Friday, January 24, 2014

So, I fell in love with a boy

He has bright blue eyes filled with questions no one knows to ask. They also have answers he may never share. He is my best friend’s son—ten months old and eager to explore the world around him. Now, don’t get me wrong; I haven’t imprinted on him circa Twilight or anything. But, there is a sense of wholeness that comes with rocking baby as he falls asleep on my chest. Our breathing becomes one, and there isn’t really a place where I stop and he begins. I already feel this sense of maternal gratitude for holding my best friend’s child; I cannot even imagine what will happen when I hold my own future baby.

I have read so many articles about “Getting married and having babies young is the best way to go” or “Wait to have kids—it is the best decision for you” or “Whelp, accidents happen: The best way to raise your little surprise.” And, to be honest, they all annoy me. I have chosen a lifestyle for myself that having children right now would be really difficult. So, waiting is the best way for me. But, so many of my friends have chosen marriage or children, and they are incredibly fulfilled creating and nurturing their families. I am lucky to have come from a place of privilege, in which my family has loved and supported me through all of my crazy life endeavors. They no longer ask me when I plan to get married and have babies. They know that I will pursue those things in my own time and in my own way.
And that, folks, is all we can ask from one another. There is no right time to have children, no right way to raise them (I mean, keep ‘em away from fire until they’re old enough to be safe; that’s just generally a good life rule). A person needs to do what is right for him or her regardless of what society says. Get married and have children young; travel the world and have children old; don’t have children at all. It isn’t fair to have one accepted way of life and anyone who doesn’t adhere to that are seen as social miscreants. Each person is the main character of their own epic journey; let them create their own story. Right now, I am ecstatic that a little plot twist named Byron is sleeping on my chest, and that, for me, is enough.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

So, I'm figuring out family

So, I'm figuring out family: an observation of "home" after an extended absence

By the time, we reach the 894 bypass, I could have driven the rest of the way to my mom’s house without hesitation or doubt. My mom took all the right exits chatting away while my father scrunched up in the back seat listened to our small talk.

When she pulled into the garage, I ran into the house and engulfed my sister in a hug that had neither beginning nor end. It just was. Then I sidled up to my brother in law and felt whole in his embrace. A few moments later, I remembered my luggage and trounced down the stairs to collect it. Within the hour, my father dealt the cards for Dirty Clubs, and in that moment my patchwork family quilted a new memory: That night Katie came back.
The routine was so familiar. The couch and wing backs still stood sentinel to the fireplace. The bookshelves housing my childhood favorites continued to wait for the next generation of adventurers. Bailey and Brenden wove underfoot both calling for then rejecting my attention. The cards dealt 3-2-3-2-3.
Yet, there were spider web cracks in this mirror of Christmases past—four stockings hung on the mantle, figurines perched in the place of my father’s dusty tomes; his antique Santa bank watched over another house this year.
Everyone did their best to make me feel at home. They each contributed a favorite food to the homecoming feast. We ate, drank, and talked over one another, per usual. We shelved our differences, our opinions, and our hurts to celebrate everyone's health and presence at the table.

We are still trying to figure out how to function as a five person unit. Some of the cogs are misplaced, some of the joints were broken but are now mended, and some of the wheels that kept everything turning are lost forever. But, we try to make it work because that’s what we’ve always done.

Monday, January 6, 2014

So, I wrote a poem

I have been trying to plan a spoken word poetry night for a really long time. Finally, about six months after its inception, Speak Up: A Night of Spoken Word, happened in Busan, South Korea. Apparently, someone from another part of the country saw videos of it, and created their own spoken word event in Gwangju.

That is what I love about living abroad--the ease with which you can start groups of likeminded folks in your community. This is a poem I read as the sacrifice for the evening's slam portion.

PS I do have a video of it, in which I:
a) forgot a crucial line.
b) compare myself to Aslan.
c) am a wee bit tipsy because I jokingly asked for tequila and seriously received three shots in a very short period of time--I did not OOTAH for the first two hours of the evening; I then found myself obnoxious and hydrated the rest of the evening.
d) was a little sassy when I said "professors." Please see number 3. I didn't mean it like that. I loved my university professors. They really have helped me be the human I am today.

You can comment/send me an email, and I can share the video with you on the google drive whoositwhatsit

Inside the Binary
For Laurie
I wasn’t born a writer.
I didn’t come from the womb sticky with
verbs or adjectives.
They didn’t check my response to
They didn’t wipe articles from my eyes.
My heart didn’t beat nouns
I didn’t have ten healthy
phrases and gerunds.
I didn’t inhale clauses
and exhale statements.
I did not cry eloquence
            But with an inarticulate babble

There are those, however, who burst with
Those whose honeyed breath tastes like
sweet similes—
their eyes, a metaphor of unspoken truths.  

I am not that.

Instead, I became a writer.
I learned from
books and professors. 
My commas spliced, my voice was passive. 
I combined 0s and 1s to form
characters on a screen.
I scratched ink onto paper hoping to find
answers to unknown questions.

That’s what born writers do—
transcribe ideas in search of something
work outside of binaries to
craft illusions
construct realities
Again, I am not that.
I fixate on word choice.
I need perfection.
I follow rules.

I operate language.
I plug words into their distinct niches of
subject, verb, object.

but real writing is messy punctuation is a suggestion line breaks are irrelevant writing cannot be perfected writing cannot be tamed the power words wield is greater than humanity will ever know

I wish that I could
create instead of manipulate.
Maybe someday I will learn
 to feel, to breathe, to be
Until then, I’ll live in my textbook house made of
parentheses and ampersands.