The Art of Disappearing

A whole day will pass quietly. Nothing much happens. Perhaps there is a little rain. Books open and close. Poems become in my notebook, or try to become. I breathe, but I don’t consider how.

One of my favorite poems by Naomi Shihab Nye:

The Art of Disappearing

When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.


Confession Tuesday – the garden fence poetry edition

I confess that last Friday, I asked my husband to build me a better fence around the garden. The pre-existing fence was a roll of concrete reinforcement mesh that wasn’t attached to posts nor the raised bed itself. Basically, it was a mess, and when I lost my first broccoli plant to rabbits (I think), I wanted something better. I confess that I thought it would take four or five hours to build the fence.

Enter my husband, carpenter extraordinaire. He labored part of the day on Saturday and Sunday, Monday evening, and finished up (mostly) this evening. The fence looks amazing. It will keep out moose and bunnies. I confess that after Saturday, I was uncomfortable each moment that my husband spent on the fence when he could have been working on his own projects. BUT, I should have known that he would take the time to build the most elegant and intelligent fence he could for the catawampus pre-existing raised bed.

My husband understands carpentry (amongst a lot of other cool stuff), and it would be impossible for him to be satisfied with a half-assed fence, the same way that it would be impossible for me to be satisfied with a half-assed poem. When you have respect for the art form, you will strive to master it. Folks sometimes ask me what they should do to be a poet; my first piece of advice is to read master poets, immerse yourself in what good poetry sounds like and looks like.

I confess that I think this axiom works in all aspects of life: learn about what you love, seek good examples, practice until you feel satisfied, then learn some more, practice more… A fence can be like a poem if it is crafted well enough.

Oh, and this is what a Bachelor Button looks like if the world crafts it. And the world has practiced making Bachelor Buttons quite a bit.

Confession Tuesday – solstice garden version

It is Tuesday, blue sky, solstice.

I confess that solstice always makes me a little sad because I know that the light starts waning from this point forward until December’s balance point.

I confess that I’ve been neglecting my writing in favor of my garden that now boasts beans, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, kale, and lettuce, along with 72 strawberry plants left by the previous owner. Obviously, if things work out, we’ll have a lot of strawberries to harvest. In the greenhouse (which took an entire day to clean out), there are tomato plants, basil, and cilantro. On the porch, oregano, thyme, chives, and lemon balm. And flowers… I confess that I am completely in the flow when I garden, tugging weeds, composting, watering; I putter and putter not noticing the time pass until I glimpse how far the sun has moved towards the bench. Then, I hurry in to scrub my hands with lemon verbena garden soap and make dinner.

I confess that today, I finally put the last touches on my home office and now I have no excuse to not be writing up a storm. So, here goes my hat in the ring. I have seven poems that I’ve written about my brother. I want to write another thirteen to fifteen poems that will be cohesive group to submit to chapbook contests by the autumnal equinox. Three months, fifteen poems to write, and twenty-two-ish poems to revise and arrange. Doable, yes? I confess that I the kind of person that needs deadlines – so, here’s my deadline – poems done by August 15th, project complete by my birthday in September.

I confess that I’m a magpie – ooooh, pretty colors – then off I go.

This is what a strawberry looks like before it dreams of sweetness.

And this, my solstice fire.