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Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

 

 

 

I keep staring at it, the Ametist linen/modal dress,

in amethyst, a linen shirt dress the catalog describes

as “wonderfully forgiving.” Well, that sounds good, of course.

 

And the dress, with its shimmering linen, its turquoise

and aubergine flowers, well, it’s beautiful. And perhaps

because I do not feel beautiful, I stare at it as if

 

it has a secret I need woven into its threads, as if I could buy it

and then be as happy as the model who is walking

through a sunlit field with a large bouquet of long-stemmed

 

dusky penstemon in her hand. She looks over her shoulder

as if there is someone or something there that delights her,

as surely everything does when she is wearing

 

her amethyst Ametist linen/modal dress with its “generous fit.”

Perhaps I would rather not remember that I must

be the one who is generous, I must be the one who forgives

 

and is forgiven. Easier to imagine slipping into a dress

and letting the fabric do all the work. Harder to remember

that beauty is less about how we look and more about

 

the way we choose to see. Oh, to buy that dress

so that I might notice how little joy it really brings me.

Is this the way we meet the self? Through disappointment?

 

I walk through the kitchen, pretending I am me walking

through the kitchen in my yoga pants and fuzzy top.

It’s not much of a stretch. I smile over my shoulder

 

at the tea pot, the dishes that need washing, a lunch box.

And why not smile? Perhaps there’s a secret I need

woven into something here—in the stack of mail,

 

in the charging cord, in the marker, the dish towel—

some chance for delight, something beautiful waiting

if only I choose to see the shimmer.

 

 

 

 

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I love entering a race with no chance of winning—

so easy to keep a smile on my face, to remember

I am doing this for the love of it, easy to focus

on the color of the sky, the cold scent of snow,

the thrill of the arms as they pump and release.

 

It’s the same reason I love going to high school plays

or middle school volleyball games or eating potato chips.

There’s a thrill, of course, in the best—but oh, the joy

of wearing a soft sweatshirt on a Saturday, of finding yourself

on the tenth kilometer of fifteen, grateful for five more k.

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I wake up happy, as if the happiness

were already seeded before I woke.

As if all I have to do to love the day

is breathe. So I breathe. And love

meets me right where I am.

There are days we know we are lucky—

lucky just to wake. Perhaps it’s because

we have known dismal days when

just rising felt like strike three.

But today,I rise with happiness as present

as the dark before the dawn—not

because I deserve it, but because

it’s as natural as the milky way

spilled across the sky, as

normal as the night itself

stretched out like a blanket

to warm the sleeping world.

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And who could explain why tonight

a bowling alley opened up inside my heart

and an invisible hand kept sending the ball down

 

the lane and it was strike after strike after strike.

The gutters, so empty, decided to get up

and play, too, and we all drank a beer

 

and toasted to the way strange things happen.

Oddly enough, I was chopping carrots and kale

this whole time, and could not help myself

 

from feeling as if I should celebrate.

Outside, the tips of the mesas

were pink, fleeting, of course, but it left

 

an indelible stamp on me, and meanwhile,

as the yellow onions made me cry,

the sound of ten pins crashing down

 

came again and again

and again, and I just

couldn’t shake this feeling

 

that something wonderful was happening,

the scent of garlic filling the room, the sky

turning gray, turning black.

 

 

 

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Surprise

 

 

 

Climbing higher

than you thought

you could

to the top

of something

you don’t understand

to leave a sacrifice

of more than

you thought

you could give,

it’s enough

to make you

wildly alive,

perhaps

even happy.

 

 

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January 8, 2018

 

 

 

A hundred years ago today

Mississippi became the first state

to ratify the eighteenth amendment,

the prohibition of alcohol.

And as I sip my sake,

I toast them—

not because I think

they were right,

but because I have a glass

in my hand and the sake

is dry and cool, tastes

of plum and pear,

and I am in the mood

to drink to everyone,

to our health, to our bliss,

to our rights to our own opinions,

and to whatever it is in us

that makes us believe

that we might do something

to make the world

more wonderful,

misguided and lost

though we are.

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We begin with simple words.

Fat. Ugly. Good. Tall.

Gordo. Feo. Bueno. Alto.

How odd to break the world

into adjectives—

how human this longing

to describe a thing,

as if to explain it is to know it.

Easy. Big. Blonde.

Facil. Grande. Rubio.

I imagine a language

where instead of delineating

how different we are,

it had only shades of sameness.

Would we still find ways

to fight? To judge? To grade

and order and assess?

What if it were only ever a day—

not a good day, not a bad day,

just a day. And the woman—

not a fat woman, not a blonde woman,

just a woman—moved through that day

and met a man. Would they

be happier if they didn’t live

happily ever after, if they just lived,

their hearts not even knowing

you could fill in all that lovely silence

with adjectives and adverbs—

it would rain sometimes.

And the flowers would bloom.

Dinner would be served.

They would look in the mirror and smile.

 

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IMG_1477

 

Because you didn’t show up in sequins,

your friend walks you into her closet

and pulls out the low-cut black and white number

with sequins and beadwork and scalloped sleeves.

Nothing to do then but say thank you

and slip into it, say yes to the wine

as it’s offered, say yes to the disco ball

and the surging beat, say yes to the night

and the happiness that catches you off guard.

You won’t be able to keep it, no, but

for a while it’s possible to be so content

you forget to ask for more.

 

 

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After the frost,

the sweet peas

rise from the dirt

like little green angels

with bowed heads

and tiny green wings—

 

it’s enough to make

a woman believe

small miracles can happen

if only she plants

the seed.

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There’s some stupidity in that,

Michael said as he paused from his work.

I had just been quoting a famous poet

who talked about being shamelessly happy,

and Michael, leaning on his broom

on a stoop of a store, said,

why not just be gloriously happy

or wonderfully happy,

and darned if that moment

the day didn’t shine brighter

as if all I had to do was ask for it.

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