Hers

“Weren’t there any words that she accepted more willingly?  Any that diverged less from what she was thinking?”

-Maurice Blanchot, Awaiting Oblivion

There have been many hers,

some promise of connectivity

or commerce

(perhaps promise is too much,

perhaps desiring is more

accurate).

In other words, and

many of the same

from time to time

over time

the process equals =

it is hers –

my strands cannot reach,

meaning cannot knot,

meeting grown unable…

Ellipses…

continuance and breakage

characterizing in-between;

a trailing-off, a dwindling,

leaning toward the open –

deletions and erasures, a clearing of a space.

 

Again

and

Again

and Again

Again…

 

“perhaps because the first words

say everything / He decided

to begin

again

from there” (Blanchot).

 

We can know

the first word is

“Here.”

[After-words?]

 

Again

and

Again

and Again

Again

“Begin.”

 

He thinks that

it belongs

to her,

it is hers,

all of them;

 

In other words

are there any words

that diverge less…

that would not

initiate ellipses…

-the crossing

-the forking

of roads-

 

Here.

Again.

Begin.

– each eviscerating concoction…

clarifying conundrum,

each undone doing…

[doing undone].

 

Not quite correction,

no improvement, evolution,

no repeat and never same,

inceptive destruction…

 

He names it “failure”

“recurrence”

He says it is the “here”

of meeting

inducing the there of separation,

of potential gain

and irreparable loss.

“Here” is where it begins

Again…

and ends,

alwaystime…

 

It is hers.

Colluded

and conspired.

She is never wrong

to say

it is his.

This Here.

Again

and

Again.

Begin…

 

…until finally…

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Cabin Reflections

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“Penelope remembers having read that of all the liquids and fluids produced by the human body – sweat, semen, vaginal fluid, saliva – tears are the only one without any trace of DNA… Impossible to identify someone from their tears, we’re all identical when we weep despite the many different reasons we have for weeping, something like that.  Unlike unhappiness, tears don’t set us apart, they make us the same.”

Rodrigo Fresan, “The Invented Part”

Last week I spent with my four offspring at a cabin on the Pikes Peak Massif in Colorado.  Mostly I register grief and loss in my experience of living… but interestingly enough, the first entry of my vacation journal begins with the simple sentence “I’m happy.”  Unqualified, that’s it – myself + my offspring + a rich world reeking of “no service” and untellable beauty… “I’m happy.”  Here are some notes I made throughout the week:

Simple things innerheard during cabin stay:

The stars: “We can’t tell the difference: between light or dark, death or what remains.”

The streams: “Where have we come from, where are we going? / Where we have come from, where we are going.”

Growing things (grass, moss, wildflowers, mushrooms, wild berries, etc…): “Not yet, not yet.  Who knows?”

The rocks, the boulders: “Once upon a time.  Now.”

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The mountain(s): “Maybe.  May Be.”

The cabin:  “Us.  Here.  We.  With.  Hold.”

Phrases of my children:

  • “It’s good to live this way once in awhile.”
  • “Why do we leave here, ever?  I never want to.  What is have to?”
  • “Dad, everything here is your ‘favorite‘.

And me:

  • “Nothing is like this.  Nothing… Belonging, I belong.  Time changes, it’s different here.  As if there isn’t.  THIS PLACE IS ‘BEAUTY’ TO ME.  THIS PLACE IS WORTH MY LIFE.”
  • on climbing: “I’m a dad: we ALL make it, or none of us really do.”
  • on love: “If I say ‘I love you’ – please don’t hear it as worship, as inordinate.  In love we see the ‘too much‘ of the other – that which is always beyond our own reach, the ‘too much’ in each of us we struggle with, and seem to be unable to assimilate or observe in mirrors of our own.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons the conundrum we call ‘love’ exists?

Addresses to my children and loved ones:

  • To T: “Always beware of logic – our fabricated things.  What we may wish toward but doesn’t make matter.”
  • To A: “Recall.  There are differences.  Beware.  There are openings for more life.”
  • To I: “You have it.  You carry your own water.  Your own dreams.  Your own beginnings.”
  • To O: “Heroes also may shrink you, diminish, contain.  You are deeply your own.”
  • To H: “Never mind.  I am not the one who can conquer it in you.  I believe someone will.”
  • To ?: “I love you.  Like literature: the possible of life.  Impossible.”

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Thank you mountains, rocks, growing things, streams….

3 Short Poems

for the weekend…

ARE YOU

I don’t think I have a question;

yet I seem to be

an asking

.

This one?  This one?

Is it here?

Are you?

.

The breeze is not silent

as many things

that are not

.

Still I do not understand –

Are you here?

Am I?

.

It goes unanswered

along with the riddle

I am

.

Are we here?

Are you?

 

READY FOR SADNESS

I’m often ready to be sad.

Why is this?

What holes are excavated by living?

What sifts through?  Falls out?  Runs away?

.

It goes nowhere

Or anywhere,

Everywhere.

Still it goes

.

where I am not

welcoming

through all these openings

a peeking-back

 

[addendum]

Instead I seal them shut

I try to stuff them

full of rags

that reek of sin and toxic

.

What can I do –

will I –

in this cell

that seems my own?

 

AGING

What does one do?

Reducing teeth

or sight

or hearing

.

How does one choose

what’s worth

repair

when all is failing,

.

ailing,

come undone?

he asks his father –

buys a car

.

replacing failure:

another thing

that’s bound

to fail.

notes

Why not call it magic, this unsettling alloy of grief and anger we experience when shunted by anxiety, disappointment, depression, or loss?

We cannot deny that we crave!  That we are struck through – bolted with fervent desire (all that which we experience as, well, unsettlingly – disturbingly – vital, ALIVE, active, possessive, in us) – when we are crushed, smushed, squelched, or helpless, hopeless, dismayed – how else could we be?

Without the vital, fierce passions – the damage is to no effect/affect.  Depression must press against something.  Must be pressing something down.

“Am I at the right house?” the internet-technology-installer asked from my gate.

“How can I know?” I responded, “it would depend on the future.”

He checked the numbers and moved away.

Now how will we ever know?

Isn’t this what every human encounter re/presents?

So de-pression presses something down in us.  Anxiety stirs.  Sorrow re-cognizes meanings.  No negative without its positive charge.  To be noticeable.  And what is it that is noticeable?  (able-to-be-noticed)?  ONLY DIFFERENCE.  Only time and space and whatever it is those veil, uncover, hide, or displace.

O-ppressed, DE-pressed, what are these SU-ppressing?  Accentuating?  Calling to attention, to activity, awareness, task?

Grief, loss, de-tachment and longing: what do these expose in order to occur? 

Is anything ever lost?

She passes by with a friendly, perhaps even loving and happy wave.  What reality is evoked in the pain of the passed-by, passed-over, un-preferred?  What does it render actually present?

Is it possible that in the “missing” nothing is lost?  Some present is heightened?  Something even added to the present?

In losing a struggle don’t we gain what the effort was for?  Clearly?

Does surrender underscore the sub-ject, the value, the relational ob-ject-ive given over?  Adding acknowledging import?

Difference demonstrates value.  Matter(s).  Sign-if-i-can-ce.  Without difference nothing would know.  Indistinguishable = pure repetition.  (Doesn’t matter).

Passed-over, passed-by, passed-on.  De-pressed, su-ppressed, o-ppressed.  Lost, lossed, re-moved, de-tached, re-apportioned.  ALL LOSS ACCENTUATES HAVE.  ALL DIS-POSSESSION EXPOSES POSSESS.

Difference de-scribes=in-scribes OURSELVES.  What we are constructed from, contain, proffer, offer, obsess, possess, ARE.  What we ARE (have and do).

Our com-position, con-stitution, con-struction are most clearly expressed in difference, ex-posure, de-struction, de-pression, o-ppression, loss.

In de-composition, we know and learn what composes us.

The question beggars: what have we to lose?  What can we lose that in losing its learning is not gained?  What have we to lose?  And how do we know without losing?

 

Alas, Alias

kitty-litter

“Cat litter,” the last thing said, and something about that abandoned bicycle, a child’s bike, deep red, repainted, left askew on their lawn for days.

Those were the last things.  The last things she said.  And so he’d begun to move about much more carefully.  Timidly some might say, an amalgam of caution and care.  Ever tender, aware that things break, or tear, spill, or fall apart.  End.

But then Laramie, his sister, mother, the kids – some entities seem to persist, so few and so stubborn, inexplicably, threatening almost, as if an accumulating disaster, an heavier withdrawal.  He doesn’t know what to make of it.

Abandonment crushes all scales and statistics – but pebbles and dust, foundations and roots still remain.  Persistent.  Resilient.  Irrational.

Like a sloth he repaired to his desk, as delicate and slow.  He took up a pen with his head in his hand.  He was lonely, alone but for quiet, sweet silence, and branches and birdsong and wind, autos and dogs.  Not quite quiet.  Not quite alone.  But abandoned, far as he could surmise.

He wrote.  Rather drew.  Looping lines that were shaky on paper.  Tried to make his operation more smooth.  It failed.  He shakes now, does Alias, from drinking and smoking, aging and grief.  From perspective.  His perspective.

A rattling undone, an erosion.  He sighs.

A bike, and “cat litter,” then gone.  Others had left for much more and much less.  Litanies of reasons of wrongs are so easy with humans involved, never mind the ‘weight of the good.’  Can’t compete.  Won’t compute. There are mistakes, and effort involved – both are failures, no matter the theories or talk, no matter their universality.  He was wrong and a failure, which equals abandon no matter the words they produced.

Alas, Alias.  A depression.  An outlook that colors the field, but it’s charcoal.  No matter the ‘whom’ it will bleed, run them dry, and disfigure.  No one’s withstood it for long, for all of his kindness and passion (devised to distract from the swallowing dark, or the primer – his base coat is death).  He’s alone.

Not a Laramie, mother, or kin.  Without doubt there’s no lover, no friend.  Just a man and his books and incessant grey thoughts, and a pen.

He begins, looping lines…forming “Cat litter,” the last thing she said…

Bike

Needing the Other

Ghandi - Interdependence

Sometimes we weep, “I need you so much.”

 

Do we grieve from the weight of the need?

Or the needing of differing things?

Do we weep that our need’s not provided?

 

We need.

And need differing things.

And need other than can be provided.

 

As long as the grief is not shame.

For what harm in need?

Like anything else,

we depend

-in truth-

on a world

made of so many

things –

to exist, to alive,

to continue.

 

And why not one another?

 

I am and you are

Without which we are not

 

That is need,

that is all,

that is fact.

 

Without air, food or water

the body declines.

Without commerce,

event,

the mind will not thrive.

Without you

what is I

will diminish.

 

That is nature.

 

There’s no shame in the needing.

No recall in the fail.

The “meeting” is all –

the approach and response,

the expression of need

and its answer.

 

Insufficient and varied,

incomplete and alloyed,

is never the fault of the need –

only moment.

 

“I need you,” I weep,

and I do, it is true,

and the you that is current

needs me.

That is all.

It is fact.

It’s the case.

We can change it, okay.

We can do.

 

But the need will remain,

because that’s how we are

dependent by nature

on nature, on world,

on persons and places and things –

on each other.

 

We’re human, you see?

Altogether because

We BE from the CAUSE

of each other.

Old Ruled Writing Pad

Old Ruled Writing pad

today, searching for paper to make notes on for work…I grabbed a used “ruled writing tablet” of mine, last written in in 2014…and read…

“I am an educated writer who loves a lot of things.  I love language, I love learning, I love relationships – to partners, children, nature, arts, literature, and ideas – to “world.”  I love to study.

By “love” I mean that I choose and enjoy expending my available energy on these things.

I like very much to reflect and consider, experiment with and actualize what seems meaningful for living as a human individual.

That is what I know of myself, besides the facts which are unruly, shifting and so very difficult to capture or recount with accuracy.  All the terms (‘born,’ ‘lived,’ ‘married,’ ‘completed,’ ‘received,’ ‘produced,’ ’employment,’ ‘accomplishments,’ ‘age,’) and their explications are far to vague to be useful here.”

Impromptu

Death.

Abundance.

Extravagant generosity of depletion.

Lust with which the world gives way.

And life.

Things.

Prominence.

.

I have entered a world

in which I am

saddened

begladdened

nostalgic

and eaten away

.

It is “Today”

this world –

the realm, the sphere, the moment:

Now.

A time that’s never,

only almost

and a just-was.

.

Each beginning

what equals

another end.

That time.

What was.

What will be.

What I remember

and predict.

.

The first day

once again;

each possibly

the last

.

It is like this –

each time –

it is the present:

that attachment

that letting go.

Incessant welcome,

and its goodbye.

Invisible Man Narratives – version 2

Here are the beginnings of a sort of alternate telling of the past 6 months of life around these parts….

 

 

 Invisible Man Narratives

Six months ago, things was different.  That’s how he says it, he says “things was different then.”  He says about Kansas, he says, “…see ‘cause in Kansas they’s got exemplary seasonal cycles,” he says.  He says “in Kansas they depend on them cycles and they is distinct and prominent,” he says.  He says “you get yer harsh and bitter subzero Winters replete with blistering blizzards and crackin’ pipes…” he says that – he says “replete” – would you believe it?  “And hell-hot dry and blowing Summers with readings oft above 100,” he says, “an’ then ya got  yer gradual, colorful clear and moisty Autumns where things fall apart and die, fall apart and die,” he says.  “And then them explosive Springs – redolent, verdant and blowin’ up and apart,” he says – and he truly do say “redolent” and “verdant” just you believe me – I’ll be sayin’ to ya just like he says it, that’s my job – I’m just Mr. Dudtnitz’ tangible voice, as you might have it – I listen and repeat it, sometimes askin’ clarification, sometimes just writin’ it down, but always – always – I swear it, just likin’ he says it.

I asks him, I asks – “how was it different six months ago, Mr. Dudtnitz?” I says.  And he starts talkin’ ‘bout them seasons and Kansas and how landscapes set up the visible shape of any man’s life and outlook and how all those seasons changing so “drastically” and them all dependin’ on them for “crops and cash, cows and copin’”, and his own life fittin’ right into them seasons: “six months ago I was deep in a drizzlin’ fog, a drizzlin’ fog of grief” he says, “stuck in a rainy Spring and things warmin’ up and me all set to hibernate where I was,” he says, “but that Spring don’t care, them Kansas seasons don’t stop fer shit,” he says, “so here I am,” he says, “hunkerin’ into Spring, delightin’ in a wet and frigid Winter and fixin’ to stay there – lost my love, no work, found myself in foreign lands, failin’ at everything I got goin’- my kids, my marriage, my thinkin’, and it feels real good in a bad way – y’know?  Like I’s right where I’s doomed to be – stuck in a drizzling cold, cain’t see fer shit, just swirlin’ like dirty snow, blusterin’ and stickin’ and meltin’ away in some grey fuggy existence.”  (He uses them terms, he do, this Mr. Dudtnitz.  He’s native Midwestern, but he done a penis-ton of travelin’ and learnin’ and spices up them stories he tells with education he took in around the globe – I swear I never add a term or tale to the things he tell me).

Tell me more about that, I asks him – tell me more about what the seasons – er, y’know – about your seasons the past six months, I says to him, Mr. Dudtnitz.

“Well, hell,” he says, he says “I lost me the love of my life, one I been pinin’ for for near twenty years or more, one I wooed and got to come here to the Midlands from the plush piney Northwest, one full of learnin’ and paintin’ and a whole kitter of arts and sciences, she was,” he says.  “I somehow finds her here in the Midlands, the Plains, straight out from mountains and forests and rain,” he says, “and here she is paintin’ on my porch, therapizing myself and my children, learnin’ us emotions and dreams and feelin’s and such,” he says, “and I start back to school to learn some more, to be a scholar, to be ‘of refined mind,’ pursuin’ my philosophy and science, humanities and arts,” he says, “and we set up places in the ol’ home to read and write and paint and study,” he says, “to mix and match, blend and blur all the things it is that we love to do,” he says, “and we drop out and hone in on what we love,” he says, “together we fix ourselves on each other, on learnin’ and makin’ and bein’ and relatin’,” Mr. Dudtnitz explains.  “And it was a helluva thing,” he says, “a helluva thing indeed.”

What happened next? I asks Mr. Dudtnitz – a bearded, dusty, unkempt man with smart-looking glasses like from over the sea somewheres, some strange mix of Earthman and Philosopher-Poet with them four kids trailin’ around him wherever he goes – what happens next? I asks him.  And he carries on with a tale about love and satisfactions, nerves and energy, landscapes and comfort zones until he gets to the business about when that Nor’wester takes off to visit her kin and writes to him that she ain’t comin’ back, that she don’t like the way he thinks and acts about life and morals, don’t trust him, cain’t trust him, won’t trust him, and lessin’ he alter his ways inside to out, she’s gotta go her own ways.  Well Mr. Dudtnitz had been thinkin’ he had altered his ways, altered them a great deal in fact, quittin’ on the bottle, quittin’ on the smokes, quittin’ on seducing whatever caught his imagination, intelligence, antiquities and fancies – Mr. Dudtnitz thought he done about changed whatever a man could change to be alright with a girl, so, as he tells it, the bottoms simply gave out, a “kind of perpetual Fall – falling apart, drifting along, swirling in Winter, in cold, in the way of things dyin’,” he says.

But the seasons ain’t ever over, is the thing, he explained to me.  They keep cyclin’ around, circlin’ in a way, but spiralin’ more, he says to me, pushin’ and changin’ and changin’ things in a similar way all around and within.  And you don’t even need seasons, Mr. Dudtnitz says, “no, it’s simply the ways of things,” he says, “they change and change and never quit doin’ that,” Dudtnitz says to me.  So “all stuck in that grey veil of a cosmos,” trying to keep and raise his kids, trying to find work to find a way to do that, tryin’ to keep up with his learnin’ he was midway on further in to, tryin’ to keep a house, a home, a “self or two” and some sanity, Mr. Dudtnitz plugged ahead, “robotin’ it through the fog,” he says, “just breathin’ and thinkin’ and breathin’ through the thinkin’,” in order to survive one thing or another, is how he tells it to me.  And I believes him.  I believes him, ‘cause he never say bad about the shit goin’ on, what peoples do, what befalls him, what shakes up the seasons in naturally unnatural ways – he just says what happens the ways he feels it and tries to tell me how them changes and “fluctuations” and “undoings and revisions,” is simply “the way things get along,” the “ways they function to bewilder us,” he says, “the ways they remind us that we ain’t prepared, that they ain’t no way to be prepared, that we just swirlin’ in the seasons like the rest of things,” he says to me, and I believes him, that wily Mr. Dudtnitz with the finaglin’ brain or mind or body, he kinda mixes it all together when he talks to ya, you see, kinda hard to follow, yet strangely compelling and convincing, even when he ain’t tryin’ to convince you of anythin’.

When Mr. Dudtnitz agreed to tell me his story, he said I had to visit Kansas in every season before he would disclose his own personal path.  Late July through August, mid to late October, January and the end of March into April were the times he specified.  Dudtnitz explained that his narrative wouldn’t make any sense to someone like me unless I had seen Kansas at all times of the year.  “There’s times Kansas looks for all the world like it gone completely dead,” Mr. Dudtnitz explained, “and days later smells like it has always been green.”  “This is what I’m a-tryin’ to get at,” Dudtnitz carried on, “it took a very long time for me to understand the life in things ain’t in the rain or the sun, not the soil or sky or seed – it’s fixed right into the mix of it all, the changin’ and the this-doing-this-with-that-with-this-and-that-and-the-other all churnin’, stewin’, blendin’ and actin’ with each others,” he says.  “I had it in me that my life was tied to the presence or absence of the right season, optimal conditions, fortuity and such,” he says, “but I learnt finally, or maybe some little bit, that the sky, the soil, the season, the man, the woman, the child and animal all got it in ‘em all of the time, it jus’ rises and falls, goes dormant then blooms, burns off, drowns out, sprouts up, all given them activity-conditions of everything ‘round about,” he says.

“So here I was thinkin’ I was done and dead, curlin’ away in a dampy dark cave, face to the stale like a miner goin’ down while coughin’ up blood,” he says.  “I determined to give on up on love, on relatin’ intimate-like, on adult partnerships,” he conveys, “and bolstered myself like some old Westward expansion man – a job to do, a body to do it with, a mind to still – like that,” he says.  “And I moved on in to Spring tryin’ to calm my kiddos, keep ‘em safe and close, tell ‘em everything’ll be alright, we’ve been through all this before, weepin’ in my bedroom, drivin’ my car, whenever alone with myself, seekin’ professional help, breathin’, breathin’, breathin’, and thinkin’ kinda thoughts like what pays attention to what’s good.”

“I done applies for 362 jobs with all the learnin’ I got,” he says, “and get back nothin’ but a few interviews and a lot of ‘nice to meet ya’s’ and mostly just nuthin’,” Dudtnitz relays.  “Then one day I get a job for the U.S. Postal Service – drivin’ mail way out in the countryside to them folk that live miles away from each other tendin’ farms – and I takes it.”  “I figger it’ll give me time to think on things, I’m doin’ somethin’ I always thought important and admired, and if’n I can get enough days work, I can make it go on the house and children.”  “At near the same time I gets a message that someone wants my mind and language for a project that might even bring in a little cash, and at this point I says yes to everything, anything that might feed the little ones and keep us housed.”

He explains that now we’re talking about late March to April in my calender’d visits.  Something swells in the air and land, he says, everything is blowing and stirring, and you better believe it – it won’t be long before something pops real big – change like destruction sweeps the place, he explains to me.  “And sure enough,” he says, “I walks into this kitchen on this lovely quiet farm where this artist fellow works, in order to meet the artist lady I’m hired to construct some response to with my mind and language, and I steps nervous-like – this is the first time I’ve willingly stepped out to meet people, be around people since that frozen January to February of the deadening of things, and I peeks my head round the corner into that kitchen and my breath drops like hail, like a punching bag down toward my loins, like the first rain in Spring, like dead land getting plugged in…there’s this young lady, midriff showin’, hesitant smile, long full head of hair, a touch awkward with folks and a helluva lot breathtaking as I attempted to mention before, and I walked right through and outta that house and into the land – a boom had landed in me and was shaking everything up and around – I wasn’t ready to notice anything, to feel anything, to see anything – I high-tailed it to the fields, the ruins, corn rows and dirt roads, high grasses, anything to get away from that twister, danger, tornado of life Spring rips into a Kansas Winter-ravaged destitution.”

At this point I just let Dudtnitz ramble on – no prodding to the story – we was walking out along a creek and Dudtnitz would kick rocks, pick up bugs, point out wildlife and critters, all the while spinning this yarn of seasonal change and landscape taking charge of our bodies and minds, or somesuch similar.  Listen on…

“I never spoke with her, though I was wishin’ to,” Dudtnitz says, “I spent a lotta time talkin’ to her beau though, checkin’ out his thinkin’, seein’ how he cared for that beauty walkin’ ‘round with him.”  “Turns out she was hired as well to respond to this visiting artist lady, and a week later or so I was sittin’ in to my first period of training for the USPS, when – what the hell!? – this very same breath-mangling lady was comin’ there too!”

 

And so on….(to be continued)…