the animal eats
the animal eats
I will be full

I will be full

On one hand, there's what we want. On the other, there's what we do. Let me read you this poem. It's incredible.

Today I want to feel like a poet.

Most days I do. And yet.

I don't move through most days the way the poet I could be might.
Most days I make different choices.

I might drop deep into work mode, where I have spent most of my adult life, writing other people’s stories. I might spend all morning, noon, and night at it, breaking only to let the dogs out and refill my tea. I might forget to drink my tea.

I might spend two hours researching Taos—what hikes we can take with the dogs. Where to pick up lunch, where to eat it, somewhere pleasant. What holy ground we might stop to kiss along the way. The bridge where we could linger to remind ourselves we're small, as though I need reminding. Where to learn about earthships, where to learn about the land, what it's willing to grow.

I might look up recipes for chiles rellenos, measure what I have against what I need, and find my own way forward.

I might spend 30 minutes watching the large puppy do large puppy stuff. I might call this time well spent.

And it is. Sure. But on days I wake up wanting to feel like a poet, I might want to make different choices.

I might want to spend more time sitting still, or at least sitting with the intention.

Right now, I intend to put every poem I might call more or less fit for publishing in a single document to print. I intend to resist the urge to edit or fuss as I go—that's a different project entirely, and one that too quickly becomes an excuse to do what I always do, which is nothing much at all:

Tinker with my little words, infrequently, in seclusion.
Tell myself I cannot share what I cannot finish.
And if nothing ever feels finished, well, I guess that's what I'll share: nothing.

(This is certainly one way to feel like a poet.
It isn't what I'm after.)

I'm after divinity in the details.
The music left unsaid.
Thirteen ways of looking at a black bird.
Knowing the words by heart.
I'm after sitting with a line until it yields nectar.
I want to know the story I'm trying to tell.
I want to point to a moment in time and say feel this.
Heal this. Love this too. It had a part to play.
I want to see what happens when I don't quite know what I want to say but I'm here, I've made the time. Let's see what time has made of me.

“Why Bother” by Sean Thomas Dougherty

I want to print all of those pages and smooth them around me like a quilt. I want to see who wants to be what, and where. I want to practice care and curiosity when it comes to my own work. I want to judge less and allow more. To send Sofia what they've asked for every month since we met, to believe when they say "I want to read your work." I want to read their work, and others' too, and every book of poems in the piles I've stacked through my life, to learn to love more words and feel more possibility, to have faith in my heart I have done it before, I will do it again, and again, it's simply how I'll live my life.

But will I?
I know I’d like to.

Which means making different choices sometimes. And also sometimes, I won’t.

Some days I'll want to be the friend who drives to the airport and spends hours on the phone, saying everything out loud. The one who puts love into food and food on the table, spends two hours figuring out how to spend four hours in northern New Mexico, and doing precisely none of it, because the drive was more than enough. Feeling the sky get closer and the air grow cooler as the pines stretched taller around us, more than enough.

I won't feel like a poet every day.

Some days it's enough for me to try.

Here's a poem that I love.

Ceremony for Completing a Poetry Reading
by Chrystos

                                 This is a give away poem
You’ve come gathering     made a circle with me of the places
    I’ve wandered     I give you     the first daffodil opening
from earth I’ve sown     I give you warm loaves of bread baked
into soft mounds like breasts     In this circle I pass each of you
a shell from our mother sea     Hold it in your spirit      Hear 
            the stories she’ll tell you     I’ve wrapped your faces 
around me     a warm robe     Let me give you ribbonwork leggings
        dresses sewn with elk teeth     moccasins woven with red 
                                 & sky blue porcupine quills
I give you blankets woven of flowers & roots     Come closer
              I have more to give     this basket is very large
                          I’ve stitched it of your kind words
                     Here is a necklace of feathers & bones
                           a sacred meal of chokecherries
      Take this mask of bark which keeps out the evil ones
                         This basket is only the beginning
              There is something in my arms for all of you
    I offer this memory of sunrise seen through ice crystals
Here     an afternoon of looking into the sea from high rocks
          Here     a red-tailed hawk circles over our heads
                One of her feathers drops for your hair
May I give you this round stone which holds an ancient spirit
                              This stone will soothe you
    Within this basket is something you’ve been looking for
  all of your life     Come take it     Take as much as you need
                           I give you seeds of a new way
      I give you the moon shining on a fire of singing women
                   I give you the sound of our feet dancing
                 I give you the sound of our thoughts flying
I give you the sound of peace moving into our faces & sitting down
                          Come     This is a give away poem
                                      I cannot go home
     until you have taken everything & the basket which held it 
                                   When my hands are empty
                                                I will be full

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the animal eats
the animal eats
a bi-weekly reading of a beloved poem or excerpt from my bedside table, accompanied by a few stray thoughts and, on occasion, work in progress.
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Kristin Lueke