On Writing

An Order of Things

  1. Physical attention – yoga, stretching, cardio.
  2. Write one poem a day. Share it on this blog.
  3. Breathe. Keep breathing.
  4. Surrender.
  5. Trust.
  6. Let go.
  7. Give love. Give so.much.love.

January 1, 2021

This new year doesn’t feel new. Doesn’t feel different than yesterday or the day before. Doesn’t feel like a cooper’s hawk has taken flight and is pulling away in its strong talons the virus-lined shroud that has clouded the planet for months. There will be more of this.

I cried for all the fear still stumbling in my veins like a younger ‘me’, drunk on heartbreak and tequila, puking on someone’s lawn at 2am on a Sunday morning. The truth is that I’m wavering. So unsure. About everything…except love. And so, as this beginning begins I’m not lifting my hips to the sound of the race-gun thundering. Nope. I’m standing tall and walking to the centre field where the grass is blotchy with weeds, dirt, cold and a littered Tim Horton’s cup. I want to be one with a thing that knows itself like grass knows its green.

I don’t know what to do next, except to keep doing what I’ve been doing. Stammering in the ‘I Don’t Know’. Pausing to listen to the poems. Forcing myself to write them down. To share. To stop fuc*ing worrying. To stop being so damn afraid. I’m hoping yoga will help me with this.

Last night, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I didn’t watch the light-studded ball drop in Times Square. Our antenna was facing the wrong way (or something), so we had no live television. I slept from 11pm until 11:50pm on the sofa, wrapped in fleece blankets with Santa on them. The kids woke me and we all looked at our devices to watch as 11:59pm clicked into 12:00am. The whole year ended in quiet. Then we hugged. Hugged so tightly. Said Happy New Year, but not yelled or banged on pots, just said it softly. Someone in the neighbourhood lit off fireworks. We watched, listened. I felt the smoke of the after-fire more than the bright greens and oranges of the sky-flower-explosions.

And so I’ve whittled it down to a list. A simple and complicated list. A list of tangible and intangible choices. Seven things in an order. Seven goals. Seven opportunities. Seven ways to be. Seven ways to do. This is not a time for a one-word year. This is not a time for best-of or worst-dressed. If we’re making lists, let them be written from the pens in our souls. Let them come from within and reach out in goodness, kindness, hope, and truth. Start at 1 or 5. There is no order in the order of things. Just the things to give energy to with dignity and compassion.

POEM DAY 1 – Amaryllis

I bought an amaryllis because it had
a nice vase. The fat ball of its bulb
made me think of a plump bum.
I put it in the shopping cart on
top of the on-sale candles –
buttered rum, cedar wreath
then followed the voice of the
frontline worker to go to aisle 4.

Red. I thought the petals would
bloom red but in fact this amaryllis
is white. The colour of new. The
shape of resilience. The trumpet-shape
mouth of faith with a stem made for
hope. The despair of waiting for its
openings was short. Within days –
four massive flowers unfolded.

Someone said it’s good luck when
an amaryllis blooms in four. I kissed
each silky petal in gratitude. Named
her Amour. Made her a poet’s mascot.
Her second arm is pushing up in haste.
Nudging the belly of its foremother.

Thank you Mariette for the words: amaryllis, amour, faith, despair, hope, resilience, new.

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