Saturday, February 14, 2015

This Dear Life

 This dear life....

            When was the last time you heard a “sir” or a “m’am”?  If you haven’t, you aren’t living in the south.  One of the most surprising aspects of my life in the South is the degree of politeness I encounter, even among college students who aren’t known for possessing that quality.  In my present job in a private college, I can’t count the number of times people have held an elevator door open for me or personally shown me to a room I can’t find.  All my NY City and Barcelona training begins to melt away.  There I was the one who always found a seat on a crowded subway.  I was the one who laughed at an American roommate in Barcelona who told me she couldn’t get off a crowded bus.  So here I am, in a sea of politeness, not quite sure what its significance is beyond making day to day reality just a tad more pleasant.

            Of course, not all is flowers and light.  I’m in a right to work state where highways rule and along with the Bhutanese refugees, we’re the only ones who walk anywhere besides to take out a dog.  Little by little, I will try to adapt and find a way through it all to an understanding and acceptance of the idiosyncrasies of life.  And no matter how far I go, I still find the people who are suffering.  Instead of the refugees I worked with in Buffalo, here I teach a young woman whose dreams and life were shattered when her husband fell into a coma and she has to take care of him.  It makes me wonder if I would be capable of the same.   So, like before, my heart is shattered at what life can bring.


            So here’s a poem from my second chapbook, written after acupuncture treatments I had for an injured knee.




Between the first and second

crease of the finger

is the measurement of me,

to impose

On gristle, fat, and bone

to find where the Chi,

of the Chinese flows.


The circles on a tree trunk

mark the years of want,

the distance between yellow and black

of a bumblebee

predicts  the hard winter’s arrival.


Measure to measure,

life to life

needle to pain,

past to passion.

This space

ties me to all things

alive and beating.



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