Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tell it like it is

Life, lately, is strange. Staggering, in both good and bad ways, I try to maintain. I think I'm succeeding, but if I'm not, don't tell me. (I need some kind of illusion.)

Anyway, sometimes I fall back to terra firma after a good poem or two (please, don't ever watch this procedure. It's embarrassing: lots of sobbing, lots of snot. The last time this happened, I was at Henry's. Alone. My poor server...)

Typically, I don't do cross-over here: this blog is what it is, my poetry blog is what IT is, but I need to tell you about these two poems. I NEED TO. So, I'm going to post them here. I am. Don't read them if you don't want to. But, believe me, you'd be missing out.

What I Learned from My Mother by Julia Kasdorf

I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewings even if I didn't know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another's suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.

What my mother taught me: by Shara McCallum

When God closes a door, there are no windows.
When the Big Bad Wolf knocks, he knows how to get in.
Be afraid of the dark.

Don't scream.
Don't run.
Don't make wishes you can't keep.

If you drag a horse to water enough, she will drink.
If you don't play with fire, it will find you and burn.
Even careful chickens get caught by the hawk.

Say it with me: HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Right? Goddamn this juxtaposition. My heart is still beating, y'all, but it's beating outside my body, bloody and on my desk. (It's a shame really, because I really like this desk).

And before I start sobbing (again), can you even believe words? Can you?
I can't.

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