You Can't Have It All
|by Barbara Ras|
But you can have the fig tree and its fat leaves like clown hands
From Bite Every Sorrow by Barbara Ras, published by Louisiana State University Press, 1998. Copyright © 1997 by Barbara Ras. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
I'm a perfectionist and an overachiever, so I don't say those words lightly or often.
I really accomplished something, and it feels damn good.
The thesis defense went off without a hitch. I had several old friends and schoolmates who were there to cheer me on, not to mention my mother and 92 year old grandfather (nose dripping and everything).
The committee asked hard questions, but I answered them all -- maybe not well or elegantly, but I at least had something to say to each. Their questions lasted for 45 minutes, and then the audience asked another 20 minutes worth. It was a lively discussion for sure.
All in all, this degree has been in some sense 6 years in the making. 2 years in Chicago and 4 here in ABQ. When it came down to it, I was able to sustain the effort. Grueling and panic-inducing as it was.
So now? Stay tuned for what I dream up next. This weekend is for poetry -- writing a code of conduct for the poetry community -- no kidding -- and an introduction for an anthology of poems from Route Words, Albuquerque's version of Seattle's Poetry on the Bus program.
Thanks for playing, all you supporters!
This girl did you proud.
Friday, March 17, 2006
cleaning up after boys
finding places again
for all that spilled
onto ticking sheets
this pile of words
fabrics washed fresh
so now I rest
clean as the day
he made me
now I make me
trying not to drink
the desert being safer
for solitary camels
not thinking of oasis
the coming sun
in two humps
the moon slipping romance
over sleeping volcanoes
to the east
tucking one more dream
beyond one more distant
There's this repeating image of the man who wants/respects/adores/admires me who just can't choose me, for whatever reason. I'm sick of it.
To indulge this little pity-party moment, a selection of past poems of love and bile:
Ice fault lines shift with starlight winds
you shivering with fear that is not cold
me stroking shed skin
I have always been alone.
peering down darkness
edged with dashboard lights?
Could you have taken the thread
to unhem my patched-up life
left the pattern
sewn up a future
in the folds of myself?
Strength is smiling into half-dead eyes
feeling the air rushing past
falling into unlined pit
knowing if I get there
no one will help me land
jumping in anyway
again and again and again and again.
She couldn’t see past the feel of disappointment
that heard her lying to herself
He couldn’t smell the rotten parts
atrophying in the narrowed sites
of his once-straight desire.
In all the wrong ways
they were together
to all the problems
their love began.
He croaked and she twittered
but the bird and the frog
hunkered down and unfeeling
than the rigid noose solution
of their falling-apart love.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The bestest ever reverend has blogs now! (She's on sabbatical.)
Check out: http://www.sabbaticalblogging.blogspot.com/
And me? Who am I as a Unitarian Universalist?
My Unitarian Jihad Name is: The Machine Gun of Courteous Debate.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Let's start with the time. Please note: 1:44 am.
Once again, I'm at work printing. Deep into the morning. Coffee cold and worn off.
But it's as done as it's going to be. For now.
364 pages later, and you know what I've learned? A thesis is like a black hole. The closer you get to it, the more energy it sucks. The more energy you give, the bigger and suckier it gets.
So now it sucks, trust me.
Six chapters. 93 Figures. 20 Tables. Well over 100 sources. Not sure how many footnotes. Around 50.
A long labor, to be sure.
Other announcements: an old and dear friend just became a father. It's complicated, but he sounds blissful, and it's good to hear him happy.
It's strange to me -- and not subtle -- that one of the only things I've ever been really clear about is wanting to have kids. And having kids or not having kids has been one reason propelling me out of relationships. Yet many of the men I've dated now how children. Hmmm... Try not to take that one personally! It does and it doesn't have anything to do with me. Like most things.
It's also strange to be at the end of such a long process with nothing but paper to show for it. Lots of paper. Lots of paper that takes fucking FOREVER to print.
I never really thought I would finish. Something about perfectionism made easier when you don't actually finish anything you might be able to judge imperfect.
But poking and prodding and cajoling and supporting by multiple friends has gotten me here: the other side.
Is it myself I've labored to pull through?
A new future come to light?
What light through yonder window breaks? It comes from the east. It has stories.