Oh man so many good good nights and days this past week. But the one pictured above was one of the most well-rounded great nights I’ve had in a long, long, long time. A golden night. We kept marveling at it, as it was unfolding and again the next morning, and on the drive home. We ate dinner (TWICE!) and read poems to the most present audience at The Asian Arts Initiative in a room lit with candles and talked about migration and evolution and language and then danced so hard I was limping the next day. Someone allegedly asked Cynthia if we were a dance troupe (it might have been something she made up for our psychological benefit). We laughed stupid hard about stupid things and then I just lay down and fell asleep right in the middle of conversation (as I do), and woke up early like a puppy and wanted to wake everyone else up (as I do). And they weren’t mad about it. Derrick even joined me for some nonsense early morning pranking. It was church. The whole time. So many people are not in the above picture, but the closest we got to a group shot has me looking mad drunk (you’ve maybe seen it on other social media), and the worst thing is I wasn’t even drunk. This is my website and I don’t have to post that weird picture of myself. But I do want to post the troupe (minus Rania and Colin who had to go home after second dinner)…Fuck. Okay. But I’m putting it at the bottom. You can’t make me put it at the top.
Anyway, there are these golden nights, which can’t quite be engineered, when the jokes land and the poems are received and what I have to contribute to conversation is helpful, and I’m not thinking about how I’m dancing, I’m just moving how I want and loving everyone and myself. And I write about them, largely because I want to record them. But there are also the other nights. The wicked heartbreak nights. The ‘I work so hard but I’m still not good enough’ nights. The terrible ‘what the fuck is this world’ nights (and days). The ‘how come everyone else has more?’ nights. The ‘poems won’t come’ nights. I don’t mean to show off, but I really do have QUITE the range. So take heart if you’re receiving this at a dark time and it annoys the fuck out of you. It’s not the whole story.
But we’re trying, right? I closed some of my writing groups last week with the poem below and it made us all gasp. What struck me about it is that the poet is so beautifully honest and striving. Wanting is more than half of having. What kind of new heart do you want? What do you want your heart to do less of, what do you wish it were capable of? Figure out what you want. Then get it.
Come on. 20 minutes. Clock’s ticking.
by Barbara Crooker
I want a new heart,
not this bit of chipped
blue ice. Cracked
asphalt parking lot.
Hard green persimmon,
puckering when someone
else wins something.
Someone else is always
wears an invisible scar
in the shape of an L,
for loser. I need another
heart, one that can help me face
the thin blue light of television,
disasters scrolling across the screen.
Ahead lies the sea of grief,
where sorrows line up like a set
of waves. Their inevitable crash
on the shore. I want more.
I want a new heart, one that’s red
and full of Bight, like this bird
that’s singing outside my window,
the one whose only song
is thank you, thank you, thank you.