NaPoWriMo/NaPoREADMo #12 — Gray



Gray


It is a two-tone
gray wound.

It is two woulds:
one high, one low.

Two guns.
Two bullets.

Two people 
bound by

one wound,
one would 

and too many 
coulds and shoulds.

It is a grain of sand,
a small glistening

that sticks in 
the throat of 

the muscle, a 
piece of what 

it must become, a 
shard of what it 

never was, a speck
in the eye of 

a gray sky,
a two-tone

gray sky
the color of lead.












Keepin' the "Po" in NaPoWriMo....



NaPoWriMo/NaPoREADMo #6 — No Answer



No Answer



The taste of chalk finds its way 
to your tongue through the back
of your nose after the rain begins 
to hit the hot pavement.

~~~
 
You have missed something. 

Because of this you suffer.

~~~

It is all right with the world. It is as it 
should be and it is not fair and it does 
not matter because fair is not for us.

Fair is not fair. 
Fair or not fair 
is not a fair exchange. Ex-
pectation is false.

All of it is a lie 
in the mind of the past 
about the mind of the future, 
neither of which happens to be present.

The thing is, all the things are not in 
the moment, are not of the moment,
are of course nothing but the moment 
that, passing between us, happens to happen 
when we are not looking, when we are 
absent although we are present, when the
paradox of paradise or the paradise of
paradox in which we dwell or don’t dwell
for ever or never for a moment again

slips by us, slips us by, lisps and 
lists into the future listlessly, help-
lessly, and we are stunned again
into silence, unarmored and stripped 
to our amorous bones just enough to 
dive back in and keep on diving even 
when the pool has no water in it, even 
when the air is as dry as dirt and our noses
crack and bleed and our eyes turn to the 
dust in the holes in our heads for answers 
that are not there for all the looking 

and not seeing, for all the “Look at me,” 

for all the “Nonono. Don’t look at me,” 

for all the 

“STOP LOOKING AT ME!” 

for all the 



“where are you?”






~~~






Of course we do not deserve any of this. 

We suffer anyway. We suffer no matter 
what. In or of or out of the moment, the 
moment is already gone, and it is not fair 
either. It is not square with a hole in it nor
is it a round without. It is a moment that 
we have missed and it is not (fair or not fair) and


it presents itself despite itself
as you stand there,		

alone with the rest of us			

on the hot pavement

after the rain begins.









Keepin' the "Po" in NaPoWriMo....



NaPoWriMo/NaPoREADMo #5 — Rest



Rest



The heart spends more time 
not beating than beating.

The organ that keeps us alive
spends more time resting

than working. Go ahead. 
Hold your breath. Listen 

to it rest. Listen in that space 
between the beats. Hold it 

in your hands. Feel it come 
to rest and seize it softly. 

Feel it move and let it go 
quickly. Don’t hold your 

breath. Listen to the rest. 
This is how the moment goes.

There is just this rhythm 
of life and death. The first 

one-two of every pair 
of heartbeats. Between 

every squeeze of life lies 
a small and quiet death.

This is only the smallest 
of truths. This is only on 

and off. Between beat and 
beat there is only this silence.

Between flex and flex, 
there is only the rest.








Keepin' the "Po" in NaPoWriMo....



2020 – 062/366 – Intersections: The Dying Man

or, Notes On The Experience of Reading Fanny Howe’s The Needle’s 
Eye While Watching My Wife’s Father Die And Being Reminded, 
Perhaps Unavoidably, of Rilke’s First Duino Elegy
 

~~~

 

 
We arrive to wait and watch.
He lies, gape-mouthed and gasping,
flinching, wincing and moaning
intermittently.

~

We go and we sit in the room
and we watch the man die
                       the man dying
                       the dying man

We watch him breathe. We
watch him stop breathing.
We watch him start breathing
again.

~

We watch him wince and
moan and flinch and wheeze
and we listen to his lungs
gurgle and at some point—
as his eyes open less and less,
as the words leave his mouth
for good, as the food and the
water enter his mouth less and
less and eventually stop their
entering entirely—at some point,
watching someone die changes
into something else, changes
into something harder. At some
point—if the dying takes long
enough—watching someone die
becomes watching someone not die.

~

She says, The end of life is hard for the living.

~

He says that room back there
(waving towards the bathroom off
his room) must be hotter than this
one because he can see a white…
(gestures—fingers fluttering, hand
moving side to side)…a white…
(mumbles something and…).

Quiet.

Breathing.

~

“A person can feel the impression of a soft body of air indicating 
presence or further life on her hands or arms or anywhere, sometimes 
in stillness and safety, and understand that the entire universe is held 
against her skin in an equilibrium that holds her steady for her life 
span. Too great a sense of the tremendous explosion of creation in 
which we live would obliterate us. We feel what we can on our skins 
and through its porous cells into the nerves and bones where our 
reckless and pathetic ancestors carry on.”

~

He says he can see steam
rising from his feet.

~

“Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels’
hierarchies? and even if one of them pressed me
suddenly against his heart: I would be consumed
in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure,
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains
to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying.”

~

He says there was a woman
in his room wearing a peach dress
(Did you see her?) and holding a
basket in front of her.

~

“One thing surrounds you in parts, drops of sunshine, or shadows,
and these vaporous gods live on after you are gone.
But wait. Where have I seen that woman’s face before? Why did
she pause at the door as if she knew me?

She is folded in smoke from the crematorium over the hills there.”

~

She says that her mother's favorite
fragrance, White Shoulders, has been
in the room since the day he arrived.

~

“ ‘The trick is to follow the clue, to see the chance connection, 
attend to it, and against all reason, follow it to the next clue, 
or coincidence, yes, if the reading at Mass echoes what you were 
thinking about in the night, follow that message out into the 
streets, and the next, follow the coincidences.’ “

~

I don’t believe that my dreams
are prophetic. I don’t think that
they are trying to tell me anything.
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t
listen to what they are saying.

~

The nurses come and they
moisten his lips and the inside
of his mouth with small disposable
sponges on the end of a stick which
they dip into the cup of ice water
that he is no longer drinking.

~

His lucidity slips
but
his slips are lucid

His lucidity is slipping
but
(t)his slipping is lucid.

~

A movement catches my eye.
It is his foot twitching, under
the volunteer-crocheted afghan.

But when I look up from my
reading, I see there also the
child’s foot, my daughter’s,
like an echo, she in the recliner
that already he has stopped using
just beyond his bed, the two of them
in the same basic position, her
mother—his daughter—between
them in a chair, the mirror of time
reflecting both ways and al(l-)ways
changing—age and youth, the mother—
his daughter—between them, between
him and his daughter’s daughter.

~

“She was born on a rise in
time facing two ways.”

~

A woman—another dying
person’s visitor—sits in one
of the sitting areas reading a
magazine and I notice the
title, “Sophisticated Living.”

She does not look sophisticated.
She mostly just looks like some
thing is being emptied out of her.

~

Hard shadows and
soft shadows.

Near and far.

Light from the window falls

through the blinds and
across my foot and

onto the corner of the bed

which doubles as a socket

for I.V. poles.

~

Always there is one thing
ending as another begins.

~

All positions
are transitions.

All positions
are transpositions.

~

These things begin to get
as confused as he is.

         but….is he?

Perhaps these things only
begin to sound as confused
as he does/is/seems.

Is he confused or is it his or
our reality that is confused?

~

Which is harder, watching him die
or watching him not die?

 

 

 

 

(All quotes are from Fanny Howe's The Needle's Eye, Passing 
Through Youth except for the passage begginning, "Who, 
if I cried out...", which is from Rainer Maria Rilkes First 
Duino Elegy, Stephen Mitchell's translation)