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Dear Other Version of Myself,

 

In my calendar, it’s April second

and you are going to an event tonight

at a bookstore in another town

where the people will gather

and hug each other and taste

each other’s wine. You live in a world

that no longer exists, and every day

I try to reconcile it—how you

had plans to go camping next weekend,

how you were going to go to the theater

with no mask, no gloves,

no sense of your body as a weapon.

 

Every day, your life, which once was my life,

seems increasingly impossible.

Every day, these two worlds are farther apart—

the one in which you were getting on a plane

to visit your mother

and the one in which I put on rubber gloves

to go to the post office box.

I remember how seldom you washed

your hands for fear that someone you love

would die. I remember what it was like

to hug my friends with no worry

of harming them, to go to a restaurant,

to plan for a day past tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m so grateful to Braided Way for sharing this poem today …

 

In a time of national crisis, what our country really needs is a good poem.
—Herbert Hoover

This is the time when we must say to the stranger,
the other, sit here. Notice how difficult it can be
to even come to the same table, how hard
to look the other in the eye. Something in us screams,
“Right, I am right.” And it is hard to hear the voice
beneath that scream, a whisper of a gospel that says
nothing at all.

This is the time when we must say to ourselves,
I am also the stranger, when we must look
in the mirror and not know who it is we see—
someone capable of being more courageous,
more compassionate, more devoted, more
astonishingly vulnerable and connected
than we ever knew ourselves to be. Who
is that stranger in the mirror, we must ask,
and vow to never let her down.

This is the time when we must write the poems
our country needs, the poem that builds the bridge
from truth to truth and never touches the river
of lies. The poem that allows our country
to fall in love with itself again, the poem
with enough places set at its table
that everyone knows they have a place to sit
and the rest of us know when that person is missing
because their chair is empty.

This is the time for the beauty that passes
all understanding, a testament of goodness
that cannot be contained, a congress of delight.
This is the time to pick up your pen
and with your most tender, most beautiful,
most ferocious self,
fight.

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Michelangelo wrote his love

forty-eight funeral epigrams—

not one of them brought back

the shoulders like chiseled marble,

the purr of his voice, his lips raw silk

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pulling on my mask

as my nom de plume

unbuttons her blouse again

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calligraphy in the sand—

every time the wind blows

the chance to write more beautifully

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 Heart in Hand
Tuesday, February 10
Going Out, Going In: Sneak Peak

Wilkinson Public Library, 6-8 p.m.
Telluride, CO

First, we play. That is the premise of the four-day art and writing retreat I will be teaching with artist Brucie Holler. So as a teaser for our retreat at Ah Haa, this sneak peak program is chance to be light with yourself, with your inner critic, and with other women who are interested in words. Nothing serious. Nothing intimidating. We’ll read fun and funny poems by other women, and write a few, too … it’s a great gift to give to yourself, and it’s free! For more information, go to http://www.telluridelibrary.org/ or contact Elissa at the library, 970-728-4519 x147 or edickson@telluridelibrary.org .

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did it just start to
sing, that brown bird, or did I
just start to listen?

*

a night of fretting,
but the day comes in with a
cartwheel

*

that letter so much
more precious now that I
have lost it

*

once I took all the
books off the shelves, God arrived
with a blank page

*

today
the leaf just
a leaf

*

no pillow tonight!
the poem just grabbed a drum
and crooked its finger

*

but I don’t know how
to fly, I said, and God said,
start by falling

*

still cupped in my hands
this song hummed to me
seven years ago

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Note to Self



Even night is not night enough.
—Franz Kafka, in a letter to Felice, his fiancé, 1913.

When even the night
is not night enough
nor does salt seem
salt enough, and the hole
in the looming who am I
is enormous,
but not enormous enough
to gulp down the damn ego whole,
perhaps that is the time
to sit very still
and forget about writing.
There is nothing,
nothing the words
can do then except
not enough because
nothing is enough,
which is to say
only nothing
is enough, and perhaps
in that inadequate night
we are sufficiently vulnerable
to really know nothing.

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