I'm tired this morning. After a lovely night at fellow Slow Traveler Marcia’s house where we ate, drank and made some merry, I came home and chatted with a friend overseas until the wee hours. Now I'm up getting caffeinated as I have yet another gig I have to run in a few hours. Another gig outside in the heat, that is. I'm getting tired of these!
I'm one of those people that can come home terribly late and stay up reading poetry in bed. After my hot bath last night I curled into bed to read some of my favorites. I have stacks of books in my bedroom (yes, I actually read books) and love to return to the people I've grown so fond of again and again before my day ends and I'm on to a new one.
I become more me this way...
On one side of my bed are the stacks of novels, usually travelogues written by women about their time claiming their independence or settling into a new country.
Tales of a female nomad by Rita Golden Gelman is by far one of the best travelogues I've ever read and I think she's the cat's meow. It is a book I think all women should read. It's not at all fluffy and she doesn't write about finding a man to take care of her. She writes about self discovery and creating her own sense of bliss and taking on the world and becoming a local wherever she goes. She really is the ultimate Slow Traveler. I'd like to meet her some day. I think we'd click.
On my night table I have the poets. These are the books that are earmarked and yellowing and show much loving wear. Ah, there's Whitman, Paz, Neruda, Rilke and my girl Marina Tsvetaeva.
These are my people...
And look, there's the book I had on the bus from NYC back to providence all those years ago, that time I read poems to the handsome man next to me who turned out to be a zoologist. I had just purchased that book and he told me as he was interested in my love of poetry, so I read him "Zoo Keeper's Wife." He loved it. I told him I had been writing poetry myself since the age of ten (it's true). I told him about my college mentor, the woman I adored and who helped me find my voice, Mary Karr, and how I lived for words.
I still do.
The zoologist and the poet; we were fine traveling companions that day.
That book, Love Poems by Women, is filled with poems written by women all over the world and through the ages. I have been in possession of this book for many years now. She and I, we know each other well. She knows my moods, my needs and my desires. She could tell you what pages she opens to most often. She knows my insides, this book of poems by women. She knows the me I tuck away from the world.
This is perhaps one of my favorite poems. It is written by Nina Cassian, a wonderful Romanian poet. She writes what I think. I savor whatever she puts on the page.
If you really exist - show up
as a bear, a goat, a pilot,
come with eyes, mouth, voice,
- demand something from me,
force me to sacrifice myself,
take me in your arms, protect me from above,
feed me with the seventh part of one fish,
hiss at me, reanimate my fingers,
refill me with aromas, with astonishment
- resurrect me.