Quiet. Dampening.

so this is how you swim inward,

so this is how you flow outward,

so this is how you pray

Mary Oliver, Five A.M. Pinewoods

Rain, snow,

damper pedal.



so that sound


rise –

Arise quiet sound –

its feel –

tonight, now,


a melancholy birth,

nostalgia and utopia

again, combined.



Cloud Fragments 1


Within the lip and loom of limbo.  Limb lazy, almost unperturbed, but living still, slightly shaken, a subtle stir.

Difference scarcely scored, imperceptible is not worth mention.  A canny kind of collude.  There (might be) this, (might be) that – too hard to say, and who could do it?  Only one driven to be wrong, reductive, defining.  Only one agitated or alarmed by the way of things – that there were no way.

Indiscernibles.  Indeterminate.  Impossible to compute: is how it is.  These signs erase, and we are there.  As if in front with, as if of face and gaze.  As if event.  As if participant and become.  As if no one might tell apart.

Why tell apart?

Wrangled together in wrestle, why choose?  If breath must mingle to say, why delegate, select?  Cloud moves over, under and through, toward, into, and away – to no one’s noticeable chagrin.  Why we?

Tender spots trace gentle rain, in river, barrel, lake, exempt of rage or reason.  Only a sprinkle, a feed and possible weal, so glance and touch, brush and care, a slightly stumble, a cell’s conceive.

Misremembered, but no mind, flavor, sight, the wind through trees.  Nothing is without.  Nothing alone, should it perchance to be.  Mysterious, illogical motive of undoing.  Prepositional violence.  Pre-positions, a tearing apart.

Muscle, scent, and fur.  The various forms of water – cloud, drizzle, flow.  Flesh with flesh and whispered angles.  Breath with sound and ear.  A thought.

Inseparability and subterfuge.  Had never been, may not be, unstill it is…the way….questionally unquestioned, sifting in drift, conjunctions of convergence, some impossible begin.

Creativity’s Luck

Last week I in fact took one day “off.”  Truly OFF.  It rained.  I read.  It rained.  I read.  I wrote…

heavy rainfall

Eight hours later, finally, I am drunk with language.  Like Kansas soil, I require such storms for the necessary surplus… for markings to begin to pool, swirl and confuse – for essential destabilization – undoing language from its conventional attachments and turning it toward an alchemy, a natural compound and resource, something to be stirred and sludged or steeped – allowing for aroma, skimming and residue.  Just language, less meaning – an additive experience, unknown potentials of letters combined by some strange combinatory activity of intuition, convention and accident.  Creativity’s luck.

There is a point to drunkenness – whether artificial, of language or pleasure or love, whether substance, experience or drug – it is to be estranged and immersed – in some sense undone.  Renewed.  Despoiled.  It slows and diffuses me enough to write beautifully again.  Instead of making words, to concentrate on shaping letters.  Forces to create.

It is a baffling and bewilderment – allowing us to require effort for focus, selection and choice – so discreet motions of bodies become both complex and marvelous again, the capacity for smell a wonder and delight, communication and gesture (at all) a mysterious gift.

Inebriation levels the field.  Returns to a source.  Baudelaire may have meant we are potential and solidarity at once – flounderers grasping at tools and beginnings, constructing, cooperating.  We are begun.

Perhaps, then, we drink to erase and begin.  We scramble ourselves toward infancy that we might make effort to grow, while minimizing automated meanings.  To struggle to learn, to be becoming rather than operative.  Innovative over automatic.  To develop and realize.

I love to form letters once drowned in the rain of them.

Flood everything to discover what’s possible.

Saturate in order to dredge, to pan, to anticipate.


Defining Spaces

August 14, 2012, the first day (DAY) of rain in Kansas that I am able to recall for a very long time.  Not a passing windy thunderstorm, but a wet dripping sky holding temperatures in the 60s.  A genuine “rainy day.”

We are home.  Inhabiting a structure we have designed and filled up with ourselves, each one, and altogether.  It’s been awhile.

For days we’ve struggled to catch up: reports, bills, groceries, supplies, dust, papers, books, photographs, laundry, enrollments, business, correspondence, maintenance, rest.

Organization as definition.

Definition as form, parameter, boundary.

Defining a space (reorganization) to find or enable content.

Rearranging contents to formulate new space.

Needing the space…drawing the blanks___________…to manipulate a safety, a breathing, an empty, to allow.

In chaos I write, as if pinning down terms could needle a swarm of locusts to a board for inquiry and examination.

In emptiness I build by finding blocks to set: my lover’s eyes, my children’s sounds and bodies and play, a coffee cup, clear desk, blank paper…then Jabes, Shklovsky, Wittgenstein, Blanchot.  Wallace Stevens, Dragomoshchenko, Montale, Bakhtin.

Fencing a fallow field.

I check my pockets for seed.

I’ve been an astronaut.

I can’t remember rain.

I am what I am reported to have said.  As are those around me, if only in our heads or dreams or passion or anger or fear.

Opening an old notebook I am stunned by a page lacquered in heavy charcoals and dark pastels.  I make out in fierce giant letters “WE WILL DIE!”, then scribbled around it, hard to decipher in the noise of the marks, the names of each one in my family.

I think “so begin.”

Stop.  Locate a space.  Breathe.  Then move.

Movement is beginning.

Connectives of  meaning or purpose may follow the following of orders or order the following connections of meaning.

I begin with my body, following my fingers as they formulate form, defining the spaces with words…

“if the meaning-connexion can be set up before the order, then it can also be set up afterwords”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

each is no more or less than the words he is reported to have said”

-Richard Stamelman, of Edmond Jabes’ rabbis

Edmond Jabes

On the Anniversary of Our Wedding

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The Forest of Marriage

(Happy Anniversary Holly Suzanne!)


I’ve never felt sexy or young, my memory is chained like an old growth forest accumulating decay.  Remains tough to destroy.  Why would I want to?  Perhaps for you – so lovely to me – youthful, vital, your non-submissive and consistent new growth.  Your winding ways, nubile bends – how do you regenerate yourself?

I’ve no doubt my dying fertilizes and enriches, our scent expands.  Some wreckage crumbles beautifully, overgrown and softened by corruption.  But it’s not the same as planting seeds, a puppy’s not a dog.

Steep.  A word for danger and infusion.  Calamity filters through.

Seed.  It is not uncommon for your resources to sprout fresh things in me.  Renewal, come in.  I am fertile in layers.


I’ve aged tall and long and twisted, hoary with moss and tangled by vine.  Formidable, while spongy in places.  Your green shoots pierce me, exposing my slowness and rot, my muffling stance.  You crack me open, engender new soil.  I collapse and give way, I adapt.  It’s a marriage.

I wouldn’t say “handsome,” thought at times picturesque – in a rugged way, and worn – tendriled with you growing green.  The occasional strength to bloom: I mushroom, you flower.  I fungus, you shine.  Together we develop our wonder.  Some stop and look, others stay awhile, everyone traveling through.  The coupling is not unfortunate – providing nourishment and shelter.  There’s always damage.  Having endured, still I am fragile, and you, with your gentle, tenacious roots, ever purposeful and true, yet transplanted and remaking, storms can threaten with uprooting.

We are called by one name and belong – a vast generality for incalculable kinds.  We don’t mind.  Old or new it’s still growth; what dies and what’s born construct a joined density.  I lean on you while providing shade, you straighten me as you fight for necessary light.  We are one seething thing, steamy if un-sexy, cross-generative and moist.

When the fire burns, it destroys and begins.  Gaining as much as we lose.  It takes time – symbiotic – establishing roots we combine and recover, shed and absorb, co-create and depend.  Relying on the same in our differencing.

Reaching again in each instant’s climate.

(I love you beloved wife – happy anniversary – and here’s to continual renewal and the sustenance of old growth)


Giving Melancholia a Go

Oregon rain

“I would stop celebrating loss, if I could figure out what replaces it”

Lynne Tillman

            In the way I describe the barn, can you feel it?  The barn is rugged and old but stays dry.  Light would find its way in if sun ever broke through.  But the world here is moist and grey.  A totaling overcast with a ground and a sky making one thickened thing.  The green of the trees turned so dark that the world peers back black and white.  That austere, filled with that many increments.

A perhaps melancholy is more like a humidy cold.  You can perceive it in your clothes.  They cling, they hang, they weigh.  And saturate skin, that feels parched with age, like wax in its melting, still and gone down.  You slow there.  Drudge, trudge, move (if you move) like a worm at its creep – that claustrophobic a wriggling.

Almost struggle, but lacking the fight.

A zeroing out – the observance of something undoing, with the added false pretense of fate.

Resemblance: tectonic.  Some slow, massive shifts, imperceptible morphing, glacial advances – a grind without wounding, pulverized and smothered with a winter wool blanket, a lowering lid made of iron.  And you sit there: gaze through the cracks at the drips from the eaves, life runneling away and absorbed.  Inconsequent with only replenishing leakage.  A purgatory.

As the greying deepens to charcoal.  Vision unhinges, becomes soft streaky fades, you were never looking at or out, your eyes simply open.  Somewhat.  Toward nowhere.

In full dissolution.  Not staring, not gazing, not perceiving – what to call it?  The mechanics are working, if asked.  There is a park, there are trees, there are children, playing in rain like a sprinkler.  The bars of equipment are red, green and blue, but really they’re grey, just not actually.

A world made of asphalt.  The windows, your flesh, the skein on your eyes.  Grey-gravelly sky without markings, just mottled.  Movement has slowed to match outlines of concrete, the grasses are cracks, and the trees, the trees and the trucks, buildings and cars – simply humps, objects unleveling the vastness of road.  The endless.  The nowhere.  A world made of asphalt – surely some ass’s fault.

And that’s where you are, granite soldier.  Sculpted in the belly of earth, steady to the line, so much of you crumbled to time, and yet faithful.  You take up the spaces you’re supposed to, supposing…what?  That there must be a reason you sat down.  Feel this way.  With capability only to stare.  Without seeing.

You wonder if something has come or has gone, like a season – expected but oft overlooked as it passes – until another takes place.  Like that.  Like waiting, without anticipation, there being there for which to wait.  Is that really waiting?

Endurance as endlessly patient.  But patience expects changes as well.  No change occurs here.  Here just continues, inconsecutively and vague.

The owl at its nightly watch.  The worm at work in its tunnels.  The mayfly at its twenty-third hour.  The one that never ends.  It goes on.

“In my room on 32nd Street…

…words dissolve as they’re spoken…”

with all that drizzle

and no intent.

If it were loss, you’d have lost something or had something to gain, but that is not so.  It continues.  Everything here, nothing to replace = now.  You bow your head slightly, just off to the left.  Your hand curls about the armrest.  At one point you swallowed a drink.  Your legs have crossed and uncrossed.  And that is all.  You wait without waiting.  The barn is so old but stays dry.  You probably just sit in your room, the barn imagined like memories.  Still you seem dry to the touch, though you feel drowned in a heavying damp.  You sit, you go on.  You look, it’s unclear.  It is dim.  It goes on.

N Filbert 2012

It rains…complicating equations, understand? (for the Unknown Unnamed)

[please bear with these ramblings…they are taking shape…and each stumbling advance leads…i promise…:)]

Standing in rain.  Under rain.  Understand.

Unknown, unnamed, still wet.  Still cleansed.  Garnering names…

One.  Other.  Wet one.  Lost one.  Un-one.  More.

Hearing one.  The replier.  Seeing one, seems, seams, semes.

No/w/here: under rain, understanding some thing(s).

The wet can flood and drown, or cleanse and caress.

Can surround, come down, or buoy and uphold.

Understanding rain.

One water-name, countless individuals.

Unknown infinity, possibly.

Unnamed – an incalculable number of names – possibly.

The Writing One and the One Who Reads.  The One-Standing-Under-Rain and The One Rain Falls Upon.

The One Reaching the Other and The Other Receiving One.  A One Necessary Other for joinder and boundary, their rift and cleft, the possibilities.

If “to understand” counts as knowledge, he is many-known and many-named as he engages, encounters no/w/here.

[if w always presents we]

so that without w there is no-here and no now.




+/= here.  now here.  how here.  now here.

He realizes this direction is constantly unknown, even at its end.  If he can know it is raining, he cannot know how many.  And whenever it ceases, the water will be elsewhere, other-wise.

The Thinking One.  Confused Other.

He is unable to inscribe or translate even a fraction of his names in a single no/w/here…which are not singular, ever.

Names rain when he looks, listens, feels.  Attends.

Ecstatic One.  Diluted Other.  Watery One.  Solid Other.


Unknown and unnamed begins to understand, standing under (and in) no/w/here’s rain.

Muchly known, muchly named, ennui


he goes on…

standing under rain,

in the middle of,


“Over there, it is raining…”

Furthering Apologies for Rain

I’ve spent many years proclaiming, exclaiming, disputing and evangelizing my love of rain.

More intimately, for decades my journals and diaries are soaked through with ink and reflections of agonizing effort to verbalize just what it is, exactly, that the circumstance of raining represents, evokes, fulfills or actualizes in and for me.

I’ve written of fog and dusk, how they soften the edges, blur the inessential, provide a veil of connectedness and symbiosis of what is perceivable, in keeping with my sense and belief about selves, things, world.

I’ve written of smoke, the ephemerality of moments, a texturing for the fragility of what’s present.

I’ve noted how the greying of cloud, runnels and droplets heighten other colors like green, rather than glaring them out in the brightness of sun.  We filter everything – visible precipitation provides the physical opportunity of “seeing” that.

Or what is blocked and distorted (rain on glasses, windows, drops on an eye or a lash) – how choosy and minutely invested our visions are – what we choose to see, shape, create and how multitudinous what we skew, block out and deny.

Also its comfort – the blanketing, softening and quieting of snow and rain on atmosphere and mood.  Like a muting and subtlety; a gentling and slowing of a pace.  I’ve always felt I can curl up in rain, in fog, in mist and drizzle – cloaked, protected, respected, wombed.

And nourished.  How birds, soil, plants, trees, worms, flowers, sand crave and delight in the generosity and equanimity of rainfall.  How it blesses all regardless.  Helps me feel part, wholed, valuable and real.  I can stand in rain, clean in rain, play in rain, drink rain – without wealth or beauty, intelligence or strength, position or power.

What struck me today was how the pattering of rain – patterned and random, distinct while flowing together – was in perfect accord with my inner world – how my thoughts and feelings go, move, through, pool, form streams, gather, swell, evaporate.

The porosity.  The feeling that rain both permeates and respects boundaries, wets without drowning, soaks without penetrating.  Gives and gives and gives.  Inward, outward; saturate but rarely flood; joins without binding.

The list goes on.  What I find I repeat most often, having no words to explain it, is that the condition of rain (like the music of Mark Kozelek), of all the world most closely approximates my own fullest experiences or feeling of myself.

Somehow feeling that if someone “gets” the joy and glory, protection and soothing of rain, they’re a long way toward “getting” me, or me toward being known,

or at least somehow related.