For those who don’t already know, The Magpie is my amazingly talented and creative (if I do say so myself) daughter. While she has had the hand and eye of a True Artist quite literally since she was still in diapers….
…and her talent (and creativity and imagination) has grown nigh exponentially…
(just a small sampling of the depth and breadth of her work over the last few years)
…she has now made made the written word her main focus. She is currently eating, sleeping and breathing the writing life, morning, noon and night. It is the first thing she wants to do every day and we must force her to stop every night in order to get some unfortunately necessary rest. And she is doing all this while somehow still maintaining her visual art pursuits, interests in science, math, mythology and literature and high honors in school. Her dedication to this new endeavor puts my paltry efforts to shame.
I hope you’ll take a look at her Magpies Menagerie and see what she’s been up to and stick around to see what she has in store.
I have been thinking about the
writing of death poems. How this
practice can prepare one for the
inevitable. I had intended to write
a death poem on the forty-seventh
anniversary of my birth (the beginning,
I thought, of a new annual tradition) but
I did not. Instead, I seem to have written
a death of memory poem, something
that I believe I must fear even more
than death itself at this time in my life,
though this is probably only because
I have not come close enough to
death while the death of memory is
a thing that I have known closely for
quite a long time. So here is my
death of memory poem. Perhaps,
by its writing, I will be made ready.
Let my poems be a hedge between
my self and the loss of my memories,
a palliative against or a salve for the
wounds that I saw on my father’s face,
that I now have seen on my own face,
that same face when I look in the mirror.
My memory is gone. It is a broken
thing beyond fixing that will just run
down and down over time. But maybe
these words, these poems will give me
something that my father never had,
something that he never knew how
to find on his own, something that I
do not know that I know how to find
on my own and yet still I search and
yearn for—a changing of the heart,
a look in this mirror, a softening of
the self (hard, hard thing that we
make within us, our myriad actions
and phenomena uncountable that
we cling to, these never-ending
evanescent folds in the cortex
of time, these simple tricks we
use to try to woo security to sit
at the table with us, to say to us
that we are we but not alone
and yet somehow still solitary…).
Perhaps I can find this thing
for both of us, my father and
I, though he is long past finding
and I find my self searching still.
Perhaps, if my memories must leave
me (and it seems that they will) I can
have them replaced with poems.
If my memories are to be dislodged,
if they are to fall to the wayside,
I would rather have poems in their places
than just more fears of losing more memories.
What is the self but a bag full
of memories that we cannot
put down? Though we are
boarding a train to a place
of no things and we stand
ultimately alone on the platform
and the bag is full of useless things
and our arms are already full of all
the things the world has given us
that we did not want or need or ask for,
still, we cannot put it down.
I want to be able to put it all
down. When the time comes, I
want to be able to board that
train with empty hands. Let me
board it with empty hands, alone.