Thursday, July 30, 2009

In my back woods

In my back woods
I was Nature Girl-

naming potato bugs
that I brought to their little desks made out of acorn tops
and pine cone bits

so I could call on them
at my potato bug school

In my back woods
I was seven-happy-and-eight too
picking daffodils
swinging on vines

following the creek to the tunnel under the parkway

stopping before the waterfall down to the Potomac

stopping before Sasquatch got you-

or the naked man who they said
ran the woods at night-
or the teenagers
who hid their pipes
in the roots
of the giant dead over turned tree
in the red clay earth

In my back woods
I was
Luke Skywalker
practicing for hours
my powers
to make a stick levitate from the earth into my hand
with sheer will power
I could channel the good side of The Force

(In my back woods
I was never Princess Leah
because my hair wouldn't roll around my head like that
it was too short
I looked more like Luke)

In my back woods
being alone and seeing a deer talk to a squirrel
or a fox sliding on the ice for fun

or the sun lick a red red berry

wasn't magical
it was just what happened there
when I was alone
not encumbered by all the things I know now

that would stop me cold
from venturing alone
into the back woods.

Truck #54

Mommy wake up!

Marcel is pulling at my hand.

He has crawled out of his crib-
the side remains down now
with a chair next to it
so that his escape route is safe.

Because Marcel has places to go

Like out the basement door
and around to the front last week when I was upstairs making dinner and Uncle was in the next room

The very helpful and relieved police officer
(relieved to see the described child in distress
seated at the table eating carrots from a bowl with his truck)
informed me that it was time to get a new doorbell-
since the neighbors tried to tell me that he was out front with a ring
before they called 9-1-1.


When Uncle realized Marcel was out front
and not with me
before I realized that he was not with Marc but out front
he came to the rescue
long before Portland's finest.

But nice to know the neighbors are watching
when Marcel is on the move.
(Even if they did tell the policeman it had been half an hour
when it was closer to six minutes tops that
Marcel was at the front door waiting to come in.)

Come here. Come here. SHHHH.
He yells with his finger up to his mouth
and his little garbage truck in his hand-
because you wouldn't want to scare
it away!

Dragged by my index finger out of bed
I wait while Marcel lifts up the curtain to reveal:

Truck #54


And I did.
And the trash men did too.
And we all waved and said hello-and thank you for the hard work that you do
And they smiled at Marcel
and he smiled at them
and then smiled at my pajamas
and the drool on my chin
and I smiled at the giant #54 in clean white type against azure blue
my favorite number reminding me
Start the day-don't let the day
start you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pom poms, Pubs, and Possibility!

Thanks to dear friends L&L and their brood for the indoctrination of the pom-pom jar. No sticker charts, no late night shopping for the promised reward, and everyone gets to play. Your total investment=.99c. Your reward is endless.

Buy a bag of pom-poms at the art store/dollar store.
Put them in a clean glass recycled jar. Put another jar next to it. Introduce pom-pom concept to family like this:

Notice something stellar happening around you.
Verbally acknowledge it; Pom-pom for clearing your plate without even being asked! Walk over to the pom-pom jar and take one from the full jar, and put it in the empty jar. Notice something else. Pom-pom for nice sharing Marcel!

Repeat pom-pom in jar step. Encourage everyone to notice pom-pom worthy acts.

particularly pleased when oldest son notices that you Did not yell at us all day! Pom-pom for not yelling mom! Let him place the pom-pom for mom's good choice(s!!) in the jar.

Fill up the jar with all of your families
celebratory moments.

When someone has an idea about something fun they'd love to do
reply like this; That's a great idea--how about go to Silly's for dinner when we fill up the pom pom jar? Smile when everyone yells; YEAH!

Catch: you have to do the thing. Like when you
agree to RIDE THE DUCK when the jar is full, you really have to go, even though duck tickets are $24.00 for adults. (What is the Duck? Amphibious tour mobile. Half the tour on land, half around the harbor.)

Sam's favorite part about pom-poms is that you can throw them and no one minds.

Marcel's favorite-you can put them in your mouth and spit them out.

Mom's favorite=our good behavior runneth over!

Publication update:
My article in Adoptive Families Magazine will be at bookstore near you at the end of August. They sent me the proof--and it looks marvelous. All the Borders will carry it, and just about any big bookstore you know of. Ask your local bookstore to carry it--it's an amazing resource every other month for the adoption community. And the folks there are doing good work, and are super easy to work with! I am working on a proposal for a more regular column.

The Lit Star Collective Anthology (with a forward by super star/ teacher / mentor Ariel Gore) is out, and looks dynamite. Reads well too! If you have the good fortune to be a member of my immediate family a copy is on the way to you. If not the link to purchase your own is on this site-over there somewhere. The collection is packed with fast reads from 15 plus talented writers. It will inspire your own writing, and amuse you. Please let me know what you think.

Two more pieces are being considered for two other anthologies, and just yesterday a cross your fingers it just may come true response from another editor about a series of poems to be published. Although she didn't commit, it looks hopeful. My goal was five publication acceptances in 2009. If all of these come through (and one more in an unknown zone at
The Sun) that'll put me at six maybe seven this year. Pom pom for Mom for getting the work out there!

At another dear friends urging I have committed to "ten dates in July and August". And because I am not a frolic and blog kind of girl, I'm going to leave it at this: I take my commitments seriously. If my dating life is on the same trajectory as my publishing, 2009 will indeed be a year of multitudinous possibility.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Picture This

The two of you in the sand side by side
on your tummies
watching your questions unfold
how a seagull takes flight
how a roller coaster doesn't

During the week you grew closer still
a brown hand in a browner hand at the water's edge
side by side on the mini motorcycle carousel
your bodies forming a perfect T
in the twin beds pushed together
asleep to meet again on the back of the seagull at the top of the roller coaster
in your dreams

Where-did-Sammy-go? is now one word-uttered this morning in deep sleep
Answered by Sammy's snores a reassuring tuck in around
the edges

It is in your brotherhood that I take most of my parenting comfort
It is there that I can relax into the something-done-well

Later you will help each other
all the places I didn't know where
or is it how
to take you-
as you head down the street
with all the other lanky looking for something to cure the boredom boys
holding the ball,

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ode to Marcel

How was I supposed to know-
you were not cold,
you did want a blanket,
you did not want your feet rubbed,
you wanted what at 4:38 am?

Do you want a pair of socks?
I ask in a frantic,
hair about to fall out kind of way.
"Yes" you reply in the sweetest of sweets
now you're back to bed,
and so are your cold

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Midsummer Review

I was more nervous than he was.

In the bag is your lunch, extra clothes, just in case for any reason you need them, and water. Promise mommy you will drink lots of water?

Mom, I know.

Listen to the coach. He has a lot to teach you.

Sometimes he will be talking a lot, but you still need to listen, OK?

Mom, I know.

It is not about scoring, it is about learning how to be a team member, and passing, and most importantly...

Mom, stop talking please.


Sam is enjoying soccer camp.
Coach says he's doing fine.
Playing well beyond his years.
He is the youngest one there-so he has choice.

Coach says he has plenty of talent-
you just have to stay on him.

This will be the story of Sam.


Marcel is speaking in sentences.

Demanding the world be delivered instantly
with more and more syllables.

Un-cle are two of his favorite sounds.

Sam is less and less out of reach-
as a playmate, an ally, a friend.
This subtle transformation
is a chrysalis emerging
turning this baby and this boy into
brothers in flight.

This Mom is landing into something

It is open, willing, and certain.

It is a voice with good posture.

It is a flat of hand picked strawberries in the rain.

It is corners without shadows.

It is permission to sit in the front row.

It is time.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

ghost story

Mom there is a man creeping up right behind you
Sammy says to me after dinner the other night.
I turn around slowly
trying to pretend I am scared.
Noticing I am actually scared.
I get wide eyed and ask him
if he saw a ghost?
No and yes.

He is learning about ghosts.
They like the dark, not the light.
He asks me to talk like they do--make the wooo-wooo sound.
No, not like that! Like this, WOOOO WOOOO.
He wants to be afraid-
he doesn't want to be afraid.

He won't go into the little bathroom at night now
since he decided it was the perfect place for one.
This has resulted in several accidents.
I am planning on hosting a tea party
in the dark and inviting this ghost
so we can befriend it.
This will reduce the amount of laundry I have to do

His ghosts seem so small now
still wary of the light.

He doesn't have the ghost of his birth mother's
to contend with yet.
The ghost of wondering what it would have been like
to have been raised by her,
to have been raised by the beautiful black woman
that shares your blood
and has your eyes
and all the what-else-ghosts
instead of me.

Or is she my ghost, still?

What about his birth father,
what will that ghost look like to Sam?
Will he be the kind that haunts him all of his life
from just behind the door to his identity
of himself as the man,
as the father one day?

Or will that be the ghost Sam meets head on
in his dreams,
or over the phone
when he asks him
how come he didn't want to be his daddy
when he could have been.