Everyone I know is uncomfortable. Everyone wants a different house, something with glass walls where they can be seen in happiness. But farther from people. Hell is other people. A quiet house is needed, in the trees, with clean lines and good bones. High ceilings to let it breathe deep. A stone foundation, a garden for butterflies. A warm kitchen for late night suffering. Quiet neighbors, preferably dead, barely whispering if they must. A kettle on the stove to exhale memories; A kettle that won’t forget I was here.
A sycamore leaf floats flat in a puddle on the black street. It turns slowly in a shadow that’s been with you all of your life. And nothing can be done. Everyone cares but no one comes to help. Step over it, go on across so long as the signal allows into the bright coffeehouse. The one where the woman plays guitar sometimes. Find a table with good light. Order something with hot milk. Order warm bread. Be benevolent with the tip. Remember all memory is fleeting. Forget how far you have come in the rain. The shadow still falls on the notebook, on every page, despite the lights overhead and the bright conversations of others whose children are in school, who never saw the leaf on the broad green tree, making shadow; the leaf that fell and died to bring you here.
I miss you but you’re dead and I don’t know what that means, beyond words and their delusions. Everything is so mysterious. I can’t go where you’ve gone until I’m called. Even then, is it a journey within Being or a vanishing point? No one knows but we still have today this hazy summer ending soon, the life around us torpid and drunk with light. Even you belong here, Being remembered, still part Of everything so mysterious.
For some days, I’ve been working on a post for this blog. It’s about my writing practice, as it has evolved over the past couple of years. It’s a struggle. Hard to focus. I mean both my writing practice and the writing of the new blog post. The world is too much with me. Then tonight I was re-reading an article by Kim Stafford, a poet and son of William Stafford; the latter being one of my favorite poets and a true inspiration. In this article, Kim Stafford outlines the 4 elements of each entry in his father’s daily writing practice. He would date the page, write some prose notes on his experiences, write an aphorism or something to elevate his thoughts, and:
Then he would write something like a poem… or notes toward a poem… or just an exploratory set of lines that never became a poem. To write in poetic lines, rather than prose — this can begin a process for distilling from ordinary experience the extraordinary report of literature. For this day, again, you give yourself a chance to discover worthy things. Nothing stupendous may occur… but if you do not bring yourself to this point, nothing stupendous will happen for sure… and you will spend the balance of your day in blind reaction to the imperatives of the outer world — worn down, buffeted, diminished, martyred.
Yes, that’s it. That’s where I am. Buffeted. I feel like my mind has been dragooned into service of the national psyche and its soul-sucking obsessions. You know the ones I’m talking about and it’s not Game of Thrones. Well, it’s sort of like that. There is an army of the dead and a lot of guys cheesed off that their slaves have been freed. But I digress.
Of course it’s good to be informed, but not influenced. And these days, we are all a’swimmin’ in opinion and very little objectivity. It’s good to be aware of the situation, so long as the situation isn’t fraught with anxiety and exaggeration – cognitive distortion. Is it possible to be prepared for an uncertain and potential chaotic future without being constantly worried – terrorized? I think we owe it to ourselves to try.
“It is likely that some troubles will befall us; but it is not a present fact. How often has the unexpected happened! How often has the expected never come to pass! And even though it is ordained to be, what does it avail to run out to meet your suffering? You will suffer soon enough, when it arrives.”
Tomorrow there may come cold wind and rain. That doesn’t mean we need to sit in our homes tonight, soaking wet and shivering. Instead, heads on a swivel and eyes on the path, right?
There is a road, no simple highway Between the dawn and the dark of night And if you go no one may follow That path is for your steps alone.
Yes, I need to follow my path. I must discover worthy things. And take a few good notes.
Wish me luck.
Oh, and one more thing, lest I be accused of ambiguity: