Sunday, January 25, 2015

Not just a's a home.

Growing up, I lived in 15 different houses. I can mark time in my head based on which house I was living in. When I say that I hate moving, I really mean it. Moving makes me physically ill. January 16, 2015 was the ninth anniversary of officially owning my own home. My little family has lived in this little house for nine years -- the most amount of time I have ever lived in one house.

On those particular days where I feel defeated by the world, I remind myself that things could certainly be worse and I am so damn lucky to have the life I do. There is a specific kind of comfort in coming home after a shitty day, flopping on your couch, wrapping yourself up burrito style in a quilt your great grandma made, all while fending of slobbery kisses from your dogs, and listening to your husband and child make dinner for you in the kitchen. Because they want to make you happy. Because they care. It's one of the top five best feelings in the universe. Not everyone gets to have this feeling because not everyone has a happy little house with a happy little family inside. It is really hard to hold on to the mad/sad when you find yourself in a vortex of good.

So yeah, it's not just a's a home. It's a place where people come to hang out and just be. My house is home to more folks than just my little family. A couch to crash on while you're going through a divorce, a garage where we play darts when you're stressed about work, a patio where we barbecue and reminisce around the fire, a front porch that is "base" for neighborhood kids playing tag, a kitchen to hang out in while we make potluck style dinner and share heavy of right now I have three kinds of beer in my fridge that folks have left because they know they'll be back to drink it.

I don't think in all the years I've been writing that I have ever written a poem about a house -- or more specifically, a home. I guess it's time to give that a whirl. Posted below is my start. I don't want to put any more on this blog because after some more work (read: blood, sweat, possibly tears), I think this might be something I will eventually want to submit.

House Home

What is the most amazing thing about my house?
The folks who come inside
and make it my home.

The friends and family who walk in,
who comfortably open my fridge,
who know which cupboard holds my coffee mugs.

I own this structure
the wood and cement,
the plaster and lathe,
and I keep building it up
fleshing it out
filling it with heart

but you have the guts...

Yes. This is my home. Isn't it the cutest bungalow EVAR!?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I tried to name this post, but they all sounded like Nicholas Sparks book/movie titles...

(Seriously, I tried to come up with a good name for this post, but they all started to sound like Nicholas Sparks book/movie titles..."a walk in their shoes", "a mile in his shoes", "a walk to remember", etc.)

So, there is that famous saying, "until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes," or some variation thereof. I have done that. Literally.

Many moons ago, my baby brother outgrew a pair of Chuck Taylors. He outgrew them in less than a year so they were still in pretty good shape. Being the kind and gentle giant he is, he gave them to his big sister. At the time, he was 10 and I was 25.

Now, I'm 31 and the shoes have started to quite literally fall apart. The bends around the toe area (you know where they crease when you walk?) have split apart. Threads are coming undone at the seams and are starting to fray. The black trim around the shoes has left for parts unknown. Every time I take them off, I need to dump out the little pieces of rubber that brake off in crumbles from somewhere in the heel area. It reminds me of shaking the sand out of my shoes after running around on a playground.

"The" shoes.

Another shot of "The" shoes.

...and the required pic of me and my baby brother. We're at a Husker basketball game. GO BIG RED!

The point I'm trying to make is that these are more than "just shoes". They are happiness wrapped in memories. I remember the first time I put these on my feet. I remember my brother being so excited that we wore the same size shoes. It was one of the few things we had in common at the time. Believe me when I say it's not always easy to find the middle of a Venn Diagram for a 10 year old boy and a 25 year old woman. I tried the shoes on, they fit, and I didn't take them off - - just continued to wear them even though they didn't match my clothes and were not the best shoes for riding horses. (Our activity of choice on that particular day.) I remember thinking that these shoes jumped from playgrounds and P.E. to working in an office and standing in line at the DMV. But that didn't really matter. He liked the shoes, I liked the shoes, and the "hand-me-up" made us laugh.

For the last six years, these shoes have been a constant reminder of my baby brother, and have made me smile each and every time I put them on my feet. (I feel like you should know that my baby brother, as of right now, is 16 years old, 6'5" tall, and wears size 15 Nike's.) It was much harder than I thought it was going to be to put them aside and say goodbye. Seriously, it's just a pair of shoes, right? Wrong.

Well, I did just what you would expect me to do. I stewed on it, felt all the feels, and then wrote. Here's the beginning of a rough draft of a poem you probably guessed was coming. I don't really like it, but it's what I've got right now. Poems come in fits and starts and sometimes I really suck at writing them. Anyway, here's the "poem" as it stands:

Yours, then mine. 

Shit-kickers, Mile-high heels, Jesus Joggers, and Waffle Stompers.
It's not the shoes that make the man, but where he goes and how he takes care of them.
Right? Right.

All shoes can be dancing shoes with the right music.
All shoes are created equal. Just like the people who wear them.
Right? Right.

Hand-me-downs or up-cycled.
Thrift store bought or Saturday night swap between girlfriends.
When I put your shoes on my feet, my toes curl into the grooves you made.
My heels are cradled by your indentations.

Your indentations, but my intentions.
Your old shoes, but my new journey.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

If I've said it once, I've said it ten times

I found a writing prompt generator on the interwebs and the prompt it spat out at me was, "write a poem of 10 lines, each line starting with I say". Sometimes it's just as simple as that. (When I say "simple" I actually mean the exact opposite.)

This took me far longer than it should have. I just couldn't seem to make the words fit together on the page. It's was like trying to solve a tangram with one of the shapes missing. (Don't know what a tangram is? Google it.)

So, without further ado, here is my "I say" poem.

I say things that make you laugh
I say things I don’t mean
I say that sometimes life is plain shitty
I say that sometimes life is as shitty as you make it
I say what I feel more often that what I think

I say white lies are contagious and necessary
I say I won’t be mad, but I really will

I say you listen but you don’t hear me
I say I love you every morning and every night
I say you are my favorite person because I mean it

Here's the deal. I don't love this as a perfect solid and whole poem. It's not great and it doesn't "hang" together like I want it to. However, there are a few lines I'm particularly enamored with that might make for a pretty good piece after it rolls around in my brainspace for a little while. It needs to marinate in melancholy song lyrics and memories of sad after school specials.

...sometimes I need to scribble and doodle. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Upon remembering what it was like to be 18

I literally just finished reading Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. Seriously, I read the last page about 15 minutes ago. I'm not going to launch into a review of the book here (BTW, I thought it was fantastic) but I can tell you that it made me feel all the feels. It made me remember what it was like to be 18. Made me remember all of the horror and glory. So now that I've got the feels and caffeine coursing through my system - - here's the start of a poem. I'm sure there is much more to this buried underneath 13 years of brain stuff, but this is what I've got right now...

Golden Delicious

Feeling my way through the pieces of yesterday. Some of them are smooth like a worry stone in your pocket. Others are jagged and painful like a chipped front tooth. My voice is singing old songs. Lips and tongue moving on auto pilot. I can smell the second hand smoke. I can taste the cold Pad Thai mixed with lukewarm coffee.

Makes me think of all the times I wouldn't take your hand. Wouldn't return your winks. Wouldn't let you know that my heart was speeding up. Couldn't look you in the eye for too long. Just because you looked at me. Just like that. Because I couldn't tell if it was me that was special, or you.

I hear the Talking Heads and remember how we thought we were so sophisticated, listening to their greatest hits on repeat. Drinking our wine out of the gallon jug. 

Up floats the memory of kissing you for the first and only time on your sun porch.
I remember wanting directions despite the short and direct climb up and into your lap. I remember laughing at how skinny you were; not less of a man, and not that it mattered in the least.

Your hair was perfect and your smile was not and that’s what did it for me. To me.
Your stupid Elvis smile that wasn't really a smile. More of a smirk.

Either way, it tasted delicious. 
Not in a Golden Apple way, but in the winning and approval sort of way.

You swallowed me whole. Heart and soul.
Fingers and toes. 
I didn't want to lose myself, but it certainly seemed that you found me quick enough.

Because you've earned it - - here's a photograph of me during the summer of my 18th year. Heaven only knows why I was laughing in a bathtub...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Well, it was so nice, I did it twice!

Yup. I did it again. I put my poetry in the UNL Staff Art Show. AGAIN.

I know that last year I was a nervous wreck at the First Friday reception for the university staff art show, and this year wasn't any easier. It was almost worse because I knew what to expect this time. I knew there would be a guest book where strangers could leave notes about the pieces on display and there was no way I could not look at the book. Like a moth to a flame I started flipping through the pages to see if anyone had anything to say about my stuff. Well, they did. AND IT WAS LOVELY!! I was beyond elated. These two folks took the time to jot down their thoughts and it made me feel so good inside. Totally worth the nausea and sweaty palms.

There is no need to reiterate to you all that I am by no means an artist by definition. Sure, I like to make things and try new artsy stuff that I see on DIY blogs - - but I am a writer. That's my sweet spot. Sometimes I like to display my writing in a way that is visually appealing in hopes of getting more folks to read the words I wrote. Sometimes it looks like this when I'm done:

I titled this one "House of Cards". Copyright Jennifer Klein 2014. 

I don't have much more to say about this experience other than I will keep entering a piece into the staff art show every single year. It will continue to terrify me, I'll always be a bit shy about it, but hopefully it'll keep surprising me at how awesome it feels when I get to see my poetry hanging on a gallery wall.