By request, Elizabeth Vignali shares her poem “Object Permanence” the title piece of her debut poetry book set to release November 2014. Below the post, please click the link to hear Vignali read one of her poems for a local community radio program I produce called “Poetic Moments”. ~Shannon
My hands don’t wash kiwi fruit; they bathe you
when you were a few weeks old.
You had this same sparse hair
defying gravity over a taut scalp.
My thumb flattens a path of bristles
that spring up again as they dry.
I rubbed water over your fragile skull,
wiped it away from your forehead, away from the eyes
open wide. Your hairs rose as they dried, lifting
in praise of warmth.
Infants haven’t learned constancy—
this is why they delight in peek-a-boo,
a beloved face appearing again and again.
They do not mourn the absence.
They do not mourn.
Children comprehend permanence by one year.
We spend the rest of our lives trying to forget,
brush little grains of worry in our palms
and pocket them: bills, calories,
the permanence of death. We meditate, we drink,
we fight to remember what presence felt like.
You come to me with a wilted fistful of tulips,
yellow petals waxy and sullen. I try to explain the benefit
of leaving flowers unpicked. Enjoy them and then leave them
for others to enjoy, I say. Don’t hang on to them so tight.
Experience them, then let them go.
I long to have you a baby again, to love you
despite your pink insistence, your curled
shrimp fists, your incessant keen.
I’d bring you my breasts filled with milk.
I’d hold you until my arms fell asleep.
2013 marks the fifth anniversary of my blog “Madrona Grove”. In a moment of reflection I found much to be thankful for, and did not need to look far to find faces of many good friends who have blessed my personal timeline. Life is a journey, always better with company. So to follow a MG tradition I’m posting my Ham blog. Posted every holiday for about four years now, this little TRUE story shows up bringing with it a reminder of how important tradition is, but that knowing WHY we do what we do is just as important as the performance.
The boys, oh, I mean the SPLaws office staff, and I are working on our Christmas video card that will post here soon. Please keep an eye out for it. Until then keep warm, be happy… and leave the ends ON! ~SPL
OK, true story:
One holiday four generations of family are all gathered together in the youngest daughter’s new home for a rare time together. This is her first time hosting a family dinner. Her mom is helping her with the ham.
The daughter plops the large ham into its pan and asks the mom, “OK what do we do next?” “Well,” answered the mom, “first thing we need to do is cut off the ends of the ham, just the sides about 2 inches worth.” “Why?”, asks the daughter. “I don’t know, but my mom always did it, and her ham’s turn out great every time.”
They call the girls grandma in, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends of the ham before cooking?”
“Gosh, I don’t know why. Never thought of it. MY mother always cut the ends off, so that’s how I’ve always done it. How funny.”
The three ladies quickly walk out to the living room to find the girl’s great-grandmother sitting and talking with family. “G.G. I have a question for you. Why do you cut the ends of the ham off?”
“Well, I don’t know why YOU cut the ends of the ham off, but I had to cut the ends off or it wouldn’t fit into my oven!”
The 2012 “Phrasings in Word + Dance” is on! Bellingham Repertory Dance presented its sixth annual collaboration with Chuckanut Sandstone Writers Theater this weekend. What a great three days of art and insight. Carla and the BRD company have outdone themselves, again. This year I was selected, along with 5 other poets, to write a poem inspired by the dance film “Welcoming Clyde”, produced by Pam Kuntz, featuring BRD dancer Kate Stevenson. It follows Kate dancing through her first pregnancy with grace and beauty, narrated by her husband. The grand finale: Kate dances with her baby boy Clyde in her arms! It’s a moving piece with beautiful photography. The poems were matted & displayed on the fireplace mantle at the Firehouse. Here is my submission: