Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Dream Garden

Winter Places

All very open and secret
A place people come to only with dogs
I feed on the aura
The dim, hidden, melancholy, root-tugging silence
I walk the dog in myself


There were snowless January afternoons like this on Long Island, too, in which one imagined a story. The theme of the day’s story is every day’s story, that the days are gone. Those bare January hours back then are just like this one, then, because this one goes as well. The one fact of living is ever-passing, all other facts in abeyance.
I walk along the edge of a long green field, the mayor’s park, the city’s pride because it is an open, grassy space with a view of the water. It would be welcome, even spectacular perhaps, by the standards of a flat Long Island housing development where there are no perspectives, no looking down on water, but this place does little for the hunger for wild, secret moments, once that hunger has been wakened, fed, and acknowledged. I avoid people, three loud teen boys (though only one is talking, two are standing), pursuing their own liberation by the empty boat rack. You have to stand just so, grouped; someone must talk. The one who talks is short and as wide as a billboard advertising the secrets of adolescence. They have earned their separation…. I walk up the green slope of the favored park and circle around the other side of the grassy horseshoe lip, knowing there’s another path along a marsh this side if I can get to it. I find a gully that cuts downhill, find it clogged with dead snow-crunch, bushwhack around it.
On the flat path beside the salt marsh, I discover (as suspected) I have been here too. Old places, neglected places, at the edges of things. Not beautiful, not far enough away, just stocked with stored-up people-less space and time. I look for birds, seeing one, tall and white eventually. But it’s a watery reflection that elongates and confuses his shape: only a gull.
The kind of places, I think, where I would go if I were homeless. So I suppose the homeless come here, but I see no signs of them. No real litter either, though the snow has only recently passed. Larger groups of birds, duck mostly, scatter their calls from further out into the creek, as it is called here, which flows toward the open water of the harbor. I hear crows overhead as I walk a cutback up through the woods, just a thin screen of trees, unfortunately, and find myself back in the “park,” the grass field with occasional human structures. A place for winter separations.

Day Dream

Nature is dreaming
It is an old feeling
always lived, always known
speaking of old days lived young
with black holes, leaking time

Snow-free January afternoons
cocking an ear for Long Island winters
old times: then or now?

On the edge of a long, green field,
the mayor’s park,
I long for wild, secret places,
barbarians bursting from the tree line
Only crows, however, signifying nothing

In the winter-dim marsh water
a single white-winged gull
stands tall in the stream’s reflection
It grows in the mind,
where all things are seen
Everything passes in the corner of an eye
The gull does not sing or fly
We come here for magnification