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

Saturday, April 27, 2013

the pussy willow and the pussy willow

one must always assume one approaches the pussy willow wrongly, especially the pussy willow dipped in dew.

one always goes about things all wrong with blunt hands and preconceptions.

it is only upon breaking open against one another, long after the approach, after frantic periods of friction and bucking one another's rib cages and pelvises and black lips and stories, that one finds the rupture, the way through;

only then does one see the pussy willow truly.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Let the limits of knowing stretch and diaphanize: knowledge that leads to purer ignorance give the falling trajectory its grace."

Farewell by Galway Kinnell

after Hayden's Symphony in F-sharp Minor

for Paul Zweig (1935-1984)

The last adagio begins.
A violinist gets up and leaves the stage.
Two cellists follow, bows held straight up, cellos dangling.
The flutist picks her way lifting her flute high as if to honor it for its
     pure hollow notes during the incessant rubbing.
Soon the bassoonist leaves, then the bass fiddler.
The fortepiano player abandons the black, closeted contraption and
     walks off shaking her fingers.

On going, each player stoops at the music stand and puffs
the flame off the top of the stalk of wax
in which fireweed, flame azalea, dense blazing star stored it a summer
adding that quantity of darkness to the hall
and the same of light
to the elsewhere where the players reassemble,
like birds in a beech and hemlock forest just before first light,
and wait for the oboist to arrive with her reliable A,
so they can tune and play
the phrases inside flames wobbling on top of stems in the field,
and in greenish sparks of grass-sex of fireflies
and in gnats murmuring past in a spectral bunch,
and in crickets who would saw themselves apart to sing,
and in the golden finch atop the mountain ash, whose roots feed in the
     mouths of past singers.

By ones, the way we wash up on this unmusical shore,
and by twos, the way we pass into the ark each time the world begins,
the orchestra diminishes, until only two are left: violinists
who half face each other, friends who have figured out what they have
     figured out by sounding it upon the other,
and scathe the final phrases.

In the huge darkness above the stage I imagine
the face, very magnified, of my late dear friend Paul Zweig,
who went away, into Eternity's Woods, under a double singing of birds,
saying something like, "Let the limits of knowing stretch and diaphanize:
knowledge that leads to purer ignorance
give the falling trajectory its grace."

Goodbye, dear friend.
Everything on earth, born only
moments ago, abruptly tips over
and is dragged, as if by mistake,
back into the chaotic inevitable.
Even the meantime, which is the holy time
of being on earth in simultaneous lifetimes, ends.

This is one of the its endings.
The violinists drag their ignorant bows across
their know-nothing strings
a last time, the last
of the adagio flies out through the f-holes.
The audience straggles from the hall and at once disappears.
For myself I go on foot on Seventh Avenue
down to the small bent streets of the Village.
From ahead of me comes a hic of somebody drunk,
then a nunc, perhaps of a head bumping against a lamppost or scaffolding.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

loving creation at the knobbed top of the farmer's field

solitary bone,
the pink underbelly of the fractured eye dipped in sunlight, ruptured upon the thorn,
the empty field,
the aftermath of the downward staccato call swept out and cleansing
of the slow ruminating striding sandhill crane,
the hungry, yet patient seagulls;
less, not more to fear but less, only less, always more less, please.
dumped out and squalid, obvious and flesh, fetal upon the knobbed hill:
and the earth picks up her heavy skirts
and spirit blows silver blazon through her threaded hair.
shell of seed, solar flare, fingertip;
less, not more to fear but less, only less and always more less, please

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

beginning with the palest pale

Not long ago you sent me photographs of the palest pale
and for weeks I was awash in the colour of muted understanding.

Years ago we opened up and shed our clothes
right in the bold front yard, a summer's rain

and nothing else existed, not history, not shyness,
nor the neighbours shielded behind the draperies pulling cords,

and years before that alone on a trail I touched my naked collarbone
and a hawk traced the blank sky in fine sweeps, searching,

while you pressed babies into the invisible mesh of me, semen like sardines,
miles away in another country, musked and snarled with the forest floor.

Lying together on cold stones plentiful enough to become a single body
the waves find the shore, or the shore tells the waves when to rest;

it doesn't matter who is who.

Far out in the mists of the horizon shapes rise and fall,
the world takes and loses form.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

the world takes root

a reflection, manitoulin island, september 2010
Too many stars this summer, Sir,
too many friends struck down,
too many riddles.
I feel I'm growing more ignorant
all the time
and soon I'll end up a half-wit in the brambles.
So explain yourself, elusive Master!
By way of reply, from the roadside:
groundsel, hogweed, chicory.
(from Into the Deep Street, philippe jaccottet)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

what if we are seeing everything backwards as though through a mirror?

consider: "An astonishing phrase from Henri Raynal: 'Language borrows man.'"

(from "Au Jour Le Jour" (Extracts),  paul de roux)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

somewhere between earth's wish and earth's rapture

When the wind
asks, Have you prayed?
I know it's only me

reminding myself
a flower is one station between
earth's wish and earth's rapture

(from "Have you Prayed", li-young lee)