Saturday, August 27, 2011


Gold to pink to blue to pink again and then blue again: the sunset sky from west to east, a set of mountains on either side, a city wedged in-between and a lake just above sea level. This is my home.

I took my customary dusk walk around the block tonight and no one was out, not a soul in sight. So many are gone and more are leaving soon. I could hear the hum of televisions and muffled music from behind wavering curtains. I stole a spectacularly ripe fig from a tree I've known for 24 years and I've not stolen from it before. It hung limp and testicular from the stem, green as an immature lime. Inside was all lush red seeds -- a blush of seeds. It did a disappearing act on my tongue, the perfect follow-up to raspberries and whipping cream. If fig theft is a crime then I stand not only accused but guilty. Cuff me, throw me behind bars. It was worth it.

The kitten is experiencing, at four months of age, her first summer heat. She stretches herself out long and flat on the cool bathroom tiles and stares at me glaze-eyed: patient suffering. O, youth! Suffer! Suffer!

There's been a dearth of play in kitten-land this week; summer, although close to its end, is finally fully present and in fully-fledged feather.

Everywhere outside the air is suffused with late-summer fragrance: wilting rose, dried-up mint, hardy lavender, woolly thyme. I want these days to go on and on.


I've been pondering my darker sides, in the absence now of what I've always felt to be a censoring audience, now gone and gone for good. This is the freedom that death grants us: orphaned to our own means, the voice begins to tune its own tenor. There exists still a new song with a yet uncharted melody, a yet unwritten harmony. And while it may not delight in terms of "niceness" (but then, again, who can say?), it will tap into a deeper and more concise truth. This, I venture to say, is the path I've long sought as a writer. And although all may be mere hubris, the song feels imminent.

Two new poems this week -- one dealing with the ravages of grief; the other confronting the abuses of power in the soul laid bare, the self one risks in sexual intimacy. Nice? Nope.

In a poetry workshop years back led by Sam Hamill of Copper Canyon Press, I remember that he said this: the poem that scares you the most is the one that you must write.

These poems scare the shit out of me.


  1. Figs ripening here by the truck-full. Everyone is welcome to as many as they like.

  2. Sounds like good advice, write what scares you. I think I should take this advice as well. Thank you.

  3. Living through something that feels like death, but isn't, gives us a special and important perspective. Self-expression in itself begins the healing process. We have Katrina Day tomorrow, and these thoughts are placed in front of us as a memorial. And Hurricane Irene news on tv. thanks, sp

  4. Oh T, you are so wonderful!
    And you are writing that new song, day by day. I know it's a good one, too.
    Ima Smilin

  5. I think you'd be eligible for probation...I mean, you've passed these tree for 24 years and not one stolen treat!

    those poems a'brewin sounds powerful, indeed. they must, and will, be written. There are many more dimensions to this life than "nice," as you well know. Is it a 'girl' thing, this need to be nice and to be perceived as nice? I dunno, but most of the women I know have it in spades. "Nice" doesn't generally serve us well if we want to live an authentic life.

  6. Oh T - how exciting, how frightening! I heard Sharon OLds read a poem on exactly this theme - Harvey Molloy has it for his TP post today -- she talks about how cut loose from family, from loyalty etc there was nothing she could not write about... some amazing images there as you'd expect -- you must listen!!

  7. As Tara suggests, authenticity above all. As for Sam Hamill's advice that it is the poem that scares us most that is the poem we must write - yes. And phew. And yes. I think we might be building up to a similar pitch with this one, T. I, too, have poems brewing that make my hair stand on end. And yet, we can also be sure of balm on the other side of the burning? L, C xo

  8. PS. Lucky you participating in a workshop with Sam Hamill ; )