Coastal Readings.

I just returned home from my poetry reading at the Haynes Library this morning in the harbor here in Eleuthera. My soundtrack today was the sound of the wind fanning the huge palms that surround the building coupled with the gentle insistent lap of water at the near shore.

It was a packed house. I looked out to a sea of shining faces, and as I told the people gathered I was thrilled at the turnout and appreciative to each and every one who made the time to come.

My poems are about universal issues, in this case the loss of a mother and father, and because of that, people can instantly relate to them. Many from the audience approached me afterwards, telling me my words caused the stirring of old and sometimes painful memories. There is such catharsis in that and I think many weren’t expecting to have such a visceral reaction to the work.

One elderly woman said to me she had never known her mother and listening to me talk about mine made her quite envious. “And I am not generally the envious type.”

Another woman said that although she didn’t know me well, she was proud of me. I was genuinely touched by her words. As she explained, we all have these memories and thoughts worthy of putting in writing but other things get in the way. She thanked me for doing it for all those who choose not to, or simply cannot.

I consider myself privileged to share such an important part of who I am with these lovely souls.

Puppeteer

Above the island
the moon is fully round these nights,
dripping light, succulent,
impossibly perfect.
But it’s not the wolves that howl here;
it’s the waves.
At the curl just offshore comes the low siren of them,
an organic sound building to a wail
as they break free at the shore.

Controlled,
commandeered by the moon
just as the wolves are.
She, all powerful in her sphere,
they, her pawns,
mere tools below
for her bidding.

Too Late Tomorrow

Fates ride on little moments.
Outcomes of entire lives can rest
on the seemingly miniscule.
Fresh from another of her parent’s brawls
The little girl shuffles to school.
She needs a sign today
that the world is a safe place,
something better awaits.

This one afternoon in her life
could turn her around,
steer her through the minefields.
A comforting word,
a warm glance her way,
the right things happening
at just the right time.

You know this little girl: Watch for her:
The window is narrow.
But you are powerful.
She is waiting
for the smallest,
the sweetest of mercies
to be saved.

Golden Globes Reviewed

Random tweets:

Zac Efron has made the mistake of thinking his career isn’t connected to his hair.

Tilda Swinton looks like she came from the future to deliver an important message.
TELEVISION, ITS CALLED TELEVISION! NOT TELEVISUAL, TILDA! Shut up. Notice, no direct shot of the height difference between Pacino and Swinton. And I am temporarily blinded by the glare off Tilda’s frock: Tilda, who will never again utter the three words: Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Is Al Pacino a part-time anesthesiologist? Why does he so obviously fail to mention the mother of his TWIN CHILDREN? Incredible to be so famous and have so little class…

Of course as a method actor, Pacino prepped for You Don’t Know Jack by suffocating several nursing home patients.

I have now formally given up any hope of Annette Bening ever again brushing her hair.

Robert Pattison needs to smile. I mean it, smile, Bob.

I am now formally crushin on Robert Downey Jr.

Claire Danes could cheer up too. I mean, you’re a spokesperson for frickin eyelash stimulant. And I see Temple Grandin is still shopping at Mark’s Work Wearhouse. Are those two dating?

I say Ricky doesn’t go far enough.

Beached

I just came in from an idyllic beachcombing on the beach at the end of the old Queen’s Highway. Went with my dear friend Sandra who just happens to be a marine biologist (cough) and there could not be a better surfside companion.

Every time I’m alongside an ocean with her I learn something intriguing. Today is no exception: I found out that dolphins are toothed whales. Who knew?

And how do you distinguish a dolphin fin from a shark fin? (Ya never know when that might come in handy.) Easy! Dolphins roll at the surface so you see more than just the fin. If you see the fin and nothing more, head for the mattresses.

We were both hunting for sea glass so I was all ears on the subject. It takes about 20 years for a piece of glass to evolve into the much sought after “beach glass,” used in pendants, earrings, bracelets, etc. Twenty years, that is, of buffeting by course sand and salt and sea spray. And the glass must be exposed to all these elements during that time. Buried in the sand it will remain protected and intact, well, pretty much forever.

We happened upon a tiny jellyfish, a fascinating creature, not often seen as they are the size of a baby’s pinkie. This jellyfish, nicknamed “By the Sea Sailor” and I am not sure of the Latin name but will find out, looks like a perfect miniature sailboat. Picture a tiny keel boat with one mainsail erect. The mainsail in this case is the fish’s protective barnacle made of a fingernail like substance.

Yes, they are small but they are amazingly resilient. Like Sammy Davis Jr. (RIP) Or that scary midget in Twin Peaks. When these jellyfish die their hardy mainsail remains… their weathered windblown legacy.

More beaches – and discoveries await.

Of Swans, Stuttering Kings, Fearsome Fighters, and Facebook.

I watched the Critic’s Choice Awards last night, including the Red Carpet lead-in.  My first reaction was that the people assembled – both before and during the ceremony – had a level of enthusiasm akin to a group of patients awaiting root canal.

It was quite deadly. And normally I am all over these shows: I have watched them forever- and always unapologetically – ever since I curled up at my mother’s feet and watched with her on our little black and white set as the impossibly glamorous Susan Hayward accepted her Oscar in 1958 for “I Want to Live.”

It didn’t help that one of the pre-show interviewers last night was pouring forth pure valley-speak, pronouncing “didn’t” as “dih-unt,” and seemed to be not quite sure of where she was. I am not kidding. Kind of blunts the patina, eh what?

Arnold Schwarzenegger (sp) who opened the show, acquitted himself quite well actually (will wonders ne’er cease?). “Any movie about ballerinas that can get me to sit through it three times has my vote.“ He also said that with his governorship behind him he is looking for acting jobs and that HE should have been the selection to play someone who couldn’t speak properly, NOT Colin Firth as the stuttering king.

Ba da bing! Oh, Arnold, no you dih-unt!

The gowns – and cleavage – were stunning, nevertheless, the Botox and Cartier brazenly on display, and no shortage of Moet Chandon being quaffed at the tables.

Here’s a rundown of who got what: Natalie Portman won Best Actress as expected for Black Swan. Colin Firth won Best Actor for the K-k-k-k-ing’s Speech(my bad). He had the most gracious and entertaining acceptance speech of them all, talking about the gloves being off for the evening, at least until tomorrow when Hollywood retrenches for the next awards go-round. He also said he hoped to have another 20 years with his wife but it would not be nearly enough. Pure class. Christian Bale and Melissa Leo got Best Supporting nods for the Fighter. (Can’t wait to see that! Love Marky Mark.) And finally, the Big Kahuna: The Social Network walked away with Best Picture, predicted by many pundits.

Funniest bit of the night was by Jimmy Kimmel, and as I said, the crowd gave him no props at ALL. He did a good cop-bad cop thing with Emily Blunt, presenting a humanitarian award to Matt Damon for his work in bringing fresh water to the third world through water.org.

Emily B waxed rhapsodic about Damon’s selflessness and worthiness while Jimmy volleyed back derisively.

“I see you’ve got some Evian on the table there, Matt. No shortage of water there, eh?’’

And, “Matt Damon: Star of the Bourne Identity, the Bourne Ultimatum, and the Boring Supremacy.”

“Sean Penn? Listen, Damon, he is in Haiti right now, carrying heavy things!”

Jimmy, I, for one, laughed out loud.

Backwards

It is not the sunrise
that awakens in us a yearning
for the fresh start,
to take yet another look
at the possibility of things.

These days it is the sunset
that prompts reflecting back
on just how much is left
still to be done
before the light is gone.

Mute

The saddest sound in the world is
silence
where there were once words.
No answer
when I know you’re home.
Me
watching you walk away.

Baby, It’s Cold Out There!

We’re up in Haliburton today. I am looking down at the lake and it is a winter wonderland. There I did it, used the “w” words. Deer tracks are everywhere; wwe spotted two big ones gazing down at us from the hillside this morning. They are the definition of serene. How can they be so composed in 10 degrees Fahrenheit?

When we got here last night and opened the place up I could see my breath – inside! Started building a fire and kept our coats on the entire evening. I went to bed fully clothed as my two westies gazed longingly at my filled hot water bottle.

No wonder past generations took so few baths. Remember, no central heating! Can you imagine the effort to heat up enough water – bucket by bucket – to fill a tub – and the courage to take off all those clothes?

Only a few days til the big one. Cannot wait!

Post Book Launch.

My Book Launch on Saturday was even more than I hoped for. About 50 people joined me for a day of celebration and support for my new book, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”

Releasing the book feels a little like sending one of your small children out into the world. On a cold day. Without mittens. I am protective and a bit apprehensive, but I realize the work must stand on its own if it is to succeed. So off it goes on a wing and a prayer.

The Gallanough Library was the perfect setting for the event. Books everywhere, on shelves, stacked on tables and wherever there was space. Everyone arrived by 2:30 and I began signing books right away at my signing table, which was bedecked with off white roses and scented candles glowing. And, of course, a bowl of chocolates. Writer’s cramp set in after number 50 but I wasn’t complaining: I was thrilled.

The food was divine: wraps and nibbles, dips and wine. And a sweets table to boot.

About midway through the afternoon, my brother Scott asked everyone to gather around. He was in fine form as M.C. opening with the surprise news that this was actually not my first book, that I had written three others. He then produced three hefty books from a bag, with these titles taped over the real ones. The first was called “My Brother, My Hero.” Second, “Did I Tell You About My Brother?” and third, “How Great Is My Brother?” Scott is irrepressible.

Two close friends and my two sisters took turns addressing the crowd in very eloquent presentations. I drank it all in, of course.

And then it was my turn. I spoke briefly about the therapy that poetry offers, to both the writer and the reader, and then read three pieces from the book.

Everyone there seemed so genuinely thrilled for me and I think that was the sweetest gift of all.

I’ve always said that writing in and of itself is worthwhile, regardless of whether it achieves commercial or public success of any kind. Should my book catch fire and sell well I would be absolutely elated. But this is secondary to me. To have sent it out into the world as a tribute to my lovely mother and father is truly what means the most.