Thursday, June 28, 2007

satchels and sayonaras

i'm clutching, have been clutching this damn raggedy satchel of dreams around and i'm tired of it. so, today i decided to walk out on the precipice and open it up. let them all fly to the breeze. that which comes to me is mine. the rest, well, good riddance.

i've realized i'm outwardly motivated. my great challenge is to make those external prompts come inside. i became aware of this back in texas dealing with the whole unemployment fiasco. i couldn't stop my mind from spinning out of control, save by some external prompt that would come to me. it started with sparrows.

now, i walked up the lawn to my nj best friend's house, and a brave little sparrow just held his ground in the grass like he owned the whole world. i was pleased to see him there. i gave him no great berth. but he stayed. regardless.

all i've ever wanted is animals and kids to like me. so far, i'm doing well.

there was this one boy causing his mother no end of grief at my store. i walked up and said,
can i help?

she said,
yes, do you want him?

i said.
i've always wanted more children.

he looked shocked.

how old are you?


that wouldn't be good for you, because i have a 10 year old girl.

he didn't look pleased.

but i told him,
i would take you home in a second.

his mother grinning all the while as she shopped for a few moments in peace.

i left them because i wasn't trying to creep the kid out, but he seemed much more pleasant when i left.

kids are a mixed bag. animals too, i guess.

my little bunny scratches me all over, but he's so cute. i can't stay upset about it. he's scarred me, but he's just a bunny. it's not his fault.

i hold him in my arms every day and i can feel his little heart ramp up, then slow down. at one point he just launches out of my arms and goes flying through the air,


and i laugh and chase him down because i think he's in heat.

i can't let him get away, though he would like me to let him get away. it's a dangerous world for a ferrel rabbit.

anyway, time to move on. time to cut loose a bunch of things that are holding me back and be about the business of living. enough of this sadness shit. i'm ready for laughter. and presence.

whatever that means.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

come as you are

sometimes poems come to me and i think they are one thing when they surprise me and become something entirely other. this has happened to me a lot lately, and for that, i'm grateful. means i'm not controlling the flow, i'm just going with it. hard to do. i tend to want to write something beautiful, something grand, but all i can do is write what comes to me. be it darkness or light.
be true to the poems.
i have always said. and so i try. endeavor to that end, though often i grow weary, stiving for something.

i was told recently that i'm reaching for something.

i'm not surprised, i'm always grasping at one thing or another. but it was not a slap on the wrist rebuke, it came with a gentle kindness.

it's to be expected.

and so i fell silent. it's not a who i want, but a what.

i want to move forward, to attain some goals. this happens one step at a time. it sounds so easy, but it's incredibly difficult.

i got accepted to finish my bachelor's work, and mailed off my part of the dealio today. a big deal for me. a twelve year dream come to fruition. or begun, anyway.

will i step into it and move forward, or fall headlong off the path again. returning to it God knows when.

i don't know. all i can do is be true to this moment. live, this moment. be faithful to this moment.

i hope and pray this is my time to get this done. it's been a long road. one i will not be turned off of easily. but life happens. life always has a way of biting you in the ass at the most unexpected times. i trust, what is mine will come to me. and the rest will settle itself.

no longer grasping and reaching, but waiting with open hands. not the idle waiting of forced delay, but the willful resignation of activity. for the solitude, the willful meditation on the moment. a peaceful now. an accepting now.

i still don't understand any of it. if i sound enlightened, well, that is not how it "feels." it still feels like shit a lot of the time, and i'm still struggling many more moments than not.

but i trust.

it is all i've ever known how to do.

[and the nirvana lyrics to the title song, for you cats who aren't down with cobain follow]:

Come as you are, as you were,
As I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend,
As an old enemy

Take your time, hurry up
The choice is yours, don't be late
Take a rest as a friend
as an old

Memoria, memoria
Memoria, memoria

Come dowsed in mud, soaked in bleach
As I want you to be
As a trend, as a friend,
as an old

Memoria, memoria
Memoria, memoria

And I swear that I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun

Memoria, memoria
Memoria, memoria
(No I don't have a gun)

And I swear that I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun
No I don't have a gun

Memoria, memoria

Sunday, June 24, 2007

such beauty here

a line from a poem i wrote.

such beauty here
can it keep us

i ask myself that now. this morning as i sat out in the garden, bunny in a cage now because he's more wild hare than tame bunny of his early outdoor days.

the bluejay fledglings are the size of their parents now, fending for themselves. so my daughter's early morning offering of peanuts were greatly received. i even walked back in to retrieve a whole pocket full, which i doled out to the grateful recipients.

one squirrel bounced down the stairs toward me and looked at me, like,
well, come on!

how can i not feed that brave little squirrel. and how can he refuse my nuts. an easy meal is hard to pass up, especially for a forager.

so i tossed a few nuts to mr. bravesquirrel, who retrieved them and licked them all over before shoving it in his mouth and making off with it. i enjoyed watching his little hands fondle the nut, while he contemplated his meal. then, cramming the nut into his little mouth, so the nut protrudes halfway out, if i could shove a nerf football in my mouth (one of the small ones), that's about the picture. i'm sure you've seen it.

i broke out the water hose and watered out early girl and some other tomato bush. i'm enjoying the warmth of the sun on my body. i did tai chi in the sun today, just to get that flush of colour i so appreciate. i attempted my morning pages, but i'm finding the words are coming fewer and fewer.

reading thich naht hahn's every step is peace, it talks about deliberate meditation (my choppy paraphase of his elegant words). doing nothing. it's been a long time since i've let myself do nothing. i tend to be about moving from the next thing to the next thing. i need to let myself do nothing and i'm in a place mentally and emotionally, i think i can handle it.

one line in his book says,
let your feet kiss the earth.

i say. and try to remember that. my feet kissing the earth. such simple beauty.

anyway, i am sitting out there this morning all zenned out, and ultimately am late to work. but it was a good day. long. tiring. but good. the customers were patient and a tad jovial. no one out to bloodlet an underpaid cashier.

which i appreciate immensely.

now, i'm overtired, (i get that way on occasion) and can't sleep. what to do? here i am. this is always, always a good option because it drains my brain of some of the words swirling about in it.

self-soothing. that is what i attempt to do with these jots and tiddles. i hope one man's angst makes for interesting reading because that is about all i've got.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

another poem to be published

i ran in to the post office quickly, the box was stuffed full, i don't know how long it had been since i'd been there last. extracted the contents. new belly dancing cd arrived, american academy of poets, large package. poetry center, envelope--unexpected, wonder what could be in that.

i ran back out to the car and rifled through the pile to the poetry center envelope.

written in the matriarch's hand, scribbling out my given name.

brushed steel has been accepted for Paterson Literary Review #37.

whoa! i laughed.

i didn't submit it through "proper" channels. i just showed it to her because i thought she'd like it. that is what happens when you frequent the company of publishers i guess. they become receptive to your voice.

i know i never would be being published four times over now, by these tough as nails new jersey poets if i were not living here.

this poem, i am told by a dear friend is the kind of thing former colleagues would want to read.

it is all out there in this poem. i'm not sure i'm ready for it to be published, and i'm glad it will be a year before i see it. coward that i am.

i need to get my work out there still. but the trickle has begun. i am no longer unknown in terms of those with the power to publish me. but i don't write for them. i don't know how to do that. granted my style has evolved, but it has never been about me writing something for publication. only about writing.

it feels good to get this news. i can't wait for the next unexpected letter to arrive. (even an expected letter is a good thing.)


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

move toward them

it has been a great while i've dared even consider my dreams. heartache takes precedence when one is grieving. so i have let that be my meat and drink. but i'm ready now, to remember what it was i once dreamed. if ever i did dream.

i am having these dialogues with myself about what needs to be done in preparation for the great dream to come to reality. someone has done research, i say, no need to reinvent the wheel. so i will start researching, looking, dreaming, noting down my pecuilar take on starting a business. so when i am ready, it will be merely a matter of stepping into what i have planned (like so much of life, when it comes down to it).

move toward them,
i hear.

but i'm afraid. (seems i'm always afraid, no point in denying that fact).

move toward them.

i will.

dream the biggest dreams you can.
pray not for crutches, but wings.
these sayings come to me when i am sitting silently, waiting, wondering what to do next and how.

i've begun taking action steps, but one must continue taking action steps to see results.

there was one who used to ask me,
what do you want? anything. the sky is the limit.
(come to think of it, i don't know that there were any limits put on it).

i couldn't come up with anything. but in this time, this dark time, i've been reminded of some things my heart hopes for. my heart longs for. things i've come up with alone and that would make my rest easy.

my dreams.

i've had to be an archaeologist of sorts, digging down through layers of hardened earthen time, but at last, i seem to have hit upon something.

let me dream a bit more. what else am i going to do with my time if not pursue my dreams?

move toward them.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the perfect day

it has been a long time since i've had something ungrim to say. i shall try now.

spent the day at the beach with my best friend. our kids at the water's edge the whole day. we watched people (which is a lovely past time), and felt the warm sun caressing out bodies.

my first venture out in public in a bikini. i was pleasantly surprised when i got to the restroom midday to find i didn't look half bad.

everyone was gorgeous. even the obese. it's good to see people out being themselves. there are so many bodytypes. so many wonderful things happening. (how trite these words sound to me.)

one lady walking on the beach had this chocolate and peach tankini on. we commented on how comfortable she looked. she was a big girl. when i passed her on my way to the water, i told her we thought she looked fabulous. because we did. she smiled and thanked me. big girls need some lovin' too.

there was a couple next to us my dear friend kept saying,
they're unhappy.

i said.

i don't want to be with anyone who doesn't want to be with me. just leave. or let me go. however it needs to happen.

i wanted to get wet and stood at the water's edge with the girls until just the right moment when there were swells and slight waves.

i kept telling the girls,
i want to get wet, but i don't want to get slammed. i have to pick just the right moment.

sometimes, it felt like the shoreline would disappear and there was only crashing waves. it's amazing how the ocean works.

it was a curious thing having the sun set behind us though. i'm so used to the sun sinking into a hungry sea. but no, it was an utterly different experience (obviously, duh).

i was wound pretty tight when we got there.

i've never seen you like this,
she said

i really need to do stuff to settle me. self-soothe. i didn't do tai chi sunday or today. so i really need this.

and by the end of the day, i had mellowed out considerably.

but today, back to the grind.

lying out on the beach, i said,
it's a perfect day.

the sun was shining, there was a cool breeze coming off the ocean all day. it was perfect. good company. good music. good food.

i don't know how to wrangle the good stuff into words. it's an unfamiliar ease that i'm unaccustomed to. i'll have to work on that.

more perfect days ahead, i'm sure.

Friday, June 15, 2007

know your power

so today is the second time i've been told, by a significant woman in my life, that i don't know my own power.

the first time i was told was before i moved to new york.
it was a line from a movie,
she said. she couldn't remember it exactly, but when i heard it, i wrote it in the margins of the book i was reading (if i had written it in a journal it would be buried there now, never to be resurrected).

but here it is:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won't feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us, it's in all of us. As we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

i believe that. i believe that with my whole heart. fortunately, i'm not surrounded by people who need me to put a damper on my light, but seem to come equipped with bellows of their own to stoke my fading embers.

the passage above was taken in one way or another from a merton quote. it was in conjections of a guilty bystander. (convoluted, but well worth it to read).

you know you're smart.

she said to me today. and looked me staight on, as i sheepishly hold a pillow.

you just don't know your own power.

i keep trying to be unafraid. i keep trying to be brave. but somehow, i shrink back. and i need to remember, my strength strengthens others.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

not my bag baby

so precision is not my bag baby. i discovered this (yet again) when i looked up muskrat, which is what i've been calling the little fat ROUSs that frequent the roadsides out here. they are, in fact, wood chucks. i shall mistake them no more.

monday morning in the garden, i heard a warbling little banter, and saw two blue jays darting around. i sit very still and notice some fluttering in the branches, a soft yellow beak, stubby mostly white tail, wings jutted out to the side. parent bent and regugitating in warbling mouth (that keeps warbling as it's being stuffed).

i went and stood beside the tree (yes, i've now been warned not to do that, as i will get a mighty peck from a blue jay), and looked at the little fledgling for a while. then went in to get some tea.

when i returned, not only did that wobbly little jay fly over to where i was, tumbling in the grass on landing (so cute), but two other fledglings were in neighboring trees. all vying for curds from parents dashing about.

i return with my fledgling in tow, but she won't settle on a bench and wanders abou the yard. the fledgies are pretty far from us (at the closest they were probably 3-5 ft.) they moved a comfortable 10-15 ft away.

my daughter keeps saying,
so lazy. they just wait to be fed.

tell me about it.
i say.


just a bit ago, i responded to an alarm from my girl.
mom, come look.

and lo and behold, a little wood chuck is cruising through our yard.

there was a rather large burrow dug some time recently. we couldn't figure out what it was. thought our rabbit was doing it.

but mr. woodchuck is down parked in our bunny's spot. fortunately, bunny is in a cage. (hopefully safe, at least that is the idea).

so i am hucking peanuts at the little guy and peg him on the nose. i later read, they don't eat peanuts.

so now, we're waiting for the battery of the camera to charge (preparedness isn't my bag either baby), so we can get a shot of him.

perhaps we'll share it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

dos canciones

dance me to the end of love
by leonard cohen

(there is some chick who sings this song, i forget her name, but i'll try to nail it down. it's an awesomely sad song. poetry set to music. her name is: madeline peyroux. here is a snippet of the song)

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love


my immortal
by evanescence

i'm so tired of being here
suppressed by all of my childish fears
and if you have to leave
i wish that you would just leave
because your presence still lingers here
and it won't leave me alone

these wounds won't seem to heal
this pain is just too real
there's just too much that time cannot erase

when you cried i'd wipe away all of your tears
when you'd scream i'd fight away all of your fears
and i've held your hand through all of these years
but you still have all of me

you used to captivate me
by your resonating light
but now i'm bound by the life you left behind
your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams
your voice it chased away all the sanity in me

these wounds won't seem to heal
this pain is just too real
there's just too much that time cannot erase

when you cried i'd wipe away all of your tears
when you'd scream i'd fight away all of your fears
and i've held your hand through all of these years
but you still have all of me

i've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
and though you're still with me
i've been alone all along

Friday, June 08, 2007

wise old woman

this morning, as usual, i carried bunny downstairs, his little feet outstretched (out of harm's way, he's scarred me plenty all ready). sometimes they quiver in fright. i have discovered, a rabbit does not like metallica. i think lars scares him. i must remember this, because he can hear it when i have my mp3 player on and freaketh out.

so daughter appears on back porch in pjs.

go change.
i say, trying not to break out of tai chi. not minding the intrustion though.

she returns, in some of the duds we got her yesterday. looking pretty. a rhinestone hello kitty t-shirt, plaid skirt with ruffles, and some new flip flops (we're all about style at my place! ha!).

she has in her hands a new little leather journal binder thing i got her yesterday. a rachel ashwell (love her!) drawing binder, which is a delicate muave (the color of my new leather jacket), and has a velveteen ribbon which holds it closed.

i wrapped up tai chi before the child reappeared, and was parked on a bench watching the squirrels (searching out pecans, we feed squirrels well), and attempting my morning pages.

i'm going to pick a rose,
she says. (for you is either implied or said, i don't remember but she was doing it for me, which pleased me immensely). and isn't it interesting that the rachel ashwell journal (lover of roses that she is, would inspire this act of kindness).

watch out for thorns,
i say.

there are no thorns.

all roses have thorns, mind them.

she produces the loveliest scarlet rose, fully open. and sets it on the table which supports my outstretched feet.

i'm going to draw it,
she announces.


i advise her to position it a certain way, and she does.

this is her first attempt at still life in a great while. i'm busily writing when she shows me what she's done.

it looks like the rose, i'm impressed.

you see when i draw, it is some sad semblance of what is. it is not actually a picture by any stretch of the imagination of what is. that is why i draw with words. i can capture the scenes then. i gave up drawing long ago, a certain wooly mammoth that would not come from my mind to the page.

my visual artist best friend recommended, drawing on the right side of the brain to help her bridge this gap.
she's ready to move into real life drawing
she told me before we left texas.

but mostly, i've just held my breath and let her be. i have the book on hand, when she needs it. but she showed me her technique this morning.

i looked at the rose mom, and my hand just drew it. i never looked at the drawing.

very good baby
(she hates for me to call her baby in public, but this isn't exactly public, is it?).

anyway, we sit out there in the garden enjoying the fading cool of the morning (it was supposed to be a scorching 95 here today). bunny is bouncing around nibbling on things.

then decide to go visit the geese at low tide so we can get on the island (wrote a poem about it, nevermind).

we go out, we return home. daughter is sent to room to find floor. i am in kitchen attempting to find countertop.

she walks in with her rose picture and has written on it, in a nice curly scroll of her own design:
Love is the only medicine for a broken heart.

i nearly cried.

more than i want this child to get all the fifty states memorized, i want her to listen to her wise old woman. to hear the crone in her. to be in touch with her instinct.

i do not know why she wrote this for me now, but i know i will frame it one way or another and carry it with me. sign, that it is that my daughter is in touch with her wise old woman.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

time alone.

seems i'll have some time alone soon. hubby off to a faraway place, for a maybe relocation. who knows. who really knows.

the whiskey sour is kicking in and i'm feeling honest. so i thought i'd poke my head out of my hole and blather on. that is what i do, is it not?

if anyone has any suggestions for drinking captain morgan's tattoo (i.e. what to mix it with), pass them along, i would be most grateful. i've tried a few things, but nothings hit that chord yet. i'm still searching.

i'm healthy, i'm unhealthy. working out like a person who actually cares about their health and drinking something every night, with very few exceptions.

helps take the edge off. i'm all edge right now.

went to the hudson today, played with the geese, if you can play with geese. at least i can play with geese and enjoy myself. they seem to tolerate me.

my bunny is getting fatter with each passing day, and soon, i think he'll try to escape to the wilds for good. i need to prevent that by loving him when we have him. lots of cabbage leaves and carrots. to keep him sated.

that i could be plied so easily. but touch his furry feets and he goes bonkers.

bunny gets me outdoors every am to do tai chi. i couldn't do it before when it was just me doing it for myself (how telling is that?), but now with bunny, he has to go out for his morning constitutional, and i stay out and do tai chi and journal, my morning pages. even when i'm busy. i've only missed it once since we've had bunny. and we've had him for a while now.

gotta go help the hubster pack. he's taking my computer, so if i'm silent for a few days, that's why. i probably won't be missed, but i like to think i might be. some will be grateful for the silence, i'm sure.


Monday, June 04, 2007


i know many are waiting the day i move on. but i can't. so here's a song i heard last night that made my heart ache. peace.

Artist: Frank Sinatra
Album: In The Wee Small Hours
Title: I See Your Face Before Me

Writer(s): dietz/schwartz

In a world of glitter and glow
In a world of tinsel and show
The unreal from the real thing is hard to know
I discovered somebody who
Could be truly worthy and true
Yes, i met my ideal thing when i met you

I see your face before me
Crowding my every dream
There is your face before me
You are my only theme

It doesn't matter where you are
I can see how fair you are
I close my eyes and there you are

If you could share the magic
Yes, if you could see me too
There would be nothing tragic
In all my dreams of you

Would that my love could haunt you so
Knowing i want you so
I can't erase your beautiful face before me

Sunday, June 03, 2007

home again.

coming home from a poetry intensive is a mixed bag. relief that i'm again on familiar ground, with air conditioning. yet, missing, so missing the communion of poets. i can't explain it.

in texas, i was mostly the only poet around. at least around where i lived and dwelt. i would cross paths with them intentionally, never for more than a day.

here, they seem to be everywhere, but the contact is activity centered. we connect at reads and workshops. for which i'm grateful. but at an intensive, we sit together and commune for three days.

the black sheep finds the black sheep hangout, that is what it feels like.

we are similiarly wired. though all unique, writing in our peculiar styles with our peculiar preferences.

the last poem i wrote may never see the light of day. it took immense courage to read it aloud, but we grow to trust each other, with our tender vulnerabilities over the course of a weekend. and when i'd finished reading it, they said,
read it again.

and so i did.

i'm not sure what to say other than, it is nice to be home, but it is strange to be home. my feet are back on the ground. what i do is not done by anyone who lives with me or runs in my circles for the most part (certainly no one in three-d, to the extent that i do it). and i need these times apart with others.

one word in a poem read aloud was about the lady loving her scarlet letter.

do you really think Love is the right word?

in a sense, yes.

love involves a mutuality. there was no mutuality. she did not want or need them.


perhaps, embrace. but not even that.

you're right. but she embellished it. displayed it.

how about pride.

yes, pride. pride is the right word.

the psychology of a woman is an intricate thing. and being with women to speak of these things was immensely refreshing. i cannot wait to do it again and again.

i love men. everyone knows that. but men cannot fathom the mind of a woman. some enlightened men can sort of, but never the way a woman can.

we women need to write for each other.

i love the works of men. but i need to read the works of women.

women poets, women novelists. women writers of all kinds.

your courage inspires mine. as i hope mine inspires yours.

it is good to be in my own chair, but i want more than this.