Wednesday, April 30, 2014

and maybe he is

here's the thing Dr. Phil thinks he is really helping people, or maybe he thinks that, and maybe he is. in that case good on you, Dr. Phil, helping people and whatnot.

at the gym the woman in front of me walking on a treadmill is watching the Queen Latifah show. a young woman is called up to face the audience. she is asked a question-- is the answer "la" or "lala"? i can't tell which she says but i guess she answers correctly because an unidentified brown hand reaches into the screen to hand her an air-sealed jar of ground coffee and the entire audience laughs. the young woman is laughing too she has brown hair she looks nice i wonder if she is really happy, standing there with her new jar of coffee?

i miss traveling, irish accents, days spent walking the riverbank, reading seamus heaney in his homeland, that horse following me the length of the fenceline, stumbling across abandoned castles and homesteads of famous poets. i chronicled my life in ireland on this blog and now i can't remember my login information-- i read the blog as if it belongs to another person, at this point i guess it does.

i wish there were a way to know if i was happier in the past or if i only remember myself as being happier because of neurobiology and the intricate and indefinite number of factors affecting memory. i mean i know i was a lot of sadness too, really a lot of it, but i was feeling, all the time feeling, and goddamn if that doesn't bring with it a constant undercurrent of agonizing, ecstatic joy. i see from the past three weeks (and too many times more than that) how relentless scheduling destroys feeling. i would rather live out of my car than stop feeling ever again; really i've been very happy living out of cars in the past; i wonder how much that air stream would cost me.

what i do know for sure is that i miss wandering, alone and with another person or people who really get the value of wandering. do you remember your fingers up my skirt late night on that bridge in Cordoba, later in that hostel bed, moaning i have missed this needed this your skin so warm. we wandered the streets of Madrid i stepped outside that famous deli walked to you sitting on that streetpost pressed my stomach to your forehead pushed fingers through your brazilian curls. i learned from you that love is real even when it is temporary, even though we will never speak again and i don't need or even want to. sigue buscandome. 

speaking of love i miss you that bridge that creek have i told you how grateful i am to you for letting me sit on that rock alone and smiling the dog padding along behind us? i guess what i am saying is that yes, i feel like it does.

there is more to say but i am struggling to write well. i am so tired. if you need me i will be listening to the tallest man on earth playing his tiny desk concert for npr.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Whatever you do, do not let anyone convince you that eating stewed olives is a good idea. They are disgusting.

I forgot to buy nutritional yeast at the natural foods store. Now it is closed and who knows when I'll have time to stop by again, what with all the gardening I have to do. We built a fence and tilled the soil (not all of it yet because it is hard, slow going, but the last of it in good time) and planted heirloom seeds and starters: red russian and lacinato kales, broccoli, deep red and golden beets, atomic red carrots, amish deer tongue and purple lettuces, apple mint, lavender. The tomatoes, peppers, melons, and cucumbers we'll plant after the last frost. I haven't been this happy in some time.

We hauled buckets of water from the fieldhouse (drink up, little ones), then I ran home from the gardens-- easy, bright, sunshine and flowers and birds whistling at me and dogs so glad to be outside. I know the feeling, friends. That was one hell of a long winter.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

this is how I worship God

Take to the trails, ankles bared to sunshine
legs moving first stiff then swift beneath me,
eyes up swallowing boughs laden with buds with light-bright blossoms / Leap
from root to rock to wet dark soil smiling at dogs, the occasional hiker, my own maneuverings breath/lungs/body/mind waking
up /        keep running bleary eyes 
down the yellow-flowered paths by the clean-green creek darting bluebirds up the hills covered in light, grass / look how brilliantly it's shining.
For some time I have not been religious but God
If this isn't glory, if this isn't triumph, if this isn't goodness / infinitely coming

Saturday, April 19, 2014

my favorite octopus story

I'm a little drunk I'll probably get drunker the night isn't done the night isn't done I want to be loud I yell through headphones and microphones no I will not quiet down

 Everything feels hard I don't mean emotionally I mean this couch (why am I on the couch?) this floor this rug beneath me these knots in my shoulders those lips the lines of the stairwell everything geometric you can't escape it you think I'm crazy

My parents buy me dinner followed by basil lime sorbet there are fresh basil leaves in it I taste the basil it is good I like basil I buy it fresh at the market from my favorite farmer her name is Mary but still I throw most of the sorbet away I am sorry, gods of recycling but really I am not a huge fan of sorbet even when there is fresh basil in it even when I like basil which I really do. That's why I ordered the kiddie scoop.

The twelve-year-old drummer pounded, pounded, the teenage guitarist singing not good not great but okay and what matters is that he was singing, asshole, don't judge a teenage guitarist until you have tried to sing-- anyway he was good he was great because he was twelve because he was playing but he wasn't as good as my dad, Dad please eat something more than that egg-and-cheese sandwich I love you there is still poetry in you and music, such rhythm coming out of you, these decades later remember when you were my best friend when we meditated on the family room rug then drove to your Big Band practice through the college creek splashing water up past the windows me with one hand out the window eating shredded flakes of coconut?

He boils eggs we will paint them we will paint them with colors swirling yellow and blue and pink and purple do you know how many colors we can make? the cat sits by my feet on the couch. I love couches love lying down on rugs on my stomach on my back big fat headphones on listening to music take me carry me away carry me home carry me anywhere I trust you to kill me 

How many tattoos have I imagined will I ever set ink to flesh? Okay I'll end the suspense my spirit animal is a heron this is the real fucking deal I see them every time my soul feels heavy they wade-soar-plunge their beaks into shallow waters balancing effervescent on floating logs in the lake lifting me up, up, up--

"Don't let anyone laugh you out of something you think may be true"*

and for how many years now, despite my busyness, my overwork, my heart stretched in infinite directions my climbing of mountains pounding of pavements and sweaty gym floors, still my something staying there with you with used record stores that rock that pond that creek that sandbox our bare feet in it that water fountain in the little green park

On another subject how did Kerouac die on another subject I say Listen bud let me set you straight I say make a flower euphemism. Is there anything more meaningful in this life than flowers. I mean come the fuck on, have you ever considered the lilies?

*Dr. Jane Goodall, April 18, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

when will i be free saes the cilde to the stag
and the stag saes thu will nefer be free
then when will angland be free
angland will nefer be free
then what can be done
naht can be done
then how moste i lif
thu moste be triewe that is all there is
be triewe
be triewe

(at least I only spent twelve dollars)

well shit the plants didn't make it. shriveled and black they dissolve into dirt grim reaper incarnate at least
i only spent twelve dollars
at least
alyssum is still alive

the parentheticals are back fuck it i'm a gemini do you believe in astrology in ghosts in eternity? do you believe in small wooden boxes stuffed with paperclips post-it notes staples a pencil sharpener older than my body's cells i'm a regeneration motherfucker do you?

thank you for speaking tonight i am proud of you and also myself. i am grateful to the small black hairs sprouting from my calves. tomorrow i may shave them but for tonight they are my only companions, i awake and the cat on the couch sleeping. my socks do not match.

well this is the end of the line for the time being it's time to brush my teeth wash my face (how often have i confused colloquialisms) lay my body down. if i should die before i wake i will not tyrannize the minds of children if i should become a ghost i will slip misty into people's minds i will whisper love what you love, listen to music, and sing, and singing, and sing

take back the night

For Staceyann Chin

please excuse me i am prone
to bouts of dissociation please
excuse me i am remembering
how to sing how
(she reminds me) it's all
it's all
our business,
his hands in
my sweatpants
my underwear, first friends then
nobody watching
we light fire
from bricks from
brown pine needles
curling from a cabin chimney

dark-driving lost and me
the only one who could read a map i trace
contours and projections slide
fingers drown out
the old man's knocking/blankets burning/one of us screamed

but come
here beside me
fingers grasping mouth
to lips finally
too late 
dead in the room
at your parents' house
and our friend watching
and me wishing i'd never wished
to be touched

how many years later
do you think of me?
do you know how i've worked
to kiss hug fuck love
me love
him love 
do you know
how i've cowered
you were not the last to hit me
how i've torn myself trying
to tear you out
my underwear
my sweatpants
my memories
cabins and nighttime
and the morning after
by the riverbank
you picked me flowers

fuck your flowers
this is your legacy
you forget while i tried
to starve
you out of me
to carve
you out of me
with pocketknives and paperclips
all to show
for it: thin white scars

But MY scars.
I rub-hit-starve
my body I reclaim
every inch of me every
means of touching me
I finger-bruise-slice not out but
over you
obliterate your marks so they are
MY marks so I
(see how I am standing)
woman made

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


cat head-butts me awake sliding his face underneath my hands (here human, like this) crawling over my stomach (purring) love me, love me. brush my teeth eat breakfast in the kitchen then listen to music he climbs into my arms i sway side to side while he pushes his head to my chin and purrs. every morning who knew a cat could so love to dance.

in my dreams brown delicate bats slip through a wet-dark tunnel in the maple tree and my mother asks me for gardening advice. something else happened but i do not remember.

dear alyssum bought from the smiling duck-raising woman at market and planted in sunshine two weeks ago i know it is cold now please don't quit on me. "For the world is not painted or adorned, but is from the beginning beautiful; and God has not made some beautiful things, but Beauty is the creator of the universe."*

my stomach has been hurting again i have not been hungry but i eat anyway, deliberately, because it is important, listening to music standing cold in the kitchen.

on the chair cat chases his confounded tail puffed up hissing claws bared faster one day-- you watch-- he's going to catch it.

*thanks, Ralph

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What I will say if anyone ever accuses my writing of being self-indulgent

Yes, it is.

it's night that's unbearable, almost

it's night that's unbearable, almost, what to do with my hands my mind swirling, rain falls loud soothing on rotting shingles thin panes of glass. a kid i'd lie in bed listening to thunder too excited to sleep, run to the window breath/hand prints on glass, look, look. in the morning disheveled hair wild eyes pulling on rubber boots step out to meet it stomp the gutters, float leaf-boats, play i got older sat on the wooden porch bench covered but inhaling, tickling my fingers out past the edge. or stood walked to the driveway eyes lifting up to the sky smiling arms spread wide hair getting wet. if my car weren't sick i'd get up and drive (over the bridge under the rain canopy still-silent sanctuary filtering wet black leaves).

sorry Ezra.

i started singing again today, feels good oh yes why did i stop do it again, again, again! s/he rolls their eyes. okay how's this the cat watches a documentary about the history of bubblegum and i cross my legs.

i don't know what to say next only that i bought candy at the gas station it was as i expected full of sugar and food coloring but it's important, i think, not to be too good. i remember i covered the walls of the bedroom in my parents' house, women bearing swords, leather sandals, standing up on rollercoasters wind blowing up her skirt. i bought the wooden advertisement on the streets of berkeley her on a bike with a falcon lit up behind her me hoping for talismans to render me bold.

right now i don't feel it just constrained to this apartment covered in rain and wishing for movement for music loud singing wheels carrying me there.

today's walk count (raincoat edition)

wet feet, wet sidewalk, wet leaves. innumerable raindrops. cold flowers.

Monday, April 14, 2014

last night as i exited the grocery store

last night as i exited the grocery store someone passing by the cart-lines in front of me was redolent with weed. it was either the mom with her two young children yelling out for the truck-shaped cart or the loner guy with his long hair, black band t-shirt, and 24-pack of cokes, and i will not speculate.

when i lived in guatemala i accidentally told the owner of my school that he sexually excited me, when what i meant to say was that i was excited to climb up and into the old volcano. there was a lake there the fog rolled in that's a literal term now i have seen it. my host mother's nephew's name was alex we talked world politics in spanish as we climbed the uneven, handmade stairs back up and out of the mountain's insides, he was very kind.

i could hardly breathe the path was steep and me with only the one lung functioning, the other tender scarred and knotting around itself, squeezing. see now i run because i can and because i am the only reason i can, because the doctors told me i could never run again, could never breathe hard again, could never fly. i tear down the path underneath arching trees my breath comes fast heavy fuck, yes look at me now i am flying.

cat leaps onto the couch behind it startles me. we both had a good laugh, the school's owner and i, and he put his arm around me. there's a picture of the two of us somewhere i remember him mostly for his tango classes (i had never danced in public before i wore a long skirt small shoes and felt self-conscious but laughed anyway) and for his small low-to-the-ground pickup all of us riding in the bed weighing it down so the bottom nearly scraped the road on our way to a farewell dinner. i remember how lavish the restaurant was, or how it attempted to be, and i feel sad with some kind of nostalgia or something, how do you talk about the ways we try to convince ourselves we matter?

i think music is one of the greatest gifts we've been given, expression in general, herons, marshes, rivers, forests. did i tell you i have a new spirit animal?

i will eat the orange i will eat it with my fingers sticky and swirling scent up and out of the windows. the children playing in the park and the men playing basketball and the cat sleeping he is back to his favorite blanket on top of the couch. dear wilson you are very brave.

i suppose i want to see what happens even more than i want to be safe. do you remember DC back pressed to the wall men whispering one after the other i said thank you why don't you give me your number so you will never call me. i came here to dance can't you see my boots and the way i swing my arms swirl my hips stomp my boots around the floor? still i loved them, the three of them, maybe more, god you were there too, how do any of us make choices we stood by the pond full of huge golden fish you kissed me you weren't supposed to i think that is a limiting term. i do not want to live like this, erecting new barriers each year, each month, this is right this isn't count 'em how many points out of 10? i will eat the orange i will eat it with my fingers sticky and swirling scent up and out of the windows.

today's walk count

two bumblebees. one exposed patch of brick in the shape of South America. multiple ants on the sidewalk. a cluster of yellow poles. two boys picking dandelions. several dried and fallen leaves.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

rain poem

you too.

fuck the parentheticals i'm done. there is the post's title like it or you don't. i think the doctors were right about my propensity toward low blood sugar.

it was pounding rain the rabbit sat at the base of the holly tree nibbling grasses getting wet.

today is warmer than a day has been in-- seven months? that it has been that long, and that the warmth still comes. if i had died this winter i would never have known

fry an egg put it on top of my oatmeal with cinnamon yes i know but you might like it.

the rain trees leaving hard.

cat lies on the cream-colored rug blissed out on 'nip. he stretches long, slow, and stays that way.

i am attempting to get back to a place within myself.

order oshinko rolls lie hot on the couch in pink-polka-dot boxers. when is the last time i wore my legs bare, outside of the shower or disheveled sheets. maybe one of these days i'll even shave my thighs.

i am at risk of saying a different name now. i call the cat something else.

i have grown scared of changing my life, but i want to.

today while walking i saw among other things three bumblebees, one sideview mirror adhered to its car with zebra-print duct tape, dogs playing together happy in the park, a blue house from top to bottom. also a sign saying "change before you have to". fuck off clothing proprietor don't tell me how to live my life.

still, you have a point.

dinosaur paws pad windowsills. the golf ball drops. how to tell if i am satisfied or settling. if it is a binary equation.

it was pounding rain you were sad we held hands stepped outside yes here yes do i help you feel happy?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

this is a poem using only a few of my favorite words

caterwauling parcheezis perseverate violins. gnomish copernicus babbles peripatetic rhizomatic stardust. cataclysmic promenades guffaw coalescent waystations.

arterial cornhuskers perambulate fistulas [on] insterstitial rocketships. Bogota. babble intersectional pantaloon mimesis.

fig. ecclesiastes. moon.

these are a few of my favorite words


Friday, April 11, 2014

(this is an exercise)

I drink water from a quart-size mason jar while the jello shots set in the fridge. Freeze-dried edamame equals the new candy cigarette. You can tell I'm an experimental writer because my sentences don't coalesce.

also, sometimes i don't use proper capitalization!

I dance in soft leggings and a button-down on the living room rug. Good 'ol rocky top. The cat lies on my hoodie unimpressed.

By all means coat my nuts with sugar it's not like anyone can appreciate authenticity these days. I wanted to eat a goddamn almond not a sugar bomb. It's just as well; I learn to my chagrin that nut butters provoke the immediate and unrelenting growth of a large zit on the left side of my chin.

Emily Dickinson I apologize. Amelia Earhart I hope you are still alive. CVS brand trail mix you can burn in hell.

This piece is an exercise in writing when I do want to write. This piece is an exercise in writing when I do not want to write. This piece is an exercise in self-flagellation. Remember when you used your you-know-whats as a whip?

They lined the walls of the bedroom my eyes wide I thought if this is being adventuresome there's not a lot to miss. I do not need the flick of leather use your fingers make me quiver.

Emily Dickinson you dog.

If I write fast and long and hard enough I can bust through these confines what's up motherfucker the house is leaves the house is leaves yes I am blackness hurtling toward no-meaning onmyway I type hurtness and then accidntly naturally I start thinking naturally I'm snapped back to being here blinking at bright lights when did those get here I'm a space traveler motherfucker. I was there and I know it. This is an exercise in writing when I do not want to write.

(in the future i will sit)

In the future
I will sit by the fat manatee
in her pink hat
on her iron wheels, smiling
and with nothing
but gravel and rapidly browning grass
beneath her prodigious shade. That's the kind of place
where you can step out of reality for a bit,
or out of what you thought was reality, and remember
there's more than one way
to live this life.

(It's official)

It's official: My neighbors can see me standing naked in the kitchen through the filmy drapes. I know because we made eye contact.

Tonight walking back from CVS and singing to myself I remembered that Clay Aiken exists, that he sang a song called "Invisible," and that at the time of its release it was wildly popular, at least among middle school girls. I sing what lyrics I can remember as the rain slaps my black umbrella, listen to the full thing on Youtube once I've walked through the door stripped of my shoes and my wet pants and standing pantsless in the kitchen this time, I think, my neighbors are not outside to see me.

The song is not very good.

I am not attempting to disrupt anyone's life. At the same time I am re-committing to living my own, and come what may, and whatever that means. I made a promise to myself in front of a man who sought to cut me down, like hay, they said, and as I stood before him my voice shook but it was the powerful kind of quaking and he stopped talking then and another man stopped stirring the tomato sauce on the stove long enough to listen. I suppose I had forgotten I ever said anything only now I can remember the sound of my voice and I can feel him pressing against me, later, thin leopard leotard sliding wet bodies through broken windows behind locked doors and rusted out fire escapes. We swung from the ceiling and drank like apes.

I switch the song seamlessly Heavy Things and Bugs and another lyric I can't get out of my head. I scrub the recyclables with hot water, swish it over and over again through beer bottles until it is brown and thick with the stench of fermentation and buzzing lips. Please help me to find a way out of this.

(stung, I think)

The cat perches hackles raised
stung, I think, by a mosquito, some
invisible insect, his own imagination leaping
from dreams to wake back thrashing
against the sofa golden fur spit
onto the carpet.

You were in my dreams
again, leaning in from above my
arms encircling your skin-bare waist,
my friend in the bed
beside us head cocked and smiling
and I passing nonchalance thinking
how much longer can we wait.

He hisses away my comforts
no touch, no holding, no hand
stroking his oily cheeks. We press together
in the morning kitchen I reach
for a water glass, grasp
your body pushing
mine tight to the fridge.

He sniffs the edges of the apartment not
quite trusting them to hold place.
I run miles in sunshine wondering
is this what it feels like to be awake?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Yes I fantasize. 

About him, mostly. 


When the time comes

I can't. 


When I picture his hands.