Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life in the Flow Chart

Yeah. November goes on. Some days, you have to remind yourself to take one step at a time.

I wrote a poem about this a long time ago when I had one daughter (four years old) & one ex (instead of two) & two legs (more or less)  & had only begun to leave my lifelong religion (Christian Science) & ask....why?....what has it all been for??

(My favorite film then--read: my obsessive, see-it-five-or-so-times-in-the-theatre, buy-the-soundtrack-and-learn-the-main-theme-by-ear-on-the-piano-in-the-back-room-at-the-library-on-Wednesday-nights-because-you-just-left-your-own-piano-behind movie--was Jane Campion's The Piano with Harvey Keitel, Holly Hunter & Anna Paquin. If you haven't seen it, rent it tonight. I mean do it. No better November movie exists.)

It was January 1994. I wrote a lot of poems that winter. I got mentally  and artistically loose in a way I'd never allowed myself before. Challenged myself to write about all the things that were forbidden: sensuality, emotion, sexuality, and a wide-open dream log which, I began to understand, made amazing poems. (Try this: just write them down.)

That  winter was a Manly Winter, the likes of which I can't even remember since. We had a major storm once a week for two or three months and totaled over 125" of snow for central upstate NY.  That was the winter a lot of barn roofs caved in, including the indoor arena at the racetrack where I'd exercised so many horses from 1985 to 1992.

I remember shoveling the snow from the spot just ahead of me, repeated ad nauseum. It was how I spent that winter of survival. I was Single, a position I'd been too terrified to face sooner. Which was why, at twenty-two, I'd married the man I was now divorcing at thirty-two.


Here's a poem for November (as Garrison Keillor would say) entitled "Flow Chart" by Liz Heywood. (Garrison & I are sorry about the stripes: chalk it up to cut & paste of a *sigh* newbie inter-web blogger.)

Flow Chart

 In the morning
try to leave at the usual time.

If the truck starts
                      take your daughter to the babysitter.

If the truck won’t start
find a jump:
                       ask your neighbor.
                       ask your best friend.
                       ask your mother.

                                  Jump the truck.
                                  Take your daughter to the babysitter.

                                            Go to work.

               If the truck won’t start after work find a jump:
sk your co-worker.
                                                                       Stop by the garage on the way home
                                                                                (for heavens sake
                                                                                leave the damn truck running.)

                                                   If the car is done, leave the truck.
                                                                                 If the car isn’t done
                                                                                 drive the truck to pick up your daughter
                                                                           (do I have to add leave it running??)

                                         go home.
                                                                                                   …and yeah,
                                                                                                   back into the driveway
                                                                                                   in case etc.
                                                                return to first line

                                                                                  unless it snows.

If it snows:                       

stay home.    


January 17 1994

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