Saturday, September 21, 2019

Friday, September 20, 2019


D E N N I S     S C H M I T Z
1937 ~ 2019


the man away from home
has memorized his wife’s
slip, charts his journey with a mental
ruler across her
chest, the sleepless islands.
sometimes with a small boy’s
geography he can’t
rough out where he loves
her & is lost
around her navel sunk
in sweat like a tide-pool.
he pictures his tongue
squirming, heavy
fish finding a way to gasp
out love as taste shrinks
this last water.
from a case of samples
he takes a lipstick
to plan a local version
of her body
as big as the motel bed.
on it he thrashes all night
misinformed by the old maps.


A terrific book
with a lousy title

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


With smooth stretches, with dimples,

with puckers.

Sliding along,

smitten by its own force.

A stream, blazing furnace.

At eye level,

the sun has gone back to bed.

                                                                                    ( vanishing point )

Rain — to speak

through the foliage

without raising one's voice.

Leaves — to smooth out

word by word

the worn silk of their brooding.

                                                                       ( May, the month of May )


surveillance of the water

and the sky nearby.

Flying in veers, in swerves.

Crossing, criss-crossing

the stitches of the wind

as far as the eye can see.

                                                        ( swallows, recovering their territory )

With a stroke, with a shriek, every which way

taking out the tacking threads from the wind.


arrogant swallows

panicked by an invisible obstacle.

                                                                                 ( idem )

Smooth in its speechlessness,

the vast plain of the daylight

opens out.

Slack, motionless,

yet with no fixed point,

like one coming back to oneself.


                                                                (a new )


Haze and light,

from these heights draped

to the other shore — invisible.

The gaze hardly alights.

                                                                 ( in one stroke )

Beyond the haze,


the mountain climbs back up its slope.


in the heat,


                                                          ( from the window )

Stars in summer

in the trees.


night-time outbursts.


                                                               ( before the whole night )

Calls and responses

cry out above our heads.

Laths — your support, where is it?

Musical roof frame

ever being renovated.

                                                                  ( mentally, Paul Klee )


like, at eye level,

the base of the night

blocking the view.

                                                                 ( non-place )

Steeple, willows,

jagged shore.

Children's luminous


Impalpable hubbub.

                                                         ( a whole )

At high noon,

in summer,

they are walking through the snow.

At the edge of the road


a gravel pile

— a pothole.

                                                        ( July, high up )

Cut wheat.

The light, on the ground,

carries the night.

                                                          ( midsummer )


at the heart of summer.

The darkness

of devouring daylight.


like a raised stone.

                                                                 ( split in two )

Shadow, daytime ink

like a brushwood made

of golden-headed needles.

Will you last, rampart,

with your thousand open cracks?

Anthracite is such dense

daylight, ready to explode.

                                                             ( daylight fluting through )


gulls have alighted,

as if at he edge of the path,

on a line of reeds

they crease for the pleasure of it.

                                                                 ( propitious white stones )

Taut all day long

the bow of the summer

—noises and echoing sounds—

joins thetwo extremes.

Motionlessness of the heat.

                                                               ( sonorous space )


Pierre Chappuis
Like Bits of Wind
Seagull Books

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


1932 ~ 2019


The other day — here is what flew in

like birds from Scotland ~

all titles by Thomas A. Clark

illustrated by

Laurie Clark ~


Monday, September 16, 2019


While building steadily a new wood's cottage on a rocky ledge since early April and into September (more on that to come), our son Carson and his partner bought a new home north of us and we went to have a look. To get over to their home we had to pass over a Mill Brook, part of their land, and a wooden bridge that looked like it had seen better days. Under the bridge, which is sixteen feet wide and thirty-six feet long, are four massive I-beams. Very good news. The deck of the bridge is a sandwich design of full 2 x 8 rough hemlock planks on edge. Good and rugged, yet abused over the years by grit and gravel wear and some neglect. We thought we could build for the new householders double treads of wide pressure treated planks to carry over the old deck and relieve the worn surface. We began as soon as lumber could be delivered.

First sweep off all the old deck and get a feel for the bridge, there's gravel eating at the old lumber everywhere.

Next, get the layout down and square for the new pressure treated planks, and break those joints!

The bridge is level (miraculously) but the staccato edges of each old plank has to be dealt with one new plank at a time with shims and leveling as the work goes along. It's slow, but you're working together, you can hear the brook washing below you, and your granddaughters are about to visit you any minute.

When done, it's all good, solid, and sweep some more, but also see the bridge and deck would be happiest if the entire deck was renewed. We plan for a second long day of work. Order another load of lumber. Bring enough extension cord to reach 300 feet. Also bring the table saw since this job is going to be a puzzle piece.

The second day on the job is a few days later, plus awaiting another lumber delivery, and it's still 42 degrees at 6:30 AM and this will become a twelve hour work day. Susan says we should have done it in two days but typically we are doing it all in one long day. First in sweat shirts and warm vest and caps which will all be shed by midday when the sun climbs onto the bridge.

Here we are in the puzzle piece hour, and do take your time with shims and clamps and spacers. It will be worth it at day's end when the bridge is tight and sure and smooth. No nail gun here (never been near one) and make sure you have a handsaw for those special cuts around all those side rails. Sharp chisel too.

Nothing feels better than to do something for someone. Our three year old grandchild Ida came running down at day's end to perform three handstands for us. Pay day.

all construction &
photographs by
Susan and Bob Arnold