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Dispatches from Across the Border II

Two Words


Ring the bells that still can ring,

forget your perfect offering,

there is a crack, a crack in everything

that's how the light gets in.


—Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”


The language, my refuge, deserts me

every time I get in the truck, twist

around and check behind, backing out


the carport wondering what I’ll be able to say

when I run into someone in town, muttering

incoherently as I head down this dead-end


road, making the right onto Springtown,

holding my breath, biting the inside of my lip

as I pass his house, reminding myself


hours later to breathe as I walk through winter

woods, summoning this useless tongue

to come up with something to make sense


of this sorrow, leaving me mute hours days

a lifetime later, riding my bike onto the ghost

of a rail bed where out of nowhere I hear


a freight whistle from 1977 and twist around

wondering if I’ll see Cael, Nancy, Addie

laying pennies on the long-gone tracks


at the end of Coffey Road, the whistle a wail

rising from some unthinkably deep cleft

in the earth as I pedal hard against the wind,


just ahead of the rumbling train, over the bridge,

blood on my tongue, nothing to say. Just no.




 A second a day a week a lifetime later,

in the instant the despairing sun sets

behind the ridge I glimpse a gap, a crack,


not a star, mind you, a tiny telescope piercing

the black veil of a night sky where I can see

him beside me in the truck, pedaling


at my elbow on the trail, walking in woods,

on the couch whenever I swing by for a beer,

a hug, a laugh, right there in that impossible


place to place, a place where there is no time,

no beginning, no end, that place beyond

language where yesterday is today is already


tomorrow, a place where worthless words  

come and go with the arrogance of blind saints

and wide-eyed sinners, their long-winded


platitudes of meaning and purpose fading

into an endless darkness behind my tongue

as I climb this mountain each day, muddied boots

on ice age boulders transformed without a word

into warm soft sand, bare feet in Hatteras dunes,

waving sea oats, steamed shrimp and clams


in the salt air, aroma of Old Bay wafting up

from the long beach, the undeniable surf rolling

in, rolling in, as it did yesterday, as it will


tomorrow, our sweet boy racing down the beach,

diving into a perfect wave. Only one word left

in this mouth full of sores.


Of course. Yes, of course. Yes.


—SL, New Paltz, NY; Port Royal, SC, January 2024

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Unknown member
Jan 31

From the heart of Mexico, I send you love. Mourka


Unknown member
Jan 20

I just want to quote from an E. E. Cummings poem:

I Carry Your Heart With Me

i carry your heart with me

(i carry it in my heart)

i am never without it

(anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

Jan 22
Replying to

A hug with deep appreciation, Marilyn


Unknown member
Jan 16

Unable to imagine the intensity of your pain, I still weep when I think too long about your loss. 💔

Jan 22
Replying to

Thank you, my friend.


Unknown member
Jan 16

Alone is carried in on a big breaker that coverd all the footprints on the beach.

Jan 22
Replying to

We are alone together, my friend.


Unknown member
Jan 16

I feel mostly speechless. Keep writing.


Jan 22
Replying to

I'm beginning to understand that speechlessness is the purest writing we do. Thank you.

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