Monday, December 29, 2008

In 27 days I will be here

E and I are leaving for Mexico at the end of January. I believe it has become sort of an obsession for me---maybe because it is 20 below zero most days in Minnesota, maybe because we, the two of us alone just get to sit back and listen to the ocean.

Yesterday I saw the sun. I gathered the children and made them bundle up to go sledding in the park across the street. We live on a sledding hill and on a good night you can hear the people like birds sighing in ohhhhhhhhhhhhh and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh speeding down the hill.

Yesterday was not a good night. I fell straight on my back and gave myself a slight concussion. We saw a child run straight into a tree and knock himself out. It was incredibly icy. I herded the children back inside and nursed all my wounds.

Dreaming some days is a bit safer than living.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Without fail every year I go to post on my blog an image of a Christmas tree on fire and every year it is a surprise to me that I feel this way. I am a girl with strong desires. I want the bread baking, the children running hither and yond but what happens is reality and it stings me every time.

I am a girl with strong desires and no memory.

I just finished a non-fiction piece by Harrison Solow about Wales, a tenor, the inner eye lid of the Welsh and the word hiraeth. The word speaks more about what it does not mean than what it does. I love words like that. Hiraeth is not longing or emptiness but the heart that surrounds longing, a hungering vessel that without its existence emptiness would not exist.

I am chuck full of hiraeth! (hear-eye-th)

Wales reminded me so much of Novy (nova scotia) when I was a girl. Today I have no idea why I am living in this cold tundra of Minnesota. I have no idea why I am doing the things I do or living the life I live. I hunger for this “true life” in a way I can’t describe to anyone. I constantly feel as if I am in a room of appetizers while the main dish is being served elsewhere.

That said, I am not unhappy…it should be clear that I am not trying to say that. Just that I am missing something vital to the puzzle of existence and I’m not sure where I fit in it. Yet I want to understand everything.

Every single damn thing.

Monday, December 22, 2008

the photo

I changed the photo in my bathroom and now Marguerite Yourcenar is staring down at me saying, what the hell are you doing with your life. Go write something this very moment. She looks all strong and beautiful when she says this but I know she is going to kick my ass.

She replaced Edna St. Vincent Millay, who just simply told me I looked pretty every morning and asked me if I wanted an apple.

I miss Edna.

Day One of Christmas Break

Today while running to and from without blinking from the cold, the girls and I picked up hot sandwiches for lunch from the local deli. We had been shopping all day and I was ready for a nap. On the way home Olivia asked me if I had a dollar for the guy standing on the corner by our car and I told her all I had was a check card.

Sometimes this kid surprises me; she asked if she could give him her sandwich b/c she really didn’t need it as much as he did. Of course, I said. We drove home. We carried all the packages up stairs. We unpacked our lunch.

My daughter gave him MY SANDWICH!!!!!

Sometimes this kid doesn’t surprise me that much;)

Beginning of Cannibalism

We were quiet with our mouths full of words—
the three of us, carbon copies of the other
growing lighter, the younger

a pale outline of the elder.

Our father would serve tongue
wrapped in bacon or plain
salted with a bit of grease.

It was the knowledge of eating
a part of the body we possessed.

The nubs of our tongue
rubbing against the nubs
of the familiar--

Beginning of cannibalism.
No tribe, no order.

Each of us trapped
no matter how similar,

we could be devoured by the other.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Christmas tree is almost parallel to the floor. It looks as if it is growing off a cliff in the corner of our living room or the invisible winds are blowing in from the east. I rather enjoy this and have begun stacking presents at odd angles to heighten the effect.

When I was I child, I’d tell anyone who would listen that when I was old, I was going to have a room in my house. A special room, with the floor painted white and all the furniture glued to the ceiling. I would sit there and look down at my world and try to find my balance. I pictured people wandering in, writhing in fear then eventually laughing silently to themselves as they realized all the rules had change. Here is the new world.

My mother told me when I grew up I would no longer want my special room. She told me this a great deal. She told me this so much that every birthday eve I believed that in the morning I’d wake up and I would no longer recognized my self.

A stranger, who my mother would welcome with open arms, sit her down and in the kitchen and say, “finally darling, you have come.”

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I love living in the city.

Yesterday at Home Depot I went to buy a tree. Yes, I know it is pitiful to buy your tree at Home Depot but Bella and I had 15 minutes before we had to be home and it is right by school. Besides those farm stands with can music and people who work really hard to make you feel like you are in the country and not, “standing in a parking lot in the snow”, freak me out!

Anyway Bella got her hot dog…another great thing about Home Depot and the only person I could find to help me with the tree was a three foot Somalia woman who ensured me that she could indeed handle an eight foot tree.

Okay, so at one point the woman is standing in full head dress with a welder’s mask over her head and a chain saw, swearing at the tree in Somalian. Bella’s hot dog is hanging out of her mouth and I’m going through basic first aid blood splattering response in my head, do you try to attach the arm back on or tie it off with tree rope.”

When Bella turns to me and says, this is the best Christmas tree EVER!!!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I’m in a mood---which means I’m blogging about 90 miles an hour in my head and not accomplishing anything.

Things I am thinking about:

I’m the average age that a female elephant dies in captivity. I heard that on NPR yesterday and it is bothering me a great deal. Do I relate to the elephant? Am I not satisfied? It is the same age an elephant dies in the wild. Does that seem right to you? If I’m going to live in a treeless euphoria shouldn’t I get a few more years?

The next time I turned on my car yesterday, NPR was talking about Nixon and ladders. Nixon was a ladder climber and once he got to the top of the ladder, it frightened him so much he knocked himself off because what he truly enjoyed was the climbing—not the actual going anywhere. The basic theory that no one was out to get him, he screwed himself out of the presidency on purpose.

It was all very poetic—about how most of us cannot handle being truly who we are so we think up some way to mess up the whole thing so we can comfortably go about our business with less.

God NPR is depressing.

Any way I would kick myself in the balls if I had any, for not seeming to care anymore if I am GREAT writer. To be truthfully honest, I just want the girls to grow up happy, I want to love E well and I if I figured out how to do all that without fucking it up, falling off a ladder or dying an elephant’s death---I will feel pretty damn successful.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

It was the biggest, craziest weekend ever! I had my reading at the Loft on Friday and because it was here in Minneapolis, there were a great many friends and family. People who don’t usually go to readings, who threatened to bring foam fingers and yell loudly when I was called on stage.

It was a blast. I wore my new, funky, motorcycle boots and I just read b/c I love poetry and didn’t give a damn what anyone thought. Did I mention it was really, really fun????

Last night the non-profit I work for had a huge art fundraiser at a fancy, dancy museum so I had to be there at 8 in the morning to hang art with about ten other people who had never hung an art show and it was HORRID. You know that great reading high that lasts about three days? Well, they sucked it out in about an hour. What a waste of good writing buzz.

Em and I were at the show till midnight, we hardly raised any money and it was like watching the titanic sink into the sea---a slow and painful death and no one is leaving the boat as it goes down.

My weekend is gone and I plan on reading all the yellow books on my shelf because they look happier. I might also go walk around the track at the gym. I stress ate about 20 chocolate strawberries while I watched the ship sink.

In any crisis, I am always well fed.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I tried to explain to my children yesterday why our dining room table was covered with over forty poetry books with various sheets of paper sticking out of the binding.

These books are not to be touched. These books are not to be drawn on. These books are to be returned to the powers that be for the Minnesota Book Award without a scratch on them and with mommy’s careful notes on the so called artistic merit of each publication.

Yes, I am in poetry hell. And I had no other way to explain it to my children except to say, it was like in the beginning stages of America’s Next Top Model, where you have all those twenty five hopefuls gathered in a tiny room but only one will win.

I did indeed make myself into the Tyra Banks of Poetry. Mothers have no shame.