Sunday, August 30, 2015

This is For You

Not long ago, she offered me a drink she had made: bright green, unnatural, an offering of love and self.

If you know the story of Persephone, or if you know much about fairies, you are familiar with the dangers of eating the food offered to you by certain beings. It binds you to them, makes you a captive in their land. And childhood is certainly a foreign land to those of us who have been away. Adults develop a strange accent. I have found it good to live close to the borders, to make excursions in, to stay fluent in the old language. 

Spend time with them, and they will offer you things. Of course it’s risky, but love is. 

I drank the whole thing.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Feet on the Ground, Head in the Clouds

I have been writing, I really have. Nothing here, nothing to show publicly, but I have been writing. This is something I have to remind myself. I miss this place, and it weighs on me when I am away. 
For the week following my last post I focused almost entirely on poetry here—an experience so wonderful it seems entirely appropriate that I arrived and returned home by soaring through the air, above the clouds. I wrote poems, read poems, talked about poems, analyzed poems, listened to poems—to the point that my spirit was willing but my body was weak. I attended every reading, presentation, and open mic I could, tossed in a few museums and shops, and more deep conversations than I can count. My journal is filled with proof of it all: quotes, fragments of poems, words to remember, books to read, movies to watch, people to find online.
Then I flew through the air once again, not home but to northern Michigan to meet up with the rest of my family and bring Oldest home from Interlochen. (This is a wonderful thing, having him home. And yes he grew, immeasurably.)
Since getting home: more writing, but almost as if I had forgotten the previous week. For the last week and a half I have been crafting and re-crafting my life word by word: emails to parents of students, to parents of prospective students, to administrators, to teachers, to friends, to family. Applications, questionnaires, registration forms. Meetings, conversations, questions. I enjoy this kind of crafting less, but it  always presents itself as more urgent. I have to stop sometimes to remind myself that they both serve a life, that both are urgent, and that if for a week I dared to believe I was a poet, I can continue to believe it now.
So I keep trying to pull life together—through emails, through conversations, through notes in my kids’ lunches, through poems and blog posts and other writings. Maybe I will dare to call it all poetry of one sort or another, at least in those moments I remember flying through the air, over the clouds.

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Sunday, August 2, 2015


1. Small plane to St. Louis

This plane
is about the size of a minivan
(9 passengers + pilot)
a metal dragonfly, belly full,
moving point to point.
We thread our way between storms,
the radar screen dead-center in front of me
an ultrasound, searching for heartbeats,
tracking a birth.
Bright sun, warm, on our left
sheet of rain poured sky to earth on our right,
and a rainbow flies along beside us
for five, ten minutes, maybe more—
my seatmate and I take pictures.
Then he turns full to the window,
this young man who speaks French
with his traveling companions and English with me,
and sings into his phone, eyes fixed on the sky.
I can barely hear over the engines
but I know this is music, not speech.
He tells me later he made a brand-new song,
just then, in French.
We talk about living in a small town,
about feeling what lacks.
“It’s hard,” I say.
“How do you make it work?”
Maybe he meant job-wise, maybe not.
I answer with the only words
I can think of in the moment:
“I look for the beautiful things.”

2. St. Louis to Dallas

Each time a plane takes off
there is a moment of violence—
we are pulled up off the ground
whether we will it in the moment or not.
Soon there will be weightlessness of a sort,
ears contracting, the plane leveling off.
It makes more sense, now,
why the windows should sit so low,
top edges riding at nose-level:
the view is of the ground.
It takes effort to look up into the sky,
even from here.

Below us as we rise
the boats on a lake
pull graceful white trails
behind themselves,
like waterbugs
or maybe angels.

3. Dallas to Albuquerque

Aisle seat: the plane is my sky
the passengers my floating clouds.
Think of all the stories
streaming through the air
in neatly-packed containers
at any given moment—
going too slowly, maybe,
or too quickly, or too sadly.
Watch them gathered in airports,
waiting to fly—
mostly they ignore each other
but they’re all so damn beautiful.
Every flight is a masked ball,
a library,
a thousand different ways to fall in love
soaring through the air
hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder.

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