Brandon Shimoda
Winter Dwelling
fragments from a relationship                                        (page 8)
western Maine, 2010-2011

APRIL 3. I just wanted to tell you that the poetry reading went really well. I think some people were confused because your editor told everybody that I was you! Sincerely, Genevieve

APRIL 5. There is a singular voice I am after—that I am seeking and also coming out of the smoke of ... a voice that is my forebear, that resides in some incandescent mouth, a vestal flute, drowning to repeat. The consistent dread is the woods behind the cabin here, past the compost pile ... that the woods behind the cabin bear no depth, feel very much like a wall, at least do not permit a view beyond a dozen yards or so. Revising poems as though already dead, like Buckminster walking home one night and stopping at the crest of a bridge, looking down into the river, setting his life behind him, as that singular voice—one's life as one's forebear, and the tremendous release that comes ...

APRIL 6. It's been softly raining on and off the past couple of hours, the air is cool, wrapping itself around my limbs like a vine spewing light purple flowers. I walked out of the Poetry Center earlier and into the dirt warping the light with significant slumbers, fits of sleep and proposals. The movement into, always into and from above. Above was the world of Duncan's H.D., displayed front and center at the Poetry Center. I pulled the small hammer on its chain and broke the glass encasing father and mother. And from the dogs barking at the fog, what emerged: The poem had something to do with keeping open and unfulfilled the urgencies of life. Men hurried to satisfy ends in things, pushed their minds to make advances, right answers, accomplishments, early maturation. They contrived careers that they fully filled. They grew round and fat upon the bough in the heat that kept them where they were, and they prayed that they not fall from their success, that no wind come to break them loose. I plan on reading 50 pages a day. So much of the conversations I need don't include my voice or me chiming in. I can't develop the interior void unless! … But yes, new voice old voice the pride slipping on the tongue of the lion, leaving the warmth of the utterance and becoming serial, committing the same offense and typically following a characteristic. Following a characteristic of what? What is the intangible characteristic? Finding oneself outside of oneself? Is this a characteristic? Can you believe the water we soak our brains in each night? I hope the cabin has some silver glimmer. What becomes of the music?

APRIL 6. This has always been part of the commitment, hasn't it? That the urgencies remain urgencies, never diminished by attainment—that attainment might handily destroy, and close over, as a scab over a wound. The surface must either be seamless or left to fester its feral history ... among other things, now thinking ... visionary ...

APRIL 9. The figure we seek is revealed in fragments in the path of a moon that troubles the waters in which the path of its light is reflected … It's funny to be talking about "the poem" again, after so many months of dropping the lure void of live bait. Again, from the book: The authority of the poem was a voice of the spirit. To be a poet meant an even fanatic allegiance to a vision of dream, in order that there be poetry. Men commonly spoke of a vision or a dream with mistrust. To be a dreamer was ambivalently respected, for dreams rendered men uneasy in their conventional pursuits. A poet must follow his own ideas or feelings wherever they led. In a way, instead of having ideas or feelings, the poet lets ideas or feelings "have" him.

APRIL 29. I am writing a series of mornings. Three mornings in a row, I awake. I take off my wedding ring and place it on the kitchen table. I fill a bucket with some hot water, a teaspoon of bleach, a dollop of hand soap, a sprinkle of powdered lube, and I walk through fog to the barnyard. I won't drink coffee or eat or water myself a daffodil for five hours. I find a ewe in labor in the fog. It is a difficult fog to deliver. Head out, no hoof, that is called morning. Both hoofs cradled back. The sun rise. Head enormous on account of the enormous head of the sun, our ram. Ewes that I know, with whom time is shared. Not enough sun to go around, said the universe. Has been shared with whom. Think of all the countless projects left unfinished. It is, for the mind, a tonic.

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