New and Old
I logged onto MySpace just now.
I know. Whoa. Yeah, it still exists. I didn’t really know either. I went on looking for a poem I posted in my blog there a long while back. I felt like dredging it up and seeing if I still thought it was shiny and whimsical. I wrote it sort of in the style of Lewis Carroll — nonsense and bounce and yes, whimsy.
The first thing that caught my eye was this entry. I feel the need to post it here, to share it. I think it deserves that. So I give you the me of two and a half years ago; do enjoy. Some of it’s lyrical. I don’t know if the formatting was intentional or not or if it just happened as a by-product of MySpace re-imagining itself in a vain attempt to stay relevant against the Facebook behemoth, but regardless, I kept it.
stretch, feeling the tug of my muscles, a pleasurable ache remaining.
it’s a reminder of how much has changed this year. 2009, it seems, is
setting out to prove that spring of 2008 was a crucible — the
smoldering coals i had to walk over to feel the cool wet grass under my
the first crickets sing outside my window, their tunes riding on the
fresh breeze of the evening. my breath is measured, even. my fingers
and hands are warm as i type, the muted light from the paper-covered
lamp filling the room with a soft glow. and here i am.
something leaps in my chest when that thought enters my mind. the
breath in my lungs hitches for a moment, and my heart quickens. here i am.
the air is cool, and the sun has begun its downward path,
setting the budding trees and leafy bushes to dusty gold. i am alone
on the greenway path. for once, no passers-by break the silence with
their footsteps and words. no joggers with ipods, no walkers with dogs
and leashes. just me. i pause at the first curve, looking out over
the field. a smile tugs at my lips — something that is happening more
and more lately. a few puffy dandelions grow in the grass. on
impulse, i step off the path and pluck one from its resting place.
there’s a difference in the air this year. a softer note in the
sound of the wind. as i let my mind drift over the events of last
spring, it touches on snapshots. my heart stopping as i read a
one-line email from my cousin matt. “please give me a call the first
chance you get.” dark brown eyes under a shock of shaggy black hair,
darting nervously as my boss informs me my hours have been cut by 40%.
coming home again to find my roommate doesn’t have the rent money or
the bills at all. mocking words. maniacal howling from the other side
of my apartment. walking into my bedroom and feeling someone else’s
uninvited presence. things missing. weariness. driving. driving.
mansions and mansions filled with people, hard faces. suspicious
glances. smiling children and dilapidated buildings playing among cut
gravel and broken glass. a boy’s florid bow as he moves aside to let
my car pass. spanish filters through my open window from neighbors
laughing on lawn chairs, easy banter on a summer evening as my car
moves through their world. the quiet of the office, eight hours of
nothing. from sprawling villas to shoebox dwellings — an invisible
line is crossed, and i drive into another world. the rocky mountains
in the distance. tired. always tired. six o’clock i drive to work in
the morning sun. eight hours of nothing. the sun sets as i drive, the
numbers on my meter move, move. hours and hours. at midnight, i drive
home. i fall into bed. i sleep. six o’clock comes too soon. tears.
the harsh scent of vodka. the sharp sting of lies. snapshots — just
snapshots — that world is no more.
mom always used to tell me not to spread the dandelion seeds. i
pause as i lift the fluffy ball to my lips, my fingertips sticking
lightly to the thin, moist stem. for a moment i feel a gleeful
rebellion as i purse my lips and blow. tiny tufted dancers spin into
space. freed from their resting place, they float through the
air. one lodges itself between my breasts, perhaps afraid to take that
step onto the current of the breeze. i pluck it out and it soars away,
trailing behind the cloud of others that flicker in the light of the
last year’s world is no more. only this year is real. only now. here i am.
again my heart quickens as i glance forward in time. the clock seems
to speed in its place on the wall. soon and very soon. no more
running away. this time i’m moving forward, grasping at newness, at
vibrance. everything about now tickles my awareness of the immediacy
of the present. the pull of my muscles as i stretch, the comfortable
space in my clothing. the smile that tugs at my lips. newness.
i’m alone on the path. i glance around, but no one is there.
my heart leaps in pleasure. the creek burbles over rocks as i cross
the bridge, the soft pat-pat of my flip-flops still audible over the
water. the path seems smoother, more even than i remember, even though
i was there not long ago. i feel the urge to run. what happens is
more of a scamper, borderline bounce. my legs tense, my pulse jumps.
something in me sparkles. without a thought, my shoes are off, left
behind on the pavement. i pad a few steps forward, then i’m running.
2009 is a new year. i felt it with the ticking of the clock as
december became january. it’s new in every way. the gentle ache in my
muscles gives me a moment of triumph. my body is newer, smoother, yes
— slimmer. i feel good. i feel healthy, energetic. when i look in
the mirror, i grin. i think of what i’ve done this year, in the months
that have passed since the sorrow of last spring. focus,
determination. effort. i’ve fallen down, but there have been hands to
help me up. and here i sit. i am ready.
i come to a halt where the path turns to grass. i look out over
the field beyond where it ends, see the rolling, tamed grass of the
golf course and purposely turn the other way. a small meadow is
nestled in the crook of a curving slope. a few insects flit across the
path in the sun. the breaths i take as i turn back toward home feel
like a drug. the smile wins, and i feel my face light up. when i
reach my shoes, i pick them up. the plastic, warmed from the sun,
dangles from my fingertips. my arms swing at my sides, and i revel in
the cool air that passes over my skin. my earrings jingle as i walk
silently on my bare feet. right now, at this moment, i am utterly
carbonation bubbles in my veins as a thrill passes through me. my
skin hums in anticipation. soon. an electric edge is on the air,
seems to hover around me like an aura. this time there is no
trepidation, only certainty. clear, crystalline certainty.no running away this time. no desperation, no stumbles and sobs. only
an abiding quietness and a tugging smile. a sparkle, a glimmer.
raindrops patter on the ground outside, and a fresh-washed scent floats
in on the evening breeze. the crickets have been put on mute, gone for
cover from the rain. inside in the glow, the world is spread out
before me. i’m the tiny dandelion seed, and i’m finally ready to
launch myself off that cliff, to take the plunge. till then, i’ll
smile to myself, i’ll keep these sweet secrets dancing at the corners
of my lips. till then, i’ll look out over the world spread before me.
till then, i’m her. i am ready.
I can’t help but love that.