not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Soft Rain in the Trees


Sometimes you step out from yourself
into the world, your true self absent your form
the slender key which unlocks the door.
The door ajar, you don't know if you exit or enter.
Where you are is where you are.
Language is null, 
but breathing is speaking.


Monday, July 10, 2017

grass flows and sparks



Vermeer beholds the world and answers the riddle in a painting. Tranströmer beholds Vermeer's work and answers the riddle in words. and Patty Crane manages a translation that gives Tranströmer's poem what it needs—galvanizing force.

i find myself upon reading this poem, this particular translation, overcome. weeping.

VERMEER by Tomas Tranströmer

No sheltered world...Right behind the wall the noise begins
the tavern begins
with laughter and complaint, rows of teeth, tears, clanging bells
and the deranged brother-in-law, the murderer that everyone trembles before.

The great explosion and the delayed trampling of rescuers,
boats swaggering at anchor, money creeping down into the pocket of the wrong man
demands heaped on demands
gaping red blossom-cups sweating premonitions of war.

And from there straight through the wall into the bright studio,
into the second that goes on living for centuries.
Paintings that call themselves "The Music Lesson"
or "Woman in Blue Reading a Letter"—
she's eight months along, two hearts kicking inside her.
On the wall behind her hangs a wrinkled map of Terra Incognita.

Breathe calmly...An unfamiliar blue material is nailed to the chairs.
The gold rivets flew in with extraordinary speed
and stopped dead
as if they had never been anything but stillness.

The ears ring from either depth or height.
It's the pressure from the other side of the wall.
It sets every fact afloat
and steadies the brush.

It hurts to go through walls, and makes you sick
but it's necessary.
The world is one. But walls...
And the wall is part of you—
whether you know it or not, it's the same for everyone,
except small children. For them, no wall.

The clear sky has leaned against the wall.
It's like a prayer to the emptiness.
And the emptiness turns its face to us
and whispers
"I am not empty, I am open."


Monday, May 29, 2017

the light journal of trillium




From "Light Journal" by Charles Wright

To speak the prime word and vanish
                                                          into the aneurysm
Unhealed and holding the walls open,
Trip and thump of light
                                      up from the fingernails and through
The slack locks and stripped vessels
At last the inarticulation of desire...

                                                 ____________

What did I think I meant then, Greece, 1959:
                                                                        Beauty is in the looking for it,
The light here filtered through silk,
The water moving like breathing,
Moving in turn to the tide's turn,
                                                    black thread through the water weave.

Whatever it was, I still mean it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

virginia in january


how can the mind sleep when such exquisite particularity exists?

each leaf, you hurt me with the edges of your being.

where i am hurt, i am healed.

Monday, March 27, 2017

some questions from the edge of the trail



at the edge of the trail i stop and stare

what is it that pulls me?

a metaphysical arrangement -
the trees obeying some ancient law

what is the text?
why is it so compelling?

as though the shaman were striking me with tensile braids of sweetgrass
my thoughts converge into rows

or are my thoughts those things spraying out between the trees into darkness?


Sunday, March 12, 2017

a ruthless winter to defeat


from A Secret Gratitude by James Wright

We are men.
We are capable of anything.
We could have killed every one of those deer.
The very moon of lovers tore herself with the agony of a wounded tigress
Out of our side.
We can kill anything.
We can kill our own bodies.
Those deer on the hillside have no idea what in hell
We are except murderers.
They know that much, and don’t think
They don’t.
Man’s heart is the rotten yolk of a blacksnake egg
Corroding, as it is just born, in a pile of dead
Horse dung.
I have no use for the human creature.
He subtly extracts pain awake in his own kind.
I am born one, out of an accidental hump of chemistry.
I have no use.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

the childhood inside us

Glancing Back

Is tracing the past
always like laying one's hands against glass?




Glass can break, cut.
Blood runs thin, until it coagulates.



Welcome aboard mighty homunculus, 
tiny, but more powerful than the us.




*

Outside the flowers are leaving the dirt
and climbing into this milk glass to wilt,

their sour-sweet scent following us, always. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

the many and no one

History adds that before or after dying he [the actor] found himself in the presence of God and told Him: "I who have been so many men in vain want to be one and myself." The voice of the Lord answered from a whirlwind: "Neither am I anyone; I have dreamt the world as you dreamt your work...and among the forms in my dream are you, who like myself are many and no one."

From "Everything and Nothing," by Jorge Luis Borges (translated by James E. Irby)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

eating better, a pear and some almonds



The Claude Glass

We are in the farmhouse again.
I think we have just made love.

I can't quite be sure but I see that
my walls are dripping a kind of puce, 

thick like honey. The clock on the wall
is as innocent as an insect performing its purview.

The cars zipping along the nearby highway
seem silly. We have been carting humble-sized

wheelbarrows full of desire
to the center of our kitchen table.

My husband is about to reach through the air
and penetrate the light to touch the circumference

of a pear. Art history books climb the walls in columns.
Poetry books tumble upon themselves 

with their slack suspenders and messy wiglets.
The problems of the world exist in a single droplet of water

which forms and falls from the faucet, 
glints in the daylight

and captures this whole scene like a concept.