten, was in her young thin gorgeous lanky limbed body, had her white hair tied up in pig tails or perhaps in a braid (which i would have done for her), i pulled my son in a green wagon to school to pick her up after school. we walked by the door of one of her school mates'. that mom was just opening the door of her house. she lived just down the street from the school and didn't need to walk to pick up her daughter. she could wait there expectantly in her doorway. as we walked my hair smelled like the salsa which was simmering on the stove top at home. my son smelled like salsa too. we pulled this smell through the town. this other mom who opened her door let loose a wave of her own. she too was making salsa. hi toby, i said. we were both excited. salsa, and our beautiful children at school. i will never forget that encounter.

when i began to write this poem i was thinking of how my past is interwoven with this recipe, how my intense love for my children is wound into the making of salsa and through the very vegetables and spices themselves. i didn't mean for it to be an erotic poem but i don't know how to separate things; don't think that anything deeply felt isn't erotic.

i will make salsa again this saturday. and then in a few weeks i will bring some salsa to my children and we will eat it together.

i dream of touching their arms very slowly. for always.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

too much sugar, spring

the door opens and the meadow roars the semi through the bole of tree.
spring is a time of easiness for most but not for me,
sixteen million million green tongues aflame lapping at the sky haphazardly
just here in this one small valley at my sight's periphery.

history is yesterday's girl in a cotton shift, shivering,
shamed by the force of this garish pummeling.

(who might remember winter?)

can't remember who we were;
too drunk on who we are—
this velvet rush of emptying splendor.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Morning After Burnt Norton

I awake writing a poem,
     not on paper, but in my mind,
     or in the air, with words from my mouth.
The first line ends with generality;
the second with its opposite.
     It feels like a poem like "Burnt Norton"
     but is not, as it can never be duplicated,
exists only as the desire existed for your lover before your lover,
and only as your first kiss existed once.
     It was a fine poem,
     full of truth.
I forget it now.

At the window I place my hands on the sill,
     a friar pigeon lifting up before me in the air in its grey saint's robes,
     heavy enough to sway, but not heavy enough to hamper.
Never has there been a morning like this!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

notes on another walk, this time to water, seven notes, august 21, 2015

seven notes. that's what i heard. whose notes? i don't know. didn't know. but there they were within me. three and then four. three and then four. or was it the other way around? i don't know. as soon as they began inside me i was inside them.

last time i walked through the woods on unknown trails i spoke the word. i read rilke. this time i heard and sang seven notes.

i had just come from a secondhand shop run by the russian. a tradition we have when on the road to this location. stop and take a chance on unfamiliar music for two dollars. 

the russian turned his lights on for me. and then his music. his two dogs, with their heavy heads, pushed at me for pets. one nipping at my leg tiredly after i told them i'd given them enough. more, they urged, but not believing more would come. servant to their longing nonetheless. they followed me toward the aisles of flea market kitsch and uselessness. until a sudden parting. as though they were thwarted by an invisible door.

then the russian's grey cat. (this must have been the source of the thwarting!) the cat took up where the dogs left off. insistent. i pet its beautiful head. reminded it, my daughter loves you; do you remember? it looked up at me and i jumped, startled. how can domestic animals look so foreign? it's eyes were thin emerald almonds. they held the glint of a mythology i was unfamiliar with. the cat bit at me too whenever my hand rested.

and the russian, like always, wished more of me. but i think he understands mutual poverty.

i left only with the cd (and a movie to watch later about the oneness of the world).

[memory - winter. he had come out from his private living quarters and turned on the lights. jacked up the tremendous stove for heat. returned to his room but did not shut the door. he sat on the side of his couch. or was it his bed? sat there still. looking at his feet. his belly blooming over his trousers. the cat snaked its body around him. its tail raised and caressing him. for the every.last.point.of.juncture. his shirt was dirty. the light in the room was a low glow, like a sore heart. eventually he raised a hand and didn't straighten, but rather distractedly, mussed up his hair. then he rose.]

the first two songs of the cd were painfully bad. i considered returning it to him on my return trip so that he might sell it again.

and then i fell into the fall and rise of notes...

on the cd itself, i would later discover, no matter how hard i tried to find it, no song was comprised of, as far as i could tell, seven notes. 

...schburt, mendelssohn, chopin, grieg, tchaikovsky...

three. and then four. or four. and then three. as i walked the trail. swatches of tall soft grasses having been used for bedding. fern growing beneath the canopy catching brief snatches of light. bear scat. mosquitoes. trails rigged in convulsions too hackneyed and twisted. impossible for me to figure out. 

and whether i wanted to or not as i walked i sang the seven notes. my fingers, which have never known a piano, played the air. it felt like i touched the trees with clouds. pressed upon them.

as i walked i thought of lines from a transtromer poem andreea sent to me recently, "Schubertiana," 

So much we have to trust, simply to live through our daily day
without sinking through the earth!
Trust the snow clinging to the mountain slope over the village.
Trust the promises of silence and smiles of understanding,
trust that the accident telegram isn’t for us and that the sudden
axe-blow from within won’t come.
Trust the wheel-axles that carry us on the highway in the middle
of the three-hundred-times magnified bee swarm of steel.
But none of that is really worth our confidence.
The five strings say we can trust something else.
Trust what? Something else, and they follow us part of the way

Last night Tarkovsky's "The Sacrifice,"

All my life, I've been going
around waiting for something.
All my life, in fact,
I've felt as if...
as if I were waiting
in a railway station.
And I've always felt as if...
as if the living I've done so far
hasn't actually been real life
but a long wait for it...
a long wait for something real,
something important!

...the sudden axe-blow from within... All my life I've been going around waiting for something... crushed foliage, meandering forest trails, aloneness, bear scat, even ticks. the other day on my way to work, unfazed by traffic, the wolf stealthily down the railroad tracks. set on his destination. tomorrow the hospital. inside my cells dark things threaten to bloom like thunder.

i sing and i walk. or i am sung. and i walk.

finally. after much misdirection. i find my way released to the rocks and water. even the swifts over me. sweeping and plunging. seem to be playing the seven notes against the luminous godhead clouds. it's nothing short of awesome. i stand taller and turn to what feels like their call—

impossible. impossible. suddenly. inexplicably. unlikely. on the flooded rocks which - under the thrumming of tumultuous waves, feels like coast - a scraggly thin legged mink raises itself out of the treacherous volume of black and shining water. onto a ledge. and then scampers into the tangled brier on shore. a pathetic land/water creature. 

do i believe my eyes? it happened. i think. i blink at the scene which persists uninhabited now by creatures. i think it happened. (so know it?) as much as i can trust anything.

i stand on the rocks. alone. exposed to. pierced by. the seven notes.

and then in fits and starts. raising the book. and lowering it. walking the cool rocks barefooted. holding one or two sentences in my mouth like stones. again and again. to learn their shape.  i read. aloud. "burnt norton."

The unheard music hidden in the shubbery...

but i hear it!

Words move, music moves/Only in time...

the seven notes!

At the still point of the turning world...

on the rocks! the swifts. the waves. the mink. and now the coast guard (evidence of other [bothersome] humans) pushing out past me.

...the detail of the pattern is movement...

and there at that place. at that still place where movement meets. the coast guard just cutting out into the distance. releasing me of its presence. without thought. without idea. without music as notes any more. but being music. i set down burnt norton. and threw off my shirt. 

and it meant nothing. except it meant everything. 

and the wind met me. and i met the wind. 

and the sun came to me. and i went to the sun. 

and the swifts entered me. and i was a swift. 

and the little land/water creature that we all are scuttled out of me. or deeper into the nest of me. 

who knew. who cared. 

without thought. without idea. without music as we tame it and lay it to paper. there was! there was! how impossibly. how suddenly. how inexplicably. how unlikely. there was!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

when not there: here

to not get lost
to: tack oneself
to: what 
to: where 
and how:
snow wandering eons
we sliding years

once our hands held fast
to: animals 
to: plants
we walked between trees
wedged and hefted rocks
the earth was wrung to: wheat
and wheat to: flour
we punched ourselves into: it
and rose

to not get lost
but to: tack oneself
to: the most impenetrable of ideas
our origin
our destination 
(the same)
that which is worthy of failing to: name
(but trying)
to: praise

Friday, August 21, 2015

analects of the heart, notes

eye zeroed in on an erotic compilation of photographs, the beautiful heft of breasts, the interminable slope of backs tossing light in the mind's prayer bowl, the literal split of the labial lips, the hum-drum tongue sprouted so that you get exactly what one would expect when they employ the word eros.

but punctuate this with one shot by vivian meier, six tomatoes ripening on a window's ledge. try then to breathe. try then to resist the allure.

Vivian Meier

likewise, a compendium of ecological poems, pure, right, unflinching white light, craning on inside the flesh of unblinking doctrine. but anything in its only form is always only pornographic. like this can one truly see, hear? or maybe a little human soil to stodge the light? a little of the muddied heart might make the arrow's axioms more unsullied somehow, might make it all more visible, more resonant, more formed, desirous.

the years and years of solitude, then finding love.

sadness (and more sadness) and then the unsuspecting piercing of joy.

if one stands beneath the hordes of honking geese in autumn, is one more here? less?

the sand hill cranes again. their lonely calls. their blustering flocks of closeness—

     in a farm field far below i'm sad, not sad, i'm sad, not sad, i'm full, i am, i'm happy. the air between their swell and me. their light-lit sentient flesh. their soul bedazzling flashing fetish feathers.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

wading through the initial overtones to the pure tone (tuning fork)

You don't want the dim light of the television,
the blandness of meals divided into the four square food groups;
you don't want the assurance of annuities.

You can't help yourself,
you keep waking and putting on the party dress,
the lingerie beneath it with all of the secret keenings of lace and openings.

You can't help yourself,
you keep waking and waking and waking
and strutting out of the naked darkness, the glyph of a plucked note.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"come again" - a kind of equality

10 white men come in and say good morning yes how do you do and 10 white men leave, 
going about their merry business.
10 brown men come in and we follow them with our electric eyes behind our brushed on smiles,
going about our merry business.
1 out of 10 white men steal: we don't notice.
1 out of 10 brown men steal: self-fulfilling prophesy.

brown men, for your own sake, please stop stealing!
white men, for the sake of profit, please stop stealing!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Distance Equals the Wild Weasel's Black Eye and How it Strikes

August heat hangs heavy everywhere, 
pale honey chain mail shackling the laxity of summer,
keeping me from my core of strength and vigor
as I run Birch Lake Road sluggishly
to the lake which is not Birch Lake. 
I stand at the lake, a castrato 
with a basso profondo's heart to sing,
3 feet from the lake's lip,
6 feet from that which I desire, fresh water,
the shore smothered in algae and cast-offs 
from tackle boxes and motors -
held away - such an unforgivable distance.

Once my husband stood on the opposite shore
of the Great Lake and I on this shore
and we could not touch, never having touched
but having clearly moved as sentient shadows
inside one another.

And before that I stood on the outskirts of myself,
parched and delirious,
with no real comprehension of what was missing,
but desirous like a weasel's black eye is 
to break into and have lick of the creamy egg.

This year because of the heat and dryness
even the efficacious big black bear is withheld from his
drunkened honey tongue, despite carrying
the shroud of the spoken thing at the core of himself.

If only I had a dipper on a pole
I could reach out and sooth myself
with a single pail of good clean water.
If only I knew how to dive that far.

I turn from the lake to run once more
through the heat in the opposite direction,
one swollen blackberry shining back in the brittle bushes
having translated the shadows of thorns 
into a pustule of nearly bursting sweet flesh 
encasing and stretching a single drop of moisture.

Faster than a thought, the animal in me reacts -
I dive in to get it.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

the bridge

when she leaves the room she sets down the book on the table.
when the lover enters the room the lover picks up the book.
this is how they have learned to endure the terrible heat of touching.

it is said that if one were to hold or be held by an angel
the terrors would burn through the hands, entirely,
like a burst of magnesium.

blind people touch the world with sticks.

out of the mouth of god spills the multitudinous but singular cloud of silver language.

each word is a bridge.

hear my stick tap out my name as i cross toward you.
i beg, know me - but only like this.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

One Rubber Boot With a Hole in a Garbage Heap Collecting Raindrops

As newborn children what might we suffer loss of?
Hungry, we get the breast.
Frightened, our mothers draw nearer and wrap us in skin of boundary.

Where were we before, noodled and noodling, tucked and worn
like a stone inside the oleaginous heart;
and where before that?

When one considers sky, or ocean without shore,
one bird, between, is not lost—one bird equals one bird—
there's snap of sky, elasticized ocean around it.

But now here's you and me in this rusted scrap heap, the one we've made, 
then kicked, 'til ruin and dissociated abandon.
Where are the mothers now! Whose children are we now!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Man is not by any means of fixed and enduring form...He is much more an experiment and a transistion."

so, this look enough? is deep enough? critical enough? aware enough? is honest?

we all come from the mother word

i think time must think it moves in lines.

    i don't want to move away from words today.

i imagine my fingers through dirt all along the centerline.

    down my belly, through my flesh, flash white lines.

i dragged my children from me to the world like this.

    each loss, each gain, a node along the line. 

if we run our fingers here we learn our little lines.

    first word: terror.

hush child, draw a jet of milk from me.

    second word: beauty.

third words, dragged out, and long uttered:  
   come back...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Pelvic Girdle is a Vessel and Water is Sentient

Born, we women are given a pitcher half full of water.

We are instructed to not spill that which we arrive with.

And we are further instructed to fill the pitcher to its brim.

Every morning, even before we open our eyes, water streams out through our eyelids.

And rain pelts and pings along the dark streets of our shining aqueous humours. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Less Than an Inch of Water

It was a long dry summer.
The grass died in June.
In July it died again.
First of August - it died some more.
Mid August the lawn was marooned,

Then one night 
while I was sleeping
on the boat 
it listed.
Someone walked around the boat
beating on all sides, thunder.
When I awoke it was raining
and the steadfast stable boat 
had a slight new swagger.
Mid-air was grey.
Lower-air was brown.
At the tops of the shafts of the grass
green was pouring into them,
little siphons gathering
droplets of homely water
and converting them to pleasure.
Just like that—
the world was returning.

It happens like this in the heart too,
months of dry dirt and death
and then through a communion as common as rain— 
a shift.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


the trick is to use one eye to see the particular
and to use the other to see that the particular
is only one dress rehearsal amongst the myriads

the trick is to use one eye to see the infinitude
and to use the other to see that the particular
is the only show that matters through you

Friday, August 7, 2015

Continued Distress (The White Heron Can Not Fly Backwards)

No matter how much we want to
we can not eat ourselves to reveal our bones;
we can not move ourselves relentlessly to stillness;
we can not talk ourselves through to the pure white word.

No matter how much we want to
we can not buy ourselves to accumulate the wealth we seek.

You there, man, woman,
let down your shoulders;
learn the tough ways of opalescence;
hold the kernel of sand between your teeth
—don't speak;
bear what's to be borne.


Of Distress Being Humiliated By The Classical Chinese Poets by Hayden Carruth

Masters, the mock orange is blooming in Syracuse without
       scent, having been bred by patient horticulturalists
To make this greater display at the expense of fragrance.
But I miss the jasmine of my back-country home.
Your language has no tenses, which is why your poems can
       never be translated whole into English;
Your minds are the minds of men who feel and imagine
       without time.
The serenity of the present, the repose of my eyes in the cool
       whiteness of sterile flowers.
Even now the headsman with his great curved blade and rank
       odor is stalking the byways for some of you.
When everything happens at once, no conflicts can occur.
Reality is an impasse. Tell me again
How the white heron rises from among the reeds and flies
       forever across the nacreous river at twilight
Toward the distant islands.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

voices, voices, notes on a walk

why do we make the young our gatekeepers?

you ever walk the trail? i ask.

no, her eyes beneath her bangs are sheepish.

is it maintained?

yes, she brightens. i heard a group just got back.

just got back. i wonder on the word just. i examine the silence between us and figure that just means sometime this year.

i'm alone, i tell her. no one but you knows i'm here. if i'm not back by sundown i am still out there.

she chews her gum. doesn't know what i drive. or where i'll park. or which trail i'll go out on. doesn't care. not because she's cruel. but because she doesn't know how to yet. she's like a drop of colour to a puddle. she's blooming out. seeking the edges of her own infinitesimal ocean.

i pull off the road, drive between ruts in the hardened earth and park on a small patch of brown grass. there are no other cars around. none at all. and i don't think there have been. and i don't think there will be. it's past midday. not the ideal time to leave on a lengthy trail.

i leave a note on the dashboard of my car. it doesn't exactly say, come and find me. it says instead what is true for each of us - out alone; unaccounted for.

i enter the woods.

one mile in in a heap of brush and fallen limbs i loose my way. one man's maintained is another woman's chaos.


last week i was out on a familiar trail. i had been running but for whatever reason that day i felt weak. i stopped to stretch.

stopping in the woods opens a soundscape. sharpens attention. clears the mind and the place where it feels the mind resides, down the neck, all along the chest and out the arms toward the fingers.

i heard a rustling in the trees. i was delighted to hear the leaves. then the rustle slightly raised itself in intensity.

i thought, i will name this rustle and so i gave it words. i named it - leaf with legs.

and then the leaf grew to perhaps be representative of a squirrel. then perhaps a fox.

i watched the opening, my body filling with anticipation.

then incomprehensibly the bear's face rose there in the opening and behind it its tremendous body, impressive musculature and trembling flanks of heavy black lank fur.

upon seeing him i raised my arms and made my mouth into a deep O-oooo. upon seeing me he turned his body, each fragment of movement outlined in a wave of muscle movement, and descended, this time crashing through the undergrowth, the hill which separated us.


six, maybe eight feet ahead of me. the same behind. only a couple feet off on either side. upwards - small pock of sky. beds of thick moss beneath my feet. broken jumbled branches, brush or fallen trees. sometimes knee-deep thick fern. poison ivy in all of its marvelous diversities. moose droppings. bear scat. trees torn open. gaping cavities. lightening strikes. dense heavy shouldered evergreens. not like christmas trees. but like the old world wearing moldy sweaters. hardwood. hardwood. hardwood. and a continual cluster of starved mad mosquitoes.

i take to talking to myself out loud. it takes rather easily. i break off a stick and use it to walk on the uneven ground. no pausing. only onward. the mosquitoes make sure of it. it begins with labeling. all the things i pass. and small thoughts which interject. with each word spoken the stick hits the ground. my hand grows blisters.

these words are my touching, i reason. realize.

(it becomes a real conversation. and i know the words themselves, whatever they were, whatever they in particular denoted - were essential to the meaning of this telling. but they are lost now. i can't remember. i can't imagine.)

but then, while in the forest, the bridge to imagining has been shortened. it seems as though, while i speak the world, the world speaks through me. i am such a thin dull glimmer. i am barely perceptible. and yet it is my voice which speaks.

i see myself as the hole. as the shape of the mouth uttering the O.

(while i can't remember what the words were specifically, i remember how precisely i touched the earth and was because of it.)

a mad woman stumbling along and talking aloud.

when my own words run out i open our slim copy of rilke's duino elegies and read from the first, "Who, if I cried out, would hear me...?"

how pleased i am to sweat my dirty fingers all over the already soiled pages.

fern leaves caressing my ankles. later i will change into jeans to avoid the continual and growing poison ivy. but how pleased i am to know this intimacy. here, in this one touching i might exist forever.

but this is not true. only a sentimentalization. i only know the delicacy of the fern for the tearing of the bracken and the sting of the heat, sweat and mosquitoes. in this way the ferns have become a kind of baptism. they feel like soft clean palms on my forehead.

fern. i know i say this. i say this lovingly.

but i say bracken lovingly too. even, damn mosquitoes.

every time i come upon moose scat i call it out to the trees. with great hilarity i cry, moose poop!

but then the graveness of a hollowed out print in the moss. a print not moose. although i've seen these too. but clawed out with no effort. a bear hooking his claws through pudding.

"the sly animals see at once how little at home we are in the interpreted world."


i can not keep time. can not understand it. it is only an 11 km trail if i am still on the right trail. is that long? is that short? 6 hours, the girl said. i don't believe her. they over-estimate these things. i think 3 hours at this pace.

but what on earth is 3 hours!

as i grow tired i began promising myself things - a swim, an apple. i say these things out loud. a swim. an apple.

they are more than an oasis. they are the ringing of a bell. good things that happen in the good world.

as i grow more and more tired i begin promising the world things. (who is this world?) i will see my mother, have the x-rays at the hospital, clear up my taxes.

but how might i be tired? i've gone further than this before. i've run twice as far.

does not knowing where you are going have a direct influence on how you perceive your journey?

charles wright, "The road in is always longer than the road out, Even if it's the same road." (lonesome pine special)

and true, yesterday i had a good strong run. but more true, we can't anticipate the length of any journey, no matter what any young girl, brochure or guide tells us.

as i laugh at myself i imagine rilke laughing with me. at me.


i interrupt myself to wonder, when i enter the world again, the world of man, will i keep speaking aloud? will i know how to revert to the covert silence of being?


many more steps in the unknown.

is there no resting place? is it only always at the end?

oh, rilke again, "O and the night, the night, when the wind full of worldspace gnaws at our faces—, for whom won't the night be there, desired, gently disappointing, a hard rendezvous for each toiling heart."


i shout to the trees laughing what i recognize of all these minor journeys, every walk must have the same arc! lists, a reduced articulating. blooming into poetry. then gentle lies. then full-blown banality.

and then finally. again? (when was the first note?) a relenting into song.


where did it come from, this silly song? it carries me out of the forest and into the clearing like a plug pulled from a bottle. what a sudden rush of light and perspective. (do i like it? the perspective, not the song.)

i set the walking stick down without thought. get into my car. close myself off from the mosquitoes. and am silent.


later, at the beach. after the shock of cold water. cold to the body like ice. a necessary rubbing of dirty parts. sitting on a small stool with my apple. wrapped in a blanket looking out toward the distant shoreline so thick with evergreen one can't imagine a body moving through it. two elderly people in fold-out chairs. the man laboring with every ounce! of what is left to stand or sit or walk. one small boy with a control disorder trying to manipulate and lord his mother. returned to my body. amongst these people. silent. i am less me. more of a container. with less currently contained.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015


it was six o'clock. summer. driving down the highway. through a neighbouring town.

when my daughter was little. i don't know why. but we would always ask. how many webbwoods are there?

there is one. i think. but she was always moved to think two.

in webbwood. at six o'clock in the summer. a woman was walking out of her house. down the porch steps. across the lawn. she was wearing a one piece cloak of fabric. with a zipper. like a woman in webbwood would have worn in the 70's or 80's. a remnant. or a recreation. she was young. it flowed. she was beautiful. her body was pure beneath. maybe she had just had a bath. perhaps she had only been hot and sweating. her hair was up in a loose chignon. she was sailing slowly in her body. her hips rolling. her arms lank like sure oars.

i was driving by.

with casual confidence she held the keys to her car. parked along the highway. perhaps she'd retrieve something there. or perhaps she'd go. it didn't matter.

what mattered was that she was exactly in her life. and whoever was in the house. here or on the other end of her progressions. aware of her leaving or not. knew she'd return. that things would be ordinarily extended. that things that happened before would happen again.

house. porch. lawn. sidewalk. keys. car.

a lamp in the house. a television. bodies. chatter.

a beer bottle? an ashtray? coffee? maybe iced tea.

i think i was in my life like this once. i think i was low in my life and all of these things were markers. lamp. water from the faucet. oven. bathtub. television. bedside books.

as she walked the dozen steps i saw how remarkable she was. how remarkable the implications. a whole world. around her. participating and convinced.

i think i was convinced in my life once.

mechanisms in place. lovely and beautiful and simple mechanisms.

the mechanisms broke for me. were not enough. i longed beyond. looked beyond. and there is no being low enough any longer.

now i am most truly. forest. sky. wind. a few remarkably hinged words by others. the musculature of a bear. brisk ducks. the cocked fox. fluid beavers. and - peculiar reverberations.

if i were to wear such a cut of fabric...well, i couldn't.

how many webbwoods are there, ana? she'd turn her peculiar baldish head. a couple blonde rogue curls like weeds from a fresh cut pasture. paddle her little legs in the air. two, she'd ask? one coming. one going. she couldn't quite grasp it. we'd laugh. no! only one!

my ex-husband would increase his speed. nearing the town's boundary. the town. so small. all boundary. turn up the radio. adjust all the little mechanisms. we'd sit comfortably. confidently. driving on. b to a. a to b.

...a chignon is something else i'm not.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"The River is Everywhere at the Same Time"

  Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
As there is no such thing as time,
this small cherub boy whom I do not know,
whose parents shelter as though he's ember,
whose smile is quick and wild like horse,
whose heart is as easily crushed as clover,
who plays shy with me, such a strange old woman
and who goes so easily home into his mother's arms,
is mine.


everywhere i look these days there are children loving their parents and parents loving their children. it is unbearable. and yet, because it is unbearable i know what i feel to be real and to be necessarily borne.

Monday, August 3, 2015

a change of season along the aux sables

you were here yesterday in summer
can the world change in a day?
tonight a cold wind lifts my hair

the sun beams hard and then harder upon its descent
can one sunset be more serious than another?
tonight the sun's setting magnifies my true size

the world holds itself to my ear like a conch shell
what i hear is my insignificance
the water ripples and a beaver dives under

yesterday a beaver smacked his tail
and we clapped as surface met distance
but tonight the beaver parts the water in silence

while you drive further away
and fall draws nearer.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

the cyclamen and a cyclamen in a window

The false and true are one.
paint is not paint—
it is fire or ice;
to survive (perhaps a dot dramatic - feel alive) we must be put to it!

the little word sits inside itself
like an egg waits (without knowledge of its waiting)
inside the ntesxt.

a green vine runs through our veins,
snaking, bucking at bone and skin;
we call it blood.

bloody hands upon a windowpane—
simultaneously an act of creation, destruction
and standing still.

oh world, tear the veil
and enter me through the image;
raise and raze me!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Black Coats

The Black Coats have put themselves on
and done up their buttons.
They've driven lines,
or gotten into line,
or strategically reassembled lines
(getting first into line)
as though creation were an ocean
and waves horses to halter.
The Black Coats have expounded laws
and nailed every common good down to price.
Under the Black Coats drift hangers.
Hangers are only ideas which dissolve
with the removal of the Black Coats' shoulders.
The Black Coats firmly believe in things,
believe they are things
but are only funny little verbs, tensile,
brief, like the flicker of shadows.