Monday, February 13, 2006

I am well; I will live forever and forever

Maybe it is Ed, my computer, returned to me. Maybe it is waking this morning at 6. Or teaching--teaching for the first time in nine months, my longest break since I began six years ago--three high school classes back to back. I found myself believing what I was saying as I heard myself say it. I found myself remembering why I love this thing, this writer that I shared with my students--my students for today--this poet, my favorite, who led me here.

I found myself this afternoon walking to the center of town (yes, it is very French pastoral in my neighborhood, very Beauty and the Beast), leaving a message on the phone of a friend. I found myself saying into the phone: I am wearing my brown dress, bought at a thrift store for twelve dollars, and my ballet slippers, and my bright blue velvet purse, bought for two, and it is sixty degrees and I think I am healed by this city. I think I am fine.

Suddenly, I found myself better. I found myself fine. I said it and I knew it. Maybe by saying it, like the Celts, I made it so. I called it into coming.

I stopped by the used bookstore where I go on Sundays, and bought a Sylvia Plath book, and a novel, and a present for Gilbert Blythe, and a cookbook. I stopped by the cheese shop, and said hello to the daughters, and they told me of their plans with their boyfriends tomorrow, and I bought bread and chocolate for tomorrow: an English candy bar called Marble, which is hazelnut-flavored, my favorite, which I have not had since I left the country. My plans for tomorrow: work at the library, and drop off my valentines in the boxes of my friends (shh), and make a roast for myself, and eat a little and freeze the rest, and eat chocolate, and watch my favorite and only hour of television, and then maybe yes maybe a Valentine poem.

I think that direct voice is coming. Or maybe that not-being-so hesitant-about-ideas-coming is coming, as another friend suggested. Or maybe that stop-revising-so-damn much is coming, as my boyfriend suggested.

I came home. I cooked spaghetti squash in a baking dish. I scraped out the fleshy strings and added blue cheese and roasted walnuts and onion salt, and burned the seeds but ate them anyway.

Maybe it was the teaching. Maybe it was the love. Maybe it is the ideas, the lines, the language, that keep pouring into me and out of me. It's a blood, it's a tide. I can't stem it. Maybe it was the parade over the weekend, the San Francisco Chinese New Year parade, everything I love: dragons and fire and pageantry and children and drums. I couldn't sleep last night, as I can't when I have to get up early and do something nerve-wracking, which is pretty much everything in the world. I tossed, and I took off clothes, and I opened a window, and I took off more clothes. Then I sat up, switched on my blue light, put on my glasses, and wrote the poem, the poem that wanted me last night.

Another wanted me this afternoon, in class. Tugged on my sleeve, said, Hey lady, hey lady. We know you're ready.

One at a time. You'll all get your turn. I'm here and I'm ready. I'm just waking up from--what was it? what was it?--that fog, that fumbling, that smoke from a bridge coming down.