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(no subject) [Dec. 4th, 2016|10:32 pm]
fingersweep
Tuesday last at 430 in the morning I was driving north along 89 in Utah. It was cold and still but there was a dark hush resting round things, as though snow had already fallen on them. Speaking to a woman outside in the cold air, filling gas, there was a twang in the throat and hers, heard too in the crunch of a twig, the crust of ice underfoot, a pullback in the air, fast, in the shadow of snow and stars (the stars are ice, Anaximenes says, fixed on the periphery and the planets they're leaves, blowing backward and forward in the upper wind), a quiet dissension of things from other things, like joining like and pressing about as mountains round valleys, an audience an amphitheater, to wait. Snow, thought, has its heralds, as Emerson says somewhere, and then the brass is muted. Single things are amplified, twigs and icicles and a car and the swing-to of a door, but it's as though all these things happened behind the curtain, after hours, with the company at ease and unobserved and unlistened-to.

Earlier the air is or shines like the inside of a shell or a curved horn, and the breath steams out of your lungs as dense as a bull's -- you look at it and just seeing it rise and spiral upward sends you wild with joy, and seeing it in others fills you with such a sense of camaraderie and love for them you could hardly justify it to yourself nor would you: here's that signal proof of all you felt the rest of the year, and the possibility that others feel it too, having each taken a private leap in thought and said to themselves as that Russian said: 'The best means for true happiness in life is, without any laws, to put forth from yourself in all directions, like a spider, a web of love and to catch everything that falls into it.' The unsnowed-on earth and the attentive air and the mountains encircling the plains (see the dark flashes over the plains).

But before this happened four elk stepped out onto the road, and I slammed on the brakes to let them pass. The last, a six-foot high (at the horns), nine-foot long bull elk, stopped in the road, turned its head south a few degrees, and then chased after the hog-sized blurs to the east, the last of them a dull white, fading point against the frost and the snow-capped mountain ten miles away. Snow started falling an hour later.

Out in Nebraska now (where I'll be till Saturday the 10th, I think). Next week I'm not sure.
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Bluets [Jun. 26th, 2016|10:54 pm]
fingersweep
The sky is not blue color merely: it is blue fire and cannot be painted. Ruskin, Modern Painters, IV

Each morning you can watch the blues of a year passing overhead. And each year, in the log of each ship coasting through foreign seas, far and daily becoming dear as one summers and winters through them, learns their weathers and varying skies, the changing winds and currents, in each year a rush of blue overhead, starting in that dark negative of late summer.

Seeing out over the dark summer blue of the west a shear glint in the sky and a diffusion behind it like an autumn flock, breaking up and then disappearing somewhere in the cold orange behind the brighter, fiery orange the wild ash let loose at the river's edge: winter to autumn, here and not in a blink. Up in the blue's middle band a few wisps of clouds the sun lit up in chiaroscuro: the same plane crossing its vertical here an hour before. They weren't clouds or smoke but fire itself. Fire of the sun uprising over the eastern hills, and now leaving the ash no more aglow, not yet under the full blinding glare, but here and there in dark, flexive sparkle, dancing shadow, the river showing a multitude.

Bees, becalmed in the flowers during the night, swarm over the surface and then disperse, the light becomes more dense, the spring-hour turns to summer, and then autumn, and as it longs the scattering light spreads over the opposite shore, and night comes. Joy: despair flown out ahead of us like the crow from the great ark over sudden seas.

I read Nelson's Bluets this morning. Everyone is reading it and I was interested: I tried to think of something from my own journals the last year she might have picked. And I found a few things but not much: through a series of adjustments like you'd make on a scale-head, moving from hundreds to tens to ones -- to fractions of ones, you try to fix the level (the widest crossing is usually the easiest) between yourself and someone else. I'm not satisfied with comprehension, with just liking and disliking: I have to feel the book in my mind as it should be in my hand. It has to sit with a live weight in my palm, like that horned beetle clinging to the screen, turning bluer with the minutes like the sky. Not like this book but like some others I'm waiting to know, books I'm eager to meet and will, now in you and now in another.

Loneliness is solitude with a problem. Can blue solve the problem, or can it at least keep me company within it? --No, not exactly. It cannot love me that way; it has no arms. But sometimes I do feel its presence to be a sort of wink--Here you are again, it says, and so am I. In his Opticks, Newton periodically refers to an invaluable 'assistant' who helps him refract the shaft of sunlight streaming in through the aperture Newton had drilled into the wall of his 'dark chamber'--an assistant to Newton's discovery, or revelation, of the spectrum. Over time, however, many have questioned whether this assistant ever really existed. Many now believe him to be, essentially, a 'rhetorical fiction.' Who, nowadays, watches the light stream through the walls of her 'dark chamber' with the company of a phantasmagoric assistant...?

I don't know. But I imagine our will like some colored ribbon twisting round a banner against the ceiling of a large room. Or it's the call and answer we learn and later employ, over and over again, system -- gathering system and crashing in wave on wave, stillness and lulls between the wavefalls, until we find the room's dimensions. It may be as small as a cell: fate might also have made it universe-wide, and expanding, diffusing as we go out ahead of it. The mind knows its size before the universe can. It sets out ahead of the stars in a dawn ambush, the wheeling lights: seeing anticipates the real. The brain has its privileges: it can mark its limits within the boundaries of what's endless and endlessly knowable. And these are limits like the crests of mountains on their way to valleys, to abysses and extensions of form and the windscud of surf off the headland.

People talk of erasure, of fragmentation: wave-motion. The past creates its own sense of the whole, its own sublime. Ruin has its periods. I think of depression as she talks about it like some liquid body, some deep suffusing all these wandering satellites and souls above. It's a dye, a blue in the early morning and in the late afternoon a green (life, like the day, adds its yellow -- life lived has its green, and life to be lived and remembered its blue, and she mentions this obliquely a few times too). The day's ending: I sit greenly after the sun tilts west, sit greenly under an oak on the bluff, and think--remembering nothing. All thought is memory. The music unlistened to rushes like a river, hurrying on through a forest. What bird can melodize in that green distance, traveling ahead? I heard one last night for three hours sing the same three notes every ten seconds, a major and then (repeating the first) a minor second.

And I thought: there was a lull two weeks in the ongoing, and now it's begun to swell again and crest the banks. But what spring is this after spring, moving not with love but the movements of love -- or was it ever love, or just this period that resembles it, ever reassembles it -- (maybe first mimicking it and then turning to the false seal from the true), repeated, reiterant, broken and then returned, this motion, rocking, that gives form to love and all other things and returning is given a name, a name that dies on the lips as soon as spoken and as the waves shatter something crashes and dives below the surface with a tail's whip, flukes high, breath inheld and then released -- falling with sun into night and ocean's pitch of light -- a named thing and colorless, no longer among the beings, the congregant pilgrims of this world.

'I aimed to be a student not of longing but of light,' she ends it. You wake in the morning to your body, unaware as if it were buried in snow, a landscape unrecognizable and still there're signs, juts and outgrowths of fence and tree involved in this negative (propertied: capable of selfness or self-hood): and it's strange to us again, not knowing you, and there are forms in that mirror we hadn't seen in the world (or absences the world would fill, and we should know how). And speech: this is light, or the introduction of a quality whereby manyness is both sparked and dissolved in furtive lucidity. Or this: manyness is the condition of all things, each a jumble of like and unlike, whereby a thing that's like can be unlike and unlike like, traversing those blazing paths of unbeing and being like the clouds and the gods have, and do.
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(no subject) [May. 30th, 2016|01:37 am]
fingersweep
'Been down under the earth. Seen what's there.'

Your eyes are birdlike, black as a cave.

'Places the air's terrific calm. Places where wind don't blow back the sand and the spiders and where the day does the night's work, where fire bores a way through leaves of stones.'

How long's it been?

'A charcoal's age. Two thousand years.'

I've lived mornings longer.

'Here's what I do: I coil cavelengths of tunnels to a single clutch, and then fling them back over my shoulder like a cord of tapertip rushes. If you walk a cave inward you come to the roots. If you move outward again along the same path you come into flowers. I saw rushes on the stones of pharaoh's palace, sweet-smelling like poems are, like brightness is at the rainy mouth of a long cave. And then snakes took their place again, whirling, widening and turning upon each other, until one devoured the rest and this was taken as a sign, which it was. Been under the earth and been through every tunnel but then found my way back there was only one.'

There's no exit to any cave, no way out.

'The way out's the way back. The mountain shows first in the lake reflected and then the lake becomes the stars. The maze resolves itself: the sky is the rain's weight.'

Let's go back to the cave.

'I've mapped it for you.'

It resembles something monstrous.

'It is a monster. I passed others coming the other way, not many (not as many as the crowd that followed, not so many). Voices echoed ahead, a half-mile or so, and I heard them all as one, indistinct as a roar. And then, as they came closer, as the firelight pitched past the curve ahead, their voices began to divide, one after another, one rose and another fell, one was high and another low, one nervous and another at ease, and then they appeared, one after the other, like stars coming on, their words met each other in galaxies of relation, splash concentrics of lava after it's burnt redder than a blessing and the flying things, the moths, meet and pass over it in the dark. And then their voices receded again, and recombined but differently, newly, in thought of that first roar. The thought of that first infernal unity coming to mind as a second one, now strange because now celebratory. After a set of variations, there's always one detail that, though coming late, precedes the theme itself in newness. And ever after it makes statement echo and re-echo, until nothing that is satisfies, nothing read refers, nothing called evokes. Each journey back inverts the day.'

A thunderhead appears, cool as reflection. The mirror as warm current, caged power, loosed without word or word-willing.


'The breeze against your cheek -- feel it! That's a day off the beginning.'

Breath, meadow... What was it at the end of the cave?

'Details. Someone'd etched in pumice stone a few symbols, one like a gamma. As though a battle might once have been fought and won here, death to a city held off a few moments before the enemy surged on under the plaza and then the palace... The cave halved itself into upper and lower levels. To continue you either had to climb or stoop. If you stooped down you'd feel the dust and sand of old mudflows, the false ceiling an inch above your head like coals in the bottom of a firepit (I remember building a fire after I learned how, and sleeping out on a bed of moss I don't know how long ago: in the morning I had a few hot embers, ashes left of the night, the fire-feeding night). Traceries of stars and comets over the roofs of caves: here they were close, you could even touch them (they were fire once, too: against your own light they draw back into a further dark). Getting to the end of this crawlspace there was a small chamber, nothing much to speak of. A slit below the floor showed the cave probably went on, but the drift of sand and the flow of sediment from old floodings had formed a bank against further passage.'

You might have begun to dig.

'I saw grylloblats surgeon their way through the slit, violent remedies. I was tired, tired as Alice in the fantastic room. Though when I opened my eyes after closing them it wasn't the mice, the little insects I saw passing the verge: I saw a light coming the other way, the light of people following. So I ducked my head and went on shadoward whether up or down I no longer cared.'

This isn't one story but many.

'All are, when we're heading out. On the way back it's reversed. I saw a nuthatch in the tree after climbing the rocks up the mountain. It swung upward and all its hurried, flittery, nervous, watchful ways were contained, contracted in a second. And I heard and I saw all this strange flexioning and line and motion as a single performance, a winged phrase, speech uninterrupted and song a curved dash the mark identifying, and I saw the arc of its flight. How wonderful even these small birds are and can be, just doing their grub-work, cheeping and chipping, and then showing their eyes black as caves, pupil filling all and reflecting back the shine of something that seems to include us--all this in a twitch of light and a flush of wings over the recent-mowed turf, sunny with rain.'

This is right.

'Early mornings when lights pass round the edge of a lake like a trumpet to an empty hall. When stars have a fierce glint like pebbles rained-upon. When something invisible scatters before the hour, spidery polarities dimming in a spiral breeze of stars. There's a legato in unbeginning, a phrased silence, song like a curved dash the mark identifying: between the night and the day is a songbird flitting down the side of a tree.'

A breeze blows. They hold wings, kites aloft and glass them against the earthward edge, where the rain's dark already glozes the soil with dew, showers, drops preliminary to thunder and untold expenditure: here's symmetry I know. The electric silence of the sky, a lake around whose rim the shadows of trees spread.
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(no subject) [May. 23rd, 2016|10:21 pm]
fingersweep
I hold the hour.

A voice.

'I'm here and the birch-wands toss, they twang in the shore wind, and I can hear the waves crash and see them in crosslight. I can remember more.'

The wind is good spices, the light is honey after the sun's faded.

'It's the western sea.'

Where the ocean ends it's a living thing.

'Listen with me, here the wind drinks the sea in sweeping draughts, and bellows it back in blue blossoming sparks, blue of the heart's blood, blue of the flame at its radiance, and in the lulls of the surf take speech and be solaced.'

I see a cave with double mouths.

'Don't enter, don't.'

Entering I see a cup, masterwork of a rude craftsman.

'Leave it, leave it.'

Where is he?

'Over the cave's top, gathering berries and salves.'

Is it so bad?

'I'd ask him but the day's fading. The light's tendril as daylight dims, and green gathers like moss around the corners of the eyes, in the dark stand of pines past the birches warped by the wind. The dark is overgrown, the world without light is riotous and lush, for a moment it seems...'

Sparks spark.

'...as if everything could be ignited and through the silence across the verge, where the trees sway and the light sleeps in the dark's bed, there is our home. But this I don't know or can't believe.'

Your voice to the world is your voice alone. Can you speak to him, the one in pain, the one speechless except in pain? Would he listen, could he be persuaded?

'When I was young I was strong. Now that I'm old I'm weak.'

So speak.

'The bees have combed my heart and brought it to order: they cling there in the salt spume to the vine. It's life they love, and it's life for them because it's life for me. It's not seven years I've waited by this shore but my life long and the days cling to my heart like bees to the vine: the rosemarine is bitter but it blooms. The sea murmurs. Only where the sea ends does it look to go on.'

Oh, the broken waves, the rocks on the broken land.

'Drift. The heart has its quarters like the sky, it gathers days in clouds before and those that would have passed tomorrow or a week later, those formed prematurely that would have been rich or lovely if timed, and draws them to itself in remembrance and mourning and then looms in rain. In silence the rain condenses and the sky blackens (oh, the sparks, and oh, the ignition, and the silence in the warm dark as the seed shoots skyward across the gap and the gambling winds): and does it fall in joy or in bitterness, this plenty and fullness of wind like that sounding out of the double caves on the fiery islands the old god in the story steered and piloted -- or does it instead sink and then rock in the lull of its own weight and size, and then scatter again in sunlight, in spray.'

The waves, the bees on the cave-vine, bowing under the weight, sparks in the firelight, mirrors of the surf.

Let go. I'm here because that's where you are and we talk, welcome each other with questions. The yard is dim and the wind dies down in the street, the hoofbeats are soft and the sound of them's just passed the end of the road. The roses hang in clusters from the low eaves, and the lilacs and the azaleas are in their luster, their final color, the one ready for picking and for event (as the keeper of bees once that drifting sea-flower in the ocean, the one that knows only of unbeginnings and will tell you, will speak to you always if you seize, if you shatter, if you can unend, if you can return it twicegrown). And this is joyousness in obscurement, in warm retirement of sense. To speak and be spoken to, and then rest.
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Superleap Comma [May. 12th, 2016|10:14 pm]
fingersweep
Tightroping the peaks but his thoughts are weeks ahead of him: in the mountains a certain speechlessness relaxes, chills the bird on the treetop at dawn, and song is neverending. The sight of the range, the mountains in battle order is enough to white the next week, the next month from his memory if he has memory in mind. The future turns to the past.

In the woods, the ocean there’s no creation, no destruction. A conflict dichotomized as it appears as it seems to us, to nature and to the forest where leaves are waves and where moss is green as the night, the rain, the oldest manifold of the best of gods – this is something null. It’s process: synthesis without end, without gain or loss. A vast net, an octopus ever growing and ever-reaching – toward what circumference (it’s its own circumference, beyond which the outside is not, there is nothing, it is all outside).

We losing what's most desired by desiring it. It’s as though (by some fatal defect in our nature, some puppetlike mechanism never wholly snipped, unbound) something made our path a circle, a line like a spiral up dusty steps to the light that’s not, inane – and if we touch, if desire bit its end and life death, if culture, nature touch, strike in unison both are unstrung. And music fallen silent as the forests are. Natural objects, says Blake somewhere, deaden and obliterate the imagination. What’s good you won’t find there – if the deer would think – as though some might miss this and instead of example, illustration find idol, god, temple. Mistake the voiced accident of consciousness for wind-work. Or say the mountain be some particular thing which the poem yields you, not thought. To say mountain and mean mountain: this is a task for a god. We can carry light like a sheaf over our shoulder. We can be kind, and be there in the morning, early. But that's second nature, that’s what we can do, so say it:

There’s a rapture, an oblivion of thought and thinker and then the wrong word or image isn't possible (tightrope-walker, acrobat). The wind drives the spores, the seeds, the stalks over the field and a thousand years pass on the instant. Twenty lifetimes, or make it forty and a hundred and it’s not yet done. All was done thousands of years past and here it is, here in your hand, your eyes, see it and feel, the fruits of thought, all labored for and unsuspected ends have come.

But the wind after the first syllable has thousands more years to go. It rushes on through analogies, associations, tints by hour and shades by day, suns and moons, rain and snow, and in the open meadows over the windwhipt borders by the shore a stone’s throw between forest and ocean, now and never, the wind ongoing precipitant leaf-voiced and never-wintering, never staying and never faltering, suspended over deserts, stringing, playing mile-deep canyons like loose viols, bellowing like a horn like cars through tunnels.

And you sit for a while past the cloudbank, to see what’s there. All day the morning lasted. As though at noontime the clouds cut back, the peaks as though the sun were their mirror tilted backward, and without anyone noticing anything out of the ordinary, like a glove turned inside-out, the day pushed on behind, so you could try it again. So you could wonder then (a second time) and listen.

At five thousand feet over the Strait of Juan de Fuca you begin to hear the Pacific, in wind-form, bowing through the hundred miles of channel, and what a throat, what a current beneath and a gale above, what a voice ocean has and would have when it's narrowed into a thin tube, almost human.

And what do you hear when the wind isn't the wind? Some things beautiful are done in the way birds do it, deer, but then you have to figure it out more humanly. What's the mind's work, and what passes like second nature and what like nature. I stammered out my words seeking, passing, losing, finding at last some entrance in the movement, the swift rhythm of an allegro, the return before the close. Or as though a train, a train were passing just by me: an endless train, state-length. And trying to jump the cars rumbling and rattling and thundering by. My stammering the voicelessness that would have been mine were the silence broken too quickly. Were the words mustered out the sense, the form not handed in mute communique.

Not yet -- not yet --

It ripples out, the stone's cast. It rolls, in circles concentric, and then shivers in the sunlight. The mirror clears, and the word -- not yet -- is flown. Is stammering, is it the effect of sense unknown? and those ripples, this breaking, shattering of leaves, surface of last scattering, are these all? Is all speech, all true speech unready (or overready, which comes to the same probably)? Once we overhear it, hear it twice -- once we know what we know and change through that memory of new knowing utterance makes we can't repeat. The trial comes when we're still unready -- and we must be.

I thought about this today and maybe it's the speed of it that's essential, that's the main thing. Running, and all bellies out behind you like a parachute. Too slow, and all whips you ahead like charioteers, in pain, pain so clear it no longer seems yours but another’s, pain analyzed, pain reverbed (latinate, scourged). To give thoughts their needed range, freedom, scope without looping out into obsessional patterns (MacGuffins of thought, a dead image around which all meaning turns to orbit), or lagging behind, even a single word behind, – this takes listening, time.

Times being distant, a hundred years older not only than others, passing others along a trail or by the shore, but than myself, years blank, imperturbable, years neither ahead nor behind, nor even parallel to the ones lived and being lived, but not to be because known and to be known. Times I can't remember what I know. When what I know isn't what I've done, isn't what I can remember anymore. 'It's a strange thing: they know much and know it well: only when they’re questioned they seem to know nothing.'
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(no subject) [May. 3rd, 2016|06:54 pm]
fingersweep
I want to know everything about them.

Why? Or why everything?

He listened, she listened. A spear of light pools in the hollow of a leaf, like dew.

I want to know how to hide from them, probably. I think I want to know how to be hidden.

Can you explain it?

Yes, thinking, as though light were more than vision, as though light had vanished from the world in self-commune of pitch, until it became music. Music and sound with no superextension of being, no allusive vibrance like speech has and the grass does with wind, in detail. It is light, first light, as though shining over a void, pulsating, rhythmic, like the sky were ember. Because.

How it's a joy? How it's a wonder to talk with not just the expectation but the full knowledge that what you say and what you know will be your way back, if you ever forget.

But maybe it's not the joy you remember, the joy you felt before and that makes everything you say visible like light or love, and instead maybe it's not about being lost but about being so lost that you're beginning to feel found.

People talk like they touch: each person is like a garden the other keeps, loves, takes care of. Each flower in its season.

Well let's call this thinking: you walk into a garden one day and it's been without a gardener for a long time, perhaps forever. It's overgrown and the ivy snakes round the walls and strangles the trees, and moss makes the stone paths soft underfoot, and it's so green and the green is dark like the end of day, and you think that this garden is so full it can't be any more full, and then you wait and you find yourself a marble seat in lichen shade of marble, Artemis in repose, unclasping a sandal, and you look in the final light of day in that mediate time before daylight horizontal upends to the thousand spears of stars and the hours when sky becomes the earth's map, and you look and you look and you see more order in this disorder than any order you've ever known, and you realize, with a flash, with an ardor under trees where shade is more day than night, that you want to stay here until its disorder not only comes to order but such an order that all evidence of that disorder is like night half-held in the hand, the other half in the hederal scars time makes over the garden wall (and that's them).

If you know how to hide they will too.

They already know. We both do. This has happened before but we'll do it.

But what's this other, this tuning, this string that tightens? A blade pulled from the side glows with fire. To disappear...really.

We'd hide but with each other, at the same time. Like children do, in plain sight of each other, how they fake, how they love, how the play makes them love, how to know with lets us go anywhere and hide everywhere.

Once you know all the rules and the game is set, match, you can start to play.

That's how it feels. That's how it is. Once you know everything about them (we already do but we have to say it, we have to make it just like light seems day before it's light) you can start meaning things. And then it's music, everything.
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Straggling Plots [May. 2nd, 2016|12:58 am]
fingersweep
Drove down to the laundromat around six this morning. After parking the car (a chalky, diffracted light through fog) and slinging the bag over my shoulder I heard something coming from the grille under the hood, a low twittering in the hollow of that grille. A finch wet with dew and sitting over a nest half-built woke and flew out in a hurry. She flew back a few minutes later, as though to find her bearings, where she was, the leaves and the grass again, the arbor she remembered the night before, whenever that was.
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Dream [May. 1st, 2016|11:56 pm]
fingersweep
How they tremble. Leaves trail the surface as the wind blows, and the ripples are as irregular as the wind, but they come, they come and a snake unwinds, dips its head below. We're awake at once. Between me and the others are hundreds of years, thousands. Even if we could communicate (their breath heavier than mine, compact with earth and echoing now through halls not their own but those of moles maybe, or badgers, or snakes), it would be the work of centuries, millennia receding like the tide and exposing the work's and speech's mechanics, the weeds tangled, the crabs and fish flopping and scuttling into pools, dark blue and dark-growing, receding and then recoiling and then breaking again. We're awake at once.

All is forest. As though the underground were hollow, even the shadows of leaves whisper now in the trees, under the moon. The shadows, they move as though they didn't know they were leaves. And the leaves, pale, hold -- whist -- in the breeze, blowing chill through the forest. From where we sit, I and the others, we can see the ash in white fluorescence, the silhouette dark, though which is ash and which shadow we don't know, each trembling. The bitter smell of insect life and damp, the roots of a tree below all trees, stretching from west to east tangling, crossing, webbing the underground with tunnels we'd never see for a thousand years: these were in front of me, a succession of images and creatures lit up by a light stony and intestine, as though out of the guts or the bellies of ants and grubs and worms and iron reflecting iron reflecting all the isinglass of the earth that seemed drawn to the hollows where roots had been or animals lived or I, you, we together by gross design, as though out of the pooled heart of the earth, where we were, came light. As at the bottom of subaqueous walls where the blind fish roam and all jeweled movement is a consequence of light.

The light at noon. In these stones are reservoirs, cave systems of light enkindled: at sunrise the stones glow like embers, like those cruciform mounds you find on islands that no longer wander, adrift, islands where the dead draw the winds after them into the hollow earth and trees grow where moths rise out of the soil, trees ribbed and flecked like the backs of moths. Our ancestors loved more than we do: they feel us intensely, more intensely even than we feel ourselves, will or can ever feel or know them, where they are. In the forests the trees talk one to another, like an echochamber, like the anteroom to hell: here is hell's talk, the horizontal of speech, like the shared journal of two lovers whose eyes in each other's were ash and coal.

And I remember (a wave gathers weight, falls, crashes in the act of retrieval), I remember the ascent after the tree died and the earth was ours again, mine and the others'. Before turning round and speaking to her, speaking as though to be reassured or to reaffirm her presence. Too quickly (fading), too much like life to live, in memory. But what was gouging, tunneling my chest like a mole, pooling and upwelling into that cold I call my heart -- it was some sight of day in the sudden turn and upslant of where the root wasn't any more. (Because the day is the third thing, that which joins one to another. To look in another's eyes is to make mine the day, and I have embers but they're not to see by. They glow, they ignite: but they're too close for love, for keeping. And your eyes would be a torch: no light reflected off them, no mirror of the sun, the dark's underground becoming blue, gray, brown, black, but a fuel, finite, against mine, and mine yours.) The soundless vision and the return home to no home out of no sleep and no underground, with no signs or looks but those I've hidden and now see again in your eyes, as though you were the dreamer and I the fear.

I remembered that and her (she who dreamed me more than I her), and these songs. But then we saw that the day was day. And there were some among us, some spread out in crowds like the way the earth is chilled and flickers like snow just before the sun rises on the gray, the soundless hills. And briefly they look and then sleep and wake again, as though into another body and another life. The lines of sleep curve, alight, and arc into rest and sleep. Sleep-waking back through waking-sleep back into waking again. We formed a semicircle like an audience of pines, the edge of a stage. We dreamed that this day was the day. Breezes rising up from the earth, cool, pine-dark and chilled through branches not from last winter but a hundred winters ago, a thousand. And you showed. You were there.

And you were with me below, you came before me. And your silence flexed between us like a viol string (one, two, three, a dozen other strings link up later). Even the cave-drafts, sunken antiphons, trickled, seeped through the now empty tunnels where systems were, roots, cities even, even these fingered sound and worked the instrument (instrument forged in and by silence and speech suspended) into warm (bitterest warm) motion. It plucked, took nothing but a breath of my own and yours inheld, falling like frost and then the wind when you were the wind and I was through you (as though through a stone wall in a meadow, the ash tree that we saw only when it had disappeared, image of sky and where we were going) down through the mountains.

And down there we dreamed of fire and red bellowing lava in the night, the smoke, the red earth afire drawing itself like an empty cloak, a bodiless robe over the stars, sweeping. And then to the northwest, another, and to the southeast, a third. In dream we woke together before the ash began to lean down over us. The ash, invisible, illuminated in garish contrast, chiaroscuro of fire, by those watchtowers, those blazing cones on the mountaintops as they sank. And we went down, like prophets that escape. Before darkness intervened and then erupted again in rippling circles of shadowy light, a dark like what we were and were still becoming, shadows over the deep.

I know reddishness by night, you by day, she said. We're awake at once.
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(no subject) [Apr. 27th, 2016|08:04 pm]
fingersweep
Ahead of me and holding both of the double doors with both arms, a young man (18-21 yrs). He turns his left eye toward me and then -- as I thank him -- his right where the eye would have been. No patch: only a sort of dark, indentation of eye, a shade of eye underneath flesh where the socket was -- maybe sewn as a wound is, the scar the place where eye turns to day, to eye.

On the back of his neck -- and when I saw it the edge of my shock wore off, turned transfigured into something new, recognition (a seeing-from-behind, from the back, as though we’d known this face and known it well though we can’t remember it, not yet (yet...)) I understood better later -- on the back of his neck was a tattoo of an eye open wide, lashes blue and spoked like light.

Wheels within some wheel immense, its incurved angle known could we know the two farthest ways to the edge, know the last circum-cresting plunge where water meets air as fish seabirds over falls, and then dives like some beast or porpoiselike thing down from the verge, thousandeye scales flashing over the seafloor, phantom like and roving from place to place, where dark isn't and day isn't yet (there are waves, oceans of waves beyond these below on the peninsula, but those are out of sight, out of earshot almost, though the wind that lifts them, sails, foam-white, before we've heard it already it's here at the door. News comes after the guest, the stranger. The weight, the sparkling splash). The seeing that supposes and whose force, persuasion.

There was Wotan, in Wagner, whose eye flipped and fell inward, behind his throat, when he pulled the limbs from the Ash Tree and gave it up for power (’...if a man gives up poetry for power,/he shall have lots of power’). That was inspired. Maybe he knew how good it was.
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Quotes [Apr. 24th, 2016|02:37 pm]
fingersweep
I quote as I listen. In all books there are places where the stones seem to be coming loose, stones that with a flick of a finger we might pull or dislodge and pocket, like that dark volcanic ore in the summer wall outside Augusta in Shawshank, in that field a field no more, not yet meadow.

The old books are wildest, the least cultivated, the meadows crazed with flowers and sown with salt and teeth and men’s bones under rain and sun and a thousand turnings of the same moon and the same stars, wheeling and circuiting, surprised in their changelessness as the gods were with us in what we do and do again.

I read, which means I ramble. On each walk I take each evening the four or five best thoughts round themselves into a story that’s not about that walk but about something else, something that would make that walk vast and indeterminate, like a snake uncoiled. Or say the walk itself is a journey or a pilgrimage, beginning here and ending there. But the story of that walk forms a circle and links itself like a snake coiled around those four or five revolving points, like pylons straddling the mountains, and single lights reiterant as light itself falls.

Quoting is like this. I read Emerson, Robert Burton, Montaigne, even Shakespeare like this: not through but over. These books I find myself reading in reverse, following some irregular (memorial) beat, more often than forward, at march tempo. Or say whatever I quote, each time, is the epigraph to that single book I’ve yet to write. Instead of the dozen I will. I took a braid out of Baudelaire once for a sheaf: ‘Quelle ordre impérieux ! quelle fanfare de lumière !’ etc. But Coleridge would have been just as good, or better.

There are fields untilled that meadows remember, as they turn wild again.
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