my rib cage still
hurts if i try hard enough:
gasp for breath
and clutch the thin
skin wrapping carefully
over my bones
and then stop.
if i don’t there is nothing,
no black and blue
light, no fingertip
blur wrapped less carefully
over my bones
with just twelve hours
of your time, or of your hands,
the temperature will fall, your
body shaken from last
summer’s heat so instantly denied;
mine from humid air, from knowing you
your constant reaching for last
moments of the day reminds
me nothing comes
i wait for the last season
of the year
they built the wall slowly: one foot
at a time, leaving space around frames
spaces to enter, or leave;
walls built of stone, meeting
at corners, spaces to one
day grow dust —
and what is your home
if not for your dust —
we all have our earliest
walls built, eventually climbing,
climbing until shuttered by rafters,
by shingles and snow.
now it is later; the trees in the yard
have matured and the house
won’t hold heat
and still there is warmth in the earliest
walls: first corners and stones, those
which eventually sink, every year,
inch by inch back to the earth
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.)
it’s my blog’s fifth anniversary today! or not actually today, because when i looked it up my first post seems to have been written august 4th, 2009. but i got the notification today, which means today’s the day i’m celebrating.
when i started writing this blog it was a way to get myself writing again, because summers are lazy, or just because i’m lazy in general, or whatever. i started the blog one night after i came home from work (the same office i work in now – i’ve been there for five years too. come to think of it i’ve been on twitter for five years as well. i guess 2009 was a big year for me. it’s also the year i met my boyfriend, even though we didn’t start dating until 2012, but that’s not as important as twitter, this blog, or my job.), and i remember feeling so discouraged that school would be starting again soon and that i’d barely read anything all summer that was just for myself.
i’ve posted about a billion poems here, probably, but this blog has also seen me through my apartment fire, my old bronson life, my quarter-of-a-century-life crisis, my isolationism, me trying to sort some shit out, feeling alive in the cemetery, not getting out of bed all day, adjusting to other human beings, saying goodbye to my solo apartment, saying goodbye to my childhood friend. and some other shit too, i’m sure. not to mention my 2011 memory scrapbook, which i still think of fondly & remember spending so many hours making. best way to spend new year’s day ever.
i guess in a way i’m sort of proud of myself for keeping it going this long. i didn’t really expect that when i started, but here i am. there have been months where i’ve gone without writing anything, but then i always do again. and i know it’s kind of dumb to have a writing blog where i never even post anything i’d publish, but it helps just having it here. and i’ve grown kind of attached to it. right now most of my poems are under wraps for another few months, but i’ve been writing and it’s been kind of comforting, or something.
what i’m currently working on (super secret surprise poems)
random words of wisdom i found while walking to work
every living thing comes
full circle, and stops to eat
out of our garbage
obsessed about the frame
around the window
we took out all the nails, a pillow
for a plate of glass just like an arm,
for underneath my neck at night
the open hole for gardening,
for watching and unlocking
words we never said
underneath the moon
he breaks a bottle on his foot
i continue digging,
preparing for the dawn
later published in in/words magazine 11.1 (winter 2012).
i just had a terrible moment.
i would snap somebody’s neck for a cigarette.
realizing this was not the terrible moment.
and i had a bad walk. which is too bad, really, because i was kind of on a roll there for a little while. only incredible walks. i’ve been on a lot of walks lately. they’ve been really good for me. even if they weren’t i’d still think they were pretty fab. i’ve found myself dragging my feet at three in the morning just to make it over the bridge and back home again, night after night and i don’t mind. i’ve been taken to places that make me quiet and content, which i’m still just learning to value. i’ve been exhausted and lost but completely alert. i’ve been interested and silent and anxious and curious and afraid in the best ways and i haven’t actually noticed until tonight. space cadet.
when everything disappeared i expected something to appear out of nowhere for me, like an exchange. or an offer. in reality, i knew nothing was coming. that’s the only certainty i had. the nothing i expected showed up in the exact place i had expected it to never happen. it made me laugh out loud by myself. it happened on a long walk. i wasn’t alone but i wasn’t really not alone, either.
this is the kind of garbage i come up with in my head when i’m not smoking. which is why i had a bad walk and a terrible moment. i haven’t walked aimlessly like that, alone in the middle of the night, in unbearable pain, since may when everything was so different. i feel twitchy and neurotic absolutely and wonderful.
but at least i didn’t break a neck. and even better, i didn’t smoke a cigarette. i’m a bit of a troublemaker, but i’m not so bad.