The Rowing Endeth By Anne Sexton

THE ROWING ENDETH                               by Anne Sexton
I’m mooring my rowboat
at the dock of the island called God.
This dock is made in the shape of a fish
and there are many boats moored
at many different docks.
“It’s okay.” I say to myself,
with blisters that broke and healed
and broke and healed –
saving themselves over and over.
And salt sticking to my face and arms like
a glue-skin pocked with grains of tapioca.
I empty myself from my wooden boat
and onto the flesh of The Island.

“On with it!” He says and thus
we squat on the rocks by the sea
and play – can it be true –
a game of poker.
He calls me.
I win because I hold a royal straight flush.
He wins because He holds five aces,
A wild card had been announced
but I had not heard it
being in such a state of awe
when He took out the cards and dealt.
As he plunks down His five aces
and I am still grinning at my royal flush,
He starts to laugh,
and laughter rolling like a hoop out of His mouth
and into mine,
and such laughter that He doubles right over me
laughing a Rejoice-Chorus at our two triumphs.
Then I laugh, the fishy dock laughs
the sea laughs. The Island laughs.
The Absurd laughs.

Dearest dealer,
I with my royal straight flush,
love you so for your wild card,
that untamable, eternal, gut-driven ha-ha
and lucky love.

~ Anne Sexton

Note: And this.


Today I deleted my Follow button

I’m a horrible person to follow. Wait.  Following me makes me feel awful.  It freaks me out.  I have a gigantic ego, I think, but it looks like Swiss cheese; full of holes.  The last couple of days of posting after some time away, I picked up 10 (or is it ten) new followers and I’ve been paralyzed and depressed ever since.  I felt like, Oh God, now I’ll never get to write!

Please believe I don’t like posting what a neurotic case I sometimes am. But more to the point is that the blank page itself frightens me, which uses up a LOT of energy, so that when I turn on my computer to write, I don’t have the energy to read and like and comment on other people’s stuff.  I do like doing those things but I find that then I don’t have anything left-over for me.

Too, I’m not into the whole Like for Like thing.  I’m 56! Please.

Anyway.  I’m still going to follow a favorite few, can’t help that.  It’s just that I’d like to do some short story writing more, and meta writing less.

I’m grateful to the people who have followed me, I truly am. You made me feel like someone, like a writer.  You supported me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I love this line from the Wizard of Oz: I’m not a bad man; I’m just a very bad wizard.

NOTE: I only deleted my Follow widget.  I guess I’ll have to upgrade to be able to make the Follow link at the top of the page be gone.  :/




The Journey by Mary Oliver

The Journey     by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver

For the Living (my late elegy poem)

for Angie

it’s true  my first thought

was it could have been me

I thought I could transform

it  the horror and not know it like

the Palace Hotel and Goldie’s

and six-inch yellow heels

(I loved those shoes)

but finally there isn’t anything left

to say really   to do  only that it slips

through   the knowing

like a knife and at least each time

I’m a little less surprised

at how cold

Sometimes I Want to Give Up

I’ve been thinking lately about my writing dreams, and the steps I’ll have to take to realize them (the steps themselves are dreams). Dreams:  meaning “good luck with that!”  At least that’s the sarcasm I hear in my head.  The obstacles are many. Not the least of which is I’m running out of fucking time. And, I need to get a fucking boundary

Last April I felt really on track. In the zone.  Things seemed possible (though maybe not probable). My trajectory was true. Then I got derailed, for the nth time. You can read about that, and about my throwing my laptop out the window here.

Now I’m feeling hopeful again.  Sort of back on track after grieving losing all the momentum and flow I’d built up.  And I’m trying to find out this:  Am I acting like I’m a victim of interruptions?  Or am I not just not doing my part to keep out the distractions and interruptions.  Are they the same thing? My thought, even though it pains me, is that I want people to like me.  I want to be “nice.”  When really, to get anything done, I truly need to be to militant.

And, shit, I’ve underestimated how big  a part being militant is, and how maybe that’s the bulk of what makes writing real work:  paring down commitments, and availability; junking the junk mail; setting a time limit on how much I read others’ writing (everything is a give and take).  I’ve never so keenly felt,  known, how the decisions I make today decide my tomorrow  (I forget where I read that). And if not now, when? When does it get to be my time?

(I’ve been interrupted half a dozen times since I began this post. Reading it, it feels erratic – I’d planned to write it straight through).

It’s not in my nature, maybe because I’m a woman, to be hard-core-leave-me-the-fuck-alone. And see?  I don’t even know how to say it nicely.  I know two extremes:  Sure, I can do that, and Leave me the fuck alone.  There must be a balance somewhere. But maybe at first I need to shout, the only alternative to being run over, used, my needs ignored.  Maybe later,  I’ll be able to make my way back to the middle.

I don’t love this post.  But I’m going to publish it.  Even though my voice sounds stilted.  But I’m out of time. Today, this is simply what it is.




A Favorite Poem by David Whyte

No One Told Me

No one told me
it would lead to this.
No one said
there would be secrets
I would not want to know.

No one told me about seeing,
seeing brought me
loss and darkness I could not hold.

No one told me about writing
or speaking.
Speaking and writing poetry
I unsheathed the sharp edge
of experience that led me here.

No one told me
it could not be put away.
I was told once, only,
in a whisper,
“The blade is so sharp-
It cuts things together
-not apart.”

This is no comfort.
My future is full of blood,
from being blindfold,
hands outstretched,
feeling a way along its firm edge.

~David Whyte

My ideal reader is scrappy and likes to laugh

What?!  I don’t know!!  I don’t know if I have an ideal reader.  I could easier tell you who that person it isn’t.

It isn’t someone who tells others to smile.  Or to cheer up. Ugh.  I hate that.  It isn’t people who want to take away a woman’s reproduction choices  (bam – right in the kisser).  Okay, enough of that.

My ideal reader is someone who wants to laugh, to cry, to admit to having a whole wide range of feelings and not just the “positive” ones.  My ideal reader doesn’t have it all together ALWAYS, but can still be happy, and can even find the funny in hard times (read: dark humor) or at least, after the hard time.

Of course my ideal readers are other writers: ideally those willing to share the highs and lows of writing.  Or those just wanting to share the highs and lows, the good, the bad, and the ugly, of life.

And of course, those with a little weird and crazy in them – so they can relate; the others that can also “get along with the voices inside of [their]…” heads.