Friday, May 31, 2013

Thursday Poem (a day late): Wounds

Everything is darkened now
by the shade that you pulled down
ice and eggshells cover our floors
so we stand still to be safe.

Now, I replay conversations 
even ones we never had 
to hear the sounds of hurt, of trying
to see what good I made bad

Everything is broken now
oh, but everything already was
Did I expect to be any different?
To escape your wounding wounds?

With trembling hands you came to us
seething, aching years
looking for another place
to lay down that tired, old blame

Let us take it from you
though its parts can't be replaced
anything to make you stop
searching, buying, endlessly

Everything is different now;
the ticking of this clock
asks of me, 'What next?'
as you close your eyes high above

Everything is here
everything's wide open.
Nothing will change
while nothing stays the same.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


It pained me to do this today. As I snipped off all those leaves - those huge, weeks-old leaves - it felt like one big sigh. And not a sigh of relief but a sigh of failure. A little embarrassment. And reality.

These Red Russian kale plants had done nothing but good work, growing with tremendous speed and beauty. As soon as we put them in the newly built raised beds, they took off. It was obvious they felt right at home. But they grew so fast that I couldn't keep up. Before I knew it, there was too much to eat on our own. (And none of my neighbors wanted kale, instead asking, "Do you got collards?" I know what I'm growing next year.)

So, today, it had to be done. I got the scissors and went to town. Every leaf, big and small, had to be gone. They needed a re-do, a start over, a second chance. And I need a second chance to tend, harvest, pay attention to them more closely.

And I knew this: the only way to get that second chance to was to lay it bare.

Now, a patch of stems remains. Bare, exposed, no fruit to show for their labor.

But though they are bare, they are not barren. They will grow again; they will bear fruit. Had they not been cut back so severely, so completely, they would not grow again, would not give us anything of value.

Take courage. Lay it bare. Grow again.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursdays Are For Poetry: The Beginning

Thursdays will now be for poetry... at least, on this blog. And I'm dedicating each Thursday poem to Kim P., who says that in hell, she would surely be forced to listen to poetry.

Measure the need
measure the speed
happiness, every inch will bring.

Lock it inside
with your love by your side
while the rain falls
falls down with ease.

Ticking of clocks
rising, falling of stocks
tell of hours we waste away.

While the cool breezes blow -
this won't last, you know -
we'll keep to the insides of ourselves.

The prison of years
is a prison of fears
pressed upon by yourself.

And in the presence of free
you've not learned to be
more than they told you, you were.

We'll drive for miles 
just to walk this porch
to pray these prayers
cast out hope
that you can find

truth about yourself
truth never told you
lies exposed
stones fallen from hands
prison doors flung wide.

Measure the years
measure the fears
find them fallen short.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Time for the Garden

The garden needs time - time to grow and time to be noticed.

One of the things I appreciate most about having a unique schedule (part-time at an office, in addition to music, gardening, and what other works springs up in a day) is the time allowed in the garden.

Now, instead of always setting aside an hour here, two hours there, I also notice things in passing, things I didn't notice before because I wasn't passing the garden at 9am, on the way to dump the compost in the backyard. I didn't notice all those mushrooms (argh!) growing up around the lettuce, or how dry the cucumber sprouts were or how beautiful the rosemary bush is finally becoming!

Oh, I eventually noticed them, but sometimes it was too late to do anything about it. Now, I discover things a little at a time - mushrooms (argh!), yellow leaves, weeds, etc. - and can truly tend to the garden in a way I haven't done before.

      Bean sprouts

"Red Russian" kale growing beautifully in raised beds

Lettuce in the main garden...

...and lettuce in the raised beds. They grow so much faster.

We've been waiting for our rosemary to grow stronger; it's happening!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Buying Music... and Supporting Musicians

You don't have to buy music. 

You don't have to purchase entire albums for $17.99 from Best Buy, or $11 from iTunes, or even individual songs for $.99. You don't have to pay for Pandora or Grooveshark Internet radio (and you don't have to complain when you hear ads, which make it possible for you to have free Internet radio). You don't even have to leave a tip on NoiseTrade, if you don't want to (but by the end of this, I hope you will consider it).

No matter what musicians or record labels think, you just don't have to buy music anymore.

And I think music, in and of itself, isn't up for sale. There are families gathered around pianos at Christmas, friends on front porches, and subway musicians in Russia playing music because they love to play and sing and share. Music heals wounds, stirs souls, inspires revolutions and keeps violence at bay. Music is for everyone.

You don't have to buy music; but you should support musicians - especially musicians who are doing more than playing for the family at Christmas, more than sitting on the front porch. Musicians who are spending hours writing songs that you love, practicing for shows that you take video and photos of with your iPhone to post on Facebook, and putting out albums that you play on repeat for hours.

These same musicians work hard and pay their bills and make a lot of phone calls and emails to book gigs and grow gardens to cook food in their kitchen to put on their dinner table. They use their God-given gifts to bring to the world hope and light and goodness and empathy and even a good dose of grumbling (who doesn't need a good song to help them get their frustrations out?)

And to support musicians, you should go to their shows and buy their music, their recorded music. Every show has hours of planning, set-up and rehearsal time. Every album has hours and hours of singing, playing instruments, recording, re-recording, re-re-recording, editing, and paying your musicians. Sometimes we give our music away for free. Sometimes we play free shows. But at some point, we want to know you support us, believe in us, and that if you actually like our music, you'll pay for that music (or leave that tip on Noisetrade) or the show or the t-shirt.

You don't have to buy music... but you probably should.