Lindsey Lane—Blog - Lindsey Lane

The Practice-Cleave

Did it begin with the butcher
Or the lost soul?
Was the slicing first
or the joining?
These conundrums of beginnings
These chickens with their eggs
Same chicken but which came first?
Were we ever whole
Or did we begin with splitting apart
again
and again
and again?
Have we been picking up pieces and sticking them together
madly trying to reassemble ourselves and find
our place in the tribe
from which to leap
again
and again
and again?
Or maybe it began with the simple confusion of a word
Misheard
Misinterpreted
Misbegotten
By one who thought he might be leaving her
When really he was always going to do the opposite.

The practice is inspired by Naomi Shihab Nye and her notion that words are like oars. Dip them in the water. Explore with them. Feel how they touch and bump up against one another. Let them take us further down the stream.

The Practice-Redemption

The weight of it lands
thump in the middle of me
heavy in my palm
evil girl
lost girl
fallen from grace woman
If you do this
And this
And this
Oh so many this’s that you can barely lift them up
Then you will—
Wait, wasn’t I good at the beginning
Aren’t I still
Doesn’t the fine print say
I will be saved
I will exchange good deeds for great deals
I will win the premium coupon from His BigHearted Shopping Bonanza

The practice is inspired by Naomi Shihab Nye and her notion that words are like oars. Dip them in the water. Explore with them. Feel how they touch and bump up against one another. Let them take us further down the stream.

The Practice-Treacle

It began in Greece as Theriakos—
A wild animal with teeth that tore holes in flesh.
Then it became Theriake and turned into a goopy serum
Poured into the gashes and wounds.
The Romans imported it as Theriaca
And repackaged it as Triacle to the English
Who completely lost the thread
Because English really is a cluster fuck of a language.
Why not turn the sticky goo into Treacle and make it sweet
like Trifle or Turkish Delight?
After all, England is the country of White Queens
Turning forests into winter with no Chrismas so
Little boys go mad and betray sisters and that Lion.
A different lion lies on this tin of treacle
Transformed into Lyle’s Golden Syrup,
Still a sweet elixir,
Still a deft tip of the bowler to the original wild beast
Still a kind of antidote that might save us all.
Only Lyle’s lion is swarmed by bees
With a Biblical caption:
Out of the Strong Came Forth Sweetness
A cloyingly sentimental phrase
Which is all
That’s left of treacle
To this day.

The practice is inspired by Naomi Shihab Nye and her notion that words are like oars. Dip them in the water. Explore with them. Feel how they touch and bump up against one another. Let them take us further down the stream.

The Practice-Woo

What is this little word that stares at me with two eyes?
Is it oogling me?
Is one of those eyes going to wink at me
And say, hey baby, come on over to the big W?
To which, I would roll my eyes.
Maybe they are sweet puppy dog eyes.
Kind, patient, ever faithful
The kind that walk you home
Through the woods
Never turning wolfish.
They might be gimlet eyes
Fixing me in a formulated phrase
Sprawling me on the wall
Pinned and wriggling,
Making me question me;
Or at least why I am not with you.
Perhaps they are simply curious
Wondering who I am
Who we might be
If we danced one dance
Or two.
It all begins with a look
A one-time glance
Maybe by chance
Sometimes by design
Then you step in once
Or twice
And oooh-oooh-oooh
When you look at me the way you do
When you woo, woo, woo me
I slip, slip, slip
In a puddle of goo.

The practice is inspired by Naomi Shihab Nye and her notion that words are like oars. Dip them in the water. Explore with them. Feel how they touch and bump up against one another. Let them take us further down the stream.

The Practice-Interregnum

Quick backstory: my (maternal) grandfather was legally blind. He was read to through college. Blindness did not hold him back. In fact, he hated being perceived as weak or disabled. He hated weakness. In himself or others. (There are many family stories about this trait. Bankrupting his own father’s company is but one.) If someone could be better, then, damnit, get better or get gone. Being his granddaughter was a tough gig. Thank you notes were sent back with red ink spelling corrections and suggestions for better penmanship. (Yeah, I know. How could he even see my handwriting?) Needless to say, I steered clear of this tyrant. Except in the afternoons, when one of the family members, usually my mother, would read to him. All non-fiction, of course. One of the books I remember most was about the origins of words and expressions. I still recall some of them. I remember thinking at the time how it might be really fun to make up origins of the words and pass them off to him as fact.

Like Interregnum. Basically it’s a five-dollar word for a period when normal government is suspended; pause, interval. The origin of this word began when a king had his way with a village pixie one night. Sometime during the night, she slipped out of his bed and out of his life. Only a funny thing happened. That king had the emotional rug pulled out from underneath him. This little poppet from the backwoods pretty much untied the king’s corseted heart. He mourned her. He lusted for her. He created a word for her absence. Interregnum. It was ordained throughout the land that business stop until she returned to him. She never did. The king was overthrown during his ordained interregnum. He didn’t mind. He’d found that he liked the pause, the interval, the space between things and he disappeared too.

But we were left with this word. Which fell into disuse. Every once in a while, lovers find the word and use it to describe the mournful time apart from each other.

The practice is inspired by Naomi Shihab Nye and her notion that words are like oars. Dip them in the water. Explore with them. Feel how they touch and bump up against one another. Let them take us further down the stream.