Author Archives: deemallon

Seven questions, one announcement

7 Questions:

Will I actually (finally) do the right thing and cancel my FB account if they allow trump back on? (Perhaps WHEN should be subbed for IF, since the whole thing has the stink of inevitability and greed about it).

Why am I so loggy in the morning these days?

How do you write a book as good as Hamnet?

Will it ever get warm here in the Northeast?

Does anything compare with a serendipitous trip down a rabbit hole while doing research for my novel (hint: it involves the Quakers in 1758)?

Why can’t I leave comments on blogger blogs? Damn — I keep trying!

When ineptitude or real glitches prevent me from sharing an audio file (in this case, a reading of the chapter that I wrote after emerging from the rabbit hole) is that a signal that I shouldn’t?

How does the rain make Finn’s coat so very soft?

Okay. That was eight questions.

1 Announcement:

I am going to L.A. at the end of the month for two weeks.

Read that part again.

The girl who couldn’t find QTIPs or her car in the parking lot last week during a simple run to CVS will be flying solo through Denver to LA right before Memorial Day.

I’ll be part of my brother’s care routine and we’ll also see BOTH BOYS. K will join a few days after I arrive. We’ll fly Young One in from Colorado.

I’m a little nervous about being OF USE in my brother’s household. Confident about kitchen routines. Less sure about everything else. The good news is that he has the strength to aid in his transfers now and can manage toileting on his own.

Flashback. I may have told you that the worst part of helping my dying sister with her toileting was how — even in a severely weakened state — she made a devilish rally to tell my how I was doing it all wrong. The shit didn’t phase me in the least.

You know that story about the poor Mexican boy separated from his mother at age 15, reunited with her yesterday after THREE YEARS? I almost cried to see him patting his mother’s back, squeezing her shoulder, tugging on her hair — the gestures saying not only, I love you / I missed you, but are you REAL?

Also heart breaking because they were not the gestures of an eighteen year old, but of a much, much younger child.

No comparison, NONE, but how could I not sit there and make my own tally?

By the end of May, it’ll be nearly A YEAR AND A HALF since we saw our kids.

PS Lest you think Noreen was pure ogre, let me tell you she had a real gift with geraniums. Look at how her plants have thrived even in my northern window!

 

Rainy day after Address

This post/poem is in response to the prompt: “some days disappear like…” courtesy of Kathleen Olesky. Also, though it’s presumptuous, Rumi also deserves a credit here.

(Above: writing room as seen in mirror)

Some days disappear like

Some days disappear like snow on an
outstretched tongue, quietly, others
like butter in a hot iron skillet
with a froth and a sizzle.

Some nights land like a stranger
lurking in the bushes, leaving
us shaken and afraid, others

come on us like Magi
to the Christ child, bearing
fragrant and precious
gifts, unexpected.

An afternoon can drawl
or contract, lounge
or catapult. Is the rhythm a
function of what we had for breakfast and
the dreams that visited overnight?
Or are they perhaps their own
small kingdoms, with rules external?

My favorite times are mornings
born of rest when the pulled
curtain reveals a lovely
soft wash or a hearty
glare of eastern light. A
new day, no matter what.

Let’s meet there, near the
windowsill and pull it up,
the sash, and lean, together,
and breathe, then shout, “Thank you!”

 

 

 

Here’s the Rumi poem I was thinking of.

Gather up

After writing alone and with others for a while, you have to gather up what you’ve been putting down on the page. Review. This morning I find some scrawls that are an Epilogue to current novel and some other meanderings that may or may not be a second novel.

But it was too cold to sit outside. Even with fleece, blanket, and Oliver Twist-style gloves with the fingertips cut off.

I am officially fully vaccinated now. Wahoo!

Yesterday was a big deal: Shot two DONE and edit three DONE.

Maybe all that happy chatter I’m hearing about Aquarius has something to it.

Writing about writing

This post is a prompt response from yesterday. Of five provided images, the one I responded to was of a piebald horse (not unlike the one above). I quote two poets: Gerard Manley Hopkins and Joyce Kilmer and for your enjoyment include the entirety of the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, Pied Beauty, at the end.

It helps to know that I am ten years plus into writing a novel in which one of the central characters is Eliza Lucas Pinckney (b. 1722) and that the other three main characters are enslaved Black women.

 

Rhombuses of Light

The morning light is sectioned
mintons and mullions
through the glass, hitting floor and
wall, bending at baseboard.
She often referred to light
as “lozenges.”

It’s the glow we like
especially when April
breezes seep past sills
and chill. But what about the
bend at the baseboard?
An easy compliance.

“Glory be to God for dappled
things,” said the poet.
Rhombuses of light
are not pied or
dappled, but when created
by a window speak
to the relationship between
solidity and light.

She repeats herself. All
those references to clouds!
It’s time to find and replace.
Thunderclouds with slate
grey bottoms, slants of
rain like an etching against
the horizon. Again, Eliza,
really?

Her friend rode a dappled
grey sixteen hands high. How I had
to look all that up, authority running
to cats and dogs and at a stretch to
the way the interior of a barn
smells and how light catches
dust and particles of hay
drifting below the rafters.
How light and gravity inform
a moment.

Imagination as authority,
not a popular position
these days.

Ripples of clouds above
the marsh, liked ruched
silk. Sunlight on creek
shining like pewter. God
in nature. We get it! Eliza
got it.

Gerard Manley Hopkins
got it.

Light will slide up the
wall as day goes on.
Sometimes the miraculous has
a predictable element to it.

All those author interviews
and how they make her
shrink. What’s on HER
bedside table? Did she
even read as a child?

The Case of the Hidden
Staircase.

But it occurs to her now,
more memory than thought,
that reading Gerard Manley
Hopkins as a teenager
opened a previously
undisclosed chamber in
her heart.

You can do that with
language? Light can
bend at baseboard
and be celebrated and in
strange syncopations?
Why does one element
mimicking another thrill
the senses? Light like
water. Sedimentary rock
like ripples of corduroy.
Memory like glass.

As a priest, he told
himself to shut up.
Figures an early hero of
mine would go to such extremes
and for all the wrong
reasons. Virginia Woolf with
rocks in her pockets.

Heroes, heroines, perhaps
best not to have them —
but how else learn how
to write, how not to panic,
how to pick at a scab and
move on?

Just once, she’d like the column
to soberly reveal an author
that didn’t read until she
was seventeen or so. Too busy
mucking about in creeks and
negotiating with terror. Why
sit still?

Music floods the chest.
A good reason for silence,
she thinks, a single window
at a time being enough,
the light passing through
glass from the east,
inching toward the center of the hall.

You mean to tell me
the rhombuses of light float down the wall
and not up as morning progresses?
The unreliability
of observation. What motes?
What barn? Memory like glass.

Eliza’s daughter was about to
turn eleven when he died. Eliza’s
husband. Harriett’s father.
The dates are there for the finding.
July 12, 1758 and August 7, 1758.

What I make of turning
eleven just after the death of
a parent is not what you will
make of the same.

Even Harriett, poor dear,
would have made several
things of a singular devastation.

She had wanted to read
“Pied Beauty” at her father’s
funeral. The altar boy
turned atheist would have
appreciated its point, even
if Longfellow and Poe were
his favored fare.

Her sister overruled the selection.
Longstanding habits
of bullying that can’t even
be attributed to grief.

“I think that I shall
never see a poem as
lovely as a tree,” he
wrote in my autograph
book — remember those? —
“But with his help, I’ve
made a Dee.”

“He fathers-forth whose
beauty is past change.”

Swapping out an altar
in the Catholic Church for the
Kinderhook Creek doesn’t mean
one has no god.
Trout fishing as sacrament.

Harriett was ten about to turn
eleven. I was 24 or 26 and the fact that I can
never remember without adding age-at-death to
one birth year and then subtracting another
birth year speaks to loss.

 

*     *     *

Poetry Fdtn link here.

4/20’s new meaning

Giana Floyd, George Floyd’s daughter

From now on 4/20 will live on not just as a day to celebrate pot but as a day to remember that a murderous cop was held to account.

I cried when I heard that the jury found Chauvin guilty on all three counts. A choking ugly cry. Gasping.

While I know this is not the end of the war (Al Sharpton) and that the verdict was only possible because it was captured on video, seen the world over, followed by a year of protests and the collapse of the blue wall (Jason Johnson), I want to breathe the relief of a decision well made.

Yes. Yes we get how broken we are that the outcome was not certain here. But let me exhale with gratitude.

Thank you jurors! Thank you “bouquet of humanity” aka witnesses who took the stand! Thank you remarkable prosecution team! Thank you protestors! Thank you cops who took the stand and spoke the truth!

Tomorrow I will lament the fifteen year old girl who was shot yesterday. Tomorrow I will share my outrage at how swiftly Republicans are seeking to outlaw filming police and protests but today: relief.

I shared this 53 second video over on Instagram but I’ll share it here, too. Synchronicity turned the Vogue model’s outstretched arms into something reminiscent of a prone, injured body as the day went on. Unintended but fitting.