There is a blue city in mind

constructed slantways


along a rippling canal,

clean and unpeopled but for a musician


who plays a harp without strings.

The city has one chair


where he sits by the broad strokes of water.

A lone streetlamp tends


its blue arc of light.

A Persian door. A zeppelin sky.


The world filters through

his empty frame as he plucks the air.


Maybe you hear a song or maybe you don’t.

That is the choice we are always making.



If you go on thus, you will kill yourself,

And ’tis not wisdom thus to second grief

Against yourself.



I pray thee cease thy counsel,

Which falls onto mine ears as profitless

As water in a sieve. Give me not counsel,

Nor let no comforter delight mine ear

But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.

Bring me a father that so loved his child,

Whose joy of her is overwhelmed like mine,

And bid him speak of patience.

Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine,

And let it answer every strain for strain,

As thus for thus, and such a grief for such,

In every lineament, branch, shape, and form.

If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,

And sorrow wag, cry “hem” when he should groan;

Patch grief with proverbs, make misforturne drunk

With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,

And I of him will gather patience.

But there is no such man. For, brother, men

Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief

Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,

Their counsel turns to passion, which before

Would give preceptial medicine to rage,

Fetter strong maddness with a silken thread,

Charm ache with air and agony with words.

No, no! ‘Tis all men’s office to speak patience

To those that wring under the load of sorrow,

But no man’s virtue nor sufficiency

To be so moral when he shall endure

The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel;

My griefs cry louder than advertisement.



Therein do men from children nothing differ.



I pray thee peace. I will be flesh and blood;

For there was never yet a philosopher

That could endure the toothache patiently,

However they have writ the style of gods

And made a push at chance and sufferance.

“Each truth is a fragment which does not stand alone but reveals connections on every side. Truth in itself is one, and the Truth is God.

Every truth is a reflection; behind the reflection and giving it value, is the Light. Every being is a witness; every fact is a divine secret; beyond them is the object of the revelation, the hero witnessed to. Everything stands out against the Infinite as against its background; is related to it; belongs to it. A particular truth may indeed occupy the stage, but there are boundless immensities beyond. One might say a particular truth is only a symbol, a symbol that is real, a sacrament of the absolute; it is a sign, and it exists, but not of itself; it does not stand of itself; it lives by what it borrows and would die if left to its own insubstantiality.

Therefore, for the fully awakened soul, every truth is a meeting place; the sovereign Thought invites ours to the sublime meeting; shall we miss it?

The life of the real is not entirely in what we see, in what we can analyze by knowledge. The real life has a hidden life, like Jesus, and this life is also a life in God; it is, as it were, a life of God; it is a revelation of His wisdom in laws, of His power in effects, of his goodness in the usefulness of things, of his tendency to diffuse himself in exchange and growth; it is a kind of incarnation which we must venerate and love, keeping in contact with Him who thus embodies Himself. To separate this “body of God” from His Spirit is to abuse it; just as it is an abuse of Christ to see in Him the man only.” – Sertillanges


“I come to you because I can speak freely to you and not worry that I have said the wrong things to the wrong ears, hearing it later from the wrong mouth.” – Carillon

With coals of juniper, Lord, with ripped willow clumps,

with lodge-pole pine and fir, with wind-wrack and slash,

I kindle an all-night fire to mirror You.

No longer waning, no longer falsifying chimes.

No longer smoking out rot, or eclipsing Yeshiva scholars.

No Lord I know what is within magnified.

Stars will just have to wait to eddy through gates of night.

Little swirl, mimicking nebulae, mimicking galaxies, which turns

for no apparent reason other than to cast and recast the whole

as it whirs and whirls, knocks and ticks at three am

in a snit to proclaim itself not as You but it in You.

If I can strut a note, can rack wobbly pins,

balance rocks into signposts, waves into a grass mass or two,

it will hear itself structuring time. This oddly chopped

watched dimension quarters us into early middle late.

Each day scans and wanes, some hope knowing its moaning

is mourning what it erases. The and stamped by the sea

each second. Be with it and what it erases ceases to toll.

This love for the petty things,

part natural from the slow eye of childhood,

part a literary affectation,


this attention to the morning flower

and later in the day to a fly

strolling along the rim of a wineglass –


are we just avoiding the one true destiny,

when we do that? averting our eyes from

Philip Larkin who waits for us in an undertaker’s coat?


The leafless branches against the sky

will not save anyone from the infinity of death,

nor will the sugar bowl or the sugar spoon on the table.


So why bother with the checkerboard lighthouse?

Why waste time on the sparrow,

or the wildflowers along the roadside


when we should all be alone in our rooms

throwing ourselves against the wall of life

and the opposite wall of death,


the door locked behind us

as we hurl ourselves at the question of meaning,

and the enigma of our origins?


What good is the firefly,

the droplet running along the green leaf,

or even the bar of soap spinning around the bathtub


when ultimately we are meant to be

banging away on the mystery

as hard as we can and to hell with the neighbors?


banging away on nothingness itself,

some with our foreheads,

others with the maul of sense, the raised jawbone of


They are not the freshly brushed

or first-musk-behind-ear girls,

not wrapped in the latest sashay and sequin of a shirt.

They are as invisible as the inside of a locker


amidst the swarm of strut-walks

and octave-dropping voices.

This one is hunkered behind a pinched mask,

living off her defenses.


Another uses her shoulders as a cape

pulled up and over her chest

so her blades bones grow rounded as a shell.

How the body becomes artifice, accomplice, artillery.


The one in the corner desk wraps in shirt layers,

to hide the film of struggle and dirt she can’t scrub

because the water’s shut off again.

And the patient one with the Madonna eyes –


mother to her sister –

she invents magic for her in a house of ice,

unfurls it by handfuls

so the little one will never be without glimmer.


The girls carry their mothers in their bodies,

the facades and the truths of them.

They have seen the side of death that is living

through the slow clock of misery.


Their bodies are filled with pockets,

eyes raw with secrets.

They carry their mothers

because their mothers are broken.