Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Abeyance

 By Rebecca Faust

letter to my transgender daughter

I made soup tonight, with cabbage, chard
and thyme picked outside our back door. 
For this moment the room is warm and light,
and I can presume you safe somewhere.
I know the night lives inside you. I know grave,
sad errors were made, dividing you, and hiding
you from you inside. I know a girl like you
was knifed last week, another set aflame.
I know I lack the words, or all the words I say
are wrong. I know I’ll call and you won’t answer,
and still I’ll call. I want to tell you 
you were loved with all I had, recklessly,
and with abandon, loved the way the cabbage
in my garden near-inverts itself, splayed
to catch each last ray of sun. And how
the feeling furling-in only makes the heart
more dense and green. Tonight it seems like
something one could bear.

Guess what, Dad and I finally figured out Pandora,
and after all those years of silence, our old music
fills the air. It fills the air, and somehow, here,
at this instant and for this instant only
—perhaps three bars—what I recall
equals all I feel, and I remember all the words.

Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Foust. Used with permission of the author.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Qualifying regret

I'm sorry if I caused confusion.
Yes, everything is OK. The regret was about missing the flexibility the old job gave me to be where I was, when I wanted, which is impossible now with days just filled with meetings.
I missed being able to play with the kittens, sleep in with D. But I don't miss the anxiety and bullying and intimidation at the University. As dysfunctional as the public service may seem at times, it matters that you're not alone in it, and it isn't personal...
I know I made the right move. It's a forward in life, not work.
No regrets, just this temporary tinge, and then it passed...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On regret

"A tinge is to be expected. There are few decisions that come completely cleanly - most have pros & cons. Important thing is to learn from past & look ahead ."

Shared with me by J Aloisi this unsettling morning.

Monday, April 20, 2015

From my Ma (10 March 2015)

I found this beautiful so am sharing 😊

My Child

My child isn't my easel to paint,
Nor my diamond to polish!
My child isn't my trophy to flaunt,
Nor my dummy to taunt!
My child isn't my badge or my honour,
Nor my respect that he/she must protect!
My child isn't an idea or a fantasy,
Nor my reflection or legacy!
My child isn't my puppet or my project,
Nor my pawn or my cadet!

My child is here to fumble & stumble
To get in & out of trouble!
My child is here to try,
To fall & to cry!
My child is here to unravel the mysteries,
To educate oneself & rewrite histories!
My child is here to make his/her own choices,
To exercise his/her freewill & experience the consequences!

As a Parent,
My task is to make my child able & capable,
To keep aside my ego & be by his/her side!
My task is to guide & educate,
To let be & not frustrate!
My task is allow him/her to ponder,
And see my child grow into a Wonder!

Friday, July 25, 2014

How to Love

After stepping into the world again,
there is that question of how to love,
how to bundle yourself against the frosted morning—
the crunch of icy grass underfoot, the scrape
of cold wipers along the windshield—
and convert time into distance.

What song to sing down an empty road
as you begin your morning commute?
And is there enough in you to see, really see,
the three wild turkeys crossing the street
with their featherless heads and stilt-like legs
in search of a morning meal? Nothing to do
but hunker down, wait for them to safely cross.

As they amble away, you wonder if they want
to be startled back into this world. Maybe you do, too,
waiting for all this to give way to love itself,
to look into the eyes of another and feel something—
the pleasure of a new lover in the unbroken night,
your wings folded around him, on the other side
of this ragged January, as if a long sleep has ended.

- by January Gill O’Niel


For D,

... this poem, chanced into my mailbox this morning... Jeanette Winterson, when I heard her speak a few years ago, recommended reading a poem a day to keep the soul alive. I subscribe to a daily poetry post, and there are misses at times, and then there are hits like this one...

The long sleep has ended. I have stepped back into, no, I have been startled back into this world... I can see you, fingers red with strawberry juice.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Spirits of the Dead


Thy soul shall find itself alone
‘Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.
The night, though clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven
With light like hope to mortals given,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop from the grass.
The breeze, the breath of God, is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token.
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

- Edgar Allan Poe

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Protected

Written yesterday, in another context, to another person:

"I saw a movie with my parents earlier today called Enough Said. It was a pretty good film. A few lines in it stayed with me though. It was one of those moments that something holds you, because you're open to it, and perhaps you need to hear it.

The female protagonist in the movie is symptomatic of our generation. She's single, divorced, a wonderful person, searching for a partner, smarting still about her past, trying to live her life fully... but in her effort to protect herself, and a few bad miscalculations, she fatally undermines a very promising relationship. (I'm not a movie buff by any measure, but I wanted to give you a bit of context.)

After the she's messed up their relationship, her now-former love asks her
"why?" [she acted out the way she did]
"I wanted to protect myself", she replies
"and what about protecting us?" he asks back

and therein lies the heart of the human condition
what about protecting us?

We go to great lengths to protect ourselves, and with each hurt, we tend to find more ways to protect ourselves-- financially, physically, recreationally... but the one that is possibly the most important-- emotionally. We hesitate to give up that fear, lest we get hurt again. We are our worst enemies.

In my last relationship, I think I tried, in all that we went through and experienced, to "protect us". What I didn't realise was that I was the only one doing that. When we ended it, the hurt wasn't about regretting that I didn't protect myself, but about being disappointed at the end that I hadn't been protected, and more importantly, had purposely ignored that reality. We might have loved one another, but we were not right for each other. More importantly, he was not the right person for me.

I look back, and there are many points at which I should have known. I can't do it all over again, and I can't absolve myself of responsibility either, but I know what I need to feel the next time around-- "protected", by my partner, too.

One can never measure these things, or value them, or weigh whether it is enough, but one can know the presence of it, and learn to recognise the absence of it too.

To sleep at night, knowing that you're looking out for the people you love, and as you drift to sleep that you're looked out for too, especially by the person who lies beside you, and breathes gently into the space, and into the memories, and into the life that you share."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rest in Peace our beloved Maya Angelou

on my fridge door

A selection of Maya Angelou's quotes, collated by The Guardian.


"Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option."

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

"I do not trust people who don't love themselves and yet tell me, 'I love you.' There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt."

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."

"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."

"Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud."

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass."

"The love of the family, the love of the person can heal. It heals the scars left by a larger society. A massive, powerful society."

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently."

"Nothing will work unless you do."

"It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody."

"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Normal Heart

I just got back from a screening of the film adaptation of The Normal Heart
I'm staggered, by how we (as in people) can let so much come in the way of something as simple and honest as love. The purity of grief, the honesty of tears, the willingness to love.
We are our worst enemies, just as we are our best friends.
I'm sitting with these feelings.
Aware of age, of time, of stories that are being told, and of my own.
This will have to hold them for tonight....

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sea and Rain: Lake Michigan

There is a dance at water’s edge,
a movement between the lake, its sand
and the horizon where lake becomes cloud.

Between those lines our world’s
a thin wash of muted tones, beige
and gray with a hint of white,

almost abstract, until the dancer
steps out into the pool.
She makes the whole thing real.

- Keith Taylor in after James McNeill Whistler, 1865