My life is a a demonstration
of how to make something
out of nothing.
Though some might argue
whether the something
is something or not.
I’ve always lived a pieced-together life.
I cannot buy off the rack.
It lacks narrative.
Every object in my life
has a tale to tell.
A memory to hold.
If not I probably don’t own it.
I think this is why we have houses,
they keep our stories safe
and give us shelter
while we tell them.

I’ve always loved the word story,
and almost lost it once,
as I do lose things, let go
when they become corrupted
It’s almost impossible
to keep something pure.
Things leak out,
becoming fad and fashion.
even our thought and speech.
I guess it has always been thus,
I guess it can be no other way,
maybe I’m too much a purist.
I’ve always hated the way
people take on language
as though it were a dress.
And parrot what is being said
just now, as though
it were their own.
Self-righteously proclaiming slogans
they just read in a book.
I’ve never understood
why people can’t think
their own thoughts,
and say them in
their own words.
It seems a sinple thing.
does it take sameness
to create culture,
is that what culture is.
I never took anthropology
because I didn’t really
understand what it was,
but I can see now
that I should have.
I’ve lived my life
experiencing this phenomenon
as a repeated loss,
that every time
I love something
it catches on –
It always drove me crazy
seeing a good thing copied,
and every good thing is.
As though there weren’t an
endless supply of new ideas,
of good things to go around.
The heresy is most people
don’t seem to recognize
the difference in knock off
and original.
I know it sounds arrogant to say.
But I was born with a good eye –
that’s just how it is.

I am thinking of a linen Easter
suit with embroidery I once had.
A sunflower hat that ended up in
every K-Mart.
But clothes aren’t really
the half of it – just a symptom
of the mass marketing life we live,
that doesn’t let us be ourselves.
It’s the cookie cutter mind set,
the way people don’t credit
a source with “I just read”
but spout it out like
they just thought it up.
Instead of coming to their own truth,
by way of their life.
They don’t say it has the ring
of truth for nothin’.
Truth does ring with the clarity
of a bell.
And so too well-worn expressions
like that one because they’re true.
but even they carry truth
too easily to us,
allowing us to get by,
sometimes for all our life
with only seeing a glimmer
of what was really there.
It’s the texture, and the detail
and the uniqueness of the weave,
which is the mark of the weaver.
Experiencing all that calls
narrative to our lives.
Speaking and listening,
the stories we have
lived to tell.

I almost lost the word story once.
It was quite a fad for awhile,
bantied about in a women’s group
I went to.
I had to back away to keep
it clean and pure.
To protect it from the triflingness
that was around.

I bought some beads
that spelled it out.
And put them in a box,
the way I like things to be.
And waited until I could bring
my love back out.

My grandmother’s name was Story.
I come by it fair.
She seems to be the one
who made me most,
but then she was the only one
I heard the stories of.
And that is what I’m saying,
what I have to tell.