Between, & all the years that have passed since then

In a kingdom far away

In a kingdom far away

BETWEEN

I wanted a red dress and wide hips —
the better to love with
not necessarily for birthing babies
as those books
would have us believe
their pages filled with
elastic wombs & embryos,
miniature aliens placed there
by god knows what.
Desire.  Was that it?

Motherhood has since selected
something more suitable
for me to wear.
responsibility and self-sacrifice
in a durable weave,
stains wash out easily.
Count on cotton
I hear in my head,
a titter made sonorous
in the hollow of sleepless nights.

Swaddled in flannel with pink rosettes
I dream of a tight red dress
warm breath in my hair
probing fingers
so many places to search for comfort
or passion.
Desire and need are not the same things.
My thighs have grown soft.
I remember when they were taut,
sprawled heedlessly on the edge of caring.

I perched there for a time,
between
the dream and waking,
between
desire and duty,
rivers of doubt flowing on either side.
I stared into the abyss
and leapt anyway.

~~~ written 1995


So, yeah . . . here’s a thing.  I’ve had a stack of old floppy disks sitting in a drawer forever.  A few days ago I bought an external floppy disk drive so that I could finally access the content.  One of the disks was just labeled Poems.  A few of them, like this one here, I hadn’t remembered even writing.  My son was six when I wrote this.  I was busy, probably tired as hell.

There are short stories I forgot about, ideas for children’s books, more poems. I’ll probably go through them slowly, savoring them.  Try to recall where my head was at the time.  It’s a little like finding a trove of letters from someone you used to know, but haven’t seen in a really, really long time.

Could be interesting.

Tap shoes, dreams, and dust

gathering dust as forgotten things go

My tap shoes gathering dust.  The dark blotch on the top shoe is my fingerprint.

 

I dreamed of dancing, once
of twirling, gliding, flying
slyph-like
across space and polished floors.
My parents couldn’t afford lessons
so I danced with Judy Forkey, instead.
She was Baryshnikov
to my Kirkland
because she was taller
and could catch me

when I lept.

Later the rage was tap.
Girls who took dance
in the next town over
wore their tap shoes to school
on the day of their lesson.
I loved the

click click click

of metal against
the tiled school floors.
I stuck tacks in the bottoms
of my shoes
trying to approximate the sound

click click click

It wasn’t the same.

Years later
I realized that I was grown up
and in charge of my life
so I bought a pair of tap shoes
and stuck them in my closet
sometimes I took them out
to imitate dance moves
on my linoleum floor
just to hear the

click click click

again.

I can afford lessons
now
when I find the time,
but time is harder to find
than the tacks
I had to filch
from my teacher’s desk
for the faux shoes.

Certainly
harder to come by
than dust.


Intrigued by the thought of leftovers.

Fragile

 

one day they will fly

One day soon they will learn to fly.

 

Reflections: 07/08/1990

A night
in the life of us.
Kathy says
she wants credit
for the title.
Okay
I say.
I am easy.
Tommy has always been
easy
or so he thinks.
I think
we are all too
fragile
for real life.


Several days ago my husband discovered a nest containing newly hatched baby robins in our rhododendron bush.  I took a photo with my phone.  I keep looking at the picture, amazed that such tiny creatures are able to survive at all.  How is that even possible?  I mean, look at them.  They have scant feathers and see-through skin.  Their spines are a yellow dotted line down their backs.  They cannot hold their heads upright.

Something in the fragility of these babies made me think of a night long ago. My sister was visiting from Virgina, about to move to California.  My brother was still alive.  I convinced them to go with me to see the movie, Cinema Paradiso — a magical film about childhood and how it shapes who we become. Afterwards, we went to a bar where we drank wine and wrote poetry on paper napkins.  Then we sat in a park, talking into the night until one of us was sober enough to drive home.  I kept all of my napkin poems from that night twenty-four years ago.  Dated and numbered, yellowing and stained; seven of them in all.  I don’t know if my sister still has hers.  I wish I had my brother’s.

I don’t remember what started it, the writing poetry on napkins.  Most likely the wine and the movie, the looking backwards to the past.  Wondering how any of us survive the chaos that comes with growing up?  We were so fragile then, our dreams as transparent as glass.  Our poetry so self-confessional.

But survive, we do, for a time.  Some of us longer than others.

The baby robins are thriving.  Which is a miracle to me.  In five days they have doubled in size.  Their feathers are coming in and there are the shadowy buds of wings that will eventually lift them from their nest.

I hope to bear witness when they do.

Five days old.  A crowded house.

Five days old. A crowded house.

What the Heart Wants

stone heart 2

“The heart wants what it wants . . . .”

     ~ Emily Dickinson


The heart wants blood & proper plumbing
valves
un-clogged arteries
electricity thrumming
a steady rhythm.

It’s a muscle
after all
little mouse of soft tissue
no bigger than a fist
wanting us to eschew
the fat
to move ourselves
in vigorous exercise
to breath deeply
of clean air.

A heart cannot live
on metaphors
that speak 
of love
and longing
words best left
to poets
& to time.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist

fforde ffiesta 08 TwistA whirl of caracters rising upward:
a girl in a green dress
a Hawaiian-shirted tourist
a minotaur
two cheese smugglars
mustachioed
horned
and adorned
disguised
and prized
Ffiesta tomffoolery
for the ffun
of it.


The photo was taken at the DeVere Hotel in Swindon, UK, May, 2008.  The occassion was the second Fforde Ffiestaa gathering for fans of the author, Jasper Fforde.  (You can find out about Jasper Here and Here.) My husband, our son, and I have been attending these events since 2005, because these people are like family; each event has become a family reunion of sorts.  Those of us who consider ourselves members of this wacky, wonderful family are celebrating the fact that this weekend is EXACTLY 12 months away from the next reunion.  We can barely contain our enthusiasm.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challange.

Seasonal lake view

looking glass lake 1

From my bedroom window
I happen to glance out and spot the shroud of sun
spreading it’s last light over the horizon.
Before it melts into the woods beyond the lake —
a lake we can only view through trees bereft of foliage,
from an upstairs window —
I grab my camera to document the thrill
of this single moment.
One in millions throughout my lifetime,
each observed and stored in its own place inside my head,
to be retrieved later (if I can find it) and enjoyed again.

Remember this? I’ll ask myself.  Wasn’t it spectacular?

In truth, it’s not likely I’ll remember
this particular sunset
any more than others I’ve seen,
or the thousand other moments
that caught my eye or my breath,
and made me pause to savor it.
Like our seasonal lake view,
obscured by the fullness of nature,
the brevity of moments like this
get lost
in the plenitudes of life.

That’s what the camera is for.

n.b. April is National Poetry Writing Month.  If you’d like to try your hand at the form, or just read good words, check out these links.  Here and Here.

Into the Forest (a story in 50 words)

 

 

Trees like a beating heart.

Trees like a beating heart.

Life was noisy.

Snow fell, and the woods beckoned —

It’s quiet here.  Come in.

Sure-footed, she blazoned forth.

Light slanted through the trees like a promise,

A golden haze whispered, Stay.

Standing beside three trees, red as beating hearts

She found a home inside herself.

Quiet to last a lifetime.

 

n.b.  The photo came first.  I wanted to see whether, not only could I write a story in exactly 50 words, but could I create that story inspired by the photo.  I like a challenge.  Thanks to the WordPress editors for this one.  It took me nearly a week to do it.  Hemingway, I am not.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

half face Cardiff 1pmCardiff Bay.
In the dark,
with the noise of
 howling wind and spitting seas
at your back
you stumble and fall
face first
on a braided rug of stones.
Ah, well, lass.  Rest awhile.
No one will mind
if you have a wee nap.
There is time enough
for repair
when you wake.

 While visiting the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales last summer with friends, we passed this lovely woman.  I wondered about her, she looked so peaceful where she was.  Whoever she was, she looks the perfect object for this week’s photo challenge.

Lost

photo (3) sig

My father threw me in a river once and said, this is how you learn to swim.  I don’t remember if I was scared.  Only gliding through water so clear I could see everything the world might be made of.

The weightlessness thrilled me.  And the cold that warmed me the longer I wore it.  I glued my legs together with the wish for a fish tail and propelled my mermaid self through uncharted waters and forgot all the things I thought I knew.

*Inspired by today’s daily prompt.  Also appearing at Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom.