would it be weird if i told you i wanted to make-out with your dad?

13 Jun

bad coco! i TOTALLY planned to write a whole bunch last week. however, after seeing an AMAZEBALLS job posting for a professional blogger-person, I decided to focus on the business end of things (which, interestingly, is also my favorite slang phrase for my a$$). so i ended up spending most of the week exploring whether i could actually make a living off writing about VERY IMPORTANT things like falling down a lot and/or posting pictures of my cat. thankfully i have some awesome-sauce friends in the social media biz who spent their evenings teaching me about things like creative portfolios (i asked, “can i do a modeling portfolio instead? i give amazing tyra eyes and i can totally photoshop myself into a size zero”) and google analytics (eww, numbers. gross.) and hootsuite (the only way i remember this site is that it rhymes with my favorite frenchy word, “toute suite“…toute suite! just saying it makes me feel tres chic.) and virality (bad when it comes to herpes, good when you’re talking about facebook). i even signed up for twitter (and have an awe-inspiring SIX TWEETS to my name! holla!!). needless to say, it was an exciting and scary and overwhelming week! thankfully, all of the aforementioned meetings included an abundance of adult beverages and swearing.

and then there were the pep talks. as evidenced by this and this and this, i’ve been a big ole negative nelly cum scaredy cat of late. and yet my friends still somehow put up with me. they buy me martinis and margaritas and tell me it’s gonna be okay. and one even reminded me of this very important fact:

and then there’s been mimi. mimi—who i might add is a mother to 4-year old twins and acts and blogs and has a job and a husband and a grown up house–is kinda a busy woman. yet she is always there to talk coco off the ledge with grace and humor and insight. two weeks ago when i was at potentially the darkest hour of questioning my career and value and talent and general existence (how camus-riffic of me!), she told me a beautiful story.

mimi grew up in a loving home in new jersey (yay, bon jovi!). her family has provided her with life-long inspiration and support that she taps into to this day. yet, mimi and her dad, joe, have always shared an extra-special connection. a prolific writer, joe spent every free moment writing poetry. he wrote about so many things. the mundane and the remarkable. nature and family. joy and peace. he believed in the underdog and fought for the broken and battered and obscure and powerless through his words. a friend wrote about his poems, “joe was a gentle enemy of self importance, vanity and worldly success in most of its forms. he liked failure, the idea of it…his poems sing the joys of being laid off, the pleasure of sick days, the happiness of wring in an empty house.”

joe passed away at the ridiculously-young age of 49. when he departed this world, he left behind hundreds of pages of poems and haikus and even a manuscript written under a pseudonym on and around his basement desk. he never saw this work published during his time on this earth, but through the devotion of his family and friends, they published a beautiful book of selected poems a few years after his passing.

when i was telling mimi that i was more than petrified to jump the public health ship that i’ve been sailing on for 11 years to become a “real writer of nonsense”, she told me that she believed in me. when i questioned my talent and capability and my mental health for even considering becoming a writer, she told me that i could do it. and when i continued being a naysayer, she told me this.

“my dad would have given anything to be unemployed and write all day. that was his real dream. you are living his dream! if you don’t do this for yourself, do it for him”.

well, wasn’t that an effective way to shut me up?! bring up the whole “deceased dad” thing! but, seriously, these words have stuck with me. they’ve been echoing in my head and my heart since that day. and when i opened up my mailbox today, i found a package containing this:

yup, that sweet dear woman sent me a copy of her dad’s book of poems. let’s just say i was glad i wasn’t wearing mascara at the time.

and since i opened up that envelope, i can’t put that damn book down. poem after poem, i’m simply in awe of the guy. boy, does this guy know his way around a poem! so much so, i fear that if he was here today, i’d prolly want to make out with him (sorry mimi and mimi’s mom…but he’s just that good!)

so as i get back to my poetry, i’d like you to leave you with the one that makes me smile most:

Poetry Is the Art of Not Succeeding

by Joe Salerno

Poetry is the art of not succeeding;
the art of making a little ritual
out of your own bad luck, lighting a little fire
made of leaves, reciting a prayer
in the ordinary work.

It’s the art of those who didn’t make it
after all; who were lucky enough to be
left behind, while the winners ran on ahead
to wherever it is winners
go running to.

O blessed rainy day, glorious
as a paper bag. The kingdom of poetry
is like this — quiet, anonymous,
a dab of sunlight on the back of your hand,
a view out the window just before dusk.

It’s an art more shadow than statue,
and has something to do with your dreams
running out — a bare branch darkening
on a winter sky, the week-old snow
frozen into something hard.

It’s an art as simple as drinking water
from a tin cup; of loving that moment
at the end of autumn, say, when the air
holds no more promises, and the days are short
and likely to be gray.

A bland light is best to see it in.
Middle age brings it to flower.
And there, just when you’re feeling your weakest,
it floods you completely,
leaving you weeping as you drive your car


for everyone who’s been awesome….my thanks and love to you all.

8 Responses to “would it be weird if i told you i wanted to make-out with your dad?”

  1. dsa June 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Really really amazing. And she’s right – don’t let us down!!

    • Nancy Dubuque June 13, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      ok Colleen i am going to put you to a real test. Make your Aunt Nancy looks like she wears a size 2. Another good job.

      • coco June 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

        you do NOT need photoshop, aunt nancy….you are gorgeous as-is!

    • coco June 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

      wow! thank you, dsa! and i’ll try my darnedest not to let y’all down! pink swear. 🙂

  2. Jamie LeBlanc Ellender June 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Awww so damn sweet!! Great words and wisdom. I adore poetry and write poems when I have the chance. It’s just too cathartic.

    • coco June 14, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

      oooh how wonderful! do you ever post your poems? you should! i have written exactly one poem in my life, but do believe i would be awesome at dirty limericks!

      • Jamie LeBlanc Ellender June 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

        Lol! Sorry, I just noticed that you responded! I wouldn’t even know where to post my poetry. I love reading your blogs. Im in a really rough spot right now so I appreciate good words.

      • coco June 19, 2012 at 11:27 am #

        awww, chin up! i started blogging on a fluke when i was in a dead-end job and ending a 10-year relationship…who would have thought many years later i’d still be at it. i say open up a wordpress and get those lovely poems out there! it’s the best therapy ever. xo

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