Tuesday, February 28, 2006

as it happens

oh, God. five minutes ago i felt fine but the downswing is coming.

it is coming and it is coming hard but you knew that already. i have been writing music, a lot of it; large, buoyant, joyous music with rich chords and i sing praise but i'm just to the last two or three measures and it seems like i just can't go any further and i think maybe i'll switch over to the Kyrie i've been working on but had put aside for a while.

no, i don't think i can. i think i may be in trouble. the tears are just rolling and rolling down my cheeks and i'm having to remember to breathe and please don't let the screaming start, not today, not ever again, please.



Saturday, February 25, 2006

the short version

lately, and uncharacteristic of me, i've been telling the short version of the story:

Mardrey asked me to pray for a sick child.

and although i spend a lot of my time telling and writing the long versions of the stories, here are the short versions:

i only had the courtesy to notice in july.

when two of them stand over you, i don't know what happens; i can't remember.

i keep reading t.s. eliot's "ash wednesday" out loud since i discovered it a couple of days ago.

there's a lot i don't know about faith and doubt.

tonight in the shower i kept touching water droplets as they hung, watching each one disappear silently.

tomorrow my cell phone will be on, but unless you are on my short list, i will not take your call.

last night i drove off the road, through trees and stopped just before the pond. i was not hurt. there was no damamge.

soon i will probably be in the hospital again; my strength is wearing down.

i think i am in love, but it sounds too goofy.

i just don't know anymore.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

dream before waking

i am helping Barbara to pack for her trip but we are not at her house and it has to be some kind of dorm room because if it’s a hotel room it’s the bleakest one i have ever seen and it echoes too much.

there are a bunch of papers in the corner, and a smashed cigar butt.

“must have been some party”, i tell her.
“must be (proper name)’s.” she says.

in the papers are a colored-pencil drawing of a dragonfly and a stack of photographs. They’re taken in ford hall, in the terraces, other places i do not recgnize. susan and jen are there and heather wearing the beer-soaked sheet from the toga party we had to go to to be polite and linda and ilona and guys who took to signing their full names to correspondence with a silly nickname inserted in quotes between the middle initial and the last name: david c. “bink” stickley. mister michael “moose” moren.

sarah is there, too, and smiling broadly. if you peel back the edges of the photographs the people in them become more and more real; they talk and laugh and sing and as you look at them, you do too whether you were there or not because you have peeled back the corner and gotten in.

and i am running along a road in the lakes region of new hampshire in the snow wearing only a blanket over my back like a cape and it is COLD as i skate along the ice in my bear feet.

i actually have claws and fur.

and i leave the road and go chrging up a hill into the snow, running from something, looking for something

but then i’m in a classroom, in the second row from the left and i have all kinds of papers around me and the teacher is very young. he’s tall and red-headed and smiles a lot as if he knows something no oe else does, and he’s probably right.

it is a first class, and he wants us to write something.


anything. just write. but i’m looking around and seeing who’s there: Barbara is there; she is already busy writing. so is Shavar, who is next to me. Erin, who i haven’t seen in years is there, and she looks no older than she did when i knew her. Kathleen, apparently back from the dead, is writing thoughtfuly.

and i can’t find my paper. there is’t any more blank paper on the desk where the young teacher handed out supplies, so i go looking around the room in the various trays and such. i’m very speedy and flit like a bird or a fly from cupboard to shelf to cupboard and eventually when the young man comes over to find the white lined paper for me, the other students swarm over to get papar, too.

“aha”, i laugh. "all of a sudden you realize you need paper? after i did all the searching?”

and they all laugh too and i take my paper back to my desk and i begin to write this.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

the ricker free republic

i was on the mountain yesterday (and it is a bona fide mountain) and i rode up on a chair full of little duffers from the ski school: andrew, anja, and spencer.

...which reminds me, i have to call spencer, my chiropractor, who is brilliant.

...especially if you enjoy conspiracy thories. i'm not sure about all of them, but i love to hear a good one sometimes and spencer's my man. plus, he's just about a genius with a spine which is what i pay him to do in the first place. his practice is full of people who love him the first time he lays hands on them.

and you see a lot of guys wander into his office who say things like "spencer, dude. can you see me today?"

anyway, i was on a chairlift with this little guy and he's telling me that ricker mountain and vista mountan are not real mountains.

you need to understand that bolton mountain is my home as much as any place on this planet and that ricker mountain and vista mountain come in pretty close behind. and they are mountains. of this i am certain.

but this kid, he's seen real mountains. they're bigger.

i guess that he's been skiing out west.

colorado, he says.
the mountains there, i tell him, are younger mountains than these. and that mountains shrink as they get old. they wear away.

he doesn't respond, but later on i hear him telling someone that these are old mountains. warms my heart.

Monday, February 20, 2006

yes, but they let me out.

just once in your life your pastor ought to tuck you in.

maybe it's a really strange idea, and maybe too much of an increased workload for the clergy, but it happened to me just before i went into the hospital and it was one of the loveliest, most comforting things that has ever happened to me.

i was in dreadful shape, of course.

but my pastor, like many of my friends and my family, is a bulldog and will not let go. i had been in the church touching up some of the woodwork and i wandered into her office to tell her that i wasn't doing so good.

(i do know that i need an adverb there to modify a verb, but it's a style thing and besides, "i'm not doing so good" is what i told her.)

i was ready to jump off a bridge, to lay down on the tracks, both things that can be accomplished within walking distance of the church. but Barbara would not let go of me, no matter what i said.

the truth is that i should not have still been walking around on the outside world.

but eventually Barbara talked me down to the point that she could take me home and put me to bed. it was very strange, having another person present at my evening prayers.

and somehow very right and good.

this is the place in the story that for a while at least i'm going to skip over large portions of the narrative; i'm just going to tell you that along the way i wrote this song.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

from the inside

big step forward, small step back. every time i make a move toward being a better person old demons surface and demand to be heard. i'm not telling you why yet, but there are some old demons getting ready to step up.

anyway, i got too tired from fighting all the time
and had to give it up, turn it over to someone else. so i checked myself in and from here it looks like things are going to be all right.


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