2019-11-22 A Love Letter for Today

A Love Letter for Today

 

My words are a love letter.
To love is a verb which doesn’t always mean
the same thing as it did the day before.
The bible says that it is patient and kind but i find
more often than not, it can also be lonely and wanting
and hopeful and full and sometimes stomping it’s foot
in defiance, not wanting whatever meaning is given that day.
What do the men that wrote the bible know
about anything really? How can you trust an ancient mirage
someone might have seen or heard
and language so new in the mouth
not everything had been named yet?
We can only know of love what we experience
in brief existence. And we can only know our thresholds
according to what came the day before.
And we can only learn the capacity of our cup
if we dare to let it run over once or twice
and can never know when or why it’s bigger
or smaller than the day before.
My words are a love letter to all who might listen
for a moment, in the morning to the birds
or gaze out a window, steam rising from a warm cup in their hand.
Those who allow themselves to be mesmerized by the dryer vent
pushing heat into the cold
or their breath as they wander out to get the mail in December
and also those who hold the importance of a moment up, in wonder.
Or a lifetime. Or a life.
Or each other. For all things fragile are a wonder.
I thought once that pain made me feel alive
and believed that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.
Now I believe only that what doesn’t kill me, leaves me alive
to try again tomorrow.
My words are a love letter to myself. To my future self
who will never read them, just as so many others who love me
and will never read them.
This love letter is just words.
Some of which don’t know the meaning of themselves yet
Or might mean something different
tomorrow.

2019-05-18 It’s Finally Here

Yesterday was my last day on contract. (I promise this post is not about work, again). Today is the first day of my new life.

How Many Moons Does it Take?

It will be many moons before I let go of feeling ultimately responsible for any outcome but I’m done with that life for now.

They may throw me under the bus, silently, without my knowing and I’ll feel it even if it isn’t true.

They will keep on smiling, telling me how great I am and I’ll be confused about the tone of their voices and wondering what their facial expressions or body language is saying that I can’t see. From 1000 or 2000 or 3000 miles away, wherever we are today.

I’ll be home, digging in my dirt and looking forward to picking up my children even when I know they will be moody or silent or falling asleep in the back seat.

I will be reading a page, not able to finish because I’ve had a thought so overwhelmingly important it demands attention and a keyboard and a screen.

I will be debating with myself about getting a coffee (ie. Sugar and cream and caffeine) and then lose, and then win.

I will be walking miles and miles under the sun or overcast skies or moon or whatever the Universe has decided it should be today.

I will be thinking of my love or sinking next to him on the couch to conspire about our future or grabbing his hand to go to a different room because we’re alone in the house that day.

I may be in the park down the street or far from home finding adventure on deserted backroads or crowded streets or in some restaurant that sets cheap red wine on the table like water.

I will stop everything and demand everyone direct their attention to the myriad of colors on the horizon when the sun rises and sets. Even if it’s only me and only blue. Because.. priorities.

The moons will be plenty and full and…

there may not be as many as I thought before I let go.

***

Happy Caturday!

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-11-28 These Are Strange Times

Here I sit in a random dentist office in the middle of the Universe. It might not be accurate to say Earth is in the middle of the Universe, but I suppose any planet that is not at the edge of the Universe is technically in the middle. Maybe not the center, but who knows, it’s all relative anyway right? I mean the Milky Way is, itself, a spiraling set of stars spinning on some other larger/unseen axis. We are just tiny little beings on a spinning rock that is spinning around a star. We are all spinning on so many levels it is a wonder that we aren’t all just falling down all the time, dizzy from rotation. Life is like endlessly attempting to walk straight lines while sleepy or drunk, until the end.

Human beings were one ignorant and arrogant enough to think the world was at the center of the Universe (and that the Earth was flat too). We may know a little better than that now, but not much. I mean, we are still arguing about borders and trade sanctions and starting wars in the name of beliefs and ideals we made up in our tiny little human brains to explain the unexplainable. I often think about how insignificant life is, and it is comforting in a way. It is comforting to know that no matter what happens in my life, that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s just one life after all. And if I fuck it up, it will not matter and if I achieve everything I ever set out to achieve beyond my wildest imagination, that will really not matter either.

I wrote a poem about all of this recently, and even putting that through the revision process that I have now become accustomed to seems a little pointless. I mean, didn’t I say everything that I was inspired to say the first time around? If I mess with that, and tweak it to make it better or more clear or more consumable or enjoyable for my fellow humans will that really matter? I think not. In any case – here it is (the revised version)…

THESE ARE STRANGE TIMES

Cats and cats getting along like republicans and democrats
yeah just like that / scratches appear
across fingers crossed / keep your arms and legs inside the moving vehicle
at all times / it was the worst of times – it was the worst of times / I’m afraid
nobody will ever be nostalgic for 2018 except maybe yours truly.

I was falling in love while the rest of the world picked sides, stood
ground / grinding their teeth yielding pitchforks and torches / a set of fine china
(or Koreas) stacked too high waiting for one wrong move / shootings and
and sanctions and troops at the border / oh my / but they can’t touch me no
not even brutal murder in Turkey could keep me from my Thanksgiving feast.

2018 was the year that truth became a man, a myth, a legend / a story
you want to believe but the cake is a lie / Zoom out
to discover it doesn’t really matter / All matter and mass and energy
expanding in the vast universe is destined to go nova.
In Spanish “nova” means “it doesn’t go” / How appropriate.

***

So that’s my update for today. Random poetry. I hope you like it.
(but if you don’t that is fine too)
With Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-10-10 When the Situation Calls For Chaos (or Poetry, Take Your Pick)

Strange Times

Cats and cats getting along like republicans and democrats,
yeah just like that / scratches appear
across fingers crossed / keep your arms and legs inside the moving vehicle
at all times / it was the worst of times, it was the worst of times / I’m afraid
nobody will ever be nostalgic for 2018 except maybe yours truly.
It was the year that truth became a man, a myth, a legend / a story
you believe but the cake is a lie / Zoom out
to discover it doesn’t really matter / All matter and mass and energy expanding
in the vast universe is destined to go nova.
In Spanish “nova” means “it doesn’t go” / How appropriate.

***

Sometimes.. well.. most times I like things neat and organized. I want the day to be planned out. I want things to have nice and neat beginnings and endings that are clear cut. I don’t want a lot left to interpretation. I want defined processes and things that make logical sense. I like it when everything is buttoned up and tied with a neat bow. I prefer order to chaos. I think most people do. I think I’m very average and not out of the ordinary with regards to these preferences. I believe that very few people wake up most days saying, let’s just see how crazy I can make this day. I could be wrong. I mean, I’ve talked to such a small fraction of the people alive today. It doesn’t matter anyhow, my point is I operate a certain way and don’t ever drift very far from that because it makes me uncomfortable.

I’ve tried to approach this whole school thing very methodically. Last semester seemed to go fine, but then again, I had less going on. This semester I’ve procrastinated and then scrambled – twice now – to get things done. I don’t like it. I hate missing deadlines and I’m beginning to get very frustrated with the fact that I can’t seem to find 2 solid hours to work on stuff. I’ve also tried to approach revisions and essays methodically. It sounds absurd, but I actually made a checklist of things to cover with each poem to make sure I’m following some sort of set of pre-determined rules. “Ask the poem what its about”. Sure sure, because I established early on that the poem has a mind of its own and has something it wants to say. See there, I started to rant about one thing and ended up on a whole tangent topic. That’s not organized.

What I am trying very hard to say, and not doing a very good job of explaining, is that this approach is not working. This daily balancing act, this paint by numbers approach to revision, this logical application of process and procedure. It’s just failing me. As I sit here, well past when I normally go to sleep, pontificating about how organization is failing me I’m leaning toward the brilliant idea of embracing chaos and allowing the random forces in the universe to work their magic. I’m feeling like letting things just fall apart and be messy. I want to try nonsense on for size and see how that fits me.

Consequences will always be tip-toeing behind me, sneaky bastards. I can’t stop them from whispering in my ear but I can hum a tune real loud in my head to drown out their incessant demands. So what? The kids need to eat vegetables, “let them eat cake” I say. Sure I’m supposed to work 30 hours, but what happens if I don’t. What will happen if I ignore all the emails, and notifications, and text messages. What will happen if I don’t vote or renew my car registration or change my furnace filter. Nothing that will keep the world from turning around the sun. What will happen if I write a poem and it has no point? If it’s really just nonsense? If it’s a drunk dream about dancing around with black licorice in a devastated dystopia? What if?

I can ask the poem what it wants to be about.. who the speaker is.. who the audience is.. where.. and when.. and how – but I don’t have to if I don’t want to.
I want to throw the rules for contemporary poetry out the fucking window. My heart sings in rhyme and you can laugh at that if you want to, because I don’t care. This situation I’m in has resisted organization. It’s a math proof that is un-verifiable because the steps don’t ever lead to the answer. So what if my brain writes poetry that doesn’t fit the times. I always knew I should have been born in the 17th century. Well, I didn’t ALWAYS know that. Maybe it’s all just an excuse. A thick plot to enable me to continue living under a rock.

It sounds like a rant, but it’s really not. It’s just me trying to fit this square peg of a tired mind into the round hole of a meaningful life. What other answer could there be than Chaos.

Love Always,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-07-20 MFA Day 6 – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

All I have time for is poetry today. Running short on time and feeling late and unprepared for the last thing and the next thing. I guess that’s one advantage to being a poet…

***

Morning rise, early after no sleep
sickness rising also, unrest in my stomach.
Push it down, down, preparing for a day long of pushing
past physical feelings to get deep into a sacred place.

But all the acute points, every individual sharp moment
is made blunt by the rise of something else.
Push it down, push it down, sick now
that the struggle of opposing forces is taking center stage.

The rest of it is more of the same —
exhausted, the exalted moment can’t be the breakthrough I need
until I get the thing I didn’t know I needed
The falling action
and giving in to gravity.

***

As Always,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-27 Back to Reality

I’m Finally catching up to real time after my glorious vacation and getting back to reality. In truth as things were coming to an end, reality began creeping in on me and it was sort of a struggle to really enjoy the final day of my trip. The stress of what was just around the corner weighed heavy on me which had everything to do with what was supposed to be another work trip to California quite literally starting the morning after I arrived home from Florida.

The facts were as follows… plane arrived home from Miami at 11pm and flight out to San Jose departs at 6:30am. When I booked my flight out, I was totally in the zone, feeling great about everything and had no doubt I could make it work. That, folks, was a serious delusion. A trick if the mind.

Sitting in the condo on Saturday I started to have serious anxiety. What was I fucking thinking. I was going to be beat down from travel, not sleep because I was flying out and have only a few hours to unpack and pack and take care of anything needed at the house or with my kids. At that point I felt like a very neglectful parent.

Circumstances beyond my control were also in play, which is their dad taking a new job which requires travel every week. So they’ve been mostly solo for the better part of a week and a half. They are teenagers and very self sufficient but that doesn’t change the fact that I was missing them. I probably needed to see them more than they needed me, but it is what it is.

Anyway sitting on the couch with Jim I began to unravel and we talked through it. The only answer was to cancel the California trip. I felt very much like that this was me being caught between a Rock and a hard place, but cancelling was the right answer.

The rock was the reality that if I tried to make it, I would be a useless lump to the team, tired and worried about what I’d left undone at home. I would be meeting the people paying us for our contract Work for the first time and I was afraid my first impression would be dismal. And.. if I pushed the trip out a few days, like my boss first suggested, I would miss the rest of the team sort of defeating one of the main purposes for going out there. It was also going to cost a lot more to change flights, get a room, and Uber to make it work. It would have been a waste of money and I was worried about that too.

The hard place was that this whole thing, if I cancelled, would reflect poorly on me in the eyes of the people I’m working for. Either I look like I’m poor at planning or that I just can’t hang under pressure. Neither one of these things is true of course. I’ve come through with flying colors in really high pressure Work situations before. Many times. And I’m an excellent planner, most of the time.

This one, not so much. Like I said, a trick of the mind. I’m a hard worker, and very dedicated and dependable and will sometimes (too often) take on too much or rather allow too much to be piled on. That’s what led to my crisis at the last job. I was a star and keeping that status meant taking more and more on all the time. So much so that I nearly drowned.

During my time off after quitting that job, I did a lot of reflecting on the situation. I had to come to terms with the fact that the company I was working for, specifically the president, was never to be satisfied. They would always push for more as long as I would allow it. Zeroing in on that is key. I was allowing it. I was willing and didn’t push back. I was the one with my hand on the faucet and refusing to turn right. I didn’t want to loose my status or reputation, and that, my friends, is the real hard place.

I feel very much like this current situation was made to test me. Did I learn my lesson? I’m still in the drivers seat of my life. Could I make the right choice for my health and happiness? The answer is a resounding “yes”.

I cancelled my flight and was straight with my boss about it and let him handle the comms. to the team and to the People funding our contract who will have to wait for some future date to meet me. I spoke to our HR person to get advice about the flight cancellation and she was helpful. They were both very understanding and helpful. Will it tarnish my reputation? Perhaps. But I need to be ok with that.

It’s taken me a few days to come back to reality, to get my house in order and re-establish a cadence with my day, and re-connect with my kids. It’s super clear, in hindsight, that any other choice would have been a disaster. My challenge now is sticking to my guns and not allowing this kind of situation to creep up again. I need to recognize it off in the distance and manage appropriately. Seems easy enough from where I am now, and my mantra of “balance” is the key.

Hey, that reminds me of a poem I wrote once that was a parody of a Meghan Trainor song. The poem was called “All About that Balance”…

https://shyspark.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/song-parody-all-about-that-balance/

I wrote that in 2014. You think I would have learned long before now to follow my own advice. Such is life. 😜

Now Returning to My Regularly Scheduled Programming,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-02-24 Look Who Just Showed Up

Procrastination

From deep within a three week slumber
With first a slow and sleepy lumber
The monster moves, now cocks his head,
Instilling thoughts of sudden dread

And In the wake of Panic’s stare
I also wake, acutely aware
Long days and nights I’ve been remiss
Choosing something other than this.

***

I just couldn’t help myself there. That’s the nature of poetry sometimes. It just shows up and when it does, it’s like, BAM, you thought you might do something else with that little bit of time but (and with a finger wag) it say’s “you won’t”. Just add that to my growing left brain list bearing the title “Why Poetry”.

In this poem I’m referring, of course, of our beloved and sometimes long hibernating panic monster. A few days ago I was thinking about how I haven’t made much progress on revisions or reading my assigned materials. I really was thinking I had a few weeks to go before the next packet is due. Then I looked up the schedule. I was wrong.

One week.. and that was 2 days ago. So now I have 5 days to finish everything. I have made some progress but not enough to equate to 4 weeks of work. Where did those days/weeks go??!

So I guess that’s what I’m doing with my weekend. The good news is that I have no other plans so I should be able to dedicate a lot of time to what I need to do. That’s the positive side of having a slim social life right now.. not a lot of other things consuming my time. I think it will also help that there is a lull at work right now and literally nothing for me to do again. Aside from “running the household” I can focus solely on this and hopefully knock it out in just a few days.

Last night I did have a commitment to keep (happily) to go watch my friend Amy play in her band at a bar. The band is called Dirt House and they are picking up traction in the metro area. The singer is somewhat like Sara Bareilles and plays keyboard and she’s backed up by a very good pop/rock sound with guitar and drummer and then my dear friend on the violin. Superb! The bar was an OK venue but either their sound system was garbage or the guy running it was. I’m guessing the guy running it because when I wandered over to that area, the board was pretty sophisticated. He was acting as if he was paying attention and making constant adjustments yet oblivious to the negative feedback and also the drums being way to loud and drowning out the voice of the singer. Duh! At one point Amy’s husband came to stand beside me and he was looking at the sound guy like he was about to knock him out so I know it wasn’t just me.

Amy had a whole crew of people there to support her including her friends and family and I was really glad about that because I went alone and would not have known anyone there otherwise. As soon as I walked in, one of the women I met at her wedding urged me over to sit with them at their table and that was a huge relief. For the life of me I could not remember her name and felt incredibly stupid about that, but it worked out OK because it never came up, and I can ask Amy later without feeling so stupid.

Anyway.. I really wanted to get this in because I’ve not posted in a couple days and it might be a couple more before I am able to write again since I’ll be heads down in my MFA work. Now that the Panic Monster has officially arrived, I need to feed the beast. Oh the woes of procrastination.

I don’t know if the ideas in the Ted talk I watched about procrastination were original, but that’s where the Panic Monster originated for me. It’s a great talk and definitely worth 14 minutes of one’s life.. especially if you are among the mass majority of people who operate on principles of procrastination. Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Time to Write (Something Else),
~Miss SugarCookie