WriOursWhoMo – April Poems: Robert Bly’s Things to Think

photo of a leaf and tendril spray painted on the sidewalk at the base of a pipeGood morning, good morning. It’s early morning in Boston, where it doesn’t really ever get dark – there’s always light from the nearby buildings, the cityscape. I’m not awake yet and I want my tea. My feet are chilly but it’s too warm in the radiator apartment for the wool socks I brought down with me. My car is on the street here – it’s strange for city life to begin to feel foreign. Across the street from me is an MIT frathouse, an old heritage building, probably once a single-family mansion now turned into dorm plus gathering space for the smartypantses of America. On the second floor, there’s a huge window shaped like a bishop’s hat, stained glass amid interlocking arches at the top, and through this I can see a faded oriental rug, dark wood floors, bright lights, a couple of benches. I can’t help wondering how many times that rug has been thrown up on, cried near, how many feet have pressed soles into its shortening naps. I can’t help wondering what that rug has seen.

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Things to Think
~Robert Bly

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WriOursWhoMo – April Poems: Sheila Nickerson’s Fairy Tale

graffiti image of a woman holding her hands over her chest; branches are growing out of her

Lisbon street art

 

 

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when we’re not ok

graffiti, two people holding balloons, talking to each otherGood morning, good morning. I was up again in the middle of the night last night, and didn’t get back to sleep until probably 2:30 or so. So when my alarm went off at 4 o’clock, my body laughed quietly, hit snooze, and proceeded to sleep for another hour.

The last several days, I take a dance class in the afternoon – which consists of me watching videos created months ago.  I’ve been dancing along to a video that the instructors put together in honor of breast cancer awareness, and in the mix are two songs about okness, it’s ok not to be ok, and another one, the name of which I don’t know, but which always makes me cry: the singer is telling a friend or maybe even me, her listener, that I’m going to be ok, that I just need to keep going, keep on. (I look it up: Keep on, it’s called.) This song has been making me cry – fortunately, this song comes during the cool down part of the workout, so I’m not weeping through burpees or grapevines or something.

Something in me is grieving, is feeling a big loss. I wonder if it’s something that I’ve held in my body since 2012, when I qut my day job in order to focus my attention only on the workshops and writing, and proceeded immediately to have a huge back spasm that almost immobilized me for a month or more. Though the big pain eventually wore off, I’ve had a lingering tightness in my piriformis  or sacroiliac joint (or something) that created some numbness down my leg and into my foot. Nothing too alarming, at least for me – I could move, I could walk and run and exercise and dance, and the more I moved, the more the numbness would let up. I just figured I needed to keep working, and eventually that little remaining tightness would release. It wasn’t exactly ok, but it was all right.

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reaching for joy

Berkeley graffiti -- red flowers on a yellow background, beneath the words "Be Courageous"

Good morning, good morning. It’s chilly here this morning, and I’m in my little
writing room with the candles lit the music very low, the dog curled up in her chair in a tight, small ball. We go walking a little in the yard under the misty moon. March is still winter in New England, but I have been finding some impossible signs of spring.

I had a very surprising experience yesterday – I felt wild joy. On Wednesday, after going for the first non-cone walk on the beach with Sophie after an operation to remove a little bit of her jaw (to remove a cancerous growth), I looked in the dry leaves and brown grass, made visible after all the snow melted over the weekend, and there, peeking up between branches and hay, were the tiny green shoots of crocus leaves. It seems altogether too early for this.

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when we let the bell ring

graffiti of the word "maybe: over a drawing of a little bird

(Content note: There’s some talk of sexual abuse in today’s piece. Just be easy with you, ok?)

Good morning, good morning. It’s chilly this morning, and there’re some scatters of overnight snow on the ground, but at least our 80 mph winds with the below-zero windchill have died down for the moment.

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after a long silence

Stencil graffiti reading, "Slide the light off you may find some peace"Hello and hello and hello. It’s been such a very long time! It’s begun to snow again where I am this morning — how is the day beginning in your part of the now?

I am thinking this morning about long silences, about the way that silence can grab hold and not let go, about how silence can fill us up, bit by bit, day by day. And about how silence can be a healing timg sometimes, even when it has caused such damage at other times in our lives.

We talk a lot about breaking silences in the world of recovery, particularly around sexual violence and intimate partner violence. This is euphemism and metaphor, and it’s also language that’s quite factual – at times there are stories we don’t tell, things we are kept from speaking about, ways we hold our tongue so deep inside our bodies because we want to be safe or we want to be good, we want to do what’s right, what we have been trained to believe is right, even when what’s been done to us is wrong. these are silences that can be destructive, teaching us that our place is in back, under a box, our lips sewn shut and our bodies open and available.

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writing into this new reality

Jen wearing a light-colored mask

My mom has been sewing masks for us. Here, I’m getting ready to go to the post office – I’m smiling under there, you just can’t see!

Hello hello hello –

Hey, I have a new book out! I’ll tell you more about it at the end of this post, ok?

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The last Writing the Flood meets on December 21!

Comfy blue couch in front of a bright orange wall; on the wall hangs a painting of three hummingbirds
Writing the Flood

Open the gates and let your writing voice flow
Third Saturday of every month

The last Flood Write meets this Saturday, December 21, 1-4:30pm
Come write with us!

Writing The Flood is a writing group for anyone looking to prime the writing pump: using the Amherst Writers and Artists method, we will write together in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, and get onto the page the stories, poems, essays, images and voices that have been stuck inside for too long. This is a time to work on a larger project, get started on new work, play on the page, or write yourself through a block and back into your writing voice.

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Writing the Flood meets this Saturday, November 16

photo of notebooks and a cup full of pens on a table in front of an inviting couch
Writing the Flood

Open the gates and let your writing voice flow
Third Saturday of every month

The next Flood Write meets November 16, 1-4:30pm
Come write with us!

Writing The Flood is a writing group for anyone looking to prime the writing pump: using the Amherst Writers and Artists method, we will write together in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, and get onto the page the stories, poems, essays, images and voices that have been stuck inside for too long. This is a time to work on a larger project, get started on new work, play on the page, or write yourself through a block and back into your writing voice.

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Writing the Flood gathers this Saturday, October 12

comfortable writing room - a rocking chair, couch, and other chairs circled around a table with notebooks and pens resting on top
Writing the Flood

Open the gates and let your writing voice flow
Third Saturday of every month (except when otherwise noted, like this month!)

The next Flood Write meets October 12, 1-4:30pm
Come write with us!

Writing The Flood is a writing group for anyone looking to prime the writing pump: using the Amherst Writers and Artists method, we will write together in response to exercises designed to get those pens moving, and get onto the page the stories, poems, essays, images and voices that have been stuck inside for too long. This is a time to work on a larger project, get started on new work, play on the page, or write yourself through a block and back into your writing voice.

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