Wednesday, December 12, 2012

of ducks and chickens, hoops and hoopla

© Amber Schley Iragui, egg noodles

" Y O U R   L U C K   I S   A B O U T   T O   C H A N G E "
 (a fortune cookie) 

Ominous inscrutable Chinese news
to get just before Christmas,
considering my reasonable health,
marriage spicy as moo-goo-gai-pan,
career running like a not-too-old Chevrolet.
Not bad, considering what can go wrong:
the bony finger of Uncle Sam
might point out my husband,
my own national guard,
and set him in Afghanistan;
my boss could take a personal interest;
the pain in my left knee could spread to my right.
Still, as the old year tips into the new,
I insist on the infant hope, gooing and kicking
his legs in the air. I won't give in
to the dark, the sub-zero weather, the fog,
or even the neighbors' Nativity.
Their four-year-old has arranged
his whole legion of dinosaurs
so they, too, worship the child,
joining the cow and sheep. Or else,
ultimate mortals, they've come to eat
ox and camel, Mary and Joseph,
then savor the newborn babe.

Susan Elizabeth Howe
˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜  ˜ 

When leaving on vacation there is one moment in particular that I look forward to, a moment takes place just after I've returned from our trip and settled back into our home. Being away bestows a brief window through which I can see my life from a broader perspective. Like returning to a pair of well-worn shoes, you see them anew—despite their scuffs you remember how much you adore them. I love that.

When we returned from our trip to California, unfortunately, I didn't get much of this. We got in so late at night that once we'd wrestled everyone and everything into and out of the taxi and then into our apartment, we washed our grimy faces and fell fast asleep. I floated around on the edges of our life for a few days. And then it hit me, I wasn't plunging back into our life because didn't want to face all the work associated with the little Waldorf school we'd started. There were all sorts of problems cropping up, both annoying and serious, and I had less than an ounce of energy for it. The school was not just absorbing all of my extra time, filling my days with urgency and anxiety, but also stealing all the moments when I usually allow my brain to rest—the rest from which my energy and creativity spring.

And then at the same time, my husband suddenly started talking about moving. Blink, blink. Since we moved to this neighborhood he's held a moratorium on the subject, saying the idea caused him too much stress. All my dreaming of yards with vegetable gardens and chicken coops was tucked away in some part of the brain. And, as is very typical of the two of us, while I was just opening the gates of my mind to let some of these bleary-eyed desires out of their cages, Charles was plunging forward with plans (albeit of the two-year-sort) for a move. Let just say that Charles is the guy on the horse out in front yelling "Charge!" and I am the lady perched on a stone wall, thinking about it all for a good while before I even begin to chose which ducks to put in a row.

So where does this leave on on this Wednesday? In a messy office, with an almost-two-year-old singing sleepless in her crib, with Christmas cards still unsent, a school to run, and a mind filled with what seems like too many possibilities. I can say this: if we are going to move from this neighborhood in a few years, the hassles associated with moving this school forward through the hoops and hoopla of the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene may be a good deal more than I can bear. Maybe I want to enjoy the remaining years living in Manhattan instead of hiding out in my office, answering emails and making phone calls.

Meanwhile, I'm just perched here on my stone wall, waiting for the right ducks, watching my husband wrestling the bull by its horns. Something like that.

p o e t r y   w e d n e s d a y  }

1 comment:

Mark Janssen said...

Amber, I read your comments on the school, the vacation, the move, and the ducks before reading the poem.

I hope the worthwhile ducks make themselves known to you, and that putting them in a row helps.

And I love the poem. Thanks.