May 31 2010

summer shift

The days are long,

the nights stretch,

and I whisper

as I walk into the sunset.

My heart has wings,

my soul has dreams,

the forest is my home.


May 29 2010

things to write when
no one is looking

red poppies make me think of blood
they pop off the landscape like pinwheels

green is earth’s favorite color

i am in the mood for popcorn

this moment won’t last

i have been sitting here forever

the hawk that just flew over my head, he is the one,
the one i was supposed to be watching for

a blue chair in my garden is reflecting

white cottonwood falls like snow

today is the perfect temperature

i am surrounded by roses
they have thorns
their scent is cloying
they are beautiful

weeds taunt me and i ignore them

the woodpile directly before me is
the black walnut tree from my parents

when i was a kid we made
necklaces from horse chestnuts
i always cut my palm
boring holes through them with a knife

the necklaces lasted for a day
we spent the whole day before that
making them

silence is not golden it is purple

fireflies are faeries in disguise

i am 47
i would prefer
to be 39

my skin is so dry

i like a tree with gnarled branches

i like the word gnarled

this moment is for the birds

a chickadee


May 26 2010

heat wave

It is hot, so hot, way too hot for May, I want to go out and play,
in the sun, in my garden, and work up a really good sweat.

I want the sun to be sauna, cleanse my body, my soul, I want
to bake til I’m done to perfection.

I want to outlast the flowers that wilt in this heat, stand up tall, stretch my arms, drink the light.

I want to fill an old jar with cold lemonade, tip my head, let it run down my chin.

I want to veer off a path filled with trillium and fronds, find a spot that is dappled with shade.

I want to stand in the middle of life’s endless road and watch heat shimmer up from the pavement.

I want to pull up a chair when dusk comes to call and listen to birds say goodnight.

I want to feel the cool grass beneath my bare feet and watch as the fireflies frolic.

I want to count the planets, say their names one by one, and call them home like children.

I want to howl at the moon just because it is there and and seems to be begging for silence.

I want to lay down my head, sleep the sleep of the dead, when my body just aches with exhaustion.

I want to wake in the morning with sun in my eyes, all shadow removed from the room.

It is hot, so hot, way too hot for May,

I want to walk to the edge of the ocean.

May 25 2010

out of focus

If I take my contact lenses out, or my glasses off, this is how the world looks to me.

My vision is bad, really bad. I started wearing glasses when I was in fourth grade. And each year, they got stronger and stronger and stronger. For I while, I worried that it would just keep getting worse, and I would end up being declared legally blind. Finally, when I was a sixteen, things leveled off.

But even before that, my mom used to say that I saw the world through rose-colored glasses. And while I liked the sound of that, I had no idea what she meant. When I turned thirteen, she gave me a tiny little pair of antique spectacles that had red lenses. She gave them to me and she cried… saying that she hoped I would never stop seeing the world that way.

Through rose-colored glasses.

It is fairly easy to pull this off when you are young, easy to be optimistic, open-minded, innocent. Easy to look at the world with wonder. And I know what she meant, now. At thirteen, I was dreamy, a romantic, trusting. I was naive, in the way that it is okay to be, when you are young.

There was a period of time, right around then, when I started getting up really early just to watch the sunrise. I think this was also right around the time I started writing poetry. And I am not a get up early kind of girl, but I did, for most of the summer that year.
Just because. I still remember those mornings, the way they looked. The way I felt.

But as we get older, cynicism starts slowly moving in, one book, one sweater, one box at a time. It takes up residence in our hearts, in our minds, and it can be hard to kick back out. We stop doing things we love, just for the sake of doing them. Time gets in the way, the lack of it. Life gets in the way, things go wrong. Our way of looking at the world changes.

I still have those glasses. I’ve held on to them all these years. I pull them out every once in awhile, and peek at the world through rose-colored glasses once again. Just to remind myself to be optimistic, open-minded, to look at the world with wonder.

I can’t feign innocence, those years are gone. I can’t pretend that everything is always coming up roses, especially on days that are filled with weeds. But I can refuse to replace that naiveté with bitterness. I can refuse to be jaded.

When I grow old, I want to be the old laughing lady. The one with the rose-colored glasses, sitting in her rocking chair on the porch each day at sunrise. I want to greet each day with wonder. I want to end each night with hope.

My vision hasn’t changed all that much since I was a teenager.

My view of the world is still blurred around the edges.

But the light looks really pretty, doesn’t it?

Tuesdays Unwrapped

May 23 2010

the oh so bearable
lightness of being

Shadows that move, across the floor, up a wall, out the door. Creeping silently through life when they think no one is looking. Patterns that whisper, songs that recall, lines that pop in your head from a poem you learned at eleven.

I am stuck in a pattern of rinse and repeat. I walk in circles, accomplish nothing, bite my nails, pull my hair, open my mouth in a silent scream.

There is nothing there.

Of course, there is something there. But it is not what I want, not what I need, or not what I think it should be. No matter what it is,
it is none of these things. Nothing can assuage me. I look to the shadows, deeper, trying to discern what lies there, beneath the surface, this unrest, this revelation that refuses to reveal.

There is nothing there.

I run through a forest at night in my sleep and wish for someplace sunny. When the sun rises, I hide beneath the covers, wanting only the comfort of darkness. I am cold. I am hot. I am never just right. Not comfortable, not complacent, not appeased.

There is always something missing. The key is misplaced, stuck in a jar in the back of some cupboard long ago, owner gone but not forgotten, no longer here, no longer able to open this memory, that possibility. Perspective. A door that stays closed, sealed shut, forgotten in the shadows.

I think of a dream I had, years ago, now. After a friend ended his life. A dream I have never forgotten. He stood there, in this dream, at the top of the hill near the house I grew up in, the house my parents live in, still. His hair was long, wild, his clothes, dirty.
He smiled.

I am okay, he said. Just that.

I am okay.

It was a gift, that dream, a moment when the shadows receded to let a light shine through, a light that no one, no one was watching for.

When he did it, took that gun and said goodbye, we were shocked. Shocked, but not surprised. Of course, we said, he was not fit for this world. No, we said, this world was not fit for him. There was no place for him, here. No sanctuary. It made sense in the way that things that can never make sense, will.

I think of him, sometimes. When I see a shadow on a wall that lets the light shine through. A light that no one, no one is watching for.

And yes.

I am okay.

May 22 2010

this is not for you

though it would be
if i could offer
you, accept

but instead

it sits here, in my lap
licking wounds
no one asked for

and you,
you turn away
muttering, a whisper

crazy half grin

i never hear
what you say
never ask twice

if i do

there is no answer
just silence that hangs
the air between us


the way change
rips through your face
just a thought


May 20 2010

at seventeen…

How did that old song go? We learn the truth at seventeen…
I loved that song, then, but I realize now that there is so much you haven’t learned at seventeen, so many truths the world still has to show you.

My niece is seventeen today. And for her gift, she requested a post about her, humble girl that she is. So, I thought I would share a few of the things it took me longer than seventeen years to learn…not that I’m finished, yet.

Don’t give up too much of yourself for love. Ever.

Your heart will be broken, more than once. But you will survive. You will do more than survive, you will grow, each time.

The world is a tough and crazy place. It is also wonderful. It will,
at times, knock you down. But you will always get back up.

Be confident. And when you are not, fake it. It almost always
turns into the real thing.

Be sure to laugh, every day. I mean it. There is always something to laugh at, even if it is yourself. (Just call if you are ever short on possibilities, you can laugh at me.)

Stand tall. You are already tall, so don’t slouch. Stand up straight. Tower over life.

Don’t give in when you know you are right. Not right as in correct, right as in righteous. And understand the difference.

Learn how to compromise. It is a valuable tool that makes life easier. For everyone.

Learn how to forgive. It is a valuable tool that makes life easier.
For you.

Dance. Sing. Be happy. Without caring what anyone else thinks. Whenever and as often as you can.

Live with grace. Say please, and thank you, and always hold the door open for the next person.

Never stop learning. Keep asking questions. The more you learn,
the less you know.

Make waves. Especially when standing still is worse than the problem.

Go out into the world. Explore. Expand your horizon.

And most importantly, eat lots and lots of pickles.

Happy Birthday, Goofball.

May 18 2010

oh gosh, excuse me…

I’m so sorry, I really have to take this call…

But you can pop over to Vision and Verb for a little story about
what happened last time I said that…

May 16 2010

breathing space

Dust. It collects everywhere. On shelves and witches balls, in corners and my mind. It is pervasive, invasive, persuasive. It makes me want to give up, cry uncle, sing defeat.

I can’t keep up with the dust, so I’ve stopped trying. I let it sit there and ruminate on my blind eye turned elsewhere. Waiting. Dust knows we are enemies. In fact, we literally are, I am allergic.

But it is deeper than its own thin layer, dust. It is a sign of inertia. The battle of life, age, entropy.

Dust is dead. Dead space, dead air, dead cells. The opposite of life.

I watch it float through the air trapped in rays of sunshine, trying its best to look pretty. I feel it settle down around me, all the while making snide comments on my laziness. I smell its musty, fusty, dried up scent, just reeking of neglect.

Dust is illiterate, but I read the words that I draw in its layers and cringe at their implication. Clean me. Notice me. Take care.

It is not my fault, this dust, it is something that happens. We can remove it, daily, weekly, monthly, as often as there is time, but it will always return, unwanted visitor, benign blanket, ambivalent disguise.

I tackle dust, every so often, when I can’t tolerate its presence any longer. I wash and scrub and eradicate this evidence of days gone by, of life’s slow and steady passing. I make it sparkle.

We both know it is a losing battle.

But we pretend for a day, or at least an hour,

that I am victorious.

May 14 2010

the food chain

So yesterday, I let Brett, Number 4, most often known as Puddin’ Pie, outside for the first time in three days, and later, I look out the kitchen window and I see him carrying a huge bird in his tiny kitten mouth. And I thought it was a mockingbird, my mockingbird, the one that likes to tell me lots of stories, and I was oh, so not happy with Brett.

So I sent my husband a text that said, “Brett just killed the mockingbird,” and he called me and said, “No, that bird was out there when I mowed the lawn last night.” And Brett was not.

Pause. Okay….

And I was glad, oh so glad, that Brett didn’t kill it, and then, just a few minutes later, I heard the mockingbird, my mockingbird, singing his tune, and I was glad, oh so glad about that. But still, I had to wonder, who or what killed this bird, and why, knowing that we have six, yes, six! cats, did my husband just leave it out there?

Because then I couldn’t find Brett to get it away from him, and when he finally did come back, he was licking his chops, so I know, just know, that he had himself an I-have-no-idea-how-long-this-bird-has-been-dead snack.

But I can’t blame him, he’s a cat, for crying out loud. That’s his job in life. To kill birds and mice and those mice in clown’s costumes, the chipmunk. And then eat them.

And still it made me sad, because I love my birds and we have spent so much time and bird seed and bird baths and bird houses trying to attract them to our yard, and now we have these cats that I want to kill the mice and even the cute little chipmunks, but I definitely don’t want them killing birds.

But that is not the way nature works, not the way instinct works, and why did I think it would be, could be otherwise?

And then Brett, he comes inside and he climbs into my lap and he is just so stinkin’ cute and he is all cuddly, all purrs and kisses and sweet tiny meows in his funny little squeaky kitten voice. And I am in love with this kitten and his sweet cuddly kitten ways. But. I have seen, several times now, what he can do.

What he is capable of.

Food for thought, that.