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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’




I didn’t stop what I was doing
to enjoy the exotic red fruity notes,
didn’t pause my busy mind
to cherish the bold dark leaves.
That’s not to say I didn’t love drinking the tea.
I did. Every velvety sip.
And as I pulled the final muslin sachet
from the classic black box lined with gold foil,
I thought of the woman
who had bought me such extravagant tea
and I fell even more deeply in love with her.

I tell myself it’s not wrong
I divided my attention
between the delicate tea
and the generous sun
and the work that I love.
I tell myself they spoke to each other
in the most beautiful morning voices—
all of them conspiring
the way a violin and cello and piano conspire,
the way a poet and a pianist and an artist conspire,
the way strawberry and cocoa
and dark leaves conspire
to create something more from the moment—
an alchemy that only comes when we say yes
in the moment to everything.

Now, when I read those words I wrote,
I taste in them Tibetan flowers.
They wear the fragrance of sunshine,
the bouquet of exotic lands.
Now when I see the empty drawer
where the tea is not,
I dream of how I drank the last cup
as if it would last forever.

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for Christie


Deep in the snowy woods,
we startle at the sound
of starlings as they braid
above the branches.
How often do I miss
the song of the moment?
But today, beside you
I could not miss
the sweet shushing of skis,
the sacred huff of breath,
the lyric of our laughter
and the strong refrain of my heart
as it wheeled like a starling,
a wild and soaring thing
drawn to fly with others,
ready to sing for no reason
except the joy of singing.

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            for Clea
 
 
We can go up there, she said,
nodding to the where the grave marker
was buried beneath feet of snow.
She knew it meant post holing
up over our knees. Uphill.
This, I thought, is true friendship.
So we wallowed through drifts
and laughed as we tripped.
 
And when we arrived at the place
where the ashes of my boy are buried,
I cried. And she did what the living can do—
she held me. She stood with me there
waist deep in snow and held me,
with her two strong arms, she held me.

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On a rocky white outcrop,
Ulli and I stand in silence
at the edge of the canyon,
held by layers that range
from the Permian to the Cretaceous,
and Ulli begins to sing
a song we sang twenty years ago
and, from the strata of memory,
I unearth the German lyric,
excavate the harmony,
and we join our voices
to the structuring of time,
just one more arrangement
of temporal events
added to the linear record
since the singularity.
And the sound waves tremble
in the sensitive membrane drum
between the middle ear
and the cochlea—
a song of connection,
a song of fading light,
a song that somehow
has origins in the Ichthyostega
that crawled from the sea,
the development of Broca’s area
in the left frontal lobe of the brain,
the mountaineers who would sing
to each other across the Alps at dusk,
and this wonderful woman who
brought these words and this tune from Europe
and taught them to me in Colorado
so that decades later
we might stand side by side on this cliff
and know ourselves lucky—
after all that has happened—
lucky to find ourselves in the same remote place
singing the same familiar song,
the molecules a spiraling ricochet of praise,
our song itself part of the matter
that makes the world,
part of a pattern that is ever overlapping.
Is it any wonder
I cried?

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Quince


for Christie


Shaggy and mottled,
lumpy as an old woman’s thighs,
five quince recline in the shallow bowl
and all day I marvel
as the delicate scent opens,
exotic and fragrant,
like guava, like honey,
like citrus, vanilla.
Every year my friend
harvests me quince from her tree,
and every year they somehow
astonish me again.
As if I didn’t know.
As if their sweetness is new.
Perhaps the annual forgetting is a gift,
because what joy
in falling in love with them
again each year,
their bright yellow scent,
the honest perfume of friendship,
the thrill in their ripening.

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Soundtrack


 
 
Sometimes another person knows our heart
so well they offer us a song that becomes,
at least for a moment, our anthem.
In that moment, listening to lyric and melody,
the entire body re-attunes to life,
each cell turning not only toward the music
but also toward the giver,
and we are led deeper into that strange
and beautiful grotto of our heart
with its mosses and echoes,
a place at once strange and familiar,
and the song becomes a shining remover
of darkness, its light bouncing on our inner walls
until we relearn who we are—
the light of a million suns.

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Thank you for the pep talk.
When your teacher asked you
to record messages in the phone,
you could not have known
one day your innocent words
would reach this woman in Colorado
and I would sit in my car
and stare at a mountain and press 4
to listen to children laughing
and press 3 to hear a room full of kindergarteners
shouting YOU CAN DO IT,
and it would make me weep.
I imagine you do not yet understand
how something so beautiful
could make a person sob—
a complex, but very real emotion
we don’t have a word for in English.
But perhaps you are already learning
of the ripple effect: How kindness
brings hope. How hope opens us.
How being open can make people cry.
My friend Paula explained it to me this way.
That’s what friends do—
they share the truth with you.
Oh, young friends I have never met,
I thank you for the ripple,
for the way it has recharged in me a tide
so deep that currents leak out.
Thank you for restoring the great inner ocean
that sometimes turns desert, goes dry.
Thank you for reminding me,
pwease, do something you wike,
something that inspiwes you.
I remember now. Oh bless these salty tears.
I remember.


*

If you, too, could use a pep talk, or even if you don’t need one, call anyway: 707-873-7862

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for Sherry
 
 
All it takes is one moonless night
to realize how grateful I am
for those who bring light to the world—
I am thinking of my friend
who travels with lanterns
and hangs them from doorways
wherever she stays.
How she brings long strands of fairy lights
powered by tiny batteries
and then passes them out like party favors
so people might wrap themselves in the glow
and know themselves as carriers of light.   
How today she mailed me a photo
of me and a friend doubled over laughing
with a bright pink stickie note flashing “favorite!”
so that even the mail luminesces.
How, even in the darkest of hours,
she brings her gift for seeing good in others,
and she beacons, she candles, she moons, she stars.

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Spring in Fall


for Suzan


It feels right to walk
through naked trees
with our naked hearts
and our naked hands
and thrill in the sound
of wind in dry grass
and delight in how quickly
the clouds are shredded.

You could say, it’s just a day,
but perhaps a day such as this
spent practicing awe and openness
is what changes everything.
You step out of yourself.
Suddenly, anything could happen.

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Scavengers


 
 
A wake of vultures circled above us
as we sat on the porch, conversing,
their dark wings unflapping as they spiraled.
How did they know there would be carrion to devour
when my friends and I did not yet know?
 
The conversation began, perhaps, like most others.
Weather. Politics. Health. But as it deepened,
we spoke naked. We spoke wound. We bled fear.
We cast off ideas that no longer served us
and left them for dead.
 
God, they were beautiful,
the vultures as they circled,
their black wings backlit by the light.
They feasted on the scraps we left on the ground.
We emerged so light, so wildly alive.

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