Thursday, July 7, 2011

Darting fears in Summer

posted by Melissa
Pete and Jamie playing at the cookout (notice dirty feet)
The other morning, on the 4th of July,  I was studying for my Anatomy & Physiology class up at Victrola Coffee.  Amy texted me to see if I was around the building to talk to, and I immediately thought, "Ok, if this cookout coordinator thing is getting to be too much for her, I can totally take some of it on.  We'll be Co-Co-ordinators."

I texted her back to walk up to Victrola and have a chat there.  When she showed up, very chipper, and announced that she wanted to share some of her poems that she memorized out loud; I was both relieved (that Amy was happy and looking forward to the festivities of the day) and very nervous.

I realized that my public speaking fears stretched father than I had thought.  I was even having that stomach tumbling and heart rising to my tight throat feeling when I thought of Amy sitting across the table reciting aloud to me, no book between us, just her words and my ears.  And two sets of eyes, possibly darting here and there, or maybe more comfortably staring off into space.

I handled it OK.  She gave me her book of the "Declaration of Independence" that she was reciting, so there was that to look at and buffer my insecurities.  Amy did great, besides a few small word changes, she totally nailed two whole paragraphs, at least.  That experience also brought up the unending conversation of the day (and into the night) of my intense fears of hiking/backpacking.  The thing I picked for August.  What was I thinking!?! (more on that another time.)

Later on that same sunny day, we were all hanging out on the front steps of the Boathouse (our apartment building), having a PBR and enjoying some poetry.  I decided we had to go on a poetry run to our local bookstore, Elliot Bay Books.  Me, Amy, Tallulah and our neighbor (and young poet) Pete all walked down through the park.  Pete was walking barefoot through the city and Tallulah couldn't seem to let that go:

"Pete isn't wearing shoes." repeated Tallulah.

"I know, he's an adult.  He makes his own choices." I responded to her with each announcement.

"Pete doesn't have shoes on.  He should be wearing shoes." Tallulah said, now looking to Amy.

"Yes, he could get cut, Tallulah, but his Mom can't tell him what to do anymore." Amy replied.

Pete's feet never got cut and Tallulah got more involved in whining about not wanting to walk.  But the good news was that the bookstore had one copy left of Laura Kasischke's (pronounced Ka-ZISS-kee) newest poetry book.  Whew.  It is called Space, In Chains.  So our holiday poetry run was a success and I love her work, all of it.  This is one of my favorite's today.

by Laura Kasischke

She drank too much
She was after
Some meadow
Some orchard

Some childhood night with the window open, and it was summer, and her
own mother was humming in another room, and through the screen the
fuzzy blue, and suddenly she was out there swimming, too, in softness, a
permanent candle, invisible, beautiful.

She drank too much
For many years
Some stairs
Some cosmetics

I stood in the threshold and watched her disintegrate before a mirror.

My lovely mother before a tray full of bracelets
(Repeat: My lovely mother before a tray full of bracelets)

She invited me in to fish the ice cubes from her drink.  They were warm. On
my tongue.  Such calm.  Like a small bomb detonated in an isolated barn.  Like
a beloved pet in the middle of a busy street, just standing there, looking

Hope you enjoyed it...


Jen Diamond said...

Nice One.

Melissa said...

Thanks, Jen! Was it the dirty feet that you loved? The risky city-walking in bare feet???? :)