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Amanda is bringing me some chips and salsa. She wanted to get me something. She was feeling guilty, I could tell, about something. Probably because I had cleaned up the kitchen from her party last night. Sometimes she feels guilty about not doing things and tries to make it up after I have done the work myself.
No. Let me try this again.
Amanda is bringing me some chips and salsa. A little red boat floating the triangular sails of chips, roaming over the chunky bloody sea, claws held aloft, bob, tip, fall with meaty undergrowth.
Amanda is bringing me.
I remember reading the Hindu philosopher Vivekananda. At one point, I owned a 12-volume gilt-edge set of his complete works. After reading it, I gave it away, because that was the point of the thing: to not own it, to give it away. Vivekananda felt that the world distracted us from reality. He felt the point of meditation was to attain purity, a truth. He said that the world would send one distraction after another in increasing potency and beauty to distract you; but that you must let them fall away, unheeded, un-consumed, un-enjoyed, until you reached the true goal.
I got started. I got distracted, and I don't remember by what. It happens. Then I came back, back to this blank page. Someone obviously stole what I wrote. That happens too. It occurs to me that I need to write a poem here. A new poem. I have promised to write a poem. I have written many poems so this should not be difficult. It is just that I am not sure I remember how to write a poem. I have been writing prose for almost six months now, and the poetry man seems a thing of the past.
My lungs ache and the cough won't quit.
This cold has me smelling the pneumonia rot and wanting to sleep all day.
And you call
My voice is filled with cough
And my heart is slipping
Through this metal vine
I've fallen at your feet
My eyes open
And I am choking
I am singing love to a phone
My heart wrapped around
This plastic doll
And it won't let go,
Even when the voice is gone
The valve clings and sticks
Each part touched by another
End to end
It holds on
And I can't move
There is the happy slap of a heat vent behind me,
The ghost of a wind
Slurping at my back and
I don't know
Is one of my favorite phrases
And I come by it
My mind, my brain
My heart is branded by an image of
My own design
How could you not be
My head blends aqua
And I am older than I want to be
Too many things
Which cloud and crowd
Flowing into my mouth and up my
Drowning the poet
Hacking the poet
Taking the poet's eyes
This is the burning place.
Walls scorched deep
Colors radiating according to nature
According to the flame
According to the ore in the wall
According to the spirit rising
Wind sweeps through the small canyon
Waiting for spring
The gully wash and thrash
Of a new river
Just passing through
The spirit rising
Generations climb these rocks
That each in turn will teach
Each in turn will become
A spirit rising
Now the summer is gone
You are the new generation
And you are to tell
The weather, the force
There was nothing to stop the wind as it whipped around the buildings on the old reservation. Shingles flapped and loose boards hammered the walls. Weeds blew out across the rifle range 100 meters, 300 meters into the mounds of dirt where military rounds pounded their heads hour after day after month after year. Lead raising, spouting, leaching into the ground. The barracks are painted with graffiti. Remember. Stay away, and rusty automobile planters sprout green, and the chairs on the porches are broken beneath the hollow windows where the wind no longer has to bother to round the corner.
It was a long day
Painting slow figures
Smooth across the plane in my mind.
The stylus flows slick
Like skaters on a lake
Curving together, passing a forbidden note.
It's a swallowing ache
Curving deep inside
I won't pretend it's not there
Annual petal'd reflection
Bleeding snowy in sky
Some are quietly away
Fingers grasping painful
And I find you slipping
Rising with sun
Rising from my sheets
Flooding my face with tears
In she shower
Or perhaps it was
Not so long a day
Sun burnt without a boat
I hear a rumble outside. The dog barks and I am thinking the UPS truck has stopped here with a package.
But it is a car with a bad muffler pulling into the neighbor's driveway. A brown car camouflaged that way against the autumn trees. It must be Steve, two doors down, bringing Max home. When Steve is not available, Max rides with us. Max is quiet and uncertain. We seem loud and raucous to him. We are in perfect bi-polar harmony, my son and I. Max's family thinks we are "liberal." They don't understand that we are just diseased.
I'm opening the curtains. They need to be cleaned. Dust pops from them, curls into the air and falls into my emptiness. It is surprise, this emptiness, and I pour music into it to make it go away. I pour coffee into it, and I pour the soft sway of the pine tree into the emptiness. I pour the leaf blower left on the lawn by my son into the emptiness. I pour my son into the emptiness, and my father. I pour my daughter, wife, and even the dog into the emptiness. I pour my heart into the emptiness.
I think I'll lay my head softly here just a moment. I'll let my fingers dance and sway on the keys for the joy of the movement, for he touch of the ridges against my skin, for the sound of the melody. The melody. The melody.
The melody reaches you whether you are in plastic pudding or a state of grace. It reaches the blind, the deaf, and it reaches those who are no longer alive. Listen carefully. The notes are long, drawn-out, and they rhyme in the pleasant coincidence of daylight and dark, of orange, blue, yellow and gold.
I am fear.
Fear with tipped fangs and bloody eyes.
Why wouldn't I be?
I cling to that part of your brain?
Why someone else?
(Doubtless a lightweight)
Why not me?
The one who drives
Days and haunts your sleep.
Why not me?
I am fear.
Who else would want to be?
Why not me in the deep forest gloom,
In the splot breaking across the swamp,
In the eyes closed and too weak to follow their own lines
In the thump and lash of frightened feet across the floor boards
Muffled in carpet and curtain lining.
A broken man on the broken sofa
Bellowing quietly with great broken brains
While the trash piles gather, smolder and stink
And the cluttered slopes
Rise in supine amazement.
Shingles dingle berry from the frame.
White experience with a
A Whiter brighter pain.
Frozen window, frozen sash
Stark white freezing
Growing like the ice along the glaze,
Hard, perfect, gnawing my face.
White woman, white weed
Dirty promises and broken moldy seed
Seeping like naked rusting cars
Into the oil-soaked junk yard ground
Growing, glowing, blowing, and damned.
I miss her. I am breathing in fire and I ache and I would do anything for one word one touch. It hurts more than I can describe. I know only one thing that hurts more. It is the place I am left when she sucks every grain of emotion out of me she can and keeps looking for more. Wanting her back hurts almost that much. She is not a bad person. She doesn't know what she is doing. She has her own needs and can't possibly know the unhappy synchronicity between us. Please tell me that is true.
Grace taught me to breathe, to speak in my own tongue. She taught me to sing in every beat, in every muscle pause, in every whisper. I am listening to the deep breathing of the stones, the singing of the trees, and the Halleluiah of billions of souls. I feel the soft rise of the earth, the ripple across the horizon as the morning rolls on. The smell and clatter of this life is diving reckless into my lungs and it sounds like music. It has me on my knees, has broken my heart, and is pulling out my soul.
In another dream,
Two sunny snow lizards
Walk out over
A light crust on the 4-inch base.
The children are instantly out ahead,
Hands held low.
While the lizards, a perfect pair
March steadily forward
Just out of reach
As if they are not even aware
The children are there
The male with the bright double row of
Blue spots down its back
The female with the bright double row
Of red spots down her back.
They slip under a fence
Inches ahead of the children
Never missing a step
A perfect pair of 17-inch lizards
Moving across the snow.
I am drinking life this evening, note-by-note, drop-by-drop until the bottle is dry. Someone said something to me recently. It was something about expecting too much from life, that it was not healthy. Aren't you supposed to be optimistic? I think I have always tried to undersell my projects at work so the customers are pleasantly surprised. Personally, I know that outcomes are much brighter, much more succinct if not so much is expected from them at the outset. You have to be ready to touch whatever is placed in front of you, to love the taste of each drop.
And I am hanging
To the hope
That I may see you tonight.
Hanging like some wind
Sweet and warm
Slipping over a wall
To raid gardens of flowers
Loosening petals from
Roses, tulips, violets,
Lilies, and daffodil
I would lift them in my arms
In such a moving swirl
And bring them to you.
Petals drifting like warm snow
Falling on your face
Your nose and cheek
Falling on your shoulders and breasts
Down on your hips and thighs
Petals penetrating your life
Loving you every touch
Burying you where you lay
Locked in my petal embrace
The rain is pooling outside, and there is a hungry growl on the horizon. Outside, I see my neighbors circled on their knees on the muddy ground, praying. They can feel the crunch and tremble, just as I can, just as every living thing so that even the trees and rocks settle more deeply in their place from an instinct to hide. This instinct will do no one any good. It is coming and you can already see pieces of the horizon disappearing. We are all doing what we need to do to face the end. They pray. I record.
I am short100 words. I have no idea where they went, but I am constantly putting things down and forgetting where they went. I looked in the usual places for them. Maybe I even wrote the 100 words and submitted them, forgetting to hit the final button. But Now I remember. I didn't write the words. They would have been for yesterday, and yesterday, Saturday, was a bad day for me. My brain was spinning out of control and the drugs weren't bringing me back. The night brought me back though. To the morning. The night and my friend, sleep.
I'm on a roll today, riding a crescent roll, rolling it with my feet trying to not to fall off. I, have I become incredibly tiny so that I run through the crevicss of the roll like a mite. The roll grown huge, monstrous, swallowing homes and entire cities as it continues to rise beyond its pan. I'm scaling it with a pick and stanchions, not looking down, working slowly to the top, and I pound pitons into the soft, bubbling side. As I move up the stanchions drop and slide out, falling into the deep crevasse of dough below.
So much, there is too damn much in the world to write about. I have been reading Louise again. I love reading Louise more and more. In Louise, there is hope. There is the promise, and the probability that I am not crazy. What did she write about tonight? She spoke about learning to write poems. She wrote about writing poems without sealing the endings. She wrote about poems, the perfect ones and the ones not so perfect. She said that not so perfect was fine, that it might even be preferable. She talked about the value of longer poems.
I feel strained this morning. I'm totally out of whack, like my engine is faltering on a couple cylinders. I'm missing something here, a cup of coffee, a cigarette, some sleep, I'm not sure which. My body is telling me something, it is nudging me, saying give me this, give me this chemical, this jolt, that fuel. Like a spoiled child, both hands out whining for comfort at the same time it makes its demands. It is saying adjust me, adjust my chemistry and I will make you better. I will make you feel better. I won't bother you anymore.
I hear a slight rustle behind me as Terry turns a page in the book she is reading. My left eye is tired, burning, and will not last much longer. I should be typing so I wouldn't need to watch what I am doing. Frequently I close my eyes and type in the dark. It is more restful that way, and I don't really make many mistakes.
I hear a slight rustle beneath the bed, a modified giggle. Psyche I presume, about to lift the mattress beneath me with her feet. Wait until she finds out it is a waterbed.
Yes, it is Thanksgiving, and I have done many of the traditional Thanksgiving things including having a heart-breaking argument with my daughter that convinced her to walk two and one-half miles home in twenty-seven degree weather wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. The argument started when I wouldn't buy her a bottle of pop. It seemed to be about a lot of other things, but it seems that when two people get hyped up out of shape, they start casting about for other things to throw into the heat, even if those things have to be stretched for proper emotional impact.
I have this ritual before I begin to write. I'd never paid attention to it, until today. It is a transition for me from the place where writing seems impossible to the place where I can't stop writing. Sitting in my chair, I push the keyboard back, and with both elbows on the desk and my hands clasped together as if I were washing them; I lay my forehead across them, like a person at prayer, and exhale a great breath. Resting my head, clearing all thoughts, I wait for something, for passage through. When it comes, I begin writing.
Wasn't I just here? Didn't I just do this? Or was I just here late last night and back early this morning with little intervention except for sleep and the music of dreams?
Wasn't I just here? Didn't I just do this? Or was I here late last night and back early this morning with little in between except for sleep and the dreams of music?
Yes, there were dreams of turning circles in the kitchen with my son who was up early/late looking for food, dreams of the boys eating dog biscuits on a dare.
Wasn't I just here?
The puppy is difficult today. He's been here a week and has been a paragon of puppyness. The honeymoon is over. While this is the first day the puppy has been difficult, I feel I am getting a taste of what is to come. Maybe it is because I didn't take him for a walk. Yes, he is punishing me. He peed on Michael's shirt before I could get him out the door. He won't eat, but chews on everything in sight. He whines when I leave him alone. What is this? He is starting to act like a puppy?
Dreams are alternate dimensions, things you slide into, self-transmissions. You move without proper authorization into the darkness between the sheets, over the soft snoring hump, and out into the open red sky. You are touching the mouth-shaped opening of a low cave where daylight defines and creates the shadows, colors, and visitations from the outside. The walls are painted in orange, black, and very berry. These images name and clarify in tensor light the shapes of large sharp rocks and scree too slippery to navigate so that you fall back into the dream again and again and once more again.
My watch kept lying to me. It was confusing me so I stopped into the jewelry store showing it to the man behind the counter "May be the battery," he said.
"What if it's not?"
"Then it will need cleaning. Seventy-five dollars."
"Let's try the battery first," he suggested.
"O.K, how long will that take?"
"Only about five minutes."
"Great, I'm going next door for something. I'll be back."
I left. I didn't go back for my watch. I remembered it that night, thinking what I would tell him. "I didn't have my watch. I lost track of time."
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