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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 2, June 2016

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Bill Gottlieb
Cobb, California, USA


Chirping

for Yolande Muller, 1970-2014

You can participate in the ‘chirping machine,’ like the crickets. They keep producing new ones, to make this sound. It does not, however, change the fact of their mortality as individuals in the slightest. It is not enough for human life to be merely part of the ‘chirping machine’—that is a debasement of the Divine Being, of the fundamental force and process of Being Itself.

—Lord Da

Intent as a lover, quiet as a robber, I stand in Yolande’s bedroom, over Yolande’s body. Her open brown eyes have been blinkered by the end. Her mouth is set as a trap, teeth bait for bone. Gravity has slapped her bald head to the left. She died in a glut of drugs and dread, afraid of the air, fighting time. She died, surprised, on her birthday, Wednesday, today. She died of the same disease as my wife Denise, who didn’t like her, and neither did I—one Monday a year or so ago we were all at the hospital, and she visited a weak Denise in the infusion room, ranting about her woes for half an hour, adding her drip of poisons to the day’s.

tuning
the night
crickets

And now I’m alone with no one I know, saying the Lord’s name again and again—Da, radiant Da, giver of grace, who delights the dead beyond their fears and desires, who guides to the glistening singleness of light, to peace and pleasure between the burdening rounds. May you journey strong from your suffering, mortal Yolande . . . forgive living its vicious divisions . . . find your Great Friend, and fly.

dictating
summer’s memoir
crickets

Later, I offer condolences to her father, listen to his laments. “I’m confused,” he says, lost in loss, hair white as a ghost. I know what the man means, the woman gone.

in utter dark, I
raise my perishable arms
conduct the crickets

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