This week I’ve been drawn back in time through memory and face to face, spinning into decades ago when I didn’t focus on my future but ran with a few dealing with the very immediacy we were facing. The day to day. We were late to college, already having babies, divorcing and reconfiguring, shifting apace with the swift seasons. We leaned heavily on each other each and every hour. Generally desperate to laugh or write or cry or paint or sort out a way through life’s obstacles. Our twenties and thirties are woven into a shared crazy quilt that binded all our loose strings. Last weekend, after decades apart, we were us once more.
May brings the days we live for in northern Vermont. Long afternoons to get outside, all of us, and even in the slanted sunlight we rejoice for this freedom. Winter, almost a distant memory as temps rise, and all around buds green and flowers red. Oh Lady Spring, thank you for all the gifts.
One can’t force seasons to materialize, but in the meantime, one can lean on poetry, and dare to don pink hair, if only to bring Spring closer in spirit if not in reality. Imagine, with a feisty me, and the genius of Miss Emily Dickinson, that perhaps, this March will dissolve quickly into April. Soon.
A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period –
When March is scarcely here
Perhaps it is the sea of fake news we find ourselves drowning in, or perhaps the spew of lies that click so easily off Trump’s digits, whatever the reason, I am drawn more and more to reading the “confessional poets” of yesteryear. Those original ones, who cared little for the moniker but much for “focusing on extreme moments of individual experience, the psyche, and personal trauma, including previously and occasionally still taboo matters” (Confessional poetry). Plath, Lowell, Sexton. They broke repression and oppression. Wove the atrocities of the Nazis into autobiographical poetry. Created verse from what we denied, with the stuff left under the rug. As their ashtrays overflowed and they pounded typewriter keys, their truth loosened onto the page and heralded a revolution of honesty.
We need those crazy fragile ones back on the center shelf. Enough with fiction for a while. Enough with thinking it isn’t the obscene power of the AR-15 that is slaughtering us. Enough with thinking that Trump isn’t motivated solely to further fatten his paunch. Enough with thinking these moral right-wingers have morals, or at least the same ones that you and I share. You know, like caring that babies are murdered at school or church or anywhere a deranged angry white man with an assault weapon cuts them down. If you still read Facebook “news” with conviction or scroll down your Twitter feed believing those 140 or now 280 characters, then wake up, you are being made the fool.
Hate breeds hate, right? Remember that one from kindergarten? We have been lead into a labyrinth of falsehoods from the naked emperor to those scurry to do his bidding. Time to taste the bitter pill. Face the hard facts. We have violated our selves. Our women. Our poor. Our neighbors. Our small towns and big cities. Our planet. Continue reading
When it all comes tumbling down, there is us. Between tropical hurricanes, and devastating south Asian floods, and politicians messing with Dreamers, there is us. Holding on to a thin thread. Waking in the dawn to go through the routines of life. Time to deconstruct problems, to formalize conflicts, to ask those why questions, all flit like butterflies in our mind as we wait at red lights or on post office lines, but with never enough time to think deeply enough. Because solutions take longer than a moment. We need silence. Staring. Stopping. And when can we ever manage that? I fear that living has shifted into something so swift that none of us can even question anything. Do it quick and move on. Congress shores up the government for three months and calls it good enough. We mail off a check to the Houston Red Cross and sigh relief. We hit high heat on the microwave and call it dinner. Afterwards we click the button on the controller and let our babies stare at the screen with us. Prefer to text, not to talk. Scroll through the news-feed liking every back to school shot without even looking to see their timid faces peering over their new backpacks and lunch sacks. We’re on the move to nowhere. Tumbling down. Thankfully the earth is there to catch us.
Last week I checked off my last have-to on my to-do list. Last, for now. During the other 11 months there is almost always a frantic side to me. A rushing. An inability to breathe deeply. Racing from bed to shower to work to workout to errands and chores and stuff to more work to finally bed for months on end. Doesn’t most everyone live such a manic pace? But this week, this July first Monday morning came and drifted into afternoon then into dusky evening, and besides lacing my sneakers for a hilly hot mid-day run, deliciously meandering, I did nothing that felt like a job. Just flitted from one spot to another following sunbeams like a roadside daisy. By evening my lungs were tired from use. Oh July, you are a glorious celebratory month of lazy hazy daydreams.
As much as I want to start every morning ready to face whatever comes my way, there are those days that knock me down, saw off my legs, and leave me to crawl through the mire; those days I curse change, especially unasked for ch-ch-ch-changes, and feel stuck. Helpless. During those moments I wrestle desperately with myself. You know that feeling? It’s two steps forward and one back, until you are either worn down by the whole affair, or you move yourself into the light.