Monday, March 17, 2014

Pieced together

Pieced Together
             ~ for Anne Marie Marra (June 1953 - March 2009)

You taught me quilting, how to cut the pieces of fabric
just so, the pressing and stitching and pressing, the angles.
Afternoons or mornings spent reveling in colors and patterns
trying to find ones that would be just right for this project,
this comforting lap quilt in memory of a friend who left us,
bereft and full of questions. We found fabrics that seemed
prescient in their design: the brick wall, the timbers, the clocks.
While we worked, we talked, found connections along with 
complimentary shades of green, of pinks, and contrasts, too.
We talked of the complications of the heart, nature's wonders,
how we grieved, and wished for Spring. It was a hard winter. 
Frozen silences punctuated, and I was too shy to push, 
even though my heart told me to. I know better
than to blame myself, but I'll always wonder what if...?
Late winter at the labyrinth, then the fabric store,
after weeks of quiet from you. I couldn't know. 
You'd left the quilt unfinished. One day, sometime later,
the pieces were passed on to me, and I, in my grief,
pieced it together, quilted it, bound it, completed it.
Delivered it to its intended recipient. It was hard to part with.
We'd talked about that. We'd dreamed of collaborations.
I'd thought we were talking of the future. But today, as I type
these words, trying not to let tears fall on my keyboard,
I think of the past five years, and how different they might
have been. Now I know why I cling. And tears can't be typed.
I haven't quilted since, though I'm always piecing things together,
words, stories, logs and mortar. I'm older now than you were then.
And yes, I know despair. It's deep and dark and draws eyes to close.
But, there are trees and birds and rocks and streams that need to be seen. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stories we tell

We are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. Or are we? Our story may look completely different from another's point of view. Our story can vary depending on where we are at when we look at it. A different point in life can lend a new light. Sometimes we forget part of our own story. I think that's one reason we write it down. But the story can change even in the act of writing it. Which one is the REAL story? Is there one, only one? How many stories can one life hold?

This evening I took a walk after dinner. One of the few benefits of Daylight Savings Time is being able to walk in the evening. It was cold though, below freezing, so I didn't walk for very long, less than half an hour. While I walked, I thought of stories. The ones I read. The ones I write. The ones I tell myself about my life. The ones I tell myself about the world, and the people in it, both those close and those distant. All the stories are told as a way to figure out why.

When I was young, very young, I was taught that it was bad to tell stories. Even if they were true. So I kept my stories to myself. But they've always clamored to come out and play, so as I got older I let them out once in awhile. But I make sure they stay in the yard. That's called self-censorship. I'm good at it. Too good. It hobbles my stories. They pace the fence line, wearing the ground bare. You've seen the animals in the zoo? Pacing. Around and around and around. Never quite getting to where they want to go.

There's a mess of stories I want to/need to tell. And I have to let them jump the fence in order to do so. Some of them have been pacing the fence line for a long time, and I'm not sure what they'll do once they're free. Others haven't been caged long at all, and their muscles are not atrophied, and I'm hoping they'll lead the way.

Some of them will be sex stories–erotica–because hey, it's me writing. But there's a lot more to me, much of it kind of heavy, and those stories need to be let out too. My head's kinda full. What's going to be interesting is that some of the stories are about heavy and about sex. Those may be the first out of the cage.

How many stories can one hold back and not go crazy?