Monthly Archives: August 2010

Hello. I’ve missed you.

I haven’t written a proper blog in a while. I don’t know why. Most of the time I just want to write a poem, or work on a series, or edit my manuscript. But something odd has happened. I don’t like the manuscript anymore. My series’ are running dry, for now, and I feel lost. Again, something miraculous keeps happening, though–poems I never dreamed of writing appear to me in a hurried hustle of feet. Like last week, walking through Grand Central, a felt a first line come down and tap me on the shoulder. Interesting, I thought. And, I wonder where that leads to? So I got on the train and a drunk man started screaming. Interesting, I thought, Where does that lead to? And so I kept writing, and the poem appeared. I didn’t plan for it. I didn’t ask, Hey, Shannon, why don’t we write a poem? It just came to me. And I felt warm. The series’ happen this way, too, but when they don’t come, there’s no use to force it. It’s like trying to write without a pen. It’s sloppy, wrong, sounds off.

So, I am left with these strange poems. Random. Gifted. But something is missing, something else.

I used to write in a blog every day, back in Texas. I used to just write and not think. I’d talk to someone through the words, and I’d feel happy.

I forgot about her.

And now, for whatever reason, life seems to be collaborating in a scheme to get me back to THIS. Just writing. Not trying. And not poetry. Just writing.

Collaborating how? Well, let’s see.

I don’t have a proper job. I temp. So that means I have a lot of time on my hands. My friendships have shifted, some have moved away and others have just, well, shifted. I’m beginning to miss home. I’m feeling aimless. I no longer have classes or a full time job to occupy me. Sometimes I get anxious. Count my steps. Try to read book after book to keep my mind busy, and of course work on my “work” my “writing.” But something gets abandoned along the way.

Me.

Now, aimlessness and uncertainty can seem to be obstacles. They can weigh you down. Make you depressed. The temptation to just move for the sake of moving comes to mind. “Let’s get outta here” mentality. Don’t think I haven’t thought about it. And maybe I will. Soon. Or maybe not. If you don’t know where you’re going, best to stay where you are. That sorta thing. But I believe in direction, and a path, and signs. Even when I no longer know what they are, or what it is. Or where I’m going. Or who I am.

The sense of aimlessness, homesickness, uncertainty? I choose to take the positive side of this season in my life. What can I gain from this?

I was driving today and the intense feeling of change came over me. It’s the weather. It’s the fall approaching. What have you. But what I felt was a change in me. A sort of coming back.

Like I said, I haven’t written a proper blog in ages. Why? I used to write for pleasure. I used to just write.

Sense of change.

For the past two years, I’ve worked hard. I’ve tried to make a way for myself as a writer. I’ve taken what I love and worked it into a craft. An art. Not that I didn’t try to do that before, but it became “official” as I entered a MFA program. People began talking about who they met, how much they’ve published, what literary and publishing jobs they were aiming for.

I began seeing myself as a “real writer” in the community. Real Writer. As though I was merely playing at it before.

And, yes, I grew. I became an “adult writer” I guess you’d say. Or have I?

The problem, I think, was this facade I built around myself. The Identity of the Writer. And working under these notions had its advantages. Wasn’t I always a writer? I was fulfilling my dream! It felt good.

But I got lost, I think, somewhere in the creation of that persona.

Today, driving, I felt a change happening. My friendships are changing, things are moving in, moving out. I’m still here. I’m still in this place. But I don’t feel directed. Guided. I don’t know what’s going to happen. This is scary. But, I will choose the positive in this situation.

I believe in direction, in a plan. Not one that I map out for myself–though goals are good– those usually fail or change. But one that’s natural. Like the seasons. And signs. But what about when things seem to go silent? And there are no signs. And it feels like the plan has forgotten where it last left you?

The positive: A pulling back to the self. When there’s nothing “happening” and it seems there’s nowhere to go, I think it’s a way to turn in. Take a breather. Build something, discover something new. And that something new may be a part of the self you’ve left in the back of your mind.

For me, that self is the one who writes for the joy of it. Who doesn’t stress about notoriety or publication, but just wants to communicate. Wants to reach people. Wants to celebrate. Or play. Or cry.

I miss her.

There is nothing here for me. I don’t know where I’m going. Life seems to have dropped me from its flight pattern and left me in a strange wood with no map.

I went on a vision quest, once. And lately, that experience keeps playing itself over and over again in my mind. Maybe something’s trying to tell me something. To help me understand why I’m going through what I’m going through.

On the vision quest, all I had was a compass. I was supposed to make a camp site in two days, matching the compass to the camp site’s coordinance. Alone, I walked in the wilderness. Completely alone. No cell phone, nothing. I wrote a lot. But eventually, I ran out of things to write. It rained. I cried at first. Then built an A-frame tent. I sat there. I was bored.

The second day of walking, I thought, this is weird. Just to walk and not know where you’re going. But then I started to look around. And take things in. What else was there to do? I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t even have an agenda, except to walk.

I stopped at a big tree on the side of the road. Mountains in the distance. I mixed honey with my raw oats and sat there, licking out of the plastic bag like an old bear. This feels good, I thought. And this tree is beautiful. I have no purpose but to live.

That’s kind of how I feel right now. I’m just living. Just walking even though I don’t know where I’m going. It rains, sometimes. I cry. I question. I doubt. But I keep going.

Am I a writer? Or am I just a person, living one day at a time? Where has the Me gone? She’s still here. Slowly, I think I’m breaking down the facade, the persona of the Real Writer and getting back to the girl who just lives, and writes through that living.

When I was a kid, I used to write to God. I remember distinct times. But for some reason one memory stands out the most lately– during a school field trip on a bus, I wrote to God, like I usually did, in my journal, but something had changed. I wrote:

God. It’s a good day. I mean, I’m lonely and feel weird. But I think we are closer than we have been. I think I’m beginning to believe you’re HERE. In the seat beside me. And I’m writing because it feels good. And no matter what, I’ll keep writing to you, God. I know you can’t write back. Not really. But I think I understand that, even when you FEEL unreal, you’re not. And I am writing because, for some reason, it feels good. And I don’t know what else to do when I feel sad, or angry, or even happy. I feel close to you. I’m happy I have this, God. Thank you.

And I don’t know why that memory stands out the most. I was in fourth grade. And that feeling of isolation and loneliness I had then–I can recall it like it was yesterday. And, to be honest, I still feel it. But the feeling of closeness I described? Well, I think what I was really trying to say was that, through writing, I felt closest to the self. My true self. The self that isn’t even a self, but stripped of all the personae I put on and change and construct.

Today, I was talking to a friend of mine about how much it hurts when someone takes something you’re working on and suggests it’s not “good” or “real writing.” He said, Shannon, don’t take it too seriously. I thought, yes, because the wounded will end up being the girl, who just writes. Who just lives. And celebrates.

And I think that’s been missing. And I think that’s why I haven’t written a proper blog in a while. And I think, in working on my “work” to become a Real Writer, I’ve forgotten the importance of just writing.

The gift? The positive side of this feeling of aimlessness? I think it’s this realization. Everything is still. Nothing is happening in my life, or that’s how it seems. I’m just walking. I don’t know the destination. But it’s because of this, because of this “season” that I’m able to stop. Rest by a tree on the side of the road. Enjoy the honey and say, Hello. I’ve missed you.

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Silent Room

In the silent room, a door,

your diaries in a gutter or

in dumpsters. We keep words,

the other, asking the High, Why

are we here, who is my mother,

my daughter. I dream of cutting

open the stomach for food,

a few pieces of fruit, or

what  you thought when I was born.

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Aura-Girl, or not

The weight on my forehead again. Let this be a sign, I said. But to who I said it, I don’t know.

I was sitting on the steps, watching the rain, and the lady that wanders the block passed by.

Hello, she said. Do you want the entanglement?
I don’t understand you, I said.
That’s alright. No one does.
Then she kept walking.

I see her most days. People ignore her. Yesterday, I caught her laughing at the 7-11 sign that read: Fresh Milk Delivered Daily!

The man chaining his bike to the railing was trying to speak to me, but I had my ear-phones on. He kept walking in and out the apartment doorway, waiting for me to unlock the second door.

Unlock the second door? He asked.

I imagined he’d hold me up with a knife. Do it! Yes, I’m trying the second door of every tree I pass. Nothing’s working properly. The weight on my head again.

Doesn’t he understand? But the second door is in a woman’s chest. Perhaps. One day we could cut her open and try.

I imagined if I was being murdered, what I’d want escaping from me would be screams, of course, but in the language of God.

When I used to watch those around me speaking in tongues as a teenager, I thought it was silly at first, but they would cry and laugh and smile. Someone would fall down. Another would lay a black cloak over their body once they hit the ground. And there they’d be, shaking. From cold? I wondered.

I miss the feeling of falling off my horse. The impact, the wind knocked out of the lungs. Or if I was trying to jump, sometimes my body would hit the rail. Once, my helmit hit the wood and I saw numbers in the sky before blacking out. I think I write about it now to understand what I saw, and I think I see numbers differently in the every day.

The tiles across from me are in rows of 5. 10 in a square, if you keep squinting. This makes me laugh, because I see a spiral in a wave, swallowing itself in a tongue.

Then a man I met a couple weeks ago comes by the steps.

How ya doin?
Alright.
Hangin’ in there?
Yeah.
You know, I looked up that horse, Tomy Lee. Amazing story. He bought the one horse at 25 grand and the companion for 6. And the companion went on to win the Kentucky Derby! Amazing!

My great grandfather walks into our conversation:

Yeah I bought him on a hunch, but I was always one for the underdog!

My great grandad smokes a cigar. In his white suit, penny loafer type shoes.

I can’t believe he’s in this conversation. Dead 40 something years. But he follows me upstairs.

You keepin up the writing? He asks.
Yeah. I try.
Good. Don’t worry bout the otherwordly, its in you. You wanna know somethin’?
You got an aura. I don’t.
Keep the entanglement on your mind. The horses will come later.

What’s with the tattoo? 33X07? I dreamt about it last night.

Look, Shannon. Read the book. I gotta go.

What about the man by the East gate? And the girl with the stars in her skirt.

It’s in the books. Just keep your bets to yourself. And listen to the weight. My arms disappearing.

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dear-person-who-doesn’t-know

dear person-who-doesnt-know-this-is-for-them,

I walked in the city, saw a couple leaves, chased my shadow, felt my heart leap out, let it go. did it land on your car? your washing machine? I’m crying. there’s a box burried somewhere. I can’t find your name. the sounds run together. my bed is unmade.

Love, S

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Status-Update Poems w/commentary

August 21 at 10:32 pm

The beautiful swirls, sometimes

dressed as sorrow–Ache holds on.

Please, it says, I am a child.

Don’t pull away. Love grows

between what’s said and the silent.

(I posted this last night, understanding the beauty of how one moment you can feel terribly sad, and the next, the Universe bursts in with gifts and unexpected joys. I had just had a week of dryness, slow-time, and then BOOM! Friday brought 24 hours straight of amazing, beautiful strangers, kisses in Union Square, returning to Brooklyn, a gunshot, sadness juxtaposed to two bodies happy to see each other alive and in the same room. I was up for two days straight.)

*

August 16 at 5:17 pm:

There’s nothing left, friends,

of me. The tree says nothing,

then, Go, take everything,

leave. Nothing left of me–

I’m already the groundling, begging

to be let in.

*

August 14 at 8:40 pm

Dear Universe, Be still, please. I don’t know where I’m going.

(Just arrived back from Massachusetts. Fleetwood, NY was a shock after the beauty of the mountains and lustful trees.)

*

August 13 at 12:42 am

I don’t know how to miss a body. I don’t know

how to–Tell me how

sleepless sounds, tell me

how to tell your body

what’s missing, singing

a door open, waiting.

(Again, back from him. I don’t know how to deal with the impossibility of the impossible situation of loving the impossible. Like God.)

*

August 12 at 8:38 pm

She let the window talk, let it

stare at her chest–it wasn’t quite like

a new wound–it feels hungry,

she said to the willow,  I want a field of him.

I understand, the willow said, love

is a mistake. What you seek is someone

to pray with, who takes wounds and makes

words, like: come, beautiful, God.

(I wrote this after returning from Brooklyn, about to go on a weekend away to Massachusetts with a friend. I was thinking about the sad pull my chest feels every time I think of how complicated becoming attached to someone can be. And the past loves that follow me around. I always think, Trees are much more wise. So this status came to me as a way to answer my own sweet-pain)

*

August 9 at 9:59 am

Dear Shannon, get up! run to me! write me letters! I love you! Love, the Universe.

(I remember writing this status. I was lying in his bed, sleepy and full of hope. I was about to go meet a friend in the city for a “poetry date.” What a perfect day, I thought. My car parked at a broken meter in Brooklyn, I’d take the subway to my friend and return to Brooklyn, high on poetry.)

August 3 at 11:30 pm

You had your back to me. There were lamp-posts, and I thought my body kind, letting me speak, not-speak. You took a breath, said, See the trees? I made them shake. Make me do that. What? Break, I said.

(I wrote this in the Tower Room of the place I was babysitting. This voice seems to come back to me. I was longing for it again)

August 1 at 11:06 pm

I have stone-hurt again. What’s that, you said. When I want to eat stones to feel loved, then heavy, then part-earth, then dead.

(Stone-hurt. Desiring the solidity of things. Yes. That’s all I can think to say.)

August 1 at 2:01 am

Satisfy me come morning

with Your love. I will sing

joy into new light.

You say, even joy breathes

in stillness, night–Satisfy me!

(I had just read Psalm 90:14. I liked the idea of asking God to satisfy.)

*

July 29 at 2:14 am

faith found you talking to the sky–said, your mouth is beautiful, wide. Touch here, you said–bruised, a mullberry blossomed out your side.

*

July 20 at 7:01 pm

Screw it, son. Tell ’em you’re fishin’ for ideas and get those trout outta your mouth, hollerin’ about light particles. You wanna get arrested and thrown in the nuthouse like your friend, Turantula? Son simply threw off his shoes and fished for another five hours, said scrapin’ his teeth against stone was like makin’ love to God. Whatever that means.

(this is probably a character in a novel I haven’t written yet. He decided to speak up.)

*

July 15 at 2:01 am

One bright lung canters to where

you, blood-stunned, burn a word

to keep breathing–

Touch a thigh to tether

whatever body is left after loneliness.

*

July 12 at 11:42 pm

to send a letter, I want

to sunset on sill, I want

to message-in-silence, I want

to sing blue strings, I want

to wake you.

*

July 12 at 12:45 am

Dear,

Your roof-door’s trembling

Grace–let her in.

*

July 10 at 1:08 pm

screw it, Son. Just tell ’em you’re half-mad and you’re diggin’ up their gardens for the sake of science. Now, remove those pansies from your mouth and praise the sunshine while you still got it.

*

July 6 at 11:40 pm

I hear You, Friend. And I want the joy between Your teeth–Friend, I am Your light, (You said) I am the most beautiful train in the desert night, calling out–

*

July 4 at 1:04 am

Lamp-light, listen–tell them

our bodies recover,

love-heavy, hopeful,

God-given. Listen,

tell them.

*

June 26 at 8:22 pm

I am going west,

or up cliff,

or down sleep,

wherever it is, it is not

me. who you love

is not me. footsteps

outside the door are more

me than this thigh.

I am going, ghost or voiced, crazy.

*

Going somewhere beautiful

tonight. To You,

though I’m afraid.

If I don’t return

don’t send anyone

after me.

Returning is harder. Imagine.

If everyone returned

from darkness, love’s loss,

there’d be no one in the parks.

I’m afraid.

*

June 17 at 12:54 pm

This pull, this sadness, is You loving intensely to have me

run back to you, broken, maybe,

but realized in the Only-Light.

*

June 16 at 11:43 pm

Silent. All fireflies gone.

I dreamt You let me write letters, send.

Shannon! Yes?

I’ve bodied again. Call me

mouth-of-

or did did I?

Love, —

*

June 11 at 12:30am

I burn and burn, turn doors,

biting myself, biting. What

You say, do you want?

Would you look at my face

and die? No, just take away

this I, I, I!

*

June 10 at 10:30 pm

Language let me

understand you,

suffering, into laughter.

Hear, my chest-angels,

near to You. I must be

mad, singing

horrors in joy. Nothing,

wrap, word by word

death into me.

*

June 4 at 7:44 am

into the twist of morning, Your love, singing, singing, hallelujah. I can’t even drive my car without Your smile following me.

*

May 30 at 1:17 pm

Who you are right now is eternity inside. In this moment, galaxies coming together, laughing in your blood. You– stumbling, unaware you’re drunk with heaven.

*

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In This Building

On the train, I read the words:
In This Building, on the side
Of a wall I will never reach, I
Know how time loves me,
My body learns signs, I
Keep quiet when a man kisses me–

Last night someone let hands
Hover over his throat: the departed
Waited until I arrived, said:
In this body, I left canaries, tell them
You know how to listen: tell them,
Time loves to kiss everyone
Goodbye. What are we building
In our bodies–temples, wounds, words–

A few birds flew near the window
Alongside the train. Sunshine’s dress
On my legs. I let a man pass
Over me once, he said You are the land
I visited in a dream. No, not me,
I said, I’m building a temple for the dead

And when I leave, you will remember me
Like one remembers wind, swallows
In your hair. Tender-pain, the world.

I have this idea, my hand said–
What I don’t touch, what is unreachable,
Marries me in sleep. I have this idea,
The drunk boy on the train, screaming,
Fuck my exgirlfriend, fuck that bitch,
I’m so drunk! I’m so drunk–
He’s ringing his pain, saying,
In this building, I have bruises–
A wound, a swallow caught
In my throat. Don’t touch me.

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The Dead Dream

My dead hang under a bridge

in New Mexico. Jaw-bones

strangle daisies, praying

my wild dreams only

of their wild. I’m crazy,

no one passes through

their bodies, silent.

I don’t want my jaw-bone

in New Mexico. No,

my dead say, Then why

are you bleeding?

Come—you want to

die–donde, donde?

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