jill and i traveled an hour or so to lenox, massachusetts, to see marie read her wonderful poetry. she had the high noon spot today as part of berkshire wordfest, hosted by the mount, edith wharton’s house. it’s an annual festival, and though we were there only briefly, it’s clear they do a great job. and what a contrast in settings from yesterday: 80,000 people downtown, on my street, for lark fest. and today, this proper, quiet estate in the midst of the wilderness.
a warm august evening on willett street. one of my neighbors asks what i’m reading. before i can answer, his partner tells him, she’s not reading. she’s writing. she’s a poet. i tilt my head as far back as it goes and admire the crooked line against the sky made by roofs of the brownstones and the church on the corner. it is the border between the positive and negative spaces. a metaphor, if ever there were one.
as one of the “women poets of willett street,” i featured at poets in the park last night. this 4- or 5-part series (saturdays in july) is one of my favorite local poetry events. and now, since i live on washington park, it’s a few steps from my door. though i read other work, i focused my reading on poems set in downtown albany, including a couple new ones, like the one below. i wrote it after the boys and i decided to be tourists in our own city, and so we booked a tour with the albany aquaducks on the company’s final weekend of doing business locally.
lean into as many first kisses as it takes: / the stoop where lips meet at 2 a.m. belongs to you, / as does the empty sidewalk and the soft orange / halo around the street lamp. the quiet is yours, / as well, along with the strange shadow / of a tree on your neighbor’s front door
music from across the alley. howard jones from the 80s: no one ever is to blame. at first i think, blech. and wonder why someone would advertise that kind of musical bad taste so loudly. but then, of course, i find myself singing along. you want her. and she wants you.
the boys love walking in the park. even though they are country boys and boys who’ve explored their mama’s stompin’ grounds in the maine woods, they still love downtown albany’s washington park. it’s their front yard when they’re with me.
i am 24 hours out of my third break-up in as many months, and i am thinking i need to go on my own wild solo hike. it’s not enough to abandon everything you know: you need to make something in its place.