Little by Little the Month Takes Shape

February 9 Tuesday 2010
Home to the city that my poet, of this month is praising. Home where trash- can noises are symphonies and the air is filled with sharp sounds.

I walked today to meet my daughter at a local soup place, not to far, but I noticed I was fast and unangry. Often walking brings up a rage in me. A combination of the sensation that nothing is moving fast enough for me, or that I am the one lugging ballast slowing my very existence because I have to propel myself with forward motion. But today I was treading the edges of happy while under my own feeble locomotion.

I left my girl to walk back to work arm in arm with her sweetheart. Oh I didn’t really have anything to do further uptown as I suggested, I just wanted to give them time to be alone hugging each other on the sidewalk while I scurried home by side streets, my poem slowly seeping into my brain.

February 10 Giant Blizzard 2010

A snow day!! Pottery was canceled; well it is my only school. Sort of exciting to get the phone call from Amanda the pottery teacher, but I love pottery. I haven’t ventured forth today. I wrote. I stayed in bed with my husband; we even went back to bed mid-day to celebrate the snow day officially with lazy-day sex. But now I feel I want to have the wind in my ears and some snow in my eyes so I am going to take a little spin along the river and see the snowy sights.

I want to advance past the first third of this poem. The month is nearing half over and I am still stuck at the head of the poem. I need a word shovel to plow the verbs and vowels into my frozen head.

Saturday February 13, 2010

This was going to be a different set of ideas. It was a long walk by the river lots of words slowly moving into my brain, between thoughts of Valentine’s Day and the Chinese New Year, my year, the year of the Tiger. Instead as I approached my loft downtown, I pulled off my gloves and heard a big brash ping. A metal sound bright, and clear, not akin to the sound in the poem, which was “drowned in metal hulls”, and I thought, that’s weird.

I looked down at the ground and at my hand simultaneously and saw that the wedding ring, which had been my grandmother’s, was not there snug on my right index finger. A cold sadness over took me. Where did it go? How far could it have gone? It was right there, I heard it first hit pavement and now invisible. It had fallen under a BMW parked in front of my house. This could be a diversion on the changed nature of my neighborhood, originally settled by artists now populated and visited by the upper echelons. But my ring under their car, and it was all about that.

I called my son; my husband and we all hustled to sweep and peer under the car. We took strong flashlights and shown them around the under-carriage. We picked up chunks of ice and looked under them. I was frozen from lying on the ground and calling out to the ring, but it wouldn’t show itself.

I kept envisioning a cop show where wise scientists use physics to find trajectories and catch killers. Couldn’t one be found wandering by and his day off and offering services? They would trace the possible circle into which the ring could have jumped or rolled or slithered, we would look there and, Voila Valentines Day saved.

Instead I left giant notes written on the cardboard left for recycling. Wedding Ring Lost
On Valentines Day
I was now one of the tragic Smith Magazine six work love bios, all begun because of the Hemingway fictionalized newspaper ad
Baby shoes for sale never worn.

Now I can’t remember my poem, either one in fact, all I hear is the golden ping of my ring. I hear it clearly and I hope not for the last time.

I am fantasizing a sharp-eyed neighbor who finds it and reads my note, and rings my buzzer, rings with my ring in hand for a Happy Valentine ending. The poems will wait.

Later that day. . .

Well the sharp-eyed driver of the blue BMW outside my loft did materialize and she and her husband came bearing my ring. A wonderful unexpected Valentine’s gift. The buzzer rang as we were bustling about getting my son’s sweetheart ready for her month long foray into India. The washer was spinning and clothes for the trip were piling up on the counter. I thought the buzzer was another attempt to deliver a parcel for neighbors and then there came an unknown voice through the intercom.
“ I have your ring. We moved our car and just like your note said the wedding ring was right in the middle of the car in the snow.”

What were the chances? I went downstairs and to my surprise she looked so much like my niece, Risi all big curly hair pulled into a topknot and smiling. A storybook ending.

Monday February 15, 2010

I got up early, not in the dark dawn but before 7 a.m. a time when I can still feel as if there is day to be stolen and it all is not promised or prescribed. A time when I can read poems, do crossword puzzles, or daydream with cats and coffee and not berate myself for being slothful. Oh do people still do that, even with the diminution of the protestant work ethic? I do. I see that one does not have to possess a weird Christian or Hindu or Muslim religiosity in order to put themselves down for not doing or being good enough or productive enough. It can come from our own personal pushy, judgmental deity, our egos.

How does one find that balance of push and relax? I chide myself for television or the couch. I allow a punitive super ego to override many of my small accomplishments; positive steps, which when viewed as a tapestry can become something wonderful. However I watch them as tiny stitches, and criticize their lack of rigor, or non-uniformity, and so I lose interest.

How can I continue to write, make pottery, play the cello, exercise when my results are so lack-luster? Why not just watch T.V. or eat an omelet; if to try is to fail. Not fail totally, but certainly be found lacking or wanting. When one does not leap into the fray there can be no measured result, either good or bad. Waiting on the sidelines is a non-starter.

Still here I am, up writng, after having reviewed my January poem, sadly to find that even in the short time I have been away from it on a habitual basis, it is fading in brilliance from my soggy memory. The language is reverting to my modern cadence and vocabulary.
I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I did til we loved?
And I make it
I wonder what you and I did until we met?
Really that is a quiz show question, a boring first date opener, not poetry from the sixteenth century. Does my brain grow weeds like the garden, which is not vigilantly patrolled? And the weeds which invade my brain are not buckthorn or bittersweet but sloppy language.

Is there any undertaking, which does not require vigilance? I long to find something that thrives in torpor and neglect. I suppose it is a weedy garden, a matted cat, unkempt hair or nails that seem to sprout as soon as I look away. But to grow a garden of words, a collection of poems committed to memory requires just what the phrase implies.

Committed to memory doesn’t imply just dating memory, or toying with memory, flirting with memorizing a poem. No committed firmly to memory. I hadn’t thought about the depth of the phrase until now.

And so I am glad I reacquainted myself with John Donne’s poem yesterday on my walk home, content that I visited it enough to realize it required a recommitment ceremony rigorous enough so that my brain will not moss it over with a coat of sloppy. Now that it is firmly back, I shall jump into modern love with my February NYC poem.

At the risk of being disingenuous let me say that the walking and better eating aspect of this supposedly linked experiment has not progressed well. I am still as hungry, still snacking or slathering butter and the walking, while intermittent and more frequent, is not enough to stem the tide of full fat cheese, or roast chickens and sweet potatoes accompanied by spinach pies and topped off with Valentine chocolates in profusion.

I vacillate between not caring and being enraptured with the warmth of my kitchen and the love of my husband which lulls me into cooking and eating and sharing more, and the horror that I am killing my knees and hips and heart with my chubby self and devil may care love of butter fat. And there it stands, flapping in the breeze like a lufting flag; one day, OK in honesty, one moment committed to good eating and the next firmly on the side a crème brule and explorateur.


One response to “Little by Little the Month Takes Shape

  1. Peter Storandt

    There’s a poem lurking in the ring story. Will you wrirte it for us?

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