Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


There's enough ugly
in the world. I do not need
to be friends with it.

Monday, July 15, 2013


The meditations in last night's yoga class were from The Dao of Pooh.

One of the thoughts triggered memories of the below poem. 

I hope for an end to ignorant armies clashing by night.

Sea of Faith
by John Brehm

Once when I was teaching "Dover Beach"
to a class of freshmen, a young woman
raised her hand and said, "I'm confused
about this 'Sea of Faith.'" "Well," I said,
"let's talk about it. We probably need
to talk a bit about figurative language.
What confuses you about it?"
"I mean, is it a real sea?" she asked.
"You mean, is it a real body of water
that you could point to on a map
or visit on a vacation?"
"Yes," she said. "Is it a real sea?"
Oh Christ, I thought, is this where we are?
Next year I'll be teaching them the alphabet
and how to sound words out.
I'll have to teach them geography, apparently,
before we can move on to poetry.
I'll have to teach them history, too-
a few weeks on the Dark Ages might be instructive.
"Yes," I wanted to say, "it is.
It is a real sea. In fact it flows
right into the Sea of Ignorance
Let me throw you a Rope of Salvation
before the Sharks of Desire gobble you up.
Let me hoist you back up onto this Ship of Fools
so that we might continue our search
for the Fountain of Youth. Here, take a drink
of this. It's fresh from the River of Forgetfulness."
But of course I didn't say any of that.
I tried to explain in such a way
as to protect her from humiliation,
tried to explain that poets
often speak of things that don't exist.
It was only much later that I wished
I could have answered differently,
only after I'd betrayed myself
and been betrayed that I wished
it was true, wished there really was a Sea of Faith
that you could wade out into,
dive under its blue and magic waters,
hold your breath, swim like a fish
down to the bottom, and then emerge again
able to believe in everything, faithful
and unafraid to ask even the simplest of questions,
happy to have them simply answered.

Friday, July 12, 2013


The History of Love is one of my favorite books. The author wrote it concurrently to her husband writing Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and if you read them back-to-back, your life will change.

I mean, your life will change by reading either, but the both of them together--in either order--will haunt you.

You're welcome in advance.


This boy I like asked me last month if he could take me somewhere all I needed was a passport and bikini bottoms. I accepted. Next week, we travel to St. Martin.

Tonight, he announced that his beach read is The History of Love. We've never discussed it. He explained to me, not knowing anything about my history with it (one of the only books I have read thrice): "Yeah, so. I read the reviews, and everyone said that it was this beautifully haunting and intricately woven story with complicated timelines..."

I said, "I know."

He said, "Wait. Have you read it?"

According to interviews, Jonathan Safron Foer and Nicole Krauss were not familiar with the parallels in their stories or storytellings. I don't really care if that's true. They both wrote masterful, honest depictions of super difficult topics.


History of love:
spaces delineated,
misunderstood, blurred.


"Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend  his whole life answering." --Nicole Krauss

May we all be so blessed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


My best guy friend from high school bought me Frances Driscoll's The Rape Poems in college. Driscoll journaled her way into healing, and I think Bryan had the same hopes for me, too.

In the thirteen and a half years of therapy and yoga sessions since then, I am often asked to describe or to go to my safe place. Sometimes one comes easily: a hot tub under a black sky of diamond-like stars, a hammock strung between trees on a beach, Saturday morning cuddles while sunlight streams over crisp linen.

But, always, I think of this poem (Driscoll's) first.


Market Research

My thermal carafe coffeemaker comes
with a 16 page instructional manual and a survey.
Do you or anyone in your household
own or plan to purchase:
a cordless handheld vacuum, a smoke alarm, a rechargeable light.
To help us understand our customers' lifestyles
please indicate the interests and activities
in which you or your partner enjoy participating
on a regular basis:
vegetable gardening, fashion clothing, casino gambling, group therapy.
Please check all that apply to your household:
support health charities, purchase items through the mail, train dogs.
My answers will be used anonymously in market research.
My answers will allow me to receive mailings and special offers
that relate directly to my specific interests.
The survey doesn't ask:
Do you have difficulty retaining domestic help.
Do you believe the following are your fault:
your son’s math grades, the dog’s skin condition, failure of the ERA.
Do you open your windows.
When someone knocks, do you open your door.
The survey doesn't ask:
Do you ever anywhere anytime believe yourself safe.
The survey doesn't ask:
Are you in a woman in America.


We all have trigger points:

anniversaries pass
her scent wafts by
a noise startles us
nightmares awake

I sometimes wonder
if I will ever again feel safe
if love's comforting arms will ever stop feeling like they are about to collapse
if unconditional love exists

if any of us ever really heal from 
the worst moments of our lives
the worst people we ever were
the worst memories we have

and I have to believe so
because I have to believe in forgiveness.


Last night, I met a friend from college for a drink. He was home (here) for a funeral. We hadn't seen each other in a decade (since I visited New Orleans in August 2003, a few lifetimes ago).

He introduced me to his best friend as "the girl who's responsible for me having taken the LSAT."

I can't remember ever talking anyone into going to law school. I try my damndest to prevent anyone from going to law school, for several good reasons:

1. I don't know anyone who enjoyed a minute of law school.
2. I don't know anyone who enjoys being a lawyer.
2. a. Most of the people I know who finished law school and passed bars no longer practice law.
3. It is six figures of debt. To pay this back, you will need to bill about 2200 hours/year, leaving you about 87 hours in your year to live.

Fortunately, Kevin dropped out of law school, Day 2. I guess trying to impress a pretty girl only goes so far.

It made me wonder about all of the other tiny moments or offhanded suggestions I've made throughout my life that have affected others. I often say something like, "take all my good advice, I'm not using it," because it's so much easier to tell someone "don't go to law school, leave the person you no longer want to love, move across the country" than to do it yourself.

Except. Wait. I have done all of those things. Um. Wear sunscreen? Damn. I do that, too. Hmmm.  I am not great about brushing my teeth. I am really terrible about flossing. But I'm not sure how important those things are, in the grand scheme, since I was born with great teeth, the way other people are born with a genetic predisposition to low blood pressure.

When I was in 8th grade, I was sitting on the plane next to someone who said, "You're from the South, right? Never lose your accent."

To me, it felt like he was saying "Never forget where you come from: a land full of amazing music, magnolias and live oaks and azaleas, an uncomfortable economic history, and fantastic literature. Never lose the flavor of your life. Love your parents, your brother, and all of the other people who made you into you, meal by meal. Always remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Other advice has been haphazard or sincere: Don't marry the first boy who asks. Become a professor (I get this one all the time, still). Consume 10 fat grams or fewer each day (bless my 14-year-old self's heart). Have babies by the time you're 35. Wear a helmet when you bike. Read. Get __ minutes of exercise __ times a week. Don't kiss and tell. Drink coffee. Don't drink coffee. Drink 1 glass of red wine every day. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

I guess we can all agree: peeing is good for you.

And law school is bad for you.

Monday, July 8, 2013


It's summertime, which means white or pink wine season for me.

And people around me these past few days have been drinking chardonnay.



"do you prefer red or white?"
he asked politely
genuinely inquisitive
"either, as long as its light"
was my honest response

the waiter brought
an unfamiliar bottle
to our table

and as I swallowed
the thick, buttery tones
with hints of grapefruit

I guessed he knew his wines
about as well as he would know
my bed.

5 June 2003

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I waited for you.

I waited for other girls to pass through your life
to stop gloating about the flowers you send
to bore you.

I waited for all of our morning coffees
our afternoon laughter
our midnight conversations

to evolve into something
or someone
you recognized.

I waited for the right interlude

to lean in and kiss you
to lean in and assert my place beside you
to lean in
and feel you recognize

that I was different
that we could be different.

I waited.

And we were worth it.

--3 July 2013


This past weekend
while playing with sidewalk chalk
during the time of day when the heat index
hasn't yet reached ninety degrees

I ruminated on childhood
and wonder
and discovery

Sidewalk chalk is as fun as I remember it being
although since all of my artistic ability
came in the form of words
I started thinking of poems
song lyrics

and I as remembered
maggie and milly and molly and may

I thought to be grateful for playtime(even in the humidity)
and for you.


maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

--e.e. cummings