Coming to terms with another birthday

21 January 2012

My presence is leaning awkwardly through the doorway,
One hand reaching back, clinging to the doorframe
that is yesterday and childhood.
The other hand holds the doorknob- flung open:
This is coming of age.

My presence leans awkwardly through the doorway.
One had reaches back, clinging to the doorframe.
The other hand holds the door--
knob unlocked- flung open wide:
This is coming of age.

I am present, leaning awkwardly through the doorway.
One hand reached back to catch the light.
The other hand has flung open the door,

This is coming of age.


11 November 2011

Did you see my hands shaking?

I wasn't ready to see you yet. You only told me goodbye a couple of weeks ago-- and I hadn't yet stopped chasing the tail of your words around my mind.

But there you were. In that grey jacket you sometimes wear.

"We're matching," I didn't say.

The autumn sun looked good on you.

"Hi!" Too cheerful, I know.

But you were kind-- are kind. Thank you for smiling and for reminding me how we tried to get our picture in the paper.

"And you? How are things with you?"

I tried (a valiant effort, I think) to smile-- effortlessly.

Be real.

Be natural.

... I babbled.

"So, you mean it's a little stressful?"

You know too well what my smile means.

But it's okay, I know what your smiles mean too.

"Good luck with everything," I said.

"Have a nice life," you didn't say.

The sunshine looked thin on that dark spot that had been your shadow a moment ago. And my hands were shaking. I don't know why. I hadn't even really thought of you for a whole day.


03 February 2011

The blinking cursor chimed in my empty text box: You are out of practice.

After a year and a half of writing notes in Spanish (Por favor! venga a la iglesia! Lea sus escrituras! No se olvide sus oraciones!) I'm back. Sort of. It's like starting first grade over again, with not enough words to say all the big feelings inside, and not enough patience to wait for the right ones, and--now, finally--not enough pride to care.

Because it's fall outside and I can't help but write about the walk through that lovely overhang of sunshine seeping from the branches of the golden trees. They lean over, heavy with the weight of leaves, painted in autumn glow, beaming beneath the clouds in golden, fall glory.

I just had to stop for a moment and enjoy: face upturned, arms thrown wide!

Fall is here!


Yesterday morning I woke up to frost.


22 February 2010


and daddy

taught me reading,

and also my writing

when I was still little--

too little to be much good.

They didn't mind, but it took me

a couple of years to really like writing.

But reading I loved and adored and poured over

every book with beautiful pictures or (more particularly) beautiful poetry

which filled me up with such sing-song joy, it spilled over

and out my own pencil, between the blue lines of three-hole-punched paper.

And I discovered a new love for the scratch of my own thoughts

on the rough of cheap paper, the taste of my pencil between my teeth

as I carefully sampled the sounds to discover a one that could Mean more perfectly.

Luscious-- that is what language became. I pruned and weeded and watered and fertilized with metaphors.

Sometimes I mourned to waste such care on describing the transfer of valence electrons in ionic bonds,

but afterward, in the evenings, I filled up notebooks with my thoughts on love and happiness, sunshine and

warm rain. And sometimes, sometimes, I set down my clicky-pen, closed my moleskine and just loved my own life.

But what, I always ask then, is the good of basking in real life, if you never capture it with

pen and paper? And then I pick up my old, worn composition book and find some place cozy from which to

paint the view in the window of my words.

Car talk

01 February 2010

...And though dogs rush to bury their owner's radios in the backyard when they hear it: this [could have been] National Public Radio.

Click: Hello, you're on Car Talk!
Me: Ahh- yeah, hey, I just want to say I love your show, guys-- I've been listening since I was three,
Clack: Ah, I see they're startin' to brain wash 'em early these days!
Click: What can we do for ya?
Me: Well, my family has this van--
Click: Ah! the family van!
Clack: Do you remember driving around our old woody?
Click: Remember?! I still have nightmares about that old jallopy-- hunkachah, hunkachah, hunkachah!
Me: Yeah, that's the problem.
Click: You have nightmares about the family van?
Me: No the Hunkachahs-- our van makes this horrible racket like we've got the whole scrap yard INSIDE our van.
Clack: As opposed to the whole scrap yard that IS your van?
Me: Exactly.
Click: Now, what sort of van are we talking about-- have you got one a' those suped-up Asto Vans on hydraulics?
Clack: Are you kidding me? She's been listening to NPR since the cradle! I bet she drives a Volvo.
Me: A Dodge Ram, actually, and I'm not sure what year, '95, '96? but it's older then half the kids. And it's a 12-passenger.
Click: You COULD have the whole scrap yard inside! [chuckles]
Clack: You MIGHT! Ever thought about poking around back there to see? [cracks up]
Click: No but seriously [calming himself a little], what sort of trouble is it having?
Me: Well, besides the creaking and clanking of all the loose nuts and bolts, and the hideous paint that is slowly giving way to rust, it sounds like a time bomb to drive it. When you accelerate it sort of sounds like, well first it sounds like an airplane taking off--
Click: Ah, the typical 747 Syndrome,
Me: --and then, you know when you tape a business card to the fork of your bike so it makes that flip, flip, flip, flip against the spokes? That's what it sounds like when you really give it gas.
Click: Let me get this strait- you drive your kids around in an enormous scrap heap that sounds like a 747 with business cards in its spokes?
Clack: That's a lot of business cards. [chuckles]
Me: Yeah, except they're not my kids-- I'm the kid
Clack: And your parents are making you do the car repairs?
Me: Repairs? This van is beyond repair! I need your help convincing my parents to get rid of the thing!
Click: Mutiny! [chuckling again]
Clack: Well for starters, call the local scrap heap and found out how much they'll take for a ton and a half of scrap metal!
Click: You're going to assist this uprising?
Clack: Of course! It's the family van! Kid, you should sell it on e-bay! [chuckling harder]
Click: Hah Hah! Yeah, call it a vintage collectible!
Clack: Or tape cardboard wings to it and see if the Smithsonian wants it! [snorts]
Click: Or tape cardboard wings to it and sell it on e-bay! [cracks up]
Me: I don't know if my mom will go for the fake airplane on e-bay plan.
Click: I know! Shuttle the whole soccer team back and forth until you track enough mud in to make a giant planter! Get some flowers growing in there or somethin' and park it on your front lawn! You could get those crawling vines to grow out the windows! [cracks up again]
Clack: And all the rusted through parts will be great for aeration!
Click: Kid, what you've got to do is sit your parents down and just tell it like it is.
Clack: [chuckling] Yeah! 'Mom, Dad, our car sounds like a 747-business-card machine.'
Click: Honesty is always the best policy.
Clack: Let us know how it goes!
Click: Yeah, and I'll be keeping my eyes open for that airplane on e-bay! [chuckling]
Me: Uh, yeah. Thanks guys.
Click: Ah, Poor kid!
Clack: Yeah, honesty is the best policy, except for that one time when you...

Ride UTA

27 January 2010

Tuesday was lovely. A deep fog curbed the icy crisp of gray snow that had been melting and freezing and melting and freezing for a week now. Daddy dropped me off on his way to the office, 5 blocks west of my regular bus stop. An older woman stood by the wet, grimy bench in gloves and a few scarves, her cargo pants tucked into short snow boots. I 'goodmorning'ed and she smiled quietly back.

'Pretty amazing this fog, huh?' I prodded her silence.

'Yes,' she nodded.

She looked the part of a quiet grandmother: gray hair and thick glasses that ought, in such a case, to be respectfully called 'spectacles.'

We waited and even our silence was muffled by the still, white fog that swallowed the world all around us.

Two canvas bags hung from her arm, and 'Teaching English to Spanish Speakers' was tucked haphazardly into the bag decorated with puff-paint daisies and a singing sun.

'Oh, do you teach Spanish?'

Stupid question, I know, but I have found the obvious questions to be poor conversation starters.

'No,' she smiled again, 'I teach English to Spanish-speaking parents of local students.'

I smiled, encouragingly.

'It's actually an amazing program, started by the Ford company...'

Now it was my turn to be quiet.

To a boy

16 January 2010

You sat across from me in the LRC once. The headphones pressed against your ears barely muffled the heavy beat of music pumping from your i-pod. The tapping of your pencil against that desk's edge was nearly lost in the clicking typing of so many concentrating students.

But then, for perhaps one can only contain so much music, suddenly your lips parted and out came loud and clear a few bars- unaccompanied and unrehearsed, a concert for the 4th floor. Did you know just how much you wanted to sing along?

I laughed then, at first quietly in my head, and later louder to my friends, but now I'm waiting at my bus stop, singing along with the Rob Thomas that no one can hear but me.

I understand now. Sometimes you just can't keep it all inside.

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