Wednesday, June 20, 2007

crazy love dance :: sometimes they let the poets loose

I know what I am supposed to be writing about is last night's writing group (and I will), but what I want to write about is the little happy dance I do every time I think of The Fiance. (I'm not liking calling him K any more, so we are switching.) He just called, and we are meeting at Marriage Place to book hotel rooms for the rest of our size-of-a-small-country wedding party, and he suggested we stay there to eat. Huzzah! I always love a good meal, especially when everything is heaped up and multi-colored and overwhelming to all five of my senses. Especially when he is in a wonderful mood, and when I suggest he quiz me on his family (because I'm so proud I remember Kendra and Greg are the middle children of one particular four cousin set), he does so, though I fail at every question after what his mother's maiden name is (hey, we both have an aunt named Carolyn, and it is a "favorite" aunt--oh no, wait, we don't play favorites around here...).

Also: Emily is coming tomorrow. The Fiance's mother told me some good advice--she said, and this goes for anyone, if you wait until you're happy with the condition of your house (cleanliness, that is), then you'll never have anyone over. Of course, this is a First Impression, and I will tell myself: we're painting an interesting before picture for the poor girl. I've made a little vow to my clutteful self: here is a box that goes to the organization that does pick ups every couple of weeks (months?). Every day, put one item into that box, put one item (such as an old birthday card, an old magazine) into the recycling, and put one useless item (a mismatched sock that you were clinging to--or half a dozen mismatched socks, a holey pair of pants) into the garbage. I'm doing well on the box and the recycling today. I feel like I ought to reward myself with a shopping trip (just kidding).

And on to the poetry:

Last night, due to her mother's hospitalization and our own myriad distractions, Eireann suggested we instead take a walk downt o Minnehaha Park and write and read out loud to one another. Our general format has been to sit in a circle in her living room, discuss our reading, do a prompt, critique. Lately, we've needed a little poke, something to get us moving. I don't know if it is uncertainty, or the distractions in our lives, or that there isn't enough to say, but we've felt a little slow, a little quiet, sometimes a little like (to use a cliche), pulling teeth.

The walk was refreshing, nice movement, a little change. We took a meandering route, stopped at the edge of a Catholic grade school to listen to a bagpipe rehearsal. So many, dressed like ordinary people... I will share what I wrote from the walk, rough and raw:

The poets have been let loose in the garden
and all they can hear are bagpipes.
They come from St Helena, the Catholic
grade school, that mournful sound
that fills up rooms like chalk dust.
There are globes in the window, the sort
w all saw in childhood. And
in the parking lot, there are still more,
looking like American tourists
in tshirts and shorts, sneakered feet
shifting the formation. We are all
tourists here, in this life, and let loose,
we are startled by the raw red
of tree stumps, a collection of mallards
(how perfect the pairs), the reflection
of trees in the creek like watercolor.
So many have paused by the bagpipes--
a father who lifts his infant
like an airplane, a man walking his dog,
a new family with a double stroller.
We are all tourists here, against
the backdrop of colored shingles,
blacktop pavement, and summer light.

The house, above, where Longfellow lived. Song of Hiawatha. Minnehaha Parkway. Street lamps, night shimmering, mosquitoes rising out of dry grass. The color of nylons matching the green of the grass just as the sun hits it. Singing "Favorite Things," two small voices, whispering, "Wait, wait, let's try to harmonize this time." Laughter. Spot lit hostas, a bike ride, big dogs who can sit and stay. Frightened ducks, all in formation, lining up against the current. Lingering. Summer, lingering.

In some ways, this was good. Eireann says she's had too many writing groups that ended up socializing too much; this group, I think, hasn't had the chance to socialize enough. We need to speak to each other in order to trust each other, offer up little tidbits (sister Tessa getting married August something, working for a gardening place and taking care of a cat and a gerbil for the summer, working at Coffee House press, living at home, finding ways to recover from a family near-tragedy). We can become more human. Appreciate each other's voices. It's good to not know too much, because then we have trouble separate the poet from the poem, but just enough to feel comfortable saying: "Don't do the obvious things here. Of course cigarette smoke is in a cloud. Tequila, ash trays. That's a little better." And to say, "I am interested in line breaks," and want to know more about how line breaks function in the poet's world--to be able to rest on the words, the narrative, the passion of poetry. That's what I think we're beginning to do, appreciating each other in new light. Understanding that she knows her Latin, her greenery, she will write narrow poems about relationships, she will struggle to not write about herself, he has a series of poems and another he has one long poem, maybe even in translation. To speak French. To listen to French. To talk about "Macdo" and lavender and dreams of other countries. To travel through each other's words (especially when mortgages keep some of us rooted in geography). To hope, to hope, to dream. To be comrades in words.


eireann said...


Stefani, of Blue Yonder said...

loving your blog. loving.

EWH said...

You were 9 blocks from my house!

I concur wtih Stefani: your blog is something to look forward to.

Joy to your words. Hope to your inspirations. Love to your writing group, who keeps you motivated to do beautiful things.

Family of Four said...

Ah, wedding plans. It was nine years ago this week that I was finalizing my wedding plans with my true love. The days of wine and roses...

lizardek said...

Some of the lines in your poem are pure genius :) Good stuff.

Clare said...

So lovely! It felt like a really nice journey to go along on your walk with you and your writing group. And I really like the line "we are all tourists here, in this life..." And I also really liked reading about your wedding plans!

Rob Kistner said...

Enjoyed your post Molly!

gautami tripathy said...

Beautiful post, molly. I like the photos, the poem and your words.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I enjoyed this post very much. The openingtwo lines of your poem are wonderful and I like the observation of us all being tourists here.