I awoke after writing about the physical act of pen or pencil on paper; I remember touring Ali’s museum in Louisville.
He is part of my life; in my consciousness and now, in my late years; I chose to be like him as I live with the dying pain similar to his.
The memory of the museum came just when I needed it most. It is similar to Ali’s movement through my life as a young girl and a woman. How strong he was, how he stood up for justice and against injustice and how hard he fought and set an example for what it means to be an American, a patriot and a human being.
Ali had a buddy who was an artist at a time in the life of personalities when we did not film, video or instagram our every moment: LeRoy Neimann. It is my view they inspired each other to capture the moment, the movement and the grace of the man who chose to cast off his “slave” name against the advice of his father. Ali kept sketch paper and pencils with him all the time. The paper has a surface, a smell of classrooms and a texture most of us at that time thought was inferior to the beautiful white typing paper which came later. What we did not realize is that typing paper is for typing. I am grateful to be able to return to the “raggedness” of the old yellow paper we were given for our last thirty minutes of school with the instruction “draw something”; now, I know what that means.
Pulling a pencil across that surface is creative, evocative and the best use of paper I can think of as it pulls us into the act of drawing. Ali knew this. The museum is filled with paper and pencil cubbies. There are questions to answer, statements to respond to in one’s own words and interesting facts about his lifetime and his contribution to our society. I am glad I have memo pads, notebooks, journals and colored “pretty” papers. I am going to find me some raggedy paper and read more about that inspiring man, Ali and hope to catch his spirit in my life.
she rustled under my polyester top as I walked in the sunshine to the blue Nova.
The doctor declared today would be her birthday; she was already three weeks late, no signs of starting labor.
I held her tightly to me.
Since the time of her birth, I have never put her down; not truly.
She left me to go to college and get married and have a career and start a family.
When she comes back,
I am waiting.
Her love for her daughters is strong and challenged by the times in which she lives.
I grow older; more tired, less able. A virus catches me and I am laid up for days and her children rebound in minutes, it seems.
Daughter of mine.
How can I say how I felt then, how I feel now? How fierce is my love? Fighting every day for her survival and the well-being of her young, I am lost, there is not enough of me. My energies are on the wane and I must go on to old age – alone.
She wrenches my heart; it lurches when she says “please.”
Looking at her, I think I could die for loving her and what might be our fate together. Her coming was like a comet, expected, profound and magical. Every day I grow older and I wonder how I can face death and leave her?
Her giggles tickle my brain.
Her dance with bottom wiggling causes me to dance and wiggle.
The deep brownness of her eyes harkens back to other relatives who blew my life apart
and I stand amazed that this can be so in one lifetime. I can never enjoy a day with her “grandpa” and I am glad. Deeper than this gladness, I feel the relief. No longer burdened by him, his evil ways, his crazy family and even though his genetic material lives on; it seems to have been diluted. I pray this girl child will carry very little of it in her ovum to the next generation. I pray for nurture; I pray nurture can curtail nature.
Love like this one feels dangerous. I would compare it to watching a fireworks display with sheer delight and at the same instant knowing the power behind the elegant display of blues, reds and pure white light in the sky. She, a rose bud; me a drying and dying bush with no blossoms remaining.
the touch of his fingers kneading my white parchment skin on my arm
made soft by hours of working in cocoa butter
just in case touch came my way.
Social events, wars, and fun times unrelated to a significant other and will he even care when he returns from his great adventure?
I see him when he is not here; I hear his voice and I know loving in older age is not easy nor quick for me. I was afraid; he was afraid. I am less afraid now, he has been gentle and kind. Kindness is such an important virtue, it is to be prized next to love but I did not choose to write about kindness and is kindness love? Kindness seems to be the action and love the emotion; kindness is also about spirit and it shines through when we have it. His eye color is green, very light and I never see it because the spirit draws me when we talk.
Having a conversation with him inside my head continues.
Will we have a relationship when he returns?
Is it possible for me to have a relationship while he is in absentia?
What would he answer?
For me, he is a constant object. Whether he loves me, I do not know.
Loving him and being alive to the loving seems to be the most important thing for me.
her breath; her spirit are mine.
yesterday she told me she thinks she and her baby sister were twins and born at different times and I thought it was probably the truth as I feel as connected to her as a hand or a foot and I can see why she would think about these things.
Saturday, after spending forty minutes listening to her howl and sob; I wondered if she is having hormonal fluctuations, if she is being deliberately manipulative or if she was told exactly what she said and I need to go and flog someone for hurting her because she is and will always be my princess; my first.
I tell her every time I see her and she does not know. She loves her sisters and she cannot understand my heart and may never. Claiming she will never have children; I tell her that would be an okay decision in my book and I want to be around when she finishes college and starts to make those kinds of decisions.
Like me, she has allergies and I worry. I do not want to sleep with her again for a while because it bothers me so.
Love hurts and hurts and hurts.
Writing love letters is a difficult journey.
I send thoughts out into the universe and inside my chest.
I might let someone hurt me if I love them.
What if I am not loved in return?
Love is just not that way; it comes. A face appears and it is as if you have known him in elementary school when he gave a book report, when he ran a class race and tripped and fell and when he received his degrees always thirsting to know more, understand more; do more.
I was told not to love my self. It is selfish. Think of others.
The kindnesses I show to my self reverberate throughout my being; I am able to see other people; almost in shades of unicorn colors before we ever knew there were unicorn colors.
Love is a kernel, a seed and a hug. Love is a smile, a grimace and a smirk. Love is arms wound round the neck, a kiss on the head and a lurch of the heart. Love is broader than the Wyoming skies in early springtime, it is deeper than the snows in Alaska and it is wetter than when the birds hit the flyways in spring. Love is pink, orange and periwinkle blue. Love is orangey yellow pumpkins lying by a fence row. Love is saucer dahlias in red, pinks and lemony sunshine. Love beats, it has a heart and feet. Love will retreat much like the glaciers are doing. Catching it and then it is not caught, teaching it and then it is ignorant again; and learning to love and losing the remembrance of it all as it was so painful I cried in the middle of the night and never wanted to get up again.
I am angry with you right now
it is momentary
it will pass
it does mean I need to do things differently.
When you are saying ignorant things; I need to point it out
when it is about me.
I had a full life before you were born.
I had a life the entire time you were growing up of which you were only a peripheral part
and I have had a life since you left me.
Do not judge or I will scratch you.
It is coming I can tell.
There have been too many slights I did not address.
“She does not mean it”; I say.
“She does not understand”; I think
I do not care – I am going to clarify the boundaries between us
and push back. I know she will look and be startled; maybe, she will think before
words and attitudes start tripping over her tongue in the future.
I love you unabashedly with a depth you may never appreciate
until I leave this planet.
And, enough is enough. I want my independence back. I want to be free. I do not want to answer to you and your thoughts of me; expressed or unexpressed. I love you
and leave me alone.
Our love is intense
I knew you were helpless without me
crying crying and crying.
I was the one who fed you, clothed you and held you during those long long nights.
My body began to give out.
This past twenty plus months, you have cried again. All four of you cried. I heard your sobs from the Left Coast and I came running. There was no question. You were in hot water and you were unable to get yourself out. So I came. So I stayed.
I feel the same wear and tear on my body again; this time, quadrupled. The love is so much deeper; I doubt I can describe it. How does anyone describe their need for their own breath, the need for the heart to beat even if it is no mine and the need for succor in this cruel world of war, strife and floods?
Life is so very tumultuous; we people are tossed to and fro like pecans dropping from large canopied trees in autumn. We are pelted and become missiles into our lives and others. You are just beginning to learn your journey of life is already half over. You faltered for love. You thought, like I do, love would carry you through. It did not and you still had me. What will happen next time? Will you be more careful, less willing to give yourself to love with abandonment? The only love where this is possible is ours. In other relationships, if we lose ourselves in love, we will indeed lose. There may not be a mother’s hand to grasp and pull you back from the edge of all you know.
Along with the poet’s words: love is kind, patient, etc. I want to add: love is fleeting like a shadow of an elm tree in fall, love is maddening like a man lost in a crowd with a knife and love is greedy asking for too much like a child whose ice cream cone has melted and she wants her mother to go to the store and get her another one. The store will be there; the mother may not be.
Two of you like peas in a pod. Similar and different and I love you so much.
Faces round and brown, legs stout from mountain climbing, bike riding and throwing footballs up, up in the air.
So late in life you came to me and just at the very right time.
You captured my heart. You love me just because. We play and laugh. You tease me and I tease you. I ask myself: what is it like to be three and nine years of age and male and growing so very fast in this fast changing world? As their adopted grandmother, I know they will be famous some day as they are already so smart, funny and playful with me. One may be an architect and the other might stand with a fist and lead his people, our people into another world of peace and prosperity for all.
I ask myself how can this be? I want my own flesh and blood; they reject me because I will not fit their mold and here are these two and their mother and I am so crazy in love. What good fortune.
The force be with you and also with you.
I am not sure what the writer
of the Wizard of Oz meant when he used this phrase: horse of a different color.
What I mean: in-laws remain strange and different to me even after decades of interaction and good will.
Becoming family, we push and pull each other.
I want my traditions. You want your holidays celebrated with a pudding your mother made. I want a vacation at the beach. You want to go to the mountains.
Two families have united.
Now, there are children.
We are called upon to be civilized. To try our best to understand each other. We may spend half of our holidays with these people. We may sleep in their houses, share their toothpaste and eat many dinners together. We may sit through long, tiring graduations, attend wedding parties and eat lots of cubed cheese and we may share the death and dying of beloved members and sob on each others’ shoulders.
Still, this people are strange. They have hobbies I do not understand. They like Nascar and golf and spend every fall watching days and days of tennis as a holiday activity. The men watch lots of television and the women do not shop where I shop, she is vegetarian and I love pork chops and he likes blueberries on his ice cream. I usually focus on the differences, the odd behaviors and the things that do not mesh. I feel irked. I am anxious. I am confused.
And then, a disaster strikes. A baby I love is sick. My van needs to be serviced and I need a ride to the dealership. Who do I call? I call one of the horses in the “polka-dot stables” and ask please will you help me? If they are able, they always say yes. Some times, I do not even have to ask. A warm cup of coffee with lots of milk and cinnamon awaits me. I step outdoors at the airport and I have a car and driver waiting. I look around at the hospital and there is a face I know and he asks if I want a mint and I feel like I can make it for ten more minutes.
I am glad I can love different and strange to me horses.