I haven’t been doing much creative writing lately,
is coming out in the fall and contrary to what I’d somehow fooled myself into thinking,
my work is only just begun.
More to come lovelies, I promise. all sorts of things are moving and shaking.. a website, a video, events, travel. opportunities for folks to support getting the stories in my book out into the world. For now… disjointed waitress poetry will make an attempt to return, because learning how to market a book gives me a headache, and I need to write creatively again.
Filed under Americana, As it Turns Out There Were People In All Those Little Communities, Atomic Bomb, basic goodness, blue collar, cancer, Change, Civil Disobedience, coexistence, Colonialism, community, culture.society.anthropology., death, Deep Ecology, Desert, Family, fathoming, feminism, Food, Garden, gathering, gratitude, History, Homeland, Hope, howard zinn, journalism, Labor, love, meditation, memory, migration, motherhood, Nevada Test Site, Nuclear weapons, on writing, Peace, Peacewalk, poetry, stories, violence, watching it all go by, wendell berry
the branches are thrashing and swooping
on the trees
like tango dancers
battered by the same notes
the boys took the bus downtown in the storm
because they wanted to
and I spend the first 45 minutes of my precious
fixing the vacuum.
so as to avoid
dragging it out into the rain and wind
to go to the friendly neighborhood vacuum and sewing shop
where a nice old grey haired nice lady will push her glasses
up on her head and narrow her eyes and tell me
there are 3 pens, a thomas the tank engine
and 2 cubic feet of dog hair
jammed in there and am
I really surprised it has stopped working
They do not stop, the stories.
Just when you’ve had time to return to your ordinary life, finish the dishes, get caught up on the laundry, have a glass of wine with a friend, feel selfish,
they come cascading down on your shoulders,
rending your heart,
teaching your lungs and your pumping muscles
things they may have always known
loss is coming
death is imminent
the ones you love will perish too.
And you bend over the sink,
sobbing into the dish water,
tasting the truth of love
you cannot keep bad things from happening
even if you
curl around your core
keep the world from your heart,
or smother the ones you love under your wings,
you cannot hold pain at bay.
and your heart becomes a weaker organ
your skin loses its thickness
and so you open
making yourself stronger through surviving
bearing witness doesn’t have to break you down.
it feels that way at first, sure.
and you think about your Jewish ancestors
who tore their clothes in grief,
and you lean in to the power of ritual.
learn that if you allow the grief to tear you open
it will teach you things
Before you know it June is half unspooled, your husband writing report cards and packing up his second grade classroom for the summer, the bean plants stretching up their poles and the toddler nearly three, baby no more, unfurled into an articulate, opinionated boy who will leap from heights twice his own and lobby you to buy carrots. Your new tattoo is peeling and settling in to the skin of your arm, and you’ll be 32 in a few days. Yesterday you and Lainie burned some scraps of paper in the firepit outside, toasting each other with small sips of bourbon in the midday sun. You both received word this week that you’d succeeded at something large, but it’s a twisting road from this success to a life where your aprons are relics, and the bills still need to get paid, and this makes you both feel very tired. so you had a ceremony, and the smoke swirled up into the sunlight, and it cleared both your heads. Run a fingertip now over a small scar on your palm from the day you hoed the garden without gloves, a blister that did not survive the subsequent 9 hour shift at the pub lugging kegs and trays up and down the weathered wooden floorboards. It’s healed now, but the outlines are still tangible. take stock of these things, laying in bed with a book of Richard Hugo poems and a mug of lukewarm espresso, savoring the fact that you’re up a good hour before the boy who will want cuddling, toast, and blues clues, in that order. And just now he pads in, rubbing his eyes in his too short fire truck pajamas, hair grown into his eyes again, having worn all night the new garden gloves his grandma sent him yesterday. He settles in next to you to read his own book, demanding a pillow that is not cold and a share of the blanket. List Today’s tasks: grocery store, bank to deposit the weekend tips, oven dehydrating the kale crop, Reseeding the 12 hills of squash ripped out due to powdery mildew, Decoding the draft book contract. Housekeeping emails for the meditation class I am coordinating, and through it all, Motherhood.
“I walk this past with you, ghost in any field/ of good crops, certain I remember everything wrong./ if not, why is this road lined thick with fern/ and why do I feel no shame kicking the loose gravel home?” – Richard Hugo, “White Center”
My friend Heather’s husband Ross is headed to sea today,
or maybe yesterday or tomorrow.
They never know the exact date when he’ll ship out,
and they don’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring.
They chop firewood
rebuild portions of their house
hang nets for the summer salmon season
teach their sons to climb ladders,
They go on dates in canoes,
birth babies at home,
and snowshoe a few miles into the wilderness
to have family time
in a primitive cabin.
They volunteer in their community,
preserve hundreds of pounds of food from their garden,
and eat well.
I’m fairly certain that between the two of them,
there is nothing they could not do.
While Ross pits himself against the elements
to make their living
in the wintry Pacific a few thousand miles to the north,
Heather will keep everything going
while training to be a doula,
caring for ailing elders,
traveling cross country to see the grandparents,
and growing more gorgeous all the time.
Sometimes she takes the kids camping as a solo mama,
and laughs that its easier than being at home sometimes.
Depending on which fishing season it is,
she can talk to her husband daily,
or only once a week, for ten minutes,
or not even then,
but after a while,
the call inevitably comes
that he’s headed home.
they labor through the seasons,
to the warp of a marriage
seasoned by saltwater
my fishing family. Ross, Haven, Heather, and Liam.
(To read more about their family and their work, check out some of the words and pictures here).
Filed under basic goodness, blue collar, Family, Food, Garden, habitat, Labor, love, marriage, motherhood, Ordinary
wrangle kid into clothes
clean up kidspill
make pancake batter
flip banana pancakes
talk kid into eating
pacify meltdown over end of tv time
transition toddler into creative play
research the gyan mudra for monday’s tattoo design
make more coffee
coax kid to eat more breakfast
find missing ball kid desperately needs
rewash husband’s pen-stained work clothes for 4th time
move file cabinet
organize an entire family worth of paperwork.
answer several important emails which require Thought
chat with my momma friends
deal with 4 spates of whiny crying intermixed with throwing and hitting
clean up spilled juice
kid hucks the potty
offer him the choice of peeing outside
we stand on the porch together
his tiny bare feet on mine
it is raining softly
and he gets sad
at naptime he holds my hand in the dark
and we listen to Gillian Welch sing “the way it will be”
he falls asleep in a blessedly short ten minutes
and I emerge to sit
in this room
try to figure out what to do with the beautiful solitude
launch myself into action
and try to build up enough inertia to carry me through
tackle the mess on the desk
recycle, put away, categorize, rediscover, trash, sort
dice an onion and sautee it in olive oil with thyme and smoked salt
put on Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us
answer more emails
file more papers
stir the soup
try to scrape together enough of myself
to remember that once I wanted to be a writer when I grew up
and drag myself to the keyboard
So we put our hands up
like the ceiling can’t hold us
kid wakes up with a 102 degree fever
and i spend the subsequent 5 hours with his tiny frame pressed against mine
hot forehead searing against my skin in the carrier
coaxing him to drink
persuading him to take a thermometer
coercing him to swallow tylenol
soothing him to sleep,
lay there staring at the ceiling
just an ordinary thursday, really