image

Marshall got me subscriptions to poetry magazines this Christmas—hoping that reading poetry and getting glimpses of the larger world of writing will inspire me to start writing again—what a man—and this one is my favorite. Poetry is a poet’s dream. The American Poetry Review is great, but it’s made of big sheets of newsprint stapled at the spine. Completely and utterly superficial concern, and silly of me to swoon over Poetry’s thick, ivory, perfect-bound pages, but you can understand why: in this magazine’s world, poems are treated like messengers of God. And I need that sense to suffuse my writing life again.

So I’m revisiting a technique Dr. Kallet at UT uses in her classes, and probably most prolific poets everywhere also use, which is ‘a poem a day.’ (Or, when extra motivation is required, ‘a poem a day, bitch.’) When I write every day, I rarely get blocked by The Censor, and therefore end up, at the end of three months, with a few poems worth editing. And I NEED to do this while new motherhood is raw and astonishing. Also I don’t have time to write these long, sprawly journal entries, so the condensed nature of the poetic line will reward the moments I do have available. Perfect.

So this morning while the baby slept, I read Poetry and drank coffee in the living room, dryer running in the back of the house, odd moments of sunlight on the street outside shadowed by dark, low-lying clouds. Since Mary slept for—are you ready—four and a half hours straight last night, and then another two hours after that—I obviously feel like my old self, like a new woman. The first line of the first poem I’ve written since I was pregnant is: After four and a half hours of unbroken sleep, I feel like a swan.

And I really do. I have that magical feeling, that I am strong and well, that my life holds its hand open to me; that God is offering me time and space, time and space in which to live and move and have my being. No concrete thing comes to mind that I should do or not do, today—I just am lifted by a feeling of opportunity, another chance, and of capability. Definitely not things I felt even yesterday. I’ve been afraid that my moments of exhaustion, and often-resultant anger at Mary will have lasting repercussions. Thinking about moments of my parents’ exhaustion, emotional disconnect, and anger that I remember from early childhood are frightening when I see those things surfacing in myself—and the horrifying things one reads about epigenetics, these days. Oh my god. Am I allowed another chance to be a good and patient mother in this lifetime? To be a good mother and a good wife simultaneously?

Rhetorical questions. Since love is itself an opportunity, and everyone is capable of love.

Advertisements