the lips that press back.

Sometimes you need to pull out your Go-Tos.  When your heart hurts, or life throws frustration in your face, or you’ve run too far ahead before you realize you don’t know where you’re going, or things get too stagnant, or you find yourself in a foreign country and you need some you-ness… quick…

When the rest of it all is jerking away and giving you looks of confusion, the Go-Tos are the lips that press back.

Let me introduce you to a few of my Go-Tos:

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.
eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

One of my very favorite movies.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest it.  It’s amazing… in my opinion.  Old roommates can attest to this being a very popular Go-To… I think I’ve watched it over one hundred times.

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.
constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.

Go-To #2:

billy collins.
billy collins.

Poetry is such an easy Go-To…. with a quick flip, a quick fix.  Billy Collins is one of my favorite poets.  His smart-assery paired with his beauty always brings me back to warmth.

Here is one of his more popular poems:


Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine…
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine.


And then you have to have music:

Patty Griffin has been a Go-To for such a long time… I can always count on her.  This video is especially special because it’s a taping from Austin City Limits.  Drive around, listen to some Patty Griffin, maybe smoke a clove cigarette… all is right with the world.

But the best way to remember who you are is to Go-To your old journals.  I found this thing that I wrote about three years ago and I smiled at myself, like I would to an old friend that I was so happy to see.  This is a bit embarrassing, but here we go:

:is it bad that i want to dance?
this song tickles my soul when i’m not paying attention.
loudly whispers, “hey… rachel, come shake your hips with me.”
and i look around.
then laugh and say, “okay, maybe.”
throw my arms slightly above my head.
sing loudly.
and shake my [damn] hips.:

And those are a few of my Go-Tos.

…I am making a birdhouse.

…I am the sound of rain on the roof.

…I think I broke the wings off that little songbird.

…and I do want to dance.

8 thoughts on “the lips that press back.”

  1. Patty is my go to as well. She knows me better than almost anyone.

    “Everywhere is somewhere
    And nowhere is near
    Everybody got somebody
    With their wine and their beer
    So I’m just this tragic figure
    In the corner over here
    With an empty apartment
    And a best friend who is queer”

    (this was an incredibly realistic telling of my life for a while. Although we didnt know he was gay at the time.

    “I need Moses
    To cross this sea of loneliness,
    Part this red river of pain”

    Amen sister

  2. casey and/or sheena,

    do you have his book, “ballistics”? you should…


    you are wonderful.


    a] i laughed out loud and clapped when i read, “although we didn’t know he was gay at the time.”

    b] i love that you love patty… i think of you a lot when i listen to her.

    c] gosh, how many times have i written,

    “how the sky turns to fire
    against the telephone wire
    and even i’m getting tired
    or useless desires”

    in my journal? wow.

    d] don’t worry though, i’m not making pies.

    mary susan,

    ugh. we are soulmates. [you and i].


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