Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Which, having only
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Or, What she continues to say too long
Or, Two sides of the same coin
Or, December 16th
Through the kitchen window,
a maple tree shines.
Lit up this way, by one street light
and a close moon,
its yellow heart goes all the way
out to its elbow-tips,
its bronzey throat.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Or, December 11th
It's not always possible, but here's what helps.
Clean sheets with a pattern of minute blue flowers.
The shutters open, preferrably on a screaming moon.
(This is important because she'll want to climb inside your
and you'll get to practice losing).
A pile of books on the night table.
Here is what you do.
Carefully finger the corners of the books, as full of
curiosity as if the finger belonged to someone else.
Page through the books as if they were full of bad
drawings by someone you love—show with your pace
and grace and steady breathing that you appreciate them
beyond judgment. Lie on your side then and survey
the pile of books from a little distance. Admire the corner
of the room, the way it is just itself. The bed is exactly this
far off the ground. Accept fully that you could die in the night.
Think how people who love you wouldn't like you talking
like this—smile because it's your own thought, silent and true.
The letting go will seem to you like many things at once.
A cutting of strings, a slowing of a complicated melody until—
not nothing. Not exactly. Something is always coming up
from the ground, making a steady sound like water settling
into soil but in reverse, flowing up into the shape of grass stems,
filtering up and asserting themselves in the bright darkness.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Or, It's from our mind so it definitely will stick with us
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The launch of this blog, which I intend as a place for my little daily poems and photographs to land and live and have their being, coincides with Thanksgiving weekend 2008, which is also the weekend that we say goodbye to Polly the Frog. The Frog's passing is a delicate subject, so it fits.
Polly lived for about 24 years (the exact year she arrived in the mail as a pollywog in a little plastic bag has been forgotten) in a fishbowl on the dresser in the dining room in my parents' house. It was also, of course, my house for much of that time. Now, suddenly, the dresser is empty of Frog. The moment I found her lying at the bottom of her bowl with one eye looking really funny, and not having moved for a full day, I thought This is the end of my childhood. Which is a funny thought to have when you're 29.
My friend P.'s mother C. liked to compare the Frog to the priest at her church. The priest would spread his arms out to the sides in a gesture of blessing. Polly's arms were always out to the side. She was a very simple being, with a tiny nervous system inside her off-gold skin. We hoped her nervous system was too small to be upset that her life was lived out entirely in a plain bowl with no diversion. Sunlight came through the windows during the day. My father fed her faithfully every evening and changed her water when it got green. To do so he had to catch her in a net. She'd thrash inside it during the few seconds between leaving the bowl and entering the temporary smaller bowl. You could see her little ribs, and while she fought she seemed to have little pecs and collarbones. Her hind feet were webbed with a material that would sometimes flutter when she lay still. She had a singing voice that sounded like a river of microscopic pebbles.
I would be very pleased to live a delicate life. Being delicate seems like the best thing. You aren't very well protected against being hurt or disappointed. You do your best to look at what is around you and manage illusion. I'll quote Suzuki-roshi, since he had a special place in his heart for frogs:
"When we first hear that everything is a tentative existence, most of us are disappointed; but this disappointment comes from a wrong view of man and nature. It is because our way of observing things is deeply rooted in our self-centered ideas that we are disappointed…"
Which brings me to my shame about the way I thought of the Frog. I always worried that I was going to find her dead. Eventually, I did. But for years I didn't look at her without thinking about her passing. She seemed to us all to have lived so much longer than a Grow-a-Frog was supposed to. I wanted to prepare myself, to cushion the blow, to make there be no blow. Once or twice a year I'd acknowledge what I was doing. And I'd make myself stand there for a second and just see Frog.
A friend of mine once proposed that love is just being gentle and giving your full attention. As far as I know, the Frog lived a less complicated life than humans do. But, bless her, she was gentle (she was gentleness) and gave her full attention.