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Thread: Burn Lake

  1. #11
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    Re: Burn Lake

    Too late for anything, too early for nothing

    Unexpectedly we'll meet again years later,
    quite on purpose we'll mix beer and wine
    with vodka, to ride bicycles in the middle of the night
    around the estate, unexpectedly bumping into the high

    kerbstones, trampling flowerbeds, cutting our cheeks
    on branches that have sprung up unexpectedly, then un-
    expectedly to fall over, and pushing our
    warped bicycles, come to my place, to dress

    our wounds, and then lie down to sleep, in the morning
    to copulate unexpectedly like animals, out
    of fear that something will unexpectedly return

    that we felt years ago, copulating like people.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Burn Lake

    [Untitled]

    God has not retired—as Simone Weil
    would have it—a huge distance away, but He's
    right here, so close that I can feel His

    caring non-presence. (Which is a word passed over
    in silence, an aborted gesture, a suspended
    gaze,
    a breath held for a moment. That

    not breathing, that's your life.)
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  3. #13
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    Re: Burn Lake

    I missed my moment

    And how could I fail to miss it, reading tomorrow's papers
    on the internet, hearing songs by the white dwarves
    of rock pretending to be supernovas. Seeing

    how a tsunami from years ago keeps on engulfing
    the same old villages, and the World Trade Center towers
    are hurriedly rebuilt by night in order languidly

    to tumble by day. So tell me, how could I not miss
    my moment in a world where the same newspaper
    comes out in four versions: conservative,

    progressive, moderate and without text. In times
    when the unused minutes pass on to the next
    month. I missed my moment. When, where?

    Or maybe it missed me? Vanished
    over the horizon, grew fat infinitely.

    And is waiting.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Burn Lake

    Cutting Apples

    My father always carried a penknife
    to pare his green apples, raising their skins
    in perfect spirals. He never drew blood
    slicing his bananas for breakfast,
    their dark-seeded cores like little faces
    dropping into the milk, one more item
    in a life of a thousand chores,
    one more notch in a life advancing
    by millimeters or inches, not seconds or days.
    I watched him turn himself as carefully away
    from violence as a lathe on a table leg,
    cutting each curve and flourish
    from the flat face of a block
    clamped in his hand. His hand and its thumb
    never shied from the blade; he knew
    that what you do with any tool gives it its value,
    like a life—not too eager or afraid.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Burn Lake

    Primer

    1.

    Extrude light from darkness.
    When day breaks scoop up shards.

    Ask time to make the pieces fit.
    Who has more leisure than time?
    Eternity is a very long
    time, especially towards the end.
    —Woody Allen

    2.

    Slice into a section of the waters.
    Place heaven between the margins,
    Give it a long arm and an index finger pointed
    in your direction. Wonder
    if you are being scolded
    or invited to proceed.
    The struggle
    itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart.
    —Albert Camus

    3.

    Sow seeds for grass, herbs, trees, and greed.
    It is not your obligation to complete the task,
    but neither are you at liberty to desist from it entirely ...
    —Rabbi Tarfon, Pirke Avot 2:16

    4.

    Invent signs and portents:
    Monsters of the deep, for example.
    Weapons of mass destruction.
    Slip them into your pocket.

    They're bound to come in handy one day.
    E cosi desiro me mena—
    and so desire carries me along.
    —Petrarch

    5.

    Tat a poem with lacework that swims.
    Compose an essay with heaving geometries of air and sea.
    Encase three perfect blooms in an elegant vitrine.

    Invention is the mother of intention.
    All warfare is based on deception.
    —Sun Tzu

    6.

    Subdue dust dervishing around you.
    Gaze in the mirror as you shape
    A few handfuls between moistened palms.

    Model carefully with an additive of clay
    You will produce all the companions you'll ever need.

    When it is dark beware of your new friends.
    The soul is here for its own joy
    —Rumi

    7.

    Talk to stone. Tell it words
    you want it to remember.

    Have stone repeat these words
    three times after you.

    Do this one thousand times a day
    for the rest of your life.

    On the last day go to stone
    and ask it what it knows.
    For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing,
    Because our days upon earth are a shadow ...
    —Book of Job
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  6. #16
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    Re: Burn Lake

    Ajar in Tennessee

    A conspicuous freedom came out of everywhere.
    Slower traffic kept right, against the glare,
    before we got to Exit 133 and Birdsong Rd,
    on the edge of the first array of slovenly lumps
    through which the river of rivers in Tennessee
    bore islands into a ripply inland ocean.

    We came to Cuba Landing and the Parkway Café,
    sitting down to onions and buttered bread.
    We spoke about how the fragrant air
    would spill over our faces as we stepped
    into a summer morning in Tuscany.

    How different it was there than in Tennessee,
    then or now. It's certainly nice to be here,
    don't get me wrong, but Italy was sweeter,
    you ventured. I looked over your shoulders
    at the curtains covered with chickadees.

    Are those chickadees or thrush do you think? I asked you.
    Maybe finch, you suggested. I think they could be finch.
    Background music swept over us from the background.

    We took to the road again, constantly eastward
    as the afternoon sped toward us awfully.

    I decided it was time I read Deuteronomy.
    The part about the man with loosed shoes is enough
    to reveal real weirdness and negligible wisdom
    from the blessed curmudgeon so prominent in this old book.

    It seemed all day we drove beside smallish trees
    through all of Tennessee.
    Brown water spread amongst the woods.

    Fine old wackyjack balsams were the dominant boscage.
    One had a board nailed to it and above that a platform
    like the floor of a treehouse, probably a deer stand, you said.
    Thousands of others showed no such sign of people.

    Immaculate ideas played over us through the windows.
    You lit another cigarette; we moved along, having become
    an astonishment, a proverb, a byword among the nations.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  7. #17
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    Re: Burn Lake

    Overweight

    Cooking for someone can be loaded with danger.
    He'll get here at six and I'm filled with a small fear
    of conversation at the table.
    I always toy with the edge across my throat,
    between the cabbage, the duck and coffee we stare into.

    There are many ways to scream.
    I've chosen the silent one
    because I'm afraid of being discovered as I am, not
    who he remembers 20 years ago.

    I want to say things have changed since then.
    I've smoked my lungs black and eaten my heart out.
    Lost each leaf of hair and seen friends to their graves.

    So the real talk is never said.
    After a polite time he leaves a bit early.
    I want to re-run dinner again
    with simpler food, the apartment a little messy.
    I'd like to walk right over the edge and say,
    'Who we were then is fable.'
    But that takes believing we're someone right now.

    Instead I sit down to a second meal.
    I'm famished from things left unsaid,
    go to bed too early, and wake totally
    at the national anthem, before the TV hisses
    into blue snow.

    I get up. I eat again.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  8. #18
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    Re: Burn Lake

    Holiday of a Lifetime

    Your ex transferred
    a photo
    to a jigsaw. Years later,
    underneath a shelf,
    you find a centre piece.

    Sit at the desk. It's mid-
    November.
    Your cigarette, neglected,
    unthreads air
    to ash. The study's walls are

    strung with hoops of light
    thrown by a glass
    of water. The sash window
    faces perfectly
    north-west. You checked.

    How close will you get?
    Introduce it
    as a mood composed of pauses,
    water, glass and light,
    the sound of distant

    traffic passing and someone
    burning leaves
    somewhere, close by,
    smoke shrugging
    over fences, hedges,

    as if to say that everything is
    temporary,
    as if you might have momentarily
    forgotten,
    you with ash on the sleeve

    of your best blue jumper.
    The jigsaw piece
    is also blue, as an eye,
    one of yours,
    though what you will do

    for the rest of your years
    is to try,
    repeatedly, to identify
    that blue as sea,
    maybe, or sky.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  9. #19
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    Re: Burn Lake

    Estimates

    Who knows what you mean by love?
    Extrapolating from the facts
    you want two hundred friends
    to watch
    you wear the white and walk the aisle.

    We could pack the car and motor north
    to waterfall and rock, a nightfall
    lit by moonlight on the snowfall
    patches
    still intact among the sheep-tracks

    and the turf-banks and the heather.
    We could pull in somewhere there,
    kill the engine, wait,
    listen
    to a late-night country music station,

    split bars of dark and fruit-&-nut,
    sip amaretto from the lid, skin up,
    and wake,
    unwashed and cramped
    as man and wife

    in a place unpeopled, dawn-calm,
    cleared of its gestures, its features
    by weather, to mountains,
    and mountains of clouds.
    We could.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Burn Lake

    Vertical Realities

    Waking is an obligation:
    three generations open their eyes every morning
    inside me.

    The first is an old child—my father;
    he always chooses his luck and clothes one size too small for him.

    Next comes grandfather ... In his day, the word "diagnosis" did not exist.
    He simply died of misery six months after his wife.
    No time was wasted. Above their corpses
    rose a factory to make uniforms for dockworkers.

    And great-grandfather, if he ever existed,
    I don't even know his name. Here my memory goes on hiatus,
    my peasant origins cut like the thick and yellow nails
    of field-workers.

    Three shadows loom like a forest over me
    telling me what to do
    and what not to do.

    You listened to me say "good morning"
    but it was either an elephant pounding on a piano
    or the seams coming apart in my father's little jacket.

    Indeed, my father, his father, and his father before that
    are not trying to change anything
    nor do they refuse to change anything; the soap of ephemerality
    leaves them feeling fresh and clean.

    They only wish to gently touch the world again
    through me, the way latex gloves
    lovingly touch the evidence
    of a crime scene.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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