Our Own Little Universes: Pains, Rips, Stars, Itineraries and Insights
Yolanda and Pasiano must have thought I was crazy when I started packing a week ago for my 2 month trip to the beach. First, all of my clothes piled on the bed in the spare room, then art and jewelry-making supplies piled on one end of the other bed, computer and photography needs piled on the other end. Bags full of other art supplies. Then two days ago, little piles of spices and kitchen tools, canned goods, disinfectant for fruit and veggies, bags of papers I’ve been wanting to sort for 13 years. (There will be time at the beach, where I know no one.)
But now it was the night before and with the car mostly packed with suitcase and bags, I still had hours more of sorting and packing to do. I knew it would probably mean a late night, and I’d have 5 or 6 hours of driving to do. Could I get enough sleep so I wouldn’t be driving sleepy, by myself, with no one to spell me? I have been rushing around trying to get dozens of details finished before I leave and I was so tired last night, with still a half-dozen things to do, that it occurred to me that there was no law decreeing that I have to leave today!!! So, I’m putting off leaving until tomorrow morning. That way I can finish packing at my leisure, sort out what I’m doing re/ the illustrations for the book and whether to take the scanner or not and get a full night’s sleep before driving to La Manz.
I don’t know why I get these mind sets about how things “have” to be done. Such a relief and so glad I decided to do this because I was up three times with severe leg cramps during the night–sometimes both ankles, once my inner thigh and opposite ankle…Such agony that a hot shower couldn’t ease. If I had neighbors, they’d think I was either having the best sex of my life or that someone was killing me, because I was moaning and screaming out at great volume! Then I thought to get in the hot tub and they eventually eased.
The third time this happened, about an hour ago, I almost fell asleep in the hot tub, but woke up, thought I needed to get out, and glanced up to see the quarter moon perfectly centered through a tear in the umbrella I’d positioned over a side of the hot tub. You know what happened. I had to get up, naked, dripping, cold, and go get my camera and then back into the hot tub to try to capture that phenomenon.
Dozens of shots later, with flash and without, I’d gotten a few barely effective shots, but realized how these pains of life sometimes lead to highly personal insights and experiences, so although the camera did not catch exactly what I’d experienced, my mind and memory had, and it might be that thing I remember in my last hour or last moment and gain strength or hope from. So intimate, these night experiences with ourselves. Those times when we realize we really are our own universes. Our own little gods, having the final power over ourselves.
In short, although if I thought I had to drive alone to La Manzanilla today, I’d be so worried that I would fall asleep at the wheel, instead I don’t have to worry. I can do my final packing today and then get a good night’s sleep.
I’ll leave tomorrow.
He handed it to me without ceremony—a small leather bag, awl-punched and stitched together by hand. Its flap was held together by a clasp made from a two fishing line sinkers and a piece of woven wax linen. I unwound the wax linen and found inside a tiny wooden heart with his initials on one side, mine on the other. A small hole in the heart had a braided cord of wax linen strung through that was attached to the bag so that the heart could not be lost. He had woven more waxed linen into a neck cord. I was 39 years old when he gave me that incredible thing I never thought I would receive: his heart—as much of it as he could give. Continue reading
if I swim naked in my pool?
All other human occupants
have left this neighborhood behind,
leaving more room
for possums, skunks,
birds, scorpions, spiders
I keep a closer company with them
than I do with any human these days.
Weeks ago, it was the orb weaver spider
who filled my mind,
but this week, I talk to the large caterpillar
with one rear antenna on his tail
as he sits for a day on the Olmec head
that guards my swimming pool.
Back and forth, back and forth I pass,
adding a look at him to my lap routine.
For one long afternoon,
he sits still—like Alice’s caterpillar,
meditating in this gray place.
If he were on my Virginia Creeper,
I’d be repositioning him
to the empty lot next door, but here
he seems to be a guest; and so some etiquette
keeps me from altering his placement
as he sits on stone, moving his suction cups in sequence
now and then only to alter his direction, not his place.
I question if I’ve stayed too long
in this one place.
Is there something else
I may yet do?
So if you are a wandering poet
and you have a place you think I need to go,
please write of it
in the way you do best
and tell me why I have to go there.
And if you create a good argument and a better poem,
I will go to that place in much the same way
that I have come to this point
in my poem.
Open to what comes next.
This is neither a love poem nor a singles ad. It was prompted by a blog site called “The Wandering Poet” that I recently read. I think I commented, and then as I was ready to leave his/her blog, I caught sight of the “Follow” button. The phrase “follow the wandering poet” got stuck in my mind, leading to “If I followed the wandering poet” and this poem. The challenge is real. I will pick up and go to any place that any poet, male or female, makes irresistible by means of a poem. (Be kind. Choose nothing less for me than the best place on earth you know of. I, by the way, will do the same for you if you wish. Judy)
P.S.: Thanks, Wandering Poet. If I forgot to select “follow,” I’ll do it next time.
I will never cease being amazed at the incredible capacities of the human mind, because three days ago, I wrote the above poem for reasons explained above and the next morning I woke up repeating the lyrics “I will make you fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of men. I will make you fishers of men, if you follow me.” (an old Sunday School song I haven’t thought of for 50 years). Now this morning I woke up with the song lyrics, ‘I will follow him, follow him wherever he may go” running through my mind, only to go on the WordPress site to discover that the prompt for today was: Opening Lines—What’s the first line of the last song you listened to (on the radio, on your music player, or anywhere else)? Use it as the first sentence of your post.
All three days, “Follow” has seemed to be the prompt running through my mind and so I guess it is time to publish this poem, conceived of even before I’d heard today’s prompt!!!!