–Turning a bedroom into a sanctuary (Keri Smith was doing it for birth, I want to do it for household peace!)
It’s only a half-joke that I include the fact that I want to learn how to levitate in my bio. I actually really want to do it, and I really believe it to be possible. I read Autobiography of a Yogi when I was in my early twenties and understood how masters of breath and meditation could really do miraculous things. Fast forward to May 2011 as I listened to the amazing poet Nikky Finney in a Radio Times interview on NPR. Nikky talked about how she felt like she could levitate or fly when she was little, based on some of the folkloric tales of how African-Americans could fly. She said her grandmother could understand her feelings of levitation and how she would hand her watermelons or other heavy objects to keep her feeling like she wouldn’t float away.
Nikky said people in interviews can’t understand what she means when she talks about this feeling of levitation. It sounds crazy. But to me, it made perfect sense. When she talked about grabbing on to corners of tables to feel like she wouldn’t float up in the air, I remembered when I was young. I felt like I could see spots of vision that other people couldn’t see. I honestly thought I had different eyes, that I heard different sounds, that my body could do magical things. I felt like I could access different worlds. It does sound crazy. But after listening to Nikky, what I realize is that perhaps when poetry and art and ancestral spirit is running through your veins, ever since the day you were born, your perspective is wider than the reality in front of you.
She goes on to say that perhaps the levitation feeling was just about her coming into her own power. Yes, Nikky.
I am saying, yes, yes, yes.
Call Me by My True Names
Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.
Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.
I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.
My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Source: Poetry (January 2001).
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
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
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.
I am slowed down by winter, elevating increases of paranoia and self-doubt, and the day to day struggles of life. But-
-started new poetry pieces on marriage.
-started new flash fiction pieces and possible beginning of a short story (and I love this character. I really do. I want to get back to her right away. She’s a bit loud and aggressive and keeps asking me to tell her story. I say, “wait, please, I have three children, and I’m trying to make them lunch and perhaps have a bedroom floor I can see.” And she says she doesn’t care about my damn floor. She has a story to tell and if I won’t sit down and listen, she’ll leave. She doesn’t have time for this. She’s impetuous, full of passion, doesn’t know where to spend her time, doesn’t know what to do with the energy she has under her skin, she’s waiting, waiting, waiting to blossom. I say, “you have your whole life ahead of you, just give me three more days or something. let me get back to you during the next naptime.” She’s so pissed at me right now.)
Today I start an experimental process that will tie in with being creative everyday, help me prepare for applying to graduate school, and move forward with my writing and art. I am starting my own MFA program. I am currently reading The Portable MFA by the New York Writers Workshop, and although some of the chapters are more of a basic review than an in-depth look into the craft of fiction or poetry, it is still enough for me to get started. I need impetus and structure, guidelines and flexibility. I need to be in touch with a community of writers. So please feel free to contact me about joining in. It will be exactly two months. I hope to have a really well written and polished short story by then, or more than one piece of flash fiction or poetry. Wish me luck.