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Not A Beowulf Criticism

This is not a Beowulf Criticism. I would know, I’ve been working on one since 6. I only have the introduction done, but it contains a thesis statement that I’m 98% sure I can walk out for 5, 10, 20 pages if I so choose. So I’m putting that down for the morning.

In the last week I have written nearly 30 pages on books, culture, and more books. It’s a fairly typical week for this semester. I’m going to miss all of this one day soon, but for now I sorta miss writing whatever I want. So, I’m going to post this — because it isn’t a springboard but a thought I’d like to read again in August, when I’m holding my child and my degree and things have changed. I want to recall the day I spent the early morning working on an introduction to a Beowulf criticism and be grateful that it is behind me, and be grateful that it existed, and be grateful.

 

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When We are at the Threshing Floor

When my father can’t say another word

and his soul aches all the way through his skin

he sits down to pianos and pushes out

every sorrow again and again.

But whenever joy strikes him like a bell the depths

he runs to the same old keys

and presses out glory and all that comes with is

thank you and please and please.

When my sister’s whole worlds meet at dawn for a fight

and battle takes all that she is

she sits down and thinks out the colors and sights

and then finds a place for them on skin

But whenever joy strikes her like a bell in the depths

she rushes to find a new piece

and she presses out glory and all that comes with is

a promise, a memory, and peace.

When my mother meets twilight and aches with the toll

She makes a getaway to somewhere to learn

She walks through some beauty be it trail or gallery

and prays that the world stops its burn.

But whenever joy strikes her like a bell in the depths,

she takes a friend to her space to be with

and she presses out glory and all that comes with is

laughter, and light without end.

 

When my brother struggles for victory

and his body is so tired it fails,

he pulls his wife up and they run to thistle

and they sail her into the gales.

But whenever joy strikes him like a bell in the depths,

they wake up and fly to their boat.

He presses out glory and all that comes with is

the light, and the joy, and the ropes.

When my soul meets the edge of the world

and I have no translation for what I feel

I run to these keys to press out the poison

and hope in some way that it heals.

But when joy strikes me like a bell in the depths,

I come here to settle the call

I press out the glory and all that come with is

everything, and nothing at all.

 

I suppose over time you learn these things

about the people you live with and love.

How it is they meet worry is the same as their glory

their return to whatever holds them up.

 

 

 

 

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Write

I have written so many pages in the last three months, my printer has bled dry multiple times. I have been so tired of trying to dig up the usual love I have for this old keyboard that I haven’t written for myself in ages. I come here to do that today — before I finish the last 8 pages of the semester.

Inside me something grows, like a small stone or a skipping rock, something that can quake waters. I met it this semester when I found out that I’d lost something sacred, and though I searched through the closets of my being — looking right down to the very strands of dna that hold me so tightly connected as the individual with the crooked nose that I have been for twenty six years — I could not find the sacred thing again. Surely parts of it have soaked up to my skin now, becoming me and not me in every way imaginable. But though the same pale sands of my body still make the deserts of my skin, I cannot find the precious thing again. But I found something else. This thing I thought was courage, I held in my hand. Smooth, round, opaque, and yet glossy, desirable, and yet far too expensive. The pearl of discovery — you are imperfect, and that may effect you and those you love forever.
I suppose I always knew I was imperfect. I have pinched skin between two fingers on many days to show that imperfection. I have ignored my funny nose in the mirror for decades. I have been more than aware that the grace that is in my name is not the physical grace of a Kelly. Even deeper, I have known the blackness in that should be red organ that beats all of my blood. Still. There are some things that you expect to survive imperfection. Though I have seen proof that it is not always the case, I suspected that some organs were still working in sync with tides, and moon, and all things feminine. I suspected that certain things were simply readying themselves. I did not suspect imperfection to this depth.

Yet here it is — tarnished like a copper pot left in the rain before its first use, there and still usable, but somehow not.

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A Practice in Third Person/Past-Tense

She was not made of her own volition.

She hadn’t asked to be created and hadn’t known the moment she went from being cells to spirit. She often wondered if she had — been — before her bright eyed arrival onto this green planet.

She was born of happy — unlikely — accident to two people who did not want to have a baby. But they were in their honeymoon stage and accidents can happen when people are still so in love.

She often wondered if the circumstances of joy and the bubbly feeling of love that called her into being had any effect on the personality she’d been given or the unquenchable joy that always eventually appeared right in the most difficult days.

She often wondered the same thing of others. What of the ones who were not made from love but from duty — or from terror — or from anger. Did the mood under which they were made effect them from their first to last breath?

Is personality nature or nurture? Does it begin before a person takes a breath, as they are surrounded by the true and natural feelings of a mother living out her given life? Or is it pliable and, like red mud, mold-able until the hot sun warms it into hard fact?

When she was called into being, was it the joy of the momentary accident that out-won the fear of the reality of new life.

Will it be joy that pushes her through again, when all of the long days have passed?

Will she remember that she was before she wasn’t?

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Wrinkly Knees

Examining my knees

I can already see the precursors to the wrinkles I have viewed on the knees of my grandmother — a woman who has lived my lifetime three times already.

I wonder if it’s twenty-six years that have embedded these microscopic canyons and peaks into the joints that already ache with the rains

or were they here the moment I grew my first skin, before even my first breath had matched the air.

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I walked

All the way up to the waters edge

when you stand here people at the top of that cliff can hear anything you say

even if you whisper.

Sometimes, I think they can hear everything you think, too.

Even if you shut your eyes to hold the floodgates of thought back

they catch the wind just like the ribbons of steam coming off the water

here

in this early morning.

It must have been hot yesterday.

They say that if you walk into this water and lie on your back, you’ll never drown.

It is that salty

you are that buoyant.

And I wonder who it was that tried to drown in the Dead Sea

and found it impossible.

Did they also on that day

find the will to keep living?

Or did they just walk to Galilee and on their way tell the others

not to take that tiny ocean at its word.

Most places are marked by the memories of joy and pain that have existed within them.

But the Dead Sea is more joy than not.

As I stand here, whispering prayers to the ridge above, I think maybe I should learn from that.

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50

Soon and very soon this quiet patch will come to an end

the waves of peace- reaches will cease to search for and console me.

No one will say “this too will pass” because it will have.

With a sunny disposition I have done the once impossible.

I have traveled through nine states in nine weeks, practicing Russian or listening to books.

Quality time with myself has become something necessary — no longer does the fear of rejection cross my way — I ache to be alone after while.

But when you come home

oh

come on home

because in this whole wide world there is no one else that can give me as much peace and quiet quality space.

I have looked for your coming with wild wanton eyes — my eyes have looked for none but you.

When you come back home

oh

Come on here back home

I will welcome you back to the land of peace.

 

May home to you be the new Dead Sea.

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