050520

the airfield, the airplanes, the heavy machines, the hum, all of it, back along the fence, back near the wildlife preserve, back at the beginning, this is the way we go, this is the way we’ve been before, the grass is wet, the chain links on our fingers as we pass the old ammo dump, this is the path we took, this is the path we take, this is the field with the antennas, this is the pine tree, this is the bridge, this is the sunlight, this is the water, this is the time, but this won’t work, we’re always walking, we’re always coming home, we’re always running, here is the water, we’re always jumping in, we’re always swimming, we’re always climbing out, the old rope swing is over there, the rocks are here, we go in now, we go in then, we can’t look, we don’t look, we never see, here is the beaver damn, this is the still water, this is the beach rose, this is the pine tree, this is the foundation, this is the firmament, this is light and dark, this is the spray paint, this is the graffiti, a black swirl, the name, the almost name, this is the trespassing sign, this is the hole in the fence, here is the bunker, this is the slab, this is the oil slick, this is the paving equipment, see how it rusts, see how it sinks, see how it’s gone, this is the landing pad, this is the radio tower, this is the field, this is the marsh, these are the reeds, these are your feet and mine, we can’t see the trail, the trail is overgrown, we’re walking, we’re running, we’re waiting, this is the duck blind, this is the fallen tree, this is the gully, this is the place where, that is the place when, we say this, we said this, we passed from the trail into the grove, this is where we came up, this is how we moved, this is my hand in yours, this is your hand, this is us, we are here, this is the irrigation ditch, this is the old orchard, this is the star chart, these are the airfield lights, this is what I remember, this is now, this is not, this is the beginning, this is the time I left, this is the time I called, this is me on the roof, this is me in the sun, this is the road, this is the stop sign, this is the tremor, these are the cars going by in the night, this is the farmhouse, these are the field-stones, this is the moment I’m thinking of, this is so far away, this is never not close, I’m coming to the end, I’m coming up for air, I’m coming home, I’ve already arrived, I’m already gone, this is me in the morning, this is when we were ready, this is the branch, this is the trunk, this is the wind, this is the way, we will never, we are not, we will again, we are in motion, we have walked here before, we can walk here again

042320

I have to go, I’m already gone, this is the beginning, I’ve got to get there, but there is where I am, I am there, this is the bridge, this is the tide, this is the beginning, I’ve said that, I’ve been here, I’ve already gone, it’s all the same, I’m rolling back, I’m not here, but I can’t go forward, this is the beginning, I’ve been digging, I’ve been down, I can’t reach the top, this is the top, I’ve been down too far, I’ve been from the farm to the destruction, I’ve been from the destruction to the fire, I’ve been from the fire to the farm, I’ve returned and gone away, this is the middle, I’m in the middle, I’m not going in one direction, there is no middle, I’m down in the sand, I’m up in the leaves, I’m in the coal stove, I’m on the way, this is all a big misunderstanding, this is a rift, this is the breach, this is time, the middle, the opening, the tunnel, the farm, the house, the road, the tree, the stone, the wall, the field, the bramble, the field, the leaves, the fence, the barbs, the wire, the rust, the sign, the trespassing, the plane, the light, the opening, the door, I’m going back, there’s nothing keeping me here, I’m not here, I’m on the road, I’m down the road, get down, go down, be down, stay down, put it down, put it back, manners, please, manners, this is the rest of the story, I’m out, I’m there, I’m coming back, I’m back, I’m here, I’m going out, this is the way I see the night, it’s never night, it’s never coming, the light is everywhere but I can’t see the light, I’m left alone, I’m never alone, I’m at the tree line, I’m in the gully, I’m on the path, I’m coming through the reeds, I’m coming through the wires, I’m digging into chalk, I’m the ghost, I’m the tree, I’m the figure in the window in the house in the woods, that’s where I have to be, that’s how I remember being, I have to get back to where I am, get back to what I remember, I don’t know memory, I don’t see, I don’t want to see, there is nothing to see, I’m only looking, I’m only seeing, I’m only eating, I’m only breathing, there is no air, there is no water, there is no spirit, there is no firmament, there’s no way forward, I’m already there, I’m already knocking, I’m already coming in, I’m bringing bread, I’m coming through the light, it’s not a party, it’s not a funeral, it’s breakfast, it’s supper, I’m coming, I’m here, I’m leaving, I can’t come home, I’m already there, I’m at the beginning, it’s time to begin

9 Albums that influenced me in some way and 1 album that’s never been recorded:

1. My Soup is Cold: by Tex Ragu and the Sin City Sinners
2. Shut it Down: by Lucretia Netboxer and her Five Tall Friends
3. Beef? What is it Good For? Absolutely Nothing: by the St. Louis All Vegan Pipe-Fitter’s Union Choir.
4. Four Large Men: by Four Large Men
5. Songs for the Weeping Willow What Weeps Outside My Window: by Al Fuster’s Chocolate Fondue
6. You Call That a Fire? I’ll Show You a Fire: by Bic Tempo and the Michigan Flambé
7. Suite 47 in G (Ode to Tired Feet): by Gustavo Mu and the Beacon County Trombone Association
8. The Collected Speeches of Vicky Von Vanderschmidt, Inventor of the Tornado Capsule and Part-time Telescope Defiler
9. Dark Night of the Soul: by Grinning Jane Smiley and her Giggling Hyenas
10. Common Cents by Tom Pain and the Angry Colonists

Top ten things my students are doing when they have their cameras off during Zoom classes:

1. Cooking cheese based delicacies for a dinner party consisting of stuffed animals and voodoo dolls.
2. Pumping up the jams.
3. Two words: Jazzercise
4. Wondering what happened to Lumpy from Leave it to Beaver.
5. Repeating “I pity the fool” to their own reflections in a dimly lit room that smells of lemongrass.
6. Man-Ape project in the basement.
7. Day drinking PBR in martini glasses.
8. Reading The Thorn Birds.
9. Knife fight.
10. Wondering when this dude is going to shut up I mean jeez c’mon wut?

Job Thingy

Nine jobs I watched people do and one job I didn’t watch anyone do.

1. Cartographer’s Brow Mopper
2. Manual Rolodex Whirly Doodle
3. Simon’s Sesame Seed Swedish Bun Baker
4. Oil Derrick Jeter Lookout
5. Tuna Duster
6. Squirrel Hustler
7. Part-time Rascal
8. Full-time Hubba Hubba Ding Ding
9. Whoa, now, take it easy
10. Hiker lost near Sizzler All You Can Eat Salad Bar

Instructions

scrub each socket
each gnarled joint

see the meniscus?
see the remaining light?

careful be careful
everything will evanesce

pull this thread
see what happens

what is undoing?
what are you?

no one understands time
we have only memory

are you awake? please
pay attention please

open the book please
please begin please

North

North

Get here.

It’s the only place I know.

Start in the hallway

go down past the mirror

and the little hutch

with the silver and china

turn left at the dining room

table and on thru the kitchen

and out the back door where you

smoked weed for the first time

behind the little green shed

and further even, out past

the fence and down Willow Lane

and into the woods behind

the subdivision and then

down to the creek—

pure wilderness—

and then Route One and 95

North and South, that corridor

on which you’ll spend

a great chunk of your life

and down to the Potomac

and out to the Bay

and then into Maryland

to get some soft-shelled crabs

that are poured from a bushel

a big steaming pile in the middle

of a picnic table and then all

the way out to the Atlantic

where you can catch the winds

that will pull you North

You never even thought

of the North, not in any

real way, only when Mr. O’Neil

told you about living in Boston

before Earth Science in 9th grade.

One day he came to class

and put his head down

on the table and told you

to do whatever you wanted

so long as you were quiet.

That’s all you knew about Boston.

That’s all there was to know.

Who knew that you’d drift even further

North, up past Massachusetts

and wind up in NH

writing at the end of a long day

at the end of a long semester

with a group of students who

don’t even know about paper maps?

You couldn’t have known

no one ever knows

that’s why I’m giving

you directions now

even though it’s

already too late.

I grin at thee, thou grinning whale

I want to get to the plains. No, I want to get to the moon, a sandbar, a place with air and ice and granite. I want to get to the reeds. No, that isn’t right either. I want to get to where I can explain the moon. First it’s the tunnels and then the water and then the moon. No, first it’s the house, then the tunnels, then the water, then the moon. Is that right? That can’t be right. There’s too much blood. I’ve been counting my teeth and I come up with a different number each time. I came through the code. I came through the black ink. That was me in the blank field. That was me in the tunnel. That was me at the door. That was me entering the house. I was in the water. I walked down to the water. I came down through the water and up onto the plains. I came to the plains and I came to the moon. No, the moon was behind me. I was dragging the moon. That’s how this begins. I was knee deep in fire. I was knee-deep in ash. None of this sounds right. Was I down in the bilge? Was I someplace and not someplace at the same time? I can’t get to the sound. I’m out of range. There is no sound. There is so little sound that its lack reminds of what sound is. It’s a hum, or a ring. It’s a single oboe played into a pillow in a field halfway around the world. It’s less than a whisper, the nothing. It’s nothing, but I can’t stop hearing it. I’ve been down in the reeds. I’ve been down in the mud. I’ve been down to the old docks. I’ve been down to the flat-bottomed boat. I’ve been in those gardens. I’ve been in this house. This house sells candy. This house makes pirogues. This house was built by slaves. This house was built by beer. This house is mine. I don’t have a house. I’ve climbed on that stage. Don’t tell me I’m lost. Don’t tell me I’m afraid. Don’t tell me I’m dead. Who would do such a thing? Rude. I was on Daniels Street. I was at the intersection. I took a left on Penhallow. There was no one around. It was dark. The streets were empty. I turned left on Sheafe. It was three-thirty in the morning. The sleepy bakers were in Ceres Bakery baking bread. What a job! To be up so early. Or maybe to be up so late. It doesn’t matter. They were at their table. They were kneading dough. They dipped their hands in the flour. They pushed the dough with floured pins. They stood before the ovens. The heat poured over them and through them out into the street. They wore bandanas and aprons. They were singing Reeling in the Years. They were laughing. They were coming out back to smoke. I’ve been listening. I’m here. I was down on Cabot Street. Inside Cabot Market, a man was buying a single cigarette. I was down on Parrot Avenue where two policemen stood outside their patrol cars and watched the moon. I was over by the tugs. I found the salt pile. I found the salt. It was a mountain. The salt came in waves. I was down in the salt. I was down in the reeds. I was down in the mud. I was sneaking through backyards. I was in time. I was time. I’ve been up in the little red helicopter. I’ve seen the teeth. I’ve seen the coal. I’ve seen the unopened stones. I’ve seen the faces. It started in the tunnel. It started in the house. The door. The hinge. The ink. I don’t know where it started. I don’t know what started. Will I always be alone? I’m standing on the stones. I’m standing at the shore. I’ve come down through the trees. I’ve walked through granite. I’ve packed my pockets with nails. I’ve come down through the marsh. I’ve parted the reeds. Yes, little birdie. I’m just passing through. I’m above the ocean. I’m iris and canal and joint. I’m body. I’m moon. Is that right? I wish I could get to the place. I wish I could snare that sound. This is where. This is when. This is how. It started with. It came down to. It was always. I was not. I am never. Once, this was. Now, this is. Yes, this stone. Yes, this reed. Yes, this spume. Yes this grinning tide. Yes this straw. Yes this no. Yes this yes. Yes again. Yes.

Now he goes in the door and

down past the rooms where the men are eating and past the rooms with the shoes and the room with the shirts and says to the woman ironing in the ironing room that he has arrived and she says, They found the boy with the jacket made of pins and he nods and heads further back until he finds his mother polishing his father’s mask and there is a pile of masks set off to the side that she will polish, too, in her long day of polishing, and he takes off his mask and says, I am here, and she nods and shows him her palm where she wears her eyes and he says, I will tend to the ovens, and she lowers her fingers over her palm and adjusts the position of the mask in front of her. He traces the path her eyes make from his mask to the mask on the table and says, No thank you, I will take care of my own mask and then he retreats into the hall and continues past the rooms of knives and past the rooms of chairs and past the assembly hall where the old men without masks and the women gather together to help each other walk and then down into the basement where his ovens await and he can remove his mask and spend the day without its weight