Letter Writing Series, Day Six

Dearest weirdo daydreamer, fierce night dreamer, late bloomer in all the ways that matter. Storm cloud brain, kindred to few.

Lover of summer soil and river views. You are the keeper of my grandmother’s fears and my grandfather’s stories. Achy but still strong enough to carry around that inner teenage badass. I know it’s difficult to look in the mirror nowadays and not see her. Sorry about that, I should have taken better care.

Clouds have closed off the sky tonight. Before the sun fell down for the day, those clouds were making a gray patchwork quilt hanging low over the water. Everything was gray, but the air carried no threat of rain. Pleasantly strange.

Listen, I know you’re weary from decades of fighting all those unseen demons. Sorry about that. Nothing I can do. Your mission is to keep on fighting. Don’t name them. Don’t sit around devising ways to tame them. Just fight.

In between the bouts you’ll see bright white moonlight and sunrays and smiles that make your heart fill feathered. In between the weariness and anger, you’ll be kind and hopeful and sure. You’ll be a weirdo, a dreamer. A storm.

Letter Writing Series, Day Five

Dearest funny face, youth and fluidity, thoughtful contradiction. Change in motion. Energizing, exhausting inspiration. Stage voice. My favorite vocabulary.

I have committed the injustice of wanting you as my alter ego. I’ve daydreamed your shoes and walked out steps of singularity, of brave vulnerability, of wide-open possibilities. My apologies.

Flying out west, watching the sky below change from lush threats to smooth, weary swirls, my mind was full of you. Young enough to be daughter. Wise enough to be guru. Clever enough to be whatever.

Flying out west, mulling over timetables and daylight savings, I realized how futile it is that humans insist on manipulating the inevitable. Time flies past whether we sit there watching, or dare to chase it. Truth is, everything will change. Everything will stay the same.

In the meantime, rest assured there is only one you and you’re smart enough to figure out time can’t be conquered, shouldn’t be obeyed. It has to be spent.

Wisely? Wildly?

Yes.

Letter Writing Series, Day Four

Dearest solar eclipse, liberator, teacher of life, proof of life. Mystery in motion. Mood ring eyes. Creator of my laughter, the best medicine.

Love is such an inadequate word. You put those four letters to shame every time I try to use them. All of my words fumble and hesitate in your presence; a kiss can’t do you justice. Nevertheless, I keep trying.

This house is quiet without you. Summer is working its way past the river, climbing up our balcony toward the open door. Everything is green, the air is sweet, and quiet. You’ll be home soon. I’ll be waiting to watch your eyes darken, the flames singe the moon, listening for the mystery and the laughter to fill up these rooms.

See you soon.

Letter Writing Series, Day Three

Dearest benevolence, singing Christmas morning, bedtime story. Home. My first glimpse at creativity and stamina. Hope. Positive energy. Frost ended a poem with miles to go before I sleep. You began every day with that. Raised children with that.

Surely the weight of it was only burden some days, rather than reward. Still, you offered the sweetest lessons with good bedtime stories.

I wonder what we gave you as children, tucking us in, making sure we were fed and had room to play. I wonder what we can possibly give you as adults. Singing Christmas mornings, good stories, benevolence?

I can only hope.

Letter Writing Series, Day Two

Dearest tiny voice, fearless leader, intuition, dappled afternoon light. The toughest girl I know. That to which I should aspire.

Yesterday, I spent the late afternoon in our aunt’s backyard, shaded by a tree she planted a decade ago. Imagine that. A tree providing shade, oxygen, and dappled light, just because a woman placed its fragile beginnings in the soil on a day that seemed like any other.

You can imagine that. The obvious conclusion, now that I take it into consideration — you’ve raised a son. A sunrise. Beauty walking, talking, learning. And you’ve done so much more.

Sitting in that backyard, soft Tennessee May brushing my bare arms, I wallowed in home. In generosity and attentiveness. Good food. Family.

Today my balcony door is open and saxophone music is floating across the water. Wish you were here. Or, I was there just a mile or so from that old house where we learned to ride bicycles.

Sometimes I wonder what it’s like for you to live in a cute little cottage just down the road from where we skinned our knees and filed away childhood facts in whispers while we were supposed to be asleep early on a school night.

I’ve been to a lot of places, seen a lot more geography up close than you have. Met a lot of academics, farmers, badasses, and self-proclaimed saints. You’re still the toughest girl I know. My tiny voice, intuition, fearless leader, dappled afternoon light.

Letter Writing Series, Day One

Dearest favorite midnight conversation, well-blended margaritas, cozy hearth fire. Dearest epic. Long lost papyrus. In-line rhyme, moral of the story. You are about to have a major life change. Congratulations. Best wishes. I’m sorry.

Birds are fussing at the squirrels outside this window as I debate with myself about reading Yeats or searching out some enlightening nonfiction. I can’t be there for so many reasons, but as I think of you today, I think of you smiling. A hopeful smile? Nostalgic? Sardonic? Hopeful. Expectant. Blissful.

Thank you for being the person who inspires me to want to be there. Thank you for broadening the scope; perhaps unaware, you’ve helped teach me to look at other-than-me, other-than-mine. I cannot be there now. Someday I will be, and that day I will be fire logs, good margaritas, and background music just for you.

Until then, my greatest hope is that you enjoy the drive north and west. Take your time. Listen to music you’ve never heard before. Smile at yourself in the mirror when the opportunity presents. Watch the way your eyes change when you smile.

APAD 10: Poetry, by Marianne Moore

Poetry

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers that there is in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful; when they become so derivative as to become
unintelligible, the
same thing may be said for all of us—that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand. The bat,
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
wolf under
a tree, the immovable critic twinkling his skin like a horse
that feels a flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician—case after case
could be cited did
one wish it; nor is it valid
to discriminate against “business documents and

school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets,
the result is not poetry,
nor till the autocrats among us can be
“literalists of
the imagination”—above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them,
shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, in defiance
of their opinion—
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness, and
that which is on the other hand,
genuine, then you are interested in poetry.


For me, this poem could end with hair that can rise/if it must. Those first few lines say it all, don’t they?

This year I resolved to share poems with coworkers — most of whom I’ve seen crinkle their noses when poetry is mentioned — rather than sharing solely online with an audience made up of avid readers and writers. The results have been pleasing. Much like that first stanza above. I’m so pleased that I now intend to share daily poems with EVERYONE! So, here’s Marianne Moore. Enjoy.