The So-Long Day

guys-and-dolls

photo from Guys & Dolls

 

Grandparents

preparing

to fly back home

to where they hang their hats

and bicycles.

 

To the crabapple tree

the straw people

the smooth river stones

steep stairs

blue room.

 

Their wall of us

feathered hairstyles,

outdated pairings.

 

Posters of shows

Grandpa has directed,

silos of grain

wood stacks

fireplace

braided rug

sixties wallpaper

shouting HAIR! and love.

 

And I’ve only a

small handful

of recording

with them

when I need at least 360.

 

How could I write

seriously about them,

their lives

history

bound-up in next visits

when

I need a whole summer everyday

for the rest of our lives.

 

Bread making

cheese nibbling

gin and tonics waiting

on conversations and moments

to set aside and sing.

 

Hearing about mechanics giving way to learning just how little

he was expected to obtain.

 

And Grandma, her dancing,

private practice,

pink jeans juxtaposed with casseroles and June Cleaver,

thinking, moving friends,

and her parents–

Nanny so smart

even a part of Mensa.

Her “tootaloo”.

 

Did you know she had poison ivy on her wedding

& didn’t even

sweat it.

 

Yep, I need more time

with these two.

More whistles

and songs

stories and hugs

for like FOREVER.

 

Are you away from Grandparents? Are they still alive, thank G-d? What makes or made time with them so gosh-darn special? You may have a poem lurking there! List five smells or items from their home–what images come to mind that you want to forever keep, take out, and savour?

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A Juicy Discovery

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It is quite juicy

to suddenly be able to

understand gossip,

to lean-in

learn, discover

that

I am at the core,

a RAVING busy body.

You see,

America means I am EVERYWHERE

at once,

in every booth

back office

check-out counter

girl-talk

mama talk

talking hushed voices

round the clock.

Like Jim Carrey when his ears

took on the job of Almighty G-d.

SO much! SO much!

And that’s only what was spoken aloud.

(Fahgetabout what is being shushhhed).

Then there are the murmurs, the sighs,

the oversensitive, overactive

imagination

which is all on overtime,

jet lag,

and sheer

adrenaline

at

mere comprehension.

can i get an “amen”?

 

For you expats or bicultural, bilinguals, how is it for you when you go back home? How does language strike you differently as you move back and forth between worlds?

Mapping

Written on my United flight with my sixth-month boy, as we flew out of Japan, away from my daughter & hubby, 

towards my sis & her baby, grandparents, the whole mishpocha but not my girl & man. 

Image

photo by Flight Aware, Japan

I keep looking up

at the map

as I sail over

Saskatchewan

& measure time

by how fast

I inch towards

the Great Lakes

& over.

Keep studying

glancing up

moment to moment

as if it’s a subway map

written in Japanese

where at any moment,

my stop

could sneak up on me

& I could

quite accidentally, sail past.

 

My jet-setting trips pre-babies were so glamorous–just me, Vogue, lotsa wine, & movies. 

In between activities, I’d use fabulous moisturisers and make carefree lists about upcoming plans. And now? I cannot pull up the movie screen with the airline’s bassinet set up. Sharing my lap with a baby and a meal does not work, and I actually used my Chapstick as an eye cream, applying with my dehydrated, leathery flying hands. I slept all of ten minutes (out of 14 hrs) , finally giving it up to go become besties with the other insomniacs & flight attendants in the back, where we talked phone plans and airline mergers ala 1986. 

All I could do was stare at those computerised, real-time maps. I actually asked an attendant, “Are we there yet?”, only two hours into our crazy-long trip. 

How has your jet-setting life changed over the years or with kiddos on your lap? How do you cling to that old luxe life in the air?

weighing big things

weight

You could spend your whole life

tense

not wanting to cross any major streets for fear of being hit,

not even read fairy tales

because in those pages, there is always death

lurking

in a mole, on a witch,

in her jealousy,

a potential curse brewing,

seething, bubbling up.

 

I know someone

who never makes any left turns,

i swear.

i am not just being metaphorical.

only rights.

 

Can you imagine

your commute to work, a road trip,

your whole life

accrued in miles with only rights.

 

You could avoid trains

because you could get a sleeve or an arm in those fast shutting doors

or worse,

hear news that someone

jumped.

 

You could fear

being a widow and never marry

your true heart’s love

because it would someday

be too sad.

 

You could have worried yourself into a tizzy,

into a hospital in Jerusalem

because you heard old reports of terror.

 

You could back into a sticky web of anxiety

and never take that lovely petal-lined walk

down a tulle-trimmed aisle.

 

You would have chosen against beauty that day,

declined the family who also chose you that day,

bestowing you with

pink pearls,

a silken kimono,

the someday children who would carry

their prayers, promises,

eyes,

genes.

 

One breakout,

one left-hand turn

one

skinny-dip at night

into fear’s fuzzy wake,

into flight,

and immediately,

like my daughter squealing as she threw last night’s obscenely cold bath water

all over her,

pouring it out in pitcher-fulls,

know it is okay

to both live

and make mistakes.

 

Rather, you can get hooked on falling into the arms of grace.

Knowing there is a warm bath towel and a happy ending

at the end,

on your pillow,

in the tuck-in and

“good night”.

 

When did you choose love & jumping-off? There is one traceable moment for me in Colorado (the summer I met my Love), where I literally chose to leap off a little cliff into the Colorado River, deciding faith over “what ifs”. “My life is in Your Hands”, I offered before flinging myself off of the ground. 

Maybe your risks are Heath Crunch over vanilla, maybe BIG Faith, like calling off a wedding, stopping or starting medical treatment. Maybe it’s all big faith, Risk. Love. Life. 

When did something in you change to say no to fear and yes to faith?

Wild Horses

Thinking of how “Wild Horses” always reverberates for me.

Let’s do some livin, eh?

It’s easy to do.

And even when it would take a bunch of wild, Chincoteague-esque ponies

or some hulking, shaggy-ankled Clydesdales,

there is usually some big tug-o-war with rope going on.

I can’t let you slide through my hands“.

And even for a simple evening,

an obsessing pros and cons column

inside my nine year old field day limbs

push and pull

drag and lift

family with an ocean in between

and a bris

life and death

always on the forefront

emails with newborn pictures

love gushing

and also cancer.

Last time I was away

a wedding

a disaster

the tsunami

and a rift in communication

even for that second…

to visit some means leave more

and sometimes that is important,

my husband encourages.

Let’s do some living…

Sometimes it takes a lot to go,

even if for a brief,

very important,

clandestine,

& virtuous

visit.

–Isn’t it funny? I just read, after writing this, that Keith Richards wrote the song about not wanting to leave his two month old child. What a good, good, good expression: “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.” Ain’t that the truth.

When was it so hard for you to be away from someone you love? Did you ever have to make that choice about being away? Daycare vs staying at home daily? A big business trip that would keep you away from an important birthday celebration? What was it?

secrets of the housewife kind

cake shhhh…just as we speak, i’ve plunked out tubs of old veg, a teensy container of what had been very nice meat prepared with ginger, mushy mushy rice cereal my baby didn’t eat, (who knows how much to prepare when he’s just starting out) 1/3 dried up sweet potato chocolate tofu pudding (ick) and some cole slaw, just a bit. Hush, you wonderful woman doin’ it all, some days it’s enough to do laundry and serve food at all. i’ve got heaps of dishtowels to fold and then fit, nursing our baby a vaccuum to manuever and i swear that’s not it. Shhh, you husband, i’m sorry to waste this food that i’m pluckin out from the fridge, but at least you know i don’t put my nails, hair, fashion, or whatnot ahead of this mess.

Supply & Demand

Also do not forget

the way your children smell,

the feel of your lips

on their sleeping foreheads

or the fleshy cheeks,

the just-right-

every-moment

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and looking back,

you, too,

may concede that their cries

were cute, too.

Tender.

The physiology of need

as your mind goes tense

and milk is there,

to be sopped up,

used to nourish.

Your babies grow fat

and you feel proud,

the teamwork

of supply and demand.

The husband pointing-out

the modern art headboard

that is milk-splatter.

And I’ve even gotten my son

like a fire-hose

flashed across his face,

displayed in his baby soft hair.

We are in the business of making milk—

fatty, fortified,

sweet thigh milk.

And it is good work.

Have you ever suffered that wholly-cringe response where your baby is crying and a well-meaning stranger or family member is laughing? It is the WORST feeling and your body has its own physical, hormonal response. That laughter just wears on me, but I’d like to think I am getting more graceful in my responses. 

Any splash-worthy nursing experiences? I produced SO MUCH MILK with my first; even now with my son, we often wake up in a swimming pool of milk.