poetry

WAKING FROM A DREAM

I did a little disappearing act around here and reappeared in Boston, specifically Massachusetts General Hospital.  A dear friend was being induced; and we thought it would be a good idea if she had an extra set of hands around.  I’ve seen both seasons of Call the Midwife; I’m qualified right?!

What an experience, to be in the room when life enters it. It still feels like a dream.

I cannot say enough great things about the entire staff we interacted with.  Momma & Baby are doing very well (Dad too!).  And now I will have more than enough to write about for weeks to come….

BABY DREAM

we are not the poem

Putting Thoughts To Paper Graphic

Whilst lounging under a cabana a couple of weeks ago, I re-read a go-to writing book, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.  This time one particular chapter left the page and has been stuck somewhere in the back of my mind ever since.  It reads as follows:

…We think our words are permanent and solid and stamp us forever.  That’s not true.  We write in the moment.  Sometimes when I read poems at a reading to strangers, I realize they think those poems are me.  They are not me, even if I speak in the “I” person.  They were my thoughts and my hand and the space and the emotions at that time of writing.  Watch yourself.  Every minute we change.  It is a great opportunity.  At any point, we can step out of our frozen selves and our ideas and begin fresh.  That is how writing is.  Instead of freezing us, it frees us.  …It is important to remember that we are not the poem.  People will react however they want; and if you write poetry, get used to no reaction at all.  But that’s okay.  The power is always in the act of writing.  Come back to that again and again and again.  …Don’t identify too strongly with your work.  Stay fluid behind those black-and-white words.  They are not you.  They were a great moment going through you.  A moment you were awake enough to write down and capture.  [Emphasis mine.]

As I reflect again on her words, I think about how much I hold back from this space… for fear of being frozen by my words.  I avoid talking about my experiences with religion, social justice, politics, and other things because I don’t want to be put in a box and have someone say… “but you said…!!!”  I feel so much more fluid than my words or photos might suggest.  I am constantly learning and growing and I don’t ever want to be in a position that I have become so cemented that I can’t gain a fresh perspective.  Just because I have articulated an experience about x,y,or z doesn’t mean that a new experience couldn’t make me think/feel very differently.

And a huge fear of mine is to appear flaky (i.e. changing my mind on things), and flaky = stupid and (according to my therapist) I value competence A LOT (in others and the way others perceive me).

But I guess I shouldn’t be making decision out of fear in the first place.  And I need to remember that I am not the poem… I am not my essay on x,y, & z and I am not my photography, etc.  And if others don’t understand that, maybe it’s not my issue, but theirs.

parting thought — robert burns

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

~Robert Burns

parting thought — wendell berry

“… So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.”

~ excerpt from Wendell Berry’s poem “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”

Gorgeous Paintings by Theo Altenberg.

Ode To My Ponytail

Dearest Pony Tail

You have been my constant friend for so many days.
And have persistently loved me in countless ways:
Early in the morning and just before bed,
When I overslept for work and thought I was dead.
By mid-afternoon you would always appear
Even if it was with a pointed yellow spear.
You were a sleek alternative for the ball
Or curled and bouncy, you looked like a doll.

But you’re not as thick or lustrous as I have depended,
So now it’s time that we ended.
To a new home I hope you’ll find
That you’ll be just as loved and treated kind.
I’ll miss your presence as much as a maid,
but most of all,
I’ll miss your cousin, the Braid.

the creative life

I like to create things, things with paper, fabric, words…  I, like so many, live with a critic on my shoulder who is quite difficult to ignore.  A friend gave me this poem and it hit the nail on the head.

What I Want to Say — Pat Schneider

Well, I was playing, see,
in the shadow of the tabernacle.
I was decorating mud pies
with little brown balls
I found scattered on the ground
like nuts, or berries.
Until some big boy came walking by
and laughed.  Hey,
don’t you know you’re puttin’ goat doo
on your mud pies? I bet
you’re gonna eat ’em, too!

That day I made a major error
in my creative life.

What I want to say is this:
I liked those little balls
on my mud pies.  I was a sculptor,
an artist, an architect.  I was making pure design in space and time.
But I quit
because a critic came along
and called it shit.