A poem that’s not risen from an abyss but dropped from heaven. Based on a true day at the park (lol)
~Bubbles to her ponytail~
The sun arrived with us at the wooded park.
I took the bottle of soapy water
Sold four for a dollar, and blew
Transparent pearls to her ponytail.
Her cheeks are full and golden like a freshly baked cream puff.
I blow a kiss through the hoop.
Up and down, up and down
Bubbles flow like musical notes
Of a song about birds and rivers.
She’s fixated on other things.
The tactility of mulch, or the possibility
Of hidden treasure.
My floating kisses skim over
The top of her ponytail.
And from the far side boys come running,
Arms flailing and legs tripping,
Crashing their boyish might on every bubble.
They laugh as they run, coming too close.
She stays unmoved in her peril,
Still pondering her handfuls.
The wind carries my next breath of bubbles
Whistling for the boys to follow.
I hope she doesn’t mind, my darling daughter,
That I’m having rather a lot fun
Watching the boys chase fairies.
Last night while putting my baby to sleep, I went over the Chinese names of my friends the way you count sheep in your head. I went to a school in England that had a lot of overseas students from Hong Kong like me. We were known by our English names in school; as friends, we also tell each other our original, Chinese names. Pammy’s Chinese name is “Treasure of the Family”. Candy’s name says “Seductive Fragrance” and Chloe’s is “Sunshine”. My husband Galen’s is “Mountain Range of the Family”. James’s is full of aspiration: “Reaching the Sun”. And Ken’s parents hoped that he would be “Intelligent and Conscientious”.
Not all Chinese names have coherent meanings and there’s no one way to come up with names. Parents may start with a word for its meaning. Or they may start with a favorite sound, then choose a character/word based on its meaning, kind of similar to choosing the spelling of a name. For instance, will it be Lisa with an “s” or Liza with a “z”? In Chinese, the “s” and “z” not only looks different but may also have different meanings.
My friend Phoebe’s Chinese name sounds like it could be a man’s name, until you see it on paper, where the characters chosen are all floral-based. My dad’s name literally is “Metal People”. When the internet came along he called himself Iron Man as his email address. For his children, he wanted to carry on the metallic element, so while my given name sounds feminine, on paper it looks like “Armor Flame”.
I had to think hard to recall some of those Chinese names of my friends in school. I counted them in my head like you would count sheep, but the second time around each of them had become shiny jewels and interesting pebbles. With fifteen years of distance between us, I now see that without exception, every one of them is a part of my life. What is there in your past if there was nobody in it? Friends, non-friends and enemies alike, they all make up the color and story of our lives.
Coconut cream body wash splattered over her palm ungracefully like it dropped from a bird. She added some peach shower gel and rubbed the mixture over her body as quickly as she could. The goal was to leave as little time as possible for it to stay on her skin and for her mind to be skeptical and feel disturbed by the act. As soon as she realizes her mind already does both and this is a daily occurrence, she found it absurd to perpetuate. She thought, what if someone is using this for the first time? Someone who has never used a body wash. Someone who has not bathed for days and weeks. The peach gel works up a great lather and covers her body with bubbles. Just in that moment she felt like a young woman taking a hot shower in a nice house with a foaming, fragrant body wash for the first time, and she was overcame with joy for the luxury.
Right at her desk, leaned back in her chair, she slipped into the music in her ears. The half-written email can wait. Music circulates her body, waking up her muscles, which she used to enliven her joints. Right there in her chair, she lifted her knees, circled her head, arched her back, and took long breaths. That was easier to do with the music concealing her breathing sound from herself. Take another few seconds, and another few, because she felt such relaxation and joy, with not a care in the world. In the middle of a work day in the middle of an email, the music, the moving and the breathing carried her to her home within herself.
I was sure I was going to have a bad day today because the Little Precious kept me up between 3am to 5am. However, the day just didn’t let me.
The alarm didn’t go off at 5:45am so I slept in ‘til 6:30am.
I got washed and dressed uninterrupted by the Little Precious who was still sleeping in her little crib (she better be, after being up for 2 hours)
The sky was painted orange and pink by the sunrise.
Father-in-law gave me a ride to the bus stop and the bus came right away.
Coworker bought donuts for work, yay!
One last thing, as I sat down on the bus I actually felt HAPPY it caught me off guard. “Wow, what are you happy about?” I asked. While I listened to music, made a new playlist of favorite songs and wrote my Morning Pages, I knew. This was the best alone time I’ve had ALL WEEK.