After the Witch Hunt by Megan Falley
Open Your Mouth Like A Bell by Mindy Nettifee
April, a month of so much packed into 30 days... that I’m still trying to recover from it. I had Yoga Teacher Training, a poetry class, and all of the normal stuff and routines. It was exhausting, but worth it! That said, I got very little reading done... but what I did read was phenomenal! And... it was all poetry. I always enjoy honoring and celebrating National Poetry Month.
The first book I read was actually one written by one of my yoga teachers, who just happens to be kind of a big deal in the poetry world, Megan Falley. Because I’m obsessed with order, I wanted my first read of hers to be her first book, and it just happened to have the best title ever, After the Witch Hunt. I loved it.
Here are some of my faves:
The Honest House- In which she talks about the time after a break up in which she is trying to move on and all the measures she has to take to do so.
The First TIme I Met His Mother, Christmas Eve & The Last Time I Met His Mother, Valentine’s Day- So good the tie in of the carving of a beast and the dichotomy between one holiday and another.
Shoot Her- A list of forgiving. All of the women that have disappointed this feminist, ending with a forgiving of her own self for hating all of them and for trying to beat them into submission.
The Runaways- This one was my favorite. It was a poem of two women recovering in a house with a wraparound porch. Beautiful images of tulip gardens and shears, bathtub and fistfuls of lavender, piñatas stuffed with baked goods, and dancing in a candy rain. And chimes.
I loved that one so much because I had this weird drive home from work once in 2016, where I drove the back way through all the farmland. It was fall and the weather was changing, and the leaves were flying off the trees in big gusts of wind. And an insane sadness swept over me and settled right down inside my heart. I was suddenly sad that another year was ending and it was another year where I didn’t find that great love. It’s like I could sense in my bones that there was limited time.... and I could see all that I was missing. It was a farm. It was nights spent sitting on that front porch picking at a guitar, planting a garden, a record player and hardwood floors worn down from dancing. It was deep sink basins and butcher blocks with fresh veggies being chopped. It was those chimes as the afternoon rain shower blows in. And the stacks of wood in winter.
I remember crying about all of this in a therapy session... and the therapist asking me if it was a man or a woman there with me. I remember being so sad that it was a man. And I remember the therapist thinking that was a big breakthrough for me (and for him). And I remember resenting him thinking he was forcing me into a box.
But this poem, The Runaways... it makes me feel that there is love there, and that there is healing. And that is all that matters.
Ok- the second book I read was Open Your Mouth Like A Bell. This one. This one has a poem called: Albedo. This poem sums up the past two years of my life.
I’m going to share the whole thing here, because you can’t see the beauty of it unless you see the whole thing.
It was like I was seeing it for the first time. Winter.
An empty castle whose halls I could wander forever.
Days like songless singers all dressed in sequins. January
holding the door. January eyeing the endless libraries of
moments. January pausing at the mirror long enough that
everything could crystallize. I had turned into someone I
didn’t know. I was quiet and detached, depressed, low
resolution. But on the inside I was hallucinating an inside.
One night I had a dream that started like dreams start.
I was separated from my friends in an elaborate hotel. I was
looking for a room, the room I had the key to, only the
room numbers weren’t sequential, and I got lost and loster.
I turned around a corner and begun down another hallway,
and this one was lined with velvet fainting couches. I am
tired, I thought. They looked so comfortable. I lied down
on one, and then, a friendly face appeared from behind the
couch to greet me- Albert Einstein, in his later years, his
hair whitened to feathery exclamation points. He helloed
excitedly, adorably. He wanted to introduce me to his
husband, and then his husband’s face appeared too, and it
was another Einstein. I asked them, I think, how long
they’ve been together, and they looked at each other so
tenderly I could cry. They straightened each other’s ties, and
they kissed, and I never got an answer. I woke confused,
pummeled. Kissing Einsteins, I thought, Christ, what the
hell does that mean, and it didn’t mean anything. Except
it did. It meant something about genius maybe. Or matter
and energy. Or deep feeling tempering intellect. Or it was
an image of equals in love, yes, I was very much in love.
Wasn’t I? It was new still, nothing like this love of lifelong
husbands, and I was already having trouble being the equal
of it, tenderness and vulnerability struggling to gain
purchase in me like a second language, and I couldn’t quite
feel it fully yet, but I was being introduced to what was at
stake if I didn’t begin the real work of healing, if I didn’t
start melting my defenses. I was tired, yes, but maybe from
carrying what I no longer needed to carry, some loyalty or
responsibilty to the adults who didn’t know how to heal,
who didn’t know how to love themselves, all these
unstraightened ties, all these locked doors. This went on
and on. January posing painfully by the windows. January
coaxing the questions out of bed. January hiring the night
I bought myself a polar bear, a plastic one, and made a tiny
crystal ball for it, out of marble and a tiny brass stand.
I gave it small, encouraging piles of fake snow to stand on.
I told it stories about the long lines of psychics it had
descended from. I told it stories about twin lightening gods,
about the ache I wanted back now. I waited for inspiration.
Ok- what have you been reading? Whose your favorite poet of all time? Please share!