Saturday, July 06, 2013

too many hermits

Today is a good day to die.
Nimium Minus Solus Quam Souls 
The days were delightful and the hours were light,
Particularly when one was on one's own
And woke up in the middle of the night
Never less alone than when alone
Reconciled to solitude, despite
The machinations of the telephone
That tempt the air with tenderness and spite,
Never less alone than when alone
Mornings which dawned dim but not quite white,
If paler than paper, ivory or bone,
Promised the gorgeous sights of trite daylight,
Never less alone than when alone
The shape of the day, its realistic rite,
Depends upon which way the dice are thrown,
From right to left, or it might be, left to right,
But never less alone than when alone
Conceived in the depths but born upon the height
Where the mountains of tomorrow shone,
The soul may take its solitary flight,
Never less alone than when alone 
(--Poem by Daryl Hine, from, A Reliquary and Other Poems)
I abandon the hermitage. Hermits descend and inhabit the empty space until it is full of hermits and devoid of space.
I hide in garbage. Inside yellow bags. Traveling to transfer station (aka, dump) with no recyclables. I want nothing coming back today. I imagine I drop the plastic in recycling bin and by the time I clear the gate by EBS it has been refashioned into fruit smoothie container, filled, delivered to grocery store, and waiting for me to pick it from refrigerated unit inside left of new entrance by bank down from training drill ignited burnt down Chinese restaurant along Route 1.

I remember reading a novel with the wonderful title, I Have Come here to be Alone, (by Ingrid Bengis). I live in a hermitage for the same purpose (or no purpose). But some days, such as this weekend, the traipse is tripped and one by one they come to hermitage.

Some pretend to build a room, some pretend to read, or meditate, or pray. Some sip coffee, turn down note-proffered scone, wonder why the grass isn't cut, look at the place for the last time, play with the dog, or try to decide who wants to be dead.

Death gets too many false ratings. It is a caricature of itself. Its mourning rites all too predictable. Its sway over unconscious psyches of too many of us, hyperbolic. It is time to rebel. Take death and leave life. No fret, bother, worry, or last words.

To be alone is to bypass death.

There is no other side. Just one side. Reflecting back. A snowy weekday. Cold. Maine. Only the blackbird's eye moving.

We live inside a poem. (It might be why so many dislike poetry.)

We are caesuras between breaths turning into other lines with no sense of irony or scanned horizon.

neither here nor there

"Come, let us worship God who brings the world and its wonders from darkness into light."
(Invitatory, Divine Office, Saturday, 6July2013 of the 13th week of Ordinary Time)

Is this what God does? Is this what God is?

Is God the movement from concealment to unconcealment? When we pray are we praying for diaphaneity? For clarity of vision taking us from delusion and unsight to truth and clear sight?

When someone says they do not believe in God, are they saying their experience of truth (the unconcealed) is unconvincing or not readily revealed in present existence?

Given the awkward, skewed, manufactured, and manipulated state of contemporary culture, world geopolitics, and religious legislative tensions over sperm, egg, and women's reproductive theater -- it is increasingly difficult to see clearly the desired course of human everyday integrity. It would seem the weight of attention is on rape, pregnancy, abortion, and the effort by certain legislators to firmly set rules for women's bodies and medically allowable legally permissible options.

That, and the ability of same sex individuals to marry and enjoy the same legal benefits of other sex relationships, occupies attention. The Supreme Court in the US has ruled in favor of expanded inclusion.

Meanwhile, the government continues surveillance of its citizens and the whole world. War continues. Financial fraud and embezzlement is rife. Most everyone suffers theft and intimidation. Between church and secret agencies, criminal organizations and black-market drug, organ, sex and slave cartels, there is much suffering and degradation in our common experience.

Not to mention ordinary disappointment, sickness, incapacity, and death!

Before I Leave The Stage  

Before I leave the stage
I will sing the only song
I was meant truly to sing. 

It is the song
of I AM.
Yes: I am Me

I love Us with every drop
of our blood
every atom of our cells
our waving particles
-undaunted flags of our Being-
neither here nor there.    
(Poem by Alice Walker)
I return to the invitatory of this morning's prayer. There's something there that rivets my attention. 

Something about God.

About you.

About me.

About, ultimately, truth/love in a vacant and difficult time.

I hear, again and differently, the invitation: "Come, let us worship God who brings the world and its wonders from darkness into light"

Friday, July 05, 2013

The being is the message

Charlie wanted to know what he'd be missing not reading the great classics of literature.

Prison conversation.

So we read a poem by Alice Walker.

And imagine he is gracefulness itself leaving and wanting to leave something behind.

Remembering the name "Charlie" is not sufficient. Describing his experience, creativity, stance in the world, with words others might experience -- that would be a kindness, a fragment of soul, walking into obscurity an echo heard in passing.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

dusking independence

I'm reminded I live in a hermitage. Dog barks from down road. Sky darkens. Dooryard looks left and right seeing no one.

It's because there's no one there. 

Poetry editor (Wiman) quotes theologian (Meister Eckhart) saying something about you can pray to god to be rid of god. 

Is there a benefit to distance and absence?

Is waiting for god the best activity never fulfilled but for the waiting?

The dooryard is empty. Silence is empty of noise. Dog bark is surrounded by no response. All is well!

We know this by forgetting this. Know god by forgetting god. Know love by ungrasping it.

Nothing is near. God is gone. What is beyond is what is beyond. No use trying to call it close, name it near, word it now.

Remember to forget.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Thomas the skeptic, pray for we the confused!

If Christ is to be seen these days she will be the woman bruised by heavy hands. He will be the man bloodied by an exercise of deliberate power.

It is time to look hard at where christhood disappeared.

And believe it back into the room.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

to discover summer and know it: giving itself to itself.

Summer ants crawl over desk, books, computer and pencil They are way up here on 2nd floor. 

Reading about Simone Weil:
Simone Weil’s legacy as a philosopher has remained uneasy; with a public reputation situated somewhere between mystic saint and madwoman, it is only recently that her work has been systematically examined from a philosophical perspective. More influential, and surprisingly unremarked, has been the adoption of Weil as an avowedly secular patron saint of modern metaphysical poetry. The incorporation of Weil into a poetic canon of reference deserves all the more attention because of the widespread reluctance to take her work seriously as philosophy. This reticence has come about largely because of the difficulty of separating Weil’s philosophical writings from her own life. 
 Later in article:
As Simon Critchley summarizes Stevens’s thesis: ‘God is dead, therefore I am. The problem is that it is not at all clear who I am’ (Critchley 2005: 43). Or as J. Hillis Miller expresses it: ‘God is dead, therefore I am. But I am nothing. I am nothing because I have nothing, nothing but awareness of the barrenness within and without’ (1990: 35).    
It is only in the death of God that the rest of the world is now revealed as unknowable and thus it is only when God is nothing that ‘man’ too may be revealed as nothing. As Jean-Luc Nancy writes: ‘“God”, the motif or theme of God, the question of God, no longer means anything to us. Or else – as is all too obvious to an unbiased eye – what the theme of God might mean to us has already moved or been carried entirely outside of him’ (1991: 112). God has been replaced in the human imagination by the larger created world, but without God the creation of the world is a mystery, and the stance of the individual in relation to that world is even more elusive. The problem, as Stevens phrases it in ‘Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction’, is that we are caught between a world revealed and understood through individual sight and the fear that this world is something which precedes us: ‘we live in a place / That is not our own and, much more, not ourselves’ (Stevens 1976: 102). Decreation is ‘a seeing and unseeing in the eye’ (Stevens 1976: 104); it is what allows the poet not to make the world, but to discover it:

[…] to impose is not 
To discover. To discover an order as of 
A season, to discover summer and know it,  

To discover winter and know it well, to find, 
Not to impose, not to have reasoned at all, 
Out of nothing to have come on major weather, 

It is possible, possible, possible. It must 
Be possible.             (Stevens 1976: 125) 
The task of decreative art, for Stevens, is to discover the world without imposing on it, to encounter the world as it is created and, knowing the impossibility of creation, still see the world to be what it is. Poetry is no longer, in the words of mid-period Martin Heidegger, ‘the act of establishing by the word and in the word’ (1949: 304). Poetry cannot impose or establish. It is instead the act of revealing what has been uncreated: it sets out to discover, in a world in which godly creation seems impossible, what it is that remains. 
(--from article in Culture, Theory, & Critique, Volume 47, Issue 2, p.133-147 (2006))
From Rockland to Camden Route 1 is filled with cars. Locals take to back roads. Rain refuses to move on.

When emptiness inserts itself between thought and reality we are left with an open question. What, we ask, is God?

And where?

And how do we even begin to imagine there is something to see, something to hear?

Not long ago someone was accused of proselytizing the practice of silence leading to thinking. It was an odd thing to suggest was out-of-bounds in higher education. They felt it was prayer. It is instructive that thinking through silence would be considered a religious and prejudicial act. My opinion is that both silence and thinking are dangerous precedents in higher education. Imagine, if you would, an educated populace that knew both how to think and keep silent -- two skills capable of breaking through the dull drone of meaningless chatter and thoughtless speech.

Poetry, "revealing what has been uncreated," is birthed by thinking and silence.

Uncreated and unborn.

The fascination of imagination giving itself to itself.

Monday, July 01, 2013

one day

In the early nineteen sixties in a poem published in a magazine, some lines approximating these were written:
Is truth to be forgot when the mighty challenge the low? 
Where does one go to re-begin, to prove one's lot, to shed one's skin? 

Life, as we learn in the George Zimmerman trial, comes and goes.

Mr. George Zimmerman has his life -- though it will certainly change.

Mr. Trayvon Martin has his death -- which has already changed everything.

These flowers blossom only for one day.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

hermit discourse

Man stops by. He says a hermit with great tact makes people feel at home even though he wishes they were.

We laugh.

thinking/feeling is heart/mind here/now

You pray?

For what?

(Fair enough questions, each.)

I pray for insight and courage to take the next step; to navigate and negotiate what will be presented before me; to do and to be faithful to the wholeness longing for true expression in the realm of appearance.

I pray as if to be the wholeness remembering itself.

As if to do what is asking into what is true in this existence.

As if recognizing the real was the important antidote to falling into the illusory, even as I fall into illusion -- to see it for what it is -- not deluding myself that it is not what it is.

I pray, as if I knew why I pray, to ground my being in Being as it becomes Becoming.

On the way, there and from, to you asking this and every question -- because it matters what we see, what we say, what we are, and what we know and do not know.

It matters that we feel and what we feel.

We are, after all, here.

So, why not be what we are, enquiring?


All, before and after?