The 44th Turn

You ache.

You are older,

and beautiful,

in the way piles of gravel

surprise you

along the turnpike.


Those gathered around you

are increasingly less –

less in years, less in words,

and less in common –

saving the uncommon

tastes and thoughts and talents.


You still have books

and a dimming light

and more than enough love.

You eat, you drink, and make merry.

Some things you remember together,



almost the necessary ones,

say a child, a lover, a poem.

There are gifts, a few –

those given you yourself

and to others –

“the allowance” –



care and celebration,

some sweet welcoming,

some join.


It’s alright,

she is here, beside you,

they are sleeping in their beds,

are scattered to the days,

are bleeding, are breathing


so much talk of labor

in our culture –

piles of effort

for finding peaceful paths,

to the country,

the cabin,

toward some freedom

to live.


We live.

Our days adding up

while counting down,

in strange measures –

now in years,

by the hours,

in moments.

From the Notebooks… a poem perpetually in progress…

Untitled (In Progress)

The poem linked above I pushed out last week… and marked it as “in progress” because for some reason it is one that the process of making, unmaking, forging and revising it (still feels “off” as published at above) has intrigued me.  Here are the pages of notebook from which it hails, perhaps this is of interest, perhaps not, for better or worse…

We are working on an exhibition of new media for June at Wichita’s Fisch Haus, and have been battling over how to show process and creation when exhibiting technologically enabled and activated art.  Perhaps that is why I’ve been more conscious of my own processes of making and revising.  In any case, here is a little trail through the notebooks as a piece is coming to be…

edited drafts

In Progress….


I am thankful for this loosening quiet,

your slackening ties of dusk.

Though often shackled by a fear of loss

in love, I may open toward a growing –


possibilities of a learning, as in youth,

less about the being something

than, profoundly, just to be

that which relaxes and allows


like a cow caught up in weather,

or warm engagements with a child,

with the blossom, and make-believe.

Empowered when our symbol’d systems –


confused by what is happening –

begin to sign that loss

(a form of death) ensures the safety

of our risks.  That harm and haven


are our home – the same as truth:

what’s loved is lost –

and thus we come to love.

Wisdom undoing opposites


in terms of life.

I amt ridiculed by youth –

it’s how I know that many lessons

come unlearned,


that “completeness is

a process of revision”

as they say,

and that our closures


are what open

every day.


The above was an editing of the following…which is why it’s still “In Progress…”

child, the blossom, the make-believe



And then I want to say

that I am thankful

for this loosening


I want to say

And then I want to say

that I am grateful/thankful

in/for this loosening quiet

for its / and the slackening of ties


perhaps we’d once been shackled by

the fear of loss in love


leaving space for other and tenderness and availability,

freed of the shackling fear of loss

in love

not in the order of other pursuits

thus fencing a truth again

or forging some identity –

burned and brandished iron –


but that we might allow

the finding, its discovery –

all the safeties that arrive with risk –

in all directions

whether in the child, the blossom, or the make-believe


the will to love and to enjoy

our engagement

with world and things and persons


unraveling the expectations

of hurt and damage

parenting ourselves to freedom


the assurance we are looked after,

at least by ourselves,

as well the plenteous others –

our families, our species, our friends


we will probably survive,

unless we do not

and then no matter

death was here from the start


nor had it intention or opportunity

not to be

attachment and loss

and room for growth


so we begin, so we will be

the template that stifles

symbolic structures

learned of experience


in certain ways


do not ask permission

but simply deceive

they are not truthful


Look at your child,

your pet, your mother –

you would not have them

to be a certain thing


an object, tool or concept

but to live and change and grow

until they die and thus dissolve

which is not damage so much

so much as change


thus let it be,

it is quiet

the ties are slackened

the noose loosened


around your heart.

we are here –

the squirrel, man and mountain,

every weather, part and parcel,

as are you


It is begun

we are resolved

to open and allow

for your enjoyment

for your experience

should you engage


and cease to fear

cease to fit to your equation

to whatever maths you assent and ascribe

and start to scribble

doodle, sketch


to select potential

over priority

exception(al) over rule

dynamic in place of determined


and friendship more than fact


perhaps you were meant to be

over being

to selve more than self


for “we were not meant to survive,

only to live.”




We thank you for the loosening quiet

We are the slackened ties of dusk


I am grateful to this the loosening quiet,

the darkness and this its slackening of ties…

what is once was shackled by the fear of loss

in love, now opened may open toward a growing –


possibilities – a learning, as in youth,

that it is much less about being something

as than it is, profoundly, just to be

that which relaxes and allows


the squirrel (cow) caught up in weather,

our warm engagement with the child,

the blossom, or the make-believe,

empowered when our symbol’d systems


can be get confused with awareness by what is happening,

and when we are able to see that loss,

a form of death, ensures the safety

of our risks.  That harm and heaven haven


are the same – our home as truth

what’s loved is lost

and thus we get come to love.

Wisdom undoing opposites


in the terms of life

I am get ridiculed by youth

it’s how I know that lessons

are get unlearned,


that “completeness

is a process of revision”

as they say, and that a that our closures

opens every day.



-Dan Beachy-Quick-





Excerpts of Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge


by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

I did not know beforehand what would count for me as a new color. Its beauty is an analysis
of things I believe in or experience, but seems to alter events very little. The significance of a bird
flying out of grapes in a store relates to the beauty of the color of the translucency of grapes.
There is a space among some objects on a table that reminded her of a person, the way the bird reminded her,
a sense of the ideal of the space she would be able to see. Beauty can look like this around objects.
plastic bag on a bush, moving slightly, makes an alcove, a glove or mist, holding the hill.
Time can look like this. The plane of yourself separates from the plane of spaces between objects,
an ordered succession a person apprehends, in order to be reminded.

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

Red Quiet, Section 3

by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
Our conversation is a wing below my consciousness, like organization in blowing cloth, eddies of water, its order of light on film with no lens.

A higher resonance of story finds its way to higher organization: data swirl into group dreams.

Then story surfaces, as if recognized; flies buzzing in your room suddenly translate to “Oh! You’re crying!”

So, here I hug the old person, who’s not “light” until I embrace him.

My happiness at seeing him, my French suit constitute at the interface of wing and occasion.

Postulate whether the friendship is fulfilling.

Reduce by small increments your worry about the nature of compassion or the chill of emotional identification among girlfriends, your wish to be held in the consciousness of another, like a person waiting for you to wake.

Postulate the wave nature of wanting him to wait (white space) and the quanta of fractal conflict, point to point, along the outline of a petal, shore from a small boat.

Words spoken with force create particles.

He calls the location of accidents a morphic field; their recurrence is resonance, as of an archetype with the vibration of a seed.

My last thoughts were bitter and helpless.

Friends witnessing grief enter your consciousness, illuminating your form, so quiet comes.

berssenbrugge red quiet

A Reading of Red Quiet


I didn’t get around to performing the Friday Fictioneers prompt-100-word-story this week…having gotten sidetracked by a prompt that has haunted me all week from the writings of Lynne Tillman…finally, something worked out of me related to this… as follows:


“in an embrace, something may be confirmed, avoided, or resolved”

-Lynne Tillman-

            A kind of “there was.”

Sinking into his arms, strong and coily, warm almost gruff.  The dusty smell of oil and denim.  She felt small, she felt memory.  She closed her eyes as in sleep, and allowed.  So much to confront and to question, perhaps to ignore, but now, just this now, this embrace.

He’d wounded her for years.  Secretly whittling strips from her heart with a scalpel.  Holding her mind under liquids and spells, the sky and its stars, overwhelming her with presence while silently working dissection.  His voice anesthetic, a narrative of dreams.  She was victim.

And part of her knew.  Wanted.  Would rather.  She with her own confused expectations, demands.  Her ownership.  Defiance.  Some part of her vision selected this blur.  Macroscopic.  Details out of focus, the essence of place.  Embrace.


She had shouted, threatened.  He had thrown.  She began her crumbled march as he grabbed her.  He corded her in arms, shackled her to his chest.  She, unable to move, to breathe.  A little dizzy.  Anger and fear.  Him holding.  Him safe.  He panicking.  It held.  The embrace.

She struggled, she sobbed.  She squirmed and struck out.  Refused.  He held.  He tightened.  As if in a last expiration, the lungs clinging life.  She stabbed and she stabbed and she stabbed.  He bled.  He held.  A braced embrace.

Eventually collapsing.  Exhaustion disabled the leaving, dismantled the stay.  Floor and furniture took them in and supported.  And held by receiving their burden.  Stasis.  Time, embraced.


That morning – the fog – the waves – all the greying of sands.  They’d wandered alone for solitude’s space.  To be lost.  Unbeknown.

A moist, briny chill had embraced him.  Swallowed him up.  Become him.  Immersed, he released.  Saturate, evaporate.  Began.  Unwinding like a mummy’s cloth he disrobed.  His anguish, his anger, his hope.  Dissolving out to sea in trails.  Emptied.  Cleaned with a salty sludge, he weighed.  He grew heavy.  He blended in with the mist.

Enough moisture to formulate drops, her tears joined the air.  Embracing herself through the wind off the water she shook and she stumbled, she clutched.  Unseeing, she fumbled along. Desperate.  Undone.  Like the thick cover of sky, her past and her present, her future combined and ran away down the rock.  She was hollow.  Held only by her arms, her hair keeping her head in its place.  She wept out her body until drained like a sieve.  The charcoal of sands embraced her.  Falling.


The hesitancy.  Two scarred bodies full of wounds, slowly exposing.  The want for another.  A crave and a care.  Some tendering need to devour.  They approach gently, allow touch, speaking perimeters.  A leg crosses over.  Eyes keep locking and unlocking with an almost audible click.  Food is had.  Hunger remains.  They move and they walk, learning hands and arms and shoulders.  They gaze.

Arriving at last at embrace.  Caressing the soreness of worlds.  They mate at their bruisings.  It becomes more.  Ravenous and fearful, they struggle.  Wrestling and huddling, they carefully voice every play.  The directions.  No pain is no gain.  And they gain.

Become more in the matching – four legs and eight limbs, doubling heartsize and brains, and they fitted.  They enter, they receive.  Exposing and sheltered.  In opening wounds they are bandaged.  They had not believed, they were doubt.  This, a healing embrace.  A beginning.


In death they are laid side by each.  Before long the roots will take over, a tendrilled combine.  The skin will grow lax and more fluid, the moss and the mold remedy.  Bones become ashen and dust.  Filtering one for another.  Transposed.  There will be one flesh, this earth, the conglomerate of bodies and beings with rain, moon and sunshine.  Planted there, embraced in all that will hold.

They take to the breeze like powder and spark.  Knuckles and teeth cackling the stones.  A huffed form of cloud, they merge, they seep.  Skein on the water, grain on the leaves, one and the other, the other again.  No one can tell.  Salt sugar sand shaken together and forever sifting.  Their love, their lives, its embrace.

N Filbert 2012

Writing Prompt

I have been attempting to take part in Madison Woods organized Friday Fictioneers which has been very enjoyable and a fantastic exercise – particularly to see the many figments of minds operating on a singular prompt – how various persons / how various world!  I came across this sentence standing on its own in the midst of a story by Lynne Tillman recently and it just will not leave my head.  I thought “a picture is worth a thousand words!?” – how about “these words are worth a billion pictures!?”  I’m sharing them here hoping they might also inspire in many of you reams of stories…And I’d love to receive links to the works that you create with/in/from them – any length, any time.  Here’s the sentence:

“In an embrace, something may be confirmed, avoided, or resolved.”

-Lynne Tillman from her story “Phantoms” in This is Not It

Such Great Heights

Such Great Heights: On Loving

“I wonder at vocalism’s ability to rephrase or reenact meaning and goodness even without the wished-for love.  Can a trace become the thing it traces, secure as ever, real as ever – a chosen set of echo-fragments? … The still eye reflects a neutral ‘you’ that is me; and yet secret.  Who can hold such mirroring cheap?  It’s a vital aspect of marriage and of deep friendship.”

-Susan Howe-

            These are things she told me:

She tells me she just needs to be held.  Held and heard.  And validated.  That I understand how she feels, that I empathize.  No need to agree with her or her feelings, no need to fix anything.  Just pay attention (“be with me” she calls it), say some things back kind of like echoes so she can hear that I’m listening, knows I’ve “got” it, and nod and affirm.  Saying things like “I hear how hard that is for you,” or “I can see this makes you angry” and the like.  A safe place, a sounding board, a kind of mirroring…a world-the-size-of-arms or bodies in which it’s okay to be in process, to have your stuff, to be inaccurate, and be.

I tell her I just want to be loved for who I am, not what I do or how I perform, whether I make someone feel better or not, whether I’m useful or succeed, get stronger, am sensitive, smart or good-looking.  I’m fine with being any of those things, but they will always feel like side-effects or attributes, things taken up from time to time, situation-contextually.  I really want to be loved for who I am also, or otherwise, the self I do not know, am unaware of, except that it’s always changing.  I’m wanting value as a being, I suppose, that it’s simply good enough, and matters, that I am.  That someone would choose that.

She’d like to be appreciated for all of her efforts.  All the pains she endures, compromises she makes, limitations she accepts in order to account for me, for my “neuroses” (read “personality”).  ‘d like to hear a heartfelt “thank you” now and then for her services and sensitivities, considerations and workings toward dialogue, care and attention.  She’d like to be recognized, feel wanted, feel loved and craved and adored.

I’d like to be loved with my spaces and misgivings.  From a distance, and the distance loved too – the whole globe of me – my fears, paranoias and worries.  My anxious body.  Jealous narratives, fantastic brain.  As an entity – yes – as a system or sphere, to be chosen, sought out and let be, even celebrated as this odd, unique and difficult human, just like all the others, but different too, in exactly the same ways we all of us are.  A curious realm of unknowns and effects.  Would like that cloud of debris I refer to as “me” to trigger charges in her, of desire, of respect, of wonder and intimate knowledge.  A paradox really.  To be known as unknown, loved dissimilarly, absolutely, and so on.  Misplaced desires, but there all the same.  I ask her to love indeterminacy and confusion.

She asks to be free of her past – not its effects but its definitions.  That we encounter it together – our childhoods and children, our spouses and griefs, our risks and our failures, fulfillments and joys – not compared with the present, competitively, but engaged, encouraged, absorbed.  That not everything “not-me” be a threat, not her job and its clients, her acquaintances, family and friends, past lovers our journeys, events – that they be welcomed and included as ours now – memories, sources, realities we bring to a NOW.  Not as distractions, escapes, private holdings.  That we invite each other whole and unprocessed.  That we be a process for each.  That I be here now with, see her moving toward me, being here, not fragment and dissect her into her pasts and the world.

I tell her I’d like to be ultimate, her be-all, end-all, preference and ideal.  Chaos and all, that this mass of me be some divinity-like, awe-inspiring wonder of an incomparable glory she adore and pursue.  I want to feel special, holy, set apart, unbelievably brilliant and beautiful – in short, spectacular – in all my grungy messy remedial ways and blundering battles.  That it truly stun her how amazing I am all muddied up and crazy, insecure and inconsistent, incompatible and at serious odds with myself – that I be wonderful to her.

She told me she’d like it to be real.  To be purposive and true.  That we be brave and open, vulnerable and strong.  Flexible and protective, guarded and unafraid.  That we feel life securely and take great risks, be certain and unsure.  That we trust and be trustworthy in every metamorphoses we move through.  Tenderly powerful, gently fierce, insistent and forgiving, patiently intense.  That we strive for balance, a balance I guess like nuclear fusion – unaccountable energies in a strangely held rest.

I said it all sounds good, sounds like love to me, and impossible.  Which is fine as I’ve started as a failure, but heroic, and she’s a god arose from ashes.  Hell, she’s died and lived again.  We latch on, strap in and unwind.  We are here.  Here we go.  These terrible chasms and such great heights.

These are things I tell myself.

N Filbert 2012

(couldn’t help but think of this – click for tunes)