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"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy, permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ~Jack London

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween Hauntings

My hands tremble in the cold. The night is so silent and still that my every inkling of a thought is intensified in my head, echoing for what seems like an eternity through the vastness of my mind. I replay the events of the day over and over until they become distant memories of a stranger. They become the shadows of dreams I can’t remember to forget, ghosts of stories I wrote as a child. I am haunted on this Halloween night.

I am so happy for the way things turned out today, but still feel removed from the climax of the anticipation. Our little chat went well, better than I had expected, but differently than I had imagined. Somehow practicing the words in my head made me smile when I said them, much more than I had intended to. I always smile when delivering bad news. Isn’t that strange? I suppose happiness is the one emotion I’m willing to let people see, while everything else I reserve for behind closed doors or the scribbles in a blog. Sad how even after all this time, I still don’t know how to let you in.

An old friend reminded me this morning that I have to believe in myself. Funny how profound that statement becomes when you hear it from someone else. I knew right away, of course, that he was right. I’ve told myself that very thing a thousand times before. I’ve told myself that far beyond my self doubt and shyness and need to please people, my biggest flaw has always been a lack of faith in who I am. Which is somewhat ironic, as one of the few things I do value about myself is my ability to have faith in other people. For some reason, I can never be there for me the way I can for everyone else. I always put me last.

This is not intended to sound selfless. It is of great detriment to me that I put too much faith in others and not nearly enough in myself. I am constantly let down. I am constantly hiding those skeletons in my closet, locking up the feelings of hurt and anguish that come from a lack of faith. They are the demons that haunt me here tonight.

The trouble with trying to believe in myself, is that when I do, the door begins to open. The ghosts of my past begin to escape, haunting me with the regrets of my past actions, avenging their abuse, my avoidance of them, by now consuming my thoughts. Today I was brave. Today I believed in my own convictions and I did what I trusted in my heart to be right. Today I had the courage to have faith, and everything turned out perfectly. Everything worked out just as it should, and I felt utter bliss all afternoon knowing that I had done what needed to be done.

It wasn’t until now, in the silence of the night, that I began to recall every instance when I didn’t do what needed to be done, when I didn’t trust myself enough to stand up for what was right. There are so many lost moments when I chose not to speak, chose to ignore my mind and heart and morals. There are so many lost moments. I know I shouldn’t dwell on the past, but perhaps I need to clean out the skeletons from my closet before I can move on. Perhaps I have to face those inner demons to make room for more faith. Perhaps I need to be brave and accept these lost moments as important lessons for the future. I won’t allow myself to be haunted anymore. I won’t allow myself to repeat my mistakes.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Searching For Buried Treasure

I watched her rifle through my basket of stuffed animals, her little back curled over the rest of her body, her legs bent and concealed beneath her. She took each toy in her hand, and one by one, carefully inspected their condition. I noticed right away how closely she was examining them, how deeply intent she was on making sure she found the perfect one. I knew she was searching for treasure, for a special toy that she could be proud of discovering, a hidden gem that needed her as much as she needed it. I knew she was searching for love.

My mom leaned over and whispered “that’s exactly how you were as a child, raised in the world of yard sales.” Immediately I remembered. I remembered my small hands sorting through the castaway toys of other households. I remembered the feeling of wanting to save them all, wanting to take them all home and love them as they so deserved to be loved. I remembered knowing that I couldn’t, knowing that I had to choose the perfect one to claim as my own. I remembered what it felt like to search.

How simple life was then. I looked at this little girl and thought about how much she’ll learn over the years, how much she’ll come to understand. I thought about myself at that age, so innocent and safe, so unaware of what was to come. I often wonder if that’s how adults look at me now, remembering their early twenties as a time of freedom and resilience, a time free from responsibility, a time when the possibilities were endless.

The possibilities are endless. I know I’ve said this a thousand times before, but what an exhilarating feeling to know that I have my whole life ahead of me. There are so many things that I want to experience, so many places I want to go, so many dreams I want to fulfill. There is so much to be discovered. They say that the college years are the best years of your life, but my favorite thing about these years is the prospect of better years ahead. I love the uncertainty of it all. I love that I have no idea where I’ll be in five, ten, twenty years. I love that in an instant, everything could change.

Yes, it generally scares me to death that I don’t have a plan, that with each passing day I am more and more uncertain about what I want to do with my life. It’s scary to wander so aimlessly, but it’s also wonderful. I learn more being lost than I ever could following directions. I am more content asking questions than I am finding answers. That’s what life is all about. Of course, there is a part of me that worries that while all my friends become doctors and lawyers, I’ll be serving them lunch at the local dive of a restaurant. There is a legitimate fear in not working towards a high paying job, in not being logical about my financial future. I’ve been educated enough to know that unfortunately, money does matter. It provides stability, opportunities, freedom. My biggest fear is being stuck in an unhappy life because I’m dependent on money. That’s how most people live. That’s the way the world works. Still, I have to believe in something more. Still, I am a dreamer.

I believe that the path is more important than the destination. The pursuit of happiness is more valuable than happiness itself. The process of learning is more essential than the facts that are learned. I suppose I’ll always be that little girl, hunting for treasure in other people’s trash. I’ll always be that little girl with the hopeful gleam in her eye, knowing that somewhere in the midst of all the chaos, there is that perfect something that will inspire love. I'll always be that little girl, searching, searching, searching.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Lists Of 15 (In No Particular Order)

15 Musicians/Bands I Could Never Tire Of Hearing:

1. Ani DiFranco
2. Dave Matthews
3. Jack Johnson
4. Michael Franti
5. Ben Folds
6. Paul Simon
7. Death Cab For Cutie
8. Ben Lee
9. The Shins
10. Keller Williams
11. Ben Harper
12. Guster
13. Tom Petty
14. Bob Marley
15. Sublime

15 Movies I Could Watch A Million Times:

1. Garden State
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3. Amelie
4. I Heart Huckabees
5. Almost Famous
6. The Big Lebowski
7. Life Is Beautiful
8. American Beauty
9. The Royal Tenenbaums
10. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
11. Anchorman
12. Dogma
13. Big Fish
14. Shrek
15. Zoolander

15 Books That Inspire Me:

1. The Bel Jar, Sylvia Plath
2. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
3. The Catcher In The Rye, JD Salinger
4. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt
5. Dress Your Family In Corduroy And Denim, David Sedaris
6. Sailing Alone Around The Room, Billy Collins
7. Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, Chuck Klosterman
8. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
9. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
10. The Hours, Michael Cunningham
11. Beloved, Toni Morrison
12. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
13. The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, Milan Kundera
14. The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
15. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith

15 Things I'm grateful for:

1. My friends
2. My mom
3. The smell of seasons changing
4. Writing
5. The way it feels to be barefoot
6. Having time to reflect
7. Hippie cafes
8. The sound of rain
9. Opportunities to dance like a fool
10. Nature
11. Hugs
12. Music
13. Good poetry
14. Random acts of kindness
15. Life and all it's glory

15 Things I Am:

1. Creative
2. Philosophical
3. A daughter
4. A sister
5. A writer
6. A dreamer
7. Spirited
8. Genuine
9. Loving
10. A student
11. Young at heart
12. Wise
13. Quiet
14. A good friend
15. Happy

The First Day Of The Rest Of My Life

Today is just another day. There’s nothing special about this particular Friday, nothing extraordinary about it’s existence. It arrived just as yesterday did, and just as tomorrow inevitably will. Today is just another day, and yet, this morning I awoke with such a fervor for life, such an overwhelming feeling of contentment and happiness, that somehow today became important. Today became the first day of the rest of my life. At least, that’s how I’ll grow to remember it.

My favorite teacher, who happens to teach the only class I have on Fridays, likes to tell stories (which is probably why he has become my favorite teacher). It’s always a great way to end the week, listening to his little anecdotes about his life’s many adventures. I always leave feeling inspired. In many ways, I wish more of my teachers would talk about themselves. I always feel as though I’m learning more listening to grown ups reflect on their lives than taking notes on historical facts and figures. I wish it was possible to major in “life lessons.”

Then again, I suppose that’s what all of us do major in, in some way or another. The world acts as one gigantic classroom, and we are the lifelong students of it’s many mysteries. It’s always nice when teachers see things that way too. Dr. Kim is one of those teachers, and so today we talked about the importance of recognizing your identity, recognizing yourself. He was twenty and currently attending Dickinson when it happened. Like today, it was an ordinary day. There wasn’t any defining event taking place or any notable occurrences, but the day became important. It became the first day of the rest of his life. As he washed his hands in the bathroom, he looked up at the mirror and was suddenly struck with the realization that he wasn’t white. It seems a strange thing not to know about oneself, especially by the age of twenty, but really, it hadn’t occurred to him that he was so noticeably Asian, so “not white.” Having spent his life as the only Korean around, believing that he had become invisible, that he didn’t stand out, it hadn’t occurred to him that he did. It hadn’t occurred to him that he was different. It was strange for him to so suddenly, so unexpectedly, discover that he wasn’t who he had believed himself to be.

“We live our lives based on who we think we are,” he said, “what we believe is true.” I quickly jotted his words down on the side of my notebook, knowing that they may be the most important words I’d hear all semester. It’s unnerving to think that you may not be who you think you are, but in reality, you probably aren’t. Even with what I consider to be a strong sense of myself, I am constantly struck with how many things I don’t know, don’t understand, about who I am and how I fit into the world. There have been many occasions when I too have looked in the mirror and not recognized my own face. “Oh, so that’s me” I think. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that your mind and soul are connected to your body.

If you’ve ever lived in the wilderness for any amount of time, ever been in a place without mirrors, you may understand this. I don't mean the idea of feeling beautiful on the outside versus the inside, although that may be part of me, but about the idea of truly seeing oneself. We put everyone into categories, under labels, to make it easier to understand where we fit in, but in doing so, we overshadow the importance of exploring the many layered depths of ourselves, the essence of our beings. We forget to ask the age old question of “who am I, really?”

This is much more philosophical and existential than I had originally intended it to be. I had just wanted to discuss this day, this perfectly ordinary day, when I began thinking about myself and my life in a broader way. Today is the day I realized I want to explore who I am. Even if I never reach a definite conclusion, which I suspect I won’t, the journey will be the answer in and of itself. The world is my classroom, and I will continue to be it’s student. I will continue to ask questions and find answers, and then continue to ask more questions about those answers. I will continue on and on until I reach the final test, which consists of only one question. Was it all worth it? I can only hope the answer will be yes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

And The Seasons, They Go Round And Round

I always underestimate the fall. Spring has always been my favorite season because it revolves around, both literally and metaphorically, the rebirth of a world that once seemed lost beneath the snow. With the arrival of spring, I am always reminded that life goes on, that no matter how hopeless things may seem at times, eventually the sun will come out again. Eventually the beauty of the world will be illuminated once more. Eventually we will be able to rejoice in our happiness.

Likewise, fall has always seemed like the transition into death, that time between the freedom of summer and the harshness of winter. I watch the leaves turn colors, their bright green fading into shades of brown, their edges crumbling in the cool air. I watch them slip from the limbs of the balding trees, hovering for a moment on the soft winds, before ultimately admitting defeat in their fight against death. Silent and still, they dot the surface of the cold, hardening earth with a kind of delicate beauty found only in the final moments of life. They hit the ground. They lose their brilliance.

This afternoon on my way home from school, I turned down a quiet street. I’ve been down it many times before, but today it somehow seemed different. The houses seemed so small and perfect, as though someone had wanted to paint a portrait of suburbia. I pictured the families inside, the mother knitting by the fire, the father reading in his leather chair, the children outside playing among the falling leaves. At 6 o’clock, their mother would call them into dinner where they’d all sit in their assigned chairs and listen to the stories about one another’s day. It’s funny, even after all these years of never experiencing this kind of life, this is still how I envision family. Especially in the fall.

The trees lining the street were beginning to change color, but I wasn’t saddened by them. I had underestimated fall. The deep reds, the stunning yellows, even the cascading browns of the leaves were gorgeous. Suddenly I was so happy. The cold winds whipped through my windows as I drove, and I was too entranced by the smell of fall to care that my ears and nose were freezing. I pulled my green hat snugly over my head and smiled, welcoming fall into this new year of my life. This is not a time of death, but an opportunity to wipe the slate clean in a final blaze of exuberance. This is not a time of death. It is only a new beginning.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Here's To You

I wake up most mornings to discover an email in my inbox from somewhere around the world. It’s sort of an amazing thing really, to know that I have so many friends in different cities, states, countries. I like that idea. I like knowing that everyone is off having adventures separate from my own, and yet, we’re all together in some way. We’re all still friends. As lame as it may sound, it makes me feel grown up to have the people in my life spread out across the vastness of the world. It makes me feel so connected to things, as though the universe is both much bigger and much smaller than I ever imagined it to be. It’s so amazing to think how grown up we all are. It’s so amazing to think that this is life.

I’ve had too much caffeine today and so most of this probably won’t make sense and certainly will not be eloquent. I don’t care. It’s just one of those days when my phone has been ringing with unexpected callers and I’ve gotten to catch up with people I feel like I haven’t seen in forever. It’s just one of those days when I feel so endlessly grateful to have the amazing friends that I do. I love you guys. I love being able to talk to you for the first time in a year and have it feel like nothing has changed, like not a minute has passed since I last saw you. I love hearing about all of the things that have changed, how your lives have progressed, how you’ve matured. I love that you’re off exploring life, whether you're 5 minutes from home or half way across the world. I’m just feeling so much love right now for all of you.

Which includes my newer friends as well, the ones I’ve made beyond high school, the ones I am still getting to know. I am so blessed to know you and I look forward to years and years of getting to know you better. It’s funny to go back and trace friendships, to try and figure out where they began. I have so many, “If I hadn’t ___ then I never would have met ____.” There’s always a priceless relationship that forms from any of my major life decisions, and that means that I really shouldn’t ever have regrets. Those decisions brought me to each of you, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

The truth is, no matter how much I may complain about things at times, I love my life. I love my life because you are all in it, because you are my life. So here’s to you, my dear friends, and the journey into the infinite abyss that we’ve embarked upon, together.

Friday, October 21, 2005

At The Corner Of 6 Down, 18 Across

He used to ask, but has recently stopped saying anything at all. Instead, he watches his crossword puzzle, sits and stares at it, no pen in hand, as though all of the answers will fill themselves in knowing that they’re being watched. I wonder sometimes if he’s actually thinking about the puzzle, thinking about the answers to insignificant questions, chuckling at the clever way in which each word overlaps with another. I wonder what he hopes to get out of it all.

Perhaps today this puzzle is his own. He’s created his own questions and answers, his own clever way to make the words perfectly crisscross with one another. The pattern is both complicated and simple all at once. The questions are obscure and the answers subjective, but the puzzle still seems to fit, still seems to make perfect sense.

26 down holds the key to happiness. 12 across is his favorite meal. 47 down is the name of his first crush. 33 across is what he dreamed of being when he grew up, and 29 down is the reason he never did it. He’s crawled into the box where 6 down, the name of his childhood pet, and 18 across, the color of his mother’s eyes, intersect. He’s made it his home. I imagine the letters and cards he’s received in the past, the pile of postcards from his friends around the world addressed to him at 6 Down, 18 Across, Anywhere USA. I wonder if he’s ever left the country, the state, the city. I wonder if he’s ever left this street corner where he sits staring so intently at the paper before him. Maybe the answer to 39 across is the place he’s always longed to visit.

I watch him smile as he stares at his own creation. No New York society member will be able to solve this puzzle. No LA executive, or Washington politician knows any of the answers. He’s managed to outwit them all, stumped even the most articulate socialite. His eyes gleam with a kind of pride no shiny quarter or warm meal could compare to. Which is why he can now ignore the people passing by. He no longer needs to stand like a beggar, hands outreached, voice soft and sad as he pleads for just a little spare change, anything you can spare. Please.

At the corner of 6 down, 18 across, your money is useless. There, you are no better than him and he is no better than you. There, he isn’t standing on the corner looking scruffy and hungry. There, he looks just like you, standing in his yard behind the crisscross of his white picket fence, tending to the yellow roses, his favorite kind of flower, which just happens to be the answer to 42 down.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Et Tu, Brute?

I don't mean for this blog to be so sad all the time. I just tend to lean towards writing more when I'm upset than when I'm happy. I sometimes think that anyone who reads this must think that I'm both overtly and implicity depressed about my life. I promise that's not the case.

In fact, I love my life. I am happy much more than I am ever sad. I think this world is a grand playground of beauty and wonder, and I feel blessed with the opportunity to swing on its swings, climb its rope, slide down its winding slides. I am so endlessly grateful to be alive.

That being said, this post is going to be yet another vent, another way for me to express my current twinges of sadness and rage. I've been upset with some things these past few days as my previous post would inevitably imply. It's moved so far beyond that secret though. I'm not as angry with the action as I am with the reaction. I don't understand how people can sit back and allow horrible things to happen to them. I had always assumed that I was a push over, that I allowed people to walk all over me, but in reality, I think I'm pretty good about standing up for myself. Especially when it comes to the important things. I would never let someone get away with what this person is getting away with. NEVER. I think at this point, I just want to stay mad because I seem to be the only one who is mad, the only one who feels anything but ambivalence for it. Maybe I feel too much, but it's times like this that make me appreciate that attribute. I think it makes me human.

Yesterday, in preparation for my shower I removed my rings. It's basically the only time I ever take them off. I placed them in their usual spot next to the sink. My father's moving company was lugging his stuff up and down the stairs as I got ready for school. Even over the sound of the shower I could hear them clunking around. After getting dressed in my room, I returned to the bathroom to brush my teeth and put on my rings. Two of the three were missing. The two important ones of course. I didn't want to be one of those people who accuses the hired help of stealing so I spent the next hour tearing my bathroom and my room apart, thinking I might have misplaced them, although deep down I knew I hadn't. So now my rings are gone. Now some man from a moving company has my engraved class ring and my rather expensive twentieth birthday present from my mom sitting in his pocket and there's nothing I can do about it. I feel so taken advantage of. It hadn't even occured to me that a stranger in my house would take something that I hold so dear. I wear those rings everyday and my hands feel naked now without them. I'm reminded every second that they're gone.

It seems I've been naive in putting faith in people. It's caused me nothing but upset these past few days. I don't want to be jaded by it. I don't want to be the kind of person who becomes suspicious of everyone around them. I want to be able to trust strangers and friends to be civil and kind and human. I haven't lost faith in trust, but my skepticism has certainly heightened, and for that, I won't really be able to fully forgive those who have changed the way I look at the world. They've robbed me of more than rings and serenity. They've robbed me of a kind of innocence that I won't ever be able to get back. I'm just feeling rather betrayed these days, rather let down. I guess it's an important life lesson, just not one that I ever wanted to learn.

Monday, October 17, 2005

I Wish That...

I wish that I didn't know. I wish that I hadn't been told. It would be so much easier not to have this little secret buried inside me, one that I can neither talk about nor go about fixing. The only way I know how to deal with things is through sharing, confronting the problem head on until my soul feels clear, but I can't do that this time around. How do you confront something that you're not allowed to admit you know?

It has nothing to do with me, and yet, I can't help but feel completely devastated. I can't help but think about it all the time. I am so angry and hurt and utterly disappointed. I don't know how to make it right. I don't know how to ignore it. Instead, I'm stuck with this unwanted information weighing heavily upon my heart. I hate feeling so out of control this way.

So for now, I have no choice but to obscure you within these lines. I'm confining you to this, releasing you into a prison of my outrage. I can't keep you inside to fester and grow into my own demise, but I can't break the promise I made to withhold you from the world. This is where you will be kept. This is where you shall remain. The final period of these thoughts shall be the key that locks you here, away from the vulnerability of my emotions, away from the disgust I feel for you. It isn't fair that I should suffer for a secret that doesn't involve me.

It isn't fair that I truly believe that you, the object of said secret, are not suffering at all. I don't know how you can walk around like nothing happened, play it off as though you've done nothing wrong. I don't know how you can feel no remorse. I don't know how you can be so inhuman.

All of my faith in you has been lost and I can't imagine it will ever return. I have never in my life been more disappointed in a friend, never in my life been so angry, and I can't even tell you. I can't ever make peace with it or with you, but I'll have to pretend now, won't I? I'll have to pretend that everything's fine just like you, or else admit that I know and lose the trust of the person who told me. I couldn't have someone lose faith in me the way I lost faith in you. Instead, I have to act like you, and I hate you for putting me in this position. I hate that I'll have to plaster a smile on my face and make small talk with you. I hate that I'll have to let you touch me. I hate that I'll have to see you again.

I don't know how to conceal my emotions. I don't know how to get away with pretending everything's fine between us. It will never be fine again. You've ruined everything you selfish, son of a bitch. Why can you not understand that? Why can you not understand that this goes so much further than just you? You've hurt people, and the number will be much higher if your secret ever gets out. I don't have the strength to look at the ignorant faces of those you claim to love and think that if they only knew the truth....

I wish that I didn't know the truth. I wish that it hadn't happened at all. I wish there wasn't this ugly truth to know. I wish that I could naievely smile and laugh and believe that we were friends. I wish that I could still respect you. I wish that I had just trusted myself to begin with. I wish you hadn't fucked everything up. I wish that everything could just be like it was before I knew.

I know your dirty little secret and I hate you for it. Period.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Old Friends

I haven’t thought about them in years. It’s sad to think that if they hadn’t resurfaced, I wouldn’t have ever thought about them again. I wouldn’t have felt the warmth of their friendship buried within my heart, the reminders of my childhood days spent with them. I could have, and maybe should have, given them away years ago. I could have, and maybe should have, let go of my past after coming to the realization that I had outgrown them, that I no longer needed them around. But even now, with the opportunity to clear them out of my life, I’m choosing to keep them, to cherish them the way they so deserve. I’m choosing to cherish them like old friends.

They’re accumulating on the living room shelves as my father goes through, sorting his from mine. I come home each day to a new library of my favorite childhood books, a new collection of memories surfacing within the archives of my mind. This morning I began to sort through them, clinging to the most valuable of the lot. I glide my hand over the cover of The Night The Toys Came To Life, remembering how I could never close the closet door on my stuffed animals, knowing that when I fell asleep they would need to get out, walk around, stretch their legs if they had them. I didn’t want to leave them locked up. I realize how big my hands have become, how the teddy bear on the cover who used to fit under my index finger can now barely squeeze beneath my thumb. My how time has passed, how much I’ve grown.

Still, when I come across The Night Kitchen, I realize that I can almost recite it by heart. I know it the way a baby knows its mother’s voice, an instinctively attractive force from some unnamed region within the soul. I hadn’t even known that I knew it, hadn’t thought about it since I had placed it away on some unvisited shelf over ten years ago. It’s been sitting there with the rest of the friends I cast away as I moved on from my childhood.

I reach up and grab my collection of Roald Dahl books, remembering how infatuated I was with the Big Friendly Giant, how adorable I found sweet Matilda, how scary the Witches seemed. I begin to think about all the questionnaires we had to fill out in lower school, and how certain life was then. I always knew Roald Dahl was my favorite author, blue was my favorite color, cats were my favorite animal and I wanted to be a teacher. Everything was set. I knew exactly who I was. It’s funny to think I was more self aware at age 8 than I am now, 12 years later.

I come across Alexander’s Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and think about how true it is. Some days really are like that, even in Australia. There is no place on earth free from bad days, no utopia where everything goes perfectly right, and it would be boring if there were. The Giving Tree brings tears to my eyes as for the first time, I begin to understand the true meaning of selflessness, begin to understand what it means to love someone so much that you’re willing to give up yourself, begin to understand why the tree was happy.

I tried to sort through these books this morning, tried to get rid of them, but I couldn’t. I got as far as even holding some over the cardboard box marked “to sell,” but couldn’t release them from my grasp. Instead, I put them back on the shelf and will later pack them in a box to move to my new home. There, I’ll put them on a new shelf and perhaps forget about them for another ten years, repeating the same mistake, but somehow knowing they’ll still be there when I need them. That’s the thing about old friends, they always seem to be there for you no matter how many mistakes you may make. They’ll always be with you, hiding some place within your heart you had forgotten existed until just now. What treasures, these old friends of mine.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Yet Another Reason For My Billy Collins Obsession

I promise to write a real update later, but I'm just so absorbed with poetry lately, I'm finding it difficult not to share. This is my newest favorite.

By Billy Collins

After three days of steady, inconsolable rain,
I walk through the rooms of the house
wondering which would be best to die in.

The study is an obvious choice
with its thick carpet and soothing paint,
its overstuffed chair preferable
to a doll-like tumble down the basement stairs.

And the kitchen has a certain appeal--
it seems he was boiling water for tea,
the inspector will offer, holding up the melted kettle.

Then there is the dining room,
just the place to end up facedown
at one end of its long table in a half-written letter

or the bedroom with its mix of sex and sleep,
upright against the headboard,
a book having slipped to the floor--
make it Mrs. Dalloway, which I have yet to read.

Dead on the carpet, dead on the tiles,
dead on the stone cold floor--
it's starting to sound like a ballad
sung in a pub by a man with a coal red face.

It's all the fault of the freezing rain
which is flicking against the windows,
but when it finally lets up
and gives way to broken clouds and a warm breeze,
when the trees stand dripping in the light,

I will quit these dark, angular rooms
and drive along a country road
into the larger rooms of the world,
so vast and speckled, so full of ink and sorrow--

a road that cuts through bare woods
and tangles of red and yellow bittersweet
these late November days.

And maybe under the fallen wayside leaves
there is hidden a nest of mice,
each one no bigger than a thumb,
a thumb with closed eyes,
a thumb with whiskers and a tail,
each one contemplating the sweetness of grass
and the startling brevity of life.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Plan

I feel as though it’s been months since I’ve seen the sun. I’m beginning to wonder if it even still exists. I was especially missing it this morning as I made my way up to class, my frozen toes clinging to the edges of my slippery flip flops. I was very unprepared for such a dreary day in my unwillingness to admit just how dreary it was. Generally I find this type of sun withdrawal very depressing, but today I’m happy.

I woke up this morning anticipating a bad mood. I was fully prepared to be miserable and grumpy all day, hitting the snooze button at least three times before finally admitting defeat. I got up and discovered a long email from my favorite person in the world which immediately set the tone for the rest of the day. It’s amazing how certain people can just make you utterly and sublimely happy. I had a good day at school, which included the absence of certain annoying classmates, and then took the long way home, enjoying a more scenic route through west Philadelphia. When I got home, my dad was putting the last few books into boxes and told me he had gotten an interesting call from mom.

So now he knows, or knows the big picture at least. He’s been prying the details out of me as my mom was, in her usual manner, withholding on the specifics. Here’s the plan. We’re selling the house. My dad’s moving to an apartment in Ambler a week from today, at which point my mom will come here and help Harry and I clear everything out of the house for a garage sale. It’s pretty much an everything-must-go deal where we’re cleaning out the past to make way for the future. If anybody wants anything I own, let me know and I’ll give it to you before adding it to the garage sale pile. It’s going to be strange to rid my life of the majority of my possessions, but exciting all at the same time. For someone like me who revels in new beginnings, this is a fantastic opportunity.

My mom is currently trying to buy the apartment building in Manayunk she’s been living in. It’s not really an apartment building so much as a house that’s been divided into an apartment on each of the three floors. It will be perfect if it works out. My mom will take the third floor, the second floor will be shared living/dining room space with a kitchen and magnificent deck overlooking Manayunk, and Harry and I will share the first floor apartment, basement and backyard. That way, we have our own space, but we’re still living together. It would just be the ideal situation for all of us.

Plus, I would love to live in Manayunk, especially within walking distance of Main Street. I love how friendly and neighborly it is there. I would love to know people on my street and to be surrounded by people closer to my age. I’ve really never had that kind of neighborhood and I’ve always been jealous of those who do. Nor have I ever lived within walking distance of stores and restaurants and bars. When I turn 21, I’ll be able to walk to and from the bars without having to worry about driving or finding a ride. It will just be wonderful.

Not to mention the excitement of the basement perfect for beer pong, the backyard perfect for sitting and smoking, the deck perfect for dinner and wine with friends. It’s just such a charming little house. I’ll get to live in it with my mother, whom I miss more than I like to let on, and my brother who I’d like to be closer to. I may regret saying this later, but I think it will be really nice for us to spend this time together. Right now it feels as though we’re worlds apart.

I have so many ideas and goals for this new chapter in my life and I’m so excited about all of them. I’m excited to put the past behind me. I’m excited to leave my childhood here in this house. I think I’ve really been needing this change. For now, there’s a ton to do and I ought to really get started now that I don’t have to hide anything from my father, but first I need to find my slippers because my feet are still frozen from the cold.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Posse Storybook

I'd give anything to be here.

It's one of those mornings when I feel like this.

Or this.

And I could really go for some of this.

And have Adrian do a little of this.

And play a little of that.

And a few rounds of this.

Maybe even smoke a couple of these.

To be happy like this.

Or this.

Or this.

But not like this.

No one should ever be like this.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Everything's Coming Up Roses

Sometimes I wish this blog was more casual than it is. I wish that every entry didn't become a long tangent about my philosophies and theories on life. A few sentences here and there would be a nice mix. Especially on nights like this when I have a huge paper to write and a million pages to read, but I still have something I want to post.

Here it is.

I am happy. I am truly and sublimely happy. Just when life seems to be too mundane and uneventful, something comes along to plant a permanant smile on my face. I can't articulate why I'm so happy and excited, but I'm sure I'll elaborate on it in another long, drawn out, philosophy filled post. For now, I just want to say that life is great. Everything's great. Everything's coming up roses.

And I am happy.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I Feel Like I've Been In A Coma For The Past Twenty Years, And I'm Just Now Waking Up

I was fourteen when American Beauty first came out. My mom took me to go see it in the theater at my request. I’m fairly certain that at fourteen, I was more interested in seeing the movie for the involvement of “teen stars” Thora Birch and Mena Suvari, than I was about seeing it for any kind of artistic merit. I don’t think I had yet realized that movies were supposed to be, allowed to be, an art form. I hadn’t yet realized there were threads and layers and meanings within entertainment. I hadn’t yet realized it wasn’t about the cast at all. It was about a deeper significance that resides in each of us. In my ignorance, I missed the point completely.

I watched it again a few days ago for the first time since that day I had wandered into the theater with my mother. It was as though I had never seen it before, and yet, it was so familiar, so comforting, as though I had seen it play over and over again in my head for the past six years. I hadn’t understood it as a child, hadn’t been able to encompass all of the pain and beauty of being grown up, of living an ordinary life. I hadn’t experienced that in my own life yet. As a child, I was still idealistic about growing older. I didn’t understand how people ended up in places they hadn’t expected, in lives they never wanted. I still naively believed that being ordinary was a choice.

Six years later, the movie spoke to me. I understood. I sympathized. I felt the pain and beauty of it all. It made me realize how much I’ve changed, how much I’ve grown. Within the movie, I saw the beauty of the floating bag, the dead bird, the roses. I saw the way the horrible and pathetic and depressing could be made beautiful through open eyes and minds and hearts. I saw the importance of perspective. As I sat thinking about it, I realized the importance of my perspective. The movie hadn’t changed from the story I had originally had no emotional attachment to. I had changed. I had become the kind of person who could relate to seeing beauty in simplicity, to feeling ordinary, to wanting more. It made me realize how relative everything is. The whole world is about perspective.

This morning I picked up my favorite Billy Collins poetry book and began reading. Generally, I read the same ten or so favorites over and over again, but today I started reading the ones I hadn’t looked upon since I first bought it. I had dismissed them after not feeling anything the first few times I read them over, making the decision that I disliked them. Today, for whatever reason, I retrieved these poems from the ambivalent limbo I had sent them to, and began to listen more closely to what they had to say. I found new favorites. Favorites with layers and depths that put my previous favorites to shame. I had misjudged them. I hadn’t been ready to truly understand them. My perspective didn’t enable me to.

It’s strange to think of a time when I saw the world differently than I do now. I’m always amazed at the riches I find in the most ordinary of things simply because my life has changed in some way. I forget that I’ve grown up. I forget that I wasn’t always ready and willing to see the world for what it is, to allow myself to feel things for what they are. There isn’t beauty exclusively in a bag or a rose or a poem. We assign these things beauty. We project our beauty onto them and they reflect it back on us. The beauty comes from somewhere within ourselves, which can be painful and overwhelming and utterly amazing. American Beauty rings true; it hurts to allow yourself to experience the world, but it’s fantastic to feel that kind of anguish. It means that you’re alive. It means that you’re understanding. It means that you’re beautiful.

It’s hard not to feel gratitude for such grandeur. It’s hard to feel ordinary when you truly understand that everything is extraordinary. Our world, our relationships, our lives. Sometimes it seems impossible that I ever lost sight of their beauty, that there was a time in my life when I couldn’t understand it. Yet even now, the road ahead seems so much longer than the road I’ve already traveled, as if I’ve only begun to understand all there is to know. I have a long way to go before I have discovered just how astonishing this crazy existence is. I wonder if I’ll ever know. I wonder what movies I’ll relate to then, what poems I’ll fall in love with. I wonder what treasures I’ll find, buried somewhere within the depths of me.

Three New Reasons Why I Love Billy Collins

Some Days

Some days I put the people in their places at the table,
bend their legs at the knees,
if they come with that feature,
and fix them into the tiny wooden chairs.

All afternoon they face one another,
the man in the brown suit,
the woman in the blue dress,
perfectly motionless, perfectly behaved.

But other days, I am the one
who is lifted up by the ribs,
then lowered into the dining room of a dollhouse
to sit with the others at the long table.

Very funny,
but how would you like it
if you never knew from one day to the next
if you were going to spend it

striding around like a vivid god,
your shoulders in the clouds,
or sitting down there amidst the wallpaper,
staring straight ahead with your little plastic face?


My pen moves along the page
like the snout of a strange animal
shaped like a human arm
and dressed in the sleeve of a loose green sweater.

I watch it sniffing the paper ceaselessly,
intent as any forager that has nothing
on its mind but the grubs and insects
that will allow it to live another day.

It wants only to be here tomorrow,
dressed perhaps in the sleeve of a plaid shirt,
nose pressed against the page,
writing a few more dutiful lines

while I gaze out the window and imagine Budapest
or some other city where I have never been.


I sit in the study,
simple walls, complicated design of carpet.
I read a book with a bright red cover.
I write something down.

I look up a fact in an encyclopedia
and copy it onto a card,
the lamp burning,
a painting leaning against a chair.

I find a word in a dictionary
and copy it onto the back of an envelope,
the piano heavy in the corner,
the fan turning slowly overhead.

Such is life in this pavilion
of paper and ink
where a cup of tea is cooling,
where the windows darken and then fill with light.

But I have had enough of it--
the slope of paper on the desk,
books on the floor like water lilies,
the jasmine drying out in its pot.

In fact, I am ready to die,
ready to return as something else,
like a brown-and-white dog
with his head always out the car window.

Then maybe, if you were still around,
walking along a street in linen clothes,
a portfolio under your arm,
you would see me go by,

my eyes closed,
wet nose twitching,
my ears blown back,
a kind of smile on my long dark lips.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Secrets, Secrets Are No Fun...But They're Pretty Damn Exciting

Over Sushi last night for my brother’s eighteenth birthday, my entire life changed. Or rather, potentially the direction of my future changed. I want so desperately to write all about it, but nothing’s definite yet and until it is, I’m supposed to keep it a secret. My father’s not allowed to find out just yet, and that means keeping it a secret from everyone I know. It’s not as though any of my friends would ever talk to my dad about it, but my mother’s right in that there’s always connections on the gossip chain that never even occur to us. I just wish everything didn’t feel like a conspiracy against one parent or another. Harry’s already unveiled the secret to two of the boys occasionally living here. It seems unfair that outsiders should know our family business before everyone in the family does. Hopefully these sort of dynamics will change with this next stage in my life.

I want so desperately to share my excitement, but should wait until at least something evolves, no matter how small of an alteration it is. Meanwhile, amidst the pouring rain, I’m cleaning out my stuff, deciding what I want versus what I don’t. I’ve always been the kind of person who clings to every little scrap, but I’ve been surprisingly good about giving things up this time around. I think I’m finally ready to move on from the person I used to be. I’m finally ready to be a grown up, or at least, appear to be a grown up.

I’ve filled three large boxes with goofy hats, Spongebob items, toys and games that used to decorate my car. It’s difficult trying to detach these objects from the emotional draw they invoke within me, but it’s time to let them go. It’s time to move on. I’ll still have the memories of them without actually having them. They are, after all, only objects, only toys and games and ridiculous cartoon paraphernalia. They aren’t nearly as important as I’d like to believe. I’m kind of amazed I’ve been clinging onto them for so long. No wonder my room’s always a mess.

It feels good to see it all boxed away, as if I’ve somehow relinquished my soul of the heavy past. It feels good to clear out my life. I’d like to become more of a minimalist. Being tied to material objects is so tiring, so victimizing. I shouldn’t let my possessions control me the way that they have been. I need to take control of my life. I need my room, my mind, my life to be cleared of all of this clutter. I need a clean slate.

Which is exactly what will happen if this whole secret arrangement goes through. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I wish I could say more right now. At this point, it probably seems more exciting as a secret than as an actual plan, but nevertheless, I’m anticipating it’s success. I’m already beginning to act as though it’s definite, despite my knowledge that I shouldn’t jinx anything by getting excited too early on. I always manage to disappoint myself that way. I hate this constant uncertainty about where my life is going. Although, if it wasn’t for the ambiguity of it all, I’d never have amazing surprise opportunities like this. I’m just so excited....knock on wood.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Something Simply Human

There’s something in the air. It seems that I’m on the same thought wavelength as so many of the other authors of the various blogs I’ve been reading, especially Deb. I hope that you don’t mind if I elaborate on some of the ideas you’ve already so poignantly discussed. I just need to write it for myself, or I’ll never remember the thoughts your posts have inspired.

It’s so easy to forget that people actually read your own blog. It’s funny because I spend far too much time reading the thoughts of others, but it rarely occurs to me that people would want to waste any of their time reading mine. I really don’t know who reads this, but I want those who do to know that I appreciate it. There’s something really nice about knowing that people are listening.

There’s something even nicer about knowing that people feel the same way, that people are thinking the same thing, that none of us are really alone. I am constantly amazed by our similarities. I used to find this all rather depressing. To me, it seemed as though it was impossible to have an original thought or idea. Everything’s been done before, been said before, been realized before. We’re all walking in and out of the lives that have come before us, stepping in and out of the shadows of our ancestors. We are not original or progressive. We are human. Simply human.

I’ve spent a lot of time, these past few months especially, wondering about our past. I wonder about all of the lives I’ll never know about, never learn about in school or hear about on TV. When we’re children we’re told the stories of great leaders and thinkers and revolutionaries. We are all taught to have the same heroes, to strive for the kind of excellence they achieved so many years before us. We are told that we can be anything we want to be if we set our minds to it. It’s not really true though is it.

The truth is, most of the world doesn’t know you exist, and most of the world won’t remember you after you’re gone. Maybe it’s depressing and cynical, but I find it calming and liberating in some idealistic way. I mean, why worry then? Why bother trying to live up to expectations or perfection? Just live and live well. Of course, like all things, this isn’t original, but there’s a reason it’s cliched. It’s true. It’s the basis of happiness. We are who we are and that alone makes us special. My heroes are not the great leaders of the past. They are the people in my life that I find special, that make me feel special. If I could, I would list them all here, but I’m certain I’d leave too many out.

The reason I bring this up is that all of you (and simply by reading this you’re included) have changed my life. You are special. It’s important to remember that, to remember that no matter where your path seems to be taking you, or how utterly lost and confused and helpless you feel, you’ve made a difference. You’ve changed the world. You’ve changed me. Sometimes it’s just nice to remember that you mean something to someone. You mean everything to me. You are my heroes.

So with all due respect to past presidents, inventors, philosophers, and superheroes, they are no better or worse than us. They fought the same battles that we fight. They loved and hurt and suffered just as we do. They strived to live the best lives that they could and we continue to do the same. Our children will continue to do the same, and their children after them. There will be tales of heroes from our generation, people we don't even know exist, strangers we pass each day on the street. Anyone can be a hero. Everyone is a hero to someone.

The world has changed of course, and we’ve adapted to those changes, but in essence, we are all the same. In essence, we are all just human. Simply human. There’s something really nice about that.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Creepy Crawlers And Nutty Neighbors

I’ve defended bugs on more than one occasion. I make it a point never to kill a bug outside unless they’re eating me, and furthermore, to make sure no one else does either. When you’re in their environment, you have to understand and respect the fact that they belong there, that they have just as much, if not more, of a right to be there than you do. It’s different however, when they’re inside your house.

It’s still no justification for killing them. They are of course, living creatures, who just happened to accidentally fly in through an open window or door. Still, it’s understandably unnerving to discover one in your personal space. I tend to feel extremely helpless when they’re in my room, which is very unlike me. I’m not the kind of person who gets scared of bugs or snakes or any of the normal phobias, but seeing an insect land on my wall sends my heart racing. Especially when, like this current one, I can’t seem to identify it.

He wouldn’t land on the floor, so I couldn’t just kill him easily and end it all. Instead, he awkwardly landed on my lamp and I was able to catch him under a clear cup. He’s been sitting there for two days now and somehow manages to stay alive. I know how wrong this is. I know that I’m torturing him. I keep assuming he’ll be dead within the next hour, but he keeps on living under the cup. I’m not sure how he was able to make it up to my room on the third floor, but my screens are impossible to close once they’re open and I can’t afford taking the risk of having a permanently open window, inviting in hundreds of other creatures. I could walk him all the way downstairs, but am afraid he’ll get loose on the way and I’ll never be able to catch him again, which would only lead to sleepless nights knowing he’s somewhere in the house, plotting his two day imprisonment revenge. For now, he remains my little prisoner on my desk.

Meanwhile, in the outside world, I have a friendly squirrel who comes to visit at least once a day and bangs on the aforementioned screens on my windows. It’s quite unnerving actually. The whole window shakes as he sticks his claws into the tiny screen holes, desperately trying to get in. I’m not sure what his motives are, or why he would assume there’s something better on the inside, but he seems very intent on trying to get in each day. I almost envy his determination.

So now I have this little dichotomy of friendly creatures. One locked within the confines of a prison cup, trying desperately to escape. The other with an entire world of freedom, trying desperately to be confined. And isn’t that what life is all about? When the world seems small, we want nothing more than to escape to a bigger world, but when that world gets too big, we long for the comfort of living small lives. There never seems to be that perfect balance between the two.

At least for me anyway. It seems I’m always conflicted between the adventurous nature of living large and the ease of simplicity. Some days I dream of picking up everything I can and just driving somewhere, anywhere, to discover all of the mysteries this crazy, wonder filled world has to offer. Other days I find myself missing the charm of spending a night in Chestnut Hill, driving around through each hang-out location, running into everyone we know at each stop. I find myself missing the feeling of knowing everyone in my classes, getting honks and waves from passing traffic as I drive, running into friends around every corner. At the same time, I still long for more. I long for the exploration of the unknown. I long for different people and places and experiences. I long for the adventure that is life.

I guess I’ll always have those feelings. I’ll always long for the past and the future at the same time because I’m like both the bug and the squirrel. I want in and I want out. I want it all, which never ceases to make me feel like I have nothing. Nothing but a bug in a cup, a mentally challenged squirrel, and a mind that won't ever shut off.

One Perfect Rose

I always underestimate the charm of an utterly grey day. There’s something so appealing about how dark and subdued the world seems to become, how gloomy and quiet everyone is. It’s not depressing really, but rather acts as a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of the everyday. Even my thoughts slow in pace with the absence of the sun. Somehow the clouds make it easier for me to just breathe.

I was miserable on the last grey day we had. I woke up in an awful mood and could tell right away how dreadful the rest of the day would play out. It was just a morning where I would have given anything to not have to leave the comfort and safety of my bed, not have to face the jungle of the world. I eventually, very reluctantly, got out of bed and made my way to class. I sat in the worst possible seat in front of two girls who spent the entire fifty minutes discussing hair products and makeup directly in my ear, and then headed back home with a permanent grudge against any and every girly-girl. Sometimes I wonder how girls manage to become so shallow, how they allow themselves to be these ditsy idiots with nothing more running through their pretty little heads than boys and hair. Girls like that are always a good reminder of why I don’t want to be a girl like that. But I digress....

In an effort to avoid picking an inevitable fight with my father, I went grocery shopping instead of coming straight home. I made the curve around Wissahickon onto Allen’s Lane as I’ve done so many times before. I nonchalantly glided up to the stop sign, ready to pause more than stop, as fully stopping there is always unnecessary. And there it was. One perfect rose. For the first time probably since I had gotten my license, I stopped for a full five seconds. Perhaps it was longer. It’s hard to tell time when you’re in the presence of something so beautiful.

I guess in many ways, it was ordinary, but something about it's simplicity made it remarkable. It stretched to the sky on it’s enormous green stem. It’s red petals blooming open to reveal their soft overlapping limits, their edges conjoining together at the tips to become smooth and round. It was the perfect shade of red, the color a child would pick from a crayon box. The color entitled ‘rose.’ It was stunningly juxtaposed against the grey sky, stunningly contrasted against the dark and subdued world. It was truly one perfect rose in the jungle of the world. Everything about it was perfect. I smiled at it’s grandeur as I left it.

As I stood in the parking lot opening my trunk to load my newly bought groceries, a man approached me. "Miss..." he began to say, and automatically, I wished he hadn’t. "Can I take your cart from you? Save you a trip back?" A moment passed, the wind picked up and blew my long, white, hippie skirt around me. "Oh, yeah, that would be great," I finally said, "Thanks." I had been thrown off guard by his nice gesture, and then equally thrown by my reaction, my assumption that whatever he wanted was not a selfless, help your fellow neighbor, act. I was shocked by my own cynicism.

I find myself surprised at my thoughts recently. It’s not exactly that I’ve become pessimistic, but I’m certainly less optimistic than I used to be. The bigger my world becomes, the more skeptical I am of everything in it. It’s easier to be happy when you’re unaware, when you don’t have to see the big picture. Ignorance really is bliss. Then again, so is allowing yourself to be aware of these precious moments that reside in each day. There is real bliss in recognizing the beauty of a slow paced day, a kind stranger, a selfless act. In a world that can be so dark and gloomy and grey, there’s comfort and joy in knowing that there’s light beyond the sun. It exists in each of us. The world can be miserable, but it's always there. That one perfect rose.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Quick Note To My Blog

Dearest Blog,

I'm sorry I've been ignoring you these past few weeks. My journal was feeling lonely and ignored, traded in for a more advanced model. I promise to try and share my time equally between you two and the numerous emails I have to respond to and the school essays I have to write. I used to feel like I could never have enough writing outlets in my life, but right now, I'm beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by it all. I have so many things to tell you, so many adventures and theories and outlooks to share, but right now I have to go take a test on Hinduism. I will most likely not do so well as I spent most of my night writing in my journal and sending some overdue emails, but I can tell you all about my failures when I return home. Again, sorry for not being around. Thanks for still being there for me. I've missed you.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Garage Sale

Today is my grandmother's 86th birthday. Over dinner, she had us read some of the poems she's written over the years aloud. I'll inevitably post more when her anthology comes out, but for now, here is one of my favorites. Enjoy.

Garage Sale
By Eve Stedman

After so long my attic memory
is cluttered, cumbered, by a stash of verse,
a hoard that once I valued, toted home.
Today I'll sort, perhaps find buried treasure,
some golden ballad stored against the winter,
a diamond couplet, or a silver sonnet.

Why, there it is...rather a tarnished sonnet
yet it still glimmers in my memory
like the last embers of a fire in winter.
I can recall the day I found that verse
glittering on the page, a glowing treasure.
How eagerly I nursed the fire at home.

And here's the ballad that I carried home
to decorate my wall, hang next the sonnet
that was my first discovery, my treasure.
The ballad disappoints. My memory
recalls it as a summer garland verse
brilliant with blossom. Oh, but this is winter.

One cannot hope for garden flowers in winter
and yet I long to bring a bouquet home
arrange the similies in a vase of verse
to set between the ballad and the sonnet
to make another rhyme for memory
to stash away with all my attic treasure.

I'll have a garage sale. I'll share this treasure.
Make bonfire of these rhymes against the winter,
give you an ode for keepsake memory.
And ballad ornaments to grace your home,
a polished couplet and a well-turned sonnet
and garland draperies of lyric verse.

You shall have these for your own store of verse
and, line by line, amass your attic treasure
a golden ballad and a silver sonnet,
a feast to feed the famine days of winter,
a vase of flowers to make the house a home,
a melody to sing in memory.

So clear the memory, toss out the verse
Vacuum the home, jettison every treasure.
I'll endure winter warmed by that first sonnet.