Now that most of the neighborhood trees have leaves,
there is extra music, percussive, inside the offshore winds.
Grieve the affects of a closed throat. No sound, only devouring.
Bright—brilliance in its injury. An echo. Observe the moment,
vestigial and temporary as spring’s abridged shadows.
In the end, it’s only abstraction and phenomenon.
I hope you have choices too. The ability to revise.
That you demand the real, and push beyond memory.
This movement is discretion at its finest.
Refusal, grace and her technicalities, extends perception.
That angle, visceral, is what creates this poetic materiality.
An open prairie, a reservoir, raw mediums of nomadic attention.
This urge is to live my life swollen with blank spaces.
“…those who fight against prophesy only draw it more tightly around their throats.” —Madeline Miller, Circe
First, I heard the whispers—then screams. A public audience
formed opinions. Within that poetics, an image burns beyond
what used to be memory. Like a curve seen from a highway.
Not quite perverse but ordinary as a Sunday. After the crowd left,
I heard the graves sing. I thought about sugar, fire, and energy
taking the shape of a ransom. Formulas of demand and release.
Nervous echoes continue to fill the gaps. To receive, I take.
“March, all that deceptive light but no fruits yet.” —Talvikki Ansel,
from “16 Stanzas in February,” Field (no. 98, Spring 2018).
In the kitchen, the light disarms domesticity. If you know, it is the same indistinguishable process as Mt. Tam’s cleaving iterations in the golden hour light. Always with breakneck speed. A world without material things, maybe more anti-internet, and certainly like the undead. This buried architecture of alleged domination, and its long-term parter submission, are binary witness to a blueprint of only translated secrets. The light resting inside corners, its own container of space and structure—mathematics, hypocrisy, or anxiety of memory—ensures that all our futures wait rushed and uncommitted. Swallow the miracle of ritual. Startling in its immediacy.
It is like a prayer to what is empty.
And what is empty turns its face to us
“I am not empty, I am open.”
—last 4 lines of “Vermeer”, Tomas Tranströmer (trans. by Robert Bly)
I was straddled, briefly, inside a space hollow with intent.
My clarity took the shape of a human-shaped hole.
Repetition became remembrance. Bright angles broke the plane.
I remember the camellias were dropping as headlines portend
false security. In this dreamed reality, sorrow penetrated remorse.
Something moved sideways as if in confession. At this edge,
just beyond, nothing. Blank imagination untangled into simple objects.
I heard ballon, small car, bus. I saw light dancing as if a whetstone.
Starlight hissed sharp. My hands held my face like a bell jar.
Wherever I was, my gravity kissed itself goodbye. I was an entire creation.
Light and shadow and universe.
You may well be the narrator, the narrative, and the narrated.
—Mahmoud Darwish, In the Presence of Absence
Generally, analytic predictions are only worth their final outcome. To help explain the magnitude of our current predicament, experts frame our collective memories in context of 100-year old floods, fires, wind events, drought, and storms. It’s an affective perspective born from habits that deny discovery, and it becomes boring—this cycle of forgetting. It’s obvious they never bothered to ask the swollen streams and eroding mountains what they know. Patches of grey swirl in a wanting-to-be blue bruised sky. This familiarity, both as place and mood, is its own form of disquiet energy. Memories of transverse understanding are leisurely folded inside melancholic miles of distance and above tangled root systems bolting vigorous. I prepare these filaments of imagination for when the apocalypse finally arrives out-of-breath and panicked. I extend no shame in its direction. It knows how late it is. I close my eyes and taste the sacred in all its contingencies. temporary, temporary, temporary
Maybe all of this has a simple explanation. I don’t remember
how I got home. I was feral due to generational circumstances.
I started this life from a deficit. I am a self-described opt-out.
What might be lies and what might be inaccessible misunderstandings?
The tail of history wags in all our faces, stubborn as possession.
It is an earned intimacy. The subject is abandoned, an allusion of comfort,
if that’s an orientation. It is a pattern recognition.
I want to try and describe an image of a hole but it’s more extravagant
than that. Hole is more of a preferential reference and also a moment recognizable only because this thread is a fractal.
Statutory evidence gathered like exhale and escape.
“It is a time for tons of verbiage, activity, consumption.” —Mark Rothko
The end of the year is coming, again.
Will you claim you are satisfied,
so far? How will you commit
to these remaining days? In this interlude,
what to cherish, what to improvise,
what to root, and what to let go?
I am still learning to pretend
the difference between memories
of a past gone and memories of a past unknown.
A loop on its return becomes a harbinger
of sentient evidence, now personal phenomenology.
It’s best to surrender to messianic joy
at this horizon point in a vanishing year.
Update your maps of what remains of your calls
to provisional responses. Name your beloveds.
There’s still time for passionate cadence and
appreciation of light’s lengthened silhouettes.
That space, that pause, is an insider’s point of view.
These longings pull from long-shadow days and nights.
Return, again, repeat. That kind of essential
permanence, palpable. Cross reference your embodied index,
then become a territory beyond meaning.
Enable new, interpretive beginnings. I flicker—an epic
verse. Your alterity is my resonance. Ride with me.
“Die knowing something. You are not here long.” —Walker Evans
I don’t want to complain. It’s the morning light, bright and orange,
that is angry. Do not read this as a confession but more guided by the belief: a month of Sundays. It may be true; I have a furious wish to rearrange time. This is not a mare’s nest but more deceptively a half-full moon.
Breaking has an edge when the loudest crowd is guided by psychopomps
muted mouthing and demented.
I’m learning town names and their geography by following wildfires.
Not quite pastime, like writing, but more gradual like buried cities
now exposed. Reminders that the slanting light shares this memory.
If we do not forget, what is there to remember? —Mary Ruefle from “On Secrets”
Suspension is a type of prayer
in the same way hard luck is still luck
or how clicking clocks make meaning.
Ending another year with reconstituted rituals:
unwrap an orange, warm the house with lights,
leave no trace and lament the echoes.
Interiors become accomplices
in a cascading culture of closures.
Reminding me the moon makes no light
of its own, and I don’t know
is the most honest answer I have to give.
This response to an unknown call,
how deeply personal an endeavor.
The past beats inside me like a second heart. —John Banville, The Sea
From football to cult rallies on glacial plains,
America excels at strategies of deterrence.
There is generational learning behind knowing
the difference between submission and giving.
Release is forbidden.
Americans’ reflective accolades penetrate the best
as fervent belief converts to trembling devotion.
The point being none of this is supposed to make sense.
As true as death, reality always fades.
In claiming this emotional space every week, anchors of memory and experience structure a highly unstable body of work. I arrive inhabiting this swath of living, or as Lauren Berlant said in her essay Cruel Optimism, “deflating the symbolic into the somatic”.
After all, islands are the tops of mountains. Perception as slant, signaling both perspective and insight. That sweet trigger of embodied habit. Writing from an ascetic life.
What earned reward lays in wait? Is it focus as illumination? Maybe the reward is endurance inside an anxious limbic system. Simply, a need gets satisfied. A temperance of honesty that there is no final outcome to this effort. That this predictive text, and its energy, may be read as art. That this is worthless.