I resolved to spend 2022 writing a poem a day. I’d like to be better at poetry, and it seemed just writing them would be the best place to start. There’s something about playing with words, studying their sound, and forcing yourself to look carefully at things. This kind of discipline can only improve all kinds of writing, and maybe even our outlook on life itself. Who wouldn’t benefit from taking the time to observe the ordinary gifts of life to see them for what they really are? To think about an idea and turn it around and see its many facets through the lens of language? To be forced into brevity and beauty? I know I have. After spending January playing with verse and line, I’ve selected the very few that made the, hey this isn’t terrible, cut. I know, it’s February. But this is how art happens when you have arms full of children learning Latin verbs, long-division, what the letter C looks like, and how to pull their own pants up. Writing happens in the margins of life. And I think, that may be right where it belongs.
I know Virginia Woolf thought she needed a room of her own to make art happen, as though things like children get in the way of it. Not that I’m any spectacular wordsmith, but I have found Woolf is categorically wrong. Motherhood, responsibilities, expectations, life itself, does not get in the way of the making. It is the inspiration, the muse, if you like. It is only a lack of seeing that hinders us. A month of writing poetry has helped me see better (even if the poetry is still rudimentary), and it thus enhances life. And isn’t that the goal of art? To enhance, to beautify, to awaken?
If you take the time to read these, thank you. Sharing what we make somehow seems right on occasion, and I appreciate you, reader, for taking the time.
Days are marked with
Laughter and frustration,
Emotions almost as big as eyes
Open wide to beauty.
Look at this! And
Watch me! Look what
I made! My attention
Is your greatest treasure.
I know, I know,
They say the days are
So long and the years are
But a blink. I didn’t believe them.
But I note how fast you’re growing.
You’re so tall, your hair is so long.
You pour your own milk now,
The cribs are all gone.
Time is so fickle (or maybe that’s me)
Always too much, and too little
And never really stewarded perfectly.
I’ll close my eyes and try to remember.
Because once, I could hold the
Whole of you in my palm, and
You stretched too large to contain,
So now I’ll be content with just your hand.
Years ago everything was far.
The taste of cinnamon was exotic.
It cost wars and years of ship travel,
And men risked scurvy so aristocrats
Could eat spice cake.
Letters took time, whole lives
Passed in the distance.
But our maps folded up, and the
Globe shrank. Nothing cost quite
So much, and lost its value.
We can send letters at the speed of light
So we stopped writing them. And
Cinnamon is used to keep cats
Out of sand boxes.
A Poem to Fix What is Broken
Kintsugi fills the broken places with Gold.
Shattered remnants are rejoined
and the missing pieces, the holes?
They’re turned into a glittering bond.
Is that how our new bodies will be?
Scars won’t disappear, and the wounds
not forgotten, but repaired and
filled with something of unparalleled value.
Will we carry those evidentiary lines
Like maps of lives lived? Not ugly, like
a Frankenstein stitch, but blood-bought seams
that prove orchestrating love. An eternal reminder.
Is that the proper way to fix what is broken?
Not to make what was, nor throw out with the trash,
but to be made new, held together by the
One who bears his scars too.
The History We Live
It’s a question that hangs in the air,
Where were you when…
And I’ll always think of
How unknowing I was.
How the immensity of it
Was too much for 13.
More concerned with a missed
Trip to the mall, as nuclear
Subs blocked our path to the bridge;
And two towers lay in ruin, lungs full
Of rubble, and brave men entering the
Fray. But how was I to know, of
National threats and the chaos
Of hatred? I only wanted my ears pierced.
Even now, I’m 34, and I don’t grasp
How things build up and crash. The
Immensity of this world where
Hate bubbles up like the pot
I’m watching. It seems like we have
A million where were you when… questions
Floating around our collective memories.
Maybe 9 and 11 and me at 13 was really
The day I learned events like these
Are just the history we live.