Sunday, September 4, 2011
Leo New Moon
There, it is Friday. With afternoon sunshowers, the temperatures in the 90’s, the sense is of water erupting at head level or just above, between the trees & a close translation between sun beam and shower. I carry bags of old tools and scraps I save New England out to the trash and let go a bit of Dad.
Sam begins to be as tall and lean as when I saw him first, in a day vision, reaching out his hand to shake, back-lit by a Mid-Western sun, fedora doffed.
What did we touch each other with, Ma?
Word’s wing slant and looked crown put up over
a head composed, portrait shaped environs against blur,
threat hum twined in tonal frequency telegraph
that left aftershadow and repercussion
“didn’t you say?” who had become the iteration
within, sound transduced like stained light into altars and wells,
the systems in rough commons, but not the effects?
Your hand so breft hoveral on the girls’ heads,
poisonous butterfly that withheld its sting,
passed, luminous oceanliner bulk, a miraculous
density for small wings, just above, just umbra
that made aura at their shoulders
I was the less often, as not belonging to your touch,
so skin was not figured and learned no lines
They’d stolen the car it, was Laramie AM
I sat with the two little girls in the backseat
were going to Spokane and had no other way
would leave the car—but
you take anything out of Cheyenne that far,
young polite kids the guy drove and gal half sat
to talk look out at salt stretches and dry
I hadn’t come into Washington that way before
and they let me out I don’t recall—just the half
light in the car silhouette—later I had three jobs
for three weeks in Bellingham bought the
Velvet’s 1969 Live album I would pack
careful in the Kelty to carry back across the States
next to the Ephemeris pages for that summer.
In Helen of Egypt, H.D. offers a wonderful trope that the arrow that pierced Achilles heel was Love’s arrow—its hard to explain like that, Greek references don’t carry weight, but in the context of her larger project of bringing this material into reach (and thus also a change on the Romantic impulse to look to Greece to say what is not said in the Enlightenment precise) by narrating layers and developing surface and depth through repetition of memoir (of WWI, WWII) and story (of Greece). Suddenly her meaning leaps large not as an intellectual trope or conceit but as a look that crosses time, and, by doing so, bears out the immediate love in which such time is felt.
Driving home I write in the blank end page: the body is time stolen from life.
I was Orestes after Sartre, a form of fury
is acceptance that calls the bees to hive
the head’s cloud; that everyone is lost—
is fury, its adolescent moon, slumbered and ill,
poisoned Echo myth cannot heal
is left on the bare hillside to sky—
fury that wraps time taut,
perhaps to secret
tongue’s taught to thumb love to say
time will tell (was nimbus)
Les Mouches likely borrowed from Andover Library and
read on the quilt upper bunk of the blue room
struck me identified as “who would walk away from a burning family”
put my thumb out into & walked overloaded Kelty pack
into the overcome and prairies
undone anger as Nietzsche’s epitaph a war will leave
Seaholme Hill a cascade sequence in the night air
a vision of tarot cards told me there was a way out I
had to wait three weeks until the walk up
Bruce’s lane along bungalows and late August
roses I got a letter that explained the previous signal—
five days later I am in Pierpont Dorm, the walls in lurid mural
no longer Kansas—the rides forgot now perhaps a truck to St. Louis
I stood out 3 AM in Billings to keep though to keep on
walked in late summer night from the Calvin Coolidge
Bridge to Southwest & stood again stairwell drawn
someone had written “David Lives”—that night
my old roommate high on acid would play with Archie Shepp
tells me under full moon he talks with an African Woman
who lives on the other side of it.
I read generation x has given away the social net as scour “get their own back” as the next step that falls from “Ginsberg’s Mistake”—I am not fair to credit one lone generous walk-up fairy I know but he did seek to be emblem & this “we can do anything” translates to a sense of entitlement passed on as resent expectation to more impoverished children of the Reagan lie—is my broad take anyway & for those of us Unsatisfied by our peers even then & walk away from the protest, it’s a second dose of salt we have to pour over our gardens.
I mean that the war never ended is a fact & primary feature of commune culture besides sex I suppose (I wasn’t there) was theft—like poor folks always do, dive into someone’s pack they are away & now further emboldened to defend it “you are hung up on ownership man”—example of precursor to contemporary doublespoke evisceration of straightforward talk an American poet should have been on to, he’s citing Williams as a predecessor.
I mean to say that we were right about love but something else was going on under the covers, and the first to disenchant us were not the Establishment who we knew, after all, were from Franco, but our brothers and sisters—let’s face it, mostly brothers—who were trying to evade the fall all coyotes have to take to be mythic.
Of course, some went out into the landscape after true visions and drugs/dreams and the sheer magic unleashed in the physical was like lightening, but such things occur at an angle to whatever is going on whenever a festive heat limns the earth’s aura in fringes
and the war did not stop.
L who would engage in Reichian spells at, I imagine, aqueducts and other evasive points to which the ropes that hold a city down are staked, the not-seen by the curb that produces vantage
who will float in the backdoor of a house Mad Bear Anderson is at, recovering on his way to death, like sunshine, Alcatraz a plural dream for old leather lungs
whose ex-husband whom I’d never met once got on a bus in Amherst Commons & I looked at him & said “you are Don Wait, aren’t you” because I knew suddenly, and he said she was living in Florida then and I hadn’t heard from her in several years,
whose children voices can be heard mingled in Anne Waldman’s poems about her kids play across the laid out sidestreets of Boulder, and now grandmother
1975 hands me two pieces of paper:
one says “David needs and Lisa waits, I don’t know why”
the other: “I am not of your race: I belong to that Mongol clan that brought to this earth a monstrous truth—the authenticity of life—and a knowledge of rhythm. You do well to hem me in with the thousand and one bayonets of western enlightenment for Woe Unto You should I leave the dark on my cave and set about in earnest to chase away your clamoring.”
I had dreamed: I am a young apprentice, feeding the fires of black robed sky-walkers on what could be a Tibetan plateau
A voice registers in its higher tone overtones that
make awn over village mailbox metonyms—a crow’s eye
is closest image for the sight of Icarus fallen
by a Renaissance sea—and you sleep anyway, and
dream belongs to history.
We are speaking about what word avows,
repeated into silence or oil stubborn surface
or not, the threads of a fence—
the body’s separate bed is the moral all stories bear, last
breath alone, however mingled, we must adhere,
that love is gravity absent light
does not cancel the count—
resonant, the cathedral’s roof throws our hearts
into the sky’s blues
Ma would always point out a selfish motive in what you had to say, which was, I wanna say now, an entirely restricted scale of interests, but certainly in keeping with the times. You are realized in your mother’s terms—whether you accept the rules of the game or not, you consider yourself alternate, imago in your mother’s sight, and put on the boots, adjust the mask.
The game wasn’t be generous, but gotcha, found you out triumphant.
Against love, Ma, against love, wasn’t it?
Lisa always writes this side of the myth she crosses into. I’d written back last month:
This morning I put Pattie Smith's "Coral Sea"--her poem piece for Mapplethorpe--on my car CD and was driving around, so I was already moving when I got your note. Now have run another round of errands (grocery store, library, my office) and listened more. Funny to be and not be, as if in a mandala.
There's a great book by Kim Stanley Robinson called The Years of Salt and Rice about a group of people who keep incarnating serially through time. It’s really beautiful and funny; I got a chance to talk with him last year and he said he really hasn't recovered from where this book took him. You might check it out.
hope all is well,
I stopped listening to Patti Smith about 10 years ago. Attended a Green Party Convention in Tampa where Ralph Nader and Michael Moore were crowing about defeating Al Gore, with Patti on stage holding hands with Ralph. I was devastated by first hand witnessing of election stealing in Florida and in despair about Bush. And nauseated by the arrogant display by the Greens.
Life's brought me an interesting challenge by setting me onto an ideal environment, a 500 acres historic ranch along a river in the gorgeous coastal range. The ranch also contains some significant native resources, old village sites, kitchen middens. To walk around in a quiet state of mind is to listen to the whispers of the past. Along with this has been a built in small farm enterprise and a chance to conduct a community garden project.
At the same time the land (purchased to make a Park, owned by a non profit and directed by a board) has been under significant development pressure. A rezoning process has just resulted in an environmental review that, as it turns out, classifies the entire property as wetland and makes it very difficult and expensive to build on.
So now Spark and I are tasked with advising our board on how to manage this thing agriculturally in a way that creates significant economic return, and still includes the public access. And in the process to earn money that might be spent to mitigate wetlands process and clear the way for development. Which I really do not want, having fallen in love with the place as it is.
It's 7 years now that we are here, working hard to show that this land has more value as a beautiful, historic, scenic agricultural property, than as a facility of ball fields, field houses, barbeque pavillions, and a concert amphitheater with all of its attendant light towers, parking and infrastructure.
So wish me luck! It is a big personal challenge. Fortunately nothing has been built yet, and thus far the land prevails......I feel guidance from unseen forces.
My comfort is in my 3 draft horses, which I spend time with every day, learning how to speak horse, which is a body language......
The children are all well. Lion is playing bass in a soca band and will be appearing at Reggae on the River this summer. Shield is up the road with her 2 young children and I see them often. Youngest son Salmon joined the Coast Guard, is stationed in Hawaii
in folded, Ma, what piece of paper I stretched for—how life keeps us close in its material facts & the words by which these residencies are announced
Think too long makes cobwebs,
perhaps a surface or rock face//asbestos
of rigor//a low distal blue, a following light—
even here the object phrases your
sense of being—ego, however dismantled,
can left its head over the mastered paste//products
of digestion—you cannot go back to the first
encounter after eating—the light
is a cost that is left.
God is used to being eaten—all children
put dirt in their mouths and want
to climb. At times the trees fill with fireflies
and we are reminded of what our thought echoes
in its ceaseless circles.
Dad’s birthday—leonine black-haired lab-coated or earth & oil stained chinos, steel toe paint spattered shoes, distant beard grown perhaps 1965 into “counter culture” w/piles of Analogs by his reading chair.
In speaking of her vision of luminous hieroglyphs in Corfu, H.D. remarks that the apparent fact of these was “the most dangerous or the only actually dangerous ‘symptom’” of her mania—she perceived something that wasn’t there—writing on a hotel wall (fictionalized in “The Secret Name” as the intrusion of a temple to Nike among other ruins)—Duncan, writing of this says, “But this is not, we realize, made up… but—that is the danger, madness—come from a source independent of our creative mind, our conscious daydream, The word rhymes with all the surrounding pattern we had been weaving but it comes as if of itself”.
Is a precise description of hallucinations? insertions? I experienced in 1975-1980, and I know exactly what H.D. means when she calls it the only actually dangerous symptom since it registers as actual sign or Image that has been realized, that intrudes into one’s otherwise musing, that Eliade called "hierophany”.
That there is a second world, a double in being, becomes one solution to undoing the riddle of the eruption—the blue toilet paper that floated down from the bathroom ceiling into the tub (from where?), the strange glowing plastic iguana and the old blue glove in the medicine wheel No Guns laid out, the knives shown to me, perhaps twice, by people walking casually by me, the small cardboard pictures of saints by the airshaft window—
Can be understood by a lurking megalomania as a kind of possession (that is, the object possesses one, drawing one into its dimension, its “materiality”) or can be read as a sign of a second to whom or which one can say both yes and no, that exists alongside.
Because we make ourselves through the object, this speaking back threatens to claim us—I was blessed or lucky enough or enough of a dreamer to know I should look down at my feet to differentiate among the competing gravities.
The writer wants to interpret for the reader, but what can be done in relation to such events—they stir the psyche (are like vast storms) and thus want a place in a biography, but cannot be explained—I’ve come to feel the language of a double world is more adequate, offers more, is more loyal to life, than the medical language of psychosis or hallucination. But I am no surrealist champion of madness; the touch seared and scarred—I had wracking back pains later and am no longer, if I ever really had been, at home in this body or world.
Instead, like H.D., we can narrate an “as if”” there were two worlds or a fold in time, or speak as I do of a structure that begins to emerge when the grip of possession fails. It is an old story, which must mean I am not the first to break in this manner, nor the first to decided, against the grain of sense and ego, to believe in a doubled world.
My Buddhist friends are always impatient with my absorption in dream and vision—don’t I know its all illusory? Aren’t I making a bit of a claim? Shouldn’t I be deepening in that silent knot that is selflessness? What is all this stuff about these “signs” I have seen?
Perhaps its just a long march, but the answer I have struggled to, that explains my aberrant loyalty, is that compassion requires that we love form, which means I must somehow love the intrusion of a radical other (who threatens to possess) and be loyal to. Maybe this is what H.D. calls “love’s arrow” sent by Helen’s glance into Achilles’ heal.
That is, though alien and perhaps unreal, I can be spouse to it—spouse, not master, not slave. I can argue with it, walking a long way according to its plan, entertaining its fiction (I did hitch out West because of my vision of the iguana and glove, I did order my trip according to those signs, I did end up at a gathering of shamans—Mad Bear Anderson and Leonard Crow Dog—I did drive across the desert with a guy carrying a hawks head staff or wand, and we did find the larger caravan, but from an impossible direction, given how we’d driven away).
Perhaps what Blake saw as the Marriage of Heaven and Hell—that we can live with, alongside such other worlds, that we can be spouses to them, and—since spouses also are—parent at times, sister and brother.
Just another way of playing the scale, Ma, precise
(I thought “recondite”) many additional pointed fingers
does it leave as much distance as the opaque or
abstract, a glance apart? Is this why you would throw up your hands?
Would require that we retire, like Hölderlin, to the broken tower—
the source of the Danube and the source of the Rhine
can never be the same, can never meet to marry—
that venus can marry moon, or moon sun
at sunset tides
does not cancel such perspective.
To be unattractive, as what must speak across tides,
or simpled, shadowcast face turns down, her look
as no reason to sit down to dinner with,
dull feathers in claw
“I didn’t notice” his kindle & even swagger gets laid down with
the most bull, works his posture, there’ll be someone to
sharpen knives for//I am incontestant in the breaks,
the bad news about//no one can see—
argued & a difficult point we like to look,
she went over to talk to, the same magic act
is a habit I am not talking to//
“your consideration or what doesn’t do me”
its folds “thanks for listening” into a lonely cheek
waiting next to crabgrass for the bus.
plane to Minneapolis is delayed so we don’t start to the airport until 2PM; I am preternaturally relaxed—a strange dream last night I don’t quite recall—the cityscape intensely lit, talks with a young couple who performed together—I’d seen them before & then later would be at their house—I lose my wallet—leave it at a restaurant and it gets taken—I don’t notice it is gone, but have to start thinking about canceling cards, notifying people—at one point Jehanne and I sit on a curb and we are harassed a bit by a gang of young black men, but it is not them. I talk about my poems with the young couple—there’s a sad sharpness and my brain wakes up long before my body, so I feel that light paralysis of REM sleep
yer great, wild, going out dream Ma of saddles in the birch tree
shade & the falling leaves of fancy adventure in practical Christopher
(boys name) almost with sword and trumpets of knees
black and white script inthreads woven into yer N.C. Wyeth hair
were pirates and Pan, windflowers along hidden paths
the trenches took underground, the dead slept away—
was in the grey Cleveland sky I walked to school against
and the branches that reached autumn stark from your hair
and the wet, always the wet streets, and the cars on
dim black purchase in their remove and apart
At the edge of waltz is fire’s sound
half-footstep’s indecision offer’s stall
drink and wind a fine red thread around
her hair as plaint in statue’s rosewood
lower still the night’s arms till head rests
among. Slipped the door open into night—
gone Ma, the stars of winter garden
gone the dead red fox stole haunted heart
gone gay memory’s whisper willing
gone lover’s arched backward still purpose
ritual word bowed to finger’s lance—
in the next door habit’s clattering
dishes black, mold dappled in just rain,
this broken mosaic between two.
waves of Johnson relatives today after a morning of dispatches; work my difficult relationships at the usual pitch of feeling my only task with people is to go away forever alone, make my tea as if already old, retired, slow walking a fat dog dodder down the late morning empty Oak or Maple Street
here in Minnesota I feel the edge of the Prairie and my heart sings a little the intense red sunrise drum that is in the way the land falls; we are near the St. Croix (rhymes with Troy), the land feels as if it falls up to the bluffs along its angle—corn is up and folks disagree about whether its usually humid here (as if it weren’t also the Midwest still, the last stretches of the Eastern hardwood forest before the distance of grass you sense is close, the way you feel the ocean
I must have some old belonging out here in the open between the Dakotas and Saskatoon, in the old sea bed and great bless of sky, red rises as aura from the earth
liniment surfaces I burnished to make Athena’s mirror
perhaps catch a sight of you made Image I could figure as life
such dull sturgeon’s breast bone of smokey glass—
caught on the sea, green emerald glasses or cat’s eye of moss and lime,
was water I was pulled into, pleurisy ripples
and lung’s sad desperate blue
I lifted the fallen banner, Ma
Nocturne of the too bright hours in witch
thought, pulled by what could be
her arms//my sorrow Opheliac edged
hemorrhage of sunken weeds
is only an image of.
Is only the place I make her fast
against the dock we return to
after all mooring—the morning
light again makes loss,
blankets of dispersal float
through the new stands of trees,
the field glistens more green than could
and yellow off the rod, and the fresh dirt
of the forward tractor that passed.
hand on the ceramic urn (will crack in time and spill under the eaves and roots, under the Swedish lidded hooves, under Spjot, and Anderson, time’s acorn lintels and district we will brush away each May autumn under the new spring, the broom and flowers
that touch sent final Dorothy into the earth she already was and I am—my eyes know, the sun tells, this forever
he says we are bright with this already God, bright on the grass, we are gathering, thrushes hum between our sleeves in the auras we cast—the make of mind its world, and the call back to the deep
strikes me strange I walk back from the Elim Cemetary that I do not know, Ma, where Dad’s ashes lie, or yours will, that somewhere in Laura’s house, the task of making death a fact remains to be done, left among wallpaper remnants, leftover paint in cans, other almost done tasks that slowly fill with light, that become absence, might be myrrh, somehow a larger tree grown out over—I have no idea where or if—we do not like the dead Ma, my siblings who do not like to share, who require us to give; in the night you stay nowhere I can go back to each year—like those fallen in war who are not found, like those taken from the road we never return, gaps in time, unfolded
In among the American jostled, were voted flames,
hands folded in aspic —I am a custom of cotton,
dream dress undone as juxtapose to,
collapsed mounds of a sifted grain—
strung against wire, a guitar’s difference works out
a drunk stumbled money can’t change—
the keen waste of tomorrow in
a cowboy boot’s quality, a dis tend,
don’t write me no more Brooklyn Ferry no,
infolded floods of Mississippi sewage as said
is more close to the ache’s birdsong
knocked wells in the ether of my scheduled poverty as the shape of the script of my epitaph—my hands attempt to hold Ma’s look to social power as the proper bowl for the grace poured into her, will not be mine either—I make bare shelters in the wind like mine shafts into the sky or first hovel Rilke says was thrown up, on Greece perhaps shepherds temple or cote but here on the plains is barn or pump housing, a reclamation of tool shed in the flat extended durations of bedrock East
there was a dispersal I perhaps used my chest to forge a way for
through what were emotional marshes egrets preferred to pass
were elegant—skunk cabbage understory in mixed grew up thorns
or beach laurel tangles in thin auspice—I would have asked for
different tasks than abandon, but the sign said “surgery”—
a long walk along sand edged roads if I carried it far enough away
family heirlooms adumbrated in a few books and Swedish camp stove
in the thrown away, what had to be taken to the sea, wasn’t Bronte or
a picture window, was sallow, needed sails
this was augury write in lines in the weather
not hard to discern but perhaps coded for the recipient
you wouldn’t have let go otherwise Ma
the long rains in you, the October Hudson &
what you asked for did not come
we hear the children playing in the empty garden
and would fly
but who called the game
was decided, alphabet,
in sequences that never end
or the surge.
If the river goes dry, Ma, it wasn’t
supposed to, or heart lose fire’s anthems
or daylight put the nights spell—
we slept in such shallows,
we slept such close transgress—
this dead stream bed is not arroyo a season,
I called the last moon after the sea
“African famine” in my sleep
the dust does not return to.
You were not mine
but took me anyway
talked late at night downstairs
I would have to dream
what your voice was pitched to.
a humming bird pauses at a still point between brackets of maple leaves the picture window of old Ruthie’s pristine covered bibles let’s in; difficult to explain Lutheran waiting rooms of old age—perfect nap of carpet and jars of peanut butter a kitchen made of advertisement memories and outside where the lawn ends the fields ragged to a half-seen lake would be sunset from the dining room table she is screened by
Ma was also by purple windows black cat & a bottle of bourbon had a turkey on the label and TV tuned to MSNBC to ruminate mantra of Republican folly she was left—three rooms tied to an oxygen chord and small place each hour passed; she had no reveries to tell she went back to, no day she remembered mail, a long American sky over Eden Hollow like the backbone of a whale
marked by omen tells, you can consult tarot or i-ching or
numbers, the sabian symbols of the days (a volunteer choir sings hymns
for today) provide images as pensive emblem
St. Christopher coins to navigate duration’s considerable lost
where other guidance is absent or thought strikes
one asked comfort
tho’ at times too often (don’t throw the i-ching every
five minutes—the scope narrows, and you don’t
really need to know the telephone will ring—
some difficulties are meant to be taken neat)
how does the story go for others
who lack coins?
how did you sleep, Ma
I have been under and the wind’s purpose I can’t say—
its sad and poppies are more beautiful than anything
doesn’t hold me in place the way work does
I am exposed to this disassociation
at the level of streets and other horizontals—
we apart by surface tension//broken kiss or
masked popping sound//we apart by fact (as verb
apart indicates angle we differ as bodies)—
read back through to see if I have established the wind’s purpose
read back through to see the poppies I suggest you take
read back through to wave flags and ceremony—
if dead at the end, if without
if in the open than does not look back
if otherwise bruised by myth’s “almost”.
a day of suspension in traffic, one airport to another, sky doesn’t care & Jehanne and I talk much; Minneapolis and then wait interminable in St. Louis—too bright, more Southern; we climb out of St. Louis; land late and I drive a bit faster than I am awake for, rattling the Camry along the Durham Freeway; at home, the cats are out—Bagheera comes up from Theresa’s and Mallory meets us on the driveway; Sam is home—his car cut out (the coil Mike says) so we’ll deal with that in the morning; I stay up too late
Is there an outside from which what here looks accountable?
We long for and suppose there must be a face that adds itself to
each of us, close over us in what are now pleurisy clouds, was
then as far as the eye saw, the edge of we took as womb is sight’s
world we fill out automata as appropriate Cartesian—
Ma’s face didn’t lend, was in sleep we make statues to say,
to leave a mark in the page, maybe get back to
a thought she was sister
a thought she leaned over ominous
a thought she was among the blue and green beautiful
a thought she was all desiccate and turtle-skinned morose
thoughts don’t stay and try other things to fill
get so far out of yourself no one can see your face
get so far out of yourself there’s no story.
What Lacan calls the “symbolic” maybe
is built up by repetition of rose or American
is rhyme, makes energy in the ought—
I wouldn’t make more stuff to solve.
What symbolic is forgot the music worked to,
springboard of dreams you require a girl for,
isn’t the only option “A” by the river bed.
Nor gone out to Loboville with a rod and creel,
his was willing to reduce as all Prometheus,
still needs a girl for.
Not make of the road a Milky Way
not pour Ma out into a semen smear
not otherwise alter as fabric
what got taken away.
wake this AM wondering if I can bear separation; I am more and more left alone or required to wait as J lands so deeply in her feelings’ travel—an air moon picks its fruit or sits deeply, the way winter sets, feels the thaw—
the plane ride isolations—she waits to make a few calls to talk freely about her Mom—I attempt not to breath, to become grey—meanwhile the stock market careens
terrible occluding weight of rearranging
the beds with Ed, I’d be steeped in sadness
restacked possessions I was exposed to a limit of
cherish (that word I used to describe
you) in talisman or order (my desk drawers never as neat:
the cash register safe full of quarters—opened at ten dollars, but we would jimmy,
neat red-brown record book to write down allowances
my models less precisely painted with slipped decals, Ed’s more true
Jane’s Fighting Ships 1941 opened to the German cruiser fleet & trace paper
detritus wooden nickels and YMCA certificates of merit
a game map open on the grey-blue table (black metal wire legs, it was the 60’s)
in the past as good as dreams
but survives as a knowledge of poverty what K-Mart cannot dispel
of fabrics and sources
Allured based on lilt laden verse of Bob’s “My Love”
is like we had to hitchhike to get, to be supposed to,
that candle wax would pile on the table,
we were not Irish enough for the birds to pull
seeds from our shirts, to drag on spells in canted city
light “knockin' on heaven’s door” got written in—
bike circling in the cricketed summer night
was a style you could fit suburbs without a change
& no particular anger of the Black Flag later
or push up against, a girl could play you the jeans
were so tight & that harmonica—
as a sole in a between factory with wood frame house,
Winston-Salem or some other Moravia, that hope brunette bar
everyone sat in a sec, flies on the screen//the same night.
in Carborro in the evening with Sam, we talk about Chicago & the approach—I don’t trust my sense of the times, pessimistic and uneasy; cry some in the afternoon simply at the abandon; clouds are murky orange clashed with streaks of blue unlike Van Gogh and sulphurous— as it is our time to see such ominous and drive in the slow disaster
find I am in a process of retreat to fourth house, though the family there is not my own, what sustains of relations not career that people deserve—
its not found in destroy or fulminate achieve or make diamond prow (is sword) to smash what ocean insists, must be from fear of being swept you cannot help
“writes” like weather, cedes landscape. calves, heaves of
edge surface of overlapped tides—this said or that as perhaps
some muscle for wait: children, other necessaries
long bracken shelter I build up over the field, in thorns,
strung arcade of thicket, a series of books and dreams made awn
I could make you more distant, Ma, as far off as the sky
as permanent untouched or was
postures of the book in splay of limbs,
right cradle or left of the always shelter of some dis place
becomes blood thread or, like lung, transducts in fluids
a catch of the open aster ( a stir) elements
do you get this haunt of perfect?
how it lingers among the remains,
the work of whispers to sub-plant
not disloyal or a lie,
but that we are all unable to tell
must mark time alongside
to suspend justice,
ark over our heads.
Climbed into the auberge noir
by way of trellis-works a dream left,
her purpose in three pearls on laminate
in half grey window light, disturbed—
the reverse of the two of spades suggested
a door, a second possibility in rapid sequence
of glances—here a bright half-grey light
floods the mood;
angels could visit if it were far darker, so dark
no difference between room and sky, the ceiling
could be taken off, one would be equal to
not knowing at last—doesn’t match color of course
but such indices are unreliable alternatives to fact
tho’ we often prefer to sequence.
dreams were of the difficult mandala space tho’ not clear how it would be fit into the plot, involved deaths or a perversion; this leak chases me through the day as backdrop I shuttle back and forth largely about cars that are in various states of disrepair, Sam, head up, trying to figure his next moves with respect to Chicago & heart negotiations better than I ever did
certainly I did not make sense in my twenties, Ma, tho’ precisely how one is to do this when Alice Bailey & Dion Fortune is what makes sense—a white alabaster let into the room as the relation of mars to Neptune functions as a code for what I notice—someone else might say chill, or not follow as my words become a flat mask, but it is permissible for any of them to forget me, in the same way that kitchen cabinets are a part of our mise-en-scene (that uncomfortable visit that is spent in the prefab corner by refrigerator as locus of our alienation/social anxiety)
we made these places to live in; lived in what they felt like
Durham full moon in ambient voices is a spell of summer—somehow people know each other well enough to pass time over beer I cannot imagine but children come from these encounters that are perhaps like nomadic fairs might seem more attractive if
that is, if these were like midsummers where farm children came in from the long distance & had the brief, wild focus of love to share with the summer stars, what they make you feel like, what you wish to be haunted by
we seem a long way from that here the tape playing some effort at a punk-disco stomp (I thought first the 80’s and now discern is a bad B-52s song)—by definition after a more difficult summertime perhaps slung down by the Orpheum someone in “throw it girl” children apparently come from
I know its part me I don’t understand what we are doing in places like this—a nice bar (but to what purpose, to make the night bigger than we are? have I ever met anyone at a bar?) there’s more 1980’s & I keep thinking this is about girls and flirtation is perhaps an indication of what I prefer to think or notice
how do other folks experience this as history, as belonging to their minds which must be a double that has inserts here and there I don’t know how to step around or admire
We could fall at the edge (someone would
have kids) but there’s the lawn—try spirits there
they used to be (bought Welches 32 oz grape soda)—
suburbia had/has to be a vector for;
the sky remains relevant—there must be more than
these ghost dances, the overwhelming tone—
white people don’t seem to be worth it (but have
kids someone is paid for—DISNYLAND)
something accelerated and what work was
to a day, ah shit the storytell, (overflood of markets as
end result of steeples and domes?) —
shouldn’t let even the name “Walmart” be
in my pome but I a Christian. Someone has
children. We were led off the past.
Does “somedays I think we should all commit suicide”
(Mom talked about the GW bridge) read anything
like “starling fell through the sky” or “the sweep
of evening accumulate”?
What is your eye on when I talk this way
and how quick do you adjust? this is usual I
have a gentle or some say “flat” tone I am prayin’
“shush shush” against the dock—
what makes you deicide I have to say?
(everyone here is younger than I am
and is looking at a phone like light a cigarette
she//he poses, stitched through) a hole to
jump down, pop up later still intact &
they were all small beautiful children.
faded to almost blue lilac sky in the still-lit west; I lay on the bed and feel the night gather—quiet house; I flip through next year’s ephemeris as this kind of quiet is full of the hours of my body; I have begun plotting a turn interior and am not sure what it can look like beyond this deep quiet I feel pull
always the sails pull towards alone & the problem of joy in such terms
alienation is a friend of anxiety and philosophy, as thought takes you away, that feeling may make more tidal—tide for me is deep sound & so must make alien or bare struggle like a rose in beach sand, or plum tree can last
the 70’s were not so hard to be alienate—Ma and Da a successful example of geek alienation would prosper—I wasn’t having it, was feeling old weird America a more strong source not made correct by ACLU or technology jobs you could have a TV//disassociate identity with orphans and world topped off by Enlightenment satisfactions Ma perhaps did not get
her Romantic after all was programmatic Schiller with his marriage or art and civil order & perhaps none of those writers really didn’t want to be a part of that new dawn made possible by coal and steam (a bit of warmth in the mornings)
I was alien to Reason not because of sentiment or a search for affective ground but since Reason did not stop war, but since it was wrong that a landscape is a grid if we more perfectly tracked all possible locations—out of what, a desperate desire to control, to have say?
my eye’s shape makes mandalas wherever I look & the true shape of the body sight is disc, not epic, not journey (the story of what feet and breath know, what the heart does, of years, but not of sight’s reference to us, its dipper in the well)
Reason was wrong because we had not solved WAR we struck with our forearms we sat in excrement and filth made others; war was all the more brilliant lit-up, ritual we had not repaired, not even close, not with grids, coordinates—was a tool, not “good” itself, not God
Ma was in her Romantic not enough of a critic I was unjustified in the ruin being made at Nordstrom’s, in the bad plan and the lies told & no revolution Enlightenment theory would alter the basic derangement, would put severed heads on pikes—
say what you will, those who know life sensed is sacred are different, know God I don’t care the words
Death was cut across the face of it down
the next breath—in this sense a better lover
or ransom fact—could not be taken the
same//violence we say “made the river”
shoulders the sky aside—disarray and
the book gets put down you will not get
back to, accelerates the season you will
not be unchanged by//eclipse
stalled overhead//a brute indifference
the body has no time to mimic, lacks arc
anyway, lacks sequence, lacks a swing—
you cannot say death’s face, is unforgiven
and “left in” like false notes and hammers
unpin the demanded symphonic caw.
Cooler day into nod of August; I am listless as J is at the “Russian” apartment for a few days solitude; finish Schiller’s The Ghost Seer, read a few sections of the later part of the H.D. book. The gym, NY Times puzzles. The sun sets soon.
I am perhaps not seeing straight. What I see, what I am bothered by. The past stalks in my heart & desire, tho’ it rises in sense, can it be as unreliable as thought?
at the dinner table the seeds of it—restricted portions and a ceaseless performance of knowledge and wit, recitations of bibliographies, map sequences, text fragments like a “good family” I suppose instilled a habit of pride, context, fact as such, that “Man” could know and we, as best, smartest “men” would arrogate the stars Icarus’ fall and Mom’s jaded, weary indulgence of this masculine so forth
the wound still festers we stand around her memorial service after in pronouncements and fact-forward delineation, prize our “freedom” to say, clever girls, to be above & apart Laura has not yet taken even Dad’s ashes from five years back to some ritual place the way Nyngma adepts would make fun of Geluk scholars at a funeral, since the only rituals they knew were those of debate, robe pulled back, argument extended palm towards the seated face; Tara Tulku looks at us sad American Geluk listeners and says we (who need logic, cannot be moved by feeling or sense) are the most unfortunate—in terrible black rueful humor at how difficult a scholastic sensibility is, with its numbers and lists, and unwritten books wailing at the door like lost mothers
milk the last drop from exhaustion rendered “idea”
What was not enough, she would say she loved me
yet did not correspond to my understanding of that, but
words supplement sense and adjust I have to consider
a series of alternate—she could love and hurt, or
love did not equal care, or she was equally angry at
her pay, or felt and hated what she loved, or
separated love and truth in a chaotic gesture at freedom—
she could not put back together,
or the heart by which I reckoned the sky was wrong
or did not want to enter that covenant, or the narcissus
fields so yellow absorbed all light—
only those seen by the blind—angels and wisps
at the edge—who spoke in an air grise that a yellow leaves,
and who were they?
reading the H.D. Book this morning Duncan points out a difference between H.D.’s early poetics/sensibility, which is guided by sense/reliant on sense and the problem of “not adding to” that the objectivists assert, but that sometime before the War and then in the Triology she begins to consider what we might call an awareness as star—Duncan ties to gnostic Hermes—a kind of light as self. That is, that the poet is also star or has a relation to star. I am struck by sense of self-luminous I had in 1977-78, that I had “broken through” into some upper rooms, or into the sky, into its music and feeling as a space of interiority and thus as home, or inside the home of self—
in any case, an enchantment by nature (and participation in such) that become newly figured in relation to “star”, which I am taking as some kind of awakening to, the doubled or split in being that mind is our first word for
meanwhile a group will be getting together out of Religion to read The Price of Monotheism which considers the way monotheism defined itself against (and thus “for”) by employing the bifurcation “true/false” in relation to what was said; that book uses a term I don’t “polytheism”—I would speak in terms of animism or complexity rather than many (poly) as the difference “mono/poly” seems to introduce just that bifurcation said to be problematic, and because I tend to think of theism as proper to monotheism, and not complex cult systems such as the Vedic or Greek traditions
because by “theos” I mean something like that emergence of an intuitive awareness H.D. may speak of in terms of “star”, as becoming star, when she says:
we have not crawled so very far
up our individual grass-blade
towards our individual star
knowing beyond knowing
not that we become God, though certainly that possibility has had its advocates, but that, as we come to know ourselves in terms of being “star” as well as “sense/sensuous” the notion of an other/beyond to whom we are related seems necessary—already indicate in the notion of the friend or twin, in the fact that we are riven
I am surprised, as I write this, by the fact that, by a back door almost, I seem to be saying things in a language I have, more generally suspected—“becoming star” or a difference between mind and sense that might lead one to speak of a mental principle or topos characteristic of “star sight”—my own sense being that the sense of self as star, at least for me, was catastrophic, and that starlight meant a broken sense world, one I could no longer think of as womb, that was juxtaposed to—hence the intimate relation of Star to Tower in the tarot, where Star follows close on the collapse of the tower
and there I am back in code language for an experience, a sense of self I am trying to convey—I might better by saying that once, in that 1978 spring I came home almost early morning to my dorm room & the light was half-light; my roommate slept, my bed above his & I perceived his sleeping awareness as a density of pulse or not-quite-light above his body—as if seeing the nucleus of his sensory-motor system & reached out with my thought and touched/pushed it, brief palpation & he stirred and rolled over. I pulled back that attention & climbed up into the bunk. careful not to brush the pensive knot of his sleep—you can say what you like
Terry Havens & her husband Joe bought some land up on a ridge west of Quabbin, called in Temenos—the Providence Zen Center built two retreat huts there & the first time I met Terry, I’d climbed the road from the parking lot, and saw her, in her 60’s, white hair, thin, nude, pulling a sledge with logs to where a third hut would be built; I suspect it wasn’t that time she showed me the beehive cave, but there were three, much like the beehive dwellings you see on the Aran Islands Synge wrote of, whether built by folks from there or remnant of some lost boat of monks gone West along the North Atlantic archepegiogoic coast—
I’d walked up carefully and formally—I’d read my Perfection of Wisdom by then—she and Joe were old Quaker SNCC activists & I asked her if she’d help me finish my inquiry program work (fresh/soph program at UMASS) by doing an independent study on the symbolism of the directions/cross in the world’s religions (spring 1983, perhaps)
a hermit thrush call & wind rustling leaves you could hear all the way across from the Berkshires—no planes—still sun, late August blueberries, early July laurel, a cranberry pock just down off the outcrop rocks in a lull where the rains sank
the remains of a mineral spring spa & hotel opened in the 1890’s; a small bathhouse built over a slab of bedrock, water running up from underground into a brown pool
a rock painting of the Japanese bodhisattva Jizo invented post-War to protect aborted fetuses//cope with the rapes of Nanking and Seoul//a small St. Francis shrine tacked to a slender birch tree I found in a snowstorm over New Years, out walking instead of praying in the retreat hut
Swaggered man, a kind of brag antlered,
takes room to dance, his obsidian chest repeats
His Master’s Voice—Whitman, Bottom
in the broomtick, bent round boy, brayed
gold-yellow he was allowed to be—
on tip-toe watched his father shave—
introduced to mysteries and Shriner parades
and work clothes—
all holy masculine no question huh?
St. Thomas proper, right with nature?
my heart breaks this bad ecclesiastical
shoulder I have to push past makes
the worst tradition, displays his cock to
anyone wants to rub it for luck
I am tired of.
books & laying about the house; I move from The Cathars, to Mary Butts’ fantastic The Ashes of Rings back to a history of classical Islam etc. Shehyrar and I talk in the morning as we have been, this time about the relationship of yajna (sacrifice) to puja (worship); the Cathars continue to intrigue, not in doctrinal or systematic terms—Manichean dualism strikes me as untenable—but because of connections to or traces of Buddhism/world-renunciation and the esteem movements like this have in post-Enlightenment culture because of resistance to ecclesiastical power and apparent emphasis on freedom/purity rather than love/care. That is American interest in Buddhism has curious structural parallels to the Cathar case, which suggests (among other things) that my thesis that, at least, Early Buddhism was dualist at heart has some merit. The key, and where I seem to break with everyone, is my sense that care/love trumps freedom—that we cannot achieve radical freedom/purity, especially as this is attendant to a categorical bifurcation of good/evil
sustained contact, Ma, with the difficult retaliatory
that has become a lasting memory of Ohio limestone &
its bruised veins I suppose whenever I look out a window
and the sky stretches its blue, as if asphalt in its distant must look—
when you jumped or dove I was held fast
and drowned or pulled after a just-bought skirt
you turned yellow canvas capizzio’s under
shapely calves—fell a long way without wings
was love’s plumb—
I did not let go, but
was disassociate in opposed tribal moieties
and something never found its way back
to the surface
what body was that we fell into Ma
marsh water that
stagnant black leaf rot
were neighbor and like enough to store
to the other sleep & loss
called commerce, Abilene bare
under the endless unchanged
in the “upper world” over
a myth of poisoned streams, Ma,
not “rings of fire” or flight—
bags one would never finish packing
so the trips aren’t took
In less satisfied acreage a tire inside
moses reeds or till, sketched over
appaloosan shadowed field (O Andalusia
writ in seams dust devils work out—
“give me a specific example” Ma’d say
I am saying in terms of the general interweave
of Mediterreanian echo and Ohio bright
makes the light’s texture here specific, Ma,
an example doesn’t suit. I speak a lexical anders
a burnt library in the stapled-on scarecrow, nest
or heresy on his shoulder I emblem
inheritance what we are not saying
stoops over your shoulder Ma,
and might be considered relevant.
some stone in my aura gets read back I may mistake as unfortunate—sediments worn edge tell duration might be noticed as shape—I have many and cast, but have sat into that lasting makes impression
disphoria or grief green-blue coast that time offers between us I slant down on, I dismember a bit as blues
(tho’ a seventh still catches a place to stand on a sec, out beyond the even others up through six, admits breath and the simplest chance, however horrible, whatever guts in your hand, to extend further as allowed)
we don’t need guns to prison, Ma just made occasional observations and hated her body, was enough “go away” to make you want to hide breath could be commented on asperic
in Ma’s swamp colors (she was New Jersey sunlight after all, learned low stretches, knee-deep variation of almost Polish stepped blood lands in black reed towards Manhattan towers)
between Dad was reading magazines to baroque,
hated Apollo (God of poets) and unable to talk
relations understood primary as engineering, he say
“but you made Mom happy David, what was wrong
about that” and
Mom’s so actually stunning & Ophelia threats she
hoped her Dad watched as she stepped off the GW
into orients of air—
feared also Dr. Sax gave her license
there was not a mirror in the house
that looked back at you
with something better to say
window at apex d’arc d’été, the leaves as full as flesh out, of luck’s dispense; and Sam almost set on his Chicago digs & we’ll drive there in four weeks, up over West Virginia across Ohio or by old Need home Indiana, the flat thunder to impossible heart of the Great Lakes, wickering in limestone and birch
a Need gone back that way Ma, not Norton but steel & corn blooded and engines haunted by civil war death fields you drive south to visit
I work patient up my syllabus on poetry and love and have, as ever, too much reading I feel I must assign.
not anything like Cleveland or 1961 was
slips away that the sea rises
a broken relation cannot be remembered
somewhere the dressing was produced in rivers
bottles arranged on pallets moved from
& a Big Boy’s open down the street inside
we are prepared to play solitaire at midnight in chorus
hammersmith organ they sold
psyche in kohl eye is wood because
she is waiting
imagination can’t go away, gets stuck
like girl news anchors can’t move their heads
the weight of the instruction manual the cowboy
stands for, is uneven & barely brushed
You are not gonna make your Dad back;
an economy in no ways of participation
nor frequency can do fair; the past slips its heels
to be gone into what the crows said—
fight for it back is the same bad money everywhere
you will not be able to describe
the distance the crow is from the curb
how close it is to the puddle
you would like to marry.
I write poetry because the sky is broken
and won’t grow back
the same way; you burn so hard
to correct the equation, your blonde hair
against a laminate surface,
startling blue clouds at dusk over Golden Belt; I recognize folks from when Sam was in school & look tired; there’s a room with bottles full of spells and books that have portraits cut into them that hang on cellophane strips; my I-Pod found a long version of What Goes On In Your Mind from the End of Cole Avenue tapes I keep replaying as I walk around inside the earphones; there is a stack of books in one room, but little thought has been given to the order & so an opportunity missed I say; I walk along the edge of the circle taped on the floor but do not step into it; of course I look at the girls, bent bows, talking pretty or squired; I am supposed to we collude but why? I keep wondering why? I turn around so close to one bright bright face coming out of something she is saying to her guy it takes my breath away; drawings on the wall of County Commissioner public meetings where they sell malls to scatter
blue gone wane moon in bale tilt earths the dark in spidery light
she pulls the curtain down is a symbol of something I lost
leans over me to; the bed is just islands; it hurts to keep loss of
things, alphabetical order is an old favorite—the Morton Salt Girl
is down by the river as usual, and cars—even then you were
forced to collage &
some casual is so stubborn
The curtain cannot be spun into a preferred direction,
works its way like rain or the way a beach pulls back;
call it history or new field, it still parts
you have to push past again
Christo lays out along 6th Avenue towards Mercy
a suspense against prediction’s towers—
what sparks is unfathomable Psyche
we stand in increasing lines to wait for,
comes against cause, against rhyme, mistook
that chance, quince passionate,
said call by other names—
dropped around us in folds,
in ashes of paper, what was forever
pulled back at dawn.
Bakhtin says we augment others by our gaze, but we might also task. I get enamored of a look you carry off approximate to a standard and a place of swarms, waves of color I go a sea on. The not-you of Ma or a freshman gal that looks bright I see into the beginnings of other worlds & only a dim organic shape (characteristic of anything in a body has to be) makes it possible for this to be about you.
To be equal, I want to be reached into like that too, is a dream of ravishment, to be roughed, made apart, as the hand picks up and drops, picks up and drops, its sort among what were seen as stars.
I know moon opposed Neptune I am particularly suspect to this and whenever I fall in love, I have to step out the door into an ocean first. Is likely my rhythm tho it mighta made you feel good to be briefly so beautiful, no matter how unreliable the source, we are flattered.
Ma, you wrote “I am worried David doesn’t have a role” was
one way of saying you didn’t see beyond what you thought when
ceiling was city avenues and systems of polite—the door
opened on a Kleist play, or something by Schiller, and you went
out along Pearl St. to A & P, I at your skirt—we were, let’s say,
organized at different pitches, I, wary among the strange clouds
and you, sorting through a series of masks for the best lemon;
I already knew, even then, what was closer to dream and what fell—
even if Icarus—but knew my eyes saw more color than I could trust
I didn’t see you of course, the sunglasses and fine turn of a freckled calf
that looked good on your boys—cotton skirts in soft yellows, grid flocked
along the A-Line—your more interior other where you did not have
either, your hand working the purse clasp,
all the while cursing the play,
all the obvious tropes there was nothing to alter
once fed by marriage into an unrecognized debt of participation
Is it so different? To each day reach
through riverene sediments of sense,
to sift, as if on loom or harp
dark from light, that river does not?
A tower can be struck and built again,
pallets, shifted in sequences in vast train yards—
are in no way equal to this arctic demand
that sealed Echo’s fate.
For a child, the walls breath condolences;
a patience is built up into the
later, he will realize how many died,
the stone that falls through light
that is not dark.
J & I walk today out in the green along the Eno River, barely moves in brown, limp midge-hovered, but the air is less heavy & a light breeze pushes it off our face and shoulders. A long walk, four miles.
I remember turning to follow her up from New Hope Creek as if we would walk a long way together.
Half dreams come, skit across my thoughts. I dip into time from a great distance that blows across me. My body cannot follow, and I cannot weave a body around these brief
snatches of provinces. The body is in time, where night and day are serial—what I dream of, what catches me up in its beauty is from somewhere else I can never be body to, no matter how outflung into the astral, no matter that I try to make my voice or breath a sail.
there was likely no way you could know I was so transported, Ma—
I think after all I knew I was alone in what had altered me,
that the visits, however similar to your own short imaginings,
were in no way parallel
I so wanted to meet you, somewhere in the distance at least.
I never wanted to have to keep going.
Past the end of the road, past the school—
the nights, the sun’s play on grass carried me so far off.
I had no knowledge that the face could bridge such distances
without saying anything of its roots. That in the glow that lit
one nigh cheek bone at least, under a fringe of darker hair,
there was no closeness, that the table lied
that table manners could not nail in place.
I am bedazzled,
must, chameleon, belong to light—
that no element alone can name.
Not blown into a moonlit
from the tops of waves
that will receive me again
into a larger feeling;
spark, perhaps, snatched briefly to
light’s unfathomable cause
and spent, not much higher in the air,
that the damp in me
swallows. Your face first
impressed on me the whole deep
unbelievable tired comes on me at 4:30—my syllabi mostly done and letters; a long day at the computer; a breeze kicks the leaves outside & someone talks about the clouds, the strange “bob ross” clouds that presage storm, are the edge of a dry to me, but we’ll see—
last day of Leo seems to end in a soft green-gray light; J is home late & we sit and read awhile into dark; I’d been bouncing between a book of Islam 600-1250, Mary Butts’ journals, H.D. Nights, but curl up with a Swedish procedural I don’t know
I could burst into flames I thought about it too much, and so stay low in the water, low in my body, but I’ve heard nothing from my siblings; no one seems to care, two storage lockers now full of things gone decay in humid and soon cold
as if they all simply wanted to go to sleep, to let this barge drift away & too hard to go back to—we’ll see if I hear something by September
white folks grow up in America something nasty in the water
you turn off the tap feel the pressure of the whole town back up
against the cocked down handle (painted some works on metal red)
as if we lived our whole life at a window, a cat or wife hidden in speculate
the length of the distraction you should be shopping as substantial as asphalt
is left back of your eyes like a migraine, post traumatic stress echo of the
sun on edged lawns back behind your sunglasses don’t catch no eye
or drive in aimless through the subdivisions
in loops long sculpted curbs
was displaced and needed to be carried to the river
like a cake or basket of
you’d put down in the river
let it go away someplace else
it wasn’t going to rain
and this too full of static image
should be dispersed
I am the music Ma, broken organ, a
star half out of it shell,
would be dirge for my neighbors
but for my conscience—
brass quartet’s cases open on a sculpted shade
quotes quaint a public they sold tickets to
I don’t want to have to be mad at;
is so sequence you are taught to read—
stacks up a choke Ma
too difficult to translate
as what I started out as
some house somewhere
a kid at the end of a road looks out
at the great indifference.
heart feels tight & broken this morning; cats on the bed & looking through Klee’s Notebooks since its been recalled—a point about painting “dynamic form” rather than sensed artifact, that is, to “draw from life” you’d need to do the former as much as latter & his work as exploration of dynamic form—interiors
Hurricane Irene scrapes along the north side of Hispanola and is headed for Wilmington area early Sun AM; maybe Colleen was right about the clouds
J goes off to DC this morning to see her friend; I’ll move the bed later; she looks like such a child when she sleeps, curled into the bed almost on her front & black haired head just out of the covers
In the aftermath did I live next to you Ma?
am a branch of
leg that was mottled
I shared a circumstance
that your body did
become rippled, rippled
where an apple fell
where the waters were dark
the wild is wild beyond &
out there on white granite left acres
as far into silence
we dipped or hands into light
you saw that too
but did not even leave me there
at the edge of worlds
I had to walk out myself
in the long receding tide.
I brought roses for the barrow,
lay them red against rust
a 1920’s rain pooled against
the porch stairs
to tell you
the ideas in things
you were imagining
for a while I sat
a black barn cat crawled
into my lap
I tried to imagine each thing
for you, since you could no longer
say what they were thinking.
a long day after too much beer last night I succeed nevertheless in talk through from Shehryar in the morning right through Dianne’s chart in the evening, precise chopped data sequences I put down exact but without nuance or too much hustle (always a hope the facts are enough to go on was how my family did it I am exacting weary)
Sam settled his place in Chicago a Dad’s relief & now to be imagined walk up second floor of a brownstone kind of warren with windows look off into the Great Lake sky & its heroes. Wind outside and wool socks and always cold, he’ll be in a ear muff hat of some rakish, and poised over books like the picture of me circa 1985 “astrologer at work” in my study feature
am I sad you’re gone Ma?
was put up with you most days we spent
I am on the beach at least &
you swim side stroke lines along the shore
swim cap like Jackie K
your glasses back on the sand
waves in fractal you knew white legs
left its mark like an ad
seed pod a thumbs
in the grain of
sheets of say
I keep calling memory
Where the knots are to undo
to let the awning go
hides in the words
skins the hands—
won’t work anyway as sail
what’s already wing
strains against ropes
burst into ash
makes as one swallow
a flock dives sideways black
in the after backlit
you’re gone into
should be done
said this way.
A book on John Dee’s conversations with Angels; he’d work with a scryer, read the Angels’ talk off a cloudy stone the way tertons read whole scriptures they find hidden in a pebble, they are given in a dream
that was 1588 which means there is simply no end for the need to stage apocalypses for those who care to listen—this was three centuries before Corot’s blue-greys would so perfectly capture the sadness of willows hung out over a Normandy stream
I would paint every chapel, every sky I could find that color, and then go back with Marc’s blue. Only when the animals are the same as the sky will we remember even a bit of what it meant before, when we loved.
Hurricane Irene off the Florida coast will come up through North Carolina just after the new moon Saturday, blow its winds and fury, and maybe break up as it crosses E. Orange and New York like Ma come apart & said goodby, something like a cloud now, no longer even omen, would be no longer curse.
What she wanted was to be allowed
to tell everyone about death,
that the spectacle that pulled them, crowded
further into the hall
would be a kill
stone roof that made no difference to the stars
cellar saloon recalled where
she would rise up in the air to
make a show,
prophetress, against it
whose sister hand would point accusal
or stood in wrapped blanket on the railroad berm
looked off, betrayed, antigonal impossibility
her brother was wrapped in
consequences of the curse
not even shepherd, nor lion to
slumber, where she walked two feet
above the desert scales
Alone is a long deep thing
the table between us
you can’t find by logic
the way it feels
sparse words don’t make.
Peeled edge of sad that collects
light gets inside anyway—
you have to read literal to mistake.
sleep is not deep & I am up by five, half asleep at four; a tall friend, who may have trouble with his back mounts a set of stairs in the old Williams St. dream house, someone else lives there now we visit, that becomes Arcade, bookstore and café; he’d brought me to meet a friend who takes me out up town and doesn’t want to lock the door—he lives up towards the University where the stores are more prosperous & I say no wonder, down here we lock the doors—later, in an auditorium, the three of us sit apart, talk over the backs of seat, are able to sit closer when a few folks go, the guy suddenly explaining “when I am a girl” and I realize he would be a good looking girl and slouch into the seat, leaning my head against him
headlines this morning: “Screaming Irene Heads for East Coast”
hot baths almost any afternoon for even an hour
I’d have to wait for the hot water to come back
to refill after the bath cooled, and always reading
Ray Bradbury and Sci Fi of teenage years or
They Shall Not Pass about the Spanish Civil War
& sometimes masturbate, and sperm coagulate gross,
but also sit up and tuck my penis between my legs
and hide it, look how I’d look as a girl, compact and
neat, or long ago when five in the soft shadows
of late summer eves abed, nursing my stuffed dog hero
at my otherwise atavistic nipples
or Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness, or
“The Kiss of the Spider Woman”
suggested a door in desire
a way further in
Alterity’s just one phrase you
could notice, sufficiently trained to
seize every break
stuff it in your throat—
the last fact that is not God.
Bad food leaves holes called “lack”
the whole house is surrounded by
like a sky—
all information is uneven light
a cadence does not alter
the excess day
that flickers in my care.
Not twice what makes the birch
where you can see.
Irene brushes past Durham in blustery, crepe myrtle against a blue black sky, one low bank of broke apart smoke circling cyclone low, counterclockwise & through the lit and open places not hung with rain, way up the higher jet stream clouds already arriven in states of order. The storm will blow and damp and wet, tear at exactly where things are when it hits.
I sleep with the windows open so the wind comes in from the North and I can hear the trees.
that I remember, that I have always
remembered, rehearsed, assembled,
laying down my nap blanket at pre-school
in grave morning light, laying down
each alone, remains so strong, like
a wash & why?
about being alone, about learning to be alone
that I was dipped in and made a place for
I could go back to,
the spirits didn’t talk to Dad, they hovered
like bees and followed him in the yard, but
he did not know how the soul, the cave of
the soul lay on him like a mantle
felt vectors and that afterdeath
that there was nothing, he died into
In the afterwake, the piled up convinces
makes you wonder, what could be love
instead, that put its face on;
disputation does not alter
wind works, and God, your mistakes
don’t seem to matter
somewhere out there, in some morning
in work’s light
its turned halal,
a shepherd’s purse on the table
drunk where words
give no escape—not the long city
not the Beatrice dawn
not the light that leaks into.
New moon late tonight I’ll call today the last; bills and desk work all day, sort my files & sad; Jehanne and I go to church early, quiet. No music.
I wonder how I go with folks, stranger that I am; Bob sings “some people are very kind”, but I have to be so lost for that, to get to that place so anonymous, a guy reaches a sandwich across to me. Most days I don’t find that. I am enough about myself to wonder an old guy clops me on the shoulder, its ‘cause its men’s pancake day and he’s getting into his role.
In the car on the drive home I tell Jehanne that I am much more scared by the fact that right now, right in front of my eyes, so many people, so many people, have lives, imaginations, ideas, in which I play utterly no part—much more scared by that than by the idea that after death I will be utterly gone.
What bothers me is a look across the restaurant now into what I have no part of.
Not much closer to let go this
shroud I’ve been drink, prefer
and call your skirts.
Anything to hold
the angels have no part of,
has no part of me.
She’s downstairs sleeping
where she has returned to
where she was not married—
she was before,
sleeping where he was yet to be
a small door yet unopened
she has returned to go back through
to go back up the stairs;
she has returned
to where she got lost
to go back through
downstairs, not married,
before a door
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Cancer New Moon Solar Eclipse
A year of packing and unpacking and verbs undone as everything will be undone, left to do, pieces and squares you’d save to sew Ma. “You look better in the blue” you’d write your mother, at first in Orange and then so far away in Denver, in between phone calls. Perhaps in the morning or at the end of the day you’d pull out your pen, paper, write a quick summary, the spin you’ll put on things for the public whoever. As H.D. says, “what woman who is a woman, who has pride, dignity, position, love, ever will let another so subtly undermine her (Palimpsest, p. 127). As all that.
all the candles on Dad’s birthday cake (his fortieth?)
burst into a single flame; white cement driveway
under the spill; Dad painted the picnic table green, covered
with striped table clothes; lamb on the broiler spit &
crackling and mint & one time Echo II over head
I go back to the van early by myself and fall asleep
wake to see the fireworks through the trees late twilight
at Lake Erie like the Zee; concrete balustrades at
“Almost Island”—iron ore and sunfishes too remote
I caught none; we are relaxant in 60’s dress shirts at
HoJo’s—crisp hotdogs & Mom and Bruce, or Dad and
Bruce fight, everyone fights & we wait while Mom
does something adult she’d been wanting to do;
once there was a fight she had permission; occasional
adventures that are not performance; covet blow-up Sinclair Oil
Brontosaurus (Brontosauri?) you can sit on, float Ness
in waves; we buy gas at the red Pegasus & have small
sea monster float rings you get at Tops or Sears
Perhaps somewhere in the words the other Cleveland is allowed,
not listed in the Yellow Pages; not even mine but
a brief spell, absorbed simple, sediment layer or slide in sequence
is loose granular “I can change a fact” is like saying;
written is an attempt to leak transport factors
given serial structure of social movement, its edifice drag;
in line for Salk (snakes the green grass around
a square in best clothes) but out the back door
that civil society forgets; two younger kids look
up from the dirt lot my Sunday suspended pants
interracial after church inside on sofas & Dad’s laugh
screen door lilts a grey angelic into the dim lit doesn’t it,
we go away from Cleveland into a ringing
I don’t know how to play with.
Sam’s birthday caesarean twenty-four years ago I see around the surgical screen, the doctor sits Sam up a second inside Cindy’s belly and then pulls him free—his little purple scrotum & fierce birdlike squawks; tough flattened nose that will be adult dramatic.
I am repacking his stuff so as to store downstairs in ever process by which different parts of a life separate or are disconnected into portions. I throw out two bags of receipts, batteries, combs from college in glean. A slow digestive process.
I am not dreaming nor vision but content I suppose. Worry this large express has become over-thick and no longer gives. Are there other, more impent tasks. Is this thought enough or just knocked out as serial takes over structure remorseless.
They say memory is a stain
left by chemicals in flesh
moss etch writ arroyo—fossil in
we are forced and allowed—
a deep feel wells after a bottomless drop
What weaves us across in hands?
a sympathetic give in early rooms
assumed shelter, “world” awn of her tall
skirted body tower
in the skyscrape
we hope sometime to make whole
what’s room specific and wallpapered dim
a picture window allows
a narrow outside
and no escape from the dark
Not so often in the front room that was Dad’s
but between kitchen and bedroom down the hall,
bath to the left, the closet of clothes, the back
and forth, long legs and black Joan of Arc
haircut had become style; in limestone and lake—
foreign skies of a more desolate North than glacier,
outside the academy of autumns & grey-yellow lit
Holyoke poet’s distressed;
block of St. John the Divine caught in your throat
where all Manhattan turned an axis quarter East
that even here life was short,
reduced to dream in realization—
four shirts from five yards of madras
and watercolor eggs hidden in the mown grass.
A seventh of a 360 degree circle is a fraction that repeats, infinite unresolution between each fragment, edge that widens as un dreamt before rooms become possible the farther you fall. Is strange religious aspect/gift for astrologers “into the mystic” and definite outside of the 2 and 3 dance that follows first step “outside” at 5 with the dazzling brocade of 6. 2 and 4 keep establishing (2, 4, 8) a note that the next disturbs even more intensely than before. Blues key in seventh is bent at the top and unresolves perfect for endless circling verses you throw to the left.
A family of seven is combination of two primary and five secondary is strange especially when gender scripts follow prior generation (mom and her sister, dad and his brother) that Mom writes her mother “I am worried that David doesn’t have a role. He has the best qualities of Bruce and Ed, but no social role” perhaps not being able to imagine the insertion of change into the dyadic familiar to her. I am the “not middle” (because there is none for seven, and we are all between Mom and Dad) who has to take the whole thing outside, out a long way, to disperse what’s over accumulated no one understands.
Certainly Orestes, a bad role, chased by flies. “I’d rather not but someone has to”.
The angles and doubles repeatedly escalate and cancel. Someone else always enters the room, and the whole set turns a quarter of a circle.
I suppose is why Rudhyar’s work on lunation cycles and Yeats on the phases of the moon made at least sense, a starting place for undoing the “not” I am consigned.
I just allowed myself to go further
into a disreputable Bohemia you skirted
from the safe side of the Hudson;
became tumerous the far side and isolate
Indiana field the ocean a long way from
the ignored particular stores
no one stitched together but loose stapled,
noir to go, attenuated avenues too narrow,
up by the bigger town, for the sun.
Dad’s Ansel Adams prints so smooth
no gone Adriatic Greece or Black East
We walked in baths of oil instead
on a black-and-white moon.
What America between us you had escaped from
was left to me to solve, against the commodified grain—
your Lower Saxony dream, after all, was mission
as the harvest failed, as the vines turned black—
that in the small places at hand, the close plain
and knuckled delft, fences strewn with agrimony,
where, despite the busier cities, the same hours pass—
you said “dream this possible steppe, so broad
a life, on the broader stairs; let grace time your departure—
nothing else will take you higher than the same
wind that spends the flowers.” We, who are not equal in pain,
feel the difficult weight of the sun that stops us, you
left me to, like Ma-chik, heaped offering the fields require
I thought was duty to be a difference.
two dream encounters:
I am at a conference; it is evening and we are out at a beach. I hear a plaintive cry and lift a grate. There is an ostrich in a basement well. Out along the beach Ewa Chrusceil, a Czech poet. I go up that way and she comes out in a new green tube dress. All the clothes she has worn have been nicely cut, clean though one was complex with wraps and buttons like stones. I tell her I’ve liked the clothes and she says she made them herself. A woman I am with now comes by, opens a door to leave. checks in, not Jehanne, but older—
at a Buddhist talk; Richard brings Kalu Rimpoche who is a guest and another monk. I get tense a little or feel badly. After the talk I am about to leave. We are in what are like indoor gymnasium stands, at the top if they were closed & Kalu Ripoche says, :”Hey” I realize I haven’t said goodbye and prostrate. He moves farther down the seat to the far end and I follow. He says what was that with Richard & I explain oh, that’s my feeling. It is not that I don’t like Richard, but that when I see him I understand I am now in some ranked position and inside that upsets me
he leans back and says, “well, you know what I have to say about those feelings, about that, tomorrow is as wide as today”; we talk some more and he begins a fairly typical Buddhist exegesis and I make a moue and start to try to explain my problems, and he nods and says “the machine”. I say, “you mean in the language/argument, its mechanical nature” and he nods. we talk a bit more & I explain insight and how, when you have that you know there is nothing wrong and can totally affirm being & he nods and then we talk about how fleeting that sense can be; I get up to go and we embrace and I remind him I took refuge with him in the 1980’s and he says “so long ago” and then something about how the whole environmental thing hadn’t even begun and I think he is referring to global warming.
I have to find my car and I parked it back in town. We are back at the beach town I’ve been dreaming and I have the problem of the highway overpasses that make sense coming in, but don’t seem to have an exit going back out. I walk off and up to a hotel to get directions & wake up realizing this part of the dream will be a bit repetitive and I don’t have the energy to work through each part.
[sense of an ideal heroic woman by the way that H.D.’s text has sparked; a new comforter within, that other I might realize]
that he stole in at night, through a window
that the child was taken, that downstairs a radio made a copse
the babe lay outside the light of, (possession marked) above the ceiling
the girls followed the story closely, just down the road NJ backporch
a shared sky; cut out paper dolls from the backpage; looked at
“We are already Double-Quick, Sailors” Dr. West’s toothpaste
between the day’s report, a man lurks outside Fat Jane and Slim Jane
they go to the edge of the lawn and search for clues; hold up trash
The One Vacuum Cleaner That’s Absolutely Different (I’m gonna tell)
Don’t Sun-Starve Your Baby costs only $26.50, B-J-B is a God Send
to Nervous Women; they are seven, then nine, “what does all this have
to do with sex?” they think, the guy across the windowsill,
a spirit of the Delaware Water Gap but trouble TOOK THE BABY
“I still want to go down those stairs, I am asking for it.
Scheduled afternoon w/blessed flutters of Indiana
they call “heat lightening” in the dim screen
is an attempt, I’d rather not be difficult;
I don’t belong to this community & cross the stage
anywhere is actually free, but I am trying not to hurt
is asking too much & in the midst.
“Here’s some chocolate lonely kid” tossed to the top bunk
I am back in a time with avenues, invisible currents
juxtapose to a creek we hike along amphitheatres,
seek newts under slid brown stones
under a performance sky we already expect
to be vast small town everywhere steepled,
and though ordinary, to be an object that, understood properly
would be a suitable example.
Depression starts the day & its too hard to share a kitchen but too dramatic to lie down; I can’t find the beginning and try several times to start over. Drink ice water, but still don’t start the laundry until the sun is gone past the clothesline. Drive from store to store by least efficient route.
The sky sheds grit from a black hole torn in it.
I wash it off my face each night & the day’s rain doesn’t sweep the air clean. It must come from above the clouds, the dust of the air breaking down. In the paper there’s a story about Natural Gas as cleanest fossil fuel we are still going to exhaust (though its true something somewhere is burnt to run our purring ‘lectric cars).
Power, from Old French povoir and poier as unattested scions of Old Latin potëre “to be able” but superceded by posse to be puissant, to have in your possession, a possible.
Isn’t what makes does, but holding ever more furious, the sky slack before lightening—in a word, the old celibacy tactic you ask me, we should be done with.
a gathering of white shambling and tambourine ribbons
on North flank of turquoise Mt Taylor in the pretty school bus
I get off to ride in a pick-up with the road warriors float
between places and time a hawk head staff dowses
the road to Shiprock goes in and out of sheets of glass
sometimes occur as rain & the desert soft green April
a Papago hero-shaman walked to Phoenix to meet us
sits in the front seat his black hat and anger of the booted young
we come out of a cloud smoked yellow & the tents spread in a pasture
people go off to do drugs to pray I watch a dispersal
this is the wrong world and the black uranium smeared arroyo
is a bad spring for strange; spark and blue jean silhouette Ford
no peace in polis consensus I, suspect, go off to work in the children’s camp
is my best work to be done decision there amidst misplanned augury
Then our thoughts crossed and we looked up at each other
in a quick, prosaic & looked back fascination, kept catching
your eye, because tired and signals exposed and over-radiant
where were our bodies, beside obvious?
we devise attics for “what’s mine” that’s beyond we are
all over each other’s stuff—your eye smears my desire,
gas lit interior corridors & cement basement bomb shelters segue
with the ceiling, the last war, (I flew across the room—
we were walking towards the day bed
and our bodies decided “no” for us). Perhaps you
do no want to sit down next to me after all. “He fixed me
with his eyes” doesn’t mean “I was repaired”
a film loop got jammed & one frame repeated stutter
a ghost boy in a hall, looked at the portraits
and then you walked away for awhile.
From “Youth in an Austrian Town” (I.Bachmann):
The children are in love but do not know with what. They talk in gibberish, muse themselves into an indefinable pallor, and when they are completely at a loss they invent a language that maddens them. My fish. My hook. My fox. My snare. My fire. You my water. You my current. My earth. You my if. And you my but. Either. Or. My everything… My everything… They push one another, go for each other with their fists and scuffle over a counter-word that doesn’t exist.
I had a role, Ma: to be elusive, whether Puck
or Heisman should-a-been Sayers,
“to be ahead of time”, or step out from between
your focus—or relentless coast and speed—
knew change and the only-path of “transformation”:
did you know the story of Proteus, Ma,
that Hercules pulled up from the water,
that only in the air, on a chart,
could change be stabbed to the heart?
The roe disappears from the lattice works
into the brown hills—voice of the beloved—
and cannot be pulled up by the roots.
Held in your gaze I was a fire destructive,
could live only where instead of water
you fed me more withering air.
Thus stabbed against the sky.
What was still mucus was breath between us &
became yours to use, homunculus of ginger or calendar
the seasons pass in piles of clothes and offsprung,
navel charts used as skirt patterns
taped palimpsest to the window as catholic gauze would
limps the room in browns, never darker than an eye—
your green frank observant at attempts to sing was most wide
this sitting charity of Mater Nal, alchemist residue
of ornamental children spread through endless halls
was the burnt out, smolder of the body’s under intellect
its suffuse, stubborn within the ambit of decades
given rose, given auburn sky to unmeasure and release,
undone escape of the child hours, and short rooms,
and the this body abrupted, serial swells.
Misery of being given to air travel today, I am thrown 10,000 feet into the air in a small metal tube with other uncomfortable creatures. Everyone seems hung over and slightly careless, and the last day’s heat, though slightly eased by a vast sea breeze, follows us to Boston. The great stumbles of rocks that Boston lies on almost immediately rise up from the Charles fens, dirt is scant and friable & the almost quarter moon hangs over the dismal neon of Burlington Mall where we have the rehearsal wedding.
I am among ghosts who imagine something can be salvaged from such comfort. Dear sweet ghosts. I am caught between wanting to tell them they are dead so they can untangle and depart, and the need to bless anyway that even here, with blood on the table and broken hours, they are so loyal to wed themselves. The most any of us can do.
J asks if I’d gone to Ed’s wedding & no
I was “Waiting for the End of the World”
down south of Houston mis-pronounced,
listened to the Oedipus Show for instructions
or “Angel of the Morning” cues just before
Susan walked in after me into the Rite Aid
or I had the same book as Tim—we both
on the way to woo dark-eyed &
“a minister, but not of an ordinary religion”
Susan’d said for the fifth time
when I shorthanded the splay of my natal stars
a long way into an ocean where a water stained jewel
ornament of liberation was tossed on my pillow
I divined—maybe Ed was sad or afterwards that was
a family story like rabies; perhaps I was afraid
the wedding vows would begin the speak
Egyptian rays I was obliged to ignore
as long as the signals were so strong
Cranberry and pine the narrow road swings through
distributed in that understory of shadows
doesn’t surprise me to realize you’d be here
you’d come back to glacier racked,
mill town Catholic artist lofts and thrift store
near the reservoir dam you turn off to see the sky—
paint was already mixed with quartzite you rubbed
your shoulder into before you died
flesh dispersed even before we walked three miles
spirit leaked into gravel where you’d
find you’d die into and be along
—Ah Ma almost all Massachusetts now—
if we are already dead where we most desired
and came in dream to be.
Barbara Guest’s biography of H.D. disappoints, but make my argument that American artist codes require that you “stand on your own”, and there will always be another person, a gal or black guy, to be a voice for that and get applause. Like responses to Rilke, an impatience with feelings and reliance on others (if not envy actual) and thus characterization of an intemperate weakness that must be there given evidence of ambition.
If we know this is an American thing, a soft version of what Ayn Rand marks a far horizon for, if we know we need and in our private worlds, with friends, rely, build alliances, if we know this stress on individual agency to be cant, dependent on the expression of an impossible ideal that is such a close ally of destructive commodity systems, if we know we put our “queer shoulder” to the wheel for America’s worst replication of store chain cancers—
then why the FUCK (has to be said) do we continue to demand this of each other?
Isn’t it that each of us actually likes the small freedom to use another—to put another in bondage—tied up over there where they can’t speak back since you can say “go up”?
The already dead in you, beloved, is still visible in your eyes
that you would not live beyond the first absence you awoke to—
beside you on the train, where the day ends, where we try to touch.
But, where am I dead but in you mother? Isn’t the whole stone of this music
a way of saying I too am dead, already dead, dead before you died?
In me is the shore of waking—I am one of those who burst into flame,
others become aware of the sounds of creeks, others become in answer to scent,
know blooming as arrival rather than fort da, are never lost in alteration since lead is told.
some arrive in equal parts—colored raiment and effervescent costal;
dense algebras that are known as sediment—
in your world, Ma,
whose body I was a pebble of, whose skin almost collect,
already dead and yet
the sun through the window behind you
all around us
Worn down grass below Jack’s headstone
is like the place gets worn brown by a pitcher
the length of a kid’s step and walk around &
someone could sleep, rolled up in the earth;
in an open space, without cemetery trees so the stars
pour down into, and the weed spars and crabgrass
are sunburnt; was the fall I moved here he died
& was collect; I was in a VW van in an adjacent
plot & his time had gotten old & chino & fade
I had no idea yet & yet threw the ball at
the strike zone yellow taped to the chimney & wore the grass
was Vic Davalillo little guy in left field motions
while below, the old man holds his old wife close
sister of his death he was living.
Tom and I throw ourselves out into Boston and walk, hop a bus down Mt. Auburn to Harvard Sq talking about Vajrayogini and sadhana practice I am not supposed to say. Tom is beautiful as ever, and I am a bit of a mess but not & we have lunch—I tell him I was such a mess in my twenties and he says “oh I always thought you wanted to be that way” (to be exciting, dramatic) and “I’m sorry for that” so direct, it amazing we have lived long enough to say that to each other. Even the beginnings of it.
Later we walk up to the tower in Mt Auburn Cemetery and look out over all Boston and talk about whether we’ll be able to have any control over our mind as we are dying. We go up the stone stairs inside like Tower of London and he tells me about taking a Khenpo there who complains about all the Christians and I say, “well that part about being saved is a drag; its off point” but I am otherwise more sanguine.
I want to say something about the Dalai Lama giving the Kalachakra next week in Washington D.C. (a mixed mandala if there ever was one); I have some mourn it’ll his last one and I should go, but know I won’t. Will pray thinking on it I hope at least a few people get married or find God & it’ll be better than that since he’s an angel we all issue and still hopes.
I died April 21st 1978. I dreamt I visited the black woman’s house.
A man was working in tall marsh canes wearing a colored shirt,
rosy against dark skin and green pants.
A different guy showed me the knife after I didn’t cross the bridge,
didn’t push past the priestess—for a moment
I heard a lace bandana and went down instead aside to listen
music of the river—
God is always more than what the myth is, more than fallen.
Broke in Amherst, like Emily, a long grave to wait for the body,
such graceful lily of the valley in sprays—
Broke over the leg of the Connecticut River, broke and spilled—
we return to the places where we at last died
until the body gives out is what prayer is.
That’s when I died & had no one to tell & couldn’t say.
Ah, Ma, how was I gonna explain that?
This is what it means to follow Orpheus into a darkness—
no one would return upwards into the necessary light
anyone would look back—life is always throwing itself this way
into the greater majesty only the dead recall—
long ago I made a place for the stove in my side, Ma—
I hid it there away from you—it was not your death;
though you leant in the steam of boiling water,
lured by the impatience of autumn—
it was too soon to go back to the school
where you first died, the voices of the other girls
distant when your eyes were too tired
and a part of your death was in the North you had yet
to come back to; the black Atlantic and marble coastal,
everlast pines you already knew.
Although a belly-dancer was let loose in Egyptian pastiche, fluffed her hair in moue & spectacularly offensive and uneasy young men made displays of unresolved fury that required the many surprisingly tall women to be victims, the wedding was a kind of gift Sharif and Larissa gave us, however vacantly an eye would offer itself in passing. A kind of July despite Best Buy we could live after.
We are thrown in small metal tubes again across the sky & get back home and its the evening sun that’s shining like a red rubber ball. Summer achieved aglow.
Am still getting angry in ways designed to shock is a bad sign
I talk patience a game & then get ugly letting folks know
no one wants to know or they already like I do and just wish someone’d
see ‘em work, their good hearts if not watchin’ and even
the irresponsible are deserve Lord I don’t want to—
I go boldin’ to show I got it tied down, can park my car
river I don’t want to get down into
don’t wanna drown my face, don’t wanna belong
hated learning how to swim, cold summer mornings &
dark mud-grey pond water I get a whiff of
anytime it rains early in the day
I thrash my way and don’t know how to breath
already sulk in “do it again”
I get in line pitiful.
I was entertaining (the blemish over the doorway
half hidden, half painted over) a dramatic solution
I was no longer a wife but no one was looking &
I knew how to pass and dutiful
I’d knit or speculate, a coat helped, there was always
another errand O I could drop you off
I liked driving even if I couldn’t see, it was civic
and I consumed proper exhumed and well-dressed;
it was all a very long play; I’d get tired but another scene would start
Ed would have bullied you or someone had won &
mostly it was better when you all read, quiet though
later the dreams may not have been worth it—
talk about unexpected doors opening and God’s angels
the door half hidden, half painted over
I shut against the night.
Ah I don’t write such clean burnished burst—am from some kind of enchantment that wants a more baroque, that is drawn by the long bells
trails of silk.
We are already dead forever and ever she says, she added to what Jack said about knowing we were okay that way, how he wished we knew that, all those golden haired illusion boys.
I put on Pattie Smith’s elegy to Mapplethorpe, “Coral Sea” on the way to meet Janet Holmes for coffee and talk about making books. I get back to find a quick note from Lisa and as ever get infused almost too bright to contain, drive around leaking as I buy groceries and pick up books by E.M. Butler at the library.
The desert remains a red line I’m so much more familiar with than town
out in the thin greens of spring I climb Superstitions east of Phoenix (already
symbol watt) round a butte they call someone’s “Needle”—in the desert scape there’s no water and bare—so inside and outside can balance here in ways not riverene
elsewhere under flow my footing and the Greek shadows of pines like a blue spell
I get around to the North where a canyon cuts East into a wilderness
I am at the rim of, on the far side teeth-shaped rocks line the canyon
are petrified people of the Third World who where caught in the floods
at the last emergence when the waters came up through the reed grass
in the overnight I make a profligate fire from a dead tree
and only here, where water is so scarce does the world cry
as tears well up in me, and I am somehow equal
I am a long way in the night from Massachusetts but feel close
the sky touches & so do I, from anywhere.
Depth of Reagan’s face is a lie I look
over my shoulder at the TV above the bar
is a small folded paper or dose—all I could
take of the first four years I was twenty
the radios talked to me about a “Street Parade”
lapped tide or car passed washes, the drum hush
call them bridges between choruses
where the gravity of the Greek tradition
roots lyric to understeady sea,
was gone to war again Contra expectation
actual a shift in business plan
required by the closure of Asian markets
your black economies make golf possible.
Some new commons.
the day begins I am already sad; therapy later with Jehanne leaves us both touchy; no one comes by and the sky is white with heat; I am over sensitive and/or unnecessarily suspicious with several people at the gym—essentially rabid as if painted by Francis Bacon—something batters my torso as if there was a buffeting high wind, psychic style
small story gives no example but wait
starved & dry Prometheus in a desert stable
must become rain without heat
an impossible task outside at hinge of fate
somewhere between the third and fourth word
we can be sure the reader gets lost, a slip, scar
marked gap that serves as awn, makes this image
clear is not conscience yet
hours would pass in my breath & drowse
get up and still be sitting in the shrine room
asserts the possibility of depth
in this way, long after my parents inability
I attempt to design my past
Allen, the war is not over and when you said that
what got spelt was an erasure I know you thought
kindness required a lie & its hard to be in the river
and not swim, hard to be a stone in the shoe
its admittedly a problem how to tell her “the emperor
has no clothes” without getting beaten—people who
collect rocks in shopping bags by the side of highways
have to be indulged, but there are so many bad imitators—
that’s another kind of love, putting on your shirt the way
Dad did or not sticking out your thumb, another way to put
desire aside at the risk of closeted cutting—
myth will be restrained one way or the other,
we carry the melting heart in our chests
but we have to stand on winds.
Heat is in its steep archaic god phase simply appall—that we can walk though it, even for five minutes from bar to car, midday, feels heroic and is different from the way cold drives you inside.
I am calmer today, organize papers and more or less able to pass though still observant about the way I mother others, what happens when their eyes go away or in.
No cable forces me out of the house to watch women’s soccer over lunch. Nice to be with other people & a game on.
a book is better than a sentence, time folded and folded,
the way a sword is made brighter and harder—a resistance
begins to hum as syntax loops, fashions small beaded knots
in the thin
is full of summer bodily dreams from a hill where I am already
dead, musing, red and amber light filtered, the fabric of the sheet
my breath is taken a long way away, body stuffed with words
today’s small desire riched up
I am only partly material
and what material I am prefers to imitate
river bed feels along my brow, body opened out on a porch
the difference between assigned class and shape
can be walked away from, but
in the long summer childhood cocoon
what I dreamt of was
To be displaced into the future we cannot be accommodated by,
except being that langen verse, except the rhythm and a rhyme
except that weight and weft already whisper “you are not
alone”—all of the dead in the ear are patient, must endure
what we will; the dreamt forward time her “tractors of tomorrow”
his Mache of heaven lit Braque and new Goth kilt,
their reconciliation, feast, my many mansions, your last hours,
never a ground nor asterisk Venus does
nor sound unstruck silence so full of sibilance a whole
dance must be found to illustrate a captive light—
no OK Corrals, no last Dodge
the sentence steps only next door, into the neighbor’s room
to get some ice—so briefly we gather ourselves
in the across we cannot will.
Surprised to read that you consider my visit with a daughter to be strange. I always had my kids in tow, being a nomadic single mother at the time. As I recall I was visiting nearby and came by to see the mystery of you for a few moments, because I had the opportunity. I thought we were friends.
We were friends. Only you were voracious for something that I did not in truth possess, and I always disappointed you.
Both of us mad with divinity, we had inspirations and adventures together. You were so psychic it was remarkable. The world spoke to you in tongues and by the looks of things she still does.
Good to see you happy. I love HD too, studied her with Anne at Naropa. Thanks for keeping me in the loop.
I write back (only a little edited for this):
When I read your memory of this I was struck by your sun/Jupiter openness and how much I enjoy/enjoyed that in you.
One of the reasons I have so connected with H.D. is that she writes over and over about personal relationships that are understood to be, at least in part, in psyche, and that she basically wrote over a specific crisis again and again. I identify with that, or at least get it very directly.
I have wanted to write about my early twenties--to find a form for telling just a piece of that time--for a long time; I am not sure I have found it yet, but "Goodnight Irene" piece has given me a structure to explore it a bit.
I express difficult feelings in the piece and am not always fair. Its a
complicated piece and involves voicing/mixing, and direct difficult tear in
You occupied/occupy a difficult place for me since I was opened to a mystery by our encounter. I’ve known for some time now that the mystery/spirit I entered into/was opened to was not you. You were, for awhile, her face, at least for me.
Its probably immodest or unclarifying, but one way to say it is that as apparently happens, I met God a bit in you. Of course I was voracious for that! (Rumi via Barks says something like “when the ocean comes to greet you, by all means, say hello!”)
I’ve come to think that one of the greatest gifts you gave me was that you
were so stubborn about who you were in relation to me. I had to admit the
difference between person and God, and that, as they say, has made all the
difference. Thank you for that and for the excellent sense of your heart.
At the time, I was very confused, sad I was such a bad, raw instrument, in a rush to get better so I could get a pass.
So, from my perspective, we were friends, and I remain deeply grateful to and loyal to the persons of that time.
Back to the text: there are times that I am still flailing away or caught up in “oh my God, get this—” I get inflated. “You” come off according to some projection that is not you. I don’t always know how to manage that, and, at times, the feelings were difficult. I know the "you" is constantly shifting (Ma, you, Mary, my anima, the Mayan gal in me that wants everyone to really understand death, etc, at times the uncooperative brothers and fathers).
When you came by the house, I was listening to a tape of a lama explicating the bodhisattva vows and, literally, he said, “when trouble knocks at your door, open it” and I heard your knock. As so often was the case between us, there was a front wave, and what was happening was happening all at once across time. I continue to be amazed to discover that I actually am aware across time, that I am broader than the present (or the present is broader than a slip in time).
Have you read the late H.D. fiction about her table work with this guy who war commander of the RAF and then began to channel towards the end of the war? By then she knows its not just romantic love, but work, and even then there is a glitch, something snaps or breaks, and I recognize what she is saying, the confusion of projection and work, and the desire to do good, to make peace, to shift some big piece on the board so so many people do not have to suffer. Oh my! (check out The Sword Went To Sea)
She was so loyal, had a great loyalty and love. I love that, on her gravestone her name is her married name, even though that relationship had floundered early, she was loyal to a particular fact.
Anyway, I always write so long and so thoroughly! Thank you for reading the piece. I hope its in some way fair to you, despite its so often my projection and speaking. I do continue this mad project of trying to put actual places of affordance, so that someone else might get to visit a mystery a few hours as I did.
As has been,
day after the reading circle passes in a hangover wash; I keep returning to bed in the aftershame—who didn’t talk, who didn’t get enough time, who is impatient that I am hung up about that or would project—
its like birthmarks or stains spread across nerve cells in actual tissue take these forms of response
Mom was a master at the half-correct characterization and thus a good lawyer as she could hang a line on someone’s surface apparent or literal and be done with that. Perhaps she knew it was all masks or, philosoph, saw a masque is real enough for accusation, real enough to hook a thread.
And yet, that far into the darkness, she sat with me anyway, and put up, didn’t she?
its hard that alone in the desert in deep quiet
is what allows me to feel close, when any closer
I would have to be more difficult, establish
fences and anti-cavalry objections in stone
broken tree, is a metaphor—but so is the membrane
between us we slowly pull apart, mucusoidal slippery
the weight of your want and its pull,
the weight of mine; fault that lies between
Quiet in the over airy drone and traffic
as best words for abandoned or “all abject”—
witnesses of the whale’s dissection
about us on the freeway in furtive landscaped—
here we are at BEST BUY again, afloat shimmer
on late afternoon heat waves lift we are apparent subject to
in prayer or without, as left mine shaft entrance temples
first ruins reminded of—
that we cannot escape weight into such rescue
as invisibility would prosper (is already in us &
not extractable as thought)
gestures of loyalty remain as avenues we
too casually relinquish, dependent on the costal
spectre, to somehow requite.
I sort/organize writing—typed journals from the 1980’s and 90’s, poem drafts from different eras I keep around like I am gonna have a bibliographer. My “juvenal” period is almost twenty years of half start and a few gems worked up from the rough. Journals from the early 1980’s where I am working out astrological and numerological theories in relation to the cross of the directions. Dreams. Odd sheets I type on the back of with heavy Smith-Corolla of yesteryear in small rooms I passed through like light, fell, slept.
In the evening, J and I drive down to Raleigh—the day has been blessedly cooler and the sky is almost perfect summer and a breeze—we hear Iris Dement twang holy Arkansas gospel duende and the crepe myrtle holds its deep passionate magenta long into the gathering dark.
sad folded on the back of 70’s posters typed scaffolds
littered back over field and sky are supposed to be open,
in some sense, to invention or “first thought”
bulbous insert into a packed house (drawn three of spades
is flat out being swallowed
which is what the dance last night was
dog-eared page limits a flickered film frame I use to collect high school
leapt high into the over head cafeteria as segued garage heroes
churn out Jumpin’ Jack Flash all by myself
an attempt at mythic show did not translate other than
some background mural you walk your children past
an abandoned barber shop and other relic indirect such as
a “community center” plastered with
ads against microwaves & macrobiotic flour
is about what I get back to here
I am supposed to be confident about “digital poetry”
stale breath in frame.
You’re gone away Ma I am
at the edge of this talk to,
folded you have over your arm—
your goneaway I was fifteen
and already felt Gomorran badge
the lot I had to throw down
on the last penny carpet
as my applause—
I am left thin with as then and haunted
I could not be cheat in the “long form”—
sparrow tails and cloud hand wash
did not draw me up after into the archetype
nor red thread muse; the pin in my hip caught
what reflected your dove brown skin as
adored pebble stream.
this day is about sheared branches and gutters under a hot mid-day I hope I lose weight stretched up at the top of the yellow ladder a saw in my hand I try to keep from getting pinched
is a mint-yogurt sauce poured over kabab lamb (which is the least ecological of meat I read since sheep are so devastate in a field)—little rams run gambol about we are gonna kill all I guess to solve this efficiency issue (and make extinct) someone is gonna say is why Jewish Priests chose a lamb to offer God, clever environmentalist underpin logic, same as why Muslims don’t eat pork is psychic leap to trichinosis—all them world-wasting little lambs in their close crop pillage we’ll keep a few, mind you, in zoos to be Green
ah is pitiful to complaint my hair,
orchards I dream are not immortal residue
since I should figure that—you somehow missed
how fate’s jaws in my side, Ma
were worth an argument w/God
as a lot to foreshadow and anticipate
I will somehow live until I die—
you stood there in the doctor’s office hand to head, Ma,
yelled “who will help me? who will help me?”
put my son in McLean Hospital maybe meat James Taylor
but over silence that doctor and I had already agreed
what the problem was
I was likely hallucinate but already dead as I been saying
there was no getting equal or God to give more but my heart
What my temper ruins is having eaten too much
since the waltz was absent for so long; what my temper
ruins is what clay is its natural; I am supposed to wait for that
each day is already too long.
I’ll go accused okay and he can laugh he got over on me is satisfying
is an actual fact and not a way of feeling you are to echo.
This cannot survive the autumn silent since dead,
hung epaulet from my shoulder a long tress
visible when I try to speak to the class, visible when I
look special as audience—ear I am marked with as gathering dust,
alcove in the forget of the talk and slipped faces—
is having ruined chance at Jocasta Ma called hubris
when I said I was pretty maybe someone’d love me for
she wanted to remind me, “Not yet”.
oh Monday of my sleep deprived but not-stared-at-porn remonstrance; Candy works my costal seam (somehow pursed lips along the edge of my left ribs, as if a torn apart or heal is left as a lip or scar bent against my direction) in the day dream visit & I drive back through Kackalack forest into town to errands
the late day is after a so deep-long 4 PM nap I am able to be almost helpful at the pre-conference meeting and perhaps distract each person from how miserable (mean, foreclosed, contempt) I am to be excluded from the elect to be a part of—Fred’d say was not true I want him to show me where exactly I belong in that public he will lie to pass on—that digital “space” somehow different from the floor next to my bed in the futurity of both he imagines
they’s so cool they were doing it before instead of it’s the same game chump they ghost dancers all
least I suspect in my lonely “there has to be some other way” than making the rich feel good long enough they shut their eyes to somethin’
I am in the reduced position, Ma, was not a tryst after all
that imagination is part God’s her dispersal and sometimes light
we were never able to talk directly about
the many confusions that remained—
between us was a required English civility I
would have had roses you perhaps appreciate
at least a saturate that would leak buttery personas
for others when my feelings get shown otherwise
so mirrory, so ugly do we have to talk about &
I am trying to hide
you are showing me David?
See how the words thread-like I can read backwards number nine &
the more philosoph would respect and want to emulate complete?
in the peaceful silent ten-year old room
no one could look at my face and sense
The understory here is more than lack:
Frère Jacques, ain’t whole up Frère Jacques,
or botched wit’ well cap “symbol”, as like
al Hallaj weren’t ‘fraid o’ ta place ov language
her porch table over yar—a wound unsolved set theory
cannot stitch—murmurs and morning dove coo
marks establish the way you throw a pitch
found repeated is suspense or silence,
attention’s torque—hence all the leak
under your door Ma remains urge of tomorrow,
a new distal when five fools sequence
(did you get the blue poles?) I understood
from how you’d glide in red thought down
the dwindled hallway as a welcome stain.
after last nights meet, I spiral today, spit “collaborative” I am done the dishes and have to write, the past in type-written forgot now stowed back in file, floor a bit farther to clean
muse that collaborative is just newest language “family” “king” “the people” “democratic” put forward in a dream of the better, but as ever, the rich and the would-be-sovereign are quick to figure a deployment that undoes the future &
reinstates the same-same
bruise it about I cannot imagine the digital is better than cave paint at redress of this violence we do so satisfied and made-righteous—you can hope but its just a real estate shuffle and bad schoolyard
Spilled out as if the rain that fell when Milarepa died
appeared in several places and times as if, no longer
responsible to his bones and limit skin his radiance once
like electric induced precipitates of varying kinds
I didn’t talk to the fishing bum & instead rode
back down King St & lost the book off the back
of the bike—moments like these seem like errors
but are actually how the seed is planted
we are between several times who agree to live time
sequential in this cascade we call limb and heart
towards the end, the fish might jump from the pan
back into the stream, but even then its already happened
how can I say Ma how waiting through so many hours’ curtains
was like—sometimes I was not surprised that the sun’s edge
crossed my lap, sometimes I’d sleep—I was gathering up
against the tide some kind of fence-like in the washed over otherwise.
The week does rise up and saw the sky,
sway and peak and spread I call pulse
underdream does not interrupt; his being sociable
shares incomplete, a chorus was blind
not Tiresias was what struck me on
a close read, but who am I to tell you
the masses have no reason to offer Oedipus
a suggestion. In a contrast of vogues
a coastline emerges as unfinished topic
we might have stretched out over us
like the night sky, a blanket,
now sawn by sound’s reverence
a cool mist that comes apart
as it spreads out over.
even in a daily text, where the point is record, there are things one cannot yet say—there are secrets, cards held in a seven of cups reverie; “the children do not need to know” where heartbreak occurs in the understory—I promise to write a page for a day Ma but I make no promises about the disasters that might occur along side the track I dig in the sand; I am in several plays at once, and I read the stars and brood you might say mistaken over the implicate that is perhaps a more certain outcome given the echoed support of a series of pointed dreams
that’s the way I read time anyhow and I am not always able to keep my awareness of the gathering design—its development, communal desires falling in line—out of my body & so anyone close would notice what I am beginning to anticipate, just as when I close the cabinet too hard or leave a bill unpaid, my relation to the nevertheless material is noted
Ma, I dreamt you were determined to kill yourself and Dad
and hysterical cartoon drove the VW bus in reckless towards
circling walls of an underground garage w/pillars (o’ Samson?)
we could careen—not unlike the bear out on the front lawn—
Jeffery pointed out—eating its way through an enormous pile
of shit (either a suggestion or how way of showing me how he
had me trapped) I dream bears a few times—the one that crushed
Barbara in a hug on Barriemore Ave. front yard, the one whose leg
I found I was sitting on and got up off quick the year my back
and sciatica began to heal & the terrible one rushing behind us
tearing off the latches to all the temples so that the doors
were sealed—you had Teddy Bears all over the house, barecloth
John and grey Heinrich & I always love the Grimm where
the red girl and the white came out their little woods house
to find a bear that talked: my bears are more difficult, have
something in their throat that lifts their head into a snarl
and put upon fury—not exactly to have on your pillow,
but honest for all that
There was a dream I had been before
in which our difficulty was
a beautiful awakened
separate in such different lives—
you in a Carly Simon city of bright second story
rooms in a light Boston rain; I out in some before-town
I have to work at and there is no explanation
no image but the narrated positions that are
now our accompanists; the bad light
repeated in stereo over several nights;
a chordal emphatic in leafs, worry—
I am sorry I dreamt
not yet possible.
Jacqueline Rose on Rosa Luxembourg’s letters says the future must be a question to make sense of revolutionary socialist thought—is half a corrective I think as I lay back in somatic complaint—is sensible only on the inside where the problem is a too shaped notion of the inevitable socialist future (blonde profiles by the green off-set tractor overcrossed by red and black letters) whereupon we say the future mysterious is the more true and grappled open
but at this time in the conversation we have now not then, to speak of mystery is to invoke again the spectre of the possible authority of constant revolution as neo-con-esque untroubled by the bad facts of famine and other etc evidence of the socialist unlike, is to grant a different wand, one that erases rather than pries open, is my mistrust
I feel that, whether in search of a gas cap at auto zone or in discourse with the supposed enemies of capitalism I am among the dead or at least ever-asleep who are so alienated from their desire they cannot even begin to morally critique themselves—since criticism must start from what is seen on the table, what one sees in the text, as a horizon
it is no surprise that we sell the future at this point
my body weight becomes so heavy under the enormous dome of heat parked over Eastern vastness I depress into a tired knotted
so much is painted in the dark
I slipped along the edge of the trees
into the slightly more open
where the path reflected the night
its turns according to the ground
it fell across
almost as perfect as a kiss since similarly
a plainful edge makes touch where almost nothing
to walk in the too dark
where only grace
has its way
Love sat its late night yellow bird
near the throat of the day
in the never quite dark 70’s
green cinder-block soviet—
sometime before dawn I crossed
into your dream and mingled legs
sweated thin sheets wound twins
of thoughts and eyes and words—
since you’ve been there too
at least at the lip of the canyon
I shouldn’t have to say
there’s nothin’ better
the river so far below
you will someday die.
the newspapers are about the debt ceiling, this summer’s disaster porn, news a minute—I make a connection between Tea Party and the Casey Anthony trial, how the “not guilty” verdict was theatre for the idea the government can’t deliver justice—I say you lie long enough you have a whole generation who try to make your lie real it fits the world or not
Ma, I get this sense sometimes I have to write about the surface world, take a political stand or go out in the public square and make some kind of historic difference—the assumption being the writing I do here or anytime doesn’t actually communicate depth, the kind of depth I read to feel, you get off a good author, that builds up as an effect of form, that is the actual point of writing, that we make places of desire like that for each other
but maybe the assumption, Ma, is more I got used to the way you only read the surface literal, so much so that, years later, I am always asking people “do you know what I mean?” like a tic, since I have to assume
I don’t actual care so much about history and frankly the best days of my life were when I was falling in love with someone. Nothing equals it & I don’t know why anyone would rather be president than sit in a basement room on a roll-away looking through someone’s childhood pictures for the first time
Plainfully as time you take in the near
to share far off factories peaceful light
dark open landscapes hollowed by starlight
highways make possible—
I lived a life in the suggested room
a letter stretched out, so we do not always
need to be present, polite feelings embroider
your distance as if candlelit
the sill deep with veils loyalty wants
where the children ate and watched cartoons
small distracted plastic spoons
shape the edge of what is made close
to where the heart they have invented
becomes your written waiting.
wake early and sit with J to explain a thought connected with the dreams I’d had a few years back she was suddenly living in another city and I couldn’t get her to see what that meant—my dreams last night are coarse, one graphic sexual encounter after another I am interested to see if how graphic the dream will be, close ups? all this speculation going on while the scenes unfold—only later, in a second layer of dreams am I traveling again somewhere in the seaside city and cats I have to herd get back into the car
the day is hot again, over 100°—I finish Palimpsest in the late afternoon in a break between reorganizing bookshelves, passing my hands over ideas, stacks related to different projects, debris that will not sort
I talk to Bruce first time since March, hold my own—a strange day of putting things right and wrong
memory is at an ebb, as if Egret still the expanded rippling fading out away from the dock pilings; summer’s in Massachusetts had only a few days of thick pause, the air more troubled and passing, whereas here in North Carolina there are weeks it seems where it seems as if there is no air or freshet change
a sense of the Appalachian coast, whether clambored rocks and laurel, now past bloom, past blueberries to the north, or the massive continuities of the highways scrawled from Augusta to the great piled knee of Chattanooga and spilled out ripple east into the lower gracious and small patches of so lively pavement in too dense to depart city clamor—the harsh wetland exchange of ship and oil and air where we pile against the edge of harbor and sea
this is not a people, but a land whose repeated argument we fashion and remake in the great songs of tenement and Wyeth brown afterthought—effervescent encrustaceate colonies glown in the night where “pier lights are carnival lights forever” in great ragged, transient flags
its almost that my instinct is that to hear place is to hear America singing, that the humble of the public square has no mythic purchase and is lost like bird song to its work, that in the shout and great gas jets endlessly released in dance and hum are an exhalation, prostrate demand that in this giving one could woo grace
as if grace could ever be wooed, whose place occurs despite
Remonstrative orchestra of witness
that would call salt of fragrance
as residual collect, the out risen shore
impent and shifted in its avenues
would take into its ateliers and stalls,
on its carpets and offer tea and muse
would open windows back on the asked air
would, even where perfume was gone,
set bowls of water, to articulate the air
set sills and conclusions and sighs
ghosts of sisters and sons
whose telluride glint in the after red sun,
in the long gone Harlem and Hoosac light
still calls for the sweetcakes of wedding.
J is in and out of the house today from church to the service for her Mom at Jean’s early evening & I am steadily at home with the work of sorting my office and books, darted out myself to finish the NY Times puzzles and read Sunday—
there’s news of a particularly well-planned and evil massacre in Norway, directed at politician families by one lone rightwing nationalist Christian
as surges of violence—and meanwhile there’re pressures to make TV a “walled garden” with limited pay access that is (supposedly) what the consumer wants which is a way of saying “want it like we aristocrats want or you can’t have it” (“it’s so easy to switch between devices of our home theatre, why would anyone criticize our culture?” she says, we can barely hear through the saran wrap and Tupperware seal she is required to wear as a veil whenever she is domestic)
a narrowing you came to Ma
as your last child grew into imagination’s body
and we outsized Cleveland—
you were given back New England, but
your body, shuttled by errands,
the fast impacts of colts’ feet on the stairs,
you made room for like rain
meant a sleep gradually in the so much to do
spread your now dappled body
pebbled as water, poured out over you idea,
was just evaporate you had no time to drink
I get this as threshing
as a body given simple to weather
the diamond of five children
rolled over to cap the well
you stepped off history’s carousel into the blouse
made miniature hope of McCormick spice tins rayed
on light brown sugar plastic
Lazy Susan in the cupboard
“It is just goldenrod again” you reminded us,
stacked Bakelite dishes by the stainless steel, an apron
limped in apple blues and reds, embroids a
domestic proof as emblem,
you knew from a look out the window
no matter what was being sold
that the body does not change the seasons
that stop it—
you knew from the thimble, the prick that steals
the scene from any curtain hung to charm the gaze,
turns it darker and guilty as a fairy tale
the cost of sleep or service.
In your bright, accomplished portrayal
of the seasons, you told the cost.
AM seems animate almost too bright white sharp change but body heavy with a dense sad mourn working me in a different grain “I’ll go down to the field awhile” not yet ready to give up the summer Cancer lull for the more piled and crowned August Leo fires
in which all fall begins to kindle and crowd its colors
in the familiar morning float between the desk and bathroom—ideas flock and questions: I want to push back against Olson’s use of Whitehead whose sense of a material past gives Olson a ground for the push of proprioception because this past is ever, in stone, determined as layer & I am so deep both in my own unearthed (unbelonging) memory and in H.D.’s sense of a folded, conversant past in which active haunt occurs as a second mode of intention, against time’s grain, to see structure in Echo (perhaps to bring her out from behind the tree to talk) where one plunges into, rather than out of, repetition
can Olson account for the fold? the way a field lays on weight? doesn’t Whitehead fail to track a second movement we attempt to say as gravity, that cannot be reckoned into electricity?
what Rilke may be saying when he speaks of the feeling the rises when a happy thing falls
there was the gift of childhood—one enjoyed the world
despite your object lesson—you stood in a nice coat
at the door, that you imposed rules and were otherwise a fence
drawn like Scorpio stoops over south, sky in summer,
drawn the way figures recede into walls—a warning in symptoms
episodic mucus and a need to bathe, to wash off into white,
to steep, our most fragile and prisoner thin, what clothes cover
we would otherwise be trapped in mercy
how broken the day under its veils we would not consider
Work to do wasn’t at the kitchen window but mine was,
to make saint of it, despite the narrow angle of sky;
your reduced profile (still so beautiful against the remembered
evening dark) let down into color
the beginning of art—
beyond the edges of the page, animate traces
tracked like scents among particulate
granular resolutions of gesture—
out of against was more than swords that bound
anima, more than arms in a sea
was a possible approval, cast fisher’s net
even I, wound on the tacky linoleum sparkles
could begin to know
the balancing weight of shadows.
We should be in mourning past mourning, given the news of mendacious chin thrust I am should be in community with, the so obvious who speak in strophes, all speech as strophe, as step, is, unless the wild idea of an actual world so takes hold, one uses strophe against its grain, like a long reed poked into an ant hill, or an oak branch one waves into the darkness of a cave.
The some simply will try to take everything they can, though some prefer to avoid confrontation and some enjoy the energy expended thrill, and some are rich enough to take a good deal, and to take more, and to brag about it—they are permitted to talk about it at all hours to anyone without censure because they have a lot and it might be a good thing to stand close to them.
And some are told as often as they are born that they can have what they want, or that everyone fights for what they want, and they see endless rehearsals of just that pose and the way it gets Nicole Kidman to fix her gaze (so different from the distracted stare she used as a leitmotif to play Virginia Woolf). They run on the playground and want to win too, their little bodies turned knife-edged in hurtle, and they’d push someone over and be praised, because its okay to want more, to be a hitter, scramble on the make.
where was face isn’t mine, lot given to me by others selects
“we can hurt him” on some evident tell, or that she was proud
they had something in the basement perhaps folks could sense
a share was on the table, God does that, gives to others through
a gift to someone else to give—since it was not mine I had no face
to take back, I was as faceless as the sun at night
in “among”: a mass does not care for its particulars and is
momentum at best—I grew up in 1960 so it was not yet clear that
community was not conscious
Goes down into the music slow cannot reprise
a year defeats as longer than feeling can
I break the words into pieces of twine for bondage games
does not satisfy my desire to say.
Goes down into the larger work of what’s so deeper
my small window on Paris and de Nerval’s star elect
is elusive “come down to dinner” in denial
is a bad version of Brazil—O Eurydice
Goes not even rocking softly without release,
goes without Saturday Afternoon blue
work shoes suggest.
Goes down into too far down into
goes murmured too down to come back
far too far down into.
7/26/11 (a doubled day)
the softest lap of the shore is alright and could carry a day though we are into “The Sun Also Rises” which is not a Van Gogh (or even close no matter what they put on the cover) & I am no longer even sure of the plot or setting—
soon August will start to add red into the umbra of the trees, as if the crepe myrtle had left afterprint shadows of the earlier sunsets to some—
I could never write for TV except to edit since I go to this pastoral in thought eddies and side wash & there are barely even people; all their bright desire too incandescent to be floral, invisible electric that rises from a touch I am too awed by to even flirt—
did you know I was a landscape boy, Ma, you sent me out to play? wind painter and one-time kesin who bound back the wings of his hair? in the sky of all the times I was not coming back to?
what is memory of any of her is coordinates
she was doing threesomes Pablo Picasso wasn’t called
but danced up to me anyway
or called from Eugene, so travel, and I was used to
shared thoughts at a distance
could constitute a friendship—
I had to return to lay my face against bare ground where
several years passed in wild lettuce
what did not belong in the close world of my body
didn’t stop me from dreaming
gone on ahead with the difference
He wants it as an extract he could maybe sell
I am overly proud of that God gives in stone to wear
let loose. Another is suspect I press so hard at
the adjacencies and disrespect of his auger
but I am tired of the old men, the dark malevolent
wind chants punned in wish
would steal the daughters in ha ha
and prefecture out of alignment what son’s loyalty
— the pretty boys who will take the lash—
Isis can only take the boy out of the father,
the father is lost in the salt winds evaporate
and forever under a blue sky
she is left to make season of
the wings’ residue
conversations go well among women, but more awkwardly. over the course of the day, with the men, as if my basic move of relating was so strange to a guy as to be unnecessary or aberrant—Pete stares me across the table to say something like “but it wouldn’t work if it was a place just for you (me) to say what poetry was” similar to when he spoke on the long Feb. drive about resenting men who wanted to learn him—I made a note in my mind because that was coming from somewhere, even though I asked “do you think that’s where I am come from? and he said no
a few days later I will pick up that maybe there’d been some discussion of my decision to talk one-on-one at which what will never be said to me was said, but who knows?
repetition is left of memory if only in the whirlwind of sequence
as spell follows the logic of bracket, brace clustered florets
is again where I am arriving and you, at this corner of the dream
where the task becomes packing or a similar transverse
is familiar for the reader to offer a profile or face we don’t
have to work against in the undine light
Ma had given over light for the small things
worked All over the fabric and thought of stitches
to mark the billows she settled into
twilight with children underquilt in the upstairs
green emerald horned glasses unlike Iris,
of cat’s milk in thigh
slightly larger in layers of Germany
that gather over Easter—
almost a symbolic expression
I made out of substance to set up limens
paste her picture to the door to close it
sew her thoughts in the azaleas and quince
at the edge of the outside, mark her dark
I put up against the sun.
I could listen to Lucinda Williams go through her song book for hours—in close summer twilight and dancing to catch my breath at the end; a bump on my knee and a scrap on my shoe from I guess collisions with concrete while she sings “Blessed”
I am up too late and nerve thin today, though there appears to be a tolerance for the excess, a bottle of Malbec spilt on Helen of Egypt which reads incandescent in twilight before the shore, the show, hieroglyph — I decide I don’t need to read the italics explanatory intros as the text is quite clear if you’ve been reading along—we are at a beach, there is a temple, a priestess and a warrior and they are, in their relation, trying to work out war, the death of masses of people, lost, become radio signals
the wine stains the pages blue
no way to be free of Ma, any of us little birds
Is not exactly to be explained justified
or specific you could cancel
is not known by the evident
chimes of freedom
cannot be said other than with crosses
you must make dimension to scale
the circumstantial florets
as stain would define our hollows
cannot be talk about on our backs to
a speculate ceiling of news or
prepared mat of tea, emblem
grift in between indulgence
cannot be backchained to arisen
or smoked yellow at dawn
I am not to write about yesterday’s mash-up with Fred, but will pull a thread along his throw at me I act like I know stuff other people don’t; am over the course of this year realizing is actually true I see time different and relate across it different than sensate drip I don’t have to explain but will evoke anger—I say I lose anyway and dragging my mark is part of what makes
perhaps this is the dread bear of last year’s dream gone back across my party’s tracks to close all the refuges behind me by destroying their locks we will not be able to access
haven otherwise, the day is a long reach that folds this tent—places at the table don’t change, aren’t mine to give or take
I said to Shehryar, the problem with asceticism is that you cannot make God allow you to see him/her—nothing but grace and no where a grace mechanical, whether aura or fall (only that in machines too, of course, the transient perfume)
took the box of journals from highschool
writ in Shaefer fountain pen pastel inks and purple
the circling about in three spiral and one
ledger bound eye record of 1st hitch cross Canada summer 1975
and some other I guess from the outriggings
of my Brechtian spring 1977 in a box I
carried to the Longfellow bridge walked out
halfway to Kenmore and threw them over
to sog up against and become slow refuse
cardboard eroded and become separate
up again the Museum of Science dam
bear the Mystic
I tell this later to slim pony-tailed graceful
stone soup poet on a bus, he says “man
you really want to be famous”
I guess cut to the chase
a bad purple want the sky cannot fill
in the morning I was somewhere else again Ma
and the leaving hurt against the architecture
I was never gonna find someplace real
the bagel shop door
had a chain to catch its flung &
I adore sesame and poppy respite—
let’s say the butcher block furniture suggested
a brief wiped-down erotic—
to remind myself of death,
real or not; I tried to imagine this as
rendezvous, but ended up hearing
Northamptonshire in my breath—
as I was still supposed to lay the leaves
out in the sun to dry.