April is National Poetry Month and my magnificent friend Amy is encouraging us to take 5 minutes every Friday over breakfast and just jot down a poem. Please feel free to join us! My first attempt is here. Second, here.
There is always a choice
between then and now
yesterday and today
dream and reality
fiction and fact-
What’s it going to be, girl?
Where are you going to hang your smile
that sets the world ablaze and hearts alight,
the one that gives reason to improbability
and changes the direction of feeling.
You got it in you-
the courage, bravery, chutzpah-
call it by whatever name it answers
to, sing it from rooftops on tip toes
as you walk the precipice and
brazenly begin to be
Because girl, there is too much happy
to be happy about and not enough
time to feel it all in one lifetime.
Too much marrow in today to be
looking backwards for scraps.
Too much you to be
wasting time on what ifs and wanting wistful wishes.
and with a smile.
I discovered Sharon Olds in college and quickly purchased all her books of poetry. She is one of my favorite poets. Here’s one that particularly speaks to me and which I performed in a theater class when I was 20. It fit where I was at in my life at the time.
When Mother divorced you, we were glad. She took it and
took it in silence, all those years and then
kicked you out, suddenly, and her
kids loved it. Then you were fired, and we
grinned inside, the way people grinned when
Nixon’s helicopter lifted off the South
Lawn for the last time. We were tickled
to think of your office taken away,
your secretaries taken away,
your lunches with three double bourbons,
your pencils, your reams of paper. Would they take your
suits back, too, those dark
carcasses hung in your closet, and the black
noses of your shoes with their large pores?
She had taught us to take it, to hate you and take it
until we pricked with her for your
annihilation, Father. Now I
pass the bums in doorways, the white
slugs of their bodies gleaming through slits in their
suits of compressed silt, the stained
flippers of their hands, the underwater
fire of their eyes, ships gone down with the
lanterns lit, and I wonder who took it and
took it from them in silence until they had
given it all away and had nothing
left but this.