Tag Archives: WriOursWhoMo

survivors writing: happy writing ourselves whole month <3

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.  – Plato

April is both National Poetry Month and National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month. A few years ago I noticed that intersection and thought, That sounds like writing ourselves whole month. So, every April, I like to take a little time and reflect on these intersections that we who are trauma survivors who write walk within every day.

I have just returned from helping to facilitate a training of new AWA writing group facilitators. During the five days I spent with these folks — each of whom already knew how powerful it could be to write openly with others, taking risks with content and craft — I reflected on my own trainings, way back in 2001 and 2002.

I had never participated in anything like an Amherst Writers and Artists writing group when I showed up, shorn and ragged and scarred and scared, for my first facilitator’s training at Pat Schneider’s home back in the summer of 2001. I only knew that writing had saved my life, and I wanted to work with others for whom that might also be true. I’d taken one creative writing class in college, and one poetry workshop outside of school, and I’d never quite felt like I fit in any space that called itself “for writers.”

Pat’s method was a surprise and a revelation to me. This was a place where you could write whatever you wanted and no one could ask you if it really happened like that. No one could demand that you tell them more. No one could turn you away for your words. Your words would be welcomed and honored immediately. Continue reading

A poem for these winds…

Good morning, good morning. The winds have picked up everything and hidden it around the lawn — the planting containers, the seed packets, the gardening gloves, the puppy’s ball. These hot winds always confuse me — I’m still getting accustomed to the Santa Anas.

We are having a sick day today here at Writing Ourselves Whole, but before I tuck myself back onto the couch with a cup of tea, I wanted to offer you a poem:

Catalina Eddies
– Diana García

Dusk to dawn, sleek skunks enjoy
avocados in my yard. I give wide berth.
Before the first jogger leaves her prints
on pavement, tough raccoons appear.
They pretend they don’t hear my keys click
but they peek to make sure it’s me.
Foxes play hide-and-seek,
sometimes on our lawn, other times
across the street, but never after seven;
and brazen squirrels eye me
from the center of the street,
dare me to approach.

Will this be a day for Catalina eddies,
clouds stacked, catching like magnets
in a liquid air swirl?
Or will it blow a fierce Santa Ana,
days of fires in the hills,
smoldering chaparral,
winds so fierce birds do low-crawls?
I cast a spell for Santa Anas
the shallow coast a censer
mixed with black sage, Torrey Pine,
Engelmann oak—precious oils
to fumigate the San Diego skies,
the annual burning pulse.

(Another good one for today is “In Chandler Country,” by Dana Gioia… read, let yourself be inspired, and then let the words come.)

no one else can understand why you’re crying

At yesterday’s Write Whole meeting, I offered this Sarah Kay poem as one of our prompts (the video is 18 minutes long, but we just used the poem she performed at the very beginning to spark our writing). Then, after the group left last night, I sat down and made a short recording of my response to this poem — this is what it sounds like in the writing group after we’ve written together: we read our words to one another straight out of our notebooks, and then allow others to witness our words, sharing what they heard us say, what stayed with them about our writing. Here is what I wrote:

(Consider using either video as your own prompts today — what stays with you? What sparks a response in your body? Where do your own words want to begin?)

the patient work of the garden

Consider the hands
that write this letter.

Left palm pressed flat against paper,
as we have done before, over my heart…

from “Consider the Hands that Write this Letter,” by Aracelis Girmay

This morning the city sounds are loud and vibrant: the kids alive over in the schoolyard, the traffic rumbling steady as a lobster boat heading back in from checking the traps, the birds a persistent undersong – still here, nature says. Still here. Still here. Still here.

This weekend I planted cucumbers and watermelon. I put in a splash of carrot seeds. This weekend the bush beans put up their first true leaves. The rain was steady and sure on Friday, and everything in the garden appreciated the feeding. When I run through this city neighborhood, I scan every wild garden — how did they get their nasturtium to grow so full and lush? Maybe I should plant some hens and chicks, bring a little succulence into the front garden patch that’s growing so steadily. I steal ideas freely as I trot by — foxglove, daisies, tall (Roman) chamomile, more salvia, more mint. I tuck them into the spaces between my breaths. I run steady, imagining how my garden could be as fresh and bright as these. When I get home, I do my most important stretch — savasana — out on the driveway while the puppy bangs around me, ball in her mouth, thinking that this is some kind of new game. I practice relaxing: practice releasing. I practice letting the earth pull me to her. I practice letting go of the tension that builds in the right side of my body. Breathe into the tightnesses, exhale release. Try to stay here for two minutes at least. So difficult to let the mind go, stop the spinning and anxieties, the drive to hurry up and get to the next thing. Breathe into the tighenesses, exhale release. An inside-out kind of massage.

Then, while I am still sweaty and cooling, the puppy and I go over to the garden. How is everything looking? There’s another flower on the zucchini plant! The cucumber and watermelon and tomato plants don’t seem to have been phased by the cold snap we got the other night, after the rains. I check the little makeshift greenhouses I’ve made for my dahlia and broccoli plants — something’s been munching them right down to the stems at night, so I took a couple of clear plastic containers, poked holes in the bottoms, and covered the plants right up. I think it’s mr. squirrel, who does not seem to be at all phased by the puppy’s presence or scent in the backyard. I check the groundcover plants I set in around the walking path in the — are they taking root, starting to spread? I smooth out the fat puppy footprints in the soil. Someone isn’t using the walking stones. I pull some purple oxalis from around the strawberries, and pick a few ripe berries before the snails take them over, then push a tendril of nasturtium vine up under one of the threads of twine I’ve strung along the post I’m training the bright orange flowers to grow around — later this season, I hope it’s grown enough to mingle with the grapevines at the top of the trellis. I see that the yarrow is coming back– the whatever-it-is that’s eating the dahlia and broccoli also took some of my newly planted yarrow plants down to the nubs. And some of last year’s wildflowers reseeded and are returning — is this calendula? And maybe one of the gerbers, too! The butterfly weed has put up sprouts, as has the echinacea. The puppy mostly seems to know not to walk where the plants are, at least in the (low) raised beds. Keep your fingers crossed that these tender little plants get established steady before she’s driven to chase a ball through all of our hard work.

This is my office work, my daily gossip, my tendings. The puppy drops down into a splotch of sun, stretches long and folds her front paws one over the other, falling asleep with the ball still in her mouth, ever hopeful. Bees rumble in the orange tree while I weed around the poppy and borage (trying in vain not to get covered with hives after touching the borage leaves). Inhale the tensenesses,  exhale release. Bring water and food where it’s needed, and leave most of it all well enough alone — pay attention to how life tends to life, and to how very much I don’t have any control over. Inhale, exhale. Grin at the mourning doves come to rest up at the top of the grape trellis, and let her song open up something new in my body.


the responsibility of the writer to say yes

Monday was our first meeting of this spring’s Write Whole: Survivors Write group. For the second of our writes that night, I offered a series of three sentences/fragments — the idea is to choose one (or let one choose you), and let your writing flow in response. Here were the prompts:

When was the last time I told my story?
It is the responsibility of the writer to…
I don’t want to write about…

I used the second of those for my own writing; that fragment was inspired by Grace Paley’s poem “Responsibility.” Here’s what I wrote:

It is the responsibility of the writer to tell it like it is, to tell truths that make no sense, to make poetry out of contradiction, to find the laughter in what cut us to the bone. It is the responsibility of the writer to name the bone and the knife, to put a name to every finger and give the voice of the blood released, it is the responsibility of the writer to talk in metaphor and juxtaposition, to define the bumblebee curl for the masses, to tell about what lies beneath the pretty stones and responsible stories of our history. It is the responsibility of the writer to turn up the stones, to peel back the painted-over walls, to unlock the closets, to look beneath the bed, to translate the unwritten rules, to describe how silence feels when it gets wrapped around you at night, to ask “what happened then?” It’s the responsibility of the writer to follow her own words, to write what wants to be written — even if it’s not what someone else wants her to write: family or community or lovers or friends or comrades in the struggle: what happens if she lets no one dictate the direction of her pen?

It is the responsibility of the writer to wander and imagine, to daydream and fictionalize, to hold open uninterrupted hours with his dictionary, to make up words and re-visualize details. It is the responsibility of the writer to go deeper, to play dress-up, to go everywhere someone tells them they’re not supposed to go. It is the responsibility of the writer to contradict their own truths, to find a third way, to evangelize and desecrate. It is the responsibility of the writer to tell their own story, and then tell the story underneath that story, and then create poems for the story beneath that — to take all day trying to find just the right way to describe that particular blue, the quiet and specific blue of his eyes or his shirt or the sky on the day, on the first day or the third day or the last.

It is the responsibility of the community to give the writers the space and resources to accomplish this wild and peculiar labor; it is the responsibility of the community to offer bread and notebooks and money, to — well, if not always welcome these words, then at least to welcome their spirit. It is the responsibility of the writer to say yes to their improbable creative vision, to grab hold of its great black mane, and give over to this earthly ride. It’s the responsibility of the writer to feed herself — words and water and protein, all manner of nourishment. It is the responsibility of the writer to deviate from sanity, but to keep hold of a lifeline back into the mind that is her right. It is the responsibility of the writer to sing with brown sparrows and canaries, to climb fences with squirrels, to prowl the night with alley cats, to circle hot and high with hawks, to run roughshod over city streets, to bring asphalt-stained memory to the page and offer that terrible, necessary song out to her world.

These days I take what comes and do not push in

peacockThese Days

whatever you have to say, leave
the roots on, let them

And the dirt

Just to make clear
where they come from

Charles Olson

These days I sleep through my writing time. The words float up like dreams. These days, the stories I want to tell lie quiet at the bottom of a brook among the smooth river stones, rustling gently against one another in the current, the clear water burbling overhead, nothing churned up, nothing muddied or murky, nothing alarmed. These days, I sit by the side of the water, knees pulled up to my chest, watching the little minnows swim by. I listen to the electric sound of the forest songbirds high up in the pine trees. There are dogwoods and azalea in full springtime bloom. Somewhere into the deeper shadows, squirrels search for the acorns they planted last fall. Somewhere, the deer and bear dream their daytime dreams. Somewhere, the man who put his haunting into my chest when I was just a little girl does whatever men in prison do. The moss and loam and leaf mould makes a soft cushion. Somewhere, there’s other work to be done. Inside, there are major and minor tightnesses. Inside, the old drowse of loss pulls at the chains in my chest. Inside, I worry that I should be making something more of this life. I watch the water push over rocks and boulders. I watch the sheer persistence of the water carve out its place in this woods. I watch the dragonfly dip and dive, searching out mosquitoes and gnats. I watch the sunlight pulse in streams down through the fir boughs and the new spring green leaves. I do not stir the streambed with a stick. I do not churn up the stones, searching for what lies beneath. I accept this moment of clear and calm as long overdue. I understand that the work is not done. These days I take what comes and do not push in, do not dig and claw at the surface of things to find the underneath face. These days I accept that bird song, the morning sun on my bare toes, the small splashes that reach for my fingers as I hover them just over the water’s belly, breathing deep and releasing.

good morning to this skin and these muscles

(I am not a fast runner)

Outside, the city is still quiet at this pre-five-o’clock hour. The wind haggles all the trees, tossing them around, telling them dangerous stories. Yesterday when my sweetheart and I were out for a mid-morning run, we looked at the bruised-cloud sky and said, doesn’t it seem like rain? But, of course, it’s California — we all know it doesn’t rain in springtime. Oh, wait. Surprise.

~~ ~~ ~~
What to do with this knowledge
that our living is not guaranteed?

Perhaps one day you touch the young branch
of something beautiful. & it grows & grows
– from “Elegy,” By Aracelis Girmay

~~ ~~ ~~
This morning I am thinking about how excellent it is to have a body, and how astonishing it is to have reached the place where I can think that way. It’s early here and I would like to roll around on the ground for awhile, do some stretching, do some yoga, do some qi gong. I would like to wrestle with the puppy. I would like to be in my body. I am trying to figure out when I can go for a run before I get in the car and head into the work of the day — who is this person?

Something has shifted in me recently. How do I want to talk about it? It feels precipitous, actually, to say anything at all — I have these slight shifts and feel like something has changed irrevocably, but then, lo and behold, it’s been over a year since I’ve had any alcohol, and it’s been years since I could take a drag of a cigarette. My body changes its mind like this and says, I need something new. And I have learned to listen, to attend. I have learned how to hear that the body has needs that are as important as the needs of these words.

How can I talk about athletics or bodies? I have spent all of these years only in my head. This was one of the biggest capitulations, I think, the way I climbed as far into my head as I could after my stepfather his hands on my body, though I never could get in so deep that I couldn’t feel him touching me.

I was an active child, would almost certainly have been an athlete if not for the anxiety I felt about my body, my deep disappointment in my own skin to save me, to repel his hands. I had been the sort of kid who spent an entire day riding her bike around the neighborhood, around the city, weaving and unweaving stories into the air around me as I pushed through neighborhood after neighborhood. The whole city was mine, because I had a body that could take me there. I played softball and ran sprints. I swam and played basketball at my dad’s house — once there was a dad’s house to go to.

The part in me that wanted to move then still wants to move now. And the thing in my body that’s still clenched from the spasm I had back in November 2012 loosens itself when I exercise vigorously — the numbness in my foot abates; this is why I think the numbness isn’t nerve damage but a still-clenched fist there in the part of my body closest to my core, a thing that maybe doesn’t trust our security, our safety, doesn’t believe that we are actually free.

The body carries so much of the story we don’t tell, we never tell. The body carries the physicality of our experience. The body knows and remembers.

I was trained, as a teenager, not to trust the messages from my body — to read every physical illness as psychosomatic; almost any time any one of us were sick, my stepfather wanted to know what we weren’t talking about, what issue we were hiding from that was causing this illness. How come we weren’t thinking our way well? Why were we weak enough to let ourselves get sick? Now, imagine that conversation when you’re not able or allowed to name the thing that is actually making you ill, like a terrible game of “Taboo”: Explain why you are sick to your stomach without using the words rape or incest, since those words are not allowed in his ears.

Maybe I’ve written myself back into my own skin, finding words for those long unspoken truths — the body has let me back in again.

I don’t yet have a lot of language for this body, for what happens in me when I treat my body well. The few supplements I’ve been taking have made a massive shift in how I feel inside my own skin. Eating differently, moving, getting vitamin D from the sun — there’s something about deciding that the body deserves its kindnesses, too, that the body deserves forgiveness, that I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I never learned what my body was capable of. I am loving the experience of physical tiredness — reaching the end of the day exhausted from not just the mental labor of the day, not just anxiety and panic, but, more, from being able to move. It is, I understand, a profound privilege to “get” to be tired from moving my body — rather than fatigued because I spent the whole day sitting on my butt looking at a screen, holding my body in this unnatural position, contortion, butt flat, legs bent and held still, arms up, fingers at the keyboard, head tilted down, eyes tiring from scanning this inorganic light.

How do I get to the words for how extraordinary it is to want to be in my body. To want to feel like I live inside here. To want to be in the body as much as I want to be in words. There is a shift happening here — how words don’t have to be an escape from the body. They don’t have to be at odds with the body. The body can be here, too.

These days I wake up and do a single round of sun salutation — stretching out the back and legs, saying good morning to this skin and these muscles, shaking the dreams loose, releasing them into the whole of this stream of nerves and blood vessels. Later I will lace up my sneakers, put on shorts and a t-shirt, and run slowly and certainly around this flowering neighborhood. I am not competitive about this — I don’t have to run faster than anyone else. I have reached a place in this learning to run that I like the experience of running itself. (Madness!) It’s becoming it’s own meditative process, a place where I can say hello to myself and my thoughts — just like with morning pages.

Once upon a time I came to the notebook to get away from this body, from the feelings here, from the fear and loathing. I came to the notebook because I didn’t want to be in my skin and the words helped me forget what I was feeling, helped me feel something else. Or rather, the words helped me contain the feeling — naming it made it safer. Maybe it’s not too late. Maybe we can still be an athlete of a sort — we can get back to that girl who rode and ran and swam just for the sake of being in her own body’s capacity for joy.

dreams and driving and springtime

We are far too busy
to be starkly simple in passion.
We will never dream the intense
wet spring lust of the toads.
– from “Toad dreams,” by Marge Piercy

In my dream, I am preparing for a workshop in an unfamiliar space — I’d been planning to move the group to another place, my office or something, but then I woke up from a nap and the group was meant to begin in under an hour, so I had no choice but to set up where I was — and anyway, that’s where the people were coming to; I’d never mentioned to anyway that I might move to another location; how would they know where to find the group if I moved? So I clean up, set up snacks, and put the poems and other handouts down on the writer’s chairs. Then I go downstairs to wait for folks to arrive — down into a warehouse space, filled with boxes. It’s a small group, only four or five people. One man arrives, and he says he’s changed his mind, thanks anyway, but he doesn’t think he’ll be joining the group. Someone else hears him and tags along out of the warehouse back into the night. I wonder if I’ll have enough people to write with, whether I’ll have to cancel the group after all.

The next Write Whole series begins this evening — I’m not surprised that I’m having this sort of anxiety dream. These are the concerns of facilitators: do we have the space set up right? Are folks going to join us? Will what we offer be enough to keep people in the room?

This morning the sky is a clear pastel baby blue and the birds are shouting their morning songs above and around the kids shouting in the playground a block away and the morning traffic rising like rush of tide. The dog fits herself into the splotches of sun on the deck. I put on a jacket over my pajamas and go out to write on the deck. This morning I am thinking about the choices I have made in my life to bring me to this place — a writing place, a life with space in it for percolation, growth, surprise, creative expansion, a life with room to stretch. I don’t have a career per se — no big paycheck, true, but also no big commitments: I have been told that the latter tends to follow the former pretty swiftly. This morning the garden is bright orange and red beneath me, the garden shoes lined up at the back door, the gloves dirty and cobwebbed (that’s how often I use them) hanging over the railing.

On Saturday I wrote with a beautiful group of folks at this month’s Writing the Flood — we gathered with sourdough sweet potato bread for words and sharing and more words. For our first prompt, I offered the poem “Renewal,” by Jeffry Harrison, a poem about the DMV, about driving and freedom, and about connecting with the people around you. Here was my response to the prompt:

I want to give you what I’ve got today. I can’t remember if this happened before or after she kissed me and I’d kissed her back, whether this ride was a part of our courting or the blossoming into desire that we let ourselves into after that, but I remember that it was summer in New Hampshire, so it must have been after. All the car windows were open in her godawful excellent Suburban, that tan and white behemoth she piloted through the streets of our tiny college town like a boat she was navigating through a no-wake zone — once we broke free of the city limits and hit the open back roads, she’d hit the gas like opening the throttle and we were free. The fields were all deep summer corn and queen anne’s lace, the sun that shallow bright, the sky an enormous blue, and I leaned my head out her window like a dog, my long hair flying all around my face.

I wasn’t supposed to be there with the smell of new cut grass and pastureland and musk coating my face. I wasn’t supposed to be with her, to be out of reach of the phone in my tiny single dorm room, be anywhere my stepfather couldn’t reach me. Later, when I went home the following quarter, I would admit to the affair, to my desire, and have it used against me like a knife — but I would tell no one about how we road in that giant truck like we mattered, listening to her worn-out Two Nice Girls tape, me without even my license yet, vibrating with hunger and terror — I can’t remember if I thought it was just a momentary escape from the true webbing of my reality or if I saw a glimmer of what my life could really be like if I could get away from him. But get away from him wasn’t a part of my vocabulary yet then. All car rides ended eventually, and led right back to his front door.


being without a soundtrack

Good morning, good morning. It’s a Saturday and I let myself rise without an alarm. In my dreams — I can’t remember my dreams, actually. Maybe they will come back as I write. My hands are dry and rough from gardening last night, and my body is a good kind of sore, the sort of sore that says I’ve been working in it. Yesterday I found pea and clover sprouts when I went down to water the garden — and the zucchini’s already putting out flowers — things are happening down in that good dark. I dug up a patch of hard-packed yard out in front of the house, added some planting soil to the clods that I broke up by hand, and then planted poppies, zinnia, and the native gardenia that I got from my friend Alex and have moved now three or four times. I clipped some pieces of salvia, lavender, and mint from the backyard and have put them in jars in the kitchen window to see if they will sprout. Once they’re ready, I’ll add them to this little garden coming together out front.

When I fell asleep last night, the house smelled of actually-sour sourdough bread — I made a couple of whole-wheat oat loaves yesterday, and though they didn’t rise as much as the white-flour loaves have (and are still nothing close to the chewy, holey sourdough that I get in restaurants or from the market), they have a tight crumb and taste fantastic. I will admit that when I opened the oven door to peek at them toward the end of the baking time, my heart fell — they looked like the sad, dense (and inedible) loaves I always got when I tried to bake sourdough in Maine. But these turned out to be actually tasty — they just weren’t terribly fluffy. I guess that’s not surprising with whole wheat.

So there’s the garden and bread update.

This morning I woke up thinking about presence. I’ve had a few days of quiet alone time, and have spent these days mostly un-accompanied by a soundtrack. This is unusual for me. I’m the sort of girl who likes to have the radio on — all the time. I got a my first portable walkman when I was twelve or thirteen, and I’ve been walking around with music plugging up my ears ever since. The music has been a part of my survival, helping me to get away from the spinning, crowded voices in my head, to get away from my difficult and immediate present. But it seems that something has changed.

I’ve used music consistently when I write — both out at cafes and alone at home, listening to something while I’m writing helps me to ignore the distractions around me and focus in more fully on the words. Having some sort of sound on helped, too, with my overly-developed startle response; when there was some sort of noise filling the gap between my imaginings and the outside world around me, then I was less alarmed when I got surprised by the dog’s bark or someone entering the room – I’ve used the music, the voices and stories, to help cloak me, to help me be able at all to move around in the world. I was so overly sensitive and easily startled that the music could provide a buffer. The sound was like a cocoon I stepped into — a private room out in the world; underneath and inside the sound, I could think and imagine and survive.

Plus, you know, I like listening to music — it’s not all trauma aftermath. Who doesn’t like to push a trowel into some freshly-churned soil while Janet Jackson promises anytime, anyplace?

The last couple of days, I’ve gone running around my sweetheart’s neighborhood in the afternoon. I have a new phone for which I haven’t yet acquired a protective case — I can drop it while just standing still, so I certainly don’t want to take it with me when I go out to run, trying to keep a hold on it while my hands get all sweaty. So I ran without music or voices — no Harry Shearer’s Le Show, no “Dog Days Are Over,” my usual go-to jogging soundtracks. Instead, I’ve been accompanied by the sound of my breath and feet, and the sounds of the neighborhood. I’m able (and even willing) to be inside my body without distraction, noticing what’s aching, what’s loose, what’s feeling good. I notice the gardens I’m running past (there’s lots of time to notice them, as I’m not running all that fast), I notice the animals, I say hello to neighbors. The other day, I saw a stellar’s jay and a salamander in mortal combat — the jay was trying to catch the salamander for lunch, but the salamander wasn’t having any of it, and kept snapping back. The bird hopped up, tried to snatch the reptile in his beak, then got scared away. I stopped to watch, but the jay flew some feet away from his retreating prey — he didn’t want to be observed. I get it: I’m like that, too. So I ran on, no music to distract me, feeling the warm sun, the cool breeze, the douse of my sweat and the spread of warmth across and through my back as all those tight muscles got jogged loose.

It’s still new — this ability to write without music playing, to run without distractions (to run, period, let’s be honest), to fall asleep alone without music on, to be in the world without constantly needing soundtrack or noise to keep me from hearing the things I’m afraid of hearing — that I’m surprised by it, surprised that I want to be in the quiet, surprised that I can concentrate without the noise. It wasn’t, as I often told people, that I simply preferred to write in a noisy cafe with the music pushing into my ears over and above the sounds of the cafe sound system and all the conversations; it was that I couldn’t focus when I was in silence — I was too scared to be alone and quiet in my own head.

Now, as coping mechanisms go, listening to music isn’t all that terrible — and I’ve certainly not stopped listening to music at all while I do other things in my life. But what I’m finding is my instinct telling me one more time, it‘s ok to let this go for now; you’re safe enough now to loosen your hold on this way of protecting yourself — like it did with smoking and drinking and butchness and workaholism and too much tv and overeating, all those different ways I’ve found to put space between my consciousness and the world around me, all those ways I found to armor up and keep myself alive. I am grateful to each of these practices, and just as grateful when one more starts to loosen its hold, giving me one more opportunity to just be in and a part of the world I’m inhabiting, grateful to have lived and healed enough to be here now.

what poetry I need today

as far as I remember, changed
in no detail, the moment
vivid, intact, having never been
exposed to light, so that I woke elated, at my age
hungry for life, utterly confident—
– from “Vita Nova,” Louise Glück

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”
― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

The puppy is in her sleeping place and I am in my morning room. The passion flower vine bursts open with a new face every daybreak. This morning I have thin decaf and an achy body that wants to move. This morning I am ready to go dancing. This morning I am ready to give everything up. It is late — the sun is already well up over the hills. The sourdough starter bubbles on the countertop, the birds push their morning songs into the traffic-clotted air. I am a tangle of nerve endings and possibility. Something inside me is ready to jump. I put dry fingers to the keyboard, then pull them away. The pen sits idly on the blank paper, ready for me to try another way. What majesty do we have to offer into the world? What sunlight can issue forth from us that can compare to the sharp dazzle of the hummingbird’s rubythroat flashing alongside the green knives of the firecracker lily? How can poetry find you if you’re not interested in sitting down? Give me a poetry with musculature, with tendon and bone. Give me a poetry that moves, a poetry that crowds itself all the way off the page. Give me a poetry willing to run alongside me, willing to catch up, willing to take my hand and pull me on when I’m tired, give me a poetry that can keep up. Give me a poetry that wants leaps in in the air, fissures morning, tears all the assumptions asunder. Give me a poetry that haggles the bees, that tempts the mockingbirds, that horns in on shame, that will whisper louder than the voices of loss clotting my eardrums. Give me a poetry that drapes itself about my shoulders, that pushes itself through my earlobes and elbows, that wants all of my attention. Give me a poetry that won’t be ignored. Give me a poetry that stands up on the table, kicks over the glasses of tea, steps in the butter and avocado with its dirty workboots, and takes all of our breath away. Give me a poetry that’s rude and demanding. Give me a poetry that breaks things, breaks in, sidles and insists, claims, orates, and relinquishes. Give me a poetry for today.