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June 22nd: A Birthday Note
June 22, 2008

Today is my birthday, as well as that of author Paula Woods and fellow Anthony nominee Judy Bobolik, both dear friends—not to mention Billy Wilder, Meryl Streep, Todd Rundgren, Ed Bradley, Kris Kristofferson and John Dillinger.

I've just begun a poetry workshop led by National Book Award nominee Kim Addonizio. And in celebration, here was my first offering to the group:

Birthday

How to toast the stark little mystery: being here, still you—
meat on the shadow, fattened by love, butchered by loss.
Imagine for a moment you could restart the whole mess.
Stewing in some raw dark ether, alpha of blood,
baptismal muck—all that is, will become: you.
Isn't it what you secretly want, every day—
to rip through the slop of memory and denial,
the doubt, the nightmares, the money, the songs,
all of them sludged back one by one and then
one fierce push into some blind white danger:
liberating, nameless, cruel, new. Regardless,
you can't stay put. And nowhere is safe.
You hear a kind voice, one you almost trust:
"It's okay, I promise. Besides, it's time."
How are you to know which mother—
birth or death—waits out there?
If you knew, would it matter?


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