On a day where meat is consumed on giant porcelain platters and we make wishes from their bones, I awake to a wild turkey outside the window of my dad’s house. It gobbles out, good morning, as I wonder if it knows my inclination to all forms of meat (excluding lamb and veal).
As a child, this holiday called Thanksgiving filled our house. Our is defined as the family that lived there that is no longer (sister, two parents, and the extension of family and genetic entanglement). The door bell rang more than it would all year and my mother would dust off the fancy dishes that were kept hidden during the remaining parts of the year. She would spend all day cooking and the food would be gobbled up in twenty minutes. Then, clean up and preparation for part two: dessert.
As an adult, my Thanksgivings have been with shared with past lover’s families, in homes I’ve called my own with those without nearby family, and most recently with my father and his new (and wonderful) extension of loved ones. Thanksgiving is about culture. Praying for the insatiability we take part in that does not exactly mirror the rest of the year. We fill our plates with various starches and meats (for me: turkey, sui mei, duck, and chicken). There is laughter and shared stories, and in my case, Chinese opera.
We explore the veins of gratitude erupting inside us. The rest of the year, we feel it, but often forget to announce it.
What am I grateful for?
When I was a child, my dad and I used to listen to old time radio shows and we’d stare at that radio as though it projected images rather than just sounds. I am grateful for his insistence on working out my imagination. Playing with the thoughts in my mind as toys. We made up stories together out loud when I was young; now, we read each others on paper or in books.
There are some days I want to put my body on this list: it remains even after throwing bricks at it, even after my attempts at drowning it. I don’t know how this mass of weight and bones and blood and bruises continues to flourish and breathe, but I am grateful for its resilience. Health (without the insurance). The ability to move and stretch and use my scars as lines to write on to replace the mourn and haunt.
Poems and black ink pilot pens and blank paper that glows once it fills with words.
The poets I’ve met just this past year. The ones who storm stages or just whisper their language into me. The ones who break their silences.
I am grateful for the home I call Brooklyn. The world outside my window, which I bike toward and walk inside. I am grateful to those who throw their garbage away, rather than swatting the ground with it. The graffiti that forces me to learn another language. The bravery of those stormed out of their homes and lives from recent hurricane. The kindness of volunteers–humans who understand the power of giving without getting.
I am grateful for my dreams, which through proper watering, grows skin and cells. I am grateful for the ability to manifest what I desire.
Authors I have learned about through the beautiful minds and recommendations of others this year: Ariel Gore, Marisa Matarazzo, Joey Comeau, Lidia Yuknavitch, John Vaillant, Melissa Febos, Sheila McClear, Eli Clare, Vera Pavlova, and others.
Electricity and hot water.
My mentor. My muse. My mind.
Thanksgiving day of gratitude. Happy realization that thanks may be given everyday, not just the ones announced on calendars.