all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein

all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein
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Friday, February 19, 2010

let the world spin as it spins




















Eat the last cookies in the box.
Wear the same pair of jeans two
weeks in a row. See the orchid die, leaf
by leaf. Wipe the countertop carelessly,
so it’s sticky as spit the next time
you lean on your elbows wondering
what’s for dinner. Watch hours
of television. Call for pizza, for Chinese,
for the cable company to give you even
more channels. Drive by the gym
without skipping a beat. Wash your hair only
when it starts wilt, when the mirror
produces someone who doesn’t look like she wants
to get laid. Think about sex constantly.
Order cocktails. Play pool. Spend your money
on a massage, on t-shirts from the warehouse sale,
on inflation-priced bagels from the café down the street.
Ignore the obvious fact that the sheets
need changing. Occupy your bed gratuitously.
When you’re done reading for the night,
flop the pages open, straining the jacket.
Allow the avocados to ripen beyond repair.
Stain the kitchen sink with grape stems,
mango peels, olive pits with the meat
still clinging. Use vast quantities of paper towels
for a simple spill of water.
Lavish attention on the minute landscape
between your eyebrows.
Lose time. Ditch the mail into the bulging
plastic bag near your desk. Almost mistake it
for trash. Abandon the task of fixing
the dresser drawer. Turn your car
into a wastebasket.

And when it comes, fall with extravagant
ugliness. Grieve noisily into the balls of your fists.
Push your heels against the carpet, your chest squirming.
Feel the walls of the house vibrate with your pain.
Make pockmarks of your heart.
Collapse if you have to. It is like this.
The world spins as it spins.
No one knows,
even though we all know
this is between
you and you alone.
So yield. Commit your entire body.
Recognize your own astonishing anguish.
Tear it from your skin like a wolf
eviscerates her trapped leg. Shriek like
the downed bird you are.
Invest wholly in your damage.
Lap up each tumescent despair. Swallow
the pinbones of your loss. Caress
every razor edge of not enough. Gift yourself
long, bruising hours of hopelessness.
The world spins as it spins.
Your life is on that same axis,
half shadow, half radiance
and turning, always turning.

17 comments:

Bek said...

you are a genius of words.

airstreamdiva said...

Dear Maya Stein, I am becoming a huge fan of yours. I hope you don't mind, I wrote about your poem on my blog today: http://airstreamdiva.blogspot.com/2010/02/amazing-poet-alert.html
Do you have any collections published? I would love to give one to all my girlfriends.
Thanks for sharing your beautiful gift.
All best, Tara Faircloth

Anonymous said...

Maya,

Can I use the second half of this for a mediation before a sermon I will be giving next Sunday...(yes, another sermon, this time in a church I have never even been to!)

I worked all morning on my text and was spinning, not knowing what to include in the bulletin as a mediation, then - BOOM -- there you are, there this is.

Can your word be read by more than just me in Cleveland Heights?

Jean

MediaMoose said...

wow, u have captured my inner feelings quite well, are you sure we aren't cut from the same rag?

J1ofn'sf said...

Ah, Maya, your words sink deep as I battle illness, the medical system, my own fear and pain.
Blessings, keep writing J, one of Nina's Friends.

GoGo said...

the flipside to the impermenant cycle. sometimes we need to let it spin...

a hand as you spin your world. good vibes.

Amy said...

and the world spins madly on . . .
you are a genius and i am constantly awed by your talents.

Dale said...

Swallow
the pinbones of your loss. Caress
every razor edge of not enough


those are my favorite lines, but god all the poem is terrific. xoxo

RetroBerry said...

Year after beautiful year, Maya, your work is beautiful.
C~

margie said...

fabulous. you astonish me with your words.

meetinggrace said...

I love this precious take on giving in. Beautiful.

meetinggrace said...

I love this precious take on giving in

GailNHB said...

Yes, this IS a precious take on giving in. As always happens when I show up at your blog, I find a treasure to print out and glue into my journal and write all over it. A treasure that captures my thoughts and feelings as only you can, dear Maya. Wow! Thank you.

James Pounds said...

Maya,

There are times I miss your blog for a week or so, and when I return it is like returning to a wise friend who always has something insightful and significant to say to the heart. Thanks for that and for the amazing ability you have combining words and your soul. I do believe your work just gets better all the time.

James Pounds

Judi said...

WOW!
YOU ARE AMAZING!

jen gray said...

love this...

Jaime said...

This is the poem that brought me to your blog.
So powerful.