Writing anything creative right now is not easy for me. Writing in community helps. Always. But especially now. I'm finding the community Green Windows built over the last 12 years to be vital - alive and necessary. Green Windows' retirement is still looming, but I'm grateful that it hasn't happened yet. That we still have each other and these relationships forged through believing in each other's creativity. We need us right now: to be in touch with each other and to help each other be in touch with the part of ourselves where our best, most powerful writing comes from.
We've done a couple experimental online writing workshops and are ready to do more, according to interest and capacity. Please sign up for our newsletter and indicate your interest in online workshops (or change your preferences), if you would like to join us.
Here are two poems I wrote recently. I haven't used my pen name "Meg Claudel" in years. Partly because I haven't been submitting work for publication. Partly because my writer identity is mixed with my identity as Peggy Simmons, Founding Director of Green Windows: Art of Interchange. But these two pieces have nothing to do with that role.
I hope you are writing and well. This is hard. And will end. But the world will not go back to how it was exactly. Meanwhile, I'm grateful for you and for your words.
This Is Not About…
By Meg Claudel
This is not about me.
It’s only me, here. A cat or two, spiders, oranges.
But this is not about me.
This is not about you.
Or you. Wherever you are. I will imagine you with cats and oranges.
Hopefully heat. Maybe someone to curl up on the couch with.
Hey babe, if you're sick, I’m sick.
This is not about your kids.
I miss your kids.
Adults are boring and there is only one here.
You wish we could trade. For an hour or two. Me too. We can’t.
This isn’t about us.
This isn’t about the planet either.
Because, frankly, the planet would be better off if several million of us were to leave.
So maybe this is about us
Even if this isn’t about you or about me or about your kids.
Maybe it’s about the kids, including yours.
It might well be about the oranges.
In the dream my cats pulled me out of the creek before they left.
This isn’t about the cats, they will be fine.
This is about my mother.
And maybe your mother too.
The white cat Mom inherited when my sister when to college already left.
This is about my dad who has survived everything
Though comparatively has survived nothing.
This is maybe about your dad, too, or your grandad.
And, yes, maybe your kids.
This is about your kids because this is a short chapter of humanity.
And our next chapter, in which your kids are the protagonists
Where it is about them
Has a completely different setting than our last.
This is about money.
It is, don’t lie.
This is about privilege.
It is, don’t lie.
The blinds on the window of who really has what are being lifted.
This is about us:
The ones who need groceries. Oranges and cat food.
And the ones who bring groceries. Fresh cut yellow roses.
This is about going hugless for weeks. Months.
And this is about kids clinging to you when you are at work.
This is about technology becoming a basic, as basic as oranges
(While reminding us this is about who has what).
This is about hoarding toilet paper
And this is about recognizing cashiers as essential
And grocery stores becoming supply depots in our battle with an invisible enemy.
This is about information and lies.
This is about power and vulnerability.
This is about us
But it’s not about us.
This is about today.
Tomorrow it will be about tomorrow.
There are oranges and there are cats
And there is a creek which does not stop flowing
And there are your cute faces on my screen
And there are words, there are always words.
This is not about words.
Thursday March 26th, 2020, NYWC online writIng workshop
“Visiting Your Lover” is not on the List of Essential Activities
When the State Orders Us to Stay at Home
by Meg Claudel
I could argue that you are coming over to “care for” me
18 months of sex and companionship do not, though, count as “family”
Yet you visit and for us the afternoon is stolen
Lunch is ready. The bed is sunlit. Wine has been delivered
Our skin is disinfected and we are touching
Two weeks of six feet apart and we are touching
All of me touching all of you
If you are sick, I am sick. (Isn’t this family?)
We don’t need much, my fingers on the side of you neck
Your thumbs under my shoulder blades
To go wholey into the moment, stolen and sunlit
A pandemic left on the doorstep
The news silenced by bird calls and “Dream a Little Dream of Me”
Covered in your list, then covered in mine, solidifying our dream
We create this bubble and walk into it together, alive and joyful
Grateful and surprised
No before or after, the after so unseen
Harmony written on your skin, there is where we stay
March 31, 2020