Thursday, April 13, 2017

on a thursday in april

Today the president of the country I live in signed away more of my rights as a woman. Today the president of the country I live in also dropped a bomb. The largest nonnuclear bomb in history. My coworkers and I gather at her desk and together try to loop our heads around it. This is history, we say. The desk under our forearms feels exactly like what it is--a heavy piece of wood, a thing made to hold and house other things. And there are things around this heavy piece of wood, more things and more--even the floor I walk across to leave for the day is a thing. I am starting to hate things.

It is so quiet in the elevator and I am alone and want to cry. I can't because the anvil in me is also a sponge. On the drive home I extract my heart shove her on the antennae and let wind fleck her blood all over. She shivers only slightly, a warning. Meat exposed to element rots.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

There is this moment of being a writer that repeats itself, unannounced and erratic, in the most darnedest of places. This moment I'm talking about is a welled up suckerpunch, landing somewhere between chest and gut. The feeling hits then spreads, something intravenous--warming neck then elbow crook then shin bones. Maybe it is less moment and more need, internal and urgent, all over. Not just a need but a must. I do not simply need to write things. If I miss this moment the black hole widens. The flame pulls to smoke, a cell might give up. Sometimes love and necessity get all mixed together. Sometimes(these moments) I know exactly what my duties are.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I can see the winter starting to slowly bend away. On the drive from work to gym the sun felt warm. She is still mostly brief, as if testing the waters. The temperature slowly builds, early mornings aren't as harsh. Some of the trees have bloomed, while others are sparked with that newborn green I love, the color I'll never stop mentioning. Spring always feels magical. I might always need the seasons this way. It is coming, this turn. Not just weather, but in the way my heart dons her drum. More quickly, heavy on the good songs--in the mirror I might spy her shudder in my neck.

Next month is national poetry month and I hope to write a little something every day to honor it. I like doing that. Now that my studies are done for the time being, I'm ready to turn my entire self towards my writing. I will open my google drive and take a deep breath. So much archived, so many pages untouched for months and some for longer, years even. I can't bring myself to delete much, if anything. Every time I approach the notion I think: maybe it's time, or maybe I really am terrible at letting go, or perhaps they were never truly mine to begin with. Loving your art is complicated and wonderful. I don't mind the brutality.

A few weeks ago, facebook notified me that it was a friend's birthday, a comrade who passed away four years ago. We weren't exceptionally close but their presence left an imprint at a time in my life when everything that happened left incredible indents. A few weeks from now it will be the anniversary of another friend's passing. Acknowledging their absences will never not be strange. I try, in my own way, to honor them. Play a song that echoes their memory or revolt in some tiny fashion. I am thankful for knowing their energy. Ashamed of my own ignorance when it comes to the privilege of living and life. Spring signifies rebirth but it also mentions endings. I try to be okay with both.

In a few months I will be 36. Sometimes I read old journals to remember, because I can't recall it all. It's crazy how some things jut out like rocks in rough water, and over time the elements eat them away to smoothness. They become difficult to grip, and some grow smaller or slough off to join the general mass. Pangea post-break up. Some things I'll never write about again and this too is a body of water and rocks, a mass of me that never goes missing no matter what typed out fragments I delete.

Monday, March 6, 2017

quickly

I've been, per usual, protective when it comes to new poem drafts--with my latest batch of work, even moreso. I sent a slew of drafts and unfinished thoughts/beginnings to Renee and her feedback was right on time. I knew these pieces deserved their flesh, and it was going to require a bit of blood/sweat/tears to get them there, but they are on their way. I'm incredibly proud of the work, even in its current under-construction state.

I have my fitness instructing exam this Saturday, and then I'm aiming all my arrows on this writing of mine.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

anniversary

I've had this blog for a solid decade now. Ten years. Before that I kept various pockets of thought online via livejournal, x-diary, and on and on but this one...my domain? Ten years going.

I think of it as a great big scroll of late nights and early mornings and random daylight hours...updates of both merit and time-killing. Saying it all or dancing around the elephant with words adjusted to a precise measurement of almost-telling-it. I was a pro at what was not said--mistakes made and humiliations I couldn't bear to share beyond my own knowing. Things that changed the path or deepened it. There were times when life was so rich I didn't have time to get it down outside of notebook scribbles or a picture or two. And in turn there were times over the past ten years when things hurt too much to face, and I turned away from dumping it out until something ultimately tipped me. I used to work a full time job in the day and bartend part-time at night, and I would walk home at 3 am in a so-quiet-it's-holy city moment. I'd be dog tired but have all these thoughts, and I'd come here to recount my evenings. I wrote here while head over heels and I posted full of heartache. I probably said too much and not enough. Oh oh the poems. All the poems.


self, 2006


2007, late autumn rain in Lawrenceville


So many miles put on two wheels


the essentials, 2008


twenty-eight, 2009


my writing room, 2012


from my tent in the rain at the Pink Door Retreat, 2013


inksisters, 2014

Ten years. Big, little, high and below sea level. Happy somewhat birthday, little blog. Even if I've grown considerably more private over the years, I'm thankful for this outlet of connect & reflect. Here's to potentially ten more.

And, in keeping with the time thing, this week marks 1 full year back in the states. I still wrestle with the most strange homesickness--a homesick for a country not mine, that I barely knew but felt something incredible for.


Cairo, Egypt, 2015

I have a lot of feelings about that--some bits of them get stronger as time goes on, and some fall back because they serve no other purpose than to fade. My thirties thus far have been wild, surprising, soulcrushing, a complicated dance of give and take and lost and gain. If there ever was an era of living to fully encompass life, this one would be it. Sometimes I look at all this living and feel there are thousands of eras and lives, and I wonder how on earth will there be more? The truth is there might be and I am fortunate and grateful for all I have the opportunity to experience. What's amazing is that despite all the movement, change, things learned and lost and picked up, I am still me. The core, the one true thing.


35th birthday in Pittsburgh, 2016

How do I explain it? I'm still that kid making collages at her grandma's house while listening to The Breeders Last Splash on cassette, wondering earnestly when will life begin. I'm still the teenager at her cashier job wasting all the receipt tape rolls on new poems, and I'm twenty and moving to a bigger city forever. I built bridges along my bones filled with cornfield and lightning bug applause. I'm still exceptionally hard on myself. I'll always be the smallest cousin with the hard head and bleeding heart. I'll be that for always. I'll get tapped on the shoulder by mistakes made and when I turn around they'll be something maybe that makes more sense. I will still take pleasure in thunderstorms & cricket crescendos when I'm 60-something. I'll sit on the floor for miles of minutes in the poetry section of a bookstore until the day I die.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

a letter to let her go (2016)

Dear 2016,

Thank you.

Thank you for breaking me, forwards and backwards. Thank you for the ridiculous splinters and stitches and additional semi-bad ass keloids to add to the scar collection. You gotta decorate a life with some living right? Right.

Thank you even for the migraines and the lost days to them, for this curse magnitudes the blessing—makes the day smell much more sweet and worth it and powerful. Thank you for the epitome of dark so that I may know and truly appreciate the warmth of light. I am grateful to be reminded of my body because there are in fact moments I forget.

Thank you for close contact with my family, for the belly laughs reserved for our blood connection, for the secret language I continue to share with my sister. Thank you for my niece and nephew who gently ask me to please never move that far away again. For all our moments big and small, for each and every holiday and occasion I could be here & present for.

Thank you for all the reminders that everything, even our idols, are flawed and mortal. Even though I refuse to believe Prince is mortal. He’s now simply a part of everything.

Thank you for that summer dusk sunlight coming through on back road car drives, and all your random parks and her dented benches. For the moments I have spent here with a heart beating strong next to mine. Thank you for campgrounds and a tent that hinges back it’s cover on top so we could lay there and be right with the stars. Thank you for that lake and the canoes and for my comrade paddling us back into the deepest inlets to find anything hidden. For his assurance when I was so concerned with our boat hitting bottom. We never did.

Thank you for some of my most fragile and stunning moments to date.

Thank you for the music and for the time alone in my car. For when melody yanked out the tears and I drove and grieved, drove and grieved. Thank you for that privacy. Thank you for the music that leaned me back in my seat, made me feel truly strong and better and smiling. Music is magical.

Thank you for heavy things, and for giving me the space and time to lift them. For progression, and every bump and victory that comes along with it. Weightlifting grew into an unexpected meditation for me this year. 2016, I leave you with a mind/body connection that is stronger than ever.

Thank you for another 365 days of continued growth for my friendships, and for the time to add new ones. I leaned hard on some dear ones when I needed it the most and I never felt let down or left cold. I had to let some things go but that is for the best. I’ve received some of the best care and advice of my lifetime this year and my entire self is stronger because of it.

Thank you for another year of writing, for more time to tell it. Thank you for every reading on the calendar, for every ear that heard it.

Thank you for the very clear reminder that work here and elsewhere is not done—that if we believe in something, we need to stand up for it.

Thank you for letting me learn the hard way. This year I truly found that forgiveness has so very little to do with anyone else. I do not need permission, and I will not expect nor wait for it. We are free when we decide to be. Thanks for reminding me that anger does not suit me, is not worth my time, and doesn’t solve much at all. Thank you for the opportunity to show up and face the worst of it.
Thank you for healing my heart, and for reminding me that we are constantly mending and strengthening—that she, too, is a muscle. A miracle. Thank you for returning what I always, always knew.

How could I ever call you the worst when you’ve taught me so much?

2016, thank you. Thank you for all the bullshit, the hot mess, the hard knocks, and the sweetness.

Monday, December 12, 2016

On December 4th I had a poetry feature in Dayton at the old Yellow Cab building. This building used to be a cab business for 40+ years—it’s located right on the fringe of downtown with double garage doors that stay up in the warmer months and shut in the colder. There are hints of checkered things, a decent sized stage and free tampons in the womens room. A pretty rad venue.

My set was wedged between the open mic and poetry slam. The Dayton writers are so friendly and welcoming—I was specifically requested back for this feature, which made me feel pretty darn good. To be welcome and wanted is a precious feeling when it comes to doing something so very close to my heart/is my heart. This particular night was a prom themed night, so most people arrived dressed up—swishy hems, high slits, suit jackets, even a cummerbund. When getting ready at home, I realized I had nothing remotely close to prom attire but I pulled on a long skirt and combat boots and called it done. My date surprised me in a button up and tie.

I was fascinated by how many individuals read their poems straight off their phones. Is this me showing my age, being old fashioned? Visually it feels awkward to me, to watch someone read off a device in the palm—I feel like I’m listening to someone relay a text instead of a poem. Maybe I am used to the aesthetic of paper, or hands that are completely empty. Maybe it’s because I see so many people distracted by their phones on a daily basis, looking down instead of at the person across from them/things around them. Maybe this is something not to really care or worry about, but I found it distracting. I couldn’t get over it. Everyone walked onto stage and looked at their phones, then spoke into mic. Is this now the norm? Norm or not, I won’t be reading my work off my cell phone anytime soon. The writing/typing, the printing out of pages, added lines scribbled in the margins…all of that is part of the process, the ritual of what brings breath to a piece of work. For me, at least.

Also the majority of the readers were young. Perhaps I’m finally getting to an age where I FEEL the generation gap. Maybe it’s because I’ve been getting on stages for 16 years now—I remember being that young, I remember my approach to it and I know that approach is quite different than my current one. Age, experience, both—I can feel it, hear it, see it at readings. There is nothing good or bad about this—it simply is. If anything, it’s fascinating. It makes me a little giddy to make note of it. I know I’m getting older(my body for sure knows it first thing in the mornings), but it isn’t until these moments do I really see the path behind me, already ventured down. With poetry and poetry readings this intrigues me because while I can see the difference and know the difference, the subject matter these young folks are speaking on are the same. Universal things. Unrequited love. Busted hearts. Ignorance. There are more mentions of technology methods(so strange to hear facebook brought up in a poem, but I guess that is the world these days) in regards to courtships and endings.

Most of my poems were older ones, and this felt really good to do. I’ve been writing a lot over the past few months, but feeling quite protective with this new material. Much of it isn’t ready to leave the nest just yet. They need to do nothing but simply exist in a space outside of my own head and heart, age in the air a bit. Some are only partially erected buildings, a staircase to nowhere, walls up but no roof. There’s pleasure in this part of it, when something is becoming but not complete.

I cannot ignore that there is home to found in my older work. So much of it has never seen the light of day, outside of a word document tucked away in one of my many files filled with the same. My archives are thick with unidentifieds and not-quite-there-yets and yes-but-forgottens. In an interview once, I remarked on how I had a habit of treating my work like a very bad lover. I loved them but left them, feigning a loss in interest. Moreso than losing interest I think that habit stemmed from being very self-critical, which was rooted in nothing but fear. I’ve been going through the archives, even the slightly ridiculous and/or painful parts, and paying attention. It feels like an opportunity to re-introduce myself, to listen, to understand myself better. For as much as I might have thought the work was garbage or worthless, I must’ve thought something more since I kept nearly all of it.