Sisters

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So, I definitely broke the “no bs” rule last night. The thing is, I missed my friend Jennifer and her family so much that I didn’t want to stop hanging out. I think it still counts as poeming, though, because the inspiration has to come from life, and last night my life rocked. Actually, my life rocks all the time. Livin’ it.

What I did, though, was very definitely cheating. It was copy and paste cheating. At least I plagiarized myself, and no one else. It was a thing I was doing for work. Whatever. I feel okay about it. It was soulfood. I hadn’t realized how much I craved that, to be with one of my best friends in the universe. After this month, I needed it so, so much. Also, we are at the point where our kids can play together, so nicely and politely, and that is pure joy nuggets.

I have four best friends. I am so lucky. We take toe selfies–pictures of our feet in various stages of awesomeness as we walk through this world–and text and email but rarely talk on the phone anymore. I miss them all so much it makes my heart hurt, so when I have the opportunity to see them, I don’t want to take even twenty minutes away from them in order to write a poem.

My friend Jennifer is a Bad-ass with a big ole B. She is a social worker and district manager, and she helps the children of people who have it rough. She has seen some shit. There is no other word for the situations she deals with on a daily basis. I’m in awe of her. I’ve said it before, but I’m gonna say it again: WE MUST PAY THOSE WHO HELP MORE.

I’ve known Jennifer since sixth grade, and lived with her and her then-bf-now-hp- in college (and a few months in grad school before I met HP and started co-habitating with him while ostensibly still living with her). To my mind, that makes us sisters. Sisters from different misters. That’s us. I’m going to poem about it.

But first, this is what I’m listening to right now:

Sisters

My friend sister dances in her kitchen, just like I do, a
nd our moves translate onto the smaller and funnier versions of ourselves,
who wiggle just like we do, who shake their hips
and twirl and talk with their hands,
who are love nuggets full of sass and prance.

My sistersoul cares with heartknife precision
about her work and her life, her life’s work is helping,
it’s important, and she is climbing ladders, taking names,
and fighting burnout.

Her mother wisdom is contagious, her husband fixes
and tells us how to fix.
Apparently our shower is a bigger problem than we thought.
Apparently we need to fix it.

I don’t need to talk to my soul sister to hear her,
because I can read her eyebrows and fingernails.
Her boy can be my girl’s big brother,
tough and vigilant.

Cleaning out my closet, we discovered
that most of the clothes I own were hers, once.
Sorting through the second-hand books,
I feel useful, like a fire hydrant in a great burn.

The pouts on the faces of small girls
as this family of dancing light leaves for home
are testimony to this big love.

Let it be holy. Let the wee ones be sisters too.

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But, clearly not nuns, because our daughters raise heck. Miss you already. Listen to this cover. I know we both would have that hair if we had different jobs.

Happy Saturday, poemfriends. Happy Saturday, my besties.

Edits

Cannot write a thing now:

No comma after couch

Upset should be disappointment

Put solely after looked

Should read, “Besant Hill in Ojai, CA, last week.”

“It’s an alternative-style school for creative kids,

founded by Aldous Huxley and set upon…

the ellipses after graduates and habits should be commas

change boarding setting to boarding school

put a “that” between “and” and “resonated”

creative author “of” creative, not “with”

no comma after trauma

put an “a” between “and” and “therapeutic”

has propelled should be have propelled

story; should be story,

Cozening should be cozying

no comma after hopeful

for anna’s bit:

put a “he” between but and always

no “and” in “nature, and his…”

no comma after writing

*************

just night after. Right after.
happy Saturday.

For the harpist and the teacher.

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I feel like a lot of my preambles this year start with “So, this happened”. But this is my process, so, this happened: Tonight HP and I picked up the Ds at our dear friends Oliver and Kelly’s house. Driving in, I saw Oliver raking and playing with the girls in a huge pile of leaves, and I assumed HP saw them too. But he was focused on driving, and when we pulled up and parked, Oliver had covered the three girls up so that the pile of leaves just looked like a pile of leaves. I got out of the car and played along, like “Oliver, I thought you were picking up the girls today! Where on earth could they be????”, all sing-songy. But HP had NOT seen them playing and took a flying jump off the ground with both sized-thirteen feet into the “pile of leaves”, and fully and with gusto, jumped into the pile of leaves. O and I shrieked and grabbed at the girlies, but it was too late. Miraculously, all three were just fine. Just fine and giggling. It was the best outcome to that scenario I could imagine. Also, afterwards, quite funny.

I have lots of poem shards tonight. My family and their wholeness, that’s a thing. It’s my Grandmas’ birthday, and she is a rockstar, that’s another thing. I will probably poem that tomorrow. She’s the truest believer I know. I felt like an okay teacher today, that’s another shard. In one of my classes a tall young man stretched and knocked a picture off the wall and the glass in the frame burst everywhere, and then he vacuumed it up. Literal shards.

But for some reason, the thing pulling me in a poemish direction today is my teacher and friend, Barbara, who sent me a book this week. It is called “What We See When We Read“, and it is beautiful and life-altering. Really. I would never use those two words together and hitch ‘em up with a hyphen if I didn’t mean it. I’ve said it before, but I feel that the best poems I write are the ones for people, and I really can’t imagine my life as it is now without my teacher Barbara. When I say or write the word teacher, I really mean guru, or sage, or mentor, or “I can’t believe how undeniably cool you are, so I’m going to name a daughter after you and your harp”.

Here is a quote from the book she sent me:”Of course, we also cherish the notion that books hold secrets; that books are reticent. (As I’ve mentioned: books safeguard mysteries}. Let me be serious. You need to get this book.

Let me get to it, then.

For a Harpist and Teacher

Thank you for the gift of talking to adolescence with acknowledgement of soul, thank you for being open like a note, thank you for your teaching, and thank you for calling me friend now, once the wild youth is survived, for the most part. Doubtless you don’t know what you’ve imparted, no doubt you doubt yourself daily. Please don’t. Your cause is noble, and it works, what you do. There’s a magic to it. Sometimes a legerdemain or two, but the notes I took from you came before the harp, and that was tricky business, my teacher, my friend.

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Happy Thursday, Poemfriends. I’m on staycation now! And as much as I despise the word, I have never been more grateful for it.

Here in my Kitchen

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One of my very best friends, along with her husband and kids, are visiting tonight.  I love that these, my beloved peeps, are now sleeping under this roof. Hope it is safe.  Why do we live so far away from our favorite people? Tesseract, please.

Gotta poem quick and get to sleep:

Here in My Kitchen

Oh, how I’ve missed them all. Her oldest, at nine or nearly, looks about fourteen and talks about fourteen, with gadgets and headphones and t-shirt attitude, and yet, when I see him I still see the babe in arms who grabbed onto my hair and would let go. And when I see her smallest I see the fight in her, all gathered up into one little, blonde, pigtailed girl, in blue jeans, nearly the same as that day on the playground or in the classroom, the same big grin and hand-gestures, this bliss gets to stay here. Those are here in my kitchen tonight, and this is my blessing.

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Close enough. I have friends sleeping in my house tonight. I count that as a stitch in this heart of mine. Happy Wednesday, poemfriends.

Three Years

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So, this happened tonight. D2 is busy imitating D1, in making “esperiments” on the toy kitchen and asked for “gredients”, so I give her about a half cup of flour, and a half cup of sugar. To mix with water and make an esperiment. Did she eat her dinner? Of course not. Did she down the entire half cup of sugar? Of course she did. At one point I was fixing dinner, and she was very cautiously and conscientiously spooning the sugar/flour mixture into her toy soup pot, and the next time I looked over she had downed the entire thing and had an ASU frat boy line of crystallized sugar under her nose.

I have always known that D2 is going to be our problem child. She is told not to do something and then looks at us sweetly and just does the thing she wants. Heaven, help us.

Today was good. I was at one of the best staff meetings we’ve had in years, and usually those things are the equivalent of the tenth circle of hell, and I did a marathon grading sesh down in my building, all by my lonesome. I am now caught up. Or, nearly. Close enough. Then I came home to crockpot venison roast and gorgeous and impish girlies. They make me laugh every day, so everyday is a good day in some way.

So, a poem from the three year-old gaze? So be it.

Three Years

I want my boots on to go to bed. Yes, now. I want them now.
And now, after brushing my teeth, I want, I want. I’m hung-ary.
Now, right now.
I want to blow bubbles and chase the dog
and the clock doesn’t mean a damn thing to me,
now, right now.
Right now I need fresh in my waterbottle,
and you must get me my baby, and my horses,
and THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT BLANKET.
Do not discount my experience.
It is yours, reflected. And I am feeling so small,
so small that I need all right the blankets now.
NO, THAT IS NOT THE RIGHT ONE.
Don’t you know me at all?
Let’s dance and spin around until we shriek.
Let’s do fishin’ in the dark,
for the eleventy-millionth time.
When I perform this dance and song,
damn your eyes if you look at me.
Shy, what? So shy, but I dance and sing so that you will listen and watch and put down your phone.
Put it down, look away, towards me a bit, but look away,
not at your phone and not at me, exactly,
but if you could just look in the reflection of me in the shiny glass or window,
that would be good,
and if we could spin a lot to the right song before bed, that would be great.
I will call down from the top stairs,
that my boots hurt and I want them off,
and you will come valiantly, charging up this hill, to remove them.

I know you will.

******************

A child poem. That feels about right tonight.  They are my saving grace right now, and if that is a cliche, so be it. Happy Tuesday, poemfriends.

The Ecstasy of Communication

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Missing my friends tonight. Frankly, I think I’ve been holding it together respectably these past three weeks. That said, it comes in waves, and today the surf’s up. That is exactly the type of stupid phrasing for which Lorie would tease me.

Don’t really want to write another sad poem. Instead, I’m going to rely on a trick from earlier in the year: The Marilyn. Okay, a trick from earlier in the year and from sporadically across the months when I deem it necessary. Whose to blame if it is frequently necessary? Not me, surely.

This Monday has gotten longer than I intended. So, a fast poem. Again.

The Ecstasy of Communication

All the awards are going to the French this year, as though they had invented the pout and finance, as though they had the capital in paintings and meals. But there is something more French, something beyond exotic and accented with us.  It has taken eight years, maybe, for you to learn not to hug me while I’m doing something, and I know the exact inflection with which not to announce that I know nothing of the score of that college team. A sigh or shoulder twitch, or bounce of a foot, this is the ecstasy of our communication. In the meetings of our job, we can together mock our colleagues with eyebrows hitched up, we can make caricatures of them, and of the news, and of our daughters. Oh, how our shoulder blades talk in resistance, at night, oh, what and arch that talks loud.

*************

It was quite a Monday for me. Had to resort to The Marilynn. I don’t think this is necessarily a totally sexy poem, but I think I’m okay with it. Happy Monday. Night.

A Place For Everything

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I have to say that I’ve been phoning in the poems a little. After the grief and emergent healing of the last two weeks, I’ve pushed the feels on the back burner, somewhat. It’s all still there, and the little piece of lavender soap in it’s crocheted pouch still causes me to burst into tears regularly, but I’ve been writing fast and today I’m determined to write a longer, slower poem. So, I’m getting started early.

I have several poem shards. This organization adventure I’ve embarked on is a good challenge, and I think it is a product of grief and stress. Order out of chaos. Julie Morgenstern’s book Organizing from the Inside Out is changing my life. I’ve never been a very organized person, and it’s a very recent realization that my tendency towards creative chaos is causing more stress in my life than it is worth. The girl’s school schedule is part of it. We have added routines to the mix, but life doesn’t seem to provide extra time for these routines. Nesting, getting us ready for winter, and trying to bring peace and calm to our household is occupying my mind and my heart these days.

But, I don’t really want to write a poem about my Fall cleaning endeavor and its orgins in grief today.

What’s really on my mind is that I’m also approaching an anniversary of sorts.  At this time last year I was barely keeping it together. I had just recovered from one surgery, and was approaching another, and I was scared. It’s a very unique position to be in, as a woman faced with having to give up her womb. At one point last fall I was very certain that my creative energies lived in my uterus, because that is where I felt them. And because it wasn’t on my own timeline, I felt real sorrow at the prospect of losing my fertility, even though we had decided we didn’t want any more children. In retrospect, I would be out of my mind crazy right now if we had three children. I don’t know how people do it.

I’d like to write a reassuring poem for those who might be facing the same thing, but in doing my obsessive online forum reading back when my surgery date was imminent, or after, too, while lying in bed recovering, I would get really frustrated at other women’s success stories. How crazy is that? But, because I am constantly belittling myself and my own strength, I’d read things like “I was up and walking the day after!” Or, “I was riding my bike two weeks after!” and get really down.  So, maybe the truest thing to day about recovering from that is: 1) it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and 2) healing happens when it happens. It cannot be rushed, or it will take longer. 3) it is different for everyone, and comparisons are useless. 4) One day, all of a sudden, I felt like me again, only wiser.

Maybe this poem can be a letter to last year’s self? That could work. I’m going to try.

A Place for Everything

Dear you of last year’s fears, it is not the womb that makes you wise. It is the blood, and each creeping teaspoon of healing becomes big globs of wisdom, knowledge that courses and pumps through the holiest organ, beneath its cage of bone, steady and regular. You are stronger than you think. That much is fact. You feel so hard it pins you in place sometimes, wriggling like a specimen of heart. That much is also fact. You will be provided care, by the very people whose job it has been all a long, and they will help you with the bandages. You will read to your children with the hot pad in bed. You will sip endless cups of tea and watch Downtown Abbey with your mom. Your retired Dad will come out and teach for you. Food will be brought. You are in hands of quick comfort. Rest through the night tonight. Pack up that panic and save it in a jar. All your knowledge will find it home again, in your fingertips and palms held close to your chest. Feel it rising. Let it fall. Repeat. There is a place for everything in this new arrangement inside. No holes, just wise stitches. You will laugh at a your body a lot this year. Some of this will be gross but funny. Write it down. And while you are at it, write down everything else that is true. Do it for a whole year, every day, until you find the sense in it, and find the joy, and the lessons, and when found, put the sense joy lessons properly in place, somewhere you can find them without looking.

***********

Okay. That was harder than I thought. Naptime poems are always hard. I did learn a lot this year, and that is worth thinking about. There was a lot of love in my life this year. Tons, actually.  Happy Sunday, poemfriends. (Yes, that is a picture of a”beefy uterus”.  Not my original creation, that’s here: http://www.fitocracy.com/knowledge/four-steps-to-weight-room-dominance-for-women-or-im-a-girl-and-i-want-to-lift-wat-do/

Disappearing

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I spent the whole day cleaning, and culling. Feels good to get rid of stuff. This is the spring cleaning I never got around to this spring. Culling the toys today was a cathartic thing. And a dirty thing. There’s something to this disappearance. I’m going to write a poem about it fast, so I can take a shower.

Disappearing

There is something about separating out the baby toys from the horses, something to the disappearance of former projects, there is something to the new-found precious. These worlds of make-believe, these universes made of plastic and terry, each benighted with a world of its own, each toy has its own paradise, I remember and imagine. Every world I chose to discard today has its own orbit, big and dark and widespread, the galaxy of dolls and parts and costumes and blocks and debris. There is something in the disappearance, something that allows for peace in juxtaposition to chaos. The invisible chest, one of our imagining, the chest that holds it all, will be all magnets and birdsong, like a myth of our disappearance, holds it all like a myth, just like a mythbox.

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Happy Saturday, poemfriends. I hope you all have had to cull and clean this month. Get Rid of It! That’s my new motto.

Two Exits Before Thoughtful Hwy.

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Can’t stop cleaning house. It feels good. I had to hold up and get to poemin’, otherwise I might’ve cleaned this whole darn house. Gonna write a fast poem about cleaning the house:

Two Exits Before Thoughtful Hwy

Inchin’ towards competent, that’s what we’re doing, creeping up on thoughtful and bourreeing close to peace, happy skipping increments toward relief, little toemarks toward the door and outside. That’s where we are now, just shrugging off the distance, between lemons and gold, just squaring that awful distance, like it is nothing, like it is air. Circling around insight, turning and turning in the big ole’ gyre, the sound is less heard than the image, and the seconds become inches in this big space, big space that wants big dances. Close to peace, always so close, big fake spaces that we make, these invented spaces, quite close to larger spaces, like large moon steps, weightless but tethered to the dust, all floaty and wide, the space between the ground and the boots all glow-y is so far from sense. Two exits before thoughtful, ’bout ten to fifteen minutes on the highway till we come up on reason.

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Happy Friday, poem friends. Hope you are inching towards competent as well.

Dementia

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I took an internet quiz today called “What literary character are you?”. I got Jay Gatsby, but I doth protest. Show me the pop psychology that connects my answers to that obsessive egotist. Yeah, I like the era. And yes, I adore the fashions. But I’m teaching Gatsby right now, for the like, seventy-millionth time, and the most interesting thing about that book is how gorgeous the language is, used to describe the most boring and despicable people.

I took another internet quiz just now, because, no poems. It was called something along the lines of “How Well Do You Know Teens”. It turns out I know them a bunch. I got a 95% on that internet quiz. I totally got an A in Adolescence. That’s armchair legit.

A friend of mine and I were talking about dementia today. I forget why. Heh heh. No, really, I forget why. But we came up with some realizations about life and aging that I think could be a poem. Thinking about our friend Len tonight.

here goes:

Dementia

It seems, from what we can tell, that the end comes after the worst versions of our selves. Wisdom turns to plaque, up there where the words lose. We reason it out. Given that we are blessed to survive until gray or white age, given that we are granted that fate and wisdom, how do we choose the end when it comes? The most reasonable and unreasoned solution is the paradox. The honest longest life is the one you would choose to end, if it started to sit heavy on the ones who lent care, sit like a bundle of wood always on the shoulders of the children you bore up, under circumstance that could get heavy. Is it more honest to tape, video, record on your phone your desire to choose the end? What then, if you wait too long and suspect the voices? Might write a letter, to say, when I become the most selfish version of myself, when I become demanding and unreasonable, when the lucid moments only include details of hunger, then is the I need to see the letter, the video, the documentation of me when I can hear it, my real desire to end this narration before it hurts someone. The questions, how do the demented know they are hearing the truth? Write yourself a letter. Include a code. If you no longer know the code, the it is time to get one. Muskrat. Time to lend yourself over to the moss and trees now. Time to go.

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Wow. That got dark fast. But it was just based on a conversation I had with a friend today. Happy Thursdays, poemers.

 

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