…the best way out is always through

“…the best way out is always through.” Robert Frost, A Servant to Servants.

Long time ago we used to have a dwarf rabbit named Bugs, the first pet our family had that wasn’t a fish. When Bugs died, Spanky cried and asked me, “Will I ever get over this?”

She would get over this, I knew she would. She was only about eight years-old at the time, would she remember she’d had a pet rabbit at all? I didn’t tell her she might completely forget Bugs. Or forget this entire conversation when she learned about mortality.

Mortality, I’ll tell you when you worry most about that.

When a child is born, parents start a countdown. I’d like to think most of us, at the very least, want to live to see our child reach adulthood.

So on Spanky’s eighteenth birthday, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. She grew up with both parents, was never orphaned. I’m pointing out Spanky because she is the youngest. I felt the same about the other two but I still had the finish line on the entire parenting thing to think about.

What crept up on me the entire time I was raising my children was the flip-side of this countdown. They’re going to leave. Go to college. Get married. They have to. This is life.

And this is where things are right now and it has my mind in a complete state of fuckery and it hurts and this was a long time coming and I know I’m being selfish…

BUT

Will I ever get over this?

Discovered this Frost quote on a bathroom wall in a bookstore near the campus where Spank is going to college when I took her to orientation this summer

This too, same stall. Walls do talk.

Children…

While I was growing up, my next-door neighbor had this poem on a poster in the kids’ room. By the time I was a teenager, I was their babysitter. One time, while putting them to bed (after the lights were out) I asked them if they knew the words to the poem on the wall. It was so cute, all three of them reciting this thing in the dark. 

I don’t know them anymore but often wonder if those kids had kids and whether they thought about this thing while raising them. 

For me, these are probably the most important things I know about parenting. 

Children Learn What They Live

BY DOROTHY LAW NOLTE

If a child lives with criticism,
He learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
He learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
He learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.

Shameless

Blane has a cousin from Austin who is a spoken word poet. He’s damn good, and last week he was a featured artist in a Dallas slam. He’s been featured here before, but last week was the first time I actually got to see him perform before a crowd.

Actually, this was my very first live slam, ever. It was in a tiny soda shoppe in an artsy downtown district. We got there so unfashionably early that we got seats in the front row. We were stupid enough to keep these seats. I wish we’d sat in the back. Just to look at people’s reactions to this stuff.

Anyway, the cousin’s specialty is erotic poetry. And man, it is rough. So rough his slam buddies call him “Shameless.”

So that’s his stage name. Shameless.

I knew his stuff was, you know. He’d recited his poetry to me before and I’ve read his chap books (these are self-published poetry books they sell at the door). So did his new girlfriend who was sitting all the way in the back. She’d at least read his stuff. So says. This was her first time watching it though. Maybe her first slam.

The host introduces him to the audience and when Shameless grabs the mic, a lady to my left says, “They call him Shameless, but look, he already blushin’.”

He was. I don’t know what sort of energy his girlfriend was emitting from way back there, but it must have been some negative mojo for that dude’s face to turn so red. Half-way during his performance, she walked out of the place. She wouldn’t even come back in to get the car keys from him. She texted him for that.

This is what happens when you tell someone you’ve read their work and you haven’t.

Talk about a slam.

It Sifts From Leaden Sieves

It snowed last night. I didn’t grow up with snow, so when I see it, it doesn’t seem like real snow. I see powdered sugar all over everything. Just trying to look like snow.

Here is one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson:

It sifts from Leaden Sieves –
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road –

It makes an Even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain –
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again –

It reaches to the Fence –
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces –
It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack — and Stem –
A Summer’s empty Room –
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them–

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen –
Then stills its Artisans — like Ghosts –
Denying they have been –

Hiding in Plain Sight

I’m so proud of my blogroll. Each author on there is either a friend, a friend of a friend, or someone I workshop with.

All except for one. This person, Slynne left a comment on my blog a while back and I snooped back over to her (or his) blog and just fell in love with the writing there. So after reading through the archives, I blogrolled the site. She writes some amazing poetry and just today, she needs some ideas on what to do on her upcoming trip to New York. Mosey on over to her blog and leave a comment for her if you have any ideas, or if you’d like to read some provocative thoughts and poetry. You can find her at So You Think I Can. The post about New York is here.