“Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.”
― Vincent van Gogh
(This post was written collaboratively in Powell, Ohio, as Kathrine Wright: bridesmaid-goddess-extraordinaire was making a bride-salvaging visit.)
That we both loved Van Gogh, and Anne Sexton and Starry Night rendered in shaggy paint and shaggy words. That we loved the wild-hearted, gypsy-brains of each. That stars and words would beckon us both, differently and in cometing cross-paths to each other.
And ever expand. And turn into year, years, decades, that turn into lives lived and altered by place, time, space, lines.
That, now, years and years from that first class my student offers up a painting and my friend writes a poem in reply. They’ve never met, but star-story and my knowing of them both, makes another pattern in our collective night sky. That the first graduate student I have ever directed chose to call her project Not Written in Stars. It is poetry constellating words across a wall, watercolor, homemade book and chalkboard sky canvases, a series of skies with faint points of white making again, words. It is a planetarium: painstakingly punched points of light. Of course, my starry-eyed friend had to fly out to see it. The words and the stars: they multiply.
And the ones that have come, gone, even better, those who stayed, signed on, jiggered themselves a place within these walls and walks and walkabouts and words.
That we are gathering what stardust we can, what words, both plucked from the marrow of our heaven-made bones. That we are heaven-skeptical, save for real skies with real stars in them. Or real gardens with points of light that can be strung together for real toads. But one of us is here to celebrated that the other has kissed enough of those. We’ve been poeming this out from the day that we met. Star-written, star-crossed, crossing stars off our life-in-lights list. We know that what makes a thing make sense is only proximity and context. We grow nearer in order to keep the light arriving no matter how far into the darkness we move away.
And what we’ve found for ourselves, together, away. And the patterns and paths that keep us near, even when far is how the day falls. And the knowledge of the ever-present shock and following sadness kept off the horizon, lurking. And the luck in those days overflowing with more bliss than sighs. And the sureness of having a cheering section just for you, each planet, each satellite in two orbits.