Above — reading on my big night. Dress: vintage from the 1970’s, just like me…purchased from Pretty Penny antique clothing boutique, California. Glasses: KLiiK, Denmark.
Hello, readers! I was recently the feature poet at Kollective Coffee and Tea in Hot Springs, and I wanted to share a few photos and words from that magical evening…
👆🏼Snippet from the newspaper article featured in The Sentinel Record.
So many people came out to support me/hear my poetry, and my brother and sister made it in from Texas. ❤️
Above — small section of my opening poem.
Below — people kept taking photos of my shoes???…😂
And now, I will share one of the poems I read that evening. I’m sure many of you parents will be able to relate.
For Lana. 🌹
When she was a toddler,
she looked at me as if I were a God.
Today, I am merely mortal,
sweat-stained and straining
to lift one end of various
heavy pieces of furniture.
I watch as my daughter, now grown,
prepares and decorates her new home.
When her belongings are settled
and the chord must be cut,
I climb into a rental car
to travel several hours away from her.
A company has provided
a Dodge Charger painted in a
bright, mid-life crisis red.
It feels too fun and sporty a ride
for a woman transporting empty boxes
back to her empty nest.
I arrive home amidst
a cackle of fireworks,
celestial popcorn lit
and hurled into the heavens
by the handful.
My first Fourth of July on my own.
A brave new world.
My cats run panic-laps
around the house,
and I cry.
Not for fear of being alone,
but because when life shifts gears,
the mind plays tricks
and only the bad things stick:
What about the night I laid
my infant daughter next to me in bed
and fell asleep, only to be awakened
by her screams because she’d
rolled over the edge and hit the floor?
What of her tear-streaked face and outstretched arms each time I had to leave her at daycare to go make a living for both of us?
What about all the times
I’d wished for her to be somewhere else
so I could gather my thoughts
or have a moment alone?
How many times did I fail her,
embarrass her, disappoint her?
Why is it so hard to remember
that we are all just
building the boat as we sail it?
We are so quick to
flog ourselves with our failures
when we should look back,
at how much we did right.
Finally, the patriotism and tears subside,
and I remember that
I have the rental car until morning.
I go for midnight drive,
windows down and hair wild with wind,
classic rock blasting on the radio.
I pretend that the Charger is mine,
that I don’t live in a state of fear
day to day, paycheck to paycheck.
I speed down one curvaceous highway
after another, aware of these things:
In my rear view, generations of
mothers before me
who faced a similar moment
and questioned their adequacy.
A parade of parents past,
each of them echoing the same lament —
“We tried our best. We did the best we could.”
In my head, the sad knowledge
that you only get to have
each experience once.
In my heart, the beautiful woman
who once called me Mommy,
who now calls me Mom,
who will, if I’m lucky, always call me friend.
In the windshield, headlights
revealing only the amount of road
I need to see to in this moment
in order to stay the course,
and somewhere, beyond that,
my new life.
Thank you to Kollective Coffee, everyone at WNP, everybody who came to the feature, and all of you who have read the blog and stuck by my side while I grew up as a person and evolved as an artist. Still so far to go…
Until next time,