A Butterfly

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white, unadorned
with spots or stripes
teeters in the breeze.
does it wish to be
majestic like the monarch
vibrant orange &
with regal bearing?
does it sadden to realize
that its not a
curious purple emperor,
moreland clouded yellow,
electric blue morpho?
i wonder.
it settles on a sunflower
among lilacs, lavender,
& geraniums—
it is the only thing
.
.
.
blank
waiting
tabula rasa
.
.
.
in the entire garden.
and somehow isn’t that
more worthy
of admiration?
though i’d like to believe
the butterfly doesn’t care
one way or the other
at all.



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Acupuncture

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In the past six months, I’ve tried probably just as many strategies to relieve the pain in my head and neck. One of them is acupuncture, recommended by many people who haven’t actually tried it themselves. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with it: I do feel like it helps uncoil some of my muscles, but I’m extremely uncomfortable having needles poking into the base of my skull and back of my neck. Whoever says it’s painless or relaxing must be pretty free of tension to begin with, because my muscles are tight, and I definitely feel it. I wrote this poem after one of my sessions to try to capture my feelings about it.

SESSION THREE
The lights are dim. The filmy white curtains
blow in the breeze from the open window.
I wouldn’t mind some soft music,
but there’s only
the honk of cars on the street below and
the whine of construction tools—the sound
calls to mind an ancient torture device, all
sharp spikes and grinding metal plates.
I’m laying still on my stomach,
arms splayed, a pillow under my shins,
holding myself
r
i
g
i
d
like a domino waiting to topple.
His hands go first to my neck, kneading the skin,
finding all the tender spaces where I stash
both my hope and my fear—at the base
of my skull, in the bony ridge of my shoulder blade.
I trust him, but it’s hard
to let myself go limp in his arms.
At the point of entry, my body
v i b r a t e s.
My muscles tense and spasm beneath my skin. I cry out
involuntarily.
But then it’s over, and he leaves.
I focus on breathing
through my belly to bring my nervous system back
into some semblance of operating order.
I lose track
of time. I slip
into not-thinking,
where pain is just a construct
and the universe gleams in color
and good intentions can save us.
After minutes (hours? eons?) he finally returns.
I pull myself back to myself.
He extracts the needles,
one by one; for a moment
I still feel a phantom pressure, a whisper
of a thought half-formed then lost
as I stand, stretch out, put on my clothes, and
walk outside to skyscrapers and traffic
and real life.

The Empty Spaces

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I string together lists
of things I’m grateful for—
a kind deed and sunshine and support
a moment of stillness or peace or love.
Each is a pinprick of light;
I am a city slowly regaining power
after a blackout.

I stack letters into words
into stories into prayers—
give me strength, help me accept,
show me how to heal and grow.
Each is a voice in a choir;
I am a hymn erupting with melody
after silence.

I breathe into the empty spaces
and I fill them with hope.







Not Goodbye, Just See You Later

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Dear friends,

I know I’ve been miserable at posting in December, even after swearing to a posting schedule. I’ve just been busy at work, down with a cold, preoccupied with Christmas decorations and gifts and baking and cheer—you know how all the excuses go. And since failing to meet my NaNoWriMo deadline (or even come close, yet again), I’ve been feeling kind of lackluster about writing, blogging and otherwise. So, after some deep thought, I’ve decided to take a hiatus from this blog.

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New Year, New (Old) Me

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Our first picture of 2017, just before our midnight run through the neighborhood.

While reviewing last year’s list of resolutions, I was happy to see that I achieved many of them: I lived healthier, ran a half marathon, and attempted to be more appreciative. But the year also came with some disappointments. I learned a few basic language skills, but failed to really improve my Hungarian. I tried a few new things, but not as many exercise classes or out-of-the-box activities as I would have liked, and I’m still anxious about going to those kind of events on my own. I read 50 books, but basically failed to do any of my own writing. So, in 2017, though I have a bunch of new goals, I also want to especially focus on those old ones and familiar ones that have stuck with me.

Learning
love increasing my knowledge, whether it’s by reading National Geographic on the subway or downloading a dozen apps I think I’ll use. But often I take on too many learning projects and some of them end up falling by the wayside. In 2017, I think I need to prioritize which mean the most to me, and which I’ve been trying to achieve for the longest time. My Hungarian is at the top of the list: I’d like to find a way to improve my fluency, even though I have no one here to speak it with and don’t know when I’ll visit the country again, since I just went on my honeymoon. But it’s important to me, to how I define myself, and I don’t want to lose those skills just for lack of practice.

Experiencing
I’ve always felt that part of an experience’s joy comes from the people you share it with; that’s why I try to pack my schedule with as many hangouts with friends and as much time spent with Todd and family as I can. But time alone is also a blessing; it allows you to better know yourself and to allow yourself a little space and a little quiet to think and breathe and just be. In 2017, I want to venture out on my own a little bit more. To take that ballet class or go to yoga even if I don’t have a companion. If I don’t start proactively doing things, I’m never going to try anything new. That said, I am still going to treasure my experiences with other people, like going to a French pastry-making class with Todd (it was one of his Christmas gifts to me) and training with him to run the New York City marathon in 2018.

Writing
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. The urge to put pen to paper lives inside my muscle memory and aches when it goes unfulfilled. And yet, I often don’t write. The litany of excuses is endless: I’m too tired. I don’t have enough time. I can’t get my ideas in order. I have other things to do. But my word of 2017 is focus, and that’s what I’m going to try to do. Focus on one idea, on the words, on the Hemingway quote I had inscribed in my iPad when I first bought it: “The writing is the only progress you make.”

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and goal-crushing new year! What are some new resolutions you’ve made? Are there any old ones you’re still working on achieving?

My Year of Living

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Every year on January 1, I review my list of resolutions from the previous year, checking off the goals I’ve accomplished and figuring out why I failed at others. I then use that list as a starting point for the upcoming year, modifying the difficulty level of my aims up or down depending on my progress. So here are my resolutions for 2016, and we’ll see together if I manage to stick to them.

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NaNoWriMo: The Halfway Mark

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I haven’t posted since November 2 because I’ve been trying to focus my writing elsewhere: my novel. One of the many that I’ve considered, discarded, revived, let fall to the wayside, remembered again. It’s a fantasy story set in another world—well, five other worlds, really. There will be kings, and prophecies, and magic. There will, I hope, be intriguing characters and surprising plot twists. There will be hundreds of pages and hundreds of thousands of words. Continue reading