Fall Gardening- Edit

A tree trunk is the wooden bloom of a yellow leaf. You want to eat the leaf, to put it on your tongue and let it dissolve like a tab of acid or the body of Christ. These things are the same really, and in either case, you want to run the color down your throat and through your bowels. This is selfish and you simply can’t do such things.

In winter, squirrels act as suspenders and use their fine toenails to pull up the trees. You don’t believe me because you’re the kind of person who doesn’t believe things. If all squirrels got selfish at once, like we do, and jumped from the trees in a flash mob to grab at nuts rolling in gutters, every single tree would fall at once. I would like to hold a squirrel’s hand, his tiny mitt on the pad of my finger. The trees would crash noiselessly because big things don’t have soundtracks. Anything funereal is strangely quiet, a quiet entirely void of comfort, the quiet of leaving a church on a cold morning lit yellow. You wad a shredded tissue into a hard ball in your damp palm and you do not know where the casket has been taken and the sun is too bright. We are silent soundtracks, preserving wails on mute and snot and tears in amber stones that we finger on dusty summer mornings when the heady smell of cut grass makes our throat ache.

Find something finer than a squirrel’s toenail with its bleeding quick encased in a curved shell. God unfolded me over a map of the Vitruvian man and shot me through with bleeding quicks. I bleed from anywhere and it’s startling.

Another thing to know is that my body is hooked to my bowel, and it’s my ears that keep me standing. Otherwise, well. It would be a noiseless thing. And a ferris wheel, the whole wheel and all the colored carts of it, all of it swings from just one broken lightbulb, its broken quick pinging when the bulb is shaken. It’s the thick black sky that lights up the bulbs that aren’t broken. You think it’s the other way but you’re mistaken. Hang your face in shame, and mean it. This isn’t just for effect. Hole yourself into the dry corner of a library and study things. It’s one line in one book on a plain old blonde haired, blue eyed shelf that keeps the entire library from blowing apart like a flower gone to seed.

Slide your arms into a squeaky raincoat and kneel in your chilly garden while rain turns to snow and back to rain and back to snow. The trees are still held by brown and yellow leaves. It’s that kind of afternoon. Listen to me: your world is full of surprises and you are lucky you can’t see its beauty at once. If you did, your back would split in two and loll in the wet grass, your quick wrinkling like a peach pit. So much is lost on you. You’re not big enough to hold it, and you can certainly not make yourself small enough to protect it. You spend your life scouring your tongue and teeth with sand, rinsing your eyes with bleach, scrubbing out your groin with steel wool. Your fingers are a terribly boring ball in your lap. They are aging into peeling sticks.

Get down in the goddamn garden on your knees. Blink at the icy raindrops shattering across your fat face like birdshot. Your knees are heavy metal saucers. You delight in the cold metal. You could kneel and rock and probably sing Turkish prayers and Icelandic hymns. Turn over wet and heavy clumps of soil with a friendly spade. Lift breaking clods of earth. Dump them. Lift more. Mind the living things. Watch the black earth break into big pieces, like cracked dinner plates. This is how you come to life. [You didn’t forget seeds. Don’t be so ridiculous. You are always so ridiculous, always fretting. No one asked you to plant anything.] It’s already been done. It was done before anyone talked about aspirin in waxy cups at bedtime or fruit cups for train rides. Your naivety makes my fingers flutter, and I could just pinch your round heiney, split like a ripe fruit. You delight me. Etch a locket to say something important, like, for example, You haven’t the foggiest. Wear it. Don’t strangle yourself with it. Just only wear it. It’s meant to make you pretty, not breathlessly dead.

You are so wet inside. Take off your useless raincoat. Toss it to the side. Your quick runs the length of you, and you are longer than you can imagine. You are the Vitruvian man. Lay on your back like an egg. Roll in the snow and make yourself a cold nest. Unfold your legs. Spread your knees. Lift your chin. Open your eyes. The world, the entire wet world, is hanging from your fingertips. You are slick and fine and icy. You are smooth and long and wet. Don’t you dare shake your fingers. You are so wet, and I’ve not ever seen anything so broken open, so fresh and fragrant, so shot through with blood and life.

Notes…
Rework into something separate: God unfolded me over a map of the Vitruvian man and shot me through with bleeding quicks.

Tree trunk, squirrel, ferris wheel, library, gardening

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Fall Gardening

See there. A tree falls off a yellow leaf. That leaf weighs less even than the receipt for cigarettes skittering across your dusty dashboard at red lights. And in winter, squirrels pull the trees up with their fine toenails. You don’t believe this because you’re the kind of person who doesn’t believe things, but if all of the squirrels got selfish at once, like we do, you know what would happen. Squirrels would leap from the trees at the same time after nuts rolling in the gutters, and every single tree would fall at once. Every one of them. Noiselessly because big things happen without soundtracks. You find something slicker, something finer than a squirrel’s single toenail. Try. A quick bleeding darkly in the center and encased in a long shell, curved and smooth.

Another thing to know is that my body is hooked to my bowel, and it’s my ears that keep me standing. Otherwise, well. You know. It would be a noiseless thing. And a ferris wheel, the whole wheel and all the colored carts of it, all of it swings from just one broken lightbulb, the quick snapped last summer. It’s the thick black sky that lights up the bulbs that aren’t broken. You think it’s the other way but you’re mistaken. Hang your face in shame, and mean it. This isn’t just for effect. Hole yourself into the dry corner of a library and study things. It’s one line in one book on a plain old blonde haired, blue eyed shelf that keeps the entire library from blowing apart like a flower gone to seed.

Slide your arms into a squeaky raincoat and kneel in your chilly garden while rain turns to snow and back to rain and back to snow. It’s that kind of afternoon. Your world is full of surprises and you are lucky you can’t see its beauty at once. If you did, your back would split in two and loll in the wet grass like peach halves, your quick wrinkling. You know how you feel when icy raindrops shatter across your fat face like birdshot? You could kneel and rock and probably sing Turkish prayers and Icelandic hymns. Your knees are heavy, cold metal saucers. You are so wet inside. So much is lost on you. You’re not big enough to hold it, and you can certainly not make yourself small enough to protect it. You spend your life closing your mouth, hiding your eyes, scrubbing out your crotch and crossing your legs. Your fingers are a terribly boring ball in your lap.

Turn over wet and heavy clumps of soil with a friendly spade, its bowl no bigger than your palm. Lift up breaking clods of earth. Dump them. Lift more. Mind the living things. Watch the black earth break into big pieces, like cracked dinner plates. This is how you come to life. You didn’t forget seeds. Don’t be so ridiculous. You are always so ridiculous, always fretting. No one asked you to plant anything. It’s already been done. It was done before anyone talked about aspirin in a waxy cup at bedtime or fruit cups for train rides. Your naivety makes my fingers flutter, and I could just pinch your round heiney, split like a ripe fruit. You delight me. Etch a locket to say, You are so important, you haven’t the foggiest. Wear it. Don’t strangle yourself with it. Just only wear it. It’s meant to make you pretty, not breathlessly dead.

You are so wet inside. Take off your useless raincoat. Toss it to the side. Your quick runs the length of you, and you are longer than you can imagine. Unfold your legs. Spread your knees. Lift your chin. Open your eyes. The world, the entire wet world, is hanging from your fingertips. You are slick and fine and swinging, and you are smooth and long and wet. Don’t you dare shake your fingers. You are so wet, and I’ve not ever seen anything so broken open, so fresh and fragrant.

February 10, 2012: Describe a tree without using colors. CWE 131

1.

The tree outside my window towers over a barn. Three or four barns, big barns, could be stacked on one another like building blocks, and the tree would still stand taller. The trunk is the width of a fat woman. Not an overweight one, but a fat one with cheeks blushing like fall apples and hair curling in the particularly pretty way that hair curls around a fat woman’s laughing face. The tree rises straight and doesn’t cleave until way over the fat woman’s head. She’s fat. Not tall. And the roots dig into the frozen earth in a tidy, compact circle. With a tree so tall, you’d expect far flung roots. Not so. The short, fat woman stands on a pair of stilettos that lift thin shavings of ice from the frozen ground. The bark is laid in rippling scales. Neat and precise tilework. It is shaded in darks and lights like a squirrel’s tale.

The trunk cleaves into three branches. The breadth of the branches at their widest would lead you to guess at six or seven branches. Again, not so. The three branches are the width of say three or four baseball bats bundled together with twine. And that is pretty much the extent of the trunk work, because the tree efficiently splinters into thin branches that, from where I sit, look like a network of wetted feathers laid against the winter sky. Vanes overlap and the barbs are pulled into still patterns. A clean outline can be drawn around the edges and the branches are still like an ink drawing folded in two between the pages of an old book. Brides should carry bouquets of dry winter branches, stiff and tall. The network of roots under a winter tree runs simple and wide.

2.

No Bride So Beautiful as a Fat One

Winter trees lift their heft from
compact root systems-
roots knotted tidily
under the frozen earth,
like bundles of trailing bell clappers.

A tree trunk is the width of a fat woman.
A fat woman is the width of a tree trunk.

A good and fat woman with fall apples
blushing her face. She wobbles on heels
that flick paper thin shavings of ice
from the frozen ground. Her breadth
invites squirrels to nest.

Brides should carry bouquets of bare winter branches,
thin twigs laid out like overlaying maps of wetted feathers.