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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Toque aqui para abierto la puerta.

Touch here to open door.

Door. Door. I read somewhere that door is one of the prettiest words in the English language. Door. What makes door so pretty? Door. The consonant is not really hard – though we think of d as a hard consonant – but neither is it soft. The two o’s in a row make a soothing sound. Door. Your tongue lightly presses, just the slightest touch – against the back of your front upper teeth and then retreats easily as your mouth opens slightly, almost as though your lips were ready to kiss the r of door goodbye as it slips out the threshold of your mouth, past the sweet doors that are your lips. Door.

Doors swing open. Doors slam shut. Close the door. Shut the door. Slam the door. Oh, the meanness, the pettiness, the violence of doors. A door’s thickness, wideness, heaviness, slams in your face, shutting you out, or shutting you in. What’s so pretty about that?

Doors are portals, entryways. But to what? You walk through them. Sometimes you run into them. Sometimes they open wide, welcoming, come in, come in the door seems to say. Come in to home and hearth. To warmth, light, hot soup and tea. To family. To love. Come in. Come in. I have a door in my body. We all have doors in our bodies – many doors to our bodies. Who do we let in through the doors of our bodies? Who comes into my body and through what door? How do you come to be inside me? Through what door? And what doors lock you out? Lock me in?

Locks. Now that’s something else. Lock is not a pretty word, though it starts off with an inviting lull. Lock. A strong word, a startling word. A word that carries weight.
L O CK. The c and k together carry the weight of the word, carry the weight at the end, create a sharp, but not high or tinny weight – sharp like a heavy butcher knife that comes down with a hard slam. Ah, so locks, like doors, can slam shut. Slam into you. Slam you out. LOCK. Lock is not a pretty word unless you spell it l o c h and then that means something quite different. A body of water, a lake. Maybe with a monster in it, but still pretty. Green-blue water on the surface, surrounded by emerald hills and grey skies hanging overhead, reaching down to touch the loch, make love to the loch, smother it in affection. Or neglect.

How can a body of water with a monster in it be pretty? What’s so pretty about a monster?

Who has the key to the loch? Does the monster have this key?

The man next to me sighs heavily (yet in some ways softly – if it wasn’t so quiet in here you wouldn’t think he had sighed heavily, you would think he had sighed softly). He is sighing as he writes, as he works on his novel. What has made him sigh? What part of his work has caused him to open the door of his sigh, the door of his chest and throat and larynx and let that soft sigh that sits so heavily come out and rest like a pudgy hand on my shoulder, on my ear lobe, in my brain? He sighs again. Does he know that he has become the subject of my forced write? He can’t read what I’m writing – he is about four feet away and focused on his own laptop, the screen with words across them – his screen doesn’t move. He is too busy sighing. Something must be wrong. Perhaps the protaganist in his novel is not behaving himself properly – perhaps going places and doing things he doesn’t like, doesn’t want the character to do. Perhaps he has lost control of his plot. Perhaps there’s a dog running down the streets of his novel, running amuck with a bone in its mouth – a bone that is really the rolled up wads of discarded proofs, discarded drafts that the man next to me rejected as not good enough, not witty enough, not compelling enough, not chiseled enough in syntax or perhaps just plain boring in range of events and scope of narrative. Poor fellow, no wonder he is sighing. If a dog ran through my work right now and dug into my wastebasket and came back with my garbage writing and somehow leaked it into my latest draft, I would sigh too.

But I don’t have that problem because I am not working on a draft. I am just writing. Just following the thread.

How did this all get started with the bus? With the words on the back-of-the-bus doors.

Toque aqui para abierto la puerta. Touch here to open door.


Compliments of last night's SUAW (Shut Up and Write) session.

17 Comments:

Blogger boneman said...

adore.
simply adore your writing.

now, as for lock?
I have a picture of a bike (from Amsterdam) on my top post right now and it is the epitome of loCK.
or..in this case
loCKS
which would actually make it lox, and now I want a bagel, but, since I'm far from the maddening crowds that have such things, I will, instead, adjust my tastes to toast.

March 12, 2009 11:13 AM  
Blogger firebird said...

This is such a fun trip! I love all the places it goes...from beginning to end!

Especially the part about the guy with the sigh--and the trail you follow on that...very amusing--
but the serious part before is necessary to set us up for the humor--

I like "smother it with affection. Or neglect". Very wise.

I heard someone say once that "cellar door" was the most beautiful word they knew in English...

March 13, 2009 7:54 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Boneman: what a lovely compliment. I will treasure it.

Firebird: Thank you! I have been attending a group called Shut Up and Write - meeting in a cafe and doing exactly what the group name implies - for an hour. I love the experience and feel as if I am getting material to work. Or at the very least, honing my craft. I love having a writing practice. I write during the week as well, but this dedicated once a week forced write is good for a writer's soul.

Cellar. Yes - that is a pretty word.

March 14, 2009 9:33 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

bird, thank you for sharing your flight through your fertile, imaginative mind. It is always a delight for me to read your latest gems.

What can I learn?

What can I re-learn?

What did I ever learn?

and, who cares?

I do.

Your stream of consciousness is so crisply written. If only the sighing man would wake up to the real mission of the assignment, LET IT OUT.

But enough. It is enough. It is never enough. Why else would I return? Why else would I quietly wait for the next posting? Why else, indeed.

btw, is it amuck or amok? I can't find my dictionary.

Thanks again.

March 15, 2009 4:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jack!

It's both amok and amuck - either way. But here's a snippet from dictionary.com:

amok: (among members of certain Southeast Asian cultures) a psychic disturbance characterized by depression followed by a manic urge to murder.

Pretty scary, eh?

Re: the sighing man. Some folks at SUAW use the time to edit - which is what I suspect this fellow was doing. I can't edit in that environment - but I can generate. Editing I do at home, alone, in my pjs, with a cup of coffee and the phone unplugged (and the wireless disabled) and with much sighing.

Hahahaha!

flap/flap/flap
SWOOSH!

March 15, 2009 9:54 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Thanks for the much needed lesson. You are a very fine teacher.

now, get back to flapping and swooshing.

March 15, 2009 3:29 PM  
Blogger firebird said...

Bird--that group sounds so inspiring! Do you discuss the writing afterward--I think you had said you do--
it's so great to get immediate feedback! And the discipline to produce on the spot--with no restrictions...
Did the guy get to see what you wrote about him?

March 16, 2009 8:37 PM  
Blogger Bird said...

Hi Firebird!
Nope, we don't really discuss what we've written right there - or solicit feedback. The meeting is really about just writing. We do talk about process and what we're writing in general - but usually, folks are outta there pretty quick.

I do belong to another writers' group - and in that group, we do critique and provide feedback. Some of my SUAW pieces have been critiqued by that group - only of course, the peices are already worked over by me- I don't bring my raw, rough stuff to my critque group.

I am babbling - I could discuss writing and process endlessly -but of course, then I wouldn't get any writing done!

I am curious though FB, do you have a group you work with?

March 17, 2009 7:12 AM  
Blogger Polly said...

When I read your writing, I am there..You hold my interest and I am lost in your words.
You take me on a journey and I feel my mouth moving in conjunction with your directives and even though we have differing accents I can feel the words shifting in my mouth.

Your sighing man I recognise. Sighs are thoughts pushed down or away.
He should let his thoughts run out of his fingers and into his laptop. He would then have no need of sighs.

You, dear Bird, are something else. A thoughtful, expressive creature who has a loyal and dedicated following.
Count me as one!

March 17, 2009 11:11 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

well, I still don't know how writers make any money.
But then, I'm an artist, and I haven't actually figured out how to get fair pay for my paintings, either.

Hope your weekend does you well.
No storms, no high winds, weatherman, do tell.
But...What do I know?
Just look out your window.
If it's blue, you're OK, if it isn't, what the hell.

March 20, 2009 3:13 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Jeez... I've read a couple of these shut up and write pieces you've done and they're all so good... it seems like it's a good group and process...

I love the line:

Who has the key to the loch?

had a chuckle and a sigh myself there too!

thanks for sharing your work...

March 24, 2009 9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jon:

You are also Hopper, no?

I love the SUAW sessions, although last week I pretty much got nothing but garbage out of the session - just didn't fly. Out of an hour's worth of writing, perhaps one line can be salvaged and developed ...but that's how it goes. More importantly, the process is solid - keeps my writing juices going and challenges me.

Thanks for the compliment too. I like a lot of this writing, though I know not what it will truly develop into. Most of this operates as prose poetry - of sorts - but still needs refinement.But that's a process -and a fun one at that.

Now I must away and check out some more of the Beckett action over on your pages. That's a fascinating project.

Bird

March 25, 2009 6:26 AM  
Blogger /t. said...

post d'or

¤ ¤ ¤

/t.

March 25, 2009 2:48 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

OK, well, you know me from near three years ago, and remember that, every once and a while I'de dig up some out rageous joke and go post it at everybody's comment boxes.
HA!
Wasn't that fun?!

You also know I only tried once to sell my art off the blog, failing sadly, even though actually selling four pieces. (geez, I'de give anything to sell four pieces this year!)
HA! That's fun, too!
Wheeeeee!

But then today I visited a writer's blog
(http://dianesaddledramblings.blogspot.com/)
and she's onto a mission for kids,
(http://www.afiveoh4uplifting.org/)

and, while I know I could get in trouble doing this (it's one thing to be considered a goof and another completely different thing to be considered spam) (well, not that spam is always bad. I like the cut pam and pineapples on a vegetarian pizza with a quick squirt of BBQ sauce) none the less, as an official poor man, and that they aren't asking for money, but rather, something different, I thought I'de actually bug a lot of my online friends about it.

Hmmmm.
Still running the risk of being called spam, aren't I?

oh well.

Just like I'll do anything to make people laugh, same goes for helping kids in a hospital.

March 26, 2009 2:30 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

stand by me, but please don't wave your arms.
For I am a bird and if I fly, you may just do me harm.

Freedom, such a delicate thing, fragile, elusive.
Sometimes it's a lover's thing, always have to give.

That's OK, if love comes back in one form or the other.
Which is why so many love their fellow man less than their own brother.

March 27, 2009 10:04 AM  
Blogger boneman said...

stand close to me
but, well, not too close.
Because if you do you might step on my toes.

(sorry...just goofin' waiting for the piece.)

d=))

March 27, 2009 4:30 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

Bird,

Would love to have you play along with the Beckett adaptation...

More voices the better as far as I'm concerned...

thanks for your thoughts on the SUAW work shops:

"one line salvaged"

"operates as prose poetry - of sorts - but still needs refinement"

it is a process eh? nothing ever fully formed... this is how I see all the writing I do... like searching in the dark... just testing out the water... I think it was ee cummings who said that he hoped to write only one perfect line... so do I!

see ya later Bird...

March 27, 2009 9:10 PM  

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