Friday, April 25, 2008


LL on the Way

I wake to a barely white Sunday. The sun, it seems, rises later here. My time is now very short. And it is time. Time to return... to an elder daughter who, last night, began weeping over my absence... to a spouse who has been ill... to my littlest, who just wants to touch me over and over again and look in my eyes.

It is time.

Even though I will still meet Denise Frame Harlan on the plane (she will later remember that she already knew of me from Byron Borger), and sit directly behind poet Scott Cairns (I wonder, did I kick the back of his seat unawares?).

It is time.

Yes, I will chat with Kent Curry all the way through security and beyond. I will close my eyes on the plane and remember (fondly), my long talk with artist Steve Prince. I will make a list of all the things I need to do when I get home (reminding myself who I am... laundry, kiss the kids, read aloud, cook, get gift for spouse to celebrate new job). Yes and yes and yes. But right now...

It is time...


Sift sort toss fold tissues
paper, scarves (silk), socks
black assortments (under type),
wool slacks, wrinkled after hours
of walk talk flash laugh.
Poke into sleeveless tee, shiver into
soft blouse with dusty-rose camellias
and moss-green leaves sprawling. Slide
into black cotton stretch pants, wrong length
and loose at the knees, dawning white with wear
and clearly coming undone at the hems. Breathe
in, slow; breathe out, slow. Blink... yawn... and roll away.

LL photo by L.L. Barkat.


LL's Penultimate Potpourri Sans Poetry

LL's Looking for Lil

LL's Body of Water

LL's Solo at the Red Sun

LL's Leaving

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Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

I couldn't help but think of T. S. Eliot here. First, the end of "A Game of Chess" from The Waste Land. Then my personal favorite Prufrock:

time yet for a hundred indecisions,/ And for a hundred visions and revisions,/ Before the taking of a toast and tea.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

Also, I like these lines:

paper, scarves (silk), socks
black assortments (under type)

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Ann Kroeker said...

Oh, phooey. Is it over?

Keep going!

Keep remembering!

I want to live in the past and deny reality!

Oh, you're right. Re-entry. I've got to plunge toilets (check), mop the kitchen floor (check), and do another load of laundry.

And another.

And another.


2:49 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Do you have any traditions from traveling? Mine is refrigerator magnets. I pick one up whenever I fly to another state.

3:44 PM  
Blogger NaNcY said...

the title says so much.
i love it.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Scott R. Davis said...

the poem was very good. going into the layers of your clothing.
White can be a comment on purity. Yes, sundays are a time to be pure. And the articles of clothing with different uses are in different conditions. reflecting on how our lives are in the same way. and the roles that we play are just like those articles of clothing.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

Wow, I haven't been by in maybe a week or so and I've missed out on several of your posts. Seems like you've had a very, very busy couple of weeks.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

I like your poem, too. You'll have to write books of poetry as well. But for people like me, it wouldn't hurt to have some words of explanation or setting behind them. I'm slow to get it, with poetry.

8:24 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Mark... Eliot, yes! I reread this post and realized the cadence is reminiscent of Prufrock especially. Thanks for pointing that out. As for the lines you point out, I particularly liked the cadence of those too and the parallel parentheses. It's nice to have another poet see what I sense more intuitively and bring it to the top.

Ann... you make me laugh! I've been loving your posts as well. Loving how you help me relive (and in some cases experience for the first time) the conference.

Craver... traditions. Um, I think I bring home poems. :)

Nancy... it feels that way. Like I have to morph, like I'm coming back through the atmosphere.

Scott... clothing is so much about who we are. For me, the clothing of the early part of the poem is professional and the later part is the comfort of home clothes.

Every Square... yup... you missed a whole conference! :)

Ted... see my comment above to Scott for a little explanation. Also, I tried (and others can judge about the success) to make the beginning of the poem more quick and crackly (the way I feel in a professional setting) and the end of the poem grew longer and slower and gentler (the way I feel about the welcome of home). Hope that helps!

10:01 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

transitioning between two very different worlds: breathing in slow, breathing out slow. this is how (i think, i think) we begin to make it back.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

That was so beautiful and poignant! I'm sorry I haven't been here in so long for I've missed your writing and photographs.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

I've now caught up w/ your conference posts. Now that you're back in daily grind and have some distance from the conference, what were some of the big takeaways? How did God meet you?

10:25 AM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

The trousers being the wrong length, there was something "homey" and familiar about that. These self portraits may not plainly show your face, but it is so fun to hear the stories about you that are like the self-portraits. Just a little, here and there.

11:31 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Kirsten... the odd thing about this is that both of these worlds are "me" in some way. I guess I do experience it as a transition, but there are days when I wonder if the two might be inextricably linked.

Jo... thanks! I find that such experiences are poignant in and of themselves... and that all we need to do is open ourselves, pay attention, and then write it all down.

Every Square... hmmm. Tough question. In some ways, I think I've answered it in the series of posts. The people were a big thing. Very special people! A sense that I am in a new place as a writer was also big, though I don't know exactly what I'll do with that in the months and years to come. It was also big, I suppose, to go away and come back without as much emotional turmoil as I've experienced in the past. I guess I'm getting used to having wider life boundaries. And as far as how God met me... perhaps in the poetry.

Craver... indeed, my home dress is not nearly as put together! A real benefit to being a writer. :) I'm glad you have enjoyed these little portraits... I hadn't thought of them that way.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Michelle Gregory said...

I've tagged you with a meme... if you have the time to answer.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Charity Singleton said...

Laura -- I felt the same sense of regret that Ann expressed that your trip is over, both actually and poetically as you have been recounting it. I loved one of your comments above about having wider life boundaries. Being able to move among a variety of people so carefully seems to require these kind of boundaries. Welcome home (again!).

7:27 PM  
Blogger A Musing Mom said...

I like how you capture the whole process here. Beautifully written.

I had a reminder this week on how important that process can be. I spoke to a mom's group here in town (10 minutes away) in the morning. The drive home was too short. Suddenly I had to transition from speaker to mom/housekeeper - it was quite jarring. Makes me appreciate travel time and how it prepares us for re-entry.

10:08 PM  
Blogger bluemountainmama said...

written so well..... i relate after just returning from my first ever week away by myself. and lack of sleep, etc. make it all a little surreal.

love the poem....

8:59 AM  
Blogger Sam Van Eman said...

L.L., I'll be joining the High Calling blog network this week, and I wanted to read more posts by the folks who are already here. I saw your mention of Byron Borger and realized you are the author of Stone Crossings. Byron is a friend of mine and he raved about your book at a recent training event.
I'm glad to "meet" you in this round-about way.

9:24 AM  

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