Wednesday, October 31, 2007

the absence of peace

i've always counseled friends and loved ones,
go for peace. you can't manufacture peace.
while these words are true, they are also heavy in the absence of peace. burdensome.

just in from tai chi where i felt off center. couldn't shut down my mind and be there. though my body went through the motions well enough. there is just so much on my mind and being home brings it all back.

suffocatingly so.

all i could think of was persephone, how long did it take for her to crave the smell of sulphur instead of fresh aire? the sound of screams and the sight of death become commonplace rather than grotesque? horrifying. when does the horror subside to something akin to normal? and how does one go about accepting these terms of living. tricked as she was by the fates. by fate. having indulged herself only of a few pomegranate seeds.

but for her bereaved mother, she would be lost to the world, to those she loved.

my sister held me as i was leaving and cried.
i miss you so much,
she wept.

i don't get that often. being held by one who will not let me go.

i don't get that often, simply being held.

and i'm tired of it.

home again the acrid smell burns and the darkness threatens to become commonplace again.

and i can only breathe it in and try not to acclimate.


one of my favorite things to do when i fly, when i ride in trains and cars, is to lose myself in the scenery out the window. my mind dances across the deserts and on mountain peaks, great thoughts germinate and seem to sprout while i'm looking out over the world in my various travels.

even to the grocery store. i am lost in the trees and mountains of our drive.

on every flight now without exception, since my daughter discovered the joy of a window seat (no more cramming her uncomfortably between me and some stranger, which in never liked much anyway, but i do find it odd that the only place a stranger will rest their arm against yours is in a plane--something about no options), she sits at the window and does what i used to do. stick my face in the opening and dance on the scenery.

i can't see out.

it made me realize last night, we give up windowseats for our children, so they can see, so they can find their own way in this vast wasteland that is a world. though i'm not down on the world right now.

our first red-eye from california, and i'm not sure if i slept. my mind was so active, it's hard to know if i was asleep or just had my eyes shut. it's a strange feeling, i wonder if it's like being in a coma.

we make it all the way to seacaucus junction and there we are stuck for an hour and change because the scant train service at the wee hours of the morning. but it was well. i went to buy a coffee and couldn't even comprehend the amount (i don't function when i'm wiped). but finally managed to bungle my way through that.

on the train home, i folded in half over her backpack, she had her head in the small window, and passed out on the very short ride. train rides, plane rides, when one needs sleep are never long enough. but it was enough to give me strength, shall we say, to walk home.

once home, to pillow, 8am-2pm passed like a heartbeat, that is how i know i slept. but now, i'm in a groggy grey that needs to get moving. i don't go back to work for a couple days, and for that, i am grateful.

my girl and her dad will roam the streets tonight and i will probably go workout and start trying to undo what my indulgent vacation has done.

but i had a lovely time. a lovely time.
i shall mention the firestorm later.


Monday, October 22, 2007

forced alliances

sometimes we make ourselves stay where we ought not be, trying to rememdy ills we are not able to master.

sometimes we realize our best intentions are always misunderstood and in what particular context. contexts can change. for that i'm grateful.

sometimes we make things right, not everything, just one thing. a tiny thing. a small unnoticable kindness, a pebble in the shoe of one soul, and none knows of the remedy, save the one who could only limp and favor the limb restored.

sometimes we make things worse and try paddling up a waterfall only to find it cannot be done, though we gave it a good show. our frantic efforts to conquer that which rushes in unchecked, amount to little more than exhaustion. the deluge will not cease by will alone. and we begin to understand this.

sometimes we are in a place for a person. we are there for no reason of our own, just to be witness to their lives, their story, playing a major minor role, and their scene would feel empty without our presence. that is all required, presence.

sometimes that season ends and we part with those we love, much time spent in grieving. much time spent in tears. this is always a worthy endeavor, no matter how undignified. i will be more undignified than this, he said.

sometimes the cloak of darkness is pierced, one spear of light through the lateral ribs of night. and we forever bear the wound of piercing. we forever bear the wound.

sometimes we are told, scars are badges of honor. and scan our bodies to realized we are riddled with scars. we are riddled with honor.

sometimes just the knowing of a thing, makes it all worthwhile. regardless of the outcome. and we know. as we have never known before.

sometimes trust finds us unawares, and we are found trustworthy, even find one to trust. that is a miracle.

sometimes we sit in darkness but the dawn always comes. remember that. it always comes. and i await it, with you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

did you see that poem?

so my girl just finished the first aptitude testing she's ever done. we'll see how she does, it's hard to capture the education i'm giving her in standardized tests. i read through the questions and thought of how my mind bends things around and how i've likely pretzeled her in the same ways. poor girl, just like me.

but then, we were leaving the library, our celebratory haunt. our place of rest and rejuvination. where we chase our dreams and honor our feminine virtues. i had written a poem about a tree stump, and read it to her as she unlocked her bike.

did you see that poem?

i knew she didn't because she has grown in strength and rode right up the hill she used to stall out at the bottom of, and now, she zooms halfway up before losing the will to forge ahead.

there, as i watched her from the bottom of the hill, her growth evident (how we miss these things when they are underfoot, and i am blind to them most of the time, so distracted am i, so distracted am i). but i see it there, as she waits for me, all decked out in turquoise, her long black hair trailing down her back. she turns and waves from her perch halfway up the hill.

i wave back and finally arrive.

i made it to the second row of leaves.

i know, you're getting strong,
i say. remembering how she used to complain up the hill, all the way up the hill, and the many ocassions i stopped the flow of complaint with demands for her to focus on the beauty of the scenery. the elements of nature right before her eyes.

it all depends on what you focus on, the burning in your legs from the steep hill, or the changing faces of the trees.

so my poem done, i ask her,
did you see that poem?

no. which one?

you tell me.

i knew she had listened. i knew she could find the tree if she looked for it. our minds work in similar ways, and i am training a poet unawares.

find the poem,
i said.

all the way to the spot she points out what could be the poem. (perhaps her poem, but not mine).

we stop right in front of the tree. and she smiles.

that's the tree.

i know.
she says.

aptitude tests be damned. if i can give this kid one ounce of what i've learned in the past year, she'll be set. but i have more to do. much, much more to do.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

publication sux

so, i get a journal that i've been published in via snail mail today.

the oohh, and ahh, lasts all of five seconds. even when i see my stuff in print, my name on the (back) cover. i am thoroughly unimpressed.

it's not the publication. it's just some weirdness of my own.
some peculiar bent in me that doesn't really care about publication.

odd that i would be considering attempting to get published in earnest this coming semester at school, that or dance, i may go the way of dance.

but it's still a while yet before i have to commit to the spring semester, so i'll let the whole thing gel a while.

i wish i could generate some buoyancy, some delight, but actually, it just ain't there. i think because the poem to me is bittersweet. the generation of it was such a trial. the whole ordeal of writing poetry for me is not so much about seeing a product, it's about searching a soul. about communion.

i think i'll never be famous, and that is fine with me now.
i think i may never get truly published, in the way so many are.
and i'm cool with that too, because apparently, that's not what i'm doing this for.

i've got some processing of my own to do.
and this is a nice bright spot, but a tiny candle in so much darkness is hardly noteworthy.

i wish i didn't have the capcity to suck joy out of everything.
but that's just how it be.


Monday, October 15, 2007

every time we say goodbye

this song found its way into my poem this week.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

poetry incarnate

so i've been called a few doozies in my day, but this one took the cake. had me floating through my lifesucking job tonight. it's better, i think, than publishing. or being published, to have the respect of your peers. (i still feel weird calling them that, because they seem aeons beyond me).

peers? is that what we are?

so many times i've asked that question.

how anyone would want to admit they know me, let alone consider themself my peer is beyond me. but i'm keen on flaunting my flaws. painfully aware of my own shortcomings. myriad they are. pick one, any one, i've probably got it.

but to be called this, from an avid reader of my work, inspirer of my work, participant in my work, this is what it's all about kids.

i don't know that i'll ever find any measure of success as a poet. but today it felt like i did.

one soul has always been enough.

one voice in the chorus crying out, has been ever my greatest hope.

do i want to stop with one voice? can i convince the others and make them sing?

i don't know. i really don't.

sometimes i think i want it, to be a major poet.

sometimes, i think i have it.

sometimes, when i read before a room full of heavies, and i add to the billing rather than detract, i think, yes, i'm close.

but who really knows? who ever really knows.

i can't live my life wanting fame. i don't. i'm quite pleased with anonymity. but i also don't want to bury the talent i've been given. to shun the voice i hear so clearly.

i want to let it be heard.

tonight i want to stand on top of the mountain and proclaim,

i am poetry incarnate.

to the chorus of squirrels and chipmunks, the assorted birds and bees.

some times, i think, i have the capacity for joy, for happiness. i have the capacity for greatness. if i just trust, it will come to me. i believe this.

so i keep walking the path stretched out before me (perfectly? by no means). but each day, one step, one wobbly bobbly, sometimes in the wrong direction, always off the beaten path step, and sometimes, a friend dubs me something i must receive.

today was one of those days.

thank you my dear friend. for believing in me and my work.
and not being afraid.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

she's how old???

so my belly dancing instructor tells us her age. i thought she was many years my junior, it turns out, she's a few years my senior. and i was not the only one blown away by this confession. but she felt grateful that we thought she was half her age.

today we spent a lot of time walking. it's tough, holding your carriage while doing the foot work and hipstuff. repetition is the key.

turning your hip to face the wall without blowing out your knee is not something you can do mindlessly (or i can, yet).

i still struggle with grief wracking me during the class. i'm trying to refocus myself and make this my dance. to take ownership of it. not let it be about performing for anyone, but let it be my celebration of me.

i'm not used to celebrating me.

i have so much i want to write, but i must away to work, i have two papers to write for school and these words are just taking away from that time.
so i must away.

but i had so much to say...but i've lost it now.

i trust it will come again.

Friday, October 05, 2007


so i've fallen off the exercise wagon, and i'm trying to clambor back up.

i did tai chi wednesday night, after working out. and for someone whose stamina is down and who is not used to such exertions it was quite a challenge. my legs were quivering like a newborn fawn the last fortyfour minutes of tai chi (not quite that bad, it's only a fortyfive minute class, but close!)

she stretched me like thin thread and i wondered if i'd snap, but forced myself to do it. just do it. i didn't quit, though i kept watching the clock which is so not the point.

it kind of reminded me of doing penance. at least that is how it felt last night at the gym when my aching muscles were revolting again from being forced to exertions they have grown unaccustomed to (how quickly we lose stamina and stretchiness).

i had been doing tc every day, so to stop for two months and start up again, it's tough. just the deep squat alone will wipe you out. but i get such a kick out of the new folk in the class, i remember when i was that stiff and funky (pretty close to being that now, except i know the moves and can force my body into some semblance of the move, though not with the flowing ease i once had).

meds have helped me through because my muscles are in full blown aching mode. i really should go do tai chi right now, to keep the burn from becoming permanent (or to keep the burn permanent as the case may be). i haven't decided if i will.

when i was in class, i remembered why i love it so. it is very grounding for me. very centering. and i am offkiltergirl.

a modern day weeble, if you know what i mean.

though, admittedly, i do fall. and that, quite regularly.

bunny must go out, tai chi calls. peace.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

un otro

baker baker by tori amos

Baker baker baking a cake
Make me a day
Make me whole again
and I wonder what's in a day
What's in your cake this time

I guess you heard he's gone to LA
He says that behind my eyes I'm hiding
and he tells me I pushed him away
That my heart's been hard to find

There must be something here
There must be something here

Baker baker can you explain
if truly his heart was made of icing
and I wonder how mine could taste
Maybe we could change his mind

I know you're late for your next parade
You came to make sure that I'm not running
Well I ran from him in all kinds of ways
Guess it was his turn this time

Thought I'd made friends with time
Thought we'd be flying
Maybe not this time

Baker Baker baking a cake
Make me a day
Make me whole again
and I wonder if he's okay
If you see him say hi


there is so much to this song. if you get a chance to hear it, give it a listen. she's raunchy cool and i love her. she's singing my heart and mind.