“Pregnancy is hands-free” (poem) (mine)

Pregnancy is hands-free

I’m growing a child while I sleep
I’m growing a child while I weed the lavender
I’m growing a child while I fill the ice cube trays
I’m growing a child while I wipe down the toilet
I’m growing a child while I organize headbands I never wear
I’m growing a child while I edit Spotify playlists
I’m growing a child while I throw out all my underwear with holes
I’m growing a child while I water the geraniums
I’m growing a child while I add more salt to the pesto
I’m growing a child while I bobby-pin my hair
I’m growing a child while I remove dirt from my fingernails

I’m growing a child while the maples slip into their best red outfits, while the mornings dampen with mist, while I pack cucumbers and hot peppers into jars, while I bag corn and blackberries and peppers for the freezer, while I simmer plum compote and pick the last batch of cosmos, while the cows enjoy their last spin around the paddocks, while I braid the garlic and wrap the yarrow in string, while summer unzips her skirt and throws it atop the yellowing milkweed, the New England asters, the spent blossoms of Queen Anne—

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Freelance poem (mine).

I work from home now

and I’m jamming to this song today

because Margot recommended it

and Margot knows what to pay

attention to. No, I don’t know Margot

but I know other women

who create television and funny mugs

plus my cousin-in-law

is the dude in the vest.

I’ve written a lot about vests;

haikus mostly, and desperate texts.

A vest is like a hug

for your chest, I’ve been known

to sigh, my core warm, my style fly.

 

Springtime poem (mine).

It’s springtime,

fling yourself
into the green
time, in the
meantime,
while there’s still
time, it’s clean
time, out with
what we don’t need
time, you know
what I mean:
let’s deem ourselves
better than fine,
let’s drink the last
sip of winter’s
wine.

gossamer dandelion

photo by Misha M. Johnson

“Wish for a Thursday” (poem) (mine).

Wish for a Thursday

In a soulmate we find not company, but a completed solitude. -Robert Brault

What I would’ve give to be settling in to eat breakfast
at Eaton’s Sugarhouse with you. The sky would offer
no commentary as we stripped off our scarves, unlatched
our jackets. We’d slouch a little in the chairs designed
for hunters on opening day of rifle season, for families
who’ve fed their cows hay from their own fields
for generations. We’re not those people; we’d only be
ourselves on a Thursday, a little sleepy still from summer’s
hot swipe of mayhem which we survived with long porch
lunches, sweaty bandanas, tulsi-scented winds. The windows
which appear cloudy from the road would be adorned
with hand-sewn curtains as if the diner were a living room
where anyone’s languor was welcome. Plates full of food
would arrive and greet our noses with their names.
We’d eat eggs and hot sauce over toast and split an order
of buckwheat waffles. It wouldn’t be the best meal
we’d ever eaten, not even the second best, but we’d be
unhurried and together: buttering toast, passing ketchup.

We Are Older; We Float, We Sink, We Sleep When We Can (poem) (mine).

We Are Older; We Float, We Sink, We Sleep When We Can

I’m nearly thirty and capable of commanding my body
inside a vehicle. The car and I, we go places together.

I drive south and then west, four hours plus one coffee
stop, to see Scott and his brand new baby. We meet

at a French cafe with “vintage gas station” as its theme.
The baby is strapped away against his chest, silent

and unseeable. We drink white wine and eat Frenchly
-titled meals by the window. Scott covers the baby’s head

with a napkin while he eats, which I both notice
and don’t notice. He is exhausted & he is a father

& I’m so proud of him. He looks natural with a baby.
He looks like someone related to me. Maybe this is why

I love him, or maybe it’s his excellent taste
in wall clocks, or the sandy fields & shifting days

we survived together in laughter. His husband is away
that day, working in the city. When he arrives home,

his face is nearly yellow from exhaustion. I want to feed
them both: applesauce, keffir lime leaves, matzoh ball soup.

At Scott’s birthday dinner party the next evening, there is wine,
deeply chocolate cake, and lentil soup with a pad of floating butter

on top like the raft we each contain inside us, each of us
the fat, the proteins, the flavor, the impending melt.

Patti Smith Month: An Introduction

What Is Patti Smith Month?

An answer I made up about a thing I made up

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I loathe when people complain about the weather. It’s like complaining about being in a body. Being in a body is 1) the only choice we all have, and 2) essentially a miracle. I’m bored by easy negativity because it’s not creating anything. It simply laments what IS.

Weather is the main way that nature touches us. Even if you live in a city, the weather affects you. One of my favorite things about living in the country is how big of a character the weather is in my life, in the lives of all my friends and neighbors. It’s something we all share, and yet it affects us differently—where Justin’s snowdrifts pile up is different from where mine do, but both of us have blocked windows.

That being said, February is not an easy time to be alive in the northern hemisphere. It’s cold, it can be dark for days. Which is why, two years ago, I created something called Patti Smith Month. It started when I decided to reread her book “Just Kids,” because my friend Scott had gone to the St Mark’s bookstore in search of it (we had recently seen Patti Smith do a reading there in frigidicecold winter). When he got to the bookstore, he couldn’t find it anywhere. He wanted to buy it because I’d told him how much I love it, and because we both loved the way Patti Smith looked at her reading, with her boyish body and her black beanie. We both loved what she said.

He finally asked a clerk at the front of the bookstore where he could find “Just Kids.” In my head, she looked at him like he was an Effing Idiot (because this is how clerks look at you because you ARE one and also they’re tired) (I’ve been there), and said “Her books are all in the back, next to her.”

Patti Smith was in the store at that very moment signing books. Instead of buying the book for himself, he bought me a copy, which he had her inscribe. This is one of my most prized possessions.

As I read this book two years ago, it lit all those little flames inside of me. Some of those flames have to do with being an artist, which has practically become a dirty word these days. Some of those flames have to do with the talismanic powers that we all have to instill our lives with meaning. Some of those flames have to do with wearing menswear and necklaces. Suffice to say: that book is a world I need.

And so I decided that every February, I would re-read it. That’s the beginning. That’s the kindling. Because when I reread it, I relive and remember my own dedication to art-making. I am reminded. I am refreshed. I refurbish my altars and don my Patti Smith shirt, the only shirt with a face on it I’d ever wear. I drink tea in the dark nighttime house and tear up pages of notebooks with words. Sometimes I commit to writing more letters, or revising a long piece, or improving the art on my wall.

This year, I will write a poem every day for the month of February. I will write a letter to a new penpal in the hopes that she wants to write back. I am in the process of beginning an exciting new literary project with a friend of mine, so that will come to fruition, too. I don’t know what else will happen. Patti Smith Month is about saying, I am a maker. And: there is no time but the present.

I believe Patti Smith Month is one of my best ideas. Not only because what it inspires, but because in making February a special month for myself, I have improved my own life. Patti Smith Month is the opposite of complaining about Feburary. It means I look forward to February and the way I’ll spend the month leaning in to the artistry inside me. Remember how environmentalists sometimes tell you that you’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem? I disagree. You are both the problem and the solution. So even if Patti Smith Month isn’t what will make your own personal February awesome, find out what will. Then buy yourself a t-shirt and get to work.

The view from here (photos).

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The oh-so-autumn pumpkin display at Killdeer Farmstead, where we sampled teas yesterday.

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Misha, setting up those colorful tea tins, boiling water, being bearded.

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The sissy visit earlier this month, during which we wore each other’s scarves, ate zealously, drank at the local bar, picked out tiny pumpkins at Cedar Circle, and talked a lot about INTEGRITY.

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The photo taken the day we closed on our house, which actually wasn’t quite the real closing, but still we were happy, and afterwards we went to a barn to buy a guy’s old futon frame, and then he showed us his highland cattle, and the view on the top of the hill was stunning, and we like, almost kissed on the lips.

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New home hoop dreams. Suburban accents of our new home also include: 2 car garage, porch, vinyl, wood paneling, wood paneling, wood paneling.

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Sexy glass jars plus rosemary plus then I added the olive oil. Aaaaaand we’ll sell them with a cute little tag tied around their elegant necks around Christmastime.

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These photos are a random smattering of what’s been going on. Not as photographic highlights (lowlights) from the past month include

packing things into cardboard boxes

doing yoga in the living room

threshing beans in the chilly barn

the return of celeriac

a lot of rain

listening to the Godspell soundtrack on high while Misha’s away

Cabot cheddar.