Shallow Breath

I lost my footing yesterday, and I thought this is it. This is how I will be found – sprawled on my back, skull denting the ground, looking up at the grackles flying overhead like they do everyday.

My balance fought back just in time, as always, and gripped the earth. I survived with only a sore muscle in my back, one that hadn’t been used in a while.

Later, I ground the muscle into the cold rim on the claw foot tub and massaged the lump under my skin, slightly embarrassed by the fading agility of youth. There had been nothing foreseen to cause the unsteadiness; no branch on the ground to stumble upon; no stripped spiky corn stalk to grab hold of my skirt, only the earth changing expressions beneath me.

The Heart of the Woods

At Harmonie State Park, everything green stretches its long restless limbs towards the orange morning sun.

I inch down the backside of Sycamore Ridge. Behind me, the leaves rise up delicately like the fuzz on the arch of a woman’s back after a hot shower. I veer through the belly of the woods until moss mounts the trees and dips its roots into the gray bark.

It’s barely April, two weeks before the tiny morel skulls will sidle through the leaves, and the thieves have already come to poach her. The chest of the woods has been ripped open, leaves swept aside into great piles, exposing her heart. They come to steal life but they never leave death, only untidiness.

I climb onto a low hanging branch, sit on her shoulder, and drink my coffee while looking into the sun. Later, I will consider whether or not to straighten her up.

Harmonie State Park

Pleasure

Pleasure, a thought, then the slow drape of my leg over his belly. In the morning, physical pleasure isn’t misused or attached to emotions charged by time, but passes lazily between us.

We work in the garden throughout the afternoon. Side by side, we pull weeds and pinch herbs, speak of bills or the kids. Because of love, because of time, we spend the rest of the day holding the morning under our tongues.

Voices

It’s easy to take another’s voice as your own when you feel your own words aren’t good enough, or when your feet can’t find the world’s rhythm, or when everyone around you speaks in rhymes.

I had this idea once that if I listened Whitman’s voice inside my head, I’d be able to say what I mean; it is so easy for me to slide into his head. Maybe he was doing the same thing when he wrote though, and together, we were just dancing the same old dance everyone else danced, and writing the same old words, with the same worn out meanings, that everyone else had written before.

It’s difficult to find your own voice. Sometimes I take a tape recorder on my walks and tell stories or think of words I’ve read that have stuck in my head. Later, when everyone sleeps and the tape turns, I hear someone else’s voice coming out of that black box. She stumbles over words, repeats sentences until they are incoherent thoughts.

They are only my words when they are in black and white, and when there is no sound except the scratching of a pencil, or the tap of a key.

Frank O’Hara wrote, ‘It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so…’, and I try not to use those words. I try not to think his thoughts. I try not to hear his voice inside my head, although every part of me wants to take him by the hand, lead him onto the floor, rest my cheek against the coarse wool in his sweater, and dance the same old dance.

Mirrors

Within the first hour of coming back to him, I knew it was only for the night. He didn’t hand me the single helmet hanging on the handlebars of his motorcycle. Instead he pulled back his red hair and secured the strap behind his goatee.

I unfolded the last dollars from my back pocket and wrote my name in the motel registry while he sat outside flipping his keys in the air. Stepping back into the night, I noticed the stars were prettier than I had been in a long time; I wished for tar clouds, or hurried rain, or a warm hand to cover my eyes.

He turned on the porno channel and muted the volume. He fluffed a yellowed pillow and propped it up against the headboard, below the cigarette burns and next to the chipped wooden post, then relieved the top two buttons on his jeans.

I saw all of this in the mirrors that lined the walls like a fancy department store dressing room, so I undressed. Eyes on the dirty television screen, one hand in his pants, he motioned for me.

He was an arrow, wounding me then sealing his infection inside the wound. I stayed under the covers long past the cleaning lady’s knock on the door, long after I heard the chrome shiver on his motorcycle. I climbed out once to look at the empty parking space and noticed myself in the mirrors. I was naked, smiling, pale as a star.

Secrets

I used to tell him stories. Lying in bed, the touch of his skin made hotter by my beer buzz, I told him about the first time my mother hit me, the tampon I threw behind the dumpster the night I lost my virginity, and the gun I found under the sofa cushion hours before Doug committed suicide.

Years later, I can recall every story I told him, every secret he knows about me, but cannot, no matter how hard I try, remember him ever having said he loved me.

He must have at some point, or wouldn’t I have quieted my tongue?

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.