Richie's home again. When I picked him up from the train for the labor day visit I realized about three minutes before I left for the train that I would be traveling in an unsavory neighborhood at night. Great. I don't see well as it is and I wanted to drive his grandpa car of a boat over there to fetch him. Understand I don't drive very well, never have, never will. The skills it takes to drive are still I don't possess and I am not even sure I want to own them. I don't drive that far that often for this to be an issue. Best Friend loves to drive and most boys I know can't wait for the chance to drive somewhere so this issue doesn't present itself that often. I popped in the car on one of those summer evenings the romantics write about, crisp and clean and cool after a summer blistered day. I try to call a friend, someone angry with me. Ever know someone JUST like you? It's not a good idea, I'd avoid your clone especially when they are the opposite sex with a mad on about something. No luck so I pop in a little kid rock, the new stuff.
To run Richie's car you have to be Chris Angel. You have to jimmy this, tickle that, fidget with the lights the seat and the mirrors. It's an old car he's run into the ground and even though it's not the safest or the most convenient there is something romantic about the big leather bench seat and of course kid rock singing about taking a road trip to Louisiana. It's been a difficult summer of sorts and I am anxious to see my kid and hug him and listen to his life because at this point his life has to be more interesting than mine.
I keep thinking don't miss the turn, if you miss this turn you see you end up on some stretch of I55 and turning around will take me another 30 minutes in this strange industrial area with a few hookers spread around here and there to add a little color to this adventure. I didnt' miss the turn but by this time kid rock is playing loud and I am dancing a little sipping diet coke with a metal straw and owning the world. The blues flew out the window with my hair and there's my kid on the platform surrounded by friends from school and all I wanted to do was put the car in park and put my arms around him. You see I created him out of young love and little pieces of my flesh and my blood coursing through his veins. Even when I want to change his direction, make better decisions than he does, when my heart aches for him he's still mine. I think at just that moment that he's 5 again standing next to the kitchen table while I am making the little pancakes he still likes with the blueberry eyes. He's holding a batman and a spiderman sandal each for the same foot complaining to me that the kids are outside already and he needs two shoes that match these. His hair was so blond then that it would stay light through December. He was always tan and he never wanted to be in the house. Some things change, others never will.
He tells me at the train platform that he wants me to meet his friend's parents. I whisper to him "another time" with the brush of my hand and I hug him so hard that we spin around a little and I didn't want to let go for awhile. You see I didn't have this with my mother, she was gone already and I can't even remember her voice some days. Richie will remember me. He will know I love him ferociously and endlessly. I kiss his cheek a few dozen times and tell him I miss him, I miss him and yes I miss him and we can't get his things into the car fast enough to speed home. Home. Home where the cats are, home where the ham is, home where his bed waits, home where the music and the paints and the art and where you can be whatever you need to be.
Last winter when he was home on break we spent a few days snowed in, eating bad food and listening to music, watching CNN and playing video games. When the days are long and I am tired, so tired. I have that day in my head and I relive it the two of us giggling while we are shoveling the drive way with no end. I remember standing in my studio and watching him shovel just about the end of the drive and the plow burying him in the end and watching him throw the shovel at the back of the plow and me laughing like mad, laughing and laughing some more. I put on my gloves and hat and headed out to help. Three days later we were still digging out.
Now it's summer, summer's end and we are cruising home, him letting me drive because he seems it's what I want. We sing a few lines of kid rock and then turn down the stereo for him to tell me a little about college life, his girlfriend, his new classes, the cost of books, how exciting. He motions for me to get into the left lane and I remind him there's a white castle up here and we aren't going home without some sliders. I called best friend when we got home and filled her in on his comings and goings and telling her again that seeing him at the train was good, this would be a good visit, no turmoil, no bickering, just home. An hour upon his arrival Batman stops by and I pour a glass of red and head to the back deck under a quilt for a late evening chat under a veil of stars and when I think of taking the stereo outside to listen to music, nature brings out the summer bugs to sing to me. I am so blessed. I could close my eyes for a moment and when I opened them I could see twirling trails of sparkling lights all in love swirling around a summer night. This is home, what home is. When you think you know every corner, every thought that could happen here a surprise, a new voice, a new way to look at things a calming force, the hand on your shoulder.
I went in later to lay in bed and think of the day, tired ready to fall into the bed, not on it. I used to define my life by being someone's mother and now I couldn't do that any longer. To do that now would be a lie and it would be a shame. I am spending this summer trying to define my life and who I am and having him leave over and over again to find his life helps me do that.I can let go and exhale and know it will all be alright. He will flourish, he will know he's loved, he will figure his way and make his own life and his own family and his own home. I made him some fried chicken to take back and I will on Monday when he leaves again. Sometimes when you go home to see your mom you just get what you want.
Monday I won't cry when he leaves. I was close last time when I took him to the train and saw the empty platform where he'd be standing soon his book bag in one hand and a bag of stuff from me in another. These separate lives we lead now a celebration of life and of how fast it all moves. Where has 23 years gone? Where is the little boy in the sand dunes at the lake house playing for endless hours with giggling boys so caked in dirt and sand and the smells of summer? I think of taking him out on the paddle boat and 3 minutes from the shore, the whole intent of the trip, "mom can I pee off the side of the boat?" He'd wait until we passed the bridge and going back was just too much time. When he pushes and shoves me into this new life of his I have to stop and close my eyes and see the hundreds of adventures, the days sun burned in the back of the car driving home from the Lake singing Melissa Etheridge songs while Best Friend shakes her head in irritation that he doesn't know the words to Freebird. June becomes July and July is 23 years later.
My sweet niece Katie finds me tonight and sends me a message that she misses me and we laugh a little and I think of her mom always letting go of another child and wonders how she does it over and over again. I feel the need to draw someone close to me and to let them into my family and my heart or to at least leave the door open a little bit to hear another voice and to be brave. The summer is giving up her fight and I want to be in Ashland on the porch watching cars turn the corner sipping lemonade and listening for the sound to play euchre. I want Matt as a partner he's a brave bidder and he never looks focused enough to bluff. Jim always wins, that's just too easy and I miss them all very much.
Monday, September 7, 2009
When they told me the truth about Santa
I was in the midst of such betrayal
and my mother found hilarity in it
smiling, warning me that life is full
of one disappointment after another
and the big lies will kill your spirit
After they broke my rib cage and
cut into my heart
the butterflies flew out all over the room
and one is stuck in my throat
and it's working it's way
back in or back out forever
I woke up wanting and wanting
the answers to questions I never feel
I have the right to ask
I saw your butterfly sailing over
my head while working in the yard
I whispered to the spiders to start
spinning a net to catch you when you fall
the whole time, you telling the spiders
to spin a web up to the sky so I could
get a better view
your butterfly was a listening butterfly
and you flew so high that when you spoke to me
I wondered if it was Orion or even Zeus
My butterfly has traveled around the world and back
close to the ground
seeing things fluttering
avoiding large feet, avoiding the crush
watching so closely the
careless feet all around
Be assured that this sort of worrying changes a person
I shouted up
"Don't you ever get lonely up there?"
and in a moment's hesitation
sucked back in down my lungs into my belly
someone recently pointed out my lonely parts
and I didn't appreciate it
but I had hoped my lonely and your lonely
could take a walk on a summer's night
and together these two brilliant
lonely butterflies could change the summer
make it longer
lovelier, make the air sweeter
It's difficult to find a
a commonality of soul
a kindred moth like fluttering around creatures
"If I promise to hide my flame and you promise to hide yours?"
Such promises are made under a umbrella of stars
and when made too rash are broken
like broken glass that could cut your feet
This is how flutters of bug nature find love
one exhales and opens her wings and lets go unafraid
and the other well he just sort of gives up the height
and finds her, landing in a soft place
created by God for him to hold him there
seducing him into
staying just a few more minutes
a few more hours
a few more weeks
until he forgets he's supposed to leave
and she forgets he was ever not there
when she puts his white coffee cup in the sink
for the hundred thousandth time and
smiles licking the side where his lips drink first
Then one day when they have known love
believed in it's power
when he knows how to calm her pensiveness
and she knows how to inspire him
then he takes her up there on Sandburg's blue wind
and he holds her so close she's unafraid
if she falls, so does he and he never
unless she makes chocolate souffle
when she is up that high and she's sure she can
touch a star or perhaps just gaze into it's eye
he tells her of twilight
You see twilight, he explains
is that place where
your breathing is not something you are aware of
its the music that is played by your heart
and your lungs, the symphony of your organs
all working to take you to rest
and I get to take you here because that is who I am
(He never knew he was a poet you see)
She was grateful that without her glasses
squinting from the garden she could still recognize kindness
Kindness from her tender mother
Spring loaded strength from her warrior father
the patience to find both from Love
Ordinary miracles happen most every day
This is yet another day in the garden
where Adam saw Eve naked and loved what he saw
when he ate apple pie
and liked it's bitter sweetness
and that moment created us all
created the power of Love
and butterflies danced about on blue winds
where she dances because dancing is her idea
on her tip toes
because he pulls her up there
because that's his idea
these two brilliant winged creatures
One blue, one green
her wings gossamer, his like linen
and when they are very close
when it's quiet
when he's whispering
and she's straining waiting for the next word
when the bright moon that lights her room
shines through them
for a brief moment
they create turquoise
like the color of the waters of Costa Rica
and in that moment in that very moment
Orion turns his head
to hide a helpless tear
and for the first time
he grieves Meriope
whispering her name
into a harvest moon
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
My father was a blue collar guy he
and with his faults he loved his
and oh did he love
and when we went on
it was adventure, it was the
pouring over maps and
This would be no ordinary
he attended to every detail like it was a
and it was his mission of
Life's details beat us up
they are the monsters we
we design even and even when we love our
hitting the mark can seem an uphill
I had prepared the garden and dug the flower
planted the seeds and by the time I had
I didn't even care that the flowers
I could go to the nursery and buy this
When the 72 days started I
find the parts of my life I
loved (and I
I hadn't planned a
even time away was
I was too
too caught up in what
be rather than what I had and what did I have I kept
over and over
like swinging a bat
hoping it would hit a ball that I couldn't even
my eyes too full of
too full of
that this was it, there was no
nobody was here to plan it
and I missed my
How do I tell you that you are
I didn't have to plan it
You showed up and took over my
crowded every thought and time with you was
my sides ached and laughter knew my
I fought off
what a lie, I never want to
I can sleep when I
I only want to sleep when I'm so
I can't move another inch
afraid they put me to bed before the real party
Vacation is the special
you've put in the back of the
that you just gaze at
where you'll wear it. it's the
you now when people are
wanting what you don't want to give
(there is no them when you are
it's the respite from speaking when you don't want to utter a
a word you'd spit from your lips to their ears
I do love to
the way there is so exciting something (you) to
and on the way home so full of
so full of renewed respect for what is
and sadness for what you'll leave
You take off and you are without
above, looking down on the earth and the
so far below, so dirty in their
my head full of honey and you the
so full of
for the power and dignity of
and it's complete and unexpected
As an adult Disney World seems almost
A giant mouse to tell you the world is
This is vacation after all and soon it will be
Like love, like passion and even like
It passes through us, over us and all around us as a
that God makes plans for us and we work through the
for a few lost
Work is waiting, the papers piled up, the grass is tall,
and you're left with the stories and
of a greener world, a softer day, this stolen
My summer vacation was work and not feeling well made work, more workified. Richie is back at school and in the first week his computer blows up, great. The world feels a little wonky, but all good. The weather is changing and I am so thankful for a mild summer and a little sad it's all ending soon. The big summer bugs are singing loud and their anthem is about to be over as mother nature sacrifices them to the fall. The fall always makes me a little sad, the light ending sooner in the day only to be given soon to the frozen earth. I will miss the sounds of nature's summer in the evening as it's been cool enough to sleep with the windows open and a few nights so cool, just opened a crack. I'm not sure the roses will bloom again before the frost and today I purchased mums, three big baskets of fall flowers, not a good sign. I am so not rushing the season this year, wanting to linger in the warm sun for just a few more weeks.
Today I decided the fog was lifting and I wasn't counting days anymore. This is such a joyous thought, to let myself off the hook a little and concentrate again on work work work and a little bit of joy, taking on a painting project or two and perhaps evening a little exhale. And what a summer it was this quest for adventure. Summer always makes me feel old like the passage of time is marching across my body like the ants on the counter. I forgot that time also heals. Time lets us forget transgressions of others and even if we are lucky, ourselves. I was thinking today I wanted a new sofa, something giant, with a big camel back and huge wooden legs. The last hunt for a sofa took forever.
I don't think I will put up the tree this year for Christmas, letting myself off the hook there as well not in the mood for all that brings, perhaps age makes us a little wiser and a little grumpy. I allowed a little time for a nap in the early evening and it seemed like a gift I had shopped for myself and then given myself all wrapped in a bow. Nice. I found the little locket I lost, sort of. Sometimes my anger gets the best of me and I will throw away something I love and other times I've left a trail of retrieval. Little victories like little blessings, one at a time, patience and all. I listened to some short stories I downloaded, stories of betrayal. I liked one better than the other and will go back and listen to them again soon.
I heard from my friend John back from China. He talks about that place like I talk about missing my parents, almost sacred. It's nice to know that in this world there is still magic even if it's in a foreign far away place.Orion is reminding us it's the harvest again and I think I will look for more tomatoes soon and fresh sage and onion to make some wonderful sauce to freeze, to freeze and share. In the middle of winter I will appreciate these efforts when I open the bag to smell summer in the kitchen.
In Paris on the Boulevard Saint-Germain there is a cafe called Cafe De Flore. There you can find the most amazing crunchy bread and very salty butter. They serve this with a tea a black tea and lots of lemon and bring you a glass of ice in case in the middle you elect for iced tea. I was reminded why I love salad nicoise. The first time I had it I was with Best Friend and people we love in Milwaukee at the Museum of Art there. It snowed that day over the lake and we saw the most amazing exhibit of glass I'd ever seen and of course some Georgia O'Keefe paintings (they are famous for their collection there.) The salad was an adventure, the long french green beans, the tuna, and of course the boiled red potatoes. Then the olives, deep ripe tomatoes and crunch iceburg lettuce. It's an adventure just to eat, everything put together like a mosiac painting. I think this winter I will write a cookbook, every day switching from something savory to something full of summer, Paris and love.
If you haven't tried to write your own recipe of things you love, sounds like a good idea and I'd trade with you, delish for delish. You can always find me at Summerpoet@msn.com or my work at www.poetsummer.etsy.com.
Friday, August 28, 2009
On Not being Alone
I wasn't feeling well so I thought I'd go get some sushi, keep it here and ventured out tonight and stopped on the way home at the liquor store. I don't go to a liquor store in 44 years and yet have been twice in the past month. Very telling. If I my son were home from school, I would have sent him. He loves going there and he doesn't even drink much. I think in his head this is a man thing to do. When my friend Frank's son turned 21, he and his son smoked a cigar together and then they went shopping for a kitten. When my son turned 21 he went to the liquor store and then the porn shop. I should have nurtured him more I think. I think. When he was 16 he wanted his license that same day, 8 hours at dmv testing ugh. When he was 18 he smoked and smoked and smoked. I miss that little turd.
I was there with Richie a few weeks ago and discovered the red stuff I love and they don't sell it at the market, believe me I looked. I found myself there tonight feeling like hell but knowing I love the big glass bottle with a little vodka, the sweet cherry juice and lemonade. I love that it's already mixed and I even add a little water and lots of ice, so one glass and I'm ready for bead a little buzzed, not a bad feeling. It's red, it's pretty and it's a very bad girl's shirley temple.
This place is a little fascinating to me and dirty. The floor is always dusty, the shelves full of pretty colors and the people just seem to shuffle about. Now if you are a woman looking for male attention, this is the place to go, especially if you don't care that at least 50% of them are drunks. Every size and shape of male there, guys with friends smoking, one fellow in a t-shirt that fit very well and they are all very helpful. While I am shuffling about I was thinking this is something a man is supposed to do, be at a liquor store. You tell him what you need and he just stops there, fitting right in with all the other men who want to get a woman liquored up. You can't ask them to get the cherries, they will either think it's a puss thing to buy or they will screw it up and get the onions too and eat them in front of you, too freaking gross. And on the way home he's wondering what wacky thing you will suggest doing in bed while you are buzzed for 20 minutes before you get very sleepy. For me that's at tiny tiny window. When David lived with me after the second glass of Sangria he was asking for the check, quick like. A very small window indeed.
Now that my son is away at college I have been kicking the idea of having a man around, living here. There are pros and cons of course. The pros? Men are good at things I just don't get, car stuff for example, oil changes, washing the car, fixing anything on the car, buying a car, negotiating the car buying thing, this is all a man's job. I don't even like pumping gas. I like to get out look a little flustered and wait for a sweet man to swoop in and do it for me. Perfect. I am not a car person, I don't even like to drive. I don't have the nerve, the patience, and judging distances oh gods, not good at all.
Besides the car and fixing stuff, reminding me I am being obsessive, cutting big pieces of meat, killing bugs, removing dead rodents from the yard and reminding me that bats don't swoop down and get in your hair when I walk across the yard at night. These are male things and having a guy around to handle those issues could be fun as living alone I have to hire someone or hope my brother stops by to handle all of the above. Richie was never good at the rodent thing and when I woke him one morning to tell him an opossum was dead in the yard he just opened the patio door, looked out and said, "you should call the city about that, I'm going back to bed." The cats make a fine meal of any little field mouse so I never really see them. I love those cats.
Men can be entertaining. When they teach me things, things about life you can't read in a book, I am transfixed. The way guys head works changes one from the other but there are universal themes. My brother tells me dog things because he has a new dog, how a dog thinks, how dogs rationalize the world. Guys know stuff like that, I don't know how but they do. My brother likes order and I am chaos. I know cat stuff, so I guess it balances things out. I can't imagine having a dog here, touching my stuff, but it's inevitable. They are man's best friend and all. When a man loves something he will tell you the story like it's never been told before and if you are careful you will find where his heart lives. When the bossy republican tells me about doors from Afghanistan I know he loves the wood, the workmanship, the fine details of someone doing something over and over again, generation after generation and what that means to own something like that. Men will teach you about their kindness how they say good-bye how they love you when they are gone how patient they are when you are wonky. I am working on focus, working working working on it.
My father taught me how to keep tools clean (well he tried), how to defend someone you love, the loyalty and how important it is, how to keep a friend for your whole life (he had more friends than anyone I ever knew and now as an adult I understand how hard that was). He taught me how to live with loss because when he lost my mother he was twisted and yet he stayed strong for us, making us laugh, teaching us how to say goodbye to someone you love knowing it's just part of life. Oh gosh how much I miss him these days, how very much. I went to the cemetery in the rain yesterday and just asked him how to say goodbye. I could hear his strong hard-assed wisdom in my head telling me that people were watching and I have his blood coursing through my body and it's important to maintain a front at all times and not be afraid because fear will eat at you like a parasite. He always loved without fear women adored him for it. Women feared him for it also.I was assured in those tiny prayers that one day we'd be planting in the garden together one day and just in case Richard Matheson (of what dreams may come fame) was right and we were able to be anything we wanted the next time along, I asked him how I'd know him, where I'd find him or even how to look for him. I couldn't hear him so I assured him in my own way that I'd be the girl standing at the end of the grass feeding night crawlers to the birds as he had always done and taught me to do. He was hard on people and kind with nature.
Matheson wrote, "Where is God in all this?" and his answer? Oh, He's up there. Somewhere... shouting down that He loves us. Wondering why we can't hear Him. You think? Genius. I am trying to pay closer attention even in liquor stores. The tracker in his story was the guy who never gave up. I know, kinda know someone like that. He's a miracle. I carry a piece of him with me. I used to keep it in a locket and now I can't find it or in a huff lost it. Life is that way. I am learning to temper my temper at 44, trying to be more patient with the world and let them figure things out in their own time. If I would like that courtesy I suppose I should extend that to others as well.
Matheson's character went to hell to find someone he loved who was lost. It's the male proclivity to find you when you are spinning or lost isn't it? My father always found my mother, usually she was out picking a new hair color. Men are supposed to keep your secrets unless they can't. And some can't.
To have someone here though? I wonder. I used to be married and I've had lovers live with me but it's been awhile. Will I learn to sleep straight on the bed because I love to sleep on a diagonal. Best Friend mentions this when she's here or I am there. I thrash. Will I share the covers? Probably not. Would Leroy mind? Would he just go sleep in the window waiting for his first feline girlfriend? Can I leave a project on the dining room table for three weeks trying to figure it out? Do I need 30 bars of soap on the bathroom window ledge because I never know how I want to smell? And what if someone calls and I don't want him to know? Would I whisper in the garden? Would I go for a long walk to "clear my head?"
Years ago Best Friend and I were at a friend's house, a lovely happy couple. The woman in this scenario looked very good, better than usual and when she walked off whisper in the cell phone, BF and I looked at each other with a very "knowing" look. She was in love and it wasn't with her handsome husband. It was done. He didn't know but it was done. Lust, passion, love and it's destruction just sitting in the grass next to her pretty manicured feet.Love moves right along. Another lesson from my father. When he died, and we were watching, my brother and I. Women we didn't even know would throw themselves on his casket sobbing. It's surreal, my step mother, the half wit he lived with just kinda shrugging. He was a man who knew how love passed and he didn't mind it one bit. She paid the price and all women who loved him did, eventually.
I have always preferred a bookstore to a library. Keeping something is wonderful but then I'd wind up giving the books away even the ones I loved. I didn't want the reminder that I should make time to read them again. There are a few books I'll never part with, not ever. The art books I keep when I am feeling as though I wished I owned art. The poetry books with the poems I love and I read over and over again, the bukowski books, I never ever part with those. The poem book about Harmless no doubt because hopeless no doubt yet far from hurtless this nightly not. Seeing how this having you constantly not here appears to be my vacant lot in life, why so implausible then with the mere business of breathing, my body's slow expulsion of what has turned out to be useless you'd truly disappear? That one's a keeper. I'll save the Yeats book now as it has secrets. I have always saved the books where Best Friend has written me a note. You see books you can keep when there's someone else around. They won't look through the pages, they won't care. They won't read you yeats because if they are moved in they already seduced you and they won't ask to read you poetry unless you are sick or tired or full of both. I'm safe.
I know this Best Friend just called and she said, "Oh, things are about to slow way the duck down." She's right they are. I hate when she's right, my teeth are clenched, my ass is clenched, my life clenched.
The best part though about having a man live here would be the constant source of entertainment. Maggie's husband Dan wanted to get out of mowing the weeds next to the house so he dosed them in gasoline and burned down the garage. We laughed and we laughed. I was watching Richie shovel last winter when the plow drove by and buried the end of the drive way. He threw the shovel at the plow and it broke.I could hear him cursing and I laughed and laughed. Some man told me recently his car looked like a crouching cougar ready to pounce. I imagined him playing with army men, melting them down when he was five from a war wound. In moments when I should be working or waiting at the place I hate I start to laugh out loud, crouching tiger, hidden stupid. When David lived with me he went on a rice diet. He ate rice for 30 days and it made him grouchy so when we were arguing he threw the bag of rice at the wall and when he tried to storm off he fell and almost broke his ass. I didn't laugh but I was cracking up on the inside. He later slipped up and put the safety on the broiler when making himself a burger. He didn't know he did it and he was standing there pulling on the door that was locked shut, his burger burning away inside. I watched for a few minutes burst out into laughter and then made him another burger kissing his temples and telling him it happens to everyone. :::coughbullshitcough:::
One day when I lived on Lyman the polish guy downstairs ran through my apartment being chased by another angry polish guy and he jumped out the second story window, breaking his leg. Just two guys working some stuff out. Men entertain me. The bossy republican so proud of his new motorcycle had no clue it was just too big for him and when pulling into his driveway dropped the bike on himself and couldn't get it off. He had to call for back up. The image of this will make me cry in laughter. The best laid plans and all. He tells me "which time?" He's dropped the bike more than once, Jesus. He has to stand next to a curb to stop. When he's happy he's a little feller life will be much easier. This never happened to James Dean, or maybe it did and Marilyn just giggled.
One of my relatives wrote on a bank deposit slip once for the atm under "special instructions", Take off your panties and touch yourself while processing this. The bank girl was so upset she called the Manager who closed all his accounts and called him in to pick up the check. You know what those tellers were thinking, half wanted to do him and the other half giggled. Men. When Batman tells me stories of flying I want to book a flight somewhere just to look out the window. Tell Robin to stay home we'll plan an escape.
This afternoon I went out into the lawn in the back singing in the rain a little as I pulled some weeds around the fence.
And it's one more beer and I don't hear you any more
we've all gone crazy lately
my friend's out there rolling around the basement floor.
and someone saved my life tonight
you almost had your hooks in me
didn't ya dear
you nearly had me roped and tied
altar bound hypnotized sweet freedom
whispered in my ear
you're a butterfly and butterflies are free to fly
I never realized the passing hours
of evening showers
a slip noose hanging in my darkest dreams
i am strangled by your haunted social scene
just a pawn out played by a dominating queen
damnit listen to me good
i'm sleeping with myself tonight
saved in time
thank god my music's still alive
And God wonders why we can't hear him.
If someone has made you laugh today you should thank them, find some way to entertain them, be sure they aren't pushing back lonely. You can always find me at email@example.com or my work at poetsummer.etsy.com.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The book of Love
I was listening to Peter Gabriel sing the book of love today. I went to Itunes just to buy the song and had to buy the whole album. I almost didn't and then realized I would pay double just for the song.
The book of love is long and boring.
No one can lift the damned thing.
It's full of charts and facts and figures
and instructions for dancing
but I love it when you read to me
and you, you can read me anything.
I would be ok if I didn't have to speak one word today. Some days are like that and for most of the day I got by with a nod of the head or by pointing. I sat in the yard for a long time in the soft rain and it was so beautiful that it was almost remarkable. So ordinary the rain and so extraordinary. While sitting there a little text from the kid, "Mom I miss you." The last visit was a good one. I am grateful. I sent a message out into the world and there was silence. Well not entirely silence as I could hear a bird, something strange singing and I thought perhaps I hadn't hear his song before as he was visiting or perhaps he was romancing another bird, and this was his song, something new so she'd love him. Love works like that.
I couldn't move for the longest time, not one muscle. I said a few prayers, simple and yet almost impossible to figure the mystery of the day myself. I drank from a water bottle until it was empty and it felt like the water was not only falling down my skin but down inside of me and it was comforting like swimming and I was a mermaid for a few moments who just lived in the water until she fell in love and then never wanted to be in the water again.
The violins were playing through my ears and Gabriel's scratchy voice almost speaking rather than singing stretching the notes out like I was trying to drag out the morning.
but I love it when you read to me
and you can read me anything
The book have has music in it
in fact that's where music comes from
some of it's just transcendental and some of it's just really dumb
but I love it when you sing to me
and you, you can sing me anything.
I couldn't remember what transcendental meant and then a few minutes later I can remember wondering before what it meant and knew it was superior. Things superior, nothing ordinary. I love that. I took the hair from my brush and put it at the base of the tree and one of the big robins scooped it up and was off to put it in her nest. The other day one of the big nests feel from the three and I could hear her squawking about it for hours and I just didn't have the heart to look inside. The lawn guy threw it away.
When we lived in the City, I tried to rescue birds from a nest and at the time we had a big malmute. He was crazy, full of fire and when I tried to rescue the birds, he bit me, drawing blood scaring me. So I elected to leave the nest there afraid it would only stir the cats. I could hear Suzy saying "Jesus Carrie it's like you've never seen a cartoon before."
It's like you've never dealt with someone who's angry
its like you've never met you in the male form
its like you've never fallen and got back up
its like you never fallen and stayed there.
If I could have stayed there all day in the rain, sitting up on the table over looking the yard and the birds and the tall tall trees that act as a canopy over my head, I would have. Who looses a whole day under the trees? Not me. I knew at the end of this summer i'd be making decisions, to open doors and now to close them. I'd be making plans to do something, get off the fence, move on, move up, move over. I really do hate change. I've hated change for as long as I can remember. It makes me sad, it makes me afraid. I can't even fake brave today. I keep putting my hand on my knee, palm up waiting for an answer to fall there. Today I had a hand full of rain. Tomorrow who knows. Tiny shiny things fall from the sky all the time. Sometimes you know how to take care of it and you will risk the bite of an animal. Sometimes you just let the lawn guy take it away.
Emily said goodbye over and over in each poem. Will I? I'm not sure. Today I will not say goodbye, just good luck with that. I am so glad it rained today and rained and rained and rained. My cup overflows and my heart does too.
If someone asked me to write the book of love, I'd have to include valentines and kisses on the stairs. I'd add a whole chapter on patience and being careful. I'd draw a map to the first place I was ever kissed. The poems would be so jammed inside there would be no room for sadness on any page. Love never ends well. There is no happily ever after, someone leaves, someone dies, some falls out. But the in between time is magical like one of those pop up books when we were kids.
Mom I feel you close by today and I miss you more.
You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.poetsummer.etsy.com
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I have to thank Beth Hart for the inspiration and a few of the lines. I almost hesitated sharing it because it so much of what she wrote but she helped me find clarity. I am working on getting my shit together. I have been. Clarity. I forgot that when you love someone they should be a little flattered. I forgot. I forgot that when someone cheats on you you're supposed to be hurt. I forgot, I forgot, I forgot that my love has value and what I want matters too. The next time someone is cruel to you thank them for telling you right now that is how this is always going to be, they don't change tomorrow because you want them to and neither do you. We change when we can't stand it a minute more. I'm figuring it out.
When writing the poem I was reminded about secrets. The secrets we carry around. A few years ago I was at a wedding with Best Friend. The minister is reciting the vows and in the vow this couple wrote one of them was about never keeping a secret. At the VERY SAME moment Best Friend and I both lean behind her mom who was sitting between us and she says "You hear that?" I say "Yup. We can't ever get married, you know this?" Her mother, "enough you two." We moved at the very same moment we both heard the word secret because she carries mine and I carry hers. Her sits in a shopping bag from Marshall Fields and mine under the wooden fish at her house that we rescued from the Lake house. It's the fish that sat in the sun for years and we'd watch for it as we swam around the bend and knew we were almost home. I can see the wood fish all faded but still vigilant and he sees me.
It's the only way I can feel close to you
A cry for help
She fell into the cab
"Driver" she said "the sky is falling
Drive like we are being chased"
"do you want to go North ma'am?" He asked?
She felt the lump in her throat rise
"No, just drive east and I will
find my way home."
Nobody leaves the handsome
poised boyfriend and falls in love
with the mean guy who has said
the worst thing you ever heard
because you are sure you can fix his heart
and he makes you laugh
Time with him feels like vacation
its a cry for help
who takes a hammer to a gun fight?
A girl who feels unappreciated
wallowing in resentment
a girl with everything
A girl who sleeps alone
with nobody by the door
who thinks she can talk him
into anything even waiting
until she runs into the force that can't be moved
even when she hands him her heart
that beating bloody instrument of
When you are wearing the same clothes for
two days you better hope to find
a friend on the way home
who will tell you it's time
to spend a Sunday in church
rather than this walk of shame
Do you do the damage just to have the fun you need
when he holds the grapes
when you are so thirsty for wine
You drink until you're drunk then you leave
tomorrow she'll call a shrink
and then cancel when she
finds out you have to tell a shrink everything
even the secret stuff
oh hell no
I have places to go
and there are people who know
I have plans on getting my shit together
I am shoving my soul in the closet forever
I can hustle for a dance in the yard
now Mr. Poised sure I'd leave
in a camper
and I'm sure he was never there
I don't blame her
thinking she's crazy, we all are
wanting to get home as fast as the taxi can drive
Pull the grenade pin
I'd rather be dust than pain
Hold on to your heart
watch what you say
Call your Best Friend
tell her you're afraid let her remind you
you have plans to get your shit together
A handsome stranger can fix
what you can't fix
or is it broken more and more and more
There are those in the know
who wonder where you go and when you'll return
save your preaching for a rainy day
save that thought for a moment
You were supposed to be
grateful even flattered as
my joy far surpasses the disappointment
for the next time I make you angry
Call 911 I am restless and my heart is stone
and there is glass on the floor
that bed is full of spiders
a fire in my belly is burning the paper
the little love notes we shared a week ago
that now seem almost funny
because they won't be as important
as everything mean I do and everything
mean you say
Sunday isn't the Sabbath
its a day to do laundry
There is no magical one
You don't and I know you don't
well the kisses can't be that sweet
and you aren't my father's shoulder
Lick the sugar off my lips
if you need a sugar rush
In Dante's inferno the first circle of hell is lust
that is no joke
If I could rewrite it the second circle would
The third is starting your life over
when you hate your life
and the last is having dinner
with Judas and Hitler and your past lovers
even the one who liked star trek
I didn't know you could be an avatar
if I were I'd be red haired
a warrior princess
I'd have a room full of cats
oh shit I do
I'd have wings and a thunderbolt that
would cure heartache
I'd have it all figured out
and never fall in love lust or even
watch any movie with Redford in it
If I had sat on the stairs
and whispered "I think I love someone else
but I want to love you too."
Would you hand me your watch and say
"take all the time you need honey."
Would you throw me down the stairs
would you cut me off
take away my frequent flyer miles
refuse to punch my ticket
not answer the phone
when I just need to hear you laugh
not with someone else laughing at me
hoping that will make me someone else
on a saturday
full of hopeless
This was tough for me to write. It's part of finding closure on 70 days of pain, getting on with it and being happy with the choices I've made for my life. It's about forgiveness and regret and mostly about hope. When someone hands you a bucket of hope you leave a spot in your heart for them.
You can always email me at Summerpoet@msn.com and find my work at www.poetsummer.etsy.com
Friday, August 21, 2009
The sky is grey and the sand is grey and the ocean is grey
and I feel right at home in this stunning monochrome
alone in my way
I smoke and I drink and I every time I blink I have a tiny dream
but as bad as I am I'm proud of the fact that I am worse than I seem
what kind of a paradise am I looking for?
I've got everything I want and still I want more
maybe some tiny shiny thing will wash up on the shore
you walk through my walls like a ghost on TV you penetrate me
and my little pink heart is on it's little brown raft floating out to sea
but what can I say I'm wired this way and you're wired to me
and what can I do but wallow in you unintentionally
what kind of a paradise am I looking for?
I've got everything I want and still I want more
maybe some tiny shiny key will wash up on the shore
and regretfully I guess I got three simple things to say
why this now
why this way
with overtones ringing under toe is pulling away
under the sky that is grey
on sand that is grey
on an ocean that's grey
and what kind of paradise
am I looking for?
I've got everything I want
and still I want more
maybe some tiny shiny key will wash up on the shore
I was in church one Sunday not long ago and I was listening to the preacher talk about shame. To have so much and still want more was a sin. It was all I could do not to break down in tears. I wanted more. I always want more. I could hear God talking to me reminding me I was loved and that people love the way they know how to love. I missed my parents, I missed my father. Richie wasn't back home yet and I am always worried about him. I wasn't bored, I swear I am never bored but I do get lonely and apparently I was, have been. I was planning an escape I guess as I always do when I feel like I can't breathe. I had a secret or 10 and wished the world would just calm the fuck down and I didn't even know the phrase yet. God was listening. I lost a Saturday lost a piece of my heart and I didn't even care who it hurt.
What makes me want to look over the next hill? Why can't I ever just enjoy what I have and how I am loved? I don't know. My mother used to tell me that when my eyes were grey she could tell I was sad. I'm afraid to look. Fear motivates me to go put on my boots and look. Isn't the grass always greener? I was wishing when I heard how much I could provoke someone to get my attention to say the thing I didn't want to hear that I had slept on that church pew for a few weeks until someone found me. Pat Conroy wrote in the prince of tides that he wished there were two lives afforded to every man and woman and it was the secret life that sustained him now. That secret life blew up on him and I feel a little speckles of blood on my face. Shake it off Carrie, get on with it. 69 days. Conroy has a new book out, I will look for it tomorrow, go to the thing I have to do, find a post office, maybe go to the market and find some grapes the little champagne grapes and some good cheese and work. In the afternoons my studio is quiet and the cats sleep around and Best Friend will call and the mailman will stop and have a soda with me. I will listen to some music, create something and forget that there is even any place other than my world. I lost a Saturday a few weeks ago. I lost my mind. I lost my heart. I lost my head.
So I didn't get to finish this last night I was too tired you have no idea what good news this is.
Think I'm going for a walk now
I feel a little unsteady
I don't want nobody to follow me
'Cept maybe you
I could make you happy you know
If you weren't already
I could do a lot of things
and I do
Tell you the truth I prefer
the worst of you
Too bad you had to have a better half
She's not really my type
but I think you two are forever
and I hate to say it but
You're perfect together
So fuck you
And your untouchable face
And fuck you
For existing in the first place
and who am I
That I should be vying for your touch
and who am I
I bet you can't even tell me that much
Two-thirty in the morning
and my gas tank will be empty soon
Neon sign on the horizon
Rubbing elbows with the moon
A safe haven of sleepless
Where the deep fryer's always on
Radio is counting down
The top 20 country songs
And out on the porch the fly strip is
Waving like a flag in the wind
Y'know, i don't look forward
To seeing you again soon
You'll look like a photograph of yourself
Taken from far far away
And I won't know what to do
And I won't know what to say
Except fuck you...
I see you and I'm so perplexed
What was I thinking?
What will I think of next?
Where can I hide?
In the back room there's a lamp
That hangs over the pool table
and when the fan is on it swings
Gently side to side
There's a changing constellation
of balls as we are playing
I see orion and say nothing
the only thing I can think of saying
Is fuck you...
When Ani sings I think she must be dancing in my head winding her way around by cerebral cortex. Everyone has a skeleton in and a closet to keep it in and my best friend is mine.
Every song has you that the singer sings to and the poem they've written poems for. Every turn in the road has you following directions you put in your head like a GPS and when you run off track and are disappointed one day and the next day you find a tastee freeze and get one of those green frozen drinks that turn your lips green.
So I've walked the plank and the sharks well they like me. You can't drive fast when fear defines you. I am home and the house is cool, the temperature dropped 20 degrees and I slept oh so well.
When I say you sucked out my brain the translation is I fell in love and I forgot you should be flattered. My hands grope for my head when the lights are out and I can be my own nightlight, it's just easier than explaining every fucking thought and why I have it. Will you have to be a stronger man? Oh sure but I think you can manage it. I have. Alone. and Afraid.
If you see fear's shoes by the door throw them in the yard and let them fill with water from the sprinkler. "Just don't treat me like I am something that happened to you." Yes Ani is singing in my head again and how she "knows" things and she's gay. Maybe it's those things she knows that makes her that way in the first place. Maybe she was born with it.
A man told me recently that when he was inside of a woman before he even came he was thinking of how he'd get rid of her. You're not alone, I thought, sometimes before you come we wish you'd disappear like a puff of dust and we could get a do over. You're not alone. You want to whisper "I am truly sorry about all this but you aren't cutting it. You aren't who I made you up to be in my head. Finding that out is the pin prick in my balloon and as I will wait to exhale when you're gone."
I can eat a whole room full of apples and I am never afraid of snakes. I've danced with them, I've lived with them and even married one. Clarity is a wonderful fucking thing. The lights are on and I keep asking "what were YOU hiding?" Are hiding, still hiding. Don't tell me for a moment you were thinking of caring, that you had plans on it, that it was on the itinerary and THAT truth alone busted a hole in your ass. You get to feel like this after I'm living in your house, driving your car, tell your kids you're a bastard.
I just wanted you to kick the stones out of the way until I had it figured out. I smashed the boulders myself I just don't have the energy to clear the road. Discuss this plight ad nauseam and the Bobs of the world will tell you what you want to hear. She must be playing you why would she care? What have you said, what have you done? Oh Gods he's right. Where's the nearest bomb shelter?
Ok, rant over. Maybe.
When the gray cloud passes I will find my voice again. I'm working on it. I'm not counting today that's good news on so many storm fronts.
You can find me at Summerpoet@msn.com or my work at poetsummer.etsy.com.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
This morning I leaned over the bed to check for monsters. The little gray cat, the straw thief had a few straggling toys under there and a wrapper for some really good chocolate and a book of poems by Yeats. I took that book from the shelf when I lost a Saturday and today I put it back being very careful not to flip through the pages, too fragile today. No monsters, all is clear. The kitchen was almost clear of fruit flies, almost.
Yesterday the kid calls all mental because since he was little he's afraid of storms. I used to dream he'd be one of those weather guys in the bad suits. "Mom, check the doppler." He is sometimes my Best Friend's child. The doppler. Storm watching is not my thing. I've only once been afraid of weather stuff and that's when the crawl space was filling with water seeping in from the crack in the foundation and going near the new furnace. I wasn't checking the doppler. My advice? He should run for cover there's a horrible storm on the way, live in fear little one, live in fear. Fear can be a motivator and get a job.
Fear has been a constant companion for what now? 68 days? Fear. He's been my friend, my companion, even my lover. Imagine that. Fear climbed on top and took me in a moment of weakness when I was sure I was still in charge of all the voices. He seduced me with promises of adventure. Fear wears nice shoes and I was so busy looking at the shoes I couldn't see the storm cloud ahead. Isn't that the way of the world?
When fear takes over your head goes wonky. You start looking for an exit plan. My exit plan from a business that had taken over my life, every moment of free time? Oh, I'm still working on that. I thought about writing a book, falling in love, maybe even buying a camper. Did I mention I don't like to drive? A failed plan at best.
So the bossy Republican once asked me to write a sonnet about fear, he likes when things rhyme.
I woke up 68 days ago and realized fear was my lover
he seduced me in the middle of a starry cloudless night
with red red wine and under the buzz of locust cover
his dance so hypnotic he pushed away boredom's plight
and now we are constant companions of a sort; fear and me
when i feel confident, when someone calls me an artist
Sure I am mother and poet and to my world this is my plea
he stands there whispering you aren't the smartest
leaving a world that was planned to the tiniest detail
twisting my hair around his long skilled fingers
his pounding and pounding leaving me damaged and frail
the sweet smell of his breath on my teeth still lingers
Our wedding will be the social event of the season
I have come to love fear and yet I am not certain of the reason.
See I can follow rules? Well some of the time. I know where the path goes, I know how to follow it, I'm not an idiot. I am working on taking that F in common courtesy and making it into a B so I can show my mom. I like to take my socks off though and walk in the grass and sprinkle them with water because one day those chicken legs will be a mighty oak and ground me in ways that feel like leaning into your father's shoulder. I like to play Dr. Seuss with Best Friend but I like to play anything with her, even scrabble.
I have this little game I play with myself. When I sell one particular piece of jewelry that makes me feel clever, I allow myself to download more music to my Ipod. Today I find my way over to Ray Charles. Not Just Ray but ray and Elton. The first few taps of the keys is so beautiful and then you can hear Ray
What have I got to do to make you love me?
what have I got to do make you care?
what do I do when lightning strikes me
and I wake to find that you're not there?
What have I got to to do make you want me?
What have I got to do to be heard?
what do I say when it's all over
and sorry seems to be the hardest the word?
it's a sad sad situation
and it's getting more and and more absurd
It's sad so sad
why can't we talk it over
oh it seems to me that sorry seems to be
the hardest word
What do I have to do to make you make you love me?
what do I have to to to be heard?
what do I do when lightning strikes me?
what have I got to do
what have i got to do
when sorry seems to be the hardest word?
I couldn't find it on U tube to share it here so you'll have to buy it on I tunes. It's on the Genius loves company cd. It's sad so sad, it's a sad sad situation and it's getting more and more absurd. You never do know when lightning will strike. I look outside tonight and there isn't a movement of the leaves. Last night the tornado sirens were crying out the sky was full of thunder and lightning. The warm air hit the cold front. Mother nature showing me what happens in a heart if the whole world could watch. My heart is a stone and it breaks glass. Lesson learned over and over again. A moth danced with me on the deck for a few minutes and fluttered off to sneak in a window somewhere and eat a coat.
When I fell asleep last night sleep fell like a velvet curtain wet from the rain just covering me and for this I was grateful. sorry, sorrow ful. I'm thinking of shaving my head and maybe painting a flower there backwards or maybe paiting a big crack right through the center. Nothing permanent, because nothing is. It could be time for red wine. It could be.
If you defeated fear, then drop me an email and tell me how at Summerpoet@msn.com. If you are fan's devotee (that word stings) then you're in good company, confused but solid company. Tell me three songs you'd download to your Ipod right now. I will load them and take them to the yard with me. What do I do when lightning strikes me and I wake up and find that you're not there? YOu can find my work at www.poetsummer.etsy.com.
The Space of Time
When the metronome is ticking and I have
to pause between two beats to wait for
the next note those two pauses are a lifetime
Timing is everything
and I don't even own a watch
In those pauses I confuse want
Waiting for anger to pass
If God wanted us to remember pain
he would let women love only
only one man
and have one child
Time heals all wounds
unless you hold the knife in your hand
and open them again
Nothing passes in the blink of an eye
string them together and your life passes
one foot on the skateboard another
on the grave
slip slip slipping
into Hobbes brutish world
of pain or ignorance
both hell one with a little less shame
Let's fly to Vegas you pick the game
roll the dice happy for awhile
girls with big feathers in their hair
will kick our your worries
until the next blue monday rolls around
it's only the days you can't go swimming
that you really want to break the water
and be a mermaid
underwater you can only hear muffled sounds
so I can't hear you say
the things you need to say
A moment's hesitation can change the world
if we hadn't dropped a bomb
if we had waited a tiny second before the
thing we knew would hurt
would fly from our mouth and
land as a dagger
If if if you don't love me anymore.
"If you could only speak to me in words with four letters"
she said to her lover
"what would you say to me?"
The Staccato phrases would follow
Love, need, miss, want that's easy
She won't hear fire, hope, stay, fly, go
those words are saved for desperate moments
or brave days
After awhile you wouldn't even miss the big words
Understanding left for sure
Passion for want
and sadness for need
And when it's sure
when you are sure of someone
and you can let the pauses
whether they are a few moments eating grapes
or a few days flying
or a few weeks waiting
when they pass with ease when your stomach
isn't in knots when its comfortable
I can exhale and get on with the other things waiting
the metronome ticking and my mind isn't racing
to the next thought
the next note
I watch patience struggle with the open spaces today
and I want time to speed along
as I always want time to speed along
It's raining and the air smells like chemicals
and I am wondering about tomorrow
I play twinkle twinkle little star four hundred thousand times
racing one moment and then slow the next
to learn timing is everything
and I don't even know where to find a watch
Hey Mr. Do you have the time?
whisper it in my ear
and tell me the temperature in Keys
one more time
just in time to book a flight
through hurricane season
and when the pine trees are touching the ground
I will lean in and ask you quietly
without a sign of panic
"was this your idea?"
and in those few pauses
I will know everything is OK that this too will pass
Can you sit there and let me just look at you for awhile
until I am sure?
In the silence can you let me gather close
and just sit there
and let me watch the line from your neck
to your shoulder
let me look at the way you watch children play
let me take notes while you are in line
a long line
Do you shake your head
do you lean from one foot to the next
do you hold your hand behind your back
with the other like a soldier on a ship
waiting to land
in those pauses I will be unlocking the gate
whispering you in
and you will say
"what's the password?"
Is the world moving too fast for you or too slowly? Are you feeling anxious about the arrival or the departure of something? Are you sad and wonder if it will take another 67 days to pass and what fuel you need to find to feed the fire to burn the air for it to pass? Then be assured you are not alone in the world. You can find me at email@example.com or my work at www.poetsummer.etsy.com.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Behind the house by the Lake lies the Kankakee River. It's incalculable beauty leaves me unable to speak at times. If you drive through Wilmington to the dam the logs bang up against the cement and the noise is like thunder. When Best Friend and I would drive up the back road through the sunflower fields we'd run across the spaceman, huge, probably 30 feet tall holding a giant rocket. This was good news, time for life to slow down, a new pace to things, a campfire to watch as soon as it got dark and swimming down the channel to the bridge. My father owned a little white cabin down the road and on Fridays I would wander over there and he'd be unpacking and we'd sit by a fire he'd start the moment he arrived and he'd throw a line in the water. He'd always ask me, "Any news?" For years, nothing changed, ever. Not really.
Somewhere sirens are wailing, just not here. Now though the sirens don't seem to quiet down not for 67 days.
I asked my son this morning, "What is the worst news you've ever heard?" He said "When you were sick." I really thought he'd say "THE divorce." I even wondered if it would be his father moving away. Everything, every part of your life can change in one minute, on a dime. God's finger is at the ready waiting to push your little boat under the tide. Believe me about this.
This is the last day of our acquaintance, I don't love you anymore, You should pack your things, bring someone with you, ma'am there is nothing we can do to fix this. Here take this it will make it better, no take it some more. What's the saddest thing you've ever heard? I was hurt, I didn't want to be hurt.
67 days and counting.
I wondered about Anne Sexton today and Woolf and Plath. The strong women, well not so strong. The beautiful women who wrote, who were brave and in the end stumbled. They felt they weren't loved enough, weren't understood and they couldn't take one more bit of bad news. The sky opened, it start to rain and for woolf, she just let herself go in the river after sitting down to write her husband a note that she didn't wish to be his burden. His heartache maybe but not a burden. I understand that. 67 days later I get it.
When I was a child I suffered from eczema on my hands. It itched like crazy and I'd scratch it constantly. It ran in cycles in the winter and the scratching would leave my hands raw and red and sore. My father would beg me not to scratch them to try and let it go but it was almost in every thought the itching. One day he told me he had bad news, bad news mind you and that he was going to put my hands in some medicine and then they'd heal. The medicine was rubbing alcohol. I remember screaming a little and then passing out. They healed and I never scratched them again. Some lessons learned are harder than others. Woolf wouldn't write again after her swim and Sexton after trying to smoke herself to death and trying to kill herself a dozen times Sexton figured it out or found the courage or was just exhausted. Someone broke the bad news and it wasn't her.
Bad news can pass through you like a cold shower the needles running over your skin and you have to hear it a few times. other times, it just leaves you numb and you only have to hear it once because it resounds like a beating drum over and over again without a sound being heard, anywhere. Kennedy is dead, all those dreams with him. Want to see a piece of his head? The news will show it over and over and over again. Don't run and hiding is futile, there's no place to go. I wonder if Jackie counted down the days until she could get dressed again. I wonder and wonder and wonder.
The good news is it's going to rain today. Richie is on his way back to school. Leroy is sleeping in the window after I poured a bucket of love on him. Time fixes everything and tomatoes are in season. Whether I pull the blanket over my head or not the sun will creep up over the yard. Soon the snow will fly over the fence, soon 67 days will be 120 soon. When Richie was little I would think there would there would never be a time he wouldn't be sleeping in the other room when I'd eat dinner without him. Life marches on and so does time.
If I'd known Virginia, I would have taken her down to the river and let her slide her feet into the water and then pulled her back over and over again until she knew I wouldn't let her slip through my hands. She would have written more, something that changed the world even more than she already had and women wouldn't be looking for a room of their own but a whole house.
In honor of those women who forge through sadness to figure the sky a Sexton poem I love, or part of it:
Admonitions to a Special Person
Watch out for power,
for its avalanche can bury you,
snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain.
Watch out for hate,
it can open its mouth and you'll fling yourself out
to eat off your leg, an instant leper.
Watch out for friends,
because when you betray them,
as you will,
they will bury their heads in the toilet
and flush themselves away.
Watch out for intellect
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.
Watch out for games, the actor's part,
the speech planned, known, given,
for they will give you away
and you will stand like a naked little boy,
pissing on your own child-bed.
Watch out for love
(unless it is true,
and every part of you says yes including the toes) ,
it will wrap you up like a mummy,
and your scream won't be heard
and none of your running will end.
Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave
you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can't be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.
67 days and counting. I was thinking on that today. That it was just enough time to figure the sky and if I hadn't I wouldn't give myself another moment. Best Friend will tell me take as long as you need, she loves me though. The rest of the world is toe tapping me to figure out some shit and I need to figure it out. Lord have mercy. Just when I am sure God's close by helping me figure out my life I reach out my hand for him and well he's ushering me off to figure it out on my own.Free will and all.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I was reading Atwood the other day thinking on sleep. I like to take afternoon naps when I have planned for them and when I know I won't feel guilty later for letting work slide by. I can never take a nap when the living room floor needs to be shined. In a few entries down you can find her Sleep poem. When I first read it I was comforted but knew in my head I had my own thoughts about sleep. When I mentioned this to my Best Friend she just laughed noting that while she was at my house recently I hadn't slept more than a few hours in days. She will tell me later that anything you do sleep deprived won't count so have fun now.
When laying awake in my bed I sometimes
conjure the spirits of those close to me
I will have a conversation with my father
in that comfort place using an ancient spell
to feel him close
But tonight while laying there
in a different bed I summoned you
You were off charting a plan of action
in a dream while your body prone
It started in whispers
I called your name and you stirred a little
then you whispered back still in sleep
and then when I pushed the hair from your face
you opened your eyes blinking
pushing back the light
We were swimming in warm water
and the sun was heating our face
while the rest of us lay cool
me pulling you around by your shoulders
still playing in your hair
"Why did you wake me?"
"We sleep when we die
or when dreams die
or when we are tired
and I don't believe you to be tired
and because there's a place
more precious than sleep
and I want to take you there."
And we floated down this canyon
of time and there were voices
whispering stories and poetry
and the cool breeze of clarity
washes over those bright eyes
blinking at me like when you first woke
Your mother or mine it didn't matter
was making cookies
and they were baking
and she was holding us telling us to wear
socks and remember a hat
the useless information mothers give us
When you stopped asking how much longer
we were at a place where when you took
a deep breath you felt like a woman
with a presence "in" you
calming and rational and yet terrifying
and I could feel you move to reach for my hand
and I grabbed it first tracing letters
that would make up your name in the palm
letters I avoid when they are sounded out
like an assault
When we are asleep and dreaming
we are vulnerable to the world
we make an agreement but almost under duress
to follow the dream until the cock sings
until the yellow light peeks through the blinds
until the cat brushes against your thigh
until you yawn
and wake to find the dream seemed so "real"
and it was.
and it was.
and it was.
God makes dreams real and we are all God
I will summons you again
when I need your strength
and I know you need adventure
and one day when we have slept in the same dream
over and over
when we are the Velveteen Rabbit
and we are loved to the point of real
then we'll find the third place
the place where you can be in a dream
and fall from Killmanjaro
where you are clinging to the edge of the Titanic
when the Hindenburg blows up
when the whole world turns into the Sudan
we'll be here
in the water
you holding me
me holding you
you inside me
and me wondering
where you are when you aren't here
where you go right on being
the dream I had as a child
when someone conjured me
and then introduced us
On a recent adventure I found a woman selling old jewelry
by the side of the road
there isn't a day when this wouldn't catch my fancy
baubles, yes costume
worn by a foreign woman
in a foreign country
with a foreign accent
Now this isn't something I could pass by
I would have paid more for that
bag of jewelry than for the diamond of Hope
or even a bag of Hope
When I am done 50 people will be
wearing a bit of this woman's treasures
and I will be richer, this woman will be richer
and someone will call me an artist
I could hear him say
"Maybe you are just a lonely woman from rural
Illinois who makes costume jewelry."
"You might want to hold on to something.
Worse yet you have a second thought about a woman from
Illinois who makes costume jewelry.
I may not live in the city but I can see it.
And there is no shame in loneliness but
a little in pointing it out
When I see a homeless woman I seldom
stop to say "Hey here's five dollars and by the way you have no house."
Living in a high rise and cutting diamonds
doesn't insure happiness my dear.
Mean won't get you what you want
and loneliness can be the brink of discovery
I am taking comfort in the idea
we can find our own kind
A friend tells me
people who are alone want to be alone
they send off that vibe
but when you don't want to be alone
what kind of radio signal are you sending
or will a lie suffice
I like it this way
I dont want the distraction
Bukowski would tell those that loved him
to slide a note under the door
like his landlord looking for rent
VanGogh cut off a piece of his ear
to let his lover know he missed him
When Monet missed his wife so desperately
he painted her image life sized
and stood close to it pressing his cheek to hers
I spent time wanting to sleep rather than laugh
now the idea of sleep makes me feel weak
a time when I would kill for a shiny new car
now I'd rather drive one of those big old cars
with a seat big enough so someone
could slide next to me and whisper directions
a time when I wanted a big house with rooms to fill
rooms I never even walk into now
I wanted a music room
now I play in the back yard.
I like looking over things that nobody wants
and finding way to make them work for me
that's how I found you
Heed my advice
being needed is like a drug
it's a pain pill of sorts
and when the bottle runs out
you'll do most anything to fill it again
You'll make pancakes when your kid comes home
You'll remember to write thank you cards
You'll bring a bouquet of flowers to the cemetery
You'll say you're sorry (even if nobody hears it)
I forgot to pray and started again
God didn't forget me
but he carefully explained he missed me needing him
and when I go away will you miss me
I will take one of those old brooches from the bag today
and under the photo I place in there
of Paris I will write a note
I do that in most of the pieces I create
that way the world carries around the wishes I have
and even for you.
If you haven't written a wish down lately, I suggest it.
If you think what you do is insignificant even small in the world
know there is someone who would fight to do what you do to even be given the chance. A friend who is no longer a friend of mine said to me once "Carrie if someone wants to make you afraid of anything, don't trust them, not for a minute." Sage advice. If there is something in your head that you fear, write to me at Summerpoet@msn.com. Perhaps it's something I don't fear anymore and I can walk you through it. You can find my work at www.poetsummer.etsy.com.
When you are up at 4am you are sure you are the only person in the world who is awake. You look out over the balcony and there's a few people stirring but they seem mission oriented, not just wandering like I find myself wandering these days. They have a plan and they are sticking to it. I can hear Best Friend snoring in my head and a few hours ago we were laughing so hard I thought I broke something in my gut. We've known each other so long I only have to say a few words and we both bust out in laughter. Her response? "How in the hell did this come up?" and once again we are roaring in laughter laughter so loud the neighbors will wonder what the hell is going on in there. I laughed myself to sleep. How great is that?
But then I'm up wandering. Any one who has had a wonky heart will tell you, sleep is elusive. I think of calling and then think better of it. It's never good to wake someone in the middle of the night and then my kid sends me a photo (he's apparently up) and it's Leroy sleeping in my studio, on the chair where I work, waiting for me. I miss that fat cat, my feline boyfriend. There is a gentle breeze that blows past the window there and it fills me with such sobering silence. I could use that silence this morning when I have an inbox full of emails wondering where I am, a heart full of trepidation and a throat full of fire. I have had a cold for days that won't go away, nagging at me and this morning it's kicking my ass, winning the bad fight. Richie's voice sounds a little excited that he will be back class soon, he always did work better on a schedule and I will mention the military to him one more time before he takes the GRE.
When you are off figuring out the world, love is supposed to wait right? It's supposed to be patient and kind and tolerant. I think I lose sight of that from time to time when the world is toe tapping me to do what they want me to do rather than what I want. I have chickens on my farm. I couldn't have real chickens at my house and Craig tells me patiently I wouldnt' want them they are dirty, stupid animals. But I've always been fascinated with birds so I joined the farmtown community and now I have a farm full of crops and of course chickens. After plowing a field and wandering down to find the bench where he offered I am sure I must look like some homeless person in pajamas just kinda scoping the area. I am that kind of person, tell me a plan and I am scoping out the territory, finding the best advantage, figuring the lay of the land.
And standing there under a street lamp I am wondering about life and how one moment someone is a stranger to you and the next you are waiting for them to clear their throat wondering if they are patient or if they are toe tapping you. I have always been someone who comes around in my own time, who handles things in my head. People who love me love the crazy part. Tell me you need a design tomorrow, I'll have it done in 3 weeks, tell me there's no rush, it's the first thing I do. If I look and see I need to do laundry because I am running out of socks, I just go buy new socks, not washing them first, just throwing caution to the wind. (That was for you best friend.)
It's when she said "and you knew that doctor guy who told me that 100 degrees is the perfect saline breeding ground." I started laughing again, crying, slapping the mattress, rolling back and forth the taste of the thick red syrup and my tears running down my throat like red wine. Where did ten years ago? Where are those girls sitting in the big black chrysler that always reminded me of a car you'd drive in a funeral procession? Where are those girls? I wondered this morning at 4am. I would jump out of any window then and now I am second guessing everything I do, over and over again in my head, wondering how I will fix it later. She was always braver, always having to push me a little. And what of him? I carry around him now in some other corner of my head wondering what I will do with his skeptical edge that makes me so so wary. I tell myself there's another like that somewhere just easier. Have I turned a corner and easier is my thing? Nice. Nice thought at 4am and there's no Leroy around to warn first "Leroy I am going to grab you and hold you and love you and you're going to let me." Leroy just waits for me, wondering where the hell I've been.
When a cab drives by you at 4am do you ever wonder where it's going? Do you wonder is there a woman in there off to see her secret lover? Is there a man in there who is drunk, who was drinking alone and now will find his way home to his hotel room and try to read before he falls asleep. He thought a few times about the red head at the bar but like me he's feeling safe this morning. Did someone get the call that someone is sick and they are off to a hospital barely dressed but thinking to grab the green sweater that comforts them as they fly out of the house? Atwood wrote about sleep.
I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head
and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear
I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in
I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.
-- Margaret Atwood
She had high aspirations. First Margaret he has to let you that close, to know you do no harm. Then he has to lick your skin to be sure you aren't poison. Then you have to keep from saying anything that will cause a sudden stir in his head and even when he knows you will turn into the fanged bat warrior who will suck his blood and steal his soul he will ponder the loss of the soul he's forgotten and let you take him to the sleep place, laughing.
I've always been able to make people laugh. My father who was unmoving would laugh easily around me. I never cared it if was at my expense. And then someone laughed about my jewelry the other day and I bled a little. It's the place where I seek validation and I guard it like a temple with the last Buddha carved in Jade. People pay me to make them something, they wear it and then they call me an artist. It seems a fair trade off. Even when I am making something I don't want to make it seems such a fair trade off. I put in this much effort, they throw a little money my way, I buy cat food and some plants for the garden and occasionally a pink party dress.
I don't have to be in an office without a window but there are moments of loneliness and solitude that can stir your mind into a crazy stew that you'll have to eat and eat and eat. A huge trade off. Poke fun at my child when he is smoking and mowing the lawn at the same time, laugh at my virtual chickens on my farm, tell me my nose is too big and that I look clownish in lime green crocs. Point and laugh when I chew the super glue cap off and the glue sticks my tongue to my teeth. Ask me why in a giggle I had to remove all the smoke alarms from my house (on every floor). Ask me how I manage to think not buying a city sticker for my car is bucking the establishment. Tell me having a feline boyfriend who waits for me in my studio is a little "off." My art though? Some days it's all I have and all I want. Best Friend was over recently and seeing the tree I painted, the tree my brother tells me belongs in an opium den, she simply turned it upside down, my painted red tree. "It's not a bad painting Carrie, but it's not a tree, it's a heart and it was upside down." Maybe it's her way of telling me my whole world is upside down. She's profound like that. Well profound and very very smart. "Tell him you are not feeling well and you are a girl who does things in her own time." Oh if life where that easy, if love were patient. If the heart were truly a hunter. If you could have a number of times in your life when you could be the fly on the wall. If I could find a tree that grows pink cotton candy at 4am. If love, true love lasted forever. If the whole world could "Calm the fuck down." If If if.
When you aren't in the crazy stew, watching someone spin around is disturbing and clarifying. You know what you want and what you don't want. It's right there like one of those horror movies when you scream "GET OUT OF THE FUCKING HOUSE THE GUY WITH A KNIFE IS THERE AND THE LIGHTS DONT SEEM TO BE WORKING." The birds sing very loud at 4am because they are singing to the sun tempting her over the side of the world announcing her arrival. Three days ago I wanted to be in church on sunday morning. Now I want to be in bed with the covers over my head sipping the starbucks chocolate shit they can't even make any more because it's so bad for you. You aren't supposed to be sick on sundays in the summer or have cramps or miss Leroy. I am heading to bed to pull the covers over my head like they taught us in grade school when the alarms went off. I remember thinking "If there is going to be a bomb that kills us all shouldn't we be dancing?"
Thanks for this time with me. Sorry I have been bad about writing. I will answer emails soon. You can always find me at Summerpoet@msn.com and my work at poetsummer.etsy.com.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Half Way There
She was chattering at the table next to me
in a fine hotel restaurant in DC the land of government
and tourism a transient place
warm and cold
bragging on a man she knew
a man she was just with here at the hotel
"He called me and we decided to meet half way." she said.
I smiled like the cheshire cat
I'd eaten a bird sitting in my tree
watching her cluck cluck cluck away
in a thick Asian accent often calling herself her own name
third person references scare me and let me tell you why
if someone calls themselves their own name
they are void of responsibility of what happens with that name
Carrie broke someone's heart today
Carrie didn't hit the mark
Carrie said she'd stand watch and fell asleep
Carrie stepped on a bird
I had a hard time trusting people who didn't use the word I
For me there is only one Carrie
well two, me and The King Character who burned down the gym
Carrie was a bad girl
I wondered about him for a few and then he glided in
on confident feet, and he was beautiful
they were equally beautiful
He sat across from her
they lunched, brunched, munched quietly
She didn't ask many questions but I wanted to
I wanted to ask why they weren't having lunch
at her place, making all comfortable surprising him with the china pattern
I was caught in the web of his laugh
Better yet why weren't they at his place
eating under the painting she had painted for him
giggling in bath robes
lover's kisses with a little toast in the corner of your mouth
"He doesn't love you." I whispered
I don't care if he shouted it out in a moment of passion
You had this man in your body a few minutes ago
and he's able to glide around here
looking at the waitress and wondering about her ass
I could feel the tiger lily up my gut
and if I opened my mouth I would have laughed
hysterically and shouted no man who loves you only goes half way
I wanted to put her ass on a space shuttle and half way to the sky
cut the engine
I wanted to bake her a chocolate cake and only bake it for 20 minutes
instead of the 40 minutes recommended on the package
and then make her eat it
I wanted to pull out my violin and play Pachabell and only play
half of the canon in D minor
and smile coyly and shout "this is what you get when you love Pachabell half way."
You are left aching, not that you are sorry
you started to listen just wishing you could finish
I wanted to read her from my head Emily but half
"Hope is a thing with feathers"
"Delayed until she had ceased to know"
and finish with
"that short potential stir"
He'd wonder if I was being insulting
Insulting? I am fighting here for your soul
I am trying to show you that this woman has the potential
to love you
all women do
but not half way
eat half a candy bar you want the other half
show someone half of the sky and they will wonder about the other half
ignoring all in their life just to see the other clouds
This polite brunch should be eaten naked
on the floor on a blanket
stained with wet
drinking champagne at 11am
and followed by a shower and maybe a nap
If you are going to have him inside of you
let him push so hard you can feel it touch your heart
When Romeo was at the wall
he didnt say to juliet "hey meet me in Cincinnati and we'll get it on."
F Scott Fitzgerald wrote of love
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five they are caves in which we hide."
We hide in hotel rooms
we hide in crowds
I hide my heart in a coffee cup with a little sugar at the bottom
A friend called, a male friend and said
"I'll be in your city to take my daughter to school, want to see me"?
I thought of the handsome strange brunching.
"No, but I may a week from then, think you'll make the trip?"
We both knew the answer
I could hear the Aida in my head
"I need not ask and you need not reply."
I thought one day the quiet space between us with be a wall
a wall you aren't strong enough climb
and my neck is sore from looking up wondering if you'll try
hearts are broken this way every day
Our hearts betray us
When he's off chasing demons
the woman who loves will wait and wait and wait
we'll wait when we're sad
we'll wait because we want you to be the knight
we'll wait like Emily did when she was wondering
"If you're coming in the fall"
Sure she'd brush the summer by but would she still be breathless?
It's hard to be breathless when you are tired.
If I thought for a moment my love, my heart, my key to the kingdom
were easy to find
I'd move to Transylvania and hide it under a bucket of blood
the kind of blood that's been there so long
it's like jello
"Oh go look over there, you'll find it,
it's under the poem we don't read anymore."
I used to know that poem by heart
for moments when we were alone
and it was quiet and I knew you loved me
I knew it like I knew the words to that poem
the next word rushing into my head with such joy
and read in a fashion that would make TS smile
from his cold grave
and we would plan trips to Paris Prague Morocco
Now alone in Paris I can't remember the words
something about a mermaids
and MichaelAngelo and your life measured
out in coffee spoons
I missed the cat more when he ran away
but Leroy loves me better and
after his adventure he came back smelling of asphalt
not cheap Walgreens perfume.
Leroy won't walk half the way home
he won't hesitate to love me
I'll leave the window open
I'll fight off the bugs that sneak in
I will keep my heart full of hope
because hope is never half way through anything.