Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Son (Take One)

invisible feet dent
my golden garden.

kale tastes
better after frost.

be this belly!

stir wrinkled leaves.
find pliant sweetness.

come now! love’s seed
cease babbling

these whispered ancestral conclaves,
yield no secrets

but earth.

these aching swollen limbs
brown as caramelized onion.

savor the frigid wind. still
he monitors the seasons.

hoka hey!
ho! hey!

this moon quivers.
these waves heave.

that lightening bolt quickly flees.
this ripened bowl holds holy

offerings. arms
knees, breasts

sleeplessness. water’s journey -

torrent lucid turgid
a cache of ancestor bones reform beneath

my spine. hold open
thighs. Hurl - force - float

this wobble-necked
wrinkled new man

of thunderous
toothless burps,


wisdom. born just
winks ago.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Exit / Entry

After playing pointe guarde for the week while my parents "snow bird" and we have to cope with a hospital admission and discharge back to the nursing home....

My daughter says

"In just a year, my great grandmother has become an old person. I know she is 94 years old, but, it would have been easier if it had taken five or ten gradual years.

I’ve always been uncomfortable around old people. Old people were always out of it and kind of smelly and don’t really know where they are. They were always someone else’s old people.

My old people were always dynamic, dignified, fashionable, world changing people. I could always do volunteer work with those people and come home to where everyone was shining, spectacular and wise.

Well, okay, they ramble a bit. But, well, it’s history book stuff rambling.

I need a lot of hand-holding to cope with this. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be. She should have gotten old over a really long period of time. But, it’s just like she decided to get old and die. And she did all of that - except the dying part.

She got old. I don’t like that. That’s not what is supposed to happen."

And what am I supposed to say?

Monday, November 08, 2004

Election Reflections Filtered Through The Parenting Lens

My firstborn arrived when I was in my early twenties. I was an idealist. I committed myself to certain philosophies of parenting which I trusted to generate the “outcome” I wanted. I believed that diligent and persistent action would create lasting change. I used to canvas, petition, and march. I did all of this with a small child in tow.

My daughter was maybe 2 and a half when she attended her first Pro-Choice rally. She had a great time. The whole world smiled lovingly at her while she bounced in her stroller yelling the same thing over and over again very loudly. Driving home to Ohio from D.C., we stopped in a backwater town in Kentucky. It was close to dinner, she needed to get out and play. We pull over at a playground near a Pizza Hut.

My White female partner and I comment behind our hands that the women’s faces look like those folk dolls which use dried carved apples for faces. Everybody, including the children, are missing teeth. Only the animals in this town seem untouched by genetic anomalies. Our biracial daughter plays - oblivious to the lightning bolt eyes and women steering their children away from the strangers with the child who calls both of us Mama. When she’s done, we go in for pizza.

At the table, she begins joyfully chanting, “Women’s Rights! Women’s Rights!” A hush settles over the restaurant. A waitress freezes mid-pizza delivery. Every head turns. She suddenly sounds amplified. A man gets up and leaves. My partner and I tense. We know he’s gone for the shotgun. We shush the child, eat our pizza and speed out of town.

This is one of my favorite memories. I come back to it again and again - especially now that she’s eighteen.

Here she is - years later - doing exactly what we taught her to do. The first march on Washington my daughter attended all by herself was the Pro-Choice March last fall. This past summer, she got her first job registering voters. She is involved in every liberal organization on campus. And she donated part of her very own pay check to The Feminist Majority and other progressive organizations. Job well done, right?

We are often so tempted to view our lives through the corporate veil our capitalistic society has settled quietly over our emotional and spiritual lives. We think of our parenting style as a formula of behaviors and actions which have been explained to us “experts.” If we follow the formula, we produce a desirable outcome. When we modify these parenting styles to our own lifestyle, we put our own brand on it - much like generic oat cereal and Cheerios are the same thing with minor variations.

Some days, I pat myself on the back, look around smugly at my stockholders (my parents, her other mother, my husband, our adult friends) and say, “See? See what a great job we did!” As if she is some sort of consumable product. As if our design and engineering surpasses everything else on the market and now we have this wonderful commodity which reflects back on our superior knowledge, resources and investment.

What we don’t share with the public is that at any moment - we might feel like recalling this product. We don’t say, “this excellent , intelligent, conscientious young woman is prone to debilitating anxiety, temper tantrums, nagging rages, and phone calls at midnight demanding a more expensive cell phone plan or a car.” Sharing that information would make us appear to have failed or feel as if we did less than a perfect job.

And we haven’t failed or done our job poorly. It is the manner in which we view her that is incorrect. As if her accomplishments, shortcomings and temperament are a measurement for success or lack thereof. We strip her of her humanity in the effort to validate and bolster our own self-esteem.

This time of reflection is made that much sharper by having a new one in the house again. There are days when I go step by step by step over each day of my daughter’s life trying to find out what I did wrong so that I can fix it this time around. What I need to focus on is the fact that at every moment, I made the best possible choices with the information I had at the time. Even if she wasn’t active, engaged in the world or remotely political, she would be just fine.

I’m a lot older now. I spun my wheels and Reagan got elected. I spun my wheels some more and Bush The Elder was elected. But, I kept parenting the way I thought I should which seemed to take more and more energy every year. By the time we got around to baby Bush, my wheels hit a deep mud patch. I was knee deep in adolescence.

Back then:
I behaved as if children are innately good human beings who when given the information about the right thing to do will naturally do it. Harumph.

I believed that children should express their emotions fully and be supported and validated in that. Double harumph, rolling of eyes, wincing at memories of four hour temper tantrums.

I thought that we create children who choose to be agents of change by helping them understand that the world is not perfect. Harumph! Hello anxiety created from the introduction of age inappropriate information.

I encouraged my child to be my friend. (The kind of friendship which is one-sided where one person tells the other all their problems and the other one never shares anything.) Harumph-chuckle, our closeness is excellent and beautiful. She tells me everything, but I wouldn’t repeat the teen years with that philosophy.

I trusted that if I insulated her from the outside world during the early years, then she would come to view our beliefs as normal and the dominant culture’s as abnormal. Score! But, the pain of encountering agents of the dominant culture for the first time was awful to watch.

I believed that the family bed and extended nursing creates an unbreakable bond between parent and child. Yippie-skippy! Got that right!

As I grew older, I had to acknowledge some irrefutable facts. Time is finite. Wonder Woman is a cartoon character. Marching on Washington bolsters solidarity and communion with like-minded souls - but it doesn’t make a whole lot of change happen anymore. For a majority of people, faith is a boulder to crawl under to get out of the light.

And finally, the hardest ever realization - I’m a human-being with flaws, shortcomings and greatness all mixed up together like a particularly potent gumbo.

This election, my poor daughter was shocked and dismayed when she brushed against these facts. She had worked so hard and done so much. Fortunately, she still believes she can be an agent of change. And she will be. Youth and idealism are not yet oversized bags that she is ready to put down. She’s swung to the extreme, she tells me she is a radical activist now. (I do not tell her, "Ah yes, I used to be one of those, remember?") I smile knowingly. She smiles knowingly at us silly liberals.

Liberals, we are such a maudlin lot. We float about contemplating issues, invoking compassion and practicing tolerance. We analyze and evaluate. We’re so busy hearing what everybody has to say that by the time it’s our turn to speak, time’s up. Bush gets himself reelected.

So, I’m watching, supporting and nurturing. And yes, I’m proud that she has weathered a particularly challenging moment. But, I wouldn’t presume to take credit for any of it. I would presume to contemplate returning my Self to self.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Getting Dressed To Face America

Justice rocks the blindfold,
demonstrating how accessories
make the woman. A golden toe ring,
belly ruby and dog collar
adorn her languid nude body.
But the fur-lined wrist restraints
suggest just the right hint of consenting
to play with weighted issues.

Tolerance glitters in a pink formal gown,
one gloved hand outstretched,
the other behind her back.
A princess waistline accentuates
the way largess and abundance
must be properly displayed.

Compassion has donned
a navy blue business suit
with red silk shell. A single strand
of perfectly matched pearls
contrast nicely with red stilettos
and Coach handbag. She tinkles
when she walks, it must be
the chain mail bra.

Hope sports combat gear.
Plain and simple. Straightforward
and uncompromising. Ready
and recalcitrant.

Faith has her own sense of style -
mixing and matching a 1940’s original
haute couture Dior, thrift store go-go boots,
fuchsia rayon scarf with lime and purple flowers,
military surplus hand bag, vintage
rhinestones, 5 gauge black ear plugs,
a simple silver nose ring and a temporary tattoo
of crimson blood leaking from a wounded dove.

I’m still in my tattered forest
green velour bathrobe sharing
coffee, croissants and brie
with Astonishment and Disappointment.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Crows Overhead

Before All Soul’s Eve

- it’s ether, it’s queer
and then, at last, it’s done. Now the scavengers arrive.

Imitations Of Drowning, Ann Sexton

a murder of memories
- black, cawing and ready

to boldly gut
that which the predators have

already taken

down - flapping.

project themselves
onto the landscape screen.

trees are

not tired, sultry
or lascivious.

yes, they are. gold,
red, orange invitations

to collect again the falling

pieces of life. gathered
to seal between

ironed wax paper;
raked then bagged like victims

or scattered, swept away

by random winds.
never predictable -

cooling the morning,
freezing the afternoon,

heating the night -

except when bearing a floating
screeching change

and those handsome men
on television.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Laugh Before Dying

meditations from a cranky weekend

We are ink & blood
& all things that make stains.

"We Learned," Erica Jong

The moon rose swollen purple.
Mushrooms collided hearts
as the wrinkled metallic sky
gouged its insides out to spell:
“Love one another.”

In that moment, my hills turned yellow and we did.

Ink soaking into paper. Thinking
together they make the story
better than it is. Hope –

water at 32 believing itself
a new stronger creature,
more attractive to light.

Sticky catatonic ecstasy.
The wrinkled metallic sky
sutures sunrise’s whimsy to wit.

The calico threads of dawn.
More passionate than old lovers.

Crystalline fragile and reckless.
How can people reconcile the Sun

penetrating both the Earth and Sky?
My heart is a claw snatching at water.

Over New Jersey, water mimics
my desire – slashes the sand
bar; a happy hour drunk

on high tide. Later,
we will have saints for dinner.
I will make a pallet
next your bonfire soul.

The cackle of stars

a gaggle of albino geese flapping

strobe light protestations

a twilight picnic with our friends.
Sometimes there is too much.

Too easy. Sun and Moon sharing
the Earth’s jealous eyes.

And after too much, God
played yo-yo with your eyeballs.
With every jerk, old
fluorescent pupils flopped and stuttered.

An autumn stomach.
Aqua limbs.
Undertow deep-
throats the Constellations.

If suddenly, my cunt
had dreams

and aspirations. Circle
the correct answer. It would be

a. the water in your lungs.
b. the paper cutting finger.
c. the endlessly moving mouths
of old women pounding deaf ears.
d. all of the above
has never solved

any decent question.

Still -

trees bare themselves for winter.

Prepare. A futile slashing
against the smirking crinkle-eyed sky.

After swallowing a purple Moon,
we are still
Earth and Sun separate,
bellies full of Saints and delusion –

same difference.

I have placed my soul
on the edge of a snowflake.

Open your mouth
so you will remember:

laugh before dying,
cry for life.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Prayer / Poetry

an apology to M. Ayodele Heath,
the first writing about 9/11, turning again to grief,
and the holiness of moments.

The cold wind snaps its fingers like the gay men in my college cafeteria who cheered, hissed or hooted at fashion brilliance or faux pas. The wind, he owns all current decisions. We want to succeed. We do not want to be punished by his quick whipping whimsy.

September has shed her manic depression in favor of October’s blustering frigidity. Autumn is no longer sporting the undertones of relief from slick sweating afternoons. The early trees no longer look like housewives slipping a garment off their shoulder one early-to-bed night. They look like pre-teens on the cusp of regretting their crack-whore-clothing phase.

I am humbled by the ease with which Nature shifts her moods. I am awed by her refusal to apologize for months and months on end. I am heartened by the way no one has thought to research methods to medicate her for the obvious mood swings she suffers. I am uplifted by the way we chuckle, surrender and celebrate these oppositional emotions she displays. I wish I was so free and easy with my feelings.

Right now, my friend Patricia is singing, “into beauty, I am falling,(1)” like a mantra backed by poignant violins, gamboling guitars and a decent drum beat. Somehow, that’s how I’m feeling. “There I go again, into your beauty. Don’t let me lose myself in there.(2)” It is October. I call again my belated grief. For what is grief but the act of falling into of someone’s beauty and the loss thereof?

The defining moment of this generation will be, “where were you on 9/11?”
On 9/11, I was absent from reality. I was consumed with an idea that poetry and spoken word are a universal healing force. I had fallen into a beautiful idea to which I refused surrender regardless of any other forces trying to rock my faith. Planes crashing into the World Trade Center? We have children to speak to! We have the message of individual voice to convey! We must show them through the example of our very actions that we will not be bowed down; we will not cower before your destruction; we will not stop and acknowledge your aggression. We will speak of hope, and family and love and peace. And we will bid the children to do the same. So, there Al Queda, in your face man! “We will “be the change” we want “to see in the world.”

High rhetoric and justification for what I look back on as the singular most shameful moment of my adult life. How like Bush I was in that moment. How arrogant and assumptive - that my way of being in the world suited anyone but myself. And with all of this busy madness - I had one of the most delightful voices of our generation in tow. He knuckled down - the consummate professional - and honored his agreement to speak, to educate, to perform in spite of probably feeling like he wanted to watch endless loops on CNN like the rest of the nation. Still, he flowed along my wave of denial, action, re-action and

serenity at any cost.

We did not stop to grieve or feel or think or digest. We poet-ed, and performed and acted and then we got him the first bus out of here. I am sorry M. Ayodele Heath, that you had the misfortune of being in my manic faith on that day. “There I go again, into your beauty. Don’t let me lose myself in there.”

It’s no wonder I haven’t heard from him since. It is October, my personal month of grief. It is the time I ignore or recall the moment in time when my faith was devoured to the bone for the very first time. The month when I think or do not think of Ricardo Luis Ramos - the first dearest ever peer who died; the man who drove me to an Indiana truck stop for mashed potatoes when I was pregnant; the man who wrapped my bottom in soft white towels, then took me out dancing when my water broke; the man who had coffee spat on him at the birth of our daughter because I was too stubborn and political to tell the nurse I was crowning. Because even then, I refused surrender to bullshit and he supported that. “Magic is the act of changing consciousness at will.”(3) We refused to believe in death. And still he died.

And I recall sweet Emily Ann Bailey. My daughter’s preverbal friend - a girl whose camaraderie infused my daughter’s life well before they had language to label anybody friend or foe; the girl who instant messaged back and forth from Ohio to Pittsburgh with my daughter about the fantastic way they refused surrender to stupid Cosmopolitan-Seventeen-TeenBeat idea about womanhood and beauty. Courageous where my daughter failed and timid where my daughter was bold. these girls fed each other their own unique brand of womanhood. When Emily was diagnosed with a brain tumor, they both decided -definitively and unequivocally - that she would live on and on past Imani. Emily died tragically and quietly.

It was the second time the gristle, internal viscera, tendons and organs of my faith were eaten while I was alive to watch in horror. Because my own flesh and blood had used her “magic” to sustain her friend.

“There I go again, into your beauty. Don’t let me lose myself in there.” I was lost there and there and there

again on 9/11 - never wanting to give in.

I still don’t think I want to give in. I still think I’d rather be eaten alive by optimism than emaciated slowly over a long time by despair. I forgive myself for dragging Ayodele all over town in the greatest ever act of resistance - faith. But, my dear friend Lawrence said in his recent sermon, he must give his “absolute and unmixed attention, which is what the French philosopher and mystic Simone Weil called prayer. My prayers don’t begin kneeling, with beads or a shawl, but around a quarter past six, or sometimes a quarter to seven now that the autumn is here and the morning is dark longer, and they need to be fed and wrestled into clothes and touch and dance and find quiet and sing all day long. My prayers are demanding, and I grow tired of putting on their socks and shoes through the morning and each time we get out of the car, but through them I experience the everyday world in remarkably new ways, experiences that likely would never happen without our rituals and rhythms.”(4)

This acting out - is prayer -
this bludgeoning of the world with active, personal, gentle, faith;
this being in the present moment and accepting or denying its import;
this surrender to the cannibalization of faith and feeling;
this resilient reconstruction of self in spite and hope
this rebuilding of holiness in every moment -

this is prayer. Every small movement and motion. Every loving touch. Every suckling at my breast by my son with his feet flailing defiant, wide loving, laughing, challenging eyes fusing into my own. Every crazy untimely call from my firstborn and the full attention I give to her - even at midnight. Every sock my husband picks up and puts away. Every touch and kiss or long hug before the baby slips between us. This is falling into beauty with full knowledge that such things are ephemeral. Swift, loud and riotous as Autumn’s shifting moods.

This is poetry and my daily prayer.

I commit myself to “absolute and unmixed attention” to the better world at my fingertips. “Into beauty, I am falling.”

(1) “into beauty”, between the waters, Track two from the album , “connection.”
(2) ibid
(3) Starhawk, The Spiral Dance
(4)Lawrence Gordon Wray, ”The Seeker & The Community: Sermon for Smithton Unitarian Universalist Church.”

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Paying The Math Tax:

(or why the lottery is more lucrative than literary pursuit.)

Everyday, millions of people spend a minimum of $1.00 on the off chance that they will choose exactly the right numbers and win a ten, fifty, a thousand or a sixteen million bucks. That’s a minimum of thirty bucks per month - or $360 dollars a year. They would most likely benefit from betting the local numbers runner that they:
wouldn’t die in a plane crash;
get struck by lightning;
die in an auto accident with a drunk driver;
or have a Cesarian section with fatal complications.

Yet, everyday, thousands of poets turn their noses up at the unwashed masses and spend $ 1.75 minimum on the off chance they have chosen the right combination of letters and may just “win” a chance to see their name next to a musing they wrote (one caffeinated or drunken afternoon) which is likely be seen by maybe 1,500 folks - of whom 1 may be a big shot and remember them. And this isn’t taking into consideration “reading fees.” That’s a minimum of $52.50 dollars a months or $630 per year!

It seems like lottery playing to me. I am assured it is not. I am assured it is as objective as something so subjective as poetry cane be. I am assured that no one knows or owes any one in this process.

But, why do I worry if I schmoozed enough at the last conference? If I “hooked up” enough “rising stars?” Did I stroke the “major literary divas and demigods” until they purred? Guess not.

Or maybe I’m not that good. But, then why am I almost sold out of self-produced creation I have made? Why, if it is not good, does my “maternity leave” drastically impact my family’s income? Why do people beg me to perform “that one poem about...my daughter...my lover...that one time in National Record Mart...the way I discovered I was beautiful?” (Buy the cd "in the image of angels" at: "www.poetryslam.com"

I was under the illusion that merit superseded subjectivity. Long gone is anonymity. Long gone are fragile typewritten pages of genius. Flung back and relegated to obscurity are the humble, fragile souls who made sense regardless of economic status.

All of the journals who require:
two typewritten copies of the poem,
on CD or disk, (in MS format - - because even if Mac is cheaper we must pay our dues to the great empire of sameness.)
a cover letter,
bio page,
and reading fee,

I ask what about the voices of those whose hungry children ate the external/internal CD-ROM, or disk drive or groovy laser printer? Is it poetic that food was more meaningful than a sheet of Black history stamps? Do you even care?

Regardless, it seems the State Math Tax is more economical and realistic. But, then I love this thing called poetry. I only wish someone would teach me some magical formula for time management or give me the fiftieth book on how to figure this whole publishing puzzle out.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

This Taunting Tender Night

a tattered cacophony.
flagrant disrobing.
seasonal lust,

each tree, bush, flower
well spent and fading.

shiny buckeyes roll their pupils
on the rumpled leaves.

acorns slip off their hats
smooth, brown. innocent

a naked tree.
foliage undulant.
leaves, slurping gutters

guzzle rain water.
skin, hair tingling.

road at night presents
it’s peculiar V. Husband sleeps

cradling an infant’s head.
four lips dream of suckling.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Stumble & Fall

“& infants are hard wired to shriek
when their milk supply is threatened.”
the midwife said at the 3 week check up.

stumbling passion. quixotic
release. the leaves threaten
a great flashy performance.

we all know it goes by so quickly.
then the bare trees claw gray skies
and green becomes a craving
worse than estrogen beckons
chocolate. or turgid pungent

familiarity. spine deep intimacy.
still, we all cheer the crisp
apples, air, bread crust.
having lived in sweat
and steam. slippery groping
heat. we applaud the first red

maple or yellowing cherry.
blow our fingers warm;
stamp our feet;
breathe as if we can snatch,
press and drink this cool
moment; dream of friendly fey

in the haunting morning mist.
my womb clenches and spasms
fully awake for the first time
in over a year. We do not
stumble like Fall.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

My Alter Ego Wants

a memory. Driving
away from a realized fantasy
of my head tipped back
in a kiss too tall for tip toes
and five shots making the stage
a wide open woman

tonight. I return to my more
monotonous celebrations
and give in to this


into coherent babble.
A bliss conundrum

arms stretched wide

palms skykissed - left memory
present, right
a vacant dark blessed void.

Tintinnabulation of titillation.
Each bell ringing

joy gone
joy here
joy comes


Thoughts of a former stage diva accepting her new role.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Quiet Revolution: A Portrait

Perfection lays in the understanding that there is always room for change, growth and improvement.

In our playgroup, I have been blessed to meet some truly exceptional parents. In so many ways, they have guided and shaped this journey upon which I have recently recommitted myself. So, today I want to celebrate one couple’s unique and exceptional contribution to the next generation.

There is nothing harder than being away from your child all day, five days a week for eight long and seemingly endless hours. It takes exceptional fortitude to accept that during these eight hours connections are made, developmental leaps abound, steps are taken, words are shaped and uttered. There is nothing more nerve wracking than trying to “fit into” a rhythm and routine designed by someone else. These things supposedly come naturally to men.

There is nothing harder than being at home with your child all day, every day, every hour upon endless hour. It takes exceptional sensitivity to become an almost living video recorder which communicates, documents and shares these eight hours in which magic occurs every minute. There is nothing more tedious than submitting to consistency and honoring the rhythm and routine every child requires. These things supposedly come naturally to women.

In the evenings when she comes home from work or on the weekends when our families come together, I have watched her being fully present in each and every moment she has with her children. She is not recovering from work, spacing out, getting down time or hashing over the day or week. During these same times, I do not watch him running for solace to the football broadcast or the local bar, I watch him like some great Tai Chi master swishing the family energy through the house, the park, the restaurant. He steps back, accepts, lets go, steps in and is available - fully present.

And together - as if their family is a Swiss bank account - they deposit all the extra energy for some fantastic, luxurious future. Oh, yes, they are and will be tremendously wealthy indeed.

They are everything that is awe-some about things which our society says are unnatural. Like the parthenogenic frogs in Texas or an albino deer, they inspire wonder and an acceptance of how quirky delicious the Creator can be. Because she can give her family a roof over her their head and food on their table and clothes on their backs and a trip to the coffee shop or Indian buffet on a Sunday. Because he can nurture the children, be at home (with no num num consolation prize for boo-boos or sad times) and keep the day sweet, full of wonder and delight. Because with peacefulness and joy, they both can cast gender roles into the tornado of our society and culture and laugh in the face of how Man has tried to define nature. Because they are everything natural. They personify how even though things may appear the same, they are intrinsically unique and rare - snowflakes or leaves if you will.

Their lives are a complex challenge about which only their daughter’s tender fierceness will be able to testify. Only they will be able to truly communicate the way in which each of us can define, create and embody that which is our humanity - for they will have practical experience rather than theory. And all of children are the better for it, especially my son who gets to live inside of this visionary world where every human takes care.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Family Bed & Justifying Lunacy

The “Sex Talk,” Honesty, Einstein, Whiskey and Philosophy

My firstborn and I began having “The Talk” early. We began with simple biology. A woman makes an egg, the man makes sperm, those two get together and a baby is made. Pure and simple. Straightforward and easy. Wipe the brow, get a glass of wine and sit smugly for three years.

It took that long for my daughter to ruminate on the mechanics of HOW. “How does a man’s sperm meet a woman’s egg and become a baby?” She asks this at a dinner party. She asks this as if to challenge and say, “Okay...Miss Cool Cool Honest Smartie Pants, prove how liberated and suave you are.” And in that 6 or 7 year old sweetness, I had to prove it.

So, I began with in vitro insemination. I followed up with artificial insemination. Then I capped the whole explanation with a giggle-shrug bold-faced statement of...”Well, “ I roll my eyes as if she couldn’t possibly believe this, “ you know honey, some people prefer to do it the old fashioned way, the man puts his penis in a woman’s vagina and releases the sperm which swim up into the womb and meet the egg there and it is fertilized and a baby is made.”

And she falls on the floor laughing hysterically. And then says, “You didn’t do it that way, did you?” And because at that point in my life I was a lesbian, I could answer quite honestly that, “No, in fact I did not.” It seemed to be a great relief. And that was that.

Take a shower. Have a double shot of whiskey. Wipe the brow. And wait nervously until next time.

The next time took a long time. Maybe six years. This was a blessing, here was the opportunity to discuss theory. I made theory and philosophy my very best friend.

I have this opinion, that we are all connected. I hold this peculiar notion that energy is transferred between the people we name friend, lover, comrade or foe and solidified into an aetheric body. And with an oversimplified, pseudo-Einstein-like philosophy - which blanketly accepts that energy can neither be created nor destroyed - I believe that we carry pieces of each other’s souls from now until the termination of our existence on this here agreed upon time-space place.. Thus, in the give and take of forging relationships...in this sharing of auras or energy... which comes from good dinners, great conversations, whiskey drinking, and sharing a bar of chocolate ...a new entity is created. This is the body of the energy we have invested in each other.

This body has a life of its own. It lives on its own esoteric plane of existence somewhere next door to our shared reality and twelve neighborhoods to the south of Creator’s Place. This body can be injured, maimed, mutilated, or even murdered. So, when we begin to contemplate casual sex, we have to ask ourselves, “Am I willing to invest this universally mega amount of huge energy in this person?” AND “Am I willing to carry this kind stranger-friend from this life to the next and on into eternity?” The most common answer is: “No!!!!! That’s sheer lunacy!!! I can barely take care of myself!!!” And in consideration of the that aetheric body of hyphenated names - do I really want to create something that I will eventually destroy?

No, no sane body wants to murder, maim or mutilate any other body - real or aetheric. And therein lay the answer to why my infant, husband and I are all in the bed together every night, letting the baby boy kick us in the face, belly or suckling perma-latched all of our sleeping hours. We want to create a sane and healthy aetheric body.

We want this entity which is the manifestation of our souls combined to grow strong and healthy. We want to re-create the same bond I made with the firstborn. This time around we want it to be even stronger. (The first marriage came 2 years after the firstborn’s birth and the union resulted in booting the firstborn out of the family bed.) We want the aetheric body of this relationship to be nourished.

My firstborn seems to have heard my “weird ramblings.” She has an innate tendency towards long term relationships. And she is uncomfortably honest about her choices regarding partners. (For all of her teen years, there have been a grand total of 2 serious contenders + the 1 who was symptom of distress from which she quickly extricated herself.) Given the adolescent ability to fall in an out of love-bed every three days - I feel we’ve got a solid track record here. And when and if she is in a relationship which involves intimacy - she does not sleep in the same bed with the person at night. Why?

Because as I told her once, "When we sleep we let down our guard. This is the time when we are most vulnerable. Our auras swirl and shift and merge most easily then because we are unable to erect the barriers we place between ourselves and others in our waking state.

And I don't think she believes this lunacy. But, she’s not taking any chances.

If nothing else, it is a great argument for the family bed.

For in our most vulnerable weakness, our greatest strength is nourished and fed. Our resting time is the moment when families are armored to withstand the onslaught of our chaotic crazy culture. The aetheric body nourished by our dreaming sleeping souls are cast of steel... maybe something stronger.

We’ve been honest about our beliefs. We practice them. Science says it is so...sort of. What have we got to lose? Except sleep and the flagrant whimsies of whiskey.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Mick Jagger & Wisdom

The Struggle To Practice Attachment Parenting
As Method Of Questing After Spiritual Enlightenment

As with any group of new parents, our discussion eventually turns toward needs and wants. One of my playgroup friends feels strongly about a method of interacting called non violent communication. This form of communication encourages people to analyze their needs and make requests from people who can meet those needs in a manner which is more likely to generate a positive response.

It intrigued me. For a moment, I wanted to learn more. However, more kept leaving me with an uneasy feeling. I kept hearing Mick Jagger’s voice over and over. So much of what I perceive to be my needs can actually be classified - on deeper analysis - as wants.

I want more time to write.
(I have a need to create, to celebrate life, to be effective, to understand and be understood.)

I want to sleep all night uninterrupted.
(I have a need for physical well-being.)

I want to have more time with my husband.
(I have a need for connection, intimacy, acceptance, love and support. )

I want to dash over to New York to see a cool poetry show, or be on a tv program or attend a conference.
(I have a need to experience clarity, inspiration, authenticity and belonging.)

Even though these are all legitimate needs. This is not what I am doing right now.

Yes, I am writing. (This blog. Draft one of my ballet is done!) I am getting more sleep than some parents I know. (My physical well-being, while not optimal is pretty durn good.) I do have time with my husband. (Much less than before baby.) And by meeting with my friends in playgroup, I do receive clarity, inspiration, authenticity and belonging. In essence, I was spending a lot of time looking at what I lacked than what I had in hand.

It is human nature to want more. As a culture and society we are always chasing after immediacy. And we want everything “Biggie-sized.” We want it new and improved. Stronger. Faster. Better than ever. We want it all and right now thank you very much.

We expect the vehicle of our emotional, spiritual and physical lives to be a souped up, tricked out, spanky fresh new Hummer. And we become disappointed when our life resembles a well-maintained, energy efficient five year old Mazda.

Becoming aware that my life is like a Mazda - when so many other people's lives resemble a 20 year old Pinto or a burnt up, rusted out Chevrolet on block - is an invitation to the wisdom of choosing sanity. It challenges me to hold on to my faith and belief that everything I am doing right now at this exact moment in time is the right thing. It invites me to surrender to an awareness that I am blessed.

This surrender is an act of resistance to an unhealthy society whose corporate interests lie in my own sense of dissatisfaction. And if I am successful in resisting; if I surrender to sanity and acceptance, then I have won. I am the victor.

A playgroup friend of mine recently delivered a sermon at a Unitarian Universalist Church about Sudan and the thousands of people who had fasted in solidarity. He said, “To my mind, nothing is more sacred than those urgings that cause us to recognize and to act on behalf of others: For the well-being of our present relationships, in respect for the struggles of the past, and in hope for a future that is rooted in sanity, imagination, and compassion. We must hold on to each other. We must leap.” (1) And to make anything sacred involves a sacrifice. To make anything holy involves faith. Right now, I am making sacred and holy my relationship with my family. In many ways, some parts of my life are fasting. And other parts of my life are feasting.

I am letting go of the idea that my life has to be the largest one on the road. In return, I receive more than I could have imagined if I had planned it, asked for it, requested it or forced it into being. This is my journey towards accepting the vision I have for myself and my family. My way is not the right way. In fact, my way is probably the wrong way for people. There is no one way. Each individual journey towards wholeness is unique and precious.

But, suddenly, my life is a winged horse. There is no road. I would never have thought to ask for the sky.

“You can’t always get what you want. But, if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” - Mick Jagger

1. Excerpt from "Fasting For Dafur: Sermon For Smithon Unitarian Universalist Church" by Lawrence Gorden Wray, Lay Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church, Pittsburgh Northside

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Becoming The Balloon Leaving A Child’s Hand

Isolation and hours
standing on end like arm hairs
respond to a host of passing
ghosts. These nonverbal wriggling

creatures of endless need,
stimulate the tenderest
reaction to humbling down;
celebrating the basest corporeal concerns;
submitting to generosity;
accepting infinite opportunities
to become the balloon
leaving a child’s hand.

O rise and rise toward love,
change diapers, wear vomit
press a deafening wail to your shoulder
and smile with a tear in one eye
about never sleeping

enough. And when it is
too much, because the days
no longer have names
because night never is
that dark womb of regeneration,

look around. Babies come everyday
at any moment. I am not alone
these hours do not have to tingle and prick.
So many of us are floating
towards wisdom. There is a price.

In gathering with other parents,
I find my way towards being present
in the gift I have received.
This ephemeral blessing of discerning
and meeting endless need fades
and recedes with time. The child
tightly holds your string. Tugs,
tugs and pushes you away
laughing. Eventually, all we are left with
are dear moments, memories,
satisfaction and new freedom’s euphoria.
A ceiling to kiss. A myriad of bobbing
colors dancing. Children holding outstretched hands.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Serenity & The Lessons Old Houses Teach

Meditations on Acceptance, Selling a A House, Chasing a Toddler and Moving To England while meeting the Deadline For A Contract and Nurturing The Firstborn’s Transition To College

I see Serenity. How ancient and voluptuous she is. The grapes peel themselves for her. Levitate into her perfect mouth. Shiver with joy as her teeth mash, tongue presses, throat constricts around them. This is how she touches everything.

Isn’t she terrifying and seductive?

Old houses - like old women - have secrets, mysteries and frailties. This is their charm and challenge - helping them stay vibrant, strong and healthy long enough to understand a small fraction of their patience, forgiveness and wisdom.

I shall sit in Serenity’s lap today. Children, after all, imitate their parents.

Dancing around my dorm room, I used to sing along with Kate Bush’s song “Lionheart.”
There is power in words. Now, look what I’ve done. Oh, good.

Dear Sisyphus,

You have been a very bad role model.
I shall not even glance in the direction of the boulder today.
I will dance away from the hill.
What you are doing no longer looks poetic.


Oh, look! There’s what I was seeking!

Yes, she has called again today during nap time knowing full well it is nap time and her brother prefers to have company when he naps. This precludes phone calls, email checking or otherwise engaging in anything but nursing.

I am glad she calls home whenever she calls home. Even daily at naptime.

I certainly never wanted to call home.

* * *
The origin of the word sacrifice is “to make sacred.” Surrender is not always defeat. Be aware of to what you give voice. Peace is terrifying and comfortable. Have faith in vision. Embrace circumstance. Be thankful. Be thankful. Be thankful. Happiness is not everything you want, but an understanding of how to shape and define your own desires.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Writing, Water, The Great Sow & Salvation

We are such creatures of water. Flowing one moment, stagnant the next. Rushing madly and standing still. I am supposed to be writing a Neo-African Dance Ballet for a small company. Instead - I am mourning this moment of stillness. This place which is waiting to be filled. Today, I keep trying to remind myself that being in each and every moment is a state of grace. This is a good thing.

But, I keep returning to the ballet - which last week rolled over my entire essence like ten thousand razor blades. It filled me with resentment. It made me question what I am doing sitting on the floor stacking a bunch of plastic rhombus. “I should be writing the (next great ) fabulous piece of literature,” I would exclaim loudly to myself. Every nap time, I soured my milk. I kept saying to myself - “I should be able to get shit done at nap time. Nap time should be MY time.”

Today during the napping, I invited again The Great Sow. She was the only sanity when one month after the birth of my son, I lived in a fixer upper filled with boxes and was grateful that I could finally make milk because we had moved. I felt powerful and graceful. Eternal and magnificent. The Great Sow lays on her side - happy, fat and lazy with her piglets suckling, kicking, suckling, dreaming. She does not want to clean her sty. She does not want to roam the fields. She just lays there (like me at nap time) a great, powerful heaving body bringing life and sustenance to her young. In her massive indolence is the power of the future.

How often I find myself acting like the river before a waterfall. Churning, thrashing crazily towards one dramatic event. Thinking - “Oh, oh! I am jumping and leaping. When will all of this stop? I just wish it was all over by now.”

All of the drastic and radical events are happening now. I am the river dashing over the cliff. This is parenthood. This is writing. The creek bed becoming the river becoming the waterfall becoming the quiet pond seeping into the underground water tables. And rising.

Friday, September 10, 2004


Really Me
Really Me,
originally uploaded by christinaspringer.
how often has my soul been stolen?
I have snatched and held
glossy flat time
these aribtrary moments
colored, black and white live
in boxes

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Spilt Milk and The Moon

The Random Question

a river of hunger.
a baby's open trusting mouth.

Twenty minutes vanish
bottles, tubes
and milk dripping.
Smaller than tear drops
I count two thousand before
I reach 4 ounces.
Now, we are both starving,
the baby and I.

Illogical sympathy for cows.
Breast pump pulling,
humming, sucking.
Vow to become vegan.
But, the stomach sings,

"beef! beef!
and tiny little lambs!
wring the chicken's neck!
feed me bowls of clams!"