In My Appointment Book

In my appointment book, in my own handwriting,the obligatory medical illegible scrawl, a notation,for 1:30 PM October 10, 2011, Columbus Day, onlyI can not read it. I discern something like M__id___,but can not attach a name to this awkward rune At 1:30 PM October 10, 2011, Columbus Day, I waiteagerly for help in deciphering my own scrawlto arrive in the form of a particular patient, solutionin the flesh to the mystery I have made for myself,but no one, no one at all comes and mystery deepens It is an unknown no one who comes, who fails mein unraveling the knot I have tied for myself, the “not”with which I have filled this particular time slot.In more than a quarter century of practice I’ve notdone the like, never invented such a loose...

Old Maps

When I was six, open air book stalls along the banksof the gray green Seine, sold old maps, exotic, all fake,that fascinated me for whom they were the genuinedoorways to an imaginary geography, the presenceof other places much more interesting than here My father tolerated the spell I was under with mixedindulgence and disdain, he let me look and lookand look and ask questions – “What language is this?”“Do ships still sail here?” Does this island still exist?“Why not?” he would ask, puffing out white smoke Despite many trips, despite my yearning for thesetalismans of voyages, despite hours spent looking,spent comparing, spent investigating, we neverbought one of these maps, which made them evermore precious, lodged as they were deep in my mind Not only much older now than I was then, but mucholder now than my father was then, I hold it allas something ordinary, imperfect, yet magical,the way we were together then along the banksof the gray green Seine, as I imagined...

Your Mother

Your motherwhom you hardly knew whether she withdrew just after your birthor died before you were two or twenty or forty or fifty-four or even sixty or moreshe gave you so much of you but was the origin of riddleseven if you know yourself as a riddle your fingers can’t reach out and brushwho she was, what she meant, what she held I know there are vast rivers of sentimentthat run in the other direction celebrating unions however imperfect,exalting mother and child together I can’t help that I stand for the truthof a lonelier life, one full of destinations we never reach whether by the seaor in the vast unsettling...

Beyond Dreaming

I want to dream beyond dreaming,to be convinced by worlds that exist onlyinside me like pearl planets inside oysters of sleeptethered to the flickering electrical reefsthat invent me both when I’m snoring and when I’m awake who can dive for these pearl planets, bring oystersback to the surface for examination, for interrogation,so that they can be asked to state what they might knowabout their circumstances, about my own circumstances,how we’re all accidental, even if round and smooth? the border of dream is not waking,not a line of fence posts and barbed wireor even wishing with all its exotic barbs,the border of dream is hard to reach because dream keeps springing up under all feet, five toed, poetic nor is there any going back to the beginning,when I dreamt I had arrived at origin, suddenly a wild buffalo appeared and I had to run for my life,humiliated that what I thought was an idyll wasinstead something so other and in sleep that was mine I want to get in my dreams beyond seeking approval,beyond asking acceptance, even my own, beyond tryingto amount to someone, but just to float and glow liketiny phosphorescent plankton awaiting the whale’s maw,but without knowing that they are awaiting… In my thinking about my dreaming, how it is satisfactoryand unsatisfactory, there is more than a hint of jazz,of improvisation, of never putting my tongue in the samestream of mind twice, even when I want to and when I try,it’s no dream I’m always finding and losing myself, all...

House Of Habit

I live in the house of habit, rarely venturing out the front dooror the back door, I stare out the windows and dream.I keep myself from going too far. I live in the house of habit I can’t resist dreaming but I worryravishing dreams will be the end of me. This dreaming beckons to mewithout any sense of measure I live in the house of habit which I have built slowly overall my years, even surreptitiously. Experience comes out of peril, buthabit softly muffles everything. I live in the house of habit and can’t tell you how to find me,because I no longer know my address where I am alone without myself,luxury approaching death itself I live in the house of habit, a place I never intended to bethat just grew up around me, with a desk of polished bone I compose a memoir of nonentity I live in the house of...

Coastal Fog

In longhand in blue ink on white paperat the Claremont Hotel on vacation in Mainejust outside Acadia National Park, I wrotedown with urgency just a few early lines – about how nothing lasts forever, nothingis utterly distinct, how each of us is almosta second coming of others who once were,who were themselves almost second comings… and so forth , turning just slightly asideto notice that the mind lives in complex space native to a profusion of infinite regressions,finding myself now on path of genuine interest… but somewhere between Southwest Harborand Harpswell, Maine, the pad and the lines,and the beginnings were lost, with nothing quite distinct of it all left in my mind… I can say what was lost was nothingand say at the same time what was lostmay have been everything – I write anelegy for the indeterminate, coastal...