Friday, April 26, 2013

My husband is gone.  Again.   I woke at four am, wide, wanting.  This time of year always surprises me.  The strength of spring, how alive and and tremendous it all is.  The way that is juxtaposed with my intense exhaustion.  Nine months with the children.  Nine months of words and lessons, provocations and assessments.  My own children have endured nine months of our insane routine.  Ins and outs and all arounds when all they want is to stay in their jammies, play Baby/Mommy, shuffle around in the early hours, slowly flow into their day. 

I didn't plan on having such a big year.  Didn't know that going back to work full-time would coincide with Jeff's fellowship, with all these weeks of going it alone.  Like anything, single mamaing is a muscle and I've actually become much better at it.  I know that burritos and parks work wonders.  I try to sneak in exercise whenever I can.  I rely on my beautiful friends, Jeff's mama, the proverbial village.  But dang.  Sometimes I just miss my husband.  Sometimes I just want to have him here with me, not to necessarily help, but to be.  To take it all in.  To hold these moments. 

Solomon will be three in a week.  He's so big all of the sudden, a mess of unruly curls, all words and songs, heavy flat feet running, running.  Eliana navigates his world with a sense of grace and purpose, albeit, a bit controlling.  They are such a team.  For better or for worse. 

Our little unit will enjoy this weekend. Hell, it's supposed to hit seventy today.  That's alone is cause for celebration.  The way the grass proclaims her return, how vivid and green. 

I don't want to want

I don't want to want
Want that content wash of
spring when the green is
the wild smiles of
glacier lilies
breaking forth from
the hard and heavy

I don't want to want
Want to hold the
soft skin of my children
carry their words
their songs
race with them
through open space.

I don't want to want
One egg,
one piece of toast,
cup of chai
apples in the basket
reasonable and smart.

But sometimes
I drive myself crazy
because I really,
really want things.
I want enough space
for a bedside table
would prefer if my
glasses didn't have to sit
on the floor all night
long, when the kids
wake at four I
worry first about
stepping on my glasses
which seems like such
a ridiculous worry
at a time like that.
I'm tired of the bathroom
shimmy, the way we
can't all fit in any space
all together,
the way their toys
spill forth from every
corner, every
imaginable space
inhabited by some
thing that
someone cares about.
I'm tired of the cars
that race by my window
the revving of motorcycles
a front yard littered
with beer cans and
the resin of last nights party
because this is a college town
and we have been in this
little house
ten years already
ten years is a long time
ten years means,
we've grown out of something.

Which is tricky,
because I don't want to want

The want can make you crazy.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

california spring

Spring in Southern California has
a more predictable rhythm.
Tumble of waves and 
pulse of tides.
Buckets and shovels and
ridiculous beach suits,
our color punctuates the
marine layer,
little feet pound wet earth,
siblings in arms,
found burrowed in
yesterday's hole,
our days a watercolor
of fluid and simple
our smooth
breath when 
together and away.

assignment two, response poem


 "The day is a woman who loves you.  Open."  -Richard Hugo

The day is a woman
who loves you.  Open.
The trail heads straight,
the sky uncovers
a breath of soft rain,
swift movement of clouds,
light, then dark,
light, then dark,
the ringing creek,
the soft brown forms
of far off mountains,
close and curved
like the body
of a mother.

We make our way,
the sky wide,
children and dogs,
bicycles and helmets,
coats and hats.
On and off,
on and off,
clatter of streams,
of us,
children’s moods
fickle as
spring sunshine,
no schedule,
a slow roll,
as the trail opens and
the green of the valley
pours upon us.

We recreate
the day,
again and again,
the sky wide
as the mouth
of a thirsty girl,
her only purpose
this moment,
her only fear,
being found.                          

Sunday, April 14, 2013

first piece for poetry class


This April morning the
Buds burst beneath
A blanket of snow.
Our mountain is shrouded
In thick, cool fog,
My skin cracked and dry
After a week back,
All ocean memories a wash,
The sand has stopped seeping
From books and pockets.
We are officially inland.

I think of you
As we said goodbye
To our ocean home.
You who always preferred
The rocks and mountains,
Bright, red earth and staunch yucca
High elevations and impossible ascents.
But ones affections
Shift with age, as our
joints stiffen, temples gray,
 responsibilities mount.
Our jobs so serious,
Our children so big,
Our parents frail and unpredictable.

I see you,
Faded board shorts, Aviators,
Skin smooth with sun and sand,
Face austere, serious
As we wait for the coastal train.
The kids irritate,
You pace and command and then,
Stop and meet
The horizon.

I think I see a
Tiny tear
Make its way down
Your scruffy cheek.

The palm trees dance
Ever so slightly,
The bell from the old mission
Sounds twelve times,
You hold that moment.
The rhythm of the waves,
Pulse of tides and
Steady rush of arms as
You gather momentum,
Join the flow,
Again and again.
Free and free and free.
Tethered to nothing but
The slow wait,
The first set. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

what we carry

I carry a single, small, square piece of art from my mother's home.  White and delicate, words spill from two ancient looking columns, so tiny you can only read them if you go real close.  When I found it in the pile of things maybe moving to storage, maybe to give away, maybe for her new home, I picked it up for the first time.  The miniscule words, the tiny script, jumped from the canvas:

small things


body odor


Each word moved into the next, drew me in deeper, made me want to hold on to that little square for dear life.  Without asking, I dug some cloth napkins from out of the giant trash bag marked Goodwill.  They were also beautiful. Blue batik, the gray blue that used to be her favorite.  I wrapped the white square from all sides, as carefully as I could in the middle of the night, lights out, everyone asleep, me, wandering like a drunk, aimless and sad, trying to hold on to my mother's home.

The piece and her cloth encasement fit perfectly in one of my mother's old Coach bags which I now also, suddenly, needed to have.  I put the treasure in gently and zipped the expensive leather closed.

The next day as I moved from plane to plane, through airports and carports, over mountain passes and through state lines, I cared the most about that leather bag.  These strange objects that suddenly become heavy with meaning.

As I look at this piece now, as I squint to read the tiny words in the dim, twillight of spring in Montana, I think of the home I've left.  I hear the sounds on California Blvd as they race by my mom's window.  I smell the floral air and hear the heavy door slam against the rough salmon stucco as I make my way for a morning walk.  I lean forward and give my mom a kiss on the cheek in the morning, lie beside her in her bed, our stories and truths fall like rain.  She has books for me to read, Tivo clips I must see, brie and chardonnay, grapes and hummus.  Everything is just so.  Everything is always the same.  Predictable and organized.  How we are together so clear in that space. 

I still have my mother.  Her new home is where she needs to be, the rooms inside carry the same artistic aesthetic, teak and ceramic, perfectly framed photographs, all just so. 

But I don't have the same home to come back to.  And that's okay.  I'm a grown up now. 

We've grown smaller and smaller, our family unit.  To think all ten of us ever lived under the same roof, the boys bunked up in the garage, three teenage girls in one room, baby Hil in the walk in closet.  The way we were all thrust together.  My mom and dad making their way in a sea of random chaos.  Lives converge, voices shout, art lines the walls, bold and bright, odd and abstract, each piece another addition to the strange, strange story. 

My house was never like any else I'd known. 

One of my eighth graders complimented me on my necklace today.  Oh, my sister made it, I said proudly.  I thought your sister had the dance company, she said, knowing me so well.  Oh, that's my younger sister.  How many sisters do you have?  So I gave the always fun response.  I have five sisters and two brothers.  I told the story of the mixed marriages, how we were all thrust together, the madness and lessons and love. 

It's a hell of a story.  And yet here we are.  My mother passing out her precious possessions like Halloween candy, my father asking me to tell him what my favorites are on the wall, he wants to put all his stuff in storage, travel and take on the world, save some money. 


being alone

The words take us in so many directions. 
The words hold us together. 

And I'm full of gratitude.  Gratitude for my mom and dad, for their health, for the way they love me.  For their passion and conviction, strong personalities.  For the deliberate and unique ways they move through the world. 

My home is inside of me.