Everything But

Grief seems to be the order of the day. Friends of all degrees struggling with death, its imminence, and all the kind words and abstractions of the gospels or A Course In Miracles are a thin gruel indeed. I sat with the old dog for an hour and scratched his ears, crying so hard I scared myself. Later, making cabbage and rice, I realized how the only longing I recognize anymore is the one to control death. But what does that mean exactly?

And then an hour later I was washing dishes, slicing kiwi for dessert for the kids, then coming down into the basement to send emails, outline tomorrow’s writing, etc. We fall into a pattern, don’t we? The reassuring rhythm. Does it deliver us or simply lull us into the relative ease of interpreting salvation? And writing sentences like these.

I’m listening these days to Moby’s Natural Blues. Don’t nobody know my troubles but God. Troubles so hard. Etc.

And writing – or trying to write – an essay about poetry. Notes towards an essay perhaps. Reading an old essay by Perelman on parataxis, Silliman’s new sentence. When I turn to poetry I feel a pull so deep and terrifying I cannot imagine following. How would I find my way back? What if I didn’t want to find my way back? And that voice! It never leaves me, never left me – not yet anyway. It’s the same as when was seven or eight years old standing in the field and watching thunderheads gather. Don’t tell me it’s God. You don’t know that.

I write now wishing I were half a mile away, on the slope of hill past Center Cemetery. The Rev. Jonathan Edwards and Gertrude Stein ever in attendance. At the School at the Branching of the Road they urge me to undo and I do everything but.

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