Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Sometimes I speak like an elderly soul
who does not know conventional slang. Jive talk. Or hipster lingo.
She tells of things that have heart, this inner elder.
Or he. For sometimes, the inner elder me is a he.
He and she speak of what this life has wrought
and they say it in such a way
an unmistakable way
that heads cock to the side
eyes go bewildered
and silence follows, as though we have all
stepped into a play not set in this place.

Sometimes we are not
who we think we are.
And sometimes, only sometimes
it is tiresome to hide it.
Wearying to roll an immense eternal self into
everyday skin.
More satisfying to be alone, in every inch of self
Talking to walls and smiling at ghosts.
Where glass faces don’t matter

For you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Moment in Time

Last Sunday, while driving home form errands, I got caught up in On Being, on NPR. The guest was Elizabeth Alexander, the inaugural poet and Yale professor. Remember her amazing inaugural poem from January 2009 "Praise Song for the Day?" Well, if you have a few quiet moments, you will so love this interview with her: Elizabeth Alexander on Words that Shimmer. She shares her thoughts on poetry today, and it's continued relevance, and also reads some favorite poems of her own, and of other poets. Separate links are included for each individual poem, so that if you only have a moment, you can get in a quick read. It's not a dry sort of poetry exhibition; she brings such intensity and warmth to it, you will be drawn right in.
Or, if poetic humor is your ticket, scroll down to her appearance on The Colbert Show from 2009. He makes me laugh every time, he is such a nut.
When I clicked over to NPR, Ms. Alexander was reading "Kitchenette Building" by Gwendolyn Brooks, and explaining the poet's use of her life experience in NYC, in a typical tenement building where you know every detail of your neighbors' lives.

So, I arrived home, sat in the car listening for a while, and then came inside to sit at the counter and finish listening to the show. The house was quiet, the kids were scattered around playing, and I fixed myself a little treat. There I sat, all cozy and entranced at the counter, listening to a masterful poet talk about the craft! Rick came in from the back yard, ribbing and giving me flak about my show.
I bristled and said for him to go away. He laughed and shook his head. "I'm just looking at the difference of you, sitting here eating Brie and listening to poetry, while I'm out back drinking beer, smoking a cigar and watching football." He grinned. "How did we end up together?" I grinned back, "Good thing you're not a total redneck." He laughed and replied "I've been thinking about taking up guns as a hobby." "Aha!" I crowed. "You never will, and that's why I can love you! You're as much a pacifist as I am!"

And that's our moment in time.

(All rights reserved and artistic license may, and probably was taken in the retelling of this conversation!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

On a Monday

Tony Chestnut knows I love him...
I hear them humming their little songs, hear their voices whispering through the house when they are gone. Imagination is quieter than reality. In concert with the gentle rain today, go the gentle voices. The bird calls from the dripping maple, the cat squeaks in her sleep. You've got a squeak-box in your chest, now don't you kitty, don't you...
The other cat sits in the window, coveting the calling bird, chattering his teeth. Petey-Pete, what are you looking at Sweetie-Pete...
Houses live with the echoes of inhabitants. Oh lord, my echoes must reverberate like a drill sergeant. Or maybe the children hear me quietly too, when I am out. I hope so.
Some days are meant for gathering thoughts, completing tasks, organizing minutiae. My thoughts drift lazily over quotes I've heard, and want in my home. Visual reminders of who we are, where we are headed, and how to get there with grace and good cheer.
"Life is very short & there's no time for fussing & fighting my friend..."
Was there ever a better line to apply to siblings? Round & round they go, unifying and re-organizing allegiances along lines of...whatever they think is important that day. You're out of the best friends club, you're not a best friend...
They love and hurt in equal measure some days, offering sublime inclusion and dreadful recompense in the same game. Hopefully developing a thick skin, as the development of kindness in speech seems to lag behind. Ever the referee, blowing my whistle, I head off the worst offenses. Is it the best we can do? To make productive citizens from hoodlums? Nature vs nurture in my own little incubator. Oh, I hope nature and nurture are working in conjunction, because I need to believe that. I listened to Sonia Sotomayor on 60 Minutes last night, and exhaled with small relief at how she attributed her success to stubbornness in no small measure. Rick and I shared a glance and a snort, whew, if that's a significant piece of life's puzzle, then check it off the list of "Worry" and move it to "Attribute."
On a Monday, this is what's happening in the borderland.
Welcome to a new week, friends! May it be a good one...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

And the Release

And on the 20th day she was set free from her bondage. Cinderella slipped her chains and was presented a glass slipper, in the modern-day guise of a quiet, empty home. Free of all beings small and large, even the husband (who had set off for the Georgia border on work duties), she stepped back inside the door after delivering her 4th and final child to the bus. The Allelujah chorus burst from her lips, much to the startled arrest of her kitties. They calmly went back to their grooming, certain that whatever had occasioned this outburst would not long affect them. Anti-Cinderella however, spun around wondrously, like Liesl von Trapp or Orphan Annie (friends, it has been a long break, full of musicals, and the songs... The songs, I hear them in my sleep...) cradled her thrice-warmed mug of coffee and took a breath. Then another. Well, that's done, now what? she thought. For after the holiday pressure cooker comes the projects and plans of a New Year.
First up - A Birthday on The Horizon.
Frick and Frack Turn Eight, it is titled. I can hardly take it in. Gotta get crackin' though, for the big day comes in less than 2 weeks. Yeah, Anti-Cindy doesn't get to spin and breathe for long.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

For the New Year

I'm for Paris, I thought today
Let's go, shall we?
For seekers and lookers
and those in the mood for a change
For inspiration of art, writing, life
Off they bundle and trundle and fly and sail
all the world over
so I'm for Paris, let's go
I imagine the cavemen
tiring of their meat
the monotony of hunt, gather.
"Argh. Need Paris."
And the aboriginals around a fire
weary of snake meat and lizard
"Eh. Need Paris."
The hausfrau of Alpharetta
sweeping the yard-thatch out the door
and scrubbing the applesauce from the table
"Sigh. How 'bout Paris."
A little bit of us needs a little bit of Paris
to refresh and recharge
and maybe just to remember exactly
who we are
right where we are.

On the Occasion of this New Year
and Perhaps Thinking on the Return of the Schoolchildren in the Morn.