“On What Has Happened Here” poem written & read by Heather Lenz
4 AM here. Just returned from outside to smoke another cigarette I didn’t need. Amused briefly by the black cat sleeping on my chair outside. Decided to boil some water for tea since I can’t sleep anyway. At some point after tossing and turning you just give up. Can’t have my usual dark roast coffee since my coffee maker broke yesterday. And just when I trusted Black & Decker. I thought maybe I’d read or write poetry but too spent even for that. I think most poets sometimes get exhausted with themselves. The awareness, the intensity.
Virginia Woolf thought it important to write something every day- that even in the simplest of days there is something worth noting. I think this is true, I just don’t practice it often. Then I find myself wishing I had written down something my son did or said when he was five, or how a rainstorm felt on a particular Spring day. Even if not a poem or story or anything intriguing, just even a line or two about any given day or night. But even something simple can be difficult when dealing with self-exhaustion.
Yesterday it was a rainy summer day, nice and cool. As I was walking toward my balcony, there sat perched on the rail a large hawk I often see flying around. It was staring straight into my apartment and my mouth dropped in surprise. Then it swiftly flew away to a nearby tree…Which made me wish I had left the sliding glass door open, wondering if it might have entered my apartment as another bird did last Spring.
Last night I sat outside and cried. I despised myself for doing so and for feeling that way and wasn’t even sure of the root cause. I of course can name many internal struggles and sorrows, for myself and for others, but the tears washed over me suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere. Many might assume that poets can cry often and easily, but I do not find this to be the case with myself nor many other poets I’ve known. Perhaps because so many of them are shed through our pens rather than our eyes.
Lady is isolated star,
her hair as dark as the sullen bar
Where people walk past her in the old café,
Loggers and sluts spend their dimes for the day
Her children are distant, her lover diseased
her tab for the food leaves the owner displeased
Yet somehow God finds a way to her home,
provides relief from that silent phone
And when people walk with their gossip and talk
she sometimes feels the weight,
Of dreams that were lost and lives that were crossed
and how she would sit there and wait
Lady is Weeping Willow,
her face as shadowed as the crease of her pillow
where the moon shines in through winter skies,
and Jesus takes notes from the depths of her eyes.
since the war. I would like to make
a million signs for my life; markers
of time that say in this place I stood
& loved or wept. Here is where I
smiled at my son, or stroked colors
on a canvas.
Here is where my poetry hurt & maimed
& healed. Here is the sign that I was someone,
& no one, & everything.
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