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Posts Tagged ‘laughter’





I sat in the closet with a microphone and laughed,
spinning golden mirth out of nothing.
I giggled and chuckled and let the laugh grow
like a peony in spring, like the shimmer of a gong
when struck soft and often, like the scent of coffee
that starts in the kitchen but soon infuses every room.
The laugh began stilted, perhaps, but soon I was laughing
with honest glee like a baby amused by its own hand,
laughing like a woman who has lost something precious
and now knows the value of laughing. Laughing like
a weed seed that lands in an irrigated field. Laughing
like dry kindling found by a match.
Laughing like a puddle that expands in a downpour,
like a door that’s picked its own latch. And the laughter
made so much space inside me—as if my inner map
had new boundaries drawn. As if I were released
from some old metal trap. And long after I’d recorded
a long track of laughter, I laughed. Till I cried, I laughed.

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from our birth … to our death … the wonderment …
             —Dr. Charles Henry Wahtola, Jr., November 19, 2021


And so as the priest leads us
in the litany for the time of death,
and though we are sincere
as we pray, Have mercy on your servant,
we laugh as my father tells Father Keith
the sermon can only be as long
as the pole at the entrance to the building.
We pray, Grant him your peace,
and I weep for the impending loss,
and then we laugh as I tell Dad
for the first time he has a front-row seat
for the service (he strongly
prefers the back row).
And mom delivers an impromptu sermon
and the priest steps back and listens.
And we fondly remember how my childhood priest
would sing the longest rite in the book,
and my brother and I look at each other
and recite in unison, this fragile earth our island home,
and we break into irrational joy.
We pray The Sursum Corda, The Sanctus,
The Lord’s Prayer, my voice
barely a whisper through tears,
then we’re laughing again as we remember
how Dad and my brother would escape
the service as fast as they could to go cast
in the river behind the church, and
there in the hospice room, we keep the feast,
Alleluia, alleluia. And all day long,
though perhaps we speak of football
or grilling or ducks, with every word, every tear,
every laugh, we are saying, Peace be with you.
With every hug, every kiss, every
touch, every breath, we respond,
And also with you.

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Winter Evening

Though I sit alone

on my couch at home,

I’m somehow also sitting

with Rachel and Julie

and it’s summer and

we’re laughing, laughing

until we tumble

into each other’s laps,

laughing as we collapse

into a puppy pile of giggles,

laughing because it feels

so good to laugh—

even now I laugh aloud

with no memory of why

we were laughing then,

but many years later,

it’s still contagious.

Sometimes we tumble

so wholly into the grace

of a moment

that it opens in us forever,

continuously blooms

and spreads its perfume

like night-blooming jasmine,

christens everything

with its fragrance,

even this empty room,

even this tired woman

now so surprisingly awake.

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Parting Gift

Parting Gift

Friends, I will be your blooper girl,

your end-of-the-credits buffoon.

You can film me as I fall, as I fail, as I flop,

as I drop the tray of glasses,

as my strapless top slips.

I’ll make it easy on you.

At least twenty times a day

I forget my lines.

At least ninety times a day,

I trip on my certainty.

Yes, I will be the one

who will flub most every punch line.

I’ll be the poster child

for sincere ineptitude.

I know, my outtakes

are better than my A roll.

But dang, the path of failure

has always served me.

And man, most of the time

I can laugh as I blunder,

laugh until you wonder why

I am still laughing,

laugh because what else

can a woman do when

gaffes are her saving grace?

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Ephemeral Prayer

 

In five billion years, the hydrogen fuel

at the core of the sun will be spent.

Forces of gravity will take over,

compressing the core. The rest of the sun

will expand, vaporizing the earth.

I’ve studied the science, read the texts.

In the meantime, I live in a canyon

with rock walls one-hundred-fifty million years old—

and sometimes, like this morning,

despite rumors of doom,

the forces of gravity take over

and I fall on the floor laughing—

a riotous squealing and braying,

tears leaking, chest heaving,

grateful to big time for this very moment

when I am almost seamlessly joined with my shadow.

It rolls with me on the floor as I hoot and giggle,

praying in the language I know best.

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New Approach

 

 

 

On the thirteenth day of gray and winter rain

I remember the story of Amaterasu,

the Japanese goddess of the sun, who,

attacked by her brother, hid in a cave,

and the world was cast in darkness.

 

There have been more attacks

in the last few weeks than the world

can bear to hear. Sometimes we forget

how to cry. Sometimes in anger we forget

how to sing, how to pray. Sometimes,

like the younger brother, Susanoo,

we hurl things at those we love most—

 

perhaps not a monstrous flayed horse,

but blame, judgment, accusations, disgust.

It’s no wonder whatever is light

finds a way to retreat. It’s no wonder

we find ourselves in darkness.

 

In the story, the rest of the gods

try to lure out the sun with roosters

all ordered to crow outside the cave.

 

I, too, have tried to tell myself, others too,

that it is morning when it is not.

Always, I am left with darkness

on my tongue.

 

Then the gods placed a tree

draped in glittering jewels

just outside the closed cave door

and at its center they hung a mirror

so the sun could see her own loveliness.

 

I, too, have tried to put shine

on the tawdry world,

and never did any sparkling thing

make what is ugly more beautiful.

 

It was Amenouzume, another goddess,

who danced with abandon,

who took off her clothes

and twirled and teased

until all the gods in heavens roared with delight,

and, out of curiosity, the sun finally

opened the door to see.

 

Oh world, I am the one who knocks

on the door until my hands bleed,

the one who speaks to the door

and begs and threatens and cajoles

until she is hoarse. None of it

has brought back the light. I am ready

to try dancing and dropping all my layers.

I am ready to try flinging my head back

and letting loose a reckless, untamable laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the heart of the city
the boy runs,
he leaps and arrives
in every puddle
until he is drenched,
dazzlingly wet.
His laugh is the laugh
we forget is always here
waiting to be laughed
come sun, come rain.

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