{poetry friday: macaroni}

New Lanark T 24

It always amuses me that whenever my Scottish friends speak of pies, they invariably mean… that which I do not mean at all. Say “pie” and they’ll say chicken-and-leek. Eel. Steak-and-kidney. Mince. Mutton, or something else in Scotch pie. Sweet pies are… um, puddings? So, it gets to be a little confusing.

In view of the fact that today is apparently National Mac & Cheese Day I will raise a …mug to Macaroni Pie. It’s better with fresh peas than baked beans from a tin, to be sure, but it’s one of those ubiquitous quick meal I had when out and about, visiting castles and historical places. I’ve never tried to make one – I truly can’t see the point of adding pastry to pasta when there are perfectly good pumpkins and peaches just sitting around – but macaroni pie was good fuel for a long day of walking in cold climes, so here’s to it.

Dodgy Dinners

When cravings for a piece of pie
Meet diet’s parsimony,
Forget the peach – your fork apply
To tasty macaroni!

A hand-pie makes a lot of sense:
Food without ceremony –
(And, in a pinch, it’s self-defense
And lessens acrimony).

Take my advice and make this meal
With peas and pepperoni,
Complete with pastry’s flaked appeal
A pie of macaroni.

This is a DREADFUL POEM of the worst sort of drivel and I’m well aware of that, but I’m also packing to move, so it is what it is. ☺ The rest of the ACTUAL poetry-ites are over at Tabatha’s blog today.

{and nobody’s got time for that}


I tweeted this yesterday, but the drawback of Twitter, of course, is chopping things up into tiny bits. This quote needs to be seen and savored in its entirety. It’s from the legendary dance diva, Martha Graham in a 1973 interview. She was interviewed countless times throughout a long and brilliant career, of course, but one of the biggest things she’s ever said that stuck with me was about struggling as an artist. She told the Christian Science Monitor, `You are unique and so am I. If you do not fulfill that uniqueness, it is lost to the world. No matter how uncomfortable it may be, you must pay your debts to the life that has been permitted you. And to do it with as much courage as possible.’

It’s the COURAGE that stood out to me.

It’s odd how some people seem to equate being a writer with suffering in some vague, indefinable way, as if the suffering itself, the self-deprecation and the, “Oh, I make no money with it,” is part of the gig. The attitude some people bring to the work really has nothing to do with the writing, the desire to write, or why we do so specifically for young adults. I distrust a writer who gets too involved with The Struggle (TM), this idea that The Arts and The Life are some sort of all-caps calling to which they’re supposed to sacrifice everything. Part of me constantly chafes at myself for indecision and nonsense, while the other asks, “Did you choose this life, or not?”

“There is no place for arrogance in the arts, but neither is there room for doubt or a perpetual need for affirmation. If you come to me with doubts about a particular move in a piece, or if you come to me and ask if what you’ve written has truth and power in it, these are doubts I can handle and respect. But if you come to me and moan about whether or not you really have a place in the dance or the theatre or in film, I’ll be the first person to pack your bags and walk you to the door. You are either admitting that you lack the talent and the will, or you are just looking for some easy attention. I don’t have time for that. The world doesn’t have time for that. Believe in your worth and work with a will so that others will see it. That’s how it is done; that’s how it was always done.”

Emphasis mine, of course.

I don’t know the origin of the phrase, “Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise,” but this quote pulls that to mind. Oh, the self pity, the “look-at-me” posting of daily word count (I know that for some people, this is a necessary part of keeping themselves accountable, but not only is it really painful sometimes for other people who write very much more slowly, but daily word count is really… significant of nothing), the sort of whingeing of worrying aloud we do, when we see someone else “stealing” our plot or idea – all of this is unnecessary. Terry Pratchett always said that there are stories simply “sleeting” through the Universe. There’s enough for all. There is room for all. There is art for all. It only requires that we reach out and embrace it. Believing in our work, our worth, our will. Which is just kind of huge.

“The world seethes with ideas the way a week-old carcass seethes with maggots, and they are individually just about as valuable. Standing atop the carcass shouting, “The eighteenth maggot on the left belongs to MEEEEE!” is well… bless your heart, as they say around here. And even if both you and I, creative carrion birds that we are, grab for the same maggot, we’d get very different results.

…so, stories are like dead whales. One falls from the sky every now and again, and we all jump on it.”

– Ursula Vernon, on why writers really shouldn’t worry about story ideas being “taken” because there are stories out there, forever, like there are whales washing up on beaches forever, which will nourish all of us bottom-feeder writers forever, amen. Really, it’s a charming analogy, just as charming as whalefall, which is whales washing up dead on beaches… Okay, so NOT charming, but whatever. Circle of life. Just like ideas, and writing, and all of this work. Circle of life.

So, the next time I find myself in the presence of undue “suffering” in my chosen profession, I’m going to imagine Ms. Martha plié-ing across the floor to escort that person OUT of the field. (At least out of my hearing and field of vision, if nothing else.) Gracefully, of course. Because nobody has time for the transparent bids for sympathy in a job we took onto our own shoulders. Believe in your work and your worth and go on.

{thanksfully 3.0 ♦ fuyu}

Persimmon and Blueberry Pies

I find it unbelievable that I have no pictures of the persimmons that Bean picked up last year – from a tree unclaimed on the side of the road. I somehow didn’t even photograph the pomegranates, which are also a November favorite, which my father hoards from his tree… and while it seems early in the month to be grateful already for *cough* food, which is what most of us do when we feel like we’re running out of things, *cough* I forget about persimmons every single year. I hated them, as a child; they were slimy. I still prefer the firm ones – but the slushy, sticky fuyu, which can be dried whole or used fresh, make THE BEST sticky fruit cookies, ever. Actually, come to think of it, the pie was pretty good, too.

I am grateful today for all the gifts of autumn, even the ones I periodically forget exist.

{“a little racism in the Adirondacks”}


Berkeley 15

Occasionally, I have the distinct pleasure of meeting absolutely unique people, and I met this adorably dimpled person for the first time the other night at supper in Berkeley. He happened to be all of seventeen, full of wit and cracking wise all evening, making the assorted adults about him guffaw intemperately. A very good time was had; a brief blip of sanity in amongst ALA meetings and packing and sightseeing and preparing to leave the state and the country.

Adorably Dimpled (whom we’ll call AD for future reference) is one of those outdoorsy people was relating to us the tale of his canoeing trip through the Adirondacks, and how well it had gone. He added that he and his rowing partner had at one point stood in the canoe, poling along and singing out all the Italian words that they knew, gondolier style – which were sadly limited to rigatoni, zabaglione, bruschetta, antipasti… Yeah. It was fairly pathetic, but it amused them, so they carried on… until they rounded a corner and met up with another canoe full of people conversing … in … Italian.

Mortified, they sat down and shut up.

AD chuckled ruefully, recounting the tale. “It was terrible,” he recalled. “We thought we could get away with a little racism out in the Adirondacks, but no.” The complete incongruity of this statement of course broke up the whole table and we all laughed some more. But, AD’s claim of racism has stayed with me… and rattled around like a dried pea in my brain.

Berkeley 2

I was nineteen when a social worker I knew prodded me into being part of a study at Boston University’s Sloan Epidemiology Center. I’m still a part of that study, which has turned out to be a huge and important one about the health of women of color across the United States. Biannually, the several hundred thousand women in the group answers questions about their health, visits a lab to give blood, or agrees to give Sloan access to their cancer records or their blood pressure readings, and &tc. This is a comprehensive study, and includes mental health, and every other year or so, when the questionnaire comes out, I’ve been asked about my experiences with things that threaten mental health — things like domestic abuse, self harm, assault, and… racism.

At nineteen, I returned a survey which said that I had never experienced racism. I know – highly unlikely, right? Yet, it was important for me during that time to be able to say that, no, there was no racism. It supported my worldview, which stated that The World Is An Okay Place. If I believed otherwise, I would have been too petrified to go out in said world — so I went with the “I don’t see color and no one has seen mine” fabrication with which so many young people have attempted to navigate their world. But, the survey kept asking that question, year in, year out. Asking. And asking. Insistently. There’s a reason for their questions, of course; the NYT reported recently on some of the findings from this study and others like it. The questions are important – vital. The survey designers always vary it — as all psychological tests do — they ask in terms of the workplace or in terms of feeling safe, or in terms of shopping experience, or in terms of school days. But, they keep asking.

I have been, by turns, exasperated, impatient and mildly annoyed with their questions. But, after AD’s little story, what I am now is …illuminated.

Kelvinbridge 11 HDR

Of course, I have experienced racism. (And, I have acted in racist ways — as much as I HATE the idea of that, I have.) This week, I’m in Scotland, which is where some of the more …embarrassing experiences in my life have happened. The UK isn’t a monoculture, contrary to what ends up on television or in the media – there are people of Asian, South Asian and African backgrounds who are born and raised here, but for reasons of …history? the popular depictions are almost always white. This is changing, as the population shifts, but when we moved here in 2007, I was a serious minority, and it didn’t always feel okay. People would either stare at me — to the extent of turning after we’d passed each other in the street, to look over their shoulders — or they would accost me to rap (arrhythmically) at me, scream “Soul sister!” or try and do complicated hand-shakes with me. No, seriously. Strangers, I’m talking about — trying to slap hands with me, and assume some familiarity because they were sure that they somehow knew me, because… maybe their best friend was black? And, I would bet that none of those people would have the clear-eyed realism of AD, and say that they were being racist… but, they were.

In college, someone asked to record me scatting — as if, because Ella Fitzgerald could do it, surely I could, because black. Er, NO. So not able to do that. I am not a jazz person in any formal fashion. Let’s have some Handel and get on with things, yes? And yet, even that didn’t work — other girls in my high school chorus were offered Messiah solos; I was offered minor key descants in the spirituals we sang. Because, black. Even as far back as elementary school, where a PE teacher assumed that I could skip better than other kids, because I could dance (SO not sorry to have to disabuse her of that notion) and another assumed that I would sink because “people of African ancestry don’t really swim, they have too dense of muscles for it” (Which is likely a surprise to the coastal peoples of Ghana, Mauritas, Mozambique and the Seychelles, but whatever), people have been in essence painting my picture without ever looking at my face.

Kelvinbridge 20

But, was that really… racist? I mean, isn’t racism assuming that various specific characteristics of someone’s race makes them different in abilities or capacity than you — judging their abilities or worthiness based on the unrelated characteristic of race? How was what AD was doing actually racist? Wasn’t he just being silly? Haven’t we all pretended to faux-speak a language, and thrown in some food words? Isn’t he being really hard on himself? And, sure, maybe accosting a stranger or throwing peace signs and shouting out “Soul sister” is a little obnoxious, but is it really insulting me, to acknowledge that I am, in part, of African ancestry?

Well, I can’t judge people’s motives as racist or not – but I do know this: racism is something which perpetuates stereotypes. It also trivializes and homogenizes various cultures, tribes and their struggles and victories. It makes a diverse and textured people into plastic dolls with molded faces, something easy to carry in a labeled box and use in your own narratives, disregarding their real stories. One of the hardest things for me to …take in is that racism isn’t always based on malice, it’s based on ignorance. Deciding that all Asians are good at math is meant to be a compliment to Asian people – but it isn’t. It’s painting them with your assumption. The stereotype of African Americans as agile sports people, dancers and entertainers is reductive in the extreme, though some people insist it’s a compliment because all of their black friends can dance. As we speak and think and move through a diverse world, the question is of where to draw the line. Is pretending to be gondoliers racist? Or is “Othering” and making light of a culture or a group what is at issue…? Is it actually racist, or merely unnecessary and potentially unkind?

Kelvinbridge 14

Just like AD getting his “Italian-face” on in a ridiculous fashion would have maybe prevented him from having meaningful exchanges with actual Italians, employed as gondoliers or no, the people getting their metaphoric blackface on, and presenting me with hackneyed representations of blackness, and making bizarre assumptions of ownership of both my experiences and my person were problematic because they left me feeling both exposed and obscured, naked of my humanity, but swaddled in yards of their preconception. In making anyone else the Other, we indicate our disinterest in knowing the real them – and signal our contentment with the predigested stereotype.

In another six months or so, it’ll be time for the Sloan study to send me more questions. They will be nosy questions, as they are in any study – they’ll want to know my weight, my habits, my experiences. They may ask — again — about my experience of racism. What I’ll tell them this time – as I have the last several years – is the truth, as best I know it. I’ll think long and hard and answer carefully. But, more important than how I answer the survey, I think, is how I answer myself. More important to me than the question, “Have you experienced racism?” is how I answer, “Have you been racist?”


{southern discomfort}

Once more responding to the news cycle, this is a bit more of a personal post and deals with racial politics and STUFF, which, if you’re trying to avoid, you may want to go look at mermaids or something, and revisit me another day.

The other urge was to appease this white officer. To put him at ease. To make sure he felt validated and in charge and, above all, comfortable.

There’s a long history to this urge. It’s what my mother told me to do and what my father showed me how to do whenever he was pulled over. Shrink down into yourself around white people in command, make yourself small and quiet and do whatever it takes to keep them comfortable.

And it goes back much further. Survival for black folk during slavery, Jim Crow and well beyond necessitated thousands of small demonstrations of pleasant compliance toward white people. This didn’t just mean crossing the street when a white person approached; it meant keeping your eyes down while you did it. It didn’t just mean stepping off the curb for a white person; it meant smiling as you did it. ~ Chenjerai Kumanyika, on NPR’s Codeswitch, Dispatch from Charleston

Dunkeld 10

I spent a lot of time, as a child, buffeted by waves of baffling disapproval. A lot of the time it seemed to me that my father hated me. Not only was I not the longed-for boychild, I was nearsighted, dictionary-reading, bed-wetting, mumbling, pudgy and clumsy. He shouted at me – a lot. He mocked my struggles, excoriated my choices, and gave me a lot of grief about everything. The most confusing of the near-constant criticism he offered was that I was always “in white folk’s faces.”

Eh?

We lived in San Francisco. Wander through various neighborhoods or downtown, and you see a high degree of diversity, some areas more ethnically concentrated than others. If you’re in the Tenderloin you see a great many dark faces concentrated in a few spaces, and also a lot of cognitively impaired and homeless people of all stripes, because a horrifying degree of poverty and filth in the Tenderloin sits cheek-by-jowl with hipster coffee joints and gentrified restaurant cafés. The City has been, for much of its history, ethnically and economically diverse. So, as they were all around me, how was I supposed to stay out of white folk’s faces? And, more importantly, WHY?

Many years of therapy later (and I wish I were entirely joking), in reference to something entirely different – my father yelling at me about church attendance – I finally realized something. SOME parents communicate caution to their kids by talking to them, by grabbing them and hugging them tightly when they’re about to run into traffic or whatnot. My father yells. Always. (True story: When he was driving and my mother was at home, I fell out of the front seat of a moving vehicle on Bush St. in San Francisco when I was two [pre-carseat and seatbelt days; my mother always belted us even in the 70’s, my father… meh]. He memorably shouted at me, spanked me, and then put me back into the car – in the backseat. My mother remembers her brother falling out of a tree and breaking his arm. He was a.) shouted at, b.) spanked, c.bathed, and then d.) FINALLY taken to the ER. That’s just how some Southern parents rolled. Correction came first.) His acidic “love language” is several hundred decibels louder than I can effectively comprehend as love, but within his kingdom, it’s his right to speak his language, however incomprehensible to me. (As reluctant vassal, I send twice yearly tribute and close my own borders.)

When he’s concerned? He yells. When he’s frightened? He yells. When he’s anxious about my well-being? He yells. And when he’s afraid I’m going to be struck down by the ominous, faceless, sheet-shrouded boogeymen of his life as a black Southern man? Darned right he yells.

Edinburgh T 12

Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika is an occasional contributor to NPR’s Code Switch, and the above quote about being taught to step off the sidewalk for white people, to smile, to round his shoulders and lower his eyes …resonated. I watched my father making invisible offerings of appeasement for a lot of my life — and lived with the explosive backdraft of rage he expressed because he had to (or felt he had to) perform constant appeasement.

It is only recently as an adult that I have finally become able to catch the slightest glimpse of his conflict. How do you raise a kid to stand tall when it’s safer if they stay small? How, if you have conflicting instructions — instructions which were for you internalized at the back of your mother’s hand across your face? How, when you understand that your people are supposed to not stand out – “not look too good, nor talk too wise,” not supposed to achieve except in relation to where it “elevates the race” — how do you handle a child who loves words and loves to read, will strike up conversations with strangers about books, who adored her all-white-until-8th-grade teachers, in her mostly white school — how do you, when the child seems to have no sense of self-preservation when surrounded by your mostly white community, force down that head, lower those eyes and round those shoulders? You yell. You yell. And you yell. Until the flinch is automatic. Until the head never raises. Until any little nail that sticks up is effectively hammered down.

Because sometimes, that, too, is love.

{beauty, in return for ashes}

Dear friend, this is your two-minute pick-me-up.

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” ~ Iain Thomas

Caspar 20
Low-carb Biscotti 5
San Francisco 260
San Francisco 210
San Francisco 244
Leoni Meadows 7 HDR
Vacaville 87
Skyway Drive 233
Portland 039
Low-Carb Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies 8
2014 Benicia 022

“Think of all the beauty still left around you, and be happy.”
– Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

{ruminating on rachel}

I don’t usually connect enough with news and popular culture to comment upon it, but as it has intruded upon me, comment I will – if only to make my own way through my own thoughts. If you’re trying to avoid this particular pundit-feeding-of-the-piranhas, pop by another day when I’ll be back to my full-time job of writing lies and bad poetry. 😉


“So what,” someone asked casually, “do you think of our friend, Rachel Dolezal?”

I had to give the question some thought. Even in the UK Guardian, I’d seen pictures of the frizzy-haired Washingtonian and former NAACP leader. At every turn, I am confronted by her face (and that awesome, but sadly-not-“natural” hair). And yet, mostly what I felt – feel? is… confused. Is there suddenly some cachet in being perceived as less-than, that I hadn’t understood?

First, by now we’re well acquainted with the truth that race is a construct, an arbitrary collection of ideas masquerading as fact. Many, many people have made a living and a whole life’s work out of reinforcing and maintaining that construct, but it’s only a chimera, a made-creature, not something born a living, breathing thing. In this age of reinvention, where gender and sexual identities are being at last renegotiated, race still is waved about to sell things, make things “cool” or to deem them as thoroughly and totally unacceptable. It’s not biological, it’s social, and inasmuch as I am an African American in this country, I know that I have European antecedents, Native antecedents, and my lineage is no more “pure” anything than is any other Heinz-57 American. Social groupings, social stratas, social rules. By this viewpoint, because she changed groups (and she changed groups the “wrong” direction, although being caught out either “direction” would be problematic), Ms. Dolezal broke societal rules. By being disingenuous, she also broke any kind of rules of integrity.

Only the latter is truly egregious, perhaps.

As this story has continued to push into the forefront of news cycles, it has made me, oddly, think about a pivotal moment in the life of Moses. Yeah, that Moses, the baby-in-the-bulrushes who grew up to challenge Pharaoh for the amnesty of the Hebrews and later became a great rabbi and received the Law or the Torah. If you know the story (and I do: thanks Mom!) you know he was actually a little Hebrew baby who’d been found (not that he was lost, but this was all a Plan) and raised by the Pharaoh’s daughter as a prince, with thousand-thread Egyptian cotton sheets, in the lap of slave-fueled luxury. All around him he saw how the Hebrews were treated – and he was tormented by it, to the point of beating to death an overseer who was beating (probably also to death) a slave. Can I even say how well that did not go? Sure, Moses offed the guy because of decency and compassion, but then the slave he was protecting gave him a reality check about how much WORSE that action was going to make the slave’s life — and everyone got in his face about it, including the Pharaoh, which was kind of a problem. And Moses was bewildered and disappointed. (And also: quickly leaving town.)

People in search of an identity often latch onto one that helps them navigate the feelings that they are having. Rachel Dolezal was possibly feeling confused and conflicted about her life and her relative unimportance, in the sea of other people like her (whomever she felt was in that sea) so she …co-opted what she perceived as the suffering of a group. I get that: many people believe that people of color are “cool” and wanting to be a part of something so badly is nothing new – we all know people who have claimed racial and ethnic identities not their own, going so far as to speak for those groups in social situations (hello, claimants of ancestral Cherokee princesses, makers of dream-catchers and feather-wearing, tribal-tatt-sporting models from stupid magazines; greetings, wearers of “boho” and mehndi, dabblers in Eastern religions who “namaste” everyone to death without actual practice or understanding of that faith – or that it IS a faith. Yep: we’re talking to you). In all likelihood, Moses, too, was feeling confusion and rage and guilt — But: he was actually Hebrew. Jewish. Of the tribe and the People.

Probably the most confusing thing about the racial affectations and identity-crisis of Rachel Dolezal is that she took leadership in the NAACP for four years, going so far as to get deeply involved with that organization and to take on that mantle of … authority? as a woman of color (though to be clear: the NAACP has only historical authority and perhaps a kind of social authority to certain people of color who looked to them for leadership in “uplifting the race” through the earliest days of the civil rights movement. To more modern generations, the organization remains questionable and does not actually advance or uplift anyone, colored person or otherwise. ). Unnecessary, since the NAACP has, from day one, had Caucasian people in its ranks (the founders were seven prominent white people, and one black one) and its allies have included well-loved and well-known people of all races. There is room within a social construct for everyone. If a person wants to identify as an African American, fine. No one can decide the identity of another, just as transcultural, transgender and transsexual people often choose one or the other — or both — options to create a blend of their perceived identity. We are all a pastiche, made up of bits and pieces that feel like “us.” But, Rachel Dolezal, for me, blurred the lines between aspiration and theft, when she took up leadership based on a lie… and I don’t think we’ll ever know the why behind this. Making up hate crimes and trying to own something – some ineffable thing – which isn’t hers to own – so people will… what? Love her more? see her as more “legitimate?” Feel like she’s one of the nation, the tribe, and the people?

Ms. Dolezal’s actions are, at their root, a violation of trust for those who trusted her, a violation of her community position for the community she hoped to support. In view of that, it’s easy to understand why there’s so much froth and foment and so many ambivalent feelings within many communities. Ms. Dolezal used her privilege to barter for membership into a group bound in some cases only by a shared troubled past – trouble of which Ms. Dolezal took advantage. Is it any wonder that the Hebrews weren’t that fond of Moses? Proving yourself to be an ally takes time – and work. It’s two steps forward and then having it all unravel — and digging in your heels and starting again. It’s not enough just to identify as one of the people. There’s no shortcut, in working with people, to being a person of integrity, someone whom they can trust. Where Rachel Dolezal blew it is in not trying to let those she wanted to help speak first — she tried to speak for everyone.

And even after writing all of that, I still don’t know quite what to think.


{muir woods}

walk on

“There once was a time when Thoreau wrote, “I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” By the power vested in everything living, let us keep to that faith. I’m a scientist who thinks it wise to enter the doors of creation not with a lion tamer’s whip and chair, but with the reverence humankind has traditionally summoned for entering places of worship: a temple, a mosque, or a cathedral. A sacred grove, as ancient as time.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver, Small Wonders

{okay, break is over, time for the other pantoum}

Around Glasgow 274

Working in young adult literature can be a little weird, because we’re marketing an idea of youth to the youthful, and everyone has their perception of youth culture and what’s cool, and sometimes it can feel like Fourth Grade: The Later Years, and can be a real bummer. Recently, the experience of having a copy editor tell me that a word usage or whatever “isn’t what people actually say,” (actual phrase: “Nobody says that”) despite a.) me being “somebody,” b.) me having heard that exact word and stuff like that daily growing up and even now, I realized anew that the world is full of different perceptions, and only hubris – and privilege – allow us to be so blind to the experience of another to the extent that we blindly insist that ours is the only valid reality. If we’re smart, we greet these realizations (“diminishments,” microaggressions) with a philosophical mien. Stuff happens. People are weird. It’s the scrapes, slings and arrows of life. Still, exchanges like this can make you just feel weary and stupid and useless and — out of it.

I was thinking about that experience when I read Poetry Sister Kelly’s philosophical pantoum about, among other things, aging, and read the lines, Do not go gently into that good night– / Is that the best advice we can hope for? and found myself irately asking the same question, from a different perspective. Don’t engage the trolls? Is this the best advice we can hope for? Let them put you into whatever little box that suits them, and play nicely? Do I have to play this grade school game of “Who is cooler?” on their field, by their rules? Do I have to let this person work their way under my skin, and make me feel less than?

Short answer, HECK NO.

Kelly’s poem goes on, We have to lose ourselves. In time / we’ll find something better, a place we can / take back words, or let them go…. All good options, yeah? Time and losing ourselves, and finding our self again. But, the one thing that this poem emphasized for me is CHOICE. We still get to choose our attitude, our take on things, our path. No matter what.

I choose not to feel out of it, stupid, and unhip. I choose to be, like the cars of the late seventies, vintage and classic.

classic*

Ignition – all my plugs throw out a spark,
My engine purrs and builds into a roar.
The pipes and pumps are working fine tonight –
Road sings to rubber on the ribbon-track.

My engine purrs and builds into a roar —
We call old “vintage” in a ride this fine —
Road sings to rubber on the ribbon-track
Croons out, “Pull over if you can’t keep up.”

We call old “vintage.” In a ride this fine,
Who cares if we must add a little oil?
Cry out, “Pull over. If you can’t keep up
Get belted in, love. Gun it and hold on.”

Who cares if we must add a little oil?
The pipes and pumps are workin’ fine tonight.
Get belted in. Love, gun it. And hold on –
Ignition – all my plugs are throwin’ sparks.

2013 Benicia 037

*with love to e.e. cummings, for “she being Brand / -new”. – You imagined us cars, e.e., but we’re in the driver’s seat.