Beast and Berry


I wish I had that last paycheck.  A little fat, a little time before I am forced ‘independent’- completely dependent, on my own cunning.  A little fat, a little time, more specifically: that fishing rod, another week of beans and rice, and extra bullets.  There’s no use wrestling my mind, it is just a shame to have worked and not gotten paid.  Was it work?  I am used to the long sun drenched days about the stables or farm; or the relentless labor I had self-issued: building this house- cabin, shed, it is a one room something or other, but she is beautiful and I am proud.  A similar sized structure was built by half a dozen hands over two years.  This one, my home…

That forces me to pause: “my home”.  It is fitting enough.  No better place for me.  I had always come here to escape the tortures!  The distractions, be less melodramatic, they did torture me.

How many trips did it take?  Finding this place; the first couple trips I’d lay on the forest floor and let the bugs crawl freely over me, let the mosquitoes bite; later the building of this place.  Five trips I think, each time to carry in, most trips to build as well, all but one I think.  That one I was too overcome.  It wasn’t even early spring and I was already overcome.  I had that pain in my skin, pressure around the eyes, the throbbing hands, the deep loud breath.  Maybe the snow drops had at least come up, but there was little more than that in the forest to show for spring.  I was off guard; it was too early yet to  expect this to come on so strong.  The strength is not even typical for spring- that is not true.  It is typical.  But it is stronger in autumn.  Still, this was winter, too early for spring, too early for the perfume that comes with spring.  I swear she had found and bottled that fragrance.  I cannot phrase the smell in words and she had found it and wore it around as if it were her own.

No! No! I won’t start.  I will not humor specifics or generals- of her, or any other.  This here is my refuge; this here my home; that I built in five trips, when others took three years- and might I add that mine has been built with some exceptional style: wood shingled siding, one hundred year roof, stone foundation; she is a beaut, forged by beast, exiled time and again, be it by a rightfully angry husband, father, policeman, or my very own despair: so overcome.

The strength has grown to be so overwhelming, so uncontrolled, unhealthy; such that I have decided upon this permanent refuge.  How long must I wait for the most recent infection to disperse?  I had always persisted till I won a heart and waited till emotions turned, then ugliness made the taste bitter, and I was free again; or she would persist, playing out of roles contrary to the ones I had selected, and she would persist, breaking me down until I would almost believe she was someone completely different than I had first thought, or that she thought so at least, and in this way there was decay.  After such betrayal I would meet with winter to brood and refresh.  I knew- I know I was betraying myself, some growth, some evolution.  Upon taking the lakeside job- I only kept on a few weeks longer once spying her Soft. Long. Deep. Oh so. –

Enough!  Enough!  That is enough!  I give an inch and soon enough this whole journal is full of bad poetry and lust and sorrow and want and whatever else makes me insane.  Later I’d return to read this, embarrassed- mortified should any one else ever see it.  Inspired to madness again?  I’ll wait.  How long will the burnt-in impression last?  How long before I can look towards the trees and animals, having forgotten my unknowing captors?

I predict a violent sickness.  Withdrawal fully complimented with strong fever and delusion.  I pray that there is clarity and peace on the other side.


I am not right to write as of yet, but I want to take note of a brilliant idea: how I will no longer obsess over women.  I will direct all the passion and love, that festering and brewing, toward the wilderness.  And for the obvious dangers and associations made in partaking in the loving of animals I will narrow my focus toward plants.  But I am not right as of yet, for in my mind and, almost as clear as I can see the tree before me, there is a girl sitting in the branches; or if I look towards the seaweed and water lilies there too is an apparition.  And instead of noting the color green or the movement in the water, I see her lips as she takes a breath, or how her hair lifts in the sun, where skin touches smooth bark, and the forms her clothing conceals.  I am not right as of yet.  I fear that I am dangerous.  Before I was not- even riding that line, keeping everyone guessing, I myself never wondered if I would go too far.  Now, alone and savage I am not so sure.  The hunt: I won’t draw the obvious parallels between obtaining nourishment and… “nourishment”.  What disturbs me most is that this hunt ends each time with violence, then murder.  Slaughter, for food, but murder still.  And what’s more is that I have preferred the act with my hands- with my bare hands!  I excused myself: “ I must save onto bullets.”  I’ll be honest, revealing this terrible pleasure.  Who am I keeping secrets from?  Myself?  Just as vividly as I can see girls in trees, I have felt them in my hands, neath scales or leather, before I- I have never been this mad.  What degrees of madness? Tempers.  Never have I been a danger to others- not so much so.  Overtly.  I’ll stay in the forest.  And I’d better not write until I am right for the writing.


It was easy to see the lush and delicate; to go from girls on branches to licking the sweet sap from sugar maples, or brushing hands and face along Queen Anne’s white lace flowers.  Milkweed is too obvious a deviant, half the time I cannot even stomach his display.  I pretend mushrooms don’t exist.   All of these are beautiful in ways, but I have written them off as porn, and I am trying my best to refrain.

Instead I have sought out the subtle: long hours in the darker forest, my head buried in the softest moss.  I breathe in deep- it is not an intoxicating pheromone- yes there are the obvious parallels: the soft and curling fur, the delicate wetness; but the breathing has captured me.  Not pheromones: odorless, clarity, clean air.

Before the rain- or when it has not rained for sometime: the drab, the wilting, the tired, the unloved.

And just before the rain, dry as they are, everything looks up hoping, all the upturned leaves and flowers, the faces, anticipating.

After the rain of course the first thing is the green, the vibrance.  Any eye will see this.  But then also there is.  The leaves have collected cups of water for insects and animals to drink.  The touch me nots turn their cups into treasures- they conduct real alchemy: turning water to solid jewels.  It is only when you grab at them, greedy greedy! to pluck them away!  Then they are water again and the flowers pop! those ridiculous young things.

There is every part: from sprouting tendrils to dark hummus, and no rules-  that is a stupid thing to write!  Maybe I do not know the rules, or they appear intuitive, perhaps I feel them.  I have defined new moderation: faith in the woody and non-woody.

The hunt has ended, my growth.  Change.  I began by eating the first sprouts and cut leaves from half grown annuals.  That did not take.  It was nourishing, but it was not like the moss-breathing.  I thought to eat the soil, to soak in the river, and to stare at the sun.  I could not.  It was too soon.  I returned to the moss where I think best.  Breathing in, that euphoric, that subtle euphoria.  Before me grew up rambling crossing thorns: the claiming explorers, new ground for the forest, luring in birds to spread her roots further.  I could do the same.  And in this way there is no hunt.  No savagery.  Never mind how delicate or apologetic, no savagery.  The cutting thorns do not kill me, or even hurt terribly.  I’ve found the place: making my skin like bark.

I eat berries.  Every day.  Every meal.  Beginning with mulberries, through wineberries and now blackberries.  How many weeks?  And more times than I feast, I spread the seeds back out.  I am the mother.

I have fever again.  The third time?  But it is not desperate or mad.  This is not the withdraw from lust.  The forest is cleansing me.  She is providing and healing, making me like her.  The fever is burning out the savage poisons.  She has seen my born role when I could not.  But unlike those women before.  I’ll abide.


I am away from home.  I can barely write.  They’ve put poison and graves in me and pills to stop the cleansing.  My eyes have been on this notepad for hours, but I have been too weak to ask for it, or argue with the nurse who washed away the soil and made my bark skin again.  I am away from home and I cannot think straight and I don’t know what animal I am.

She stands before me and I’d wish to see a tree about her just as clearly…

I found him.  He was half bones, half eaten.  He was pecked by birds.  Thorny berries have grown through him.  This was his hopeful end.  His cupboard is still full of beans, rice, and dried meat by the stove.