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Newlyweds

I’m really glad it’s DONE: our departure from New York. The moving truck got packed to the gills, and shutting its door after stuffing the baby mattress in felt really good and also scary. We’ve lived at Stony Brook for six straight years and a quarter of our lives all told. Our last day was all about hauling trash, moving claimed furniture into piles in the basement, and stockpiling in the dining room everything we needed to get into the minivan. The two cleaners I’d hired came while we were out at dinner. Elsy speaks only Spanish, but Miguel left a note in English wishing us luck and stating that he and Elsy were married the day before. Wow! Hard to articulate how that sweet note made me feel: that our lives are about work and survival and joy at the same time, that strangers can connect in real ways (even in Indiana…?). It was great to see the house so empty and clean. The final packing of the van was the hardest part–Kevin and I were both exhausted, peevish, and fuzzy-headed. I accidentally threw out all Jesse’s underwear in a last-minute clothing purge.

So now we’re on vacation in Virginia, and after one day of driving and one day of cranky oh-god-what-do-we-do-with-ourselves-now? feelings we’re really beginning to rest. Much. Needed. And I’ve got time to enjoy the poem our friend David gave us the night before we left, Sharon Olds’ “Topography:”

After we flew across the country we

got in bed, laid our bodies

delicately together, like maps laid

face to face, East to West, my

San Francisco against your New York, your

Fire Island against my Sonoma, my

New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho

bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas

burning against your Kansas your Kansas

burning against my Kansas, your Eastern

Standard Time pressing into my

Pacific Time, my Mountain Time

beating against your Central Time, your

sun rising swiftly from the right my

sun rising swiftly from the left your

moon rising slowly from the left my

moon rising slowly from the right until

all four bodies of the sky

burn above us, sealing us together,

all our cities twin cities,

all our states united, one

nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Here’s to adventure! With people you love!

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Pushing the Button

Best Christmas present ever: a new camera. Just now the life of this mother-of-three has more room for quick photo snaps than for long journal entries. A few that give me joy…


Looking for Lies

I had a teacher in grad school who taught me to look for lies in my writing. She had her students bring in ten published lies–found anywhere–to a class discussion. One of the lies I learned to find in my poems was the insistent happy ending. The too-tidy resolution. Also: the self-conscious adoption of various rhythmic or thematic trends. I learned to ask: is this true? what makes it true? what would make it truer? Often the answer is more research, more rewriting. Sometimes the answer is more living, more time. Sometimes the answer is prayer.

Rock Bottom Prayer

Hello out there. I’ve been feeling my way into this blogging thing, and liking it. Thanks to you and you who found me  on my first try, the blog Better Letters–you were important encouragers. That blog was begun to present my credentials as a writer and teacher; everything on it can now be found here, at Push The Pen.

Why the change? I wanted to have the option to post more than strictly writing-oriented, career-oriented content…the option to put my whole self out more boldly on the page.

The page, empty or filled, has always been my siren, my frontier, and at the same time my comfort. If you’ve found your way here, perhaps you know just what I mean.

"one hand, raised"

DON’T WRITE FOR SENSE, WRITE FOR SOUND. EXPOUND THE UNIVERSE’S MEANING NOT IN SYLLOGISM BUT IN SYLLABISM. POLYPHONY, NOT PHILOSOPHY. DOWN WITH DEEP THOUGHT! BRING ON THE ACROBATIC ALPHABET, RINGLEADERS OF RHYME, A CHORUS OF CACOPHONOUS PUNS! THE PHILOSOPHER KNOWS IT, BUT IT’S THE POET WHO SHOWS IT. DON’T BLOW IT (THE TRUMPET OF EGO). BASH CYMBALS–THE SYMBOLS WILL SHIVER…

Judith Kunst journal entry

Thirty-one, married 8 months, no children