connectioning: poeming on ebb and flow
what /can't/ be said
when you are not the patient
when you are not in pain
when you are not the center
when you are not the dying
and still, the words will come
and you will be the patient
and you will be in pain
and you remain the center
and you will (one day) be dead
and still the words will not come
when you are living here
when you are roaming free
when you are in between places
when you are (always)
and still, the words will come
and you will not be here
and you will not roam free
and you will be in one place
and you will be (always)
poeming is how I process and this has been true since before I was a teenager, though I did not know to call those earliest poems, poems. they were prayers, really, prayers out to the vastness of the universe, g-d, the infinite, whatever words I used. they were poems. and they were prayers.
I wrote even more poetry as a teenager, of course, because hormones. and then there were a few fallow years, after meeting the love of my life and settling in to that relationship, where I didn't really need to process because my teenage melodrama had receded and other than being held hostage, life was pretty good.
(ok, I kept writing. I was trying to write novels, but kept starting and stopping and I don't know if I wrote many poems because as far as I know, they didn't survive the move from floppy disks to the cloud. I may have some on paper, in my journals, but I don't know that I'll ever be able to read those again, because of my allergy to dust.)
and then we got pregnant, the summer before M was about to go to go to grad school (and I was going to go back to school to finish my undergrad and do what became two semesters of graduate school, as well). and we couldn't keep that baby, our first waterbaby, and had an abortion. and just about a month after that, I went on my first solo road trip to help my best friend have her first baby, which she kept, because she didn't think she'd ever get another chance.
(and I was so sure I would, not knowing any of my infertility woes yet to come. and still, there's my miracle boy walking around, about to become a man, so in the end, I did know, I did get another chance, though it was a chance I fought for, tooth and nail, timing and preparation, not an easy chance at all.)
and that time alone, with my friend and her family, was really the turning point of when I started poeming again as an adult. I poemed and poemed and poemed and kept right on, writing. ooo, I needed to write! and I did, I wrote and wrote and wrote.
(and I think a lot of those poems are also lost, to the floppy disc heavens, may their memory be a blessing.)
in my second semester at university, I took Creative Writing and, wham, changed majors. though maybe not formally until the next semester.
(I thought Religious Studies could hold the journey I was on, but it couldn't. only writing could. only poetry, really, though I dabbled at short stories and even wrote a play. my fiction mentor talked me out of doing a double concentration, because I think she knew I needed poetry that much more. and doing both theses would have been a lot, in an already full final semester.)
I go through ebbs and flows with my poeming, same as almost everything, but it is always there, poetry, the tide. constant in its ebb and flow.
right now, I am in a flow.
I can not say where I will be next month, or April. or any other time. I can only see that right now, poetry is flowing through me and I am glad. and then when the words won't come, I will go back and read the words I've left for myself, and the ones that other poets have left for us, and that will be enough until the flow returns.
ebb and flow.
life and death and birth and grief and love and pain and joy.
(the connectioning of life.)
and all this to say this is a poem in which I am alternatively addressing my mother and my self (and possibly the universal "you" as well, but it feels personal, oh how it feels personal, and so it is).
my mom is dying, as we are all dying, as everything that is born, dies, but it's less urgent the farther away we think we are and her time is (somewhat more) near.
how near, we do not know, and uncertainty walks beside me, a constant, all my life and will continue to do so, a boon companion. I know only that I do not know and need to be ready for what comes. and ready for not being ready, because can we ever really be ready for what we will not understand until we go through it? birth and death are the end caps of our living and so beyond our understanding because we only stand on their threshold, watching when others enter or leave. because we've all birthed in and we won't come back to talk about what we've done after being birthed out.
(as far as I have experienced.)
and poeming is how I process, when I'm standing at the threshold.
I love you mom.
I love you.