[ When Does the Heart Rest? ] by Taylor Mali
Our Science Teacher asked the question,
and we laughed at the kid who said:
When you sleep?
I raised my hand with what I was sure
was the correct answer –
When you die—
and then put it down quietly
when Angel got it right.
That didn’t seem like enough time to me.
But it was Angel again in the schoolyard
standing up for the heart
when the older kid said the strongest muscle
in the human body was the jaw.
No, it is the heart.
The bully said we should have a contest—
between my jaw and your heart—
and we all laughed because it didn’t seem like a fair fight.
And it still doesn’t.
Because the heart rests and keeps working.
And my money is on Angel
and his heart,
not the bully and his jaw.
And anyone who thinks otherwise
can eat their heart out.
(Excerpted from a collection published in NYC 2009 called The Last Time as We Are, courtesy of writebloody publications)
Posted in assumptions, authenticity, blogging, exploring, friendship, love, reality, S/Heroes, storytelling
Tagged brawn vs. brains, bully, Heart, poetry, schoolyard, slam poetry, strength, truth
Art comes from being in an alpha state for me, in water.
I learn things backwards sometimes. This was the year I learned about how to really conduct independent study. This was the year I learned about friends and how you don’t always agree. It was a year of listening to music together, and jokes, and studying hard, and working endlessly on projects or papers or dishes (see apron) or figuring out next moves.
I spent a lot of time in the bathtub at Wesley. I didn’t have enough clothes. I could not seem to get warm and stay that way. There was not one I could get to easily on the 2nd floor of Haven. I felt like one of the prune people when I got out, but warmer for a little.
I miss them, even though it has been so long. We learned how to mangle the lyrics to songs we listened to together in our rooms (on stereos! … remember stereos?) including “City of New Orleans” and “Lulu’s Back in Town.”
We heard the Smiffenpoofs (was that what they were called?), and the Princeton Nassoons sing in this house. We heard annoying housemates screeching up and down the halls in their nightgowns very late. We heard the singing and showering and coffee pots and papers of our fellow students and occasionally even their boyfriends.
If they were in San Francisco today. I would take them to Lovejoy’s Tea Room for some beverages and reminiscence. Ply them with truffles. Spoil them with love.
Perhaps it was Carole McSheffrey who invited the jug band to sing in our living room. I will never forget the banjo. I memorized the words to ‘Barnyard Dance’ during long cold walks across the campus to the studio. I think this is the year we were snowed in. People were skiing cross country in to work in Boston. Robert J. Lurtsema was still alive. A heck of a long time ago.
The radiator clanked, so I named it, but it still would not shut up since pressure and cold in 100-year-old houses do funny things to steam heat. Its a wonder I did not burn all my hair off sleeping next to it. I sure did burn my elbows and knees a few times. That sucker got hot!
Remember the Fire Rope Test, team? I felt grateful we didn’t have to dress for it silly gym costumes like I did in elementary school. They were sort of like… rompers.
July 30, 2014 in friendship, love, making things, memory, music, photography, semi-autobiography, storytelling, truth
Tagged learning, music, old friends