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Dear Christie,

 

 

 

Yesterday I found a bird on the ground outside the window. Remember how I had told you about the two pairs of Bullock’s Orioles at our feeder? It was one of the females. I was too squeamish to pick her up with my bare hands. Someone at some time told me about the bacteria on birds, and like so many other stories, I let it define my actions even though I don’t know that it’s true.

 

I did pick it up, however, fashioned a little stretcher out of cottonwood sticks and carried the bird to the deep grass.

 

Though it was at the feeder the day before, already it was gone enough to have lost its eyes, now two little sunken spaces where the head pulled in on itself. But the small body was not yet rigid, and it hung, limp, over the sticks.

 

I sang a death song, as I always do, sometimes out loud, sometimes in my head. It was taught to me by Art. “Nothing lives long, nothing lives long, nothing lives long, not even the mountain.”

 

I remember the day Art changed the lyric. For many years, he had sung the final phrase, “nothing lives long but the earth and the mountain.” Perhaps like all things

that are new, it trembled something me. The old words were so comfortable and familiar in my ears, my mouth. I suspect the real reason they shook me was the truth of them. Nothing lives long. Not even the mountain.

 

How small we are. Sometimes, like yesterday, I let my sadnesses and worries become so big, much bigger than my body. I can’t contain them and they spill. It was beautiful to watch how, on that flood of my sorrow, you found a boat and sat in it and showed me it was possible.

 

Why did I think the deep grass was a better place for the body of the bird? I didn’t question the voice that told me to take her there. Perhaps we are all heading into the unkempt field, a place where we are open and hidden at the same time.

 

I watched the other three birds all day as they flew from feeder to cottonwood. They were a braid of song, seldom staying in one place for long.

 

Nothing lives long. It’s no revelation, but sometimes an old truth finds wings in us. And so it was when you told me yesterday, just before you drove away, that I needed to stop hoping things would change—that I needed to decide if I could be happy with things just as they are. Only minutes later I found the bird. Though the two events didn’t seem connected at the moment, now they are like two drops that become one water.

 

And so this morning, I join you in the boat. Although it is just a metaphor, I notice that it changes things not to be swimming in the waters of wishing things were different. I notice how there are no oars in the boat, and how part of me longs for control and part of me has already found the freedom to stare at the sky.

 

And there they are, the three orioles, their yellow feathers flashing as they rearrange the air. And there she isn’t, the oriole now laying in the field.

 

Later today I will fill the feeder. There are some things we can do.

 

 

Your friend,

Rosemerry

 

 

 

 

IMG_1048

 

 

in the bowl

a single morel—

bouquet of laughter

Hi friends … today’s poem is really a performance art piece I did last night at the fourth annual Literary Burlesque in Telluride. I thought I’d try to capture how the performance went, so here are the lighting and image cues, the music accompaniment cues, and costuming and set directions.

 

Inspired by In the Box, Horizontal by Ruth Bernhard, German born, American, black and white photograph.

PUAM

Rosemerry, writer/performer

Kyra, cellist

 

LIGHTS: STILL DARK. KYRA ENTERS WITH CELLO, PLAYS LIVE IN DARK DURING SET-UP.

 

Stage hands set a folding table on stage with a black covering, and on top of that a long cardboard box. Also place on the table a cell phone and pen.

 

IMAGE: KYRA PAUSES, THEN STARTS BASELINE OF “GLORY BOX,” BY PORTISHEAD.

 

IMAGE OF WOMAN IN THE BOX COMES UP WHEN BASELINE BEGINS.

 

ROSEMERRY ENTERS IN DARK, WEARING “SEXY TEACHER” COSTUME—SHORT PLAID SKIRT, WHITE BUTTON SHIRT, HAIR UP, READING GLASSES, SUPER HIGH HEELS CARRYING A LONG WHITE RULER, SINGING INTRO MELODY OF “GLORY BOX” BY PORTISHEAD

 

IMAGE STILL UP. Kyra still playing.

 

KYRA PLAYS BASE LINE 4 TIMES,

 

IMAGE OUT.

 

LIGHTS UP.

 

 

(Kyra continue plucking bass on the cello)

 

Rm speaking: Good evening class,

tonight we’re going to talk about

a woman’s box.

 

Pop Quiz:

Is it a: how she fights with her fists against tyranny

Is it b: a place to be grabbed by men with orange hair

is it c: where she keeps her jewelry

 

No. Imma tell you what it is … And-a 1, 2, 3

 

(Music A, same bassline, bowed instead of plucked, pick up tempo, rm sing)

There’s a place a woman goes

when she’s needs to be alone—

 

it’s her box.

 

(SPOKEN: Play it Kyra)

 

There’s a place she disappears

when she needs to see things clear—

 

it’s her box.

(SPOKEN: I love my box)

 

Not a cage, there is no key,

it’s her private sanctuary

it’s a place you’ll never see—

 

it’s her box.  (rm take off shoes here)

 

(rm start body slap rhythm while kyra plays, kyra join on body rhythm, rm speak)

 

Okay class, let’s break it down

 

IMAGE: IMAGE OF US MAP GOES UP

 

Now there’s lots of work to do out there

the earth’s in desperate need of care

 

(RM point with ruler to places on the map)

 

the EPA is decimated,

pipeline construction’s escalated

 

global warmings’ being negated

offshore drilling’s being slated

 

with all these threats, and all that’s wrong

 

IMAGE: IMAGES OFF

 

a woman must be warrior, strong—

 

she needs her mask (pull out reading glasses), she needs her sword (pick up pen and brandish it)

she needs her trusty, high-speed horse  (pull out cell phone and pretend to speed dial … while kyra makes rhythmic sound of horse galloping)

 

(no music)

hello, senator Cory Gardner? this is Rosemerry Trommer calling, I’m your constituent from Placerville, zip code 81430, and today I want to talk about how you’re going to vote on …

 

(back to music A, but slower, quieter, smoother, kyra slide, rm sing)

 

When lies are swirling all around

she needs the place where truth is found

her inner knowing, her sacred ground

 

it’s in her box.

 

it’s an infinity she keeps inside her

where the world is limitless, quieter,

our expansiveness comes from within

 

a home where she removes her armor (start here to take off glasses)

where she lets the mystery touch her

 

(kyra soft pluck slide the bass, rm begin to unbutton shirt, eyes gaze down, inward)

 

yes in her private chrysalis

is where a woman’s power begins (drop shirt)

a place where she is open, tender, soft,

 

the silence there informs her (drop skirt, wearing a nude bodysuit underneath)

vulnerability transforms her—

and the world—in ways ferocity cannot. (kick skirt into audience)

 

kyra bow the intro hum (rm climb inside the box here) then kyra pluck the intro hum

 

you are your own fertile seed

you are your own desert rain

you are your own silk cocoon

you are your own shaman’s cave

 

it’s from the inside

we learn to be brave

 

(kyra decrescendo, rm reach left hand out … red hand showing)

lights out.

 

 

 

Dear Jack

 

 

 

it was a little too quiet last night

at the poetry reading, though we heckled

as if we were you,

but our interruptions were mere imitation,

they missed the gravel of your voice

and the bedrock of your conviction

and the growl of your disdain,

your love like a weed I learned to want.

 

Lenity

 

 

 

 

 

First it was the woman

who waved at me

through the spring snow.

I didn’t take it personally,

her kindness, more like

an accident that I happened

to be there. Then it was

the woman who forgave me

for being confused

about when I was supposed

to arrive. Then the woman

who hugged me for no reason

at all. And the man who

looked up and smiled.

And the friend who

played me a tune.

Kindnesses inside every hour.

All day. It was like stumbling

on a word I’ve never heard before,

and suddenly—how could I

have missed it all this time—

it’s everywhere.

 

 

 

Tonight the path

is tired of being

a path, would rather

be a leaf. Enough

of trodding. Enough

of this one foot

in front of the other.

Rather to unfurl

and serve and let go

and get lost. Really,

how hard could it be?

Something about

“path” suggests

certainty. The path

feels like a fraud.

It’s exhausted

with arrivals. It wants

to fall off. It wants

to cartwheel across the field

like last year’s leaves

in spring wind.

It wants to have

no idea at all

where it is going.

 

 

One Transmutation

 

 

 

sending you these words

to wear like a scarf, only softer

than that, more like song

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