Feast

I see the bone-white tree with its yellow leaves,

and my tongue salivates. I swallow

and my stomach curls up in contentment.

I breathe and my heart grows warm.

I eat of this tree, this free feast

until I am nearly full.

The Artist of this culinary masterpiece

smiles through it,

and I leave a little room left

for this is only the appetizer,

and one day I will feast

on what now would make me burst.

Plaster Cast

Masks are crucial to performance. They must have nary a crack,
painted smooth and bright. They must blend with the troupe of others,
indiscernible, so that the show may go on
and others may look on your face and see the mask
smiling placidly of papier-mâché
and remark to themselves how beautiful you are
and how they yearn to be so.
Over time the mask cuts off your air
until you become tired of the cramped sweating stiffness of it.
So you tear it off and grind it into powder like plaster.
Then the others grow angry,
not because you wore a mask
but because you admitted it,
not because you copied their art,
but because you were caught at it.
Then you wish you could reach for their eyes
and tear away at the holes,
prying off the mask and grinding it into powder
like plaster.

It’s Been Awhile

I want to be a blogger, I really do.
You wouldn’t know it by the frequency of my posts, but it’s true.
Life overwhelms, so many colors and flavors.
Some of them bitter and drab, others too sweet and bright.
And my very logical reaction is to curl up in a ball
and ignore every semblance of responsibility,
to cry like a tired child
who won’t admit she needs a nap.
This reaction may be logical, but it’s far from right.
And it takes me farther from who I want to be.
I – and we all – need to choose
what is important and what isn’t.
(The grownup word is pri-or-i-tize.)
And to pursue all that is lovely and pure,
And throw out that which hinders.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done that,
and it’ll be awhile until I get it right.
But it’s the only option.

Writing Lessons from a Jock

I got a new book today and I am so excited to devour it! Enter To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while – it’s been the book I think of when I say to myself “I need to read some classics!” Last week while driving home I heard on the radio about Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s first book to be published since this one, written before this came out in 1960, but functioning as this book’s sequel-before-the-first-was-written (technically making To Kill a Mockingbird a prequel, a feat that even George Lucas himself would have trouble topping).

I figured I needed to get cracking, so I found the mass market paperback for five bucks with Amazon Prime (with eleven bucks conveniently in my checking account), and the deal was made.

I’ve been trying (miserably) to read more; I know that if I want to be a good writer it’s important to be a good reader. This idea has been hammered into my head through many a poetry and literature class, but oddly enough it came alive for me by watching sports.

…or rather, by watching sports with my husband. Alex is a sports guru. (We met at a basketball game). He plays or has played golf, soccer, baseball/softball, basketball, track, and tennis. He also succeeds at them all, while I just played my first game of golf (and thus my first legitimate game of any sport) yesterday.

I’m becoming more acclimated to his adrenaline-pumped world, but I still don’t understand how he can play in a softball tournament all day and then come home and (willingly!) watch the Pirates game. By then I personally am exhausted and need to go read poetry. But that’s him, and I love him. (I like to say that our love breaks all stereotypes. The nerd and the jock togethah forevah!)

One reason Alex watches so much sports on TV is to see how the masters do it. They may not always play well or even win, but he can still learn from their technique. He can learn from them by observing what they do, and then taking that with him the next time he plays whatever sport it happens to be. It’s a far cry from the mere goal of entertainment that I initially thought was his sole reason for watching televised sports.

Watching sports for education and not merely entertainment is what sets apart the athlete from the fan. Similarly, reading a book for education and not merely entertainment is what sets apart the writer from the casual reader. I’ve found that for a writer, it’s important not to just absorb a story, but to absorb how the story was crafted, and to take those techniques with me the next time I write.

Isn’t that inspiring? I used to think sports were a necessary evil in the world, but I’m not so sure about that now. Being married changes you I guess ;)

So have you ever read To Kill a Mockingbird? Can you give me a spoiler-free comment on what you think? And when you read (or watch sports), do you do it more for entertainment or to learn?

Happy End of Wednesday folks! Enjoy your week!

Face

 
It was fun to put on her face for a day,
with her quizzical looks
and red-lipped smirks,
her well-groomed brow
and perfect pink cheeks.
 
It was fun to put on her face for a day,
to smile knowingly when people stared
and wondered why she wore such high heels
that clicked on the pavement
like a second hand.
 
It was fun to put on her face for a day,
To sip wine from a glass
and bite crusty bread,
suck up spaghetti noodles
all without staining her lipstick.
 
It was fun to put on her face for a day,
but at midnight
in a little white sink
the face came off
and disappeared down the drain.