Imagined always as a golden current incompletely smeared round the rim of the external auditory canal, a rich brown paste impeding entrance of foreign objects—but as with human blood which I was surprised long ago to learn may be of many different hues until it hits the air, it is impossible to say with any confidence what happens in that dark place where we can’t see inside. When I was in high school my brother and my father had theirs candled—someone lit a wick and in time the wax ran hot and wet, puddling out. Saw this wick always as a generous cone, running evenly down to their patient match heads, wedged in the ear’s entrance, though I never looked it up. I know of course that there are cameras and instruments, external bodies that might be introduced to chart the course of the canal up close, view the golden river’s progress. But I don’t count any of that— how do we not know that when something is inserted it is not changed? The body and its hidden circuitry is ever more mystical than we can ever see. When the results of the ear candling were poured out in front of them, both my father and brother reported finding one long-dead insect drowned in the ear’s sticky honey, a lady bug in one and in the other something I now forget—perhaps another lady bug, as one year they flooded us, animated an entire exterior wall, indoors buzzed from lamp to lamp as we watched TV—or maybe nothing, just more wax, enough of it poured out to be its own insect, its own impediment, a foreign object the body made for itself and no one else
Wrestling with the sage. Retreat to a stronger position. Act with humility. Maintain your composure. Do not move out of desire.
Receptive force to enthusiasm (contains a warning). Great treasures to splitting apart (when I see the open lines stack up I always know it is coming). Retreat to bonding (but what is retreat? from which position am I strongest?).
Answers are also sought in poetry. Lyric poetry a repeated failure. An incapacity to reach the beloved, even if they like the poems. Always reaching toward and always falling short. The failure of language to measure up even as it exceeds its strict bounds (in for instance the sonnet).
In these lines too something is undone. I cast them like the I Ching: hexagram four to forty-four. Inexperience to compulsion. Making up distance that can’t be made up.
Anger a way of holding on. Anger the substitute. The person that we are angry with is alive to us still, even if they are no longer living. In this way letting go of the anger does not mean giving up on an injustice. It means accepting the way things are. There is so much I don’t want to be. So much that I resist. Turning from anger—I don’t want to perform this here.
Okay being broken. I wait until the day is almost done to write that. The child, the parent, and the adult: the child demands, the parent forbids, and the adult decides. Unless I am remembering that incorrectly.
To judge and to blame is neither the province of the student or the master. When anger blossoms it is a return in its own way.
Close in anger. When he speaks I often become angry. And it is not because of anything he has done or said to me. It is because he reminds me of someone I was once close to—and via his speech I am returned to them.
I want to write a poem called “Having It Really Good” about having it really good and getting caught in it like webbing—how I deflected whatever you said— at the end that’s how we talked, as if playing a game of tennis a careful game between two people who couldn’t figure out a way to get off the court now I want to recognize what belongs to me and what does not, want not to move forward slashing defensively at every advance before I even know where it is going only after it ended could I ever imagine that during I was too afraid to know that I was, now I am stubborn— the game was never that careful—in fact I think we hurt each other more than is usual—we were so frustrated, knowing our ideal angry that the other took it from us—having it really full stop, holding onto it—believing in what it was not what it could be or was not