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Archive for December, 2010

I’m looking to buy some great shoes today. To finish a poem I’ve been working on, to replace my Miz Mooz Amelia Button Boots that I’ve worn to death over the past three years, and to finish
a poem. 

Here’s to new things like a new year and new boots and a new poem.

I’m thinking of turning the old boots into flower pots or umbrella holders or something useful. I just can’t bare to throw them away despite the fact that they DON’T look like they should anymore. Hole in the toe, bent over like wilted flowers, chips, scuffs, holed soles. But they were grand once, weren’t they? HAPPY NEW YEAR! Drink lots of chamPAGne. It’s good to feel bubbly inside.

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“Twice I have held the ashes of people I adored – my dad’s, my friend Pammy’s. Nearly twenty years ago I poured my father’s into the water near Angel Island, late at night, but I was twenty-five years old and very drunk at the time and so my grief was anesthetized. When I opened the box of his ashes, I thought they would be nice and soft and, well, ashy, like the ones with which they anoint your forehead on Ash Wednesday. But they’re the grittiest of elements, like not very good landscaping pebbles. As if they’re made of bones or something.

I tossed a handful of Pammy’s into the water way out past the Golden Gate Bridge during the day, with her husband and family, when I had been sober several years. And this time I was able to see, because it was daytime and I was sober, the deeply contradictory nature of ashes – that they are both so heavy and so light. They’re impossible to let go of entirely. They stick to things, to your fingers, your sweater. I licked my friend’s ashes off my hand, to taste them, to taste her, to taste what was left after all that was clean and alive had been consumed, burned away. They tasted metallic, and they blew every which way. We tried to strew them off the side of the boat romantically, with seals barking from the rocks on shore, under a true-blue sky, but they would not cooperate. They rarely will. It’s frustrating if you are hoping to have a happy ending, or at least  a little closure, a movie moment when you toss them into the air and they flutter and disperse. They don’t. They cling, they haunt. They get in your hair, in your eyes, in your clothes.

By the time I held Pammy’s ashes in my hand, I almost liked that they grounded me in all the sadness and mysteriousness; I could find a comfort in that. There’s a kind of sweetness and attention that you can finally pay to the tiniest grains of life after you’ve run your hands through the ashes of someone you loved. Pammy’s ashes clung to us. And so I licked them off my fingers. She was the most robust and luscious person I have ever known.” – Anne Lamott

A year or so after first reading this passage and I thought of it again this morning. For love, for friendship, for having those in our lives so full of life we want to taste them. I love this passage – stunning and sad. I love it for making me feel.

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Spring?

This morning I opened the door and smelled winter’s smoke. The houses in a thaw. The steam rising from the roofs. The white. The pink of morning. Birds chipped away at the cold with their voices and for a brief moment I felt inside me – Spring.

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A Woman and Her Muse

Blood drops blossom on the bathroom floor.

The make-up you’re wearing, the heels,

the pants around your ankles –

a poet’s morning glow disappears in the mirror.

There’s much to do, I beg you.

You look with empty bucket eyes,

eyes I faintly know.

Zip up your pants,

wipe the blood from the floor.

The stench of you

drips down our walls

your skin a nicotine yellow.

Put me on instead.

My skin is the color of difference.

I’m the pink inside your mouth.

I’m the rattle of a cage.

I sing and I sing

I feed and I feed

I make light of our darkest need.

You bring the cold city home on your heels

I wrap weight in a warm blanket.

I kiss your hands

one palm

two

thankful you’ve brought the body home.

Now we run, now we write,

we meet storms and throw seed

our eyes are feeding and electric

Your hummingbird hand while I shovel the coal

don’t you see how our body can glow?

By morning you’re back to covering pores

spritzing on a false skin

You’re daylight eyes cut our current’s circle.

Oh body, please come back

I need your hands

oh body, don’t leave me whispering.

Blood drops blossom on the bathroom floor,

there’s much to do, I beg you.

You wipe the blood clean of me,

you wipe me off the floor.

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write night

I feel a marathon coming, a need coming. We are so tidal, pulling and pushing, our waves rolling around the sand in our toes uncovering shells and weeds and treasure. By morning we wash it ashore like naked babies crying, just born. The things inside of us revealed – we knew they were there all along, we just couldn’t see their faces.

Tonight I will turn the lights low, cover myself in blankets, disregard the mess of my house, block out all the images of this world and set out my boat for another.

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Writers go places. Deep into the mind, into emotion, into fear and love and dark crevices that have never seen light before. I’ve always been an explorer. I’ve squeezed through sandpaper boulders in Joshua Tree National Park so I could get to the top of the world and look down. I’ve lost myself in the giant redwoods along the coast. I’ve willingly gone into caves to see the water dripping down into mineral stones. And there are places I may go that scare me, but I have to go there, I have to go there and put my light on to them.

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Gray hairs are much easier to pull out than normal hairs. And they don’t even hurt.

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