10 May 2009

ashes and wine

been a bit
ailleurs this week {ie somewhere else} was literally supposed to be in santa barbara visiting my sister... and then the jesusita fire started, and everything got...smokey, so to speak. so i didn't go to santa barbara and instead kept my eye on the fire, the evacuations, the devastatingly captivating images of the fire in the mountains and streets of a place i'd once known as home. beautiful and nostalgic images in my mind of my years spent in the gorgeous town of santa barbara were dominated, more than anything, by my constant concern for my sister's safety. and i twittered a lot. and i don't mean anxious chatter or jittery fidgeting {though restlessness abounded} but i mean literally twittered about the fire, read constant updates on twitter, and got way too much information for my overly active imagination that proceeded to run away from me.

anyway, during the worst night of the fire, sometime well after midnight as they were still evacuating people, i needed distraction but couldn't look away long enough to find one. and my dad, lost for any way to really help me calm down, said in a serious-bordering-on-exasperated tone "why don't you, just, write some poems or something." alas it's not easy for an engineer integrated circuit designer dad to have an overly creative, imaginative, emotional, sensitive {etc..} daughter, but he tried. and in fact, about a half an hour later i found myself absorbed in turning the verbose, redundant thoughts that were overwhelming my mind at a furious rate, into simple, sleek, perfectly shaped haiku poems.

if you haven't noticed, i've been a bit obsessed with haiku lately. it all started just with me attempting to find a fun form of poetry to work on with one of the girls i tutor {hi olivia ;)} and then i got kind of hooked.... because the challenge of streamlining my thoughts into seventeen syllables became fascinating, and rewarding. and helped to clarify, and speak louder than i'd anticipated, and set these thoughts to a new rhythm. then i worked on haiku with another one of my students {hi abby :)} and we were all hooked. at times the rhythm lulls me into..something...somewhere else...

and especially on this fiery night, it soothed my fears a bit. and took me away. i posted the haiku on twitter each time i wrote a new one, one after another, hoping that anyone else who was worried about the fire, might too, find some element {other than fire :)} of comfort in the brief words. and how gratifying to hear from readers that in fact, they did.

here are some of the poems i wrote during those tense days in the beginning of the jesusita fire in santa barbara, and a few of the spectacularly calamitous images of the fire. the flames were all along and above the 101 freeway, and my sister said that while driving on the freeway beside the fire, it was hard to look away {though dangerous, as she was driving} from the dramatic view.

and all along, the song ashes and wine by a fine frenzy has been playing in my head... {santa barbara is known for its vineyards} and in fact, funnily enough, it's playing on my sterio as i type this. 'don't know if our fate's already sealed. this day's a spinning circus on a wheel ... there is nothing left to say but is there a chance, a fragment of light at the end of the tunnel, a reason to fight? is there a chance you may change your mind? or are we ashes and wine. the day's still ashes and wine, or are we ashes..'

it's the not knowing
and knowing what you know won't
stop fire from burning

a sky so dark, thick
air, smoke hard to remember
yesterday's calm blues

we sit and wait, i'm

here on twitter while she's there,

watching fire and news

it's the little things
you want to hold on to when
it's time to let go

she sees fire light the
mountains, sky, smoke in her eyes
close mine, i see her

ash falls from the sky
gentle like snow nothing's as
it seemed anymore

you don't feel until
it touches you, don't see 'til
you look in their eyes

images via latimes and noozhawk

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