Will I continually
start, stutter, 
stumble, stop.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
Just do it
Sounds so simple
Seems to be impossible
Try again
Do the important stuff first
It’s all important
except maybe 
cleaning the house
Some things, like sleeping
Are important by nature
Other things 
are important to me
It’s all timing
When I have the time
When the conditions are right
Neither happens
Crazy busy
Speed up
Slow down
Mixed messages
Completely let go
Completely believe again
Think differently
Let it be
I be busy
I be quick
I keep running
Until I am sick
I be busy
I be in denial
Despite it all
I still wear a smile

“Forgive the dead year. Forgive
yourself. What will be wants
To push through your fingers.”
~ Marge Piercy, “The head of the year”

Forgive yourself…
Isn’t [s]he the hardest person to forgive of all?
I’m still waiting for her to make amends
The future is not ours to see
or to make
or to bend to our will
Half of what we think up
comes from 
Not wanting to feel 
or to fall 
into a thing gone bad
to stay warm 
and dry
No matter what we do
what plans we have 
Will this thing that will be
push in where it’s not welcome
And become whatever it wants to be?
Must we simply learn this?
Accept it?
Open our hands
our hearts
and trust?
That it will be better 
than anything 
our bruised minds can come up with?

“The moon is dark tonight, a new
moon for a new year. It is
hollow and hungers to be full.
It is the black zero of beginning.”

  – from”Head of the Year” by Marge Piercy –

Yes, it’s a new year but I have the same old morning ritual as always…

  • Make coffee. 
  • Grab the canvas tote bag that holds my journal and the books that I’m reading. 
  • Sit down in the living room by the floor lamp with my “Be Happy” mug of fresh, dark coffee. 
  • Pull out whatever book of poems I am currently on and start reading.
  • As soon as I’m grabbed by a poem because of the wording, flow, humor, truth, or hard slap, I jot down a few lines in my journal. 
  • Then I write my own words, which may comment on the poem or not.

This way of taking in a poem can take days or even weeks, depending on how long or complex the piece is. Whatever lines I’m writing down, whether they are at the beginning, middle or end of the poem, I always read the whole thing over again to see if I discover something new.

Okay, so some people might be thinking this sounds a bit OCDish or just plain boring. But I like taking in the words this way. I love the surprise of taking something that I’m already familiar with and diving deeper and deeper, finding that words, like water, shift and look different, depending on how much light is shining and how much turbulence is going on underneath the surface.

If I just read a poem and think “Wow! That was cool!” Then move on to another, the words of one wash away the other before I’m ready.

It makes me think of when I was a kid and the occasional children’s pony ride my mom let me go on. It wasn’t easy for my mom to get me to wash the lingering pony smell off myself and my clothing. One sniff and I was back in the saddle all over again. Who wants to let go of that kind of magic?

This experience of poetry reading, of lingering with the words and letting them sink in, makes me wonder how much of life I live by only reading it once, too quickly, then moving on to something fresh… new… Always seeking something new to see, to hear, to taste, to wear, to be.

How much do I miss by not really looking? By being distracted by busy thoughts and lassoed up by the next whiz-bang thing?

Bringing in something new isn’t bad. Who knows how long I’ll keep this up with poetry before I have another idea to improve my writing and a new ritual (or practice) begins. The problem lies with moving on too quickly or not even being present in the first place.

I don’t want to
Skim through life
without space
or pause
Not anymore

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