I draw a closed square
around my worries
so that they’re boxed
in. So I can contain
them. So I see them
in perspective,
as scribbles in scrawled
ink, less than
two inches wide.

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Psalm 30:2

It takes some strain
to bow to humility
to ask for Help means:
I’ve really reached my
end.

So when I ask, know I’m
Desperate: I’ve run out of
time, excuses, plans.

I called to you –
Oh God! I called.
I asked for help with:
All the pomp & circumstance
of a General in Battle.

Bring your guns, ready
your forces. I’m
puffed up even in
my weakness. The commander of:
My Circumstances.

You were just reinforcements.

But instead,
Oh God! You laid me down
demanded light activity in
the nearest seaside town.

And the unrest, you
promised, would lose its
un-: I’d find the peace of
a Cicada at its end.

And the chaos would be
music and the nagging thoughts
a rhyme. And the world’d still spin around
us both, but we would dance
in time.

Lord, my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. – Psalm 30:2

attend to life

Each minute doesn’t
have to count
but it has to matter

Each waking eye
Each phase of the moon
Each dawn and
rain
it’s bound to come again
but never with
just the same flourish
or shape or pattern.

It doesn’t have to count
but it must be
acknowledged

Each hair brushed
just so, each sizzle
in the pan and
coffee ground and
alarm sounded
it’s the dance and
melody of normalcy
but not mediocrity.

It doesn’t have to count
but it should be appreciated

Each sigh
Each staring at the
wall and
backache and
hangnail and chore
forgotten
it strikes in the cheek
like a sinus headache
but it dissipates.

It doesn’t have to count
but of course it matters

Each daily ritual
Each daily error
it’s a rhythm, cycle,
slow creek in an often
parched wood
but it persists

It isn’t a counted forward march –
It is a sinewy, strengthening web
of rich matter.

weekly review

last red leafThis week felt a little off, sort of like Marie Cardouat’s surrealist artwork in the game, Dixit (more on that later). Either my positive attitude or my energy level – or both – tend to run in a cyclical pattern: one week on, one week off. I had such a satisfying week before last that I guess my brain gave my body a break without telling me.

That’s why I need to reflect on it now, to give myself closure and perspective.

This week:

  • a customer compared my coworkers and I to the donuts on a Krispy Kreme conveyor belt in terms of efficiency; it was meant as the highest of compliments.
  • I wrote another poem. I feel really good about this one.
  • I gladly partook in American Apparel’s Friends and Family sale. Hooray for checking things off my wishlist.
  • I considered joining choir, backed out, then considered taking ballet lessons again.
  • three of my sister’s photographs were accepted into a Jacksonville art show; it’s the first non-student exhibit in which her work will be featured!
  • I met with a friend at a local coffee shop and had a marvelous time conversing on various topics (and imbibing too much caffeine) as the snow came down.
  • several friends and acquaintances visited the coffee shop where I work.
  • I talked for nearly forty minutes with some customer friends about poetry, the elderly, and the Vietnam war. He survived some of the worst parts of the war and writes poetry now to cope and help others through their trauma. It’s really great!
  • Speaking of Vietnam, a customer told a coworker and me that we are beautiful women in Vietnamese (but couldn’t tell us how to answer, thank you, as he forgot the phrase).
  • the sun finally came out on Friday morning, bringing me much cheer.
  • Daniel and I joined some friends for a game night. We played a fun interpretation game called Dixit, which includes whimsical surrealist paintings by Marie Cardouat.
  • I slowly continued to work through the book, Sexing the Body. It’s a good read despite its small print and daunting size.
  • Daniel and I had a heart to heart on my seeming embarrassment over not attending grad school. It was an emotional but necessary discussion on which I’ll reflect in a separate post.
  • my dad was interviewed on the radio about his new book, Working Would Be Great If It Weren’t for Managers.
  • my camera remote came in the mail, so now I can model vintage clothing for my store! I guess that’s this week’s project.

As always with these wrap-up posts, I feel immensely better after reading through my list. So much of my angst is due to an emotional funk rather than any real lack of progress or efficiency. Here’s to another good week!

 

See! I am doing a new thing

The planting is hard but
the Sprouting
it hurts.
Imagine! Writhing
Up against nature’s grounding force
through mildewing grime
Would you – human –
with free will, with choice
ever push? Eat dirt,
awaken?
The mums are stronger
It wasn’t their choice
It’s nature
Look! If it’s light and
dew you want
you already have it.
Dilluted/deluded
in your watery
thoughts, you were
already taken Up
You have already fought
You are a golden mum
echoing light on each
dewy drop.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

a poem for Advent

Light of Christ

She held it cupped in her wrinkled palms,
across her lifeline, it burned
And fragmented and grew.
She peered in, squinting hard,
Hands to nose
Stars igniting in her eyes.

She clenched it then, tightly
Pushed it away with the force of her now
elongated arm, like a sigh, or fainting,
or a fervent dance.

She didn’t let go.
Afraid, though, of
The Revealing:
over-exposure,
Conviction – no trial necessary

But it hurt, holding its
heat, its heaviness
She shuttered her eyes

Release.
She knows it’s gone.
She can see the sun with her eyelids pinched tight.
A whisper, a knowing – she musters the courage to
Look.

She is enwrapped in a gown of radiance
frothy and feathered and laden with silk,
A light that imparts light
A glow that reveals, not her own:
griminess, despair, darkness.
The light of truth and love,
The light of Christ encroaching on:
decay, vanity, deceit,
Death.

Embraced, ignited,
A girl on fire
Enshrouded in the revealing and
Holy Light of Christ.

3 months in C-ville

October felt almost normal.

Daniel and I in our Halloween costumes

This month I (and sometimes Daniel):

  • enthusiastically attended my ballet classes
  • worked, one latte at a time, through growing crowds at the coffee shop
  • grieved (however briefly) over the loss of our mouse, Chantico, and bought a new mouse, Hecate.
  • suffered through an art film our friends insisted we watch
  • talked into the night on a front porch
  • attended the Black Voices Gospel Choir Fall concert, and loved it
  • ate at some good restaurants
  • went to my church’s women’s small group consistently
  • witnessed the Dalai Lama’s and Bruce Springsteen’s visits to downtown Charlottesville
  • met people from all over the world thanks to the universal need for caffeine
  • drank lots of spiced hot chocolate and cafes au lait
  • walked around a pleasant historic area downtown
  • got a library card
  • (somewhat) successfully fixed my car’s minor lock problem
  • finished decorating the living room and kitchen
  • thought a lot about feminism, sexism, and Christianity
  • appreciated the fall leaves
  • survived Hurricane Sandy/Frankenstorm
  • visited Washington DC for the first time
  • wrote two poems after a long hiatus from the craft (one, two)
  • attended a Halloween party
  • began watching Friday Night Lights
  • cemented local friendships
  • fretted over our finances
  • sold many items at Water Lily Thrift
  • enjoyed fall
  • got my first taste of what winter will be like
  • read 5+ books
  • dyed my hair dark brown

This month, for the first time since moving, felt normal. Many friendships are secure and openly mutual. We’re even invited to things on occasion! We spent less time exploring and more time inside, partially due to cooler weather. I grew more secure on a personal level and felt more satisfied in my free time activities (reading, writing poems, organizing, thrifting, etc.) I did feel a bit stir crazy and I’m currently brainstorming ways to fill my time. I can’t decide if I want to pursue a side job or if I should focus more on Water Lily Thrift. We’re walking a tightrope financially and spent a lot of time working out a budget and then trying to actually follow it.

I realized that what you leave behind can hit you hardest in the small ways. You want a friend to commiserate with on local events or weather annoyances. You hear of a new store opening and just wish you could helpfully tell someone about it or check it out with them. You enjoy the excitement of making new friends but miss the comfort of old friends. Your neighborhood is beautiful but you miss having a park within walking distance. You are tired of telling people what FSU stands for. You aren’t capable of giving people good directions within town. You begin to realize that the culture of your new location differs from your old home in just enough ways to make you feel like fish out of water (for instance, southern aristocratic culture is annoying).

All that being said, we really do like living here. People here are more like us in terms of background, beliefs, political leanings, and education than most citizens of Tallahassee and that’s made it easy to settle in.

See all monthly summary posts here.

meditation on fear

Observe the browning leaves:
do they worry
as they die, and fall
and fall to graying earth?
Do they fight and struggle
and scratch against
the muscled fingers of gravity?

No.
They willingly go to decay,
to shrink,
to crunch under foot and
Not return.

They green in strong winds
and spackled springtime light alike.
Then, knowing it would be so
all along,
They die.

Give their pigment up,
fearless,
joyful, willing us,
Hope.