Monday, December 7, 2009

Hey now

I write this post from the El Paso Public Library. As many of you know, my plans of Bastyr have changed and I have been exploring other options for my education. One option is Maternidad La Luz in El Paso, Texas. MLL is a birthing clinic and midwifery school on the border which provides a very hands-on midwifery education ( I arrived in El Paso Friday morning. On Saturday I shadowed a student for a 24 hour shift at the clinic and was able to observe one birth and many prenatal/postpartum visits (a slow-moderate day at the clinic). It is a high volume clinic with many of the clients coming over from Juarez. Overall this place seems to be right in line with what I want to be doing...midwifery, public health, on the border, etc.
I also would like to inform you all that I was just recently accepted to apprentice a traditional midwife in Guatemala. The dates are not certain. I am waiting to hear back from my landlord about adjusting my lease from 1 year to 6 months. If this is possible I may be going in March and starting at MLL in September. OR, I may need to keep my lease which means Guatemala in September and MLL in March. I am OK with either but my eager excitement makes me cross my fingers about getting out there in March. Vamos a ver.
In other news, I will be returning to Seattle on Wednesday and continuing to work at the Madison Market and attend births with my doula clients through Open Arms. Thanks for tuning in and I'll let y'all know how things work out.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

With rustling leaves...

These days I have been taking long aimless walks around my neighborhood(s). The air has been cool and crispy. The sidewalks and streets are blanketed with brown and bright golden leaves. Countless times my senses have been exploding with pleasure and I have had to stop and just witness this. In a neighborhood park I rest my knees into the rustling autumn earth and reach my hands into its layers of dried leaves.

To translate the poem from the previous post...

The garden is full of dry leaves;
Never have I seen so many leaves in their green trees, in spring.
-Jose Juan Tablada

When I first read this poem I took it to speak to how one notices death much more than life. That, in fall, we mourn the death of the leaves' but we also mourn that life because we realize we had not fully acknowledged or celebrated it until its passing. However, as I read this poem on a morning like this, surrounded by abundance passing on; I can truly say that never have I felt such gratitude for death nor so much contentment with its falling.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hojas Secas

El jardin esta lleno de hojas secas;
nunca vi tantas hojas en sus arboles verdes, en primavera.
-Jose Juan Tablada

I came across this poem this summer in an old, stain book of "New Mexican Poetry" a friend found in a dumpster and gave to me. I liked the poem and wrote it into my journal. It has been returning to me incessantly ever since and probably for good reason. It plays in my head like a song one cant forget.

I will return and translate but I am using the computer at work and my break is over. soon come.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Done did it

I live here. For real. I am embarking on week two in my new home on the southeast end of the Emerald City and I am falling in love with this place all over again. I will try to find a way to share photos in the near future but until then I will do my best with words.
I live in an old building above an Ethiopian "spices and phone cards" store and a barber shop named, A Cut Above. The entrance to the building has a faded grey sign with the name Mohawk Apartments legible only to the keen observer.
Deep red carpet with golden mandala print lead to the stairs with broad wooden banisters heavy laden with many layers of paint. The stairway seems to always smell of incense and maple syrup shifting quickly to frying chicken as you enter the second floor hallway.
I live in a semi-unoccupied wing of the second floor next to the fire escape (my adopted balcony). I have a bright blue kitchen and four large windows that look out to a jungle. The first floor rooftop is outside of my windows and it has been converted to a tropical potted plant garden by an elderly Vietnamese woman named Linda.
The linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom is at least 35 years old and has the most pleasant yellow and orange designs. There is a large closet equipped with a "shoes rack". The shoes rack is a shelf the previous tenant left in the closet with such a description hand painted in cursive on the top shelf. The shower is walled with tiny blue square tiles and there is a big tub. The main room is spacious and I have acquired a few articles of found furniture and last week I made a cloth lantern for the ceiling light.
All in all I am happy to be here. I should be getting a job sometime soon at the Madison Market (the only true food co-op in Seattle). I will take the fall to get settled and start my prerequisites in the winter at the community college. In about a year and a half I should be all set to being the Naturopathic Doctor/Midwifery dual program at Bastyr.
Thanks for tuning in....more to come soon.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Doula Training

I returned to Seattle late Tuesday night and spent the last four days in a doula training intensive. Intense it very good ways. For those of you who do not know a doula (doo-la) is a labor support person for birthing mothers. For those of you who do know, I would like to one day become a midwife and doula-ing is sort of a first step in that direction.

Spending the last four days learning about birth and birth support has only reinforced this calling of mine. It has also made me wonder why I have taken two years to begin to pursue it and why I have plans in place that will put unnecessary turns and forks in this road.

What I am saying is that I know quite certainly what I am called to do in this world and I think I want to start doing it. So, I am looking for apartments in Seattle and thinking of settling here for a good while. I would like to follow through with my doula certification and begin to apprentice some very wise doula/midwives I have and have not met here. There are two organizations in particular I would like to explore being a part of: one is called Open Arms ( and the other is called Birth Attendants ( . These organizations provide free doula support to incarcerated women, teen moms and women who would otherwise birth alone. I also would like to begin to take classes to prepare me for a masters in midwifery.

These plans are still very new and, as always, subject to swaying and shifting. But it is a start in a new direction for me, perhaps. Just wanted to let you all know.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hey y'all

Olive and I will be leaving Seattle on Friday for California. We will be picking up our car and spending some time at the ocean and in the mountains of that fine state. Then we will head back to Seattle for a short while before the big trip.
If you are a friend along the way, we would like to come see you. If you are a friend in Seattle, we would like to sleep at your house for a few days. I will be taking a Birth Doula training course on Aug 19-22 and then I will be wading around town until Elizabeth gives birth (Sept. 8th). A night or two would do. We are comfortable with migrating from house to house for a few weeks. Let me know if you are interested.
So the big trip... After the birth we will head to Glacier National Park and visit Bethanna at the Park Cafe for a bit and then we will head east by way of the north. I am going to attempt to write diligently and keep y'all in the loop. I am also open to suggestions, recommendations and accommodations throughout our trip. When we get east we will go south and then west and eventually end up in Los Angeles a week or two before Christmas.
Stay tuned...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Oh Wonder

Return to me, oh Wonder
walk along the sides of my
slightly bulging hips and
slowly growing toenails.

Show me again why
this life is worthy of sunshine
and banana bread.
Fill my head with purple crocuses,
haul out the corpses of
winter's withered shurbs.

Call me into the water
Call me into you, oh Wonder.

Oh Wonder wash me in
the river of glass
water sharp and slashing
passing over
collarbone and ear lobe.

Oh Wonder my red warm
water deep purple crocus
Oh Wonder will the pain ever stop
if it never begins?

Come within me
part this red sea raging
with pent up potential
and casual creativity.

Crawl through my caverns
call me by my name,
oh Wonder,
won't you call me by my name?

musing with the trees

our children are born
we groan and are heard.
our children die and get sick
we moan and are silenced.

our dreams begin again
visions of everything wrong
our sense of shame and anger
dreams without sleeping.

i wonder if the trees know of this
cycle of good and terrible
this circle of bliss and misery
drawn on our bellies.

sometimes i swear i hear them weeping
when the wind cuts through thier branches
it sounds like loss or hurt
or contentment.

if only we could grow rings
and have something to show
for the pain of each years passing
then we too could be consoled by the breeze
like those towering branches of trees
arms outstreched
embracing the next blow
of snow or rain.

we would grow wise in our waiting
and give birth each year knowing
only a few of our saplings will survive.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

good times

last sunday a few of my close friends graduated. the ceremony was at safeco field just south of downtown seattle. so we all rode bikes there. there were about 30 of us; caps and gowns, beer and balloons and one bright pink ghetto blaster booming from a basket behind a tandem. it was a beautiful sight to see.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

one more thing

there is also the option of living in seattle for a year, gaining residency, then starting classes. In this year I would teach yoga, become a doula and experiment in a life lived in one place.... not a bad idea either.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


an in conclusive decision has been made. yes, i will be going back to school. no, i do not exactly know where. my thoughts:

1. leave seattle after a few glorious summer months
2. hit the road with my dog
3. visit people i love in their respective locations around the country
4. settle in tucson in the winter and start taking my prerequisites.
5. learn to play harmonica better while on the road.
6. be a better human.

any suggestions/words of wisdom/advice...?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Something Soft

Recently I have been appreciating soft things. Soft things have made themselves very much a part of my daily life. In the pillowy mounds of finely ground espresso powder leveled by my index finger and pressed firmly into a metal filter. The serum slowly drips and pulls, drips and pulls its way down until it rises in a shot glass as an ounce of liquid and dark cream later dolloped with milk froth.
At other times I am piling copious amounts flour into creamed butter and sugar watching it turn round in a large silver bowl puffing out small clouds of white as it incorporates. When the mixing is complete I reach down into the delightfully light softness and form it into cylinders for freezing.
In the evnenings I roll into my low-laying matress a little a little grey Olive gently wriggles her way underneath the blankets. She squirms a bit then rests her tiny head on my soft belly. It seems she is soothed by the subtle swaying of her head to my sleeping breath.
And today, as my feet sunk in the freshly watered soil on a frequented trail, the softness came to me again and I am grateful for it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

downside up

from the down side looking upward
i see life
how it has and has not been lived.

on the front side looking back
i see an old child.

from the hind side moving forward
i feel a fresh light filling my chest
and i am a fluorescent filament.

from atop this hill i see
how foolish i have been
believing the next move will make me
seeking a strong storm to break me.

on this side of yesterday,
i see that yesterday is.

yesterday i am born
yesterday i am beginning
yesterday i become.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

drawing you into the loop

for those of you who may not yet know, a huge loop de loop of change has been drawn in the middle of my life. i have resigned from my position as US Coordinator of the Migrant Resource Center. i have come to recognize that, for me, such emotionally taxing work is impossible to sustain without a supportive community.
the lovely beth van dam (affectionately known as my mother-sister) will be coming down to the border to haul me and my dog and some stuff up to seattle where i will be able to see bis and andrew get married. then i will stay for a while. probably 6-9 months.
two days ago i received news that my grandfather passed away. he and i were close and we had an agreement with each other that i would live with him and take care of him when he was unable to do so for himself. i had always hoped to be with him when he went so that he would not be alone or scared. but he died on the floor beside his bed and was found by police 5 days later. it is a sad story and i wish it could have been different. i have been letting it hurt for a while. today's sunshine in philadelphia and purple's presence has lifted my spirits.
and so...
there are thoughts i have been having of moving to south philadelphia within the year, settling in for a little while and going back to school. it would be a few years for me to leisurely complete my prerequisites for natural medicine/midwifery and i think i would like to do that here.
as for now i am, as my dear friend jacob groves sings, "dirty, broke and free"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

the opposite of desert

I have been going for wandering walks in Philly for a few hours each day. Tall trees, misty mornings and mossy sidewalks have been helping me see things a little more clearly. There is something about this place or the presence of a new life that evokes a deep honesty inside.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The birth of Purple Ray

Mother and Child

The Family
Pregnant Sarah chillin' on the curb.

Yesterday evening I was able to witness the birth of the new daughter of my dear sister Sarah and her partner Rolando. This was the first birth and labor I have ever participated in. I feel like the experience is too fresh and too sacred to put into words. Ethereal beauty, light and life: Purple Ray Kolker-Brown.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

terrific times in tucson

last wednesday i arrived in tucson to stay with some friends in a little community house here. then i helped work the street fair for cafe justo. i met some cool people, a man named paul in particular. he embroiders fine things on a bicycle powered sewing machine (
i started to begin some writings for what may become a piece about my life on the border. it has been good to reflect but my thoughts are oh so scattered. believe it or not, i had a bit of culture shock here in sure the street fair didnt help...but i feel strangely disconnected with this culture which i used to call my own. the young and educated liberal mindedness has become estranged from my experience. it has become evident that i have changed a bit...
tomorrow i go to philadalphia. i will attempt to keep up the postings while i am there. much love to you all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

where i am and where i am going to be

I am in a place of readiness. I am ready to rest and step out of such a wearisome life for a while; to step out of cycles of hurriedness and intensity which leave me with squinting eyes and ruffled eyebrows.

Some of you all know how I have been having a difficult time lately with the work I am a part of here on the Border. Each day I am able to help serve dozens of people at the Migrant Resource Center and listen to their stories. But it is a lot for someone like me who absorbs everything around me and feels it all. The intensity of this place, this wall and all that our situation entails has started to wear on me how our leaky faucet wears away the enamel on the sink.

Next week I go for a sojourn. I will be gone from here for about 4 1/2 weeks. I am hoping in this time to figure out my place in this mess and how I will be sustained.

I will be seeing some of you. I will participate in the birth of a child and witness the wedding of a dear friend. I will be able to be in my two favorite cities and be surrounded by those whom I love.

The sun is shinning brightly today and coming in through the blinds and making a bar graph of light on my desk. The garden outside is absorbing this and turning it in to good things and I am trying to listen, to learn how I may do the same.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


We have begun to dig and plant and grow. There were a few days this week where the garden was full of folks giving a hand at various projects. There is something really wonderful about people coming together in a space like a garden. Working together and with the Earth.

Prickly Pear

We rescued this Agave from Bisbee, it was uprooted and tossed to the side.
Some of its' arms were bent and I hope it will recover. It has still got a bit of that powerful Agave presence to it.

This agave as served as a strong symbol to me lately . Like a mirror.


Red Rssian Kale


So many sprouts: Radish, broccoli, mung and more

Anasazi Beans

Beautiful beautiful beans

Miriam digging

Kids and dogs and dirt

One bed and pond-ish thing

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Publication

The other day my friend Fletch gave me a copy of a zine she just finished. it was a simple, small personal publication documenting her thoughts and travel stories. After reading "Vagabondear" I was inspired to put together my own little booklet. I started it a few nights ago and I decided to call it "Maga: prelude to a zine". It will be a collection of past writings, poems, etc. to compile and share. Maybe this will be a start to a regular publication of my writings... Letting you all know so that you can let me know who wants one when they are complete, and partly because telling you all will encourage me to actually complete it. That is all for now dear ones. Besos.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Yes, snow in the Southwest. Here are some photos my friend Jade took of
Olive playing in the snow...

Monday, February 9, 2009

an update overdue

friends and others... a brief update on the happenings and soon to be happenings of my life:

1. soon to be starting a community garden in Douglas. right now we are diggin' a bit and getting the soil ready. I have been preparing seeds in a window. today i bought chicken shit :)

2. some of the worlds coolest people are visiting the border right now to volunteer at the center and they are helping me start the garden. they are also cooking with me and being friends. they are making me feel better about the world...just in time.

3. today i got pulled over for the first time ever. apparently i was speeding, but the guy was nice because he saw my cheeks were all wet (explanation soon to come).

4. today i cried for the first time in months. it felt good.

5. i have developed the mouth of a sailor...just for fun.

6.there are a lot of migrants coming through the center. everyday.

7.last night i played in the dirt under the full moon. hair has grown to my collarbone.

9.i am uncertain about all things in life as of late. this may not be a terrible thing. but then again, i am not sure.

thats all that comes to mind at this time. thanks for tuning in.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ode to Lunacy

It was not asked for
but accepted
Peculiar preconditions
Delicate dispositions

Such senseless states
Tending us toward
Seasonal psychosis
and teeter-tottering tendancies

To those blessed accursed ones...twos... seven thousands
Unaccounted for
Bound beyond margins becoming
The spines of hard backed
History books

This is for those who see
Whose knees bounce
Keeping time with
The movements
and music
Of their mind

Let these lines be an ode
To those
Whose hands and hearts
Make the beauty we only dream about
Whose lives are like
Broad daylight
and its under appreciated honesty

From those of us who
Know we've known
Only half-lives and lies
We thank you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This is where I work.

Monday, January 5, 2009

on destiny and responsibility

What if
the sun did not come through
when the curtains drew themselves back

if it fell before we were ready
behind the horizon's hilled fringes

if it forgot to bring us itself
when we rose expecting its return

what if
the sun did not know we needed it
to show what really is, life
that the whole universe depended upon
it doing what it does best

would our eyes begin to sink
into lack-luster lives
singing only dark droning
recantations, vain and futile
with the curtains drawn

Sunday, January 4, 2009

a few happy holidays

hi friends, i have returned from an amazing 2 weeks in guanajuato, mexico city and valle de bravo. i came home to a nice little stack of letters from my loved ones. thank you all. still more to come....i promise