This is the first poem I shared on my Facebook page to announce I was starting a page to share poetry and thoughts. I wanted to re-post it because it’s not posted on here, and as we wind down the year; it’s important to reflect on what we’ve done well and maybe not so well. I learned a lot in the first year of posting poems online. I’ve learned how truly one person’s like or comment can absolutely make your day. I’ve also learned how it’s really not that important if something doesn’t get liked at all. It’s truly all in fun. Last year I got up every morning at 4:00 AM and wrote. This year with a little bit more of a commute, time was not always so gracious. I also learned that sharing poetry on a blog is also time consuming and by the time I readied the blog post for the day, often my spark or time had worn off. Last year was a year of huge change (my health, I moved, and then moved again. I lived in a small town in the middle of nowhere and then at the very end of the year relocated to the middle of a city. In 2019, that city that was new and exciting to me in 2018 didn’t hold so much promise or expectation. Both years had major bouts with health and 2019 found a little bit of the fight taken out of me. There are years where it just seems like poems come out of my pours. 2019 was not one of those years. Unless it was a poem I specifically wrote for the blog, it has not been shared. I still have hundreds of poems from 2018 that haven’t had their time and poems from years before that. I have poems waiting in the wings and essays waiting for me to bold enough and vulnerable enough to share them. Tonight, I found it fitting to share this poem that kicked things off with another poem “Fat Tuesday,” which is the day I chose to announce the site because it’s my favorite holiday and it fell late enough this year to fall a day away from my birthday. I have lots of poems that have been waiting for this time of year, many of which I love, so I hope you enjoy this poem and the ones to come.
There are days when you looked at me as if I were divine, brilliant. I genuflect too gentleness, as it is a choice that has given me something to give the world. It is a color you choose to paint your narratives in. Lanterns are given their orange glow, which allows me to see you as the bright creature of some God. You, the field of a thousand blooming tulips that tickled my knees as I walked through them. I am more of this quiet lake, the sound of a piano that accompanies the moon moving moving through the sky over the hushed lake night. I have told you something about our joys and currencies. In each inhale of a water droplet, thousands of humans who have come before us are taken inside us. Their laughter, their trauma, the fences of jubilation they were given to scale. History is always with us. We are all hosts to this great party of humanity. My body came into this world binding and burning, escaping and enduring. It has quietly ailed and while the desolate beast that is disease threatened my sight, threatened to change how I saw light and divinity. When you live with disease banging on your midnight door,
you question the love they sing in church. You weep because there is so much to have and hold and you live in a body that threatens to not hold you up anymore, you ask yourself does a strong heart do anything to a body that repeatedly falls apart. I have told you something essential, you will all ask this yourselves. You, the healthy, the beautiful, the brilliant, will come to find an impasse where your heart still beats loudly, bravely in your chest, but your body has other ideas and a desire to lay down and rest. In dreams, I have felt like a beginning waltzing with an ending. Across ballrooms we swept, two creatures destined to dance. Thawing ice and spring daylight. I have been the saint, the church, the sermon, the poem. I have been a fantasy of the bedroom, a backstreet boy, punching, and fighting. I have been to the top of the world,
where nothing thrills, where there is nowhere to go, no stunning view to know when you’ve seen the world from above it all. I have been to that place where the only movement you can make is to fall, and when I did all that mattered was that I land in a space where my unbelief could breathe. To be a water snake, angry and lost, ready to prey on pale figures in the water, you learn soon enough that you are alone and offer nothing to the world but a good scare. I learned to watch the nothing of the lake, how it was so assured it did nothing and offered so much solace and protection. Stillness is an ecosystem. It fills voids and extrapolates unknowns. I watched sunlight slant down on lake water and wanted to fill a face in the same way. In a body constantly being submerged in disease, I found buoyancy in watching how the sea almost ignores its hidden riptide. I sat on sand dunes with no one by my side. The devil is always trying to wear God’s name. There were days I rocked repeating, God, almighty, I am forgetting what to call you. When you lose your mind, the thought of asking for miracles drifts out to sea. You just feel gusts of wind on your face, a stranger gives you a smile, a hurt animal keeps you company until it heals. The sound of the piano comes down to the shore. Beautiful music makes you hum.
Someone hears it and sits down next to you and tells you they have always loved that song. It is my gentleness that invited them into the moment. They are the tulip field you have been praying for without knowing. So many colors heals vision. The amazing thing is divinity is not something typically asked for but given. Inside it, you recognize you’ve been there all along. The whiskey mixed with a dream you had. The phonograph that waltzed you above the bed. The silhouette that my shadow cast. The shadow that follows teaching me a new dance.