“by which I knew upon waking /
it was telling me /
in no uncertain terms /
to bellow forth the tubas and sousaphones, /
the whole rusty brass band of gratitude /
not quite dormant in my belly— /
it said so in a human voice, /
“Bellow forth”— /
and who among us could ignore such odd /
and precise counsel?”
Ross Gay, from “catalog of unabashed gratitude”
I look for a book I know I have but can’t find and feel panicked.
As in attachment to my things, not very many things, but as in love for books over even music these days.
I heard a girlfriend of mine tell her daughter recently Sarah loves music and I wondered, in that moment, if she had told a lie. Or if the truth of the memory is enough.
Soon I will finish graduate school and have an MFA. Soon my husband and our two dogs pack our whole life into a truck and two cars and leave home for Colorado. As in, a new home.
As in everything is completed.
As in everything starts over.
As in evolution. Constant.
These aren’t so profound, these thoughts. They aren’t even necessarily mine.
The other day I listened to a therapist give a talk on how to change your mind about things. How the mind loves what is familiar. How we must make the unfamiliar familiar. As in, I am enough. As in saying that so often that you start to believe it.
As in not giving a shit about whether or not it’s corny to do such a thing.
And then I find my books. All three of Ross Gay’s books, which I knew I had all along.
I can’t stop thinking about him since I hear him ask, “What do you love?” on the podcast yesterday.
As in, no really, what do you love?
What do you love?
As in celebration and joy and saying what you love rather than what needs to be improved.
As in knowing praise more than criticism. As in knowing that I am enough. That everything is enough.
As in sitting down and writing if you want to write. Rather than just talking about it. Rather than worrying about what other poets are up to.
As in loving what other poets are up to.
As in feeling ridiculously overwhelmed by how good a poem is.
As in that’s all. Feeling it.
As in embracing change and making perfectionism unfamiliar.
As in, these questions, still, every single day:
How do I face 45 and climate change and helplessness?
How do I revolutionize my own thinking and my own emotional interior?
How do I use this in love and poems and difficult moments?
Which I have, always? Always, but mostly inside of myself?
How do I tend to myself, first, and then others? Finding a way to serve?
How can I be of use?
Because the life I have in the world is simple compared to so many, and yet, I am tired?
As in Ross Gay:
As in hero.
As in poet.
As in teacher.
As in gratitude peddler,
As in the new