Comment allez-vous, Yvonne

in outward affairs, a broken toe and off I went, steering in late snow to the emergency room blizzard, too, in sandals now, finally wearing eyeglasses for reading, blame the computer screen and more balding Maine coast from time to time, plus some light rowing and canoeing, and chamber music in mountain villages . still, the annual boat dance with live country folk band and callers cruises Boston Harbor Smell the breeze in its permutations of loving

Howdy, Hank

exactly what comes next? maybe it’s Chicago within multiple trajectories of impatience and boredom before connecting and charging ahead roughshod you take a swing, fan, and fan again in this curriculum of revelations from Old Friends everywhere standing on some pebble-strewn base of a mountain, watching a squall line of religious tracts form in oppressive humidity how am I to know this will play Boston, this season or next? maybe I’ll score, ah, yes, and speaking of Hope, give her my greetings the big picture emerges one pitch at a time, here come the Sox . whoops

 

Bienvenue, Val

the one who pushed has a brain tumor on top of four or five years of chronic, debilitating, undiagnosed intestinal pain, only in her late thirties I agonize over how to respond, wanting to run up to the coast and bring her back where she would at least have someone to offer care, while from the green valley a letter saying another’s on the way to Old Order Mennonite (unless, maybe, I’d go into dairy farming? Nah!)

 

Before naming the icon

drawing on banked experience and earnings, I deplete the rotting woodpile of any past, my flaking barn filled with scorched ore, my private cemetery of flickering weeds all ablaze banked coals blown to life, all reduced to uncommon metal ingots of no commercial value after which I’ll no longer be gnawing lawn furniture out on the road but holed up, frugally assembling and polishing double-edged maps and chronographs to fuel industry with some fork into prophecy or political revolution or Elysium or celebrity-bashing iconoclasm, I won’t be spooked by the alchemy of regret except, maybe children

How’s the coffee?

and now that Manchester isn’t quite the same the drive flew along trees past their prime yet beautiful in that chaste turning more shadowy and wintry the closer I got to home, a still full moon flirting with clouds during that final stretch of reggae beat back around to Worcester a few tears shed as I passed sparkling Baltimore in a twelve-hour trip taking a shade over nine but here they still haven’t fixed the dripping kitchen faucet

 

Nearly perfect eye-opener

from an unspoiled spot on Maine shoreline I’ve watched seasons, storms and calms both within and without, eaten wild strawberries, collected shells and rocks and bits of weathered lobster pots (in Baltimore, I’d retreat to a stretch along the rapids of Gunpowder River north of Sparks) bedazzled with premature color extended with near-perfect cool an eye-opener with a predominance of red luminous fragile fields of blazing our clear windows of gold and copper branches finally die and fall away and are grieved so that the new vision may emerge

 

Communion with strangers

the mailman didn’t leave the stack in the hallway, as I had worried, but rather held it to give to me today (twenty-four pieces, which included one personal letter to me, from somebody amplifying on our Seventh-day conversation in North Carolina, or as he pronounces it, Nor’car’l’na, a personal letter to Iowa from another in Pennsylvania who must have his addresses mixed up, I’ll forward adding my own greetings; three magazines; my union newspaper; six bills; unsolicited junk including offers of wild credit lines if I accept more I’d be rich if I could reach the right country without extradition

As a zealous professional

so pleased entering my apartment to see everything tight, still in place, no vandals, though the temperature was 89 degrees, apparently the maintenance crew had come in and set the thermostat at 80 to get the radiators going and then left while ignoring repairs to one of those single joy-stick faucets that takes an eight-dollar washer kit to repair, I know, because the three-dollar one I bought had the wrong kinds of springs and plugs and doodads, and none fit

 

Construction report

behind plaster we rip from the kitchen crumbling accounts of protracted death Floyd Collins 15 days 1925 age 36 Sand Cave Crystal Cave Kentucky as published in Boston, accounting inescapably cold mud and implacable rock when my own parents were first walking, yet this story my mother related as if she were on the carnival rides of its macabre vigil but now we find nothing holding this roof to the walls so much callous indifference riding on the blind arrogance a foolish turn, perchance, or just dumb luck when it comes to catastrophe of course, I remember living on the roof of a cavern down in muddy Indiana

Remarkably, it seems

what’s happened I no longer want to travel or climb the high mountains or is it just all the moves across the continent and back, my years on the road, my commute daily so stretched I’d contract into my nest and grounds for reading or revision, the places I’ve been and people I’ve known so many I want to know my own better . people come from all over the globe to see the landscape I call home