Sunday, October 13, 2013


In the middle of Rock Meadow there is an overgrown foundation, home to a motley collection of weeds, including myself. Everyone and everything is welcome there; sentience does not bestow any particular privilege.

I could have been elsewhere this morning, maybe even should have. But the meadow forgives one's deepest reluctances and evasions. And it is broad enough that its distances soon swallow the dirt biker, the jogger, the father and screaming child and the woman with her improbable hula hoop on the crest of the hill.

The meadow overlooks both misanthropy and anthropomorphizing. It likely harbors its own misanthropic tendencies, and who could blame it ?

Fall comes each year as a relief. It is time to pull closed the curtains of rain, of cascading leaves, of lengthening shadows; it is time to swap out green for yellow, red and brown.

Sure, there are still a few slow crickets singing at noon, and some late bloomers out for their brief day in the sun.

But for every new thing, there are hundreds of the dying and dead --

masquerading as dissemination

and fruition --

as they march toward the apotheosis of all hallow's eve.

The tears of the primrose are not piteous enough to stop the juggernaut. Nothing is.

And that is the blessing and the wounding, which are, after all, the same thing. Miraculous love's wounding goes the song, and it is true.

If love, both divine and human, is construed as a  letting be, it is also a letting go. The camera might freeze an instant of light, but only to remind that more instants will ensue.

And more winters, springs, summers and falls as have ensued in one's personal life as well as in all the times before and times after.

Which exacts something -- a call to attention, appreciation, relinquishment --

measured variations on the deep bass ground, the ceaseless drone of being here at all. 

The myriad things: the meadow is their laboratory.

What do we do with these nightshades ?

this toadflax

or the silver sleepless eye of the bittersweet ?

We look, greet, say farewell; they look back, and in their own way greet and say farewell.

What is the opposite of anthopormorphizing ?  I meadowfy myself --

rest facedown in tansy sweetness before the frost bears me away.

I begin to feel the spacious relinquishment of Robert Frost's great poem, "After Apple-Picking",

as if it were rising from my very cells.

But there's also the miles to go before I sleep warring with drowsiness --

and the sense of urgency -- not so much a task to complete, but of something that is drawing near -- of an almost but not quite --

of the timeless entangled --

with the temporal --  as it always is --

something in and out of focus, crystallizing then dissolving again --

Welcome, says the matless foundation of my meadow home.

Welcome mat, waiting room, antechamber to apocalypse; and pray that it will not be in winter --

But winter always comes, and the desolating thing will have its due.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Phone Home

Telegraph, bearer of far writing, 
your encrypted newborn cry

soon petered to the mild request,
sounded from afar,
Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you,

until today, Watson clings to Watson, mouth to ear, 
from waking until sleeping, 
at home, at work, at table, in the street, 
in cars, trains, planes, shops, churches, theaters, hospitals -- 
a living, wireless Corpus of loneliness and chat --

we're drowning in an sea of speech that's pitched
to the tin ears we clutch like rosaries
hoping for another  I want to see you
to break into the noise the noise the noise --
of everything

It's autumn, the season of
who has no house now/ will never have one. 

And yet, and yet --

houseless is not homeless,
the subtle call

and answer are still and phoneless here and there --

out of and into nothing, sic transiting

our glorious mundane --

Audite. Non loqui. 

Come in from the cold. And eat.

Sunday, October 06, 2013


"Duck Pond, to my mild surprise, was dry except for a shallow rivulet snaking across its parched bed toward the spillway. 

Its exposed dirt was already populated -- smartweed, beggarticks, some grasses and low yellow daisy-like weeds had moved in and were blooming in the fissured mud.

Unthinking, I struck out into the unclad pond, surprised at how shallow it had been. Why, I could have waded across and barely gotten my knees wet ! I preferred its imagined depths to this appalling puddle-bottom. It was a corpse of a pond and it fit in exactly with my mood.

As it was, despite some late circumspection, I was up to the canvas of my All-Stars in mud and my socks were wet. And I was convinced the two people on the far shore were staring at me, probably on the verge of hilarity at the sight of the weirdo crouching in the weeds and muck.

I've been in one of my more reclusive phases, more Kaczynskian than Thoreauvian, and, impelled by the imagined gaze of strangers, I abandoned the dry pond for the forest path.

It is the time of year when the porcelain berries come into their own, and I knew that several stands of them grew beside Beaver Brook. Ishmael, in the Novembers of his soul, took to sea. The variegated and speckled blues of the berries -- watery, be-isled planets -- would have to do for my own current November.

A patient had said to me recently,   I forgot to be grateful. 

Had I forgotten how to be grateful ?

And what was gratitude, anyway, at least when cosmically construed ?

The old Roman Road was living up to its platitudinous name. There was The Big Question pulsating on the rocky path in front of me like a discarded and decaying slice of Nesselrode Pie straight out of Naked Lunch.

"So, honey, what'll it be ?" sneered the Pie, eyeing my muddy All Stars with a look of utter contempt.

The Pie, oracular, was obviously not going to let me pass until I had given some sort of response.

"Listen, Nessie," I said. "You've got the wrong gal. Sure, a lifetime ago, these things mattered. But now ? Now, it's just surviving the excruciations of the workweek, gorging on Soy ice cream and cheap TV, and falling asleep over police procedurals. So leave me alone, willyaplease ? I'm sure you can find someone more sanguine and irenic and less utterly misanthropic to carry on the metaphysical researches d'antan." 

The Pie drew itself up to its full height, its citrons glowing like stigmata, its rummy breath overwhelming the mild rot of the dried up pond, and began to howl.

The confected emissary of the Numinous Ground Of Being would have none of my evasions. It was holding me to account. It was trying to extract a reckoning.

"Look, Pie," I hissed, kicking it in the general direction of the dried-up pond.  "Crawl back into your piehole."

I gave up and drove home. There was laundry to do. Monday was looming. Suddenly, from within my sullen funk,  I heard the bleat of a car horn. I looked in the rearview, and there, tailgating within an inch of our lives in a late-model Audi sports car, was the Pie.

It was honking, and tailgating and its little mouth was spewing hectoring Nesselrodian invective.

I gave it the finger.

At the next red light, The Pie, unused to being challenged, pulled up beside me and stared at me with its little ferret-like eyes.  It was not just the mildly amused gaze of the pondside strollers, this was the hate gaze, the gaze of utter fury and contempt, the laser-like death-stare of the thwarted Pie of Power.

And I lost it. Months of pent up fury, disappointment, grief erupted, Vesuvian:  every bit of the past year's muttered profanity was rehearsal for this moment, it all spewed, red-hot and lava-like, toward the Pie, who even in my whited-out-by-rage vision looked mildly surprised, then all the more royally pissed off. Nonetheless, I screamed and screamed and screamed and jabbed my finger at the Pie, wishing the red light would go on forever.

But of course it didn't, and the Pie, the Pie That Always Triumphs In The End, revved its Audi, gunned a hard left to within an inch of my car (letting me know who would always triumph in the end) and sped off down Main Street.

"Bye, bye Mr Nesselrode Pie, drove my Honda to the Ponda but the Ponda was dry..." I thought, incongruously, as I turned left toward my house. My heart was pounding. The world slowly regained its color.  Deflated, vanquished, vaguely ashamed, I pulled into the driveway.

So, Honey, what'll it be ?