The Waking- Theodore Roethke

This beauty arrived in my mailbox and as I was cleaning and organizing, I decided that I had to share it. I love the form and the beauty of the piece. It’s almost rhythmic and I can definitely see it joining the collection of poetry on the door of my office.

As always, enjoy!

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I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

 

Today…

Today is my mom’s birthday. On a day where I usually give myself permission to do nothing and care about even less I have gotten dressed and am doing something that I never do on July 24th. I’m working! While I am trying to be a big girl please enjoy this piece that I wrote earlier this month just for today. 

I am an emotional reader in the way that many people are emotional eaters. In fact, when I am grieving all of my friends have to remind me to eat. Reading is the way that I escape everything. Especially grief. In the days after her funeral, I lay on my best friend’s couch and read. How apropos that this month’s Poets and Writer’s would feature a piece by Edwidge Danticat titled “The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story.” Edwidge Danticat whose Brother, I am Dying had me raving to my own mother about her brilliance. Whose Breath, Eyes, Memory was the basis for the title of my MFA thesis and whose inclusion of Haitian Creole was one of the justifications for my use of vernacular in said thesis. Which my mother sat in her bed and read; telling me how awesome it was. 

In the article, she writes of her mother’s death and when I first read it I recalled my own battle with writing after losing my mom. The article reminded me of my own search for any written thing by my mom in the weeks after losing her. I wanted those last bits of her. But now I realize that I have them. I am all the parts of her.

If you have a chance please give the article a look and if you haven’t read any Danticat; definitely give her a read. 

The Exchange 

This is a poem that I’ve been tinkering with for a bit. I initially wanted to post it tomorrow but decided to put it up today. 

Enjoy! 



I am not really here. Instead 

I am watching my chest rise and fall 

Exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide 

Converting tears to smiles 

As if I wasn’t still grieving

Carrying the weight of the most painful losses

Pretending that my heart doesn’t still

Twist and turn these times of the year 

Like I can still live with the blood gushing through my fingers 

While I try to carry on as if 

Sadness isn’t seeping through my pores

Dropping from me like dew

Covering everything around me.

As if

These losses haven’t compounded

Bruising and battering 

My being in unimaginable ways. 

As if the losses haven’t altered me forever. 

The Changeup

This is another sample from the story Recovery that I am currently working on. This is by no means complete so please bear with me if you find any errors.

As always, enjoy!

 

misty blue

 

 

Two days later, she was walking towards the office when the woman approached her.

“Aren’t you Aubrey Samuels?” she asked holding a piece of paper forward.

“Yes?” Aubrey responded looking for a pen. She was used to people approaching her for autographs. The woman simply thrust the paper at her.

“You’ve been served” she said before walking away.

Aubrey looked down at the papers and immediately wanted to smash something. If Max was in front of her at that moment she would have been facing assault charges.

Instead of heading to her office, she went back to the car and headed into Midtown. When she arrived, she stomped through the entrance of her attorney’s office holding the papers away from her like they were some form of excrement.

“Charlese, do you see this” she cried barely able to control herself. After everything that he’d already put her through she couldn’t believe that Max was trying to take her son.

Her family attorney Charlese Powell quickly approached her and reached for the papers. If Aubrey was this upset then she knew it was something major.

After she looked at the papers, Aubrey gave her a breakdown of her lunch with Max.  Charlese promised to get started on a response and sent Aubrey home.

Later that day, Aubrey was at her house with her parents hovering over her. Her mother had been ranting for over twenty minutes.

“Nerva, now you’re working my last nerve!” my dad said.

She glared at him but remained silent.

“What?” I asked when she switched her glare to me.

“Why aren’t you doing something. You’re sitting there like you’re just going to let him take the baby” she said.

“Ain’t nobody taking him Nerva” my dad told her.

“Delroy, I want to hear your daughter say it. She’s sitting over there looking lost, like she already gave up” she said.

“What I’m doing is wondering who put this idea in his head and why. He didn’t say anything about it when we met. We all know that he’s never wanted Lucky so I have to wonder where is this coming from. But, I am not worried”

“You’re not? Great! Then, prove it! Go ahead and call that lawyer and ask her what her plan is. Do something” her mother urged. The caramel curls she’d passed on to her daughter bounced against the headband holding them off her face. The freckles that spattered across her nose and cheeks stood out as she moved her close enough to drop onto the couch and hold her daughter’s hands.

“She’s not worried cause she a damn genius. Remember when we got the test results? On her worst day, she could still outsmart that fool in her sleep” her father said from his seat in the armchair.

“Daddy!” Aubrey said.

“What? Didn’t I tell you that boy was dumb the first day I met him Nerva? As soon as they left, I told you that boy is too dumb for my baby girl” he said. Aubrey’s mom nodded her head in agreement. I knew that she never liked Max and if my dad did then that left the moment he cheated.

Aubrey exhaled harshly and shook her head. Her parents, if they were really her parents, she’d always had suspicions that she’d been switched at birth were so frustrating at times like this. She guessed she should be lucky that her father hadn’t called his brothers and her godfather yet.

“I’m going to handle it!” she told them.

“You know what, I’m gone call somebody to make sure you do. Talkin’ bout you gonna handle something sitting your ass on the couch. You think that Malcolm X died for this?” she asked as she jumped up and walked out of the room.

She looked at her dad and shook her head. This was going to be something else that I would never forgive Max for. He knew how Nerva was; I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t try to get a couple of her nephews to take him out.

“You should have just let me, Dwight, Troy, and Jay handle this when I wanted to. Then we wouldn’t be having these problems. He wouldn’t even be breathing oxygen right now” he told her before tapping her on the knee and leaving the room.

Aubrey was still sitting on the couch hours later when she realized that her mother had really called in the big guns. She looked up into the face of one of her best friends, Sincere Owens Clay. At 5’11, Sin was the tallest of the friends. Her honey colored skin still held some of the bronze hints left from the trip to Fiji that she and her husband had recently returned from. Her hair was in five large golden cornrows that hit the small of her back and she was dressed like they were about to fight. Aubrey scrunched up her face to match the glower that Sin’s almond shaped eyes were already in as they engaged in an epic stare down.

“Let’s go heifer” Sin said from her space at the end of my sofa.

“Sin, I do not feel like…” she said.

“Did I ask you about all that? Let’s go. Or do I have to go all Lydia Grant in here? Cause you know I will” as I watched she looked around for something to use as a prop.

“Fine!” I said before going upstairs to my room to change. After throwing my hair into a sloppy top bun I pulled on a sports bra, a long tank and distressed leggings. She was waiting for me in the hallway so I grabbed my bag from the closet and followed her out to the sweet Range Rover HSE that Sin’s husband Damon gave her when she got pregnant. Before that Sin drove a five-year-old Chevy Tahoe, that she mainly used for work stuff. Damon insisted that she upgrade since she’d be driving his baby around.

We pulled into the parking lot behind Dancing Machine and entered through the back door. Sin nodded to Manny who smirked at me and pointed to an open studio. The three of us had been dancing together since we were four. Manny’s aunt owned the dance studio where we started taking classes, we even taught classes there as we got older. Before modeling pulled me and then Sin away. When Ms. Jackie decided to cut back, Manny took over running the place and upgraded the schedule of offered classes there and eventually expanded the number of studios in the area.

We went in put our things down, I stretched while waiting for the music to que. When the opening notes of Janet Jackson’s “I Get So Lonely” began I smiled and looked over at Sin. My body smoothly went through the routine we’d choreographed to the song. The song segued to Musiq’s “So Beautiful” and we continued to dance. Sin was right, this was exactly what she needed. Dance had been a comfort to all of them for a long time; Aubrey couldn’t believe that she didn’t realize how much it would set her at ease.

“Heifer tried to tell me what she needed. Can you believe that Manny?” Sin asked after we’d cooled down.

“Yeah, you know how she gets” he pretended to whisper. His brown skin glistened from dancing to an old routine to Gang Starr and Nice & Smooth’s DWYCK we lay around the studio chests heaving as we sought to recover from nearly two hours of dancing.

Aubrey shot them both the bird and took another drink of cucumber water. Sin and Manny broke into laughter.

Acquainted with the Night- Robert Frost

The past week has been quite draining and I just realized that I didn’t post anything on the blog. So tonight, I’m sharing a piece from Frost that is a classic. I feel as though I may have posted this one before because it’s one of my favorites. But as an insomniac, I am acquainted with the night so it is always apropos.  

Enjoy!

I have been one acquainted with the night. 

I have walked out in rainand back in rain. 

I have outwalked the furthest city light. 

I have looked down the saddest city lane. 

I have passed by the watchman on his beat 

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. 

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet 

When far away an interrupted cry 

Came over houses from another street, 

But not to call me back or say good-bye; 

And further still at an unearthly height, 

One luminary clock against the sky 

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. 

I have been one acquainted with the night.

Recovery

Finally, new fiction from yours truly. This is a bit from a story that I am currently working on. The story is an offshoot from one that I’ve shared a bit of before. This one is about a single mother who is building a new career and life with her son who suffers from sickle cell anemia. Her name is Aubrey Samuels and she is a former supermodel and the ex-wife of retired basketball player. There are going to be some threats to her carefully ordered world but you meet her before any of that starts. *This is unedited and may contain some errors.

I hope you enjoy and please feel free to share any comments!

Dry-Creative-Projects-studio.-photo-by-Mikael-Axelsson-

 

 

Aubrey

 

The morning started like so many others, with her curled up in bed with her favorite men. Her four-year-old son Lucien lay beside her and their one year old Bernese Mountain dog lay by Lucien’s legs. She enjoyed these moments the most.

“Good morning, what are you two doing in here” she asked.

“I’m hungry and Bear needs to go potty” he replied flashing her his huge brown eyes. She laughed and got up to slip her feet into her slippers.

“Well, let’s get all of this taken care of” she told him and walked out of her room with the boys following her.

In the sunny kitchen downstairs, she quickly let the puppy out and got started making Lucien a spinach and cheese scramble along with a multi grain muffin with almond butter and honey.

“Thanks Ma” he said before saying grace and digging in.

She laughed as she watched him eat with gusto. She was glad that he had an appetite after last week’s crisis. They’d spent two days in the hospital with him being lethargic and in pain but luckily, he’d quickly bounced back. She dropped a kiss on his head before letting Bear back in.

“All done” he said. She watched as he put his dishes in the dishwasher and bounced out of the kitchen to go get ready for school. Aubrey said a quick prayer of thanks for him and a good day before going upstairs too.

After she dropped Lucien off at school, she made her way to work. The building that she’d purchased housed a mini showroom of pieces that were for sale and an office where she met with clients but her favorite place was the second-floor workshop where she spent most of her time when she was at work.

Good morning” she said entering the building with her hands stuffed with breakfast for the crew and the extra-large tote that she normally took with her every day. She put the food and drinks on the reception desk and took off her coat while speaking to her receptionist and assistant. She handed out the breakfast sandwiches and smoothies before heading upstairs to get to work.

A while later, Aubrey stood in her workshop admiring the prototype of her new design, a gilded looking chandelier with six jeweled globes. This was a special order for a sixteen year old and Aubrey wanted to make sure that the piece walked the fine line between girly and grown up; there was a finesse that the age dictated. Her client was planning to make the gift part of a big renovation for her stepdaughter’s room. She was scheduled to arrive in an hour and Aubrey couldn’t wait to see what she thought. As she ripped off her gloves, Aubrey couldn’t help but wonder how things were going for Ryan and the kids. She had been recalling what happened last week at Ryan’s house for the past few days. His wife was a piece of work but Aubrey certainly didn’t blame her for being shocked at seeing another woman at her home so early in the morning. She just worried about how the kids were faring. Last week’s scene had an effect on them that lingered throughout the day.

She crossed the room to her makeshift eating area which housed a mini refrigerator, microwave, an electric kettle, a Keurig, and a farmhouse sink and started making her favorite drink.  She grabbed her tablet to look at notes on what else she needed to take care of that day.

“Aub, there’s someone here to see you” her assistant Nola said from the door. Aubrey spun around to look at her before glancing at her watch. On mornings like this she kept a strict schedule which they usually went over as soon as Aubrey entered the office. Nola made sure to update her throughout the day if anything changed. So, she was shocked that something popped up so soon.

“Did I have an appointment?” she asked. They tried to stay on top of everything but once the creative forces started then Aubrey could forget almost anything.

“No, but she claims that it’s important” Nola said as Bart’s girlfriend walked up behind her. Aubrey stood there in shock but nodded her head at Nola who stood aside to allow her access to the door.

“Nola, I’m going to take this. Give me a twenty-minute warning before my appointment” Aubrey said as Anatra stepped into the room. She was a pretty girl but she believed everything that fell from Maxwell Lewis’ lips and that was dangerous for any woman. Even Max’s mother knew that he was a pathological liar.

Aubrey watched as Anatra’s eyes took in the workspaces including the two chevron sawhorse tables, built in bookcases and drafting table that took up the back of the room as well as the armchairs, custom cocktail table and rugs that comprised the sitting area. Aubrey motioned for Anatra to sit in one of the toile armchairs as she sipped her white chocolate mocha latte.

“Look, I apologize for showing up unannounced and I won’t take up much of your time” she said. Anatra looked chic and put together in her electric blue blouse with a bow at the neck and print pencil skirt and nude pumps. She had her cashmere overcoat on her arm. Her dark hair fell into a sleek chin level bob.  The overall appeal was gorgeous even with minimal jewelry. Aubrey couldn’t resist looking down at herself wearing distressed jeans, a black baby t bearing her logo and the Timbs that she often wore while working. Her hair was in two braids and she felt anything but chic.

“I just wanted to let you know that we wouldn’t be able to take Lucien this weekend” she said.
Aubrey remained silent and continued to sip her latter until Anatra squirmed in her chair and held out her left hand to show off the engagement ring that looked remarkably like the one that Aubrey had thrown at him before he left for China.

She smothered a laugh and said, “Congratulations.”

“We’re going to Punta Cana for the weekend to celebrate so it wouldn’t be a good time for Lucien to come with us” she stated in a matter of fact tone.

“Let me get this straight. Max’s son was just in the hospital for two days and neither of you visited or called but instead of his father keeping his scheduled visit you both think that going out of the country to celebrate is more important?” Aubrey asked. This was another example of how freaking clueless of how Max and this broad are. It’s not as if she would let him leave the country with Maxwell especially so soon after a crisis but he never put Lucien first. He didn’t have to because he isn’t a full-time parent. Aubrey just shook her head.

She leaned forward, placed her cup on the table and said, “Thanks for stopping by Anatra. I’ll be sure to let my son know that he will not be spending the weekend with his father, again.”

“Max said that you were going to be pissy about this.  It’s not like we’re telling you at the last minute. I just didn’t want this to be a problem” she said.

“Sweetheart, you don’t have to worry about that. My son being with me is not now nor will it ever be a problem. Now you can go tell your boyfriend that you did what he sent you over her here to do. Bye-bye” Aubrey said all while walking towards the door.

Anatra sat there looking confused for a second before getting up and walking out.

Nola entered the office just as Aubrey was about to call Darby to vent

She held up her hand and pulled a fat slice of lemon cake. Aubrey burst into laughter and reached for her favorite comfort dessert. After her first bite, she moaned deeply.

“Okay, now hit me with it” Nola said. Aubrey quickly gave her the rundown.

“Max is a complete idiot. You knew that when you married him and now we all have to pay the price for it” Nola said. “He never wants to spend time with Lucien anyway because of his health issues and the fact that he had missed two visits with his son and didn’t even bother to call to check on him after his latest hospital stay says everything.

“Girl, you know my expectations low but he didn’t even bother to at least send him a gift. But now he wants to miss another visit to go celebrate his engagement. He probably couldn’t even tell anyone Lucien’s blood type or what were his favorite toys because he has never really expressed an extended interest in his child” Aubrey said putting down the plate.

“Forget him, you know that Isiah’s party is this weekend so we will have a good time and he won’t even think about the missed visit” she said.

“This is why I never wanted to force him to be a part of Lucien’s life. I knew that he wasn’t going to be consistent” Aubrey told her as she went back to her notes for her next appointment.

As she left the office, Nola told Aubrey that she had already called Darby and that she would be there with lunch at 1:30. Aubrey laughed. That’s why she loved Nola, she always had her back. Tonight, she would have to tell her son that he wouldn’t be seeing his father again. She hoped that the idea of Isiah’s party would keep his spirits high.