“(Brooklyn) Is Magic” (poem) (mine)

(Brooklyn) Is Magic

Brooklyn smells like palo santo
and wet daffodils as I schlep
to the next set of stairs
that leads to someone
I love.
I’m never in the city
and when I am
every second
is so city
I have to laugh.
The dogs dressed better
than I. Everyone clutching
their phones
like children on a rollercoaster
in need of their mother’s hand.
Even the bookstore is curated
to please the eye
and it pleases me
to see people I love stepping off the subway
like celebrities
and it’s pleasurable
to be one of so many
planning
buying
laughing
at once
over brunch
and for just a moment
the weight of breakfast
is heavier and sweeter-smelling
than the spring clouds bearing rain.

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A marriage poem for abundance (mine).

Abundance

for Scott & Josh

 

There will be days of singing & days of silent throats

There will be days of bouquets & days of empty vases

There will be days of thirst & nights of drinking

There will be raspberry days & days of stale crusts of bread

There will be days of nails in the wall & artless days

There will be harvest days & long nights of winter

There will days to gather & days to await the gathering

May the thin days make the days of fullness all the sweeter

May your fruits be many and your backs be strong

as you launch together

into your days

of abundance

 

July 5, 2014

 

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(photo of the couple’s first steps toward marriage by Misha M. Johnson)

“My Life as a Minister” (wedding poem) (mine).

My Life as a Minister

(for Kathryn & Andy)

 

To say “You may now kiss the bride”

is a treasure far beyond

most treasures I’ve known.

A treasure of love (my bests,

 

my only kind of treasures),

a treasure built of words (my tools),

a treasure said in public

in the presence of a trove

 

of dearest friends—

a treasure known by all, the words

learned early on, the script, that scripture,

holy words of matrimony, most of which

 

I banished from the ceremony. But not

those words, and not the kiss

which with light within me

I gave permission for.

 

You may now and you may always

and may you for all the days

kiss and kiss and kiss

the bride.

***

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Poem from over a year ago (melancholy, rambling, true).

Pizza Time

 

Sometimes I feel like I’m whispering

into a megaphone that’s turned off

says Sean, reading from a blue notebook

he made in art class last semester. He sits

 

down. I’m already sitting and I know

what he means though I ask the wrong question,

the one about the girlfriend. No, he isn’t sad

and missing her. He’s sad walking around.

 

I’m sad walking around, too. We sit and no one

walks past in the hallways because everyone

leaves our school as fast as they can. ]

Whole days go by and I see no one

 

that loves me, I say. He says, It wasn’t the same

at my other school. I say, Me neither. He’s

already closed that notebook he made.

But it’s not that there aren’t good people here,

 

I think, or say, we’re talking and not everything

from the brain exits the mouth. We have to go

to a poetry reading but we’re going together.

We get up. We pass by the side of the library

 

that’s covered in glass, the glass covered in blinds.

Is it us, or this place? one of us says and I say

This place, and mention New York and Kathryn

in the back of my car, nodding at how her city

 

gives back, makes wintertime worth it, all those

exhibits uptown and trombones in the park

and you can take the subway anywhere. Here

we get the sun, every day. And that’s nice, we say.

 

But that’s not anyone’s doing! We’re laughing

but it isn’t funny. And sleeping alone in a bed is lonely,

Sean says, I could wake up dead and nobody

would know it. I know what he means. I think

 

it has to do with bearing witness. About visiting

Klee hung on a wall. About loving a person

by cooking them tofu. Or something to do with

inertia. Or people with grit. Or an older

 

America. The reading takes place where

readings take place and waiting, we talk about

Jericho, being so smart, writing those poems, knowing

those songs. The poet in front says “fadder”

 

for father and it sounds more correct. Everything’s

over in about  forty minutes. I say the word pizza

because it’s Sean’s favorite word. Two slices with pesto

and two with ricotta. The game is on loud

 

in the kitchen; the kitchen is next to the booths.

Before dropping me off, Sean gives me a sticker

from a band he was in. It’s likely that I’ll save it

for seven years, then paste it to a letter  to him.

 

Dear Sean, I’ll write. The Holsteins here

are sick of their milk. The fruits on the trees

wage war by wielding juice. All the poems we wrote

in school are finally getting acted out.

A day in the life of someone else’s farm (photos).

In which I spend time with superb ladies, learn about “nature names,” drink beer for dinner, watch the last nub of sun hit a land I may someday live on, stare into the red red eyes of a rabbit, play with chicks with good hairstyles, sleep three to a bed, wake up just past dawn to milk a cow and a goat for the first time, drink muchly-creamed coffee, eat purple potatoes for every meal, meet three stout sheep…and enjoy myself outrageously.

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(All photos taken  by me at Kate & Nick’s beautifulheavenlyanimalfilled farm.)

No more snark, let’s all be kind (I agree with George Saunders).

How sick of snark are you? Are you as sick of it as I am? And I’m sick if irony, too. I’m hoping we’re in a post-ironic era by now, though perhaps we’re not quite there yet. Irony, to me, is a non-loving posture, a protection, a dangerous fortress. There’s this speech that author George Saunders gave at Syracuse University this past May that has been popping up all over my internet life, and I finally just read it tonight. It’s one of those pieces of writing that makes me feel like people are perhaps moving past this terror of the genuine that seems to be rampant in our society right now; past this anti-confessional moment we’re in, past the too-coolness, the mean, jokey distanced stance that keeps one at a safe distance from one’s own feelings and from others. George Saunders talks about kindness in this essay, and how kindness is what we should focus on, here and now, the sooner the better. And that’s something I can totally get behind.

 

Excerpt below, full speech here.

 

Do all the other things, the ambitious things – travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness.  Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.  That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality – your soul, if you will – is as bright and shining as any that has ever been.  Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Theresa’s.  Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place.  Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.

 

The past month or so in photographs.

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This is one of the farms that will not be our home.

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This was at the farmers’ market in Montpelier, when Ellie was visiting, and we met up with Kenzie, who is also a Suzie’s Farm Person, and she had those long fabulous dreadlocks.

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This was when Ellie and Scott and Josh were staying over. I made Misha wear my happy wreath because he was happy, too. And we drank that whole bottle of bourbon. And life was sweet and Scott jumped in the pond and Josh ended up getting a free Suzie’s Farm hat.

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This is my favorite photo of my friend Andrew, because the sun is all up in his face.

IMG_0122Those ladies? Oh those are my ladies.

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These are some bodacious poppies and some pretty Unidentified Other Flowers that grow beneath the grapes in front of our house.

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This is another farm which we won’t live on. But boy, was it pretty.

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This is my pen pal, Shannon. She’s even better in person than written. Plus, she’s married! Also, a poet!

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This was the fourth of July. Misha didn’t even mean to wear red white and blue and we had sausages for dinner.

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This is Misha with flowering mullein on Cape Cod. He really loves that plant. And in this photograph, he even matches it!

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This is my family in the early 90s. I don’t think I’ll ever be as baller as I was that day on Cape Cod, with that stance and that minnow net and that belly-bearing bathing suit. Also: how cute is my sister. Also also: notice how all our bathing suits match!

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This was leaving the Cape just today, admiring the font of the Sagamore Bridge, admiring structure.