Friday, May 29, 2009

New Poems

or, rather, new-ish poems. wrote them about a month ago

Child’s Pose

as her family slept
the child crept, heel to toe
down steps and through doors
to the little yellow tree
in the backyard that blocks
the chained and broken gate.
the lesser light hung heavy
in the hearkening sky,
shining borrowed light on
the brown bottoms of her bare feet
as she knelt, head resting
on midnight green grass
damp with the remnants
of April’s last shower.
She remembered that morning
when, under her stroking hand,
the animal closed its eyes
and the body released
shit and soul on her sundress.
watching little yellow flowers
fall like stars or skin
she weeps, wishing
she did not understand
the science that they taught her.
under the little yellow tree,
dirt she had held in her hands,
black like worms
under her finger nails
as she let the grains
slide over open palms,
slipping through fingers
and falling to blanket
legs and furry face,
which life was this?



This is my body
as it was in the garden
as it was when
I was a child in the bath
before you cast us out
and the world came in
and I had to stretch my skin
to make the sadness fit.
This is my body
as you remember it,
as your hands remember
the places they created
the hollows between my bones
the branching tubes that
bind and feed and bleed
the colors of my eyes
that change shape in the sun

This is my body
after sucking at the knowledge
that fell like fruit
too ripe to be held.
the words you wanted me to steal
slipping from the corners of my mouth
staining my skin
and everything I see.
This is my body
fault lines and flaws
breaking under your breath,
swaying chords that sing
like suspension bridges,
hairs and scars and the marks
where I have burned,
finger nails and smiling lips
the green leaves of my shame.

This is my body
dirt and blood,
blood and water and bread.

This is my body
I give it up for you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

you were at the party where i hired the singing gorilla!

Driving home at five o’clock in the morning, my clothes in a plastic bag on the passenger’s seat, I couldn’t help but think that maybe I could spend my entire life on this “slender, riotous island”.

Who knows how long this feeling will last, how long until the wanderlust starts churning in my veins and I have to dig my fingers into the soil to tear up the roots that started spreading out last night. Next year? Next month? Tomorrow? But right now it feels like summer, real summer, not just the heat and the lengthening of days, but the way summer used to mean something when we were kids; freedom, possibility, the way everything just seemed to happen like ice cream and music. No one ever wants to leave summer.

A little over a week ago I turned 28, which isn’t all that old geologically speaking, but feels pretty damn ancient when you haven’t accomplished anything with your life. Or, rather, I haven’t accomplished anything that society would consider to be a pat on the back worthy success.

It’s not laudable to have written a book unless you’ve been published and lots of clever people say you’re worth reading, or, many, many more moderately intelligent to “how the fuck do they dress themselves” stupid people pay to read what you have written. For a long time I’ve been caught up in trying to make myself into society’s version of a successful writer. In the back of my head, at every job, every day, it’s always been ‘this is just until I can live off my writing’. Because that’s the goal, right?
But lately I’ve been thinking that I’ve been going about this wrong- big surprise, me going about something the wrong way. How can I expect to write anyone’s favorite book (which is the real dream) if all the time I’m writing I’m hoping that these are the words that will save me from this mediocre life I’ve made for myself? That’s kind of a lot of pressure to put on a paragraph. I need to find a job that doesn’t make me want to do harm to myself and others, a job that can be a career, that I can be in for the long haul. Because I don’t need to write the next Harry Potter or Da Vinci Code, or, god help me, fill in the blank Nora Roberts novel (that woman has earned so much money for writing so much crap), I just need to write what’s inside me and if I’m very, very lucky someone somewhere in someplace in time will love something I’ve created the way I have loved so many books. If you’re expecting your words to save you from financial ruin they can’t save you in the ways that they’re supposed to.

I think all my life I’ve been waiting to be rescued. But I don’t live in a tower, or a dragon guarded castle, there are no wicked stepsisters in sight and I have yet to eat a poisoned apple. I don’t need to be rescued so it is really about time that I stopped wanting to be. I’m 28, for god’s sake; all the princes are looking for Taylor Swift.

And I’m cool with that. I’m not really the prince type. I like them a bit dorkier, with a bit more geek and a whole heap of nerd. Which is beside the point, because this isn’t about my Eliot poem of a love life.

This is about slowly figuring things out, even if you never really figure things out. About realizing that even when you don’t really know who you are, you still know how to be yourself. And about one perfect night that was perfect not because of any post-card perfection, Hollywood montage of moments filled with beautiful people making all the right moves, but was perfect because of the disappointments and defeats, annoyances and awkwardness. Because the things that make nights memorable hardly ever have to do with what you wanted at the time but when, sometime around 4 A.M., you realize that what you got is so much better. And because jumping into a pool with your clothes on is always the right decision.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Can anyone direct me to Waponi Woo?

I am happy and miserable. Not the usual ADDesque hop-scotching of emotional squares but it’s as if my feelings are singing two notes at the same time and the harmony is both comforting and exhausting.

In one of the choirs at one of the colleges I attended while taking the scenic route through higher education the choir director asked me if I could sing two notes at once. He was only partially kidding. Our tenor section was full of pansies, I have a pretty good range, and my singing two notes at once would have been much easier for him than trying to figure out which parts of which songs I would sing with the altos and which with the tenors. I sing much better in choirs than I do by myself. Maybe it’s the being part of something that brings that confidence out in me, maybe it’s something about wanting to be seen while hiding. Maybe it’s because my tongue longs to sing words it doesn’t understand.

That same choir director also gave me the alto part in the Regina Coeli quartet. I was shocked that I was able to gather the balls to audition; I was incredulous when I actually got it. I wasn’t the only one. A girl whom I was friendly with, who was also an alto, congratulated me with: “so, you’re singing the whole thing?” Her voice tinged with hope and confusion. I should have replied with: “That’s right, bitch. The. Whole. Thing. He picked me, NOT YOU. Deal with it,” then strutted away as murmured choruses of “Oh, no, she didn’t” erupted around me. But what I actually did was blush, shrug awkwardly, and say “uh…um…I guess?” before walking away thinking I’m singing the whole thing, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, and trying to stave off an anxiety attack.

I haven’t been in a choir since I graduated. And although I sing loud and proud in the shower and my car, I haven’t even so much as stepped up to a karaoke machine in probably over a year. This is a symptom of a larger problem, quite possibly a brain cloud. The good news is I am acutely aware of the problem (i.e. how completely uninhabitable my life is), the bad news is I may be sacrificed to an Orange Crush God before I figure things out.

Every day, good days, bad days, I feel more and more just how desperately I need to get out of retail. I think part of the reason I hate H.B. so much is because I know that if I don’t get off this train I’m going to become her. *shudder* Problem is I got an English degree then threw myself into 4 years of retail slavery. I have absolutely no idea what else I can do. Oh, marketable skills, how I pine for you. As much as I hate retail management I’m good at it (god, that makes me sad) and it comes with health insurance. The prospect of finding something new is daunting, but the idea of staying is devastating.

What I need is for the universe to tell me just what it is that it wants from me, cause if I knew I would totally get on that.

Or a Sugar Daddy.

Either works for me.