No we like to swish, we like swinging, sliding! What about those colorful childish murals that paper the city and the many of us, so many of us lacking merry, searching out the glory of remembered gradeschool track meets, orange slices, the squirt of summer in our faces. Snow-sliding on bellies and winter hats–
Whimsy isn’t flimsy. It’s our strong stalk, our tipsy too-heady heads are weights, back forth, waving, nodding out. This whimsy is fingerpainting, putting our mouths in the air baby birds, expectant, nourishment is on the way. Keep going. Natalie Goldberg says keep writing, burn down to First Thoughts. Keep plowing, mole-Mary. Savior. Deep sea christ, fishing tentacled, and how could a giant octopus wrap its arms around a shark–i saw this on youtube–a fiercely determined shark, whip-smart instincts. The octopus grabbed and and started chomping on its still-moving back. What does a rattled shark fin look like. Taste like.
What about my own whimsical shark nature. What about hips carrying clown carts, juggling balls keep slipping out between the slats. Writing that is unaffected, that is true and play. Play with words–that’s what building blocks are for! Turn all these things into poems. Every spilled drink is a poem. Every flawed and ugly thing, a poem. Even teeth. Even the bare-knuckled growl of a white-bellied shark gone down in the arms of a lying-in-wait octopus.
Take heed: nothing is impervious. And even should I grow ill and well-behaved, my whimsy will wave about me, a bulletproof mantle, solid, redemptive.
I am Seattlite now, a satellite from the main orb of childhood in Kansas, that heavy earthbound place with no oceans just lakes, just monsters like Loch Ness and Bob Dole haunting the murky turgid waters. Why does my tether stretch so far yet still elastic me, popping back and forth, helium-filled floaters, I am sending out communication from this vantage point. Messages from your satellite, Seattle, visitor from another world, another planet, I am alien bursting out of myself.
Seattlite now, a place where always green, always relief from hard-prying eyes of churchfolk and all that small narrow-eyed hallway, all the lockers lined up orange brown like the worst kind of Halloween candy. Seattle, a satellite, beam me down Gaia, grab my roots and yank them feet-first down into your fire. Oh fire warm hearth warm bosom of Great Mother, your satellite Seattle floats not totally unconcerned all these mile above you, we are enamored of forest/ocean/mountain melange.
Mint melange, the Trader Joe’s tea I drink with Amanda, the lemongrass cuts the cold metal of mint, puts a summer splash down in the the middle. Middle school, middle school students like the ones I will tutor. Mentor, tutor juju I am good with kids because I’m loose and wily, wild and wooly, Snuffelupagus. I am free now, floating, up Seattle like a satellite, picking up on startalk, the elaborate flashing and winking of our sisters in the sky. Also I am a sister in the sky.
I am clematis, feet planted in cool dark earth, purple-petaled face drinking in enormous sun. I like to think of things on an enormous scale. Also a micro-level. Micro-organism, micro-finance, micro-focus on the oppression within me first. Oh oppression is such a big, academic-sounding word! What is it in the simplest of terms? Fear wound push press smother, kites without tails, how can we fly? And how can we be Seattle and satellite, together and at once, be our own reflections? Feet buried, head floating, clematis. I’m glad I took those horticulture classes if for nothing else than to have all this knowledge banked–plant ID was my favorite.
When I wrote that Winter poem and sought my mind quickly for a specific tree name, cottonwood bobbed to the surface. Then later, in revision, I went to look up images of cottonwood trees in winter, to make sure it worked, and the first picture pops up with the caption “Kansas State Tree.” I had no idea. It’s what my subconscious grabbed and how much other knowledge is packed away up there in my pack-rat mind? My animal card yesterday was mouse. Never had that one come up before. All about focus, scrutiny, storing away details, information.
Mouse is perhaps one of the most underestimated of our brethren.