My Book Launch!

I am just getting ready to head off to my Book Launch and I am so excited. It is simpy the best Christmas present I could ever have. A long time in coming but worth the wait.

The weather is cooperating for those coming in from out of town with a huge storm holding off for tomorrow. My thanks to whatever/whomever is responsible.

I’ll be reading from the book, my brother Scott will be the M.C. and a few friends and family will weigh in also.

Not sure what I’ll say.. think I’ll just go with the moment.. but here’s a quote of Eudora Welty’s that I will probably include in my comments..

“The charm of poetry is that it rejects the edifying cathedral and, instead, indelibly photographs the small boy on the steps outside chewing a hunk of melon in the dust.”

Isn’t that perfection?

Here I go… wish me luck!

On the radio, Oh, oh, oh,oh…

What a great experience. I was interviewed yesterday on the local radio station about my writing and my upcoming book. It was so relaxed and the interviewer was truly interested in my answers. She made it feel like a conversation we were having in my living room. We talked about the value of poetry in my life and how much it has helped me through my darkest days.

It was not all downbeat though… lots of laughs and lighter moments too. as when I said I couldn’t resist an interview that came with donuts and coffee.

It’s my first marketing foray for my book of poems to be published this fall, entitled “Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered.” I am just over the moon about doing it.

I’ll be selling copies on my website.

Stay tuned.

Second Thoughts

You think you’re writing poetry
and then you read one in a New Yorker,
about elephants,
tied together, heads down,
being traipsed in a line through the Queen’s midtown tunnel after midnight,
on their way to Ringling Brothers downtown,
forever away from their home and the wild,
and you just want to stop writing what,
for all these years,
you’ve been calling poetry.

Because someone asked for a poem for their wedding day…

The Unspoken Vows

For Jim and Becky on their Wedding Day.

You stand before one another today

Expectant, full of love,

And recite the traditional vows so many have before you,

And will after.

The simple, elegant vows of marriage, each word chosen with such care

To convey precise meaning, not one wasted,

Romantic, timeless,

Lovely.

 

But there is much they leave unsaid;

It may be the only limitation of the ceremony.

So much that the two of you will give to one another down through the years

In the name of love,

So much that you vow to each other, unknowingly, today.

 

Shall we speak of them now?

While we may?

Those nights when sleep won’t come and the other offers to make tea,

Dark days that weigh you down and the other gently lifts you up,

When your child needs guidance and the other finds the time,

The times she will see beauty in you when you see none in yourself.

How he’ll want others to see everything that you are, and can be.

 

It’s these unspoken vows that will see you through

day to day, year to year,

Side by side,

And speak volumes in their silence.

Tricia McCallum
April 8, 2010

Entreaties

My gums are bleeding again.

There’s a stack of papers that need attention

But I can’t find my glasses.

My truck is making that funny noise.

 

I sleep too late,

There’s no one here to wake me.

I don’t write,

Seems it’s all been said.

 

Your point’s been made:

I am selfish and fickle,

Say what you like.

Come home.

 

 

The Gift of Donovan

A frigid November day in Barrie, Ontario, 1967,

Wednesday, I remember;

We had just come from Novena Devotions.

Mark led me downtown to the town’s one record store,

“For a surprise,” he said.

 

The proprietor was in on this, I soon realized,

watching him head

to the stacks of wooden slots on the wall

and retrieve a 45 disc in its small paper sleeve.

 

The needle on the vinyl

dispensed a melody through the small shop,

And then Donovan’s innocent accented voice,

Colour sky havana lake

Colour sky rose carmethene

Alizarian crimson…

 

Next, the bewitching refrain,

Lord, kiss me once more

Fill me with song

Allah, kiss me once more

That I may, that I may…

 

Wear my love like heaven…

 

Worlds, colours I had not yet heard of,

at the age of 15.

 

Yet, I sensed the magic of which he sang.

 

I went on to my life, Mark to his.

 

Not long after he died, still a young man,

never giving me the chance to thank him for his gifts that day,

for seeing me in a way I had never seen myself,

as a girl worthy of devotion,

for giving me,

in that dead-end town,

an impossibly beautiful song.

To a friend on leaving Eleuthera

You’ve come to know her secrets,

The quiet recesses of her,

Where she tucks away her sea glass,

How her oleander smells after the rain.

You know the particular colour of light

That ladles itself across Cupid’s Cay at dusk,

The creak and sway of her cargo ships,

Loaded, inching their way into the harbour.
You know her tides, her impetuousness, her fury,

Her hundred shades of blues and greens,

The open smiles of her children,

The unadulterated solace of her.

You know her expectant sunrises,

her bittersweet setting suns, too,

The content in returning, weary,

Time and again,

to her open embrace.
All of this,

You take with you today,

The moments, the years with her that helped shape you,

And she will rest deep within you,

Intact, a part of all that you are,

For the remainder of your days.

In the Wee Small Hours: Relay for Life 2009.

Sitting here with my tea, (mmm), drying out (?), casting my mind back over last evening (into morning) and the highlights of Relay 2009.

Here goes, in no particular order…

As Sally headed to her car for home, I yelled out, “Ya know, it was above and beyond – your coming at all.”

Sally’s answer:

“Oh, Shut Up!” (It might have been the pain talking.)

Leslie, stifling gales of laughter, telling me the hood of my stunning two piece rain suit (circa 1918) gave me an “interesting shaped head.” When I glimpsed myself after in the bathroom mirror (and regaled in horror) I can only ask that everyone who critiques me is as forgiving as she.

In the wee hours my asking the teammies assembled in the tent in the wee hours “Who would like a song?” This question was followed by, oh, roughly 14 minutes of unadulterated silence (in fact it’s the first time I’ve heard crickets in the pouring rain), only broken by the sound of Donna asking, uneasily, from under her Shetland wool parka, sounding a trifle less than thrilled, “Are you gonna sing?”

In my sleep-deprived stupor did I actually shout out “That’s bullshit” to the tent behind us when they complained about our making noise?

Just checking…

Going Off the Grid.

I was asked the other day if I had ever considered “going off the grid.”

I am still laughing. Granted, it’s a hysterical laugh because the mere thought of moving off the grid leaves me shaken.

The person asking me this is what the current culture would term a survivor – ie. a survivor in the outdoor, who needs pesky running water, I can start a fire inside a sleeping bag in a rainstorm kind of a person. And indeed she has been completely off the grid for longer than I have been wearing nail tips.

Propane factors heavily in her life as do multiple layers of clothing in winter and hypothermia. I told her that not only had I never considered going off the grid but that I may even be considered married to the grid in some cultures. I know it’s a close call as to which I value more, my husband’s affection or an indoor toilet. Just don’t make me choose.

She said there were two types of people and when she said this I knew it wasn’t going to be flattering to me. Don’t ask how I knew that: I just did. She said the first type could be dropped off naked in the forest and feel comfortable. The other type, well, the other type wouldn’t. Feel comfortable, I mean.

I clarified for her that not only would I feel uncomfortable but that even entertaining the concept was causing me to take short, gasping breaths. I told her that I didn’t feel comfortable naked in my own shower at home, but I don’t think she believed me.

She said we have too many possessions and that we are plastic people. I had several reactions to that, all unspoken. The expression plastic people is so 1979 I can’t even begin. And yes, of course we have too many possessions. Blah, blah. Just stay away from my itemized, alphabetized shoe closet.

She said I had to be prepared to do without, that the time is coming when we’ll all be forced to live by our wits and eat berries and wash our hair with lichen.

I asked her what lichen was and then assured her that if we go apocalyptic, she’d be the first person I’d call.

Thirst

The sun was hotter:
You can tell.
Look at the people squinting against it in photos then.
Everything washed out by glare: Faces, thoughts,
All detail surrendered.
We could be anybody.

The gardens are parched,
Look at them.
It hurt to walk on the grass.
Everyone burned raw.
We lay in barren backyards
slathering butter on our chests,
Chain-smoking and eating fluorescent cheesies,
Swilling scarlet soda.

Nothing could go wrong.
Caution was ahead of us.
Men were above us,
Landing on the moon.