Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

Dear Love

In Family, Friends, Love, Music on October 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Dear Love,

You have been so good to me. You sent me to two parents who have given their entire lives to sharing you with me. You sent me to a best friend who when she cut my hair when we were six years old and we chased the ice cream truck with broken toes and made bad parties into giant jokes has never stopped showing me what you are. You sent me to a gang of girls to lick you into the bowls of leftover cupcake frosting and sweat you off of college dance parties sprinting into early hours, who let me cry you into their pillows after I lost you and was left with your memory. You sent me to a man who saw only you in me. You sent me to a gaggle of music-makers across continents, a troupe of acrobats happy for nothing more than catching your fleeting coattails for a sail.

Love, I love you. You were the forehead I kissed goodbye and the hand that held mine wordlessly stating you will be found again. You were the woman who hoped for me and the one who left her smile on my face.

When you leave, you have not left, because I love you love. And I love, you love.



What was ruckus ain’t ruckus ain’t skipping no more.

In Life, Love, Music on April 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm

The CD skips.  It’s been playing for almost three years now, so it’s bound to have some nicks and grooves. But in the car on the scenic route, today, it forgets.  We’re “nearly four” again on “Dominic St. in the afternoon.” Who’d know we once pushed so hard and trod so slow just to eke out another second of sound?  This sailing’s easy.

Today I’m not skipping.  Even though I’m thinking about him – my mind licking nicked and neural pathways that have recently caused the pain –  it’s like I’m bumper bowling in my brain, and no matter how the heavy floor-breaker rattles and whoops cerebral spaces, it’s cushy, even comfortable to host. Come on in, the water’s fine!

What was ruckus ain’t ruckus ain’t skipping no more.

The Idea and the If

In Love, Travel on March 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm

How do I know if it’s you or the idea of you?

When I left Galway, an idea’s all I took with me.  After all, a city doesn’t fit into an airport carry-on too well, especially when a gal’s lugging four Irish sweaters home in it after her half-year abroad.

Since I couldn’t pack the city, how, then, could I miss anything but the idea of it?  How, then, could I miss anything but the idea of potluck dinners spinning into sing-song in rooms with red walls?  Or the idea of jugglers and fire-spinners and djembe drummers – my friends  – jumping into the sea on rare days with sun?  Or the idea of winding cobbled streets that no longer lost me, but led me: to Ernie’s Greengrocery, to the crappy burrito shop, to the sea?  How, then, when I arrived back home, landlocked and lake-bound, could I not miss the idea of the sea?

We miss what we are distant from, what we leave or what leaves us.  How, then, do we ever miss anything but ideas?

I miss the idea of you now you ain’t ‘knocking and tapping and Christmas wrapping’ round my door no more.  I miss you when we drop eyes across an accidental cafe run-in or shop stop-by.  I miss rolling sushi and counting your grey hairs and kissing your hands and hanging on to the idea that if “ifs” (what if, if only, if ever, if by chance) could have a tense – could have a “will” “was” “won’t” – instead of that  nearly timeless spot of night they occupy, well, then, they wouldn’t shine so much.

A Few Minutes of Honey

In Life, Love, Poetry on January 21, 2012 at 1:35 am

I need a few minutes of honey.

Not ten minutes, not twenty-five, not sixty.

Just a few.

I will stick them between my hands

And rub them across my palms and it will feel


And when they pull apart lazily

Like a cat’s cradle, it will be


Because you will unravel them with me

Not with your hands but with your eyes

On mine, watching

My amber-drip fist

Bear cub into my mouth,

Where each sticky loop will fold into and under itself upon my tongue –


Into atoms

Into quarks

Into figilblops

And donlidoops

And the smaller and smaller things inside the sweetness

Birthing backwards –

Until the end is so far gone, it’s just made of me,

Which is made of the minutes

I spend with you.


In Family, Love on July 3, 2011 at 7:27 pm

And when he died they lit fireworks in the sky.

And when he lived he had a pocketful of quarters.  The old ones, with eagles.  They were made just for the arcade games at the front of the delicatessen.  Just for the handful of bubble gum on the counter.  And we never had to haggle too long before he dropped those quarters in our palms.

He had a closetful of instruments.  The old ones, with broken mouthpieces, the 1920s jazz still dripping from the keys.

His closets were full of coloring books the size of our whole bodies, which were little ones, then.  They rested next to the box with the hundred crayons, because Nana wanted her children to have all the colors.

Oh he knew just how to get us on the lips.  Before we could stop him, bending to his cheek for a kiss.  What a way to swing his head around and plant one!  He never missed.  Better than any baseball player, any gymnast.  Better than any child craning to see an airplane in the sky – and it is hard to swing your head for a better purpose than this – our papa did.

His tastes were mushroom barley soup and cheesecake.  Nacho cheese and fish.  Water was never sweeter than from the clear plastic glasses we were finally old enough to reach in his cupboard.  When we were old enough, he would ask us to bring him one, too.

His backyard was for play.  The good kind.  In hazy heat, through swarms of flies.  The air was magic then, but we didn’t know.  Our legs ran through it, all of us, babies.

Then the morning came and it was time to go.  So Mom drove and we walked into the room and he was there.  And he wasn’t.  His breath a series of tubes, pumping up and down.  We kissed him.  We left.

At night the little ones ran through fields like their legs were wont.  They climbed gates and the air was cool.  And the cars came back.  And we collapsed in each others’ arms.

The children watched.  What they did not understand, part of them understood, as part of all of us understands, every day.  Every time we are kind to each other.  Every time we are not. Every time we hold the new babies and tell them stories, silently, with our eyes.   Every time we lay our hands together, over soft earth.

Every time we love, we bear the history of Harold Altman.

The day I became a woman, he promised me something, and it is for all of us, for Vicki, Bob, Jessica, Hunter, Aurelia, Daniel, Sarah, Marc, Arlene, Elizabeth, Dana, Ava, Jessie, Michael, Scott, Barbara, Abigail, Cole, Hannah, Martin, Suzanne, Ashton, Heath, and Hayden and all the rest.  From Papa, gone today ten years, from Papa and for him, too.

 You will always be loved.