“Thursday, June Twelfth” or “Eight Days Later”

dedicated, with sincerest humility, to all of my colleagues, both past and present. i miss you. i love you. happy summer.

 

one-hundred
and eighty
days      of nonsense
of exhaustion
of fervor
of reward
of connection
of the explicable
all weave together
to create tenuous strings
that bind me to you.

these strings
they are fragile
because anything
sturdy and strong and secure
is not as valuable
and so
throughout these
one-hundred
and eighty
days,
i guard these strings
with my whole heart
and being
because they (you)
are my fragile family
and that (you)
is worth guarding
more than much else.

then the summer comes
and greets us
with a fanfare barely recognized
in our delirium.
it is welcomed,
and so beautiful–

but every time,
there is a small,
minuscule knot
in the pit of my stomach
kept there
by an oft-forgotten part of my heart
that is all-too-used
to the loss of things–
valuable things.

i cannot reason away
this pesky knot
that exists
because i no longer
pass you, visit you, absent-mindedly
three times a day, or
twice a week, or
whenever i need you.

you feel      less secure
more ephemeral
as we escape back
into the rest of the world
for three [two, really] months
of rejuvenation
that is so desperately necessary
but also
so bittersweet
in     so many ways.

as much as i hate to admit it,
there is always a fledgling sprig of joy
that overtakes me come august

for our fragile strings
are once again made shorter

this family
so (in)valuable
reunited
somehow
in this           crazy
awful
invigorating
exhausting

dance of what we do.

National Poetry Writing Month

So a few days ago, my friend Laura invited me and my friends Valerie and (former professor and also friend) Aaron to write a poem a day for April, which just so happens to be National Poetry Writing Month. So here I am, a few days late, with multiple poems. Hopefully I’ll do better at publishing said poems on a more regular basis. Until then, I hope this will be enough. Oh yes, and please be gentle – I’m just writing and seeing what happens. However, gentility does not preclude comments, critical or otherwise – those are always welcome.

April 1

These words
jump and
skittle and
scream

And run away from me
before I can pin them down.

Then I’m left
with nothing
but a
block.

Which I attribute to
my own incompetence.

but
what
if

It was not my fault at all?

April 2

music,
you came to me
and pulled me out of the rot

and set my feet
in the cement
of notes&bars
that mean nothing

when compared with
the unquestionable, significant heartbreak of
meeting a song that fills the void

April 3

I spent today painting.
Mostly a room, but also, indirectly,
Myself.
Paint. Splotches. Streaks.
Up one arm and down the other.
But I’m too lazy to wash it off.

Then again — Maybe it’s worth keeping
As a reminder of tasks completed and hours passed.
However uncouth or ugly
Because I did. I accomplished.
And it was enough.

April 4

The girl in the red dress runs through the sewers.
Looking for her parents or shoes or something normal.
Just so she could smell nothing, instead of this–this refuse.
She tripped and fell into it,
Cold brown coating her knobby, not-yet-hairy knees.
Up she got.
And still she runs.

April 5

Inadequacies stop my pen on this page.
But the irony kills me–aren’t we all inadequate?
Is it not that which makes us human?
I suppose I would rather slog,
Dragging my failures behind me through the dirt,
Than to forget them completely and not be able to move at all.

April 6

Today is Friday.
I’m fairly certain it’s a good one.
But my head is elsewhere.

The getting-lost-in-the-everyday-tasks elsewhere.
And this is not how it should be.

He was not scourged and
broken and beaten and
mocked

So that I could sit in my room
on a bright, sunny Friday
listening to records.

the eleventh eighteenth

dear rachel,

when you left, you took all of the capital letters.  and pretty much everything else that makes sense.  except maybe music.  and God.  you left me with those.

i miss you.  that makes sense.  but not much else does.  i mean, you would tell me what to do, right?  where to go, whom to follow, how to pursue dreams.  how to be myself.  because that’s what you always did, i think.  and, in being yourself, you made people fall in love with you.  which was great, and is still great.  it just hurts a little more now.  but what can we do?  walk around and be robots or puppets who go through motions and don’t give or love or serve?  nah.  you’d hate that.  you probably do hate that, when you see me when i’m not so strong.  i try.  for you and for Him.  and sometimes it works.  but sometimes it doesn’t.  maybe the glory is in the trying.  the continual, excruciating, little-kid trying.

you remind me to tell people that they’re beautiful.  that they mean something.  that i love that they’re here.  that i love who they are and who they are becoming, and that i joy in them.  even if i get angry sometimes.  even if i fail.  i still joy. and cry. and live.  because that’s what you would want me to do, i think.

love you, lady.  miss you like mad.

meg

Moratorium on the Writing Moratorium

About ten months ago, a friend of mine died.  As morbid as this sounds, I felt a little bit guilty to be alive.  And I stopped writing.  Not because I didn’t love it, or that it had ceased to be a mode of expression for me–quite the opposite, actually.  I stopped because I was afraid of what I would reveal–the anger, the darkness that I would find.

And then my plan didn’t work.  I had to do it.  I had to write.  About her.  And it sucked and it was hard, but it was good.  Cathartic, even.  I wrote about the confusion, and the pain, and the joy (that doesn’t require happiness), and the support and light that only comes when it can be contrasted against the dark everywhere else.

I have been thinking about dreams a lot recently, and was talking with a friend about dreams, and I realized that sometimes you just have to dive in and believe.  I’m not very good, and not very confident, but writing is something I still cannot stand living without.  I’m not fully myself when I am not expressed through writing and the words I put down on the page.

So here I am.  Writing again.  Fulfilling dreams (or at least walking toward them, acknowledging their presence.)

Every time I put my hand on my chest and feel the clock beatings of my heart, or hear them reverberating in my head, behind my ears–I think of her.  And that is enough.  For now.

“For Amy” or “The Still Cagebird Sings”

Mantled
It sits on a pedestal
Its breast red and robust
Vibrant
But not heaving

Its eyes are coal
That used to show memory
And response
Now they are opaque
Ending

We watch the still bird
A sound breaks through
Our stiffness
To pepper the room with
Red, Blue, Green, Life

We are confused
Because its beak is a fortress
Unmoving and stolid
But the sound remains
Because the cagebird sees

What we cannot see
The cagebird sees
Beyond its red body
Which will rot
And so it sings

From wherever it is
(Heaven):
“Glory.”
“Glory.”
“Peace.”

The cagebird will sing
Words to us
Until
We can sing them
On our own.

Mr. Beck’s Acronym (aka “ode 2 jbeck”)

Here you go, Mr. Beck.  I hope it’s everything you ever dreamed it would be (just kidding)!

 

J       ust in time, you

E       nvision a life

F       ull of

F       amily, friends, fun, and technology (that’s what you teach now, right?),

 

B       ut there is something more.  A pursuit of

E       xcellence, God, beauty in his

C       reation.  Don’t ever stop seeking these things.

K       eep on keepin’ on.

For Grandpa, prehumously.

“I lost half my sight. That’s the best part of the world.”

My grandpa said these words, and I never wanted to say anything again, because it wouldn’t be worthy. He had said it all and I sat there dumbly pondering death and life and beauty and sight and existence.

He sat there. His hands–hands that had built bridges and grown trees and flown World War II fighter jets–sat in his lap and he hurt because his world was slowly and achingly disappearing.

Then I thought of the wagon he gave me for my second birthday. I don’t see it by remembering, but I see it through photographs, sepiaed in my mind.

“Megan. Megan, come here.” His vaguely withered hand encircled mine, leading me out into summer and green leaves and cut grass.

It was red, and shiny. And the greatest thing I had ever seen.

“Come back here, Meg. Look.”

I followed his hand around to the back of the wagon. There, forever memorialized in shiny gold adhesive glory, was my name. M E G A N. It was beautiful, and I still remember.

But then he lost half his sight, and who knew when the other half would go. While I pondered, I sat there and ached with him. I didn’t feed him trite words or euphemisms, telling him it would be okay. I sat there.