5; A Part Apart I


You’ve welcomed me into your presence
with quite a mighty storm, o river that I am beside.
I came to this home upon your banks,
and face the possibility of its change.
And am, at once, afraid
of your waters as they’re rising now to reach me.
Of your current in increasing speed
advancing just beyond me.
And the earth and rock and tree debris
that’s bounding down this art’ry.
As it’s carried southward out to be released to the pacific.

Pacing anxious near your banks so long
I’ve left a path in steps…patterning infinity,
the circle folded on itself.
When next, in turn, inside I look,
and ponder what I there perceive…
as our ever fires warm-orange hues
are provoking me to speak.
Shadows have danced without relent along the walls
since eve and dawn. The fire they put on in fall
won’t be put out until our spring.
And the winter here’s been sending storms,
and now I need some light to see.
And the valley’s not as cold as I’ve it made out to be.

And through it night draws into day,
clouds converge to cover sun,
and lightning struck the grid, shot through,
and burnt up all the bulbs.
Electricity has been put out
and something in the night here stirs…
I go to greet the dark and pray for moon.


The lull during the day was break enough for comprehension,
but now its force has come in full.
The rain’s as dense,
the winds are worse.
This time, unlike before, my worry is not hollow,
not here, along this river,
at the beginning of the storms.

Hearing light drops as they thicken, the gutters even ticking
outside the front room where I sleep
and the back in which I work.
Reverberates abruptly, from a rhythm to a thrash…
it must have come in dreaming
because it wasn’t there when I went to bed.
I woke to gentle tapping,
on a flat roof like a drummers pad,
resembling my rested heart.
And I lay there for a while
waking with consciousness defrosting
‘longside the longer dawns of winter…
till my mind realized the fury and my eyes threw open
in an angst to face, in darkness, omens staring
piercingly upon my soul.
Here…at the origins of the arc of the rest of all my days,
worry’s come now dense and heavy
with the floods I can’t escape.


Ah yes, before, my child-like-side of heart
had startled with these hints of storm…
the rising rain,
stirring me from needed sleep.
I’d lay there restless in the darkness
and wouldn’t wake up rested.
Stressed to throw off the covers
and step beyond the precipice of the room.
With wakings weight set upon my resting head,
indenting itself that much further into the pillow.

My tired eyes still tied together in their rest
release themselves with warm anticipations.
My lips slightly crick to the right side of my face
in a soft and subtly mischievous smile.
They may as well be opened in bright display of teeth
with gladness to be shown.
I throw off blankets and on old clothes and go greet the day
with haste but not with stress and not with woe…
for to be with it is to again witness and be in with
the furies of the river from the rages of the storms…
and see, through these thickened grayish hues,
two peaks atop the distant snowy range.

The rain’s sideways, heaved by the winds,
pushing it from its falls.
The currents from its calmer saunters
rush to reach pacific shores…
and be moved out with the tidal shifts and discharge into sea,
to mix these freshened waters with the salt.


And I ask the rain, dismayed:
when did you reach us?
And question then the wind: my twin,
when was it you arrived?
Did the stillness break so sudden sometime
hidden in the night?
Or had I been so deep within my work or dream
that I was merely not attentive?

For it seems the storm is on again,
but I hadn’t sensed its stirring:
turning from the silence, into murmur,
into mania.
It seems the floods aren’t far again,
but I didn’t take the warning:
when the calm narrower discharge of the river
became mighty.
At mid-night I was on its banks
and it’s covered them by morning:
advanced upon the place I sat
watching the moon in phasing.
I woke from rest feeling refreshed,
as if with nature I were friendly,
but nature’s message: “not like this”
by dawn was reading plainly.


Four other people in the house this week,
and I’ve still been alone?
All along they’ve sat beside me, walked around me…shucks,
they’ve even hugged me.
I’ve sat with that stare at my back,
working through the distraction of being seen.
I’ve walked into they’re minds
and out their mouths.
And I hugged them like a stuffed-bear:
cuddly, and lifeless.


Farewell to the world which brought me into being,
which isn’t gone but went from me…
off onto an out of the way place,
away from the mistakes I made.
‘It is as but a dream’. That face surmised but never seen
has grown beyond its recognition.
Has gone afar
and has been searching…
for a place to be alone,
or a way to walk the eve’ and morn’…
while something there invites my soul
to be where it’d be at home.

In dark and heading toward the dawn,
in an always ever between days,
while orange hues wrestle with the walls,
while on through caverns in this cave.
With just myself and no one else,
with nothing but a torch in hand,
and pools of water at my feet,
and wondering how this will end.


from everything,
and everyone seems distant.
But it is not a numbness that now grips me,
it is just detachment, from everything,
and everyone seems distant.
The draw-bridge is brought up, the mechanism,
stuck or locked, I cannot tell which,
don’t care to fix it or find out.
And I burned up all the boats I built,
reach me, if you must,
in your own.
For this detachment,
from everything,
and everyone seems distant.

There’s a river in between us,
upon the banks of which I perform my sacraments…
a visible sign of the gap
between our graces.

And I rise to a ritual which doesn’t end till evening.
Performing various ceremonies
interspersed throughout the day.
Communing with the makers and the angels of my existence.
Writing letters which I’ll never send,
and poems which I’ll never speak.

Seeing colors, shapes, and figures
without discerning any details…
of lovers friends and mothers
but I am not any of those.
And sitting here in solitude, cross-legged, spaced and solemn,
watching over waters as they pass along these banks.

Then stir a fire inside to sit in with the shadows,
and pace between the darkness
and the orange flickering hues.
Chanting incantations
in a low, gravely, whisper,
making myself worthy for a muse.

And hear the dense and solemn tones
as we join in with the chorus!
Yes hark! our calling out to night,
in whispers, of our broods!

And let me leave aside my whiles
and be joined in with the ancients,
or let me be vaulted to the future
and turn up in years to come…
for as much as I’ll speak praises of the present,
I am most in the after or before.


You’ve walked this path every day,
it may as well be your own path.

And you sense when it’s right to give it up,
like when the winter comes.

But it’s not the cold which keeps you from it, no,
it is the floods, the heaving sideways rains, the storms.

For though you can walk when you are soaked,
you cannot walk a path that’s six feet under water.

So you, quite wisely, forgo,
and find a different path to walk…today.


We’ve gotten off the path
and I suppose we’ll make a new one,
with a hardly discernible indent
veering just off of the main.
Our boots will leave their imprints in the sediment
and with time and many steps
will hedge the wild grass,
discouraging them from rooting there again
on the once loose dirt we packed down and made firm.
We’ll find ways through the thickets
and we’ll take on all the thorns.
We didn’t bring the bandages so we’ll leave a trail of blood.

Others will see the way we’ve made,
may be inclined to walk it,
and will not know the name
nor would recognize the face
of we who first had had it felled.
This vista is our gift to them
if they should choose to take it,
regardless we will have made a way
through to wherever from the main.
Note it all who passes by, with wonder who first walked it:
why they’d be inclined to step so through the forest?
what was it about the wilderness?
And ask: does it dead-end or is it a better lead?
if we took it where would we end up?


We must not give up any ground we’ve made,
lest we fall back into the old ways.
The ways we walked away from
for good reason with good riddance.
When we saw in them, from long experiences with,
how they led us wrongly.
Dead-ended us in thickets, coaxed us into quagmires,
and we made our way through, sweaty and exhausted.
Came out on the other side the better,
but we’re not going back, lest we be foolhardy.

And though we stare into the dark,
we know this place around us.
We’ve heard these sounds before,
we’ve sensed this breath upon our necks.
We ascertain the way ahead
and discern there is no danger.
For we are certain of what must be done
to see us safe through night.
It’s overcast but the fire’s bright,
and this is not to be our end.


Lend me your twisted convulsions,
your disorienting memory.
The scattered pasts,
more present than the earth on which I sit.
The absences never to be filled again,
save but in reflections
evoking but a remnant of the mood.
The solemn part, a sliver of the hues, a chip off the whole,
searching through the fragments of a span of time
for to sort them and to better see
when lain out on the desk.
Sifting up the settled sediment
for no gain but to swim in muddled waters.
Meddling with the muses in the night,
drawing from the deepest wells.


Parallax of the last streetlight at the end of the drive,
flickering through the nights
outside my wide expand of window.
In the center of my forehead if in looking solely at it:
my reflected face, its background,
as it takes hold of the fore.

But when I look upon the window,
drawing back my focus from the distance
to the reflection not but four feet from my nose…
something subtle happens to the streetlight:
the single standing orb disperses into two…
the warm orange glowing globe
spreads sideways over eyes…
the soft flickering hue
separates off into my pupils…
and the lines emitting from the light
nets across my sockets

And there the dint which glints upon
the upper parts of my irises…
which brightens their blue edges
with a fire-like luminescence…
that hinges on the higher reaches at the surface of the retina,
brings out of the border the relations of its pattern.


But the sky still finds the whiles to smile
and the earth is smiling with it…
while the planet sits in orbit
oblong on in its rotations.
The slow dance mid the multitude
has finally reached its chorus.
And our steps are somehow surest sometime
mid-way through the year.

As this inward tilted hemisphere is rotating on its axis,
the airy light blue irises of the sky
are edged by spreading clouds of white.
And the very core of earth spurts forth
for churning by the sight
of something closer in its space…
and looks up overhead at night
into the pupils
drawing distances again.

For howsoever many miles far off there
the glinting stars evoke its thoughts…
when sky’s no more but the lack of light,
the absences, the dark.
Sea’s tapping the full moons strings
and land is left in shadows and the semblances of sun.
Nothing more can now be done but wait for what’s to come.


I continue on my walk, happily meandering. And look beside
and start, elated in heart to see a Heron…
ahhhh, I whisper to it, I see you often in your flights
and cannot cease to help but say a praise.
Such a beautiful thing we are together,
your brilliant stature, and I cannot avert my eyes…
as I walk softly on the path beside
so as not to startle you as you had started me:
Standing on the waters edge, hunting in the shallows
where the water meets the land, the sun sets.
Rays are reflecting off the top of the current moving still,
in the gentle undulations, in the turning of the currents
for the water caught in toe.
Your plume slightly raised, your legs, bobbing back
as you meander same as I…I stop to look a moment, you stop to look at me,
we nod our heads and leave each other be.

If only it were as easy as it is with these water birds,
at home along the rivers banks.
But, for me, the draw to it is so strong
because it’s so out of reach,
and, once attained, so difficult to keep.
But I have sensed it, belonging, in a place
that’s not too far away, in a state of being
easily attained, at a stretch of time
in which it isn’t kept, there, along the walking path.
Surrounded by the vague contours of some kind
of consummation, and a presence from which
I could not pry myself.
Held me firmly there and then and let me go to nowhere else
beside, I was content with nothing but the river,
and apparently neglectful of the night.


Bats at dusk and dawn…and mind in times as these
flies in a similar way as they.
Frantic, jagged aerobatics,
seemingly haphazard.
Snatching things up in roughly the same place
at roughly the same times.
Quite unlike the heron,
from point A to B…
with slower wing beats and almost, it seems,
some purpose
beside finding food
and resting upside-down in an exhaustion.


I see people interacting with each other at a certain time,
at a certain place, every week, without fail.
Entering the doors, between the pillars,
underneath the overhang by the twofold or by fours.
Standing inside in a circle,
discussing things I’ll never know.
Laughing, smiling, shaking hands, making names,
hugging, and leaving to their cars.
As I am seating at the other side
on the banks of the river in between us…
writing alone, reading alone, working alone, ignoring those
who want to do something together…
pushing myself that much further,
every waking hour.
Sensing I am in steps along the right directions, and yet
one moment, or one reflection,
recalls to me these people, these things,
I’d apparently rather not forget.

Coming back from my outings, being moved on to the rest,
and during my falling into sleep and dream,
with my consciousness fading down or zooming out,
I’d hear whispers in my ears of the others
I was with or near
when far away from home.
Trickling back and forth in my canals. Tickling and tapping
my drums. Tricking my brain with voices
and with words and unfinished sentences.
I don’t recall them making any sense, just half-bit half-baked
fits of syntax, and in a thorough mix of tones
and textures and tenses, and a variety of topics,
without any links or relations.


Of all the walks we’ve had together,
those were the most dreamy,
and this is the most difficult.
There was something so surreal on those walks,
while here,
there is something very real.
Some sense of being stranded,
off away from anyone I knew, off away from anyone
I know, or anyone I could get to know.
Everyone I knew is on, and otherwise
than they were. I wonder
who they have become, but that is all.
I make no effort at anything else,
not to ‘get a hold of’
or contact in any way.

And now? who knows where they are,
what or how they’re doing.
Having lost contact, not caring, really,
to keep up with them.
For we, having chanced in on our acquaintance once,
would chance out of it as well…
and go whichever way we willed,
or whichever way the world would will us.
The way I went has led me here: waiting for the sun,
to go out on a walk…
while the earth around me is still within its waking,
I am at my beginning and my ending.


I won’t say it was worthless,
it’s just difficult, sometimes,
to say in which ways it was worthwhile.
When I’ve only ended up
an hour and a half away
doing nothing too much different.
Some hometown walkout, who can’t make it on the interstate
to meet them where we were,
when I was other than that which I have become.
But I don’t exactly know what I’ve become,
it shows itself too vaguely:
in fits and starts, in flurries and evasions.
And I’m struck, right in the imagination,
by this troubling situation
which confounds me.


Calmly, I sit frustrated,
bearing my implosion,
my unseens
writhing in the sunlight.
Madly aware is half my present soul
of how much this hurts, this
of a world.
A world in which I’d be myself,
because right now this one isn’t enough,
and doesn’t match the actions
I sense I should be taking.


And this, the only reason I have made it all along,
for I’ve forgotten of my lonesomeness in my pursuit
of a state of being in which I’ve been
so much nowhere else but here.
I’m sure I’ll reach it there as well,
have been keeping with my more than meager habits
to prepare myself for then.
But how long can this go on? when it seems as if
I’ve just been dragging out and hanging on
to whatever life my fading will can muster.
And I’ve gone so far but haven’t gotten further. I look around
and it’s the same stuff now as it was then
before I left the city which so dogged my every step.
It’s felt like I’ve been moving in a definite direction,
but the terminus is infinite and has advanced another
mile again by the time I’ve sensed I’ve reach it.
And by now I can’t make out its definitions,
and everything beyond it was far too much of a bother
for my energies to go toward.
And it’s beginning to seem
like I’ve been wasting life and time
in making it more meaningful
than they say it really is.


The river’s rolling by, and I’m inside staring out the window,
or at the pixels on the widescreen. It’s been
four years since I last saw any love.
And I’m messed up on whiskey, thinking: I wish
that there was some
around here in this area.
The dirt and grime and musk comes as miserable
to the life that I once knew.
The flies and other bugs
are wisping all throughout the room…
but the butterflies remain outside
next to the pine trees and the lime.
No longer sweeting up a storm, so it’s said,
after the triple-digit dog days of the summer
in this o so arid place.


Don’t lose heart, and do your work…
this is all we’ve come here for.

Follow your path, and mind your steps…
that we would need our bread and rest.