Monday, October 27, 2014
By Sue Goyette
In this weather, wood has warped and doors
won't shut the way they should. The mist holds daylight
close, hoarding. When it escapes, the light doesn't
spill, doesn't slide cross the floor, but creeps
and hobbles using furniture to hold itself up. It just wants
to sit. In this weather, light has age, grows rings like a stump
and can no longer hear. It's the ancient relative in the corner
with a change purse and a group of grandchildren at its feet.
Extension wires, 100 watt bulbs, nothing helps. It's faint
and weak and drinks only water. In this weather, not even
the high tide of starlings rolling onto the lawn gets its attention.
"Leave me alone," it says, having forgotten the way it ranted
and raved. How it demanded more time and more flowers.
The garden couldn't keep up, it touched everything:
the silver sugar bowl, the glass fish, every mirror, every drop of water.
And so begins the season of forgiveness, when the birch trees
bordering the yard turn back to bark and branch and you're alone
and I'm alone, the pantry is stocked
and winter is coming up the driveway.
I'm undone and don't know how to put me back together. This painful (physical, emotional, spiritual) ageing is the hardest thing I've ever done. My body betrays me every single minute of every hour of every day. Then it betrays me some more. What is a woman without the essence of what makes her female? Why do we run out of hormones and become dried up shells of our selves when we're still so young? We're dying, of course...but...but...Winter comes too soon, too soon...
"The great secret that all people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion." ~Doris Lessing
When I can look Life in the eyes,
grown calm and very coldly wise,
Life will have given me the Truth,
and taken in exchange — my youth. ~Sara Teasdale
Monday, October 6, 2014
I am this woman, have been this woman, will probably always be this woman...
By Dorianne Laux
Midnight. The cats under the open window,
their guttural, territorial yowls.
Crouched in the neighbor's driveway with a broom,
I jab at them with the bristle end,
chasing their raised tails as they scramble
from bush to bush, intent on killing each other.
I shout and kick until they finally
give it up; one shimmies beneath the fence,
the other under a car. I stand in my underwear
in the trembling quiet, remembering my dream.
Something had been stolen from me, valueless
and irreplaceable. Grease and grass blades
were stuck to the bottoms of my feet.
I was shaking and sweating. I had wanted
to kill them. The moon was a white dinner plate
broken exactly in half. I saw myself as I was:
forty-one years old, standing on a slab
of cold concrete, a broom handle slipping
from my hands, my breasts bare, my hair
on end, afraid of what I might do next.
From: "What We Carry", page 11
Nothing [everything] left to say, the poem says it all. xo
Monday, September 29, 2014
There are certain things in life that piss me off. Not a lot, but some. And when I'm pissed, I'm pissed. Lena Dunham (whose claim to fame is a mediocre HBO show), reportedly got a $3.7 million dollar advance for her upcoming memoir. (That doesn't bother me. More power to her.) I won't put the title because I don't want to. I had pre-ordered the book at Amazon, but cancelled it. The thing that chaps my ass is that she's charging people $38 to come to her book signing. Right, you have to buy tickets...some of which are reportedly being scalped for up to $900. To me, that is the epitome of greed, narcissism, bad marketing and just plain stupidity. It makes me not like her as a person, author, actress or human being, mainly because she's stealing joy from readers. Most of her followers are probably in her age group: 20's to 30's: the struggling years for most who don't make $6 million a year like she does. And she's denying them the opportunity to not only get their book autographed, but to meet someone they respect enough to buy a book from. That is no small thing. But, obviously, she doesn't get it. I guess she's never been a poor book-lover who had to skip on groceries to buy books like I once did.
I have three shelves full of signed first editions by Pulitzer Prize winning authors...from the magnificent Ernest Gaines to John Updike and Rick Bragg. Robert Crais not only signed my books, but also let me take a photo with him and his lovely, Southern belle mother to whom he introduced me. James Lee Burke also took a photo with me and was patient and sweet. Most not only signed my books, but also allowed me to be a total groupie and take a picture with them at book festivals. They were grateful, nice, polite and generous with their time. They sweated in the South Louisiana heat to attend our annual Louisiana Book Festival which is on November 1 this year. They appreciated ME. After all, I was spending my HARD-EARNED money for their books. Not ONE of them ever charged me money for the privilege of signing their name in my books. John Updike even took the time to write an encouraging note to me about my writing! John Updike, who has two Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction.
Also, according to Refinery29.com, "some of Dunham's appearances will include seven performers, functioning as hype men. But, word on the street is the Girls creator isn't paying these artists, many of whom auditioned for the roles." Right, she's stiffing them!! Again, bad karma, and GREEDY!
Take your money and buy Rick Bragg's new biography coming out in October. Every single book he's written has been just awesome and, for the record, he's a perfect gentleman:
A house without books is like a room without windows. ~Heinrich Mann
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Needing one, I invented her –
the great-great-aunt, dark as hickory
called Shining-Leaf, or Drifting-Cloud
Dear aunt, I’d call into the leaves,
and she’d rise up, like an old log in a pool,
and whisper in a language only the two of us knew
the word that meant follow,
and we’d travel
cheerful as birds
out of the dusty town and into the trees
where she would change us both into something quicker –
two foxes with black feet,
two snakes green as ribbons,
two shimmering fish – – and all day we’d travel.
At day’s end she’d leave me back at my own door
with the rest of my family,
who were kind, but solid as wood
and rarely wandered. While she,
old twist of feathers and birch bark,
would walk in circles wide as rain and then
scattering the rags of twilight
on fluttering moth wings;
or she’d slouch from the barn like a gray opossum;
or she’d hang in the milky moonlight
burning like a medallion,
this bone dream, this friend I had to have,
this old woman made out of leaves.
Oh, how I miss my crazy/wonderful/beautiful aunts! They were drunks, one and all, but their lives were too hard for words, so I forgave them because, even as a child, I understood pain and hardship. I love this glorious Aunt Leaf who I only just discovered on this amazing Fall day in Swamplandia and I'm adopting her, just as Mary Oliver did.
We had a cooler day yesterday...cooler and breezy---a wonder after our long summer of heat and humidity. My house cat, Catfish, ran out of the open patio door in a rare visit outdoors...and just as he stepped into the yard, a magnificent wind came from wherever wind comes from and shook some leaves from the huge Water Oak tree. He did the fastest about-face I've ever seen a 25 pound cat do, and ran back into the house with his nub of a tail tucked down. I realized he didn't know what falling leaves were. :-) It was hilarious, bless his kitty heart.
"Magnificent Autumn! He comes not like a pilgrim, clad in russet weeds. He comes not like a hermit, clad in gray. But he comes like a warrior, with the stain of blood upon his brazen mail. His crimson scarf is rent.... The wind.... wafts to us the odor of forest leaves, that hang wilted on the dripping branches, or drop into the stream. Their gorgeous tints are gone, as if the autumnal rains had washed them out. Orange, yellow, and scarlet, all are changed to one melancholy russet hue.... There is a melancholy and continual roar in the tops of the tall pines.... It is the funeral anthem of the dying year." ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Saturday, September 20, 2014
By Louise Gluck
You want to know how I spend my time?
I walk the front lawn, pretending
to be weeding. You ought to know
I’m never weeding, on my knees, pulling
clumps of clover from the flower beds: in fact
I’m looking for courage, for some evidence
my life will change, though
it takes forever, checking
each clump for the symbolic
leaf, and soon the summer is ending, already
the leaves turning, always the sick trees
going first, the dying turning
brilliant yellow, while a few dark birds perform
their curfew of music. You want to see my hands?
As empty now as at the first note.
Or was the point always
to continue without a sign?
from: "Louise Gluck, Poems 1962 - 2012", page 267
- a service of morning prayer in various churches, especially the Anglican Church.
- a service forming part of the traditional Divine Office of the Western Christian Church, originally said (or chanted) at or after midnight, but historically often held with lauds on the previous evening.
- literarythe morning song of birds.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
A murder of crows
A parliament of owls
A pitying of doves
An unkindness of ravens
A wilderness of monkeys
A bench of bishops
A desert of lapwing
A clowder of cats
A drunkship of cobblers
A barren of mules
A fall of woodcock
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you've had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.
When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind's eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!
When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.
I first read this poem years ago in a magnificent book: "Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life". I highly recommend it. I have several copies and have given away at least a dozen. You can find it used, very cheap at Amazon. It has poetry, essays and lots of great quotes.
I used to work with a woman who never, ever let me finish a sentence without, first, interrupting me and, then, taking my story and turning it around to be about her. Every single time I talked to her she did this and she seemed totally clueless at how rude she was. If I began, "My daughter said...." she immediately interrupted and continued, "My frickin' daughter got drunk last weekend and blah, blah, blah...." You get the picture. I worked with her for over 6 years and never once got to finish a complete sentence...and sadly, I am not exaggerating. I tried to avoid her at all cost. I've worked with hundreds of people and she was the worst, although I've known others who did the same thing.
I believe that deeply listening to someone is a gift that few people possess. If nothing else, I learned from this women how NOT to listen. I became consciously aware of how I talked to people, trying not to interrupt or turn the conversation away from them to myself. Give yourself the gift of conscious listening. You won't regret it.
"My wife says I never listen to her. At least I think that's what she said." ~Author Unknown
"The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
+ + + + +
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Her pale, round face at my bedroom window
pressed against the dirty panes
looking curiously at my upside down face.
Her luminosity hypnotizes me, shining
through the pale, gauzy,
antique lace curtains.
We gaze into each other's faces
mesmerized, inquisitive, fascinated---
amazed at our commonality,
both of us sleepless, lonely,
We've had two "cooler" days here in the Louisiana swamps. It's been amazing and magical. Seven days until Autumn, but who's counting? :-)
"The smell of ink is intoxicating to me — others may have wine, but I have poetry." ~Terri Guillemets
Monday, September 8, 2014
Night of south winds! Night of the large, few stars!
Still, nodding Night! Mad, naked, Summer Night!
Thursday, September 4, 2014
There is only the moon, embalmed in phosphorus.
There is only a crow in a tree. Make notes."
(underlines mine) ~Sylvia Plath, from her poem 'The Detective'.
By Karina Borowicz
Something with feathers
or possibly fangs
is curled up, raw
munching the starch
inside the bulb
in the dark drawer
or a flower waits
in the papery egg
that crackles like an onion
petals collecting themselves
in the yolk, composing
themselves from the red
and yellow glints that fall
on its shell as it drowses
by the windowsill
then, when it finally opens
there is no snake springing
from the cave of the clay pot
no sharp-shinned hawklet
building a nest laced with bones
on the cliff of my kitchen shelf
when the red fist defiantly opens
from: "The Bees Are Waiting" by Karina Borowicz, page 84