HOW A DENDROLOGIST HELPS ME DEFINE A FIELD
My friend tells me it is unnatural for a tree to be alone in a field; she says, +++
Trees, like everything else, exist to breed, to create others like them, to be surrounded;
I ask her what this grass is, this grass that is tall, that bends, that reminds me of something essential I
want to write about but don't know how to, though I try;
She shrugs, calls it, "wheat grass." And it's so simple all I can do is repeat, "wheat grass."
I ask her what the grass is that looks like it has barrels on top,
She laughs, shrugs again, says "barrel grass."
I ask her what makes a field a field and this is the first time someone makes me consider how a field is
She tells me trees can't grow in a field, because a field needs to be mown, leveled, maintained.
And then I want to know when a field becomes not a field, dependent on the amount of trees.
And then I want to know when a field is intentional,
How to separate a field from a meadow or a pasture or a valley: I want to know which is wild.
If a field is man-made then for me a field is best – a field is most a field – just before it is mown and the
grass is so high a trail can be made through it,
and the grass is so high a bug or a blade could set down gently on my arm and I would not know the
difference between sensations,
and the grass so high I can reach my arms out straight on either side and still feel the tops of it, the
breath and the breadth of it,
and the grass so high that when the wind blows it skims the grass like the ocean to make waves and I
can most feel my aloneness,
my aloneness even though the grass surrounds me in wild uncountable number and everything else
hidden within it that I know I will never completely understand and yet I can stand in the midst of and
not drown or die or be mown down.
UNTITLED FIELD POEM
Oh my god we're gonna need sod to cover these fields of loneliness says a friend to me, relating something a friend of his once said or a band sang or a band his friend likes sang or his friend's band or was it a reference
to a song that everybody knows I don't remember except a friend of mine said this to me because I said
to my friend I am writing about fields and amazingly how then the word field or the idea of a field or the
picture of a field or a street sign that says field or a poem that says field or some other such field thing
reveals itself how weird everything is how everything can be thought of as a type of field how to even
think about fields is to be in a field of thought and to find yourself thinking about fields is to find yourself
in a field about fields and if I tell my friends that I am writing about fields the questions automatically
become why fields what about fields aren't fields so simple such a simple thing here's a field there's a field
everywhere a field field duck duck pond pond goose hollyhock clover if we see a forest for the trees how
do we see a field well it is a lack of trees a lack a lack a lack a lack except it isn't a lack it is a field and a
field is a thing like loneliness is a thing even if the compulsion is to cover it up with sod even if the
compulsion is to run through a field naked and silent or naked and loud and unseen because a field isn't
a place one visits or goes to it's a place one drives by often doesn't see or recognize but when one does
see does recognize a field seems to repeat repeat the eye gets lost until one gets tired lulled into quietness
into nothingness forgets what one is looking at or that one is seeing anything at all until the eye is lost or
the I is lost or...