Wednesday, July 19, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 32, the truth will set you free

The Truth Will Set You Free

I've had a lot of tough conversations with my kids.  I'm sure there will be many more.  This one was tough.  I had to confront one boy about lying.  There was no question that he was lying about taking something of his brother's.  We asked him to tell the truth and he fudged around but finally admitted that he was embarrassed and had lied.

I want him to know that telling the truth will make him feel better.  Admit that you made a mistake, made a selfish choice, and then let it go.  Don't carry that shame.  Set it down and move on.

Monday, July 17, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 31: Fire and Rain

Fire and Rain

Hours after I learned my brother was dead, I heard Fire and Rain on the radio, began sobbing, and ran into the bathroom because I didn't want to freak out my two 6-year-olds.  I always thought that I'd see you again...

When the guitar teacher began playing it as a demonstration for the boys, I felt my head fill up.  Not just my eyes; I felt it in my ears, my throat, behind my cheekbones.  It didn't take me to memories of my brother but to learning of his death.  Healing now through little boy voices reaching for the notes, struggling to find the chords.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 30: grief


I grieve with others, in empathy.  I experience pain witnessing tragedy and I clutch, with others, at the petals of hope in times of despair.

But this grief is utterly selfish.  It is me missing you, me feeling the hole in my life, the emptiness in my womb, the relationships that died while the people still live and the ones that died with death.

I can't prevent grief, can't stop myself from loving, from expecting, hoping, planning.

Sometimes I am scabby and oozing.  

And sometimes I am a crackerjack improviser, spinning deftly from that vortex, reconfiguring myself with everything that's left.

Monday, July 10, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 29: Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

Here.  It's yours.  You can have your own bedroom for 4 years instead of 2.  But also, before that, you will share with the baby so you can change him in the night and feed him in the morning.  Daddy might take off your pajamas when he thinks you are asleep.  

You will babysit and clean houses and sell Italian sausages at rowdy, testosterone-soaked festivals instead of running track or playing flute because you have to pay for all your own stuff.  

But, yes:  when listing the children, your name will come first.  

That was mean-spirited and self-indulgent.  But it sure felt good.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 28: metaphor


We can't ever really know what another person is thinking or experiencing.  We use metaphor to swirl up a bit of meaning here, and another bit there, and hopefully, eventually, we are standing in the same water.  It took a metaphor to get me there.  Metaphor, in all its forms, creates communication, connection.  The dancers in unison.  The instruments.  The paint and clay and words.

I find God in the fascinating vagaries of weather and world and cosmos, the euphoric love I feel for my children, and the soul-bursting fresh air revelations found in the communication made possible by art.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

100 days of 100 words, day 27: mid-life crisis

Mid-Life Crisis

Napoleon wrasse sits in the aquarium, working his thick blue lips.  Over 40 pounds, over 40 years old with a large protruding hump on his forehead.  The hump used to be less prominent, when he was a she.  Smaller fish dart around but he remains unperturbed.  Aside from the excitement of his recent sex-change, his life consists of sitting in this aquarium.  For forty years.

As I ponder this, he slowly moves to a back corner and turns tail up, nose in the sand, wiggling.  "What is he doing?" I ask the nearby employee.  "Physical therapy."  Middle age is a bitch.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Self Portrait, 3rd Person

The haunted child has a pigeon
on each shoulder.  The birds
are not haunted.  They do not know
fear.  The child knows
a thing or two:  times tables, state
capitals, the words that get her home
when she is lost.

The beautiful child carries a shawl
but it means nothing.  Her beauty
means nothing.  She rushes through a forest,
bare feet cushioned by pine needles
and arrives at the back door
of a little cottage.

The curious child, mouthy and distant,
wears white cotton, and fidgets like a woman
in pain.  She can see the very thing
you believe to be hidden.  She doesn’t want to.  
It’s just that, as soon as she achieves

silence, the vision arrives.  

The sad woman can’t help the aging.  She can
still bend over, she can still smile and remove her bra
as if to music.  When she smiles knowingly,
it means she knows.  When she flutters her hands,
it means she used to be a bird.

The pigeons on her shoulders, let’s say
they represent imagination.  Let’s admit
that they fail.  Let’s confess
that we don’t even know what success
of the imagination would look like.

And the woman, we must agree
that her tears aren’t real. But they could be,
if we weren’t watching.  She conceals her eyes,
but not from shame.  Out of dignity, aggressive
self-possession.  You should thank her.
But don’t wonder what it means.  She won’t
tell us.  Don’t ask.  Shhh.  Don’t say a word.