I don’t know why I decided to keep a diary.
I have two small children and a husband to look after and a farm to help run.
There’s laundry, sewing, and housekeeping and I have to help my sister.
I went to Sunday School and to prayer meeting.
My teeth do not fit as well as they did before.
the farmer’s life
Some farmers down south claim dreams and canvas – painting on doors – and a hideous
piety they call “Katie.” Certain kinds hew handmade leaves – manufacturing leaves –
certain are handy enough with leaves. The stress of playing for the team lets up after Easter.
the painter’s life
It’s not what you name yourself, it’s that painters choose their own names. We can think
it’s there – a place to practice pronouncing the name secretly – but if it’s saying the same
name in darkness and in light, then faked in a paint can, you pronounce it backward.
You say, in your mind, until it hurts, “Confinement is not the same as dark desire.”
Thinking in history equals pictures worth thousands.
the whore’s life
And here’s the total of the thing – the thing names itself like “floors.” Womb + Man
prevailed by emulating such sayings as “If things are last, a letter is better than shadows.”
I talked to her mind. I asked her how to say things like “barrientos” – a new word prone
announcements like King Kong.
She has one deep eye closed above the same.
She’s called Peril Body –
cloaked in hummingbirds’ hair – electric and terrible.
No one is worthy. Not the horizon. Not the companions of god.
This is the daughter in a long bikini.
This is third base.
This the holy one wrested from time.
The giant price.
This is space.
They say shame hath decked her alias & she hath a rigid,
tin house & secret names not known in jails or sayings.
Go on, comb her hair.
Get seriously lost.
in a hazel wood near the other wood
Two woods where inheritance became a prehistoric survey – the data of angst and tracking –
trading in ancient chalk figures and chokeholds. There, the status overrides skewed so that
a god was called upon to mediate disputes concerning the property thus setting present-day
boundaries. How was the chokehold created? Out of ancient stock? The thing that was said is
sold or arrived so skewed that in order to settle the dispute concerning the property and its
said present-day boundaries, the prehistoric survey of the god of columns created a show
called “The Thing that Was Said.”
Hazel clinics have traditionally been used for defining claims.
Hazel plagues have been used as findings.
Hazel twigs have been used for divining because of their pliancy.
Hazel keys and tweaks have practice at being lost.
God has a shell called “the Thing.”
The cancers can be found in present-day boundaries.
she thought she was found
She was good at losing, falling behind, and feeling. Her mother greeted the night listening
for time, her large mouth, a large-mouth passport ever tilting backwards, reversing outside,
bending windows in case. She stitched pillows for the couch on the couch or else.
It’s not like coming down from the North with its clean linen and line-clean moments.
And it’s not that she hurts vaguely. From below, the sound of her mother’s lost voice drones
on and on intoning wolves and wailing grandmothers. Spatter.
the dishing game
The highest child torments the hole in the tiniest player. She’s China with night airs and
graces making sounds so small yet full of the larger virtues like saints ready for the Arctic.
We make a fine pair, full of fate, our childhood dreams locked in shared gains. Was there
a father? A night-visioned enemy whose re-membered stem nattered proud as war
wounds. Under the door, the sound of a semblance, a gigantic father’s gigantic breathing.
His night time touches our simple set of prayers. Now I name me sleeping. Now I’m on my
way to sleep. Now I lie about dreaming. See the light on the wall? It’s my miniature story
sharpened to a point. I laugh with it every night. It’s that kind of world. The moves are
never ever still either. Anyone can have ambition: the haunted look of an angel slinking
around a parking lot. He’ll again have his moment. I cannot speak to the world.
history means nothing
My mother’s a mindless Homer. She nods. She leaves. It’s quick. Collections of art and
hospital wings soar in the wee moment it takes her to make forms. She says the messiah
come from a parrot’s nest entering paradise on flightless wings. Her belly swells because the
baby wants out.
a little hiding
Mean numbers splendid as the highest high.
How were you paid?
Do you remember you said yes to something more than this?
Racing across the surface clicking like squirrels we were
made hairless calculating approximations.
And you announced a use for me.
the third dream
she had been three days walking back to meet the train
it had been necessary to conceal herself behind trees and poles
and though she had seen a train in the distance
she feared passing immigrants
This precedes the earthquake. In the night, our dying thoughts nominate even the
stars’ lost light, for she was taken up into where everything is just right. Loneliness –
between & beyond the wasteland – calling “It’s just what it is now.” That test, with the
same mocking symbol mocking, is over. You’re now the kind that you’ve picked up.
to feel the hatch of honor opened
I take an arrowhead shape or a skinny option based on that shape. My bones become
artifacts mining the activities of which I was not a part in the past. History can sometimes
be in on it – an evolution of mouse parts – where calling flocks nest in balanced pairs, their
shapes the same as the first centuries, their company a V-shield forming long-sent
Their prayer is smart and adaptable. It touches me. The prayer of fading cornstalks.
Eighteen emptying trees.
I found him, never harvested, now set upon by crows &
couldn’t clean it up, this . . . too much. I carried him a sonic offering walking home by my
own night’s sign.
Photography and text © Joan Dickinson 2011