Written Words – deux

February 29, 2012

How did that happen?
I’ve been running through the details
was running through them as it happened
and still can’t make any sense of it

what it was
what it means
and, of course, now
what I do about it


Found Words/Found Music – Jaymay

February 28, 2012

This is crazy, but I know I left you to be with your art
You always put me first, and somehow that broke my heart
It’s not my place to choose, my first love and my only muse

Sea Green, See Blue


Written Words – Wishes and Glitter

February 28, 2012

It’s a little spark
one I’ve learned not to ignore
that says wishes and glitter
should always mix

a little hope
in the middle of impossible
that you breathe into me

it’s a little prayer
I whisper softly
to see you again

a little feeling
that just once
this is perfect


Written Words – Stories

February 27, 2012

What would you do if I told you I am in awe of how big the world is, and by how snugly it fits into the palm of my hand? Would you laugh and call me cocky? Or sip your drink and remember.

It feels as if someone should write it all down – so that when the gods turn their eyes back to us, they know someone has been paying attention in their absence.

A good friend once told me that the essence of life was stories. I laughed.

But only because it was so obvious, had been so since the day I was conceived, and sounded so absurd finally being spoken.

Of course.

From my father’s stories of his childhood and college years to my own fawn-like attempts to walk and tell.

The stories are a currency, and sharing them an investment.

They are memories and sharing them is teaching.

They are history, and remembering them is sanity.

There is always time for one last story.


Written Words – St. Anne Masked Ball

February 26, 2012

I tell them it was like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory; the colors and the music brighter than life. And they’re amazed. I tell them it was like the first color TV or the perfect bright red lipstick, and they tell me they understand.

But, of course, they can’t.
Inevitably, the telling turns to the mundane details: What is a ball? How many people were there? What is St. Anne’s?
Was it open bar? Who did you go with? How did you get invited?
I answer slowly; knowing that the beauty of the night is slipping out of my telling; explaining our connection to the krewe, and the group of dancers with whom I arrived.
It was the dancing that saved me. For to observe was breathtaking, but wasn’t enough. The intricacies of the costumes, the masks, the decadence of the night. I could have watched all evening. But to do so would have been to separate myself from it all, to be outside.
It was the music which invited me in. Crisp, clear horns, begging me not to watch but to connect. It was the music that washed over me, coloring in my costume, making my mask not a barrier but an invitation. To relax. To share the moment.
The music was my way to tell my story; and with each dance I shared it with whoever would listen; closing my eyes, swaying, looking for each note to say words I knew I could never get my mouth to form. This went on, dance after dance, partner after partner, until I’d lost all thoughts.
Still, the music stopped too soon. I couldn’t be ready for the night to end; pleading with the others to continue it. Unchanged in any form. Still beautiful.
But one dancer was hungry. Another was tired. Another just needed to dance. So from behind my mask I watched them each go their separate way.
I wandered, arm-in-arm with a dancer, from after-party, to club, to bar.
Along the way we quietly built a shrine to the night; one joke, one kiss, one conversation at a time. Out of respect, and the lingering beauty of which we had just partaken.
Again, it was the dancing. This time, in the smoke-filled, familiar confines of the Cat. For the wonder of the night had made me feel like a child; and no thing could make me feel more childlike than to dance.
This night our dances were like the first day of summer; as if the music would go on forever, and the first day of school could never come.
Our dances were a child’s first crush; she told me I was flirting, but she had to know I couldn’t be. For I didn’t have any words, just wonder at this beautiful thing I’d discovered.
We danced, then we watched as clouds drifted across stars; bright, but lonely. Holding first onto the night, and then onto each other.
She kissed me goodnight, and told me that if I was a writer, I would write about this night. I knew it couldn’t be. That this was one story my words could never tell. Instead, I kissed her back, and asked that she save me a dance. To remember.

Written Words – Mardi Gras

February 25, 2012

No one told me Mardi Gras would be beautiful.

(Over the next few days I’ll be posting some poetry, prose and reflections from Mardi Gras 2012 in New Orleans)


Written Words – Fat Tuesday

February 22, 2012

It’s a tradition with half a name, a family name, no name at all, really. Perhaps that’s the influence of immigrant great-grandparents; without language to pass on, names say what something is, no more, no less.

I shape the dough, tugging and pressing and kneading, giving a form that my hands know how to make without direction. I feel my mother’s hands in mine, and my grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s before her, working the dough and dropping it into the pan where it sputtters and hisses on the surface.

It is a tradition, yes, but it is meant to be shared. This should be a time with laughing and singing, with eager hands shaking crumpled paper bags and pulling out sugary treats to pass around while hot. Instead, this is a quiet time, a time when I stand alone at my stove, going through the motions because I can’t imagine the day passing without them. I wonder if, on the other side of the country, my mother is doing the same.

I pull the dough out of the pan, shaking it gently to let the oil run off then placing it carefully on a paper-towel-covered plate. The only paper bags I own are from Trader Joe’s, and it somehow feels silly to sacrifice them for a few pieces of dough. I quickly sprinkle sugar on both sides and flip the pieces back and forth again to coat them in more sugar, just for good measure.

Do I even know why I’m doing this tonight?

The door handle rattles and my roommate walks in, blue scrubs and backpack speaking silently of a long day at the hospital. I can’t help smiling at the perfect timing. I turn from the stove, holding out my plate, the way it should be.

“Want some Fried Dough?”