“but the rain is full of ghosts tonight” – Vol. 40 (LIT)

“So many things I would have done / But clouds got in my way.” – Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now

We visit the Long Island Iced Tea (LIT) series this weekend for a special mix of Words on love, regret, longing, and aging. Or in other words, life. We hope you enjoy the selections. If you spot a favorite, or have one of your own, feel free to share in the comments. Have a great week everyone, we’ll see you very soon. Love, Christy and Jennie

***

“You say I resemble a flower; I partly agree; My brain is governed by black petals of burnt daisies.”

Anne Sexton, A Self-Portrait In Letters

***

***

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts…
There’s fennel for you, and columbines; there’s rue for you, and here’s some for me; we may call it herb of grace o’ Sundays. O, you must wear your rue with a difference. There’s a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they wither’d all when my father died.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

***

Mad Girl’s Love Song

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

~ Sylvia Plath

***

“It’s nothing: I am the Thing. Existence, liberated, detached, floods over me. I exist. I exist. It’s sweet, so sweet, so slow. And light; you’d think it floated all by itself. It stirs. It brushes by me, melts and vanishes. Gently, gently…My thought is me: that’s why I can’t stop. I exist because I think..and I can’t stop myself from thinking. At this very moment – it’s frightful – if I exist, it is because I am horrified at existing…I am, I exist, I think therefore I am; I am because I think, why do I think? I don’t want to think anymore, I am because I think that I don’t want to be, I think that I…because…ugh!  I flee. The criminal has fled, the violated body.”

Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

***

“Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.”

Geoff Dyer

***

“We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.”

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

***

“I want to feel all there is to feel, he thought. Let me feel tired, now, let me feel tired. I mustn’t forget, I’m alive, I know I’m alive, I mustn’t forget it tonight or tomorrow or the day after that.”

Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

***

For the Anniversary of My Death

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star
Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

~ W. S. Merwin, “For the Anniversary of My Death” from The Second Four Books of Poems (Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press, 1993).

***

Both Sides, painting (and cover art) by Joni Mitchell

Both Sides 1, painting (and cover art for Both Sides Now) by Joni Mitchell

***

“It was one of those days when you can see the ghosts of all the other lovely days. You drink a bit and watch the ghosts of all the lovely days that have ever been from behind a glass.”

– Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark

***

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Sonnet XLIII”

***

“There are times in your life when, despite the steel weight of your memories and the sadness that seems to lie at your feet like a shadow, you suddenly and strangely feel perfectly okay.”

 – Kevin Brockmeier

***

“The more Odysseus languished, the more he forgot. For nostalgia does not heighten memory’s activity, it does not awaken recollection; it suffices unto itself, unto its own feelings, so fully absorbed is it by its suffering and nothing else.”

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

***

“Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.”

Louise Erdrich, from “Advice to Myself”

***

. . . this pain is permanent, but, like a scar, it will fade. a crescent moon on your arm.
make no apologies for what you’ve done to survive.
it is okay to miss them every second.
it is okay to howl at the moon.
pain is an animal with sharp teeth and a soft heart.
wait.
it will get easier.
time will slip its fingers inside of that gaping hole
and pull the darkness out, little by little.
wait.

~ from Caitlyn Siehl’s “Grief Counseling” 

***

Running Free by Angela Ferreira

Running Free by Angela Ferreira

***

“Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don’t stop to think, don’t interrupt the scream, exhale, release life’s rapture. Everything is blooming. Everything is flying. Everything is screaming, choking on its screams. Laughter. Running. Let-down hair. That is all there is to life.”

Vladimir Nabokov

***

What the Living Do

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss — we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.

~ Marie Howe, “What the Living Do” from What the Living Do (interview with NPR.org)

***

“I love no one but you, I have discovered, but you are far away and I am here alone. Then this is my life and maybe, however unlikely, I’ll find my way back there. Or maybe, one day, I’ll settle for second best. And on that same day, hell will freeze over, the sun will burn out and the stars will fall from the sky.”

Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events

***

“Her heart sank into her shoes as she realized at last how much she wanted him. No matter what his past was, no matter what he had done. Which was not to say that she would ever let him know, but only that he moved her chemically more than anyone she had ever met, that all other men seemed pale beside him.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, A New Leaf

***

“And I guess I realized at that moment that I really did love her. Because there was nothing to gain, and that didn’t matter.”

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

***

Things I Want To Ask Your Boyfriend

1. Are her lips like the hot chocolate your mother made
During the winter months when you were seven?
Or have you not tasted her well enough to find the fine granules of cocoa that lightly come with each kiss?

2. Do you know her favorite songs?
Not when she is happy, but when she is sad.
What music reaches inside her ribcage and softly consoles her heart?

3. When she is sad, are you on the phone or are you at her door?
Words do not wipe away tears, fingers do.

4. Do you know all the things that keep her up at night?
Do you know why she has gone three days without sleep?
Do you know of the insurmountable waves of sadness that wash over her like a tsunami?

5. Do you know the things to say that will calm her heartbeat? The places to touch? The places to love?

6. Everytime you see her do you kiss her like it’s the last time but love her like it’s the first?

7. Do you love her?

8. Do you love her?

Nishat Ahmed, “Things I Want To Ask Your Boyfriend” 

***

 “The test of one’s decency is how much of a fight one can put up after one has stopped caring, and after one has found out that one can never please the people they wanted to please.”

~ Willa Cather (via BrainPickings.org)

***

“I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you.”

Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

***

 

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

~ from “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell

~~~

9 comments

  1. Like my favorite food, I devoured this so fast it gave me a tummy ache. I put it aside for a bit and came back for seconds. More slowly this time and I savored every bite.

    So good, Christy. Wow. I need to read Lemony Snicket (I don’t know why I haven’t). F. Scott Fitzgerald is always good–I need to read more of him, too. And then this…

    “There are times in your life when, despite the steel weight of your memories and the sadness that seems to lie at your feet like a shadow, you suddenly and strangely feel perfectly okay.”

    Um. Yes. A resounding yes!
    xo

    Like

    1. Oh yes, Words volumes are best savored bite by bite for best digestion, lol. Glad you enjoyed!

      A couple of my favorite Lemony Snicket quotes:
      “Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”

      “If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats.”

      “It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches.”

      Like

  2. perfect.
    i miss these so much and am so grateful she they suddenly appear in my mailbox, unexpected surprises.

    “We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.”

    one day, far too soon, not soon enough…we are so temporary, like Merwin says..passing our date of death each year with no idea, no wanting to know that we are finite, human, dying every day.

    Grateful for this moment. and this breathe. and this….and this……

    Like

    1. Didn’t Didion and Merwin pair well? And I couldn’t get the Joni song out of my head. Of course she and the Merwin made me think of you.

      Little surprises, yes! We’d been hoping others would feel that way.

      Grateful for you!

      Like

  3. “pain is an animal with sharp teeth and a soft heart.” I love that line, almost as much as I love Mad Girl’s Love Song. And the girl running with wolf and raven xo

    Like

    1. I wish I had written that line… I have poem envy with many of Caitlyn’s pieces. 🙂
      And that pic is just You. Well, if you ever start, you know, running. xo

      Like

  4. This is one of the best yet. You’re a true curator of humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wrote this, well, compiled it, after spending the day at the hospital with my dad. I guess that’s where the deeper themes stem from. So glad you enjoyed. I’m so happy when they work like that. Thank you!

      Like

  5. Loved this one, so good, I’m certainly returning to reread!

    Like

%d bloggers like this: