Where did you go? Where we went was once a sea, but the sea was gone. Hulks of ships cast shadows on the sand. It’s these and the saxaul, dust, and the red sun.
The face of this, being. The radiance of this alarm.
The sea of before had fed surrounding towns: sturgeon, flounder, caviar. Now tourists come, for pictures. We are among them.
What matters more, the beginning or the end?
Sand blows. Moments sweep past us.
Now would be the time for a hawk overhead. There are none. We are the birds of prey, clipping our wings, the dream and death of flights of sons. The sun.
A Giant Inland Sea is Now a Desert, And a Warning for Humanity, in The New York Times.
To find the gnarled bend, its dripping hush, the moss-encrusted gathering space for unruly congregations of ferns, witches’ whiskers, and hazel gloves––and be enchanted to protect the wild, wet, crawling danger of this womb with hope only to be near it––and know that if there is anything here to be tamed, it is in you.
Inspired by the ongoing movement to protect the temperate rainforests of the UK and Ireland.
I look up from a page where I am working out this thing about the flying men that came and went, and find Buzz, the resident cat, with that look. Like, what about you? where is it you fly off to?
My secret I suspect has to do with being a creature of ritual, prone to long bouts of longing for ecstatic states. I move a pen across the lines of a page, as a younger me used to move feet over miles and miles of sidewalk concrete
road / trails / following
I knew I wouldn’t reach it, but I would reach the end of an attempt at being in its presence, and I knew there was worth in the attempt alone and it was worth more than any I –––
At the time I would have called what I was after a better time but secretly I called it a synonym for light, some word I didn’t have yet. I still don’t have it, don’t think that I would say it if I did. It was for this luminous something I could almost see near the end, and I knew it––
to be worth collapsing
for I wanted it to
take me from my body that I may know something––
just beyond its reach––
Our fathers, when we saw them, were haunted. They would haunt us later, but we knew better than to pretend we hadn’t learned: here is the world of ghosts, begotten not made, one in being with our forebears. We learned––and learned to catch ourselves. Ghosting, we called it. Are you okay? we called and Just checking? and sometimes we wondered all of it at once: how and who they were and where but mostly we did what children did as they grew, we acted roles in response. We wanted to know for ourselves what it was to disappear, too. Or else we wanted to make our disappearances known to those who took our heads for granted as anchors to this world. I’ll fly away, we sang under our breaths at the sink, and meant it.
On the corner of Broadway and Elm.
[A bus stop. She stands with her arms out.
Her mouth moves. People see it moving
from their cars. Another sight but not a
I did not come here today
to point at you / I came here to
offer resistance to every impulse to
wield speech like sharpened knife ready
for blood I want to swell not drain it
to resist these Peters enough with
your swords already the speech of this
hour is not your righteous proclamation
your self-righteous dedication to your
selves, your group, your flag, this
one is music it is receiving it is
the tongue that moves to open the
body, uncurling fingers first from
fists relaxing at the wrists, out
and out resist the urge to shield
again this heart I have only this
these arms, this wavering voice––
I see you
take a good look but then listen––
do you hear?
What is today our objective isn’t one and the materials needed are no more than what we already hold, and much less, and the words for the hour are only favorites including those we’ve never said, and the challenge is to find it in us to do one small thing or better yet, no single thing, not one, so that when they come to ask us to account for ourselves any one of us might respond, We are––, and leave it there?
In this luminous shade, our tenses melting, we could number the contractions in our skins until we lost count or became distracted. Even the spine’s intention drifts. The once vivid eyes lose precision, and some bright cousin of sorrow shines through. Oh, I am falling apart, you say, not for the first time, and now we can’t stop laughing.
Once when I was stuck, a dog came to sniff at me, tail wagging with interest. The old woman followed, calling after the dog. She laughed to see me.
That’s not very helpful, I said to the old woman, adding that I could really use some help.
Then the dog barked and ran off after something else. Still laughing as she followed the dog with her gaze, the old woman shared an opinion. This was not the sort of thing I would have found helpful in ordinary circumstances. However, stuck as I was, I had time to think about it after she left.
When nothing will let you go, she offered, what if you let it, and go? To catch what would bud and break from the remains?
That is how I came to be here, still breaking from remains.
After the brimstone men were gone marching, the women gathered on porches and in kitchens near us as we played, and sometimes we would sit at their feet and in their laps, pretending not to listen to the stories they told as they rocked back and forth, pretending not to wait with any hunger for the moments when they would break into laughter, and song.
Inspired partially by Rhiannon Giddens.
The ordinary breaks apart, but in so many versions that it is endlessly ending into astonishment.
I can’t believe this, we say again, and keep on.