Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Louise Erdrich

I'm usually not one for inspirational quotes but a friend shared this with me and I think it is beautiful. It starts off as a predictable motivational number but the ending analogy, I think, is quite profound.

"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on this earth. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you have tasted as many as you could."
                                                                                                                          -Louise Erdrich

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Might Be a Country Song

I've got houseplants and cast-iron cookware.
I've got a heavy bookshelf and a soft velvet sitting chair.

I can no longer fit my belongings in the back of my car.
And if I could, I don't think I'd get very far.

I've learned that I've got some needs of my own
Needs I'm not fit to run away from anymore.
And if I was, I don't think I'd get very far.

Since I can no longer give everything away,
I suppose it'd be best to stay.

I've got a bedroom with large windows.
A room for thinking or refusing to think.
I've got houseplants and a good deal of what I need.

Surely there is greener grass beyond the next stretch of highway.
But since I can no longer give everything away,
I suppose it'd be best to stay.

I've got houseplants and a rooting feeling.
Soft velvet that begs me to sit.
Cast-iron weighing me down.
So I guess I'll be seeing what it's like to stick around.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Angry Like A Child

It comes on warm and strong.

Rising up from the toes
it boils in the belly
into a firmament of fierceness.

It's a punch-a-hole-in-the-sky 

It's a throw-the-coffee-cup-against-the-wall 

It's a everything-is-wrong-and-I-have-been-cheated

It's a scream-in-the-middle-of-the-woods-so-nobody-can-hear

And it's a scream-in-the-middle-of-the-subway-car-so-everyone-can-hear

Its the feeling that I should have been loved better.
That my child should have been born.

Its a feeling that my hands should have been held
and not clenched into fists.

It's a feeling of having crossed
too many streets

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sharon Venezio

Poem of Undoing

How many kinds of undoing are there?
The word love in the back of my throat,
mouth ajar, as I don't say your name.

Is unhappiness a kind of undoing?
The heart's fault line, a fracture
in the space between two bodies.

My heart is a thirsty artichoke,
each petal a different version of undoing.

If I knock three times, will you reappear?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ellen Goldburg

No One Knows How Far
the breath goes, though surely nothing stops the air
we breathe out.  It must blend in with all the air there is.
How could it leave? Where would it go? No--
even the last breath doesn’t die.  It keeps
pinballing its nosy molecules off others,
bopping along, so we’re breathing someone’s  
discarded breath, breath of Icelandic poppy leaf,
of feral cat, of a woman who screamed in Indonesia
and a batterer who finally sobbed.  I like to think   
of breaths carried on the wind falling for each other
like on a cruise for singles who nudge shoulders with strangers
as they crowd the rail when a humpback blows  
then shout in unison when she and her black
mirror-backed calf breech.  I like to think of each breath
that each of us, dead and alive, exhales from birth
bouncing its way around the globe and coming, generations
later, out of other people’s mouths as opera arias and
Viva La Huelga! and I miss you—don’t go.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fall Feelings

I'm going out to the woods for a while
out into the solitary sound
of autumn-under-foot.

Going down deep for a time
to remember what the womb was like.

Until the silent snow falls.
Until the quiet snow is done falling.

Olive the Dog

Upright and altert.

One swift nose twitch in each cardinal direction.
Compass of olfaction.

Ears as pitched tents
on either side
of the fluffy
and deceivingly friendly
face of a huntress.

Olive the dog.
Predator of morning songbirds
and plump chipmunks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This, Your Defiant Day

There are days when the work must be left undone;
the papers unwrit, the envelopes unlicked.

There are days when the dishes must stay in the sink;
the rice left to stick to the pot's bottom.

There are days when you need to put on a flannel dress and lace-up boots and go
without music, without route.

There are days the calendar must be left unread
and the quilt must stay sprawled about the bed
as you left it when waking for
this, your defiant day.

These are the days for dancing in daylight
and dreaming in waking-life.

It is a day for boots laced tight

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sand, Salt and Stones

I keep my mouth shut
cause I am so far
from the places and spaces
I know 
If I spoke
I wouldn't know

where                    where              where
           to begin                 to go                 to come from

How did I come?

From the desert 
to the city;

from the mountain 
to the city;

from the ocean
to the city.

From where do I come?

The dry sand
cold stone

always            d r  i   f    t    ing            s i f     t   ing
salt                                                               from the             s e a
stones                                                                       from the                 s a n d.

I am so far from the places and spaces I know.

This city took me
takes me
makes me

Am I wrapped or trapped?

In the deep fibers of history and hustle
I keep my mouth shut
because these spaces and places 
are so far 
from what I know

And I do not know 
how to bring them
speak them







I wander.

Am I wrapped or trapped?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Half in Halves

You offered to drive and I let you.
I half hated myself for it.

You offered a beer and time to chat.
I half wanted to drive drowsily
to the drafty house I was staying at

I agreed to a beer with you.
I half wanted to never speak to you again.

You suggested, instead, that I come to your place...
so you could visit with me while preparing your lunch for the next day.
So practical.

I half wanted to tell you to go fuck yourself.

We assembled the bike rack on the back of my car
as we had done about a hundred times before.

I half wanted to tell you that you did it wrong;
the straps weren't tight enough.

I half wanted to let your bike fall off,
halfway down Baltimore Avenue
and watch it get crushed under the trolley.

But I quietly tightened the straps instead.

We got in the car and I told you I didn't want to go to your house.
I half wanted to reach over and touch the soft, sunned skin of your arm.

Instead I told you we had nothing to talk about.

We drove on and I wondered why
we keep seeing each

I told you I would come over for tea.
I half wanted to jump out the car window.

We sat in the dimly lit kitchen of your crunchy communal house
while you chopped sweet potatoes and I chewed the mint leaves from my tea.

It was midnight.
You were making soup.

It was midnight.
I was drinking tea
in your kitchen
watching you make soup.

I wasn't sure which of us was more absurd.

We sat on the couch and spoke about the people we felt ourselves becoming.
The teacup was empty and the soup was delicious.
I half noticed your eyes half closing.

It was time to go.

I asked you to walk me to my car.
I was half hobbling from the blisters on my feet.
You offered me a piggyback ride.
I half believed you wouldn't make it halfway down the block.

But you carried me the whole way.

We held each other in goodbye.
I half wanted to hold you like that forever.
And I was half happy to let you go.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hour by Christian Hawkey

My sixth sensurround
is down, my second skin
the skin I'm stepping
into: I lick
a new finger & hold it up
to the wind: O my beloved
what. O
my beloved what. O my
beloved shovel-nosed mole
can I clean the soil
from your black, sightless eyes
can I massage with fine oils
your tiny, webbed feet
are you tired of running
into drainpipes
does your mouth foam
approaching power lines
are your tunnels collapsing
do you have work to do
does the dirt breathe
do you breath the air
between the dirt
are your lungs
the size of earlobes
do you hear me
in the tunnel next to you
have you cut your nose
on a shard of glass
have you excavated
the severed, blue leg
of Spider-Man
did you pause to admire
his red booties
are your tunnels collapsing
do you have work to do
am I keeping you
am I keeping you

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Hay que pasar el tiempo
como pasan las horas
bien despacio,
con el
e  s  p  a  c  i  o
de los minutos
e  s  t  i  r  a   d  o  s
por los segundos.

Aqui donde el sol hace el amor con el mar
se puede sentir
el aire pesado
con la humidad y el olor de la copulacion.

Hay que pasar el tiempo
como pasan las olas
por la arena
al fondo.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Al Regreso

I have returned to some of my most favorite places in the world. I am writing from San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas after spending two days in Xela. I am returning to so many things tangible and intangible. Estoy contenta y no falta nada. It has been three days and I have already completed two poems. One is in English and the other Spanish and, for now, the one in Spanish will not be translated.


You slid right through my fingers
right through my lips
like words never spoken
between 4am bathroom trips and
bare-assed bathroom tile sits

Failing to recover
the clots of you that sank
beyond the curve of the toilet drain.

Your blood in mine stained
the blankets and sheets
streaks of loss marked my thighs
dried up cries became empty sighs
an empty womb and a wound
that will reopen month after month
in remembrance.

I sat staring out the window
for a long long time
as the soft white snow
covered everything.


En un momento
cae el sol de mi cielo.
En otro minuto
subo a volar.
En el cielo tan oscuro
vuelo con mis propias alas
en el cielo mio.

Vuelo y descanso en las nubes
porque son mias tambien.
El viento viene, el viento mio,
y me agarra de las alas
y me carga a los destinos nuevos;
nuevos pero bien familiares
lugares que conozco
pero los que nunca he visto.

Acá me encuentro.
Me encuentro agradecida
por mi cielo sin sol,
por mis alas
y mi viento que me deja a volar.
Me muestran como descubrir,
el la oscuridad,
que soy la luna
la luna de mi propia cielo.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Morning Prayer

The beginning of movement

this melodic moment


between two worlds

words without syllable

or syntax

some call it ‘surrender’

I say that sounds too easy

and yet not simple enough.

‘Suspension’ seems somehow more appropriate

or perhaps ‘morning prayer’ will do.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Blast from the Past

I have been seeking distraction from school work quite regularly lately. My distraction of choice today has been thumbing through the stack of old journals on my bookshelf. There seem to be hundreds of little one-two lined thoughts scribbled into margins and unedited poems on napkins stuffed into the journals' cover pockets. Resurrecting these journals feels like discovering old photo albums of my most personal memories.

Here is a little untitled, unedited bit I found from 2008. Upon reading it, I remembered exactly where I was and what was happening when I wrote it. Bisbee, AZ at the Stock Exchange bar listening to Dylan Charles and his band play their hearts out.

To be free
on two knees
like the metallic pause
of the trumpet's cry
or the saxophones weeping.

To live in loss
as if it was ever
not so.

It's the same as letting go
of anything
of everything
you never had.

Like the love
that has not yet filled
or fit
the contours
of your insides.

Releasing can be relieving
but it can also be deranging.

Listen up,
don't you sit still, child,
tap tip tap your toes
nod and bob that head
switch and sway those hips.

The trumpet and the saxophone
will tell you all you need to know for now
this sound.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Sweet Lorde

As the end of a semester approaches it brings with it urgent demands of my time and attention. And, as is in my nature, I am meeting this full of resistance and rebellion. Don't fret, I'm still getting shit done, but I am redefining how I am going to do this whole nursing school thing. I am finding little ways to do things my way; little beautiful rebellions to keep me crazy.

One of my most worthy distractions has been discovering and delving into the work of Audre Lorde. I am currently reading a book of poetry by her called Black Unicorn. I keep having the urge to rub my face on its pages. That's the only way I can describe how I feel about her poems, I want to rub my face in them.

Here are two of my many new favorites.


make me whole again
to love
the shattered truths of me
spilling out like dragon's teeth
through the hot lies
of those who say they love
when I am done
each shard will spring up
complete and armed
like a warrior woman
hot to be dealt with
slipping through alleyways
of musical night people humming
was a white dude.

Fog Report

In this misty place where hunger finds us
seeking direction
I am too close to you to be useful.
When I speak the smell of love on my breath
distracts you
and it is easier for me
to move
against myself in you
than to solve my own equations.

I am often misled
by your familiar comforts
the shape of your teeth is written
into my palm like a second lifeline
when I am fingerprinted
the taste of your thighs
shows up
outlined in the ink.
They found me wandering at the edge
of a cliff
beside the nightmares of your body
"Give us your name and place of birth
and we will show you the way home."

I am tempted
to take you apart
and reconstruct your orifices
your tongue your truths your fleshy altars
into my own forgotten image
so when this fog lifts
I could be sure to find you
tethered like a goat
in my heart's yard.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Girrrl, you crazy!

I have always been uncertain as to what makes one crazy. Some of the most intelligent, creative, interesting and vibrant people I have known in my life have been, at some point, deemed mentally unstable. It seems as though sanity is a sort of tight-rope walk on an invisible chord. Some learn from those before them and/or society how to walk this tight-rope with relative ease and stability while others try, fall and never quite seem to get back up again. The former are considered sane while the latter are insane... pretty straight forward, right? But there is a third category and it is a most perplexing one. It consists of those who know how to balance upon this invisible chord and yet choose to fall from it and then rise back upon it. They continue to fall-rise-fall again and again in some mystical dance their entire lives. We call these people artists, mystics, geniuses, crazy people. And, there are many of us.

I have decided to re-post a poem I wrote in 2009 for my kindred crazies.

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.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Personal Geography

There is a place above the navel
and below the breastbone where
There is an old woman looking out a window.

There is a newborn child
held by its mother.
There is a mother holding
her child that will never be born.

There is a woman wading in a stream;
there is a puddle up to her knees.
There is an urge to throw things out.

An empty cage

A singing crow

There is what I believe myself to be
And there is all that I do not yet know.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Return to Sharing

I wish to return to this sharing. Part of me desires to share more of myself with those who are far and another part needs a place to put my words. So, here I begin again bearing things of myself and of others that have inspired me. Thanks for stopping by.