The Breath of Goodbye
Please don’t praise my poetry
Or painting or ask me
If I’m okay.
Of course I’m not.
Lean into me.
Listen for a heartbeat.
Let this breath of goodbye trill
With crickets and summer heat.
Let sighs. Let tears.
Let me miss you
As twilight settles,
Let the poem write itself.
ag ~ 2014
I have been asked this question many times in many ways. As a possible date, as a rhetorical question and as a source for creative celebratory inspiration. Anyone who knows me really well does not have to ask. I stay in, make some fun food and do one or more of the following: write; paint; watch an old movie; or on occasion, do some heavy physical but more so psychological cleaning.
It’s my ritual. I have a strong rebel archetype matched by equally strong hermit energy. The two team up on New Year’s Eve so that partying out with the champagne crowd is not an option. My archetypes see to it on this singular night of the year that I create my own party at which I am feted and the center of attention – my own – even if it’s just a quiet presence. I love and miss fireworks on First Night in town, some truly great music/musicians playing their hearts out and some of the wildness and chaos that is sanctioned this one time, however not enough to join in. Because frankly, I can feel more alone in a crowd than my own home when I’m not in the mood to participate in any festivities. I am hardly a hermit in my daily living, however on this one night, while always grateful for all the invitations and concern thank you – please excuse me – I already have a date.
a ping on my calendar
note to self: pick up
spring rolls and a candle
“Happy New Year” to all and may it be abundantly and fruitfully creative.
Last night, after pushing paint around on an old canvas, I turned up the volume, changed playlists and danced to rhythms that moved me from my head into my body. I recalled images of large-busted and wide-hipped island women swaying their bodies ever so gracefully and sensually. I used to try to copy their slow, subtle yet seductive dancing patois and was mildly successful within the framework of my own limited experience. In other words, a white woman on a Caribbean beach dancing her way into the sultry waves, color and heat of tropical rhythms. Last night, for the first time in a very long time, I was reminded of her, my younger self, and the all fun we used to have together.
lemon in with the salt bath crystals creole and stars
“Mixed in with piles of this and that are glimpses here and there of who I want to be then and now”.
I wrote this line a couple of weeks ago here on “The Poetry of Soil” and titled it “Creative Scraps.” It resonated with me long after I hit the post-button and the sentence tumbled into the pantheon of words-on-line that return to life as screen dust.
It’s almost January and time for my annual exercise, started by another blogger, called “A Small Stone.” A small stone is the practice of writing a short piece on a daily basis for one month about a moment or more that occurs during your day. It can be poetic, a rant, a hoot or anything in-between. The idea is to support paying attention and bringing light to even a small part of your day and thus honoring a fragment that most often gets lost in the blur. I believe that this is the fourth year that I am working on this original intention despite it no longer being a group on-line activity. Gratitude is a big chunk of this exercise, and the practice itself nurtures and sparks creativity.
I am starting today with this introduction, because I need to begin by stretching similar to stretching before a run or workout. It’s the last Sunday in December and 2015 (already), and it feels like a good place to begin.
Endings and beginnings.
Piles of this and that.
Glimpses of here and there.
Who I want to be then and now.
a small stone in my pocket last year’s laundry list
In between printed pages of roasted root
vegetable recipes and fragments of discarded
poems that litter my unused dining room table
lie more pulp and ink than I feel comfortable
admitting to. Despite my ability to read and save
more and more on-line, I still savor the touch
and texture of paper. And my filing system,
though a model for how-not-to-do-it, still
remains a tactile exercise that somehow
works and best of all yields some interesting
Mixed in with the piles of this and that
are glimpses here and there of who I want
to be then and now. “Tonight I Will Paint
My Toenails Blue” (the first and only line
of a poem I’m writing) lies on top of “Transforming
Jealousy of Other Women into Feminine Power”
(by Sara Avant Stover), alongside two different
recipes for brandied pumpkin pie and
several severed pages of
The New York Times Sunday paper
supposedly saved for use as scrap material
for poems and painting.
Even I amaze myself with all that I save to
inspire a creative life in a 150 year-old
blue farmhouse that has seen its own share
of abundance and loss, gardens and graves,
hard working farmers and a kooky spirited artist.
So as I take the time, (3:00 am-ish), to sort
through piles, stack, file, discard now or
I wonder again at all these possibles in my life
heaped up on my old oak table and decide
to save the one-line poem and jettison one
brandied pumpkin pie recipe. Thanksgiving
is over, and I am on to clipping custard recipes
and finishing “My Journey to Artistry.”
close to solstice
a fragment of moon
in a fragment of poem
ag ~ December 2015