“Log Lady”, by Adam Wyeth

‘I’m seeing something that was always hidden. Blue Velvet

The dark hole. No. Matter. A sound. Ringing. A song. The lane. Crisp night. The long lane. The trail. The light in the window. The door. Inside. Nothing. Inside the dark hole. The sound. Ringing. The cord. Pulling. A tug at the hem. Sinking feeling. Lost night. The disappearing home. Old shadows crawl up the walls. Muffled voices upstairs. Open window. Footsteps approach. A figure looms in the doorway. Never again. Never again now. The downward spiral. The rings. The circle. Repetition of numbers. Count backwards to zero. Reverse mantras. The swastika heart. The sky underneath. The water inside. The churning. Bristles of furniture. Damp weight. Flesh inside flesh.

What is it now who wants to come through whose words enter and speak through me as they appear now I become the words whose ever they are does not matter the words are here coming through me rising from the earth in the open mouths of fallen seeds becoming others long gone looking back remembering everything behind a series of echoes ends with a voice speaking these words 

still the dead pilgrims scatter all about the city thieves rough sleepers merchants market sellers princes judges whores rubbing up against one another these and the other now as before

she who is always with me who is never seen but felt is sweet chestnuts of falling September morning now she who is always disappearing breath inside breath always the essence a ghost of the puzzle heart appearing again the fog clearing a thin veil who is always that which lives

the others come first they must dragging their chains their violence they are a violation but they must speak they must have their place to be dead is not enough they move and writhe churn and thrust splinters daggers needle the neck the pit of the stomach create worlds inside words and speak through me the eyes of others

the way of it the chance of it the whole shebang slimes from the depths on all fours these night creatures must be faced to get through so I can reach you my last resort

the scum round the rim the right rim the left rim the whole rim get on with it move forward a propensity to hold forth not stammer falter yes the tentative steps the glimmer of which the rim the scum all about bubbles and froth to hold froth in the eye all in the eye the head the chest what’s said what’s not to beguile

ah sublime eloquence of the guttural muse the ruff of the wild boar breaks through snuffling for truffles in the Galician forest rimming its oily snout cloven hooves glistening in the dew around the eye the heart on fire the musk fragrance where dark and light begin

I was there once with another walking through woods knowing that beyond the track we took as the sun peeped through a tangle of branches were wolves bears boars as before in the shadows happening as I said it then the other and you appearing both inside and out

my what shall I say invisible companion seeps through not apple blossoms all that had passed all had fallen still falling the apples chestnuts rotting in the ditches somewhere I passed the putrefying apples chestnuts hazels in your hand all had passed by that way what I’m saying is not being said by me it rises from the earth in the open mouths of fallen seeds

and I saw what your heart swollen and bruised it was the apples I wanted to say the blossoms past and now the other apples bleeding their cider vinegar among the hazelnut shells scattered all about us in the dusk

a glut what a word glut from the sublime eloquence of the guttural muse hold the image again the sun flaring behind all phoenix crests another place moves before us purple passage golden apples glutting ditches the old hidden inside only not hidden not old as such beginning here through the vitreous eye seeing me through you in fact in crushed eloquence of steps inside steps 

constant companion keeping silent time the sun almost gone almost cider now we walked through holding the same path opening worlds without words

you asked am I brave am I brave what is that brave me what is that me brave am I what no am I in my armour would I forget myself and move brave in one fell swoop in rescue of another was I ever this the sense all senses at once nestled in the spiral arms of a Galician forest the soft words unspoken in the womb apples fall are the brave dead speaking now in the woods beyond the woods

all fragrances musk and herbage sifting through fungi spores wafting dry leaves spiral upwards bird song the last of the charmers screaming in fact warning war cries spitting blood territory mayhem get off my case the old tunes are the best

we must live in the world as we find it where dark and light appear between branches we are made young again drawn forward to the sweet angelus the winging ring of bells a call to prayer a silent symposium the primary imago

birds flew from us and into us not here the other side an almost lost language whispers in the listening forest a Galician grandmother walks before you inside the trees the wolves’ eyes see through branches I have this lost daughter the one I never had returns from the dead can we say that yes what is not being said rises from the mouths of broken seeds

two either side of the tree you me the other all that we dreamt is in this place nestled in the spiral arms where dark and light begin to touch ruffling its leaves the back of beyond of us

she I thought she me I cannot she thought she me this failure to clutch and hold court is too much I thought she me the other I cannot say what appears on the way too little gives way without words too much with moss covering the tongue in the sublime eloquence of the wild boar trembling leaves and apples glutting ditches either side

kick up the dead too much or too on the snout off the hoof the whole of the rim in fact the down and in and out of her no what was it then she I thought she me I cannot she thought she me what say it again alone with all the other shadows crowding all about wanting a way through me or her at least in the spiral arms peering down 

never so up never so whole the whole of the rim of us covered in scum or moss this failure to clutch and hold court is too much but at least remembering the future hardly conscious but at least walking back past the past now leading me through the glistening forest with bears about to pounce wolves ready to howl boars on the brink

am I brave being here where dark and light begin to touch cleaving through the valley at last clothed in the woodland must and moss I have a question two questions in fact two questions you’ll never answer to ask is the answer some message beyond the personal thank god beyond this past topic and mode of enquiry she here now is the question holding you the answer passing through and around the rim of bubbles two eyes either side

we pass through this as we pass on what we live through so can never say that which has no words just as well between us now the first day stopping for lunch you hand me a pilgrim stick and laugh it rings in my ears uttering those first words Log Lady

in that a passage opens lifting a latch to David Lynch in the afternoon lull of voices one world to the next the portal stick where dark and light begin to touch somewhere inside the purple patch David Lynch moved through us or we inside him 

she I thought she me I cannot she thought she me this failure to clutch and hold court is too much I thought she me the other I cannot say this was the way the way came between us the forests of the future forming universes in tangled branches neither turning back nor looking forward to the leafy shade a rustle runs through leaves turning in the wind tumbling apples strewn across the path sloughing off a language of the past or was it the future sluicing through us the present more mysterious than the future which has already happened drawing ever nearer

my past always present leaving me all is fire breath inside breath ringing in my ears within an inch of us where dark and light begin to touch the way not forward it moves side to side back to back the same refrain you who are something of the sword cut me in half taking me back to the tree with two questions either side

following the arrows on the narrow paths ravelling like ribbon strips unwrapping the present vanishing in the trees all alone familiar territory ghost hooves pound the earth on the lost highway the highwaymen behind the trees two figures like question marks stand either side a never ending interrogation

what about him what about her that non closure departure what about those splits derailing what about these kicked up leaves beggars glutting ditches what about that mother father having me for afters what about mothers fathers the black hole where bears and wolves roam in the hereafter the dead leading the way in mad pursuit through the swamplands rippling leaves stumbling on the weeds and stones what about that desire to return to the point of departure to dwell in the rotten ditches of it all what about that child here now falling behind kicking up the dead what about that ship of birth return to source or abandon ship the bobbing cork on the depths what about that sinking through circles

I am there again where cones rise into forests pebbles burst into mountains puddles ooze into deep lakes tell me now what is that mother of another father of the charming birds screaming mayhem claiming territory having me for lunch the barking dogs the mewing cats I clutch at the rails of a fence wince at the bite of the hounds what about those drives home after the split the blackening silence after screams coursed through them death scattered on the roadside buried under tumbling walls cramped against me the climbing out of the rubble narrowing circles all of this going back to all of that

then in a blue opening between two trees where dark and light begin to touch a golden vision rises under an arch nestled in the spiral arms of a whirlpool galaxy

what is this light leading me through an opened gate under a chestnut bending boughs a rustle runs outside time turns to me through the whispering leaves bringing on the dark dream

in the middle of this mystery it’s all hidden a leaf turns in the wind you take out your phone tapping a message in your palm which translates into words I know but can never know as I see a violation of the worst touch all goodness in jeopardy the wind picks up a child a cover up a daughter’s darkest secret a cold shadow drapes over and you turn human in the humus the static dark lost highway Laura Palmer black lodge abuse of the worst touch is this the past or the future lifting the latch seeing something that was always hidden where memory and loss begin to touch

there is nothing in the way of the way but ourselves what I’m saying is stunted stumps sprout new leaves the eternal question rises looking back she says in my tongue what if we don’t go forward she says inside my head breath inside breath what if we remain walking backwards into ourselves not even backwards remaining here now always the same the conveyer belt carrying us here constantly

you walk forwards I walk back what about that I walk back you forwards in the middle of these woods opening constantly confounding the dead baffling pilgrims the dead being betrayed constantly being tried crucified then resurrecting summoning this into daily life how about that walking the forest in the middle of our greatest mystery

every day catching the fleeting moment trailing off at the still point of the centre walking backwards into the other constantly giving each other what was taken too soon or never given

forget the city the castle cathedral forget the cup what I’m saying is it’s not hard to find a rock here a leaf there an apple in early bloom a brittle bush making its brave thrust into life after recent rain

kick up the dead bring the leaves back to the shaking trees return to the passage of unanswered prayers the never-ending paths where dark and light open the fruit break the seed speak the silent vision between words touched by the whispering woods wordless worlds without end taking our tongues death inside death on behalf of the fallen 

is it future or is it past the water room where the Log Lady burns her dance of dance shadows in the cave burst into flames the eternal question in ashes tongues tied to mother father son daughter breath in breath happening once and for all the constant moment the first idea the day hidden in something that is always seen now looking forward forgetting everything a series of echoes ends with a voice opening words within words 

every day turns back the page of the ancient script the spring rises the sun peeps through a tangle of branches every day the revolving door opens changing what’s unchanged passing in a moment the wild boar sets new prints in the forest pushing seeds into the soil

every possible path is happening including the unchosen path through the dark words the leaves turn and something else turning turns me into you breath inside breath a thin veil between appears in our affinities makes a mockery of the temporal and linear she who is the breath of breath the throne of consciousness

in the end it all returns to the beginning on the one hand back to the still water on the other the need to turn the world to fire a prayer of another we cannot worship any longer

this isn’t me this isn’t you anymore the woods vanish from the way remembering the future I turn around there is no one there no road no apples no boar no Log Lady the pilgrims thieves highwaymen all imprisoned images break free even you have gone astray like loose straw in the wind

away from the way I turn this page to live again one step at a time making my way past the paths of others to become who I am for the first time through the dark wood seeing myself not for what’s past finding a way through where there are no steps to follow beginning at last where all other paths end

Adam Wyeth is an award-winning and critically acclaimed poet, playwright and essayist with five books published with Salmon Poetry. In 2019 he received The Kavanagh Fellowship Award. Wyeth is the author of Silent Music, Highly Commended by the Forward Poetry Prize and The Art of Dying, an Irish Times Book of the Year. In 2013 Salmon published his essays, The Hidden World of Poetry: Unravelling Celtic Mythology in Contemporary Irish Poetry. This book is used as a teaching tool around the world and been officially added to two De Paul University classes in Chicago – Books for Celtic Mythology and Books for Contemporary Celtic Literature. Wyeth’s plays have been performed across Ireland and also in New York and Berlin. His play This Is What Happened was published by Salmon in 2019. His fifth collection about:blank is a large four-part poetical sequence, which blurs genre, moving across, poetry, prose and dialogue. In 2020, Wyeth was selected for The Abbey Theatre’s (Ireland’s National Theatre) Engine Room Development Programme where he worked on about:blank as an audio-immersive piece. Subsequently, he received the Arts Council Ireland Literature Project Award to complete the project. about:blank premiered at Dublin Theatre Festival 2021. Wyeth is also a recipient of the Live Music & Performance Scheme for a new music and text work in collaboration with Emmy-nominated composer David Downes, performed by pianist Rolf Hind and Cellist Adrian Mantu. Wyeth is an Associate Artist of the Civic Theatre, Dublin, and works on ideas and research for the RTÉ Poetry Programme. He teaches online creative writing correspondence courses at adamwyeth.com and Fishpublishing.com.

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