Thursday, December 16, 2010

*Poem: "Blessed"*


"Is Jesus still alive?" my niece whispers to my sister,
unconvinced by the pomp and ribbons
of the decorated tree before us,
o holy night carolers trembling song,
dark-robed minister and his simple good grin.
"He was a good man, and that's
why we celebrate his birthday,"
is my sister's ecumenical reply.
We have talked about this, and agree about
the man, the story, the not believing. 
I am not guilty as this litany assumes,
wasn't born bad, have not gone,
owe no apology to some Great White Father King,
but the congregants recite,
in the glow of electric popcorn balls,
30-watt savior device in the popsicle creche,
their apologies.

My nephew and niece are invited to the menagerie,
handed a small stuffed donkey, plaster lamb
to add to the crowd in attendance at the celluloid babe's cribside,
after the second hymn, second verse, O Little Town tonight.
They don't know the words,
and we are so distracted by the lights and burgundy and
gold on the tree tumbling into our laps
that they almost miss their cue.

Yes, Jaimee', there is a Jesus,
and he lives as surely as Christmas returns,
with or without the snow you missed,
without blame, even without faith,
He fills the pantry for the poor that
the minister says is bare already, only December.
He carries the souls of the suddenly light into the next act.
He lays in the bed of straw, patiently waiting for his attackers
to come with their gifts, to cover the earth in gold,
surround the barn in a cloud of frankincense,
lubricate his small limbs with myrr
for the sleep of
the peacemakers,
for they are blessed.

CAR  12-28-01

Monday, December 6, 2010

*Writer's Block & Therapy*

I've been seeing a therapist for about a month and a half now, due to some issues that I was no longer comfortable boring my friends with. And trust me, I did enough of that this year. So, in that time, and maybe for a while before that, I haven't written one poem. Now, there are times that I say that and go back into my files and find one or two that have somehow leaked out and avoided my conscious memory, almost like they don't count as poems. But that's not
the case now.
            As usual, I had a flood of ideas after the Dodge, and two or three of those became poems, but after that-- just silence. I don't really let these silent times bother me much, because I have learned from experience that I will come around to writing again. I am, however, contemplating the connection between therapy and writing. Is it a drain on my creative resources? Is the break my Muse is taking related more to the holidays than the biweekly sessions with a loving,
receptive sounding board who validates my essential sanity and instincts? Or is it that, because most of my poems are of such a personal nature (hopefully personal in a way that is universally recognizable and accessible), I am afraid that the therapist is my only audience right now, and my best "material" is going to her and not the page?
            There is no doubt that I was in need of an objective ear. I have been fighting depression on and off all year, the kind that won't just go away with a little yoga or Budweiser. And I don't anticipate that this round of therapy will go on forever. But I am a teeny bit anxious about writing. Anxious now to get back on the literary "horse" I rode into this blog on, and so much else in my life that's worthwhile.
            I still trust I will, but for now, I am doing the mechanical work of being a poet. I have sorted through twenty years worth of poetry, cleaned out files and thrown away multiple copies of no use. I managed to complete the application for the New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in poetry, offered only once every two years. I read a few old Christmas poems at a party yesterday (invited to, incidently, NOT forcing myself on an otherwise jolly affair!). I went to a terrific reading on Saturday night hosted by my friend Rebecca Schumejda and featuring three talented Hudson Valley writers: Guy Reed, Glenn Werner,
and Will Nixon. I am still going through the motions.
            I have made some notes for a drawing that I'd like to begin. A sort of expression of my anxiety this year. For the many who don't know, art and writing were neck and neck in my life for many years, before I chose the language route in college. I even earned my Regents diploma in art. I still keep drawing supplies around, but rarely use them. Perhaps this quiet time is the time
to go back to that nonverbal express. Or, a time to restore visual art to my creative options.
            I do trust that I'll be writing again soon. I have projects planned. But this time of year, everything seems to be planned for "after the holidays". I am coasting now. It's OK. I'm still breathing, therapy is going very, very well, and I look forward to seeing more friends over the course of the season. All is well today.