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Writings from Liz’s BookBox

On my 60th birthday, my perceptive, imaginative friend, Liz Palladino, gave me a box that looked just like a book. You open the cover and it’s filled with writing prompts. Best gift ever. It’s inspired me to create a new Medium series called Writings from Liz’s BookBox. Gonna try and hit it every day till I get through the whole thing.

Remember being brand new? I don’t. I’m too far away from it. But I suppose at any point in time, we feel pretty far from our beginnings.

(Little sidebar here: Molly holding her sister’s newborn baby in her arms. She looks up at me and whispers, “He’s telling me about when he was little…”)

Brand new.

The first association I have with that phrase is new love. I wrote a song about it for a friend of mine.

With new love, there is a full body willingness, an embrace of the world that originates in the belly, and radiates out through the genitals, the legs, the arms and the eyes. All past injuries lose their vinegar sting. The edges are sweet and the blades are sharp for slicing paper thin sheets of joy and folding them into your mouth.

Your lover’s voice sends honey into your collar bones and down your spine.

And then a settled peace

coddles you, while you

sip your coffee.

Brand new,

you two.

This is before the illusions get burned away by ghosts you’ve been avoiding all your life, before discovering you’ve mistakenly married your mother or your father, before deciding to be who you think they want instead of who you really are.

Brand new only lasts a moment. Its natural lifespan is just long enough to get you through the door.

When the lock clicks behind you, that’s when you get to face the aging, arthritic lies you’ve been propping up and tying down.

That’s when, in the presence of your beloved, maybe shy, maybe drunk, maybe never, you get to tell the truth.

If you don’t, you’ll be a stick caught in the eddy, swirling in the ancient story you’ve been telling yourself, never going downstream, or finding your way to shore.

But if you do tell the truth, then the sky lets fly its origami birds. They unfold themselves, wafting downward, blown by breezes into your hands. Messy love letters for a neglected, starving heart.

And you are always and forever



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