"Writing itself becomes the subject of the writing course..."

 — Michael Carter       

An Ever Present Past and Future

December 31st, 2016 by

The title of this is not merely a grammatical quandary. It is also an ever-present reality. So here on the last day of 2016, as I have done on the last day of every year, I wish to engage in a ritual of rest and reflection on how the end of the year is really what my friend, the sculptor Willam Catling, calls liminal space. The end is also a door way through to another beginning.

It’s mostly like this. The present moment is always a place of convergence between past, present, and future. The past and the future, of course, are mostly tinged and represented by my imagination and my present state of mind.

My resolve over the next year is to observe more boundaries, to recognize and accept my limitations. It is also to try to be more present every day. Perhaps that way, I will be more useful and available.

I wish to leave these New Year’s reflections with a poem I wrote a long time ago for a friend who might have been more than that but for the choices we both made. It is the one poem I was able to publish this year–in Dime Show Review.

Searching for Stationery

I read your letter anyway
And then had to search
For the right stationery
Before writing back.
I do not love like this anymore, or say
As a habit, these grand things. They
Embarrass me.

As I walked, my jeans,
Creased now to daily living,
Like an x-ray or
Like the Shroud of Turin,
Showed the old wounds.

Then driving, thinking of your letter, I heard, almost, a song,
of bottles rolling over jumper cables in the back as
I passed the crowd downtown, on cracked and broken curbs, under buildings
of some foreign policy,
with the other unredeemable things,
Holding sway, channeling wind, a temporal
Power, stone against and reaching toward
Cloud masses.

And I thought,
To those who journey as though at sea
There are songs that come as though from beyond.
But the present already is past,
the past always present,
every pain infused with
the longing, and always
some suspect
that we are the fools.

In a rented room, later now, I write
on plain page. How you have invaded,
brightened my way.
Do we wait? It wasn’t always there
When I almost touched you,
or in those glances either.
I’ve kept moving, swallowed
All the words I didn’t finally say to you about

What we saw practiced everywhere,
What no one but you or me can keep from coming true.


Happy New Year!

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