Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…


Leave a comment

Already flying

.

The groups had already formed in high school. In this small school of a small town, the grouping off included — the athletes, the musicians, the scholars, and the good looking, the smokers, the rich, and the poor, and the religious and the lost. We disguised all the groups, covered up the broken hearts and broken homes with silk graduation gowns and marched through the gymnasium. We flung our tasseled hats as they flung us out the double doors, and we began again.

Dorothy Parker wrote the words that I copied from the school library and placed in my pocket —

“Once when I was young and true.
Someone left me sad —
Broke my brittle heart in two;
And that is very bad.”

I crumpled the paper and left for college. It was freeing this life. To begin again. To learn again. But still the groups formed as we thought we were making such grown up choices. Gown and hats, this time in the outdoor courtyard. They said words I don’t remember in microphones and flung us off again.

Without knowledge or permission, I began living the second half of the poem,

“Love is for unlucky folk,
Love is but a curse.
Once there was a heart I broke;
And that, I think, is worse.”

So if I wasn’t to be flung, or do the flinging, where did I fit in?

We are all trying to find our way. We get tossed into groups and stereotypes. Lost in should-haves and supposed-tos. And the only way that I can see to survive is to keep learning. What a glorious thing to keep learning. To get beyond the first half of the poem. Beyond the second. To write your own. And write it again. No more gowns to hide behind. No more, this need to be flung…because I was already flying, no need to fling, there was room for all of us.

What a thing it is to fly. I write the words, and begin again.


3 Comments

The poet.

The poet.A cow hung from the tree outside my grandparents’ window. It swayed without skin. Raw. I knew how this must feel. To be without skin. My mother told her parents that my father had left.

They say when you lose one of your senses, the others become stronger. It was not one of the five, but I had lost my sense of comfort, and all the others were working in overdrive. I could hear the flies buzzing, the tears falling. The gray clouds were palpable. The slightly forever over-cooked pans on my grandma’s stove wafted in the thick air. I stared at the cow. I stared at my grandfather. Back and forth, as if to ask if this was my mother’s fate. My grandfather said very little, ever. So when he did, you listened. “No,” he said, “this will not break your mother.” He found the words. The ones I needed.

Today we are living without hugs. Without touching. Displays of comfort hover somewhere in between six feet of social distancing. We need to find the words to take their place. We need to find the words that hold and gather. The words that offer the “there, there.” The words that fall into each other’s arms with laughter. The words that smile and hold and forgive and offer hope. We have the words. Let’s use them.

Adrienne Rich writes, “It is always what is under pressure in us, especially under pressure of concealment–that explodes in poetry.”

Let yourself explode today – offer the words of kindness and strength. You are the poet. Find the words.