Tuesday, December 27, 2005

look out

For Christmas, I received a digital camera. You know what that means. Lots of lip pictures. Pictures of shoes.

In advance, world, I apologize.

The gift I gave myself was this song, “California” by the exquisite Sarah Slean. It was both a gift and a curse because it made me cry. I too went to California. I met loveliness.

It started snowing after midnight. Before that, it looked like spring around here, holes of green grass through the snow, birds hoping around.

I have a teeny, tiny new poem up at Pip Lit for their Perversity in Poetry issue, as their number one perversity (thanks, guys, really)—truthfully, it’s the end of a longer, abandoned poem squeezed off like a tip of frosting into someone’s mouth, the fortune from a cookie. I’m up there with the terrific Matt Hart, one of my summer workshop friends.

Oh, summer workshop friends. Oh, school year workshop friends. Oh, college friends. Oh, high school friends. Oh, babysitters, English teachers, girls who threw rocks, ghosts.

No one said it would be this hard. No one said, and I don’t have it bad at all. I know that. I have no mental illnesses. No physical ones except a little deafness, a little shortness of breath, a little headache, a little habit of falling down. Nothing I can’t handle. I have nice coats. I can spell. Deep down I am scared I am not good enough. Everyone lied. Not that I am doing the wrong thing—I used to be afraid of that; maybe I really was supposed to be a ballerina or a scientist. But I’m not afraid of that now. I know I’m doing the right thing. I know it. But I am still not sure it will be enough.

Fair warning, world: if you thought I was bad before, you have seen nothing yet. Every time I have doubts, every time I fear, every time I find myself spending too long on the internet, listening to the same song on repeat, not sleeping, turning, I am turning to you. I am turning to an envelope and stuffing something inside: poem, story, book. I am turning to the red pen. I am turning to the black one.

Many people are saying good things about this new year here, not the least of which was me as a little girl dreaming (more on that later). I think my favorite is my friend Brad who says: come January 1, it’s on like Donkey Kong.

I apologize, world, for my earnestness. But you see, I was born in a town where the only way out was a gold ring. I was moved to a town where the only way out was a white dress. I was moved to a town where the only way out was a factory job, or an auto job, or a steel job, or a blow job.

I am not in those towns anymore, but those towns are still inside me.

The only way out is in, so far, I may have to turn myself inside out.

I want it to look like spring.