Just Because Air is Free Doesn’t Mean You Breathe (and Other Free Things)

National Poetry Month signed book giveaway contest Red Hen Press

1. Brynn Saito made me cry this morning and it really pissed me off.

National Poetry Month signed book giveaway contest Red Hen Press

“It’s done: never again in my life will I be only one thing.” From Saito’s poem, “The Messenger” in The Palace of Contemplating Departure

But it got me thinking about all the things that are necessary to survival that we don’t always do, like cry, or eat, or breathe.

No I’ve never gone hungry but I’ve woken alone
with a ghost in my throat and I’ve been like the child
who’s sure she perceives some creature in the dark—

“Trembling on the Brink of a Mesquite Tree” by Brynn Saito in The Palace of Contemplating Departure

Of course I’m talking both literally and in metaphor. I realized, in cleansing myself vicariously through Brynn’s emotional verse, that there are a lot of things I’ve forgotten to do lately, or avoided doing, because they were too hard.

Time to suck it up, buttercup. I don’t know who this interior voice is, or where he came from. He’s masculine and in my mind sounds like somebody put John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Adam Sandler (I know, right?) into a sound booth and Suck it up, buttercup is the favorite phrase of this tough guy/comedian amalgamation.

It’s done: never again in my life
will I be only one thing.

Saito, in her poem, “The Messenger” from The Palace of Contemplating Departure

Between Brynn and the trio of Hollywood men living in my brain, I realized the timing of selecting Saito’s book for today couldn’t have been any other way. I haven’t been breathing, or nourishing myself, or having moments of catharsis because I’ve been in fight or flight since we got word on this move. Every day I’m in a whirlwind of appointments and rapid-fire decisions, thinking the faster I move, the more I pack into the day, the better prepared I will be for living in Africa.

2. I will not be prepared to live in Africa…until I am in Africa.

Slow down, you move too fast. Really? Really Eastwood-Duke-Sandler guy? Now you’re Simon and Garfunkling all over my brain?

But they’re right. What will get done will get done. What will not, is not to be finished before I go.

What I mean to say is: Sometimes I can taste my own madness
and I don’t mind it, and I miss you, and I’m alive.

From “Present in All Things” in The Palace of Contemplating Departure. This is one of my favorite Saito poems.

3. You only have until 5pm today to enter for Geraldine Brooks tickets.

There are several entry options from Monday’s post, and another entry option Tuesday, Wednesday and today. Today you get entered for Geraldine Brooks tickets by commenting below about anything in today’s post, anything that made you think, smile, laugh, question.

4. Play Rafflecopter with me for two prizes:

National Poetry Month signed book giveaway contest Red Hen Press

Brynn Saito author photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis.

The Bryann Saito hardcover, signed copy of Palace of Contemplating Departure

And the cool pocket notebook from Red Hen Press.

Click Here to Enter for the signed hardcover and the Red Hen Press notebook!

5. Check out my Contests page because you can win other great things this week, like an Adrienne Rich signed book and a Ned Stuckey-French signed book!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Love, Marla

2 Comments on “Just Because Air is Free Doesn’t Mean You Breathe (and Other Free Things)

  1. The line “and I don’t mind it, and I miss you, and I’m alive,” reminded me of something i read the other day. It was a suggestion that when having difficult conversations, you substitute “and” whenever you want to say “but.” I’ve been trying it with myself for everyday things, just to see how it feels, and the difference is remarkable. “But I don’t mind it, and I miss you, but I’m alive” would carry such a different tone. It’s a fun exercise in thought and attitude.

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