Because I Can’t Get Enough Right Now

Patience

Patience is
wider than one
once envisioned,
with ribbons
of rivers
and distant
ranges and
tasks undertaken
and finished
with modest
relish by
natives in their
native dress.
Who would
have guessed
it possible
that waiting
is sustainable—
a place with
its own harvests.
Or that in
time’s fullness
the diamonds
of patience
couldn’t be
distinguished
from the genuine
in brilliance
or hardness.

— Kay Ryan

*****

One of these days I will again post my own thoughts, but Ms. Ryan says lots of great things.

If my mind is space, and time is time, the exact location of my mind cannot be determined at any point in time, not without that location occurring in the past. When I want desperately to be in the now.

This is my uncertainty principle. That’s what I’m feeling.

Rest assured, there’s lots to be said about school (SO. MUCH. SCHOOL) and boys and friends I don’t see nearly enough of. And meeting poets. And autographs. And food. And boys and church. And some boys that aren’t smart. And new friends. And the cooling weather. And swearing at school, though not by me. And running into former seminary students who are so very tall. And staying up until 4am or waking up at 3am and either way letting the silence soothe me. And seeing those people in my life that make me feel like all is right with the world.

Eventually, the past will catch up to now.

Thanks for your patience.

This Poem Stunned Me When We Read It Aloud in Class Last Week

BEFORE THE AIR BECAME THE JOURNEY

It is Good Friday
and I am seven.
I don’t understand the priest
who speaks in Latin
or in Polish,
but I like the hopeful smell of
candles burning.

Inching forward
on our knees,
we sway and shuffle towards
the giant crucifix
propped at the railing.
The men’s heads are bare.
The women wear bubushkas.
Everywhere I look
there are soles of shoes.

My turn. I stand
and stretch to reach
the bleeding instep.
An altar boy
wipes away my kiss
with a white handkerchief.

I bow my head
to imitate the old man
who on Sundays stays
for all the Masses,
locked in place
at the altar rail, face
buried in his hands,
hunched over and sad
as if, like me,
he’d done everything wrong.

Someone like him, I think,
could stop the nails
from going in.

Elisabeth Murawski

If You Want to Read This, You Know What to Do.


Discipline


I lie in bed at 3am
trying to write a poem.
My light is on
and I try not to disturb the crickets.
Their hearts have reached a resting state
and they are saving their songs for tomorrow.
They have discipline.
The loudest thing this morning
is my pen
The most impetuous thing this morning
is my mind
conspiring against the pen
haphazard on the page
scrawling into illegibility
which isn’t like me.

Part of Why I Remember 9/11

There are definitely ways of coping with the events from ten years ago that are more crippling than reparative.

But remembering that loss helps me to acknowledge in a healthy way the time in my life when I was terrorized.

It’s not a patch I’ll ever sew on my sleeve. I don’t talk about it all the time. I was a kid. It was in the ’80s.

It happened. I can’t unhappen it.

But I also have chosen not to let it discourage me.

Through it, I have learned resolve and determination and forgiveness. I have exercised faith. It has taken a long time.

So, of course I see loss and sorrow, but I also see hope and trust that our country will recover.

We will heal.

Just a Few Things Intentionally and Unintentionally Related to Today

HOME TO ROOST

The chickens
are circling and
blotting out the
day. The sun is
bright, but the
chickens are in
the way. Yes,
the sky is dark
with chickens,
dense with them.
They turn and
then they turn
again. These
are the chickens
you let loose
one at a time
and small–
various breeds.
Now they have
come home
to roost — all
the same kind
at the same speed.

–Kay Ryan

From her interview at NPR at the time she became the poet laureate:

First of all, it comes from the thing we say to other people when they’ve done a lot of stupid things, and now they’re getting their comeuppance. We say, well, your chickens are coming home to roost, and I have no doubt that when I wrote this, I was chastening myself, and I was telling myself this, but unfortunately, this poem was sitting on the desk of an editor in New York at the time of 9/11, and it suddenly took on this terrible added significance, and I had to withdraw it because it seemed cruelly appropriate. . . . Now right after 9/11, that sounded, you know, the blue sky in here, the clear sky, sounded just like the beauty of that day, and those chickens sounded much too much like airplanes.

In relation to the beautiful day it was 10 years ago, here are a friend’s sentiments.

You can view this interactive map from the New York Times to see where people were on that day. You can click on it and write where you were and how you felt/feel.

This is an NPR interview with John Adams and his commission to compose a piece to commemorate the one-year anniversary of 9/11.

This is the first third of the composition:

10 years.

Still healing.

So I Went to My Cousin’s Concert on Wednesday

And I tried to take notes of the setlist. I have most of the songs down, considering I was writing in the dark and had to decipher my writing. Two full days after the concert.

Lea is a great personality. She’s been in the biz for a long time, and she’s at ease with the audience. The band was great.

No one in our honorable audience seemed to post any contraband video on YouTube. So, here’s concert coverage from everywhere else in my attempt to recreate the experience for you.

It was a lot of fun. My cousin speaks great English. Awesome.

Feeling Good

This has got to be one of my favorite cabaret songs.


Hahanpin Ko

I played part of this for my mom, and she at least translated the title for me.

http://youtu.be/bcrcEk-8tgk

I Dreamed A Dream

This always makes me want to cry.


Pokerface

She said she wanted to sing something fun after turning 40 this year. We had fun with her.


Reflection

She told the story to us about how Disney cut the song in half for the movie, so she had to sing it again. And she always sings the full version when she can. Which is perfectly fine with me.


(A song I don’t remember)

I Give My Life for You

Yeah, of course girl gets a Tony for this role.


The Last Time


Blackbird

Very pretty version.


(Another song I don’t remember)

On My Own


For Good

Wicked will always carry wonderful memories for me.


A Whole New World

The volunteer from the audience who sang with Lea during this song had a good voice, but he was nervous and missed a few cues. It was still pretty fun, though. The guy in the video does a much better job.


Everybody Says Don’t

So, she didn’t say at BYU what she says in this video. She just went right into this song without an introduction. Maybe she felt it was safer not to say anything.


Journey


Encore
On My Own – She resang this one with a camera man circling her for footage for a series BYU TV is producing for the spring. It’s called something like “The Song that Changed My Life.” We clapped extra hard, partly because she told us to, but mostly because it’s an incredible song, and she doesn’t ever sound like she gets tired of singing it, even after thousands and thousands of times.

Forget You

I sort of cringed throughout this last song, because I wondered how many people in the audience were aware of the original version, which is the first version I had heard. I felt uncomfortable for the older part of the audience who expected more of the Broadway hits. Anyway, this is a very interesting sign-off song. Just saying.

The Last Post for This Week Is A Poem

“Swept Up Whole”

You aren’t swept up whole,
however it feels. You’re
atomized. The wind passes.
You recongeal. It’s
a surprise.

Kay Ryan

And, an excerpt from the linked interview:


What do you think about the state of poetry and the reading of poetry in our country?

I never, ever worry about poetry or its survival because it’s the very nature of a poem to be that language that does survive. Poems are even better than tweets – they don’t require any electronic equipment. They can lodge right in your brain. They are by nature short. You don’t even have to remember all of them — you can remember just a phrase. That can be something you can turn to in any emergency, good or bad. You’ll pluck out a little group of words, just maybe a phrase, and that’s exactly what poetry is for. It’s for the things that really last. Because it lasts.

This Song and the Heart on My Sleeve

This song is from Patty Griffin’s first album, Living with Ghosts. It has been on my mind a lot, especially as I contemplate my life. If I were an island, the song would not make any sense. The principle would be ridiculous.

Maybe just a mini-review of this song.

It’s Patty and her guitar and her feelings. Rawness and purity and vulnerability. Universality and dissipation in bygones. It hurts, it heals: I like it.

May’s rating scale:

MAY!

May.

meh…

meh?

MESS.

We are swimming with the snakes at the bottom of the well
So silent and peaceful in the darkness where we fell
But we are not snakes and what’s more we never will be
And if we stay swimming here forever we will never be free

I heard them ringing the bells in heaven and hell
They got a secret they’re getting ready to tell
It’s falling from the skies, it’s calling from the graves
Open your eyes, boy, I think we are saved
Open your eyes, boy, I think we are saved

Let’s take a walk on the bridge, right over this mess
Don’t need to tell me a thing, baby, we’ve already confessed
And I raised my voice to the air and we were blessed
It’s hard to give, it’s hard to get
But everybody needs a little forgiveness

We are calling for help tonight on a thin phone line
As usual we’re having ourselves one hell of a time
And the planes keep flying right over our heads no matter how loud we shout
“Hey, hey, hey!”
And we keep waving and waving our arms in the air but we’re all tired out

I heard somebody say today’s the day
A big old hurricane, she’s blowing our way
Knocking over the buildings, killing all the lights
Open your eyes, boy, we made it through the night
Open your eyes, boy, we made it through the night

Let’s take a walk on the bridge, right over this mess
Don’t need to tell me a thing, baby, we’ve already confessed
And I raised my voice to the air and we were blessed
It’s hard to give, it’s hard to get
It’s hard to live, baby, but still I think it’s the best bet, hey, yeah
Hard to give, and I’m never going to forget
But everybody needs a little forgiveness
Everybody needs a little forgiveness

Recipes

One day when I was younger, I asked my dad to teach me how to cook and bake. Mom and he took turns cooking, but Dad did most of the baking. He cooked and baked during most of the time he was in the Navy, and I couldn’t have been more grateful that he brought his work home with him.

At different points throughout college, I called my dad for advice about cooking and baking. How much cold water for the crust? How much difference does nutmeg make? He gave me tips on many of his recipes, that while it was important to measure exactly, he told me to observe consistencies and textures and trust my instincts on what “looks” right. He told me not to be afraid to taste and adjust accordingly.

Sometimes my attempts were successful, and other times reminded me that I needed more practice. And that maybe I needed to trust myself more.

The missionaries came over all the time for meals, and my dad proudly fed them. His goal was always to overfeed them. He was constantly tasting and stirring and seasoning and often experimenting. He made great stews and steaks and chili. He made a great sweet-and-sour sauce that went well with pork or fish or chicken.

Dad likes to tell a story about a time he was at sea and preparing a meal for all the sailors on board. The the ocean was rolling, and he was trying to bake bread, but the bread pans would slide in the oven and bang against the side, and the dough would inevitably fall. My dad was a perfectionist with his baking, and he would always throw away his sunken attempts and try again.

He figured out that he should make enough dough to fill enough loaf pans to put into the oven at the same time, to pack them side by side, across the oven rack, fitted against each other and the oven walls. This allowed the bread to rise and the sailors to have homemade bread for their meals.

His best work was always his baking. At holiday times he made multiple pies. He made cookies and cinnamon rolls and cakes. It’s hard to imagine a time when our home didn’t smell amazing.

He taught me how to make French toast and how to tell when to flip over pancakes. He made enormous three-egg omelets and cooked bacon and sausage perfectly. I owe my love of breakfast to my dad.

I learned the importance of a clean workspace from him. He said to clean as I go, for not only does that free up space that I need for the next delicious thing to prepare, it prevents a giant pile of dishes to wash at the very end.

He baked whenever, not just for holidays. Sometimes I would help him roll out his perfect pie crust for pumpkin or apple or cherry cream cheese or pecan pie. Sometimes I would help cut the pie crust into smaller circles to fill for turnovers. Then he’d let me seal the edges with a fork and paint the turnovers with an eggwash. They went into the oven, then I’d mix some powdered sugar and milk to brush over them as a glaze once they cooled off .

He’d let me sprinkle sugar and cinnamon across rolled-out bread dough that had been brushed with melted butter. Sometimes there were raisins. He’d roll the dough back up and slice cross-sections and place them on a baking sheet and let them rise. Then he’d bake and ice them in the morning for fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

Waking up was never hard for me as a kid.

Banana bread happened quite frequently. He let a couple of bananas go beyond ripe,  soft and almost black, and nearly self-dissolved in sweetness, and he would put them in the freezer until he needed them. I remember doing homework in my room and suddenly smelling banana bread and coming out of my room for a warm piece sometimes served with a scoop of ice cream.

Then, of course, there was the eating of our creation. And the sharing. My dad always shared with guests and neighbors and folks from church. He always made plenty. He loved being busy in the kitchen. He loves making people happy.

The other day, my aunt told me over the phone that my dad has driven to places several times and couldn’t find his way home. In his clearer moments he realized that he isn’t safe–he is endangering himself and others–and he suggested to my aunt that he can’t live on his own.

She said there were times that she’s found him sitting in his chair, staring at the walls, waiting to die.

But he’s on antidepressants now.

He’s in a lot of pain a lot of the time, and his doctor scheduled him for a follow-up surgery on a long-standing condition he has, but according to my aunt, no one has checked on the effects of the combination of medications he is taking. His blood is thin, his heart is bad: he is not a good candidate for surgery. At my aunt’s insistence, the doctor referred him to a specialist.

Dad gave my aunt power of attorney and she’s been trying to organize his affairs. He’ll get rid of his house. And his truck. He won’t be driving anymore.

He’ll be checking into assisted living. He and my aunt have checked out the facility, and apparently, Dad has already made friends with a neighbor across the hall from his room.

He knows that my aunt and I have been talking. He worries that she’s told me everything.

It’s important for me to know.

She’s such a good sister to him, and I cannot imagine what it’s like for her to watch him fade before her eyes. She has only wanted for him to be happy.

She said that doctors have diagnosed him, and there’s only so much they can treat.

My aunt said that the missionaries don’t come over anymore.

Dad has stopped cooking and baking completely.

He’s forgotten the recipes.

Polls Are Great

My first week of school was pretty much amazing, but I’ll write more about that later.

In the past few days I’ve asked people what I should do with the rest of my life, and they came up with some pretty interesting answers. If you have an opinion either way (because you know that I will hold you completely responsible for my life), feel free to comment.

x: for a while i was gunning to live by a river with an irish poet-explorer. i’m way off-track, so you could take over for me
This definitely has a lot of appeal, and really, I don’t see why this couldn’t happen.

C: hard to say
Other people are supposed to have an easy time figuring out my future, but I’ll let this one slide.

H: ummm….go to paris eat really amazing food and find a handsome french man that admires you and buys you really pretty dresses and takes you to balls and then let me come visit you and then in a few years after you’ve had you’re taste of paris, move back to the states to be closer to your family and friends and of course your husband will have an amazing job that will let you travel when ever you want, but he wont want to leave your side, so he’ll have to come with you wherever you go in the meantime, you’ll be an amazing writer who will have your own column and eventually book that everyone in the world wants and becomes a number one seller in seconds then you could donate some of your money to charity and go on excursions to help the less fortunate people of the world
too much?
Is it really ever too much? Is there ever a detail too small? I say no.

B: grad school

  rock climbing
  love life
  reading
  teaching
  family
  Go

And then there’s the list approach, an outline with some really basic ideas. Then I get to fill in the gaps. Not bad.

J: we need to find a professional decision maker

 just do something that you like to do
 you don’t have to obsessively LOVE to do it
  but like it
  and be challenged by it

and feel like you’re doing something worthwhile

  or there’s always bellydancing
I like this advice, too, because not only does it leave my options open, but because I don’t have to wait to obsessively love something to pursue it. Also, bellydancing just seems like it should be impossible.
 

K: I don’t know much about life plans, but I believe in your ability to make choices

I like this a lot.

F: You ever read any jack kerouac? I say you either do something like him, minus the drug dependency, or write total money making fluff. It doesn’t have to be writing. I just came up with that since you seem to enjoy it and be decent. I suggest getting a publicist or agent. And don’t be afraid to get bad reviews at first. They can’t all be winners. I’ve been thinking about that as I write stand-up. I want to get a decent amount of material, then if I get any time off, looking into getting a booking agent or manager and doing some traveling gigs to get a feel for it and getting my feet wet. I feel like we were raised to struggle or hit it big. Nothing in between. But I guess that would be okay too.
Okay, maybe you can figure out who this one is. His response impressed me. He does often say substantial and wise (and often raunchy and funny) things, but I’m glad that he’s also thinking about his life.

You folks are so great. I’m so grateful for all of you.