The past few months have been aging me. Critical reading and theory takes more from me than I had suspected. In such time, I’ve also come into myself as a poet (maybe enough to make a few assertions of my own).
Amongst wine and Parliaments in writerly circles, one often hears a nervous complaint. “What of us, who remain poor, overlooked and hanging on the fringes of society?”
It took quite some time (and courage) to say: poetry is a privilege. It is the one vocation that does not work under the pretense of money. There are few things in life so blessed and conscience-free. I speak for business and enterprise that seem to deaden the individual spirit, leaving one ever so passive. Poets have a moral responsibility. One strives for poetry because she chooses to follow a different measure of life. How could she ask for anything in return?
Having chosen such a vocation, there are pains I must embrace. First) I will let people down, particularly those closest to me from my adhering to isolation and financial dissolution. Second) I will not make a difference in this world. This is one of the revelations that I have resisted the most. I am but one woman. I contain no power to move those around me and never will try to. My very best involves finding change in myself and Beauty in its richest form—in nature and the human heart.
1807 Oleander Place
Appeared in New Forum and The Susquehanna Review
At night as Mom had, I rubbed
my wrists with ginkgo lotion.
They rested by my face
and I fell asleep smelling her.
Each morning in my garage-home,
I boiled salt water with pepper sauce,
used the same chopstick to stir.
I drank it.
Since I had no phone, she shipped
kimchi packets that ripened on the trip.
She penned letters from Seoul;
I signed the postal slip on tip toe
and set them aside—her folded slip
with foreign squares, short crosses,
crowding the page, covering the creases.