jrrm

So This Was Adorable

I was in the grocery store last week (yes, I’m just posting about this now, don’t judge), and I was trying to pick what kind of “nut butter” and what kind of fruit spread I wanted because I wanted almond butter or maybe something else, but I wanted the ability to make PB&J sandwiches whenever I wanted, because I had the feeling I would be craving one pretty soon (does anybody else ever anticipate cravings that way? Also “nut butter” is funny), and so this is a long, involved, process because there is a lot to choose from and I have to evaluate each one before I make my decision. And then I’ll narrow it down, and then again, and then again, until I reach two, and then I’ll hem and haw back and forth between those two for awhile before finally getting annoyed with myself and how long it’s taking, so I’ll take one and put the other on the shelf, take two steps forward, then turn around and grab the one on the shelf and put the other one back. Or sometimes even a third one. This is how decisions are made in MAH HOUSE (”nut butter” is still funny).

Anyway, the point of all that was that I was involved in this long process, so I was in that same spot for awhile, which allowed me to observe the following exchange, which was adorable, and is the subject of this post. On the same aisle, there was a man and his daughter, who looked to be about the same age as my niece, who is three. And he was checking labels or consulting a list or something when she goes “Daddy?” And he turned to her and said “Yes?” And she goes “I love you, Daddy.” So he says “I love you too!” And kisses her on the head and goes back to shopping.

Then she says “Daddy?” And he says “Yes?” And she goes “How much do you love me?” And he says “Oh, I love you an awful lot. Very much.” But I guess this wasn’t good enough. So she’s like “Do you love me as much as I love you?”

Okay, here’s the adorable part. He says “Oh honey, no. I love you more.” And the little girl goes “How do you know? How can you know you love me more?” And he says “Because, I’m much, much bigger than you. That means I have a lot more love to give.”

(”Nut butter” is still funny.)

Left Unsaid

Your body beside me
warm and slow, I follow
the eloquent lines of your silence (and)
I know
this is what it feels like to belong
(and) even though tonight
our voices are gone ––
we will speak for us tomorrow
as we spoke for us today.

When next the light comes
high and cold, I swallow
the erratic rambles of doubt (and)
I know
(this is how feels belong)
I know. I know.

© 2017 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

Things I Want You to Know

You have made it this far, and this thing is no greater than the previous thing you thought would break you – it only feels that way because it’s immediate. You need to breathe. You have an infinite capacity for kindness, respect, and love – apply liberally. You need to breathe. You will work for the things you want. If you find you have to force yourself to do something, it maybe means you don’t want that thing as much as you thought you did. You need to breathe. You need to realize that moving on is not the same as failing. You can practice productive violence by understanding when certain emotions need release. You don’t need to beat yourself up if you find yourself unable to move. You need to breathe. You will notice more beauty than you previously gave the world credit for. You will be okay. You will be okay. You will be okay. You need to breathe. You will be okay.

© 2017 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

Time and Facets

Question: How can love
never felt, be written – or
never written, be felt. Why
so esoteric. Where day breaks
on skinned knees. When laughter
fell and rose on greener pastures.
What was that. Who knew.

Answer: You and I. Once
and new we grow – or
now we grew. When
promises turned and stuck to the roofs
of our mouths. Where night burns
on salty eyes. Why so bold.
How like always we’ve become.

© 2017 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

On tips of tongues and other wanting things

Falls my mind, times you
drive me to the point of abstraction –
a tick-tock-tick disturbance not
of silence. Not a metronome, not measured.
We are not of time and its passing; we are not
something ephemeral. How we are at once
both small and as we were. We are
life organs pumping life fluids to life
beings. How altogether separate yet
tethered. We are
in some buried way and
we, or you, or I, or us, must
dig. Beneath the many-
layered shit there is
something shiny yet
to be discovered once again.

© 2017 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

On Second Read

Rediscovering an author is an amazing thing. Sometimes, for whatever reason, you stop reading an author–– maybe you got busy, or maybe you thought you’d read everything they had to write, or maybe you didn’t want to re-read previous works too soon, afraid you wouldn’t get the same thrill on the second visit. For whatever reason, you let those works sit on a shelf for a time. It may even have gotten to the point that you didn’t even give them much thought. You’d look over at the shelf, and you’d see them there, but you’d kind of overlook or ignore them. Or, you know, maybe you just didn’t feel like reading at the moment (and that moment happened to last a really long time).

But then, for whatever reason, you see their name blazing out to you on that shelf again and it calls to you. Suddenly, their writing is the only thing you want to read. There may be a thousand authors or more whose works line your physical or virtual shelves, but there’s only one for you.

You grab the book and you dig in. You find yourself transported to another place and time with every story, your heart leaping to your throat and sinking to your stomach with every event that unfolds. You remember what drew you to that author in the first place, and why you were originally so enamored with their work. You read and reread with enthusiasm, knowing that anything this good on second read can safely be read again and again for the rest of your life without losing any of its intensity. You have found your favorite, and you know you are home.

© 2017 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

On Unintended Hiatuses, and Mostly Triumphant Returns

In August of 2015, my life changed in a fairly dramatic way. I tried to keep up with things for awhile, but a lot of things fell off my personal radar, for good reasons – I had just moved into a new apartment, I was nurturing a new and blossoming relationship, and I had veritable shit-tons of work to do. I didn’t spend a lot of time writing (for myself, to distinguish from the writing I do for a living), and initially, I used every excuse in the book: I was busy, I had other things I wanted to do more, I just needed to take a break, I had other projects I needed to prioritize, I needed to read more, I didn’t have time, it was hard to write for fun when you’d just written all day for work, etc., etc. If there was an excuse and it fit, I’d gladly take it up.

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Just Passing By

In winter, when
trees are brazen, you
can stand
on my balcony, watching
cars on the highway
passing by. You
can wonder
where they’re going,
or why they’re going,
or when they will arrive.

If driving by you looked
left or right, depending
on the direction of your travel,
you might see a light
and wonder who stood there.
You might wonder if they
are wondering about you.

This is what it means
to be human, and also
something of what it means
to love.

© 2017 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

Limited Vocabulary

He said I never write about him. That’s maybe true. Maybe I never write about him, about how open and soft his eyes went when they caught mine, or how sure and strong his hands felt. But I never write about him because I never want to seal him up and commit him to the past. To write about him means that he is closed––that the moment has ended, the feeling has ended, that all of it can be held in a single page or a handful of lines, and that is both false and impossible.

So I refuse. As much as I might happily write him the briefest of verses or the boldest of letters––as much as I might write for him, I will never write about him, because our love cannot be constricted by the cartography of composition.

© 2015 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

Unbroken

See, it isn’t about “making it work” or “working it out,” because if there’s nothing broken, there’s nothing to fix. If there aren’t wrongs, there’s nothing to correct. When what you have is an absence, the thing to do is create more to fill the void. Create, and recreate, and create anew.

© 2017 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

Be Kind

That was my New Year’s Resolution––be kind. I don’t know, after the dumpster fire 2016 turned out to be, it seemed appropriate. I figured if nothing got any better, or even if things got significantly worse, there was nothing wrong with increasing the general levels of kindness in the world.

When I made this resolution, I was looking outward. I was thinking of being kind to others, of not being so quick to anger or quick to judge, to give others more latitude, more tolerance, and to be more open-minded and less dismissive.

It didn’t occur to me until last week that I should have looked inward as well. In resolving to be kinder to other people, I wasn’t thinking about being kind to myself––but if anybody deserves my kindness, it’s me.

I doubt most of you reading this have any knowledge of this, but I am extremely hard on myself, and that is an understatement. That doesn’t mean I’m hard on other people––I’m generally pretty tolerant of others, quick to tell myself that I don’t have enough information to judge them and should give them the benefit of the doubt. But I’m different. Me, I do have enough information. Me, I find no reason to give the benefit of the doubt. With myself, I am ruthless.

I’m an all-or-nothing, black-and-white thinker, for the most part. If I have nine things to do today and I accomplish eight of them, I am a failure. If I forget something, I am scatterbrained, a loser. Understand that I have cut off friends and loved ones from engaging in such negative self-talk, and yet I am the champion of it. There is no human being who has ever been crueler to me than I am to myself.

This is something I am taking not even one day at a time, but minute by minute. It isn’t easy, but I do everything I can to try to cut off the negative self-talk when I find myself thinking it, to be mindful and self-aware, and to affirm and validate myself.

I understand this may be an issue for some of you as well. For that reason, I will share things here as I find things that work for me and help to lift me out of the negative space. That way I’m being kind to myself and sharing that kindness with others, so it’s a win-win, really. I’ll be tagging them #kindnesses and at some point I’ll I just put up a link on my blog so they’ll be easy to find.

Okay? Okay.
Jen out.

This Is Us, Loving

And this is me, waiting
for every little word from you.
All your doings and okays,
your smiles and theres, your heres
and whats. Whether to or hence,
your essence remains the piece
you placed in the palm of my hand–
my fingers closing
to capture lightning bugs.

And this is you, waiting
for every little word from me.
All my doings and okays,
my smiles and theres, my heres
and whats. Whether to or hence,
my essence remains the piece
I placed in the palm of your hand–
your fingers closing
to capture lightning bugs.

And this is us, waiting.

© 2015 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

As Persistent as Time

I remember nights we sheltered
together as close as whispers
to tongues. We bathed in silence
save the nuanced language of sighs–
the muted exhalation of home.

My fingers pulsing
with the poetry of your pores,
drawing constellations
to connect our web of thoughts
as we sheltered together, as close
as one. I remember nights
that haven’t happened yet.

© 2015 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

Soulquake

He arrives in the second act––
a coffin unveiled in an empty room
with no mourners. Around
this death, a new life finds
an openness rejoicing and unafraid.

She never cared
to lose the past, for knowing
the future she embraced was infinite.

Where now they are a tangle
of limbs and eyes, they once remarked
upon the moon, how full
it was––how full. We are
nothing less than all
we might become.

© 2015 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

Way Up There

If there is one thing I love
about you the most, it is that
you are terrified
I will want nothing
to do with you, be it tomorrow
or a week or a month or a year
from now. I will wake up one morning,
or drain a beer one evening,
or slam a door one afternoon,
and I will say good-
bye. And that will be
the end of everything we
ever built our lives around
and up. You should know
I’m terrified the same, as it was
you who taught me
how to fly.

© 2015 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

Disgusting Romantic Shit

A couple mornings ago I woke up and realized I hadn’t dreamed in awhile––in fact, I couldn’t remember a single dream I’d had since Michael and I moved in together. I smiled. I decided I hadn’t had a dream (that I could remember on waking) because all of my dreams were already realized each time I glanced over at him. Then I decided that was some pretty disgusting romantic shit to think, and I pride myself on not being disgustingly romantic, so I put it aside.

But tonight, we went for dinner and beers at my favorite bar. My favorite bar is a true neighborhood pub––people from all walks of life gather there for a beer and some laughs after work, or on their way home after a night out on the town. It has an atmosphere all its own, but it’s nothing you’d drive from the other side of town for. It’s just a special place to me, a place where I used to be a regular, a place where I used to write every afternoon––and so, it was a place I wanted to share as soon as possible. Fortunately, it’s just down the road from our apartment. Only two turns, actually. Three if you count the turn into the bar’s parking lot. But I digress.

As we were leaving, a couple sitting by the door stopped us. The man held out his arm to me and said something like “y’all have a good night,” but he met my eye in a way that made me think he might be someone I’d known long ago (like I said, I used to be a regular at this bar). So while I’m racking my brain trying to figure out who the hell he is and if I know him, I realize he’s talking to Michael, and the woman with him has broken in, explaining that they’ve been watching us all night, and they loved us, and thought we were a beautiful couple.

“We’re just in love with you mother fuckers,” the man said. “Y’all are great. You have a fantastic evening.”

They both continued to reinforce what the man had said, but he’d already said it just fine. That disgusting romantic shit has taken us over and now complete strangers can see it and become infected by it as well. God help us all.

Existential

When I saw him smile, I saw
the world in microcosm. There
were he and I, and then we
ceased to exist as two
apart
it seemed to happen
in an instant we were one
as though we’d always been
one. To think, one day
I’ll say “Tomorrow,
that will be,” and it will.

It is for others to wonder
how we ever were
apart. When together we are
essential.

© 2015 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller

All Ways

Your sleeping breath,
close and familiar
as my own heartbeat;

The sound of your smile,
soft and warm
as sun upon my skin;

The measure of your thoughts,
steadfast and sure
as ground beneath my feet––

How I know you despite
and yet we are somehow
together, and better
beyond. That moment
I find the precise register
to wake you up

so we may dream.

© 2015 by Jennifer R.R. Mueller