I gaze into this moment; preschool graduation; their little voices laughing, giggling ; all a-splendor in the june grass and the splay of sprinkler spray // the green leaves, the sunlight streaming through — the patches of rainbow flecks from the umbrella;; I am astonished and humbled and amazed that I have mothered my son to this moment — that my son has grown to this moment // he calls his classmates by their name raucously – he runs on strong galloping feet; he gasps as he dunks his head into the wild sprinkler; he signs his name on the sign-in board on the white concrete wall with the sturdy yellow pencil ;; he has come to know this place – perhaps the first time a place has meant something to him in this way;; I recognize this as the first of many separations in his life — one so large for such a little life — I recognize the strange gasping at loss in his eyes ;; I wish that I could bear the brunt of it for him – I know that I must not — he carries so much in his little body, on this big day;; this last day of school, this first day of summer ;; this calling out to the cackling world — he splays his hands into a field of rocks ; chimes in to a cheer if he does not understand yet ; he holds his mouth towards mimicking the crowd that is just one year older than him (a huge difference) ;; he stores in his teacher a reverence only the first teacher can possibly have ; he gallops towards the table of unicorn-colored cupcakes ;; he knows not how to peel the wax paper off of it – but he does know how to stuff it in his mouth and speak with a mouth full of sunshine ;; I praise the small victories in my head ; the ability to hold his backpack on his own two shoulders ; to gather his things ; to wish his friends goodbye ; I know not how we arrived at this place from the sunny morning on which he was born ; i sit astonished at this small milestones and shutter to understand how I will approach all the many more I must greet — I take myself in too — myself as a young mother ; I see myself from a bird’s eye view ; see the youth in my skin; the burnt color of the season starting to change ;; I try to hold the weight of Jamie in my arms and memorize it ; how much space he takes up ; how little his body is still , and how big at the same time ;; this is an endless game with which parents play, is it not? How big and how small all at once? both sides of the time spectrum meeting each other at all moments — you looking from the beginning and you looking from that ever-present end at the singular and ever-folding moment before you
and here the ice rattles towards me like a promise. here the tree sparkles its ancient eyes like flecks of gold and silver hulking away from the branch. and here i see you again. and here i see you again. and here the minutes that live inside of my eyes pass like endless webs – like a melody in reverse, back again, back again, the words akimbo, like soft soldiers looking for a war. and here i break towards a new day, towards an endless horizon; here your eyes are like a patchwork of ash and curled nevers; stuck inside the sideways partitions between seats in a row; here you lie inside the little theatre of my heart, forever playing scenes we’ll never write
but the delivery of these half-imagined lines still kills me
DYFS in the dining room. whoever thought my life would get here? whoever thought i would be inside of these kinds of days? whoever thought my life would unfold like this – a bag of marbles and a rolling set of ramps and bridges — i submerge myself in the bathtub, all the way under the water, i know not how this day arrived on my doorstep // i peel back my curtains, i know not what i am supposed to do, but place one foot in front of another forever and ever, thanking each day for each splay of beautiful moments, thanking the light inside Jamie’s eyes for still glowing, thanking my feet for knowing how to walk, feeling my skin getting thicker every year, every day, every crisis / there is always more life coming for you, and there is always more strength within you you haven’t met yet /
i pray to keep you safe, little one, i pray you will not be damaged, you will know wholeness, you will not be afraid, you will not cower, you will not flinch upon approach, i pray you will stay alight through the dark night and all the flames ahead
where do you go when the trees speak back and the sap seeps forward and the bridges and built and the bridges are built and the burned char of last year’s ashes have grown new poppies? and where is the light lingering and who owns the smell of the air on the last day of May and whose heart is ever ready for June or the bluster of a summer stinking towards you on the scent of the water — who forgives you and forgives you and who never can? how do you piece it together, and what is the peace for? i think about the end of the world all the time, nearly obsessively, nearly desperate for it / let us stop being afraid // let us keep creating, stop listening to the small voices, to the rage of rhythm not based in reality or reason /
i have difficulty telling children to do things i don’t believe they should have to do / i have difficulty procuring fake anger at a child because i’m supposed to as a teacher if i really think it’s just fine ; i think weening the wilderness out of humanity is one of the biggest things crippling us as a species ; i can’t do the things that we only do to keep humans in line, i can’t stay in the line, i hate the line, i have difficulty telling children to stay in the line — i can give them love, comfort, teaching, humor, explanation, patience, and discipline when i believe it, but there are so many things that i myself say fuck that too and i can’t understand why we tell our children to squeeze themselves through a series of jail bars and that they will find themselves on the other side “more whole” / i have so many questions, so many fine lines, so lack of respect for lines – but i trust my instincts, i really do, i have fine tuned my eyes and my senses and i have remained conscious in what i believe children need and don’t need – and i may be young but i really believe in my judgment — i need to flesh it out, flesh it all out, find the edges and grooves, learn how to talk about it coherently and specifically, and we need to stop desiring to turn wild beasts into mere line walkers – we need something in the middle
that’s my fucking motto isn’t it – something in the middle
and now the fall crawls towards me ; autumn hands like bedsheets, like linen and ash and muscle contracting. stone bones curl inwards, hurricane eyes flood skeletons of summer hammocks. the sunlight starts to shiver. the weight of color begins to hunger in the green canopies. bumblebees and busy-ness ; the buzz of horizons burning black. embers now, embers now. remember how to shiver ; remember how to clamour for heat. how to tap your feet together like dorothy in the chilled reminiscence of bare feet.
new words take tumorous shape within my brain now. new play to open, new theatre to prowl, to inhabit, to listen to. and moments and mistakes and retakes and gamble feet talking into focus.
new children who gaze at me sidelong and wide-eyed ; infant-handed and perfect-mouthed. little fears tucked behind their ears ; little dresses approaching their scabbed summer knees. little lives splayed out in front of them like a game ; like a memory ; like a toy ; like a play.
and little me and little you, and little story still hammering at my life like a memory ; like a game ; like a play // like a song.
keep singing to me.
so sticky, this over-romanticization of life.
and what is so wrong if i want to be a flower? what if, for moments, i want to be lilac-daisy-wilted with the quality of movement as a bourree. do i lose the validity of being a strong modern woman?
it must be my ballet training, it got into my blood and my bones. it makes me want to be sinfully feminine sometimes. and in this day and age, apparently, that is a crime of weakness. so what if i want to be a flower every once in a while? other days i want to be a river. this condemnation of the manic pixie dream girl; this infantilization of the womanhood to a certain set of gruff (near manly) values and qualities. don’t you see how narrowing this is? let femininity be what it is what it is what it wants be when it wants to be a thousand trillion different aspects. wide-ringed thick tree stumps and brave stalks of a flower; everything is planted; everything grows. do not pick the weeds – they are only a social construct.
and men too. when will manhood be manhood be manhood be this and that and a thousand freeing ways to find it impossible to tie manhood down to one thing, one image, one quality of movement. come on, come on, i’m tired of waiting. let’s open up all the doors and let men be vulnerable. and let men be rugged brutes. and let women be flowers. and let women be amazon warriors. everyone all everyone all in the same lifetime, in the same week (or day), sometimes. just fuck it – just fuck it – gender roles and stereotypes and archetypes and qualities and stop fucking shaming the manic pixie dream girl or you will find yourself in the same reflexive judgment pool that you so claim to be 12 feet higher than.
art cannot be a language of decoding. understanding art, understanding dance, understanding poetry, understanding film – these are their own sorts of languages and lexicons, yes. but they cannot only be attributed via a metaphor of decoding or symbols which equal something else in a mathematic, equative way. they are frameworks and lenses and whole sections of mind, they are states of being and raptures and ecstatic portals, they are no longer profane, they are rapturous and they wrap around you. they are a primeval mind state. and a language. but it is not simply decoding. it is a rich language of understanding that goes beyond words and wordplay.
We often fall on such trait resolutions when it comes to evaluating what our emotional signals mean… If we look for more complex ways to interpret and rearrange and deal and adjust to them and learn to be informed by them yet not defined or confined by them then we might find more honest interactions with the complexity of our true selves and our subconscious selves.
how do you remain brave enough to feel it deeply, and strong enough to know when to come back up for air?
your skin so luminescent/mirrored pale and reverent/you splay in your car seat staring at the shapes that swallow the sidewalk – we bumble, we rush, we slide through the landscape; the landscape is glowing – satin pinks and lavender spines, trees curled in yellow fantasy. you are humming, your little hairs their own masterpiece. you are mumbling, i am learning always the depth of your spirit and wonder.
little one, i remember when you were womb-swimming and cotton-spun-spinning still, and i worried and i worried and i paralyzed myself with biological thoughts of fear. and the only thing that kept me strong, that kept we away from the black hole of SIDS, of birth defect guilt, of general new-mom psychosis was this image of you that i knew was true. i could feel you out in space somewhere – 24 years old, bold, beautiful, rock solid as an oak tree; burrowed on strong feet; a head filled with ideas; loving someone, maybe; someone loving you, maybe. i knew you’d be okay, no matter what…if i held on to this image in my head of the you that you are. of the life that you’re going to live when your identity is trickled out and seeping/ when you are no longer sleeping by my side. when you are just a memory of a little one and the true, strong picture in front of my eyes can hardly give way to this little splay of muscles and babyeyes. i saw you strong and living – a life of a man (or a woman) huddled on the horizon. i was giving birth to you; but more and less and less about me; more about you; a vessel for your entrance, for your creation. you are your own life, and when doubt and fear swallow me – i see you strong; maybe bigger than me now, firm and wide-eyed; full of wonder and maybe even your own beautiful heartbreak. and your own ways of coping with it. and your own tools, your own thoughts, your own vision. you are a life of your own.
care for children as the deepest souls; the most primal chunks of people’s brain wirings. care for children as magical beings in and of themselves/AND as the primeval seeds of magnificent full-fledged human beings. but they are more than seeds – this image too, is reductive. they are not latent somethings for the future, they are something present here. with their own wisdom, their own existences (fleeting, faster than death; the baby jamie, the jamie at 1, the jamie at 2, all different beings, all one being). they are something here and they are something there. time is a paragon of shapes and keep reminding yourself of the splay of the circle – of all the points laying against one another and not just this one, but how this one fits into this one and this one and this one and that one and how they are all real. they are all meaningful. they are all powerful. they are all magnificent. and they are all people. they are all their own life. not a strange creature come to annoy you or destabilize your precious life and timeline. they are their own life curled around your timeline in the most profound way. the deepest friends. the strangest wanderers. that we will know and know and know more intimately and uniquely than anyone else. because they showed us all the pieces of themselves wrapped inside the other pieces. they showed us the wide open gaseous landscapes of their most honest hearts. their true self within their true self within their true self.
i love children because there’s so much more truth. because social constructs have not begun to constrict and conflict and contort and generally bamboozle the wild fire that sometimes is so hard to feel burning in an adult. whoever said adult life was more interesting than a child’s magnificent world of splaying wonder? fuck the fantasy of adult supremacy – we lose so much when we enter the conditioning treatment of society. and so many falsehoods and so many plays and so much theatrics and so many postures and so much distance we travel from our true, open, brave hearts. for what? for what? the sham of the sham that we all lie to each other and say is more interesting, more true, more fulfilling than the honest, open heart we were born with. we learn to cover, we learn to hide, we learn to subdue, to stuff, to slink away. and why the fuck is that so great? why the fuck?
keep the intellectual growth, the complexity of understanding, the fascinating world of symbols and meanings, but also please, let us learn how to retain the wild fire. please, let us learn how to retain our bravery, our open hearts, our willingness to live, our fearlessness in discovery, our organic and ever-present ability to feel, to commit to feeling. to commit to life.
keep the magic, fuck the pretension. follow the growth – forget the contrivances, the cages, the constructs.