"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Monday, November 21, 2011

His Journals

He bequeaths me his journals
hand to page
pressing in, on the fabric of self
a scratch, a wound, a scar
petroglyph, fossil, a museum of the mind.

I do not take this lightly.
I can see the artifacts lined up above the piano
grave stones to passing years
the dusty mind of a younger man.

I rope my arm to the chair
for it would snake out to brrrshk brrrshk each cover
my lips to blow
yearly deposits of inattention from drying spines.

Why must I wait for death
to receive this gift?

Why is such a treasure held in a rubber band coffin,
the exhumation of which is only offered
when the pain is fresh and questions
lay like a wilting bouquet in the lap of an epitaph?

Is that it?
The questions?

I won't ask them!!!!
But let me know you while you live.


  1. Ok, while I live. Hmm. My name is Ben. I live in Central Ohio, graduated with a BA in history. I'm trying to get into a education program now to be a social studies teacher. And I like pokemon. A lot.

  2. I like this. Such a good observation of what we are left by those we love. I think of all I have written in my journals over the years that I would like my daughters to know, but I’d have so much editing to do of the things I rather they found out, after I am dead.

  3. I love this! All the concrete details really sucked me in! And holy cow. You painted its importance and weight SO WELL.

  4. @ Ben - Pokeymon? I never knew. I like you Ben. You're quirky as hell!

    @ Anthony - You're the second to concur...I am wrong. The journals should be left 'til death. I concede. It was just a wish.

  5. I've pondered whether I should burn my gazillion journals or leave them to my progeny. This week, it's good I don't have any matches or lighters handy or I may have burned down the whole fucking house, journals and all. I think it's the inanimate things that are best like love, friendship, kindness...and well, a few great first edition books would be good. Anytime a person dies in this family, all they leave is bills. No shit, true story. That's kind of a bummer, really. Love you!! xo

    PS: Ben was MY quirky friend first. I have seniority. Tee-hee....OH, and some AWESOME Pokemon cards, too!!!

  6. "why wait",,,such a reoccuring theme, it seems, sometimes,,reckon?

  7. I sometimes wonder if anything I'll leave behind will be trash or treasure to whomever claims it.

  8. "Let me know you while you live." A valid request, I should think. But actions speak louder than words. If I go back over all my old journals, I'd want to punch emo 14 year old Tracy in the face because she was SUPER whiny.

    Thank God that I've done more in my life than just the things I took the time to write about :)

  9. @ Marion - Of course you are right...valid point. But I haven't much of the inanimate, so I suppose that's why I crave the tangible. It is love..in it's way. Okay, I'll give you first friends with Quirky Ben. Pokemon. Sheesh! Really? Love you too dearest.

    @ Glenn - I reckon. I love that word. So pastoral. Down to earth. Retro and goodness all rolled into one.

    @ Eric - Treasure. Of this I am sure. It is treasure while you live, and doubly so upon death.

    @ Phoenix - A valid point. Sometimes I think I have lived more in my writing than in my flesh. I think I love EMO 14 year old Tracy. Is that okay?

  10. You know, your writing never fails to elicit a response... and from the comments, in others as well.
    You have great readers and an awesome dynamic going here, but you knew that. : j

  11. Annie,
    This is touching...To know someone when they are alive is always the more of an effort of heart and soul than to know about those who passed why..the breathing dead is what they leave us with...little scars of faces we once loved to see or even hate to at times...."death is the road to awe"(from "the fountain")

  12. @ Alesa - Thanks. It's always interesting to hear the different responses to a piece. Poetry is so personal and yet so vastly different between writer and reader. If I spoke about what I wrote, and you spoke about what you read, a bystander might think they were two separate things. Strange, yet wonderful.

    @ Manik - What is The Fountain? A book, a movie, a poem? The breathing dead. Interesting concept.

  13. yes, and yes! we should all ask one another ragged, who and what and why. how else will we ever learn?

    why do we always spend so much time waiting to die for such a vast variety of reasons?


  14. quirk works for me... always has. Hi Ben.

    journals - I have most of mine. Including one that includes a list of boys I "dated" (must burn that journal).

    I also have a few of my son's journals - they are priceless.

    again and again you suck me in! very nice indeed.

  15. @ Erin - Exactly. Show me, teach me, know me, love me, change me.

    @ Green Monkey - Guess we are all a bit quirky around here. NO NO NO. Don't burn the dated boy journal. It will have a good home with me :) Thank you for the lovely compliment.

  16. annie,
    "the fountain " is a movie by darren aronofsky...hugh jackman and racheil weiz...watch it...

  17. This is so poignant, I miss you very much, I'm back on blogger with almost all my blogs, and windows lol
    I have something like 50 journals about everything...now I wonder who'll be left to read them

  18. also I love the phot shivers down my spine

  19. @ Manik - Thanks. I certainly will.

    @ Lorraine - I've missed you too Lorraine! Glad to see your photo blog back.

  20. If we wait for perfection before showing our true selves to others we will wait forever. Perfection will never strike me down and change me into it's image because there is no such thing. So I must show the reality as it is now ... in all it's f*cked-upness. But I must also remember that there is goodness in me too.

    And the funny thing is Annie that this is perfectly OK with you. You have a talent for warmth and acceptance because broken-ness doesn't scare you.

    What you give is what you get. Love you Annie. xx Jos

  21. getting closer. that's the poetic advice de jour, isn't it? share, all that stuff. knowing someone is a blending of universes. why does it get harder to come together later in life? we pick up so much baggage in this world.

  22. annie, i've read this a few times.

    this is a sore subject for me. i have journals, half finished novels, and oh so many poems. they are all over my desk, in my drawers, in a file cabinet.

    and all i can think is
    'oh my god, if i die unexpectedly, ____ will be so hurt reading this, knowing this is now i felt. the ____ is often my partner, sometimes my daughter. how can anyone hand over something so vulnerable while that anyone is still vulnerably alive?

    okay. my next point: i really like coming here and i really like your images and words.

    and last, why so little of the intangibles now? i want you to have more. and more.

    your pal

  23. @ KJ - I appreciate your perspective. I don't imagine Pops wrote about me in his journals, I wasn't really a part of his life for much of it so I suppose that's why I'm hungry, and get more so as he ages. However I understand exactly what you're saying. But he wants me to have them, so...they must not be too damaging :) Even so...I would want to hear, to know.

    @ Ed - Yes. Share all that stuff. Always easier said than done, eh? I don't know why Ed. Wish I did.

  24. oh, annie, that last, change me, sunk right into me like a thumbprint:) beautiful.


  25. I love you, Annie. I would simply die of happiness if I got anything personal from my mother or anyone in my family. Our family has too, too many horrifying secrets. I have dozens of journals and plan to leave them to my granddaughter when she's about 25. My younger daughter gave me a huge box of her teen/college journals and said I could read them. I told her I learned my lesson when she was 15 and I read one page of her journal. I slammed it shut and never read a word again. Too scary. LOL! I wish I had an iota of your courage. You're my hero. xoxoxo

  26. @ Erin - We've talked much about how we want to be known. But how deeply we also wish to know. All the skin layed out and bleating organs exposed. I'm not sure this curious nature is for everyone. It is a self inflicted pain at times.

    @ Marion - I love you too Marion :) I gave my mother a journal one Christmas and asked for it back the next. It wasn't blank. It was filled with questions. She filled it out, God bless her, and returned it to me. Remember I wrote a bunch of posts about it? It filled in a lot of holes for me and was actually a priceless gift. But I'm not brave. Hell, I've only been to the swamp that once :)

  27. This struck something in me, I cant speek to what it was, but I was struck. I'll have to read it again!

  28. let me know you while you live.
    yes, that is it. just the thing to ask.
    we all live our lives in hiding.


Thank you for listening.