Saturday, February 26, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 20

William

so much depends
upon

a frayed rope
swing

obscured in gray
shadows

hung under the
maple

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy 10th Birthday

Dear Charlie,


I like to remind you each birthday how we worried the night you were born because it was snowing hard, and we didn’t know how we were going to get Grandma so she could watch Evan because Grandpa was stuck in a snowbank. (in his Bruno Magli shoes!) And when we were finally able to get going, we slipped and slid all the way to the hospital. And then you were ready to meet us, and I was pushing so so hard but you were sunny-side up, you wanted to come into the world face first, looking at it all, instead of looking down at the floor. But gosh darn it hurt, with your hard forehead banging my pelvis.


I cursed a lot. Sorry about that.


But I finally did it and you were out and in my arms. And despite the traumatic birth, you were so perfect looking. Such a beautiful little face. No conehead at all. Daddy and I like to say you’ve always had a hard head. You don’t give in easily, which I secretly love. You fight for what you believe in. I love that you laugh really hard and you also cry really hard. You embrace every moment of life like it was your last. That is an admirable quality, even when it drives me insane. I have learned so much from you. And that personality will get you through many tough times--it is enormous. You live your life out loud, and I know it sounds cliche, but you draw people to you like moths to a flame.


I am honored and humbled to be the person in your life you call Mom. I treasure the rest of your days and can’t wait to meet the man you become.


Happy 10th birthday, Charlie Boo.


I love you.


p.s.

Mrs. Pontrella sang it to you the other day when I brought cupcakes to school, but you know the truth, you are my sunshine.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

31 Winter Poems: Poem 19

All I Have to Do Is Dream


Sometimes I imagine I am still sitting

in my lemon yellow room on Alberta Avenue

dressing paper dolls in their fancy clothing--

two-dimensional Betsy McCall visits Pollyanna

under the bright lights of an imaginary Victorian circus tent


or I am slowly sifting through a shiny tin of glass buttons

letting them drop jewel-like through my fingers

as my grandmother pushes her foot down hard

on the sewing machine pedal

speeding through her stitches like a race car driver


laughing at me and my cousins,

the girls all prancing with abandon

dancing in our underwear and Nan’s fancy hats and pearly beads

to Sheb Wooley’s “Flying Purple People Eater”

and The Everley Bros. “All I Have to Do Is Dream”, side B.


Lifting the lid on that little black box

carefully, as if it were a treasure chest,

to flip the record, change the 45, push the needle back again.

Giggling while we switch positions, fall

into the beanbag cushions of each other’s laps


sure of our bodies, our nimble limbs

skin on skin, hands, feet, bellies, intertwined

unafraid of warm human touch, soft caresses,

proud of our budding breasts

and bloodless thighs.

We have not yet met the snake charmer

working at the corner store, the one with oil-stained hands,

and the sickening smell of Wild Turkey and Merit 100s on his breath.


Monday, February 14, 2011

So this weekend I ran with gazelles...


Gazelle is derived from the Arabic ghaz─âl. Appreciated for its grace, it is a symbol most commonly associated in Arabic literature with female beauty. One of the traditional themes of Arabic love poetry involves comparing the gazelle with the beloved, and linguists theorize that ghazal, the word for love poetry in Arabic, is related to the word for gazelle.

I spent this weekend in New York with a herd of gazelles. Like seriously, hard core gazelles. These women are compassionate and thoughtful and kind and deep. They ask questions and really listen to the answers. They are grateful for their friendships. They are grateful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon them in their lives. They are equally grateful for the times they have faced difficulties and for the lessons they learned from those dark moments.

They are not afraid of growth and they embrace change, both in themselves and in the people around them.

They are not afraid to set intentions.

They are not afraid to ask for what they want.

They are not afraid to say thank you.

They embrace love and light.

It is an amazing feeling to be surrounded by strong, self-empowered women who own their beauty and confidence. I know that they haven't always and don't always feel this way. They are human and all of us struggle (daily) with our demons, our doubts, our insecurities. But this is why the herd is so important. This is why we need to carve out time with people who allow us the space to nurture the best life has to offer. To walk the streets and follow our hearts. To stop and look and listen and take pictures and read poetry and eat good food and laugh and talk and nap and and soak it all in. This is high quality self care and many women (and men) do not ever take the time to do it. But I believe that it's just as important as air and water and shelter.

This herd, well, this is a herd I am proud to be a part of. This herd is a gift I have been given. And I am so grateful for these particular winter days when I ran through the city streets with beautiful gazelles.