Friday, May 13, 2016

Sleeping With The Moon

Gathering the threads of what I am 
and amen't going to do
for the rest of rolling eterne, 
or twenty years, or two:

I shall eat vegetables twice a day,
thread fingers through your hair,
wash the dishes once a week,
and bring myself to despair.

I shall run sometimes and lift up weights
and wander out under the sky,
I shall read the books that prove me wrong,
and ready myself to die.

The sandpipers run in and out with the wave
the monk runs in and out with the breath:

I rise with the sun and examine my hands,
and sleep with the moon a-purr on my chest.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Your fetch is beside me now, a glimmer and a guess: the heat from your splendid body, the coil of your spine, your quickness and stubbornness. I can well imagine you setting out to find the Utter West, at the age of five, with a sandwich and an apple in your bandanna. The sustenance disproportionate to the quest, maybe; but that has not changed as the years have rolled over. How could it?

Longing wistfully for dalliance, but I look west myself, across the Willamette Valley to the dim hills. I come to the sea and that's the end -- you can't count air travel, or the sad waning brilliance of the Hawaiian Islands. No, for me the sea is the last wall. It goes on forever and there's nothing beyond it, nothing real. The gray and white writhing serpent who encloses Middle Earth. It's been too long since I've seen it.

So I wait for your arrival, and sun chases shadow and shadow chases sun. You are mistaken in me: I can't measure to your greatness. But I'm grateful for the mistake, and for the rumor of the quest. Silent horns blowing in the margins of memory, and white hounds glimpsed in the thicket. Maybe we will share an apple and a sandwich, up on Saddle Mountain, and guess at a brightness on the western verge that can only be the sea.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Finally, some leisure to ask myself: what exactly am I doing here? I have been slipping, becoming less deliberate and more reactive. There's no need for that.

It's old habit from childhood: the first order of business is to get well out of sight of the grownups, and the next is to take whatever opportunities offer for gathering forbidden fruit. I've lived most my life that way, despite the fact that no one much cares what I do, and no one is in a position to forbid me fruit, any more. I am freer than most human beings can ever dream of, and still I'm going to act the slave? This won't do. No. Take a few breaths of air. Let my mind settle.

The crescent moon in the darkening sky. Rhododendrons blossoming everywhere, some in cheap lipstick colors, but some delicately shaded and beautiful; and others boldly spotted, with an unexpectedly leopardish mien, lashing their tails by the sidewalk. And everything green with new growth.

A quiet day. Tuesdays we usually ramble up the Gorge, or some such, but Martha is down with a cold. Hence the pause and the space for walks and for thought, in between times of reading aloud.

The fatigue has not lifted, really, not yet, but it could lift, now.

Thursday, May 05, 2016


It becomes more opaque, as time goes by: my eyes going milky white, and all the hard edges softening. The suffering so constant and overwhelming that it stops catching, and flows smoothly over my hands. There are things that I should attend to, and I don't even feel the tug of it any more. Why dip a little pail in that river? I'm not going to bail it out.

And yet, the sense that I'm missing something becomes more urgent.

I watch my large, strong hands reach for a creamer, pull open the little foil top -- how do they even find and grasp those little tabs? -- and pour the little white stream into my coffee. They are slow-moving and confident, these hands: they seem to belong to someone more able and sure than I will ever be.

Two young trees across the street, stirred by the wind. 

I think I need to find the mornings again, before I'm wound up in the nets of wanting and remorse, before anyone I want to please is awake: I need to walk out under the sky.

And it does not really matter. Far, far less depends on me than I think. 

Aware, suddenly, of the accumulated fatigue of the last week. I could sleep. I could sleep for days, and let the dreaming sky wheel over me: sun, moon, stars, cloud.