THERE IN THAT CORNER, BY THE KITCHEN DOOR
Why does the dust settle there,
In that corner, by the kitchen door?
You sweep it away, but it returns,
Collecting at the edges of your life.
Can’t you see the currents you stir,
The wake you leave as you trudge
Through yet another musty day?
The dust settles and whispers
In the corner by the kitchen door,
“When will she notice this time?
How long before she sweeps
Everything away?” A clean sweep.
Look closer. Dust clings there
To the chair leg, and there on
The third stair, and there
In the corner, another corner,
Against the cold north wall,
Just a wisp still, not like there
In that corner, by the kitchen door.
FLY DIRECT AND SAVE
A two-hour flight takes six
You stop and switch planes
Waste time in airports
Layover in cities you hate
You say it’s cheaper
It’s what’s available
You waited too long to book
Everyone is doing it
I say it’s your life
Why are you waiting
Fly direct and save yourself
Stop making excuses
Well, it worked. Choosing random sentences kept me writing for the last few days. My best work? Not really, but there’s something there in a couple of them that I like. Overall, the fact that I was able to craft anything from them makes me happy, even if it does remind me of being back in high school. I never liked daily writing assignments—they feel so forced and artificial. Yet, here I am, imposing the same constraints on myself. And as far as “my best work” goes, there’s no objective measure—many times the pieces I love don’t seem to resonate with anyone else.
Am I a writer yet? Can I call myself that? (I wrote “am I a poet” and immediately felt a surge of panic, so I deleted it. That’s not a word I’m comfortable claiming for myself. It’s a sacred title conferred by others on the truly talented: Poet. It sparkles and shimmers, shining through the darkness. Even writ small, it’s too big a word for what I do. Why is that? Why such utter panic around one little word?) I started this blog to ask the question: am I a writer? Will I show up every day and work at it? So far, I’ve done a decent job showing up, but I fear that if I let myself answer the question, I’ll stop. Yes or no, I’ll stop. But if I let writing fall away, what’s left? Who am I then?
I don’t talk about writing when I’m out in the real world. If asked what I do, I don’t identify myself as a writer. Out there, that leads inevitably to the question of publication and payment. I can claim neither. Does that make me a fraud? I don’t know. I thought that doing this for a year would give me those answers. I expected to find a measure of confidence in myself that I had lacked. Clearly, I was wrong. Where does confidence come from? How can I get some? Am I really the same person who used to love nothing more that being on stage? What happened?
I hide here in my life, not wanting to draw attention to myself, yet craving attention, missing applause. How do I reconcile these parts of myself? How do I answer my own questions? I made it this far…now what?
CURIOSITY, OVEREXTENSION, DISSIPATION
I’m not invited, but I need to see
What’s going on in front of me.
I push my nose where it shouldn’t be.
I have to know what’s happening.
You talk of needs and share your pain.
You need my help, you suck me in,
So once again I’m juggling
My life and yours, and no one wins.
There’s nothing left, my life is spent.
No energy comes heaven sent.
I cannot fill the emptiness—
Where are you in my discontent?
Crowded room, mixed voices murmur,
Restless mourners can’t sit still.
Open casket for the bravest,
Those who can withstand the chill.
Most ignore you lying peaceful
Laid out like a china doll.
They chat and fidget, check the clock—
Your time is up, but is that all?
How can you command attention?
Make them hear your silent screams.
Their tears flow freely for themselves—
Your life to them was but a dream
Quickly fading, half-remembered.
Life continues though you sleep.
No one questions who has died.
It’s not your loss that makes them weep.
Wake them from their dismal musings!
Most of them don’t know your name.
Throw a party, not a funeral.
Embrace your life! It’s all a game.
Feel the blood rush through your body,
Sit up tall, repent your lies.
Don’t bury all you have to give—
Insist your life be recognized.
Men on men, in tight pants play
San Francisco games
sharpen the edges
turn and fold
again and again
crease after crease
fold on fold
open and press
press and crease
until the flower
the bird flaps
the life emerges
pressed and folded
creased and worn