Monday, December 6, 2010

Long Beach



You looked beautiful that day, and I should have told you. I watched you in the ocean, the waves hitting your shoulders and chest before making their way to me and my scared little feet. It wasn't just the undertow of the water that I was scared of, it was the relentless pull of you. I was afraid of being surprised: my heart had that same expression you get when you think you're safe and then suddenly you're not and your eyes open wide as you clutch empty fistfuls of air, trying to right yourself.

The ridges of your hipbones fit into the palms of my hands the way the coasts of continents fit, anciently, prehistorically. As the water came to meet us, you moved forward, towards it, so slowly that I didn't notice until I tried to stand without you and found that I could not. You had initiated me with the kind of speed that felt eternal, and I had no choice but to hang on.

My feet became heavy with sand and premonition as we walked back to our towels, and I hurried to brush it off. I wanted very badly to rid myself of my mistrust of the current, and of my unsteadiness at the prospect of being swept up in it. I thought that maybe if I laid there long enough, I would diffuse into the beach and some tiny child would come along and build me into a sandcastle or a dragon. I hoped a dragon- I wanted the fierceness, the though stone walls of a castle would be useful, too. As we got ready to leave, our things mingled together in a pile while waiting for us to shake the blankets out. I was sorry to be the one to sort them and tell them they didn't belong together, though they surely did.

We fell asleep on the train; well- you did, anyway, and I watched you, marveling at the divine confluence of time and change that brought me here. When you stirred and pulled me to you, I felt a kind of giving over. Not giving in, because giving in means sacrificing or compromising what you want and I did neither of those things, very much on purpose. Giving is correct because there was a release, a sort of opening up, and when the sand fell from my suit in the shower, the grains on the tile sounded like something new.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The big picture first, the details second.



I think I might be hyperconscious. Sometimes I feel like I'm so aware of something - or the lack of something - that it starts to interfere with things that it's not even related to.

I have the feeling that that's closely tied to my expectations, and the conversation that Adam and I had about them last year. He made an interesting point, and I can follow it: if the expectation is less, then there is a better chance of it being met.

But I'm not sure I buy it. He and I have had a lot of conversations about surrounding ourselves with great people. I have done that, and done it purposefully. No one that's in my life is there by mistake; I have made a conscious decision to continue and actively work on my relationship with them. So then is it wrong to expect that they would have done so as well? Is it really that high of an expectation to want people to make a little effort?

I don't really think it is. The problem, though, is that I focus on the non-effort. It seems to me that I spend a lot of time thinking about the people in my life, saving up stories to tell them or asking to spend time with them- what better compliment is there than saying, I could be spending this time alone or with someone else, but I choose to spend it with you. I think that because I'm so aware of my desire to do that, to spend as much time as possible with the people I care for, that when I want to and I can't, it's hard for me to enjoy the alone time. I don't expect someone to want to spend every minute of every day with me - because frankly, that's exhausting - but there's something about the closeness of spending a lot of time with someone that's really really nice.

And I guess that's what I'm missing. I feel like my connections with people are spotty right now, even with the people I live with. I'm not sure if that's because I'm a first year teacher and I'm already drained, or if it's because of my emotional state, or if it's because I'm just focusing on what's not there instead of looking at what is. Maybe it's that I have high expectations of myself, even higher than the ones I have of others.

I want to be full of life. I want people to look at me and think, she's so alive. Surrounding myself with amazing people and holding myself to a high standard are part of that, so I'm not going to give those up. I think, though, that the way to work towards it is to be aware of the big picture first, and the details second. The other way round is making things quite difficult. I have the feeling that my expectations, both of myself and of others, are being met a lot more frequently than I realize.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Yoko, Rufus, and Old Habits




I went to the MOMA this summer, and there was this exhibit there. It was a Yoko Ono exhibit; she'd installed a tree and then provided tags for people to write wishes on. I'd been spending the couple of weeks before going that exhibit feeling really overwhelmed, in great and not so great ways, so I decided to go simple. I wrote a Rufus Wainwright lyric on my side of the tag I was sharing. I guess that's not really a wish, but for me it was less about hoping for something and more about acknowledging where I was. Which I guess has always been something I've wished I could do.

I've always been one of those people that works in extremes. I'm either obsessively thinking about something, or not thinking about it at all. Ok, so maybe that's not strictly true, but I feel like it definitely can be at times. It's really hard for me to stop long enough to enjoy a moment actually in that moment. It's usually only days or months or years later that I can really acknowledge something, and what it meant to me.

I think that's because it's hard for me to trust things. I'm pretty used to just getting to the point of letting my guard down and then poof! whatever it was that I trusted in or felt sure about suddenly has some new quality that I don't know how to deal with or is gone altogether.

I'm not saying that those changes are never instigated by me - because they have been, and will continue to be - but these last couple of times have been doozies. I'm doubting some of my choices right now, even though I know that my first instinct was right and I'll pull through that doubt. I know myself well enough to have figured that out. It's just the going through it that's tough.

I think part of it is that for the last year and a half, I've been actively seeking life. I've been craving new experiences, new people, new thoughts. And it's been great, and difficult, and sometimes I've fallen back into hiding in my room for a few weeks before I'm ready to get out there again. I've been feeling like that lately, like I need to protect myself, and it's been forcing me to think about why. I'm realizing that it's because I'm one of those people who takes a long time to fully trust, and that makes it more impactful when that's shaken.

Not just my trust in others, but in myself, too. I've been letting myself down, and that is not a place I want to be. I'm frustrated with myself for letting little things at work get to me, for struggling to take things in stride, for the fact that I could so easily fall back into old habits. I want to live in the moments as they happen, and not always have my mind set on what happened last year or what comes next. I'm trying really hard not to do that, and I'm getting better. I've been able to say to myself a few times in the last week: This is an amazing moment and I am so thankful for it.

But other days, I'm bad at it. And those days when I'm not so good at it, I remember what I wrote on my card: I saw it in your eyes, what I'm looking for. All the sights of Paris fell inside your iris.

Monday, November 1, 2010

these women

Being a young, female teacher at an all-girls school is crazy.

Every day I encounter crazy amounts of attitude, inappropriate conversations, lack of ambition, overambition, and enough to make me seriously worry about how safe some of my students are. At the end of a day, I can feel a multitude of emotions: despair at how I'm ever going to get them to understand a concept, elation because they understood a concept. Hopelessness because they confided in me and I can't help them, hopefulness because they confided in me and I can help them. Humor, security, anger, exhaustion, the list goes on and on. I wonder some days if I'm strong enough to do this.

But inevitably, something happens to make me realize that they are, in fact, making me stronger. By testing me so consistently, they're helping me to hone my skills at teaching, at trying new techniques, and troubleshooting and giving positive feedback and just generally speaking to people. Through my experiences with them, I'm learning where my boundaries are and how to make them known. I'm learning how to speak my mind clearly and honestly. I'm learning what I believe are the essentials to humanity, what's important to me individually. Though I knew parts of many of these things, it is because of these young ladies that I'm learning to define and articulate it.

This job is incredibly difficult, and anyone who says otherwise has either given up caring, or never did in the first place. To be good at this job is to let it partially overtake you; it's finding the balance that is difficult.


When I see them in class next, I'm going to thank them. They'll probably laugh and say "whatever, Miss", but I know that some day they will remember that moment, and they will know what it is to help another grow.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

down under manhattan bridge

in brooklyn, it felt like time stopped.

we walked out of the park and along the water, listening, talking
and your hand found my hand in the dark.

we put down the bags and blankets and sat on the bench
with my legs making a bridge over your lap.

we forgot about the next morning, we remembered it.
we decided to ignore it in favor of right now.

your fingers made little paths through my hair, and found homes on the back of my neck.
when we stood up to leave, i still felt them there.

the cobblestone streets and the evening made me unsteady
but you reached for me and kept me upright.

as we waited for the subway i watched what was escape through the stairways and airvents
and what is take its place beside me on the platform, in flipflops.

Friday, October 29, 2010

damned if you do, asshole if you don't

It's amazing to me the capacity we have as humans to either be extremely selfish, or to deny ourselves to the point of ill health. I have this habit of saying yes to things that I'm not excited about because I want to spend time with someone or because I have some weird brain path that leads me to believe I'll actually enjoy it even though I know I won't. And when I do inevitably listen to myself and say that I can't go or whatever it may happen to be, I feel like an asshole.

What is that?  Why do we feel like it's such a bad thing to say, you know what, I'm sorry, but it's better for me not to do this. I know that for me a big part of it is feeling like I'm letting people down. I don't like going back on my word, and even when I'm assured that it's not a big deal or that I'm doing the right thing, I can't trust it. Something in me keeps insisting that I'm an asshole and that I should be doing whatever it is, and it keeps insisting even when the rational part of my brain knows I've done what's best.

I seem to be having trouble with trust at the moment: trusting myself, trusting enough to let go, trusting that it's going to be ok. I know that it will be, and I know that every other experience I've had where I've listened to myself has been positive. I know that. But somehow I don't really believe it. I just keep wondering, is it really ok? Are they mad at me? Is this going to be something that's going to come up days or weeks or months from now and ultimately undo us? Did I just put an expiration date on this?

My whole life I've been second-guessing when I make a call that favors myself, no matter who it involves. Mom, best friend, boyfriend, whomever, I can never seem to justify choosing myself over them, even if that's not actually the situation. Somehow it always comes down to me versus them. That's not ok anymore.

I'm proud that I've gotten to the point where I will listen to myself and actually act on it. I'm lucky that I have people in my life who reinforce how important it is to take time for yourself, to honor your stress, your happiness, your exhaustion; people who recognize when I need that and are never upset with me for taking it. Maybe someday soon, I'll actually believe it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fight or Flight

Stress is a weird thing. It can be so good, or so so horribly bad. It can help you kick ass, or kick you so hard in the behind that you end up flat on your back and wondering who you are.

I got my ass kicked this week. I spent much of Saturday in bed because of an intense physical reaction to some news, and had Leigh not come over like the rock star she is, I might not have made it to babysit Molly. Who, it turns out, was exactly what I needed, as always. Had I not been able to spend most of Sunday with some pretty fucking amazing people, I'd still be a mess. They allowed me to flee from the situation, into the laughter, love, and support of their friendship. I have never been more thankful for the small gestures of love that they give me every day. They were my refuge, and helped me get ready to fight for myself.

Stress can be great. It can release endorphins after a great workout, give you an adrenaline high after you do something exciting, make you feel like you accomplished a lot at work. Stress can save your life, quite literally, by taking over your muscles, nerves, and brain function to help you give you the physical ability to face or escape a threat. Stress can give you a healthy jolt, keep the ol' ticker in check.

But it can also be debilitating. Especially when it's emotional stress. Weight loss, weight gain, migraines, sleeplessness, nausea, the list goes on. Stress can affect your longterm health, your mood, your relationships. It's incredible to me that people somehow function with fairly high levels of stress every day, as if that's normal.

It's not. We're not meant to deal with this constant bombardment of light and sound and communication and never unplugging. We're not meant to work so hard that we barely remember the day when we get home or that we can't separate between work and personal life.

It's about a balance. Sometimes, you put up your dukes and you fight like hell to get what you want. And sometimes the best way to protect yourself is to run far, far away. The tricky part is knowing which response is going to save your life. Or maybe just your day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

recent forgeries, the captain's verses


miyelo 13, viggo mortensen
met by a lake near the sun
your mouth and arms, eyes
and legs melted as though
we'd known each other well
and needed only rekindle
warmth of the familiar.
as if patience were rewarded
and now we'd share everything.
- stones, viggo mortensen



rachids 5, viggo mortensen
your steady hands
cradling my grateful
skull: were you taking
in my face to
save an image
you've rarely allowed
yourself after leaving
that cold alcove?
am i a photograph
you gaze at in
moments of weakness?

you ordered me
off my knees
into your arms.
wasn't to beg
that i knelt; only
to see you once
from below.
- communion 4, viggo mortensen



In the night we shall go in
to steal
a flowering branch.

We shall climb over the wall
in the darkness of the alien garden,
two shadows in the shadow.

Winter is not yet gone,
and the apple tree appears
suddenly changed
into a cascade of fragrant stars.

In the night we shall go in,
up to its trembling firmament
and your little hands and mine
will steal the stars.

And silently,
to our house,
in the night and the shadow,
with your steps will enter
perfume's silent step
and with starry feet
the clear body of spring.
- the stolen branch, pablo neruda

recent forgeries is a book of poetry, prose, photographs, and paintings by viggo mortensen. it is incredibly inspiring, and i suggest buying a copy of it (or any of his other books). the captain's verses is a collection of poems written by pablo neruda while in exile on the island of capri, and is my favorite of all of his collections.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Intention

I've been thinking a lot about intention the last week. It's a tricky subject.

Sometimes, your intentions are the most important thing; they can eclipse the consequences or circumstances of your actions. At other times, they don't matter at all.

But then there are times when they intertwine and interconnect with the consequences of your actions so intimately that you can't distinguish one from the other. When, though your intentions may have been good, or at least not to cause harm, the consequences were harmful, and no amount of explaining or apologizing will separate your intentions from what actually happened: they are inextricably, finally, one.

During my first class at Yoga To The People, I heard something that has been lodged in me ever since. Greg was teaching, and as he was about to release us to go through the warrior flow at our own pace, he said, Maintain the integrity of your breath. Move with intention. Make your movements smooth and purposeful. If you cannot hold a pose, move because you recognize that. If you don't feel ready to go to the next pose, don't move. Show up for yourself. This is your time to be selfish: to decide what you need, when you need it. To do those things on purpose. Take advantage of it. This practice, this hour, is your gift to yourself. Be present in it.

I've been thinking about those sentences for years, to the point where I can still hear Greg's voice saying them in my head. There's something to the idea of purpose, of intention, that really got to me.

And it applies to everything. This concept of intention, of showing up for yourself: it's important at work, important in friendships, and crucial in teaching. I played Ad a song I had written last fall, and as he was listening he looked at me and said, You know, you can't get what you want if you don't ask for it. And he's right. I've been working on that the last year. When my students frustrate me, I step back and ask myself what I intend the consequences of my reaction to be. Often, that has the effect of me asking them for something instead of demanding it, or standing firm where once I would have weakened. Asking myself what my intentions are forces me to look at what I want and, perhaps most importantly, to show up for myself by asking for it, or not asking for it, depending on the situation. I'm learning to wait for the things that are worth waiting for, and to ask for the things that I need.

It's not easy. Last week I had a lot of opportunities to step back and take a look at how I was behaving, and I didn't. And I had a lot of opportunities to be an advocate for myself, and I wasn't. But there were times that I was, and though in the grand scheme of the week they felt few and far between, they are important to recognize. I'm learning that showing up for yourself can mean a lot of different things: if you react poorly, or chicken out of saying something important, that it can often take a lot more courage to apologize or to speak up for yourself. But doing that, acknowledging that you messed up or that you do want something after all, are also forms of showing up for yourself. They are ways to make your intentions known.

Jason and I were talking on Sunday about relationships, and I brought this up. I expressed my desire to be in a relationship because I decided to be there - and that I don't want to be in one unless I've made that decision. I feel like so often I just kind of find myself places and turn it into something that I enjoy, instead of actively seeking to be somewhere or with someone specific. I told him that I want to make the conscious decision to be with someone. Because that's really what it's about- the choosing. That it is what makes all of the great relationships I know amazing: at some point, both people have stepped forward and said, I choose to be with you, to share with you, to laugh and cry and be angry with you. To grow with you. They have declared their choice, their intention, in the way that best fits where they are in life. I want to do that, and do it on purpose.

the chair makes a scraping sound

the chair makes a scraping sound
as i drag it over next to yours.
she laughs, happy that i am happy.
the arches of my feet fit onto your thighs like jigsaw pieces
and you absentmindedly rub my toes as you talk.
i smile at our need to touch:
at dinner you reached for my leg and couldn't find it
and when your hand finally wrapped around my calf and the hollows of your palm
met the rising muscles, we both breathed a sigh.

you rinse our glasses, arms repeating motions you've done a million times
and i tell you, you don't have to.
you continue washing, and dry your hands on a towel before touching my shoulders through my shirt.
i put the scraping chair in its place, and follow you
the blue cotton on your back a path my hands will follow.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Duality

I'm forever in awe of how complex emotions are. Not only do they all carry their own nuances, but those nuances are expressed by multiple words, making it incredibly difficult to accurately and completely express what you're feeling. Add to that the common experience of feeling multiple emotions at once, and it's nearly impossible.

I've been feeling two things at once lately, and it's been a struggle. I had a lot of trouble even identifying to myself what I was really feeling. I think the difficulty came from the fact that I was feeling two opposite emotions about the same thing: patience and urgency, fear and certainty, tension and calm, hope and hopelessness. The math of that is eight emotions, each with their own layers, complexities, and flavors. It's no wonder I was having trouble sleeping.

I have kind of a, let's call it a need, to identify what I'm feeling right away, to give it a name. I have a lot of trouble when I can't pinpoint it, and the direct result of that is my getting even more frustrated and being unable to step back long enough to really look at what's going on inside my own head. I like to be able to say definitively I felt this at this time. Nevermind the fact that I often can't or don't express that to others; it gives me a kind of solidarity, a sense of control.

It's been both a blessing and a curse over the last couple of years. Sometimes I've felt so overwhelmed that I've just given myself up to the craziness, and that feeling of surrender has often brought more peace of mind that other ways I've tried to deal. Sometimes I've just sat and strummed my guitar and kind of let things float around, and sooner or later I find that they've settled in a way that I can identify them. And other times, as I mentioned before, I hate the craziness and I fight it with everything I've got. When I do that I usually end up feeling things even more intensely and also adding anger and impatience to the mix. Not a great idea, that.

I'm learning to be patient with myself, because I've been discovering that I'm not. I often dive directly into thinking Why am I feeling this? What does it mean? How do I get past it? instead of taking the time to simply acknowledge it. The times that I've managed to do that, the feelings have dissapated more quickly and more comfortably than the times I've tried to figure out why they're there.

It's helping me be more patient with others, too. Where once the emotions I had this week would have made me push for something too quickly or just leave it altogether, I'm slowly starting to learn to wait and see, and enjoy the great things about where I am. Not that I'm good at it- I had a lot of trouble sleeping this week and pretending not to acknowledge a really big Want of mine. I felt so much urgency, with almost no reason, and that urgency brought about a huge fear of losing what I Have.

Because when I think about it, the thing that I want is what I have always wanted. I've been waiting for it for a long time. I'll be ok to wait a while longer. It'll be worth it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Closure


Did you ever have one of those mornings, or whole days, where it's like your music collection knows exactly what's going on in your head and plays 10 million songs in a row that remind you of whatever it is? I'm having one of those days, and it is simultaneously uplifting me and breaking my heart.

I got some news last night that I've been expecting for a while, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Because I've been anticipating it, I don't really feel any different. I feel like I can finally let go, say goodbye, really and truly move on. That at this point, goodbye is a formality. Which is good, because I'm at a place where I want to do that, am ready to do that, have a way to do that. I'm at a place where I'm excited about the future instead of buried in the past.

On the other hand, my ipod and pandora have both decided that today is a good day to play me songs that remind me of the thing I'm saying goodbye to, and I'm both thankful for that and hating it. I hate that I'm reminded of it and that I'm having this huge, emotional experience, literally as I type. I even cried on the train this morning. I hate that I can't really think about anything else, that all of these fears and desires are resurfacing. That they still exist. I don't really want to dwell on it- I've got a good life, and it's not really helping to think of something I don't have anymore that I, at one time, badly, sorely, strongly wanted. But I'm also thankful for it, because I feel like I'm getting the chance to honor that time in my life. By reliving it a bit, I'm getting to look back on all of the amazing things I got to experience. And the not so amazing things- what is one of the best and bravest things I've ever done is also arguably one of the stupidest and most self-damaging. But I learned so much, and all of this music is reminding me of that.

I'm of the opinion that we never really truly have closure from something. I guess to make that claim means I need to define closure. Dictionary.com defines it as a sense of psychological certainty or completeness. I think that sometimes we can go through an experience that makes us feel that: for instance, last night was kind of the final that's enough, now of the whole thing. I may have certainty, but I don't have completeness- I will always come back to think about the experience as a whole, how I felt, what I learned from it. Reflection is such a huge part of who I am that I will never fully leave something behind.

But maybe that is completeness. Maybe my ability to put it in the category of something that happened versus something that is happening means that, at least in my world, it's complete. It's closed.

But with all this music reminding me of the sun streaming through the windows, the craziness of my heartbeat, the unexpectedness of it all, it sure doesn't feel that way. I guess I need one more think about it before I say goodbye. Bring it on, iTunes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Expectations

Our ability as humans to focus on the negative is amazing. More often than they should, little things preoccupy us; interactions or actions or moments playing themselves over and over in our minds like a really annoying song. And it's not always a two-way street- sometimes, no matter how great they are, positive moments just don't get lodged in the way negative ones do.

This morning on the train, I had an interaction with a stranger that's been bugging me all day. A woman with a cane got on, and the man sitting next to me immediately turned to me and said "You should give up your seat for her, that's an older woman with a cane." I do that as often as I can - give up my seat - and I think that's part of why I got annoyed. Who's to say I wouldn't have given her my seat if I'd had a second to think before he jumped down my throat? Also, the fact that he seemed to single me out pissed me off. I felt that he assumed that because I'm young, I don't have any manners, which bothered me a lot. Because I do. And the fact that it was so hypocritical- I know this is New York, but the audacity of telling a complete stranger whom you have no authority over whatsoever what to do was appalling, especially when you're telling them to be polite.

I stood up, made eye contact with the woman, and smiled as she thanked me and took my seat. I turned back to the man, and - I'm not proud of this - told him he could have given up his seat too, with a little bit of attitude. He held up a cane that I hadn't seen before and said, "I have one, too, smarty." I apologized and told him I hadn't seen it, then moved to the other side of the train until I got off at my stop. I'm sure he probably said something else to me as I was standing up, but I can't remember it if he did.

At first, I was upset at how he spoke to me. Who wants to be told how to act by a complete stranger, especially as an adult? I felt attacked and belittled by a person who had no right or reason to make me feel that way (nor do the people who know us, but that's a different story altogether). It bothered me that I was judged. It bothered me that I was bothered.

And then I realized, I was really upset because he was right. While I try to be continually considerate and polite, I wasn't either of those things this morning. And this man, though I don't agree with how he did it, called me on it. I didn't really think about giving that woman my seat, because I didn't even look up when she got on the train. I was focused on getting ready for my day. And I was rude to that man when it wasn't really called for. I didn't have to talk back, but I did.

I have this continual struggle between selflessness and selfishness. Neither is fully bad, neither is fully good. I was trying to spend my commute this morning getting ready to deal with teenagers. It can be a struggle some days, so I always try to give myself some quiet time before and after school, which usually happens on the train. I was being selfish in order to be selfless, you could say. But on the other hand, I didn't come through like I normally would, and that lapse is upsetting. Ad told me once that I have high expectations of people and of myself, and that I shouldn't always have those. And part of me thinks that he's right. We're human. We fail. Sometimes it's inconsequential, and sometimes it's catastrophic, and sometimes it's everywhere else in between. I didn't live up to my own expectations, and while it's not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, I acted poorly. I may have made that woman's day better, but I sure didn't improve that man's.

Expectations are a funny thing. I generally don't know what mine are until they are either met, or not met. Sometimes I know them if I'm forced to articulate them. I had the experience recently where someone didn't meet an expectation I had for them. What disappointed me wasn't just that it wasn't met, but that the expectation had been cultivated because of past experience. I had come to trust and respect this person, and I felt that those things were betrayed. I chose to spend my time with them, but I felt that they did not honor my choice to do so. That's the piece I think Ad was missing when he said what he said. In a way, he's very right. People don't always act the way we think they should. But on the other hand, many of my expectations are built on what I know of them. Maybe that's unfair of me, but if I know you are a considerate person, I expect you to act that way. In the same way that if I know you're always late or tend to flake out, I expect that.

I'm also experiencing having my expectations met regularly. I didn't really have any for this person when we met, but he continually treats me with consideration, care, and respect. And if there is ever a time when he doesn't - which is rare - he lets me voice whatever I need to, and then talks with me about it. And if I disappoint him, I do the same. We are building, and growing into, something that I'm proud to be a part of. Part of that is living up to expectations. Another part of it is admitting when we don't. Because as the man on the subway showed me this morning, nobody's perfect. Even when they're trying to do the right thing.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

You're Still Right

You said, "we need to mourn it"
The end of our sleepless nights
I hate that even when you are wrong
You're still right

I tried closing my eyes, but that just made you clearer
I tried getting new sheets, but I just missed your smell
I tried other boys, but I just missed your skin
I tried flying to you, but I just fell

If I stopped being there would you know I was gone?
Would you care if I just slipped away?
Every time I keep thinking "I will be first to leave"
But I just stay until you say goodbye

We don't talk much these days, I guess you're busy with work
Still I wait for you almost every night
I hate that I know this is wrong
But you're still right

If I stopped being there would you know I was gone?
Would you care if I just slipped away?
Every time I keep thinking "I will be first to leave"
but I just stay until you say goodbye




listen

By the Sea

When I am old, I'm gonna live by the beach
And swim each day in the sea
If the waves should take me
Down to Mephestopheles
Well I will see all the things I've done
You will be the one I will come back for

He'll offer me some pomegranate seeds
But I will be careful not to eat a thing
And if he tries to trick me
Well baby I'll just up and leave
And I will see the light of day again
You will be waiting for me at the end

We'll spend our days skin to skin
Curtains drawn, windows open
On our naked backs we will feel the wind
I will know this is it
We will see our lives laid out before us
You will be the earth below, the sky above




listen

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ready For Summer

My brain has been buzzing lately. Adam asked a month or so ago if I'd be willing to teach the middle schoolers at camp this year - at once one of the most difficult and most rewarding ages. My reaction was a quick succession of feelings; first I felt honored and proud that he thinks I can meet the challenge. Secondly, almost immediately, I began thinking about the kids in that group and how I would structure it.

And I'm still thinking about it. There is so much that goes into this job, and it's not even just a job, it's a calling. I keep thinking about the peer pressure at that age, how hard it can be to be an individual, how you're constantly changing and forging a new identity and how uncertain that can make you feel. I felt daunted, but I've kept the ideas floating around in the back of my head, silently becoming a more solid plan. Every once in a while, my brain interrupts whatever I'm doing with an idea - how to respond to a situation, a routine, a rule I need to create outright - and I jot it down in the notebook I'm carrying around for that express purpose.

I know that come June, I'll be able to look at it and be able to impart to my kids the essential things I want them to learn: that they are no one but themselves. That every emotion, reaction, and even discipline I give them comes from a place of love and hope. That they have the power to positively change this world and just need to learn how to use it. And I'm not talking huge undertakings, either, though I will encourage them from the bottom of my heart to take those on. I want them to learn that the little things like kindness, considerateness, regularly coming through for those in your life, and loyalty can sometimes have a stronger impact than one big change.

I've been thinking a lot about Kids Creative, and the impact that it's had on my life. It's changed so much- I've noticed that I never playfully hit people anymore, that my jokes aren't usually digs at people but are instead riffs off of what one of us said. I'm calmer, I'm more patient, I'm more considerate of other people's feelings and time. I'm by no means perfect, and I still mess up or flake out or am not as forthright as I should be. But when I look at how I'm living, how I'm feeling, how I'm behaving, I see threads of Kids Creative in it, weaving in and out with ones from my parents and my friends and my relationships. It's given me a place to grow in a different way from other places I've been, and for that I am forever grateful. It's my mission this summer to provide that for my kids in any way they need it.

And of course, to have a blast.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Andrea

Woke up this morning, I just lay watching you
Sheets pulled up close to your chin
and the sunlight streaming in
I thought that we could drive to the beach
And spend our day in the waves
And I'll watch the water on your skin
Oh, Andrea

You're always laughin' and looking back at me
Hair in your eyes as you try not to miss a thing
You leave your footprints behind you in the sand
When we get home I see your toes
In puddles on the bathroom floor
Oh, Andrea

We pulled the couch outside and watched the city lights
And as you sat in my lap
Well, I just played you this song
I felt your heart beat though the sweatshirt you had on
The blanket caught your tears as I told you that I love you
Oh, Andrea

I told you that I love you





listen

I actually wrote this for a friend of mine to sing- I think a lot of my songs would actually sound better in lower keys, with male voices singing. As soon as he and I get the chance to record, I'll put it up.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

making coffee

i want to close my eyes
and not see your face.
i want to see the red-black-blue
of the back of my eyelids
and not the floor of your apartment
or the sheets on your bed
or the view from your terrace.

it's strange the things that contain you.
some are predictable - a certain song,
a poem, a shirt. others are more
surprising: the light of early morning
through the window
or process of making coffee. somehow
pouring boiling water into a french press
calls you forth against my will.

i do it anyway. you are there, hovering,
but i've lived with your spectre for so long
that it doesn't really matter anymore
that you're not actually here. i'm trying
my best to go about my business
and ignore the way your ghosty eyes
look at me out of everyone else's.