I have never stopped thinking of myself as a beginner. Auguste Rodin
Now that I’m retired and done being chosen Or rejected, respect mine to give again, I want to grow large, as large as the twelve Year old who dived off a wooden platform under Weeping willows and swam the longest of Man-made lakes to impress Rachel Kerwood, Not sure he could make it an acceptable risk, So that when he climbed out on the other side Green pond scum clinging emeralds to a milk White back, he sat beside her in the sweet grass Eating black walnuts cracked open with a rock, Talking of things he could only speak of Because he’d swum through the silken stillness In the middle of the deepest lake, where Pure artesian springs turned the water cold, And sullen bullheads grew twice normal size.
One might be weary of flesh. One’s own, another’s. Flesh of neighbor, stranger, passerby. Flesh of the real or the imagined lover, or secret flesh that mind and heart deny. One might be shut of it, freed from the nerve, but flesh is merciless, confines us, binds us to our servitude to cleft and curve. Even You have been a slave to this, true Spirit, on that wild night, delirious, piercing the meat of life. And since? Scandal to our atoms when flesh, merging with flesh, happens on You in single, paradoxical bliss. Perhaps all earth shall plunge toward sun, savage with desire to be One.
Those days, I sat on our front porch holding my daughter, my arms and chest vibrating with joy like a tuning fork. Atoms of our happiness fell in on one another like gears turning at the heart of the universe. When stars came out at noon, the meadow of my hollow hand was filled up with strange light. How can it be now that we are two separate islands in an ocean of blue water? I think of my own mother long ago, sitting on her porch with me. That distant island. When my daughter sits on her porch this summer, holding her own child I will watch her from my island. I will call to her over the blue water.
It’s the logistics that trip you up. You should have bought large garbage bags to put the clothes in, though they aren’t garbage,
still with his smell in them, burlap and lemon. To trick a sheep whose lamb has died farmers flay the dead one and put its fleece on a living one so the mother will suckle it for her own.
You put on his warm barn coat. There’s a tissue in the left pocket. The president said today every effort is being made to keep the troops safe. All the other pockets are empty.
Study war no more
Mar 18, 2011
Michael Izbicki grew up in a nondenominational church in California. A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he chose to go to the U.S. Naval Academy out of a sense of duty to his country during a time of war. At the naval academy he began to doubt whether the career to which he had committed himself could be squared with the tenets of just war doctrine. He got in trouble when he responded no to this exam question: "If given the order, would you launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?" After a four-year legal battle, the navy discharged him as a conscientious objector. Izbicki may have to reimburse the service for part or all of his education (New York Times, February 22).