Rattletrap

I’m not sure what Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire has to do with the Brooklyn Bridge.

I am sure what they both make me feel.

Unaccomplished. Anxious. Incomplete.

Distracted. Discouraged. Defeated.

Inspired. Unbridled. Unfettered.

I wish I could live among both of them.

Two big dreams, suspended, girded.

Riveted dreams. Lantern-covered light.

I can touch both.

Run them through my fingers, curl their sounds around my tongue.

Rage and cry and run and applaud.

Swear never again, and come back every time.

A fading beauty with secrets under lace and steel. But I see it, dark and light, under eyes and lost on a pillow.

I can curl around both.

Tracks and heat,

a shot never did a Coke any harm.

A date from the start.

Gorgeous.

On the tracks,

In front of me,

Settled.

On the way,

Riding.

I Did That

That hair,

that eyebrow

I did that.

Pile of pages

Me.

That smile.

That cry.

Closed eyes and

Tightened fist.

That trip.

20,000 words

That accident.

Out of bed.

Those steps.

Created a family vase

from shattered ceramic

Out of bed again.

Omitting all the

haven’t

can’t

won’t

because they

Don’t

Matter.

Matter

is for the cosmos.

I’m for the moon.

Read

Listened

Looked

Responded

when matter changed.

I stopped listening

To lies

Long

To act in the

short.

I looked for sun.

I cleaned up the blood.

I laid out clues

that were followed.

Talked to the stranger,

took the compliment.

Saw and

was not ashamed.

Praised through jealousy

Smiled through tears

Celebrated grief

Explained fears

I did that.

I cast a shadow and

Learned to love the darkness.

Wouldn’t give up then

Finally let go

So all the hands

could hold.

Climed the hill

treated the blisters

saw the empty trees

for the boughs

They were meant for.

Built us on a narrow road

tilled the grass

swept the gravel

for a place to weather the storm

and wait for bloom.

Not today.

But

Stands to reason

I will again

I did that.

(For the One who reminds me what I can do.)

Her Light

She is

not your spotlight

Focusing attention in the darkness

calling everyone to look

So you see

What it is you can do.

Not your search light

To guide you into harbor

when you’ve sailed your ships

Against warning

Into black and chopped waves.

Not to blame for

Being the siren who lured you back.

She was singing for herself

Not the mirror you held up

So she could see the faults

Not her hand that

Turned and burned you instead

The silence of your fury

Louder than the

Sighs of your disinterest.

Not your torch,

to frighten back creatures

You don’t understand.

She has her own monsters

creeping to her doors

and learning her language.

Carrying torches

Only grinds down

arthritic arms.

She put hers down.

She can’t do it

Too heavy.

The lights are too bright.

headaches are

far too dug in and planted

Photosynthesis the

Power line to

Migration.

Her own screwed in

Halogen

Fluorescent

Mixed white and blue and

Orange

Not matching when seen back

in her balanced eyes.

Her palms aren’t

Scarred and fibrous

As as her heart

to hold the light bulb

In place with bare hands.

It’s low watt but

Still

her fingers blister

fluid leaking

slipping

And she doesn’t have the grip

To twist

Your glass fragile

Illumination

In place.

She is candles and

altars with incense.

Low glow and quiet alone

With her disciple.

One you whispers,

knowing a harsh breath

kills the flame.

Happy in the room

She left dark.

The sun rises tomorrow

Isn’t it pretty to think

So dawn soft

Smoothed hair

Hazy unfocused

hands

Touched in shadows.

Chasing away the light

For just a little longer

Not needing to be

The brightness

But wanted to be

the still silhouette

Casting her own

Direction.

From her light.

What If I Don’t?

From the set of ‘Silenced’ by James Barris

In the past few months, I got  to see Coney Island for the first time. I got to sit in a hospital room through the night with my mother. I got to see my son build his own game controller. I got to talk and share and feel for hours with a fantastic boy.
In the past few months, I’ve also had to give up at least six acting jobs. A combination of:

-getting cast and then turning now the part (surefire way to never get to work with that company again; and that was an incredible part. This is one that still stings.)

-scheduling several auditions and then cancelling

-being outright offered roles and refusing them

I look back with at least a little regret and anger at all those. Pointless but there’s truth and lies. Them is the truths.

Now, as I started many paragraphs and bulleted lists ago, I was able to do some important and very worthy things. I got to spend a weekend in the city of my heart, NYC and see my favorite band.  I got to see my son run in waves at the beach. And then I got to rescue him from the airport when his return trip from his father’s wedding when ridiculously awry.

I couldn’t have done any of those things if I had been in rehearsals for a play or on set.

I look back on those choices and I’m fine with what I picked. No regret or anger. Them is also the truths.

I wonder if I’m just justifying. Rationalizing. Piling on the horseshit high and wide.

That’s not impossible.

Maybe because I’m not getting cast or because life and it’s collars forced me back out of parts I could do, that I feel a compunction to tell a story. A story where I’d rather feel ineffectual and irrelevant as an artist than feel guilty for being an absent and selfish parent.

Maybe I just want to feel good about myself. So I spin a story about stepping away intentionally from my world of self, when it could be they pushed me off stage for being a cheap hack. I’m not the best actor.

Poor guy isn’t the best masker either.

Cause look at this kid.

I make this exact face every day. He often hates doing things out in the world with people. Just like I do. And I love him for it.


He made me a birthday cake. Something I could not have seen if I hadn’t turned down a recent acting offer.

I’m a mom. This is what I do. You give up the last slice of cake and you turn down leading roles in classic plays.

What worries me, if I let myself go to the dark and scary places, is what I don’t?

What if I don’t act again?

Conversely, what if I get an incredible professional chance, and grab it with both hands? To metaphorically keep the last piece of cake for myself sounds lucious sometimes in its indulgence.

What if to chase that, I run away from my kid and let him fend for himself with whatever family member takes over for me? I’m afraid because if I had the money and assistance I might. (Luckily or unluckily, that’s not my family’s lot. Not a healthy bunch. See above night in hospital. )

What if, as I’ve always feared and suspected but kinda knew, I’m not that strong an actor and that’s why the drive and journey and success eluded me?

Or  what if I just shut the hell up for a second? What if I accept with humble gratitude all my immense privileges and the freedoms, experiences and opportunities for profound happiness that comes with that shining gift? The ability to have a job and a home and a healthy kid is the holy grail and only a fool keeps searching once they’ve found at least one scroll.

Also, obvious and crystal, sparkling clear, I think the women who work and parent and pursue their art are goddesses and I bow to their glory. Being any of those three things should not lessen the worth or might of the others. I know personally several brilliant actor mamas and they have my daily awe and jealousy. Just because I can’t make it happen for myself doesn’t mean I judge what they do. Of course, I cringe and melt into a pile of self-pity and why esteem vacates when I see their pictures from set on Instagram. But I don’t judge them. Nor do I the moms who left our little acting and art world to play in the realm of motherhood forever and always. I applaud them all. At least I try.

And I’m so, so grateful for what I’ve been able to do. I have gorgeous memories and friends to take with me as I continue through my script. Other pulls abated for a bit, now I have time and space to focus on the people fate has brought into my life and home. Much more guitar and laughter and hugging than I ever thought my sphere would hold. Lucky girl.

So, tonight, fine at home with no pending outlets, I’m not sad. I’m listening. I’m trying to turn out and not in. I’m staying open.

Maybe that part will be back. I have some ideas for when it’s time.

For now, there’s my novel that is on a second draft and won’t find and editor on its own. There is a lovely boy who is coming to Nashville with me.

And there is a small-ish Chewbacca that needs a Rey to take him to the Halloween dance.

Don’t mind if I do.

What If I Don’t?

From the set of ‘Silenced’ by James Barris

In the past few months, I got  to see Coney Island for the first time. I got to sit in a hospital room through the night with my mother. I got to see my son build his own game controller. I got to talk and share and feel for hours with a fantastic boy. 
In the past few months, I’ve also had to give up at least six acting jobs. A combination of: 

-getting cast and then turning now the part (surefire way to never get to work with that company again; and that was an incredible part. This is one that still stings.)

-scheduling several auditions and then cancelling

-being outright offered roles and refusing them

I look back with at least a little regret and anger at all those. Pointless but there’s truth and lies. Them is the truths. 

Now, as I started many paragraphs and bulleted lists ago, I was able to do some important and very worthy things. I got to spend a weekend in the city of my heart, NYC and see my favorite band.  I got to see my son run in waves at the beach. And then I got to rescue him from the airport when his return trip from his father’s wedding when ridiculously awry. 

I couldn’t have done any of those things if I had been in rehearsals for a play or on set. 

I look back on those choices and I’m fine with what I picked. No regret or anger. Them is also the truths. 

I wonder if I’m just justifying. Rationalizing. Piling on the horseshit high and wide. 

That’s not impossible. 

Maybe because I’m not getting cast or because life and it’s collars forced me back out of parts I could do, that I feel a compunction to tell a story. A story where I’d rather feel ineffectual and irrelevant as an artist than feel guilty for being an absent and selfish parent. 

Maybe I just want to feel good about myself. So I spin a story about stepping away intentionally from my world of self, when it could be they pushed me off stage for being a cheap hack. I’m not the best actor. 

Poor guy isn’t the best masker either. 

Cause look at this kid. 

I make this exact face every day. He often hates doing things out in the world with people. Just like I do. And I love him for it. 


He made me a birthday cake. Something I could not have seen if I hadn’t turned down a recent acting offer. 

I’m a mom. This is what I do. You give up the last slice of cake and you turn down leading roles in classic plays. 

What worries me, if I let myself go to the dark and scary places, is what I don’t?

What if I don’t act again? 

Conversely, what if I get an incredible professional chance, and grab it with both hands? To metaphorically keep the last piece of cake for myself sounds lucious sometimes in its indulgence. 

What if to chase that, I run away from my kid and let him fend for himself with whatever family member takes over for me? I’m afraid because if I had the money and assistance I might. (Luckily or unluckily, that’s not my family’s lot. Not a healthy bunch. See above night in hospital. )

What if, as I’ve always feared and suspected but kinda knew, I’m not that strong an actor and that’s why the drive and journey and success eluded me? 

Or  what if I just shut the hell up for a second? What if I accept with humble gratitude all my immense privileges and the freedoms, experiences and opportunities for profound happiness that comes with that shining gift? The ability to have a job and a home and a healthy kid is the holy grail and only a fool keeps searching once they’ve found at least one scroll. 

Also, obvious and crystal, sparkling clear, I think the women who work and parent and pursue their art are goddesses and I bow to their glory. Being any of those three things should not lessen the worth or might of the others. I know personally several brilliant actor mamas and they have my daily awe and jealousy. Just because I can’t make it happen for myself doesn’t mean I judge what they do. Of course, I cringe and melt into a pile of self-pity and why esteem vacates when I see their pictures from set on Instagram. But I don’t judge them. Nor do I the moms who left our little acting and art world to play in the realm of motherhood forever and always. I applaud them all. At least I try. 

And I’m so, so grateful for what I’ve been able to do. I have gorgeous memories and friends to take with me as I continue through my script. Other pulls abated for a bit, now I have time and space to focus on the people fate has brought into my life and home. Much more guitar and laughter and hugging than I ever thought my sphere would hold. Lucky girl. 

So, tonight, fine at home with no pending outlets, I’m not sad. I’m listening. I’m trying to turn out and not in. I’m staying open. 

Maybe that part will be back. I have some ideas for when it’s time. 

For now, there’s my novel that is on a second draft and won’t find and editor on its own. There is a lovely boy who is coming to Nashville with me. 

And there is a small-ish Chewbacca that needs a Rey to take him to the Halloween dance. 

Don’t mind if I do.