Posts tagged Grief
September 9, 2013 * Dominique Larntz
I find myself getting out of the way
for folks a lot now.
I put my fingers on a door knob
and there is a pulse that pushes
like piano wires through my arm
to let me know there’s someone
one the other side.
I turn my wrist to release the tension
and there is a burden like books
falling from a bookshelf as I begin
to know the heaviness of being
I pull the door forward shifting myself back
and there is another person precisely
timed to walk through, arms full,
unable to carry their packages
and open the door.
I watch the parallax of their passing
and there is space for it like planets
that have plenty of room to play
amidst the outer stars.
It appears almost nothing is empty
except my need.
November 25, 2012 * Dominique Larntz
We could build a wall, you and I,
and see it fall back into the particles
and pieces that all physical things turn into,
like Legos in earth’s generous toy chest.
You could write a cypher and make it cyber,
wed a hacker and the two of you could spend
your life staring at screens as your bellies quicken to text
and procedures instead of the bend of a baby’s elbow.
I could serve the neighborhood watch each night, my flashlight
joining the neighbor’s flashlight, repeating until the night yields
and the watch has to watch itself, being over-crowded
with people who need to turn the light on themselves.
You and I could amass a pile of nuts like a squirrel
or a pile of anything else that seems valuable now—funny
money that keeps changing forms—when I was young it was
cash and now it is a credit score or an abstract number on a card.
But we know, you and I, that nothing secures us to life,
not even our bodies, because we give them back too,
when destiny points directly to us and tells us it’s time
for the most courageous of human moments.
The only system that works for the human spirit is love,
life’s animating storyteller whose songs keep us fed, who meets
us at every grief and joy equally not as a fragile parent
but as an entire ocean for us to dissolve into as ice.
Dominique Larntz * November 21, 2012
As I peer through the cattails
of the competition
to see another situation
where I was left holding
a saddle I crafted
heavy enough to fit the buffalo
that I watched turn into a monarch butterfly,
here is how I cared for myself.
I reminded myself of the seeds inside me
that grow wild when watered,
that take over plots of my soul
like spilled ink takes over
a poem on a page.
Perhaps one day I will be able
to compete skillfully but for now
I can retreat from society’s
mechanisms of disappointment
and appointment—oh keep me away
from winning, too—those of us who
lose attachingly win with the same animal.
I will put these seeds back
into the rock tumbler of my journey.
I’ll wait for the smooth reflection to form.
When I am ready, those seeds will not be
quivers I can use in some Olympic feat
but worry stones in my pockets.
Dominique Larntz * October 16, 2012
Knots surround me
and knots and fibers surround
these tears that somehow
reincarnated all over my face and
my wire form from this week’s
vessels class when I turned on
Native America Calling
and heard they wanted to celebrate
especially by hearing IAIA’s
I thought, maybe if I had more
indigenous blood I would
deserve to be an artist.
Maybe if I could draw like
Donita Grimm could sketch
those Palominos in the 5th grade
or maybe I would deserve to be
an artist if I had not colored
those shoes so black so black
and then colored over the lines
in the 3rd grade—like I was
trying to make a foundation
where I had nothing but wind.
When my eyes clear and the tears
steer into their own infinity,
age’s newest warrior whispers
from within wisdom’s hood
words that weave family
into every orphan’s knots.
She licks my heart with a wolf’s tongue
to tell me to howl my poems
for the moon to hear,
and when that queen moon
gives rise to tides,
oceans will respond.
She runs with me
around the basket
I form in spirals
like she is traveling
across a midnight mesa
with nocturnal eyes
that declare me an artist, finally,
a poet at twilight.
Dominique Larntz * June 17, 2012
After this time of feeling
bruised by judgments,
it is enough that the woman
on the front porch of Kellers Farm Store
slouching on the plastic chair,
muttering into her cell phone,
maybe talking to her dad
on this father’s day morning,
paying no attention to me,
saw me return the cart
on my frail hip,
in my complete way,
pushing it into the others
as if I had never used it—
instead of leave it as a guidepost
to the ghost of my car.
It’s enough that she saw–
and not my husband
or mother or step-kids
and especially not
my unknown father
whom I’ll never shop for
and who will never know
if I have character or integrity or
if I do any small thing
to make the world more
navigable for others.
Dominique Larntz * May 27, 2012
When I am gone and there
are trash bags full of silly things
I kept in drawers like band buttons
from when I was a fan at sixteen, things
I thought about tossing twenty times
and glues I wanted to try to bind
books with, I hope you can find
time to read my secret stash
of poems too.
I hope in addition to clucking
about my many abnormally
large faults, looking into them
like you would gaze at yourself
distorted in a carnival mirror,
and shaking your head about
how if I had just done this or that
I might have had a different fate,
you might recall that within
my many mistakes,
I loved you.
Dominique Larntz * May 25, 2012
It’s questionable to go through my kid’s stuff
but Twitter and Facebook matured
right along with him
and when I found his pixelated picture
on the Internet after 16 years
of indirect mothering,
my heart started walking into rooms,
forgetting what it walked into them for.
I found out I kept trying to make him proud
through things like salary leaps
and being kind to complete strangers
because I didn’t cradle him
against my chest with the permanence
to reassure us both that life longs for us
to spend our days peacefully,
in deep union with one another
and in a spirit of compassion
for ourselves and others
and any space between.
Dominique Larntz * January 27-29, 2012 * “Love Letters to My Body”
No one paid attention when I was getting dressed
so I put on my tap shoes and smoothed my finger
along the top convex toe after I laced them up
with a little girl’s satisfaction.
In the California desert hospital they
clack-tapped for each step I took
but my grandparents didn’t look once
at the shoes that were so shiny
you could hardly believe they were black.
Despite the widening volume
made by each of my footsteps
along the fluorescent-finished tile path,
the hallways and turns ended
in my great-grandmother’s hospital room,
as cramped and dark as a camera.
Lung cancer was somehow a conversation
my memory stumbled into focus.
Suddenly carpeted in my own invisibility
I had my first portrait of death, too warm,
and full of unopened windows
and plastic tubes I felt I should ignore
as if they were not there–
a stopping point I had not expected at all–
and dense panic in the breath of
my family’s unspoken grief.
An unmeasurable time later we left, and I pretended
this never happened. I did not ask
the thousand million questions a curious child
must have had after such a visit,
perhaps because a kind child
does not want to intrude upon growling adults.
I still don’t know if I felt unsafe
or if I did not know how to ask.
Perhaps there is a time for questions
and a time for toe taps–
and our best efforts to act just right
play very little part, despite
how we choose our shoes.
Now I can feel free to visit with these
serious pictures. The echo of spirited footfalls
linger in my memory sometimes
when I am as quiet and gentle
as a hibernating bear.
I can recall my eight year old girl’s
confusion at unexplained experiences,
and realize it would have been nice
to enjoy an adult narrator at the time.
Now, in middle age, I can project
what it might feel like to take a grandchild with you
on one of the last visits you will make
to your parent in the hospital.
What possible words could you tell a child
about the sacred bond between generations?
There are these inevitables–death and
hospitals and vulnerabilities–
that may shock and dislodge
a dancing, exuberant child
but they will not interrupt our steadier steps later,
when we place our toe gently and then our heel firmly
through the same age as our grandparents once walked.
Dominique Larntz * January 7 * “Love Letters To My Body”
The Hero’s Welcome
When you are a little older
you may also be sad to look back
and find you have been judged
for extending a helping hand
during an evening’s walk
to a woman who has driven herself
kilometers too far
onto the twisting road
with all the signs that read
“Watch for falling rocks”
in either direction.
It has crushed us,
and it may do the same
to you, to help pull her awkwardly
through the unsteady window
from underneath her
boulder-topped car just
before a tons piece of granite
takes one more topple-turn
that would have crushed
her body completely
had you not wandered along
at the precise moment you did,
and to have her fix her gaze upon you
and instead of thanking you,
or thanking life,
or even exhaling,
she will tell you you can’t set her down,
can’t let go of her hand,
can’t call anyone for help,
that you must carry her with you,
and she will say,
as if she is joking,
I have to wonder
if you know
what you are doing.
She will ignore
the piece of the mountain
crushing the place where
her fragile body
a moment ago.
She focuses only on
your aptitude and confidence
in your rescue role,
as if you are auditioning
for all future heroism
and the important thing
is your individual prowess
and not this beautiful