Words Washing Over Me

I hate the gym. And it just recently occurred to me why. I hate working out for the sake of just working out. Running aimlessly on a treadmill, or climbing endless stairs to nowhere. It’s not the workout I dislike. I actually enjoy the endorphin euphoria I feel once I’m done, but I miss the connection from simply being in the great outdoors. Hiking the mountain trails out my back door, I absorb all things created and breathed. Flying down the hillside on my mountain bike all of nature washes over me. When I ski through the powder snow, I too become light and full as the flurries wrap me up in their cold fleece. In these places, I’m reminded I am right here, part of the natural world. I’m not forced to stare at some formulated magazine figure, with her queer wide white smile and erased body watching as I elliptical my way to a healthier me. Who would enjoy that? No wonder so many people resist the gym.

When I connect with the outdoors, the workout doesn’t even matter, it just happens. But I am reminded I am right. The way I am. I belong in this space. I don’t need to do anything special except exist. I am the crooked gnarled pinion tree on the dessert mountain hill and simultaneously I am the grand collegiate peaks on the horizon. I am one with it and a part of it at the same time.

This last week I realized writing holds equal significance for the very same reason. The challenge I’ve placed on myself is not to write for the sake of exercising my writing skills. It is for connection. In the last six months I faced the most difficult time in my life and it has left me confused. My daughter was paralyzed in a traumatic car accident, and my ex was driving. I have felt every possible emotion allowed to a woman through this experience. Emotions I didn’t even know existed and I struggle to find words for. I think this is why I always return to images in nature to remind me of who I am and more importantly how I feel. When I put those descriptions into words, I am reminded where I’ve come from, where I want to go, and what I am in this moment. And more importantly, I give myself permission to feel whatever I am in this moment. This is my poetry and the words that wash over me.

You may not know exactly what a poem is (and that’s the beauty of poetry—it can change; it should change), but you know you must write one.
–Rita Gabis, “Why Poetry”

Love that wide

The sun tucks the earth
in for the night
splashing kisses of color
across the sky
blue and red, oranges too
whispering sweet dreams
with all of it’s hues.
a sliver of moon
hung neatly in place
lighting a path
If one should wake
Love that wide
deep and rare
a daily reminder
waiting there

Gratitude

river rock
time spawned rubble
blue green brick slate
edges smoothed
sandpapered away
polished over
settled through
rushing rapids
cleansing hues
fish jitterbugging above
while resting heavy below
possibly drowning
glancing above rising floods
grit and tangled torrent
forged this masterpiece

The World To Me

You are my never ending Arizona sky
covering me clearly
during those desert nights

my Colorado mountain breeze
whispering cool relief
along wild paths of burning heat

my rolling Tuscan hillside memories
sudden red poppy fields while driving crazy round curves
drinking more wine than we probably should

my rooftop Chicago cityscape view
while Navy Pier looking long over due
firework memories and electric hues

my Chicago symphony listening halfheartedly
drinking more fine picnic wine
Millennium notes playing centuries long

my comforting fireplace lit at home
when my wanderlust heart calls me west
You are always my place of rest

Mom, every place I see
your vivid love and memories
travel all over and through me

Kissing the pieces

She smiles when I sweetly kiss her
gently
along her little sugar chin
then lightly peck across her neck,
she whispers
“Mommy, do it again.”

trying to kiss all of her pieces
with each soft sweep
unbreakable happier parts
skipping memories across her feet
but mostly I reach further
kissing the broken places
the more obvious hurts
life’s miserable bones

In the stillest nights
I will sing her song
mended chords just for her
I will carry her name along with her notes
so she knows she dances in my every breath
so she knows she’s my unbreakable

lightly brushing my lips
kissing her little neck
consoled for a moment
to hear her honey sweet giggles
dripping into my mind
she’s alive and semi whole
momentarily her pieces
fixed
in her clandestine heart
carrying her swiftly
through another paralyzed night

The best lines come after

This guilty feeling has been lingering in the back of my mind over the last week. I didn’t want to pay attention to it, but it kept poking at me, demanding attention like a needy child.

With that said, I have to confess–I’ve been revising all of my published pieces. And not just one or two words here or there, I’ve completely reworked line breaks, added and removed whole passages, and changed descriptive images. Being new to blogging, I’m not sure what socially acceptable rules are in place, and I’m a firm believer that you need to know the rules before you break them. Nonetheless this time, I’m pretty sure I’m breaking an unwritten rule. I think I understand this behaviour is uncultivated. However, in my defense, this journey began as a personal challenge to put a creative piece of work on paper everyday, and I am loving this challenge. What I don’t love is the feeling my pieces need more time and space for that finished feel, because of their creative nature.

Thankfully, as I start week three, I’ve smartened up and have multiple posts in draft form as we speak. I still wonder though, if like a meth addict I won’t continue to return to those finished pieces. I also can’t help but excuse this addiction because of the nature of my blog. I’m not reporting current news here people, I’m spilling my life and soul and perspective onto the page. Sometimes, I don’t even know what my lines mean, and they’re my own. I have to sit on them and chew for awhile to figure the pacing and the break and the image and the connection and the rhythm and meter. Maybe if I was a better writer, this would come easier to me, but it doesn’t, so I guess I have to accept my dysfunctional literacy.

As usual, I have to find those renowned voices who can support my instability. One of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, comforts me with her thoughts on revision:

What matters is that you consider what you have on the page as an unfinished piece of work that now requires your best conscious and patient appraisal.

-A Poetry Handbook

Thank you Mary, I agree. With my ‘best conscious’ and patience, my best lines come after, long after, I throw down the bones. Lines like the following:

Their cult and creed grew from a ditch,\revenge their one resolve.
(The Lake County Wars)

hidden below\ the floorboards of my mind
(by the pen)

I’m slurring it clearly\so they know I am fine
(My Words is Liars)

The long nights when parents reminisced with friends and family clumsily spilling my truth.
(Dissonance)

Now I couldn’t find anything that excused my revision addiction after publishing. Like a true addict, no one will agree with me. I guess I’m going to just have to stand my ground. What good is self-publishing, if I can’t make some of my own rules?

As we head into another challenging week, I’d love to hear your perspective on this subject or your best lines and what it took to get them written? Remember to share the line and give a link to your blog in your reply.

by the pen

why do you keep coming back?
to feel the here
and there
places I can’t let lie
words crashing down
caressing truth
hidden far below
the floorboards of my mind
grateful the refuge
she felt the baking heat
as she fumbled
the sweet pan
cookies, chocolate chip
from her dirty yellow oven
lingering in the air
the smell of shit
from a diaper moments before
my unfiltered mind
by the pen
splashing smells
of me and you and her