Tag Archives: time

we used to know

26 Apr

We used to know without pause
which blouse, which skirt, which shoes,
which size was right –
what time work ended – how to connect
when one of us failed
to answer the phone.
If one of our kids
was melting down,
if it was too late,
we’d wait with each other
in public until it passed.
We used to know
each other’s allergies.
We used to understand
the village
wasn’t only for our kids.

We used to decorate ourselves
and our spaces, too,
with feathers and disco balls,
slippers and smoking jackets,
on fire with possibility,
forging bonds in that fire,
unbreakable bonds.

We cleaned each other’s houses.
We brought each other soup
and tissue and wine.
We watched each other’s kids on snow days,
holidays, sick days and in between.
But we never sealed the pact. There were gaps,
days we missed, moments we drifted off.
In the center of our lives
was this open-air home we’d built together
and I (because I can no longer speak for all of us
and probably never could) – I thought it would stand for

all over the world
and maybe,
just maybe
that was it.

Maybe that
was the cause
of its demise,
all those different signs
on one door.
I don’t know.
Maybe the mortar never set.
The walls didn’t match up.
Those signs
were too heavy.
It was never a home.
Too big,
too small, too restrictive.
It had too many rooms.
I don’t think
any one of us
can point to why in that singular moment,
the sledgehammer dislodged possibility
and we all came crashing into the here, the now.
I still don’t know
what caused the rubble –
I didn’t see –
a series of moments maybe,
a shift in our foundation.

A cluster of infinitesimal seismic shifts.
Dynamite. A lack of faith. Silence.
Divided loyalties.
It was preventable.
It was inevitable.
It was what it was.
Now it is what it is.

But as the sun
peeks through the trees,
I’ve noticed
each of us,
wanders back to the site
and stands awhile.
We assess damage. We gather
what we treasure most,
each stone,
each mirrored shard
reflecting who we were,
who we wanted to become,

as we linger
by the hammer, still in the center
of what used to be the floor,
that if we decide
more intentionally this time
to build a village square,
it only takes one of us
to begin.

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National Poetry Writing Month
30 poems in 30 days


I Need a Longer Line

11 Apr

wpid-20150411_171841.jpgThere is a buzz in my chest
As my daughter’s focus
Takes hold, as her hands
Hold the cello and work the bow,
Bending her elbows with ease.

The thing is, I sometimes think in poetry. There are times I express myself best in verse, in sounds, in rhyme or alliteration, in the shape of a stanza, the break of a line, but there are times I need a long line of prose instead – I need a line to go on and on and on into the night, beyond when the dogs knead the blankets and settle into their tortellini curls, beyond when my Honey turns out our bedroom lamp, beyond the closed books and the late night train a mile away.

I need unstoppable, unshapeable lines.

So here I am in National Poetry Month – when the middle schoolers have dioramas and displays to illustrate their themed poetry up and down the corridors – an ocean, a volcano, a pumpkin, a treasure box, words along the sides, on the ceilings, dangling from the tails of fish –

And I am challenged – so challenged – to try, too.

Daily, I challenge myself to shape and sound my way through a think that isn’t pre-thunk, to stumble and stand and make peace with putting words out there, even if they aren’t yet reaching for the stars … because this is human. This is how people are. We try and fail and try and fail and soar.

I cannot think of a time when I opened my mind’s flood gates and watched all the gems wash ashore. That’s not how I write. I mine for the gems and to mine, I need time. Time and time and time. Time for a pre-think. Writing and rewriting and reading and reaching.

And today, I need a longer line.

*  *  *
National Poetry Writing Month

30 poems in 30 days

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