Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Mountains and Valleys

Funny to think about not blogging since April. I put such an emphasis on National Poetry Month and then my motivation for writing seems to disappear. I suppose it was also around that time that things really began to shift up and down in my world.

I applied for a job in Washington state. It took the potential employer a long time to make up his mind, but eventually he came to a decision and I didn't get the job. But we decided to move home anyways. The really wonderful and terrifying thing about trusting God is that sometimes he thrusts an adventure into your schedule at the last minute and you have no choice but to follow along--we could have had a grand expedition across the country, or not moved home and been homeless and poor and continued in various types of misery.

We went home to Washington briefly the end of June/beginning of July for my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. Their anniversary weekend was held in Bandon, Oregon at one of my family's favorite coastal locations. It was the best vacation I've ever experienced. It wasn't glamorous or particularly thrilling but we drank lots of coffee and ate lots of tacos. I collected lots of seashells and sunburns. (Yes, you read that correctly.) We also began making plans for the move home.

When we arrived back in Illinois we had just 20 days to raise the money for the move along with pack up our lives. This is not an exciting thing to write about so I'll be brief. We worked a lot, I had several doctor's appointments and one biopsy, we had trouble getting the trailer for the move and didn't have a lot of money and our last few days in Illinois were terrible. Also our whole county was flooded. I didn't sleep a lot.

The drive back to Seattle was the worst road trip I could have imagined. We had car trouble, and because of the loaded trailer (which was packed to the brim with belongings, but no furniture--I had to leave all of that behind) our gas costs doubled. Rather than spend money on lodgings we occasionally slept for a few hours in parking lots. The dog enjoyed the trip immensely, of course. We had her kennel cradled in the backseat and she just slept in there, peering out the window occasionally.

Driving a little sedan with a 2000-pound trailer behind it is awful. As a short person, I often do not enjoy driving simply because I feel physically disadvantaged. My hands also go numb. But on the last leg of the trip Joey had grown tired (no surprise there) and I was SO OVER being in the car. The Rocky Mountains had really done us in--it was a slow ascent, descent, ascent, descent, over and over again all through western Montana and all of Idaho. Joey was exhausted by it all.

So the second-to-last stretch of the trip was all me. It was the middle of the night but I was a warrior of darkness and speed. I took us all the way down out of Idaho and trekked through Eastern Washington until we found a Walmart parking lot for the night.

The next morning we finished the drive to Seattle. The dog perked up as soon as we rounded Snoqualmie Pass and couldn't stop sticking her little head out the window. The air was so fresh and clean in comparison to the midwest, and I think she knew we were home.

Since then things have been mostly steady. We house-sat for relatives, then stayed with a friend for a few days, then house-sat again, and now we're renting a room from a family friend. The last several days have been heartbreaking as we had to put Holly down on Friday.

I am not sure what comes next. I don't have a job, so I have a lot of time by myself while Joey is at work. I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do. God has allowed me to experience some great losses in all this. I've lost my beautiful little church and the family within it, I've lost all my furniture, and don't have access to my worldly possessions as they are all in storage. I've lost my job simply by moving away from it and now I've lost Holly, my very best friend in the whole world.

I've been in these valleys before. I know this one like the back of my hand. But there is so much pressure to deny the valley any power, to simply trek back on up the mountain and stay there because that's "how it's done." I just have a feeling that I have to live in the valley for a little while--to rest in the shadows from the mountains, to drink from the rivers, to pause and reflect on all the mountainous land surrounding me before choosing which one to climb.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

NPM Day 30 {Rocks & Feathers}

Rocks & Feathers
April 27, 2017

The lowest tides bring the highest pain,
she is reminded on the shore
of stones smooth and cold, and sits
to let the frigid waters wash her feet.
Wind ruffles red tendrils of hair,
rattles the anxiety caging her heart,
and a murky sunset catches all
the blue from watering eyes.
She blinks until the sky is gray,
letting waves of salty atmosphere
dry tears and clear off the seagulls.
This hurt cannot be smoothed out
and left upon the winnowing beach
among shells and gentle driftwood.
We cannot know the history of things,
how large or small a creation came
from a pebble, a branch, a leaf.
We are all just rocks and feathers.
She sees all that's been forgotten,
sandy remnants of other shores, things
which tell no stories of former greatness.
And as the night air rushes downward
it carries her, and she knows,
she could have been a mountain,
and she could have been a bird.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

NPM Day 29 {Position}

September 9, 2016

Let it be my turn.
I have begged.
In a modern era
I have found myself kneeling
under desks and
in the dark.
Let it be my turn.
I have burned photographs
and filtered out
supposed poisons,
Let it be my turn.
Always patient,
although devastated,
but somehow
never questioning
my position.
But perhaps
I should be pleading
to simply be allowed

to stand in line.

Friday, April 28, 2017

NPM Day 28 {The Pause}

The Pause
April 9, 2017

I envision myself paused, my hands pressed
against praying lips, eyes closed, all senses omitted
except the sound of my heart beating.
It's a sagacious and frequently visited image,
hoping it will lead me somewhere new,
but whether I see my body swaying
mid-song, or crouched under this desk,
I am infinitely alone in such a moment.
The world offers no insight to, nor respite from,
the haunting desire that captures me,
that subtle yet emboldened pain
always just beyond my grasp, feigning
an approach and then fading fast.
And so intrepidly I take pause, always
assuming position in solitude, always hoping
that if I open my eyes, my heartbeat
will be stronger alongside yours.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

NPM Day 27 {Roundabout}

This poem used to give me chills. They were sort of good chills, sort of bad chills. When I wrote this over seven years ago, they were my only way of processing one of the biggest fights with a friend I've ever experienced. I honestly can't even remember what the fight was about, but it went on for several months longer than I felt capable of enduring.

All I had were these words. 

And I've avoided this poem over the years, but it doesn't have power over me anymore. 

So here you go.

February 12, 2010

You are the friend of my conveniences,
coffee cups cold with petty sympathies.
You are a walk in the dark,
the translation of my nightmares,
and you lay your hands down on me
like a sacrificial beast into the flames.
You bear the knife in clammy palms,
breathing out my fate like a grudge
that holds on hopelessly.

You are the arrow that misses my heart
a thousand times too many for pity.
You stab me in the back
and apologize. You are so sorry.
Patterns go roundabout, but maybe
you will hit the target next time.

You are the accumulation of ice,
the shivering abandonment of reason.
You stab me in the back
and apologize. You are so sorry.
Patterns go roundabout,
yes is a maybe and maybe means no.
You stab me in the back

and sympathize. You are so sorry
that I am such a sorry sight.
You stab me in the hand
and put the blade in my bloody fingers
and you scream for me.
You say I did it to myself and
you say it's all my fault and
you stab me in the heart and
patronize. You are so sorry
that I don't see it your way.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

NPM Day 26 {Chalet}

December 20, 2016

Rickety seats and bright nights,
cool summers, proximal mountains,
all fade and grow hazy
under a new star.
Nobody takes these memories from me.
I say a thing can be beautiful
even after you’ve touched it,
even after I swore
it was ruined for forever.
I’m taking them all back now,
the theaters and cemeteries,
the antique stores, the lake.
I will reclaim jokes in stairwells,
and the blue tiles I stared at
during my first panic attack.
Nobody holds their record
except for me
and when they play across the silver screen
the credits will misplace your name.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

NPM Day 25 {What Kind Are You}

What Kind Are You
October 1, 2016

Dewdrop sunrising,
rumble engine drum,
shushing trees
and a draught of coffee.
I wish.

Middleofthenight anxiety,
moonlit unrest
with the Almighty.
Black tears or a dirty face.
I wish you were.

Momentous scarlet hope,
undaring questions,
gentle darkness cushions
and words pacify.