Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Return

Last night's flight from Hilo was full of local folks: husband and wife and four kids in front of me, one in a Pauahi teeshirt, pink; an older man with working hands beside me, snoozing behind his white mustache; a large woman in ALOHA cap next to him, surfing the internet during take-off; three Pacific Islanders wearing black formal jackets over their tapa cloth and lavalava, the youngest one playing a patched up guitar against the airport music (Hawaiian) in Hilo. Local pilot smiled at us on our way out.

Jon brings up Thoreau's age. The exquisite prose (I won't say pose) of a young man. To imagine him at 70, perhaps dependent on his neighbors, unable to cut out stumps and drag them home; less interested in capturing a bird than in listening to it where it sits. Maybe gazing out from the window seat at the curve of Maui, stitched in lights, then Honolulu far away, gaining on us.

An electrician yelled at M about how horrible Asians are, told her to go back to Thailand, Taiwan, wherever. This in Mānoa. In the old paintings it's bare of anything but pig farms; now the aging homes shelter a population of local Japanese and UH faculty from the outside.

Tim says a woman in the Minneapolis airport told her sons that the Big Island is rural, but that Oahu is full of Asians. Just telling it like it is, she told them, when he stared. He thinks there are a lot of white people in Minnesota. Just the way it is.

Another shooting, this time in a California Costco. The newspaper article reads like a poetry experiment. "Say in what aisle of the store the violence occurred and cue the soundscape." Argument near the freezer section. Man with Mohawk fired at least six times. One woman heard the shots from the meat section, where she and her daughter were buying steaks for Father's Day. Another thought the shots were shattering wine bottles in the liquor section. I can trace the route through the Costco embedded in my mind. "It's like one video game." Strewn behind were backpacks and cell phones.

The movie added nothing new, my friend said of Across the Universe, or what an unhappy reviewer described as a "glorification of hippies." History stays in place, but the film renders it as style, a plot constructed of songs that shaped that history. Like The Death of Stalin, the film skips tones like an old record; tragic to absurd, joyous to glum. Let us listen on repeat, like yesterday's ball-game on the not-so-streaming internet, full of rocks and eddies, occasional errors.

Stalin bends his finger and another minister disappears from the screen. We call it "cancelling," a version of "disappearing" that at least forgoes the death penalty. It's more a stage than a stadium where we keep our guilty parties. Whether they know or not we put them there. The farmer's market offers some old tomatoes, and there's a paint store down the street. We hurl vegetable and noise at them, vow never to speak again. And so we exit into the quiet night street of an old European village, cobblestones accumulating light, a cafe bustling two roads over. No, there's no such thing as silence, but there is the attempt. You will never walk down this hall again and be greeted by a human voice.

Because we cannot find the truth, we utter warnings. A rumor of a rumor gathers moss and rust and taint. A gavel falls (tell Pelosi how to do it, Mr. P!) and we lock her or him up in their own bent narrative structures. Prison bars offer no spirits.

A woman asks her teen daughter if she wants to sit on the cement bench beside the airport's outer island terminal curb. Her daughter, who so resembles her, has cried off and on during the flight; she leans against her mother, whose face is drawn. She does not want to sit. She cries through an open mouth. My son arrives to pick me up.

If a pronoun is true, you can sin against it.
If a racial identity is true, you can sin against it.
If sin is true, you might sin against it.

In an era when ethics has shed its definition like a snake its skin, we judge each other by the highest standards we can invent. One day there's no collusion, and then the next there's a desire for more collusion. One day there's open obstruction of justice, and the next there's more. But our sentences come with underlined gaps in them. Fill in a word, any word, that might fit grammatically. Not that grammar offers a sense of what might be true, but what might work as a sentence. Why people hate John Ashbery, except he skated across the ice, pushing his puck in grand loops, rather than shooting a man in the freezer section and then delighting in the stage set.

And I do delight in it, in a way that makes me feel cruel. As the journalist must have done, tracing the arc of the crime against a map of that Costco, which is any Costco. At least the vitamin aisle didn't come in for mention, or the socks and books aisle. Next year, a memoir of meat will appear, or what we saw when we went to buy steaks.

I forget why the journalist came to our door, but my mother appeared in the article dressed in a caftan. Of henna hackles halt came later, as she entered the poetic stream. She was metaphor for the suburban housewife, comfortable in her foyer and other French-sounding words. (Her French was terrible. One time people asked her directions in France and she dithered her way through them in broken syntax, terrible accent. After they drove away, she realized they had asked in English.)

If they're not ghosts in the attic, they're rats. A peculiar haunting. We heard a loud thump on the roof and Bryant saw a hapu`u palm frond waving beside the cottage. I called out for a cat, on the off-chance it was one, and would answer to me. Voice is gesture, is where I throw my words in a rain forest.

Brian sends me a chapter, partly on Ashbery, from Berlant's Cruel Optimism. My optimism that the critique responds to the poem is perhaps cruel; I so want call and response to join at a perfect seam, and explication. I love them both, the poem and the critique, but I cannot forge a more perfect union of them. If I leave theory behind entirely, will my life be more difficult than if I remain with theory and feel discomfort? Which loss cancels the other out? Early trauma forgotten except as appetite or self-indictment or the kind of PTSD that comes on in response to the acronym.

Let my art be evasion. I don't want my spilled wine to sound like gunfire, or the freezer section to represent a frozen soul, or the meat section to mirror a man's cold flesh. One to one correspondences commit violence on both sides. Let me say that wine flowed from the water aisle and we made a belief system of it.

Friday, June 14, 2019

There's an "I" in Transcendentalist

Last night I texted our friend down the street to express my condolences over his Golden State Warriors' loss, of game, of Finals, of an Achilles and a knee. He texted back to say he got home after watching the game to find that his neighbor was dead.

This was not the neighbor with emergency orange netting for a gate, two geese and a huge pick-up truck. Or an ancient Chevy station wagon that sits under a tarp. That neighbor has an Amish beard and wears a hard furrow between his eyes. Sold cocaine on Oahu, he'd told our friend, then flew here on a private plane, lives in a friend's renovated shack. He's cut back the ferns, so his landscape is dirt and plastic toys. A trampoline fills much of the backyard, if that is what it is. He's a family man, but he'll kill your cat if he doesn't like you.

"Common name: häpu‘u, häpu‘u pulu, Hawaiian tree fern Habitat Häpu‘u is native to most of the Hawaiian islands. It is one of more than 800 species of tree ferns, descendants of prehistoric vegetation found worldwide in semi-wet to wet forests from sea level to over 5000 ft elevation."

"It [the fern] is a fabulous, mythological form, such as prevailed when the earth and air and water were inhabited by those extinct fossil creatures that we find." (HDT, Journals)  The hapu`u fern is far more rare just two miles down Highway 11; here it fills the middle canopy with light and sound shadow. The hapu`u grows slowly, is endangered by development. Fiddleheads cluster together, like members of a standing committee who've fallen silent, pulu like ostrich feathers. Or like sea horses, stranded in the rain forest.

Perverse transcendentalist, our survivalist neighbor. American transcendentalism at the end of a gun or a threat.

Transcendentalism requires a container: Thoreau's cabin, Dickinson's attic room. This guy's shack, covered with NO TRESPASSING signs, a self-constructed cell. He wants his language to act; KEEP OUT is as literal as you get. Trump says Nancy Pelosi is a fascist. Now there's a poetic ruen of the word.

The ferns turn sunlight inside out, as if lit from below. The rain forest seems an inversion in the daylight, but clouds return it to mist and no-shadow. There is no doubling when the sky is clouded over, only singularity, if you can see it. A weed whacker screams through the forest from Haunani Road (I think), cutting holes in bird song. Bryant contrived a cone out of a plastic cutting board, installing it around wires that lead to the roof. The space between the tin roof and the plastic ceiling is a regular rat highway, he says. Puts chicken wire over holes in the kitchen (a banana was partially eaten the other night). I fail to feel an appropriate disgust, though I hardly want to share my space with rodents. Some evenings, a neighborhood cat leaps on the roof, all cement paws, paces up and back and then is gone.

In the forest there is so much you cannot see. It's a good place for those of us who favor our ears, whose sense of space is the distance between a patch of wind, an `apanane's song, and the now diminishing weed whacker (just elevated in decibels and pitch, alas). As if a museum were to provide obstacles to seeing art, asking the viewer to piece together each image through the sounds of conversation and echoes of feet. Thoreau hated museums, their fixity, their isolation. I found a Monet cathedral in the back of a museum in Belgrade. I wanted to ask, "What are you doing here?" It might have asked me the same.

I pull out a brochure at the Arts Center that advertises a "Captain Cook dinner cruise." Inside, we read about how little we know of the man. We read that he died in Kealakekua Bay, that he was a discoverer. And then we see photos of Duke Kahanomoku, with the phrase "History is fun!" attached. Captain Cook did die here, but we're not told why or how. I tell the predictable cannibal joke, and my "cousin" doesn't get it. She invited us to family dinner for father's day.

Bryant taps the wooden end of a broomstick against the ceiling. He heard a rat in there somewhere. Draws the broomstick across the crenellated ceiling. Outside, the sky is cerulean through gaps in the hapu`u and `ohia. Drone of engine and trill of cricket. The roof talks, even when it's not prompted by bird or rat. I'm unsure of its language of gesture. But now I hear the guard goose calling down the loop. Honking time.

Just past the dead man's house, someone put up an American flag. I think it a symbol, until from my bike I see flags all over the Village. The road in front of his house turns into a huge puddle when it rains. Beside the puddle, a hapu`u fern leans out over the water, its fronds erect in the early morning light.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Rats in the vatic

She had a strange question, she said. A few years ago, they'd been at this lookout on Devastation Trail and met a couple with bikes. They'd ride up here every morning. She paused. "Are you those people?"

Her husband, the one with the long lens, the long pony tail and the tie-dyed shirt, was disappointed at how much of the park is still closed, by the lack of lava crossing the bottom of Chain of Craters Road. To the side, his wife tells me she disagrees with him. To be in geological time. He says they have more privacy here than they do with their teens. He says they have to leave.

Kaiser sends an email advising "forest bathing." It has nothing to do with water.

Dead hapu`u fronds turn bronze in sunlight; they are as beautiful as the green. Wind in the o`hia does not fill the soundscape, but moves through it, as if from speaker to speaker. The metaphor that equates the natural world with the man-made seems to go only one way. I do not say the speakers resemble alternating ferns, or even a forest-box of `apapane.

Thoreau grieved for the tree; kidnapped turtle eggs and owl to measure them; hated his fellow citizens for their ordinary pursuits of a livelihood. For whom a turtle was potential pay-day. At the Maui Aquarium, soccer dads talked about how to catch the fish, what they tasted like. American pragmatism and transcendentalism make for a rip-tide.

A pink tow truck of trucks rammed 11 cars yesterday on the Likelike to Kahekili on-ramp. The driver was said to have been on her cell phone before the crash. At the front, a turquoise solar truck struck down to the size of a two-seater motorcycle.

I bemoan my tendency toward the vatic; Brian tells me I've already been there. Alternator current between flash fact and meaning. His attachment to meaning means he stopped reading Ashbery in the early 1990s. Peel it away like a sticker from a carton of eggs, put there so they don't hatch in the car. My daughter would not find that funny.

"In a journal," Thoreau writes in his, "it is important in a few words to describe the weather, or character of the day, as it affects our feelings. That which was so important at the time cannot be unimportant to remember." Near the end, Saijo noted the weather several times each day in his notebook. The weather had weathered his feelings, worn them down like a river stone.  His cabin has been painted and protected with a large overhang; the tall trees out back were cut down and the neighboring lot cleared, except for an old chimney. No structure should outlive its maker, and this one did, only to be "renovated." The better to rent it out.

Our neighbor goes to the store before other people arrive. He rides his bike to the park before the tourists enter. He works all day, alone, on his ceramics. But venture over to see his work and he'll talk for an hour. Thinks he might want to see Machu Piccu "before it's too late."

Bryant has gone to the hardware store in Kea`au to get chicken wire. He will fill the holes in the cottage where rats can waltz in. A cat down the road scampers over the roof once a day. It's a sound system, but hard to get the balance right.

For most of this trip, I've not missed music or the news of the day. He'd collude again and again, if he got something he wanted of it. But I watched the seventh game of the Stanley Cup on my iPhone. You don't see the puck, but you follow the surge of skaters around it. I've watched Taresenko's pass to Shen a dozen times. My daughter's cross in front of the net, pushed in by her teammate.

"Perception itself is never finished." (MP) Ride far enough on your bicycle in the park and there is nothing else. Language trails perception, lives in a higher gear. Language works through gesture to re-convene the world at the moment of perception, though it's more diorama than pan-.

Meaning emerges as distance. The nene do fly over the caldera in the morning light, though signs alert us to their road crossings. We must laugh at the line about how "gay people control the weather," including recent tornadoes in the Midwest. If they control the weather, who controls their conspiracy theories? The academy hates a life of the spirit, but uses it to make political points on behalf of those whose culture ought not to be appropriated. A double-appropriation equals the neutral zone play of the Blues, who made center ice a nearly impassible "swamp." "We" can speak for "them" if we parrot their reverence.

The lama told a profane story about pissing. Westerners were horrified. What does pissing have to do with enlightenment? He never told such stories again; even in translation they seemed incomprehensible. My hard-of-hearing aunt loved him. She wondered what all the lava here "was good for."

Memory's exigencies fail here. Events come pre-shorn of affect. At least for now.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Ordinary earthquakes

Where earthquakes were the "ordinary" the house has settled, aside from the rats. Last night they dragged something into the space above my bed; I thought I heard them eating. Squeak, beep, my friend said on her answering machine. No! It was beep, speak.

Squeak. What I thought an endemic `amakihi may have been a saffron finch, I'm told by Joe in Kansas.

Yesterday, I walked behind a large red earth mover at the curve of a road the other side of Wright. Negotiated my way past a triangular warning sign and squatted amid the brown palm fronds. I peed. Not six inches away from me were two neat rows of solid teeth, a skull mixed in with the dead fronds. Narrow jaw, a boar. Back near the street a femur and other scattered bones. The pee spot, making waves: Radhika at three in Kathmandu in the concrete rubble of a construction site.

The ordinary re-invents itself in context. Already the morning clouds move in, darkening the room. Must we be readers of poetry sitting in chairs in forest rooms to avoid the nation's criminal enterprise? His friend is in solitary, wants to go back to Arizona where he can take prison classes. He killed an autistic arsonist there, after causing the "accidental" death of a college professor in Waikiki. "He's a good guy," my friend says, then rolls his eyes at himself. It's complicated. He writes poems in old-fashioned cursive. They rhyme. They lament. They are still the poems of a man in prison in solitary, though they might be those of a young woman in intro to poetry.

Solitude is balm or solitude is nerves. Noise to silence ratio. If noise is what we make, then what of the rats' squeaking, dragging, in their attic cafe. The famous chef played heavy metal music in his restaurant. "It's like being in his home," the waiter said. "Do I have to pay for my meal in his house?" my friend's wife demanded to know.

From his watchtower down the mountain a bit, he could see three orange glows last year: Kilauaea, Pu`u O`o, Fissure 8. In spring the `ohia render the forest red with their blossoms. Pigs rut in his back yard; he'll need to fence it, but not until next year. He says he watches a lot of movies up here and listens to Eckhart Tolle on the now. Grimaces when he mentions the neighbors, though what he hadn't imagined when he built the house is that you cannot see them.

The "trespassers will be shot" sign is still down my street, but it's bleached in the sun. NO TRESPASSING still rings out its orange warning. Wear orange to protest gun violence. Or not.

I wonder if my friend believes his friend in solitary. My friend lives in solitary, too, but he has an altar to Buddha and leaves late afternoons to hike in the park. Solitude causes psychosis, when it doesn't give you American transcendentalism. The current version of which is psychosis: Mexico gave into a threat weeks before it was made, and Mars is part of the moon. Don't give up on western logic, Jon tells me, but I wonder what's left of it. You can read Hegel in your cottage but once you turn on the radio, all bets are off. Hegel in Vegas would be a formidable thing.

To pay attention is not to pay off a mortgage or to pay to play. I must hit a button to pay my debts. Reparations, repair. To attend is to stitch back together. Not the violence of collage but something more gentle, like the hem of a cloak. Slow cinema. Watch hand thread needle pierce cloth pull up the thread and attach. Not cling.

As a child, he clung to us. Needs "moments of happiness" that self-destruct. Needs what cannot be given. The Dalai Lama says you cannot lose your ego unless it's healed. I cannot find the recipe on-line. No YouTube to tell me how to take the moist gardenia flower and plant it inside his chest. The blossom has no narrative on this cool morning. I saw a cat down the road the other day. Looked briefly at my boots. When I shifted my gaze back, it was gone.

"You need a cat for your cottage."

Saturday, June 8, 2019

House rats

The night before last I found my package of English muffins on the floor, wondered if I'd knocked them down while washing dishes. This morning muffins (one fewer than before) were on the floor, still in their plastic bag, mostly eaten. Every night, the ceiling provides a cacophony of scuttling and squeaks. A larger animal was on the roof last evening over the fire stove; first thought, "earthquake."

"I omit the unusual--the hurricanes and earthquakes--and describe the common." Thoreau.

Thoreau asks why we have ever slandered "the outward." He refers to "the miracle" of perceiving surfaces "to a sane sense." The surface has little plot, little narrative arc, fails at story-making. Buddhist stories are about narrative failure; she imagined an outcome and it proved to be #fakenews. Yet the vehicle of the non-story has a plot, and we don't fail to believe the narrator.

Sounds: the apapane chitter; distant drone of an engine (small to my perspective on the porch); dogs; the goose down the road. The woman whose goose it is misunderstood my introduction of myself to be a request for trimmings. She was folded in on herself, garlanded in loose skin. Car on Haunani Road, through the forest behind the cottage.

I saw the survivalist with the HUNGRY DIESEL truck at the Volcano Store two days ago. "Trespassers will be shot; survivors will be shot again," read the sign that is no longer on his gate post. But a bright orange mesh now connects trees in front of his drive. Cache of toys scattered in front of his renovated shack. Two geese lie on the drive, eye to eye. He has out-sourced his attitude. Threw me side-eye as I looked at him.

"Rats climb trees, eat eggs, and prey on nestlings and adult birds. They are considered a leading cause of the accelerated decline and extirpation of endemic Hawaiian forest birds and a major factor limiting present populations of endangered birds."

What grounds us proves most fragile: the birds, the `ohia, the crumbling stairs to the old bathhouse, the weather, the crumbling soil, moss on lava rock.

And there is the orange cat from down the road, staring at my roof and me! I should invite him in, but he's wandered into the forest now, off the stage between dilapidated stairs. Cats kill rats and cats kill birds and rats kill birds. Which death dealer shall I favor?

There is no inward without outward (unless you're young). But the gap between them is like the gap between word-sound and word-meaning. Mind the gap.

"Like language, painting at first lives in the milieu of the exterior holy." Merleau-Ponty

Caroline and I talk about what to make of limited time: she counts to ten now, and I to 28. But the counting is prospect, an imagined space. Rats die in the spaces between walls, and then they stink. Bryant wants to avoid that. No poison, just traps and cones of shame around the wires that lead to the house. He thinks about emotions this way: given depression and confusion, how can we cut a path. A dog barks more loudly.

The first goose down the road barks. One of the old women wrote a letter to the editor to say she wants no visitors, no tourists, no one aside from the residents of Volcano. Stop advertising us, she insisted. "But you'd never find her," my friend said as we drove past.

"Try random things until they work."


Merleau-Ponty, The Prose of the World; Thoreau, Journals

Friday, June 7, 2019

MAGA and the blank sign

Walking between the Old Volcano Store and Volcano Arts Center, I crossed paths with an older white man wearing a dingy blue cap. As we got close, he smiled, and I noticed MAGA stitched on his hat. I asked if it was really a MAGA cap and he chuckled. "The clouds are coming in," he said, pointing behind me.

I looked behind me. Clouds. Then wondered if he'd told me about clouds before or after I asked about his MAGA cap, oddly blue. That would be a different story, if he'd said "clouds" first.

Cause and effect after the fact. One version cause, the other version effect, or affect.

After I read from my memory cards, a history professor asked why, if I believe in randomness, I date each poem. Where historical time transects present time, there's a date on chance operations. But not operations exactly, as there are none where none intended.

"It [speech] is rather a profound connivance of time with itself." MP.

Off Maile, I saw a gate beside the road near a forest preserve. The gate was locked; sturdy metal fencing enclosed an area we assume to be free of pigs. A sign hung from the tree beside the gate. It had bleached completely white.

Early Monday morning, after the weekend's Commencement exercises, runners found the body of a young man hanging at Ching Field. His parents had come for his law school graduation. As he was not a student, Honolulu police were called in to investigate.

This place is half rhyme. Fern, bird. Hapu`u, `apapane.

In Columbo we see the murder first. The drama is in the figuring out. Figurer, to solve by imagining. Having used that verb in a train in Nantes once, I now suspect it more literary than spoken. Figure and ground, where ground is distance and figure leans out of its penciled lines as if to greet you. Bonjour, smudge.

So the mystery is in how, not who. "Students only like to write about themselves now," a colleague said, not wanting the sentence to go public. And so we leave behind our documents, our vestiges, our unbearable objects. I am not my toothbrush, am instead a more fluid dentifrice.

In the film, a young man takes a vow of silence for one full year. He pushes his tent and his water in front of him, down highways and over bridges on three wheels. The silence is all his. He writes notes on pads, orders a sandwich with a piece of paper. We learn about him through the film's voice-over. He's from New Hampshire. At the end, we see him beforehand. He speaks eloquently about not speaking.

The fragment is not an end, because there is no end. It's not a means, because there are no means to no end.

The ferns and the birds cleanse, though they do not purify. Purity is violence, is lodging official complaint that the professor used the incorrect pronoun, or that she (or he?) said something racist. We make the bed we sleep in, then oblige the others to watch. The apapane sings from inside my skull; the fern gently scratches my eyeballs with its reflected light. This is not to make of my solitude an empire, but to pull away the mean spirits that insinuate their way in. Bryant means to put cones of shame on the wires, the better to disinvite rats into our attic space.

According to Paulhan, as quoted by Merleau-Ponty, language is composed of "gestures which are not accomplished without some negligence." What we neglect is meaning. Becomes it. As a hat becomes you, or marks you as a supporter of the Right.

To pursue something we call wisdom without pronouncing it as a set of rules. Bird song and helicopter noise impinge, each on the other, as did someone's house alarm as I walked past Saijo's old place and around the corner to home. The bar's sign reads "whisper only," but it is not blank. Two men sit side by side drinking. They lean into each other's ear space, lips tracing out their speech.

Write everything you know. But if you only know how to look for it, you can only add one more line onto the page, making a stool from two embracing tree trunks. The chimpanzee will not recognize them both, but knows what to do with them each. One is for climbing and the other for sitting. But only if you draw him into the scene.

--Quotations from The Prose of the World, by Merleau-Ponty.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

On forgiveness

On, as in "about," as in not "in the area of" but "concerning," not immediately as a "taking care" but moving toward care, if care is to be read as rebound.

To forgive is a transitive verb, but not a transitory one. Not to say "that was ok," but to say "I will no longer be shadowed by your act." Or I will shrink that shadow down to the size of a pin from the giant who walks beside me, tongue visible on the sidewalk. Tin of tongue, Rod wrote about. What does it mean to put the mechanics of voice into a tin and close it? To open the tin with the metal circle that unfolds to reveal a silent tongue?

The French philosopher with a Russian name, was it, argues that forgiveness can only be arbitrary and sudden. She held her anger for 60 years. But that was not transitive on her part. The anger sat in her like a green-slimed monster (but not visible as such) until it broke. The lamp beside my bed broke last night, crashing to the floor after I closed my book. More powerful as coherent glass, or as broken? Broken anger alerts us to its sharp edges, the better to avoid them.

"I forgive him," the black woman said of the young man who killed nine parishioners in Charleston.

That's a mystery that no episode of Columbo can solve. When Bryant texted me about watching Columbo, it came out, "we are watching Columbine." How we arrive at it, if forgiveness can be referred to as object.

The woman who saw her colleague molesting the boy said nothing. The boy who saw his brother being raped and said nothing before forgetting it had happened. Forget and forgive are positives. To get or to give. To give life to or to give the hurt away. For is a directive; get and give are right action. So why do we refuse?

To be 60 is to begin to see the open field. I can avert my eyes from him or from her and see the trees ahead. In Oregon I stood beside a giant tree and experienced a feeling of awe. The tree split me open. It seemed old and kind.

So that forgiveness is neither good nor bad, but occurs to you or to me. "Occurs to me" is a thought or an action, non-transitive, like "attending" instead of "paying attention." I know it is possible, but I do not put my nose out and hunt for it in the deep grass. The birds come to me on mornings like this as sound; I cannot see them in the canopy. To bird watch is not to stalk but to accept their volition and their fly-bys, when they come.

The preposition is a proposition: a way of thinking through. The lava tube in the park is still closed, but offers a model of getting through. We pass through time, as if it were still and we the movers. Or perhaps it passes through us like water in a cool climate.

It is the process that seems difficult, no matter the size of the offense. As in perspective painting, the smaller objects are farther away, but that's a fiction we create to render space flat. The Cambodian village needed workers, so the former Khmer Rouge tilled fields beside family members of those they'd killed. Is that forgiveness or something more basic, like hunger? Can hunger lend us forgiveness, forgiveness fill us with its "moment of happiness" a burger brings?

Forgiveness as nutritive: there are the bad calories and the good. Again, try to cut down on the judgment intake. The teen is so obsessed with being the best that he cannot leave his room. The therapist oddly counsels giving him back his cell phone. Any connection is a good one.

What is said here will not be repeated outside the room. That's where abstraction comes in. We do not assign a speaker or an interlocutor, simply a situation. Situations resemble. If I can imagine being in that room, I have heard you say please let drop those judgments, those insufficiences, that lack of self-love.

Change the narrative so love can grow through the crack. You were not abandoned; you were passed on to what they hoped were better situations. You found one and grieve for the worse. For that is our nature, forever and ever, amen. We cannot offer you our feeling, but we can hold you as you water the bougainvillea. A woman on the van said "how beautiful!" and I said "it's a weed, but a gorgeous one." Let us be such weeds, or weedlings.

Some days the field is flooded with good feeling. Other days are more tedious, cramped. On both these sets of days I love you. Let me side with what is, and forego improvement. The apapane are singing.