“Before I went to work we were under the olive tree and
you were doing what you called psych patient smoking
and you said, I don’t want to be Satan but will you join
me and we pulled up our shirts to rub bellies and yours
was so much flatter but filled with garden bread anyway
anyway up went our shirts, solar to solar plexus, and it
was a comforting ritual we daily did and I said, Let’s do
this for the rest of our lives. You said, You look lovely.
It’s hard to remember tender things tenderly.”
– Bough Down, Karen Green
Yesterday on a bench outside on the most beautiful of all fall days, I asked J what I should do when I grow up. He tried to avoid the question and then with some hesitancy, said: an artist of sorts.
Later, I got this email:
When we talked today, I didn’t mean you should be an artist. Rather, you are an artist. I think it means seeing the world a certain way. With your own eyes. With eyes that are uncertain and curious.. . .“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what’s next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.” – Agnes de Miller
I’m currently working through my third year here . . . And, if I had done things right (* er, not abandoned school for a year), I’d be graduating in May.
Happy and thankful right now I’m only doing school // work // relationships // making life plans . . . but I find that within me there is this growing pressure to know what I want out of life after this. After all, so much of our college careers are wrapped up in that question. Sometimes, it is hard to ignore.
I find that all I want, all I’ve ever really wanted was to be an artist. I want to create. To feel. To be curious (always). And to not shrink back from challenges.
If college has done one thing for me, it has given me a sense of possibility. Each and everyday, us kids are bombarded by possibility and just all we could do if there were more hours in a day// if we were more talented//etc.
I find that I’m dissatisfied by my work and how I spend my days unless I’m touching // molding // and creating things with my mind // my eyes and most of all, my hands.
I find that I want to do. . . I want to do everything and cannot comfortably (*just) learn without actually doing.
I’m certainly a work in progress, but I’m enjoying the process for the most part. . .
[Photo: Swallowed in the sea. Depock beach, Indonesia//Grace Farson]
Yesterday, I read a great poem
about clams, although evidently,
it turned out more to be
instructions for cooking them –
Linguini with clams,
not living with clams
like I thought – even though,
I want to know, how.
I mistake everything for what
I want it to be: recipes for poems,
poems for instruction manuals,
classrooms for cathedrals.
Once, even, I saw a man
but he turned out
to be just a clam.
Eventually, all the poems
end up sounding alike:
written in that same short
language of longing.
how my heart puns about.
“. . .There are no strangers. There are only versions of ourselves, many of which we have not embraced, most of which we wish to protect ourselves from. For the stranger is not foreign, she is random, not alien, but remembered; and it is the randomness of the encounter with our already known–although unacknowledged–selves that summons a ripple of alarm. That makes us reject the figure and the emotions it provokes–especially when these emotions are profound. It is also what makes us want to own, govern, administrate the Other. To romance her, if we can, back to our own mirrors. In either instance (of alarm of false reverence), we deny her personhood, the specific individuality we insist upon ourselves.”
– Toni Morrison, Intro. to Bergman, A Kind of Rapture, 1998