Thursday, May 29, 2014

The quiet of a blue bowl...

I used to live in Toronto. The circumstances of my brief relationship with that city were difficult. I was being refined, yes, but most of it hurt like hell. Most of it felt like I was looking at myself under a giant magnifying glass. Every flaw, even the small ones, seemed insurmountable. It was painful learning to see myself so honestly.

During this time, I had few possessions that were exclusively mine. I lived communally--moving frequently from one apartment to the next, carrying almost nothing with me. Moving into spaces I did not own and could not easily adopt. Changing places with the weeks and wind. If you know me, you know that the details of this arrangement were in themselves painful ones.

During this time, I had one blue bowl. I carried it with me like permanence. The hollow shadow carrying bits of myself into safety. It was a refuge of sorts. A touch point in the sea of unfamiliar things, spaces, surroundings. It was for that time, my home. Almost everything I ate came in that blue bowl. Cereal, rice, noodles, soup, potatoes. All warm servings of nourishment and two kinds of comfort.

Once, in winter, it got so dark, I couldn't breathe. The girl I lived with was a companion not of my choosing and she carried darkness around in her pockets. It spilled out little by little until I was consumed. Lonely and strangling, I woke in the night to find it snowing. All the world was quiet. The snow fell and stuck to the pavements like light wings. In the quiet, I warmed milk and poured it into the blue bowl. I sat by the window crying and watching the snow. My cold hands wrapped around the warm quiet of the blue. The blue warmed my hands. The milk inside warmed my stomach. The snow, the quiet, the milk, the bowl punctured the darkness. I felt pieces of the great weight lift off and fall away.

The time in the city did not relent. The darkness stilled moved around me and with me, but wasn't as heavy and kept its distance. I carried the blue bowl home in my suitcase. It had weathered my journey so well; feeding both my body and my self. When I unpacked at home, the bowl was cracked clean through. Two halves, unrepairable. I sat with both halves in my hands and let a new quiet fill in the spaces of a new place more permanent. A new refuge. A new quiet.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sometimes it isn't enough...

There are days when my life feels small. Not simple, just small. Like the things I do don't matter and all the time effort applied to doing something great are wasted. And today is one of the days. When I feel like I am wasting--time, energy, love--because nothing seems to be happening. Like I am moving, but not going anywhere. That is all I want to say. Tomorrow will likely look better.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The first poem I wrote for you...

If this silence is all we can muster--

sitting across the city
thinking of the other,

or sitting at this table where the warmth of our touching arms
is the only thing spoken,

or standing in the comfort of familiar arms encircled in a crowd
only echoing the other's patterned breathing;

Then let our mouths close on this quiet,
let these arms touch,
let us stand silent
and let this silence fill up year after comfortable year.


Monday, April 1, 2013

New furniture, maybe...

I haven't added any furniture here lately. There are lots of reasons. Time and excuses--bottled and stacked. Waiting and lonely. Words left on my desk. In my notebook. On my chair or cheek. Words used for everything but speaking. For teaching, for comfort, for bustling about, for filling up time with the art of being busy. I am very good at being busy. Still I feel it--the constant push inside. You should write something that means something. You should put it somewhere. You shouldn't let your life move on so rapidly. You should not move on in this silence.

So, for poetry month, I am going to try to move some furniture in. Even if it is just an excuse taken down from the shelf and opened.

A note on love...

There are things about this that are harder than expected--
the silence of friendship
the right to no claim
the unspoken lie that we are nothing.

Your secrets sit heavy with me
a stone on my tongue
a stone in my throat
a stone in my belly
and the soft rubbed underside of my fingernails,
so carefully chewed back to the quick.

I watch you sometimes and always wonder about this pairing--
an unexpected meeting
an unexpected love
and the message that changed both, but still kept us moving
in the same direction toward the other.

I worry about you and this:
can I love you enough to brighten these shadows
or unache these scars
or mend the unmended parts of your heart;

Or will this secret stay silent,
a stone, unclaimed
and nothing more than the lie.


P.S. A note for Stephanie...I was once again, inspired by your posts. I always admire how brave you are. Thanks for writing, posting, being. You are beautiful.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

This life punctuated with loneliness...

I thought if I married
the loneliness punctuating my life
would evaporate,
would burn off like darkness in the morning.

I thought I would breathe
clear and still
and I would forget what it felt like--
not to be loved.

Now nights find me waking,
to the slow even rhythm of your breathing,
the heavy weight of your chest rising,
the soundless exhale of its resolution.

I don't know where you dream.

The familiarity of you wakes me in the mornings--
the gait of your footfall,
the scratch of your razor,
the tune hummed while dressing,
your humming toothbrush--

And I wonder about being loved;
what is feels like not to be loved,
and while I'm thinking,
while my eyes are still closed,

you leave without saying goodbye.

Monday, April 2, 2012

And then there was something to say...

I have not written anything for months. Months. Remember the story about that woman in Idaho who didn't write anything for ten years. She said one day the words just ran out. One day she couldn't think of a single thing to say. Then one day, all those years later, the words came back to her and then there was something to say.

Maybe that is what happened to me.

If all this silence
was what it took to say goodbye.
Days of saying nothing,
so the wrong things would not get said;
would not be laid out on the table;
would not sit between us like so many other regrets.

Then I would quiet my mouth.
I would let the day drift by unsounded--
its clean, yellow light falling on the table
its warmth lying between us.
I would sit until the darkness came
and you had left the scene in silence.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A summer vacation...

I remember now that I have a blog. That I like to write. That I fill these spaces with random thoughts and millings. My only excuse is summer vacation, where all my best intentions were vacationing as well. Real life starts again tomorrow, friends, and so will the blog.

P.S. I'm buying a new camera and a learning to manipulate the blog. Hopefully, this year will be about nothing but improvements.