Sunday, March 30, 2008

the other functions of the heart

here he is. my girl has taken to capturing the good moments in my life. and i'm grateful.
(we interrupted his breakfast and left him to finish--seems he's always hungry when we visit, didn't want to distract him when there's a load of fresh hay to be had)

here's another.
sometimes, bunny escapes and we find him here or there. never doing much more than just enjoying his ability to sneak around (which is i guess what bunnies do).

i love him. i'm grateful for his presence.

her touch

i was rifling through my computer files, and came across this picture of my girl. i'd not even seen it. her little girl friend snapped the photo before she was ready (i find posed pictures, often lacking), so it glimpses this gentleness and warmth which is her character, particularly pertaining to horses--but really pertaining to all. she is a gentle soul.

it makes me want to weep, this picture.

because as much as one can glimpse their true nature, i see hers in this shot.

our battles with the two leggeds will continue, but i think she like me trusts the animals in her life to let her know what the reality of the situation is.

people come and go and change on whims, animals do not.

they are genuine and wholly present every moment of their lives.

i'm grateful for their deep kindred spirit with my girl.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

bust out the SAT words

it makes me laugh, working with high schoolers, because i have this one girl whose company i really enjoy. used to be a tough read, but now, we get along quite well. and it doesn't hurt that she's in an english class where she needs to write poetry in form, so we pass the time writing sonnets and talking poetry together.

last time we worked together, we banged out the first hundred words of a scholarship essay. (if you're got resources, use them. and i only massage her words, i don't write things for her--i'm not that kind of editor).

so i leave her wondering how she's going to finish off this pretty fine essay we wrote (i was merely a consultant, i promise), and she told me today how she finished it off. i was so impressed. that girl will get money, for sure. she had 250 words to write, and we wrote about 100 together, which is a decent start.

i feared she might not finish at all, but once you get that far into something, it's hard to turn back.

so tonight i used the word abscond,
and she says,
that's an SAT word.

and i laughed.

i said.

i don't use SAT words.

which made me laugh again.

sometimes, i'll bust out a word, like sacrosanct, i used it tonight and sometimes i'm just not entirely certain of a meaning but i'll throw it where it intuitively goes, and send the email (then check the dictionary) and fortunately i have this sixth sense with language going on, because i tend to get words right.

i told my prof, i don't use thesaurai. i like to organically find words. (he probably thinks i'm really weird, and of course, you know, i am.)

so much of the reading i do, i don't mindfully absorb the language, i just let it seep in the subliminal cracks and crevices, knowing when it's time to bust out that SAT word, it's going to come with both guns blazing.

my girl got a picture of me and bucky today. i was freezing so i was all bundled up, but he looked stunning. he always looks stunning, even mudcaked.

this hawk came out of nowhere and perches right beside bucky's paddock. it's wonderful to see him just appear. and then watch. when i leave, he does. when i return, he reappears.

you're just playing with me now,
i say.

and he rustles his feathers in the wind.

our time is down from five hours mucking five stalls (i do a very thorough job), to about four. (this also includes bucky time, which varies).

there are so many people at the stables on saturday morning, i hate to be there. but it's good that i was. bandit was really edgy when a kid was trying to tack him up. and i was able to help.

go figure, eh?

when it came time to bridle him, i stood right beside the giant horse, and had my hand on his withers, and stroked his chest, while he stood patiently for the first time.

the whole time he was away from his girly friend, he was calling out, earbusting whinneys. and throwing himself around. he's huge. seventeen hands, that's a lot of meat to be lunging.

but it all ends well.

and i ride him on tuesday. god i hope i'm ready.

no way to prepare except to be present.

i realized as i watched people talking on phones in the store today, how cell phones take us away from the moment, draw us to other places and people. which can be good for love birds, but a chronic problem for the rest of us.

i'm trying to be present. to be fully wherever i am, and the cellphone just doesn't help one bit.

time to read 52 pages, then to bed.

i open at 6:30 tomorrow morning. hope i sleep tonight.

peace. out.

Friday, March 28, 2008


i'm tired, but i can't just come home and not say goodnight. it's my, tradition, shall we call it.

but i'm tired, and the sun will rise early tomorrow. hard work ahead, but it will be soul satisfying work, and i'm ready for it.

tonight i was mulling over all the things that have transpired this past year. so many intrigues. makes my head spin. i want a "normal" life, but at the same time, i want my life. and it is what it is.

i look forward to the day when laughter will fill my mouth.

i see that day in my mind's eye. it is drawing nearer, i can feel it.

i am learning even now how to laugh again.

it's been so long since i've known simple joy and unfettered peace. i'm not sure i ever have. but it's coming, stalking me, and i won't run from it. i'll embrace it.

and laugh until my sides hurt and i cry from so much wonder.

this doesn't make for good poetry, or perhaps it does.

i don't know.

it remains to be seen.

so i watch, and wait.

that which is mine will come to me.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

so alike are we

when my girl gives up on something, it's dead, never to be revived again. i realized this after one of her sunday school teachers thwarted her excelling in memory verses by saying,
give someone else a chance.

my girl would not remember a memory verse after that.

i can't say i blame her.

the youth minister poked her head in the door one day to ask me about it.

i've tried,
i said,
she refuses. someone told her to give the others a chance, so she is.

the thing that pissed me off about that is the head up the ass thinking of the church. when a kid is self-motivated (i certainly had nothing to do with her wanting to remember verses), to memorize scripture, LET THEM.

but no, they had to nip that. and well, it died, with so many other things.

so, a similar thing is happening in an unrelated venue, and i am trying my best to keep it from dying.

the reason it's threatened is in part because my girl is a fabulous thesbian and one of the church workers assigned some lines, previously earmarked for her little friend, to her. my girl had nothing to do with taking the lines, but for months now, she's been getting the silent treatment of this little girl.

and it breaks my heart.

my husband told me tonight, the little girl who lost the lines had a bday party (just weeks before my girl's and when they were at the last meeting, the entire gang was talking about the party to come, and my girl walked up and the group was told, don't talk about it in front of her).

i have stayed out of all these intrigues because i think it is good for a child to learn how to deal with shitty friends on their own.

but now, as my girl contemplates ditching a very important organization because this little girl is being a shit, it makes me want to get involved.

how can i?

well, i kept my status as leader for just such an occasion. seems when i moved to ny i had spent all my volunteer hours at that point, i was totally tapped.

and i saw that things were "unfair" but knew it could possibly be my vantage point, being the mother and all. so i let her try to navigate the waters.

now, that she is losing her will to fight this battle, i am swooping in to help salvage what i can.

don't give up something so important for that girl,
i told her.
if you're going to do this, do this for you.

and so we are going to do community service at the barn where we love the horses. and the instructor, and the kids who come to ride.

i am going to help, because i have to. i am her advisor, of sorts, in this. but she will do the required number of hours and earn this award in her own right.

she is enthusiastic about it again, now that it is reframed in a venue that is not lifesucking to her.

i understand how she feels though, once i stop caring about something no thing can make me care again. i'm over it. done. moved on.

my goal is not to get her to generate false interest in something not worthwhile, but for her to see the value of persevering in an organization that is immensely worthwhile. most of our fun together revolves around this group. to walk away from it now would be leaving the party before it even got started.

fortunately, the heavy group involvement phase is over, and while it would be nice for her to be in a group of her peers, i'm not going to lose sleep over it. we'll become independents, and continue on as we do, forging our own path into tomorrow.

i sure hope we meet some more kindred spirits though. my girl could use a few good friends. i don't expect too much for myself, but kids are easier, i think. if their moms can get over me being eccentric. that's the tough part. i'm so not a coffe clatch mom.

we need to meet some artists with kids. that's what we need.
ah, and if they could be homeschoolers as well. so much the better.

peace. out.

knucklehead move number four

i think it's four. i lose track.

but nicole showed me how to bridle a horse, once. explained it all. and on tuesday, she shows up late, she's very liberal with her time, shall we say. and says,
bridle the horse.
and walks out.

which is the good and bad thing about learning from her.

i like to learn that way. do it yourself, i trust you.

but at the same time, i had to remember what i only saw done once. suddenly, i'm holding a cat of nine tails with ten zillion straps of leather and i'm trying not to torture this poor beast, velvet, by name.

so the horse knows i don't know what i'm doing. my girl and i think she sees me as one of the annoying kids from riding camp. and just tolerates me because i bring my girl who actually knows what she's doing. (they have quite good rapport going on)

velvet yawns several times in my face (i'm standing there trying to remember which direction to hold the leather strappy thing--bridle, yes daughter--she insists i call things by their proper name).

hurry mom, now!

but i can't seem to figure it out fast enough, and then when i'm ready, the horse clamps her jaws shut.

figures. so i try again, and twice i got it in, but she would yawn and i'd get it right out.

my girl is laughing and i'm acting like an idiot with this thing. not only is it the first time i'm doing it, alone, essentially, unless you call a laughing tween help (not!), i knew the guy who is helping run the stables wanted to blow out the aisles and i had to get out of there, talk about pressure. so i'm trying to rush, and my brain doesn't work well with the logistics of things and animal in fast pace. (remember the gate, which i'm happy to report, i can now close with horse still on lead).

so i get the bit in her mouth and something up over her ears, and my girl says,
not that way!

apparently, i had flipped the nose thing above the ear thing and had it all twisted.

i don't know how it got so complicated, but it had. so, we took it off and velvet starts yawning again (tease!).

so, i get it figured out but it required a great deal of thumbs which weren't an asset, because she had to keep her eyes shut, and i was fumbling all around and she was standing there saying,
(i know she was)

finally the spit covered bridle is on properly, but i forgot to untuck her bangs--er, forelock, yes daughter, they look like bangs to me--

and i wander off to the supply closet--er, tack room--to put something away or just to shake off a bit of my newbieness.

my girl leads velvet to the outdoor arena, and i get to take bandit out for some fresh grass (to distract him from his being alone), apprently, the big guy doesn't like to be alone.

i'm grateful nicole's horses are so gentle and patient with beginners like me. because she could have become a whirlwind with all my mishandling of the bridle.

then, after my girl's lesson, nicole stands with her back to her horse and slides that bridle on like a sock on a foot. two seconds tops. it's amazing to watch someone who knows what they are doing do what they do best.

we watched her ride a bit for the saddlefitter and wandered off to grab some grub.

that's all for now, i'm getting a headache just thinking of having to take my girl to her meeting tonight.

sigh. maybe i can find some way out of it.
just maybe.

to go or not to go

i pretty much decided late last night not to go tonight. because i would be going to impress my prof, and that is no reason to do a thing. i don't want to go because i want to go, i want to go to schmooze. so i won't go.

simple as that.

my life used to be so easy. if i had a sink full of dishes, i didn't go anywhere until they were done. that is simply not the case anymore. my priorities are upside down and turned around. i can barely justify what i'm doing beyond, it is what i need to do now.

so the great quandary for me last night was not so much about fear, (though i tend to not like to go anywhere until i'm going or there), it was trying to figure out why i felt a need to do that. what purpose does it serve?

the only one i could come up with was impressing my prof, which is no reason at all. i went to some major poet readings last semester, but the impetus was personal, had nothing to do with my prof.

i'm forcing myself back to the gym, i've only worked out four times this month, with the sick people at my house i couldn't get there. so i'm trying to make up for lost time and waistline.

when i return to the gym after a hiatus, i not only have to make up for regained poundage but lost stamina. so quickly it seems to drain away.

i've recently read about a "spiritual bypass" something people use religion and meditation for, checking out when disconcerting emotion presents itself. i have been guilty of this. but only in this absence of religion and religious activity could i have ever known it. i would like religion to not be my drug of choice. i'd simply like to stay checked in to my life, for the good, the bad, and the indifferent.

not really sure how that is accomplished though.

yesterday was a tough, mind in the gutter day, and i just had to get through it. i sometimes lack the strength to pull myself out. yesterday i could only dive into my bed and sleep. i did miss my vegetative day tuesday, so they inverted themselves it seems and my brain seems to be functional again.

but i must away, miles to go before i rest, miles to go before i rest.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

next stop, the city

there is a poetry reading i must go hear tomorrow night.

i know no one must do anything pertaining to poetry, but i know it is one of those things i have to do. like driving up past lake isabella alone to attend a rodeo. no one thought i'd go, but school forced me to. i was writing a paper on alien territory, i had to do something i'd never done before. a rodeo was just the ticket. somehow, i'm not sure how, i had met this pbr cowboy and he told me where and when. even took me back to where they have all the animals, so it was a really neat experience. synchronistic, like the rest of my life.

but i spent that whole day, as i've spent so many in my life, wandering around experiencing life alone. and i'm tired of it.

tried to wrangle a poet friend i know into going with me, and she would, but the offer was too last minute to change her plans.

so i need to get on that train tomorrow and go. no turning back. for school again.

it seems to be the way of it here for me though, the great events of my life all experienced in isolation, no real witnesses to speak of. and i must go. i must force myself to go because i can't be sidelined by fear, anyway, what is there to be afraid of, it's not like i haven't done it before.

even when i get lost there, it's a wonderful experience.

so why the hesitation?

because i want a partner to share the intrigues of life with, that's it. simple as that. instead, i'm stuck in a cold war and trying not to lose fingers and toes to frigidity.


what can i say, i'm honest.

guess i better figure out what i'm going to wear. i have tickets reserved and everything. why do i still hesistate. it's simply a matter of setting my mind to it and going.

like everything else i've done in my past, i just have to do it. to launch out into the unknown and do it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

okay, so i'll ride.

ended up talking to the riding instructor about taking lessons because i've decided, i can't exactly get a horse and know less than the horse now can i? it would be helpful, if not safer to actually know how to ride/handle a horse before committing my life to one.

we were talking about bucky and what a mess he is, just a disaster (but i love disasters apparently), and how i'd like to groom him.

she said his owner hasn't been to the stables in three or four months. sigh.

i think my first lesson will be next week. i told her,
i don't have anything to prove. i don't really want to ride for any reason in particular.

pleasure riding,
she said.

yes. exactly.

i didn't get to veg today, and we ended the day at the art supply store. my girl is quite the artist. previously i had bought her a few pencils, a hard, medium, and soft. but since she is quite good at drawing and uses pencils nearly every day, i bought her the whole array from lightest to darkest for her to do different things with (i have no idea what to do with all those pencils, but she does).

now i can try different horses,
she said.

she's been sticking to a few particular breeds. she's more of a realist than interpretive artist. i keep telling her to take a few lessons from artists who actually know something but she insists, she wants to do it her way.

is she my kid or what?

but her technique is vastly improved, in just this one year. i can't imagine how she'll grow and should she ever submit to a master, so much the better. maybe she'll do it before i did (chronologically, speaking), because i'm really an old dog in many ways. but whatever.

i think i'm corrupting her with my take on art.
but she has her own ideas, that's for sure.

that's all, i'm gone.

peace. out.

Monday, March 24, 2008

three days gone

today was the end of a four day on, three day off rotation my boss has been playing with. i like it very much as i need lots of time to decompress. i tend to spend the entire first day in a vegetative state, the second, i get off my chair or out of bed, the third, my brain begins functioning again. i'm just so busy, i don't seem to be able to manage it all, keep all the balls in the air without great swaths of recovery time.

but i'm grateful this week i get my three days in a row. it makes me happy. and tomorrow, the buckster.

we will amble off into the early morning light, waaaay earlier than i normally roll out of bed. (on a good day, not before 11). but i've really screwed my schedule by asking for opening weekends, which makes me get up some time before 6:30 am, when i have to report. the first morning, i realized how much i like the early morning quiet.

i used to get up early in texas and sit in my garden to watch the sunrise.

so in the brief moments i see my husband in a day, he mentions kiwiland, in a sentence,
how would you like to live there?

and i know he's just shitting me because this is the man who wouldn't go to africa, even dream about it with me. that is, until i got my daughter on board. now he wants to go. sigh.

he never wants to jump the pond, ever. but i do.

so i asked him,
are you serious?

and his standard answer is,
if they pay enough.

and my standard reply,
i could live anywhere for a year.

but he says it may be more than a year, a few. three on the outside from what i hear.

which is odd, because i don't usually hear about these things at this stage. i don't want to hear about these things at this stage. it's too emotionally difficult for me as i start detaching, thinking about how to pack up all my shit, and my family's shit. and move it wherever we happen to be going. the last two week move nearly did me in. and i have only one willing friend here, who would lean in behind me and push me onto that moving truck. fortunately we've only a fraction of the crap we had in texas, my plan to move into a tiny apt. worked. you can't amass so much stuff you are buried in it (at least i can't, spent the whole day today filling up trashcans. how i love to throw stuff away, but only when i'm sick of avoiding it. my family can live with their chaos but i can't. the word on the street is, when we move, we're leaving lots of shit behind, which is good news. out with the old, in with the new. maybe we can even just put all our stuff in storage and go with a few bags and our sense of adventure. maybe).

he's appealing to my sense of adventure, and reminding me that more than i want to be rooted, i like to roam. (at least for a little while).

who knows. i certainly don't.

my prof sent me a poem today and it made me happy. not so much because i liked the poem as i liked the idea of him sending me a random poem midway through the haze of reading. one tends to lose all bearings when buried in so many words.

i've lost track of how many pages i've read today, so i'll go with 52 ahead. and bucky tomorrow. sweet bucky.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

for your birthday

i wish you peace my love.

it was eerily quiet when i got home today, the family away at a holiday party at a friend's house. i'm grateful i have work to get out of those obligations. much as i enjoy the food (that's about all i enjoy there, meaningless chit chat never did much for my soul and personally, i can live without it).

it was weird being in this relatively non-religious place today. people kept wishing me happy holiday, and i just let it go. there is no bahhumbug equivalent to the easter bunny. take your eggs and shove it was the best i could come up with, alternately substituting cojones for eggs. but that just made my co-worker laugh.

it was a busy, busy day today and i'm always amazed at how many last minute shoppers there are. perhaps it's just jealousy, on valentine's the people scouring the grocery store (of all places) for some something to give their sweetie. i knew it was poo-pooing on others good intentions so i refrained, chose to censor myself (which i try not to do), but the same goes for every holiday.

chirstmas eve, this dude was lingering in front of frozen food like it was a life or death decision, i was the last cashier, the other associates are bailing out like rats on a sinking ship, and i'm saying,
come on man, i just want to go home.

i didn't care about the holiday (my family decided it was a most unchristmas like holiday), i just wanted to go home.

all the holidays have passed as more of a nuisance than any kind of meaningful event. i just kept leaning forward and trying to move on, trudge through each day.

today did not have that feel to it at all, though it was tough for me in many respects, it was a strong desire to live and be present that held me today.

one lady came in and ordered an iced chai.
i gave them up for lent,
she said.
this is my second of the day.

i gave up sugar last year,
i said,
and religion this year.

and laughed. she didn't find that funny, more of a tragic humor i've got going, but it made me smile.

i don't know what to do with religion anymore. i told my prof last semester, i don't want to cram just anything into that gaping wound, so i sit in my void wondering what is right there. a potted plant, you know the fate of that, cut flowers, i never buy them for myself, though i should. maybe just emptiness. that's what i'm most comfortable with. nothing there. just emptiness.

and so it is.

watched an edward norton movie, the illusionist, which was fabulous and took a decadent nap. now it's 11ish, and i'm up hoping to get a jump on tomorrow's 52 pages. i've read some decent poems in this recent anthology, and i'm hoping the next five books i read are as enjoyable as these first two have been.

how to get it to congeal into a critical essay? i have no idea.
but try i must. it is the weight upon me this semester and i feel the pressure mounting, but pressure isn't a bad thing necessarily. it helps with the creative process, i believe. without it, i doubt anything would be accomplished (at least in my life)

and my co-worker says,
you have ocd

and i say,
no i don't.
i just like shit clean. he doesn't understand that to do a job right one must not possess a disorder of some sort. one must only possess pride in your work or a decent work ethic. perhaps i have both in sufficient quantities. but whether i'm working for free or pay, i work the same hard detailed way. there is no difference to me. the labor of my hands is the only tangible offering i've got, why do a job i can't stand behind? may as well just stay in bed if that is what i'm going to do.

how i wanted to drive up to see bucky today.

i guess you could say the same about my poetry, i just have a way i'm going, a place i'm heading. it's a vision in my mind, the weak wet wings of a newly emerged butterfly, but the sun will harden them and flight will follow. just the necessary hardening process going on.

an another poet i love says,
you're a stubborn cus.

which makes me smile. i don't mean to be. i just am.

makes me remember the words of a badger who called me a porcupine. i've searched everywhere for a porcupine, and finally saw one the other day, asleep in a tree. it was a freezing forty degree day, with a brutal windchill factor, and the little fat guy was just zonked out (we were at a local county zoo) and there he was, quills blowing in the breeze. he looked pettable. i would have liked to pet him, and it made me wonder, how does one get close to a porcupine? or a badger for that matter?

the tamarins were amazing. i'm not much for primates but these little guys had shit going on upstairs, i'll tell you. and the most intricate faces. sometimes the larger primates seem dull and uninteresting. but these quick moving, tiny squealing little quadrupeds (who were male, they had tiny little twig and berries), were fascinating.

a joy to watch.

it's the little things that get me through the day.

last time we were at that park, a light misty rain started to fall and i told my friend,
we better get out of here before i get an afro.

and she said,
i'd like to see the afro.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

shelter here

walking into the warm sun, with a dark bay pony by my side. my girl's riding instructor with velvet on a lead, the girls were up ahead, arms full of clover hay.

the white cat, with the snipped off tail had a mouth full of field mouse. not small by field mouse standards, but not large by rat standards. just an adequate mouthfull of field mouse. we stopped to watch the white cat and see what would happen, mouse takes the opportunity to escape the jaws of death, as it were.

and runs to me. between my feet as i stood looking down, he cowered, his half tail still, hunkered down between my mudcaked black boots, as the former housecat (who is at the ranch because he "needs to lose weight"), slinked by looking everywhere for the once promising mouthfull.

it turns out, kitty didn't want a feast but a toy. mousie hid between my feet for a couple minutes, until cat passed by, then darted after cat and hid in a cleft made by a horse hoof in the soft wet grass, kitty could not find him. and i had seen enough to know, he probably wouldn't.

mousie had survived his brush with death.

i turned to the instructor,
if anything ever has it sights on me to eat, i hope it just does it. i hope it doesn't play with me first.

she laughed and walked on. telling the girls, first chance she got about the cat and mouse.

we turned the horses out and i went to see him.

who else?

the one who delights me. the recipient of my scant affections. the one who warms my soul.

it's good to be recieved. that's the thing. so many things, people, horses are aloof. and of course, not everyone or thing can be an intimate, it's not healthy. but when there is that connection, that spark of ignition, it's wonderful.

and that i carry a pocket full of peppermints and carrots, doesn't hurt.

when i first gave bucky a peppermint, he smiled.

we'd never seen him smile and it wasn't a fakey, i'm prompted to smile smile either. it was a genuine, huzzah! good show smile.

so today, i had some peppermint flavored horse treats, just a few, and when i produced them, he smiled. many times. after every one but the last one. which i find fitting.

he latched on to my hair stick again, and i had to hold it because this time, he was going to take it and munch it down, but i need that stick to hold my hair, it matters to me.

maybe that's why he wants it.

it's something, to walk away from a horse and have him walk the fence alongside you as far as he can go and stand there watching you leave. it's hard to walk away from that.

i want to stay. but the demands on my time are not few. and with an adolescent who makes her own plans, it just means, i have to walk away and not linger long though i leave my heart when i go.

i'm ready for what's to come. excited about it. even when it is uncertain. even when it is a fool's dream. i'd gladly be a fool anyday, i've made no secret about that. i think fools may just have the most fun of all.

and i will hold my center and stand utterly still
so mousie can live another day.

this is a good day. one of many that promises to line up to the horizon beyond belief. i've known that all this year. it's a change of season. it's about time.

peace. out.

Friday, March 21, 2008

i want you to have them

a friend wrote a lovely poem about dreams, living large in the future. and it was a peculiar sense of wonderment (that's a borrowed word, first time i've ever used it), that i want my friends to be happy. to be fat and laughing. to be at peace. every last one of them.

what can i do to that end, to ease your burden?

for now, i can only listen. offer you what i have, a few poems, and encouragement.

a poet came to see me at work tonight (rather, he went grocery shopping and there i was, the two not to be confused, but the former is a happy fiction). and it was so good, it is always so good, to see the slight crinkle around the glimmering eye of those i love.

be happy my friends. though i hate that word, i want that for you.

if i could package it, beg it borrow it, steal it for you, i would.

but we must find our own way, it seems.

we must navigate our own uncertainties in the moment and often, most often, friends are not gathered round.

ah but for the sympathetic ear when grief exacts its toll. and even when the patience has run out, (friends are limited imperfect beings just as i), it is still good to know there is a sympathetic ear, none the less.

but i'm tired now. fifty two pages await me, then to the stables early.

i will see bucky, gorgeous bucky. his buckskin coat (mudcaked though it is) glistening in the sun. his mud clotted mane, wafting in the breeze, and he will know he is adored, i will be grateful to be his friend in this brief transitory life when words often elude us until the moment has passed and it is too late.

but all ends well.

how does it?

i don't know, it's a mystery.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

long dark corridors

the time between poems can feel like a long dark hallway. sometimes scary, inclined to make one freeze or panic, sometimes, i just keep walking and don't think about it. the muse always speaks, the poems always return. but in between, there are these silence that can sometimes be hard to take.

especially since i don't have to force myself to write weekly anymore, i think i'll be silent for a bit, for so long, that was all i wrote. there has been little else come out of me than processing this past year.

i don't have the language to capture joy, but i've known this for a great while. i'm reading a book that says joy and fear can feel the same. i'm trying to learn to distinguish them.

i neglected to mention in my wonderful day yesterday, i almost got my car towed. i just wanted a bagel, there's this to die for bagel place right by my house, lousy parking situation, and i am just going to run in and run out. no worries, right?

well, i am driving my giant dodge, and didn't want to block the doors of the person parked askew in the space next to the last space. so i pull in, decide it's too tight, and pull out. parking in a lot two businesses over.

i'm followed in by this hispanic dude speaking broken english saying something about a truck and sweeping his arm. i'm not sure what he's saying and i don't really care, all i want out of life at that moment is an onion bagel with veggie cream cheese (and i can't really think about anything else at that moment), but he insists. getting right in my face.

i turn to him,
my truck?

and he's pointing. so i finally go see.

the tow truck is all ready backed up to my truck and has his ramp down.

i am begging him to let me go because i saw signs all over the place in the previous lot, but not there, which is why i parked there.

and he lets me go.

it was a miracle. the dude lets me drive away.

it would have been a colossal waste of time, not to mention money, but this guy lets me go. and i was so grateful (but i stopped for a lesser bagel at a drive through in another town).

so if i lament my not getting breaks, i will gladly take the one major break in lieu of the many little breaks. anyday. i think anyone would.

i had to figure out why my brain misfired with the days i have off, and it turns out, i crossed the wrong day off my calendar, i have next (and hopefully all the following) tuesday off. my girl keeps telling me, your memory is getting bad, but i know it's not. i knew there had to be some explanation. and there was.

the kids did really good, i have a drill i go through with them every time i close. when i ran in (literally), unshowered from the barn (gross, i know), they had already begun the work of closing. they did me proud. i was so pleased to see how much they've grown. (this from a group of kids who would literally stand around and talk the whole time they worked), i told the boss tonight how impressed i was with them because i've worked with some adults (older folks) who do nothing. hear me, no thing. nada. zip. zilch.

for these kids to do anything, was impressive. no one told them to do it. yet they pitched in because they new what needed to be done. and i was so proud of them. so proud.

(the older folks are another story entirely). there's something about not wanting to be told anything, a resistance to information, new information, corrected information that hinders these folks.

my girl's riding instructor summed it up when she told me about bucky's owner,
he'll always be a beginner,
she said,
because he can't admit he doesn't know anything.

profound. i really like her.

i asked her about natural horsemanship. she said it was a fad. she spends so much time educating us both, my girl and me, that i'm so grateful. i think most people will share their knowledge if you spend time with them. i'm genuinely grateful for the opportunity to learn from someone i respect. to see her with her horses is something wonderful. truly. it's a good match.

but now, i'm in the midst of a long dark corridor of my own and it's time to embrace it. i have a packet deadline apr. 21, i now have seven books and 1776 pages to read between now and then, that's 52 pages per day kids. i better get on it. at least this long dark won't be void of words.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

the bucky update

okay, so i got to see him, touch him, love him today. it's the best way to spend a day. and like a knucklehead, i forgot (and i've never, ever, not once forgotten) i had to go to work.

so i spend this wonderful, relaxed, leisurely day with my girl. we're laughing, we're painting things, we're spending time with the horses and i'm spending time like it's the cheapest commodity i've got.

i waited to take the giant horses out, i wanted to see the instructor's technique with the gate. i still let that damn gate swing open, and the poor horse i was leading went in with me, then out, i didn't think through positioning his body on the other side of the gate when i closed it. duh.

but i'm learning. and having fun.

more horses approach the fence rails now as i stroll by, and i say hello. wish them well and continue on my way.

so i turned out the large horse with the instructor leading her young quarter horse, and wander over to bucky's paddock. he's asleep.

mind you, i've never snuck up on anything. i make so much noise. and i was calling him and talking as i approached, but i was up wind, apparently. because he was curled up in a ball (or all folded up, more accurately) with his muzzle on the ground, his nostrils flaring rhythmically, while his ears alternately scanned. and his eyes were closed. he was so sweet, i didn't want to disturb him, so i squatted down and watched him sleep.

for a good five minutes (well before the old legs cramped up) and it's too moist to sit, believe me, i thought about it.

then, bucky opens his eyes, and startles awake because he's never seen me in a squatted position and i'm about twenty feet away from him at the fence post.

once up, he walks right over and proceeds to love on me.

i pick the crap out of his eyes, and scratch his forehead, he loves this, and seems to demand it. then down the sides of his neck, underneath his mane (i love this), and see how caked on the mud is.

his owner hasn't been there in at least three weeks and i'm dying to groom this gorgeous stallion.

meanwhile, he grabs my shirt and wants me to come inside. i resist. he wanders away to eat. so i watch him for a while more, and then leave to watch my girl ride.

she was in the outdoor arena, and it was a gorgeous day.

one particular hawk kept vigil with me the whole time i was out there.

on my birthday, i walked out of the stables to a hawk circling above my car, and two crows chasing him. he seemed to be patiently abiding their abuse, and when i saw him, i stood there watching him until he wafted from view--about five minutes, quite a long stretch of time. and he was straight overhead, not fifty feet up. a gorgeous red tail.

today, a redtail was on a tree perched by the outdoor paddock where i turned out the two ponies, and it flew over past bucky's paddock when i was walking toward that way. it stayed with me until i walked back in and i was grateful.

so i decide to crash my belly dancing class because i think i have the night off, right?

well, it turns out the class got cancelled, which worked in my favor as i was supposed to be at work at the very time the class was to have started, making me only 45 minutes late by the time i got home and got over to work.

i've never had that happen, being so lost in goodness and joy, happiness and peace that i forget, i've got shit to do. namely, work.

but it was good to forget everything today, and when we went to see bucky one last time before we left the stables, the girl who brings him in let us walk with them back. he kept turning his head toward me as i tried to keep up beside them. i kept my hand on his flanks and rubbed him the whole way back to his stall.

wishing he were mine.
but grateful for the time with him.

gushing academic

it is with great trepidation i submit my work to the prof i chose this semester, because he's incredibly talented in the ways i want to excel (namely, poetry) and as i said, i can't bullshit him. i have to perform.

since he refrained from commenting on my last submission (of poetry), and asked me to resend them, i've felt a bit in limbo. i know i have issues with commas and fragments, but give me something i can use.

in amending my biblio for this semester, i had to delete some of the asthetes i had on there (good lord, one book IS enough, and i refuse to read more), he wrote back that he loved one of my latest essays.

which gives me such a feeling of relief as one can never tell.

first of all, i took a chance calling this brilliant man (whom i was writing about), a chauvanist and that'll win over all kinds of people. but i explicated a passage of a poem the chauvanist refused to explicate because it was the "hysterical" rantings of a woman.


it was a big risk. i have this contrary nature in my writing, that is to say, i more easily play devil's advocate than any other role especially academically. which i guess in some ways is horribly academic. it's just that it is coupled with my repeated mantra, i don't know.

so not academic.

but i don't believe admission of ignorance is a fault. it has taken me a great while to become comfortable with confessing my ignorance and i have to admit, confessing here, of all places, has helped me adapt my writing style to accomodate said confessions in a away that isn't idiotic sounding. (or maybe it is, and that is my appeal. who really knows how these things work).

but, all ends well.

how does it?

it's a mystery.

i finished my weeks series. a bittersweet ending (not necessarily in the poem) but a turning point in life. i have to let it go. i have to. i likely need to write about that as it is bringing up wells of emotion right now that i hadn't realized were lurking.

and i had an open mic last night, which was wonderful. simply fab.

if i could just do that, host and read and write poetry for the rest of my days, i'd be a happy clam. i'm not at my current job forever, i must remind myself this. it is but a stop on the road. and i'm enjoying it. learning how to deal with all different kinds of people.

my boss said recently,
i want you to take risks.

okay, you asked for it.

have a good day, i'm off to see bucky, so i know i will. he is simply gorgeous. moved to a far paddock where i have to walk awhile to reach him, but the walking is good, it gets the creative juices flowing.

now to spend the day with my girl as well. been a long time since i haven't had to just sit at my computer and write, or read, read, read.

peace. out.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

ode to a fish sandwich

now there are not many foods i care to talk about. and tonight, a full week--no, two weeks and a day after having it, i am still fondly remembering the fish sandwich i had at a little diner here in nj. i'm even telling a co-worker about it. that's insane. i'm not a foodie by any stretch of the imagination (as this post will prove).

the diner is a phenomenon. why don't we have them in cali? (though, i forget i'm not from cali, haven't been in years. but they need diners in cali).

anywhoo, i ask the waiter,
what is your fish sandwich like?

i mean if it's this little pressed square that i can get on any corner, why bother right?

he tells me it's on a deli roll

is it hard?

(and i'm really not picky, but if it was a hard roll, forgeddaboutit)

so he says,
it's just a roll.

i take my chance, and order it.

i get this roll that's the size of a cup plate. giant.

the filet of fish is actually in the shape of something that once had a life. an actual fish, not a pressed square of processed fish parts, an actual fish! can you believe it (you can tell my dining expriences rank right up there. think of it this way, i look at that commercial of the couple who are out on a date and order to get this huge plate with a beautiful presentation of something tiny and they rush out and load up on junkfood after. i love that commercial).

anyway, i didn't have nearly enough tartar sauce (it is one of my vices, tartar sauce. there aren't many sauces i go crazy for but tartar and hoisin, mmmm).

though, in lieu of massive amounts of mayonaise, relish and horseradish (i think that's what's in tartar sauce), i get an actual wedge of lemon. (not a packet of lemon--okay, i'm just kidding there, but i do go to places that actually have real lemons, it wasn't that big of a deal, but the "fish" sandwiches in a geometric shape do not really need lemon, they need tons of sauce ala tartar, now i'm being silly).

so i squeeze it on. and dig in.


a week after having it my girl and i are driving home and i'm composing an ode to a fish sandwich. i loved that sandwich with fish in the shape of a fish. it rocked my world.

i'm not hard to please. but give me a fish sandwich in the shape of a fish, or carne asada with extra lime and baby i'm yours.

(the onion rings were good too, but the fish sandwich, o'm'god!)

Friday, March 14, 2008

vegetation imminent.

for those of you who have nothing better to do than check on the ramblings of a middle aged woman (ha! the kids at work are always reminding me that i'm "older" i don't feel "older" i say, but there comes a time kids, when we have to own up to the facts), let me just tell you this.

i have only one book to read and about three or so more poems to write. miracles can happen. it seems when you focus, good things can happen. i've got a stiff schedule this week, so i can't get lax now (though i want nothing more than to lay down and watch a movie, sunrise comes too soon in these parts and i've got stables to muck before work tomorrow), i need to rest i think.

i can always punt that sixth book to the next packet. it is quite an unweildy packet as is. my prof will likely blow a gasket. but i told him this would happen especially if he had me resubmit my first set of poems. (which he refrained to comment on, grrr. i hate waiting).

i'm going to veg.

i turned in my mammoth 45 page packet just now. we are required two pages per book (that's ten pages kids, my hands are cramping just thinking of how much shit i wrote today). gotta go and now i've an entire weekend of no deadline to worry about. huzzah!

whack ways of dealing

so when the going gets rough, the tough go shopping, or so they say.

i was out with my girl who always encourages my splurging on myself, which today consisted of a gorgeous turqouise suede leather jacket that fits my body like a glove. with a slightly scalloped edge and snap front closure. did i need it? no.

but i didn't need that ticket either.

got that shit all squared away. i'm trying to salvage what is left of my day, i just sat down at the library after a long talk with 85 years young helen whom i haven't seen in about a year since i quit choich.

i miss you.
she said.

and we caught up on who has died (yes, someone i knew died last week. sigh.)

and she had to euthanize her beloved cat of sixteen years, this came late in the conversation and her eyes welled with tears.

it's still a delicate subject,
she said.


somehow we began to talk about poetry and i told her i now have a book. she requested a copy, which i will gladly give her (she falls into the i trust category), and she asked if she could leave it to her sister in her will.


she said,
i know you don't want everyone reading it, but i want to share something with her that means something to me. and you mean something to me.

and i just about died.

i may never get my name in POETRY, or read on the mainstage of dodge poetry festival, but i've got enough humble success to do my heart good.

we promised to talk again and meet so i could give her the book.

but one thing we also talked about is how lost i am with the whole church/god thing. i told her,
i tried. i can't do that anymore. at least not now.

she said,
i know. i don't know why i go. am i halfway up the stairs or down.

which i thought a profoundly honest question. that one can and does still struggle at 85 is a comfort to me. that she can be honest and look me in the eyes and say,
i'm in the same place,
no judgment, no shame, was the kind of soul resuscitation i needed.

so my day is a strange celebration of sorts. still the hard grim truths, but they are housed in compassion. and i felt the time she and i shared was real. i am grateful i got to see her again.

i'll get my book to her as soon as i can, and hope my grief assuages hers just a bit.

i lost my thread, i had just sat down at the library, when my girl appeared and we left. now home, finally. i'm going to try again to finish up some of my work due monday. early day tomorrow. stables first thing, then work. eight hours. damn.


death visits

my great aunt died, peacefully i hope. the details are sketchy and i'm tired of grief. but we don't get to choose. that's the thing. we don't get to say, enough. i've had it. no more tears.

and i wonder that i've not done everything wrong to this point. sometimes i have this certainty about what i'm doing, right now, i'm doubting everything. not sure of anything.

i got a ticket last night and it amazes me how i don't drive the car but once in a blue moon, and get pulled over. i get a ticket for a tail light being out. which if i fix today it gets dismissed (that's the good part), but i still have to take the bulk of my day "before sundown" and address this problem.

i don't have time for this shit. as i told my husband. who, incidentally, drives the car every single day. rare, the day he does not drive it. the man has never gotten a ticket that i know of.

what is up with that.

i came home feeling like a black sheep. and then my sister tells me the real reason why my mom won't ever come to visit me, for years she has been giving me this, i don't like to fly, line. fine. but i told her,
kick a few back and get on. what's the big deal?

all the while, knowing she's missing time with her grandchild, and i enjoy her company when she comes.

but finally, FINALLY, i find out why.

it's because i yelled at her when she came out last time (years ago).

do you know why i yelled?
i asked my sister.

because she used the hand towel to dry the dishes (my mom does this religiously, contaminates perfectly clean dishes with hand towels or towels that need to be changed).

so i told her,
not in my kitchen.

and said to my sister,
you would have yelled at her too.

and she said,
yes, i would have.

so, for years i've been getting this song and dance about how "i don't like to fly" and not understood it.

that my mom couldn't even tell me straight up that my yelling at her was inappropriate, yet over the course of years exact some kind of fucking vengeance while i haul my cookies out to california is beyond me. i'm completely over my family.

i found this out only because my sister landed herself on the same "list" of disreputables in my family. this is my own fucking family.

i don't understand them, never have, never will. my grams was the only sane one of the lot of them, her children are sadly not anything like her (she never would have dried the dishes with a hand towel).

what can i say? i'm not sure. the more i think about it, the more angry i get. and i just need to let it go, but these are my blood relatives. though i've never felt a part of them (except for my grams, a fist full of cousins-we younger set get along way better than the older set, something about our ruthless honesty, we can speak to each other and care for one another, even have those difficult conversations and even fight, but these older folks bear their grudges to the grave, i don't fucking understand).

it's madness. but for friends, i'd be lost. utterly.
death still sucks for the living. i'll say that.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

t-minus five hours

so i've substituted a heady prose on poetry book with a poetry handbook recommended by one of the poets at my local poetry roundtable. i'm nearly finished with this hail mary substitute, but i've come across this.

and i cannot separate life from work from work from life, they are all comingled in my mind, my heart, my life. i am wholly who i am not bits and pieces suzanne. any living has to be done by the heart, even working, even resting.

so the line is from a sharon olds poem called "feared dead" and i need to get that book, satan says. the line:
once you lose someone it is never exactly / the same person who comes back.

and this line hits me in the chest and takes my breath away. this is what a book should do, if a book should do anything. evoke emotion. evoke presence.

and cause one to contemplate.

my last poem of the weeks series is hovering over me at the moment and i try to push it away, push it away until i can't push it away anymore. (this is how i write).

the persistent inspiration that will not be denied. the birth pangs that can no longer be ignored.

and i read this line from addonizio and laux's the poetry companion,
the heart is never finished with grief ... though the burden is too heavy, we manage it.

and my arms burn from the stallion who reared up and i held on. i would not let him go. i would not let him hurt himself. i held on though he could have flung me away if he wished. he relented and followed me to the paddock. where i turned him loose.

my arms ache with the memory of surprise. slack arm and lead suddenly taut, arms and legs holding on to a tornado, hooves flayling in the air. and me all present, watching the bell hooved creature rear and breathing in deep. holding on. driving my feet in against his effort to resist.

i will not let you go.

but i am no match for his will. and perhaps this ache, this haunt is what strikes me now as most poignant.

not the presence of mind in the moment, not the danger of it all.

but the momentary decision to hold fast and not let go.

it is all i know how to do. it is all i've ever done. all i'll ever do, where stallions are concerned.

and i feel the ache of my stubbornness
and the hunger in my soul for him to find peace.

that i could lead him to safety, rather than startle him.

i'm not ready to hold this one, but those moments choose us, we don't choose them. we are not asked if we are ready, we either are, or aren't.

and the slight rope burn on my hand, the fact that i had the rope still in my hand while he reared, reminds me that i was, at least for an instant, ready.

and still, i refuse to let go.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

knucklehead move number three

at least when i told the riding instructor that her seventeen hand horse reared up on me, she said,
you did good.

because i remained calm and held on to him. i wasn't about to let that horse get hurt on my watch, no way.

long story. again, when i tell my girl what happened she said,
i thought you knew.

but i know now.

at least, i kept my wits about me and he was fine.

i learned a lot today. the way i learn is by doing. so i am doing a lot and my body is wasted tired.

but it's a good tired. there are many things i can't change right now, but i am doing the best i can. and the coupled swans returned.

for my birthday,
i said.

my girl tried to dissuade me from believing this.

but that was, in fact, the best gift i got.

nothing like seeing those two lovelies back circling each other and all the life and hope that alludes to.

i was asked when i wanted to start riding, and i told her, not just yet.

i need to know why i want to start riding. and i just don't know the answer to that. is it because i can? anyone can. i don't want to ride for that reason.

because my girl wants me to?

i don't want to ride for that reason either.

i don't really do things in my life without certainty and trust. right now, ground relating to horses is what i need to be doing. i have to learn what i'm doing first before i move on.

and at the rate i'm going, it will be a while. what else have i got but time?

and we are well.

found real carne asada tacos today. my god are they good. la style food right around the corner from my house.

it's not often i get all excited about food. it's just food. but these tacos are to die for.

and now, a favorite movie (an unfinished life) and to bed. i hope to sleep into mid afternoon tomorrow i'm so fried. still have two and a half books hanging over my head. and what do i find in the poetry manual i'm reading now, how poetry is like shamanism. whoa!

gotta love surprises.

peace. out.

Monday, March 10, 2008

but it's not my birthday

so i walk in tonight, and granted i always love a surprise. last year i think my bday came and went without a cake or anything, maybe a card. i don't really remember, i was too stressed out.

but this year, they give me a cake tonight and while my bday will officially be in a couple hours, it's weird and in some countries bad luck to have bday cake before your bday.

maybe they're trying to jinx me.

and normally, i wouldn't mind a cake, but not a bday cake when it's not my bday.

they even sang, why they can't do this tomorrow on my bday when i get home, i don't know.

weirdness abounds.

and i don't mean to be ungrateful, and somehow i've pissed my family off by not accepting their premature overture to honor my bday, but it's not my bday. so why would i want a cake today? i don't get it. i'm confused. time for bed, i'm tired (no one touched the cake and my girl got mad, at me i think).

so who knows.

the blue heron waits

i keep watching, waiting for the return of spring, when the heavy cloak of night will give way and the rebudding of all things begins.

i don't believe it is hope so much as trust that i'm dealing with here. i can't see around the bend and i really don't want to. i've learned waiting for a thing makes it more sweet when it finally arrives. and so i wait.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

knucklehead move number two.

my girl is keeping track, though she wanted to see me smooshed in the stall door with the large horse, i wasn't thinking when i turned the most gentle (but tired) horse loose with my girl in tow. the horse, velvet, ran back to her stall and my daughter barely kept up.

why didn't you turn her loose?
i asked (always the obvious question with me)

don't want to form any bad habits.
so bless her heart, she held on. she could not stop that horse, but was okay. no thanks to me.

so, we're learning. or i'm learning, and my daughter is trying to put up with my learning curve, not able to foresee my missteps. but all is well.

i never imagined the most gentle horse would nearly run to her stall, i just figured it would be like every other time. she'd be in no big hurry to get wherever she was going. fortunately it was just a matter of a few steps, ten tops (for my girl about twenty), from the cross-ties to the stall.

but the horse had worked hard that day, and it was pretty late by the time we were done. we were all three of us tired, and well, the horse outweighs us both, so she wins in most cases.

the well placed elbow i hear, will help. but not if you're dangling in tow.

i don't know how i feel about elbowing a horse. not what i want to do. i wish i knew other ways to do things, but i don't.

the last thing i want to do is be domineering or mean.

but i don't want to be foolish either.

i'm tired now, just in from work, eight hours of cappaucino madness. and i could use a rest. i still have two and a half books to read before the seventeenth, so we'll see if it happens.

but just now, i'd like a comfy bed and someone to cuddle with.

short of that, i guess i'll find someway to pass the time.

Friday, March 07, 2008

someday sorrow

will be just a memory.

my mouth will be filled with laughter.
my eyes full of involuntary tears of joy.

someday sorrow will not haunt my footsteps, or yours.

i will walk with you through this sadness, though and be grateful.

grateful that you have words when i fall silent.

grateful that you have a place in your heart for me.

because so many times i wondered, how could she possibly?

someday sorrow won't be our only bond.

it will be joy. and laughter.

and peace.

requested peace.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

make proper foam

so i get to work and hear we've got a new "right" way to make foam.


like i have nothing better to do with my time. so i listen, and it does taste better, i'll give them that, but it's harder to do. we all need to be recertified, which is fine by me. can't reassess standards enough in my book. but i wish they'd look around the place and make sure we're doing the basics (i guess proper foam is the basics), it just seems like a secondary issue if we can't even get the place clean.

the health inspector came by and we passed, which is amazing. i'm glad. i know we probably wouldn't have a month or so ago.

i came home to this song playing in my head,

find your way back, to her heart.

that jefferson starship song. and i think, yes. i'm still waiting.

there is so much going on, so much drawing my attention, so much life begging to be lived, and i will. but i want what i want.

i've never been unclear about that. i want what i want.

that which is mine will come to me. i believe this.

my girl and i are arguing again,
feeling better,
i say

she smiles.

i'd rather have her functioning than ill and accomodating. she didn't ride at all this week, she had to be very sick to pass up that.

i have not gotten it, i won't get it, because i'm strong. too strong for that.

peace. out.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

whose questions

in approving my horse element to my current study, my prof said,
I just hope that exploring this trope doesn’t divert you from addressing more complex and challenging questions.

but it made me think, my questions are not his questions. and in this realm of independent study, how can i ever come to his questions, what he would deem "more complex and challenging" if not guided there by him, let's say?

my study will evolve in the ways my life evolves, i think. this makes sense to me. the way life has unfolded and drawn me in, each book landing in my hands at the right moment.

will the issues i resonate with, the questions i explore be the questions he would hope i would resonate with and explore?

probably not.

i know this. but that does not invalidate my study. primarily in that it is a student driven study. we are not sitting before a prof digesting his take on the works we read. we are gleaning ideas and information on our own, in our own little worlds and making these things fit together in some form or fashion.

it will all come down to my critical essay. what i say about what i've read, how i draw together all the sordid details i've gleaned from my study. how i make my case. i've opted to formalize all my meanderings about my writing process, to try to concretize my perspective. that is my aim this semester, but if it is unconvincing critically to him? what then?

i don't know. it's a risk i have to take.

i will ask the questions i am inclined to explore, draw the conclusions that come to me, and present them. if he says they are crap. so be it. but i don't think that will happen. i know how it works, my writing is powerful. even when profs don't agree, they can't help but appreciate my arguments even when they are painfully not the arguments they would hope i'd come up with. (i've been here before).

so much at stake though. an entire semester's work.

but i've never shunned a challenge before, i won't shy away from it now. i must focus. i'm through two and a half books now. only three and a half to go (and i have about twelve days, not a week like i originally thought), so there's hope yet.

i'm devouring books over here, but what else is new. it helps that my kid is sick and demanding that i be by her side. she does not want me to go anywhere. so i'm just reading and reading and reading.

peace. out.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

under pressure

my next submission is due in about eight days i think, in that time, i've got about four books (150+ pgs each), to read, an essay to write, and i'm finishing up the fifth book now. plus, i've gotten the okay from my prof to incorporate some of the horsemanship books i'm reading on the side into the mix.

i think he's concerned i'll piddle away my time with meaningless studies, but i don't see it that way.

i believe a holistic approach is better. i can't write in pieces. never could. i can't take my spirituality and set it aside, regardless of how academic i'm supposed to be. i can't take something so profoundly a part of my life and put it in a box apart from the other thing so meaningful to my life at this moment.

it's not who i am.

i know this is contrary to sound academic practice, to feel my way through my studies, but i'm certain it is the only path to success for me. divorce myself from myself and i'm sunk. there is so much i have to say about form, and i see it most clearly when i am looking at horses.

i hope the incorporation of this aspect of learning will unlock the pent up language i need to convey my ideas to this prof.

or, i'll fall flat on my face.

once, in college i wrote a paper for a prof who's C was an F. if you got a C in his class, it meant you'd failed. when i held that paper before our group forum (we critiqued each other's works before he got them to himself, and he listened silently to the critiques), i told another student, i took a risk.

better to go down in flames,
he said,
than to bore him.

yes. i hoped my end would be quick and relatively painless. but it was met with relief by the prof who liked the risk of my innovative introduction to an otherwise ho-hum (hoop jumping) essay.

i've travelled that road so much since. the risk it all and hope to go out in flames rather than the other. boredom.

but risks are risky. risks are scary. risks are what make your works memorable, i guess.

though the precipice is always yawning for another victim to fall headlong into it's gaping mouth.

i would rather fly.

Monday, March 03, 2008

women's history month reading

so i've sent in to be considered for a reading with a bunch of women i don't know for this women's history month thing. on a lark. i don't know why i sent in for it. maybe because i'm foolishly brave in many ways.

i don't really consider the ramifications of doing something until after i do it. but also i think i have a lot to say to women.

i should be writing or reading for school, but here i am. i don't know.

i've had a wonderful day, it was spring like weather and bunny even got to go outside, he didn't want to come back in, poor thing. i wouldn't either. but he's so cute, running across the snow up the deck stairs and opening the doors himself, my daughter taught him how to do that.

she's been sick the past week and her birthday was woefully boring, the worst yet, she said.

so we'll celebrate later. she doesn't even feel up to riding tomorrow.

it's tough watching your kid battle sickness. this flu just sucks. fortunately, i didn't get it.

i made her breakfast this morning, trying to be all nurturing for her bday, and she puked it all up. so much for good intentions.

i keep thinking about that belly dance i have to do. i'm looking forward to it, and the hardest part will be finding the right song. you need something not too long, not too short, and varying in tempo. i think blister in the sun will do, it makes me shimmy whenever i hear it.

i tried a few metallica songs, but they tend to write really long songs and moving that fast for three and a half minutes is just exhausting. i'm not up to it, yet. but i will do that someday.

i'll have to study tribal dance in conjunction with this little performance, and then i have to decide where and when to do it. the sooner, the better i say. imagine i'll have my daughter tape me on her camera. she's good at making those little downloadable videos. kids these days.

i'm looking forward to tomorrow. and today i wanted to yell, i'm going to be an old woman some day! and celebrate it. sometimes that outcome looks questionable, but not today. today i'm signing up for the whole ride. and enjoying myself.


belly dancing with violent femmes

i've got to perform a belly dance and tape it for art credit. so i'm going to try to use the violent femmes' blister in the sun. a phenomenal song.


necessary distractions

so i've battled with work and poetry. i work to pay for my poetry, essentially. that comes in the form of working to pay for school at the moment.

but i enjoy work. it feels do-able for me. i am tempted to spend more energies there, i do spend more energies there because it is tangible and demands my time, than i do on my poetry.

a poet came in when i first changed jobs and said,
ask for a day off. come back to the roundtable.

which i had sadly neglected the whole latter part of the year at my lifesucking job.

and so now, i have determined to set them as my priority and request the time to be there in the flesh with these poets i adore. month after month. i am back with them in body.

the other dilemma is, i was supposed to be part of the big release read for the journal i got in, but i was just too tired. i couldn't make the drive though i traded days with a co-worker to be free. i slept instead.

some hesitancy there on my part, too, i must admit. my chapbook was just in hand and i wasn't sure it was ready to be out in public. i have no delusions of that now. it is the best i've got at the moment.

so i see the matriarch and her counterpart at the workshop and i'm asked to be a part of a reading that's coming up in april, for a journal i'll be in next year.

i'm not sure if i can make it. what are my priorities?

if it is just to network, i have no time for that. never did.

if it is to go where spirit leads, then, i must make time. i must determine which venues are the ones i need to invest in.

driving an hour to read one poem used to be doable. but now, it just seems silly. i don't have the time for that.

though i must say, when i took the mic on saturday, it felt like home. that ginsberg and so many other greats have taken that same podium, is invigorating.

the photographer there shoots my picture whenever i show up, and saturday was no different. he had me take the podium while he clicked away. i don't know why he likes my look so much. but frame after frame of my face, and he's explaining this image that he sees when he sees me, but i really don't get it. i understand his concept, but have trouble beleiving anyone can make art out of my mugshot. that's all i'm saying.

for being relatively unknown, it's an honor and i keep telling him, you make me feel so good. thank you.

i met the security guard at the college parking garage, miguel, by name. and we talked and walked around to see if i could get to the stairwell to head up to the fifth floor. but no, it was locked. i came out that way, but i couldn't go back in.

are you okay walking alone?
he asked.

yes. thank you.

a very kind soul. true native new yorker, i think he said he'd grown up in the bronx. he liked my driving skills, as i navigated a rather tight space on the way out (i need the exercise once, not twice, i told him after i moved my car to the first level).

the universe is smiling, and i'm smiling back.

i have this co-worker who talks to me about freedom.

freedom is a state of mind,
i say.

in some respects, yes.
he says.

and i think of all i am not able to do in this current bondage. but all i will be able to do soon.

change your mind and you'll change your life, i hope that's how it works.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

to eat or not to eat

this is how i go through entire days without eating, i just keep doing the next literary thing that comes to me. though the smell of freshly brewed chicken soup is in the air, i'm here writing, trying to capture the moment, tap into the electricity i felt so palpably when i got home, that i must admit is fading now with a headache threatening, the sounds of sponge bob in the air, and the drawn windows blocking out the sun.

just this morning i was walking down the streets of paterson, new jersey amidst a lightly falling snow, grateful to be alive.

a poetry workshop at the poetry center, and i met a poet there who stunned me in a platonically intimate way. i have to write about it, but i'm trying to grapple with it first. i wanted to call my sister and stave off some of the emotion at first, but she was not home. so i reached a friend who could talk for a moment.

i turned on the radio, but shut it off knowing i was avoiding the very thing i need to face. this moment with this poet.

i can't tell you the feeling of sitting before an awardwinning poet (i am beginning to hate that phrase), and looking into her eyes as we were photographed. we exchanged business cards and chapbooks, she even bought mine. another crippling blow to whatever sense of distance i would attempt to muster.

something about her insisting she wanted to pay for it. and the hesitation as i dedicated it to her, do i tell her how much i am really charging? how much am i worth? the split second doubts shooting through my head, and i charged her full price kids, which she gladly paid. gotta love feminists.

but there was more. an intangible something that i'll have to explore in a poem. this poem is stalking me and i want to run and hide, but i can't.

she asked me, after our seven minutes writing time,
how did you craft a poem in such a short period of time?

i told her,
it's the way i write.

we will speak more on it later, it sounds a bit out there, my ideas. but she can handle them. and i hope she gets something from my chapbook.

i sold another to a poet i know here locally, and gave one to the matriarch, and another to her counterpart. i will have to put in a new order soon.

we all want to be published. it's the nature of the beast. i'm content to self-publish. and perhaps pursue my mfa under this new poet. i'm not sure.

but there is something there.

my prof wrote back about my work, he said it is good. he is pleased. i think he's being gentle and i don't really know why. i have to write an essay about the process of cramming my damn self into a form, but i will.

so much i've learned today. i'm glad i went. at 8am, the soft warm bed was more alluring than the promise of meeting new poets. and i was reminded while i was there how we must make time for the muse. must make time to write.

don't let it get away, it's important.

now i must eat.