(Steller)

Through Winter, To Spring

(Journal)
Published – 04.03.2020
(Writing)

February was a long year, but we made it, my friends. We limped and crawled and bounded over the finish line into March and a new spring, and with flushed cheeks and enthusiasm bright, have been handed colds and miserable world news and afternoons that are still dark and damp. If you, like me, need some gentle literary hand-holding, here are a few tiny pieces that meant something recently.

From Olga Tokarczuk’s novel “Flights”:

“Once we’re on the bus, she sets out her theory of time. She says that sedentary peoples, farmers, prefer the pleasures of circular time, in which every object and event must return to its own beginning, curl back up into an embryo and repeat the process of maturation and death. But nomads and merchants, as they set off on journeys, had to think up a different type of time for themselves, one that would better respond to the needs of their travels. That time is linear time, more practical because it was able to measure progress toward a goal or destination, rises in percentages. Every moment is unique, no moment can ever be repeated.”

Suzanne Buffam’s ‘Enough’:

I am wearing dark glasses inside the house
To match my dark mood.
I have left all the sugar out of the pie.
My rage is a kind of domestic rage.
I learned it from my mother
Who learned it from her mother before her
And so on.
Surely the Greeks had a word for this.
Now surely the Germans do.
The more words a person knows
To describe her private sufferings
The more distantly she can perceive them.
I repeat the names of all the cities I’ve known
And watch an ant drag its crooked shadow home.
What does it mean to love the life we’ve been given?
To act well the part that’s been cast for us?
Wind. Light. Fire. Time.
A train whistles through the far hills.
One day I plan to be riding it.

Heather Christle’s ‘Suggested Donation’:

In the morning I drink
coffee until I can see
a way to love life
again. It’s ok, there’s
no difference between
flying and thinking
you’re flying until
you land. Somehow
I own like six nail clippers
and I honestly can’t
remember ever buying
even one. My sister
came to visit and
saw them in a small
wooden bowl. I
heard her laughing in
the bathroom. I hope
she never dies. There’s
no harm in hoping
until you land.
The deer are awake.
Is one pregnant?
If they kept diaries
the first entry would
read: Was born
Was licked
Tried walking
Then they’d walk
away and no second
entry would ever exist.
I run the deer’s
archive. It’s very
light work. Visitors
must surrender
their belongings.
Surrender to me
your beautiful shirt.

Eileen Myles’ ‘Angel’:

I suppose
I’m afraid
of forever
I close
my eyes
& it’s intense
it’s beginning
inside me
I’m trying
to clear the deck
to get to
this
yawning simplicity
it’s something
different
in the dark
how many times
could I
move the dot
back to
hear him say
there was
so much
more of it
& there is
will you love
me forever
for this
my simple
fear
my fear of the
dark gives
me something
to say
it descends
& I wake
each glimpse
like a tiny
star of
the other
side
when I
was alive

Derek Walcott’s ‘Love After Love’:

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

A Definition of Love by Esther Perel:

“It’s a verb. It’s an active engagement with all kinds of feelings—positive ones and primitive ones and loathsome ones. But it’s a very active verb. And it’s often surprising how it can kind of ebb and flow. It’s like the moon. We think it’s disappeared, and suddenly it shows up again. It’s not a permanent state of enthusiasm.”

Just an actual definition of the phrase “one’s salad days”:

“Salad days” is a Shakespearean idiomatic expression meaning a youthful time, accompanied by the inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, or indiscretion that one associates with a young person.

Walter D. Wintle’s ‘Thinking’:

If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but you think you can’t
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

W.S Merwin’s ‘Wish’:

Please one more
kiss in the kitchen
before we turn the lights off.

Clementine Von Radics’ ‘This one is just a love poem’:

The way he walks
is my favourite walk
The way he moves his hands
is my favourite way
that anyone,
in the history of the world
has ever moved their hands.

The Hot Priest’s Speech from Fleabag:

“Love is awful. It’s awful. It’s painful. It’s frightening. It makes you doubt yourself, judge yourself, distance yourself from the other people in your life. It makes you selfish. It makes you creepy, makes you obsessed with your hair, makes you cruel, makes you say and do things you never thought you would do. It’s all any of us want, and it’s hell when we get there. So no wonder it’s something we don’t want to do on our own. I was taught if we’re born with love then life is about choosing the right place to put it. People talk about that a lot, feeling right, when it feels right it’s easy. But I’m not sure that’s true. It takes strength to know what’s right. And love isn’t something that weak people do. Being a romantic takes a hell of a lot of hope. I think what they mean is, when you find somebody that you love, it feels like hope.”

Ada Limón’s The Conditional:

Say tomorrow doesn’t come.
Say the moon becomes an icy pit.
Say the sweet-gum tree is petrified.
Say the sun’s a foul black tire fire.
Say the owl’s eyes are pinpricks.
Say the raccoon’s a hot tar stain.
Say the shirt’s plastic ditch-litter.
Say the kitchen’s a cow’s corpse.
Say we never get to see it: bright
future, stuck like a bum star, never
coming close, never dazzling.
Say we never meet her. Never him.
Say we spend our last moments staring
at each other, hands knotted together,
clutching the dog, watching the sky burn.
Say, It doesn’t matter. Say, That would be
enough. Say you’d still want this: us alive,
right here, feeling lucky.

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Through Winter, To Spring
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(Journal)

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