(March 2005) Good poems comfort me, remind me that, in the midst of great change, there is a core me that knows how to survive even if I am temporarily overwhelmed.
I like this poem because it reminds me of my ability to take in a deep breath when life is overwhelming and to stand in that hard wind that will, ultimately, heal me if I listen carefully to myself:
IN THE ABSENCE
by Kathleen Lake
In the absence of Christ, one must become
one’s own hands, moving
one’s self tenderly
through all the shapes that pain takes.
Whatever you thought you knew, your hands
will forget it for you,
remembering only the hollows
and lilts of your lonely body
which quietly holds its own
story, and waits to be heard.
So when you are listening
at last, your hands will be holding
that wordless quality your mother’s had
which changes everything and nothing.
And in this luxury the marrow
of your bones
will finally speak.
So I was warming up my lunch a few minutes ago and thought about all the crappy food I ate before I finally realized that, if I wanted to eat delicious food on an ongoing basis, then I was just going to have to learn how to cook.
I moved out on my own as a teenager and had no clue how to cook because I had very carefully avoided learning how. Why? Because I was sick and tired of family members telling me that I had to know how to cook just because I have a clitor!s. I was also naive enough to believe that cooking is just not what lesbians do.
The downside to this willful ignorance is that, for years, my skill set was limited to frying eggs and making salads and warming up processed food.
And the stuff did not taste good.
(Well, the fried eggs were okay.)
These days, I am a serious cook who can cook up a gourmet meal in a flash. I also make up recipes on a regular basis. (I'm not a good baker though, because I dislike following recipes.)
And all this is making me hungry, so I’ll leave you with a report on the best bumper sticker I’ve seen in a some time: “Jesus was my co-pilot / But we crashed in the mountains / And I had to eat him.”