Fall back with me
one hour, for free-
season changing, daylight waning-
stay in bed and see.
If you want more
there’s hours galore-
night extended, time suspended-
this is what they’re for.
Oh I would walk with you
through the mulberry grass
’til our toes were painted blue
and your fingers brush my hand.
Sit me down by the tree
when our legs don’t want to stand.
You can strum, I will sing
in our new two person band.
But you don’t play that song,
not for me,
what the music all was for.
Let’s just let the hours go
though the bird calls in the day.
Let me feel, with eyes still closed
that you’re mine and here to stay.
But you don’t spend you time,
not like that,
what the magic all was for
Here you are right at my feet
you’re unassuming solid sweet
You fit so tight and so complete
That I forget the void beneath
From where I stand I can’t quite seem
to get a glimpse of underneath
the better then, to paint you with
an easel to support my myth
You lay there still but still I slip
You look like someplace I could trip
We met and then I lost my grip
Look out below- manhole- I flip.
I’d like to take your picture and then put it in a frame
I’ll like to show my mother and imagine our last name
I’ll smooth out all your edges like a giant lucky dime.
you’re nice in two dimensions and I’d like to make you mine
Here you are right at my feet
you’re unassuming solid sweet
You fit so tight and so complete
that I forget the void beneath-
oh what is the unknown degree
to which you twist your depths to reach?
what sewer line or power cord
are you designed to feed the world?
You make me nervous
shiny surface hidden purpose
Look out below. Manhole. I flip.
Get in your car. Wait for it to warm up, like he would do.
When your impatience catches up to you, 20 seconds later, put the gear in drive and head onto the highway, north. Pass the 7-mile and 8-mile and 11-mile exits and the accompanying suburbs thereafter. Don’t check your phone or pick at your hair or worry about how long it will take. Listen to public radio and hear what they have to say, or put on the same CD that’s been in your console for two years and sing along to Ella Fitzgerald, or turn everything off altogether and see what your brain turns the silence into. Pass the outlet malls and fast food signs and let the hotheads of the leftmost lane pass you. Think about what you will do when you arrive.
Turn off the highway and take a right. Pass the final gasp of the commercial uniformity and pass the turn-off for the landfill/skihill and pass the Springfield Inn and the empty restaurant with the baldly desperate sign that says “Eat Here or We’ll Both Starve!” Take a right again. Drive down the one-lane road beyond the mustard yellow house and the fake pond and the lonely-seeming houses on what some living memories knew as farmland. Take a left. Watch out for the pothole and go down the final stretch, maybe sneak a look at yourself in the rearview mirror and decide what song you want to end your drive on. Right where the road splits, don’t take either fork but a hard left up a dirt road that is actually a driveway. Curve up past houses that are almost-but-not-quite it and park your car at the gate by the 60-foot pine-tree. Get your bags out of your car, straddle-step over the fence– careful not to rip your pants– and walk the path in the snow to the front door that you have always felt comfortable letting yourself into without knocking.
There he is.
He may patiently wait while you take off your shoes and greet the dogs and set down your things. He may listen as you comment on his beard or lack of beard or work coveralls or t-shirt– in this weather? Or he may stride past the frenzied pets to your watchful side and hold you so long and so sweet that you almost cry even though you’re not sure why.
You made it. Here is this man, tucked away in the woods even though they said all the good ones were taken. Here he is and you have found him. Let him make you coffee and put some logs on the fire. Let him spread some of his peace onto your heart and, for god’s sake if you’re smart, let him love you.
one Three years ago, I lived in a gleaming sterile 42-story building in midtown Manhattan. Big as it was, it was dwarfed by the Empire State Building behind it– New York has a way of offering a ready reminder that you can always have more. I never wanted to live there in the first place but I’ll admit I came to enjoy the one-on-one yoga classes, the incredible views, and the perspective that comes from living in the middle of a very big something. It was fabulous but shallow. I resented my affection for it. When my marriage started failing, I left.
two The little brownstone in Brooklyn was the epitome of hope and innocence. I believed I would check the box of legitimate adulthood by living alone for once– one short month to be exact. In that time, I’d get out of my system, whatever it was that wasn’t working, move back with my husband, and everything would be back to normal. We’d laugh about it later.
When I made the arrangements with the renter, she said “I’ll be a nice girl from California and you be a nice girl from Michigan and lets just trust each other, ok?”
It was wonderful to insert myself in a space that someone else had made theirs, it didn’t require much imagination to consider that I could make a home like this too. To this day, the smell of Dr. Bronner’s dish soap reminds me of my nascent singlehood. But I had to be out before the end of the month and, with travel for Christmas and New Years, that meant I was moving again just three weeks after moving in and no, I wasn’t ready to go back to my former life.
three Feeling adventurous and pressed for time, I moved into a basement apartment before leaving New York for the holidays. It was farther from the subway, and the quarters were dingier and dirtier, but I was testing my boundaries and I thought it would be cool to live with artists. Moving sucks but this wasn’t so bad. I could fit everything but me and my bike into a single cab and so I cycled behind, unloaded, and poof! I was moved. Continue reading “a portrait of divorce”
When I was married, I thought I had the perfect plan to make the relationship work: if my husband and I both had strong feelings about a topic, we would compromise but, if one person didn’t care and the other had an opinion, then that person would get what they wanted. It wasn’t even clever it was just logical. In theory, it created a nice balance. In practice, it created a stable imbalance– He always knew what he wanted and I never did, so He ended up making just about all of the big decisions in our relationship.
Usually that involved some form of travel. He picked the destination when we studied abroad in Australia. He chose when we went to South Africa. He planned our honeymoon to Switzerland. He made the call when we lived in France and learned French (I preferred Spanish). I kept getting taken to amazing places so I felt that the system must be working, but there were more than a few times when I had the nagging feeling that this Thing that I was obviously supposed to be grateful for just wasn’t all that great. I was living someone else’s dream and, in many ways it was lovely, but that didn’t make it mine. Continue reading “Uncompromisingly Awake”
Tie breaker story for The Moth “Vices”
Dealing with my newfound singlehood after moving out of me and my ex’s apartment was all about self discovery. I wanted to find out who I was, what I liked. I wanted to exert my independence. And yes, I wanted to be more sexually self-sufficient. I brought out my old vibrator. I had never been against using it, but it hadn’t gotten a ton of use when I was married, especially because, at one point along the way, I had made a generous interpretation of the “splash proof” label and decided that maybe it was water proof. It’s not water-proof. Ever since I took it in the bath with me the battery contacts rusted and it started sounding like it had an outboard motor or maybe Hemi. rrrrRRRRarr. Continue reading “My Pleasure aka “Suzie””
If you saw God–
if it revealed itself to you
thru some miracle
or burst of light
some inner flame,
or burning bush,
or death revoked–
you would carry it in you always.
You would know.
One night along a shallow lake
there lay a campsite, pitched and staked,
logs for a fire stacked beside
in silence under dusky skies.
None knows yet how this scene shall play-
with plans abandoned, hopes dismayed?
They may appear only to quit,
no hammocks swayed nor matches lit.
Perhaps they will not come at all–
cold hearts and feet don’t wander far–
his loving gesture left unseen
by all but deer and forest green.
But down the trail they did arrive
and all his hopes were realized
for she was beaming at the scene
this camp a castle, she, the queen.
They made their picnic on the ground
to serenade of fire’s sound
small talk and smiles between each bite
soft gazes in the shadow light.
The hammock, in its frameless form
would hold them close and keep them warm
and so, into the soft cocoon
with wine in hand, to talk and spoon.
Within the safety of the dark
they spoke the truth of mind and heart:
Why is it that we did not last?
Can future differ from the past?
So levitated, they divined
that love still held their hearts entwined
despite the scar of damage done,
they held the space and did not run.
Once cups were emptied, burdens spent
he did take her to the tent,
and there within their private cave
he kissed her until, down she laid.
From soft caresses, breath arose
they merged into divine repose
as sweetness mounted, pleasure broke
until each speechless word was spoke.
Sometime between the dawn and night
she left the tent to greet first light
her dewy mind became perplexed
for they had not resolved “what’s next?”
Not yet awake, no more asleep–
there charm can fade and doubt can creep.
What really happened ‘tween the oaks?
No dues were paid, no vows were spoke.
But there among the beaver dams
there was no need for weighty plans
she lay back down mind clear, heart bare,
so to resume the dream they shared.
How many times
can we bend till we break?
How much strain can you take?
What’s your tensile strength?
Hold me, and then
Like a kite with no weight
Pull the line nice and straight
Out of sight into space.
If I pluck the string
Will it vibe and erate?
Will it snap in my face?
What is this song’s fate?