Until I started digging into the poetry of Walt Whitman, I hadn’t realized that he and my son are basically the same person. Did you know that Walt ran away from school at age eleven to study typesetting and get lost in the forest?
I don’t know about you, but my dishwasher is really carrying a big load these days. That handy appliance is my housework wife, my partner-in-crime, my emotional support. If it weren’t for her, I would be up to my ears in dishes, all day. So I wrote a love letter to her. And today it’s up on Little Old Lady Comedy.
Last fall, my grandmother cried out for my father in the middle of the night, according to the woman who cared for her in her last few months. That same night, thousands of miles away in Juneau, Alaska, my father awoke to the sound of her voice calling for him.
Everything is connected.
The day Nani died, a beautiful thrush, yellow like the color she always wore, hit our window and perished. The thrush has one of the most beautiful birdsongs in the world and is considered an omen of truth speaking. I have been speaking my truth ever since.
Today is All Soul’s Day, the second Day of the Dead, when people in Mexico and other parts of Central America honor loved ones who have passed away. So it is fitting that Dodging the Rain, beautiful literary journal based out of Galway, Ireland, just published my poem Season of the Crone, written last year about my grandmother.
You can read the poem here, and feliz Día de Muertos!
Sandra Cisneros says that “poets are in the professions of transforming grief into light.”
On some level, we all feel grief. In Eastern medicine, they believe that grief settles in the lungs. I have asthma, so I find this particularly interesting. I wonder how grief has affected my lungs, and how poetry could possibly help excavate stuck grief.
Covid-19 is a respiratory disease, so perhaps we need to pay attention to the connection of grief and lungs. I wonder how poetry could help us excavate our own grief. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all clear our lungs and heart from grief, and transform it into something beautiful and tangible?
I am struggling with this blog post. I’ve been wanting to make an important announcement for more than a month now, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. How do you announce you won an award without coming across as bragging? It’s kind of impossible.
The truth is I was totally surprised, thrilled, and humbled when I found out in early April that my poem, “Solstice through Aperture,” placed first in the Alaska statewide poetry contest.
You can imagine my delight when Plumtree tavern literary magazine sent me an email to tell me that they included my poem as one of the selected favorites from the past year. And lo and behold, mine was listed first!
I wrote this poem during a walk on one of the coldest, driest days of fall. Sounds muted, nothing stirring, and even the wind was dead. The next day life returned in the first snow.
Enjoy this time of quiet solitude. As Crosby, Stills and Nash say, the darkest hour is right before the dawn.