I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Dear Bill Woods,

When I asked you tentatively if I could sit in the chair next to you – the one by the window with a view brighter than my future – and if I could possibly intrude on the quiet in the corner, I wonder if you could see the tears cowering in my eyes.

When I sat down in that recliner quivering like a baby bird and death-gripping the coffee so strong that even your nose recoiled from 5 feet away, I wonder if you knew how close I was to shattering.

When you set down your book and glanced at me before you started that conversation, what did you know about that quiet, pretty girl that caught the attention of everyone in the room and yet, hid in the glare of the window?

Because, Mr. Bill Woods, you said exactly what I needed to hear. You smiled like my grandpa and you spoke like my professor.

Because, Mr. Bill Woods, I had reached that point.

You know the one, where you keep blinking because you don’t want to see.  And yet, you asked all the right questions.  You know the ones, where you nibble away until you reach the heart of the issue.

Because, Mr. Bill Woods, you were God in disguise.  You knew nothing about me and yet 10 minutes later, you were complimenting my intelligence and saying how proud you were of me.  You reminded me that this new job (as ghastly terrifying and unfulfilling as it may be) was a stepping stone.  You honestly were the source of encouragement that I needed today in order to respond to the recruiter.

Because, Mr. Bill Woods, I thought about ignoring that email.  I thought about lying to everyone and saying that the job offer had been cancelled, that the clinical trials had ended, that my emails were lost in cyberspace, that the recruiter was an alien and was sucked back into the Mothership, that my singular goal in life was to become a 50’s housewife complete with the red lipstick and pearls – I had so many excuses prepared to refuse that step entirely.

And yet here I am.

Thank God for all the Mr. Bill Woods’s in the world.

Sincerely,
Sydney

I live in a world created by Elizabeth Bishop.

Now that I’ve finished my undergraduate degree, I suppose I need something else to occupy my time – as if a wedding, new city living, and new job wasn’t enough!

My new goal is to find happiness.

I’m not sure what this looks like for me.  To be honest, this is the first time where I’ll actually be able to do and have what I want…I just wish I knew what I wanted.

I think I’ll be spending more time here, indulging in my creative outlet.  Drinking more tea and clacking on these keys.  I’m in the process of trying to get some poetry published. Turns out, I’m not too bad at it — according to the magazines that I’ve submitted to, anyway.  I’ve made it past the couple rounds of rejections and I’m awaiting the final verdict in a couple more places.

One thing that I plan to experiment with this summer is the writing process of sestinas. It’s a rather complicated fixed verse form consisting of six stanzas of six lines each, normally followed by a three-line envoi. The words that end each line of the first stanza are used as line endings in each of the following stanzas, rotated in a set pattern (see image).
I have one in the works currently – I even have a little literary nibble to share with you.  This piece is called “Graduation” (which makes terrible sense since writers nearly always write about what they know).

Like ants swarming a hill, I marched mechanically next to you
as the teeming crowd lumped us into boxes, our bright futures
fated as our cardboard crowns perched precariously on our heads –
further evidence that our participation trophy childhoods hadn’t lost
its steeled grip on the helm that directed our prescribed paths
while we gulped anti-anxiety pills down like the rest of our choices.

I’m also practicing my editing process.  It helps when I hate everything that appears on the screen because I’m then so motivated to change it.

New goal: Write a sestina a week.

 

Don’t be married unless you’ll be very married.

Marriage
BY LAWRENCE RAAB
Years later they find themselves talking
about chances, moments when their lives
might have swerved off
for the smallest reason.
What if
I hadn’t phoned, he says, that morning?
What if you’d been out,
as you were when I tried three times
the night before?
Then she tells him a secret.
She’d been there all evening, and she knew
he was the one calling, which was why
she hadn’t answered.
Because she felt—
because she was certain—her life would change
if she picked up the phone, said hello,
said, I was just thinking
of you.
I was afraid,
she tells him. And in the morning
I also knew it was you, but I just
answered the phone
the way anyone
answers a phone when it starts to ring,
not thinking you have a choice.

Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes.

Preface

Love is
when one plus one gives you two
and morphs back into one
complex
consecrated
comglomerate
that somehow subtracts one
and one more
and one more
and one more
without shrinking.
Eventually
there comes a moment
when forever only lasts the space of the
QRS complex on the monitor
and you ask yourself
how you decomposed
back to
one
when you feel as hollow as
zero.

Your very flesh shall be a great poem.

Virgin Islands

The ocean breeze flutters in,
kissing my neck,
running it’s fingers
through my hair.

The candle on the nightstand flickers
gasping at the wind’s caress
while the clouds pucker
like lace in the sky.

The salty water laps at the edge
of the beach, licking away
the sand and teasing
the seaweed as the tide rises.

A sailboat on a night’s jaunt churns
though the midnight waters,
the billowing sail arching
as it strains against the mast.

Palm trees arch towards the sky
heavy with their coconuts
as the hibiscus spread their petals
wider to welcome the dawn.

And as the sun forces itself
into the night with a burst of red,
I smile because I recognize
this dance for the first time.

Poetry is dropping a rose petal in the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.

To relive my poor brain from straining it’s neurons to understand the biochemistry within it’s own biochemistry (so meta), I enrolled in a poetry workshop course that requires us to write enough poetry to create a chapbook.

Not only that, but we have 16 weeks to create a potentially publishable chapbook.

And, that potentially publishable chapbook must contain around 25 poems(!), each representing it’s own color woven into this literary masterpiece that bleeds from the fingers hastily typing “vivid verbs” for the deadlines.

As if I could manage that (on top of my two jobs, other schoolwork, and wedding planning)…

Here’s something that we kinda like and are willing to subject to your ever-reading, ever-critical eyes.  Bon appetit.

Breakfast

Little feet slapped the kitchen tile,
pitter-pattering to the table.
Chairs scooching
across wooden floors
as tiny fingers grabbed tiny plastic forks.

Butter spattered against blueberry flapjacks
as maple syrup pooled on the plates.
Crispy bacon crumbled
as tiny teeth chomped,
washing it down with chilled milk.

“Another round!” my breakfast bar flies
cried, tiny heads peering around the door.
Tiny messes galore as I made a few more
and as my husband gave me a kiss,
I wondered how much I’d miss

breakfast
when they weren’t so
little anymore.

There is strong shadow where there is much light.

It’s been a long time since I’ve visited this place, this secret cave that has become my online home where I can hide all of my vulnerable pieces in one out-in-the-open spot.

But it seems that I have roommates.

Whenever I come back to this blog and take a careless glimpse at my stats pages, I’m always taken aback at the number of days that pass between posts punctuated by the number of people who have rifled through the words here.  I don’t mind! It just feels like someone has moved things three inches to the left – there’s just enough of a difference for me to feel awkward stumbling around, but subtle enough that I don’t realize it.

What could you possibly find interesting about this place?

I come to this bean-bag chair of a blog with the fuzzy blanket posts because I’m lonely, and I need to spend some time alone with myself, cuddling with the words of a girl who doesn’t exist anymore.

I come to this infirmary to treat the poison ivy of my soul, because out there, I scratch until I bleed and the scars freckle my skin.  There are no mirrors in this place because ugliness is part of the charm.

I come here to multi-task and cry such gut-wrenching sobs that it turns into an ab workout.  Sweat and grime only add to the decor and sweet stench of the place.

What would you possibly find interesting about that?

But to that loyal follower in the Philippines, to the fellow tea-sippers in Great Britain, to the reader who lives in my namesake city in Australia, to my remarkably large clan in India, to the salt-and-pepper shake of people sprinkled in the Middle East, to all of my silent and shadowy roommates from across the world, I say thank you.

Thank you for helping me pay the emotional rent of this place.  You’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like.

 

 

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