Thank you for reading or following my blog. Some of you have been with me since I started it when Toots was a baby.
Things have ramped up beyond the usual mayhem in the past year, and I have been pretty spotty in my posts. At this point, I am considering at least a semi-permanent breather if not completely ending the blog in this form.
All three kids graduated this June: Mr. Cynic from High School, Captain Comic from Middle School, and Toots from Preschool. They are all starting big things in the fall and have activities all summer. College, High School, and Kindergarten. It’s a big time for us all.
I still take pictures almost constantly, never did upgrade to a better camera. I am still seeking a publisher for my children’s novel, and working on a couple of new projects, though my time has been very full with the kids, life and stuff that my writing focus has fallen off for a while. I’ll get back to it, just a lot of focus on the spawn these days.
Who knows? I may post an occasional poem here from time to time. Or I may decide to reorient to more of a writing blog in general. All I know is at some point, this became something that I felt obligated to do, then couldn’t keep it up as I would have liked to.
I still get out to appreciate nature:
I’ve just lost the focus to regularly post, and don’t want to leave you all wondering why I stopped.
Thanks for keeping me company since May 2009. Much love to you all.
I have been experiencing technical difficulties with my old laptop. In the meantime, I have been taking a lot of pics of flowers blooming around my yard and outside Toots’s school via Instagram as I runaround in my day to day, as I am now back to, if a bit slower than I was before my accident in March.
For some reason, I was unable to crop out the Instagram stuff in my computer programs or in WordPress. One of these days, I will figure it out.
Anyway, things down here in Virginia have been blooming madly and sweetly and it makes me happy to see.
Also we adopted another kitty. She is teeny tiny for a 7 month old, and about a third the size of Sasha. We are at the end of her med run and quarantine for kennel cough, but she still has a stuffy nose and sneezes. Toots keeps letting her out. Cecilia is ready to explore and make friends with Sasha, but we have to contain her just a bit more. She is full of spark.
I can’t wait until we can let her out of Toots’s room for good.
It’s dark today. And wet.
But the greens and roses glow like living ghosts
refusing to give in.
The day is brooding and nostalgic,
Makes me think of springs to come and so many
that are imprinted like film negatives, carried with me,
For all my days, gathering wrinkled currents.
The wet lovely petals shining on the pavement
Of Commonwealth Avenue;
The sense of hope of the road before me
And all that was to come has come.
Some of it has gone, but so little, really.
I am full, my heart sings to the ghosts of hope
And it springs eternal,
The roses, the new green leaves glow.
Something of a rush of days and years has led to this moment. Well, really, to Sunday.
A womb cocooned time prior to that day for his bedrest pregnancy and suddenly, years, an entire childhood has gone by and he can vote in the next election. He is preparing to leave for college. He has spent the last two 2nd half of the weeks out of the house for Choral field trips. Last weekend in a competition in DC with his school’s Jazz Choir, also a day this week out of town competing with his school’s Jazz Band, and this weekend he is in the All-Virginia Choir in Richmond. He has a job.
How does this happen?
Here he is at 5, his little sister’s age, enjoying/putting up with a trip on Papa’s sailboat on a hot and windless day on Long Island Sound in August 2000.
It is very him.
I am very proud of who he is, though I kid and call him Mr. Cynic. He is a well-rounded, talented, smart, compassionate, and passionate young man. He has grown up exactly how I wanted him to, with his eye on goals, his heart in tune with the world around him and ready to be a force for good.
18 for 18
1. Mr. Cynic is a loyal friend.
2. He doesn’t put up with crap.
3. He questions everything that should be questioned.
4. He plays 3 instruments and sings.
5. He writes songs. They’re catchy.
6. He was a pretty little guy, and he’s grown into a handsome young dude.
7. As a toddler, when he ran, he ran looking behind him and would run into walls, because he liked how the wind felt rushing through his hair. I guess he wanted to see it, too.
8. Mr. Cynic has a huge heart.
9. He speaks a secret language with Toots, consisting completely of raspberries.
10. He reluctantly and loudly puts up with Captain Comic, but if anyone else treats him with anything other than respect, he becomes as protective as their Mama Bear.
11. He strums, a lot, behind closed doors.
12. He will sing and play for anyone else, but hides it in the house.
13. But I hear him.
14. His head is on straight. I don’t think he’ll get into too much of the stupidity that some of us go through in college.
15. He knows he can call me if he does, and I won’t kill him. I’ll just let his conscience take care of that for me.
16. He has weathered many ups and downs and challenges in his young life. I think he’ll be able to handle anything life throws at him.
17. He’s at the edge of the nest, and while I want to go ahead and shove him out, I want to hold him near just a little while longer. Get in as many hugs as he’ll endure. Tell him how much he really is loved and how that will never change.
18. Something new is coming for him. And it’s him.
I love you, Boston. You will always be home, especially the area between Fenway to Copley Square. I lived there for over 10 years, my last apartment less than a block from the second explosion.
Mostly in the past twenty four hours, I have been heartened to know my old city’s people came together to help those who needed it in its moment of crisis.
Boston is beautiful, and so are its people. Blessings to all.
My attentions are elsewhere, so I apologize for not posting consistently of late. I continue to find respite and gratitude daily while dealing with quite a bit that is beyond my control.
Treasure moments of peace. I will be more consistent at a later time.
Walter E. Butts, W. E. Butts, Wally. Old friend.
photo source, drunkenboat.com
New Hampshire’s Poet Laureate has passed with absolutely no fanfare. I can’t find an article in my google searching.
His Wikipedia has been updated, though no mention of how he passed.
In a way, this is fitting for a man who was very private while he publicly wrote from his deepest self.
When I first moved to Boston in the fall of 1989, I sought out poetry readings and found him sitting at a corner table upstairs at Green Street Grille/Charlie’s Tap in the Stone Soup Poets run by Jack Powers. Wally was among the first and most influential people I met there. Later, two other poets who also became big in my life joined him, and I eventually dubbed them The Triumverate. They helped me find my poetic voice, whittled it down for me, and made me laugh a lot in my early days in Boston as a poet. They were Peter Kidd and Bill Kemmett. I will always remember them affectionately, but mostly it was Wally.
Wally treated me like his daughter, and talked a lot about his love for his daughter with me, as she and I were about the same age. I got the feeling their relationship, at times, was estranged, but after a visit with her, his whole spirit would be lit up and his distinctive laughter would burst out of him like a bull honking during mating or an old crow signaling others of a roadside kill. Tears streamed out from behind his thick glasses when he laughed. Peter and Bill, along with Dick Martin and James de Crescentis and occasionally Vincent Ferrini or some another visiting poet would join them, and I was mesmerized. I spent more time at that table in the back even when Stone Soup moved to TT the Bear’s, with a bunch of middle aged and a couple of old men, than I did listening to the poets on stage. Though we did listen. They respected the younger poets, and enjoyed their progress. I just happened to bask in their experience and turn of words, and occasionally felt I could keep up with them, but probably mostly entertained them as a hubris filled 23-29 year old. It was they, and again, mostly Wally, who said I had what it takes.
And then I had kids and largely disappeared from the scene, and Wally moved up to New Hampshire, joining Peter Kidd at the base of the White Mountains, and our lives took divergent paths. Wally became became Poet Laureate, and I started focusing more on my kids and fiction and wound up being a ball hit off a bat from the Boston area to southern Virginia.
Life is strange and unexpected, but I found Wally again about a year ago, and we emailed briefly, promising to keep in touch. He sounded happy. Happier than I ever knew him. We didn’t really keep in touch.
Wally was one of the most sensitive souls I ever knew. He shared it with the world in his poetry. He wasn’t a complainer, he wrote his depths like no one else, and everyone could relate. I will always consider him my poetic father. And Peter and Bill, to a degree, too. but mostly Wally.
I was lucky to know them when I did.
I knew he was going through some big stuff at the time, but didn’t know what. But it bore him down.
I leave this remembrance with one of his poems from the days I knew him, from his Chapbook on Igneus Press, The Required Dance:
How We Pray
We walk through a place
where men sleep in elegant cars,
and voices flutter onto the street
like magnolias across a lawn.
At the Baptist Church, women
sing “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.”
My three year old child
wants to know what those people
are doing. I tell her this
is how we pray, and then the spirit has faith in its body.
That is why there is dancing.
A hymn demands we go to a mountain.
The gleam of sweating faces,
and rhythm of clapping hands
will take us there. Not poverty,
need for grace is what
we believe. My daughter,
rich from her mother’s country,
doesn’t notice her father lives poor,
but understands flowers rise
from the mouths of the forgotten.
A dear old friend emailed this to me on April 8:
Happy birthday, Toots!
Five things about Toots in honor of her fifth birthday:
1. She is a delight both day and night. Except when she’s not, because she is normal, but even then, she is so darned cute, aw forget it. She is a delight both day and night.
2. She makes up songs about everything and nothing. Her breakfast, imaginary friends, how much she loves you, whoever you is at any given moment, and whatever she likes at any given moment.
3. Purple is her favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavoriteSUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUperfavorite color in the whole wide world.
4. Look at that perfect point in the Easter dress roller derby pic. She is as flexible as I used to be. I should start her in dance. Maybe she has matured enough not to run around and around the whole room by now and will listen to the teacher.
5. She’s smart, she’s observant, manipulative, adorable, charming, shall I go on?
I love her. She’s my girl. She’s Daddy’s girl, too.
Happy birthday, Toots, my littlest.
Apologies to Elvis Costello as I give a brief update, since I really shouldn’t be sitting up at the computer:
Much has been going on here in the land of mayhem, and then a car accident, and I was hurt, no blood, no bones, but I hurt ten days later. A lot. Working on some things, and I start physical therapy on Monday.
While I was trying to heal and rest and being on meds, Mr. Cynic similarly got into another accident within days of mine. So now we have two totaled vehicles.
Working on figuring out everything, moving forward, while trying not to move, but the mayhem continues, and so must I. But I shouldn’t quite yet.
I can laugh about some of this, but it hurts. But the good news is I can laugh.
Writing is currently on hold, except I decided to toss the sermon I was working on for months and had several drafts. That’s right, chucking it completely. After the two car accidents, I found “the piercing arrow” that is discussed in writing circles. Now I have about two weeks to get it right. It’s okay, most of my better work has been produced under the pressure of a deadline. It’s epiphanous.
As Samuel Beckett said,