Category: Poetry

內業 : The Way, Way Back, 350–300 BCE

The concept of “philosophical Taoism” is, to a large extent, a modern fiction, which has been developed and embraced by people around the world for specific and identifiable social, intellectual, and historical reasons. Russell Kirkland, “Varieties of Taoism in Ancient China“ Neiye Translated by Bruce R. Linnell Always : the essence of creatures – This then makes them live. Below, it gives birth to the five grains; Above, it acts to arrange the stars. When it flows in the space between heaven and earth We call them ghosts and spirits. When it collects in the center of the breast of…

Powerlifting Update

Over the last 12 months I have dropped 50 lbs. in order to conduct a strength-to-weight ratio ‘experiment’ (read: stay alive). My hope was to drop up to 50 lbs. while boosting the ratio. 215 lbs. 165 lbs. Bench Press 1.12 1.30 Deadlift 1.90 2.21 Squat 1.84 1.88 AVERAGE 1.33 1.78 Strength, interestingly, is now improving at a measurably higher rate in all lifts than was measured at the previous max body weight. More importantly, I am no longer suffering from sleep apnea and dreaming of the afterlife. Overall Strength-to-Weight Ratio improvement: 34% Experimental Animal I also am experimenting with…

Euphemystics

Loudspeakers, they – the unknown Lord’s affinity – Who entreaty with appeals to vanity; They are the inveigling retainers Who feign empathy with charges, and who laud to court tributary action… …when on the behalf of a polite fiction, Service into debt is turned.

Unfinished

On Tuesday evening I visited Amber, who was staying with her mother while her husband was out of town, visiting his own mother, ostensibly. Amber’s big cat was still alive, living in the basement and in three rooms on the first floor, and was happy to see me, as I him; he stood on his hind legs and wrapped his arms around my neck and shoulders and rested his chin fully on top of my head. I patted his ribs and tugged on the loose skin swinging from his belly. He was still heavy, but not as heavy as I…

In those days…

In those days, when Heim was still well, walking three miles every morning, silver hair under a broad-brimmed hat, hands in the pockets of his linen jacket… In those … halcyon days, when I walked miles every morning, too, sometimes with Heim, sometimes with his daughter, speaking in little but German, your name on the tip of my tongue — three abreast, we, a living parable — Heim, in his eighties, heels clicking, a smart crease in his pants, sometimes an arm around his daughter’s shoulder, names on his tongue, too: the boys: Dieter, Horst, my father… Someday soon, love,…

The Book Burner, the Sleeper and the Stalking Womb

Between storms in a wooden chair in tall grass, your hair drying, wisps in the wind, I watch from within the circumference of willow roots, behind her braids. I won’t approach over heaved ground, won’t show hunger mercy. I’ll sit among the rocks, atop weeping nettles, under dripping pine, beneath a clouded sky, upon the shore of the sand-bottomed frog-pond, in the company of roaming snapping-turtles, with calico Ivy in the ferns covered in blood. My thumb is swollen from sucking, and the flesh under my eyes is dark and raw. Treetops moan in the west-wind, bend at their waists,…

Love, Courtesy of a Scarecrow

After the church service, minutes into the reception, A call from Roger; you can deny him nothing. Your new bride, senses piqued, eyes wide, Knows that you are leaving; that you will embarrass her, Slip out before the first dance, before the cake, For one last hurrah—overdue, you think— This last favor to Roger; to the scarecrow in jeans. You ached for something decent, found it; it was dear. But you would steal one last car— Something complicated for old time’s sake, Be back in time for apologies; Back to dance with the bride’s mother, To rub her father’s shoulders,…

Tomorrow, a Soldier

Something ended tonight. I want to stand beside a woman and her child. I will never stand beside a woman and her child. The woman is my beloved. The child is of me. None of this is true. I have been forsaken. Soon, tomorrow, I will be a soldier And gone will be the luxury of want. There is no woman. There is no child. I am no longer. There is light here, enough to see, But not enough for joy. ✖ From the Novel, Orchard Park and Other Works

The North Wind

Craftsbury, no-man’s land, on a plateau above birch forests, an empty commons, men carrying axes, women with children in rotting papooses. A hard, fast drive east to 91, 91 to 55, 55 to 10, 10 over the St. Lawrence into old, old, OLD Montreal … ✖ She had descended into a fugue state before passing through the fog-towns— Niagara on the Lake, St. Catherines—high-beams on at noon, the lake a debris-field of broken picture glass through the trees. She knew what she wanted— knew it when picking over trinkets, ornaments in a gift shop while the bells of Notre-Dame Basilica…

Cartwheels into Oblivion

The temerarious, when not inducted into Being, when passages to manhood are not afforded him, when no guide presents itself in body or in spirit, light out to parts undiscovered, parts imaginal — this being one of the pitfalls of unrootedness; to be not of a place; to be without man the father, man the guide, who would rechannel the rebellion that subsumes youth’s reverence for home, family, father, mother … future wife; to make a bride of unbounded risk and with her on the immoderate expedition go.