ready for the next arrow.

As sad as I am that I haven’t been blahgging, it’s way more tragic that I haven’t been journaling. I read a quote about journaling that really hit me. I can’t remember what it said [because apparently i write nothing down these days], but paraphrasing, it said, “People who say they keep a journal but don’t, suck.” [very loose translation from memory.]

Last night, falling asleep with no hope of savoring another minute of eyes open, I wished I would’ve written down everything. There are days you want to remember everything. everything.

the light.

the laughs.

the brisk air.

the conversations. [the words. the words.]

the feeling.

the song.

that song.

the colors.

that taste.

So here goes nothing. Instead of journaling for myself, I’ve chosen this computer. I’ve chosen you. Why? Unclear. The convenience. The procrastination happening on this here computer.

Nothing even spectacular happened, but it was all so beautiful.

It’s fall here in Missoula now. Yesterday was our first cold day of the season. Off on my bike, there was snow in the hills, a freshness. Blue skies that we haven’t had in so long. Blue colliding with orange colliding with white.

Sometimes at work, you feel like it’s not worth it. You feel like as much as you create and as much as you find victories in your work, in yourself, in collaborations; you’re still at the bottom, fighting to breathe and get out from under heavy, wet blankets. And then two co-workers leave you a sweet bomber beer in your mailbox with a note of encouragement and joy smiles as it kicks up within. It’s the feeling of familiar friendship. In a place that still feels foreign sometimes, you have friends. I have friends. !! [be cool, be cool, be cool.] [this is me on the inside.]

Sitting at my beautiful workspace with a window that’s a frame for orange leaves and snow in the hilly distance, I can’t help but want to hold on to the feeling of looking out at Missoula, listening to The Lumineers…

After work, having some make-shift cocktails on the steps of the building whilst laughing hard at each other’s stories and waiting for a friend.

Watching the presidential debate at a completely packed bar. Everyone watching. Evan and me sitting with a dear friend from out of town. A dear friend who usually votes and represents the party opposing the party I support. [if you didn’t know, i am a huge fan of obama.]

We talked about how we have so much in common, believe in so many of the same things, want so many of the same things… It was so refreshing. Hope.

Exhausted, it was time to go home. I could not wait to collapse. As I rested my things on the kitchen/dining table, I was so touched to see the scene of our living room.

Recently, I bought two chairs that I could not stop thinking about. [i know, chairs.] But, alas, we couldn’t figure out where they would go in our home. [small spaces, adequate seating.] I kept telling Evan, I didn’t know where I wanted them to go, but they would be great “nook chairs.” Saying that as though everyone knows what a good nook looks like.

Last night, this scene…

western oak chair nook

He made me a nook! He made us a nook.

I love this home we’re building. Knowing that this is not our forever home, but this is the place we come to celebrate and toast this life. This is not a forever moment, but this is a bright time. These are not things we’ve known, what lays ahead? no clue, but this is our nook. This is our place. This place.

And then I just had to get rid of my pants [settle down, i wasn’t that thankful for the nook], because I had a bandaged knee and it was driving me crazy. I injured my knee a few days ago from sliding in kickball [totally worth it, i got to second]. Okay, I’m going to show you my knee now, but be forewarned, it’s nasty…

gross knee, blame kickball

So nasty.

I couldn’t go from taking a bandage to getting into our bed, because, well, it was all oozey and I had to let it dry out before getting into our sheets. [so gross, i know.]

So I had to lay on the couch and let my knee dry.

– Evan, will you read me a story?

He sat in one of our new chairs, next to me laying on the couch, and read Billy Collins. I was so happy. It was so perfect. I tried to stay awake a bit and soak it all in. I couldn’t.

Today, I try to remember every poem he read. Can’t remember a single one. Think this was in the mix…

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.


In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.


This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.


The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.


No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.


No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then


for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.


But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.


After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,


so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

— Aimless Love by Billy Collins

 

As I faded into sleep, the words melded into my thoughts. With my right hand, my fingers, on my left hip. Thinking about the shape of my hip, the feel of my own hip. How it’s been here, been there, changed, stayed the same. How many readings of Billy Collins this hip has rested through.

 

As if I were drunk, delirious, my thoughts drifted to how beautiful this hip is. So many things I could find wrong with this hip; but the feel, the shape, it’s so comfortable, so wild, so beautiful. Why would I ever hold on to anything else but this hip.

 

This love. This life. This time. This place. This boy. The feel. The shape. So comfortable. So wild. So beautiful.

 

[why would I hold on to anything else?]

hand it back to us.

Image

Image

[photo by Kate Lazuka.]

That photo above is of my darling brother and mother circa 1994.  It’s me, my sister, and him… the children in the fam.

Some oldies, yet goodies, for Momma this year.

To a mother who has given us her all, given us her heart, let us break it over and over only to have her put it back together and hand it back to us…

To a mother who taught us how to laugh, taught us how to dance, taught us how to lead our lives with love…

To a mother who has supported us, been there, through our hopes, dreams, downfalls, darkness…

Thank you.  Thank you for being you and, in turn, helping us be us.

We love you.

Happy Mother’s Day, Momma!

i should mention…

I woke up this morning.

Outside it should’ve been bright… but it wasn’t… it was dark and alive.

Then the rain came.  So, I quickly made a playlist consisting of some of my favorite rainy day songs…

…and starting reading my book.

It was a peace of comfort.

Then, [partly because i’m addicted to the internet and partly because i’m waiting for this silly screen to tell me my future], I checked my email.

An email from my father.  [these rarely happen, but when they do, they’re either hilarious or blindingly thoughtful… this was the latter.]

It started with, “Preface: A Letter from a Father to his Daughter”

I read and read and just started bawling.

“Because of you, I am a successful man because Love is the measure of worth & nothing else matters.”

In bed, wrapped up in down, Sufjan Stevens playing, it started hailing [hailing hard] and my cheeks were streaming with love.

I can’t help but share.  I want there to be more recognition of the success of love within us all… in me… in this.

The day went on… the rain stayed pretty steady throughout the day… which was fine because I packed all day… ’tis moving time.

Okay, I didn’t pack all day… I had brunch with a friend.  She went to the bathroom as we were leaving our brunch destination and asked me…

– Do you ever get an overwhelming fear of getting locked in a bathroom?

I laughed out loud as I remembered this story:  WHY DID YOU LOCK THE DOOR??

Oh, good times… or, funny times at least.

The aforementioned friend came over to try on clothes of mine that I was purging in honor of the recent move.

I sat on the floor of my living room that contained most of my material life in it while she fashioned outfit after outfit.  I drank my coffee and read Billy Collins in between all the “oohhhh”s and “ahhhh”s.

We giggled to ourselves as I read aloud…

Purity

My favorite time to write is in the late afternoon,
weekdays, particularly Wednesdays.
This is how I go about it:
I take a fresh pot of tea into my study and close the door.
Then I remove my clothes and leave them in a pile
as if I had melted to death and my legacy consisted of only
a white shirt, a pair of pants, and a pot of cold tea.

Then I remove my flesh and hang it over a chair.
I slide it off my bones like a silken garment.
I do this so that what I write will be pure,
completely rinsed of the carnal,
uncontaminated by the preoccupations of the body.

Finally I remove each of my organs and arrange them
on a small table near the window.
I do not want to hear their ancient rhythms
when I am trying to tap out my own drumbeat.

Now I sit down at the desk, ready to begin.
I am entirely pure: nothing but a skeleton at a typewriter.

I should mention that sometimes I leave my penis on.
I find it difficult to ignore the temptation.
Then I am a skeleton with a penis at a typewriter.

In this condition I write extraordinary love poems,
most of them exploiting the connection between sex and death.

I am concentration itself: I exist in a universe
where there is nothing but sex, death, and typewriting.

After a spell of this I remove my penis too.
Then I am all skull and bones typing into the afternoon.
Just the absolute essentials, no flounces.
Now I write only about death, most classical of themes
in language light as the air between my ribs.

Afterward, I reward myself by going for a drive at sunset.
I replace my organs and slip back into my flesh
and clothes. Then I back the car out of the garage
and speed through woods on winding country roads,
passing stone walls, farmhouses, and frozen ponds,
all perfectly arranged like words in a famous sonnet.

——————

I’ll never be able to get over that one line, “I should mention that sometimes I leave my penis on.”

“I should mention…”  haha… so amazing.

And then I remembered what a love sent me some days back…

Oh, please let my children [in the event that they ever exist] recite Billy.  I’m sure they’ll sing bad pop songs and maybe even talk smack about monsters…

…but please PLEASE let them recite Billy.

buzzing around.

Morning


Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,
then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?


This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—


maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,


dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,


and, if necessary, the windows—
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.


– Billy Collins



and here is clothing, and a good education… and here is your [brown, brown, pants fell down], i replied.

country club love.

I really cannot wait to be sitting next to the swimming pool with my dear Momma in a couple weeks.  But until then, I have to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day from afar.  I have to tell her how much I love her, without hugs.  Tell her how thankful I am for her, without kisses.

I did send her a package with a card I made her.  I wish I would’ve scanned or taken a picture of it before frantically sending it off with her present.

The card was a comic with a mother and daughter… the mother on the phone, saying…

– Yeah… Uh Huh…. WHAT?  Rachel drew WHAT in school today?!

[okay, it didn’t actually say “Rachel”, but I glued over it so that it did.]

And on the front I had wrote, “The Brown, Brown, Pants Fell Down Incident of 1991.”

Oh man… it was a doozy.

When I was in First Grade, we had to do these coloring sheets to learn our colors.

They were things like, “Red, Red, He’s in Bed.”  And it would be a fluffy monster-looking thing, sleeping in bed and you’d have to color him red.  Yep.

So, one day, we get, “Brown Brown Pants Fell Down.”

C’mon.  What do you expect from First Graders?!

I, being a class clown/attention hound [i know… you would’ve never guessed], immediately turn over the paper and draw a butt on the back.  A hairy one at that.  Oh, it was bad.

And as it escalated, my peers couldn’t stop giggling.  I was loving it… Oh, it was bad…

Before I knew it, I had turned the paper over and was drawing… well… boy parts on Mr. Brown.  How in the world I even KNEW what boy parts looked like in First Grade is beyond me… but yep, I did it.  And then turned it in.

Pretty sure the phone call came that night.  I remember Momma looking at me, giving me that “oh, you better be glad we don’t have a cordless phone yet and i can only move three feet towards you right now” look, saying things like, “Uh huh… Oh, no… I’m so, so sorry… Oh, yes… Believe me, I’ll take care of it.”

I was in SO MUCH TROUBLE.  Obviously.  And I knew I should’ve been.  One of the many times I was yelled at as a child where all I could think was, “Oh, I should not have done that.”

Anywho, fast forward eleven years… I’m a senior in High School, looking through my school files to collect anything I might need to move forward, when I find… yep, the one and only… Brown, Brown, Pants Fell Down… in all his boy part glory…

– Mom!  You still have this?!  I was in SO MUCH trouble for this!

– Oh, man… Your father and I had to compose ourselves for about a half hour before we could yell at you for that because we were laughing so hard.  Of course we kept it!

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen… is my sweet Momma.  Who I love/admire/adore/cherish.

[this poem is a must for mothers, children, fathers, everyone.]

– She gave me life and milk from her breasts, and I gave her [Brown, Brown, Pants Fell Down].

Happy Mother’s Day, Momma.

I love you so, so much.

like slow ferris wheels.

[just some things i very much love for your midmorning.]

[designs for good music.]

[a song.]

[be a kid again.]

[jonathan.]

[coffee.]

[billy.]

These days every morning begins like a joke
you think you have heard before,
but there is no one telling it
whom you can stop.

One day it’s about a cow who walks into a bar,
then about a man with a big nose on his honeymoon,
then about a kangaroo who walks into a bar.
Each one takes up an entire day.

The sun looks like a prank Nathanael West
is pulling on the world; on the drive to work
cars are swinging comically from lane to lane.
The houses and lawns belong in cartoons.

The hours collapse into one another’s arms.
The stories arc over noon and descend
like slow ferris wheels into the haze of evening.
You wish you could stop listening and get serious.

Trouble is you cannot remember the punch line
which never arrives till very late at night,
just as you are reaching for the bedside lamp,
just before you begin laughing in the dark.

hopeless but not serious by billy collins.

talking to each other only in vowels.

I feel like things are coming full circle.

Dejavu… but better.

The hands of the clock, rounding closely to where they started… near the top.

Resetting.

Inside.  Fresh.  Clean.  New.

Yes and yes!

To celebrate?

Good music…

And a toast to dreaming…

The Wind is ghosting around the house tonight
and as I lean against the door of sleep
I begin to think about the first person to dream,
how quiet he must have seemed the next morning

as the others stood around the fire
draped in the skins of animals
talking to each other only in vowels,
for this was long before the invention of consonants.

He might have gone off by himself to sit
on a rock and look into the mist of a lake
as he tried to tell himself what had happened,
how he had gone somewhere without going,

how he had put his arms around the neck
of a beast that the others could touch
only after they had killed it with stones,
how he felt its breath on his bare neck.

Then again, the first dream could have come
to a woman, though she would behave,
I suppose, much the same way,
moving off by herself to be alone near water,

except that the curve of her young shoulders
and the tilt of her downcast head
would make her appear to be terribly alone,
and if you were there to notice this,

you might have gone down as the first person
to ever fall in love with the sadness of another.

– Billy Collins