Shiver Me Timbers

king-philip

The Wreck of King Philip

When we arrive at the beach,
sun-soaked and salty,
the sight of her sand-mired stern
is anti-climactic.

Sleep deprivation has that affect:
there is either too much climax
or none at all.

Bereft of anchor, she ran aground here in 1878,
abandoned by all her men,
left to splinter and keen
on the January shore.

I circle her half-submerged shell
clicking pictures and searching
for some kind of feeling,
for the smallest quiver
of shivery timbers,

but get only sand
in the eye.

-Lo, all sandy-eyed.

Cups Runneth Over

bazonga

This post is all about boobs.

If hooters aren’t your bag, so to speak, then there’s nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

To the rest of you, specifically to all my as-yet un-impregnated lady friends, let me say this:

For god’s sake, do not ever take your beautifully perky tits for granted.

Unlike my friend Michael, who will never live down the drunken text he sent that read, “I LUV BIG BOOBIES!” (the backstory involves a film shoot featuring Jennifer Coolidge in a bubble bath), I’ve never been a fan of the giant bazongas. As a (former) B or C cup, medium-sized boobs were always fine with me.

They were manageable. Proportionate. Attractive without being overwhelming. And entirely, delightfully, decorative.

But now that the twins have become, er, functional, well… I’m packing a hell of a lot more cleavage than I’d really care to.

Exhibit A: The photo up above was taken just one week post-baby. Yeah. I know. BAM!

I now understand the complaints of my more buxom friends, who have told tales for years of their dressing room woes that begin something like this: “It was the cutest top ever, and it would have fit perfectly, but my damn boobs got in the way.”

Never having had this particular trouble before, I would always think to myself, “Well, can’t you just squish those puppies in there?”

No. No, you cannot. I know this now.

When your breasts pass a certain cup size, they cease being sweet, bouncy, womanly things and become two gigantic nuisances.

Gone are the days of being able to wander about comfortably bra-less and unsupported. Gone are half of your favorite tops, because your huge new knockers just don’t leave any extra room for your armpits or your collarbone.

Gone, too, are the other half of your shirts, the ones that fit, because those classy, ballerina-style scooped necklines of yore have now become fairly obscene, and whenever you spy yourself in a mirror you seem to hear stripper music playing in the background.

I know that there are plenty of women out there who, when their mommy mammaries began to fill out, were ecstatic and bought out all the low-cut dresses at the maternity store. These women, in my experience, are either former A-cups or have harbored secret fantasies of buying bolt-on Double Ds.

I cannot relate.

When I was about 5 months pregnant and the bosoms really started to take on a life of their own, Bruce saw me in a dress that had previously fit me like a normal person and said, “Damn! Those things are getting kind of intimidating.”

And yes, I know, it’s a glorious thing to have fully functional ta-tas. To be able to feed your young like a proper mammal.

And yes, I have been utterly in awe of the bonding experience, of the woman power feeling of having, within your own body, everything necessary to sustain another life.

But underneath all the soft-focus mom stuff, I’m still me. And I’m totally snickering at my use of “utterly” in the previous paragraph because it sounds like “udder”. *Snort*

In a moment of panic during my 3rd trimester, I gestured to my ever-expanding melons and asked my sister, “These things are gonna go down, right? RIGHT?”

She looked at me with the calm wisdom of having been there and grown those and said,
“Yeah. Sure. They’ll go down. Waaaaay down,” and gestured in a drooping southerly direction.

Awesome. Can’t wait.

-Lo, who has optimistically saved all those B cups.

Citified

city

Outside my new front door…
hustle & bustle
bucket drums
polish dog & sauerkraut cart
foot commuters
cycles & scooters
sky scrapers
buses & cable cars
lost tourists
hotels & flagships
union square
buskers & beggars
food trucks on Minna
and, unavoidably, at least four Starbucks within a two-block radius

…I’m so happy to be back in the bubble of city living–morning, noon and night.

The Peninsula is an unforgiving land of traffic jams and megamarts, and after two years of commuting south to the hinterlands, I’m so happy to be citified once again.

Oh, San Francisco, how I have missed you! Working my 40 hours for the man is no hardship at all when I get to work it out within city limits.

*muuah!*

-Lo, bubble-bound

Sacramento 2011

annie

The Tyranny of the Mirror, an eight-part cinépoem that features lots of lovely ladies like Annie, up there in the toe shoes, is screening this weekend at the Sacramento International Film Festival.

We’re part of the NorCal AllStars group, and you can see us on the big screen at 11a.m.-ish this Saturday (April 9) at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento.

If you’re in northern California this weekend, stop by and check us out!

-Lo, with the promo.

Room and Bored

busy

Today someone asked me when my next book is coming out.

I didn’t know whether to get stabby or fall over laughing.

I haven’t written even one single poem in almost three months, even though my to-do list has, in the number two spot, the title “evacuation” followed by the imperative “WRITE IT!!”

It’s not a lack of words that’s the problem, you see. It’s a lack of time. As I told the aforementioned someone, “I have a six month old baby! I’m lucky to put my shoes on the right feet in the morning.”

So then, the follow-up went, “Well, what keeps you so busy? You know, besides the baby?”

(Warning: Impending rant. Take a deep breath and duck.)

Besides the baby? What do I do all day? Other than working 40+ hours a week at one job and landing myself a brand shiny new job and commuting back and forth and coming home and doing laundry and dishes and diapers and feeding the baby and dressing the baby and feeding and dressing myself and sometimes even brushing my hair? What else?

Well, there’s the cinepoems that get entered in film festivals and there’s the etsy store orders to fulfill and there are irises in my backyard that desperately need repotting. And once in awhile I try to exercise. And get a manicure. And even a pedicure, if I’m feeling really cheeky.

Wow. Ok. Bitter, party of one!! I shouldn’t get stabby about the question, I know.

Because I do remember what it was like to be bored. To have oodles of hours to fill. To lie late in bed and luxuriate in the question of “What should I do today?”

But that was eons ago in a time before Boy and Baby and video poems.

Today I’m just wallowing in guilt over letting another month nearly slip past with nary a blog post.

And the trouble is, I can’t promise to get better! Life is just a blur these days. And so am I.

But for my own sake, i swear, I will trap some of these words on a page. And then, if I deem them worthy enough, I’ll share them with you.

It’s not a new book, no, not at all. But it’s something.

-Lo, who hounds her own favorite authors for their next works and knows that really, all this means is that she should be flattered.

The Same But Different

different

February has flown by with nary a post from me.

And it’s not that I have nothing happening or nothing to say. Quite the contrary. I feel nearly drowned under a deluge of happenings: changes, promises, possibilities. I am choosing my words carefully these days, choking back the bulk of them.

While I’m the world’s biggest proponent of putting it out there and saying what you feel, I have learned hard lessons recently about being selective about the what, the how, the when and, most of all, the whom with which you share.

So I’ll let that hang there all cryptic-like and talk about something else for awhile.

And what else is there to talk about but the Baby Love of my life?! She’s nearly six months now. Already.

I have been warned about how quickly time would fly and I believed it. But when you see it actually happening, actually flying before your eyes, you get a little breathless, a little disbelieving, a little, “how can this be?”

More and more, as the little one grows rounder and taller and stronger and, oh my god, funnier, I am realizing just how much I have changed.

Before Lucette came, I worried about it. I spent a very long time getting fine with who I was and I was apprehensive about the new Mother Me who would emerge. I didn’t know who I would become.

And I know, I know the becoming has only just begun. But how far I’ve already come!

There was a moment, just days after Lucette was born, when I realized what a fundamental shift had already occured within me. We were freshly home from the hospital, just the three of us. We were sitting on the couch, watching HGTV (we watched hours of that channel in the early days of babyland, which is why I’m now addicted to Holmes on Homes).

Lucette had fallen asleep in my arms and as I stared down at her, tears began rolling from my eyes.

Bruce looked over and saw me crying and said, “What’s wrong?!”

“Nothing.” I replied. “Nothing at all. I’m just looking at her and she’s so beautiful. And I’m so ha-a-a-ppy.” And then I dissolved in a big puddle of mush.

Bruce scooted over, put his arm around us, and together we sat and stared at that tiny round head and wept.

And I knew, I knew right then that I was a new person.

Not entirely new, of course. The old Lo is still here. But I’ve expanded, somehow. I’ve gotten wider. Not the childbirth hip factor, although that’s true, too. It’s like my soul has doubled in size. There’s more room in me now. More capacity for love, for emotion, for mothering.

Augh. And here’s where the words run out on me, because that’s not even it exactly. Perhaps because I can’t quite wrap my brain around this metamorphosis yet, I can’t explain it coherently. It will likely take years to suss out.

But I’m content knowing, for now, that I have changed. And that the change is good. There is not the sense of loss that I feared, pre-baby. Instead there is a fullness. A completeness. A being-okay-with-the-not-quite-there-yet-ness.

And every morning when I wake up to those Cheeks (even on days like today, when the Cheeks wake me up before dawn), I am overwhelmed by my good fortune.

I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be this little one’s momma.

-Lo, who found the words after all.

What Gets Left Unsaid

plane

Departure

Conversation stammers to a halt
the second the suitcases
get tucked into the trunk.

On the sidewalk we are astonishingly awkward
shuffling feet, stuffing hands into any available pocket.

Accidental eyelock would unleash emotions
too delicate for this public curbside. Instead
we lunge into an embrace like two bull moose
locking antlers in battle.

Inevitably one of us hangs on too long
stunned stupid by the sudden realization
of just how much has been left unsaid.

But as the taxi engine revs, goodbye
is the only word left, and its absolute lack
hangs in the air like exhaust.

-Lo, who, for the first time in a year, has written a poem that is not about a baby or a dog.

Seven by Seven

bridge2

I’ve been thinking alot lately about why I work.

My maternity leave from August to December last year was the first time since I was 15 that I’ve had so much consecutive time to myself.

Granted, that time to myself was largely spent changing diapers and pushing a pram through the park. But still, it was week after week of 40 hours NOT spent locked down at a desk.

And the thing that amazed me the most about it was that I never once got bored.

Ok, yes, there was the whole new mother thing happening. But putting the baby metaphorically aside for the moment, the point is that I had no trouble filling my days. Each morning was a gift of “What are we going to do today?”

The aforementioned walks in the park became a big deal, something I always looked forward to. And there were poems to write and cinépoems to edit and a yard to putter around in and if there had been a dog on the premises, there would have been even more to do.

But then my time was up and here I am again, surrendering 40 precious hours to the machine.

I can’t tell you how many times since December 8th I’ve sat in meetings listening to marketing muckety-mucks arguing about what headline I should write to get people to buy a bunch of crap they don’t really need. And all I’m thinking is, “I could be pushing a pram through a park right now.”

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I work.

And the answer lies on the tip of a western peninsula, within the seven by seven miles that I call home… San Francisco, where the majority of residents are renters because buying a home is too expensive.

When Bruce and I pulled up stakes in Illinois ten years ago, we knew the move was permanent. There has never been any looking back, not even in 2001 when I got laid off six times in a row. (In any recession, it seems the copywriter is always the first to go.)

More than any other place on earth I’ve been, San Francisco is home.

Before Lucette arrived, I didn’t mind working. I have always tried to find the most creative word-wrangling job I can to finance the life I love to live.

But now that our family is one person larger, I have begun to begrudge those workaday hours. And so I have to remind myself why I do it.

Because I don’t have to work.

We could always move somewhere cheaper. Perhaps a nice cul-de-sac in a beige suburb where everyone drives the .05 miles to the neighborhood Wal-Mart.

But the dream was never to hie westward and settle in San Mateo. Or Oakland, Alameda, Fresno or Dinuba.

The dream is San Francisco. And it’s a dream I want to give to my daughter.

I want her to grow up here, in this beautiful city, surrounded by people of all races, creeds, languages and sexual orientations. I want her to wake up to the salt air of the ocean, to sleep to the sound of the foghorns.

I want her to have the Golden Gate in her backyard and the mountains within reach. I want her to own the wealth of used bookstores and know the wonder of world-class ballet.

I want her to eat more food from Farmer’s Markets than McDonald’s. I want her to wear out her walking shoes. I want sand on her toes and sun in her hair.

I want her to disagree without being disagreeable. I want her to know that it’s ok to be different.

I want what all parents want — to give their child the world. The difference is that in San Francisco, I can actually give it to her. Because the world lies just outside our front door.

And that is why I work. For Lucette. For San Francisco. For the dream.

-Lo, whose paychecks fuel freedom

Separation Anxiety

superbaby

You are smiling when I leave you
and smiling still when I return
but how many smiles do I miss in between?

Locked down in endless afternoon meetings
I doodle your face in the margins of creative briefs.
The countdown to five is slower than ever.

On the way home I gamble on freedom, SuperLotto style.

-Lo, dreaming of being jobless and solvent.

Tornado Weather

jessica

A belated Christmas present just for you… a shiny new cinepoem.

This one is called “Tornado Weather”. It was shot back in May in my hometown of Dixon, Illinois and features the lovely Jessica Hussung. Since I was 6 months pregnant at the time of the shoot, I had a lot of help from my friend Anna, who also happens to be Jessica’s mum.

So thanks to both of you, Jesse and Anna! And thanks for being so patient and waiting so long to see the result of your hard work on that steamy summer day.

You can check out Tornado Weather on the cinepoems page, as always, and also on YouTube. If you watch it on YouTube, be sure to leave a comment or thumbs up there.

It’s the last cinepoem for awhile, I’m afraid. I have ideas for new shoots in the new year, but nothing is in the can yet.

And to answer the question many of you have been asking me… Yes, the Bean will be making her cinepoem debut someday, but I might wait until she can walk first.

Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, and Bonne Annee to you all.

-Lo, with love and great expectations for 2011.

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