Thursday, December 16, 2010

Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

It was over dinner,

certainly red wine, a simple risotto.

You were talking to me

about your father’s tears

how they spill so easily

and the reason why,

empty shoes lying next to a well,

a memory of tired summer grass


and I was looking past you

at the jade plant on your windowsill in a pot

next to the basket holding three oranges,

an avocado overripe in it’s skin.

The evening sky

beyond a complicated tangle of stems and leaves.


While you were talking,

pouring wine, explaining

I thought only of what lies beneath

the connective tissues, the muscles and tendons,

a blackness deep below our naked nerve endings.

The place where we all remain untouched.


Even after I have forgotten

the bark of your black dog

my middle name

what month or day it is,

I will carry in my mind

the vein of this particular conversation

a thread, connecting us to each other,

to your father and his suffering,

an echo from that deep hole,

to the place where the spirit meets the bone.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Intentions

Intention; [in-ten-shuhpastedGraphic.pdfn] –noun 1. an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result. 2. the end or object intended; purpose.


Some of you know a little bit of my story, some of you know a lot, others none at all, but today I want to share with you my intention. I’ve learned a lot the past few years about the power of intention and the possibilities that exist for all of us within the universe if we envision what we want for ourselves.


When I was a girl I knew I wanted to grow up to be an artist and a writer. I was sure of it. There would be no stopping me. But somehow along the way I began to doubt myself. Like many girls, I began to think that art was a hobby, not a career. I would only be wasting my time if I pursued such a silly dream. And so I quit. Cold turkey. I put my completed portfolio in a closet, tossed out the art school brochures and applications, and stopped taking classes. I barely even doodled.


But I couldn’t put my desire to rest forever, and so after I had my children I began to create again. I took classes at the local adult school, at the museum in the next town, and eventually ended up in New Hampshire, nestled by a lake with over 100 other women who felt led in the same direction. And my world opened up again. It wasn’t too late!


Over the last three years I have continued to feel led, almost as if someone I couldn’t see was ahead of me on the path dropping breadcrumbs. I began playing with different mediums and collecting supplies. I read articles and magazines and books and blogs for inspiration. I started making jewelry and began to sell it. I made small gifts for family and friends that I created with my own hands. I began painting and drawing again. A sense of confidence and belonging began to slowly creep back in to my psyche. I was being led somewhere for sure, although I still couldn’t figure out exactly where. Little things happened that didn’t quite add up--a conversation with a stranger on a bench, a poem that cracked me open, an essay that made me understand who I am and made me cry for the girl I was, a chance meeting on an airplane, an amazing friend who listened without an ounce of judgment--all of these things and a million other small moments began to pile up. And then, in October, a mermaid crossed my path and suddenly I knew. I knew without a doubt.


Art classes for young girls. A space where they could be free and play and express themselves. A magical place where they could be bold and brave while they draw and paint and write. Talk if they want to talk or not speak at all. Have fun. Wear tutus. And wings. Hula hoop. Take pictures of themselves. Take pictures of each other. See their beauty. Dance. Get the opportunity to watch women creating in their studios or homes. Understand that art is real and worthwhile and it can change lives and take them places they never imagined.


And so Brave Girls Art is my intention. My friends Ruth and Andrew are “lending” me their amazing studio. And hopefully some families will lend me their girls every Saturday morning for an hour or two. We’ll paint and draw and and listen to good music and make mistakes and create the lives we want for ourselves. I’ll teach them all I know, but in the end I think they’ll teach me, too. We’ll empower each other.


So I’m laying out my intention here for you in hopes that you’ll send me some good vibes. Or maybe a great idea or two. I’m telling you this because I’m a little afraid (and, of course, brave girls admit when they are afraid) and I know you’ll encourage me. I’m telling you this in case you are cleaning out your closet or your kid’s room or your studio and you find something you think I could use for a project. I’m telling you this because if you are an artist or a writer (and lots of you are!) you might want to make a video for these girls to watch--maybe one of you creating art in your own space--or write them a letter or send them a secret message. I’m telling you this because, honestly, I’m usually really quiet about my endeavors. I’m afraid of failing, and I don’t always believe in myself--but this time I’m writing down my intentions and asking you to hold me accountable and encourage me. I’m telling you this because I’m almost 42 years old and I am finally realizing I am an artist and I am a writer and I am an emotional creature.

And I love, hear me,

love love love

being a girl.

A brave girl.

Classes start in January and you can follow us at www.bravegirlsart.blogspot.com

Friday, May 21, 2010

For Nella, on Pax's 8th Birthday

birth day


a rite of passage
if you are one of the lucky ones,
cake and streamers
a balloon
some ice cream
new shoes
a party dress and dancing,
a celebration.

if you are luckier still
someday,
something new.
And the one who lay
curled beneath your heart
swimming in a salty sea
arrives.
Suddenly
the earth turns
and you are born again.

5/21/2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My gravitational pull



I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing to you as no one ever has,


streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.








~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tsunami


I can feel a storm rising inside of me.
It's forming slowly
cresting very far out at sea,
waiting for the right moment to unleash itself.
I wonder if it will be like the tsunami in Thailand
when the people on the beaches were completely unaware
that in a split second the sea would rush away,
leaving boats stranded
and fish flopping helplessly on the sand
eyes bulging, mouths gaping open and closed;
bits of flotsam and jetsam
exposed in the bright sunlight.
And then suddenly, a wall of black water
slamming back against the shore.
A storm no one saw coming.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chicken Little

Ever since happiness heard your name, It has been running through the streets trying to find you. --Hafiz



Do we seek happiness or does it seek us? Interesting question and one that I like to ponder once in a while. Some people seem to live with a black cloud perpetually over their heads. It seems like bad “stuff” happens to the same people over and over again. They get sick, they lose their jobs, their homes get robbed, their children get sick, their houses fall apart. I’m not saying that some of these things don’t happen to all of us at times, but I’ve noticed that I have friends or family members who have an inordinate amount of bad luck. And it makes me wonder, do they live with the intention of being happy and these things just occur anyway, or do they live waiting for the sky to fall and so, in some way, bring it down around their ears? In other words, do we somehow reap what we sow? Do some people just have bad karma, whereby the individual is considered to be the sole doer and enjoyer of his karmas and their “fruits.” Or rotten fruits, whichever the case may be?

And how does innate happiness play a role? Are some of us predisposed to be happy souls, and therefore bring about cheerful, good things to our lives, while others are generally unhappy and unfulfilled and then somehow bring about the negative? And can we change this for ourselves? Can we become happy and bring about better luck? I know of a local woman who was fairly generally known to be a negative person. She wasn’t really approachable, had few friends, was looked at by others as “snobby,” but always said it was because she was shy. But her few friends even said she was a complainer and a bleak spirit--always looking at that glass as half-empty and exuding quite a bit of negative energy.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. She beat it, but nothing really changed. She still carried that negative energy with her. A few months ago she was diagnosed with brain cancer--inoperable, death-impending brain cancer. She found a man, a sort of guru, who began helping her change her energy. She started to see how the negativity was draining her of experiencing life in a healthy way, and she decided she didn’t want the time she had left to be so gloomy. So she adjusted her attitude and began to live her life in a grateful manner all the time. She made a conscious effort to be happy. The doctors cannot explain it, but her tumors are shrinking and the cancer is heading for the shadows. It’s not gone, and she still may have limited time, but amazing, good things are happening in her life. Could it simply be due to her attitude adjustment?

I have always loved the story of Chicken Little. The sky is constantly getting ready to rain down on her. She just cannot see how it could stay pinned up where it belongs, around the clouds and sun and moon. Disaster is constantly imminent. In the end, Chicken Little realizes it takes courage to live without fear. It takes courage to choose to be happy, even in the face of disaster that befalls us all sometimes.

It takes courage to make yourself happy, to stop running through the streets ignoring the sound of your name. . . .

Monday, May 10, 2010

things i've seen this month (so far) . . . .


1. red red tomatoes and green basil




2. a blue heron next to a rainbow in a fountain




3. two hawk's riding the current in two different skies




4. my best friend's smile




5. a night sky so blue it didn't look real




6. the brightest yellow goldfinches on my feeder




7. the movie Babies (which was adorable, inspiring, and comforting)




8. wind blowing the tree branches until I thought they'd break, but they held fast




9. my child's tears




10. sombreros




Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dear Italy,




It hasn’t been that long since I last saw you. Not even a full year yet. But I felt the need to tell you today how much I miss you. I feel the need quite often, actually. Nearly every day. But today is the day I have chosen to write you a love letter. I am hoping you might hear me more clearly this way.

Yesterday, I read my journal entries from when we were last together. And the day before that I watched a slideshow of the photos I took of you. You look even better than I remembered. The evening sunlight in those few from the Residensa della Signoria in Florence? Those are hot. I mean you look amazing--despite what those silly boys said about you. What do they know? They're only kids. Someday they’ll appreciate you the way I do.


Tomorrow I may take out my suitcase and try to see if I can catch your scent, which would be impossible with all the trips which have come between. But maybe, buried down in the corner somewhere, I can get a whiff of the peaches from Tony's garden, or the smell of the sea in Roseto. Just a tiny bit to keep my heart from bursting with missing you.
I'm sure everyone who has met you says they love you most, but I hope you know I am the one who truly does. They can say all they want, and I know it's not really a contest or anything (but I'm still the winner).
Did I tell you I'm learning to speak your language? It's not easy. I mean, no one said it was going to be, but I'm no spring chicken and we all know it would be a lot easier if my brain was still a sponge like my kid's. But I'm determined not to come back until I can tell you in your own words that my storia d'amore with you is endless.
Arrivederci a presto, Italia!
xo
Me







Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Those feelings the full moon brings...

feeling hollow


the waxy chocolate Easter rabbit
a colorful spring package
wrapped in cellophane.
thrilling
until you bite off the ears
realize it's empty
tasteless
bland;
a closed body
containing only space and air
not the sweet confection
you imagined
when you held it in your hands.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Breaking the Silence








It seems I took an unintentional/intentional break from blogging. I had been thinking about it. Wondering if I could do it. No writing, no reading, no catching up and wasting time linking and linking the day away, albeit under the guise of "inspiration". But I hadn't actually committed to the idea, when it just happened. I stopped cold turkey.


It's been almost a month and it's been strange. For sure I missed the writing part. I don't love the pressure of coming up with the idea of what to post, but I love the craft of writing and the personal expression. And, of course, I missed not knowing what was going on in my little blogging world. But I didn't give up all forms of social media, so I kept abreast of what most of my friends were up to, and I realized that the rest of it, well it's just gravy. And the world spins madly on, whether I read about it or not. There's plenty of places to find inspiration, including watching the waves roll in again and again on the shores of Miami Beach during a quick, spur-of the-moment girl's weekend or in the branches of the 100-something year old oak tree in my backyard.

And I realized that it's in these quiet moments that I can think my best thoughts. That I need time and space to formulate an idea and I need to give myself the gift of breathing room and that I need to make time to ruminate and write. I realized I like journaling more than I ever thought I did and that my blog is a different kind of journal, but an important record of my feelings and thoughts and writing.

And so I'll be showing up here again. And reading blogs again, but not as frequently. I need to look inward more often for my inspiration. I need to know that I am good enough, that my words are good enough. For me.








Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Check out this giveaway: HURRY!

Found this beautiful artist through Pixie, an amazing spirit herself! Enter to win some really lovely jewels. Go now!

http://stonespirit-izzy.blogspot.com/2010/03/march-giveaway-ok-so-im-late.html

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Where will it take me?



I have a serious love affair with travel. I mean, I ADORE the smell of the airport. I like the plastic molded chairs in the waiting area. I actually don't mind taking off my shoes and putting all my stuff in a plastic bin and standing in line and tossing my half-empty water bottle that I just paid $4 for in the garbage and delays and lost luggage. All those little hassles. It all means I'm going somewhere. I'm seeing something new. Or something I've seen before, (although I prefer new) but either way, it's an adventure. A new road traveled. New people to meet. Amazing scenery. An open road. A meal I've never tasted. A bed I've never slept in. An experience like no other.

I swear, I could be a nomad. I looked it up. Traditionally nomadic behavior is increasingly rare in industrialized countries. Nomadic cultures are split into three categories; hunter/gatherers, pastoral, and peripatetic nomads.

Now let's face it, I enjoy my fruits and vegetables from the co-op share I participate in; but I don't want to gather the seasonally available wild plants and game, even if it is by far the oldest human subsistence method.

And there aren't a whole lot of sheep or cows in Nutley, so the pastoralist type doesn't seem to be my gig. Although it does sound peaceful. All those hours spent alone, outdoors, just you and your thoughts. But then the rainy, cold days would be awful. And I don't really like sheep or cows or the way they smell.

But peripatetic nomads--the ones who offer the skills of a craft or a trade to those they travel among, well that just may be me. I mean, it's not like I know what I would offer.... Maybe just a laugh and a story and sharing a glass of wine with you. Or using a crayon to color in your coloring book. Or holding your baby while you fold your laundry. Or making you some granola so you have a decent breakfast. Or listening to your story because I know you need to tell it.

But peripatetic, that's me. I could pack a bag and just go. I want to buy an RV and jump in without a map and see where it takes me. I want to experience it all. Just hit the gas with arms and heart wide open and go. REALLY go. It's a big world out there.

Where will it take me?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Female Blogger: Needs Inspiration

Help! I've begun to realize that I spend more time reading in the blogosphere than writing. And I always begin reading with the thought that it will inspire me to write my own post, but by the time I'm finished reading, I'm too tired, cranky, over-inspired, sure that I'm not as good, etc. etc. and I give up before writing a word. Last month my poetry experiment helped because I had a goal and some sort of deadline, and even though I didn't stick to it exactly, it was helpful. I'm a deadline kind of girl. I need to be pinned to a wall and staring at the clock, racing it to the final moment with that panicked breathiness and fear that I will not make it in order to complete a task. Phew. That is not great for blogging. I get caught up in the what should I write about, I don't have a photo, I can't get the words right, my life is boring kind of gremlins and then I don't write anything. I need a little inspiration. I need someone to give me some tips. How do you do it? How do you decide what to write about? What makes you sit down and write? What makes you come back to the keyboard and JUST DO IT?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tattoo Me


Regarde mon beau tattoo, originally uploaded by Benoit.P.



Sailors had ink beneath their skin
so loved ones would recognize
their bloated sea torn bodies
long after they had drowned.

Nazis used ink to identify
their prisoners, grotesque numbers
meant to help them forget
Jews were human, too.

Tribal groups choose ink
for magical qualities,
believing in the power
of protection over charm.

Status, rank, devotion,
fertility, love, punishment.
Cosmetic, sentimental.
Amulets and talismans.

I want a tattoo for bravery;
a clear message to prove
that my invisible ink
has finally been erased.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One for March


Dreams

give way to morning light,

plain and gray.

Tender rain waits.

Like a pain, ancient and ghostly,

it drums against the glass.

Grief rises like a delicate perfume

but in this sweet darkness

I let myself go.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Poem a Day

A poem a day was a tall order
too tall, really.
The burden of proof was heavy
especially for a budding wordsmith,
whose skills are rusty
who has too many blank pages between then and now.

But a poem a day is easy
for the secret woman I am inside.
The woman who lives in the tiny apartment
above the Florentine plaza,
where the afternoon sun settles
in the loveliest spot
and she writes, uninterrupted,
until it is time to walk downstairs,
ask the woman in the café below
for a bottle of wine,
some cheese and prosciutto.

She sits still and silent,
letting her eyes rest
on the men and women passing her table.
She imagines the places they live,
the jobs they love or hate,
how their bodies look in various stages of undress,
what they whisper to their mothers,
children, landlords, lovers
at the end of the day.

A poem a day was too difficult here.
But the secret woman I am inside,
well, she memorizes the stories of strangers
while she eats her supper,
chews her words carefully
turning them over and over in her mouth,
taking the time to get the sounds just right
before she returns upstairs
to sleep.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Jubilant Countdown




If I was to choose
one moment in time
from these first nine years
then I would tell of how I loved you in Italy
where you clamored for more gelato,
a better seat on the bus,
breakfast of bacon,
one more minute to swim in the Adriatic Sea.
In Pisa,
where you beat your chest à la Johnny Weissmuller
and Buster Crabbes,
there was no mistaking
your intent.
Like a gusty wind pushing through the clothes,
your howl conveyed what you had stubbornly decided—
your opinions were clear.

Here is the truth
your rage makes me love you more.
You are alive with a fire for this world,
a flame I smothered in my own heart
long before you were born.
But on the ancient streets of Rome and Florence
you veraciously taught me
how to ignite it again.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 22

come into my cell
make yourself at home
slip through the bars,
dark and rusty
try not to snag your dress
on that sharp steel
that barbed wire there
shake loose your freedom
lean close and look
for a sliver of moon
outside my dusty window

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Circus

I remember an ear infection
when I was fifteen or so,
pain so terrible I whimpered
first
then gnashed my teeth
screamed
then screeched
like a wild thing.
I lay stretched out in the back seat
sure I wouldn’t make it
one mile further
sure I would lose my hearing
my outer ear no longer vibrating
no longer sending sounds
the nerve endings stretched to their absolute limits
my balance compromised,
turning my life upside down
until the prick of a needle
drained the pain into a cup.
life is like this
bringing us to the brink
again and again
forcing us to be acrobats
taking us to dizzying heights
spinning us
around and around
until we find ourselves standing on solid ground
once again.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day


Sometimes this is love
as simple as a pancake
saying so much more


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Flood



How did Noah’s wife feel
after the flood?
The waters abated
puddles of mud left in their wake.
All of those animals
must have needed tending;
must have been hungry, thirsty, filthy,
with their braying and screeching,
kicking and shitting
wedged tight in that vessel.
When was the last time she had slept?

I imagine her spirits were buoyed
when the rains ceased,
when the dove returned
with the olive leaf held in its beak.
At her first glimpse of land
was she desperate to escape,
tearing at her clothes,
muttering to herself
not nearly as proud of her righteous husband
as she had been a year before
when god chose him
and sealed her fate, too.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One More on Day 11

snow showers at night
branches of bamboo bent low
forcing us to slow

Migration

[Damn. Snow days. Made me miss a day. Oh, well. This one was a little bit of fun!]



From near the water's edge, I watch
a boy digging a hole in the sand.
Slowly, methodically
he shovels and scoops,
tossing some by the handful
over his shoulder.
I step closer.

The hole is wide and deep
and filled with salty water.
A whale hides near the bottom.
I ask the boy if I may dive in,
have a word with the whale.
He says it's okay with him
if I do.

The water is colder than I expected.
And the whale refuses
to answer my questions.
Silently swimming in circles
simply watching me
tread water,
until my arms are too tired to go on.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 9

Like a souffle, his smile collapsed.
He suddenly understood what she had been trying to say.
Her voice was so slight
And her gestures so flustered.
It took him nearly a year
To realize she was leaving.
In fact, she was already gone.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Few of My Failures

Soccer, my dad was a coach and my sister a natural athlete; I had two
left feet and didn’t make the team.
And math word problems were so confusing. Mr. DeMarco always had
spittle in the corners of his mouth. I couldn’t concentrate
on all those numbers.
And being Laura’s friend. She was smarter than me, but shy and quiet.
I made Russell Nelson moon her on the playground at lunchtime and then
I never spoke to her again.
And keeping a diary, although I loved that little book with its Holly Hobbie
cover and tiny lock and key, I only wrote six entries the first year
and two the next. All the other pages are blank,
but I wrote about loving Ted Trainor. He rode his moped to my house
after school. He wrote me poems and cried when I broke his heart,
too afraid to tell him what was happening to me.
And having faith only meant that I liked singing the hymns
and the quiet rhythm of sitting and standing and sitting again.
But I couldn’t believe Jonah was able to breathe in the belly of that whale,
or that someone would choose to die for my nameless sins
thousands of years before I was born.
Then there were those babies; four of them, dead before fourteen weeks.
Scraping and scooping the lining of my uterus
in the sterile operating room
was not the same as eulogizing their lives,
standing next to an open grave.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Suddenly Everything Makes Sense*

Around 1988 I’m working as a waitress at a German restaurant on July 4th. The chef gets angry and walks out in the middle of dinner service. We are all panicking. I want to walk out, too, but we apologize to the customers and watch the fireworks over New York City from the picture window.

Around 1971 we live on Alberta Avenue next door to the Ruhf family. Ricky and his brothers have a secret clubhouse in the woods nearby. I like to spy on them. They accidentally burn it down with a cigarette they aren’t supposed to be smoking. I long for a big brother just like Ricky.

Around 1978 I find a sand dollar on the beach in Sea Bright. It’s late winter and much too cold to swim. We live in a tiny rental house on Ocean Avenue. We call it the cracker box. Mrs. Rooney lives next door and sells hot dogs from a Sabrett cart. I think the tiny bird-like shells inside the sand dollar are heartbreakingly beautiful.

Around 1985 I spend the summer taking care of another family’s children. Their mother, Meg, has breast cancer and loses her hair after chemotherapy treatments. My friend Michael mows their lawn and we play Wiffle ball with the girls. I make cheese sandwiches every day. A few years later Meg and Michael are dead.

Around 1975 my sister is dancing on the side of the tub while we are taking a bath. I tell her to stop or she will get hurt. She slips and knocks herself unconscious. She is drowning. My father does mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the small pink carpet. He saves her life. I cry myself to sleep that night.

Around 1982 we drive to Virginia to stay with my grandparents. My dad plays Kenny Rogers on the eight-track player all the way there. I sit in the front seat so my sister and I won’t fight. I know all the words to "The Gambler".

Around 1976 my parents give us a tape recorder for Christmas. It has been recording our voices while we open our presents. When we play it back later my mother is screaming because I have opened the only gift she gets that year—a dress she doesn’t really like.

Around 1987 I shoplift shampoo and a lipstick from the Five and Dime. I carry it out in the front pocket of my raincoat. The sun is shining.

Around 1983 my cousin tells me my grandfather is an alcoholic. We are playing hide-and-go-seek. Suddenly everything makes sense.

Around 1978 my grandmother sits next to me on the bed and gives me Saltines and a cherry pop. I have a high fever and I am delirious. Her cool hand on my forehead and soft murmurings make me feel safer than I have ever felt in my life.


(*homage to Terence Winch and Deborah Harding, and many others I'm sure)

Friday, February 5, 2010

No time yesterday, 2 haiku for today

dark river water
floating with pale jellyfish
two girls on a raft




on a cold winter night
take leave of inhibitions
she watches me dance

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February 3

He filled the tall glass again
with amber-colored liquid, tipped
back his head and drank
so quickly, I don't think
he could have swallowed.

I watched him swipe
the back of his hand across
his wet lips, and turn
unsteadily, toward me
his half-focused eyes staring
at the tiny patches of my bikini.

Reaching into his breast pocket,
"Here," he said, "go get yourself a cherry cola."
And so I ran barefoot
across the gravel lot,
knowing even at this early hour
the cold glass bottle would soothe me.

I drank it, slowly
watching the pigs,
rooting in the muck oblivious to me there,
peering through the slats
listening to the distant sound
of a combine in the field nearby.

Years later, we sat side by side
his sallow skin and rail thin thighs
next to mine, rocking
the porch swing slowly in the midday heat.
Reaching into his breast pocket,
"Here," he said, "you're a good girl."

And I knew my silence had soothed him.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

*disclaimer

* I should have said this earlier, before I began this monthlong exercise, before I set my first poem before you, but here's the thing: I'm enthusiastic about this project, yet I'm more than a little scared that it will be too hard or that sometime in the middle of it, I'll get a bad case of nerves and forget my lines and the gong will sound and that will be the end of my experiment. But I'm going to try to write a poem a day for the month of February. Some of them may be okay and some of them may be terrible. None of them will be completely finished because I might not know much, but I do know that good poetry requires tireless revision and so what I write here is only the beginning of my process. It is only the first place I will write these lines, what happens to them next remains to be seen. But I am giving myself permission to write poetry, to try to write every day, and most of all to have fun.

And so begins Day 2.

The Largest Organ


My skin is just a layer
that protects organs and bones,
mere millimeters thick.
An insulator.
A regulator.
A communicator.
One glance at my ectodermal tissue
and even a stranger can easily tell
if I am well or sick,
afraid or embarrassed,
ugly or attractive.
But am I comfortable in this skin?
No one else may be able to see it
but the scar tissue is ropey and thick,
a furious red,
discolored and depigmented.
It wasn't a pot of scalding water
or a fire igniting the house around me,
but a slow burn
moving inch by inch
blanketing thousands of nerve endings
until I could feel
nothing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 1

Envisioning what to write,
how to fill up a page,
the perfect words to expel,
which story i will choose to tell;
i ponder the minutiae of my daily existence.

No one cares about my piles of dirty laundry or the groceries i didn't buy,
or the painting i didn't paint and the dishes piling up in my sink.
No one cares about the noses i wiped
the floors i swept
the bills i paid
my walk to the park with the dog
or the mail piling up on my desk,
tipping precariously near the edge,
daring me to add one more envelope.

No one cares about the clouds in my sky
the peach-colored glow I admired,
those silky purple undertones
and the darkest hints of gray where rain must have been collecting.

No one cares to hear the song
i have played over and over again
until it’s words became my mantra,
Say you’ll wait, say you won’t
Say you love me, say you don’t
I can make my own mistakes
*

Not even i care.

But what i have come to realize
is that maybe
somehow
picking up my pen
and putting all of this down in black and white
will remind someone
that it is these simple things
which band us all together.

We are not alone.



* lyrics from Before It Breaks, Brandi Carlile

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

pink, to chase away the winter blues



after a long day sitting in a gray drab courthouse, doing my civic duty as a juror, i thought it would be fun to play along with Liz and put a little pink in my world...one from the archives (cause you can't bring a camera to court!!)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stretching

I can't believe how quiet I've been here this month. Maybe it's because I participated in Nablapomo this year. And then December Views (a spottier record, but still an effort) and then January rolled around and the new year left me feeling still and silent and I haven't been able to find my voice.

I've been reading. A lot. More than I have in a long time (other than blogs, that is). I read this. Which left me heartbroken and feeling a bit helpless in the face of so much pain. And I'm reading this and this simultaneously, because something about reading a novel and short stories at the same time feels right to me. And in between I am reading this, for inspiration.

And when all the books are done, I'm thinking about trying to write a poem every day for the month of February. No pressure, just an attempt at stretching my creative wings in a different direction. Seeing where the road leads...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Speechless



2010 has left me quite speechless so far. Can't come up with the words I want to speak, here or anywhere. But a painting I worked on yesterday and this beautiful bird of prey I was watching from my yard today brought forth these words, so I'll leave them ... for now.


We may never know what made Robert Book
take out his microscope to stare intently at a piece of cork.
But I am fascinated by his clear impression,
his comparison to a monk’s spare cell
and I wonder
how those thin walls create such a barrier
against external forces.
How those same thin walls prevent my cells
from expanding
from bursting.
I can only wish that someone
within my long ancestral chain
had made such a discovery,
left me the genetic code--
a way to place my fragile heart
into such a rigid envelope.