If you grow up the type of woman men want to look at, You can let them look at you. But do not mistake eyes for hands or windows of mirrors. Let them see what a woman looks like; They may never have seen one before
If you grow up the type of woman men want to touch, You can let them touch you. Sometimes it not you they are reaching for; Sometimes it is a bottle, a door, a sandwhich, a Pulitzer, another woman; But there hands found you first.
Do not mistake yourself for a guardian or a muse or a promise or a victim or a snack. You are a woman; Skin and bones, veins and nerves, hair and sweat. You are not made of metaphors, not apologies, not excuses.
If you grow up the type of woman men want to hold, You can let them hold you. All day they practice keeping their bodies upright. Even after all this evolving It still feels unatural; Still strains the muscles, holds firm the arms and spine. Only some men want to know what if feels like To curl themselves into a question mark Around you; Admit they do not have the answers they thought they would. But some men will want to hold you Like THE ANSWER.
You are not THE ANSWER. You are not the problem. You’re not the poem, the punchline or the riddle or the joke.
Woman, If you grow up the type of woman men want to love You can let them love you. Being loved is not the same thing as loving. When you fall in love, It is discovering the ocean; After years of puddle-jumping, It is realizing you have hands, It is reaching for the tightrope, When the crowds have all gone home.
Do not spend time wondering If you are the type of women men will hurt. If he leaves you with a ‘car-alarm’ heart, You learn to sing along. It is hard to stop loving the ocean, Even after it has left you gasping, salty. So forgive yourself for the decisions you’ve made, The ones you still call mistakes when you tuck them in at night.
And know this, Know you are the type of women who is searching for a place to call yours. Let the statues crumble. You have always been the place. You are a woman who can build it yourself. You were born to build.
I have been reading letters written by my father describing the summer ritual called 'haying'. Even after he left home as a young man, like a bird driven by instinct at the changes in the light, he would make the return to his home, the farm where he was born to cut, gather and bind the hay that would feed the cows over the long cold Northern Michigan winters.
My father was an artist, a poet, a writer, a musician, a composer; but he was also a worker in the field: tilling. Planting, harvesting. I don't think he would have drawn any distinction in what he did in the field, the studio. The concert hall or whatever flat surface passed for a writing desk.
Every human action is incarnational. Every human action can be holy...or not.
Everything that proceeds from our body, mind and spirit makes us holy...or not.
We need to heed the words of Christ about what proceeds from each of us is the is what makes us holy...not the place we park our bodies on Sunday mornings, not who we allow to sit next to us-and who we don't.
And at the risk of being accused of blasphemy, it's not even what or Whom we consume.
I happen to think Christ was very clear that its not what goes in or what deprive others of consuming that makes us holy.
And can we also drop the 'pretentious' and obfuscating words 'by their fruits you shall know them'?
Plain speaking it's whatever you DO or SAY.
People speak of 'fruits' as something that might be a banana or an apple or a poisonous berry...gotta watch it develop and maybe need some high-faulting botanist to actually classify it.
It's not that complicated.
Christ's words rarely are.
I think it's kind of humorous that people claim he spoke in parables to make his lessons and teachings clear; I think he told those for people who didn't want the simple answer, the simple word.
It was usually the thick headed or equivocators that had to be hit over the head with a bigger blunt instrument that got a parable.
'Who is my neighbor?'
Really? That from a man well educated in the Law, the Torah?
Bet he had today's equivalent of a gay person or another person he thought NIMBY and had justified a loophole to himself, but would never admit to it.
POEM Twilight: After Haying
Yes, long shadows go out
from the bales; and yes, the soul
must part from the body:
what else could it do?
The men sprawl near the baler,
too tired to leave the field.
They talk and smoke,
and the tips of their cigarettes
blaze like small roses
in the night air. (It arrived
and settled among them
before they were aware.)
The moon comes
to count the bales,
and the dispossessed--
--sings from the dusty stubble.
These things happen. . .the soul's bliss
and suffering are bound together
like the grasses. . .
The last, sweet exhalations
of timothy and vetch
go out with the song of the bird;
the ravaged field
grows wet with dew.
Did someone say that there would be an end, an end, Oh, an end to love and mourning? What has been once so interwoven cannot be raveled, not the gift ungiven. Now the dead move through all of us still glowing. Mother and child, lover and lover mated, are wound and bound together and enflowing. What has been plaited cannot be unplaited-- only the strands grow richer with each loss and memory makes kings and queens of us. Dark into light, light into darkness, spin. When all the birds have flow to some real haven, we who find shelter in the warmth within, listen and feel new-cherished, new-forgiven, as the lost human voices speak through us and blend our complex love, our mourning without end.
I want to tell you a gentlest thing. Like light to you. Like old faces being fed a good memory from inside themselves. Like eyes that do not watch but slowly meet across a room in which everyone is, and no one need hurry to what he is sure of. I want to say before we run out of rooms and everyone that I am slowest, surest, gentlest, too, across whatever room I look at you.
Until today I have never seen a picture of my Aunt holding baby Jody. I didn't think any existed. Jody was very sick as a baby and I thought pictures were the last thing on their mind.
TODAY a pile of these pictures literally fell into my lap while going through some boxes and papers.
Stories go on and on.
Today I also found out for the first time in my life that my aunt's husband had been a prisoner of war in a German POW camp in 1944-45. Another thing that 'fell' into my lap today. There is even a picture of him in the striped clothing behind barbed wire.
I am left with abosolutely NOT A SINGLE relative left alive from that generation to tell me why I did not know this, why it wasn't even mentioned.
My dear aunt Elizabeth Jane died this morning. She was born in 1929; not a good year for the US, but a good year for for the world because of her love, grace, dignity and overwhelming strength in the most difficult of circumstances.
Her only child, Jody, who has Down's Syndrome lives up North. Jody was born on MY Birthday, but a year earlier; I guess that means I was born on Jody's first birthday. Like a sign I was to kind of watch over her. Like my twin brothers, I always had a double birthday since we celebrated all birthdays together until we became adults and I grew up and she didn't.
The 50s and 60s were not an easy time to have a mentally challenged child. Back then she was always referred to as 'retarded'. It was the official term and everyone used it. Against the recommendation of doctors, friends and even family my aunt refused to put her daughter in an institution (she also was born with a cleft palate and couldn't feed normally-my aunt kept her alive by sheer willpower. Then the doctors told her Jody would not live to be an adult and also wouldn't be able to do anything for herself and was not 'educable'. Jody will be 56 this year. She graduated from high school. She can read and write, loves music and singing and just by being in our lives made us better, more compassionate people.
My aunt would not be what I would call a feminist. She was raised to be quite traditional; but it was watching her fight for her daughter; fight for a life of her own; ignoring remarks about her 'kookiness'-that's what they called women who were born artists and pursue the creative arts by hook or by crook.
I still will have her beautiful drawings and paintings AND my memories to remind me of this very gutsy women born during a time when gutsy women were put down socially, verbally, and even at times physically.