Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Female Support

There are quite a few things women can do to hurt themselves. I started collecting a list in my head. These are dangerous things I have done, seen friends struggle with, or observed as common pitfalls amongst the female population. I want to take my time and explain these errors with clarity, so I will only post a handful at a time.

Handful #1:

  • Women hurt themselves when they walk in offense. Seriously, either say something about it (this involves discernment and learning how to communicate effectively) or let it go. Holding it in only stresses you out and then makes you gain stress fat. The other person is probably at Starbucks enjoying an anxiety-free afternoon.

  • Women hurt themselves when they exercise too much. If you plan your day around all your own personal exercise routines, you miss out on real life. Don't cancel plans to meet up with friends or family because they don't fit into your cardio schedule. Fitness should be a part of your life not all of it.

  • Women hurt themselves when they don't know how to say no. A good friend looked me in the eye the other day and told me, with years of experience behind her words, "You don't have to do what you don't want to do." This was not a license for me to go ahead and do whatever I wanted, but it was a warning not to let people manipulate my actions or emotions. You will have to fight false guilt and shame all of your life. What matters is that you are following God's path, not trying to please other people.

  • Women hurt themselves when they buy the wrong bra size. Seriously lady, help yourself up and out.

  • Women hurt themselves when they don't know how to be alone (and at peace). Develop your ability to be on your own. Whether it is for a few minutes, hours, or days, solitude is good. Resist the urge to panic, pick up your cell phone and call your boyfriend or your mom. Just take a deep breath, find the nearest patio, and chill down. I have found that spending time alone has really helped develop my character. I use the time to read what I want to, pray, write letters, or even just sit. Alone-time is rare; just enjoy it.

More to come....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


"But enough is enough. One turns at last even from glory itself with a sigh of relief. From the depths of mystery, and even from the heights of splendor, we bounce back and hurry for the latitudes of home."

-- Annie Dillard

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dying For Beauty

what can be salvaged
from inexplicable grief --
my writing, dressed in the

vapors of the moon -- ancient,

--Gail Wronsky

The Trees

I sit inside, doors open to the veranda
writing long letters
in which I scarcely mention the departure
of the forest from the house.
The night is fresh, the whole moon shines
in a sky still open
The smell of leaves and lichen
still reaches like a voice into the rooms.
My head is full of whispers which tomorrow will be silent.

Listen. The glass is breaking.
The trees are stumbling foward
into the night. Winds rush to meet them.
The moon is broken like a mirror,
its pieces flash now in the crown
of the tallest oak.

--Adrienne Rich

Between These Pieces

The searching eye enveloped in
thick battered skin, folded
around clouded white cornea,
sought to look at the stars
as it was told.

What constellations delighted,
what did he see that
caused a covenant
a pledge, a plight,
a promise.

And when birds of prey came down
on the carcasses,
Abram drove them away.

as the sun goes down
and deep sleeps fall
on every tired eye

that will possess it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


No one has ever told us we had to study our lives,

make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history

or music, that we should begin

with the simple exercises first

and slowly go on trying

the hard ones, practicing till strength

and accuracy became one with the daring.

--Adrienne Rich

Our thin house

walls were a papery-white membrane

that held the cloves a bulb.

In rich sand and sun

we thrive

(sleek, white and full)

without moist soil, parched,

(flakes crack and fall).

We cry out together:

protection from evil spirits

Reduce, prevent, strengthen.

[for Westover]

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kaison Mac

You wrapped your sweaty little arms around my legs, saying

I'll hold you I'll hold you I'll hold you

until I picked you up.

When I tried to feed you a berry

you took it from my fingers and said

my do it

and shoved it into your mouth all at once.

You are the quickest to say love you back.

-- I think your language is so much more than childish.

At a Table

Baking bread broken bread
and purple fingertips press out the pulp
From under your skin
comes the wine

filling the dusty air
like a thick reminder
fragrant and inescapable

Baking bread
and drinking wine:
Have we ever been anything else

Who put a body in the kingdom?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Words Mean More at Night

I've decided to start writing in the evenings.

Back-yard Grace
I became nothing
the back-yard sought to offer me grace.

An old woman with thin skin
and white fingers
wrapped her warm wind around light
reached down
and struck out my eyes.

She fed me
sugar red strawberries
and cold goat cheese
with thick, nutty lettuce.
Four days were pushed out of the earth
one after the other.
The sweaty skinned world
became sharp, full, loud enough for me
to sink back into the soil, unnoticed,
to sit quietly there
and die:

The ants in the kitchen march around the candle. The old man next door sells his boat. A blind woman in a wheelchair sings that she can see. A homeless man dances to "My Girl." Someone's cold beer drips with condensation. The blooms unfurl like fire and fruits squeeze thick and sweet onto cutting boards. Green avocados spit out slimy pits into copper bowls. Cracked eggshells rock on the counter, and two dogs dig in the dirt as the chickens stand by and watch, unsure.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

4 hours at the bookstore

Today I went to Dickens. I knew it would be a dangerous trip for my pocket-book, so I decided I would limit myself to female authors. I came out with a pile of gold: National Geographic's book on the history of natural medicine, Gail Wronsky's Dying for Beauty, The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore, Joy Harjo's She Had Some Horses, An awesome set of diaries by Virginia Woolf, an anthology of poetry by American women, Adrienne Rich's lecture on Poetry and Prose, The complete transcription of Rich's Poetry and Commitment, Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook and some of her poetry, MFK Fisher's The Art of Eating, and obviously a biography of Anne Sexton. I spent four hours in the used section and found most of the books there. After I sat for a particularly long time in the natural history section, I looked up and saw that a table of old blue-haired ladies had paused their card game to watch me. I didn't know how to take that. I struggled to stand up with my load of books and my hands were shaking from low blood-sugar (I forgot to eat lunch). I felt like I belonged at the table with them.

Here is an excerpt from Gail Wronsky:


Dying For Beauty

Silk ovals.

(Do we suggest the possibility of replacement --
copper for copper?)


A few small leaves. A couple of biscuits stuffed with butter
and avacado honey. Southern comfort. Lime - green
branches among the brown. Imagine an ice-stuck river,
after a cruel and thorough winter, shifting,
rushing beneath the surface, and finally, the disruption,
revolution, water going crazy with the strangeness
of its own escaping. Thick and brilliant red-clay
riverwater, bloodying the ice.

Apple - green branches among the brown
Stiff silk ovals pushing out of the tips of the uppermost.

I am in love with moisture.

Found Poems

Annie Dillard's book Mornings Like This, is a collection of "found" poetry. She took letters to the editor, newspapers, nature journals, almanacs, diaries, grammar books, even the apocrypha, and turned it into poetry. She calls it "editing at its extreme." I love the fact that she could read something as simple as a letter to the editor and see poetry. Here are some of my favorites:

We are not interested in tree limbs
Weighted with Spanish moss.
What we want to know is
Why arms go limp.

Is it the pain of blocking
Too many hooks? Is it the aching
That comes from throwing
Too many punches too soon?

We want facts, not French phrases.

--A letter to Sports Illustrated
by James P. Lewandowski, Toledo, Ohio. February 18, 1974


I Am Trying to Get at Something Utterly Heartbroken

-- V. van Gogh, letters, 1873 - 1890, ed. by l. Stone, translated by Johanna van Gogh


At the end of the road is a small cottage,
And over it all the blue sky.
I am trying to get at something utterly heartbroken.

The flying birds, the smoking chimneys,
And that figure loitering below in the yard --
If we do not learn from this, then from what shall we learn?

The miners go home in the white snow at twilight.
These people are quite black. Their houses are small.
The time for making dark studies is short.

A patch of brown heath through which a white
Path leads, and sky just delicately tinged,
Yet somewhat passionately brushed.
We who try our best to live, why do we not live more?


The branches of poplars and willows rigid like wire.
It may be true that there is no God here,
But there must be one not far off.

A studio with a cradle, a baby's high chair.
Those colors which have no name
Are the real foundation of everything.

What I want is more beautiful huts far away on the heath.
If we are tired, isn't it then because
We have already walked a long way?

The cart with the white horse brings
A wounded man home from the mines.
Bistre and bitumen, well applied,
Make the colouring ripe and mellow and generous.


A ploughed field with clods of violet earth;
Over all a yellow sky with a yellow sun.
So there is every moment something that moves one intensely.

A bluish-grey line of trees with a few roofs.
I simply could not restrain myself or keep
My hands off it or allow myself to rest.

A mother with her child, in the shadow
Of a large tree against the dune.
To say how many green-greys there are is impossible.

I love so much, so very much, the effect
Of yellow leaves against green trunks.
This is not a thing that I have sought,
But it has come across my path and I have seized it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Everything Strong

The fear of love is the plague, the end of the world. Everyone is afraid of love; from the top to the bottom of the social scale. People would like to be happy, to seek pleasure, but without having to suffer.
What miserable, unhappy fools and above all how sick…..Even the beast in man let loose is more interesting than the mass of all those unhappy people castrated of feeling. Everything strong, troubles and alarms them…
I am gradually getting used to my solitary life…..I can accept the fact that I am not appreciated, with serenity. People admire success above all, without understanding the least thing about it; I confess that I admire the instinct of the man who passing in front of a poor sketch of mine said: ‘this is beautiful because it is ugly.'"

[ Written by Georges Rouault]

Monday, June 7, 2010

Anne Sexton

The Room of My Life

in the room of my life
the objects keep changing.
Ashtrays to cry into,
the suffering brother of the wood walls,
the forty-eight keys of the typewriter
each an eyeball that is never shut,
the books, each a contestant in a beauty contest,
the black chair, a dog coffin made of Naugahyde,
the sockets on the wall
waiting like a cave of bees,
the gold rug
a conversation of heels and toes,
the fireplace
a knife waiting for someone to pick it up,
the sofa, exhausted with the exertion of a whore,
the phone
two flowers taking root in its crotch,
the doors
opening and closing like sea clams,
the lights
poking at me,
lighting up both the soil and the laugh.
The windows,
the starving windows
that drive the trees like nails into my heart.
Each day I feed the world out there
although birds explode
right and left.
I feed the world in here too,
offering the desk puppy biscuits.
However, nothing is just what it seems to be.
My objects dream and wear new costumes,
compelled to, it seems, by all the words in my hands
and the sea that bangs in my throat.


L: The most exciting thing that is going to happen to me this summer is this hot orange bra.
H: At least no one will shoot you.
L: Well, at least you will have some fun. Saddle up.
H: What are you -the mother of my sexuality?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More from Marilynne Robinson

Now that I look back, it seems to me that in all that deep darkness a miracle was preparing. So I am right to remember it as a blessed time, and myself as waiting in confidence, even if I had no idea what I was waiting for.


"...break up your fallow ground..."


Today my sugar snap peas tasted like a miracle.

I've always suspected vegetables were one of my greatest allies.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Soil and Eggs

[preheat the oven]

Olive oil, onion, salt and pepper:

and then a female is born,
sucked into this world by a storm

-long hair like an umbrella pulled inside-out
-body like a rib -- plunged into the bloody earth

and Mother Nature carefully
gives her breasts and calls her beautiful,
like the center of an egg.

Yolk drips from the door-post
and this world is blessed with a place to call home.