Tuesday, December 28, 2010

with a knife in my teeth

I worked on a poem yesterday that had all the old bravura of my younger days with a bit of the pragmatism of these days. I dig it. I doubt I'll ever show it to anyone but I'm still pretty pleased with myself. I made myself place something almost cringe-worthy in the poem, an image that makes the (imagined) reader uncomfortable but not so that the reader stops reading. Plenty of hyperbole and a shot of plain ass sadness to ground it. Oh formula, how I'm getting to know you.

The holiday was good. Lots of family time, lots of alcohol. We stayed at my parent's house again Christmas night, again breaking the old rule of no daughter can share a room with a man without being married. I think my parents might be over the rule. We played drinking games again with my little sister and her friends. I'm too old to play drinking games but in the spirit of wanting to not be completely lame I did. I'd already spent a good part of Christmas night curled up in a chair in the corner, reading and annotating my brand new copies of The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton and How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. My family is really into games, Scrabble, Taboo, Smart Ass, Apples to Apples. Love is pretty competitive and fits right in with the yelling therein. Even in crowds of people I love I often choose solitude.

No plans too exciting for the New Year's celebration. We'll probably stay at my parent's house again, spend the evening with family, drink with my baby sister that night, watch football in the morning with my dad. There is a Mexican tradition of eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, one grape for each tolling of the bell. Each grape is a wish pertaining to a month in the year. I haven't eaten the grapes for years, I've spent the last two years at a bar and two before that home alone. This year, silly as it seems, (and so many traditions are), I'm making wishes.

Yesterday afternoon I sat on my balcony, eating mint chip ice cream with a tiny spoon. I watched the insects on the bamboo and wondered how hard it would be to learn to play the accordion. I chided myself that I should have been writing but then I remembered that it's between the living and the stillness that the writing comes. And it did.

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