Plane ramblings

Does title set the tone - and what is tone, a quality or a shade or the quality of being shaded, but that implies color and sometimes how your own voice comes out drains it all away. These transient states are always strange, lovely spaces; I am full of thoughts set racing, but self-containing is my patient gift to action. And so when rewarded with this hovering time, I can find places occupied by ideas in need of loosening. I have that poem I wrote called “Two ideas I grabbed from the sky” because I took them immediately to this terrain, existing immediately from brain to fingertips to screen to click to save to share to reclaim to forgotten again. In this way I take my agency, I am furthering my own actions, some set with intention and others still setting, settling in wherever they can while awaiting my attention. What I have to give is finite motion against an infinite option.

How many sparks do you need to start a fire?

There is one thing usually occupying brain space, an undercurrent, always running fire through & quietly; it’s stories. Telling them, making them up as the world spins along, gathering them, reaping their benefits, suffering their shortcomings, coalescing them into something tangible, willing them away, changing how much space characters take, connecting the dots you’ve been dropping into shapes. When I think about stories I think about people, about breaths taken vs. given, and how much can be done/undone. Sometimes my life feels like fizzing, pop rocks meeting water suspended just above all my skin, as if the atmosphere herself was enough to feed me & hungry is a state I’m always in. I’ve been playing with recursive practices, finding beginnings and endings to be the same & therefore not worth gathering to dates, to reminders, to places where I start and finish because I won’t until I am and then I will have been but I’ve already gone. I’m still deciding if I want to be gone. If I ever left. If there’s a reason I repeat words like breath and themes like death, memento me mori, I want to lay eyes on foreign corners & familiar curves, to calculate the exact smash of a wave, to feel that dizzy pull of open space along tall edges, to collect scratches down my back because another theme is that ultimate blend, breath lead to deaths, small & over & over & over again. And maybe my fizzing is an exoskeleton; give it to me world, my own special blend of sensation; I’ll return an iteration of letters strung out in succession. I’m trying to lengthen, to shift all the weight to new places, I’m okay with the graces of cushion if only I could change the orientation, but not my own, I will always own that, proudly proudly waving & pushing & concentrating & I wanted to be done but remember what I said before so this might live again as a poem or might already be one & later I will excavate her a scrap at a time, longing for context stolen by slipped time. 

Familiar windows & old trees

How do you know when it's time to blow the dust off your fingertips, take them to a new task, stop digging in the past?

I ask myself this as if I have choices. Everything once started can be stopped, unless it's about survival. I should have been more careful. I gave this motion without building brakes. Now there are too many spaces that would ache. 

I am writing this from a place where I could always return, where snow is cold burned into my memory, but all I notice are the dirty edges along the sidewalk. Isn't it beautiful there? 

This is why I've been inside for days, sifting through memories piled on bookshelves, desks, walls. I find pictures of nameless relatives and see a new generation of faces. And I watch my mother becoming her mother, or is it me becoming fearful again. 

These are some of my answers, but I'm not sure the questions are right.

The way it's read

Tonight I found that current so I wrote and wrote and wrote. I meant to do, to submit, to put effort in to this, the side that flirts with fears. I was ready to push through. My intentions do so much more than I can muster.

But tonight, how could I let her magic words slip through to someone else ready for the big ideas, for the small ideas that likely mean more?  

When I get in this headspace my brain works sideways. Every thing I attempt to say slants away from vertical.

Another peek at process: the tabbed detritus of my poetry fueled queries. define derision, write synonyms, ceramic glaze, vitreous enamel, burning bush, antonym spontaneous, define conspicuous, rhymezone hungrily, superficial middle cerebral vein, define ardent, define intently.

I just watched the first season of Stranger Things. My brain goes to the Upside Down, and I have been practicing how to slay monsters. 

Tonight I wrote five and a half poems, including this sonnet:

I do my best to stay present

My mind builds whole worlds from a single phrase
Following corrected recollection
The light I build around you is all haze
Softness a synonym for protection

Cradled right from nascent to final day
I have tried everything but I remain
Caught in calamitous naïveté 
Superficial middle cerebral vein 

Always chasing thoughts across hemisphere
Forever working on how to slow down
Blame every ill on inaction my dear
Imagination built against breakdown

Tonight I dream of piling books in bed
Stealing kisses between the words you read

Process [series b]

I took an Ashtanga yoga class for the first time this week, the only appreciable difference between it & every other class I've taken was the specificity of a series. This is series A of our wide-legged forward fold, and I don't believe my head will ever touch solid ground. So this is series b of my (current) process(es). 

In October I wrote 49 poems. Over the course of my writing life, less than four years, I've written upward of 800 poems or scraps. It's much easier for me to make time for creating than for revising. I've made a few attempts, and have started fresh now that I am in a wildly difference state. 

When I've revised in the past I've actually just tweaked, edited, altered the cosmetics. This time I am brutal, I eviscerated my list of 800 to 400 workable (& always growing). I've challenged myself to identify a stanza, a theme, a mood, a feeling from some of my older poems and then to write something almost completely new that is evocative of the original idea. This wasn't a conscious choice. Some poems needed very little. I've deeply enjoyed the process of writing the poem that 2014 Carrie couldn't, but was so close to. 

This is Road maps [2014]
Daily life built
around rituals,
small acts that
impart a feeling
of control even
when I know
control is an illusion,
keeping me chained
to a ticking clock
that can't contend
with the uncertainty
a life lived fully.

The universe will
treat you as
she sees fit,
and use your best
laid plans as
road maps for
perfectly timed
disruption. 

And Road maps [2017]
cruise control
let’s roll
button press
set the GPS
best laid
maps fade
fly out
become devout
so if i pray
western highway
cactus heat
scorched feet
believing in hover
oh, lover
let’s float
lovely scapegoat
talking back
her attack
words make change
molecules rearrange
you forgot
you were brought
smooth handed
fully landed
made to feel
your own wheel
what a swift curse
sweet universe

Process

Tonight I opened Evernote. I re-read notes I made this afternoon while attending an event. The only way do to it justice to use what I heard, what I learned, what I felt. 

I captured, I emoted each note with hearts and stars and questions. I stole scraps & bits & sparks & glimpses of the one story we are all telling. I read them again, and a fire lit and it blew out and it smoked and I choked on how close I was to it. 

So I stepped back to my stack, I even keep my digital notebooks that way, flipped keys through the newest bits of the latest you who the universe saw fit for me to capture. And something clicked from the swirl of today, and yesterday, and the moment the night before that gave me this gift, a single line spawning her empire, written, rearranged once already, becoming a third edition that took it all in. A memory revised, revived, resized to fit more. 

I tossed and toiled, cutting and pasting, consulting mythic stories written in stars, letting the thesaurus become my oracle, understanding what the fuck I was trying to say, finally, and saying it. Saying it aloud. Hearts hearts, she loves it. And that, sweet poem, is how you were born. 

I embrace what I am building

It stands on the ground of what became hollow. There is a well from which I've been drafting, thirsty and watching myself hand love over by the cupful, pour buckets of it, give and give this precious resource as if springs never run dry.

Six months ago I was in crisis mode. Screaming under the smile I constructed, exhausting all my systems, focusing on anything else with sudden moments of awareness like opening the door of a soundproof room in the middle of a battle. I've been slamming the door back closed over and over, pushing the furniture up against it, hiding in the furthest corner, battling distractions because they were safer than the war.

I left that room behind. I left it because I couldn't take it with me. I left it because I wanted to know I could come back to it, and have it live in the same place. I left it because one time when the door was open I made a choice I couldn't undo.

Now I see that it was a small room. It shrunk as I did. Every loving act I didn't give myself tightened the quarters. So I am here, alone, ready to take this barren landscape and mold it in to what I choose. I want turrets, and nonsensical hallways, and succulents everywhere, and big bold colors, and altars to all my goddesses, and cool breezes blowing through open windows, and natural light, and I can have anything, and I made this choice, and I understand it now, and I know it will still be hard, and I know I will be okay, I know I will be okay, I know I will be good, I know I will be great, I know I will be. 

Becoming a buzz

I crave music. It itches behind my ears in the silence, demanding relief. Come in the house, music. Drive home, music (call mom). Write, music. My writing music typically has no lyrics. It is loud and full of rich sound. Stirs something in me, or maybe quiets.

Tonight the words being rhymed over these ridiculous beats are blissfully blending to one more instrumental track. Sounds over syllables. Emotion rising and falling in such a human way. What am I doing now?

Fortresses

I thought I liked to write in coffee shops. Maybe this one isn't busy enough. There's quiet music, an occasional blender, not enough conversation to become a din. My ears can't help picking out every voice. My eyes get caught up in the humans walking by the large glass window. I keep pausing for a sip of coffee grown cold. I am distractible. 

I like the soft light of my living room with candles flickering on all sides, curtains drawn, legs sprawled out, loud ambient music from my speakers. There is magic in that space, the magic we all seek that flies away fast if we're too quick to seize it. 

Elemental thinking

Today I had to talk about you. I had to revisit all those feelings previously interred and now the dirt is everywhere I look. Trust, trust I will sweep you away. I'm not intimidated by you anymore. Your pedestal cracked, then shattered. Down on the ground I can see you for who you are, you have no place left to hide. I have to own my blind spot. I have to own the impact you made on my life. You were a storm, yes, but I had ample warning and chose to stay in your path. I chose not to protect my house. Now I am cleaning up again. I am burning through your debris. The smoke is purifying like some ancient ritual, leaving cool, clear air in its wake. And wasn't she always cool, clear, airy. And isn't she still. We've talked of earth, air, fire. I am water. I can rush and roar and trickle and soak and freeze and evaporate and distill and erode and rain and swell and fill and fall. What can you do? 

Universe, I hear you

Is there such a thing as knowing for sure in one's bones? It it possible to right wrongs, change course, shut a door almost closed, throw it back open?

Everything happens because of expectations. Beliefs in how things are and should be. Stories that get told and retold and lost and discovered. 

There are many versions of Carrie, or maybe so many component parts with different functions. The personality embodied, capable of overcoming temporary amputation, but not without hardship.

Maybe wit's end is where you end up when you are molting, shedding a skin that no longer fits. 

 

How you frame it

If we let ourselves, we could become completely bogged down in the minutiae of blessings all around us.

If we let ourselves, we could become completely bogged down in the suffering that is everywhere around us.

If we let ourselves, we could become completely bogged down in love.

If we let ourselves, we could become completely bogged down in hate.

If we let ourselves.

Ministry of presence

I am feeling increasingly drawn to a higher purpose in this life.

It is okay to own that, to connect my art to something richer and more meaningful. I have not been given a gift, but a calling, a passion that is forever stoked higher and rewards the effort I make to honor it.

Writing something every day. Reading widely. Pushing past what's comfortable in both spheres. Opening to conversations that challenge beliefs about myself, the world, what's possible. Devoting the time to it, stopping in my tracks when I need to take note of a thought or word or idea. Being gut twist honest with myself and those around me, at all times. Asking difficult questions and not accepting careless answers. Attempting to put my full effort into any task. Learning about my body, her physicality and perfect flaws.

The body stores trauma on a cellular level, carries the memories we've seen fit to block, hides them in aching joints and sour stomachs. Sometimes I think back to my life before thirty, and wonder how I could have been so blind to this rich internal world I've discovered. How I could fail to notice that every single moment of life contains infinite depth. I wonder if I ever connected to my breath.

All of this spilling out this morning I would like to attribute to the action of repetitive morning movement. My legs whirring in circles for forty-five minutes, asking my heart to keep pace, my breath to fill all the crevices, my back to remain engaged. I forced myself to feel these things today. To stay connected to the fullness of the experience, not to block anything that arose. That is what I aim to do (I first wrote am to do) today. I choose to live in fullness.

Casual neglect

I've never been able to fall in love gently. There is no such thing as growing slow like vines creeping together, entangled. I am a freight train following a flashing sign that reads LOVE in bold red letters, the kind with fat bulbs lining their middles to light up the night. 

And so I lose track of things, selves, ideas. I let piles grow on the corner of my desk. My eyes forget to see what once was crystalline. 

I still love it here, am finding my way back. Hello, again. 

Delay

Thoughts become words. 

I saw the date of my last post, and thought "I'm sorry for the delay". I am working on saying sorry less. I am working on delaying a response until the emotion bleeds off. If we follow the chain, thoughts become habits, habits create thoughts in response to stimuli. 

I feel the anxious tugging sensation of failure. I react with apologies. Now I have had the space. The tug is gone. I can recognize the habit, replace it later with something new. Instead of an apology, I offer a thank you for returning. 

Here is my next considered effort to create something. And I owe it to this book

The first

The first anything bears a weight beyond what it should have carried. Significance is a heavy burden. 

I write every day for at least 5 minutes. If I'm good, it's in the morning. And it's closer to 10. Some days I squeeze it in by hand in a waiting room, on a train. I write at my desk at work, my desk at home, on the deck, in my girlfriend's bed. 

You get it, I write. I write when I feel like I have nothing to say, when it feels dangerous to commit certain thoughts to a prison of remembrance. Words sink deeper on a screen or a page, float aloud. 

This is where I will share the words that reach their licked fingers to the sky to catch a breeze.