Monday, April 2, 2012

sense and slowness and memory



In the end, there is nothing to say, except gratitude
for the articulation of muscle and skin, solidity of bone,
and the fine webbing of nerve that catches consciousness
and cups it here sweetly in the senses, tangle and delay,
fired into being. In the tiny, almost infinite gaps
between neurons, we discover together that the body
is deferral, is weight and wait, ballast and balance
that slows the spirit, keeps everything from rushing
to climax at the same, sudden moment of ache.
Otherwise, it would not matter that my fingertips
start just under your ear and move with impossible
luxury, almost undetectable touch,
down the side of the living throat, over the collarbone
and the supreme smooth paleness of the shoulder,
down the inside of the arm, finding the thin blue veins
of the wrist, and lingering long in the palm.
This slowness wouldn’t matter. Without the body,
why would I want the gesture to consume a thousand years?
Without the body, where would time and memory knot
us to the world? Once we stood on a rim of granite
above a northern lake, and upward through the bare birch
and tamarack hoof beats rose into the same cold air we breathed.
A body larger than both of us was moving below,
into us. Now we say nothing, but memory in your white breast
answers and lives, stiffens against memory in my warm mouth.


  1. i am speechless

    and i wouldn't know what to say or what to do, except bowing in gratitude for this wonder, that you have made possible, that lives inside you

    gratitude, and awe

    i am overwhelmed

  2. James, I think I remember you told me once that you never saw the movie "city of angels" For some reason I thought about this movie. In this movie the angel had a choice. a choice to have eternity or to live for what ever time you are given on this earth. He choose to live,why because with eternity he was unable to know what it felt like to touch something or to feel pain. He fell in love but knowing if he chose to live, he would die when his time came, but to know what it felt like to touch her, to feel her,that alone was worth giving up eternity.

    I hope you get a chance to watch it sometime.

  3. So many memories came to my mind...
    They don't need to be remembered to be alive.
    Have a good weekend James. ;-)

  4. james, we hold memory eternal in gratitude
    for our time spent together even briefly. these memories are
    as tangible and as elusive as love and a last breath.
    this is a beautiful piece.


  5. Roxana: i have been speechless so many times at the floating bridge, that i can only lower my eyes here and smile shyly, understanding

    life -- how impossible would it have been to predict that any of these things would be? -- ever? -- any of it, all of it? .... thank you :-)

  6. Liz: there is something fundamental here ... to choose life is also and always to choose death ... i think i understand the angels in that movie -- but i would choose touch and pain every time ... would being mean anything without the knowledge that it will end?

  7. Lucia: memories seem to move through the body like light through water, sometimes lighting a stone on the bottom of the steam, sometimes the side of a colorful fish, sometimes flickering on the surface ...

  8. Robert: thank you for coming here and for these words

    memories live, and they may be indestructible. even those that seem elusive come back at the most unexpected moments with something to tell us, it seems

    i hope your memories are good ones and nourishing

  9. Of course is all I seem able to say. This celebration of this body. Of this celebrator of body. It is purity and joy when Life is rounded out this way, in this open pasture of bliss.

  10. Ruth: of course, yes ... does love, for a person or for the world, really need anything more than this assent? ... i seem to spend whole days saying yes (yes, this is right, yes, i receive this, yes, i am grateful, yes, let this be as it is :-)

    this open pasture of bliss -- what a right phrase!

  11. it seems to me we have a pocket of coins of pain with which we use to purchase pleasure or joy. it is all equally measured. the larger our pocket of coins of pain, the more poignant our joy; so it is with love and loss; so it is with life (body) and death; so time allows within its finite throws.

    to speak of this piece personally would be to set myself on fire and have nothing left to speak with.

    i kiss each coin of pain. i love them. i press them into my skin. this is my joy. this is how i am able so see and receive you.


  12. erin: we hand these coins to each other, or to the world, like a child standing on tiptoe to reach the counter at the corner store ... and they purchase more than i could ever have imagined ... we catch fire together and burn to ash, please ... love :-))