Poetry is to writing as a Polaroid picture is to a feature length film. These small frozen moments let the reader eavesdrop on a life that may appear remarkably like their own, or perhaps, deliciously different. Glean what you can in the few minutes you have before you reach your stop and must exit this train.
On the Poetry Chapbook-
Field Notes from One Woman’s Life is a gathering of 30 of my poems into a chapbook. This project began while sifting through stacks of poetry I have written throughout my life to select some for competitions. As my editor/friend and I poured over them, she noticed specific topics and we gathered the selected pieces into six sections for the book; On the Way of Lovers, On the Passing of Time, On the War of Love, On Spirituality, On What Is No More, On How It Looks From Over Here.
The thirty poems range in length from the shortest-Silver Drops, just nine lines to the twelve page piece- Without My Papers.
On the naming of the chapbook:
If you had asked me what I was going to do for a living when I was 16, I would have said I would be a Photo Journalist or an Anthropologist; certain that I’d write for National Geographic on a regular basis. By twenty four I’d taken a different route, becoming a Tour Guide in Arizona and the Native American lands. On the road and afterwards I carried empty notebooks to put down impressions, poetry or sketches. Using what’s at hand I’ve made small art of canyon lands using makeup from my travel kit; blush and eye shadows and pencils to create the brown and reddish tones. And along with the tiny sketches, the poetry keeps coming; even decades later. Like letting off the steam from a kettle so the lid will stop rattling and waking the neighbors, we must write what wants to be written or we’ll never find peace in our lives.
While sorting for the chapbook it occurred to me that these were my own Field Notes on life, written in poetry form. Each one was my record of what was going on in my internal landscape as I moved through my search for meaning and spirituality, love, divorce, heartbreak, remarriage, children, funerals of parents and friends, traveling the world. I am an autodidact and so the road has been my classroom.
Excerpts from Field Notes From One Woman’s Life-~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tossing words like love grenades
on a satin battlefield-
a simple rug won’t cover
all the broken steps I’ve taken
trying to reach my way to you.
Tall assumptions-Wide divisions
two dimensions to our volleys
I can’t get my arms around it
when we take our weapons out.
No depth of understanding,
no time of absolution
you have me in a corner
with no way to turn around.
You can see that I’m still fighting
So you know that I still care
It’s all over when it’s silent
And I leave you here to stare
At the place where I was handing
you the best part of my life
At the place where I’m still
standing up for love.
It Just Arrived
Waiter, I didn’t order this.
This great big fucking heartache
With the side of endless pain
It just arrived here at my table
to put its dirty feet up on my lap
And looked at me like,
“Yeah bitch, I’m talkin to you.”
Ignoring its insolent glare
I tried to go about my business
Sipping tea and reading the daily news.
As soon as my shoulders began to relax into a comfortable slouch-
the instant I dropped my hyper vigilance-
forgetting for that brief respite;
that you broke my heart
and dragged it down a gravel road behind your car in the blazing sun;
the very nanosecond I could breathe all the way in,
it leapt from its seat and body slammed me down again
then sat awhile, looking quite pleased.
I didn’t order this.
It just arrived.
I don’t want a fucking doggy bag.
Where The Light Is
when we least expect it
we will see the light
that burns inside another.
On this day,
we will know love.
to sit close
and warm ourselves,
next to where the light is.
When we finally
see that same light,
everywhere we look,
we can know God.
If you squeezed my heart
just a little harder
the light from the moon,
that thousandth tear
and the frozen mercury from this cold love
like silver drops
into your hand.
(previously published in Helium as pseudonym, Francesca Grace)
I Would Tell Him
If I could see my father one more time
I would tell him
that it was enough-
I would tell him that he did the very best with what he had
and what he knew-
not coming from a culture of therapy and conscious evolution
years before Drs. Spock and Seuss
coming from a family of sons-
siring three girls and
stumbling through the awkward years
the silent years
the angry years
the moves and jobs and homes
and broken hearts
family gatherings for holidays
gifts left for each of us,
carefully saved from a lifetime of hard work.
It was enough-
All of it.
You gave your best