Only As Much

An accumulation of truth hell
Bent on seeing end result, a tree fell
Silent somewhere, maybe north
Where I first learned to fish or to
The east seen signaled as
Embers of a family
Photo being burned beneath cedar blossoms
And cut-off jeans, processed to paper printed
A love note in legal text, an obligation
To let you down, do it now
To save a scene,

What do I have to know
An insistent intervention
An addiction to a drug that runs
Through my veins, I am half my mother
Half my father, half ex-husband
Half failed marriage half-proof alcohol,
One-hundred percent a portrait of love’s incompetence

What do I need to know

Sundry summer day, bees kissing
Blackberry florets, sitting expected but
Unaware on picnic table watching
Jack russell bathe in black dirt-Friday
Contemplating coming sunset,
Walked out tapped flannel crossed
Shoulder, handed document
Recited rehearsed structure,
Coming out in murmur spilling
Over labor and birthdays
Anniversaries and being buried without
The matriarch holding your heart
In requited ardor, a rush
Of words thin as blood weakened
Pulling distance from existence,
Signed your stone separated and alone,
I’ll lay next to you

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Where The Light Shines

It’s the weekend, Friday forever and again. Commemorations are cut into cedar logs; between branches children run from front porch to aching maple. A vision kept close a memory once experienced now is in the process of being created. Fleeting from nest buried amongst a web of rafters, birds sing above our heads heard faintly beyond mechanical repetition, scrag engine roaring fervently from forest to moment trees dissipate and in their place is a heart and home. The birds sing-still persistently heeding no recognition to intrusive noise- songs lathered in shades of purple and braids of love- tea whistling on woodstove mixed with coffee roasted to full city in contrast of the wilderness looming just outside the entryway. Porcelain basking on windowsill wisps of steam floating; remaining motionless for a second then evanescing. It’s ready, beckoning.

It’s 8:30, determined by the streaks of vermilion glistening through a receding doe corridor. By noon, an hour prior, the last tooth would have taken its last bite for the day and we will begin bathing in the warm rivers of laughter. It’s 9 currently though- first break, the only for today. A jittery fawn shuffles between piles of fascia jumping over vague gravel roads between bundles stacked like jenga minarets into the ditches before appearing again just around a corner. Coy yet curious, walking to the mechanic’s garage for breakfast, strange fur colour catching its attention, following seemingly close yet asunder, my shadow has competition, for a little while at least. The door opens unwillingly almost stumbling, moth-eaten, the passenger chair from a Chevrolet Silverado catches me almost purposely. The fridge is opened, revealing amongst two peanut butter sandwiches, half-a half-a dozen bottles of Ketel One, a stale bag of roasted garlic bagel crisps and approximately fifteen hand-rolled cigarettes. The room is cozy if defined by size and stubborn decision to not rot. Space is scarce, flat back against the wall as if to walk along the precipice of a mountain. A picnic table born of monolithic pine occupies center, lack of capacity fails to impede rapid ebullient fables. Talking lambent with tones of joy, five episodes of Seinfeld and Friends is bolstered into nine seasons fully reenacted, an entire cast played by six lumberjacks.

Thirty minutes, a rest worth a lifetime falls through animated reconciliation and soon enough the engines are roaring again. Two hours turns into a victory lap. Narrowly dodging thunderstorm of foliage, we chuckle. Later recounting the near death experience as if we’d been exiled, left to build again our own society from scratch. The volcano erupts spontaneously, violently an avalanche crashes toward what little progress has been made. Silence follows, a hand is seen, reaching up from a small desecrated hut, another appears then another, the bodies attached slowly become visible. Stubborn survivors who defied isolation and Mother Nature is how the tale will be told. The mess is cleaned up, logs loaded back onto the dock, blades re-calibrated, a few details ironed out, some key points cleaned up, feathers in line, the alarm goes off. The weekend is here, we meet in Maplewood.
It begins with music, subtle songs of crickets and warblers in the morning we whistle in tune in attempt to capture the tenderness of being feral. Fluctuating with cyclic evolution the melody transcends scene a new movement orchestrated by the guidance of memory and reverie. A single note held from this symphony whispers of unrelenting presence. The crescendo soars at first rest, crashing into reiterations of timeless rendition, the body is a pit for the theatre of Earth.

Pattern gives way to tradition, at 11 pine violins and raven trumpets ease into caesura, feet trace familiar path to truck, heard faintly between door and hallway, “Sultans of Swing” is sung softly. Driving home a moment of bliss is held in a deep breath, close enough to see the familiar neon faces of recognizable wildlife, far enough away to get lost in an amiable world playing hawk-dove with theory and knowledge. Drifting routine alone at high-noon pacing hot water sanctuary, garments exchanged for expression. A slice-pair of toast is burned to crisp taken a second to cherish- the simplicity of being so early in the day, often times taken for granted is the essence that built these bones. A text message is sent on the feathers of local pigeons. Feet crossed standing up facing the window overlooking austere terrace, a colony of sunflowers watches over the garden whose abundance is annexing the woodshed and dog pen. Returned minutes later metal band clinking against porch sill, to take my time is all that is requested.
Animals breathe for fuel, plants breathe for fuel, all living things breathe for fuel. This is without fault for every second the creature remains alive. One of the more notable qualities of humankind is the ability to take something that is intrinsically archaic and fierce and make it rest at our heels. Breathing, an absolute necessity to living has lost its control over us. Humanity rarely breathes for fuel, for survival. Humanity breathes for happiness, grief, to form relationships, to send nations to war, breathing has become a part of language. On the drive to Maplewood, I breathe for Arcadia.

The cabin smells of bitter coffee and wildfires, a knock isn’t necessary but it’s best to build a second’s worth of anticipation. A rhythm not broken for years the inhabitants understand that these things are absolute and essential-the knock, three light taps, two are heard faint as a fire crack, the last is given to nature for her to make. The door opens, lunch is well on it’s way through the digestive tract. The coffee strong as ever is only just starting to fertilize the soft whimper of wind outside- the sun burns perfectly crystalline. Greeted with piano teeth and an apology “It’s basically water today”. A rest may be needed. As now the river, a tumble weed away, runs black as it runs red with iron ore.

Perched on cobblestone wall a calligraphic sky dances with vermiculate figurines; at once like falling leaves shadow puppets, against a backdrop of cedar vistas, scrawl cursive portraits like pointillistic novels. Here, we are dew drops embracing shaded blades of grass.

Thrown as if apple cores to the forest, rest takes form in tracing corridors of birch and pine. Taking note of deer paths, serenity is found in beaver tracks. Rolling lopsided from clearing to clearing we stumble upon a bird’s nest resting in a willow tree. A timid glimpse offers the beauty of newborn life. There’s a stretch about a mile south that leads to a decrepit concrete foundation, where colored glass peeks weakly above verdant moss beds. A remnant of logging’s past, it’s said if the wind blows right on a cold Autumn night one can hear the steady chug of a steel axe cutting relentlessly at a defiant weald. Lost in the world before, a steady breeze carries us back to the cabin. In celebration of simplicity, to living together with nature, the evening is set and the fire is started.

Babbling a brook away the branches join in harmony to the trickling of water flowing so steadily. An occasional splash, kaleidoscopes flicker, fish gallop seemingly aware and seeking invitation. The pot has been drained two or three times, each increasing in strength from water to wine Friday ends enveloped in amethyst. South of the river we stop and holding everything, as if it was actually ours alone, today and tonight, forever and again. A joke is spoken, laughter finds wings to fly slipping up our throats the motion soothes cracked lips placing perspective on the monument like an aerial view of an eagle soaring over the Grand Canyon. Speech is reserved for the flame, gathered in storm debris formation we wait for the eulogy, breathing delicately and in rhythm.

Dissonance

Stripped to bare bones
Loved ones are just vessels for desertion,
A place to retreat
Assuming their frequencies
Will wrap the body in harmony
Panic makes for poor judgement
Comparing long term benefits
To immediate consequence
A child’s finger coated with concrete
Date and reason acquiesced
Set the scar in stone
A quart of blood is better
Than the absolute abandonment
Of water
Yet,
When cotton meets counterpart
Skin fails to touch comfort,
How sweetly it would be
To simply stop breathing,
Tension breaking
At the splash of a lifted weight
Sometimes
I think about my family
Like I think about drowning