The Meaning of Leaving

September 24, 2019

Maybe it was there
all along, in our shirtsleeves
on the heavy trees,
every time we
turned
left – as in the opposite
of right, which is also
wrong, as in the mistakes
I’m bound to keep making as long
as I long. I still love you but I can’t
stay still, that’s why I’m bound
for the coast in the old
truck blazened with rust, crest
of snow, crust of salt, the bed
that was our bed, you
in the rearview for hundreds
then thousands of miles – you
the cornfield, you the semi, you
the sirens pulling me over
and over. I’ve got my eyes
on the road’s gray throat,its soft
shoulder, its sign that says
yield. Maybe I was here
all along, driving away in the driving
rain, in the space between left
meaning remaining, and left
meaning already gone.

Ali Shapiro

Rain falling in the garden

September 21, 2019

Rain falling in the garden
I am not sad
we are both there, alone
you’ll light a fire, perhaps –

Wait, I know a story

Once upon a time…
it’s raining in my memory
I’m not crying, I’m certain –
Wait, please, I know stories
but it’s a little cold tonight
and this story is of people who
love each other.

The Dark

July 27, 2019

 

Wandering in the dark alone, feels strangely reassuring to me.

Poetry is the lonely, radical, precious expression of a single life. The singularity of the unique human soul who must cry out. Because of love, because of wounds, because of injustice, because of hunger, because of exile and migration, because of dispossession of every kind, because we have lost someone we love and cannot bear that loss, because night comes on and we are alone.

Anne Michaels
Infinite Gradation

The Cats Will Know

March 28, 2019

Rain will fall again
on your smooth pavement,
a light rain like
a breath or a step.
The breeze and the dawn
will flourish again
when you return,
as if beneath your step.
Between flowers and sills
the cats will know.

There will be other days,
there will be other voices.
You will smile alone.
The cats will know.
You will hear words
old and spent and useless
like costumes left over
from yesterday’s parties.

You too will make gestures.
You’ll answer with words —
face of springtime,
you too will make gestures.

The cats will know,
face of springtime;
and the light rain
and the hyacinth dawn
that wrench the heart of him
who hopes no more for you —
they are the sad smile
you smile by yourself.

There will be other days,
other voices and renewals.
Face of springtime,
we will suffer at daybreak.

Cesare Pavese
Trans. Geoffrey Brock.

unassailable serenity

January 31, 2019

…to make one’s center of life inside of one’s self, not selfishly or excludingly, but with a kind of unassailable serenity – to decorate one’s inner house so richly that one is content there, glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone.

Edith Wharton
Letter to Mary Berenson
Reproduced in Edith Wharton: A Biography by R. W. B. Lewis

No map

November 17, 2018

I am alone here in my own mind. There is no map and there is no road.

Anne Sexton
January 24th

So you want to write…

July 21, 2018

In issolation

Writing is the hardest work in the world.

I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you – as if you haven’t been told a million times already – that writing is harder.

Lonelier.

And nobler

and more enriching.

When you’re all alone out there, on the end of the typewriter, with each new story a new appraisal by the world of whether you can still get it up or not, arrogance and self-esteem and deep breathing are all you have.

It often looks like egomania.

I assure you it’s the bold coverup of the absolutely terrified.

I don’t know how you perceive my mission as a writer, but for me it is not a responsibility to reaffirm your concretized myths and provincial prejudices.

It is not my job to lull you with a false sense of the rightness of the universe.

This wonderful and terrible occupation of recreating the world in a different way, each time fresh and strange, is an act of revolutionary guerrilla warfare.

Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison on writing

I think of it as coming
back to myself,
like a second cousin
visiting from the states
As if I’m waiting in
the airport terminal,
hands full of sweat
and a note stapled to my chest
I can’t remember when
I first became a space to be filled,
an empty vessel floating
in between the veil
But I’m starting to feel
like more of a splutter
than a storm,
and it’s moments like
this that make me think God
is just fucking irresponsible
I find myself digging
for my sense of wonder
at the bottom of my music box,
like the folded ears
of a saxophone player,
sitting across the bar
As if I’ll slide my hands
across the slime of my exterior,
slip back into my identity
like an old coat
While I tumble into the
empty bellied passion
of a man with small hands
and an inability to say my name,
hoping I’ll come across
my purpose for life
while drenched in his cum

Kaylene Mary

Alone time

June 21, 2018

I only like time alone to lay around and stare at the ceiling for a while without voices around or bodies with voices. Like that.

Charles Bukowski
July 1965 letter to Tom MacNamara