Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Patience

One of my favorite quotes is this one by Rainer Maria Rilke:

"...I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

I heard it first in the homily of a very literate Episcopalian priest and was immediately struck by it. I am a person who, unlike my brother and some other more clear-headed people I have known, has not always felt certain of the answers to life's questions. This quote has always helped me to feel that uncertainty is okay.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Fog Lifts

It's amazing what a few hours of sun can do.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Pacific Ocean

San Francisco


Carmel-by-the-Sea

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Impromptu Trip to Adirondack Park

This morning my mother and I drove up to Adirondack Park. We stopped in Old Forge to look in the shops and then went on to Nick's Lake. It was a lovely trip.




Saturday, November 12, 2011

Morning

First thing in the morning, I stumble downstairs half-awake with my mind on making a cup of coffee. Once I have accomplished that, I need to see what's going on outside in the backyard. Through the big picture window I can see a little brown bunny rabbit nibbling grass by the green bushes lining the house. Four mourning doves blend in with the ground under the big house-shaped bird feeder where they savor dropped seed hulls. A grey junco pecks his yellow beak into the grass near the far corner of the yard. Then along come two robins with the same mission: looking for worms to eat. They work on a patch of ground in a nearer corner. A bright downy woodpecker works his way up and down the maple tree. His bright red head and checkered black and white body are striking next to the nuthatch, who blends into the tree. A cardinal, then a chickadee, then another cardinal, then a house finch, and later a blue jay fly to the feeder, land on it for a matter of seconds while taking up a few seeds, and then fly off to a nearby branch of maple, birch, pine, or cherry. The goldfinches prefer the long tubular Nyjer seed feeder and sometimes four will peck at it simultaneously for as long as an hour. Then, from under a stone near the house, comes the chipmunk, who scurries towards the sunflower seed feeder and up its pole without regard to the birds in his path who, startled, fly swiftly out of his way. He fills up his cheeks until they are just about to burst and then flies off the feeder in one bounding leap and runs back to his hole. Meanwhile, the black and grey squirrels chase each other into the yard from the neighbour's tree. The whole group, upset by the newcomers, fly off at once.

On a typical morning it is not unusual to witness dozens of creatures pass through the yard. Their busy activity, which mostly involves eating and drinking water from a large metal bowl by the main feeder, but also includes competing for space and mating, fascinates me. I watch them with as much curiosity as I do a good movie. I am curious when any one visitor is absent for several days. I would even say I worry when I think they might be in trouble. For example, there are about four female goldfinches who visit the back yard regularly, but there hasn't been any sign of a male goldfinch for months. What am I to think but that he died and left his family alone? But, of course, I know living in the wild is not easy. And, we are lucky to have such a healthy variety of species in this neighbourhood.

Some Poems from 2000-06

The path underfoot
is full of fallen
branches and stones,

cracked
images of love
cutting the soles
of my feet,

cold,
leaf-covered mud,
smelling of decay,
failing to cleanse them.

There is a place up ahead
where the water
is clear and healing,
where the sun’s light
is brilliant,

where her reflection
in a new set of eyes
reveals many uncharted paths.

The womb of comfort
needed to give birth
to this.

+++

Just when I thought the world was bleak,
you took my hand and led me
through dark, muddy woods
to a place that could have been
mistaken for the moon
for its luminous clarity.
You sat with me and held me
while the aching beast of my heart
bled across the lunar landscape.
I could see the sun, the blue sky,
my dreams reflected in your eyes,
and your gracious humanity,
emanating from your soul
into the world.

+++

our bodies move toward each other,
sometimes one body sinks under the other
causing a very slow collision
creating curving trenches
thousands of kilometers long

sometimes when our two bodies meet head-on,
neither is subducted,
like two colliding icebergs,
we both resist downward motion
instead, our crusts buckle
we are pushed upward or sideways.

sometimes my body pushes into and is
subducted under your body.
in turn i am lifted up,
like the towering andes mountains.
but even though as a whole I am sinking
smoothly and continuously into your trench,
the deepest parts of me break into smaller pieces
locked in place for long periods of time
then suddenly moving to generate large eruptions
often accompanied by uplift of as much as a few meters

+++

My heart is a Magnolia tree
that blooms one week in spring.
The blossoms fall to the ground
to make a pink blanket
and then scatter in the wind.

+++

When I think of you
I remember
your mouth open
fast asleep
in front of the television

and in the morning
frying bacon
in your boxer shorts

your coffee
with cinnamon and vanilla extract
pancakes laced
with cream of wheat

playing cards
and singing songs
for hours

you singing the first act of la traviata
in the shower
me standing outside the door
listening

Friday, November 11, 2011

Still Writing After All These Years

As a young child, I wrote lots of fantastical and optimistic stories that involved ordinary people having extraordinary experiences with magical creatures. My writing demonstrated a charming disregard for natural order that is sometimes simply hilarious.

At some point, probably coinciding with puberty and/or my parents' divorce, the stories became a bit dark and my childhood optimism gave way to the more extreme emotions of adolescence. And then, in High School, I stopped writing stories entirely and I started writing poetry. Poetry allowed me to express my tender emotions cryptically and artistically. It helped heal the wounds of heartache in a way that nothing else ever could.

I know that I continued to write poetry into college and even took a creative writing class there, but until I recently discovered an old computer file of poems, I had forgotten that I continued to write poetry until sometime in the year 2006, just before I started this blog. I do seem to gravitate towards writing and even reading non-fiction these days, but I sometimes wonder if taking another class or just getting out the watering can would reveal that I have more fiction in me to write.

Some Old Poems from College (c. 1991-95)

CONTENT
To sit and watch -
To flow and ebb -
To blend -
To melt -
To dissolve
Unnecessary boundaries
Between
You and I...
To risk the comfort
Of Intimacy...

+++

She walks like the tide
She hangs on and goes with the flow
Moving in and out
Rushing to a high, and then
Dropping to a low of
Uncontrollable madness.

He guides her thought
He stifles her emotions and tells her
You don't need this, You need that
And then walks out without
A warm hand or a tender heart.

+++

Rooted before me
your life, like a tree
stretches its rough limbs
to meet my scaly, cracking fingers
which somehow begin to moisten
with the fruit of your touch.
Your lips, watered by the
juice of pomegranates
bleed upon my cheek
and your wide, bulbous
eyes blossom and compel.

+++

I remember the stars
before daybreak and
the full moon that
polished the charcoal
sky with your wide,
lingering eyes and
the thunder that
preceded the rain
that you drank
from my face while
your hands picked
me wildflowers
from our grassy bed.

+++

we could stand in this
tomb of gold slumber
and stare in awe
at the many rubies
and sapphires but
instead we whisper
about crablegs and
cupboards and there
isn't a single second
that goes by without
bats in the air knocking
fragile carpets hung by
hooks in eggplants so
we fondle dusty cement
blocks instead of each
other and feed on
violet stares and
moments of uneasiness

Thursday, November 10, 2011

California

I am flying to San Francisco on Monday and I'm so excited. It was fifteen weeks ago that my good friend Lara and I started our drive from the corner of Jones and Bush streets in lower Nob Hill and continued on through Sacramento, across the gorgeous Sierras,



through the Nevada desert, into Salt Lake City, onto a stretch of breathtakingly beautiful highway near Aspen, through Denver, and then discovered the bright, peaceful plains of Nebraska,


and drove on through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and finally New York. It was a long trip, but not nearly as arduous as the journey I was to begin when I arrived at my destination.

And now, fifteen weeks later, it's time to go back and visit the place I loved and left behind. But first, I need to pack.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Sleep

It's been nine weeks since Nashira died and of course I still miss her. Last night while sleeping I had an episode of sleep paralysis in which I felt/heard her jump up on my chest and settle down for a nap with me. It was either sleep paralysis or just a very vivid, lifelike dream. Or, I suppose there is a chance that her spirit is something I can feel and hear. I don't know, but it was very comforting.