What I Know For Sure

Posted: April 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

To kick this new year off and to honor all the things we learn over our long lives (whether we keep those skill-sets or not), I thought I’d make a list of the things that I already know how to do. Because we so often don’t give ourselves enough credit for all the ways and means that our brains already hold.

So I started a list of things that I know. When I began, it looked a little something like this:

  • Milk a cow
  • Make butter
  • Ride a horse
  • Drive a stick shift
  • Make ice cream
  • Write a story, a poem, an article
  • Run a half-marathon
  • Travel internationally
  • Speak three languages
  • Chop wood
  • Save a life
  • Have an orgasm
  • Row a canoe
  • How to love someone wholly, unconditionally, without reserve
  • How to hold on
  • How to let go

And then I realized that I had started writing a list and ended up writing a poem. The list started to look less interesting and the poem started to look more and more so. So, instead of a list, here’s the poem of what I know.


Five or Six Things I Know For Sure

I know how to milk cows and make friends,
how to shake cream between my hands until
it turns to butter and then share it,
sweet and salted,
on bread on buns on tongues.
I know that grapes turn to wine turn to
soft tongues and soft lips, but I don’t know
how any of that happens.
Chemistry wasn’t my strong suit.
I know how to love wholly, unconditionally,
without reserve and without conserving
even a drop of it. Squeeze my heart like a sponge
and you’ll get sponge and heart and more tears
than you can drink in a whole year.
I know how to quench your thirst.
I know how to make you thirsty,
wanton, wanting, heat lust between
your thighs between sheets between
you and me and this skin that we borrow
to cover us.
I know that after the heat, there is a car
and some ice and a ditch.
I know you are supposed to look
at where you want the car to go,
not at where it’s actually going.
I know that I always, always
look at the ditch.
I know that having a stolen road sign
in the back seat is a bad idea
but that it’s a really bad idea when
there are icy roads and I forgot
to not look at the ditch and now
I’m upside down in it, roof beneath.
I know how to hold on. Tight.
I know how to let go. Free.
It is not like riding a bike.
There is no bike in this poem,
although I can do that too.
Round and round is my favorite place to go
some days and the way my thighs ache
beneath tight black pants, the strength
of pushing through, isn’t something
I’m supposed to talk about.
I know I loved you, up hill and down.
I know that it’s my fault. Or my choice.
I know those are the same things when
you get to the top and see the whole view.
I don’t know where I go from here
or whose body will carry me, singing.

What do you know? What have you learned? What do your hands do, what do your muscles know, where has your brain been? Where will we go next? Tomorrow I announce my first how-to project, which is coming to me as a surprise from a friend, but the rumor is that it involves paper clips and Easter peeps. I might be scared.

Firing your synapses, one week at a time, s.



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