Alone, with a baby

E, asleepTuesday. My first day totally alone with E. A quiet, sun-dappled morning. I rocked in the nursing chair in the calm of the baby’s room and listened to a neighbor scream.

The voice sounded like it came across the alley and down a-ways; even in the mid-morning hush it was only half audible over the droning of the cicadas, the rustling cottonwood leaves. But it was impossible to ignore. A young woman, enraged, screaming herself hoarse at someone. I thought – hoped – I heard a calmer, lower, older voice occasionally answering her. I definitely heard the wails of a baby or small child; they were agonizingly unignorable. The word that came through most often from the young ranter was “fuuuuck!” “I need some fucking help!” I thought I heard her yell. “It’s been two months!” “Why the fuck aren’t you doing what I told you to?!”

I wanted to call someone, send someone responsible to break up the tableau I imagined down the block – the young mother disheveled and completely broken down, the house dim and dirty and chaotic, the baby… I prayed she wasn’t yelling at the baby, but I could picture that all to well too. That’s what the kid’s cries sounded like – the wild sounds a tiny child makes when they’re the victim of something horribly out of their comprehension and are trying to beat it back with nothing but the force of their small lungs.

And even while I sat and listened and pictured the scene, I also wondered if I wasn’t hallucinating it all. Or at least, if I wasn’t completely misinterpreting these half-distinguished sounds floating in on the hot, light-filled air.

Because how symbolic is this situation? The new mom, alone for the first time with her baby, nervous about what comes next, hearing a premonition of the worst possible future? It’s too cinematic to be real.

After ten or fifteen minutes of listening, I went out into the backyard to try to make out the shouting more clearly and maybe pinpoint the house. E, fussing too much to be put down, came along in my arms. As she squinted, I tried to shade her vulnerable skin from the sun with my own shadow. It made me realize how tethered I am now – I couldn’t even walk down the block without loading her up in the Ergo, swaddling every opening with a blanket… and then worrying that she was sweltering inside.

*****

Now I’ve gotten through three solitary days by myself, since my folks went home and Sean went back to work. It hasn’t been that bad. I’ve managed to take baby and dog for a walk each day, the one activity I can count on E. allowing, since she conks out after a few seconds in the Ergo. Other than that, I’m trying to make my peace with nothing else getting done. I get out food for lunch and it sits on the table for hours, waiting for me. I have just two quick phone calls on my to-do list, a couple of emails. Days pass before I can get to them. Outside the windows, August moves slowly past. I lose track of the weather, lose track of the date, lose track of the season. If I walked out the door tomorrow to yellow leaves and snapping cold, I don’t think it would surprise me at all. I’m completely unmoored in baby land.

I keep waiting for it to get old.  Will I wake up one of these days, after another night cut into hour and a half chunks of sleep, and decide that while this whole baby thing’s been a blast, I’m over it and it’s time for my old familiar life to begin again?  And if I do wake up feeling that way, will that also mark the first time when this all finally feels real?  Because it doesn’t yet, really.  Choosing a photo to add to this post, I found myself wondering, who’s baby is that, lying in my lap or in my husband’s arms?  The pictures almost feel staged. E sure is cute, but she’s not really real yet.

Being alone is a lot harder. Big surprise there. For the first week of E’s life, my folks were so eager to cuddle their granddaughter that it felt like a treat when I finally got her in my arms. Now when I hold her, I often ache to put her down and just get on with things. And, more surprisingly, it’s harder to appreciate her when there aren’t people around all the time gushing over how cute and sweet and amazing and awesome she is. I have to nag myself to pay attention to her adorable facial expressions, her immense cuddliness. I wouldn’t have thought I’d need positive reinforcement to remind myself to appreciate this baby, but those feelings do ebb a bit when faced with the constant reality of feeding, changing, and soothing.

And yet, when E. falls asleep in my arms after nursing, somehow the better part of an hour can pass before I bother to put her down and go back to my lunch or my calls or even to bed. Her soft weight heavy in lap, her little breaths. Some of the overwhelming newness has worn off, it’s true; I have fewer moments of her nose! Her mouth! My god, her toes! But I still lose myself in these times when we’re together in the nursing chair (as I write this she is fast asleep in my lap in a sort of sprawled out frog pose, her head resting heavily in the crook of my right arm, completely unconcerned to be bounced up and down by my typing. It’s 10pm. I should go upstairs, put her in the bassinet, try to get some sleep. But instead…)

I think she has gotten fussier in recent days.  In general, she seems to rack up three solidly inconsolable hours a day. They’re just always different hours. Earlier they were in the middle of the night. Today it was 5-7am and then 3:30-5pm. I guess that’s easier. But it means I live with a constant dread – is it starting again? Will this feeding be the one that ends with her pulling away and screaming for the next three hours? I get through these spells in somewhat the same way I got through labor – improvising coping methods when things are bad and trying to relax into the brief moments of calm in between. At night we walk around the dark house, bouncing and dancing. This afternoon I took her outside to stand under the pepper tree, jiggling and whispering to her. When Sean finally arrived home it was all I could do not to toss her into his arms.

They say the fussing peaks at six weeks. Yikes. That’s a long ways off.

****

I seem to be mostly past the crying jags that colored the first week of E’s life. For a while it seemed like all I did was sniffle and weep. I cried after reading a headline (not even the article!) about how many women can’t afford diapers and end up re-using disposables. I cried thinking about all the parents who’ve lost children to violence or disease, feeling an empathetic pain I’d never experienced before. I cried watching my parents with E, because I hadn’t given them a grandchild before, and because I am constantly afraid of their mortality and don’t ever want to lose them, and because now I don’t want E. to ever lose them either.

There were a lot of tears.

It didn’t feel bad, and in a way I miss those weepy times compared to the slight banality of spending my days with E. now. It’s harder to remember how amazing all of this is, when I’m also just strategizing her next feeding and when I might be able to do something for myself.

****

It’s a little weird not to be publicly pregnant any more. That realization hit as I was standing in line at the grocery store yesterday. When I was seven or eight or nine months pregnant, I just felt special. Even if people didn’t comment on it, it was clear I was in a class of my own, the select group of “women who are growing another life inside of them.” I felt like people owed it to me to be nicer to me, and cut me some slack if I did something dumb. By nine months, I felt like I was superwoman just for leaving the house. Standing in line at the grocery now, I realized I was just another woman. Nothing sets me apart anymore.

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August 8, 2013 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Cliff’s edge

I have to say I’m rather surprised by how fitfully my body apparently plans to stumble and stutter its way into labor.  I’ve been relying on the damned Hollywood version, that simple plot device where impending birth is heralded with an inopportune splash, a sudden moan or gasp, and the wife standing in the doorway, looking peaceful and knowing, telling her husband, “it’s time.”

Instead I get a daily game of “is it, or isn’t it?” as my uterus gathers and tightens at random times, refusing to settle into the 5-1-1 pattern the doctor has drilled into me (5 minutes in between 1-minute-long contractions lasting for at least 1 hour).  The troublesome organ is in fact doing it right now.  Or was; it’s not at the moment and who can guess how soon the sensation will return.

False as it is, this quasi-labor is still quite educational; it has the power, every time it comes along, to reveal my true terror about actual childbirth.  The other hours of the day I’m impatient as can be, and with good reason: a week past due, burning through my sick leave, waking up four times a night, and it’s just so damned hot.  All I want in the world is this baby out of my belly.  And then my body hints that it’s ready to oblige and my first reaction is to whimper, “oh, oh no, not yet…”

I feel like a kid trying to psyche myself up to jump off a big rock into a lake.  It’s what I want, what I can’t wait to do and I’m running for that edge, full of will and nerve and excitement … and at the last step, I screech to a halt, toes clutching at the precipice, and back away, only to forget my terror moments later and steel myself for the jump all over again.

These contractions, fraudulent as they may be, are powerful, sometimes painful.  They already require accommodation and coping … and they are only the palest harbinger of what’s to come.  It is going to be a long process, replete with pain I can’t even imagine yet, and there is nothing to do but go through it.  On the other side, knock-on-wood, an awesome little baby awaits, a result worth anything to get to … until the squeeze and press and ache starts again, and the journey is suddenly as real as the goal, the dread eclipsing the excitement.

I’ve read Dr. Bradley’s book, where he promises virtually painless childbirth, as long as the mother just has the willpower to relax enough.  I’ve crammed  Birthing from Within, which praises mothers’ instinctual knowledge in the face of the medical establishment.  I’ve done the same online prenatal yoga routine so many times now that its soothing words have the power of mantra: “…with each contraction, your body is hugging, and squeezing your baby…”  But the closer I get to this inevitable event, the more I think it’s all bullshit.  Perhaps the most reassuring thing I’ve heard so far is from my mom, who, after an unsatisfying time delivering my older sister, prepped in all the proper hippy ways for my coming and still, in the car on the way to the hospital, found herself thinking, “oh shit, I forgot how much this hurts.”

I’m determined to experience as much of the pain as I can.  I’ve pursued so many other physical experiences in my life — through sports and activities and foods and even occasionally through chemicals — how can I take a pass on this one?  But I’m afraid that that’s just so much bravado, only possible to put into writing at this moment since, once again, my itinerant contractions have wandered off yet again and I feel ready for another run at the cliff’s edge.

July 23, 2013 at 11:48 pm 1 comment

One Day Past Due

bellyAt a Saturday prenatal yoga class earlier in my pregnancy one of the women announced she was 41 weeks along. The question that day was “what’s something that’s made you happy lately?” Her answer: “Well, I found this T-shirt of my husband’s that actually fits me…” She was crying. I think she cried all the way through class.

I get it. If this goes on another week (or, god forbid, another three, as S. inflicted on his mother) I think I’ll be crying all the time too. It’s not really that it’s all that miserable; I don’t have the swollen ankles or the varicose veins or the thousand other complaints that plague the extremely gravid. But it’s just so tiring being this pregnant. I walk the dog and need to lie down after. I cook dinner and then am almost too tired to eat. Every activity seems like just a bit too much. But somehow all these waiting hours have to be filled.

It would almost be easier if I was still working – some rote and relatively undemanding task – so that I didn’t feel my leave trickling away, ill taken, and have to picture my daughter, progressively younger, passing into the hands of a nanny at the ever-encroaching other end.

Here’s how I know I’ll be crying all the time at 41 weeks: I’m one day past due and already imagining nightmare 10-lb Leo babies trying to make it out of my pelvis.

****

The baby is really bouncing around right now. I think she has hiccups. Her movements have become frighteningly strong at times – sudden knobs that meander across my abdomen; random, belching ripples; and stiff, motionless humps that bulge out from one side of my belly button or the other. Breathless moments when she must have her feet stretched way up under my ribs and sudden sharp pangs down in my pelvis, where her head must be getting tired of sitting.

Even when she is quiescent, I can’t control my obsession with this great moon belly of mine.  I keep pulling up my shirts to stare at it, barely aware of what I’m doing. When my hands have no other occupation, they fan out, stroking it, reminding themselves of its unreal dimensions. I feel crushed and crowded behind it. Sitting, it pushes me back, away from whatever I’m trying to do. Lying, it pins me there, requires me to wake up if I want to roll over, flail if I want to stand. My core hinge has been replaced by brutish block, requiring that I kowtow to it with every motion.  And yet, it still has the moon’s pull of fascination.

I wonder if my hands will feel empty when she’s out, or if they’ll be so full of baby, and baby business, that they won’t have time to notice.

****

It doesn’t help that this is the crazy season, on top of everything else. That season where heat defines and limits the days, when the stove is hostile territory and we’re always scrambling to find things to feed ourselves. When you have to just drink and drink and drink water after water after water to feel okay. When the dog is getting sick and the cat is pulling her hair out. It’s already a season of waiting and endurance and now my whole business is waiting and endurance.

Summer weather is a bit like the baby – this thing I longed for and dreamed about all through the cold months of winter, but almost unendurable as the reality drags on. And weather and baby together both have moments of sweetest pleasure and purest luxury.

****

I am scared of labor. Let’s just admit that.  On Saturday I endured four hours of periodic contractions and ongoing ick in between.  A false alarm, as it turns out, but one that drove home how inadequate any preparation is for this experience (not that I felt adequately prepared to start with.)  I can’t get through this just by recasting pain as “intensity” and breathing really deeply. It’s going to hurt, a lot, and it sounds like it’s going to hurt sooner and more than I’d imagined. The fluttery, adrenaline-filled false labor I enjoyed on earlier afternoons is a sham. True labor will be pain, more and more of it, and I am scared whether I will be able to endure, and to endure well.

And yet at the same time, I’m busy interrogating myself moment to moment: is that a contraction? Could that be the first? Will it start now? Or now? Or now? It’s 11pm as I write this and part of me wants to just stay up and refuse to sleep, like a kid who knows Christmas is just on the other side of the night. If I could just stay awake until labor gets here, then it has to get here soon, right?

Another part of me fears it will never happen. At some point mom will get tired of waiting and head home. I’ll get bored and go back to work. False alarm everybody; baby watch is off.

I’m not miserable, really. Just bored. A boredom compounded by the knowledge that what comes next will be so far from boring it seems cosmically unfair not to get a jump on the interesting stuff now. I always believed women who asked to be induced were idiots; how could you do something that wasn’t the 100% healthiest choice for your baby just for your own convenience? But now I begin to get it – the waiting is excruciating. The uncertainty is all consuming. And the boredom is maddening.

Mom suggested I write a letter to the baby, which is a lovely idea. The hippy baby book suggests I draw pictures to explore what I’m really feeling about birth and motherhood. A friend’s mother posted on Facebook that I should start singing the baby a song now, so that she’ll be trained to be comforted by it when she arrives, an idea so tender I’m tearing up as I write it down. But again, I feel like there’s no space or energy for those pretty things. I’m just a blob of enduring flesh, shallow breath, and impatient emotions.

Here I am crying, for not any particular reason, and wearing my husband’s T-shirt no less … and still six days shy of 41 weeks.

July 18, 2013 at 11:35 pm Leave a comment

Pre-Partum Denial

Having a baby is terrifying, although I have to say I know this more because of what I read than what I feel.  The internet is full of viral links happily spreading the gospel of misery. Having a baby is angst-ful, nigh unbearable, or so I read. On Facebook, people are up in arms about this guy. On Twitter they’re passing around this article. Sean’s reading a memoir of fatherhood which, although quite humorous, starts with the author’s genitals literally shriveling in terror at the sight of his wife’s positive pregnancy test.

And then there’s this little number, which suggests not spending your life screeching at your children is a lot harder to avoid than one might think.

So there’s this whole internet out there eager to describe in gory detail the horror-show that is parenting … which makes me feel like I should be spending the final months pre-delivery curled up like a little lima bean of dread.

And yet I’m not.

It’s not that I don’t believe them. And I’ll admit they’ve done a lot to throw ice water on any happy anticipation of what’s to come — instead I now feel I should keep my expectations as low as humanly possible, while staying aware that they can’t possibly be low enough to truly anticipate the hell we are in for.

But I’m not in full bore what-have-we-done panic, and I chalk that up to two great things I’ve discovered about having a baby:

Lesson One: the joy of inevitability. As soon as I got pregnant there were only two paths — become parents, or terminate our child because the unknown is just too scary. Obviously the second course was unthinkable, so that didn’t leave much to think about with the other, either. I can’t worry about what’s coming because really, at this point there’s no other option.

Lesson Two: the freedom of unimaginability.  Having a baby will change our lives so immeasurably that trying to really prepare, or even just picture it, seems absolutely futile. So most of the time I don’t. When I come home at night and the demanding dog orders me around the house — sit in the kitchen so I’ll eat my dinner, go downstairs so I can lie on the couch with you and the other human and watch TV — I wonder for the moment if, in the future, I simply won’t notice her pushiness, or if I won’t care, or if I’ll notice and care and just be unable to respond.  But then I stop wondering.  I’ll know soon enough.

It does feel a tad strange, this absence of the terror I feel I should be in.  Usually I can dread anything. But this one’s so big, I think it’s just going to have to hit me, like making a sudden left turn into a giant brick wall.

It helps that everyone is constantly telling you that you just can’t anticipate what parenthood is actually like: the exhaustion, the waves of elation and self-doubt, the worry, the boredom, the love, the unendurable, you-have-no-idea, CIA-black-sites-harsh-interrogation levels of sleep deprivation. It becomes freeing after a while: okay, I can’t picture it, so I can’t prepare, so I’m just going to let it go until it’s there.

(On the other side, I will say all these horror stories have cured me of the fantasy that maternity leave will essentially be an amazing sabbatical in my own home, where I’ll finally write a book while training for my first marathon.)

I may have taken this let-it-ride midset a bit too far though; if it weren’t for Sean we probably still wouldn’t be signed up for any childbirth or baby-care classes and I’d be left on day one trying to figure out whether it’s sleeping on the front or the back that’s so deadly, and slowly flipping the baby over and over in an indecisive haze.

We do, as all expecting parents must, have a whole stack of books that teach you these sorts of things. I periodically look at it, wondering how many manuals you need to plow through to pass the keeping-your-baby-alive test.  And then I go find a New Yorker to read.

Possibly what I’m really writing here is a paean to denial…

In part I blame the Colorado state legislature, on which I happily lay many of my woes these days.

The legislative session makes it so easy to ignore what’s coming.  For four months my work is so engrossing, so all-consuming and immerse, that I feel permitted to let everything else ride. I have  free pass to skip meetings at the station and work as late in the evening as I want. Renew the car registration? that can wait ’til adjournment. Dentist appointment? just reschedule it. Hell, rescheduling can wait; cancel it now and rebook in June. Refinance the house? better hope those interest rates stay low a while longer.

You’d think my ever-nearing delivery date would be enough to overcome my annual ritual of personal procrastination, but instead I relish the excuse to put that off too. I imagine when the lawmakers gavel out next Wednesday I may well have a mini-nervous breakdown as the accumulated months of forestalling finally catch up with me. But even that, from what I’ve read, won’t be able to match the true horror that awaits…

May 4, 2013 at 12:30 am 2 comments

More baby-fueled ramblings

The first time the baby felt real to me was the first time I realized I couldn’t feel her pain.  It was one of those duh moments, suddenly aware that the cramp in my side belonged to me, not her. A good thing; I don’t want the baby to hurt, but it also felt like first separation: what I’m feeling is not what she’s feeling, not now and not ever.

Pregnancy: an odyssey of banal realizations. In this case: there is a thing inside of me that is not me. It is not some warm and fuzzy extension of me; it is certifiably not me, and yet, it is in me. That’s a thought whose full weirdness has to be lived to be believed (although people with persistent tapeworms have, I’m sure, gotten to experience the same existential terror. To digress further, I imagine pregnancy and parasitical experiences share more than a few epiphanies; both give the modern person a rare glimpse of how much we are just meat and animal when you get down to it.)

Now the baby — still nameless, thanks to our indecision — kicks.  I was told to expect a feeling like butterflies in my stomach. That should be fun, I thought. Instead it was like the tic that sometimes plagues my eyelid migrated down to my abdomen. Muscles jumping, but not on my command. For a long while I wrote her off as gas; pregnancy does intensely horrible things to one’s digestion, why shouldn’t it be responsible for these these after-lunch bubblings?  Sometimes I still secretly suspect her twitches of just being my errant entrails pulling a fast one, but my hand rushes to cup belly just in case.

The baby books say she can hear sounds now. I think of that mostly when I’m playing The National in my car, and I instruct her to listen closely, or when Sean and I are laughing together at something stupid. I like the idea that she’ll know our laughter. And then sometimes I think of it when all the House lawmakers are fighting and hollering at the podium and I wish I could cover her little ears so she won’t come out jaded already to the cadences of politics.

The legislature has provided my favorite pregnancy mental image so far though, courtesy of a Representative I’m quite fond.  “You’re like me,” she said, “you’re going to end up looking like a telephone pole with a basketball nailed to it!” I can so perfectly picture it, and it should probably be insulting, but I love it. I’m going to be a telephone pole with a basketball nailed to it.

March 25, 2013 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

Baby Body

In which I reveal far more about my spiritual side than I ever normally do. And my thoughts about my body. Really, this all may be more than a little TMI. But pregnancy is such an oh-so-biological thing. You’ve been warned.

The things you believe in adolescence are tough to shake and in my case it means that a junior high school fascination with Wicca and goddess religions has long lingered to color my thinking about the world. Among the concepts sitting generally-unexamined in the back of my grey matter are the three aspects of female divinity: Maiden, Mother, and Crone (well, and little judo-obsessed me had to add Warrior in there too. But she’s not entirely canonical.)

It’s been years since I danced around a maypole or meditated on the full moon, but all the way into my thirties, when confronted by the post-shower mirror, I have thought of myself as having a maiden’s body. Slim hips, small breasts, tight muscles. “Wiry,” one judo coach described me, a term I’ve liked since. Wiry.

Of course that’s not what I see in the mirror these days. Now I am wide.  My belly button seems impossibly far away from my spinal column. And I am heavy; all my flesh feels solider than before, weighed down by the intense biological reality of what it’s doing.

Throughout the pregnancy I’ve been eating right and exercising, mostly for the baby, of course, but also in anticipation of getting my body, the body I know, back. I fantasize about all the time I’ll have during maternity leave to pound the pavement behind the jogging stroller. Ha, those of you who have been through newborns must be saying about now. Ha ha ha.

And then one morning this week I threw pair after pair of slacks on the bed, vainly trying to get dressed on a day when a skirt wouldn’t cut it. I wasn’t having a zipper-and-button problem; I’m used to that. It was my hips those pants balked at. Soft tissue changes are one thing, but spreading bone structure? I know it’s naive, but it was the first moment I realized the physical changes that come with motherhood aren’t temporary or entirely overcome by sheer will alone.

Not really what I see in the mirror, but what I feel like I'm seeing.

Not really what I see in the mirror, but what I feel like I’m seeing.

I keep thinking of that scene in The Incredibles, when Elasta-Girl checks out her motherly hips in a mirror and sighs (conveniently, someone has seen fit to upload this moment to the internet. Creepily, they put it on repeat…)  That’s where I’m headed.

I guess my body is finally going to make it to the last panel on the What’s Happening to Me? female development chart after all (c’mon, I can’t be the only one who had that timeline to their future seared into their impressionable young brain? That said, I’m superpsyched to see this book is still in print.)

Just as I will always be a mother from now on, so to am I going to have a mother’s body, to some extent, from now on.  It’s funny; you think you’re ready and accepting of all the changes you’ve signed up for … and then one hits you from out of left field and you realize in some ways you’re not prepared at all.

March 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm 3 comments

Thoughts at the halfway point

Becoming a parent is an act of giving in to time.

Without a child, you don’t really have to notice the years.  When, at some point in my late twenties or early thirties, I stopped going to dance clubs, that was a matter of taste, in my mind, not age.  I’m just into different things now, is all.  And it feels so optional; at any moment I could put on a ridiculous outfit (numerous examples of which remain helpfully archived in my closet) and run out to close the night down.  I can’t see a difference between my face and the twenty-somethings, so why should they?

Without a child, all possibilities feel present tense and acting any particular age is just that, an act.

But this new life busily building itself inside me anchors me to time.  I will always be old to my daughter; the unvarying, un-aging Other sort of “old” that all parents occupy in their children’s minds, until the day the now-adult child looks up and realizes in terror their parents aren’t just old their eyes, but the eyes of the world, too.

Becoming a parent means accepting that I will watch myself slowly be swept out of the way by the next generation, and even enjoy the sweeping. It means I will do the things that adults do, not because I choose to and might tomorrow choose to do something else, but because they are the things that one does. Evaluating schools and making lunches and sitting through soccer games and driving carpools.  Those that are activities that tell you what time in your life it is.

Because a child’s life progresses, I am agreeing to let my life progress as well, to see it as a road leading in ahead of me, instead of a carnival of options swirling around.

This probably sounds depressing, and I don’t mean it to be; you don’t have a baby if you don’t want to change your life. And I’m very much looking forward how the world will look, avec bebe. But I have been trying to think about how this transition feels, and that is the phrase I keep coming back to: I am giving in to time.  Or, more bluntly, I have consented to grow old.

In general I’ve been surprised at how untraumatizing this all is. Two years ago, when Sean and I discussed whether we wanted to have a baby, all we could talk about was how much we’d have to give up. It wasn’t worth it then. Last year, when we decided we were ready, it was hard to remember the gravitational pull those activities — nights in the bars with friends, unthinking concert attendance, unfettered career ambitions — had so recently exerted upon us. It’s not that I don’t value those things anymore, it’s just that they no longer feel bigger than what we’ll gain becoming parents.

I’m sure there will be nights when I long like anything to be able to step back outside of time again, to do exactly what I want, when I want, and not be tied to some tiny creature’s developmental demands. Times when I will envy so bitterly the agelessness of the childless around me. But overall it feels right for me, right now, to let things progress.

February 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm 1 comment

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The land, pale fields, black cloudy woodlands, and the late lamps in the central streets of the rare and inexpiable cities: New Orleans; Birmingham; whose facades stand naked in the metal light of their fear: The land, in its largeness: stretches: is stretched: -James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

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