June 12, 2022 – Niles, MI
I have become a hermit.
I loved the lockdown, the shelter in place.
I found that masking pleased me,
And avoiding crowded places
Came natural to me.
I’m not much of a baker, so
I started by organizing things.
Like-objects in one place.
All the colorful paper clips,
Empty notebooks, pens
All going the same way in the plastic box,
All my pencils,
Freshly sharpened, of course.
I wanted to be useful, so I learned to crochet,
But it didn’t suit me.
Maybe it was being useful
That didn’t suit me.
I ordered in because
I was comfortable with it, after living in New York.
Every Thursday, a new basket of food.
I even tried senior shopping
But the sight of all those frightened old people
I didn’t go back.
Then I started tidying seriously,
Lingering over the things that used to spark joy
Before throwing them away.
It’s only now I can speak about it.
I’ve become a hermit.
Tidying is a way of life,
A manner of being.
I’ve told everyone
I need to control my environment,
So I stick to my new routine of tidying
And it takes the place of accomplishing.
The dishes are all clean, the yard is all clean,
The garage is all clean,
The basement is all clean.
I’ve cleaned the closets again and again.
I make the bed.
I throw out more paper,
Give more things away.
All of my yarn is sorted by color now,
Like my paper clips.
All the hangers face the same way in the closet,
All the coffee cup handles in the cupboard.
If I sort out the small things,
Maybe the big things will not matter as much.
I’ve found that there are not a lot of big things
To a hermit.
Please join us April 14 in South Bend, Indiana, for a celebration of local poets and writing in Michiana.
We will have books for sale from The Backpack Press! Can’t wait? Can’t make it to SB? Look up top – My Bookstore has them all.
If you would like to try any of these books, please visit my bookstore – on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Born/e/B015EJGPXW
If you would like signed copies, let me know and I will be happy to send you one – or more! Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a book club that might be interested in reading with a talkback, I would be delighted to visit!
And look for the new TweedPod poscasts on TumbleweedPilgrim.com – stories of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Coming up shortly!
No photos in this one, just a wholehearted appreciation of New York! Poems, narratives, observations and stories. On Amazon AND Kindle! #LocalColor
My notebook no longer contains…
My notebook comes along with me when I leave my house,
you never know when elusive inspiration will be found lurking
around the corner, down the block, over your shoulder.
When it will be better to write than to grieve or to laugh.
But now, my notebook doesn’t carry any of the thoughts I want to write
It holds the receipts, the holy cards, the phone numbers, bills for the car or the hotel.
The tiny note cards from the flowers.
Not one word can I write,
not one thought with any level of clarity
I know there is usual healing in words,
salve in poetry for the open wound
Or in some short narrative, a remembrance;
but it’s just not there.
Instead of being reminded that I am a writer –
by opening to a blank page,
Instead of being reminded that I take words at face value
to spin my stories, to tell my sorrows,
joys, memories –
I see only the shards, the detritus of my loss
and words simply pull farther and farther away.
My notebook no longer contains
Stories of today or plans for tomorrow.
That all stopped on Saturday.
While I know this is as temporary as a life,
It is just as maddening.
If you’d like to read the Late Orphan stories, look at My Books for These Winter Months and These Summer Months.
Thrilled to announce a new poetry collection. Published today in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington.
The Late Orphan Project is reopening for submissions starting November 2, 2016. Essays, journal entries, poetry, theater – all will be considered as long as the theme supports the Project.
The Project – to encourage writers to discuss the death of your parents. The easy story is to write about what happened. My mother’s long history with depression, my father’s heart ailments – easy to write because they tell a story that happened. This happened, that happened, and then they died. What the Project tries to do is not to discuss the details of the death or what led up to the death but rather what happened next?
How did this loss impact you?
When your mother or father dies, the impact is considerably stronger than other deaths in the family and the impact is frequently unpredictable.
How are you changed? What did you learn? When you picked up your life again, how was it different, or better, or worse? How did you chart your life without your parents?
What the Late Orphan Project was able to do in the first volume of stories was to show that the most personal story displays the most universal truths. The reader understands and feels empathy with the writer and the writers can sometimes find closure or healing or a deeper understanding of the events that followed the deaths.
This is not a sad project even though the stories will likely make you cry. Rather it is a celebration of real life through the telling of these very difficult stories.
Submission deadlines – November 2 to December 2, 2016.
Guidelines – All entries should be approximately 1000-1500 words.Shorter pieces will be considered but longer ones may not. One entry per person please. Stories should be accompanied by the following:
1) A 6-line author bio, written in 3rd person.
2) The name of the mother or father in the story, including birth and death dates and geographic location.
3) The word SUBMISSION in the subject line of the email.
4) All submissions to email@example.com
5) Identify please if your story has been published previously with a note that you have secured permission for The Backpack Press to republish if you story is selected.
If you have questions about submissions or the Project in general, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.