When you don’t know what to say, say something in the length of a breath.
It’s lunchtime and here I am sitting in my van
parked in a grocery store parking lot, blowing my
nose in a used napkin. A napkin previously used to
blow my nose. Homemade vinaigrette sits on the dash
in hopes that the December sun is heavy enough to break
through the overcast and liquefy the coagulated coconut oil.
It won’t. And I realize that if I were sitting in my
Prius, instead of my work van, I would satisfy so many
generalizations right now; with my pony-tail, writing
poetry, drinking kombucha. Maybe I don’t need
the Prius after all. Maybe the Prius needs me.
And the high-schoolers yell at each other across
the parking lot, desperate for attention, while the stay-at-home moms sit
in their vans, just a little longer, enjoying the silence that comes
from an afternoon car-ride nap. If I listen closely,
the trafficswells become fingertips of the ocean, trying
to pull me back into Her, while the douglas-fir gently wave goodbye.
To turn a fellow bloggers phrasing, had an Odd Driving Thought today… (the link is there, so you should go check him out)
Today’s productivity is the results of yesterday’s Focus, willingness to adapt the routine, and care and attention for the present moment. I’d better put it to good use.
And the poem that followed…
Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what you think in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
Out for a walk and I realize that everything I know to be fact, through careful scientific observation, has been told to me. The things that I assume to be true, through my own experiences and observations, are but a myth.
I only want to write on an empty stomach, so to feel the urgency of hunger. I will sit with only five minutes left on the clock and write ceaselessly to see what it is that’s important to me. To know the pains clearly. To feel the heart beating.
If seeing clearly is the goal, why is it then that every time I see my conditioning clearly I muddy it in the days that follow.
Muddied by thought, by my search to know more, until its nearly forgotten. If it wasn’t for this ground that holds all activity the insight wouldn’t bubble back to the surface in time. And the process of muddying can start all over again.
To be able to write poetry successfully I have to do two things: give in to the experience. And give up assigning value to words; stay true to the story; give in to the music within the word. By giving in to the experience of course I mean the experience that gives rise to poetry, which is, of course, a poem in and of itself. I can write a poem about an experience while I’m living the experience, but I can far better write the poem, later, (or perhaps write a far better poem) if I’ve fully invested in the experience.
I woke up this morning to a wrinkled
face in the sheets staring
back at me, mouth open in sleep.
I thought maybe it is the sheets
memory of you, and this its performing art.
Or is it my performing art and the sheet my stage?
I like the way you look when you’re sleeping,
because I know you won’t be asking me
for something, at least not anything that
I’m not already willing to give.
If I try to whisper into your ear, or
where your ear should be, would the words animate
the bedspread, get it to do a little jig?
at least that’s what comes to mind
in this morning reverie. I haven’t gone
outside yet, but I know its likely to be
peppermint and whiskers. Like in a dream that’s a
memory of a dream, I slide further into
the covers and wonder at what it might
be like to stay in bed all day. Blanketed
by crow haws and blind-filtered light,
and the answer comes by the way of cramps
and a runny nose. And I sneeze and the sheet-
face is covered in snot and spit and now
it really starts to get real, I’ve got to jump
out of bed, otherwise the day, like this poem,
would have no point.
I’ve never considered myself to be a conversationalist, in fact I’ve beat myself up for being boring, for having nothing to say at the moment when something obviously needed to be said. Yet here I am writing poems, the written form of conversation.