Sunday, July 3, 2011

The sun came through the south-east window positioned odd
but it burned my eyes like a summer one
It enticed me to imagine that it might be more temperate out there
than I thought.
So, I walked out of the door into it's light
where the wind from the west swiftly ditched in line,
reminding me that it's his turn at the seasonal wheel.
It chilled me to the bone.
"It's not warm," was the reminder.

Alright, alright, a girl can hope, can't she....

I was glad that I put on the gray and red flannel,
the one with the quilted lining,
and that I'd found some heavy boy socks to slip into.
Tip-toeing across the stones to get to the truck,
a couple of pulls of the frozen passenger door
and it reluctantly creaked open to let me in.
It knows what's coming and I wasn't expecting cooperation,
not in these temperatures.
So, I didn't sit in it,
I just leaned over the seat and turned the key.
And even though I only half expected it,
the dependable Red Rover growled it's yawn.
I should know better.
Good old truck.
I flipped, flipped, flipped each dial
to call open the fan to offer me some full-on heat.
It blew, "All I got is cold right now."
I was fine with that.
"Shiver here a minute," I said, "and find your bearings. You'll warm up in no time."
It just hummed and blew.

The beagle had followed me out.
She ran back and forth in the front yard,
excited and full of energy.
A new day for her, in her new life
and she has a 10 or more year lease on it
If her luck holds out.
I thought, "Her confidence soars when she's out of the house."
I tip-toed back to the front and stood on the step for a minute,
whistled for her
and she ran sideways to me.
She runs sideways.
She came right to me, her savior,
assured that her reward would be in heaven,
or in a shiny stainless steel bowl in the laundry room
it's all the same to her.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


This is odd, but sometimes when I am thinking about cleaning the bath, or taking a bath, or washing my face, the image that I think of --the room that occurs to me-- is not the one in the house I live in now; but, almost invariably it is the bathroom from the house that my dad built in the country. I will think, "I need to clean the bath," and that terribly ugly blue bathtub from my folks house materializes in my mind.

Anyhow, what I was thinking is there must be a story in there, in the bathroom in my mind, that is wanting me to coax it out. So, I thought on it for a little bit and I said, "Okay, so what do you want me to tell about." And the picture that came to me was of something that happened when I was 23 while in the blue bathroom that changed with me in my life.

A year or so before I'd come home to live with my mom and dad after a few years of living away. I was working and living, but mostly what I was doing was partying, and I crashed most often on my friend Linda's couch in town on the weekends.

And I met this guy. This young man, I met him on his 21st birthday. To me, he looked like an Indian brave with all this wild, long, black hair and his nose was sharp and also, funny enough, a little flat. I liked the way his jawbone curved up around his ears and the skin that covered it was kind of an olive white with seemingly no pores ~ it just glowed, so touchable. I'd never seen skin like that. When I first saw him, I think I remember my heart flipped over on itself because his teeth were so bright and lined up in his mouth like God had taken time with each, one by one, like picking perfect pearls and carefully placing them in his gums. And what I did, because I couldn't help myself, was watch him.

My girlfriends and I would go to this bar on Thursday nights to drink and dance, and he would come in sometimes, usually by himself, but once he came in with a stunning girl. I stared at him from the other side of the bar until she noticed, and she was obviously annoyed by me, and she maybe commented to him about it. He came over to me and sat down, I think to set me straight, and he said, "Hey, sweetheart."

I went, "That's not my name."
He was like, "I'm sorry?"
I said, "That's not what I go by. I'm not Sweetheart."

He didn't say anything for a minute while he looked around, and then went, "Okay." And he walked back to the pretty girl, and I smiled at her, but she didn't smile back.

Later, Linda and I walked down to the convenience store close-by, and he was there inside with his buddy. I waved at him and he waved to me, and then as we were all walking out at the same time, he was holding the door for us, I took ahold of his arm and pulled him out of the store and made him skip with me all the way back to the bar.

When we got to the front door I asked him, "Where's your girlfriend?"
He said, "She ain't my girlfriend."
I went, "Okay, so where is she?"
He was like, "I dunno."

Linda came around the corner and met up with us and she asked him, "Who are you?"
I introduced them, and then I said to her, "I'm going to keep this one. Okay?"
She shrugged, "Okay."

He and I chatted outside and he told me so many lies and fed me so much bullshit which I ate up like chocolate, and begged for more. He was so glorious to me. I'd never met any man this beautiful, and he was as careless and wild as I wanted to be. Later, we went back to Linda's apartment where he and I slept in her roommate's room. I woke early and saw him there beside me, and thought to myself, "Oh crap."

Time went on and for awhile I was kind of into him. Sometimes I wanted to be with him, sometimes not. He often cramped my style, but he was so fun that I just settled into the routine of being his girlfriend.

Something strange happened though. Something got serious.

He told me about a scholarship he was given to be able to attend school for free but that the opportunity would run out when he was 22. I knew he couldn't let that happen so we worked together, making phone calls, filling out registration, etc... and in a few months, he went from living in a constant stupor on some guy's couch to being a Freshman at our local University. I decided to pursue an education too, and attended a community college. I thought that I might like to go on to University too, and maybe do something in medicine. People who'd been around us, our partying friends fell away, and it ended up just us for awhile. I wasn't in love, but there was something deep that held me to him.

Over Thanksgiving break we went to Florida and something shifted inside me while we were there. I looked at him in another way and I saw a young man with a bad temper, childish reactions to things, his pouting and....ok, this is getting really boring, I know, I know. But it wasn't even him, something happened inside me that made me more sure about my life and what I wanted. At the time I never would have guessed that not only was it my mind and heart that were changing, but my entire body chemistry ~ and how it was all working together to recreate my future...

Wtf does this have to do with a blue bathroom right? How 'bout I fast forward?

Okay, so on the way home from Florida he blew his top over my sticking one of those plastic thingies that you push in through the rind of an orange to drink juice right from the fruit? He told me they didn't work, but I wanted to try anyhow. I thought it was brilliant, this little pokey thing, and the idea of being able to use it to drink directly from the oranges that I was bringing back from Florida was too much temptation for me. I poked it in and the juice ended up all over his car seat. He hit the roof, he was so angry, and then my immediate thought was, "I hate this beautiful boy. I'll wait 'til after Christmas and then break up with him."

A few weeks later, though, I was in the blue bathroom upstairs in my parent's house. Many secret things went on in there over the years, but this was the biggest secret of all. And it was between me and whatever was going on inside of me. I took the test that I bought at the store on my way home from work that day, I removed it from it's aluminum and paper wrapper, and held it under the stream of urine as directed. Who knew that this was something that I'd brought back with me from Florida, too? The line turned dark, dark blue. It was like the test was speaking to me boldly, "This is your answer, lady. Don't ask me again."

My mother called up to me from the bottom of the stairs and asked, "Well, how is it?"

I was staring in the mirror by then. No college for me now. And it was here at this moment that I learned something very important, much more important than anything I'd learned up to this point in my life, and it was this: Things happen. You can try to plan your life, but it's not ever going to be the way you think. And also, the way I chose to react to this thing was going to affect everyone around me and most particularly the little zygote forming into personhood inside my belly. I thought to myself, "How I respond to her will affect her response and everyone's response to me and to this little baby for the rest of our lives."

So I said through the closed door, "It's fine."
She asked, "Fine as in you're not pregnant?"
I said, "No, fine as in I am."

I think she still had some dramatic reaction to it, but for me, and this is the first truly conscious thought I had about my personal future, and it was inside me, inside that blue bathroom that I understood something, and it said, "I see. Okay, this is what it's about. This is what I'm going to do. I'm going to be a mother."

So, it was not long after this that I did say goodbye to the wild, dark beauty with the luminous skin, and to his sparkly teeth, too ~ although, I did end up keeping him in a way that I never expected.....


A breakneck pace

of a hungry dog feeding on limited marrow

savoring the small bone

A fortune of effortless breathing

but a numbered heartbeat

A thrum of pulse igniting the sequence

miles of hills and valleys, the careening stream


An epoch, faint gentle hands pushing through the gate

gate after gate after gate

Opening to the next meandering expedition

toward an inevitable grief

A brain synapse reminds of the impermanence

each moment a variation of the last

Tick..tick.. tick...

A going, a return


Life in,

And suspended..

The exchange

Between purity and poison

There is a pause

No fluctuation..

No movement...

Then, a sweeping,

the dust of the exhale, life released.

Ah, the activity of the honeycomb seems constant,

A din of inspirited hum

Not to be restrained...

Then, the voluntary hold

To reconsider the silence

Between life and not life

And the soundless breath

Before heeding to the pressure

Forced to acquiesce to the purging

To redeem my very essence


There was a day in summer
when I rode my bike
to go passed it

Then I stopped a moment
to let my imagination unwind
to recollect the scent of viburnum
to let my mind wander along the edge
of a neatly placed railroad tie
to see
the spirea bursting bridal white
from the edge of the maturing trees

Trees that used to be a gangly young wood
before being cleared away
to accommodate the building
of a sturdy gray structure with black shutters
amid the chaos of wild grapevine, hickory and locust

I recall the pink and white impatiens
neatly planted each beside the other,
beside the other...
And the red walkway
brick to brick held together with new sand
leading to the front door
which when opened
allows a breeze through the entryway
to the back doors
to a wooden deck
sitting high on hand-built footers
absorbing all the energy of the
golden rays
a skin seering heat when touched
awaiting the protection of the canopy's
with the birds which will come to sup
at the feeders
come evening

And in my mind's eye
there are the screens readied and clean
waiting below each window
for their seasonal turn
and a sweating glass of melting ice
from a quenched thirst
and two folding chairs
and a wrought iron plant stand
freshly painted a light yellow
or maybe off-white..
there is a stream
in all it's meandering
and the odd shape of the side yard

the unwound hose
the wheelbarrow
and spade
the opened doors of the garage
the dogwood
the evergreen
once spindly and hopeful...

Here the thought wanders forward
beyond the bedrock driveway

And back to now
and to the red bike that doesn't belong there
nor it's reminiscent owner

And the memory
folds itself up like an old lover's letter
neatly placed back in it's tucked awayness

The sun
hot and clear
shining on the upturned face
to a new sky

And a mower hums
a dog barks

While I pedal forward again
back from where I came

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A wee sound picked up
and carried by the air
underneath the doorway
dancing down the stairs
through the kitchen
bouncing lightly
off the walls
narrowing inside
the tunneled hall
muffled and squeezing
beneath the bedroom door
and a quick sweep
to pirhouette around the corner
so tender and small
alighting so soft on the
the tiniest bones
in the human body
as a gift
Sweet song of a bathing child
Sweet song

Monday, February 7, 2011

She said mumbling,
Did you remember to
set the alarm?
He told her bumbling,
She was all fumbling,
It's still winter
He replied grumbling,
But I set it for