(vivid) (vividblog) (poetry) (poems) (words) (writing) (creative)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Today, like always, I looked at the woman who works in the office next to mine. But today, for once, I realized that in two years of seeing her every day, I had never really seen her.

I noticed the lines around her eyes when she smiles, the tiny grey hairs on her temples, the shape of her jaw. I regretted that I had never taken the time to recognize these things before.

Monday, September 26, 2005


At the red light, the man approached the stopped cars. His hair was long and dirty; one shoulder hunched and one arm hanging useless. At window after window, he offered a plastic cup with his good hand and mouthed a silent plea for coins. At window after window, heads shook him away.

When the light changed to green before he reached me, I was relieved. I drove away too fast, tossing him an apologetic smile as he blurred past my window. In my rearview mirror, he stood despondent on the concrete.

And immediately, I was ashamed of myself.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Fiction, continued

He looked older than he was: his nose, broken again and again, seemed as if it was an afterthought, a late addition to his face. His skin was scarred not by age but by years of smoke and drink and too many meetings with concrete.

But his eyes were still eager to please. Despite all they had seen, his eyes had the eternal optimism of a kicked dog that returns again and again to its master's side. Maybe this time, his eyes said, things would go better.

He twisted his hat in his oversized hands.

She slung the duffel bag over her shoulder and let him escort her off the platform. His rough hand humbly guided the small of her back.

Today's peeve

When someone gives me instructions to do something, but withholds all the critical background information. If I go ahead and try to execute the task, I inevitably do it wrong due to lack of said information. But if I ask questions, trying to get the information out of them, they get annoyed.

It's a no-win.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Outside the library in the morning, there are a dozen patrons waiting for the doors to open. They are children and retirees, well-dressed and shabby. They are a literary melting pot, and I love that there are still people in the world who value books enough to wait in line for them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


When I was younger, life was so raw and immediate. I wore my passion like a badge of honor and took on injustice as if I was tilting at personal windmills. There was no cause for which I did not have an argument. I was quick to laughter and even quicker to tears.

With age has come a sense of complacency. I am slower to act now, and it takes longer for outrage to build to a fire inside me. And I have lost the great empathy I once had for others' pain.

But in not feeling the world's misery, my heart is somehow lighter. I can enjoy a gorgeous meal, a beautiful film, a delicious sunlit afternoon, without worrying that it is all surface gloss. Maybe, I think, life can be beautiful after all.

I don't know which version of myself is the truth. I worry that my current self - absent her once-driving convictions - is shallow in comparison. But I know she is happier.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Today, everyone has the same comment: it's one of those lucky, drifting days, full of chance meetings with old friends and crisp sunshine at just the right warmth. Today seems like the kind of day that will coast me through the rest of the week.

Today is charmed and happy and easy. Today a smile comes quickly to my lips and sadness cannot stick. Today, anything might be possible.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fiction, continued

In the end, it hadn't mattered.

She had fallen asleep as the train careened through the night. When she woke her mouth was so dry she could almost taste the communion Padre Leon had offered her last Sunday. It made her wonder if the woman he had blessed would ever return.

She stepped onto the platform, wincing at the hostile sun and at the pain snaking into her thighs. The man rose from a shaded bench to meet her; he held his hat in his hands.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Something I overheard

If it was your story, how would you write it?

I want to write my life so that it turns out the way I hope. I want to cast myself as the strong female lead I've always imagined; so sure of herself and her path that others cannot help but fall into step.

Maybe in wanting it, I can make it happen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tooth mountain

The legend says that the giant was so furious he ripped a handful of stone from the top of the mountain and hurled it into the sea. But as children, they told me, they always thought the broken crest looked more like their gap-toothed smiles.

I turned to the water and squinted against the sun, trying to spot the missing tooth where it sat slanted into the waves.

Der Papagei

The house in Spain is near an animal sanctuary, and in the mornings we wake to a symphony of noise. A chorus of barking accompanies the expected rooster alarm at dawn.
But with it I also hear laughter, shrieking and catcalls, and wonder at the source. It is several days before we realize that a deliquent macaw is also serving his time there.

In the afternoons, when it is too hot to move, even the cicadas drone into silence.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Concentration camp

I cannot get this one paragraph from an AP news story out of my head.

A police officer took a dog from one little boy waiting to get on a bus in New Orleans.
"Snowball! Snowball!" the boy cried until he vomited. The policeman told a reporter he didn't know what would happen to the dog.

I know it's not the same thing. But it breaks my heart in the same way.


I'm leaving to eat olives and cheese in the afternoon sun; to drink warm red wine on humid evenings that extend almost to dawn.

I will meet strangers and treat them like family. And when it comes time to return home, I will try to bring some of this with me.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Old friends

I dreamed about old friends, people I knew in another time and place. It's been so long since I've seen them.

In my dream they were angry, and I wondered how they were faring in reality. Maybe my dream means that they need me.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New Orleans

I do not wish to go on in a world in which thousands can die because no one bothered enough to prepare for them.

A place bereft of human decency, in which victims turn on one another and violence becomes an automatic reaction to lack of supervision.

I am completely consumed by sadness.