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

Friday, July 18, 2014

to be - ecstatically - with the world

i had just watched this girl and her friends climb down from the immense rock face where the lighthouse is situated, and navigate the natural and difficult structure of the shore. near the water, all three of them paused at their destination and clung for a moment to a small rock, this girl spontaneously slipping four feet or more to the craggy surf beneath them, as i sat safely on a distant rock taking photographs, pausing to gasp in disbelief at what i was witnessing and in fear as to what the outcome might be. it could easily have been to her death that she slid, such a casual and simple gesture, such as slipping, ripe with the power to break the delicate transaction we make, moment by moment, with life.

but it was only a moment later, after proving to herself that she was still alive (by climbing back up the rocks near shore), that she moved again toward where the deep water meets the rocks.

art (not that this is art, but rather that this is a statement i choose to stand by) should be some form or reflection on agony

and living too

and if living is not agony (ecstasy), a new agony is born in the place of nothingness (spiritual bereavement)

either way, we are born of agony 

and this we return to again and again, for nourishment

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

wind through swamp grass

Archetype by Pattiann Rogers

I do not move through time. I move
through rain. When rain falls
straight down on mossy brick walls
or the bodies of lounging seals
or continuously at a slant into the rush
of gorges or the open mouths of desert
birds, that isn't at all the way time
moves, is it? Rain is not time,
and I know it is rain I move within.

Or snow, as one in its infusion,
even at midair, is more an ever-present
covering of sky and land than a future
or a passing. Walking through this frozen
ruggled weave of white, it's obvious
I live in forest snow, not time.

Time can't happen all at once
in random multidimensional features
like the swirling rise and shifting,
overlaying orbits of wing bones and cries
that happen when the egrets leave
their lakeside roost. My place
has always been the surrounding sounds
of wetland peepers and crows, the silence
of sun-sprung pods and buds among tree
lattices and their shadows crossing
themselves, departing and doubling back.
This is nothing like the strictly
linear place of time.

Wind can come from all directions,
simultaneously down from invisible
black portals and tunnels in the night
and dark and up from caverns of cool
earth, bringing with it wet rock
fragrances, sullen bat and moth mold
and must. Wind has no marked beginning,
no signal ending. It can be slashed
by switchgrasses and spurge nettles
into a million slits and figments
that have no specific designations,
as moments and seconds and instants do.
The south wind newly warm once came
round and round through my hair, cupped
my face, lifted my blouse, and left.
Time has never been so charmingly
caressive. And I say it is the realm
of wind without time where I exist.

Poor hopeless fool.

Friday, July 4, 2014


i thought it was longing itself i longed for
but it is not,
but rather it is that longing is
as in: it is the greatest verb,
what we are

in the way the wave does not long for the shore
but is longing for the shore.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

poppies vi, some things that poppies don't know

i collect things. and for a time i keep them. i have a difficult time letting go of feathers or bark, stones or flowers. and so when the poppy shed her wings weeks ago i collected them from the floor where they had fallen. overwhelmed with their flesh in my hands i put them blindly to a book so that some day i might happen upon them again and again and be overwhelmed by them.

while looking for feathers yesterday that i stowed away for safe keeping in february (and can not find - for who knows which book i hid those in?) surprisingly i came across the petals in Seamus Heaney's Seeing Things, crammed between two (almost) sonnets, one in particular about childhood and our capacity for violence.

from Squarings, xxi, by Seamus Heaney

Once and only once I fired a gun –
A .22. At a square of handkerchief
Pinned on a tree about sixty yards away.

It exhilarated me – the bullet’s song
So effortlessly at my fingertip,
The target’s single shocking little jerk,

A whole new quickened sense of what rifle meant
And then again as it was in the beginning
I saw the soul like a white cloth snatched away

Across dark galaxies and felt that shot
For the sin it was against eternal life –
Another phrase dilating in new light.

The Sacred – Blown Apart

because i couldn't accept that what was was enough
i picked them up from the floor, errant, shed poppy feathers – 
flesh, and stuck them blindly into a book,
just as rifles are stuck (sometimes) into the crux of stories –
unwanted, barrels to mouths like cocks, just as cocks are stuffed
(sometimes) to mouths or otherwise locations – unwanted,
these purveyors of love and war, sleeping weapons shod upon the body
always slightly stirring.

it is so complicated, isn't it, this stuff we humans are made of?

heaney writes – rifle, and lays the word like a gun to its rack
which gets locked upon my bookshelf in his book,
perhaps sleeping but always stirring
inside the poem which might just save us,

and there it lies – rifle, now glittering with poppy gore,
the poem wielded at long last, vested in fresh blood.