Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I’ve been having such a nice time reading this, except for the triggery nature of the word slut itself. Other than that, it's one of the most sensible things I've ever read.
Here’s a mistake I have been making, in terms of guys, for five years or so, or maybe, in some ways, my whole adult life. I’m glad to learn ways to correct it:
“The important thing is to be aware of your needs and wants, so you can go about getting them met with full consciousness. If you pretend that you have no needs, for sex, for affection, for emotional support, you are lying to yourself, and you will wind up trying to get your needs met by indirect methods that won’t work very well…Do not commit yourself to a lifetime of hinting and hoping.”
And here’s something I think I understand intuitively, and have helped Amy learn over the years. I’m happy and validated to see it in print from the experts:
“Being able to ask for and receive reassurance and support is crucial. One of Janet’s partners used to request, when Janet was off to a joyously anticipated date with one of her other lovers, “Just tell me I don’t have anything to worry about.” Janet reports that it felt very good to know that he was willing to ask for reassurance when he needed it and that he trusted her to tell the truth about her feelings. If you imagine his feelings if he was insecure and didn’t ask for reassurance, you can see why it’s so important to get your needs met up front.”
Happiness Project Wrap-Up
Ten Ways in Which Things Have Improved Since I Started The Happiness Project
- I’ve spent almost every day at work this school year feeling happy, safe, useful, and inspired. Last year when I left the scary job I would have never thought that was possible.
- For some reason, I never felt entitled to a role in the LGBTQ community. Through a potent and (mostly) proactive combination of research and love, I’ve found new ways to be at home. Philadelphia is a great place to be queer.
- I’ve gotten more publication and performance credits this year than any other year since I started writing poetry. This is due to resolutions, yes, but also because of some new and deepened poetry friendships. Being less lonely ftw, even if I still have a ways to go.
- Panic, anxiety, and social stress have been reduced by about 90%. Last spring, I didn’t feel like I deserved to walk into any given room, to be part of any given group, but so much of that has healed. I have to thank the friends who patiented me back into society.
- I’m FINALLY starting to realize that I don’t have to give up Amy in order to pursue other kinds of love. And also I’ve already got a MILLION other kinds of love anyway.
- It’s hit home that I have a different kind of heart. I’m glad of this, even in the midst of heartache.
- A lot of the arbitrary limits I’d placed on myself because of depression and grief and fear are dissolving or dissolved.
- I’m feeling more okay with being supersensitive, and I’m sometimes even able to bounce back quicker.
- I’ve come so far when it comes to trusting guys. I have. I do. And even at the times when I’ve felt disappointed or let down, I’m still alive, still safe, and that really counts for something. Crowns and riches to the brave guys who helped get me there.
- Most importantly: During the thick of depression, I hated my voice. A few weeks ago, a lady at church said that my singing voice is beautiful, that she was following me whenever she didn’t know the words. Whenever I get really sad, driving and singing almost always pulls me out of it. Sometimes when iTunes shuffles in my own CD, I let it play.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Virgo it up.
Even though I don’t believe in astrology, I do like the idea of myself having Virgo traits: practicality, fidelity, fruitfulness, etc.
Though I’ve been decidedly un-Virgolike in some alarming new ways this month, I’ve come to especially appreciate the fidelity between me and Amy. I love how honest we are with each other, even though she might sometimes enjoy having a little less information. I trust her to be there for me whenever I need help, and she does the same. I never want to take that for granted or stop showering her with ridiculous affection.
Sit outside more.
Yes. Sitting outside always makes things seem brighter and clearer. Amy and I made a regular date to go sit in this cute little park every Wednesday evening. It’s one of the things I look forward to most about this summer.
Be Less Abstracted.
I’m just going to have to forgive myself for abstraction. I’m going through some scary transitions tight now and I feel overwhelmed by them. Who knows how I will make it through my teacher certification program, how I’ll handle the summer schedule, how I’ll find time to care for my writing life or my love life. In the span of two months, I found and (maybe permanently) lost a love/friend and I have a lot to grieve and process about that. So if I need to space out in front of Tetris or over-check my email or be really up to date on everyone’s statuses or redo my entire iPod, maybe I’ll just go ahead and cut myself a break about it.
Find a good summer job and get my class schedule settled.
Make some more art.
Yes! Of course! I may even have a show coming up! Hooray!
It’s a pleasant start to summer here in the Lawson-Cassady household. We got back last night from a very restorative family visit. As soon as I post this I’m getting back into bed with sweetie and Steve Martin’s new art novel, An Object of Beauty. Later I’ll plant morning glories.
Tomorrow will be the end of my yearlong experiment with The Happiness Project. (I’ll try to have more to say about it tomorrow.) My brother, a psychology major (and soon to be guest-motivator!) says that the only way to be truly happy is to feel like you’re making progress, and I’d agree, given the practical, virtuous nature of most of these resolutions.
Following these resolutions really did pull me out of a depression. I rewrote some of the month-specific ones so they’d work any time:
Virgo it up.
Sit outside more.
Be less abstracted.
Make some more art.
Write a lot of poems.
Get on more stages.
Do more things that are just about art.
Send out the manuscript.
Get less lonely.
Apply for stuff.
Bring photos into the physical realm.
Cut down on screen time.
Get pretty drink sometimes.
Move life forward.
Evening walks with Amy.
Avoid emotional eating, emotional internet-checking, etc.
Get good grades.
Walk in the woods.
Make meals that involve steps.
Follow curiosity more avidly.
Write, write, write, write, write. Write a mountain.
Practice the gift of spousal silence.
Get some money and take care of it.
Make friends with first and second gear.
Be more out in lots of ways.
Make myself at home.
Music, music, music, music, music!
Recognize, accept, and believe love.
Practice writing about difficult things.
Sit in cafes with stacks of books.
Be less aloof from the divine and more out about my religious side.
Wake up early on weekdays, late on weekends.
Walk in the morning, swim in the afternoon.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Gemini (May 19-June 21): In Upstate New York, the lilacs are blooming, reminding T.S. Eliot and the rest of us that life is finite. The smell of lilacs means: If you need something, get it. If you miss someone, call. If you love someone, and I KNOW you do, celebrate!
Cancer (June 22-July 23): See you in the fall, says a favorite Cancer, cryptically, by email. I hope it does mean he’ll visit, but “See you in the fall” is also what you can say to most of your inhibitions, most of your practicality, to most of your loneliness. Summer is for busy and sun.
Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): You are an evening walk in rainy sun. Put down your rainbow umbrella and let the drops and beams smooch your wonderful face. You are hereby awarded the dragonfly of bravery, the humidity of love.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “It is extremely sluttish, wicked and slothful to fuck in the afternoons, and therefore totally enjoyable.” (Cynthia Heimel) Wake up for a few hours first. Eat strawberry waffles in bed, read a good novel about art, catch up on Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Then, anything!
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): “I have faith that potential experiences are infinite and our powers of description are finite. Go ahead and learn, because you’ll never run out of mysteries.”(Doug Muder) Whatever information you’re compiling, collect it like magic.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): The stars don’t believe in The Secret or Positive Psychology or any other kind of thought-policing magical thinking, but it couldn’t hurt to make a list of everything you wish you had, and look at pictures of each.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Get up from your work. Have a glass of water. Stroll around the neighborhood, looking at dogs and flowers. Do your nails. Sort your collection of paper letters. Work will be there when you get back, I promise.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): We like to worry about love together, you and me, but pretty soon, you’ll have more than you can handle. The stars would like to take this opportunity to shine on your every wish, text, phone call, and online account.
Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): “Just put on a cute outfit tomorrow night and go dance with people of indeterminate gender, and everything will be okay.” (Hannah McDonald) Now would be an excellent time to make a list of all the good advice you’ve given, email it to yourself, and believe it.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): You are getting the job, the publication credit, the pretty house with a gingham kitchen, the Warhol print you always wanted, the rescue dachshund, the multifamily yardsale like a treasure trove, everything!
Aries (March 21-April 18): “Picture Sappho just before she coined bittersweet.” (Doug Muder) Whatever you can’t find words for, stay there for a while, like meditation, like love, like the sudden gift of silence.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): “I know/ I’ll never be lonely./I’ve got/ songs in my blood./I’m carrying all of the love of an orchestra.” (Noah and the Whale) Please be patient while we tune the strings, okay?
Poetic License Horoscopes is a free syndicated series which appears weekly on such lit blogs as The Serotonin Factory, Critical Mass and The Legendary and Apiary If you are interested in adding the Poetic License Horoscopes to your lit journal / lit blog, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. File under lessons learned: "I do admit to myself that if I hurt someone else, then I'll never see just what we're meant to be."
3. Deep sorries and prayers for all who got hurt in my learning curve. I feel like I'm getting somewhere, but not without missteps. I hope hope hope it can all heal.
New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle by
Thursday, May 26, 2011
This is an excerpt from a Unitarian sermon on Polyamory by Elise Mathesen. I found it on a site called Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness. Of COURSE there is such a thing.
Before I get into today's triad, here's an update on where I am with the poly research project: whether or not I end up concluding this research in Monogamytown (population, me and the best wife ever!), I want to make sure I'm always around poly people a lot. Being around people who are deliberately generous with their hearts is so comforting to me--it's nice to not feel like a freak or a slut or a threat to family, etc, just understood for my pure lovey-dovey intentions. Even poly friends I barely know have shown me so much loyalty and empathy this week. I can't thank them enough.
Anyway, so, Hannah McDonald and I don't like Twilight, but I do enjoy the solution she proposes here!
So these are some prayers for me.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
A few weeks ago, I pulled this paragraph at a friend’s request and because it turned out not to be strictly true:
“And I had such an epiphany a little while ago when he posted a beautiful poem about his wife. I guess I thought I might be jealous, but I read it anyway. And a little latch-box opened in my heart and the sun shined out. I was/am genuinely happy that he’s in his real life, loving and loved and writing hot poems for her.”
I’m unredacting it today because, although the situation turned out (heartbreakingly) to not have been as poly as I’d assumed (This grrrl will never again forget what my 10th grade math teacher said about assuming.), the step my heart took was real. My heart really did unlatch. I really felt that generous and expansive, and I felt that way because I was, in that moment, secure that I was loved by him.
I would like, please, to wait significantly less than 11 years to feel that feeling again and on the up-and-up.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Art in the service of gender-innovating is one of the most happy-making elements in my life right now. Here are some great ways you can contribute art, time, poetry, etc:
Gender Edge Collective http://genderedge.blogspot.com/ has wonderful events (see above!) and is always taking art and poetry for their beautiful zine! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gender-Edge-Collective/111183248966393
RAGE throws really great parties (and other actions) towards the cause of getting the Philly transportation system to stop using gender stickers on their bus/trolley passes: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=119024039464&ref=ts
Gender Reel is taking all kinds of art in celebration of gender variance: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gender-Reel/129639227100001?ref=ts&sk=wall
And the Philly Trans Health Conference is coming up—I’ll bet they still need volunteers! http://www.trans-health.org/
Last Saturday night, Amy and I attended a screening of The Gender Sticker Film Project. They have another event coming up this Friday. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=212567582102307 You should totally go!
There was a dance party planned to follow the screening, so how could we not go? Walking into a room with that many cute strangers made me nervous at first, but by the time I sat down on the floor with my wife, my married friend’s boyfriend, and his boyfriend, to hear an adorable singer cover Kids! by MGMT! On! The! Ukelele! (Also! Violet! By! Hole!) a lovely grace settled over me. Surrounded by duos and triads and clumps of gorgeous people of all genders in cute outfits and special haircuts, I felt the you’re too much/not enough that follows me around in my head go quiet. I felt at home, which you know is my big quest, because last time I made a mix CD, it had four songs called Home on it.
Anyway, after the singer finished her set, they started the movie preview. The film is a work in progress being created by Wren Warner, and it chronicles the ways that gender stickers force tranfolks into all kinds of annoying conversations, puts them in danger of harassment, and costs them extra money whenever a bus driver happens to disagree with them about what their gender is. A few years ago, a lady sued over it, and the city was ordered to change the system, but they haven’t yet.
Like I said at the top of this post, there’s nothing as soul-soothing as revolutionary art. It gave me some much-needed perspective on my own worries and made me feel so, so lucky that I sometimes get to make that kind of art. Being in that room also made me thankful as heck for the couple of transguy crushes that put me on the path to being there. (Note to self: love as research is good for you.)
The dance floor was an absolute miracle. I lost self-consciousness in favor of joy to the point where it totally could’ve counted as church. Everyone was smiling and smiling and smiling at each other. Shaking my ass to My Chick Bad, I felt so grateful to be among people who are brilliantly redefining love and identity, who are doing their gorgeous best to influence the rest of us beyond our stupid, repressive inner voices, beyond limits, beyond fear. It’s so nice of them. Of us.
(It looked sooooooo much better than this video does.)
Sunday, May 22, 2011
About six years ago, when I first started having dreams about kissing guys, I got a crush on the textbook manager at Amy’s bookstore back in Syracuse. I used to work there in the summer, shelving books and talking to Jason about music and such. He was, and is, one of the most married people I know—he never wanted to go out to poetry or anything; he just wanted to be at home with his wife and daughter. I admired and envied the weight of his affection for them, and every time I saw him with his daughter, my heart would just get pangs for the husband-and-father character I’d never have. After that crush helped me realize that being married didn’t make me not bi, it simmered down to family friends and fruitful mix exchangers, but there’s always been such a twinge in me for that missing husband character.
On a few unintentional occasions in the past, I’ve ended up as a family man’s side project. I’ve never worn the scarlet letter intentionally (mostly) or for very long, and I’ve always politely stayed out of the way of his family. I’ve never even Googled a wife or girlfriend, and here’s why: I’ve always assumed she must be beautiful and perfect and have some sort of magic quality that I didn’t know how to have, if she knew how to keep a man’s attention enough for him to want to live in a house with her. I see the flaws in that logic, but it’s the assumption I’ve always made—that I’m missing some quality that is essential for that kind of a relationship.
Lately, the pangs have been louder. I’ve tried to dismiss it as hormones, especially since I’m still pretty sure I don’t want to have kids. (See: space isssues) Amy, who has no biological clock to speak of, struggles to understand why this all seems so urgent, why 36 sometimes feels too close to death. It isn’t, of course it isn’t, but life is finite, and if there’s something missing (And what in the world would this blog be about if there weren’t something missing?) then something’s got to change.
Whether I decide to be open to the possibility of that husband character or decide to mourn the missing part of my family and move on, I don’t want to just assume it’s something only other women were made for. I want to believe that I deserve it as much as those magical wives do.
Hey, do you think this guy’s still single?
Friday, May 20, 2011
(Photo by Mary Cae Vignolini)
A Closed Letter to James Merenda’s Hot Roommate
after Carmen LoBue
Dear James Merenda’s hot roommate,
If you are reading this letter then you are probably wondering two things, who it is from and why all your left socks are missing. Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Omar Holmon and I’m kind of a big deal. Recently James Merenda has informed that he has a roommate of the opposite sex who is hot, when asked for proof he verified said hotness via link to the Miss March calendar girl photos you took for Autostraddle.com.
After bookmarking this Internet gold of a site then checking to see If your Facebook photos were private or not for reasons I need not mention aloud,I proceeded to memorize the interview questions of your turn ons: creativity, nature, freedom, honey, [guys named Omar Holmon that wear glasses]; as well as your turn offs: arrogance, eye crust, indifference, hairy legs, [guys that don’t live in their mom’s basement]
Oh James Merenda’s hot roommate there is so much that I bet we have in common, I imagine our conversations would go something like this…So do you enjoying eating food to stay alive? Really, me too? Do you use the Internet? GET OUT OF HERE! ME TOO! Wait, do you enjoy ice skating? Wow, that is such a coincidence because my father died trying to do a triple axle jump in the 1988 Winter Olympics! WE HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON!!!!!
Now, I’m sure James has mentioned what great friends we are and how I always ask him questions about what’s going on in his life, like if he lives in an apartment building, if yes what floor, if the bathroom window is near any tree branches or rooftops that could hypothetically support a grappling hook. During one such discussion he was telling me something like, Omar, you know that website she did the photo calendar for is a lesbian website right? …..and? Dude, lesbians only date women. Yea I know… and I only date women too. So that means I’m mad fucking lesbian yo. I’m lesbian all day and tomorrow!
Even my imaginary girlfriend thinks you’re hot, I’m just kidding she’s not imaginary but she still thinks you’re hot. She’s not even mad I’m writing you this because she doesn’t want to censor my artistic expression…Whatever the fuck that is. Look James Merenda’s hot roommate, I know I don’t know your name (Carmen) but I can’t help but feel that we have a connection, perhaps we are soul mates destined to constantly borrow each other’s Annie Difranco and Wu-tang Clan Cd’s
Now I know what you’re wearing... I mean I know what you’re thinking, where are my bed sheets? How long has that grappling hook been hanging from my window? Who is the man hanging from my ceiling by suction cups, that has been monologuing this entire letter out loud? Shhhhhhhhhh, none of that matters right now since you must be tired from a hard day’s work of saving orphan baby seals and grooming unicorns. So just relax and unwind as if you’re totally alone...because you so totally are . Ignore the heavy breathing coming from the closet. Lol totally joking. Lol, no seriously ignore it. By the way if there is a grappling hook hanging from your window that is purely coincidence
But in all seriousness James Merenda’s hot roommate... You are totally hot. Maybe one day we will meet in person and on that day we can call each other facebook friends... with benefits. That poke each other …. often. But until that day I will leave you with this letter and a bunch of now mix matched socks, I hope they find you in good health… preferably naked with the room temperature slightly nippy but good health none the less...
You’ll find that the dishes have been washed and all the trash in the apartment has been taken out. You’re welcome…you’re so very, very hot…..and welcome
Bio: Socially random with +33 charm points Omar "Ion" Holmon lives life like Doug Funnie and believes he'd be the only Jedi whose lightsaber would match his chuck taylors. Omar has been a Grand Slam Champion at Urbana (2010) Nuyorican Poets Cafe (2009), and Loserslam (2009, 2008). When not debating how otters are cuter then lions in his World War Cute Campaign He has been known to perform poetry in the tri-state area for high schools and colleges. His most recent accomplishment thus far has been keeping his plant "precious little life" alive for well over a year now.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): Happy birthday-month, Gemini! This summer, you’ll have everything: fireworks, bright beach days, those Fourth of July cakes with blueberries for stars and strawberries for stripes—everything, and it’ll be the sweetest!
Cancer (June 22-July 23): You life is a celebration of edits and submissions. Proofread carefully. Make sure that even your status updates are grammatically correct. Feel free, though, to be immoderate in your use of
Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): “When Christo and I met, he was an artist and I was not. I became an artist only out of love for Christo, and if he had been a dentist, I would have become a dentist.” (Jeanne-Claude) Your love is as generous as The Gates, so big it could wrap up the Reichstag.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): When Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol had a show at the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, the crowd overwhelmed them so much that they got trapped on a staircase, until they were finally allowed to axe a hole in the ceiling and get out that way. While they’re trapped, “Soup cans, paper bags, and various objects are passed up to the pair; Edie happily signs them “Andy Warhol.” You are not Edie Sedgwick. You’re not trapped, and you can only ever sign your own name.
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): “My lifetime listens to yours.” (Muriel Rukeyser) Take the names of all your friends and write them on the backs of fortune cookie slips, right above the lucky numbers. Place bets on those numbers and win.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Treat yourself to a singalong of all the beltiest songs, Glee versions if you can stand it, preferably while driving someplace fast and new. Sing with your whole face, no matter how you feel.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): The stars see dancing in your future. You are surrounded by pretty strangers of indeterminate gender. Everyone’s singing along so loud that you’ll leave with your ears ringing. When the hum subsides, you’ll know what to do.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): You are at the Louvre, taking bootleg pictures of everything. If it’s not too much trouble, could you bring me back the Nike of Samothrace? She’s my favorite work of art, and I’ve never seen her. There’s no law against travelling with monuments, is there?
Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Thank you for your generous stories of complicated love, you make the stars believe it. Wishing you soft beds, endless Free Comic Book Days, cute pictures in your phone, and the miracle of undivided attention. You deserve it.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Thank you for being as sentimental as Weezer’s cover of Unbreak My Heart, which is the perfect thing to belt out on a heartbroken but ecstatic turnpike, while driving just a little too fast.
Aries (March 21-April 18): Like Leslie Knope, you might be torn between the desire to follow the rules and the desire to make out with your adorable coworker. Always err on the side of smooching.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): In her memoir Bossypants, Tina Fey tells a story wherein Jimmy Fallon was trying to shush Amy Poeler from telling a lewd joke. “Stop that! It’s not cute!” he said. “Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around to him. “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” The stars encourage you to react in the same way towards any and all naysayers.
Poetic License Horoscopes is a free syndicated series which appears weekly on such lit blogs as The Serotonin Factory, Critical Mass , The Legendary and Apiary If you are interested in adding the Poetic License Horoscopes to your lit journal / lit blog, please email me at email@example.com.
So she said for the next month, my assignment is to research polyamory, which seems like a productive and festive way to use my kind-of-being-addicted-to-the-computer. She said to find nice pictures to look at of triads and quadrangles and so on, and find some poly romances to read. And she suggested that, since it's what I am, I might want to start thinking of poly as real and possible. What a relief to think that maybe I don't have to give anything up.
I picked this Big Love picture of Margene, Ana, and Bill because I couldn't find a good one of Margene, Ana, and Goran. There's this moment in the second-to-last season where Margene confesses to being attracted to her near-sisterwife's boyfriend, she tells them she feels like such an awful person. Ana tells her it's okay, they're all young and alive and it's okay to be attracted to each other. They all hug and snuggle and it was so nice to see her feel so accepted and loved. I always did wish Margene was real so she could come here and look at boys with me.
And here's a really happy song on the matter.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
The most important experience of my art history education happened in a small gallery off Melrose, on a field trip for Aesthetics class, or maybe it was Modern and Contemporary Art. Professor McManus sat us down in front of these huge Morris Lewis paintings and said, “I want you to look at these paintings until you can stop your mind from making them into pictures.”
(The earlier Abstract Expressionists were the ones who put all those feelings into the paintings, but the Soak Stain School (Morris Lewis, Helen Frankenthaler, et al) had a more literal approach. I like both schools.)
Here’s a poem I wrote about abstract art:
Your Art Historian Daughter Has Never Been Prouder
On the way home from the Thanksgiving weekend
when first niece was born
and New York City was still trying to find its breath
we stopped at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
on the way home from my sister's in-laws on Long Island.
I like to be alone in museums,
so we looked around separately,
but when we met up outside the Abstract Expressionists
I was looking at this red painting that covered a whole wall
and I realized oh, I get it!
It's just red.
I get so incensed whenever anyone is complaining about a Rothko or such, like –What? RED isn’t enough for you? It’s red!
It seems kind of paradoxical, but I think I like abstract art for just how literal it can be, for the break it gives me from all the overthinking and translating that my sensitive grrl brain likes to do. I’ve recently realized that I’m quite unable to manage subtext. That’s an odd thing for a poet to realize.
I made the resolution to be less abstracted, and then totally ignored it for the past few weeks, just like I ignored similar resolutions in past months. I got lost in metaphors. I got lost in the computer. I didn’t want 30/30 (or a concurrent long distance…thing) to end. (Remember the Free Love is Sometimes Real for a Minute post? I’m still laughing at myself for that. About a minute was how long it was free. I guess if it’s real, one needs a better word than free. Maybe this is a whole other post.) Anyway, I wanted to stay in that fizzy mindset where everything could be poem, where first drafts are permanent, where you could have a conversation with someone just by leaving clues and trading song links. This isn’t sustainable, and started to feel a little like, um, A Beautiful Mind, but without the white pencil or the math genius. I got ungrounded and so sad.
When I made the decision to detach a bit from the things that were making me internet-addicted and daydreamy, I felt so sad to let go of the magical thinking. I cried and cried and cried and cried. But I woke up the next day feeling so much better, still heartbroken but like “Holy crap! I’m HERE!” I paid the bills, went to work. Amy came home and we drove to the Home Depot, singing all the way the six good songs on Ben folds Five’s first album, which is called Ben Folds Five.
We got delphiniums, marigolds, lobelias, marguerite daisies, some nice spurge for ground cover, and some morning glory seeds. Saturday was the first good, hard yard work day of the year, and it was exultant, like it always is.
Last week, a friend of mine sent me this quote from Marianne Moore: “Poems should be imaginary gardens with real toads in them.” What a charming thing to say, and I see how well it works for so many of my friends. But for me, it has a little too much of a pretend-you’re-walking-in-the-woods quality to it. Recently I have made some forays into writing imaginary gardens, and they’ve helped me expand so much as a poet and as a person. In poems, abstraction is a lovely place to visit. I wouldn’t trade in a single daydream.
But I am a literal girl who like to write literal gardens, where you have to put Off on before you go outside, and sometimes you have to dig up some broken glass and grubs, but where your hands can get joyfully, blessedly dirty, and sometimes a fox sparrow will come and land on the clothesline, over and over all day.