La Llorona

Deep in the black velvet ooze
At the bottom of the saltwater cavern,
I found her weeping for her children.

Her weeping makes her monstrous.

Mothers warn their young ones away
And secretly worry
about where choices have led them–
About the salt in their blood.

I see her

Raw fingers raking the sludge,
so long from giving love.
My hands ache and sweat;
I taste my death but cannot look away.

Her hollow eyes focus on me and the time is fulfilled.

I kneel in front of her,
Take her hands to my breast,
And kiss her wide mouth long and full.

8.21.02

I Stop

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged. Missing me one place, search another. I stop somewhere waiting for you.
~Walt Whitman

[Context: I had run away from home (for a week. yes I did set a time limit. mother of two after all–maybe not the best, but the only one.) because pretty much everything I had built my world on–my belief in what was the right way, who were the right people…the right according to everything I’d been fed and swallowed (or rebelled against and paid for dearly)–had fallen in rubble to the ground. Bad scene but also a chance to pick and choose what you’ll build with this time. If you can survive. (Which you can.)]

 

∞ ∞ ∞

Brand-new, clean notebook. All possibilities exist here. I love paper, and it hardly costs a thing. This 70-page, spiral-bound, college-ruled notebook cost 25¢ at Wal-Mart. It is one of the best-kept secrets of our time.

My feet are speckled with gray, the rim around my toenails black. I have a black smudge on my calf, just below a freckle, which is itself below the scar that is a reminder to me of Albert…nope–can’t remember his last name. Italian. Started with a C. These marks on my calf form a constellation–an anchor, perhaps. Here I sit, on my eldest son’s camp chair, up in the North Country. Sharp Bridge Campground, 40 sites and the cleanest bathroom I’ve ever had the pleasure of using while camping.

I wanted to write a little before doing the dishes, even though it will get dark soon. So much of my life is spent going, doing, or planning on going and doing that I almost never get the chance to just sit and daydream, or notice the activities of the little ones–worms, ants. A giant bug flew into my campsite this afternoon–I heard it rather than saw it at first–a dark humming, more bass than bee, and when I caught the movement that went with the sound I was prepared to get nervous if this creature did not go soon. But then it stopped moving and hovered in the air for a moment; it looked at me and I smiled and said, “Ahh! a hummingbird. Thank you.”

Ugly Duckling

Now I float upon the cool water,
My webbed feet gently keeping me true
As I breathe and come to.

Here I am upon the calm water~
The ungraceful dance,
Frantic footwork to be what I am not,
Is over.

In the distance swans take flight:
Recognition leaps in my heart
And my wings give a sympathetic shake.

Now, here, I am what I am.
My webbed feet paddle the cool water,
Moving me forward, swift and sure

Until yearning meets with knowing,
And I unfold large, beautiful wings
That carry the drumming of my heart
Across the years and vast deserts I have traveled.

In a moment,
Through a flurry of sun-kissed water,
I am airborne,
Flying to meet my mates.

Sharp Bridge Campsite, August 2002

It dawns on me that I have a tendency to expect too much from people. More specifically, I expect them to be “better” than I am–more enlightened, more understanding, more generous. I don’t expect this from everybody, but I do tend to expect this from those I admire, and often from those whom I love.

Sharp Bridge Campground

Sharp Bridge Campground in North Hudson, NY. Photo by Michael Lechasseur.

It is the morning after an afternoon and evening of rain. Every patch of sky I see supplies a crisp blue outline for the pine needles way up there. Long streams of sunlight lay upon the ground, flowing and shimmering when a breeze moves the trees. The white pines grow cathedrallike here–columns shooting straight up to the fronds at top. Steam rises from the ground and the trunks. We are all glad for the rain. We all need it deep down and often. And it does make the sunshine so sweet.

Thought

I hope that the raggedness can be overlooked as one would overlook dirt on a child or wrinkles on a beloved grandmother. It is life I want to see here, to communicate. It is messy and beautiful.

People

My kryptonite and my lifeline. What I think people think I should be or am, and fighting against it. Meeting people and exchanging various forms of love, nourishing each another, often in the most ordinary places (passing a stranger on the sidewalk and sharing a smile). I’m lucky to tread a balance, but often stray into hopeless entanglement with my need to label everything and tell myself what it means. To grab hold of it and make it something instead of letting it be whatever it is.

The trick is to always stand on your own two feet–to always know where you are and engage from there, instead of trying to figure out where the other person is and act from that imagined place.

The trick is doing it not just writing about it.

My two feet.

My two feet.

A Thought from Grandpa Joe.

We must be willing to get rid of
the life we’ve planned, so as to have
the life that is waiting for us.

The old skin has to be shed
before the new one can come.

If we fix on the old, we get stuck.
When we hang onto any form,
we are in danger of putrefaction.

Hell is life drying up.

Excerpt from A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living

What do you call it when you don’t write? Hell? Oh, block.

2:44am.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. Just woke from a dream in which a woman is talking about writing with a fountain pen and how it is perfect for those times when you know what you want to write, and it is relatively short. Then I woke up and thought, I guess she prefers the more even, reliable flow of a modern pen for the hard work of just starting to write, when you don’t know what you want to say–or when you have a lot to say but you haven’t been saying it, so it’s backed up and clogged and things are going to get messy enough without adding a fountain pen into the mix. That’s what I thought–because I’ve never used a fountain pen, but I imagine they are messy.

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