Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another experience, on the long list of experiences, that I hope will be mine one day

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Star Block

There is no such thing
as star block.
We do not think of
locking out the light
of other galaxies.
It is light
so rinsed of impurities
(heat, for instance)
that it excites
no antibodies in us.
Yet people are
curiously soluble
in starlight.
Bathed in its
absence of insistence
their substance
loosens willingly,
their bright
designs dissolve.
Not proximity
but distance
burns us with love.

Kay Ryan


My daughter gave me Kay Ryan's Say Uncle
for Christmas. I was telling her a few weeks
ago that I had never read any of the work of
the new Poet Laureate of the US, so she choose
this selection. Haven't decided yet how much
I like her, but I like the poem above.

It makes me think about a comment someone
made one time about how ridiculous he found
the old saying absence makes the heart grow fonder
to be. He's one of those people you meet who think they
are right most of the time, so I went along with him,
but I do think there is something to be said
for the longing that comes with absence.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Living In The Moment
Another place I long to visit

(and a picture taken when they were frozen over one year)

Friday, December 26, 2008


Oh yes, we watched bits and pieces all day long
and into the night. I almost bought the lamp
for my mom.
Finding it hard

to post (what's new!).

What a busy three days it's been. But good busy.
I was thinking last night, when I finally went to bed,
about the fact that my daughter got here about 4 Christmas
Eve and how by bedtime last night she had only been
here for a little more than 24 hours, and I was thinking
how much we crammed into those hours.

We played a game last night that I really enjoyed.
I probably enjoyed it more because I won both
rounds! I do like to win, I admit that. One of my flaws,
I guess. It's called Apples to Apples. It was fun!

I got some great gifts from hubby, sons, and daughter.
Some Annie Dillard I have not read, the newest Dylan
box set, some gift cards, the newest Lucinda Williams.

The conversation, at one point, revolved around where
we would travel if money was no issue and we had the time.
We had to say the place we would most like to go.

I said first on my list is here.

I am sneezing my head off. It was 64 degrees here today.
Tomorrow may be in the 70s with high winds. I so hope
no tornadoes are in the picture.

I want to read Hemingway's A Clean Well-Lighted Place.
Has anyone read it?
My friend was telling me I needed to read it.
Hemingway says something like
My Nada who aren't in Nada, Nada be thy name, etc.

I am way beyond tired. I think. I say that so much.
Oh to live the clean life. No alcohol, limited salt, much
exercise. The wholesome, healthy life. The wine
occasionally with the meal, the fruits in abundance,
the veggies at hand.

But me, I just like to go away too often.

Go away way way down yonder into the belly
of the beast. Swallowed up whole. Waking
up inside the Leviathan not knowing how
you got there and not giving a shit as long as
you get puked back up into where you were before,
the Leviathan not having enough intestinal fortitude
to keep you inside.

And then starting it all over again. Oh, the lack of drama
in the drama always unfolding.

Monday, December 22, 2008

And here's another place I've wanted to go for some time

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guess the location

I've been thinking about places I would go if I could. Places
I want to see before I leave this earth. This is one place
I've always wanted to visit. I get the feeling, that by the time
I can retire, I might not have the energy to go much of anywhere.
I hope that's not true.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

That's How The Light Gets In

I need to wrap gifts. I need to do laundry. I will
do my best.

Cooked Orange glazed pork chops with teriyaki
noodles. Stir fried some scallions and edamame
and tossed them in the noodles. Served the pork
on top. All very good.

We had our Christmas party at work yesterday.
I must say it was the most fun I've ever had
at an office Christmas party. More to come about that.

This song is resonating tonight.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I told you, months before the orchid
bloomed and years after we planted
the first azalea, that you would leave.

The remains of you lie scattered like so
much dust and dirt in this place; your unfolding
is my undoing. Your undoing, my unfolding.

It rained that morning--a rain hard
and fast--as if it must come that way
or not at all, ever. A consuming

rain: no discernable ditch, no yard
to recognize, a face behind a sweatshirt
hood too far removed from feel

and touch to matter. The wind-caught
door slammed itself into tomorrow--
a place we find ourselves now, disturbed

and free, the way the rain can be, the way
the unhinged door--screws missing--still hangs
there, no one left to fix the barely workable,

much as its done its best to hang on tightly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Won't say (yep, I will, I'm f***ing tired!)

Spent all day yesterday (from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m)
Christmas shopping. I had not done any of my shopping
(other than purchasing Wes's laptop), so I am relieved
it is all done. But I am also tired. I hate to shop!!!!!!!

I did enjoy Barnes & Noble and Borders. Bought myself
a CD at B & N. Here's a song from the CD:

Could not find Etta at her best on You tube...I so love this
song. I am such a sucker for nostalgia and for life like I wish
it had been and has never been. A dreamer, my teachers
used to call me.

And I dream alright, but I'm not the dreamer they meant.

It hurts me, but it is me. And so I'll just let myself go and go
and go and live in the fantasy and know it's not real and probably
never will be but, uh, but I can dream and I can do whatever
in the hell I want to do. Sorta.

I wanted to be the girl who could be it all...mommy, wife,
career woman, friend, lover.

No, that's all a lie. I wanted to not hurt anymore. I wanted
to think I could do anything and be anything, but I knew that
was not what my life was going to be like.

I wanted to get some sleep at night. I wanted my mom and dad
to be crazy in love. I wanted my mom to stop screaming at my
dad and my dad to make her stop without being cruel. And he
wasn't cruel and he wasn't the person to make her stop.
But he was the person who loved her and she loved him
and it's all so screwed up that nothing makes a whole helluva
lot sense except the things people say to me who live that way
too and I know what they mean and wish I didn't and I know
my life was way, way, way easier than theirs and if I still hurt
like this and doubt myself like this and do things to to hurt me
like this all these years later than what's gonna help them.

And then I really gotta think and listen harder than I've ever
listened in my whole life and hope I say one thing in response
that helps them so they don't live the rest of their lives
like this.

Borrowing. Stealing. Believing. Not believing. Numbing, numbing,
numbing the senseless pain. The ridiculous need to punish.
To punish themselves. To punish what we are.

And on that note, here's another song I just love to listen to
again and again:

I see my light come shining
from the west unto the east
any day now, any day now,
I shall be released

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When Sleep Won't Come

How much responsibility
to take for this: the hands
running fingers through the hair,

the words swallowed and regurgitated,
the split second the fluorescent light
in the office decides to blink on

just when the tears start, the way the words
stop, a serendipitous dam blocking
their passage? I do not know.

I do not know what responsibility I own.

The eyes look upward and then to me
as if to say This is the pregnant pause
or the dénouement, the aside—

stage left--the moment the audience
grimaces in their seats, ready for comedic
relief, the time I need to cut my losses and run.

And my eyes can only beg forgiveness
for the silliness of preparation for which
there is no precedence, the absurd

way the listener knows there is no art
for listening that makes much sense.
What have we done?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Back Home

Spent the weekend with my friend who lives
in Marietta (about 10 miles from Atlanta)
just cutting loose and having fun. I got there
Friday about 6:20 her time. Home made French
Onion soup and French bread waiting for me.
We talked, laughed, ate, listened to music and crashed.

The next night we cooked a game hen, some garlic
smashed potatoes, and limas. I was filled physically,
emotionally, and intellectually by the time I left there
on Sunday.

She sent gifts to my youngest son and hubby (and me!):
youngest son got a piece of driftwood she found, which looks
very much like a wolf's head; hubby got a Loretta Lynn
CD (the one Jack Stripe produced), and I got a 2009
lunar calendar poster--awesome!

Cooking Thai tonight. Last night Black Bean soup.

Much to say and wanted to say and write of my thoughts
over the weekend but don't know if I'll get there tonight.


The Titans played the Cleveland Browns this past Sunday.
I don't like football, but I like some people I know who
like football.

There is one for you in me, my friend, but I can't do
it justice tonight--don't know that I ever can.

The poem ran through my head for months,
the lines writing themselves on my drive to Atlanta.

But Jose and my weariness leave me incapable of writing.

I didn't even get to think about how it would feel to drive
by the stadium--not a football field away--and know you
were there. My timing was off.

So, I took the Briley to avoid all the exiting fans.

Tonight, I settle for your picture in my junior high
year book and the thought that you thought enough
of me to tell me your plans.

It's been 36 years. Time doesn't change anything.

People change things.

To 36 years of staying in touch.

I lift my glass to you and hope our paths meet at some point
in time.

And I'm sorry your team lost, but I bet you had a helluva good time.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ghost Orchid

This Is How It's Done

They would come out of the dryer, so long
and wrinkle-free, their blossoms and stripes

asking to be tended. My grandmother took
them from the heat, fixed her fingers into corners

and showed me how it was done. I tried to do
what she showed me tonight, folding the gold

800 count Egyptian sheets, but I was all thumbs
and failed miserably in my attempt. Maybe the trick

only works on 200 count Sears or JC Penney's sheets.
Of course, I make the numbers up. Based on conversations

and memories. I guess it all counts, no matter the type
or fiber. I know the loss counts. My grandmother's

death, my friend's. I think of them both as I try once
more to get a firm grasp on what matters, whether it be

the thread count or the methodology of folding. Both
of them have left me with this: there is a way, and there

is no way. Both speak to me tonight, awake and alone,
trying to make sense out of the things I do to fill in the hours.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Cabbage

You have rented an apartment.
You come to this enclosure with physical relief,
your heavy body climbing the stairs in the dark,
the hall bulb burned out, the landlord
of Greek extraction and possibly a fatalist.
In the apartment leaning against one wall,
your daughter's painting of a large frilled cabbage
against a dark sky with pinpoints of stars.
The eager vegetable, opening itself
as if to eat the air, or speak in cabbage
language of the meanings within meanings;
while the points of stars hide their massive
violence in the dark upper half of the painting.
You can live with this.

Ruth Stone

Monday, December 01, 2008

Hell, why not the whole thing?

Meaningful Love

What the bad news was
became apparent too late
for us to do anything good about it.

I was offered no urgent dreaming,
didn't need a name or anything.
Everything was taken care of.

In the medium-size city of my awareness
voles are building colossi.
The blue room is over there.

He put out no feelers.
The day was all as one to him.
Some days he never leaves his room
and those are the best days,
by far.

There were morose gardens farther down the slope,
anthills that looked like they belonged there.
The sausages were undercooked,
the wine too cold, the bread molten.
Who said to bring sweaters?
The climate's not that dependable.

The Atlantic crawled slowly to the left
pinning a message on the unbound golden hair of sleeping maidens,
a ruse for next time,

where fire and water are rampant in the streets,
the gate closed—no visitors today
or any evident heartbeat.

I got rid of the book of fairy tales,
pawned my old car, bought a ticket to the funhouse,
found myself back here at six o'clock,
pondering "possible side effects."

There was no harm in loving then,
no certain good either. But love was loving servants
or bosses. No straight road issuing from it.
Leaves around the door are penciled losses.
Twenty years to fix it.
Asters bloom one way or another.

John Ashbery


Yes, Mr Ashbery, Asters Bloom One Way or the Other

However, they don't always bloom in this yard,
no matter the time I take, the perfect blend of manure
and fertilizer, the dead-heading and the watering.

Interestingly enough, they tend to do better untended.
Which amuses me somewhat but frustrates me more.
Am I not needed? Are these hands--daring to go ungloved

into the black earth, exposing themselves to shards
of old clay, brick, and glass--not enough? I am not squeamish
and don't mind touching the underbelly nor the topside

of an earthworm, but it's the forgetting them there in the hot
son that gets to me. I--slaving for hours to perfect my aster
garden--only think of them when it's time to put the shovel

and hoe away for the day and I discover what I think is an old
rubber band there next to my beaten-up New Balance. Being
the child I still am with the need to touch things that sometimes

hurt me, I lift a shriveled body up to eye-level and think of the loss,
eyes darting back down to the cool soft ground to search for more
casualties. Mr. Ashbery, I think I just realized why the asters thrive

without worm-killer me--me who can't even let a worm go honorably
to its death.