Sunday, March 7, 2010

WOMAN WITH MANNERS

Clearly, I'm going through another dry spell with my writing (or maybe the last one just never ended). I haven't posted anything in a couple weeks, and it's largely because I haven't really had much time to write anything creative. I've also let other aspects of my life take over my oh-so-healthy List o' Priorities. I'm running a triathlon in a couple weeks in Seattle and need to improve my mile, I have to get my classes prepped for midterms, my pets are devising new ways every week to earn emergency trips to the vet's, I have a book coming out, I still haven't gotten that reading series started downtown, and I haven't practiced my violin in two weeks. Here's what I want to do:

1. Get back into a routine of practicing creative writing for at least two hours on one of my days off. I was pretty good about this in Georgia, but I've let myself get sidetracked here in Colorado. Tom gave me a "nice" compliment today from his tent in Kuwait. "Abby, you've got to start writing more often. I really love your work when you're happy and comfortable; your poems get hilarious. I hate it when you're miserable. Your poetry gets boring." So... yeah. That was a compliment, I promise.

2. Use my running/exercise as a break from writing/teaching, simply for the sake of my poor eyeballs, which are already disadvantaged as it is. Walk longer after my jogs just to enjoy a few extra deep breaths. The weather is getting gorgeous here.

3. Start advertising for violin students again, with the added note that I won't actually be able to begin lessons until April, when my life settles down slightly. This is assuming I have several people just waiting out there, desperately wishing I would take them on.

4. Give my pets a pep rally so they'll stop hurting themselves so damn often.

5. Make a list of all the good things that happen when Tom's deployed. Less laundry, cleaner bathrooms, more mushrooms in my dinners, lots of What Not to Wear, meditation music blasting while I write, letters in the mailbox, longer writing group meetings. I've got to cheer myself up somehow.

6. Ease up on insisting this reading series start as soon as possible. I'm going to be here for a while. I can frickin relax.

All right. A plan! I feel better already. Now I can post a poem. This is the first piece I've written in the past two weeks, and I haven't had a chance to show it to anyone yet. Here she be.

(I plan on keeping everyone posted on the book's release date, as well as date/time info for the reading series. I can only kick back for so long.)


WOMAN WITH MANNERS


That’s what I like to see

a woman with manners

who leaves her car unlocked

in the grocery store parking lot

after stuffing her trunk full

of toilet paper lettuce brie bleach

leaving it under the careful watch

of four teenagers planted

like moldy beanpoles

outside the Family Dollar

this woman shoves her cart

back through the Safeway sliding doors

taking tiny strides because

she’s not paying another twenty

dollars for Mrs. Lee

to stitch up the side seam

not after that time she saw Mrs. Lee

shove one glowing white arm

up the front of her husband’s blue polo

with her husband still inside it

even though Mrs. Lee said she was

just trying to feel the rip

this woman plugs her empty cart

back into the bumpered lanes inside

without even glancing back

at her tinted windows at Family Dollar

and when she lets go the cart handle

there’s a lady shaped like a teapot

stopped behind her saying

I couldn’t help but notice you’ve got

enormous ankles just like mine

where did you get your boots

and the woman with manners

says she bought them online

and the lady like a teapot whistles and says

dang I never buy anything from the internet

then walks away leaving our heroine

standing in front of the cart tracks

like the head of a great silver centipede

wiping her hands with a sanitizing napkin

scraping quickly the underside

of each white fingernail.

...

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