How to avoid the Eric Roberts Syndrome? The litany of excuses, the calculated regret, the inherent jealousy, the ceaseless reinventions, the sliding, backsliding and enabling bag, the baggy eyes, the tired idealism. All-Time Quarterback, baby; you better believe that plans get complex. Usually in the highlands is where you’ll find your burial mounds, but the bugs that bite the ankles & legs & arms, oh my, the bugs that bite, they're up there too. Fall asleep in the back yard. A karmic test: will I awaken to the gnashing teeth of the raccoon, or will I awaken only to his considering eyes, the spots in the dark and me? I can hear my neighbor's hacking cough and it scares the hell out of me. Whatever happend to little Bobby Quisenberry? The lost scenes from the long ago video? What ever happened there? On the telephone she enumerated every one of our shortcomings. Talking so loud you could set the phone down on the ground, walk away, and still hear her. I can see her eyes roll up in her head with the sheer exasperation of it all, the great suffering of this world’s fools. Short, coming. I'm sorry again. A roll up of the eyes. I seen it! I seen the chartography in the bedroom. The fawns’ mom was killed, hit by a car while crossing the country highway in front of our house, and now the young pair of deer wander our property, rather lost seeming, dazed, nuzzling leaves, grass and one another, smelling things, waiting for their mom to return and lead them to the next world’s place. Eventually they'll just get going, I guess. Some fellas live a life of very vocal desperation. That stupid look on your face as thoughts of undone things come back to you. Thus, the Hurry-Up; Thus, the Bustle; the beard falling out of the face, the drinking big jugs of Earth. The long legs. Top-heavy. North upon an arctic sea adventure -- the incongruously warm inlet cove, the crystal forest, a docking and then lodge. And in that lodge all butchered in whipsaw fashion save one, and this one, it is understood, is to make slow way back to the cove, to the boat, now, back to the boat, to the sea, and something beyond. "I am my own man," he said, "I am the land and sea in decline." It’d been awhile since I’d gotten away with myself. My thoughts had worn over me. I’d been wrecked in dead heaven. I’d been stupified. I’d been all those things, and some other things. Mostly there’s some kid riding a four-wheeler around in the back of my mind, around the side of the field, coming in closer and closer. There’d been a great deal of loss, but there’s always that kind of loss, and then too there’s a flipside and another flipped side. Floss. Or something. Today had to happen. And there were so many ways in which it might not have happened. The thought of that. Brainsoft on saturday, wow, through and all ramification, seems in my dream this morning i was performing a magnified frontal lobe activity and the sense was one of completeness, the chinks filled in. As though I had become everything. We've no idea what you are talking about. Nobody ever will really. The letting go. Excellent stuff for the keeping quiet. There did come a mad yammering, a great rabble, couldn’t anybody believe it? The drama this time was that of life and there was no avoiding and there was nothing of a jokey entertainment in the massive vulnerability awash over them. How could they have been so vain? Cacophanous surge of noise, and then silence, heavy breathing, as in what had formerly been relegated to dream or cinema. You want spectacle? You get spectacle. Man as subject to wild chance, meteors and madmen, bombs and tyrants. To say we have grown fat on the spoils is a massive understatement. Knowledge aside. Certain fruit will rot you, corrupt you, develop in you an insatiable lust for the sweet, dripping bounty of the world’s pulsing wild chance. It doth burst and bloom and fall. We know that the entirety of this life rests on but single decisions in a single time and space -- what will it be friend? The tiny world is so very big, so unknowing, unknowable. Our reach ultimately is so vast and yet it is the reaches of a personalized room on any given moment that is the hardest to figure. We stop and start with such great frequency. “I don’t want you to leave me.” A chord is struck. One dilemma resolved, another brand new. “I don’t want you to leave me.” A tea-cup in a windstorm. “I want to see your face, Chuck Buried. Might I see your face? I want you to look at me when we make love.”
“I love you and I mean that.”
“I’m going to have to ask you to stop meaning anything.”
The lumber didn't come so the carpenters spent the afternoon pounding sand. Dead middle of the night -- the old creeping fear, the mystery and a shadowy realm of chest-clutching wrongness. Terrain of regret, sadness and isolation. Nervy. You feel bigger these days, as though you have grown, or are growing. Your skull feels strong, alive. How do you move so compactly? How do you stand so like a tree? And to think that it may all cave. Missouri and the rest. It may all give way. Metalandwood it destroy the Missouri sky, the tree. Go to the next place, drive or walk. Watch yourself function, move about. React you. Act. Action. Time is a spell long since cast. Remember to bring a pocket with your t-shirt. The bottom-dwellers, the hard-luckers, the scheme-tellers, the debt-duckers. The permed of hair. We always fall in ass first, face up. If you get up now, if you go out the door, you will lose everything that you slept for last night, you will lose all the raw material, the subconscious premonitions, abstractions, associations. You will maybe get others while driving, but you will have lost the morning’s fine setting for craftsmanship. You have lost a great many such moments already in this life, and the creative work has suffered for this loss. Leo, the stars are bright this week, kind of funky. Seek the solitary companionship of your friend. Do not go out. Remember to stretch well your joints, your fists. Lose the tightness, bug. People out here do as they will, when they will, where they will. The act of taking the low road downcountry, slow through shadow & shade, cool on a hot day. Walter Hill’s Lawnmower Repair & Service. Galliase’s Tree Service. A lush green valley. A land of rope and tire swing, complicated trees, dense foliage. The old hill property. Always overgrown. The best blackberries play hide & seek under cover of vine & leaf, turning plump & dark and so so sweet. How is something a thing and is not a thing? How is it that something is and is not a thing? It feels strange to be here now. The ground is so hard. I would like to stay here. The Ozark Highlands. A geology of dolomite & limestone. A karst topography means caves, and lots of them. Hidden worlds. Great seas once covered this area, but that was hundreds of millions of years ago. What time did you say that appointment was? I just want to disappear into the air, cave to the pressure. Heat, comfort, pressure and stasis -- but what else is there? It feels strange to be here now. I’m falling past, spinning off the edges of shirts, mountains, things in front of me. The passage of light years?! I heard the phone ring and I ran around the house in search of the receiver; a call I ought to take, but there was no finding the receiver and then I thought it was possible the ringing had been in my head. I fell into a trance in the light bright in the picture window. And this too shall pass away. Ask yourself: does the story resonate? Like a siren in the morning, like a funeral. Like a first day of school. Like a lost love. Like an old betrayal. Like epiphany. Like a clap of thunder in deep night. Like the dream there lost and reality shock. Like an unexpected phone-call from a friend long gone away. Like a light atop a distant rise. Like conscience. A human cry. At the letter’s close I told him to “keep the spirits up”. I may as well have been talking to myself, as in many a letter. Stomach & thoughts roll in abandon. To think I had you on the telephone all along and we said nothing to one another. Our voices & thoughts haunt one another, 'tis a stitch in time of yours & mine. This is a nice world just as long as one can find the soft spots and therein make home.
Today did rise from the ground—
I said, a’hi, you! I know you!
There you going to, here you from,
just down the hills, the curves—
I am in my house when outside
a mighty rev of engine builds & blows by,
(such distance in all direction)
and then another engine approaches,
(a rising sound)
pulls into my driveway
(what is this?)
(you’re listening for them to pass, but they stop)
the car door slams,
(we know these things)
two feet on gravel approach my door,
a silence then, waiting, two knocks.
Wa-hey! You! I said I know you!
Where you coming from? Where you been?
“Our longings are real, if what they long for isn’t.” – William Gass
“A certainty is that people will tell stories.” – Robert Quisenberry