this poem

Read this last night and was going to just email it to Anna Laura, but then I decided to put it here instead with specific instructions (for her anyway) to not ignore it. Also – the first couple of stanzas in this poem are why I have a tattoo of kudzu on my wrist.

The Thicket

The tangle of it all, the briar curve perspective,
the entrance to places you could not go
without being tugged at the edges, caught
by tiny infractions of wool on the sweater,
brought to a twisted halt to unhook.

I would go anyway in old clothes,
free and happy through a necessary wounding,
my knees damp with the earth, the taste of blood
in my mouth like a richer earth.

In the ticket I could be free and observant,
surveying the tiny stages and the curtained dramas,
every further stage of vision leading me back
to smaller and smaller worlds, like a child’s
telescoping theater guiding the eye to a tiny backdrop.
In one, I still see the wren, pivoting straight up
on a branch end, in another, the sloes burn on,
calm and content in their soft black light.
I was never afraid in the thicket, never cramped
or contained and even the constrained scurry
of something close but invisible in the brush brought
home to me all the rewards of a sheltered, secret life.
No one knew me in my child’s aloneness
by any other names but the ones that called me back
to the quiet den I made in the hedge
and it seemed with this rich, impassable, interiority
all outer revelation was possible. From those shadows
I looked happily over great green spaces where
an open visibility would render me unseen.

All that summer I thought I could make it last,
never leave the branching world where, permanent
in my innocence, I could sit, a child abroad beyond
the house and call of waving neighbours,
a crouched pilgrim, an apprentice to stealth and silence,
still and sovereign at the center of my shadowed world,
a kind of enclosed womb-like eternity that could
end only with the annunciation that another wider
and wiser eternity was about to begin.

All of that summer as I changed unknowingly
from young boy to young man, as I went in secret
from undifferentiated shadow to clear edged caster
of a shadow, I looked and looked and changed
unknowingly by looking, afraid as it all began
of the strange impatience growing behind my eyes,
the wound of desire opening slowly at the center
of my sight, not knowing at first that that looking
was a new kind of looking, that that dry mouth
of anticipation was prelude to a different form
of speech, that that minute searching of the
stained glass light searching between the branches
was the knowledge of some immanence
I could not imagine, come to find me
until I half felt, half met, the guiding signal
telling me to leave.

Something fought and sought and found me
in the hedge, gripped me with a new intelligence,
arrested me and set me to motion,
brought clarity to silence, set me to grow
and take this body out of hiding,
made me see the shadows stir with new
and relevatory intolerance, the hooked briars
raw with dispensation and beckoning.

An opening in my world come to find me,
bring me out. Some guiding hand lifted
and shone on me, found me in outline,
illumined the way I shaped in the light,
passed on — the red haw of a new season,
swung like a lantern through the sheltering dark.

David Whyte, from Everything is Waiting for You

more jibberish

by all means, feel free to disregard. I feel like writing lists helps me to organize my brain.

these are the things I need to do today.
– mail my rent check
– do some laundry
– wash dishes
– would be a really good idea to clean the bathroom

trying to decide whether I want to go to Beaman Park after work. alternatively, I have a lot of books that I need to be reading so I could instead spend the evening at Coco (drinking coffee…?). yet another option would be to clean the house and then read in the bathtub (ahh).

new project idea: book quilts. found some really fantastic ideas on Pinterest and now I need to go to a fabric store for woodgrain fabric. no, I have not finished that chess quilt yet at all. in fact, I have a long way to go — those templates have soo many small pieces that I ended up losing a few of them and need to re-print them all. gah. I guess I could work on that tonight…..

I need to avoid Pinterest like the plague. every time I spend any amount of time there, it makes me want to amend my dating criteria to only include Super Rich — so that I can get married and spend all my time decorating and making things. ahhhhh. (love is overrated….right….? dammit, just kidding. money is overrated.) I also officially hate all of my FB friends who post stuff during the day about how they’re making stupid baby books to sell on Etsy (eh heh, just kidding about this too of course) or how they’ve finished pickling the three different kinds of peppers that they picked from their garden only just this morning (using, naturally, fresh herbs from the herb garden, which is probably separate from the vegetable garden and definitely from the flower garden).

believe it or not, I have actually gotten stuff done this morning. while daydreaming about re-seasoning all my cast iron, and oiling all of my cutting boards.

oh guys, btw, the naan was delicious (as always – I mean, I’m a decent cook if I’m being honest here).

I should probably try to avoid blogging on Mondays – regardless of how good or bad my weekend was, I can usually come up with something to say when there’s a choice between blogging and working. Terrible, terrible habit.

This weekend was pretty great though, which makes the temptation to write much harder to ignore. However, I’m going to keep this brief since thinking about how I should be selling toilet paper instead of writing is making me feel guilty.

Friday was great — went to the Frist mostly for music (Marty Stuart was playing Frist Friday) but enjoyed what we were able to see of the exhibits too. Did you guys know that there’s an illustrated version of Elements of Style? I’m posting since I doubt that I’ll be buying more copies to use as Christmas presents this year, even though that would be a good idea. (I swear there’s a prettier way to add a link here.

elements of style

Anyway. Not going to blab too much about it.

Saturday’s wedding was hot but enjoyable – you know, as far as weddings go. As I predicted, I knew about 3 people there (not including the bride and groom), but despite or because of that, I had a pretty good time. Highlights: the processional (is that what you call it?) was to the theme from Legend of Zelda, and Chris presented Chaz (best man) with a Zelda sword after he reached the “alter.” Very appropriate.

Planning to make some Indian food for dinner tomorrow and am relatively excited as I haven’t made naan in, like, two years. God damn that’s a long time. You know how I was always complaining about how I wanted last year to be over? I’m definitely glad that it is, and am in a much better place now, but it’s strange to think that a whole year of my life was spent that way – just longing for the hurting to stop, basically. I know that I didn’t waste last year and that living through it was really important to being able to live beyond it, but when I have to say things like “I haven’t made naan in two years,” I guess a part of me feels like I DID waste all of 2013.

Hm. Well. Anyway.

PS: I don’t mind throwing thoughts out into the void of the internet, but I really wish I knew who was reading them. (for all I know, there are about 5 or 6 of you who read semi-regularly.)


Today, I am trying to remember that I can control my attitude at work. Even though work feels like the least important or interesting thing right now, the fact is that I have to work if I want to be able to pay bills or anything else. So in that sense, work is actually pretty damned important. Unfortunately.

I have about a million things I would rather be doing right now. But. It’s important for me to be thankful that I have a job, thankful that my coworkers like me, and thankful that I have a life outside of work that I enjoy. Maybe this will help me to remember these things today.

Sometimes when I look back over the last 10 years of my life, I feel grateful: for the lessons I have learned, for the person I have grown to be, for the friends who have stuck with me along my journey and also for some who haven’t. Other times when I reminisce though, I feel regret and shame – for the feelings that I have hurt, for the bad decisions I have made, for all the money I spent with nothing to show for it now.

One of my oldest Nashville friends is getting married this weekend, and someone who used to be a mutual friend is going to be the best man. In all honesty, I think this guy was my first real romantic interest. We had a somewhat turbulent friendship which never developed into anything more serious than just that; though, that said, it was complicated and ended on an even more complicated note. I’m not proud of how our relationship ended, and I know he isn’t either. It’s all in the past now, yes, but seeing his name in the wedding party list has brought up some interesting emotions.

I find that I still feel a great deal of fondness towards him. I’m not resentful or hurt or angry. I regret that we let the inevitable human drama get between us and destroy our friendship. It’s a funny thing, but I still miss our whole group, from time to time. That was the first group of friends I ever had who I felt all actually liked me and enjoyed my company, and that was such a novel and exhilarating experience. But I was foolish and immature and didn’t know how to respect myself, let alone my friends. I’m glad that I have learned and grown through experiences like these, but I wish I didn’t always insist on learning life lessons the hard way.

And I wish I could go back and undo the feelings that I have hurt in my selfish and narrow-minded past.

Pink cardigans with matching heels

You guys remember back when I used to dress like a butch lesbian? Obviously there’s nothing wrong with that, but as I was not in fact a lesbian, it was a misleading look for me. I remember having to make a conscious effort to start dressing in a more feminine way (motivation being twofold – I wanted to stop being mistaken for a man, and I wanted to maybe possibly start attracting more attention from potential dates). It was a slow transformation, mostly because I didn’t give a flip about fashion at that point anyway and makeup was far, far, far too troublesome to be bothered with.

Anyway, that as a preface for this: I’m actually wearing makeup this Monday morning. Yeah yeah, it happens from time to time. I’m also wearing pink. I view this whole decade-long transformation as being something of a liberation; my high school and early college fashion choices were based on 1) the modesty I was taught growing up, and 2) the idea of feminism as being a rebellion against traditional feminine ways. I have since realized that modesty is a good thing but that there’s no reason to go overboard, but more importantly that feminism means I can do whatever the fuck I want. If I want to wear pink cardigans and matching pink heels, that’s perfectly fine. If I want to dress like a man, that is also perfectly fine. Probably because I am more normal than I like to admit sometimes, wearing feminine clothes makes me feel pretty. (Oh yeah, and so does this coconut shampoo.)

And I’m feeling pretty today. It’s nice. So I thought I’d share it with the blog. You’re welcome.


In other news. I had a pretty fantastic weekend.

Saturday morning was spent in bed, as a good portion of Saturday mornings ought to be spent. Saturday afternoon was spent driving down the Natchez Trace with a friend, then going to an Ashley Cleveland show in Bon Aqua. Some of you may recognize her name. It wasn’t a show I would have attended had this friend (we’ll call him Stephen) not invited me, but I really enjoyed the music.

Sunday morning was spent luxuriating in bed, which is one of my favorite Sunday morning pastimes.

Monty Python just put on their (supposedly) last performance, and I went to Opry Mills to watch it with my Russian friend who grew up with the Pythons. I really enjoyed the show; yes they pretty much just performed skits everyone already knows, and no it was not perfect or novel or anything unexpected. However. I really enjoyed it, like I said.

I’m thinking of going through my DVDs and taking a bunch to McKay’s. I need new books. (Please don’t ask me to define “need” here.) I keep trying to read Cold Mountain on my Nook…but I think my charger is bad because it just will not hold a charge. I suppose I could invest in a new charger rather than a paper copy of the book, but sometimes I don’t think clearly when it comes to new books.

Sales meeting today…

I feel so completely inadequate when I look at other sales reps. I think that I’ve probably told all of you this in person, but if you had asked me last year what jobs I absolutely never saw myself in, sales rep would have been #2 on the list (following truck driver).

Granted, inside sales is different from outside sales. But I just don’t think that I have the personality for this. I suspect that my own hesitation is being a hindrance though, as everyone was familiar with my personality before they asked me if I was interested in this job.

That said, I still don’t like meetings.

in love with my shampoo

(I spend an average of about 3 seconds coming up with these blog titles, if you wondered)

I was perusing my shelves yesterday for a new book to read (finished Good Omens and I highly recommend it), and instead of finding a new novel I decided to pull out some poetry books I hadn’t read in a while. One, White Horses by Billy Collins, had this poem – “Aimless Love” – which I had forgotten is my favorite Billy Collins poem. So here it is.

Oh but I also wanted to say — I splurged on some coconut milk shampoo and conditioner last weekend; every now and then I get a whiff of my hair and I’m pretty sure I’m in love with it. (Same goes for my tomato leaf hand lotion. Mmmmmmm.)


This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

– Billy Collins