“Big Sigh in Springtime” (poem) (mine).

Big Sigh in Springtime

It’s complicated, you know: being alive, being outside

at the neighbors’ on one of the first warm nights in half a year,

and there’s a doll-sized lamb frolicking around the porch,

content to be free and not kicked by its mother, almost

too precious to look at. Before we walk the short distance

home, we hear the season’s first peeper: lone screech in the dark

in the beaver pond, waiting in exile until the hatching

of comrades. We walk back with our bowl and our spoons

and the sky all around us: we’re pooped. We’re in love

with each other and our dreams and exhausted.

There’s a car to be fixed and we need a new truck

that can handle the ice. There’s not a hint of crocus

for miles, this cold hilltop bowl unwilling to surrender

her wintertime ways. It’s been nearly a week

since I showered and I still have to choose how we’ll package

our oils to sell at our markets and tomorrow I’ll train

for another small job. I think a lot of people think all I do

is wear dresses outside and eat fruit, and partly

that’s true, but also: I’m tired. Spring’s about to burst

and I’ve yet to finish Middlemarch. I remain widely

unpublished and my nails are like daggers torn sharp

with my teeth. I can’t yet picture where our life

will be planted and I can’t paint my landscape

before the canvas is stretched. My brain’s composed

of colors, painted partly by him and embellished

by me. My grammar’s intuitive, just like the rest of me–

going on gut, gunning on gut, slamming the breaks,

quick-catching a view of what whizzes by while I drive.

I like talking walks and I always walk quickly,

though I’m trying to enjoy walking slower, looking up

and around instead of just down at the mullein

and mushrooms popping up everywhere. These days I’m holding

out hope that my sister moves east and on Thursday I head

to the city by bus to say hi to the Whitney, the subway,

the blossoms, my friends. It’s nice to go south yet painful

to leave my love in the house, sleeping alone in our bed

made for two, sitting alone at the small kitchen table where we rest

all our meals. When I said it’s complicated, being alive, being

outside at night surrounded by grass greening back

to its best summer self, what I meant was I’m tired

and I’m happy and I’m healing and I’m growing

like ginseng–I’m taking my time. In these days before

children, all my time is my own and I covet that time,

sinking deep in the couch with a thick hunk of literature,

putting on earrings just to go down for dinner.

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I paid $8 for this poem (and I don’t regret it) (Ben Aleshire).

Sometimes you’re in New Orleans for a bachelorette weekend with your favorite ladies and you meet a Vermont poet with a typewriter on the street and you ask for a poem please and he writes you one and you like it a lot and you pay him $8 which seems like a lot to you but seems like a little to him since he just had a woman hand him two crisp twenties for her poem. And maybe if this happens to you you feel a little bit like the world is helping you out, throwing you a bone, or in this case, a Ben.

 

Fruit

 

Clementine, you say,

already tasting it.

Apricot, and the word is caught

on your tongue (lone muscle

of both language & hunger) (the word

itself you peel and undress).

In the night you wake,

find yourself in an orchard –

don’t you        don’t you

You cannot sleep for the sound

of apples falling all around you,

words heavy on the branch.

Even trees let go their fruit.

Nothing weighs more

than a burden refused (say the apples

touching each other in the grass)

 

***

 

 

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.

ellie scott misha in a crown

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.

A literary recap and also some beautiful things.

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I went to AWP last week, for what felt like a week. For you nonwriters, AWP is the biggest literary conference of the year. Workshops, lectures, readings, a bookfair big enough to kill any sane person’s love of books, famous writers all around, lots of glasses, lots of beards, lots of notebook scribbling, lots of beers. I schlepped apricots, trail mix, water, my phone, notebooks, and about ten pounds of books around the city of Boston for three days straight. Other things that occurred: lattes, reunions, inspiration, Anne Carson, free chocolate, free pens, free buttons, literary journals, poet swoons (see: Anne Carson), and I met my pen pal for the first time, with whom I have been corresponding for a year. Magic! Below are some tidbits from the weekend too good (read: weird &/or awesome) not to share.

 

“I believe that the future of poetry belongs to dead poets.” -Valzhyna Mort (poet)

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“I prefer myself to Charles Simic.” -James Meetze (poet)

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“You’re some kind of something and I like it.” -Dara Wier (poet)

*

“They will try to make you choose between the things you love but you do not have to choose.” Muriel Rukeyser, as quoted by another passionate woman

THEY WILL TRY TO MAKE YOU CHOOSE BETWEEN THE THINGS YOU LOVE BUT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CHOOSE. 

*

“For nonconformity, the world whips you with displeasure.” -Emerson, as quoted by a college professor dude

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“I am just another person in all normal regards except for my love of lemurs.” -James Tate (poet), as quoted by another poet

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“Lanyards are a great way to humble people.” -Jacob Otting (poet & comedian)

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“This wig is terrific.” -Terrance Hayes, reading one of his poems (SWOON)

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And here are some patterns I am loving this week, by Phoebe Wahl.

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smallchickenswatch

 

And that is all for now. Besides for the joy of another friend engaged, the speed of a new (old) car, the sound of the rain (rain! not snow! woah!), the crunch of breadcrust littered with seeds, and the feel of a hot mug in my hands.

 

Joe Brainard & White River Junction (writings & photos).

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White River Junction is where I live, and work, and eat. It is also where I yoga and latte and gossip and discover treasures. It is where I mail letters & where I show off my extensive hat collection. Joe Brainard passed through here on a bus once (probably more than once), and he wrote about it, and these days I’m reading Joe Brainard again because I think of him as a pick-me-up, even though he was mostly sad and worried about being too skinny and anxious about the concept of being a “painter” and the concept of love lasting. Then how does he make me so happy? Because he enjoyed being alive and wrote a lot just to do it and he drew pictures of things on tables and hung out with James Schuyler, one of my gay dead loves. And he had a good attitude, he did his exercises and illustrated books and drove places with friends. He was one of those charmers, I think. Here’s some of him.

 

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*top image is from The Best American Poetry blog and the bottom image is from my phone’s camera, taken while drinking black tea with milk & honey.

Merry Christmas & Happy Gilmore!

Gilmore is a holiday celebrated by my family. It involves my sister and I watching Adam Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore,” and then we take a nap. Sometimes we skip the movie altogether and go straight to the nap. It’s a great holiday!

 

Here’s me cutting down our Christmas tree in Vermont.

 

cutting the tree

 

Here’s a reindeer with bad spelling and holiday joy. Off I go to Austin, TX. Merry days to you!

 

funny little reindeer