musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the tag “breathe”

flowers


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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.

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 I can’t wait until we can let her out of Toots’s room for good. 

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poem in one shot

 

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.

break

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.

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Treasure moments of peace. I will be more consistent at a later time.

death of a poet laureate

Walter E. Butts, W. E. Butts, Wally. Old friend.

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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.

In about 1991, I wrote this awkward poem to him, when he was about the age I am now: photo (7)

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.

 

Postlude

A dear old friend emailed this to me on April 8:

http://thisweekinraymond.com/walter-butts-poet-laureate-of-new-hampshire-p1688-131.htm

accidents will happen

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,

I must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

 

 

 

 

 

the not fun part of being a writer

Dear Literary Agents,

You want to read and shop my middle grade novel to publishers. It is brilliant! Trust me.

Please contact me in the comment section below.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Writer.

(I am not jaded at all, why do you ask?)

((I hope this reads as funny as it does in my head. Starting to feel a bit loopy in researching agents.))

not exactly quiet

I know I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog lately.

The obvious place to start is with my grief over the loss of our dear sweet Lucy. It was so sudden, I think I’ve only begun to process it. I am not in a complete fog, walking through molasses and crying at the drop of a hat now. I think it piggybacked our autumn loss of Babette, which was within a week of the loss of my mother’s last living sister, and I couldn’t make it to the funeral. I lost a couple weeks of normal, quieter in some ways. In the meantime, we have been busier than usual in others.

Wrestling season ended for Captain Comic, but not before the number of hours spent in gyms across the Bay Rivers District increased exponentially.
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I am proud of him for trying hard, and always being game for a tough 1st season in the sport. Next year, maybe he’ll win a match from time to time.

Mr Cynic and I have been traveling to colleges and auditions for their music departments and Scholars Competitions, etc. and to have a look around. That has been a couple of adventures in traveling to Boston and to western Virginia.  That has been a bit of roller coaster of pressure, comic mayhem, not so comic mayhem, seeing good friends and my niece, sleeping on sofas, floors,  random beds and hotel rooms. We crossed many bridges, literally and figuratively.

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In the meantime, he has been involved in the Bay Rivers District Choir, and auditioned and won a spot in the All-Virginia Choir! The performance for that is the same weekend as his birthday in Richmond, at the end of April.

Toots is forever Toots, and a spark in our lives, and she apparently has a preschool boyfriend. I told her teacher on Valentine’s Day, that when I asked her who she loves after writing the family valentines, she answered, “D—?” sheepishly, knowing she should have said at least one family member in the context of the conversation. It was adorable. She also has been wanting to invite him over for sleepovers for a couple of months now.  The teacher cracked up and then told me she is always trying to get them to sit with other friends or at recess to play with other friends, but the two of them are stuck like glue everyday. I asked Toots at one point what she likes about D– so much and she answered, “because he is kind.” I couldn’t be happier, honestly, that she has found a best friend who is kind regardless of gender.

She has also been getting into trouble a lot at home, but she is approaching five, seeking independence or when we are preoccupied, seeking attention by plugging the sink, flooding the bathroom and soaking herself from head to toe. Or by poking the bear: Captain Comic, by doing the exact things she knows will trigger a negative response from him. Kazoos and pennywhistles she earns for good behavior in preschool are a big tool of torture for the noise sensitive Aspie.

But she is still our girl and how could we ever stay mad at this:

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One day, I will remember to hold this smartphone horizontally while recording…

Meanwhile, in the writing department, I have started sending out queries to agents, and the rejections have started coming in. At least I’m starting at the top:

1st rejection

good girl

lucy

Lucy 11/1(ish)/2005-2/2/2013

 

Lucy was a good girl. We thought we would have a lot more time with her, but her immune system attacked her suddenly, and we said goodbye today. It is very surreal.

We lost our old kitty Babette not so very long ago, and suddenly, too.

Toots has asked already if we are getting another dog. Honey said to me separately, please can we wait a little while this time to mourn her. We adopted Sasha 10 days after we lost Babette suddenly a few months ago.

Mr. Cynic is presenting stoically, Captain Comic seems okay, and keeps coming over to hug me and make me feel better.

I’m just teary and a bit in shock.

 

 

white throated sparrow

Jets fly overhead, blasting us with noise,
Rumbling our bones, and we tune that out, too.

But a birdsong, a flit, an unseasonal aah!
So tiny, so inconsequential
to starting the car and rushing about,
I cannot let it go.

Lately, I have tried, but an unfamiliar bird,
white stripe by his eye has crossed my path so many times,
as if to say, hello! I am here!
Don’t you want to know me?
So much so, that yes, yes I do.

In this age of instant gratification, I go searching on the internet,
And wish I knew where my ornithology book was,
wish I had to hunt through the library for Audubon’s giant tome,
lug the tome to a table and flip the illustrated pages,
smell the musty age of pages,
just to slow down a bit more because
don’t we need this?

Don’t we need to be wrong and curious,
don’t we need to stop, light up,
don’t we need to let go of this rubberband life
and be present for an hour, a minute, a day?

We live too much for our slow DNA souls
and a bird needs us to wink
And say hello, because he is singing
the universe’s song in our backyards.

We need to feel the breeze,
even in winter, blow through our hair,
not because we create a wake of it behind us,
but because we must live in it now
to know the world goes on without us.
We are not so important as a white throated sparrow.

I must stop, hear his cheery, melancholy
Old Sam Peabody, Peabody.
Old Sam Peabody, Peabody.

Because to take this moment,
this reminder to live,
to know joy and love in a birdsong, a flit,
is everything.

after sandy

Hampton Roads, Virginia was supposed to be hit with an anvil with this storm. It was hit pretty hard, especially in flood zones. Overall, though, not as hard hit as the 100 years storm with no name a while back. Friends I expected to flood are all fine as far as I have heard. We’re fine. Cooped up for a couple of days, but fine.

All of my Connecticut family is fine, too, but without power. Not bad considering they are pretty much all in coastal towns, but one brother’s family, and he’s close enough and has plenty of potentially damaging trees.

Friends in other areas like NYC are reporting damages and power outages, but people are fine overall. Some are heart broken for their homes and blocks where families have lived for generations.

I am grateful that most of those I know seem to have weathered this weird weather – Hurricane, Tropical Storm, huge swath of of an ocean spiral Sandy – well.

Now we wait for the power to come back for much of the Eastern Seaboard, and count our blessings.

 

 

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