there is heaviness permeating,
a marriage soaking newness as
peeling planks of wood absorb
fresh rain. in memories an
origin, or origin story:
a reminder there is
frailness and i’m
not yet through
it’s been a month. a long, empty month. on the personal side of things it’s been busy: i got engaged, i’m finding myself at times overwhelmed (in a good way) at work, i’ve been planning the wedding and taking trips out of town, i tried to quit smoking (i didn’t succeed, so don’t ask).
& i’m writing, only i’m not writing poetry.
it’s been empty because of what happens between all the busy, the evenings ahead of me dotted with nothing. no painting my nails, no doing my laundry, no cleaning my house. getting the christmas decorations up was impressive, i guess, but everything else feels so stagnant.
i keep waiting for the chance to make it better. un-erase it, fill the colour back in. in the meantime i’m lonely, and feeling detached from the people i love. i want a room with everyone in it, where no one can hear a word except for exactly what’s meant for them but can’t seem to be said.
in the spirit of lists, reserved so often for february, i have written a list for december.
1 melting snow
2 my breath on the glass, too early in fall
3 crumpled cigarette packs in the backseats of cars; a bottle of juice
4 making (difficult) decisions
5 the tour, still the tour, but what do i say
7 asking for favours
8 hands inside sleeves, of sweaters, sweaters like blankets, blankets like old conversations with friends, friends like a memory, a memory of hands inside sleeves of sweaters
9 vintage books, lace, ribbon, high heeled shoes
10 ohhh chainsmoking, a habit, old habits
11 not forgetting, despite lack of words
the open mic this month was particularly good. the people i know are particularly good. they aren’t all here and i find i notice that fragmentation more and more as winter edges closer, but they are particularly good. i will never not notice.
i’m at a complete loss for words. i know that sounds ridiculous on a writing blog, but i’m okay with it. “okay with it” doesn’t even begin to sum up what i’m going through right now. i’m drained, inspired, exhausted, overwhelmed with thoughts, and feeeelings, and i need, need, need to write. i’m going to try to force my loss of words into actual words, which means that i don’t really know how much sense this will make. the last thing i want is to get all gushy here, but just so you’re warned: i’m gonna get a bit gushy.
we wrapped up the An Accord of Poets tour on wednesday night in peterborough. it was the best imaginable ending to the four days leading up to it, the year+ of planning behind it, and all the words that were written and said in advance of it. i’ve been asked for my #1 favourite moment from the tour, and really all i can say is that day/night. we went for dinner before the reading and it just felt so final, but still so exciting; it felt that there was so much left even though it was mostly over. we talked about some of the things we’d experienced during our time on the road, our readings, our nights out, our moments at the al purdy A frame & grave site. just being there, toasting to our tour, sharing a last meal, and then taking the evening to go over our words, sign books for one another, drink together, and prepare for the drive home, was enough to sum it up for me (sadly rachael was not there for this portion of the tour, but she was of course there in spirit).
i went into this tour knowing that i would come away from it closer somehow to these people. for me that’s a really big deal, & a lot of people might not get that but i know that they get that. of course we’ve been friends for years, and we still are, but it really is sort of breakfast club. or i feel like it’s sort of breakfast club. but BETTER, because poetry.
ottawa was overwhelming. it was particularly meaningful for me that our home base friends were in the room, some family, and most importantly our partners. they have been impressively patient & supportive, and it was truly something special to have them there before & during our opening night. montreal gave me a few moments i don’t yet know how to begin processing. the reading was a good one, but it was also lovely to meet new people, wander the streets for booze, stand smoking in another city, come & go from the hotel, and just simply be with these people.
i can’t talk about the A frame in this blog post.
toronto was a night of change for me. the room was packed, and filled with some of the best people i’ve ever known. seeing some my oldest friends in the world did a lot for me, and i appreciate it. the readings that night were incredible. these people inspire me consistently. and just the four of us going back to the house at the end of the night was one of the highlights of the whole tour for me, although i wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly why.
peterborough itself, the reading i mean, was a wonderful way to end the tour. having justin as our host, welcoming dave emery to read with us, jeff entertaining the hell out of the room, and cameron taking on the task of briefly summing up the tour before he read. and my voice shaking at the end, only because it needed to, not because of nerves (imagine nerves on the last night), but because of what was happening, and because it was ending, and because i had to pee, and because i’m not allowed to cry during my readings (perhaps the strictest tour rule), so i had to settle for letting my voice shake. & none of this even begins to touch on the full day: book browsing, zoo browsing, forced photos, highway driving, jeff, cameron, justin, patio drinking.
this doesn’t seem like enough, and it seems like too much, but whatever. i will be dealing with post-tour thoughts for a long, long time.
i’ve already said it, but thank you again to my tourmates Cameron, Rachael, Jeff, and Justin. i love you all. (i told you it would get gushy.)
the insect does
not bother me because
he’s in the house, he
because he looks
like you, he stole your brown and
sandy hair, your black dot eyes,
because we had to
squash him on
like shadows of photographs
still developing, or an
scrapped pieces of
like our dinner, and
part is mine, a part is yours
[the second in a row, and i guess a part of some kind of series i started without knowing it, about home, and places that meant something but are now just something i remember.]
we are face to face in the
elevator. weird, because no one
stands face to face in an elevator.
in another you held
my son, kissing his face, i
was kissing your face. now we
can’t speak. the words are
unholy, and besides,
they’re not there.
sheer fabrics do more than let in the
light. we hang curtains, i pick
patterns for bed skirts,
you pay at the
you press every button
to keep me. the fabrics,
you say, can smother us too.
sometimes it’s difficult for me to spend long, quiet saturdays & sundays lounging around my perfect home, watching my perfect pets swim around their perfect aquarium digging for food in the rocks.
i’ve had this life before, and have always given it up for a noodle-dinner/naked-mattress life, the life i’ve always clung to (with stubborn nostalgia and the ignorant insistence that i am a certain way). i’m not a certain way.
and if i am, i hope i end up inside some sort of balance between a calm, peaceful, loving home and the frantic but inviting solitude i still sometimes take comfort in.