At sixteen I believed the moonlight
could change me if it would.
I moved my head
on the pillow, even moved my bed
as the moon slowly
crossed the open lattice.
I wanted beauty, a dangerous
gleam of steel, my body thinner,
my pale face paler.
diligently, as others sunbathe.
But the moon’s unsmiling stare
kept me awake. Mornings,
I was flushed and cross.
It was on dark nights of deep sleep
that I dreamed the most, sunk in the well,
and woke rested, and if not beautiful,
filled with some other power.
Wanting The Moon
Not the moon. A flower
on the other side of the water.
The water sweeps past in flood,
dragging a whole tree by the hair,
a barn, a bridge. The flower
sings on the far bank.
Not a flower, a bird calling
hidden among the darkest trees, music
over the water, making a silence
out of the brown folds of the river’s cloak.
The moon. No, a young man walking
under the trees. There are lanterns
among the leaves.
Tender, wise, merry,
his face is awake with its own light,
I see it across the water as if close up.
A jester. The music rings from his bells,
gravely, a tune of sorrow,
“The part of this being that is rock, the part of this body that is a star, lately I feel them yearning to go back and be what they are.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin, from “In the Borderlands”
Thursday afternoon. Partly cloudy and mild, 50 degrees.
Yesterday was a crappy day, really, really crappy, and as a result, I was foul, really, really foul. Nine days into the new year, and I’m already having bad days. Sheesh.
In spite of its crappiness, I did get things done. I made those telephone calls regarding health claims that haven’t been paid. Both of the people with whom I spoke were very nice and helpful. It wasn’t them. It was just the doing of it that got to me. Does that make sense?
After years and years of always being the one to make the telephone calls, pay the bills, take care of the details with my ex, I have given up some of those responsibilities to Corey—quite willingly. I am not good at doing the finances. I freely admit that to anyone and everyone. And taking care of the details tends to make me very stressed. I don’t know why exactly. It just does. Perhaps because as the telephone is ringing, I am preparing to deal with the customer service representative from hell, so my blood pressure climbs with each successive ring, and then when someone nice answers and offers to help, I’m thrown for a loop.
Also, I think that since Corey has been taking care of so much to do with the details of life, I have allowed my patience in such things to erode. Anyway, yesterday is over. I made a few more short calls today, and my to-do-list is shorter. So enough.
“The winds that awakened the stars Are blowing through my blood.” ~ W. B. Yeats, from “Maid Quiet”
I think another reason that I was so foul yesterday was because I forgot to take my meds the day before. Not intentionally, just didn’t remember as I was so caught up in getting things done. That happens to me—I become so focused in the midst of my OCD-fueled binges that I don’t pay attention to other things, completely leave them by the wayside.
I know. I need to find balance. Easy to say. Hard to do. Balance is always just beyond my reach. Perhaps that’s why I’m always so taken with those images of balancing rocks; they represent something for which I yearn.
Anyway, enough on that. Another thing that I did yesterday—and this is surprising—is that I went through old posts looking for poems that I might submit to a journal that is accepting work. I have to submit three poems at a time. In going through the old posts, though, I found that I have written things that I actually like, even two to three years later, which makes me think more and more that I really need to go through these posts and cull the best (or what I consider to be the best), try to put together some kind of non-fiction manuscript with what I have.
This is where I need your help. If I’ve written a post of which you are particularly fond, or that you think could be readable with some work, I’d love to know about it. You can just put the title in the comments, or if you don’t remember the title but remember what the post was about, a general description would be fine. Of course, if you said something like, “You know, the one about grief,” that might be a bit hard . . .
“And silent answers crept across the stars.” ~ Hart Crane, from “At Melville’s Tomb”
But what do you think? Am I on the right track? A couple of you have suggested something along these lines to me before, but I waffled as I never quite know if I like what I’ve written enough to put it out there (there as in beyond this forum), but I have to admit that I found more than a couple of posts of which I’m not ashamed.
Oh, who knows. Certainly not me. But I’m willing to give it a go.
So other than that, I think that I’ve managed to move beyond yesterday’s total crappiness. I’ve gotten out of my pajamas and even put on some cologne and dark circle concealer, as if I might actually be ready to greet the world. Speaking of which, and I am almost embarrassed to admit this, I realized the other day that I have not left the house in weeks. No really, weeks. This is not a good sign. This is a sign that I am regressing.
I think that I need to make it a point to go to Lex’s apartment at least one day a week to help out with Olivia instead of waiting for them to come here. But without Brett being enrolled in school this semester, I’m sort of without a reason to leave the house unless I make one. Truthfully, I don’t want to go back to the days in which I stayed inside for weeks on end. It’s just not healthy.
I have big plans to take Tillie for walks. Perhaps I should work on that.
“It is inner luxury, of golden figures that breathe like mountains do and whose skin is made dusky by stars.” ~ Joanne Kyger, from “September”
Obviously, I’m still fixated on the skies, first the Northern Lights, and now stars. The moon and the stars, my life-long love affair. Did you know that the Tunisians have a proverb that goes something like “If the full moon loves you, why worry about the stars?”—but why not both?
I have to tell you that it’s damned hard for me to write a post featuring lots of words about stars and not to use any art by Van Gogh, as I don’t think that anyone before or since has painted such beautiful skies, but I made an effort and came up with some other artists’ paintings.
Speaking of Van Gogh, did you know that there are new claims that the artist did not commit suicide but instead was shot by teenagers? I know that I’m behind on this, but I find it fascinating. Apparently a book was published last year in which authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith claim that Van Gogh was fatally wounded by a friend’s teenage brother. The book is called Van Gogh: The Life, and I would love to read it.
Van Gogh has always fascinated me. He created such incredible beauty out of such immense pain. It’s as if he couldn’t create fast enough to release all of the demons inside.
When I was walking around the museums in NYC years ago, I was finally able to see some of Van Gogh’s works of art at the Met and at the MOMA. My god, they took my breath away. I would love to visit more museums housing the artist’s work.
“She was one of those stars, a bright dot in blackness, without home, without a companion, in eternal cold and silence.” ~ Maxine Hong Kingston, from The Woman Warrior
I spoke too soon. I just lost the last fifth of this post when I went to save. Crap. Crap. Crap.
Moving right along . . .
I once met Maxine Hong Kingston when she was participating in the ODU Literary Festival years ago. She is such a tiny woman, and her presence was almost dwarfed on the big stage until she began to read. Later, at an after-reading cocktail party, I mustered the courage to talk to her and tell her how much I loved her work.
Just thought I’d throw that out there.
I suppose I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today after going through posts past and thinking about those wonderful afternoons at the museums. One day, I’m going to visit the Louvre and Musée D’Orsay, spend hours upon hours, days upon days, just meandering through the galleries, and I’ll take Corey because I know that he will appreciate the beauty just as much as I would.
One day. Until then, I suppose I’ll just hang out here in my yoga pants, thinking about things to come, things that have been, places to see, and places I have gone. Kind of reminds me of The Beatles’ song, “My Life.”
More later. Peace.
Music by Aesthesys, “I Am Free, That Is Why I’m Lost”