Seattle, WA
Poet, blogger, lawyer, educator, sista, sister, aunt, daughter, mentor, friend, dog owner, lover of music and all things gluten free... Writing about all of this and more.

Monday, November 28, 2011

poetry revival

i close my eyes and listen and my mind's all muffled drums
beating like they're bleeding, i know where the struggle comes
from, and it's like walking through a graveyard for dead poetry
stillborn and murdered, there's a killer, and i know her, she's
me, and she be on some ol' "oh i'm so busy"
fills her life with so many to-do's you could lose yourself, get dizzy
from the distractions whizzing past you, taking up your breathing space
so i'm in this grieving place
remembering the sweetness
tasting the time i used to let my mind go boom-clap-bip-bop
now it's muffled, muted, whispered beats, and yet they don't stop
so i don't place any flowers on no headstones for my art
i lay hands on that dead soil and resuscitate the hearts
of those withered things
dried up words like dead moth wings
my prayer brings grace and resurrection
another chance to create life through introspection
my repentance and confession is i fail to count my blessings
in this artform, which feeds me, teaches me life lessons
from now on no half steppin and no time for second guessin
it's just time to unplug my mind's ear, time to hear each session
of drum beats in clear succession...

still working on this, but in its own spirit, i think it's important to throw out what i have so far.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

ambition

you said instead of aiming for the stars
you like to shoot for the moon
you do the practical, won't allow yourself to get consumed
by silly daydreams and fluff
i say the moon ain't enough
(and if i get some stardust i'm gonna savor that stuff)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Writing About Mom

Those who read this blog regularly know that there are some pretty consistent themes to my writing. One of the biggest themes is Grief. Today marks the 9th anniversary of my mother's transition out of this life that we know and into the next stage. I have grappled with what this stage might look like, with where she is--is she looking down at me? Is she simply resting? Is she with her parents, my father? Is she anywhere?--and while my theological beliefs have helped me find peace with many of these questions, the reality is that only God really knows and it's my job to just accept reality.

I don't really want to write much this year. I just want to feel what I need to feel, go about my day doing the things I need to do, and remember her. One might think that nine years would be enough time to help you not be a mess, but it doesn't work that way. My dear friend over at Alligator Legs put it well when she said:
at moments like these, it is apparent that time is only time; it does not comfort, heal, push you forward. grieving is real work and time does not, of itself, heal all wounds.


That said, I do think it's important to share something about Ms. Charlene. She is remembered and I feel compelled to remind. So here are some things I've written in the past. They still apply, so I think we're good:

You are here.

Dreams from my mothers.

Mother (poem)


Miss you mom.

Thanks for reading :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

mile·stone/ˈmīlˌstōn/

noun: A stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place.
An action or event marking a significant change or stage in development. Synonyms: landmark - mile post - milepost


A milestone in the physical sense is a posting along a road that indicates either how many miles you’ve traveled or how many remain until you reach your destination. It’s a sign that you’re moving forward, making progress, getting there. In professional fields, milestones are moments that call for a project team to stop and examine how their work is progressing, asking, “Do we need to change directions? Do we need to modify our course? How far along are we?”

Here I am on the other side of the 30 year milestone. What does reaching this mark along the road really mean?

In many ways the significance of milestone birthdays as opposed to that of others is completely arbitrary. Why do we celebrate a 5th birthday any more than a 6th one? Why is 21 so important, but not 23? Who’s to say that 32 or 28 are any less important or transformational years than 30? That said, I have to admit that 30 does feel different in some way. We can acknowledge the arbitrary nature of days/events like this while also embracing the utility of having something to remind us to appreciate and be reflective and evaluative about life.

In years’ past, on my birthday I would revisit and revise my “plan”-- be it a five year plan, a plan for the year, or otherwise. I have not yet crafted an up-to-date 5 year plan. I did, however, take a look at the one that I wrote at age 25. Imagine the shock and awe I experienced seeing all the things I didn’t do--live in South Africa or Chile or Ghana or Paris for six months, publish a novel, learn Spanish... I can’t deny that I had a moment of panic looking at this list of things undone. I wondered, am I going to look back at the end of my life and feel regret over all the things I haven’t done?! Where did all the time go?!

But this is what I’ve realized: when I wrote this plan I was a different person. Loss and other life experiences change you and they change your priorities. They also change the decisions you make and your motivation behind them. The thing that needs to happen over time is that you should be getting more and more grounded in your faith in your ability to modify “the plan.” Yes, I do kind of wish I had done more of the things on my old 5-year plan, but I also feel like I'm moving in the right direction and I don't feel inclined to change course. That's an excellent feeling.

For me, this 30th year milestone marks a shift in focus, away from my "wish list" of experiences and towards deepening important relationships and growing as a person. I believe it will always be a part of who I am to have a wish list of things to do--places to travel and live, for example. I think having an appetite for new and interesting things breathes life into, well, life. But I also know that this isn't the measure of a life well lived. Instead, I really want to know that I've poured myself into enriching the lives of my loved ones and becoming a better person.

In terms of that goal, a milestone birthday is no better occasion to take stock of how things are going than any other day in life. When you wake up in the morning, this is reason enough to celebrate and also think about how you're doing in terms of your path towards being who you're supposed to be. But since I suffer from chronic distraction, I'm certainly glad for the opportunity this birthday has given me to remember to do some of this reflection.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Things I Do Know

This is not an attempt to be deep, and at any rate this is certainly a shorter list than “Things I Don’t Know Yet.” So in celebration of age 30, here’s my list of 30 Things I Do Know:

1. How to make delicious gluten free chocolate chip cookies from scratch.
2. How to write a poem that comes straight from my soul.
3. How to draw a man's face, starting first with the number 2, 5, or 7, thanks to Uncle Carl.
4. How to make peach cobbler, thanks to Gram.
5. How to listen and talk to a child, thanks to Mommy.
6. How to release myself from a wrist grab, thanks to Pops and thanks to his black belt.
7. How to cry.
8. How to pray
9. How to worry, worry, worry; and that I need to stop that because it’s unproductive.
10. Relationships are the most important thing in life and they’re pretty much all you’ve got at the end of it.
11. God is REAL, even if we humans can’t stop bickering over the details of His/Her whereabouts.
12. Money doesn’t feed the soul, but it sure enough feeds the belly.
13. You know love when you see it, do it, feel it, receive it.
14. It’s important to get sleep.
15. It’s important to get exercise.
16. It’s important to eat healthy food.
17. It’s important to enjoy delicious, not so healthy food, every now and then.
18. It’s important to be able to say no when you need to.
19. It’s equally important to be able to say yes when you don’t want to.
20. It’s important to know how to let go.
21. It’s important to challenge yourself to open up and let people in.
22. Plans are just as important as dreams, even though dreams are certainly much more inspiring.
23. With all the forces out there competing for your time, you’ve got to make space for the things that are most important to you and stay firm on these boundaries.
24. Your passions and inspirations will keep waiting at your door. It’s better to feed them early and often. This way you won’t find yourself weighed down with regret when you finally open the door to find a wasted, neglected thing that could have been beautiful and strong.
25. Re: #24, that said, it’s never too late.
26. Grandma knows, child, grandma knows.
27. Poetry, music, art = medicine.
28. Children are prophets.
29. Grief sucks.
30. Life is short.
(and a bonus: 31. Life is sweet.)