Thursday, June 24, 2010

I do not know many poets.
I do not know any poets, really.
Which sounds bleak, I know.

I think sometimes that
I might join a
Poetry reading group.
Or allow a (real) poet to
Read and critique me.

I think again.

I really do not know
How to write a poem.
Or how to read one.

And frankly, I do not care.

Why do I write?
Why do I breathe?
I do not know.

I do know that I breathe to live.
I do not write to live.
But it is surely the same
Drive that leads me to breathe
Or eat
Or have sex
That I feel in my center solar
When it is time to write again.

I do not ever know what I will write about.
All I know is that it is time.
And I do not work on it for weeks.
I work on it for minutes.

Until it is done.

It has got to be like
How a colonic would feel.
Except, of course,
I am not getting rid of
A lot of shit.

Or am I?

At least, I do not think so.
I write only in a way
That looks good to me.
Or sounds right to my ear
When I read it aloud
To myself.

I sometimes think I would like
To write about lofty things.
Things from other places.
Places that one might deem
More important
Than the ordinary life that is my own.

But then I realize
That I do not know of any place
Like that.
And I cannot write of things and places
That I do not know.

How could I?

My friend Jim told me the other morning
that he was telling a friend's son
that he was trying to decide
whether to paint a landscape
of the gardens where we live
or of the animals.
The young man told him, "You shouldn't
paint about any of these things. I took some
photos while in Europe. You should paint those!"
And Jim said to me, "I don't want to paint about there!
I want to paint about here."

I understood that.

What this gives rise to
Is the value of speaking
For your environment
Not just of it.

Telling of things you know
For the things you know.

In other words
To point to the ordinary life
And offer a language
For the voiceless
To be seen in its
New expression.

And in this way
One might never see a familiar
Or an animal
In the same way

Monday, June 14, 2010

Most mornings now I eat my cereal on the front porch
Sitting on the stoop, barefoot
surrounded by green clover, weeds, spindly overgrown pansies
two cats (one not mine, but who claims me anyway)
and a dog.

Often called "quiet solitude" it is anything but that
Though I still recognize the hint and feel a nudge from my
surroundings that I am sitting in a new reality
And the world I inhabit is tilting in another direction
It is one without children

There were paintings in our house when I was young
Wildlife ones painted by an artist friend
who is still a friend
Two of them were placed on the wall above the sofa
side by side
one of a red fox,
the other, two squirrels
One afternoon my nephew, very young at the time,
pronounced them as,
"Two Skunks and a Dog!"

I often think of that when flanked by these
two cats and the beagle all vying and vying and vying
for the leftover milk
in my cereal bowl
Realizing that those paintings now
reside in another house on another wall
My memory of them an echo
And only projected upon these
unsuspecting creatures whose energy too
is fleeting through time

I was thinking yesterday and this is without
pride or gratitude, mind you, I wasn't even feeling
guilt about it when I recognized
that I was holding it, holding time
sitting in a perfect 'something'
On the front porch
I experienced something quite undone, unfettered
undressed, even unrequited
I just happened to be there with the animals
and they didn't know it, of course, because
they are always there
But I watched in quiet servitude to whatever
it is I serve
Acknowledging, simply, yes it is--
(Held and gone that quickly),
It is perfect.

Whatever perfect even means, I don't know
But it is the best description I have
Because earlier, or later, depending on perspective
I'd awoken at around 2.30, deeply troubled when
I heard the word "mom" spoken so clearly
by my oldest child who is no longer living with me

He wasn't there when
I opened my eyes
I got up to check on the smaller children
and wondered if I would find his shoes by the door
Where he used to leave them after coming in at night
In the past it was a certain sign of his safety
that he'd arrived home
But the space by the front door was
and is empty of his shoes

He is gone
And so I released my panic for his sake
I went back to bed with a soft heart
A mind eased
That his shoes are now sitting (or not sitting)
beside another door
at this late, or early, hour
for me to not worry over anymore