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All about words



Blanket Stitches

Posted by nancyfreund11 on June 29, 2014 at 2:35 AM

An apology in advance, because my poetry is obtuse sometimes – so it stands to reason that occasionally, my prose might be obtuse as well. Herein, case in point. You’re going to see an early turn of phrase that might be an unintended inversion. But it’s purposeful. I didn’t realize I’d flipped a common phrase till I had written and sat with it for some time.  We should all write as it comes out, sit with it, and when we can, let it stay.  So I won’t revert and invert now, because it said exactly what I meant  – "needle the thread." Gently nudge the fine cord with the sharp tip of the needle, lift the stitch and push the needle and its trailing thread through the gap. Needle the thread. Not thread the needle.  So now I ask you to read on (should you care to read on) with not just a willing suspension of disbelief, but also an open-mindedness and tolerance for grammatical gymnastics, syntactic shenanigans that might look more like tumbling than than a running-round-off-back-flip.  

Tananarive Due was my cherub-journalist roommate at Northwestern when we were sixteen. It only took me thirty years to needle the thread and lift the stitch, close it nicely. You make progress in your life, move things forward, projects, bullet points on your resume... but you must double back, you must. Lift the loops to catch them tight. Your blanket stitches matter, my love. (I’m talking to myself here, gently, and to you). Keep track. Keep the yellow yarn on track. Slow yourself down and double back to keep your seals shut snug. The folded satin blanket edge. Listen again, thirty years later, to Ten Years Gone, listen to the riffs and Led Zeppelin guitar chords, and you might know the swollen heartstrings that fill you blue and purple and pearly pale. That filled you then. You might know those colors once again as you knew them then.  Lift them, loop them through and keep them tight. Red, metallic red, the sheens that vibrate bold and blood and brave when once again, he sings:

"Do you ever really need somebody, really need ‘em bad? Do you ever really want somebody, yeah something you never had? Do you ever remember me baby? Did it feel so good? Cause it was just the first time, and you knew you would.

To the eyes now sparkle...since you ... ? Taste the love along the way, see your feathers break. Kinda makes me feel so fine, ... go.... we are eagles... "

There you have the scurry- scramble to write the lyrics down that we’ve never really known, the meaning is there, the intention of the lyricist, whether we’re right or not, but we really never knew the words. Eagles? Where’d the eagles come into it? Today we have google and you can read the right lyrics with a click. Don’t, though.

I like what my brain does playing with the words I’ve heard. I like to roll my own dice and make up the game as I go. Eagles!


Back to my first roommate Tananarive. She knew me when I wanted something bad. Someone bad. She knew my nightime heart and aching yearns and when I snuck out and in, a head full of conversation, teasing and music and politics on the boys’ floor. She knew it then, knows it still. I trust her silence and her willingness to forget and her blanket stitches, that yellow thread she weaves through her words. She seals her silences, blanket stitches running time. A soft sheen, that satin edge. The whole world remembers everything, the people I’ve met along the way, remember all. In collaboration, we could stitch everything together and the stitches would hold. It would be an endless quilt of experience, real and imagined, remembered and wished-for, wanted, unwanted, it would be things we have purposefully forgotten and wished others would forget and wished we could remember, and things we wished had happened sooner, or later, or somewhere else with someone else, and things we no longer know whether we dreamed or invented... And things we talked about with others, and things that no one ever mentioned. Between us, I imagine, if we could double back and stitch up all the pieces with our gentle blanket stitches, the truth would lay itself down in cotton flannel patterns, beyond memory, beyond words, and knowing it is there would give us comfort.

That's what I wanted to say.  But now  --  eagles!  I know there’s the tiniest chance that you can’t stand not knowing, so here’s what the interwebs deliver...

Through the eyes an' I sparkle, Senses growing keen

Taste your love along the way, See your feathers preen

Kind of makes makes me feel sometimes, Didn't have to grow

We are eagles of one nest, The nest is in our soul


Vixen in my dreams, with great surprise to me

Never thought I'd see your face the way it used to be

Oh darlin', oh darlin'


I'm never gonna leave you. I never gonna leave

Holdin' on, ten years gone

Ten years gone, holdin' on, ten years gone


Categories: expat, travel, & cross-cultural issues, writing & publishing, marriage, parenting & family

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