Tuesday, July 21, 2015

hot enough?


deep liquid summer,
and lengthening,
as salty sweat,
in primordial descent,
runs down our oozing bodies,
its way,
to the sea.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...Monday, June 1, 2015 (which happens to be National Cancer Survivors Day)
What a wonderful day, June 1. Summer! And a shout out to Aunt Anne, Amy, Doris, Grammie Ruthie C., Grandma Dorothy, Emerson, and all the other amazing friends and family members who have managed to kick cancer's ass so far!
Outside my window...
Birds are singing their individual, melodic songs. Jackie's love for birds (and all things sound, really) is giving me a new love for the sounds around us in nature, and specifically, a desire to learn more bird calls.
I am thinking...
About what is really important in a marriage. I have been thinking about this all year (decade, lifetime...). For me, the most important things are: that the two people mutually share love, communication (especially verbal, but also affection and acts of service), sex, and the willingness to resolve conflict together. And loving Christmas can't hurt either. I just added that last one in there for fun.
I am thankful...
For a loving family - my first family of Mom, Dad, Lauren; my very loving and accepting extended family, whom I miss terribly on a pretty much continual basis; and my created family of friends and of the "family unit," being Scott, Lucinda Grace, and Jack Lawrence. Though all of them challenge me in a thousand ways daily, they also make me a much better, stronger, more loving and compassionate person, and they all bless me with endless unconditional grace. Thank you for being mine and I will try to be my best for you.
I am wearing...
my favorite purple shirt. Periwinkle. What a great color.
I am creating...
a manuscript of poetry, mostly new writings from this past year (some of my best, I think), that I would very much like to read publicly soon, like in Mom's circle, and that I hope to turn into a book, possibly titled, "Hard-Won Truths: Poetry on Love and Life."
I am going...
to Washington D.C. in a couple of weeks on union business - my first trip away alone without the kids - and I am excited. Have nothing, absolutely nothing, to wear. Hope to fit in time for a museum or two. Haven't been to Washington since I was a teenager, and a lot has happened there since then. Would love to go with a history buff, or with a week's time to meander in my favorite style of exploration (museums, churches, monuments, tour the White House, great restaurants and music, ride the bus all over the place, that sort of thing). But this will be a short trip, and I will be traveling with work friends (=basically strangers). So I am keeping expectations low, will be thrilled with anything, and am hoping very much the hotel has a pool! Yeehaw!
I am wondering...
how to create the type of family and life I want to have, as it does not seem to fit in the traditional mold, and almost none of the models shown to me seems quite right for me and Scott. I am wondering if God's grace is big enough to make a new path for us. I believe it is. But apparently grace does not equal easy or straightforward. I suppose that is okay (and fitting).
I am reading...
The Five Love Languages again. I am learning a lot about things I could have (should have?) done differently in the past and trying to learn as much as I can for the future. I think my love language is "words of affirmation" closely followed by "physical touch." Regardless of your relationship status, I would recommend this book because it is highly insightful and helpful in understanding yourself and the others with whom you live, work, and play. I remembered it as being more religious and preachy than it actually is - a nice realization that I can read it again with no personal hindrances.
I am hoping...
to visit my friends one of these years: Rebecca and Andrew, Kate, Amy, Juli Squires, Beth/Doris/Kelly in CA, Davy J in NYC, Robin in Canada, Prudence, and all the other old, tried and true friends whom my heart longs for with enormous weight.
I am learning...
how to honor time for myself, how to protect and cherish it - that quiet, that stillness, or that blessed exercise, whatever - even if it sometimes makes me lonely because once I spend time with myself, there is no more time left for friends. It is just.so.important. Healing and energizing. And VITAL for figuring out the thorny decisions I am facing and honoring the suffering and joys that are happening amidst everything else.
In my garden...
is nothing. I asked Irv to build me a raised garden bed/trough for our porch, so I could garden with Lucinda (and Jack). Then I got overwhelmed with every other effing project that needs doing and told him to hold off. Now I am waffling back the other way and thinking how nice it would be to have something living, growing - like fresh lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, herbs, and cucumbers. Honestly, I have no idea how to garden. I remember years playing in my mother's garden in Brookfield. It was so beautiful, so organized, so full of life (and worms)! Someday. Truly, someday...
In my kitchen...
are several groceries to make several delicious, home-cooked meals and it's been too stinking hot to turn on the oven or stove to make any of them. My little daughter loves to help me cook, and we really enjoy making muffins and cookies together, or quiche, or soup. All of which I have the ingredients for...maybe this afternoon, as it is cool and rainy today...
A favorite quote for today...

A peek into one of my days...
[nobody wants to see that kind of crazy. I live with toddlers. 'nuff said.]
One of my favorite things...
is writing alone in a coffee shop for hours, while drinking a delicious coffee or mocha or cappuccino. Even better, doing this with a friend who enjoys the silence too for reading or writing, and every once in a while, coming out with something you just have to share, then back to your book...deeeeelightful. (Miss you, Kate, and Juli.)
Post Script
(this amused me this morning...)

Love, Ally

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Elegy for Smoking
by Patrick Phillips

It’s not the drug I miss
but all those minutes
we used to steal
outside the library,
under restaurant awnings,
out on porches, by the quiet fields.
And how kind
it used to make us
when we’d laugh
and throw our heads back
and watch the dragon’s breath
float from our mouths,
all ravenous and doomed.
Which is why I quit, of course,
like almost everyone,
and stay inside these days
staring at my phone,
chewing toothpicks
and figuring the bill,
while out the window
the smokers gather
in their same old constellations,
like memories of ourselves.

Or like the remnants
of some decimated tribe,
come down out of the hills
to tell their stories
in the lightly falling rain —

to be, for a moment, simply there
and nowhere else,
faces glowing
each time they lift to their lips
the little flame.

This could not be any more accurate! I wish I had written this poem. I LOVE it. ~Ally

Monday, February 16, 2015

oh do I love this poem.

Invitation to Love
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Come when the nights are bright with stars
Or come when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
Drops on the hay-field yellow.
Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene’er you may,
And you are welcome, welcome.

You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,
You are soft as the nesting dove.
Come to my heart and bring it to rest
As the bird flies home to its welcome nest.

Come when my heart is full of grief
Or when my heart is merry;
Come with the falling of the leaf
Or with the redd’ning cherry.
Come when the year’s first blossom blows,
Come when the summer gleams and glows,
Come with the winter’s drifting snows,
And you are welcome, welcome.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

ordinariness is lovely

Take Love for Granted

Assume it's in the kitchen,
under the couch, high
in the pine tree out back,
behind the paint cans
in the garage. Don't try
proving your love
is bigger than the Grand
Canyon, the Milky Way,
the urban sprawl of L.A.
Take it for granted. Take it
out with the garbage. Bring
it in with the takeout. Take
it for a walk with the dog.
Wake it every day, say,
"Good morning." Then
make the coffee. Warm
the cups. Don't expect much
of the day. Be glad when
you make it back to bed.
Be glad he threw out that
box of old hats. Be glad
she leaves her shoes
in the hall. Snow will
come. Spring will show up.
Summer will be humid.
The leaves will fall
in the fall. That's more
than you need. We can
love anybody, even
everybody. But you
can love the silence,
sighing and saying to
yourself, "That' s her."
"That's him." Then to
each other, "I know!
Let's go out for breakfast!"

"Take Love for Granted" by Jack Ridl, from Practicing to walk Like a Heron. © Wayne State University Press, 2013. Reprinted with permission.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


The Layers

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.