Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Woman in fog

from For the Birds, Little Red Bird Press

If only she could, she would give her
heart to her husband, womb to her daughter,
arms to her son. But her body lies on the floor
awaiting rejuvenation, still breathing, broken.
What to do on the days when tears drop
into her soup? It’s ok to do nothing, she thinks,
just simple tasks like laundry.

She picks up a book of poems instead, reads
“trees lose parts of themselves inside
a circle of fog” *
She’s in a thick fog, has shed her leaves, 
absorbed moisture till she has water on the
brain, disoriented by the shift that wakes
her at night, puts other parts of her to sleep,
brought to her knees in a wave of heat and tears, 
unable to exchange the chief’s hat
for the sombrero.

Her feet feel heavy, her mind dull.
She tells herself, it is only temporary,
lie fallow, compost.

Oh the music she needs to comfort her,
and the long night she’ll travel through
until the bright dawn reclaims her.

Human, faulty, imperfect,
like the low thrum she hears in Cohen’s voice.
Claiming darkness as its source
it rings true, full of light.

*(Excerpted line from poem by Francis Ponge)

Friday, July 29, 2011


If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television - and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's".. More "I'm sorrys" ...

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute... look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.
© Erma Bombeck
(various versions of this are floating on the web, but I think this one is close to the original)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Women's Stories, a letter

the ones we tell each other,
late at night or early in the morning
over coffee & a cigarette,
more than one if it's a story we've told
over and over like chain smoking, like
dirty laundry soaking in the tub, stains
evoking lost memories of teething, cut
lips, blood on the sweatshirt where
you held his head & he bled all over you
& you want to speak about this love
you have for other women who listen
intently, with their own pain showing
& many cigarettes to carry them
through the telling.

a compassionate voice or ear,
the closeness we feel yet cannot say
because we're afraid of a label
but what we really want, I want,
is someone fearless, a weaver of words
or truthteller, someone who's not afraid
of hurting while resetting a bone.

to talk about the helplessness of being
stuck in a house with a sick child,
the boredom that strikes,
the complaining we do, being called martyr
when all I really want is to tell someone
how unfair it is that I'm the only one
they call for in the middle of the night
& it's my ears hear them coughing
at 3 a.m. & I can't just lie there.

how to find out what our own needs are
& how to take care of ourselves,
not just wait for him to come home, take over,
pick up the toys and the pieces, mop up our spills,
how to find a quiet time, time alone,
time to think & write.
our need to be replenished with each other,
filling up our bowls with sugar & coffee
so we can tell our stories
not just talking over fences in the backyard
but actually getting out & seeing women
doing the same hard work,
no pay, no thanks, just their little faces
when one least expects it, smiling & asking
me to sing a song about I love you
 or making up a song about superman
all by himself in the living room.
he says, go away mom, don't talk (meaming
I have to do this alone, don't listen
cause it might not be perfect the first time).

I send you this in guise of a letter
because that's the way the words are falling out
of my fingers. in my mind I hear
the tapping on keys and it comforts me
at least I can listen to myself talk
without talking out loud (for that's
what crazy women do).

so I keep on writing & dreaming
trying to live truthfully
with my emotions, in my body
and I hope you do the same.

from Little Mother, published 1997
Jennifer Boire

Friday, May 27, 2011

Compassion Tao Te Ching

# 67

I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
You return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies
You accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Quebec in Spring

Radio announces 22 degree high
only 12 this morning
(a boy refuses to wear a jacket to school).
Tomorrow, snow flurries.

Warming sun sinks her down into a lawn chair.
Bird chatter up in the white ash,
silence of winter broken.

Black lab rushes birds to the cedar hedge,
seeds brim over the feeder, swarms of bugs.

Drying out wet boxes, soggy winter dirt.
Skis, bikes & roller blades clutter the garage.
Big oil slick on the paving stone.

When will the honeysuckle bloom?
so far only dried twigs.
She waits in her lawn chair.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hopi Quote

"There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.
See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves!
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we've been waiting for."

Oraibi, ArizonaHopi Nation