Just a Bear in the Woods

Last night I came into bed late, as I often do, and my early- to- bed husband was chuckling, mumbling something to me about dreaming about his best friend Tommy who passed away in 2005. He told me the entire dream from start to finish and I will remember it. My husband was trying to help Tommy get home from the “hospital on the lake in the woods”and his friend kept hiding or getting stuckin a big hollow tree that had fallen down. This friend always had a wry smile on his face and it wasn’t clear to my husband if he was fooling around, being playful like when they were kids, or if Tommy was in some type of danger. Somehow he got stuck in this tree and was all covered with twigs and dirt. My husband was chuckling as he talked about it, for his friend was like a big hairy woodland creature,and I thought of how we process grief in different ways.

My husband is not a talker, and I am. I have talked and written about my grief of losing a number of loved ones, talked about it in therapy grief groups, written about it in my blog, written poems about it. Grief is an ever present companion for me, and I do verbalize it. I sometimes cry, I often talk to my grief.

My husband is very different in that respect. He’s never mentioned his mother, his dear friend, his brother, or any other loved ones who have passed. Not even his father who passed away not too long ago.

Do I dream about any of my loved ones or friends who have left? Rarely. Most of my dreams are still about trying to find a classroom or trying to find my teaching materials or about trying to find time to use the bathroom. (The teaching baggage is left over, even into retirement.). I wonder if other teachers dream about the bathroom!

I’m very touched by my husband’s dream of trying to help his friend in that big log. I’m glad he was able to chuckle about it. His friend did remind me of a big bear in many ways, and I could just see him in a big downed tree covered with leaves and dirt. I can hear his deep voice always making jokes. Tommy was the eldest in a huge family, and was the boss, the elder brother and always had what my husband called a shit-eating grin on his face.

And I wonder how our dreams will be changed by our shelter in place/quarantine of the 2020 pandemic? In the future, will we have many more dreams of hiding, being caught in tight places, of suffocation?

I continue to talk, write, sometimes even cry. My dear husband, the person I love most in this world, dreams about departed friends in big hollow logs covered with leaves, twigs and mud, and chuckling.

Thank you for reading.

(Image from the Siberian Times, public domain)

Nine Month Sentence ROUGH DRAFT. To edit. Revise.

ROUGH DRAFT. to edit. Revise.

Just a few snippets from that time ten years ago, since I am submitting a revised/ edited full version for publication and don’t want to have this considered published.

The Nine Month Sentence

Stunned. Nine months of

little sun, closed streaked windows to follow.

We had not

used our summer well.

We had not slept

under the June blue sky,

toes curled in fresh green.

 

…We might

flee with them.

“Devastation” Published at Headline Poetry Today

Happy to have a poem published today (“Devastation”) at Headline Poetry.

The history of the poem arises from when I taught ELL years ago.  It was around 2002.  I taught with a colleague who was a refugee from Sarajevo. She survived the siege–and the stories she told still haunt me.

saravejo siege

Thanks to the editors at Headline Poetry.

 

Photo credit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Destructive Age of Urban Warfare; or, How to Kill a City and How to Protect It

John Spencer | March 28, 2019

 

 

 

 

Moth Mate/ Rough Draft

Just a few snippets, since I hope to submit a revised/ edited full version for publication and don’t want to have this considered published.

Moth Mate

Moth to a
Fake flame

Candle, lit
To accompany

Mid summer’s night
Solitude

White flint
Small gold flutter

Before any

Dawn songs.

 

img_5737

 

(I wanted to see what I could do with this learning and healing time. Can I observe more? Can I see what I don’t really see on a busy workday? What do you do, what do I do with those middle of the night silences? The crickets have stops singing. The cicadas have not yet started their trilling. And I am waiting to learn when the robins start their dawn songs.

I shall find out soon.

I hear frogs now. They’ve joined us.

And I’m trying to find out what can I do with my limited mobility and access right now to Technology.

This was created in the hopes of making meaning out of silence and pain.

Dare I send from my iPhone? So unliterary.

But this to me also speaks of the power of literacy to sustain.

I turn to words.)

sent from my iphone

Brake for Beauty

Around 17 years ago,I started “braking for beauty” during a time of great grief and sorrow. Suddenly, I was losing friends and family members. Nine in just a matter of a few years. I was devastated.

I carried sunglasses with me everywhere, in all pockets of all jackets and all my purses; I also tried to look for the beauty in life. If I could safely pull over when driving, I would look for beauty, brake/ break for beauty, take a picture or two, keep those pictures on my phone so that I could look at them when times got very hard.

Nature rather saved me during this time, which lasted six years.

I wrote a poem back then, titled “Parking Lot Maple,” one of the few poems I love. I like this poem so much I don’t want to publish. I will submit it every now and then for publication then withdraw it because I just don’t want it gone for me, if that makes sense.

I still brake for beauty since it enriches life.

Beginning of Fiction Rough Draft

A boy, on the verge of being what is referred to as a young man, asked for his mother.

 

Where is she? What have you done to her?

 

And because he was a boy mistaken for being older, they answered him.

 

She is gone. She won’t becoming back.

He knew not to cry in front of those men with the prickly faces and matter of fact voices.

And he knew that this news, of the loss of one person, changed everything. (Image from The Art Institute of Chicago, Mark Chagall’s Chicago Windows.)

img_5249

 

Pleased a poem to be published in Esthetic Apostle this week

Poem here.img_4809               I was pleased to learn a poem, “Where You Are Not,” is to be published in Esthetic Apostle this week.  Great to wake up to pleasant news.

It was written during a time of grief, and as I have returned to such a time, it was fitting to send this poem out into the world.

Thanks for reading my blog–and thanks to Esthetic Apostle for publishing my poem later this week.