Monday, October 31, 2016

POWER yoga (heated)

Now equipped with a Peppermint Patty I try to make sense of this mess.

I slept til 9:30 and pronounced that contrary to the plans we had made I would be spending the day in bed.

He was more understanding than I would have expected. So was I.

I laid there and I read the book for hours. Were it my copy that thing would be earmarked and penned to shit by now. But seeing as it belongs to the library the next town over I tried instead to commit the resonant bits to memory.

For most of those hours I felt like I was holding my breath.

If I let down my guard I might cry for years, and that would really interfere with the plans I have laid.

Still I am trying to let myself feel.

It is very hard, harder than I had thought, and I thought it would be hard.

It helps that Wilson stays with me, content to sleep through his breakfast hour in order to remain curled under the afghan between my shins. 

It helps to watch a movie in the middle of the day.

It helps to go to yoga.

It helps that he has quit drinking. Instead he buys me almond milk, Halloween candy, potato chips flavored like pumpkin pie. He retrieves my green socks from the bedroom and gently slides them on over my feet.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Thank you for curing me of my ridiculous obsession with love*

From the point of view of the obsessed, the best cure for obsession is possession.

I have felt anger and shame.

In truth the solution has proved a severing of options.

We woke up early and climbed the mountain.

At the top we could see other mountains. Many of them. We meditated for ten minutes (not eleven).

I cannot help you again I am sorry.

I am not always this selfish but I need to take care of myself, for a while.

I told him, I have worried that I made a mistake.

I told him, Sure, we can find a use for that ice.

Telling = a liberation. 

There are so many words I have not said.

I wonder if they would have changed anything.

I respect you too much to    .

He loves me much more than I thought.

I am learning to distinguish fantasy from my own life.

We are not melting. 

*Moulin Rouge

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Dialogue with an Artist" by Matthew Sweeney

the lonely

Incorporating the words of L.S. Lowry

I used to paint the sea, but never a shore,
and nobody was sailing on it. It wasn’t even
the sea, it was just my own loneliness.

It’s all there, you know. It’s all in the sea.
The battle is there, the inevitability of it all,
the purpose. When I switched to people

they were all lonely. Crowds are the
loneliest thing of all, I say. Every individual
in them is a stranger to everyone else.

I would stand for hours in one spot
and scores of little kids who hadn’t had
a wash for weeks would group round me.

Had I not been lonely, none of my work
would have happened. I should not have
done what I’ve done, or seen what I’ve seen.

There’s something grotesque in me and I
can’t help it. I’m drawn to others who are
like that. They’re very real people. It’s just

I’m attracted to sadness and there are some
very sad things. These people are ghostly
figures. They’re my mood, they’re myself.

Lately, I started a big self-portrait. I thought
I won’t want this thing, no one will, so
I went and turned it into a grotesque head.

memo to lowry

You’re right, there are grotesques who shine
a dark light that lures us like how the sirens
tried to lure Odysseus, and yes, maybe we
ourselves are among the grotesques, but
there are also the beautiful who, if we’re
lucky, save us from ourselves, and validate
the sun’s light, and maybe also the moon’s.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

from "Nothing is Far" by Robert Francis

Nothing is far that once was near.
Nothing is hid that once was clear.
Nothing was God that is not here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

The cat has learned how to open the closet door

Later, he brings me tea. He has boiled water on the stove and brewed the mixture that I make for myself any morning that the pot is already clean and I do not need to wash it by hand: half dandelion root, half twig tea. He wants me to know that he cares.

Here is what I think but will not say: I do not--cannot--drink twig tea at night. It contains caffeine, and if I drink it now I will not sleep. I am so sensitive.

After he showers he wants me to tell him that everything is okay. He needs to know where we stand.

The mug of tea sits on the bedside table beside me, growing cold.

I don't think there's anything I could say that would make you understand.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Everything was going so well, and then it wasn't

Everything was going so well, and then it wasn't.

We put on our coats and drove to dinner. We ordered iced tea instead of liquor and made nice conversation. The manager took a liking to us and we got two burgers for the price of one.

Afterward we returned to the apartment and I watered the mums on the front steps. Then, as often happens, I felt something.

As usual, this is where the trouble began.

I wanted him to understand but he did not.

I thought, please stop telling me how to feel. And then, please stop yelling. And then, can't you see that I am hurting and I need you to understand? I am scared. I need you to be tender toward me.

He is not a mind reader.

I, apparently, have a tendency to lash out when I'm upset.

I was not trying to lash out. I was just upset. 

There is a difference but I cannot make you see it.

At first I think, use your words, June.

But he is not interested in my words. He pounds the bed and demands I pay attention. I have hurt him and this will not stand. If he tells me I shouldn't worry, then why haven't I stopped worrying. To continue feeling when he has told me not to is an affront to his own comfort. I need to feel better because he has feelings that need tending. I have hurt him.

I put my hand over my eyes because I am trying to get away from this place where I am not understood and he doesn't want to.

Of course, this makes him madder. He is talking at my body, and I can hear him, but I am only two centimeters tall and I am quietly sneaking away through the contours of my mind. If I tread softly enough, and with my hand over my eyes, he won't even notice that I'm gone. Or he will--and he does--and this makes him angry. I slip out of my shoes and hold them by the laces with my fingers and I continue tip-toeing. He knows that I am gone but he does not know where. He does not know how small I am, how I am able to slip soft-footed through the contours of my brain, losing myself in a maze that he cannot see and he cannot follow. I know exactly where I am going. This path is well traveled, but I leave no marks behind. No telltale birdseed or beating hearts. I will come back, later, and I will say that everything is fine.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

breath and burning

Still. I am dancing on the rug in my parents' living room. I am remembering telling that joke and then tapping the marimba lumina while the crowd looked on and beside me he laughed and laughed. I am recalling haggling over donuts, talking to an introvert, padding through camp in my bare feet, peeing in the shower for the first time in my life, losing my claim to the longest road, hauling armloads of camp gear from the dusty lots to our tents on the hill, standing in the grass with the wind whipping around my thighs. I am remembering how powerful I am.

When I decided I was going to feel it all, I meant it.

In search of moose

I want to beg and plead but I will not.

My name is June I'm so sorry. My name is June I wanted to wait. I haven't told anyone but I've been in a very bad way.

I make lists:


When the song I liked even less than the other songs came on I stepped into the grass and looked up at the stars.

Friday, September 16, 2016


That scratch-off was a dud. I can't fucking believe it.

I am eating gluten-free crackers on the couch.

On my lap, Wilson is sleeping.

Do you like literature do you like words do you?

In his sweater and with his hair flopping across his eyes like that I was reminded of my dad.

We are trying to make it exactly like from the menu. I am in withdrawal. I read from the online description, trailing him in the grocery store. Coconut milk, broccoli, bamboo shoots, red bell pepper, carrots, onion, basil leaves, cauliflower.

When we get home, we realize we've forgotten the bamboo shoots.

I am hoping it will taste good anyway.

I am reading a story about a woman whose partner drowned while rescuing their three-year-old son from the ocean. When I say "reading," I mean the word loosely. I keep reading only the first few pages, up until the point when her child starts to slip under, knowing what's coming, and so sucking back, turning my eyes from the page, putting the book down and telling myself I'll come back to it--and when I do, I retreat again, like a wave apprehensively lapping at the edge of the shore.

I am really excited to look at the ocean with you.

We are listening to Stephen Malkmus. He puts the food on to cook. I steal a sip of his vodka and coke. It smells really, really good in here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"Dr. Gosch says secrets are unhealthy"*

I cannot stay off my bike. Already today I have gone for an hour-long walk and done an hour of vinyasa. Still I take to the paths at sunset. A few miles down the rural road I remember that biker who was chased by mountain lions not three weeks back. Nothing to do but keep pedaling home. On my way I pass two mule deer grazing in a horse pasture, one of them with the largest set of antlers I've ever seen.

Dear kestrel I am sorry that our worlds converged at the exact moment you were seizing a grasshopper in your talons for a late-night snack. My tire nearly collided with your small, brown body and in navigating out of a collision you sadly dropped your catch. I was so happy to see you but so sorry to have prolonged your hunt.

The grasshoppers are shedding their casings, or mating with caterpillars, or straddling slugs. Whatever the change, they look different as I approach them on the roadside; they are not so quick to hop away.

That man is poison I see him and I know it.

That cat couldn't decide what it wanted. It cried and cried for attention, then swung its neck away as I reached out to say hello.

I can relate. 

Discernment is.

We sure do have a lot of memories together. All those places we've lived and the fights we've had. All that choosing to keep going.

I haven't seen my friends in so long.  

In the land of organicville they make ketchup from agave. In the land of agave the bouncers make sexist comments while I stand beside them, waiting for them to stamp my hand.

I like my cheap wine with seltzer and frozen blueberries, please. I sure could use a back rub.

If what you see is beautiful then I too will try to see beautiful. Anything you can imagine I can imagine brighter.

I didn't even realize how tightly I'd clutched my hand to my chest. I am working hard to relax my fingers. Please know how hard I am working.

I am a brave person. I am proud of myself for being brave.

*from "We Are Called to Rise" by Laura McBride

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


It's the strangest thing. These days I'm not quite so repulsed by butterflies. Sometimes, I even catch myself thrilling to see them.

Meanwhile, I've covered a wall in the kitchen with Audobon renderings of no less than twelve different species of birds.

I wrote a joke

I wrote a joke I could tell it to you.

I woke up angry should I tell you why.

Do you even remember any more do you.

Secretly I have worried since before I made it that I was making a mistake. Now that I've made it I continue to worry. I wanted to wait, I promise. I have no excuses. It's just that I forgot that my life was my own for so long.

Now that I am remembering magic is afoot.

In yoga class last week I decided on a whim to try chaturanga without any modifications, even though I'd never been able to hold the pose in all my years of doing yoga. Would you believe it but I moved easily into the pose. My muscles held. Hell, they were barely taxed. And here I'd been doing the pose with my knees down for years. Who knows how long I've failed to use strength that I didn't know I had.

Since discovering my ability to do chaturanga I've been doing it every day. Not only that, but I can nearly do an arm balance with one leg propped up on my tricep and the other stretched out behind me. My teacher said that I already can do the pose; all that's left is for me to trust my strength and lean in.

On one more yoga related note, I noticed that my balance is much better when I'm standing elevated on a four-by-six block and have no choice but to fall down or stand firm in tree pose. This somewhat discredits my theory that I don't perform well under pressure.

Since I arrived back at the apartment this afternoon Wilson has velcroed himself to my side. When I left for my bike ride he tried to follow me out the door and when I returned an hour later he was sitting there waiting right where I'd left him. He twined around me while I stretched on the floor and then sat immediately outside the shower while I rinsed off. Now he is curled up against my thigh where I sit on the loveseat writing. Whenever I get up to move into the bedroom--no matter how late it is or how deeply he is sleeping--Wilson will get up and follow me onto the bed.

I seem to be in the habit of allowing into my life people who are unable or unwilling to be there with me when I ache. I have used this to confirm my own dark suspicions: that no one could possibly love me the whole way down. Or, at least, no one but myself and maybe Wilson and other non-human animals of all stripes. Perhaps, though, it's just one hell of a defense mechanism.

Additionally, I have a tendency not to tell anyone when, or how much, I am aching.

You said you wanted me to explode up out of the water, like a synchronized dancer propelled from beneath. I started in with some flutter kicks; I turned my face toward the sky and I stretched my arms upward and then you ducked under the water, grabbed onto my ankles, and pulled. When you resurfaced to see me blubbering, you couldn't deduce any explanation for why I appeared to be drowning--except, perhaps, that I simply wasn't as strong of a swimmer as I'd thought.

It's not great but it's a start.

There is a story behind this scar do you want me to tell it.

I made a mistake what can we do about it.

Do you even remember any more, do you. 

The first time I told it, I cracked myself up so hard that I cried.

<< alt header >>

Afterward, a heron flew overhead.

He couldn't remember my name so he called me beautiful. I was standing tall in a windy field with my dress whipping around my thighs and my hair streaked across my face and I thought yes, he's right. Then I reiterated my name.

Another time I was walking in a different dress and holding my sun hat onto my head with one hand--such a windy weekend! I was walking alone, thinking to myself, unconcerned with the human chaos and the blustering wind unfolding around me. In that moment I made eye contact with a stranger, and we smiled at each other--those big, beautiful, open smiles that are as rare as they are wonderful--and may I never forget it: wind, walking, being exactly within myself, and then glancing up into the smiling eyes of someone I do not and will never know but whom, for that one preserved moment, I knew to be the most beautiful person in the entire world.

For three nights this weekend I camped in a field with thousands of people and shared porta potties, water spigots, and music with the lot of them. What I learned, though, was not about them but about myself.

I should go ahead and feel it all.

I will not break.

Biking on Monday (warmup)

This valley is filled with the happiest dogs I've ever seen. Even the cats call to me from their driveways as I roll past and, if I pause and place my feet on the roadway, they eagerly trot out to rub their cheeks across my calves.

That black cow with its wide, Olympic-ringed nose.

This town has more biking and walking and running paths than anywhere I've ever been, and I'm grateful for it, I really am, I hope every town in the country follows in their footsteps. The trouble is that the paths are designed for mountain bikes, which (it is hardly an exaggeration to say) are the predominant form of transportation around here. Thus, thanks to mountain bikes' large and shock-absorbent tires, it is not a cause for concern for most bikers that there are myriad cracks in the pathways averaging one to two inches in width and approximately as many inches in depth. This wouldn't be troublesome in its own right, but the issue arises because I myself ride a road bike. I have learned quickly that those thin, spindly tires are not meant to roll over cracks approximating one to two inches wide and as many inches deep. It is hell on a woman's clitoris.

In contemplating the discomfort awaiting me every time I cycle these paths, I have noticed that most of the cracks, though they span the width of the entire pathway, are narrower and shallower in some sections than others. So I have taken to challenging myself. Whenever I reach the top of a hill, I peddle fast and furious until I'm bombing down the other side. Once I've picked up speed, the game is to see if I can respond quickly enough to visual cues to accurately line up the bike with the cracks of least resistance. I have become much more skilled at this challenge as I've developed an awareness for just how sensitive road bikes can be. On flat stretches I peddle hard to build up momentum, then shift my focus to squeezing first one side of my abs and then the other. With practice I am learning that I do my most effective steering when I unclench my hands from the handlebars and guide my progress from my core instead.

Monday, August 22, 2016

"The Strange Girl Asks Politely to Be Called Princess" by Kathryn Nuernberger

When the strange girl skips rope her hair flies
like a porpoise. She collects things that melt
and things that tick, circles and cubes
and checkerboards in a drawer
she can pull out from her navel.

Other children, alerted by the rumble
of marbles in her chest, chase her
across the field. She insists she is only
hungry, but they pin her down and open her
up. Cockroaches rush out and bullies run
and squeal, crushing carapaces underfoot.

She gathers as many as she can,
tells them she’s sorry there is no lock. She’s sorry,
but good children shouldn’t have secrets.

Friday, June 17, 2016

From "How to Be Perfect" by Ron Padgett

Know that the desire to be perfect is probably the veiled expression
of another desire—to be loved, perhaps, or not to die.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

eve of June

i have conquered windows, the affordable care act, and the local dry cleaners, so it's fair to say i can accomplish anything

whereas dogs are pack oriented, cats are territory oriented, that's what they say. which is why my heart swells when wilson leaps onto the bed and curls up on my chest at six in the morning, even here in this place that is not his home

as i listen to gone the bells i am reminded of helping you move out of that upstairs room in your group house in D.C., down to the basement where we had sex on the couch until your blood sugar got low and then we went up to the kitchen for some snacks

i am working to remember that this is my life.

i am working to remember that i am the One who loves. 

i am working to sing again. i am oiling the cutting boards and re-attaching words to my paintings. i am hosing down big plastic tubs in the grass before it rains. i will fill them with hiking boots and ski boots and rain boots and trail running shoes and the pair of snowshoes i bought for 50% off from the store that's going out of business, and then i will press the lid down firmly over the handles and slide the tub into my car and I will drive to Colorado

i am working to mind less that i sometimes go away from myself for so long. i am working to remember that this leaving is what allows me to experience the gratitude of returning.

every birthday to date I've felt older, but as i sit here 28 minutes away from this birthday i feel younger than i have in some time. not less mature, not less able, but more aware of the fact that i still have a lot of living to do. i have sent an email inquiring about membership in the local community garden.

i am becoming increasingly aware of who is a friend, and who is not. i am investing less and less in those who are not. not the removal of compassion, but the enactment of it. if we are not friends, then it is best for both of us if we avoid becoming too intertwined

he reads dry intellectual tomes and twists his mind around and around what it means to be king. i've been there. but lately i am less interested in nietzche and more interested in pulling weeds from the earth so that herbs and flowers and fruit trees and vegetables can grow. the question of whether or not it is necessary to pull the weeds in the first place is as deep as i feel inclined to go. after that i'll go for a run with music in my ears.

i have begun keeping a list of kindnesses. i will not live a life directed by fear and hate. even if no one remembers my name, i will dedicate myself to love in this world.

the forests require occasionally burning everything to the ground.

i am the One who loves.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"Quiet Grass, Green Stone" by Dean Young

I love when out of nowhere

I love when out of nowhere
my cat jumps on me
and my body isn’t even surprised.

Me who wants to be surprised by everything

like a dandelion

like a bottle cap

cricket cricket.

I keep waiting for the god under the anthill to speak up.
I keep waiting for the part of the myth
where everyone turns into a different bird
or the reeds start talking
or horses come out of the ocean
in their parliamentary regalia
and cities grow from their hoofprints.
I keep waiting for the bugle
and the jackal-headed god to weigh my heart across the river.

All this daylight in just a few moments
pours itself into darkness. More and more
I’m satisfied with partial explanations
like a fly with one wing, walking.

"Famous" by Naomi Shihab Nye


The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth   
before anybody said so.   

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds   
watching him from the birdhouse.   

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.   

The idea you carry close to your bosom   
is famous to your bosom.   

The boot is famous to the earth,   
more famous than the dress shoe,   
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it   
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.   

I want to be famous to shuffling men   
who smile while crossing streets,   
sticky children in grocery lines,   
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,   
but because it never forgot what it could do.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The mind I love must still have wild places, a tangled orchard where the dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little woods, the chance of a snake or two (real snakes), a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depth of—and paths threaded with those little flowers planted by the mind.

    - Katherine Mansfield

Friday, March 4, 2016


calamitous felines counsel nefarious matchsticks
in the darkness of night the police notices are far less visible
the couch smells not like me but like my friends
the cat sleeps on the comforter in the closet

Fuck. there I said it. suddenly I remember climbing to the top of the castle in that New York City park

I made a giant vat of chili and we ate some of it.

The rest I've ladled into jars.
I will put them in the fridge and we will eat the leftovers over the course of the next few days.

Thank goodness for my poems.

I might have forgotten that I love you.

I did not pour myself vodka at 10 o'clock this morning, even though I wanted to, and on days like today I will consider this a victory.

Don't assume that you know what I'm talking about. 

How lucky I am, how amazing it is, to be friends with people who also remember my first grade.

I will tell you a secret I have seen a lot of frogs at the base of the first hill near the lesser-known trail head for Trout Run. They leap into the water and hide under the tree roots as I pass.

I will tell you another secret I have been in love with you for so long.

I will tell you another secret I care very much for his feelings.

The wounds in the corners of my mouth are healing more and more every day.

On the mornings that I remember to write in my journal I also try to remember to write
I am living the life of my dreams

We've lived a lot of places.

Let's keep the adventure going.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Story Notes: running on Thursday

yellow jackets

woman removing the balloon from the cemetery

robins in the holly tree

Hiking solo

Lost Dog
It is in my nature to be extremely conscious of my surroundings everywhere that I go, which is why I was so startled when the black dog with the red collar appeared beside me in the trees and then darted in front of me on the trail at breakneck speed. I was surprised that I didn't hear it running up on me from behind, but there it was, inches from my right thigh, and then in front of my feet on the steep, rocky incline, and then out of sight again as quickly as it had first appeared.

Spray Paint
There's a special place in hell for people who spraypaint their names on large rocks in the woods.

As I sat on the large rock overlooking the river I was feeling very sad and alone. I had fallen, hard, on the slippery trail an hour earlier, and in the minute that it took me to assess my injuries and pull air back into my lungs I teared up a little, because I had thought I would be there on that trail with someone else, and instead I was splayed bruised and muddy on the side of a steep forest hill, alone. In other words, I was not having a very good day. Come to think of it, this year has really gotten off to a lousy start, and most of last year sucked too. So it was the collective weight of a bad day and a shitty year that contributed to my sitting on the large rock overlooking the river, feeling very sad and alone. Then a bald eagle flew by me, right past the rock at the same level as my body, and I reached out my hand as if to stroke its feathers, and I started smiling and crying at the same time, only this time it wasn't so much that I was sad as it was that I remain grateful.