Friday, November 25, 2016

No help

People I love have willfully untethered themselves from reality.  And the person who would have kept them from drifting is lost. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016


It's a dark Thanksgiving, this year.  Dark literally- winter has begun smudging the mornings grey, staining the evenings almost black.  And dark in its litany of anxieties- some global, some personal, some dull, some bone-saw sharp.  Dark, too, in my increasing cognizance of my life's sclerosis, the narrowing of ability and possibility.

I get up.

It's early morning, my favorite time.  The quiet is here.  The new light streaks the back of night's throat.

I'm reading about death.  And the frantic dance that comes before.

Upstairs, my child chatters.  He is part of my litany of fear- his end, his hopes, his formation, the agony of my relationship to my parents and presumably his to his- but he is also his own sharply delineated self, cackling and whooping and stealing out of bed.

"I'm awake!" he howls.

The most we can ask. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016


The leaves are peaking.  It's a surprise, one of the many ways I've recently miscalculated.  I haven't spent many falls in this place; I had it in my head that the trees would flame out toward the end of October, during a time I was away.  But I staggered off the plane into green, and since then that green has been leaching away, the trees giving themselves over, inch by inch, to the sickening glory of fall. 

Fall is leprosy.  It's a loveliness that marks you,  has no cure.  It hooks into your jaw, scrapes your lips.  It's unsparing and assertive and a little bit mean -and you love it anyway, because you have to, because you've always loved it and can't seem to stop.

So many mistakes.  Imagining the world to be a kinder place than it has proved itself to be.  Thinking you can change what is.  That second waffle.  And on, and on.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Nov 19: Birthday

It's my father's birthday.

These days I feel like I am constantly one beat away from tears.  Like my life is a thin film slicked over a snot-nosed, red-faced howl.

Thursday, November 17, 2016


You wake up one morning and realize that all the cliches about time are knifingly, crucifyingly true.  It all goes so fast.  Youth is wasted on the young.  You're going to miss this.

It's one of the multitude of life's petty cruelties, that when you need to hear them -those hoary drumbeats about the value of your time, the consequences of your choices, the glory of now- you can't.  And after they've clarified for you, sharpened for you, pinned you-

You're going to miss this.  Parts of this.  Imperfectly.  Go.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Nov. 14

Sometimes the return of joy is a betrayal: your skin smothering your heart.

Monday, November 7, 2016


I never took volcanoes seriously.  It's because were never merely themselves but were always a conduit to something else: props in movies, hinges in stories, the sausage meat stuffed into a symbol's  skin.

But they are also their very own extruding, fiery, caustic selves, and those selves are -no bones about it- miraculous.  It's the earth's version of immaculate conception, rock calving itself. It merely (and flagrantly) is.

I saw a volcano.  I am largely unchanged.  The volcano is unequivocally unchanged.  But nevertheless, something small has shifted.  If only a slight stirring of my sense that I do not know everything, can never, do not want to.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

BWV 106

It's impossible to tell if I love the piece because it is familiar, or if the piece has nosed itself into familiarity because of my love.

Backtracking: familiar might be the wrong word.  Familiar smacks of transparency, comfort.   My knowledge of the piece is grittier, smuttier, stained by performance after performance.  At school, fumbling through the notes.  That time in Cincinnati with the garret hotel and the wrought iron bed, playing with the man who would later go blind.  Playing with my teacher.  Playing with my student.  Playing with one colleague or another, each of us with our petty tragedies and vain hopes and shaky certainties and brief moments of grace.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


The meaning of life is to share joy.  I legitimately believe this.  It is a bit startling to find, within myself, after all these years, legitimate belief.  It's like opening up the fridge and discovering that it is full of worms.  Or some other metaphor, with fewer worms.