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LIVING MY GAP YEAR

Filtering by Category: Poetry

Quitting

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Body

I wear myself like a 

jacket, big and baggy. 

And when I curl 

up in bed

my belly touches my

thighs.


Looking Forward

To 

the swooping

dizzying

potential for eating a 

bowl of yogurt 

in the afternoon

less than three hours 

before dinner. Once

I quit modeling.


Last Hotel Night of My Career

One night in a hotel

room, in an

uncharacteristic rush to

swallow my chocolate,

I ate some tinfoil 

wrapping,

and felt it all the

night long, that last

last

night in a hotel room.

IMG_3832.JPG

Modeling

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Modeling:

How many cities have

I arrived in bleary-eyed, wearing

my neck pillow like a fedora (askew),

to only ever know

from the inside of a room?

On the move I miss entirely September in Paris when

everything looks sounds smells feels so full

it might burst open

and dribble.

Departure

I collect beds and windows

and empty mugs and the

forest of little spoons in the drainboard

from breakfast.

It’s so hard to leave

it’s so easy to love

the ways things look

when we leave them.

Coming Home

Nicolai seemed

to be maturing today. 

A bit more grown up,

didn’t he strike you

that way?

Bus

A little honey on a tissue 

is my bookmark

at the last page of 

an essay by Joan Didion.

I like being on the bus

dazed and drowsy

chocolate mouthed

in the silence and the sunlight.

For a second 

I thought I only brought one 

high heel

for my casting

But I was mistaken.

Three more towns to go.

Parrots, Chile

Zuzu Tadeushuk

This is a poem from a month ago, when I was down in Santiago, Chile. What I was quite amazed by was the fact that there were tons of generous, ripe fruit trees producing lemons, oranges, pomegranates etc, even though it is for them the dead of winter. And what fruit! Ah if only I could say the same of my own yard...

~ ~ ~

There’s a hummingbird outside

my window in the 

rose tree which is next to 

the orange tree

which is full of ripe oranges.

There is no need to whittle

away this reality.

I think I’ll take it fully conscious, fully

with my self. 

~ ~

Walking home with a bag

of eggs a dog barked

from behind a wall

and then all of a sudden

I had gilded boots

on the sidewalk

and no eggs.

~ ~

There are three parrots in the pomegranate 

tree in the neighbor’s 

yard, the neighbor with the many chimneys,

next to our yard with its bumpy orange bower and annoying cat.

Three parrots like lima beans or livers

in pomegranates oranged with morning sun.

Or could they be peaches?

Too far to tell.

Why to Write

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Because there’s nothing better to do. 

Because my head is a horse

and if it comes to an abrupt stop

it overheats, can die.

Words are sponges, blue and holey, 

neat swiveled foams

that mop a brain cool

and when they’re done they have 

its heat, its juice, its steam and shit,

and they heap

wetly

on tables and shelves—

so many swabs of thought

in some Lab for the study of Growing Up.

Someday, maybe, they’ll be examined. 

Someday, perhaps, explained.

Leaving Santiago

Zuzu Tadeushuk

In a snuck-up rush and 

with a pitted heart I

scurried out the house, and left

them an I ❤️ NY chocolate bar

and a clogged toilet. 

Shit.

~ ~

I forgot to pick an orange!

I forgot to pick an orange on my

way out of the gate

as I left Chile for Chestnut Ridge.

Cha cha ch—

cha Chestnut

cha Chile

and no naranja for my crossing. 

~ ~

 

Solo travel,

lull lull

Lista, we are all long lista

to go go go to our seats-

14F.  F by the window, F over the wing,

F, eff,

eff you, F this back ache and long wait.

Something new: bring me something new, 

lots of people to know and something to do. 

Solo travel, lull lull lull. 

~ ~ 

An Argentinian boy next to me on the plane is wearing a designer hoodie, oversize baseball cap, intentionally shredded black jeans. He looks about 11 years old. He looks sort of Coptic, as in the coptic Egyptian mummy portraits in gallery 138 of the Met. He has large round deep dull eyes and stares indifferently ahead. The plane begins to taxi to take off and in a flash he, too, whirrs into motion— and crosses himself.

~ ~

Boringness, there is so much boringness

before me: hours and hours

(sixteen of them to be precise)

of burst-bubble blandness. What

will go by in this head?

~ ~

What will I do, the boy next to me fell asleep now and no longer prays for us. I am idle, all idleness and a spoon. Stir me around! Dip me in the divine, for I want to pray too! I want so bad to be part of a tradition and to believe, but I always feel an imposter, a pretender, genuflecting for a genie of my chilly silly child head. Try to sleep now.

~ ~

We are high enough now to see 

the clouds like a sea,

and I see

them roll against the Andes in rumpled waves,

white and spumy and

spilled on by cool twilight light. Not golden,

but blue. Silver,

silver like swells on the sea. 

~ ~

And now the boredom comes, and

the blandness sets in, and

I bake, I bubble, I break.

View above the Andes

Home From Fashion Week

Zuzu Tadeushuk

There were two dead raccoons on

the road where I walk.

One was very fresh

hit last night, perhaps.

It terrified me

stepping over it. 

Scared that that eye 

might open and I’d have to do something about

a half life teetering on the brink,

and the shoulder of Rt. 45

for maybe many taut hours already.

Scared that 

that eye might twitch

and I’d fall flat in the road and be

run over too,

roadkilled on the way to coffee?

After all our petitioning there are still no sidewalks. 

 

~ ~

 

My nostrils trap 

the scent of coffee

as it slithers back across the glimpsed full-moon

bottom of the cup

that finds its place on a white saucer

after a sip.

I’m at a red terrace table

 And I am wearing

a creamy white sweater

like a blob

a burr

a cloud 

and my hair is how it is when I wake 

in the morning, in a poof,

and my face is round

and it is mine 

and my head is mine

and my hands are mine

and my knees are mine

and my shoes are mine- dear boots!-

on feet that are mine

and I am all just

feeling like me

once more.

And I am head to toe

quietness

and tranquil.

Watercolor and Gouache on Paper. Self Portrait, hydrating.

Cavewoman Sleeping

Zuzu Tadeushuk

11 pm is the hour of the poems

when something brilliant thumps

against my skull

a winged creature

passing by night

snagged in my cavewoman hair.

If I’m asleep, 

he escapes

with his freedom. 

If not

I pick him shred by shred

from off my head

and hope I can

recreate him.

Diet

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Cooking for a special new

stomach is a measure of protection

Like a best friend

who just got a haircut

looking a little new way

going a little away

and a brother already gone there

to the land of Indigo cooking

where I went and ate churros. 

Three places, one peace

piecing together the wonky

people we’ll become-

fathers and mothers

cooking someday for really

new stomachs 

in an indigo kitchen,

eardrums pressed to the dawn.

Nicolai left to Chile last week, and Sophia left to Switzerland after getting a haircut. I stay here and remember Madrid... Colored pencil on paper.

Today is One of the Thinking Days

Zuzu Tadeushuk

And I Thought of This...

On some days I'm a crystalline capitulation of myself 

And then even passing below a telephone wire is inspiring, an epiphany.

Other days, 

most days,

I'm just a wart of me 

Stagnating on the tip of a cosmic toe

Somewhere far from the blood stream of life.

Then I don't see the telephone wire,

I'm in a shoe. 

On Living Long

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Some days I want to live life for a century, or until I'm 112 years old. 

Others, only enough to know that I've seen it. 

Earth is a porcupine I hug, 

it prickles my tummy

and my arms.

13 Ways of Looking at an Airplane

Zuzu Tadeushuk

I am currently sitting on a plane suspended somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, headed from NY to Paris, again. Having returned home from Paris not even four days ago, this morning I was still figuring out what to post here about my homecoming when… I found out I was shipping off to Paris again this evening! So, rather than write about home, I will write about the next best thing— the thing that seems to have become my home in the past few months: an airplane. Well, no one can accuse me of being a couch potato in this year off of mine! (Although I probably qualify as an airplane potato and that can't be much better?)

Anyway, here are my current musings on aircraft residency, in a form spun off of Wallace Stevens’ Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird:

 

Thirteen Ways of Looking at an Airplane:

 

I.

29 times faster than steamship.

II.

I can maybe meet you tomorrow for coffee, but I won’t know until the morning. I might be getting on a plane instead..

III.

Portal to opportunity.

IV.

Portal to death.

V.

One earth, 

five layers of atmosphere, 

one orbiting moon, 

one constant shell of metal travel, teeming somewhere in the middle.

VI.

Maybe closer to heaven

VII.

But mostly feels like hell 

VIII.

French taxi drivers on strike surrounded Orly Oest and did not let my Uber through. This is why I left early, I remind myself. To find another path to my airplane.

IX.

It was night and it was day. Apollo inverted, I chased the sunrise across the globe, hungry for that thin band of gold

that flew

just a little faster

than I did.

X.

An old man with his dentures out has a row to himself in the Priority Cabin. He’s slowly leafing through his passport as if it were Crime and Punishment. Perhaps it is. His mouth’s a sunken cavern, like my grandma’s when I used to put her to bed.

XI.

Landing on a tiny strip on the island of Tortolla after a short and choppy ride, everyone clapped and I think I teared up. My first plane ride.

XII.

The number of contorted positions I’ve improvised in my aisle seat could get me a yoga-teaching certification. It couldn't get me to sleep, though.

XIII.

I rented a place among the stars for an evening. 

Between one of these settling-ins and the next, I was celestially unsettled, and I woke to a different shining.

A doze, a bad smell, a shudder, and we open eyes now on other lands.

This is Just to Say

Zuzu Tadeushuk

It is Christmas Day and we have just finished the gigantic Christmas dinner that my mom and I spent two days cooking. And right now I’m feeling that familiar post-party feeling, the aftermath-of-the-feast feeling... the food coma. You must know it: symptoms include a straining sensation in the abdomen like a helium balloon ready to burst, the desire to slice your stomach open and dribble away to a puddle of nothingness? Yes, that’s what I’m experiencing now…all summed up into this short little poem I wrote, a spin off of William Carlos Williams’ iconic This is Just to Say:

This Is Just To Say
BY WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

This is just to say

BY ME

I don’t think I’ll ever

touch food again

cause hunger is delicious

so sweet

and so cold

and nourishment is cloying.

Segments

Zuzu Tadeushuk

I. Me

My mind evolves in poetry

I feel it like a rhyme

That taps its toe within my breast

and hums to pass the time.

 

My mind at last is crystallizing 

It clears up day by day,

The fog of sleepy infant years

Rolls back its age-long stay.

 

II. This Day

And more beautiful and more beautiful

Is this day

than any in vibrant history 

Because it is here

and live right now

and not a grey-haired memory.

 

III. This Soul

I saw the glory of the sun

And my eye turned inward 

to my own blazing light...

How sugary are the souls we wear

When summoned to the judging.