21 November 2021

this is a picture I did not take

first written seven years ago on november 5, 2014 and when I read through it again just now (on a whim, while revisiting the archives) I thought, this is why I write here. this is why.

this is a picture I did not take

I read with ezra each night at bedtime. as in, he reads his book, I read mine. gone are the days of reading out loud. have I told you? one of my greatest joys in life has been reading roald dahl books out loud to my children. a few months ago, I begged ezra to let me read danny the champion of the world out loud to him one last time. reluctantly, he agreed and then, I should add, barely tolerated the nightly reading. so, that was that. the last time, the very very last time and now our reading together looks completely different but that's okay. I'll take what I can get.

after our twenty minutes or so of silent reading (which I have actually grown to love very much), he tossed his book in the general direction of the nightstand and turned to sleep on his left side, just like he always does. and then I turned out the light, said the prayers and sang the two favorite songs, just like I always do. and then, usually, I am quick to get up and out of there because, you know, netflix. big green couch, adult quiet time. I am ashamed to admit just how quick I am to sing those two songs and slip out of the room. I am ashamed but I am still quick.

but tonight, as I felt myself rushing through the prayer, the two favorite songs, I felt that wistful thing, that bittersweet thing, that thing that sometimes overtakes me and I lay there for a little while and I willed myself to memorize every detail. the deep green glow of the alien nightlight, arm slung over a dingy sock monkey, slight curve of a still-small shoulder, the hum and hiss of the humidifier, the sound of his breathing. sandy hair in perfect waves, pencil-drawn waves.

as if I can hold on to any of this, as if any of us can hold on to anything, or any of what happens to us. and I wondered how many times my own mother tried to memorize details like these, if she was able to hold onto any of them, if she felt the way I did tonight. I would give anything to know. but I won't know, I can't know. and it's not okay, it will never be okay but the wondering is all I have. the imagining  and the memorizing is all that's left and I'll take what I can get.

20 November 2021

your moon is my moon is our moon

are you looking at the moon right now? get up, walk outside and look at that thing. that giant, luminous thing. take five deep breaths, take five hundred deep breaths if you need to, then let that crazy bright moon swallow you whole for a few minutes.

then march yourself back inside and sleep the sleep of a thousand babies because goodness, there's work to do.

19 November 2021

november the nineteenth

"I insist on being shocked. I am never going to become immune. I think that's a kind of failure to see so much of it that you die inside. I want to be surprised and shocked every time."

-toni morrison

18 November 2021

addendum

re: when the world is too much-- 

in addition to finding solace in moments written on paper (things for remembering)-- I might also recommend a spoonful of brie. just one. eaten slowly, mindfully. not that this is news, but I have come to the conclusion that brie is like if butter and cheese had a beautiful baby and I swear I felt my knees buckle in the kitchen just now, felt the weight of the world lift for just a second. 

17 November 2021

the secret lives of secret lives

* //14// //12// wall of good * lesser known january //40// 87//365 145//365 butter

look, I don't have all the answers and certainly my finger is on no particular pulse, but I know a poem when I see one. and I know I'm partial to the back stories and the back sides of things. I once stood in the shadow of the formidable flatiron building in new york but was more taken with the nearby happenstance of a canary yellow shovel against a dirty brick wall. my proclivities are my proclivities.

16 November 2021

(yet)

I want to write about turning fifty but I don't think I have it in me. (yet).

15 November 2021

november the fifteenth

121//365

I keep coming back to the idea that I should have been someone else. I should have been something else. a high school art teacher. a florist. an art director. a mail carrier. a librarian. anything and/or anyone but what and/or who I am now, which is a person writing a blog post on a monday morning, in between looking for part-time jobs and hustling for more freelance photography work and googling 'where to sell old gold chains from the eighties' and 'what to do with your life when you don't know what to do with your life'.

14 November 2021

13 November 2021

peak

where to look

it's hard to do anything else right now when the trees are doing things. when they are begging you to come outside, to stand underneath them and look up.

12 November 2021

light bulbs

I am not exactly ready to talk about the woman who approached me at target last week. me, flustered and sweaty-faced after twenty ridiculous minutes in the dressing room (first time since the before times), two ridiculous sweaters in my cart, neither of which I had any intention of buying. I am not ready to talk about the little hand-written laminated notecard the woman showed me that said something about needing food for her babies. I am not ready to admit that I followed her to the baby food aisle, even though I knew this was a common scam. not ready to talk about how she dropped container after container of baby formula in my cart, nearly one hundred dollars' worth before I finally found my voice and offered to purchase her a gift card instead. I am not ready to talk about how angry she seemed at the thought of a gift card, how much this confused me, how it had me questioning the ethics of gift cards for people in need, wondering if I'd missed something. not ready to talk about how she decided she wanted cash instead, how I obediently followed her to the front of the store to the ATM, how the whole thing put me in a trance-like state, how it felt like I was watching the entire scene unfold from the rafters of target. 

I am not exactly ready to talk about how she just disappeared. how I wandered the store afterwards, in a daze, pretending, inexplicably, to talk on my phone. how I stood in the aisle with the light bulbs and called my mother. my mother, who has been dead for nine years now. not ready to discuss how the number is no longer in service, of course, but the recording still plays and right there, in front of the general electric 4-packs of soft whites and LED bulbs and incandescents, I whispered into the phone, mom? mom? are you there? 

I am not ready to talk about how, for a second, I thought she might answer.

11 November 2021

how


spotted while I was walking home yesterday and then, the asking, the asking, the asking, and the singing in my brain, from the moment I bent down to pick up that card to the second I reached the front door--
how 
how
how
how is it already november 
how 

10 November 2021

I did not write this

but I sure wish I had. today I share with you the very best thing I have read in a good while.

Elegy for the Last Bottle of Ranch

This is not a poem about willpower. Though I've been an After a handful of times. Laid on my side with barely a handful of flesh to offer up-- nothing for my lover to cup & didn't even have to suck in my gut. Just sat down in jeans-- without thinking. Do you want me to sigh & say, Those were the days. We both do. But I was unsatisfied then, too. Thought, Just a few more pounds. Almost there. More running nowhere, more core strength. How I balanced hands & knees on inflatable balls--like some skinny, circus elephant. Trained to please the crowd. Hours of concrete & cattle prod. & still I stood before the mirror, reshaping my form, wishing myself clay before the kiln. Like the day I decided to cut my own bangs. The thrill of the scissor's snap each time I evened out the line more & more until Dear God someone stop me please. Little fringe of hair, cheap stage curtains stuck in midair. How I tire of this performance. & yet I can't stop auditioning for the lead. Practicing after school for months. Doris Day's I Enjoy Being a Girl with a hairbrush for a mic. All hope & no irony & I never even made it to Try-Outs. Kept that little wish for myself. Meant for someone else. Let Someone Else be better than. Let her be this, be that. Be thin, be flat. & for once just let me enjoy being abundant, fecundate. A venus figurine made flesh. Let me toss the last bottle of ranch in the trash only because I've learned to make my own. Greek yogurt & a healthy dab of Duke's. Fresh dill & lemon & garlic. Better than store-bought. Who cares what's hidden in her valleys. Come try my mac & cheese, my spring pea risotto. Join me in the kitchen as I hand roll fettuccine. Let only dough be paper thin. I'll pour the red. Glass after glass for the ample-assed. See what I have tasted & tasted and not one goddamn drop of me was wasted.

Danielle DeTiberus

09 November 2021

forever and always

bywater city of bridges long live annies smoke break 82nd avenue tennessee portland

I once heard a fellow instant photographer say it would be cheaper to smoke crack and collect diamonds than to shoot instant film. where is the lie? I spot no lie. an exaggeration maybe, but nary a lie.

still, I come back to instant film, again and again. I order a pack or two when I can afford it, load up the the SX-70 and shoot when it feels right. twice a year, in the spring and fall, I share my favorites in the beloved, long-running polaroid week pool over on ye olde flickr. submissions are limited to two polaroids per day, which means I put thought into what I choose to share. reader, I have grown to love this ritual.

above polaroids were submissions for fall polaroid week 2021, new orleans and portland strongly represented here, years 2017 and 2021, respectively. 

the truth is that I'd rather have polaroids than all the diamonds in the world.

08 November 2021

I did not

found written in my moleskine, january 10, 2021:

I did not squander today
though it felt like I did
I woke up at eight, then coffee
put myself together
showed up for the first virtual book club
felt vulnerable for an hour
fixed myself a real breakfast
something something quiche, cara cara orange
showed up for virtual church
talked, even though I didn't know folks
then, communion
baked a batch of cinnamon rolls
tried to wake ezra up before noon
reveled in the pretend fire
that can be turned on with a remote control the size of a pack of gum
cat napped on the couch
showed up for another zoom
books with my friend joel--
joel from england
called ava, made plans
bundled up, walked to the library
noticed things--
birds
cigarette
sunlight
face mask
returned two books, picked up one
the complete collected poems of lucille clifton 1965-2010
walked home, noticed things--
birds 
cigarette
sunlight
face mask
came home to that almost lovely
fake fire
that lives in the fireplace 
collapsed on the couch
contemplated writing
pulled together dinner instead
read poems by rita dove instead
dozed off while
the makeshift casserole
warmed in the oven
cleaned the kitchen
tried to listen to a rebecca solnit book
realized I might not be
an audio book person
made a mental note to remember
something she said about 
how present you are when you are lost
helped ezra with his essay
then, dinner
then, couch
then, book
then, cleaning
then, the feeling that inevitably comes 
at the end of the day
that squandered feeling

07 November 2021

dear self

118//365

write down the things you want to remember. scribble them down on pieces of paper, scraps of whatever is around, whatever you have. write the moments down, no matter how small they seem. fold them up and put them in an envelope or stuff them in a jar or cigar box or whatever you have. let it be messy. let it not be this precious thing, but this necessary, practical thing you do as often as you brush your teeth. 

revisit whenever you need to but mostly when the world is too much. dump them all out on the floor and read them one by one. the world will still be too much but you will be sitting there in a pile of paper magic.