1.
Six in the evening last night. I was watching a cooking show and memorizing a recipe of pasta with mascarpone, carrots and peas. And then of an omelette, and salmon on a bagel, thinking, I should really make that sometime. I was hungry and envious of another woman’s kitchen, thinking, someday my sink. My stove, my oven, my wonderful marble counter top. My pan, my skillet, my lovely block of cheese, my fresh raspberries, my self licking cream from the spatula.

2.
Ten in the evening last Friday. I was drinking long island cocktail and singing karaoke, thinking, I’m glad I got out of the house. Thinking, I should really get out more. Thinking, oh god this is the first time I’ve stayed out late in over a year and I didn’t bring my own keys and I would probably have to wake people up when I come home.

3.
Two in the morning sometime last month. I am standing at the balcony, somewhere outside the city, trying to find the moon. Everything is so black, I am staring at nothing: it could be the sea, or the sky, or the abyss. In the morning, there’s fog everywhere. Everything is so white, like smoke, like something is burning. I said to myself, this could be my life.

4.
Three in the morning today. I can’t sleep. My bed is small and yet it feels too empty. This is my life, I tell myself. Months from now. Years from now. Who will love you, whispers my heart, who can be cruel some nights. And I think of all the days when I almost have it together, and the peace I found there. It’s okay, I think, as I close my eyes. This is my life.

5.
Nine in the morning last Monday. I am listening to a song I’ve forgotten. I raised my hands and closed my eyes, and then I was dancing, well, swaying really, feeling the words go through my body. I said to myself, I could begin again, I could try again, this could be my life. I said to myself, of course it would take work. And tears. Chocolate. The obligatory calories deposited on my hips and thighs. Of course. But this could be my life.

Final Notations
Adrienne Rich

it will not be simple, it will not be long
it will take little time, it will take all your thought
it will take all your heart, it will take all your breath
it will be short, it will not be simple

it will touch through your ribs, it will take all your heart
it will not be long, it will occupy your thought
as a city is occupied, as a bed is occupied
it will take all your flesh, it will not be simple

You are coming into us who cannot withstand you
you are coming into us who never wanted to withstand you
you are taking parts of us into places never planned
you are going far away with pieces of our lives

it will be short, it will take all your breath
it will not be simple, it will become your will

The days are good. I’m doing something new now for work. Figures, how I only get to be happy when I’m doing something that I enjoy but getting paid very little. It’s almost a favor now to my client, hardly work, because I don’t get compensated for my worth, and I am actually fine with it. I spend my hours writing and reading about something that I will eventually have to give away, because I can’t call it my own, and because I wrote it for someone else. Figures, how I accept jobs where I write what I love but don’t earn very much from it. Somewhere, a version of me is laughing at this foolishness. But it hasn’t reached me yet; she hasn’t come forward to point fingers. So at the moment I am content. My Muse is feeling spectacular.

II
from Twenty-One Love Poems
Adrienne Rich

I wake up in your bed. I know I have been dreaming.
Much earlier, the alarm broke us from each other,
you’ve been at your desk for hours. I know what I dreamed:
our friend the poet comes into my room
where I’ve been writing for days,
drafts, carbons, poems are scattered everywhere,
and I want to show her one poem
which is the poem of my life. But I hesitate,
and wake. You’ve kissed my hair
to wake me. I dreamed you were a poem,
I say, a poem I wanted to show someone…
and I laugh and fall dreaming again
of the desire to show you to everyone I love,
to move openly together
in the pull of gravity, which is not simple,
which carried the feathered grass a long way down the upbreathing air.

Fretting over a meeting this coming Saturday to discuss my poetry collection. Until now I have no clear theme for my works. I am beginning to embrace the fact that my poems are of the domestic and the sensuous woman, as this is what I write about most of the time, even without my meaning to. It has only been pointed out to me recently by friends, writers and readers both, and now sometimes I can’t help but feel a veil of self-consciousness when I show someone what I’ve written. What has possessed me to write about such things? I don’t even have an answer to that for myself.

Going through sheafs of papers now; poems written in the past year, and several years along my life. I have no idea if I can pull this off. I’m a writer; this is a fact. It’s in the marrow of my bones. But I’ve yet to grasp on the poet’s form, its contours. Does it fit me? Is it who I really am, only, I’ve never known it all this time? I have never really thought about bringing some serious direction to my poetry, have never known the demanding rigours that come with this kind of life. But it feels right to me, somehow. Like coming home. I wonder if it’s what I’ve been looking for, that missing piece, all these years.

Would it be too funny to end this musing with a poem? Ah, but I never take myself so seriously anyway:

Translations
Adrienne Rich

You show me the poems of some woman
my age, or younger
translated from your language

Certain words occur: enemy, oven, sorrow
enough to let me know
she’s a woman of my time

obsessed

with Love, our subject:
we’ve trained it like ivy to our walls
baked it like bread in our ovens
worn it like lead on our ankles
watched it through binoculars as if
it were a helicopter
bringing food to our famine
or the satellite
of a hostile power

I begin to see that woman
doing things: stirring rice
ironing a skirt
typing a manuscript till dawn

trying to make a call
from a phonebook

the phone rings unanswered
in a man’s bedroom
she hears him telling someone else
never mind. she’ll get tired
hears him telling her story to her sister

who becomes her enemy
and will in her own time
light her own way to sorrow

ignorant of the fact this way of grief
is shared, unnecessary
and political

Here, another song for the lonely:

Song
Adrienne Rich

You’re wondering if I’m lonely:
OK then, yes, I’m lonely
as a plane rides lonely and level
on its radio beam, aiming
across the Rockies
for the blue-strung aisles
of an airfield on the ocean.

You want to ask, am I lonely?
Well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely

If I’m lonely
it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawns’ first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep

If I’m lonely
it’s with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it’s neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning

Found this poem today.

Miracle Ice Cream
Adrienne Rich

Miracle’s truck comes down the little avenue,
Scott Joplin ragtime strewn behind it like pearls,
and, yes, you can feel happy
with one piece of your heart.

Take what’s still given: in a room’s rich shadow
a woman’s breasts swinging lightly as she bends.
Early now the pearl of dusk dissolves.
Late, you sit weighing the evening news,
fast-food miracles, ghostly revolutions,
the rest of your heart.