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Weeping at Trees
I didn't used to care for April, now I do. Everything's always changing. Let's write some fucking poems.
It’s April, thank god. I used to hate it. Even wrote a poem about how much it sucks once, but that was 13 years ago. People change, just like everything else. Which is besides (or I dunno, maybe precisely) the point.
I don’t know how to measure how I’ve changed in 13 years. I used to be 25 and wracked by anxiety, medicated to mitigate debilitating migraines, reasonably committed to destroying myself. Me and Carrie had a dog called Oliver who was great at the only trick that’s ever mattered, which we called Put Your Head in My Hand. I’ll let you guess at how it went. I wrote spare, quiet poems that prized precision and gave people cause to check in on me. I insisted I was not the speaker. I made myself so small, but never small enough. I wanted to disappear, or scream and never stop. It was 2008. I was underemployed. I sold the hideous jewelry given to me by a man I should have never loved for cigarette money. I smoked constantly. I loved cigarettes and angry men. I thought that I could save them. If my love was any good that it would save them. I did not love myself. I had so many lovely friends. None of us had kids or mortgages. All of us had roommates. We haggled over theory and PBR, took care of each other as best as we could, rode bikes to the beach on Sunday, took naps on the floor, grilled corn over coals, played catch on the roof, refused to wear helmets, smoked cloves and called it irony, worked so hard to not mean anything and took everything deadly serious. I shook with grief at early blossoms, marked for swift and early death for opening too soon. I was so scared of spiders. I did not love myself.
Now look at me. In love with April. Still weeping at magnolias, but now for different reasons. The other night I carried a daddy long legs from the bathroom to the garden. People change. Just like everything else.
It’s National Poetry Month. This month poems are president. That’s the law, and it’s the only one I recognize. Some of us are out here trying to write a poem a day. And you can too. The trick is not trying. The trick is pay attention. The trick is sitting your ass in the chair and letting the words fall out. The trick is loving yourself enough to love your art enough to let it happen however it may. The trick is don’t stop trying.
If you need help (I always do), I.S. Jones, a straight up genius, has commandeered the Luminaries Twitter feed and she is showering us with love and prompts. A little juice to wet the wheels. Go ahead and mix your metaphors. Poems are president now. The only rule is write the poem.
Yesterday she told us “Write an ode.” And so that’s what I did.
It’s about you. It’s not done. It’s gonna change. Like everything else.
Ode to You Who Hears Me Singing
Who puts the seashell to your ear
even knowing what you do
and calls the sound of atoms
Who knows the trees by name and sees
the wind scar in the sandstone,
named the baby Junebug, plucks
her evenings into person
Who brings a single candle
to the garden after sunset
Who worries after tulips, curbs
the urge to hurry bedtime,
who's learning to love her struggling
voice speak softness into strength
Who holds the world together
Who sometimes floods apart
To you who hears me angling after
beauty in the dark, and knows
I keep my hair long should
you one day want to braid it
To you who longs and listens,
and knows your ache by heart
I will keep myself alive
until you know it’s you
I sing for.
Okay. That’s it today. I have another poem to write. So do you.