July 31, 2013

grasping at straws

I've done myself an impossible crime
Had to paint myself a hole
And fall inside
If it's far enough in sight and rhyme
I get to wear another dress
And count in time

Oh, won't you do me the favor, man
Of a giving mind
A polymorphing opinion here
And your vague outline

I'll find myself another burning gate
A pretty face, a vague idea I can't relate
And this is get what you get for pulling pins
Out of the hole
Inside the hole you're in

It's like I'm pressed on the handle bars
Of a blind man's bike
No straws to grab, just the rushing wind
On the rolling mind
 - james mercer

July 25, 2013


You nights of anguish.  Why didn't I kneel more deeply to accept you? Inconsolable sisters, and, surrending, lose myself in your loosened hair.  How we squander our hours of pain.  How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration to see if they have an end.  Though they are really seasons of us, our winter..... -  Rainer Rilke
     The dogs laid in the tall grass, munching on what are presumably old deer bones.  They thoroughly relish visits to these hay fields but of late, I have no desire to bring them. I have little desire for anything. But my wife's dog, AKA my new Hiking Partner demands it. The dog will growl at me until I take her. And their vehicle of transport across hay fields? Why a jeep, of course. My son's jeep. Mixed emotions every time I drive it. Very mixed.
     But here we are - me sitting in the jeep and the dogs crunching contentedly. The setting sun and breeze remind me that at this time of year, my son and I should be in Colorado backpacking. I am hit with a clenched stomach and sobs of pain. This is not crying. NO. Crying follows emotional pain, there is an order. This is soul destroying anguish where physical pain is caused from the wailing. I cannot catch my breath as my diaphragm contracts tremulously. I can no longer move air through my oral passages as I clench my jaw with fierce yet impotent anger. No more, please, I cannot bear it. I no longer know to whom or what I am pleading but there is no answer as the pain only intensifies. I cannot kneel anymore deeply than this.

July 19, 2013

the cure

The Cure
We think we get over things.
We don’t get over things.
Or say, we get over the measles
but not a broken heart.
We need to make that distinction.
The things that become part of our experience
Never become less a part of our experience.
How can I say it?
The way to get over a life is to die,
Short of that, you move with it,
let the pain be pain,
not in the hope that it will vanish
but in the faith that it will fit in,
find its place in the shape of things,
and be then not any less pain
but true to form.
Because anything natural has an
inherent shape and will flow towards it.
And a life is as natural as a leaf.
That’s what we’re looking for:
not the end of a thing
but the shape of it.
Wisdom is seeing the shape of your life without
obliterating, getting over a
single instant of it.
— Albert Huffstickler, from Walking Wounded

July 12, 2013

the centre cannot hold

     My advisor who has steered me through school in the midst of my brother and father, has strongly urged me to take a leave of absence to keep myself together through the next disaster.  Perhaps "strongly" isn't sufficient.  Adamant, compelling, resolutely.  But also sagaciously, compassionately, wisely.  After adding up all the things facing me, both personally and from school, it suddenly became clear to me that she was right.  To borrow a line from Yeats, my center cannot hold.  So I'm taking a leave of absence from school.  I view it as a necessary evil, rather than a path I wish to choose.  In fact, it pains me greatly to follow this course.  But the other options left me on a path towards burning out, or worse.  As my own words are not flowing adequately to encompass my emotional and psychic totality, I look to literary giants who are far better able at bringing to life such feelings with their gift of words.  If you've never read Rilke before, I highly recommend him.
It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing.
That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, – is already in our bloodstream. And we don’t know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes.We can’t say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens.
And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside. The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate.
-Rainer Maria Rilke