When you are in pain, you should picture the aching spot turning into a blue light. My sister taught me that many years ago. Blue blue blue. Cramps, heartache, migraine. All of them a warm blue glow.
Today is one year since my father-in-law passed away.
J. and I went to yoga today. A very gentle, relaxing class, most of which was spent with legs up the wall.
Let gravity do its work. Let the poison seep out of you into the floor. Put some weight onto bones that forget their strength otherwise. Blue blue blue. Thoughts are not an enemy in meditation, only judgment is.
Stunning Photos Reveal Hazy World Full of Enchantment and Secrets
Created by photographer Nika Holodnaya (a.k.a. Neekwe)
My body and I, we know things about each other but neither of us is talking. The body knows how to hide disappointment/is disappointment.
Lidia Yuknavitch on bodies and fiction: "People are often asking me if the things in my short fictions really happened to me. I always think this is the same question to ask of a life—did this really happen to me? The body doesn’t lie. But when we bring language to the body, isn’t it always already an act of fiction? With its delightfully designed composition and color saturations and graphic patterns? Its style and vantage points? Its insistence on the mind’s powerful force of recollection in the face of the raw and brutal fact that the only witness was the body?"
I am fascinated by scars and bruises—the body’s memories of pain.
A big ugly scar on my left knee from playing hide-and-seek in flip-flops on gravel (so much blood) when I was a kid. A small red line on my left foot from a wine glass my husband dropped on my birthday eight years ago after he cooked the most amazing dinner for me and four of my grad school friends. Round vaccine stamps on both shoulders because Eastern Europe. A tattoo on my finger to mark the shape of love.
The only witness was the body.
I would like to go to there.
Small things like the wine stains on the tablecloth between us. I could love you in a city where the street names are all unpronounceable as long as the stones in church walls remember the warmth of lonely palms. Grilled razor clams in the market on Sunday, outside the rain coming like an anger, like a diagonal tear in my favorite yellow skirt. The romance of umbrellas in a foreign country. The romance of train tickets, miniature coffees, rooftops.
the chronology of water
I first read The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch about a year ago. That book destroyed me a little. It’s my favorite kind of book—gut-wrenching and gorgeous. It made my skin crawl. It made me want to wade into rivers and cup the night in my hands. It made me want to drink and write and walk barefoot onto snow.
Recently someone on Twitter asked about most compelling books, and I mentioned The Chronology of Water, and that made me want to reread it, and so I am reading it again, and it is equally if not more mind-blowingly devastating and traumatizing and sexy and glorious the second time around.
I went swimming this morning and I hit my head on the pool wall because I was swimming on my back and thinking about The Chronology of Water and not paying attention to the yard markers. I was thinking specifically of the part where Lidia says she can tell a lot about a person by seeing them in water.
I was thinking of what I look like when I enter the water.
You terrify me but I worship you. Please don’t make me leave. You don’t have to love me back but please let me love you.
No. 10: escape
Anywhere you look, the past
watches you. The past does not
blink, sees better
the more darkness you put in your mouth.
For the ocean there is no escape
after summer departs. Sand crunching
under suitcase wheels. Goosebumps
suddenly on brown flesh.
You could wear a necklace of blue smells
and make yourself into a canvas
but you cannot return without leaving first.
The ocean continues asking
as if there have never been answers.
Seaweed, oyster teeth.
What could a white sleepless eye
know about worshipping doubt.
I have prepared a list of alternative nouns to loan my body to. I want to give this rhythm to dance. When I’m in the mirror moving I can feel your cigarette burning the back of my hand. It hurts to wash dishes unprotected. But I move my good flesh. To clean and to dance mean something different when sun whips blackness into the scar.
I signed up for a writing workshop today. I’ve been in poetry workshops before, but this will be my first one in fiction. I’m a little bit terrified, but I also feel good about it, about taking another step toward learning how to be a writer.
Writer. What a loaded word.
I’d been writing poetry for fifteen years before I finally started identifying myself as a poet. I don’t know what changed exactly—it wasn’t one specific moment I can point to, but somewhere along the way to call myself a poet started feeling more true than to not call myself one.
Writer, though. Writer is so much bigger. Who am I to make this claim? What have I written? I’ve been working on the same manuscript for three years and I can’t honestly say that I’m anywhere closer to finishing it than I was when I started. If anything, I am further, because now I’m not so naive.
Writers are people who write regularly, who publish, who have smart things to say on social media, who go to conferences, who have critique partners, who have ideas for more than one project.
Me, I have some messy Word documents and a hunger.
"For the longest time, I was so focused on being deaf in my left ear, that I almost forgot my other ear was perfectly fine."
There were ten of us at brunch, from six different countries: Russia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Armenia.
English—nobody’s native tongue—was the only language we all had in common.
I was tasked with bringing flowers. I got yellow chrysanthemums because there is something unavoidably ecstatic about yellow flowers. They will last a while, the lady at the florist said, just keep cutting them at a sharp angle and changing the water.
I wish relationships came with such instructions.
We talked about language a lot. Three in the company were raising or were about to be raising a trilingual child.
Language is a funny thing. It’s never just about grammar and the meaning of words. It’s also the food, the history, the color of the horizon, how it made you feel when someone said something to you in Albanian or Russian or French. And that relationship has nothing to do with fluency.
I brought a vase too, because I didn’t want my chrysanthemums to end up in a beer mug.
My mother grows chrysanthemums of all colors and sizes in her garden. It’s comforting to know that a flower smells the exact same way in two different countries seven time zones apart.