Bio Note: After a year and a half of fearing to venture out, I started my fully vaccinated re-entry into society with an art class in sumi-e painting in August (fully masked with only four other students in the classroom), and next week I’m teaching an in-person haiku class (a class that filled in fifteen minutes of registration opening, so apparently others are also wanting to rejoin the company of others). In addition, I have a new mixed media collage on display at an art show “Grief & Gratitude.” that just opened at Albuquerque’s Tortuga Gallery. I’ve also had a very good fall with new poems in San Pedro River Review, Naugatuck River Review, and El Palacio, so I’m feeling quite grateful to have made it through the past eighteen months—grief, be damned!
Y, Oh, Y
You, the most fluid letter, sometimes vowel, sometimes consonant, sometimes yin, sometimes yang. Ye can be young as yolk or an old yarn, a variable, an ordinate. Your nature is to question, though your own answer is often brief: yes. (Or yeah, or yep, or yup.) No yore without yesterday, you are key to time, the mystery of Yahweh. You yearn to make noise through yips, yelps, yowls, yells and barbaric yawps. Sometimes a place for yoga or post-Yule exercise, sometimes a foreign currency, sometimes an obscure element. Y’all can be yummy, yeasty, yellow, yielding, but, admit it, sometimes a yo-yo, a yahoo. Without you, adverbs would be in short supply, and I might be lone as a yucca, not lonely as I yam.
I have a life outside of geese and ponds and marsh grasses. But you won’t find much in the way of autobiography in my work: nothing about sexual abuse as a child, life as a lesbian in P-town, even less about M., though we shared a bed for more than four decades. I leave those subjects to Sexton, Rich, Hacker, and Olds. Like Dickinson, I’m nobody most of the time, content with forests of quiet around me. I am somebody when alone in the woods or at the shore, watching and writing. Among crows and snakes and owls, among moccasin flowers and moonlight, this is where I feel more than ordinary. The rest— engagements I try to avoid, accolades and awards I never ask for, books that outsell my contemporaries— intrude upon my desire to watch and write. I placed pencils in my favorite walnut trees after I found myself on an afternoon walk without a writing instrument. That’s the kind of life I lead. I look outward to see inward—the rest is simply inconsequential.
Lunch with Lady Lazarus
Mac-n-cheese is my go-to comfort food: a nice bubbly crust when it’s baked yielding to a creamy gooiness beneath. I’ve given it some thought, and it’s not what I want to serve Sylvia Plath— nothing involving ovens, I decide. Then I remember a fact from her letters and journals read during my infatuation with suicidal poets period: her specialty was a Campbell’s tomato soup cake, so soup it is, my other cold-weather comfort food (not cake—I don’t want to compete, and, again, no ovens!). Red, I recall, was her favorite color, and I’ll dot the soup with oyster crackers, a nod to her New England upbringing. Of course, I’ve long since ditched the can for aseptic packaging—no sharp edges— switched the glop for pourable soup, though I still add milk, a pat of butter, half a teaspoon of basil or oregano. I think she’ll appreciate the gourmet touch, but when she scrutinizes the bowl and emotes in her best British accent, I rise with my red hair, I know what’s coming next and wonder if I shouldn’t have served American hot dogs instead. Probably not the best time to argue that while dying may be an art, I never thought she did it exceptionally well.
©2021 Scott Wiggerman
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