work in progress

A night in harvest
 
Aria and Morgan sleep in the bedroom quietly
A fan blows in the other room
It is full dark out
And the windows are open.
 
I can hear the strong breeze in the leaves
That are just starting to turn.
 
I think sometimes that I would feel whatever I feel
Good or bad
Regardless of whatever life event or circumstance
I am blaming my mood on.
 
I swallow disappointment
 
Let it go I tell myself.
 
Release it
Release it
Release it
 
This work is surely good
For the soul and skin
 
The moon was up and full this morning as I drove to work
 
Some truths are only found in darkness
In the cleanliness of dirt and ground and natural things
Breaking down
 
Hold space for detris
And decomposition
 
That is how the transformation happens.
 
And that is the magic.

in process

I watch him at the window
Out in the rain
Burning what we no longer need
and transplanting a basil plant from the garden
So that we can taste its flavor
During the cold sleep
Of winter.

I watch him
Without him
Knowing

And am remade
And astounded
At my reality.
and my luck.
At this life
we’ve made together

the sky reminds me
not to question what i already know
what was already revealed

I speak to God often
And sometimes he speaks back.

He almost always
waves hello When
the wind rustles
The leaves
On the large tree
By the driveway
And the sound is
So lovely
And noticeable
That even
my 1 ½ year old
stops her splashing
in the middle puddle
and turns to listen.

Sometimes I do what I do
(walk in the woods or write a poem)
Because it’s the only way
I know how to pray.

Strange Beauty, my second poetry collection, is now available for pre order HERE. All pre ordered copies will ship on December 15th.

I am so excited that the book is finally available, thanks so much for your support!

IMG_4756

Strange Beauty is an exceptionally appropriate title for this collection of poems. Susan Sweetland Garay marvels at the ordinary, expressing her observations about the everyday with precision and adoration in equal measure. Her poetry will make you fall in love with the world or fall in love with it even more. “The sacred/and mundane/overlap like/ocean and sand,/in constant motion…”

-Matt Margo
Author of When Empurpled: An Elegy
editor of Zoomoozophone Review

IMG_4759

Garay’s poetry is sharp and clean, yet embraces ideas with lines as open and wild as they are sonorous. Her words blur dichotomies to pastel shades, then soar through vistas where art meets elegance and free-flying expressions of color and sound wing their way along like chromatic birds. A talented poetess with a bright future ahead of her to be sure.

-Earl E.S. Wynn
Editor of Leaves of Ink

 IMG_4761 IMG_4762

With its unadorned images and pared back narrative, Strange Beauty is filled with exactly that—strange beauty. The world introduced within these histories balances between fantasy and reality, between the world we wonder at and the world we struggle in. This narrator is domestic instinct—is woken by secrets—is presenter of rain and waves in the sea—with her dream-like charm on exhibition.

—Stephanie Bryant Anderson
Founder of Red Paint Hill Publishing
author of Monozygotic | Codependent

IMG_4765

Strange Beauty includes 77 pages of original writing with themes including motherhood, family relationships, finding beauty in the ordinary and a relationship with the natural world.

The book is available through Aldrich Press, an imprint of Kelsay Books. Please include a message in comments if you would like a signed copy of the book.

Copyright Susan Sweetland Garay 2015. All rights reserved.

Pale green stars

The two of us lay side
by side facing each other.
She suckles contentedly.

I take a deep breath trying
to relieve my tension and breathe
love and comfort
into her.

The worst thing about our fighting
is worrying that she can feel it.
That we are scarring her,
creating some deep issue
that will one day rise up and make us
wish to God we had been better
in her early years.

These days I can’t feel anger
without bringing along with it
worry and guilt.

She signs and turns
releasing my nipple.

I move carefully,
slowly, so as not to
wake her.

I emerge from the dark bedroom
ready for another evening of
anger and avoidance

but thankfully my stubborn
heart pushes the issue
and we talk
and he sees
and I sigh again,
this time with relief
and much warm air.

I hope that the girl can feel it
from her darkened room
under pale green stars.

Darkening sky

Tonight is the
second thunderstorm
in three nights,

unusual for
our mild home,

we keep all the windows open
listening to the downpour
and thunder.

On the bed, we sit
all together in
the fading light
and darkening
sky.

It is a lovely shade
of grey blue.

She clings to the window sill
and her father’s shoulder
feeling the rain
through the screen.

She would like
to be out in it.

She is certainly our daughter.

The rain continues
as we all sing each other
to sleep.
 

Our small world

Not too late, but late for us,

the three of us are together

in the car driving home after

a night with friends.

 

Cold and dark and rain beat on the windows

but are unable to penetrate our small world.

 

There is only us,

inside together –

an island,

apart from the rest

of the world.

 

Just us,

safe and warm

and on our way home.

Pale green stars

The two of us lay side
by side facing each other.
She suckles contentedly.

I take a deep breath trying
to relieve my tension and breathe
love and comfort
into her.

The worst thing about our fighting
is worrying that she can feel it.
That we are scarring her,
creating deep issues
that will one day rise up and make us
wish to God we had been better
in her early years.

These days I can’t feel anger
without bringing along with it
worry and guilt.

She signs and turns her body
releasing my nipple.

I move carefully,
slowly so as not to
wake her.

I emerge from the dark bedroom
ready for another evening of
avoidance and too much wine.

Thankfully my stubborn
heart pushes the issue
and we talk
and he sees me
and I sigh again, this time
with relief and much warm air.

I hope that the girl can feel it
from her darkened room
under pale green stars.

Circadian

Rising is:

the knowledge
that I have
everything
I need;

missing an old friend,
so odd that it has been
three years;

the joy
and monotony
of each day;

anxiety at knowing I can’t do it all,
that I will always disappoint someone;
the cold crisp air outside;
learning to structure an
unstructured day;

too much want,
and a desire to release;

learning that not enjoying
does not make me a failure;

that I can be disappointed by those I love
and still love them;

Rising is
faith
taking us
gently into each new day.

Blurry

I spend the day
walking city street
I have not seen in ages
and I realize that I
cannot blame this place
for what happened here.

I could see so clearly
before the clouds came
sending rain washing over
brick and cement and
decaying things.

Before the edges
got blurry.

He tells me that I won’t
be happy in another place.
That the defect is
contained in me,
in my odd
ways of
thinking
and seeing.

And I listen
thinking over
what he tells me.

But when I don’t
agree he is unhappy
and I hate to make
anyone unhappy,
so I pretend
to be unsure.

What you do not understand
must wait to be told and
anyway why should we talk
when you’ve already
made up your mind.

What an odd sensation
to be at the beginning again.

small corner

I sense the weirdness of time passing

and see how small
my place in the world is.
But this does not make me
feel unimportant.

I am vital to my small corner.

It could not be what it is
without me.

And that corner is plenty.

We would all like things to be simple
but that is not really
what happens here.

At times I would like to write
pages and pages of my sorrow
but I am not sure what else,
what different, I could say.

The grief is still here.
It is unaffected by my efforts.
Its depth varies from day to day,
but it does not leave.

I don’t know what other way to say it.

The doctor speaks to me slowly
so as not to alarm me
the way she would speak
to a scared animal.
I wish I didn’t appear
to require such gentleness.

But I will take what kindness I am given.

I arrive home to a cool house
amidst the early summer heat,
a happy husband marinating the chicken,
cats purring in their sleep,
and flowers in bloom in the front yard.

Who says this isn’t magic.