The Playing Fields

He is one to follow movement in
feet, step ahead of his body
let his eyes run with footprints already behind the door
he is flippant, a stare across the board of the face ahead
momentarily lost, to be found again in the mind
I envy, find a mind riled, head to toe, tumbling
through, picking up pleasures in fields
and leaving them behind in the memories of women’s bodies
carrying on again
as if small conquests were enough to feed life
you. player of finesse behind the ball,
and offense towards the goal.
you may not know, brother, but I remember
a small boy, a conqueror lost, in clutch
on father’s shoulders one afternoon
atop a vast blueberry field in the hills of Maine
tears in touch and not a step, not a zig-zag
not a step, where the sheep left you trails of dung to dodge and dash
vulnerable boy—the sacrament is to clean the field
not to sit high above where the shit lies
and now, this boy, he has found a girl
who makes him want to settle
he asked me—can it be done?
I told him
this is a place where you stay on your feet
choose love or movement
there cannot be both.


6 thoughts on “The Playing Fields

  1. Why an either or on Love and Movement? To me Love is Change or movement in action, always new and alive, resilient. Am I not understanding what your implying by this decisive cut and separating out between love and movement? To be static and planted does not imply no movement, but in the sense of plants that move toward the sun their love of warmth and light which nurtures them and gives them sustenance, etc. All is in motion and metamorphosis… becoming… or becoming-other rather than some solid substantive thing or sense of unchanging element of self etc.

    • Interesting. I received a similar question from a friend listening to this one yesterday. I am connecting “movement” to a particular type of movement mentioned at the beginning of the poem, one in which a person continues to move through life while leaving everything behind and at the same time does not consider the consequences that this movement has on others and on the personal “soul”. Of course movement can exist in love as you described by providing warmth and growth and positive development of self. Thanks for the awesome comment!

      • Ah, ok… then for you there is either an eternal or mortal soul within your thinking? Either Christian or Greek or? True, I grew up on a protestant household and was actually a complete radical Christian at one time, a proselytizer etc. or evangelist to be point blank. But war, love, life… etc. changed all that and I began asking questions of my elders in these traditions of which they could no give me answer, nor did they recommend me moving outside their creeds and enforced mental prisons. To do so they told me would to be tread in dark waters…

        Well, I’m a member of the dark water gang… figuratively 🙂 I stepped free of organized religion ages ago, went down another path that brought me to the door of poetry and literature, philosophy and history… the human world of the humanist traditions. And, although I’m no longer a humanist, per se either, and more of what my friend Tim Morton defines as dark ecology I’m a creature that like Keats defined the term negative capability… stands in the midst of things without reaching after fact or reason … instead I let everything tell its own story, let it be in its own being or becoming … allow it a voice within my poetry that may or may not be human. In some ways Robinson Jeffers Inhumanist poetry informs my vision… but his notion of inhumanism is not to be “inhuman” as in alien or dispirited and machinic, etc. but to acknowledge all the vast cosmic energies around us of which we in our limited capacities reduce and try to master rather than allow a place in our lives without our reductionary ploys and subterfuges.

        Hope that made sense?

      • Wow! You have truly had a fascinating journey in your life and mind, Craig. And have presented many intriguing things to consider. If one searches for fact or reason through the various connections one makes through experience, is this somehow reductionary or does it devalue the experience itself? I feel like this is the ultimate form of being human—to not be reductionary in your body and mind. And to encompass the energies present in this world both in human and non-human form. This, by default, leads to a form of humanism…no?…wherein one develops an intense empathy for all around him/her.

        In terms of the eternal nature of the soul, hmmmmm. My heart wants to believe that, eternally, there will be a perfect justice and contentment for all who have experienced oppression or injustice throughout their lives. This is my hope, at least…(and not coming from the Judeo-Christian tradition :))

      • Instead of reason I’d place Imagination as in William Blake at the center or core… reason is limited to the known and circumference of the eye, whereas Imagination is unbounded and unrestricted to any specific modality of being. As for “soul” … I leave that to others to question or deny. Since its not an aspect of physicality, then for me it is a metaphor for certain tendencies, as you surmise of traditions that have so overburdened its coinage that its difficult to turn it toward other uses… so who can say? Not me… I’ll remain in the darkness like unto Paul’s dark mirror parable… 🙂

      • Well said. For me, I would say it is mind (imagination), physicality (body) and soul (the holistic and spiritual person to universe experiences) and how they connect that I seek an understanding of to create poetry. It’s interesting that the soul is often defined as something separate from the body.

        Thanks again for your comments. Look forward to more of your writing and thoughts in the future.

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